Title: To Keep You Alive

Title: To Keep You Alive

Rating: T

Disclaimer: All characters owned by Square Enix and Tetsuya Nomura

A heart monitor beeped rhythmaticly in the white hospital room. On the bed laid Rude of the Turks, an oxygen mask on his face and various IVs in his arms. Bandages were wrapped around his head, hiding the stitches used to seal up the large gash that ran from above his left eyebrow to his left ear. Under the blankets his torso was also bandaged. His chest rose and fell steadily as he remained unconscious.

Reno sat in a chair beside the bed, staring at his partner. He was also banged up, but a far sight better than Rude. His left arm was in a sling and he had a thick wad of gauze taped over his right eye. He'd also managed to fracture two ribs; whereas Rude had fully broken three.

The two of them had been on a mission to 'take care of' a leader of a local gang. The man hadn't wanted to go down without a fight and ended blowing up the entire building they had been fighting in. When Reno had come to he found himself trapped under Rude, who had tackled him to shield him. It wasn't long after that before Tseng and Elena had found them and rushed them to the hospital to treat the wounds materia couldn't fix. Rude had yet to wake up.

Reno sighed, resting an elbow on the edge of the bed. "Why do you always gotta do this, yo? You shoulda shielded yourself…" he looked at his face. "You better wake up, yo. If you don't I'll kick your ass."

He'd never thought about the possibility of life without Rude. The two of them had been partners for years, never apart for too long. Rude had always watched Reno's back and had probably saved his nearly a hundred times. Not that Reno would ever admit that he felt he needed the stoic man around to the others. Too much pride for that.

Reno's attention snapped back into focus when Rude let out a slight groan and scrunched up his face slightly. Slowly, as if testing, he opened one eye. It darted about the room before settling on Reno's face. He opened his other eye. "Reno…?"

Reno smiled slightly. "Hey, partner. Have a nice nap?"

Rude groaned again. "Where the hell am I?"

"Shinra Hospital. You took a lot of damage from that bomb, yo." He grinned. "It was almost as bad as one of yours."

Rude rolled his eyes. "You're an idiot. How bad is the damage?"

"Concussion, eight stitches in your head, three broken rips, and you breathed in a lot of dust and crap so your lunges are a bit crappy right now. That's why you gotta wear that mask."

"Hn. Not too bad."

Reno went back to leaning his elbows on the bed. "Yeah, take a lot more to knock a guy like you off your ass for good, huh? Well, 'least we get a vacation."

Rude was quiet for a bit. "How'd you fare?"

"Huh? Oh, nothin' bad. Just some fractures. Cut my eye, but the managed to save my vision. Just can't take this bandage off for about a week and take this gross medicine."

That seemed to relieve him for he settled into silence again. Five minutes passed. "Reno?"

"Yeah?"

"Quit staring at me."

Reno laughed. "Sorry. 'Just been a while since I've seen you without your shades for so long. You got nice eyes, bet the ladies love 'em."

Rude lifted a shoulder in what Reno could only assume was a shrug.

Reno thought for a moment. "Hey, Rude? Why'd you do that back there? I mean tackling me. Y' know I woulda been fine if you hadn't."

"I suppose you would have."

Reno poked his side lightly. "Answer the question, yo."

Rude looked over at him. "That's my job. We watch each other's backs, right?"

"Well, yeah, but you shouldn't get yourself killed over me…" he folded his arms on the bed and set his chin on them. "I wouldn't want you to die 'cause of me."

"Since when are you a sentimental one, Reno?"

"Ah, shut up. I'm just sayin', you're like my best friend, man. You getting' yourself killed would just piss me off."

A small smile appeared on Rude's face. He chuckled when he heard Reno's soft snores, signaling that the redhead had fallen asleep. He grunted, his head starting to throb. But he knew no matter what Reno said, he'd do the same thing again if the time came. All of it was worth it, if it kept his partner, his best friend, breathing.

Besides, he always loved to piss him off.

The End

Kainichi: This story is made of epic phail. Oh well, it's three a clock in the morning, so forgive me. Review please!