When the entire office sat there cackling at you, that is when I took your side

When the entire office sat there cackling at you, that is when I took your side. He was in the wrong you know. The term he chose to label you as, that is. He should never have uttered those words. Talent-less is a very poor choice of words. I have seen your talents. I see them when you don't think I am watching. Your sense of crude yet hysterical humor is a talent. Not many can make Cid Highwind blush with colorful language and oaths. I have seen you do it. Time and time again I hear you let out a string of curses that most members of any holy order would fall on their knees begging for forgiveness for simply hearing those utterances. You use all of it in stride and wrap it into the very image of who you are.

You are a storyteller beyond any of those I have ever heard. People beg you to tell and re-tell stories that are dull and drab but you always tell them with such a commanding gusto I have no choice but to watch and listen time and time again. I have watched you wrap us all into stories that I am dead sure that when the story occurred it was not nearly as dramatic as you tell it, but all the same we sit and listen.

I have seen you late at night after missions, stretching and flexing. You know and practice yoga. I have watched you flex into positions I would never have possible for a human to contort into. If you think that isn't a talent you are sorely mistaken. Most would kill to find a woman with that kind of flexibility.

I have watched you cook and clean. While Tseng and I were sick after that mission in Northern continent, you did everything in the house that needed done. You unflinchingly did all of the laundry, which I would like to point out that Tseng will not touch any undergarments that are not his. You cook amazing food and get embarrassed when we compliment you on the fabulous job you've done. You stutter away our praise and make excuses. Talent is something that you are far from short of having.

As for being a whore, you my friend have made quite a reputation for yourself. You stake claims on every girl you pass and wink at every guy to see if he winks back. However, I know you better than that. You have told me while we sit next to each other in the bar that you don't want to fuck anymore. You slur about love and wanting to have someone by your side. I know that you leave with a girl when in front of the office at a bar on purpose just to prove a point. Finding the drunkest girl in the bar, you will walk to the door turn back and give us all a wink. I know the truth though. I know you take those poor girls home to their houses and leave them there for then night, going home yourself to go to bed alone. You seem to ooze sex, but yet if anyone saw past your fake lie of a self they would see that you are caring and kind beyond all words.

That fake self that you project. That projection of an uncaring asshole that never feels anything besides anger and humor. That shows no remorse or fear. Never mind that when Tseng lay in that bed after Sephiroth attempted to kill him, you stayed by his side. That because you were second in command you were in danger of taking over the job and responsibilities that he had and that scared you. We knew you could have done it with ease; you simply lacked the self-esteem to carry on that title. We know that you denied all orders that would likely kill Tseng. We knew that you were repeatedly ordered to pull that damn plug. Still you sat beside him until the day the doctor said he would make it perfectly. Then you told Elena and I to take shifts so you would not have to be there all the time. We knew you didn't want him to know all that you had done to give him a second chance. You jeopardized your career and life to save him and yet you took none of the glory.

The day you dropped the plate on Sector 7, you came in after acting tough and happy. Calling all those that died, useless scum. Only I saw you go in our locker room and cry. I heard those sobs; saw the pain in your eyes. You knew how many innocents you killed, but if you showed that it bothered you, you wouldn't be the heartless Turk you were trained to be. You wouldn't be the image you strove so hard to uphold.

That image that wont let you admit that you aren't just lazy and don't do the paperwork, but that you can barely read the damn paperwork because of the poor slum boy education that you received. You let us call you lazy and a slob, because it is easier than telling the truth.

The truth is Reno Michael Patens, that you are a wonderful and talented person. That just because you told Rufus that you wouldn't sleep with him, it didn't mean that he had the right to claim you and he had sex and say to everyone that you were bad in bed. He had no right to call over that damn intercom that you were nothing more than a talent-less whore. You are far more than that. You are my best friend. I trust you with my life. You shouldn't have had to try to defend yourself to all those people. They laughed at you and called you names. Those girls you walked home apparently have forgotten your kindness, pointing and mocking with everyone else. Tseng would not laugh in your face, but I know that he will be in on the gossip like the little biddy he can and will be.

Here you sit, now. All have gone home for the night and here I find you. You disappeared earlier with claims of illness, but I knew you would be here. Sitting on the roof like you always do. Tearstains are still on your cheeks. I see that note in your hand and I know that if I hadn't have showed that you probably would have left only it behind when you jumped. You put on that smile of yours and look up at me.

"Must look like a damn fool from where you're standing, huh Rude?"

Maybe sometimes Reno, the truth is easier than a lie. "No, you look like the most beautiful person in the world."

FF7 (C) Square Enix