Wonderland Fallout

Reno POV

I lighted a cigarette and placed it to my quivering lips. Slowly, I inhaled its fumes and closed my eyes when I released it. Unfortunately, the heat of the smoke did little to help warm me from the cold icy wind. It was December in Midgar, which meant that temperatures usually ranged from below zero to thirty. I wrapped my arms around myself and rubbed them fervently, trying to stimulate warmth. I leaned against the sleek black vehicle and silently swore. It was so damn cold outside and here I was, standing next to the standard Turk issue car, even though I could just easily get in and warm up. However, there was no way in hell I could take that risk.

I was stationed on the other side of the street, across from the bar where my boss was situated. Peering into the dirty window of the bar, I could see Tseng conversing with the man. Despite the cordial formality he appeared to displaying, he was actually threatening this guy and warning him to back down. We were dealing with a sleaze named Riddick, a smuggler who specialized in selling stolen material. As of late, some of our stock has been disappearing and the president wasn't too pleased about it. We narrowed the possible suspects down to several slum lords, though we didn't have time to continue the investigation to further narrow it down.

The President had grown impatient with our proceedings, and had asked Tseng to speed up the process by any means necessary. So Tseng decided to threaten all of our suspects, which we had narrowed down to four. He was interrogating the third one now, and by the looks of it, he was really getting through to the guy. Tseng casually sipped at his coffee, while Riddick had an expression of complete frustration on his face.

I inwardly smiled to myself. Tseng was a pro at making threats, and the dirt bags under the plate knew he was good on his word. As Turks, we had a pretty bad ass reputation and most, if not everyone, knew never to have the Turks on their bad side. Although there was a possibility that it wasn't this sleaze who had stolen Shin-Ra goods, we weren't taking any chances. And I knew that Tseng was most likely whispering death threats and warnings to this guy, regardless of if he did anything or not. At least he knew never to steal from Shin-Ra, if he had ever planned to.

A cold gust of wind blew and it seemed to go right through my suit jacket, which was actually zipped up for once. My teeth involuntarily chattered and the cigarette between my lips loosened and fell to the ground. I swore and reached down to pick it back up. If this had been any other city, I may have been inclined to put it back in my mouth, but this was Midgar. The most, filthy, disgusting and disease infested city in the world, and I was not willing to take that risk. I'd rather have my health.

I flicked the cigarette to the side, and reached my hands into my pockets in search of another. Sadly, there wasn't one and I reclined back against the car. I looked through the bar again and saw that Tseng was asking for the bill. Fucking finally! I had been out here for at least an hour and I was absolutely freezing. As he paid the bill, I kept a close eye on Riddick, making sure he didn't try anything funny. Even if he did, he wouldn't stand a chance. Not just because Tseng was incredibly skilled, but because on top of a building a few yards from the bar, was Rude. He had a long range rifle, locked and loaded.

He soon exited the bar and I released a sigh of relief. I didn't waste any time to get in the car. I immediately put the key into the ignition and turned on the heat, which came out as cold air first. Tseng entered the passenger side and brushed off a few snowflakes that had graced his dark suit jacket. His incredibly long dark hair also had a few flakes entwined in it, and he ran his fingers through it to get them out. I rolled my eyes at his procedure. He just had to have everything perfect. God forbid a snowflake touches his pristine suit.

"Tseng…really?" I questioned sarcastically. He ignored me and continued to brush off the flakes. I have to admit I was slightly irritated with him. Here I was, covered in snow from standing outside and he gets flustered about a few damn snowflakes in his hair. It was one thing I never fully understood about Tseng. As Turks, we spend 70% of the time covered in grime, blood, soot, and anything else imaginable. The other 30% we spend trying to wash the shit out of our clothes. The company gives us each about two suits a month, which is most certainly not enough. So as much time as we spend dirty, why did Tseng feel it necessary to nitpick at his suit, when it was going to get dirty eventually?

After a few minutes, the car started to warm up and I placed my bitter cold hands in front of the vent. We are waiting on Rude, which shouldn't take too long. He hates the cold too and like me he spent at least an hour in the freezing cold. Tseng relaxed back into his seat and closed his eyes, something he normally did after a stressful day. I glanced at him from out of the corner of my eye. His brows were furrowed down in pain from the migraine he was probably experiencing. Tseng suffers from them constantly, but he hides his pain well behind a face of opaqueness. His face reflects nothing, and his expression is unreadable, at least to those he has to impress.

Around us, he relinquishes his cold exterior to a certain extent. As a Turk, we have to be able to read each other's expressions when words cannot be exchanged, due to the situation. Also, we have grown quite close to each other, and over the years Tseng has opened up to us, although he is still somewhat closed off; but not as much as he used to be.

I reached over him and opened the glove compartment. I pulled out a bottle of aspirin and poured a few into my hand. With the aspirin firmly in hand, I placed them onto Tseng's lips. He grunted at my forwardness, but opened his mouth anyway. I placed two on his tongue and he swallowed them down eagerly.

"Never do that again, Reno." He threatened.

I grinned and shrugged my shoulders in response, not that he could see it. Suddenly, Rude appeared from seemingly out of nowhere. He opened the back door and roughly shoved his case containing the long range rifle across the seat. As soon as he sat down and closed the door, I stepped on the accelerator. I'd had enough of this place and I just want to get the fuck out of here. I reached the main road and increased my speed to about eighty miles per hour.

There isn't really a speed limit in the slums of Midgar. Everyone just tries to get to their destinations as fast as they can without dying. We still had one more destination left to go in sector 3. This last guy we didn't exactly know much about, except for the fact that he dealt in stolen goods. In all actuality, we only had a description to go off of what the guy looked like. We had a tip about a big time underground seller in sector 3 who had sold a guy on the street a summon materia. Once we confiscated the materia, we immediately recognized it as Shin-Ra property. The guy told us what little he knew and since he was so cooperative, we let him go with only one broken arm.

I veered left into the slum and onto the shit-ass roads that were made of metal boards and cracked up cobblestone. I slowed down to a cautious 40 mph. Kids frequently darted across the roads and although Shin-Ra does overlook a lot of the corrupt things within the company, I don't think running over a child would be acceptable.

"Hey, Tseng. Where do I go from here?" I was driving aimlessly now. He opened his eyes and sat up slowly. He glanced outside the window for a brief moment before lying back down.

"Make a left on the upcoming street." He said flatly.

I did as I was told and continued on down the road. "Now what?" I asked. I hadn't actually read Tseng's report on any of the cases, so all day I had to ask where we were going.

"Just keep straight until you see a rundown strip bar."

My eyes instantly lit up. "Whoa! Oh shit, were going to a strip joint! Why didn't you say so?" I increased my speed again, not caring anymore if I hit anyone.

"This is strictly business, Reno." He warned. "Besides, you're not even going in. I'm taking Rude with me. You'll be out here by the car just in case we need a quick getaway."

I immediately stepped on the brake. The car came to an abrupt, violent, jerky stop. I was highly upset with his decision. Tseng was holding his head in his hands in agony, and in the mirror I could see that Rude wasn't too happy either. In my rage, I didn't care.

"Why the hell are you taking Rude? I've been freezing my damn balls off from being out in the cold all day and you want to take Rude! He went with inside with you on the first two cases! That's so…!"

I was cut off by a fist to the face. He punched me square in the jaw and I reactively grabbed my chin. "Shit, Tseng! What the hell?" My jaw was throbbing in pain.

Suddenly, Tseng grabbed me by my shirt collar. His eyes were enraged and his lips were curled up into a snarl. "What the hell is wrong with you Reno?" He yelled.

I tried to jerk out of his grip, but he held me firm. "You know what's wrong with me you dipshit!"I yelled back, not caring that he had me in his grip. I was never one for rationality when I was furious.

"I want to go with you! I don't want to be stuck outside again while you and Rude get all the action! Fuck that!" I was extremely upset.

Tseng released me roughly with a scowl and sat back in his chair. He shook his head in disbelief and crossed his arms. "Very well then. You can go with me, and Rude will be outside."

A wide grin graced my face and I grabbed both of Tseng's hands between my own. "Thanks, Tseng." I said before planting a playful kiss on his knuckles. He snatched his hands away and pushed me to the side.

"Cut that shit out Reno." He said annoyed.

"Whatever you say, boss man."

I started the car again and continued on down the road. About halfway to the bar, Rude decides to pinch the shit out of my arm. "Ouch! Rude, what the hell?"

He leaned close to my ear and glanced at Tseng to make sure that he can't hear. "You know I'm gonna kill you right?" he said evenly, but with a heated undertone. "We both know you don't even like girls as much as I do. This was my only opportunity to actually enjoy myself while working, you little prick!" He hissed in my ear.

"Aw come on Rude. We're buddies right? No biggie." I said.

"Bull-shit Reno, I know you just want to be with the boss. You don't even give a shit about the topless women in the bar."

"Hey, Hey! Shush dude!" Rude had said that just a little too loud. I glanced over at Tseng to see if he reacted to anything he might have heard. "Shut the hell up Rude!" I hissed. "He doesn't fucking know that."

Rude snickered. "He'll find out eventually. You can't even go a whole day without touching him in some way."

"Shut up dumbass."

"For all you know, he might already be aware."

"He doesn't know, he thinks I'm hot for chickas. And technically I still am, sorta." I said with a little more insecurity in my voice than I would have liked.

"The hell you are Reno." He said before reclining back in his seat.

I did feel bad for bitching to get my way and for taking this opportunity away from Rude, but he was right. I pretended to be upset about not being able to go to the strip bar and enjoy myself, when in all actuality I just wanted to be with Tseng. Rude had had his turn and now it was mine. Of course I viewed my time with Tseng differently than Rude. He saw personal time with Tseng as a chance to learn and gain experience from observation. I saw personal time with Tseng as a chance to spend time with my hot, sexy ass boss and observe him in more ways than one.

Of course I didn't know exactly how Tseng felt about me. I knew he thought I was a goofy, irrational, lazy alcoholic, but that I was also a highly skilled Turk. He didn't really seem to care for my playful advances on him either. I scratched my head in frustration. Tseng was hard to read sometimes so most likely I would never know how he really felt. I released a slight sigh and tried to suppress the thought.

Finally, we had reached the strip bar. I parked across the street from the bar. Tseng bolted up, suddenly wide awake and alert. It never failed to weird Rude and I out how he did that. Tseng could be dead tired before a case and all he would do is lay down for a few minutes, then suddenly be alert and ready; as if he had slept all day and not just for a few minutes.

"Alright listen up." He said to us in a firm tone. "Because we really don't know much about this guy, we're going to have to play it safe. If anything in the conversation seems to be going wrong, we're out of there. Understood?"

We both nodded in agreement. "Good. Also, is everyone armed? Everyone's earpiece communicators in?" He asked. Another nod. "Alright, let's go Reno." He exited the car and I looked back at Rude, who was just exuding with anger, which made me feel even worse.

"Cheer up buddy. If it makes you feel better, we can go watch a whole shitload of porn after this, okay." I said hopeful.

He glanced up at me and ripped the shades from his face. He shot me a glare so fierce; it could rival the Great General Sephiroth.

"If you want to live to see the inside of that bar, I suggest you get the hell out of this car. Right. Now." He said with heated intensity.

I gulped and quickly opened the door. "Um…yeah. See ya later, Rude." I said nervously.

Turning my attention to Tseng, I walked over to where he was across the street. He nodded his head at me and we went inside. Hopefully, this wouldn't take too long.

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