The house he'd grown up in was as welcoming as ever – first the key had refused to turn in the lock. Finally it gave. He tried to open the door but nothing. He sighed and stepped back to allow Rude to shoulder open the door. The wood had clearly swollen during the bad Winter.

As if they'd agreed on it earlier, Rude made his way back to wait in the car - Reno stayed at his side of course, he was grateful for that. After everything, he doubted he could do this on his own but more than one Turk would have been overkill.

He turned to look at Reno when he felt a gentle nudge in his side. The redhead smiled faintly at him, for once entirely still. "After you, Sir…"

He even managed a ghost of a smile at the formality – so unlike his favourite Turk. He nodded once and walked in.

It was dark inside of course – the windows on the landing had been boarded up after President ShinRa's funeral and no one had stepped inside since.

It took his questing fingers a few moments to find the light switch. It took a few moments more for his eyes to adjust. When they did, he looked around noting the thick layer of dust that coated every surface. He took a few more steps in to reach the only piece of furniture in the reception hall – a table. He wrinkled his nose as the scent of abandonment finally registered with him.

Idly he traced a gloved finger over the tabletop, fascinated momentarily by the contrast between the newly revealed surface and the dust.

He lifted his hand after a moment and peered at the dust on the tip of his gloved finger. A fraction of a second later, he remembered once reading that household dust was composed mostly of dead skin cells. That meant that the dust was a part of his father.

He grimaced and yanked the glove from his hand. He didn't want *anything* of the old man so close to him ever again!

By the time the glove hit the ground, Reno was at his side, offering an untainted pair of gloves.

He smiled faintly and took the gloves with an almost silent thank you. When he'd pulled them on and dropped the other by its pair, he decided he'd spent enough time in the house already. He headed upstairs being careful not to touch anything else – now that he'd remembered about the dust, he had to actually remind himself to breathe though, he hated the thought of the fact that he was effectively breathing his father into his lungs.

Just get this done. He headed into the bedroom he hadn't seen since he was a pre-teen when his father sent him to Junon and kneeled down by the bed, not thinking about the dirt or dust that could be collecting on the knees of his trousers as he did so.

A few moments of searching finally produced what he was looking for – one very old, very crumpled photograph of his beloved mother. He held it almost reverentially in his hands and stood. He nodded to Reno. "Let's go."

He walked out of the house then, not looking back. It was the last time he ever entered the house.