Hope and Ghosts

Chapter 6

untitled (because I can't think of a title, but if you can drop me a lin and I'll use it)

He stood in the rain, black suit saturated to an inky hue, never mind the umbrella he held in hand. Locks matching suit in consistency and hue, they straggled into his eyes and dripped into his hauntingly familiar basilisk eyes. Breaking the trend of universal black, (eyes, suit, and hair were a perfect match, rain notwithstanding) was a dull span of brown that caked the once glossy shoes and smudged up against the lowest seam of his pants. The wind rose up a notch, causing the contours of the man to shiver. It was more an indulgence than the man himself would allow. Lips a thin line, jaw set, he radiated irritation with this "mission" without indulging in the usual shows of weakness any other man might indulge

The latter, though viewed through a sheet of omnipresent rain it wasn't obscured in the slightest, was the side effect of "innocently leaked' information . There was indignation about the man. The unanswered, untenable insult all but made a miasma about that still form. And only orders (from who, who knew. Save she did, and she didn't wantto know, thus she hung onto fond delusion a little longer) from "above" had coaxed this man into the wet.

Never mind the damage his finery (from another age, but still finely made and more importantly cherished) the shear indignity of having to cater to the "enemy" was all the insult ever needed.

The loss of the rest of it would just further piss him off.

Still, as the car screamed to a stop and she clambered out he offered his meager shelter of his umbrella, though a passing gust nearly wrenched it from his calloused hands.

And, more important (perhaps most important of all) he asked the right question first.

The only question.

"How's the child?"

To that she pulled Denzel out of the car, never caring that her back was to him. Inside the lights went dead, and Reno was twisted about, helping her push the blanket bound bundle out. Denzel had been shivering, despite the heat of the car, and the heater being set at its highest setting (she was red, dripping, though she hadn't stepped out into the wet, not yet) eh whimpered from cold. Leaning close, but not touching either her, or the child as the slipped closer to the threshold, he took everything in. And, because her back was turned, he allowed his dark eyes to widen for a moment as the child cried out in pain at the coming chill of the lukewarm storm. Lips all but a bloodless slash, he nodded to the confirmed, and was torn from his contemplation by another battle with the wind. At conflict's end he held the umbrella steady, even as Tifa and her burden stood under its stiff folds.

"Reno, take the car back toe TECH HQ, Ms. Lockheart, you're with me!"

There came a scramble, then at efforts end Reno was back in the drivers seat, and the car roared to life. Lighting up and blazing over the lawn and finding a track of mud to call a path. Hardly caring about Reno, Tifa cradled Denzel's quivering form close, one step behind the drenched Turk, that took effort, for the man set a hellishly fast pace. Turk and rebel passed a threshold, a steel door that hissed open at Tseng's touch. DNA scanner, pressure pad, and a keycard had been employed; one after the other, and Tifa shook her head, flabbergasted that such technology was… well available.

And, considering everything, it was chilling that someone thought that level of security was needed.

Then, they were in the dry, not dry themselves –all three dripped- but the contrast was enough to slow Denzel's quake and snap Tifa out of her daze. Shaking off the water from his umbrella, the Wutia Turk seemed unconcerned about the rush of white clad individuals that were approaching. From a world away, all unconcerned, he stomped his steel boots, as id dislodging the mud on his boots was the most important thing in the world. Even as the doctors gave both Tifa and Denzel a look over than "suggested" that a more checkup appropriate setting was needed. Both parent and child were lead deeper into the building, the Turk seemed more than content to be left behind.

Until the end, the very end, when the door was a step away and there was some dithering about the locks inside the building. In that natural pause he said his piece.

"When he's stable, Ms. Lockheart," came that hated voice, cold and distant. She could feel the fire in her memory against her skin, warming, never mind the cold. "We will talk."

There was no option. In truth, there never had been. Not since the beginning of it all. Of that, Tifa was sure. Locks surmounted with minimal grumbling, the door clicked open, amongst a sea of white and concerned faces she was carried forward.

"Ms. Lockheart?"

He was crazy, the rebel mulled, acting as if she'd ever had an option.

"Whatever." She had more important things to do than listen to this man who summoned all her ghosts with his voice alone.