A Sort-Of Reti

(A/N: I've uploaded this again because changes in ffnet formatting had rendered it unreadable. The document I originally uploaded, however, has vanished, so I'm using an older version that may or may not be stylistically/grammatically inferior. If so, apologies. As always, no 'canon' except the original game applies)

Chapter 1

He didn't mean to do it. Cut him some slack. The poor guy was drunk, okay?

It all started innocently enough. Apocalypse-not-actually-happening celebrations and free alcohol (blame whoever fitted the locks on the Bar del Sol) meant that for the first time in the last twenty four hours, Reno could cut loose. And cut loose he did, and get quarantined by Elena he did, and Rude, as always, was told to go and try and sober his partner up a bit.

When will they learn?

Sighing, Rude made his way across the heaving bar and over to the barricade of stools and surfboards that Elena had speedily arranged. From somewhere within came angry shouts and thumping sounds. Rude idly wondered if the Bar del Sol's insurance policy covered 'Reno'. Not that it mattered, since Shinra owned both the bar and the insurance companies, naturally.

It took some time to destroy Elena's barricade; she'd obviously had a lot of practice setting them up in the past.

"Sssup, pardner?" slurred Reno, when Rude tore down the last stool. Reno was sitting in a crumpled heap, grinning, the remains of Elena's cocktail dripping down his face and soaking into his shirt. Rude gave him a quizzical look.

"'Laney didn't like my chat up line."

Rude nodded.

"Somethin' about 'get your hands off you perv ew ew ew that does it you're going down!'"

Rude nodded again.

"She don't know what she's missin'." Reno sighed. Rude patted his shoulder in silence. Privately, he thought that Elena probably had a very good idea, but he still felt a twinge of pity for his partner as a slice of lemon slid down his forehead.

"Life's crap," said Reno. Rude rose an eyebrow; he didn't think Reno was that keen on Elena. Reno laughed. "Not cos of 'Laney, nah. I mean this whole shebang."

"…" Rude prompted.

"Well, y'know, like, everyone's safe now, right? An' they're gonna need somethin' to hate! An' guess what? Shinra sucks, an' now everyone knows it! So what's gonna happen to us, man? I'll tell ya what's gonna happen! They're all gonna try an' kill us is what's gonna happen! The whole damn world!"

We DID serve the most evil, megalomaniacal company the planet has ever seen… and we killed thousands of innocent people when we dropped the plate on sector seven… and we've been terrorising the Turtle's Paradise regulars for years… and Shinra created Sephiroth…

"Oh dear," said Rude.

"Exactly! We're gonna haveta go back to bounty huntin' an' crap! I liked sittin' in a cushy office, doin' sweet FA, gettin' paid to do more sweet FA, so I could retire an' do, guess what?"


"Fish! Always wanted to be a fisherman…" Reno rolled his eyes. "Whaddya think, big guy? But now what? Are we screwed, or are we screwed?"

Look on the bright side; everyone else is screwed too.

"But that's just it!" Reno displayed his remarkable talent for reading Rude's mind. "We're here, with all the crappy headlines an' crap-"


"An' meanwhile, guess what? I'll tell ya what! AVALANCHE is what! Who made them the big, bad heroes?"


"I mean, whaddid they do that was so great, anyway? Prez boy did all the difficult crap, y'know, killin' a coupla Weapons an' breakin' Sephy's barrier-"


"An' then the other Weapons're still goin' around right, an' what are AVALANCHE doin'? They're trainin' up chocobos, that's what they're doin'! Gettin' gold ones! An' drownin' all the yellow ones, cos they're not sure whether they're gold or not when they're not, cos they've never seen 'em before, while everyone else is screamin' an' runnin' from the GREAT-BIG-BAD-KILLIN'-MACHINE-ANIMAL-TRANSFORMER-THINGIES!"

You wouldn't say that to their faces.

"An' THEN they go an' buy a villa, cool as ya please, an' THEN it's time for some more chocobo trainin', an' THEN they decide to go to some cave so they can have a chat with some crazy chick an' THEN they decide it's time to get every E-skill and then they throw a hissy fit when they realise they've missed 'aqualung'-"

You know about this in a worrying amount of detail…

"An' even before all this crap, whaddid AVALANCHE do that was so great, anyway? They just nicked a bunch of the Shinra stuff an' gave the black materia to Sephykins!"

You DEFINITELY wouldn't say that to his face.

"Frickin' frackin' Cloud!" Reno punched a fist against his opposite palm in a dramatic closing gesture. Rude sighed.


"Ahhh, he wasn't such a hard a$$ really. Didja see his hair?"

Yes, and Tseng saw the business end of his sword.

"I coulda killed him. Hell, 'Laney coulda killed him." Reno shook his head and spat on the barroom floor. Rude pointedly handed him a tissue. Reno shuffled a bit, then wiped up.

"Why didn't you?" Rude asked, eyebrows raised behind his sunglasses. He was used to Reno's big talk. Normally, he couldn't be bothered to reply, and humoured Reno with his silence, but every once in a while it was fun to drive his partner into a corner. 'Every once in a while' generally coincided with 'Reno being an a$$'.

"Ah, didn't get the chance. Too busy spyin' on AVALANCHE." Reno shrugged.


"Not as part of the job. No, y'know how Palmer took control of the company after Heidegger an' Scarlet got iced?"

Rude nodded.

"The guy wanted me to go around blackmailin' all the local cake shop people. Free cakes an' crap. Ma owns a cake shop! So, 'course, I went a wanderin', an' I thought it'd make sense to spy on AVALANCHE for ya."

"Me?" Rude was confused, and not just by the revelation of Reno's mother's profession.

"Yeah! Y'know…" Reno nudged Rude in the ribs. "Remember what we talked about in Gongaga?"


"Ya gotta brain like a sieve! Right, I said, 'the Ancient's a babe', an' then ya said that ya liked the BBB, right?"


"Big boobs babe! Gawd, do I haveta spell it out? Anyway, I was gonna tell you about if she had a big argument with Cloud an' stuff, but then…"

"No argument."

"… Nope."

"Happy couple."

"Yup. Well, sorta. She is. Don't think Cloud gets the whole 'happy' thing."


"I'm crap at this, aren't I?"

"Possibly." Rude tried not to smirk. Reno had never really got the hang of empathy, but at least he tried. His efforts were always amusing.

"… Cloud don't know how good he's got it." Reno shook his head. The two Turks sat in contemplative silence. Loud music thundered through the speakers above them, a rock song about killing everything (including oneself, from the sounds of things) playing at full volume. Somewhere in the room, a group of women were shrieking with laughter. Reno sighed, absorbed in thought, and Rude studied his partner. It was dangerous to let Reno think too much. He got worrying ideas.

"…R-" Rude was cut off as Reno leapt to his feet, a jack-o-lantern grin playing across his face. Too late. His long, red spikes of hair stood out around his head like a porcupine masquerading as a tomato. Completely unfathomable, just like Reno, and liable to cause damage.

"I got it!" Reno punched the air, swaying slightly on his feet. "There's just one thing I gotta do, an' then ya can get with Tifa!"


"I'll be right back!" Reno raced (staggered) out of the bar, eyes wild. Rude sighed and went to find Elena. She might look a bit Tifa-ish after a few martinis.