Reno sat and stared at the door. His mom had never been gone this long before and he was worried something bad had happened. Something bad always happened in the slums, especially to people who didn't deserve it. He knew this from personal experience. His baby sister had died when he was about three because some sick twisted bastard had attacked his mom and thrown the baby into a wall in the process. It didn't matter how good a person you were, in the slums there was always someone who would pull you under.

He sniffled slightly, in his fear he had started to cry. He always worried that his mom would never come home or that when she did she would be so battered and bruised she wouldn't be able to move. It had happened before and had scared Reno so bad that he had stayed in the loft they shared for a week. Right now though he felt like going out and looking for his mom, but she had forbid him leaving the loft at night a long time ago.

So for now, he simply sat and stared at the door as if it was the piece of wood's fault that his mom hadn't been home in three days. Every now and again he could hear drunken voices carrying through he window behind him. He tried to focus on what the men were saying, hoping, and hating himself for hoping, that one of them would suddenly catcall at his mom. He was used to the fact that she sold her body every night. He hated the fact that she had to do that so they could survive but it put food on the table and gil in the jar. He knew his mom had been saving gil for them to leave the slums for years now but he knew it would never happen. Every time it looked like the jar was a little fuller they needed to buy something. Food, clothes, medicine; the expenses necessary to live even a halfway normal life added up to an amount that kept them just scraping by.

Reno fell asleep watching the door just like he had the past two nights and many other nights before those. Sometimes the door was like a monster, haunting Reno's dreams and plaguing his thoughts. Other times the door was the most beautiful sight he'd ever seen as it opened to give his mom back.

He woke up the next morning to find that the door had remained a monster and he fumed silently as he got ready for the day. He still held out hope that his mom would come back before he had to leave and he waited till the very last second to leave for work to see if his vigilant watch would pay off. It didn't.

He worked for an old man in sector five delivering things and collecting money for them. The man would go to Wall Market and buy things then sell the cheap to people who couldn't afford full price. Reno didn't know how the man managed to do that and still make money though, to him it seemed like the man should have gone broke years ago but somehow the old man had managed to no only survive, but thrive. Reno didn't question how the old man got by so long as he got paid for his work. He didn't get paid a lot but he got paid enough that he could at least contribute something to the jar and really that was all that mattered to him because even though he knew the jar would never be full, he still wanted to try.

The old man, for he didn't actually have a name to Reno, barked at him for being late. After Reno completed a few deliveries though the old man softened enough that at lunchtime they were able to chat idly away. Neither of them actually ate during lunch, Reno usually didn't want to or couldn't afford to and the old man simply didn't eat and Reno didn't care about his reasons.

"Your mom come home yet boy?" The old man was checking over his merchandise as Reno dusted the shelves in the shabby little shop.

"No." Reno tried to sound as nonchalant about it as possible.

"Hmm. How long she been gone now?"

"Three days." Reno was still trying to hold that calm tone in his voice.

"What are you gonna do if she don't come back?"

"Whatever the hell I want to!" Reno didn't like people inquiring into his life.

"Hmph, suit yourself. Ya got more balls about it than I did at your age. I woulda cried like a fuckin' baby." Reno couldn't tell if that was a good thing or a bad thing to the man but he didn't really care either.

"Good thing I'm not you then isn't it?" The old man laughed.

When Reno got home his mom still wasn't home. He had stopped at the store on his way home and bought bread and peanut butter so that he could have something in his stomach that night. He had used his own money so he knew his mom wouldn't mind to much. They needed the food anyways.

He ate his sandwich in silence in his spot facing the door as the bar next door produced a cacophony of noise. He liked the noise, well, what he could discern as music from the noise was enjoyable, but the sheer fact that there was background noise made him feel better. He was seconds from dozing off in front of the door when he heard someone knock on it. No one ever knocked in the slums, they either pounded and yelled or tried to break the door down. Reno stood up and walked to the door with no intentions of opening it.

"Who are ya and whaddaya want?" Reno yelled towards the source of the knocking.

"I need to have a word Reno." The voice was male.

"How the hell do you know my name bastard?" Reno was scared now though he tried not to let it show in his voice.

"Please open the door Reno. I promise I won't hurt you." Probably an empty promise.

"I don't trust ya!" Reno ran to the kitchen and grabbed a bread knife in case the man tried to force his way inside.

"I don't blame you son but I need to have a word. It's about your mother."

Reno's heart went cold. "My mom?"

"Yes." Reno gripped the knife tightly and opened the door, pointing the knife at the man that towered above him. Reno was tall for his age but he was still just a kid. No match for a man this size in any way.

"What about my mom?" Reno could tell this man wasn't from around here, if the fact that he was polite enough to knock and wait for an invitation before entering weren't enough of a clue the way he dressed sure as hell was. The man was wearing a blue suit and tie, a tie was something Reno hadn't seen in a long time. He looked at it quizzically and decided he didn't like it, it looked like a noose.

"I'm afraid I have bad news about her. I'm from the Shinra company and your mother passed while doing some undercover work for us." Shinra, that explained a lot.

Reno felt the cold hard lump in his heart spread to his limbs, "What the hell do ya mean she 'passed'?"

"She died son. You have my sincerest apologies." Reno highly doubted the mans sincerity.

"She didn't have nothin' to do with Shinra though! My mom didn't work for Shinra..." Now that he thought about it he didn't have any idea who his mom worked for at all, if she even worked for anyone.

"Her employment with us was a recent affair and we instructed her not to tell anyone about it. She was gathering information for us when it happened." The man knelt down and grasped Reno's shoulder in what Reno's supposed the man considered a compassionate gesture. "She told us about you though, she said that if anything happened to her she wanted you to be taken care of. The only way we can fulfill her wish for you is to train you to work for us. I've come to offer you a way out of here, you can get out of the slums and live above the plate while you train to be a Turk or a Soldier for Shinra. What do you think about that idea Reno?"

Reno was on high alert now. If he knew anything about Shinra is was that you didn't get mixed up with the company unless you were desperate and that once you were part of the company you were stuck there for life. He didn't know anything about Turk's or Soldiers but he sure as hell knew his mom wouldn't want him to become anything for Shinra. There were rumors they had heard about how Shinra would kill people for profit and that they were even killing the planet to line their pockets with gil. He didn't want any part of it but he knew that this man wouldn't take no for an answer.

"I dunno man. Can I....Can I at least have a few days to think about it? To maybe say goodbye to people?" Reno hoped the man would say yes and give Reno the time he needed to come up with a plan.

"Of course you can. I hope you realize the benefits of what I'm offering you though. Most people would kill to get into Shinra this easily." Reno thought most people would kill to get out of Shinra too.

"I'll sleep on it. For now though....I......I need to do something for my mom. To cry for her and stuff ya know?" Reno emphasized his last sentence by starting to tear up. He could cry on command and the ability had served him well in the past and he hoped it would help him now.

"I understand Reno. I understand this is a hard time for you to make such an important decision. I'll come back in a few days to see what you're going to do alright?" The man ruffled Reno's hair and stood up and left Reno crying in the doorway. He shut the door and broke down for real. There was no need to pretend tears for his mother, they flowed down his face without any effort.