Disclaimer: I do not own any characters, scenery, or towns; Square Enix does.

01 - Discovery

He stood upon the cliff looking at the city some distance away. The breeze played upon his bare arms and gently shifted his hair. His thoughts were floating; he wondered how he got here, where he was going, and what he wanted. For that matter, who was he? He felt he didn't even know himself anymore.

He sighed and looked down at his uniform: purple. Ifrit's fire he hated purple! At least the blue uniform had made his eyes seem warmer. Purple didn't seem to have to same affect and it made his hair look more plum instead of the usual rust color.

Appearances aside, the cursed uniform was scratchy. Just by looks one would think it would be soft. Hell, maybe the laundry service just didn't wash clothes properly. He wasn't even going to go into the helmet resting at his feet. He wanted to kick the thing off the cliff, but they'd only hand him a new one, which he'd have to pay for, so what was the point?

He turned his thoughts from inward to outward and again looked at the city before him. The scene only made him more miserable. The only color that could be seen was in the grass surrounding the city, and it was a dull green at that. The entire image was mostly shades of grey with some browns thrown in for good measure. Gaia how he hated this place! Who ever thought he'd miss home?

"The hell are ya doing out here SOLDIER boy?" said a voice from behind him. He consciously had to stop himself from jumping. Letting someone sneak up behind him, what a rookie mistake.

"I could ask the same of you," he said as he turned. To his surprise it was a Turk addressing him. Or at least he thought it was a Turk. The guys clothes, at least what wasn't torn, were filthy, covered in dirt, dust, mud, and black smears. Looking closer he thought he saw some greenish gunk as well. Monster blood perhaps. There were scratches along the guys face and hands, most looked superficial but a few appeared deep. "What in Phoenix's wing happened to you?" he asked before he could stop himself.

The guy shrugged and smirked, crossing his arms over his chest. The movement seemed to cause him pain and he slowly dropped his arms back to his sides. "Rough night with the ladies," he said. "So, SOLDIER boy, ya gonna answer my question?"

"First off, I don't answer to you, Turk. Second I have a name," he said. Gods this guy was annoying. Hadn't anyone ever taught him how to speak?

"Ya? Can't say I pay too much attention to SOLDIER names. They don' last long, though by the uniform ya've lasted longer 'n most," the Turk said. He winced slightly, so fast most wouldn't have seen it, before he said, "So what's yer name then?"

"Genesis, Genesis Rhapsodos," he said.

The Turk cocked an eyebrow in surprise. "Heard of ya... you're shorter than I thought ya'd be," he said cocking his head to one side, an amused smile on his lips. Man, everything hurt but he couldn't help but pick on the guy. He looked so arrogant he felt he had to knock him down a few pegs.

Immediately Genesis became annoyed. Ifrit's horns he hated being reminded he was short! Not like it was his damned fault. "Well surprise, I'm not," Genesis said in an icy tone. He crossed his arms and gave the Turk a look to match his voice: glacial. To his astonishment the Turk raised his hands to shoulder level, palms out, and shrunk in on himself a bit. Genesis somewhat relaxed at the gesture, but not much.

"Shit, sorry ya? I'm too damn tired ta fight. Dunno what I was thinkin'," he said, scratching his head. "Habit I guess," the Turk finished. He dropped his arms, the smirk back on his lips. OK, maybe now's not the time to pick on the guy, the Turk thought.

Surprised, Genesis relaxed his posture a bit more. He didn't know what to make of the Turk. Annoying yes, but maybe there was a brain in there somewhere. "You have a name, I assume," he said.

The smirk was replaced by a full-blown grin. "Reno," the Turk replied.

Genesis waited for more but when nothing more came he said, "Reno... what no last name?"

For just a second the grin vanished, so fast Genesis wondered if he'd only imagined that it slipped. "Turks don't have last names, yo," Reno replied.

Genesis had always wondered about that, but now didn't exactly seem the time to ask. "Okay," he said. "Turks may not have last names but they do have partners, where is yours? Or were you not on a mission?" Genesis asked.

"Eh, well, I was and… he was with me but I dunno... wha' happened to 'im, yo," Reno replied.

The Turk wasn't grinning now. In fact Genesis was pretty sure he saw some panic and fear in his expression. "You... don't know what happened to him?" he asked.

Reno shook his head once from side-to-side and winced. Deciding not to do that again he simply said, "No."

Genesis took a deep breath and blew it out of his mouth. He saw the Turk wince again and was now wondering just how hurt the guy was. Just as the thought crossed his mind, he thought he saw the guy sway a bit. "Maybe you should sit down," he said, using his hand to indicate a rock not too far from the Turk.

Reno slowly turned his head in the direction Genesis had waved, took two steps, and his legs finally gave out. He landed on his knees on the hard-packed ground. The impact jarred his teeth and made every ache and pain scream though his body. The shock made him fall forward and he barely got his palms on the ground in time to save himself from a full face-plant.

The thought of him face-planting in the dirt in front of a SOLDIER made him chuckle for some reason. That made everything hurt again and he sucked in air through his teeth, making a hissing noise. Closing his eyes he concentrated on his breathing and steeled himself before he made a complete ass out of himself in front of the SOLDIER. Shiva's tits the other Turks would never let him live it down if it got back to headquarters. Turks were tough and didn't need enhancements to prove it.

The thought was enough to gather his resolve and he opened his eyes. Reno jerked back as his eyes locked with Genesis's; he hadn't heard him move. The movement made his body scream again and he shut his eyes once more. After a minute or so he opened them again.

Genesis was squatting in front of Reno with a look of concern on his face. Concern? He thought SOLDIERS hated the Turks. Hell he was pretty sure it was part of their training since the hatred seemed so uniform throughout the department.

"I would ask if you're alright, but that would be rather dense of me," Genesis said.

"Dense? Ya, you could say that yo," Reno replied with a hint of amusement in his voice.

"Would you like a hand?" Genesis asked.

Reno's first instinct was to say no. He had already shown too much weakness in front of the SOLDIER. On the other hand, the world didn't look quite as solid as it did a minute ago. He remembered Tseng once telling him that pride could get you killed. At the time he thought that was a strange thing for Tseng to say since the man seemed full of it. Now though, Reno thought he understood what he had meant.

"Ya, a hand'd be nice yo," Reno said.

Genesis stood and moved up on Reno's left side. He gently placed his hands on the Turk's arm and slowly helped pull him to his feet. Reno swayed and Genesis moved his right hand to the center of the Turk's back to help stabilize him. Reno closed his eyes and Genesis could almost see him physically force himself to be steadier. Finally the Turk opened his eyes and gave a slight nod, indicating they could move.

The rock was no more than 30 steps away but it was painfully slow in getting there. After the first few steps, Genesis slung the Turk's left arm over his shoulders and moved his right arm to his waist. About halfway there Genesis was pretty sure he was supporting almost all of Reno's weight, which didn't appear to be that much.

As they finally approached the rock Genesis slid Reno down as gently as he could. The Turk only hissed once and Genesis was thankful for that. It was obvious the guy was in enough pain and he really didn't want to cause him more. He removed his hands and moved in front of Reno, once again squatting down to get a better look at him.

His face was thin, angular, and pale. He had high cheekbones and a long, thin, straight nose. His upper lip was slightly thin and had a nice bow shape, while his bottom lip was a bit fuller and straighter. His eyes were almond shaped and sky blue with just a hint of grey thrown in.

There were thin, crescent shaped tattoos starting about midpoint under each eye and extending up and back until they almost touched the Turk's hairline. The tattoos almost perfectly matched his hair color: a vivid terra cotta red. Genesis assumed he dyed his hair since his eyebrows were a light brownish color, kind of like raw umber.

Genesis couldn't see much of his forehead since there was a pair of goggles sitting just above his eyes. He rather wondered what the goggles were for. Surely they weren't a fashion statement. Genesis did have to admit that while the goggles were a bit odd with the rest of the outfit, they seemed to fit somehow. The goggle lenses were scratched and the right one appeared to have a crack in it. Looking closer Genesis noticed faint marks around the Turk's eyes like the goggles had been smashed hard into his face.

"Ya like what ya see or what yo?" Reno asked, starling Genesis. He hadn't realized he was so deep in thought on the others appearance. Yet another rookie mistake. Damnit! Genesis immediately set his face into a scowl. "I was simply checking for injuries," he replied.

Reno chuckled and Genesis was pleased he didn't wince this time. "Ya, sure ya were. My face is fine yo," Reno said, still chuckling.

Genesis, whose moods could shift like a leaf caught in the wind on a good day, instantly became pissed. "Look if you don't want my help I'll leave you here," he replied in an arrogant, icy tone. He started to remove his hand from the Turk's shoulder but Reno caught it before he could.

Reno, not knowing about Genesis's mood shifts, was taken aback. "Damn yo, I was jus' teasin', chill," he said.

Genesis sighed. "Sorry," he stated. He thought for a minute. "Could you please let go of my hand?" he asked and Reno quickly complied. "So you and you partner were on a mission..." Genesis prompted, trying to get back on track.

Reno gave the SOLDIER a look which clearly said 'well no shit,' then his face crumpled and he looked confused. He was quite for a minute but finally said, "Ya, way the hell over..." he suddenly seemed confused as he looked around. "... shit, I don' remember," he finished. This time there was no mistaking the panic in his voice.

Reno frantically moved his head in all directions, looking for what Genesis wasn't sure. Suddenly he started to fall backward and was only saved by Genesis grabbing the front of his shirt and pulling him forward.

"Fuck man, shouldn't a done that. Things 're spinnin' enough," Reno said. He leaned his head forward and closed his eyes, trying to stop the dizziness which was fast overcoming him.

"If you're going to throw up, please warn me. I would rather not be standing in front of you if that happens," Genesis said, trying to calm the Turk down.

"Heh, I'll try yo," Reno replied, amusement back in his voice.

"Alright," Genesis said, pleased his tactic had worked. "You were on a mission with your partner an-," he stopped short as something caught his eye in the distance. Genesis stood to get a better view, placing his hand firmer on the Turk's shoulder just to make sure he wouldn't fall over.

For a few minutes Genesis couldn't quite make out what he was seeing. Very far in the distance something seemed a bit... off. Some type of monster? No the shape was wrong. A dust devil? No, the color was too dark. As he continued to stare it suddenly hit him, but that couldn't be right. Could it?

"You weren't... driving or flying were you?" Genesis finally asked.

"My partner 'n I were in a chopper. Why, ya see somethin'?" Reno replied.

Genesis looked off in the distance then back down at Reno. How in the hell? "Yes, smoke I believe."

Reno tried to jump up but Genesis kept him pinned to the rock with his hand. "Damnit let go a me yo!" Reno yelled.

"You're hardly in a condition to stand again Reno," Genesis snapped. He continued to focus on the object, squinting until he could just make out the tip of a tail rotor sticking out of the ground. His eyes widened and he looked down at the Turk. "How in Hades did you walk that distance in the state you're in?" Genesis asked in amazement, looking back toward the wreck.

"I'm not a fuckin' weaklin'," Reno growled, causing Genesis to shift his gaze back to him.

"I didn't mean to offend you, Reno. It's just a fairly good distance away and it's clear you're hurt, that's all. I commend you on your strength," Genesis said, trying to calm the Turk yet again. He felt like a babysitter and he mentally sighed. Reno relaxed under his grip though and that pleased him.

"Ya, ok yo," said Reno blowing air out of his mouth. He reached into his suit jacket and into the inner pocket. Not finding what he was looking for he removed his hand and started patting down the front of his jacket, then moved on to his pants. "FUCK!" Reno yelled, clearly frustrated. He slammed his fists onto the rock, almost causing Genesis to lose his grip on his shoulder.

Genesis cocked an eyebrow at the odd behavior. Reno audibly sighed and shook his hands out. This time he didn't wince, his face scrunched up in pain and he slowly brought his arms back to his lap.

"Lose something?" Genesis asked.

Reno snapped his head up, locking angry eyes on Genesis. Just as the SOLDIER was about to say something nasty, he literally watched the anger dissipate from the Turk's eyes. Hmm, maybe he wasn't the only one with mood swings. Or maybe it was just because the Turk was hurt.

"Ya, damnit, my PHS," Reno finally said.

"You can use mine or I can call someone for you," Genesis said. He started to reach into his pants pockets to retrieve his phone when movement caught his eye. The SOLDIER raised his hand to his eyes in order to block the glaring sun. "Shit," Genesis said.

"What, ya lose yer PHS too?" Reno asked, sounding somewhat dismayed. "Damn it jus' ain't my day."

"No, I think I just found your partner," Genesis replied.