Author's Note: So this is the last chapter. =P Short story, I know. Don't be alarmed, I have another great one that I can't wait to start. It'll be a tad different than what I normally do, but you'll just have to wait and see! xD I may do a couple one-shots first, I don't know. We'll see. In the mean time, go ahead and read the update. I hope you like it!
It was the longest fifteen minutes of her life. Elena sat there, holding onto a cold and limp Reno. She hardly thought at all, just sat there and whispered love and encouragement to the unconscious man she held. Nothing was important to her at all except that Reno be ok. Tseng couldn't get there fast enough to suit her.
"Alright," Tseng rushed in and knelt beside them for a moment, grabbing Reno's wrist and checking the pulse, "He's going to be fine, Elena, we just need to get him over to the infirmary. But he's going to be alright, you hear me?" Tseng spoke sternly, but hurriedly, and Elena knew his words were to reassure himself as well as her.
"Should we call Rude?" Elena questioned, wiping the tears from her eyes as Tseng easily picked up Reno's light body and she climbed off the floor to follow them.
"Already did," Tseng replied, "He's meeting us there."
The ride to Shinra headquarters was not long, but Elena felt impatient. She sat in the backseat of Tseng's car, Reno's head laying on her shoulder while she held his hand tightly and ran her fingers through his hair with the other. The occasional tear still fell from her eyes, but she was composed for the most part. She looked out the window at the buildings flashing swiftly by. The night sky of Midgar was surprisingly clear, the stars and the moon shining brightly and bathing the world in a silvery light. I made a mistake. I know that now. He's all I've ever wanted. Just please, please let me have a second chance with him. Elena wasn't sure who she was begging this favor from, she just knew it was all that mattered anymore. She didn't care what happened to her, as long as Reno was there with her it would be ok.
"Somebody needs to be taking better care of that man," the doctor announced, coming into the room where he had forced the Turks to wait while he evaluated Reno's condition, "He's in here all the time with some wound or other, and now you bring him to me seriously malnourished and unconscious from a sleeping pill overdose!"
"There are certain dangers that come with the job," Tseng stated simply, obviously choosing to address the topic of wounds.
"So tell me exactly what Turk duty he was performing that ended up with him overdosed on sleeping pills and morphine," the doctor shot back without missing a beat. Tseng looked uncomfortable.
"That's my fault," Elena's voice was almost a whisper as she stared at her feet, "Is he going to be ok?"
"Yes," the doctor answered, raising his eyebrow, clearly still disgruntled about the lack of care Reno was experiencing, "He's still unconscious, but we're monitoring his vitals and hopefully he'll wake up in several hours. You can all go home and rest. We'll call you if anything changes."
"I'm not leaving him," Elena said, her voice firm, "Not this time."
The sun rose on Midgar a few hours later, illuminating shiny grey streets above the plate, and not even touching anything below. In a hospital room nestled away in the massive Shinra headquarters, Elena lay curled up asleep next to Reno, her hand resting lightly on his chest, right above his heart, right where the scar remained from a particularly nasty knife wound he'd had two years ago. She'd fallen asleep like that many times in the past, her fingers gently rubbing the slightly raised scar tissue.
Elena opened her eyes, blinking the remains of sleep from them. She was surprised at first to find herself with Reno, but then she remembered and she cuddled closer to him. The buttons on his white shirt were halfway undone, and Elena slid her hand under the fabric to rest inside his shirt on his bare skin. Reno was still not awake, but his heart rate and breathing had strengthened, and was closer to normal. This gave her hope, and she wished he would wake up soon. She needed to tell him how sorry she was, and how much she loved him. Elena looked up into his face, barely inches from hers. She ran her hand lightly over his cheek, ignoring the coldness of his skin that she'd been told would go away as the drugs wore off. She let her fingers play with his blood red hair, and she sighed. She'd missed him so much, missed being close to him. How she ever thought that what she'd done made sense, she'd never know. Elena just hoped that he would forgive her. She had put him through hell many times over at this point.
Elena didn't even bother to try and make it look like she was keeping her hands to herself when she heard the door open. She continued stroking Reno's face and hair and decided that whoever it was could just get over the fact that she liked touching him. Tseng and Rude soon came into view, half-smiles that they tried poorly to hide on their faces.
"I'm guessing he hasn't woken up yet," Tseng stated. Elena shook her head. Rude yawned, and Elena narrowed her eyes. Tseng and Rude had left when she decided to stay the night before, yet it didn't look as though either of them had slept.
"He's going to feel terrible, like the worst hangover he's ever had times ten," Tseng said, "I just hope the withdrawal isn't too bad. Look, he probably won't wake up for awhile yet. You could go grab a coffee or something and we'll stay with him."
"I may just run off to the locker rooms and take a quick shower," Elena reflected. She could use the refreshing feeling a shower would give her, after her night mostly spent in tears. "I'll be back in a few." She pressed a light kiss to Reno's cheek and slipped off the bed, running off so as to be gone for as little time possible.
Reno's eyes opened sluggishly, and he stared at the ceiling blankly for a moment, his brain taking awhile to catch up. He turned his head to the side, licking his dry lips and wondering where that obnoxious beeping noise was coming from.
"I think he's awake." Rude's face popped suddenly into Reno's field of vision, staring anxiously at the redhead from behind the ever-present sunglasses. Reno's forehead furrowed into a slight frown upon seeing Rude. He opened his mouth as if to speak, but didn't say anything. The redhead closed his mouth again, turning his to look back at the ceiling as he brought a hand stiffly up to his head which pounded fiercely. He felt incredibly lethargic, and everything around him seemed too loud, too bright, and shapes seemed too sharp and defined.
"Reno? How are you feeling?" Tseng was standing next to him, looking down with concern, "Here, have some water." He handed a plastic cup full of water of the redhead.
"Weird," Reno mumbled, gratefully accepting the drink. He held a hand up in front of his face and examined it carefully with no particular purpose in mind. He noticed absentmindedly that there was an IV needle stuck in the back of his hand. "What happened?" There was a moment of silence as Reno let his hand fall back down tiredly.
"Well," Tseng cleared his throat, "You overdosed on sleeping pills and you were unconscious for probably almost a day by now." Reno's eyes opened a little wider as his memory of recent events came back to him. His expression instantly darkened and he turned to the side, hiding the majority of his face from the two men.
"Sorry," his voice was low and husky. Shit! Reno pressed a hand over his eyes in despair. He'd only made it worse, like he'd always known he would. Now not only did he have the pain of Elena leaving to deal with, that had driven him so far as to return to his old addictions, but now Tseng had found out about the drugs and he wouldn't be allowed to relieve his pain at the expense of his health. Also, he had to deal with withdrawal and the horrible guilt and shame he felt at having let them all down. They'd all believed in him and he'd succumbed to drug abuse again.
Every horrible thing began to pile up in his head, making him think it was going to burst. He already felt terrible physically, and now his emotions were raging again, threatening to tear him apart. Reno started to legitimately panic. He knew he couldn't handle this. Reno was a hardened killer, capable of withstanding mind-numbing amounts of physical pain, but for some reason he could not cope with heartbreak, and it was driving him mad. Tseng would watch him closely after this, so now he wouldn't even be able to get drunk to dull the pain a little.
Rude and Tseng looked at each other awkwardly. They could see Reno trembling ever so slightly. Neither of them really knew what to say to him regarding Elena. How did one casually bring up the fact that she hadn't let go of Reno for the majority of the night? Luckily they were saved the trouble as Elena herself came in shortly, glancing around casually before stopping dead in her tracks. With widening eyes, she noted how Tseng and Rude stood near the hospital bed, and how Reno had moved, with his back now facing them. She glanced from Tseng to Rude quickly, her face asking for confirmation. Tseng simply nodded and he and Rude headed for the door at once, realizing it was time for them to go.
Elena couldn't even speak. She stood frozen a moment longer before dashing around the bed to see Reno. He lay there, a hand over his eyes and a pained expression on his face. But he was awake, and that filled Elena with such an invigorating feeling of relief. Without stopping to speak, or give him fair warning of any sort, Elena rushed forward and placed her hands on his cheeks, impatiently swatting his hand away from his face as she pressed a kiss to his surprised lips. When she pulled back, his bright aquamarine eyes were fixed on her with shock and pained longing. For once, Reno was not even bothering to attempt and conceal his emotions.
"Tell me this isn't just a cruel dream," Reno pleaded desperately, still staring at her like he couldn't get enough.
"No, no, it's not," Elena could have cried, and her heart lurched at the sound of his voice. How could she have ignored what she was doing to him for so long? "I'm really here, and Reno, I've been such a terrible, horrible, bitch. I was so confused, but I've come to my senses and I love you so much!" Reno continued to stare at her, his mouth dropping open as he listened to her words. He was clearly reluctant to believe them, for fear it would all be torn away from him again. Elena smoothly climbed into bed next to him where she'd been all night. She kissed him again, longer this time, and he kissed her back.
"But why did you leave?" Reno's voice shuddered, as he tentatively placed his weakened hand over hers that was gently stroking his cheek, particularly the red tattoos along his cheek bone.
"Because I loved you so much, and I didn't think you would love me forever. I was so afraid of losing you, that I tried to prevent it by leaving," Elena's eyes grew tearful, "But in doing that, I almost did exactly what I was trying to prevent. I almost lost you last night, Reno." She hugged him tightly.
Reno laid his head back on the pillow wearily. He didn't say a word, and after a moment Elena glanced up at his face.
"Are you crying?" she breathed, her voice lowered to a whisper by surprise. A sparkling tear slid from Reno's closed eye and fell onto the pillow.
"No," he whispered back, the tiniest grin touching his lips. Elena smiled. It had been a long time since she'd seen him smile, and she missed it. "I just…can't believe I have you back." He opened his beautiful eyes and turned his head to face her, simply looking at her for a moment before leaning forward to kiss her, softly at first, but quickly becoming passionate.
"How could you ever think I would leave you?" Reno questioned, when their lips finally broke apart. His eyes looked troubled as they searched hers.
"I'm crazy," Elena replied, lacking any other answer.
"I think that's why I like you so much," Reno smirked, prompting Elena to plant a quick kiss on his lips. She loved his trademark smirk. "But seriously, Elena. I think you're gorgeous, and amazing, and funny, and there's no one in the world I'd want to be with more than you." The redhead kissed her softly every few words, as if to emphasize his point. "So don't worry anymore. And if you ever get scared that I don't love you, come find me at once and let me show you that I do." Reno breathed the words into her ear and then fell back on the pillow and closed his eyes. Although his breathing and pulse were doing fine, he seemed to be falling asleep again. Elena lay curled up against him, absentmindedly tracing the lines of his body with her finger, just happy to be with him. Reno slowly fell into a natural sleep, soaking up her every touch.
"You can take him home now," the doctor declared, removing the IV needle from Reno's hand, "Just make sure he gets plenty of rest and nourishment." The doctor regarded Reno sternly. "Eat your vegetables and quit popping pills." The man was blunt, as always, but to deal with Reno, sometimes you had to be blunt. Reno simply grunted his understanding, sitting on the hospital bed with his knees drawn up. His elbows rested on his knees, and his head leaned on one hand. Rude wordlessly handed the redhead his jacket.
While Elena busied herself by practically putting Reno's jacket on him while he laced up his combat boots, the doctor spoke to Tseng.
"You all have got yourselves one hell of an issue-prone friend over there," the man smiled mirthlessly and shook his head, "He wasn't abusing the drugs for long this time though, so hopefully the withdrawal symptoms will be milder and go away sooner. For heaven's sake, keep an eye on that man though!"
"I don't think we'll have to worry about that part," Tseng watched Elena flutter about trying to make sure Reno was as comfortable as he could be standing where he was. The redhead observed her with an amused smirk on his face as the girl abruptly hugged him.
"Reno, do you want to come to work tomorrow or not?" Tseng asked as they all walked down the hall together.
"Hell yeah," Reno replied, giving Tseng a bit of an awkward look, "I don't wanna sit around by myself all day with nothin' to do. That could be…bad." He didn't have to be more particular, since they understood what he meant.
"Well, we'll see you tomorrow then," Tseng smiled and nodded at them both as they all went their separate ways at the entrance to Shinra HQ.
"You stayin'?" Reno asked, trying to be casual about it, as he and Elena entered his apartment.
"Of course I'm staying," Elena answered at once, smiling fondly up at the redhead, "I'm going to cook you something healthy to eat. It's been far too long since you've had a proper meal." She stood up on her toes to kiss his lips lightly while her hands pressed against his abdomen, feeling how much thinner he'd gotten. She hadn't thought it possible for him to be skinnier, but apparently it was.
"Yum," Reno commented on dinner, "I'm gonna go take a shower then." Reno felt tired, and he had a headache, but it didn't change the fact that he was feeling incredibly happy. Elena was back, and so everything would be ok. He dug around in his room until he found some sweatpants and a t-shirt. Reno tossed his jacket off into a corner somewhere, not really caring where it fell, and pulled his boots off before heading back down the hall towards the bathroom. He flicked on the light while undoing the buttons on his messy white shirt. He instantly froze in his tracks. Reno looked nervously down at the floor where two clear plastic bags lay, partly filled with pills.
All traces of the happy thoughts left his mind, shoved violently out by an uncontrollable urge born from the need for the drugs that was left by his abuse of the substances. Elena dropped a pan in the kitchen, causing a slight clatter as she let out a surprised yelp. The sound distracted Reno, and he jerked himself away from the pills, running down the hall to the kitchen, his feet padding silently on the carpeted floor.
Elena was just straightening up after having leaned down to pick up the empty pan from the floor. She turned when Reno rushed into the room. She laughed a little in surprise when he threw his arms around her and hugged her tightly just as suddenly as he had entered. She put the pan down and laid her arms around his shoulders, stroking the hair that trailed down his back.
"Wait, what's wrong?" she asked quickly, feeling how quickly his heart beat as his chest pressed against hers. Reno closed his eyes and took a deep breath, but quickly opened them again as images flashed back to him of himself crumpled on the floor, blacking out in a panic after overdosing. He swallowed hard, trying to bring himself to speak. He had always struggled with talking about things that bothered him, but he knew he had to try. Reno decided to just go with the route of absolute honesty.
"I'm scared," he whispered hurriedly, "The morphine and the sleeping pills are still there. I can't…" Elena reached up and put a finger over his lips.
"Say no more," she said, "I'll take care of it. Just wait here for a second." Reno nodded and let her slip out of his arms. He leaned his elbows on the counter, feeling stupid and weak for being bested by something as lame as a pill. Elena was back in moments.
"Ok, go ahead and take your shower, I'll get rid of them," her hands were shoved in her pockets as she nudged him off in the direction of the bathroom playfully, "Reno…I love you." He just smiled gratefully and ran a hand through his hair as he walked off.
Reno sighed contentedly, his head resting in Elena's lap. The dim light from the lamp on the table and the bluish glow from the TV were the only sources of light in the room. Elena had somehow managed to make a delicious and healthy dinner as well as clean up the place all in the ten minutes he'd been in the shower. Well, she'd disposed of the empty liquor bottles at least, which was quite a job by itself. Reno had to admit that he felt significantly better after actually eating something, and something nutritious at that. And he certainly felt good now, his head in Elena's lap with her hand laid on his chest, rubbing him gently every so often. The environment was so peaceful, his aquamarine eyes were starting to drift closed. Reno was extremely tired. He hadn't had natural sleep in weeks, and before that he'd slept uneasily and very little.
Elena really did hold him together. It was clear to them all now that without her, he simply fell apart. Reno was ashamed of being such a screw-up, and relying so heavily on Elena without helping her much in return. She was just so good, what could she possibly need his help with? He decided the least he could do was ensure that she never again doubted his feelings for her. He certainly wasn't ever going to leave her.
"I love you, 'Laney," Reno's sleepy words were mumbled, but didn't lack any of the affection he had for her.
"I love you too," Elena replied, and he could hear the smile in her words as she bent down to kiss his forehead quickly. Reno decided he would be more than happy to spend his entire life with her. He wondered what she would say.
Author's Note: Yaaaaaay, it's cuuuuute. xD Anyway....=P So I realize this whole story is a bit messier than my usual work...I don't think I was quite ready to write it when I did. I fully intend to go through all my stories at some point and edit/re-write them to make them better, so I can hopefully improve this one then. I think it was pretty good over all though, so yeah....Hopefully I'm not the only one who thinks that. =P You guys are lucky I remembered to post this! I had forgotten what day it was and I almost went to bed without posting anything. So I love you all so very much and thanks for reading and reviewing! Hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did! KEEP ON ROCKIN' IN MIDGAR!