AN: Written for TsengxRufus club on Deviantart, who wanted something on the theme of summer fun. Rufus' complaints are based on those of my sister when little.
Pairings: Platonic Tseng and Rufus friendship
Rufus sat at his desk, brow furrowed, hands organising piles of paper and writing on them, mind whirring with calculations as he checked his father's accounts. At thirteen, he knew not to make a mistake. If he made a mistake, his father would be disappointed with him. He rarely saw his father, but when he had, he'd learnt that he didn't want to anger him. He'd been up since six, and it wasn't breakfast yet. There was a hard day ahead of him.
Sat in a chair, a short distance from Rufus sat Tseng, ever watchful, ever vigilant in case something should happen to his young charge. He knew there was no chance of anything getting to him here, but Rufus was calmed by his presence, and he wouldn't deny the boy that. As he watched, he allowed his thoughts to wander. He remembered back to the village in Wutai, when he had been Rufus' age. He'd already planned to leave to become a Turk. His family was poor, and he had worked on the farm, but he'd had free time. That time he had used to train, but also to play with other boys his age, to watch festivals and talk to the pretty girls. These small joys were things Rufus had never experienced.
Tseng frowned. It wasn't right. He couldn't give the young vice-president friends, or make the girls like him for anything other than his money, but he had to try and give him some free time. He didn't know if Rufus had ever had any. The poor boy had already suffered so much, losing his mother at an early age, and being almost abandoned by his father. He cleared his throat, waiting for Rufus to look up.
Rufus glanced up at him, an inquisitive expression on his face.
"What is it Tseng?"
"Sir, I have thought of something I should bring to your father's attention." No need to explain what, it would only raise Rufus's hopes just to have them dashed. "If I have your permission, could I go to speak to him? It will not be for long."
Rufus considered, then nodded, and Tseng was able to leave the room. He headed up the remaining floor to the President's office.
He knocked on the door, and waited for the President to deign to acknowledge him. Eventually he was called inside. He stood in front of the desk, hands behind him, back straight.
"Sir, I know it isn't my place to say but I am concerned for Rufus' health. He works harder than anyone else within this company, and he desperately needs a break." The President frowned, opening his mouth to object, and Tseng interrupted. "Sir, I'm worried that if he doesn't take at least a few hours rest, he'll end up working himself to death."
The President frowned and nodded.
"Alright. I want him back by sunset, uninjured."
Tseng nodded, not wanting to argue with the small amount of good fortune he had been given. He returned to Rufus.
"Come here, we need to go out."
Rufus nodded, picking up his folder. Tseng realised it wasn't worth arguing over, and led the boy to the helicopter.
As Tseng flew, Rufus sat in the seat beside him, working hard. Tseng stayed silent, merely coughing to gain Rufus' attention once they had landed.
Rufus looked out at it curiously.
"Why are we here?"
"I took you to the beach Rufus. It's meant to be fun."
Rufus nodded, climbing down and instantly frowning. Tseng paused, watching with slight exasperation as Rufus examined the sand, and then walked up to look at the sea, dipping a finger in, face creased with displeasure. The youth looked too warm under the layers of clothing he wore.
"Rufus, are you alright?" Tseng asked after five minutes.
Rufus returned to him, a weak smile on his face.
"Tseng, I do like the beach. Thank you, I really do appreciate you taking me here. It's just that the sand gets in my hair and clothes, and the sea is too cold, and the sun is too warm."
Tseng took a moment to breathe.
"Rufus, let me check. You like the beach?" The youth nodded. "You don't like the sun, the sea, or the sand?" Again Rufus nodded. "But you like the beach?"
Tseng only just fought back the urge to facepalm.
"We'll try somewhere else."
Tseng led Rufus back to the chopper, starting it up again. This time, he brought it down in a clearing full of flowers. Rufus climbed out, his face brighter than it had been at the beach. He climbed down from the chopper quickly, sitting amongst the flowers, inhaling their scent with a smile. He picked a daisy, then another, piling them up carefully on his jacket. He slit the stalks precisely with a fingernail, threading them together.
"You're good at those Rufus." Tseng said kindly, smiling at him. Rufus's eyes shone at that.
"When I was little, my mother gave me one. I pressed it in my diary."
Tseng nodded, taking a seat beside the boy and taking a fistful of flowers himself, carefully making the chains. He tied one around Rufus's wrist, then a matching one around his own. Rufus retaliated by making a necklace for Tseng, and Tseng made the Vice-President a flower crown. They started laughing, eventually cuddling up together, playing aimlessly with the flowers.
As the sun began to set, Tseng brushed away the flowers and grass, keeping his bracelet. Rufus followed him, getting into the chopper and working as they flew back. Midway, he looked up at Tseng.
"Tseng, I'm going to press one of the bracelets. I want to remember today." He returned to his work. Tseng glanced back at the youth, a smile on his lips.
"That's a good idea Rufus. I think I will do the same." Today had been good for Rufus, the boy deserved to have some joy in his life. Tseng didn't care what it took, how many dirty tricks he would have to play. He was going to make sure that Rufus got at least one day off a month, so they could have more fun, and Rufus could be free.