AN: A collaboration between me and ShadowHaloedAngel. In this chapter, I wrote Reno, Cait and Tseng, and she wrote Reeve, Rude and Cheryl (OC).
Summary: After Reno gets sent home in disgrace, Rude takes it upon himself to ensure the other has a proper Christmas.
Pairings: Rude and Reno, Tseng and Reeve
Warnings for this chapter: Language, mentions of abuse, unwarranted violence towards Christmas ornaments, and an OC.
Reeve beamed in happiness as he surveyed the Turk offices. He'd wanted to do something special for the department who treated him like an erstwhile uncle, and to try to make it festive for Tseng. He'd spent about fifty gil on tinsel and baubles and lights, and put them up all over the office, and, even if he said it himself, the result would make even ShinRa Scrooge himself feel Christmassy.
Tseng walked out from his office, seeing the decorations and smiling widely, wrapping a gentle arm around Reeve's waist. "It looks gorgeous." He pecked the other on the cheek encouragingly and cuddling him close.
Reno walked through the door, fresh from a mission and smoldering slightly from an enemy's blast, which had singed his jacket but left the rest of him unharmed. He looked around, staring at the garish decorations and the baubles and tinsel hanging around the door of the office he had been given two months previously, when he had become an official member of the Turk core. He snorted in disgust.
"What the fuck?" He snarled angrily, tearing it down and throwing it to the floor. "Who put this shit up?" He gazed around the rest of the office, targeting Rude's door next.
Reeve gasped softly and wrapped his arms around himself. The other's obvious anger was like a blow. He'd tried so hard to make it happy and festive, and to get everyone in the Christmas spirit. He ran forward and picked the stuff up, cowering a little under the redhead's glare.
"S-... Sorry... it was me... I just-.. I thought it might make it a bit more cheerful...I- I'll get rid of it..." he started heading miserably back to his office, on the verge of tears.
Rude yanked his door open at the noise, the sunglasses as expressionless as ever as he looked at his partner.
"What the hell do you think you're doing Reno?"
Tseng frowned, staring at Rude.
"Calm him down and take him home, I don't want to see him today. He's not welcome back here until he'll apologise to Reeve." He snapped, turning on his heel and chasing after Reeve.
Cait blinked to see his creator returning looking so miserable, when he had been so happy a few hours earlier when he had gone shopping. He approached him, petting the man's hair as he sobbed, wondering what on Gaia could have gone so wrong.
Reno stared at him blankly.
"He put it up without asking me. I don't want to celebrate the stupid holiday, surely that's my choice?" He muttered, yanking down another lot of tinsel before storming into his room and slamming the door.
Reeve curled up under his friend's ministrations, sniffling miserably. "I tried! I only wanted to make them happy! They do such dangerous jobs and I was trying to show them it was appreciated and that they were cared for..."
Rude yanked the door open "Grab your stuff, let's go Red. We've been given time off." he stood there in a way that brooked no argument.
Reno grabbed his bag and coat, still fuming silently but not wanting to upset his partner. He stormed out of his room, visibly twitching and trying to fight back the urge to destroy the rest of the vile decorations.
Cait nodded sympathetically. "You do a good job laddie, don't be so hard on yourself."
Tseng smiled from the doorway and approached, pulling Reeve up. "Cait's right. It's a lovely gesture. We really appreciate it. Don't worry, Reno will be disciplined for this, and with your help I'd like to put the decorations up again."
Reeve nodded and nuzzled up to him, cuddling into the younger man's chest. "Thanks... I just... I wanted to try..." he closed his eyes for a moment, enjoying the sheer warmth, security and love of Tseng's embrace.
Rude took him home, packed a bag and waited for the other to do the same "Get stuff for about a week. We'll be away longer but laundry will be done." he wasn't going to give away anymore than that.
Tseng smiled. "You did very well..." He squeezed him, heading back to the office and beginning to repair the decorations. Luckily only one bauble had smashed, and by the time they had returned, Elena had already repaired it with sellotape.
Reno nodded, grabbing a handful of clothes. He had his own room as well, but since him and Rude had started spending a considerable amount of time outside of missions together, mainly in Rude's bed, his things had migrated to Rude's. This made packing a lot quicker, and soon he had a bag filled with uniform and the civvies he had bought with his first paycheck.
Reeve smiled shyly at the female Turk by way of thanks, but was slightly too scared to speak to her. He helped Tseng stick the decorations back up "I just thought they were nice..."
Rude grabbed the bags "c'mon. Chopper. I'll give you directions. Also, what the hell happened?"
Elena nodded in return. "They are nice, they make it very festive." Tseng nodded, sending Rude a message on his PHS. "Reno's pay is being docked for damage to company property. Make sure he's better before he comes back. He's a good Turk, I don't want to lose him, take as long as you need but don't bring him back before he can handle it." He kissed Reeve's cheek.
Reno headed to the chopper, grabbing the keys and swinging inside it "Nothing. Nothing that's worth talking about. I don't wanna celebrate Christmas, he tried to make me."
"Reno... not wanting to celebrate, fair enough. Tseng doesn't apart from for Reeve because it makes him so happy. He doesn't smash up decorations that were bought as a departmental present. What have you got against Christmas? Oh, and your pay's being docked."
Reeve smiled shyly at Elena, then kissed Tseng's cheek in return "...if I'm a good boy and very very quiet could I sit in the corner of your office and do paperwork?"
Tseng nodded, squeezing his hand. "If it would make you happy then you're welcome to." He said, smiling at Reeve and heading back to his office.
"Fucking Tseng just because I ..." Reno muttered under his breath at the news his pay had been docked. He had a lot saved up already, but he was still annoyed at it. "I hate Christmas. I don't want to be reminded of it at work. 's bad enough seeing stuff everywhere when I go shopping, works meant to be somewhere I can forget about it."
"Why do you want to forget about it?" Rude kept prodding the issue, not willing to let it drop yet. This was important. Especially considering what it would be like where he was intending for them to go.
Reeve went down to fetch some, thanked Cait for his help and returned to Tseng's office, sitting in the corner exactly as promised and working on the paperwork. Even just being near his lover made him feel better. Tseng seemed to radiate this aura of absolute power and overwhelming love which he could wrap around himself like a blanket, protection against the world which he had thought would never let him be loved.
"Because it's a pile of shit." Reno hissed, wrapping his arms around himself. "Everywhere you go, shops sell overpriced toys and people panic about the food. People go on about spending time with family, and spend the day stuck with people they've been avoiding all year. Everyone is praying for snow but you know Rude, it don't snow in Midgar. Don't even fucking rain. All you get is a wind so cold you nearly freeze."
Rude frowned "That's part of it, yeh... but what about the joy, the love? The expressions on people's faces when they open a present that's perfect for them. There's hope at Christmas, Red, like there isn't the rest of the year."
Reno turned, laughing in the other's face. "You really believe that shit huh? You're the only one that does. There ain't no hope. There's cold, and hunger, and if you're lucky some scraps on the day after. There's no joy, not when you see kids freezing to death, or having to sell themselves so that they can afford somewhere warm to stay. There ain't love either. Yeh, parents spend ages looking for stuff for their kids, but that doesn't stop them going to homeless kids no older than their precious sons and daughters for a quick fuck, still holding their shopping bags, giving the slummers a few gil when they've spend hundreds on their darlings."
Rude said nothing for a moment, unsure how he could respond. "Let's fly Reno. Head North first." his heart ached for his usually loud-mouthed redhead partner. He hoped he would be able to show him that Christmas didn't have to mean misery, and that love, joy and hope really could be a part of the season.
Reno nodded wordlessly, getting the chopper into the air, noticing that the other didn't bother to reply. He chuckled guiltily, realizing that Rude was one of the little brats whose parents would queue for hours to get them the newest toy, not noticing the children of the slums in the shadows unless they wanted to 'relax'.
Rude continued giving him directions, finally landing them in a garden behind a medium sized detached house. A figure emerged, running towards the chopper. He stepped out and was immediately engulfed in a massive hug.
"RUDOLPH! YOU'RE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!"
There was the noise of much kissing and eventually Rude managed to extricate himself from the enthusiastic embrace
"I missed you too Mum... here, there's someone I want you to meet...C'mon Red..."
"Mum, this is Reno, my partner, and my boyfriend..."
Reno giggled slightly when he heard Rude being referred to by his full name, planning to use that in future for some kind of blackmail. The other's enthusiasm about Christmas dulled his spirits slightly, and he considered staying in the chopper for the duration of the time there, but got out of it when Rude called to meet this woman. He stared at her awkwardly, not holding his hand out for her to shake.
Cheryl didn't seem fazed by the other's lack of greeting, immediately enfolding him in a tight embrace "Oh but you're so precious! Rudolph's told us all so much about you, it's so wonderful to get to meet you at last!" she stepped back a moment, then hugged him again and poked Rude "RUDOLPH! He's skinny as a rake, you haven't been feeding the poor baby properly...Come on, inside both of you, it's freezing..."
Reno grabbed both of the bags, trying to use them as a shield from Rude's mother. She was large, but somehow gave off the aura of being just as intimidating as her son, if she didn't get her way. He followed nervously, wondering whether Tseng would let him come back if he apologized for spoiling the decorations and paid for them with some of the money he had saved.
Cheryl led them both into the house
"You've missed dinner I'm afraid, let me fix you something... I know, how about pasta, that was always your favourite Rudolph... do you like pasta?" she asked Reno with a smile, as Rude stood awkwardly in the kitchen and his dad silently took the bags from Reno to put them upstairs.
Reno followed the imposing woman, blinking slightly.
"Yeh. Pasta's good." It was pretty easy, you could even make it at work – even if Elena did scream at him for boiling it in the kettle and getting bits of pasta stuck on the insides. He frowned slightly. "His name's Rude. It aint Rudolph. Rudolph's a stupid name." He blushed, angry with himself. He didn't want to be impolite, she was trying to help, he just couldn't seem to help himself.
She grinned "Rudolph is what we christened him, and no matter how big or how important he is, he'll always be my little Rudolph. And I won't let him forget it. But, yes, food... what would you like to drink sweetheart?" she put a pan of water on the stove.
Rude glared from behind his sunglasses "When do the others get here Mum?"
"Oh, Cindy will be along with her three boys next week, and Mark is coming this weekend with his two little girls..."
Reno stared blankly at Rude, then returned his attention to the woman.
"Uh... vodka?" He asked, smiling nervously. Getting drunk could make this whole situation a hell of a lot less painful. "An ma'am, don't worry about me not eating enough, he feeds me well." His eyes automatically slid to Rude's crotch, then he cringed, realizing that Rude's mother would be disgusted with him. He blushed slightly. He guessed they were right. Once a whore, always a whore. Where was his drink?
Cheryl's arms enfolded the redhead again.
"I don't know if we have any vodka... I was going to have a glass of sherry, would you care to join me in that?" she cuddled him as she waited for the water to boil.
Reno nodded nervously.
"Uh...sure..." He wasn't entirely sure what sherry was, other than that Elena had had far too much at the last party she had been too. He knew it was alcoholic though, so that was good. "Thanks ma'am..." He shifted from foot to foot awkwardly, wondering why she kept cuddling him.
Cheryl poured two glasses of sherry, and a beer for Rude, served two bowls of pasta and left them in peace. Rude sat down opposite the redhead and tucked into the massive portion enthusiastically.
Reno devoured his, far faster than Rude was managing. He had become something of a legend in the SOLDIER canteen for managing to eat faster than the Firsts did. He stared in disappointment at the tiny glass of liquid, knocking it back.
"Why the fuck do we have kid's glasses?" He muttered, eyeing Rude's beer. He was embarrassed and scared, and wanted to be drunk.
"Sherry is strong – fortified wine. Here, have some more." he filled the glass again. He'd get his lover drunk, put him to bed and then talk to his mother and try to explain what the hell was going on, the problem being that he wasn't quite sure himself.
Reno smiled at him, knocking back a second glass and holding it back out to his lover.
"You're great to me you know that Rude?" He grinned a little, beginning to get very slightly tipsy.
Rude continued to refill the glass, waiting for the other to get drunk
"...so... Christmas sucks huh?" he waited for the answer.
Reno laughed and nodded.
"Yeh. Shittest day of the year, and everyone's meant to be happy..." He laughed louder, glass nearly slipping from his fingers. "You know, I had a client take a few gil back from what he gave me before, just because I didn't wish him a bloody merry Christmas. Stupid shit. Stupid holiday." He downed the glass, holding out his hand for more.
Rude filled it obligingly He frowned at the other's words. He knew about the way the other had got money before the Turks, but he didn't like to think about it.
"What a twat." He paused, remembering something Reno never spoke about. "What about at home huh Red?"
"Yeh, like that stupid bitch cared..." He closed his eyes. "I did get a present once. You know, not everyone's horrid, not even in the slums. One of the platers was giving out small toys to children. He gave me a chocobo plushie, about the size of my hand..." He closed his eyes. "I left it in our room when I went out to work. Cunt sold it for a gil." He stared at Rude, furious. "Fucking hate her. She can rot for all I care."
Rude hugged him "It's alright Red. It's over now. You got me, remember?" he carried him up to bed and kissed him gently "I'll be up soon... we can cuddle, right?"
Reno nodded, yawning widely and closing his eyes. "Yeh..we can cuddle." He waited until Rude left before struggling to undress, planning to stay awake and surprise him when he returned. But he soon collapsed in a drunken stupor, having finished almost the entire bottle.