Title: Remembering a Dream
Content Notes: Kissing, violence, suicide (to escape a dream).
Word Count: 2403 words.
Prompt: FFVII/Inception crossover, with the Turks infiltrating people's dreams.
Summary: The Turks begin training Rufus's subconscious to defend itself against extraction.
Author's Note(s): Seriously, how was I supposed to pass up an Inception/FF7 themed fusion?
[[ … Case 00436: Rufus Shinra … ]]
"You always get distracted when you come to see me." She was pouting, looking off away from him, and he blinked slowly.
"Sorry," he replied, sighing. "Stressed out from studying."
Her silky red hair blew around her face as they sat on the very edge of Sector Six. Sector Seven was still being built, and they were swinging their legs over the edge, looking down at the slums below. She had a lollipop in her mouth, and she leaned all the way over as far as either of them had ever dared. She giggled as she looked back up at him, and he thought that somehow, the dark blue of her dress made her hair even more vivid. It certainly made her green eyes brighter.
"What are you doing?" he asked, and he leaned over to see what she was looking at, to see what had captured her attention. She scooted over a little closer to him, and he looked at her, licking his bottom lip as he watched her hair spill over her shoulder, still being whipped around her face from the wind. She dropped the lollipop over the edge of the plate, and they watched it fall to the ground below. It was dark, but the glow from the streetlights and everything else that made Midgar light up provided more than enough light to see by.
She reached up, adjusting the glasses perched on the top of her head. "I was thinking," she said, moving up so that she was standing on the edge of the railing that they were sitting on, "about what it would be like to fall."
"Fall or jump?" He glanced down again, trying to imagine how much it would hurt to slam into those buildings, fifty meters below the plate. He frowned. "Why would you want to?"
"I don't want to. I was just thinking." She smiled, clasping her hands behind her, and she tilted her head. "Don't you ever just think instead of always trying to be what they want you to be?"
He glanced behind her, and he sighed at the tower looming up from the center of the plate. Sector Zero had been the very first sector finished. He could see the light from the seventieth floor. "Doesn't matter what I want," he finally said, and he pushed himself up to stand beside her. He held out his hand. "Did you want to meet me to talk, or did you want to meet for something else?"
She laughed and let him hoist her down from the railing, her arms wrapping around his shoulders. He kissed her, and his eyes slid closed at the feel of it, at the texture of her lips under his. She pulled back after just a minute, wrapping her hand around his and pulling him into the sector.
"Do you trust me?" she asked, and he nodded immediately, without even considering the question. He knew her. Trusted her. She grinned, and he found himself smiling back, caught up in her enthusiasm. "Let's go somewhere fun," she murmured. He let her lead him, pulling on his hand and glancing back to look up at him with a giggle.
He was so wrapped up in her infectious mood that he didn't even realize that they were going to the tower until they slipped in through the doors. His stomach sank, and before he could say anything, she spun around and leaned up close to him. Like this, with their feet on even ground, she was much shorter than him, and she had to stand on her toes to reach his ear.
"Don't worry so much," she said with a grin, and she kissed the side of his neck quickly before they broke into a run toward the elevator.
Soon as they were inside, he punched a button, not even looking to see which one it was. It was near the top though, and that was all that mattered. He pushed her against the wall of the elevator, laughing as she protested halfheartedly. But she wasn't protesting as he kissed her again, as his hands slid around her waist and down just enough to cop a quick feel. She giggled against his lips, whispering, "In the elevator?"
"I'll be President one day," he promised her, taking another kiss from her mouth. "We can do this wherever I like."
And they might have kept going except that the elevator doors opened, and when he glanced over his shoulder, he froze. A slender man stood in the doors, one eyebrow raised. "I should take the next one, shouldn't I, Rufus?" He smiled just a little, and she was looking around Rufus's shoulder, giggling.
"Sounds about right," she replied, and Rufus quickly pulled away from her. He glanced between them, and then he shook his head.
"Nonsense, Reeve." He stepped to the side and exchanged looks with her. "We were just getting off." He grabbed her hand and hauled her off of the elevator after him, and Reeve studied the girl for a long moment before he stepped in. Rufus didn't breathe until the doors shut behind him.
When he turned to look at her, she was smiling, but there was something sad about that smile. "Really?" She was studying him intently, as though she were seeing something special, something unique.
Rufus shivered. "Don't do that," he ordered, and he rubbed a hand over his face. "Don't analyze me."
She shrugged and walked over to the elevator doors. Her finger dragged down the seam of the doors Reeve had disappeared behind. "I wasn't," she said, but the moment between them was passed, the ... whatever it could have been called.
"Tseng. Can you hear me?"
Tseng stood up straight, taking his attention away from the window. He held up a hand to his ear, never mind that he knew that the motion was just for his own convenience. "I can hear you, Reno," he replied quietly, and he turned around, moving himself focus on the matter at hand. "Do you know who it is yet?"
"Reeve, I think. That ... head of Urban Development."
There was a burst of static, presumably from Reno's concentration flickering. He was performing well for a beginner, particularly since he wasn't any older than Rufus himself. That age similarity had been why they'd decided to go with such a young forger to begin with though. Reno simply connected more easily with Rufus than any of the other Turks did.
"Focus," Tseng reminded him. "You can talk to me as long as you focus."
"Right. Sorry. Trippy as hell in here."
Tseng could imagine the shake of Reno's head that accompanied that statement. The redhead had mannerisms that seemed to translate, no matter who he was forging. Eventually, they would train those out of them. "You'll get used to it. What makes you think it's Reeve?"
"He uh... bumped into us in the elevator, and Rufus was hella concerned about him. There was definitely somethin' there."
Tseng nodded sharply, and he murmured, "Get back to work then. Distract him, Reno." He started to let his hand drop, and then he sighed and added, "You're not here to seduce him either. Just distract."
"Right, right. I'm playin' hard to get."
Somehow, Tseng doubted that, but he didn't argue further. Instead, he simply dropped his hand and headed toward the elevator. He needed to locate Reeve, to catch him and start the actual mission. They had to get Rufus's subconscious where it would defend itself, where it would recognize intruders and repel them on its own. If he already had a projection in place that he trusted, it would be far easier to manipulate it instead of planting a new one.
If they did need to plant a new one, well, that was another reason they'd decided to use Reno.
Tseng rubbed his forehead briefly, glancing back toward the city he could see in the glass of the elevator. It was more than just a little shocking to see the city in such startling detail in a dream. He had never managed to recreate it so clearly, with all of the details the way it appeared in front of them, but Veld had been speaking with Reeve about it, had convinced Reeve to build them a version of it that they could load into the PASIV device and use for exactly this sort of thing.
He had agreed, so long as they used it to train defenses. They hadn't told him that they would use it for all of their missions where it would be useful.
He stepped off of the elevator, heading for Reeve's office, where he figured Rufus's projection of Reeve would be. It was where everyone's projection of Reeve stayed.
What he wasn't prepared for was to step into the office and see the walls papered in drawings, in sketches that Tseng was certain weren't Reeve's. He hesitated in the door, glancing back just enough to make sure that it was really Reeve's office.
"Reeve?" He looked back inside, and Reeve came out of the back room in the office, wiping grease off of his hands with a blue rag. He was wearing dark blue slacks and a crisp white shirt, and he smiled when he saw Tseng.
Tseng smiled back, but his eyes were sharp as they roved over the office, as he spotted small things that didn't belong. Trinkets that were out of place. There were models that Tseng had never seen before, and it wasn't until he got a closer look on one of the drawings sitting just under a model that he realized why.
Rufus's signature was in the corner on the paper.
Suddenly, Rufus's fascination with Reeve made sense. He'd watched Reeve take his father's ramblings, wild delusions of grandeur and turned them into a reality. Reeve had written most of the blueprints for Midgar himself, had created the empire that Rufus's father sought to control. And Rufus, scarcely fifteen yet, imagined that Reeve could make anything real. If he could design Midgar, he could create anything that Rufus wanted.
Tseng swallowed, and he looked back at Reeve. The projection stood there, perfectly polite and waiting for Tseng to initiate contact. He hesitated, and then he made himself focus. He smiled. "What are you doing?"
"Working, Tseng. Did you finally manage to escape Veld for a few hours?" Reeve was deceptively at ease, another aspect that Tseng realized didn't fit. No matter how polite Tseng was with the real Reeve, he inevitably seemed nervous. A product of being so closely tied to the Shinra family, Tseng was sure.
"Yeah." He glanced back up at the drawings, wondering just how many of these were real ideas, things Rufus actively thought about. He saw hundreds of different things, everything from reactor modifications to new bridges. Honestly, he'd never imagined that Rufus had an interest in engineering. "We've received some threats toward the construction teams though," he added, almost as an after thought.
The projection went perfectly still. "What sort of threats?" He walked across the room, looking out the window toward Sector Seven. Still being built.
"Standard things, but I'd appreciate if you kept your ear to the ground." Tseng cast a quick glance toward Reeve, his eyes narrowing as he watched the projection's reaction. "Had some toward Rufus as well."
"That's not good, Tseng," Reeve said slowly, and he placed a hand on the window. Tseng smiled slightly. That mannerism was spot on.
"No, they're not. Rufus is Midgar in some ways," Tseng replied, crossing the room to look out the window beside Reeve. "We can't let him be hurt."
"No. Rufus can't be hurt."
There was something shifting, something changing in the way the projection stood, and Tseng smiled to himself. He disappeared into the hall, not bothering to say goodbye, and he held up his hand to his ear.
"Reno." He waited a minute. Two. "Reno."
There was a slight crackling, and finally Reno responded with, "I just got away, Tseng. What is it?"
"Start changing things. I want to see if it worked."
Reno didn't reply, but then, he didn't have to. There was a moment passing, and Tseng glanced back toward Reeve's door. His heart thumped, and he was so attuned to the moment that he could feel it in his chest, could hear it in his ears. Then the door to Reeve's office flew open and Reeve was running down the hall, forsaking the elevator in favor of the stairs.
Tseng pulled his gun from his holster on his hip, and he waited just long enough to hear Reno shriek. Then he put the barrel in his mouth and squeezed the trigger.
He jerked awake in his chair, and without giving himself any time to think about it, he kicked Reno's chair over. Reno jerked awake, gasping and clutching at his throat in a way that made Tseng decide Reeve must have been choking him. Somehow, that was a decidedly fitting fate for Reno: the loud being choked to death by the quiet.
Tseng glanced back at Rufus Shinra, still asleep, and Veld raised an eyebrow at him.
"Success. I think another session, maybe two to enforce it, but there are definitely safeguards in place." Tseng bowed his head, and he reached down to haul the redheaded teenager to his feet. "Go ahead out front. We'll meet you there," he ordered, and Reno hesitated only a minute, rubbing his arm with one of his hands before he did as told.
Veld watched him go, shook his head, and unhooked Rufus from the machine. He checked to make sure that Rufus's pulse was steady as Tseng closed up the PASIV device, and they walked out of Rufus's bedroom. Veld shut the door behind them. They paused only once they'd reached the foyer of the Shinra Midgar residence.
"I will present our initial findings to the President," Veld murmured, and Tseng nodded sharply.
"My written report will be on your desk before the end of the day," he replied, and Veld let him get almost to the door, device in hand.
"Make sure you clean that redhead up."
Tseng smiled slightly, well aware that 'clean him up' meant for Tseng to get him an agent number. Anyone naturally talented like that needed to be in a suit, not on the street.
Case Number: 00436
Active Agent(s): 00046, 00051.
Supervisory Agent: 00003.
Duration: 07 minutes.
Subject: Rufus Shinra.
Objective: Training subconscious defenses.
Conclusion: Successfully implanted the desire to protect Rufus against infiltrating agents.