Title: Born Defeated
Author: Traxits
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Rating: Teen
Content Notes: Chose not to use notes/warnings.
Word Count: 1717 words.
Summary: Reno had been drinking since he got off of work.
Author's Note(s): Written for "Three Weeks for Dreamwidth."

[[ ... One-Shot ... ]]

Reno had been drinking since he got off of work. Considering that had been over four hours ago, he really should have been a great deal more drunk than he actually was, but his natural tolerance to alcohol had been greatly enhanced ever since he'd become partners with Rude, who drank almost as frequently as Reno did. Not that he didn't like Rude. There was very little not to like about someone who quietly went along with even the most off-the-wall schemes.

But Reno was unhappy all the same. He missed the freedoms that the Turks had been given before the entire nasty business with Nibelheim and Veld and just...

"'Nother!" He slammed the glass on the bar top, sighing. The moment the new glass reached his hand, he turned it up, draining half in one go.

He frowned as he trailed a finger over the top of the glass. His skin was crawling— still hopped up from whatever those bastards in the warehouse had shot him full of— but he wasn't moving. He hated the infirmary with a passion, almost as much as he despised Professor Hojo. Almost as much as he wanted to take that stick shoved up Tseng's ass and give it one great twist—

A hand fell on his shoulder and Reno glanced over at it, certain that he recognized the weight behind it. His eyes roved slowly up that wrist and suit jacket sleeve until he turned around on the stool to look up at his partner. He turned up his glass before he gave Rude the biggest smile he could muster up. He didn't think Rude bought it, but it never hurt to try. "Ruuuude, man!"

He leaned until the back of his head touched the bar top and called for another glass. When nothing slid down to him, he scowled, turned over and glared at the bartender. A quick jerk of the man's head made Reno realize that Rude must have been countering his call for more alcohol. Rude leaned over, took out Reno's wallet from his suit jacket, and tossed a few bills down on the bar before he walked out, holding Reno's wallet over his shoulder, still between his fingers.

Reno's frown deepened, and he attempted to slide off of the stool after Rude, but the minute his feet hit the floor, his world shifted. There was a chaotic spin of colors and shapes, and then a dull pain in the side of his face. He realized very slowly that he was laying on the floor.

He lay there for what felt like forever before he got the strength to pick himself up, to shakily get one foot in front of the other until he made it to the door. He clutched at the door for just a minute, then pushed it open and shuddered as the icy wind blasted across him, chilling him to the bone. Instinctively, he jerked his suit jacket closer around him. He tried to make his eyes focus, tried to locate Rude, but he couldn't see much beyond the white swirling mass of the snow falling.

Then a hand was on his shoulder, and Rude guided him to a car. Rude took the driver's seat after he folded Reno up to fit into the passenger side. Reno simply let his head loll against the back of the seat, staring blankly up at the top of the car. The fabric covering was beginning to sag, dropping down just in front of him. He reached up to touch it, to see if he was imagining it, but then a wallet was in front of his face.

He took that instead, his fingers sliding over the worn leather with a sort of reverence. Rude knew perfectly well what that wallet meant to Reno; it was why walking out with it like that was so damned effective. Reno shoved it back into his pocket with a sigh. He needed a new wallet. One that didn't mean so much.

The car was still cold, but it was warmer than outside, and Reno wriggled around in the seat until he was comfortable. Rude leaned over him and buckled him in— like he was some sort of child— but Reno didn't bother to protest. Rude's car, Rude's rules. It was a big part of how the two of them worked.

Reno sighed loudly. "Need t'... t' get your heater workin'," he said, stumbling over more than one of the words. Maybe he was a little more plastered than he'd originally thought.

"It works," Rude replied, deadpan, and slowly, the car started moving. Reno frowned at him, stuck his tongue out, and settled down, letting his head lean against the cold window as he looked out. The windows were fogging up pretty fast, so he wiped it experimentally, sighing as he realized that there wasn't any way to keep up with it. They didn't say anything for several minutes, but then they hit the turnpike and flashing lights caught both of their attention.

"Yo, pretty..." Reno murmured, smiling to himself. He liked bright lights. Rude snorted before he rolled down the window for the soldier to come closer and shout something. Reno didn't understand it, and so he shouted across Rude, "What?"

Rude put a hand on top of his head, shoving him down toward the floorboard. Reno swore, trying to jerk away, but his reflexes really weren't what they should have been. Not given how much he'd had to drink. So he ended up half-choked by the seat belt with Rude's immovable hand in between his shoulder blades holding him down. He could faintly hear Rude talking, and he shifted a little under that hand, feeling a pressure beginning to build in the back of his throat. Desperately, he tried to breathe, tried to gasp enough air into his mouth to alleviate the feeling—

But it was too late. His stomach heaved and he threw up all over his own damned legs and shoes. The soldier outside gasped and quickly averted his face, probably so that he wouldn't throw up too, but Rude just let his hand up a little, studied Reno, and sighed. He held up a finger to the soldier outside, rolled up the window, and turned in his seat so that he could unbuckle Reno and work his pants off. They caught on the tops of Reno's shoes, but Reno kicked those off after just a second, realizing what Rude was doing.

Soon as Reno was free, he shimmied into the back seat, sucking in deep breaths. The smell of the vomit was awful, but Reno decided after a few heartbeats that he was in the clear. He blearily dug around in the back of the car until he found another pair of pants. Rude always kept extra suits in all three sizes: his own, Reno's and Tseng's. When he found the pants, he pulled them on, propped up on the door handle, and sighed.

The door swung open, and Reno nearly face-planted again, this time in the middle of a snow-covered turnpike instead of a decidedly warmer bar floor.

But Rude's hands caught him just under the shoulders and hauled him on up to his feet. He shivered in the cold, and Rude simply pulled him closer, neatly tucking him under that massive shoulder. The car door slammed shut behind them.

"Get it cleaned," Rude ordered, and the soldier saluted after just a second of hesitation. Rude tossed him the keys, rattled off a series of letters and numbers that probably referred to a parking position, and then they were stumbling down the street, snow swirling around them. Reno wondered why the hell he'd refused to take a coat with him when he'd left the tower.

The crawling under his skin sharpened at that, and he shuddered, remembering in that moment that he'd been more worried about escaping before Tseng sent him to the infirmary. A little cold had been a small enough price to pay to keep from being stuck with needles and placed under observation with those creepy ass doctors. He glanced up at Rude. That was no reason for him not to have a coat, have something that he could sling over Reno's shoulders.

"Rude, let's take their car," Reno whispered, and he had a sinking feeling that he wasn't as quiet as he thought he might be. A frown on one of the soldier's faces confirmed it. "We totally could," he said quickly, shaking a fist at the man who'd dared disapprove of a Turk's actions. Reno would show him. He'd storm over there and kick his—

Rude's hand didn't let him go though, and Rude leaned down to murmur, "Road's closed, Reno. Have to walk."

There was a strangled noise that couldn't possibly have come from Reno's throat, and the crawling intensified. "T' a bar, right? Not all the way back t' Five..."

But Rude didn't even bother to look at him, to give him any sort of response. Furthermore, the bastard wasn't even shivering, didn't seem to notice the layer of white coating his blue suit. Reno shoved himself away from Rude, scowling and intent on storming over to those smug bastards wearing their soldier's uniforms.

"Settle down," Rude warned, but Reno was pumped up, was ready for it. He had a score to settle, had to remind those damned pricks that he and Rude were Turks—

An arm locked around his middle and hoisted him firmly over Rude's shoulder. Reno stared down Rude's back and at the ground for several long moments before it occurred to him that Rude was carrying him like a sack of potatoes. He considered fighting a little more, making Rude put him down, but he was drifting, couldn't think, and he was so very tired of fighting.

Instead, he simply stared at the ground. Admired how easily Rude had picked him up. It was, after all, an impressive feat since Reno was all long arms and legs, not the easiest person to manhandle. The cold still had Reno shivering, and the steady bobbing motion of being over Rude's shoulder made his stomach churn.

He didn't really think that he was going to vomit again though. He breathed in the icy air. Closed his eyes.