My justification for writing this? I don't know. Does Rude seem like a chess guy to you?

I don't own Final Fantasy.

Rude walked into the holding room. He was assigned another mission from the top, but this was one that he wasn't sure how he felt about. It was his turn to watch the little girl that had been kidnapped by Reeve. Marlene was taken to hold something over AVALANCHE's head in order to use them to the advantage of Shin-Ra. While some said that was dirty and underhanded, it was what had to be done in order to best work for Shin-Ra. She was the adopted daughter of someone from AVALANCHE. She was barely anything to be considered a threat. But Mrs. Gainsborough had been separated into a different holding room than the young six year old, because the higher ups assumed that the older woman knew where her daughter and her friends were heading next. The young six year old was sitting in the corner of the room, looking out the window with a saddened and dejected look on his face. She looked as if she had been crying earlier. He cleared his throat when he entered the room. At first she cringed, expecting him to come in and hurt her.

"My name is Rude…" he said, "And you are?"

He already knew, naturally. It was his job to be informed on who he was supposed to be watching. He had always done his job well, at least better than Reno had sometimes. The redhead once came in to watch the girl when he was hung over. Tseng had then put Reno on another job, in order not to scare Marlene. If they could, they could get information out of the girl but terrifying by snarling and snapping like Reno had, Rude was sent in instead. Because apparently, Rude was less terrifying than Reno was. But Marlene said she wasn't scared of Reno, that she had seen more terrifying drunks at the bar she had been raised in. Rude scowled but then took a deep breath. It was his job as Turk to know everything about the subjects, whether they be civilians, criminals, assassination marks, or just babysitting hostages like little Marlene. The young girl bit her lip as she looked up at him. Apparently, she didn't know what to make of him.

"M-Marlene…" she said softly.

She was shivering. He shifted slightly as he stood there. He wasn't sure what to do now. It would be a bit cold for someone like her, small and dressed only in her little white dress. Her braid was coming out as well. She didn't have any blankets or change of clothes for that matter. He pulled out his phone, sending a text message to Reno. This had to be remedied. Hostage or not, AVALANCHE or not, she shouldn't have to suffer because of who she was related to. It didn't matter that her adoptive father was a part of a rebel group, she was still a little girl. He asked Reno for some food, blankets and a change of clothes for the girl. The red head would tease him for his 'soft' spot later, just like how he teased him about his crush on Tifa, but Rude would just endure. It was for someone else's benefit anyways. Besides, Elena was supposed to bring those things up but Rufus called her away for a mission.

Marlene eyed the chess pieces, narrowing her eyes, her tongue sticking out slightly as she concentrated on her next move. She was thinking hard, with her hands hovering over the board as she tried to figure out which piece it was that she was going to move. Reno had brought the game for Rude and Marlene to play. The redhead also changed the temperature. Elena had been sent to go find Marlene some new clothes. After walking her through the process of how to play the game, Rude found that Marlene was a quick study. She had practically absorbed the rules as if her mind was a sponge. She was trying her best to beat Rude now that she had an understanding of the objective, the rules and had learned some form of strategy from watching Rude. He had beaten her three times already. He felt bad but she insisted that he should not take it easy on her and let her win. She said she hated it when people let her win.

"Check!" she shouted loudly.

A ghost of a smile passed across Rude's face. He moved one of his pieces, trying his best not to win the match. He wasn't giving the match to her, but he wasn't going to win either. Marlene's brows knitted together as she eyed the pieces, trying her best to really beat him. Marlene was young, yes, but she took her youth and took the best parts of it — the charm, the vigor, the beatific glimmer in wide eyes that came from a lack of knowledge — and does well not to let the bad parts drag her too far back. She was soft-spoken but she was introverted, unless pushed, as Reno had proven once before. However, she is disarmingly polite, and she carries this sense of impending ruin — as to most children nowadays, to be fair.


Rude looked down at the board, checking to confirm her victory. She had won after all. She winked at him and smiled cutely. The Turk then sighed and looked out of the window. Marlene put a hand on his hand, forcing him to look back to the girl. Simply being around the young girl, made him feel like a normal person. Ever since he had been a Turk he had been ostracized by the common people. People who were simple employees of Shin-Ra, non-Shin-Ra employees and even members of SOLDIER spoke ill of the Turks. Rude tried to walk as proudly as he could but it was hard sometimes. It wore on his heart. People would whisper but he was the one doing the job that no one wanted to in order to protect them. Now he had been a part of a kidnapping of a child just to get at AVALANCHE. Had his mother still been alive she would have been ashamed of him, no matter how hard he was trying to keep Marlene happy.

"Are you okay?" she asked, "You look sad…"

He took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. This was just a huge mess. Some things were meant to be forgotten. Some things were meant to be remembered and stored away into journals and diaries just for the sake of letting man know that they were real. Some things were meant to be locked away into the dark depths of one's mind, just so no one thing could ever use that weakness. Some things were meant to be told in stories, so that mankind can remember the past, understand why it happened, and keep it from happening again. Rude just wanted to forget those things, just pretend and immerse himself so deeply in this half-hearted game of chess so that he forgot. Reno normally forgot by drinking. Rude did not want to pick up such a filthy habit from his partner no matter how much alcohol made a man forget. It was never enough for Rude, not after working this long. Marlene touched his arm.

"Reno is coming in a few minutes," Rude said.

"Bye, Mr. Rude!"

Marlene got up from her seat. She walked around the table until she was standing beside Rude's chair. The Turk looked at the child confused, wondering what it was she was going to ask him. She had been nothing but polite since he came in. She was quiet and mild mannered as well, surprising him slightly. She suddenly cuddled him around the waist as she hugged him. He was a little embarrassed at first. He frowned but then smiled at her. He put a hand on her head, patting her lightly. Marlene's determination was something to be admired. Her kindness was unrivaled. Her morals were iron clad, even in the most desperate of situations. Her heart was golden and had been forged through fire itself. Apparently being raised in a bar with a barkeep and a rebel weren't entirely bad for a child's development.

"Can we… play again someday?"

"I'd like that."