I can't believe this is my first new story on here in almost 2 years. It really hasn't seemed that long. Anyway, this is another Cloud/Reno one shot. It really can be set most anywhere after the end of FFVII, but in my head its set after Advent Children. It occurred to me after going back through the compilation that Reno had been there for just about every major event , even if just lurking in the background.
Reno sighed, he had never hated his job before, not in his entire life, not even when he dropped the plate on sector 7. Though he admitted actually going through with bringing the plate down was one of his dark moments. No, what brought him on the verge of hate, tears and frustration was a simple letter, though not so simple, not when he was writing a letter to him.
Six months ago he had decided that he was finally going to break down and tell the blonde everything. There wasn't a company anymore to hid secrets for, and Rufus really had wanted to redeem himself and the Shinra name. What better way than to aid the Hero of the World right? He hadn't asked Rufus for permission. Not that Rufus realized how much Reno actually knew, Tseng might have some idea, but Reno had read all the reports, they didn't fill in all the gaps, not like he could.
If he was right after this Cloud would hate him forever, but Cloud already hated him, and at least this way he wouldn't see him as some punk kid, hell Reno was older than Cloud! Oh damn the letter all the way to Ifrit's Ass . The only thing keeping him from running straight to the man to confess everything was the firm knowledge that he'd be dead before he got half way through. As it was he intended to be deep Wutai before the paper was in Cloud's hands.
He sighed and picked up the pen again. He supposed that starting at the beginning was the easiest way, that way he wouldn't miss anything.
I know even as you are opening this letter, you're going to be confused as to why me of all people would be writing you anything but hopefully that will become self evident as I tell my story, though really it's your story.
I know it wouldn't come to much of a shock to you that I Reno would have kept secrets from you, but honestly it's in my job description to lie (no seriously it appears 3 times I swear), I assure you though that keeping these things secret from you has been the hardest part of my job.
I'd like to tell you that I thought you were dead, but I knew different, I was there the night that you first threw Sephiroth into the reactor, part of the cleanup crew. But again I'm getting ahead of myself.
I promised I'd start at the beginning, did you know you were the reason I became at Turk? Didn't figure you'd remember that no. You had only been a cadet for like 2 weeks, fresh from the country, and me? I was a scrawny little redhead from Kalm who came to Midgar to prove himself. I was in the cadet program myself, only about 6 months ahead of you, and really heading nowhere fast. We were both outcasts really but I suppose you don't really want to hear about how we were best friends.
Anyway why I'm a Turk right, I have trouble focusing sometimes, one of the main reason's Tseng made Rude my partner, so he could write all the damn reports, There was at least for the time, a big scandal at Shinra, someone with high clearance was passing valuable information to some of Shira's rivals. Tseng would never admit it if you asked but the Turks at the time couldn't get a lead.
Me and you buddy decided we'd prove ourselves together and find out who the traitor was. And wouldn't you guess, we actually found out the leak, turned out the be the presidents mistress, that caused quite a stir. Anyway when they debriefed us, you let me take all the credit, even though you did a lot of the leg work, (I still haven't told anyone the truth on that yet) saying you know how much it meant to me. Besides you'd said, your goal was SOLDIER like Sephiroth.
I don't know if you know, (Ah hell of course you don't now, or I wouldn't be writing this, but I mean I don't know if you knew /then/) but I did feel guilty about leaving you, but the Turks Cloud, I don't even know how to describe it now that I don't have to worry about being taken out for talking to you. Back then you weren't allowed to have friends outside, it strengthened the group they said, you could only be dependent on each other, other Turks were all you could count on. I drank the kool-aid Cloud, by the gallons.
I could see you were still an outcast, and you were hurt when we'd pass and I wouldn't acknowledge you. I did feel better we you'd made a friend in Zack, I was certain that if hadn't come along when he did you'd have quit the program and went back home.
Zack was an odd ball though, and Tseng let us talk to Zack, Ciss got a little too attached though, I really think she was hoping that Zack would choose her over Aerith. I'll tell you more about Ciss if you want over drinks sometimes, she never knew you but she was close to Zack, even if it wasn't as closes as she wanted to be.
Through Zack I was able to keep track of you, I asked of you all the time and Zack loved to talk and I doubt he ever questioned why I wanted to talk about /you/. He really had faith in you, you know? The trip to Niblehiem was suppose to be a test for you, I know it doesn't matter now but had things gone different you would have been a third when you got back. I had even decided to throw caution to the wind and go to the celebration party, you were finally getting what you wanted and damnit I was going to be there for you.. Zack had asked Aerith to host it for you, since he didn't really know if they could do that on base. I heard about it through Tseng, who while not happy wouldn't have stopped it. I've always wondered how it would have been if things hadn't gone so horribly wrong.
Tseng never told Aerith, but he still has the ring Zack had bought to ask Aerith to marry him when everything calmed down. Zack was a hopeless romantic.
When I got the call that something had happened at Niblehiem my blood ran cold. I can't tell you what actually happened that night, everyone inside the reactor but you is dead, but I do know what happened after.
It was the first time any of us realized just how insane Hojo was, and he was full of fury. He honestly could not understand how Sephiroth could have died, and by your hands no less. Sephiroth was his perfect creation, but I'm sure you knew that part already. I'd like to say I knew you were dead, but it sickens me to admit I'm the one who discovered you were still alive. You were so lifeless, no one had thought to even check your pulse, but you were my friend and I had to know. Some nights I had wished I hadn't checked, if I'd let them bury you...
I thought we were going to get you medical treatment, that you'd be ok, I knew the darker side of Shinra by now, but I refused to believe they would do anything to you. Silly me, Hojo found me more "competent" then the others, it was part of the reason that I rose in the ranks of the Turks so quickly, you'd help me again, but this time I wasn't so excited.
I knew of the experiments, I had the clearance, but at this point I knew how easy people could disappear, even Turks. I couldn't do anything that wouldn't get me slapped in the lab right beside you and I hated it, that was until almost 4 years later when Hojo, wanting someone "competent" when he had to return for Midgar, had me stationed in Niblehiem to add security.
I knew that if I was there when you escaped that Hojo would be suspicious, and while I had buried the records of how I became a Turk as deep as I could, I knew with enough pressure they would surface. I wasn't a Turk for nothing and I laid the ground work for your escape, weakening the tanks, draining the drugs keeping Zack lucid that kind of thing. No one, not even Rude knows this. If I told them I bet even now Tseng would put a bullet through my head, though I'm not sure if it would be from not letting him in on it, or going against company loyalty. Loyalty is everything. I don't want a thank you, I just want you to know what happened.
After I left, I heard about the escape, I was even one of the ones sent to track you down. Tseng and Ciss were always fond of Zack, and Tseng cared for Aerith like she was his daughter, none of us wanted to see you dead. We tried to cover your tracks as best week could, how else do you think Zack spent a year on the run with you?
His biggest mistake was returning to Midgar, and to Aerith. When you were spotted there wasn't much we could do, not without getting ourselves killed. Zack died bravely but you know that now. Ciss cried for days afterward ,she would have gladly ran way and spent her days with him in Costa Del Sol, and Tseng wasn't the same, he was just kind of numb. (Still is really).
After the fight, I was again the one to check your body, and unlike before I learned my lesson and we left you for dead. I was certain your chances in the wastes were better than being back in Hojo's lab.
From there you know most of the rest. I will say I am eternally sorry for Sector 7, we all knew what a monstrous thing it was, and myself at the time, I was so angry at everything. You didn't remember me, you were on the wrong side, and I couldn't tell you anything, you got Aerith involved, who Tseng had tried so hard to protect and at that moment I understood why Sephiroth hated this world. I'm not proud of it but it's the truth and that much I think you deserve.
You Friend Always
Cloud crumpled the paper in his hand. Reno how dare he, how dare he not tell this to him in person, by the Centra he wanted to punch the man. Reno had been there, been aware of every major point in his life, in the background mostly but there.
And Chaos help him he remembered it. He remembered being friends with Reno when they were both still Cadets, laughing and having a good time. He remembered the betrayal he felt when Reno passed him silently in the halls of Shinra tower.
He remembered Zack speaking of his girlfriend back in Midgar, Aerith who he was going to marry one day.
Oh Shiva he remembered it all and it hurt. He knew one thing, he was going to find Reno, and then he was going to kill him, or hug him, he didn't know which.
It took him about a month to find Reno, the man was a Turk, but the other former Turks were peeved at his absence and didn't keep his secrets well, that and you really couldn't travel much without the WRO knowing something. Reeve was a blessing there.
Reno was staying in a hotel, in West Shin, 3 days travel by chocobo from the capital.
"I really suppose I shouldn't be too surprised." Reno said as sullen as the redhead could get.
"I should kill, you I really should." Cloud said with controlled fury.
"Look, I swear it's the truth, everything in that letter happened, I thought it was time to tell you." Reno sighed looking away.
"When were you going to tell me the rest?" Cloud demanded hand clenched, eyes shut, and Reno even thought he saw a tear.
"What do you- " Reno's eyes went wide be for composing himself and looking away. "You remember it now? Everything? Honestly I didn't think it would matter.'
Cloud nearly exploded. "Not matter! I didn't fucking matter enough to you is that it?"
"No Cloud, that's not what I meant at all." Reno was near tears himself waving his hands in some hope of calming the blonde down from his rage. "I meant, that I didn't think you'd care, that you'd want... " Reno's arms wrapped around himself "I risked everything for you before and after, and you didn't even remember me." Reno spoke so low that Cloud could barely hear him. "It's why I waited so long, I didn't think Imattered. "
Cloud was on his in an instant, and Reno really thought he was going to die, that was until Cloud pulled him into a hug.
Reno thought they had stayed like that for hours. Cloud remember him! He remember them!
He'd left out a lot of the story, like how after one horribly stressful training mission they had shared a bunk, to chase the nightmares away. They'd found comfort in each other, and were on the cusp of an actual relationship, when he'd screwed it up by being an ass after he'd joined the Turks.
How he'd seen the blonde breaking down and realized how much he loved him. He'd gone to him, even though he knew what the cost could be.
How he'd talked about Cloud with Zack not because he wanted to check up on him, but because it was a subject they both enjoyed.
He'd left out how he knew about Cloud's birthmark on his right butt cheek (a surprise even to Cloud himself.) Or the scare he'd gotten the day he'd tried to save Tifa.
Reno knew Cloud really better then he knew himself and how broken he truly was when the blonde didn't remember him, not even when he'd gotten his sense of self back.
But Cloud was here know, with him, and that's all that really mattered in the end.