Shinra Inc. And Part-Time Jobs

By: Jason Tandro

Suggested By: semag evol I

Author's Note: I had to change this around from the way it was originally suggested, but the core idea remains intact.

Summer had been rough for everybody. Cid had not been able to launch because of an unexpected meteor shower, and the launch had been pushed back until some point in November. All things considered, Cid handled it well. That is, once the local police had stopped him drunkenly smashing every window in Rocket Town.

Rufus had been serious about his attempt to make more money and he somehow had already accrued 10,000 gil in funds. In one of their few cordial moments Reeve had asked him what his secret was, but Rufus refused to tell. There was still a lot of bad blood and neither would concede the point of who should be running the company.

To try and make more money, Tseng had cut salaries across the board, including his own. While none of the staff were exactly happy with this decision, they at least appreciated that Tseng was hardest on himself before the working man. That didn't change the fact that the Turks were, for the first time in a while, experiencing serious trouble making ends meet.

The five of them sat in the employee café, barely touching their lunches, which had been cut back to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or egg salad, two aromas that did not blend at all.

"I've had to take a second job in the evening," Reno said. "I act as this rich brat's bodyguard. Doesn't pay too great, but I get to sit around and play video games as long as nobody tries to attack him."

"So basically it's what you do now during the evenings, except for guarding a child," Rude replied.

"The only person who's tried to attack him so far is a very angry hornet," Reno sighed, waiving his hands in a dismissive manner.

"You know, I've had to get another job too," Cissnei said.

"What do you do?" Reno asked.

Cissnei looked at him with a smirk. "If you must know, I've become a stripper, Reno."

"Thank god, I'm not the only one!" Rude exclaimed. "I was trying to hide it, because I was ashamed, but now that I know that somebody else has had to do it-"

But Rude stopped at the look on Cissnei's face; not to mention the looks on everyone else's face.

"I was joking, Rude," Cissnei said. "Just teasing Reno because I know that's what he'd want to hear…"

There was one of those silences where pins dropping didn't even enter into the aural equation because it's drowned over the sound of your own heart beating. Rude looked around for a moment and then burst out into a very unnatural laugh.

"Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!" Rude smirked. "I was… just joking too y'know?"

"Really? You're a very good actor," Reno grinned. "I could have sworn you just brazenly confessed to being a male stripper to your co-workers."

"Kiddie Pool Incident," Rude whispered threateningly.

Reno's attitude changed on a tack. "I think he was just joking, guys."

"Come on, Rude, it's nothing to be ashamed of. Well actually it is. You should be humiliated. But we all have to do crazy things for money," Cissnei said.

"You don't have a bad body for it," Elena said, looking him over.

Tseng gave Elena a searching look. She blushed.

"Probably shouldn't have had that drink with lunch," she said.

"It's true enough," Cissnei replied. "I'd rather see Rude stripping than Reno."

"Hey!" Reno said. "It's not the size of your stomach that counts at that job."

"Kinda does when it blocks the view of anything else," Cissnei smirked cruelly. "And don't worry. I'm not by any means calling you fat."

"You're mean today," Reno whined, downing his beer in one gulp.

"So, uh, what do you do, Cissnei?" Tseng asked, trying to change the subject.

"I help a florist, part time of course," Cissnei explained.

"That sounds nice," Elena said, glancing over at Rude who was all but going into a fetal position in his chair. "I haven't had to take a part-time job since I'm so frugal anyways. And since Tseng and I live together we've been able to make do, but just barely. I wonder if things will get better or worse once the company is back up."

"Things will always get worse," Reno explained. "If Rufus is put back in charge, great. We'll have fun for a year or two before Rufus destroys us again. If Reeve remains in charge, we'll actually have to do work."

"And an honest day's work would completely defeat the point of being a Turk, eh Reno?" Tseng asked.

"Boss man, you became a Turk so you'd never have to do an 'honest' day's work in your life," Reno retorted.

"I could have sworn Rude said something about a Kiddie Pool Incident," Cissnei said menacingly.

"Curse your serpent tongue, woman," Reno hissed.

"You all are going to come see me tonight, aren't you?" Rude asked.

There was another of those silences…

"Well, come on. I know you're curiosity won't let me rest so I'd like to at least have some warning before you do," Rude mumbled, as though he couldn't bear to ask this question.

"I'm not curious about you in that way, bro. I think Tseng is about ready to give me a performance evaluation anyways," Reno replied.

"And I don't go to strip clubs anymore since I started dating. Well, at least not strip clubs where men are stripping," Elena explained.

"Once again, boss, you're a lucky man," Reno nodded, raising his empty glass.

Rude breathed a sigh of relief.

"I might come. I think I'll drag Scarlet along on a girl's night out. I'd like to get reacquainted with that old battleaxe," Cissnei said.

"But she tried to kill you…" Rude said.

"So have all of you, except Elena. That hasn't stopped me from hanging out with you guys," Cissnei replied.

Rude cursed. "Fine. You can both come but I might not even get on stage tonight. Sometimes I just work the bar."

"Seems to me either way you're working a bar," Cissnei smirked.

That night in Sector 2 Cissnei and Scarlet walked down to a seedy little club called the Railway Bar. It was a nonchalant name for what took place within.

"I can't believe you talked me into going to this with you," Scarlet said.

"Come on. It'll be fun. We'll laugh at a co-worker it'll be hilarious," Cissnei said. "By the way, do you know something about a Kiddie Pool Incident involving Reno?"

"Oh that," Scarlet said. "Well you know how you're supposed to fill a kiddy pool with water? Yeah, he tried it with vodka."

"That doesn't seem so bad," Cissnei said.

"It normally wouldn't be. Except he tried to use it as a tactic to seduce one of his dates and they both passed out from the fumes," Scarlet explained.

"Still not so-"

"This was in his office and they were both stark naked."

"Got ya," Cissnei nodded.

"Yeah. We found them the next day and had to clean them off and get them to the hospital. It was humiliating," Scarlet explained.

"So this will be the second co-worker you've seen naked," Cissnei asked in an off-hand way.

"Third actually," Scarlet sighed. "Palmer has had some… unfortunate incidents around the office let's just leave it at that."

The two girls sat down right next to the stage. Loud techno music blasted as Rude came out to the stage wearing his Turk uniform. Or what looked like a Turk uniform. The company uniforms didn't usually have tear-away points and definitely had a lot less leather.

"This is going to be painful," Scarlet sighed.

"Just try to enjoy it. Rude looks like he's enjoying himself… no wait, that's panic. Definitely panic," Cissnei nodded.

"You know I almost made it with Tseng?" Scarlet asked.

"Really?" Cissnei asked.

"Yeah. Got into a sauna with him," Scarlet said.

[Author's Note: See Shinra Inc. And Security. You thought you were gonna get through a story without an in-reference, didn't you?]

"Oh?"

"But he was drunk and thought I was Elena," Scarlet sighed. "I guess if you meet the right person you'll just kn-oh my god, how is he staying in the air like that."

Rude was hanging upside down on the pole now and that distracted Cissnei for a moment before returning to her question.

"Does Reno ever talk about me?" Cissnei asked.

"He calls you a pain in the ass and a cruel woman," she said. "I think he likes you."

Cissnei frowned. "Yeah, I bet."

"It's worth noting that he pays you mind. Most women with Reno don't even register. He's vexed by you because you're a challenge. A woman who can resist his wiles," Scarlet said.

"Reno has wiles?" Cissnei asked.

"He's good-looking, funny, tough and can even be charming when he wants to," Scarlet said. "And the fact that he is going to have to be more than that to impress you is bugging the crap out of him."

"You really think so?"

"Less talk more strip; Yeah Rude! I've got a 20 gil note with your name on it!"