Rating: T (PG-13)
Characters: Elena, Tseng, mentions of Reno and Rude and Rude/Tifa
Prompt: 15) Spring (40_loves)
Word Count: 1319
Author's Notes: This story will get darker as it goes on.
Warnings: Mentions of violence.
Summary:Since being attacked by the remnants of Sephiroth both Tseng and Elena have changed, for the better and the worse. They are about to be forced to face what they are and who they have become, and face what they feel for each other, or else the very things they care about may be destroyed.
New Year’s day. Oh, friggin’ boy.
I never understood why this was such an exciting day. I mean, hello people! It’s just another day. And for Reno, just another excuse to have a hang over.
He stumbled into the office this morning like he hadn’t been doing anything besides drinking in the last, oh, seven to eight days. Rude and I did our normal ‘Reno has a mother fucker of a hangover’ routine. He set the coffee pot on, I dug out the aspirin, he got the mugs down, I gave Reno the aspirin with a cup of water, then Rude and I sat there watching Reno complain that his head was pounding.
You would think after a while he would learn to drink less so he wouldn’t get these headaches, but sadly, Reno isn’t smart enough for that. Okay, maybe it isn’t that he’s not smart, but he is severely lacking in the common sense department. And that is being kind.
Rude looked like the cat that swallowed the proverbial canary this morning. Reno said it could only be for one reason: Rude got laid. And for once, I agreed with the redheaded weirdo, but with Rude I could only think of two ways that would happen.
He could have found a random person just for sex, but then when I thought more about it, that wasn’t Rude’s style. Not to say he probably never did that before, but Rude was Rude: he was polite to a fault when it came to women, unless he absolutely had to be. Knowing him he would have found some random sexual encounter pointless to the verge of tears. No, I doubted that was it, which left only one option.
Rude and the girl Tifa from AVALANCHE had finally gotten their acts together. Okay, maybe I should have told him that their ‘secret’ relationship wasn’t really all that secret, but he seemed to like his little delusions, so I let him have them. Besides, truthfully, it was rather cute.
Yes, I did just call Rude cute. What of it?
Tseng was already here when the rest of us arrived. I wondered briefly if he had even gone home. If the dark circles under his eyes were any indication, then he hadn’t. Still, despite his obvious lack of sleep, he was still the same old (new) Tseng. He barely looked at Reno the whole time he complained about his headache, accept to tell him that if he didn’t keep quiet, that Tseng would be cutting his tongue out and assigning him to desk duty.
Ironically, Reno found the desk duty the scarier prospect.
Truthfully, Tseng remained mostly silent until Rufus had come to retrieve us for our ‘mission’.
Now we get to sit on this lovely train (conveniently devoid of all passengers other than ourselves) and wait to reach our final destination.
Tseng’s silence could kill anything.
Tseng kept looking at her. Every minute or so he would cast her a glance, looking her over, then look back out the train window. Not that there was really much to see. The train systems there were still pretty new, a sort of homage to what Midgar once was. Stupid, really, to pay homage to a city that was completely destroyed mainly because of the mistake of the very company they worked for- albeit it was from a mistake that started before either of them even worked for ShinRa.
There was something almost unsettling about the way he kept glancing at her. Was he expecting her to freak out again? Frankly at the moment, there was nothing for her to freak out about, but she knew it would come, a small freak out or a large one she wasn’t sure.
She had to freak a little. She was stuck, for an undetermined amount of time with just Tseng. That was enough to make her stomach start to knot up.
The area of Edge they were going to was a less than scrupulous one. More like what the worst part of the Midgar slums had been like. Pleasant was not the word she would describe this experience. And the icing on the cake? She and Tseng were posing as a married couple, which meant they had to fane a great affection for each other.
For her that wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. She did care about Tseng. A great deal. She supposed, honestly, she could even say she loved the man, in her own way. Had for quite some time and probably always would, despite the fact she knew he could never care for her like she cared for him. It just wasn’t in the cards for her.
She knew, back before their capture, he had cared for her at least as a person. He had made that blatantly obvious, watching out for her, calling Reno on it when he would take his casual teasing one step too far, but things seemed to have changed. Last time she was able to feel like Tseng cared about her at all was over a year ago, almost two springs before, when there was some sense of calm and peace in their world. But the remnants had changed all that, and deep down she knew, nothing would ever be the same. This was, the end of their old world: everything was different now, and nothing would change it back, no time and no prayers.
She had to adjust to the world that was.
They had been given the last name Amano to use. She wasn’t sure how she felt about it, but Tseng didn’t seem to mind. Maybe because it was a good Wutaian name, and despite many events in his life, he was still a good Wutaian.
They had to pretend to be the good, happy, married couple for their ‘landlord’. Not that their apartment was much to speak of, not that is was a big deal: she actually liked the small, ‘intimate’ setting better than she would have an extravagant one.
She felt strange not being in uniform around Tseng. Jeans, old white sneakers, a webby white shirt and a gray zipped up sweatshirt. She was thankful for the sweatshirt, or else a little too much of her bra would have been showing, and that would have made her feel extremely awkward.
It was strange for her to see Tseng without his uniform. True, he was still wearing nicer shoes, but he was wearing jeans, something she never thought she would see. True, he did look good in them. She had to admit, his butt looked pretty- no! She was not going to be checking out her superior’s ass. If she started to do that, then this mission would take even longer than originally intended.
She was oddly fascinated that he could still wear a button down shirt while looking both casual and official. It was, however, hard to tell where his hair ended and his shirt began. His beauty was undeniable. It made her breath hitch, made her heart race. Just being around him always seemed to bring her hormones to the surface.
The landlord handed Tseng two sets of keys, eyeing Elena carefully. He seemed a little suspicious of them. He nodded at them. “Welcome to the building.”
Tseng’s hand wrapped tightly around the keys. “Thank you very much.” He turned, pressing his lips against Elena, ignoring the way her body tensed at the touch. “I’m sure we’ll be just fine here.”
The landlord hesitated, nodding as he turned to walk away.
He was still watching her, Tseng’s dark eyes drilling into her.
She swallowed hard and turned, fleeing into the other room. She knew if she stayed she would end up kissing him, a lot stronger and firmer than he had kissed her, and she would have taken it too far and in the end, she would have regretted it.