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If they come back, they'll come home stronger.

And if they don't, you'll know.

October 2016

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Sam was not very thrilled about being on a motorcycle. It was the exact opposite of that, but she kept herself in check to not suddenly choke or killed Reno in holding onto him. It only helped little as she kept her eyes closed and pressed her face into Reno's bare back trying to concentrate on something else.

Reno winced a little as her grip pressed slightly on his forming bruise, but it wasn't too bad. It'd hurt more tomorrow, he knew. In the meantime, he said nothing. It must have been her first time, he thought, for her to hold this close to him. "You alright?" he called to her.

Sam heard him and fumbled for words to speak, "Y-yeah...I'm ffine." She didn't dare open up her eyes. She was afraid if she did, things were going to get ugly and it wouldn't be just her freaking out then. She loosened her grip a bit when he spoke to her as she felt that slight ease from getting her mind set on something else then just when she was gonna get off this thing.

"You scared?" he asked, surprised.

Sam gave a nervous laugh at that, "Maybe one of my only phobia's I have is being on these damn things...same with cars....may have to sedate me to get into one of those things." She knew why she had this phobia, but after all these years she just couldn't get over it.

"Wow..." Reno certainly never expected that. "Um... well, we're almost there," he said awkwardly, not sure how to help.

Sam nodded her head and went silent again taking in slow breaths. He could mostly feel her heart beating in her chest, but it slowly calmed as she convinced her mind she was going to get off this thing really soon. She probably won't do this ever again.

After a few more minutes, Reno taking corners much more gently than he normally would, they pulled up to his apartment. He slowed and then let his feet down to walk the motorcycle to a complete stop. "Sam?" he asked gently.

Sam feeling they came to a stop, opened her eyes after hearing her name being called. She felt a sense of relief and took the helmet off of her head to give it back to him, "I'm fine, I'm fine." She responds as she got off the bike glad to be back on her feet again.

Reno nodded, and once she'd gotten down, he leaned the bike to the side to let down the kick-stand. "Well then... shall we?" he asked before leading her back inside.

The trek up the stairs seemed much longer than Reno remembered. Certainly there couldn't be more stairs there than there had always been, but it sure felt like it. His body was finally realizing just how much it had been through and as the adrenaline wore off, he began to ache. His floor, and the door to his place, couldn't come soon enough and when he let himself inside it was with a great sense of relief.

Sam followed him up the stairs to his apartment. She didn't feel that exhausted, but she did feel mentally that way. She walked inside and glanced around before walking over to grab hold of her cloak off the couch, "Thanks.." She said.

"Did you want to, um... ?" He gestured down the hall. "Or were you just gonna head out?"

Sam looked over at him at what he was pointing at and wasn't sure if that was a great idea, but she had a smell of bleach. That would probably bother her for a long while if she didn't do anything about it now, " first though." She wasn't sure why he never finished his sentence, but wasn't going to ask. She continued, "You need it more then I do." She grinned jokingly.

Reno smirked and snorted, though he was okay with Sam's teasing. "Gee, thanks." He obliged, though, and headed into the bathroom. It wasn't long before the sound of running water could be heard through the door.

Sam watched him go before sitting down on the couch and releasing a heavy sigh. She wasn't sure what she was doing. She felt like she is going to regret staying here longer then what she would of liked.

Reno, too, was sighing and trying to relax under the warm water. What had he gotten himself into, he wondered? Aiding and abetting a potential rebel, a deserter for sure, letting her get comfy in his home, use his shower... Really, it made no sense to him.

And then the apparent new crisis he'd stepped in. What the hell was that about? Dark Seraphs, tainted blood, human hosts... There was so much to take in, while simultaneously so much demanded to put out. He felt like his brain was about to explode.

And then, the final straw -- finding Shana in the middle of it all. He hadn't really seen Shana in awhile -- run into her here and there, mostly for business, but that didn't count. It brought back a lot of thoughts and feelings he thought were long gone.

"Shit," he sighed.

Sam waited for him to finished, but got bored really quickly. She had the urge to start wandering around the place, but knew that wasn't the best option either. She hugged the cloak to her and leaned against the couch. It has been awhile since she had been welcomed to any place. She wondered how long it has been. Not like it mattered anymore.

The water ceased and soon Reno emerged from the steamy room clad only in a towel, his ruined pants in his hand. "All yours whenever you like," he offered.

Sam blinked seeing him walk out of the bathroom only clothed in a towel, "uh...alright." She stood up off the couch and placed the cloak back onto the couch. She couldn't help, but look at him. She felt a heat rise up her face and she quickly looked away as she walked into the bathroom.

Reno noticed her blush and her hurried walk. "Hm?" It took him a second to realize why. Living alone, Reno didn't think about his state of dress. A towel was sufficient. Besides, no one else who'd seen him that way had ever complained.

Then again, perhaps Sam should be held to a higher standard than those other women.

Amused by his new discovery of Sam's femininity beneath her warrior's exterior, Reno went to put some proper clothes on.

Sam had shut the door and pulled off her clothes to put them out against the wall. She wondered how long its been since she had taken an actual shower. She was afraid to think back to that. She got into the shower to turn on the water to a warm temperature. She closed her eyes and placed her hand on the wall as she felt comforted by the warm water hitting her skin.

"Mm." Reno contentedly tossed his wet hair, now nicely combed, over his shoulder. That was better. He stood, naked, with his hands on his hips, staring down his closet. He could throw on an easy tee with a pair of loose jeans. That would be nice for a change. But then again, it was only around noon. For all he knew, Tseng could call him in later, and he'd have to be ready to drop all and go. Even if he was up at three in the morning, saving the world one dark seraph at a time.

Decisions, decisions...

Sam finished up in the shower feeling it was already running cold. She wringed the water out of her hair as she got out of the shower. She grabbed whatever tower she could grab and dried herself off before tossing it over the toilet not sure where else to put it. She grabbed her clothes to start putting them back on. Not like she had other clothes to put on her, so this would have to do. She shut off the light and walked out of the bathroom combing her hair back with her fingers.

Reno decided to go with the blue jeans. Tseng would probably be busy with the more bureaucratic aspects of their next move. Reno doubted he'd be called in in the immediate future. And if he was, well, unless it was an emergency, Tseng could just wait an extra ten minutes.

And if it was an emergency, Reno was confident that he could fight just as well without his suit.

Casual it was, then, and Reno soon was dressed and draped across his sofa in attire so barely worn, it almost still smelled new.

Sam walked out of the hallway to return back to the living area feeling relieved at actually being clean again. She could still smell the bleach, but it was very faint. She let out a sigh and placed her hand over her head as she tried to think of what to do next with herself. She got her shower, now what?

Hearing her sigh, Reno looked over the back of the couch. "Hey there -- feelin' better?" he asked.

Sam looked over at him smiling slightly, "I'm feeling better thank you. I really needed it." She said truthfully.

"So, um... " Now what? "Where've you been stayin' this whole time?" Reno blurted out. "I mean -- we thought you were dead!"

Sam chuckled at the thought of that, "I went into hiding. Even within the rebels, I took form as one of the dragons for the dragon riders...though I was the only one without a rider. I was in my human form every now and then, but it was within sleeping quarters. I never wanted to make myself known to others very easily...." She let out a sigh when a memory returned to her.

"So even they didn't know your true identity?" Reno asked, surprised. He shouldn't be, he guessed, but still -- the idea of being within a group of people for that long, with no identity, was unfathomable to Reno. Then again, he'd never needed to hide himself like that.

Sam shook her head, "No, they didn't know...I'm sure maybe someone did as it came back to you with rumors...I don't live anywhere, just been wandering this whole time. Been using anything like trees or anything to keep myself hiddin from the dark seraphs as possible. Outside Midgar, it is extremely dangerous to be outside in the dark..." Her voice seemed to shake a bit at the last sentence as her mind began to go back to her past.

"I'll bet," Reno murmured, lost in the thought. "It's all just open out there between cities... But wait a minute." Something bugged him.

"If the Dark Seraphs are lookin' for people t' infect, wouldn't they be drawn more t' the cities an' towns rather than open land?" he asked. Every zombie movie told him so -- you want meat, you move toward a higher concentration of it for better chances, not to mention a fuller belly. "Wouldn't the wilderness be sorta safer?"

Sure, there might not be anyone for miles to hear you scream for help, but there was still a chance you'd barely be a blip on the radar alone out there when compared to a hub like Edge or Midgar.

Sam frowned knowing the answer to that, "They actually most of the towns and cities. The Rebels went underground to protect themselves from them. Midgar may be next soon enough if the dark seraphs keep up with the onslaught. They rather not charge right in until their numbers are high enough, so taking those from ruined cities will increase their numbers enough." She knew other things on that reason, but wasn't going to tell him any of that.

"So places like Gongaga and Mideoheim..." Reno trailed off and began nervously popping his knuckles again.

"... It's all the places so run down and small because of us, that ShinRa wouldn't care about them anymore," he finished softly. That's why he hadn't noticed. He'd been so preoccupied with the new, that he'd completely forgotten about the old places that Shinra had sapped of resources and then left to rot. And now that Mako reactors were no longer in use, not to mention the fact that everyone's attention was drawn to the major cities during the last two crises, Reno doubted a ghost town with a blown reactor like Gongaga would be remembered at all.

Sam nodded her head at that, "Yes, they are all gone. The only thing you will find there is just a bunch of broken down buildings. I came through Gongaga a couple weeks back."

After a pause to let this sink in, Reno couldn't ask questions fast enough. "What about Rocket Town? Costa del Sol? Wutai, Junon, Gold Saucer?" There were still some big places left... there had to be. But if the Dark Seraphs kept growing in numbers, there wouldn't be for long.

Sam frowned and wasn't sure what to say except, "Wutai and Gold Saucer still are populated by people...Junon had become more like a fortress. Those are the only three others I know."

Reno nodded. "Alright..." His eyes hardened. "Well, let's keep 'em that way."

Sam snorted at that, "I can't keep anyone safe. I couldn't even save him..." She turned her gaze away.

"Him?" Reno asked, his ears perking up to a story. It wasn't his business, but he was interested.

Sam shook her head hearing his question, "Nothing for you to worry about. He died by the dark seraphs, so he is dead and gone." She had a thought wondering how long it's been since that day.

"Hm." Oh well, so much for that lead. Well, maybe another time -- it didn't really matter right now, anyway. "Well," he said, "ya can't be too hard on yerself. Ya saved me, yo." He paused and rubbed the back of his neck. "An' I hate t' admit when that happens."

Sam looked at him in a bit of silence before responding, "Yes, but it may be in the future you won't be so lucky. Have to be careful when dealing with them." She seemed to be filled with guilt and it was obvious.

"Of course," Reno answered nonchalantly. "Figured that one out. But ya can't hate yerself for lettin' me die while I'm still alive, 'kay? Can we agree on that, at least? Because I'm still very much here, yo."

Sam nodded her head, "yeah...I guess we can agree on that...I won't let you die as long as I am least try."

Good enough. "Alright, then, that's settled." Reno swung his legs down off the couch, giving Sam room to sit if she so desired. "So where d'ya think you'll be headed from here?"

Sam shrugged her shoulders, "Like I said....I have no where to go..Ive been roaming this whole time since after the rebels."

Argh, there it went again. That pang in his chest that used to shut up when Reno said so. A "conscience."

"Well... technically I do owe you, I guess... I guess you could stay here a li'l bit if you wanted. It's better than a tree. But just for a little while, ok?" he added quickly at the end. "You're still suspect, as far as the rest of ShinRa is concerned."

Sam rolled her eyes at that, "Suspect...What for exactly? Creating these damn things?" She said a bit annoyed.

"No," Reno answered, irritated. "For desertion, an' for your association with the rebels. Look, I know you already explained it t' me, but I gotta be honest, it doesn't look good. Not for you, obviously, an' not for me if I start pallin' around with you before a full investigation is complete. There's procedures for this crap." Procedures he never fully appreciated before, but procedures nonetheless.

"You got lucky with Tseng," he added. "But it won't always be that way. Even he might change his mind once the immediate threat of the Seraphs are gone."

Sam let out a heavy sigh knowing she should of expected this much, "Fine, but if you plan to try and assassinate me...I can't tell you if I will escape peacefully or nnot." She half threat.

"Assassinate you? Here? In my own apartment?" Now that was just silly. "Don't flatter yerself, Yagasaki," he told her pointedly. "This is my place. It's where I live and sleep. I'm off-duty here. So unless you pull somethin' first, I ain't doin' a thing. Besides, if you bled all over the place, it'd leave a mess." He sniffed disdainfully.

Sam snorted at that and let out a chuckle, "Fine, but I don't plan to pull anything unless you do it first. Can we agree with that?" She walked over taking her sword off her back.

"Deal," Reno answered, and with that squared away, he propped his feet up on his coffee table and turned on the television. As long as everyone remembered their place, this shouldn't be too bad, he thought. Shouldn't be.

Date: 2012-11-04 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
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