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Reno

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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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shinra_dog: (Bad Day)
After a few more turns here and there, it wasn't long before Reno and Sam arrived in a much nicer part of town. "Here we are," Reno said as he stood in front of a small, but chic, apartment. "Rude's a real classy guy. Let's go see if he's home." He jogged up the short set of stairs and rang the bell.

Sam followed behind him and had to respond to his words. "Oh? Is that what you call your apartment?" she joked.

"What, classy? Pffft, yeah right."

There was an inquisitive rustling on the other side of the door before a languid sigh could be heard through the door and it opened up, revealing the large, bald Turk in his sun glassed glory.

"Yo, Rude!" Reno greeted him cheerfully. "How ya feelin'? Can we come in? We've got pizza!" That last bit was emphasized with a large, suggestive grin.

Sam arched an eyebrow seeing the new face that came to the door. She would be lying if she said he didn't look threatening.

He considered it for a moment before shrugging and beckoning them inside. He motioned at the coffee table for them to set the pizza box.

"Awesome, thanks buddy!" Reno turned slightly to give Sam a reassuring thumbs-up over his shoulder. Sometimes he forgot how scary Rude could look. To Reno, he was just his partner.

"Thirsty?" Rude asked as he walked towards the kitchen to grab them plates.

"Uh, yeah, sure, I'll take a beer, an' for the lady...?" Reno looked at Sam questioningly

Sam decided to follow them in and hung out against a wall close by. She shook her head at the question, "No thanks..." She wasn't going to question his choice. She didn't find it the best time to drink.

There was a soft clatter as Rude got the plates and pulled a beer out of the fridge for Reno. As he approached, there was a sudden crash and heavy footfalls as he sprinted towards Samantha and grabbed her by the throat. He pushed her against the wall.

"Fuckin' 'ell, man, calm down!" Reno jumped up and tried to pry him off of her. "Leggo', Rude!"

Sam was a bit surprised by the sudden aggression and immediately reached at her throat being grabbed. Her eyes began to take a red glow and she gave a loud inhuman growl. Her hands turned into claws as she slashed one of them right across his chest. She didn't hold any hesitation back in the strike.

Years of experience and lightning reflexes saved the Turk some considerable pain and extended sick leave as he weaved his body back. "What the hell is SHE doing here?"

"Rude, I swear, I can explain everything!" Reno said hurriedly. He then glared over his shoulder. "Bad Sam! No claws! Bad!"

Sam took a step forward flexing out her clawed fingers ready to come at him, but stopped hearing Reno. She gave a hiss before retracting her claws and her eyes resumed their normal look.

Rude hesitated; looking back from the traitor to the man he'd worked with for years and trusted with his life, then back at his apartment. He didn't want to lose his security deposit... and the mess would be Biblical. Slowly and cautiously, he lowered the woman to the ground and took a step back, his eyes hard and glaring at her.

Reno sighed, relieved and grateful for Rude's trust. "Thanks. An'... sorry. Guess I shoulda' warned ya... er, but then again, you'd have pro'lly called Rufus..." Reno rubbed the back of his neck nervously. "Okay then, let's all get back t' pizza an' try t' calm down while we sort this out, yeah?"

Rude merely grunted in response and sat down, never facing away from her.

Sam glared at Rude with a death glare. This was off to a bad start and she was on the verge of bypassing Reno and redecorating this whole apartment. She remained where she was, not going to go anywhere near him. She was not afraid of him, but afraid she may actually snap.

"Ooookay then," Reno said anxiously, easing back down into his seat with his arms outstretched, half defensively and half to, well, try to defuse the situation. "Rude, I can see you already recognize Samantha Yagasaki..."

Rude grunted.

"Aaaand Sam, this is my partner Rude. He's very loyal and protective."

Sam rolled her eyes at that, "I can see that...Not very friendly either." She rubbed her neck for a moment.

"He just takes some getting used to..." Eheheh. Sweatdrop. "Okay, well, um, I guess that just leaves the big issue worth strangling over, uh... 'Kay, Rude, she's not against us. Really."

Rude raised an eyebrow; that wasn't the case the last time he checked.

Sam could tell this was going to take some time, but 'time' was not on their side at the moment, "Trust me or not. I care very little. You better watch who you strike or else there will be one less Turk in this damn place," she threatened.

"I am not here to waste my time on the Turks, but there is an issue going on and you better be ready for it. We will be working together if you like it or not. If you come at me again, I can't guarantee I'm going to stop just because of Reno here."

Reno's face fell. Well this wasn't exactly going as planned. "Rude," he said firmly, trying to prevent another fight. "She's right. Rebellion or not, we got a wayyy bigger mess on our hands right now, an' she's the only one who can help. Didja already get a call from Elena?"

"Yes," he replied. "Cryptic."

"Okay, well, Elena doesn't know all the details yet either, dude," Reno explained. "We got a new crisis buildin' on us, there's these creatures called Dark Seraphs that can infect a person an' use their body as a host and just use it up." He looked to Sam to explain better.

Sam snorted and looked away not at all sure she even wanted to talk to him about the subject. She wasn't exactly in the mood too.

Rude simply shrugged and went for a piece of pizza. Some people just enjoyed pitching a fit, he supposed.

Reno sighed. "Okay then. Well anyway, they infect ya an' then they take over ya from the inside out until they're all that's left in there, apparently. They're tryin' t' wipe us all out, man, an' they're stronger than they look! Gotta really burn 'em good to take 'em out. Thing is..." Reno trailed off for a moment. "We dunno exactly how many there are now."

Rude chewed his food thoughtfully for a moment, swallowed and gave a "well, this isn't good" tilt of his head.

"Yeah, I know man, I know." Reno shook his head.

Sam closed her eyes and spoke to Reno, "Don't worry about the numbers. If I told you how many there were you may not be so willing to fight any of them."

He blanched. "Eh, maybe you're right, there. Anyway, the reason they're gettin' so strong is they've been snappin' up all the little places first, see, an' NOW they're comin' t' Edge an' the big places an' pickin' us off. You heard 'Laney found a body, right?"

Rude nodded.

"Look, man, I'm convinced it's a message for us," Reno said gravely. "It's in the main ShinRa warehouse, dressed up an' left with graffiti art? No fuckin' way that means nothin', yo. It's like what we used t' see in the slums -- they're comin' for us, dude, specifically and it's crazy. I mean, it's like a personal vendet-- shit." Reno interrupted himself again with another epiphany. "Sam, is this over Marcus?"

Sam opened her eyes at the mention of Marcus. She looked over at him. "This is no act of revenge I assure you. Marcus made these creatures and they became as vicious as they are now."

"Then why would they target ShinRa now?" the redhead wondered out loud.

"Because ShinRa...is a bunch of humans...That is the only reason they need. ShinRa is targeted because it is one of the resistances that keep this place alive. Destroy the weapons and the creatures will have free roam of the place without much of a struggle."

Rude gave his "still seems a bit theatrical to me" shrug.

"You've got a point, Rude, we're not as strong as we used to be," Reno conceded. "But I guess we are a part of the feeble protection this place's got. I mean, we just restocked all the emergency supplies an' whatnot. That's there t' deal with panic an' shit, we can't afford t' have another run on them like after Meteor."

"Well, anyway, that's about the long an' short of it," Reno finished. "We gotta move in teams now, anyway, so I figured we'd come get you an' tell you what we knew. I think all of us should meet up, though, get all on the same page an' then make a plan of action! An' by that, I mean, let Tseng do his thing an' make a plan of action! 'Cuz these things are intense, man."

Rude finished downing his third slice of pizza and paused and tilted his head towards Sam questioningly.

Sam narrowed her eyes again when Rude gave her eye contact. She forced her eyes away. So much tension was building in this apartment.

"Anyway, I'm waitin' t' hear back from 'Laney an' Tseng about where we're gonna end up. I'm thinkin' we should go plain-clothes, obviously, more inconspicuous..." Reno went fishing in his pocket for his cigarettes.

Rude sat up and slapped the coffee table and gestured out the door.

Reno winced. "Ah, yeah, I forgot. Sorry, dude, takin' it out." He let himself out the front door and closed it behind him, absorbed in digging in his pocket and lighting up as he sauntered down the stairs.

He inhaled deeply and closed his eyes, then exhaled slowly trying to relax and let the drug do its work.

Rude grunted disapprovingly before taking another slice of pizza.

The sound of a motor roaring in the distance could be heard from down the empty street. The noise grew in volume rapidly as a motorcycle could be seen closing in on the entryway of the apartment. Upon reaching its destination the rider tried to slide the vehicle to a halt, but in doing so ended up tossing himself a short distance away from his bike. "Agh!" the rider let out a small cry as his skin scrapped against the pavement. It was surprising to see him make such a pitiful stop on his bike, but it was no mistaking this man was Cloud Strife.

Rude perked up a bit, the familiar sound disrupting the quiet of his home... or what was left of it.

Reno's forehead creased with curiosity... then suspicion... then outright concern as he heard the motorcycle get closer, and he ventured a look in the direction. When he saw who it was coming straight for him, he almost had no time to react at all. He jumped back instinctively as the bike skidded down the street and Cloud was thrown. "What the -?"

His curiosity got the best of him, and Reno ran across the street to where Cloud lay, scraped up and leaving a trail of blood down the asphalt. "Dude, you okay? What happened, yo?"

Sam heard the roar of the motorcycle and the sound it made when the bike landed. She grew very curious at what that sound was as well. She began to head her way out of the apartment. She didn't like being cooped up in there anyway.

Rude swore inwardly as he got to his feet, apprehensive that the already circus-like atmosphere for the normally Zen solitude of his home was going to escalate.

"Tch..." Cloud clicked his tongue before rolling over. He lifted his body up and caught himself on one knee, holding the arm which had an almost alien wound on it. His sight was going in and out of focus; however, it wasn't from his fall just now. About an hour ago Cloud had awoken to find himself laying outside of Midgar.

He wanted to believe the encounter he had was nothing but a nightmare. He knew, though, that wasn't the case. "We were created by a ShinRa scientist named Marcus..." Those words rung through Cloud's head when he tried to recall what had happened to him. He knew who it was he needed to talk to. "Reno..." Cloud managed to steady himself and return to a standing position. Cloud places his hand over the wound on his arm. "Reno... I need you to take me to that bastard Rufus..."

Reno's look of concern turns to one of annoyance. "No way. Why should I take you anywhere, speakin' about the President like that?"

Rude exited the apartment to see an unfortunately familiar sight. With a sigh, he approached cautiously.

Cloud's eyes narrowed as he shot Reno a glare. "I ran into one of those.. things. The hell were they called?" Cloud's thoughts trailed off for a moment as he tried to recollect everything that was said during his fight. For some reason his mind was hazy. "I think he called himself a Dark Seraph or some crap... Either way he mentioned ShinRa. I know Rufus knows something about all of this."

"Whoa whoa whoa!" Reno's hands were immediately up and he started backing away. "You got hurt by one? A Dark Seraph? When?"

Rude walked up to them.

"That's not important," Cloud replied with a hint of annoyance in his tone. "I need to find out as much information as possible."

Sam seeing the new visitor was very curious of him. Until of course, she heard about him running into a dark seraph and is obviously hurt. She moved her way closer to Reno and got in between them. Her eyes narrowed as she looked into Cloud's eyes. "When did you get infected?"

Reno nodded cautiously. "Sounds good." He looked at Sam. "We'll think about that later. Right now, we've got more important things t' deal with."

Cloud's eyes shifted with avoidance to the side.. He wasn't sure of what the details were. He knew though from what that Seraph had mentioned to him earlier that this 'being infected' thing had to do with being controlled by them. "You don't need to concern yourselves with that detail..." was all he could say in reply.

"Don't need t' -- are you fucking KIDDING me right now, Cloud?" Reno exploded.

Sam narrowed her eyes and she pulled her sword off her back to point it right at him, "It greatly concerns us, now tell me or I'll end your suffering right here and now," she threatened.

Rude watched with interest.

Cloud clenched a fist tightly but decided if he wanted Reno to cooperate with him it was best not to start anything here. Whether he liked it or not, Rufus was slippery and Cloud had no idea where to find him right now. He lifted a hand and pushed Sam's sword out of his face with the outside. "Such a pain... Yes, I had an encounter with one of those things."

"Duh." Reno rolled his eyes.

Sam didn't lower her sword, "You didn't answer my question... When...did you get infected?" She needed to know this information or else this could be a very difficult situation very quickly.

Cloud's eyes shifted to the nosy woman accompanying Reno, he wasn't really sure who she was but she certainly had a lot of questions. "I just woke up about an hour ago outside of Midgar... I don't know how long ago it was that I fought the thing..." Cloud faced Reno again. "Worrying about that is useless though. I need answers not questions.. That monster mentioned ShinRa. I want to know everything he knows about them."

"Yeah, well, here's an answer for ya," Reno said with a snort. "It ain't useless because, at best, ya got a week t' live based on whenever ya met that thing. An' after that, th' rest of us are fucked because your world-savin', hero-strong corpse is gonna infect us all."

Sam lowered her sword and returned it onto her back not seeing any reason to strike him down now since it has only been an hour, but knew in time he will need to be. She moved away so that Reno and Cloud could talk.

Cloud shook his head, "That just sounds like another good reason why you guys are wasting my time... Unless of course you already know a cure?" Cloud retorts to Reno with a glare.

"I wish." Reno sighed and crossed his arms. "At least then I wouldn't hafta imagine all the ways you'll be slicin' me t' pieces, every time I close my eyes for the next week."

Cloud closed his eyes and gripped at the handle of his motorcycle. "That's what I thought." He reached into his pocket and pulled his goggles out, placing them over his eyes. "In that case bring me to Rufus. If you don't want me going on a rampage in the next week then I need to talk to the right people," he tried to reason with the Turk.

Reno groaned and looked behind him to Rude for help. He didn't know if Rufus knew any more than they did -- though, it would make sense, he supposed.

Sam spoke up to answer it. "There is no cure for it. I highly doubt a ShinRa head is going to know of any cure or else this wouldn't have gotten as far as it has. No one knows it...at least not anymore."

Cloud hopped over on to his bike. "Hm? I don't expect that guy to know enough to fix this, like hell if he's been the answer to everything for me before. He's the only lead I have right now though, he's my best bet for figuring out who I should be turning to."

Sam shrugged her shoulders not at all sure what else to tell him.

Rude watched the exchange in silence. He had to admit, if Cloud was in trouble, they were all pretty much screwed.

Reno sighed again with Rude's body language. "Alright..." he groaned. "I guess it can't be much worse than this. Rude... um... d'you have wheels, though? We, uh, walked here."

Sam chuckled and began to walk away. "You guys go right ahead, I am going to head myself back to the apartment okay?" she told him. She was not going to get on another vehicle again.

"Oh... right. Yeah, better she stay away from Rufus anyway... Uh... she can stay here, right?" Reno looked at Rude pleadingly.

Rude sighed, typical of Reno... He nodded, it'd be fine as long as she didn't screw anything up, and not that he was TOO worried about it. He wasn't thrilled about the idea of a stranger in his personal sanctuary poking around, pacing, impatient, but he had very little choice at the moment.

Sam shook her head and waved that off, "No thanks, I think I’ll go back to YOUR apartment Reno. You guys have fun, 'kay?"

"THANK Y-- uh?" Reno was interrupted by that. "Muh-muh-my apartment?"
shinra_dog: (Lounge)
Sam let Reno lead her and wasn't sure where they were going exactly. She hadn't been around Midgar in a long time and yesterday she didn't have a good chance to have a good look around at the changes.

She had to admit though, coming here wasn't all that bad. She did get to see Reno again...She couldn't help but to feel grateful to him by his outburst to her when she was at her most vulnerable. She felt like she really needed to be smacked mentally from that state.

She found it a bit funny though. He says he owed her, but has he forgotten about what happened all those years ago? She actually had to pay him back from that action he did, even if it meant losing his job.

"After Meteor an' then Geostigma, we relocated here t' Edge, just outside Midgar," Reno said to her as they walked. "You can still see the remains of the old city from anywhere in here. It was pretty massive..." They took a left turn at the next street. "We've done some clean up there, but it's such a big job... I dunno if it'll ever get done, y'know? Might just be left for awhile, I guess a testament to our mistakes."

Sam, hearing the random start of a conversation, listened. She glanced around for a moment before responding, "Well, if things don't stop now, then I assure you...This place will be even more of a mess. I am quite surprised how much you know even though you only encountered these creatures once...a new one in fact."

"I'm a fast learner," Reno answered with a shrug. "Ya had t' be, where I came from. ShinRa only honed it an' made it useful. Besides -- every action comes from somewhere. Only gotta keep that in mind, an' ya can figure out a lotta stuff. Not t' mention this sorta thing isn't exactly unique."

Sam nodded her head knowing it wasn't an unknown idea that wasn't created before. "They have other...ideas they may try, but I'd rather get them pushed back and prevent taking over Midgar any time soon...I want you to do something for me though..."

Reno looked over his shoulder at her, eyebrows raised in curiosity. "An' what's that?"

Sam stopped walking and gave him a hard serious look. "If a Dark Seraph comes with six wings and chains around his arms...I want you to take everyone...the Turks, everyone, out of the area. Leave me behind."

Reno stopped in his tracks as well and turned to face her. "Leave you behind? Why can't you come, too? What Dark Seraph is that?"

Sam decided it was better to answer him. "I lost a loved one by his hands... His name is Uriko. I have escaped him once, but I doubt there will be a second time. If I were to run too, you and the other Turks would all perish my fate. If I'm going to die, I want to at least know some good came out of it."

Reno thought for a moment. "But..." he began, "if you die, what's to stop Uriko from killing everyone else anyway?"

"He has no intent in going after you and all of Midgar alone. I am on the high hit list for him because I got away. He wants to make sure I die suffering. He already knows I'm suffering after watching a loved one's death. He still hasn't found me yet. If he were to come at me, you guys would have plenty of time to get away from there...He will let me die slowly and I will assure you I will live enough to make sure you get away." She didn't really think that all through. It just fell out of her mouth.

Reno stared at her, his emotions in tumultuous chaos over all of this. After a moment, he just shook his head. "Don't sacrifice yourself just yet," he said, and turned to continue walking. "The Dark Seraphs wanna take out everyone eventually, right? Your death isn't gonna change that goal. So if ya go, ya better go with a bang. But let's just cross that bridge when we come to it."

Sam stood there for a moment before continuing to follow him. "Yes, but at least living a bit longer would be meaningful...better than dying right then and there....I told you before, I'm going to do what I can until my last breath." She smiled slightly, "I'm not going to let him take me down just like that."

Reno smirked. "Good. Don't let that last breath go too easy or too soon, yo."

Sam shook her head. "I won't...if my death is coming I will at least yank all of his wings off the bastard before I go down." She wondered where they were going still. She was starting to get hungry herself.

Reno's smirk widened into a full-on grin at that. "Y'know, though," he said after a moment, "ya don't have to feel alone."

He made a right and nodded to a glowing sign up ahead, some of the letters flickering. "There's the best pizza place in town, yo. Perfect place t' stop for some dinner, an' pick up a bribe for Rude. Dunno if 'Laney's called him yet, but he's not big on bein' disturbed, especially with strangers."

"You wanna eat in?" Reno asked before opening the door. "Or you wanna get to-go? Up to you, you gotta keep a lower profile than I do."

Sam honestly didn't think it really mattered what action she took anyway. "We can go inside to eat. I don't mind..." She highly doubted the creatures would be in that building anyway, but she can never tell unless they finally reveal themselves.

"Alrighty then." Reno held open the door for Sam.

Sam nodded her head in thanks and walked inside. She was hit immediately by the multiple smells of the place. It wasn't too overwhelming though. She stepped aside letting Reno go ahead of her as she had no idea what she had to do.

Reno led Sam up to a counter where, overhead, a vast menu was displayed. "Feel free ta' order whatever ya like if ya want somethin' in particular," he told her. "Or we can just split a pizza.”

Sam responded, "Nothing in particular in mind. If you don't mind, order for me please." She'd rather have it that way. She may find it amusing what he would choose for her.

"Uh... 'kay..." Reno wasn't one of those people who were big on ordering for others, so he went as basic as he could think of. "Can I get a large cheese pizza please? Yeah, an' another one to go, hold for twenty minutes or so on that."

Sam chuckled at his choice of pizza. Clearly her telling him to choose made him go to the easiest route. She couldn't blame that on him. She pulled the hood off her head not seeing a whole lot of point wearing it indoors. She wanted to look less noticeable. Seeing two hooded figures is very nerve wrecking to some. "Did I stress you on telling you to order for me?" She asked.

Reno shrugged, letting his sweatshirt's hood fall, too. "Not really, but I figured better keep it simple -- better safe than sorry, right? Don't tell me ya don't like plain cheese, now."

Sam grinned slightly. "If I can eat it, I don't really care what kind it is." She pulled her hair out of the cloak. She stroked her hair a bit to straighten it out with her fingers. She had two white feathers hiding in her thick hair that became visible when she combed it. She leaned her back against the chair closing her eyes.

It wasn't long before their number was called and Reno brought the pizza back to their table with some plates and an abundance of napkins. He inhaled appreciatively. "Mmm, food... I thought I'd never get any today."

Sam really didn't expect any food today at all either. "You and me both..." She opened her eyes to look to see what he had brought. She couldn't really smell it sense of how much food is in this place.

Reno was about to take a large bite out of a slice he'd folded in half when he stopped at grinned at Sam. "Actually, you first," he said playfully. "I wanna see what you think."

Sam gave a small laugh, "Oh, me first? What, did you poison it or something?" She joked before taking a slice of the pizza to take a bite out of it. She showed no hesitation in doing so. It has been awhile since she has eaten human food. She swallowed and smiled, "It’s good."

"Good? Just good?" Reno exclaimed, mock-indignant. "Sam, this is the best pizza place that's ever been!"

Sam shrugged her shoulders. "I can't really agree with you since I haven't had human food in a long while, so don't really have 'pizza' experience like you do. So yeah, it’s good."

"Well, just so you know, your first meal out of a tree is the crème de la crème of pizza kind." With that, Reno returned to devouring his own slice.

Sam chuckled at that and continued to eat the slice of pizza she had till she was finished. She wasn't full, but she can be satisfied with that for now. She crossed her arms and her mind began to roam as she sat there. Sometimes she wished a fight would just break out when her mind began to think. She found her mind recently a very harsh and merciless opponent.

She looked at Reno wondering if she was doing anything right by helping them. She wondered if it was for him or was it just because they were human beings too. She wondered if all she was to him was just something to protect until all of this was over. "Hey, Reno. I need to tell you something...you may want to stop thinking you owe me anything." She had a bit of guilt for having this drag this long.

Reno stopped his second slice of pizza hanging between his hand and his mouth. "Umm... Here?"

She glanced around not seeing any problem with it. "Oh stop worrying too much...even if there were any around here, they wouldn't care one bit. It wouldn't change their plans at all. It isn't you that should owe me, more like the other way around. It was 12 years ago."

"You owe me?" Reno put the remainder of the slice down on his plate and looked at her with confused curiosity. "How's that?"

Sam wasn't sure if she should say this part out loud. She responded, "I cannot speak this out loud though, unless you want to risk your job." She placed her arms on the table crossing them as she leaned in on them a bit.

Reno froze. No, his job was rather important. Extremely important. "Er, maybe later."

He heard the number called for Rude's pizza. "You just about ready to go?" he asked.

Sam nodded her head and got up onto her feet. "Ready to go save the world one Dark Seraph at a time? Not so much...but I am as ready as I will ever be." She began to walk off to head outside to wait.

Reno chuckled at that and cleaned off their table, grabbing the to-go pizza box on the way out. "Okay, onward we go."
shinra_dog: (Daze)
Sam remained in the bathroom even after the ill feeling left her. She looked at her hand and flexed the fingers a bit. She knew it had been awhile since she had this sort of similar feeling before, but it seemed worse this time. She didn't listen in on their conversation not having any care to it. This wasn't her responsibility. Her eyes glowing in the darkness would seem eerie to a lot of people, but she had a lot of softness to them. She had let the cold exterior fade from her body long ago. Even when she would bring it up, as she has done the last day or so, it would quickly fall.

Reno sighed as he closed the door behind Yuffie, having finally gotten her to leave. He wasn't sure how much time had actually passed, but talking to her made it seem much longer. As he sank onto the sofa and massaged his eyes, he nearly forgot about Sam.

Sam! Where was she again? Oh, right, she'd shut herself away in the bathroom. That was a little weird.

With a soft groan, Reno pushed himself back up to standing again and lightly knocked on the bathroom door. "Sam? You okay in there?"

Sam heard the knocking and sighed hearing his voice. She didn't mind it though. She really did feel like talking to someone actually made her feel a bit better. She really hadn't talked to many people since after his death, "You can come in if you want..." She told him not motioning to get up.

Reno paused, uncertain about that -- there really was no telling what he'd find behind that door. After a moment of thinking about it, though, he slowly opened it. "You decent?"

Blink blink. "It's dark in here, yo, you been sittin' in the pitch black this whole time?"

Sam lifted up her head and responds, "Didn't feel up to turning on the lights, sorry." She leaned her head back against the wall. "Also, I'm sorry for giving you a scare earlier." She wasn't sure what else to say to him about that.

Reno shook his head. "Don't apologize if you're sick, yo, just wanna make sure you're okay. You were kinda freakin' earlier, what was that all about? You need ta' lie down again?"

Sam blinked not at all expecting someone like him would make sure she was 'okay'. She would be lying if she wasn't touched by this. She shook her head, "No, I am fine now. Don't worry about that...I don't think it will happen again any time soon. However, since I am in your own home, I have to tell you something at least. I have this relapse ever since I lost him to those dark seraphs. I can sense the life stream from life forms. You know we are all created from the life stream...even the animals and trees. My body is slowly dying..."

Reno gave her an odd look. "Waitaminute... start from the beginnin' here. What?"

Sam stood up onto her feet using the wall for support, "You know I'm not fully human. I don't blame you for not understanding anything that I say...That is okay. I will be gone before that happens to me again. I rather not put you in harms way when I can prevent it."

Reno raised his hands, half in a "hold up" motion and half to keep her from leaving. "Whoa there, this is exactly what I'm talkin' about. Harms way? What does that hafta do with the Lifestream an' slowly dyin' and... and whatever?" He gave her a hard look, pressing for answers.

Sam stopped and gave him silent eye contact. She wasn't sure how to make him understand. He is a Turk...he couldn't understand. It still amazed her she would say that he may get hurt and he still showed concern. "You really are a strange one...you care for an enemy even though I could try and kill you right now..You have no weapon on you so you're completely unarmed...Why do you care for an ex-rebel like me?"

"Look, lemme be perfectly clear," Reno began, "I don't care for enemies. I don't care for rebels. But ya saved my life, so 'til the end a' today or longer if it happens again, I owe ya one. Furthermore, if ya say somethin' like I'm in 'harms way,' doncha' think I'd care about that?"

"Not t' mention," he continued, "an' I'm sure this'll stir your anti-ShinRa ire, but you're a valuable resource. You've got experience with the Dark Seraphs, you were trained as a SOLDIER, an' you're damn strong. You're an investment worth protectin', yo."

Sam couldn't help a small smile at that. She was continually amused by him returning back to the ShinRa's mind. He clearly was into his work even though he did show laziness to it. Hearing that last part she lost the smile, "Experience... I saved you yes, but that luck will eventually run out. I am not sure exactly if I could withstand more guilt. I have to admit this to you, but you're one of the only few left that actually have seen me in the past and know who I am."

"Doesn't matter," Reno answered readily.

Sam grit her teeth when he said that. She took that as an offense and was clearly upset, "'Doesn't matter'?? Do you have ANY idea what I have gone through with these damn things!? I spent two years running from these damn dark seraphs that killed the one I loved. I watched him die and there was nothing I could do about it! He told me to run while he held them off knowing what was going to become of him! I ran away!...I was a coward.." She didn't hold back the tears as she did when the sprinklers went off.

Her glowing eyes seemed to have a glassy appearance to them.

Reno stared at her long and hard, the same look in his eye, as he listened and let her finish. Once she was done, he inhaled slowly through his nose.

"Doesn't matter," he repeated. "Look -- we all do things we regret. But we can't change the past. The only way we ever know if we can 'withstand more guilt,' as you say, is t' just get up off our asses an' try. An' if we've learned anythin' at all, then the next time around we shouldn't do anythin' that'll make us feel guilt. But sittin' around and cryin', feelin' bad for ourselves because we fucked up so long ago an' we can't do anythin' about it? That changes nothing."

There was a harsh, cold deadness to his eyes as he spoke -- the eyes of a true Turk, deadly and never scar-free from the job.

"You don't wanna be a coward? Then stop running."

Sam listened to him and wasn't sure what she should do for herself. Even if she did try and stop these Dark Seraphs, no matter what she did, it still wouldn't bring him back or anyone in fact. Apart of her wanted revenge for his death, but was that really what she wanted? Or should she fight to actually save everyone that she could? Her mind felt scattered all over the place.

She stared at him with soft eyes for some time before suddenly started moving towards him. She opened up her arms and leaned over to wrap her arms around him in a hug.

Sam's hug caught Reno off-guard and he froze for a moment. Bloodthirsty assassins don't often get cuddles. But it broke him of his icy exterior and, relieved he'd apparently gotten through to her, he briefly returned Sam's embrace.

"A'right now, buck up," he said after a few seconds. "People gonna need you -- gotta be strong now, 'kay?"

Sam buried her head into his neck and nodded a bit. She spoke into his neck, "Fine...I'll do what I can until I take my last breath." She promised. She wasn't sure how much she truly can do before that happens, but she was willing to try.

It did feel good to actually hug someone though. Even if that person is a Turk, oddly at that.

"Good. I'll hold ya t' that." Reno gently brought Sam back to hold her at arm's length. His eyes now adjusted to the dim light from the doorway, he could see she was so... so... disheveled. He couldn't help but smile crookedly at her puffy-eyed post-crying face.

Sam let him go and stared back at him. She nodded her head as a response not even making a motion to try and hide the tears from her eyes. It was much too late to hide them now. She didn't feel quite embarrassed as she thought she would be though. How broken was she? She felt so confused and her mind was going all over the place. She found it even crazy she would actually have a short thought in her mind that actually thought he was somewhat attractive. Why!?

"I'll, uh, letcha' clean yourself up," Reno suggested. "Want me to hit the lights for ya on my way out?"

Sam put a hand up to her eyes and wiped the already drying tears from her face, "I think I can turn the lights on myself if you don't mind. I'm not that totally worthless." She joked slightly.

"Thank you.."

Reno chuckled. "No problem." He turned and headed back to the common room to give her some privacy.

Sam watched him go before turning the lights on in the bathroom. She looked at herself in the mirror and the first thought that came to mind was thank goodness the lights weren't on in the first place. She must have looked awful in the dark, but with the lights on it looked much worse. She let out a sigh and turned on the water to begin wiping off her face to get rid of all the traces of where the tears were.

Reno looked around, trying to occupy himself so it didn't look like he was listening to Sam wash her face. That would be... weird, to say the least. He sighed, and almost in unison, his stomach grumbled, surprising him. It was later than he thought, and now that he finally had a moment to himself he realized how hungry he was.

Not that he had any food in the place.

"Mind if I order a pizza?" he called to the bathroom.

Sam turned off the water and responds, "That is totally up to you. It’s your home." She wasn't sure why he would ask her if he could order pizza. She shrugged her shoulders and went to wipe her face with a towel before heading out. Then the phone rang.

Sam would be able to easily hear Reno groan from down the hall.

"Food's gonna hafta wait," he said with a tinge of regret. "It's work."

He put the phone to his ear. "Yeah, 'Laney?"

Elena replied, "Tseng gave me orders to tell you that we can no longer move around separately to do our assignments...we will all be on call for now. So be prepared to leave if you're called Reno, this is serious." She warned him knowing his laziness could sometimes irritate her.

"I'm guessin' you heard about the incident at the lab, then?" Reno asked, assuming that was why orders changed. He wasn't about to question strength in numbers -- he'd seen firsthand that Dark Seraphs meant business and could easily rip someone to pieces. Besides, an emphasis on team work meant he'd be spending more time with Rude.

Elena was silent for a moment before responding, "What? Something happened in the lab too?" Tseng never told her something happened in the lab.

Reno's eyebrows couldn't rise any higher. "You serious, yo?" he blurted out. "He didn't tell you? Then... why did you think orders changed now?"

Elena bit her bottom lip finding this situation getting even more serious, "The main warehouse was broken in. I went to scout it out and there was a murder case there. Tseng came and he happened to mention something about a Dark Seraph and someone..or something showed up, but we never actually saw it...we just heard it talking to itself."

That was most definitely not good. "Damn..." There was one thing that confused Reno, though.

"But, why break into the main warehouse to kill someone? Or even stash a body?' he wondered aloud. "I mean, if ya want attention, there's a good chance no one's gonna find it. But if ya want to hide the crime, there's easier ways than breakin' one of our heavy locks. I mean, break a ShinRa lock, and..."

He stopped as he realized it. "Break a ShinRa lock, an' ShinRa's gonna notice. 'Laney, this is big -- whoever left that body knew what they were doin'. They wanted someone t' notice, but not just anyone, they wanted us t' notice!"

Reno felt a sinking feeling in his gut. "Elena, we all need to meet and share info, ASAP. We just got sent a message."

Reno had no idea how right he was. Elena took a moment in thought. She was not told she couldn't share the info she had to another Turk. "I think we should...I haven't even seen these things and from what I have heard...It sounds a very ill intent."

Reno realized something else. " 'Laney, we gotta go off the grid for this. Somethin' tells me there's somethin' deeper here, an' I got a feelin' we've just got targets painted on our backs. Don't go anywhere alone if you can help it -- stay with Tseng if you just saw 'im. We gotta meet in the most... non-ShinRa place we can think of."

"Most importantly -- make sure you're not followed."

Elena nodded her head agreeing, "I think that is a sound plan..." She couldn't think of anywhere on the top of her head that would fit that location though.

"Tell Tseng. With all of us, we'll figure out somethin'." He'd better, he knew.

Elena responds, "Understood...I will call when I find something else out..." She wondered if Tseng had any ideas on this.

"Oh -- and 'Laney?"

"Yeah?"

"Find Shana, too. You guys used t' be, y'know, friends..." Awkward. "She was an important witness. Anythin' that happens from here on out could put her in danger."
shinra_dog: (glare)
Yuffie had waited a good two hours before walking towards Reno's apartment. Really that was about the max amount of time the young ninja could wait. She was an impatient person. Besides, Reno was a simple-minded man. Surely he'd be more inclined to talk now, right? The young ninja walked up to the door to the red head's apartment and knocked loudly on the door. "RENO," she yelled, hoping to quickly get his attention.

Reno's concern for Sam was dashed with the pounding on his door. "Dammit," he grumbled, fumbling out of the sheets and into his clothes again. Nap time was officially over. He stomped down the hallway, only sparing a glance to see if Sam was okay on the couch, before checking the peep-hole to his door. Yuffie. Of course.

When it took Reno more than ten seconds to answer the door. Yuffie began pounding again. Mostly just to annoy him, however. She heard his loud stomp as he made his way towards the front door; she was pretty sure he was looking through the little peep-hole too. "Reno, open the door. I know you're in there," she yelled.

Sam didn't pay him any mind as she was more focused on something else at the moment. The pounding and yelling at the door didn't help her much. She forced herself up onto her feet. It seemed like a huge chore just to do that. She walked into the bathroom and shut the door keeping it unlocked as she sat herself against the wall with the lights shut off.

Reno whipped the door open and grabbed Yuffie's wrist mid-pound so it wouldn't hit him in the face. "Get in here and stop shouting!" he hissed, obviously angry.

The young ninja yanked her hand out of the red-head's as she stifled a laugh. She loved annoying Reno, it was one of her favourite past-times. Yuffie stepped into Reno's less-than-clean apartment and allowed him to close the door. "Nice bachelor pad," Yuffie snarked.

Sam could hear the farmilar voice through the bathroom door, but made no motion to greet or see her.

"Gee, thanks," Reno answered in the same fashion. "Damn, Yuffie, why ya gotta be so loud? You coulda' caused a real scene out there, yo."

"Why do you have to be so stupid," Yuffie retorted back, tilting her head to one side as if she were serious about the question. "It's not like people will think something's going on, Reno. I'm sure girls are at your apartment all the time."

"That's not the point," Reno growled. "I certainly wouldn't have anythin' goin' on with you. Why're you here poundin' on my door, anyway?"

"What's that supposed to mean," the young ninja nearly shouted. Crossing her arms over her chest, she said, "It would be me that wouldn't have anything going on with you." She stuck her tongue out at the red-head childishly and stomped her foot. Really, it came as a shock to some to find out that she was head of the espionage and intelligence gathering department in the WRO. She could be so immature at times.

"Anyways, I came to collect," continued Yuffie. "You all left me with little satisfaction earlier this morning, and I want to know more. Besides, Reno, you owe me."

Reno raised his eyebrows indignantly. "I owe you? An' why's that, princess?"

A smug grin played its way across the Wutaian's face. "You remember that insane party at Tifa's a couple weeks ago? You got so drunk, you were hung over for a day and a half. Let's just say that you got pretty crazy that night, and I have documented evidence of just how crazy you went. If you don't want a certain someone to see those photos, you'll tell me what I want to know," said Yuffie with an evil grin. She loved getting whatever she wanted.

Reno's eye twitched. He remembered that party. He remembered he went because Cloud was barely there -- seriously, that guy missed out on everything, insisting on brooding alone. The question was, did he remember everything about that night? Reno couldn't be sure. "You're more twisted an' evil than I am, Kisaragi," he grumbled at her. "Fine -- whaddaya wanna know?"

A loud yell issued from the young ninja's mouth as she jumped and punched the air with victory. Oh the immaturity....After her little display of victory, Yuffie became serious; so serious, in fact, that, if you didn't know better, you'd think she was a completely different person. But Yuffie knew what to take seriously (most of the time). "Let's start off with what's in the building we were at earlier today."

Sam remained in the bathroom sitting in the darkness. She could hear the girl's voice and wondered what the hell she wanted again. He couldn't help, but to be annoyed at her presence by how persistant she wanted the information.

Reno blinked at the sudden change in Yuffie's demeanor. "Uh... the building this morning? It's a free clinic, graciously funded by GGG Heavy Industries."

"Obviously there's more to the story than that," said Yuffie. "Who are GGG Heavy Industries?"

"GGG Heavy Industries," Reno repeated. "Uh, Gideon Graves. He runs that new nightclub that just opened up a li'l while ago. I think he's a technology investor, R&D. Probably givin' money t' your precious li'l WRO and fundin' private enterprises seekin' new resources. Isn't your buddy Barrett tryin' t' tap oil?"

"What would the owner of a nightclub be doing funding something like a 'free clinic,'" Yuffie muttered to herself, folding her arms over her chest again, this time in thought. "Unless....What's so important in this 'free clinic' that it would catch the attention of a technology investor and Shinra's eyes?"

Time for the quick lying he was famous for. "Why wouldn't he fund it?" Reno asked. "Can't a guy just decide t' help a community torn apart by multiple crises? I mean, are you this suspicious of Reeve, too?"

Yuffie's eyes narrowed dangerously at the thinly veiled insult. Within the blink of an eye, Yuffie's Conformer, which had been securely strapped her to her back, was in her hand and pointed at the red-head's throat. "Reeve already proved himself to be trustworthy back when Shinra wasn't," Yuffie hissed at Reno.

"I wouldn't never question Reeve," she said louder. "Besides, Reno, not everyone is as benevolent as Reeve or as guilt-ridden as Shinra. I've been around people too long to know that almost none of them do something for others unless they get something for it. But if you're so convinced of this Graves's benevolence, then surely you'll be happy to introduce me to him."

"With pleasure," Reno growled, barely holding himself back from getting into an all-out fight. "But lemme tell ya somethin', Yuffie, I've been around people too long t' know that no one got outta Meteor unscathed. Everybody lost something, or somebody. Graves funds a clinic. The basement holds the morgue, autopsies, and pharmaceuticals. But I'll just let ya ask him yerself."

She could tell he was angry right now; not that she really blamed him. Even if he deserved it, she would've gotten mad as well if he shoved a weapon in her face. Yuffie had to take a moment to calm down. It would not do either of them well if they got into a fight. As much as she didn't want to admit it, she knew he was right. No one was safe from physical or mental damage during any of the crisises that had happened in the past four years. Still, the young ninja got the feeling that Reno was desperately trying to hide something. In some ways, it gave her chills. What could possibly be at that clinic that even Reno would want to keep quiet about it? Oh well, Yuffie didn't think she should stress the Turkey out that much. "I look forward to meeting him," said she, signaling her white flag.

"Tomorrow at seven?" he asked.

"Sounds good," she replied.

"See you then."

Yuffie took her cue to leave. She gave the red-head a two finger salute and said, "See ya!" With that, she turned around and walked out the door.

Reno watched her go, and then finally relaxed. He'd have to see Gideon again -- willingly. Fantastic. But it was better than letting anything slip just yet. Not before he sorted things out in his own head.
shinra_dog: (WTF?)
Sam found him a bit odd as he turned on the tv. She could be lying and could attack him right here and right now. She even had her sword out and ready in case she decided to go that route. She knew she couldn't do that.

She put the sword up against the wall and made herself comfortable on the sofa. She wasn't the kind to watch tv, but the voices on it seemed a bit too comforting to her as she closed her eyes. Before she knew it, she had actually fallen asleep right next to someone she wasn't sure was exactly a friend or foe yet.

Reno yawned.  "Hey, Sam, I'm gonna -- oh."  He smirked when he saw her sleeping.  It was a little amusing to see her brought down from her superhuman level to this softer image.  She was actually really pretty this way, he noticed.  With a smile, he turned off the tv and softly rose to pad down to his own bedroom.  He deserved a good long nap, too.

Sam remained asleep until about mid afternoon. She sat up and rubbed her eyes wondering how long she had been out for. Probably the longest she has slept in a very long time. She didn't have to wait up every half hour just so she could make sure things were clear.

She yawned and stood up off the couch to stretch herself out. She had gotten a good sleep, but her body cramped for being in a sitting position for too long.

Reno was still in bed when Sam awoke, his clean clothes simply thrown in a pile on the floor.  In fact, his whole apartment was in similar disarray from a combination of his busy schedule and his natural laziness.  Reno had a limited motivation, and when it was tapped, it was tapped.  There was no way he was going to clean after working -- he was tired -- and there was no way he was going to clean overly much when he was off, since he was so damn glad he wasn't working.  Reno was used to his sloppiness, but a guest might not be as comfortable.

Sam did take note on how sloppy the place was, but she didn't seem to mind a whole lot. She hadn't been in a place where she could actually keep clean in a very long time. She was just happy to sleep under a roof and not wide open for any attack. Thats all she really cared about in a place like this.

She looked over at her sword and frowned wondering if she should take off now and never turn back here. She knew the dark seraphs were starting to get through the walls and doing more mental damage to the people around here. If you get people in disray in a long period of time then it would be easier to take them down.

She walked over to her sword and looked at it as she went through a mental battle with herself. She should stay and help...or should she let them die and suffer for the past events they have caused? Why can't she just leave?

She felt really light headed and wondered if she had gotten up to fast. She placed her hand over her head and stood there hoping it would settle, but it only got worse. Her eyes seemed to take on a brighter shade of green and she placed her hand on the wall to help her stand onto her feet. She looked around in some sort of panic. Everything seemed to be a blue tint through her eyes. Except something seemed to glow a bright green in her vision. She felt a sense of hunger hit her as she began to stumble her way down the hallway right into Reno's room. She placed her hand against the door frame breathing heavily. Sweat began to bead down her forehead and dripping down off her face.

The sounds of Sam stumbling and squeaking down the hall woke Reno and he sat up with a jolt, gripping his gun again, having forgotten Sam had been asleep in the other room.  When he saw her figure in the doorway, he began to relax.  "Hey, Yagasaki, what's up? Why you..."

He trailed off.  Something was wrong with the situation.

Sam looked for the source of the green glow that she could only see. She looked at Reno seeing it came from him. She took a step forward, but stopped to close her eyes and place her hand over her face trying to get herself to focus on reality. She tried to cast the unknown thoughts that were entering into her mind, but they seemed to come back stronger then they were before.

Reno's forehead creased with a mixture concern and suspicion.  "Sam!" he called out to her sharply. "What's wrong?"

Sam could faintly hear him as he called to her. She reopened her eyes to see him in a clear view. The glow faded and the blue tint faded. Her knees suddenly felt weak and it forced her down onto them. She dropped her hand off her face. She stared at the floor trying to wait out the ill feeling that washed over her. As soon as she could reply, she answered, "I'm...i'm...fine.." She struggled out.
shinra_dog: (Lounge)

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, "Alright..you 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 did...to 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 around...at 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.

Day Three

Sep. 7th, 2011 01:19 pm
shinra_dog: (not innocent)

Reno stretched as he exited the garage, then let his arms fall to his sides with a sigh. Decontaminating the lab was long and hard, not to mention thankless and frustrating. He was glad for Sam's help, though. Tseng's "supervisory" role would have been much less tolerable without it. Now, however, with the morning sun hitting his bare skin, smelling like bleach and attracting stares, Reno just wanted to get back to his apartment and shower.


Tseng steps out from the building behind Reno. The sun didn't seem to effect him much, but of course since his eyes were already closed it was a bit difficult to tell. "Good work today.. Ah Reno, you may want to get home and take a shower by the way, you reak of bleach." Tseng suggests as he starts to walk towards his expensive black car.

Sam tried not to breathe through her nose as it would burn if she were to inhale through it. The enhanced sense didn't help very much. She was relieved to be finished so she could exit out through the garage to have a breath of fresh air. She didn't feel she should be involved with their conversation, so went on ahead.

Reno's eye twitched. "Thanks, Tseng. I'll take that into consideration," he said sarcastically, as if he needed the outside suggestion. He slung his leg over his bike and straddled it, grumbling to his helmet which wouldn't fire him for the things he said. "You sure you don't need a ride anywhere?" he asked Sam. "Sun's up."

Sam knew it wouldn't be a good idea to travel now the way she got here now that the sun is up. She wasn't sure where she was going to go. She really had no destination in mind. A thought came to mind and she responds, "I left something back at your place. I need to go back and get it."

Yuffie stifled a yawn with her purple glove. Wouldn't do her any good if she were discovered. That defeated the purpose of "sneaking around." Actually, she was sneaking around with a purpose this time. There have been rumors recently circulating around about a potential "new crisis" threatening the Planet. Not many people within the WRO knew about it; they were only rumours. However, Reeve didn't want to take any chances, and so he sent Yuffie to investigate.  Thus why she found herself hiding in the bushes next to this suspicious-looking building. She was quietly listening for people coming and going, and hoping that they dropped verbal hints as they entered and exited the building, but so far it had been pretty boring. No one had really left or entered, and she'd been there for quite some time. Stifling another yawn, Yuffie slumped over as she battled sleep. As soon as she decided to close her eyes (but only for a moment), she heard something that definitely caught her interest. The doors had swished open quietly, and voices could now be heard. Opening her eyes again, Yuffie sat up at listened to the oddly familiar voices as they continued speaking.

"Oh... yeah, I guess you did," Reno was answering Sam. He wasn't even thinking about that before, he'd left in such a hurry. He only noticed now that he wasn't completely preoccupied that she wasn't wearing anything over her small shirt. Small, white, soaked shirt.... Focus, Reno, focus! "Um, ya wanna come back with me then? You can use my shower, too, I guess..." he offered awkwardly.

Sam seemed to have a mental battle erupt inside of her mind as she thought about going back. Most of this battle was actually to get on the bike more than anything. She let out a heavy sigh and nodded her head, "Alright...don't drive crazy like you did on the way here...or there will be an accident." She warned him.

Meanwhile, inside the lab, a man who appeared to be a janitor was retrieving data from a small, hidden electronic device in the morgue into what appeared to be a smart phone. Disconnected it and hid it on his cart and went on his way.

Having left his spare helmet across town when Sam declined, Reno offered her his. "Alright, deal. Besides, emergency's kinda over for now, right? Think we can relax for the fifteen minutes or so."

Yuffie frowned as the voices got louder. She could swear that Reno was right around the corner from her. And she thought she could also hear Tseng as well, but he only spoke briefly. The third voice was a woman she didn't recognize.

Sam walked over and took the helmet from him, "Hmm...for a short while, but who knows for how long, I don't know..." She put the helmet over her head and adjusted it to for her size. She has never worn one before, but was smart enough to figure this out. She felt her heart fall though when she actually got onto the bike. She wasn't sure what she was more worried about. Was it to be on a bike or was it that she would be forced to touch his bare skin on the way back. She swallowed hard and couldn't help but turn red a bit as she leaned over, wrapping her arms around his waist.

"Can ya breathe okay?" Reno asked over his shoulder. "There's a vent switch right under the visor, should be open for ya already. But once we get goin', if it ain't enough feel free ta' just open up the whole front, I'll block most a' the wind for ya."

Sam listened, but wasn't sure what he meant for a moment till she messed with the helmet for a moment, "oh okay...thanks." She said before situating herself again. She closed her eyes tightly feeling a panic hit her twice as hard when she realized they were about to go.

He had just opened the door to his car and stepped in when Tseng suddenly could hear a faint rustling coming from the bushes nearby. Normally he would brush off such things as an animal, but after the events of tonight it was too suspicious. Among that he also just had a feeling...something was off. He turned around quietly and slowly approached the set of bushes, carefully pulling his materia pistol from his pocket.

Ohdamn! Yuffie thought as she heard the unmistakable click of dress shoes approaching her hiding spot. Perhaps she hadn't been careful enough when she sat up. Cursing herself for not being careful, Yuffie's hand tightened around her Conformer. As soon as Yuffie could see the shoes from between the leaves, she sprang up and swung her over-sized shuriken towards whoever it was that discovered her.

Tseng reacted quickly to the sudden appearance of Yuffie in front of him, pointing his gun toward the giant shuriken coming in his direction. As he shoots in an attempt to deflect the weapon he suddenly remembers that he forgot to swap out the full cure materia he was using earlier. A mist of cure magic futily surrounds the weapon as it comes down and gashes Tseng's knuckles. "Gah!" Tseng yells as he grabs his now bleeding hands.

"What the - ?!" Reno reacted to the sudden threat by shifting his weight -- and the bike's -- suddenly, his left hand going for a weapon. And then he saw Yuffie. "Yuffie? What the hell, man?" he asked. She was a ninja, sure, but this... this he just couldn't take seriously. Though watching Tseng get flustered and hurt, when he was always telling Reno to be prepared no matter what, was pretty amusing.

Sam blinked when she heard him speak and looked out over to who he spoke to. She arched an eyebrow wondering how long that person had been there. She didn't remember walking by her when she walked out of the building, "Who?"

"Tseng!" exclaimed Yuffie as she nearly dropped her weapon. But she was able to keep the large ninja star in her hands as she leaped over the bushes to see how bad Tseng's now bleeding hand was. She wasn't exactly friends with the Turks, but after their help the past few years, she was much more willing to trust them. "I'm sorry," she exclaimed while attempting to cure the wound. It wasn't that bad, but she still instinctively felt bad for cutting the man's hand. "Are you alright," she asked, purposefully ignoring Reno.

Tseng rolled his wrist a few times upon his hands being cured. It didn't hurt too badly, it was more the surprise of them getting hit that got to him. "Yes, they're fine," Tseng assures her, he finally examines who it was that had attacked him. "You.. You're that girl from the WRO. Yuffie it is correct?" He asked her. You would think he would remember Yuffie better than that.

"Yuffie," Reno repeated for Sam's sake, and began to explain. "You remember Cloud? She's one a' his buddies. Works with the World Regenesis Organization now." He then turned to the ninja in question. "What're you doin' here, hidin' in the bushes? Shouldn't you be with Reeve or somethin'?"

Yuffie stood straight and saluted the senior Turk with a wink. "Yuffie Kisaragi, White Rose of Wutai, at your service." Then to Reno, Yuffie stuck out her tongue. "I was doing some recon work for Reeve, if you really need to know. Which reminds me, why are two Turks doing at a place like this," Yuffie asked while crossing her arms, a serious look befalling her face. It was time to get to work.

Sam kept silent, but listened closely. She was curious to know what was going on. Like she needed to hear more panic going on around here.

Tseng reached down to pick his pistol up from the ground. As he returns upright he replies to her, "Business of the Turks and Shinra are none of the WRO's concern." He opens up the casing of his gun to replace the materia inside. "Curious that Reeve is sending his patrols around Shinra premise though. I'll be sure to have the President remind Reeve of the WRO's agreement." Tseng might have been a little grumpy over his recent embarrassment.

Yuffie's eyes narrowed at Tseng's quiet threat. She didn't like anyone talking about her boss like that. "Like hell it isn't the WRO's concern. I'm sure you've heard the rumours, and I wouldn't be surprised if you all were involved with it some how. When it comes to the Planet's well-being, the WRO is top priority. What business you have becomes the WRO's in regards to Gaia." spat the young ninja. "I'll ask again, what business do two Turks have at a building like this?"

"Whoa there, li'l philly, calm down," Reno cut in. "Before everyone starts pointin' fingers, can we just take a step back here?" He looked between Tseng and Yuffie for a second, nearly feeling the electricity between them. "Look, Yuff, we're investigatin' the rumors too, just like you. That's it. People start gettin' sick and seein' strange shit, you think we're really gonna stand back an' not do anythin'?" He paused for emphasis, eyebrows raised, as if to say That's stupid. "So relax, alright?"

The irate ninja's fist came down on Reno's head. "Philly," she repeated angrily. "Don't call me that!" Yuffie crossed her arms indignantly as she let Reno's words sink in. It did kind of make sense, though, what he was saying. Don't ever tell Reno she said that, even if it was only in her brain. "Fine," she muttered finally. "Tseng needs to get the stick out of his ass, though," she coughed out.

"At least we agree on one thing," Reno grumbled softly as he rubbed his head. All this bruising was not fun. Reno was starting to feel rather like a human pinata, which meant he was taking damage, which usually went along with losing. And he didn't like losing.

"So, Turkey, are you going to fill me in on what you know? It's better if we work together to figure this out," Yuffie said seriously.

Sam let out a heavy sigh having relaxed a bit from the stress of being on the bike, but now a new stress arose, but it was none of her concern. She just wanted to be somewhere at least quiet for a bit to relax. No where seemed to be good for that.

Reno glanced at Tseng, one eyebrow raised. Should we? Here, now? Ever? It made sense... but on the other hand, Turks worked alone. Habit, maybe, but tradition.

Tseng finally returned his pistol to his pockets. "There's only so much we can disclose without permission from someone hire. All I can tell you is we've begun to discover the true threat these Dark Seraphs stand. They multiply using human bodies and are considerably powerful." Tseng turns himself back towards his car.

The young ninja pouted a little. That couldn't be the only information they could tell her. She already knew all of this. She was hoping that the Turks, given their influence, would know a little more about what was going on. Yuffie turned to Reno, hoping he would be a bit looser with information than his comrade. "That can't be everything," she said with a silent plea for more info.

Reno shrugged. "Sorry -- that's pretty much it." Pretty much. "Look, I gotta get back to my apartment, I reek of bleach in case ya hadn't noticed. Love t' chat, but can't, so - " He keyed up the bike and revved it, drowning out anything else she might say. If she decided to take the hint and seek him out later, somewhere more private, then maybe he'd talk. But for now, he hadn't decided. Business was business, after all.

Sam felt that sudden fear hit her again. She winced a bit at the noise as the engine roared to life. She re-closed her eyes and subconsciously tightened her grip on him.

Indignantly, she huffed a loud sigh as Reno conveniently revved his engine. Yuffie wasn't satisfied with Reno's answer. She'd just find him later and get more answers from him. There was no way she would give up! Those Turkeys knew so much more than what they were letting on, and as a member of the WRO, it was Yuffie's duty to find out what they knew. She was the head of the espionage and intelligence gathering department, after all.

"If we're done here, then I shall be departing now. Oh, by the way.." Tseng stops for a second and turns the top half of his body slightly, "Ms. Kisaragi, I would suggest you be more careful traveling on your own with these monsters wandering the streets." The Turk leader then proceeds to returning to his car, elegantly taking the driver's seat and starting his ignition.

Yuffie sneered at the dark haired man. "Thanks for the concern, but I think I can take care of myself," she said with a little venom. Geez, first they completely ignore her request for information, then they decide to question her abilities as a ninja...She was seriously close to roasting these Turkeys for an early lunch. But she still needed information from them, so she decided to pay them back later.

Reno nodded his farewell to Yuffie as well, and with a quick boot to the kickstand, rolled out of the driveway and onto the street, the distance growing every second.

Dawn

Sep. 6th, 2011 05:06 pm
shinra_dog: (Bloodsplatter)

Reno leaned against the wall and tried to support the injured Sam. He hated to ask for help -- if only because he dreaded the response -- but it was a necessary gauntlet he'd just have to run. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed Tseng's number, gritting his teeth in expectation of his superior's mood to be interrupted at 4 in the morning.  The phone was answered with surprising haste. "Reno, I'm glad you called. We've received word of a problem down at the lab. I was just about to ask you to find Rude and go investigate it. Oh..was there something you called me about?" Tseng had the courtesy to actually ask him.


"Ah... yeah, Boss," Reno answered with saccharine sweetness. "I'm actually already here... An' "problem" is a bit of an understatement, yo."

Sam was a bit distracted in her own thoughts to actually listen to the phone call. She moved away to stand up on her own and walked over to the mess in the room that resembled where the creature used to be. She partially wished it could of finished her, so she wouldn't exactly be breaking a promise if something or someone else killed her, but deep inside her she knew that would be doing the same thing if she allowed it. She placed a hand over her head feeling her eyes began to burn as tears swelled up in her eyes. She was sort of glad the sprinklers went off and soaked them to the bone, so it wasn't so obvious.

"Hm.. I see. Clearly this matter can't be trusted to lower hands. I must oversee this cleanup myself. I shall be over there with a crew shortly." Tseng hangs up the phone with not as much as a goodbye to his subordinate.

"Goodbye to you, too," Reno murmured to the silent phone as he replaced it in his inner pocket. He was relieved, though, that he didn't have to answer any invasive questions -- for example, the presence of General Dragonfire, bodies exploding, et cetera. Tseng could find out when he got here, and then Reno could at least try to stop him from causing a scene.  As an afterthought, though, he hurriedly texted back, "Handled situation. Come alone, need-to-know info lvl here."  He hoped that would at least minimize the crew who'd see Yagasaki in all her alive-and-scapegoated glory.

Sam wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and looked at the body of the man the dark seraph had attacked. She walked over to him and knelt down to roll the man onto his back. She went to see if any pulse was left in him, but could not find any. It was expected, but she couldn't help, but to have memories pop into her mind that made her start crying again this time it was obvious. She closed her eyes to try to keep the tears from rolling, but they came anyway.

Reno heard a sniffle and glanced at Sam. "You okay?" He took a few steps toward her before asking, confused, "Are you crying?"

Sam's eyes widen when she heard Reno speak to her. She wiped her eyes with her sleeve. She responds, "No, I'm not crying. I'm soaking wet and a lot of water is coming down from my bangs." She said as an excuse as she stood up off the ground.

"I hope this is good Reno." Tseng's voice could be heard firmly from behind Reno. "It's not often that I break protocol like this, but I came alone as you requested," the Turk boss continues as he steps towards the two of them casually, a hands buried in his pockets.

Reno wasn't sure if she was lying or not, but was relieved he didn't have to figure it out. "Alright then," he answered and left her alone to check on Shana. He felt a little guilty, but he wasn't the best one to deal with criers. When he heard Tseng, though, he jumped a mile high.

"Geez, Tseng!" he gasped. Taking a deep breath, he noticed it was true, the other man was alone. "Well, it's worth it. Better the fewer people exposed t' this -- for soooo many reasons." He shook his head. "Anyway, first things first. Gotta get him - " he gestured to the night guard's corpse, "to the incinerator, and gotta get them --" Shana and Sam's shadowy figure, "to Healin."

Before Tseng had time to get even more angry, Reno assured him, "We'll explain on the way, promise. But this is time-sensitive, 'kay?"

Sam hearing the new voice, immediantly turned to his direction. She wasn't sure if he was an enemy or not, but seeing no gun pointed at her she found as a good sign.

Tseng's eyes shift around to meet everyone in which Reno was pointing to. He stops at Sam specifically for a moment before his eyes shut in thought. Tseng slowly pulls one of his hands out of his pocket holding a pistol in which he points directly at the girl. "Reno, I trust you know who that one is, correct?" He asks with a serious tone to his voice.

Reno winced. Should have seen that coming. It was Tseng after all. Now the question was to be honest or not -- his job hung on the line, and Tseng could almost always tell when he was lying. "She saved my life," he answered instead, all seriousness. It was the truth, after all, and it saved him from explaining at least for a little while longer. "She's not going anywhere in that state; we'll deal with it later."

Sam seeing the gun pointed at her lost all the confusion in her expression. An inhuman growl erupted up from her throat. She kept her distance and her mouth shut as she watched his movements. She hoped he would listen to Reno or she may have trouble leaving this city safely.

Tseng's eyes open once again and make contact with Reno as he gives his explanation. "That's all I need to know," Tseng mutters before his finger pulls on the trigger, a loud bang exploding from the gun. It was not a bullet which left the nozzle though, but a mist of intensely powerful cure magic. Tseng without a word quickly turned and fired the same spell at Shana. "Reno trusts you, that's all I need," Tseng says without as much as turning back to the two of them.

Reno's heart stopped for a moment when he'd heard the gun go off. He thought for sure one of them would end up dead - Sam by getting shot, or Tseng for having missed such a mark as her. When he saw he'd cast Fullcure instead, he let out the breath he'd forgotten he was holding. "Thanks," he said, not about to question why Tseng just ignored every dossier and wanted poster for Yagasaki.

Sam winced hearing the gun shot as it hurt her ears. She blinked wondering why a bullet hasnt come to her yet till she looked down at herself feeling her wound didn't hurt anymore. She was as much surprised as Reno was. She lifted up her head to watch Tseng and spoke up, "Thank you."

Tseng returned his gun to his pocket. He began to step over to the mangled security guard on the floor, careful not to get his shoes bloodied by the corpse, "Now Reno, care to explain exactly the cause of this?"

"They're called Dark Seraphs, sir," Reno answered. "They infect and then use the body as a host, eventually ending in hostile take-over." He nodded to the guard. "He might not be long in comin' back zombielicious soon, himself. Got ripped apart by that case we brought in the other day. It musta' got out somehow."

Sam wasn't sure if she should interupt their conversation, but hearing Reno's explaination she couldn't help herself, "It will take three days to a full week before the body will actually become one of those if the body is infected. I would not take any chances however since the man is long gone. Unless you want another incident or worse to happen then I suggest you take care of this one PROPERLY." She said with a hint of annoyance in her tone.

"Dark Seraph..." Tseng whispers to himself as if in recollection. He's quickly pulled out of his trance by Sam's request. "With every intention," Tseng replies to her before turning the dirty work over to Reno, "Reno, this body must be disposed of immediately. We must not let anyone else know of this, especially the research department." Of course he still had to cover his ass from the other sects of the organization.

"Of course," Reno agreed. To keeping everything a secret, of course. He was still a bit miffed about having to carry the bloody mess to the incinerator himself. "Best get gloves," he murmured, checking himself to see if he still had a pair of "don't leave fingerprints on the scene" gloves on him. He kind of hoped Sam would offer to help, but he figured she'd probably be busy with Tseng for awhile.

Sam watched Reno for a moment before bringing her attention to the other mess in the research area. She was curious to know what else they held. She hoped she wouldn't find any bodies that would potentionally changed into one of those creatures. She began to walk off to follow the trail of blood to lead her to a broken down door. She assumed that was the best bet to where the creature escaped from. She walked in to turn on the light switch on the wall.

Tseng slowly made his way over to the unconcious Shana, he slowly slings her over his shoulder unable to just leave her on the ground like that. He then makes his way over to the lab room in which Sam went to investigate. While Reno did have faith in this girl, Tseng couldn't just let her have free roam around the facility.

Sam didn't pay attention to Tseng as she walked over the door remains to have a look inside. She could see the blood on the lab table assuming thats where the body was before it changed. She wondered if they had a chance to do anything with the body at all. She would hate to think they would figure out how to actually use the infection as a weapon to their liking in the future. She began to pull open drawers to have a look to see if any blood was taken from the subject at all or anything like tissue or something. She could sense someone entering the room, but didn't turn to look.

In the meantime, Reno had gloved up and was dragging the body toward one of the many industrial incinerators in the building, grumbling all the way. "Ew ew ew..." Those gloves would have to be thrown out, he reasoned, for safety. A shame, since he really liked them. He made mental notes to clean up the blood trail left, too. Getting the body *into* the incinerator proved to be the big chore, though. Reno hefted him up as best he could, grimacing as the body pressed against him, and shoved him into the small door. It wasn't exactly body-sized, proving to be even more disgusting. Tseng knew, Reno thought bitterly. He had to.

Shana, on the other hand, was now semi-conscious from the Fullheal, but was still pretty tired. She could tell she was being carried... rather uncomfortably... but other than that, not too much was clear. "Mmm...?"

Tseng walked into the mess of a room, disinterested in anything specifically in the room since he had to keep an eye on Sam.

Sam let out a heavy sigh not finding anything that made sense to her. She turned around to see Tseng in the room with the woman wondering who she really is, but wasn't going to ask right at this second. She gave him a slight glare wondering if he was stalking her to see what she was doing. "Do you need something?"

Tseng turns his head to her to make his reply, "While I have no particular hostilities towards you at this time, I am still the leader of the Turks and in a respectable position of ShinRa. As long as you're on these premises it's my duty to make sure you don't find your way into anything you shouldn't be involved with." Tseng replies to her bluntly without any attempt to hide his intentions.

"Close the freezer," came a soft voice from behind. Shana didn't understand what was going on, and didn't care -- being held upside down was giving her a headache. The others' attention might be drawn to an open square in a wall of small doors -- drawers for cadavers. "You're letting the cold out."

What a waste of power... She'd only left the body out for a second to thaw so she could cut it, and the next thing she knows, there's blood everywhere and her specimen is gone. Wasting more power on top of that, when mako was no longer in use and resources were scarce -- that was a bigger no-no than a strange woman going through drawers of probes, as far as she was concerned.

Sam listened to Tseng and expected that from a Turk or any one from ShinRa to say that. "Of course..." She heard the voice of Shana and was a bit confused at what she was saying. She shut the drawers like the way they were left and began to walk out of the room to get away from Tseng, but stopped just when she passed him, "You better be very careful...or you or someone from ShinRa is going to destroy what's left of this city...You may become one of them one day if your not careful. You may have to be as smart as the rebels and make a fortress underground if you haven't already."

Tseng shuts his eyes before making his retort, "ShinRa has dealt with many problems caused by its own hands in the past. The way things were handled back then may not have been ideal though.. It's not without fault I say this, and I know President Rufus would agree with me that we have made mistakes. Those people taught us the importance of what it means to be human though. It's my job to risk myself for ShinRa and the people of Midgar. If that comes at the cost of my own life then so be it." Tseng finishes his rant.

Sam snorted and continued walking off, "ShinRa...is not the only one that has to deal with this problem now." She walked out of the room in search for Reno.

Reno was not happy. Not happy at all. The incinerator roared to life, his nice gloves and blood-covered suit jacket inside it as well. He shivered as he turned to assess the floor damage, shirtless, cold, and wet from the sprinklers. He didn't want to mop up; he just wanted to go home. He leaned back and took a deep breath. "TSENG!" he called down the hall, figuring it would carry in the empty stillness. "FLOOR!" So it might've been a little immature, but he'd earned a moment.

Sam crossed her arms over her chest and paused hearing the shout. She rolled her eyes and followed the shout down the hall till she found the owner of it. She blinked seeing him barechested and was afraid to ask, but did anyway, "What the hell are you doing?"

"Whaddas it look like I'm doin', yo?" he asks her brusquely, hiding another shiver. "I'm cleanin' up contaminants." He glares at the floor, as though it is his mortal enemy. "This, though, I don't know about. Can't burn the floor, yo."

There was something about hospitals and, to a lesser extent, morgues that Gideon couldn't help but enjoy. It had nothing to do with the morbidity or philosophical nature of death. A curiosity, sure, but it he always enjoyed the clean, cutting edge of the enivronment as a representation of progress. As he walked down the practically submerged hallway, flanked by his two bodyguards, one of which held an elegant umbrella over the man, protecting his immaculate appearance from the still drippy sprinklers, he let out a languid sigh as he texted away on his phone.

Sam arched an eyebrow. "Looks like you're stripping to me," she said, but couldn't help to have a look at him for a brief moment. She shivered herself, but not due to coldness and shook her head. "No I suppose not. Gotta bleach it."

"I came here without a shirt t' begin with, remember?" Reno asked dryly, annoyed. "Jacket was all I had, an' now that's gone, too." Women.

Tseng begins to make his way towards Reno's incessantly whiny voice; however, before he could make much progress through the hall he find himself in the presence of Gideon. The Turk leader does the best he can to bow to the man despite Shana hanging over his shoulder. "Mr. Gideon, it's quite the surprise to see you here at this time of the night." He attempts to not draw attention to anything specifically, though it was difficult with the situation he was in.

"Well, my security team got wind of quite a bit of trouble in your labs and given the senstive nature of what's going on here with equipment supplied by my company, I figured I should swing by and see how things are going." He glanced up and put the phone away. "Everything's peachy, I hope."

Sam grinned at Reno's explaination and responds, "Sure...thats the reason why it's gone..." She blinked when she heard a new voice in the area and looked in the direction wondering who that could be.

Reno gingerly pressed the large bruise forming on his chest as he, too, began wandering toward the main hall, curious as to what drew everyone's attention. "Ow..."

Sam placed her hand over his shoulder, "Stop hurting yourself." She joked before walking off to have a look at the new visitors.

"There's no need to worry sir. A power outage merely set the sprinklers off in the facility. I assure you if any major issues occured that you would be immediately informed." Tseng was able to lie calmly to the man through his teeth. Tseng's eyes were suddenly drawn by Reno and Sam's silhouettes appearing behind Gideon. He immediately had a sunken feeling in the pit of his stomach, the situation was already suspicious enough.

Reno stopped in his tracks. If he didn't feel naked before, he did now. "Uh... Yo, Mr. Graves!" Sweatdrop. Big time. "Everythin' okay?" He glanced between him and Tseng, on edge. He could make up a story and lie like a rug, sho'nuf, but he wanted to make sure he got a feel for the story. Had to get it straight, after all.

"So... a power outage caused the sprinklers to turn on," he repeated evenly to Reno. He paused for a beat and adjusted the spectacles that he was known for."I'm a bit curious as to how that exactly would be the case, given I would assume that a facility like this would contain several redudant generators to keep that from being an issue. I mean, you guys are a power company, after all."

Sam looked at the man and noticed his voice sounded familiar, but never did have a look at the guy. It seemed like another Rufus to her. She rolled her eyes at hearing they were a power company.

"With all due respect Mr. Graves, Shinra's dealings in Mako energy have ceased. Unfortunately room for extraneous expenses has been cut short. We must allocate our resources effectively, and this facility is not high priority for us at the moment. I hope you understand." Tseng bows again courteously to the entrepeneur.

Reno merely nods in agreement. Tseng seems to be handling it well for now -- hell, it's Tseng, of course he is. For once, Reno will bite his tongue unless he's asked a direct question. Something this big, he knows to keep his mouth shut.

"I'm curious about something, Mr. Tseng. Why would a man of your rank in the illustrious Turks make an appearance in a low priority complex for a little bit of a flicker of the lights?" The question itself was innocuous and his composure was calm and almost friendly, but there was a certain edge to it.

Sam heard his question and lowered her head hiding a smirk knowing what he was talking about. She never knew she would find any amusement in this conversation.

"We thought there was a fire," Reno blurted out. With the awkward attention on him, he continued, "When the blip came on that the sprinklers were goin' off and the power flickered, we figured there might be an electrical fire. Turks have been reassigned to public security, an' a place like this goin' up in smoke -- with the chemicals here, coulda' exploded, y'know?" Reno paused, feeling pleased with his quick, sensible explanation. "You can tell the urgency of comin' over t' prevent that," he said, gesturing his lack of clothes.

Sam tried her hardest not to burst out laughing at his explaination. She had to advert her eyes to something else like the wall as it seemed more interesting.

Gideon took a deep breath through his nose. "Huh... sure doesn't smell like one... Smells like formaldehyde to me..."

Tseng's eyes narrowed slightly, this man's curiosity was dangerous. It seemed Gideon already knew something was up, at this point it was up to them to make sure the man did not receive any evidence of the events. "Well after all sir, with dampness comes many unpleasant smells. Reno was working quite hard to turn the sprinkler system off since getting here and has gotten quite wet himself. The smells you're experiencing may be eminating from him." Tseng responds tactfully at Reno's expense.

Reno's eye twitched. Sure, pick on the smoker. "Could be," he said through his teeth as pleasantly as possible.

Sam turned her head to look at Reno and her nose cringed a bit at the scent, but it wasn't him she really smelled. He was right, the place did smell like formaldehyde and it smelled bad. She had been trying to avoid smelling through her nose this whole time till now.

Shana desperately held in a laugh at Reno's discomfort.

Gideon paused for a moment, his keen eyes surveying the scene in silence. "Well... I suppose that sounds reasonable. I'll be sure to let my people to not make mountains out of mole hills in the future. I would not rather be dragged out of bed for superfluous reasons." Nodding to his silent guards, he turned around and began to walk away. "Keep up the good work, and... don't burn Reno over the hygiene issue," he said over his shoulder.

Shit, Reno thought, He knows. He knows he knows he knows. He just stood stock still with the stupid smile plastered on his face until Gideon left, though.

Tseng could feel relief surge through his body as Gideon left them without digging any deeper into the situation.

Sam watch the man leave and couldn't help, but to sputter out laughter. She couldn't keep it in anymore. She was waitingf or the man to actually walk into the place to see the blood on the walls and then there would be an issue.

Once Gideon was gone, Reno's face fell into a scowl. "You're an ass, Tseng," he snapped, and turned to find some bleach. Shana snickered into Tseng's shoulder.

Tseng ignored Reno's comment, he hears Shana giggling into his shoulder. "I take it this one is ok now from the sound of it." He lets her down off his shoulder to stand.

Sam turned around to go help out as she was still fighting to stop laughing at the sudden discomfort reno was going through. She spoke through her laughter, "Oh come on Reno, its better then him...finding out...right?"

"Aw, really, Tseng?" Shana lightly laments. "I was almost starting to get used to that."

"Yeah yeah, sure," Reno grumbled over his shoulder at Sam. He knew it was true -- keeping all this under the radar was the most important thing -- but it still bugged him to be thrown under the bus. He stepped around the broken glass of the tainted lab's door and went straight to the sink area for bleach. This is where the body first went nuts; it was as good a place as any to start.

She walked into the room and glanced around again before looking to see what Reno was grabbing, "Now it's going to smell like bleach...I wonder what the explaination would be if he were to come back and ask what the bleach was for."

"It's five in the mornin'. I doubt he'll be showin' up again in the next coupla' minutes," Reno said with certainty. He thought. "We'll just hafta ventilate it... somehow. Whatever, they use bleach all the time in here, of course it's gonna smell like antiseptic. Won't be so bad after awhile." Better than all that formaldehyde, he figured. Sure, that's in a lab plenty, but not as strong as it is now.

Tseng opens his phone momentarily. "5 AM.. In just a couple hours the workers will be back in here. Reno, hurry with that cleanup, we need to get out of here as soon as possible."

Sam pat reno's back before walking out to go find a broom to help sweep all the ash in the middle of the room, "Yeah Reno, hurry up." She joked. She couldn't believe she got herself into this mess in the first place. She told herself she needed to leave, but why won't she listen?

"It would go a lot FASTER if you'd help, Tseng," Reno called pointedly from the other room.

"Don't forget to hire a new night guard, too," Shana said, patting Tseng on the shoulder as she passed him by. She headed for the security office and let herself in through the now-broken door. "I'll do you a favor."

She picked up the phone and recorded a hotline message. "The Graves Laboratory is being used for a continued training seminar for public security officials this morning. It will reopen at eleven a.m. and resume its regularly scheduled work hours tomorrow at six a.m. Thank you." She hung up and sent the computerized call. "I just bought you a few more hours -- don't disappoint me now, sweetheart," she called dryly behind her as she emerged. "I'm going home."

"I would help you Reno; however, someone needs to stand ready in case someone else attempts to find this mess." While Tseng had a lot of respect for the other Turks he had to keep them in line somehow. Tseng shut his eyes as Shana patronizes him. Though she was teasing him he was grateful for her help.

Sam chuckled, but understood Tseng's reason, "Oh you big baby, you just don't want bleach to get on your suit." She spoke out down the hall as she returned to Reno. "I'll help. Just tell me what to do."

Reno's righteous ire died a bit when Sam offered to help. In fact, he was caught a little off-guard, so used to his regular spats with Tseng. "Uh... 'kay. Thanks." He ventured a grin. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all.


2.5

Sep. 6th, 2011 02:12 am
shinra_dog: (Bad Day)

Sam followed closely behind him until they made it outside. Seeing the helmet thrown at her she instinctively caught it. She stared at it for a moment then looked at what he was on and swallowed hard, "Uh...yeah I'll pass...I'll follow you in another way if you don't mind." She tossed it back and her dragon wings spread out behind her back.

"Shit!" Reno stammered and jumped back. "'Kay, fine, that wins, whatever!" He shook his head, trying to not let that get to him.

The motorcycle roared to life as Reno dangerously sped it out of the garage and down the streets, making squealing sharp turns no one else could probably handle. At least at three in the morning no one was outside to potentially run over, so Reno could ride as recklessly as he liked.

It wasn't long before he reached the lab. The building was subtle, not attracting any unwanted attention, but he knew better. He punched in the entrance code on the keypad for the garage where the vans would enter and the true entrance would be hidden. "You got ten seconds 'til closing," he called to the dragon woman he knew was somewhere nearby before riding inside.

Sam watched him speed off and judging by the noise, it wasn't going to be hard to keep up with him. She spread open her wings and ran out of the garage to jump up into the air and swiftly gained air till she flew just above the roof tops. She was relieved to see no one else on the streets. She assumed it was fear of the dark seraphs at night time. At least that was one smart thing these people did to try and avoid being attacked. Once he saw him stop she folded her wings in and dove down near the ground before pulling up spreading out her wings. She glided into the garage before it closed up on her.

She landed in the garage floor and returned her wings into her back. She had a scent struck her and felt a bit sick to her stomach. She hated lab equiptment and the smell of chemicals. She could also smell something else she was farmilar to, "Theres blood in the air." She warned him.

The creature had it's fun with the night guard in the lab. There seemed to have been a struggle in the area depending on how much blood was smeared on the wall and the ground as if the man was dragging itself across the floor with multiple puncture wounds. The creature had no mind set to let this man die quickly. The creature melded into the shadows as it heard another presence near by.

"I smell it, too." There was a lot of it, Reno could tell. He hoped it wasn't too late. Bringing out his EMR, he beckoned Sam toward the door and stealthily approached it from the other side. A retinal scan gave him clearance.

Listening for action on the other side, Reno slowly eased the door open, trying to be as silent as possible. The scene before him was a mess. Blood splattered and smeared across walls, glass, and floor. The body left was in tatters. Reno resisted the urge to check the man's pulse; even if he was still breathing, if he was infected, he was already dead.

Reno's attention was snapped up with a woman's scream down the hall. He looked up to see a very distressed brunette, her uncovered eye wide in shock and her hands covering her mouth in horror.

"Shana, get back!" he shouted as he saw a shadow begin to move.

The dark seraph swiftly moved towards her in a shadow slowly forming back into the figure of the dark seraph. Sam swiftly ran foward unsheating her sword watching the shadow knowing who it was going to strike. The creature pulled the sword back to thrust it at the woman, but Sam slid to kick the woman's feet out from under her to avoid the creature's attack. She swiftly jumped up to her feet grabbing hold of the creature's arm and throwing it forward over the woman onto the ground.

The creature landed on the ground and turned over onto it's back clearly annoyed by the sudden attack, "You bitch! I will kill you!" Sam swirled the sword in hand and pointed it at the creature not responding to it. The creature motioned with it's hand commanding the darkness to send a spike out of the ground from Sam's own shadow. Sam rolled out of the way seeming to expect it, "You are a novice still...you are in your weakest state so it will be much easier to take you down."

The creature stood up onto it's feet and charged forward yelling as it readied to slash at her with it's sword. Sam blocked the attack and the creature pulled back to start slashing almost blindly at Sam showing how novice it really was.

Shana rolled to her feet away from the spike and flattened herself against a wall, trying to avoid the blows. Reno shouted a single word at her before jumping into the fray. "Fire!"

Fire... fire... where could she get fire? Shana turned to run back the way she'd come, hoping she'd get away and be of use.

Reno electrified his EMR and began striking from beside Sam. The new Seraph was still young in its body - he'd see how fast it could block with two opponents.

The dark seraph seeing there was another opponent involved, used it's wings to flap itself away from them. Sam didn't let it get away from her, so charged forward with sword ready and slashed at the creature horizontally.  The creature was a bit surprised by her speed and backed up having half of it's body slashed in half. It placed a hand on it's stomach and it slowly began to heal as blood gushed out of it's body.

"Ugh." Reno cringed. "That's just plain nasty."

"Hey! You!" came a taunt from down the hall. Reno looked to see Shana holding a bottle of... something foul... playing bait.

"What the hell are you doing?" he shouted, but she didn't stop.

The creature turned it's head to look at the woman that taunted it, "You are a fool to not escape when you had the chance!" the creature spread out it's wings and jumped to fly a foot off the ground. It flew off after the woman at full speed.

Sam shouted out, "What the hell are you doing!?" She threw her sword as hard as she could striking at the dark seraph's left wing sending it to the ground. The creature seemed to get even more pissed off then it already was. It gave her a death glare and pulled the sword out of it's wing to drop it onto the ground. It stood back up and charged at them again.

Sam prepared herself as the creature came at her, but to her surprise, the creature vanished in a mist of darkness and reappeared infront reno lunging to grab his throat. It held him up into the air, "I have had enough of this!"

"Dammit, look what you did!" What happened next was a blur for Reno.

Shana pulled back her eyepatch to reveal a similar glowing green orb and sprinted inhumanly down the hall, scooping up the katana on the way. In one fluid motion she slid and slashed upward at the creature. With only one hand, she wasn't strong enough to sever its hands, but it was enough to get the blade caught on the bone -- and the arms stuck together that way.

Reno gasped for breath as he was released from the seraph's grasp, but it was short lived. "Get back!" Shana shouted as she used him for leverage, kicking him out of the way and simultaneously shoving the uncapped bottle deep into the creature's throat, using the momentum to catapult her up and over. Reno was knocked to the ground, breathless. Shana didn't let go of the bottle until she'd twisted the seraph's neck back, and then when she absolutely had to release it to land, she grabbed at its hair and pulled it back.

"Take it out. I dare you," Shana hissed before shouting, "Light 'er up!"

Reno fumbled in his pocket for his lighter, still gasping for air on the ground, and feebly slid it across the floor to Sam.

Sam looked at the light and was a bit confused at what the hell it was for a moment till it suddenly hit her, "oh!" She grabbed hold of the lighter and almost laughed as she realized what they wanted her to do. She tossed the lighter aside and took in a deep breath.

The creature growled and tried to cough up whatever it was that was shoved down it's throat. It looked at the woman and shouted, "You will pay for that!" Sam released a breath of flame that struck the creature. The creature let out a scream, but was short lived as an explosion ignited from the creature.

Shana rolled away and covered herself while Reno did his best to do the same. As soon as the seraph screamed, the flame from Samantha lit up its breath, now tainted and flammable, and scorched its way through its lungs and innards. It wasn't long before it was just a smouldering mess.

The lab's emergency sprinklers went on at the detection of smoke, but it was too late for the seraph. Shana sighed with relief and then went to check on Reno, but ended up collapsing beside him. "Interesting visit," she managed.

"What the hell were you thinking? You're exhausted!" Reno yelled at her, firmly replacing her eyepatch over her Mako eye, its luster now gone. "You could've gotten hurt - you could've gotten killed! ... Don't laugh at that! Geez... An' then you go an kick me in the chest! " Reno grumbled in irritation. "What was that, anyway?"

"Formaldehyde," Shana murmured with her eyes closed, falling asleep on Reno.

Reno snorted. "How fittin'. Hey - hey stop that. This ain't the time!" He sighed and wiped his now-wet hair out of his face, the sprinklers starting to soak through his clothes, and looked at Sam. "You mind helpin' me clean this up this time? He's still gotta be... y'know, torched." He gestured to the dead security guard. "Gonna hafta do it somewhere dry."

Sam nodded and began to walk over to them, but stopped suddenly when she saw something in the corner of her eye moving towards Reno. The creature swiftly emerged from the shadow among the ash, but was greatly deformed, but had enough form to actually see it was human. It's body was actually repairing itself. This proved to show why these creatures were so hard to kill.

"You're mine!" The creature brought it's claw back to grab Reno by the color and switfly slam Reno against the wall with the sword in the other. It thrusted it forward in its rage.

Sam swiftly moved in between them and took the sword just through the side of her chest. She grit her teeth taking the pain as she lifted up her hand to grab hold of the creature's face releasing a fire spell from her hand.

The creature flew back headless and collasped onto the ground on its back twitching. It's body suddenly began to vanishe in a dark mist being smothered by the water.

"Waugh!" Reno grimaced as he slammed against the wall. His heart skipped a beat when he saw the blade coming.

But he never felt it.

"Sam! Shit, Sam, you okay?!"

Sam stumbled on her feet grabbing hold of the wound on her chest. She turned around to look over at Reno, "Yeah, I'm...okay." She hissed in pain as she picked her sword off the ground to pull out the cure materia from it. She used the cure materia on herself, but it was only capable of placing a thin skin over it just to stop the bleeding. She could not yet feel the full pain of it do to adrenline. "Lets get this taken care of...quickly." She sheathed her sword.

"Let me call for help," Reno offered. He was pretty banged up himself, though no open wounds, and he wasn't much use alone to help both women before him.

Day Two

Sep. 5th, 2011 11:48 pm
shinra_dog: (Daze)

Sam wasn't sure why she was doing this. She felt like she was being stupid being here in this city still. She had told herself constantly she needed to leave as soon as possible. She seemed to fail to listen to herself lately. She couldn't keep her mind straight on what she SHOULD be doing. Not seeking out someone she has seen in the past.

There wasn't many out there that are still alive that would recognize her. The ones she want to recognize her anyway. A part of her wanted to find someone that still does, but the other part kept trying to convince her to leave knowing what he actually was.

She let out a sigh and forced herself to climb up on top of a windowsill on the top floor of the place. She went through a lot of trouble and stalking to locate this place. She just wished it was a little, but easier to get too. She could see the window was still cracked just enough for her to put a hand through. Good, she didn't have to break the window open if it ended up being closed or locked. She slowly pulled it open and slid herself into what seemed to be the kitchen. She brought her legs inside and slid herself onto the floor as quietly as she could. She scanned around the place for a moment before taking her first steps. She grit her teeth and tensed when she took a step and the squeaking of the floor sounded. She held her foot back up and placed it back to where it was. She felt like she was in a mine field, but instead of bombs, squeaky locations.

Hearing a squeak, the lightly-sleeping Reno slid his hand under his pillow to where his pistol was concealed. It sounded like the perp was still in the house and hadn't chickened out yet, so he kept his breathing calm and his sleeping facade, planning. What could someone want here? Wasn't this place hard enough to find? Besides, it'd been years -- were there still anti-Shinra extremists out there with a death wish? Reno didn't know, but he was going to find out.

For now, he'd wait with the safety off and see what happened. A squeaky floor was perhaps his best investment in this place.

Sam assumed no matter where she stepped, it was going to make a noise. She looked up at the ceiling and wondered if she could get away with that, but she had no idea if it would even hold her if she were to claw into it. She looked at how far it would be to get to an actual carpeting floor. She could make it in a leap, but the sound she would make if her boots come in contact with the floor. She cursed mentally and decided, oh what the hell, she might as well make her presence known. She spoke up, "Your floor is shitty and old." She pulled off her hood and crossed her arms.

Reno smirked. Well well, if it wasn't that broad from earlier. Gutsy bunny.

"Your presence is audacious an' unexpected," he called in response. He kept his hand on his gun as he rolled over, no longer pretending to be asleep, and propped himself up so he could see her down the hallway from his room. "Whaddaya want?" he asked, lounging easily with his knee raised below the covers, his gun arm slung over it.

Sam responds, "May help you if you turned on a light of some kind. I haven't seen you in a long while...if I am correct on who you are anyway..." Her eyes had a glow to it in he darkness. Kind of eerie now these days since not many people had those sort of eyes except the dark seraph's glowing red eyes that could be easily identified in the darkness.

He could see the Mako in her eyes from down the hallway. Like lighting a cigarette on a pitch black night, that small light cut through the darkness like a knife. She must be related to Shinra somehow, he figured. Whether for good or bad, though, was the question.

"You say you know me?" he asked suspiciously. It was possible, he figured -- he did have a "reputation," apparently. "Alright... You first. C'mere - the switch is on the wall t' yer right." He wasn't about to leave himself vulnerable for a stranger; she wanted light, she could turn it on herself. He knew she could see well enough in the dark with those eyes. Turning on the ceiling light in his room would reveal them both instantly. Fair win-win, as far as he was concerned.

Sam shrugged her shoulders and reached behind her pulling off her sword off her back, "Here, to ease your nerves..." She flipped the sword so that the blade faced behind her and she tossed it across the hall way to land on the floor. She looked to the right to find the switch and slid a finger across it to turn it on. Judging by where the light hit, she could tell what he wanted was her features to only show in the light. That didn't bother her any.

Her sword gone and her attitude compliant, he obliged her by likewise leaning over to turn on the lamp on his nightstand.

"That wasn't so hard, was it?" He smirked. "Y'know, if you wanted a date, ya didn't hafta break in, yo." She was pretty, like he'd guessed, but also an obviously hardened warrior. Someone like that he wouldn't be surprised he'd seen before. Maybe she'd been a SOLDIER recruit back in the day, who knew.

Sam rolled her eyes a bit at that, but her gaze went back to him to examine his feature quite thoroughly then back it to the floor, "You don't remember me? Does Dragonfire or Yagasaki ring a bell?" She listed both in case one rang a bell better than the other.

His brow creased at that, and his eyes narrowed. They did sound familiar, in fact. He studied her features harder, more seriously this time. It was a matter of business.

"They do," he answered, all-business now. "She was a SOLDIER 1st Class. One of Shinra's finest. But she went missing years ago. Last I heard, some punk was usin' her name t' rally up the latest batch of Anti-Shinra insurgents, but the real Dragonfire's gotta be dead by now." He cocked his head to the side suspiciously. "Why?"

Sam couldn't help a laugh at that, "Really now? I have visited you before...over 10 years ago in fact. We have met in person as well as me saving your life when that submarine or whatever it was sunk to the bottom of the sea. Just happen to stumble upon you when fish hunting...you are a good turk, but you have a terrible memory Reno." She joked partially.

Reno stared. 10 years, 10 years... So much had happened. He thought hard. "The submarine... The Gelnika..." he mumbled. He did remember, but it was so fuzzy. Did she save him? Someone did. Where was Rude?

"Are you really sayin' yer Yagasaki?
The Samantha Yagasaki?" he asked. "Seriously?"

Sam nodded her head and felt a sense of relief that he did remember her at least somewhat. It wasn't just relief that hit her though. Her hands were shaking and she hid it by grabbing hold of the cloak with her fists, "Yeah." It wasn't because HE recongized her, but to know someone around and alive through this crisis. She wasn't sure why that would make her happy to know that.

Reno's feelings, however, were tumultuous. If this woman really was the real Dragonfire, then it meant that the one who'd sided with the rebellion was likely her, not some phony. And that caused problems, whether she'd saved him in the past or not. The middle of the night was no time to sort these sort of life-changing issues out.

"Get out," he said sternly, a reaction Sam may not have bargained for.

Sam blinked after hearing those words. She really didn't expect to hear that from him, "I just got here, why?" She wasn't sure if she understood why. The other part of her was telling her off that she should of never come here in the first place. She was a fool.

"Are you for real?" he exploded. He couldn't take that innocence, he couldn't. "Yagasaki, you've got three seconds to explain t' me what the hell is goin' on an' why you're here. Otherwise, get out. I ain't harborin' a Rebel, yo."

Sam looked off to the side not able to look at him. She responds, "I am no rebel. I was kicked out over several years ago because of kindness to an enemy. I was only in there just to help out taking down dark seraphs. Only time I ever engaged on attacking ShinRa was to stop them from screwing that up. I am no assassin or any of the source. I just want to know if anyone around is still alive through these harsh years." She tried to hide any emotion on her face, but it showed greatly in her eyes. She seemed to be on the break of actually crying right then and there. She was not the "hard" cold warrior she used to be. It seemed over the years she had been broken of it.

Reno caught a glimpse of it, and thought he could hear it in her voice.
Dammit... So he wasn't as hard as he used to be, either.

Letting out an irritated sigh, he replaced the safety on his gun and slipped it back under his pillow. "Kindness to an enemy... heh, that would sound like you," he said dryly, leaning forward and rubbing his face. He stole a glance at the clock -- 3 a.m. Sigh. "Fine," he grunted. "Go get yerself set on the sofa, I'll be out in a sec."

Sam turned herself around and walked over to the sofa. She could smell the hint of ciggrette smoke, but wasn't going to complain. She was a bit used to the scent when she was confined around the rebel fortress as a lot of locations was isolated with multiple people. She took the cloak off of her and placed it over the arm. She wore dark colored pants and a thin white colored shirt that only reached down to the half point of her stomach. She felt if she wore clothes like she used to she would die of a heat stroke being outside in the full heat. She sat herself down on the sofa and closed her eyes. She seemed much too comfortable then how she liked, but couldn't help herself.

Reno appeared a minute later, having put on a pair of pants, and sat at the furthest seat from her, still unsure where this was going. "So," he began, "what's these 'dark seraphs' you been takin' down, eh?" He'd barely had time to be briefed on a strange disease spreading and strange "angel" sightings. He figured Sam would probably know more.

Sam opened her eyes when she sensed him walk into the room. Listening to his question she responds, "Dark Seraphs...seems that ShinRa only knows their true name. I am sure your asking because you want to know how to stop them right?...I saw what happened with the body of that woman. ShinRa didn't burn it, but took it in for experiements now didn't they?" She sounded a bit annoyed when she spoke. She wished they would of listened to her words for once.

"If Shinra knows about it, it's outta my reach," Reno admitted. He couldn't even stop Rufus from being kidnapped, and that guy was Shinra too. "Doubt it's higher up, but just... a splinter, y'know?" He shook his head. "I almost can't believe Shinra would be involved. I mean, really, have you seen us lately? There's nothing left!"

After he calmed down, he scratched his head. "But I guess it's not impossible," he grumbled.

As to the body... "Yeah, we took it in. Just t' see what it was. I'd heard rumors of weird shit goin' on, but all we'd find were burned corpses. Can't find anythin' out that way, had ta' see what it was to try an' figure it out."

Sam decided to answer his question, "That woman was changing into a Dark Seraph. She must of been attacked 3-7 days ago by one and got infected. The creatures know how to infect others and are wanting to spread their numbers quite desperately to take complete take over...You need to be careful when dealing with them. There is no cure for this infection. There are symptoms...You will start to hear voices in your head...you may even see images or visions that don't even exist, you may lose memory or have added in memory that doesn't even exist, you may look as if you are insane before any physical changes occur. Physical change doesn't occur till the last 12 hours of your life before the creature fully takes over the body."

Reno stared at her. "So that's it then? You get infected, no cure, you die? That's it?"

Sam nodded her head and lowered her gaze back to the floor, "No cure...you die...this infection has ruined everything for me. If humans screw up once more, they may cause the whole human race to fully die and these creatures may take our place on this planet..."

Reno froze. "Oh shit."

He leapt up and grabbed his suit jacket, fumbling with it as he shoved his bare feet into his shoes. "We gotta go. Right now."

Sam stood up wondering what that is about, "What's wrong?" She asked as she went to the hallway to grab her sword that was on the floor. She sheathed it once more.

The woman's corpse that was left behind had finally stopped thrashing once it got to the location it was brought too. Around this time, it's hands began to twitch once more.

"That body's still at the lab," Reno answered over his shoulder. "If it ain't dead, then all them people in there are gonna be."

Sam snapped a glare at him, "What the hell, didn't you tell them they needed to dispose it properly not study it?" Apart of her really didn't want to help ShinRa. It was all their fault this all happened in the first place.

The body began to thrash until it turned over onto it's stomach on the lab table. Blood began to gush out of the neck onto the table and floor. The darkness in the room it's in slowly began to climb up the table and began to form a woman's head for the body. The body gasped as it was capable of breathing again. The creature stared at the table for a moment before using it's twitching hands to push itself up. The small feather's on it's back suddenly brust into full blown wings sending multiple feathers across the room.

"Why you yellin' at me for, I didn't know!" Reno flung open the door to his apartment and jogged out, assuming Sam would follow. "You need a ride?

Sam followed him out and gave him an odd look, "A ride? What you trust to take me where ever your going?" She said somewhat surprised by that.

The creature got up off the lab table and the features resembling the dark seraph began to show. The shadows rose up it's body and formed armor that covered most of it's body. The creature looked at it's claws for a moment and smirked devilishly. It seemed very pleased to have finally gained control of the body in time before it was disposed of. It formed a sword in hand using the darkness and began to find it's way out to have a little fun before it decided to leave this location.

"You're the only one who's had real experience with these things. I don't have much of a choice but trust you, now do I?" Reno asked. He jumped down the last few stairs of every floor and quickly made it to his bike. "Hop on," he barked, tossing her his spare helmet.

Day One

Sep. 5th, 2011 10:37 pm
shinra_dog: (WTF?)
Reno sighed as he closed the warehouse door. First the Geostigma scare, then Deepground. He was surprised the emergency supplies had lasted as long as they had, despite the riots and looting. In the past four years, what was left of Shinra and the WRO had restocked emergency rations and development tools.

He scratched the back of his head and yawned. Inventory had taken all night, but that was the last warehouse. He replaced the hefty padlock and stretched. Yup - he definitely deserved some downtime after this. The only thing more exhausting than action was inaction, and emergency inventory paperwork was about as boring as it got.

Reno met the sunrise with a disinterested grunt, approaching the large monument built after Meteor. Shinra had had to rebuild that, too, after those remnants.

Fuckin' Remnants... he grumbled.

He took a second to stop and glance over the stone, slouched with hands in his pockets.

It was then he saw her.

She looked normal at first glance, but Reno knew better. Something was... off. He approached cautiously, keeping a casual air so as not to alarm her. " 'Scuse me, miss?"

The stumbling female stopped and her head slowly turned. She was pale -- sickly pale, almost gray -- and her eyes were sunken and dark. "Help... me..." she managed before leaping toward him.

"Th' fuck!" he yelped as he jumped out of the way. His EMR was out in an instant.

Whatever this was, it was not good.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She could smell the air in this area smelled tainted to her as she stood on the stand by in the street. The scent was similar in all places no matter what location she traveled. The smell of decay of human and nature around them. She is glad to see the planet slowly repairing itself, but it was gonna take a very long time before it would return to what it looked like before the attack. She knew exactly where she was, but she couldn't help, but to wander in areas that made her mind sink into memories.

She wore a black robe to cover most of her features. Her face half concealed by a hood so she wouldn't be easily recongized. If there was anyone still alive that even recongized her anyway. She heard activity near by and couldn't help, but to break out of her thoughts to look at the scene of the woman and EMR activity. She seemed interested to see what was going on, but wasn't going to intervene like she usually would at this time of crisis. Where she was located, she really didn't want to intervene.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Reno gritted his teeth. His job was to rebuild and protect the public now, he got that part -- but what's he supposed to do in this situation?? The woman was obviously somewhat conscious in... there... He had to hold back if he didn't want to kill her.

But it was hard to be merciful when something was outright trying to claw and bite you.

The best he could do was disable the materia on his rod. Otherwise, all bets were off.

"Let's go, bitch," he growled.

Deflecting flailing limbs left and right, Reno was able to kick the woman's legs from under her. It was then he also noticed one other new thing.

Tiny little feathers beginning to break through the skin on her back.

"Ugh!" Reno cringed and took a step back.

Sam was a bit disgusted to see an obvious ShinRa worker attack this woman who was completely unarmed. She could not fully see the woman's details, but the feathers did catch her eye. She knew then that this was one of the infected that was in mid change. She could not recongize Reno at the moment, but knew this could turn out to be another infected person if nothing were to happen soon.

She unsheathed her sword from her back and ran foward being as silent as possible. She didn't want to alert anyone till after the act. The sword began to take an emerald green glow. She slid the tip of her sword across the ground and up vertically into the air sending out a blade beam aiming for the woman's neck to end her life completely. She knew she was still human and there was no cure for this infection.

As she started to put her sword away, she then realized what she had just done. She just intervened when she kept telling herself not to do that anymore. She cursed herself in her head several times knowing the action she had just done will cause a panic or some sort of alertness of her presence.

Reno jumped back as the beam cut threw his line of vision. He had to squint and look away from the glare, but when it was over he could see the woman was clearly decapitated. He grimaced. It wasn't like he hadn't seen it before, or been the aggressor to deal the final blow, but the whole situation skeeved him out.

No time for dwelling on the mutated freaks of the past. Reno turned to look toward the source of the beam. Whoever did that was obviously powerful. Cloud, maybe? There was certainly a question or two Reno had for the brooding blond.
"Hey!" he called out. He wasn't ready to put away his EMR quite yet, even though the figure's weapon had been sheathed, but he took on a slightly more relaxed -- perhaps slightly suspicious -- slouch.

Sam saw the man look at her and was not going to stick around to see what he would say or do. She turned herself around and placed her hand over her hood to pull it down some to block out more features.

She began to start speed walking when she heard his voice call out to her. She had a thought that it sounded a bit farmilar to her, but wasn't sure from where in her memories. She wasn't going to stop and ask why that is.

"You gonna help me clean this up or what?" His voice had taken on a bit of an annoyed tone.

Sam decided to at least respond, but didn't turn around, "It is not my responsibility to clean up that mess. If you want to reduce the chance of infection, you better get somebody to burn every trace of that body or you could to end up like her. I will not be afraid to do the same to you as well."

Reno's eye twitched and he snorted indignantly. "She never touched me. But ya can't just go 'round here decapitatin' chicks an' then walk away like nothin' happened. Ya get involved, it's yer responsibility too."

He took a deep breath and huffed it out as he belted his EMR. "Th' hell is this anyway? Feathered zombie chicks aren't exactly, y'know, the norm." He wanted answers, and he wanted them now.

Sam stopped walking and turned around to look at him, "This is quite rare...do you actually live UNDER a rock? Have you not been alert to what has been going on? What attacked you was not a 'zombie' she was infected by a dark seraph and she was in the process of becoming one of them."


Reno narrowed his eyes. Her whole attitude was really pissing him off. "Sorry, been a little busy keepin' the world from socioeconomic collapse," he sneered. "But I'll get right on curin' every disease right soon as I get back t' my magical lab at the end a' the rainbow."

He tsk'd to himself as he turned and pulled out his cellphone. "Tseng. We're gonna need a van down here at the monument. Make it subtle, it's a bio waste."

Sam heard that name and tensed for a moment. She knew she remembered that name a long time ago. She looked at the person again and examined him further. It was starting to bother her that she could not fully remember. So many things have went on that a lot of things in her past seemed a several decades ago.

She saw his hair and knew then she remembered someone in her past that she remembered only had that color of hair. She mumbled, "Reno..." She wasn't sure if she was correct or not.

Reno paused and cocked an eyebrow, quickly glancing over his shoulder. Did he hear his name? Nah, couldn't be...

"Look, just get it over here, man, it's makin' a mess an' I can't cover this all up myself. No, I can't just deal with it, it's diseased or something." A pause. "Ya think?" exploded from his lips in sarcastic exasperation. "Alright, I'll be here."

He snapped the phone closed and pocketed it again, glancing sideways at the corpse. He'd have to deal with the bloodstains before the morning rush. Which could be any time now. He hoped he had at least another half hour of the sleepy, calm Edge before civilians stumbled upon the scene.

Sam watched his reaction and wasn't sure how to interprete it. She turned back around and began walking away. She needed to get out of this place before it suddenly became active again. She removed the hood and pulled her hair out from under the cloak to let it go free. It was much to humid to wear it at that moment.

Maybe rain is coming?

She could smell the hint of rain, but wasn't sure if that would be good if that body isnt burned in time. Water seems to make things spread further. She let out a heavy sigh and began her way off the street.

Reno saw the figure departing again and figured he'd let it go. Seemed like too much trouble -- he was only one man, and someone had to watch this body. He did a double-take when he saw the hood come off, though. Pretty girl, he guessed. Well, so was Tifa.

Sam might hear the van pull to a stop behind her path and arguing voices as the body is carefully removed and stowed away for research. A splash as the blood was washed away with alcohol.

Sam certainly did hear the voices and the van pulling up. She couldn't help, but to turn her head to look back to see what they were doing. She snorted knowing what they were going to do with the body. They were not going to follow up on her warning on properly disposing the body. She knew how far long the body was and knew it wasn't going to destroy the creature inside it just because she decapitated the woman. The only reason why she did this act was to stop her from infecting someone else and to give time for the body to properly be disposed of. She knew they were going to see something they may of never witnessed before in their lives once the creature took ahold of the headless corpse. The body inside the van began to spasm and thrash inside the van almost as if it heard her thoughts.

Nearby, a black limo idled quietly, almost patiently. It had rolled up behind the Hazmat van, unmolested by the team of specialists who'd been cleaning up, as if they weren't even aware it had been there following. It was a tad early to start the day, especially with what appeared to be a rather rich person who should've been sleeping soundly in their chocobo down bed. Aside from being a limo, the vehicle was rather nondescript, save for a hood ornament of an inverted triangle that appeared to be comprised of three stylized letter G's.

The spasming corpse was stilled with a few gunshots, but it still made Reno shudder. That was *not* natural. Tseng glared at him as extra precautions were taken and the van sped off. Reno knew what the other man was thinking - It's just a reflex. You've seen it before. The brain stays active for blah blah blah minutes and whatever. Reno never bothered to listen to the rest. So what if it was nauseating? It didn't make him weak to be legitimately disturbed by the twitchings of a headless corpse! The redhead was knocked out of his inner monologue when he heard an extra set of uninvited tires and his eyes were drawn to the limo. Drawn, and narrowed. Today was just not his day. He huffed through his nose once more to try to get it together, and made his way toward the limo. "Mornin', Mr. Graves," he drawled. "Ain't it a bit early t' be pokin' yer nose inta' business that ain't yours?"


Sam was very interested now that there was another presence in the area, but not too interested to stay. She turned away and continued walking off as a few drops of rain began to drip over her clothing darkening the shade. She hoped they would regret storing that body away. Maybe with luck that one infection is all ShinRa needed to fully fall to the ground.

The sound of the front passenger and driver doors opening cut the morning still, or at least what was left of it as two rather fearsome looking men got out of the car and approached the Turk. Both were about above average height, moved with the predatory grace of professionals highly trained in the most unpleasant of classified duties and built like trucks. Both were garbed in crisp, tailor made black suits with maroon shirts, black ties and earbuds and were reaching into their jackets for something metallic. Both paused, tilting their heads slightly as they listened to the buds.

"Yeah, that's right, listen t' yer boss," Reno chided with a patronizing tone. For a second there, he almost believed they'd pull something. Almost. But Graves was smarter than that. He debated making a comment about their suits -- about how Turks did it first and did it better, and maroon is a poor substitute -- but he decided not to push his luck. "Now is he done makin' me wait around? I'm a busy man an' I got work t' do, so if y'all could please put yer pretty little asses back in yer shiny car and reverse outta here, that'd be great." He raised an eyebrow and shifted his weight expectantly.

The bodyguards fidgeted aggressively, but returned to the car with the reluctant peacefulness of an enraged, tranq'd rhino. There was an audible click and whirl as a pitch black tinted window descended and revealed the shadowy figure shrouded in the dim dark of the interior. "I apologize for the rather... overzealous response from my employees, but you do have a bit of a reputation, so no need to be such a grouchy ginger," came the dark, velvety male voice from the interior. "You know perfectly well that I have the right to be here. Those fancy new vans kinda give me the right." From the gloom inside the car, an eerie gleam pierced the dark.

Reputation? Ginger? Reno's eye twitched and he popped the fingers of his left hand in irritation, gripping the lighter in his pocket with his right. He hated being indebted to this guy. Almost made him miss Don Corneo. Another almost. Reno smiled insincerely into the dark window. "Money or not, civvies don't get the right to step in bio hazard. Safety first an' all."

He couldn't wait to get away for a good, long smoke.

"Oh, don't worry, I'm well aware of the risks. So, please don't cry for me," came the cool reply. "I'm merely observing."

Sam's curiousness could not force her to leave the area just yet, but she kept her distance in a darker ally. She used the dark clothing she wore to help her blend in to her surroundings. She listened in on the conversation and her belief on who the red head is was really who she thought it was. She swallowed the lump in her throat wondering how many years have actually passed since the last time she actually saw this man. She could not see the man in the limo, but she could hear and could sense a cold vibe from him. Very similar to a feeling she got around most of ShinRa's men.

"Well aware - ?" Reno stopped himself. He wasn't even fully aware of the risks yet. He'd been gone much too long for his comfort at this point. But Graves? Whatever. Fuck it. "I'll consider that a verbal waiver of liability then," he replied instead. "Just don't get in the way. This ain't a place for tourists."

Sam watched the angry reno and wondered what was this stranger. She wondered if it was another higher up for ShinRa or just some rich guy that thought he could go where ever he liked.

"Is a wayward son not a stranger in his own home at first," mused the man aloud. "You should be more concerned with old allies and the secrets they keep than lil' ol' me." There was an almost imperceptible tilt of the gleaming orbs in the dark towards the watchful girl, having already observed her since her grand entrance of creating a fountain out of a person minutes earlier and the movement to the shadows. "Reno, you should be careful. It would just eat me up inside if a good buddy like you made a wrong move as these events unfold." The concern in his voice was tempered with snark. "The city has changed some and that progress may not be stoppable... for better... or worse." Ending with a cryptic note, the window went back up with an almost thoughtful home and the limo left, nothing more than an echo in the breaking dawn.

Reno's stomach twisted at "good buddy," and it only went downhill from there. All this mysterious mumbo-jumbo was giving him a headache and he massaged his forehead. He needed a nap, stat. "Bastard," he muttered as he returned to supervising the last bit of clean-up and rumor-quashing.

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