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..."
"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?"
"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?"