Day Off

It was morning in Wutai. The spring air was gently blowing as birds chirped in the nearby Sakura trees. The sun crept over the horizon of the Wutai Sea, and a pale mist that had enveloped since the previous night was slowly dissipating. Merchants began their cacophonous callings, a gong in the village square was struck six times, and slowly but surely, Wutai was waking up.

Enter Reno, Rude and Elena. They were agents of the Shinra Corporation called Turks. Ordinarily their business was done in darker hours, but not today.

Today was their day off.

Having spent the past week patrolling the steppes of Wutai for any sign of the rogue terrorist group AVALANCHE, they looked forward to a chance to relax, and the village of Wutai had always been a peaceful place. That is, ever since the war where Shinra completely took over the city. It had been reduced to something of a resort town, which is exactly what the worn Turks needed.

"Well looky here," said Reno, a tall man with spiked red hair. He wore his suit with a bit less grace than one would expect of a government agent, however he was as loyal as they came. Resting his arm over the shoulder of his even taller companion Rude he chuckled. "I see a bar, some hot springs and a buncha scared Westerners. We can have some fun today."

Rude, a man of few words, simply nodded, and straightened out his jacket. Rude was the exact antithesis of Reno. He was clean cut, professional, and silent. His face was hidden behind his thick sunglasses, and his bald head shined ever so slightly in the morning sun.

Elena, the third, was the smallest of them. She had short blonde hair and tomboyish features, which were accentuated by her Turk suit. The glimmer of a green gem sparkled beneath her sleeve; magic materia. Lacking the strength of her companions, she was given materia, even though it is normally reserved for Shinra's elite army unit SOLDIER.

She walked over to her comrades. "Don't forget that just because we have a day off today means we've stopped looking for AVALANCHE. We can rest up here, but tomorrow it's straight back to searching."

Reno chuckled, "Listen babe, I know you're a little new at this so I'll give you some pointers. A day off is a day off be you a merchant, a soldier or a Turk. Now naturally if Cloud and his gang show up here of course I'll bust them up, but it's not like they'd come to such an out-of-the-way place anyways."

Elena recoiled at Reno's over-familiarity. It was true that he was technically the leader, but that was no excuse for him to act as he did.

"Well then Reno, if I had just stolen a piece of Shinra property and crash-landed in the Wutai Sea, where would I go? Back to where the enemy was?" Elena asked.

Reno was still two-steps ahead. "Look I'm not saying there's not a chance they wouldn't come here. After all that's why Shinra sent us here to look, but even an idiot knows that Wutai is controlled by Shinra. Why would they come here?"

Suddenly the gong was struck again, seven times, and three Shinra soldiers went rushing out of the Turtle's Paradise pub. Two of them managed to get by the Turks, but the third was stopped by Rude.

"What the heck's going on?" Reno asked.

"We got a lead that says Cloud and his party AVALANCHE have landed on Adamantine Beach to the south. Apparently the Shinra airplane, Little Bronco, was damaged and unable to fly, and the terrorists were forced to sail," the soldier reported.

Reno nodded, and the soldier ran after his team. Elena pulled her PHS (Personal Handheld System) and began to dial a number. Reno stopped her by playfully batting the phone out of her hand and catching it with his other.

"What are you doing?!" Elena demanded.

"I just told you, today is our day off," Reno said.

Elena grabbed her PHS from Reno. "You also said if Cloud was here you'd fight him."

Reno was, as always, quick on-the-draw. "Yes, operative word 'here', as in 'right here'. I'm not gonna hike back across the steppes and waste two-hours outta my life. And on my day off, no less."

"But-" Elena was silenced by Reno playfully placing a hand over her mouth as he dialed using his PHS.

"This is Reno. Yeah. Put me on with Heidi," Reno said. "Yeah I'll hold."

A few moments passed, and Elena couldn't help but notice that Reno's sleeve had a bit of chocolate on it.

"Thanks babe!" Reno said. "Hey Heidegger, have you heard the news? Cloud and the others have landed on Adamantine Beach. Yeah. Right. Uhuh. Really that many? And Tseng personally?"

Elena's ears perked up at the mention of Tseng's name. Even when she was very young and working as an intern in the Shinra Department of Intelligence she had a crush on the man who was now the Turk Commander. She dreamed of his long dark hair, his mysterious forehead mark, and his deep, but soft voice.

"Okay. You're a doll, Heidi. Okay I'll stop calling you that over the phone. You know Rufus is right, you gotta horse laugh. What's with the GEEE GEEE GEEE stuff? I'm sorry. Yeah okay. Don't worry if he slips past Tseng he'll never make it out of Wutai. Alright, buhbye," Reno hung up and took his and off Elena's mouth.

Elena wiped off her mouth, licked her finger and then attacked Reno's chocolate smudge.

"Hey, what the?" Reno asked.

"Sorry it's driving me nuts. I've learned to accept your horrible posture, dress and odor but could you at least wash your shirt?" Elena asked.

"Shouldn't you be asking me what our orders are?" Reno asked.

Elena stopped and sighed.

"Not very professional," Rude commented softly.

Elena mentally counted to ten, and swore she would tolerate this abuse as best she could. "Fine, what are the orders?"

Reno smiled. "We are to stick around here, and guard the city. Tseng and an entire company of Shinra's finest are on their way to apprehend them. Now, be a dear and go make sure there's plenty of breathing room in the Turtle's Paradise."

Elena sighed and walked off in the direction of the pub.

"You never called Heidegger," Rude noted.

"Like hell man, it's my day off." Reno said.


Morning had passed, and midday was setting in, as the gong was struck eleven times. The Turks had eaten more than their weight in food, and with the exception of Elena, were currently inhaling the finest mead Wutai had to offer. The lightweight Reno was already feeling the effects of the intoxicating liquid.

"Now look Elena. It's okay if you like Tseng. He's a great guy. But what I can't understand is why you don't like <hic> me or Rude. I know, I know, I give you hell , so maybe not me, but what about Rude, here. Don't chicks like the strong silent type, heck if I was a woman I'd-" Reno's ranting was cut off by a teenager bursting in on the pub. She wore shorts and a green sleeveless shirt and was carrying a bag filled with small orbs of various colors. He short black hair and ninja shuriken gave away her identity to the Turks.

"Isn't that… Yuppie, Yippy, Buffy…." Reno asked.

"Yuffie," Elena said. "Should we apprehend her?"

"Are you sick? She's underage. God when you think you know somebody…" Reno said.

"That's NOT WHAT I SAID!!!!" Elena shouted.

Across the bar, Yuffie was desperately trying to communicate with the bartender.

"Olan!" Yuffie cried out. "I need a place to hide!"

The bartender sighed, "Yuffie, is it debt collectors again?"

"Shut up wise guy! It's a bunch of crazy guys who I sorta robbed," Yuffie said.

Olan cursed in his native tongue and then shot back: "How can one who comes from such a proud line of ninjas be so wicked. You're a descendent of Shinobi, all the great ones have come before you-"

"I know! I know!" Yuffie mocked. "Blah blah blah there was Edge, and then blah blah some history crap, blah blah Shadow blah blah BLAH!!! Are you gonna help me or not?!"

Olan just shook his head and went back to tending customers. Yuffie cursed, moaned, then cursed again and ran out the door.

"Hey should we follow her?" Elena asked.

"Forget it, it's our day off." Reno said.


The sun was high in the air now, and the gong was struck twelve times. The fishermen had returned with some fresh salt water fish and baskets were sent down to the merchants for their midday rush.

The Turtle's Paradise was no exception, boasting five baskets and-despite the presence of the Turks-a full house. The sound of men shouting out orders, the chefs bickering, and of course the hammer-like sound of the knives cutting through fish against the cutting boards all echoed throughout the pub.

Suddenly, in walked three people. A man wearing worn-out SOLDIER uniform with spikey blond hair, a small woman with light brown hair in a pink dress, and a dark-haired man in a red cape.

"Wow. Even if Yuffie did hide in here we'll probably never find her," the woman said.

"We may as well look, it's not like we can go anywhere while she has our materia," said the blond man.


Elena looked up over her glass and gasped. "Reno! Rude! It's Cloud!"

Reno looked over at the blond. "Oh, so it is. I'll be damned, I guess Tseng isn't as cool as you thought, eh sweetie?"

"That's not the point!" Elena said.

"The ancient is here too," Rude said, referring the woman who was, in fact, a descendent of the ancient magical race called the Cetra.

"And some guy I've never seen. This is all fascinating," Reno said.

Suddenly Reno and Cloud's eyes locked. Cloud lifted his sword, and Reno pulled out his Tazer. The dark-haired man with them lifted his gun, but Cloud lowered it.

"No Vincent, not yet," Cloud said.

Reno and Cloud sized each other up for a minute, and then Reno lowered his tazer. "Alright you win tough guy. Da da de de, da-da, de de dum!"

Cloud lowered his sword. "Are you drunk?"

"Yes," groaned Elena, her head now resting on the table, covered with her hands.

"Look, normally I'd mop the floor with you and all but today just so happens to be my day off, so why don't we just agree to leave each other alone?" Reno said sitting down.

The members of AVALANCHE stood confused for a moment. The woman, Aerith, spoke first. "I doubt even Yuffie would be so reckless to barge in here with the Turks sitting right there. Day off or no."

The men agreed and they left to continue their search elsewhere.

Elena stood up. "I don't understand! This time Cloud was 'right here' and you still did nothing!"

"When I said 'right here' perhaps I was vague. I mean there was a distance between us which his sword covered better than my tazer," Reno said.

"Some hero you are, no wonder you can't get a girlfriend," Elena said.

"Maybe not 'friend' but I get plenty of girls, believe you me," Reno said. "Now will you stop you're ruining our day off."

"Even the booze tastes bad now," Rude quietly observed.

Suddenly the door burst open again.

"Dammit is he back for round 2?" Reno asked.

In ran the three soldiers whom the Turks had dealt with before. They ran up to the Turks and saluted them.

"A bit more proper about authority this time aren't we?" Elena noticed.

"They want something," Reno said without even glancing at them.

"Sirs and Ma'am. We have reason to believe that the traitor Don Corneo is here in Wutai," the first soldier said.

Reno chuckled to himself and put down his glass. "'Reason to believe' just say you saw the guy already!"

The soldier turned crimson and continued. "Ah…yes, well anyways. We believe we have cornered him and want Turk assistance in capturing him."

"What about AVALANCHE?" Elena asked.

"HQ says that AVALANCHE can be caught anytime, but Shinra wants Corneo especially," the soldier replied.

"Too bad. It's our day off," Reno said. "Must I post it everywhere, on every sign in Wutai? 'Hey Wutai, guess what. The Turks have a friggin' day off'."

The soldiers got up and began to leave. The first one warned them as he left. "Don't think HQ won't hear about this!"

The door slammed behind them, and Elena's last nerve went with them.

"How can you guys act so unprofessional! Here we have a chance to catch both AVALANCHE and Corneo and you are just sitting there getting drunk!" Elena shouted.

"Elena, a professional isn't somebody who sacrifices themselves for their job. That's just a fool," Reno said.

"You're wrong!" Elena shouted as she ran out.

Rude started to get up, but Reno stopped him. "Just let her be."


The sun slowly sunk down over the apex of the sky, and the midday rush was over. The gong sounded out twice over the village. And in the middle of Turtle's Paradise, Reno's PHS received a mayday from Elena.

Reno and Rude ran out the door and up the steps the village square. Running in the direction of the Pagoda of Five Gods, they just missed a large man in a red robe running back in the direction of the town. Two henchmen followed him carrying a bound Elena and Yuffie. Rude turned and saw them dart off in the direction of the massive stone statue to the west of the village; Da Chao.

Suddenly the three members of AVALANCHE appeared behind them. Reno and Rude turned.

"Now is not the time," Cloud said.

"Yeesh, is he telling me… You know they snagged one of ours too," Reno said.

"Look, it's not like I have any intention of cooperating with the Turks," Cloud said.

"The feeling is mutual, so let's just agree to do what we can to deal with this common foe for now and we can get back to killing each other when it isn't my day off, okay?" Reno asked.

"Got it. And don't worry we'll leave your friend alone," Cloud said.

"Yeah yeah, I've no intention of harming that kid," Reno said.

Cloud and Reno shook hands, forging a temporary alliance at best.

"So which way did they run off to?" Cloud asked.

Reno laughed. "Ah that'd be too easy. I'll give you a hint though. It's the place that stands out the most."

The two Turks ran off back towards town.

"We could just follow them," Aerith pointed out. Cloud and Vincent, again, agreed with her.


After a long hike to the nearby mountain range where the statue Da Chao was carved, Reno could still just barely hear the ring of the gong striking five times.

"It took us three hours to get here?" Reno asked.

"Well if you hadn't run the first two kilometers at full-speed and then dragged your feet for the last three…" said Cloud who was walking up behind them.

"Ah, so you figured out my riddle," Reno grinned. "It was a pretty easy one though."

"You can say that again…" Cloud thought.

"Well he's somewhere up here, and somehow got here a hell of a lot faster than we did. Let's scout out the area real quick-like, who knows what kind of horrible things he might be doing," Reno said.

The five walked up the mountain path at the first landing could already see the sculpture Da Chao. At the face of the head figure in the sculpture, stood Corneo, and Elena and Yuffie were both tied to the rock face.

"That's not good…" Reno said. "Okay, you three go ahead and distract him, Rude and I will give him a little wake-up call."

"And why should we trust you?" Aerith asked, matter-of-factly.

Reno laughed and then scratched his head. "You gotta point, but please remember that our comrade is in a pickle too. Why are you trying to save that girl anyways. Didn't she steal your materia?"

Cloud remained silent for a moment and then said. "Well basically if we don't save her, we won't find out where she stashed it away."

"Oh, I thought you just wanted to beat the living snot out of her with your own hands," Reno said.

Cloud couldn't hold back his smile at that thought, but suppressed it quickly at Aerith's eye of shame.

Cloud, Aerith and Vincent ran up and confronted the Don. Though the Turks could not hear their exchange clearly, they did see a large wyvern fly down from over Da Chao and attack them.

"I'm so glad we're backup on this one," Reno said.

"Now we know how he got here so fast," Rude noted.

"Yeah. Okay let's move!" Reno ordered.


As the gong struck six the wyvern fell to Cloud's blade. The sun was beginning to set behind Da Chao and AVALANCHE had at last cornered Corneo.

"Alright Corneo the games over, release our friends," Cloud said.

"I still have one game to play. Why do you think a scoundrel like I pulls off a stunt so ridiculous as this? 1) Because I'm given up all hope. 2) Because I'm sure of victory or 3) Because I'm insane?" Corneo quizzed.

Cloud raised his sword. "We don't have time for your nonsense!"

"Sorry, the correct answer is number 2!" Corneo said. He pulled out a remote and pressed two buttons which released the girls arm cuffs and sent them spinning around until they were both upside down.

"Not another step! If I push these other two buttons we'll end up with squashed tomatoes," Corneo giggled. "As you see fools, I am the one who laughs last."

"No that would be me," came Reno's voice as he walked down from behind the group.

Corneo's face became a mask of fear. "Reno of the Turks…."

"You should have known this would happen after you leak plans of our attack to these guys. Nobody betrays Shinra's trust and gets away with it," Reno said.

"Damn you all! If I'm going down I'm taking these two with me!" Corneo reached for the button. Vincent pulled out his gun, but Rude's was drawn first and sent a bullet flying through Corneo's hand.

"Excellent timing Rude!" Reno shouted. He kicked the remote to the side and then pushed Corneo back. Corneo reached out and grabbed a rock, and Reno caught his hand.

"Alright now I want you to think about this one. Why did I ally myself with my enemy just to take care of you? 1) Because I had given up hope. 2) Because I was sure of victory, or 3) Because I was insane?" Reno asked.

Corneo quivered. "Number 2?"

"Wrong," Reno said, letting go of Corneo's hand. Corneo screamed as he fell to the bottom of the statue. "The correct answer is…"

"Because it's our job," Rude said.

Elena's eyes began to tear up. "You guys, thank you so much."

Reno just shrugged his shoulders. "Don't act so weak Elena. You're a Turk."

Elena nodded. "Yes sir."

Reno's PHS rang. "This is Reno. Yeah. Uh-huh. Okay. Bye-bye Heidi. Uh, yes. Heidegger. Sorry…."

"Was that HQ?" Elena asked.

"Yeah, they want us to find Cloud," Reno said. He turned to Cloud.

Cloud lifted his sword, Vincent lifted his gun and Aerith stepped back.

"Are we on?" Rude asked.

Reno chuckled. "Not today. Today's our day off."

"Hey!!!!" Yuffie shouted. "I don't care about any of that! Get me down!"

All That Glitters Is Cold 4 Fanfic Competition

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