Reno: Through the Eyes Chapter 2
By Kain Servant
Reno saw his face on a magazine cover as he ambled slowly down Pond Avenue, back toward his residence, returning from breakfast at Fat Eds Pub. Yawning the last fragments of sleep from his body, he inserted a gil into the machine and then slid the magazine off the stack.
Sexiest Man in the World: Reno Thunder Was the headline. Hah. For pure amusement sake he flipped to the page number shown and slowly scanned Newsstream Magazines opinion of who he was.
Reno Thunder has more charm than is legal for a man of his age. 22, and he can already make women from 15 to 50 beg for his bed. Its something about those eyes the way he looks at you and how he touches his hair Reno tongued his teeth and reached his free hand into his pocket to get a cigarette.
His pocket was empty. Damn he grabbed his guard stick from the table in the morning, he must have forgotten to open the drawer. Ah well Surprisingly, this mysterious man had some light shone on his past recently. A current resident of Midgar, Reno was born in Kalm to a family of stout conservatives who, when asked about his choice of career, chose not to comment. That figures. He could just imagine his dad scowling at the newsman and calling down a curse from the gods.
Reno Thunder! A gruff voice sounded from behind him.
Hmm, what? Slowly Reno turned, one hand in his pocket and magazine balanced in the other hand. He barely had enough time to duck the blow that came. The source of which was a burly man in a wifebeater and ripped jeans, with the smell of beer on his breath. Two more men, equally as burly and equally as saturated in beer, flanked him.
Reno dropped the magazine. Fans? Want my autograph?
Naw, bitch! I want yer face beat in! The man roared (yes, roared, something that surprised Reno as well) and charged, throwing two swift punches.
Reno sighed and half-closed his eyes, focusing on a point just above the mans shoulder as he turned, letting one punch fly past him, then whipping his hand out of his pocket, he grabbed the second fist in both hands. Bitch. Thank you. With a sudden burst of Reno pushed into the air, pulling the fist down as he did so. CRACK. The sound of jawbone hitting knee was always unpleasant.
The second and third man charged simultaneously. Reno had just enough time to pull his guard stick from his belt, then he took his stance, left foot slightly behind right. As the first came Reno faked a punch to the left, making the man dodge to the right. There he met a swiftly-moving two-foot wooden stick to the face.
As he tumbled to the ground with a cry, Reno pushed off with his left foot, jumping onto the mans back for a springboard and launching into the air. There his gaze finally left his point of focus and he allowed himself a smile at the third man followed by a roundhouse kick to the head.
Come again. Reno picked up the magazine and turned back toward his house. Now, he really needed a cigarette.
Giamis slick black car pulled up next to Renos house at exactly four. Reno had bothered to change into a formal scarlet button-down shirt. Which he wore open. His guard stick was tucked into his belt, his cigarettes and aspirin were in his pocket, and his wallet with ID for the ShinRa building. He was all set.
Giama smiled a beam of shady light at Reno and waved his cigar, Reno, you look wonderful! Very sharp today, itll be wonderful.
And short? Reno wondered aloud as he ducked and slid into the backseat of the car. The driver pulled away immediately with a screech.
It wont be any longer than an hour, then you can have the rest of the day to yourself.
Wonderful. Reno sighed and leaned back, brushing at his hair thoughtfully with his hands as he watched the quiet neighborhood pass by and merge into the Wall Market. The glitter and glamour of the market lit the bottom part of the wall with a purplish tint. You know, Giami, somethings bothering me.
What is it, buddy, huh? Ya need me to find you a girl?
No. Giami chuckled mischeviously and Reno rolled his eyes. Giami was forever insulting Renos abstinence which wasnt what it was at all. Reno just wanted the best the only one, not some cheap street slut.
Today three men attacked me on my way back from my breakfast. Ironically while I was reading about how I was the most loved man in the world.
Hey shit happens, Reno. Youre okay, right? Nothing damaged?
I was walking down Pond Avenue. I know almost everyone in Sector 6, no one here is malicious. Dons a bit shady, but no ones malicious. Were all here living our own lives, right?
Aw come on, Reno, what are you talking about? There are bad apples in every bunch you cant say that every man in this sector is good.
I just I think someone sent them. Hunch. Maybe not even to kill me, just Reno shook his head, I dunno, screw it-
As his head swept to the right he saw her, holding her flower basket in the crook of her arm as she walked slowly down the street of her business, a distant smile on her face Renos hand slammed against the window. Dammit!
She looked up at him. Her curious green eyes glittering as she smiled uncertainly. The windows were tinted.
The car sped away.
Reno had only been up the ShinRa elevator once, when he had gone to meet the President. He hadnt liked the President, and he really didnt like the whole idea of ShinRa lording over all the people down below, but hey he was still alive and making money, so he couldnt complain.
The ride was short, but the ascent gave Reno a headache again, and so he dug aspirin from his pocket as he exited the elevator and strolled the long flat concrete strip to the ShinRa building looming ahead.
Even in all its dishonesty and cruelty, the elegance of the building itself, and how well the corporation functioned always amazed Reno. He didnt know much of politics outside the music world, but he was sure it was one hell of a task to keep all those soldiers and reactors and people in all different places in line. It was hard to even think about it.
President Shinra must be a little more than a lardball I guess. Reno mused to himself as he pulled open the door and stepped from concrete to red carpets.
All eyes in the room immediately swung in his direction, and the guards began raising their weapons. Uhmm? What the hell? Talk about being unwanted.
Then suddenly one of the guards pointed his finger, Hey, youre Reno Thunder! A murmur of recognition ran through the occupants of the room. I saw your concert last week, you rock!
I rock. Reno sighed heavily and reached into his pocket for more aspirin, Thanks. Im here for a meeting with Tseng.
One of the desk clerks nodded and motioned with his hand, Yes, follow me. The media is already waiting upstairs. That sort of comment always could earn a sigh, and Reno stalked quickly across the floor, gulping three aspirin before he got to the elevator.
Nice shirt. He smirked at the clerk, whose eyes widened defensively for his pink and orange striped shirt. A few of the guards chuckled, and one even cheered. Reno smirked again as the elevator closed, Have a nice day.
He found himself saying things like that often. It was a mixture of the manners driven into him from birth and general cynicism of society. No one really listened to him, or cared about anything he did except for singing so it was easier for him to just give short responses like, Yes, No, Thank you, Youre Welcome. A good habit, he was sure Ms. Bithers, his neighbor would have said.
The elevator bell dinged, and he stepped onto the thirtieth floor. The first thing he saw was a cold smile, cold, dark eyes. The black suit, long dark hair. He recognized those he recognized them because he had seen that man when he had first come to Midgar.
The bus driver had stopped at the walls of Midgar and the blood-thirsty people had watched. A man beaten to death against the outer wall of Midgar, by a man in a black suit. The man with long black hair had stood and watched until the the bloodied body had stopped moving, then he casually strolled over to the bus and casually handed the bus driver a few thousand gil, before turning and stepping into a helicopter that pulled off into the sky.
The gil had been for sealed lips, but it really didnt matter. Everyone knew who the Turks were they were ShinRas dirty workers, they were cold, calloused criminals in nice suits. And they were very good.
That was Tseng. The sarcastic smile was imprinted on his face as he stood there, arms folded across his chest, blatantly ignoring the yelling newsmen and journalists that surrounded him.
When Reno entered the room, once again all eyes turned to him. And the gossip-starved animals pounced on him like a piece of meat. He pulled the meat away, shoving the man directly in front of him out of the way with a stiff arm, If youve ever been to any of my concerts, youve heard all Im going to say- Oh, damn this wasnt a concert he forgot what he normally said headache must have fogged his brain.
Im so happy to be the sexiest man in the world. He started with a grin, It makes me feel really good. The fans are as annoying as ever, my favorite meal is a bacon burger at Fat Eds. Thats-oh yeah, I never had sex with Jana Tiray, in fact Ive never said more to her than Hey and that was at the music awards. Thats all.
Reno how do you feel about-
Thats all. The smile faded.
Another one began, Reno-
Fuck off. Tseng spoke placidly. This is my meeting, not yours, now go away.
What do you feel about the Turks, Mr. Thunder? A voice called out of the crowd.
Reno sighed, I dont know, what does anyone feel about the Turks? You heard him, go away. He moved to stand next to Tseng, hands in pockets, his eyes focused on a small point away from the crowd.
After a few moments of silence from both men, the media reluctantly piled into the elevators and disappeared. But that didnt break the awkward silence. Unlike women, Reno was never really at a loss for words around men. He just didnt say much. But, Tseng wasnt saying anything, and it made him really uncomfortable just standing there in the middle of the empty floor.
Finally the black-suited man turned toward Reno, plastic smile still on his face, It would be best for you to never say anything to them. You say one thing and it encourages them to come back again. I havent said a word to them in ten years before today.
Thank you. Tseng didnt speak to the media? That was what was bothering Reno if this wasnt a public meeting, what was the point of it? He thought that the Turk leader just had a private interviewer in his office or something but now he was confused.
Follow me. Tseng turned and strolled with that same casual gait Reno had seen five years ago, to the key elevator. Reno followed the clicking of well-polished shoes.
Tsengs office was a spacious one, and well-decorated, just like the man himself. The floor was polished marble, and old paintings in old elaborate wooden frames decked the walls. The far wall was one big window that looked out upon the field beyond.
It wasnt very often Reno got to stare at the landscape surrounding Midgar. His tours were always so hurried, he never got to spend as much time outside as he wanted.
The sky was hazy, light blue fogged lightly with rain clouds. The view was almost infinite, Reno could picture the sea just over the last rise, almost hear the waves carried on the wings of a zephyr to the shore.
You like the outdoors? Tseng had walked to his desk, where he relaxed on the edge and stared at Reno with his never-changing sarcastic smile. Reno looked up,
Why do you live in Midgar then?
I like indoors better.
Tsengs smile twitched a little. Ah. Well I suppose are wondering why I dismissed the press? Lets change this from a meeting to an interview, shall we?
Please, explain. Interview this had so very much better not be about-
I want you to join the Turks. You show exceptional prowess in all the qualities that Turks should exhibit. Youd even look good in the suit. Tsengs lip pushed upward once again.
Thank you. No. I mean no, Im a superstar hell, Im the sexiest man in the world, why should I want to put my hands in your shit? Because I look good in the suit?
Why would you want to? Because right now you are a pawn, and I am offering you a chance to be the master. Right now you are only the most popular because of trend, but I can make you respected and feared, forever.
But why would I want to be feared? Im a farmboy, not a bully.
Ill show you. Tseng rose from his desk and grabbed a remote control from atop a stack of papers. Turning toward the left wall, he punched a button and a TV lit up. Another button, and a tape began to play.
This was a live performance of a well-built man holding a Newsstream magazine being assaulted by three hulking giants, each of which he defeated easily with flawless moves of his hands, feet and a guard stick which he spun from hand to hand constantly. It was a video of his morning. It was him.
I Reno fought to control his anger. The bastard! He had been ganked just to test if he was good enough for the Turks? I look good on camera.
Nothing else? Tseng shrugged and turned the television off. You are good at controlling your emotions, another asset. Im sure you didnt realize this, but those men that attacked you this morning werent just drunk bums they were the three best street-fighters in Midgar.
They were still drunk.
Mister Tarshil Tseng sighed and Renos hand twitched. Tarshil had been his surname before he had changed to the stagename Thunder which Giami chose. No one seemed to know Look, Ill be honest with you. I need your help.
Recently two Turks were killed near the Golden Saucer. Im not positive, but Rufus and I have definite suspicions of who it was and if that is true, then all the military force ShinRa has wont be enough to win.
Hah, it was fun to see the leader of one of the most feared operations in the world afraid himself. Reno controlled a small smile as he worded carefully, So ?
Do you know how many Turks are in service now, Reno?
Three. Wow Well that was a surprise. And Rufus is much too busy in his fathers affairs to be of much help anymore. I need to recruit, and I need to recruit elite. And you are the most elite there is.
Well Reno pulled out his guard stick and stared at it for a moment then shrugged and swung it over his shoulder, The best of luck to you.
Reno turned with a laugh, I dont feel sorry for you, Tseng and Im not scared of you. Maybe the Turks are supposed to die now. Now, excuse me, Im going to enjoy my day off
And he left the room, a triumphant smile on his face. --
Tseng was gritting his teeth as he sank into his padded chair. No one ever ever ever turned down Tseng like that, not to mention insulting him in the process! If Reno wasnt Reno, he would have had him assassinated immediately.
But he was a superstar, and the best fighter Tseng had ever seen. All of that and living in a cottage in Sector 6. How quaint. Tseng chuckled so he would have to be more persistent.
Relaxing his mind for a moment, he then moved his finger to the intercom and lightly tapped it, Could you send Rude in, please?
In a matter of moments the door flew open and Rude barged in, body held in an arrogant swagger. As he stepped in and shut the door, Rude whipped off his sunglasses and slipped them into his coat pocket. Whats up?
Mister Harper Im not sure if you are aware of this yet, but we are going through a recruiting process at the moment, and my sights have latched on to someone you may have heard of. Reno Thunder.
Ahah yeah I have his CD! Its good stuff.
I dont listen to music. Three Turks left and Rude was still a greenhorn. Reno has been very resistant toward his inevitable fate, so we need to do a little subtle convincing.
Right! Who do you want me to kill? Rudes face cracked into a smile.
Patience and formality are the two most important values of a Turk, mister Harper. Have you forgotten again that you are to address me as Sir?
Oh right. Sorry, sir. Rude hung his head, his pride dampened for the moment. If Tseng knew anything about the man it would be back very shortly. Rude was a very good fighter, and his reconnasaince skills were superb. But his intelligence level needed work.
Dont think about it. I need you to follow Reno home, and track his movements for the next few days. I want you to find out who the very most important person in his life is. Contact me immediately.
Will do sir. Its already done. Rude bobbed his head, then with the suave of a pimp, he flicked his sunglasses from his pocket and replaced them on his face. Coughing, he nodded again and swaggered out.
Tseng sighed and massaged his forehead he supposed he would have to use some of his own advice, and display a little patience.
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