Reno: Through the Eyes Chapter 5

By Kain Servant

‘Center my eyes on my broken life - disbelief across my eyes,
Can’t believe that this is mine - can’t believe the shit I’ve done
But I can’t deny it – it’s all true,
Now it’s time to pay my dues.’

Reno stepped away from the microphone and turned his back to the audience as he let the guitar take the lead for a short bridge in the song. He wiped sweat away from his forehead and turned to look at the ocean to the right of the stage.

Reno remembered the last time he had been to Junon it had been a much happier ville. He supposed ShinRa had put a more oppressive hand onto the town’s back as they militarized the town. Behind the stage construction materials and crews were piled high atop the city, working on modernizing the fortress that overlooked the sea. What was once a romantic old castle of towers and merlins was now a concrete slab, soldier dorms and training rooms carved into the inside. According to rumors he had caught since he entered the town, the flat top was going to be an airstrip for ShinRa airships and helicopters. And there was another rumor of a secret weapon. Was there really a war brewing? Reno was aware that ShinRa was a partially military organization, but who would they fight? And why?

But admist all the construction and noise, the rumors and the feedback, the ocean was still beautiful. The waves lapped gently toward him along the beach, soothing his soul, and he pictured Aeris’ hand reaching through them to touch his head again. He could well consider himself the luckiest man alive. He dated a beautiful woman, he was popular, he made a lot of money…

Past the restaurant the date had gone alright. Finally Aeris had begun to talk without him prodding her, and so she talked and talked about her life, family and friends, and he simply listened and watched her and smiled. He felt better that way…he didn’t feel comfortable talking a lot. He felt if he did so he was going to say something stupid and people would see what a fool he really was.

Turning back toward the audience, Reno put his hands in his pockets. In one pocket he felt his small aspirin bottle and his pack of cigarettes. In the other pocket was a slightly larger bottle. Flash. He could almost feel Aeris’ eyes looking disapprovingly. And so he hadn’t taken any since the first time. But he still kept them in his pocket, just in case he got a really bad headache. He couldn’t throw them away…they had relieved his pain. And that was hard to do.

Reno caught the eye of one man in the crowd, who immediately slipped his sunglasses back on. The man had a shaved head, was dressed nicely, and was noticable mainly because he was standing a good three feet away from anyone in the crowd, away to the side. The fleeting glimpse he had gotten of the piercing hazel eyes told him the man was memorizing him.

Another person stalking him? I guess that was normal if he was a celebrity… but he felt like he had seen the man somewhere else. Ah well…he guessed it was a paranoia…Reno jerked his attention away from the man when he noticed that David, the guitar player, was watching him anxiously. It was time for him to finish the song.

Hastily he stepped back to the microphone to call out, “Time -- !” He had to stop thinking about Aeris and stalking and everything and focus – this was his career…his concerts were him. That was what was most important. “Time…Time…to pay my dues.”


It was clouding heavily over Midgar, an infrequent spark of lightning flashing here and there as a storm rolled closer. The first drops of rain were just falling when the door to the ShinRa building opened and Tseng stepped out and walked slowly to the ledge that overlooked the plates, his face lifted up to the rain.

There was something about rain that made responsibility seem to fall heavier. Ironic. The Turks were set up as a sort of Anti-responsibility organization…to clean up messes when President ShinRa created them. Some tried to look at the Turks as something nobler, but Tseng knew the truth. It was better to simply face life as a nobler man, knowing and admitting that what he did was unethical.

Rain touched his face, and he flinched at their chill. Behind him he heard timid footsteps, and so he slowly clasped his hands behind his back, and continued staring into the gray sky, waiting for her to speak. There was nothing that said the unethical could not be honest and noble.

“Mister Tseng?” The coy voice spoke. It had been two years, so her voice had matured quite well…Tseng did not turn. He did not want to look at her.

“Yes. It’s raining, would you like to go inside?”

“I brought an umbrella.” She stepped closer and slipped the plastic cover forward, to cover both of them. “It’s been a long time, Tseng.”

“Two years. Look…I’m going to be brief with you, Miss Marshall, as I am with everyone. My condolences to your father, he was a very good fighter, and his death was unfortunate.”

“I am done mourning. He was strong, but not strong enough to keep himself alive.”

“Don’t try to impress me. I can still feel the tenderness of the issue in your voice. You loved him very much.”

“I loved someone else as well…”

Tseng leaned forward against the stone seperator, a thin wall between him and the vast space above the plates. “So, now that the formalities are out the way, I would like to speak of business. You were always interested in the Turks, for many years I believe, but your father didn’t want you in because of the danger. He should have taken some of his own advice. But now he’s dead, and I am shorthanded.”

“You are trying to hire Reno Thunder.”

“You are correct. Mister Harper must have given that bit away when he saw you.”

“I made the connection for myself. Rude is a good man.”

“I’ve been training him for nearly a year now. He learns slowly, but is exceptional in everything he knows.” The conversation was dragging on, and Tseng felt his solid resolution weakening. “I am making a proposition. It’s my favor to you.”

“You know what I want…” Elena sighed. “Tseng…”

“Answer.” Tseng growled.

“No. For now…” Elena turned away and pulled the umbrella with her, leaving Tseng back in the rain. “But if my current job drops through, I might pay you a visit. I’ll keep training my fighting skills…just to keep in shape.”

Tseng smirked. “Have fun…Elena.”

She just sighed, then her footsteps began fading into the distance. “Nice seeing you again…” She called back at him.

Tseng turned to look at her form receding…then placed his hand on his side, grimacing. Old wounds were a bitch to open.


“A few things have changed since yesterday, Reno. Good concert, by the way.” Reno followed Giami through the half-constructed fortress of Junon to a private military residence building Reno was going to spend the night in. The band members had wrung their way out of the concert and headed to the first bar they could find – so Giami would have to pick them up off the table in the morning. The concert had gone well…Reno dug into his pocket for his aspirin and poured pills into his hand while Giami droned, “We’re going to be sailing about two hours later than we had planned. An unscheduled cargo ship showed up and took priority over ours…apparently they have some big cargo – which means we’re going to arrive in Costa Del Sol a little late in two days – about an hour or so before your concert. Just so you know.”

Giami puffed for a moment on his cigar, and Reno swallowed his pills as they passed a checkpoint and showed their IDs. A few more long corridors to turn down, and they finally reached the residence building. Giami shrugged and patted Reno on the back, “Alright, get some good sleep, rest your voice. If you need anything I’ll be down in the town inn.”

“Thank you.” Reno watched him walk away, puffing heavily on his cigar, then shrugged and turned to the door, sticking the key into the lock. With a turn he discovered…the door was already opened.

Slowly Reno entered, seeing his traveling bags already inside, by the door. Perhaps the luggage carrier had forgotten to lock the door behind him. Another shrug, and Reno picked up his suitcases and walked into the main room of the house.

The sunglasses man was already comfortably seated in the room’s only armchair. A chill ran through Reno’s spine…slowly he set his bags down and reached into his pocket for a cigarette, “That’s my chair.”

The man looked at him blankly for a moment, then spoke, “I could be an assassin, hired to kill you.” In an instant a knife was in his hand, tilted and ready to throw. “What if I am?”

Reno pulled his cigarette pack out and, flicking the top open, swiftly flicked a cigarette out. It skimmed through the air toward the blue-suited man, and split itself against the sharp knife, falling into two pieces into the man’s lap. Reno shrugged and pulled another one and tucked it into his mouth. “Then I’d have to kill you.”

The man chuckled deeply, then grinned. “I see why he wants you so much…cool, very cool.” He stood and pulled his sunglasses off, moving across the room to extend his hand, “Rude Harper.”

Reno didn’t take the offered hand, he simply stared at it for a moment, then pulled a lighter from his back pocket and lit his cigarette. “You were sent by Tseng, I’d imagine?”

“No…I came on my own, to test your skills. He’s been pursuing you like you’re the only fighter ever to knock a few wrestlers down. I had to come see if you’re worth it.”

“So you don’t trust the leader of the Turks? What an employee you are. So, am I worth it? Doesn’t matter. I already have a job.”

“I can see that.” Rude shrugged and retracted his hand, replacing his shades. “You’re worth it. I like you…you even have good taste in women. That Aeris girl you’re dating is hot…damn, I wish I could get her.”

“Thank you…she’s mine.” That was where he had seen the man. At the restaurant the night he dated Aeris. He must have underestimated how heavily Tseng would track him. “So are you done?”

“Aw…I wanted to fight you.” Rude balled two fists up and took a fighting stance, “Looks aren’t everything. Maybe you’re really a pussy fighter acting like you’re hot shit.”

“Maybe I am. You really want to try me?” His guard stick was still in his bags…Reno glanced over to see the handle peeking out of one of the pockets. He smiled.

Rude shrugged and rushed him, swinging with both fists, one for the head, the other for the stomach. No pushoff foot…it was a weak move. Reno ducked the top fist and grabbed the bottom one, pulling Rude toward him as he dodged to one side and grabbed his guard stick.

Rude tumbled forward for a moment, then recovered to lunge back at Reno, swinging with a heavy uppercut. Reno dodged back easily from it, but was immediately hit with a left hook to his shoulder. Grunting at the impact, Reno quickly stepped on one of Rude’s feet and kicked his other shin, making him fall off his balance.

“Cheap.” Rude grunted as he pushed up, punching at Reno’s head. A sharp crack came as Reno’s stick met Rude’s knuckles, then Reno raised a foot to kick Rude in the stomach, sending him sprawling away.

“I thought Turks were elite.” Reno teased at the gasping man, swinging his weapon over his shoulder.

Rude gasped for a few moments to catch his breath, “Save your words for the end of the battle.” Rude reached to his belt and pulled a green stone from it. Tensing, the big man gripped it with both hands, applying all his energy into it…and the stone began to glow.

Reno looked on amazed…he had never seen anything like it…he took a step back – as a massive bolt of lightning shattered through the roof and struck. It hit him in the shoulder, and Reno felt the energy flow through his system at a frantic pace, looking for a way to exit but finding none.

He had never felt such immense pain…with a grunt he fell to his knees, looking up at Rude, who was smiling confidently above him, “D…damn you.”

“No skilled fighter I know doesn’t know how to fight with and against magic. You must not be as great as Tseng said you were.”

“You bastard. Materia is nothing short of a cheap trick.”

“A cheap trick that can kill, mind you.”

“Yes.” Reno looked down, “So…you won. Go tell Tseng that I’m not worth it, and get out of my fucking face.”

“Sure.” Rude smirked and stepped past Reno toward the door, “Later.”

Reno watched him go…then painfully dragged himself over to his bed and fell down on it. “Well…that made absolutely no sense…” He sighed and stuck his hand in his pocket for aspirin. Instead his hand found the Flash bottle. Wrong pocket…

Slowly Reno popped the lid open and tilted the bottle, letting one pill slide out into his hand. He closed the bottle and looked around…as if Aeris would be there watching him. Heh…he was just paranoid.

Reno raised the pill to his eyes and looked at it…it was a dull white on the outside, with some grayish substance in the center…nothing special. Just a strong pain killer…maybe she was just over-cautious. She was a woman after all – not a goddess.

He dropped the pill into his mouth and swallowed quickly…it took him about two minutes, when the lethargic sense of euphoria began washing over him, that he forgave himself for breaking his promise to Aeris. He would just take one…and then never open the bottle again, she would never have to know.

A shuddering laugh escaped his system, and he closed his eyes. Too much was going on, his concerts, the Turks, Aeris…everything spinning round and round… Couldn’t it just stop long enough for his headache to go away?

“Life…is hell.”

Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic