Common Ground

BY : Kuragari75
Category: Final Fantasy Anime > Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children
Dragon prints: 600
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy, any of the characters, and no I'm not making any money from this.

Reno leaned heavily against Fenrir’s side panel, staring at the rusted monument on the ledge before him. The city beyond was shrouded in mist, making it hard to see, even though the rain had stopped some time before. The ground was still soggy from the downpour but as long as he didn’t sit directly in a puddle he’d be ok.

So, this is where Strife wanted to go? Reno didn’t know what was more depressing; the atmosphere surrounding the old sword, holding it’s vigil over the dark city below… or Strife’s attempt at cheering him up.

It had taken Reno’s alcohol addled brain around half way through the bike ride to understand the only reason Strife would be acting… well… friendly, had to have been that, some how, he’d found out.

Great! So someone had blabbed to Blondie and he just decided to take it upon himself to make it all better? Reno had almost ditched right then, but some part of his brain had told him that would’ve involved diving off of a very fast moving bike, and that just couldn’t be fun. Besides, the Choco-bo head had promised him boos.

They made it to Fair’s memorial without incident and Strife handed over the vodka without comment, further surprising the redhead by pulling a flask out of one of Fenrir’s smaller compartments. They’d been sitting there ever since, drinking in complete silence, the solemn monument standing tall before them.

Reno was quickly becoming uneasy with the quiet. That sword was dredging up memories he didn’t want at the moment and the alcohol was no longer enough to distract him. Strife certainly wasn’t offering any diversion either. Shit! What a time for ‘Broody Cloud’ to rear his annoying head.

Finally, Reno decided he couldn’t take anymore and just dove into conversation.

“So, who blabbed, yo?” He challenged, pissed that he wasn’t slurring anymore. Fuck fast metabolism! He took an extra swig from his bottle in stubborn protest and determination.

Cloud looked over at him with a raised eyebrow, taking another sip from his flask.

“Blabbed about what?” he asked with that infuriating calm as he turned to look back at Zack’s sword.

“What do you fucking think, smart-ass?!” Reno snapped. When Strife just stayed silent, he growled, throwing back another angry swallow. “Rude.”


“That’s not funny, Strife. Now who fuckin’ told you, yo?” Reno grumbled, trying to figure out why Strife was apparently playing list the ShinRa employees.

“No, Reno… Rufus. He called me earlier today and explained everything. He told me to keep an eye on you,” Cloud finally admitted in a quiet voice. There was a long silence as Reno digested this information, a rather irritated look in his eyes. Cloud could practically feel the anger building in the red-head as he fully understood what Strife had told him. The blonde barely even flinched when the Turk surged, however unsteadily, to his feet and hurled the vodka bottle over the cliff’s edge.

He watched Reno as the man stared out at the grey sky, obviously fuming, and leaving Cloud to wonder just how long it would be until he lashed out.

“So what the fuck! Rufus thinks I need a fucking baby sitter, now?!” Apparently, not that long.

“It’s not the first time I’ve lost a close friend on the job! I’m not about to fucking break down! FUCKING ASS PIECE OF SHIT COCKSUCKING MOTHER FUCKER!!”

Reno fought to take a deep breath, frustrated when he couldn’t figure out why that was difficult. Not to mention his vision was blurry, and when did he fall to his knees? He tried a few times to stand back up but the ground kept tilting alarmingly sending him straight back down. He felt exhausted and weakened and it didn’t help that his fucking vision was blurred!! He felt wetness on his cheeks and looked up at the dark clouds.

“Great, and now it’s fucking raining again,” he grumbled.

There was a hand on his arm and then it was a lot easier to stand, even though he knew he wasn’t putting any effort into it.

“It’s not raining, Reno,” Cloud told him quietly, confusing the redhead further.

It took him a moment too long to understand that he was crying. Fuck no! He didn’t cry damn it! Reno growled and pushed away from the blonde, managing to take one unsteady step before his face was headed toward the ground. Two arms grabbed him this time, saving him from gaining a concussion on the cold ground and hauling him up again.

Reno tried to push the blonde off, even as his arm was pulled over broad shoulders.

“Give it up, Reno. Let me help you back,” Cloud insisted stubbornly keeping his hold on the struggling redhead.

“I don’t fucking need help…” His grumbling was losing its bite and the blonde could tell the fight was leaving him.

“Yeah, I know. But you are pretty damn drunk,” he offered, leading the Turk towards Fenrir. “So just let me get you back so you can save your energy for fighting off the enormous headache you’re going to have tomorrow.”

“You were drinkin’ too, yo…” Reno pointed out, grateful for the out in conversation, even if he wouldn’t admit it.

“Doesn’t mean I’m drunk. Fast metabolism, mako enhancements… oh and that flask was water,” Cloud explained calmly, loading Reno onto Fenrir and climbed on behind him. The Turk’s tears had stopped and Cloud was seriously worried that the redhead was about to pass out.

“Tricky, Strife,” Reno mumbled, his head lulling against his chest.

Cloud chuckled slightly. He wasn’t that far off about the passing out, Reno was pretty out of it as they started back towards the town.

Cloud was glad that Reno had vented, if only a little bit, but he could definitely see why the redhead was angry. Death was something that Turks dealt with on a daily basis and that included losing colleagues and friends alike, so he could see why Reno would be angry at Rufus’s apparent lack of faith in Reno’s ability to keep it together.

But he also knew, or at least suspected, that losing Rude had been a much harsher blow than Reno had expected. The two had been friends throughout their time with the Turks and had been partners for years, and even though they had both known that death was a very real possibility, Cloud suspected that it had seemed a lot further off for the pair.

Far enough off that Reno had let Rude in more than he had ever allowed himself to let anyone in. After all, what was the point of being close to anyone if they got killed in the field the next day.

Cloud knew what it was like to close yourself off, to try and stay numb to others because you knew that they would never be around for long. He also knew what it was like to let one person in, one you saw as invincible, even if you didn’t realize it.

The two Turks had kept it a pretty tight secret, but Cloud had seen the pain he’d felt at Zack’s demise reflected in Reno’s blue eyes and he knew.

The two had been more than partners, they had been lovers… probably for nearly as long as they had known each other. Rufus had most likely known, which would be why he was worried about the Turk, even if the smug bastard hadn’t admitted such. He had made excuses saying that he just wanted Cloud to watch him in case they needed damage control, but the man had been worried.

Cloud tightened his hold on Reno as they entered the outskirts of the city, wanting to comfort the man who had been an uneasy ally and someone Cloud had secretely wanted to be friends with, and praying that, unlike himself, Reno never had to endure this pain a second time.

Kuragari: ok, so the emotional aspects felt a bit jumbled to me, but I wanted to update! Also I drew a picture to accompany this chapter. You can find it here on my deviantart: let me know what you think!

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