He ignores you, merely continuing on his merry way, and you pout. Well, this just won’t do! You have no choice but to give chase, almost tripping over your cloak as you do so; it’s not an Organization cloak, per se, but just a random black cloak that you picked up somewhere because you thought Axel’s was cool. Also, as your school’s uniform, you’re required to wear a robe or a cloak, and robes are so last century.
Erm… anyway. You follow Axel, running as fast as you can, though your new black leather boots complain as you do so. “Hey! Axel! Wait up!”
He does so this time, letting out a long sigh but not turning around to face you. “Why are you following me?”
You blink, coming to a stop behind him and actually giving the question some thought. “Uh… actually, I don’t know.”
Axel twitches, turning around to face you, and you smile up at him, though you have to tilt your head back to do so. The guy’s way too tall… then again, maybe that’s his way for making up for his thinness. “Aren’t you supposed to be in class?” he queries exasperatedly.
“Yeah, probably,” you reply offhandedly, not letting it bother you in the slightest. “I’m ditching again. You’re gonna go away again, aren’t you?”
“I only ever stay for five minutes at a time.”
“So what? You’re going back to your world, right? Lemme go, lemme go!” You stomp your foot childishly, giving Axel the puppy-dog eyes. “It’s so boring here. I wanna go someplace else.”
One red eyebrow curves upward ever so slightly. “My world’s dangerous. You wouldn’t survive there, or on most other worlds. This one’s pretty safe.”
You growl softly, sulking. “Yeah, so? I’ll be fine if I’m with you, right?”
“You won’t be with me, kiddo. I can’t afford to have a measly little human tagging along with me everywhere I go.” Axel easily dodges your flailing arms, and he yells over your indignant screaming, “At least finish your training first, and then maybe I’ll consider it!”
You pull away, glaring at your not-quite-friend. “But you know I suck. At this rate, I’ll never graduate.”
“Then you’ll never be able to go with me, will you?”
“AXEL!” But he’s already turning away, one hand outstretched to create a portal of darkness before him, and this time, it’s your turn to twitch. “Are you listening to me?”
He doesn’t look at you, but you can hear the smirk in his voice as he answers, “No.”
“Oh, that’s it!” You dive forward, intending to tear his hair out by the roots or cling to his back until he gives in or flames you to death, but Axel sees it coming and moves neatly out of the way. You overbalance and stumble, teetering dangerously on one foot for a second before a rock on the ground just happens to get in your way, and you fall. Right into the portal.
It doesn’t help that Axel “accidentally” gives you a helpful, well-timed shove forward.
Well, you being you, you’ve never actually traveled between worlds before, and you find that you don’t like this first experience, or rather, Axel’s way of doing things. You tumble head-over-heels through the blackness, quickly getting dizzy and becoming nervous because of the fact that your sight doesn’t seem to be working in this darkness. Also, it seems that you’re going very… very… fast, which makes sense, since other worlds are very, very far away.
It doesn’t take you long to regret this decision, though you’d never admit it to the pyro. “AAAAAAAAAAAAH!”
Axel leans over the portal of darkness, listening as your scream slowly recedes into the distance, a slightly thoughtful, slightly sheepish look on his face. “Oops. Didn’t mean to do that. Oh well, she got her wish, didn’t she?”
He pauses, but the only response comes from the wind whispering gently through the trees. “At least that world’s relatively safe,” he continues thoughtfully. “There aren’t any Heartless there, no Nobodies, and very few monsters. Whole bunch of humans, though… she should be fine. I’ll bring her back later if I need to.”
And with that, Axel closes that portal behind you and summons another one to take him to The World That Never Was. However, he doesn’t bother to find out exactly where it is you land…
“AAAAAAAAAH — ow.” Your scream is cut off abruptly when you manage to land face-first on a hard floor, and you groan, allowing the rest of your body to fall flat. You don’t move at all, instead closing your eyes and savoring your moment of peace. “Last time I ever ask Axel to take me someplace. Great, how am I supposed to go home now? The prof’s gonna kill me if I miss curfew again…”
Sadly, your time to yourself doesn’t last long, as hurried footsteps sound outside the room you’re in. “The noise came from here!”
You let out a long-suffering sigh, even as the door bangs open, and still you don’t bother to look at your surroundings. The floor is nice and cool against your cheek, and you ask plaintively, “Look, could you leave me alone? I’m trying to take a nap here.”
Something above your head clicks, and a cold male voice orders, “Get up.”
You grumble but do not obey. “Is that a gun? Or are you trying to pretend you have a gun? I’m on to you, and I’m not moving from this spot. Lemme get my sleep.”
“It is a gun.”
“I don’t believe you.”
A loud shot sounds through the room and embeds itself very, very close to your head, making your ears ring, and you yelp, sitting up instantaneously. “HOLY-! I’m awake, I’m awake! Geez, warn me next time!”
Whoever it is doesn’t answer, and you slowly lift your eyes away from the bullet in the floor to look at the owners of the two pairs of feet in front of you. Both people are wearing suits, and you blink, looking from one to the other confusedly. The first speaker is probably the blond woman standing to the left, surveying you with curiosity and a hint of confusion, and the second is a man with long black hair, a cold expression, and a pistol leveled in your general direction. You let out a small eep, lifting your hands in a gesture of surrender. “Um… hi, it’s nice to meet you. Uh… I come in peace?”
No response. “That’s supposed to make you lower your gun and introduce yourselves, you know.”
Neither person moves, and you blink again. “Okay then… so, are you just gonna stand there all day?”
“Tseng! Elena!” A third voice, this one also male, echoes from the corridor leading to the room you’re in. You jump slightly, and the man’s finger tightens on the trigger, making you wince. A hand pushes open the door, and a guy in his twenties with pale blond hair enters and takes one quick look around the room. “What’s going on?”
You wave cheerily. “Hallo. I seem to have fallen into a very dangerous situation here.”
He raises an eyebrow at you, a gesture that reminds you a bit of Axel, and Tseng quickly explains. “We found her here. We have no idea how she got in, and she does not seem willing to divulge any information.”
“Ooh, big words,” you remark aimlessly, looking around as you do so. You’re in a small room, the plaster walls whitewashed and bare of any decoration, while the only things of interest are a table beside you and a couch against the far wall. Nothing that would keep you occupied for a long time, actually. Bored, you return your attention to the bullet and stare intently at it, attempting to pull an Axel and make it explode with a minimum of effort. Needless to say, you fail miserably, but you do notice something glinting underneath it. It takes you a few seconds to realize what it is, and when you finally understand, you break into Tseng, Elena, and New Guy’s conversation to ask brightly, “Hey, is this whole room plated with metal?”
The two males stop and give you deadpan looks, which you take to mean “are you stupid of course it is.” The woman only shakes her head, turning to New Guy, who seems to be the leader to some extent or another. “I’ll go get Reno and Rude, sir.”
“Go ahead,” he answers absently, his gaze never leaving you. “Tseng?”
“…of course.” Both of them turn to do… something, but the Chinese (at least, he seems Chinese) man hesitates at the door and turns back. “Are you sure you’ll be okay, sir?”
“I can handle one little girl,” “Sir,” as his new impromptu name shall be, says dryly.
“Heeeey! I am so not little.” Wow, you really should get your priorities straight. Anyway, Tseng disappears, leaving you all alone with the guy who seems to be in charge of everyone here. You look him up and down a few times, from his shoes up to his white suit, finally stopping at a pair of cold blue eyes and blond hair, before you go the other way, from his hair to his eyes to his suit to his shoes. This continues a few times, the man watching you oddly the whole time, before you finally snap out of it and look at him brightly. “Ne, can I ask you a question?”
He doesn’t answer, but you’re undismayed and continue, “If I decide to do something stupid, like pounce on you or bite you or steal your shirt or something, what are you gonna do to handle me?”
Sir doesn’t answer, only letting out a soft, exasperated sigh, and you grin, pleased at having managed to annoy him. “Well, really, what I mean is, you have to have a weapon of some kind, right? If you wanna make sure I don’t go out of control. Unless you fight with your bare hands, of course. Do you fight with your bare hands? I dunno anyone who does that… so you have to have a weapon. What is it?”
Quite suddenly, there is a shotgun leveled at your head, and you eep and cower. “Okay! Okay! I get the picture! You could’ve answered me using words or something, you know!” One eyebrow curves up slightly, and you sweatdrop. “I’m sorry, I’ll shut up. You can put that away now.”
He doesn’t move, and your eyes grow large and fearful as you watch him. “I said you can put that away…”
Luckily, before he can lose his temper and simply shoot you, thus ending this fanfic right here, Tseng reenters, this time carrying a foldable steel chair and handcuffs. You blink, focusing on him instead, though you do notice when Sir lowers his gun slightly but doesn’t put it away. “Uh… are those for me?”
Tseng gives you a look that obviously questions your sanity. “What do you think?”
“Yes,” you reply bluntly, “though I hope not. But I can’t find anyone else you’d use them on, except maybe yourself. Hey, that would be funny.”
Tseng and Sir don’t bother to comment, though Tseng unfolds the chair in the middle of the room and stands back. “Sit.”
You stare at him like he’s stupid or something… though from his point of view, it’s probably the other way around. “I am sitting.”
“In the chair,” Sir orders, the hand holding the shotgun twitching, and you eep and obey.
Tseng moves behind you, the handcuffs dangling from his grasp, and you tilt your head back to watch him. “I hope you have the keys to those things.”
He ignores you, merely handcuffing your arms together and to the chair, and you mushroom-sigh, closing your eyes. How did you end up here again? Oh yeah, it’s all Axel’s fault. Lesson of the day: never trust a pyro. Or at least, that particular pyro.
Silence once again falls upon the room as Tseng backs away, standing next to Sir, and you bite your lip, not really thinking about possible ways out of this situation as ways to kill Axel when you see him again. After he brings you back to your own world, of course.
But before you can get much farther than “steal away his cool cloak and hang him upside-down over a lake,” the door opens once again and Elena reenters, this time followed by two other men… also in suits. Geez, it’s like you’ve been kidnapped by some evil company bent on taking over the world or something. Not that it could be true. Anyway, the first one in is the tallest of those you’ve seen so far, and your attention only focuses on his sunglasses for a second before resting on his head. Ooh, shiny. “Dude, that could probably blind someone.”
He, Elena, and the third person all stare at you; you rather think the other two are used to your odd ways by now. The bald man is followed by someone else whose pretty red hair beats that of everyone else you’ve ever seen; it’s also pushed up out of his face by a pair of goggles, though a few strands fall past and into his face. Come to think… don’t you know someone else with long, spiky red hair?
Before you can comment on his uncanny resemblance to a certain not-quite-friend of yours, he sighs deeply, shoving his hands in his jacket pockets and leaning against the wall. “Hey, what’s this about? I thought we were on vacation out here, you know, not supposed to be disturbed and all? And today’s my day off.”
“This isn’t a vacation, Reno,” Sir says coolly, his eyes still trained on you, and you have the feeling that the interrogation is about to begin.
“Um, first,” you interrupt, at least hoping for some answers before you die, “Can I please have names? Because I can’t just refer to you by numbers or something. You… you’re Elena, right?” You point your foot at the woman, seeing as your hands are kinda literally tied at the moment, and she exchanges a glance with Sir, apparently getting his permission before she nods. “Kay, good. And you’re Tseng, and he just called you Reno, so that makes you Rude.”
Tseng and Rude don’t answer, though Reno does grin and send you a flirtatious wink. You sweatdrop slightly before your gaze lands on Sir, and you add, “What about you?”
The other four tense at the question, though you don’t really know why, but the white-suited man doesn’t answer. “Because really, I can just keep calling you ‘Sir’ if you want me to,” you continue thoughtfully. “That’s what they’re calling you. But it doesn’t really make sense, you know? Because if I call you ‘sir,’ that implies that I respect you, and I don’t even know who you are, so it’s not like I’m really taking orders from you or anything—”
“Rufus Shinra,” he cuts in, apparently to shut you up.
“Rufus… Shinra. Rufus, then.” You nod decisively to yourself. “Okay, then let the torture session begin.”
Reno, Rude, Tseng, and Elena are looking at you with various degrees of disbelief, and you blink, confuzzled. “What, did I say something?”
“You don’t know who he is?” Reno demands, starting to point to his boss before he thinks better of it.
“Uh, no.” Now they look troubled and suspicious, and you start to think that you did something wrong. “Am I supposed to? Sorry, I’m not really from around here.”
“Then how did you get here?” Tseng asks.
Oh, now we’re getting into the question and answer session, but before you can actually come up with a decent explanation, your tongue says the first thing that comes to your mind. “It’s not my fault, really! It’s—”
You stop, your eyes narrowing and your gaze focused intently on Reno, who looks about as clueless as they come at this point in time. “Oy, what’s with you?”
“Have you ever lost your heart?” you shoot at him, determined to get this out in the open once and for all.
Now he’s giving you a total “what the hell are you on?” look. “What?”
You nod eagerly; maybe you’re actually getting somewhere. “Because you look like someone I know.”
“…are you hitting on me?” Now Elena looks amused, Rude confused, Tseng exasperated, and Rufus… well, Rufus just looks like he would rather be doing something more productive.
“No, no. I’m just asking. Have you ever lost your heart?”
Reno looks around at the other four, all of whom seem to be under the impression that you’re crazy, and he finally comes to the same conclusion. “Isn’t that impossible?”
“Of course not!” you protest, before pausing. “But if you don’t think it’s possible, then I guess you don’t have Heartless around here… huh. I guess you couldn’t be his somebody anyway, or else his name would be Rexon or some such thing.”
Tseng sighs, apparently deciding that this is getting nowhere quickly, which it is. “Let’s try this again. How did you get here?”
“…I plead the Fifth.” They don’t seem to understand, and you elaborate, “I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me.”
“Answer anyway,” Reno suggests brightly, and you glare at him. Well, you can tell the truth without getting in too much trouble… kinda…
“Axel brought me,” you reply simply. “It’s all his fault. I didn’t want to come, really — well, okay, maybe I did, but not alone.”
Once again, you point your foot in Reno’s general direction. “His Nobody. Or not really, since Axel’s name isn’t Rexon. I guess that would make him Ale’s Nobody, or maybe Lea’s. Hey… I should ask him about it…”
Now it’s Sir — I mean, Rufus — who takes up the questioning. “This place is supposed to be hidden,” he snaps. “How did you find it?”
You ponder that, barely able to stifle your silly grin. “Well, if it’s hidden, I guess it’s not hidden very well…” The safety clicks off a certain shotgun, and you squeak. “Okay, okay! I wasn’t the one who found it, Axel was, and I don’t think he was paying much attention anyway.”
“Who is this Axel?” Reno complains.
“Somebody’s Nobody?” That earns you deadpan looks, and you smile. “Okay, fine. He’s a friend of mine. Kinda. Well, not really, because I currently feel like I want to murder him the next time I see him for putting me in this situation.”
Now it’s apparently Elena’s turn. “How did you get in here?”
“Um…” Well, you’re not allowed to tell them you’re from another world! That would mess up the order of the worlds, and you’d probably get in all sorts of trouble. “I… fell from the sky?”
“Why don’t you believe me?” you whine, pouting. “How do you know I didn’t fall through the roof and landed here?”
She glances up pointedly, and you follow her gaze. “There’s no hole in the ceiling.”
That makes you think furiously to come up with a decent answer. “Um… I fixed it?”
Silence, and then Elena intones slowly, “How did you get in here?”
You decide to take pity on them and tell them the truth, not like they’ll believe you anyway. “…portal.”
You blink. “Yeah, a magic portal of darkness that transported me from there to here. Axel’s portal, of course.”
Reno lets out a long sigh, quickly getting aggravated by your answers, and you catch yourself staring at him; not only is his hair fascinating, but now that you think about it, he’s actually kinda hot… of course, Axel’s hot, too, in more ways than one, and you’re going to go homicidal on him. “There’s no such thing as magic portals.”
“That’s what you think!” you reply in a singsong voice. You’d think you’d be taking this a little more seriously, seeing as you’re kinda a prisoner here and all…
“Reno.” Rufus is apparently getting tired of your evasive answers, because he sends one glance at the redhead.
Reno grins, pulling a long, retractable rod out of nowhere. “Sure, boss.”
You stare suspiciously at him, trying your best to scoot away; however, it isn’t really working, seeing as you’re still kinda stuck in the chair and all. “What are you going to do with that?”
He shrugs. “Sorry, but you don’t wanna talk. I don’t really wanna hurt you, but—”
“Gah!” You start moving back even faster than before, still watching him warily. Unfortunately, you go a little too fast and the chair tips over, falling onto its side and taking you with it. You’ll have a nice bruise where it lands on your upper arm… “Ow!”
Reno doesn’t stop moving, and you start to freak out, pulling your hands apart in an attempt to get away from the chair and run, though there really isn’t anywhere to run to. The handcuffs let out a small click and open, and you scramble upright, backing up against the wall. Surprise flits through his pretty blue-gray eyes before his expression changes to one of chagrin, and Reno scolds, “You really shouldn’t have done that, you know. Trying to escape will only make it harder for you.”
You press yourself even further against the wall, knowing that it will do you absolutely no good. “Well, what am I supposed to do, sit still and wait for you to hurt me?”
“You could just answer the questions truthfully.” Suddenly, he’s standing only about three feet away from you, his weapon sparking with electricity of some kind. The impending threat scares you enough that it unravels all the training that’s been drilled into you in your lifetime.
You lose control of your emotions and go into a total panic, your eyes squeezing shut as you thrust your hand forward, palm-first, so it stops about a foot away from Reno’s chest. “Get away from me!”
And he does, though not voluntarily. Reno suddenly goes flying backwards, his back slamming against the opposite wall, his metal rod dropping from his hand as he slumps to the floor. Wincing, he rubs his back, staring at you, and you return his shocked gaze. A second later, four guns are aimed straight at you, and Reno voices what everyone else in the room is thinking. “What the hell was that?”
And, yet again, the only thing you can do is tell them the truth. “…told you I’m psychic.”
After that little incident, they give it up for the day, seeing as you’re too scared to give them any proper answers and they need a little time to figure out how to handle you. After all, it’s not like it’s every day that someone drops into what’s supposed to be a top-secret location, claims to be psychic, and has the powers to back it up.
So here you are again, stuck in the same little room that you dropped into, with your hands once again tied behind your back. Well, at least you’re not handcuffed to a chair this time, so it’s a definite improvement. You did try telling them that there’s no point handcuffing you if you can get free with your almighty psychic powers anyway, but they ignored you. And you’re still stuck here with your hands tied. Typical.
And, of course, Axel hasn’t shown his face.
“Maybe I should drown him… that would be fitting. And cremate his body, oh yes. Though I dunno if it will really burn, him being who he is… wait, will he even have a body?”
You’re so deep into your evil plotting that you don’t notice when the door opens. “Talking to yourself?”
You jump, startled, and look up to meet Reno’s gaze. “Oh! Um, kinda. More like coming up with ways to kill my so-called friend.” You pause, studying him closely and trying to suppress the blush rising on your cheeks. “You really do look just like him, though.”
Reno smirks. “He must be hot.”
You snort. “In more ways than you can imagine.” Seeing the suggestive look on his face, you sweatdrop. “Not like that! Pervert… what are you doing here, anyway?”
Reno raises the tray in his hands before setting it down on the table. “Feeding you. There’s no use letting you starve to death.”
“Thanks… I guess.” You stare at the food on the tray for a little while, aware that Reno’s watching you and that he’s made no move to leave. “Um… sorry about earlier…”
“What, that throwing me against the wall thing?” You nod timidly, and he laughs. “Don’t worry about it. I probably would’ve done the same thing.” Reno leans down slightly, studying you carefully with a slight frown on his face. “Though what I wanna know is why, if you’re really psychic, you don’t just bust yourself out of here.”
You look away, aware that you’ve turned slightly pink from his close proximity. “Uh… yeah, about that.”
He raises an eyebrow. “What, don’t tell me you’re not really psychic.”
“Oh, no, I am,” you reassure him hastily. “It’s just that… well, please don’t tell the others about this. It’s kinda embarrassing, really. See, where I come from, maybe a quarter of all people have some kind of psychic power, and we — the psychics, I mean — well, we’re trained to use and control our power.”
You can’t stand this any longer, and you gently push him away. “Well, I… um, I’m not very good at this whole psychic thing. I’m last in my class, actually.”
Reno can’t hold back his snicker. “That bad?” You don’t answer, and he sighs. “Well, you managed to move me, and you probably got the handcuffs off that way, too, right?” You nod. “Then why can’t you just get them off again, unlock the door, and walk out?”
“…I plead the Fifth.”
“What?” Wow, he really doesn’t get it at all… but Reno’s really cute when he’s confused like that…
You shake your head, ridding it of such strange thoughts; you are being held captive by these people, after all. “The Fifth Amendment. Don’t you know?”
Reno’s brow furrows; he’s obviously thinking hard about it, but he doesn’t come up with an answer, and he shakes his head. “No.”
You smile slightly, pleased at having the chance to teach him about something. “Where I live, it’s one of the rights we’re guaranteed. I have the right to remain silent, or in other words, not say anything if I don’t want to, and I won’t get in trouble for it.”
“Oh.” Reno takes a seat on the couch next to you, and you glance at him; looks like he’s planning to stay here for a while. “We don’t have anything like that here.”
“Yeah, I kinda figured.” You fiddle with the handcuffs absently for a few seconds before giving up; you have no idea how to get them off that doesn’t involve a key or your powers.
“Next question,” Reno suddenly says brightly, and you roll your eyes.
“I told you, it was Axel, not me.”
“Not like that. You wanna tell me why you can’t just—”
“I already told you, I plead the Fifth,” you interrupt, but Reno smiles, bringing a finger to his lips in an indication for you to keep quiet.
“You didn’t let me finish,” he replies. “You wanna tell me why you can’t just break out of here, even if your powers aren’t that strong?” You open your mouth to repeat the statement, but Reno shakes his head and adds, “And I promise I won’t laugh.”
You twitch, your eyes narrowing. “You already laughed.”
He’s absolutely unaffected by your glare. “Well, I promise I won’t laugh again.”
You just stare at him, but the hopeful look on his face never wavers, and finally you relent. “Fine. The reason I’m last is because I can’t control my powers at all.”
True to his word, he doesn’t laugh, but that’s probably more because he’s perplexed again. “It looked like you could when you sent me flying.”
You avert your gaze, pouting. “Yeah… see, I’m strong enough to get out of here, but I can usually only use telekinesis when I’m in a panic. I only threw you back because you scared me enough.”
“Oh, sorry.” You still don’t look at him, upset that he got you to admit that you’re actually helpless most of the time, and you feel him shift beside you. “Hey, come on, don’t be like that. Don’t let it bother you. You’re cuter when you smile, anyway.”
You don’t reply, but you do turn and allow yourself to relax. “Now who’s hitting on whom?”
“That’s the way it should be,” Reno replies, sounding quite satisfied with himself. “It’s not like it’s that bad, right? You’re still psychic and still strong enough to do some damage, and if you can use it when you really need to…”
“Yeah, but it doesn’t help me out in situations like these,” you point out.
“True.” Reno doesn’t say anything for a few minutes, and when you glance back at him, he’s staring up at the ceiling thoughtfully. “Hey, can I ask you something?”
“Other than what you just did? Sure.”
“Okay, just don’t plead the Fifth again.” He returns his gaze to you and asks bluntly, “Why are you telling me all this, anyway? It doesn’t sound like you’re lying or anything.”
You blink, slightly confused. “I can’t.”
Reno raises an eyebrow, obviously not believing you. “You can’t lie?”
“No…” Finally, you remember that he isn’t from your world, and thus, doesn’t understand the rules. “Oh! Well, that’s not it… not really. See, where I come from, psychics can’t lie. It’s impossible for them.”
“That’s gotta suck.” You shrug, seeing as it really doesn’t matter either way to you. “So you were telling the truth, then?”
“Mmhm. It’s half the reason they came up with the Fifth Amendment, so that we wouldn’t be forced to admit something if we didn’t want to.”
“Okay… then if you were telling the truth, what was all that about falling from the sky and fixing the ceiling using psychic powers that don’t work for you most of the time anyway?” You can tell Reno’s enjoying this, but then again, so are you.
“That wasn’t a lie,” you reply, and quickly shush Reno’s protest. “You’re forgetting, I phrased those statements as questions.”
“So you can lie if it’s in a question format?” he queries, now thoroughly confused, and you laugh.
“Well… not really. Technically, if it’s in question form, it’s inviting your opinion on the subject. I was basically asking if you believed that I fell from the sky and fixed the ceiling with my psychic powers.”
“Loophole?” Reno guesses, and you snicker, nodding.
“Yeah. There aren’t too many of them, though. We can’t even use sarcasm, which makes me — well, okay, I wish I could be sarcastic like a normal person.” Judging from the evil grin on his face, sarcasm is one of his favorite tools.
“But all that about magic portals of darkness was true,” Reno concludes, going back to the interrogation, though his face tells you that he doesn’t entirely believe it. Well, you can’t blame him, since you didn’t think magic portals of darkness existed either until you saw Axel stepping out of one.
“So was the whole bit about it being Axel’s fault.” You yawn, reaching over and poking the food with a fork; it’s getting cold, seeing as you and Reno have spent maybe the last half hour talking. “See? Now you know I wasn’t deceiving you or anything. I don’t even know how I got here.”
“How do I know you’re not lying about not being able to lie?” he queries.
You roll your eyes; now is the time when you enter an endless circular conversation where there’s no real way for you to win. “Ask me a question you know the answer to.”
“How will I know you’re not just faking being unable to lie?” Reno counters.
You twitch. “Just ask the stupid question.”
A cattish grin spreads across his face, and he leans back, his arms stretching across the back of the couch and partly around you. “What’s your name?”
That makes you stop and stare at him. “Wha — you don’t know the answer to that!”
“Just answer the stupid question,” Reno mocks.
You try, really you do. Unfortunately, living all your life unable to lie still hasn’t broken the human habit of attempting to use deception to get out of an unfavorable situation. “I don’t want — I do want to tell you. Gah!”
Reno chuckles, obviously enjoying your discomfort. “Then why don’t you?”
“Because… I don’t feel like it?”
“That’s a question.” He reaches over, flicking you on the forehead, and you scowl. You really should’ve known he’d take advantage of this little weakness of yours…
Well, there’s no way for you to win, and there’s really no harm in telling him, right? You look away, crossing your arms, and finally murmur softly, “(Your Name).”
“(Your Name)…” Reno says it slowly, rolling it off his tongue as if to get a feel for it, and you repress a shudder. His voice… and the way he says it… “(Your Name). I think I like it.”
“Thanks,” you reply, doing your very best not to think about his face, and voice, and the way he moves, and… oh, man, you’re falling for an Axel look-alike. “But I demand something in return.”
“Huh?” His perplexed expression is perfect, and it serves to distract you from… other things.
You smirk, reaching over and poking him on the nose. “Now that you know it’s really not my fault I ended up here and I don’t really know why I’m here, can you let me go?”
Reno hesitates, looking slightly guilty. “I dunno… I’d have to ask the boss, and he’ll probably say no…”
“Please?” You give him your very best puppy-dog eyes, pouty lips and all. “Just take off the handcuffs and give me some freedom. If you want, I promise I won’t go too far from this place… and I’ll come back every night, and I won’t leave until Axel comes and then you can ask him everything you want…”
Reno still looks doubtful, and you allow your eyes to become bigger and tear-filled. “And you know I can’t lie, and it’s so boring here, and… please, Reno?”
“I… gah! Don’t look at me like that!” But you don’t relent in the slightest, and Reno rubs the back of his head. “You’re going to get me in trouble.”
“Just let her go, Reno,” a new voice says, and both of you jump and turn to see Elena standing in the doorway, surveying the situation with a serious expression but a hint of amusement in her eyes.
“Elena!” Reno exclaims, before looking away. “But…”
“It’s his orders,” she replies, and you’re fairly sure you know who she’s referring to. Elena turns to you and adds, “You can stick to that promise of yours, right?” You nod, not asking how she knows about that, and she continues, “We don’t have any extra rooms, so you’re going to have to stay with me. Is that okay?”
You smile eagerly, bouncing to your feet. “Sure! Thanks!” She just smiles in return, pulling out a key and unlocking the handcuffs, and you glance at Reno, who still seems slightly confused by it all. “Hey, Reno?”
He looks up and finds you grinning at him, and you reach over, poking his nose again. “Thank you.”
Reno smirks, his teeth snapping playfully at your finger, and you pull back hastily. “…anytime.”
Who knows, maybe this won’t be as bad as you thought.
…though you’re still going to kill Axel when you see him again.
You have discovered many things in the one month since you first found yourself in this strange other world.
One, Axel has apparently gotten wind of your homicidal intentions and left a note for you on the kitchen counter that he’s not coming back until you calm down and apologize to him. His note has had the opposite effect, as you are now more determined than ever to kill him, especially since he wants you to admit to his greatness before he takes you back.
Two, the Turks, as you’ve found out they’re called, aren’t actually that bad. Sharing a room with Elena, you’ve found out that she’s actually kind of grateful that there’s now another female stuck living in the same complex as all the others. Tseng has earned your respect, seeing as he stolidly refuses to acknowledge your presence whenever you start trying to annoy him, and he actually manages to ignore you without snapping and destroying something. Rude, though he appears rather introverted, is quite a nice guy, though he still does not say much to you besides responding to your cheerful greeting every morning. Rufus, who is actually not a Turk but (supposedly) someone important in the business world, tolerates you, though he has yet to declare his undying love for you, which is doubtless how he feels. As for Reno… well, Reno…
That leads you straight to discovery number three. You are not in love with Reno, though you refuse to admit it out loud and thus hurt his feelings.
In any case, your boredom has finally gotten the better of you, and you’re currently breaking every promise you’ve ever sworn to yourself as a proud student of a school of psychics. You… are actually… studying. Yes, that’s right, studying. It’s not math or anything, though, which comforts you ever-so-slightly. It’s telekinesis, which you’re determined to improve, after Reno made fun of you again for dropping the sugar bowl and not panicking in time to save it.
Unfortunately, you’re not making very much progress. You’ve gotten about as far as “maybe I should tear down all these emotion-controlling barriers they told me to erect so that it’s easier for me to freak out.” Sadly, though, your efforts seem to have had the opposite effect.
Actually, maybe that’s because of discovery number four, which you conveniently failed to mention. This world is infested with all sorts of strange monsters, including the forest and land surrounding the building in the middle of nowhere where Reno and the others are currently “vacationing.” You still haven’t figured out the real reason they’re here…
Anyway, the area is full of monsters. You figured out after breaking a lamp that the safest place for you to practice is outdoors, where the most you can damage is a tree. You have also figured out, after a week of coming out here to train and study and such, that you are not immune to the attentions of such monsters.
In other words, you get attacked about once every ten steps, and since you’re better at running than fighting, you tend to attract quite a crowd. In addition, you’re actually getting so used to monsters chasing you that you aren’t properly afraid of them until they get close enough to take a few swipes at you.
Maybe you should’ve listened to Elena when she suggested that you take someone else with you on these little trips of yours…
In the meantime, though, you’re too busy crashing through the underbrush and attracting the attention of every creature for miles around to really dwell on such insignificant little regrets!
…or so you tell yourself.
“AAAAAAAHHHH!” You trip, roll down a hill, fall into a shallow stream at the bottom of said hill, look up, realize the pack of Touch Me monsters is still hunting you down, and continue running. Sometimes you have to wonder if you’re really crazy. Seriously, if you need to panic to use your powers, can’t you not choose a life-or-death situation to do so? Well, that’s what makes this the perfect training grounds, but really…
You stumble, dodging around a boulder and hearing a satisfying crunch as one of the creatures behind you runs straight into it, skirt around a tree, and promptly find yourself facing a Grand Horn. It looks like it’s about to start charging up a Grand Punch attack, which you know from experience, and you squeak, holding out your hand. The thing promptly explodes, and, glad that your powers have kicked in, you turn around, sweeping your arm before you and throwing the Touch Me creatures backwards into trees and the like. You take that moment to try and make your escape, but before you even take three steps, a light buzzing is heard behind you, followed by a loud and painful-sounding smack.
You whirl around, ready to throw this new enemy a thousand feet into the air, but Reno just raises an eyebrow at you, tapping his rod against one shoulder, his foot resting atop the Gagighandi on the ground. “Are you trying to escape?”
You pout, feeling your power slip out of your grasp again, now that the danger’s over and someone else is here that can actually help. “No. I’m trying to get my power to work when I want it to.”
“Oh.” Reno walks forward, putting away his weapon again and stopping next to you. “By nearly getting yourself killed?” You don’t answer, and he rolls his eyes. “You could just ask us to help, you know.”
“I don’t want to hurt you,” you point out.
“We’re not that weak,” he protests, and you give him a doubtful look, remembering your first encounter. Seeing this, Reno growls and turns, heading in a random direction. “Come on, we should get going if we wanna be back in time for dinner.”
You glance up at the sun, frowning. “Now? It’s not that late.”
Reno snickers. “Well, if nothing else, she’s a fast runner,” he remarks aimlessly, which only serves to confuse you further. “What, didn’t you notice? If you go any further, you’ll be able to see the Gold Saucer across the river.”
“I’ll pretend I — I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Reno shoots you an amused glance, and you grumble and look away, annoyed at the no-sarcasm rule. “Let’s just say you went really far,” he replies, grabbing your hand and giving it a tug to make you hurry. Luckily for you, he turns away before he can see how you react to his touch.
“Okay then…” You watch as he casually swats at a Touch Me that pops up out of nowhere, downing it in one hit. “How did you know where I was?”
He glances back at you, and from the evil grin on his face, you know he’s about to tease you mercilessly again. “All I had to do was follow the monsters.”
“Reno! That’s mean!”
He ducks as you try to swat at his head. “It’s true. You should learn to use a weapon or something more reliable. You’re not psychic all the time.”
“Yes I am,” you murmur, but don’t have the chance to argue the situation as Reno shoves you behind him and spends the next sixty seconds dealing with more monsters.
As soon as he’s done, he continues where he left off, completely ignoring what you had to say. “I mean, you can still use your powers when they come to you, but you might die before that happens. We won’t always be there to rescue you.”
“Don’t you mean you won’t always be there?” You grin, watching him stammer. “Don’t worry, my knight in a black suit. I promise not to take one step outside whenever Rufus sends you off on a mission.”
“That’s not what I meant!” You simply snicker, seeing the hidden, highly protected building where you’re staying up ahead, and you pick up the pace a little. “If you could cast magic or something, that would be good, but your psychic-ness is like a Limit Break—”
It wells up within you at the same time as you sense something is wrong, and you turn slightly, eyes narrowing as you concentrate. The Gagighandi vanishes without any noise at all, and you grin to yourself; maybe you’re getting a little bit better.
Reno looks at you curiously. “Something wrong?”
You hum softly, pleased at the accomplishment of the day. “No, nothing at all. Psychic-ness, Reno? Wow, I didn’t know you have such a big vocabulary.”
“…shut up.” He moves suddenly, standing behind you, and you glance back in his direction just in time to see him smack down another Gagighandi. You twitch; on the other hand, maybe you haven’t improved at all. “Like I was saying.”
“We’re here,” you cut in smoothly, standing back so Reno can unlock the door with a keycard. It slides open, and you enter, finding Elena, Rude, Tseng, and Rufus already waiting for you in the living room.
Elena claps her hands, rising from her seat and heading into the dining area. “Ah, the lovers are back. Good, we can get started.”
Both you and Reno twitch. “What?”
“We’re not lovers!” you argue, your face heating up.
“Yeah, what she said!” Reno adds, jerking his thumb in your direction. “And you know she only tells the truth!”
“If you say so.” The other men ignore the strange display, though you can almost swear you see Rude sending Reno an odd look.
As you follow the others, you find Elena waiting for you next to the door into the dining room, and she murmurs softly so only you can hear, “But you do love Reno, don’t you?”
“Why would I?” you snap back a little too quickly, and she laughs.
“That’s a question, (Your Name).” Elena sits down, leaving you fuming as you take your place between her and Reno. You haven’t fallen in love with him during the month you’ve known him. Not at all.
Now, if you could only say so out loud.
Two weeks and no more progress towards further control later, and you’re actually kind of used to living here. You do think about home every once in a while, but you quickly shrug it off. It’s not like you’re staying here forever, right? Right. And, for a little while at least, someone else can be last in the class.
You still haven’t seen hide nor spiky red hair of Axel, and you’re actually starting to fear that he’s abandoned you. You’re going to go home when he comes back, but if he doesn’t come… well, it just gives you another excuse to kill him. When he reappears, he’s going to drop you right back on your own world, and that will be that.
Of course, that means you’ll never see Elena or any of the others again, and that makes you sad, but you can handle it. It’s not like you have any reason to stay here, after all. Not even Re — not even your friends, when there’s still so much more for you where you came from.
You know what’s ironic? That psychics can’t lie out loud, but they can lie to themselves in their minds.
You sigh deeply, switching off the shower and stepping out. There’s gotta be some way you can contact Axel. Maybe if he’s nice enough, he’ll bring you here for a visit every now and again, but as of right now, you’re getting a little homesick. Besides, you’ve stayed here for what, six weeks? And you know a grand total of five people on this world. That’s actually kind of pathetic.
You wrap the towel around yourself before you exit into the room you share with Elena, which happens to be empty at the moment. Okay, so maybe you won’t actually kill Axel when he shows himself again. You’re just as likely to glomp him, since he’d be a familiar face that you knew before ever coming here. And then… home. Yes, home. You’ll say your goodbyes before you leave, of course, to Elena and Rude and Tseng and Rufus and… Reno.
That thought makes you stop dead, and you hang your head. Somehow, you can’t imagine never seeing him again. But it’s inevitable, right? You don’t belong here, and this is his world. Yeah, you should get Axel to bring you to visit, but… it won’t really be the same, will it?
You shiver, suddenly aware that water is dripping off your hair and down your neck, and you move forward toward the closet to get your clothes; after your first night here, when you realized a bit belatedly that you hadn’t been properly packed or anything when Axel dragged you off/threw you into this little adventure, you convinced Elena to take you on a shopping trip into a random city, which just so happened to be Junon. Apparently, Rufus had business there, too, so it really wasn’t a problem, and you never before knew that Reno could pilot a helicopter…
Speak of the devil.
A quick knock comes on the door, and without bothering to wait for an answer, Reno promptly opens it and pokes his head in. “Hey, Elena? Do you know where…” He trails off, his eyes widening almost comically, and you pause, one hand resting on the door to the closet.
The two of you stand there like that, frozen, for what feels like an eternity, before Reno finally reacts, shrinking back with his face almost as red as his hair. “I — sorry! I didn’t mean—”
You stare at him, feeling yourself start to blush, but what really gets you is that he can’t seem to look away. Now, normally, that wouldn’t be too much of a problem, except that you’re standing here clad only in a towel. “…Reno…?”
He gulps, and you can see his Adam’s apple bobbing with the action. “…yeah?”
“…get out.” Reno doesn’t move, apparently still stuck in place, and your embarrassment quickly changes to shock and manifests itself in the worst way possible. “Get the hell out!”
“Wha—” Reno doesn’t have time to react to your scream, as suddenly, there’s a nightstand flying straight at his head. He ducks out of the way just in time, and it smashes into the wall and leaves a sizable dent, as well as splintering into several pieces. Before he can fully recover, one of the beds crashes into the wall on the other side of the door, falling to the ground and breaking into two; the rest of the furniture and anything that isn’t bolted down starts hovering in the air, swirling around faster and faster in a spiral.
Reno jumps back into the hallway, leaving the door open just enough so he can continue watching you, and yells, “I’m sorry!” No reaction. “(Your Name), stop it!”
His reward is a desk aimed in his general direction, and he closes the door just in time; however, it flies off its hinges and hits the wall on the other side of the hall, and he barely dodges out of the way in time. Behind you, the window shatters, and the broken glass joins the swirling tornado of odds and ends; you stand in middle, your eyes firmly closed and your cheeks still stained with red.
“What’s going on?” Footsteps rush toward the scene, and Tseng slides to a stop, followed closely by Rude. The Chinese man looks from the door to Reno to inside the room, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s going on. “Uh oh…”
“Tseng, Rude, not you too!” you wail, unaware of the furniture banging into the walls, smashing into the ceiling, and generally being broken beyond any hope of repair.
At least Tseng has enough sense to do something; he shoves Reno and Rude to the side, out of sight, and yells at the top of his lungs, “ELENA! Elena, get over here!”
“What?” She hurries over, looks inside, and promptly blanches white. “…oh, no. (Your Name)! Snap out of it!”
You twitch but don’t respond, still clutching the towel closely to you, even as the bottom is whipped around your legs by your wind. “They’re… Elena! Get them to go away!”
Elena immediately understands what you mean and shoves Tseng to the side, uncharacteristically impolite when faced with the situation. She sends all three men a glare before moving forward, standing in the destroyed doorway. “They’re gone. You can stop now.”
“They’re gone,” she replies calmly, and as the tornado starts to slow down and objects drop to the floor, she moves forward until she’s standing in front of you with her hands on your shoulders. “There, that’s better.”
“What happened here?” a mild voice asks from the door, and both of you turn to find Rufus standing there. He takes one look around, frowning, before his eyes settle on you, and you flinch.
“Sorry,” you mutter, voice subdued as you avert your gaze, but everywhere you look, there are splinters of wood or shards of glass. The walls and ceiling are dented, so the room looks more like a strange, irregular space figure instead of its former cube shape, and you let out a long sigh. So much for having a rein on your emotions, and on top of that, you still can’t control your powers.
“Just get dressed,” Elena murmurs in your ear, and you obey, moving over to the closet and picking out clothes so you can get changed in the bathroom. Behind you, you can hear her say in a louder voice, “I’m not sure what happened, sir, but something must have surprised her…”
By the time you have your clothing and are picking your way across the room to the bathroom, the other men have come out of hiding, and at Elena’s words, everyone focuses their attention on a certain red-haired, guilty-looking Turk. “Reno…”
“How many times have we told you to knock first?”
And even if he is the cause of all of this, you can’t help but feel slightly sorry for him.
A few minutes later, you’re fully dressed and wandering toward the living room, now feeling terribly guilty and a bit depressed. Everything in Elena’s room is in shreds, and you know you wouldn’t be too pleased if you were her… but at the same time, you pity Reno. As you enter, the voices stop, and though you don’t glance up, you’re aware that everyone’s watching you.
“Sorry,” you whisper, bowing slightly and keeping your eyes on the floor. “This is my fault. If I hadn’t freaked out…”
Elena walks over to you, smiling gently, and she tilts your head up so that you’re actually looking at everyone. “Don’t worry about it.”
You stare at her, confused. “But all your things…”
She dismisses it with a shrug. “This isn’t Shinra headquarters, so I didn’t have anything too important in that room. No one blames you, anyway.” Her voice has a sharp edge to it, and behind her, Reno winces, refusing to meet your eyes.
“Hey, I said I’m sorry,” he mumbles, sounding defiant, though you have no doubt that he means it. Judging from Tseng and Rufus’s expressions, he’s already gotten quite a tongue-lashing, and he probably won’t be doing anything like that again anytime soon.
“…it’s fine,” you reply, and Reno’s gaze snaps to you, startled. “I mean, I shouldn’t have panicked… it wasn’t that big of a deal. You just caught me by surprise and all, and I—”
“Don’t blame it on yourself,” he interrupts, his voice slightly pleading. “I should have waited before coming in…”
The look on Elena’s face as she watches the two of you is halfway between amusement and annoyance, like she’s glad you aren’t really mad at each other but you’re missing something vitally important. Before you can argue that Reno isn’t the one to blame for your lack of control, Rufus interposes himself into the discussion, and you can’t help but note that he’s quite calm, considering that it’s technically his property that’s been destroyed. “Now that we’ve gotten that settled. Since neither of you can stay there now, we’ll need to fix the rooming arrangements. Elena, you’ll be with Tseng, and (Your Name) can stay with Reno.”
Elena nods, and Tseng doesn’t seem to have a problem with it, but from Reno’s sudden jerk, you have the feeling that he’s as surprised about it as you are. “What? But… wait a minute! Shouldn’t the girls be staying together? How come I’m not rooming with Elena again?”
Rufus shoots you an unreadable glance, though you can almost swear he’s laughing inwardly at your predicament. “There aren’t any other rooms.”
“Well… then… how come Rude doesn’t stay with Reno and we can stay in his room?” you plead.
“Rude’s room only has one bed,” the President points out.
That kind of leaves you to wonder why Tseng, Elena, and Reno’s rooms had two beds in the first place, but that’s really unimportant at the moment. “Well, then make Rude stay with Reno and Tseng can move to Rude’s room—”
“It’s simpler this way,” Rufus cuts in coolly, and you stop; from the look in his eyes, you can tell that he’s not going to change his mind, and you sigh and give up, your shoulders slumping in defeat.
“Aw, come on, (Your Name), cheer up,” Reno says bravely. “It won’t be all that bad staying with me.”
You shoot him a tired glance and don’t even try to lie. “Oh yes it will.”
You can’t stand this.
It’s… not that you don’t like Reno or anything. It’s not that you’re mad at him for what happened yesterday. It’s just… one night in the same room as him and…
“I can’t imagine liv—” you begin to yourself, but stop abruptly. You can’t lie and say you can’t imagine living with him, but at the same time, it’s pure torture. To have him so close to you during the night, remembering him pulling off his shirt casually and seeing…
You’re not that perverted, really, but still, it just drives home the point that you can’t think of him as just a friend, or even as just a really hot friend. And it’s still uncomfortable, too, because you freaked out when he saw you, and… why couldn’t life have been simple and let you and Elena just stay in the same room?
To lie there awake at night, listening to him breathe, to have him there in the morning when you wake up, to watch him when he’s sleeping…
“Okay, let’s try this,” you murmur aloud, pushing your way past a bush. “I shall try to say… I don’t know. I want Axel to come pick me up. Okay, that’s still true. I am in love with Ru — okay, I’m not in love with Rude, that’s still a lie. I am not in love with Re—”
Pause, and your throat continues to work, but no sound comes out. “I have not fallen in love with Ren—”
Still nothing, and you whimper in aggravation, finally giving up and saying exactly what you do not want to admit. “I am in love with Reno.” No problems there, and your heart almost stops for a moment. Sure, you can lie in your mind, but out loud… “I have fallen in love with Reno.” It has to be true, at least as far as you see it. “…I developed a crush on Reno when I met him, and it’s still only a—”
Stop. Twitch. “I am madly, desperately in love with that idiot redhead Turk named Reno. What do you care?” Oh, great, that’s true, too. “I want to bear his — no, I do not.”
Well, at least you’re still somewhat sane.
Of course, that point can be argued, seeing as you’re currently once again making your way through the wilderness. To where, you don’t know, beyond “away from where Elena and the others are.” Maybe you should head for the nearest town, see if you can find Axel drinking at a bar or something… yeah, sounds like something he’d do. Never mind the fact that the chances of you finding him are much, much slimmer than the chances of you getting caught by the Turks.
“I want to go home,” you murmur to yourself, but catch sight of a pair of Touch Me monsters ahead and quickly change direction; you have no desire to be changed into a frog. For one, that will greatly impede your progress; for another, you might become dinner to a Grand Horn or something while you’re hopping around ribbiting to yourself and trying to find a way to become normal again. Reaching the end of the forest, you glance around for any sign of enemies before darting ahead, making your way to the next patch of trees. This one houses a Gagighandi just waiting to ambush you, and you squeak, darting away from it until you’re sure it’s no longer following you.
You sigh, climbing a tree and sitting in the branches for a short rest. Let’s face it: you have no idea where you’re going, no supplies, no weapons, and nothing at all of value. You can’t very well go back now, since they’ve doubtless noticed you’re missing and it will lead to awkward questions that you don’t want to answer. All you have that will help you fend off the monsters is your psychic-ness, and that’s unreliable at the best of times. Well, what to do now?
The sky is a dark, gloomy gray, and you groan, staring up at the clouds as it begins to drizzle lightly. “Axel… where are you now? I’m starting to wish you’d never brought me—” You can’t say that, so that means it’s not true. No matter how hard it is, you’re glad you landed in this world, glad you met Reno and everyone…
Well, then why the hell are you running away?
“Because I don’t want to admit to myself and everyone else that I love him,” you mutter, before turning and jumping out of the tree. Yeah, that’s it. You have no idea how he’ll react, and you’re from another world anyway, so it can never work. “It can never… oh, screw this.”
You’re really starting to wonder why you wanted to go to other worlds in the first place, if this is all there is. You never wanted to stay stuck on another world! You were just supposed to explore, meet new friends, and leave, nothing else. You didn’t really expect to fall in love or anything…
Of course, you should know better than to not pay attention to your surroundings, as the ground begins to tremble underneath you. Your first thought is that it’s an earthquake, and you’d better not be in the forest if it gets stronger; your second is that it’s a Quake, and you do what seems like one of the stupidest things you’ve ever done in your life: you jump into the air and grab a tree branch that’s hanging overhead. Well, it turns out it really isn’t that stupid, as the shaking subsides a moment later. You glance behind you to find a Grand Horn, looking straight at you, and you pale. Now would be a really, really good time for your power to kick in.
However, it’s uncooperative like that, and absolutely nothing happens. You can’t dangle from the tree for forever, so, taking a chance, you let go and hit the ground running. The monster gives chase, and it’s quickly followed by others, both of its kind and the other two types that frequent these areas.
Why can’t you ever seem to outrun these things when they get like this? But run is all you can do, slipping and sliding as the rain starts falling harder and the soil underneath you turns to mud. You sneeze, starting to feel cold and miserable; you definitely could’ve picked a better day to wreak havoc on Elena’s room. The end of the forest is in sight, though, so you speed up, hearing a few cracks as the monsters run into rocks, branches, and trunks, causing trees to fall all around you.
When you’re back out in the open again and still running at full speed, though a stitch is developing in your side, you can see that there aren’t any more forested areas for you to take cover in, not that they’d really help at this point, anyway. Now you can see the river that Reno mentioned, and across it, through the pouring rain, you can barely make out a large, golden tower of some sort. That must be the Gold Saucer; however, what you didn’t know is that it’s surrounded by a gigantic desert that you probably can’t make your way through. It must be one of the few times in the year that that desert is getting any rain, too.
Something strikes you in the back, making you cry out, and you stumble but don’t fall. The pain is enough to awaken something within you, though, and you turn, making a slashing motion with your hand. Five of the creatures fall, but that still leaves two Grand Horns on your tail, and you can do nothing but curse and continue running. You reach the river in no time, and have only a second of hesitation to spare. Stay here or try to go in another direction and get killed by monsters, or run forward, try to make it across the river, risk drowning, but don’t get ripped apart? Hard decision.
But as they approach, you finally decide that you’ll take your chances with the river and dive in, striking out for the other shore. By now, the rain is lashing down in torrents, and though you’re a moderately strong swimmer, the river is swelling and overflowing its banks. You can see the Grand Horns watching you before they finally turn away, giving up; you’re slightly relieved before another part of your mind informs you that they probably think you’re going to die anyway. And maybe they’re right; a particularly strong surge of water throws you under, and you choke, water filling your mouth and rendering you unable to breathe. For a moment, your feet brush the ground, and you can barely see that you’re standing on a sort of shallower pathway to the other side before you have to resurface for air.
From there, the river’s current sweeps you away, and you have your hands full just trying to breathe and stay conscious. It’s a lot harder than it sounds, and before too long, you find that the force of the water has lessened slightly and you’ve entered the ocean. By now, though, you’re kind of tired out, though not nearly as scared as you’d have thought you would be in this situation… anyway. You’re tempted to just let yourself drift for a little while so you can get some rest, but seeing as you’re freezing to death here, it doesn’t really sound like such a good idea. Sighing, you target the Gold Saucer again and begin moving in that direction; even if you can’t get through the desert, there has to be some other town nearby, right? Maybe you should’ve studied those world maps…
Though as hard as you try, it only seems to be getting farther and farther away, like you’re being pulled out to sea by a riptide or something. You kind of have to wonder if that’s the case, but now, just relaxing for a bit until the storm subsides sounds like a plan.
Elena and everyone else are probably worried…
Well, you can send them a message when you get somewhere! And if you see Axel, maybe you really will apologize to him. And then you can leave, and maybe, once you spend some time in your world, everything will come back into perspective and you’ll realize you’re not really in love with Reno and…
Oh, who’re you kidding?
The waves around you pick up, becoming choppy and moving around in circles, and you scowl, starting to move toward the Gold Saucer again. The strange movement of the water follows you, and you twitch, putting all your remaining strength into swimming towards shore. Once again, you get absolutely nowhere. In riptides, aren’t you supposed to swim parallel to the land or something?
The reason for the behavior of the water has absolutely nothing to do with nature, however, as soon becomes obvious when you recognize the sound of a helicopter. You look up, noticing that one is descending from above you, and not only that, it has the Shinra logo on the side…
“Hey, what’re you doing?” a very familiar voice demands, sounding slightly worried, and you don’t know whether to be relieved or angry. Your heart seems torn between both…
You parry his question with another question, to save yourself the trouble of explaining that you’re leaving. “I’m swimming.” Blunt and truthful, but not exactly what he’s looking for. “What about you? Isn’t it unsafe to fly a helicopter in a storm?”
He pokes his head outside, a grin spreading across his face, and his long red hair whips in the wind. “You’re forgetting who you’re talking to. Besides, isn’t it unsafe to swim during a storm, too?”
“Most probably, yes.” You ignore him, still trying to reach the Gold Saucer, though if his snicker is any indication, you’re really not moving at all. “How did you find me?”
“Followed the monsters.” Oh, now he’s definitely mocking you. There aren’t any monsters out here, not from what you can see. At times like these, you wish he was the psychic one… “You should get back, you know. You’re gonna get sick.”
“Yeah, so?” You stop, simply treading water and looking up at him. “What are you doing out here, Reno?”
He just smiles kindly at you, none of his usual mischievousness showing, and extends a hand. “Looking for you, of course. Need any help?”
“Of course no- nngh — yes.”
That makes him laugh, and he clambers out of the pilot’s seat, reaching forward and pulling you up out of the water with ease. “Good to know you think so, too.” You cling to him, vaguely aware that you’re getting his suit wet, and it’s most probably dry-clean only, but at this point, you don’t care, and it seems like he doesn’t either.
You collapse into the seat next to him, closing your eyes, and only now do you feel how exhausted you really are. “Ne… Reno? Why did you come from me?”
He’s silent for an instant, then, “Did you really expect me to let you disappear like that?”
And this time, you absolutely can’t help it, and you smile. “That’s a question.” He groans lightheartedly, and you fall asleep with his wry chuckle ringing in your ears.
“I told you you were going to get sick.”
“Admit it, I’m right.”
“…shut up shut up shut up.”
“I’m right. Say it.”
“Reno is an idiot.”
“I can say it, so it must be true.”
“…well, just admit I’m right.”
“…you’re wr- gah! You’re right.”
“…I hate you?”
You sigh, rolling over on the bed and glaring lightly at him. “That’s how I express my opinions, you know.”
He smirks, reaching over and brushing a few strands of hair out of your face. “I know. But you really don’t hate me, do you?”
Reno raises an eyebrow. “You didn’t even try that time.”
You yawn, resisting the urge to try and bite his hand. “I’m too tired to try. Go ‘way, Reno. Stop bothering the sick little (Your Name).”
He just laughs. “Do you really want me to leave?”
“Nnn. No.” You close your eyes, giving him a straight, truthful answer for once.
“Then why are you telling me to go away?” he continues, that grin still on his face. He’s enjoying this way too much.
“Because (Your Name) wants her sleep. Don’t you want her fever to go down?” Reno shrugs, and you let out another long sigh. “If I die, it’s your fault.”
“You won’t die,” he replies confidently, which only adds to your exasperation. “Just a few more things, and then I’ll leave you alone. I thought you said you weren’t going to leave until this Axel came and picked you up.”
“I did,” you reply shortly.
“Was that a lie?” Reno queries, sounding genuinely interested. “You said you can’t lie.”
You crack open one eye, resting the back of one arm across your heated forehead. “I can’t. It wasn’t a lie when I said that, because I was intending to stay here. I wasn’t planning on leaving, and it was only later that I decided to.”
“Gotta love them.” You moan softly, and Reno takes the hint and passes you a bottle of water. “Thanks. Next question?”
“Why did you decide to leave?” You hide your wince as best you can, but Reno still catches it. “Was it because… well, was it because of what you did to Elena’s room?”
You can tell he changed the question halfway through, but you don’t ask. “Partly. And partly because other circumstances changed, and something else came up, and I decided I couldn’t stay.”
He’s silent, one hand absently tracing a path across your cheek, and you somehow manage to repress your shiver. “You still want to go home?”
“Yeah. Not so much anymore.” You turn a little, regarding Reno pitifully. “I like it here, but there are people back home who are probably worried about my sudden disappearance through the magic portal of darkness.”
Reno snickers but doesn’t make any comments about the truth of that statement. “Okay, one last question.”
You roll over onto your back, looking at the ceiling. “Ask away.”
“Do you love me?”
That makes you freeze, and your eyes widen. “W-what?”
“Have you fallen in love with me?” he repeats patiently, but there’s a certain mischief glinting in his eyes.
You can’t believe he’s asking this. “You think I’d do something stupid like that?”
Your snappish response doesn’t do anything to faze him; rather, Reno’s grin only grows wider. “Question.”
You growl. “I shouldn’t have told you about that…” He only chuckles delightedly, and you mushroom-sigh. “I plead the Fifth.”
“In other words, you’re guilty,” Reno concludes, nodding to himself.
“I didn’t say that!” you protest weakly, though you know it’s no use. You’re not going to change his mind as long as you’re not fully convinced that you’re right… especially since you’re fully convinced that he’s the one that’s speaking the truth.
“Okay, I want a straight answer this time. No questions and no Fifths,” he says, his voice suddenly serious, though you can detect his hidden laughter. “Do you love me or not?”
Well, if ever there was a time for you to go against everything ingrained in your nature, it’s now. “Why would I — I’d never — I don’t—”
“You’re stammering.” Oh, he’s definitely enjoying this too much. You would probably hit him if you were feeling up to it.
“I — fine! I do love you! Happy now?”
“Very.” You pout, turning away, and Reno sighs. “I told you, you’re cuter when you smile.”
“Do you always have to be such a jerk?”
He merely raises an eyebrow at your question. “Yeah, but you still love me.”
You twitch. “That’s your fault, not mine.”
“And she really believes it, too.” Reno reaches over, placing a light kiss on your forehead before standing up. “Okay, okay, I’m going now, since I’m unwanted. Go ahead and get your sleep.”
“Wha — wait! Reno!”
He stops at the doorway, turning back to look at you. “Don’t tell me you really want me to stay.”
“Actually, I was thinking of something else.” Now he’s curious, and you allow a slight smile to tug at your lips. “Do you love me?” He opens his mouth to answer, but you add in hastily, “And no questions or Fifths for you, either.”
Reno frowns a bit, looking slightly annoyed, before it melts back into a smirk. “I’m not that stupid.”
His answer doesn’t affect you at all; you’re more focused on something a little more important than his words. “Really? That’s a no, right? Restate it in terms that my sick, weakened mind can understand.”
“I don’t love you,” he enunciates, though he does look slightly troubled. “There, good enough?”
“Yep. Thanks a lot.” He exits the room, a bit confused by your calm reaction, shutting the door softly behind him, and you wait until his footsteps are long gone before you allow yourself a giggle.
“You know, there’s kinda another reason why psychics can’t lie,” you whisper. “Even if they’re as pathetic as me, there’s one thing we can all do. We can sense when other people are lying. Too bad for you, huh?” You turn over onto your side, the smile still lingering on your lips. “Silly Reno. You should know better than to try and fool me. I love you too.”
“Hm? Oh, it’s nothing, Elena.”
“…if I may ask, sir.”
“When are we going to tell Reno we installed cameras in his room?”
“He doesn’t need to know.”
“But if he gets suspicious…”
“Don’t worry. We can always plead the Fifth.”
A/N: FINISHED AT 10:20 THE DAY IT WAS DUE. More than 10,100 words written in a single day… wow, that’s definitely a record for me. But I had to post it today because my parents were EVIL and wouldn’t let me stay up late enough to finish proofreading… and I was on the other computer that screws up my files to do it, too, so I had to fix that today… -_- *annoyed*
Anyway, it was so much fun to write~ XD Reno is awesome, and you know I had to add that last part in. As for the whole “psychics can’t lie because they can tell when other people are lying,” it’s partly because there’s no point in lying if you’re going to get busted by another psychic anyway and partly so that the power isn’t abused (i.e., at a trial, the suspect lies and the psychic claims he/she is telling the truth for… some odd reason). Anyway, please review! Reviewses are much appreciated! =^^=
P.S. Chances are you never meet Axel again. *cough* Or if you do, you probably stay in that world.