Anyhow, here's the second and third bits of Caudatus, the fourth (which was supposed to have been the third for reasons you will soon see) being done as well. :D I am a productive Myu for once. Yeah, the dialogue still sucks. I'm working on it. By the way, after these, they're all going to be shorts/character sketches. I should have done that in the first place, but anyway.
Title: Caudatus intro part two
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII; after Advent Children.
Pairing: TsengxElena, and this one has a slightly... Ugh, comfort-ficcish feel to it in parts. I apologize, it won't happen again.
Word Count and time taken: 945; about half an hour, on and off.
Commentary: Mwrgh. Beta is appreciated.
Tseng was right; it was going to snow. In fact, as Elena miserably padded behind him, it started. Not the fun fluffy stuff to grab handfuls of and chuck jokingly at co-workers, not that anyone save maybe Reno was feeling up enough to even consider such a thing, but the frigid, wet stuff that got in everywhere and chilled quickly and deeply. She dug her hands into her pockets and shivered violently, half-glad Tseng had caught her in the Shinra building. He doggedly waded through the snow already on the ground, no one having shoveled the sidewalks; no one really cared about that sort of thing anymore even if the Geostigma, Star-scar, whatever they called it, was eradicated; there were more dire things to be preoccupied with. Elena winced as they passed an amaranthine blood-stain in the snow—one thing that hadn't been eradicated was the violence that came with. She might be a Turk, but as a person, it bothered her, just a little. They stopped in front of a motorcycle that was nearly as dirty as the street it was parked on.
"You don't have a car, sir?"
Tseng merely shook his head and grunted. He fished around for a bit in a pocket for the keys, and tugged on a pair of gloves.
"It's probably more convenient anyway, with the streets covered in snow." He straddled the bike and motioned for Elena to do the same. She reluctantly did so, and gingerly put her arms around him.
"You'll fall off. Hold on tighter." Blushing furiously, she did as instructed.
He kicked off and Elena nearly fell off. Tightening her grasp further, she screwed her eyes shut. She hated motorcycles unless she was driving them. And even then...
"It's very neat."
A weary ghost of a smile played on Tseng's lips as he hefted Elena's duffel bag through the doorway, setting it down to remove his shoes and put on slippers. "Indeed. I'm not here often anyway."
There was a pristine couch and a coffee table, a cabinet and an open kitchen, as well as a hall-way Elena assumed held a bathroom and the bedrooms, and an open kitchen. It was small, and very neat, the walls a dingy white, but clean, the carpet the same. It felt unlived in, nevertheless. Elena sat down on the couch.
"Are you hungry, Elena?"
"No..." More queasy then anything. Partly from the motorcycle ride, partly from realizing the situation she was in fully. She curled her legs under her, while Tseng went about his own business in the kitchen, and despite herself Elena's eyes drooped and she started to nod off.
"Ah! Stop, st, sto—! Gh— AHHH!"
Laughter, not the good kind, that laughs at a funny good joke, or even the slightly mean laugh at a classmate or coworkers' clumsiness—a sadists' laugh, like one someone who gets off on pain would emit. A dull, throbbing pain repeated itself ad nauseum in her head, contrasting with a sharp, electrical pain shooting through her back, and the sharp metallic taste of blood in her mouth. She screamed out loud.
"Elena!" A warm, almost comforting feeling draped over her. Someone put an arm around her, pulling her upward off the ground.
"Elena, Elena, shh. Stop flailing and screaming. Drink this." A hand gripped her chin and forced it upward. She grudgingly opened her mouth; something cold, but that burned was poured in. She sputtered and choked.
"Elena, Elena! It's okay. Shh." They stroked her damp hair, and she fell into a merciful darkness.
She woke up with a start, a snap, like a briefcase or cellphone closing.
"Hngh?" Sitting up, she rubbed her eyes. Wait... Where was her coat and tie, and where...?
Oh! She got up quickly and started folding the blanket that had been thrown over her.
"Oh, sir! I'm sorry I slept so long. Good morning."
Tseng's face was disgruntled. "I just spoke with Rufus."
"Yes?" She was hopeful, despite his facial expression.
"You will be staying her for a while."
"Indeed. Apparently, that was the original intent..." He narrowed his eyes. "I am surprised."
"I—I see. Well. I guess it can't be helped." Her face reddened more then a few shades. Not what she wanted by far. "What time is it?"
"No work today," he muttered, going into the kitchen and opening the fridge. "Where did you go on the weekends, anyway?"
"Oh, anywhere. Sometimes I tagged along with Reno and Rude. Libraries, usually."
He poked his head out of the fridge. "Midgar has... how long has this been in here...? Libraries?"
"Only a few still. They're quiet, though." She straightened her shirt as best she could, and put on her coat. No need to look slobbier then she already did.
"Hmm." He closed the refrigerator and stepped out of the kitchen. "Looks like we'll be eating elsewhere. I have nothing eatable in my kitchen." He help his hands up apologetically.
"You will want a scarf. It's colder then usual."
"Elena?" He was tugging his own scarf on. "You... Aren't uncomfortable, are you?"
"N-no! Of course not. It's only for now, anyway." She smiled, really smiled, and realized she felt kinda good. Just kinda. "It's fine, really. I'm grateful."
Tseng also smiled slightly, but said nothing.
And that was how Elena, the only female in the Turks, and the only female still in Shinra, and lowest one at that, ended up living in the apartment of her boss, and, she had to admit, as childish as it was, crush, Tseng, leader of the Turks and right-hand man to Rufus Shinra.
Title: Caudatus intro part three
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII; after Advent Children.
Word Count and time taken: 729 (shorter then I wanted, but no need to drag); about twenty minutes.
Commentary: Beta is appreciated as always. From here on it should get better... I'm much more decent at writing shorts, you know.
"Is here acceptable?"
Elena hurried to catch up with Tseng, and see which shop he meant. It was a fine morning, snow and ice glistening on the pavement like jewels or shards of glass, and she'd been living with Tseng two weeks now. She was feeling and looking better, though she still was disturbed occasionally by nightmares and needed to take some sleeping pills, which she was otherwise holding off on. It was obvious in her demeanor and her face however that things were going much better for her, and even Reno and Rude noticed, occasionally holding a filthy conversation or two about it while they sat in their favourite bars getting drunk off their asses in the evenings.
Tseng tended to run out of things worth eating, and neither of them could cook anyway, so it was often they would wonder into Midgar's Wutasian district, which was near his apartment, to find something to eat in the morning. It was a udon-ramen shop like any other on the street, but not one they'd ever tried before.
"Yeah, here's good!" She smiled beatifically. "Maybe the ramen will be spicy enough this time." Tseng almost smiled as well, which was a rare thing for him, she'd noticed.
Elena stuck close to him as they went in. Wutaisians scared her slightly. Partly in how they stared. She couldn't understand a word of course of what they said, but she could get the general feeling. It was not a nice one. Jealous... At him? At her? About why would he pick a Midgarian girl over any of them? Just because he's Shinra he thinks he's too good? She didn't know a word, so she couldn't be sure, and they didn't know their real relationship either; it was purely one of business.
In his mind anyway. Elena tried to fight it, but the more she was with him, the more she thought about him. Him and a girl like her? It was stupid. He probably would pick a pretty Wutasian girl. Certainly not a girl like her. And she needed to stay professional. Professional, dammit! It was hard not to think about him like that anyway.
She felt a little disgusted with herself.
"One soy and one spicy ramen, please." It was practically tradition. It had been repeated so many times over the past few weeks that she knew how what the unfamiliar, beautiful-sounding words meant. The lady behind the counter, grinning, asked him something that sounded mean-spirited, and he replied shaking his his head with a facial expression that was amused but demanded, a little more respect if you please.
"What was that?", she inquired, as he turned away with a receipt.
"Nothing at all. Just commenting on the weather."
Elena had a feeling that that was not what it was but said nothing. She shoved her hands into her pockets while Tseng chatted with another man also waiting for his order.
"That would be ours."
He went and fetched it, looking slightly relieved as they left the shop.
"Should we head to the park?"
The sun was warm on her back, despite the world of lower Midgar being covered in unbudging ice, so she nodded.
"Hey, Tseng," she asked, through a mouth of noodles, "What happened in the Northern Crater?"
Tseng almost dropped his chopstick full of ramen, but managed to regain composure before answering.
"Why do you ask?"
Elena looked down at her toes and shrugged. "...I don't remember."
"Probably for the better," he replied tonelessly. "Gift from the Ancients."
"I'd rather know then have a void of memory! It makes me feel so stupid!"
Tseng winced. "I would trade with you in a moment. Some things... Should just be forgotten."
"But..." Tseng put a hand up. "Forget it, Elena. It's past. Don't dwell on it." He scowled.
There was a moment of uneasy silence.
"Hey... What did that women at the shop say to you, anyway?"
Tseng's facial expression lightened noticeably. "Ah, she wanted to know why I would stick with a Midgarian when one of my own would be better."
Elena reddened. "What did you say?"
He looked vaguely amused. "That I wasn't interested and liked you fine."
"Something the matter?"
"No... Nothing. Just amused." And happy, of course. So many other things you could have said, Tseng.