The Obscurity of Love
By Elly

"... DAMMIT!" A familiar female voice resounded throughout the halls of the upper floors of ShinRa Headquarters. "I can't do this!" The blonde hurled her pen, which she had intended to use to scrawl her signature, across the room, mocha eyes gleaming angrily as she tightly clutched a scented, cream colored sheet of paper. Vivaciously, she began to read aloud the letter she had just printed off of her laptop.

"To the One that I Adore,
You, blind of my undying affection, are undoubtedly unfamiliar with the anguish I am so well acquainted with. And it is all on account of you, the one I hold dear. In and out of your presence, my mind is continually clouded by thoughts of you, as I dream of a time during which these feelings will be mutual. But, I fear that time will never come to be... For now, all I have are my own neverlasting dreams.

To lose myself in those crystalline orbs of yours for just one fleeting moment would be the pinnacle that I have been awaiting for, seemingly, an eternity. I wish to be embraced by your powerful arms, never to be released. If this were to happen, never would I let go...

No, it is not your protection that I seek; instead, it is your love, your devotion that I long for, for, you see, I love you. I understand that this feeling may never be shared, but, if you will, please find it in your heart to acknowledge this sentiment.....

With love, always and forever...

She shook her head, as though incredulous, and ruffled her hair with a free hand, utterly chagrined. "Ugh... I-... I can't sign THIS!" With a cry of disgust, Elena threw the sheet onto the floor without a care as to where it landed, and heatedly stalked out of the Turks' lounge.

* * *

Meanwhile, two fellow Turks, Reno and Rude were lounging about in a nearby bar.

"Hey, Rude...," Reno slurred, primarily due to intoxication. "I've been thinkin'..." Rude, seated beside his fiery friend, raised his eyebrows from behind his sunglasses in slight raillery. " ... How come you never let me see your eyes?"

Rude only sipped at his liquor, silent in the chaotic environment of the pub. "..."

"I always let you see my eyes, Rude...!" Reno pouted, beating the bottom of his glass against the bar in a childish manner. "Don't you like lookin' at my eyes!?" He leaned forward in order to shove his face directly in front of his companion's, as though to emphasize his inquiry, lips curved into an idiotic grin.

"... Yes, Reno, they're wonderful," the larger man replied apathetically. Gotta do *something* to shut this moron up, he thought.

Reno drew away from his companion and was silent for a short moment, which Rude was grateful for. At last, he scratched his head and blinked a few times. "Y-... Ya really mean it, Rude...?"

Rude, exasperated, sighed and responded in a tired manner, "... Yes, Reno."

There was another silence, longer than that of the previous one, as Reno stared in wonder at his comrade, his facial expression shifting ever so slightly as the ends of his mouth turned downwards, his eyes began to water, his chin trembled... "You didn't mean that!" And, ultimately, he began to cry as he proceeded to slam his forehead against the counter continually, only pausing to finish his 14th drink of the night. "You're." SMACK. "So." SMACK. "Cold!" SMACK.

Rude, having grown tired of Reno's antics, ignored him, finished his drink, and quietly stepped out of the bar.

* * *

The morning thereafter, heading for the Turks' lounge, he wasn't too shocked to find a hangover-stricken Reno stumbling out of his destination.

"Uh... Ugh... Heya, Rude..." Reno attempted to wave, but doubled over and gagged. Rude turned his head away in slight disgust, awaiting the well-known tone of bile hitting the marble floor, but none came. He turned his vision back to Reno, whose head was drooped. "Ahh... Don't mind me; I'm just fiiiine..." He had an especially goofy appearance as he nodded wildly, his neck appearing elastic. "'S'all yours...," the redhead mumbled as he gestured to the entrance of the lounge halfheartedly and shuffled away.

Rude shook his head at the comical sight and entered the room. With no mission to complete, and not wanting to have to deal with Reno in such a state, he took a seat on one of the leather couches. Assuming that it would be a while before anyone would call, he leaned forward to pick up a magazine when he spotted a piece of paper, its cream corner protruding from beneath a couch.

Curious, he arose from his seat and obtained the obscured sheet. Heading back to his seat, the man began to read the contents, soon realizing it was a letter. Then realizing it was a love letter. He removed his sunglasses as though thinking the action would discontinue some sort of illusion, but nothing changed; it was still a message confessing some kind of infatuation.

"To lose myself in those crystalline orbs of yours ... would be the pinnacle that I have been awaiting...," he read.

"What the fu-.."

He continued to scan over the letter. "... it is your love, your devotion that I long for..." His left eye twitched. "... for, you see, I love you."

What the hell!?" Finally reaching the absolute divulgence, Rude was thoroughly disgusted, and was about to cast the composition back onto the floor when a thought clicked in his mind.

// " ... How come you never let me see your eyes?"


"Don't you like lookin' at my eyes!?"

"... Yes, Reno, they're wonderful."

"Y-... Ya really mean it, Rude...?"

"... Yes, Reno." ... ... ... ...

"You didn't mean that!
You're." SMACK. "So." SMACK. "Cold!" SMACK. //

Having remembered the incident at the bar, Rude shuddered in repugnance at this awareness. "If I'd known it would've gone this far, I would've kept quiet," he mumbled to himself. "How'm I gonna break it to him? Let's see.... 'Sorry, Reno. I'm not gay.' ... No, too forward... 'Reno, different people have different preferences...'" Suddenly, the ring of the phone shocked him out of his train of thought and he hurried to answer it.

"Rude, please come to my office so we can discuss the restraints that can be put on your friend...," Reeve's wary voice delivered through the receiver. Rude confirmed the meeting and haphazardly forced the letter into his jacket as he left for Reeve's office.

* * *

".. Well, actually, he's already left, but I'm begging you. Will you please be sure that Reno finds a more appropriate place to, uh... deposit his bile? My blueprint of Sector 5 has already been mangled..." Reeve pointed to a damp mess of paper overflowing the trash bin, but the other man did not even glance at it.

"... Sure." Rude, having agreed, proceeded to depart from the office, but not before a certain paper had dislodged itself from within his coat and fluttered to the ground.

Exhausted from the morning's escapades, Reeve loosened his tie and stretched. He arose from his desk and tramped over to a cabinet. With all the training the Turks get, I'd imagine that they'd at least learn how to control bodily functions, he thought. While pouring himself a small glass of whiskey from an emergency stock, his eyes came to rest upon a piece of paper that lay upon the floor in the open.

Rude must've dropped it, he thought as he picked it up. Guess I'd better return it... His curiosity got the better of him, though, when he noted the color of the paper, and its peculiar feminine scent. Not a regular business document, he shrugged as he took a sip of his alcohol and began to read. However, he never got a chance to swallow it, as the substance of the paper overwhelmed him, causing him to spit it onto the carpeted floor of his office.

"Uh, m-... maybe I should return it to Rude... He must've dropped it by mistake...," he heard himself speak, although his mind was saying something completely different. Well,whenhewasintheoffice,it*did*makemeprettyuncomfortablewhenhejustkeptstaringatme..., he thought. "Argh... Rude, we hardly know each other! You've got the WRONG idea!!!" Reeve, frightened and nervous, decided to return the letter to Rude with an explanation that he was, in fact, a heterosexual male. He slammed his drink down onto the desk and scurried out of his office, not noticing that the glass had shattered, covering the entire surface of his desk, documents included, in whiskey.

* * *

"Might I ask, Reeve, why're you in such a hurry?" Scarlet inquired, stepping in the aforementioned nervous wreck's path as he rushed to the Turks' lounge.

"I'm.. in a hurry.. Scarlet...," he panted, glancing wildly around the hall, searching desperately for something to draw the woman's attention away from him. Too entangled in his hunt, he was not aware that Scarlet had taken the sweat-coated note from his perspiring hand until it was too late. She was already scanning through it with a mischievous grin present on her crimson lips when he was conscious of the loss.

"Why, Reeve, you didn't have to go through this much trouble to tell me all of this! All you had to do was ask..." Scarlet slipped her leg out of the lengthy slit of her dress in an endeavor at seductiveness. Reeve, mouth agape, was speechless. Having lost his nerves, he squeaked in protest and scampered back to his office to lock himself in for as long as he deemed necessary.

Scarlet watched him until he disappeared around a corner and looked back down at the letter she held in her hand to read it once again. "Kyahaha!" she chortled at completion. She kissed the paper enthusiastically, imprinting a picture of her crimson lips onto it. "This could be of good use," she sniggered as she neatly folded and tucked it into her dress. After straightening out her attire, she continued on her saunter to the Turks' lounge.

* * *

The roguish virago slipped into the room to find Reno standing alone, gazing out a window. Quietly, she strolled over to him and tapped his shoulder with a long, manicured nail. He turned and looked down at her, appearing tired.

"Aw, does Reno need a break...?" Scarlet reached up to massage his shoulders, but her hands were swatted away. "Hmph... Someday, Reno, you'll give in!" His only answer was a yawn. Furious, she hissed and readjusted her dress, causing the letter to fall out, unnoticed by herself. Scarlet spun on her heel to leave.

Reno, having seen the letter drop to the floor, picked it up. "For moi?" he questioned aloud to himself, and began to read as his eyebrows rose higher and higher the further into the letter he read. Scarlet had turned around again to speak.

"Oh, and- ... What's that?" she queried.

"Just something that fell out of your cleavage, as so many other things seem to do," he replied, sounding bored as he finished reading. "... Like Heidegger," he snickered.

Scarlet narrowed her eyes, outraged. "That belongs to me!" She reached out to wrench it from his grip, but Reno's hand pulled away too quickly for her. He shook his head.

"Nah, I could use this... Besides, it's obvious you wrote this especially for me, considering how you seem to flaunt your body so much more in my presence."

"Y-... You son of a bitch!" she shrieked and stalked to the door.

"That's right," Reno retorted. "... Oh, and by the way, Scarlet... No, I will not have sex with you."

Scarlet turned once more to throw a harsh glare at him before slamming the door shut as he smirked impishly.

Soon after, Elena popped her head through the door unexpectedly. Surprised, Reno stuffed the letter into his pants, looking incredibly suspicious in the process. Only arching a brow at him, being used to his strange habits, she went on to speak. "C'mon, Reno, the President wants to speak to us."

"Yeah, yeah... " He adjusted the waist of his trousers and stepped out of the room to join the other three Turks on the walk to Rufus's office. However, not to his knowledge, the letter fell further and further down his pant leg with every step he took...

At last reaching the President's office, the letter fell right out of his pants upon entrance.

* * *

"... So, Reno, if you EVER retch in my office again, be sure to keep in mind that I will personally throw you out of a window, shoot you as you fall, and run down your corpse in a diesel, all while laughing insanely. Then I'll... No, we'll just wait until it actually happens. Is that clear?" Rufus admonished. Reno nodded in return, and the Turks left the office, all shivering to different extents.

After they had gone, Rufus brushed a hand through his hair and sighed warily. Life was so hard for a dictator. He pushed himself out of his seat and straightened his coats when he spotted a paper laying across the room directly in front of the door. He was inquisitive, as it looked as though it had been slipped in from beneath the door. He sat back down at his desk and called his secretary to deliver it.

"But, sir, it's already inside your office..."

"Dammit, I'm the president of this company, and when I tell you to bring me something, you BRING IT."

"Y-yes, sir!" Scared out of her wits, she scurried into the office, picked up the letter, and placed it onto his desk. After a quick bow of respect, she hurried back out. Satisfied, Rufus lifted the letter and began to read it. Seconds later, his eye also began to twitch, just as Rude's had at the discovery of the note.

* * *

Meanwhile, the Turks entered the cafeteria and seated themselves in the upper management section. Soon after, Reeve arrived with Scarlet following, and, not wanting to be alone with her, he joined the Turks. Of course, Rude sat near Elena, as far from Reno as he could get without seeming too suspicious. Reeve found a perch near Reno, and Scarlet, after the embarrassment with Reno, decided to harass Tseng, much to Elena's dismay.

After a long, uncomfortable silence among the group, a harsh voice crackled on the intercom. Everyone present soon identified it as Rufus's.

"Recently, I came upon some sort of letter confessing an admiration for me. Now, normally something such as this would not vex me, but raise my level of egocentricity. However, this one differs. In lieu of the average praise, worship, and compliments... This, by far, is utterly grotesque. I will now read this abhorrent trash aloud, and, whoever it is who is the author, or whoever knows of this cretin, I command to present him or herself to me!" And, being true to his words, Rufus began to quote the entire letter into his microphone for all to hear, speaking in a thick, sardonic tone.

At the table, everyone, excluding Tseng, sat in shock and embarrassment as they listened to the words that they, too, had each read at some point in the day. Elena, face reddening, abruptly stood.

"E-... excuse me while I go to the restroom...!" she blurted, and ran to the nearest elevator.

"Elena, wait for me...!" Scarlet jumped up and pursued her.

Reeve, twitching nervously, could no longer handle the anxiety, and dashed up the stairs, while Rude quietly stood and strode to another elevator, a bead a sweat forming on his forehead.

Reno, the last one among those who had been associated with the letter, looked alarmed as he watched everyone depart in their own strange way, and he himself also stood. "Sorry, Tseng, but... Shit!" he simply exclaimed, and sprinted up the stairs, following Reeve's path. At last, Tseng was the only individual at the previously crowded table, left alone to ponder what had gotten into his associates.

* * *

Minutes later, everyone reunited in Rufus's office.

"With--," the President coughed and spluttered," .... love, always and forever." He had finished. He turned off the microphone and looked up to see most of his higher officials standing before him, each either reddening, twitching, sweating, or all of the above. "Ah, I see my little announcement has worked. So, are you all here to confess?"

"Uh, er, ah...," everyone mumbled in a jumbled response. Finally, everyone but Elena spoke at once.

Rude pointed to Reno. "... It was his."

Reeve jerked his head at Rude. "It belonged to him!"

Scarlet stared straight at Reeve. "It was that twitching moron."

Reno pointed at Scarlet as he glared at Rude. "What the hell!? It was her, dumbass!"

Rufus, unamused, simply glowered at them all. "This is not entertaining me, as you can see. In order to end this confusion, if someone would step up and confess, he or she may be able to leave with a chunk of their salary taken away. But, if no one has the valor to do so, you will all be given the wonderful job of scrubbing the lavatories. It's quite an unpleasant duty, considering Palmer's presence in the building." He raised a brow, expecting a response.

The whole group cringed. Elena, nearly gagging at the thought and finally compiling as much courage as she could, stepped forward. She broke the silence. "I... Um... Well... You see... I wrote that letter...," she admitted, blushing profusely. She noticed everyone glancing from her to the President, and his own eye brows raised. "... But it wasn't meant for you, sir!" A sigh of relief could be heard as it escaped Rufus's lips.

"Then who was it for?" he inquired.

"Well, um..., " she dug her toe into the carpet, and looked down at the floor, embarrassed. "It was for... Tseng... I guess someone picked it up, and it was just.. passed around, and, and..."

"...Very well. I suppose that's enough of a confession. And, as for your punishment..." Rufus chuckled cruelly. "It appears you've been humiliated enough, and from the looks of it, you're bound for even more mortification," he continued, glancing at Reno's snickering form. Elena only kept her head bowed, and was unaware that Reno had taken the letter from Rufus's desk and was heading out the door.

"What're you doing...?" whispered Rude as he elbowed Reno.

"Shh! ... Heh, heh... I'm gonna let Tseng see it!" Elena's head perked back up when she heard this.

"Ohhh... Oh, no, you don't, Reno!!!" she protested, rushing straight for him. She snatched and grabbed at the paper, but to no avail. "You bastard, give it BACK!" she cried, jumping to reach it, as Reno had lifted it above his head.

"Heh, heh... C'mon, it'll be fun! I'll get a kick outta letting Tseng see just how hopeless his newest Turk is..." Impulsively, Elena bit his arm. Hard. "OW! SHIT..." Not expecting such a barbaric act from his fellow Turk, he let go of the paper... and out the window it flew. Reno dove for it, but realized it was too late when he was hanging halfway out the window, arm extended, and still could not reach it.

Everyone watched the paper flutter about, the wind as its propeller. Soon after, a different propeller came into vision, the sheet entering it as a love letter and leaving it as confetti. The Highwind had been flying dangerously close to ShinRa Headquarters for some reason unknown to its employees. Reno leaned further out and turned his head in the direction of the airship to see an enthusiastic Cloud standing on the deck, smiling idiotically and waving.

"Damn!" Reno cursed, shaking his fist at the departing ship. He pulled away from the window, muttering profanities as Elena, rid of her distressing burden, smiled and ambled away from him. At that moment, Tseng entered Rufus's office and joined the gathering.

He looked confused as he observed the expressions of awe and surprise on the countenance of each individual. "What happened?"

"Oh, nothing... Nothing at all!" Elena happily replied, taking his arm and leading him back out of the room. "Let's just go finish eating, hm?"

Behind them, a depressed Reno was still murmuring about lost opportunities...

Moral: Use a trash can. Never leave personal items laying about in the presence of nosy people.