by Jennifer Bernal
Why am I doing this?
The president won't be happy when he finds out. He certainly won't.
Rufus slowly shifted on the floor, crossing his legs in front of him until he could say that he was relatively comfortable. He puffed out a bit of air, momentarily blowing his blond bangs away from his eyes. It won't be so hard, he told himself. After all, they do it all the time.
He never took his eyes off the large gun laying in front of him on the floor. It was like an untouchable thing, something to be revered and not used, and object that held all the power of the world within. The young boy reached out a hand towards it, tentatively, shakily.
"What are you doing here, kid?"
His hand went back as if it had just received an electric shock, even though it hadn't even touched the gun. Rufus looked up slowly to find a tall figure standing in the doorway, a shadow in a dark blue suit, staring down at him sternly.
"Tseng," he said slowly, until he realized that the Turk wasn't looking at him anymore, but at the black object on the floor. Rufus thought he saw a trace of a frown on the older man's forehead, but there was no way to be sure.
"Were did you find that?"
Rufus internally recoiled into a defensive stance. "You have no right to be talking to me like that."
Tseng turned his attention back to the kid, and tilted his head slightly. An eight year old who already talked like a grown up, who gave orders like someone who had control over the whole world... just like his father. "Excuse me then, sir Rufus." The tone of his voice remained neutral, although Rufus couldn't make out any sarcasm in his voice. "That's a very, very dangerous weapon," he added after a second, pointing at the thing in question with his chin.
Rufus looked at the gun once more, as if he were seeing it for the same time. "I know, you idiot. I stole it from a security guard. What are you going to do about it?"
Tseng took a step forward to finally leave the doorway and fully enter the room. "The question is, what are you going to do with it?"
No answer. Tseng's black eyes made their way up the boy's long and slender neck, and stopped on the reddened cheeks. He squinted. "You were crying again." It wasn't a question, but it didn't sound like an accusation either. It was more like a simple remark, one of those the-sky-is-blue kind of fact.
Rufus startled as if he had just been waked from a dream, and stared at the tall man with eyes momentarily frightened instead of angered. "Wha-what do you mean?"
He looks like a goddamn scared rabbit, Tseng mused, slightly amused. The kid even managed to look cute when he wasn't shouting orders around. Almost like... like a normal child, and not like the world's biggest tyrant's son. "You were crying again."
"I-- what I do and why I do it is of no concern to a low rank Turk like you!" Rufus shouted, feeling slightly incommoded because of the fact that he had to tilt his head back almost completely to look at the tall adult in front of him. "You should be outside on the streets chasing terrorists, not here bothering me!" To his surprise, he was almost sure he could discern a glimpse of amusement in the dark eyes, although the rest of the Turk's face remained stoic.
"I never asked why you cried," Tseng declared after a moment, scratching at the black round mark on his forehead with one slender finger. Rufus had always marveled at how that... that dot was so darned perfect, as if someone had taken a marker and pressed the tip exactly between the two eyes with amazing precision. "It doesn't interest me, and anyway, like you said, it's of no concern to me." The almond shaped eyes narrowed. "However, President Shinra's son's security is."
"My security? It's just a gun," Rufus scowled. "What did you think I was gonna do with it, kill me?" The last words didn't come out of his throat right, and he cursed himself internally for it. However, Tseng seemed not to notice how he had almost choked on them.
"Myself," the Turk said matter-of-factly. "When you're referring to yourself, you have to say kill myself,' not kill me.'"
Why did he have to repeat those last words so much? Was he trying to put some hidden emphasis in them or something? Rufus wanted to scratch his head, but he was afraid that if he raised his arm to do so, Tseng would choose that moment to reach out and take the gun away.
"Great. Why didn't you become an English teacher instead of an assassin, Tseng?"
Again that sparkle of amusement, but there was also something else in those pitch-black eyes. "Ha. When other kids say something like that, they say it sincerely, not with that thick sarcasm. Have you ever known what sincerity is, sir?"
Rufus frowned, slightly puzzled.
"I know what you must be thinking." Tseng took another step forward, and to Rufus's surprise, actually crouched down in front of him so that he could practically look into his face without twisting his neck. "You must be thinking that sincerity for me is telling a man that I'm gonna kill him right before I pull the trigger, right?"
"Um, no." Rufus's expression betrayed his confusion. "I wasn't really thinking about that at all." He eyed the gun out of the corner of his eye. It was sitting there in the exact same place where he had left it, between himself and Tseng, but the older man paid no attention to it at all, as if he had completely forgotten about its existence.
"Hey, kid." Rufus's head snapped back up. "Why don't you tell me why you were crying?"
Rufus thought over what to answer for a while. The gun. Let's just hope that he doesn't take the gun away.
"Why do you want to know, anyway?"
"I'll tell you if you answer me one question."
A frown, just as Rufus had expected. As soon as he saw the Turk nod, he asked "How did they turn you into an assassin?" It was just a question to gain time. To gain time to think of an answer of his own. How in the world had Tseng found out about those tears that he shed at night?
For a second it seemed that the man would burst out in laughter. Then Rufus realized that to think that was naive; he had never seen Tseng laugh. The Turk seldom even smiled, and when he did, it was always either a diplomatic I'm-just-smiling-to-you-because-otherwise-I'll-lose-my-job or a sadistic I'm-smiling-to-you-because-I'm-the-last-thing-you'll-see-before-I-blow-your-sorry-ass-to-hell grin.
"Turn me into an assassin? Who?" Right now Tseng was displaying a tiny amused smirk, no more than a slight curl at the tip of his lips.
"The President. Hojo. I don't know. Do they put some poison in you or something? Like they do to the SOLDIER freaks?"
The President. He calls his dad the president. For a second, Tseng felt the urge to ruffle the boy's already messed up hair and say that his father was no more than an imbecile who sat at his desk all day while other people - like Tseng himself - did the real work, killing when was necessary and controlling the soldier freaks'. But a second later the urge was gone, and he focused once again on the present conversation.
"Hojo? You think it's that bastard who made me what I am?"
Rufus shrugged, and almost helpless movement of his narrow shoulders. "Then what is it that he does, when all those screams start coming out of his lab?"
"He does his twisted experiments on poor kids like you until he kills them."
No answer, but Tseng hadn't expected one. Poor kid, he still partially thought that everyone only said that to scare him and make him have bad dreams at night. He couldn't yet comprehend that it was the truth.
Rufus smiled internally. He didn't need an answer. All he needed was a teeny bit of time, something to distract the Turk, and then he wouldn't need an answer.
"Will you tell me now?"
Rufus looked and chuckled. His laugh still held a trace of the merry bells of childhood. "You're one persistent fool, Tseng, you know that? And I don't even need to answer to you. You're the one who's a bastard. You're the one who betrays Wutai for mere money."
Tseng was still crouching; it seemed that his heels never got tired of that position. He cocked his head to the side, thoughtfully. Such words in such a little kid, it was vile. But then again, he should remember that this was a Shinra, and that no Shinra could be considered a normal person.
"I'm a Turk. Do you know what being a Turk means?"
Rufus was still eyeing the gun. The puzzled boy was gone, the angered one was back.
"Duh. It's killing people. Shooting them, burning them alive, making their homes blow up, torturing them."
Tseng licked his lips. "You're right. You're missing more things, though."
Rufus winced almost imperceptibly. "And when I become vice, or even the pres, I'm gonna sit up there in the sixty ninth floor, look out my beautiful glass domain at the huge city below, and tell you to go terrorize even more people, right?"
"And..." Rufus hesitated. "I'm gonna enjoy it? Like President Shinra?"
Another nod. There was no point in lying.
"And then someone is gonna come up, spit in my face and say you dirty Shinra, how dare you do this or that, and then someone's gonna shoot me, right?"
"No. The Turks will shoot them before they get the chance to do so."
"But you know what's worse, Tseng?" Rufus chuckled nervously. I bet if I could, I'd send you to kill the first person you meet right now, just to know what it feels. And I'd like it."
"Ha. You know what all the little kids in the slums say that they'd do if they became president? They'd make Midgar a pretty place with flowers where everyone would be rich."
"I know." Rufus frowned. "But they're stupid."
Tseng grinned. "Really?"
"And I am too." The gun. The gun.
Too late. Rufus's arm sprang forward, and in a second the weapon was in his possession once more, and he was pressing the barrel against his temple with a trembling hand. He was about to say something, but he didn't get the chance; Tseng unpredictably burst out in laughter. It wasn't like Reno's cocky laugh or Heidegger's bellows. It was rather discreet and quiet, but it was laughter at that.
"What--what the heck's wrong with you?" Rufus exclaimed, puzzled by this uncharacteristic fit. Did the Turk think that he wasn't serious? He didn't have time to think of an explanation, for a second later Tseng shook his head slowly and said, "Kid, you've been watching way too much TV."
"You... you don't believe that I'm gonna shoot myself?" Rufus's brow creased in anger. So perhaps everybody saw him as a child, but he had expected Tseng to take this a little more seriously. Because after all, this was... TSENG.
"...no." The answer was simple and final.
"Well I am. You'll see when there's my brains all over the carpet." It was a gross image, sure, but fortunately for him, Rufus figured that he wouldn't be there anymore to see.
"Why would you want to do so in the first place?" Tseng leaned backwards slightly as he asked his question. Stupid kids. Always with their little fits and games. They didn't know a thing about guns and pulling triggers and stuff. Hm.
"I-I..." Rufus stuttered, searching for an answer, and wished he knew one of those complicated words that grown-ups often said and that always seemed to explain everything at once. At the same time, he felt angered against himself for stuttering. He should be commanding Tseng, right? Shouldn't he be saying Leave me alone, I can kill myself if I want to, leave now or I'll get you fired?
"You know what?" Tseng asked almost casually. "Look around. You have a beautiful room, pretty curtains, a pretty carpet, pretty furniture..." that does not belong in a child's room "... that every kid would love to have, you have money, you have power, you're going to grow up to be the most powerful man in the world. Hell, you're even going to get to command a bunch of people like me. You know who should put a gun to their heads? The kids in the slum. Not the president's child. Don't you think?"
Rufus waited for Tseng to end his tirade, thinking. Seriously, he'd rather pull the trigger right now, the gun was rather heavy and holding it up for so long was exhausting. But some part of him wanted to listen to the man's arguments. Curiosity.
He was about to reply, when a thought crossed his mind. He knew many Turks had used to be slum kids. Was Tseng included in that group? Because if he was, then Rufus figured that was why he couldn't understand. He sighed.
"I hate my dad," he said finally, not exactly answering the Turk's question.
"Many people do. You shouldn't feel bad for that."
"Oh, I don't feel bad for hating him. I feel bad for the things he does that make me hate him." Rufus sniffed at the air for a second, wondering if that last sentence had come up right. He gave up on that thought almost immediately, deciding that it didn't matter.
"I mean," he went on, keeping the gun to his temple, "Sometimes I wish I could frighten the whole city. A lot. So that everyone would know how I feel sometimes."
"Really? And what is that feeling?"
Rufus was about to answer, but then he recoiled, remembering exactly who he was talking to. God, he had gotten cornered and had ended up spilling out more than he had wanted to. Way to go Rufus.
Tseng didn't speak for a few moments, and Rufus felt slightly disturbed. He was the president's son. He was trying to kill himself. So why in the world was Tseng acting so calm?? Shouldn't he be yelling and begging and calling the paramedics or something? Well, not begging and yelling, since he was a Turk, and no Turk would ever do that, but shouldn't he at least be taking the whole thing more seriously?
This guy must be totally screwed in the head, Rufus thought absently. Tomorrow I'll have to tell the president to fire him or something. I mean, doesn't he even care? No, wait, tomorrow I'll be dead... darn this is complicated.
"Do you want to cry on my shoulder or something? You're not looking right," Tseng pointed out, his voice stoic as before. Rufus looked him in the eye for a second, sighing again and thinking about all the things that were going on at once and concluding that all the world was nothing but a gigantic mess.
He cried all right... just not on Tseng's shoulder.
"I wish it would all go to hell... I wish it would all go to hell..."
Deciding all of a sudden that holding the gun was too hard and taking too much of an effort, he let go of it. It fell on the carpet with a blanketed thud.
"Whoa, those are big words. Have you been hanging around Reno or something?" Tseng joked, although the tone of his voice was still the same. The boy didn't answer. The turk extended a hand his way. For a moment Rufus thought it was to help him get up, and felt sudden disgust at the way he had to look for someone to DARE do that to him. But then Tseng asked, "Can I have that gun now?", request to which Rufus silently. He didn't care anymore. He had cried the last tears of the day and he suddenly felt amazingly tired.
The older man swiftly put the gun in the inside pocket of his jacket. Memo to self, he thought: find out what security guard this gun belongs to and give him hell. "Well I'm glad this is all over for today. Get beneath those covers and get someone to bring you something to it. I have an... appointment, at nine, and I don't want to be late."
Rufus didn't get up from the floor, looking at the his hands in deep thought. "Yeah, I'll do that," he said finally, as Tseng got up and started walking away. "Tseng."
The Turk had almost reached the door. He stopped without turning around. "What is it?"
"How... how did you know I wasn't gonna kill myself?"
Tseng grinned inwardly to himself. Ahhhh. So many answers he could give. Deciding he had had enough of playing Freud and needed to switch back to Turk Mode, he chose the simplest and most basic one.
"Because you need to pull the safety off the gun first, kid," he grinned.
He resumed his walk and found himself out in the corridor. The sound of a tired "oh" came to his ears. Tseng closed the door to Rufus's room behind him, hoping that the kid didn't have knifes or other weapons hidden beneath his pillow and decided to commit Hara-kiri or Sepukku or something later. In the end Rufus hadn't told him why he had him crying, but it held no importance. In the end, Tseng thought he already knew. The corridor was dark and silent and as he walked across it he prepared his mind for his approaching hit.
Rufus's question came back to mind.
Poison. Ha. Poison to turn me into an assassin. Tseng snorted.
An eight-year-old kid trying to kill himself. Heh. Now that's poison.
He entered the Turks' lobby and closed the door behind him.
Another pointless fanfic by Jenny. Hmph. Comments: email@example.com.