Reno sighed heavily, his blue eyes turned upward toward the ceiling of the corridor outside the intensive care enter in Edge’s largest hospital which, coincidentally, was owned and operated by ShinRa. His slender arms were crossed over his chest, his long fingers tapping an impatient rhythm on the sleeve of his blazer as he bounced his head off the wall behind him. Rude was seated nearby, patiently reading through some sort of magazine. He turned his shaded eyes to his partner as he flipped the page, shaking his head slightly.
“Sit down, Reno,” he requested.
“How long do you think we’re going to actually have to be here?” Reno asked, continuing to bang his head back against the wall.
“President Rufus instructed us to remain here until he has finished discussing the girl’s condition with the healers.” Rude replied, nearly repeating their employer’s words verbatim.
Reno scoffed. “It doesn’t take almost two hours to say, ‘She was badly hurt in the explosion and probably won’t make it.'”
“If you’re getting tired of standing there, you could always sit down,” Rude suggested, gesturing to the empty chairs surrounding his. “There’s plenty of reading material here to keep you busy, too.”
“You know I don’t read,” Reno reminded his partner. “Besides, if I sit down over there, I can’t see what’s going on in there,” he added, pointing to the window across from where he was standing, which allowed him to see directly into the room where Rufus was talking to the doctors.
The girl was situated in the middle of the group, laid out on a bed with various machinery hooked up to her to track her vital signs. Apparently, she had been worse off than Reno had originally thought. The initial report had stated she had a severe concussion, three broken ribs, and some internal bleeding. She had also lost a lot of blood through the gash in her head. The doctors said it was a miracle she was still alive, and Reno noticed that “somehow” Rufus hadn’t been very surprised by that observation.
“What are they saying?” Rude asked, momentarily looking up from his magazine to his partner.
“The docs’ backs are turned, so all I really have to go on is Rufus.”
“And what is he saying?”
Reno shook his head and sighed again, reaching up to scratch his neck. “Not a hell of a lot. Just the occasional prompting for the docs to continue their report or explain what something means.”
“Why don’t you just give it a rest, Reno?” Rude asked him.
“Because something is seriously weird about this situation,” Reno replied as he shifted his position slightly against the wall. “Everyone who was supposed to be in that building was accounted for. So how the hell did he know we would find someone else?”
“Does it really matter how he knew?”
“Yes, it matters!” Reno snapped, his voice rising considerably. A couple of nurses who had been talking quietly nearby turned to him briefly, then shrugged off his outburst and resumed their conversation. Rude had also been startled by Reno’s uncharacteristic loss of temper.
“Why are you so on edge lately?” he wondered out loud, watching the other man carefully.
“He’s keeping something from us.”
“Rufus is always keeping things from us,” Rude pointed out. “We’re on a need to know basis.”
“Yeah, but this is something big,” Reno insisted. “I can feel it.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“I can feel it,” Reno repeated.
“No offense, Reno,” Rude told him, “but your instincts haven’t exactly been one-hundred percent correct in the past.”
Reno merely groaned in frustration. He wasn’t going to try to sway Rude’s opinion on the matter, because part of him know his partner was right. Rufus told them what they needed to know to get the job done, and they didn’t ask questions. It was the way things had always been run with the Turks even before Rufus was acting president and it had always suited Reno just fine. He didn’t need to know the details about all the people he’d tortured or killed in ShinRa’s name. But something about this situation was bugging him to no end.
“You know what they say about curiosity, Reno. Maybe you better just leave this one alone.”
“Yeah, well… I ain’t no cat,” Reno retorted, his eyes scrunching up slightly as he tried to make out what Rufus was saying on the other side of the glass.
“I believe Reno may be the same type.”
“Shit,” Reno muttered, shaking his head.
“What’s wrong?” Rude asked, giving up on trying to finish the article he’d been reading.
“Looks like Rufus just volunteered me to be some sort of donor.”
Rude looked at him quizzically, but he never got a chance to ask the question that was on his lips. The door to the room where the girl was being treated opened and their boss walked out, flanked on either side by the doctors he had just been speaking with.
“How is she, Sir?” Rude asked as he rose from his seat and moved to stand next to Reno.
“Hard to say at the moment,” Rufus replied, glancing through the window at her unconscious form. “She had a lot of internal injuries, lost a lot of blood… right now she’s got a fever that’s on the borderline of causing permanent brain damage probably from some sort of infection they haven’t quite put their finger on,” he concluded, glaring at the doctors standing behind him.
Reno took in everything Rufus said to them, making note of his demeanor as well as his words. He found it particularly interesting that Rufus not only kept glancing into the room next to him, he also brushed his hand back through his blonde hair twice during his little speech. That was something else Reno found suspicious: Any other time, Rufus would have told them as little as possible about the situation. Yet here he was, freely telling them everything he knew about the condition of the woman they’d found in that ruined building.
“Well what did you expect, really?” Reno asked, unable to hold his tongue. Rufus turned in his direction and fixed him with a withering glare that normally would have made him back down. This time, however, Reno continued to stand up to his employer, fixing him with a look of his own.
“Reno,” Rufus purred his name in a way that was nothing close to sexual and everything like a predator. “The doctors say there’s a blood shortage and that the girl may die if she doesn’t receive another transfusion. Your blood type is A, isn’t it?”
“Yes, Sir,” Reno replied, his eyes flickering to Rude momentarily before returning to Rufus’ face.
“Good,” he replied, giving him a smile that never quite reached his eyes. “You will be staying here and supplying a donation to be given to her. Rude, you will accompany me back to headquarters so that we can arrange for her to be moved there once she is stable.”
Reno silently watched as Rufus started to walk down the hall, bound for the elevator. Rude looked at him for a moment, silently telling him to lay off before he went to join their employer. The redheaded Turk sighed deeply as he watched them board the elevator and the door slowly slid shut.
“This way, please,” one of the doctors requested, holding out a hand to indicate that Reno should precede him into a room just down the hall from the girl’s room. Reno sighed deeply and reluctantly allowed himself to be ushered into the room and toward a chair with a wide, flat armrest on one side.
“Remove your jacket and roll up your sleeve, please.”
Reno did what was asked of him, but only because he knew he was already going to be in enough trouble with Rufus for shooting his mouth off the way he had. He couldn’t help it, though. Ever since he and Rude had been sent on the mission he had become increasingly agitated by the circumstances. It was like he was becoming crazed with the mission, which never happened. He always went in, did his job, and never thought about it again. Then again, never before had Rufus acted quite the way he had been since telling him and Rude to go search what remained of the research facility.
He closed his eyes and tried to pull himself together as the doctor stuck a needle in his arm to collect the blood they needed to give the girl. If he didn’t get a grip, he was likely going to end up on the wrong side of Rufus Shinra, which he knew from personal experience was not a good place to be.