Disclaimer: I don't own FFVII.
Reno walked along the streets of Junon, hands stuffed in his pockets. He was on his way to get himself a nice, cold drink.
A woman on the sidewalk brushed past him as she walked by, Christmas shopping at her side. Her bags were merry greens and reds, and he could just barely make out the jingle of little bells.
Reno glanced at her for a moment, and then continued walking. Yeah, their drinks were always good, and they had practically everything. The music wasn't bad either. That was his reason to go to the Heaven's Heart.
Or maybe it was just to be somewhere.
Not like he really needed drinks anymore. Once, when he'd still had something resembling a conscience, they were a god-sent relief to his memory. To his feelings. But that was long ago.
After a while, you learned to live with it.
The Turk shouldered the door open, for the most part keeping his gaze on the floor. Occasionally he flicked up to keep track of his surroundings, but this was a familiar place. It wasn't needed.
He headed down in the corner booth, furthest away from the lights. Reno preferred it that way. He could see everybody and nobody could see him.
A slender eyebrow arched as the redhead took notice of a form already in his customary spot. He shrugged. So he'd have to boot some guy out, no big deal.
However, Reno's jaw almost hit the floor when he saw who, exactly, had taken his spot. Quickly recovering his composure, the Turk smirked. Maybe he wouldn't kick the guy out after all...
"Hey Valentine," he greeted smoothly, sliding into the seat across from the crimson-clad man. "Long time no see."
Vincent barely glanced at Reno. "Do you want something?" he asked flatly.
"Sure. Mind treating me to a drink?" Hey, no point in passing up an opportunity, now was there?
Vincent shrugged, not really caring. Reno quickly called a waitress over and asked for a Hennessy XO Cognac before the man could change his mind.
"So..." Reno paused while the waitress left, "...why're you around here? I'd have thought you'd have stuck with your AVALANCHE groupies."
Vincent didn't answer.
Reno shrugged. "Didn't know the chair leather could be that interesting," he commented off-handedly.
"..." There was no reaction, not even a flicker of eye movement.
The redhead gave an amused, but not condescending, smirk. He stretched out languidly on the back of the booth's seat. "What's it been, Valentine? A year now? Two?"
"Three." Reno nearly jumped.
"Ah, so you do talk!" He grinned. "I was beginning to wonder."
Vincent finally removed his gaze from nothing, slightly raising an eyebrow in Reno's direction.
"Not saying that's a bad thing or nothing," Reno continued easily. "Heck, I did work with Rude for a good, what, five years?" The waitress finally came over with his brandy. Reno gave her his sweetest smile, and she flushed. "Thanks babe," he spoke playfully, taking his drink with the slightest brushing of fingers.
"Sure," she responded, a bit faster than usual, before rushing away. Reno chuckled as she shyly glanced back at him, then turned her eyes away as if his had burned.
Vincent watched it all impassively.
"Well..." Reno turned his attention back on his old ex-enemy, sipping his drink. "How've you been?"
Vincent shrugged. "The same."
Reno nodded. "Yeah." It was weird, how they could...well, perhaps chat was too strong a word, but converse, after not hesitating to attempt to kill each other. Then again, it had been three years. Besides...it was a Turk thing. "You ever miss being a Turk, Valentine?" he asked suddenly.
Vincent contemplated the question, not bothering to wonder how Reno knew. "...no," he answered finally. "As a Turk, the only truly worthwhile thing was being a member of the group. AVALANCHE not only had that, but they fought for a pure purpose as well."
Reno nodded. "Yeah, if you didn't need the money. So," he settled more comfortably, "back to my previous question why aren't you with your precious AVALANCHE?"
"Why aren't you with Rude?"
The man shrugged. "Dunno. We both just ended up deciding it was time to split up, y'know? So...one day, we both left our joint apartment. Neither of us went back."
"How do you know that if you never went back?" Vincent questioned softly.
For a few moments, the booth grew quiet. Reno lighted a cigarette, more for the sake of something to do than the urge to smoke. After a moment of observation, he deemed the raven-haired man before him wasn't going to answer his question, and shrugged.
"What've you been doing for the past three years?" Reno asked instead.
"Oh yeah? What, you're trying to figure out the mystery of life too?" Reno mocked, half-jokingly.
"Something in that order," he replied, unperturbed.
Reno shook his head. "You're wasting your life, man. I don't know for sure what Hojo did to you, but I don't think you'll be living any longer than usual now that you're out of that box."
"You are correct." Vincent had known for a while his body had finally restarted its aging process.
"...I heard this story once." The Turk's aquamarine eyes grew distant, remembering. "There was this guy, a philosopher. And he goes off in a cave and mediates for 40 years. Half his life."
Vincent focused his gaze on Reno. He had, in truth, been thinking along the lines of doing something of that sort. "Yes?"
"Well, he came out of that cave one day. And what do you know, he could walk on water." Reno took a sip of his drink, before grinding out the cigarette. He didn't want to smell like nicotine for the rest of the day. "And this philosopher used to stand by a river, practicing his skill so he wouldn't forget."
Vincent waited, listening carefully.
"One day, he met a traveler coming up. And the philosopher decided to show this guy what he could do. So he went and crossed the river, then came back. 'How long did it take you to learn?' the traveler asked."
"'40 years.' When he heard the guy's response, the traveler said nothing, but called a boat over and quickly crossed he river. Once he touched the other side, the traveler came back," Reno paused, then finished his tale with a sardonic smirk.
"'You wasted your time,' he told the philosopher. 'I did that in just 10 minutes.'"
Vincent turned away, and again, the booth was silent. Crimson eyes peered out the window. People scurried to and fro on the streets, last minute bags and boxes being carried in their arms.
"...and I suppose you can tell me you've lived your life, Reno? Stealing, womanizing, murdering?" he responded at length.
Reno stretched. "You do what you're good at. At least I'm not moping about, doing nothing with myself."
Vincent laughed hollowly a sad, melancholy sound. Somehow Reno wasn't surprised. He doubted anything truly happy could come from this man.
Not that he was one to talk.
"What you've done with your life is worse than nothing," Vincent proclaimed, an odd smile playing around his lips.
"Are you alone for Christmas?" he asked abruptly, his crimson cape barely rustling at an invisible inch of movement.
Reno raised an eyebrow. "Why? Are you?"
Vincent paused, then with a flick of his wrist summoned a waiter. "Everclear," he ordered flatly.
"On the rocks?"
The waiter nodded and walked toward the bar.
"Everclear?" Reno raised an eyebrow. "Kinda strong, don't you think? Heck, even I don't drink that."
"..." The drink came quickly it was never in demand. Vincent took a small swallow, ignoring the burn.
"When did you take up drinking anyway?" Reno asked curiously.
Vincent shrugged. "About a year ago. For the same reasons you did."
Reno blinked, then grinned. "That obvious what I was gonna say, huh?"
He nodded in response, taking another sip.
Reno peered down into his glass, and noticing it was nearly gone, downed what was left. "Ahhh..." he licked his lips contently, "that was a good drink...by the way, Valentine, you never answered my question." The redhead leaned forward. "Are you alone for Christmas?"
"Really?" Reno's eyes widened slightly in surprise. "Who're you with?"
Vincent smirked. "The devil himself."
"Oh yeah? I ought to meet him; every guy should know who he's working for." The Turk settled back.
"Be careful, you may get what you wish for," Vincent quoted. "And you, Reno? Are you alone, tomorrow?"
Reno paused, before answering simply, "Im always alone."
"As I'm always not," Vincent responded, that odd smile playing around his lips again. "Both curses of life. But you, Reno..." he rose from the seat, cape swirling fluidly around him, "...you, your curse can be overcome." Vincent inclined his head slightly in Reno's direction and placed a wad of gil on the table. "Thank you for your meeting. May you find your way." With that, he was gone.
Reno cocked his head to the side as he watched his old enemy stride through the door. When the dark man was out of sight, he stared absently at Vincent's barely touched glass. The lights shimmered into tiny rainbows, and for a moment, his eyes were enchanted by the simple flickering of color.
For a moment.
Reno knelt by the woman's motionless body, heedless of the gifts around him. Swiftly, he checked her pulse, although already certain he had hit his mark. It was a rare moment when Reno of the Turks missed.
He nodded, satisfied. He'd be paid the day after tomorrow the man he'd taken this job for was busy on Christmas. Besides, Reno had the feeling he didn't want to meet him on such a reverent day.
The Turk couldn't suppress a bitter chuckle. His employer didn't want to taint the day by meeting with an assassin, but he'd order a death the day before. The irony. Not even another murderer, indirect as it may be, wanted to be with Reno.
But it was his choice to be alone. His choice to be a person avoided by all.
Alone for Christmas...as always.
Just another day...
AN: Yes, I know early for Christmas. But this isn't really a...good Christmas fic anyway...
No, this isn't yaoi. I have nothing against yaoi, in fact I've read quite a few yaoi Gundam Wing fics, but I don't write it. Umm...I'm not really sure which of them learned from each other maybe they both did? ^^;;
This could take place between the prologue of "Jade, Wine, and Turk training" and Chapter One, but I'm not sure yet. Anyway, R&R please
 Type of expensive brandy
 Extremely strong brand of vodka