Wasted Chapter 4
The soft murmur of voices woke him.
"Hes been out a long time." The voice was male, a deep baritone that penetrated the heavy fog in Renos mind quite easily. Not wanting to move, he squeezed his eyelids shut tighter and willed himself back to the blissful state of oblivion.
"Should we wake him?" This voice was female, piercing, with a sharp clarity that threatened to drag him back from the brink of unconsciousness.
"How?" The man sounded annoyed. "You got something to throw at him? Maybe thatll do the trick."
"You got a better idea, Rude?" The girl spat, her already shrill voice rising in pitch. "You think-"
Reno let out a soft moan as his eyelids fluttered. The voices ceased abruptly, but he was already nearly awake. He wondered why one of his arms felt like it was filled with lead.
The man called Rude let out an exasperated breath. "There. Your bitching did the trick."
The woman started to make a heated reply, but another man interrupted her.
"Quiet. Both of you."
The other two fell silent, even though the man had spoken hardly above a whisper. The part of Renos mind that was actually functioning took note of this.
But the rest of his mind, too, was rapidly regaining a sense of reality. As his eyes cracked open, he tried to move his lead-filled arm and discovered it lying underneath him. When he moved it, pins and needles spread from his fingertips to his elbow.
Coherent thoughts returned, and with them a growing sense of anxiety. Ignoring the numbness in his arm, Reno placed it on the floor for balance and sat up. He blinked as he looked around, trying to make stock of his surroundings.
To his back was a plain gray cinderblock wall. On both sides and in front of him were smooth metal bars running from floor to ceiling. The bars were maybe a hand width apart, enough to reach a hand in between, but not nearly enough to slip through, even for a man as thin as Reno.
He swiveled his head back. A small chamber pot occupied one corner of the tiny space. A small, hard sleeping mat was to his left.
Reno was trying to make sense of this when something else caught his gaze- a pair of iron manacles hanging from the wall, close to the ceiling.
Then it hit him. He was in a cell.
Reno gave a rather unmanly gasp and shot to his feet, then immediately winced and put a hand to his bruised throat. He couldnt really remember how hed hurt it, but decided to blame Wat and Kaiser. They had to be behind this.
As his vision cleared, he realized his cell wasnt the only one in the cavernous room. Five more prison-like cells lined the wall across from his, and there were more to each side. As he put one hand on a bar and stared in numb disbelief, that little part in the back of his mind that was taking note of everything wondered why such an enormous room (the ceiling had to be forty or fifty feet high!) had only ten or so cells.
"Hey, man. You okay?"
A little startled, Reno turned to his right, facing the man who had to be Rude.
Until then, Reno had thought himself pretty tall, and his natural gangling frame "lean muscle". That was before he set eyes on Rude.
The man was big. He looked like he could bend the iron bars in the cell without breaking a sweat. There wasnt a wasted ounce on him, either. His entire body was muscle and sinew, without a trace of extra fat.
As if in contrast, Rudes head was completely bald. For some odd reason, it only served to make him look even more foreboding. Next to him, Reno felt like a shrimp.
Then the shrimp realized he hadnt answered Goliaths question.
"Other than waking bruised and sore in a frickin prison cell, Im perfectly fine!" he snapped. Too late, he thought about how unwise it might be to piss off a man of Rudes size.
Aw, hell. There are a couple inches worth of thick metal bars between us. Whats he gonna do?
His apprehension was misplaced, however, as Rude merely gave a small shrug and turned away. Pleased with the result, Reno took the opportunity to get a better look around.
On the other side of the hall in front of his cell was another row. In the one directly across from his was the woman. She leaned against the left wall of her cell, turning her head so she could look at him. She had straight brown hair cut to the length of her jaw and golden brown eyes. A light smattering of freckles across her nose made her look younger than she really was, which Reno assumed was perhaps 25 or 26; a little older than himself. He noticed she was wearing a dark blue suit that looked oddly familiar.
He turned to look back at Rude. Exact same outfits.
Before he could comment on this, however, the woman spoke.
"You done gawking at everything?"
Reno scowled. "That depends. Is someone gonna explain?"
She sighed. "Youre a Turk."
As if that explains anything. "Meaning?"
"Meaning you rot in here with the rest of us until your trainings complete," she snapped.
Reno was bewildered. "But why lock us up"
The woman looked at him as though he was demented. "So we cant escape. Why else?"
Being a Turk suddenly didnt sound at all good. He wasnt sure he wanted to know but asked anyway: "What happens during training?"
The woman opened her mouth, but she was interrupted.
"Youll find out soon enough." It was the other man who spoke, the one who had told the others to be quiet earlier. His cell was next to the womans and across from Rudes. Reno could barely hear him. "Sooner then you may want to."
He too, wore a blue suit. The man was standing in shadow, with his head bowed so that Reno couldnt see him clearly.
Annoyed by the melodramatic response, Reno shot back, "I think Id rather find out than be locked up with stark raving lunatics. If youre gonna explain, explain in English. Plain and simple."
The woman clapped her hands, calling for attention. "Okay! Pop quiz!" Her voice was heavy with sarcasm as she looked at Rude. "You first, Rude. Why are we here?"
Rude said nothing. The woman answered her own question.
"Because were Turks. Why are we stuck in training cells?" Again she didnt wait for a response. "Because were Turks. Why do we wear uniforms?" She put a hand to her head. "Oh, I feel an answer coming on! I know! Its because were Turks!"
Reno found himself liking her spunk. "Youre a bitch."
She rolled her eyes. "Actually, its Lynn."
"Bitch is closer to the mark, though," Rude said, giving Reno a sidelong glance. "Life wasnt a complete hell before Lynn came here."
"Yeah, I know," she retorted. "Its gotta be torture to look at someone as attractive as me day after day and knowing you cant have me-"
Rude snorted. "You are just too amazing to get over yourself, arent you?"
Glad not to be the center of attention any more, Reno stepped further back into the cell and leaned against the cool cement wall. It was hotter than hell down here. Wherever "here" was. He wiped his sleeve across his brow.
As he did so he noticed something. For the first time since awakening he glanced down at himself. He was wearing expensive-looking black shoes, a dark blue business suit over a white shirt and a black tie.
"Where the hell are my clothes?!" he shouted, startling everybody. Lynn and Rude stopped arguing abruptly.
"Who knows?" Lynn shrugged. "They dont tell us much."
Cursing in rage, Reno loosened his collar and removed the strangling tie. "What time is it?"
Rude looked at him warningly. "I wouldnt do that, Reno. They get upset if your uniform isnt immaculate."
"Screw them!" he snarled. "What time is it?"
"Probably around 3:30 AM," Lynn guessed. "Tseng just got back from training a while ago, and his ends at 3:00."
"They keep you up at all hours, then?" Reno yanked the collar looser; it still felt too warm.
Lynn snorted. "Thats one way to put it."
Reno sighed and rubbed his temples. He suddenly had a very painful headache. "How long am I stuck here?" he demanded.
Lynn gave another careless shrug. "Who knows? It could be ten days, or ten years. You can never tell with these guys."
Reno slammed the cinderblock wall in disbelief. "Are you saying-"
"Shut up!" Tseng said tersely.
Something about the guy just made you want to obey. Reno closed his mouth just as slow footsteps descended what sounded like cement stairs. He found himself stiffening defiantly as Wat sauntered up to the outside of his cell, grinning. His teeth were uneven.
"Ah, Reno," he greeted. "Glad to see youre back with us. Not too banged up, are you? Thats all right, well remedy that soon enough."
He stepped back and appraised the silent Reno for a moment, frowning. "Wheres your tie? And whys your collar unbuttoned?"
Reno gave him a cold stare. "I dont like this uniform. I dont like being locked up. Give me my clothes and let me the hell out of this dank pit."
Wat looked at him a moment, as though sizing him up. He finally rolled his eyes to the ceiling, blowing air out of the side of his mouth.
"Have it your way, Reno." He took a ring of keys out of his front pocket and unlocked the cell door. "I try to make things easy for you, but you just dont cooperate. Now we have to do things the hard way."
He pulled open the cell door and stepped inside, shutting it behind him. Reno stood with his arms folded, watching Wat warily. Who did this guy think he was?
Wat pulled open his jacket, exposing a black rod hanging at his belt. He unstrapped the rod and held it in his hands, idly stroking the smooth black finish. "Do you know what this is, Rookie?"
Reno shrugged offhandedly. "I dont know. A substitute for a dick?" Out of the corner of his eyes he saw Rude put a hand over his face.
Wats expression didnt change, but his mouth twitched just the slightest bit. "No. I like to call it the Nightstick, but its actually more. Much more."
Reno sneered. "Why would I care what you call your little toy?"
The next thing he knew, searing pain blossomed in his shoulder, spreading outward until it brought him to his knees. Reno had felt pain before, but nothing like this. It was agony. Death without dying.
When at last it ended, Reno found himself facedown on the floor, his cheek resting on cold cement. His breath came in panting gasps. He was dimly aware of Wat looking down at him, but didnt really care.
"Some toy, isnt it?" Wat sounded a million miles away. Reno struggled to concentrate on his voice; it felt like a lifeline back to reality. "And that was only low power." His tone switched from jovial to hard. "If I was you Id button that collar, Reno." When he didnt move fast enough to satisfy Wat, the nightstick rapped him on the head. This time, Reno actually felt the electric currant run through his body, but there was nothing he could do to stop it. When Wat gave him a moments respite he buttoned his collar quickly with stiff fingers.
Wat dropped the tie on top of him. "This, too."
Reno lost control. It was like an instinctive reaction. So suddenly Wat couldnt anticipate it, hed grabbed the older mans leg and yanked him down. The crack of Wats head as it struck the cement was like a gunshot, and with it Reno had his hands around the other mans throat. He bent over Wat, smiling grimly.
"Look what Ive got here," he said softly. "A full-grown cocky Turkey. Still want to train me?"
Wats cold blue eyes didnt move from Renos, but his hand slowly brought up the nightstick. Reno kicked it away and shifted position so his hands had a better grip.
"You use that thing again," he warned, " were going to find out what happens when I twist your head one way and your body the other." He leaned closer. "You wanna find out? Im afraid I already know, but Id love to surprise you. Shall we try?"
"Reno," Wat said in an even tone, "lack of discipline gets you killed. Im going to have to fix your rebellious side."
"Yeah? Looks like youll have to fix me with your head bend sideways. I think the lookll suit you."
Wat spun suddenly, slamming his shoulder into Renos side. Reno fell back, off balanced, but jumped up immediately to block Wats swing. What he didnt anticipate was Wats kick. A well-timed movement with his foot swept Renos legs out from under him. Before he could recover, Wat was on him, pressing the nightstick to the back of his neck.
Reno had thought crying out was impossible against the pain. He had been wrong.
"Like that, doncha?" Wats breath was coming in sharp gasps. He pressed the nightstick down harder. "Ill have you blubbering like a baby before Im done with you."
Though the agony Reno was only able to get out one thing: "Screw you "
Wat smiled and pushed Reno out from under the rod. Reno slammed against the wall, but didnt care, since he was away from the pain. He blinked away sweat and tears as Wat approached. He tried to sit up, but found Wats heavy boot on his back prevented it.
Wat slowly, casually, wiped his hand across the back of his head. He looked at his fingers, then showed them to Reno, who felt a moments pride- they were darkened with blood.
"Youll pay for that, too," he informed Reno.
Reno looked up at him with hatred. "What, too much of a coward to fight me without your magic stick?"
Wat smiled again, removed his foot from Renos back, allowing the younger man to get up. Keeping his eyes on his captor, Reno slowly climbed to his feet, wavering a bit. Wat just stood there, watching him, while Reno waited with dull apprehension.
Without warning, Wats fist shot out and hit Reno in the face. Reno staggered, felt the nightstick smash down on his skull. He crashed to the floor, reeling.
"Dont get me wrong, Reno." Wat sounded amused. "Every minute Im with you, were fighting in some way. And I win every time."
The last thing Reno saw were Wats glossy black shoes walking away.
A jolting alarm brought Reno back to consciousness. He let out a weary groan as the aching pain flooded his body. He thought he might throw up.
He heard the sound of his door being opened, but kept his eyes shut. Maybe if they thought he was asleep theyd leave him alone.
Wat smacked him on the side of the head. "Rise and shine, Sleepy!"
Reno groaned again but didnt move. Nothing could make him move, he decided.
"Do you want me to wake you with the nightstick? Im sure itll be considerably painful."
Nothing, except that blasted cattle prod. Reno sat up quickly. Wat grinned.
"Youre learning. Thats good. Come with me." He turned and walked out of the cell. As Reno followed he was surprised to see Rude and Lynn out of their cells, too. They were waiting expectantly for Wat to lead the way to where? Reno had no idea.
He fell into step beside Rude and Lynn as Wat started up the stone steps. "Whats this all about?"
"Were about to start our usual day," Lynn said, rather tonelessly. Reno thought her attitude pretty dull compared to last night, and wondered if Wats presence had anything to do with it. Well, if they were expecting him to fall in line and let them smack him around, they were mistaken.
"Wheres that other guy?" he asked, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "You know, that guy in the cell next to yours?"
"Oh Tseng? I think hes with Kaiser. He has a longer day than us. Harder, too." She gave him a sidelong glance as they walked down a plain hallway, illuminated by swinging white lights. "So howd you like your first taste of training?"
Reno scowled. "If its the last thing I do, I swear Im gonna murder that guy."
Lynn snorted. "You didnt sound so tough at the end of his nightstick last night."
"Lynn!" Rude growled. "Youve been in that position before. You know what its like!"
Lynn said nothing, but her countenance softened.
They came to a halt in front of a swinging door. Wat turned to them, a leer on his face. "Im giving you ten minutes today, because youve got a new guy to take care of." He winked. "But Ill make it up to you later. Especially you, Lynn. Im just feeling indulgent today."
Lynn pressed her lips together so tightly they turned white, but she didnt say anything. Wat cupped a hand to her face in an affectionate gesture, then turned and left.
Rude took her arm and pulled her through the door. "Dont say anything, Lynn."
She slammed her fist into the sheetrock wall, leaving a gaping hole. "I hate him!" she snarled, hitting the wall again. "Goddammit, I hate him!"
Reno didnt want to ask what Wat liked to do to Lynn, but he had an idea. In a strained effort to change the subject, he asked, "What now?"
They were in a dingy bathroom with one stall and a water basin in the far corner. A small mirror hung on one whitewashed wall. The entire room was cramped and rather claustrophobic.
Rude shrugged. "This is where we wash up."
Lynn shoved past him to splash water on her face. "Yes, in here. Face it, Rookie. Youre not going to be properly clean for a while."
As he rinsed his face in the freezing water, Reno glanced into the mirror on the wall. He looked terrible. His face was unshaven and pained. And the tie looked all wrong.
Scowling, he brought his hands to the knot and loosened it, finally removing the tie and tucking it in his back pocket. Lynns earlier comment still stung a little.
Rude shook his head when Reno turned away from the mirror, but didnt say anything. Lynn did.
"Dammit, you moron!" she snarled. "What are you trying to prove? You know Watll only laugh and beat you senseless."
Reno ripped open the blue jacket, exposing the white work shirt. "Let him beat me senseless." He hiked up the jacket and untucked the shirt, letting it hang out over his blue pants. "He cant make me do what he wants."
"Oh yes, he can," she muttered.
"Our ten minutes are up," Rude reminded them. Lynn glared at him, as though Renos defiance was somehow his fault, sniffed, and pushed open the door, leading the way out.
Rude turned to Reno. "I know how it feels. Its your decision, but you dont know the half of what theyll do to you."
Reno ran a hand through his hair in frustration. "But why? They drag us all the way out here, set up this whole system, go through all that trouble for what? The privilege of smacking us around?"
Rude shrugged, leaning against the whitewashed wall as he folded his arms. "They want us to feel pain, get to know it. So we can give it better."
"Thats what a Turks job is?" Reno was skeptical. "Giving others pain?"
Rude gave him a dark look. "From my experience, yes."
Reno threw up his hands. "Why?"
Rude ran a thumb along his stubbled jaw line. "The Company."
"You mean Shinra?" Rude appeared to have a habit of making obscure answers.
"Yeah. Why do you think its so powerful?"
Reno suddenly had a vivid flashback of a gang hed tried to join as a kid. Itd been one of the real bad-ass ones that "ran the streets". To get in, you had to kill somebodys pet and put it somewhere where they would see it. Reno had killed old Mrs. Swaneys cat, Snowball, by slitting its little white throat; then draped it across the windshield of her beat-up old Jeep. Mrs. Swaney suffered a severe heart attack and had to be rushed to the hospital. Shed died by the following spring.
Needless to say, hed been accepted.
Reno stared at Rude wordlessly. He could still remember the snow-white fur, matted with blood. He still had a scar on his wrist where the angry animal had scratched him.
"I really dont want to be a Turk," he whispered.
Rude absently traced the hole Lynn had left in the wall. "None of us do."
Reno watched his hand move. "Tell me what Wat does to her."
Rude sighed. "What do you think he does to her? Dirty bastard rapes her, any time he feels like it. Not in front of us, lucky for him," he added, seeing Renos questioning look. "No, he just gets in one of those moods, takes her for a little private training, and when she gets back shes a mess. You dont want to know the things he does with that nightstick of his."
Reno decided he was right. He leaned forward. "When do we get out of here?"
Rude shook his head. "No idea."
Reno didnt like that answer one bit.
The door slammed open, nearly hitting Rude in the face. "Youre three minutes late!" Wat yelled. His cold glare took in Renos casual attire, but he didnt say anything. When he spoke again, however, his voice was like ice.
"Training Center. Now."
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic