Can We Forget the Things I Did When I Was Drunk Chapter 1
By Ridia Seascar & PhoenixStar
Reno sat alone at the bar, as usual. He threw back another shot of whiskey and furiously demanded more. The burly bartender shook his head, "You've had enough, son. Not a man in the world can drink like t-" he was interrupted by a high pitched shock wave descending upon the bar group. Several onlookers shuddered.
"I think you've had quite enough!" the high, girlish voice rang out behind him. The bartender turned away, wanting no part of the proceeding event. Reno turned to the voice. Oh! Of all the lousy luck, it was that annoying ninja, Yuffie Kisaragi, materia hunter extraordinaire (a title which is quite the equivalent of thief.) He stared apprehensively at the approaching figure, all slender legs and glittering materia protruding from the mighty conformer casually strapped to her back, tossing a crumpled napkin in her general direction, and of course, missing his target.
"Who as-asked you, hick!" Reno slurred as he stood up, too fast. His head began to spin uncontrollably, and he quickly plopped back down at the bar stool. He swiped the thin cinnamon-sand stray hairs from his annoyed eyes and adjusted his dark glasses where they perched on his forehead.
"Hmmm? Just a smidgen over the legal limit, now are we? Your blood what? Sixty percent alcohol now?" the canny materia hunter (thief) observed with a coy grin. She leaned against the bar stool beside him, again, all legs, to Reno's still amazingly observant eyes. "You don't happen to have a designated driver now, do you?" she playfully taunted with a wave of her hand indicating the rest of civilization as they should know it (and the relatively few people remaining to fill in that tiresome position).
"Beat it, shrimp." Reno threatened. He slammed his fist on the counter, knocking over a shot glass or two. He figured he'd better get her out of there fast. He wasn't about to be humiliated here in front of the bar group, not by this childish ninja girl, not by anyone. Just WHAT was she planning on doing today, he wondered. Yuffie eagerly pressed to know who was his designated driver, remaining persistent, as is her way. Desperate to part company with the crafty little ninja, Reno decisively pointed out a random schmuck at the bar counter across from them.
Yuffie tsk-tsked disapprovingly with an annoying twitch of her slim finger. Reno steadied his hand and actually looked at the guy he had pointed to, and was amazed to find that the guy had an identical twin setting right behind him. The man and his twin were absolutely plastered; no mistake about it, both had long ago collapsed over the counter in front of them with their dark, whiskered faces noses first into their identical bowls of peanuts. Suddenly, the twins became triplets before Reno's eyes and he decided it was best to close them, although doing so provided peaceful darkness, it did not cut out the ninja's manipulative voice. He gave up and reopened his eyes to find Yuffie's cute face too close to his own, a sly frown of falsified concern on her brow.
"Was afraid so. Yep." Yuffie shook her head grimly, then brightened. "Say, how's about I drive yah home?" Yuffie always had loved the chance to totally annoy her once enemy, knowing the peace agreement between Shinra company's remnants and the Avalanche association prevented any further 'legal' conflict, which included 'no beating up the ninja girl,' although she knew she could easily win in a one on one or more against any Turk dumb enough to challenge HER. She grabbed his arm possessively, giving off her sweetest 'I-wouldn't-lie' smile, determined not to lose this chance at a little fun revenge. Since he was dead drunk there was no harm seeing as this do-do wouldn't remember diddily-squat the next morning, but the important thing was, Yuffie would. A hundred schemes flew through her head. She dismissed only two. For one; since Cid wasn't about to lend her the Highwind, his famous airship, that initial plan would surely fail, and two; well, she already forgot two, while singling in on her current destination and merciless plans for THIS plastered schmuck.
"Wha..?" Reno asked as he began to waver in his seat. Those fifty shots of whiskey had been stronger than he thought. Yuffie just barely saved him from falling into his own peanuts, her hand firmly wrapped about his arm. He nodded, by force of either Yuffie's administrations or his own dizzy drunkenness, clearing his head, which was already a little empty. Yuffie took that as a green light. She always did.
"Ok! That settles it! You're coming with me!" Yuffie waved the bar tender over as she demanded Reno kindly hand his wallet to the nice bar tender so they could leave. After a few initial protests of not being near ready to leave, Reno's bill was decided too high for him to cover with the meager amount in his wallet (meager, that is, compared to the amount he owed, which was higher grand total than all the money Shinra had ever made in a year.) and Yuffie just had the remainder of it put on Reno's extensive tab (which was higher than all the money Shinra had ever made. Apparrantly this Turk had acquired a taste for foreign beverages.) Finally, Yuffie drug/led Reno, protesting the whole nine yards, out of the Kalm bar and to her awaiting truck. She released her hold on his collar as she patted the door, nodding disapprovingly down upon the Turk at her feet, her glance shifting back again to her nice, shiny, new blue truck.
After deciding that Reno stunk too much of alcohol to have him sit in the cab, she casually tossed him into the back bed of the new truck. She decided he fit in nicely with the large steel toolbox and spare tires for pillows and plotted a bumpy ride on the way home, just for good measure. "I'll just have to go a few places first, I'm sure you'll be patient until I can get you to your apartment." she explained to him as she started the motor and pulled out, kicking the breaks noisily every few seconds and watching his head bop up and down splendidly. Phase one of her diabolic plan complete, oh, what misery and/or horrors await this guy, she thought. From her own experience and therefore expert opinion in dealing with Turks, she surmised that he really did deserve a little misery for once.
Yuffie carefully guided her truck through the streets of Kalm, a city which now enjoyed the title of largest, most polluted city in the world. Since Midgar was now no more, all those homeless people had to go somewhere, so naturally they went to the closest little town and industrialized it, changing the quiet peaceful town into a bustling crime torn city. Ah, the reminiscent qualities of Midgar. At least there were no speeding trains in Kalm. Trains, planes and automobiles tended to give Yuffie stomach aches, although she had forced herself into becoming accustomed to the bouncing and movement of her new truck.
After a short drive down town, she turned the corner and peeked over the dashboard, suddenly remembering something she had promised. She pulled into the local television station, shut the truck down and deposited the key in her pouch. "Yo, Reno! I'm gonna go pick up Marlene, you just stay here and be a good little boy, ok?" after getting no response, she headed on into the station.
Yuffie passed by several doors, each leading to a different show being filmed at the moment. "Let's see... two doors from the Evening News set, in the one marked Blarneey... ah! Here we go!" Yuffie opened the door silently before her, which was something that came with the natural caution of a ninja materia hunter (thief) of her caliber. Within, she saw a set made-up to look like a backyard, complete with a tree house made of rubber, a plastic and Styrofoam play-center accommodating a tall, rickety slide and several flammable painted tire swings. Stage lights filled every balcony view, a live audience was parked on the far side of the room, intently watching the scene unfolding before them. The director jumped from his chair and called a cut, exclaiming that the footage taken that day would have to suffice, muttering something about a 'deadline', Blarneey's paycheck and 'idiotic executives anyway'. Marlene skittishly stood near a large purple dinosaur. Yeah, Yuffie thought, the all mighty Blarneey. Yuffie shivered involuntarily, the large purple and green dinosaur always gave her that urge to kill, which all ninjas were trained to either suppress or indulge in, depending on the situation. (And sometimes by the course of their hectic day.)
Yuffie called Marlene over to her. "Marlene! Your daddy sent me to pick you up!" Marlene turned from the dinosaur, seemingly grateful to get away as the dinosaur began to go on a ruthless hugging spree, kill- uh, excuse me, hugging anything and anyone in it's path. The girl dodged away quickly, showing off a move her daddy had taught her not too long ago as she avoided the hulking green arms and Yuffie saw ninja-potential in the speed and accuracy indulged in that simple evasive gesture, or maybe the kid was just so scared of the giant blob that she'd do anything to get away...fear does that to people sometimes. When she reached the relative safety of Yuffie's side, Marlene turned back to the crew and informed them that she was leaving with her friend, avoiding all eye contact with the 'Blarneey' beast.
Reno groaned and rolled over in the bed of the truck, then he sat up, seemingly alert. Of all his years of becoming accustomed to drunkenness, he couldn't remember a one when he'd been this long gone. The world around him was blurry, and he wanted nothing more than to crawl into a corner and die. His second alternative was to find a restroom. Fast.
Haltingly, Reno got out of the back of the truck and staggered his way to the building he could make out in front of him. He knew he'd need a good Bloody Mary or something worthwhile in the morning to help ease off the tremendous hang-over he predicted would decide to visit him. He somehow formed a mental image in the back of his mind, imagining the tall wine glasses he'd left that morning in his pantry, right next to the-the what? He forgot what it was called, but he could see the little midori tinted bottle almost clearly and that thought only heightened his need to relieve himself. He walked to the entry way, stepping aside as an old, wrinkled woman walked by leading a small toddling child on a leash. A kid on a leash? What is the world coming to?
He pulled on the door with all his might, gaining no purchase, then gave up and fell forward on to the door, which immediately fell open under his weight as his face meet the floor with a cordial slam. The child looked down on the compromised Turk and let out a laugh of pure glee. Shaking off his mild yet embarrassing injuries of a skinned chin and knees, Reno walked down the hall he had found before him, slamming the door in the kid's bemused face. He heard a noise like running water through a door to his left. "Yep." he thought "That's what I'm lookin' for."
He turned the doorknob and, this time, pushed. The door actually opened, which surprised Reno, who had been willing to fight it to the death for access to the room within. Finding a small hallway with other doors, he slammed his fist into the wall in frustration and cursed something that shouldn't be repeated here...
He opened a door to his left and entered it. It seemed to be the source of the noise, although in his condition one would be surprised he could tell left from right.
Inside, he found a chair that was empty and gratefully sank down into it. (No, he was not in the bathroom...but you could have fooled him.)
"WHAT IN HELL-" someone cursed.
"OH, my..." A woman gasped.
"Uh, sir, are you O.K.?"
Several people glanced at him sideways.
He found he was sitting in the weather man's chair, (we'll not repeat how), and staring at a blank green screen which, when focused upon by a camera and viewed through a monitor, showed a map of the Gold Saucer/Costa Del Sol region. He was sitting right in the middle of the world map, on live TV.
But, there was something odd about him, and in his inebriated state, as he could not quite put his fuzzy mind to work on the problem, he could not tell exactly WHAT seemed odd about the picture on the monitor before him.
People called out insulting phrases, others yelled at him to get off the set, and some cheered him on, although for what he was not certain, he was lost in the confusion. Already accustomed to double vision, and quadruple vision starting to nag him, he focused on one point of interest in the lower half of the screen, yes, that was it, that place he was so used to seeing there had vanished. It hadn't dawned on him yet that that tends to happen if you wear green underwear in front of these weather maps and cameras....
Yuffie opened the truck door and allowed Marlene to hop in before shutting it. She buckled Marlene in and situated herself in the driver's seat, neglecting her own buckle, and taking off.
"Let's get ice cream!" Marlene cried excitedly as she saw an ice cream truck speed by.
Yuffie, always up for a challenge, agreed then preformed a perfect U turn while clinging to the seat with her legs. She purposefully gave chase to the speeding ice cream truck....she hadn't noticed her friend's (strike that-victim's) absence....
Elena quickly pushed Rude off of her and stared aghast at the nearby television screen which gave off a gentle glow, just enough light to illuminate the room yet not break the quiet moment. The image on the screen flickered and showed the highlighted visage of a very intoxicated and confused Reno, staring back at the two lovebirds from the weather man's chair. "Uh, Sir, I didn't know Reno was a weatherman!" she gasped, pointing to the screen and surprised at her boss' newfound talent, "That's great! Uh-although he should consider a new wardrobe for the job...He never dressed like that when we were in Turks...OH, WOW, he's, uh, missing something..."she trailed off in dismay, glancing from the screen down to Rude and back again as Rude cocked his head to glance at his boss and old friend on the flickering screen. He turned away, knowing in full exactly what was going on. "He should be ashamed." she concluded over her companion's bald forehead. "I would have expected more out of him...Rude, Reno's-uh-well, HE is vanishing..."
"If he were conscious enough to express intelligent thoughts and emotions..." Rude quietly stated, continuing Elena's previous sentiment, himself now feeling that same shame towards his now 'former' friend and colleague. (Former, because anyone who knew him before will with no doubt no longer know his face...or at least legally admit to it.) Rude realized as his ditzy companion jumped up from her perch on the couch beside him that she was going to save Reno, the thought finally clicking in her head with a surprised squeak as of what was really going on. She ran to the door, not thinking, as usual. "Your gonna go pick him up?" He belatedly stated in a questioning tone which was not needed.
"Well, wouldn't you?" she asked with a dumb-looking grin. She brushed stray locks of light blonde hair from her eyes, again looking tentatively from the amazing and mysterious vanishing Reno to Rude and glancing back again as if in serious comparison. Rude noticed her observation and glanced away, "...."
Rude picked up a crumpled white shirt from the floor at his feet and threw it carelessly at her. "You just might need this." he stated. She caught it in her left hand. "Why?" she asked.
"Because. You wouldn't want the neighbors to see your assets..." Elena quickly checked her skirt, saying, "But I'm covered-"
"Your assets, not the bottom line. Girls." he sighed with an exasperated grin.
"Oh. OK. Point taken." She quickly dressed, tossed him his pants, and they were out the door.
Reno staggered out of the weather room with a confused but sated grin across his face. With that out of the way, he would now find his way home, or to a nice corner, crawl into it and drop dead....whichever came first. He spotted a nice corner through the glass window of a recording room. Yeah, that would be a good spot, he sparingly thought. He proceeded to find a doorknob and try to open it, again finding his way barred by locked compartments. Cursing everything he knew, he turned to meet the giggling gazes of several young children who had just came out of an adjoining room.
"You shouldn't eat bad wowds like dat!" A young boy said to Reno. The concept hit Reno as strange, as he stood there confused in his usual drunken trend as of late, remembering somehow that he had not eaten any words lately and wondering what they would taste like if given the chance. He quietly wondered just what words the kid had eaten and was about to ask how they tasted when this gigantic purple blob sauntered up to him, slapped him on the shoulder aggressively, and harrumphed in glee, as if meeting a new opponent for battle. Reno fell back into the battle stance, drawing his electro-mag rod from his side and charging it up for any future attacks dealt. Finding nothing sufficiently coming at him, he decided to take a shot at an attack, dodging drunkenly aside and shifting his nightstick forward with a slow calculating glance back at the massive purple beast. The monster just stood there, looking dumb and acting childish yet threatening while Reno administered an almost perfect shocking stab to his enemy's blubbery right hand side. Several thoughts flew through his muddled head, the collected experience that comes from years of battle, all leading up to this final confrontation..."Ok, this is it!" He stabbed again, new determination in his eyes.
The costumed creature fell in a heap on the tiled floor, squishing the word eating child and several others with his enormous bulk. Screams erupted from the trapped children and the beast itself, now rolling over them in an attempt to regain his or its feet. It screamed in a woman's voice, saying "Oh, God, you idiot!!" Somehow the voice seemed familiar. Was this creature actually a mutated human of some sort, come to assassinate him or something? He couldn't get his thoughts together enough to focus on one possibility alone. So instead he backed away, holding his weapon before him warningly. The possible purple people eater popped its protruding head off, for lack of better peep-holes in the proper places, precariously balancing on one of its purple and puke-green legs as it spun to face him. The woman beneath the mask wanted to get a better look at her assailant and chew him out vigorously for that startling bit of pain he'd caused her, no one ever said those costumes were built for falling over in. As her mask came off, a beautifully flowing river of shimmering mahogany hair cascaded out behind her. Reno almost recognized the finely featured fairy-like face, but was still too amused and distracted by the initial encounter to put two and two together and finally figure out just who his would be opponent really was. She shoo-ed the children away through the door down the hall and slipped the costume off, revealing a white tank top and black mini-skirt that Reno could tell covered something much more appealing, he just couldn't recognize what could be so enticing at the moment, after all, this was the Blarneey beast. She tossed the purple cage into a closet and turned with a fiery look in her eyes as she slammed the stage door beside her.
"Reno, You dumb-ass!" She yelled with a very angry look on her face that Reno translated as extremely-beyond-the-worst-of-pissed. Now he thought he remembered her, she obviously knows him. She must be that one girl that hangs with that other guy, the dumb-assed-swordsman, Cloud; Tita Lockhart or was she Tina Rockheart, or Rina Rockhart, or Tifa Lockheart? Yeah, one of those, he thought, finally deciding on the first. "Sorry, didn't recognize you, Titty." He said, thinking that would be a really cool nick name for her, if only she'd use it a little more often, chuckling to himself almost as he said it. Then he wondered why she never had used that name before as he received a shocked stare and a firm slap in the face. He was lucky she wasn't wearing her gloves, she would have pommeled him a good one with that hit, but the Turk was a tough guy and so used to violence, especially when directed at him. He paused, almost feeling the sting in his left cheek, wondering curiously what had hit him and why. She was too fast for him. He hadn't seen a thing, of course he had forgotten Tifa could fight, and damn good at that, but the memory left him about as easily as her name itself. Being drunk didn't help him much either.
He finally took a clue. "Oh, I mean, uh...Tina...right?" His effort was rewarded by another punch, this time to the jaw. He felt his teeth clack sharply, bursting with pain, something warm flooded his mouth and he swallowed, liking the salty metallic taste. Reno shook his head once more, and stared at the ponytailed girl before him. "Rina?" he tried, this time blocking her expected blow with his electro rod. Tifa dodged back, having no gloves to absorb the lightning power-shock. "Hah! Gotcha!" The Turk surmised as he advanced while waving his rod like a wizard's staff in the air between them. "Ok, I am gonna call you what I want and your gonna say, 'Yeah, Reno, your right!' Got it?!?! I'm tired of these games." Tifa gave him a strange look that he couldn't define then her eyes widened as if in understanding.
"Your drunk, idiot!" she stated, although Reno didn't think the explanation was necessary, he already thought he knew that. "Oh, god, go home. Turks these days..." She turned way in disgust. Reno wondered when he became god, and where gods lived besides in pagodas, although if it weren't for the aforementioned ninja girl, he wouldn't have minded making a residence at the famous Wutai area."And, my name is TIFA. T-I-F-A. Lockheart. Do I need to spell that out too?" she went on, waving her menacing fist in the air. "AND, you will NEVER under ANY circumstances call me by THAT name to which you referred to me by earlier, understand? Good. If you do, I will make your life a living hell." almost in a whisper she added thoughtfully, "I deserve to be the 'baddie' once in a while..."
Reno went to scratch his head, stopped, thinking he had better not singe off the shiny locks of auburn-red hair with his electro rod, and so he stood there, taking her verbal abuse, and wondering which of the four names he Could call her without getting his ass kicked, her explanation becoming jumbled in his mind as if it traveled in one ear and out the other respectively. Foggy images of events of the past floated through his day-dream vision and he forgot all about the name thing once again, more intent on the bouncing body before him. Actually, she was walking towards him, reaching for his rod, and planning on confiscating it to prevent any future complications involving her, himself, and any studio audience that had begun to stream out of the door across from them thus-far unnoticed through his drunken multi-image enhanced gaze. Several laughing faces turned towards them, from those in the front line who had been privy to their conversation not moments before. He ignored them, pulled away, and stole off into a door nearby. He, being too drunk to be sufficiently embarrassed, turned around and stormed back out after finding himself firmly planted in the center of a broom closet, more laughter followed. He swirled away from Tifa's amused gaze and stalked down the hall, wondering just where that ninja HAD gotten herself to and considering what he wanted to do to her when he found her at last. The image wasn't pretty, a sinister grin flooded his face.
"Had enough yet?" Yuffie asked a grinning Marlene after a very large hot fudge sunday and one very high traffic ticket, from the icecream driver, who only doubled as an icecream man and was really a traffic patrolman on the weekends. Luckily, Yuffie had not been stupid enough to give the bartender the total amount she'd confiscated from Reno's borrowed wallet, and she could pay for the 'misconception' with what seemed to the officer as scary eagerness. Thanking her kindly for not ramming him harder than she had and the generous 200 gil tip, along with any possible medical bills, bribes, and vehicle repairs funds, he headed off in to the distance, waving and turning down the hairpin corner towards north Kalm. Yuffie cast a glance towards the back of her truck and froze, mortified, horrified that she had lost her victim-er-'friend', quite possibly during that exaggerated U turn a ways back. She filed Marlene back in to the truck, buckled up, and sped down the lane, searching every turn and corner like a hawk for its prey. (Which in this situation was a good example, ne?) Coming up short, she veered back towards the TV station down a one way road, barely avoiding clipping a passing mini-van along the way.
She sighed in relief upon seeing a very pissed, dazed and confused figure stumble out to the station parking lot, followed by an equally pissed Tifa. The ninja pulled up along side them, waved to Tifa, and asked her to pile the pathetic oaf in the back. Tifa hesitantly complied, kicking him in the rear when he refused to comply. "Just get him out of here." Tifa said. Yuffie noticed a strange look on her face, but smiled apologeticly for losing her luggage this evening. Tifa just nodded, returning to the station door way as Cloud walked up behind her. Yuffie waved, but the swordsman either didn't notice her or didn't want to, and he turned to Tifa with a grin, saying something the ninja could not quite discern through the humming of the engine. The couple walked towards Cloud's Hardy Datona, each taking a helmet and hopping on. Yuffie guessed she'd never know, and pulled out of the station lot, heading for Barret's residence.
Moments later, Rude pulled up in his convertible, Elena hanging out the adjustable window, called to Cloud and Tifa, asking whether or not they had seen a drunk Turk anywhere around recently. Tifa knew Cloud hadn't seen him, she smiled to herself. Tifa looked at Cloud's confused face over his turned shoulder, took her cue, and shook her head, saying "No, should we have? Is your friend missing?"
Elena nodded grimly. "He was here earlier, you really didn't see him? Oh, my, I hope the rest of him didn't disappear!!" Rude slapped his bald forehead. He wasn't sure how much more he could take of her idiotic innocence. She seemed fine when she was quiet, mouth closed, or busy otherwise. Why couldn't she just STAY quiet? He shifted into gear and waved apologetically as Elena pulled herself back in tight beside him with a confused sigh. "Where's Reeenoo?" She offered to drive, Rude refused, saying they were going to his boss' apartment to check his answering machine or something along those lines. Cloud rolled his bright mako eyes at Tifa as the unlikely couple drove away. He kicked the motorcycle into life and rode off in to the night.
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