|megpie71 (megpie71) wrote,|
@ 2008-10-05 12:04:00
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII (Pre-Nibelheim; not necessarily Crisis Core compliant).
Rating: Australian MA (15+)
Warnings: alcohol use, adult language, sexual situations, Reno (oh, I already said as much, didn't I?)
Summary: Nesa and the traditional fix for getting dumped by your girlfriend
"C'mon, Nesa," Zack said, hauling my chair away from my desk. "You've been cooped up in here almost as much as Seph the past couple of weeks. Time for you to go out."
I looked up at him. He was wearing his civvies - a pair of jeans, and a tshirt, with a zippered jacket over the top - which was an indication he was planning to go out into Midgar. Not surprising; it was Friday night. I looked over at the clock on the office wall. Six o'clock. I knew I'd been putting in long hours, but I hadn't been aware he'd noticed. "Maybe," I said.
"Definitely," Zack replied. He squatted down, looking straight into my eyes. "I heard what happened with Sarai, Nes. I'm sorry. I thought the two of you were good together." Seeing the sincerity in his face, and hearing it in his voice, I could feel my throat tightening as though I was going to cry. I'd thought we were good together, too, but Sarai hadn't agreed with me. I bit my lip. I didn't need any sympathy - I was quite capable of feeling sorry for myself. I just nodded. Zack straightened up again - I'm not short for a woman, but for someone who's five ten, five six is a bit painful on the back, being neither tall enough to make easy eye contact, nor short enough to make kneeling more convenient. "Anyway, I figured you could do with the traditional fix for things like this."
"What, icecream and a huge block of chocolate?" I tried to smile, but it must have come out as a grimace. "Been there, tried that, couldn't stand the icecream headache."
"Nah, I'm talking about the traditional fix for being dumped by your girlfriend: going out and getting drunk." Zack grinned at me. "Tonight, you're one of the guys." He grabbed me by the wrist, and tugged me up out of my chair, throwing an arm around my shoulders. "You're gonna get drunk enough to bitch and swear, and tell the world the girl who dumped you doesn't know what the hell she's losing. Guys do it all the time. Besides," he said, "if you won't go willingly, I'm going to carry you the whole way."
Knowing Zack, he would, too. I sighed, and acquiesced - if only to stop myself from being taken down fifty-three floors over his shoulder. I wasn't planning to get drunk tonight, no matter what Zack thought.
The bar was one of the quieter ones above the Plate - a little spot hidden away in Sector Four. Most of the people there worked for Shinra - as did just about everyone else who drank above the Plate. We'd stopped off long enough for me to change into the only casual gear I had available - a pair of jeans, some sandshoes, and a long-sleeved top I'd bought years ago in Costa del Sol. It was bright fuchsia and too small in the chest, so it fitted as though it had been spray-painted. It didn't match my mood at all.
Since I'd been house-hunting on the weekends until I found myself another place, I'd left most of my casual gear in storage. If you're hunting for a place above the Plate in Midgar, you wear your sharpest clothes, and carry a bank statement and payslips. I was just squeaking by on the edge of what could be afforded above the Plate, and I knew if I got somewhere, I'd be skimping and scraping to be able to afford the rent and utilities.
Zack had gone up to the bar to get our drinks - he was having something strong, I wasn't. I'd asked for ginger ale, although I doubted I'd get it straight. There'd be at least one shot of brandy in it. I couldn't find it in me to care.
When Zack came back, carrying a pitcher of beer for himself and a rocks glass for me, I sniffed at the drink. Yup, there was brandy in it. I took a sip. Double brandy. I looked up at Zack.
"Double brandy?" I said. "If I didn't know you better, I'd swear you were trying to get me drunk for some nefarious purpose. What did you tell the bartender?"
Zack grinned. "Told him you'd been dumped and you were feeling a bit down about it."
"Which he read as implying you'd be in with a chance if I were drunk enough, am I correct?" I wasn't impressed with the assumption.
"Maybe." Zack smiled, and gulped down a glass of beer. Of course, he was a SOLDIER, and most of them bewailed their inability to be affected by alcohol every time they went out on the town, so even if he continued drinking at an equivalent rate all evening, he'd never get past mildly buzzed. There were a lot of reasons why SOLDIERs on a binge were welcome all over Midgar, and most of them had to do with the profit margins involved in getting enough alcohol down the throat of even a three-cee to make him squiffed. Given Zack had made First Class not long ago, I knew there was no chance of me being able to match him drink for drink.
I sipped at my drink. Zack wouldn't be the only person drinking with me tonight - it wasn't his style to get someone drunk without a bit of company. I should know - I'd been dragged along to become part of the company a few times. I wasn't surprised when one of the Turks came strolling into the bar and ambled over to our table.
"Heya, doll, nice tits," he said.
"Nice to see you, too, Reno," I answered. "Is this a social call, or do you have some business reason for being here?" Reno and I have a very straightforward relationship. He wants to get into my pants. I've been saying no, for any number of reasons. This has been happening for the past two or three years, since I started working admin for SOLDIER, and doesn't look to be stopping any time soon.
"Oh, you know, bitta this, bitta that," Reno said.
"Right." I took another sip of my drink. One of the servers came over with a bottle of tequila and a bunch of shot glasses, and put them in front of Reno. He grinned at them, handed over a high-denomination note, and poured himself his first shot. He then poured a second and pushed it over to Zack, who grinned, and gulped it down. Reno was one of the few people outside SOLDIER who was able to match Zack drink for drink, so it looked like I'd been elected designated driver. My mood soured even further.
A third shot glass slid in front of me. I could smell the paint-stripper smell of the tequila from where I was sitting - gods alone knew what the stuff smelled like to Zack - and I looked up to see Reno looking at me. "Best thing I know of for what ails ya, doll," he said.
I glared at the two of them. "Did it occur to either of you I don't want to get drunk?" I said. "I have to go house-hunting tomorrow." I was furious, resentful, and ready to let the pair of them have it.
"House hunting?" Zack sounded surprised. "What, you mean she threw you out?"
Okay, that did it. "Yes, she threw me out. What, you think I spent the last three weeks living in the fucking corporate barrack for the fun of it?" All the anger I'd been burying for the past few weeks came boiling out, vented in a furious tirade which was no less passionate for being kept to a whisper which wouldn't inform the whole bar of the state of my private life. "You think I enjoy discovering which cubbyhole I'm going to be sleeping in on a night-by-night basis? Shit, Zack, if I'd wanted that, I'd've joined the fucking military when I finished school. But I'm not in the godsdamned military, so no, I don't want to be living in fucking accomodation designed for and by the chronic fucking workaholics in fucking corporate." I wasn't crying, but gods, I was close.
There was a hand on my back, rubbing gently. "Hey, ease up, doll," Reno said. "Not like he's gonna know what you're stuck with."
I struck Reno's hand away, and glared at Zack. "Trust me, compared to the corporate barrack, the troopers are in the lap of luxury. At least they get a bed they can call their own."
Zack was looking at me as though he hadn't had any idea. I realised he probably didn't. Nobody bothered too much with living quarters for the corporate side of the building, because we were all supposed to be good little drones, and take up apartments, preferrably the ones above the Plate, which were all owned by Shinra - or at least, built on real estate leased from Shinra on a one-hundred-and-forty-four year basis. The corporate barrack was for the workaholics, the on-call support staff, and for short-term accomodation of staff visiting from offices outside Midgar. It wasn't designed for long, or even medium-term living. Being stuck there for three weeks while I looked for somewhere else had brought this home hard. I took a deep breath, and tried to explain the situation to Zack.
"The Shinra corporate barrack is a whole heap of cubicles, each of them just long enough and wide enough to hold an average-sized human being horizontally. You sleep there. You don't read, you don't listen to the radio, you don't play games. You just go there to crash, for as few hours as possible, and then you're expected to get out. You're assigned your cubicle on a hotelling basis, so you can't leave things in there during the day. The mattresses are thin, so if you're heavy, or if you're female, you can feel the base of the cubicle through the mattress all night. Your clothes and personal effects have to be stored in a locker, which can be rented by the week - and only by the week. At the end of a week, you have to clear everything out, and if you still need a locker, you have to hire another one.
"For the past three weeks, I've been looking for a new apartment," I told them. "So for the past three weeks, I've been sleeping there, showering in the employees shower facilities, and storing just a few things in a locker. I'm eating at the staff canteen for three meals a day."
Zack pulled a face. He knew how bad the staff canteen was. It was run by the same caterers who supplied the military canteens - and the food quality in the military was the subject of many a disgruntled comment from the troopers. Most SOLDIERs welcomed getting out of barracks and into the group units provided for them, because by the time they'd settled down in their final class, they were looking forward to being able to prepare their own food, even if it was ramen six days a week and tinned spaghetti the seventh.
I took a larger gulp of my drink, feeling the brandy start to work on me. "I'm sorry," I said to Zack. "You didn't deserve that."
Zack just smiled at me. "No hard feelings, Nes," he said. "No wonder you're so tired. Do you need some help with the house-hunting? If you like, I can get Seph to come along with me and escort you."
One side of my mouth quirked up, the nearest I'd been to a smile in something like four weeks. Zack was offering to get my boss to intimidate a landlord so I could have myself somewhere to live. Talk about killing cockroaches with a shotgun. It was sweet of him. "No, but thanks for the offer. I have a feeling explaining house-hunting to the General might get us both into major hot water."
I looked around. "So, who else did you invite?" I asked him, attempting to change the subject.
Zack grinned at me. "You'll find out," he said. I suppressed a shudder. When Zack grinned like that, it was bad news. I started running over my mental list of which of the Firsts and Two-Cees were on base at the moment. I wasn't surprised to see Kunsel's wiry figure showing up in the doorway to the bar, or to see Zack waving to him like a madman. The blond kid trotting alongside was also expected - probably the only thing which had prevented Cloud Strife from accompanying Zack in the first place was a clash of schedules.
"Um, hi Miss Nesa," he said to me. "I'm sorry to hear about what happened." He looked sorry, too, and so sincere I could have hugged him there and then. Of course, had I done so, the poor lad would have sunk through the floor from embarrassment, so I contented myself with nodding my head, and gesturing for him to take a seat next to Zack, which he did. Kunsel made his way over a few minutes later, bearing a bottle of whiskey, a soft drink for Cloud (who was still under age, despite being "officially" sixteen), and two more rocks glasses. He poured a generous slug of the whiskey into one of the glasses and pushed it in front of me.
"Heard the news," he said. I nodded. Of course he had, he was the whole SOLDIER gossip network in a single person. "Sorry to hear it. How's the house-hunting going?"
"Lousy," I said to him, acknowledging his skill at picking up even the vaguest breath of a hint of a rumour. "I'd no idea the housing situation had got so bad."
"Yeah. There's supposed to be some new digs going in when they complete roofing over Sector Six," Kunsel said, "but I've heard Don Corneo is paying to have the project delayed for as long as possible."
"Yeah, that's right," Reno said. "Doesn't want to lose the income from Wall Market, so he's busy tryin' to get the old man to stop the whole thing."
"He doesn't stand a chance," came a familiar voice over my shoulder. I turned to see the rising star of Urban Development, Reeve Tuesti, standing beside me. I knew Reeve from when we'd both been involved in the organising of the Shinra midyear festival - he'd been another of the committee members. I hadn't realised he knew Zack, or Zack knew him. He pulled out a chair next to where Kunsel was sitting, and pushed a glass of red wine in front of me, before pouring another for himself. "President Shinra is far too committed to having the plate extensions complete, so he can start another round of them." He looked over at me. "I was sorry to hear about what happened," he told me.
By now I'd finished the brandy, and I was eyeing the rest of the drinks in front of me with a certain amount of wariness. "Is this part of the tradition?" I asked Zack, gesturing toward the assortment.
"Hey, gotta supply you with the drinks to cry into," Reno chirped up. "You need your money for house-hunting, right?"
Nesa? Oh yeah, Sephiroth's office dragon. Yeah, we did it once.
It was after she broke up with her girlfriend. Hotshot Fair noticed she was mopey. Y'know, I thought he mighta been curious in that direction at the time, yeah? Turns out not. Anyway, Fair finds out she's been dumped, and decides to take her out drinking with the guys as a way of cheering her up a bit.
So we all rock up to this bar topside, and we each get her a drink. Found out she'd been kicked out as well, so she's staying at corporate, which sucks ass at the best of times. Been there a couple of times myself, yo, and trust me, it's an incentive not to get behind on the rent, y'know what I mean?
Weird hearing her bitching at Fair about the whole thing. Bein' stuck in corporate must've been why she was wearing what she was wearing - this bright pink top, long sleeves, cropped to show off, and tight as whoa baby! over her tits. Honest to Ramuh, I swear I hadn't realised her rack was that good. I wasn't the only one lookin' twice, trust me.
So, the night wears on, and we all get high enough to start relaxing a bit, and I decide I may's well flirt with her. Meant to tease her, she turned the tables and took me serious. Wasn't what I expected - I mean, she's s'posed to be a dyke, right?
But hey, I'm just that good.
Took her back to my place - well, it was there or corporate, yeah, and my place was closer. When you have a hot chick like her trying to kiss you silly, closer is good. Gal kisses like she's trying to climb inside you, and shit, that's one hell of a turn-on. We didn't take long on the prelims - just strip, flip onto the bed, and bang! she's on top of me and she's tight as oh Shiva! and I'm gone in sixty seconds like a car in sector five.
One thing about that chick, she knew what she wanted. Good thing I'm fast on the rebound, yeah? or I think she would've just upped and left. But while I'm reloading, so to speak, I'm playing with her tits, and she really enjoys that. If you ever wanna get her off real quick, bite one nipple, pinch the other, and rub her clit. But be warned, she makes more noise than fuckin' Wutai New Year when she goes off.
Anyway, she gets off and I get off again, and she finishes recovering about the same time I get my breath back. Not sure what happened then. One second she's turning away to get her stuff and go, the next I've grabbed her. She sorta looked at me like, "What? You've had yours, I've had mine, what's the deal?" but I swear, there's something in the back of her eyes says she doesn't expect any more from anyone, especially not me. Like she just expected to be used as a fucktoy, yo. Hurt to see it.
So I reel her back in, and I settle down to taking it slow and scouting the territory, if ya get what I mean. Treating her like something special, 'cause she sure as hell needs it after the time she's been having lately. She started leakin' tears about halfway through - that's how bad she needed it. Now, for me that's 'bout the single biggest turn-on there is, so I slow down even more, make sure she gets the full silver service job, yeah? This time, when she hits the jackpot, she's all quiet, and still crying.
Held her for a good long while afterward, while she had herself a bawl about the unfairness of life. Most dames, they'd be busy saying they're sorry about things left, right and centre, but she doesn't apologise. She just looks straight at me and says, "I needed that" and thanks me.
Weird chick, that one.
But man! is she hot in the sack. Fair don't know what he's missing, yo. Wish she'd walk our side of the street a bit more often.
I make no excuses. I was drunk enough for Reno's suggestion to sound interesting, not drunk enough to have gone along with anything he'd said. I chose to let him kiss me, chose to participate in the kiss, and chose to let things carry on from there. I was angry enough for it to feel like a revenge fuck from my side - a way of saying "I don't need you; I can get this instead". But I wasn't saying it to Sarai, or at least, I don't think I was. I think I was saying it to Zack, if that makes any sense at all. The kid bothered me.
Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Zack Fair as a person. If anything, I suspect he's too good for this world, and likely to be taken by the jealous gods. I also have no illusions about Reno. Reno is a sociopath, pure and simple, and the only thing which makes him any different to the street monsters is a certain degree of intelligence. He's smart enough to know which side his bread is buttered on. Working for Shinra gives him the violence he needs; he gets paid for indulging his natural tendencies. So far as he's concerned, it's the best of all possible worlds.
In a way, I was lucky - I knew he wasn't likely to mark me or damage me in any way, since Reno has a healthy respect for his own skin, and he also respects the General's tendency toward extreme overkill when he's irritated. But he was offering to fuck me through the mattress, and after a month and a half of getting nothing at all except aggravation, I was ready to be fucked clear into the middle of next week. Besides, Reno's skinny, for a man, and he has that long red hair. If all else failed, I could pretend I was with a girl. (To be honest, I don't mind having sex with men, it's just that I like girls much more, and girls tend to be more rational).
I'm not going to go into exhaustive detail about this, either. If you want those sorts of details, I'd suggest heading down to the Honeybee Inn in Sector Six, or any of the other establishments in the same line of work. I'm not too keen on writing them down. Suffice it to say sex with Reno is possibly the only time I've heard him shut up and stay shut outside of bodyguard duty - during the refractory period. He has a good line in talking dirty, and he'll keep up a running commentary on the effect his partner is having on him - very flattering. Someone somewhere trained him well. We did it three times - the first fast and furious, and he finished before I did. The second time was pretty aggressive, too, but this time he made damn sure I was satisfied. The final time was a surprise. It was slower, more sensual. I was weeping by the end - happy tears, they were - and he held me for a long while afterwards, letting me get things off my chest.
I've no doubt I'm being discussed on the office gossip circuit even now, but to be honest, I don't give a damn. It was worth it. Besides, isn't it traditional on both sides of the fence to have meaningless rebound sex while you're mourning a relationship?
"Why?" Zack asked me about ten days later, when the gossip-mongers had finished pulling the standard nine days of wonder out of a casual fling. He'd avoided me for most of those days, although it could be put down to the pressure of missions. However, since his workload hadn't altered from the six weeks previous, where he'd been haunting my office in order to try and get the General out of his, I wasn't fooled.
"Why Reno, rather than you?" I figured this was at the heart of the problem. Fortunately, by now I was a bit more coherent on the subject than I had been on the night in question.
"You would have made love to me, Zack," I said. "I wasn't ready for that. I wanted a quick and dirty fuck. I didn't want anything meaningful, just sex. Reno could give me that. Reno did give me that."
Another nod, then a reluctant smile. "Yeah. I thought it might have been something like that. Did he treat you okay?"
I smiled myself. "He gave me what I wanted, then gave me what I needed. He's still a loon and a sociopathic bastard, but he can manage something that looks like empathy when he wants to."
"Still missing Sarai?"
"Yeah. It still hurts, and it's going to hurt for a while. But I'm healing."
"Good." Zack enveloped me in a hug. "I love you like a sister, Nes, and I'd miss you if you weren't sitting there glaring at me when I came here to bug Seph."
"Oh, I'll still be here," I said. "I don't know whether Kunsel's told you yet, but I've found somewhere to live." The look of surprise on Zack's face told me I'd beaten out the rumour mill for once, which was a pleasant surprise. "There's been a lot of concern about the psych problems which are cropping up in the new recruits - the reaction to the changes made by the mako. It's been found the SOLDIERs who have someone who isn't enhanced to measure their situation against cope better with the whole business than those who don't, so they're going to try having me in the barracks as a sort of test case."
"That's the official story, right?" Zack asked, grinning.
I nodded back. "The truth is, Executive Lazard knows how many of the new three-cees I talk down from the roof out of every batch, and they're going to try having me on site rather than on call." I smiled. "I'm getting the equivalent of officer's quarters - a small suite of rooms with their own bathroom and kitchenette - and what's even better is I don't have to pay rent until they've determined whether or not it's going to be an ongoing process. I'm even getting paid extra for being on site at all hours."
Zack grinned at me. "Hey, that's great, Nes! Let me know when you're moving in - I'll give you a hand with the heavy lifting."
* This is the first Nesa story I've written in first person, and I'm still not sure quite why it works better this way. Possibly because it's such a very personal story. The breakup with Sarai has been part of the Nesaverse for a long time, but I hadn't been aware it was going to result in this story until I started to write it.
* The Shinra corporate barrack is based on rather garbled memories of something a hotelling firm was trying to come up with for one of the Asian nations (possibly Japan) as mentioned on a "The Future Now!!!" type of show here in Australia about twenty years ago or more. The notion stuck in my head as being somewhat impractical even then, and it seemed like the kind of thing Shinra as a company would think of as a good PR move: "we provide accommodation for employees on site in our Midgar complex". So long as nobody from the media actually asks to see the accommodation, it sounds marvellous...