“Then it’s a date.”
Lips curved at the note as a hand smoothed over the paper, fingers tracing over the dark ink. Eye darted back to the blond in question before she reached for her pen to respond, “Of course.” And sliding it back to the man.
“Don’t be late, director.”
“What’s life without a little melodrama? King and Queen? Of course. We rule such fields of play.”
King and Queen. A pair….
Despite the cynicism, she did chuckle and that made Rufus smile, perhaps more than he should have. Part of what he said felt true, that him, or her, being civil would end the world. He knew that at least for himself, he had been so wrapped in the agony of his life that he had forgotten that he was allowed small pleasure. Friends. Lovers. He just assumed such things were frivolous and pushed them aside.
“Ah yes, the Commissioner would not let such dear creation fall to it’s doom. And they both need a bell? I can’t help but notice that I have said the same about Tseng on multiple occasions.”
And he the same of me.
He felt a change in her and stopped, stepping back to give her space when she was able to get the coat on herself. Had he done something to cause the momentary change in the woman? He could not directly think of anything, and when she thanked him, he nodded. He wondered if he should ask if everything was okay.
Offering her his arm, he led the way to the elevator in silence, thinking to himself for a moment. When the craft was called, and the doors slid open, he stepped in and gave her space. Only when the doors slid shut did he speak again.
“You’ve tensed in the last few moments. Is something the matter?”
“King and Queen, a pair.” She noted aloud, shrugging a shoulder at the blond. “When we put it like that the melodrama is already expected.” Part of her wanted to hold her tongue, considering that she had just called the Director and herself a pair, especially a pair such as a king and queen. There was no kingdom here, the kingdom of childhood had been dead for a long time— but she would not dwell on such thoughts, no. She would enjoy her afternoon with the Director, even if she had to force a smile if and when he became incredulous. Part of her, yearned for him not to be the man the papers wrote on so often— in her time spent with the man she’d come to the sad realisation that her own dislike and hatred for this man’s father had disillusioned her and had not allowed her to get to know the man that he possibly could be.
After all he did fund the WRO— there would be no shame in being friends with the WRO’s benefactor.
“All three of them need bells, I make too much noise and they not enough. Swanning into my office and not making a peep, sometimes Reeve will scare me half to death, but I suppose that’s just how he’s always been— childlike, quiet, intelligent and exuberant.” Lips curved at the mention of her employer, her infatuation for the man becoming more of a deep respect. Part of her always would care for the man who’d give so much to see prosperity in the world, but perhaps standing by his side would be the only thing she could do. Tugging the duster into place she finally scooped up the black bag by the door and took up the arm that was so graciously given. She had tensed at the brushing of his fingers across the bare nape of her neck, pale skin that was sensitive and while she had let go some of the tension, she could feel the unease rising in the pit of her stomach.
Perhaps he still wasn’t the best choice in escort, but there was no reason to not give the man a chance. There were a few looks, Doctor Rui on the arm of Director Rufus Shinra would be something to turn heads, but she paid it no mind. It simply wasn’t their place to gawk— and she knew when they were behind the closed doors of the lift more of her tension would fade away and the prying eyes would be gone and privacy restored for the briefest of moments.
The sliding of the metal gate eased her mind until Rufus spoke up, and she was put on the spot. “The back of my neck, when you helped me into my coat, it’s a tactile response along with the prying eyes of the company— tension is on the rise, I’ll be just fine.”
“Dr. Rui and Mr. Shinra, civil? Utterly impossible. It’s the end of the world.”
His tone was a bit more cynical than he intended but he was sure Shalua felt the same. He started to realize she held a heavy burden, much like himself. And with that burden came a damaged past, both her physical body and her eyes told him that, as well as her tone when speaking.
Confident, strong, but sad.
“Cait would be caught hands down. There is no way Reeve would let his beloved creation fall off a building.”
Personal. Had he worked with anyone outside the Turks long enough to call a relation personal? He had had Alicia…but did he give up trying after her death? He blinked, shaking his head. His mind was too muddled to think.
He helped her into her coat just out of habit, hand brushing across her back unintentionally. His mind wandered and he wondered what it was like to live the way she did. He doubted she enjoyed it, but she seemed to be more sociable than himself, so he became curious. However, his curiosity stayed well hidden
We’re…very similar, aren’t we…?
“Oh because the world sees us both as the king and queen of closed opinions and ice. End of the world? Now that’s more than melodramatic, Director.”
A smile graced her features at the cynicism. While the joke was noticed it was a tad on the melodramatic side— but hadn’t their lives been wrapped around this aching universe and they too had seen so much pain in the short hours they had existed? That was all no matter, because she smiled and laughed at his joke.
“Much to my dismay he would most likely be caught by Reeve himself. I don’t have a personal vendetta against the cat, but he has scared me before. He needs a bell as does that quiet creator.”
Carefully she submitted to being helped into the jacket, she didn’t mind— many did it for her, but she hadn’t expected the sudden brush of fingers against rough skin. Eye shot open as she bristled internally, the solider standing on guard.
This wasn’t how women in social calls were supposed to react, they weren’t supposed to turk and draw hellfire. No, they were supposed to hang their head and flush pink— especially around a powerful man. But, Shalua didn’t fit into the normal categories, nor did she tend to take social calls with any man or woman so this was an oddity, even though she went to all the required functions.
“Thank you.” She stated, shrugging her duster and scooping her hair from under the duster and pulling it over her shoulder, before going for her black bag on the floor, half wondering why she was doing this. “So, shall we, Director?”
True Colors - Michelle Chamuel
The Voice Season 4
Shalua was learning to be a sister, a directer, a leader. Rufus? What was he learning to do? He did not know. He knew how to avoid mental roadblocks that help him back in the business world, but in reality? Did he know anything at all? He almost laughed at himself.
Had the past taught him nothing?
Was he losing his humanity?
The Turks kept him focused, generally on task and sane, but was that enough? Never had he thought about needing, nor wanting, help from the outside, because he never knew what the help would be needed for. He, when he wasn’t forced to be the President, the respectable Rufus Shinra, was just the shy, introverted child he had beaten out of him at age eight. Funny, really, how he reverted after the Diamond WEAPON.
“No, of course not. Robotic cats that must be pushed do not follow the ideal cat jumping off and landing on its feet,” Rufus commented, smiling, “and furthermore, I doubt Cait would land on his feet.”
He kept speak with her hurried pace, humming along slightly as she went to get her things. He found it strange that he was so relaxed around her,her, the former terrorist, Shinra hater, not-Turk.
Just like Alicia….
He blinked away such thoughts, forcing the mask forward as sped ahead to call the lift for them. “Ah yes, I am so lonely I am going to blackmail the hell out of my worst enemies to give me company. Sounds completely logical.”
The past was something the all had to face sooner or later. How they handled facing their made them more or less human. Yet all they needed was time, time and willingness to accept the past as something that could not be changed but something that could learn from. They could build a new world from the past, relying on what the once knew and what they knew they could no longer do.
Shalua’s own life was starting to centre around her sister and her work. No longer would a life be focused on hating ShinRa or finding what was taken. Times were changing, and she was changing too.
“Of course. I suppose my suggestion is a little bit personal. Of course— when one has worked along side Cait for as long as I have things do tend to become a tad personal. But then again— Cait wouldn’t land on his feet, but perhaps on someone else?”
Keeping her stride she moved towards her hallway, turning left sharply to head to her office to grab the bag she left so she could swoop it up with her duster in a moments notice. Pulling the key card off of her jacket she took the fob and pressed it to the scanner and the door swept open so she could grab the duster and the bag.
“Oh yes, but I will most likely get the same thing since the only person that I interact with is Reeve.” She pulled her lab coat off and hung it up before pulling the other jacket over her, before taking up her leather bag. “But maybe we can surprise them all by being civil?”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise
The past may be a reflection, but he was uncertain if he wished to learn from it just yet. It lingered like a festering wound, mocking him. Every time he tried to account for his past, something or someone spat in his face. Yet, he kept moving forward. Why? He didn’t know.
Meteorfall had only made him colder, watching those he cherished die, burn, betray him. Perhaps, he deserved it. He craved the fear he instilled into people, craved their hate in some masochistic insanity, as though their loathing gave him a purpose. Prove them wrong, he thought, and succeed.
And yet, every day continued, and he felt less human.
“If we were to test that, we would first need a cat. Despite my cat like qualities, I am not volunteering to jump off of a building for science. Not just yet,” he said with a smile, “though, perhaps Reeve would volunteer…”
She passed through and he followed after her, letting the door click shut as a open realization that he actually was doing this. The hallway was given a once over before he stepped in time with her, following her to her office to get her things. She laughed and though he chuckled along with her, he internally wondered if she thought his offer had been a joke. Did he actually want to eat with her again?
Don’t make quick judgments. You haven’t even left the building yet…And regardless….
“Just two people taking a break from work to eat, not very exciting really. I wouldn’t be offended if this is our only shared meal before we went back to plotting each other’s respective demise.”
The past was merely something that they learned from and while her learning was curved and now she was moving in a way that she had never learned before. She was learning to be a sister and a director as she patched herself up. Scars didn’t fade, but they showed what didn’t kill you makes you stronger and wiser for the wear. Of course she’d dusted herself off and started chipping at the protective shell she had worn for years and years.
Shalua was starting to feel human again.
And the WRO was her help, it was the everything. Of course there were people like Rufus that she had some ill opinion on, but even now her opinion was beginning to change because of his humour and well the way that he had looked— the pain. He was human too, just like her. Perhaps, a touch less robotic on the outside, but he was just as ice cool as she was sometimes.
At the mention of Reeve, the woman smiled about her boss. He’d given her a chance and she’d given him one too, trust only building after years and years of working towards the same goal. Perhaps, one day she’d feel the same about the cheeky blond that trailed behind her. “Or perhaps Cait Sith, though that would be more of a push than a jump and I don’t think I could get a scientific ruling on that.” Shalua stated almost smugly as her head turned and she focused on what she needed from her office.
She’d really opened herself up to someone that she blamed for so much— she was now eating lunch and openly laughing at the prospect of sneaking off to do it again sometime soon— if they survived their company this time. Taking a few long strides down the hallway, to her own surprise on how fast she wanted to move down to her own office and collect her things.
“I’m not too sure,” She mused, halfway down the hallway— inching towards the silver plated lift, “I’m sure some people on the floors below that know of our legendary rows would beg to differ and would begin taking bets on who killed who. Or who blackmailed who into taking the other party out.”