Final Fantasy - All Series Fan Fiction ❯ Missions ❯ Chapter 7

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Missions: Report VII

Mission 61: Green

He heard about it but he took it literally, it was something Reno would do. Green this, green that, Reno didn't particularly like the color green, he didn't know anyone who did, as even the rich Rufus Shinra preferred gold. Reno liked the bright and cheerful red, like his hair, Elena liked pastel colors such as sky blue and soft yellow, Tseng liked the business-like navy and Rude liked the dark and mysterious black, like his shades. None of them particularly liked green.

Who would like green? Maybe emerald, but to call it that would make it sound elegant. Emerald is not the same as green, emerald is a jewel and green is the color of one's face when one is sick. Green is the color that left the area around Midgar and caused so much trouble because Avalanche wanted it back, green is... Wait, that's it!

Reno jumped from his desk at the Turks' office, causing the other Turks to glance at him with half interest for a brief moment before going back to their respective paperwork. Little did they know that Reno had reached a conclusion in his philosophical musings about the color green and its implications. He concluded that, despite the color not being pleasant at all and Reno's personal least favorite, opposite of red; Avalanche liked the color. Thus he concluded that even if she was not seen wearing it, Tifa liked green as well.

As Reno bolted out of the Turks' office and, too tired of his antics, no one bothered to stop him, the mischievous redhead never thought that maybe, just maybe, the entire thing about green this and green that was a metaphor not to be taken literally. Thus, he continued to take it literally and take matters into his own hands. It was for the best, Reno honestly thought it was.

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Reno entered the Seventh Heaven with a mischievous look that warned Tifa of the coming trouble. "Reno, what are you planning?"

"I'm so cool," Reno grinned for ear to ear. "I have a ton of fan girls too!"

Tifa rolled her eyes, "well I'm glad somebody's self-esteem is doing well, too bad I can't say the same for Cloud."

"They like the red hair," Reno stated, and Tifa have him a blank look, the Turk was being more random than usual. Then Reno elaborated, "the fan girls, they like it."

"Yes that's nice," Tifa wasn't sure where Reno was going with this conversation.

"Hey Tifa, don't you think Cloud and I are like opposites?" This was the moment of truth, the time to confirm his theory.

"Yes and that's just the way I like it," Tifa replied.

"I thought so, and you like that green stuff the WRO keeps talking about too?" Reno asked.

Tifa nodded, "I think it's a great initiative to help preserve the environment."

"Got it!" Reno dashed up the stairs. "I'm going to help Cloud be the opposite of me!"

Tifa blinked, "the opposite?" But Cloud was already the opposite of Reno, he was currently sad and quiet while Reno was loud and cheerful.

A few minutes passed and Tifa decided it was time to drag Reno back down stairs. Even if he wasn't trying to influence Cloud to be like him this time, this was Reno and he always caused trouble.

Later, after Reno left the Seventh Heaven, everything continued at peace and Tifa thought she had stopped any possible disasters from happening, but she was wrong. In those few minutes that Reno was upstairs unsupervised, he had already set his plan into motion.

The opposite of red was green, and by the power of shampoo Cloud would really become the opposite of Reno. Then maybe, just maybe, Tifa would like him more and confess her feelings instead of waiting for Cloud to do so. It was all for the best, a good deed well done.

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Mission 62: Competition

Cloud pouted and glared at Rufus but the pretty president remained unfazed, he was used to the usual glares and stares. Admittedly, it was the loving stares that scared him, since those usually came accompanied by the dark intentions of a fan girl who wanted to kidnap Rufus and do who knows what; he didn't want to find out. Fortunately, there were no fan girl stalkers in the area, but unfortunately there was one very upset Cloud Strife.

"Your evil is rubbing off on Tifa," Cloud observed. Reno was a regular customer at the Seventh Heaven for a number of obvious reasons. He ended up bringing Rude, Tseng and Elena to become regular customers as well.

Later even Rufus became curious, and though at first reluctant, he too started visiting the Seventh Heaven more often, usually in disguise. But even when he wore that onyx wig, there was still a special shine to it that could only be found in the hair of Rufus Shinra, even when it was not his own natural gold. To Cloud's comment, Rufus replied by simply running his fingers through his natural hair, since there was no need to disguise himself given that they were upstairs and away from prying eyes, and smiling confidently as if silently communicating that he always got what he wanted. Sadly, Cloud knew it was true.

"Wait," Cloud looked horrified all of a sudden. "Stay away from Tifa!" He wailed, "you're trying to steal her away aren't you?"

"What are you talking about? I'm just being friendly," Rufus tried to clarify, but Cloud wasn't buying it.

Then Tseng placed his hand on Cloud's shoulder and shook his head. "With Avalanche fading into memories, Tifa does not currently possess a position that could influence the city and benefit Rufus. Therefore, he has no reason to attempt to use her, and thus will not try to date her."

Cloud looked relived and Rufus pouted. "You're making it sound as if I would only date someone for a benefit, as if I'm some kind of-"

"There are children in the room," Tifa decided it was about time to speak up. There were indeed two kids in the room, Marlene and Denzel. The others who were present included Rufus, Cloud, Tifa, Tseng, Elena, Reno and Rude. It should be noted that Tifa had kindly given Reno a huge piece of bubblegum which was currently keeping him quiet save for the sound of chewing.

"I'm just saving your life..." Tseng pointed out.

Rufus decided not to dignify the Turk leader with an answer and simply looked away and ran his fingers through his hair again as he always did.

"I really don't think this is evil," Tifa tried to explain. "It's for your own good and Rufus has generously offered to provide the materials. We're only trying to help you Cloud." Tifa smiled and looked at Cloud's unsure expression, feeling a little guilty, but then she eyed the DDR equipment and decided that she didn't feel guilty anymore. "Playing DDR will help you relax and let out all your tensions," and Rufus so kindly provided the machine, though his intentions were obviously to be amused by watching Cloud jump around. "Shall we begin; Rude has already volunteered to be your first opponent."

Rude and Cloud locked eyes with challenging stares like two skilled samurai ready to fight to the death. With the prize of impressing Tifa, the two men took their positions in the DDR pads and the battle began.

In the end, as the DDR tournament progressed, Cloud defeated one opponent after another, except for Tifa, because no one ever beat Tifa at DDR.

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Mission 63: Marble Distress

Never before had Reno thought he would bring this upon himself. He had actually volunteered to help Cloud with one of his deliveries and he didn't regret it, at least not yet. Cloud had received a delivery request to take a block of marble to Vincent. Obviously such a delivery would be challenging at best, and a joke from Reno at worse. Cloud assumed the latter, told Tifa, which in retrospect did make him look wimpy as Reno foolishly pointed out, and the redhead was cornered in the Seventh Heaven and accused.

However, a lucky call revealed that Vincent did order the block of marble and it wasn't just Reno playing a joke on Cloud in his name. Thus the adventure of Reno and Cloud delivering marble to Vincent began.

"If we put the marble in a helicopter, the delivery will be much faster and easier." Cloud's line of thought was logical and convenient. The marble block was large enough to sculpt a life size statue of a person, and thus it would be uncomfortable to carry it on Fenrir. Cloud had carried large deliveries on his motorcycle before, such as a piano, but it was difficult to keep it balanced and it made people stare.

"No can do," Reno shook his head. "It's too heavy and the chopper won't take off."

"I think it will still be able to take off. I know Shinra helicopters are made to be able to carry heavy artillery, even heavier than this block of marble." Cloud tried to defend his point but deep down, he knew he wasn't getting any real help from Reno.

"Rufus would kill me?" Reno threw out another excuse.

Cloud pouted, "you're not being helpful at all!" In the end he tied the marble to Fenrir and prepared to be on his way.

"I'll follow you from the sky and... navigate... so you don't get lost... yeah." In truth, Reno just wanted a bird's eye view of the fun, because this was Cloud Strife he was watching, and things always went wrong for him. Reno wanted to catch a good video of the action.

"No, you're coming with me," without giving Reno any room to protest, literally, Cloud hopped on Fenrir and pulled Reno on to sit behind him, squished between Cloud's back and the block of marble that was tied to Fenrir. Thankfully Cloud had removed his sword and placed it on Fenrir's carrying space so that was one uncomfortable danger Reno avoided, but of course, he was still uncomfortable.

Cloud wisely decided to avoid the heavy traffic roads, which led him to take a little known unpaved shortcut through the wastelands with the sand annoyingly blowing in the air and sticking to everything.

"Do you know how long it will take to get this sand off my hair?" Reno complained, he had his goggles over his eyes now, as did Cloud for protection against the sand. "If my hair isn't shiny and cool the fangirls will be disappointed! I can't do that to them."

"If you don't keep quiet they'll be more disappointed because you'll be dead," Cloud warned.

A few minutes passed in silence. Though Reno couldn't see it from his position pressed against Cloud's back and with the marble block pressed against his back, the delivery boy's eyes had started glowing with intense mako. It was one of those times when Cloud's memories surfaced on their own and could not be pushed away. Thunder echoed and the skies turned dark, signaling the coming of rain. Zack Fair had joined the life stream in scenery like this one. All of this combined was too much for Cloud and he lost control of Fenrir, sliding down a hill of loose sand and into a natural sandy pitfall.

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Mission 64: Dancing Pains

"Strife, I have another mission to get to, I'm supposed to help Taichou train for this evening," Reno complained.

"I know, I've been training for that too," Cloud replied. Fenrir was not responding, he and Reno were trapped in a sandy pit while Reno offered to help Cloud with his delivery and did nothing more than act as excess baggage.

"Cloud!" Reno continued to complain.

"Listen Reno, I can't..." Cloud paused, that look of trust in Reno's eyes, which he was certainly imagining, surprised Cloud. "Do you trust me to get us out of this?" Reno nodded, wisely trying to avoid more trouble, and Cloud glomped him by surprise, "thanks! I won't let you don't."

Though creeped out, Reno muttered, "sure," and let Cloud be, it must be the mako rushing to his brain. Reno didn't worry, Cloud should be back to normal soon, and well enough to participate in what awaited in the evening. However the next day, Cloud would have something reminiscent of a terrible hangover, despite the lack of alcohol, and would probably suffer from a splitting headache for days to come, but it wouldn't be Reno's problem by then.

Needless to say, Vincent was shocked to see Cloud delivering his marble by carrying it on his back, while Reno was rewarded for his faith in Cloud by being allowed to ride Fenrir by himself, after Cloud carried the three, one by one, out of the sandy pit with the true mutant strength of a Soldier. It was a good thing Cloud had plans for later, otherwise he would have the free time needed to make Reno pay for taking advantage of his mako high.

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"Tell me again how this will make the world a better place?" Rufus requested.

With a deep sigh and practiced patience, Tseng repeated his monologue, "Shinra has promised to give people what they want and help them to reach a better future in happiness and prosperity. This means that if they want this, admittedly ridiculous form of fan service, they must get it. Besides, I honestly don't think it's so bad, just absurd." Tseng spoke these words with a perfectly composed expression, while Rufus nodded like a bobble head.

"Yes, yes, I see. Just a moment then, there is some very important business I need to attend to." With that announcement, and the silent promise of some extra difficulties for the Turks, Rufus walked into the conference room at the Shinra Headquarters. The room held the members of the press who would follow the selected contestants to the Gold Saucer where a Dance Dance Revolution contest would take place, to be broadcasted world wide. Rufus was terrible at the game and always tripped over his own feet.

The young president reasoned that if he was going to trip, he might as well do it without music and with as few witnesses as possible, other than those needed to assert that he did in fact trip. Thus Rufus faked his fall, though he tried to do it so realistically he lost his balance and truly fell into a sitting position on the floor, thanking every entity for the thickness of the carpet, nevertheless it still hurt.

"Oh, my ankle!" Rufus screamed in feigned agony. "It's broken!"

That is the story of how Tseng, Leader of the Turks, well known workaholic, and loyal babysitter of Rufus' every whim, ended up carrying the supposedly injured president to the infirmary, to be given lollipops by a pretty nurse, while the doctor wrote his dramatic verdict about poor Rufus' terrible, though in reality non-existent, injury.

Because of this, Reno and Rude were chosen as Rufus' replacements at the DDR contest against Cloud Strife, who was said to have been trained by the DDR legend herself, Tifa Lockhart. Needless to say, Reno was certainly energetic bout it, as he was about everything.

When the time of the contest came, a solemn, yet perfectly groomed, as usual, Rufus watched from a wheelchair, taking the extend of his fake injury to the extremes, claiming that he could not walk due to the pain of his broken ankle. But he was given vast credit for at least showing up anyway. It wouldn't be the first time he faked a major injury, but people couldn't help it but to feel sorry for the pretty boy whenever he wanted them to.

Cloud danced to the beat of the music, capturing the attention of some of the female audience, while many others were focused on Reno. All male eyes were on Tifa, who cheered for Cloud by dancing on the sidelines. She thought she could help Cloud by showing him how it's done, but she succeeded in dooming her DDR padawan by distracting him and making him miss the arrows on the screen, while he stared at her, and glared at all the men looking at her.

However, the DDR duel took an unexpected turn when Reno, who was moving out of rhythm but moving a lot and very fast, tripped over his own feet and actually did twist his ankle, thus being forced to forfeit the match, with Cloud wining by default.

Next up came Rude, to take Reno's place in the next round. Rude was the man with the seemingly stiff posture, expressionless face, and rarely heard voice, so Cloud thought he had this won. Yet somehow, though Rude's face was devoid of the evidence of effort, the bald Turks never missed a single arrow, which frustrated Cloud, who was trying so hard.

With Tifa forgotten due to the strong battle vibes of rivalry coming from Cloud and Rude, the entire crowd focused on them, save for a few girls who were still more concerned with Rufus or Reno; but both Cloud and Rude had their fair share of admirers.

Cloud pushed on, willing his feet to move faster and more precisely, but his effort could not match Rude's skill. Effortlessly, Rude continued to carry out the song to perfection, while Cloud became clumsy by frustration, even with his nearly limitless Soldier energy.

Then it happened, both men missed their steps, trying to move faster than they could control. They tripped over their own feet and let out unanimous yelps of pain as they both gained matching twisted ankles. It was especially shocking for Rude, since his voice was rarely heard.

Rude regained his composure and limped away quietly, while Cloud made childish pouty-faces and was consoled by Tifa. Consequently, the DDR competition ended without a winner.

The moral of the story is that for every injury Rufus gets away with faking, the Turks, and sometimes Cloud, have to take it. But then, that's not as much of a moral, as it is a well known fact.

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Mission 65: Poison

He had very good reasons to suspect and among those reasons was Cloud Strife, though given the situation, Tifa was the most likely suspect, after all, she had all the chances in the world to do this, though she lacked the motivation. Cloud on the other hand, as much as Reno denied it, had every right to be mad and could have sabotaged the drink made by Tifa. Why didn't Tifa bring it to the counter herself?

No, poison couldn't be part of the situation. Cloud carried the glass the short distance, just a few steps away, because Tifa was busy making the next drink. Even so, Reno was sure that in the short time Cloud blocked the view of the glass with his body, anything could have happened, he could have slipped something lethal into the drink.

It was a seemingly easy mission for Reno and Rude. All they had to do was try Tifa's new menu of drinks and tell her which they liked best. Cloud didn't understand why Tifa would hire the Turks to do something they would do for free, but she said something about showing her support to the reformed Shinra.

As Reno's thoughts returned to the possible attempt of poisoning before him, he realized there were other points to consider. Even if Cloud had the motivation for the crime and the means to commit his revenge, there was still the fact that Tifa was involved. However, it would be obvious Cloud was the real culprit and Reno wouldn't put it past him to openly admit it. Tifa would be off the case and regardless of what Shinra may do to avenge Reno, Cloud's revenge would have been served.

Sure this wasn't the only means available to the spiky haired blond, but it was the most effective. Cloud could start an all out battle with Reno, but the Turk had endurance, speed and few tricks of his own, there was no way Cloud could finish him off on time before someone interfered ad stopped the fight. Poison was the easiest way.

The redhead continued to deliberate while the glasses piled on the counter in front of him. He could feel Rude's confused stare as if wondering why Reno didn't touch any of the glasses in front of him, even if Rude was consuming his samples as fast as they came.

Picking up the first drink Cloud had brought, Reno looked at the glass dubiously. "Think they're trying to poison me?" Rude shook his head and Reno decided to be brave. He drained his glass in one gulp and immediately regretted it. "Ugh, yuck!" He swallowed with some difficulty.

Tifa looked surprised and a little hurt, "you don't like it?"

Reno shook his head, "it's not your fault, Tifa," he glared at Cloud.

"No it's alright, you can be honest with me, I really appreciate the constructive criticism." Tifa looked determined, "I'll try harder, I'll definitely make a much better drink. I'll study new recipes all day today and mix more drinks!"

"All day? What about our date?" Cloud complained.

"I'm sorry Cloud, why don't you go out by yourself, since you already took the day off? I need to do what's best for the business and be ready," Tifa had decided and wouldn't change her mind.

"It's not your fault; I put pepper in Reno's drink to get back at him. Don't cancel our date!" Cloud confessed.

"You don't have to make up a story to make me feel better," Tifa insisted, "like I said, I appreciate constructive criticism and I made up my mind."

"I'll stay here with you..." Cloud sighed in defeat while Reno was relived to find out he wasn't poisoned after all.

"Absolutely not, I don't want you to waste your day off watching me read recipes and mix drinks, you're going out and having fun," Tifa ordered.

Cloud frowned; he knew there was no arguing with Tifa. Not only did their date get cancelled, but he was kicked out of the Seventh Heaven while Tifa spent time making drinks for Reno and Rude. Karma was never on Cloud's side.

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Mission 66: Mystery Box

Reno dashed towards the elevator dodging bullets, he didn't know what was in the box he held, but he knew it had to be important. The elevator doors opened revealing Elena, but Reno was still too far to get in and Barret was catching up. "Elena! Take this to Taichou!" He threw the box.

Elena was surprised but caught the box nonetheless and in a rush of Turk instinct, she punched the elevator button to go up and the glass case rose.

"Damn Turk!" Barret shot at the glass, but it had been fortified and made bulletproof.

While Barret tried his luck with the glass, Reno dashed towards the stairs. Barret chased after him, resolving that Elena would probably disable the elevators or arrange an ambush if he tried to take them.

As the gun arm man rushed up the stairs, cursing the redhead's speed, Reno crawled out from under the stairs grinning. He rushed to take the elevator to the final floor to wait for Barret.

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"Sir, we have no time for this! Avalanche is invading us!" Elena yelled as she punched and kicked Rufus' office door to no avail.

"I said I won't be seen like this!" Rufus yelled from inside the sealed office.

"Sir, be reasonable, Elena is-" Tseng was interrupted; he was in the office with Rufus and Rude.

"No!" The president shouted.

Reno arrived and wondered what this was about. Elena saw him and tossed the box at him. "Taichou says he doesn't want women to see him 'in that state' whatever that means." Then she announced, "Open the door, Reno is coming in, I won't look."

Reno didn't know what this was about, but before entering the office, he warned, "Mr. Gun Arm is coming up the stairs," and went into the office where Rufus, Tseng and Rude were.

"Do I fight him alone?" The door to the president's office had already closed. "Fine, I'm a Turk, I can handle him." Elena adjusted her gloves, put on her shiny new knuckles and prepared up the battle field by setting up a trap, she froze the last few steps and waited.

Barret came running up and slipped, letting out a might yelp and a few stay bullets. Elena jumped on the fallen Barret, his spine pressing painfully against the stairs. She threw a wave of ice at him, freezing him up to the neck. She secured one foot over his frozen gun arm just in case and swiftly punched him repeatedly on the face.

After Barret was beaten to unconsciousness, Elena pulled out a screwdriver from her jacket, a Turk was always prepared. She chiseled the gun arm out of the ice, then proceeded to take it apart, leaving him with only a metal stub. Whenever Barret showed signs of waking up during the process, Elena would beat him into unconsciousness again.

Finally, Rufus stepped out of the office, looking perfectly normal and peeked at the door that led to the stairs. "What happened?"

"It was really funny, he saw me in the city and asked what was in the box, so I said it was a secret and he started chasing me saying it was a secret weapon!" Reno was probably the only one truly amused by the ordeal.

"You mean I could have just explained it wasn't?" Elena was both shocked and angry.

"Do you know what this will do to Shinra's image? Listen everyone, here's the plan. If Elena gave Barret enough of a concussion to make him forget what happened, we're in the clear. We'll just tell him he fell and we kindly helped him. If he still remembers what's going on when he wakes up, we'll have to take some extra steps. Elena, if anyone asks, tell them he attacked you out of misplaced prejudice towards Turks and try to look scared and defenseless," Rufus instructed.

Elena nodded, "understood!" She was much smaller than Barret and by appearance easy to overpower, but after the incident in which she was kidnapped by Don Corneo in Wutai, Elena had been training hard to be lethal and she had become a true Turk.

"Tseng, if it comes down to it, I'm sending you as the ambassador of peace to Strife's group, try to negotiate with them. As far as I know, they are aware of Barret's temper and might believe that he lost it. Elena, you're going with Tseng, try to look like you've been crying and cling to Tseng as if you're scared, you have to convince them you're the victim," Rufus continued his plan.

"Yes, sir," Tseng was a bit unsure if it would work, but he would try his best. Elena seemed happy with the idea of playing actress with Tseng as her co-star.

"Rude, you're on guard duty," though it sounded as if Rude would be guarding Rufus, that was not the case as the president soon clarified, "you'll be guarding Reno to make sure he doesn't cause any more trouble."

"Taichou?" Reno protested, but Rude decided it was best for all of them if he dragged his partner away from the scene.

"Places everyone! Get some medics in here, put the gun arm back together, but make sure it doesn't have any ammunition," suddenly his Turks paused and stared at Rufus. "What?"

"Is that what you didn't want me to see? I get it, you think it's embarrassing enough to be seen that way by other men, you couldn't stand any women seeing that," Elena observed Rufus' hair.

The president's hair had been normal when he exited the office, but now it spiked in every direction as if it stood up from the force of his brain plotting. Rufus gasped as he realized what was going on and rushed back to his office. The mystery box contained hair gel.

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Mission 67: Communication

Cloud had specifically requested that the Turk to handle his mission should not be Reno or Rude. Rude had been Cloud's rival for Tifa, thus the blond knew he couldn't trust the other man with this mission. Reno was Reno; he ruined everything so he couldn't be trusted either.

It was Tseng who first showed up for the mysterious mission, which Cloud was expected explain. "It's... like... um... you need to... you just have too..."

Tseng did not understand. Cloud had been muttering incoherently for the past fifteen minutes in the Turks office, currently occupied only by the Turk leader and the delivery boy who insisted he had to explain in private. "Pardon?"

"Tifa... me... tell... you..." Cloud's face was a brilliant shade of red as he stared at his feet in absolute embarrassment. He couldn't believe he was resorting to this, but he had to, it was the only thing that would work. He had tried to do things the other way around but something always came up and he was getting desperate.

"I don't understand," Tseng wondered of all the mako in his system was making Cloud's brain come undone. From what Tseng heard, it wouldn't be the first time Cloud was left with an IQ of zero and able to voice only incomplete incoherencies.

"Me... Tifa... you!" Cloud pushed the words out.

"Do you want me to call Tifa to come pick you up? Why don't you wait for her in the medical center, I'll escort you there," Tseng offered.

"No! No! That's not it!" Cloud tried to explain.

There was a knock on the door followed by Elena's voice, "I finished the report!"

"Come in Elena and don't let your guard down," Tseng gave Cloud a warning look.

Elena gave Tseng the aforementioned report, all the while keeping her suspicious eyes on Cloud, "what's wrong with him?"

"I don't know," Tseng whispered back. "He came here to hire either you or me for a mission, then lost his mind while trying to explain what it was."

Cloud heard the hushed whispers and pouted, "I'm not insane!"

"Now Cloud, calm down," Elena spoke gently, "tell us what's wrong, we're only trying to help you," her tone and chosen words only made her sound more suspicious.

"You-tell-me-Tifa!" Cloud blurted out, his face red like a tomato.

Elena laughed, "is that all? Don't worry Tseng, he's not crazy, he was just having some trouble communicating. I'll take this mission and don't worry, I'll be casual; Tifa will never know you asked."

Cloud breathed in relief, "thank you." That was it, it was done, now all he had to do was wait.

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Some time later, Cloud was cleaning his room when Tifa stood at the door. "Cloud, can I talk to you?"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah!"

Tifa took a deep breath, "I was talking to someone and I realized how that maybe the only way for us to be able to tell each other how we feel is if I take the first step. Maybe you've tried to tell me before, but maybe you were interrupted. Anyway, lets not put it off, be honest Cloud, do you love me like I love you?"

"No way, no way!"

Tifa was both furious and hurt. Elena's guess had been wrong and Tifa also misinterpreted the signs. Without another word, she stormed away.

Feeling nervous and impatient for Elena to give Tifa the hint that would make her go talk to him, Cloud had occupied himself in cleaning his room. He put on a tiny pair of wireless earphones that were barely visible inside his ears and further hidden by his hair. He tried to focus on the song to calm down, but got a little too caught up with it, singing along with the most unfortunate lyrics at the worse time possible.

End of Mission 67

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Mission 68: Smart

Reno stood dumb-folded, further proving the point that Rufus had just expressed when he called the Turks to his office that morning. "I'm not stupid!" The denial only made him sound more lacking in the brain department, as anyone who was smart, should not need to point it out.

Rufus was feeling nice that morning and decided to elaborate, "I know you're not stupid, you have some useful skills," building explosives, finding blackmail, sneaking around, surviving being thrown against walls and off buildings, piloting a vast variety of vehicles, getting drunk on orange juice, among other talents. "The point is people think you look stupid."

"I look cool!" Reno insisted, "I have fan girls!" Not just fan girls, but also a ghostly stalker, a shape shifter body of thoughts, a being created by the love of his fan girls, far more powerful than any remnant of Sephiroth ever was. It was a scary thought, but also something that filled him with pride.

"We all do," Rufus reminded, though clearly he was grimmer about it then Reno, as the distraction sometimes became annoying to his work, while Reno welcomed all distractions during work.

"I have fan boys," Elena grinned, the discovery had been truly amazing to her as she had been feeling ignored among the Turks, but she soon realized that perhaps it was not so unique after all, "but I guess you all do too."

The four men in the office cringed, "there's no need to discuss this," Rufus half growled, he didn't need to remember the fan boys. "Anyway, the point is that for the sake of public relations I'm giving all of you the mission to make Reno look smart; that is all, you are dismissed."

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Tseng, being the leader, decided to give the issue the first attempt. He made Reno sit down at the Turks office and began to brush his hair. Of course Reno didn't sit still, so he had Rude hold him in place. "Some of this... just like that... okay, you're ready!"

Reno looked in the mirror with a tortured expression. His hair was flat and well brushed, not a single hair out of place. Plus the sticky stuff Tseng put on it made it appear darker instead of the overly bright red that made him stand out.

"Go walk around the city to show how smart you look," Tseng ordered, despite Reno's complaints, pouts and sad kitten eyes, "that's an order Reno! Rude, make him go."

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At the end of the day Rufus viewed the results of an online survey, Reno was still thought of as stupid and no one really liked the unidentified new Turk whom they did not believe to be Reno. He couldn't possibly be Reno, his hair wasn't bright enough and his expression was sad and uncomfortable instead of cheery.

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Having failed, Tseng stepped aside to allow Rude to give the mission a try on the next day. By then Reno's hair was fixed to his bright messy style and he was feeling much better.

Rude tried to make Reno appear smart by stopping him from saying anything silly. However, try as he may to get Reno to stay silent, it never lasted long and Reno would always blurt out some random silly comment about something or other. The quiet Turk gave up mid day and allowed the Rookie to give it a shot.

Elena's idea was simple but classic; she got a pair of glasses and had Reno wear them. They were not geeky bottle-bottoms, as that would be too excessive, instead the glasses has a classy elegant frame that looked pretty good. The Turks thought that Elena had found the solution to their mission, but then Reno started running into walls and tripping over his own feet. Alas the glasses were not regular glass as initially assumed, but actually prescription and they did not match Reno's eyes at all.

Elena had apparently found them while cleaning Healin Lodge in an old box labeled 'aniki', though no one really knew why Rufus kept such things. She had mistakenly assumed the glasses, despite the box's mysterious label, belonged to Rufus and he had them as a non-prescription accessory, since the Turks knew he didn't really need them. As a result of Reno's clumsiness, despite looking cool, his level of stupidity went up on the public polls.

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The next day happened to be a Sunday and though Tseng wanted to continue the mission until it was done, Reno stuck away. The other Turks, under Tseng's workaholic insistence, tracked Reno down to Rocket Town.

Puzzled by his location, the Turks observed Reno quietly as he helped Cid with his airship. They knew Reno loved flying, though he wasn't as obvious about it as Cid. They also knew that they had actually become friends due to their mutual interest in flying machines after Shinra and the former Avalanche made peace. What they did not know was that Reno had such a geeky side to him, actually calling the airship parts by their technical names and using terminology that most regular people might not understand at all, while discussing the inner workings of the airship's design.

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When Monday came around, Rufus was surprised by the public opinion survey results many of which labeled Reno as some kind of mechanical and aviation engineering geek. Cid was angry that his airship parts were filmed, while the Turks secretly filmed Reno for the purposes of their mission, but he was assured his copyright would be protected by Shinra and didn't make too much of a fuss after being bribed with some shiny new airship parts.

Nonetheless the general public was not happy, Reno was still cool, attractive and overall fan girl worthy, but at the same time a big nerd which did not make any sense. They feared the contradiction was due to some kind of severe mutation he had kept hidden for years and was finally becoming too unstable to suppress. Surely the redhead Turk would soon become insane and start burning down random little towns all over the planet.

Resigned to the inevitable failure of their mission, the Turks decided to tell people that the video was a fake, and that the geek talk was a voice-over by a paid actor, because Reno wasn't even smart enough to read those big words from paper. People believed it immediately and calmed down.

Rufus ultimately cancelled the mission, concluding that trying too hard to get approval was not worth it and that unless you want to be labeled as a mutant freak, you should just be yourself.

End of Mission 68

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Mission 69: Air Show

A connection that leads to friendship can also lead to ruin. One man's treasure is another's trash and two men's misery is the joy of the world. Between the flames, wreckage, festive confetti and arguing of "it's your fault!" and "no, it's your fault!" two men miraculously survive with seemingly harmless scratches that will sting terribly when the first aid arrives to prove that sometimes the cure is worse than the illness.

"Tiny Bronco II," Cid agonized.

"Radioactive Cake I," Reno joined in. There was a pause in which Reno received odd stares. "What? I can name my airplane whatever I want!"

Then the agony continued. "Why?!" Cid and Reno cried out in pain, more so for their beloved flying machines than for themselves and outside of the Seventh Heaven, the crowd's cheers roared like cruel barbarians witnessing the public execution of two innocents.

When Reno began to frequent Rocket Town to help Cid with his airship work, since Reno was also very interested in flying, everyone thought it would end in disaster. However, time passed and things became calmer than ever before. Reno had a hobby to keep him busy under the watchful eye of Cid, which prevented him from causing too much trouble.

Cid had someone to share his obsession with who didn't know more than him, so he was happy. Sure he had Shera to share his engineering with, but then her geeky rocket scientist side would surface and Cid hated to be corrected, he would much rather learn through trial and error, with him conducting the trials and Reno, the sacrificial guinea-pig, dealing with the consequences of the errors.

Of course such a lovely friendship was too good to be true and one day Cid and Reno ended up arguing about who was the best pilot, which led to a competition in the air that would go down in history as the best air show ever. They flew above the city of Edge, spun in mid air, made sharp turns and let out a tail of smoke to write in the sky. Albeit many would criticize their spelling and grammar, the crowd was nonetheless very impressed.

Then they got distracted, absorbed in the joy of flying and their own maneuvers in the sky, off in their own little words, thinking that the sky belong to no one else. That's when they lost track of each other and crashed in mid air, both airplanes exploding in a rush of fireworks in the night sky. They had been playing to throw out the fireworks along with a load of confetti in the next part of their act, competing for the most impressive display, but the crash detonated them all at once, lighting up Edge as if it was mid day instead of ten at night.

Everyone assumed it was all part of the show and what a show it was. Reno and Cid landed in parachutes among the cheering crowd and the rain of confetti. Shera, Tifa, Cloud, Rufus and the other Turks were among the crowd that gathered in the streets of Edge after the announcement of the greatest air show ever was made on Shinra's television network and website. Reno did not get Rufus' authorization for that, but the show had been a great success so Rufus decided it was for the best.

The crowd was still cheering loudly as the surviving pilots were taken inside the Seventh Heaven where their multiple scratches were cleaned with stinging disinfectant and bandaged properly. The two men were still mourning their airplanes and blaming each other when Rufus made an announcement, "I expect you to be ready for another show next week," all those preset, despite the state the pilots were left in, had loved the show and cheered for Rufus' great idea, expressing their happiness at his sponsorship of the next event.

Reno and Cid were speechless for a moment before exploding in a fit of complaints, objections, grumbles and whining that turned out to be useless anyway; these people did not understand the sorrowful sacrifice of a personally customized airplane. After all, one man's treasure is another's trash and two men's misery is the joy of the world.

End of Mission 69

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Mission 70: Breaking the Limits

"Reno, shut up or you'll ruin the picture and for goodness' sake Cloud smile!" Tifa had suspiciously insisted to take a picture of Reno, Cloud and Rufus together and the three men had no choice by to comply, Rufus strangely easily, Reno without argument, but without stopping his current ramble and Cloud dragging his feet and frowning, he didn't feel photogenic.

Reno kept quiet for a split second before going on about how Tifa should get his good side, but that it didn't matter too much because he was awesome from any angle. "Reno, shut up!" Rufus scolded, then once the redhead was quiet, this time for just long enough, as the three continued posing for the camera.

Tifa gave up on making Cloud smile, settling for his pitiful grin and took the picture. "One more," Tifa joined them, handing the camera to Rufus.

Rufus was about to protest about not appearing in the picture if he was the one taking it, but remembered his mission, having been caught up on looking good for the camera before. This time after the click of the camera there was the click of handcuffs, the sneaky Tifa had handcuffed Reno and Cloud together. Then Rufus announced, "Reno, your mission is to test the limit break theory by staying handcuffed to Cloud for twenty-four hours!"

"I don't want to be stuck with Mr. Emo for three days!" Reno complained.

Cloud could only twitch and mutter, "not happening."

"One day, twenty-four hours is one day," Rufus corrected, feeling kind of sorry for Cloud, but not enough to let go of his amusement.

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It had been only fifteen minutes and Reno and Cloud were already driving each other crazy, Rufus had retreated to the safety of his office leaving the bribed Tifa in charge of the limit break study. "I can't take it anymore, he's too emo!" Reno pinched Cloud's cheeks and stretched his face up in a weird smile.

"Stop it!" Cloud tried to push Reno away forgetting they were handcuffed and was dragged along with the redhead, both of them falling on the floor.

"Get off Cloud, you're heavy!" Reno complained, as he and Cloud scrambled to their feet while Tifa laughed.

"Are you calling me fat?" Cloud glared, great now he would have something else to be emo about. A sudden staring contest ensued until Cloud blinked and Reno began to celebrate his victory, while Cloud continued to pout, "I'm going out to make a delivery."

"Not like this," Reno lifted his hand along with Cloud's, the silver handcuffs still joining their wrists.

"I have to do something to keep busy, you're driving me insane!" Cloud argued in desperation.

"No you're driving me insane!" Reno argued back, while Tifa continued to laugh at their antics, feeling a little cruel, but most of all amused.

They shoved each other away, dragging the other along until they tried to move away, walking in parallel motions, faster and faster until they ran throwing childish insults at each other such as chocobo-head and tomato-head. The race continued outside the Seventh Heaven, with Tifa chasing after them, they pushed random people aside, invoking their anger and began to use materia at each other, missing their real target or being caught in the blast and leaving destruction in their path.

Realizing the situation was out of control, Tifa tried to stop them, but it was too late. However, it seemed that everything would be alright and the destruction would end when Reno clumsily got himself and Cloud trapped inside a pyramid.

"This is your fault," Cloud grumbled.

"No it's your fault!" Reno argued.

Tifa watched them from outside the pyramid, "I'm not letting you out of there until you're ready to behave and stop destroying things."

"Fine be that way, we'll let ourselves out," Reno retorted.

"How are we going to do that?" Cloud felt helpless and claustrophobic. "I thought the pyramids could only be broken from the outside."

"You think I don't know how to break out of my own pyramid? Grandpa will let us out." Reno appeared to be sure enough that it would work.

"Your grandfather?" Cloud questioned, he had never really seen anyone from Reno's family except once catching a glance at Rita when she came to visit Edge one day. She was cheerful, party-loving and looked more like Reno's big sister than his mother. Cloud knew he should stay away, one crazy redhead was already too much.

"Kind of," Reno grinned as the materia glowed.

"Ramuh? What will happen if you summon him here?" Cloud doubted that it was a good idea when they were trapped in such close quarters.

"Guys, I don't like the glow of materia I'm seeing in there," Tifa warned, though when Cloud joined in, to release his summons as well, having decided than the possible consequences couldn't be worse than the current situation, she was wise enough to run for cover.

The pyramid broke in a huge explosion as the summons were released, the full force of their attack being thrown all around, perhaps even stronger due to being compressed in the pyramid and suddenly let out when it broke. Needless to say they caused a disarray of a disaster zone. In the middle of it all, looking bruised and burned, there stood Reno and Cloud, still handcuffed to each other, but they somehow knew they wouldn't be stuck together for much longer, they had already broken the limits of tolerable destruction.

End of Report VII

Disclaimer, I don't own Final Fantasy VII or Dance Dance Revolution. Taichou means president and a padawan is an apprentice (to be a Jedi, from Star Wars). Mission 61 is a prequel to Delivery 24 for kikofreako, SugarHoney91, Prisonerksc2-303, demonlifehealer and everyone who wanted to know how and why Reno dyed Cloud's hair green in Delivery 24. Mission 62 was inspired by demonlifehealer. The marble saga was requested by Rei Mumei and it includes Delivery 31, Mission 63, Delivery 32 and Mission 64. In Mission 64 the DDR part was inspired by a review from Prisonerksc2-303. Mission 65 was requested by kikofreako, the writing prompt was: Reno looked at the glass dubiously, "think they're trying to poison me?" The concept used in Mission 66 is from a review from demonlifehealer, Rufus's plotting making his hair spike from all the thinking. Mission 67 requested by SugarHoney91, the concept was Tifa telling Cloud how she feels. Mission 68 was requested by Naruta13, to make Reno look smart. The glasses were Lazard's. Mission 69 is for Dragon Reverb, the concept was Reno and Cid doing an air show. Mission 70 is a sequel to Delivery 41.