This here is the MOTHER OF ALL RPs. No really. I kid you not. This is simply the longest, most awesome thing ever in my grand, wonderful opinion.
...My muse is clearly getting to me.
Herein lies Rufus and Tseng being... erm... Rufus and Tseng! In other words there is booze and silliness and cursing and snark and idle threats aplenty. An epic tale of friendship in
...Kat cannot count at ELEVEN AT NIGHT? There is no hope for me...
Tseng: The sun was just sinking below the ledge of the thirty-eighth floor windows as Tseng made his way to the elevator. He paused, coat and briefcase in hand, while deciding momentarily which button to press. After a minute, hope won out over habit, and he leaned back against the wall as the elevator chunked menacingly before starting its labourious rise to the top floor. A slight frown crossed his face. No one had thought to check into the elevators too extensively after the...incident with the scientists, (many interns refused to take them at all, claiming they were haunted and using that as an excuse to appear late everywhere, dripping with sweat,) but Tseng thought that perhaps it might be prudent to ask maintenance to look in on them.
The last thing they needed was for the building to start falling apart, on top of everything else.
The door slid open silently and Tseng stepped out, listening for a moment outside the door to see if the President was currently doing important presidential things. He had no desire to intrude on some meeting to proclaim that he and Rufus were going drinking. One of the occasional squiffly bits about their friendship was that Tseng could not just drop in unannounced. There were times when one had to be strictly professional, and there were times when one had to be...less so. Balancing the two sides out was generally not a problem. Some days it was harder than others.
Having waited enough time to ascertain whether Rufus was busy, and just short of long enough to not be eavesdropping, Tseng knocked.
Without waiting for a reply, he stuck his head around the door.
"I am taking this opportunity to get you out of the building, before you end up back on the roof. Just a head's up."
Rufus: Finally after a seemingly neverending stream of hours and cups of carefully scuttled away coffee, the outbox of paperwork was outweighing the inbox. Not entirely worthy of dancing, but it was a significant dent in the massive amount of work that had been steadily piling and Rufus was attempting to look at the bright side. Briefly. In glances. Part of him knew that it would all go faster if he would sleep or stop thinking about that phone call and that conversation and the fact that his car was not-so-mysteriously missing, but he had been feeling particularly stubborn and acknowledging that he should take an actual break didn't seem all that feasible at the moment.
He was grimacing at an insane proposition that involved chocobo-powered airships the the sound of an elevator dinging nearly startled him out of his seat. Not entirely wanting to get out of his seat, however, to investigate who would have the audacity to disturb him on the tail end of a long workday, he made sure his shotgun was safely near his grasp and went back to paperwork.
It was... unlikely that he would get zombified scientists in his office again... wasn't it?
Marking the idea with a giant, red "hell no" in the best words he could possibly muster, Rufus waited. And waited. Until finally a tentative knock was administered to his door. Followed by a different proposition. One slightly less insane.
And part of Rufus knew that he shouldn't take off, even as he stood up and folded his glasses, placing them on the table where they-- and the paperwork would be forgotten. Sure he shouldn't risk getting wasted and not finishing that pile of work but it had been a while. And he was tired. And temporarily out of rum.
"I'm presuming you won't be taking no for an answer?"
...And there was also that.
Tseng: Tseng quelled a smile beginning in the corners of his mouth as Rufus took off and folded his glasses. The logical part of him knew that it was slightly irresponsible to pull the President away from his work. The less logical, more concerned part of him knew that as President, Rufus was likely to be busy no matter what time it was, and Tseng was not a man given to waiting without cause.
Being at the company as long as he had, knowing Rufus as long as he had, Tseng could not have helped coming to a few conclusions about the way things were run. First and foremost of these was that if the President worked himself too hard, he was likely to snap like a string pulled taut, and then Tseng's phone was flooded with puzzling, sometimes distressing messages stored at three in the morning.
Really, it was best for everyone. Almost a company matter. And if Tseng enjoyed certain, unspoken duties inherent in his job more than he did others, who was to say?
"Are you kidding?" Tseng shook his head, knowing full well Rufus's familiarity with his tenacity. He pushed the door open, and then held it, gesturing Rufus leave with a - silly, but given a day lacking coffee Tseng felt it was justified - swoop of his arm.
He hesitated, and then added, unable to stop himself. "I'll drive."
Rufus: Rufus could have sworn that he saw something, some small flicker of amusement on Tseng's face as he gave in to a night of drinking. But then again, they both knew that he would eventually cave and considering the past several months, it wasn't as if Rufus was about to say no. Or at least he wasn't about to realistically refuse.
Oh, who was he to make excuses? Tseng always managed to win when it came to drinking. Not that Rufus would ever admit to that. Not like anyone in the building would ever believe something like that.
He slipped on his white coat, wondering for a moment where they would be going, as Seventh Heaven, the nearest bar, was closed and beside that fact, Rufus didn't entirely want to return there. At least for the time being. Tseng would know that. Trusting that the Turk knew what he was doing and where they were going, he didn't bother asking, arching an eyebrow in silent amusement at the almost cartoon-like gesture he was given as they exited the office.
And then stopping in his tracks when the car was mentioned.
It would take a fool not to know that Tseng had been the one to steal it. He had the motive. He more than had the means. And Rufus just knew that Tseng had always wanted to drive it. But Rufus, who had his own plans simmering in the back of his mind, managed to keep any anger at bay the past few days, hoping to let the Turk think he had won. Ah, but the war was far from over.
Still, he couldn't help but shoot the other man a glare. If Rufus loved anything, he loved his car and he didn't enjoy the thought of anyone other than himself driving it. Still... Rufus was tired. He had no clue where they were going. And while he still cared that it was his car and as such he should be driving it, he figured he would let Tseng think he had won. Just a bit longer.
Shaking his head he pressed the down button for the elevator and propped himself against the wall as if bored. "As you wish."
Tseng Tseng caught the glare he'd been expecting - well-deserved and long past due - and had to fight to keep the smile from his face once again. To be painstakingly truthful, Tseng had been afflicted with a niggling doubt over the past few days that he'd gone too far, crossed over some invisible line in the unwritten rules of the game. But then...there had been that picture. Rufus had started it. He considered reassuring his friend of the car's immaculate state of being - Tseng was not so foolish as to jeopardize the car in any way, personal relationships aside - but he thought it might come across as disingenuous. Unnecessary, to boot. It would be like trying to make himself feel better for something that was a perfectly natural retaliation...
Right, he was officially overthinking it.
Tseng shook his head and crossed his arms, standing, out of habit, next to the President like a particularly intimidating shadow. This was exactly the reason they needed to get out of the office. While most of the Turks were given to playing as hard as they worked, Tseng himself often found it a hassle to work up the urge to actually get up and go out. So, he made Rufus do it too, and at least then he could tell himself he was helping his friend. Which, in a way, he hoped he was.
The soft ding of the elevator doors disrupted Tseng's thoughts. He waited for Rufus to leave before exiting behind him, another small vestigal quirk leftover from where Tseng tried to separate his personal and professional lives. Normally wherever they went, people recognised Rufus Shinra and one of his Turks, but occasionally he'd open a door for the President without thinking about it and get a raised eyebrow, or the knowing looks from women that made Rufus howl once they were back in the car.
One day, he was just going to let Rufus walk into the damned door, and see how funny he thought that was.
Tseng's shoulders twitched impatiently under his black coat as they followed the narrow hallway leading to the parking lot underneath the Shinra building. He pulled open the door...tch - and made a face.
"I hope you're not going to sulk the whole way there. No one's going to give free pie to a face like that."
Rufus: Rufus attempted to pace himself on the seemingly long walk from the somewhat stifling confines of that elevator to the door which would lead to where his car was seemingly being stored. Tried to pace himself because he couldn't make it too, too obvious that the disappearing vehicle bothered him that much. Even though it was perhaps a bit too apparent just from the aura he radiated. Muted anger. Nervousness.
Certainly Tseng would have taken care of the car. He wouldn't do anything deliberately and he was beyond careful. Rufus just didn't trust other people. And what if they had done something to the restored Coeurl? Not that damages couldn't be fixed, just that it would be an inconvenience. And it wouldn't be the same. What if there was a dent? Someone had broken a window? What if it was... dirty?
Rufus had to consciously slow his pace, finding that he was starting to leave Tseng behind. He had to hand it to the man, though. It was a good prank. It had definitely gotten to him. And... it had managed to get his mind off other things. At least a little. Crossing his arms in front of his chest he stopped, watching the Turk make his way toward the garage door.
He was slightly amused -- as he generally was, when Tseng opened the door. But why bother saying it wasn't necessary? Rufus was partly curious when the habit would die out entirely. And who was he to stop him anyway?
He seemed to perk up at the mentioning of pie, however. Which had really been a quick save on Tseng's part because he had been on the verge of growling animal-like at the accusation of him 'sulking.' Rufus wasn't sulking. He was merely deep in thought. A man of his status had many things to think of. Like a corporation. Electricity for all. The possible end of the world. Which Rufus knew the older man entirely understood. It would just be entirely too bizarre if they were polite to each other all the time. Saying nice things. What would they do next? Have heart-to-heart conversations? Hug?
Perhaps that would rid him of a pocket-full of number scrawled cocktail napkins but... the scandal!
He stepped through the door. "So we're making an entire night out of it then? Pie..."
He trailed off, taking off toward his car, legs almost seeming to move of their own accord. He hadn't bothered to check on it, though he knew it would be down here. As if Tseng could resist the urge to drive it to work. But it was in good shape. Even appeared to be clean. And so he could feel himself calm slightly. His blood pressure probably returned to somewhat normal levels as well.
With a sigh he swept a hand over the top, feeling only a slight amount of dirt on its white surface and chalking that up to a day's worth of driving to work. And then he realized that he was on the driver's side and shook his head. Might as well. There would be no use arguing over this request. He walked around the front and entered the passenger side.
Tseng: For a moment, Tseng felt almost obligated to give in to Rufus's obvious wish to drive the car. It was absurd, entirely, the way - some of the ways - he'd gone soft. Most likely it was a result of not having done field work in a long while. The Turks called him on his icy demeanor more often than not, but Tseng couldn't help feeling as though he'd...mellowed, somewhat. It was a distressing thought.
Then again, this was Rufus and an unofficial war between friends. To apply the same principles he used in more serious matters with the Turks would just be foolish.
Tseng got into the driver's side of the car, feeling suddenly uncomfortable with an audience, and very uncomfortable with it being Rufus. If he made the slightest mistake... Well. It was just that much more important not to make mistakes, then.
"I thought that seemed like the preferable option." Tseng clicked his seatbelt in, went to adjust the rearview mirror and then thought better of it. He glanced sidelong at Rufus, knowing full well how his friend felt about pie. "If you like, that is."
Feeling uncomfortably twenty again, and learning to drive a company car with Veld in the passenger seat, Tseng started up the engine. He was a careful driver by nature, deliberate and cautious, but there were other people on the road he had no control over, and imagining the look on Rufus's face if his car got hit was something Tseng didn't dare meditate on. It was too terrible.
Although then he would most certainly be getting some field work done.
"I thought about going to Costa, but I haven't been able to find the button for the amphibious features yet."
Joking about the car was probably not the most welcome of conversation, but it felt righter than ignoring the figurative elephant between them, and watching Rufus pretend like he wasn't amused was one of Tseng's favourite pastimes. Right under drinking coffee, and raiding the Presidential fridge.
Paying more attention to traffic lights than he might normally have, Tseng turned the car to the left, following the green-and-white posted signs that read Kalm.
Rufus: Rufus snapped on his own seatbelt, tugging the restraining material with perhaps a more obvious look of disdain than he wanted to show. Sitting on the passenger side was... odd to say the least. But it would be childish to raise a fit over how the seatbelt felt over his shoulder so he sat back and attempted to make the best of it. Eventually he would get the car back. Maybe if Tseng got drunk enough...
No. Somehow the Turk held his liquor far better that Rufus ever did. No matter how much he managed to eat afterwards. Tseng also sobered up faster. It was almost creepy.
"I'm the one being kidnapped here, Tseng. Or have you forgotten how this works?"
He smirked, despite his obvious state of wariness and leaned against the window, arm up by the glass. Things were going alright at that moment. Even though he could tell that Tseng had adjusted driver's seat to accommodate slight height differences, the car seemed just as pristine inside as it did outside. Still, he couldn't help but sit rigid and on alert in his seat as they left the vicinity of Edge and pulled onto a highway.
Seeing no one else on the road, Rufus somehow managed to pull himself back and glance toward his all too amused friend. Costa would have been nice but it was a ways away. And... would most likely be a bit too bustling for his tastes that night. He raked fingers through blond hair absently and glanced out the window then back. "Well, they said that the car's chassis would most likely rust in spots if I had that installed..."
Upon entering Kalm proper, Rufus couldn't help affecting a sneer. Because, of all the things that Rufus found amusing, giving Tseng a hard time was somewhere in the top three. "Tch. Backwater Kalm? Oh, Tseng... you take me to the nicest places," he monotoned with a flick of his wrist and a roll of his eyes for added, dramatic effect.
Not that he had a problem with Kalm.
Tseng: Tseng sighed, affecting a weary, hard done by expression as he slid a hand down the steering wheel to turn.
"The kidnapped can't be choosers."
He smirked at Rufus, who was sullenly leaning against the window, though to be fair he was taking it much better than Tseng had anticipated. Not exactly one to push his luck, Tseng began silently calculating how soon he could give the car back without making it seem like he'd given in. It wouldn't do, after all, to give the President bragging rights. It might inflate his ego.
Well, might was something of an understatement.
"Why must you always demean my decisions in public?" He cast a glance around, as though any potential passersby on the street could see anything through the custom tinted glass. Ignoring small details such as this, Tseng rolled his eyes in an overdramatic display of exasperation.
"Fine. Next time we'll go to the Gold Saucer. I hear they have fireworks," he added, making a face. It was nice as a change, a break in the mundane, but given the choice Tseng would take a small, local pub over a glitzy, noisy place like the Gold Saucer any day. He liked the quiet. He liked the lack of strange women in stranger clothes. He liked the ambiance.
...Mostly he liked the quiet.
Carefully, Tseng turned the car into a parking lot behind Kalm's nearest and cleanest watering hole. He made sure to pull in at least two spaces from everyone else, using the relative sense of unease radiating off of Rufus to tell whenever he was skating on thin ice. It was only fortunate the radio hadn't been turned on, really. Tseng had a feeling that Rufus's tentative good mood may well and truly have vaporised like fog on the ocean upon discovering all his radio presets had been changed.
Rufus: Rufus rolled his eyes but was unable to completely mask his amusement. Sure he had his... opinions concerning Kalm and its people, but a bar was a bar when it came down to it. And he really, mostly just wanted to drink and not deal with much else. A small town would mean a smaller crowd on a weeknight which would mean fewer insipid morons to bother him. Sure the locale might be old and a bit countryish but... after the first few drinks he would probably care a bit less.
And no matter what his personal views on Gold Saucer were, he was simply not in the mood for it. It would be too loud and cheerful. Saucer had become so much more family oriented over the years. He almost yearned for the days of fedoras and lounge singers.
"Are you certain you're not just bitter because you can't handle the big-kid rides?" Rufus smirked which, again shattered the image of misery he was attempting to hold onto. Then again, he had been cooped up in his office for far too long and human interaction -- even in the middle of their self described "war" was strangely welcome. As was fresh air. Or at least minimally polluted air.
So maybe Tseng was right and he did need to get out more. So what?
After shooting several icy glares to his friend, willing him to park the car where he thought best, they were finally parked in front of a pub Rufus had been to a few times, but not anytime recently. Not a bad place but being president he had been to better. Closing the door behind him, he did a quick perimeter check, making sure that nothing was going to roll down the hill and hit the car and that Tseng had not parked it anywhere near anything that looked suspicious. "I suppose that's alright. Could have pulled the front a bit more to the left. Shouldn't be a problem though."
And then he turned on his heel, amusement flickering in his eyes as he followed the path of cobblestones and cigarette smoke toward the bar's entrance.
Tseng: Tseng made sure the car was locked on all sides before following after Rufus at a leisurely pace, not in any rush to hurry and catch up. They weren't on the clock, after all, and danger was unlikely to be lurking in the alley next to the bar. Prostitutes maybe, but not danger.
"Those cars are unsafe, I don't care what anyone says." Tseng stamped firmly on the instinct to step around Rufus and open the door. "Do you know how many times those cables have snapped?" He knew it sounded a bit silly, but when you were the one in charge of the cover-ups, he figured it was only understandable to be a bit more paranoid than the average person. It was never exactly publicized when the rides at the Gold Saucer broke down. Several overenthusiastic reporters had had to learn that the hard way, some years ago. Privately, Tseng missed the way it had been in the beginning. Air thick with smoke and shady characters. Gambling. Card games.
A decided absence of moogles.
He filed in the door behind Rufus, leaving the faint grey light of the outside behind. Inside the bar it was dark, and smelled pervasively of cigarettes and some miscellaneous alcohol. In the corner, a faded and faintly grimy-looking jukebox resolutely flooded its music into the air over the loud chatter of patrons sitting at tables and the bar counter. It was not exactly Midgar-chic, or even Edge-chic, Tseng corrected himself. Still...
"Still, it's better than that place in Costa with the donkey," he smiled, purposely optimistic because he knew it irritated Rufus, and then cheerfully elbowed his friend in the side.
It had been a long week, after all, and even Tseng couldn't keep up his professional demeanor for always. Even during a time of 'war.'
Rufus: Rufus shrugged, eyebrows raised, "You could keep it down. Someone might hear you and then what would happen?" Not that anyone would be listening to Tseng's ravings about the safety standard -- or lack thereof, in the "Happiest Place on Gaia," but... just to be cautious. "Besides. No one has ever died in Saucer. That one isn't a lie. We make sure of it." And that wasn't a lie. Technically. One could certainly bleed all over the Speed Square and not die, after all.
Even if they died out somewhere in Corel it wasn't Saucer or Shinra's fault. And the settlements tended to be so inviting that family would never dream of suing.
Hiding his amusement at opening his own door -- or rather at the way Tseng stood idly by, taking his time, Rufus pushed through the small nighttime crowd. It was just as he had imagined it. But figuring he wouldn't care much in the long run, he made little show of his distastes, other than wrinkling his nose slightly at the smell of cheap second-hand smoke.
And... someone could have picked better music.
Tseng had probably really brought him to Kalm just to piss him off. Rufus sighed, thrusting his hands in his pockets, glancing toward his friend with a raised eyebrow when he felt a poke to his ribs.
"Did you ever figure out why that donkey was there? Because I am still quite confused." He shook his head and pinched the bridge of his nose, then ambled toward the faux-wood bar, grimacing at the feeling of -- was that particle-board? -- underneath his fingertips. Staring at the bottles behind the counter, and thankful that quite a few of them were still quality, he thought about it a while. What did he want. And did it really matter all that much? He got the bartender's attention -- not altogether too difficult being who he was.
"Surprise me. Just make sure there's no tequila."
That would be sure to take care of his sudden bout of indecision. And his sobriety.
Tseng: "I think he was the mascot." Tseng glanced around the bar as he replied, taking a quick catalogue of its patrons. Most seemed harmless, or as harmless as people who frequented a bar on weekdays could seem, but it was better to be safe than sorry. Besides, he didn't have the energy for any kind of altercations at the moment, being on a strictly rationed diet of coffee. If anyone started something, he would just have to kill them, and then Rufus would probably end up with blood on his coat, and he would never hear the end of it.
Much better, then, to make sure there was no one near to start trouble in the first place.
"I'll have a vodka tonic," he said to the bartender, not bothering to wave his attention over a second time. Out-of-towners often treated Turks with some strange mixture of respect and fear. The most-preferred method seemed to be to act as though they weren't there at all, as though the Turks were like the boogeyman who couldn't see you if you couldn't see them. Tseng had complained about this initially, loudly and to anyone who would listen, but eventually he'd grown used to it. In time, he'd come to appreciate how much easier it made the job. It was remarkable what you could get done, when people looked the other way.
He gave Rufus an amused look, surprised at his nonchalance. Generally, the President tended towards complete surety as to what he was after, and woe betide the bartender who made it wrong. "Feeling lucky, are we?"
What he really meant to say was that Rufus had needed this more than he'd thought, if he was playing fast and loose with the drink orders, but it had never seemed polite for Tseng to call attention to what Rufus did or didn't need. So long as he got it, what was the point in talking about it?
Tseng folded his arms on the bar counter, watching the drinks being made with idle interest.
Rufus: "I am unsure how I feel about a braying hoofed animal being mascot. Then again I suppose they may have a slight difference of opinion. Perhaps culturally speaking." By now, knowing Tseng, he would be subtly checking the area, making sure everything was safe. Just as he always did. And while Rufus was often of the opinion that he could take care of himself, at least to a certain degree, it was somewhat... comforting, he supposed. At least he could get the slight wariness of being stabbed with a broken bottle out of his head. And two was so much better than one in a fight. Sure his shotgun was back in the office, but he still had his Outsider. Not that anyone with half a brain would bother giving them trouble. Even drunk.
It was slightly amusing the way townsfolk seemed to straighten their posture when the two of them entered the bar.
Rufus smirked at the bartender's quickness of pace as he almost seemed to juggle a bottle of premium vodka, gin, and vermouth. He was most likely trying to figure exactly which drink to make first. The President's or the one who could kill him before he even knew it was coming. Choices. No, this was more than amusing.
"Lucky?" He gave Tseng a knowing look before watching as the bartender stirred up a martini cocktail, dropping both an olive and a wedge of lemon into the drink, and he remembered reading somewhere that it was the drink of the house. Though there were better out there. No matter. He shrugged a little. "I suppose if one takes into account the flow of things, my luck should be turning up."
The drinks served, he gave the bartender a curt nod before taking a sip of the martini. The vermouth could have been smoother, but as drinks went it wasn't bad per se. Still, he couldn't help make a face as he downed the first mouthful.
"I would toast to something, but I'm afraid I'm fresh out of ideas."
Tseng: Tseng nodded to the bartender as he handed off his drink. Occasionally, usually in the less-savoury parts of town, he was served first just out of being the most immediately feared. Of late, however, it seemed that most people had come to realise that Rufus pulled the strings, and so they tripped over their feet trying to get him what he wanted as quickly as possible. It was rather amusing, in a sad sort of way.
Tseng took a sip of his drink and swallowed, thinking of something that they could toast to. It was more difficult than it should have been. He didn't want to say the wrong thing, and inadvertantly effect a sea of change in his companion's mood, but then it shouldn't seem as though he was trying to keep everything cheery.
This is stupid, Tseng thought. Aloud, he said: "To luck, then. If it doesn't turn up, we can hunt it down and chain it to a wall."
Smiling sunnily at a group of nearby people who'd fallen conspicuously silent over this last, Tseng took another large sip of his drink. "Or we could toast to my spectacular wartime victory," he amended, needling Rufus purposely to get his attention. The President slipped too easily into thoughtful brooding when one wasn't careful.
Rufus: Hah. The more Rufus thought of chaining luck to a wall the more it sounded like a very good... very therapeutic option. If it had actually been an option, that was. Alas, all he could do was grab ahold of his luck whenever possible and ride out what came his way from other people. Which was all easier said than done. People were so unpredictable. Still, he toasted, sipping the martini and considering what his next drink would be. Took another sip...
Only to nearly choke on it, not having expected that one on the part of the Turk. Then again, he knew he should have. As if Tseng could dance around the issue of the car for more than five minutes. Downing another sip in an attempt not to cough, he shot the other man a cool glare. "You know. I was merely kidding when I brought up toasting something. I was being sarcastic."
Well, he had been. For the most part. The glass was promptly drained and thunked on the table, the olive plucked from the remains of vermouth and gin. Rufus had always preferred green olives over cocktail onions.
"And you did not win this war for it is far from over. No." He shook his head for added effect. "You won a battle. And sure it was an excellent win, but this is not over. Not by a long shot. In a million years. Not if Meteor was falling down on us this very instant." Figuring he should shut up while he was ahead lest people think he was angry... or drunk despite the calm way in which he said the words, he turned back to the general direction of the bartender. The martini was alright, but he was in the mood for something... rum-based.
Sitting back a little after ordering a Hurricane, Rufus turned back to his friend, looking as collected as he usually did. "Drink faster. You're going to make me look like some alcoholic here."