Yuffie was excited as she practically bounced up the stairs inside the old building, feeling quite full of herself. Finally, she had been assigned to do something other than standing around guarding a location where nothing ever happened. Well, except that one time… Maybe Vincent was finally starting to trust her after all. Perhaps he'd even treat her like a real member of the security team if she did a good job!
She grinned at the thought, tightly clutching a piece of paper in one small hand. She was going to show everyone that she was a responsible adult now, and that she could handle important assignments like this one. Reaching the top of the stairs, she paused on the small landing and looked back and forth between the two doors. She wasn't sure who lived where, but supposed it didn't really matter. She had orders for all of them.
Clearing her throat, trying to stand taller than she was and putting on what she hoped was an authoritative expression, Yuffie knocked three times on one of the doors. She then took a few steps to the left and did the same on the second. She quickly returned to the center of the landing, trying not to fidget as she waited.
There were heavy footsteps to her right, and after some fumbling on the opposite side the door slowly creaked opened. A moment later, Yuffie's jaw dropped and her eyes almost popped out of her head.
Standing in the doorway, his long hair loose and hanging messily into his face, Reno blinked at her sleepily as if he didn't recognize her at first. What was disturbing was the fact that he was wearing nothing but a pair of blue boxer shorts and a single white sock.
"Huh?" he mumbled, finally managing to focus his eyes on her.
"Oh gods, gross! Go put some clothes on! Yuck!"
Reno blinked and looked down at himself as if he hadn't realized he was nearly naked. "Oh, sorry, heh… You woke me up."
"It's after eight… You guys knew what time you started work today!"
Reno grumbled something under his breath and wandered back into the apartment to get dressed, pushing the door part-way closed behind him. At least she hoped that's what he was doing.
Yuffie had almost forgotten about the door across the hallway when she heard it open, jumping a bit with surprise. Reno had definitely screwed up her concentration… Dammit, she was not going to let him mess this up for her! To her great relief, when Tseng and Elena stepped out into the hallway, they were both completely dressed and obviously ready for the day. They still looked so weird to her out of their old uniforms…
"Oh, thank the gods. At least you guys didn't come to the door naked," Yuffie said, grinning a bit. She watched the couple exchange curious glances out of the corners of their eyes. A moment later, Rude emerged from the apartment Reno had reentered, also fully clothed and already wearing his sunglasses. Yuffie wasn't quite sure what to do while they stood around waiting for Reno, feeling awkward and unsure of herself. She hardly knew any of them, and considering what her purpose was that day, she doubted they would want to socialize with her beforehand. She began to nervously tap one foot, pretending to read over the instructions in her hand and hoping she appeared completely at ease.
Thankfully, Reno soon rejoined them, now wearing a wrinkled gray t-shirt and worn jeans with a large hole at one knee. His red hair had clearly not been brushed, but was instead pulled messily into a ponytail at the base of his neck. His sunglasses rested atop his head, and he was already in the process of finishing a cigarette. Yuffie cleared her throat, quickly looking over the small group before consulting the orders she held.
"Okay… Rude and Elena, you guys are going to meet Aeris outside the florist shop and help her plant some flowers around the base for spring," Yuffie said, trying to make her voice sound more mature. "Reno and Tseng, you'll come with me and take care of this list of tasks Cloud wrote up for you."
"Wait, what? I have to stay with you all day?" Reno exclaimed, his blue eyes wide. "Are you kidding me? That's not fair!"
"Those are the orders Vincent gave me," Yuffie said, putting her hands on her hips and glaring at the redhead. What was his freaking problem with her, anyway?
"How come Rude gets to go hang out with Aeris and do easy stuff? That's bullshit."
Yuffie shrugged, smirking a bit at his displeasure. "I dunno, I didn't make the orders. I'm just following 'em!"
Rude grinned widely at his friend. "Stop your whining," he said, looking quite smug. "I'm sure you guys will have a great time together."
"Like hell! Dude, come on. Trade me!"
"No way… I like to garden," Rude replied seriously. Soon, everyone was gaping at him. He folded his arms across his broad chest, glaring down at them from his superior height. "Is there something wrong with that?" Elena tried to smother a giggle by covering her mouth with one hand while Reno snickered at his friend.
"Not at all, honey," Reno joked. "Go have fun with the other girls."
"Hey, fuck you. You're just jealous…"
Reno pouted. Tseng, at least, remained stoic and didn't so much as say a word. Yuffie was relieved. She had a feeling dealing with Reno was going to be hard enough. She was grateful to Vincent for the way he had divided the group, though for just a moment, she contemplated the benefits of allowing Reno to actually switch places with Rude. She'd much prefer the presence of the large, quiet bald man to his annoying friend. But she was not about to let Reno have his way and quickly pushed the thought from her mind. Orders were orders, after all.
"But… but… I'm pregnant?" Reno said with a hopeful grin, making one last attempt to get out of his assignment. Elena punched him in the arm and he winced, frowning as he rubbed the spot. "Ow…"
"Come on, Turkeys," Yuffie said with a gesture toward the exit, rolling her eyes and trotting down the stairs. "We've got work to do!"