Chapter One: The Assignment
Reno headed down the hallway toward Tseng's office, completely unconcerned about why he'd been suddenly summoned. He assumed he was probably in trouble… again… but nothing truly bad had ever really happened to him as a result.
Sure, he smoked in the elevators and the men's room…. And the break room. Yes, he did tend to fall asleep at his desk in the late afternoon. Once in a while, he downloaded a little… entertainment to his office computer while on the clock. And fine, he did sometimes show up in the morning still closer to drunk than hung over. He was often late, he'd never quite grasped the dress code in almost a decade, and he swore and made crude jokes no matter who was in earshot. He'd even been caught a few times in… delicate situations… with various female members of the staff, but surely everyone else thought that was as funny as he did and was happy for him! Besides, he was a highly valuable member of the team, and he was confident that Tseng and the others would be utterly lost and heartbroken without him.
And so it was that he strolled casually into his boss's office upon finding the door open, not even bothering to feign politeness. He slumped unceremoniously into the chair before him, drumming his fingers on the polished desktop when Tseng continued to ignore his presence. He seemed to be engrossed in reading something on his computer monitor, and Reno began to fidget with boredom. He finally craned his neck, trying to see what was so interesting, and began to hum a tune without realizing it.
"Do you mind?"
Reno blinked, almost not realizing he'd been spoken to. Tseng hadn't so much as shifted his gaze or changed expressions, but he definitely sounded annoyed.
"Er, sorry," he said with a shrug, leaning back into the chair and beginning to swivel from side to side. Why the hell was it so important that he walk all the way to the end of the hallway in such a damn hurry just to sit here and wait? He sighed loudly, wishing he could have a cigarette. He wondered if Tseng would really mind, fidgeting with the lighter inside his pocket. He quickly decided against it, recalling the Wutaiin's strong aversion to the habit. It was kind of his office, after all.
After what felt like hours to Reno, he was relieved when his boss finally turned off his monitor, shook his head, and leaned back in his chair. Somehow, he looked more stern and serious than usual, and Reno swallowed a bit nervously. He tried his best to remember what he might have done recently to earn the older man's wrath, but nothing came to mind other than a scene from a porn movie he'd watched the night before. Ooh, that had been a good one… Perhaps he'd watch it again that evening.
"I assume you know why you're here."
Reno frowned. He briefly wondered what would be the correct answer. Should he nod and smile, and say he knew exactly why, or be truthful for once? He had a feeling he was screwed either way.
"You really don't have any idea, do you." It wasn't a question.
Reno giggled nervously, shifting in his seat. "Nope. Not a clue."
Tseng sighed in frustration. "I think it is fair to say that I'm a very patient man," he began, regarding his underling closely. "Would you not agree with that statement?"
"Absolutely!" Reno exclaimed a bit too quickly, realizing a little late that he probably should have started groveling the moment he walked in the door. "You're the best boss anyone could ever have!"
Tseng rolled his eyes. "Save it, Reno… I have an assignment for you."
"Oh… you do?" he asked hopefully, relaxing a little. Maybe he wasn't in trouble after all. Reno loved going out on assignments, since anything was better than sitting around the office and doing paperwork or other boring shit. He briefly wondered why Rude, his usual partner, wasn't there as well, but figured maybe this was a rare solo gig.
"It is a very important… special assignment," Tseng continued, nodding seriously when he saw that he had Reno's full attention. "I selected you to handle it personally."
Reno sat up a bit straighter in his chair, suddenly wishing he'd made a better effort to look professional that day. Damn, there was even a stain from yesterday's lunch right in the middle of his white shirt. He casually pulled his jacket closed, hoping Tseng hadn't seen it.
"You can count on me, sir!" he said confidently, feeling rather important. Clearly, his boss thought he was the most talented member of the Turks and was about to make use of his skills in an appropriate manner.
Tseng actually grinned, and Reno found himself smiling back like a fool… though for some reason a shiver ran down his spine. Maybe it was because Tseng rarely smiled while at work, and he suddenly felt a little suspicious.
"Excellent… Now, before I give you your orders, I'd like to explain why I selected you to handle this mission."
Reno sat up even straighter and folded his hands in his lap so he wouldn't fidget. Aah, here it was, finally… his moment in the sun. The moment that Tseng would sing his praises and tell him how amazing an employee he was, and that he was still his favorite Turk regardless of who he might be sleeping with after hours. Maybe he'd even be giving him a bonus, or better yet, a raise! Awesome! Reno's mind began to drift a bit as he thought of all the things he could buy, but his boss' voice quickly brought him back.
"I overlook a lot of things," Tseng was saying, his voice devoid of the praise Reno had been expecting. "I pretend not to notice your six separate daily violations of our dress code." He paused, looked Reno over for a moment, and sighed with disdain. "Make that seven. You may think I lack a sense of smell, but I know you smoke in the building, and that 'smoke breaks' make up approximately 23% of your work day."
Uh-oh. This doesn't sound like a good thing…
"You were late clocking in 76% of the time over the last six months," his boss continued, his tone as flat as if he were reading from a grocery list. "You take longer lunch breaks than anyone else, and you often return smelling of alcohol. And I had a wonderful time trying to explain to Rufus why there was over five hundred gil in pornography downloaded to our floor's computers recently."
Reno was squirming now, beginning to sweat and tugging at his open collar as Tseng's dark eyes burned into him across the desk. "Er… Oops?"
"I ignored all of those things and more, because I do genuinely like you, and you are a talented and valuable Turk when you care to be. But this…" He paused, reaching down to retrieve something from inside his desk drawer. "This I cannot ignore."
Reno immediately burst out laughing as Tseng firmly placed a very large, flesh colored dildo onto his desktop and quickly withdrew his hand as if disgusted. Somehow, his expression never wavered. He really was pro at that…
With tears streaming down his cheeks, Reno tried in vain to get a hold of himself, but the more seriously Tseng stared at him, the harder he laughed. He hastily raised a hand to wipe at his eyes, his shoulders shaking with hysterics.
"Sorry… I'm sorry!" he gasped between giggles. "Hahahahaha!"
"I take it you recognize this item, then?"
Reno only laughed harder.
"It seems Elena found it in her desk this morning," Tseng was explaining. Reno could barely concentrate as he continued to giggle and choke for air. The very absurdity of the realistic-looking sex toy sitting atop Tseng's immaculate desk was hilarious in and of itself. "She was highly offended and used a fingerprinting kit on it to determine its origins, and guess whose prints she found?"
"Mine!" Reno exclaimed proudly, eager to claim his handiwork. All thoughts of being scolded had fled his mind as he pictured Elena's face upon finding the gift. "But… oh man! Of course she'd have to be the only woman alive who would take a perfectly good dildo and fingerprint the fucking thing! Hahaha!"
"Were you trying to imply that she might be in need of such an item, Reno?"
Reno suddenly stopped laughing at the change in Tseng's tone. It had suddenly gone even more serious, and more than a little cold. He was tilting his head slightly, his harsh gaze causing Reno to cringe in his chair as he realized exactly what he had done.
Oh shit. I gave a giant dildo to my boss's girlfriend…
He had only wanted to horrify and embarrass Elena, who he taunted the way one might torment a younger sister. He didn't realize that by doing so, he was inadvertently insulting the manhood of her lover. Who just so happened to be his boss.
"Oh shit! Sir! That is totally not what I-"
"Because I can assure you, she definitely does not require a silly little thing like this."
Reno's jaw dropped open, and he could have sworn Tseng was trying not to laugh as he gingerly lifted the object and deposited it noisily into the trashcan beneath his desk. Reno's face flushed very red, and he fought with all his might to keep certain unwanted mental images out of his mind. His boss' eyes were definitely shining with enjoyment at his discomfort, and the corners of his mouth twitched ever so slightly. At that moment, Reno felt like cornered prey.
"Sir, really, I am so sorry," Reno stumbled, holding up both hands in a show of peace. "I forgot that she's- I mean, I really, really did not mean to imply anything like that! I didn't even think about it!"
Tseng slowly shook his head, though he still looked smug. "That is your problem, Reno. You never think before you do things. Maybe this assignment will help you remember to do so next time."
Reno swallowed nervously, having forgotten all about the promised assignment by then. Well, he supposed it served him right, whatever it was, and at least it would get him out of the office and away from Tseng so he could go peacefully die of embarrassment elsewhere. And hopefully stop thinking about that.
"Okay… what is it?" he asked with a bit of nervousness, feeling unusually humbled. He slouched down into his seat like a scolded child in the principle's office, awaiting his punishment. How bad could it be? He'd been reprimanded plenty of times in the past, and it was never that big of a deal. So he'd go somewhere unpleasant, probably have to put in some over time, and then be done with it. Big deal. Tomorrow was another day.
"Rufus is having a few issues and needs one of my most trusted employees to escort a member of his family to an appointment," Tseng said, retrieving a few pages of typed instructions from a nearby folder. Reno tried hard not to smirk in victory. Tseng thought that was punishment? Ha! Tomorrow, he'd make sure he left Elena a vibrator.
Reno only nodded, trying to keep the relief and amusement from his face.
"Head over to Rufus' penthouse immediately so you will not be late, as this particular doctor is very punctual and will not tolerate it," Tseng said, handing over the papers and already turning back to his monitor. He switched it on and didn't look up again, clearly considering the conversation to be over.
"Yes, sir," Reno said, rising and turning to leave the office. He had reached the doorway before he finally looked down at the assignment in his hands. When he did so, he nearly walked into the wall, his eyes almost falling out of his head in horror.
"When: 11:45 a.m.
Where: Upper Midgar Veterinary Hospital
Patient: Dark Nation Shin-ra
((Author's Notes: Yep, have definitely finally lost my mind deciding to actually write this... haha. I was inspired by a real-life trip to the vet with my own dogs, as well as chatting with ffnet author Sinii about various pet-related fic ideas we have. So this story is dedicated to her with love (She wrote me a gift fic about Seph and his pet bunny, Lapin, in exchange! Go read it, it's adorable!). I am a professional dog groomer, and so an expert on everything a dog can and will do when upset or stressed to make your life hell. Look out, Reno! Not sure how long this'll be, but probably around four chapters of similar length to this one. Hope you got a laugh out of it! If so, please leave a review and let me know... I have a feeling some of the comments are gonna be hilarious. Thank you very much for your time and support! ~ JenesisX))