Sitting in an office, doing paperwork. Hearing Rufus Shinra’s name. Working for a company, working for anyone. One good thing came of Tseng’s pain, his isolation, his struggles. He might still bow to the name Scum of the Planet if it was given him, but something in that moment struck him, a memory, and he rejected it so cleanly and effortlessly that there is a revolution going on in his spirit.
For better or worse, he has a way he does things now, and he can no longer pretend to do it any other way.
He doesn’t bow to anyone. He doesn’t follow orders. He doesn’t pretend. He does.
If I was to be entirely honest, there’s an image that unfolded so swiftly, so naturally in my mind following those uttered words of his that it would probably shock you; shock most.
Of Tseng standing, taking a match off his person, and lighting the paper on fire. Dropping it to the desk, stepping around the desk, heading for the door, telling Reno: “Follow me only if you want to.” Leaving. Awakening his Materia and setting fire to the halls as he went, setting fire to everything. Burning it all. Razing it to the ground without the single flutter of a lash, without the palest shadow of hesitation, without a single sense of regret. Take it all down. Clean the slate, kill the vines, leave the roots for now, sending them a message.
Of revolution. Of freedom. For them all.
Tseng is not the same man that he once was. He will only do things his way. If it means he must do it alone, so be it.
Though I have not had the chance to truly let him breathe and move as of late, this is my Tseng. Standing in the streets, watching the building burn, utterly calm.
Oh, child, I could laugh. I do, I do, because this story is one I’ve heard countless times before. Self-damnation from the people who’d fantasise about the grave and the circle of hell they’d committed themselves to. People who’d paint their eyes red with the blood of their own hearts and dangle decades of practiced distain from the corners of their lips to say, I am so cold, I am so apathetic, I am not alive I am alone fear me leave me hate me I am nothing I am a monster a monster I will eat you whole and leave you bare boned under your cloak of kindness destroyed I am-
Et cetera, et cetera.
And, you know, the struggle simply fascinates me. What should I call it, the- introspection of a self-made villain? The turmoil of a two-faced mind? The stress fractures in imperfect crystal, the nervous facial tic in the dark. Child, child, you have seen and done terrible things, but you are also pleading and desperate for judgement. You would wear the crimson on your back if you could, paint a target on your chest with the innocents you have slaughtered, shuffle on your knees with clasped hands for the retribution you think you deserve and which doesn’t come, or come too rarely, gently, belated, serving only to cripple and maim, rather than kill.
Which is a pity, because that’s where your interest lies, isn’t it? The kill. The dark. The hole in your soul, the blunt of your nature, unfulfilled by goodness, by forgiveness, by love and understanding and all the fickle, insubstantial, unreliable emotions those creatures of light seem to emanate so easily. No, no glory, no praise, no warmth for you - only fuel for the hellfire; you’d consume it all and use it to scorch those calm, happy people who’d dared to approach you as if you were one of their own. What you want, what you will have, is not in their power to grant. No. No, of course not. And all the worse for them, if they believe they can change you, give you a source of sustenance that would numb the ever-persistent, gnawing craving for-
Am I wrong? Tell me.
I’ve watched things struggle with the essence of their own existence before, and they all sing this tune. I’ve hummed a few broken notes myself. I’ve been marred and defeated, and I have killed, and killed, and killed. That’s the life I chose, but the path seems to sit better with me than you. You think your heart is made of ice, encased in a statue waiting for the inevitable decay, but you rage against it all the same. You can cut up your face, destroy your frame, and still not quench that well of feeling you profess is not there. You are a void, an inverted shadow, and you want everyone to know your bad deeds, so you can justify the singularity, justify the desire to be elsewhere, justify letting go instead of clinging to a world that isn’t yours - has never been and will never be yours.
And that, child - that is what I find so attractive in you. That is why I care. I am here to watch you burn. Not by another’s torch, but your own. In time, you will tear yourself apart, and I will be there to measure the pieces.
So, Tseng, keep it up. You have one accomplice, at the very least, who is no liar, who is devoid of affection. But I will be here until the end, to see the agonal gasps of the bird with no wings. I have not forgotten, and I will not forget.
Monster, child, keep on destroying - I do so love the show. But remember - you have a true fan, a true friend, whether you like it or no.
The light of a passing star gleamed across his eyes, the slow, gentle tug of lips turned upwards at the edges a confirmation. Though hours, days, centuries of time he had passed in dwelt thoughts, therein only the first graces of his life were spent. The man’s heart was in his mind, and likewise he could not live without acknowledging the heart’s vivid pull on his mind. It was a battlefield where rain and cloud was perpetual, where sunlight rarely broke through, where haze and isolation, distance the crowned king, denoted a silent world—a life estranged from the rest of the world.
To what extent he had come to accept this was debatable. Perhaps such answers were never finite, a tangible amount ready to be discerned, calculated, set.
And yet in the face of this note of affinity, this concrete strand that bonded him to a man neither enemy nor ally, he found an unusual, perhaps terrible understanding. There were no veils here. Their eyes were unclouded. Nothing stood between their shared sights.
For the first time, he recognized the being behind the eyes of the man.
And thus he smiled, and it was an emotion as solid as the rooting of an ageless tree. Those words… he could respect. Though, he thought, I do not know if you will enjoy the sight of my life and its paths as much as I might yours, even unto our deaths—however we meet or strive against them. Still, watch if you wish. And take from my burning corpse what you will, for though I cannot be owned, I do not think you the kind of man to care for possessions.
Unless, he thought, your possessions are those that have never been, and never shall be, truly your own. His eyelids narrowed benignly, the reflection of silver in his gaze poignant.
…you have my thanks.
❝ I never thanked you.
All of those years, you took care of me.
I know you loved your work, but I knew you cared for me too.
You didn’t watch over me, only because you had to.
I know part of you enjoyed making sure I was safe from harm.
There isn’t a time with you I have forgotten
There isn’t a time with you I don’t cherish
You were always my best friend.
You will always have a special place in my heart.
I’m just sorry…
I never had the chance to say goodbye. ❞
His head canted to the side, silver-grey eyes catching the sight of a face long familiar. With a quiet blink, the man let a small chuckle hum in the back of his throat, the edge of his lips turning upwards in a fleeting smile.
"It’s been some time," he greeted, lids lifting to again reveal the crescent gleam of mercury. "I’ve been occupied and tethered more than I’d care to admit, but in regards to my health, that has not faltered." There was the usual twisted edge of humor giving wryness to his words, but his eyes were warm.
"It is good to see you again. I hope you’ve been well."
half the world is
d e a d
a l o n e
for just as long
you don’t mind, really.
but then you meet
and the thought of being alone
a g a i n
Lids fall, the closing of the door in finality, silver gaze locked away, silence alone privy to his thoughts. “I am not leaving.”
Well, everything you asked for was handwritten, so no long typed texts for you. As to the “short story” you asked me to write for you, apologies if it seems a little messy or scatter-brained on occasion. I literally wrote it without any planning at all; just sat down and started writing and this is what it became. Even so, I hope you find some pleasure in it. And please let me know if you have difficulty with my handwriting. I will type it all up for you, if you’d like me to. Otherwise~ I hope you enjoy it~ And thanks for asking. <3 This was a lot of fun to do for both you and Cloud~
[ooc] Another transferal of information. Mun-related portions aside, this is being allocated here because of the short story held in the last two scanned pictures. The rest will be a boon alone, I fear. *Chuckles*
☮ : Bedroom/house/living quarters headcanon
So now on to the other part of this answer, from the other prompt this symbol applied to. (Also, as usual, my answers are long.)
[ooc] A transferal of information from my personal. To those interested in some headcanons concerning Tseng’s home, this is a read for you.
[ooc] You’re one to talk, Loki. Those of you interested in the Avengers fandom, this roleplayer is a long-time friend of mine and an absolute plot-demon. I highly recommend hitting them up if you’re interested in any crossovers or AUs, depending on your fandom and character.
Under the cut for long, domestic violence, really crappy home life… and this doesn’t even cover the teen years :D
I tried to convey mixed feelings. Rufus doesn’t want anyone knowing how much his dad means. He justifiably hates his Father. Yet, love is a tricky thing. He can’t escape wanting to be validated. To prove himself worthy. The two men were too different to ever understand each other.
They both are out to cause pain for someone they care about. Yet— the heartbreak is really that they both believe it’s the only way things can be between them.
[ooc: To those who would spare a moment, this is a headcanon worth investing in. One of duality and life-long struggle that both defines Rufus Shinra as a character, giving him purpose, and reflects a very human aspect of his youth—laying roots from where the cold identity blossomed later in life. It’ll be a controversial piece to some, but profound and believable for a man whose character development, it is thought, came very early on in life.
[My thanks for putting up with the ooc posts on the dash.]