shadow_angel79 (shadow_angel79) wrote,

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I was going through my fics and remembered that I had written these quite a while back for a fic challenge. There were originally 10 prompts for this but I ended up only using 6 of them because I wanted them all to go together in a story and the last 4 just didn't fit in anywhere. *shrugs* I'm re-reading them and correcting the errors in it as I go, but the story itself won't be changing. :-)

The fic table was Angst/Tragedy and I wrote a story around Rufus dealing with his mother's death, with Tseng and Rude helping him out. I think that they came out rather well and they are pretty sad; at least I felt bad for Rufus in them anyway. :-)

06. Illness

When he heard the door close in the main room, Rufus dropped the toy he had in his hand and ran to the door. His mother told him that she had somewhere important to go and that he had to stay home. To Rufus, this was unusual since his mother preferred having him with her at all times. Even though a Turk was with him, just as there was one with her, she preferred knowing the whereabouts of her son at all times.

Rufus ran into the living room, the Turk on duty following behind him. When he got there, he stopped dead in his tracks and stared at his mother. He had never seen her without a smile on her face. Today, she looked very sad, almost like the worst thing possible could have happened.

'Mom? Is something the matter?' The youth asked, 'How come I had to stay home and not go with you today? Did you get me something? Or did I do something wrong?'

Elizabeth Shinra snapped herself out of her sad state when she heard her son's voice. She didn't want to overly worry him. She had always been sure to be happy around him; seeing her like this would lead him to believe that something was very wrong.

Not that there wasn't something wrong but she didn't want to dump it on him like this so soon. She wanted to sit down with him and talk about it quietly and try to get him to understand what was going to happen.

Smiling, she walked up to her son and hugged him. 'No sweety, you didn't do anything wrong. I did buy you something though, well kind of anyway.' She went and retrieved the bag by the door and gave it to him. 'It's a new toy for Dark Nation; I thought you'd like to give him a new toy.'

Rufus smiled and pulled out the toy from the bag. 'Thanks mom! I'll give it to him later.'

'Why later? You don't want to play with him right now?' She was hoping that Rufus would go play with Dark Nation. It would at least give her some time to try to think up an explanation that he would understand.

Rufus shook his head. 'No, not right now. I would like to know why couldn't I go with you today first.'

Elizabeth sighed and shook her head. She knew that Rufus would keep asking her until she told him why. Once he wanted an answer to something, he didn't stop until he got it.

Reluctantly, she nodded at her son. 'Alright Rufus, I wanted to talk to you about it after but I guess it's ok to tell you now.' Looking at the two Turks in the room, she addressed each of them. 'Rude, Tseng, could you both wait outside please? I would like to speak to him alone.'

Both Turks nodded, one understanding her request, the other confused. When they were outside the suite, Rude turned to his boss. 'Do you know what she's going to tell him?'

Tseng nodded. 'Yes I do, and I sincerely hope that he'll be able to deal with this without falling apart.'

Realisation hit Rude in that statement. 'She came back from her physician, didn't she.'

'Yes Rude, she did.'

'It wasn't good news, was it.'

'No Rude, it wasn't.'

Rude let the matter go and made himself comfortable on one of the chairs in the hallway until they were asked back into the room.

Rufus watched the two Turks leaving, slightly confused as to why his mother would send them away. She usually didn't mind if one or two of them, especially the two that she just sent out, stayed in the room with them when she talked with him.

'Why did you send them away? There's something wrong, isn't there, and you want to tell me about it alone.'

Elizabeth sat on the sofa and motioned for Rufus to come join her. He walked over to his mother and sat on her lap, waiting for her to talk to him.

'Yes Rufus, something is wrong and I'm not sure how to explain it to you.'

'You can just come right out and tell me, don't run around it. What's the matter? Where did you go that I couldn't go with you?'

'I went to the doctor today. I didn't want you waiting outside in a stuffy waiting room so I decided to ask Rude to keep you company at home.'

Elizabeth could tell that Rufus was working what she said in his head. Even if he was only 9, he was very intelligent and usually figured things out pretty quickly.

'Did you tell the doctor that you still feel sick a lot?'

His mother stared at him in shock for a moment. She thought she managed to completely hide her illness from her son. 'How did you know that I feel sick Rufus?'

'Because you look sick mom. That and I've heard you get sick too.'

'Oh, I'm sorry sweety, I didn't mean to have you hear me. But yes, I told the doctor that I still feel sick a lot.'

Rufus looked up at his mother. 'He either told you that you're going to be sick for a while or you'll get sicker didn't he.'

The fact that he was able to figure it out so fast didn't really surprise her.

'Yes, he did.'

Rufus hung his head, 'Are you going to still be sick, or get sicker?'

'I'll get sicker Rufus. He promised me that he was going to make sure that I felt good enough to take care of you as long as possible.'

Rufus was smart enough to catch on to what his mother meant by that statement. 'You're going to die aren't you and he can't help it can he.'

Elizabeth stared at him for a few moments then put her arms around him and pulled him close. 'I didn't quite want to put it that way, but yes honey, I am.'

Rufus hugged his mother and they stayed that way for a while. Elizabeth was expecting more questions about her illness from him, like how long before she died but she didn't get any. When she looked down at him, she understood why, he had fallen asleep in her arms. She quietly got up and laid him on the couch, gently wiping the tears from his face, then quietly watched him sleep. After kissing him gently on his head, she went back to the door to tell the two Turks that they could come back inside.


01. Death

'We're sorry young sir, but there was nothing we could do to save her.'

Rufus stood quietly in the hallway, in front of the door to the room of his now deceased mother. His eyes were blurred with tears, but he did not let them fall.

The young Turk next to him was unsure of what to do to console the boy. Having run away at a young age, he was never very close with his parents but he knew that the blue eyed boy beside him was as close as a son could be to their mother. To have the person that he depended on die without warning, must be hard for the young Shinra.

'Sir? Would you like to leave or visit your mother one last time?'

The young boy didn't answer him for a while. Finally a small, tired voice answered him. 'I want to see her before I go.'

'Very well sir, would you like to go in alone?'

'Yes. Wait out here until I'm ready to go.'

The Turk nodded and quietly opened the door for the boy. He silently watched Rufus hesitantly enter the room, and watched as Rufus tried to hide his sadness behind a false mask of bravery and indifference. He was thankful that he had glasses hiding his eyes; watching the boy trying to cope with the loss was trying his will to not shed a tear for him. He was sure that was the last thing Rufus wanted to see was a Turk getting teary eyed on his behalf.

Once Rufus was in the room, he shut the door behind him. Now that no one was able to see him, he wanted to act like the 10 year old he was and cry over his loss. He couldn't; he refused. As much as he wanted to, he remembered one of the last conversations that he had with his mother.

'Rufus honey, I promise I'll always protect you, whether you know it or not. But, I'm not going to be around you forever. One day you'll be on your own and I won't be able to comfort you or help you with the things I do now. Promise me though that you will be strong when I'm gone. I know you can do it. I know you can stand on your own two feet and handle yourself. Prove me right and prove your father wrong. You know what your father will do to you if he thinks you're weak.

Proving his father wrong to him meant to stare death in the face and not show that it affected him. He made his way to his mother's body on the bed poking her gently; a childish way of proving to himself that she was really gone. Realizing that she truly wasn't coming back, he sat on the bed next to her and gave her a final kiss and a hug.

'Mom? I promise I'll make you proud. I promise that I'll be strong for you and I'll never give him any reason to think that I'm weak. I know you'll keep your promise to me too even if you're not here beside me anymore. I know you'll help me when things get bad around here. I love you.'

That would be the last time he would speak to anyone for a long time.

He got off the bed and stared at her for a few more minutes before turning away and finding the Turk. Seeing the young boy come out of the room, he quickly put his glasses back on and stood next to him.

'Are you ready to go, sir?'

Rufus looked up at the man and saw his reflection in the other's glasses. You look weak! Stand up straight and quit sulking. You know you shouldn't look like that. Casting an evil glare at his reflection, he instinctively straighten up, rubbed his eyes dry and wore a perfect mask of cold indifference; one that was too perfect for a 10 year old boy.

Rude noted the sad, detatched state that the boy was in when he left his mother's room. He also noticed the look he gave himself when he saw his reflection. The Turk wanted to tell the boy that it was alright to feel this way, that people expected him to be torn apart but he wasn't able to find the right words to tell him that.

He was rather concerned with the youth's actions following his mother's death; most children would be crying at this point, especially after seeing that parent dead in a hospital bed. Rufus however was keeping his feelings hidden; refusing to show anyone how much his mother's death was truly affecting him. Rude concluded that if the boy was slowly closing himself off from the world, it was definately affecting him more then what was healthy.

'Sir? Are you alright?'

Rufus stopped staring at himself and stared into the Turk's eyes instead. He didn't know what to say to him, or if he even wanted to say anything to him. In the end, he simply nodded his head, telling Rude that yes, he was alright.

'Would you like to stop anywhere before we return to headquarters, sir?'

Rufus gently shook his head no.

The absense of answers was beginning to aggravate Rude. 'Would you perhaps like to stop for dinner at the restaurant that you like?'

Again, Rufus shook his head no.

Sighing, Rude looked down at the young boy. He had a feeling that these type of answers were going to be the norm for a while. He hoped that the decision to not talk was only because of the initial shock of the situation and not something that would last a long time.

'Very well, sir. Shall we make our way out? We should have notification about the date of your mother's funeral by tomorrow.'

Slowly, Rufus made his way to the doors of the building that he went into with his mother and is now exiting without her. Standing on the threshold of the building, he re-affirmed his promise.

I won't be weak mother. I promise I'll make you proud.


04. Loss

'We will miss her dearly. Her laughter and cheeriness always warmed our hearts even on the darkest days. She was what binded us all together. It will be hard to wake up in the morning and not have her laying next to me, her smile greeting me, helping me face the day. It will also be hard for Rufus, not having his mother with him, helping him as she was. We will both miss you dearly Elizabeth, rest in peace. I hope where you are now you are no longer suffering as you were when you were alive.'

After his speech, a solemn President Shinra returned to his seat, next to his young son Rufus. The last time they had really spoken to each other was when they were both visiting his mother on her death bed about two weeks prior to her death. When Rufus returned to headquarters the day of his mother's death, he sought out his father, hoping that maybe his mother was wrong for once and that he would be able to show weakness and possibly even mourn her death. When he found his father, he approached him and went to hug him but the man pushed him away.

'What do you want? Comfort? Death is a part of life boy, best you understand that now. She wasn't going to be here forever, doing everything for you. Time to stand on your own two feet and deal with this.'

Rufus stared at his father. He should have been shocked that someone would say that to a child that just lost their mother, but he wasn't. He had expected such an answer, even if it was his father, someone who should be trying to console him, that gave it to him. He gave no reply to the older man, he simply nodded, walked away and went back to his room alone.

During his speech, Rufus couldn't help but glare at the President, acting as though he missed his wife and cared about how his son would be missing an important figure in his life. How can you say this with a straight face!? You don't miss her, you barely even saw her! You were always either working, or at that Honeybee place. Now you want everyone to believe that you miss her and you feel bad for me? Not everyone will believe that, some of them will see through you. I wanted to be like you; powerful and respected. I don't want to be like you anymore. You don't care about anyone or anything except yourself. You don't even care about your "family". We were just something to show off to your rich business associates. One day I will be as powerful as you but I won't go about it the same way as you. I'll care about my family and I definately won't hit my kids for being "weak". I'm just a way for you to blow off steam. I'll remember this old man. One day I'll get you back for what you've done to us.

He shuddered when he felt an arm wrap around him, comforting him. Rufus felt his stomach turn; his father was doing a very good job of pretending to mourn her death.

After the service, President Shinra and his son stood at the door, thanking everyone who attended. Almost everyone that passed them gave their sympathies to the President, telling him what a wonderful, lovely woman she was. They would then drop to Rufus' height, give him a hug and tell him that they were sorry that he lost his mother but that he would be alright and his father would help him through. Rufus would nod, they would frown, dishevel his hair, try to tell him everything would work out, then leave. Throughout this, the President had his arm wrapped around Rufus. Rufus knew it was an act for the guests, but most believed that the President geniunely cared for his son.

Eventually all the guests were gone and only Rufus, his father and two Turks, Tseng and Rude. When the last of the guests was out of their sight, the President removed his arm from around Rufus and turned to the Turks.

'I'm returning to my office. Tseng, come with me. Rude, bring him back to his suite, then do whatever you want.'

Tseng bowed to the President and fell into place behind him. He glanced down at Rufus, sorrow in his eyes then exited the building. Rufus stood frozen in place beside the door, waiting for Rude.

Rude noted the lost look on the child's face. He also noticed the look of anger directed to his father when the President was speaking. In all honesty, Rude didn't blame him in the least for looking at him like that, but he didn't want Rufus to be fueled by this feeling. He hoped that he just forgot about what his father both did and did not do for him and move on.

'Ready to go sir?'

The blond nodded and made his way outside.

'You look very handsome today sir. May I ask what inclined you to decide to wear all white?'

Rufus looked up at him then shrugged. He turned back to the small chapel and pointed to his mother's coffin, hoping that would be enough of an explanation.

'It was her favorite color, wasn't it?'

Rufu smiled, happy that the Turk was able to understand him.

Rude nodded, letting Rufus know that he understood what he was trying to say. With a small smile, Rufus turned away from the chapel to the waiting car, taking him back to a place he no longer wanted to see.


3. Isolation

'Rufus-sama, it would be in your best interest and everyone else's as well if you would say something.' The elder Turk understood that the boy was very close to the deseased and that her death was a shock to him, but the man also understood the need to talk about the youth's feelings about her death. Since her death 9 months ago, the boy hadn't said one word to anyone, no matter the question asked. When he wasn't doing school work, Rufus usually stayed in his room reading, watching one of the few shows he like on TV or standing on the balcony of his suite, staring down at the city busling beneath him. Today, was one of the days that he was watching the city.

Tseng became increasingly worried about his mental state as the months of silence wore on. Rude told him that Rufus stopped talking right after he saw his mother's body. It was obvious to him that the shock of seeing someone that Rufus adored and who he felt was the only person that loved him dead drove him to silence. Having Rufus keep his feeling bottled up would only make things worse for him, not better.

'Sir? Did you understand what I said?' Dull, saddened blue eyes looked up and met the equally saddened brown eyes of the Turk.

Rufus didn't reply. The only sign that he heard the Turk was a nod of his head.

'How long do you intend to shut everyone out like this Rufus? We know that your mother's death is bothering you, but we also know that pushing everyone away like you are isn't going to help you.'

The Turk dropped to Rufus' eye-level and hesitantly turned Rufus to face him and put his hands on the youth's shoulders. Rufus didn't turn away or move forward; he acted as though the gesture didn't affect him at all.

Tseng pulled Rufus to him in a gentle hug. Without thinking, Rufus returned the gesture and hugged the Turk as hard as he could. Tseng sighed softly then tried to get through to Rufus again.

'Rufus, let us help you. Let me help you. You don't have to go through this alone. There is no harm in relying on others to help you with your loss. There is no need to continue to push us away. We want to help you, don't you want someone to help you through this?'

Rufus slowly removed himself from Tseng's embracek Keeping his arms wrapped around the Turk's neck, he looked at Tseng for few moments. Eventually, the young Shinra shook his head no, which meant to Tseng that he really wanted to suffer through this by himself.

'But, why? Let us help you. Doing what you are doing is not healthy.'

Rufus fully freed himself from the Turk then quietly walked to the door to his suite. He glanced over his shoulder to the Turk, still on his knees, staring at him with a sad, almost desperate look. Rufus shook his head again, refusing the aid that so many wanted to give him.

Holding back his tears, he turned his gaze back to the suite then ran into his room locking the door behind him. Tseng may believe that he was isolating himself and pushing everyone that cares for him away, but that's not how Rufus saw it. He promised his mother he'd be strong. To him, that meant getting over her death on his own.


02. Jealousy

'Sir? I took the liberty of trying to make you your favorite meal. Would you like to come and eat?'

Rufus turned his head away from the sight beneath him and gently shook his head. He turned back to look over the balcony and continued to watch the scene that was unfolding.

Tseng sighed. Rufus had barely eaten anything over the last month, only enough to get by. He had brought the boy to his quarters on the 30th floor, hoping that maybe distancing him from the memories in his suite would help him get over the loss a little more easily and more quickly. It appeared to him that his idea was wrong and that nothing he could do would help him.

'What are you watching sir? Are they having a baseball game again? It's always interesting to watch them play. It's even better watching it from up here since we'll never get a stray ball in the head.'

Tseng went to the balcony to watch the spectacle for himself. There was a group of children about Rufus' age, setting up for a game of baseball. The park itself wasn't the nicest in the world, but they managed to make do with what they had and made a makeshift baseball diamond.

Several of the children's parents, mothers and fathers alike stood behind the park fence watching their children either at bat or in the "field". When the children came back from their run around the diamond, the parents greeted them and either congradulated them on their run or consoled them for being called out.

It was more this scene rather then the baseball game itself that had Rufus' attention. Seeing the mother's hugging and doting on their children reminded him of his own mother and seeing the father's patting their kids on the back and laughing with them reminded him of something that he didn't have with his own father.

Tseng noticed that something was bothering Rufus when he began clenching his hand. 'Sir? Is something bothering you? If you want, we could go outside and play baseball later on. Have you ever played before?'

Rufus jumped at the voice next to him. He looked up at Tseng, confused as to why he asked him if something was bothering him. He looked down at his hand, which he didn't remember clenching, and unclenched it. He then looked back at the Turk and shook his head no.

'No for what sir? No that something is bothering you, no to play baseball or no to both?'

Rufus shook his head at the first two then nodded his head at the last.

'This would be easier if you talked to me Rufus.'

The boy ignored him and went back to watching the kids playing on the diamond. Tseng went back to the balcony and watched it with him. The baseball game was over and the parents were congradulating or consoling their children for their win or their loss.

'We'll come back out the next time they're playing a game Rufus. Let's go back inside, I would like for you to at least try to eat a bit of what I made for you.'

Tseng left the balcony but Rufus did not move. Curious as to what had attracted his attention so much, Tseng stood behind him, trying to determine what he was staring at. The only thing in his direct line of vision was a father smiling at his son, patting him on the back and seemingly laughing.

He looked down to watch Rufus' reaction but didn't find one. The boy stood in silence, staring at the father and son walking away from the diamond. It broke Tseng's heart knowing that that was something that Rufus would never have. He knew that Rufus was probably envious of those children who seemed to have stable families, but then again, he knew that Rufus had an extended family waiting for him if he would let them in.

Tseng knelt down beside him. 'I'm sorry you don't have that with your father Rufus. Instead of waiting for something like that to happen with your father, why don't you give someone a chance to do those things with you? There are people that would love to do those things with you.'

Rufus turned from the two people below to look at the Turk in the eye. Rufus looked at him for a moment, debating if what Tseng said was true. A part of him wanted to let Tseng prove what he said while another part refused to believe that what he said was true.

In the end, Rufus shook his head and went into Tseng's suite, leaving the Turk alone on the balcony.


05. Tears

Tseng and Rude were both quietly watching the small boy who was standing on the balcony. Even if it was normal for them to find him on the balcony watching the city below, they had wanted to know what it was that Rufus was thinking about when he was out there and why he decided that standing on a balcony 62 floors up was a good place to think. Of course, they were never able to know since Rufus hadn't said a word in 10 months.

While it wasn't unusual for Rufus to spend hours on the balcony, the two Turks didn't like him being out there at the moment. It was pouring rain, windy and cold outside; conditions which would cause the young boy to fall ill.

'Alright, that's it.' Tseng sighed and turned to Rude. 'Rude, get a towel and some dry clothes for him. I'm dragging him in here whether he wants to or not. I'm tired of seeing him do this to himself.'

Rude nodded and went to the Rufus' bedroom to find some dry clothes and a towel while Tseng went outside to bring him into the suite.

When he got outside, the air that hit him was cooler then he expected. Even in his suit, he was cold and the rain was quickly soaking his jacket. In a matter of minutes, he was beginning to shiver slightly. If he was this cold he wondered how cold Rufus must be in his t-shirt.

Making his way to Rufus, Tseng noticed that Rufus was barely shaking or doing much else except for staring at the streets below him. Tseng was worried that hypothermia had set in. When he touched the boy's arm and turned Rufus to look at him, he noticed that he wasn't far from being wrong. The boy's lips were a light shade of blue and his hands were frozen.

'Rufus-sama let's go back inside. You're going to catch a cold if you stay out here any longer.'

Rufus shook his head no and tried to turn away from the Turk to go back to the edge of the balcony. Tseng had decided earlier that no matter how much he refused, he would get Rufus back into his suite and get him to hopefully talk to them again. Tseng did not want to give up and not get him to talk. Rufus hadn't said a word to anyone in 10 months, which to Tseng, was 10 months too long. He knew that Rufus wanted to cry and wanted to have someone be there for him, but he had a feeling he wasn't doing any of those to avoid being called weak. He hoped he could change the boy's mind.

'You are not staying out here Rufus. You've been in the pouring rain for an hour. It's cold out here and you are only wearing thin pants and a t-shirt. I'm bringing you back into that suite whether you want to or not.'

Rufus didn't have time to put up a fight against the Turk. He was picked up, carried into the suite, wet clothes taken off of him and wrapped in a warm towel before he even had a moment to react.

While the two Turks were trying to warm him back up, Rufus didn't move. He let them do whatever it was they wanted without any reaction.

'Don't tell me that you don't feel better being dry then you did being cold and wet out there Rufus.'

Rufus only shrugged at Tseng's question.

'Would you like some hot chocolate Rufus? I can put some on for you.'

Rufus looked up at Rude and nodded.

Both Turks looked at each other and let out a collective sigh. Tseng decided there was no point in talking to him nicely. They had to find some way to get through to Rufus, even if it meant being slighty mean to him.

'Rufus, why are you doing this? We only want to help you, yet you're pushing us away. You won't talk to us let alone acknowledge that we're doing things to help you. Why are you doing this?'

Rufus shrugged and began putting on the dry clothes that Rude had brought out for him. Said man came out of Rufus' kitchen a couple of minutes later, hot chocolate in hand. Rufus smiled and accepted the cup that he was given.

'YOu could tell him thank you. That's usually what people say when someone does something nice for them.'

Rufus was taken slightly aback by the scolding that Tseng gave him. He shook his head no and began drinking the hot chocolate.

'Very well. You don't want to talk to us, you don't acknowledge the things we do to help you, you don't want to go out places that we want to take you, you don't want us to help you with how you're feeling or talk to us about it and you stay in places where you won't be bothered. You win. Me and Rude will be on our way and you can stay here by yourself since that's what you want. Goodbye Rufus. We hope you'll be ok.'

Rude followed Tseng's lead and walked towards the door out of the suite. Rufus was shocked to see the two Turks leaving him. They were two of the only people that he trusted and they were leaving him. Go after them! Don't let them go, your mother would be so dissapointed in you if you let them go. Remember she said she'd always take care of you? Maybe having them take care of you is her way of taking care of you from where she is.

'No! You can't leave me!' Rufus broke into a sprint to catch up with the two Turks who were at the door. Tseng knelt down and caught the small boy as he was running to them. Rufus wrapped his arms around Tseng's neck hugged him as hard as he could.

'Please don't go! You can't leave me.'

Rude smiled when he heard Rufus finally say something and smiled more when he saw Rufus hugging his boss. Tseng breathed a sigh of relief and hugged him closer to him and stood up, holding Rufus in his arms with the boy's head resting on his shoulder.

'It's alright sir, we won't leave you. But, if you please Rufus, could you tell us why you were quiet for so long and tried to get rid of us?'

Rufus' reply was a shrug and another hug. Tseng sighed and told Rufus sternly. 'I will not take that as an answer Rufus. Why did you do that?'

'I don't know.'

'I think I know why you did what you did.'

The reply made Rufus lift his head up from Tseng's shoulder.

'You do?'

'Yes, I think I do.'

Rufus stared at the Turk. He was curious to know if Tseng really did know why he was behaving the way he was.

'What do you think?'

'I think you did this so that you wouldn't look weak. To you, crying when your mother died would have made you look weak and you didn't want anyone to think that of you. You stopped talking to everyone because you couldn't get over your mother dying and you were scared to get attached to anyone in case they died too. Am I right?'

Rufus lowered his head to avert Tseng's gaze. He didn't think that Tseng would have been able to understand why he did what he did.

'Am I right Rufus?'

Rufus nodded his head. Remembering that Tseng wanted to hear an actual answer, he quickly replied 'Yes, you're right.'

'Crying for someone that died doesn't make you weak. You love your mother, you should cry about losing her. We cried a bit when she died you know, we miss her too.'

'You don't think mom would be mad if I cried?'

Tseng was slightly surprised at the question. 'No, she wouldn't be mad at you if you cried. You miss her, she'll understand why you're crying. Do you feel like crying about it? It's perfectly fine if you do. You won't be weak, you'll be strong because you were brave enough to face how you feel.'

Rufus listened to Tseng explaining to him that he would be strong if he cried. He tried to keep the tears that were forming in his eyes from falling, but the 10 months worth of tears won over his want to not cry.

Dropping his head onto Tseng's shoulder, he cried. He cried for his mother, for the people that missed her, the people that he hurt when he pushed them away and he cried for himself. Neither Tseng nor Rude interfered, they let him cry as long as he wanted. Even though it was hard for them to watch him cry so much and be in obvious pain, they were happy that he decided to let someone in and help him.

Tseng's suit was soaked in tears, but he didn't care. The boy he was holding was now sleeping quietly in his arms, exhausted from all the crying that he had done. He quietly went to Rufus' room and laid him gently in his bed. Now that the wall was broken, he was confident that he and Rude would be able to help him deal with his mother's death and help him move on.
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