'It would be in everyone's best interest if you stopped seeing the Vice-President immediately.'
The director's words made Tseng's blood go cold. He and Rufus had been exceptionally careful in hiding their relationship from everyone around them, including the other Turks.
'Seeing the Vice-President, sir?' He questioned. 'He's confined to headquarters; it's hardly possible to avoid seeing him on a daily basis. Furthermore, I am training him with firearms, it would be impossible to do that if I could not see him.'
Veld glared at his second-in-command, 'That is not what I mean by seeing him and you know it.' He said between clenched teeth. 'You are to end your relationship with him, effective today. That's an order.'
Tseng bit his tongue. Never in all the years he had known Veld was he tempted to raise his voice to his mentor, however, the invasion into his private life and the order to break up with his young lover was sending him over the edge.
'May I enquire as to why it would be beneficial to everyone?' Tseng questioned. 'I fail to understand how our relationship affects anyone in this company.'
'His father somehow found out about his relationship with you. He is neither happy or impressed that the Vice-President has decided to give his affections to a Turk.'
Tseng nodded solemly. The fact that his father was aware of their relationship was cause enough for concern.
'What concern is it of his father's whom he decided to give his affections to? I understand the circumstances should I not follow through with the order sir; however I fail to comprehend how our relationship will effect the other Turks. It should only effect Rufus and myself.'
The reaction from his protégé was as expected. Veld understood how Tseng felt; having to give up something that means a lot to you is hard.
'The President looks at the Turks as a dispensable unit. If one does is insubordinate, especially the one that followed orders most of all, he'll label the rest as insubordinate and destroy them all.'
Veld remained silent for a moment, then continued. 'If you continue your relationship with him, the President will end this department. He won't give a second thought to ordering our deaths. Your relationship would be responsible for not only your death, but the death of your teammates as well. Also think of Rufus; I know that it means a lot to the both of you to be together, but if you're dead, who will he have?'
Tseng's eyes stared into his boss' eyes at the mention of Rufus. Veld knew he hit Tseng's soft spot and pressed on. 'I know it wouldn't be the same as being with him the way you are now.' Veld said softly, 'But at least you would be able to be close enough to him to still guard him and ensure his safety. If you continue your relationship, he won't have anyone to guard him.'
Nodding silently in agreement, Tseng rose from his chair, bowed to his superior and made his way to the door. As he was opening the door, Veld quietly spoke. 'Go easy on the lad. He thinks the world of you; try not to break his heart. By the way, the President does not want Rufus to know that he ordered you to break up with him. You will have to think up another excuse on your own.'
'Yes,sir.' He said quietly, then closed the door behind him. How am I supposed to break up with him without breaking his heart?'
On the way to the teen's room, Tseng was thinking about the impending break up and how he would explain it to Rufus. No matter which way he went through it in his head, it still ended with the teen's hurtful glare and his back to Tseng.
He stopped at Rufus' room, hesitating to knock. You can't put it off forever, Tseng. Just knock and get it over with. Sighing, he knocked on the door and waited for Rufus to answer.
The door opened slowly, blue eyes looking out to see who disturbed him. When he saw the dark-haired Turk, Tseng was greeted with a smile as Rufus opened the door wider and bid the man to enter.
'What are you doing here, Tseng?' Rufus inquired, shutting the door behind him. 'Someone is going to suspect something if you just randomly come here for a visit.'
Tseng did not turn to look at the blond, he stayed glued in place, eyes fixed on the floor.
'Tseng?' Rufus questioned. 'What's wrong?' The supposed cold-hearted blond laid his head on his lover's back and wrapped his arms around Tseng's waist. 'I can tell that you came to see me for something other then a quick hug and kiss, or for target practice. Just tell me already.'
Planet Rufus, please forgive me. Please understand that I don't want to do this.
Tseng turned himself around and faced Rufus and embraced him. He stayed like that for a few minutes, trying to find his voice.
'We can't do this anymore, Rufus.' The sentence was barely above a whisper, but it was loud enough for Rufus to hear. Tseng felt Rufus tense in his arms, then pull himself away to look him in the eye.
'What's that supposed to mean? Can't do what anymore?'
'This.' He replied, motioning to themselves and their embrace. 'I...We can't see each other anymore. I'll only be seeing you for target practice and training from now on.'
Rufus stared at the Wutain in disbelief. He quickly went through the events of the last few months and could find nothing that would warrant their break-up. 'I'm not following you, Tseng. What made this come about so suddenly?'
Tseng sighed and looked at Rufus. The blond was at a total loss and Tseng's news definately shook him up, but Tseng was unable to console him.
'It's...it's not suddenly, Rufus.' He lied. 'I've been thinking about this for a while. I just couldn't keep it inside anymore and had to get it off my chest.' Tseng almost felt sick to his stomach; breaking up with Rufus had never even crossed his mind.
The blond stared at him, disbelief written all over his face. He was going to continue the questioning, asking Tseng what he did wrong and if he could fix it, but he decided against it. Rufus Shinra was not dependant on anyone, and showing anything other then indifference would give the Wutain something to use against him.
'Very well,' Rufus conceded, 'if that's how you feel then I can't change your mind.' He turned away from Tseng and opened the door, holding it open for the older man. 'I will see you during training this afternoon.'
Tseng shook his head. 'Don't take it the wrong way, Rufus. I'm only doing this because it's for the best. You'll understand one day.'
Rufus understood what the other didn't include at the end of his last sentence. 'It is unnecessary for you to patronize me about my age, Tseng.' Rufus snapped at the other's last comment. 'I already do understand what you are saying. You're not happy seeing someone that much younger then you and you want to break it off before it goes any further. It's perfectly understandable, even to my seventeen year old brain.'
I don't care about your age! I don't want this to happen either Rufus... Damnit, how the hell did the President find out!?
'That's not it, Rufus.'
'It's fine, Tseng.' Rufus assured. 'Don't bother trying to explain it anymore. It's done, it's over, let's move on. Now if you'll excuse me, I would like to get back to the book I was reading before you interrupted me.'
Being given the cold shoulder by Rufus was something that Tseng was definately not used to. Rufus was never the cold and uncaring Vice-President that he was to everyone else; Tseng had managed to break through the wall around the blond and was priveledged to see the emotions that the younger Shinra never showed anyone else. Now that their bond was destroyed, the wall that Tseng had so carefully torn down, was rebuilt within seconds.
'Very well, if that's what you want then I will respect your wishes.' Tseng made his way to the door and turned to face the blond before he left. 'I know things will be different now, but I do hope that one thing won't change. If you ever need anything, I'll always be here for you. Just remember that you can come to me for anything and I will do all I can to help you.'
'That's alright Tseng.' Rufus replied as he was shutting the door. 'I won't be needing anything from you.'
Tseng stood in front of the door, not moving after the blond had shut it in his face. He heard the soft click from the lock and sighed before turning away from the door, cursing himself for the heartache he caused.
Rufus stayed on the opposite side of the door, listening for the footsteps that signaled the Wutain truly leaving him. When none came, he locked his door, hoping that Tseng would get the message and leave. He then heard the Turk's footsteps moving away from his room and he sighed in relief. Leaning his body on the nearby wall, Rufus thought about what Tseng said We can't do this anymore, Rufus. For the first time in what seemed like ages to the blond, Rufus cried.
About a week after their break-up Tseng, as per usual, was waiting at the front door for Rufus. From there they would go to the shooting range together and practice for several hours. Glancing down at his watch, he was surprised to see that Rufus was 15 minutes late for their meeting and training. Not wanting to waste anymore training time then was already wasted, Tseng went to Rufus' room and knocked on the door.
'He's not in there.'
Tseng turned and looked at the red-head in surprise. 'What do you mean?'
'Exactly what I said.' Reno smirked. 'He's not in there.'
'Then where is he?' Tseng asked, growing impatient.
'He's down at the shooting range with Rude.'
'He's at the shooting range with Rude.' Reno repeated. 'He came out at the time that Rude usually goes and asked if Rude minded if he went with him. Rude said no so they went together.'
Reno was silent for a moment, then started laughing. 'What's wrong boss? It's not like he's not training, he's just not training with you. You jealous that Rude's showing him today and it's not you?'
'That's not it, Reno.' Tseng replied. 'It has nothing to do with jealousy.'
'Did you two have a little lover's spat or something?' Reno asked, curious. 'It's not like him to ignore you or for you to not know where he is.'
'You have no business asking your superior things like that.' Tseng spat. 'There was no lover's spat because we are not lovers.' anymore... he added to himself.
'Right, sure boss. And I've never seen Rude completely naked before. Whatever.' Reno shrugged. 'Get the pole out of your ass already. We all can see it; we know that there's something between you two.'
'That's where you're wrong. There's nothing between us.' anymore Tseng reminded himself yet again.
'Then why are you two always so happy to see each other and why the cold shoulder from blondie all of a sudden?' Reno snapped his fingers and pointed at Tseng. 'I got it! You two were dating and he dumped you. Ah...don't feel bad about that.' Reno consoled. 'He's a teenager. They're fickle, you know that.'
Tseng sighed and shook his head. No point in trying to deny it; apparently we made it completely obvious to everyone that we were trying to keep it from.
'There's lots more fish in the sea, boss.' Reno continued. 'He's just one that got away.'
'He didn't dump me, Reno. I dumped him.'
'You dumped him!?' Reno asked amazed. 'You're kidding! Why the hell would you do that? I was positive that you liked him too much to dump him. What the hell did I miss?'
'You didn't miss anything, Reno.' Tseng shrugged. 'It was just something that had to be done.'
'You regret dumping him, don't you.' It wasn't a question.
'I regret everything I said to him when I talked to him that day.'
'You didn't want to dump him.'
Tseng simply shook his head.
Reno laughed at his boss. 'You dumped him and you still expected him to stick around you? Are you nuts? When you get dumped, you don't want to stay with them, you move on. He's trying to do that.'
'I don't want him to.'
'You're hurting him more then anything by trying to stick too close to him.' Reno replied, surprising Tseng. 'How would you feel if Rufus came to you and said that he didn't want to see you anymore? Just like that, out of the blue? You wouldn't want to stick around him unless you absolutely had to.'
'I realize that, but the circumstances that brought about this break-up were beyond my control.' Why the hell am I telling this to Reno of all people!? 'I still want to stay close to him.'
'What was the circumstance?'
'It's a private matter.'
Reno smirked 'You were ordered to.'
'Did you tell him that?'
'No, I'm under orders to keep the reason behind our break-up quiet.'
'Screw that order! One order has already ruined two lives, there's no need to keep his heart crushed like it is now. Tell him the truth; maybe that will give you a chance to have the non-committed relationship that you still want with him.'
Nodding in silent agreement, Tseng left the red-head and went to the shooting range. The first thing he noticed were Rude and Rufus; with Rude giving some pointers on gun control. Tseng resisted the urge to speak to the two and went to his own booth to vent his rage at the helpless paper figure.
Rufus and Rude left the shooting range about an hour after Tseng arrived. The absence of any greeting from Rufus only worsened his mood. He continued to shoot the paper figures for another hour, until his anger was quelled.
When he arrived back at headquarters, he located Rufus on the couch reading a book. Hesitating, Tseng stared at the blond, unsure of how to bring up the sensitive topic.
'Did you want something Tseng?' Rufus snapped at him. 'If not, then stop staring at me.'
It's now or never. Tseng thought. He has to know the real reason why I left him.
'May I speak to you for a moment, Rufus?' Tseng asked, unsure of the answer he was going to receive.
'Why should I? The last time I talked to you seemed rather final to me. There's nothing left to say.'
'Yes, there is. I need to talk to you about what I said that day. Alone.'
'Like I said Tseng,' Rufus snapped, 'you said everything that needed to be said that day. There's nothing left to say.'
Tseng couldn't hold back his temper at the teen's stubborness. 'Would you stop acting like a spoiled brat for one minute and listen to me. I have to talk to you and you are going to listen. Either get into that room so we can talk privately or I will drag you there myself.' Tseng saw that Rufus was about to snap at him and stopped him before he had the chance. 'Don't waste your breath and tell me that I have no business talking to you like that. I do. Deal with it. And don't bother saying that I wouldn't dare drag you in another room; you know that I can and that I would.'
Scowling at the Turk, Rufus got up from the couch and silently passed by him, entering his room. Turning to face Tseng, he crossed his arms acrossed his chest and glared.
'So, what did you want to tell me now? That you're sorry?'
Why do I like him so much for again? Tseng asked himself. Thank the planet he never gave me that attitude or I would have dumped him for real.
'No, that's not why we're here. I wanted to tell you the real reason behind why I did what I did.'
Rufus looked at him, slightly confused. 'Real reason? It took you 10 days to find a better reason then I'm too young?'
'That was never an issue, Rufus! You put that into your head yourself. I never said that.'
'Whatever.' Rufus shrugged, heading for the door. 'Keep your excuses to yourself, I'll live with your decision.'
Tseng watched Rufus heading for the door and before he could stop himself, he blurted out 'your father ordered me to break up with you.'
Rufus stopped dead in his tracks and stared at the Turk. 'My father did what? Why!?</i>
'Because he wasn't happy that you were with a Turk, sir.'
'Why should he care when it comes to who I decide to be with?' Rufus asked, his anger rising.
'I can't answer that since I'm not your father.' Tseng sighed and approached the blond. 'Please forgive me Rufus, I didn't think it would come to this.'
Rufus stared at him in disbelief. 'So you blindly followed orders and left me high and dry even if you didn't want to? Did you even think about what you were doing before you completed your duty?'
'Yes I did. I did what was best for everyone, including you.'
'Me!?' The blond asked, acting all of his seventeen years. 'You dumped me because it was best for me. Hmph, dumping someone to help them; that's a first.'
'If I didn't stop seeing you, he would have taken personal offence to our relationship and not only attacked me for being with you, but the other Turks as well.'
'Why the others?' He asked confused. 'What do they have to do with it?'
'The Turks are a team, Rufus. If one does something wrong, to your father, it's the same as the whole team doing something wrong. He wouldn't hesitate to get rid of all of us if he wanted to.'
'And where do I fit into this?'
'If your father were to eliminate the Turks, I wouldn't be around to ensure your safety. I'd rather be apart from you and guarding you then dead and leave you on your own.'
'I see.' Rufus moved away from the door and approached Tseng. 'Forgive me for my outburst. If you had told me this the first time, it would have made things much easier.'
Tseng nodded in agreement and reached out to hold the teen but stopped. He glanced at the door and noted that it was closed and remembered that there were no security cameras in this room. Just one hug won't kill either of you. You both need it. He reached out for Rufus and smiled when the blond did not push him away but welcomed the embrace.
'Why didn't you tell me the first time?'
'I was ordered not to tell you but I couldn't stand how much you hated me so I disobeyed the order and told you.' Tseng grabbed Rufus by the shoulders and looked him in the eye. 'You can't let Veld or your father that you know why we broke up. If you do, we're all dead.'
'Very well, I won't.' Rufus nodded and went back into the other's embrace. 'We can still do this once in a while though right? I understand that we have to spend a lot more time apart in order to keep up the guise, but we can sneak into a room sometimes and just talk alone or something can't we?'
Tseng thought it over and agreed. 'I don't see why not. We just have to stay apart more often during the day. Go for your training with Rude or Reno sometimes and not just with me; give the others the same time of day that you would give to me. That should help things along.'
'Fair enough.' Rufus agreed, then reluctantly pulled himself away from the Wutain. 'We should get out of here or someone will wonder what's going on.'
'Yes, we should.' Tseng went to the door and opened it for Rufus. 'After you, sir.'
Smiling slightly, Rufus nodded his head in thanks and exited the room.