1279 words this time around.
Closing the blond’s bedroom door behind him, Tseng went to join the others for something to eat.
'Hey Tseng, what the hell was the yelling about?' Reno asked. 'Mr. "I never show any emotion" sounded like he lost it.'
'He's just upset about the exam this morning Reno.' Tseng replied as he sat himself next to Elena. 'He'll be fine.'
'Well,' Elena started, 'what did the doctor have to say? Obviously it's something bad if it has him so upset.'
'He found some more Geostigma scars on the President.'
'Oh,' Elena said sadly, 'how bad are they?'
'Well, let's think over shall we Elena?' Reno smirked, 'Rufus actually yelled at Tseng and kicked him out. Given how wonderfully Rufus took the news, I'll guess that they're not bad at all. In fact, I'll wager that the doc said that the ones he has now are going away, not that he's getting more!'
'Reno your sarcasm is not appreciated...'
'Shut up Reno!' Elena shouted, cutting Tseng off. 'It was a good question! Don't yell at me because you weren't smart enough to think about it.'
'A good question!?' Reno asked in disbelief. 'A good question!? You asked how bad they are and that's good!? It's a fatal disease Elena! Of course they're going to be bad. Small mark or huge, it's still going to kill him. It was a stupid question.'
'Stop raising your voices. None of us want to hear...'
'Well screw you too then! I'm asking because I'm concerned about the President! I'm so sorry that you don't care about him half as much as you should.'
'How the hell would you know if I care!?' Reno shouted, 'You barely even know him and yet you care!? If I didn't care about blondie, I wouldn't have helped those damn rescue workers get him the hell out of his office! I would have left him there!'
'That's doesn't mean anything. You could...'
'Enough!' Tseng shouted, cutting off Elena. 'Stop acting like children, both of you. No one cares which one of you two care more then the other. The point is that he's getting sicker whether he wants to acknowledge it or not. The fact that you asked a question first,' he said looking at Elena, 'does not mean that you're more concerned then Reno. Nor does the fact that you assisted in his rescue,' he continued, eyeing Reno, 'mean that you care more. This is a childish and unnecessary argument that will never happen again. Is that clear?'
'Of course sir,' Elena said, lowering her head. 'I'm sorry, sir. It won't happen again.'
Reno didn't answer; he simply laughed at Elena's reaction, then smirked and gave his superior a nod.
'Where exactly are the new lesions, sir?' Rude finally asked. He had been sitting quietly at the table, enjoying his lunch as well as the entertainment provided by Reno and Elena.
'The one on his chest is growing, making it difficult for him to breathe and there's one forming along his neck and going up the side of his head.'
‘I see,’ Rude nodded, ‘and that is the one that is causing concern?’
Tseng nodded, ‘Yes, that would be the one. The doctor says that he will either go deaf or blind on his left side, depending on which one the Stigma decides to attack.’
‘How long before that happens?’ Reno asked, looking as serious as Tseng has seen him in a while.
‘A week, a month, he doesn’t know. It all depends on how quickly the Stigma decides to move.’
‘Alright. So he’s going to go blind or deaf. That really sucks but Rufus wouldn’t freak out that much over it.’ Reno reasoned, ‘I mean, sure he’ll have another disability, but Rufus isn’t the type to let stuff like this get to him if he’ll still be able to look good in a suit.’
‘The doctor informed him that once the disease infects one of them that it will only be a matter of time before it infects his brain and kills him.’ Tseng added solemnly.
The Turks stared at him, dumbfounded. ‘You’re kidding right?’ Elena said.
‘For once I’m siding with the Rookie. That’s cold Tseng. You would have been the last person I would have thought to pull a joke like that.’
‘If you weren’t a good Turk Reno, I’d kill you now.’ Tseng snapped. ‘I’m not kidding; I’m being perfectly honest. You asked why Rufus was shouting and I answered.’
‘Did the doctor say anything else?’ Elena probed.
Tseng shook his head. ‘Not yet. He’s waiting for the results of the blood as well as the results from the biopsy.’
‘Ick, a biopsy?’ Elena shuddered. ‘What for?’
Reno burst into laughter. ‘You’re freaking out over a little piece of skin being ripped from Rufus? Damn woman, you’re a Turk. You’ve done worse then that to people, just for information.’
‘I know that! It’s just…gross, I guess.’ She stammered blushing.
‘Anyway,’ Reno pressed on, ‘what were the purposes behind those things?’
‘The blood test is to see if there’s any in his blood stream which will make things even worse.’ Tseng began. ‘The biopsy is to see simply how strong of a grasp the Stigma has on him.’
Elena was still shuddering over the notion of a biopsy. ‘Eww…cutting off skin and looking at it under a microscope…’
‘Quit acting like such a rookie…and like such a girl!’ Reno turned to Tseng, exasperated, his voice slowly rising again. ‘What the hell did you people see in her to replace me!? Hell, we’ve left only little parts of people behind instead of the full person. Imagine what she’d think seeing that! At least this time around, the full person is here and only a little part of him is gone.’
‘Being grossed out by that has nothing to do with my job! I can still do all of my duties!’ Elena defended.
Reno started to reply but was cut off by a smooth voice. ‘It appears that my shouting is contagious. I didn’t expect to hear you nor Elena shouting at each other over this, although it really doesn’t surprise me.’
‘Oh, hey boss. You weren’t sleeping were you?’ Reno asked, ‘If we woke you, sorry about that.’
‘No, I was not sleeping.’
‘Good; because we didn’t want Tseng to kill us for waking you.’ Reno finished, smirking.
‘He probably wouldn’t have killed you.’ Rufus chuckled, ‘He would have only seriously injured you to the point where you would be unable to move for several days. That, or he’d simply take your cigarettes away from you.’
‘I’ll settle for staying in bed. At least I can smoke in there.’
‘While this playful banter is entertaining,’ Tseng began, turning to Rufus, ‘I have to ask you sir, what made you decide to come out after being so adamant about being alone?’
Rufus simply shrugged. ‘I’m not dead yet so I might as well do something while I can, right?’
‘I would tend to agree, sir.’ Tseng smiled.
‘I’ll save the moping for when I’m almost dead.’ Rufus added as an afterthought.
‘You won’t have time to mope since you won’t be dying or “almost dead”.’ Tseng admonished. ‘A cure will be found before then.’
‘At least you have enough optimism for the both of us.’ Rufus smiled. ‘Now, if you would please sit down, I have a small job for you.’
‘Job?’ Tseng asked surprised. ‘What kind of job?’
‘It’s nothing big, it’s just a little something I thought up. Now have a seat and allow me to explain.’
Intrigued, the Turks sat around the table, waiting to hear what Rufus had to say.