God it sounded stupid now that he said it out loud. Picking up a woman off the streets! Yet here he was years later— still not regretting a damn thing. She’d proved to be exactly what he needed, loyal, hard working and ultimately he’d seen her turn into a lovely young woman whom he couldn’t be fonder of. It was almost embarrassing, he now hung her art work in his office. Just across from the bar. An abstract splash of red and grey. Faces could be vaguely seen through the abstract colours. They were distant, soft, sleepy really. He found the piece both eerie and calming. Much like the girl who made it.
He needed a long swig of wine after that. Gosh, he was half way down the bottle already. It was good to say the least that Rufus could hold his liquor.
Patting the young girl’s hair he faintly smiled. “I’m sure you were better then any guard hound he could of hoped for. You did everything you could for Lazard. His betrayal wounded you. The same way many others have hurt you throughout the years. He’d want you to be here— to move on, to find a little peace and happiness for yourself. ”
Rufus slid his arms around her in a slow motion. Placing his head on hers. His face gave nothing away. No tears left him. No crack in his voice. Yet there was a certain comfort to be had in his quiet certainty. A slow petting motion of her hair as he moved her tear ridden face into his shoulder. Calm and collected whisper against her ear.
“There, there Crisis.”
"Let it out, let him go.”
"You shouldn’t keep it all locked up.It’s no good for anyone to keep skeletons in the closet. Especially not a lovely young department head.”
"You’re going to go far and have got a whole life ahead of you….”
"It may seem v a s t and e m p t y !”
"But in no time you’ll see it filled to the brim with happiness.”
"I may not be Lazard. Hell, I’m no where close. I know well that my older half-sibling and I had our differences.”
"But I’m here, I’ve got you now…. and someone who’s as much of a stubborn ass as myself isn’t going anywhere. This company has put me to hell and back. If meteor and geostigma can’t dig Rufus ShinRa a grave, then I’m going to live to be 100 years old and see my great grand kids.”
His thumb slid tears from her eyes.
“So are you…. Kay sis?”
Maybe it was the alcohol talking in both of them, but his words had the opposite effect from what he probably wanted. Crying even more than before as she nodded at his words, trying to get herself under control. Crisis didn’t like crying — tried to keep herself from doing so in front of others. Showing her pain and misery to anyone was embarrassing, even if it was to someone who cared, who would try and soothe her aching heart. Receiving kindness instead of giving it was still foreign to her, even at this age. Getting it from Rufus somehow compounded this odd sense of internal pain even more.
It made her weep.
Sniffling and hiccuping, Crisis managed to ebb the flow of tears after a while. Oh god, that was painful, but she had needed that. Needed to grieve and to cry; Minerva knew that she never had the time or strength for it before. Alcohol and some surprisingly gentle prodding had made the dam burst at last.
She felt foolish now, honestly.
But at least she got to hear that one little word she knew Rufus would never utter aloud ever again when he was good and sober, in the company of others. Reaching up she wiped at her tears herself, steeling herself up again and regaining her composure so she could hug Rufus back, firmly holding onto him, revelling in how solid and real he felt.
“Yeah…I’m going to be okay, big brother…we’ll both be all right. We’re gonna grow old and see our great grand kids and the future — we’re going to see that brighter tomorrow. For the future of Shinra and the Planet.”
Are you all right, Big Brother?
Huh? Yeah, I’m just tired.Just rest. You've fought enough already.
Crisis…You've been a lot like Dad lately.Dad had something to protect...Just like you, I'm sure of it.
Am I really like him? Yeah, maybe I really am.
But then what have I been doing all this time?
Nails tapped against the plate, and he caught her hand, leather-clad fingers drawing away her touch even as he held her gaze.
"A thousand years, and still you question my loyalty," he commented mildly, his hold firm. The contracts had yet to be drawn up and signed— he could, he knew, walk away from this, from this duty to the realm and the future of Seiriol’s lineage.
And she would let him go. She may claim selfishness, but she was not the only one to ascribe to that trait. He took a step forward, and another, bringing her back against the wall of her chambers.
She was not fragile, not breakable, but she was small as he bent his head, a glove grazing along her chin.
"You are not the only one, Highness," he murmured, lips glancing along her skin, "who can be selfish, jealous, cruel.”
“It isn’t your loyalty I question." Because only a fool would do something like doubt the loyalty of a man who stood by you as you slept like the dead for a millennia, without giving in to the urge of doing away with you. He could have, very easily, but he did not and that spoke volumes to her. No, this was not a question of loyalty, but one of freedom. Free will was one thing she had no control over, that neither powers of Light or Dark had any domain. And the one thing she feared.
If she had to let him go, as she had to let the Lord go, then she wanted it to be on her terms.
If there came the day when she would hold another man’s bloody body in her arms as the life faded from his eyes, she wanted it to be only after all options had been exhausted. That this fate would be the ultimate fate created from their choices.
“I merely worry that I will have to bid you farewell one day. No one is truly immortal. Nothing lasts forever.”
Mist began to flow around their feet, summoned by the distress within the ruler’s heart. A defence mechanism for the juvenile queen; sometimes the Darkness manifested itself without her wanting it to. Black mist rose and swirled around them and she stared at one tendril of inky blackness with a sort of dispassionate melancholy as it rose and caressed the skin along the knight’s cheek.
“And I fear what I may become if I get it into my mind that I can, somehow, keep you forever.”
Her hand turned in his so that their fingers laced, her skin against the worn leather of his glove. Vaguely, she couldn’t recall a time when they actually touched, skin to skin. She could feel the heat of his lips, just the barest breath of him like ghost whispers. There was no feeling of fear here, no sense of dread or great distress over being cornered. No the turmoil in her heart did not exist from that. They’d been in close quarters before this, though nowhere near as intimately.
Head turned slightly, almost enough to catch lips, but sweetly they could only place themselves upon Seifer’s cheek, just passed the corner of his mouth.
“This is not a matter of loyalty, my favoured knight. My thoughts lay only in what you freely choose to do…because I will not dare breathe word that you are mine unless you say I may. Not for that your queen asks her knight thus, but because you would choose to stay with me as yourself. After all…I value freedom above all else. My freedom was stolen from me…I would not be the one to take it from you without your proper consent. Because if you will it…I will not let you go for anything and there is no one else I would rather have spend my reign with.”
LAZARD YES MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
//Every time I promote the Lazards, it reminds me of the fact that Crisis kind of does it in universe, too. Like not to get people to follow Lazard, but for the man to get himself a girlfriend (or boyfriend!). As in she would actively be trying to score him points with people and being all busybody and ‘HEY. LOOK AT MY HOT ASS FUCK BOSS-BROTHER. HE IS DA BOMB. WHO DON’T WANT DAT ASS? HE IS HELLA ATTRACTIVE AND SMART AND SUCCESSFUL. LOVING AND KIND AND GENEROUS AND HE TAKES NO BS OKAY?!’
Crisis. Forever the boon and bane of her boss’ life.