[fic] The Things You Never Knew About People: 潛龍 Qian Long [The Hidden Dragon]

Title: The Things You Never Knew About People - Qian Long [The Hidden Dragon]
Status: 12/14
Fandom: FF7
Word count: 2000
Summary: Time to find a hidden dragon.
A/N: And with this, the main body of TTYNKAP is done!  There are still two more sections, the epilogues...but the main part is done, done like dinner.  The first epilogue is done and should be soon, but the last one is only halfway done. Thank all y'all for sticking with me so far; we're coming down the homestretch now. :D
 
This title comes from a four-character compound that is ALSO the title of a song I really, really like: 潛龍勿用, "Don't Use the Hidden Dragon."  That basically means keep your strengths hidden (until it's the right time to use them.)
 
第十二話-潛龍
ㄉ一ˋㄕˊㄦˋㄏㄨㄚˋ - ㄑ一ㄢˊㄌㄨㄥˊ
Dìshí’èr huà - qián lóng
[the hidden dragon]

 
He laid low.

It had been years since Reno had had to sleep on the streets - he remembered doing it some nights as a kid, but he hadn't had to do that since he'd met Jie and his mom. But he didn't know if he had been tailed, and he couldn't go home.

...he didn't know if he really had a home to go to anymore.

He had the clothes on his back and little else, so he laid low. 

After a few nights, he broke into his apartment - he'd gotten very good at making his way up walls, and he broke the window to get in. No one would notice a broken window, not in that neighborhood, but he knew he was going to have to find a quieter way in the future - he'd never had any reason to learn how to pick locks, for all he was good at picking pockets when he needed to, but he figured it was a skill he was gonna have to pick up soon.

He took what little money there was still left in the place and a change of clothes. It seemed like so long ago, that he said goodbye to Jie, then come home and--

And now they're gone. Ma's gone, they're gone, and if I had just--

He shut the thoughts down fast. He was still alive. He was alive. And his stomach was growling, and the food left in the place would go bad soon.

He was on autopilot as he started cooking, using up as much of the food that was left as he could.

Food Auntie Qian had taught him how to pick; how to prepare.

The food ended up going to waste anyway, as he started hurling it, still in the pots and steaming hot, against the walls. 

And when everything capable of being thrown in the kitchen had been, he stood in the ruined mess and swore this wasn't over.

He was going to find those bastards. They had let him live, but he was going to find them, and they were going to pay for all of it.

His hand was hurting. He dimly remembered how he must have burned it - they had one pan and the handle on it was shit - and now that his adrenaline was dying down, he was feeling it. He headed to the bathroom to run it under some water and put ointment on it, now furiously angry about that as well.

It fucking hurt, and seeing it turning red, all he could think about was Auntie Qian, in that fire, and how he had just left her, and--

He should have pulled her out.

He shouldn't have taken that Toughness Ring.

He should have been home.

He should have--

"This isn't my fault!" he yelled, and slammed his fist into the mirror. A spiderweb fracture erupted in the glass of the mirror, fanning out from his fist, and his reflection in the broken glass, was broken by a long crack, running under his guilty eyes. As he watched, a bead of blood ran from his cut fingers along the crack, and he felt something in him go hard.

He was going to make those bastards pay for what they had done.

He was going to make everyone responsible for this pay. 

And that included, he thought, as blood ran along the cracks, making a line of red run under the guilty eyes staring back at him in the mirror, himself.

--

Reno stood outside the door for a long time.  He had decided to do this, but...

"No face tattoo! Facial tattoos are for outcasts!  And your face is so pretty..."

"Why are you alive and my son dead?!"

Reno dropped his head and bit his lip hard, then raised his head, face tight, and walked into the tattoo parlor.  "I want a face tattoo," he said, eyes cold.  "And I already know exactly what I want."

--

His face hurt, and that finally seemed right.  When he had gotten the tattoos, the man doing it had told him it would sting, and keep on stinging for a good while--and no potions or Cure until the thing set, or else he'd find himself no longer having a tattoo, and that was fine.  Reno wanted that pain; he wanted it to hurt.

He touched the tattoos with two fingers, pressing in slightly to make it sting more.  They meant he was an outcast; he had no past and no connections to anyone.  These were the reminders that it was gone and he had been cast out.

There was nothing to go back to, and no way that he could be who he had been before.  He was changing everything, starting over, and he stared at his new hair in the mirror of the cheap apartment he was living in now.  Even that was different now--instead of being the darker, auburn red it had been before, it was as bright red as the tattoos, almost drawing attention to them, and he pulled some of the hair in the back back into a ponytail.  It wasn't really long enough, yet, but he'd give it time, and it would be.  Looking in the mirror, hair pulled back almost like Jie's had been but too short--for now--to really work so spikes stood out and framed his face.  He styled a few of them until it looked planned, and when it was done, he barely recognized himself. 

He let a slow, lazy smile go over his face instead of the angry and indrawn look that had been there.  No more of that shit.  Time for a life over--no more ties to nothin' or no one no more.

But just because he didn't have any ties to anyone anymore didn't mean he was going to forget what had happened.  It wasn't done; the part of him that wanted revenge and to make something bleed for what had happened was stronger than Reno could have imaged.

He was going to start over, from zero, no attachments to nothing this time around, but he sure as hell didn't have to be happy about it, and he sure as hell didn't have to let the bastards who had caused it get away free and clear.  And, a small part of him said, if Jie's mom's still alive, they're going to go after her, and she had to be protected, even if she never wanted to see him again.

It hurt.  It was a sudden, sharp intense pain, and it hurt, and Reno could feel his lip curling up in anger.

Suddenly, what to do, at least, was very, very clear.  He wasn't letting this go, he wasn't letting the Wu clan fuck back to wherever the fuck they slunk out of.  He was going to never think about any of this, any of them--Jie, his mom, Wu fucking Shan Wen and his whole damn clan--again, but before he did that, he was going to send the Wu clan a nice, big, "Fuck you." This one last thing would be his clean break, and then he was done with all this and never touching it again.

No past, no nothin'.

There was only one thing to do when you wanted revenge, especially against someone stronger than you, one Reno had first learned years and years ago one cold February morning.

When someone wronged you, what to do was very, very simple.

Blow their shit up.

Reno let that slow, lazy smile come back, and the pain from the fresh tattoos stung.

--

"Oh, I wouldn't go in there if I was you," Reno called out lazily, puffing on a cigarette.  The two men far too well-dressed for under the plate whirled around and stared at him, shocked to see anyone there, and moved closer to where he was.  Reno stubbed out his cigarette and swung down, all smooth catlike grace, and landed in front of them and dusted his hands off nonchalantly.

One of them, a Wutai, Reno figured probably chosen because he'd blend in a lot better down in the Little Yamato section under the Plate even with that dot on his head, narrowed his eyes, one hand reaching for the weapon Reno knew was concealed in his jacket--dressed like that, down under the plate, and going where they were at this hour?  He knew who they were.  Turks.  Had to be.

Not that Reno really cared.  He just didn't want them getting in his way.  This right here was six whole months of planning, work, and a lot of shit he didn't want to think about, and there was no way he was letting anyone get in his way.  Not now.

Not when the Wu--the Wu, fucking Wu Shan Wen--was actually in Midgar again, and not when Reno had every intention of making sure that either Wu Shan Wen didn't leave Midgar alive, or that he and his mafia never stepped foot in it again. 

"And why not?" the Wutai Turk said dangerously.

That was when the building exploded.  The other Turk let out a harsh, shocked cry, and the two of them tried to cover their heads, to guard against flying debris.

Reno didn't even flinch.

"That's why," Reno said with a smile.  "Now, if ya don't mind, care to move the fuck outta my way?  I blocked off the back exits, an' the front's the only way out.  I'd like a clear shot at anyone what comes out," he said, pulling his gun out from his own jacket and aiming at the door, eyes narrowing.  "And I don't wanna waste no bullets on some Turks.  Bullets are expensive, yo, and not all of us got that nice, shiny Shinra backing."  The two Turks looked at each other, then Reno, and got out of the way.

"I'm going to go doublecheck the perimeter," one Turk said.

"Yeah, you do that," Reno said.

"I wasn't talking to you," the Turk snapped.

"Yeah, yeah, weren't you goin' already?  You're messin' with my concentration, yo."

The door opened suddenly and two men came running out.  Without missing a beat, Reno fired twice, both shots hitting clean. He figured the Turks there had to figure he meant to kill somebody, and he didn't care much one way or the other what they thought or did to him afterwards.  He hadn't planned out much past today anyway.  Didn't mean he was going to make it easy; if they tried to arrest him or something or take him in, he'd make sure he didn't go down without a fight they wouldn't forget.

"Ain't you goin' yet?" Reno said in irritation, and shot the next guy who ran out, then made a disgusted noise when it only hit the guy in the shoulder.

"...yes, he was," the Wutai Turk said, motioning with his hand and smiling just faintly before he pulled out his gun and started firing quick at the man Reno had shot in the shoulder, his shot hitting the man clean in the head and dropping him instantly.  "And while he's gone, you and I are going to have a little talk.  The name's Tseng," he said, and fired at the people trying to escape out of the window.

"Reno," Reno said, never taking his eyes from the door but grinning at Tseng's shooting 'cause Tseng was a hell of a shot, and firing his own gun again as Tseng reloaded.  "Nice ta meet ya."

"The pleasure is all mine," Tseng said, and started firing again.  "So, Reno.  How would you feel about getting a little of that 'ShinRa backing'?"

"What, don't even tell me I just got scouted for some army shit," Reno said, rolling his eyes and reloading.  "'Cause you'd be wastin' your breath."

Tseng smiled faintly.  "The army?  No, not exactly.  I get the feeling that your talents would best be utilized...elsewhere."

"I'm listenin'," he said, and the second round of explosions went off.

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