No More Valentines
"I have no luck with Lover's Day," Elena growled, brushing at her suit. "It's not that I mind so much being on the job, but I really object to helicopter crashes." She wobbled, and bent to check her shoes with a frown. "Great. My last good pair of boots. It's not like I can replace my wardrobe with roots and berries and old carburetors, you know. Andre's of Midgar doesn't even EXIST anymore."
"If we could find what was left of it, maybe we could salvage you a pair." Reeve shook his head as he pulled it from the cockpit of the chopper. "No good. We really trashed it coming through those trees. Probably saved our lives, though. Dammit, I KNEW something wasn't right with that hydro-mech stabilizer..."
"I've always been on the job for Lover's Day." Elena realized out loud, hands on hips. "And the one day I wasn't was the time I caught Reno in the elevator with the bills payable accountant, the little tramp. So that one wasn't worth record by anyone except Rapunzel's Chocolatiers, who I probably bought out of business that night." She shook a finger at Reeve's back. "Never let anyone tell you that you can't cure a broken heart with two pounds of assorted liquor truffles... Okay maybe not cure it, but by the time I hit the second box I sure didn't give a damn..." Her optimism fizzled, and her shoulders sank a little. "Will they find us?"
"I put on the signal. We should be out of here by morning, at the latest." Reeve pulled a blanket from the backseat. "Wrap up in this and I'll see about getting us a fire going."
Elena nodded miserably and sank down, staring at the brown grass by her feet. "Okay."
Reeve gave the Turk a concerned glance over his shoulder, watching as she hugged her knees and sighed. He'd expected her to at least insist on helping. Hoping she hadn't banged her head, he headed back to the crashed helicopter to pick up some of the branches they'd butchered on the way in.
Elena shook her head, sucking a burned finger thoughtfully. It was easy enough to shoot some moonfish in the stream a few yards off, but eating them hot without utensils was another matter. "The fire's nice. And it's not too cold, around Golgaga, even in February. Not like effing Nibelheim."
"It is one of the drawbacks of the new business location." Reeve poked his dinner, and deeming it cool enough to pick the meat off of, sat down and proceeded to do so. "But since Midgar is in about eight billion itty bitty teeny tiny pieces..."
"Oh it is not, don't exaggerate." Elena protested, but Reeve had succeeded in getting a smile out of her.
"You'd think it was, the way you've been talking." Reeve smiled, offering her one of the better portions of his fish. "Here."
"I guess I have been complaining, haven't I?" Elena sighed, gratefully accepting Reeve's offer. "I guess it's this stupid holiday. Always puts me in a bad mood."
"You?" Reeve blinked. "I figured you were one of those girls who couldn't see her desk for the flowers. "
Elena snorted. "Yeah right. If I was in the steno pool, maybe. But guys don't go for Turk trainees. Okay, Reno, but as previously established-"
"You've NEVER had a date for Lover's Day?" Reeve radiated disbelief.
"Pretty pathetic, huh?" Elena tossed her dinner remnants in the fire and wiped her hands on the grass. "Probably the only person in the ShinRa Building that night."
"I doubt it." Reeve muttered.
"I bet you always had a date." Elena beamed, with difficulty. "C'mon, what did you do?"
"Me?" Reeve nearly dropped his fish. "Yeah right. You try picking up chicks by saying 'Hi, I'm really an electronic cat.'"
"But you're like, a major ShinRa executive... red tie and all. Young, money, cute..." Elena poked the fire. "Bet you had to beat them off with a stick."
"Umm-hmm." Reeve gestured with his fish-skewer. "'No, young lady, you may NOT have Lover's Day off, it's Mid-month processing!' My entire staff trying to cut out on me." Reeve shook his head. "The one Lover's Day I got out of the office before 8, I wound up sleeping on my couch under the files I'd brought home, Cait Sith on my feet."
"What would you have done?" Elena queried, chin in hand. "If you had a girlfriend?"
"Umm," Reeve stalled, thinking. "Candlelight dinner, I guess. Roses. You know, the usual." He paused, thinking. "Maybe, if I knew her well enough, some of those fizzy things you put in the bathtub. Chocolate-dipped strawberries, champagne..." Reeve continued blithely, unaware of the look Elena was giving him. "Candles in the bathroom, maybe blow some bubbles... wash her hair for her, I don't know." He shrugged, and threw his skewer in the fire. "I never really thought about it."
"Tell me again why you're single?" Elena said dryly. "Since I would give my left ARM for a date like that?"
"You would?" Reeve blinked. "Women like that kind of thing?"
"You don't KNOW? Great Jenova, Reeve! Why in the name of GOD were you doing paperwork?"
Reeve's mouth twitched ruefully. "Because I know more about cats than I do females of my own species."
"Wish I'd known," Elena muttered glumly, leaning on her knees. "Maybe we wouldn't have been by ourselves."
Reeve went quiet, watching Elena think. Her hair was mussed from the crash, and she had a smear of dirt down one cheek. it occurred to him, in the light of their rather pitiful campfire, that Elena was strikingly pretty. In a tough girl kind of way. There was plenty of curve under her Turk-suit. He also realized that this: firelight, a beautiful woman, and dinner, was the closest thing to a date he'd had in a long time.
"What?" Elena said, noticing at last that she was being watched. "You don't like pushy girls, right?"
"You'd really be interested in something like that?" Reeve asked, and they both seemed to notice how close they were sitting, how ridiculously atmospheric the entire thing was, campfire and stars.
"Well," Elena said, her voice small, her eyes on the curve of his lower lip, "I... I think I..."
"Cos I would, you know, if you..." The part of Reeve's brain that was still registering said something about fantastic brown eyes.
"But I'm really not -" she had moved an imperceptible inch closer.
"Well, I wouldn't presume to -"
He kissed her. It was almost accidental, they'd been slowly edging into each other's space and rather than bump noses it was the only logical thing to do. Her hand found its way to the side of his face, and he was surprised how small it was, moving wonderingly over the texture of his beard. His hands found her shoulders, strong and tense under his fingers, and she moved almost instinctively into the shelter of his chest, her other hand curling around the collar of his shirt.
They moved apart for air, and neither one of them said anything. So she kissed him this time, and for longer. Reeve was leaning in for a third time when the drone of a helicopter, unheard before, registered in both their brains with astonishing clarity. Reeve pulled back, eyes going skyward, while Elena blinked at the ground.
He coughed. "Um, Guess... that's our ride."
Elena swallowed, her fingers smoothing her hair. "Right. They got here awfully fast."
They were still staring at each other when Reno came sauntering out of the underbrush, looking smug. "You guys okay?"
"Fine, thanks." Reeve brushed at his shirt, which was beyond hope, and offered a hand for Elena to get up. "Though I can't say the same for the helicopter."
"We can salvage it later." Reno eyed the smear of blood down Reeve's shirt, where he'd banged his nose on impact, and his bandaged knuckles. "Better get that looked at, Sir. I'll get Elena to the chopper."
"I am perfectly capable of walking," Elena stopped to inform Reno as Reeve headed in the direction of the flashing propeller lights. Reno kept her from going further, one arm outstretched across her chest.
"Got no luck with Lover's Day, 'Lena?" he asked, grinning impudently.
Elena very calmly put her fist into his gut, noticing with grim satisfaction that all the air came out of his lungs as he doubled over. "Thanks for coming out to get us, Reno, " she said, sweetly.
Reno leaned on his knees, trying to get his oxygen back as Elena stalked off after Reeve. "You're welcome," he wheezed, and limped after her.