#104 – Splash From the Past (part one)

Noelle: “He’s yours over my dead body, bitch.”

Originally Published: 10/22/01 . 22 pages

Synopsis
When Reno’s ex-girlfriend shows up, Noelle starts to worry she may never get him back. Plus, Algus comes to the ramble room.

Ramble Milestones
-The pool has it’s grand opening.
-Algus arrives.

Well, here’s the pool that Hojo promised, which isn’t used very much. The important thing about this ramble is that Algus finally appears! Final Fantasy Tactics is an amazing game, but to me Algus was the only character who really stood out. And not only was he a fantastic addition to the rambles, but he actually gave Zidane a purpose. Before Algus he didn’t really have much to do. It’s pretty ironic that he’s the one who opens the door for Algus, who immediately mistakes him for a servant. There are a lot of cute, funny moments in this ramble, and also the randomness of Angel Sanctuary being watched. God, I forgot how much I hated that show until I read this! As for Mandy, she was a character from a friend’s fanfic. In it, Reno falls for her at a bar, buys her a shot, and they sleep together. In the morning she’s gone but she leaves a note saying she owes him two-fifty.

(gya haa haa! indoor pool! and it’s damn nice! it’s in its own little house in the back of the ramble room, and it’s inground, 3-10 feet complete with a diving board and water slide. there’s plenty of room around it for towels, lawn chairs and the like. there’s even a lifeguard stand. lark is looking it over with rufus and sephiroth while hojo and scarlet observe them)

Hojo: “Well…?”

Lark: “I’m honestly impressed.”

Rufus: “I smell a lawsuit.”

Sephiroth: “I smell chorine.”

Lark: “Okay, it’s good. You losers pass.”

Hojo: *drums fingers together* “Exxxxxxxxxcellent. We’ll get our bathing suits, and we’ll all enjoy the pool with the water, and the splashing and the cute men in swim trunks and so on and so forth!”

Lark: *sweat drop* “Yeah… Just… Don’t talk to me anymore.”

(the losers leave, and the others start walking back to the ramble room.)

Rufus: “Are you gonna get a lifeguard, Lark?”

Lark: “Do you really think we need one?”

Rufus: “If someone drowns, do you know what kind of lawsuit you could face?”

Lark: “…No.” *blinks* “Why, do you?”

Rufus: “That’s besides the point. You should have one there just in case.”

Sephiroth: “Oh, for the love of Jenova, I’ll do it, Shinra. Your never ending flow of cash is safe.”

Rufus: “Once again.” *smiles*

(they go into the ramble room)

Lark: “Oh, and by the way, I’ve invited someone new to come and hang out with us.”

Sephiroth: “Oh crap! They released Final Fantasy ten already?! Is this jerk like Zidane? I hope not, because when I went to go to bed last night that stupid monkey was in there! I had to throw him out by his tail!”

Rufus: “What does he see in you?”

Sephiroth: “I don’t know!”

Lark: “Relax, Sephy-sama. They’re not releasing that till next year. The new person is from Final Fantasy Tactics.”

Rufus: “Dammit! Why did they have to rerelease that crap!?”

Lark: “Would you guys stop? You’ll like him, Rufus.”

Rufus: “Oh, there’s a big surprise. It’s a guy.”

Lark: “Okay, that wasn’t necessary.” *calls* “YOU GUYS!!!! THE POOL IS READY! COME AND SWIM!”

(in a flash a huge amount of people run past her yelling excitedly. once they clear, seph, rufus and lark look pretty rumpled.)

Lark: *dazed* “Okay… I think they heard me.”

Sephiroth: “….I’m going to get my bathing suit.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

(okay, so sometime shortly after, seph and rufus have joined most of the others at the pool. lark puts her swim suit on and walks into the tv room where there are some people: reno, irvine, zidane, Noelle, reeve and tseng)

Lark: “Hey, you guys. Didn’t you hear the pool is ready?”

Irvine: “I don’t like the water, remember?”

Reno: “I’m not in the mood to get wet.”

Tseng: “I’m waiting for this show to be over.”

Zidane: “Me too.”

Reeve: “I’m waiting for Tseng.”

Noelle: “Um…today’s…uh…not a good day for me.”

Lark: “Oh. I see.” *pause* “Well I’m expecting someone, so when he comes can one of you take him back to the pool?”

Others: “Yeah.”

Lark: “Ooookay then.”

(she leaves. everyone watches the tv, totally zombied out by…what are they watching–angel sanctuary?!?!!)

Irvine: “This is the most f***ed up thing I’ve ever seen.”

Tseng: “It’s sickening, but I can’t stop watching.”

Reno: “Wait, since when are you grossed out by yaoi?!”

Irvine: “Reno, the guy’s in love with his sister.”

Reno: “That’s his sister?! No!”

Noelle: “Yes, you baka!”

Reno: “Whoa, man. I have no idea what’s going on.”

Reeve: “The animation is good at least.”

(there’s a loud knocking at the door. everyone takes their eyes off the screen a minute to look at zidane)

Zidane: *frowns* “Looks like I’ve been elected.”

(he gets up and goes over to the door, opening it. standing there is a handsome blonde guy fancifully dressed)

?????: “Ah, hello, servant. Is Miss Lark home by chance?”

Zidane: *wipes his hand on his pants and offers it to the new guy* “Yo, man. I’m Zidane. I’m not a servant. Nice to meetcha.”

?????: *blinks at the outstretched hand* “Ah….yes. You see, my name is Algus Sadalfas, and I am the son of a noble family. I don’t shake hands with commoners.”

Zidane: *blink blink* “What, are you related to Rusty or something?”

Algus: “Pardon? Anyway, I am here to see Miss Lark, so if you would escort me to her, I’m sure I have a shiny coin I could give you.”

Zidane: *frowns* “Yeah, sure. Whoopee. I’ll be rich. Follow me.”

(and so he leads algus out to the pool area. a bunch of people are splashing in the door, and playing volleyball and such. sephiroth is sitting on the lifeguard chair looking very proud of his position. he’s yelling down at heidegger, who stands next to stinky, who’s wearing a pair of swim trunks)

Sephiroth: “For the LAST TIME. NO SKUNKS in the pool!”

Heidegger: *points to stinky* “Gya haa haa! Swim trunks!”

Sephiroth: “I don’t CARE if he has swim trunks! No animals in the pool! You don’t see Red in the pool!” *points to where red is curled up pitifully in the corner*

Red: “I am suppressing tears.”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! Floaty then!” *he holds up a little inflatable pink boat aimed at like 2 year olds*

Sephiroth: *rolls eyes* “Fine. Put him on the damn float. But he touches the water, you’re both out.”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! Success!”

Zidane: *looking around* “I don’t see Lark…”

(algus is looking around too. he looks pretty horrified, but that melts away when he sees rufus lounging on a comfy chair while elena fans him and rude holds a cup for him to sip from)

Rufus: “Where’s Reno, Reeve and Tseng?! Reno should be fanning me! And Reeve should be getting me more pillows! And Tseng should be rubbing my feet!” *pause* “…Wait, he’ll enjoy that too much…”

Algus: *pokes zidane* “Ho there, common boy. Is that your king?” *points to rufus*

Zidane: *snorts* “He wishes.  That’s Rufus Shinra, President of Shinra and richest son of a bitch I’ve ever seen.”

Algus: “I see…”

Zidane: “I’ll try and find Lark. You stay here.”

(zidane runs off. algus clears his throat and does his best high and mighty strut over to rufus)

Algus: “Hello, sir. I am Algus Sadalfas, the son of a noble family, and I am new to your….community. A commoner informed me that you are President of ‘Shinra’.” *offers hand* “It is an honor to meet your acquaintance, sir.”

(rufus peers over his sunglasses at him before taking them off with a grin and handing them to rude)

Rufus: “Now this is how I should always be treated!” *he gets up and shakes algus’ hand happily* “Pleased to meet you too, Algus! I’m Rufus J. Shinra, President of Shinra Incorporated and the benefactor of this whole place.”

Algus: *indicating elena and rude* “Are these your servants?”

Rufus: “Basically. I have more.” *to elena and rude* “You two can go play in the pool for awhile. But I may call you at any time! And you’d better come!”

Elena and Rude: “Yes, President Rufus.” *they run off*

Rufus: “Come and sit next to me! Would you like something to drink?”

(they sit. algus accepts some iced tea)

Algus: “It seems odd to be swimming in October…”

Rufus: “It’s the wonder of an indoor pool.”

Algus: “Most of the people here are…disturbing.”

Rufus: “Tell me about it. And I’ve been here since the beginning.”

Algus: “I see. What game are you from?”

Rufus: “Final Fantasy Seven. I own practically that whole world.”

Algus: “I see. I am from Final Fantasy Tactics. Lark liked a few of my game’s characters, but she hand chose me to come because I am clearly the best.”

Rufus: “She must like you a lot then. If she hated you, you’d go to loser land.”

(he points to where the losers have gathered in one corner of the pool. scarlet is trying to drown nida, heidegger is playing with stinky, and hojo is trying to sneak up behind kuja with a water proof camera. kuja is wearing a bikini)

Algus: *squints* “…There… In the two piece… Is that a woman?”

Rufus: “No. No it’s not.”

Algus: *eyes widen slightly* “I see. Well that makes perfect sense.”

(then lark comes over, smiling. algus stands up)

Lark: “Hi, Algus! Welcome to the ramble room!”

Algus: “Hello, Miss Lark. I am…” *looks around cautiously* “…here.”

Lark: *sweat drop* “Heh. Yeah. Well, I’ll let you get acquainted with everyone. Not too many of the people here are villains though.”

Algus: “I am not a villain!”

Lark: “Uh…right. Well, talk to you later!” *she goes off*

Rufus: “Were you horribly misunderstood too?”

Algus: *sigh* “I’m disliked because I killed Delita’s sister. But it was not my choice. Razma’s brother told me to.”

Rufus: “I didn’t kill anyone but myself. But I came damn close.”

Algus: *blink blink* “You killed yourself?”

Rufus: *shrugs* “Eh. I could have moved. I just didn’t feel like it.”

Algus: “There does not seem to be many people like you and I here, Rufus.”

Rufus: “That’s why we should stick together!” *mutters* “Just between you and me, there are some definite shady characters here.”

Algus: “Ah, yes. I met one already. He called himself ‘Zidane’.”

Rufus: “Oh yes, stay away from him. The guy in the bikini is his ‘brother’. That whole family seems pretty whack to me.”

Algus: “I see.” *pause* “Well I am glad to have found you.”

Rufus: *grins* “You and me both.”

…………………………………………………………………………………….

(meanwhile, back inside, the tape has just ended. everyone sits there, staring at the screen open mouthed)

Reno: “….Yeah.”

Tseng: “Okay, I’m all for pretending we never saw that.”

Irvine: “I agree.”

Noelle: “Well I liked it…”

Everyone: *gives her a weird look*

Noelle: “What?”

Reeve: “You know, Zidane never came back…”

Tseng: *snort* “I wonder why.”

(there’s another knock at the door.)

Reno: “I thought Lark’s guest came already.”

Tseng: *sigh* “I’ll get it. I’m going to put my bathing suit on anyway.”

Reeve: “I’ll come.”

(so they get up and leave the others behind to get the door. tseng opens the door and standing there is someone they’ve never seen before. she is drop dead freakin’ gorgeous, with long black hair and a perfect figure. she is dressed like a extremely classy and wealthy whore. reeve’s jaw practically hits the floor. she could be dressed in rags for all tseng could care. he blinks.)

Tseng: “Can I help you?”

?????: “Hello…” *looks him up and down* “Is this where all the Turks hang out?”

Tseng: *suspiciously* “Who wants to know?”

?????: “Oh, sorry. My name is Miranda–Mandy, for short. I’m looking for Reno, is he here?”

Tseng: “Are you a friend of his?”

Mandy: *smiles a little* “You could say that.”

Tseng: *frowns* “He’s in there.” *points down to the tv room*

Mandy: “Thank you.”

(he just shakes his head with a sigh as she walks away. he then turns back to look at reeve, who is watching her walk away, jaw dropped)

Reeve: “Good god in heaven…”

Tseng: *annoyed* “Reeve! First David Schwimmer, and now some stranger in a short skirt?!” *crosses arms* “And you’re worried *I’m* going to leave *you*??”

Reeve: *snaps out of daze* “What? Did you say something?”

Tseng: *frowns and starts stomping back towards their room*

Reeve: “Aw, come on, baby–don’t get mad!” *follows*

…………………………………………………………………………………………

(and so ‘mandy’ goes into the tv room where irvine, reno and Noelle are sitting still, talking and laughing quietly among themselves. she comes over to the back of the couch and clears her throat lightly, a smile playing on her lips. everyone looks up at her. irvine’s eyes widen in lust, Noelle’s widen in shock, and reno’s widen in amazement)

Reno: “Oh…my….god.”

Mandy: “Hi, Reno.”

Irvine: *mutters* “Oh my god, Reno–you know this super model?”

Mandy: *laughs lightly* “I’m not a super model.”

Reno: *stands up still staring at her* “Mandy! I, um, hi! Hi! How are you? Where did you come from? Wh-why-why are you here?”

Mandy: *laughs lightly* “You have a lot of questions, huh? I can understand that.” *looks at Noelle and irvine* “Um… I think we should talk alone.”

Reno: “Y-yeah! Of course! Guys…” *looks at irvine and then Noelle* “You guys mind?”

Irvine: “Huh? Oh, no, man. Sure thing. We’ll go hang out by the pool. Come on, Noelle.”

(he leaves, and Noelle gives reno one last long look before glancing at mandy and leaving with a frown. she walks beside irvine, brow furrowed, thinking deeply)

Irvine: *bubbling* “Geez! Did you *see* that girl? I mean, I know Reno had great luck with chicks and all, but geez! Shouldn’t she be dating a football player or a rock star somewhere?”

Noelle: *quietly* “I know her.”

Irvine: “Huh?”

Noelle: “Her–that girl. Mandy, Miranda.” *pause* “That was Reno’s first love.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

(meanwhile, back out at the pool…shell is sitting on the edge…the shoulder straps of her bikini top have been folded under)

Rude: “Why are you wearing your bathing suit like that, Shell?”

Shell: “So I don’t get tan lines, of course, Rude! Don’t you know anything?!”

Rude: *glances up through the sky lights at the cloudy day above* “Uh… It just seems strange today, Shell.”

Shell: “Nothing I do is strange, Rude. Now step back. I’m going to jump in.”

(he does. she gets up and does a cannonball into the pool. as she comes up, she brushes her hair back. rude stares mesmerized at her…heh…chest.)

Shell: “That was nice and refreshing, Rude. I’m glad this pool is heated.” *stares at him* “What is it?”

(she looks around to see all the nearby guys–including heidegger and nida are staring at her)

Shell: “What?”

Zidane: *runs screaming from the pool area* “IRVINE!!!! SHELL’S SWIMMING TOPLESS!!”

Shell: “What?!!?!” *looks down* “Ack! My top fell down!” *she quickly fixes it and glares at everyone surrounding* “What? Stop staring like you haven’t seen boobs before!”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! Nida hasn’t!”

Nida: “Shut up, Heidegger!”

Rude: *clears throat* “Uh, you might want to fix those straps now, Shell.”

Shell: “Nah, it’ll stay now.”

Lark: *yells from the other side* “Shell! Stop turning my pool into a nudist colony!”

(tseng and reeve come in. tseng is apparently not talking to reeve. reeve is frowning.)

Reeve: “Where are you going?”

Tseng: “….I’m going to talk to Kuja.”

Reeve: “Are you kidding?”

Tseng: “No.”

(and he really does go over to kuja. unfortunately, hojo is over there as well, and he snaps a picture right in tseng’s face.)

Hojo: “Haha! Wonderful! I’ll have quite a collection!” *he goes off*

Tseng: *blink blink*

Kuja: “Don’t mind him. He has a camera in my bedroom.”

Tseng: “And you put up with that?”

Kuja: *shows off diamond ring*

Tseng: *blink blink* “Wow.” *he sits with a sigh*

Kuja: *blink* “You’re staying over here?”

Tseng: “My husband is staring at everyone but me.”

Kuja: *snorts* “Like he could do any better.”

Tseng: “Hey!”

Kuja: “Hmmm… You must really love him to take that as an insult rather than a compliment.”

Tseng: “Well… Of course I do.”

Kuja: *looks closely at his leg* “You shave?”

Tseng: *shifting away* “Stop that!”

Kuja: “Look, sweetie, take it from me, you’ve got nothing to worry about.”

Tseng: “Thanks…” *pause* “Can I ask *why* you’re wearing the *top* to that bathing suit?”

Kuja: *adjusting it* “Because it looks so good on me.”

(meanwhile, irvine and Noelle have entered the pool area. irvine is upset to see shell had fixed her problem. Noelle is still frowning. lark goes over to her)

Lark: “Hey, hon. What’s wrong? You look sad.”

Noelle: *shrugs* “Just a mood swing. You know.”

Lark: “Yeah…” *pause* “Anything you want to talk about?”

Noelle: *shakes head no*

Lark: “Okay.” *pause* “If you change your mind…” *she goes off*

Noelle: *mumbles* “I’ll show him…”

(meanwhile, vincent is standing next to the lifeguard stand, staring up)

Vincent: “Can I get you anything to drink, my angel?”

Sephiroth: “No, Vincent, but thank you.” *satisfied sigh* “This is the best job ever. Everyone looks up to me! Look at them! They all rely on me to save their puny little lives! Ha ha ha!”

Vincent: *sweat drops* “Yes, angel. That is…something…”

Lark: *comes over* “Hi, boys.” *looks up* “How’s it goin’, babe?”

Sephiroth: “Couldn’t be better, Lark. Couldn’t be better.”

Lark: “Vincent, why don’t you go in the pool?”

Vincent: *holds up claw* “It may rust.”

Lark: “Oh.” *sweat drop* “Sorry.”

Hojo: *calls from the pool* “I could make you a waterproof model!”

Vincent: *calls back* “Go to hell, bastard!” *clears throat* “Pardon me.”

Lark: *laughing lightly* “You’re pardoned.”

Sephiroth: *looking through his binoculars over at rufus and algus* “What’s that? The rich man’s backyard banquet?”

Lark: “That’s Algus from Final Fantasy Tactics. He’ll be staying with us. He’s a little snotty, so if he treats you like crap, just ignore it.” *she walks off*

Sephiroth: “He won’t treat me like crap. He can’t! I’m the great almighty Sephiroth, lord of the planet!” *watches with a whimper as rufus and algus laugh haughtily and clink champagne glasses* “I wanna be a snot too!”

Vincent: “But angel, you were enjoying your job.”

Sephiroth: *getting out the chair with his eyes still on rufus and algus* “You’ll cover for me, right, Vincent, ’cause you love me.”

Vincent: “But, angel–“

(but sephiroth has already made up his mind and is 3/4 of the way to rufus’ lounge area)

Vincent: “….I cannot go in the water…”

Hojo: *at the edge of the pool holding up the camera* “Smile!”

(vincent looks down just in time to get a flash in his face he squints in annoyance. then hojo laughs and swims away)

Vincent: *taps foot in annoyance* “I don’t believe I like this.”

(so sephiroth has gone over to algus and rufus, who look up at him as he approaches)

Algus: *blink blink* “Rufus, my friend. Who is daring to step into our space?”

Sephiroth: “*I* am Sephiroth, the dark and almighty overlord of the planet. I saw you sitting here and being all high and mighty, and I want to be all snotty too.” *grin*

(algus and rufus exchange a look. but then a second later he’s sitting next to them with a champagne glass and they all laugh like snots and clink their glasses together joyfully)

Vincent: *watching from the lifeguard stand* “That is a most disturbing sight.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, inside. reno and mandy are sitting on the couch in the tv room, talking.)

Mandy: “I bet you didn’t think you’d see me today.”

Reno: “I didn’t think I’d see you *ever*.”

Mandy: “I had a lot of fun, that night at the bar.”

Reno: “I did too.”

Mandy: “I still owe you two-fifty for that gin shot.” *small smile*

Reno: *blushing* “Nah, that’s okay. You don’t owe me nothin’.”

Mandy: “You’re probably wondering why I’ve come back… You know, now, since it’s been a few years.”

Reno: “Yeah, I was kinda wondering…”

Mandy: “You gotta girlfriend?”

Reno: “Not anymore.”

Mandy: “Anymore?”

Reno: “I used to date this girl Noelle–she was the one in here before you…”

Mandy: “Oh. I see.”

(awkward silence)

Reno: “…Why do you ask?”

Mandy: “Huh?”

Reno: “About me having a girlfriend. Why do you ask?”

Mandy: *shrugs slightly* “No reason.” *turns to smile at him* “It’s good to see you, Reno. It’s been a long time. You weren’t just another one night stand.”

Reno: “Yeah… I…gotta agree with you.” *he stands up* “You know–everyone’s out by the pool. Wanna go?”

Mandy: “Sure.”

(they get up and go to leave the room. before they go, she puts a hand on his arm to stop him)

Mandy: “I’ll stay as long as you want me to.”

(reno turns to her, looking a little overwhelmed. his mouth hangs open a bit, and all he can do is nod.)

……………………………………………………………………………………………

(back at the pool….)

Shell: “I’m gonna do a handstand, Rude. Admire my legs.”

Rude: “Can do, Shell.”

(shell goes under and does a handstand. she comes up and, once again… every straight male’s eye in the immediate area is on her. she fixes her hair)

Shell: “That was refreshing.”

Lark: *from across the way screeching* “SHELL!!!!! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! DIDN’T I ALREADY TELL YOU TO PUT CLOTHES ON?!”

Shell: “Dammit!” *fixes her bathing suit*

Rude: “Uh….maybe you should put the straps up *now*, Shell.”

Shell: “Don’t tell me what to do, Rude. And put that camera away, Nida!”

(reno enters with mandy and everyone turns to look.)

Reno: “Uh….hi, everyone. This is my….uh…friend, Mandy.”

Mandy: “Hi, everyone.” *smile smile*

Guys: *blink blink*

Girls: *eyes narrow*

Tseng: *mutters* “Lark doesn’t look thrilled.”

Kuja: *tosses hair over his shoulder* “That Mandy needs a different eye shadow. Lark has every right to be upset.”

(irvine and zidane come over to talk to reno and mandy. Noelle glares at them all and, arms crossed across her chest, she goes over to an abandoned lawn chair in an abandoned corner and sits down. in the meanwhile, reeve comes over to where tseng is timidly and stands next to him looking nervous.)

Reeve: “Um, hi, Tseng.”

Tseng: *doesn’t look back* “Hi.”

Reeve: *looks cautiously at kuja but continues* “You know I love you.”

Tseng: *falters a little but keeps his ground* “Uh huh.”

Reeve: “She’s not that pretty. You’re beautiful.”

Tseng: “………”

Reeve: *crouches down next to him* “Come on. We’re going to get married again, aren’t we?”

Tseng: *very small smile* “If I’m the only one you want.”

Reeve: “Don’t be stupid.”

Kuja: “Oh, just kiss and make up already.”

Reeve and Tseng: *blush*

Kuja: “Oh, I’ll look away.” *sigh*

(he does. and reeve leans over and softly kisses tseng as a flash goes off. the two then break apart quickly.)

Hojo: *holding up camera gleefully* “Yes! Wonderful! Now Tseng, kiss Kuja.”

Tseng: *glares at hojo*

Hojo: *blink blink*

Tseng: “GIVE-ME-THAT-CAMERA!”

(he jumps into the pool and makes a break for kuja while hojo makes a run for it. reeve sweat drops and kuja just flips his hair over his shoulder. back to mandy…)

Irvine: “So you guys just had one night and that was *it*?”

Mandy: “Yup.”

Zidane: “So why’d you come back now?”

Mandy: *shrugs a little and smiles at reno* “You know, there’s just some people who you can’t get out of your head.”

Reno: “Heh.” *looks a little uncomfortable*

Rufus: *at the top of his lungs back on his chair* “RUDE, ELENA, RENO, REEVE AND TSENG GET OVER HERE RIGHT NOW!”

Reno: “Aw, snap.”

Mandy: “Boss nipping at your heels?”

Reno: “What else is new?”

Irvine: “It’s okay, buddy. You can go. We’ll take good care of Mandy.” *grin*

Zidane: “Yeah.” *grin grin*

Mandy: “Thanks, boys, but I think I can take care of myself.”

(she pats reno on the back as he goes, quietly, over to rufus where the others are. rude keeps glancing back at shell in the pool. elena and reeve are both admiring how tseng looks in his bathing suit. tseng is making a very offensive gesture to hojo, who is across the pool area, holding the camera and snickering)

Rufus: “Tseng! Can you go five seconds without disgracing the company!? Now everyone meet my new friend, Algus. Algus, these are my slaves, Rude, Elena, Reno, Reeve and Tseng. Feel free to ask them for anything, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Reno: “Slaves?! What?!”

Reeve: “Rufus!”

Tseng: “Are you kidding?”

Algus: “Thank you. I most certainly will.”

Tseng: “What?!”

Sephiroth: “Does that go for me too?”

Rufus: *shrugs* “Sure. Why not?”

Turks and Reeve: “WHAT?!”

Sephiroth: “Hey, great! Tseng–“

Tseng: “Oh, get Vincent to do it!” *he stalks away*

Rufus: “Hey! Where are you going??” *frowns* “I’d discipline that one, but he’d like it too much.”

Reeve: “Actually, it would depend what you did–“

Rufus: “Okay! I don’t want tips from you! Now get out of here!”

(the turks and reeve quickly run away before they can be ordered to do anything else.)

Rufus: “And that’s how we do business.”

Algus: “I think I’m gonna like it here.”

Sephiroth: “I oddly feel like we should be smoking cigars…”

(they all laugh pompously. meanwhile, Noelle gets up and intercepts reno before he can return to the others)

Noelle: “Hi.”

Reno: “Hi.” *looks around cautiously* “What’s the joke?”

Noelle: “Huh?”

Reno: “What practical joke are you gonna play this time? Shove me in the pool? Kick me in the nuts and run away laughing?”

Noelle: “What, are you gonna just stand there and take it?”

Reno: *shrugs*

Noelle: “Why? What the hell is wrong with you?”

Reno: *shrugs* “Nothing.”

Noelle: “You’re going to stand there, and let me beat up on you, instead of running past me and going back to Mandy?”

Reno: “Yeah, I guess.”

Noelle: *blinks*

Reno: *blinks back*

Noelle: “………”

Reno: “…….Well…? What were you gonna do?”

Noelle: *quickly* “This.” *and then she kisses him on the cheek very quickly and gives him a shove before hurrying off and muttering to herself* “The kiss wasn’t supposed to be in there.”

(reno goes tumbling back meanwhile, toppling into the pool. he manages to splash shell and knock over the boat with stinky in it. everyone looks over at him.)

Reno: *pushes the hair out of his eyes* “Well…” *calls* “THANKS, Noelle!”

Noelle: *winces*

(and then she continues inside. in the background, she can hear voices)

Nida: “Hey! Shell’s top fell down!”

Shell: “Stop staring, freak!!”

Sephiroth: “Hey hey hey! What did I say about that skunk in the pool?!”

Heidegger: “You are no longer the lifeguard! Gya haa haa!”

Sephiroth: “That’s it… You’ll see what happens when you go up against me!”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! Stinky! Swim like Flipper!”

Barret: “Yo! They be talkin’ ’bout you, Flipper!”

Red: “Kill me.”

(before she can leave entirely, mandy grabs her arm and glares at her)

Mandy: “What the hell did you do that for? Now you got my Reno all wet!”

(she goes and trots off in reno’s direction. Noelle watches a second)

Noelle: “He’s yours over my dead body, bitch.”

(and then she leaves, slamming the door behind her. at which, kuja and tseng exchange a look)

Tseng: “The new girl is definitely not liked.”

Kuja: “No. But Reno certainly is.” *pause* “Though I don’t know why. That hair color is hideous.”

Tseng: *sigh*

TO BE CONTINUED…

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