Change the Rules


chapter two


Rufus stared at his hand, the constant, nagging sensation of pain fading along with the vanishing black marks. As the rain continued to fall, he felt better… felt *whole*. There was an odd feeling that tingled through his nerves, one that took him a few minutes to recognize as strength.

His Turks gathered around him as he lifted his right hand, the wet sleeve of his coat falling back to reveal unmarred skin. He didn’t know how it had happened and even began to wonder if he’d fallen to the ground and this was one final hallucination before he died. After months of fighting against the disease, he couldn’t believe that it was gone, chased away by the cleanest, sweetest smelling rain he’d ever known.

Tseng, Rude and Elena stood perfectly still, identical expressions of amazement on their faces as he pushed his sleeve back even more. Of course it was Reno who broke the silence, letting out a loud cry of joy as he fell to his knees beside Rufus.

"What the fucking hell," Reno said as he tugged on the buttons of Rufus’ vest, undoing various garments with wantonly acquired skill. Rufus was too dazed to rebuke his lover, caught between hope and fear over what would be revealed. Reno’s shaking hands pushed his opened shirts aside and tore at the white bandages beneath to expose healed skin. There was no trace of geostigma at all.

"Fucking hell," Reno repeated, and then he scrambled forward, onto Rufus’ lap. Perhaps it was because he seemed to be healed or because barely an hour ago he’d expected his life to end as he impacted with concrete, but Rufus didn’t push the idiot away. No, instead he grabbed the lapels of Reno’s black coat and yanked him closer, the two of them rushing into a kiss of such bruising intensity that he finally felt a spark of pain as his lips pressed harshly against teeth.

He was Rufus Shinra, one of the world’s richest and most powerful men, and he was sitting in the rain, surrounded by his bodyguards while kissing his lover for all to see. Kissing him with a passion that had been denied for too long, his hands so tangled in Reno’s wet hair that it actually hurt, the strands digging into his fingers but Reno didn’t complain. No, he moaned so lasciviously that Rufus began to regret that his hands weren’t free to tear at the white shirt his lover wore, to expose pale, scarred flesh for him to taste and touch. He made do with Reno’s wicked, talented mouth; the taste of sweet, pure water mingled with astringent tobacco as dazzling heat spread into him and throughout his body.

Between his face being pressed so closely against Reno’s and the intoxicating passion coursing along his nerves, he had to pull away a little to breathe, panting heavily as he tugged Reno’s body even closer.


Rufus heard Tseng but didn’t respond, not when he could do something as delicious as lick along the edge of Reno’s left ear and make his lover squirm, both of them already hard from just one kiss. He understood why Tseng was trying to get his attention but it just wasn’t important, not when he was alive and healed and had a squirming, mewling Reno on his lap. Forcing his lover to arch his neck or lose hair, he trailed his lips down Reno’s extended neck. He tasted more of the sweet water mixed with sweat, his tongue tingling in response while his entire body thrummed with desire. Deciding that he could play with his lover’s hair later, he untangled his fingers and began to slide his hands along Reno’s back, toward-

Reno cried out again, this time a loud, annoyed squawk as he was forcibly jerked from Rufus’s lap by a violent tug to the collar of his shirt. Rude kept hold of his partner while Tseng stepped between Rufus and Reno.

"Fucking bastards!" Reno yelled, a litany of curses beginning to spill from his swollen lips before Rude decided to cut them off by forcing Reno to stand on his tiptoes or be strangled by his clothes.

Tseng didn’t even seem to notice the tirade or the vicious glare Rufus gave him for spoiling the fun. "President… you’re healed?" he asked, motioning gracefully with his right hand at Rufus’ exposed chest.

"It seems that way." Rufus glanced at the unblemished skin and reluctantly began to button his shirts and vest. He wanted to demand that Tseng get out of the way and that Rude let go of Reno, but even though he felt the horniest he had in years, his brain finally kicked into gear. First take care of a few necessary things and *then* he could indulge himself. "I’m sure it would be best for Dr. Alim to confirm the disease’s remission, but I am confident that it’s gone." Cupping his right hand, he held it up to collect drops of the falling rain and swore he felt a sense of warmth and energy from the water. "I wonder if this qualifies as a miracle," he mused as he tilted his hand to let the raindrops continue on their way then began to remove the bandages around his face and neck.

"Miracle or not, I don’t think we should remain here for much longer. At the least, Kadaj may still be alive," Tseng pointed out. "We should remove ourselves from the battle until we find out what is going on."

Rufus nodded as he cast aside the bandages. "Yes." There were no more sounds of explosions and falling debris in the last several minutes but that just might mean that Strife and Kadaj had taken their battle out of hearing range. Or that Strife had lost, a not terribly heartening outcome to consider. Bracing his hands on the arms of the wheelchair, Rufus began to stand. "There’s not much we can do until we have more information." He gained his feet with an ease that surprised him, his body not protesting in the slightest and his strength undiminished. Discretely adjusting his coats to hide the evidence of his erection, he stared directly at Tseng and nodded again. "I think it’s time that I returned to my apartment."

Tseng stared back for a few seconds then bowed his head, his wet hair falling forward to cover his face. "Sir, I suggest that you take Reno and Rude with you. Elena and I will investigate what has happened to Kadaj and… assess the situation." He glanced aside at Elena, who nodded her head so vigorously that water droplets flew from her short blond hair, and then waited for Rufus’ response.

The suggestion did have some merit. Despite Kadaj’s insinuations what he and his brothers had done to the two Turks, Tseng and Elena appeared to be in good condition. Compared to them, Reno and Rude were more than a bit tattered around the edges, smudged with dirt and their uniforms torn, a dark bruise spreading across Reno’s chest and a similar one on the left side of Rude’s face.

Rufus nodded his approval and tugged his sleeve back into place. "Very well. Once you’ve gathered the necessary information, begin to call the Turks together. I think now is the time to put the rest of our plans into motion." He felt a thrill that didn’t have anything to do with his returned health or libido but was the thought of being in control again, of rebuilding his company into something much better than his father had ever made.

Now that he seemed cured and that his existence was no longer a secret, there wasn’t a need to hide. If Strife had survived the battle with Kadaj, there was even a debt owed to Rufus for his use of the Turks to help fight the brothers and regain the missing children. At the very least, his actions would foster the belief that ShinRa was not the same, that it was willing to atone for past crimes and not repeat them in the future.

Smiling as he thought how well things might have turned out, Rufus motioned for Tseng to move aside. He walked away from the detested wheelchair, his strength growing with every step, along with the sense of control when Rude and Reno fell in step behind him. Even though there was some sort of clear intervention in regards to the geostigma, he still had held on long enough to fight the disease and emerge the victor. Now he could focus on the other promise that he’d made himself, to restore ShinRa Electrical Company to its former glory. Glancing behind his shoulder, he felt his smile widen as he looked at the shell of his company’s new headquarters. Once Tseng reported back to him, he should be able to speed up construction of the building, the need for secrecy gone.

Reno caught his eye before he looked away and gave him a wink so mischievous that it bordered on insolent, aquamarine eyes darkened by passion and his lips pursed together as if to kiss. Rufus arched his eyebrow as lust jolted through his body, racing along his limbs and settling as a molten fire in his crotch. He became so hard that the mere act of walking was made difficult, and Reno’s knowing smirk created the urge to discipline his lover. Things weren’t the same any more; Rufus didn’t need Reno as much now that he was healed so Reno best not overstep his bounds.

Still, for someone who Rufus didn’t need, Reno was all he could think about on the way to the helicopter. He was half-tempted to fly the machine himself but decided to not press his luck so soon and settled for sitting in the co-pilot’s seat instead. Reno gave him a smoldering look that made the rest of the world fade away for a few seconds before the sound of the engine starting shattered the intimacy of the moment. Remembering the times that Reno had taught him to fly and how at least half of those lessons had ended with them having sex in the helicopter or hanger, Rufus was about to do something incredibly impulsive when Rude cleared his throat in a very loud manner.

"Sorry, I think I’m getting congested from all the rain," the Turk explained as he cleared his throat again.

Not fooled for a moment by the excuse, Rufus began to grow angry – at himself. He was not some hormone-driven teenager and so could resist his lover for the few minutes that it would take for them to reach his apartment. He blamed the lack of control on the sudden well of energy that resided in his body and instinctive responses at surviving against such terrible odds, but it was still inexcusable, his reaction. Forcing his body to sit straight in the seat so he could look at what was ahead rather than at Reno, he folded his arms over his chest and fought to control his traitorous impulses.

The flight to his apartment was unnaturally quiet, with Reno not saying anything as he expertly piloted the helicopter. From this vantage point, Rufus could see some of the damage inflicted in the battles fought that day, the large chunk of missing highway and a mostly demolished building. Much of the city was still in dire need of repair and he would begin to see to that. Converting the Mako Reactors would be a priority; he had been buying vast reserves of oil in the past year to help produce enough energy until the new system could take over, and that should help to spur on the rebuilding of Midgar.

"We’re here," Reno remarked in a surprisingly quiet voice as he gently set the helicopter on the roof. Rufus remained seated while Rude exited the craft and made sure that the penthouse was still secure. The Turks had been discreetly maintaining his home for him since his ‘death’ but it was best to not take any chances.

Just him and Reno in the helicopter, and the unnatural silence stretched on. Reno fiddled with various switches and stared out the side window while they waited for Rude’s ‘all clear’, seemingly intent on not looking at Rufus. Feeling a bit stung at being ignored, Rufus grasped his lover’s chin and forced Reno to look at him. "I believe this is the longest you’ve gone without speaking," he remarked, a slight frown on his face because of Reno’s unusual behavior.

"Not every day when I see someone get healed without a potion or materia," Reno answered, his eyes still dark with restrained passion.

Refusing to give in to the urge to kiss his lover, Rufus traced his thumb over Reno’s lips instead. "While I must admit to some curiosity, I really don’t care how I was cured. All that matters it that I am." That he had his whole life before him once again, not just a couple of agony-ridden months. "And now that I am, I have work to do and little time to ‘play’."

Reno nodded, the motion slight as he didn’t try to pull his chin from Rufus’ grasp. "Gotcha. Guess we all are gonna be real busy for the time being." He frowned for a moment then closed his eyes. "Why do I get the impression that I’m actually going to miss the fucking bugs and trees?"

"Because you’ve always been rather adverse to working," Rufus remarked, a slight strain to his voice as he fought to not pull Reno toward him. He was alive and healthy and his body seemed determined to prove that in the most enjoyable manner possible.

"Least we’re back in Midgar," Reno mumbled and opened his eyes. "And things have a chance of going back to the way they were." He gave Rufus a hopeful look, the corners of his mouth upturned in a slight smile.

The way things had been…. Rufus didn’t want just that, he wanted things to be *better*. Too much had changed in the past two years for things to return to how they’d been, and he found himself actually a little apprehensive about future.

Much of the people he’d relied upon to assist in running his corporation, be they help or hindrance, were gone. There was no more Hojo, Heidegger or Scarlet, to name but a few, people who had played a part in ShinRa Electrical Company for years if not decades. Veld was gone and Rufus had the impression that Reeve wouldn’t come back. For the last two years, only a handful of people had proven themselves truly loyal, and most of them were Turks. As tempted as he was to reward them somehow, Rufus couldn’t exactly make them heads of various departments and expect things to go well. Not when he still needed loyal soldiers to do the fighting with him, especially with SOLDIER gone.

"I won’t settle for ‘back to the way they were’. ShinRa is *mine* now, and I want more than what my father left to me," he admitted as he forced his hand to release Reno’s chin.

Rubbing his left hand along his jaw, Reno settled back in his chair and once more resumed looking out the window. "Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me at all. Good thing you’ve got the Turks."

He did indeed have the Turks, his support of the division over the last five years repaid tenfold, but he couldn’t quiet a niggling doubt on whether or not he really had Reno. His lover hadn’t left him when the company had appeared broken or he was about to die… but what if he hadn’t been healed? Would Reno have waited until he was bedridden to leave? What about now, when it seemed that the Turks had little to fear from what remained of AVALANCHE?

Suddenly besieged by doubts, Rufus stared intently at Reno, once again trying to gauge his lover’s thoughts. Reno was almost impossible to second-guess, his usual cheerfulness an excellent mask for his true emotions. People thought that Reno was an open book but he managed to hide what he really felt very well, purposely coming across as a lazy, alcoholic idiot who liked to fight. While there was some truth to that image, many times Reno had won the advantage in a fight by dropping the mask and proving himself to be intelligent, focused and ruthless.

"I hope to have more than just-" Rufus stopped talking when he saw Rude return to the roof, his right hand held up to signal ‘all clear’. Reno muttered something under his breath and scrambled from the helicopter, darting through the rain to open the door for Rufus.

"Sorry, no umbrella but then again, you’re already soaked," Reno said, his good humor in full force as he bowed slightly and gestured with his right arm for Rufus to lead the way. While Rufus headed toward Rude, Reno fetched several duffel bags from the back of the helicopter.

Rude reset the security alarms once they were inside the penthouse and left most of the lights off. The living room seemed like a shrine of sorts, its relics covered with limp white cloths and the scent of dust to the air. Rufus hadn’t been here since the day of his ‘death’ and felt that it was another sign that he could now return to Midgar. The past two years had been spent in limbo, in reacting more than dictating actions, but that would change now. He would reclaim all that was his and not stop there.

All he had to do was figure out what was still his, first.

"My laptop," he said as he held out his right hand. Reno set a few bags down and gave him the briefcase that held his computer. Once it was in hand, Rufus strode toward the office, intent on seeing what he could find out. Neither Reno nor Rude followed him, which annoyed him more than it should. He’d grown too dependent upon always having a Turk by his side, usually Reno at that.

He didn’t bother with any lights other than the one on the desk, the room cast in thick shadows which reminded him of all the times he’d snuck into his father’s office back at the Shinra mansion. This was his home, however, one he’d been deprived of for too long. Even after all this time, he easily found the connections for his laptop without the need for more light and quickly had it up and running.

Up and running and not telling him much of anything. Letting out an annoyed sigh, Rufus told himself that it was too soon to expect any truly helpful bits of news. There’d been too much destruction for things to quiet down so quickly. He would have to wait until Tseng got back to him with the much-needed information and then decide his next move. Now that the possibility was there, he wanted to put all of his plans in motion as soon as possible, but that would be utter foolishness. Too much eagerness would lead to another downfall.

"Oi, looking for porn already?" Reno asked as he strolled into the room, a glass tumbler in each hand. "You really must be feeling better." He sat down on the desk, not seeming to mind the dust at all, and handed over one of the glasses. It looked as if he’d rubbed a towel over his hair, the strands sticking up in all directions but not in its usual spikes and his sunglasses were gone. His coat was missing and the torn, muddy white shirt clung to his shoulders and chest.

Forcing his attention away from his lover, Rufus accepted the offered glass and sniffed its golden contents. "This better not be some of my best whiskey," he warned as he began to glare at Reno.

"To your health," was Reno’s too cheerful reply as he clinked their glasses together and then drained his drink in one long swallow. "Damn, that stuff’s good," he groaned as he licked his lips a few seconds later.

Rufus set the glass down and rose from his chair so he could stand by his lover. "Not only is it my best whiskey but you’re already well on your way to being drunk, aren’t you? Did it ever occur to your addled brain that we’ve things to do other than drink?" he asked as he once more grabbed Reno’s chin, his fingers pressing hard against bone.

Reno gazed back, his eyes remarkably clear and his complexion unblemished by any blush. "Yeah, my ‘addled brain’ figured that out all on its own, but I thought we should have at least one fucking drink to celebrate the fact that you’re not- that you’re okay now." As he spoke, his expression slowly became angry, his voice grew a little louder. "Guess it didn’t take long for you to turn into such a bastard again, which is a clear sign that you’re back to normal," he sneered.

"I must be, for you to try my patience like this," Rufus snapped, but part of him was thrilled to have Reno insult and infuriate him. Reno had treated him mostly normal during the worst of his disease but things had still been a bit… softened. Restrained. Even when he did something like throw a bowl of hot soup at his lover, Reno would just call him a bastard and swear a little and then mostly calm down. Not now, if the vitriolic glare directed his way was any indication.

Rufus was better now, was strong enough to take all that venom and merely smile in the face of it, certain that he could easily redirect it or even force Reno into submission. He was back in control and didn’t need his gun to keep his lover from walking away. No, he could grab Reno by that outrageous hair and drag him back, could put the wonderfully returned strength to use and once more remind his lover of who was in charge.

Smiling with smug assurance, Rufus picked up the glass of whiskey and raised it to Reno’s lips.

"I haven’t even begun to be a bastard," he said, his voice warm and amused as he pressed the glass against Reno’s mouth. When Reno finally parted his lips, the glass clinked against his teeth as Rufus tilted it up until the golden whiskey poured into Reno’s mouth. "To my health," he murmured as he leaned forward for a kiss. The whiskey flowed into his mouth as well, potent and warm, and he swallowed it before he swiped his tongue along his lover’s teeth.

Reno moaned and wrapped his arms around Rufus’ shoulders, and it occurred to Rufus how long it had been since they’d done something like this, Reno in his office, on his desk, ready and willing to be fucked…. This was one of the things that he’d missed so much, that had tormented him in the last few months. All of his visions of rebuilding ShinRa had included Reno, there to insult, to entice, to infuriate him and often all at the same time.

"Too long," Reno moaned as he broke off the kiss, his darkened eyes only partially open and his cheeks flushed. "Wanted to kill Tseng today," he continued as he nuzzled Rufus’ neck. "Hmmm."

"There are better places for sex than in a potential war zone," Rufus pointed out as he slid his hands beneath Reno’s shirt. They were both still wet from the rain but Reno’s body didn’t feel chilled at all, it was as delightfully hot as always. Rufus wanted that heat, wanted to feel almost-fevered skin press against his own and become lost in it. But Reno’s mention of earlier made him realize that he didn’t want a harried fuck against a hard desk. "Such as a bedroom"

"Ah… one with a very large, comfortable bed." Reno’s grin was pure sex and wickedness, a look that always managed to make Rufus groan with need and become annoyed at how easily Reno could affect him. "Let’s go."

For a moment there was the thought of everything that needed to be done but Rufus had to admit that there was little that could be accomplished without adequate information. Also, he needed this too badly, the lust simmering in his blood too strong to be anything but a distraction until it was sated.

He shifted away from his lover but his right hand tangled in Reno’s white shirt, a hold that he used as a leash to ensure that Reno followed. Not that he had much doubt that Reno would, but *he* was the one in charge, in control. His lover had a few bad habits to unlearn and he would be diligent about the lessons.

They didn’t quite run through the living room, Rufus refusing to lose any more dignity than he already had in the situation, and didn’t even bother to give Rude changing out of his wet clothes in the middle of the living room a second glance. Well, *Rufus* didn’t. The Turk muttered some sort of apology while Reno produced an ear-splitting wolf whistle.

"Looking *damn* good there, partner!"

How often had Rufus heard Reno tease his partner like that, to compliment Rude in some leering or fawning manner? Too many times for it to bother him, yet for some reason it did now. He didn’t want Reno’s attention focused on anyone but *him*, the thought increasing his returned strength so that he quite easily used the hold on his lover’s shirt to almost literally toss him onto the bed.

As Reno landed on his back with the air knocked out of him, Rufus quickly straddled his hips and reached for that wrinkled, wet shirt. It tore so easily in his hands and was spread open to reveal Reno’s bruised, narrow chest. Bruises that he’d gotten from fighting Yazoo and Loz, all because Rufus had ordered him to do so.

"Feeling frisky or what?" Reno asked, clearly settling into a sulk as his lower lip jutted out and his eyes narrowed in annoyance. "Didn’t I get thrown around enough today, dammit?"

"You’ve clearly spent too much time sitting on your ass these last few months," Rufus commented as he gently stroked his right hand along some of the bruises. None of them looked too serious, thankfully. "I’ll have Tseng spar with you more often." Or he would fight with Reno himself, something he hadn’t done since before Meteor. Reno was faster but he had the advantage of reach and strength so their bouts were always very enjoyable.

"Not only are you a bastard, but you’re a sadistic one as well," Reno grumbled as he stretched his arms over his head and closed his eyes.

Pressing the palm of his right hand against a dark bruise, Rufus leaned down as Reno hissed in pain. "Then why do you continue to piss me off so much?" he asked in a perfectly civil tone of voice.

"Because you’re a sexy, sadistic bastard." A small, pleased smile formed on Reno’s lips and he arched his neck. "Mmmm, and because it turns you on."

There was little to argue against there, Rufus thought as he scraped his teeth along Reno’s neck and tasted whiskey. Reno was his, but not as a lapdog, fawning to do his bidding or appease his anger. Just like Reno was the only one to touch him while he was sick, to act as if he wasn’t being eaten away by an alien infection, Reno was also the only one who dared to purposely anger him, to goad him on then sit back and smile. Reno was the only one who would strike back at him, never in betrayal but in honest fury. That was perhaps the highest compliment that the Turk knew how to give, to not hold back at all when losing control could cost him so much. Not even Tseng or Rude saw this side to him, something that Rufus would never allow to happen. Throughout all the years together, right from the very start, Reno had offered and Rufus had accepted, and there was no way he’d give back *any* of it. That wasn’t part of his nature. "You left out ‘selfish’ as well," he told his lover before he licked along the just-scraped skin.

"Huh?" Reno’s eyes fluttered open only to drift shut when Rufus began to kiss just below his left ear. "What… whatever." He gasped when his earlobe was bit and began to tug at Rufus’ wet clothes. "Wearing too much," he complained.

"That can be easily remedied," Rufus whispered in his lover’s ear before he sat up. The wet clothes clung to his body as he struggled out of them, and for once he regretted wearing so many layers. As he quickly disrobed, Reno stared at him, his pale face almost glowing in the room’s dim light, his eyes darkened by shadows as well as passion and his hair fanned out around his head. He looked startling unnatural, reminding Rufus about their discussion the other day on demon changelings. Rufus could almost believe that Reno wasn’t human, that he was more some perverse force of nature sent to appease and torment him.

He forced himself to look aside as he shrugged off his shirts and noticed that someone had pulled the dust cover from the bed. It lay in a heap on the floor, and not far from it were a couple of duffle bags and Reno’s wrinkled, dirty coat. The sight made him frown as he removed his pants, a reminder that he had to redraw some lines between him and his lover. Reno would not be allowed make any assumptions about his role in Rufus’ life. Tossing his clothes to the floor beside the abandoned sheet, he tore off the remaining bandages before he leaned forward once again, his arms braced on either side of Reno’s head as he stared intently at his lover. "Why are you here?" he had to ask, more than curious as to why Reno had never left him during the past two years.

Perhaps Reno understood the full meaning of the question, perhaps not. He smiled as he reached up to stroke back Rufus’ damp hair, the expression almost tender except for the passion that burned so bright in his eyes. "’Cause I’m your Turk, you idiot. I go where you order me."

If only it was that simple, and if Reno had a semi-decent track record of following orders. Rufus didn’t like feeling uncertain about anything, and any more, he felt that way about his lover. Now that things were returning back to normal, he wanted the uncertainty to go away.

Not willing to say something else and risk exposing his true emotions, Rufus just sighed in annoyance as he stretched out on top of his lover and kissed him. Reno’s warmth began to soak into his body and offset the chill in the air, and as the kiss progressed, the sense of urgency from earlier returned. Rufus didn’t want his lover snatched away this time, not when Reno was naked beneath him, uttering those wonderful moans and sudden gasps as his hands stroked along Rufus’ back.

He rocked his hips forward to wring another gasp from his lover, a low moan building in his own throat as their hardened cocks rubbed together. There was a flash of Reno’s mouth on his body, so hot and moist, but he didn’t want that, not now. He wanted to feel tight, feverish flesh constrict around him as he thrust into Reno’s ass, to hear Reno cry out his name and beg, the only time Reno ever really pleaded for anything.

"Where’s the damn lube," he growled in frustration as he nudged Reno’s legs wider apart, his right hand grasping his lover’s ass and tilting it upward to create more wonderful friction between their bodies. To hell with foreplay, he’d waited too long for a moment like this, had thought it forever out of reach.

"Your… ohhh… apartment," Reno stuttered, the rest of whatever witty comment he was trying to make lost as Rufus’ fingers stroked along the cleft of his ass. "Dammit." He flopped his right arm about blindly until his hand smacked against the nightstand, which made him swear again. He somehow managed to pry the drawer open while his left hand latched onto the back of Rufus’ neck and pulled him closer for a kiss so searing that Rufus almost forgot how to breathe. One thing that Reno *never* lacked was passion.

"You’re… ah… *yeah*… not thinking somethin’… stupid like… foreplay, are ya?" Reno drawled out the words as he tapped something along the side of Rufus head, the object turning out to be a container of lubricant. His eyes were dark with desire, his cheeks flushed and his lips curved in one of the wickedest smiles Rufus had ever seen. If he thought the smile from earlier was enough to get him hard, this one put it to shame. Or maybe it was the combined effects of Reno being naked on his bed while Reno’s hips moving in a circular motion that made Rufus’ heart speed up each time their cocks were ground together.

"Don’t complain to me if you’re sore tomorrow," Rufus answered after a minute and snatched at the bottle, unable to completely hide just how much the teasing bastard had affected him. For a moment, he was almost tempted to draw things out as long as possible, just to do the opposite of what Reno wanted, but that wasn’t something he would be able to bear right now. He refused to think about the exact day count but it was over four months since he’d been able to fuck his lover, and right now, that was all he wanted in the entire world.

Bastard that he was, Reno actually *undulated* beneath Rufus, an evil, delicious movement that started at his shoulders and went through his body and made Rufus groan at the feel of heat and firmness pressing against him for only a few fleeting seconds at a time. "Like I’m not gonna be sore in the morning anyway. Fuck me."

Flipping open the container’s lid with his right hand, Rufus trailed his fingers along the outside of Reno’s right thigh and smiled at the way Reno shivered in response. He cupped Reno’s ass with the palm of his hand and gave the warm flesh a powerful squeeze. "There’s no doubt about that." He grew excited at the thought of thrusting into his lover’s body, of how tight it would be after so many months without anything but oral sex. Unable to hold back on a moan, he leaned forward to brush his lips against the side of Reno’s neck, just below his right ear.

"Nnn!" Reno grunted as Rufus scraped his teeth along the sensitive area – then cried out when he suddenly pulled away and sat back on his heels between Reno’s spread legs. "What the hell?"

Rufus poured some of the lubricant on his fingers then tossed the container to Reno. "If you’re so eager, you can prepare yourself." As he spoke, he began to spread the slick liquid over his cock. The coolness of it almost made him hiss in surprise but after a moment it began to warm up.

"’Bout time we got down to it," Reno muttered as he pushed up onto his elbows to glare at Rufus for a few seconds before falling back onto the bed. He bent his knees and splayed his legs even wider as he poured some of the lubricant onto his left hand.

Ready for a very erotic show, Rufus stopped stroking his slick hand along his cock and firmly wrapped his forefinger and thumb around its base so his fun wasn’t spoiled too soon. Reno always delighted in teasing him, turning him on with dirty talk and pushing him to the point where he lost all patience and control.

This time, however, Reno’s wicked smile turned into a frown of concentration as he reached between his legs and slowly pushed two fingers inside his body. He hissed slowly then bit into his bottom lip as his fingers continued inward, sinking past the tight ring of muscle at a steady pace. There was no teasing, no smart comments or description of what it felt like, just him stretching himself with an absolute minimum of fuss.

Rufus frowned and shifted closer to his lover. "This isn’t what I-" He was cut off as Reno’s right foot impacted with his upper chest and shoved him backwards.

"I told you I wasn’t in the mood for damn foreplay." Reno lifted his head enough so he could glare at Rufus, his wet hair limp around his face, the strands partially obscuring his narrowed eyes. As he spoke, he continued to prepare himself, his fingers scissoring open again and again, and he even managed to push himself upright and forward until he straddled Rufus’ legs. "We can do the playing around later."

If he didn’t want sex as much as Reno, Rufus would have shoved his lover aside and left the room. Part of him insisted that he do just that… but it wasn’t the part that clamored for pleasure, for the feel of tight, clenching heat around his cock and the sound of Reno moaning and panting and begging him for more. So all he did was give the impatient idiot as cold a stare as he could muster. "I’m docking you a day’s pay for each time you complain about how much your ass hurts after this," he warned, his voice as cold as his demeanor, which was quite the feat considering that Reno had grabbed hold of his cock.

Wrinkling his nose and sticking out his tongue to show what he thought about that, Reno withdrew his finger then positioned himself above Rufus. "Like I give a shit; we’ve been in the middle of nowhere for three fucking months and I’ve barely spent more than a hundred gil the entire time. Besides, sometimes a sore ass is worth it." His wicked smile returned as he lowered himself, and the both of them moaned as Rufus’ cock slowly pushed into Reno’s ass.

The initial resistance produced another hiss from Reno, this one longer and louder than the first, and a wince from Rufus. He was almost convinced that this wasn’t going to work when he pushed past the tight ring into heat, the sensation making him moan and close his eyes. The slow slide of his cock into his lover’s body left him gasping and shivering, desperate to speed up the pace but unable to move when he was being clenched so tight. He couldn’t remember the last time anything had felt this *good*. His hands grasped Reno’s hips and then stopped; they squeezed harshly against flesh and bone instead of pulling downward only with an immense force of will.

"Oh… fuck!" Reno almost wailed, the sound not so much one of pain but of need and the lack of control. He continued to sink onto Rufus’ cock, his entire face and part of his chest flushed a deep red, his teeth pressed so hard against his bottom lip that the flesh turned white, and his eyes tightly closed. Yet he didn’t stop until there was nowhere left to go, until Rufus’ cock was completely buried in his body and his ass pressed tight against Rufus’ groin.

There had never been a moment where Rufus was torn between action and inaction as strongly as now, not even when he’d looked over the edge of the building and decided to jump after Kadaj. He wanted *so* much to thrust his hips up but it was almost impossible to move, not when he felt as if his entire body was engulfed by the feverish heat that surrounded his cock, that his nerves were only a few frantic heartbeats away from being overwhelmed by the ecstasy he felt. Maybe because it had been so long or maybe it was how he’d been healed but he *swore* that sex had never felt this intense or amazing before and they’d barely started.

Reno slouched forward, his hands slapping onto Rufus’ chest as if he needed to brace his arms to keep himself upright. His flushed face was twisted by emotion too potent to identify, his eyes mere slights and his breath ragged as if he’d run miles without any pause. He moved his hips the slightest bit and moaned, the sound so low and wanton that Rufus’ shivering increased. "Do something. Oh, *please*, fucking do something," Reno pleaded, his voice hoarse and weak.

Stirred into action by the sight and sound of his lover begging, Rufus forced the air from his lungs in a shuddering sigh and flexed his fingers before he dug them into Reno’s hips with enough force to leave bruises. The inability to move suddenly vanished as he lifted Reno a few inches to pull him back down the same time he thrust his hips upward. The ecstasy increased a thousand-fold, as sharp as the pain that had plagued him for so many months but instead of being debilitating, it invigorated him.

"Touch yourself," he managed to grit out after a few seconds to Reno, who seemed able to move once more. He didn’t need to lift Reno anymore but he didn’t remove his hands, not when they helped to slam his lover back down with aching force.

Gasping as if he couldn’t regain his breath, Reno closed his eyes and let his head hang down, but he shifted his left hand from Rufus’ chest to his cock. Just touching it made him shout and toss back his head, his sweat-darkened hair fanning out around his face and falling onto his shoulders. The ends of his long tail brushed against the tops of Rufus’ thigh, an insanely teasing, gentle touch.

Rufus had lost himself in sex before, to the pleasure and ability to slip the leash of control that held him so constrained most of the time, but never to this extent. All he could see was Reno, in such enthralling detail that it seemed unnatural; the gleam of sweat on pale, bruised skin, the way the drops ran down prominent ribs and rough scars, individual strands of dark crimson that clung to skin and appeared like a myriad of razor-thin cuts.

His chest burned as he fought to breathe, the air no longer chilled but so hot it smothered. He swore he could feel each and every nerve in his body; even his ears and toes tingled with the pleasure that coursed through him, an intoxication more potent than any elixir he’d ever taken. The emotion spurred him on, made him thrust his hips faster, made him pull Reno down harder, the room quiet save for their harsh breathing, the wet slap of sweat-slick flesh and Reno’s inarticulate cries. There was no banter, no curses or threats or pleas. The pleasure seemed too overpowering for the both of them, rendering them incapable of anything but jagged, unstopping movement.

Reno continued to jack himself off, his hand pumping up and down his cock in time to the rapid thrusts, still hunched over Rufus and staring at him as if he was the only thing in the room. Rufus wanted to reach out and tuck aside the uneven strands of hair that fell onto Reno’s face, to brush aside the hair that clung to his own forehead and obscured his vision but it was as if his hands were glued to Reno’s hips. He settled for blowing a weak puff of air up his face and continued to meet that stare. Reno’s unusual eyes were framed by crimson; the scars, his eyebrows, his hair, all of which made their color even more startling.

The room grew dark; Reno’s features were veiled with shadows and Rufus felt a tightening in his own body, the ecstatic tingling of his nerves now a maddening buzz that made him tremble and gasp. He wanted to fight against but it was so strong, and a part of him wanted to give in so he could revel in the bliss so long denied. Yanking Reno’s hips toward his own, he thrust as hard and as deep as he could, barely lifting his lover back up to repeat it again before he came.

For a moment he thought the geostigma had returned, that he was suffering another attack or a bullet to his chest; the bliss was so severely intense that he became perfectly still. Then it rushed through his frozen body, allowed his lungs to expel air and his heart to beat once more, his eyes to flutter open but all he could see was blackness marred with moving, brilliant dots.

He could hear Reno call out his name, sounding as if he was sobbing, could feel his lover still moving against him. When the blackness receded and the dots turned into hazy pinpricks of color, he was mesmerized by the sight of Reno with his head tossed back, his chest arched out as his hand moved along his cock at a frenzied pace. There was another almost-sob and Reno arched his back even more, the nails of his right hand digging into Rufus’ chest as warmth splattered over his stomach. Rufus watched his lover come, groaning at the sudden vise-like grip around his softening cock that sent shivers through his body until it was as if Reno lost all control of his body and collapsed forward.

They lay there panting, the air no longer sweltering around them but growing chill once more against their overheated, sweat-slick bodies. Rufus wrapped his arms around Reno, grateful for his lover’s heat even if his chest felt like it had been clawed by a cat and he had a bony elbow digging into his side.

"Ohhh… wanna do it again," Reno mumbled after a few minutes of comfortable silence. When Rufus didn’t respond, he deliberately banged that damn bony elbow into Rufus’ side. "Oi. Talking to ya."

Although Rufus felt much the same way, eager for more of that amazing bliss, he wasn’t sure his heart could take it right away and he *definitely* didn’t follow orders from Reno. "All this time and we thought Reeve was the only turncoat," he said, slightly appalled at how much his voice wavered. He cleared his throat and forced it to obey. "You’re really trying to kill me, aren’t you?" Either that or he would have to have Reno checked for demon blood. Maybe Hojo had gotten his hands on the Turk at one point or another….

Reno made a rude sound and pushed himself upright – which would have been fine if he hadn’t been lying on Rufus’ chest in the first place. "Don’t be such a wuss. You’re young and healthy and have a gorgeous guy in your bed. Show some proper enthusiasm." His amused smirk changed to a wince of pain as he shifted enough that Rufus’ cock slipped from his ass. "Fucking-"

"One day’s pay for each complaint," Rufus warned, an evil smile on his face as he dared Reno to finish the curse. Reno had been the idiot who had rushed things so *he* wasn’t going to listen to his lover bitch and moan for the next few hours. Not that he hadn’t thoroughly enjoyed things, which just made the situation even sweeter.

"Sadistic bastard," Reno muttered as he slid to the bed in a boneless sprawl besides Rufus. "Though it’s not that bad, really."

"You left out ‘selfish’ and 'sexy'," Rufus pointed out, feeling in a helpful mood. He turned to face his lover and finally tucked back the crimson strands that clung to Reno’s forehead. He didn’t know why Reno insisted on hacking his hair into such a ragged mess and then forced it to mostly defy gravity, not when he looked even sexier with it down. But Rufus didn’t say anything because he was usually the only one to see him like this.

Reno smiled at the comment, his expression one of extreme self-satisfaction. "Hmm, things are really back to the way they were before," he mumbled.

The way things were before…. Once again, that phrase bothered Rufus and set his nerves on edge. "You can never go back to the past," he said as he leaned over his lover. "It’s a foolish mindset that can lead you to expect too much." He stared at Reno as he spoke, his expression and tone as serious as he could make it. Expect too much and achieve too little, was what he’d meant to say but he didn’t voice the last part. For some reason it annoyed him, and he didn’t know if it was because he wanted Reno think there was more to be achieved or not. Hell, he wasn’t even sure what was to be achieved, if it was something to do with their fucked-up ‘relationship’ or not. All that he was certain about was that he felt a sense of possession toward Reno that had never existed before Meteor, and it only seemed to grow stronger, not weaker, now that he was healed. "Never expect too much."

Reno’s smug smile faded and his demeanor turned surprisingly solemn. "I never expect too much. I’ve always lived for the moment and taken whatever I could. Sorry fucks like you are the ones who get their panties all twisted up worrying about the future and what’s coming to them."

"A surprisingly wise remark from you, for once," Rufus commented, and smiled as his lover glared. "Though out of the two of us, you’re the only one who’s ever worn panties."

"Because you’re a sick, selfish, sadistic bastard." Reno continued to glare as he spat out the insult, but there was a very light hint of color to his tattooed cheeks, a slight hitch to his voice.

Rufus smiled as he thought about all the ways they’d played together in the past, and the opportunities he would have in the future. Reno was entirely much too enticing when dressed in panties and a corset, the outfit complete with garters, as well as entertainingly… feisty. The outfit made him just enough uncomfortable that it always turned into a very enjoyable, exhausting night. That was something they’d enjoy very soon, Reno’s punishment for the latest insult. "I’m also the sick, selfish, sadistic bastard who’s your boss," Rufus reminded as he settled on top of his lover. His left knee forced Reno’s legs apart while his right hand toyed with silver earrings. "I foresee some very… ‘interesting’ assignments in your future."

"Definitely sadistic," Reno murmured as he grabbed Rufus’ hair and used the hold to pull him down for a kiss. "And definitely back to normal." Thankfully, he finally shut up as he pushed his tongue into Rufus’ mouth – which also prevented Rufus from issuing any new threats.

There were a million of things to be done and possibly some information finally available that he could use, but Rufus remained where he was. There was also the need to ‘discipline’ his unruly lover, to teach Reno of the futility to insult him and expect to get away with it. Rufus still desired the cocky bastard, felt an intense need for pleasure and satiation, to prove that he was healed and in control. Waiting a little longer for more information and resources to become available wouldn’t be a bad thing, and soon he’d be too busy to indulge himself like this for a while. Passion once again took over his body and thoughts, and his only plans now were to make Reno beg once more, to submit to him here if nowhere else.


Reno jolted upright as he woke up, senses registering the fact that he was alone in bed with a rush of adrenalin and alarm. For the last few months, he’d always spent the night beside Rufus, awakening either whenever his lover had an attack or when the alarm went off in the morning. Other than a few naps seized here or there, Rufus was always in bed with him when he awoke, until now.

The lack of his lover made his heart race and his gaze dart all over the room as he tried to find Rufus and then slowly realized where he was. This wasn’t Healin Lodge with its unadorned plastered walls and wood beams and small but comfortable bed. It took a few seconds for his brain to kick into gear and his memories to return, along with the knowledge of why he was in this white room, the wall of windows hidden by thick curtains and the large bed taking up most of the space.

He’d only spent a few nights in Rufus’ apartment before Meteor, most of the time leaving after sex to return to headquarters or his own apartment. Rubbing his blurry eyes, Reno spared a thought for his own home, which he hadn’t seen in several months. At least he’d had enough seniority to rate a place of his own off-site, somewhere to go on his days off or when he was on Medical leave. If he had still lived full-time at headquarters then he’d have lost everything and been homeless right now.

For a moment there was such a strong urge to go home, to sleep in his own bed, to be surrounded by walls that held almost all of his belongings. To just be able to spend the day on the couch and watch movies or play games, to get utterly shit-faced and be able to collapse on the floor, safe and sound. Being so close to it was almost torture, but he couldn’t go just yet. Not until Rufus told him that he could.

Not finding his lover in the room, Reno staggered to his feet and after noting the time, decided to check the bathroom. Along the way, he noticed that the closet door was open and assumed that Rufus had gotten up and dressed himself even if it was only five in the fucking morning, something that assured him that things were all right. The bathroom bore evidence that Rufus had been there recently, the sink’s counter splattered with water and the glass of the shower stall still fogged. His body protesting the fact that he was forcing it to stand upright and move at some ungodly hour, Reno decided to take a shower himself now that he was assured that things were okay. After all, Rufus would have put up one hell of a fight if there had been any attack or kidnapping attempt, and the man had a nasty habit of wasting perfectly good sleep time on work.

Reno was more than a little sore from the previous evening’s sex, his body not used to such prolonged penetration. For the last few months, all he’d had to satisfy himself were his fingers and a dildo, and not a lot of time to enjoy either. Still, several hours of intense, passionate sex was a much better way to spend the night than sleeping or getting drunk, which he hoped he’d have a chance to do soon. Maybe it would take Tseng and Elena a day or two to get the information that Rufus wanted and he’d be able to take a break until then.

Only allowing himself a few minutes beneath the pounding, blissfully hot water, Reno forced himself out of the shower and had to look around for a dry towel. Finding one in the cupboard by the huge tub, he patted the soft material over his body and realized that not all the bruises and aches were from sex. He’d taken a pretty good beating during the fighting yesterday, too pumped with adrenalin to notice it at the time and too lost in lust and happiness afterward.

Rufus was healed. Reno smiled as he dried his wet hair, more than certain that Alim wouldn’t find any trace of geostigma in his lover. Hell, judging from last night’s ‘performance’, Rufus was better than he’d been in years. There was something very wonderful to be said about a lover who had the energy and recuperative powers of a teenager yet the experience of someone a few years older.

Slicking his hair back, Reno decided he didn’t have the time or energy to style it and left the steam-filled bathroom. He searched through his duffle bag and found a rolled up pair of pants and clean boxers, but little else. His coat had a rip along the left sleeve’s seam but it wasn’t too noticeable, not as much as the dust and the wrinkles. Shaking the dirt off, he took an empty hanger from Rufus’ closet and hung the coat in the bathroom, hoping the steam would help with the wrinkles. Returning to the closet, Reno debated the long line of clean white shirts for a minute before he cautiously reached for one. He didn’t have anything suitable to wear but he had the impression that Rufus wasn’t going to let him wander around too much out of uniform if ShinRa was being put back together. Bastard had a thing about image and all of that nonsense; hence the reason why they’d spent the last few months in the fucking woods, of all places, just so no one would see Rufus during the worst of his disease.

He pulled on the shirt, rolled up the sleeves and left half the buttons undone. Appropriating a pair of socks as well, he put on some deodorant and considered himself done for the day. Hoping that he’d have a chance to get some laundry soon, he left the room in search of his lover.

Rude was sprawled out on the living room’s white leather couch, his feet hanging over the edge as he slept. His low, soft snore filled the room, an annoying yet reassuring sound to Reno after having shared a room with his partner an awful lot during the past two years. Sneaking around the couch, Reno made sure not to disturb Rude as he made his way to the office, where he saw a faint light along the bottom of the door.

Slowly pushing it open, he poked his head inside and found Rufus at work behind his desk. Not saying a word, he entered the room, walked past the couch to lift the dust cover and snag a plump chenille pillow. Once he reached Rufus’ desk, he tossed the pillow to the floor and sat down, his body protesting the motion strongly enough that he groaned in pain. He’d have sat on the desk but it was covered with stacks of papers and here, he had some support for his sore back – not to mention a cushion for his sore ass.

Busy typing something on his laptop, Rufus reached over with his right hand and combed his fingers through Reno’s wet hair for a moment. Then he returned to work, the only sound for several minutes the tap of keys. Reno felt himself grow sleepy and wished he’d had a cigarette when he woke up, but he was in the habit of not smoking around Rufus because of the disease. A shame he hadn’t realized sooner that it shouldn’t be a problem any more since his cigarettes were in the bedroom….

Tilting his head back and to the side, he noticed the intent look on his lover’s face and decided to just remain quiet. With his luck, he’d get something thrown at him for interrupting Rufus while he was at work; besides, he wouldn’t mind getting a little more sleep. Closing his eyes, he let his head rest back against the wood desk.

"Go make some coffee for us."

"Huh?" Reno shook his head and glanced up at Rufus. "Coffee?" He thought that he’d dozed off only for a second or two but it felt longer than that with the way his thoughts were so muddled. Then again, he’d had a very busy couple of days which involved getting his ass kicked around a lot, so it just might be the exhaustion catching up to him.

"Yes, coffee." Rufus once more reached for his head, this time to give a lock of his hair a rather painful tug. "Is it too much to ask if there’s any food around here?" He didn’t look away from the laptop as he spoke, just continued to type one handed.

Forcing his addled brain to work, Reno nodded. "Yeah, should be something frozen." He remembered Elena saying something about stocking the place so any Turk checking up on it could have a chance at grabbing a bite to eat. Groaning again as he stood up, Reno stretched his arms over his head to work some kinks out of his spine and noticed that Rufus gave him a quick once-over. Waiting to hear a comment about the shirt or not being in full uniform, he felt a sense of relief when all Rufus did was look away and reach for his cell phone. Figuring his lover didn’t mind that he’d borrowed some clothes, Reno went to the kitchen.

He was as quiet as possible as he brewed the coffee and searched through the freezer for something to eat. Rude was still unconscious, and considering that Reno had walked past him twice so far, must be utterly exhausted to not wake up. Reno found some croissants and micro-waved about a dozen of the pastries, knowing that Rude would wake up hungry as hell. Once the coffee was brewed, he filled two mugs, added sugar to Rufus’ and put six of the croissants on a plate. Munching on one of the croissants without the benefit of using his hands, both being full with the food and coffee, he crept back to the office.

Setting the mugs and the plate down, Reno grabbed the half-eaten pastry from his mouth and smiled at his lover. "Us Turks believe in full service. Want me to iron your suit next?" he asked with a sarcastic tone as he picked up his mug and another croissant before he returned to his pillow.

Rufus had a sip of coffee then tried one of the croissants. "If I had any hope that you could iron without burning it, I’d say ‘yes’." Some of the seriousness in his expression faded when he had a few more bites to eat. "I’ll contact someone to stock the kitchen since this will be my office for the time being." He sat back in the chair and sighed, a hint of exhaustion on his face but not nearly as much as Reno would expect after recent events.

Reno had to get used to the fact that Rufus wasn’t an invalid any longer. There was an odd sensation in his chest at the thought, almost like disappointment or fear, but he didn’t try to analyze it. Rufus being well was a good thing, even if it meant that life was going to get very hectic. "Ah, so I take it that it’s safe to go ahead with things?" he asked while he shifted on his pillow enough so he could face Rufus.

"Yes. It seems that Kadaj and his brothers are dead, and there are conflicting accounts about Cloud Strife’s condition." Rufus frowned at his phone for a moment then shook his head. "Word is that geostigma has been cured and that ShinRa is not taking the blame for the recent destruction." He looked at Reno and smiled, his blue eyes shining with what seemed to be amusement. "I hear that several children have you and Rude to thank for their lives."

Rubbing his nose, Reno glanced away for a moment and shrugged. "Yeah, well, they would have just been in the way of the fighting so we had to do something." He’d done a lot of things that he wasn’t proud of in his life but using kids as a living shield had never been one of them. Well, other than that one time. "So you think it’s time to get back to work, eh?"

"Most definitely. People have been reminded that there are worst things out there than ShinRa and they’re tired of living with an uncertain supply of electricity. While we were in charge, things were more dependable, more secure." Rufus’ smile took on a disturbing edge. "We will have to make amends, of course, to show that we are properly ‘remorseful’ for what happened in the past and present a less sinister image, but it’s doable."

"’We’," Reno asked, his stomach suddenly unsettled enough that he set the coffee aside.

"ShinRa Electrical Company." Rufus set his mug aside as well and caressed his warm fingers along Reno’s left cheekbone. "Which means you Turks as well. I think your job description will have to change slightly in regards to the past and the fact that there are no more SOLDIERS. Not so much lurking in the shadows and breaking knee caps from now on." He lightly scraped the nail of his forefinger over the tattoo, his smile softening to one that actually contained some affection.

How was it that Rufus should so easily shake up Reno’s world, yet he didn’t object or resist, he just went along with all the upheavals? Leaning forward, Reno rested his forearms on the armrest of his lover’s chair. "’Not so much’ isn’t the same as ‘no longer’," he pointed out, uncertain if Rufus was implying that more than Reno’s role as a Turk was about to be changed.

"Such a clever boy," Rufus said, the words almost crooned in a soft voice. "You and your colleagues will have to quickly learn how to be more discreet." He chuckled for a few seconds as if amused by some private joke. "That should be very interesting to see on your part, considering your track record."

"I think I can surprise you on that front," Reno replied, his throat suddenly growing very tight. Rufus hadn’t been the President for very long, and his father had sent the Turks on some very… disturbing assignments that were kept well hidden. Reno suspected that the fact that he’d been assigned most of them was the price he paid for his relationship with the President’s son and knew that both Veld and Tseng had done what they could to deflect some of the ‘requests’. Now Rufus was in charge, someone who had earned his respect and loyalty yet who left him a little anxious because he knew that Rufus would not let a simple thing like sex get in the way of future jobs.

Rufus’ expression grew serious again, turned briefly into something dark as his fingers slid into Reno’s hair and pulled him closer. "Is there something I should know?" he asked, that darkness echoed in his voice.

"No." Reno saw no need to bring up the past, and if Rufus hadn’t found out the truth during his short stint as President before Meteor, then that information had been very well hidden. At this point, only Tseng and Rude probably knew about it and he could trust them not to say a word.

Feeling almost desperate to change the subject, Reno forced a smile onto his face and trailed his fingers along the inside of Rufus’ right arm. "So, what’s in store for the next few days?"

Rufus seemed to snap back to normal, his expression becoming mostly guarded as he shifted away, but his fingers remained in Reno’s hair. "We gather up as many dependable, useful people that we can. I supposed I’ll also have to deal with Reeve at some point as I understand he’s now one of the leading proponents against the use of Mako as an energy source." He glared at nothing in particular for a moment then shook his head violently enough to make some of his slicked back blond hair fall onto his forehead. "I’ll send you to talk to him; he always seemed to like you in the past." The way that fact was said was almost more like a question than a statement.

Wincing in pain from his hair suddenly being tugged on, Reno shifted closer rather than risk becoming bald. "Yeah, well he was a decent guy, his taste in friends aside, and never acted as if he was better than me. In return, I didn’t give him much grief and he seemed to appreciate that." He’d always liked Reeve and found the man’s polite manner intriguing. Reeve never came across as false or manipulative, and Reno still couldn’t believe that Rufus’ old man had assigned the engineer to spy on AVALANCHE. He wasn’t too surprised that Reeve had been swayed to the side of ‘good’ and didn’t hold it against him too much. Hell, Reeve had even offered Reno and Rude jobs after Meteor, but he wasn’t going to tell Rufus that.

Rufus’ expression became unreadable once more. "Then he should believe you when you tell him that ShinRa doesn’t plan to use Mako energy any more."

"I guess so." Uncertain about Rufus’ sudden moodiness, Reno grasped his lover’s wrist and tried as unobtrusively as possible to get him to let go of his hair. "Uh, we don’t plan to use it, do we?" he dared to ask. He’d gladly lie for Rufus, he just wanted to know if he was doing it or not. Last he’d heard, the plan was to convert the Mako Reactors… but Rufus had a nasty habit of never him telling the full truth.

"No. In fact, we’ll use an alternative energy source that Reeve was busy investigating before Meteor. I highly doubt he can complain about us damaging the Lifestream that way." Rufus sounded decidedly smug and finally released his tight hold on Reno’s hair.

Well, Reeve might be a little pissy about having his work used by a company that he seemed to detest now, but Reno wasn’t going to lose any sleep over that. Whatever the new plan was, Rufus had spent months studying it and talking to the few knowledgeable employees he’d trusted to know that he was still alive. "Okay, so I get to chat with Reeve once you set things up, what else?" Would he be purposely assigned away from Rufus? They’d never had a problem with work and pleasure before but Rufus had been acting damn odd since yesterday, and there was the comment from last night about Reno not expecting too much….

"You and Rude will remain here for the most part." Rufus looked back at his laptop and resumed typing. He almost seemed bored with the questions, which usually was when Reno either shut up or purposely pushed things too far, and neither were an option at this point. Reno needed some answers but didn’t want to deal with a pissed-off lover this early in the morning.

"Rude’s gonna get awful damned tired of sleeping on your couch," he pointed out as he reached for his now cold coffee, his attention focused on his lover’s reaction.

"Hmm." Rufus calmly tapped a few more keys before he answered. "Tell him to use the spare bedroom. You’re to put your things in there as well."

Fucking hell, Rufus really was that upset over him putting his bag in the room last night? Reno remembered the way Rufus had frowned when he’d seen it and grimaced as he swallowed the last of his coffee. He just barely resisted the impulse to throw the mug at his no longer sick lover. Only the fact that he could clearly see the straps of Rufus’ gun holster kept him from doing so, as Rufus reflexes had greatly improved now that he was healed. "I’ll do it right now if you don’t need me for anything else. Just give me time today to run out and get some ear plugs so I don’t have to put up with Rude’s snoring at night."

Rufus looked up from his laptop and glared. "I didn’t tell you to sleep in the room, only to put your things there." He slowly enunciated each word as if talking to a child or an idiot.

His temper unexpectedly rising, Reno reminded himself that he didn’t have to walk on eggshells around his lover any more. Rufus was back to normal now, and if anything was more of a bastard than usual. Just let him try to throw a bowl of soup at Reno and he’d find it chucked right back. "What, so you don’t want my shit in your room but I can stay there to be fucked? You really know how to make a guy feel special, Rufus." Reno snorted with disdain as he rose to his feet.

Rufus pushed away from the desk, his hands clenched around the chair’s armrests as if he wanted to strangle something. "You are not living here, Reno, only staying for a short while so I fail to see why I should tolerate your ‘shit’ scattered all over my room. You can keep your mess confined to the spare bedroom."

Reno noticed that Rufus made no mention about sex, and also resented the implication that he was a slob. Sure, he didn’t put much effort in his appearance, especially when work comprised of getting into fights on a regular basis, but if Rufus had ever bothered to see his apartment or his old ShinRa quarters – hell, his rooms at the various hotels and places where they’d stayed for the last two years – then he’d know that Reno wasn’t a slob. Living in a rat and cockroach infested shithole as a kid had taught him better than that. "Then why the hell don’t you just have Tseng and Elena stay here to watch over your ass, huh? Oh, wait, neither of them will bend over for you, will they?" He rested his right hip against the desk as he returned his lover’s virulent glare.

Appearing as if he was trying to count to ten or something, Rufus slowly rose from his chair, placed his hands on the edge of the large desk and leaned toward Reno. "Tseng and Elena are actually able to retrieve the information that I need and contact the necessary people without pissing them off by being a smart-ass bastard," Rufus explained, once more clearly pronouncing each word. "As for ‘bending over’, I assumed you had no compunctions about that considering how eager you were last night."

That’s because he’d been damn grateful that Rufus was going to live and horny as hell after not being fucked by another person in over four months. However, those were things that Reno would never willingly admit. "Last night was last night; there’s nothing in my job description that says I’m the on-call fucktoy for the President," he snapped, not very sure why he was so pissed off but spoiling for a good fight.

Rufus actually stared at him in amazement. "Let me get this straight; you, the person who routinely came into my office for sex, who instigated this… mutually beneficial relationship between us and was willing to be fucked in a wheelchair in the middle of a street just yesterday, are worried about being considered a ‘fucktoy’?"

When it was put that way, it did sound a bit silly but Reno wasn’t about to concede the higher ground. "There’s a difference between being expected to have sex because it’s your job and doing it for the hell of it," he tried to explain, and was grateful that he’d left his baton and gun in the bedroom as Rufus’ expression turned even more incredulous.

"I’m not really alive, am I?" Rufus asked as he covered his eyes with his right hand and shook his head. "I died after jumping off the building and am currently in hell. You’re my personal tormentor for all eternity, correct?"

"Saying things like that isn’t going to get you sex any time soon," Reno muttered as he purposely flicked several sheets of paper onto the floor.

Rufus took a deep breath and lowered his hand. "I no longer have any doubts; you are utterly insane. Proof of this is the fact that you tell me I can’t have sex from you if I expect it, and I can’t have sex from you if I point out the flaws in your logic, but I can get sex from you for basically only breathing. I’d suggest that you go for some therapy but I’m afraid ShinRa couldn’t afford to pay the bill."

Reno gave his boss the finger as well as stuck out his tongue. "All I’m saying is that I have sex on my terms, not yours."

Moving faster than Reno expected, Rufus grabbed him by the loose collar of his shirt and jerked him forward. "You are not the only person in this… equation. How many meetings have you made me late for by showing up in my office demanding sex? Do you have any idea how much I had to bribe the people in the surveillance department so my father wouldn’t get any ‘incriminating’ evidence from the times you just *had* to fuck while in an elevator or a conference room or even the damn auditorium? And why the hell are we discussing this right now?" Rufus gave him a shake each time he shouted a new question. "I have a company to rebuild. Stay in the damn guest room for all I care!"

Despite the last thing he said, he dragged Reno across the desk for a kiss that did more for waking Reno up than the shower and cup of coffee combined. It was just short of savage, Rufus sucking Reno’s tongue into his mouth so hard that he was afraid it would be torn free, Rufus’ hands clasped around his head to keep him from pulling away tight enough to give him a headache. However, he didn’t try to pull away; he merely grabbed onto his lover’s shoulders and kissed back for all that he was worth.

They didn’t break apart until Rufus’ cell phone suddenly rang. Pulling away rather slowly, Rufus stared intently at Reno as he wiped his mouth with his left hand and reached for the phone with his right.

Reno stared back as he tried to tuck his damp hair behind his ears and even out his breathing. "I’m not sleeping with Rude," he complained, the urge to fight mostly gone and replaced with desire.

"You’re not going to ruin my couch so it’s either the floor or my bed," Rufus stated, not the slightest bit out of breath which annoyed Reno to no end. However, there was no more chance of a conversation since it sounded like Tseng was on the other line. Rufus picked up his empty coffee mug and thrust it in Reno’s direction.

Debating how long it would take Tseng to get here if Reno bashed the mug into their employer’s head, Reno accepted it with bared teeth, picked up his own mug and stalked out of the room.

Entering the living room, his anger cooled at the sight of a groggy Rude sitting up on the couch. Remembering how loud his ‘discussion’ with Rufus had turned out, he offered his partner an apologetic smile. "Sorry, didn’t mean to wake you up."

"It’s okay," Rude grunted and rubbed his eyes with his fists. "Just means that things really are back to normal. You and the President are screwing like rabbits one minute and screaming at each other the next. Just do me and Tseng a favor and keep the physical fights to a minimum, okay? Potions are getting too expensive." He yawned wide enough to swallow his own fist and seemed to notice what Reno was holding. "Coffee? I thought I smelled some." He pushed aside the blanket that had pooled onto his lap, revealing the fact that he was only wearing a pair of light blue boxers.

Reno took a moment to admire his partner’s *very* impressive physique then nodded. "Yeah, there’s some left. Not the freshest but I can easily brew some more." He’d give Rufus the old stuff, though. "I nuked a few croissants for you, too."

"Thanks." Stretching out his arms as he rose from the couch, Rude only bothered to put on his sunglasses before he followed Reno into the kitchen. "So, did you two talk about something other than sex and your rather dubious hold on sanity?" He easily avoided the mug Reno swung at his face.

"Tseng said the three bastards are dead and that it’s a great time to inflict the wonder that is ShinRa on the world again," Reno mumbled as he grabbed the ground coffee from the freezer.

Rude paused in shoving half of a croissant into his mouth. "Good." Whether he meant that about the freak brothers being dead or them working for a legitimate company once again, Reno wasn’t sure. He was still trying to figure out the most recent fight with Rufus. Part of him was actually happy that they’d yelled at each other, something that they hadn’t done like that in months. Things just weren’t right unless they were ready to kill each other on a weekly basis.

He recalled what Rude had said in the living room and couldn’t help but smile. Either ‘screwing like bunnies or screaming at each other the next’ indeed. Rufus was back to normal and so was their… hell, relationship or whatever it was called. Any doubts that Reno had over what would happen now had mostly been put to rest. He knew that things wouldn’t be the same as they had been back when Rufus had been Vice President, and things had been too crazy when Rufus took over for his father to gauge what would happen now, but it couldn’t be all that much different. Sure, things had changed a bit when Rufus was sick but he was better now so it didn’t matter. Rufus would probably go back to screwing other people, which suited Reno just fine. He told himself that it meant that he’d have a bit more time to himself and placed the blame for the sudden burning in his chest on the cold coffee.

Rude poked around in the freezer and began to pull out various packages and containers. "I think I can make us something a bit more substantial than croissants for breakfast, but we’ll either need to send out for some supplies or go out ourselves." He gave Reno an intent look over the top of his sunglasses. "I assume we’ll be here for a while?"

"Don’t bother to pretend that you didn’t hear every word of the fight," Reno scoffed as he mentally willed the coffee to brew faster. "Yeah, guess this’ll be home base for a while, until Rufus and Tseng figure out something else."

Rude seemed to consider something as he turned on the oven. "We still have a few offices scattered about that are in decent shape." He went quiet for a few seconds as he stared at the container in his left hand. "It’s really happening, isn’t it?"

Reno didn’t need to know what the ‘it’ was. "Yeah. Pretty soon we’ll be doing what we always did, only in shiny new digs." Not exactly, according to Rufus, as he seemed determined to ‘reform’ the Turks somewhat, but Reno decided to tell his partner about that later.

"I’m going to be stuck standing in front of the President’s office again all the time, aren’t I?" Rude complained, his voice surprisingly pitiful for such a large man.

"You really think so?" Reno couldn’t help but ask. For the past two years all he’d wanted was for thing to go back to the way they were, and now he couldn’t shake the doubt that it was impossible.

This time, Rude actually slid his sunglasses down his nose so he could look eye to eye at Reno. "Perhaps there’s some credence to the insanity theory, after all." He batted aside the box of coffee filters that Reno threw at him with no apparent effort and… not quite smiled but not quite frowned, either. His expression was almost one of pain for a fleeting second before it turned into one of long sufferance. "That or you’re an idiot." Turning his back to Reno, he began to look through the cupboards for something. "I definitely think so. I couldn’t be so lucky," he muttered as he removed a set of nestled bowls and set them on the counter.

The fresh coffee finally ready, Reno poured himself some and then added about five teaspoons of sugar to Rufus’ mug. "What can I say, I’m too sexy for the bastard to keep his hands to himself," he gloated, feeling better now that there was the prospect of real food. The heartburn faded and was replaced by an odd, warm glow instead.

As he left the kitchen, Rude decided to get in the last word. "Upon further reflection, you’re both an idiot *and* insane."

Unable to give his friend the finger since he was carrying two large, very full mugs of coffee, Reno had to settle for a rude noise and the promise to torment the bastard later. Right now, he wanted to see if he could goad his lover into another fight that would either lead to more sex or him being kicked out of the office and able to go back to bed for a few more hours. Either were perfectly acceptable in his book. He smiled in anticipation and prepared for battle.


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