Rules of Possession

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chapter one

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by nekojita

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Rufus strolled out of the conference room, flanked by Rod and Jared, and almost slowed his pace when he spotted Tseng and Elena waiting for him in the hallway. Continuing to his office, he nodded in acknowledgement as the Head of Turks fell in step beside him.

The fact that Tseng hadn’t interrupted the board meeting informed him that the problem wasn’t too critical – however, the fact that Tseng didn’t say anything while they were out in public was not reassuring. Refusing to allow his pace to quicken, he nodded slightly to the employees who greeted him along the way, more than a few of them appearing nervous to see him surrounded by four Turks.

When he passed his secretary’s desk, he informed her in a curt voice to cancel his appointments for the next hour. That should give him enough time to assess whatever it was that made Tseng seek him out and he could decide what to do with the rest of his meetings later. Once inside the sanctuary of his office, he sat behind his desk and fixed Tseng with a stern look. "What happened?"

Tseng reached into the left side of his jacket and pulled out a small disc. "There was an incident at the new power plant in Sector Five," he began to explain as he handed over the information which Rufus immediately pulled up on his laptop. "I believe it to be the work of the Earth First Energy Corporation."

That particular plant was still under construction and would feature ShinRa’s newest advances in energy technology. That was also where Reno and Rude had been assigned for the last few days while key components of the technology were being installed. "How bad was the damage?" Rufus asked, a slow ache building in his chest. He wasn’t concerned for his lover, he told himself; Tseng did not act as if he’d just lost one of the Turk’s best and most experienced. No, he was bothered by the continuation of a problem that had hounded him and his company for the last few months.

"None to the main components but there was some structural damage." Tseng paused for a moment; out of the corner of his eyes, Rufus noticed the man exchange a look with Elena. "Both Rude and Reno were injured, however."

The pain suddenly grew sharp, which caused Rufus to narrow his eyes in annoyance. He was *not* concerned, dammit. "I assume that the injuries are not life-threatening," he carefully asked, his voice deliberately cool to avoid exposing any emotion.

There was another exchanged glance between Elena and Tseng, this one longer than the previous. "According to the report, there is some concern over the two men’s conditions," Elena replied, her voice soft and worried. "The last I was informed, Reno suffered several broken bones and a serious concussion. Rude is unconscious and received damage to his liver and spleen."

Rufus forced himself to nod once and continue reading the information that Tseng had given him. A serious concussion… was that a polite way to say ‘possible brain damage’ he wondered, only to forcibly shove the thought aside. "According to this," he said, his voice sharp with anger at both himself and his injured employees, "the damage was very close to the section currently under construction. How did the saboteurs get that far into the plant?"

"President… there was heavy fighting involved," Tseng began to explain, his voice and demeanor slightly agitated. "From what was reported by Reno and several eye witnesses, the saboteurs were impersonating AVALANCHE members and Reeve. The resulting confusion allowed them further entrance than would normally happen under the circumstances." He fidgeted as he spoke, shifting his weight back and forth from one foot to another and his hands clenching and unclenching. Rufus noticed this uncharacteristic behavior from the usually unruffled Turk and deduced that something was being held back from him.

"I don’t care if they were impersonating Sephiroth and my father while dressed as drag queens, I expect my employees to be able to handle any situation," he icily informed Tseng while he wondered what it was that Reno had done wrong today. He also failed to see how the appearance of any AVALANCHE members would cause two of his best Turks to bungle an assignment, even if they had become allies of sorts several months ago. "What, did Reno get into a spitting contest with one of the impersonators?"

His brow furrowed, Tseng shook his head twice. "Two of the saboteurs were impersonating Cloud Strife and Tifa Lockhart, Sir. They pretended to be support for the Reeve impersonator, who demanded to be allowed into the plant to investigate allegations that it was secretly a Mako Reactor. I believe… it seems that Rude was briefly fooled by the disguises as well as the guards." His shoulders slumped forward slightly as he revealed the truth.

Rufus stared at the man for a moment as he tried to digest that bit of information. Rude, usually an exemplary Turk, was the one to mess up today, not Reno. Because of that failure, there was damage to Rufus’ property and two valued employees were injured. Add to that the fact that Tseng seemed very reluctant to blame Rude and Rufus’ anger continued to build as it sunk in that it was Rude’s fault that Reno was hurt. "I am going to want a full report on the situation," he informed Tseng and waved his right hand at his laptop. "This is little more than speculation and photos of the structural damage; I want to know for certain that Earth First was behind today’s events and the reason for this sudden change of tactic. I also want to know how far behind schedule the damage will put the plant." He rose from his chair and smoothed his hand down his overcoat before he moved away from the desk. "I want to know every detail of what went wrong today and who was responsible, is that clear?" He spoke with resolution, his cold expression a warning that he expected to be immediately obeyed.

"Understood, Sir," both Tseng and Elena replied. When he began to move toward the door of his office, both Turks fell in step beside him. "Where are you going, President?" Tseng inquired, his voice blank of all emotion.

"To Medical in search of some answers." He didn’t glance at either Turk as he spoke. "I can find the department by myself, Tseng. I believe you have more important matters to attend to right now other than to babysit me." His cold tone broke no argument and, after a very quiet sigh, Tseng bowed his head.

"I’ll have the information for you in a few hours, President." Tseng and Elena left him to Rod and Jared.

Ignoring his bodyguards, Rufus strode toward the nearest elevator. His thoughts shifted between concern for Reno and growing anger that Rude had allowed something to affect him on such an important assignment. What if the plant had been destroyed and the new technology lost? What if Reno-

He brutally cut that thought short as he entered the elevator. One cold glare and the people already in the car scurried to get off before the doors closed. He was not in the mood for small talk or inane chatter at the moment, not until he got answers to the questions that plagued him. What had gone wrong today and who exactly was responsible? The tactic of using impersonators was troubling, as was the fact that they had targeted the plant right when critical technology was being installed. He had a growing suspicion that despite his security’s best effort, there was a mole in his company.

There was little doubt in his mind that Strife, Lockhart or Reeve could possibly be involved. Strife and his woman were busy running a bar and finding homes for orphaned children who Rufus helped to support with a generous monthly check and Reeve had approved the plans for the new ShinRa power plants even if he refused to work for the company again. There was no reason for any AVALANCHE members to attack ShinRa property today other than silly revenge for incidents that had happened years ago.

The ride in the elevator seemed to take forever, even after Rod entered the override to prevent it from stopping at any floors between his office and Medical. No one spoke the entire way down, nor when the doors opened and he stalked down the hallway to the department. Something made the people in front of him look away and step aside as he went past. Jared hit the door to the Medical department with enough force to slam it open and make the young nurse standing just inside to jump and let out a startled yelp.

Rufus searched the lobby for a sign of a doctor as he crossed the room, his eyes narrowing when he caught sight of Dr. Cavish. The blonde woman went still when she noticed his attention, a medical chart gripped tightly in her hands.

"Dr. Cavish," he greeted her, his tone clipped with impatience. "I understand that two Turks were recently admitted."

"Yes, Drs. Alim and Horton were accessing their cases." She motioned for him to follow her as she headed toward the private rooms. "I believe Dr. Alim is still in surgery with Mr. Rude but Dr. Horton should be able to discuss Mr. Reno’s condition with you now." They came to a stop before what appeared to be small break room where a thin, middle-aged man was busy drinking coffee and writing notes in a folder. "Dr. Horton, President Shinra is here to inquire about the injured Turks." She bowed her head after speaking and quickly fled back the way they had just come.

Dr. Horton looked up from his notes and waved his right hand, pen between his fingers, in acknowledgement. "Good morning, President." He took one more sip of coffee before he stacked the papers scattered about the table into the folder and closed it. "You’re here about Reno, aren’t you?"

"I’m here about *both* of my employees," Rufus gritted between his teeth. He was not here just because Reno had been injured.

The doctor blinked in surprise and stuttered for a moment. "Ah, okay. My apologies, sir." He wiped his left hand over his flushed face and then opened the folder he held. "Both men received potions while at the site of the accident to stabilize their conditions. I was assigned Reno’s case when he arrived. His right forearm is broken along with four ribs, one of which is threatening to collapse his left lung." He flipped through a few pages. "What has me worried the most is the head injury he received as a result of the explosion. We managed to contain the internal swelling but he’s still disoriented and suffering memory lapses. In his current condition he needs surgery but we’re waiting for him to stabilize more first." Dr. Horton closed the folder and regarded Rufus evenly. "I was waiting for Dr. Alim to finish with Rude so he could authorize a hi-potion for Reno. I believe that it would be best to greatly accelerate the healing and prevent any permanent damage."

Rufus considered the request and his orders that all use of potions and elixirs was to be approved by Dr. Alim in order to prevent abuse of the expensive and increasingly rare items. Part of him screamed that if it would heal Reno then it was fine but the rest of him tried to decide what he would do for any other employee. What it came down to was the fact that he didn’t have many people who had proven both their loyalty and value to the degree that Reno had so he nodded. "Do it." He wouldn’t suggest any elixirs that would completely heal his lover.

"Thank you, sir." A smile spread across Dr. Horton’s face. "Would you like to see him while I prepare the potion? He’s awake; we haven’t let him sleep because of the concussion." He didn’t wait for an answer as he left the break room.

Feeling a little out of sorts, Rufus followed. The doctor was one of the newer employees but he knew that Dr. Alim wouldn’t have hired anyone unqualified in either medicine or magic. No, his unease grew from the litany of injuries that Reno suffered, the pain in his chest had increased with each one. When was the last time the redhead had been injured so severely that he required at least two potions to heal?

Rufus didn’t know what he expected to find when Dr. Horton showed him Reno’s room, perhaps his lover lying deathly still on a bed while hooked up to beeping machines or something. For a moment he felt a familiar burn all over his body wherever he’d been marked by Geostigma. So much pain and the inability to do anything about it…. He refused to think about the disease and how close it came to claiming his life as he strode into the room.

Reno sat propped up in bed, his right arm in a cast and bandages wrapped around his forehead. What could be seen of his eyes through dark circles and swollen bruises appeared to be dazed and lifeless. He stared blankly at Rufus for several seconds before he managed half a smile, the right side of his face mostly immobile. "Rufus." The name came out slurred but still understandable. If he appeared this bad after one potion, Rufus didn’t want to think about how he’d looked right after being injured.

"You’ve been better," Rufus commented in a quiet voice as he approached the bed, determined to not show his distress at his lover’s condition. There were indeed numerous machines beeping and various lines running from Reno’s body to various bags. Mindful of the equipment and his lover’s injured state, he stopped just beside the bed, his right hand placed beside Reno’s swollen one.

Letting out a slow hiss, Reno brushed his fingers’ against Rufus’ hand. "Should see the bad guys," he drawled, his eyes losing focus for a moment. "Splat, splat."

Rufus leaned closer to better understand the quietly spoken words. "What happened?" he asked, hoping to get an intelligible answer while Reno seemed too out of it to embellish the truth.

Reno sighed and made to rub his eyes with his left hand, which caused him to hiss in pain again when it touched his face. "Bomb went off. Sorry." He tried to hunch forward a little but that must have caused his broken ribs to shift because he suddenly went still. "Fuck, everything hurts."

Gently brushing aside the dirty hair that fell onto his lover’s face, Rufus slowly but inexorably made Reno look at him by applying pressure to Reno’s bruised left cheek. "Why did the bomb go off, Reno? You and Rude were there to stop that from happening."

"Rude…." Reno closed his eyes and tilted his face to rest against Rufus’ hand. "Thought she was Tifa. Tits not big enough, told him that but he didn’t listen. Tried to take her out an’ not kill her but…." He shook his head slowly, his eyes growing brighter for a few seconds. "Couldn’t stop ‘em so I shot the bomb before it got too close."

That explained how Reno and Rufus came to be caught in the blast, Rufus supposed. He didn’t quite understand the importance of Tifa Lockhart in the situation – if anything, he would have expected Rude to have been thrown off by the fake Reeve but Tseng would figure things out.

"Thank you, Reno," he said, his voice soft and low. Reno must have heard him anyway because he grinned, even though his lower lip was split and taped together.

The expression didn’t last long, however, and was soon replaced by a frown. "How’s Rude?"

"He’s in surgery." The answer came out colder than Rufus had intended because of the anger he felt toward the other Turk. Rude had failed to eliminate a threat and so caused damage to ShinRa property. Rufus knew he wasn’t being completely rational at the moment, a fact that annoyed him greatly but for some reason all of his anger was now focused on the bald Turk.

Even in pain and concussed, Reno picked up on that anger and his frown deepened. He reached out his left hand and tugged on the front of Rufus’ white coat. "’S not his fault," he said, his voice cracking slightly.

Rufus made to bat the hand aside but ended up grasping it gently instead. "All the evidence suggests that he is, along with the confessions of several people." The anger that simmered inside of him was not helped by the fact that Reno was defending his partner.

"Says who?" Reno demanded as he tried to force his battered body to move. After a moment he gave up and rested back against the bed’s pillows, his breath coming in harsh, shallow pants.

"You did," Rufus pointed out when Reno seemed able to get a handle on the pain.

"What?" Reno’s eyes closed as if he was trying to remember something. "Fuck," he whispered and opened his eyes to glare at Rufus. "Bastard."

Removing his lover’s limp hand from his jacket, Rufus set it on the bed and leaned in close. "Don’t you dare lie for the man, Reno. I will not have my employees cover for another’s ineptitude, do you understand?" He glared in return, *his* expression not weakened by pain or uncooperative facial muscles. "You’ll be reprimanded just as much as he is if you ever try such a thing again."

Reno mouthed something, most likely another insult before he reached again for Rufus’ jacket. He winced when his hand was intercepted and squeezed lightly in warning but he merely curled his fingers around Rufus’ and refused to let go. "Not his fault, dammit. He was confused for just a few seconds. Even the guards were fooled." He tugged on Rufus’ hand as if to pull it closer. "Don’t fire him."

The plea surprised Rufus. He hadn’t planned on going that far because of Rude’s loyalty and previously exemplary work record but the acrid emotion that had haunted him the past couple of months stirred inside his belly with each word Reno said. Irrational as it was, Reno arguing for his partner’s job made him want to shoot something, to smash something into bits. "Why shouldn’t I?" he asked, determined to make Reno suffer a little in return. "He screwed up, didn’t he? I should turn a blind eye toward that mistake?"

"Please." The word was so unexpected from a Reno who never begged for anything outside of sex that Rufus first thought he imagined it. "Please," Reno repeated, his voice quiet and rough. "Do whatever you want to me, just don’t fire him."

The redhead was injured, obviously in great pain despite a dose of potion and suffered from a concussion. Rufus knew that he shouldn’t put too much faith in anything Reno promised at this point but his thoughts seemed to have been short-circuited by that whispered offer. The bitter emotion flared upon hearing Reno offering anything for his partner… but faded when Rufus realized the power he held over his lover right now. "You’re doped up and concussed," he murmured as he brought Reno’s left hand toward his lips. "You don’t know what you’re saying."

"I do." Reno’s clouded eyes focused steadily upon him. "Whatever you want, Rufus. It’s yours."

He shouldn’t accept the offer since it would most likely be forgotten once Reno passed out from his injuries. Also, there was no need for it as all he intended to do was suspend Rude without pay for a week or two. But… whatever he wanted, freely given to him by his lover…. "We’ll discuss this when you’re better." If Reno remembered it, that was. Yet part of Rufus hoped he did.

"That a yes?" There was a hint of hope in Reno’s voice and his frown smoothed out a little.

"Yes." Rufus pressed his lips against his lover’s fingers for a moment and then released his hold on them. He straightened up and found the doctor standing by the other side of the bed, his attention seemingly focused on injecting something into one of Reno’s IVs.

Once Dr. Horton was finished, he set the empty shot needle aside and picked up a small cup. "Reno, I need you to drink this." As he handed the cup to his patient, he looked over to Rufus. "This should heal the worst of his injuries to the point that we won’t have to operate. He’ll still need to be monitored for a day or two and then it’ll take about a week for full recovery, but that’ll be better than him being here for a few weeks."

"Good." ShinRa needed all of its resources now to deal with the growing threat of Earth First. Rufus nodded in approval and watched while Reno drank the potion, his mouth twisting into a half-grimace as he swallowed.

"Tastes like shit," Reno grumbled, his words slurred more than normal and his eyes drifting shut. He mumbled something that sounded like ‘keep your promise’ before they closed, the grimace fading during the course of a few breaths.

Deducing that his lover was unconscious, Rufus frowned at Dr. Horton. "Was the potion supposed to do that? I thought you wanted to keep him awake."

The doctor chuckled nervously as he took the empty cup from Reno’s limp left hand. "No, but the shot I gave him did. Now that he received the potion, I can let his body get the rest it needs to heal." He motioned with the cup to the equipment that quietly beeped beside him. The numbers of various health statistics appeared to slowly decrease. "The pain was causing his body too much stress."

Not being a medical expert himself, despite the amount of time in the last two years that he had spent around doctors, Rufus could only accept the explanation. He watched Reno sleep for a few seconds, his hand itching to once more brush aside the hair that fell onto his lover’s bandaged forehead but he felt uncomfortable doing so in front of a witness. Forcing himself to move away from the bed, he nodded at the doctor. "Do you have an update on Rude’s condition?"

Dr. Horton grunted in acknowledgement as he fiddled with some of the IVs and then seemed to realize who had just asked him the question. His face flushed and he began to nod. "Yes, Sir. Dr. Alim should be finished with surgery soon and believes that Rude will have a full chance at recovery now that all the shrapnel has been removed from his wounds."

"Good." Rufus would have a few days to discuss with Tseng the results of the investigation and determine a suitable reprimand for the man. Reno didn’t need to know that Rude was never going to be fired in the first place but the Turk had to be disciplined for his lapse of judgment today.

Sparing one more glance at his unconscious lover, Rufus then moved to leave the room. There was no reason for him to remain here, not if Reno and Rude were expected to recover. He had meetings to attend and expected Tseng to have completed his investigation before the day was through. Once he had the proper information, he could counteract this latest threat. He already had something in mind and only regretted that Reno would be unable to work for the next few days. Something told him that Lockhart and her friends would not be happy to know that their likenesses were being used during acts of sabotage to a company that was helping to rebuild Midgar. Reno knew the ex-AVALANCE members best but Tseng or Elena should be able to arrange a meeting and hand over some incriminating footage from the power plant.

The next few days promised to keep him very busy. That should give Reno enough time to heal and then he could see if his lover remembered the promise or not. If he did…. Rufus’ lips curved into a satisfied smile. He wouldn’t take too much advantage of that promise. No, what he had in mind was something that would dispel any doubts at all who Reno belonged to and owed his loyalty primarily to. There would be no more question of Reno walking away again, not while Rufus didn’t want that. Ideas formed in his head on how to go about ensuring that, notions that he entertained all the way back to his office before he focused on work.

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Rufus read through Tseng’s report on the supposed identity of the Earth First mole. Tracing through all of the information leaks, it was most likely that the spy was in the Transportation department. The majority of attacks by the upstart energy company occurred when orders were given to transport people or equipment vital to ShinRa Electric Company.

A hesitant knock on the door distracted him from the list of possible suspects. He looked up from the document in time to see Reno sneak into his office. The redhead was dressed in baggy blue jeans and a grey t-shirt with an unbuttoned dark blue shirt worn over top. His hair didn’t stick up all over for once and was loose down his back. There were still a few faint red marks on his forehead where normally a pair of sunglasses would rest and his skin was paler than normal.

"Heya," Reno said in a hushed voice as he shuffled his way toward the desk. There was a brace on his right arm, revealed by the fact that the blue shirt’s sleeves were rolled up to his elbows. He sat down on the edge of the desk, an uncertain smile on his face. "Busy at work, I see."

"Yes." Rufus rose from his chair and approached his lover. He noted the wary look that Reno gave him as he approached and the quickly sucked-in breath when he gently grasped his lover’s chin with his right hand. "You certainly appear a lot better than the last time I saw you." He released Reno’s chin to run his fingers through crimson hair and felt the strands to be a bit greasy. "Medical released you already?"

"Yeah." Some of the tension in Reno’s body relaxed and he leaned forward and slightly to the side until his left shoulder rested against Rufus’ body. "That Alim bastard said I could lay around all day in my own bed instead of wasting one in his department." Reno’s smile took on a pained edge as he closed his eyes. "Can’t wait to get home and take a long, hot bath. The water pressure in Medical *sucks*," he grumbled.

"Perhaps because it’s a hospital and not a hotel," Rufus replied in a smooth voice as he continued to stroke his lover’s hair. He hadn’t seen Reno since yesterday morning but had been kept appraised of the redhead’s condition. The hi-potion had worked well enough to heal the head wound and most of the broken bones, although Reno would be out on medical leave for three days, then to report back for light duty for another three. He’d known that Reno was to be released today but he’d lost track of the time. "You should have a ride home." One of the Turks was to take Reno back to his apartment so he could rest.

Reno leaned more of his weight against Rufus and grunted softly. "Couldn’t get any damn sleep there, ya know? Kept getting poked with needles and told to look at this light and read this line and take some pills that made me sick to my stomach." He opened his eyes and glared at Rufus as if he was the one responsible for all that suffering. "Then Tseng had to interrogate me for every damn thing that happened at the plant. Made me feel bad I couldn’t tell him how many ounces I pissed during a bathroom break," he muttered, sounding like himself for the first time since he’d entered the office. Trust the urge to complain to bring out Reno’s true nature.

Rufus’s hand shifted from Reno’s hair to the back of his neck to gently massage tense muscles. Something that had been knotted inside of him the last two days began to slowly unravel as he touched his lover. To feel Reno’s hair slide along his fingertips, to hear him complain and breathe in the scent of tobacco…. He inhaled deeply and stepped back, the movement causing Reno to mutter something and sit up straight.

"I would think you’d already be home by now," Rufus coolly remarked, his attention completely focused on his lover. Reno was here for a reason, one that he wanted very much to know.

Reno took a deep breath and pushed his bangs aside with his left hand, his fingers scratching along his scalp for a few seconds. "I hear that Rude loses two days’ worth of pay while he’s out on medical leave," he answered, seemingly avoiding the unspoken question.

"Yes." Rufus nodded and folded his arms over his chest. "He will also be on night shift for two weeks after he returns to duty." He had debated Rude’s punishment with Tseng for almost half an hour in an attempt to adequately convey his disappointment with the man’s job performance yet not hurt ShinRa over the loss of an experienced employee. Rude had most likely gotten off easy but Rufus agreed with Tseng that the Turk would not fail in his job again any time soon.

He couldn’t help but wonder if Reno’s comment had anything to do with the ‘promise’ he’d made yesterday. Considering the redhead’s injuries and subsequent unconsciousness, he didn’t expect Reno to remember any of their conversation. He wouldn’t bring the matter up but if Reno did recall it…. A jolt of pleasure coursed through his body at the possibility that his lover owed him a debt without any clear price limit. He could demand whatever he wanted and felt reasonably certain that Reno wouldn’t shy from his part of the promise.

Reno stared at his braced arm for a few seconds, his expression unreadable, then looked at Rufus. "So, what is it you want? I said ‘anything’, right?" he asked, his entire demeanor uncharacteristically serious. He stared evenly as he waited for an answer.

Another jolt shot through Rufus’ body and caused his heart to speed up and cock to harden. Reno did remember and did intend to meet his obligation. He fought the compulsion to smile as he stepped toward his lover, his arms sliding over Reno’s shoulders and his fingers entangling in the untied hair. Tugging on the strands to make Reno tilt his head back, he leaned in for a kiss.

His mouth pressed demandingly against Reno’s, his tongue thrusting between parted lips as he nudged his way between Reno’s thighs. He rocked his hips forward while he delved into his lover’s mouth and savored the way Reno moaned as their tongues stroked each other’s. Heat flooded his body and left his nerves tingling with pleasure, his hand clenched in his lover’s hair to ensure that the kiss wasn’t ended until *he* wanted it to end. The lack of the past two day’s tension was almost as heady a rush as ecstasy and a sense of possession made his heart beat even faster. Reno was *his*.

When Reno began to lean back on the desk, Rufus followed him down, their mouths sealed together as Reno’s legs wrapped around his waist. He continued the searing kiss even as he grew lightheaded from want and passion, his body starved for pleasure and oxygen. Only when he felt his lover’s body tense beneath him and a quickly swallowed sound of pain escaped Reno did he put a halt to his frenetic actions. He pushed away from Reno, the redhead sprawled beneath him on the desk, trapped there by his arms and lower body.

They both panted for several seconds, gazes locked on each other as they fought for air. Reno’s face was flushed, his eyes darkened by desire and his hair tousled and fanned out on the desk around his head. Rufus felt a stab of lust and possession so strongly that his knees wavered for a moment.

Reaching out with his left hand, Reno tucked aside the hair that fell onto Rufus’ face as he remained hunched over the desk. "Ah, not to complain but you already get enough of that, right?"

Thanks to the blood rushing through his veins and the sense of lethargy that grew the longer he remained away from Reno, it took Rufus a few seconds to figure out what had been said. "You’re correct; you’re already mine in that respect," he replied, gratified that his voice was mostly even. The fingers of his right hand stroked along his lover’s pierced ear as he thought about how he would claim that ‘anything’ that had been promised him. Even though he hadn’t been sure that Reno would remember yesterday, he had made plans for what to do if given this opportunity.

He forced his body to step away from the desk and the man sprawled on top of it. His hand brushed down the front of his clothes to smooth out the wrinkles, his still hard cock trapped uncomfortably in his boxers. After a quick adjustment, he returned to his chair and sat down. "Go home, Reno," he told his lover as he opened his email program on his laptop. "You clearly need more rest to fully heal."

Reno snorted loudly and sat cross-legged in the middle of Rufus’ desk, his right knee perilously close to the laptop and his ass on top of some important documents. "I’m not gonna argue about that." He tilted his head to the side and regarded Rufus with a curious expression. "So, you don’t want anything?"

Ascertaining that the order he placed yesterday would be finished by tomorrow, Rufus shook his head. "No, I intend to make sure that you honor your part of our agreement. Come to my apartment at seven o’clock tomorrow evening." He fixed his lover with an intent look as he said the time. "Do *not* be late."

Judging from the way his face settled into a scowl, Reno wanted to argue or ask more questions but he seemed to quickly decide not to do either. "I can tell time, I’ll have you know," he muttered as he went on all fours on top of the desk so he could give Rufus’ nose a sloppy lick. "You’re planning something… but what else is new. I’ll be there." He slid off the desktop, papers sent flying all over the place by his sudden motion. His knees bent a little and he seemed to have a problem with his balance for a moment but was soon standing straight, his hands tucked into the pockets of his jeans. "Deal or no deal, I’m not dressing up like Scarlet again."

"The thought never crossed my mind," Rufus murmured, a slight smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. Reno had no idea what would happen tomorrow and that was fine. He wanted to see the expression on his lover’s face when the redhead found out just what he had carelessly promised away.

"Seven o’clock, then." Reno gave him a lackadaisical salute and sauntered out of the office, his shoulders hunched forward slightly as if he was in pain and trying to hide it. Rufus watched him leave before he allowed the smile to form on his lips, the sense of possession returned along with one of contentment.

*******

Rufus set the small jeweler’s box on the living room’s coffee table and went to the kitchen to select a bottle of wine. Perusing through the vintages he had brought from his wine cellar earlier that day, he chose a bottle of white renowned for its sweet yet tart taste. Champagne seemed a bit much in this situation and Reno had a liking for tart things. Hopefully his lover would pause to actually taste the wine before it was gulped down, he thought darkly as he opened the bottle to let it breathe. The time was almost seven o’clock; if he knew Reno half as well as he thought he did then the redhead would probably be a few minutes late.

A quick check of the fridge revealed the contents of an easily assembled dinner if he was in the mood to eat later. He wasn’t hungry right now, in part from a long business lunch earlier in the day. Also, he was energized by the thought of what would soon happen, filled with anticipation and smug satisfaction.

He had just poured himself a glass of wine when there was a knock on the door. Setting the bottle aside, he went to the apartment’s front door and opened it to find Reno leaning against the doorframe. His lover was dressed in a pair of worn blue jeans with a tailored black shirt that appeared to be made from silk. For once the garment was neatly tucked in and mostly buttoned, save for the two top buttons and the ones on the shirt’s right sleeve cuff. Reno’s hair was its usual unruly mop, the long tail pulled back in a silver clasp and his bangs not held off his face by any sunglasses or goggles. The faint marks from yesterday were gone and he didn’t appear in pain, which gave Rufus hope that he’d sufficiently heal with another day’s rest.

"What, you’re just gonna let me look into the apartment all night?" Reno inquired, the sarcasm in his voice slightly tempered by a hint of nervousness.

Rufus stepped aside so his lover could enter. "I’m sorry, I was trying to determine if you’d stolen yet another shirt of mine. Oh, excuse me," he added when Reno stopped midway through the door to give him a potent glare, "I meant to say ‘borrowed’."

Reno continued into the apartment, his step faltering for a moment as he tried to decide where to go when he noticed the bucket of wine and two glasses on the living room’s coffee table. "I do possess some clothes of my own, you know," he griped as he made a bee-line for the alcohol.

"My mistake," Rufus murmured even though he had just been teasing his lover. His shirt would have hung from Reno’s narrow shoulders. "Do *not* touch that wine," he commanded when Reno went to pick up the full wineglass.

Giving him a hurt look, Reno shuffled his feet and shoved his hands into his pockets. "Why’d you set it out, then?" he asked, his head tilted to the side and brow furrowed by a frown.

Ignoring the question for a moment, Rufus poured some wine into the empty glass and handed it to the pouting redhead. "You *sip* this. Gulp it down and from now on I’ll only serve you that horrid stuff sold in boxes," he warned his lover.

Reno wrinkled his nose as he lifted the full glass to his mouth. "Some of that stuff’s all right, you snooty-" He chose not to finish the sentence but drank some wine instead, what was for him a small mouthful. His head tilted to the side once more as he seemed to contemplate something. "Not bad," he said and smacked his lips.

One of the finest bottles in his entire collection and it was ‘not bad’," Rufus thought with a condescending smile as he enjoyed some wine himself. Over the last couple of years he’d forced a wine education of sorts on his lover and knew that Reno could come up with better than that. However, Reno once more refused to be anything other than himself.

They drank their wine in silence as they stood there, Reno casting confused glances his way every few seconds. Rufus noticed this but didn’t do anything other than savor the fine wine. Hunger and desire spread slowly through his body, crept through his veins much the way intoxication would until he was light-headed. Reno had come willingly and soon he’d have what he wanted from the Turk. Rufus couldn’t help but smile and finish the last of the wine in one quick swallow.

"Huhn, thought we were supposed to sip this stuff," Reno commented as he finished the last of his wine as well. "There was no toast, either." He glanced longingly at the remaining wine but didn’t reach for it.

Rufus removed the empty glass from his lover’s hand and set it and his own glass on the table. Then he picked up the small, velvet-covered box. "I wasn’t aware that you always required one," he responded as he stared at fidgeting Reno, the box oddly heavy in his right hand. "What would you have toasted to, your health?" He was curious to the redhead’s state of mind at the moment and amused to see him so obviously uncomfortable. Reno tended to bluff his way with sheer cockiness through any uncertain situation but not tonight, it seemed.

Reno looked at the box in his hand and frowned. "I guess I’d hope that I get through the night in one piece." He motioned with his left hand at the box. "What’s that?"

"The reason why you’re here," Rufus answered, his voice slightly hitched with growing excitement. He held out the box, his eyes intent on Reno face and its expression of surprise and confusion.

"Thought I was going to give you something tonight," Reno muttered while he accepted the box. He held it for a few seconds before he took a breath and opened it, his long, usually nimble fingers fumbling with the lid for a moment. Once it was flipped open, his confusion seemed to grow stronger. "What the hell is this?"

Circling his lover, Rufus pressed against Reno’s back and reached for the item nestled amidst black velvet with his left hand. As his fingers grasped cold platinum, he murmured in Reno’s right ear. "It’s the price you owe me." He held the earring cuff up so the redhead could better see it, the light reflecting brightly off the precious metal and the rubies that were set in the diamond shape that dangled at the end of five inches of chain.

Reno looked from the earring to over his shoulder at Rufus. "I owe you a favor and you’re giving me jewelry?" His aquamarine eyes narrowed in suspicion and his body became tense. "Why do I get the feeling it’s not as simple as that?" His voice was low and serious, contained a hint of warning as if he wasn’t in the mood to be toyed with now.

Smiling in satisfaction, Rufus nuzzled his lover’s ear. "Because it isn’t." No matter what some people said, Reno wasn’t stupid. Uneducated, yes, but definitely not stupid or Rufus would never have put up with him for so long – or do what he was about to do tonight.

Reno attempted to turn to face him but the arm quickly slid around his upper chest prevented that action. He let out a low hiss and tensed even more in Rufus’ hold. "Any particular reason why you’re giving it to me, then, or why it has ShinRa’s logo on it?" he asked, the warning stronger in his voice, a clear message that he was *not* to be pushed too far.

Rufus heard it and didn’t care, safe in the knowledge that Reno would do nothing to cause him harm. After all, Reno was here to return a ‘favor’, the price of which he’d set himself. "’Anything’." Rufus shivered as he spoke the word, his voice thick with desire. "That’s what you promised me two days ago. Are you going back on your word now?" he asked, his arm tight around his lover and his mouth near Reno’s right ear.

"…no." Reno breathed the word out as a faint sigh. "So what’s it gonna cost me?" He didn’t look at Rufus anymore but stared at the jewelry, a wary expression on his face.

Reaching into the pocket of his coat, Rufus pulled out a small packet. "Everything," he replied, his smile taking on a sharp edge when Reno’s body stiffened in his arms. Using his teeth, he tore the packet open and pulled an alcohol wipe out. "There’s a seal on the cuff. Once it comes in contact with skin it forms an unbreakable bond," he explained in a voice deepened by smugness and victory. "You won’t be able to remove it short of cutting part of your ear off." Part of a very sensitive ear, he thought as he blew crimson hair out of the way so he could wipe the cloth over said body part.

Reno’s breath caught in his throat when the wipe touched his skin. "And? So far all I see is me gaining a bit of flash." He sounded like his usual cocky self but Rufus could feel how frantically his heart beat. "How is that ‘everything’?" he asked, the faintest of tremors in his voice, almost hidden by a scoffing tone.

Rufus placed a lingering kiss at the spot behind Reno’s right ear and smiled when he felt his lover’s body begin to tremble minutely as well. "Because of what the earring means. As long as you wear this, you belong to ShinRa, body and soul."

Being a smart man, Reno figured out what wasn’t said. "You mean I belong to *you*, you sick fuck," he spat, once more trying to turn around but Rufus refused to allow that. The earring’s chain tangled around his fingers, Rufus reached for Reno’s splinted right arm and gave it a painful squeeze, provoking a sudden indrawn breath from the redhead that was quickly turned into a faint curse.

"You’ve belonged to me for quite some time, Reno. I’m just ensuring that you’re now well aware of that fact, along with everyone else." The moment that he’d fucked Reno in his office several years ago, drunk from that disastrous dinner date his father had set up, he’d claimed the redhead. That ownership had been strengthened when he took over ShinRa and again a couple of months ago. If Reno was stupid about anything it was in thinking that he could be allowed such intimacies and freedoms with Rufus and not be required to pay a price. "Now be a good boy and remain still while I put this on."

Reno struggled for a few more seconds, his left elbow driving toward Rufus’ chest but successfully blocked. "This is insane," he muttered with growing indignation. "I let you fuck me so now you have to brand me? What’s next, a damn ring through my nose?"

"I put this on you and you never so much as look at another person," Rufus informed his lover, his voice harsh and his left arm once more tight around Reno’s shoulders. "You will be faithful to me, will be here whenever I want you to and do whatever I want." He scraped his teeth along the fleshy lobe of Reno’s right ear. "As long as you wear this, you are *mine*." There would be no more acrid emotion eating away at his insides, no more doubts whenever he saw Reno flirt with Rude or another Turk. As long as he had the redhead’s word, there would be no need to ever worry again about being cuckolded and possibly publicly humiliated. "Are you going to honor your promise?" he inquired, his voice ragged and his cock hardening in anticipation of Reno’s submission.

"You’re one hell of a crazy, possessive bastard," Reno growled. His body was tense in Rufus’ embrace, his eyes bright with anger and cheeks flushed with the emotion.

Rufus eyes narrowed in annoyance and his arm slid up Reno’s chest until it pressed against the base of the redhead’s throat in warning. "Was that a ‘yes, Rufus’?"

There was a long moment of silence before Reno capitulated. "Yes, Rufus," he sighed, his shoulders hunching forward as he spoke. "You kept your word so I’ll keep mine. As if you didn’t fucking count on that when you came up with this stupid idea."

"Good boy." Rufus kissed the back of his lover’s neck and nuzzled crimson hair as he relaxed his left arm. Untangling the chain from his fingers, he brought it to Reno’s ear. "Remain still," he warned as he set it on the cleaned skin. Pressing the hard metal to the round curve of flesh and cartilage, he held the earring cuff in place as the seal on the metal began to react.

Reno hissed and once more went stiff in his arms. "Dammit, it burns," he complained but he didn’t try to move away. "Feels like it’s eating away at my damn ear!"

"Be quiet," Rufus ordered, his left arm curling around his lover’s throat until he could comb his fingers through the long fall of hair at the back of Reno’s neck. He undid the silver clasp and let it fall to the floor then grasped the thick strands and used them to keep Reno from moving his head. "Just a few more seconds." There was the faint scent of burning flesh in the air and when a bead of sweat slid down the side of Reno’s face, Rufus traced the path with his tongue. "Such a good boy," he crooned as he mentally counted down the time that the seal needed to permanently bond with skin and cartilage. He gave it an extra five seconds and then reluctantly released his hold on his lover.

Reno reacted instantly, spinning away as his right hand raised to touch his ear and his left hand came up as if brandishing a weapon. The look he gave Rufus was one of confusion, anger and disgust… but for some odd reason, Rufus didn’t think the last two emotions were directed at himself. Not when Reno’s brilliant eyes drifted closed and he muttered something under his breath, his right hand cupped over his newly adorned ear.

Rufus gave his lover a moment to compose himself and poured some more wine. This time he filled Reno’s glass almost to the rim and slowly approached the man. Reno’s eyes flew open as he drew near but at least the redhead unclenched his left hand and used it to reach for the wine.

"I thought you were kidding about that bonding shit, you know," Reno muttered, his eyes thin slits for a moment before he gingerly shook his head as if to clear it. His eyes went wide when the chain struck him on the jaw. "For fuck’s sake, this is utter bullshit. I ask you not to fire Rude and you fucking *brand* me." He paused to take a large gulp of wine, the liquid splashing over his trembling fist when he raised the glass. "What makes you think that I won’t go out and fuck the first person I see?" he snarled in a voice rough with fury.

Rufus knew that he should be cautious around his enraged lover but all he could think about was how incredibly sexy Reno looked with his eyes almost emerald with fury, his cheeks flushed and his hair fallen onto his face. Against a crimson and white backdrop the earring stood out in sharp contrast, thick platinum chain and shining rubies that formed the ShinRa logo.

His throat suddenly gone dry, he drank half his wine in one swallow, his gaze never leaving his lover’s face. Tossing the glass aside, he then rushed toward Reno and, despite his lover’s normally faster reflexes, managed to push him against the glass-covered wall.

Reno let out a faint grunt as he smacked into the window, either from the effect the impact had on his remaining injuries or the small ledge between wall and window biting into the back of his thighs. Using the advantage of height and weight, Rufus kept his lover pinned against the cold surface.

"You’re not that stupid, Reno." For all the anger that burned through his veins, Rufus’ voice was perfectly smooth. His left hand managed to entangle in Reno’s hair and the earring’s chain and he yanked on both until Reno had no choice but to hiss in pain and arch his neck. "If you break your word then there’s no reason why I should keep mine." For any Turk to be cast out on the street post-Meteor it would mean a slow death sentence – if Rufus or Tseng didn’t kill the ex-employee outright to keep vital secrets from falling into the hands of enemies. "What do you think Earth First would do if they found out that an ex-Turk was wandering around, hmm?" He gave his lover cold, arrogant smile and tugged a little more on the chain.

"You wouldn’t do that," Reno replied after a moment, his eyes watery from unshed tears of pain and his face pale but his tone defiant. "Rude’s one of the best Turks you have left, you ungrateful shit."

Rufus didn’t answer at first, merely smiled with unmasked cruelty until Reno’s eyes closed and the hand that pushed against his chest fell aside. He leaned closer so he could brush his lips against his lover’s. "You were the one to name this bargain and now you have to honor your part of it." Whatever he had to say, whoever he had to threaten to get what he wanted, he would do it. He would no longer be distracted by the possibility of Reno cheating on him or walking away, would no longer feel that uncontrollable rage when he caught sight of his lover with his arm draped over Rude’s shoulders. He’d let Reno run loose for too long, now it was time to unequivocally show what it meant for the man to be his lover.

Feeling Reno’s tense body against his, Rufus decided a change in tactic might be a good idea. He loosed his left hand until the earring’s chain slid free, his fingers still tangled in long hair but no longer grasping it so tightly. He placed soft kisses along Reno’s jaw and tattooed cheekbones. "You’re not giving anything up that you haven’t done already," he whispered, his lips brushing against Reno’s forehead. "Your body, your loyalty, your time. Now… now everyone will know that you’re mine." Which was something that would probably cause some trouble in the future but he was willing to suffer whatever annoyance or inconvenience arose.

"You’re such a possessive bastard," Reno murmured and, feeling lashes brush against his chin, Rufus pulled away so he could see his lover’s face. Reno still appeared angry but his voice sounded resigned. "And I’m the idiot who offered you ‘anything’. Should’ve fucking known better."

"Yes, you should have," Rufus quietly agreed. The worst seemed to be over, Reno hadn’t tried to attack him and was taking things better than he had expected. Granted, he would have to be on guard against his lover for the next few weeks in case Reno decided to retaliate in some manner but that would only make things more interesting. For all Reno’s anger, curses and insults, the price wasn’t as demanding as Rufus could have made it. All he was insisting upon was the formalization of the mostly unspoken agreement between them. He wasn’t foolish enough to think that he could go out and screw anyone, not without at least one enraged Turk after his head for that. Now things were explicitly spelled out should Reno feel the impulse to stray or supplement his income again.

From now on, whenever Rude stared at his partner with such unabashed lust and want in his eyes, he would see a sign that Reno was off-limits for however long Rufus desired him. From now on, Reno would be reminded that he would lose quite a lot if he ever decided to betray or leave Rufus. There was a permanent memento dangling from his right ear, not to be removed without some sacrifice on Reno’s part. To get something he wanted, to put disturbing emotions to rest and to impart an important lesson all at once… Rufus smiled in satisfaction and leaned in close for a kiss.

He became cautious when Reno initially refused to part his lips, mindful that he had pushed his notoriously unpredictable and unstable lover rather far tonight. When his bottom lip was bitten just short of hard enough to break skin, he allowed himself a grunt of pain but didn’t lash out in retaliation – which he was soon very grateful for that bit of control. After the brief assault on his lip, Reno relaxed against him and sucked on the bitten flesh. Hands stroked through Rufus’ hair and settled on the back of his neck, fingers brushed along the inside of his turtleneck’s collar.

Perhaps Reno had accepted the reality of what had been bartered for tonight, perhaps he was trying to lull Rufus into a false sense of security or perhaps he was just horny. Whichever, Rufus was going to enjoy the moment and make certain that his lover learned a valuable lesson at the same time.

He pressed against Reno, his mouth ardent on his lover’s as his tongue pushed into moist warmth. Reno tasted like the wine with a hint of cigarettes, tart and bitter and smoky. Both of Rufus’ hands pushed into ragged, thick hair to enjoy the feel of the strands against his skin. Dominating the kiss, he made Reno arch his neck so his mouth could be more easily plundered as he rubbed his hard cock against his lover’s hip.

There was an answering arousal from Reno, heat and hardness against Rufus’ thigh as he forced the redhead’s legs apart. Despite his insistence on being in charge he took things slow, didn’t rush ahead like he usual did when Reno wore at his sense of control. No, he wanted to prove something to the stubborn idiot tonight, wanted to make certain that there was no doubt who was the one in charge. Reno had somehow demanded and received more from Rufus than he ever expected, had made him invest more than he had planned in the Turk. Now was the time to let his lover know under no uncertain terms that Rufus would allow no more, that he refused to be led around by stupid emotions.

So while the kiss was ardent enough to make his breathing irregular, it also was unhurried. Not the man pressed against cold glass and a small, sharp ledge, Rufus was going to take his time and not let his body’s demands rush something that he intended to savor. After all, it wasn’t every day that Reno capitulated so easily, whatever the reason. He enjoyed the taste of wine and the bite of tobacco against his tongue and lips, the heat from Reno’s body that soaked into his own through all the layers of clothes.

The hands on the back of his neck shifted about restlessly, grasped his hair and tugged in a vain effort to make him break off the kiss before they relented and latched on to his shoulders. Reno moaned deep in his throat as he arched his body against Rufus’, his legs parted wider and his hips rocked faster.

Rufus had numerous lovers before Reno and several after they started their affair, and none of them were so honestly responsive to him, so eager and insistent for pleasure. He knew that if he ended the kiss that his lover would cajole him to be fucked, would soon become demanding if Rufus wasn’t quick enough to comply. Wanting to hear Reno beg and swear, he forced his mouth away from the redhead’s and trailed it along a sharp jaw until he could nuzzle at Reno’s right ear.

"God, Rufus," Reno panted and let go of Rufus’ shoulders in favor of tugging at the white coat that covered them. "You want me to not fuck anyone else? Then you better *damn well* make this good," he said, his voice low and rough with desire.

That wasn’t quite what Rufus wanted to hear but he was willing to accept the challenge. "I’ve always had you begging for more, Reno, so I doubt I’ll disappoint tonight." His right hand left his lover’s hair to slide along a bony back and past the waistbands of Reno’s jeans and boxers. "You’re the one who comes into my office begging to be fucked," he murmured into Reno’s ear. "The one who usually wants sex ‘to start the day right’ and gets all pissy when I’ve work to do and so can’t oblige you." His hand grasped tight muscle and flesh and squeezed while he rubbed his cock against a bony hip.

"Yet… you’re the one who rarely lets me down," Reno stuttered, his hands giving up on trying to push the coat aside and clutched its lapels instead. His head fell back against the glass and his eyes closed while a slight but utterly wanton smile formed on his lips.

"Because you’re a fabulous piece of ass," was Rufus’ smooth reply and he gave the ass in question a forceful squeeze. Because there was something about Reno, something intoxicating and addicting. Because Rufus delighted in having the redhead walk into his office and demand sex merely for pleasure’s sake, in knowing what exactly it was that Reno wanted from him. "All this time and you’re still so damn tight." He brushed his fingers along the crack of his lover’s ass. "You moan and scream like a whore but I know it’s not an act." If it was, he would have grown bored years ago.

"Yeah, well, for a spoiled, rich brat you sure do know how to fuck." Reno draped his right leg around Rufus’ hips and rocked his lower body forward. "So what the hell are you waiting for now?"

That was a very good question. Rufus took a step backward, right hand still down Reno’s pants and left still entangled in crimson hair. "Let’s take this elsewhere."

Reno chuckled, the sound warm and delighted, and pushed away from the wall. "Aw, you suddenly shy? I thought you liked fucking me against the window – don’t you want everyone to know what you alone are allowed to do?" There was a nasty, bitter note to his voice, one that made Rufus’ temper flare and the fingers of his left hand seek the long chain out so he could give it a harsh tug.

As Reno cursed in response, he used the earring as a leash to lead his lover to the bedroom. "I could just as easily fuck you in the middle of the common square but I’m not as crass as you," he informed Reno, his voice cold with anger. "But perhaps we’ll explore your exhibitionist tendencies another time. I’m sure you could help liven up some very boring meetings." Just the thought of fucking Reno on top of the conference room’s table was enough to dampen his anger and allow desire to burn in its wake.

"Not only are you a possessive bastard but you’re a sadist, too," Reno snarled as they entered the bedroom, his hands clenched in white fabric as if he was cautious to allow them to be free to move.

"And you’re a masochist," Rufus coolly shot back, an amused smile on his lips. "We’re perfect for each other."

"Must be fucking nuts for not shoving the damn earring up your ass," Reno mumbled, his eyes alight with ill-temper once more. "No wonder you waited until I owed you one before you did something this stupid."

Rufus had enough. With one well-placed motion, he shoved Reno onto the bed and quickly followed the redhead down, his knees on either side of Reno’s hips and his hands quick to pin Reno’s arms to the bed. He smiled sweetly as he gave the splinted right arm a warning squeeze. "You’ve owed me for *years*, Reno," he informed his lover in a cold, serious tone of voice. "No matter how good a Turk you were, you always managed to piss someone off to the point where Veld or Tseng couldn’t save your ass." He loomed over his lover as he spoke. "The number of times that Heidegger wanted you dead alone…." He made a tsking sound and shook his head. "I dated that Maria bitch for five months just to keep my father from shooting you and that barely scratches the surface of what you owe me."

Reno stared evenly during the revelation, his lips curled into a sardonic smile. "Meanwhile, I just got shot, burned, sliced, stabbed, beaten up and nearly drowned on two occasions to keep you alive and in charge. Yeah, I so can see why I’m in your debt and you can’t trust me."

Now was not the time to get into this… debate, Rufus thought as a frown settled on his face. He did trust Reno with his life, there was no way he’d have let the redhead so close if that wasn’t true. What he didn’t trust was Reno not to pull something similar to what he did a couple of months ago.

"That’s your job," he replied, at a loss to say anything else and disgusted with himself for that fact.

However, it seemed that he only made the situation worse when Reno began to scowl and try to pull his arms free. "Letting you fuck me sure as hell isn’t," he spat with real venom, once more possessing a dangerous air.

Rufus refused to let Reno pull away and settled more of his weight on his lover, against still bruised ribs. He waited until Reno went still and hissed out an insult before he tried to correct the situation. "I never said it was. However, you must admit that this… relationship has the potential to create complications for the both of us," he tried to explain and wondered how things had spun so far out of his control. Dammit, why could Reno so easily do this to him time after time? Especially when he had taken motions to ensure that Reno would never break from his control again.

"’Complications’," Reno repeated with a slight sneer. He sustained the scowl for a few more seconds and sighed. "We really gonna fight over shit neither of us can help instead of having sex? So what if I’m a screw-up and you’re an obsessive, greedy bastard."

Rufus’ eyes narrowed at the description of himself but decided that some battles could wait for another day. He was still rock hard and aching for the feel of Reno’s hot body around his cock, for the pleasure that would course through him until everything else faded away. "If you would just shut up, I’ve the hope that things will improve for the better," he replied, the words dripping with sarcasm.

The smile he received was so cocky and pleased that he had to grin in return. "Make me, rich boy," Reno taunted, his eyes heavy-lidded with desire and his body still beneath Rufus’.

"That’s the smartest thing you’ve said all night," Rufus murmured as he shifted his weight forward and off of Reno’s abused ribs. Instead of a kiss, however, he tugged on the earring in Reno’s left ear with his teeth before he licked along the appendage’s curves. Beneath him, his lover moaned low and deep and once more struggled to break free from his grip. "Don’t move until I tell you that you can," he whispered into Reno’s ear and backed the command up with a sharp nip. Reno muttered a curse in response but once more stilled.

Reluctantly pulling away from his lover, Rufus stared intently at him as he slowly undressed. The white coat fell to the floor, followed by the white vest. He lost sight of Reno for a few seconds as he pulled the black turtleneck off, deprived by fabric of Reno’s flushed face and passion-darkened eyes, that knowing little smirk and tousled mess of hair that curled around on the bed and half-obscured Reno’s pale features. The shirt was soon tossed aside and next was the leather belt. A smile twitched at the corners of Rufus’ mouth when Reno licked his lips in such a lascivious manner while the pants’ button was undone. "Enjoying the show?" Rufus asked, his voice lacking its usual smooth manner.

"Hell yes," Reno instantly replied. He lay on the bed, his hands resting on either side of his head and the sexiest smile imaginable on his face. Just seeing the expression made Rufus’ heartbeat speed up in anticipation of what was to come.

His hands shook slightly as he pushed the pants and his boxers to the floor. He stepped out of his clothes and shoes and hastily stripped his socks off as well, leaving everything behind in a sloppy pile to approach the bed.

Reno chuckled again, the sound so utterly salacious that it sent tingles down Rufus’ spine, and fumbled with the buttons of his shirt with his left hand. "My turn."

"I told you not to move," Rufus said as he batted Reno’s hand aside. "Not until I inform you that you can." He gave his lover a disapproving glare until the hand settled back beside Reno’s head. Then he quickly undid the buttons and pushed the shirt aside.

Along with the faded scars that had blossomed on Reno’s skin over the years, there were several pale green and yellow bruises that the potions hadn’t completely healed. Skimming his fingers lightly over the mottled skin, Rufus watched his lover intently for any sign of pain. Reno merely closed his eyes and arched his chest into the touch.

"Lift your hips," Rufus spoke quietly as he quickly undone the buttons of Reno’s jeans. His lover eagerly obeyed and was soon naked from the waist down, his upper body framed by dark silk against the white duvet of the bed. Such an alluring picture….

He began at Reno’s ankles, held first the right one in his hands as he stroked along skin-covered bone and placed a trail of kisses up to the knee. Then he repeated the process for the left leg, a warm chuckle in his throat at Reno’s surprised gasp. How long since he’d taken the time to savor his lover’s body like this? Ever since being cured of the Geostigma he’d been driven to wring whatever pleasure or satisfaction he could out of every moment of the day. Driven by months of abstinence, he had only sought to sate the hunger and need that had built up but been denied release. Now he felt the need to correct that… and to prove a point to Reno. Whatever he wanted to do, he would.

"Thought we were gonna fuck," Reno complained, the words barely audible in the quiet, dark room.

"We will… when *I* want to," was Rufus’s just as quiet reply, spoken as his hands stroked up and down his lover’s long legs. "If you’ve any complaints… too bad." He lifted his head to give Reno a terribly smug smile that turned amused when he got a tongue stuck out at him by way of a reply.

"Bossiest man I’ve ever known," Reno mumbled and let his head drop back to the bed, his eyes closed and his lips parted slightly as if he had trouble breathing. Rufus enjoyed the sight for a few more seconds and resumed what he’d begun, pleased with the way Reno’s body began to tremble as he place a line of kisses along the inside of the redhead’s right thigh. He continued upward until he nuzzled dark red curls, spared a quick swipe of tongue along his lover’s balls and moved on to the left leg. "Such a fucking tease, too," Reno added for good measure.

His own body trembling from barely contained need, Rufus knelt between Reno’s thighs and reached for the bottle of lube he’d set out earlier that evening. "So says the man who wears my shirts all the time and drapes himself over my desk demanding to be fucked on a daily basis." He slicked his fingers as he spoke, nerves tingling with anticipation and desire.

Reno snorted in derision. "That would only make me a tease if I walked away before we had sex. Me, I’m a sure thing." His fingers toyed with the chain of the new earring.

Part of the problem was that Reno was too sure a thing for sex and not as sure at… fidelity. The acrid emotion that Rufus had suffered the last couple of months drove him to ensure that his lover would never leave. If that decision was to be made by anyone, it was him, not Reno. But just like any other rule, Reno would more than likely ignore it and do whatever he wanted. Not now, however, not when he was bound by his word. Reno could lie with the best of them and often did so for personal amusement but *never* when the life of another Turk was on the line – especially when that life was his partner’s.

Rufus felt that detested emotion burn in his stomach and erode at his patience. He shifted forward as his right hand slid between Reno’s legs. "That is one of your more… enjoyable qualities," he replied, no sign of his true emotions in his calm demeanor. Lust flared along his nerves when Reno quickly tilted his hips and set his feet on the bed to expose himself. Yes, he was Rufus’ sure thing, the only thing he’d wanted and gotten and yet still felt that eluded him somehow.

He wanted to shove his fingers into that waiting warmth, to feel flesh constrict around him then relax, unable to deny him entrance for more than a few seconds. However, he ruthlessly tamped down on that impulse and circled the small pucker until Reno sighed in frustration and made to grasp the wrist of his right arm.

"As always, you have a problem obeying the rules," Rufus pointed out as he captured Reno’s hand and slammed it back on the bed, hunched over his lover as his fingers continued their torment. "Should I demote you to teach you a lesson? Would you like to be my secretary for a few weeks until you learn some patience?"

Reno glared at the suggestion until Rufus’ forefinger slowly pushed inside. Then he closed his eyes and groaned, the sound so deep it made Rufus shiver and his cock twitch. "I’d cancel all your appointments and delete all your email just to see you go mad with boredom," he gasped, his voice the husky, wanton tone that always made Rufus want to thrust deeply into his lover’s body and fuck him until he was hoarse from screaming.

"Then I’ll just have to find another way to punish you," he replied, his own voice rough with incessant need. "I could tell Tseng that you should be made in charge of all new recruits." Talking about driving a person mad, Reno would go insane having to deal with babysitting the new Turks on a daily basis. Rufus couldn’t help but smile as he leaned down to gently bite on his lover’s erect right nipple.

Reno moaned and made an abortive motion with his hands. "Dammit, you are such a manipulative, sadistic bastard," he swore. "You really get off on bossing me around, don’tcha?"

"Yes." To be able to control such an unpredictable and destructive force provided immense pleasure to Rufus. He added another finger inside his lover and pushed them in deep. "And what did I say about the insults, Reno?" he asked, his voice deceptively mild as he barely flicked his fingers against his lover’s prostate gland. "I believe I’ve repeatedly warned you to put an end to them. You should have more respect for your employer."

There was a ragged laugh at that comment, Reno’s face flushed a dull red and his eyes tightly closed. "I’m not exactly on the fucking clock here, *President*," he choked out as his knees slowly closed together.

Rufus shoved the legs aside and scissored his fingers buried inside Reno as wide apart as he could manage against tight flesh. "Then you should have more respect for *me*," he warned, his left hand wrapping around the redhead’s cock to give it a sudden squeeze.

"Is that an order?" Reno shot back, his eyes still closed and a frown on his lips. "Or is it something else I owe you?"

Swallowing past a dry throat, Rufus quickly withdrew his fingers from Reno’s body. "Whichever one will give me the result that I want," he coldly informed his recalcitrant lover. He knew it was in Reno’s personality to always challenge authority and he shouldn’t have expected docile submission after what he’d done tonight but this constant sniping wore at his self-control until he was torn between strangling the redheaded bastard and fucking him raw.

Opening his eyes, Reno stared bleakly at him for a few heartbeats. "Is that why you did this?" he asked, his right hand toying with the new earring. "Just to get me to be your nice, obedient pet?" Oddly enough, there was no anger in his demeanor, just curiosity.

Rufus stretched out on top of his lover, his left hand cupped over Reno’s right ear. The chain felt slightly cool against his palm, a sharp contrast to the heat of Reno’s skin. "I want to be the only one to see you like this," he dared to admit, worn down by need and the fact that he knew Reno could keep him at arm’s length for too long a time if the redhead was in a mood to do just that. "I’m going to be the only person who fucks you or feels your mouth around my cock." He wanted to know that all it would take to have Reno trailing after him was a seductive smile and an arch of an eyebrow; that whenever he woke from the nightmares about pain and death that Reno would be there to tell him a dirty joke and make the memories fade beneath a haze of pleasure. There were so many things he wanted and he couldn’t possible voice even a fraction of them, not without feeling like a weak, love-struck idiot. Which he definitely was *not*. He had just become addicted to his irrepressible, sexy lover. Had come to depend on him too much during the years after Meteor and didn’t know how to make things go back to the way they’d been before that disastrous event. What was done couldn’t be undone and he refused to leave himself vulnerable to something if he had any chance to control it.

There was silence after his confession, a quiet spell that lasted painfully long before Reno sighed and stroked the back of his right hand along Rufus’ left cheek. "Coulda just asked, ya know? Then you coulda made me tell Tseng in front of all the Turks that I’m pregnant with his brat or go propose to Cloud when Tifa’s holding a knife in her hand or something." He sounded uncharacteristically serious for once but there was warmth in his eyes that had been lacking all evening.

Rufus snorted softly and turned his head so he could nip at his lover’s palm. "I can do those things as well; I just have to get you drunk enough and offer a dare." Yes, he could have asked but he believed in leaving nothing to chance. Now he had Reno’s word and what appeared to be his grudging acquiesce, which was much better than a promise with nothing to back it up.

Reno chuckled, the sound deep and warm. "Always have to have an answer for everything, don’t you?" he teased, his hand sliding along Rufus’s body until it wrapped loosely around his cock. "Shouldn’t you just shut up and put this to use?" he asked as he gave the cock a gentle squeeze.

Rufus hissed as his body was jolted by a surge of pleasure. "You’re the one who wouldn’t shut up, and what did I tell you about not moving?" He regretfully unclasped Reno’s hand from around his cock and returned it to its former position. "If I hadn’t heard that positive reinforcement could produce results, I’d tell you to go home." The threat was entirely empty but helped to save him some face as he was now the one to give in. Reno’s smile was much too smug and his laugh entirely too happy but as there was soon to be sex, Rufus refused to allow those things to bother him.

He thoroughly slicked his cock, his breath catching in his throat as his hand pumped up and down the engorged and over-sensitive flesh. Shivering with desire, he reached with his left hand to grasp Reno’s right arm and tugged. "Come here."

"Hell yeah," Reno happily replied and scurried upright, his knees on either side of Rufus’ thighs. "Now you’re finally talking sense." He sighed in pleasure as he settled himself into place, the tip of Rufus’ cock rubbing against his ass.

Clasping his hands around his lover’s hips, Rufus slowly leaned back until he was lying on the bed. "Do it slow. I want to feel your body sucking me in and hear you moan for more." He loved how Reno’s teeth bit into his bottom lip and his pale skin flushed brighter with each inch of cock that pushed inside.

There was another muttered curse, something along the lines of ‘bossy rich brat’ but Rufus let that one go since he was about to get what he’d craved all day long. For once, Reno did exactly what he was told and grasped Rufus’ cock in his left hand as he slowly sank onto it.

The feel of initial resistance and then the sudden rush of velvet warm along the tip of his cock made Rufus groan in pleasure and almost miss the deep sigh that Reno made. Forcing himself to be quiet, he stared at his lover, at the way Reno bit into his lip and closed his eyes, the look of contentment that spread across that expressive face along with the blush that darkened tattooed cheeks.

"Oh yeah," Reno moaned as he slowly took Rufus’ cock deep inside with a slow descent that left them both trembling and covered with sweat. When his ass rested against Rufus’ thighs, he let out an uneven breath and opened his eyes. "What now?"

"You wanted it so much, you can do all the work." Rufus fought to keep his voice even while his nerves tingled with growing ecstasy. Fuck, Reno was indeed still so wonderfully tight and hot. "But not too fast." He squeezed his lover’s hips and urged him upward. "I’m not in the mood for a quick screw.

"That’s a first," Reno grumbled, then let out a startled yelp when his ass was viciously pinched in retaliation. Glaring slightly, he did what he’d been told. "What if I want to do it fast, hmm? To feel you slam into me so hard that I’ll ache all night?" he asked, his voice the sexy almost-purr that always made Rufus’s breath catch in his throat.

"But you’re not the one in charge," Rufus reminded his lover, the words a little difficult to form while his body reveled in the feel of Reno once more totally encasing his cock with such delicious, clenching heat.

"Not tonight, that’s damn sure." Reno leaned forward, his frown fading as Rufus snapped his hips upward. "Oh, yeah, that feels so damn good. A bit of a burn but you’re so fucking hard that I don’t care." He ground his hips against Rufus before he slowly lifted again. "Could ride you all night even if I won’t be able to walk tomorrow."

Rufus released Reno’s hips to wrap his right hand around his lover’s cock and wrap crimson strands around his left. "That’s a tempting idea even if you’d do nothing but bitch about your sore ass." He certainly wouldn’t object too all that pleasure, not when it already sizzled through his veins until he could barely think straight. He rocked his hips in time to Reno’s movements and gave up on the witty banter so he could savor that ecstasy. His body slowly melted into it with each rapid heartbeat and ragged breath, his hand moving automatically along Reno’s cock and his eyes remaining open only through a determined force of will.

As always during sex, Reno was so gorgeous that Rufus just had to stare at his lover. Uneven bangs clung to Reno’s face, long tendrils clung to his shoulders and arms as his skin gleamed with sweat. That smart mouth remained open as a ceaseless spill of moans, pants and garbled encouragements slipped past dry lips that Rufus wanted to lick and nip. Aquamarine eyes darkened to turquoise from passion and became heavy-lidded, their gaze fixed on Rufus as if equally unable to look anywhere else. "Wanna… go faster… please," Reno begged unconsciously, his arms braced on Rufus’ chest as he leaned forward. His long hair trailed downward in a ticklish sweep against sweat-slick skin.

Sucking in his breath, Rufus could only shake his head. He wanted to hear his lover properly beg and so could be patient. All the while the ecstasy continued to rush along his nerves and warm his flesh and he anticipated with intense longing the moment that it all turned into an inferno of bliss.

Reno whined softly and arched his back, the sound choked off as he frantically pushed down on Rufus. "Fuck! Oh… *please* Rufus…. Hard… right there… pretty… fucking please….."

"Would a bastard say ‘yes’?" Rufus asked, barely stuttering over the words even though muscles clenched around his cock tightly enough to make his vision darken. He was on the verge of giving in and fighting it, unwilling to miss his reward.

"Never… never call you that… again." Reno’s eyes closed and moved his hips again, the pace slightly faster than before. "Don’t be… a bastard… now."

Three seconds was quite the record for Reno to break a promise, Rufus amusedly thought through a haze of passion and pleasure. "Beg for it," he whispered, his hand stilling on his lover’s cock.

"Please, please, please," Reno chanted, his voice uneven and growing louder with each word. "Oh god… *please*."

"All right," the words slipped past Rufus’ lips as he tried to decide if that was sufficient pleading. He had little time for regret as Reno immediately began to move, his body quickly sliding along the length of Rufus’ cock only to immediately slam down. Nails bit into Rufus’ chest during the wild ride, a spike of pain amidst sharp ecstasy that had the air in his lungs turn into molten fire. He fought to breathe, to pump his hand in time with Reno’s actions and his eyes to remain open. Unfortunately, it was a losing battle as his body was assaulted with pleasure, from the feel of the hot vise sliding along his cock and Reno’s loud, grateful cries and the whip of thousands of tiny strands against his chest, arms and stomach.

As it so often happened, Reno broke him down with so much emotion and ecstasy that his will didn’t have a chance. His body shuddered violently as he came, his hips thrusting upward frantically to drive as deep into that luscious warmth as possible. His own cries joined Reno’s as his cock was clenched even more tightly than before, warmth splattered over his chest as bright spots exploded against his closed eyelids. There was so much bliss that he had no choice but to melt into it, to lose everything to that potent emotion and be washed away.

The first thing he was aware of was his labored breath and the burn of air along his dry throat. Opening his eyes, Rufus realized that part of his difficulty in breathing was from the fact that Reno was sprawled bonelessly on top of him, face pressed into the crook of his neck. Untangling his left hand from damp hair, he brushed aside the strands that clung to his lover’s cheek. "How the hell can you breathe like that?" he murmured.

Reno groaned and shifted about until his chin rested on Rufus’ chest. "Last thing I’m worried about now," he mumbled, his eyes still closed and a blissful smile on his lips. "Be quiet, I’m enjoying the moment."

Mostly amused at being bossed around, Rufus tucked back sweat-darkened hair and trailed his fingers down the platinum chain. "Here I thought you would instantly demand another go. Didn’t you say something about doing this all night?"

His hand was weakly batted aside, the earring swinging against Reno’s flushed cheek. "Sure, as soon as I can move." Reno didn’t sound too enthused but his smile took on a wicked edge. "In about an hour or so."

"You must be getting old," Rufus couldn’t help but tease as his fingers combed through his lover’s tousled hair. Right now the world seemed about perfect, a rare moment of peace that he was determined to enjoy.

Opening his eyes, Reno gave him a virulent glare. "S’not old age. Nearly got my ass blown up trying to keep a certain someone’s property mostly in one piece," he grumbled and scratched his nails up the sides of Rufus’ chest.

"Ah, my mistake." Rufus smiled in false apology and continued to stroke Reno’s hair until the redhead grumbled a little more and closed his eyes again.

He was at home, on his very comfortable bed resting after a bout of fantastic sex. His lover, who fortunately didn’t weigh too much, was a warm if a bit uncomfortable presence. Even though he was sweaty and growing sticky, he didn’t feel the impulse to move any time soon. Not when the ShinRa logo shone in the room’s dim light from its resting spot on his chest. He followed the chain to Reno’s ear and felt satisfaction smother the remaining bit of acid that churned in his belly.

He had Reno’s body, Reno’s loyalty and now Reno’s promised word. He had the Turk willingly in his bed, trusting enough to fall asleep while naked and vulnerable. That was quite the accomplishment, he felt, one that would provide pleasure and amusement for however long he wanted it. As long as he wanted Reno.

The acrid emotion was thankfully gone, but a faint, unfamiliar tightness formed in Rufus’ chest, a feeling that he did his best to ignore.

*******

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