Reno folded his arms over his chest and glared at his coworkers. "No way in hell," he growled, the fingers of his left hand toying with the leather band of his baton in a silent warning. "Can’t make me do it."
Rude, Rod, Cyril, Kali and Elena exchanged looks and carefully stationed themselves around him, a semi-circle of muscle, weapons and bad intent. For once not in the mood for any jokes, he continued to glare, putting a bit more venom into it as his lips curled into a familiar sneer; touch me if you dare, it said, and wasn’t something that he normally had to direct at people he considered friends.
Rude grunted, the sound low and loud in the otherwise quiet room. "Just do it." Left unspoken was ‘because it’ll be easier on all of us that way’, not that Reno really cared. Oh no, the bastards were ready to throw him to the wolves, so he saw no reason at all to make things easy for *them*.
"No. Way. In. Hell." Taking a step back, he flipped his baton up into his hand. "Let me add another thing to that – go fuck yourselves."
"I told you he wouldn’t go willingly," Kali said with a sigh, her arms filled with a garment bag.
"And I said we should just knock him out." Elena’s right hand crept toward the front of her black jacket, as if to slip inside. "The tranq won’t last for long."
"No, it’ll take too much time for him to recover," Rude pointed out and stepped a little closer, the rest of the Turks moving with him as well. Reno wasn’t sure if he was more pissed off or apprehensive at this point, and figured he could at least take a couple of them down with him.
"Look, I’m not doin’ it!" he yelled and stepped back in response, planning on using his baton to throw up a shield to block the door once he was through it. "You can’t order me, and there’s no way you’ll get me drunk enough to go through with it. Now fuck off!" Why the hell were people he usually trusted with his life doing this to him? He’d saved all their asses at one time or another, and this was how they repaid him?
About to cast the shield and run like hell, he took another step backwards, only to bump into something that shouldn’t be there. Oh fuck-
"How about I make it an order?" Tseng asked as his arms wrapped around Reno, trapping his arms at his side and stopping him cold.
Rufus let out a snarl and jammed his fountain pen into his computer’s screen, fury not appeased in the slightest by the cracking sound and plume of smoke that blinded him for a few seconds. Dammit, that was the fourth computer part that he’d destroyed in the past week.
About to order his secretary to call the IT department to replace the damaged screen, he remembered in time that she’d already gone home for the day, crying as she’d run from the office. Tseng had stopped by only long enough to tell him that everyone who was qualified to replace the woman refused to accept the assignment, and so he’d have to do without a secretary for a few more days. Then the Turk had fled as well, not turning his back on Rufus as he left the room. Coward.
Looking for something else to take his foul mood out on, his eyes narrowed when he heard the door to his office slowly open. Pulling out his pistol in case it was someone trying to tranquilize him again, he managed to hold off on shooting as something distinctly not a smoke bomb was shoved into the room. Still not taking any chances, he fired off two shots and smiled when he heard a muffled curse through the now closed door.
He rose from the desk to go see what Tseng was trying to distract him with this time, hoping it was that bastard Reeve bound, gagged and available for hours of torture. When he pulled back the white blanket covering the wriggling form on his floor, he was surprised to find that he was only partially correct. The person was bound and gagged, but it wasn’t Reeve. Instead, it was Reno, dressed in a cat costume, complete with ears and a tail. Well, there wasn’t much more to the costume to that – just a white leather collar with a large bell, a pair of black and white shorts so small to be indecent, and what appeared to be mittens and slippers in the shape of paws on his bound hands and feet. Oh, and the note pinned to the collar from Tseng, that informed Rufus that Reno was relieved of all shifts for the next two days.
As he smiled at his obviously enraged lover, who was doing his best to curse up a storm around the bit gag stuck in his mouth, the door opened again, just long enough for a large bag to be tossed in beside Reno. Figuring that the redhead wasn’t going to be able to go anywhere while bound up like that, Rufus shifted over to investigate the bag, which he found to contain over a dozen bottles of lubes, an assortment of dildos, vibrators and butt plugs – including one very similar to the black leather tail attached to the shorts – as well as a bunch of other things that made it clear that someone had raided an adult toy store and spared no expense. There were also several take-out menus to some of his favorite restaurants.
Sitting back on his heels, Rufus looked back and forth between his bound lover, the bag and his destroyed computer screen. While he did so, Reno stopped cursing and began to whimper, a hopeful look on his face that looked very appealing when combined with the red strands clinging to his forehead and the slightly off-kilter cat ears. Rufus reached out to straighten them out, a smile forming on his face as he came to a decision.
Reno began to curse again and struggle against the leather straps buckled around his wrists and ankles. Rufus didn’t mind that in the least as it made for a sexy as hell sight, and reached into the bag for the leather leash he’d seen there moments before.
Rude let out a faint sigh and watched as Tseng bandaged the bullet graze to Rod’s right arm. The Head of the Turks somehow managed to hear it and looked over his shoulder. "Do you have something to say?"
Shuffling his feet, Rude refused to let himself be intimidated. "Did we
really have to do that?"
It was Rod who answered at first, swearing loudly as he waved his injured arm about. "Fuck yeah! How much you wanna bet he would be aiming at our heads by tomorrow?"
"He has a point." Kali stepped closer and gave Rude’s left shoulder a gentle squeeze. "Reno’s got the best chance of surviving his temper at a time like this, and it’s not as if he wouldn’t have been put through something similar once he’d gone home tonight." Despite the rational words, he could tell from the slight frown on her face that she was as bothered by the situation as he was. Yet they both had allowed their sense of self-preservation to win out over the guilt.
Elena jumped from Tseng’s desk and stalked toward them, lower lip swollen from when she’d hit her face against the wall while dodging Rufus’ bullets. "Look, it’s not like we had much of a choice! You know how bad he was last year!" Everyone in the room winced as they recalled something they’d done their best to wipe from their memories, and Rude finally nodded in agreement. They’d all been ready to die before Reno had pushed Rufus too far and the two men hadn’t left the penthouse for almost thirty-six hours. That was in part what had given them the idea to use Reno as a sacrifice this year, since the situation was even worse than back then.
"I’ll make sure he has a few days off and a bonus for this." Tseng finished bandaging Rod’s arm and motioned for the Turk to get off his desk. "If he wants to file a formal complaint about my conduct, I’ll point out that he included being the president’s ‘fuck-toy’ on his last performance review." For a moment a very evil smile curved his lips. "That’s if he complains."
The shame was, the odds were about fifty-fifty that Reno wouldn’t. Oh, he’d be pissed at all hell over being dressed up in the cat suit like that, but when it came down to it, sex was sex. As long as they made sure to leave some alcohol with the food drop-offs, the crazy bastard might even enjoy himself.
If not… well, they’d have to come up with another plan come tax-time next year. "How about next time, we just keep Rufus sedated during the week that the accountants prepare the taxes?" he suggested.
Tseng appeared to actually consider it for several seconds before shaking his
head. "No, he’d never forgive us. I think it might just be easier to
eliminate Reeve before he makes any more changes to the tax code."
"Hey, I can live with that," Rod mumbled as he played with the cut off ends of his formerly white shirt. "Kill Reeve, tranq Rufus and spend the damn week in a bar."
"Amen to that," Kali murmured. "Speaking of bars, I think we should probably head to one right now." She spared a look up at the ceiling, and Rude swore that he could hear the sound of muffled thuds.
"Let’s go," he said, already on his way toward the door. More than anything, he needed to get drunk and not think of what was happening on the floor above. When it came to matters of life and death, one did whatever one had to do – better Reno’s ass than all of theirs, after all.
As soon as the files were sent off, Tseng approached Rufus’ office with a sense of caution. It had taken an extra day to complete the taxes, thanks to one of the new changes pushed through by WRO, but they were done now. If past years were anything to go by, Rufus’ foul mood should have vanished.
Knocking twice on the door, he slowly opened it when he heard Rufus’
permission to enter. He stepped inside, careful to keep the door opened behind
him for a quick escape, and found the president sitting behind the desk, blond
hair in disarray, suit wrinkled, and a pleased smile on his face. The office
around him looked as if it had been the scene of a drawn out, violent fight,
with papers and object strewn about.
"Is everything all right, sir?" he asked after clearing his throat, doing his best to not be so obvious in his visual search.
"Yes." Rufus’ smile strengthened. "I believe it would be a good time to visit Costa del Sol for a few days. Arrange for a flight tomorrow." He turned to look in the direction of the couch, which was missing two cushions and covered with a white blanket. "You might want to go home and pack for that," he said.
Tseng stared at the couch as the blanket moved about and moaned. "Bastard." The blanket moved enough to reveal a tangle of red hair. "Le’ me sleep." Reno opened one eye to glare first in Rufus’ and then Tseng’s direction, his expression turning to a smug grin as he pulled the blanket back over his head.
"Come back for him in another hour, and bring me a fresh suit as well. Oh, and I need a new monitor." Rufus motioned to the destroyed piece of equipment that was currently across the room and broken into several pieces, then resumed working on his laptop.
Only too happy to be dismissed, Tseng bowed. "Yes, sir." About to make his escape, he stopped when he heard his name be spoken. "Yes?"
Rufus waved at the couch. "Next year, I expect something a bit more inventive than a cat costume, although it was appreciated."
"Yes, sir." Tseng vowed to make sure to take this time off next year, but he could always pass that information on to Rude.
Over from the couch, the word ‘bastard’ was muttered again.
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