Obligations and Manipulations

*******

by nekojita

*******

"I’ve been invited to a dinner party at the Astor’s next Friday," Rufus informed Tseng as they went through his calendar to arrange security for any events he would attend in the upcoming weeks. "I think it would be best to be assigned someone other than Reno and Rude for the evening."

Unflappable as always, Tseng merely nodded and typed something into his laptop. "I believe that Mrs. Astor is probably still upset about the drapes catching on fire the last time Reno accompanied you to one of her parties."

His lips twitching as he remembered the improbably series of events that had led to the fire, Rufus was half tempted to say he wanted Reno assigned to him after all, but he didn’t allow the amusement to win out. "I think the evening will go more smoothly if my bodyguards aren’t being trailed by staff carrying fire extinguishers. Oh, and Adam Porter of Porter Construction will be attending a meeting with me tomorrow at eleven o’clock. I’m sorry for the short notice, but he finally agreed to discuss some projects with me." He was certain that even with the lack of warning that Tseng would be able to set up a proper security clearance for the man.

"Mr. Porter? I was not aware that he was willing to do business with ShinRa after…." Tseng pressed his lips together as if plagued by a bitter thought.

"Since my father blackmailed some of the best property in Midgar from him about four years ago," Rufus finished for the Turk, a cruel smile on his hips. "I have no clue what leverage the old bastard used, but it must have been very scandalous. However, Mr. Porter has decided to not hold against me something my father did, which is good. If there is to be any hope for a new hospital being built within the next year, our companies will need to work together." As much as the damn building was going to cost his company, Rufus was excited about the project. New ShinRa technology would be put to the test and he’d be one step further in redeeming the company’s name.

Tseng was quiet for a few seconds, his brow furrowing until the dot on his forehead was a thin red line. "I’ll work on the clearance this afternoon, President. However, another matter has just come to my attention. I’d like to assign Rude and Reno to a small problem we’re having in regards with the new Reactor inspections. Since they’re more familiar with Reeve-"

"I want them here tomorrow," Rufus stated as he interrupted his Head of Turks. "Rod and Jared also are familiar with Reeve so assign them to escort him around." He refused to allow Reeve another opportunity to try to convince two of his best employees to leave the company. Not to mention that Reno somehow always talked Reeve into buying him drinks once the inspections were over.

"Sir, I feel that they are more experienced in this matter than Rod and Jared. I will reassign them."

Rufus stared at Tseng with some surprise. Tseng didn’t normally contradict his orders like that, not when he wasn’t fighting with or trying to punish Reno. "Tomorrow, a gentleman who has some negative history with ShinRa will be visiting me. I would prefer Rude and Reno here and not escorting Reeve around a couple of Reactors." He put a hint of coldness into the words as he stared evenly at Tseng, unwilling to change his mind or compromise on the decision.

After several tense seconds, Tseng bowed his head in surrender and typed something into his laptop for close to a minute. "I’m sorry, President. Rod and Jared will conduct Reeve on the inspections." He didn’t sound upset over having his roster change overridden, but there was a slight tension to his shoulders that hadn’t been there before and his forehead hadn’t smoothed out.

Left wondering what was bothering the usually composed man, Rufus forced himself to consult his schedule once more so they could finish this before his two o’clock meeting. "Next Thursday, there will be a luncheon to commemorate the victims of Sector Seven. I think it would be a very wise decision to not have Reno and Rude accompany me there, either."

"Elena and I will go with you, Sir."

"Thank you." Rufus spared one more glance at Tseng and told himself that he might be imagining things, because the Turk appeared to be back to normal now. Pushing the odd behavior from his mind, he focused on getting the necessary tasks finished during the short time both he and Tseng had free.

*******

Rubbing a towel over his wet hair, Rufus stared at the unmoving body lying in his bed and frowned in disgust. "I will smother you with your own pillow if you don’t get out of bed in the next twenty seconds," he warned his lover.

Reno opened his right eye and groaned piteously. "I think I’m gonna call off today. I feel like shit." He coughed a few times, clearly a smoker’s hack that Rufus had heard a thousand times before, and closed his eye.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, Rufus humored the terrible actor by placing his hand on Reno’s forehead. The skin there felt feverishly hot – but that was normal for Reno. "You now have ten seconds to stop faking and get out of bed." He trailed his hand along the side of Reno’s face, down his neck, over the sharp ridge of his collarbones where he grasped some skin and gave it a savage pinch.

"Fucking hell!" Reno yelled as he sat up in bed, his left hand rubbing the red mark on his chest. "That hurt!"

Rufus tsked for a couple of seconds as he got up from the bed. Now was not the time to enjoy the sight of Reno with hair tumbling onto his face and shoulders, naked save for the white cotton sheet pooled in his lap. "You sound perfectly healthy to me, but if you continue to claim to be sick then you will come with me to work and have Dr. Alim check you for any illnesses. Now get out of bed and go take a shower." The towel dropped to the floor as he made his way to the closet. Behind him, he heard Reno mutter a few curses beneath his breath as he stormed out of the room, not sounding sick in the slightest.

Rufus spent a few seconds wondering what it was the idiot had hoped to do instead of working.  Get drunk, sleep until the afternoon or watch some movie marathon were the three most likely choices. Annoyed at his lover’s laziness, he searched through the racks of clothes and tried to decide what to wear for the day. He felt his mood lighten as he came across the row of white dress shirts, unable to remain angry with Reno for long while he looked at those shirts and imagined his lover wearing one. Then he would have to arrange something so the garment got torn or stained somehow, a little ‘accident’ that would ensure that their evening together would be very memorable. While the budget for his clothes had almost doubled in the last few months, his sex life had never been better, partially in thanks of all the times he got to ‘punish’ Reno for the ruined shirts.

He settled for a black silk shirt and a white one to wear on top of it. That was followed by a black vest and a white jacket, a reassuring weight settling on top of his shoulders with each new layer of clothes. A set of small vials were tucked a series of pockets on one side of the jacket, a pistol placed into a specially designed holster on the other. Then his white overcoat and he was ready for the day. Slipping on his shoes, he returned to the bathroom to check his hair before he left the room in search of a cup of coffee.

Reno joined him several minutes later, his red hair still wet and appearing free of any sprays or gels. The ragged bangs and strands around his face clung to his skin, mostly obscuring his eyes and tattoos, and for once he wore one of his own shirts. Rufus stared in amazement at his lover, who didn’t say anything as he poured himself a cup of coffee, dumped in a couple of teaspoons of sugar and drank it all without ever lowering the mug from his lips. Setting the empty cup on the counter, Reno nodded once as he wiped his mouth with the back of his left hand. "Okay, let’s get going." He didn’t even wait for Rufus to answer before he headed for the door.

Still amazed, Rufus stared after him for a moment before setting aside his own mug and following. Perhaps Reno wasn’t feeling well after all. There had been no attempt at sex, nor any litany of complaints, multiple cups of coffee or pleas for breakfast. Something was definitely going on.

*******

Rufus walked out of the boardroom to find Rude and Elena waiting for him. Pausing for a moment to look up and down the hall for Reno, he began to frown when he realized that his lover was nowhere to be found. "Elena, why are you here?" he asked as he went to his office, suspicion and anger growing stronger with each step.

"President." Elena bowed her head slightly as she followed, to his left and a little behind. "I’m covering for Reno, Sir."

"I figured that out for myself, Turk," Rufus said, fighting with himself to keep from snapping out the words. "*Why* are you covering for him?" He didn’t look directly at Elena, but out of the corner of her eye he saw the way she flinched slightly at question.

"Sir, he’s in Medical," she answered while wearing an expression she must have learned from Tseng. However, she failed to completely capture her partner’s usual serene air, although she did a good job of masking any emotion.

Feeling a headache start to come on, Rufus tugged on the left lapel of his jacket and barely resisted the urge to pull out his gun. "Do *not* make me ask another question," he warned, his anger evident in the extreme coldness of his tone.

This time it was Rude who answered, just as Rufus' right hand begun to slide beneath his jacket. "Sir, he’s in Medical with a concussion. During his break, he stopped by his locker to retrieve a pack of cigarettes, during the same time that Kali was attempting to teach Cyril a rather difficult attack maneuver. I’m afraid that Cyril didn’t quite master it and Reno was injured during the attempt." He spoke in an even, deep voice, the same tone he used when verbally issuing a report.

Rude wasn’t normally a very emotional man, but there was something not quite right about his description of events, Rufus couldn’t help but notice. Reno and Rude had been partners for several years and had developed a friendship along with their professional relationship. Rufus would expect for there to be some emotion from Rude over what had happened, be it amusement, exasperation or concern that Reno had been injured in such a ridiculous manner. Not to mention the very sparse details on how one of the Turks’ Aces was injured in his own break room. Something was definitely wrong, and Rufus was growing very annoyed.

Reaching his office, he turned to face Elena while Rude opened one of the doors. "Where’s Tseng?" he asked, as civilly as possible since he had no proof to back his suspicions just yet.

"There was an incident this morning at Reactor Five, President, and he left to investigate. He informed me that he had sent the preliminary details to you before his departure and that he would send more information along shortly." She looked him straight in the eyes as she spoke, but her posture was the slightest bit off.  Elena's spine was a little too rigid, her shoulders pulled back an inch too far.

"Send Mr. Porter in when he arrives," was all he said after a few seconds’ pause. He realized it would be worthless to further interrogate Rude and Elena, not if they were following Tseng’s orders to participate in what was evidently some cover-up of sorts. If they’d been other Turks, he would have some chance of intimidating the truth out of them, but not Rude and Elena.

He thought he detected a note of relief in Elena’s voice when she replied, ‘Yes, Sir’, and felt his temper fray even more at the thought that they believed him so easily fooled. Going to his desk, he sat down and dialed a very familiar number while he searched through his email for Tseng’s report.

"This is Dr. Alim, how may I help you, Sir?" The Head of Medical was polite, as always, but there was an agitated edge to his cultured voice that was always there whenever he had to deal with Reno as a patient.

"How is he?" Rufus asked, not in the mood to mince words and certain that Alim already knew why he was calling.

"He’ll live," Dr. Alim said with an aggrieved sigh. "Sixteen stitches to his head two inches above his right temple, and a slight concussion. I’ve ordered him to remain in Medical for the next couple of hours so we can monitor his condition, then I’ll send him home for the day. As long as the concussion isn’t more severe than expected, he should be back on full duty tomorrow."

The wound was relatively minor, yet still not something that Rufus would expect Reno to receive during an impromptu training session, even if he had ended up the punching bag. Reno was clearly excused from work for the day, but wasn’t severely incapacitated. No broken bones or injuries that should handicap him during a fight when he returned to duty, not to mention the wound wasn’t serious enough to require a potion that would have him back to work with little delay. All in all, it was so contrived that alarms were ringing in Rufus’ head.

He was almost tempted to order Dr. Alim to give Reno a potion, just to see what Reno and Tseng would do next. However, knowing Tseng, there would be a very plausible reason to keep Reno away from him once he was healed, and probably another one after that. "Tell him that I expect to see him when I get home," he said, his patience grown thin. "He *will* be there or he’ll spend the night in Medical."

"I’ll pass that along, Sir." Alim didn’t seem very happy with the possibility of having Reno as an overnight guest. "Is there anything else?"

"No." Rufus didn’t wait for a reply; he disconnected the call and slammed his phone onto the desk. Why were Reno and Tseng determined to keep Reno from him today, he pondered as he read Tseng’s very vague preliminary report. It was perfectly worded to imply a sense of danger that would probably never materialize, not unless Rufus tried to force Tseng back to the office. He could already imagine the full report on the situation; a matter of a false alarm that Tseng felt warranted his full attention just to be safe.

He was in the middle of typing a scathing email to Tseng about allowing his personnel to practice combat tactics in the break room when his phone rang. Rude informed him that Mr. Porter was being escorted to his office and quickly hung up.

Setting a few documents and folders into a desk drawer, Rufus combed back his hair while he waited for Porter to arrive. It wasn’t long before Rude opened the door to his office and motioned Porter to enter. While the trim, middle-aged man strode toward the desk, Rufus rose from his chair and held out his hand. "Mr. Porter."

Porter hesitated for a moment before he shook Rufus’ hand. "President Shinra. How are you today?" Porter’s handshake was firm, possessing perhaps a hint too much of pressure, and the friendly smile on his lips did not reach his dark brown eyes.

Rufus motioned for the man to sit in the chair in front of his desk. "I’m fine," he casually lied. "And you?"

Running his hand through his graying hair, Porter let out a short breath. "Well enough, I suppose, and I’ll be a lot better if we can cut through this social nonsense. I’m not here to be your friend, just a business partner." He narrowed his dark eyes and sat on the edge of his chair. "That is, unless you’re planning to blackmail me with more footage of that damn redhead, like your father did." His hands clenched the arms of the chair so tightly that the leather wrapped wood creaked.

Rufus knew Porter as a savvy businessman recognized for both being able to see the potential in a piece of land and constructing a sound, profitable building on top of it. He was a family man who had a daughter Rufus’ age and was relatively well thought of by most of Midgar’s upper class. Rufus had guessed that his father had been able to coerce Porter to sell several choice lots of real estate for less than its worth on the threat of revealing some sort of vice… but what left him feeling stunned just then was the mention of a redhead. If Reno had been standing outside the door, if he wasn’t down in Medical because of some ridiculous injury after he and Tseng had done their best to keep him away from Rufus’ office today….

He pushed aside the sudden rush of angry and bitter emotion with some difficulty, only maintaining his composure through a force of will. "I am not my father, Mr. Porter," he replied after only a moment’s silence, and hoped that the hint of anger in his voice would be attributed to mention of his father. "I thought I had made that clear to you already, but I see I still have some more work to do to earn your trust. I promise that I have no blackmail material on you, nor do I plan to use it against you." He lied just as convincingly as before, and after several seconds of him staring at his guest, Porter looked away first and cleared his throat.

"I’m sorry, I just wanted to be sure. From what I’ve heard about you, you do seem determined to conduct business differently than your father did, but I’ve been burned by ShinRa before and don’t wish for it to happen again." Porter met his eyes once more, a look of resolve on his face and his voice even. "I just want to rebuild this city. We both know that I’ve the men and the expertise to do so, all I’m lacking is the proper backing."

"Which ShinRa Electric Power Company can provide. I, too, want to see Midgar rebuilt." Rufus leaned back in his chair, his hands clasped together on top of his desk. He ruthlessly shoved all thought of Reno out of his mind, unwilling to be distracted during such an important negotiation. Once he got through with this meeting, then he could get the answers he wanted, but right now, business came first.

That did not mean that he wouldn’t get those answers, just later rather than sooner.

*******

Rufus entered his apartment and quietly walked to the living room. He found Reno stretched out sound asleep on the couch, the white bandage wrapped around his forehead mostly hidden by his crimson hair. Even the sight of the long locks falling onto Reno’s face didn’t appease Rufus’ anger, not when he could easily imagine Porter combing back the brilliant strands as he fucked Rufus’ lover. The anger boiled into fury and a bitter, churning emotion that he had no choice but to acknowledge as jealousy flared to life in his chest so strongly that he took a sudden breath.

In one swift motion, he grabbed Reno’s ankles and dragged them off the couch, which made his lover wake up and give a startled yell as he almost slid to the floor. "What the fuck!" Reno seemed to scramble for something with his left hand, more than likely one of his weapons, which rested just out of reach on the coffee table. His eyes were still slightly dilated and his reactions a touch slow.

"I thought you weren’t supposed to sleep with a concussion," Rufus remarked in a smooth manner, his smile condescending even though he grew all the more furious now that he was face to face with his lover. He reached for a handful of Reno’s bangs and pulled the hair away from his lover’s forehead with more force than necessary. "I heard you required over a dozen stitches." Pushing aside the gauze, he discovered that the wound extended past Reno’s hairline, which meant that there was a shaved patch of scalp.

Reno sat up on the couch and attempted to shove Rufus’ hand away, but when he yanked on Reno’s hair in response, settled for a glare instead. "Dr. Alim said it was okay for me to go home and didn’t mention anything about sleeping. You think he’s trying to kill me or something?" Reno smiled at the feeble joke, his expression turning serious when Rufus didn’t smile or laugh.

"Then I’m sure it’s all right – Dr. Alim can be trusted." He put a slight emphasis on the doctor’s name, unable to get Porter’s words out of his head. Reno had allowed someone else to fuck him, had whored himself out – Porter would never have handed over such valuable land if he’d only been caught making out with Reno. No matter that it was years ago, the mere fact that there had been sex between the two men made Rufus want to backhand Reno to the floor then drag him up onto his knees by the dangling earring that marked Rufus’ ownership of the Turk.

"I’m not too sure about that," Reno grumbled, his left hand rising to grasp Rufus’ hand in his hair. "Not where I’m concerned." He tried to detangle Rufus’ fingers but gave up after a few seconds. "You okay? Have a bad day at work or something?" The question sounded harmless enough, but Reno continued to stare intently at Rufus.

"I had several successful meetings, work will begin shortly on the final Reactor and I’m going to help build a hospital," Rufus answered as calmly as possible while he sat down on the couch, turned to face Reno. "Oh, and I found out two of my most trusted employees conspired against me today to try and keep the fact that one of them fucked a business associate a secret." None of his anger was betrayed in his voice, but Reno instantly tried to put some distance between him, the escape attempt cut short by a harsh tug on his hair.

"How the hell did you find that out?" Reno asked as he continued to try to shift away from, coincidentally enough toward where he’d put his weapons.

Rufus shoved his left hand as hard as possible against Reno’s back, knocking him onto the couch so he could pin his lover against the furniture. "What, aren’t you going to continue to lie, Reno? To cover up the truth?" he asked, the words forced through his tightly clenched jaw. "Why don’t you say that it’s a mistake, that you didn’t fuck some guy so my father could blackmail him?"

Reno grinned in the face of Rufus' fury, yet the expression contained no amusement. "Because I can tell you’re not bluffing. So you found out about me and Porter, big deal. You fucked a bunch of other people back then, too. Why the hell do you care who I slept with several years ago?" He flicked the nail of his right forefinger against the rubies on his earring while a nasty smirk spread across his face. "I wasn’t your property back then. Coulda fucked half of Midgar and it shouldn’t matter."

"You’re not denying it, but you’re also not saying anything about the affair." Rufus' eyes narrowed as he was filled with new suspicion. "You’re doing your best to piss me off." Reno wasn’t physically fighting him, something that made him instantly wary. Rufus barely deflected the blow aimed for his head and instead of lashing back, rolled the both of them off the couch, making sure that Reno landed beneath him.

His lover let out a startled breath as he hit the floor, his head impacting against a hard surface barely softened by thick carpet. Reno’s eyes drifted shut for a second and he was dazed just enough for Rufus to capture his hands and pin them above his head. "I’m not playing games, Reno. I want answers, dammit," he swore, his body tense in case Reno’s seeming befuddlement was another ploy.

"You… already got ‘em, you stupid fuck. I slept with Porter, what else do ya wanna know?" Reno bucked his lower body in a pathetic attempt to knock him aside. "How good it felt? I don’t remember much, but I can tell ya he was really eager. Barely lasted more than a minute or two." He flexed his arms and then quickly tried to pull them toward his head, but after several years of fights like this, Rufus knew all the tricks. "Get the hell off of me!" Reno yelled as he twisted his body back and forth.

"No," Rufus replied, his anger settling as Reno seemed to lose control. "I want to know *why* you did it. As far as I can tell, you allowed yourself to be whored out, Reno. Don’t tell me that you met Porter in some below Plate bar one night and decided to have fun. The whole thing was set up so my father could blackmail him, so that means you were following orders." He’d thought about the matter all day long, mulled it over in his head while he searched for any and all references to the incident in the company’s database. Of course he’d found nothing, which was telling enough. "What’s the going rate for a Turk these days? I’d like to know in case I need to use your services again."

Reno stopped struggling and stared, his face partially hidden by his hair and gauze that had come undone. He was the most shocked that Rufus could ever recall seeing him, even after finding out the price for Rude’s job or after Rufus had been healed of the geostigma. "You wouldn’t," Reno said, the words sounding as if he’d forced them past an unwilling throat. "You wouldn’t do that to… to us. The Turks."

There was no way Rufus would ever issue such an order, but right now, he wasn’t willing to reveal that to Reno. "Why not? You have a successful history of it; I’d just be putting an established skill to use." He leaned closer, his right hand entangled in Reno’s hair to keep his lover from head-butting him. "Peter Holdeman still seems interested in you; perhaps I can trade you to him for a few nights to make sure that his family’s business doesn’t try to sabotage the new hospital. I could throw in Elena as well; I’m sure she wouldn’t mind if it was for the good of the company." He gave Reno his cruelest smile. "Wouldn’t you be happy to fuck someone else?"

"Only if I can kill you afterward." Reno bared his teeth, as if in warning that he was about to be pushed too far. "You wanna get some vid of a guy fucking someone he shouldn’t, offer up your own damn ass. Fucking Shinra bastards – do your own whoring," he spat.

"But isn’t that why we have the Turks?" Rufus cautiously bridged the space between them so he could brush his lips against Reno’s forehead. "All this time I thought you were just bodyguards and thugs, but you’re whores, too. I must have missed that briefing."

Reno’s breathing was harsh and loud, as if he’d run several kilometers in a matter of minutes. "We’re whatever you want us to be, *President*." He made the title sound like the filthiest curse imaginable. "Why should you be any different from your old man?"

That implied that his father had wanted the Turks to be whores, something he wouldn’t put past the man. For a second, Rufus wondered why he’d never thought the old bastard would do something like that, would use the Turks’ bodies for more than just armor. He also wondered if he was tainted somehow, had allowed Reno and Tseng too close to see them as the efficient weapons they were meant to be. But if he had… if he’d been like his father… would he have their loyalty? Would he have had anyone by his side after Meteor?

Suddenly he wasn’t in the mood to play games and punish Reno. He was still furious that Reno had allowed himself to be used like that, but he couldn’t keep up the illusion that he would do what his father had done. He had Reno’s loyalty and possibly something more, and was well aware that if he pushed too far, Reno would no longer consider himself as Rufus’.

"I am getting so very tired of reminding people that I’m not my father," he said, his words sharp with resentment. "And I already told you what I’d do if you even thought to have sex with someone else." He took a gamble and released Reno’s hands so he could tilt his lover’s chin up. "I don’t share what’s mine," he said, bringing his lips so enticingly close to Reno’s that he could feel each panting breath against his face.

Reno’s hands instantly gripped his shoulders tightly enough to hurt, but they didn’t shove him away. "What about the other Turks? You gonna treat ‘em like your dad did?" His arms were tense, as if they would move forward at any moment, at the slightest provocation.

"If I have a need for whores, there are more than enough on Market Street. I would like to think that my Turks are a bit more… unique than that." He was disgusted by the thought of how his father had mistreated and misused the organization. "I don’t pay you to have sex on the clock."

The warm, sultry chuckle from his lover made Rufus arch an eyebrow in surprise, the same time that Reno’s arms snaked around his neck. "Actually, you do pay me for that, but I’m a special case," Reno said as he nipped at Rufus’ chin.

Believing that now would not be a good time to joke about whether or not that made Reno his own personal whore, Rufus decided that he deserved some sort of reward for his self-restraint. "Perhaps I need to look into you putting in some more overtime to make up for those wasted hours," he commented as he lowered his body on top of his lover’s.

"We just fuck around then, too." Reno yanked on Rufus’ hair before he smoothed his hand down Rufus’ back. "Don’t even think of taking away some of the best perks to this job, you greedy bastard."

"You already have complete health and dental coverage, a retirement fund better than most of the company’s upper executives and mostly free license to beat up people on a daily basis," Rufus pointed out as he deftly undid the few buttons of Reno’s shirt. "Don’t be such a greedy, degenerate asshole."

"I adore you too, sweetie," Reno said and begun to tug off Rufus’ coats. "Say some more sugary shit to get me all hard and ready." He practically purred the words, his anger and noncompliance from before utterly gone. Perhaps this was part of his plan to distract Rufus from Porter and the rest of the discussion, but Rufus was willing to let the matter slide for now. Best to let Reno think the issue had been dropped and then try for more answers at a better time.

Besides, he had Reno stretched out beneath him, well on his way to being naked. Rufus quickly searched the inside of Reno’s black coat for the hidden pocket that usually contained a small packet of lube, and smiled when he wasn’t disappointed. Tossing the packet onto his lover’s bony chest, he worked on ridding Reno of the shirt and coat before he pulled back to shed his own garments. While it was perfectly all right to tear clothes from Reno, he didn’t allow the same treatment for himself.

"How about this; in the next few minutes I expect you to do your best to persuade me not to deduct the hours you spent in Medical and then in my apartment from your paycheck this week, seeing how you weren’t truly injured at work." A tiny smirk formed on his lips as he stared at his flustered lover while he shifted about to remove his pants and underwear. "Is that making you all hot and bothered?"

"Yeah, but not in the way you want," Reno grumbled as he lifted his hips so his pants could be pulled off. "You’re one hell of an anal-retentive, manipulative sick fuck," he continued, but the words lacked any true venom and he opened the pack of lubricant before holding out to Rufus.

Accepting the lube, Rufus squeezed some out onto his fingers. "You know, I believe that you don’t quite get the concept of ‘dirty talk’. It’s meant to be something more than insults that will get you your voice box removed one day." Once his fingers were properly slick, he stretched out along Reno’s right side and reached between his lover’s splayed legs. Reno moaned, the sound soft and needy, and spread his legs even wider while he lifted his ass from the floor.

"Sure… sure I do." Reno stuttered slightly as Rufus’ two fingers traced teasing circles around his puckered hole. "Don’t tell me it doesn’t turn you on, hearing me cuss you out and you ‘teaching’ me to not do it again." A fine sweat broke out on his forehead, making his hair cling to his skin. He tried to shake the strands away and combed them off his face, pausing to shove the bandage off as well.

"Now that is certainly one of the most inventive excuses for insulting your boss that I’ve heard in years," Rufus remarked in a voice warm with desire and amusement. "Let me reward you for your ingenuity." He pushed his fingers inside his lover, just the tips at first so Reno could adjust to the intrusion. He felt a rush of satisfaction when Reno gasped out his name and tugged him closer with his left hand, so he pushed them in deeper.

"Oh fuck, yeah." Reno’s eyes closed as his head lolled around on the carpet. "I love how it feels when you do that. Makes my whole body tingle until I just gotta beg for your cock." He released Rufus’ shoulder to skim his hand along Rufus’ body, until he reached the object he’d just mentioned. Rufus hissed slightly as his cock was firmly grasped by a hot, calloused hand that pumped up and down each time he scissored his fingers apart.. "This is what I want, pushing into me so deep I can damn near taste it."

Leaning over so he could lick along the trail a drop of sweat left on Reno’s neck, Rufus paused to take the end of the earring between his teeth a moment and give it a tug. "If that’s what you want, then get up on your knees." Reno was still surprising tight after all this time, but it didn’t take much to loosen him enough for them both to enjoy sex.

For once eager to obey an order, Reno only waited for him to remove his fingers before scrambling into an upright position. He braced his arms on the coffee table and offered his ass to Rufus with his legs spread apart. His crimson hair fell onto his back and shoulders, some of the strands brushing against the table and concealing his face. "Right, now start fucking," he said, a weak attempt at a command with the way his voice cracked from desire.

Squeezing the last of the lubricant onto his fingers again, Rufus slicked his cock and knelt behind his lover. "I see we need to have another discussion about who gives the orders around here; that would be me. Your job is to obey them and beg for more." He wrapped his left arm around Reno’s sweaty chest as his right hand held his cock steady. "So beg for it."

As arrogant and smug as Reno could be at times, he certainly had no qualms with pleading for what he really wanted. "Oh fuck, give it to me. Please. I want your big, hot dick shoved into my ass, oh benevolent boss." He lost the mocking tone when Rufus rubbed the tip of his cock against Reno’s ass but didn't thrust inside, Reno’s voice taking on a desperate, sincere edge. "*Please*. Don’t… just fuck me, please."

Showing that he could repeatedly reward good behavior, Rufus blew aside a few strands of long hair and pressed a kiss against Reno’s right shoulder as he slowly thrust inside of his lover. "You’re such a pretty thing, on your knees, naked and begging for my cock." He couldn’t help but wonder if Reno had been like this with Porter. "Did you beg Porter to fuck you, too?" He pushed all the way inside his lover and then went still, his body seized by the sharp, stabbing pleasure of being buried inside such tight heat. "Tell me or I won’t move," he threatened once he could speak again, anger and bitterness now vying with the pleasure.

Reno took a deep breath and arched his back until his ass pressed hard against Rufus. "No," he admitted in a hoarse voice. "Made him beg instead. Didn’t fucking matter if I got off or not." He turned to look over his shoulder, his eyes narrowed in anger. "Ya gonna fuck or ask questions? I’m not in the mood for both."

A bit surprised by Reno’s declaration, Rufus’ first instinct was to lash out at his lover for daring to give him such an ultimatum. Instead, he wrapped his fingers around Reno’s cock and gave it a squeeze the same time he licked along the edge of Reno’s right ear. "I never want to hear about you begging anyone else for anything. *Anything*." He wanted to be the only one who reduced the fiery, headstrong Turk to this, to hear how Reno’s voice hitched and softened as he pleaded for what he needed. And if Porter ever thought to continue his affair with Reno or make him pay for what had happened, Rufus would see how well the man’s daughter had learned the family business.

"You’re the only one who does this to me," Reno admitted, his anger fading as Rufus continued to torment his body. He moaned, the sound so low that it was felt more than heard, and moved his ass in a circular motion. "Fuck me, please."

Taking the earring’s chain between his teeth, Rufus tugged on it the same time he pulled back then thrust into Reno, slow but deep. He wasn’t in the mood for a rushed fuck tonight; he wanted to savor this, the feel of Reno’s ass around his cock and body pressed against his. He continued to stroke Reno’s cock while his left hand grasped his lover’s chin, forcing Reno to tilt his head up and to the side. With the feel of Reno’s thick hair against his face, he sucked hard on the Turk’s neck.

His hips kept moving, the pace slow and deliberate, causing Reno to bitch whenever he pulled back and gasp out his name when the returning thrust pressed hard against his sweet spot. Reno hunched over the table, his elbows braced against its surface for support while he met each of Rufus’ slow, deep thrusts, his voice slightly muffled by the fall of hair around his face.

"Rufus! Oh hell… ah! Feels… feels so good. Just a little harder, please oh please, Rufus," he panted, his body trembling and slick with sweat. A strangled gasp filled the room when Rufus squeezed his cock and increased the pace the slightest bit.

His own body trembling as well, Rufus clenched his teeth together and fought to not give up all control and just pound into Reno’s ass. The pleasure was already so intense, was a burning, potent opiate in his blood that fired his body on for more and overwhelmed his brain with ecstasy. All that mattered was getting more of it, of the slide into clenching, velvet heat, the shocking grasp of muscles when he hit just the right spot that made his vision darken and his heart race even more. He could barely hear Reno’s pleas and demands any more over his loud, frantic breathing as he struggled for enough oxygen to keep his body moving.

Time was measured in motion, the glide of his hand along hard flesh, his tongue along a prominent spine. The feel of friction against his most sensitive part, of heat and an increasingly tight grip that made him groan and shiver. He couldn’t tell if his thrusts were still slow or not, his nerves and senses too overloaded with steadily increasing ecstasy. His body was on automatic – his hips moving forward and pulling back, his hand stroking along Reno’s cock, pulled along by what he felt and the oh so close promise of release. He felt some sort of suspension, a weightlessness prompted by searing emotion and need that was shattered when Reno screamed and clenched around his cock.

Rufus’ orgasm tore through him in response, a furious rush of pure bliss that left him shaking and slumped over his lover as he came, his cock buried deep inside of Reno. As the potent emotion slowly retreated, other sensations crept back into his awareness; Reno’s sweaty, bony back heaving beneath his chest, a cooling dampness dripping from his right hand, strands of hair clinging to his skin and lips. It took him a couple of tries to get his coordination to the point where he could release Reno’s now flaccid cock and shift backwards, a low hiss sliding past his lips as he slipped from his lover’s body.

Still hunched over the table, Reno did his best to shake his hair away from his face and looked over his shoulder at Rufus, who rested against the couch. "You… you may be a sadistic, greedy, selfish, manipulative, anal-retentive control freak of a bastard, but damn you can fuck," he managed to get out between several gasps for air.

"You left out sexy," Rufus replied with an amused snort as he wiped his hand clean with Reno’s shirt. "I think you’re perfect, too." When Reno groaned and pushed away from the coffee table to rest beside him, he reached for and wrapped a strand of red hair around the first two fingers of his left hand. "Well, except for your slovenly habits, excessive drinking, laziness and inability to follow simple orders."

Reno seemed to attempt a glare but the expression came across more as mildly disgruntled. His bowed upper lip curled slightly in a sneer as he fumbled with the pack of cigarettes in his hand while he attempted to shake one free then light it. "You deserve what you get," he said after he released a large cloud of smoke. "I make your boring, corporate life exciting."

"More like you’re a curse inflicted upon me." Rufus gave his lover’s hair a strong tug before he released the strands to brush aside the ones still clinging to Reno’s face. "How is the head? Don’t think that I’ll give you the day off tomorrow because of it."

"There’s the caring, concerned side of you I just can’t get enough of." Reno wrinkled his nose and rested his head back against the couch. "Well, I’m too blissed out to feel any headache right now, which is good." His posture wasn’t as relaxed as it had been before, and he made a big deal about smoking his cigarette and not talking any more after he answered the question.

The thing about trying to get any answers out of Reno when he didn’t want to give them was that the direct approach wasn’t always the best. Rufus let out a slow sigh and rubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands. Forcing the issue right now would clearly lead to a huge fight, one he wasn’t in the mood for at the moment. But he wasn’t sure he could wait patiently and wear down his lover, either.

"I haven’t been to the shooting range all week; tomorrow I’ll clear an hour and you’ll come with me," he said after a minute or two of uncomfortable silence. "If you do better than me, I’ll take you out to dinner, wherever you want to go."

Reno leaned forward to stub out his cigarette in an ashtray then curled up beside Rufus, his legs draped over Rufus’ thighs and his arms around Rufus’ shoulders. "And what happens if I lose, hmmm?" he asked as he nibbled on the corner of Rufus’ jaw.

"Then you do whatever I tell you to do tomorrow night." Rufus smiled in anticipation of the evening to come, confident in his marksmanship. Reno was good with a gun… but there was a reason why he preferred his baton to the weapon, whereas Rufus relied mostly on his pistol. "I should break out the gag," he said as his right hand brushed up and down Reno’s long legs and his left delved into thick, damp strands of crimson. Oh yes, the gag would come in handy… after he made Reno tell him *everything* about his night with Porter.

The sound of his phone ringing made Rufus groan in annoyance and push Reno aside. If he wasn’t expecting a call he would have ignored it, but here might be a chance for some answers. He sat on the couch while he reached for the phone, and Reno joined him on the furniture by the time he picked it up and recognized the phone number of the person calling.

"One moment, Tseng." Rufus rose from the couch and motioned for Reno to stay put. "Order us some dinner," he said as he searched about for his pants, the phone held hunched against his ear by his right shoulder while he pulled the garment on and carefully pulled up its zipper. Next he grabbed one of his shirts and pulled that on as well, but left the buttons undone. More or less dressed, he went to the balcony’s door, opened it, stepped outside and firmly shut it behind him. He could see Reno staring after him with a slight, perplexed frown on his pale face before he shrugged and reached for his own cell phone.

Not caring that he’d given his gluttonous lover carte blanch over dinner, Rufus turned his back to the glass door and held the phone firmly against his ear with his right hand. "What is it that you want, Tseng?" The evening’s air was cool and the breeze from being so high up played with the loose ends of his shirt.

Tseng cleared his throat, something he only did when he was nervous or about to engage in a conversation that he’d rather avoid. Rufus had known the Turk for most of his life and recognized all of the man’s tells, and felt his temper flare. "You called me, Tseng. I’d appreciate you explaining to me why you’re bothering me like this."

"I’m sorry, President. I just returned to the office and found your latest request for all of the Porter files." Just like that, Tseng cut to the heart of the matter. He may have done his best to keep the truth hidden the last two days, but when called out on it, he faced up to things, much like Reno had. "Do I even need to tell you what’s in them?" he asked with a hint of weariness in his voice.

Rufus fought to control his temper, aware that it wouldn’t pay to take out all of his anger on Tseng. "You allowed a fellow Turk to be whored out, Tseng. Oh, excuse me, you and Veld. How often did that happen?" Now that he was speaking to the man, he wanted to lash out, to force a look of hurt on Tseng’s usually dispassionate face even if he couldn’t witness it, and was unable to resist a few jabs. "Did you charge more for yourself than for Reno? Was there a price difference depending on a Turk’s position in the organization or was it by looks?"

There was a moment of silence, followed by what sounded to be a deep, slow breath. "If I may remind the President, the Turks are not an organization unto themselves. We were and are expected to obey orders or suffer the consequences." The weariness was gone, replaced by a rare spark of anger.

"You’re saying that my father ordered the Turks to prostitute themselves?" Rufus was already certain of the answer; he wanted to have it confirmed by Tseng.

"Yes, Sir." Tseng took another deep breath. "May… may we discuss this at another time? Perhaps tomorrow, in your office?"

Rufus smiled at yet another attempt to avoid this conversation, the expression bitter and cruel. "No, we speak about this now. The truth’s been kept from me long enough; I want to know *everything*. I am terribly displeased that I had to find out about this from one of R- from one of my Turks’ former customer." He kept his voice as cold as possible and struggled to not yell. Suddenly remembering Reno, he turned enough toward the door and windows to ensure that Reno wasn’t standing within hearing distance. His lover was stretched out on the couch, clad only in a pair of boxers and watching television.

"Mr. Porter was not Reno’s customer, Sir." Now there was blatant disproval in Tseng’s voice. "As for why we didn’t tell you, there are two reasons. Firstly, the Turks had hoped that our new president wouldn’t force such missions on us and that we could put the entire matter behind us. Secondly, it was doubted that you could handle the information in a rational matter considering one of the persons involved."

If Rufus had thought to bring his gun with him, he would have shot at the nearest target. "I am tempted to fire you for that last comment," he informed his Head of Turks.

"I’m sure you are, Sir, but I won’t take it back. Your reactions when Reno is involved in a matter are never predictable, especially lately. I had hoped that your meeting with Mr. Porter would be uneventful and the incident never brought to your attention." Tseng paused for a moment, and there was the sound of papers being shuffled. "The information you requested was kept highly confidential, Sir, to protect those who had no choice but to follow orders. Veld made sure there were very few copies available, and if anything happened to the company database, that they were destroyed rather than be discovered."

Rufus understood that he’d probably never have the files he wanted, but there was still a way to get the information he’d asked for without interrogating Reno, something he was sure would fail. "But you were involved, weren’t you, Tseng?" he asked, his voice deceptively quiet.

"Yes, President, I was." Something slammed hard and loud onto wood in Tseng’s office, yet when he spoke, his tone was the usual reverent one he employed when talking to Rufus. "I suppose telling you directly will be much better than typing it up in a report." He cleared his throat again, and when he next spoke, he sounded perfectly emotionless. "Your father wanted something he could use against Mr. Porter as leverage in several land sales he was basically forcing on the gentleman. When the Turks looked into the matter, we discovered that Mr. Porter had a predilection for attractive young men and women. Veld suggested a sting operation where he would hire a prostitute to seduce Mr. Porter and tape their liaison. However, your father felt that wasn’t a good enough of a plan. He insisted that he wanted the matter to be kept entirely ‘in house’ and ordered Veld to use a Turk as bait. He also insisted that there be full intercourse, caught on tape, so the blackmail material would be powerful enough to force Mr. Porter to comply with his demands."

Leaning against the stone ledge of his balcony, Rufus abandoned staring at his lover for the twinkling lights of New Midgar. There were so few of them, as opposed to almost three years ago, but each month a few more came into being. "Who decided that the ‘bait’ would be Reno?"

Tseng didn’t hesitate to answer. "Your father, Sir." He fell quiet again, and the anger was back in his voice when he next spoke. "With all due respect, President, I don’t appreciate the insinuation that Veld or I would prostitute our fellow Turks. The situations only happened under direct order from your father, and Veld would often call in a number of favors to shift the orders away from the Turks whenever possible. Why do you think our division was under recurring threat of takeover by Heidegger? Because Veld was constantly expending whatever information, favors and clout he had to keep us from being overly abused by the late president."

Rufus had known that Heidegger had desired control of the Turks for years, and had managed to gain that control two times that he was aware of, if only for a brief period. For an organization that specialized in handling ShinRa’s ‘dirty laundry’, he had always wondered why Veld hadn’t wielded more power in the company. Without the Turks, there wouldn’t have been as many SOLDIER candidates, would have been more revealed scandals and more cutthroat competition. Only now was he getting the answer to that question, and he was furious for being kept in the dark for so long. "Why am I only learning about this *now*?" For the last three years of his vice-presidency, he had championed the Turks as much as he could, even ending up temporarily exiled from Midgar on several occasions. He had believed that the Turks had trusted him with everything, had looked to him as their leader in a way that they never had to his father. "Did you believe me so ineffectual that I couldn’t put a stop to those assignments?" he demanded to know, his left hand clutching the stone ledge with enough force to cause the rough material to abrade his skin.

"No, Sir, but we believed that part of your father’s intentions when he issued those orders was to see if we would run to you, Sir." Tseng let out a slow breath, his anger replaced with weariness. "Especially when the orders concerned Reno. He was never assigned to such missions until about a year into your… relationship."

There was the burning flare of rage and jealousy when Rufus realized that there had been more than one mission where Reno had been forced to whore himself for the company, quickly followed by shock at the implication that it was Rufus’ fault. "Are you suggesting that my father had Reno have sex with Porter," and others, "because we were sleeping together?"

Tseng could have done him the damn courtesy of pausing for a moment, but didn’t. "Yes, Sir. He was very insistent that Reno take part in the missions even when other options were available." This time Tseng did pause for several seconds. "President, I highly suggest that you drop this matter now."

For most of Rufus’ life, Tseng was there to offer advice, support and protection. He wanted to listen to the Turk but wasn’t willing to drop the matter until he had a few more answers. "Who else, Tseng? How many more times will Reno have an ‘accident’ when I’m supposed to meet with someone who ran afoul of my father?" More than anything, he wanted a drink just then, something strong that would burn all the way down to his stomach so he could blame the awful emotions he felt on the liqueur. Make that something very, *very* strong to drink and his gun, along with an endless supply of bullets.

"Mr. Porter should be the only one, Sir." From the sounds of it, Tseng typed something onto his keyboard as he spoke, each strike loud as if he used more force than necessary. "Sir, Reno wasn’t the only Turk given such assignments. Would you like a list compiled of all personnel ordered to do so, along with their targets?" There was an edge to Tseng’s voice that Rufus had only heard a few times before, and never directed at himself.

"That won’t be necessary, Tseng, unless a situation similar to today occurs." He was half tempted to ask if Tseng would be included on that list but wisely kept the question to himself. He wasn’t unconcerned about what had happened to other Turks, he was just unwilling to violate their privacy on a matter that they clearly thought long buried.

"As you wish, President. Is there any other way I may assist you?" Tseng sounded back in control of himself, his tone polite yet slightly distant.

"No, that will be all for the night, Tseng." Rufus ended the call and stared out across the city, both frustrated and amazed by its slow rebuilding. He almost dropped his phone when a glass of what smelled to be whiskey was placed by him on the stone ledge.

"Have a drink," Reno said as he leaned his back against the balcony ledge, a drink of his own in one hand and a bottle of two hundred gil whiskey in the other. "Have a few, in fact. Dinner won’t be here for another twenty minutes or so."

Accepting the glass while he stared at his lover, Rufus wondered just how much of the conversation had been overheard. He couldn’t recall the sound of the door being opened or closed, but then again, being sneaky was part of Reno’s job.

His lover was still only wearing a pair of boxers, the hair falling onto his face and shoulders appearing a dark burgundy in the dim light while his skin practically glowed. Reno didn’t look at the sights behind him; he seemed too occupied with the task of draining his rather large glass of whiskey dry.

Taking a sip of his own drink, Rufus sighed at the feel of the alcohol sliding down his throat. It didn’t burn as much as he’d hoped, being too fine a drink, but its warmth seemed to blunt the rage that bubbled inside his chest. "What did you order?" he asked while Reno refilled his glass.

Reno shrugged and set the bottle on the ledge. "Thought you might be in the mood for pasta, so I got you the shrimp dish you like so much." He tried to slouch down a bit and cursed when his skin scraped along the stone.

"And half the menu for yourself, I’m willing to bet." Rufus couldn’t help but smile when Reno began to glare as if it was his fault the idiot had just scraped his back. "That wouldn’t happen if you had put on some clothes."

Taking another sip of the whiskey, Reno set the glass aside and approached Rufus to slide his arms around his waist, under the loose shirt. "Why? I’ll just have to take them off later, right?" He nipped at Rufus's lower lip. "Unless you’re still pissed off." He didn’t sound too bothered if that was true, but there was a wary light in his eyes.

Offering a sip of whiskey to his lover, Rufus wiped a drop of the amber liquid from Reno’s lip with the ball of his thumb and licked it clean. "How many?" he asked as he leaned closer, his head bowed and his eyes fixed on Reno’s.

"You mean Tseng didn’t tell you?" Reno’s eyes narrowed and a guarded expression settled on his face, but just when Rufus thought he was going to be denied an answer again, Reno sighed and reached for his glass. "Four," he mumbled as he drank the last of the whiskey.

Placing the empty glass on the ledge, Rufus combed his right hand through Reno’s hair. The number was lower than he expected, but still too high. "And you just followed orders?" he asked, and hoped the raspiness in his voice would be put down to the liquor.

Reno actually laughed for several seconds, the sound only partially amused. "Fuck no. As far as your dad was concerned, that number should have been a hell of a lot higher, but what he didn’t know never hurt him." The amusement vanished as Reno stepped closer, his arms tightening around Rufus’ waist. "Wasn’t like any of us had much of a choice, ya know?"

"So you and Tseng say." Rufus carefully brushed aside some hair and stared at the exposed stitches on Reno’s head. To be willing to take an injury just to hide something from him…. "I don’t understand. You should have *told* me." He tugged on the hair until Reno tilted his head to look directly at him. "You should have said something."

The smile Reno gave him was touched with sadness. "That’s exactly what he wanted. You think he really gave a shit who had to whore themselves before we started screwing around? He used to always pick the girls, before then. Got a thrill from pimping ‘em out and watching the video. He wasn’t into guys, and once Veld realized that he wasn’t really watching the tapes, he subbed out the missions to whatever prostitute he could find who could keep quiet and looked like me or the other fellas." His smile turned into a grin for a brief second. "Should see the guy he found to impersonate Rude."

"How was it my fault?" Rufus asked, his hand tight around the nape of Reno’s neck. His other hand rested against the small of his lover’s back, fingers just beneath the band of the loose boxers.

"Because he was hoping you’d find out." Reno rolled his eyes and reached for the bottle of whiskey. He drank directly from the bottle before he offered it to Rufus. "That’s why he picked me. He was either hoping I’d run to you to get you to put a stop to the assignments and then have both of our asses in the sling, or that it would break us up." He shrugged his shoulders and tilted his head so it rested against Rufus’ arm. "Veld was supposed to show you the tapes; that was another of your dad’s orders."

Rufus began to shake his head in denial before he remembered a very odd incident about four years ago, when he’d been stuck in Junon for a few months. Veld had indeed sent him a video, some cheap production porn disc, and had only said that it was an investment his father had been considering. During a conversation with his father the next day, the disc had been brought up, and he’d brushed it aside with some comments about the lack of recording equipment and the boring sex. A week later, he’d been allowed to return to Midgar. "He did, but I don’t think they were the discs my father wanted me to see." More than likely, it would have been Reno with Porter, or one of the other three people. Rufus accepted the bottle and took two long swallows.

"Of course he didn’t send you the right one," Reno scoffed as he lapped up a drop of whiskey that ran down Rufus’ chin. "He wasn’t dumb, and he wasn’t going to let your father win." Sighing again, Reno rested against Rufus, his face pressed against the side of his neck. "That’s why we did it, see? Not just because it would have meant termination if we didn’t obey a direct order, but because of Veld. If he could, he conned or kissed ass to get us out of the missions, whatever he had to do. And he never ordered us to follow through with it; we could’ve refused if we wanted, and we knew he’d take the heat. It just… it just wasn’t worth it, especially since he was what held us together. If he was gone, Heidegger would take over and we really would be nothing but whores.

"We blew up shit, busted heads, broke kneecaps, killed guys in front of their families – fuck, we even took out families sometimes. We dropped Plates and blackmailed people all the time, what the hell more did it cost us to bend over, grab our ankles and think of ShinRa, eh? Most of the guys your dad blackmailed weren’t half bad; we usually got a good dinner and a night at a swanky hotel out of it." Reno sounded so quiet – too quiet, really, and actually clung to Rufus. "If we wanted glory, we would have been SOLDIER, but we're the ones who get shit done. Sometimes it meant taking some shit as well."

Rufus thought about what had been said, thought about all of Veld and Tseng’s lessons. He’d known from a young age that they were grooming him to take over ShinRa, and it had been clear that he had their backing. For the longest time he’d thought that they were just hoping to ingratiate themselves with the next president, until the battles with AVALANCHE. He’d seen how his father had ordered the Turks about with little regard, the way the man considered the group more expendable than SOLDIER. Yet the Turks had done their best, and had even thwarted Rufus’ plans upon occasion by managing a miracle or two and beating back the rebel group.

"You should have told me," he whispered against the top of Reno’s head, upset that he’d been kept oblivious and pleased that Reno had refused to allow his father to break them up. He was beginning to wonder how foolish he’d been to doubt his lover’s loyalty the past year or more.

"Yeah, like I said, that’s what your old man wanted, so we all agreed not to say a word. All it would have gotten us was you in trouble and us with even shittier missions, we were willing to bet. No offense, but you just didn’t have the power to go against him. Besides, when he stopped getting any reaction from us over the assignments, he stopped handing ‘em out." Reno nuzzled the side of Rufus' neck and pulled away just enough to grab the bottle and help himself to more whiskey.

When he’d drunk most of what was left, Rufus snatched the bottle away and finished off the last few swallows. Once it was empty, he threw the bottle over the ledge, uncaring where it landed. He slid his left hand into Reno’s hair and cupped the back of his head, his thumb resting on the warm band of the earring. "The Turks are mine now. I won’t use you like that," he promised. He wouldn’t repay the people who had proven most loyal to him with a betrayal, no matter how much Reno infuriated him at times. "You’re not whores."

"That’s why we stuck around," Reno pointed out as his left hand stroked up and down Rufus’ back. "If your dad had still been in charge, we woulda let his ass rot underneath all that rubble. Us Turks might be a lot of nasty things, but we’re not stupid." He stuck out the tip of his tongue, the sadness from before completely gone. "Besides, you’re a hell of a lot sexier than him," he said as his right hand squeezed Rufus’ ass.

"Reno." Rufus practically growled the words as he gave his lover’s shoulders a slight shake. "One day you’ll take something serious."

"I protect your ass, don’t I?" Reno asked, in between teasing kisses along Rufus’ collarbones. "Don’t tell me getting shot, beaten, eaten by damn bugs and sliced up by fucking big-ass swords isn’t serious."

Reno had indeed suffered all of that for his sake, and it occurred to Rufus that if the Turks had shown so much loyalty to his father, after all the bastard had done to them, what they would do for him. He already had an inkling during the two years he’d been in hiding, and now he was back in control with the Turks growing in number each day. They were an army that many underestimated, always in the shadow of SOLDIER. An army he would put to better use than his father had ever done.

Grasping Reno’s face between his hands, he kissed his lover with a passionate intensity, the taste of whiskey harsh on his tongue. He was still angry and upset about Porter and the other people, names he would know soon enough despite Tseng and Reno’s silence on the matter. However, some things would have to be left in the past, and he would make sure that Tseng and the other Turks understood that there were some actions he’d never ask of them. That restraint would be rewarded with even more loyalty, more ways to tie Reno and the Turks to his side.

They stood out on the balcony kissing for several minutes. Intoxication and lust sizzled through Rufus’ blood, flamed by each shift of Reno’s body against his, each time his tongue was sucked on and his ass squeezed, each little moan and gasp Reno made. He grabbed his lover’s ass in return and pulled him closer, drinking in the body heat that warmed him even better than the whiskey, and made him dizzier as well. His hands roamed down the back of Reno’s boxers and he had just taken the first step toward the door when he heard a loud buzzing sound.


"Food’s here," he announced, barely managing not to gasp when he broke off the kiss.

"Of all the fuckin’ timing." Reno sounded a little slurred and his eyes were still dilated, but he didn’t seem to have any problem stomping into the apartment to go answer the door, even if he was only wearing a pair of black silk boxers that were half off his hips and tented by an impressive erection.

Following his lover and torn over whether or not he should make Reno put on some clothes before he answered the door, Rufus also wondered if the idiot should have drank so much while suffering a mild concussion. Perhaps it would be best to keep him up most of the night, just to be on the safe side. Smiling in anticipation of the fun to come, he leaned against the wall while Reno yanked open the door.

"What?" he snapped at Pamela and Tosh as they stood there, Tosh’s arms full with several bags of takeout. Under the full weight of Reno’s glare, Pamela’s right hand fell from the buzzer by the door as a blush spread across her cheeks. Standing behind the tall, dark haired Turk, Tosh’s eyebrows raised as he looked Reno up and down, an appreciative gleam in his eyes.

Rufus cleared his throat, which made the Turks look at him rather than his lover. "Ah, your dinner is here, Sir," Pamela said, appearing calm except for the now violent blushing.

"We can see that," Reno snapped as he grabbed the bags from Tosh. "You better not have swiped any of my cheese bread, you hungry bastard."

"What can I say, we had to make sure that the food was all right," Tosh replied, a teasing smile on his face that didn’t fade when Rufus pushed away from the wall. "We’ll be out here if you can’t finish all that off, Reno. I hear that concussions can make you nauseous."

"I doubt that’ll be a problem for him," Rufus coldly stated as he closed the door in the Turk’s face. Turning toward his lover, he took in the disheveled, unbound crimson hair, the unusual aquamarine eyes that stared back at him through the strands, the way muscle shifted subtly beneath barely covered pale skin and the boxers in danger of falling off completely if they got any lower on narrow hips. "You should be kept locked up."

"Oh, what the hell did I do now?" Reno scowled as he bit into a piece of cheese covered bread.

"I’ve no doubt that it would take all night to explain it to you," Rufus muttered as he went to fetch a couple of bottles of water. "If you touch my shrimp fettuccine or fail to leave me any bread, I will have your jaw wired shut."

"Then get your ass back in here before it’s all gone. Sooner we get dinner out of the way, sooner we can back to what we were doin’."

Rufus returned from the kitchen to find all the containers opened and spread out over the coffee table, and a piece of shrimp deliberately dangling from Reno’s lips. He set the bottles on the table and leaned in so he could snatch the shrimp away with his mouth, pausing to lick the creamy sauce that clung to his lover’s lips and chin before he sat down. "Don’t think I won’t do it, and don’t dare complain about there being no wine after you drank over half a bottle of my good whiskey."

Reno wrinkled his nose at the bottle of water, but his distaste didn’t prevent him from twisting off its cap and taking a sip. "Think of all the fun you’ll miss out on if I can’t open my mouth."

"That’s your only saving grace right now," Rufus pointed out before he took a bite of his dinner and groaned at the delicious taste.

He got Reno’s tongue stuck out at him for his troubles, but Reno always chose dinner over arguing so things quieted down. Enjoying both the silence and the food, Rufus felt himself truly relax for the first time in what felt to be hours. The anger and jealousy was finally gone, hopefully not to return any time soon.

There remained a suspicion that Tseng and Reno held more secrets from him, but he would find them out soon enough. He wouldn’t tolerate any secrets or falsehoods from the people he depended on the most. But that would wait for another day; he had learned enough tonight. Now was the time to put that knowledge to use. His father had done his best to break the Turks down, before Rufus had taken over and given them hope of redemption. Now to bind them even closer to him and ShinRa, and in a few years, no one would even remember about SOLDIER.

*******

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