FF7 - wine prompt

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Rufus recognized that particular gleam in his lover’s eyes and shook his head. “No body count tonight.” Then he reconsidered what he just said and frowned. “No *unnecessary* body count – the Taliari’s have been close friends of my mother’s family for decades and one of the first to support the newly restored company.”

Reno bared his teeth in what some people might consider a smile, if they weren’t familiar with Turks or feral creatures. “So what? I gotta stand around all night in a damn uncomfortable suit an’ make *small talk*? Go on an’ on about tha fuckin’ weather an’ tha best way ta get blood stains outta leather?” An older man with overly styled grey hair and a fussy suit – Marsen by the looks of it – blanched at the statement and hurried past the two of them.

Feeling a headache coming on, Rufus waved down a passing server and snatched at two glasses of white wine from the carefully blank-faced young woman’s tray. “Please, you leave your messes for the poor cleaning staff,” he grumbled as he handed over one of the glasses. “Just shut up, drink copious amounts of alcohol and keep the mayhem to a minimum, all right?” What the hell had possessed him to bring the walking time-bomb with him tonight? Just because the invite had said ‘plus one’….

Reno made some pleased slurping noises as he drank his wine and shuffled closer to Rufus. “So what’s the whole point of this thing? Drinking little bits of wine? Or the usual ass-kissing?”

Ah, so someone was suddenly interested and talking normal. Rufus held his own wine glass off to the side with his left hand while he fussed with his lover’s dark grey jacket; how did the man get it so rumpled so quickly? “It’s a wine *tasting*.”

As expected, that clarification earned him a rude noise and a stuck out tongue while Reno made a swipe at his still-full glass. “You rich assholes and your lame parties. Just say it’s an excuse to get drunk.” He glared at young woman with more artfully styled black hair than dress who was sidling a little too close to Rufus until she got the hint and slinked away.

“As opposed to you and your friends who see just being together as an excuse to get drunk.” Rufus used his greater height and reach to his advantage as Reno pressed against him in an attempt to snatch away the wine, uncaring for the attention they were drawing to them from all the people standing around. Just when Reno gave off a very arresting low growl of frustration, he smirked and offered over the glass.

The dirty look he got in return was particularly virulent before Reno tossed back the wine, during which Rufus procured some more alcohol. That seemed to appease the short-tempered Turk a little since he stopped glaring at Rufus long enough to find a new target for his ire. “What the fuck! These assholes are spitting out alcohol?”

“Hmm, some people just want to taste and not become intoxicated.” Rufus watched as Reno attempted to comprehend such an alien concept.

“So, you tellin’ me that you rich assholes pay a ton of money to come here, put up with other snobbish assholes, minuscule bites o’ food on sticks and you don’t even drink the fucking *wine*?” Reno’s lovely aquamarine colored eyes were wide and bright, and his voice thick with derision. “What the fuck, man?”

Rufus supposed that for someone raised Below Plate, it did seem like such a waste, parties like this one – it wasn’t just the expensive alcohol and appetizers, the elaborate flowers and decorations that would be thrown out in a few hours but the fact that so much was being spent and wasted to, paradoxically, raise money. It was times like these that the stark difference between him and Reno couldn’t help but to be made even more evident… and yet it made him want the bastard all the more. Who else would stand right there and dare to look at him like that, would sneer at some offended debutant who was complaining about Reno’s loud voice and scruffy appearance.

Tossing back his own wine, Rufus reached out in an attempt to tuck aside a stray lock of Reno’s unruly crimson hair and sighed. “Don’t you dare bitch about those ‘minuscule bites of food’ when I’ve seen you lay waste to the crab cakes.”

That seemed to diffuse some of Reno’s anger, as did another tray of wine passing by; this time, Reno just snatched the entire tray from the poor server, who was too unnerved by the look he received when he tried to reclaim it to do more than stutter out a few garbled words and then scurry away. “Eh, didn’t say the food was bad, just that it’s tiny,” Reno pointed out as he set the tray down between them. “I see you spit any of this out, I’m leaving your sorry ass here an’ finding a proper place to drink,” he warned.

“Perish the thought.” Rufus picked up a glass and held it up in a silent toast. “I thought you knew by now that I don’t spit.”

He had the rare pleasure of seeing Reno speechless for once, at least for the couple of seconds it took his lover to grab a new glass and tap it against his own. “And neither do I. Question is, just how much can you swallow?” The tip of Reno’s tongue poked out from between his lips as he gave Rufus a look of pure wickedness.

Well, Tseng would probably be unbearable after this, but Rufus could never pass up a challenge. “Enough to put you to shame,” he said while eyeing the Turks on duty around them; Rod and Cyril were several feet away and already had a nervous look about them, no doubt because of the tray of wine and the way that Reno was now stroking his left hand along Rufus’ chest.

“Oh, you are so *on*. How much wine ya think they got at this poor excuse of a party?”

More than enough to probably ensure that they were banned from any similar events in the future, but Rufus found himself uncaring of that fact as he once more tilted back a full glass of wine. Once it was drained, he set it aside on the table and smiled at his lover. “What say we find out?”

*******

Tseng felt the pain and tension in his forehead increase with every floor the elevator passed on its way to Rufus’ penthouse  - one night, *one* damn night off, was that so much to ask for after the many years of service and sacrifice he’d given to SHINRA? Oh, Rufus had rewarded him well, and it wasn’t as if he’d joined the Turks for glory and an easy life. Still, *one* *night* *off*. Surely it wasn’t too much to hope and expect that Rufus Shinra could attend something as benign as a wine tasting and not have mass chaos result. Tseng should have his fool head examined….

The elevator reached the top floor and, thanks to the security code that Tseng had punched in upon entering the small car, opened its doors so he could stalk out into the hallway leading to his supervisor’s penthouse. Tosh and Pamela were standing guard by the door, and after one look at him, hurried to

allow him entrance into the dwelling without saying a word.

Upon hearing the sound of raised voiced from the back of the spacious penthouse, Tseng headed that way, and wasn’t surprised at all to find Rufus and Reno arguing with each other; Rufus’ blond hair was disheveled and he appeared half-dressed considering that he was only wearing white dress pants and a wrinkled white dress shirt, while Reno was *definitely* underdressed. Somewhere along the line he’d lost his jacket, shirt and vest, and appeared to be wearing Rufus’ jacket.

“-so na’ more drun’ than you!”

“Please, utt… utterly ridiculous.” Rufus wavered a little back and forth as he stared in Reno’s general direction. “There’s no-“

“*Both* of you are utterly ridiculous,” Tseng proclaimed as he strode into the room, causing Rod and Cyril to stand to attention. The Turks had been hovering around the two drunk fools at the time, but now cast nervous glances his way. “I’d ask what you were thinking earlier, but I’m afraid it’s obvious that thinking didn’t playing any part into tonight’s activities.”

Rufus pushed back the hair falling onto his eyes and sighed in a dramatic manner. “As expected, you’re in a pissy mood.” Beside him, Reno nodded and sat down on the bed.

“Really, a ‘pissy mood’?” Tseng resisted the urge to run his hands through his hair and reminded himself about why it was a bad idea to throttle his boss, including the fact that Rufus was still armed and even while intoxicated, Reno was a deadly bastard and eyeing him in a disturbing manner at the moment. “Why the hell would I be in a ‘pissy mood’?” Despite his resolution, he found his hands clenching in front of him and his voice raising in anger while he stared at an imperturbable Rufus. “Could it be the fact that in the last three hours my people have been scrambling to prevent the photos of you having sex in one of the storage rooms-“

“Eh, woulda been fine if they hadn’ run outta those frilly toothpicks,” Reno grumbled as he flopped back onto the bed.

“-cover up the evidence of two unsanctioned kills-“

“Unsanctioned but *necessary*!” Reno’s interruptions were growing very wearisome. “Dumb fucks thought jus’ because we were a little buzzed tha’ it’d be an easy job.” Reno’s left hand lifted up and he waved it about in the air a few times. “Dumb fucks. Dumb.”

Rod appeared a little embarrassed just then. “Uhm, Sir, he’s right about that. It does look more like an opportunity-based attempt, which is how they got so close-“

Tseng slashed his right hand through the air; he’d deal with Rod and Cyril later, though he’d take into account the fact that it hadn’t been easy keeping track of two out of control idiots like Rufus and Reno. “You jammed a corkscrew into one of their eyes after throwing a pot of fondue in the face of the other, whom Rufus then shot. While I commend you on ingenuity, did it ever occur to either of you to be a bit more circumspect?”

Rufus and Reno seemed to consider the question for a moment before Rufus shook his head and shrugged, while Reno made a gagging sound which Tseng interpreted as ‘hell no, Sir’ from long experience with the idiot. Oh yes, he *definitely* had a headache right now. “Fortunately, there were only a few witnesses on hand for that event. Most people were avoiding you after the food fight.”

“Bastard shouldna’ snatched mah crab cakes.”

Rufus sniffed as he sunk down on the bed beside a sprawled out Reno. “Says the man who took the last-“

What where the signs of a brain aneurism again? Tseng swore that besides the pounding in his head that the room was becoming unbearable bright and that he was losing sensation in his hands, though that was probably from clenching them so hard in an attempt to keep from reaching for either Rufus or Reno’s throats. “With all due respect, right now the Turks are working hard to limit the scandals affecting SHINRA, all because the two of you couldn’t act like civilized adults tonight. So I think-“

To his surprise, Tseng was cut off once more, this time by Rufus as the young president rushed to his feet and stood in front of him. All traces of inebriation seemed to disappear as he gave Tseng a cold look from perfectly flat blue eyes. “What everyone will remember tonight is me overindulging with my lover – those few witnesses otherwise will know better than to say anything, especially once the Turks are through with them. Everyone else will have left the party and gossip about how I’m a hedonistic fool and that’s exactly what I want. The sooner the majority of them forget about what my father did and start to underestimate me, the better.”

Tseng stared hard at Rufus for a moment and then glanced back at Reno, who was humming off-tune as he lay on the bed and played with a strand of his long hair. Then Tseng thought about the mess his people were cleaning up, how some of the gossip from tonight would still get out – oh, not about the assassination attempt, his people were too good and Reno had been in too flamboyant a mood that the handful of servers who had witnessed the attempt knew it was in their best interests to keep their mouths shut – about the drunken behavior et all. He just hadn’t thought that there might be a reason behind all these crazy party antics lately other than Reno being the usual pain the ass and Rufus indulging his boyfriend’s insanity.

Almost wishing that it was a brain aneurism coming on so he could spend some nice, quiet time in Medical, Tseng bowed his head and then waved Rod and Cyril toward the door. “Very well, Sir. A bit of a forewarning next time would be appreciated.”

Rufus’ expression softened a little. “Well, I hadn’t quite expected things to get that out of hand tonight.” When Reno let out a loud cackle in response, Rufus’ eyes narrowed and he turned toward the bed. “Don’t tell me *that’s* why you wanted to kill someone, you bastard! You should have said something then!”

Deciding that his night had already been interrupted enough already, Tseng followed Rod and Cyril out of the room. “Send me a message if Reno’s not going to be able to report to work tomorrow, since he’s supposed to assist in training the new recruits,” he called out as he made his escape, determined to block out the sounds coming from behind him.

“Sir-“

Tseng cut off Rod with the quick shake of his head. “We’ll discuss this tomorrow,” he told the Turk as he headed home. All he wanted was to resume his date with Elena, and tomorrow he’d go over how Rod and Cyril could have better handled tonight – if that was even possible – as well as figure out how to add hazard pay to any Turk stuck guarding Rufus and Reno on these outings. On his way to the door, he swung by the bar to grab what looked to be a very expensive bottle of wine since he figured that those two idiots weren’t the only two who deserved to get drunk tonight.

Oh yes, hazard pay indeed.

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