Title: Stand by Me
Words: 1172 words (with lyrics, 1287 words)
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Rufus / Rude
Summary: Through it all, Rude has always stood by Rufus's side.
Warnings: First person, Introspective & Fluffy!
Disclaimer: I don't own the boys and girls of Final Fantasy 7, SquareEnix does.
Authors Notes: Tried to keep them IC…. I think I managed.

I When the night has comeAnd the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we see
No I won't be afraid
No I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

I remember the first night we meet. I doubt I was older then five or six at the time. I was still just a child, with a child's hopes and fears. We, that is, Mother and I, had just returned to Midgar from our home in Junon. She said he requested us back so that the public could see that he was a family man with family values in mind for the people of Midgar.

It was later after the dinner party that father had thrown that I later learned it was because he threatened to have her killed and me kidnapped if we didn't return. It was an adult's party and I was honestly bored and lost in the crowd of strangers. I had spotted the dark blue of your suits and knew that I could rely on you for help getting back to where I belong. After all, isn't that what the Turks were for? My Father's private bodyguards and enforcers, therefore in my childish mind, you belonged to me as well. You knew I was there, hidden behind the over large potted plant, listening to Veld discuss business with Tseng, Reno and yourself. Yet you didn't give me away, you kept your silence behind those shades you wore.

It was later that evening that I was officially introduced to you. I was tired and wanted to go to bed, Father and mother were having an argument again and I was stuck in the middle. Father's pawn, mothers little boy. To you, I was the future president of the company and the man that would be signing your paycheck. Veld lead me away from my arguing parents, his hand on my shoulder guiding me.

"Rude, take young master Rufus to his apartment and see to it he gets to bed. It's late and he has an early start tomorrow learning the ropes around here," Veld said then departed, vanishing into the sea of bodies.

I looked up at you and you looked down at me. We both were new to this. I heard the rumbled sigh as you held out your hand. I took it without question, finding a comforting safety in your presence. You took me to what would be my apartment as long as I lived in the ShinRa Tower. It was a huge affair for the small child that I was, the master bedroom and bath, several guest bedrooms, the kitchen and formal dining room. It even had a den, formal living room and an office study, which in time would become my sanctuary away from the world. I was all alone living by myself in that cavernous apartment since Mother had her own suite of rooms, as did my Father.

That night, when I couldn't sleep, you came to me unsure as to whether to offer comfort or not. It wasn't in your orders to comfort the president's child was it? But that's what you did was it not? You took one look around that barren room then me sitting in the middle of a bed large enough to fit four or five people with room to spare. Then you offered your hand and I scrambled so fast across that bed and into your arms. I bet you wasn't expecting now were you?

You took me to the formal living room where, to the day the tower was destroyed, sat an elegant, gleaming black grand piano. We shared secrets that night, yours being the love of the piano and the chance to play it, even if in secret, and mine being the need for companionship and comfort, even when it was forbidden.

I And darling, darling stand by me
Oh, now, now, stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me

Let's move forward in time shall we? To a time of 'Firsts', I was what? Fifteen not yet sixteen and Father said it was time that I became a man, so with his orders you along with Tseng and Reno took me out to become a man. We went to some fancy hotel where they wouldn't ask questions with the right bit of prompting. Each of you hand selected something for me. Tseng chose the hotel, elegant yet not over priced or too nosy about what went on there. Reno chose the girl, a pretty young thing maybe a few years older then me, more then a bit naïve in believing that she would become famous by having sex with me. You, you chose the weapon. It was a beautifully crafted double-barreled shotgun, a weapon that would earn respect in my hands as I matured. When I asked you about it, you said that it was a weapon that need not speak more then twice to get it's point across. That puzzled me, but now I understand.

Do you remember the girl? She was my first sexual experience; she was also the first person I killed. You stood by me when I pulled the trigger and continued to stand by me when I became physically ill afterwards. Tseng and Reno just stood outside the bedroom and spoke of other matters as if this was an everyday occurrence to them. Perhaps it was. I read in the paper later that her disappearance and death was blamed on AVALACH, she was the daughter of one of the Mako Reactor Managers who had begun to question the company's policies as well as having been approached by the group.

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountain should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry
No I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

Years later as I lay gravely injured and my empire had fallen with Meteor's decent, you still stood by me. It was a punishment from the Planet's creation called Weapon for my arrogance and conceit. You were patient with me, as I had to relearn how to do even the most basic of things, such as feed myself. You stood by me as I relearned to walk, as I relearned to hold my weapon and aim then fire it. I'm still nowhere near my proficiency with it as I was just months prior.

At night when I lay in my bed, you still guarded me from my childhood fears. Your arms encircling my smaller frame, protecting and comforting me, you are a rock solid presence in my life. And now that I am infected with Geostigma, you still stand by me. When the pain becomes too much to stand, you cradle me in your arms as you softly play the piano.

I And darling, darling stand by me
Oh, stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

From Tseng I learned the value of doing as you say you will do, keeping promises, and of what loyalty will bring you. From Reno I learned that life is always in motion, nothing ever stops for you, no mater how powerful you are and that to act on impulse isn't always bad. From Elena I learned that just because you are new at something, it doesn't mean your terrible at it, just inexperienced and that whimsical chattering can drive away the loneliness. And from you Rude, from you I learned the value of silence over words, the value of a few well chose words over a plethora of ramblings and that you will always stand by me.