Res Judicata – The matter has been judged

Final Fantasy VII – Rating: PG-13 – Part 0? – Warnings: None

Pairings: Rufus/Reno

Opposites attract, and sparks fly, and a young Vice President and a rookie Turk attempt to make it together, though the whole wide world should bar the way.

Note: The prologue starts just after the events of the game, and spirals back into the past in chapter 1.


-

Prologue

"Sir? You have a guest."

Rufus looks up from the laptop balanced on his knees, squinting his one good eye to see if the doctor is serious. There are precious few people who know that he is alive, and he intends to keep it that way. Meteor has fallen, Shinra has crumpled, and its President is currently a paralyzed invalid stuck in a hospital bed, wholly dependent on the charity of, ironies of ironies, a dedicated medical facility he set up for injured Shinra soldiers in the fight against the Weapons.

The physical damage he sustained from Weapon has largely been taken care of, except for that which cannot be tended to with Cure materia. But another sickness has set in, swirling patterns of darkness against his skin – one with neither name nor cure.

"A guest?" he repeats, stalling for time. "Who is he?"

"He wouldn't say, sir. He—"

The doctor is abruptly shoved aside, and Rufus has to blink to realign his depth of focus on the newcomer.

And the breath stops in his throat as bad memories sink their claws in.

-

"If that's how you feel…"

"Damn right that's how I feel!"

Words from the past. Words exchanged violently in the haze of bitter anger.

-

Startling green eyes meet his from across the room and, in memory's eye, from across the days? weeks? months? that stand between them and their last meeting, they catch his own gaze,

glaring at him in terrible accusation.

"The Company is dead, anyway."

"Only rats would abandon a sinking ship. The Captain—"

"--The Captain is a fool."

-

His eye is drawn straight to twin dagger point scars high on cheekbones

flashing past his eyes as the other spins, fully intending to leave..

"Does all of this mean nothing to you? All that we've worked for all this time?"

"You worked for it. Not me. Not us. Never us. We were just your dogs, after all."

-

Fire bright hair

whipping past and retreating towards the far door.

"Does the concept of loyalty mean nothing to you?"

"Loyalty? Don't talk to me about loyalty. You killed your own father—"

"--That has nothing to do with anything! My loyalty was not to him! Damnit—"

-

"--Reno."

And in his memory there is someone yelling, there is the sound of a door slamming on a name, retreating footsteps that continue to sound in his heart long after they have ceased sounding in his ears.

"Rufus."

"What brings you back here?"

"Well, heard you were alive and all that—"

"What right do you have to come back here, after all you said the last time?"

That wipes the too bright smile clean off Reno's face, to be replaced by distant non-expression flecked with the slightest signs of anger.

"I like that look," Rufus says quietly, his expression hardening. "It reminds me of the look you wore the last time we spoke."

He pauses, searching for some kind of reaction. The world as he knows it has ended, but it seems that certain things he thought over did not die with it. He watches the other struggle for words in the face of his accusation, wondering if it is guilt that holds the Turk's tongue, or anger. "Or have you already forgotten what you said then?"

TBC