All characters belong to Square Enix.

Behold my very first drabbles that stayed that way instead of turning into full fics. They were written rather quickly and have not been beta'd so I apologize for any errors you may find. The song for these is Pigz by Curious Primates, my current earworm. Dedicated to elvaron.


Reno's learning not to breathe.

Sometimes he's so close the only thing Reno can see clearly is white but it's still not close enough. Not close enough to get the taste of him, the taste that goes with the cold clear scent that haunts his nights and days and cursed spaces in between.

Tseng understands why Reno looks so haggard after a shift guarding the vice president but he doesn't say anything. He doesn't have to. He's been holding his breath a long time.


Rufus smelled like the absence of heat, of sweat, of everything that ties everyone else to this world. He was water and cold and big abstract concepts that no one thinks Reno can understand. But he gets it. Rufus is the closest thing to a god Reno's ever seen. Let others stare at Sephiroth in awed fascination. He'd been something alright but the moment he succumbed to the screaming in his head he proved that he was nothing compared to the son of the man who commissioned him.

Rufus could no doubt teach ol' butterfly bangs a thing or two about rage, about fucked up families, about the desire to create a shining future to make up for a painful past. But instead of falling to madness Rufus harnessed it and used it to bind his chosen to him. In his name they went forth to shape the world as he desired. Even after the destruction of the Shinra tower there had been no question of leaving him. Reno would admit, his faith had wavered for a moment when he saw his deity among the rubble, his pale perfection finally marred by blood and dirt. But later, when Reno had had a chance to think about it he realized that Rufus was doing it for them. He allowed himself to be broken so that the Turks could put back him back together, so they'd focus on what they had instead of what they'd lost.

The Geostigma was a sign of the President's penance and when he had suffered enough he would conquer it as he had so much else. An answer would be found and Rufus would be as he was. So all Reno had to do now was wait and surreptitiously take deep breaths whenever it was his turn to watch over the boss. Reno never told anyone, not even Rude, but under the slightly sweet odor of slowly rotting flesh there was something else. Cold water and redemption.

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