Ground Zero

Pairing: Rufus/Everybody
Rating: NC-17
Words: 5862
Summary: 'Reno had once said that Rufus had a way of talking that made every single word seem like a proposition.'

Reno had once said that Rufus had a way of talking that made every single word seem like a proposition.

Rufus would reply scathingly, dismissing the remark if he didn't know the statement to be true and had proof for it.

He had worked hard on that tone of voice, after all.


The first taken in, as far as Rufus can remember, was one of his father's 'friends', a 'businessman' who liked young flesh too much and who leered at Rufus across the long meeting table, right in front of his wife and Rufus's father and all of Shinra's executives.

The President didn't blink an eye, and introduced Rufus to him with a glint in his eye and a smirk on fat lips that looked far too much like an invitation for Rufus's comfort. The old man had simply smiled eerily at Rufus, and invited him back into his house for some… entertainment.

disgust, hatred, disdain

The only reason Rufus hadn't shot them both right then and there was that a shotgun was too large to conceal inside a three-piece suit. Blood would clash with the décor of the room anyway, and Rufus didn't want to dirty himself with their blood. They were not worth his time, not yet.

He was thirteen, barely out of school and barely allowed into the meeting room, learning his way around the company and learning his way around people.

The next day, the old man was found in his bath, naked and electrocuted to death with an unplugged hairdryer in the water.

Rufus felt nothing when he found out the fact.

The second was the daughter of the first, a fool of a woman-child who thought that trying to charm the son of Shinra's President would get her father's company back into Shinra's good graces. Rufus never actually bothered to correct her.

He charmed her and kissed her, employing Reno's lewd tips and hints to his greatest advantage. They kissed in his father's office, watched by the Turks with their security cameras. He made pretty promises that he didn't bother to fulfil. She was his first kiss, but it didn't matter. He had never place much significance on 'first' anyway.

It was the one who succeeded, the one who was the best that had the most significance.

satisfaction, momentary pleasure

She died after Rufus had long gotten tired of her, gotten tired of her whines and coquettish winks and seductive smiles. He was already impatient with her demands and her coy whispers when she died.

They found her in one of the many alleyways in Midgar, stabbed through the heart and the beautiful white wrists she was so proud of sliced into ribbons. An unbloodied knife was found beside her. They ruled it as suicide.

A week later, her father's company bankrupted.

Rufus felt relief, the same sort of relief one felt when one was rid of an irritation.

The third, if he could consider her a third, was one of the 'secretaries of the typing pool', to coin an overly common term. She accosted him during a party, one of those where all employees were required to attend, no matter their rank. It was named a 'party', true, but Rufus knew for a fact that it was his father's way of keeping track of all his employees to make sure that they were not plotting against him.

Rufus hated them, and vowed to abolish them as soon as his father was killed.

She approached him while he was standing by the punch bowl, wearing a smile that he supposed was meant to be flirtatious, but looked pained and fake instead. Rufus supposed that she thought she would get a promotion if she charmed the new Vice President, and so he felt no remorse (he almost never did) manipulating her, twisting her words and her thoughts until everything she said and thought was what he wanted her to say, what he wanted her to think.

surprise, dismissal, disappointment

After the party was over, he bowed and left and never thought of her again. She was just a toy, a new novelty to be played with until the polish had lost its shine. All she was to him was a something to be played with and gotten tired of and thrown away.

Two days later, she was fired. Later in the day, she died, a bullet through her head, supposedly committing suicide even though the gun found beside her was clean and there was no shell casings anywhere near.

Rufus never knew that she had died or how she died, but then he had never given the matter any thought either.

Number four was the sixth 'Miss Midgar', a woman with a beautiful face and an empty mind. He kissed her for the publicity pictures, fucked her for the experience and his body's satisfaction. He felt nothing solid for her, for all she could be to him was a beautiful, hollow doll made of porcelain to be crushed under his feet. One does not feel anything for a mannequin in a shop's window, after all.

apathy, slight appreciation

She never knew him, not even his public façade, yet she professed to understand him more than anyone else in the world. He shook his head and smiled when he heard, for nobody would completely understand him except himself. The only one who came close didn't have blond hair.

She was killed a week after he fucked her, died stabbed to death by a rabid fan. The 'fan' was never captured, and her death was considered an 'unsolved mystery' by anyone who cared. All anyone remembered, or admit to remembering, of the murderer was that he had black hair.

Rufus felt remorse when he heard of her death, the same sort of remorse one would feel for a broken doll thrown away to the roadside.

The fifth was the bartender of the bar (Rufus had never taken note of the name) Reno and Rude had brought him to in celebration of his 16th birthday. The clearest memory Rufus had of that night was a sickening leer and alcohol-laden breath.

Rufus didn't reckon that the bartender knew just who he was flirting with. Shinra's Vice President was rarely paraded on television – his father didn't wish to give him the power over the public – and nobody would have ever guessed that the Vice-President (in name and in deed) of Shinra was a mere boy of sixteen.

Rufus didn't mind the anonymity and the disbelief. Just because his fangs were unseen did not mean that they did not exist.

And so he flirted back, turning the man's game into his own. He smiled and nodded to the bartender's ridiculous stories, charming the man without putting much of an effort into it. Then, just when Rufus judged that his hopes for a good shag have been raised enough, the smile turned into a smirk and he left the bar, leaving the bartender gaping and confused behind him.

smugness, pleasure, amusement

The next night, the bartender was found at the back of his own bar, pants pulled down to his knees, blood pooling at his groin and dripping to the dirty cement floor. He was castrated, genitals pulled violently from him and placed on a silver platter beside the corpse.

Rufus's only reaction was a smirk.

The sixth was a socialite, one who thought far too much of herself and far too little of anyone else. He met her father in a business conference, listening to the man gush about his 'beautiful and pure' daughter after the conference. Rufus smiled and nodded and spoke agreeable words, all the while knowing perfectly well that the 'beauty' was all plastic and make-up, and all his daughter was, and could ever be, was a painted slut.

He was introduced to her two days later, a courtesy of her father who thought that his daughter would be good enough to be the wife of Shinra's new Vice President.

She smiled a shy, sincere smile at him, with an ease that spoke of long practice and a glint in the eye that spoke volumes of insincerity. She tossed her hair and winked and he faked a blush and a shy smile. They danced together, playing a game in which only Rufus knew the rules and in which she was under the illusions that she knew how to play.

He raised her hopes, speaking shyly of marriage and engagement in stuttering, almost-innocent tones. He acted childishly, all the while watching her behind cold, hooded eyes, watching her fall hopelessly in love with him and into his trap. When he was sure that the web was tightened around her enough, that she was caught and entangled in his web of lies and fake promises, he smiled beatifically and tore down her beautiful, self-centred world.

satisfaction, amusement, pleasure

He felt remorse when she screamed and cried and clawed at him, the type of remorse one might feel if one had finished a puzzle and missed the challenge. He watched impassively, holding her thin, fragile wrists in his hands, as she hurled abuse and insults at him, and mourned silently the fact that, unlike puzzles, one could not reset humans.

Five days later, she was dead, jumping off the Shinra building with blood handprints on her neck and back.

Rufus watched her fall.

The seventh was the Silver General, beautiful and deadly and Rufus's first crush. He was surprised, truly, to catch himself staring at the sight of silver hair and black leather, feeling his pulse quicken and his breath shorten and his pants tighten ever so slightly. He thought he had long gotten past childish crushes and adolescence awkwardness.

Apparently not.

And so he played the crush up to his best advantage, catching Sephiroth's attentions most effectively by deliberately and obviously not trying to. He avoided the cat-green gazes, faked shy smiles and embarrassed stolen glances, using his age and apparent innocent to his best advantage. The General was instantly suspicious.

It was then that Rufus took the next step of his plan, going up to Sephiroth and admitting his crush as virginally as he could. As he stared at Sephiroth's shocked expression under half-closed lids, he smirked mentally and tiptoed up to kiss him chastely, a mere peck of the lips.

amusement, relief, surprise

The crush abated soon after that, leaving Rufus with nothing but a mildly pleasing buzz and a new way of looking at people. It was just as well, really, that Sephiroth disappeared three weeks later, vanished inside Nibelheim's reactor.

It was somewhat of a relief when he heard. It wouldn't do for Shinra's greatest general to realize that Rufus had been playing him like a marionette all along, after all.

Number eight was a SOLDIER First Class, with dark spiked hair and violet eyes and a too-loud voice. They met in one of Shinra's executive lifts, Rufus walking to a meeting with the President, making sure he was as punctual as possible. Being early was as large a crime as being late.

The SOLDIER had grinned at him, eying him speculatively before Rufus could remember his name. Sephiroth's second, Zack Charente. Speciality: Buster Sword and explosives. Rufus could remember the file on him, three-inch thick, full of 'crimes' that was possibly nothing but what Charente had thought to be 'friendly'.

They had stared silent for a while, and then Zack spoke, asking if Rufus was the cause of Sephiroth's odd behaviour. He had remained silent, half-smug, for it seemed that he had completely shocked the greatest general Shinra ever had. He turned his head away, mock-shy, and smiled softly and stared at Zack from below his lashes.

Rufus had long known how to use his youthful features to his best advantage.

Zack had stared at him, eyes wide with shock and dawning apprehension. Just as the dark-haired SOLDIER was about to speak, the doors of the lift opened, silent as always, and Rufus left. It was a rather fun experiment, in a way, to see how much he could push a person like Zack Charente in the space of ten minutes.

apprehension, pleasure, satisfaction

He considered the test to be a success, and felt a smidgen of regret when he realised that Zack was taken to Hojo's laboratory after fighting with, and losing to, Sephiroth. It was truly a disappointment not to be able to continue with his little project of the human nature of a SOLDIER, for it seemed that not even the Vice President was allowed inside the laboratory any more.

It was a hindrance, and one that Rufus quickly dismissed.

The ninth was, quite unsurprisingly, Hojo. The scientist had come to his office on the pretext of a visit, when all he meant to do was to interrogate Rufus.

Rufus knew he was to arrive soon, and adjusted his façade minutely; just enough to fool Hojo and that didn't take very much effort. Just as he expected, Hojo came to his office exactly three weeks since he had kissed Sephiroth to temper down his crush on the General. It was unsurprising that Hojo slammed his door open exactly at 1000 hours, as stated in the schedule that one of the lab assistant had made and which he had charmed her to give.

He placed a cold front, professional-like, blue eyes glinting behind glasses he didn't need as he watched the scientist blather on continuously. He could see cracks in the glass of Hojo's armour of white lab coats and square-rimmed glasses, and wondered, not for a first time, just how much they had spent on the budget for this project.

Their battle of wits went on, both physical and mental. Rufus knew every single word that passed through his mouth, and never broke the eye contact from Hojo. He blinked often; lubricating his eyes, for only a fool will keep his eyes open indefinitely and lose. He watched Hojo carefully, searching for the crack in the proverbial armours in the folds of the white lab coat that he could manipulate.

He found it after ten minutes of conversation.

challenged, excitement, power

Rufus won in the end, smirking and smiling triumphantly at Hojo, too much pride to let a small victory pass, already thinking on the best way the weakness could be manipulated. He kept his impassive expression as Hojo asked; making sure that his tone was the best mixture of innocence and apathy.

He answered the questions as in depth as he could, leaving out the major plans that were still in used, using blatant lies and half-truths, testing if Hojo knew the difference between the two. His voice never wavered, staring at Hojo until the interrogation was finished and there was no information about Sephiroth and Charente retrieved unless it was what Hojo had found out by himself.

It was only a meeting disguised as an interrogation, yes, however, Rufus had not felt this challenged for a long time.

It was quite a pity that Hojo was insane, genius overtaken by insanity and a maniacal obsession with Jenova. It was not a shame, however, when he died five years later, half-turned into monsters and utterly uncontrolled. It was a relief.


It was a week after Hojo's little visit that Rufus was sent to Junon Institute, the one boarding school in Midgar and Junon combined. Rufus hated the idea, for he knew perfectly well that it was simply one of his father's ploys to give him less power and keep him busy and not plotting against his father.

Even though Rufus knew that it was a good strategy to use, overly simplistic as it may be, it didn't stop the anger from running hot in his veins. He would not be a puppet, never be the marionette under his father's hands. He knew people, and had played them far too often to be anything less than a puppet master.


The tenth, eleventh and twelve happened during the same period of time, three puppets simultaneously dancing in his hands.

Number ten was a teacher in Junon Institute, a suave man overconfident in his charm and ways. Rufus knew that the confidence was possibly justified, for every single student in the school fall over themselves to help him just for a smile. He watched smirking on the sidelines as he charmed every one of the students, gently manipulating them into his will.

Rufus knew that it was inevitable that the arrogance would eventually be turned to him.

And so he was prepared, turning each and every word and action the teacher made into his own and acted as sheltered child who was going out into the real world for the first time. He lured him in slowly, wrapping silk threads around the man that slowly choke his world until there was nothing left but Rufus, and only Rufus.

He acted shy, blushing slightly whenever the teacher looked at him, avoiding his eyes in embarrassment. It was slightly reminiscent of what he did when charming Sephiroth, only this took far less effort than fooling the Silver General. When the wool was truly pulled over his eyes, Rufus smiled and blushed and stuttered about sex, and was granted his wish.

amusement, pleasure, disappointment It was then that he called the Institute's authorities, citing 'rape' and watched the man being taken away, eyes wide with horror and disbelief and hurt. Rufus knew that he had never been touched; there was only a promise of something more after he graduated. But he also knew that the word of a mere teacher was nothing next to the word of the Shinra heir.

He watched, pleased, as the charmer was taken away, defeated in his own game.

The man was convicted and jailed for the rest of his life, his life in ruins. Within a week, he was found in his locked and never-opened cell, throat slit and eyes wide.

Rufus smiled knowingly.

The eleventh was a simpering fool of a girl that he took up for appearances, to keep his father's suspicions off his back. He smiled at her, agreed with her ludicrous and stupid suggestions. He promised to love her forever and to marry her, never meaning to keep his promises.

It didn't take much effort to fool her, for she seemed to want to be lied to, kept away from the realities of life. She was a pampered, sheltered child, with more innocence than Rufus ever would have. He indulged in her illusions, knowing, and despairing, that it would be no challenge to tear down her perfect, black and white world.

He acted as a doting boyfriend, buying meaningless, cheap trinkets that meant nothing to him and everything to her. He tolerated her bragging to her friends about him, all the while smirking behind his eyes and planning to break her. There was too many flaws in her world, too many cracks in the armour that the only difficulty he had was to choose one.

amusement, incredulity

Somehow, he couldn't believe her stupidity when he broke up with her. Did she truly think that cries and screams and undignified pleas would get to him? She was a fool, and he left her as easily as he left the Institute, turning his back to her and walking away, never wanting to look back because he knew that she would destroy herself for him. He need not spare any effort.

He was right, for two weeks later; they found her in her room. She was cold and frozen with flat, dead eyes, white pills clutched tight in her white hands and foam in her mouth, with empty pill bottles on her bedside.

They ruled it as suicide.

Nobody bothered to tell Rufus the news, for he knew it long before it had happened. He was, however, quite pleased that he was right.

Number twelve was another student of the Institute, a self-proclaimed worldly-wise connoisseur of sex who wanted to 'show Rufus the ropes' and fully had the ability to do so. Rufus humoured him, allowing him to act as the kind, gentle mentor while pretending to be the shy, inexperienced apprentice.

Rufus kissed him to learn how to, was fucked by him for practice, their movements together predictable and almost like a choreographed dance. He took control of the relationship, breaking apart the mould of the unsure apprentice to turn into the male lead in the soap opera-like dance of theirs. Twelve complied, allowing Rufus to learn to fuck him good-naturedly, taking the side role in the perverse play of theirs.

Rufus never tried to manipulate him. There was no need to manipulate someone who didn't want anything of you except sex. They were almost friends, in the vaguest term of the word and completely meaningless. They meant almost nothing to each other.

apathy, friendship, pleasure

Rufus left him behind when he graduated early, departing amicably, cutting the meagre strings that tied them together. It didn't surprise him; in fact, he expected it, when he heard that number twelve was dead, supposedly ran over by a hit-and-run drunk driver at night, never mind that the perpetrator was never found, never mind that there was no sign of a car anywhere near.

When he heard, Rufus felt regret, a drop of grief and loss for an almost-friend.

The thirteenth was Reeve.

The first news he heard when he returned from Junon was that the Head of Urban Developments was dead, courtesy of a bullet in the head from Rude in the name of the President. The previous Secretary, a man named Reeve Tuesti, with a passion for robotics and cats, with brilliantly analytical mind. Rufus suspected that it was only because of him that the Urban Dept. even survived, and he was proved right.

He decided to pay a visit to the new Head. It was merely polite for the Vice-President to do so, of course. It was also a good chance to find out Reeve's strength and weaknesses, just so that Rufus can use him properly when the President dies.

He found a flustered, busy man, overworked and under-rested and harassed by his superiors. Reeve was also apparently completely unused to being subjected to the complete attention of a boy at least eight years younger but with a higher rank than his.

Rufus made small talk and smiled reassuring smiles, drawing Reeve into his confidence almost effortlessly. He listened to his excited babblings of his new project; a robotic cat named Cait Sith, and filed away each and every piece of information inside his head while he searched for the weaknesses in Reeve's armour.

He found surprisingly little, for as incredulous as it might seem, Reeve had no armour at all, not of steel and swords and lances, or of pressed suits and guns and words.

curiosity, pleasure, challenged

Rufus found it difficult to bend Reeve completely to his will, the other man always doing something unexpected and nearly ruining Rufus's plans. Reeve never played the seduction game either; even though Rufus dropped so many hints that he was almost convinced that he sounded like a desperate slut. It seemed that Reeve was completely buried in his work, which was both a pleasant and unpleasant surprise, for Rufus was convinced that the only ones who bothered to do any work were himself and some of the Turks.

He had persisted, however, trying harder than he ever had to. Reeve was a challenge that he gave himself, and Rufus thought that it was almost as if that they were playing a game, one that only Rufus knew they were playing, but the consequences of losing were imposed on Reeve anyway. But no matter what he tried, Reeve never fell completely into his traps, slipping out of his plans through loopholes that Rufus never knew was there.

Eventually, after he became Shinra's President, he gave up.

It was the first time that he had failed, and so he was unsurprised that Reeve had survived.

Shinra Electric Company was number fourteen, after his Father's death at Sephiroth's hands. He supposed that Midgar was both his city and his lover now, for as much time he was supposed to spend on it and its people.

He played his people, making them dance in the palm of his hand as he spoke of fear and ruling through it. He abandoned his innocent visage and showed his true self to the one thing that was supposed to mean the most to him, and he believed that he changed from a childish Vice President to the all-powerful President of Shinra Electric Company just because of a ceremony and a new office and a new title.

For most part he was right, for though the people hated Shinra, hated him, they could not do anything but obey, for he was their God and they depended on him for survival and living. His Turks and the SOLDIERs would be able to eliminate all those who protested his rule, for he was their President and their puppet master.

victory, joy, satisfaction

It was only a few months later that he knew how completely wrong he was, and how powerful the masses were in comparison to just one person.

Midgar died the same few months later, destroyed through Sephiroth's Meteor.

The fifteenth was Scarlet, three hours and twenty-six minutes after he was acknowledged to be Shinra's newest President. She waylaid him on his way to his office, smiling flirtatiously and sliding her thigh against his. She murmured inconsequential things into his ear but not into his mind, saying that she was glad that he was President now, for his father was such a stiff and it's always good to have new blood in the company, and wouldn't Mister President come into her office to look at the blueprints for the Sister Ray?

He pushed her off and followed her to her office, knowing full well what she wanted from him and co-operating anyway. He closed the door behind him and allowed her to push him to her desk. He kissed her, catching her off guard before she caught up and stripped herself. Rufus simply took off his jacket.

He fucked Scarlet against the desk, the precious blueprints crumpling beneath her but never tearing. He was too careful with them for that.

Her screams and moans grated on his ears, and her fake, overly-painted nails on his back clawed red marks that would take a long time to heal. It was quick and brutal, his climax predictable and silent while she shouted incoherently. He pushed himself off her, cleaned up and took the blueprints and left her panting and glaring at him through half-lidded eyes.

indifference, disgust

Rufus wasn't surprised to hear that she died during Avalanche's attack, destroyed along with her precious machines.




Number sixteen was Reno.

The first thing he remembered after the light and heat and fear of Weapon was Reno and blood and pain. He remembered Reno's cocky grin beneath the blood of his face, remembered the confident gait underneath the slight limp. He still remembered the horror he felt when he realized that he was not totally invincible, after all. Rufus Shinra can still bleed and cry.

It was Reno and Rude and Elena who nursed him back to health. He recuperated from the effects of Weapon's attack in the hospital room beside Tseng's. It was Reno who bore the brunt of Rufus's anger at his own weaknesses, Reno who stuck by him continuously, almost like a leech but actually helping him instead of causing harm. It was Reno who never stopped bothering Rufus, making feel more than self-hatred and anger, and though Rufus knew that, he had never acknowledged it but once.

Rufus kissed him, once, just for the shock and for him to shut up just once. But Reno had merely grinned that shit-eating grin of his, mako-bright green eyes glittering. Rufus felt himself pushed back against the bed, and being kissed breathless before a hand somehow found itself beneath the elastic of his hospital-issued pants.

surprise, pleasure, appreciation

Reno's mouth left his and was wrapped around his cock before he fully comprehended what was happening, but he simply started thrusting up, fucking Reno's mouth slowly, and catching lust-filled green eyes with his own. He gripped Reno's hair in an almost painful grip, a hand clenched around the red strands preventing any movement. A small drop of control that was a comfort.

He came with a silent scream, hand around Reno's ponytail tightening into a grip that was surely painful, but the Turk didn't make a sound. He pulled Reno towards him, kissing him and tasting himself in the redhead's mouth. Reno smirked lazily, licking his lips as he pulled away. Rufus heard as soft "Get well soon, boss" as Reno left, almost slamming the door in his haste.

He could hear him jerking off in the showers through the walls.

Elena and Rude were number seventeen and eighteen respectively.

Reno was gone, on a mission that required only on his stealth and his information gathering skills. He found them kissing in the Tseng's hospital room, Elena's face streaked with tears and clutching to Rude, kissing the man with as much ferocity as she could muster. Rude was holding her, kissing her back with the same intensity even though his face remained impassive.

For a moment, he realized just how vulnerable and human his Turks can be.

shock, apprehension, appreciation

They sprang apart when they saw him, Elena wiping her eyes with the back of her hand even though she couldn't hide the fact that she had been crying. Rufus stepped forward, feeling oddly uncomfortable in his hospital-issued shirt and pants and he gripped Elena's shoulder tight enough to hurt, and placed a hand on Rude's arm.

They stayed there, watching Tseng and waiting for Reno to come back. Somehow, they felt incomplete, a piece missing and the other broken. They sat at Tseng's bedside, Rufus on the chair, Elena on the edge of the bed, Rude on the floor, watching him silently and mentally ordering him to awake.

They stayed there until Reno came back.

Number nineteen was Geostigma, if it could be considered one. Rufus hated it, hated how utterly weak and helpless it made him feel. It crawled over him, silent and deadly, black pus caressing his skin almost like a lover's. But a lover's touch would not repulse him, would not make him wretch and shiver and scream inside. A lover's touch would not make him helpless.

He could not manipulate it, could not twist it to serve him, for it was a disease that took over his own body and manipulate him. He was helpless to the whims of a disease that took over his body, but damn if he was going to allow it to take over his mind. He was not Jenova's puppet, and he would never be.

disgust, hatred, disgust hatred hatred hatred hatred

When it was gone, burnt from his skin and his insides, he shivered slightly and realized that it was the first time he had truly hated.

Somehow, he knew this was what those he had manipulated felt.

Cloud Strife was number twenty.

Rufus knew that he would need his help, both to eliminate Kadaj and to rebuild Shinra. So he ordered Reno to call him after he received Jenova's Head, after Tseng and Elena didn't return from their trip to the Northern Crater.

He showed him his vulnerable side, covering himself with a sheet in a wheelchair, while hiding the Jenova's box at the same time. He chose his words carefully, words chosen to strike straight into the heart of a hero. Slowly spinning a web with his words - he was really speaking the truth -he could see Strife gradually being lured into the web. He used the tone that Reno had once named it to be his 'phone-sex voice'.

frustration, impatience

Rufus wasn't surprised, not really, when Strife refused. He knew too, that despite Strife's decision, he would do what Rufus wanted him to. The actions of heroes, the need to save everyone, were laughably predictable. He knew that Strife and his friends would go against Kadaj's gang no matter what he said, because that was what heroes do and Avalanche prided themselves to be the heroes of the Planet.

The only purpose that his little speech served was to show Strife, and eventually Avalanche, how Shinra had changed, how he had changed, and to ask them to help him rebuilt or stay out of his way.

The twenty-first was Kadaj.

Rufus first met him when Kadaj decided to pay him a visit, declaring boldly and stupidly that he knew Rufus had his 'Mother's' head and he wanted it. Sephiroth would never have done that. Kadaj made threats against him, almost useless for he knew his Turks could take care of themselves and would never die before he did.

He played him like a puppet effortlessly, perhaps better than Jenova did, leaving little clues and hints that made Kadaj and his brothers chase an imaginary Jenova's box all over the Planet. He chose his words to have the most convincing effects, convincing Kadaj of every single faux location the box was supposed to be when, all the while, it was on his lap.

amusement, satisfaction, anger

He first felt anything other than amusement when Kadaj threw the bloodied IDs of Tseng and Elena at him. He knew that he had underestimated the shinentai, and that was a grave mistake. However, Kadaj had given him an opening he never knew existed. He tried to manipulate Rufus through seduction.

Rufus knew the tactic, knew it and had succeeded in it better than Kadaj ever would. He turned every move the spirit made back into his own, and employed them; twisting Kadaj around his fingers, making him believe that Jenova's box was at the monument. He made Kadaj believe that there was no use in harming Tseng and Elena more because Rufus was now trapped, caught within Kadaj's web when the opposite was true.

It was an immense pleasure to see the shinentai's horror and disbelief when he threw Jenova's head down the building, and greater satisfaction to know that Strife had killed the man.

Kadaj had hurt people that nobody was allowed to hurt.

The twenty-second was Tseng.

"Tseng, I can assume that you are responsible for most of the deaths of the people I have known in the past."

"… Yes, sir."

Pulled him down by the tie.

"It would be easier to just tell me, wouldn't it?"

"I didn't wish to deny you the challenge of solving the mystery, sir… Rufus."

"Then I will have to thank you, then?"

A kiss on tiptoes.

"… Requesting permission to speak and move freely, sir."


Pushed against the wall, lips on his own, hand in his hair.


"Most of my lovers have a tendency to be killed, Tseng. I assume that this would not be your case."

"No, sir. I can assure you that."