Disclaimer: Final Fantasy VII and all associated materials are property of Square-Enix.

Cross Out My Eyes
By: Nanaki BH

Reno sat on the stoop outside, arms limp between his knees, a cigarette dangling from his lips. He watched it absently as the glow of its burning end slowly disintegrated and fell away, burning out before it hit the pavement. A cold gust blew past him and the ashes were picked up and blown away. His mind was surprisingly blank. If not for the chilly night air and the sounds of the city, he would have felt completely disconnected. Occasionally, his mind would drift to his new blonde-haired boss, the man who had brought him into this whole predicament.

Somewhere in the city, he knew, Rufus' men were already scattered around, searching silently at his word. He could've sent them all on a wild goose chase if he wanted to. That made him realize the sort of supreme influence Rufus had over his gang – the Turks. It made him subsequently realize his own power. Rufus was listening to him, after all.

He could mislead him, he knew; run him in the completely wrong direction for all he cared. And yet, he didn't want to. He felt hopelessly like he had no reason to anymore. Actually, he felt a little bad. It was his own skin he should be caring about but he was suddenly finding himself more concerned for his new contractor.

It was whatever he had seen in him the day before. There was just something there that made him reconsider his own importance. If Rufus Shinra, the city's most powerful, had such worry hidden within him, then… It made them almost the same.

Footsteps sounded behind him and he turned his head just slightly to assess who had come to join him. It was unnecessary, though. He knew who it would be. He slid over on the step a little, allowing Rufus some room should he decide to take a seat. To Reno's surprise, he really did sit, pulling his suit coat closer around him to protect himself from the cooling air.

"I didn't expect you to be this fast," Reno said, honestly surprised with the speed at which Rufus had sent out his followers.

Rufus shrugged, hands clutching the thin fabric of his jacket. "Better late than never. It keeps them from attacking us before we attack them, that's for sure."

Reno dropped what remained of his cigarette and crushed it to an ashen mess beneath his shoe. "Who's to say they would have attacked you? I never heard about it."

"It would've happened at some point. I can't stop the inevitable; I can only try to move faster than it."

He couldn't argue. It was like fighting evil with evil. It was inevitable and there was nothing Reno could do to move faster than either of them. He didn't want world peace; it was just easier to live without conflict. He wouldn't stop Rufus or even try to talk sense into him. That was the power of fate and inevitability. It rendered his efforts all worthless.

He had expected Rufus to send him out personally to accompany his men. He was surprised when Rufus told him to hang back, maybe because he thought his directions were straight forward enough.

They had three separate hideouts: one in a warehouse, one in an apartment, and the last and most recent was located in the Wall Market area. They weren't typically violent people. They loved drugs, women, and money. The only times when they would get violent was when they were motivated. Unfortunately, a combination of the things they loved usually got them "motivated" enough. If anyone threatened to take away what they believed was "rightfully" theirs, they would make sure that those threats were silenced forever.

Reno knew that they would be at one of the three hideouts or a combination of the three. In a way, he was glad that he didn't have to go. If he went and they saw him and found out that he was responsible for tipping off Shinra's yakuza… then he would have been a dead man for real.

"I guess I can't argue with that," Reno replied at last, conceding that Rufus' decision was the one that had to be made. It began to dawn on him that by the time the night would come to a close he would be free. His life would cost theirs but… He would be free of them. He would be under Rufus Shinra but he didn't care anymore.

Because Rufus hadn't hurt him.

He showed his authority and made sure to uphold it but they were the same, doing only what they were inevitably meant to do. Rufus said he worked against the inevitable but no matter what he did to thwart it; Reno had the feeling that their meeting was inevitable and destined.

"I would thank you but I know you don't really agree with me."

Rufus glanced at him out of the corners of his eyes. "What do you mean?"

"You say you're working against the inevitable but I believe it was inevitable that we met. Don't you think?" Reno looked down into his folded hands. "Or maybe it's my good luck or something, you know?"

Rufus scoffed, turning away his head to look distantly into the barren street. His eyes, a steely blue, reflected the kindled color of the streetlights, his perfect white skin in pale comparison. "Odd," he said, his voice as far away as his gaze seemed to be. "Though I suppose I can't completely disagree. Sometimes, I let some things slip through."

"You?" Reno gasped, feigning his surprise. "You don't seem like the kinda guy who would 'let things run their course'."

"This one seemed well enough. But just this time. You're special. I won't make you do anything. Not now. Not ever. I'm inviting you to join me." His calm didn't leave him but a new soft pink colored his cheeks. His words were spoken quickly as if he felt he would regret them.

It sounded to Reno as though the boss were offering to let him join him in more than just the Turks. It would be stupid to join because he suddenly found himself taken by Rufus' sly charm… but it was inevitable, right? Rufus was 'letting it happen', wasn't he?

He took a look at him, contemplating his answer. It was possible that Rufus already knew what his answer was and that's why he was blushing. God, that's way too cute on a guy of his age. I wonder if he knows what he looks like…

Unable to control himself, Reno grabbed Rufus' opposite shoulder and pulled him awkwardly against his chest. With the confusion so visible on his face, Rufus looked so young. Reno's heart gave an earnest thump in his chest and his breath hitched for a split second, too fast for the boss to notice. But when he slowly brought their lips together, Rufus could feel it all anyway; Reno's rapid heartbeat, his hot palms on his hips, and his warm breath as their tongues collides sensuously. It was a heated kiss; a dizzying exchange of new and unfamiliar feelings. Neither was sure it was right but neither of them seemed willing to pull away.

Rufus put up a hand to Reno's chin and pushed him away, touching the middle and index fingers of his other hand to his lips. For a few very uncomfortable moments, Reno was sure that Rufus was angry at him. His eyebrows were in a firm knot, his lips were pursed tightly, and his posture was absolutely stiff. If the kiss were to come at the price of sudden death then Reno was sure it was a mistake.

But he was certain that Rufus had kissed him back. He was relaxed when he held him.

"Look, if I – "

Rufus held up a hand to silence him and he leaned forward again, cautiously kissing Reno on the mouth.

Pulling away, Rufus tugged his coat closer to himself and looked back out at the street. They heard gunshots.

"I trust you," Rufus said.

The softly spoken words prickled Reno's ears and he looked up at him. "What do you – " The unexpected smile he saw upon his face, partly veiled by his strawberry hair made him realize.

Playing coy with a guy, he thought. He shrugged to himself and grinned back. Ah well. Safe now.

Author's Notes: That wasn't as horrible as it felt to me now that I read it over… It could still be terrible and I'm just delusional, though. Haha… I have no self-confidence. But enough about me! It's over! I hope you enjoyed it! This one was written for theme #24 "good night". I took it to literally be the adjective and noun as opposed to the phrase one says when going to sleep. I like trying to stretch the themes in usage.