Warning: Contains mature content! Those who get nosebleeds at the sight of underwear should not proceed.
It was unclear when exactly the border between dislike and tolerance was crossed. Even vaguer was the point in which Tifa moved from "tolerance" territory into actually enjoying the company of a certain, alcoholic Turk.
The first night Reno came in, he was leaking blood from the mouth and decorated with a hugely unattractive bruise above his left eye. She was initially worried about his sudden arrival, and wondered if he was there to kill her in post-revelation rage. Her suspicions were rounded out though, when he ended up punching out a persistent pervert who was trying to force his number into the back pocket of her skirt.
It'd been a month since then.
Alas, his particular night wasn't looking too great for him in terms of anatomical condition either. He collapsed in his seat, banging his head against the table and contributing to the gash on his forehead, "If I told you that roughly 40 minutes ago, I was poisoned by a corporate billionaire and teetering on the brink of death, would you believe me?"
"Clever," Tifa said, without caring to look up, "But that hero stuff isn't going to work on me. Some gangbangers came in an hour ago with bloody knuckles complaining about how their leader was pissed he caught his girl in bed with some redhead."
"Not easy, are you?"
"I try not to be." There was a stain on the counter. At first, Tifa thought it was liquor, but on closer inspection, she realized the guy was dripping blood all over her floorboards.
"Then if I offer my services to you, would you be a good girl and fetch me a free beer?"
At this point, she finally looked at him. Really, really looked at him.
He stared back. "Yeah."
"I was going to say like you were trampled by a herd of obese Chocobos, but I guess that works too." Her eyes went to his face. "Come here."
She held the nozzle in her hand as the ex-Turk leaned over the sink. His fingers, resting on either side of the counter, clenched instinctively as the spray of icy water skimmed his ear.
He ducked his head, "Fuck that's cold."
"Good," She grabbed his face—rather violently—in her hands as she rinsed the blood from his lip. His cheeks, in contrast with Cloud's, were rough her under fingers. In response, he wrapped an arm around her waist and attempted to pull her closer before she slapped it away.
He grinned good-naturedly, and made a gesture for her to do it again.
When she glanced at him, she was surprised to see him staring directly at her face. Her gaze dropped subconsciously to the unnerving hint-of-a-grin creeping across his features.
"That makes two of us, yeah?"
Before she could even register the move, his head had ducked to the side of her neck, forcing her back in an arch as he moved to pin her hands against the counter with his good arm. Stiff with surprise, she could feel his breath exhaling hotly against her skin. With his other hand, he stroked the base of her ear in a tedious figure 8. "Who gave you this kiss mark? It looks painful."
"It's none of your business." Her voice was soft and hoarse. Hearing it, Tifa was embarrassed for herself.
She was expecting him to grin and pull away, but it didn't happen. Instead he traced his index finger across her shoulder blades and drew patterns across her collarbone. "It makes me wonder what other places you have them in. Kind of turns me on."
For some reason, her cheeks were very wet and her vision was blurry. When Reno shifted his eyes to her face, she could feel his hand flinch against her wrists. It wasn't until he backed away and left that she realized she'd started to cry.
When she stepped into her apartment, Tifa immediately felt a hand clench on her shoulder.
"Cloud?" she could barely make out the outline of his figure etched into the darkness. Her hand automatically reached out and skid against his face. When he flinched, she couldn't help but think of Reno, and how weird she must've looked to him crying out of nowhere. He hadn't apologized, so he probably thought she was being a nutcase.
Any thought of Reno immediately flew from her head when she felt Cloud's breath against her neck, his cold and familiar teeth scraping against the base of her ear and nipping at the skin.
Who gave you this kiss mark? It looks painful…
It should've hurt like a bitch, the way it had the first couple times he did it, but strangely enough all she could think of today was how numb she was. "You can pretend I'm someone else." She remembers herself saying.
The bedsheets were already cold by the time the first sliver of daybreak leaked through the curtains. It made Tifa a bit sad to think too much about it, but Cloud never stayed with her long enough to see morning.
With a sleepy groan, she pulled her pillow against her stomach and tried to seal away the night's shameless transactions. She knew she was being an opportunist—jumping into the arms of a boy who didn't even think of her when they were doing it, but it was really all he was willing to take from her these days. She wondered if she should've been pissed off with herself for being such disgrace.
Last night, she could feel his tears smearing against her cheek before his hand gripped her fingers, silently asking her to take control. He'd closed his eyes, and she even through the nebulous haze of her exhaustion, she knew he was picturing someone else when he touched her. When he pulled at the nonexistent ribbon in her dark hair draped across his face, he'd whispered someone else's name in her ear. When he told her "I'm sorry" before he slipped out the door, he was actually apologizing to Aeris, watching him do these dirty things from her pedestal in heaven.
The stupidest part was that sleeping with him was the only time she felt even remotely useful anymore. Even worse, when he told her he wouldn't be back the next night, she actually felt a severe stab of emptiness. Playing pretend with this boy who didn't even love her was the only time she felt like she was doing something worthwhile again—even if her chest felt like glass pressed under a giant's foot.
Reno failed to come in during Friday's happy hour. Tifa had been glancing at the entrance since fifteen past ten, feeling guilty with disappointment with every minute that passed. Reno was not the type to be held up at work (assuming he actually had work) and Tifa wasn't exactly sure what he did during the daytime, but she had a feeling she was better off not knowing.
All she really knew about the guy was that he was a promiscuous bastard with a fetish for blood and sharp objects. Horrifying enough, she was still dependent on his presence, which she admitted to after adding a hundred tallies to her pathetic-ness.
She added another hundred when she ended up extending the closing time well into the depths of prepubescent morning. Even after the last customer left (though not before gripping her arm rather roughly and demanding a third bottle—she instead offered him a generous kick in the balls that sent him stumbling out the door) she spent more time than necessary scrubbing the floors—even rearranging tables for good measure.
Eventually though, she ended up in sitting dejectedly atop her own barstool (by then, the tallies were up to an immeasurable number), face tucked between her arms and submerged in the state of mind she'd always tried so hard to evade:
She was tipsy. Even worse, she was lonely.
Maybe Reno got tired of her. Boys who lined up to feel up on her didn't usually have her best interests in mind, but that was an entirely different issue. She should've been happy he would no longer be sauntering in with his furrowed eyebrows and giant gun that frightened away her male customers (and consequentially, her tips). She should've been fucking relieved.
Then why was she feeling worse than she had when Cloud left her in the morning?
She hadn't realized it—probably because she was trying so hard to avoid thinking of the subject—but she never really got a chance to be sad over her status of being Cloud's stupid sex friend. This was probably why she didn't attract long term relationships—her emotional baggage scared all the nice boys away. And this unfortunate magnetic repulsion was probably why she had an ex-Turk for a drinking buddy, and more importantly, why she was so alone that even the company of her enemy was turning into the highlight of her day.
If she were more awake, she would've felt a hand run through her hair, skim across her shoulder blades, and stroke the flowery bruise along the arm that'd been mistreated.
"I've decided somethin'," Reno said. "I'm gonna tell you some bad news you're not gonna remember tomorrow, al'right?"
She propped her head up, blinking at the looming, blur of a red and black before her. "What would that be?" She asked, trying to sound interested.
He leaned closer. "I might like you a little."
There was a warm feeling stirring inside her stomach, creeping into her chest and tickling her heart the tiniest bit, "Only a little?"
"For now," he said, a bit gruff for Tifa's tastes.
She had a strange urge to reach to this stranger and stroke his face, fingertips feather-light and feminine. Tifa didn't think she ever got a lot of chances to act like the girl in a situation. "How about now?"
There wasn't really an answer. She could feel his pulse beating through the skin of his throat—it felt odd and vulnerable under her touch. All she needed to do was wrap her hand as far as it would go and squeeze ever-so-slightly—
"Trying to kill me?"
She dragged her fingernails—feather-light—across the curve of his jawline, the concaves of his cheekbones… He caught them when she touched them to his lip.
Tifa found herself thinking that Reno had the nicest stare—never leaving her eyes except for the briefest fraction-of-a-second. When he tried to kiss her, she was already anticipating the move.
His face descended in a swift, predatory duck of his shoulders. She placed her entire hand over his mouth to stop him.
"I drank too much—I might have to throw up."
His grin was invisible from under her palm, but she could feel it against her fingers. "Fuck that, I'll risk it."
He reached for the glass mug Tifa had never gotten around to, and in exactly three rather steady, rather impressive (though she'd never say it) swigs, Reno downed the entire portion.
"Now," he said as he finished, "we can both throw up. Or risk the prospect of our immediate companion doing so. What do you think?"
"I think…" She uncovered his mouth and traced her index finger over the scars etched under each eye, "we're both very, very lonely."
"Huh. Well I think we're both very, very drunk and giving off very, very intense pheromones," He wrapped his hand around her wrist and ran a finger down her neck, skipping to Cloud's bite mark beneath her ear, "By the way, your boyfriend's not doing it right."
His fingers were strangely gentle as he traced circles underneath her earlobe, "It doesn't have to hurt this bad."
Before anything else could be said, he pulled her body against his, wrapping his good arm firmly around her waist and cupping her face with the other as he leaned forward, dipping his mouth into direct range of her neck. The first thing Tifa felt was his breath, hot and shivery against her skin. She couldn't help but close her eyes when she finally felt the sharp tinge of his kiss sucking softly at the base of her ear, on the exact spot of Cloud's bite mark.
"You know," she started to say, thinking that her voice was unnaturally thick and husky, "this constitutes as an indirect kiss with the guy who bit me there."
Reno nuzzled his face against her neck, "Well it's alright since he's your boyfriend, so it counts as an indirect kiss to an indirect kiss to you. It's not Cloud, is it? Shit, I wouldn't expect that pansy to be the type to like violent sex. Must be rough going with all his kinky fantasies."
Her sudden blight of silence was noticed almost immediately. "What's wrong? " He nudged her throat with his cheek, "You're not embarrassed, are you? It's alright. I've done weirder stuff than you have."
Without even thinking, Tifa circled her arms around his neck and pulled him into a hug, taking in the comforting heat of male testosterone. His arms were longer than Cloud's, and she couldn't help but imagine what it would be like to melt into his body—to feel him moving inside her, hungry and deliberate, kissing over her bruises as she carved her lust into his back with her nails, his broad shoulder blades rippling beneath her fingers like angel wings. Most of all, she wanted to tell him to "Only think of me, okay?" and hear his voice break as he exhaled her name over and over, hoarse and radiating lust.
She wanted him to love her the way she loved Cloud.
Tifa realized then that from her current position, he could easily see down her shirt—but it was too late for her to be embarrassed.
"Hey, you have a bite mark on your shoulder too." So that was where he'd been staring.
"Make it better for me?" her voice was muffled, but she knew he heard when his fingers pulled aside the strap of her shirt and he pressed his lips against the curve of her clavicle. It was a strange feeling—she'd always expected Reno to be a rather impatient and aggressive, but his kisses were soft and raw, as if they were melding into her skin.
"Turn around, you've got one your back."
Obediently, she shifted her position on the chair and flinched when she felt his hands brush her hair over her shoulder and pull down the remaining strap.
"Don't be nervous," his finger outlined her shoulder blade, and her cheeks immediately flushed pink when she shivered from the contact, "You like that, right?" He stroked her spine and kissed the very tip of her neck. Tifa didn't remember having a kiss mark there.
"Where else does it hurt?" Reno asked, resting his chin on her shoulder.
She pointed to the bruise on her arm, which he kissed so softly his breath tickled her skin. It was obvious that they'd had wandered very, very far from just 'friendliness' and she wondered why she was feeling so incredibly warm inside.
"Any more?" he asked, his voice low and dangerous. Tifa had a feeling she was about to cross a very important line.
She pointed to her lips.
He attacked them.
It wasn't a surprise that Reno was a rather violent kisser—though it was entirely different from the way he treated her wounds. He teasingly pulled at her bottom lip between his teeth, then not-so-teasingly deepened the kiss to a point bordering sweet suffocation. She wanted to touch him as much as she could, which was difficult from her position in his lap—especially since he'd trapped her wrists in his grasp. He probably thought she was trying to resist him. She pressed her back even tighter against him, accidentally shifting her hips in a way that caused him to grit his teeth and hiss into her mouth.
She finally broke for air. "Sorry, did I hurt you?"
"No. Felt good." He grabbed her face and pressed his forehead against her cheek, "You're really warm."
Tifa took one of his hands and traced the lines on his palm. His fingers were long, and she could feel the calluses under her nail. "Come upstairs with me?"
If they had gotten to the bedrooms, there would be the issue of choosing Cloud's bed or Tifa's. It was entirely wrong to have sex with a Turk on Cloud's bed, but it wouldn't be right to do it on her own bed either, seeing as it was where she and Cloud usually did it. However she looked at it, beds were glaringly off-limits.
Luckily, Reno only managed to pull her into the living room before he grew impatient enough throw her on the couch. He lowered himself between her legs and held her wrists above her head in a bruising grip. In contrast to their earlier moments, she liked it just as much when he was rough with her—which she suspected was his usual attitude towards sex.
Her eyes fluttered shut when his head dipped down, their faces millimeters away, and he inclined his neck to breath hotly against her ear. "Where does it hurt?"
She met his eyes. He was being entirely serious. Tifa answered him quietly.
He stroked her face. "Hm?"
"Between my legs."
His eyes never left her face—even when she felt his hand inching its way up her skirt to the inside of her thigh. "Here?"
She shook her head, biting her bottom lip.
His fingers brushed against her underwear, an almost-but-not-quite-accidental movement that ignited shivers through her spine. He skimmed his lips over her earlobe. "Am I getting warmer?"
Tifa wrapped her arms around his neck in anticipation, bracing herself as he rubbed his thumb ever-so-slightly against the sensitive spot. She knew he was teasing her—and her body was very visibly trembling under the slightest stroke.
She was biting the collar of his jacket to keep herself quiet. But when he increased the pressure of his fingers, a muffled moan escaped from the gag. When he was tired of the teasing, he slid a finger in. Tifa felt him before she realized exactly what he's doing.
"Fuck, you're tight." Normally, she didn't find his dirty language particularly enticing. But she was willing to make an exception, for this case…
Giving up on trying to keep quiet, she whimpered against his shirt when he added his middle finger, rubbing slick circles deep inside her. A slow burn flickered at the deepest pit of her stomach, spreading to the tips of her fingers as she achingly arched her back in an attempt to slow the flame.
His gaze was still fixed on her face when he slipped his hand out of her skirt. When she opened her eyes, he moved to kiss the very base of her ear. "Where else does it hurt?"
For some reason, she was crying. Hopefully he didn't notice.
Hesitantly, she pointed to her heart. His chuckle vibrated against her neck.
In a swift, fluent movement, Reno lowered his body so that his chin was raised between her ribcage. Hands, cool and rough, tugged her shirt over her head and left it entangled at her elbows. Without wasting another second, his mouth caught the tip of her left breast between his teeth, releasing only after she said his name, soft and broken, under her breath.
His hands moved to slide her underwear off her legs, all while his mouth kissed its way down the line of her stomach, brushing across the skin above her skirt and running his tongue over her hipbone. The slow burn had smoldered into an intense blaze—sweeping through every crevice of her body until all she could do was cling to his shoulders when he moved back into eye level.
"Wait. Sit up for a second. It's not fair you've still got all your clothes on…" her voice trailed into a shaky sigh when he ran his hand experimentally between her legs.
"It's alright. It's sexier if we do it this way."
"I want to look at you," she pleaded, writhing under his fingers.
At first, she thought he might ignore her, but after a while he wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her along to sit on his lap, placing a lingering kiss on her chest. "Be quick about it."
She undid the buttons of his shirt with steady hands, shyly kissing him against the base of his ear the way he had done to her. When they'd tossed his shirt to the side, she kissed him again—this time at the collarbone, slowly making her way up his neck, his jawline—deliberately avoiding his lips as she moved to her cheek, his nose. As she gently kissed the scars beneath his eyes, she caught his gaze—watching her through hooded eyelids with an expression she couldn't quite read.
When she reached his lips, he was the one to deepen it, holding her head like it was something fragile as he occasionally ran his fingers through her hair. She grinded her hips experimentally in his lap, and she could tell he liked it through the way he immediately intensified the kiss and tightened his grip in her hair. Eventually, as she quickened the movement of her hips, he pushed himself against her chest, forcing her back into an arch as he settled between her legs to their original position.
With his left hand holding her wrists over her head, his other hand moved to undo the zipper of his slacks, "Even if you start crying, I'm not going to hold back, alright?"
Tifa kissed him in response, hungry and heated. She was dimly aware of one of his hands—she couldn't tell which anymore—moving again to hold her thigh, coaxing her legs open. By the time she felt him enter, her body was already in flames. A burning blur of desire licked the base of her spine, wracking shivers across her body as she pushed herself further against him. Please, she heard herself begging, Reno….
She felt his lips in her hair. I thought I told you I wasn't going to stop.
Her arms wrapped tightly around his neck as his body shifted. His shoulders flexed beneath her fingertips, and she ran her nails down his spine to feel the way his muscles tightened within his lanky frame. She felt soft and fragile, the way he had her pinned down.
His voice was husky and raw.
Say my name.
They wanted the same thing, but he'd gotten to it first. She whimpered, quiet and hoarse. Reno.
Re… Her lips were parted, but the sound never came out.
The fire erupted, melting the cracks in her heart until she could hear it ringing in deafening heights as it pounded against her chest.
When it was over, she was aware of Reno's hand touching her face, and his mouth moving against hers so carefully she could barely recognize it.
Only think of me, okay?
"Damn it, don't worry about that shit," he said, "who else would I be thinking of?"
They did it again that night—and again, and again, and again…. By the third time, they moved to Tifa's bed.
He doesn't ask her why she cries when she feels good or he says her name. And she doesn't ask him why he seems to like it when she digs her nails into his back. With every stroke, she melted—a torturous fever that undid her sadness with the heat of his body.
When they're both too tired to move—with his arm wrapped lazily around her waist, she kisses his cheek so innocently that Reno asks her if, for the last couple hours, he'd been with an entirely different girl.
The bedsheets were still warm by the time the first sliver of daybreak leaked through the curtains. Two bodies molded together, limbs tangled beneath disheveled sheets, sleeping right through the morning light.
an: ...How was it? Not too too too bad, I hope?