He likes the taste of her blood. ReTi. No strings attached.
The delivery of the question was innocent enough. Half-lidded eyes, cigarette bobbing with the movement of his lips—and the nonchalance on his face could've just as well followed any old question. 'How's the weather?' or 'What kind of soap do you use?' for instance.
Still, Tifa was startled enough to drop the glass she'd been pretending to clean since she first spotted his glaringly bright hair, attached to a lanky frame sprawled languidly at the corner of the bar. She'd tried not to flinch when his gaze trained unwaveringly onto her face. He'd been eyeing her ever since.
Tifa wasn't stupid. It was obvious that he was at least slightly, physically attracted to her. For the few, brief and unpleasant meetings they had, she could always feel his eyes running appreciatively—though somewhat dismissively—down her body, which made her suspect that he wanted to do certain things to her. She just hadn't expected him to ever act on it. Or be so straightforward….
She wet her lips without much success. Her tongue was as dry as the rest of her mouth.
Reno chuckled. A gravelly noise from the hollow of his throat that wasn't entirely unpleasant. "Dealin' out the priss card, are we? That's alright. I know how to play." His fingers shifted suddenly to skim her knuckles. Tifa pulled back, feeling as if she'd been burned. He looked amused at this, and she hated him for it.
"You'd better leave," she broke their staring contest when her eyes started to sting, in favor of cleaning the broken glass she'd dropped. "My boyfriend will be back soon."
"Who, feather-head? What we do has nothin' to do with him."
A tiny shard slit into her fingertip. She didn't even notice until perfect red circles starting dripping inconspicuously into the lily-white sink.
Without a word or a warning glance, Reno wrapped his hand around her wrist and pulled her arm towards him. Tifa would've fallen over, if the edge of the counter wasn't pressing painfully against the curve of her ribcage.
"What are you doing?" She attempted to pull away, and made another brief noise of protest before she was silenced by a biting, murderous glare.
"Hey. Don't interrupt when I'm being good to you, alright?"
In a gesture both tender and savage, Reno brought her bleeding finger into the heat of his mouth. The warmth of his tongue lapped tediously across the tip before deliberately stroking down to the second joint. She could've sworn she saw his lips twitch back a smirk when, coming to her senses, she instinctively curved her finger around his teeth in contemplation of ripping him a new set of canines.
It would've just been easier to shove her entire hand down his throat, but she didn't want to hurt him for some reason. He seemed to know this, which annoyed her to no extent.
Abruptly, his pager rang. Chopin's Black Key Etude, she recognized.
He slid her finger from his mouth as easily as he'd taken it in.
"I'll be seeing you." His back was already halfway down the room.
It seemed oddly and appropriately like Reno to choose his job over a girl.
The next time they met, he was the one that was bleeding. Tifa tried her best to ignore him—a difficult task when Reno made a point of adamantly invading her personal space.
She was cleaning tables, very consciously keeping her eyes fixed at the task at hand. From the very corner of her peripheral vision, she was aware of his body moving towards her. Tifa chose to ignore this as well—a mistake, on her part.
He pinned her against the table she'd been so fervently wiping, cupping her jaw to force her to look him in the face. The raw, primal glint in his stare made something small and strange flutter between her ribs.
"I need a favor."
She struggled half-heartedly against his grip, knowing that he was going to make her help him with or without her consent. "What?"
"Take off my jacket first."
Warily, Tifa curled her fingers against the dark material, tugging it over his shoulders and feeling her eyes widen at the dark red splattered across the area below his left shoulder. He didn't need to tell her to take off his shirt—her hands were undoing the buttons of the fabric before she could fully think through what she was about to do.
His muscles were lean and sinewy, and they tensed when Tifa closed the distance between their bodies, breathing heavily against his skin. There something small and sharp wedged beneath his shoulder blade, deeper than she would've liked but shallow enough to be extracted with minimal expertise.
"Can't you do this yourself?"
"Well, I was in the neighborhood."
She sighed, though not exactly annoyed—just very, very… feverish. Her fingers moved deftly over the gash, testing the skin under her nails and feeling for any stray shrapnel. Tifa had never been particularly apt in basic, civilian's first aid.
"And if I make it worse?" she asked him, voice scratchy and unfamiliar to her ears.
He dipped his head between her neck, and she could've sworn she felt him breathing her in. His face was dangerously close to her skin, and she could tell her body was very blatantly reacting to his proximity. A shiver burned through her spine when his thumb brushed along the small of her back.
"Then I'll just have to kill you."
She'd already forgotten her question, by then.
Her eyes dropped to the crimson—nearly black now—congealing along the torn flesh. "I'm going to use my mouth."
Reno coughed. "Say that again?"
"For the removal process. There's a piece of glass wedged inside, a couple centimeters from the entrance. I'm going to have to suck it out."
A hint of a smile twitched across his features—so brief it was hard to tell if it'd been a frown or the opposite. He nudged her temple with his forehead. "Sucking on a guy's body—pretty friendly, don'cha think?"
"It's the most painless method of extracting shrapnel," she said defensively, pulling back at his not-so-subtle innuendo. "I do it for Cloud all the time."
Something unnerving flickered through his expression. "Do you?" he asked languidly, "Then you must be fucking good with your mouth, yeah?."
His fingers skimmed casually across the skin beneath the fray of her tank top—innocently, 'accidentally.' Then, without warning, she felt his palms sliding under her shirt. They moved across the soft skin of her stomach, leaving hot, burning trails in their wake. His hands moved higher, inching towards her chest, T-ing off to check for a bra—innocently, 'accidentally' brushing against the underside of her breasts.
His breath was heavy against the shell of her ear. "I hope Cloud likes sharing his things."
She punched him in the jaw.
His head barely snapped to the side—though when he turned back to her, Tifa could see the beginnings of a bruise coloring the hollow of his cheek. His bangs had fallen to obscure his eyes in a mess of red, disheveled strands. It was probably a good thing, since he was most likely glaring at her. She knew how scary Reno could be when he was pissed off.
Tifa braced herself for his retaliation—a returning fist, maybe. Or his baton, slamming against the side of her skull.
Instead, a slow, dangerous smirk spread across his face, his features downcast and dark beneath cheap, fluorescent bulbs. It spooked her more than if he'd tried to kill her.
Reno advanced. With adrenaline pulsating through her veins, Tifa backed into the table so that her elbows rested on the wood, palms pressed down and fingers curled around the edge. Using it as leverage, she made an attempt to kick him in the chest.
Before her right knee could completely unbend from coiling position, he grabbed her ankle in a painful grip, foiling her plan of sending him flying through the wall. As a last ditch resort, she brought up her remaining leg to slam her foot into his groin.
His palm met the sole of her shoe before she could do any damage, tightening his fingers as he leaned over to breathe hotly against her ear, "That's a dirty move."
The one with the vantage point—and view—was now Reno. Hooking his hands behind her knees, he forced her to wrap her legs around his waist. Tifa would've seriously considered squeezing him to death in this position if he hadn't moved his hand to grab her face. He jerked her chin up to meet his mouth and kissed her, hard and deep. Tifa savagely bit his tongue and tasted blood—metallic and raw, permeating her taste buds and melting into the crevices of her mouth.
Her whimpers were swallowed by his lips. His hands were all over—running down her body, coaxing her arms around his neck, palming her breast as he traced tight circles with his thumb across the tip. Tifa's hips jerked involuntarily as he fingered her. Reno seemed to take this in stride, and released her lips to brush his mouth down her neck, her shirt, all the way to the base of her stomach.
For a second, she was scared he was going to kiss her there (he didn't). Instead, he took the edge of her tank top between his teeth and pulled his way back up, peeling the fabric from her body and exposing slopes of pale, shivering skin.
She arched straight off the table when he took the initiative to run his tongue up the curve of her ribcage. Her fingers were curled stiffly at the base of his hair, and loosened in surprise when he evaded her chest to press his lips against her collarbone. Tifa moved one of her hands over his forehead, smoothing his bangs from his eyes so she could see the look on his face as he bit down on her skin.
A cry escaped her throat.
"That was for biting my tongue." He sounded a little rough around the edges, and shortly after she could feel the soft, cool press of said-tongue licking away the droplets of blood that had collected the base of her neck.
In spite of her efforts, his hair had fallen in his eyes again. Tifa ran a finger down his temple, tenderly tracing the line of his cheekbone before he grabbed her hand and met her gaze with an unreadable expression.
"Don't do things like that."
She stared at him, feeling lost. "Like what?"
"Like you're actually starting to like me."
With her free hand, Tifa stroked the jut of his jaw, running her thumb softly against the swell of his lip. "And what if I do?"
He caught her thumb between his teeth. "Then I get turned off," His tongue bumped against her finger as he spoke.
She experimentally ran it against the edge of his teeth, "Then I guess you won't ever need to worry about getting turned off," Tifa craned her neck so she could whisper her next words against into his ear, "Because I hate you enough to fuck your brains out."
He actually laughed at that—his nose bumping against the softness of her cheek. It took a while for her to realize he'd taken her words to heart, as his hands were now running down her thigh. Not doubt he was planning to hold her to her comment, especially when his fingers hooked the sides of her panties and pulled them down as far as they would go.
"They're going to get stretched," she complained, feeling it was a loss to ruin a perfectly good pair of underwear.
Reno made an annoyed grunt at the back of his throat and removed a switchblade from his pocket. Tifa's eyes widened as he caught the blade behind the minimal scrap of cloth and sliced the fabric in one, quick movement.
With her underwear out of the way, he leaned into her and took her smaller hand in his own. He guided her fingers to his belt and forced her to unzip his slacks.
"Good girl." He rested his chin on top of her head, "No strings attached, alright?"
She kissed his shoulder, right beside his wound, and ran her tongue along the dried blood. She'd have a chance to get the glass out some other time.
"No strings attached."
"Great. Now open your legs wider so I can fuck you before feather-boy gets back."
Cloud could never tell when she was lying to him.
And it killed her—especially when he looked at her with all the trust in the world, unknowing of the way she crawled into the enemy's bed when his back was turned.
Reno was never predictable with his visiting hours—stopping by sporadically through the week, unwary of the time of day. One thing remained consistent though, and it was the fact that Cloud was never there when he came.
…Although there was one evening where it came very, very close.
It was a rush hour—she should've been out serving beer after beer and smiling sweetly at first-time customers. The seats were probably full (though not for long, if she wasn't back soon), and she could hear disgruntled bar-hoppers yelling for another round and "that hot barmaid, where the hell is she?"
Reno chuckled, tugging her earlobe between his teeth and pressing her stomach against the door of the supply closet. "Looks like we'd better make it fast, yeah?"
She angled her head to glare at him through the darkness. "I thought I told you to wait until after closing time. When I get out I'm going to be attacked by angry drunks."
"Drop the act, Lockhart." His hand slid into the hem of her skirt, rubbing deliberately against the center of her panties as she covered her mouth to keep from making noise. "You wanted me to come in. I saw you looking out the window like your dog died or somethin'."
"Or something…" she squirmed against him when she felt his other hand tracing figure 8's along her hipbone. "Cloud's coming home early tonight."
"Jeez." Reno slipped his fingers from her waistband. "Don't say his name when I'm feeling you up. He's a fucking cockblock."
He leaned against her, breathing quietly against her neck. Through the murky blackness of the closet, she was dimly aware of his gaze—hooded and dark—burning holes into her face, memorizing the moment for all it was worth.
She slid her hand across his cheek and he leaned into it. His eyes were closed now, and Tifa found herself wishing she could see him. Her fingers stroked unconsciously across his face, brushing his hair from his brow, tracing lines down his jaw, running softly against his lips in the tender way that he hated.
He didn't try to stop her.
No strings attached, right?
They didn't do anything that evening in the supply closet, despite what either of them was expecting.
"You're being too nice," he murmured against her forehead, "It kills the mood."
The complaints from the bar were slowly dying to a dull buzz. Tifa craned her neck to catch bits of conversation. "I thought that you only get turned off when we start liking each other."
He pressed his lips to her temple in response
In the beginning, he fucked her hard and fast. Tifa wasn't sure exactly when it started to change, but nowadays, it was more deliberate and…well, lingering. She noticed that he touched her a lot more, and waited for her come before he moved into rougher treatment.
They'd gone upstairs this time, a mess of hands and lips, backing into a couch and never managing to move any farther than that. She wrestled him out of his jacket before moving on to quickly unbutton his shirt, pausing to study the familiar scar at the base of his shoulder.
"We never got around to taking out that piece of glass, did we?"
"No," he said distractedly, struggling to remove her shirt with her arms still in the way.
She caught his wrist, halting his actions as she brought his hand to her cheek. Oddly enough, Reno had very nice fingers—long and lean. When he curled them inside her, they were just the right length to hit her most sensitive spot. They were a little callused at the tips, but the roughness felt nice when he ran them against her soft skin.
He made a fist and she pressed a kiss against his knuckles. "Do you trust me?" she asked.
Sighing—more in frustration than anything, he tossed her his switchblade, already predicting what she was about to do. "Be gentle, yeah?"
"Funny. I thought you liked it rough," she brushed her lips against the discolored scar before taking the switchblade and slicing seamlessly into the flesh.
Blood spilled, Reno barely twitched. Still, Tifa placed soothing kisses along the cut. "Good boy," she looked up at him, "This is turning you on, isn't it?"
There was a slight tug at his lips.
Before any more blood could run, Tifa moved to intercept the wound. A gritty, aluminum tang filled her mouth. She sucked it in and swallowed. Then, probing her tongue into the cut, she nudged at the glass before pressing further against his flesh to snag it between her teeth.
Reno's hands were on her waist at first, before he changed his mind and placed one to the back of her head. Tifa almost lost her grip on the glass in surprise when he started absently stroking her hair. Finally, she managed to inch the glass out enough to pull it from his flesh. It must have hurt, but he didn't say a word. His hand dropped from her head when she moved to find bandages and a towel.
"I know I should've stocked up on potions or something," she was rambling, trying to make up for his moodiness. "But Cloud was on a delivery this morning across some bad plain notorious for really big monsters, so I made him take it all. Shit, where did I put the bandages?" Tifa opened several cupboards, squinting into the emptiness, confused as to why she didn't use storage space when she clearly had so much.
A pair of arms wrapped around her waist. Reno buried his head into her hair, openly inhaling her scent as he nuzzled the base of her neck. A shiver zig-zagged down her spinal cord.
"You're going to get my shirt all red," she protested softly, straining to turn around so she could look him in the face, "What's wrong? You've barely spoken to me at all." She played idly with a strand of his hair.
He grunted, and pulled her back to the couch. She expected him to continue his hasty routine of stripping off her clothes, but all he did was lay on top of her fingering the edge of her shirt. His head rested against her collarbone, and Tifa began to feel very self conscious in regards to how loud she was breathing.
"Reno…" she ran her fingers through his hair before tracing his cheek with feathery strokes, "You're not getting tired of me, are you?"
His hand moved to grab her wrists—both of them—and pinned them to the side. When he spoke, it wasn't what she expected. "Do you touch him like this too?"
It took her a second to realize he was talking about Cloud.
He lifted his head so that he was looming over her, and his eyes were darker than she ever remembered seeing. The next words were scratched-out and husky. "Do you fuck him?"
She felt his teeth scrape against her ear, graze across her jaw line, sinking savagely into her bottom lip as she whimpered in pain. A sharp, metallic taste dripped to the back of her throat.
I'm bleeding, she realized, hesitantly running her tongue along his teeth to sample her own blood. He sucked lazily at the wounded flesh of her lip, surely decorated with his bitemark by now. A lazy, satiated sound of satisfaction rose from the back of his throat.
So he likes the taste of blood.
"You know," he murmured against her mouth, "I can tell when you're thinking about him."
She turned away from his gaze, looking down to watch his hand gliding vicariously against the skin of her stomach, taut and tense at the brush of his fingers. They skimmed down her hip before running up her skirt to stroke her inner thigh. His thumb rubbed circles along the edge of her panties. Something dangerous built in her gut.
He let go of her lip, and his nose bumped against the delicate shell of her ear. "Has he touched you here before?" Suddenly, his thumb was rubbing against an entirely different part of her anatomy, "How wet are you when he sticks his finger inside?" A soft sound escaped her throat. He tightened his grip on her wrists, letting her know that he wasn't going to let up no matter how much she resisted.
Reno's breathing was ragged, but his mouth curved into a smirk against her cheek. "Do you moan for him like you're doing for me?" He increased the pressure of his finger. "Answer me."
Tifa didn't trust herself to speak. She arched beneath him, gasping breathily when his fingers stroked against her. His voice was hoarse when he spoke again.
"I don't like sharing my things."
No strings attached.
As of late, Tifa had a strange feeling that the stage was set for something disastrous. She'd come to trust her gut instinct over the years. It was almost never wrong.
Reno barely laid a finger on her anymore.
In the beginning of their 'relationship', he swore to force her on her knees and beg for him.
The time after that he swore again to screw her into the next millennia. He hadn't gotten around to that, either. In fact, Tifa had come to find whatever he swore to her never really amounted to anything. He was, to be blunt, thick with bullshit.
But these days, it was different. Tifa didn't think she'd ever been so scared of anyone—especially a chronic liar like Reno—turning into an honest person. If he was still lying to her, he was certainly better at covering it up.
That was why Tifa was at a loss of what to believe when he strolled in one day to tell her she was going to die.
"There's been a change of presidents," his voice was low, and he kept glancing up at her, as if measure her reaction. "This new guy's real shady, if you know what I mean. And he's sending a fuckin' fleet to wipe out members of all the old terrorist organizations. Do me a favor and get out of town, yeah? Just in case, alright?"
She nodded, but she should have listened.
"Pretending that what you're saying is true, say that I decide to stay…" Tifa leaned across the counter, pressing her forehead against his and drawing circles in his palm, "If that happens, I'll let you kill me. It'll probably turn you on, wouldn't it?"
He smirked, in spite of himself.
Tifa turned over his palm and kissed his fingers, "I don't want to die at some stranger's hand, okay?"
He chuckled bitterly, "Want me to save you? I swear you won't die."
She returned the laugh. "You swear? Then I'm definitely screwed."
It was fast, so she was grateful for that. She couldn't see who shot the bullet, it'd been too much of a blur. Whoever it was must've had bad aim though, which was why she was only half-dead—stuck in a state between breathing and suffocating.
Gravel was pressed against her cheek. It was uncomfortable, and for some reason it bothered her more than the leaking hole in her stomach. The metallic scent of blood flooded her senses, though she couldn't be sure if it was all hers. She hoped it was. She hoped that Cloud had gotten away, at least.
A familiar shadow of a face was bent over her body.
"Yo. Reno. What are you planning there, hanging around a dead girl?"
She thought she felt him kick her—his shoe dug into her ribcage for a long fraction of a second. Sharp stabbing sensations clenched through her throbbing gut, a pain that radiated into a place locked deep inside her chest.
"What, this bitch?" she heard him say. Hands, cold and familiar, gripped the hair at the base of her scalp and yanked it clean off the pavement. His fingers brushed across her cheek, raking his nails roughly across in an effort to unstick the bloody strands of stray hair framing her face. A familiar gesture—so-similar-to yet entirely-different-from the way he'd impassively pushed away her sweaty bangs post-sex.
When he spoke again, his lips were hot against her ear. "I was just thinkin' that she would've been a nice fuck."
There was a nervous laugh, and receding footsteps affirmed that whoever Reno was with had left the scene.
The crunch of gravel indicated that he'd dropped to his knees. The vice-grip on her hair immediately loosened, and she was suddenly pressed against something very soft and very, very warm. Arms locked around her body, stroking her hair in a way that was entirely familiar and foreign.
"No strings attached, right?" He was laughing when he said this. His hands were shaking, "What a joke."
She felt cold, colder than she'd ever been before. Lips, warm and soft, kissed her face—her forehead, her cheeks, her eyelids...
Tifa almost didn't feel the gun barrel pressed above her heart. When she did, it was already too late.
It seemed oddly and appropriately like Reno to choose his job over a girl. Even one he kind-of sort-of loved.
(AN: Blood and sex. I must be a closet sadist. I wrote this because I was stressed about classes and I couldn't stop thinking about an ex-boyfriend who liked the taste of blood (not in any over-creepy way, it didn't turn him on or anything. At least I don't think so). I wonder what this means. Anyways, thank you for reading!)