It was at the age of twelve that Rufus caught his first glimpse of Reno. He was completely captivated. The red hair alone would probably have done it but what kept him watching him long after he should have walked on was the way he danced around Rude, throwing insults at the much taller man as he sparred with the Turk, trying out for a position in the company. If he didn't get in, ShinRa would be a lesser organisation because of it.

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It was with great reluctance that his father finally granted Rufus his own bodyguard. He amused himself however by putting the newest recruit to the task. Perhaps he wouldn't have been so happy with that if he'd known just how pleased it actually made Rufus.

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Rufus felt like the proverbial fifth wheel as he sat at the table with Reno and Rude, Tseng and Elena. They all talked and bantered easily with each other…until he arrived. Then their conversation had become stilted and awkward. He knew it wouldn't be long before they went their separate ways.

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Rufus sighed tiredly and rubbed a hand over his face. The only thing worse than committees where the reports he had to read about the committees' actions. He growled and tried to concentrate on the stupid minutes once more but he couldn't get his eyes to focus. He pressed the intercom button and asked his secretary to bring in some coffee then searched in his desk for the glasses he kept there.

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When he was sufficiently drunk, Reno curled up on the seat and decided to get some sleep. His drinking companions merely rolled their eyes. This happened with the redhead about once a month. They wouldn't forget to bring him with them when they left – after all, he'd taught them the hard way not to leave him behind.

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Rude looked at his partner, disbelief and amusement warring quite plainly on his face. "Let me get this straight, you cycled to work on THAT?" He pointed to what had to be a bicycle for a ten year old as it was covered with pink and flowers. Reno scowled. "I wanted to be here to see the traitor for myself. I can't believe he has the gall to show here again." Rude sighed. "You'd better believe it, partner." He pointed to the office where Tseng was escorting Reeve out. "Think that Rufus would mind if I used this on him?" Rude smiled a little as he looked at the weapon Reno held. "I don't think he would but I'm sure that Tseng would chew your ass off for tasering him and bringing disrepute to the company." Reno sighed. Sometimes following the rules really sucked.

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Rufus scowled at the papers in front of him. "This legislation is nothing but crap from that traitor Reeve and his pathetic company, Tseng. Couldn't I just stick a bullet in his head? Or order someone to do it for me?" Tseng smiled for the first time that day. "If I thought it would help Sir, I'd do it myself. Unfortunately, there's no getting away from the W.R.O. – you'll just have to do your tax returns like everyone else."

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After reading over the latest edition of the legislation, Rufus banged his head on the table. It was all bullshit, pure and simple. How was he supposed to fix this planet when the traitor and his new company seemed intent on filling his days with red tape? Without conscious thought, his hand strayed to the shotgun stored in his inner coat pocket. It would be so easy…

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He pulled his hand away almost guiltily as someone knocked at the door. He managed to suppress a scowl as the face he had really begun to detest appeared. "Reeve. Come in and sit down. Tseng will be here in a moment."

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After Reeve left, Rufus took a moment then shoved Reno up against the wall and just looked at him for a moment before saying anything. "Congratulations Reno - for being the most irritating member of staff, you deserve an award – or perhaps 'reward' would be a better word."

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