Title: Remembered – A Falling Up Oneshot
Disclaimer: Squeenix owns it; I'm just having fun with it
Pairings: Cloud/Reno
Prompt: It's the holidays and Cloud needs hugs
Status: Complete
Warnings: Explicit M/M, Language, Part of the 'Falling Up' world, this follows 'Forgotten'

Beside him the bed dipped.

Without even having to wake up, never mind thinking about it, Cloud pulled First Tsuguri and swung at whatever had joined him on the bed. He was rolling, getting ready to slide out onto the floor into a defensive stance, in case he didn't kill whatever it was enough.

"Hey, shrimp."

Cloud decided, once again, that he couldn't kill Reno for doing something so, so… Reno-esque. Damn it! He let the sword dip just barely not touching pale skin. "I nearly killed you."

"Nah, I trust you." There was the snick of a lighter and the crackle-hiss of tobacco catching fire. "You've never killed me before."

Breaking into Cloud's place had become a kind of hobby for the Turk, ever since he'd come in that one time, after All Hallows Eve, to find Cloud passed out on the floor… and not from drinking too much although that had been a factor. When Reno'd checked him out, the blonde had had a cracked cheekbone, two cracked ribs, another one completely broken, and a punctured lung. With anybody else the lung thing probably would have killed them but luckily Cloud had that fucked up recovery system; fifteen minutes and a small Potion later and he was complaining about having to cook the red-head breakfast.

He rolled away from the Turk and replaced the sword as Reno settled himself against the headboard of his bed. "Pure blind luck, you lower-plate idiot," the blond mumbled.

He glanced out the window and groaned. If it was more than an hour since he'd fallen into bed he'd eat his sword. He rolled back under the sheet. He didn't need much more than that even on the coldest nights thanks to Hojo's sadistic experiments. He buried his head back into his pillow. "You realize Reeve spent over three months on that lock?" he muttered, eyes closing, drifting close to sleep. Maybe Reno would take the hint and let him sleep but Cloud doubted it

"Yeah? Tell him he did a fucking good job. Took me nearly three weeks to crack it and I had to get a special tool made. I should charge it to him as an R&D cost; think he'd go for it?" Reno quirked his lips in a sly smile and Cloud just sighed. It was waay too early to be dealing with a half-drunk, teasing red-head.

"Please tell me you remembered the ashtray?" Reno waved it at the semi-conscious form beside him. Cloud breathed in softly. He could smell Reno's cigarette and the booze that had likely been spilled on him at whatever club he'd been to.

"Don't you want to know why I'm here?"

"It's one in the morning. I haven't slept in over thirty-four hours. I want sleep."

"All you gotta do is ask," Reno poked him, "and I'll tell ya."

"I'm not asking," Cloud responded, "I'm sleeping."

"You're fucking boring." He poked his reluctant host yet again.

The blond warrior sighed in resignation, "And you stink. If you're going to sit on my bed and keep me awake, the least you can do is clean yourself up beforehand."

"Nag, nag, nag."

"It's one in the morning. Deal with it."

Reno heaved a massive, put-upon sigh that Cloud ignored in favour of pretending to be asleep. The red-head butted out his cigarette and set down the ashtray with a thunk, "Got something I change into?"

Cloud's eyes opened a little in surprise. The mako in his system made them glow as if lit from inside. "Why?"

"Man, you must be asleep. I'm gonna take a shower, yo. No point in having a clean body if I get into the same stinking clothes, right?"

Cloud's eyes opened even wider. He was not going to think about Reno in the shower… about Reno naked in his shower. He swallowed. "Sleep pants are in the top right drawer. Towels are in the bathroom."

"Back in a mo'," Reno left the bed with his usual sloppy elegance. It was odd to watch him move Cloud always thought or he'd thought it since the second time he'd defeated Sephiroth, after escaping the lab.

He couldn't remember even thinking about Reno's body before, in the Academy, but then he'd had Zack to consume his thoughts and he'd loved to watch Zack move. The Turk moved nothing like Zack's confident bounce. It often seemed like Reno had no bones, or maybe extra bones in odd places. Cloud knew the red-head should've looked awkward and disjointed but instead he just looked slinky and dangerous.

He closed his eyes so he wouldn't see it. It was a different danger, but it was dangerous. He had his friend back and he wouldn't risk that for anything.

He told himself that but he couldn't stop his mind from picturing Reno in his bathroom, removing his suit, stepping into his shower. He'd look similar to when they were cadets but there would be differences: more bulk, more muscles, more scars covering that pale, smooth skin...

...and that really wasn't helping, so he forced himself to think of the trip he'd just completed; an express return delivery to Mideel. Reeve had people watching the huge mako pool that had opened in the middle of the village, monitoring the levels or something. There was a theory that they could tell the health of the Lifestream and therefore the planet by the level of the mako or the quality of it. Quite frankly, he'd only got as close to the stuff as he'd needed to hand over the package. He'd experienced more than enough mako in his life, thank you very much.

He'd encountered a few creatures on the road, nothing hard or even very interesting. In some areas, Hojo's escaped experiments had bred with the local fauna. Those battles could be tough and he enjoyed them when they came his way. Aside from sparring with Vincent, there really wasn't anything left to challenge him in a fight. Tifa wouldn't because Cloud could never really let go when they fought. Cid, Barrett, and Nanaki were busy in other parts of the planet getting on with their lives. Even Yuffie was finally settling down in Wutai and learning how to become clan leader. The only reliable sparring partner he had was Reno and fighting him was more like trying to hit running water than a fight; flowing, liquid, sexy.

Like the drops of water that were running over his pale, pale skin right now.

Fuck. He was getting hard.

Maybe he should try harder to find someone else to bring home for a good hard screw. It had been a long time. He could grab someone from one of the bars or towns he stayed in, someone just for the night. He'd certainly had offers. The problem was he wanted more than to bounce on a mattress. He wanted someone to talk with and be quiet with. He wanted a friend, like Reno, but it couldn't be Reno.

Last time he'd had no-holds-barred sex had been before Deepground when he and Vincent would get together. It had always been fierce and brutal; mako enhancements versus demon strength. The whole point of it had been physical release not anything emotional. It had been liberating, exhilarating, and dangerous because neither of them worried about permanently damaging the other, although they'd had to use a potion once or twice. However, the dark gunman had discretely let him know that there would be no more encounters. He was waiting for Shelke's body to catch up to her real age and, if there was one thing the gunman knew how to do, it was to wait faithfully for a loved one.

The water was off in the shower. The Turk would be out in a minute, still slightly damp so that the sleep pants would cling a little... He shifted to lie on his stomach, hiding the damning bulge. He couldn't let the Turk know that he thought of him sexually. It could ruin everything. He pounded his pillow in frustration.

Reno strolled out of the bathroom, lazily towelling his hair, which only made the muscles in his chest and stomach stand out a little more. Cloud ran hungry, but hopefully hidden, eyes over Reno's exposed torso. There wasn't even a gram of extra weight anywhere. Didn't the man eat? There was also a design in red over his left nipple that he didn't remember seeing before.

"The tattoo is new," he commented then could've kicked himself. He shouldn't have noticed that, he shouldn't have been looking at Reno's chest. He was too tired to control his mouth and he feared that the red-head would somehow guess how he felt.

Reno ran a couple fingers over it, "Yeah. Got it after Meteor. We all did, to say that we survived." He strolled closer, leaning over so that Cloud got a good look at the intricate design. It was a ball of flame falling downward; it was Meteor. Cloud was tempted to run his fingers over the mark. Reno would think he just wanted to explore the texture of it. But that would just be an excuse.

"You all got one?" he asked instead, keeping his hands to himself.

"All us remaining Turks. The world was going to shit, yo, but we stuck it out right to the end and came out the other side," the red-head straightened, still rubbing his fingertips over the tattoo. Cloud closed his eyes so he wouldn't have to see it. "Rufus got one too, so he'd never forget how close the company came to destroying everything."

Cloud wasn't in the mood to discuss the president of Neo-ShinRa. "Blankets and stuff are in the hall closet," he said.

"I'm not sleeping on that torture device you call a couch," the red-head stated flatly.

"There's not a lot of choices, Reno."

"Fuck, Cloud, I'm sleeping with you," the Turk said casually as he pulled the sheets back and climbed in.

That got the blond's eyes open. "Reno..." he started.

"Stow it, mountain boy," he pulled the sheet over himself, frowning at the thinness of the covering. "You don't use blankets?"

"Don't need them," Cloud answered. He hesitated but he had to say something, "Reno, if you share a bed with me, I'm going to have to touch you. I'll go nuts knowing there's someone in the bed with me that I don't know the exact position of. Every twitch you make will have me awake and scanning for danger."

"Serious?" Reno turned to look at him. For the first time, Cloud noticed that the red-head's eyes had a very dim shine to them.

"Absolutely," Cloud confirmed, figuring his answer would cause his friend to run for the couch... or the door. "Actually, I'll probably have to hold you."

"Huh," was the reply. Reno dug his head into the pillow and settled into the mattress a little more. What he didn't do was jump out of bed shouting 'Ewww, boy cooties!'

At that moment, Cloud knew that Reno wasn't here because he was too drunk or too lazy to go to his house. He wasn't here because he was bored and wanted to bug someone. Reno was here for a purpose; something was up. He was about to ask but Reno opened his mouth first.

"Will you be keeping your hands above the waist?" Cloud tensed. Ah, homophobia. Wasn't it fun... not. Reno seemed to sense he'd said something wrong. He rolled onto his side to face the blond and gave his trademark smirk, "Your self-control is supposed to be legendary but this is me, after all."

"Sorry to burst your ego bubble, but after thirty-plus hours on the road all I want is sleep. Roll over," he instructed flatly. Reno frowned but did as he was told without complaint which just confirmed that something was very wrong. He didn't even make a sound when Cloud hauled him in to spoon him loosely. They were nearly of a height so the position worked but Cloud was careful not to touch his friend more than he had to; arm over waist, knees just touching the back of Reno's thighs.

"You still got any of that lube..."

"Shut up, Renton. Tomorrow you can tell me what's bothering you and we can deal with it then, but I am too tired and too pissed off to chat about anything right now." Surprisingly, that seemed to work and quiet descended on the room. Soon, Cloud's mako-enhanced body had them both toasty warm, and drowsy but neither of them were sleeping.

"Rude has company over," Reno said into the peace."

"Hmm, 'zzit serious," Cloud mumbled the question which was a silly one. She wouldn't be there if it wasn't. The Turks were very protective of their living spaces as one of the very few places they could stop being 'Turks' and just be themselves.

"Serious enough he threw me out for the night. We share digs for ten years, yo, and he just boots me so he can do the horizontal mambo with Tifa." Reno stiffened, waiting for the explosion.

"Huh," Cloud was slightly more intelligible but not angry. "'Bout time, I guess."

The red-head twisted to look at the swordsman, "Doesn't it bother you? I mean, you and Tifa... weren't you a couple?

Cloud blinked, "No, never."

Reno turned fully, tucking his arm under his head, so he could look at the blond, "Why not? I mean, fuck, Cloud, Tifa!" Then he frowned, "You do go for girls sometimes, don't you?"

Cloud sighed, "Yes, Reno, I do go for girls sometimes." He shut his eyes hoping Reno would take the hint.

"So, why not go for Tifa? She's pretty, she's stacked and she's known you forever."

"It's one in the morning, Reno," Cloud sighed his complaint. He didn't want to talk about this.

"Yeah, so? I'm curious." Reno was wiggling a little bit, getting his legs more comfortable. "Might as well tell me."

"If I tell you, then will you shut up?"

"Maybe," he smiled his lopsided smirk, "but I definitely won't shut up if you don't tell me."

"Prick," Cloud cursed the red-headed irritant without heat, "It's because we grew up together. She was C2, I was D3 and it... colours things because we both remember." He smiled slowly, "She still tries to boss me around because she always could and she doesn't even know she's doing it. We kissed once, after Kadaj..." he trailed off.

"No fireworks," the red-head guessed.

He shook his head. Unbidden, a long buried but never truly forgotten voice rose up from his memories, 'There's some wicked ass chemistry between us, baby. I'm tellin' ya. There'll be fireworks.' Zack. He couldn't help but smile. Compared to what had been between him and Zack, he and Tifa could barely light a match.

"Y'know, Tseng's got himself a girl," Reno offered. "Some chick in Design and Manufacturing, and Elena's got some muscle-bound mechanic panting after her that she don't discourage."

"You don't sound happy about it."

"Fuck, man. I dunno. The world's getting old or something. Everything and everyone is settling down."

"You miss the danger?" Cloud could understand that a little. It's why he drove Fenrir out into the countryside, looking for monsters to kill. It's why he'd made sure to provoke Vincent into releasing one of his beasts, or even Chaos, when they'd fought or had sex.

Reno rolled onto his back, putting both hands behind his head, staring up at the ceiling. It forced Cloud to duck in under the red-head's arm, closer to his torso; close enough to smell the freshly washed scent of him. His skin was so pale; it gleamed in the moonlight, smooth and silky.

Fuck, he whispered to himself and shifted his hips further back.

"I miss the danger, yeah, but not... not the cause, if you can get that," he looked at Cloud, who nodded understanding. His eyes returned to the ceiling. "D'you realize that I killed more people than Sephiroth?"

Cloud's eyes snapped up to Reno's face. "What?"

The red-head smiled, sadly and a little bitter, "When I dropped the plate on Sector 7. One quarter of a million people dead, but hey," he shrugged, "I was just following orders. Making sure the people would have reason to hate AVALANCHE, and they were all low-class, lower-plate scum anyway, right?"

Cloud very carefully moved his hand from Reno's stomach and laid it over his heart, desperately trying to figure out what to say. 'It's okay,' was out because it wasn't and never could be. 'You were young,' was also out, because Reno hadn't been young even when his age said he should be, and obviously 'you were just following orders,' wouldn't work. Besides, that one had kind of lost its shine for Cloud when the scientists in the lab would say it as they strapped them down for another one of Hojo's sick experiments.

"You never let on it bothered you," he finally settled on.

"Yeah, well," Reno wriggled a bit, arching his ribcage and digging himself deeper into the mattress, "That was before we were friends again."

"Huh," Cloud snorted, ignoring how the movement had rubbed his hand over Reno's chest. He closed his eyes so he wouldn't have to see, except his imagination was well up to the task of remembering the picture... embellishing it too. He shifted his legs to ease the cloth surrounding his swollen cock. The Turk smelled so good, he felt so good. He wanted Reno and Reno, Reno wanted a girl... any girl.

He couldn't do this, he decided. He couldn't have Reno in his bed and pretend to be 'just friends'. "Reno—" he started.

"Why haven't you settled down, Cloud," the Turk quickly asked, "There's gotta be tonnes of people out there, male or female that'd love to shack up with the hero." The phrasing made the blond chuckle bitterly; it was a perfect description of what most people did want. "Why you laughing, yo?"

"Because I don't want to 'shack up' with someone who wants to sleep with 'The Hero'. Can you imagine how hard it is to live up to that reputation?"

"Well, duh, mountain boy," Reno laughed, but it was full of self-mockery, "I'm a Turk. I get chicks who want me to fucking hurt them during sex, and not just a little slap and tickle either but knives and fists and blood and lots of fucking pain."

That brought Cloud's head up. He frowned, "Really?"

"Shit, yeah. As if I'm some sadistic, conscienceless fuck who just likes beating on people," he slanted his eyes downward, smiling at the blond, "well, I do like beating on people, but only assholes that get in my way." Cloud realized his fingers were stroking Reno's skin and forced them to stop. "Sometimes I think my book collection horrifies them."

Cloud grabbed onto the topic. "You've got the 'Deadline' graphic novel series next to Shakespeare's tragedies. I'd be horrified too." His fingers wouldn't stay still so he pulled his hand back and tucked it firmly under his own chest.

"Fuck, yo, they're exactly the same... there's lots of sex and angst then everybody dies." Reno slanted that grin at him again and Cloud remembered…

Cloud propped himself up on his elbows and grinned, "Oh gods, you convinced us to make that our final presentation in Language Arts. We even had slides," He poked the red-head, "You made me talk in front of the class." The memory was filled with blank spots; not from the lab and the mako, but just from the sheer terror of speaking in front of a group.

"The instructor liked you, he fucking hated me, and Cubby flatly refused." Cubby, Cubby Andrews, their bunk-mate at the Academy. As soon as Reno said the name Cloud could picture the older boy perfectly, at his desk, buried in one of his airplane books. He remembered it was the boy's favourite position.

"It didn't help. I remember the instructor was frothing at the mouth he was so upset at the end of it." Cloud's smile was soft. His eyes were looking at a distant, happier past. "What was it he said?"

"That our premise that Shakespeare was a populist author was ludicrous and without merit."

More memories poured in. "Yeah, that's it. But we still did okay. He gave us decent marks in the end."

"Fuck, no, shrimp," Reno laughed, "He totally gypped us. I fixed it though." Cloud's mouth dropped open in shock. Reno's smile deepened as he saw the blond's face. "You were too busy stuffing Darla's cupcakes in your mouth to notice what programs I was accessing. Shit, you made a great distraction." The red-head abruptly rolled over to face Cloud, head propped up so it was level with the blond's. "You still do."

Cloud frowned slightly, confused by the change in tone. Was Reno saying he needed a diversion for a job or something?

"Why don't you have someone, Cloud?" Reno asked, his voice, his face, everything about him was suddenly serious.

Cloud looked away, unable to meet that piercing blue gaze. "Just haven't," he flopped down on the bed, hiding his face in his pillow. He risked a glance at the Turk. Reno was still looking at him, waiting for a proper response. Cloud knew he'd have to give him something to shut him up. He closed his eyes knowing Reno could always read him too well. "I remember Zack telling me about how SOLDIERs can accidently break bones during...intercourse. They'd get carried away and break their lover's pelvis' and stuff. That's why SOLDIERs usually stuck to SOLDIERs for, y'know, sex."

"So you telling me you need a SOLDIER to get laid?" Reno snorted.

Cloud shrugged in fake nonchalance, "Someone who's been augmented at least." There, nice and short, "This isn't a happy topic, Reno. Think we can shut it down for the night?" That didn't sound too pathetic, did it, he wondered?

"Don't you want a happy ending, yo?" Reno asked softly, but Cloud heard it. A moment later he felt light fingertips brushing down his spine.

Cloud swallowed, convulsively, squeezing his eyes shut. Denying it because it wasn't real, it couldn't be real.

"I want a happy ending," Reno said and this time he ran his whole hand, opened wide to catch every change in texture, up Cloud's back, over ribs and shoulder blade to his nape. It was one of the blond's most sensitive areas and he couldn't help the shudder that ran through him at the touch. "You're so warm, Cloud, in your body, in your heart. You always have been."

His eyes were open now. "Reno..." he didn't know what to say. Reno had to know that his breath had quickened and his heart was pounding. "You don't like guys." He didn't, he never had. Not once had Cloud ever seen him make a pass at another man.

"Not just any guy," He was leaning forward, leaning close to Cloud's face, "I like you, and I always have," and Reno kissed him.

It was a soft kiss but not tentative or hesitant. Reno wanted this and knew what he was doing.

"Reno..." Oh gods, it was Reno kissing him. He couldn't think.

"Don't think, yo, just let it happen. I want this, I want you. Just let it happen." Another kiss, longer, gentle but firm, a quick lick along suddenly dry lips, asking for an invitation to come in.

Shiva! How was he supposed to resist? Cloud rolled over, tucking himself half under his friend. One hand went to stroke a thin, smooth cheek. A thumb delicately stroked over a dark, red slash comparing the tattoo's texture to the rest of his skin, moving down over the red-head's sparse stubble to thin, strong lips. Beautiful lips, so sexy.

"Why now?" he asked, unable to just do as Reno suggested and let it go. So many years and there'd never been a hint of the Turk and another man—women, yes... lots of women, but never, ever a guy.

Reno sighed, eyes half-closed. The question wasn't unexpected but he'd hoped Cloud could wait until after. He quickly sucked at the finger placed so conveniently near his mouth before speaking. "You know what my... my mother was, what she did. I told you that once."

Did he remember? "You left home when you were twelve, so I know it was bad." He searched through fractured memories for anything more. "I can't recall... "

Reno's hand was stroking Cloud's strong chest, hairless, as most SOLDIERs had been. He explored the ridges of muscles and bones as he spoke, his eyes never leaving the blond's sharp, strong face. "She was a whore and an addict, which meant she was a cheap whore. When I was eight she decided it was time I learned the family business, not many women wanna fuck eight-year old boys so what I knew of guy-sex wasn't great."

The memory came back. A trip beneath the plate to visit one of the markets there, to buy a present for his mother's wedding. A haggard, old-looking woman, wearing far too little, on a skinny, saggy body; she'd approached them and started yelling at their red-headed companion in a dialect so thick it was barely intelligible to Reno's two companions. She'd been so thin, so washed out except for the dirt. It was the eyes, their shape, their colour, that had let him know that this person was related to Reno. Reno, who had responded so coldly, yelling right back and slapping her hands off him.

Zack had finally led the woman away, and they all knew that he'd given her money. "She'll just use if for surfing, you know that, right?" Reno had asked and Zack had nodded. It was while they were explaining to the naive mountain boy what 'surfing' was—the feeling addicts get when riding a mako-based drug, that the rest of Reno's tale had come out.

She'd pimped him out, her only child, to support her habit.

"You remember now?" Reno's fingertips were on his scar, just about the only one left on his body. Cloud nodded, he hadn't cried for Reno then but he cried for that boy now; a single tear escaping only to be caught gently by long fingers. The Turk gave a little smile, "You always were a softy, yo."

"Jerk," the blond responded, pushing lightly on Reno's thin chest, making the red-head rock back. He didn't lift his hand off. Reno smiled harder. "That still doesn't explain why now," Cloud reminded him, making him roll his eyes.

"So, I didn't have a great idea of man-sex. As far as I could tell, only one person got to enjoy it, for the other it just fucking hurt. So, even though I was attracted to you, I didn't do anything. No fucking way."

"You were attracted to me... at the Academy?" Cloud wouldn't have been more stunned if the red-head had declared he was Hojo reborn.

"Shit, yeah. Cute, smart, gutsy and loyal. What wasn't to like? Great ass too." Reno laughed at him.

Cloud couldn't process it, not really. He'd known the tough street kid had liked him. He hadn't realized that Reno'd liked him. "You never said... anything."

"'Course not, yo. No attraction was worth that kind of pain, besides all you could see was Fair. You were such a couple; 'solid' doesn't begin to describe it. It was watching the two of you together that made me wonder if what I knew of guy-on-guy sex was all there was to it. I mean, I figured Fair was topping you but you never complained, you never bled, there was never a time you couldn't walk right that I ever saw."

Cloud's eyes were wide with imagined pain, "Reno..." He reached out but the Turk just shrugged.

"It made me rethink, y'know." The Turk put his fingertips on Cloud's ribs then watched them run lower on the blond's body, over prominent hip bones. He pushed the sheet and sleep pants a little lower as he did it, but not low enough. "And what I thought was, it would be worth a little pain to have what you two had."

Cloud's arm snaked around him to rub his back and draw him closer. "We would have... we would have shared. Zack wouldn't have cared, In fact, he would've been happy to... to let you in." Zack had had so much love in him, one person couldn't contain it all.

"Naw," Reno rejected the idea, "I don't share well, not when it's important." His hand slid a little closer to centre, so close he could feel the cloth jerk as the blond's body reacted. "This is important, Cloud. You are important. You're not seeing Vincent anymore and you're not pining after Tifa. This is my chance." Reno changed his position, laying overtop the swordsman, bracing himself so they could be chest-to-chest, "I want this. I want you and I think you want me back. Am I wrong?"

He was so close. Cloud could feel his breath puffing gently over his lips. He could smell the minty toothpaste he'd used laid over the permanent tobacco-enhanced musk that was Reno. He looked into sharp-blue eyes; smart, cocky, knowing eyes, that had always looked at him and accepted all that he was and what he wasn't.

"I want this," he stated, and it was enough.

He didn't wait for Reno's lips to come down on his; he stretched up to meet them. To kiss them as he'd dreamed of doing, little licks, little nips, savouring and teasing. Reno moaned quietly. It made Cloud shudder in reaction. When Reno opened his mouth wider, when he touched Cloud's tongue playfully with his own, it was Cloud who moaned. When Cloud pressed in deeper, firmer, exploring the moist darkness, it was Reno who shuddered.

Hands roamed at will, without thought or direction, touching, feeling, memorizing; coming back to those places that caused breath to catch, muscles to clench, and names to be gasped out in soft excitement. They rolled on the bed, first one on top then the other, trying to reach new places of delight without having to separate their lips. The sheets were kicked off then the sleep pants. The pillows were also casualties, knocked aside unknowingly as years of desire were released.

Cloud thought Reno made love like he fought, fluidly, smoothly, like an unstoppable wave of movement and power. It cushioned him even as it carried him away.

Finally, they pulled apart, back in their original position of the blond tucked half-way under the Turk. They were both breathing hard and a thin sheen of sweat made their skin gleam. Reno didn't hesitate; he slithered down a little farther, licking at Cloud's neck, biting lightly on the sensitive tendons. Cloud tilted his head, giving the red-head better access.

Reno... he thought, this was Reno kissing him. It wasn't like making love with Aerith. She'd been so passive and accepting. She'd enjoyed it, but she'd never tried to take control of his body like the Turk was doing. Making love to Zack had been fun and noise and bright energy; a shared joy for the most part.

The blond was pulled out his memory because Reno was moving lower, scraping calloused fingers over shoulders and pecs before following with teeth and tongue. Shit, Cloud whimpered and dug his hands into thick, red hair. He loved the hint of danger.

Sharp teeth nipped at Cloud's hard little nipples, first one then the other, making them swell just a little bit more. Reno leaned back to look at his handiwork. Through eyes he could only get half-open, Cloud saw the Turk crawl on top of him, watched him flow upright. Reno spread out his hands, and nearly buried his fingers in the blond's sensitive armpits. He placed his thumbs firmly on the plump centers of Cloud's nipples. He pressed down and rotated. Cloud's hips twisted in response, his hands locked down on slim thighs.

"Fuck, yo," Reno whispered in awe, watching entranced as Cloud threw his head back, eyes closed, lips open to pant and whimper. He easily rode the blond's writhing body, flowing smoothly with each move. He could feel the swordsman's erection pressing up against his ass cheeks and he moved back to nestle it closer to his body. He hadn't expected it to feel this good. He was excited, not scared, and he was absolutely loving having the blond at his mercy.

"Reno..." Cloud whispered in prayer, and the red-head smirked in triumph. Cloud saw it, but he didn't care. The Turk was so quiet, so intense, nothing escaped his focus.

"I started to ask you earlier but you interrupted," Reno said. He tried to sound casual but he was breathing too hard to quite pull it off, "do you still have that lube I gave you?"

Cloud released one of Reno's thighs and waved it at the bedside drawer. "I sold that cherry stuff, got vanilla instead." He gasped out.

"Good idea," Reno said as he reached for the handle, "Can't stand cherry."

His action had raised his hips up, and Cloud opened his eyes to see Reno's full, heavy erection almost right in front of him. He wanted that. He needed to taste it, was all he thought before he lifted his head and sucked the tip into his mouth.

"Odin's fucking balls," Reno cursed, but he stilled, breathless, and let the blond suck and lick the head. He moved his gaze from the drawer to watch Cloud's face instead. The large, blue eyes were closed and there was a look of peaceful bliss on his face, as if there was nowhere he'd rather be and nothing he'd rather be doing.

Gently, so as to not startle the swordsman, Reno thrust his hips forward. Cloud opened wider to allow the movement and brought up one of his hands to steady the red-head's penis as it moved in and out. Forgetting the lube for the moment, Reno moved closer, wanting to taken in deeper, wanting to see those lush lips stretched around his shaft.

What he wanted, Cloud delivered with a hum of delight.

"Fuck, Cloud," he whispered. So many nights he'd jerked off, imagining this. Reality was better. Of course, if this reality continued much longer, he'd be coming way too soon. "Cloud, stop. Stop," He pulled backwards. Cloud opened pleasure-glazed eyes, sucking a bit harder, squeezing a bit tighter—trying to hold on to Reno's erection. "Holy shit, yo. Ya gotta stop or I'm going to blow," the red-head prayed Cloud heard him. With a reluctant sigh, Cloud let him pull out of his mouth, but he didn't let go until giving Reno's length one long, final lick from base to tip.

"You taste good, Reno," Cloud said. Then Cloud looked at the Turk and smiled, and Reno nearly went anyway. There were no shadows in his eyes, no memories, no fears, no past pain, just deep contentment and happiness. Reno hadn't seen that kind of look on the blond's face for years, even before Nibelheim. That look was an inescapable lure, so he leaned down and kissed those happy lips.

"You taste good too, Cloud," he whispered back, when they finally broke apart. "Fuck, what was I doing?" he asked the air.

Cloud chuckled, "Getting the lube."

Reno quirked his lips, "Right." He gave the blond's pert little nose a peck before diving back across the bed. This time he threw himself down flat so that Cloud wouldn't be tempted to lick on him anymore. Cloud didn't mind because it allowed him to stoke his hand over Reno's tight ass. He flexed his fingers, scraping short nails over firm skin, just to feel the red-head's muscles tighten and quiver, but touching with his fingers wasn't enough. Cloud pulled himself out from under the Turk so he could bite on him.

Again, Reno forgot about his goal. He swallowed convulsively... it was the only part of him moving.

The light from the street was dim, but it was enough to let the enhanced warrior see two marks he'd never seen before at the base of the Turk's spine, highlighting the two little dimples above Reno's butt—slash marks, like the ones on his face. He ran soft fingers over them, "When'd you get these?" His tongue followed his fingers.

"Umm," when had he got those? Oh yes, "Just after we defeated that fucker Fuhito."

Cloud frowned, "I don't... I don't remember you talking about that. Do I?" Cloud hated the holes in his memory. He'd learned to live with them, but nothing could make him like them. It made him feel... vulnerable to remember so little about his life.

Reno heard the note of uncertainty in the warrior's voice. He rolled over to face Cloud, "You wouldn't remember it, yo," he reached up to cup the blond's cheek in his palm, "you would've been in the lab." He hated saying it because he knew what would happen, and it did. Glowing eyes dimmed and looked away, hiding from him. "Rude got another piercing, I got another tattoo. I think Elena got a body scrub and a pedicure. Shiva knows what Tseng did."

The blond was still too solemn so Reno gave his cheek a sharp, light slap. It was so unexpected it pulled Cloud out of his funk, "Now don't touch this time," the Turk instructed, "or I'll never get the lube out." Then he rolled back over and stretched for the drawer. Instinctively, Cloud placed his hand on Reno's back to steady himself as the bed moved. "Nah ah ah," Reno chided, "No touching."

It made Cloud smile, and he contented himself with looking at the play of muscles in Reno's long back. It was remarkably unmarked, except for the tattoos. All of it lean and supple from his neck to the base of his spine. It drew his eyes back to the red-head's ass, small and tight and perfect. The sight of it made his mouth water. It also made him think of something else.


"Yeah?" he answered, finally closing the drawer.

"Do you want to be on top?"

"What?" The Turk flipped to sit by the blond so smoothly it was hard to follow the movement.

Cloud had never really gotten over his small town reticence when it came to discussing sex and intimacy, and Reno's intent gaze didn't help. "Do you want to, y'know, be the top? I don't mind and it might... it might, I dunno, make you more comfortable?" He winced inside; he sounded like a teenager.

"Fuck, no, Cloud," the red-head responded easily, "I want you to make me cum with your dick, if you can." He twisted again, suddenly lying on his back, legs on either side of the blond. He tossed him the lube, "Show me what you can do, mountain boy," he challenged.

Ohmygod, was all Cloud could think as he looked at the body displayed so brazenly before him. His shoulders were, perhaps, a little broader than they had been back in the Academy, but the essentials were as Cloud remembered: lean, whipcord strength. He dropped the tube carelessly on the bed. He didn't want to rush this. He needed to prove to himself it was real.

Reno's nipples, so dark a red as to be almost brown were his first stop; licking, sucking and touching. He used his lips to pull lightly on the thick, long hairs that ringed the little buds, and while he was doing that he curled his fingers up and over the narrow rib-cage, following muscle ridges and bones. He breathed in the scent, warm and musky, filled with smoke and liquor and Reno.

The last time Cloud had made love to a man it had been Zack. He remembered how noisy the SOLDIER had been. He would moan and whimper and gasp, and blush bright red whenever Cloud mentioned it. Reno was quiet. Only tensed muscles, clenched fingers and held breaths let the blond know where to linger, what to do again. It made him focus that much harder on what he was doing. Soon he could sense the smallest change in the texture of the skin beneath him; completely hairless here, light-down here, old scar there.

Time lost its meaning as he slowly moved on the Turk. He reached the belly, soft flesh, so sensitive, and his cheek nudged up against Reno's hard length. The red-head was dripping and it was the most natural thing in the world to lap it up.

"Oh fucking Shiva. Cloud!" Slim hips thrust up, jerky with reluctance. Reno was almost begging.

The blond smiled against smooth skin but didn't stop his leisurely exploration. He moved over and around the straining penis, giving it absent licks and kisses as he shifted position, but his focus remained on the red-head's belly. The scent was stronger here, Reno's natural musk finally overpowering the scent of cigarettes. Cloud breathed it in deeply, letting out his held breath so that it sighed over blood-swollen flesh.

The Turk twisted, trying to bring his aching cock closer to the blond's mouth or his hands or fucking something! He muttered, "Oh shit, oh fuck," in a soft litany of prayer that Cloud doubted he even heard himself saying. The swordsman ran strong hands down slim thighs, digging in blunt fingers hard enough to indent the surface knowing that, as aroused as Reno was now, a lighter touch would barely be felt.

He drew back, wanting to watch the reaction as he caressed and squeezed the already tight sac. Reno had hair on it; coarse and sparse but definitely there. He spent some time playing with them, stroking them and pulling lightly. The strands were oddly fascinating because he remembered, very clearly, Zack having no hair except a small patch just above his penis. He wondered if those lonely hairs had a taste so he leaned down to find out. He kept his tongue soft and very wet, using broad, slow licks.

"Please, Cloud. Just, shit, do something... anything. Fuck! Please!" Now Reno was begging for real. Desperate pleas wrenched from his body.

The blond drew back, a look in his eyes and the slight smile the only outward signs of his triumph. He didn't say, although he thought it, 'finally! I was about to fucking die.' Instead, he found the lube and squeezed out some on to his fingers. He wouldn't hurry this part, as much as he would like to. He rubbed slick fingers around the red-head's entrance, just barely breaching him, while tracing his penis' big, ropey vein on display with the other.

One finger first, twirling it around and watching Reno's mobile face for any indication of pain or revulsion. Two fingers were pushed in next, just at the entrance, twitching and swirling; stretching the tight muscle. He kept up the light, one finger massage of Reno's erection, hoping it would be enough of a distraction as he went a little deeper, searching for the spot that molesters of an eight-year-old boy wouldn't bother to find. He knew when he found it. Reno spasmed; stomach muscles suddenly tight which pulled his shoulders and head off the bed. "Odin's fucking balls!" The Turk stretched out a desperate hand, "I'm gonna... Cloud, if you don't stop, I'm, I'm gonna..."

The swordsman pulled his fingers out reluctantly. He'd had the Turk at his mercy before, nearly killing him many times on the hunt for Sephiroth. This was better.

He slicked himself up; shivering at the touch he was so hard. He lifted Reno's long legs, positioning them for the best access, and then he pressed forward, gently but steadily gaining entrance to the red-head's body. The hands he placed on Reno's hips to keep them from moving too much became the Turk's anchor as desperate fingers clamped down on Cloud's forearms.

Cloud's eyes didn't waver as he kept pressing, kept pushing forward until he was fully in. He ignored his own ragged breath in favour of listening to the red-head's moans and cries, making sure they were from pleasure not pain. He watched Reno's face for any signs of bad memories. It was hard, so hard, not to give in to the overwhelming feel of it. It felt so right, so perfect, so natural to be inside the tough, smart-mouthed Turk. He didn't want to be gentle, not really.

Too much emotion might scare Reno; it was certainly scaring Cloud, so he buried his face on the red-head's chest, kissing the meteor tattoo as cover. He could hear the breath rasping in and out of his lungs. He could feel Reno's heart thumping away.

When he felt he had control of his voice, he asked, "Okay?"

"Oh fuck, Cloud, it's better than okay. Just don't stop," Reno dug his hands into blond spikes and pulled Cloud up so they could kiss, "Start moving your ass, yo," he ordered in a whisper before delving back into Cloud's mouth.

The swordsman started rocking his hips, grinding them together. Their bodies were close enough that Reno's throbbing penis was pressed between them. Every movement rubbed their bellies against it. Cloud squeezed his still slick hand around the red-head's erection, giving it a thin layer of lubricant to make the movement less painful—not that Reno would've noticed friction burn developing on it right at this moment.

The red-head pulled his mouth away, "No hands, yo," before diving back in, finding the blond's tongue and sucking on it.

Cloud rediscovered the Turk's sweet-spot and the gentle rocking motion of his hips was massaging it, teasing the red-head into a frenzy. "Oh fuck, oh fuck," Reno whispered mindlessly, "Harder, do it harder," he ordered.

"I don't want to hurt you," Cloud whispered back.

Reno lifted the blond's head up, staring at him intently. "You can't hurt me. I'm augmented."

Cloud paused, frowned, "What? How..?"

"Mako-addicted mother, remember? Plus a couple chemical spills when we were cleaning out some of Hojo's old labs. I'm not SOLDIER level, but I'm damn hard to break." The red-head smiled, "Fucking pound me into the mattress, shrimp."

Oh gods, Cloud thought breathlessly, he didn't have to hold back?

He started moving faster, hitting that spot harder. It didn't take long until he was keening in counterpoint to Reno's litany of curses. He needed... he wanted... soon, gods, soon. He tried to grab Reno's erection, to make sure the red-head peaked first, but Reno knocked his hand away. "No hands. Just your dick."

Cloud groaned. He hitched Reno's legs up higher, changed the angle and pounded into him. He was no longer hitting the Turk's prostate gently, but was fucking beating on it as hard as he could. Reno's breath was catching, his voice was breaking up and his muscles were tensing. Close, so close...

Cloud shifted until his mouth was close to the Turk's ear. "I love you, Reno," he whispered.

That did it.

Reno convulsed, practically screaming his release. His hands clutched at Cloud's back, digging in—even without nails there would be red marks, and down lower his penis pulsed, pumping out the thick, rich fluid, coating their bellies with its sticky heat. He tightened rhythmically on the erection buried so deep in his body.

Cloud wanted to enjoy Reno's orgasm, he wanted to feel it, see it, smell it until the red-head's body stopped moving, but it was all more than Cloud could take. It was perfect. He felt the spike of tension at the base of his spine explode. His mouth opened in a soundless scream as he was pulled inside out. "Ohgods, Ohgods," he breathed, losing himself. It was too much, too strong. It couldn't be real.

Then there were strong arms around him, holding him, bracing him. They weren't the ones he remembered, but they were tight and keeping him safe. "Holy fuck, Cloud. Un-fucking-believable, oh shit," Reno's repetitive murmur finally penetrated.

The locked muscles in his back relaxed by slow degrees, letting him gradually lower himself to lie fully on the slim body under him. "Reno..." Shit, he was crying. "Reno," he couldn't stop.

"It's okay, Cloud, I'm here. I'm here and I'm staying. You're not alone. It's okay. Shhh, shhh," Reno kept repeating the words until the swordsman's breath evened out.

"I'm sorry," he murmured.

"No problem, shrimp. It's been a long day, right?" There was something wrong with Reno's voice. Cloud finally looked up, into those beautiful, sly, blue eyes. They were definitely glowing—how had he missed that before, and they were suspiciously red.

"You were crying too," he accused the Turk.

"Fuck no. Not a chance." Cloud raised himself to get a better look at Reno's face. It shifted his still mostly hard penis around in Reno's body. The Turk hissed and Cloud froze. "Relax, yo. Nothing's broken. Used a lot of muscles I never knew I had, is all." Cloud let out his breath.

"You were crying," he went back to his previous point. He placed delicate hands along Reno's cheeks and used his thumbs to trace the moisture trail.

"Y'know it's five in the morning," the red-head mentioned casually, hoping to draw his attention to a new subject.

"I can see your eyes," Cloud said, refusing to be drawn.

"You're hallucinating, Strife. I hear lack of sleep can do that to a person." Reno smirked, "Or mind-blowing orgasms can have the same effect. You're suffering from both."

Cloud snickered, "Orgasms don't cause hallucinations."

"Yeah, they do," Reno defended himself, "They must because I'm sure I heard a little blond birdie whisper 'I love you'." The Turk looked right into Cloud, no smirks or sneers, no sly amusement; he left himself bare and vulnerable.

"I did say that, you weren't hallucinating."

"Fuck, Cloud..."

"I love you, Renton Sinclair, more than that... I trust you."

Long, slim fingers came up to mirror Cloud's hold on his lover's face. "Right back at you, shrimp." Their eyes caught on each other and held, a long, breathless moment when so much passed between them, histories and futures and so many possibilities. Then it was back to the present. "And I wasn't crying."

Cloud laughed and pulled out of Reno, his friend, his lover. "I know what I saw." He rolled out of bed to get something to clean them up with.

Reno lay back on the bed, shivering now that Cloud wasn't there warming him up. He glanced at his stomach to see if his jizz would drip on the bed if he moved but it was smeared pretty thoroughly all over his chest and stomach; it was safe to move. Pillows first, he decided and twisted to reach the edge of the bed. The movement was a little painful but, like he'd told Cloud, more from stressing unused muscles than from any real damage.

By the time the swordsman returned with a warm cloth, Reno had the bed mostly reassembled. He was stretched out, arms behind his head, sheets pooled on his legs. He looked like a king, or a lion, in the centre of his domain, knowing he ruled it all.

He looked like he was going to stay.

Cloud sat next to him and ran the damp cloth over every patch of skin that might have gotten some cum on it. Reno opened his legs a little to give him access. He knew he'd flinch when the cloth touched him so to distract the blond he asked, "So when do I get to drive Fenrir?"

Cloud narrowed his eyes at the Turk, frowning ferociously, "Never."

"Oh come on! I thought you trusted me, yo."

"With my heart, idiot, not with my bike," Cloud threw the cloth into the laundry basket and slid into bed beside the red-head, "I'm not crazy."

Reno snorted, thin lips twisting into a mocking grin, "You love me. That'll make you crazy in most everybody's book."

"I don't care about most everybody." He snugged himself up right next to the red-head, ignoring the soft pillow so thoughtfully retrieved by the Turk in favour of a bony chest.

"If you really loved me you'd let me ride your bike," Reno whined as he adjusted his body to fit comfortably to the blond's.

"It's five in the morning, Reno. I need sleep." He gave the skin in front of him an absent kiss.

"Wimp." Reno's voice was slurred and sleepy even as he wrapped Cloud in strong arms.

"Nearly forty hours without sleep," Cloud murmured in return. His eyes were already closed; his mind was heavy. Reno was holding him, he was safe.

"Whiner," Reno yawned it out.

"Asshole," he wasn't actually sure if he said that out loud. He didn't care. He could hear Reno breathing softly. There was a smile on his lips as the darkness swallowed him, but before he reached unconsciousness he heard a nasal voice mumble,

"Now this is a happy ending."

AN: Happy holidays, everyone.