Greetings friends! I bring you all a new oneshot. This isn't a typical romance fic for me. I tried going for a harder, more blunt look at Reno, and not just the whole goofy take on him seen in AC. I hope it came across well. Just think of it as a walk down memory lane for him more than anything. Dunno how well I wrote the Turks, but hopefully I didn't kill their characters. It's been a while since I wrote a piece focusing on any of the Turks. I borrowed the title from the song by Fall Out Boy, though the fic wasn't really inspired by any of the lyrics. I was just listening to the song while I was deciding on the title of this fic. It just seemed to work. Anyway… enjoy everyone!

Warnings: Adult situations, blunt talk of sex, and cursing. Don't read if you don't like or if you're not old enough! Just think of this fic as an excuse for me to write some smut…

Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy VII or any of the characters used in this piece of fiction. I am making no money off of them.

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Thanks for the Memories

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He had always hated feeling incapacitated. He had damn near died and to make matters worse, Shinra had brought in a substitute for him. Really now… who would be able to substitute him and do a job as good as he did? His answer came in the form of blonde hair, brown eyes, and over eagerness. Oh, and he couldn't forget the curves hidden by the suit. A man as seasoned as himself where the ladies were concerned just knew about that stuff.

Sitting up in his bed, he tried not to glare openly at her as he sat there, a broken wrist and various bruises and scabbing cuts decorating his arms and face. "Fuck," he muttered. "Shinra is really losing its touch."

The girl, because she still hadn't managed to wipe off the doe-eyed look, stared right back at him. "It's nice to meet you," she said with a nod.

"Speak for yourself," he sulked, turning to look at his partner, who was standing at the window. "Seriously, Rude? They've got you babysitting a ten year old?"

"Excuse me!" she snapped indignantly.

"You're excused. Get the fuck out," Reno snapped.

Rude cleared his throat and looked at her. "Elena, step outside. Reno get's cranky when he's in pain and taking medications."

"What the hell? Don't talk about me as if I wasn't here!" Reno snapped.

"For your information," Elena started in annoyance. "I'm not a baby. I bet I have better accuracy than you do," she said darkly.

"Yeah, well, I have a higher body count than you do," Reno drawled, not even bothering to look at her. "You heard Rude. Scram," he said, motioning towards the door.

"Asshole," Elena muttered before she walked out the door.

"Barbie!" he yelled before the door closed completely.

Rude turned to look at him. "Must you continue to antagonize the rookies?"

Reno shrugged his uninjured shoulder. "I hate her. Get her fired," he commanded.

"Get some sleep, Reno. I must take Elena back," he said with a sigh. "And she was so eager to meet you," Rude said calmly.

"Well boo-hoo. Does it look like I give a flying fuck? She's too damn pretty and new to be a Turk."

Rude quirked an eyebrow. "You noticed?"

"I'm injured, not dead," muttered Reno, his eyes narrowing at the door.

Rude walked towards the door. "Get well quickly so that you can do the dirty work yourself," he said before he was gone.

Reno watched him go in anger. What the hell? Why had he gotten so pissed just at the sight of the rookie? He didn't know her, but it was glaringly obvious that she was pretty. He should've been planning the best way to seduce her. What the hell was wrong with him? Leaning back against his pillows, he scowled to himself. He couldn't wait to see her again so that he could make her life miserable. He shrugged again; if anything, she'd be gone once he was back on his feet.

Reno didn't know what it was about the rookie that had made him hate her on sight. Maybe it was what she represented--his substitute--or maybe it was because she looked so fresh and green. So eager to do as she was told. It had been a long time since he had felt that way. He had developed thicker skin, and had stopped worrying about impressing his superiors mostly because he had been damned good at his job to begin with.

He could still remember the look on her face when they had first met, the wide eyed, over talkative, over excitable girl had annoyed him from the very beginning. Her zest for life had irked him in a most interesting way. Life had made him too cynical in order to appreciate innocence anymore.

Upon his return to Shinra, he had been surprised to see that the newbie would stay permanently with them. Every time he saw her, she was making a fool out of herself, especially when she was trying to impress Tseng, but he had to admit that seeing her on her very first mission contradicted the idiot girl she was at the office. She had been accompanying more seasoned Turks on their missions, and until she had been ready she had gone on her very own. It had been an added bonus to Reno that he had been able to silently monitor her from afar. She had handled her work with professionalism and with still a bit too much excitement.

Elena had been easy to read from the start, especially whenever Tseng was around. Seeing her go all moony eyed made Reno want to either slap her out of it or just laugh at her. He had delighted in taunting her and belittling her every chance he got about everything, especially about her obvious crush on Tseng.

"Want a little dish to catch your drool?"

"What?"

"The way you stare at Tseng, be a little more obvious why don't you," he stated with a smirk.

"Don't be stupid. He's our boss," she snapped before marching off.

He teased her like a boy teases a girl that he likes on the playground by pulling her pigtails and making for of her. Except, it had taken him a while to see that he had actually liked her. Reno was still fuzzy on the memories, but the first time that things between him and Elena had changed had been the day when she had shot and killed a man for the very first time. He had seen the stricken look on her face, despite her Turk training and the experience she had already gained. Upon returning to HQ, she had been debriefed and then ordered to write her report. Reno had followed her, fully intent on harassing her until she snapped. He knew what it had felt the first time he had killed someone. It hadn't been the most pleasant experience the way he had believed it would be.

"Leave me alone, Reno," she snapped without her usual fire.

"Suck it up, rookie. Being a Turk isn't all flowers and roses," he replied.

"Get out of my office," she finally snapped.

His blue eyes glinting evilly, he approached her and sat at the edge of her desk, right next to her and stared at her as she tried typing in her computer. His long fingers tapped her shoulder.

"I mean it, Reno. Leave me alone!" she finally snapped, her expressive brown eyes promising worlds of pain if he didn't do as she ordered.

"Come on. It's not a big deal," he drawled.

She stood abruptly, knocking down her chair and glaring angrily. "You really think it's not a big deal to take someone's life without questioning it?" she hissed.

Reno stood to his full height and stared her down, their noses nearly touching. "You got into the wrong profession if this bothers you so much," he said, enunciating each word.

Her eyes were snapping chocolate fire at him and she looked angry enough to hurt him. He had never been good at handling emotional women, and in that sense, he felt as if Shinra had been too lenient when it came to recruiting women. "What's the matter, rookie? Cat got your tongue?" he asked her after a moment of staring into her eyes.

Then a look passed behind her eyes, and they darted down to his lips as they twisted into a smirk. He couldn't quite recall who made the first move, but he suddenly had her pressed against the wall behind her, his lips searching hers.

She grunted softly, her nails digging into his back as he dug his teeth into her bottom lip and tugged. He pulled away when he felt the need for oxygen and stared into her face, into half-lidded eyes and flushed cheeks. "Fuck me, Reno," she whispered, barely even perceptible to his trained ears.

"What makes you think I want to?" he hissed, tugging back her hair and exposing her long, pale neck above her white shirt and blue blazer.

"You really want to play that game?" Elena nearly hissed.

Hmm… he had never seen her look so challenging before. Was this truly the rookie that he had come to admire and despise all in one breath? "I'd think you'd be jumping at the chance to get into Tseng's pants instead of mine."

She tore herself away from him and shoved him back in the process, turning her back to him. "Get out of my office," she snapped.

Reno had her pressed against the wall in seconds, her front away from him. He lowered his lips to her ear and grinned. "I want you to remember that you were the one who offered first."

"Let go of me!" Elena growled out.

His hand slipped over her stomach, squeezed between her body and the wall. "I don't think that's really what you want," he said calmly. His hand made quick work of her belt and then the fly of her suit pants. She struggled with him for only a moment, pushing back against his body as one of her hands gripped his wrist.

"Stop," she nearly whispered.

"I know what you're feeling," he muttered, pressing his forehead against the base of her skull. "I had that same feeling as you, except that I had just turned sixteen when I killed a man for the first time."

Elena paused and closed her eyes. "I knew what the job would be like before I signed up. I just… didn't know I would feel this way," she murmured.

Her hand dropped away from his and she slowly pressed her palms against the wall, pushing back with her body and surrendering the control. Reno placed one hand beside hers and slipped the other down her pants. He skimmed lace and smirked to himself before his fingers slipped past the waistband of her panties, seeking her heat and making her breathing hitch. His long fingers delved into her over and over until she was gasping for breath.

"You get over it in time, but you never forget," he nearly groaned, feeling her slick flesh giving easily. He didn't know why he was giving her what she wanted. Well, he wanted it too, but on his terms, not hers.

"Ugh…" she groaned, her head falling back and hitting his shoulder. His stance shifted and his fingers hit a spot that had lights exploding behind her closed eyes. She kept her mouth tightly shut as her body throbbed around his fingers rhythmically.

His fingers slowly slid out of her and trailed up her thigh and stomach, making Elena shiver at the loss. She found herself blinking when he suddenly stepped back and away from her. Her cheeks were flushed as a result of her orgasm and her embarrassment. "Wh…" she trailed off, not voicing her question but looking completely confused.

Reno let out a long sigh, though his body was aching and screaming at him for not taking the release that was being offered to him, he shook his head. This was the first time was turning down sex. Had he gone mental? "You're trying to cope and shit. I won't take advantage of you now, no matter what stories you hear around here about me," he muttered, his eyes on hers as she fixed her rumpled clothing.

She looked angry as she jerked the zipper of her pants up and then fixed her belt. "Get the fuck out," she snapped, surprising him with the fact that she had cursed at him again. She seemed too goody-two-shoes to be cursing.

Reno shook his head and ignored the fact that he was still very much hard; seeing Elena get off would work to feed his fantasies for a while; he had to remind himself that a few minutes ago he had still hated her. "When you're done feeling sorry for yourself and your head is clear, look for me. I'll fuck you nice and hard then," he said callously, before walking out of her office, leaving her behind fuming.

Reno remembered that after walking out of her office, he had needed a while alone in his own office with the door locked. That had been the first time he had realized that he hadn't truly hated her. She hadn't taken him up on his offer after that, but he had been able to sense the tension between them, even when he could sense her attraction to Tseng.

Well, it still irked him that she had come in to be his replacement but had stayed once he had been back on his feet. They had worked together to stop AVALANCHE and though the rookie had been more trouble than she should've been, she had grown on him. Even Rude managed to smile when she was around, and that was a true accomplishment. Reno wondered sometimes if Rude had been born without any facial expressions. Though they no longer worked in ShinRa, doing the old president's dirty work, they were still Turks. They were still unified under Rufus Shinra, one of the men he had come to admire and see as a friend, even when he kept up the role of the strict boss. Reno leaned back against the chair in the WRO office he and the rest of the Turks were sitting around in. They were supposed to be getting briefed on a mission, but his brain had decided to go on a little walk down memory lane as he watched Elena sitting quietly to Tseng's right.

He watched her silently as she fidgetted, biting her nails, pushing her hair behind her ear, and picking invisible lint from her suit. She was bored, Reno knew. How he knew so any of her mannerisms was a long story. He was a very observant man. Elena's eyes darted up to meet his and he quirked an eyebrow at her, watching her eyes slant a little more in a flat look. He smirked and watched her own eyebrow rise in question. His eyes blatantly slid to her completely covered chest and she cleared her throat, sitting up straighter as her hands closed the lapels of her suit as far as they would go.

Reno smirked to himself and lazily adverted his attention towards Tuesti and Rufus, who were now discussing things a little distance away from them. Elena stood to grab a bottle of water from a table behind him and Reno darted his eyes to Tseng, who was watching Elena thoughtfully. He stood and looked his casual self as he approached her. "What's with you and Tseng?" he asked her curiously.

Elena gave him a look and shrugged. "How is that any of your business?" she asked him instead.

"I wanna know if I should start searching for a new bed partner," he said, drawling out the last two words.

She glared at him and refrained from hurling her water in his face. Leave it to Reno to make her feel like a cheap whore. She had always hated it when he did it, but despite that, she always found herself coming back for more. Bastard. "What would you think if I decided to dump you for him?"

Instead of looking angry, Reno let out a snort and grinned. "I'd say it's your loss." He stepped behind her and leaned in to whisper in her ear. "And I'd wish you luck in finding someone who can get you to come as hard as I can."

Elena grit her teeth in anger as her cheeks flushed red. There was no way in hell she would verbally agree with him, even though she knew he was right. No one had ever gotten the reaction from her that he had. "Tseng asked me to dinner," she said quietly.

"Oh?" Reno asked, not looking at all bothered.

"And I accepted. We're going out this Friday." Her brown eyes darted up to his blue to gauge his reaction. He had pulled a cigarette from his pocket and was lighting it. "You shouldn't smoke indoors," she muttered.

Reno shrugged and took a long drag. "Why are you telling me this?" he asked her.

"Well… because the smoke might bother Reeve," she muttered, shrugging one shoulder.

"Not that," Reno said, rolling his eyes and giving her a look as if he thought she were stupid.

That was another thing she hated. The looks that made her feel as if she were a baby who knew nothing about the world. At times like those, she wanted to slap the tattoos off of his face. "I'm telling you about it because it's the right thing to do. We may only be… screwing… but I won't screw Tseng behind your back," she muttered.

Reno sighed and finished his cigarette rather quickly; he had been flinging the ashes onto a small glass plate that had been holding various packets of sugar for coffee that he had overturned on the table. "I don't care what you do with your life, Elena. It's not like we're married," he said with a snort. "We keep this casual and to relieve stress. Wasn't that what you wanted from the beginning?" he asked.

Elena nodded and took another sip of water. "I guess I forgot who I was talking to," she said with a roll of her eyes. She was silent for a moment before she turned her head and looked at Rufus to see if he was done. In the process, her eyes met Tseng's and she found a small smile tugging at her lips.

Reno noticed the near inconspicuous look that passed between them and felt his eyes narrow. Tseng hadn't paid attention to her in the entire time she had worked at ShinRa. What had changed now? "We still on for tonight?"

Elena hesitated before nodding. "Don't be late. You know how much it gets on my nerves when you're more than an hour late," she snapped.

"Anticipation makes it all the more sweeter," he murmured with a wink. "Or did you forget how many times you…"

Elena slapped her hand over his mouth and shoved him back, a grin sneaking its way onto her face. "I don't need a reminder," she said, trying not to smile. Despite all that she hated about him, there were times when he made her laugh or smile despite his crudeness. She dropped her hand when she caught Tseng watching them. "Don't be late," she whispered again before she took her seat as Rufus and Reeve approached them.

Reno sat down and sighed in boredom. Letting his mind drift once more. His memories took him to the moments after Meteor, when they had thought that the president had died along with his empire. The following night, exhausted and trying to handle what had happened, and the fact that their colleagues could be dead, had been the first time he and Elena had finally given into the attraction they had tried to ignore. To this day, Reno supposed that it had been more for comfort than for actually feeling the need to satiate their desires.

He hadn't gotten word from either Rude or Tseng that they were alive. The president… it was more than likely that he had died in the explosion. Meteor had been banished, but Midgar had gone with it. He was left standing in the middle of the rubble of a once great city and empire, feeling at a loss as to what to do. He hated not being in control of his actions and his future. What would he do now that he was very possibly the only person left from the Turks?

Reno rubbed at the blood trailing from a wound on his cheek and sighed. He was about to turn and begin to make his way towards where the remains of ShinRa were, when he heard quiet sobbing. He didn't feel like he wanted to get involved, especially after the feeling of guilt that he had kept bottled up inside had broken along with the rest of his life, but he moved towards the sound and the first thing he spotted was blonde hair matted down with red and dirt.

"Laney," he breathed before he could stop himself.

Her eyes snapped up from where she had been kneeling on broken remains of some home and she jumped to her feet, racing into his arms. "I don't care what you have to say, but I'm going to cry now," she muttered against his neck, relief flooding her when his arms came around her.

"Rude and Tseng?" he asked her quietly. Elena shook her head and his eyes focused on the red he had seen. "You're bleeding," he muttered, sitting her down on the nearest place and inspecting the head wound. He tore off the material inside his suit and used it to dab at the cut, seeing as they didn't have any way to get first aid at the moment.

"I got hit by falling debris before I could get somewhere safe. I had to dig my way out," she muttered, drying her tears with the edges of her sleeves. Her motions only managed to smudge the dirt on her cheeks and Reno noticed how her hands were scraped and bleeding too. "Why would you heal me? I figured that if I were hurt, you'd leave me to die," she said with a small smirk.

Reno mirrored it and shook his head. "You've grown on me this entire time. Haven't you noticed?"

Elena shook her head and winced when his hands brushed harder against the wound because of her movement. "I thought that you'd been avoiding me after… after…" she trailed off.

"We never did talk about what happened," he said casually.

"That's because you were too busy hating me and acting as if it hadn't happened," Elena replied with a shrug, staring in dismay at the ruins around them. She let out a mirthless laugh. "You want to talk about it now?"

Reno shook his head. "First, I think we need to look for Tseng, Rude, and the president," he muttered.

"You think they're still alive?" she asked, her breath hitching.

"You underestimate them all, though it seems unlikely that the president survived this," Reno replied, pulling Elena to her feet and guiding her towards a nearby structure that seemed to have survived Meteor.

"Tseng was still hurt in the hospital. I went there to see if there was anything left," she said quietly. When Reno looked at her, she shook her head. "Nothing. I was with Rude, but he left me to go after the presidet and I... I don't know..." she said, her eyes watering.

Reno just ignored the implications of her words. He couldn't let himself believe that the man that had become his best friend could've been dead at the moment. Kicking open the door and carefully looking around to see if there was anyone inside, Reno was satisfied that there wasn't. Half of the building had crumbled down, while the other half seemed safe enough for them to rest in for a moment. "We'll search for them after I can properly clean your wound," he said.

Elena nodded and watched him as he gathered supplies from a stranger's home. He brought out a first aid kit from the bathroom and stopped when he found a bottle of vodka. He handed it to her and Elena shook her head. "We need to go looking for them, and I can't be drunk if I want to help," she said.

"I'll go. You rest. Just don't fall asleep too quickly. I don't think you have a concussion, but it may do you harm if you sleep," he said, sitting her down at the breakfast table and starting the process of cleaning the wound with proper materials.

She winced as the vodka slid down her throat, but the pleasant buzz was coming over her and the pain began to fade away as Reno coverd the wound with gauze and started with her hands. Elena hadn't even noticed how damaged they were. She was in a state of shock, she assumed. "I want to help," she protested as he made for the door.

Reno shook his head. "Stay here," he muttered. When she looked ready to protest, he crossed the room and stood before her, their noses almost touching. "For once in your life, just sit here and wait," he snapped. "You've always been good at taking orders. Do it now."

Elena glared at him and finally nodded. Before she could say more, his lips crashed against hers and caught her by surprise. He swallowed her grunt and slipped his tongue quickly into her mouth, trying to reassure her as best and the only way he could. He turned abruptly and then left, leaving Elena to catch her breath and to clutch the bottle of vodka in her hand to her chest. She let out a sigh and tilted the bottle up to her lips.

Finding himself standing outside her apartment, he used the hidden key she thought he didn't know about. He let himself inside and made his way straight into Elena's bedroom. The sound of the shower running and her off-key singing made him smirk. He opened the door to her bathroom and caught sight of her curves behind the fogged up glass door. He slowly began to pull off his own clothing and he quietly slipped into the shower behind her.

His eyes drifted from the back of her neck to her smooth, rounded behind. His hands came up to squeeze and Elena whirled around, slamming him into the far wall of the shower. "What the hell? How did you get in?" she snapped, blinking the water from her eyes as her arm dug into his neck.

Reno smirked at the expression on her face and was proud to see that she was always on her guard. "Did you forget that I am a Turk and I know of various ways to get into any place I wish? Including you?" he murmured, holding her gaze.

Elena refrained from grinning when the water flattened Reno's hair. "I don't remember inviting you in anywhere."

"But you aren't complaining or throwing me out either," he said before twisting her arm behind her back and forcing her against the shower wall to their right. His hands groped and slid over her smooth, creamy skin, his lips skimming her neck, down her shoulder, and lower.

She let out a shaky breath and clutched at fiery red hair, his hands quickly getting down to business. Soon enough, her chest was being pressed against the cool tile of her shower and she was gasping out in pleasure when he slid into her tightly from behind.

"This reminds me of the first time I ever considered fucking you," he said harshly, his teeth digging into her shoulder, not hard enough to hurt, but enough for her to feel how on edge he was.

"Does it bother you that I'm going out with Tseng?" she asked breathlessly.

Reno began to pull out of her welcoming body and pushed forward again, hearing her cry out his name loudly. "I don't give a fuck," he snarled.

Elena tried to swallow the long moan coming from her throat as he began to slam into her in earnest, but only half succeeded. What was it about him that made her go shit crazy in mere seconds? "If he wants to take me back to his place to fuck me, you won't care?" she asked loudly, arching into him.

Reno's thrusts became rougher and his fingers dug into her hips as she began to clench rhythmically around him. "This is Tseng we're talking about. He's a prude."

Elena let out a laugh that was half a moan. "That's what you think," she replied.

Reno paused, buried inside her to the hilt as she broke and tightened umbearably around him. "You've given him a preview already? Damn, you are a whore," he hissed, refraining from following her over the edge, even when his body felt as if it were on fire.

She tried to push away from the wall, but he wouldn't let her. "Get off me, asshole!"

He smirked at her cursing. He truly had been a bad influence on her. She cursed fluently now and was not afraid to stand up to him. "You truly want me to get off without you getting off again? Laney, must I remind you that once isn't enough for the both of us?" he asked, his lips sucking at her neck.

Elena stopped struggling and tried to get her breathing under control. "Let me turn around to look at you," she murmured.

Reno narrowed his eyes in thought and then moved back, allowing her to turn in the circle of his arms. "If you wanted someone else to do you, you should've just told me to back off," he snapped.

Something unreadable passed behind her eyes and it irked Reno that she had come to learn how to hide her thoughts from him. He had gotten used to reading her every expression back when she had been a rookie. "I like the way you do me," she murmured, leaning forward to and cupping his face. Blue eyes watched her silently as her thumbs smoothed over the markings on his cheeks before her lips moved to his, kissing him gently. Reno's eyes closed against his better judgment and he let out a slow, calming breath.

If there was one thing he truly hated about her, it was the fact that she had a way of kissing him that put him at ease if he allowed her the chance to get close enough to him. Elena drew back and watched with a slight smile as his eyes only opened a sliver. He then watched her as she smiled wickedly, completely aware of the effect she had on him, and leaned in to suck at his bottom lip the way he liked. His eyes were on hers, watching her intently as she pressed her naked chest to his. "You're the one who has been making a big deal out of this," she said, turning off the water and slipping out of the shower.

Reno scowled as she left before he could stop her. He followed, not bothering with a towel as he dripped all over the floor and the carpet in her room. He couldn't help the way his eyes trailed over her body as she dried herself off with a towel, memorizing her curves in case she did decide to leave him. She ended with wiping the water from her face and turned to look at him. "We're going out to dinner," she said again. "That doesn't mean that I'm going to automatically sleep with him and end whatever it is that we have," she said offhandedly.

"Aren't you in love with him?" Reno asked, looking bored. Did he really need an answer to his question?

Elena took a seat on her bed and crossed her legs, placing the large towel over her front. It was a moot point; Reno had seen all that she hid under her suit many times already. "I don't know anymore," she admitted. "He… waited too damn long," she said under her breath, averting her gaze. She couldn't believe what was coming out of her mouth, but she found that it was very much the truth.

He didn't know what he felt after hearing her words, but he knew that it wasn't something that he wanted to deal with. Instead, Reno moved over to her and caught her lips in his, pushing her back into her bed as he covered her body with his. He wouldn't admit it to no one, not even to himself, but it bothered him a great deal than he was willing to admit that she would be going out with Tseng. He would never ask her to not go out with Tseng, but the thought had crossed his mind more than once. He just decided to ignore it for the time being. "What do you want, Elena?" he asked her instead.

Her eyes met and held his, already the color of dark, melted chocolate. "You," she said simply.

His mind went back to the past again, his body working on autopilot as he probed her for entry once more. He didn't want to care about her. A part of him still hated her, but when he gazed into those eyes, every single feeling he had forced himself to not think about came roaring back to life in his head. He needed to just stop thinking!

Nothing. No sight or word from Rude, Rufus, or Tseng. They couldn't be dead. He refused to believe it. Rufus had been trying to fix what his father had twisted and corrupted, but he'd barely had any time. He just… couldn't be dead…

Stepping into the room where he had left Elena, he found her looking pale and dead on the couch in the living room. Rushing forward, he touched a finger to her pulse and felt a sigh of relief escape him before he could stop it. Shaking her, he frowned when it took her a while to open her eyes. "What the fuck did I say?" he snapped at her.

"Not so loud!" she exclaimed. "I think I drank more than half of the bottle," she said with a giggle.

Reno forced air out through his nose, making his nostrils flare when he realized that Elena was drunk. "I didn't find them," he said, taking the bottle from her and chugging back for more than ten seconds. He swallowed with a hiss and noticed her watching him silently. "We'll keep looking."

Elena nodded and sat up slowly, making her way towards the bedroom. "You… still wanna talk?" she asked as she began to undo her suit and dress shirt slowly.

Reno watched her shed articles of clothing and turned towards the front door. He stood and jammed a chair under it, making sure that no one would be able to enter through there. He also checked the windows to make sure that there were no more points of entry and then sighed in satisfaction. He pulled off his own clothing and followed her into the dark room, noticing that she had sat down on the bed and was waiting patiently for him. "Can't be on your back," he muttered.

"Why?" she asked in confusion.

"Your head," he said, pulling her up and turning her around. He forced her onto her hands and knees over the bed and followed her. "There's no turning back from this, Elena," he murmured, his fingers slipping inside her to prepare for what was to come.

Elena let out a shaky moan and nodded. "I know what I'm getting into," she murmured, her pounding head hitting the mattress.

He didn't wait another second. Withdrawing his fingers, he plunged in without warning, hearing her cry out whether in pleasure or pain he did not know. His rhythm was unmerciful and he didn't even stop when a long moment later she shuddered around him, her voice calling out his name in a high pitch. He continued, grunting with the effort, trying to cling to the pleasure in order to ignore the fact that maybe his colleagues, his friends, may have been dead. In his world, only he and Elena had survived and it hurt more than he thought it would. Damn it. He had grown emotionally attached when he had promised--forced--himself not to.

"Fuck, Elena!" he called out as she tightened around him once more, her forehead pressed into the bed, her hands choking the sheets underneath them. His body shuddered in pleasure, his fingers digging into soft skin as lights danced behind his closed eyes.

Falling to her side, Reno let out a long, shuddering breath and watched Elena turn on her side to look at him, her cheeks flushed and her eyes half-open. "You're not alone, Reno," she said, her words echoing his thoughts. One of her hands came up to smooth over his cheek, tracing the red mark over his cheekbone.

Before he could stop his own body, he had drawn her into his arms and clung to her tightly for the remainder of the night, or the early morning, he didn't know at that point. It was the first time since he had met her, that he didn't hate her for who she was. She was all he had left at the moment.

The president, Tseng, and Rude had found them nearly an entire week later. Rude had been the least hurt of them all, and he had been the one who had rescued Rufus from certain death and had healed him with Cure materia. They had found Tseng, who had escaped the hospital on his own, and all three had been living together in some ruins, trying to find both Reno and Elena. All Reno could remember of those days was the sound of Elena's breathing while she slept, while she cried, and while they fucked. He had woken up at random times just to hear her breathing and to make sure that she hadn't just died on him in the middle of the night. He had been happy and relieved to see the boss and the other two men, but he hadn't missed how Elena had reacted to seeing Tseng again. She had even hugged Rude, who had looked uncomfortable but had patted her back affectionately.

After that, the next two years had passed in a near blur as they tried to rebuild their lives. ShinRa had had many locations around the world that had survived, but Rufus had made sure that the company remained out of the spotlight as he tried to find the best way to help right what his father had wronged. During this time, Elena had learned too damn quickly how to manipulate him, but in the end, they manipulated each other. If he had been less cynical and had believed in the whole love and marriage thing, he would've thought that Elena was the perfect woman for him. As it was, when she had become his "casual" lover, he hadn't bothered sleeping with anyone else. No one knew, except maybe Rude, but the bald man didn't speak unless spoken to, and even then, he did not gossip.

The sensations began to overpower his unusual thoughts and a long groan left him. The noises passing through her pink lips were enough to make him shudder and try to keep his body in check. His hands settled on her hips as she rode him, her body gleaming with sweat; she'd need another shower once they were done, he mused. "If…" she started, but stopped to bite her lip as he arched his hips against her.

"What?" Reno asked, breathless.

"I don't have to go…" she whispered, moving forward to seal her lips against his. She had become accustomed to his taste now. Though she had hated the taste of his cigarettes, once they had started sleeping together he had gone through the trouble of making sure that his breath wasn't so bad. She didn't know why he even bothered if he still pretended to hate her. Still, she found his taste more than appealing. Mint, poisonous, and dangerous.

Reno pushed her back so that she was upright again. "I won't ask you for some shit like that. I told you, we just fuck," he panted. "Stop trying to make this something that it isn't," he snapped.

Elena stopped moving and glared at him. She stood from the bed on shaky legs and walked away without another word.

"What the fuck? I haven't gotten off!" he yelled, moving off of her bed and following her out into the living room.

She had pulled on a robe to cover her nakedness and was in the kitchen, grabbing a glass of water. "I just… I can't believe that after all this time you don't give two damns about me," she said, nearly cracking the glass as she slammed it onto the counter.

Reno sighed in irritation and shook his head. "Elena… you were the one who wanted this to be purely physical. Why the fuck are you changing your mind now? Now that you finally have his attention?" he asked, running a hand through his still damp hair in exasperation. Even nude he managed to stand there and look as if he were wearing an expensive suit.

"I…" she trailed off, not meeting his eyes. "I didn't even know that I was beginning to get over him."

"Don't do this, Elena," he said with a heavy sigh. He really didn't want her to start to imagine a future for them. It just wouldn't happen. He had stopped imaginning a future for himself a long time ago. Dreams coming true and happily ever afters didn't happen. The world was a shitty place that wouldn't give a guy like him a chance to be happy.

"Don't do what?" she asked softly.

"Don't believe that you're actually falling for a guy like me. I'm never going to settle down or any shit like that. I'm not good for you," he said. His hands itched with the need to find his cigarettes just to have something in his hands, but he refrained and stood there, looking very much casual and with not an ounce of anxiety showing.

Elena just shook her head. Her hair was already drying in stringy clumps, since she hadn't bothered to brush it. "Are you going to pretend, then, that the knowledge that I may end up sleeping with Tseng did not affect you?"

Reno looked away from her inquiring eyes and shrugged. "… 'course it's gonna bother me, but I have no claim over you. I'll get over it. We aren't together, so why does it matter? You had to move on some time, and Tseng at least is a more honorable man who will not just use you to for an occasional tumble in the hay."

"You really don't have a heart, do you?" she asked, frowning angrily at him. When he didn't answer, she stormed into her room and came out a short while later, carrying his clothing. She hurled them at him and pointed towards the door. "This is where we end, Reno."

"Why? Because I can't love you?" he asked her with a scowl.

"No," Elena spat. "Because you won't even try!"

He let out a bitter chuckle and shook his head incredulously. What the hell had happened? He had thought that they had been okay where they had stood together. They had no commitment, just a kind of friends with benefits thing going on. "Did you… fall in love with me?" He was truly curious, but he didn't think that her answer would influence his view on love and relationships.

Elena glared at him and shook her head. "What does it matter? You don't care, right? Would you even care if I died? Did you even care when you left Tseng and me at the Northern Crater?" The last had been a question that had plagued her for more than a year now. She had thought that by this point they would've moved passed being just fuckbuddies, but if he didn't even want to try to move forward, that meant that he didn't even care a little, didn't it?

Reno's eyes narrowed at her questions. "I have never let anything get in the way of my job. In that moment, preventing those freaks from grabbing Jenova's head mattered more than anything. I didn't want to leave either of you there." He rubbed a hand over his face before pulling on his boxers and pants. "Fuck… is that what you think I did? That I left you two there because I didn't give a shit?"

Elena didn't reply. Instead she turned her back to him. "You're dressed. Get out. Don't call me and limit the time you speak to me at work," she said softly. She heard him sigh and pull on his shoes before he walked towards the door.

He opened it and paused. "I thought that you knew that I wasn't a commitment type of guy. You've known me for years now and you should've known. I've been a Turk too long and do you want to know something sick? My body counts started before I even joined ShinRa. I can't love anyone, Elena," he said before he left, slamming the door behind him.

Tears brimmed in her eyes and she wondered when she had grown so emotionally weak. Weakness in the Turks meant that you would soon be dead if it didn't change. She had found out that all this time that Reno had been her "lover" he hadn't slept with anyone else. The little bit of knowledge had been enough to spark that little feeling in her chest to life. She hadn't wanted anything serious from him, but when he held her, touched her, kissed her, it had made her wonder if something more could've grown between them. How wrong she had been.

Angrily wiping away her tears, she headed towards the bathroom. If he wanted nothing from her, fine. She would do all in her power to make him see that she didn't need him. Besides, she and Tseng had a date coming up that would show Reno that she didn't need him in her life.

……

Sitting at the Healin Lodge, nursing a glass of the hardest scotch that the president had been able to find, he let his mind wander. They hadn't gotten word of Tseng and Elena since they'd gotten their hands on the head from hell. Again, that little nagging feeling in his chest told him that maybe they wouldn't be coming back. He sighed heavily and rubbed his forehead where his goggles usually laid.

His phone began to ring and he grabbed it quickly, his heart thudding in his chest. The voice that came through was unfamiliar. "Who the fuck is this?" he snarled.

"Valentine," replied the voice. "I am in a town near the Forgotten City. I brought Tseng and Elena here. Come to the Inn and I will be waiting for you," he said before hanging up.

After relaying Valentine's phone call to Rufus, Rude had stayed while he took the chopper towards the town. He knew exactly where they were and it would be about an hour there and another back. Sighing heavily and ignoring the fact that he'd had something to drink before flying, he was happy that he hadn't decided to get stone faced drunk on that night.

When he landed on the outskirts of the town, he nearly ran the entire way towards the inn. His breathing was hard and his thoughts were running rampant through his head. They were alive and he couldn't shake the feeling of guilt that hadn't risen in a while. He had left them to fend for themselves and they could've died. He ignored the stitch in his side and pushed on, thinking that maybe it was time to lay off of the cigarettes. "They're alive," he muttered as he raced up the front steps of the inn. The innkeeper approached him, but Valentine beat him to it.

"They are in room twelve on the second floor," he said, handing over the key. "They were almost dead when I found them. I healed them as best I could," Vincent said in a low tone.

Reno nodded and looked at the key. "Uh… yeah... ya know…" It wasn't at all easy for him to thank anyone. It had been a while since the words had passed his lips.

Vincent nodded once. "You're welcome," he said before he was out the door.

Reno just watched him go for a moment before he raced up the stairs and into the room. The lights were dimmed and there were two separate beds occupied. He spotted Tseng's dark hair and even paler skin than normal. He was bruised but otherwise healed. Next he stepped over to Elena's bed and inspected her with a gentleness he hadn't been aware he even had. There were bandages around her shoulders and arms, her face was bruised, and her neck had bruises in the shape of fingers around it. "Laney…" he murmured, watching as her eyebrow twitched.

He sat at the edge of her bed and hesitantly touched her fingers. They were red and with healed wounds as well. He realized that by the look of her hands, they could've possibly been broken. He had known the pain of torture long ago, but he had gotten through it and had joined the Turks. He had made sure that he never found himself in the same situation again. He couldn't even imagine what it had been like for Elena. As he smoothed her sweat matted blonde hair away from her eyes, he saw them open blearily. She looked exhausted and in pain still. He swallowed hard when he saw tears in her eyes. "Tseng?" she asked softly.

Reno looked towards the next bed and ignored the twinge in his gut that the other man had been the first thing on her mind. "He looks okay. He's still alive," he said with a faint smirk. "Depending on how you're both tomorrow, we'll get back to Healin. The boss has been tearing out his hair in worry."

Elena nodded and her fingers found his. "I'm glad you're… here… to watch over us now," she said before her eyes closed again.

He spent the next hours at her bedside, occasionally checking to make sure that Tseng was still breathing too, but his eyes remained glued to Elena's face for as long as he could. The nightmares that plagued her would take a long time to fade away, but he knew from experience that she would get better. He sat at her side and held her hand in his as she dreamt of her captivity, not being able to do much more. By the time morning came around, Tseng had woken up and had gotten to his feet on his own. Reno didn't know what to make of the way he had looked at Elena while she slept, but he ignored the feeling in his stomach once more and was glad--as best he could--that both he and Elena had survived.

He should've known then that the whole time they had been kept and tortured by the remnants had left some sort of connection between Elena and Tseng that he couldn't and wouldn't ever understand. He had known then that he should've left her alone. They could've avoided the argument they'd had and Elenea would've still been mooning over Tseng. Still, watching her brown eyes open and look at him, clearl and lucid the following morning at the inn had been one of the best days in Reno's life, though his brain refused to process it as such.

Laying in his bed, in his messy room, in the apartment he shared with Rude, Reno refused to even consider why he had held Elena while Tseng had taken a shower the following morning after he had arrived in the small town. She had needed someone to hold her and he had been conveniently near by, or so he told himself. She hadn't cried, and Reno had realized that some of the little innocence that had been left in her--even after he had taken a chunk away himself--had died during the time they had been captured. Something in her had broken and though he didn't know exactly what it was, he had missed it. Her physical wounds had healed, but she had returned a different woman. She had become more cynical and prone to cursing afterwards.

There was a knock at his door and Reno grunted as he watched Rude open the door slightly and lean against the door frame. "Out again?" he asked.

"I went to a bar," Reno muttered, staring at the ceiling.

"Liar."

"What?"

"You're still coherent enough to answer my questions. Where were you?" Rude asked.

Reno shrugged. "Fucking."

Rude just grunted. "I hope Elena can walk properly tomorrow," he said flatly.

The redhead wasn't too surprised that Rude knew about his little situation with Elena. The bald man was the only person Reno had ever been able to call his best friend who knew him inside and out. "We broke it off," he replied casually.

"Why?"

"She was getting too attached. It'll be better this way in the long run," Reno replied, putting both his hands behind his head. "I'm not good for her."

"I… hope you did not break her heart," said Rude.

Blue eyes shut at the words, but he shook his head. "Naw… but she was pretty mad. I don't think we'll find a solution to this. It don't matter though. She'll be better off without me," Reno said.

Rude wondered if Reno was trying to convince himself more than him, but he wisely said nothing. "Want a ride to work tomorrow?"

"Yeah, thanks man. Just remember that I take my coffee with two sugars and milk. Not that powder crap," he said with a smirk.

"Get your own damn coffee," Rude said, his voice with a touch of amusement. He shut the door and left the other man to his thoughts once more.

Reno sighed to himself and scratched his head. Elena would be better off without him. It was a given. He just didn't know if there would be anyone who compared to the blonde woman in his thoughts. He didn't even know if he would get over her after having had her in his life.

……

Following the defeat of Omega, they had been invited to Seventh Heaven to celebrate, even though the man of the hour was missing. Valentine had returned from his weeks of solitude and only then had AVALANCHE allowed themselves the chance to celebrate once more. It had been a miracle that the "heroes" had invited them to party. Reno had never been one to turn down booze, and so he had been more than happy to party with people who had been their enemies once upon a time. He hated them for almost getting him killed, but if it hadn't been for them, he never would've met... nevermind. Damn it if beer always made him think more deeply than was necessary. He looked around the room and his observations had a smirk curling at his lips. Mysteriously, the loud mouthed ninja had disappeared at around the same time Valentine had.

Reno wondered if they were off in some dark corner, fucking each other's brains out. He had seen the looks passing between the two, and Ifrit knew that Valentine needed to get laid after thirty years of solitude. Speaking of getting laid… his eyes skimmed the bar until they landed on a blonde head. He watched her chat with Tifa and the scientist, Highwind's wife. Elena nodded and her cheeks were flushed thanks to the wine she had been drinking all evening. She turned almost immediately to look at him and she smiled, making her eyes twinkle in her face.

She winked at him once and slightly raised her drink at him, a smile tugging at her lips. He nodded slightly and ignored the way his heart skipped a beat and how his hands twitched. He was just imagining things. No good would come of believing that they would finally find peace. People like him--with his type of past--didn't get happy endings. They just got glimpses of "what ifs" and memories of what their lives could've been if they had taken a different road or approach.

Reno knew that he was staring, but he couldn't help himself. Though he had seen Elena without her clothes on countless of times over the years, he had never seen her in a dress. She had changed into it there at the office. It was a one-piece silk dress that matched his eyes. He wondered if she had done it deliberately to taunt him. And the shit was that it was working. His body was reacting like it normally did when he saw her looking enticing. Her hair was a sleek blonde waterfall, still short, but very well taken care of and shiny. On her feet were some high heels that put her close, but not quite, near Tseng's height.

His gut clenched when she approached Tseng with a smile on her beautiful face. He had never been able to deny just how beautiful she was, but he had forced himself to only look at her physical beauty, because if he took the time to notice her smile, or the way her eyes shined when she was happy or how they darkened in anger, he'd be well and truly screwed. As it was, he had still found himself noticing all the little things.

Tseng took her hand and kissed her knuckles, more than likely complementing her on her looks because she was blushing. As they began to walk down the hall, Elena turned to look at Reno, taking him in as he stood in the hallway, watching them go and leaning casually against the wall.

Her eyes betrayed her and Reno realized that when she wanted to, she allowed him to read her like an open book. He had taught her well, he mused. In her eyes was the answer to the question he had asked her before she had broken off their casual thing. And it was a yes. She loved him. Despite all his stupid mistakes, and his asshole attitude, she had found it in her heart to love him. It made him even a tiny bit happy to know that working for ShinRa hadn't entirely ruined her. Reno sighed to himself and looked away from her, noticing the way her hand tightened on the handbag she had been holding.

He had resigned himself long ago to just keep memories of the good things in his life. And thankfully, the thought of Elena always brought a good feeling in his chest where a heart should've been. If she found a way to finally be happy--because she deserved it--he would feel no guilt for letting her go and even hurting her a little. She deserved better than him. Despite that though, he knew that at the end of the day he still hated her more than he hated himself.

But damn it if he hadn't broken his own rule and fallen in love with her all at the same time.

Not a happy ending, and it leaves room for a sequel if I'm ever inspired to write it. Well… too much? Not enough? Okay? Anyone out there? Hopefully it wasn't too bad. It's just that the idea slithered into my brain and I couldn't concentrate on any of my other fics until I got it out, so here it is. I seriously like reading Elena with any of the Turks, including Rufus. Dunno, but she's a character I like, though she does come after Yuffie and Tifa as my favorite. Anyway, thank you so much for checking out this fic and don't forget to let me know how I did. If there are any obvious errors, I apologize. It's way past midnight here and I've been awake since very early in the morning. Have a great weekend everyone and I'll try to update my fics soon. See you around!

Joey

(Edited 3/10/09)