"What the hell is wrong with you, Reno? I mean, you can't really think that you can be allowed to continue this behaviour without any repercussions and most especially not in front of his father - even you can't be that dense. Keep it up and there's absolutely no way that Rufus isn't going to come down on you like a ton of bricks. Not necessarily because he wants to but because his father ensures that he has to." A growl of frustration escaped him. "He might still be relatively young but think of the things you were doing when you were his age - or the stuff you were capable of."
Reno scowled, ran his fingers through his hair after pulling off his goggles, throwing them across the floor in disgust, watching dispassionately as one of the lenses cracked. "I know, yo but I swear I can't help it, big guy. The runt just pushes buttons with me that no one else can. He just… has a way of looking at me as though he thinks I'm worse than the dirt on his shoe - or the dead vermin Dark Nation brings in from time to time yo."
Rude sighed and rubbed the top of his head in a manner that suggested extreme agitation. "Can't you just rise above it? Some of these days you're going to push him too far and he's going to snap. Not only will you end up being shot, it will be fatal - and it'll be deliberate. I mean… you enjoy living, right?"
Reno shrugged helplessly before raising his eyes and giving him a look that made Rude want to wrap him in his arms in a tight hug and tell him, yes the world was a shit place most of the time but the good times really did have a tendency to make up for all the crap but, he shook off the notion fast- this wasn't a small child he was talking to, it was a fellow deadly Turk. He sighed as he registered Reno's response because; it made him question just what state of mind his friend was actually in. "…Sometimes?"
Rude looked at him curiously. "You have a job that allows you to employ extreme violence, blow shit up, make out with strangers, do your work drunk and live a lifestyle that most could only dream of. What more could you possibly want?"
The way that Reno avoided looking at him, choosing instead to focus on his feet as he brushed the toes of his unlaced boots along the floor, creating patterns that only Reno could understand, Rude knew that something shocking and bad - at least by Reno's standards - was coming. "Maybe… someone to come home to at night? Not just random strangers but someone who's just for me, yo. Who's there for me despite the shit that I have to deal with on a daily basis - who loves me, not just despite it all but because of it all… who loves me because all the crap is what makes me, ME."
Rude stared at him, speechless. Reno… wild, unwilling to settle down Reno… wanted to settle down. What in the name of the Goddess was going on? Had he entered the twilight zone or something? He only realised he'd stopped breathing when his lungs protested fiercely at their neglect. He drew in a ragged breath and then another. He had a bad, bad feeling.
He shifted his upper body inwards, closer to Reno so he could look into his eyes. To see the truth as it was revealed, see the truth in his eyes in relation to his next words. "You've fallen for someone, haven't you, Reno?"
When the redhead's only reply was for his cheeks to turn red, Rude could only groan, his hand splaying over his face despite the shades. "You've gone and fallen for Rufus, haven't you." It wasn't a question.
Reno glanced up at him then, an almost apologetic look on his face. "Yeah." Less than a second later, his expression had turned surly. Stupid blonde bastard, yo. Why'd he have to make me fall in love with him? Fuckin' pointless, yo."
Rude wanted to bang his own head repeatedly against the wall for oh, the next century at least. He took a few steps away from him then to peer out the window. After a few moments of thought, he turned and looked at his friend again. "You couldn't have chosen someone even remotely available, could you? You know what his father would do to you if he knew you had a thing for his golden boy?"
Reno snorted, did his best to try and lighten the mood but the conversation refused to allow any lightening. He sighed and reached into his pocket for his cigarettes, his agitation increasing when he realised they weren't there. Then he remembered that he'd meant to get some before coming to work. He growled and smashed his fist into the wall in front of him. Hard enough to cause him a little pain, hard enough even to cause his partner to flinch but not really hard enough to do any lasting damage. "Sure I know, Rude. I'm not stupid, yo."
Rude walked back over and shifted in closely to study him, he pulled down his shades so he could see him properly, contemplated saying something to the contrary but it wasn't really like you could choose who to fall in love with so what would be the point? He sighed, patted his friend's shoulder. "Look… you've got to TRY and keep this thing under wraps, Red. If we're really lucky, his father will be dead within a couple of years - if not sooner and then there'll be one less problem." He sighed and shook his head. "Is Rufus even GAY because, I don't recall ever catching him looking at ANYONE - male or female. Who knows - perhaps he has no real interest in sex. Couldn't really blame him with a father like Phinneaus ShinRa, could you?" He shuddered lightly, a look of horror crossing his face momentarily until he could suppress all thoughts of the creep once more.
Reno glared at him. "I don't know, Rude - probably not. When has anything I wanted to happen actually happened, yo?" He seemed to sag for a moment before getting himself under control again and then he shrugged carelessly. "Don't really matter, does it? I'm stuck with this… this THING." He managed to fit so much disgust into that last word that Rude didn't even think Reno was capable of - it actually shocked him a little for a moment. Twice in one day. That was a record even for Reno.
He let out a weary sigh. "Look, you really need to keep this thing quiet. If not for you're your own sake; for the sake of Rufus… His father will punish him too even if he HAS no interest in you. That's just the way that the twisted mind of President ShinRa works." He reached into the inside pocket of his jacket and pulled out a fresh pack of cigarettes, passed them over to the rather miserable looking redhead. "Here - go smoke a lung out." He sighed and shook his head, feeling sad thanks to the sight of his friend sloping off looking defeated.
Phinneaus sat at his desk, his chin resting on his thumbs, index fingers making an inverted v shape in front of his lips as the tips tapped against his nose. He peered at his son, furious. Of course, to the casual viewer, it would look like he was almost the picture of serenity but he knew his father. If one looked close enough, he could see the fury showing through in his eyes. He would hold it in check of course - there were people to see. That at least, was a relief. No fresh bruises today. "This doesn't look good, boy. If you can't control your staff, then I will have to transfer you elsewhere. For all extents and purposes, it looks like you can't control your staff. The display of insubordination from that Turk was disgusting but one you should have handled. How can you expect me to leave this company to you when I pass on if you can't manage even a small section of it?"
Rufus stood before him; doing his level best to look like the dutiful contrite son he most definitely wasn't, letting the old man's words wash over him. He had heard the lecture in different forms too many times in the past already. So many times in fact that he felt sure that he could quote it back to him with only a few words changing each time. He really hoped that Avalanche would get their act in gear soon. Sometimes he felt that were he to pay an army of blind chocobos to dispatch his father, they would have had more luck. How many perfect opportunities had they missed already? He'd truly lost track. The simple truth it seemed, was that the Turks were far too good at their job - this would be admirable if they were looking after him but, looking after the old man, well that was a very different thing altogether. What he needed was a way to break their allegiance to the old bastard.
Phinneaus scowled, his fury becoming more visible now that there were no witnesses as he'd sent Tseng out of the room. It didn't help that he'd noticed his son's faraway look. If there was anything he hated more than stupidity and failure to do tasks he set, it was being ignored - especially by his own flesh and blood. There was no respect shown for him clearly, if he could ignore him in such a manner. Disgusting to think he could treat the man who'd given him life in such an off-hand casual manner. He was more than tempted to beat ten bells out of him but he had a meeting to attend very soon - there really wasn't the time to savour his cries of pain as he begged for mercy. "Were you listening to a single word I said, boy?"
Rufus blinked innocently. "Of course, Sir." He repeated back the last thing he'd heard, filling it in from memory. Fortunately that seemed to please the old shit - which just proved his earlier belief that he could quote almost word for word what his father would lecture at him.
Phinneaus growled in disgust. If he hadn't been able to answer, he would have had a valid excuse to beat his son until he bled. Now he would have to think of something else, some other pretext. "Just get out. Do something with that redheaded bastard. Get him under control." It wasn't a fair expectation - after all, in all the years he'd worked for ShinRa, HE had never managed to control the red-haired bastard but that's what made him so happy. Soon, he would have legitimate reason to discipline his flesh and blood.
Rufus snorted softly but nodded and headed out of the office. As the doors closed behind him, he brushed his hair out of his face agitatedly. His earlier thoughts returned to him and his face turned from angry and just a little relieved to thoughtful. If the Turks were keeping the old man alive, standing in his way and blocking his path to freedom then he needed some way to switch their allegiance. What though?
By the time he got back to his office, he could allow himself a smug grin. He knew just the thing: He'd noted the way that Reno looked at him. He felt fairly certain that was also the reason that he acted up more in his presence in the way he did - to get his attention. Yes, it was annoying when it got him in trouble but also usually quite amusing. This was definitely something that could be used to his advantage.
What better way to guarantee the loyalty of the Turks than by dating one of them? If he could ensure that Reno loved him, he'd most likely do anything willingly for him - the other Turks would no doubt fall nicely into line after him. Their loyalty for each other was stronger even than to the current President. After all, whom else did they have but each other? Who else could ever understand the work that they did, the prejudices they faced and the stress they dealt with on a daily basis?
He sat down at his desk and considered the plan, going over all the angles: Clearly he wouldn't be able to get Reno's allegiance with simply a few kisses. Reno couldn't be that easily won over to his way of thinking or he'd be a bad Turk. No, he'd have to take it all the way… Could he picture himself actually giving all of his body to Reno?
He tapped his fingernails against his desk as he considered it, considered a naked Reno on top of him, bringing him to climax as he filled him completely… he found himself shifting restlessly in his seat to release the pressure in suddenly tight pants. He purred softly though, ignored his body's demands for him to make that image a reality right in that moment. It would be much better if he had to wait.
Oh yes, he could definitely live with this plan. He didn't doubt for a moment that Reno could too. He leaned back in his seat to savour the moment - how often did one manage to come up with such a perfect scheme? A plan with no pitfalls: The Turks' allegiance in exchange for hot sex - and it WOULD be hot sex - with one of their members - to be more exact… with Reno. Yes, he would have to put his plan into action very soon. It would be good to find something enjoyable in this world. Especially when it promised to offer him many advantages.
Reno was fairly certain that he was losing his mind. Had to be. How else did you explain the fact that the Vice-President appeared to be giving him the come-on, flirting heavily with him? Either he was more drunk than usual at work on a Monday morning, he was dreaming or he'd lost his mind. Given that Rude was certain he'd lost his mind years - if not decades - ago, he figured that it wasn't the latter. Given that he usually passed out drunk each night, he never dreamed. Clearly then, he had to still be drunk... Except being drunk didn't usually have this sort of effect.
He cast a sideways glance at Rude - The way that he was boggling at Rufus over the top of his shades assured him that at least that he wasn't imagining things. A few moments later, he was sent out of the room so that Rufus could talk to Reno alone. (Oh, this cannot be good. What the hell did I do?) He wracked his brain for a good few moments, trying desperately to think of something so bad that Rufus would be acting so out of sorts but nothing sprung to mind. It was clear though, that he was a dead man.
He stood stiffly in the centre of the room as Rufus moved to stand in front of him. He didn't even move when Rufus started walking around him, studying him like he was an animal that he was interested in buying. (Definitely not be good.)
Rufus circled around him completely. When the Vice-President was facing him once more, he smirked at the redhead. "I like you, Reno."
Reno blinked. "Uh… thank you Sir?"
Rufus snorted. "Is that all you have to say?"
It dawned on Reno then that he was suffering that horrible fate that Rude had warned him about so recently. "Uh… not entirely sure what else you want me to say, Sir. If you could enlighten me…"
Rufus cut him off with a growl. "Don't play coy with me, Reno." He reached out and traced a finger across the tattoo on the redhead's right cheek. "You're much too smart and too pretty to do that."
Reno did his best to ignore just how good it felt to have Rufus touch him. Instead, he frowned as he looked at the younger man, a heavy frown marring his attractive features. "What are you playing at, Sir?"
Rufus raised his brows in surprise. "Playing at? Why, nothing, Reno. You of all people should know that I stopped playing games when I was around four years of age. I seriously doubt that you're so obtuse that you haven't picked up on my meaning already but alright - if this is how it has to be, I'll spell it out." His finger moved to the other side of Reno's face, tracing over the other tattoo, leaving a scorching trail on the redhead's flesh. "I'm attracted to you and am interested - very interested - in pursuing a relationship with you."
Reno started at him for a moment, uncomprehending. "You… want to have a relationship with me, yo? What's in it for you, Sir?" He tilted his head to the side. "I'm fairly certain that your father would beat holy hell out of you for having a relationship with someone so clearly beneath your social stature."
Rufus rolled his eyes. "Yes Reno, I am quite well aware of him and his mindset but he has nothing to do with me, this situation or what I want at all, in truth. You don't need to make excuses. If you're not interested, just say so. Don't use him as an excuse. As for what's in it for me, I would imagine the same thing as in any relationship - companionship, distraction… sexual release if things get that far and it's what we both want."
Reno smirked at Rufus's last comment, masking his more basic reaction to Rufus's proclamation. He couldn't help but want to grab him and see if he really meant what he said… perhaps a little kissing, some gentle persuasion… He snapped himself out of his reverie and looked at his boss. "Not trying to make excuses, Sir. Just trying to work out what's goin' on inside o' that pretty head o' yours is all, yo. This could get us both in a whole lot a trouble. You sure it's worth the risk?"
Rufus smirked. "Oh, I've considered it from every angle. Believe me, it's absolutely worth it." His smirk only increased as he noted the way that Reno's eyes narrowed speculatively, trying to work out just what the extra angles were that he wasn't quite privy to - yet, at least. "Oh Reno, try not to look so worried. Do you really imagine that this can be bad for YOU?" He shrugged. "I told you already - if you don't want this, it doesn't happen. I won't force you but I would very much like for it to happen."
He leaned in closer to him, stopping short of kissing the older man but it was close enough that Reno could feel his breath tickling his lips, was more than tempted to close the distance, to feel his lips against his finally after months of wanting, dreaming of that moment. "So tell me, Reno… is this worth pursuing?" He frowned suddenly, backed away a little. Reno already missed the closeness.
It was a risk to trust the Vice-President with this, to trust that this wasn't a game or a test but the simple truth in that moment was that Reno had decided it was a risk worth taking. He reached out and grabbed the lapels of the other man's immaculate jacket and pulled him close again, his lips descending to taste the other's.
Phinneaus ShinRa sat at his desk, a bewildered frown on his face. Clearly there was something going on between his son and the red-haired bastard. He couldn't pinpoint exactly what it was but somehow, his son had achieved the impossible and tamed Reno - or at least taught him how to act like a tamed pet. It was remarkable and definitely something he would pay a lot of money to be able to replicate the effect in favour of him - not that Reno was even being too badly behaved to him either. It was just… disconcerting. He also didn't appreciate the fact that the good behaviour was because
He glared at his son as he stood before him, both of them taking the same positions from the previous week when he'd had to lecture Rufus about allowing Reno to behave so badly under his command. "I know you've done something you shouldn't have, boy," For a split second, he thought he saw panic or worry or some other similar emotion cross the boy's features but it was gone long before he could properly identify it. "You of all people should know that you can't expect people like the Turks to be on their best behaviour simply by paying them off, boy – they're far too smart for that… mark my words, that red-headed bastard will revert to form soon enough."
Rufus considered his options at the speed of light, it seemed. He didn't want the old man knowing what he was doing: he would clearly have to have another chat with his errant 'boyfriend' about behaving too well. He'd been too busy enjoying the bewilderment of all concerned due to Reno's good behaviour to realise his father might have noticed. He put on his best 'shamed' face. "I… you're right, father. Of course! I'm sorry. I shall remedy the situation immediately." How he hated apologising to the disgusting bastard before him! The smug expression that crossed the features of the old man made him want to reach across and rake his nails roughly across his flesh, gouging deep into his flesh - and even bone or just... grab the ugly paperweight sitting atop his desk and smash it repeatedly into his face. (All in good time, Rufus… all in good time.)
He tuned out most of the rest of the lecture, nodding at appropriate times, or adding a "Yes Sir," or "no Sir." He made his way out of the office ten minutes later, making a mental note to talk to Reno sometime after they'd finished in the bedroom for the night. Reno reverting to his usual behaviour wasn't necessarily a bad thing of course - he had to admit that, when Reno's pranks didn't get HIM into trouble, he quite enjoyed the chaos that he brought to the building.
Rufus flopped back against his pillow, an arm thrown over his face, blocking out the light from his eyes. He panted with the exertion of everything. For a good ten minutes, there was no sound in the room bar his and his lover's breathing. When finally he recovered, he removed his hand and sat up before looking at the redhead. "Are you trying to get us both in a lot of trouble, Reno?"
Reno sat up too and looked at him, confused. "Wha'? I mean, I know the sex is fuckin' awesome an' all but it's not gonna get us in trouble, yo. Not unless you're plannin' to tell your Da by havin' hot sex with me in the boardroom." He smirked faintly. "Or on his desk… now that could be hot, yo."
Rufus grimaced. "Mmm, tempting as that sounds, I will have to pass." He shook his head. "You're behaving much too well Reno – as well as Elena does in fact - it hasn't gone unnoticed. You can't do that without there being repercussions. Much as I'd like to make our relationship public (yeah, right), we both know how he'd react to that, don't we?"
Reno sighed, suddenly feeling much wearier than the situation warranted. He was getting the brush-off - he knew it. He'd heard the speech enough times already in his life to know it when he heard it. "Yeah, yeah… just get on wi' it, yo."
It was Rufus's turn to look confused. "Get on with what?"
Reno rolled his eyes, somehow managing to convey a life full of cynicism in that one gesture. "This is the bit were you dump me, yo. So just say it so we can both get on with our lives."
There was a sharp pain in Rufus's chest in that moment that he REFUSED to analyse or even think about again because of the words he spoke. "When did I say that we were over? All I'm saying is that we need to be careful - like how we agreed in the first place, remember?" He shook his head. "I'm asking you to start acting like yourself again… you know that things are bad when even HE notices that you're acting differently. I've been too amused by people being freaked out by you not acting normally that I never thought but, he's noticed.
Reno reached for a packet of cigarettes, shook two loose and handed one over to the other man. He smirked as Rufus stopped talking. "So you want me drive people crazy again? Fine, yo. Coulda just said."
Phinneaus scowled and shook his head as he found himself covered in yellow paint - thanks to unwittingly letting his guard down while Reno was behaving himself. He KNEW it couldn't last. He was lucky he was one of the best ever Turks or his ass would have been toast years ago. As it was, he'd be punished suitably for destroying his suit and messing his hair.
Rufus just about managed to hold it together when he was greeted with the sight of his father covered - at least the top part of him - in florescent paint. He listened to the old man rant and rave for a while then nodded in agreement. "Yes Sir. I'll make sure that Reno is suitably penalised - no salary for a fortnight, going directly to you instead." (I guess I'll be making up the difference then. I COULD always let him suffer but it was simply too amusing to punish him for it. So much for no preferential treatment for the Turk I'm sleeping with.)
When he saw Reno later, he did his best to look annoyed or to even keep a straight face. He'd been deeply impressed not just by the sight of his father in florescent paint but in the look of abject but impotent fury on his face. A smile finally found its way to his face and he wrapped arms around his lover. "Nicely done. I hope you took photographs."
Reno smirked and wrapped arms around him in turn. "O' course, yo. I jus' knew you'd want a memento of the pretty, pretty sight." Rufus smirked and released him, took his hand and pulled him to bed to show him just how pleased he really was with him.
When Rufus got word that his father was dead, he didn't know quite what to make of it – all his plans for Avalanche and to sneak his way to power were now defunct and pointless. Just as well really, given how hopeless and incompetent they had been at the job. He found himself in the old man's office, staring sightlessly out of his office, wondering just what in hell he was meant to do now – on the face of things, the answer was obvious – run the company. The truth though, was that he'd spent so long plotting that it seemed to have left a huge void in his life when he didn't have to do that any more. Also, there was the small matter of not actually having any set plans on how to make the world better. He'd merely been focused on the fact that he COULD make it better, if only he could be in charge, his father six feet under.
He barely registered another person entering the room though he did register them wrapping their arms around his waist as they stood behind him: Reno.
He sighed softly – now that his father was gone, he didn't really need to continue the relationship with Reno, did he? He should end it…. he just had to think of a way to do it in a manner that did not overly upset either Reno or the other Turks. He felt a slight pain in his chest that he most definitely wasn't going to identify past 'heartburn'. He figured it was too much hassle right then though – he had enough things to worry about without having to worry about how Reno would react to being dumped so he'd leave it a while – at least until the dust of his father's death had settled.
He placed his hands over Reno's and turned around enough that he could look at him. Reno remained unusually silent, just looking into his eyes questioningly. He didn't ask whatever it was that was bothering him though and he didn't think he had it in himself to ask. Not then at least so he just turned back to stare out of the window.
That night he lay awake, thinking about things. He couldn't settle until he could stop thinking. It finally occurred to him that he needed to discover what Sephiroth was up to; that they needed to follow him and discover that. He nodded in satisfaction. Clearly he couldn't dump Reno until after they'd done that – it wouldn't do to have a stroppy Turk during such a precarious time. With that thought soothing him, he sighed softly and nestled in to Reno. He was asleep in moments. Reno, who had been awake but pretending to sleep whilst his lover was so tense, relaxed and followed down into sleep's depths a few moments later also.
It was Reno that dug him out of the mess of the once great ShinRa building, it was Reno he carried him to safety, it was Reno who nursed him back to health through that and who did his best to care for him, as Geostigma ravaged his body, despite the fact that he was most definitely the grumpiest patient ever. It was also Reno who seemed to be content to deal with it all in exchange for kisses and hugs when the President's mood wasn't so sullen. It was Reno's voice he heard as he fell from the tower, forced to do so by Kadaj but it was Rufus who finally realised, as he rested in the net provided in time by Elena or Tseng, he had become victim of his own ploy and had fallen deeply in love with the redheaded Turk.
It was Reno however, who was the first to be brave enough to say the words out loud.
Rufus could only sigh with relief and cling to him. It would be a further six months before he could say the words back but Reno would wait. He was surprisingly good at waiting when it came to something really important. Besides, he might not have said the words but his actions really told him all he needed to know: The President was as deeply tangled in all this as he was.