This is a comparison between the lives of Reno and Rufus. It starts off with them as small children, and the aim is to follow them through to adulthood. It's rated T for now - that may change as they get older ^^. Some swearing in chapters after this one, some violence.

Disclaimer - Wish I owned, but I don't.

Somewhere in Midgar, Two Children.

Reno Six, Rufus Two

Somewhere in Sector Five, in the slums below the plate, Marnie sat on the edge of the old sagging sofa which was her son's only bed. The frozen peas she had been using to ease the swelling on his temple were slowly thawing, but her hand was already numb with the cold. She put the peas down on the floor and turned back to her son. The little boy was finally asleep, his pale face, marred by black and purple bruises, turned away towards the safety of the sofa back. Marnie reached for the fine-boned hand that rested on the worn blankets, but when she touched it the boy whimpered and pulled away, so she contented herself with stroking his fiery hair that was the same vibrant red as her own. "I have to go to work now, Reno," she whispered. "Don't worry – he won't be back tonight." Marnie hoped that was true. Usually, after one of his rages, Joe would disappear for a few days, and good riddance. He'd go and drink himself into another stupor, or get high, and find a friend or a woman to stay with for a while. When he came back he was almost always sorry. He'd apologise and smile that sweet smile that used to melt her heart, and things would be okay for a few more days or weeks. But he hadn't hit Reno before. Marnie knew she wasn't clever – Joe was always telling her that – but she knew that some things were right and some were wrong, and although she knew that she provoked Joe, and that when he hit her it was usually because she'd done something stupid, he shouldn't take it out on a six year old. That wasn't right. She stood up, and straightened her skirt, and wiped her eyes. She wanted to stay with her son more than ever – to be there if he woke in the night – but she had to work, or there wouldn't be any food and the rent would go unpaid. Waitressing wasn't bad work, but it was hard on her feet after the morning shift in the factory, and she felt very tired. Marnie put on her coat, and bent to kiss her son goodbye. She hesitated for a moment, not wanting to touch the bruises in case she hurt him. Brushing his cheek with her lips, she whispered, "Sleep tight, Reno. I'll be back soon." Then she slipped out of the room, locking the door securely behind her, praying that Reno would stay asleep until at least the end of her shift, at two in the morning.

Somewhere in Sector Eight there was a gallery opening with a champagne reception waiting for her, and Lucia Shinra was not prepared to miss it simply because a recalcitrant two year old refused to sleep. She shook her head at the nanny who had appeared so inconveniently at the door of her dressing room. "I'm sorry Mizuki. Tell him – love and kisses, and mummy will see him tomorrow." She laughed a pretty, trilling laugh that was one of the reasons the most important man on the planet had fallen in love with her, and shook back her famous blonde hair. "You know I would stay if I could – but I'm the guest of honour! Without me the gallery will stay unopened. Rufus has to learn that his parents are important people – just as he will be one day. He'll manage much better if he learns that quickly." The nanny stood in the doorway still, her dark eyes lowered. "Mrs. Shinra – I think – if you could just…pop your head around the door…"

"Nonsense! That would just set him off again. No – you deal with it. I'll see him in the morning." Lucia did not raise her voice; she didn't have to. There was just enough edge in her calm tone to tell the nanny that the subject was closed. The girl nodded and said, "Yes, Mrs. Shinra." Ah – much better. Those were the words Lucia liked to hear.

This one's a bit short - the chapters get more detailed as the boys get older.

Thanks for reading; a review would be great...