AN: A quick Cloud/Reno oneshot for my friend Kigichi, who deserved some fluff of her favourite pairing. Partially a late birthday present.
Warnings: Language, alcohol, M x M flirting
Reno sat at the bar of the Seventh Heaven, leaning against it for support. Today wasn't going as well as he had hoped. His mission had been a failure – Rude had been shot in the leg, and he'd nearly been ambushed. They'd both got out, but Rude was going to be off work for the foreseeable future, and they hadn't got the information they needed. His partner had been very upset and rather angry. He signalled to Tifa to give him another drink. He took the glass she handed him with shaking hands and tipped it back into his mouth, drinking thirstily
Cloud glanced over at Reno, wondering what the other was doing here, what was wrong with him. He frowned as the other asked for yet another drink, already surrounded by a pile of empty glasses. Reno was already behind on his tab. He walked over, frowning at him.
"Reno, I think it's time for you to leave."
Reno frowned, glaring up at him in annoyance. He smirked suddenly, crossing his arms and pouting childishly.
"Shan't!" He stuck his tongue out, laughing slightly. He smiled weakly again, trying to hide the thoughts that always crossed his mind when he saw Cloud. "Why should I? I got as much right ta be here as anyone else!"
"Because you are a trouble maker." Cloud muttered, staring at him. That was part of the reason, just not the main one. The main problem was that Reno got flirtatious when drunk, and Cloud didn't know how to deal with it. The other offered him things that he didn't know what to make of, that he almost wanted even though he shouldn't have.
"That ain' a reason!" Reno answered, a smirk on his face. "I ain' a troublemaker, not really. An' me being here means the others don't cause a problem, they're scared o' me." He was grinning more now, knowing he had won. He wished Cloud liked him, and hoped that if he annoyed Cloud enough, he'd be friendly just to get him off his back.
Cloud swore under his breath, sitting down beside Reno and getting himself a pint.
"I'd better make sure you don't cause too much bother." He teased the other. Reno smiled weakly.
"I won't be. I've not had the best week." Reno murmured.
"What happened?" Cloud asked gently. He was used to offering a listening ear to those in need, and didn't want to let them down. It was part of working in a bar – people were willing to trust you with their troubles, and you had to try and help them if you could. Reno normally was far too independent for that, but right now, he needed help and Cloud wanted to provide it.
Reno smiled nervously.
"Well, the mission wen' bad. Bunch of crooks nearly kidnapped me, an' they shot Rude. He'll be alrigh', but right now he hates me."
Cloud frowned, trying to work out what to say to the Turk. After all, they were hardly the best of friends, much of their life they had been enemies. But the thought of Reno being injured frightened him.
"You should be more careful."
"Why the fuck'd ya care?" Reno snorted, rolling his eyes when he got no response from Cloud. He hadn't expected it. No one cared about him, about what he wanted. All that mattered was that they got what they wanted from their interaction. His entire life it had been like that. "No one fuckin' cares Cloud. No one gives a shit abou' me." Even Rude didn't care right now, and he was normally the only one on his side.
"I care Reno." Cloud whispered, shoulders shaking a little with the effort of making such an admission.
Reno turned away, a nervous giggle escaping his lips, and ordered another drink. Sure, if Cloud had implied he wanted sex, found him attractive, he could have dealt with that. He'd have flirted, and if it ended up in the bedroom so be it. But Cloud caring, that scared him. It scared him a lot.
Cloud frowned, not letting the other get away with this. He needed to know what Reno felt, and the other laughing at him and ordering a drink didn't help.
"Reno, what's funny? I care." He couldn't keep the hostility from his voice. He really was concerned. He wanted to know.
Reno rolled his eyes, leaning over on his stool to flop against Cloud, letting the other wrap his arms around him. He suddenly felt exhausted, not knowing how to explain it.
"I...Cloud, I don' want love. I don' wan' care." He shivered. "I dunno what the fuck I'm meanta do with them."
"Let me teach you?" Cloud asked softly, hands stroking Reno's sides to calm him down. "If you'll go on a date with me and let me teach you how, I'll talk to Tifa. Get her to cancel your bar tab if you'd like." He hoped this offer would be enough for the other. They'd lose money, but it would be worth it if it could persuade the other to give the two of them a chance.
Reno frowned, wondering how much money he'd save by having no bar tab to worry about. He shrugged.
"If you wanna fuck, yer could jus' ask..." Reno murmured. Cloud shook his head, frowning slightly.
"Reno, I don't want sex. Not yet, not because you want me to do you a favour. You deserve more than that." Cloud spoke calmly wanting Reno to understand "I'm not offering sex. I'm offering a cinema trip and meal, paid for by me, and some conversation from us both." He smiled at Reno. "It's not a bad deal you know..."
Reno smiled and nodded.
"Yer right...it isn't a bad idea...I mean it is, but I ain gonna lose out." He wasn't quite sure why Cloud was offering, but he was willing to give it a try. It didn't mean anything, he tried to tell himself. It was just a night. He'd done a lot worse before. Plus, someone to talk to while Rude was angry did sound good.
Cloud went to talk to Tifa, returning a few minutes later, gently linking his arm with Reno's and heading out of the building with the other. Reno hoped that this wasn't going to be too bad but was feeling much better than before. Rude might not like him anymore, but Cloud did Cloud was his new chance at friendship, and maybe more. The two of them left the bar, the tab forgotten.