Not for the first time in my life, I find myself in a pickle – an expression, which I'm not a hundred per cent sure but I would guess, came from Reeve somewhere down the line. See, my problem is this: I've fallen out of love or lust or whatever it's called with my long time partner. Not a huge deal normally, granted but when you consider who my long-term partner is, you'll understand that this is not a simple worry about an acrimonious break-up but a serious worry for the loss of life on my part.

At this stage, I should probably introduce myself, right? Hi. My name's Reno – I'm a Turk and a complete fuck up because I once upon a time fell for Rufus ShinRa, President of ShinRa… eh, you know the rest so I won't go on. Needless to say though, the idea of breaking up with him is not an enticing one. I don't want to end up dead – either by his hand (or gun rather) or worse, by the hands of my friends and fellow Turks. I am seriously screwed, aren't I?

Actually, looking back on this I have no idea why I introduced myself. It's not like anyone else is meant to read this – just me. Unless this becomes an explanation for my death – an almost-suicide note if you will… shouldn't joke like that, should I? Given the circumstances.

SHIT!

How the hell do you tell someone that you don't want to be with them any more when they can be ridiculously spoilt and grumpy and prone to acts of random violence… and that's on a good day.

Yes, I said it – Rufus ShinRa is a spoilt brat. Not that is the reason that I want out. It really isn't. Behaving like a child never really fazed me because he is so much more than all that too. He's strong and smart and refined and stuff. Not at all suited to me if truth be told – Rude has often remarked that he's my polar opposite. Usually when he says that, I respond my flipping him the bird or sticking my tongue out at him or with a sarcastic "Love ya too buddy, yo." But nah, I know I'm unsuited.

None of that mattered though, not when I wanted to be with him and he with me. Didn't matter. Still doesn't. I couldn't give two damns what anyone thinks of us because we worked… I just realised though, that I don't want to be with him any more.

Well, when I say 'just', this isn't some whim or flight of fancy. I've felt this way for a while now – the spark just isn't there. It hasn't actually been there for about six months I think.

You know what's sad? It was the day he broke down after the whole Geostigma thing… he actually cried with relief I think that THAT particular nightmare was finally over. I think I was the first person to see him like that in years. I SHOULD have been thinking that it was wonderful or something that he could show that side to me; that he trusted me enough to let his guard down in such a way. All I could think about was that I hoped he'd stop crying soon and go to sleep so that I could slip out and have a drink with Rude. How much shittier of a boyfriend could I possibly be?

In case you're wondering, it was a further forty-eight minutes and I then slipped out and got thoroughly wasted. Didn't get back until the early hours of the morning – meaning around five. He was NOT impressed. He's been distant with me ever since actually - apart from the sex. The sex is still as good as ever – if a little angrier than it had been previously - and I KNOW about angry sex.

You were expecting something different maybe? Something tender? Well, forget it. Neither Rufus nor I were capable of tender sex and who would want it anyway? That's for the straight couples, surely. Nah, we were rough and passionate and angry or whatever but never dull. And that's just the way I like it. … Usually.

Somehow though, lately it's just seemed incredibly hollow and boring. The only way for it to feel at all satisfactory is to get wasted – both of us. Doesn't make much sense then, does it? If we both have to get pissed to have sex… something is clearly wrong and one of us is going to have to call it a day. By the looks of things, that someone isn't going to be him… so that means it falls to me.

Great!

I don't know… maybe it's just that I'm getting old but truthfully, the appeal of having drunken sex with someone who glares at you while you curse them out just isn't there for me. It's starting to wear on my soul. Now that is something that I never thought I'd say – I didn't even think that I HAD a soul any more. Then again, perhaps I just presume too much. Maybe it's just heartburn… or wind or something, I don't know. I'm just tired of it. I want…

I want someone that wants to be with me, who doesn't have to get drunk to bother. Someone that doesn't require ME to be drunk so I can suitably insult them to make them want to have sex with me to prove that he's still in charge or whatever the hell it is that drives ShinRa these days. I really don't know.

Of course, there's always the possibility that what Tseng says is true: That my distancing myself from Rufus is a form of Post-Traumatic Stress. He thinks that instead of just being relieved after the Geostigma left, I was so freaked out by the possibility that Rufus could die – that he will in fact die one day – that I shut myself off after I didn't have to worry about his instant demise and who knows, maybe he's right but it doesn't feel that way. I mean, when I think that Rufus could have died all because of a lack of rain… It just seems so stupid, doesn't it?

Besides, he's going to die one day, isn't he? We all are. And if I'm going to hell for all I've done in life, then so too is he so what's to worry about there? We'd still end up in the same place. Heck, Rude and the rest of us have joked that while there, we'd still end up as Rufus's bodyguards, protecting him from the demons and whatever else lurks in the fiery depths.

Elena too has a theory. It's much like Tseng's of course. She says though, that my need for a drink as Rufus broke down came from months of being strong for him; that the moment when I didn't need to be strong, I just gave in and bottled it. Maybe… but what does that say about me? Nothing that I suppose I didn't already know. I'm weak.

Eh fuck it – I'll do it today, end this farce finally, once and for all. What's the worst that can happen anyway? He shoots me, I die, I end up in hell sooner than expected and miss out on quality drinking time with my buds… I will miss the drinking, I must say.

He took it better than expected which, in retrospect, I probably shouldn't be that surprised about. I mean, he's a smart man. Even he in his distracted way that he's got as of late could see it wasn't working, we weren't working and haven't been for some time.

His face when I told him showed a mix of relief and annoyance - the relief because it's over. It took me a while to work out the annoyance but I finally realised it was probably annoyance that I'd beaten him to the punch. What else could it have been?

Definitely no tears this time, no trace of human emotion really once the annoyance and relief disappeared. He even gave me the afternoon off to clear my stuff out of the penthouse. Good job I refused to stop paying the rent on my flat really. I doubt that Rude and his girlfriend would want me intruding on their space.

Y'know, thinking about it, I think I'm a little pissed at his under-reaction. Would it have killed him to pretend to even a little disappointment that I don't want to be with him any more - that I don't want our admittedly hot if distant sex any more?

I guess my seeing the human side of him was nothing more than a blip on his part. Probably more related to Elena's theory more than my own behaviour – one burst of human behaviour in response to months of fear and worry and stress. I wonder what it's going to be like working for him, knowing that soon enough, someone else will be called into that damned office to service his needs… Will it be someone I know? Will I feel jealous?

No one said it would be like this. I don't understand it at all. I feel so annoyed and angry and disorientated and…. Something that Elena informs me is paranoia. I'm not happy about this at all. I mean, I am seriously disturbed by my thoughts – every time someone walks into the office, I'm badgering whoever is standing outside on guard, wondering if they're my replacement. Is it the person who walked in? Were they looking unusually smug and sexed up? Even his secretary finds herself dealing with my suspicious gaze – and she's FEMALE.

In all the time I've known Rufus, he's never shown the least bit of attention towards any woman or girl or whatever and yet here I am, mulling over the possibility that he's sleeping with her, planning for her to have his babies or marry her or something like that…

For his part, he's just as he was. A little more distracted but that's about it. That makes me curious too – what has caused him this extra thought that makes him not hear people when they're talking. What fascinating things are going on in that head of his? Is he thinking about the future fun he will have with my replacement or is there more to it?

Rude suggested that the most likely scenario that makes Rufus smile is that he's plotting my death in numerous and painful ways. I wish I could believe that. That would bother me less. How fucked up AM I?

Look, for the record, I am not obsessing, okay? I don't obsess about ex's. I leave that particularly odd trait to women of the world not to me. If I was any more jaded, I'd be carved up and put into a hundred different necklaces and sold for a hefty sum but I digress.

I really did believe that we'd both be better off apart… so why am *I* the one that's hurting here and not him? Is it better to know that he was having to force himself to have sex with me or to know that he's just not that bothered with me so he can get on with the rest of his life without any qualms even though I'm no longer a part of it in that sense at least.

I mean, he doesn't even seem vaguely irritated. It's like he could take me or leave me. We had sex: that was great. I leave him alone: that's great too because now he can do other stuff and anyway, he finds that a cup of cocoa sends him into the Land of Nod just as easily as a quick, angry shag did. Damnit, he was *supposed* to care…

…fuck.

It occurs to me that I might have made a rather stupid and costly mistake.