A/N from A.C.: I bet you're all happy to see us back! I've missed this as much as you have. :D I'm on spring break this week so I hope I get to write with Mumma Kat a lot to catch up on all that I've missed.
I hope you all enjoy!
Thexi wasn't sure if she should clear her throat, or just let him continue to look through the fridge. Twisting her head, looking away, she cleared her throat subtly. "So...clothes are now optional in this residency?"
Upon hearing Thexi speak up, Reno let out a squawk and banged his head on the inside of the refrigerator. He stepped back and stood straight, keeping behind the door of the fridge. One hand moved to rub the back of his head and a deep blush flushed his cheeks, "I- I... I thought you woulda been sleepin'..."
"No, I'm not really tired." Thexi kept her eyes averted. "I came here for the exact reason you did. But seriously, Reno? You couldn't even put your boxers on?" She looked down at the floor. "Guess you didn't wait too long to let that bed get cold, huh?" She turned around, and began to leave the kitchen. "Get your food. If you're still here in fifteen minutes, we may have a problem." She disappeared and headed back down the stairs towards the basement, leaving the redhead alone.
Looking over to the door from his spot on the couch, Tseng arched a brow, "Tenshi? That was fast."
"Yeah, well...Food will be available to us in about twenty minutes." She walked over to the couch and sat down, sighing softly.
"What's wrong, Thexi? Did something happen?" He gently pushed her hair behind her ear, wanting to comfort her.
She bit her lip, and shook her head slowly. "Nothing of importance, I guess."
"Tenshi, please tell me? I know something's wrong..."
"When I went up to the kitchen to get us food, it seems that we're not the only ones that were hungry. Except, you know, I actually put on clothes for the occasion." Thexi's voice wavered on the last line, as she tried to blink away the tears that were forming in her eyes.
"Are you kidding me?" Tseng moved closer to her, bringing her in for a close hug, "I'm sorry you had to see that, Tenshi... That's not right."
She let out a tiny sob. "It's like they couldn't even wait for us to be gone. I mean, really?"
He gently ran his hand through her hair, "That wasn't right of them, Hime. Not at all. I'm so sorry."
Sniffling, Thexi looked up at him. "P-Princess...?"
Tseng pressed his lips to hers in a soft kiss, "My precious princess."
"Do you really mean that...? Or are you just saying that to make me feel better? Because, Tseng, I don't know how much more my heart can take."
"I really mean it, Thexi. You are my angel, my princess. I love you so very much."
She wrapped her arms around him, hugging him close to her. "Oh, Tseng...I'm so glad we have each other..."
"As am I, Thexi." He held her tight, fingers running through her hair.
"I guess I shouldn't be too upset, because he really doesn't think outside of himself sometimes." Thexi shook her head, resting her head against Tseng's chest. "I don't know how you deal with him at work, Tseng. I really don't."
The Wutaiian chuckled softly, "I don't either, Tenshi. I'm not quite sure how his partner has kept his sanity either."
"I think enough time has passed." She kissed his cheek gently. "Do you want to come with me? I don't know if I can handle seeing him alone again..."
"Of course I'll go with you, love." He smiled, "I don't want you going back alone if you might happen upon that again."
A hint of a blush appeared on her cheeks. "But can you handle it, Tseng? I mean, I don't want you to feel like this too. I know that all of this is stupid and screwy, and I'd rather keep you sane."
"You do keep me sane, Hime." He kissed her cheek softly, "I can handle it if we see it. I promise."
Thexi stood up and took his hand. "Then will you come with me upstairs? We can still bring our food back down here, watch some more movies?"
Tseng stood up with her, holding her hand, "That sounds wonderful, Tenshi."
She took his hand and walked with him back up the stairs, tiptoeing her way towards the kitchen. Rounding the corner, she looked in the large room and saw that it was as she had asked. Sighing softly, she let go of Tseng's hand. "It looks like he listened to my request."
"Good," Tseng nodded, walking into the room, "I'm glad he did."
Walking into the kitchen, a small smile on her face, Thexi walked over to the cupboard. "Want me to dish up the food for us?" She grabbed two plates, pulling them down to be on the counter.
The Wutaiian smiled softly, "Sure, Thexi. Do you need me to do anything?"
"Maybe grab some silverware for us?" She walked over to the pot roast, which was still sitting on the kitchen counter. "I'll put each plate in the microwave for a few minutes, that way we don't have to eat anything cold."
"Alright." Tseng went over to the counter and pulled open a drawer, taking out two knives and two forks.
Placing each plate in the microwave after serving healthy portions for each of them, she handed him one plate. "Ready to go back downstairs, love?" She didn't care if Reno or Rufus heard her call him that. After seeing Reno the way she had earlier, she was tired of trying to keep secrets.
He took the plate from her, holding the silverware still. Leaning over he placed a kiss on her cheek, "I am, are you?"
"Yeah, I think I am." The nurse flashed him a bright smile before walking out of the kitchen, heading back towards the rec room.
Tseng chuckled softly, following her down the hallways and stairs, "Do you want to finish the movie that we were watching? Or pick a new one?"
"We can finish the one we were watching. Except, it's still playing, so..." She giggled as she sat back down on the couch, placing her plate on the coffee table.
The Turk set his plate and the silverware down, chuckling, "I'll start the movie over, how does that sound?"
"I think that is a wonderful idea, love." Thexi grabbed their glasses. "Want me to get some more bourbon for you? Or would you prefer beer? Wine?"
"More bourbon would be lovely, Tenshi." He picked up the remote to the DVD player and stopped the film, bringing it back to the menu.
Pouring more bourbon into both of their glasses, Thexi walked back over to the couch and handed the Wutaiian his glass. "Here you go, love."
Tseng smiled, taking the glass from her, "Thank you." Once she sat down, he hit play on the movie so it would start from the beginning, "No funny stuff this time, Hime." He chuckled softly, kissing her cheek.
The nurse giggled quietly. "You know I can't make that promise, Tseng."
"Of course not," He chuckled, smiling at her.
Quickly, Reno grabbed two beers and two random pieces of fruit from inside the fridge as soon as Thexi walked out of the room. He closed the fridge door with his hip and darted back to the room Rufus was waiting in. He did not want to risk waiting around in the kitchen. The thought of an angry Thexi terrified him. Walking into the room, he gave a soft smile, "Back, yo."
"Anything happen?" Rufus looked over the redhead. "Something seems a bit off."
"Uh..." He looked down at the container of pineapple slices and the single mango that he was holding and blinked. Setting the fruit and the two beers on the dresser, he rubbed the spot of his head that he hit. "Uh.. Thexi came in when I was in th'kitchen..."
The blond's eyes widened. "Oh, no..."
"Yeah... so... that wasn't fun, yo..." He glanced at the food he grabbed and blushed, "Sorry for what I got... I wan'ed ta get outta there fast..."
Rufus got out of the bed and walked over to where the redhead was standing. He pulled him into a hug. "She wasn't mean to you, was she? She didn't do anything to you, did she?"
Reno wrapped his arms around the blond and pressed his face to the crook of Rufus' neck, "I... I dunno how to explain... I... She went from... surprised.. to angry..."
"I hate to say this, but she has every right to be that way right now, Reno. And, no offense, but I did try to get you to put some pants on." Rufus chuckled softly, keeping his arms tight around the redhead.
The Turk sniffled against his lover's neck, "I- I'm so stupid, yo! Sh- She has every right ta beat me senseless... an' I was stupid.. an' made her mad... 'cause... I'm... just a dumbass... I don' even have a good excuse.. I shoulda listened to you, Rufus..."
"What's done is done, Reno." Rufus gave his lover a tight squeeze. "Don't let what just happened put us back to where we were at only a few hours ago. I'd rather just enjoy the rest of the evening with you. I mean, who's to say she's alone right now?" He touched the redhead's face, stroking his thumb across one of the red crescents under his eye. "For all we know, both she and Tseng are doing the same exact thing we're doing."
Blinking back tears, Reno gave a small nod, "Y- Yeah... yer right, yo..." He sniffled softly and pulled back to wipe at his eyes, "I'm sorry, Rufus... Should I go back... an' get you somethin' decent to eat..?"
"Shh...Don't cry, Reno. It's okay. What you got is perfect." Rufus wiped the wetness that Reno didn't catch. "Come on, want to go sit down on the bed?"
"I- It's not perfect, Rufus... you can't even eat one of 'em... Let me at least go peel the mango? S- So then you can eat it."
The blond took Reno's hands and walked him over to the bed. "Don't worry about the food, okay? Just be here, with me, right now. Don't think about what just happened in the kitchen. It's better to not dwell on it. We're here for another two days with them, and we're all going to have to deal with each other, and maybe even interact together. But for now, let's just let it be you and me, okay?" He gently laid Reno down on the bed, laying next to him.
The Turk moved close to the blond and hugged him close, "Yer right.. again..." He gave a small nod, "We gotta deal with it, yo... an' be good to each other."
"And don't worry about the mango. We can peel that no problem." Rufus kissed Reno softly, pulling the redhead closer to his body. "Do you want me to go and grab the pineapple?"
Without warning, Reno's stomach let out a loud gurgle, "Kinda..."
"I'll grab the pineapple." Rufus kissed his cheek and walked over to where Reno had set the container down. "No forks? Guess we'll have to get creative."
The Turk blushed, "Get creative?"
"I only meant we'll have to use our hands." Rufus put the container on the bed before sitting down. He opened it up and handed it to the redhead. "Here you go, Reno."
Picking up one of the pineapple chunks, Reno popped it into his mouth, "Thanks, Ruf'."
"No problem." The blond grabbed a chunk and ate one himself.
"You sure you don' want me to go get somethin' more fillin' to eat, baby?" The Turk gently kissed Rufus' cheek and smiled softly, "I don' mind."
Rufus shook his head. "No, I think this should be fine. Unless you want more food? But what about Thexi? Won't she still be out there?"
Reno ate another bit of pineapple, "I dunno... I'll stick to this room, I think, yo."
"Well, would you like for me to go and see about getting us some proper food? I'll put my pants on." A small smirk appeared on the President's face.
The Turk chuckled, "Sure, Ruf'. Good thinkin' on the clothes too." Reno grinned at him, "Get somethin' good!"
"How many beers did you bring back? Should I grab a couple more?"
"I only took two, yo. You c'n get more if ya wan'."
Standing up, Rufus grabbed his shorts and found his pants nearby. "I'll see what I can find. How's that sound?" He pulled both his boxers and pants on, buttoning them at the waist.
The redhead smiled at his lover, "Sounds won'erful, babe."
Rufus walked over to where Reno sat, and kissed him softly. "Then I'll be back shortly. Don't pass out on me." He walked over to the door. "Feel free to keep eating, if you want."
Chuckling softly, Reno gave a small nod, "I won't pass out, yo!" He picked up a chunk of pineapple from the container and popped it in his mouth. "Promise."
"Okay, good." The blond headed out of the room, closing the door behind him.
He headed back towards the kitchen, walking slow in case the feisty nurse was back in the kitchen. He poked his head around the corner and saw that no one was in there, and exhaled audibly. Rufus wandered into the kitchen and as he approached the fridge, he heard the distinct sound of conversation. Curious as to where it was coming from, he abandoned the idea of getting food and followed the sound towards the stairs leading down to his game room. Walking down a couple of steps, Rufus made sure he stayed hidden in the shadows, curiosity taking over his brain.
Tseng tended to speak his native tongue to the pink-haired nurse; he found it much easier than trying to convert everything to Midgarian. With an added bonus, he did not have to hide his emotions. "Did you enjoy the movie, Tenshi?"
"I did." Thexi giggled softly, leaning against him. "Did you want to go and find a room soon? I'm getting a little sleepy, and don't know how much longer I'll be able to last. Unless you intended for us to sleep down here?"
The Turk Director chuckled softly, kissing the top of her head, "We can find another room. I'm a little sleepy as well."
"Please say we'll be in another wing, yes?" She looked up at him, and met his eyes. "I don't think I can stand the idea of having to hear anything."
"I'll make sure we are, Hime. Don't worry."
Thexi stood up from the couch, holding her hand out to him. "Shall we go find ourselves a room far away from them, then?"
He took her hand and stood up from the couch, "We shall." He smiled softly at her.
She put her arms around him and hugged him tightly. "Thank you so much, Tseng. Really. I don't know how I would have survived this without you here."
Tseng wrapped his arms around her and smiled, "You're welcome, Tenshi. I love you."
"I love you too, Tseng."
Rufus felt his heart ache as he recognized that word that was just said by his former lover. Unsure how long he had been standing there, he walked back up the stairs and headed back to his and Reno's room. He couldn't understand much of the conversation, as he hadn't bothered to learn Wutaiian, as he knew he would never need it. Not with his bodyguard of that descent, who he knew would always be with him. "I guess not anymore," Rufus muttered to himself as he walked down the hall. He opened the bedroom door, and kept his head down, sighing softly.
Reno looked over at the blond and worry suddenly overtook him as he saw how the other man was carrying himself. He rushed over to his lover and spoke softly, "Rufus, are you okay?"
"I need to lay down." Rufus stumbled on his feet, walking blindly over to the bed, his chest still hurting immensely.
The redhead helped his lover to the bed and sat beside him as he laid down on the bed. "Ruf', what happened..?"
"I don't want to talk about it." The blond pulled the covers over his body, not bothering to take off his pants.
Reno moved to lay next to Rufus and held him close, nuzzling against his neck, "Okay, babe. I won't make ya talk."
"I heard them," Rufus whispered. "It's like they've been playing the both of us, all this time." He gripped the sheet tightly, trying to cover his face, afraid to show the redhead how he was truly feeling at the moment.
"Wait.. what? What do you mean 'you heard them'? Like.. they were fuckin'?"
Rufus shook his head. "No, no. They weren't doing that, but they were speaking in Wutaiian."
"Wutaiian..? Can you speak that? Did you know what they were sayin'..?"
"No,"f the President shook his head. "No, but I understood one phrase. As I have heard it before, but never from him. Never." He sniffled, refusing to become more emotionally upset.
Reno gently pet the silky blond locks before him and spoke softly, "What phrase..?"
"He said 'I love you'. Two strangers can't just say that to each other, can they?" Rufus turned around and met his lovers aqua eyes, a few tears falling from his own. "That's not possible, right?"
"I..." Reno fell quiet for a moment, remembering how hard and how fast he fell for Thexi when he first saw her. He shook his head, "I don't know, Ruf'..."
The blond closed his eyes, and pressed his face against Reno's neck. "Now I know why they were so upset with us. This hurts, Reno. Hearing him say that hurts so much."
The Turk wrapped his arms around Rufus and held him close, "I'm so sorry yer hurtin', baby..."
"I'm sorry too. I hope you don't...you don't think less of me because of this, Reno." He clung to him tightly, happy that he wasn't alone.
"O' course I don't, babe." He pet the blond hair gently, "Why would I think less o' you? Yer jes' showin' you care about people you love, yo. I think that's what strong people do."
Rufus sighed softly. "It doesn't hurt you at all?"
"It does... I'm more confused than hurt... I wanna know why.. how do they know each other so well they love each other?"
Pressing his face against Reno's shoulder, Rufus let out another soft sigh. "I don't want to think about it right now. All I want to do is just get some sleep."
"Rest, then, baby." The Turk kissed his lover's cheek gently, "Get some sleep."
Snuggling closer to the redhead, Rufus closed his eyes. "I love you, Reno. I'm sorry that this is hurting me more than it should."
"Ruf', don't be sorry. I love you very much. Tseng's been with ya ferever. It's understandable that ya feel like this."
"Thanks, love. I appreciate that a lot." Rufus began to breathe deeply, drifting off to sleep fast.
Reno kissed his cheek gently and smiled, "Yer welcome, Ruf'. Sleep tight."
Thexi looked up at Tseng, and smiled. "Where are we going?"
Tseng smiled back at her, "Across the manor so we won't have to see them." He chuckled, "I'd like to focus my attention on you."
"Well, yay!" She laughed, and walked with him, holding his hand in hers as they walked together. "What about clean clothes? Does it matter?"
He smirked, "Considering I don't want you in any clothes... I don't think it matters."
"Tseng!" She blushed, giggling softly as she shook her head. "Did you really just say that?"
"Say what?" He looked at her and smiled, "You let me be silly, Thexi. Remember?" He chuckled, "I'd never say something like that in front of anyone else.
She stopped walking and kissed his cheek. "Just don't let others see this side of you. I like being special."
Tseng kissed her lips softly, "They won't see this side of me, Tenshi. Only you get to; and you are special."
"Promise?" She wrapped her arms around his neck, stepping closer to his body.
"I promise, Thexi." He smiled, arms wrapping around her waist and holding her close, "Turk's honor."
The nurse flashed him a small smile. "Good. Because I would hate to hear that others get to see this rare sight, as I love that you are able to be yourself around me. Not some boring bossman." She giggled, kissing his cheek again.
He chuckled, "I love that I get to be myself around you too. I hate being that 'boring bossman'."
"Ah, but it suits you so well, my love." She took his hand, and smiled. "No one likes a nurse. At least people fear you for a good reason, and not a silly reason like they do for my job."
"Oh? But I like a nurse." He smiled softly, "Plus, you have the power to kill them without people knowing. I'm sure you know all sorts of medication overdoses and such. You don't give yourself enough credit."
Giggling, she shook her head. "But, isn't part of your job to kill people without them knowing? Or is that why everyone fears you? Because they know what you're capable of?" She walked down the hallway with him.
He led her to a room at the end of a hallway, "I think they fear me because even if I kill them in front of people, I wouldn't get into trouble." He held the door open for her, "But, still, you need to give yourself more credit."
"But I would never kill someone like that," Thexi blushed, stepping into the room. "I don't think I could ever do that. I hate when a patient dies, and I've got no control over that. But it's so rare, that whenever it does happen, it still affects me." She looked around the room. "Oh, wow. There isn't a modest room in this place, is there?"
Tseng stepped into the room after her, closing the door behind him, "I don't think there is." He chuckled. "I'm sure you do hate when patients die. You got into this career to help people, right? You're such a caring, sweet woman, Thexi."
"Well, I guess so. I want to make sure people are always safe." She turned and looked at him. "Like you, mister." Thexi dragged him over towards the bed.
"I've trusted you with my life since the war, Tenshi. You've saved me countless times. You're very good at keeping people safe, I'd say."
She laid down on the bed, taking off her garments as she listened to him. "I suppose so." She tossed her bra to the side, and laid back more on the bed. "Now, weren't you saying something about not wanting me in clothes? I see that I'm taking care of that problem, but you? You're still dressed. What's that about, hmm?" She giggled softly.
Tseng smirked at her before beginning to remove his clothes. "Do you really want me naked that bad, Tenshi?"
"Oh, you have no idea."