Part Four


With thanks to Carmilla for bullying me into hurrying up with it! Oh, and in this one, I go with a view that I don't normally use (and probably never will use again), where Vincent actually DOES show his age - it's just well hidden underneath all the layers of clothing. Please don't flame? It'll make more sense later on.

Rufus pulled the blinds on his curtain up, looking out at his city. So proud... Midgar seemed to defy the forces of nature themselves. Smiling, the young president changed into a pair of beige jeans and a white jumper. It had been too long since he had last been outside the Shinra building... far too long, considering that the last time he had been out, he had met Vincent.

Reno Kiribani had been spreading news about the club in one of Midgar's less pleasant districts for days now. Apparently, the club had been refurbished, and upon using his powers to gain information about the changes, Rufus had decided to attend the re-opening. It was no secret that the young president enjoyed the occasional night out... indeed, his popularity had been boosted by the notion that he was 'stepping down to the level of the common people', as the Midgar Express had stated. In reality, it was no mere publicity gainer; for a start, Rufus never did something unless he either enjoyed it or it benefited Shinra financially. More importantly, nobody save other Shinra executives actually recognised him. He would style his hair slightly different, wear casual clothes and a pair of sunglasses, and this would be enough to disguise him. There were plenty of blond, blue-eyed 'pretty-boys' out there already, and to unfamiliar eyes, he was only one amongst many. Besides which, Reno usually stole all the attention for himself with his drunken antics; an unprompted sing-song, food fight, swearing competition, drinking competition... night's out with Reno Kiribani were never dull.

Especially the last night out.

Rufus smiled again, looking at himself in the mirror and fluffing his hair slightly with his fingers. Vincent Valentine. The very name was beautiful, mysterious... shaking his head, the blond attempted to pull himself together. It was foolish to be so attached to someone dangerous. He could accept the interest in Vincent when it was fun, and light, but now the notion that he would probably never meet Vincent again was depressing him. And depression was almost as dangerous as any other attacker. Several knocks on the door soon heralded Reno's arrival with a group of friends, and Rufus switched off his dark mood to greet them.

At the club, everyone soon seperated into their own little friendship groups, leaving Rufus on his own to mingle. Of course, T'seng was still keeping one eye on his president, but that was to be expected. The asian-looking man may have been straight, but he was still obsessively protective of the blond, never abandoning his charge as Rufus' bodyguard even once. After ordering his second tequila, Rufus turned around on his seat to cast his eyes over the crowd, noticing a peculiarly dressed girl with short brown hair. Wondering why she seemed so familiar, Rufus then noticed a tall dark-skinned man with her, and another tanned man with sandy-coloured hair. AVALANCHE. Rufus cast a small glance back at T'seng and the turks, saw that they had become heavily engrossed in a drinking competition between Rude and Reno.

Rufus took advantage of their being occupied and walked over towards the group, intending to play one of his mind games with them, when he felt an icy grip on his shoulder. "Rufus Shinra?" Rufus recognised that voice and felt his heart leap into his throat.

"Vincent Valentine?" The grip loosened slightly and Rufus turned around, still amazed at the man's height.

"How did you know my name?" The young president felt his heart seriously beginning to hurt from overwork. What could he tell Vincent? That he had been obsessed with him since they first met?

"I..." Rufus swallowed. Being lost for words was an uncomfortable feeling, and certainly not something the president was used to. "I looked you up. Your files."

"Ah yes. Vincent Valentine, the human guinea pig. What are the professor's opinions on his pet project?"

"I don't know, I think..."

"If you don't know, I'm not interested."

Rufus scratched the back of his neck nervously, noticed a slight wrinkling in the skin around Vincent's eyes. "How old are you?"

"You didn't pay much attention to the files then, did you? Were there any pictures of Hojo at the time?"

"Yes there..." Rufus thought about the pictures. Hojo's hair was still completely black in them, his skin relatively smooth, and he looked at least twenty years younger. "My god... you're fifty?"

"Try fifty-eight." Rufus took a step back, disgusted. The Vincent in the pictures was young, a gothic beauty... young, like he himself was. Fifty-eight? That was disgusting, that was...

"Sir? Is something the matter?" Both Rufus and Vincent turned around to face T'seng. Vincent cast Rufus a dark look, before turning and running off, followed shortly by the other members of AVALANCHE and whispers of 'It's Rufus Shinra! Move goddamnit!' The young president noticed T'seng reach for his gun and quickly grabbed hold of his arm.

"Don't do anything, T'seng. The man was merely a drunkard."

"Sir, I recognised him from the Midgar Exp..."

"T'seng!" Rufus raised his voice, glaring at his bodyguard. "T'seng, I'm alright, and we don't want to kick up a fuss. I would prefer to come here another time without needing an escort. Don't attract attention."

"Sir, we were meant to destroy AVALANCHE. Our orders..."

"T'seng, you're off duty for a reason. To not need to obey orders. Understand?"

"Yes sir."

There was a momentary awkward silence between Rufus and T'seng, until a loud yell of "FUCK!" was heard from across the room. Turning to see where the cry had come from, the young president noticed a large crowd around the turks' table. "Fuck, you've won AGAIN! How d'ya fucking do that?! I swear you're not human!" Reno's voice. Had to be. Pushing his way through the crowd, Rufus saw a quite incredible number of empty glasses stacked up on the table, a green-looking Reno, and a still steady-handed Rude gulping down a shot of whiskey. Smiling to himself, Rufus walked over to the table and prodded Reno gently in the shoulder.

"I think we should be taking you home now, Mr Kiribani."

AVALANCHE temporarily forgotten, T'seng hooked one of the red-haired turk's arms around his shoulder, while Elena helped a slightly unstable Rude back to their car, amused by Rude's lack of control over his mouth. Rufus ignored the steady stream of swear-words coming from the bald turk, leading the group to the car and taking the wheel. Even T'seng had drank a little too much to be a safe driver, while he himself had only drunk the one tequila. Rufus felt a brief flash of annoyance that he had had left a second tequila behind, unfinished despite being paid for, then shrugged off his anger and took the wheel.

"I'm gonna puke. I am so gonna puke. Ah crap, my stomach hurts! Please don't let me vomit all over the nice upholstery, crap crap crap! Pain! Anyone LISTENING to me? I'm in PAIN!"

"Reno, will you shut the fuck up?!"

"Rude, mind your language!"

"Why? He never fucking does!"

"Elena's right, we should be setting an example!"

"Great fucking example T'seng, in case you haven't noticed cause you're fucking BLIND, Reno's the one who got us pissed!"

"Rude, will you..."

"WILL THE LOT OF YOU JUST FUCKING SHUT UP, I'M TRYING TO DRIVE HERE!" There was a brief silence, before Reno snorted and the others burst into giggles. Rufus had never been so tempted to bang his head into concussion against the driving wheel in his life.

Finally the small group drove into the Shinra office block, and Rufus breathed a sigh of relief as Rude and Elena went off upstairs quickly, Rude's alcohol consumption finally catching up with him. T'seng left once Rufus had assured him for the eighth time that he would be quite alright keeping an eye on Reno. Finally Rufus had some relative thinking space, as the quiet sounds of Reno vomiting into one of the car-park bins were not especially distracting. Vincent's eyes had shown their age quite obviously... had the alcohol he had consumed before their previous meeting blinded him? How could he have allowed himself to develop a crush on someone so much older than he himself was? Rufus folded his hands as he sat on the edge of the car seat, wondering, before he felt Reno's hand on his shoulder. "Hey, boss, could y'do me a favour? Could y'kinda help me t' ma room?" Rufus looked up sharply, jumping out of his daydream.

"Alright. Just this once. But please learn to hold your drink in future." Reno grinned, said,

"I don't know what you mean! That was my... my THOUSANDTH shot!" Rufus didn't smile, fatigue and a headache making a very irritating combination, but locked up the car and allowed Reno to sling an arm around his shoulders for stability.

Once they had reached Reno's apartment, the red-haired turk rested against the door and turned to Rufus. "Thanks mate. I think I'd've had to crawl my way up here if it weren't f'ya helpin'." Rufus nodded, then flinched as Reno stroked his hair loosely beneath his fingers. "Thought so. Y'hair's dead soft. C ya in th' mornin' Rufus." The blond nodded, slightly flustered at Reno's boldness, then turned and started walking down the corridor, starting the long journey back to his own room.

Closing the door behind himself and locking it, Rufus ignored the security cameras in his office and started shedding his clothes before he reached the unmonitored area of his rooms. Kicking aside his jeans, Rufus stepped into his shower, craving the clean warmth of the water on his skin, disliking the mixture of alcohol, cigarette smoke and sweat scents. There was one there he was growing to like, but he washed it off along with the others, knowing there was more where it came from. Then his thoughts returned to Valentine. How could such an incredibly beautiful creature have aged? It seemed wrong that his beauty had not been frozen in time. Rufus felt the urge to laugh at himself for being so foolish; why had he not noticed the dates on the files? What made him so idiotic as to not pay attention to Vincent's age on top of his other statistics? Nothing was certain about anyone, least of all age, why had he not checked? That temporary loss of control to Vincent felt less and less sensual, and more appalling and distasteful by the minute.

Maybe it was better to be in control after all.


Yeah yeah, it's lame, I know. But this is only the first in a series, which is seriously annoying as I'm trying to work on 19 other non-related fanfics. Oh yes. That is no exaggeration.

Sequel - Thin Ice - coming soon! Which will be MAJOR (albeit consensual as usual) NC-17, so yaoi-readers rejoice! And, just in case this skipped the attention of anyone, THIS SERIES IS NOT FOR YAOI-HATERS!!! Okay, so I've written a few straight fics, or fics with only minor yaoi content, but this particular series is YAOI. Major yaoi. Sorry to all the yaoi-lovers reading this message, but it really can take this much writing before someone'll click that a fic is yaoi. Seriously.