4: Soft Touches

This is the new circuit
Tell me of your pain
'Shove you around?' now close the door
This is not love
This is my sort of softly touching you

The new man Theatre of Tragedy

The shot echoed throughout the alley. With a thump the body fell to the ground, blood rapidly collecting in a puddle. It had been a clean shot, right in the back of the head, point blanke. The man had wanted to die quickly, painlessly. Reno was the one who'd informed him of his options. Try anything and you'll die slowly, you'll spend the last hour of your life wishing you were dead. Cooperate and you won't feel a thing. Rude had kept watch, making sure no unwanted guest would appear. Tseng had been the one to fire the gun.

"Piece of shit." Reno nudged the corpse with his Nightstick. "That's one traitor less."

"Let's go. We're done here." Tseng didn't look down on the body, simply turned and started walking over to Rude.

"Said he had wife and kids," Reno was by his side, tucking away the Mag-rod into his pocket casually. "But you never know," he continued, "they come up with any excuse, don't they." He noticed his boss' right fist clench. "Remember that little girl, Tseng?"

"Shut up, Reno," Tseng hissed without sparing him a glance as he strode past Rude and out of the alley.

They went in two cars, they always did when out on a mission. Making sure they had a way of escape if anything went wrong. But it never did, and it wasn't supposed to; they were the Turks, they never missed their target.

"I'll go with the boss," Reno told Rude just as the three of them were splitting up to head in the directions of the cars that as another precaution weren't parked in the same place.

The bald Turk looked to Tseng for confirmation.

"That's alright, Rude," the leader of the Turks said, "you go ahead, Reno and I will take my car."

Rude nodded and disappeared without a word eventhough he thought it strange that Reno seemed to have forgotten about the traditional drink they always had after a job was done.

Buildings and people flashed by as Tseng sped through the streets of Midgar. Reno leaned back in the comfortable leather-covered seat of the black Shinra 90.000 Turbo and lit a cigarette.

"Nothing beats a cigarette after a job well done, right?" red strands of unruly hair fell in his face as he cocked his head to the side to look at the other Turk. "Except maybe a good fuck," he added as an afterthought, his lips twisted in a smirk as he saw Tseng tense up.

"I'm going back to the HQ, where do you want me to drop you off?" Tseng asked in a cold voice.

Reno intently watched the end of his cigarette become glowing ashes, slowly turning it between his thumb and index finger. "Actually...," he brought the cigarette to his lips, "I'm going back to the HQ as well." Smoke whirled around his face as he exhaled, his gaze was turned out the window.

Tseng's hand grasped the steering wheel harder as the other one put the car into a higher gear. "Any particular reason why?" he asked.

"I'm the vice-prez's bodyguard, remember? Have to see if he needs me."

Tseng didn't say anything, just kept his eyes on the road ahead of them.

"But, you know," Reno continued, "I'm sure he'd understand if I got... preoccupied."

Tseng muttered something under his breath.

"Speaking of young master Shinra," Reno said, ignoring whatever his boss' words might have been, "he's seemed a bit distracted the last days, Tseng. What's the matter, not giving it to him anymore?"

"Shut up, Reno."

"What?" Reno held out his hands in a gesture of innocence. "Or maybe you did break him after all, eh? Couldn't handle it when you got rough with him?" Reno scowled at his cigarette that was slowly dying.

The wheels of the car shrieked as Tseng abruptly stepped on the break. He jumped out of the car, walked over to the passanger side, flung the door open and tore Reno out of the seat.

"Stay the hell out of this, Reno," he hissed as he pulled the smaller man up by the collar.

People quickly changed sidewalk as the two Turks started attacking each other with fists.

"Why can't you just leave me alone?" Tseng's voice was low, trying to catch his breath. He held Reno by the nape of his neck in a firm grip, his other hand grasped the slender Turk's shoulder.

"Do you really want me to," it wasn't a question. Reno's chest heaved as he took some deep breaths to slow his pulse. Both his hands were clasping Tseng's navy blue suit. When the raven-haired Turk made no response something sparked in the younger man's eyes. He raised his hand and with mocking tenderness caressed Tseng's cheek. "You know, Tseng," he said in a fake sweet tone, "it would look pretty weird if you kissed me now."

Tseng pushed Reno away from him, got into the car and sped off. Reno could feel the taste of blood in his mouth as he watched Tseng disappear. He wiped it away with the back of his hand.

Tseng rested his forehead on the steering wheel as soon as he'd parked outside of his apartment block. Shit, he thought. Reno was the only one who could ever make him lose his temper, strip him of all precious control only to absorb it himself.

The problem was, Reno had a strong mind. So much stronger than anyone had at first suspected when Shinra Inc laid eyes on him. His careless attitude and sloppy manners fooled everyone still. They all saw him as a victim, the poor kid from the slums that had been used and abused his whole life. His miserable childhood justified his reasons for being a ruthless killer. But of course, no one in the office really saw Reno Papen as a ruthless killer. He was just the guy at the office who always was up for a drink after work, who always had a joke ready when he passed one of his co-workers on his way to the elevator. But if they had known Reno's past as well as Tseng did then they would probably all see him in a different light.

I'm an idiot, Tseng thought, I shouldn't have let him into my life in the first place.

Remember that little girl, Tseng?

Tseng remembered it clearly. A night at a bar, for once the three Turks had gone down to one of the sectors for a drink. The smoke hung thick in the room. Two men where arguing in a corner. Someone was harassing a waitress at one of the tables as she put down the drinks. Glasses slammed down on wooden surface as four laughing youths finished off their tequila shots. A little girl entered the sceen, cradling a teddybear in her arms. Her small, innocent form stod out in sharp contrast to the rest of the scenery. She didn't move, she was at the door one second then she faded away and she stood by their table, looking up at Tseng. The music was turned up and drowned all the voices in the room. Everyone's but her's.

I saw you kill my father.

Did he cry that night when he came home to his apartment? He couldn't remember. His memory was blurred. How much had he had to drink? Definately more than he could handle. He'd tried to start a fight with a guy at the bar. Even Rude'd looked small and slender standing next to that guy. Reno had taken him home.

The events of that night were all dark and obscured. His mind refused to put the pieces together, to make that night complete. There was just a dark space from the moment the little girl stepped into the bar and the hours that followed.

Then there was pain, a sweet blissful pain. So different from the numbness that had filled him all night. Soft words and sharp thrusts. It felt so good being used.

When he awoke the next morning Reno had been deep asleep by his side.

I don't need him anymore, Tseng thought. I have Rufus. Truth to tell he had no idea where he stood with Rufus anymore. Since their encounter in the showers the previous week Tseng had barely spoken two words to the young vice-president.

He started up the car again and drove off.

Rufus Shinra sat at his desk, finishing up the last work for the day when the intercom suddenly buzzed.

"Mr vice-president," his secretary's voice cracked, "Tseng of the Turks is here to see you."

Rufus stared at the machine in disbelief for a few moments. Tseng? Here to see him? Tseng had been off his shift four hours ago, there was no reason for him to come to Rufus's office now. Unless... Rufus's heart skipped a beat.

"Send him in."

Tseng watched as the blond man behind the desk stacked some papers with nervous hands.

"So, Tseng," Rufus finally said, lifting his eyes from the work to meet the Turk's gaze, "what's on your mind."

"I, um... I just came to ask you if Reno's behaving himself." Tseng forced a smile. "Being your bodyguard and all I mean."

Rufus blinked, looking down on the papers infront of him briefly again. "Yes, he's doing just fine. I... enjoy his company." Was that a pathetic attempt at making him jealous? Rufus wondered to himself.

Tseng quirked a neatly shaped dark brow and nodded. "That's good." He cleared his throat to buy him time to come up with something more to say.

"I trust the mission today was a success," Rufus said and stood up.

Tseng swallowed. "Yes," he clasped his hands behind his back. "Yes sir, it was."

Rufus studied him silently, suddenly looking hurt. So this was it? Their encounter the other day had not changed anything. Was he nothing more to Tseng than the vice-president of Shinra Inc?

Heavy raindrops were smattering against the panorama window, the sky slowly opened up to submerge Midgar in fallen water. God, he's beautiful, Tseng thought. What if Reno is right, what if I'll destroy him.

"I should go," Tseng turned to leave.

"Tseng wait," Rufus took a step forward.

"What," Tseng just looked over his shoulder at the young VP.

Rufus grabbed some papers from one of the drawers of his desk. "I just thought you might want to take a look at these. Heidegger's plans for the annual rearrangements in your department. He said that you might have something to add."

Tseng strode over to the desk, his eyes quickly skimming through the text. The close presence of the other man made his spine tingle.

"Tseng," Rufus suddenly broke the silence, "are we... um, I mean I..." He took a deep breath and looked into the Turk's calm dark eyes. "I want to see you again."

Tseng hesitantly looked up from the papers in his hand and met Rufus sapphire gaze, a smiled fleetingly played over his lips. "That's alright," he said, "I kind of want to see you too again." The tension that had hung between them seemed to fall and he took Rufus's face in his hands and kissed him softly. Rufus answered by parting his lips and allowing Tseng to slide his tongue into his mouth.

"Mr vice-president, you have a dinner meeting in half an hour, sir. Your father wanted me to remind you." Once again Rufus's secretary's voice cracked through the intercom.

Rufus gave Tseng an apologetic smile as he leaned down over the desk to press the button on the small machine. The other hand still rested on Tseng's arm.

"Thank you, Disa," he said.

Tseng's arms were never removed from around his waist as he straightened up again.

"I have to go," Rufus pressed his lips to the Turk's.

Tseng ran a hand through the blond hair and then down over the soft cheek.

"That's alright," he said, "I'll see you some other day."

Some other day? Rufus didn't say anything, he wanted to make set plans now but he wasn't sure that was what Tseng wanted.

"Yeah, I'll see you..."

Another kiss, Tseng let go of him and for the second time turned to leave.

"Tseng, wait. I've got the Turks's assignment for tomorrow, you can have the details now if you want to go through them."

Tseng took the papers Rufus held out to him. "Ok, thanks," he mumbled.

Rufus watched the door close behind Tseng.

Tseng didn't make it down to the Shinra building's garage, he left through the main entrance. Almost knocking over one of the executives as he went. The man scowled at him but choose to keep his mouth shut as he saw who he'd run into.

The rain was coming down in torrents but it didn't bother him as he made his way home. The streets were empty since all the people of Midgar surely had escaped to their cars as soon as the rain started falling.

A white limousine slid out of the Shinra HQ, no doubt the one taking Rufus to his dinner meeting.

He hurried through the grey city. Somewhere he trailed off from his original path and his destination changed.

Tseng's suit was soaked. His hair slicked to his face and back. He was no longer on his way home. Distantly the door bell sounded when he pressed the button.

Reno appeared at the door, still wearing his navy blue dress pants, his shirt hung open on his slender frame. Strands of red hair had escaped the rubber band that usually held it in place. A smirk twisted his lips.

"Jeez Tseng," he said, "you look like a drowned kitten."

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