Chapter 2

"Hey, it's me... Reno."

The voice was hesitant.

Um, I'm kinda in a mess and... well, I didn't know who to call. So I guess that's why I'm calling you."

There was a pause.

"Anyways, I'd appreciate your help. But I'll understand if you can't."

Fingers ran through blond hair. What had he done this time?

"So when you hear this message..."

Maybe he'd gotten himself caught up in some drugdeal.

"... I was gonna say 'call me' but that wouldn't work 'cause I've got kinda limited access to my phone right now."

Had he been injured? Shot? Nah, he didn't sound hurt. A bit weary perhaps, fatigued. As if he was tired of everything, not as if he was bleeding from an open wound and was trying to crawl to the nearest hospital.

"You'll find me in the warm and loving care of Midgar Police Department. Heh, I'm topside, figure that, huh. Guess they thought I was too good for the slums, eh."

Reno in jail? Rufus pressed the phone closer, almost prepared to say 'hang on, I'll be there in twenty' before he remembered he was listening to a recorded voice. And that the charges might be prostitution.

"Hope you hear this... you're my one call."

Another pause.


Silence. Tone.

Rufus flipped the phone shut, discarding it to his pocket as he left the office.

"I believe you have a Reno Papen in custody."

The young police man looked up, his eyes widening as he saw who stood before him.

"Eh, I'll go check the registers, sir."

Rufus merely blinked at the man's sudden nervousnes, then asked; "You know who I am?"

"Yes, sir, of course."

"Good, then you know there's no point wasting both of our time by doing things more difficult than they are. And you'll understand when I say that no one must know about this. And the charges against mr Papen will be dropped."

"S-sir, I don't have the authority to..."

"Then let me speak to someone who does."

Reno rolled over into a sitting position on the hard bed as the door suddenly opened with a hiss of air.

That door was made of depleted uranium. Reno was sure of it. It would at least fit into the rest of the interior of the hi-tech police station.

Rufus strode in, followed by that thubby man in uniform who'd been harassing him in interrogation the night before.

He's here, Reno thought, it wasn't until now he realized that he hadn't really expected the young vice-president to show up at all. He'd always seen himself as a toy, easily superseded by someone new. Never had he thought he held any more meaning to Rufus Shinra; why would he?

Rufus was looking down on him; sitting on the bed with his long legs dangling over the edge; his hair a mess, well, not that it was anything unusual about that. A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth as he watched the redhead.

"Hey," he said.

Reno cocked his head, almost shyly meeting the other man's gaze.

"Hey, sorry to drag you down here."

Rufus shrugged. "It's alright."

The fat little man stepped in between them, glaring at Reno with his arms crossed.

"Reno, you're free to go. We're releasing you into the care of mr Shinra since you're his eh, friend."

"Gee, thanks a lot," Reno smiled unheartfully.

"Let it be clear to you that I personally would enjoy nothing more than watching your sorry ass fry in the chair."

"Sorry to disappoint ya," he searched through his pocket, finding his pack of Marlboro Lights.

"Ok, that's enough. Come one, Reno, let's get out of here." Rufus left the cell, waiting on the outside for him to follow.

He was careful not to touch Reno as the two of them left the policestation. Inwardly he cursed himself for always being so damn worried about his reputation.

Rufus put his slick black Porsche into a higher gear, confidentely speeding down the narrow but straight streets of the inner city of upper Midgar. They were in an area he was not too familliar with, but it didn't matter, all parts of the city were the same. There was always one road, usually the main one, that sooner or later led to the Shinra Building. You could see the mighty tower from pretty much anywhere on the Plate, unless you'd be happening to be starring into a giant brick-wall maybe.

Neonlights flooded the streets at this hour. Inviting you to The Wutan Cellar, Ancient Recipes and other such fancy restaurants. Nothing bore any resemblance to the shabby diners Reno saw as his second home down in the slums.

"You alright?" Rufus glanced over at his passenger.

Reno's fingers drummed on the dashboard, following some silent tune. He shrugged. "Yeah, sure. You can dropped me off at the nearest train station, I'll find my own way down again."

"No, Reno," Rufus sighed, he should have known this wouldn't be easy. "You have to stay with me, I'm responsible for you know. If the cops haul you in again it will be my ass getting fried. You killed someone, and you already had a record; you're lucky they didn't take the chance to get rid of you."

"Yeah, alright, I know I have you to thank for that so... if you want something in return that's fine."

"That was not what I meant," he slowed down, red light ahead. "If they see you back on the streets they'll get you for sure."

"What, they'll dare go against the orders of the mighty Rufus Shinra?"

There was a trace of sarcasm in his voice. It was just a question, asked in a careful way.

"My father runs this city, I don't. And as long as he lives all I can do is flash around the name a little if I want something done and pray it'll work, and that none of it gets back to the old man."

Reno said nothing, only stared out the window. One might think he wasn't listening, not paying any attention to what the man in the driver's seat was saying. But his mind was working, putting all the pieces of information together, forming a clear picture. He realised he'd put Rufus in a tricky spot, and maybe going back to the slums would seem ungrateful. As if he didn't care that the vice-president had risked a hell of a lot coming down to the policestation.

He did care. And he understood he wouldn't be safe in the slums, not from the police, and not from the dead man's friends, he'd looked like the kind of guy that wouldn't just disappear unnoticed. But most of all he didn't want Rufus to be in trouble because of him.

It had never really been 'just business' when he was with the blond. He'd never been on his knees before him in some dark smelly alley. He'd never waited in the distance as he paid for some dirty motel room, renting both a bed and a body for an hour.

Rufus was the only one he'd brought over to his place. He'd let him into his life, something which was the first thing he told the new kids on the street never to do. It's not always so easy to live the way you learn though. The idea of him being something more to Rufus than a piece of ass was comforting. The regular meetings had rather quickly became something for him to look forward to, although he wouldn't really admit it, not even to himself. Knowing that Rufus was coming over never made him quesy, getting out on the street standing in his regular corner did.

Jeez, you're such a romantic, Reno.

"Alright then," he said, "I'll come with you, but only til things cool down a bit."

The smile tugging at the corner of Rufus' mouth went unnoticed by him as he stared unseeingly out the window.

"You want to talk about it?"

They were sitting on Rufus' balcony, resting their feet on a garden furniture like table with matching chairs. Not very comfortable if it weren't for the soft cussions.

Reno reached for the ashtray, flicking ashes into it. "Not really," he replied.

Rufus picked up his glass of white excuisite wine, silently tasting it. The city that would one day be his stretched out beneath him. All the lights forming strange patterns and constellations over the ground. The Midgar nightsky was always dark, it was as if all those lights along the streets down there were some kind of substitute for the stars.

It was a nice summernight, early summer. Not yet too warm to be out in the rising smog which made the city insufferable in the peak of summer. It was just perfect for spending the late evening on the balcony, sipping wine, smoking, talking bullshit, joking, laughing.

Only they did not joke and laugh. They were in fact not even talking, just sitting there, silently, maybe a bit awkwardly. As if trying to decide if it was an uncomfortable situation or not. Reno seemed lost in his own thoughts most of the time, which was fine by Rufus who didn't really know what to say to the man on the other side of the table. The man he'd spent many nights with, but never a morning.

"I didn't mean to do it," Reno suddenly broke the silence, his voice low.

Rufus looked over at him, not saying anything, just waiting for him to continue.

"He deserved it though, I don't regret it. He wanted to hurt me, said he wanted to drink my blood." A shiver ran through his body at the memory.

"It's... it's alright, you don't have to explain. I don't blame you for anything."

"I know. I just... I don't know, I guess I just thought it would feel different. I never knew I could do a thing like that."

"Reno," Rufus began, but hesitated, he didn't know what to say.

Reno rose from his chair, stabbing out his cigarette as he did. "I think I'll hit the sack if you don't mind. Didn't really get much sleep last night."

"That's fine, I'm a bit tired myself. Do you... do you want to sleep on the couch?" Rufus realized the question was a bit awkward, but it didn't matter how much he'd twisted and turned it the whole night, it just had to be asked sooner or later. No matter how much he'd have liked to have Reno in his bed this night.

"The couch is fine by me," Reno shrugged. "Unless you want to..." he let the sentence peter out, knowing fully well Rufus knew what he was talking about.

Rufus held up his hand, waving them in a dismissive gesture. "No... Reno, that's... that's not at all what I meant, I just..."

"Alright," another shrug, "the couch is fine."

Rufus slid the glass door open and Reno followed him inside.

He found the spare blanket and pillow in one of the closets. It was when he couldn't remember where the sheets were that he started feeling a bit stupid about having a maid who took care of all things like that, which really made it unnecessary for him to know where sheets and such like where kept. For a moment he wondered if maybe she brought it in with a carriage every day, surely she couldn't be going through his wardrobe anyway.

He shut the wardrobe closed and leaned against the doors, closing his eyes. Maybe he could offer Reno some towels to sleep on. He would probably not mind in the least, but still, you'd expect the vice-president of Shinra Inc to be able to offer proper accommedation in his own home. Maybe he could pull the sheets off of his own bed, fold them and pretend as if they were fresh out of the shelves. It couldn't be that hard.

Rufus went over to the bed, tossing the quilt on the floor, the pillows followed and he started tugging at the sheet.

Putting one corner to the other, how difficult could it be really?

Pretty damn difficult, Rufus figured after wrestling with the sheet for much too long.

"What are you doing?"

Rufus spun around, looking up at Reno from his position on the floor. A tiny smirk played over the redhead's lips, it was something that he'd never seen before. Never such an expression of sheer amusement.

"I, um, I don't know, I..." he sighed, got up on his feet again, only to find that the brief distraction wasn't enough for him to come up with a good answer. "I seem to be out of sheets for the time being."

"That's cool," Reno leaned against the doorframe, his arms folded over his chest, one foot hooked over the other. "Not bad for a bedroom," he said as he looked around the spacious room. "Pretty big."

"Well, yeah, I guess. I found a blanket and pillow for you."

"Ok, thanks." Reno met Rufus' blue gaze for a brief second, then pushed himself away from the supporting doorframe. "Good night then."

"Yeah, good night." Rufus closed the door after him.

He could hear Reno move out there. The sound of the other man silently walking around in his apartment had awaken him, and now he lay in his bed, wondering if he should get up and go check if everything was alright of if he should stay where he was, pretending to still be asleep.

It hit him that Reno might be trying to sneek out. He threw the quilt aside, swung his legs over the edge of the bed and got up. A pair of white slacks hung over the back of a chair, he pulled them on, then silently turned the doorknob.

Reno was standing over by the window, fully dressed, his forehead resting against the glass. If he heard Rufus entering the room he didn't show it.


He lifted his head a little, but didn't move or turn to look at the other man.

Rufus walked over to him, slowly, as if he was afraid to scare him away. When he was standing right behind him he raised his hands, placing them on the slim shoulders. He rubbed gently, moving the rest of his body just a little closer.

"Were you going to leave?" He could feel the shoulders beneath his hands rise, then fall again. "Yeah, I thought so. What stopped you?"

Reno shook his head. "I don't know. It's just that... well, I'm in deep shit right now, and you're pretty much the only one who can help me. I mean I know I can't go back to my sector again, and it would probably be a good idea to stay away from the slums for a while anyways, but still..." he paused, sighed, as if preparing himself for the next part. "I really appreciate your help, Rufus, I really do. But I'm just trying to figure out what you want for all of this and..."

"Hey, wait a sec," Rufus interrupted him, "I don't want anything from you. I want you to stay here, at least until it's safe for you to go back to the slums, but even then I'd like you to stay. I have a job for you, a real job, then you wouldn't have to go back." He decided that this wasn't the right time to give a thourough explaination on what the Turks was and what they did. "Get some sleep, we'll talk things through tomorrow, ok?"

Reno could feel himself being pulled closer into Rufus embrace. The hands that had been massaging his shoulders travelled down the side of his arms, to his waist, encircling it. He leaned back, just enough to rest his head on Rufus' shoulder. Fingers rose to trail over his throat, he felt panic rising within him, fighting down every urge and instinct to break free. As Rufus hand finally rested on his chest he relaxed.

"I won't say that I don't want you though, Reno, for I do want you. But not like what we had before. And not if you don't want me."

Rufus' breath was hot on his neck, for once the feeling brought pleasure to Reno. He tipped his head back a little further, turning his face to Rufus. Lips brushed over his, briefly and tenderly.

He sighed. "Rufus," he almost whispered. He straightened up a little, clearing his throat before continuing. "I'm not sure what I want, but I think..." that I want you. "I think I might need to think things through a bit." He paused, turning to stand face to face with the young vice-president. "I also think that I want you to kiss me again," his voice dropped down to a whisper again. "And I don't think I want to sleep alone tonight. But only sleep," he intoned.

Rufus' hand came up to rest at the nape of his neck, gently, not demandingly, pulling him closer.

As their lips met once more Reno snaked his arm around the other man's waist, lightly resting his hand on his back.

"Come on then," Rufus said as he broke the kiss. He hooked two fingers with two of Reno's, then slowly started walking back to his bedroom.

Reno followed, his hand in Rufus's. He swallowed nervously. This was what he wanted, what he'd asked for. He could do this. He could.

"Pick side, I sleep well on both," Rufus said as they stood before his wide bed.

Reno went over to the right side, shrugged. "This will do just fine." He sat down on the bed at first, not quite looking over at Rufus, eventhough he was half-turned towards him. He lay down, first on his back, then rolled over to his side.

Rufus raised a brow, looking down on the redheads back as he laid down on the bed himself. "You going to sleep with your clothes on?" He could see Reno nod.

"Yes," came the reply.

"Ok, as long as you're comfortable."

They lay silently, neither of them moving. Just as Rufus was wondering if Reno was asleep, he sat up, taking off his jacket, throwing it carelessly to the floor.

He turned to the other side. Rufus was looking at him. It was just light enough in the room for him to see the worried eyes studying him. He moved just a little bit closer. His hand reaching out to rest on Rufus' stomach. A hand was placed at the curve of his waist in return and Rufus also moved a little bit closer.

Chapter 3   |   Fanfiction