Chapter 3


navy = flashback

Somehow, it was comforting being back. Home sweet home. There's no place like home, and all that. No clicking your heels together three times, just get on the train and you're back in Five. Just like that. So much easier getting down to the Sectors than up to the Plate.

An eerie silence filled the streets. A familliar calm, at a familliar hour. The people of the slums were predictable. All doors had been locked and bolted. It almost seemed as if the city slept. But it didn't, not now, not ever. It was soon time for a change of the cast, but the scene would remain, the play would go on, and maybe the curtain would one day fall.

The thugs, killers and prostitutes would soon crawl out of their dwellings. They were just awaiting darkness to once again drape their domains. The creatures of the night, afraid of the light, even though it was artificial.

It was his time.

A church-bell stroke a key of salvation in the distance, in tune but out of faith. Just another part of the play, adding effect and atmosphere to this seeming necropolis.

Here he could move with courage and pride, his head held high. Not hiding from anyone.

Or atleast, that's how it had been before. But this was after, and the rules had changed. There were people after him, who wanted him dead. Not because he was an annoying son of a bitch but because he'd killed someone. Someone with friends and connections. The sort that took revenge, tasting it's sweetness greedily.

Maybe coming back wasn't such a great idea. Maybe not coming back was even worse.

It was about time he found out.

He'd left not long after Rufus had gone off to work. The penthouse had suddenly seemed so impossibly large. So much space for one person. Too much time to think.

Melting in to the new world. Not standing out. Got to have manners, got to be polite. One mistake and they'll know.

Know the right words, speak with the right accent. Know when to pause, dare to pause, make eye contact. Hold the glass lightly. Sip the wine. Know the brand. One slip of the tongue and they'll know.

Play the game. Smile and be charming. Flirt, be a gentleman. But all is forgiven if you're drunk. Spread the gil, nothing else, unless for the right person.

At least I got that part right.

One look at you and everyone will know.

Nothing but a piece of trash, dragged in from the streets and put in a glass cage where the rich and beautiful could study him, a remarkable exhibition in the Shinra Tower. A boy who worked on the streets, in the dark, spreading his legs and sucking strangers for a handful of gil. Slip in some extra coin and he'll let you watch.

Noting but a simple whore, saved by the glorious Rufus Shinra, only to be made Pet Of The Month.

No! Reno clenched his fist, his head rested against a wall, full of graffiti. I know Rufus, he's not like that. He was nice to me, nicer than anyone ever been before.

And therefor he'd left.

Rufus fished in his pocket for his keycard, fingers coming in contact with what the sensitive tips registered as a packet of cigarettes and the rest of his body registered as a low on nicotine and a new intake might be a good idea.

He leaned back against the glass wall of the elevator, tapping the keycard against his forehead, eyes closed.

What a godawful damn day it has been.

The smile wouldn't keep away, though. It crept on to his face twitching at the corner of his lips, until he finally surrendered and let out a small chuckle. At least he wouldn't be coming home to an empty apartment. Reno would be there, they would talk, order in something to eat, taking another step in the right direction.

Rufus wasn't that sure of what the right direction actually was. Getting someone into bed had always been a good thing to aim for. But he and Reno had already shared a number of nights together, and that was not, and this surprised himself a hell of a lot, what he was aiming for right now. In a way, they'd passed the sex a long time ago, but the sex was also the one thing they had to overcome. So far Reno wouldn't even let Rufus touch him, at least he didn't seem to enjoy it when he did, always retreating into his shell again on those occasions. Even if they'd slept in the same bed every night since he'd come to stay with Rufus, he still slept virtually fully clothed.

No, sex didn't seem to be a logical next step.

Maybe that's not where we're heading, Rufus thought. Somehow the idea of Reno and him not being involved like that bothered him, friendship was fine for now, but he wanted more, eventually.. I want Reno, I really do. But how can I tell him without scaring him away. Will he believe me, anyway?

They had made some progress during the three days Reno had stayed in his place after being released from the police station. Most of the time they sat in silence, Rufus had a feeling Reno needed to be alone, so he didn't try to start up a forced conversation that would only contribute to making their situtation even more awkward. He left Reno alone, letting him have his space, being careful not to make him feel cornered.

On the second night, though, he had made a mistake. Even though he'd known that what he was about to do would jeopardize Reno's slowly growing trust in him, he'd kissed him.

He was standing over by the glass door that led out to the balcony again. The moon cravingly licking at his pale skin. He stared at Her where She hung in the midnight sky, like a cruel mirror of his soul. For Rufus, who'd lived his whole life at the peak of Midgar, Reno's attraction to the moon and the cold stars was hard to understand. But something made him wish he too had lived in the mako colored night down in the slums. To actually see the moon for the first time. It was an experience he couldn't even begin to fathom how it would have affected him. It would be like nothing else.

Reno just stood there, silent as always, seemingly unaware of the other man's prescence. Like a picture which you've drained of colors, leaving nothing but a blue tone in it.

And then, he sighed. His breath leaving it's mark on the glass.

On silent feet Rufus crossed the floor, moving up behind Reno, putting his arms around him. Carefully he turned him towards him, taking him into his embrace.

Reno's breath on his neck. He could imagine it leaving marks on his skin, just as it had on the glass.

The hair was soft in his hand. So impossibly soft. He didn't mean to yank it. Never wanted to hurt. The warmth on his neck, the soft feel in his hand, Reno's body pressed so close to his, arms around him, it was all just too much to bear.

He held Reno's head just an inch away, looking into those deep eyes, the moon ravishing even them.

He kissed him, not gently, not tenderly but with a ravenous lust, breaking away from it's shackles where it had been left starving for what seemed like eternities.

Reno moaned, surrendering to the kiss. His hand moving from where it had laid on Rufus's shoulder, downwards, until resting over his groin.

All as if on routine.

Rufus pulled away, breaking all contact.

"Reno, I'm sorry, I..." he shook his head, stumbling backwards, he left for the sanctity of his own bedroom, where he could regret his sins.

He laid awake for what seemed like hours. He didn't even hear the door open, just saw Reno standing before him one moment, sitting down on the side of his bed the next.

Reno bent down, gently touching his lips to Rufus's. His hair fell over his shoulders, tickling the other's face. Rufus gently brushed back the hair, and Reno laid down next to him.

"I'm sorry."

Rufus resited the urge to pull Reno into his embrace. It was so typical of him to apologise when it was Rufus who really should do so.

"Reno," he whispered, "I'm the one who should be sorry, not your. I shouldn't have done that."

Reno shook his head. "I didn't mind."

Rufus shrugged, or as much as one can shrug when lying down. "If it isn't what you want then... I won't do anything that you don't want me to do. You know that, right?"

Reno turned his back to him. Looking over his shoulder he reached for Rufus hand, wrapping his arm around him. His back was pressed close to Rufus who smiled into the red hair.

If it hadn't been for that night, Rufus would probably have given up on the idea of him and Reno a long time ago. But there was something there, and he was not sure if he was prepared to lose it.


Rufus frowned when he didn't get any response, his body going cold. Reno wasn't there.


Quickly he shed his clothes, exchanging them for a pair of jeans, black t-shirt and an old worn out leather jacket. He found the cap, blue with a white Mighty Chocobos print on it, on the top shelf in his wardrobe. He pulled out one of the drawers, finding his Shinra manufactured gun of a model only him and the Turks used. He'd persuaded Tseng to teach him how to use it, since it was more complex than a usual gun and he didn't want to risk blowing his head off while trying to figure it out. Besides, Tseng was the only one who had the authority to fill out an order for that specific type of weapon, or was at least the only one who could go down to the arsenal and claim it.

He roamed around in the drawer, tossing socks onto the floor, until he found his master cure materia. He held the fire and bolt materias in his hand, trying to decide wich one to take, finally made up his mind that bolt might be a good idea and put the two choosen orbs into their slots on the gun. He tucked it into the lining of his jeans, picked up his car keys and left.

The boy whimpered every time he pushed in, every thrust a little bit harder, a little bit quicker than the last. His mouth open, moaning, biting his lip not to scream, his whole body rocking in a fierce rhythm he had no control over. He cried out as short nails dug into his hips, the man behind him pushing deeper into him.

Then the phone rang.

The rhythm did not alter, except for maybe quickening slightly. The man grunted, and he could feel his irritation tearing inside of himself. He'd only know him for about two hours, met him down at the marina bar, still he could already tell this was not the sort of man you wanted to annoy.

With one last push he released into him, letting him fall down onto the mattress. The boy turned over to his back, looking up at the man who reached for the phone, that dark beautiful hair falling over his shoulders.

"Yes?" his voice was annoyed, but it didn't show any hint of what kind of activities he'd been involved in only seconds ago.

"Tseng?" the voice at the other end asked.

"Rufus?" Tseng frowned and pushed the boy's leg aside as he was trying to tickle him with his toes. "What do you want?"

Rufus hesitated, he knew that was never a good sign. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed, found his boxers and slipped into them while holding the phone steady between his shoulder and chin. He slapped away the hand creeping over his stomach, trying to ignore the smiling face next to his.

"I kind of need some help."

Tseng sighed. "I kind of figured that much." His mouth was caught in a kiss. "Mph."

"What was that?"

He shoved the boy back onto the bed. "Stay there."

"What? You're coming over to Midgar?"

"No," Tseng tugged on a pair of blue slacks, "I wasn't talking to you, Rufus. What is it that you need help with?"

"Ah," Rufus didn't make any comment about there being someone with Tseng. "Remember Reno?"

"Who?" he picked up his cigarettes from the bedside table, walked out into the kitchen and found himself a bottle of beer in the regrigerator.

"The one I thought could fill that blank space in the Turks."

He heard Rufus mutter something and a horn honked in the background, giving him the impression that Rufus must be in his car.

"Well, he disappeared."

The glassdoor slid away and Tseng stepped out onto the balcony, dropping down to sit on the white tiled floor, finding his pack of Red Giants Lights abandoned on the table. "Don't worry about it, we'll find someone else."

"No, you don't understand. I need to find him, he's in trouble, and I promised to make sure he wouldn't get into any more."

"What exactly is it that you need me for, Rufus?" the flame licked at the end of the cigarette.

"I'm down in Five right now, I could use some directions, though.

"You're down in the slums?"

"Look, I had no choice, I need to find Reno, ok?"

Tseng took a moment to take a deep drag on his cigarette, letting the smoke out again, before answering, calmly. "No, Rufus, it's not ok. What do you think your fa..."

"Fuck that," Rufus interrupted him, "I have to find Reno, and I haven't got much of a clue which way is up and which way is down down here, that's why I need you."

Tseng watched the boy stretch in his bed, body naked and glimmering in the pale Junon evening sun that still lingered in the sky. He brought the bottle to his lips and drank.

"I need to know some good hideouts, you know, where people go when they don't want to be found."

"Why doesn't this Reno guy want to be found."

The other end of the line was quiet. Tseng waited patiently and finally Rufus cleared his throat. "He killed someone and the guy's friends are most likely after him, not to mention the cops who I personally promised that I would keep him away at least until this whole thing has blown over."

"Are you coming back to bed soon?"

Tseng looked up to see the boy leaning against the edge of the glass door, nothing but a sheet wrapped around him, smiling seductivly. "I have to work." When this didn't seem to be enough of a hint, he added; "So piss off."

"What's that all about?"

"Nothing, hang on," he glared up at the boy who hadn't moved. "Did you hear me?"


"Have you tried his apartment? The usual hangouts. Bars. You know I'm really not comfortable with you being down there on your own at this hour."

"Nevermind that, I can take care of myself. He was not at his home, don't know his usual hangout, but I'm going to check the bars now. Any other idea?"

"Kind of hard to say. Did you check his work, if he has one, that is?"

Another silence.

"Yeah... I'll do that. I'll call you later, ok."

"Rufus, don't..." but it was to late, Rufus had already hung up.

"I'll just leave then." The boy was back, fully dressed this time.

"You still here?" Tseng muttered as he called up Rufus's cellphone again. Only to find it turned off. He didn't look up as the door to his apartment was closed, busy dialling a new number, this time he had better luck.

"Rude? Where are you?" he tossed the burnt down cigarette over the railings of the balcony. "I want you down in Five asap. Yeah. Rufus's there."

He finished the last of his burger, licking the sauce off his fingers. Checking his pockets, finding only a few lousy gil, he realized that it could be a while until his next meal. Unless he did some work.

Come on, Reno, you can do this. Better get it done while you still have mayonaise and pickle taste in your mouth.

The street was nearly empty, he needed to dislocate himself to another district if he wanted to find some 'customers.' The High Street was a good place to start, the center of the nightclubs. If you drifted in to one of the alleys you'd find the more... questionable clubs, not the sort of places one would want advertised out to the world that you frequented. There was always someone there looking for company.

Reno stayed in the shadows, waiting. One man eyed him carefully but he only looked away, not offering any hint of a smile or tempting gaze. The thought of what he was about to do made his dinner turn in his stomach. Something inside of his mind just kept replaying the scene of the man who'd nearly killed him in an alley much like this one. He tucked his hands into his pockets to keep them from shaking.

Cigarette, that's what he needed. He fished one out, lightening it with an unsteady hand.

The lights moved in rhythm with the beating music, he was leaning on some kind of a pillar, smoking, watching the dancefloor.

Nightclubs was usually not the best place to pick up customers, but tonight he thought he might be able to mix business with pleasure.

Most people he'd seen somewhere before, but there were three men out on the dancefloor that he did not recognize. Two men with long black hair, one of them looking a bit anxious, doing his best to keep up with the music. The other seemed confident, though, dancing close to a younger, blond man.

He went over to the bar, it was time for another drink.

The bar was crowded, as expected. He squeezed between two other patrons, leaning over the smooth glass surface, trying to catch the barman's attention. Not an easy task when a line of blondes with lowcut dressed wanted to get a refill at the same time.

"Oi, can I get a 'Paralyzer' over here?" he shouted.

"Sounds interesting, what is it?" someone was standing close behind him, pressing up against him.

He turned, a smirk already on his lips, looking over his shoulder to find himself face to face with the blond man who he'd been watching out on the dancefloor just minutes ago. "I don't know, and I guess I don't want to know either, but it sure as hell got that name for a reason."

"I'll have the same," he told the barman who was just serving Reno's drink.

Reno turned his whole body around, leaning back against the bar since his path out of there was blocked by the stranger. He sipped his drink through a straw, not making any attempt of paying for it.

The blond handed over a card to the barman, telling him to charge him for both drinks. His body pressed even closer to Reno as he leaned over him to sign the receipt. He smelled good, expensive after-shave and cologne.

His deep, cold-blue eyes met Reno's and he smiled, one eyebrow coming up slightly. "What do you say we finish these and get out of here?"

Reno smiled, too. "Sounds good to me."

His throat hurt, choking on every breath he took, he hardly noticed the tears streaming down his face. Damnit, I'm such a fucking idiot.


He looked up, the voice so familiar. Without thinking he stumbled into Rufus's arms, sobbing in to his shoulder.

Rufus held him tightly, brushing his fingers gently through his hair. "C'mon, let's go home."

"I'm so sorry, Rufus, I'm so damn sorry," he didn't look up at the other man, just clung onto him, afraid of letting go.

Chapter 4   |   Fanfiction