Farther Than Guns Will Go: 7. The Latest Toughs

Rufus/Reno. NC-17. ~6200 words. Shades of D/s. Sounding. Co-written with Ponderosa.
This isn’t what they do.

A good chunk of Reno’s life is Rufus’s. Most of the time he’s okay with that. He’s never been all about the perks but he’s not above enjoying them, and if Rufus wants to drop a little extra cash to get his bodyguard a fancy five-star steak during an informal dinner, Reno’s going to eat it.

Sometimes though, Rufus’s life, and consequently Reno’s, is damn boring. Stuck in midtown traffic while Rufus talks figures with a cookie-cutter drone in a suit reminds Reno that drying paint has its appeal.

Reno’s head lolls to the side. The skyline burns sunset red, brilliantly unreal splashes of colour broken by the hollow shells of the reactors. The lights dotting the crooked arms of cranes and new construction sites glitter like new stars.

They’re most vulnerable in transit. SOLDIERS flank the sleek black towncar and one of the few remaining choppers circles the highway like a vulture. Far beneath the streets, not enough Regulars sweep the tunnels and sewers for threats.

It makes Reno only a little antsy. Not near as antsy as Reno makes the suit.

Lazily, Reno slides his gaze to the right. The suit hands Rufus a sheaf of papers, smiling as he points out progress and profit margins and projected successes. Rufus’s expression remains unchanged and the suit’s smile falters.

The steady three-beat tap of the e-mag against the inside of Reno’s calf drags their attention to him. Reno watches the suit’s nerves fray one by one, a small pocket of tension thickening the air around him.

Reno used to pull this kind of shit just to see if he could get away with it. Now he does it because of the tiny amused slant to Rufus’s lips.

“Reno,” Rufus says. No heat, not a sharp command, just his name trickling down his spine like spring melt.

“You done yet?” Reno asks.

The suit gawks. Probably almost pisses himself over the idea of anybody, Turk or no, taking that tone with the President. He turns to Rufus, mouth slack, and his shocked stare bleeds into confusion as Rufus returns the look with a cocked eyebrow.

The car eases forward. Reno glances out the window, relieved to see the lanes of traffic finally moving.

Rufus asks, “Are we, Mr. Hoyt?”

“Yes, sir,” the suit says. Reno gives him a few points for quick recovery and not swallowing his own tongue. “I believe so. I can have copies of this on your desk within the hour.”

Rufus nods, the suit goes on, and Reno’s attention drifts. He can feel the considering glances Rufus slants his way like butterfly wings on his skin.

It’s almost been a year. He spends more time sleeping in Rufus’s bed than his own. He still has more stuff at Rude’s place than Rufus’s, not because he’s meticulous about it but because Rufus is.

Reno can’t say Rufus isn’t his type. Reno doesn’t have a type beyond quick and dirty. He’s got some favourites but mostly it’s about availability. Sometimes they get fancy, a little kinky, sometimes they don’t.

Rufus is fancy. Reno’s never seen anything so fucking hot as the blissed out, shattered look on Rufus’s face when he’d lost it with Reno’s fist curled tight in his guts. That sort of thing is addictive. Rufus likes games and toys and testing Reno’s limits, likes sex like street drugs, never really safe no matter how small the dose or controlled the environment.

Rufus crawled under his skin and through his veins and into his bones. The job isn’t Reno’s life but Rufus is the job, and that’s where things get murky.


Three weeks after Lab 39, two since Rufus gave it up fucked out of his mind on Reno’s kitchen floor, Reno’s still thinking about it. He plays it over and over in his head, lingering on the uneasiness Rufus couldn’t fully mask, the heavy, drugged lassitude Rufus was slow to shrug off.

Rufus looks nothing like that now. His gaze is knife-sharp, focused, as his thumb glides smoothly along the red ink on Reno’s cheek.

“I promised I’d behave, boss,” Reno says, jangling the metal cuffs clinched around his wrists behind his back. They’re thin and strong and real, no panic catches, no padding. There’s nothing fake about their threat; nothing fake about any of the threats and promises Rufus makes. “You didn’t have to cuff me.”

“I’m sure you will,” Rufus says. He eases away, off the bed, cool air rushing in to replace the warmth that’d been between them. At the closet, he skips the drawer filled with leather that always perks Reno’s interest and opens the one with the rainbow toys that look so out of place in the middle of his black and white life.

Reno cranes his neck in an attempt to see. “Feeling kinky?” he says when Rufus turns back.

Rufus drops a slim black case to the bed where it rests against Reno’s thigh, chill like the air. “Which would you rather have?” he counters, holding a little bullet in one hand and a plug that makes Reno’s eyes widen in the other.

Reno watches Rufus’s face for the catch. There’s always a catch, some little trick, but Rufus has his boardroom smile on. Reno scoots up closer to the headboard in a bid for time, jiggles the cuffs again and tries to keep his gaze from straying back to the case.

Not looking doesn’t help. “What’s in the case?”

“Pick one of these and find out.”

Anticipation curls up tight in Reno’s gut, twines slippery-smooth with apprehension. There’s a limited number of things it could be. He’s the one who runs his mouth off but Rufus drops his fair share of hints. Rufus promises him with things he’s sure he won’t like until he’s smack in the middle of it and getting off so fucking hard his head spins.

“The little one.” Reno wets his lips. “Give my hole a break.”

Rufus’s smile thins to a slice of something dangerous. “You’ll just have to wear the other later, then.”

“Knew there was a catch.”

The plug goes on the nightstand, exchanged for a bottle of lube. Reno spreads his legs before Rufus nudges at his thigh, slumping against the high pillows that no one ever sleeps on. The first touch of slick fingers is slow, soft and mellow enough for Reno to count as foreplay. It doesn’t match the bite of metal at his wrists or the look in Rufus’s eyes.

“You really eat this shit up, don’t you?” Reno says, toes flexing on the coverlet when Rufus gives him one finger, smooth and easy as sin. “Fucking with my head like that.”

Rufus’s gaze skips to the case before meeting Reno’s. “Yes,” he says, and replaces his fingers with the bullet vibe.

It’s cold metal instead of plastic like Reno expected and he tenses, the ache of it pushing inside him sharp and bright before tapering off into a heavy, solid weight. He shifts his hips, muscle contracting on reflex as Rufus’s fingers pull free, circle Reno’s hole to make it twitch.

For a few long minutes that’s all Rufus does, fingers him slow and gentle and listens to his breaths grow short. Gives Reno time to think about that case.

A brand was the last threat Rufus made. Something permanent, a mark on Reno’s flesh clear and deliberate amongst the scars from the job. Before that, knives. Pain carved as deep as Rufus inside him, each slice healed before the blood from the next dried.

Those are the words Rufus whispered to him, seared into his memory like a photo overexposed.

“Don’t tell me you don’t enjoy it as well,” Rufus says, snapping Reno back. He moves the case out of his way and rolls onto his side, chest flush to one of Reno’s legs and elbow propped on the mattress between them. “Otherwise, you’d tell me to fuck off, wouldn’t you?”

Reno drags his other leg up, lets it drop wide as Rufus goes for the lube again, drips it straight onto his cock. “Like you’d listen if I did?” he says past the air caught in his throat. His lungs are tight, shrinking smaller. This isn’t how it goes between them, syrup-thick and creeping. It’s supposed to be fast, hard, dirty sex sliding steadily into filthy.

Reno doesn’t need all this time to think.

“I might listen,” Rufus says, “if I thought you were serious,” and flicks open the case. Inside, more metal gleams. Thin, delicate-looking rods of it set out in a neat little row. Reno’s eyes narrow, realisation slicing quick and clean through his brain as forgotten idle words come rushing back like the blood pounding in his veins. “We’ll start small, this time,” Rufus says.

“You gotta be fucking kidding me,” Reno says, jerking up from his lazy sprawl. “Damn it, boss, you’re not serious. Tell me you’re not fucking serious and you’re not sticking that where I think you’re sticking it.”

The sound touches Reno’s balls and they tighten like they want back inside his body, his skin suddenly a few inches too small for him all the way around. Rufus says, “That would depend on where you think I’m going to stick it,” and runs the blunt tip through the lube spilled along the side of Reno’s cock, straight up to dip under his foreskin.

Reno’s breath eases out in a slow hiss. His fingers flex, dig in and twist at the plush pillows.

“I’ve told you I wanted to do this with you before,” Rufus murmurs, voice soft, gaze fixed on the slight bulge on Reno’s dick where the metal slides under thin, delicate skin. “You must remember.”

“Yeah, but you say you’re gonna do a lot of shit you don’t,” Reno says, almost pushing into the firm grip Rufus has on his cock, holding it steady as the sound flirts at his slit.

And Rufus does a lot of things he never said he would but never the things he says he won’t. Reno’s not sure if that’s a good enough reason to trust him, isn’t even sure if he needs a reason. There’s too many burned bridges, too many chances he’s had to say no and didn’t. Couldn’t.

Rufus goes still, breath held, anticipatory.

“Fuck, wait,” Reno says. “Hang on, just gimme a minute or shit.” Burning pressure makes his stomach lurch. He snaps his eyes shut tight, teeth clenched against the image of that tiny bit of metal vanishing into his dick. But not seeing it makes it worse, or it just is worse, inches of it sinking into him, stretching him open, hurting and aching like nothing he’s felt before. “Son of a, fuck.”

“Does that mean I should make good on more of my promises?” Rufus asks, his voice thick and heavy with a moan barely held in check.

He keeps talking and Reno latches onto the sound if not the meaning, lets it feed the sick sort of ecstasy that’d burrowed deep in his gut, had nested there, the first time Rufus had pushed him almost too far. It’s not fear this time, or not the same fear, but it’s a familiar dark thrill licking at the edges of his mind. The same thing that keeps him coming back again and again, junkie-eager and blind.

Rufus’s hand drags down, peels Reno’s foreskin back and squeezes, thick fluid welling up around the metal buried in his cock. Reno sucks in breath, twists and loses it on gasps and useless noises and Rufus keeps pushing, slides the sound deeper until something deep inside him sends a sharp twinge racing along his nerves.

Rufus pumps the vibe close to max and Reno’s entire body jerks; Rufus starts pulling the sound free and he howls.

Reno tugs at the cuffs, not feeling the bite of them into his skin when Rufus starts fucking his dick from the inside out with the sound. Rufus’s words start eating through the haze in his head, bits and pieces of more promises: leather binding his arms and the brutal kiss of a whip, a length of wire and a torch and a mark burned into his flesh, beaten down, humiliated, forced to crawl for the privilege of Rufus’s touch.

Starbursts of white erupt behind Reno’s eyelids, sudden gut-twisting pleasure knocking him back to the pillow with a wordless, animal noise that was meant to be permission for Rufus to do anything, anything he wanted. Rufus’s fingers are a thick knot inside him, holding the vibe too close to his prostate to be real pleasure or real pain, his system overloaded for a brief, blissful moment.

The vibe lowers to a dull buzz at the edges of Reno’s senses. His cock is sticky, still throbbing and flushed dark with blood. Rufus eases up, lets Reno’s legs draw up naturally and just touches him, hands skimming along sweat-soaked skin as he catches his breath.

“Didn’t hear a fucking word you said, boss,” Reno croaks, swallowing and coughing to clear the thick rasp in his voice. He shivers and can’t stop, shuddering in the wake of Rufus’s hands and the echoes skittering under his skin. “Not a fucking word.”

“Then you’ll just have to use your imagination, won’t you?”

Rufus’s hand drifts back to Reno’s cock and he tenses, draws in breath and holds it. Flicking him a knowing glance, Rufus keeps his touch light, leisurely jerks him off around the thin metal rod. And it’s good. It’s fucked up and wrong, but it’s good.

“Shit,” Reno breathes.

Rufus makes a sound of agreement, lowering his head to suck bright kisses onto the tightness of Reno’s balls. His tongue drags up, just the point, to touch the small bit of metal left visible at the head of Reno’s cock and the sensation rocks Reno back, drags a ragged groan out of him.

Breath rushes hot as backdraft over Reno’s dick, Rufus’s mouth poised and open to swallow him whole. Reno trembles, waiting for it, wanting it. He says, “Fuck, boss, c’mon,” and then Rufus’s teeth close over the sound, jerking it free and ripping a breathless, wordless noise from Reno’s throat.

“Eventually, we’ll work our way up to the biggest,” Rufus says, and plucks the next gauge up out of the case. Finished with giving Reno time to catch his breath, Rufus steadies his cock and packs the length of steel into it.

The stretch edges into unbearable, Reno’s eyes rolling back and his teeth grinding. It’s too tight, too full, too much, a thick line of cold burning straight to his balls, and all the while, Rufus is whispering in his ear, breath like a soft kiss on overheated skin.

“How are your wrists?” Rufus asks, slipping away again.

Reno shakes his head and moans, drags in desperate gulps of air. He’s lost his anchor and is left with just the ache, twisting and turning to escape it but every movement makes him hyper-aware of it, how heavy his cock is as it drags against his belly.

“Take it out,” he rasps, tasting salt sharp on his lips. “Fuck, take it out, don’t just fucking leave it there. Just-”

“Just what?” Rufus says, deadly quiet from too far away.

Reno swivels to follow the sound of Rufus’s voice, vision blurred and concentration shattered when Rufus leans over him and touches the very tip of his cock. Pressure, then more, a soft kiss to his open lips, and Rufus tugs the sound free.

Reno’s voice cuts out mid-groan.

The sound taps Reno’s cheek, body-warm and slick. His fingers are cramped, slippery. Fine points of heat radiate on each of his arms, skin broken by his nails. He breathes deep, smells sweat and come and the sharp tang of his own body on the metal Rufus drags across his lips.

“You have five minutes to get soft enough for me to put a ring on you,” Rufus says.

Reno tilts his head, muscles slow to respond, the air thickened to soup. He watches Rufus’s face as he curls his tongue out, lets the tastes on the sound flood his mouth, his lips tingling. Rufus’s eyes darken, narrow, his pleasure written clear across sharp features. The sound falls away and Reno hesitates, resists the urge to follow.

“Not gonna happen,” he mumbles, and drops back, panting. Rufus watches and waits, does nothing until Reno jerks his chin at his cock and says, “Let me see.”

Rufus pulls the bullet free first, gently. He sets a knee to the bed after tossing it aside, cupping Reno’s cock in one hand, forefinger and thumb of the other pinched softly around the head.

Reno swallows and stares. “Shit.” His hips jerk when Rufus squeezes just a little, brings the blood roaring back in Reno’s ears at the sharp sting. Thick fluid, murky white, swells up and drips slowly over Rufus’s fingers.

“Care to go wider?” Rufus asks, rubbing his thumb through the mess. He doesn’t wait for an answer, leaning across Reno to reach into the nightstand and produce a small silver key. A glance tells Reno not to move as he undoes one of the cuffs, jerking Reno’s arm out and refastening it to the bars in the headboard. “Three minutes.”

Reno stretches out his arm, testing it. Red welts are sharp between paler snatches of skin, smaller, brighter slashes of crimson slicing through them, tiny cuts that stopped bleeding seconds after they were made. He flexes his wrists experimentally, easing that ache before looking up. “Not gonna happen, boss.”

Rufus’s expression tells him nothing.

Reno slumps back, takes stock. His seconds tick by, matching the beat of his heart. He knows there’s no genuine threat, nothing that Rufus would physically do to him that could warrant the solid mass of dread stuck in the back of his throat.

Rufus watches him, dark and hungry and expectant.

“You want me soft,” Reno says, patience snapped, the heady thrill of Rufus’s wants beating at his skin and making the choice for him. “I’ll give you fucking soft.”

His hand stutters on his cock, nerves rubbed raw shrilly protesting. He tightens his grip and strokes harder, strokes himself through it, slams his system with rough, gritty pleasure.

He makes a noise, shock and surprised pleasure when Rufus is there, reaching for his hand, knee jammed up close to his balls a breath away from crushing them. It’s another drug dumped into his bloodstream, Rufus’s hands on him hard and brutal, prying his arm back and pinning it at a cruel angle above his head. He shudders and moans Rufus’s name, moans it again when Rufus clutches at his face, fingers chill steel bands that promise more than bruises.

Reno comes and it feels like dying, like the air is sucked out of his lungs and he doesn’t care because it’s pure fucking ecstasy, teetering on the razor line between pain and pleasure and something he’s sure he’s never going to feel again.

“Not yet,” Rufus hisses, disgusted and too late, and then his heat, his touch, Rufus, is gone.

Blindly, Reno grabs for him, catches the fluttering edge of his unbuttoned shirt. Up on his knees, jerking viciously at the cuffs holding him back, he snarls, “What the fuck Rufus, what the fuck.”

Rufus shakes him off, spins, face twisted and lips peeled back and Reno snatches a handful of hair, yanking Rufus back and down and giving in to the black, vicious urge to shake him. They go down in a sprawl, Reno’s shoulder wrenched as he lands with Rufus on top of him, his entire arm screaming.

Rufus curses at him, eyes bright, flashing, nails clawing red raw welts into his chest. Reno jerks his head back, tries to think, tries to speak, tries to figure out what the hell is going on. Between one breath and the next, he does the only thing he really wants to do and brings his mouth down on Rufus’s, crushing the snarl on Rufus’s lips with his own.

Rufus fights to get away but he doesn’t fight the kiss, curling his hands over Reno’s shoulders to push away at the same time his tongue curls into Reno’s mouth, licking hot and hungry at his teeth. It goes on and on, stinging lips and biting teeth, nothing even close to a real kiss.

“You want to fucking use me?” Reno says, words spilling out like bubbling black oil. “You want to shove steel down my dick, your fist up my ass?” Hand clutched around the chain holding him to the bed, Reno twists, pushes and shoves until Rufus is spread out under him, bucking up in the desperate, primal grind and thrust of base need. “Your dick down my throat?” He kisses Rufus again, more teeth striking teeth, more frenzied than the first. “Do it. You fucking do it.”

It hovers between them, thick and leaden. Weighted seconds tick past. Rufus jams a hand into his pocket, pulling out the key to press it into Reno’s palm. He shakes his head, heel of his hand pressed to one eye, teeth bared. His chest rises and falls on deep, full breaths. He makes a sound Reno’s sure was meant to be held back when Reno finally moves to undo the cuffs.

Reno holds his wrist close to his chest, rubbing gingerly at the mottled bruises already forming under the fresh abrasions. He doesn’t stop to think this time; either Rufus will tell him afterwards or Rufus won’t, that’s the way things roll. Shifting up to his knees, injured arm resting gingerly on the pillow beside Rufus’s head, he fumbles for Rufus’s zip. The small bit of metal slips through his fingers twice before his hand pushes into the fly, wraps hard and shaking around Rufus’s cock.

Rufus still doesn’t look at him. Reno almost asks if he wants it like this but there’s no point–he’s thick and throbbing in Reno’s grasp, and there’s no mistaking the twitch of his hips as anything but eager when Reno straddles his lap.

Sweat stings the raw flesh on Reno’s arm. Hissing, he shifts it to Rufus’s chest then back against his own, hunched protectively over it. It burns searing hot each time he moves and his fingers on Rufus’s cock falter, losing grip just as the head nestles blunt and warm against his hole.

“Fuck, c’mon,” Reno groans. “What the fuck are you waiting for?”

Saliva-slick hand steadying his cock, Rufus clutches at Reno’s hip with the other. Breath gone, Reno fucks himself down onto Rufus’s cock, lets a shuddering, ragged groan loose as Rufus stretches him wide, fills him up.

Rufus moans and the eye of the storm shatters. He braces his feet, his hands finally on Reno again where they belong, skimming over his ass, his sides, Rufus’s arms sliding around his back to draw him down.

Knees bent double, thighs flush to Rufus’s sides, Reno muffles short, clipped sounds in the salty-slick flesh of Rufus’s shoulder. His mouth slides across overheated skin to the crook of Rufus’s neck to lick the taste from his lips, whisper, “C’mon, c’mon,” like a prayer. Stinging, aching pain radiates up his arm from where it’s trapped between them, a brutal counterpoint do the barely-wet pound of Rufus’s dick inside him.

Reno loses track of what he’s saying, mouth running off without him as he bites at Rufus’s skin, mounds flesh thick between his teeth at the slope between Rufus’s neck and shoulder. He marks Rufus and goads at him to come, twists fingers in sweat-damp hair and tugs. Rufus jerks, fucks harder, and Reno’s teeth dig in deeper, hold on like an animal waiting for the flood of slippery heat inside him.

When it hits he’s not ready for it, his cock only half-hard between their bellies. Moaning, hands grasping, Rufus pulls him closer, tries to crawl inside him. Rufus’s mouth is open, shallow, panting breaths pushed into Reno’s skin like his heart beats the same frantic rhythm into his chest.

Rufus’s mouth touches the corner of Reno’s and Reno goes loose, pliant, drained. Rufus rolls them over, careful of Reno’s arm, and presses another kiss to Reno’s jaw. On cue, the uneasy twist of Reno’s stomach settles as things slowly click back into place, the light touch of Rufus’s lips on his as much a peace offering or an apology as Rufus ever gives.

“Nothing broken, is there?” Rufus asks, hand skimming down the length of Reno’s arm to his elbow, feeling the shift of muscle and tendon as Reno flexes his fingers.

“Nope,” Reno says. He slings his good arm around Rufus’s neck and stretches out, easing the ache in his leg. “Hurts like a bitch but nothing broken. Gonna need your help in the shower.”

Rufus’s hand drops from his arm to his side, thumb moving in slow sweeps. For once, there’s nothing but reluctance on Rufus’s face at the idea of getting out of bed and Reno’s skin prickles with heat.

“Up.” Rufus takes Reno’s good arm and hauls him to his feet.

Reno sways, too surprised by the unexpected wave of dizziness to hide it, but Rufus acts as if he hadn’t seen it, hadn’t reached out to steady Reno.

“We’ll have a bath,” Rufus says, already flicking on the bathroom light and moving to the deep-set tub.

Reno hangs back, rubbing at his shoulder. The want, the need to comfort the hurt is automatic but he’s too afraid to really clutch at it. With Rufus’s attention fixed on the visible scrapes, it’s easy to downplay the wracking pain shooting straight from his shoulder to his fingertips.

Rufus turns on the taps, steam immediately rising from the gush of water. “Do you want a drink?”

“Yeah,” Reno says, scrubbing a hand through his hair. His skin is tight and itchy, a dozen tiny aches coupled with the abuses Rufus layered on him, inside him, making him shift restlessly. Both his cock and his ass are still dripping. “Yeah, I’d love a drink.” He’s halfway out the door when he asks, “You want something too?”

“Just bring the bottle,” Rufus says.

Reno heads straight for the liquor cabinet and the bottle of whiskey he’s been eyeing for a month or more. He wrestles one-handed with the top, tossing a quick, paranoid glance behind him before tipping it up and taking a good, long pull.

It’s good stuff, worth more than a month of Reno’s pay. Reno’s throat burns and he coughs to clear it, sucking in a deep breath to down another good mouthful in the hope that it’ll hit hard and hit fast. One more swallow and he sets it down to take a closer look at his arm.

The cuts and scrapes are mostly superficial, all but the deepest ones already scabbed over. His wrist aches but has full range of motion and he wishes he could say the same for his shoulder. His shoulder’s fucked. He’s barely able to lift his arm more than a couple inches before it screams at him. There’s no grating of bone so the joint isn’t displaced; it’s a sharper, edgier pain than that. Torn muscle. Nothing a good shot of materia couldn’t fix, but it’s a long time between his place and Rufus’s.

He has the wit to snag one glass but not two and trudges back to the bathroom. Rufus is already in the tub, eased back with his knees spread in clear invitation.

“I’m in front, huh?” Reno says, stopping a few feet away to enjoy it. “Sounds good.”

Rufus lifts the hand dangling over the edge of the tub to gesture Reno forward. Reno goes, setting the bottle and glass on the step by Rufus before climbing in. He lifts his arm to brace himself on the way down and freezes, water lapping gently at his calves as his breath hisses between clenched teeth.

“Give me a hand, boss?” Reno holds out his good one and gets nothing but Rufus’s narrow stare. “It’s not fucking serious or anything,” he says. “I don’t need it, but if you’re gonna bitch, you got any materia around here? Might be nice.”

“In my office,” Rufus says, then, “I’ll fetch it,” catching Reno’s arm before he can move. “They’re in the safe.”

Reno knows the code, has for years. But the look on Rufus’s face says don’t argue, so Reno shrugs his good shoulder and lets Rufus help him ease into the water. Rufus bothers to sling a towel around his waist before leaving.

Awkwardly, Reno scoots back into the spot where Rufus had been sitting. He dips his wrist into the water, cursing at the sting, and gingerly wipes the dried blood away. Without the mess, it doesn’t look half as bad.

Reno taps his fingers against the tile and wishes he’d gone to get the materia instead. He still doesn’t have a clue what set Rufus off, but whatever it was, Rufus is obviously regretting it. Things haven’t ever been normal between them. Reno’s not looking for normal, and who the fuck knew what Rufus really wanted beneath it all. But things have been uneasy, tenuous, for weeks.

Rufus comes back with a bright, swirling green orb cupped in his palm. His eyes linger on Reno’s shoulder for a moment before he asks, “Do you care to use it, or shall I?”

“It’s your materia, boss,” Reno says. “You go ahead.”

Mellow green overwhelms the stark white bathroom, casts shadows that should be eerie but aren’t across Rufus’s face. The relief is instant, a heady, drunk feeling that’s almost tangible. The light wraps itself sinuously up Reno’s arms, tingles like kisses where it pushes deep to mend the deepest hurts. By the time it fades, all that’s left is the dull, distant ache of an old wound. Another few hours and that’ll be gone, too.

Reno breathes out a short breath. “Thanks boss,” he says, briefly testing his arm, wincing slightly when he pushes it too far. “That pretty much did the trick.”

Rufus’s gaze is pointed, calculating.

“Fuck,” Reno mutters. “I didn’t lie, it wasn’t broken.”

Whatever Rufus wants to say visibly sits on the tip of his tongue. Reno’s seen him bloodied and broken, seen him eaten up by raw pleasure and vulnerable, but never like this. Rufus nestles the materia between the folds of a fluffy towel, safe on a shelf above the sink.

“Just get in,” Reno says.

“I’d almost forgotten what it felt like,” Rufus says, ditching the towel and shaking a few fingers of whiskey into the glass.

Reno rests a hand on his thigh as he climbs in, lets it run slowly up the line of his body as he settles down. The water sloshes, emphasising the quiet and the soft breath Rufus exhales as Reno shifts, pulls Rufus back to rest heavily against his chest.

Reno ignores the tense set to Rufus’s shoulders, cupping his hand in the water and lifting it to let the warmth trickle down Rufus’s chest. It feels odd, a few degrees shy of awkward, as if somewhere someone had switched their roles and Reno is left comforting Rufus for something he isn’t sure happened.

Rufus twists for the whiskey, holding the glass to his lips. “You’re not on the clock, you know,” he says, and drinks deeply.

“Yeah, I know,” Reno says. “You offered, remember?”

Rufus doesn’t say anything else and Reno sinks deeper into the water, his cheek pressed to the side of Rufus’s head. Reno’s hand drifts, traces the sharp angle of Rufus’s clavicle, the dip in the hollow of his throat, the long stretch of his neck when Rufus lets his head fall back.

This isn’t what they do. They fuck, they sleep together, they wake four mornings out of five with Reno sprawled halfway on top of Rufus basking in the heat that pours from him. And it feels so good, warm water and warm skin, so good and so different.

Alcohol creeps steadily into Reno’s blood, just not enough of it.

Reno grabs at the bottle, splashing whiskey into the glass Rufus holds. He takes the glass and downs half of it, putting the bottle down and pushing the glass back into Rufus’s grasp with a rough, “Here, you hold onto that.”

He wants to ask what the hell happened out there. There’s more to it than just him messing up Rufus’s plans, Rufus is never as simple as that. There’s more to it than Rufus is ever going to tell him, and he wants to know.

His hands skim under the water, push between Rufus’s thighs and spread them wide. His fingers skip and drag over soft skin, his lips touch the raw bite on Rufus’s shoulder before he realises he wants to kiss it. “You’re pretty fucking hot when you’re pissed off, boss,” he says, and hears his own voice come out too softly.

Rufus snorts a quiet laugh. “I’ll remember that.” He drinks again, shifts lower at Reno’s prompting. More tension seeps out of him as Reno’s hands, thick with lather, skate down his chest. “And I said you’re not on the clock.”

Reno makes a noise, caught up in the flutter of Rufus’s belly under his fingertips. He strokes lower and ignores the sharp jolt to his system when his cock stirs, blood thickening flesh that’s still sore.

Rufus tries for casual as he says, “I have a name,” but this close, this soon, Reno can feel what Rufus is hiding in the stumbling beat of his heart.

Nosing aside the damp hair curled over Rufus’s ear, Reno puts his lips to the delicate shell, tastes clean water and salt. “You’re still the boss,” he says. Rufus is always the boss. When Reno talks to him, talks about him, when anybody else mentions him, Rufus is always the boss. The only time he isn’t is in Reno’s head and when Reno’s messed up enough that what’s in there gets mixed up with what’s out here.

And it’s in his mouth, trembling on his tongue, the urge to breathe it into Rufus’s skin without anything else between them. It shouldn’t mean anything but it does, it’s trite and stupid and so, so important, and Reno has no idea why it means anything at all or even what it is.

But Rufus shivers when he says it, twists awkwardly in his arms and stretches out for a clumsy kiss that tastes of whiskey and sex. Rufus moans, turns, his hand coming up to clutch at the back of Reno’s neck with the glass held tenuously in his grip.

Then it’s easier to find the taste of Rufus under everything else, rising up and filling Reno’s mouth like Rufus is always just beneath his skin. Water sloshes over the edge and soaks the stairs and Rufus doesn’t stop, pushing up to his knees to crawl straight into Reno’s lap. He presses close, closer, tongue fucking quick into Reno’s mouth and his cock grinding into Reno’s belly.

Rufus’s weight on Reno’s dick drives the air out of Reno’s lungs in an explosive curse.

Instantly, Rufus pulls back, gathers space and the scattered pieces of his control back around him. Each time Reno watches Rufus piece himself back together it seems to take longer, Rufus a little more reluctant.

Reno waits as Rufus sets the glass carefully aside to grab his hand, bring it up and bite playfully at the fleshy heel of Rufus’s thumb. “You’re gonna fucking kill me,” he says, muffled in Rufus’s palm.

Rufus says, “Odd how I was thinking the same thing,” and twists his hand out of Reno’s grasp to take hold of Reno’s instead. Rufus’s mouth goes to the inside of Reno’s wrist, one gentle brush of lips and the slow, wet glide of his tongue along the veins visible through thin, soft skin. “Are you certain you want to go again tonight?”

Reno grins, the jagged thrill of lust kicked back to life in his gut by the curve of Rufus’s mouth against his skin. “You know me, boss. I ever say no?”

Rufus gives him teeth then, nothing more than a light scrape against his pulse. “Stay in as long as you like,” Rufus says, standing and reaching for his towel to dry off quickly, efficiently. He runs fingers through his hair to straighten it and tosses one last glance at the half-empty bottle. “Perhaps have another drink.”

Rufus leaves the towel behind this time as he disappears into the bedroom’s twilight. Reno’s never been one to forego a good piece of advice so he skips over the glass and hefts the bottle onto the bath’s edge. Listening to Rufus move about, he pictures the action that goes with each sound; the coverlet dragged to the floor, toys gathered up to be cleaned, the click of the handcuffs unlocked. There’s a long pause before the metal clanks again, tossed aside.

Reno wishes for a cigarette and makes do with another mouthful of Rufus’s whiskey instead.


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