Rufus has Geostigma and Reno finds out. It's set before AC and really just a drabble.
“Boss you look peaky what’s wrong?” Elena watching him at his desk.
“I’ve just been feeling a little off. I am sure it will pass.” Rufus smiled to her and took up the coffee. “Gods what a mess.”
“Sir you can put it right.” She smiled as they looked over the remnants of the city from the wars they had faced. Sephiroth wasn’t around but he had certainly left his mark. All across the city there had been reports that people were getting ill and Rufus had been given very little intelligence on the matter. “It does look like you need some rest. A day off won’t hurt. Reeve will cover.”
“I think you’re right.” He nodded. “When are you planning to go to the North Cave?”
“Probably in a week or so. We’re not sure we will find anything I am afraid sir.” Elena handed him his coat. “But it’s somewhere we can think of to try and figure out what this new gang is up to at least.”
“Just keep me informed.” He nodded and headed out. Elena noticed that there was a strange black mark on his shirt at the back but didn’t mention it. Rufus tended to change nearly hourly at times. He was a real stickler for appearance so it seemed out of place for him.
Reno watched Rufus head into his car and ran over to check on him. The boss had not been looking great for a while and as much as he worked for him the redhead was a good friend. Tseng, his boss, and Rufus had been in a quietly kept relationship for some years but the redhead knew. He had never spoken of it outside their house in respect.
“Yo man is Tseng keeping you awake at nights? You look rough.” Reno opened Rufus’ car door.
“No.” Rufus smiled. “I think I caught a cold or something. It’s nothing to worry about I am sure. If the blasted thing doesn’t ease off I shall have the doctor called in.”
“Well let me follow you home and check you’re in okay. I’ll make you a nice hot drink yeah?”
“Thank you Reno.” He nodded as Reno slid into his own car and followed him out to the penthouse. He had to be honest with himself it felt like a flu he could never have imagined being able to stand. All jokes aside about man-flu or being a spoilt brat he had been trying to shake the feeling for weeks.
Rufus spent enough time at the gym and chasing around being inquisitive to keep up a physical health that could almost match his Turks usually but lately he’d been getting in from the office and landing in a hot bath. Tseng had already pulled him out of them twice in the last week. It was irking him one hell of a lot.
Reno followed the President up the stairs ready to make him a coffee. If it was something worrying him then the redhead would find out here at home. Rufus settled down on the sofa and yawned, shoes kicked under the table he curled up and rested his head on the arm. Reno made him a hot coffee and then came over noting he was already asleep.
Rufus moved a little as the Turk set the mug down and it was then he spotted the strange black marks on the back of his neck. Reno sank to his knees and looked at him. The killing disease the thing they called Geostigma was claiming one of the men he loved and respected most in the world. It was a matter of time because they had no cure, no…
“Sir…” Reno whispered his voice breaking. This was the man they had sworn their lives too, the company but more importantly the man. “No… this… can’t happen.” His eyes swimming with tears his hand went to his long duster coat and played across the hem.
Reno must have been sat there a good hour watching him sleep. The coffee had gone cold and the fans in his living room continued to whir with a gentle hum. Rufus’ coughed and Reno looked up to check if he was waking up. He didn’t want the President to see him like he was or Tseng for that matter. Rufus turned over and a black liquid fell from the side of his neck before his eyes sharply opened and he fell off the sofa collapsing in pain.
“Sir!” Reno moved over to him, what could he do? There was nothing it was just a process of watching him go downhill.
Rufus pushed him aside as he sat up and pulled his hand up looking at the mess. He looked at Reno softly, so that had been it all along? Had Tseng spotted it and hidden it from him hoping to find a cure? Rufus sighed; his hand went to Reno’s and pulled him closer into a hug. Reno fell into it his tears resting in his eyes dribbled down tattooed cheeks.
“Well isn’t that just a set back?” He pulled away. Reno looked at him so confused that he hadn’t broken down. “I guess we’ll just have to make that trip out to the Northern Cave a little more urgent.”
“Sir I don’t CARE about the blasted cave. Look at you, you’re really… it… you have Geostigma.” He wiped his eyes but more tears got in the way and Reno was angry with himself. Why was he so emotional, Rufus didn’t seem it?
“If I worried about dying Reno when would I do any work? I get threatened every day I think this is easier really. You can plan for it, make the right preparations to continue work and…” Rufus felt Reno’s hand connect, the sting on his cheek instant. “What the hell was that for?” He snapped.
“Stop being so fucking calm! Get angry or cry or something please!” Reno looked at him. “How can this not scare you? It’s scaring me!”
Rufus sighed and looked at his friend. How could he explain it? Following the blasts at the building, the encounters with Avalanche and his stupidity over the Sister Ray surely Reno could see that really despite the calm exterior he was tired. It wasn’t just the illness it was everything he had been through. Already as young as he was he was tired.
“I don’t have the kind of energy and fight you do Reno.” He softly put his hand to the redhead’s cheek. “You do it for me. All of you but this is something I just have to accept unless we find a break soon then… it’s probably only a matter of weeks isn’t it?” He put his hands down ready to stand up and found no strength in his lower body and looked down. “Maybe sooner.”
“Rufus,” the redhead sighed and kissed his lips softly, “I won’t give up on you even if you do. Shall I call the doctor in now? Tell Tseng?”
“Get Tseng he, tell him to arrange a wheelchair there is nothing more you can do.” He looked out of the window at the city. What a mess… what a hideous mess. When Reno left the room he wiped the held tears from his eyes. He had just wanted to see the city whole again.