Categories > Games > Final Fantasy 7

Edge of Never Eden

by Sulcal 1 Reviews

[Post DoC] This was never going to be eden, or paradise, or whatever the hell that the Promised Lands could ever be. Not even close. [RenoVincent Reno's POV]

Category: Final Fantasy 7 - Rating: R - Genres: Angst - Characters: Reno,Vincent Valentine - Warnings: [!] [X] - Published: 2007/09/22 - Updated: 2007/09/22 - 13056 words - Complete

Notes: Yea... this was supposed to be for something else, but I like it too much to NOT post it. (sigh) Welcome to my FFVII obsessed mind. This was actually one of my first times doing something in the 1st person POV, much less anything Reno-related. BEFORE WARNED!!! Reno/Vincent! YAOI!

Warnings: Yaoi, male/male pairing. Although nothing terribly graphic, but STILL THERE. Also, cursing. It's rated M for a reason.

Disclaimer: I'll put them back after I'm done with them, I promise.

Originally published 6-21-07


The Edge of Never Eden

It's so stupid, really. I mean, I know it's over. Meteorfall passed, all the crap with Deepground passed, but here I am anyways, being stupid. But it's not like it mattered. He knows probably more than I do how the past can't die, about how indefinite and unstable the damned future is. We all come right back to what we are deep down, anyways. Stupid idiot. Doesn't need to tell me what I already know.

Things come with a price.

Maybe standing outside his apartment was mine.

There are two reasons that have lead me here, I guess. Rude knows I leave, knows where I go. He's hilariously sneaky that way-- my /partner/, and I appreciate it most of the time. And I know he tries his best to keep my skinny ass out of trouble. Not that it helps. Trouble finds me or I deliberately find it. It makes me feel a little alive when I do, I guess.

In this case, it's the latter.

The first reason being that I've got a promise to follow through with. And the other... well...

Deep down, I'm a Turk. I pride that. I really do. I believe that we're all born with some sort of spot in life; it's just our own job to figure out how to fill that spot. I fill my spot well, and that's all that matters sometimes. That comes with a price, too. Nightmares. Blood. A record. Well... okay, not so much the record anymore. It's hard to have that when it'd all been in the Shinra Building.

Damn Meteor. Fucking up the system. Geez.

Rain was coming down pretty damn hard. I knew he wasn't home yet, so I waited for a while, humming to myself with my hands in my jacket pockets. It rained a lot in Edge, all year 'round, at least four or five times a week. It explained a lot, actually-- this place always seems to have a terrible grey-sky downcast most of the time. Three floors up, standing in a hallway of one of the newer apartment complexes. Honestly... I'd thought it'd be something a bit more... well, /more/. I know the hallway --all the ceiling tile patterns, the dark carpeting, howmany cracks in the plaster of the wall to the right of the door across from the one I'm standing next to-- just like I know a lot of things I shouldn't.

In the end, I'm a Turk, and Turk's make good on their word.

Pretty soon, there are footsteps coming down the hall, and I'm grinning already.

He looks damn good in a suit, actually. Veld used to have a picture of the generation before mine, all of them, and I remember seeing him once (it's taken me forever to actually realize it, too), so it's not that hard to imagine anymore. Hell, getting him out of it was half the fun as watching him move in it.

"Reno...?"

"Heh. You sound surprised, Vince."

"..."

He's cut his hair-- I don't remember that happening a few weeks back... Damn, Valentine looks tons younger. How the hell does he manage that? I only just noticed it because he was brushing wet hair out of his face, eyes narrowing at me. That look was always familiar. I get it all the time from practically everyone.

"Sooo..." I said conversationally as Vincent dug through his soaked trench coat pocket to get the key. Sometimes he lets me in; sometimes he doesn't. "How's working with the WRO? Not sore about Rufus are ya? We were serious, yo. You guys never take anything we say serious, do you?"

"Avalanche doesn't exist anymore," Was his statement, giving me a side-long look that wasn't really annoyed or anything.

I'm standing in his doorway, and we're looking at each other for a moment.

After a while, he steps aside and I grin wider at him before walking in, the dark living room lights for a brief moment by sharp flashes of lightning and thunder rolls out over the silence. Not that I need the light. Great thing about mako enhancement: you can see in the dark. Almost, for me anyways. Living in Midgar long enough can have its effects. And I can here Vincent shutting the door behind me, pulling his coat off, even while we don't say anything for a long moment. Lightning flashes again. I can see the old newspaper covering the windows here and in the kitchen. I've never asked about it. Never needed to. Pah. Selfish prick. He needs to just own up to the fact that he saved the world. Again. So what if you can still see that damned thing out there? Does it really matter?

The grey walls didn't hold any answer.

"What are you doing here, Reno?" Vincent asks me somewhere off to the side.

Vincent's apartment isn't exactly small, but it's not big, either. Guy has a fuckin' complex about spaces being too small. There's two rooms. A spare and the one used, a kitchen off to my right. He's gone to change, and I'm so tempted to go and piss him off by watching. Not like it'd matter if I did. Vincent would probably just ask me if I was enjoying the view, and like an idiot, I'd probably say yeah.

I've come to the conclusion that I don't care. He's hot, and I'm sure he damn well knows it. Media still hasn't left him alone, even after months.

Jerk.

"Oh, I dunno," I said with another grin, twisting my hands out of my pockets, still standing in the middle of his living room. "I just thought it'd be nice to get away from the kids, y'know? Spend some quality time. Just you and me, lover."

There's perks to being a Turk. They don't outweigh the paperwork, though. Hell, nothing ever does. I know how to read people, push their buttons, even just a little. The silence that stretched and broken only by thunder said it all-- he wasn't as amused as I was. He hates it when I call him 'lover'. It jars the closet romantic in 'im.

I turned and pulled my jacket off with a quick glance around, throwing it onto the poor excuse Vincent had for a kitchen table. There was a TV set right across from the couch, a tall, skinny lamp in the corner just before the wall met the kitchenette. I wonder if he has any beer in there... there was some last time, but that was only 'cause I brought it over. And despite myself, I look anyways, the fridge light just as broken as it always had been and the shelves mostly barren.

The beer's still there. Heh.

I wanted to take one, honestly. I sure as hell deserved it for having supplied it to begin with, but I didn't.

Water splatters distantly, a hissing kind of noise meaning the new piping wasn't quite broken in for use just yet, and I can hear it from the bathroom.

Huh. A shower? With a Turk not even a hallway away?

Might as well.

It's stupid to keep doing this to ourselves. We're both fucking idiots. Half the time I'm not even sure why I bother. I like Vincent just fine-- he's actually rather... nice. A little. Once you get past the fact that he hates Shinra and anything associated with it. Why do we even bother? He doesn't give me anything, and I don't give him anything. Nothing aside from the usual, anyways. Why the hell do I even have an attachment? Did I want to? Maybe. Maybe not. And there's a part of me that tells my that if I had to, why not Elena? Or Rude? Or, fuck, even Rufus? Why not one of them? They'd at least get it.

Whatever there is to get.

That's my reason here this time, I guess. Maybe just trying to figure out why.

I've got my shirt joining my jacket on the table while I kicked my shoes off. I don't think it matters anymore. Vincent's damn obsessive cleanliness can go to hell. Gaia knows he needs to lighten up. Pfft. Like that'd ever happen. And by the time I've reached the bathroom door, I've practically stripped down, barging in and not even bothering to shut the door behind me. Steam gushes out, warm, and I'm still kinda grinning despite it all.

"Reno, what the hell do you think you're doing?"

"Taking a shower with you. What's it look like, yo?"

Vincent doesn't object, not even when my hands were gripping his arms once I was in the shower with him, having tossed my glasses and hair tie into the bathroom sink. Maybe I'm predictable. Or maybe he just doesn't give a rat's ass.

My hands are pale, but his skin's an almost near-perfect white, paler than mine, and I can see all the little scars across my hands and across his back. Including the tattoo I've never really wanted to ask about etched in Vincent's skin-- a bar code just at the lower back, where the spine curves. There are a lot of things I've never noticed now. We've done this before. Just that I never noticed the way he has such a graceful neck; all his hair hand been in the way. And there are scars here nastier than anything I've ever seen before. I've got mine, but I forget that he came from a time where materia was new, barely even thought of.

The scars are ugly, twisted.

The only color-- a faded sort of pink.

I'm not unfamiliar with tracing my hands down Vincent's arms to his hips, tracing marred skin up to his chest, letting my fingers wander across hot skin. Wandering, nothing solid. Old bullet wounds, slash marks, smooth skin giving. When Vincent shudders quietly as my palms trace up his back, I know I've turned him on. Sometimes that's harder to do than I had ever guess it might, save for the first time I could touch him like this. Vincent's damn good-looking. He's got toned muscle on him, which was a great surprise, and I was damn pleased with it, too. Didn't want to have to see someone bony like me...

"Reno..." he half-breathes, half-says as I trace the inside of his thighs after a few long moments, the water stinging my arms a little as it struck us.

His fingers ghost over mine for a second, almost tentative in a way I guess I'm not familiar with for all the times he's done that, and sometimes that even freaks me out. Sometimes his skin will shake with something different than just being turned on. He's warned me about that before, but I guess I've forgotten over time. It's never mattered much to me about what he is, was, had been physically other than he's human in form. So maybe I'm a flaming idiot for thinking that, maybe I'm out of my fucking mind. I just don't want to think about what's under his skin.

Thinking about that always made me want to throw up.

I press my mouth to the crest of his shoulder before Vincent moves. Our eyes don't meet or anything, even if we're looking at each other. His fingers are calloused, rough patches, pressing against me, and it kinda feels good the way they slowly work at my hips, my back, ribs. His touches always seem solid-- never moves without knowing the exact way he wants them to. And I close my eyes half-way because I still want to see him. Vincent's hand brushes across my stomach and I can feel it still hot from the water. The tile's cold when I lean against it. What I don't expect this time is for him to press up against me completely.

Vincent's never done that before.

I look over his shoulder best I can for being so damn skinny and small compared, steam and fog swirling. "Huh?"

His hands are a kind of good-terrible pressure against my hips, his thumbs against the bone. When did I stop noticing that the fingers attached to those hands were long and thin?

"Not here."

"Why not?"

I guess Vincent's right. Last time we tried this in the shower, it was kind of weird. The space is too cramped and already neither of us can breathe from the steam. It's a bit of an inconvenience to stand, anyways. And I'm not entirely sure how we managed to actually get to the bedroom, actually. Just that I started kissing him. Vincent doesn't usually, so I do, that way I can pull a reaction out of him, make him respond to something other than touches. It's a stupid thing to want. But sometimes I think I can maybe try and understand something about everything, like a part of his soul will meet me when I meet him. But nothing ever happens except for the reaction I'm waiting for, slightly desperate under the surface without either of us knowing it. My fingers are in his hair-- short, but still kind of rough, pulling at it until I know it annoys him.

For a moment, I'm only vaguely aware of the room. It's plane, always has been. I can see the window and for a moment, the sheets are grey in the down-cast light that's slowly getting darker outside as night starts creeping up. How long had I been waiting outside this stupid apartment?

But then I don't really need to concentrate at all.

Vincent's leaning over me, his eyes half-lidded, and I can feel his fingers, palms, and I'm wrapping my arms around his neck after a while because I just don't want to hear him gasp or my own breath. He can work me up into a frenzy, but not this afternoon. It's not what I'm here for. So he gets right to the point, wrapping an arm around around my back and his fingers are slick when I feel them.

Something about it all strikes me as odd.

It doesn't matter right now.

Because after what seems like forever, all I needed to concentrate on was the pressure of him, hard, slick, waves riding up to my lungs and back down. I don't have to wonder about anything. There's not any room for it. I know I'm /breathing/, but the heat seems to boil it in my lungs, and I'm grabbing at him, burying my face in his shoulder because he knows something. Vincent knows something I don't understand anymore.

I just don't need to.

Vincent isn't what people would call an imaginative lover. If the term 'lover' applies to what we are to each other, which I'm pretty sure it doesn't. But at least he knows what he's doing, knows where to put his hands-- at my hip and leg, rocking hard into me and I can shift my legs around his narrow waist to give me enough leverage to push back, arching enough to get him deeper, if at all possible. I don't know if I make a lot of noise; I can never seem to hear it above the blood rushing in my ears or past the intensity of everything as wave after wave of pure... well... pure whatever the hell this is (it can't be pleasure, that's something I don't get anymore) rides up. It's not a high. It's not anything except for heat and something /good/. But Vincent makes something of a careful sigh, and I'm not concentrating, I'm just trying not to let it be over too fast.

He's like that, strong, knowing what he's doing. It's not so much that I'm not used to it so much as that he's got a sort of inhuman strength far beyond mollifying.

My nails dig into his shoulders and down his back, on purpose, his breath hitching in my ear. The pain blurs the line. That's fine. And when he finally gives everything he has to me, in that one spot where it matters, there's nothing but that feeling crashing through me, and I know he can feel it, too. Vincent's hands tightening where they're at is pretty much proof of it.

And then it's over, with only the aftermath left.

For a long moment all I could do was breathe.

Eventually, though, I guess everything winds down, and I'm the one pushing Vincent off of me. He grunts at me, giving me an annoyed look, before moving to sit up against the headboard and trying to pull the covers up over himself. I've never understood why he does that. The room's not much. White walls, plain sheets, a pack of cigarettes sitting next to an ashtray on the window sill, the rain still pounding down on the glass. I was the one to give them to him, and the lighter, mostly because I'm trying to quite, and I never knew he used to, either...

We never sleep after sex. What was the point? We were just out of breath, despite it all.

And I said the only thing I could remember to say after about half an hour of just laying there and realizing that the bed covers are damp from water and sweat and whatever the hell else, with Vincent pulling a cigarette from the pack, lighting it.

"Hey, Vincent? You remember you're first kill?"

Vincent sort of looks at me with a half-thoughtful expression. "Yeah."

Even after all this time. Honestly interested, I sat up next to him, grinning. "So?" I asked, stealing his cigarette and taking a quick drag.

"So?" he countered. He took it back, narrowing his eyes at me a little again.

Gee. Smooth, pal.

"Man, I remember puking my guts out and drinking myself into a rut after the first few times."

He just grunted, taking another drag. When he exhales the smoke drifts and disappears almost... I dunno, almost like he was expecting something to happen. A thought came to me after that, and I almost felt like I needed to know.

"Why exactly did you save Elena and Tseng those couple of years back?" I asked him.

Silence.

I'd never thought of asking before. Mostly because more important things are on my mind than something that happened back then. Funny thing, near-death experiences are like drops in the bucket for a Turk. For most anyone these days, actually, considering everyone nearly died on this crappy planet. Twice.

I was beginning to think I wasn't going to get an answer, and almost sighed and rolled over.

What Vincent said was surprisingly simple-- "Misplaced loyalty."

That made sense. More sense than anything ever has in a while.

We're not crazy, not any sort of shit like that. At least, not as crazy as killing in cold blood can make you. We're paid hit-man. Simple as that. Paid to keep secrets, protect secrets, to do all the nasty things that practically assures us all a place in hell. And over time, I guess we all learn to kind of accept that. I've never thought too much about it before.

Misplaced loyalty...

Saving them because they were Turks?

Heh. Once a Turk, always a Turk. The suit doesn't mean anything other than status, really. We don't need Rufus so much as Rufus needs us. Sure, less killing, yeah. Big whoop. Not like that mattered too much anyways. And that's the thing-- my co-workers aren't just co-workers. They're my teammates. And that's one thing, if any, that I've learned from Veld. Being a Turk means you've got a bond stronger than anything between the others. Thicker than blood on or off the floors, more binding than any contract, more powerful than any sort of romantic bullshit that 'ties people together'. We're not family or friends or fucking even /war buddies/. But there's no one else to cover for us except one of our own. No one else to follow you after you've launched yourself into a front row seat right into hell itself.

And that made a sort of frightening sort of sense. Anger rolled over me, and I couldn't help but... just... ugh! Damn asshole! Mis/placed loyalty?! The /hell is with this guy!

"You used to be a Turk too!" I snap at Vincent, probably catching him off guard, because he gives me a slightly wide-eyed look. There only for a second before it's gone. The next thing I know I'm gripping his elbow, hard. "They're people!"

His hand was on mine, pulling it off. "The term 'person' doesn't apply to a Turk, Reno." he says. "We both know that."

...Like he doesn't even care.

I'm so mad at him, so amazingly livid, but the strength just seemed to... rush outta me. So I just glare at him-- so angry, but so damn weirded out that I just can't do anything about it. Vincent was a Turk. But once a Turk, always a Turk. When you take that step, you practically live, eat, and breath the fucking Code. A whole damn generation behind me. A whole damn generation wiser than any of us current. I can't do anything about it.

Because it made so much /sense/.

He wasn't supposed to have been here, now, in this apartment, working for Tuesti or some shit like that. Vincent was supposed to be with us, with the rest of the Turks, like Veld had. And back then, those few years back, when Vincent had been with Avalanche, back when Avalanche had been after Sephiroth and Hojo, and we'd been after Sephiroth and them, back when things hadn't been so clear... I remember being just this angry/, too. I remember Tseng bringing it up --"He used to be a Turk, actually"-- and the rest of us (maybe not 'Lena), the rest of us were so angry. You don't mess with us, Turks, Devil Gods, whatever the world calls us. Fucking hell, it wasn't supposed to /be this way/! He was supposed to be on /our side, god dammit!

The sad thing is that I know Vincent doesn't care about it anymore. Doesn't even bother hiding it.

But the loyalty still seems to be there.

Come to think of it... I don't know what side I'm on, either. Maybe I'm here because of 'misplaced loyalty'. Maybe I'm here because I see it, see the damn distant flickering of something that should be. That maybe if I'm here long enough, maybe if I stick around, I can just get out of the way I used to think. But Vincent never helps with that. Sure, he'll cut through the illusions with some fucking bullshit simple-worded comment-- blunt. Careless. Maybe I'm here because I wanted to be, wanted something different, something to understand. Maybe to understand what eden would be like, since I'll never see it. There's always been a lot of 'maybes' here, in my head, swirling around like sick mako.

I'm an idiot.

Here could never be eden.

I should just go back to Rude, back to what's left of Shinra, back to something I at least know I can try and understand. And I actually do realize I'm swinging my legs over the edge of the bed with my feet on the cool carpet, muttering to myself. I shouldn't be doing this to myself. What the hell am I doing here to begin with? I didn't even remember how it got to this, how I ended up here in a place that isn't all that great with someone that only has misplaced loyalty to someone who's never been a comrade or someone he even knew. What have I been /thinking/? Things don't change. We all come back to what we are-- and I'm a Turk at heart, and he's a Turk maybe in soul, and I'm just so god damned tired of thinking when I walk through Vincent's stupid front door. But I know I'll probably come back.

I'm like that; punishing myself simply because I can.

Something warm brushes my hair back away from my neck and I kind of jump against it, Vincent's hand, and I can feel his lips pressing against the muscle where my neck curves.

Usually I leave. Usually I toss him a lop-sided grin and just /leave/.

The gesture wasn't as romantic as it seemed. He moved away before I realized it. I turned to look at him, eyeing him critically, but he's giving me a look that's steady, and old for a moment before it's gone.

"Reno?"

"/What/?"

"...Nothing."

"Spit it out," I snap at him.

I'm more angry at myself than I am him.

Vincent turned to look back out the window, the rain coming down harder than before. It probably wasn't going to stop for a long while. But he doesn't say anything, simply nods, like he was agreeing to something. I don't know. But the air's kinda changed. So I slide back under the covers, on my side, watching Vincent for a long moment. He looks at me again, those red eyes kind of eerie in the darkening half-light. Like he's trying to say something that I can't-- won't understand.

"Vincent?"

"Hn?"

"What time is it?"

"Ten past eight."

It's his fault.

This was never going to be eden, or paradise, or whatever the hell that the Promised Lands could ever be. Not even close. But he's not saying anything about it, either, so I guess it stopped mattering what it was and why we're both doing this to ourselves to begin with.

But I stayed anyways.

Notes: Yea... this was supposed to be for something else, but I like it too much to NOT post it. (sigh) Welcome to my FFVII obsessed mind. This was actually one of my first times doing something in the 1st person POV, much less anything Reno-related. BEFORE WARNED!!! Reno/Vincent! YAOI!

Warnings: Yaoi, male/male pairing. Although nothing terribly graphic, but STILL THERE. Also, cursing. It's rated M for a reason.

Disclaimer: I'll put them back after I'm done with them, I promise.

Originally published 6-21-07



The Edge of Never Eden

It's so stupid, really. I mean, I know it's over. Meteorfall passed, all the crap with Deepground passed, but here I am anyways, being stupid. But it's not like it mattered. He knows probably more than I do how the past can't die, about how indefinite and unstable the damned future is. We all come right back to what we are deep down, anyways. Stupid idiot. Doesn't need to tell me what I already know.

Things come with a price.

Maybe standing outside his apartment was mine.

There are two reasons that have lead me here, I guess. Rude knows I leave, knows where I go. He's hilariously sneaky that way-- my /partner/, and I appreciate it most of the time. And I know he tries his best to keep my skinny ass out of trouble. Not that it helps. Trouble finds me or I deliberately find it. It makes me feel a little alive when I do, I guess.

In this case, it's the latter.

The first reason being that I've got a promise to follow through with. And the other... well...

Deep down, I'm a Turk. I pride that. I really do. I believe that we're all born with some sort of spot in life; it's just our own job to figure out how to fill that spot. I fill my spot well, and that's all that matters sometimes. That comes with a price, too. Nightmares. Blood. A record. Well... okay, not so much the record anymore. It's hard to have that when it'd all been in the Shinra Building.

Damn Meteor. Fucking up the system. Geez.

Rain was coming down pretty damn hard. I knew he wasn't home yet, so I waited for a while, humming to myself with my hands in my jacket pockets. It rained a lot in Edge, all year 'round, at least four or five times a week. It explained a lot, actually-- this place always seems to have a terrible grey-sky downcast most of the time. Three floors up, standing in a hallway of one of the newer apartment complexes. Honestly... I'd thought it'd be something a bit more... well, /more/. I know the hallway --all the ceiling tile patterns, the dark carpeting, howmany cracks in the plaster of the wall to the right of the door across from the one I'm standing next to-- just like I know a lot of things I shouldn't.

In the end, I'm a Turk, and Turk's make good on their word.

Pretty soon, there are footsteps coming down the hall, and I'm grinning already.

He looks damn good in a suit, actually. Veld used to have a picture of the generation before mine, all of them, and I remember seeing him once (it's taken me forever to actually realize it, too), so it's not that hard to imagine anymore. Hell, getting him out of it was half the fun as watching him move in it.

"Reno...?"

"Heh. You sound surprised, Vince."

"..."

He's cut his hair-- I don't remember that happening a few weeks back... Damn, Valentine looks tons younger. How the hell does he manage that? I only just noticed it because he was brushing wet hair out of his face, eyes narrowing at me. That look was always familiar. I get it all the time from practically everyone.

"Sooo..." I said conversationally as Vincent dug through his soaked trench coat pocket to get the key. Sometimes he lets me in; sometimes he doesn't. "How's working with the WRO? Not sore about Rufus are ya? We were serious, yo. You guys never take anything we say serious, do you?"

"Avalanche doesn't exist anymore," Was his statement, giving me a side-long look that wasn't really annoyed or anything.

I'm standing in his doorway, and we're looking at each other for a moment.

After a while, he steps aside and I grin wider at him before walking in, the dark living room lights for a brief moment by sharp flashes of lightning and thunder rolls out over the silence. Not that I need the light. Great thing about mako enhancement: you can see in the dark. Almost, for me anyways. Living in Midgar long enough can have its effects. And I can here Vincent shutting the door behind me, pulling his coat off, even while we don't say anything for a long moment. Lightning flashes again. I can see the old newspaper covering the windows here and in the kitchen. I've never asked about it. Never needed to. Pah. Selfish prick. He needs to just own up to the fact that he saved the world. Again. So what if you can still see that damned thing out there? Does it really matter?

The grey walls didn't hold any answer.

"What are you doing here, Reno?" Vincent asks me somewhere off to the side.

Vincent's apartment isn't exactly small, but it's not big, either. Guy has a fuckin' complex about spaces being too small. There's two rooms. A spare and the one used, a kitchen off to my right. He's gone to change, and I'm so tempted to go and piss him off by watching. Not like it'd matter if I did. Vincent would probably just ask me if I was enjoying the view, and like an idiot, I'd probably say yeah.

I've come to the conclusion that I don't care. He's hot, and I'm sure he damn well knows it. Media still hasn't left him alone, even after months.

Jerk.

"Oh, I dunno," I said with another grin, twisting my hands out of my pockets, still standing in the middle of his living room. "I just thought it'd be nice to get away from the kids, y'know? Spend some quality time. Just you and me, lover."

There's perks to being a Turk. They don't outweigh the paperwork, though. Hell, nothing ever does. I know how to read people, push their buttons, even just a little. The silence that stretched and broken only by thunder said it all-- he wasn't as amused as I was. He hates it when I call him 'lover'. It jars the closet romantic in 'im.

I turned and pulled my jacket off with a quick glance around, throwing it onto the poor excuse Vincent had for a kitchen table. There was a TV set right across from the couch, a tall, skinny lamp in the corner just before the wall met the kitchenette. I wonder if he has any beer in there... there was some last time, but that was only 'cause I brought it over. And despite myself, I look anyways, the fridge light just as broken as it always had been and the shelves mostly barren.

The beer's still there. Heh.

I wanted to take one, honestly. I sure as hell deserved it for having supplied it to begin with, but I didn't.

Water splatters distantly, a hissing kind of noise meaning the new piping wasn't quite broken in for use just yet, and I can hear it from the bathroom.

Huh. A shower? With a Turk not even a hallway away?

Might as well.

It's stupid to keep doing this to ourselves. We're both fucking idiots. Half the time I'm not even sure why I bother. I like Vincent just fine-- he's actually rather... nice. A little. Once you get past the fact that he hates Shinra and anything associated with it. Why do we even bother? He doesn't give me anything, and I don't give him anything. Nothing aside from the usual, anyways. Why the hell do I even have an attachment? Did I want to? Maybe. Maybe not. And there's a part of me that tells my that if I had to, why not Elena? Or Rude? Or, fuck, even Rufus? Why not one of them? They'd at least get it.

Whatever there is to get.

That's my reason here this time, I guess. Maybe just trying to figure out why.

I've got my shirt joining my jacket on the table while I kicked my shoes off. I don't think it matters anymore. Vincent's damn obsessive cleanliness can go to hell. Gaia knows he needs to lighten up. Pfft. Like that'd ever happen. And by the time I've reached the bathroom door, I've practically stripped down, barging in and not even bothering to shut the door behind me. Steam gushes out, warm, and I'm still kinda grinning despite it all.

"Reno, what the hell do you think you're doing?"

"Taking a shower with you. What's it look like, yo?"

Vincent doesn't object, not even when my hands were gripping his arms once I was in the shower with him, having tossed my glasses and hair tie into the bathroom sink. Maybe I'm predictable. Or maybe he just doesn't give a rat's ass.

My hands are pale, but his skin's an almost near-perfect white, paler than mine, and I can see all the little scars across my hands and across his back. Including the tattoo I've never really wanted to ask about etched in Vincent's skin-- a bar code just at the lower back, where the spine curves. There are a lot of things I've never noticed now. We've done this before. Just that I never noticed the way he has such a graceful neck; all his hair hand been in the way. And there are scars here nastier than anything I've ever seen before. I've got mine, but I forget that he came from a time where materia was new, barely even thought of.

The scars are ugly, twisted.

The only color-- a faded sort of pink.

I'm not unfamiliar with tracing my hands down Vincent's arms to his hips, tracing marred skin up to his chest, letting my fingers wander across hot skin. Wandering, nothing solid. Old bullet wounds, slash marks, smooth skin giving. When Vincent shudders quietly as my palms trace up his back, I know I've turned him on. Sometimes that's harder to do than I had ever guess it might, save for the first time I could touch him like this. Vincent's damn good-looking. He's got toned muscle on him, which was a great surprise, and I was damn pleased with it, too. Didn't want to have to see someone bony like me...

"Reno..." he half-breathes, half-says as I trace the inside of his thighs after a few long moments, the water stinging my arms a little as it struck us.

His fingers ghost over mine for a second, almost tentative in a way I guess I'm not familiar with for all the times he's done that, and sometimes that even freaks me out. Sometimes his skin will shake with something different than just being turned on. He's warned me about that before, but I guess I've forgotten over time. It's never mattered much to me about what he is, was, had been physically other than he's human in form. So maybe I'm a flaming idiot for thinking that, maybe I'm out of my fucking mind. I just don't want to think about what's under his skin.

Thinking about that always made me want to throw up.

I press my mouth to the crest of his shoulder before Vincent moves. Our eyes don't meet or anything, even if we're looking at each other. His fingers are calloused, rough patches, pressing against me, and it kinda feels good the way they slowly work at my hips, my back, ribs. His touches always seem solid-- never moves without knowing the exact way he wants them to. And I close my eyes half-way because I still want to see him. Vincent's hand brushes across my stomach and I can feel it still hot from the water. The tile's cold when I lean against it. What I don't expect this time is for him to press up against me completely.

Vincent's never done that before.

I look over his shoulder best I can for being so damn skinny and small compared, steam and fog swirling. "Huh?"

His hands are a kind of good-terrible pressure against my hips, his thumbs against the bone. When did I stop noticing that the fingers attached to those hands were long and thin?

"Not here."

"Why not?"

I guess Vincent's right. Last time we tried this in the shower, it was kind of weird. The space is too cramped and already neither of us can breathe from the steam. It's a bit of an inconvenience to stand, anyways. And I'm not entirely sure how we managed to actually get to the bedroom, actually. Just that I started kissing him. Vincent doesn't usually, so I do, that way I can pull a reaction out of him, make him respond to something other than touches. It's a stupid thing to want. But sometimes I think I can maybe try and understand something about everything, like a part of his soul will meet me when I meet him. But nothing ever happens except for the reaction I'm waiting for, slightly desperate under the surface without either of us knowing it. My fingers are in his hair-- short, but still kind of rough, pulling at it until I know it annoys him.

For a moment, I'm only vaguely aware of the room. It's plane, always has been. I can see the window and for a moment, the sheets are grey in the down-cast light that's slowly getting darker outside as night starts creeping up. How long had I been waiting outside this stupid apartment?

But then I don't really need to concentrate at all.

Vincent's leaning over me, his eyes half-lidded, and I can feel his fingers, palms, and I'm wrapping my arms around his neck after a while because I just don't want to hear him gasp or my own breath. He can work me up into a frenzy, but not this afternoon. It's not what I'm here for. So he gets right to the point, wrapping an arm around around my back and his fingers are slick when I feel them.

Something about it all strikes me as odd.

It doesn't matter right now.

Because after what seems like forever, all I needed to concentrate on was the pressure of him, hard, slick, waves riding up to my lungs and back down. I don't have to wonder about anything. There's not any room for it. I know I'm /breathing/, but the heat seems to boil it in my lungs, and I'm grabbing at him, burying my face in his shoulder because he knows something. Vincent knows something I don't understand anymore.

I just don't need to.

Vincent isn't what people would call an imaginative lover. If the term 'lover' applies to what we are to each other, which I'm pretty sure it doesn't. But at least he knows what he's doing, knows where to put his hands-- at my hip and leg, rocking hard into me and I can shift my legs around his narrow waist to give me enough leverage to push back, arching enough to get him deeper, if at all possible. I don't know if I make a lot of noise; I can never seem to hear it above the blood rushing in my ears or past the intensity of everything as wave after wave of pure... well... pure whatever the hell this is (it can't be pleasure, that's something I don't get anymore) rides up. It's not a high. It's not anything except for heat and something /good/. But Vincent makes something of a careful sigh, and I'm not concentrating, I'm just trying not to let it be over too fast.

He's like that, strong, knowing what he's doing. It's not so much that I'm not used to it so much as that he's got a sort of inhuman strength far beyond mollifying.

My nails dig into his shoulders and down his back, on purpose, his breath hitching in my ear. The pain blurs the line. That's fine. And when he finally gives everything he has to me, in that one spot where it matters, there's nothing but that feeling crashing through me, and I know he can feel it, too. Vincent's hands tightening where they're at is pretty much proof of it.

And then it's over, with only the aftermath left.

For a long moment all I could do was breathe.

Eventually, though, I guess everything winds down, and I'm the one pushing Vincent off of me. He grunts at me, giving me an annoyed look, before moving to sit up against the headboard and trying to pull the covers up over himself. I've never understood why he does that. The room's not much. White walls, plain sheets, a pack of cigarettes sitting next to an ashtray on the window sill, the rain still pounding down on the glass. I was the one to give them to him, and the lighter, mostly because I'm trying to quite, and I never knew he used to, either...

We never sleep after sex. What was the point? We were just out of breath, despite it all.

And I said the only thing I could remember to say after about half an hour of just laying there and realizing that the bed covers are damp from water and sweat and whatever the hell else, with Vincent pulling a cigarette from the pack, lighting it.

"Hey, Vincent? You remember you're first kill?"

Vincent sort of looks at me with a half-thoughtful expression. "Yeah."

Even after all this time. Honestly interested, I sat up next to him, grinning. "So?" I asked, stealing his cigarette and taking a quick drag.

"So?" he countered. He took it back, narrowing his eyes at me a little again.

Gee. Smooth, pal.

"Man, I remember puking my guts out and drinking myself into a rut after the first few times."

He just grunted, taking another drag. When he exhales the smoke drifts and disappears almost... I dunno, almost like he was expecting something to happen. A thought came to me after that, and I almost felt like I needed to know.

"Why exactly did you save Elena and Tseng those couple of years back?" I asked him.

Silence.

I'd never thought of asking before. Mostly because more important things are on my mind than something that happened back then. Funny thing, near-death experiences are like drops in the bucket for a Turk. For most anyone these days, actually, considering everyone nearly died on this crappy planet. Twice.

I was beginning to think I wasn't going to get an answer, and almost sighed and rolled over.

What Vincent said was surprisingly simple-- "Misplaced loyalty."

That made sense. More sense than anything ever has in a while.

We're not crazy, not any sort of shit like that. At least, not as crazy as killing in cold blood can make you. We're paid hit-man. Simple as that. Paid to keep secrets, protect secrets, to do all the nasty things that practically assures us all a place in hell. And over time, I guess we all learn to kind of accept that. I've never thought too much about it before.

Misplaced loyalty...

Saving them because they were Turks?

Heh. Once a Turk, always a Turk. The suit doesn't mean anything other than status, really. We don't need Rufus so much as Rufus needs us. Sure, less killing, yeah. Big whoop. Not like that mattered too much anyways. And that's the thing-- my co-workers aren't just co-workers. They're my teammates. And that's one thing, if any, that I've learned from Veld. Being a Turk means you've got a bond stronger than anything between the others. Thicker than blood on or off the floors, more binding than any contract, more powerful than any sort of romantic bullshit that 'ties people together'. We're not family or friends or fucking even /war buddies/. But there's no one else to cover for us except one of our own. No one else to follow you after you've launched yourself into a front row seat right into hell itself.

And that made a sort of frightening sort of sense. Anger rolled over me, and I couldn't help but... just... ugh! Damn asshole! Mis/placed loyalty?! The /hell is with this guy!

"You used to be a Turk too!" I snap at Vincent, probably catching him off guard, because he gives me a slightly wide-eyed look. There only for a second before it's gone. The next thing I know I'm gripping his elbow, hard. "They're people!"

His hand was on mine, pulling it off. "The term 'person' doesn't apply to a Turk, Reno." he says. "We both know that."

...Like he doesn't even care.

I'm so mad at him, so amazingly livid, but the strength just seemed to... rush outta me. So I just glare at him-- so angry, but so damn weirded out that I just can't do anything about it. Vincent was a Turk. But once a Turk, always a Turk. When you take that step, you practically live, eat, and breath the fucking Code. A whole damn generation behind me. A whole damn generation wiser than any of us current. I can't do anything about it.

Because it made so much /sense/.

He wasn't supposed to have been here, now, in this apartment, working for Tuesti or some shit like that. Vincent was supposed to be with us, with the rest of the Turks, like Veld had. And back then, those few years back, when Vincent had been with Avalanche, back when Avalanche had been after Sephiroth and Hojo, and we'd been after Sephiroth and them, back when things hadn't been so clear... I remember being just this angry/, too. I remember Tseng bringing it up --"He used to be a Turk, actually"-- and the rest of us (maybe not 'Lena), the rest of us were so angry. You don't mess with us, Turks, Devil Gods, whatever the world calls us. Fucking hell, it wasn't supposed to /be this way/! He was supposed to be on /our side, god dammit!

The sad thing is that I know Vincent doesn't care about it anymore. Doesn't even bother hiding it.

But the loyalty still seems to be there.

Come to think of it... I don't know what side I'm on, either. Maybe I'm here because of 'misplaced loyalty'. Maybe I'm here because I see it, see the damn distant flickering of something that should be. That maybe if I'm here long enough, maybe if I stick around, I can just get out of the way I used to think. But Vincent never helps with that. Sure, he'll cut through the illusions with some fucking bullshit simple-worded comment-- blunt. Careless. Maybe I'm here because I wanted to be, wanted something different, something to understand. Maybe to understand what eden would be like, since I'll never see it. There's always been a lot of 'maybes' here, in my head, swirling around like sick mako.

I'm an idiot.

Here could never be eden.

I should just go back to Rude, back to what's left of Shinra, back to something I at least know I can try and understand. And I actually do realize I'm swinging my legs over the edge of the bed with my feet on the cool carpet, muttering to myself. I shouldn't be doing this to myself. What the hell am I doing here to begin with? I didn't even remember how it got to this, how I ended up here in a place that isn't all that great with someone that only has misplaced loyalty to someone who's never been a comrade or someone he even knew. What have I been /thinking/? Things don't change. We all come back to what we are-- and I'm a Turk at heart, and he's a Turk maybe in soul, and I'm just so god damned tired of thinking when I walk through Vincent's stupid front door. But I know I'll probably come back.

I'm like that; punishing myself simply because I can.

Something warm brushes my hair back away from my neck and I kind of jump against it, Vincent's hand, and I can feel his lips pressing against the muscle where my neck curves.

Usually I leave. Usually I toss him a lop-sided grin and just /leave/.

The gesture wasn't as romantic as it seemed. He moved away before I realized it. I turned to look at him, eyeing him critically, but he's giving me a look that's steady, and old for a moment before it's gone.

"Reno?"

"/What/?"

"...Nothing."

"Spit it out," I snap at him.

I'm more angry at myself than I am him.

Vincent turned to look back out the window, the rain coming down harder than before. It probably wasn't going to stop for a long while. But he doesn't say anything, simply nods, like he was agreeing to something. I don't know. But the air's kinda changed. So I slide back under the covers, on my side, watching Vincent for a long moment. He looks at me again, those red eyes kind of eerie in the darkening half-light. Like he's trying to say something that I can't-- won't understand.

"Vincent?"

"Hn?"

"What time is it?"

"Ten past eight."

It's his fault.

This was never going to be eden, or paradise, or whatever the hell that the Promised Lands could ever be. Not even close. But he's not saying anything about it, either, so I guess it stopped mattering what it was and why we're both doing this to ourselves to begin with.

But I stayed anyways.

Notes: Yea... this was supposed to be for something else, but I like it too much to NOT post it. (sigh) Welcome to my FFVII obsessed mind. This was actually one of my first times doing something in the 1st person POV, much less anything Reno-related. BEFORE WARNED!!! Reno/Vincent! YAOI!

Warnings: Yaoi, male/male pairing. Although nothing terribly graphic, but STILL THERE. Also, cursing. It's rated M for a reason.

Disclaimer: I'll put them back after I'm done with them, I promise.

Originally published 6-21-07



The Edge of Never Eden

It's so stupid, really. I mean, I know it's over. Meteorfall passed, all the crap with Deepground passed, but here I am anyways, being stupid. But it's not like it mattered. He knows probably more than I do how the past can't die, about how indefinite and unstable the damned future is. We all come right back to what we are deep down, anyways. Stupid idiot. Doesn't need to tell me what I already know.

Things come with a price.

Maybe standing outside his apartment was mine.

There are two reasons that have lead me here, I guess. Rude knows I leave, knows where I go. He's hilariously sneaky that way-- my /partner/, and I appreciate it most of the time. And I know he tries his best to keep my skinny ass out of trouble. Not that it helps. Trouble finds me or I deliberately find it. It makes me feel a little alive when I do, I guess.

In this case, it's the latter.

The first reason being that I've got a promise to follow through with. And the other... well...

Deep down, I'm a Turk. I pride that. I really do. I believe that we're all born with some sort of spot in life; it's just our own job to figure out how to fill that spot. I fill my spot well, and that's all that matters sometimes. That comes with a price, too. Nightmares. Blood. A record. Well... okay, not so much the record anymore. It's hard to have that when it'd all been in the Shinra Building.

Damn Meteor. Fucking up the system. Geez.

Rain was coming down pretty damn hard. I knew he wasn't home yet, so I waited for a while, humming to myself with my hands in my jacket pockets. It rained a lot in Edge, all year 'round, at least four or five times a week. It explained a lot, actually-- this place always seems to have a terrible grey-sky downcast most of the time. Three floors up, standing in a hallway of one of the newer apartment complexes. Honestly... I'd thought it'd be something a bit more... well, /more/. I know the hallway --all the ceiling tile patterns, the dark carpeting, howmany cracks in the plaster of the wall to the right of the door across from the one I'm standing next to-- just like I know a lot of things I shouldn't.

In the end, I'm a Turk, and Turk's make good on their word.

Pretty soon, there are footsteps coming down the hall, and I'm grinning already.

He looks damn good in a suit, actually. Veld used to have a picture of the generation before mine, all of them, and I remember seeing him once (it's taken me forever to actually realize it, too), so it's not that hard to imagine anymore. Hell, getting him out of it was half the fun as watching him move in it.

"Reno...?"

"Heh. You sound surprised, Vince."

"..."

He's cut his hair-- I don't remember that happening a few weeks back... Damn, Valentine looks tons younger. How the hell does he manage that? I only just noticed it because he was brushing wet hair out of his face, eyes narrowing at me. That look was always familiar. I get it all the time from practically everyone.

"Sooo..." I said conversationally as Vincent dug through his soaked trench coat pocket to get the key. Sometimes he lets me in; sometimes he doesn't. "How's working with the WRO? Not sore about Rufus are ya? We were serious, yo. You guys never take anything we say serious, do you?"

"Avalanche doesn't exist anymore," Was his statement, giving me a side-long look that wasn't really annoyed or anything.

I'm standing in his doorway, and we're looking at each other for a moment.

After a while, he steps aside and I grin wider at him before walking in, the dark living room lights for a brief moment by sharp flashes of lightning and thunder rolls out over the silence. Not that I need the light. Great thing about mako enhancement: you can see in the dark. Almost, for me anyways. Living in Midgar long enough can have its effects. And I can here Vincent shutting the door behind me, pulling his coat off, even while we don't say anything for a long moment. Lightning flashes again. I can see the old newspaper covering the windows here and in the kitchen. I've never asked about it. Never needed to. Pah. Selfish prick. He needs to just own up to the fact that he saved the world. Again. So what if you can still see that damned thing out there? Does it really matter?

The grey walls didn't hold any answer.

"What are you doing here, Reno?" Vincent asks me somewhere off to the side.

Vincent's apartment isn't exactly small, but it's not big, either. Guy has a fuckin' complex about spaces being too small. There's two rooms. A spare and the one used, a kitchen off to my right. He's gone to change, and I'm so tempted to go and piss him off by watching. Not like it'd matter if I did. Vincent would probably just ask me if I was enjoying the view, and like an idiot, I'd probably say yeah.

I've come to the conclusion that I don't care. He's hot, and I'm sure he damn well knows it. Media still hasn't left him alone, even after months.

Jerk.

"Oh, I dunno," I said with another grin, twisting my hands out of my pockets, still standing in the middle of his living room. "I just thought it'd be nice to get away from the kids, y'know? Spend some quality time. Just you and me, lover."

There's perks to being a Turk. They don't outweigh the paperwork, though. Hell, nothing ever does. I know how to read people, push their buttons, even just a little. The silence that stretched and broken only by thunder said it all-- he wasn't as amused as I was. He hates it when I call him 'lover'. It jars the closet romantic in 'im.

I turned and pulled my jacket off with a quick glance around, throwing it onto the poor excuse Vincent had for a kitchen table. There was a TV set right across from the couch, a tall, skinny lamp in the corner just before the wall met the kitchenette. I wonder if he has any beer in there... there was some last time, but that was only 'cause I brought it over. And despite myself, I look anyways, the fridge light just as broken as it always had been and the shelves mostly barren.

The beer's still there. Heh.

I wanted to take one, honestly. I sure as hell deserved it for having supplied it to begin with, but I didn't.

Water splatters distantly, a hissing kind of noise meaning the new piping wasn't quite broken in for use just yet, and I can hear it from the bathroom.

Huh. A shower? With a Turk not even a hallway away?

Might as well.

It's stupid to keep doing this to ourselves. We're both fucking idiots. Half the time I'm not even sure why I bother. I like Vincent just fine-- he's actually rather... nice. A little. Once you get past the fact that he hates Shinra and anything associated with it. Why do we even bother? He doesn't give me anything, and I don't give him anything. Nothing aside from the usual, anyways. Why the hell do I even have an attachment? Did I want to? Maybe. Maybe not. And there's a part of me that tells my that if I had to, why not Elena? Or Rude? Or, fuck, even Rufus? Why not one of them? They'd at least get it.

Whatever there is to get.

That's my reason here this time, I guess. Maybe just trying to figure out why.

I've got my shirt joining my jacket on the table while I kicked my shoes off. I don't think it matters anymore. Vincent's damn obsessive cleanliness can go to hell. Gaia knows he needs to lighten up. Pfft. Like that'd ever happen. And by the time I've reached the bathroom door, I've practically stripped down, barging in and not even bothering to shut the door behind me. Steam gushes out, warm, and I'm still kinda grinning despite it all.

"Reno, what the hell do you think you're doing?"

"Taking a shower with you. What's it look like, yo?"

Vincent doesn't object, not even when my hands were gripping his arms once I was in the shower with him, having tossed my glasses and hair tie into the bathroom sink. Maybe I'm predictable. Or maybe he just doesn't give a rat's ass.

My hands are pale, but his skin's an almost near-perfect white, paler than mine, and I can see all the little scars across my hands and across his back. Including the tattoo I've never really wanted to ask about etched in Vincent's skin-- a bar code just at the lower back, where the spine curves. There are a lot of things I've never noticed now. We've done this before. Just that I never noticed the way he has such a graceful neck; all his hair hand been in the way. And there are scars here nastier than anything I've ever seen before. I've got mine, but I forget that he came from a time where materia was new, barely even thought of.

The scars are ugly, twisted.

The only color-- a faded sort of pink.

I'm not unfamiliar with tracing my hands down Vincent's arms to his hips, tracing marred skin up to his chest, letting my fingers wander across hot skin. Wandering, nothing solid. Old bullet wounds, slash marks, smooth skin giving. When Vincent shudders quietly as my palms trace up his back, I know I've turned him on. Sometimes that's harder to do than I had ever guess it might, save for the first time I could touch him like this. Vincent's damn good-looking. He's got toned muscle on him, which was a great surprise, and I was damn pleased with it, too. Didn't want to have to see someone bony like me...

"Reno..." he half-breathes, half-says as I trace the inside of his thighs after a few long moments, the water stinging my arms a little as it struck us.

His fingers ghost over mine for a second, almost tentative in a way I guess I'm not familiar with for all the times he's done that, and sometimes that even freaks me out. Sometimes his skin will shake with something different than just being turned on. He's warned me about that before, but I guess I've forgotten over time. It's never mattered much to me about what he is, was, had been physically other than he's human in form. So maybe I'm a flaming idiot for thinking that, maybe I'm out of my fucking mind. I just don't want to think about what's under his skin.

Thinking about that always made me want to throw up.

I press my mouth to the crest of his shoulder before Vincent moves. Our eyes don't meet or anything, even if we're looking at each other. His fingers are calloused, rough patches, pressing against me, and it kinda feels good the way they slowly work at my hips, my back, ribs. His touches always seem solid-- never moves without knowing the exact way he wants them to. And I close my eyes half-way because I still want to see him. Vincent's hand brushes across my stomach and I can feel it still hot from the water. The tile's cold when I lean against it. What I don't expect this time is for him to press up against me completely.

Vincent's never done that before.

I look over his shoulder best I can for being so damn skinny and small compared, steam and fog swirling. "Huh?"

His hands are a kind of good-terrible pressure against my hips, his thumbs against the bone. When did I stop noticing that the fingers attached to those hands were long and thin?

"Not here."

"Why not?"

I guess Vincent's right. Last time we tried this in the shower, it was kind of weird. The space is too cramped and already neither of us can breathe from the steam. It's a bit of an inconvenience to stand, anyways. And I'm not entirely sure how we managed to actually get to the bedroom, actually. Just that I started kissing him. Vincent doesn't usually, so I do, that way I can pull a reaction out of him, make him respond to something other than touches. It's a stupid thing to want. But sometimes I think I can maybe try and understand something about everything, like a part of his soul will meet me when I meet him. But nothing ever happens except for the reaction I'm waiting for, slightly desperate under the surface without either of us knowing it. My fingers are in his hair-- short, but still kind of rough, pulling at it until I know it annoys him.

For a moment, I'm only vaguely aware of the room. It's plane, always has been. I can see the window and for a moment, the sheets are grey in the down-cast light that's slowly getting darker outside as night starts creeping up. How long had I been waiting outside this stupid apartment?

But then I don't really need to concentrate at all.

Vincent's leaning over me, his eyes half-lidded, and I can feel his fingers, palms, and I'm wrapping my arms around his neck after a while because I just don't want to hear him gasp or my own breath. He can work me up into a frenzy, but not this afternoon. It's not what I'm here for. So he gets right to the point, wrapping an arm around around my back and his fingers are slick when I feel them.

Something about it all strikes me as odd.

It doesn't matter right now.

Because after what seems like forever, all I needed to concentrate on was the pressure of him, hard, slick, waves riding up to my lungs and back down. I don't have to wonder about anything. There's not any room for it. I know I'm /breathing/, but the heat seems to boil it in my lungs, and I'm grabbing at him, burying my face in his shoulder because he knows something. Vincent knows something I don't understand anymore.

I just don't need to.

Vincent isn't what people would call an imaginative lover. If the term 'lover' applies to what we are to each other, which I'm pretty sure it doesn't. But at least he knows what he's doing, knows where to put his hands-- at my hip and leg, rocking hard into me and I can shift my legs around his narrow waist to give me enough leverage to push back, arching enough to get him deeper, if at all possible. I don't know if I make a lot of noise; I can never seem to hear it above the blood rushing in my ears or past the intensity of everything as wave after wave of pure... well... pure whatever the hell this is (it can't be pleasure, that's something I don't get anymore) rides up. It's not a high. It's not anything except for heat and something /good/. But Vincent makes something of a careful sigh, and I'm not concentrating, I'm just trying not to let it be over too fast.

He's like that, strong, knowing what he's doing. It's not so much that I'm not used to it so much as that he's got a sort of inhuman strength far beyond mollifying.

My nails dig into his shoulders and down his back, on purpose, his breath hitching in my ear. The pain blurs the line. That's fine. And when he finally gives everything he has to me, in that one spot where it matters, there's nothing but that feeling crashing through me, and I know he can feel it, too. Vincent's hands tightening where they're at is pretty much proof of it.

And then it's over, with only the aftermath left.

For a long moment all I could do was breathe.

Eventually, though, I guess everything winds down, and I'm the one pushing Vincent off of me. He grunts at me, giving me an annoyed look, before moving to sit up against the headboard and trying to pull the covers up over himself. I've never understood why he does that. The room's not much. White walls, plain sheets, a pack of cigarettes sitting next to an ashtray on the window sill, the rain still pounding down on the glass. I was the one to give them to him, and the lighter, mostly because I'm trying to quite, and I never knew he used to, either...

We never sleep after sex. What was the point? We were just out of breath, despite it all.

And I said the only thing I could remember to say after about half an hour of just laying there and realizing that the bed covers are damp from water and sweat and whatever the hell else, with Vincent pulling a cigarette from the pack, lighting it.

"Hey, Vincent? You remember you're first kill?"

Vincent sort of looks at me with a half-thoughtful expression. "Yeah."

Even after all this time. Honestly interested, I sat up next to him, grinning. "So?" I asked, stealing his cigarette and taking a quick drag.

"So?" he countered. He took it back, narrowing his eyes at me a little again.

Gee. Smooth, pal.

"Man, I remember puking my guts out and drinking myself into a rut after the first few times."

He just grunted, taking another drag. When he exhales the smoke drifts and disappears almost... I dunno, almost like he was expecting something to happen. A thought came to me after that, and I almost felt like I needed to know.

"Why exactly did you save Elena and Tseng those couple of years back?" I asked him.

Silence.

I'd never thought of asking before. Mostly because more important things are on my mind than something that happened back then. Funny thing, near-death experiences are like drops in the bucket for a Turk. For most anyone these days, actually, considering everyone nearly died on this crappy planet. Twice.

I was beginning to think I wasn't going to get an answer, and almost sighed and rolled over.

What Vincent said was surprisingly simple-- "Misplaced loyalty."

That made sense. More sense than anything ever has in a while.

We're not crazy, not any sort of shit like that. At least, not as crazy as killing in cold blood can make you. We're paid hit-man. Simple as that. Paid to keep secrets, protect secrets, to do all the nasty things that practically assures us all a place in hell. And over time, I guess we all learn to kind of accept that. I've never thought too much about it before.

Misplaced loyalty...

Saving them because they were Turks?

Heh. Once a Turk, always a Turk. The suit doesn't mean anything other than status, really. We don't need Rufus so much as Rufus needs us. Sure, less killing, yeah. Big whoop. Not like that mattered too much anyways. And that's the thing-- my co-workers aren't just co-workers. They're my teammates. And that's one thing, if any, that I've learned from Veld. Being a Turk means you've got a bond stronger than anything between the others. Thicker than blood on or off the floors, more binding than any contract, more powerful than any sort of romantic bullshit that 'ties people together'. We're not family or friends or fucking even /war buddies/. But there's no one else to cover for us except one of our own. No one else to follow you after you've launched yourself into a front row seat right into hell itself.

And that made a sort of frightening sort of sense. Anger rolled over me, and I couldn't help but... just... ugh! Damn asshole! Mis/placed loyalty?! The /hell is with this guy!

"You used to be a Turk too!" I snap at Vincent, probably catching him off guard, because he gives me a slightly wide-eyed look. There only for a second before it's gone. The next thing I know I'm gripping his elbow, hard. "They're people!"

His hand was on mine, pulling it off. "The term 'person' doesn't apply to a Turk, Reno." he says. "We both know that."

...Like he doesn't even care.

I'm so mad at him, so amazingly livid, but the strength just seemed to... rush outta me. So I just glare at him-- so angry, but so damn weirded out that I just can't do anything about it. Vincent was a Turk. But once a Turk, always a Turk. When you take that step, you practically live, eat, and breath the fucking Code. A whole damn generation behind me. A whole damn generation wiser than any of us current. I can't do anything about it.

Because it made so much /sense/.

He wasn't supposed to have been here, now, in this apartment, working for Tuesti or some shit like that. Vincent was supposed to be with us, with the rest of the Turks, like Veld had. And back then, those few years back, when Vincent had been with Avalanche, back when Avalanche had been after Sephiroth and Hojo, and we'd been after Sephiroth and them, back when things hadn't been so clear... I remember being just this angry/, too. I remember Tseng bringing it up --"He used to be a Turk, actually"-- and the rest of us (maybe not 'Lena), the rest of us were so angry. You don't mess with us, Turks, Devil Gods, whatever the world calls us. Fucking hell, it wasn't supposed to /be this way/! He was supposed to be on /our side, god dammit!

The sad thing is that I know Vincent doesn't care about it anymore. Doesn't even bother hiding it.

But the loyalty still seems to be there.

Come to think of it... I don't know what side I'm on, either. Maybe I'm here because of 'misplaced loyalty'. Maybe I'm here because I see it, see the damn distant flickering of something that should be. That maybe if I'm here long enough, maybe if I stick around, I can just get out of the way I used to think. But Vincent never helps with that. Sure, he'll cut through the illusions with some fucking bullshit simple-worded comment-- blunt. Careless. Maybe I'm here because I wanted to be, wanted something different, something to understand. Maybe to understand what eden would be like, since I'll never see it. There's always been a lot of 'maybes' here, in my head, swirling around like sick mako.

I'm an idiot.

Here could never be eden.

I should just go back to Rude, back to what's left of Shinra, back to something I at least know I can try and understand. And I actually do realize I'm swinging my legs over the edge of the bed with my feet on the cool carpet, muttering to myself. I shouldn't be doing this to myself. What the hell am I doing here to begin with? I didn't even remember how it got to this, how I ended up here in a place that isn't all that great with someone that only has misplaced loyalty to someone who's never been a comrade or someone he even knew. What have I been /thinking/? Things don't change. We all come back to what we are-- and I'm a Turk at heart, and he's a Turk maybe in soul, and I'm just so god damned tired of thinking when I walk through Vincent's stupid front door. But I know I'll probably come back.

I'm like that; punishing myself simply because I can.

Something warm brushes my hair back away from my neck and I kind of jump against it, Vincent's hand, and I can feel his lips pressing against the muscle where my neck curves.

Usually I leave. Usually I toss him a lop-sided grin and just /leave/.

The gesture wasn't as romantic as it seemed. He moved away before I realized it. I turned to look at him, eyeing him critically, but he's giving me a look that's steady, and old for a moment before it's gone.

"Reno?"

"/What/?"

"...Nothing."

"Spit it out," I snap at him.

I'm more angry at myself than I am him.

Vincent turned to look back out the window, the rain coming down harder than before. It probably wasn't going to stop for a long while. But he doesn't say anything, simply nods, like he was agreeing to something. I don't know. But the air's kinda changed. So I slide back under the covers, on my side, watching Vincent for a long moment. He looks at me again, those red eyes kind of eerie in the darkening half-light. Like he's trying to say something that I can't-- won't understand.

"Vincent?"

"Hn?"

"What time is it?"

"Ten past eight."

It's his fault.

This was never going to be eden, or paradise, or whatever the hell that the Promised Lands could ever be. Not even close. But he's not saying anything about it, either, so I guess it stopped mattering what it was and why we're both doing this to ourselves to begin with.

But I stayed anyways.
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