Angry Angel 12/?; I am looking for a reason to stay standing.

Title: Angry Angel
WIP: 12/?
Author: azzy
Email: az.ombie[at]
AN: this is the sequel to pretty hate machine, and this shit is bananas, because the plot i had to pretty hate machine could run for so much longer, and i decided to just go with it, this story will allso include violence and gore, murder and dismemberment. again id like to thank Ramirez & John Wayne Gacy, just for being. to the movie bodyparts for being an inspiration.And Poppy z Brite for writing ‘exquisite corpse’ and Ej for buying that book for me. I introduced a character named Raiden, i would never introduce a oc, unless he was crusial to the plot. now enjoy girls and germs..I promised smut, but i hve t admit my smut muse took a little weekend trip, and left only my ‘gay x-files’ muse.. sorry! – Note for chapter 12: i redid the smut, but eded up cutting the scene in half, sorry. but yay for cliffies.
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII, Advent children.
Betaed by; chaotic_binky (thanks chicka)
Rating: R for violence & smex
Disclaimer: none of these characters are mine, sad but true.
Summary: In where we have to wonder if Reno lost his mind?
Warnings: AU! Angst.
Pairings: Reno/Cloud Reno/Tseng

Sometimes the fastest way to get there is to go slow
And sometimes if you wanna hold on you got to let go

I’m gonna close my eyes
And count to ten
I’m gonna close my eyes
And when I open them again
Everything will make sense to me then

Tina Dicow – Count to ten.

Chapter 12. – I am looking for a reason to stay standing

Reno looked at the clock; the little red digital numbers told him he should had been sleeping for at least four hours. He looked at the beer bottle in his hand; he didn’t feel like sleeping at all. With a groan, he let himself fall backwards in the soft chair. Right at this moment, he wished he had just left Cloud alone, that he had never come back to the city, that he never had let Raiden come. Actually, he wished it was just like it had always been, that the border between good and bad weren’t that blurred, given he had always been a bit on the edge concerning his own morale, but he really didn’t care before. Reno closed his eyes and remembered what it had been like when he and Rude had been best friends, it had all been so simple, they had been drinking, brawling, blowing shit up, and most of all Alvalance had been the enemy. Never in his life had he thought he would have to carry a pleasant conversation with any of these people. But lately he had found himself doing just that, more and more.

He had gone over this, over and over and over again in his mind, so he knew there would not be any conclusion, there were no answer. He had done what he had done, and somehow lost both his brother and his lover.

He pinched the bridge of his nose.

In the other end of the city, far away from the new Shinra tower, Tseng sat and looked out at the sky. He felt like having a drink and a fag; he did neither normally, so he didn’t even flinch as a result of his craving. All he wanted was an outlet for his frustration and worry; he needed a stimuli to soothe his shattered nerves. He hoped they would solve the problem once they got access to Constantine’s place. Right now, he knew that his colleagues worked hard trying to grant them access to Constantine’s files and some papers that would legally grant them access. Tseng was not really sure they needed any papers to kick down Constantine’s door. Once he would never even have had this line of thought; once he would have trusted his fellow Turks with his life.

What had changed?

Tonight he wasn’t sure that the legal excuse was not just another decoy to keep Reno and him from Constantine’s house. Maybe Rude and Elena were there this moment, removing every piece of evidence? Maybe it was not in Shinra Corp’s interest that they actually ‘did’ find anything? Rufus Shinra would have an explanation problem if it ever got out he used neuro-transplantation to the extent that he apparently sponsored.

Just as Tseng was sure he would go out of his mind with worry, the phone rang. The annoying ringtone seemed too loud and alien in the dark room, invading Tseng’s dark thoughts, but none the less, he pulled the phone from his pocket and saw the display telling him that Rude called him. What the hell did Rude want with him at this hour?

”Curiosity killed the cat, right?” Tseng said to himself as his thumb hovered over the answer button. “Maybe it is a good thing the cat has got nine lives,” he said with a smile as he pressed the button. ”Yes?”

“Were you sleeping?” Rude said at the other end.

“No,” Tseng answered. “I was just reading a book”

Rude grinned at the other end. “I tried to reach Reno but he is not answering,” he said.

”Maybe he is sleeping? It is pretty late,” Tseng said trying to hide whatever worry he might have.

“Maybe” Rude said, sounding less than convinced. “Elena just paged me, and told me your papers are ready, want to pick them up here?”

”Uhm,” Tseng said, suddenly breaking out in nervous sweat. What if it were a trap? “I was on my way to the police station; can’t you just fax them down there?”

”Sure,” Rude said, sounding slightly confused.

“Excellent. Thank you Rude,” Tseng said, almost feeling a little bad he thought so little of his friends.

They both hung up, and Tseng hurried to dial up Reno as soon as he could. There was no answer, so he grabbed his jacket and went to his car, he tried dialling again, but there was still no answer.

Tseng decided he would go to the police station first and pick up the fax, then drive to Reno’s and find out why he did not pick up. He did try to call Reno twice more in the car, but there was no answer. Not even a, ‘leave a voicemail’ option. It was just dead. Reno must have turned off his phone completely.

Tseng opened the door to the police station and went to his office. The police station was normally very sparsely occupied at night, but after ten minutes, Tseng had yet to see a police officer on duty. Just as he was about to start worrying, he walked into what they called his office and heard a loud laughter; he knew that laugh! No one in the whole world had such goddamn obnoxious laughter! Reno! What the hell was he doing here?

Reno turned his head towards the door as Tseng came into the coffee room. ”Hey,” he grinned. “Couldn’t sleep either?”

Tseng looked like a thundercloud. “Just what the hell are you doing Reno?”

”Isn’t it pretty obvious?” Reno said, raising an amused eyebrow.

”Not really, no,” Tseng answered acidly.

”We’re playing poker, Special agent Tao Tseng,” Reno giggled, raising his cards high in the air, flashing them to Tseng.

Tseng crossed his arms over his chest and looked coldly at Reno. ”Reno,” he hissed in a warning tone.

Reno sighed and folded his cards, tossing them on the table. He scraped the little pile of coins he had left, down into his hand and stuck them in his pocket. ”Game over,” he said softly with a little grin tugging at the corner of his mouth. ”It was a crap hand anyway.”

One of Reno’s fellow card players laughed, but as he looked up upon Tseng, who seemed as though he was towering above them, his laughter stilled and became a soft cough.

Reno walked out the door, Tseng close after. “Don’t ever turn off your cellphone again,” Tseng said harshly.

”Huh?” Reno turned and stopped, looking confused, but when he saw the seriousness on Tseng’s face, he shrugged. “I know, Tseng. But…”

”No buts, you should know better! Something could have happened to you, and I wouldn’t have known because your phone was dead,” Tseng said, his eyes still shooting lightening.

Reno looked intensely at Tseng and then softened up in a big smile. ”You worried!” The smile grew. “That’s why you’re this anal. I had you worried.”

Tseng did not answer but ground his teeth.

”Look man, I can take care of myself. You know that.” Reno shook his head amused.

”One would have thought so,” Tseng said dryly. ”But when you, a Turk, is so thoughtless that you turn off your phone to play poker. Then I am not so sure.”

“Look I said I was sorry,” Reno said. His smile disappeared upon seeing the anger lingering in Tseng’s expression and voice. ”I actually did come down here because I couldn’t sleep, and thought I could just as well go over the photos from Raiden’s apartment again, but then they needed a fourth man, and yea… I got sucked in.”

Tseng shook his head. “Don’t do it again, or I will be forced to mention your neglect to Rufus Shinra.”

Reno nodded, whatever it took to get him off the hook.

”Grab your gear, Reno. Rude called me and told me the paperwork went through,” Tseng said as he turned and walked back down the corridor.

”It’ll be five minutes,” Reno said, running in the opposite direction towards the office where he had dropped his jacket and emag.

”You got two,” Tseng replied, waking towards the exit.

Fifteen minutes later, they both sat in a car on the way to the last known address of October Constantine. The ride had been silent. Both Turks were tense, and not really sure what to expect once they arrived. “Don’t you think we should have brought some more people with us?”

Tseng raised a brow. “Since when did we need more people? They just stand in the way and get killed. It’s faster and more efficient for the two of us to go in.”

”What kind of bullshit is that?” Reno said, lighting up a cigarette. “Since when have we put ourselves in jeopardy when we can have grunts do the dirty work?”

“Well… ” Tseng replied, lowering his voice. “This is strictly Shinra business.”

”Oh,” Reno said. ”So why don’t we ask for some Shinra personnel?”

”Because… ” Tseng hit the brakes of the car so hard that Reno jerked in his seat.

”What the hell was that for?” Reno whined, looking at his broken cigarette.

”Look Reno, I know you are not as dense as you pretend to be.”

Reno turned his head and looked at Tseng, his mouth forming an ‘O’. ”So when you mean Shinra business, you actually mean…”

”Strictly Turk business, yes,” Tseng replied, starting up the car again.

”Right,” Reno grumbled, fumbling in his jacket pocket for his cell phone. Turning it on, he reached for another cigarette. Seeing Tseng’s displeased face, he rolled the window down. “I’m nervous, ok?”

”Been a regular agent for too long? Agent Vaughan?” Tseng said with a teasing tone. “Forgot how to do Turk business?”

”No! I just… yea maybe… No, I mean… what if Constantine’s house is a trap? We don’t know if that is what Cloud meant, and we don’t even know if Cloud sent that text message, all we know is that it came from his cellphone.”

”I see,” Tseng said with a smile.

”You see, what?” Reno snapped.

Tseng stopped the car again, but more gently this time. They both looked out the car windows. A big grey mansion towered before them, menacing and foreboding in the pouring rain. ”Reno,” Tseng said in a very insistent tone, grabbing his shoulder and squeezing it tight. ”You might be assigned as a regular Agent these days, and you might miss Cloud, and you might be worried about your brother, but first and foremost, you are a Turk, Reno. Never forget that. When you joined us, you joined us for life. You must stay focused and committed, and never lose sight of what you are and why.” Reno furrowed his brows, opening his mouth to argue Tseng’s attempt at a pep-talk. ”Priority one is the apprehension of October Constantine, everything else is secondary”

”What if…” Reno started.

”No! Reno tell me you understand. This is a direct order from Rufus Shinra.”

Reno sighed and nervously raked a hand through his hair. “I understand,” he said, grabbing a hold of the emag’s handle.

”Good, then let’s go,” Tseng replied, looking at Reno as he opened the car door and was about to step out into the rain. “And Reno? No one said we had to be polite about it.”

Reno looked up at Tseng, rain getting in his eyes and blinking away the droplets. ”Awesome,” he said, smiling vaguely. Tseng wasn’t sure if Reno meant it, or if he were being sarcastic, but that didn’t matter now, all that was important was finding Constantine and bringing him home to the Shinra tower as fast as possible. It did not matter how they felt about it.

”I’m sure he has seven kinds of twisted in there,” Reno whispered.

Tseng did not answer; he just looked at Reno before he laid his ear to the door, listening to hear if anyone was moving about. Shaking his head at Reno, as he heard nothing, he whispered, “Get us inside.”

”Sure thing,” Reno grinned, measuring the door up with his eyes before he gave it a kick in the right place and bursting the door open. “That’s what you get for being cheap in the wrong places.”

Tseng looked into the pitch dark. ”What was that about seven kinds of twisted?” he whispered, as he grabbed his gun, and his standard issue flashlight. The cone of light disappeared into the darkness as if was all light was absorbed within the mansion. Suddenly a second cone of light joined it as Reno turned on his flashlight too. ”Try and find a light switch,” Tseng whispered, tossing his head to the left to indicate, as he went through a door into what seemed to be a kitchen.

Reno searched the wall for a switch, and found it quickly. Upon flipping it, he realised that his nagging suspicion was real; the lights were off and he would have to find the fuse box in order to get some light. He made a quick decision to leave the lights and help Tseng search the house.

Suddenly Reno’s’ cellphone beeped hysterically. Swinging his emag, he made a giant hole in the dark nothing next to him. ”Crap,” he muttered. Looking up he saw a cone of light come around the corner. “Tseng?” he whispered.

”Yes,” Tseng whispered back. ”What happened?”

”The lights are off, and some fucking idiot thought now was the time to send me a text message on the phone,” Reno answered in a near whisper. ”Find anything?”

”No, nothing. Besides that, it looks like someone left in an awful hurry. Plates are still on the table.” Tseng shone the flashlight upwards on his own face, giving him an eerie glow.

”So you think Constantine is here?” Reno whispered back.

”If he eats a diet of maggots and roaches, sure. No one has eaten in that kitchen for months.”

Reno scratched his nose. ”You go upstairs, and I will search this floor. We will meet up here at the base of the stairs, okay?”

Tseng was about to snap at Reno about him being the superior and therefore the one to give the orders, but Reno’s suggestion was sound, and so he just nodded. ”Shinra needs this man alive, Reno. Remember that,” he whispered as a final statement, before he brushed past Reno and slowly started to climb the stairs.

Reno turned left and walked into what seemed to him, the living room. A huge Victorian arch divided two large rooms, which was surprisingly decorated in a feminine style. Reno shone his torch down on a big soft couch; he ran his finger through the grime, to discover it had once been red. He ran the light cone across the upholstery. ”Fluffy pillows?” he whispered to himself. A chill went down his spine as the light travelled over to the wall. Reno carefully inched between the coffee table and the sofa, following the light cone. A bookshelf. He looked over the books, that carried titles such as, ‘Love in Desperate Times’, ‘The Marquise and the Maid’ and ‘Woman, it is Your Life – Live it’. Reno bit his lip, looking further down the bookshelf until he suddenly heard a noise. Spinning around, he shone the light directly into Tseng’s face. ”A wife,” Reno said. ”Constantine had a wife, why didn’t his personnel records say so?”

Tseng looked pale. “And children,” he whispered. “Three of them, from the number of beds upstairs.”

”Oh no,” Reno sighed; this was like a living nightmare. “What about downstairs?”

”We’ll go there after finishing this floor. And Reno, be careful,” Tseng replied, walking slowly through the arch that separated the two living rooms.

Reno followed Tseng, but they found nothing. Nothing except a sippy cup on the dining table, which meant there could be four kids. Since Tseng said he had not found a toddler’s bed, they assumed that it was a larger child that still used a sippy cup. However, the thought of the missing wife and children gave both of them the chills.

Finishing up on the first floor, they came back to the stairs that led up to the second floor; under the stairs was the door that led to the basement. Tseng looked at Reno, who looked calm. ”All right, I will go first. You follow.”

”Okay” Reno breathed. He wondered if it was just him who had difficulties breathing in this house. It seemed as though the air became thicker and thicker. At first, when they opened the front door, it had just been dusty, smelly and mildly unpleasant. However, now it smelt as if something large had crawled in under the floorboards and died. The sweet, rotting smell was evident all over; stinging Reno’s nostrils, and particularly here in front of the basement door, the reek was almost unbearable. ”You first,” Reno mumbled.

Tseng drew a deep breath and pressed down the door handle, pushing the door open. The smell that came up from the basement was like a backdraft of rot. Both Turks had strong stomachs, but Reno had to cover his mouth with his hand not to throw up where he stood.

”Something is definitely dead down there,” Tseng said. He took a step out onto the base at the top of the stairs, shining his flashlight down.

”Tseng,” Reno said, eyeing the deep pitch-black basement nervously. ”We should call Rude and Elena.”

”No,” Tseng replied sternly, still searching with the cone of light in the dark. He slowly started to descend the stairs. “See if you can find the breaker box,” he said to Reno who carefully walked behind him.

As they descended the steps, the smell became worse, to the point of both Turks dry retching. ”Tseng, what if it is chemicals?”

”This is not chemicals; this smell is death. I know that smell Reno, and so do you,” Tseng whispered back, his voice deep with worry.

Suddenly Reno’s cellphone beeped again in a hysterical tone, which made both men jump. ”Gods Reno!” Tseng hissed.

”Sorry, man,” Reno answered as he shrugged. ”Does it make you feel better if I say that I’m gonna kick, whoever it is sending me text messages right now, in the nads?”

”No,” Tseng said, keeping his eyes on the lightcone.

Reno shone his light around the room, but saw nothing out of the ordinary, besides the strange fact that the basement walls were covered in tiles and a huge ventilation system ran across the ceiling. It mostly resembled an ancient version of what he had seen of Hojo’s laboratory. ”Tseng, I don’t like this. We should call Rude and Elena.” No answer came, and suddenly as Reno stood still he couldn’t hear Tseng breathing or the rustle of his clothes either. ”Tseng?”



Panic started to creep into every fibre of his body, like a negatively loaded climax. Reno spun around and shone his flashlight where he was sure Tseng has last been. ”Tseng?”

”Here,” Reno heard Tseng’s voice, muffled as if it came from under a pillow, to become clearer and clearer. ”Found the breaker box, but it is broken,” Tseng said, moving into the light from Reno’s light. ”It has been destroyed, smashed to pieces.”

”Tseng, I cannot stand this smell much longer, man. I need to get out,” Reno said with a slightly desperate edge to his voice.

”Yes, let’s leave; I don’t think Constantine is here. I don’t think anyone has been here for a long time,” Tseng sighed. ”Let’s go out to the car.”

They walked back outside, and Reno could have kissed the ground as he inhaled the first breath of almost clean air. Tseng looked relieved too. Reno turned off his flashlight and pulled out his cellphone as they walked to the car.

Tseng fiddled with the car keys as he heard Reno yelp in a high pitched tone. ”Tseng! Tseng!”

He ran to where Reno stood and looked at his cellphone, white as a sheet. “What?” he asked, sounding a little more than worried.

”Look,” Reno whispered, showing the display on his phone with trembling hands.

From: Strife
Txt: There was a crooked man, and he went a crooked mile,
And found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile.

”And there’s one more,” Reno said.

From: Strife
Txt: He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

”These were the ones you got while we were in the mansion?” Tseng asked, scratching his cheek nervously.

”Yes” Reno answered, turning his head looking up at the old house behind them. ”They know we are here, Tseng. How can they know that?”

”No, Reno… This is a nursery rhyme, they don’t know anything about where we are,” Tseng said. ”But on the other hand, it is quite a coincidence.”

”Tseng, for fucks sake! Let’s just get out of here and get to Shinra, we need more people than us here. We can’t solve this,” Reno snapped. ”You don’t seem to understand that I just got two messages from Cloud reciting creepy old nursery rhymes.”

”Reno, relax. You’re overreacting.”

”You’re damn right I’m freaking out, man! Why aren’t you`?” Reno yelled.

”Alright, let’s go and see Rufus,” Tseng said calmly. ”We will call in help.”

”Thank you,” Reno spat, before he clasped his phone shut and walked to the car.

Later that evening. Reno and Tseng were looking through Constantine’s personal file, having a drink.

Reno pushed the paper across the table with an annoyed growl. “Boring!” he whined. ”We won’t find anything in here.”

Tseng looked up from the papers he was reading and frowned. ”It’s not what’s in here, it is what’s not here.” Seeing Reno didn’t quite catch it, he gave a fatherly sigh and explained, ”Like the family, it says absolutely nothing in his papers about a family.”

Reno nodded. ”You’re right, and you know I wondered about the fact that the living room was apparently decorated by a woman. No man would have dried flowers, cheap erotic books with maids and marquises and fluffy pillows. But where were the pictures? Broads always dig that photoframe shit, yet there were none at the house, none that I saw at least.”

Tseng nodded in agreement. “No pictures upstairs either.”

”I’m gonna get some more wine,” Reno stated and fetched another bottle from a cupboard in the kitchen. ”Tseng?” he asked, walking back to the sofas. ”Have you ever tried blind dating?”

”Excuse me?” Tseng said, turning his head to look at Reno, who smiled smugly.

”Yeah,” Reno said sitting down, still grinning. ”You need to get laid for real, man.”

”You know nothing of what I need,” Tseng scowled. ”Now pour the wine, and shut up while you read the papers. We need to have this finished by the morning.”

”I’d say that I know ‘plenty’ of what you need,” Reno said acidly, pouring the red liquid into Tseng’s glass. Reno could almost hear Tseng button up as his only response was a sharp intake of breath. Admittedly, he should not have said that! It just flew out his mouth; he did not really mean to be an asshole. It was not really Reno’s style, but he needed the air cleansed and he found it increasingly difficult to work with Tseng when the sexual tension and half-assed innuendos kept passing between them. Now was as good a time as any to take that discussion.

Tseng said nothing; he just stared at his glass as the minutes ticked by.

Reno sat down and took a large swig of his drink. ”So…” he said with a slightly sadistic smile. ”Do you think he snuffed them? Got them pickled on jars somewhere?”

Tseng frowned, and then sat his glass down on the table with a very resolute gesture. ”Goodnight Reno,” he said between his teeth and made a move to stand. Reno stopped him by lounging in over the table, shoving Tseng back into the sofa.

”Are you just going to ignore what I just said?” Reno said sweetly, running the same hand he used to push Tseng, through his hair.

Tseng looked up at Reno fuming with anger, and Reno thought he could spot a hint of humiliation in his eyes. ”Ignore? No. Leave uncommented? Yes.”

Reno nodded, tapping his lip with his finger. ”And that was supposed to do what, Tseng? Improve our work relationship?”

Tseng’s frowned deepened. ”Leave it alone Reno. What’s done is done, we can’t change that, but there is no need to linger on it either.”

”Linger?” Reno said with mock surprise. ”Do I strike you as someone who lingers on casual sex?” Reno shook his head amused. ”You’re the one who lingers, Tseng. Making snappy comments about my ass and the way I dress all the time.” Reno took a sip of his drink. ”One would think you actually gave a fuck… is that the case Tseng? Is it because it was not casual sex for you?”

”Reno,” Tseng hissed with a warning edge.

”No, Tseng,” Reno said, but backed off the table none the less. ”I want you to answer me.”

Tseng shook his head in refusal, crossing his arms over his chest.

Reno frowned as he sat down on the coffee table, opposite Tseng, keeping his knees trapped between his own. ”Tseng,” he said insistently. ”I really want to know.”

Tseng lifted his head, looking straight into Reno’s blue eyes. ”Why?” he asked, trying to read the answer in the red haired man’s face.

”Because I depend on you. You are my partner these days, and partners do not keep secrets, neither do they leave things unsaid,” Reno said with a slight smile.

Tseng didn’t quite know what to do. Reno was right; if they were to depend on each other, then they should puncture this strange pocket of alien air between them. ”I am not gay,” he just said, hating the way it sounded.

”I know,” Reno said in a surprisingly caring tone. Tseng looked at Reno intensely but could not find the patronizing gleam in his partner’s eyes. ”But that is not the point.”

”Then what is?” Tseng said wetting his lips in a nervous tick.

Reno took a deep breath. ”I need to know what to tell Cloud,” he tried to keep Tseng’s gaze but failed as Tseng looked away. ”I know what you are thinking,” Reno said a little more harshly than intended. ”We ‘will’ find him, and he will come home again.”

”Of course we will,” Tseng said, fidgeting with his shirtsleeve. ”But…”

Reno reached out and gently turned Tseng’s face to his own. ”You tell me, what will I tell him?”

‘Nothing,’ Tseng thought to himself, as he sighed and struggled to stand up and brush Reno off him and to stride out the door, with dignity, of course! ”… I don’t know,” he finally whispered.

Reno traced Tseng’s lower lip with his thumb. ”If you tell me what it is we have, I will know what to tell him.”

Tseng swallowed loudly. ”I didn’t know we had anything,” he said barely audible.

”Really?” Reno said, raising a brow in disbelief.

Tseng nodded.

”Well then, that makes it all the easier for me then,” Reno said, annoyed he couldn’t keep the hurt from his voice. He withdrew his hand and downed his wine. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and looked at Tseng again. ”Then I will tell him that I accidentally snogged my boss, more than once, for the fuck of it! And the reason I didn’t tell him was because it was nothing!” Reno’s voice rose and the words fell faster as he became aggravated. “I’m sure he will be real understanding of that, because Cloud is just an all round forgiving, carefree bloke.” Reno moved off the table and walked away from Tseng with a loud annoyed huff, knocking Tseng’s wine over in the process.

Tseng sat on the sofa, looking like he was slapped. What the hell was Reno talking about? Why was he acting like a scorned woman? Tseng had to admit that men were just as confusing as women. ”Reno,” he sighed as he stood up, looking around to find the other Turk.

”Go home Tseng!” Reno yelled from the kitchen. ”I will see you tomorrow”

Tseng walked into the kitchen, seeing Reno pour himself some murky liquid in a large glass, from a big bottle. ”Reno,” Tseng said softly, but when Reno did not turn around, Tseng threw caution into the wind and walked over behind him, folding his arms around the other man, holding him tight. ”You’re trembling,” he whispered, feeling ridiculously good against Reno, something he wouldn’t admit even to himself; how the hell did Reno think he would ever admit it to him?

It took a while before Reno answered. ”I’m pissed off, that’s why,” he said darkly, clutching his glass so hard that his knuckles were white. ”Why do you lie to me Tseng? It makes no sense.”

”Why do you ask when you don’t want the answer?” Tseng said trying his hardest not to sound sarcastic.

”Because it fucking matters, Tseng!” Reno suddenly yelled, slamming his glass down unto the desk. ”It matters to ‘me’ ok?”

”But of course,” Tseng spat, letting go of Reno, stepping backwards. ”It matters to ‘you’, so you are going to burn everyone on that pyre. It’s just not gonna happen, Reno!”

Reno spun around, looking at Tseng as if he had he just spat in his face. ”What the hell are you on about? I just wanted a straight answer!”

”Straight, being the keyword,” Tseng growled back. ”You don’t want the truth; you want to hear something that will fit your story. I don’t see why you even have to tell him anything; you are doing nothing but hurting a lot of people by acting like a little bitch!” Tseng’s voice cracked, painfully aware that he had lost his composure and both yelled and swore.

”Bitch?” Reno said, as if he did taste the word for the first time. ”So I am a bitch?” He blinked rapidly as trying to trying to understand what Tseng had said. ”Fuck you, man,” he finally said, oddly calm. ”Get the fuck out of my apartment, now! Take your stupid ass photos and go home, Tseng.”

”Alright,” Tseng said, nodding. ”I will see you tomorrow.”

”I don’t think so,” Reno replied, still trembling with pent up anger. ”Have Rufus assign you someone else, because I’m done with this investigation”


”You heard me, Tseng,” Reno hissed, brushing past him and making his way back to the living room. ”I can’t work with you anymore.”

”What are you talking about?” Tseng asked, walking after Reno. ”Don’t you think you are blowing this a little out of proportion? Tomorrow when you’re sober, then…”

”Then what?” Reno growled. ”I will realise that I have a partner I have to trust with my life, but I can’t trust him to tell me the fucking truth?” Reno shook his head. ”Nu-uh, ain’t gonna happen, mate! I’d rather just not have a partner, then.”

Tseng sighed. ”Alright,” he finally mumbled, sitting down on the armrest of the sofa with a bump. ”The truth.” He turned to watch Reno, who stood in the middle of the room with his arms crossed. ”It does matter, all right? I don’t know why, but it does.”

Reno looked like someone had just given him a healing shot. ”Thank you,” he said calmly. ”That is all I wanted to know.” He walked over to where Tseng sat, squatting down, leaning his arms on Tseng’s thighs and looking up at the black haired man. ”Because it mattered to me too.”

Tseng took a deep breath and nodded in understanding. ”I am still not gay,” he said with a little smile, feeling like he stabbed Cloud in the back with those words, and realising that didn’t care.

”Of course you’re not,” Reno said with a timid smile. ”But I like you anyways, is that ok?”

Tseng nodded, not trusting his own voice.

”Good, because I would really want you to stay the night,” Reno said, his smile widened.

”And Cloud?” Tseng finally replied, feeling as if the name alone tasted like poison on his lips.

”Shhh” Reno hushed, placing a finger on Tseng’s lips. He rose, leaning down kissing Tseng’s lips softly. ”Tomorrow,” he whispered between kisses.