It was a beautiful night, the stars like gems across the dark, velvet
sky. His mind was not on the night, however, but on this ... gift.
"What's this?" he asked curiously as his lover handed him something
wrapped in dark cloth.
It wasn't that it was a bad gift ... just odd ... his lover never gave
him gifts. Attention on demand and sex when he so desired, but never
more than that. A relationship of mutual lust, nothing more. And for
Rufus, that was enough. I don't need more.
Tseng shook his head, "You'll have to open it to find out."
Absently, his fingers rubbed across the smooth, warm surface, wondering
He glared at his lover, but the other man just smiled enigmatically.
Curiosity getting the better of him, he unwrapped the object, revealing
a smooth, round gem hung on a golden chain. Light seemed to flicker in
the ruby depths. He looked up, "What is it?"
"A guardian ... it's yours now, if you're strong enough."
"Tseng ... " he said warningly.
The dark haired man just shook his head, "It wants you. And I'm not
about to argue with it." For a moment, Tseng's face took on a look or
fond long-suffering, before he bowed with all the courtesy that a ruler
demanded in his subjects and took himself away before Rufus had a chance
to question him more.
I should have made him tell me what he meant. But he hadn't, and he
couldn't for the life of him say why.
Sighing, he turned away from the window and slipped into his bed,
determined to enjoy the last few hours of the night with the simple
pleasure of sleep. Almost without thought, his fingers wrapped around
the stone which hung around his neck. A sigh and he closed his eyes to
Only to open them a moment later as a figure appeared without warning,
lounging indolently by his side as it ran pale fingers through his
hair. Brightly sparkling eyes, like faceted gems, blinked at him
merrily as the figure bent to press lips to his own, delighting in the
shock that wrote itself like across his face. Strangely, he felt
nothing. No fear, no anger, nothing but a calmness as if in a dream ...
"Who are you?"
Whispered voice, bright and cheerful, spoke in his ear. "Who do you
think I am?"
"A dream." What else could it be?
"Is that what you believe?"
The words were ground out, like weighted stones that dropped into still
water, "No ..."
A laugh, singing across every nerve as the apparition cuddled against
him, arms wrapping around his neck, limbs entwining with his own.
"And what if yer right? What if I'm just a dream? Just a fantasy?"
Hair as vividly red as the stone he still held tight tumbled across his
chest and hung like a curtain around their faces, "You're the gem."
"I'm a gem? How sweet!"
Rufus glared at the smiling face, but without the heat the glare should
have had. He should be angry ... but the blue eyes held him fast,
inviting and convincing ...
"I own you."
"Only if yer strong enough ... are you strong enough, Rufus?"
"If Tseng owned you, I can own you."
"Nobody owns me ... and everyone owns me ... I'm a gem and a guardian
... a mystery and a phantom ... who am I, Rufus?"
Words drifted up through the darkness as the figure curled closer, lips
trailing across his cheek and then down his neck, caressing with fire.
Scars winked at him, slashed like arrows across the figure's pale
cheeks. Eclipse of darkness, long dead stiker, phantom killer ...
"Reno ... "
The figure paused, eyes wide with something that was like shock. It
passed like the flare of a fire-fly, winking out as quickly as it came,
and once more the lips descended upon his own, "You would keep me,
With the question, came the feeling, a assent of something deep and
"Then catch me!" Laughter and hunger from the figure that was more than
merely a phantom, but flesh and blood.
"If I must." Drawing the other man (if he was a man) closer, he closed
his eyes and kissed him ...
Sun lanced through the curtains of his bed, making him blink. Releasing
the stone, he pushed aside the cloying drapes and stepped into the
bright light of his room, noting the absence of anyone save himself ...
And doing his best to ignore the ghostly touch of arms draped around his
neck and the phantom laughter in his ears.
Final Fantasy VII