Disclaimers:  I do not own Final Fantasy VII or any of its characters.

Notes:  My very first Final Fantasy VII fic.  Set after the events of Advent Children (which I loved).  Sorry, I never actually
finished playing the game, so most of what I know comes from what I’ve been able to find out online.  If the characters seem out
of character, I apologize.  Do go easy on me, this is my first fic in this fandom.



Risks and Wagers



Prologue


“Not a chance in hell!” Reno laughed, slamming a shot glass down on the table upside down.  This was a new debate between
them, and Reno thought it was a damned good way to pass the time with Rufus.  At the very least it would serve to distract the
young President from the stress he was put under as his company was rebuilt.

This comaraderie between them had come by slowly.  It had taken two long years to build.  From the time when Rufus had been
in the hospital from his injuries after his near death, to the dragging days and nights as he had suffered through the onslaught of
the Geostigma.  Rufus had driven on through the pain, proving to all the Turks that he was more than just his Father’s son.  As
cruel as he had been, he was different now.  True, he could lie and scheme just as well as he always could.  But Reno had seen
him at his weakest, as had the other Turks.  At least, the ones who hadn’t abandoned their leader in his time of need.  So many
had deserted them.  But they were rebuilding now.  Not just the company, but their lives as well.  New Turks were being hired,
the company slowly piecing itself back together.  Things would never be the same, but maybe they’d be better this time around.  
At the very least, Reno had gotten a new friend out of the whole mess they’d survived.

He and Rufus were in a bar now.  Not some seedy little dive that Reno would frequent.  Rufus had chosen this place.  But then,
it wasn’t some high class joint either.  No wine here.  It was somewhere in between.  Reno almost felt comfortable here, except
for the fact that the waitress did give him a look every time he spoke to her, as if she were too good for him or something.  Reno
didn’t care either way, so just shrugged off her contempt.  He was here because Rufus had asked him out for a night of
drinking.  It was a rare opportunity.  Rufus had only just recovered from the Geostigma.  He hadn’t been allowed to drink when
he had been ill.  Reno guessed the doctors just didn’t want to risk anything making him worse.

The redhead leaned back in his chair, tilting it on the back two legs until his back hit the wall behind him.  He smirked at the
blonde sitting across from him, waving his hand in a careless gesture to get the snotty waitress to refill his drink.  “It’ll never
happen, Rufus,” he said, as soon as the blonde bitch was gone.

Rufus scowled a little, his fingers delicately wrapped around his own glass.  “And why not?”

“Simple,” Reno replied, rocking forward until the front legs of his chair hit the floor loudly.  “The man hates your guts.  I’d have
a better chance than you.”  Oh yeah, that thought had merit.

Rufus rolled his eyes, then finished off his drink.  “You’re too bold and forward, Reno.  He’d probably just get angry with you
and kick you out of whatever room the two of you happened to be in, unless he decides just to kick your sorry ass for even
suggesting it.”

Reno snorted and shook his head.  “And what would you do?  Wine and dine the guy?  He’s a man of action, not talk.”

The blonde sighed, weaving his fingers together as he leaned back in his seat.  “So, what do you propose to do?  Do you actually
want to try this?  See which one of us can get to him first?  If either of us can?”

Reno abruptly pushed himself out of the chair with a yelp.  “Are you SERIOUS?”

Rufus shrugged, as if not surprised in the least by Reno’s outburst.  He also didn’t seem to mind that several of the patrons of
the bar were now looking in their direction.  “Why not?  Who knows, it may be a good way to get him to join us.  I might be
able to convince him that this new Shinra will be different.”

The redheaded Turk laughed as he shakily slid into his seat once again.  He leaned across the table, bracing his weight on his
elbows as he whispered.  “By getting in the sack with him?  Come on . . . Cloud Strife may be a man with needs, but he’s not
about to let his dick do his thinking for him.  Hell, we don’t even know what way he swings.”  He sat back, sighing.  Then tilted
his head and smiled.  “Still, I’ve often wondered how he is in bed.”

Rufus inclined his head.  “So, it’s on.  Of course I’ll need proof.  It is very easy to claim something that isn’t so.”

Reno snorted.  “Yeah, you’re one to talk.”  He felt a little upset that Rufus would even think to accuse him of planning to lie
about something like sleeping with Cloud Strife of all people.  “Oh, you are so on, Mr. President.  Do I get anything if I get to
him first?”

Rufus just shrugged.  “How about a week at the Shinra executive beach house . . . a fully paid vacation of course, travel
expenses included.”

The sound of that nearly had Reno drooling in reaction.  To stay at the Shinra beach house and not have to actually be on duty?  
It was a dream come true.

“Hell, yeah!” he proclaimed, shoving his hand across the table.  Rufus took it with a devious smirk and they shook on their newly
made bargain.  

Even though there was no money involved no matter when he got into Strife’s pants, he’d do his hardest to be the first.  A week’
s vacation was just what he needed.  Hell, if he could get some hot young thing to go with him, all the better.



To Be Continued . . .