Title: Tiger Drop
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Summary: When Reno is sent to check on Cloud and one of his prize racing chocobos, a quick stop turns into something far more involved.
Notes: For Astro, from a request left in the guestbook. Wark!
As Cloud turned from where he was weeding the garden, he was surprised to see something other than a curious chocobo peeking over his shoulder. Reno of the Turks cast a shadow that was certainly chocobo-like, after all, in the afternoon sun. And to Cloud, a bird would have been far more welcome.
"Don't step on anything," he managed, which was not quite what he was thinking, but was rather important to be saying. He'd put a lot of effort into what he was growing, after all.
"That's not a nice greeting for an old friend," Reno drawled. He pushed his sunglasses up onto his head.
"You're not an old friend," Cloud replied flatly and got to his feet as he spoke. "What are you doing out here?"
And while yes, he had changed occupations, he had not gotten soft and had no doubt that he could flatten the Turk if necessary.
"Checking on you, y'know?" Reno said with a hint of a smile and a much larger hint of annoyance. "Official mission, of all things."
It was then that Cloud realized that Reno possibly wasn't thrilled about the mission - and also that he was alone.
"Who at ShinRa cares where I am?" Cloud asked before going for the more important query. "And where's your backup?"
"Apparently the boss made a lot'o'money on you at the track," Reno said as he stretched. And then he frowned. "And my 'back-up' has a broken leg and gets a few weeks paid vacation. I had volunteered my services at taking care of him, but you can see how well that went over."
Cloud nodded. He wasn't sure if the pair could function apart. Though he didn't think there was anything more to them than their partnership - not with the way they tended to talk when they thought no one was listening.
"I'm here and I'm fine," Cloud said after a long moment of half-heartedly staring Reno down. In a way, he felt bad. Riding all the way out just to look around once was a job for a rookie at best. "Mission accomplished, you can leave."
"Eh? But..." Reno trailed off and Cloud could very nearly see Reno trying to think up a reason to stay longer.
"I'm supposed to check on... Tiger Drop," Reno said hastily, and with the barest of grins. "Something like that?"
Cloud was a little surprised that Reno wasn't a gambler. Though perhaps he was and just preferred something a little more high-stakes than chocobo racing.
"She has an egg," Cloud said. "And I suppose you need proof of why we're not racing."
"Let me see?" Reno grinned.
Cloud sighed - he obviously wasn't going to get rid of the Turk any other way.
"Come on," he said, gesturing for Reno to follow him. "But be careful, she's a protective mother."
"Eh, I'll be fine," Reno replied. "I have a way with animals."
Cloud didn't bother replying. Honestly, he thought Reno would learn a few things when he ended up with a few peck-wounds.
They wandered into the barn in silence, and while a few of the chocobos greeted Cloud with friendly 'warks', Cloud kept quiet and gestured to the end stall on the left.
"Down there?" Reno questioned.
"Yeah," Cloud said softly. "She's the green one. Just peek in and then come back."
Reno nodded and ambled toward the end of the barn. Cloud was fairly sure that Reno wouldn't just peek, but again, he'd been warned. Turning, Cloud started to throw fresh hay into a couple of the closest stalls.
He'd almost forgotten about Reno when he reached to turn on the tap for fresh water. There hadn't been any screaming, so... Cloud frowned and quickly headed down to the end stall.
Reno hadn't been pecked to death. Not even halfway, which was surprising considering the temperament that Tiger Drop had developed while sitting. Instead, Reno was sitting there in the straw with her, scritching her head with one hand and talking to her softly.
She gave a little wark at Cloud and Cloud simply shook his head as he stared at the pair.
"Okay, you win," he said to Reno.
"I told you I had a way with animals, y'know?" Reno replied with a smirk. "So is the baby going to be green, too?"
"Green or Blue," Cloud replied, reaching into his jacket pocket for a treat for Tiger Drop, which when offered, she gobbled.
"How long?" Reno questioned. "I got a lot of free time and might as well put it in my report."
"You're that bored?" Cloud questioned. He wasn't going to refuse free labor, but... it was Reno. There'd still be a price.
Reno winced. "I'm here, aren't I? If I go back, I can't imagine where I'll be sent next."
Unable to hold in the faintest bit of a smile, Cloud nodded. He could very well imagine what Tseng or Rufus might want next, and not a bit of it would be worthwhile. But it would keep Reno out of their hair.
"Probably two weeks," Cloud said as he turned to go. "I hope you know how to shovel manure."
Five days later, as much as he absolutely hated to admit it, Cloud found himself rather appreciating Reno's presence.
And his assistance. Apparently, somewhere along the line, Reno had indeed become rather skilled at shoveling manure. Or shoveling, at least. Considering Reno's occupation, well, Cloud didn't want to ask.
Reno had phoned in a quick report before tossing his phone up on a shallow shelf above the small barn door. It had chirped and vibrated for about a day and a half before apparently dying. Reno hadn't whipped a charger from anywhere, so there it remained, silent.
With just the barest hint of the sunrise peeking over the horizon, Cloud yawned and stretched. He blinked once before digging through his dresser for a clean-enough t-shirt and pulled it on without once looking in the mirror. His hair could do as it pleased - it usually did. His cottage was modest and had only the one bedroom - the barn was far roomier and he spent more time in it, after all. Quietly, Cloud made his way through the main room and past where Reno had sacked out on the threadbare sofa. It was time for another day of keeping Reno busy, which Cloud found himself thinking about more than just Reno's presence.
His flock was noisy when he opened the main barn door to let the sun and fresh air in. Sunrise never ceased to amaze him - the tiniest glimmer of light was near blinding within minutes.
At one point, years before, it was something he never thought he'd see again.
Amongst his fifteen birds, only Tiger Drop was sitting on an egg, which meant...
A second later, Cloud groaned and checked the calendar tacked on a near wall. Reno had remarked on how classy it was, and Cloud mumbled through an explanation that it had been a freebie from the local motorcycle shop and that he really preferred the motorcycles to the naked women on top of them.
Sure enough, the day was circled in blue and two names were scrawled messily inside - Rangoon and Stargazer.
He couldn't really get out of breeding them - he had races planned and a much larger schedule that really didn't allow for Reno to be interrupting his life.
Cloud nearly dropped Reno, but caught himself before so much as flinching. Reno had slid up behind him under cover of the flock's morning noises and was breathing heavily against his neck a moment later.
"Gotta be something good."
Frowning and stepping far enough away from Reno to turn and glare, Cloud figured he might as well tell the truth. "If Rangoon and Stargazer mate today, Stargazer should lay and egg, sit, and hatch in time for her to race in the last couple races of the year. And the chick will be ready for racing or sale not too long after."
Reno smirked. He hadn't bothered to find a shirt, Cloud noticed. Cloud had offered part of his wardrobe, but Reno seemed disinclined.
"You watch 'em?" he questioned. "That's pretty kinky..."
Cloud realized there was no winning this one, unless...
"Not this time," he said, finally letting a hint of a smile show on his face. He turned, reaching for the bucket he used to haul water in. "This time, you are."
"Definitely kinky," Reno commented. "Good to know that someone is getting some around here, though."
Cloud didn't respond. Instead, he just moved over to the tap and turned it on.
"I didnít mean..." Reno began a moment later, circling around to put himself in Cloud's view.
"Save it," Cloud said flatly. "I'm not in the mood."
"Then give me two birds and let me watch them fuck," Reno suggested. He opened his mouth to say something else, but then just shook his head. "Never thought I'd say that. So never reporting that in."
Cloud almost smiled. Almost. But he didn't let Reno see.
"In a bit," he said. "Why don't you go take care of Tiger Drop while I feed and water everyone?"
Not once had Reno complained about or refused to do anything involving Tiger Drop. The bird had a sort of calming effect on Reno - much as Reno had the same on Tiger Drop.
Cloud had no complaints about finishing the morning chores by himself, because he was able to do it in peace and relative quiet. He stepped out to make sure the smallish breeding pen had feed, water and treats before venturing down to Tiger Drop's end of the barn.
It was no surprise to see that Reno had settled to lazily trail his fingers back and forth across the top of Tiger Drop's head. Cloud didn't announce his presence at first, and Reno didn't look up immediately.
For a moment, when Reno did glance up, their eyes met in a strange little moment that Cloud shook off quickly.
"Ready?" he questioned.
Reno nodded. "Yeah, I guess so. How long does it take?"
"All day," Cloud replied as he turned and gestured for Reno to follow him. "We don't have to watch them for that long, though - just long enough to make sure they have the right idea."
"And if they don't?" Reno questioned. Cloud could hear straw rustle as Reno got to his feet. As Cloud opened his mouth to reply, Reno apparently lunged to the proper conclusion. "Please don't say we have to help them."
Chuckling under his breath, Cloud simply kept walking.
A week later, Cloud was more frustrated by Reno's presence than ever. What had started as the strange little looks between them had escalated into Reno's hands on his body and his mouth on Reno's... But only for long enough for them both to realize what they were doing before getting quickly back to work.
Cloud knew his sexuality was a mess - something far easier to deny than face. And he didn't even know what Reno really wanted, because Reno just didn't say anything. Not about himself, at least.
In the last rays of the evening sun, Cloud wasn't sure he wanted to really say anything either. Not when he knew he had a long night ahead.
"You're not coming in?" Reno questioned, popping back out into the barn after having carried their dinner dishes over to the sink and then promptly ignoring them.
"Not tonight," Cloud replied. He'd brought a couple of less-scratchy blankets out with him. It would be enough.
Reno frowned, and the expression was so genuine that Cloud was nearly surprised by it. "Something I did?"
"No." Cloud shook his head. "If it was you, I'd make you sleep out here."
"Hey..." Reno circled around and reached for one of the blankets.
"Tiger Drop's egg will be hatching at any time," Cloud explained. "So..."
"Then I'll stay out here too," Reno announced, tugging a blanket away from Cloud. "Why didn't you say so?"
Cloud sighed. Because some time to himself to think things over wouldn't be bad? That wasn't really fair to Reno, though. Or...
"C'mon," Cloud replied, gesturing. "Maybe it'll be easier this way - we can take turns sleeping once it gets later."
"And until then?" Reno questioned.
Cloud reached up onto the shallow shelf and bumped his hand along past Reno's phone til he found a deck of cards. He held them out to Reno. "Might not be a full deck, but it's something."
Reno laughed and took them. "Perfect," he said.
Cloud led the way down to the end of the barn, fairly sure that Reno had never noticed that the space across from Tiger Drop's stall was designed for overnight stays. There was a cot, folded up, but the pile of clean straw he'd set up the day before would be just as comfortable with a thick blanket over it. And the lights at that end of the barn were on a separate switch as well, so that the rest of the barn could be dark.
"You do this fairly often," Reno surmised, surveying the space. "Didn't even really think about it."
Cloud spread his blanket before flopping onto it. "Yeah," he said, gesturing at the barn in general. "This is just... what I do now."
Reno chuckled and after peeking in on Tiger Drop, ambled over to sit as well. "I don't know what you're supposed to do after being a hero. No one knows what to do after being a Turk -- no one's lived that long."
"And if you do?" Cloud questioned. He stretched and then settled.
"I have to admit to a new appreciation of chocobo-raising."
Suddenly, Reno was too-close on his blanket, not even bothering with subtlety as he reached to draw his hand across Cloud's chest.
"Cards," Cloud suggested. Reno pulled away.
"You kissed me the last time," Reno noted as he sat up and retrieved the cards, shuffling them roughly. "What are we playing?"
"It got you to shut up," Cloud said. He thought a moment. "Blackjack. Poker. War. Old Maid. We have all night."
By the middle of the night, they'd been through every game they both new, and Reno was snoring gently at Cloud's side while Cloud worked his way through a formation of solitaire that he was pretty sure he'd created.
Right when the absence of a handful of cards made itself painfully difficult to continue, Reno rolled over and blinked blearily up at him. "Gotta piss," he commented before getting to his feet.
Cloud pointed out of the barn and towards the house, unsure and not really caring if Reno really made it that far. A few minutes later, Reno wandered back in with a couple of cans of beer and what looked like a quick skim of the kitchen cabinets. He tossed a can to Cloud, who couldn't help a little smile. Cloud wasn't sure how old the crackers that Reno had grabbed happened to be, but he didn't think they'd be too stale. It probably was midnight snack time.
"You gonna take a turn sleeping?" Reno questioned. He peeked over at Tiger Drop before settling down on the blanket. "Everyone else is out for the night."
"Not yet," Cloud replied, popping the tab on his beer. "Might as well drink this while it's cold."
Reno nodded, quiet as he opened his own. He leaned back on the wall of the barn and just sort of sighed. It was a strange sound, coming from Reno.
"Just realized this might be my last night here," Reno explained after a long moment of Cloud's blue eyes fixed on him. "Said I'd head back once the egg hatched... And that I wouldn't mind being partnered with a rookie for awhile til Rude is back."
Cloud blinked a couple of times before processing all of that. He was going to lose his help, and...
"This hasn't been bad, y'know," Reno continued. "Not what I was expecting, but... you've got a good thing here."
Cloud downed the rest of his beer and shifted until he was close enough to Reno to grab him and pull him close. Reno was definitely a bit taller, but Cloud was far stronger and besides, Reno seemed too surprised to fight.
It felt good to kiss Reno. Not in the church-choir, fireworks and fields of flowers way, but in the way it felt good to take off wet clothing and crawl into a hot shower. Cloud felt relief and warmth and like, for just a little while, nothing else would really matter.
Reno kissed him back roughly, challenging him a bit as he reached to grab at the material of Cloud's shirt.
"'Bout time," Reno commented when Cloud finally drew back enough to suck in air.
"Shut up," Cloud replied, pushing Reno down onto the blanket, hearing the straw crackle under their combined weight. He had Reno fully beneath him, warm, his hands at Reno's sides while Reno's were pulling up the back of his shirt. He could taste the beer in Reno's mouth, though he could only guess he tasted the same. Wasn't bad.
He shifted again, licking the line of red on Reno's cheekbone before moving to gently take Reno's earlobe between his teeth. Reno hissed and swore and Cloud could feel Reno's erection quite prominently against his leg.
There was a noise from Tiger Drop's stall and they both froze. Carefully, Cloud untangled himself and made his way over to peek. Nothing. She'd just changed her position a bit, tucking her head under a wing.
"False alarm," Cloud said as he eased himself down.
"Good," Reno replied, reaching for Cloud's belt.
"Just relax," Reno said, smirking as he undid Cloud's belt and started working at the fastenings of Cloud's pants. "I know what I'm doing."
Cloud didn't doubt that. He wouldn't have, even if Reno's mouth hadn't been on his cock a handful of seconds later. He resisted the urge to grab at Reno's hair - that thin red tail needed to be freed at some point - and simply focused on the sensation. Pleasure was racing through him, and he really didn't know if he was supposed to try to hold out or just let Reno finish him off. Cloud didn't mind the thought of returning the favor. He didn't think he'd last long anyway.
Reno's tongue circled the head of his erection, making Cloud moan and finally close his eyes. Every sensitive spot he had, Reno found with surprising accuracy. It was far too much and he really thought he should at least warn Reno of this.
"Mmhmm," Reno replied, not bothering to pull back. That little vibration was what did it, and it was all that Cloud could do to keep quiet as he came. He didn't want to wake the whole barn, after all.
When Cloud did open his eyes, Reno was sitting back on his heels, downing the rest of his can of beer.
"My turn," Reno said as he set the can down and carefully stood to go peek in on Tiger Drop.
"Nothing," he declared, before settling back down on the blanket. Cloud pulled him close and kissed him, licking Reno's lips but tasting only beer.
"Good," Cloud mumbled, thinking as best he could for the situation. "Stay here..."
"Nnn?" Reno blinked a couple of times, obviously confused as Cloud scrambled to his feet. At least his makeshift medicine cabinet was organized and stocked. And Cloud didn't have to explain when he returned - Reno's gaze traveled to the jar of vaseline and he simply smiled.
There wasn't any need for words after that point. Not when they were both fumbling to get Reno's clothing off. Reno moaned at the faintest touch of Cloud's hand on his cock, something Cloud used to his advantage without hesitation. The vaseline was forgotten for a few minutes while Cloud left a dark bruise on Reno's collarbone. He was definitely getting hard again, half from the noises Reno was making and half from Reno's hands exploring his body with more interest than Cloud ever would have expected.
It wasn't difficult to guide Reno over onto his knees and elbows, and Cloud finally reached to loosen the tie on Reno's hair. Red fanned out across Reno's shoulders and back as Cloud snapped the band. Reno hissed but didn't complain.
Settling between Reno's knees, Cloud trailed his fingers down Reno's spine and then lower, teasing the tight ring of muscle of Reno's opening before reaching to slick his fingers and carefully begin stretching. Reno moaned and pressed back against Cloud's fingers, urging him onward. Reno's body was hot and Reno seemed to know just how to relax. Cloud had no problem adding another finger, stretching until he couldn't help himself. Reno's moans and little encouragements were hypnotizing - Cloud pulled his fingers free and positioned himself without a word, spreading a coat of vaseline on his own erection before pressing forward. Reno gasped and Cloud had to pause halfway, nearly overwhelmed.
"Keep going," Reno managed, shifting against the straw and trying to push back to meet Cloud's body.
"Mmm..." Cloud didn't really think he could come up with words. But he did thrust forward, pausing again once fully inside. Reno swore and Cloud pulled back, breathing hard as he grasped for Reno's erection and started stroking it. After a false start, Cloud found the rhythm for his own thrusts and the movements of his hand. He tried to keep his eyes open, watching the pale curve of Reno's back and how his red hair fell over his shoulders.
Reno was not quiet. But neither was the straw crackling and rustling beneath their movements. And, once Cloud paused for a half-second to adjust their position, neither was he.
He didn't last terribly long after Reno's orgasm, which was sudden and fast and hard and left Reno shaking against the blanket and the straw. That was just too much, and Cloud came just as hard a moment later, pressing Reno down and holding him without meaning to - just until he could catch his breath and then pull away, surprised with himself.
Hair hanging across his shoulders, Reno sat up and just sort of stared at Cloud with half-open eyes.
"Take that, Rangoon," he mumbled before laughing.
Cloud just shook his head. Slowly he pulled himself onto his feet and stumbled over to peek in on Tiger Drop.
"Nothing," he said, looking away from the sleeping chocobo after a long moment.
"Maybe tomorrow night," Reno commented. "Just gonna have to wait..."
"Yeah," Cloud said softly. That suited him just fine.
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