Chapter Twenty-Seven: Fallen
Reno’s strangled cry carried a short distance, barely able to be heard above the sounds of the frightened Wutaiians as they ran about to get away from the new menace. He stared in horror as one of the creatures attached itself to the Highwind despite what had to have been Cid’s brilliant piloting. The deadly roar of the beasts could be heard, echoing through the air. The remaining four continued to circle, eyeing both the struggling airship and the already beaten town below.
Beside him, Asclepius stirred and murmured, “Not them…” He seemed to come back to himself, speaking louder, “The Bandragora are like nothing you’ve faced before,” he said, his voice strangely somber. “They are demi-gods and all brothers. There is only one way they could have gotten here, being as they are not summons, and that is if their mother called them here.” He frowned and glared at the circling creatures. “I fear that means we have lost another from our side.”
Reno shook his head. “I don’t care what they are, only that they are threatening the man I love. Are you going to help?”
The demi-god looked at him and smiled, resisting the urge to giggle. “I wouldn’t let you down, yo,” replied Asclepius as his body shimmered, quickly shifting into his much larger form. He was not a physical fighter, but he would neither stand idly by while lives were in danger.
The sound of gunfire and explosions drew the Turks attentions back towards the sky. Cid had fired his artillery on the Highwind and was driving his attackers back. Reno could just barely make out four forms standing on the deck, but from the distance he couldn’t catch their identities.
Suddenly, all four people dove from the deck, and the Turk gasped in surprise. The air around the airship began to shimmer before the roar of two regal dragons echoed all around him. With a flash, a silver dragon and a misty, grey one, scales twinkling in the light, materialized in front of the Highwind, each one with a rider on its back.
“Seiryu and Tiamat…” Asclepius murmured as he watched the proceedings with shining eyes. He couldn’t hold back the awe from his voice.
Reno glanced quickly at his anima with confusion before returning his gaze to what was going on above. “Who?” he asked just as the area around the Highwind pulsed once and repelled the Bandragore attached to it. The creature roared in pain before releasing the airship and flying away by a few feet. A shield now encased the Highwind… apparently Reeve had loaned Cid his Barrier materia, and the pilot was using it to protect his livelihood.
“You mortals would know them as Bahamut and Myst Dragon. They are two of the most powerful demi-gods in existence,” answered Asclepius.
Tiamat barreled into a Bandragore, fangs bared as she slashed at the creature with her claws, blood raining down from the wounds. She sucked in a deep breath and breathed her poisonous gas upon them, watching with satisfaction as his skin bubbled and hissed beneath her. The creature whipped his tail about, deeply spiked appendage heading straight for the Myst Dragon’s unprotected head.
But he had forgotten about her passenger. Archer sat up and turned, blocking the enormous tail and spike with his axe. He didn’t hesitate in pushing back against it with his strength before slashing viciously, knocking off several of the spiny thorns. As the guardian pulled his tail back, Kyle grabbed on to it and flew off Tiamat’s back, only to land with a somewhat graceful flip on the back of the Bandragore that she was fighting.
“His skin is poison,” Tiamat cried out, startled to find her animus hacking at the guardian from the creature’s back. She slashed viciously with her talons, tearing a gash the size of her forelimb in the Bandragore’s exposed mid-section. The misty dragon quickly dodged to avoid the snapping jaws of the Bandragore’s twin maws. He keened in anger and ripped at her foreleg with the back of its own, razor-sharp talon causing a small gash. Crimson blood fell from the sky, dotting the ground where it fell.
“Don’t worry about me!” Kyle demanded, clinging tightly to the Bandragore as he crawled up the creature’s back to his head, determined to take him down as quickly as possible. “Poison has no effect!”
The words were barely out of his mouth before a second Bandragore barreled into Tiamat from the side, knocking her free of her first battle, engaging her in an altogether new one, and leaving her animus alone to deal with the already battered guardian. She snarled and bit, calling up another poison gas cast to deal with the new Bandragore. He hissed in pain but did not release his hold on her shoulder, fangs biting into the junction of her wing with her joint.
The crackling of lightning resounded through the air, whizzing out of the corner of her eye to strike a third Bandragore, this one smaller than most of the others. Seiryu and Reeve flew past, the President with a fierce look of determination on his face as he prepared another spell. He quickly threw out another Bolt 3 before casting Comet, aiming the giant ball of rock for the Bandragore that had a grip in Tiamat’s shoulder.
It struck with full force against the guardians back, and the clear snapping of a spine could be heard. Tiamat wasted no time in aiming for the throat, her ancient jaws closing quickly around the slimy and rather disgusting flesh. She fought down the urge to vomit as she tore out his throat, causing it to release her shoulder and gasp, blood gurgling from his mouth. The other head screamed in anger, eyes widened in horror and surprise. His grip on her body loosened as it fought to release its pain.
Tiamat forced herself away from her opponent, eyes quickly scanning the sky for sight of her animus. She found him just in time to watch the death blow. Flapping her wings with great strength, she sped across the sky, plucking Archer out of the sky before he could fall with the guardian’s corpse.
Yet, instead of hitting the ground as a dead body should, the dead Bandragore began to quickly disintegrate in a bright series of slashes before it completely disappeared from sight. Anima and animus watched in surprise as the guardian was no more, only the crimson stains on the ground a sign of it ever having been there.
“What the hell?” Archer questioned, tightening a bloody grip on the handle of his axe.
Tiamat shook her regal head, flapping her wings to keep them steady although her shoulder burned with the pain of the poisoned fangs of the Bandragore. She knew it would heal with time, but for the moment, it was a painful distraction.
“They must have returned to the gates at Elysium.” She explained, “You cannot kill a demi-god…”
A sound of an explosion to their right forced both of them to return their attention to the battle at hand. Reeve had just cast a Freeze on one of the creatures, while Seiryu had breathed his elemental flame upon another. It writhed in pain but did not stop his advancement. The monster flew straight at the anima/animus fighting duo, rage and murder evident in his blank and soulless eyes.
Beneath them, Reno and Asclepius were building a shield around Wutai to protect them should the Bandragora attack. The amount of power it took to sustain a shield over an entire city severely drained the both of them but they were determined that no one should die.
The guardian attacking Reeve and Seiryu screeched angrily as the elemental fire burned a hole through one of his wings. The silver dragon prepared to meet him when a second Bandragore mauled into him from below, taking his attention. The breath was momentarily knocked form his body as he tried to avoid the swinging spikes of the creature’s tail and the flailing sharp claws. The guardian’s skin was slick with poison, and Seiryu could feel it burning at his scales.
A cry of surprise alerted the demi-god to his animus’ predicament. The attacking Bandragore from before had snatched him up by his talons, claws digging painfully into the executive’s body as he was taken from the silver dragon’s back and born away into the air. Reeve struggled to break free, face paling at the pain that assailed his lower back and shoulder. He could feel slivers of the acidic poison starting to creep through his clothing and slide down the back of his neck, not at all a pleasant feeling. He hurriedly cast a Heal over himself, trying to stave off any effects of the vile poison.
Seiryu roared and tried to break free of his attacker, but another guardian barreled into him from the side, nearly knocking all three from the sky. Sharp claws dug into his back, ripping through the strength of scales and slicing into the soft flesh beneath. The pain was excruciating, but the silver dragon fought through, viciously struggling in the grip of both Bandragora.
Reno gasped and immediately called out to his demi-god, praying that the little one would have enough time to make it. Reeve was clenched tightly in the monster’s grip, and there was no one around to save him, both dragons involved with a one-on-one fight with a Bandragore.
“Asclepius, hurry!” the Turk urged.
The demi-god nodded. “Got it, yo!” The large form of the demi-god sped up, his four legs eating up the distance as they headed for the area where Reeve was flying above the ground, in the grip of the enemy.
The executive, however, was determined not to be thought of as weak. He twisted his wrist, one of his throwing knives quickly falling into his grip. He had designed the system after the battle with Sephiroth and was very glad that he had decided to upgrade. As his attacker increased its strength, trying to squeeze his breath from his body, Reeve called a spell to mind, quickly throwing at the claw and limb that was wrapped around him.
Frozen shards of ice darted from his hand, striking the flesh. It wasn’t painful to the guardian, but it shocked him enough to loosen his hold, allowing the executive to pull an arm free and aim for one of the guardian’s heads, sighting onto the eyes. The creature banked to the left, allowing the executive a clear shot. Without another thought he let fly. The dagger soared through the air before sailing into one of the eyes of the left head.
The Bandragore roared in pain as his eyeball popped, blood rolling quickly out of the socket and down his face. The guardian’s claw reflexively relaxed, and Reeve was released. The executive gasped, his stomach feeling as if it had dropped out of him. He tried to catch a breath, finding it difficult as the air whooshed around him. For that moment he felt weightless, as he struggled to glance around him. He realized with sinking horror that there was no one to catch him… Seiryu and Tiamat were both struggling to fend off the Bandragora.
The death cry of a guardian resounded through the sky as one of the remaining four was beaten down, disappearing into a shattering of nothingness. Reno stared with horror as his lover fell into the arms of oblivion and urged his anima even faster. It was possible… he could do it.
Reno darted forward, his heart leaping into his throat. Just a few more feet… his arms outstretched and with a slight thud, the executive landed safely in his arms, nearly knocking the breath from his body. Reeve slammed into him, Asclepius oomphing under the weight. Acting unconsciously, the Turk wrapped his arms around his lover and held him close, breathing in thankfully of the amber-eyed man’s most familiar scent.
Reeve could only gasp with surprise as he twisted to turn and see the man who had caught him. His eyes widened when he caught sight of the one he had been searching for and was worried after.
“Reno! You’re safe!” the executive exclaimed, immediately throwing his arms around the red-haired Turk. His heart was filled nearly to bursting with joy.
The younger man smirked. “I could say the same for you, yo.”
Reeve didn’t wait for him to say anything more, too overjoyed to see him once more. He reached forward and grabbed the Turk, pulling him as closely as he was able and kissing him full on the lips, all of his passion and love being sent through that one joining. Reno eagerly returned the affection, leaning into the kiss and parting his lips, swiping his tongue across the older man’s flesh. He groaned as familiar feeling spread through him and a burst of feeling rose in his heart. He wondered why he even left in the first place.
When he felt he had made his proper greeting, Reeve gave one final lick and nip before pulling back slightly, looking aquamarine to amber with his lover. The man he had promised to marry and the one person he had never wanted to fail but irrevocably had.
“I’m sorry,” Reeve said after a moment, and he meant it. He understood just then exactly what he had done wrong.
Reno grinned and opened his mouth to speak, but the roar of a Bandragore interrupted him. They both turned their attention to the sky in time to see one of the guardians bearing down on them, one of his eyes bleeding. It was the one that had tried to kill Reeve.
The executive frowned and quickly scanned through his materia, realizing with a sinking feeling that he had no more energy to cast magic. He would to have to rely on his daggers. Reno unconsciously tightened his grip on the executive. The guardian roared once more and bore down on them, only to be barreled into the side by a streak of misty grey. It was Archer on Tiamat. The engineer whooped with battle vigor as the dragon hissed and tore at the Bandragore.
Energy hissed across the sky when Seiryu breathed a gust of hot elemental fire on his remaining opponent. It screeched in pain as it writhed in the sky, both heads blackened to nearly a crisp. The silver dragon finished with a deadly swipe of his claws across the twin throats, effectively cutting off their screeches of agony. The guardian fell from the sky, joining the fate of its four brothers. With his death, the battle was won.
Asclepius ceased his mad dash across the ground, gradually slowing down until he came to a clear grass plain that would enable the Highwind to land and stopped. Reeve and Reno slowly climbed off of the demi-gods back. The executive was limping slightly, the pain in his leg and abdomen from the guardian’s claw having not faded in the slightest. He could still feel the sticky poison on his body and longed to wash it off before anything happened.
“I think that will do it, yo,” the Turk commented as the form of his anima slowly shimmered until he regained his more human form.
The demi-god nodded in return. At the same moment, a soft tinkling sound was heard as the protective barrier around Wutai shattered and disappeared. He glanced around quickly, as though making sure nothing had damaged
“I have somewhere I need to be, Strawberry,” the cute summon stated quickly, gazing at his animus with large eyes.
Reno raised an eyebrow as he glanced at his demi-god. “You haven’t stopped bugging me since I started talking to you, but now you want to leave?”
Asclepius giggled and leapt forward, throwing his arms around his animus and giving him a big hug. “Aw, ‘berry’s gonna miss me!”
The Turk’s eyes widened as he struggled to pry the clingy anima from him. Reeve stood by, a smirk on his face as he was able to find the humor in it.
“C’mon Asclepius, let go.”
The anima giggled again before releasing the Turk from his deathgrip-like hold. He inclined his head towards Reeve in acknowledgement before waving goodbye to Reno.
“Bye!” he called out before promptly disappearing.
“I never realized that Carbuncle was so… energetic,” Reeve commented mildly, stealing a glance at his partner.
Reno opened his mouth to respond when the sound of angry cursings distracted him. Both men looked up to find that the Highwind had landed, and Cid was stalking their way. Not far behind, Archer, Seiryu, and Tiamat, now back in human form, were also approaching. However, this didn’t stop Reeve from grabbing hold of his lover and dragging him near, threading their fingers together.
“Fucking crazy ass beasts nearly destroyed the Highwind,” Cid muttered as he made his way to the two of them.
Archer laughed. “We are alive, aren’t we? Isn’t that all that is important?”
The pilot jabbed a finger in his former lover’s face. “Easy for you to say. The Highwind isn’t your ship!” He turned towards Seiryu and Tiamat, heaving a sigh of frustration as he impatiently lit a cigarette.
“What the hell were those motherfuckers?” questioned Cid angrily.
“Guardians,” answered Tiamat with a slight sigh. “They are supposed to protect the gate that connects Elysium and Gaia.”
Seiryu nodded in agreement. “They are not allowed on this plane. I do not know why they were here in the first place.”
The pilot snorted. “Figures.” His eyes traveled over his friends gathered as he suddenly recalled the amazing things that he had seen take place. He was reminded of Nanaki and Suzaku and Yuffie and Barinthus.
“So,” he said, taking another drag on his cigarette. “I suppose these are your anima?” he asked the couple.
Reeve opened his mouth to respond, but two things happened at once. Seiryu tried to answer the pilot’s question, and Cid’s phone rang, loud and clear. The blond dug into his pocket and yanked out the PHS, quickly depressing the button. He recognized the name, coughing before answering it.
“Yeah… What’s up… Shera finish those figures?” He paused as he waited for the caller to respond. His friends watched as suddenly his face paled and his cigarette fell from nerveless fingers. Reeve and Archer exchanged glances.
“Are you sure?” asked Cid, voice barely above a whisper.
The executive stepped forward, concern evident in his features. “Cid? Wh…?” But the pilot stopped him with just a look.
“Look, Rude, I’m in Wutai. I can be there in less than forty-five minutes. Whatever you do, don’t let him leave.” He snapped the phone shut and darted off across the plains, not offering a word to his startled friends.
Archer looked on in surprise. “Where are you going?” he called out to the pilot’s retreating figure.
But there was no answer.
Reeve stood just inside the paper doorway to the Wutaiian home and looked at his lover, who was standing outside, gazing up at the stars. After the battle, they had returned to Wutai, as their transportation left without a word of explanation, to clean up, eat, and once again be celebrated as heroes. However, the whole time, all Reeve wanted was to get his lover alone so he could apologize properly and make things right.
After the festivities died down, they had been taken back to a lovely home, of which they were given full rights to with no one else to bother them. Reeve had taken a quick shower, some reveler had dumped her cup on him, and he didn’t want to smell like alcohol for the rest of the evening. Reno had taken the time to stand outside and stare at the stars. The older man wasn’t quite sure where Archer went, though he distinctly remembered a woman hanging on his friends arm. Perhaps the engineer wouldn’t spend the night alone.
The executive smiled softly as he looked at his lover, the man he had been with for over five years and the only man he wanted to spend the rest of his time beside. He had only himself to blame for Reno’s disappearance; although Tifa had originally orchestrated the plan, it was Reeve that caused him to leave.
Taking a deep breath, Reeve stepped out onto the small area that stood in the very center of the home, though it was open to the sky. His feet made small crunching sounds in the pebbles that lined the ground and he knew that Reno could tell he was coming. The Turk turned slightly, smiling when he caught sight of the older man.
“Feeling better?” questioned Reno, a smirk tugging at the corners of his mouth.
Reeve waved a hand of dismissal. “The shower washed it all right off,” he said as he moved to stand beside the red-haired man.
Reno nodded in understanding and returned his attentions to the sky. He had lived in the slums of Midgar before becoming a Turk and then in ShinRa assigned homes after that. He never had much opportunity to just look at the stars, except for when they had been on missions, even then the assignment took precedence. He didn’t dream of flying to the stars like Highwind, but he found that reminding himself of exactly how small he was tended to give him a breath of peace. He heard Reeve shift beside him before he was quickly pulled into the older man’s embrace, arms locked about him. He could feel the planes of Reeve’s chest against his back, and it was a comforting feeling. The executive smelled good as freshly showered as he was.
“We seem to have a knack for being forced apart…” commented the dark-haired man as he idly trailed fingers over the clothed front of his younger lover’s chest.
Reno sighed softly, relaxing into the embrace. He brought up one of his hands to clasp it with Reeve’s. “But we always find each other again.”
The executive nodded before kissing the back of his neck. “I’m sorry,” he said after a moment. He paused listening to Reno breathe before continuing, “Somewhere along the way, I stopped making you number one. I convinced myself that because we were together so long and you knew I loved you, that it was alright for me to take away our time.” He hesitated, leaning his head on Reno. “But as things progressed, I kept pushing you aside and that was wrong of me. I never wanted that to happen.”
The Turk sighed again, squeezing the executive’s hand gently. “I understood for awhile; maybe I was a bit selfish, but I just missed you, yo.”
“It won’t happen again,” Reeve promised, leaning his head just a little to nibble on the juncture of the red-haired man’s neck and collarbone. Reno shivered with arousal and pressed back against the executive’s clothed but quickly rising groin.
“I’m gonna hold you to that,” said Reno as he turned his own head to envelop his older lover in a searing kiss, their tongues quickly intermingling. Reeve’s free hand was unable to stop itself from tracing fingers under the white shirt of his younger lover and caressing the hard muscled stomach. He slowly trailed his fingers downward, deftly unbuttoning the Turk’s slacks and slipping beneath the fabric, brushing lightly over the already rousing flesh. It came as no surprise to him when he found no underwear present.
The teasing touch was something Reno had long learned to expect from Reeve, the man who was almost always unfailingly gentle. Being enveloped by the man he had been separated from, although the length time was not quite so long as other times before, overwhelmed his senses and he longed for more. He undulated his hips as Reeve’s free hand came down to nestle on them. He felt his ass press against stiff, unyielding flesh, and he smirked against the older man’s kisses.
Reno deepened their tongue-wrestling even as he reached into his pocket and pulled out the small bottle of lube he was never without. As a Turk, he had learned to be prepared. Besides, it was useful for other things… squeaky hinges for one. He lowered his hand and carefully pressed the bottle into the hand that was gripping his hip. Fingers curled about the vial before Reeve broke away from the kiss to stare into aquamarine eyes.
“I want to feel you inside me,” the Turk explained with a devilish turn of the corner of his mouth. His eyes literally glowed in the night, a result of so much mako, but there was also the luminescence of lust and desire.
Reeve had to bite back a groan of lust at those words. He glanced surreptitiously to the empty courtyard in the middle of their borrowed home. “Here?”
The red-haired man smirked. “Why not? We are the only ones here, and Archer isn’t exactly dumb. He’d keep his mouth shut and walk away if he did happen to see anything…” he responded, again pressing his ass to Reeve’s clothed groin and moving sensually.
Amber eyes clouded over with desire. “Under the stars, eh? If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were turning into a classic romantic.” His mind couldn’t help but recall the night of his engagement.
“Just don’t tell anyone, yo,” murmured Reno, diving in for another kiss. “It would ruin my rep as a badass, ya know?” he added against the executive’s lips.
– Censored for sensitive eyes… for the uncensored version, head to my account on mediaminer or my home site… so long as you are old enough-
The red-haired man collapsed against his older lover’s chest as he panted softly.
For a moment, the two just sat there quietly until Reeve roused from his post-orgasmic bliss to clean them up a bit. He didn’t bother to dress; Reno didn’t either, the soft breath of wind feeling nice on their heated skin. The Turk was content to relax in his lover’s embrace. It was still and quiet in the courtyard, a peaceful moment.
“Lilies…” murmured Reeve, barely breaking the silence.
Reno stirred in his arms. “Hm?”
The executive smiled and kissed the back of the Turk’s neck. “My favorite flowers have always been lilies. I will have to tell Elena.”
The red-haired man laughed softly. “You know,” he began, shifting impatiently where he sat, and causing sparks of arousal to again affect his older lover. “We could always elope.”
Reeve bit back a groan at the sensual onslaught. ” ‘Lena would kill us,” he commented, running fingers down the Turk’s bare chest and caressing a nipple.
The Turk shrugged. “We could still have her big wedding… afterwards. I know you’d rather have something small…”
“Sounds good to me,” murmured Reeve in Reno’s ear as he nipped lightly on the small shell.
The Turk could only moan slightly in agreement.