Pairing: Laurence Weller/Rufus Bielefeld
Posted as a result of this exchange between chalp and lenainverse, with many thanks! *grin* Do check out the Rare Pairing Discussion: it's turning up lots of fascinating pairings and fic!
Rufus Bielefeld looked like a girl.
This, of course, was a fact that no member of Shinou's company would ever allude to, or even think about - not as long as Rufus was anywhere within earshot, that is. When your bedroll was set afire on a nightly basis, when your cups of river water boiled over with alarming regularity, when even the coldest winter nights had a tendency to get a little too warm - well, then, Rufus Bielefeld did not look like a girl. Most certainly not. Especially not if you didn't like sleeping in a bed of flames, preferred drinks that wouldn't scald your throat on the way down, or simply wanted to stay alive. Shinou forbid the thought of Rufus Bielefeld looking like a girl ever crossing your mind.
It was harder to convince the villagers, though, who flocked to Rufus in hordes, offering praises of his beauty and proposals of marriage to very nice men for whom he would make a perfect wife. Or the children, who would ask, "Can you be my Mommy?", to Rufus's eternal chagrin. Or the village women, who would shyly present Rufus with dresses in the distinctly feminine hues of violet, peach and pink, saying how well they suited him (The dresses were gifts, thanks for the good the Shinou was doing, so Rufus was hardly in a position to refuse). Wolf-whistles and cat-calls followed him wherever he went, and they didn’t stop once their makers realised he wasn’t, in fact, a woman.
Rufus Bielefeld was not a girl, but it didn't stop the rest of the world from treating him like one.
But Rufus was fiercely proud of his ability to hold his own in a firefight. Swift and shockingly lethal, he could cut a swathe through the Shinou's enemies like no other. He might well have been the smallest and slightest of the Shinou's warriors (not that he'd ever admit it), but he more than made up for it with ferocity and sheer determination.
Laurence Weller found it amusing. Amusing. It made Rufus furious just to think about it, but he supposed he could expect no better from a mere human. He had no idea why the Shinou found it necessary to even employ humans in this crusade (when it was obvious Mazoku would do better), but Rufus Bielefeld was nothing if not loyal. So he held his tongue and gritted his teeth as Weller fought alongside them just like any Mazoku, as if he had a right to be there.
There was so much Rufus Bielefeld disliked about Laurence Weller. He hated the way the man shrugged off any insult, the way nothing seemed to get to him the way it got to Rufus. He hated the way Weller would sometimes just look at him and, and smile slowly, as if they shared some secret no one else knew. He hated the way he'd blush when Weller did that, like the girl he wasn't and never wanted to be. He hated the way Weller would always insist on going before him if they were out on patrol, just to make sure he didn't run into any ambushes, because Rufus Bielefeld could take care of himself, thank you very much. He hated the way the Shinou and the Daikenja would smile at them when they thought that neither Weller nor he was paying attention, and it didn't escape his notice when those two kept finding excuses to send him and Weller off on missions that required them to spend far too much time in each others' company. He knew perfectly well what they were trying to do, and this wasn't the time for it!
Rufus Bielefeld was not a girl. He was not going to fall in love with a wonderful man, get married, and have a horde of children. He was not. This was a time for war, and certain humans should know that and stay out of his sight!
He thought he'd made that abundantly clear. But one night he awoke to find himself wrapped securely in Laurence Weller's arms, while a snowstorm raged against the flimsy walls of their tent.
"Get off, Weller!" he'd snarled, and attempted to shake himself free, but that infernal man's embrace only tightened.
"It's cold, Rufus," the human had said, reasonably. "And you looked like you were going to break yourself shivering."
"Go away," said Rufus, although the venom in his voice had lost quite a bit of its sting as he realised how cold it was, even inside the tent, and how... warm his companion was, by comparison. Belatedly, he realised that he should've tried to get free, at least, because he meant what he'd said -
He froze in a way that had nothing to do with the cold when he realised Weller's face was inches from his own, and that there was a look in the man's eyes that Rufus had only ever seen before when men looked at the women they loved.
"Weller?" Rufus's voice was shakier than he wanted it to be. "I'm not a girl."
"I don't like girls."
And for once in his life, Rufus Bielefeld wasn't furious.