Post-FF7, pre-Advent Children, Reeve and Rufus settle some unfinished business. Slightly spoilerish for Dirge of Cerberus.
It was a small, personal crisis of conscience. President Rufus had /survived/. He'd been sure - they'd all been sure - that the fireball had been lethal. And yet...the Turks would never lie about something like that. If the President were dead, they wouldn't have any reason to hide it. And Tseng - as greatly as Reeve disliked the man - tended not to lie without need.
Alive. And, apparently, conscious and rather bitchy. The letter had been short and brief. The weight of evidence indicating your complicity in treasonous acts, your employment at Shin-Ra Inc. is terminated with prejudice. Rude had delivered it. Reeve had accepted it quietly, and the Turk had gone on his way.
Reeve had spent several days - in spare moments between clearing out rubble, managing evacuees, and other such duties that had quickly become his life after Avalanche had finished with Midgar - pondering what Rufus had really been saying. Mostly because Reeve knew quite well that to be "terminated with prejudice" at Shin-Ra meant to be executed. In a very final sort of way, wherein the company knew without doubt that the former employee was neither working nor breathing. And yet Rude had delivered the letter without any word or show of violence. In the end, he'd had to conclude that the message truly was, I'm aware of your actions and can at least guess at your reasons; you don't belong here, but no hard feelings.
It was, frankly, a lot more forgiving than he would have expected of Rufus Shinra. Then again, Rufus was by all reports a long way from his usual state of good health. He'd never been particularly outgoing when in a relatively weak state.
The thing was...and Reeve had a hard time articulating it properly...Rufus wasn't really all that bad of a guy. New to total power, of course, and young, and quite deserving of a good smack upside the head at times, but by no means the villain that Avalanche tended to assume he was. Avalanche could afford to think in black and white. Combat usually was black and white. Rufus - and Reeve, really - had lived in the shades of gray that marked government. Avalanche would likely never appreciate that some of Rufus' decisions had been very hard. He didn't really expect them to; it didn't matter how badly the executioner felt about throwing the switch on the electric chair. What mattered to the person in the chair was that he'd still throw it.
So Reeve sat quietly at his table, cup near the edge so that the waitress could keep it full of coffee without disturbing him, and stared at the bouquet of flowers and the blank paper and thought.
Eventually, he picked up his pen and began to write.
Your notification has been received. I have already laid the groundwork for an organization of my own; as no man can serve two masters with loyalty, I will not dispute the termination. Word has reached me of your condition; consider the flowers a distraction from what must otherwise be a sterile environment, and a mark of my personal esteem.
To your charge of treason, however, I must protest. I have never betrayed you or Shin-Ra, although certain of my decisions may lend credence to that theory. Say rather that neither you nor the company as a whole ever lived up to the entirety of your obligations to the world as its primary governing body, and I tried - without success - to rectify the matter alone.
Reeve sighed, and decided to hell with formal language. There had to be some benefit to not actually working for Rufus anymore.
Rufus, I have no doubt that someday - and probably sooner than most would think - you will again be well and strong, and on that day or perhaps well before it, you will begin work to rebuild the company. Against that day, I want to leave you some things to think on.
When you are able to walk again, or go out into what's left of our city, shed your trademarks and go to the slums. Go to the poorest places. I doubt you've ever seen them up close; this may well be your only chance, as the world largely believes that you have died and so will not be looking for you. Go, then, and look around.
When you do, I want you to consider this: You and I helped create those poorest places, but neither you nor I nor anyone else on this planet can destroy them. There are always the haves and the have-nots, and while you may have or gain the power to shift the balances, you'll never eradicate the line between the two. Your family has always reacted to this by sweeping the have-nots out of sight. I believe you are strong enough not to need to. Allow yourself to be reminded of what you can't do, and can never do.
You might have been able to rule the world with fear. But no one can rule anything with hate. You inherited more hate than you inspired, but even Scarlet knew that people always need someone to blame. For all the misery all over the world, the one the people have chosen to blame is you. It isn't deserved, but when has that ever mattered? I've had a lot of work to do to clear my own name, and I've got Avalanche vouching for me - as well as the fact that I've been putting in sixteen hour days since Shin-Ra's fall.
You can do better. Out from under what was left of your father's shadow...I rather expect you're going to.
I wish you the best of luck for a quick recovery. I'd offer you a job, but I think we both know better.
He set the pen down, and carefully blew the ink dry before folding the letter. The Turks would deliver it; he still had their numbers in his cell phone. He called Rude, and tucked the letter into the bouquet. He didn't stay to hand it over, but left the waitress a generous tip to leave the table alone until the bouquet was retrieved. Reeve had an obscene level of wealth - executive pay coupled with a frugal lifestyle and a savings account added up to being quite possibly the second wealthiest man on the planet. Most of it would go soon into really getting the organization he was starting off the ground, but he could afford to leave a tip.
The reply came the next day; a very small card in a plain envelope.
Up yours. You missed your calling as a preacher, and you left your choir behind.
That said - we appear to understand our respective official positions. Best of luck trying things your way, since apparently you're going to anyway. Let's see if you can do better.
Certain protocols no longer being a barrier to your overblown sense of guilt, spare my Turks and try 744-6721 next time. I'm not going anywhere.
Reeve smiled and gave Rude a nod. "No reply," he said. "Thanks for your time."