#107 – Rufus’ Heir

Sephiroth: “It would have been so easy. ‘It’s not possible, Rufus’…”

Originally Published: 11/28/01 . 18 pages

Synopsis
Rufus is convinced he’ll never have a child of his own, so he decides to adopt one instead. But Rufus finds himself overwhelmed and passes the baby off onto others. Will he be able to become the father he wished he had as a child?

Ramble Milestones
Nothing this time.

Welcome to the most depressing ramble I ever wrote. I don’t think I intended for it come out this sad when I came up with the idea of Rufus wanting an heir. Algus is actually seen here talking some sense into Rufus about family, which is interesting considering his own dysfunctional family. But at least he had family, unlike Rufus. At the time I had no intention of bringing Max back, but I think the fact that he does return makes this one a bit easier to handle.

(breakfast time in the ramble room. we have rufus, reeve, tseng, algus, zell, zidane, reno, rude, irvine and sephiroth all sitting around, sipping coffee. reeve and tseng are both reading the same paper. zidane is filling up algus’ coffee cup and rufus looks thoughtful.)

Reno: “Where’s Shell, man?”

Rude: “Shopping.”

Reno: “Without you?”

Rude: “She went with the girls. Took my credit card.”

Reno: “That sucks man.”

Algus: “That’s quite enough, common boy. You can sit down now.”

Zidane: “Stop calling me that. And fill up your own damn coffee next time.”

Algus: “Don’t you dare speak to me in such a way! I’ll have your pay docked, servant!”

Zidane: “I’m not your servant, and you know it.”

Zell: “Hey, Irvine. Where’s Squall?”

Irvine: “I don’t know. I don’t follow him around 24/7 like you do.”

(there’s a period of silence)

Rufus: *absently* “I’m probably never going to have a child.”

Everyone: *looks at him and blinks*

Sephiroth: “Aw, come on, Rufus. Give yourself some credit. You’re *never* going to have a child.”

Rufus: “I’m serious. I’m an important guy. I need an heir! Who’ll take over the company after I die then?”

Sephiroth: “Are you planning on going soon? And if so, can I help in any way?”

Rufus: “Oh shut up, jerk. God forbid something would happen to me, what would happen to my company?”

Reno, Rude, Tseng and Reeve: *dreamily* “Yeah…”

Algus: “The man is right.  He needs an heir.”

Rufus: “I’m glad *someone* sees my point!”

Zidane: *rolls eyes* “Ooh. Big surprise.”

Rufus: “What should I do?”

Irvine: “You forgot?” *snickers*

Zell: “Ooh! I’ll help!”

Reno: “You need a chick, Rufus, remember? And then you take your–“

Rufus: “I know that, you idiot! I don’t have time for the nine month thing! I need a kid now! What should I do?”

Tseng: “Well, you could try adoption…”

Rufus: “Of course! I could adopt! I’ll take some poor neglected kid that no one else wants and raise him to be great and wealthy!” *grin* “He’ll be just like me!”

Reeve: *mumbles to tseng* “What have you done?”

Tseng: “Uh, Rufus? Do you really think you can take care of a kid by yourself? I mean–“

Rufus: *jumping up* “I’ll worry about that later! I’ve got papers to fill out!” *he runs out*

(everyone turns and looks at tseng)

Sephiroth: “It would have been so easy. ‘It’s not possible, Rufus’…”

Tseng: “Oh, shut up.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

(the very next day, rude, reno, elena, tseng, reeve, sephiroth, vincent, algus, zell and zidane are sitting around in the ramble room. zidane and elena do not look happy.)

Sephiroth: “…Okay, allow me to break the silence. Why is everyone here?”

Everyone but Zidane: “Rufus.”

Zidane: “Algus.”

Algus: “I might get thirsty. Besides, you want that whole dollar, don’t you?”

Zidane: “Damn you, yes!”

Tseng: “What are you so upset about Elena?”

Elena: “I couldn’t go on the spa trip with Shell and the other girls because Rufus made me come here!”

Reno: “Spa trip?”

Tseng: “Why wasn’t I invited?? Did Shell win this or something?”

Elena: “No. She paid for it with Rude’s credit card.”

Rude: *turns dead pale*

Reno: “Oh man. You better work overtime.”

Reeve: “How long will they be gone?”

Elena: “A week!”

Sephiroth: “Lark too? She didn’t tell me anything about a spa trip.”

Elena: “No, she’s doing school work.”

Sephiroth: “She must have fell on her head.” *checks time* “How much longer is this damn Shinra gonna keep us waiting!?”

Zell: “It must be something really cool for Rufus to call all the people he loves together!” *grin*

Sephiroth: “He doesn’t love you, Zell. More like he called in all the people he can boss around, Algus, and me.”

Vincent: “Then why am I here, angel?”

Sephiroth: “Like I said, Vincent. All the people he can boss around.”

(and speak of the devil…in walks rufus j. shinra, carrying a blanketed basket. he’s grinning from ear to ear.)

Rufus: “Guess what I have.”

Rude: “A baby.”

Rufus: *frowns* “Rude! You weren’t *really* supposed to guess!” *annoyed sigh* “Fine.” *plops the basket down* “Take a look.”

(and everyone does crowd around to look. in the basket, cuddled in the blankets, is like the cutest little baby. and i don’t think babies are cute. he has blonde hair and blue eyes)

Tseng, Elena, Zidane, Reeve and Zell: “Aw….”

Rufus: *beams* “His name is Maximilian. That means greatest in latin.”

Reno: “How old is he, Rufus?”

Rufus: “A few months.”

Vincent: “Who are the real parents?”

Rufus: “Um, they’re, uh, dead.” *sweat drop*

Rude: “Hm.”

Algus: “Poor little boy. At least he’s in good hands now.”

Sephiroth: *snort* “Yeah. Right.”

Rufus: “Yeah, about that… Actually, the reason I called you all here today was because I was considering all of you to act as a baby-sitter for little Max.”

Sephiroth: “Even me?!”

Rufus: “No, I only invited you because I invited Vincent and I knew you would whine if you couldn’t come.”

Sephiroth: “That’s right.” *pouts*

Rufus: “But I considered the rest of you. Well, except Algus. I wouldn’t do that to my best friend.” *pause* “Or Zidane. Was he invited?”

Algus: “He’s serving me.”

Zidane: *mumbles unhappily*

Rufus: “Ah. I see. Anyway, out of the rest of you. I’m going tell you why I didn’t pick you losers before I tell you who won. Now, Zell.”

Zell: “Yeah!” *punches air excitedly* “Are we gonna get married again and raise the kid together?”

Rufus: “…No. I originally considered you because I know you’re loyal to me. Then I remembered you’re still a kid yourself and way too hyper and stupid to raise my kid.”

Zell: *frowns* “Hey…”

Rufus: “Reno, I didn’t pick you because you’re an unreliable drunken bum.”

Reno: “Well, duh.”

Rufus: “Vincent, you’re out because of the claw.”

Vincent: “Oh…” *hangs head*

Sephiroth: “Don’t worry, Vincent. You already raised the best.” *big grin*

Vincent: *sigh*

Rufus: “Rude, you’re too boring. I might as well hire a robot.”

Rude: *frown*

Rufus: “Elena…”

Elena: *brightly* “Yes, President Rufus?!”

Rufus: “You’re too loud and annoying. I don’t want my kid to come out like you.”

Elena: *frowns* “Hey…”

Algus: “…That leaves…”

Everyone: *looks at reeve and tseng*

Reeve: *sweat drop*

Tseng: *huge grin* “Really?!”

Rufus: “Yes, yes, yes. After much MUCH debate, I decided at least with you two, little Max will get a mother and a father.”

Tseng: *growls*

Rufus: “Heh… Anyway… Blah, blah, blah, I trust you both, just don’t raise him gay, and it’s all good. Here.” *shoves the basket in tseng’s hands* “I’ll pay for everything, just… take the best possible care of him, okay?”

Tseng: “…Don’t you want to do anything yourself?”

Rufus: “Forget that, are you going to, or not?”

Tseng: *blink blink* “Of course.”

Rufus: “Good.” *runs a hand through his hair* “Uh… I’m going to go out and buy baby things. Who wants to come?”

Zell and Elena: *jump up and down* “Ooh! I do!”

Rufus: “…Fine. You wanna come too, Algus?”

Algus: *shrugs* “Why not? Come slave.”

Zidane: “Where’s my dollar?!”

(rufus, zell, elena and algus leave, zidane stalking after them. tseng is gazing into the basket, looking amazed. reno checks the time.)

Reno: “Noon is early enough to start drinkin’ for me. Whatdya say we go out and knock back a few cold ones, Rude?”

Rude: *shrugs* “Sure.”

Reno: “Cool. I’ll get Irvine. Wanna come, ‘Roth? Vincent?”

Sephiroth: *shrugs* “Why not. There’s no one around here to bother anyway.” *grabs vincent by the wrist* “Come on, Vincent.”

(so they leave. that leaves reeve and tseng alone. tseng is still staring into the basket. reeve still looks nervous)

Tseng: “He’s so beautiful, isn’t he?”

Reeve: “Uh… You’re just gonna let Rufus get away with dumping this kid on us?”

Tseng: *looks up* “Huh?”

Reeve: “Aren’t you a little mad that you’re getting stuck taking care of a kid that’s not even yours now?”

Tseng: “No…” *holds the basket closer* “I want to take care of it.”

Reeve: *falters a moment* “Uh…um, darling, I know babies are cute, but do you really know how to take care of one?”

Tseng: “I’m an adult. I think I can manage. Maybe I’ll read one of those books or something. Besides, it’s not like I’m in this alone. I have you to help me.”

Reeve: *hesitates* “Of course.”

Tseng: “…What’s the matter?”

Reeve: “Nothing.” *pause* “Nothing.”

(he comes over to tseng and puts an arm around him looking in the basket)

Reeve: “…You don’t wish it was *yours*, do you?”

Tseng: *softly* “No. No, of course not.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

(2 days later… a whole room has been decorated in a winnie the pooh motif as a nursery for the baby. tseng sits on a rocking chair inside, holding the baby and feeding him his bottle. reeve stands outside frowning and leaning against the wall as rufus comes up)

Rufus: “Hi, there, Reeve! How’s it going?” *pats him on the back* “How’s Max? Is he showing his great potential already?”

Reeve: *frowning* “Oh, look. It’s Rufus Shinra. The man who never comes to see his own kid. Thanks a lot.”

Rufus: “….It’s only been two days, besides, I’ve been busy.”

Reeve: “Busy sitting on your ass in the ramble room and playing chess with Algus!”

Rufus: “I had to try and beat him!” *mutters* “I didn’t…”

Reeve: “Look, this is *your* kid, and you have to spend time with him, or it’s not going to be good when he grows up.”

Rufus: *stiffens* “Yeah…uh…well…Tseng’s doing such a good job!”

Reeve: “*Tseng* never lets the kid out of his sight. All he does is fuss over that baby all day long. It isn’t good, Rufus.”

Rufus: “Well, that’s not my problem!”

Reeve: “Why won’t you take care of your own kid? Even for a little while each day.”

Rufus: *shakes head no frantically* “No, I– I’ll see you later.”

Reeve: “RUFUS!”

(but rufus runs away. reeve sighs and hesitates before going into the room. he looks at tseng, who is smiling down at the baby)

Reeve: “Tseng.”

Tseng: *looks up* “Oh, hi, Reeve.” *looks at the baby* “Look at him. Isn’t he just perfect?”

Reeve: “He’s cute, Tseng.”

(tseng puts the bottle down and starts to burp the baby)

Reeve: “Tseng, listen. I think you should separate yourself from that baby for awhile. It’s been three days. He’s going to grow overly attached to you, and that’s not healthy. You can’t have him so dependent on you.”

Tseng: “Reeve, please. He’s a baby. Of course he’s dependent on me. He won’t grow overly attached. I know what I’m doing. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to change his diaper.” *leaves*

Reeve: *sigh* “The baby might not be the only one growing overly attached…”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

(later in the ramble room… rufus and algus are playing chess.)

Algus: *moves his piece* “How’s Maxmillian?”

Rufus: *thoughtfully staring at the chessboard* “Fine.” *moves his piece*

Algus: *moves his piece* “Have you seen him lately?”

Rufus: *falters* “Uh, no, not…not really.” *moves his piece*

Algus: “Why not?” *moves piece* “Checkmate.”

Rufus: “Crap!” *sighs* “It’s not important. I have someone taking good care of him. What’s the big deal? It’s not like my father was around for me and I turned out okay.”

Algus: “Ah. I see.”

Rufus: “See what?”

Algus: “Why you’re avoiding the child.”

Rufus: “I am not!”

Algus: “You clearly are, and you’re aware of it yourself.”

Rufus: *looks down*

Algus: “You have absolutely no idea how to care for your own child, do you.”

Rufus: “…No.”

Algus: “What were you planning to do your whole life? Send him away to school and send him money? Have him believe you don’t love him? What kind of child gets raised that way?”

Rufus: *hesitates before pointing to himself*

Algus: “…Oh. I see.”

Rufus: “…I don’t want it to be like that for him. I don’t want to hurt him.”

Algus: “Then what are you doing? Trying to pretend he doesn’t have a father at all?”

Rufus: “…….”

Algus: “You have to live up to your title, Rufus.”

Rufus: *shakes head* “I–I can’t…”

(he gets up and runs out of the room. algus sighs sadly.)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

(later that evening, we see reeve come into the nursery where the baby is asleep in the crib. tseng stands next to it, looking down into and it looking like he’s trying not to cry. reeve comes up and puts a hand on his shoulder)

Reeve: “Come on, Tseng. It’s late. Come to bed.”

Tseng: *turns to reeve* “Reeve… I want one…”

(reeve hugs him and tseng starts to cry softly)

Reeve: *sighs softly* “I knew it…”

  ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

(the next day, reeve goes into the ramble room where rufus is sitting on the couch, looking deep in thought.)

Reeve: “We have to talk.”

Rufus: *mumbles* “Don’t bother me.”

Reeve: “I don’t have a choice, Rufus. Let’s see… How many times have you come to see the baby? Oh right. Zero.”

Rufus: “I know.”

Reeve: “Now you have Tseng wanting a kid! I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we won’t be able to have one no matter *how* hard we try. And so he won’t let the kid out of his sight–being abandoned as a child yourself does that to a person, and you sit around playing chess and counting your cash! And why!? I don’t get it.”

Rufus: *after a pause* “…Did you have a father, Reeve?”

Reeve: “Uh, yeah. Yeah. Of course I did. Everybody does.”

Rufus: “Did your father…love you?”

Reeve: *suddenly looks uncomfortable* “I…don’t really want to talk about my father.”

Rufus: “My father didn’t.” *quietly* “He sent me away to school and never came to see me.”

Reeve: “Rufus, I don’t see how this–“

Rufus: *tears in his eyes* “My father made my life miserable! I don’t want to ruin Max’s life for him! I don’t know what to do at all!”

(reeve stares in shock as rufus breaks down crying. reeve hesitates a moment before going down and sitting next to rufus.)

Reeve: “If it makes you feel any better, Rufus, my father…disowned me.”

Rufus: *looks up wiping at his eyes* “…He…did?”

Reeve: *nods*

Rufus: “…Oh.”

Reeve: “Look, Rufus. Either you do your best and you’re a father to this kid, or you let someone else raise him and he grows up thinking no one really loves him.”

Rufus: “…Tseng’s…going to be mad if I take the baby away from him.”

Reeve: “He’s going to throw a fit.” *pause* “But it has to be done. But don’t worry, if you need any help with Max, I’m sure he can help.”

Rufus: *smiles a little* “Yeah…” *pauses then says haltingly* “T-thanks, Reeve.”

Reeve: “Think nothing of it.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(later that day, reeve and rufus go into the baby’s room where tseng is, playing with the baby)

Tseng: *surprised* “Oh. Hi, Rufus.”

Rufus: “Hi…Tseng…” *looks at reeve*

Reeve: “Give Rufus the baby, Tseng.”

Tseng: “…What?”

Reeve: “He’s going to take care of Max now. He’s the father after all.”

Tseng: *holding the baby closer* “No! Come on, he said I could take care of him!”

Reeve: *walks up to him* “Tseng, come on.”

Tseng: *pleads* “Oh, Reeve, *please* don’t make me.”

Reeve: “Tseng. Give me the baby.”

(tseng looks like he’s about to cry, and he looks away as he hands the baby to reeve. as soon as reeve takes him, the baby starts to cry. tseng does too. reeve goes over and gives the baby to rufus, who looks completely overwhelmed as he stiffly accepts the kid)

Rufus: “I-I can’t… He doesn’t want me.”

Reeve: “Calm him down.”

Tseng: “See? Max needs me!”

Reeve: *snaps* “Because you’ve made him think you’re the only one he’s got!”

Tseng: *cries harder*

Reeve: “Oh god.” *sigh* “Come here, sweetie.” *hugs tseng* “I don’t want you to cry. Let’s go relax, okay?”

Tseng: *nods as he tries to stop crying*

(reeve starts to lead tseng out of the room. rufus looks at them frantically as max keeps crying)

Rufus: “Wait! Where are you going? You can’t leave me alone! I don’t know what to do!”

Reeve: “Yes you do.”

(he and tseng leave. rufus looks seriously at max, who is crying hysterically. slowly he holds him out so they’re face to face)

Rufus: “Hey, there, Max.” *pause* “Don’t cry, okay? Please?”

(max’s crying does start to slow down and he sniffles. rufus smiles)

Rufus: “There you go.” *he holds max against his shoulder and rocks him* “Good boy, Max. Daddy’s gonna take good care of you now.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

(gya haa haa! losery comic relief! the losers are all sitting around. heidegger is playing with stinky. scarlet and kuja are filing their nails. nida is building a house out of blocks. hojo stares next to the door, looking impatient)

Hojo: “Kuja, my love, your nails are FINE! Now hurry or we’ll miss the previews for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone!”

Nida: “I’ve seen it three times already!”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! Only he’s going for the little boys!”

Hojo: “Quiet, Heidegger! They’re young gentlemen.”

Nida: “The movie was really cool, like the part where–“

Scarlet: “Shut up!”

Hojo: (over lapping) “Don’t spoil it!”

Kuja: *sigh* “I’m bored already.”

Heidegger: “I just want the popcorn! Gya haa haa!”

Hojo: “No, no, no! I only have 2 tickets, and Kuja and I are going.”

Kuja: “Take someone who will enjoy it more than me.”

Nida and Heidegger: “Take me! (Gya haa haa!)”

Hojo: “No!”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

(2 days later. rufus is in the ramble room with algus, zell, reeve and tseng. zell, tseng and rufus are all playing with the baby (who has a pacifier in his mouth) while reeve and algus play chess. cait sith is watching over reeve’s shoulder)

Algus: “I’m entirely impressed, Rufus. You’ve turned yourself into a model father.” *moves his piece*

Rufus: “I would hardly call myself ‘model’. I’d say ‘good’.”

Tseng: “I really am impressed too, Rufus. You’re doing a great job.”

Rufus: *proudly* “Thank you.”

Zell: “I wonder what Lark will say when she sees you have a baby.”

Rufus: “Let’s…uh…worry about that later.”

Algus: *moves piece* “Checkmate.”

Reeve: “What?!” *sighs with his head in his hands* “Oh man… That’s the third game I’ve lost! And I was chess club champion in high school!”

Cait Sith: “You’re a big loser, Reeve. A big, stupid, ugly loser! Hahaha!”

Reeve: *mumbles* “Shut up, Cait Sith.”

Cait Sith: *bouncing around the room* “Lo~ser! Lo~ser!”

(cait sith, being stupid, isn’t looking where he’s going, and he trips over max and crashes to the floor, short circuiting and going dead)

Reeve: “Oh my god! Max killed Cait Sith!”

Tseng: “Aw….”

(then rufus’ cell phone rings and the others start to talk as he answers it)

Rufus: “Hello? ….Yes, this is he. ….Oh, hello. …..Oh? What’s the problem? ……………Oh.” *frowns* “……Oh, I see.” *looks at max who tseng is holding* “……..Yes, I see. Understandable.” *puts a hand to his forehead looking very upset* “…..Is that so? ……..I see. Very well. Five o’clock then. Good-bye.”

(he puts the phone away very slowly, looking like a robot. everyone looks at him strangely, because he looks very, very upset)

Algus: “Who was that?”

Zell: “Are you okay?”

Rufus: *shaky breath* “…I have to give up Max.”

Everyone: “WHAT?!”

Tseng: *holding max closer* “No! You can’t! He’s yours!”

Rufus: “Some relative that was mentioned in his parent’s will actually showed up to claim him. My papers haven’t been processed yet, and there’s nothing I can do.”

Tseng: “…No…”

Algus: “I’m so sorry, Rufus.”

Reeve: “…Me too…”

Zell: *frowns* “Max…”

(wordlessly, rufus goes over to tseng and practically has to pry the baby away from him. tseng puts a hand over his eyes and zell goes to comfort him.)

Rufus: “…I guess…I’ll go get his things.” *he quickly leaves the room*

(reeve goes to get up, but algus stops him)

Algus: “Just stay put awhile. I think he needs to be alone.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(five o’clock. rufus is standing outside the adoption agency, a baby bag on one shoulder.)

Rufus: “Well, Max. This is it. I guess I don’t get to be your dad after all.” *sigh* “I guess it’s all for the best. I bet I would have done something to make you hate me down the road anyway.” *gives him a kiss on the head* “But I do love you, kid. …I didn’t think it would come so easily…” *softly* “This is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

(he takes a deep breath and moves to go inside, but before he can…)

?????: “RUFUS!”

(rufus turns to see tseng running towards him)

Tseng: “Rufus, wait!” *runs over* “…I…just wanted to…say good-bye to Max.”

Rufus: *reluctantly handing him over* “…Sure.”

(tseng holds the baby close, and gives him a little kiss like rufus did.)

Tseng: *whispers* “You be a good boy for your new parents, okay, Max?” *he sadly hands him back to rufus* “I can’t believe this is happening.”

Rufus: “Me neither.” *sigh* “But I think it’s all for the best.”

Tseng: “You don’t mean that.”

Rufus: “…I’m just gonna miss him. A lot.”

Tseng: *puts a hand on his shoulder* “Me too.”

Rufus: “I love him, Tseng… I’m…never going to get over this.”

Tseng: *tears in his eyes* “I know, Rufus.”

Rufus: *has tears in his eyes too* “I just… I have nothing more to say.”

Tseng: *puts an an arm around him* “That’s because there are no words for this.”

(everything else mutually understood without words being necessary, the two men walk into the agency together with max and later leave together, crying.)

THE END

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