#164 – Growing Up Shinra

Sephiroth: *looks at him* “That’s what it was like growing up Shinra.”

Originally Published: 3/4/06 . 36 pages

Synopsis
Rufus and Sunshine go to Hojo for the answers they’re seeking. Will the old Shinra security footage show them what they’re looking for?

Ramble Milestones
Nothing this time.

I’m obsessed with Shinra and thusly obsessed with the pasts of the characters associated with the company. Most of the stuff referenced in this ramble was lifted from my fanfiction.

(rufus is sitting in the ramble room with algus, zidane and lark. he’s just relaxing on the couch reading the paper. lark and algus are playing cards. zidane is complaining)

Zidane: “And Vergil is *so* annoying! He follows me around like a lost puppy! And he’s always asking me out even though I told him like a million times that I don’t even want to be seen with him outside his house.”

Lark: “Then stop having sex with him, Zidane.”

Zidane: “I can’t! No one else will have me!”

Lark: “Zidane, you’re not trying hard enough. I mean I love ya, hun, but even I’m getting sick of hearing you complain about him.”

Algus: “Yes, Zidane! I’m also getting quite sick of your yammering on about how annoying he is! Now if you don’t quiet down about it, you’re going to find it’s affecting your weekly Hershey kiss payment!”

(zidane sighs and looks annoyed but says nothing else. then sunshine enters. she’s holding a box of pastries and smiling)

Sunshine: “Hi, everyone!”

Everyone: “Hi, Sunshine.”

Sunshine: “Ready to go, Rufus?”

Rufus: *puts down paper* “Yeah.”

(he gets up and joins her at the door)

Algus: “And where are you two headed?”

Rufus and Sunshine: *look at each other*

Rufus: “We’re just going to visit some business associates.”

Algus: “Oh! Well those are the most fun kind of friends! Have a smashing time!”

Rufus: “We’ll try.”

(they leave. lark turns to algus)

Lark: “Don’t you think they look so much alike considering they don’t even have the same father?”

Algus: “Yes. It is a striking resemblance.”

Zidane: *thoughtfully* “Do you think Vergil looks a lot like Dante?”

Lark and Algus: *groan*

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

(meanwhile, rufus and sunshine are on their way over to loser land…)

Rufus: “Why did you bring pastries?”

Sunshine: “Well, it’s always nice to bring something when you visit.”

Rufus: “You know Heidegger will probably just end up eating them all, right?”

Sunshine: *frowns* “Oh right. I forgot about him.”

Rufus: “How could you forget about him? He takes up half the place!” *sigh* “Anyway, do they know we’re coming?”

Sunshine: “Yeah. I called my mother yesterday.”

(they come to the door to loser land and pause. They both look at each other. Then rufus takes a deep breath and knocks on the door. And then they wait. They can hear a lot of commotion from the other side of the door)

Rufus: “…Why does it take them so long to answer??”

(finally the door opens and it’s scarlet)

Scarlet: “Oh! Sunshine! I’m so glad to see you!” *she hugs sunshine and notices rufus* “Oh! President Rufus! I wasn’t expecting you…”

Sunshine: “Rufus and I have some questions, mom.”

Scarlet: “…Oh. Okay. Well come in.”

(they come in and scarlet shuts the door. Heidegger and nida are playing some kind of fighting video game. Kuja and seymour are fighting over a magazine. And hojo is at his computer)

Nida: *furiously button mashing* “No!!! How are you beating me?! I’m the master at this game!”

Heidegger: “Master of suckage! Gya haa haa!”

Seymour: “That is *my* issue of Cosmo.”

Kuja: “Oh no. That’s mine. I specifically remember leaving mine on this table.”

Seymour: “Well that’s where I remember leaving mine!”

Hojo: *typing* “I remember when you could get porn for free.”

Nida: *slamming controller down* “Dammit, Heidegger! You freakin’ cheater! You’re such a cheater! You’re a fat, ugly cheater!”

Sunshine: “Hi, Nida!”

Nida: *whirls around* “Sunshine! Oh! Hi!” *blushes* “I didn’t know you were coming!”

Scarlet: “Yes you did! I told you she was coming over today!”

Nida: “No you didn’t, whore!”

Scarlet: *rolls eyes* “Whatever, Nida.”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! I smell baked goods!” *eyes box*

Scarlet: “Just give it to him. He’ll end up with it anyway.”

(grimacing, sunshine hands over the pastry box to heidegger, who immediately starts to dig in)

Kuja: “Hello, Sunshine dear. You look ravishing as always.”

Sunshine: “Hi, Kuja! And thanks!”

Hojo: *coming over* “Rufus? This is a surprise… You know there’s no money back on that footage I gave you.”

Rufus: “I’m not here about that, Hojo. I’m here for answers. And you’re going to give them to me.”

Hojo: “…And what kind of answers are you looking for?”

(rufus pauses a moment. He seems uncomfortable. But then he sucks it up)

Rufus: “I know I’ve been injected with Jenova.”

Hojo: *eyes widen* “But how…”

Rufus: “Zack told me. And I want to know what happened.”

Hojo: *frowns*

Rufus: “You don’t get a choice. *I’m* in charge now. And you’re going to tell me what happened!” *looks at sunshine* “And I also wanna know how I got a sister I didn’t even know about.”

Sunshine: *nods*

Scarlet: *sigh* “I knew this day would come.”

Hojo: “As did I, I suppose.”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! I’m out of pastry!”

Hojo: “Well, sit yourselves down then. This isn’t a short story.”

Kuja: “This is the perfect time to file my nails.”

Seymour: “Ooh, me too.”

Kuja: “What filing? You don’t have nails, you have claws!”

Seymour: “I could say the same for you, bitch!”

Scarlet: “Quiet down you two!”

(everyone sits down except hojo. He’s back in his lab looking for stuff. He unlocks a cabinet, takes out a bunch of stuff and comes over to the table where he dumps it all. He has a bunch of notebooks, and some videos. All the notebooks are labeled specimen R.J.S.)

Rufus: *looks at notebooks* “…Are those about me?”

Hojo: *sitting* “They are.”

Rufus: “So I really *do* have a middle name that starts with a ‘J’?”

Hojo: “No. That stands for Jenova.”

Rufus: *disappointed* “…Oh.”

Scarlet: “Well, considering I came to Shinra after Rufus was born and Heidegger’s nothing but a useless ball of fat, looks like you’re going to have to start the story, Hojo.”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! My lips jiggle when I talk!”

Hojo: “Very well. And I’ve brought various aids to help us tell the tale.”

Sunshine: “You have videos?”

Hojo: “Well, at the time Shinra had video surveillance in several rooms. After a series of events I cleaned out the footage.”

Nida: “Ew, you perv! The last thing you need is more videos!”

Hojo: “Actually, Nida, I haven’t even watched any of these.”

Rufus: “Get to the story!”

Hojo: *sigh* “Very well. I don’t know how much you remember of your mother, Stacie, Rufus, but she was never the healthiest woman. I suppose she was beautiful, if you like that kind of thing, but your father really wasn’t one for family. He married out of social obligation more than anything else. Your mother got pregnant and your father thought it was the right thing to do. You were born the following January…”

(and now we go into flashback mode. There’s rufus’ father, stockwell shinra, in his younger days, as well as his mother stacie shinra. I’m going to refer to president shinra just as shinra. Anyway stacie shinra is very pretty, with blonde hair just like rufus. She’s in bed looking pretty pale. Baby rufus lies asleep next to his mother. Hojo, who, despite looking a bit younger still looks like a skeeve, is there as well.)

Hojo: “How are you feeling today?”

Stacie: “…Tired.” *sigh* “Sometimes I feel like I can barely pick up the baby.”

Shinra: “That baby was born two weeks ago! You should be back on your feet by now!”

Stacie: “…Stockwell… This isn’t anything I can control…”

Shinra: *annoyed sigh* “Just stay here and rest. Alexander…come with me.”

(they leave the room. Shinra looks very annoyed as he closes the door behind him)

Shinra: “Haven’t you found what’s wrong with her yet?”

Hojo: “I’ve told you before. The infection she developed shortly after having the baby is to blame for her current state. She has a weak immune system. It could take her months to recover properly.”

Shinra: “And what about the baby? Does he have the same problem?”

Hojo: “He’s too young to be sure. We won’t know until he’s at least 3.”

Shinra: “Well that’s too late to do anything about it, then, isn’t it?”

Hojo: “…Sir?”

Shinra: “If that boy is as useless as she is, then he’s no good to me or this business, is he? I can’t have him ending up like his mother. We have to do something about it.”

Hojo: “…Sir, with all due respect–“

Shinra: *thoughtfully* “…Look at Sephiroth…look how strong he is! That’s what I want my boy to be like!” *looks at hojo* “I want you to inject my son with the Jenova cells.”

Hojo: *looks shocked* “Now, sir. The Jenova cells have not been tested on such a young child–“

Shinra: “You injected plenty of them into Sephiroth!”

Hojo: “Sephiroth was introduced to the cells while he was still in the womb! His mother received heavy dosages daily! By the time he was born he was used to it. This baby…Rufus…even a small amount could kill him! The results are unpredictable!”

Shinra: “I don’t care! If he’s going to be as sick as her he’s better off dead! Now you’ll do what you’re told Hojo, or you’ll be back on the street with no funding! Do you understand?”

Hojo: “…Very well. I just wanted you to understand the risks.”

(then heidegger comes waddling over. He looks a bit younger and not quite as fat)

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! President! I found a new secretary for you! She comes highly recommended! Gya haa haa!”

Shinra: “Oh yeah? By who?”

Heidegger: “By me! Gya haa haa! Let’s just say she knows how to get ahead! Gya haa haa!”

Shinra: “Excellent. Where is she?”

Heidegger: “I sent her to your office! Gya haa haa!”

Shinra: “Thank you, Heidegger. That’ll be all.”

(and so heidegger wanders off)

Hojo: “…Don’t you find his constant laughter annoying?”

Shinra: “No. I think it’s uplifting.”

(and back to the present day)

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! Someone has to!”

Rufus: *in shock* “Wow. So he was willing to let me die rather than even risk having me be sick like my mom?”

Hojo: “Yes.”

Sunshine: “That’s awful!” *to scarlet* “And you weren’t even part of Shinra, yet, were you, mom?”

Scarlet: “Well, actually, Sunshine, remember that new secretary Hojo was talking about…”

(back to the flashback. President shinra is coming over to his office. He opens the door and a young woman with long blonde hair is sitting in the chair. She stands up and turns around when she hears the door open. It’s scarlet, and she looks beautiful and young. Ah, what it was like before she turned herself into a dirty whore.)

Shinra: *smiles* “You must be the secretary Heidegger recommended.”

Scarlet: “That’s me.”

Shinra: “What’s your name?”

Scarlet: “I’m Scarlet Calhoun.”

Shinra: “And, Scarlet… Do you have much experience being a secretary?”

Scarlet: “I think you’ll find I’m *very* well qualified, sir.”

Shinra: *smiling* “Really… Well, let me just shut the door and we can conduct a *proper* interview.”

(they grin at each other as president shinra closes the door…)

(Back to the present…)

Rufus: “Ew! So he slept with you right off the bat?”

Scarlet: “Yup.”

Sunshine: “Mom! Why did you do that?”

Scarlet: “Sunshine, Shinra was a male dominated company! I wanted to get to the top! So I did what I had to do to get there!”

Sunshine: “But what about a good education and hard work?”

Scarlet: “What education? I came from a poor family. And I couldn’t leave anything to the chance of hard work!”

Sunshine: *sighs and shakes her head* “That’s a shame.”

Nida: “Ewwww! So you slept with Heidegger just to get the interview? Gross! No job is worth that!”

Heidegger: “It’s true! Gya haa haa!”

Scarlet: “Shut up and let me finish the story! Needless to say I was hired as the President’s new secretary on the spot. I knew he was married and had a son, but his wife was so sick all the time that it was easy for us to have an affair.”

Rufus: *mumbles some nasty stuff about his father*

Sunshine: “Rufus? Are you okay?”

Rufus: “Yes. Go on.”

Hojo: *digging a video out of the pile* “Ah ha! I think this video will help us illustrate what happened next.”

(he puts a video into the vcr. It’s labeled r.j.s project #1. the video is a bit fuzzy at first but after a moment it comes in clearer. We see hojo in his lab, mixing various potions together)

Hojo: “I am mixing together a substance which is more deluded than the substance I injected Sephiroth with as a child. Because the R.J.S. specimen is not used to these cells, I am mixing the substance consequently.”

(then a very good looking man with short black hair and red eyes walks into the room. He’s wearing a turk uniform)

(in the present…)

Kuja: “Oh my goodness! Who is that hunk?”

Hojo: *frowning* “That is Vincent.”

Kuja: “Wow! No wonder you still talk about him all the time!”

Hojo: “Shush! Watch!”

(back to the tape)

Vincent: “Alexander. Are you carrying on with this ridiculous experiment again?”

Hojo: “Vincent, I’ve asked you numerous times not to interfere.”

Vincent: “I cannot let you start this up on another child! I mean after what you’re doing to Sephiroth–“

Hojo: “The President insists that this is done. I’m not going against an order.” *glares at vincent* “If you have such a problem with it, take it up with him.”

Vincent: *frowns* “This is sick! All of this is sick! And I thought what you were doing to Sephiroth was bad — but this baby has not been introduced to this junk at all! It could kill him!”

Hojo: *still mixing stuff* “The President is well aware of the risks, Valentine. He told me to proceed nonetheless. So that is what I am doing.”

(vincent looks shocked and appalled to hear this news. There is the sound of a large and heavy door opening. Hojo looks up in alarm. That’s when sephiroth walks in. his hair is a bit shorter, only a little bit past his shoulders, and he looks young, but he still looks older than his age)

Sephiroth: “Hojo…” *he glances at vincent* “Um…where is my practice sword? I left it in the lab after practice yesterday.”

Hojo: *back to mixing* “I told you not to leave these things in the lab, Sephiroth.”

(sephiroth and vincent are looking at each other.)

Sephiroth: “…So I made a mistake. Am I not human? Where is it?”

Hojo: “I put it back in your room. Where it belongs.”

(sephiroth gives vincent a small smile, but says nothing to him. He then leaves the room without another word. The door in the background can be heard opening and closing again. Vincent turns to hojo)

Vincent: “Perhaps now that you have your new project, you can leave Sephiroth alone.”

Hojo: “Oh, Valentine. My work with him is never done. He is a constant work in progress. And you know this.”

(the tape skips out at this point. A moment later it cuts back in. hojo is in the lab again. But this time he’s putting some substance into a syringe. A baby is screaming it’s head off off camera)

Hojo: “Quiet that baby down! I cannot think while he’s screaming like that!”

(scarlet walks on camera holding the crying baby rufus)

Scarlet: “I’m trying! He won’t be quiet!”

Hojo: “You’re a woman! Don’t you know how to shut a baby up?”

Scarlet: “I’m not a mother! You have a son! Why don’t you do it?”

Hojo: *annoyed sigh* “Vincent. Won’t you please?”

Vincent’s voice: *off camera* “No. I won’t be a part of this.”

Hojo: “Vincent…”

Vincent’s voice: “I’m only here because the President ordered me to be.”

Hojo: “I don’t know why he’s not here himself! Instead he sends me a secretary and a Turk!”

Scarlet: “The President is at a business function in Nibelheim. The first reactor has been running for a few months now.”

Hojo: “If I would have known he was going there I would have told him to bring back some documents from the lab in the mansion! I left a few things behind when we came to Junon.”

(baby rufus screams even louder. Scarlet and hojo both grimace)

Hojo: “Vincent! Please! We are doing this with or without you and if you hold the child perhaps you can make his life a bit better!”

(for a moment nothing happens. Then vincent steps into the camera’s view and takes the baby from scarlet. He rocks him a bit and rufus quiets down right away)

Scarlet: “Wow. You’re good at that. Do you have a lot of kids?”

Vincent: “No…” *glares at hojo* “But I basically raised one.”

Hojo: *preps needle* “All right. We’re all ready. Hold that baby still, Vincent.”

(hojo goes over and sticks rufus with the needle. As the video goes black again all you hear is the baby scream…)

(back to the present…sunshine looks over at rufus who is staring at the tv intently. She puts an arm around him)

Sunshine: “Rufus…? Are you okay?”

Rufus: “I’m fine.” *to hojo* “Is there more on this tape?”

Hojo: *shrugs* “Like I said, I haven’t watched it.”

(they turn back to the tv. Sure enough the screen flickers on again. Hojo’s there in his lab again, mixing stuff around. The door in the background opens and slams shut and once again young sephiroth stomps on screen)

Sephiroth: “Hojo! This is completely stupid!” *he slams a wooden sword on the lab table* “I don’t want to do this anymore!”

Hojo: *puts down what he’s working on* “What are you talking about? Get that off my counter at once!”

Sephiroth: “No! I don’t want to train with this wooden sword any more! I don’t want to join SOLDIER!”

Hojo: “That is complete and utter nonsense! Now get that off my counter at once!” *goes back to what he’s doing*

Sephiroth: “I’m sick of doing what you tell me I have to do! I don’t want to join SOLDIER – I want to be a Turk!”

(hojo gives sephiroth an extremely nasty look and slams down what he’s been doing. Sephiroth just glares back. Hojo goes over to sephiroth)

Hojo: “You’re not going to be a Turk! That is ridiculous! Now pick up your sword!”

Sephiroth: “Why?! Why can’t I be a Turk?”

Hojo: “Because you’re better than the slime Shinra picks up off the street! You’re not a pathetic destitute who has killed someone just trying to rise above the scum that you are! That’s why you can’t be a Turk! Now pick up your sword and get back to practice!”

Sephiroth: “You’re a liar! That’s not what a Turk is!”

Hojo: “Oh, you think I’m lying to you? Then fine. Why don’t you ask your friend Vincent how he got to where he is? Think he’ll lie to you too? That’s why you want to be a Turk, isn’t it? Because you have some crazy delusions of wanting to be like him?”

Sephiroth: *frowns* “I could wish for worse!”

Hojo: “You could wish for better!” *picks up the sword and shoves it at sephiroth* “Now go back to your practice! And I better see you back here in an hour for your vitamin shot!”

Sephiroth: “Is it really a vitamin shot, or are you just going to slash me with that razor again?”

Hojo: “Get out of here!”

(glaring, sephiroth takes his sword and moves off camera just as the picture goes blank. Then the whole screen comes up fuzzy because the tape is over. Hojo quickly gets up and pops it out)

Hojo: “Well… That went rather off topic at the end, didn’t it?” *uneasy laughter*

Kuja: “Poor Sephiroth.”

Seymour: “Good for him he discovered hair gel.”

Kuja: “Oh yes.”

Scarlet: “Anyway, Rufus… Your mother’s health didn’t really get any better. And your father barely spent any time with her.”

Rufus: “Because he was with you.”

Scarlet: “…I wasn’t the only one.”

Rufus: *mutters* “Typical.”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! He wasn’t Scarlet’s only one either!”

Sunshine: “Mom!!”

Scarlet: *shrugs* “I told you how it was.”

Hojo: “She even tried to sleep with me. But I couldn’t fake liking that more than once.”

Nida: “Ewwwwwww!!! That is nasty!”

Kuja: “Ew is right. That is way too much info.”

Hojo: “With your mother sick and your father gone most of the time, you were in almost constant care of nannies, Rufus. Except when it came to the Jenova testing. For that, there was only a few your father trusted: myself, Scarlet, Heidegger and Vincent.”

Sunshine: “Vincent was quite important at the time, wasn’t he?”

Hojo: “Vincent was the head Turk. He was what Tseng is now. He had seen it all…” *frowns* “And he certainly liked to remind me of it.”

Nida: “Do you have any more home movies? They’re pretty cool!”

Hojo: “They are not home movies. These were formerly highly classified documents.”

Kuja: “Why does it seem like parts are missing?”

Seymour: “And why is it so disjointed if they were on all the time?”

Hojo: *sigh* “There was more than one camera. They all recorded at different times. Nothing is missing, it’s just on different tapes.” *he picks up another tape* “This one isn’t from the lab camera.”

(he picks up the tape and puts it into the machine. The picture flickers on and we’re in the conference room at shinra. President shinra is seated at the head table. Vincent, scarlet, heidegger and a young looking palmer are also seated at the table. Scarlet is taking notes)

Palmer: “Space program! Space program!”

Shinra: “Shut up about the space program. I told you we’re focusing on the mako reactors now! There’s an area east of Kalm that is drenched in the stuff.” *smiles* “We’re going to build a city there.”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! Excellent idea!”

Shinra: “In four or five more years we’ll have more reactors and we’ll be able to fund such a project. For now we’re focusing on the reactor we have in the Nibel mountains, and the new one we’re building where those stupid birds have their nest. Oh! And I’m expecting plans for the underwater reactor any day now. Junon will be of more use to us then. And we can build a better city up here! With an airport!”

Palmer: “…Space program?”

Shinra: “No! Shut up! Now get out of here! Meeting dismissed! Hojo! Scarlet! Valentine! I’d like to speak to you all for a minute.”

(heidegger and palmer waddle out. Scarlet, hojo and vincent come over to where president shinra is standing)

Shinra: “How is the boy doing?”

Vincent: “You mean your son?”

Shinra: “Yes, my son! How is he taking the treatments?”

Hojo: “Not well. The baby is often sick. The Jenova treatments have been giving him very high fevers.”

Scarlet: “And according to his nanny he hasn’t been eating very well.”

Shinra: “Does my wife know he’s been ill?”

Hojo: “She’s so sick herself she spends most of her time asleep.”

Shinra: *annoyed sigh* “Again? What is wrong with her now?”

Hojo: “Well–“

Shinra: “Fine! Whatever! Keep giving him the treatments!”

Vincent: “…Sir, he might not be able to handle any more…”

Shinra: *snaps* “Are you a scientist, Valentine? Last time I checked you were still just a Turk!” *to hojo* “Is that your professional opinion?”

Hojo: “Well…his body hasn’t been absorbing the Jenova cells too well…”

Shinra: “No!? Then up the dosage! I don’t want a sickly kid on my hands! Do you understand me?”

Hojo: “Of course, sir.”

Shinra: “I’m going to lunch.”

(he leaves and scarlet follows him. Hojo gathers up some papers)

Vincent: “This is disgusting. You know how sick that child has been! But you’re going to up the dosage anyway?”

Hojo: “I’ll do what his father wants.”

Vincent: “Of course! What do you care if he lives or dies?! You don’t even care about hurting your own son!”

Hojo: “Where’s your loyalty, Vincent? You’re a sorry excuse for a Turk.”

Vincent: “And you’re a sorry excuse for a scientist.”

(hojo glares back at vincent but he says nothing. He simply gathers up his papers and storms out. Vincent, looking upset, sits in one of the tables with his head in his hands. A few moments later the door opens and shuts and sephiroth comes in. vincent looks up at him)

Vincent: “Did you lock the door?”

Sephiroth: *nods quickly*

(then vincent gets up out of his seat and he and sephiroth grab one another and kiss deeply)

(present)

Kuja, Seymour, Nida, Sunshine, Scarlet and Heidegger: “WHOA! (gya haa haa!)”

Kuja: “Now this is getting interesting!”

(meanwhile, hojo is giving the tv the most angry and dangerous look…)

(back to the tape. They kiss for a good long time before finally breaking away)

Sephiroth: “I missed you.”

Vincent: “I missed you too, angel. I’m sorry I’ve been so busy.”

Sephiroth: “It’s okay.” *sigh* “Hojo’s just been lying to me again.”

Vincent: “Oh? And what did he say?”

Sephiroth: “He said Turks are slime that Shinra picks up off the streets. And that they’re poor people who have nothing else to do but kill people and hope they get somewhere better.”

Vincent: *looks very serious* “He said that to you?”

Sephiroth: “Yes.” *pause* “But it isn’t true. …Is it, Vincent?”

Vincent: *sits on the table* “In his words, no. But I did kill someone to get where I am, Sephiroth. And I was poor in the worst sense of the word. But I killed that man out of self defense and nothing more.”

Sephiroth: *sits next to vincent* “You never talk about yourself, Vincent. Why? Why not to me?”

Vincent: *looks at him* “My past is irrelevant to us both now, my angel. It makes no difference how I got here. It only matters that I am here with you.”

Sephiroth: “But you know all about me, Vincent. You’ve known me since I was a kid. Just tell me something about yourself. Anything. Please? If only to prove you love me and trust me.”

Vincent: *smiles a little* “Well, all right, angel. If that’s the way you see it.”

Sephiroth: *smiles at him* “Well you know I love you, Vincent.”

Vincent: “I know, angel.” *sigh* “Well, let me just tell you that once I had a twin brother. And the man that I killed took that away from me.”

Sephiroth: *looks concerned* “Oh… Vincent…”

Vincent: *looks at him* “Then that man came for me. So I took from him what he took from my brother. …And that is why I sit where I do now.”

(they kiss again)

(back to the present)

Kuja: “This is better than a soap opera!”

Nida: “Hey…what’s wrong with dr. weird?”

(hojo still looks murderous.)

(back to the tape)

Vincent: “Anyway, angel, I didn’t ask you to meet me here in order to bore you with past stories.”

Sephiroth: “You never bore me, Vincent.”

Vincent: *smiles* “I actually have a gift for you.”

Sephiroth: *eyes light up* “A gift?! Really?!”

(still smiling, vincent stands up, reaches into his pocket and pulls out a ring box. He then holds it out in front of sephiroth)

Vincent: “Here. This is for you.”

(looking amazed sephiroth takes the box and opens it. Inside is a shiny gold ring. Sephiroth gasps)

Sephiroth: “Vincent…is this *real*?”

Vincent: *chuckles* “Of course it is, angel. Nothing but the best for you.” *he takes it out of the box* “May I…?”

(sephiroth nods and holds his hand out. Vincent slides the ring on his finger. He then squeezes sephiroth’s hand and gets down on both knees before him. He doesn’t look at sephiroth as he talks. Instead he just looks at the ring on his hand.)

Vincent: “Angel… I bought this for you because I love you. And I wanted you to have something you could look at and remember me by… If anything should ever happen to me…”

Sephiroth: “Vincent… Don’t even talk that way.”

Vincent: *looks up in his eyes* “If anything should ever happen to me, angel, I wanted you to be able to look at this ring and remember that I love you and I will always love you, no matter what may come between us.”

(sephiroth gets off the table and kneels so he’s facing vincent)

Sephiroth: “I know that, Vincent. I won’t ever forget that.” *looks at the ring* “And I won’t ever take this off. Ever.”

Vincent: *takes sephiroth’s face in his hands* “Angel… As long as there is a breath in my body I will give you anything you need.”

Sephiroth: *smiles* “I know, Vincent. So will I. I love you.”

(and they go to kiss again…)

(but back in the present time, hojo gets up, angrily ejects the tape and throws it to the floor)

Hojo: “I knew it! I just knew you’d been sneaking around on me! Just how long were you going behind my back?! And you thought I wouldn’t find out?! How foolish of you!”

Everyone else: “……………”

Scarlet: “Uh, Hojo? Why don’t you pick up that tape and get back with the program?”

(hojo scowls, but says nothing. He picks up the tape and puts it back on the table. He then starts to go through the other tapes)

Rufus: “So basically my father didn’t care if I lived or died. Somehow that doesn’t surprise me.”

Scarlet: “Your father’s order was law at the office, Rufus. So we kept up what we were doing. It went on for another year.”

Hojo: “I found the last tape.”

(he shoves it in the machine. The picture is blurry at first but then we see scarlet, vincent and hojo in the lab again with the baby. Vincent is holding the baby. Scarlet is looking at him.)

Hojo: “This is the last treatment. I’ve already confirmed it with the President.” *starts writing in a notebook*

Scarlet: “Look at Rufus’ eyes. They practically glow.”

Vincent: “It’s an effect of the Jenova cells. You’ve been here a year now, haven’t you seen Sephiroth’s?”

Scarlet: “Not from up close like this.” *looks at hojo* “What are you writing?”

Hojo: “I’m documenting that we’re stopping the procedure because the child is continuing to have adverse reactions to the cells and because he does not seem to be benefiting from it in any way.” *pause* “This is really is an interesting development.”

Vincent: “Get on with it, Alexander. Some of us have other work to be done.”

Hojo: “Very well, very well.” *gets needle* “With this, we shall consider this experiment closed.”

(then the screen goes black. Then it phases back in. we see hojo working at the desk and the now familiar sound of the lab door opening and closing. Then sephiroth stomps into view looking more angry than ever before)

Sephiroth: “Where. Is. Vincent.”

Hojo: “Vincent’s been terminated. You’ll never see him again.”

(back in the present, hojo quickly gets the remote, shuts it off and then fast forwards the tape.)

Hojo: “And so because the treatments were not producing the desired effect, they were stopped. It was no matter, really. According to tests you were growing normally and had not inherited your mother’s immune disease.”

Kuja: “Why did you fast forward the tape?”

Seymour: “Yeah! We were watching that!”

Hojo: “That has nothing to do with the story we’re telling.”

Kuja: “But–“

Hojo: *snaps* “Drop it!”

Kuja: *mutters* “If I didn’t know better I’d think he had PMS…”

Rufus: “So that was the end of the Jenova experiments on me?”

Scarlet: “Yes. And it was a few months later I found out I was pregnant with Sunshine.”

Hojo: *picks up tape* “I think that’s on this tape.”

Nida: “For someone who’s never watched these tapes you’re pretty good at knowing what’s on them!”

Hojo: “They’re properly marked and dated! And I know when things happened!”

(he pops it in the player and on the screen we see the president’s office. Hojo is holding out baby rufus like he’s diseased. President shinra is next to him and sephiroth sits on the couch looking uninterested)

Shinra: “I think you’ll enjoy it in SOLDIER, Sephiroth. And surely all your training makes you more than qualified.” *smiles* “You really are quite a special young man.”

Sephiroth: “………”

(the intercom on the desk beeps and it’s another woman’s voice – not scarlet’s)

Woman’s voice: “President Shinra? Scarlet from Weapon’s research called. She said she’s on her way and wants to meet with you in your office in an hour.”

Shinra: “Dammit.” *hits intercom* “Okay. I’m going into a meeting now, but I’ll be back then.”

Woman’s voice: “Okay!”

Shinra: *looks at rufus* “Now what to do with him.”

Hojo: “Leave him with Sephiroth.”

Sephiroth: “What?!”

Shinra: “Ah, yes! You won’t mind watching my son for an hour, do you, Sephiroth?”

Sephiroth: *frowns but says nothing*

Shinra: “Excellent! Have fun you two!”

(hojo dumps rufus on sephiroth and then he and president shinra leave. Sephiroth puts one year old rufus next to him on the couch. Baby rufus smiles happily at him, clutching a brand new stuffed teddy bear. sephiroth looks at him)

Sephiroth: “Looks like we’re stuck together.”

Rufus: *bounces a little*

Sephiroth: “Your father treats you like sh*t. But at least you have a father. I don’t have any parents at all. And the only person who ever loved me is gone.” *looks at his ring* “And I don’t know what happened to him.”

Rufus: *giggles*

Sephiroth: *tiny smile* “Yeah. You’re one year old. What do you know of the world or anything bad?”

(then all of the sudden the whole thing starts to fast forward. Everyone groans in annoyance and looks at hojo, who is fast forwarding it)

Hojo: “What? This isn’t anything interesting. Unless you want to hear him whining about what happened to Vincent for an hour, I’m doing everyone a favor!”

(finally president shinra and scarlet enter the room and he stops fast forwarding)

Shinra: “Oh, Sephiroth. Thanks for watching Rufus. You may go.”

(sephiroth nods his head and leaves. Poor rufus is left by himself on the couch playing with his teddy bear)

Shinra: “All right, Scarlet, what is it? Your new office is ready, you know. It’s on the 37th floor.”

Scarlet: “I know. I’ve seen it. I’m not here about the office.” *pause* “I’m pregnant.”

Shinra: “What?!”

Scarlet: “You heard me.”

Shinra: *hand to head* “No! No! This could ruin me! Why do I keep getting these kids I don’t want?!”

Rufus: *continues to play in the background*

Scarlet: “I came here to ask you what you wanted me to do.”

(shinra paces for a few moments. Then he stops and looks at her)

Shinra: “No one has to know that’s my baby. You’ve slept with half the office–“

Scarlet: “*Excuse* me!”

Shinra: “Well you have! So you have that baby, and then you put it up for adoption!”

Scarlet: “Are you *sure*?”

Shinra: “Yes! It’ll be nice to know there’s some hope for my genes out there!” *gestures to rufus* “Everyone knows it’s not that!”

Rufus: “Da…”

Shinra: *still pointing at rufus* “This is the way I learned not to bed any stupid pretty thing that come my way!”

(then the tape stops. With a groan everyone turns to hojo again, but he holds up his empty hands)

Hojo: “It wasn’t me this time.”

(Everyone now looks to where rufus is putting the remote down)

Rufus: “I’ve seen enough.”

Sunshine: “I’m so sorry, Rufus.”

Rufus: “It’s okay. It’s not your fault, Sunshine. It’s his fault. I always knew he hated me. And now I know why.” *clenches fists* “And if it isn’t the stupidest reason…”

(sunshine pats him reassuringly on the back. Hojo is going through the tapes again)

Hojo: “I’m afraid we don’t have anymore relevant video.”

Nida: “Dammit! That was the best part!”

Scarlet: “Anyway, do you still want to hear the rest?”

Sunshine: *looks at rufus* “Do you, Rufus?”

Rufus: *nods* “Why not?”

Scarlet *clears throat* “Well, so there I was pregnant. At the time only Hojo knew the truth. I was now a weapons researcher at Shinra, so that kept me pretty busy.”

Hojo: “Rufus, your mother got worse and worse as the months went on. Finally her immune system just gave out and she died about a month after your second birthday.”

Rufus: *sigh* “I don’t remember my mother at all…” *pause* “Did she even see me much?”

Scarlet and Hojo: *exchange a look*

Scarlet: “Well, she was so sick all the time that she really didn’t have the energy…”

Rufus: “I understand. Go on.”

Scarlet: “…Anyway, I was in my 8th month of pregnancy at the time…”

(flashback again. We see scarlet, who is indeed very pregnant, sitting in the conference room at shinra with heidegger, palmer and hojo. Everyone is in black. After a moment president shinra stomps in)

Shinra: “Well that was a boring funeral! She held out longer than I thought she would, I give her that!” *he chuckles and takes his seat* “Okay! On to business! The underwater reactor in Junon is complete! Where to next?”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! What about that city you talked about? Gya haa haa!”

Shinra: “That’s still a few years off. We’re going to concentrate on building Junon now. I want it to have some kind of defense system like the world has never seen! Scarlet, you’ll be in charge of that.”

Scarlet: “Of course, sir! Thank you!”

Shinra: “And someone needs to start researching a good boarding school for my son. Now that his mother is dead it’ll be easier to send him away.” *to palmer* “That’s your job.”

Palmer: *whines* “But what about the space program?”

Shinra: “Shut up! This meeting is adjourned!”

(Back to the present…)

Rufus: “Wow! He had a meeting on the day of my mother’s funeral and he talked badly about her too! What a winner!”

Sunshine: *shakes head* “What a scumbag.”

Scarlet: “Anyway! I went into labor about a month later. I have to admit, Sunshine, you came out pretty easily.”

Heidegger: “I’m surprised she didn’t just fall out! Gya haa haa!”

Nida: “Ew, Heidegger! That is gross!!”

Scarlet: “So after you were born and I was recuperating in the hospital…”

(flashback. Scarlet is in the hospital bed holding newborn baby sunshine. Then president shinra enters. He looks annoyed and a toddling 2 year old rufus is behind him)

Shinra: *to rufus* “Come on! Hurry up!”

Rufus: “Daddy…where teddy go?”

Shinra: “You don’t need that stupid thing!” *turns to scarlet* “So. It’s a girl?”

Scarlet: *smiling* “It’s a girl! I named her Sunshine. Isn’t that a beautiful name?”

(meanwhile in the background rufus is trying to climb on a chair)

Shinra: “Yeah. It’s okay, I guess.” *to rufus* “Rufus! Stop that!”

Rufus: *chin quivers*

Shinra: “Oh, don’t cry now! I can’t stand that noise you make!” *looking around* “Don’t they have a daycare here…?”

Scarlet: “Uh, so anyway, Stockwell, I was thinking–“

Shinra: “Oh right, about the baby. No problem. I already had my secretary contact the orphanage. They’ll be here to pick up the baby later today. From there it’s pretty likely she’ll be adopted. And we don’t have another problem on our hands.” *barks* “Rufus! What did I say?!”

(rufus starts to cry, and the expression on scarlet’s face says it all. She’s not ready to give up this baby. But she says nothing.)

(Back to the present…)

Sunshine: “So you didn’t say anything to him?”

Scarlet: “What was I going to say? He was a powerful man. More powerful than you can imagine.” *sigh* “So anyway, just as he said the orphanage came for you…”

(flashback. Scarlet is packed and ready to leave the hospital. Sunshine lies in a crib in the room. A nurse sticks her head in)

Nurse: “Ms. Calhoun? The rep from the orphanage is here for the baby.”

Scarlet: “Oh…okay.”

Nurse: “You can just leave her there and they’ll pick her up after you go.”

Scarlet: *nods*

Nurse: “Take your time.”

(the nurse leaves. Tentatively, scarlet goes over to the crib and peers down at the baby)

Scarlet: “Well, looks like this is it.” *pause* “I’ll probably never see you again.” *pause* “It’s probably for the best. I’m focused on my career and I’m not really motherly… You’ll probably be much better off with the people who will adopt you.” *long pause* “But… I want you to know that your real mother won’t ever forget you.” *smiles* “And all the nurses said you were the happiest baby in the hospital. That you were a little ray of sunshine. So that’s what I decided to call you. That way everyone you ever meet will know how special you are.”

(she can’t say another word. Looking upset, scarlet then takes a deep breath and leaves the room.)

(present)

Sunshine: “Aw, mom! That’s so sweet!” *hugs scarlet*

Nida: “Wow! I didn’t think you had it in you, Scarlet!”

Scarlet: “Shut it, Nida.”

Rufus: “So is that it? Is that the whole story?”

Hojo: *pulls another tape out of the pile* “Not quite.”

(he goes over and puts a tape in the vcr. it flickers on and there’s reeve sitting at the table with president shinra. he looks very young. his hair is shorter and he doesn’t have any facial hair or glasses.)

Shinra: *standing* “I guess that about covers it. Welcome to Shinra, Reeve.” *extends hand*

Reeve: *shakes his hand excitedly* “Thank you so much for this fabulous opportunity, sir. You won’t regret it! Midgar will be unlike anything anyone has ever seen!”

Shinra: *smiles* “I’m counting on it.”

(there’s a knock on the door.)

Shinra: “Come in.”

(sephiroth enters. he looks several years older and is wearing his infamous outfit. he looks very serious. he’s also holding a now 5 year old rufus in his arms. rufus is holding a teddy bear and clinging to sephiroth’s neck)

Sephiroth: “Sir, I have your son for you.”

Shinra: *looking at rufus* “Oh… I’m afraid I have a dinner I must attend. I don’t suppose I can ask either one of you to watch him…”

Reeve: *eagerly* “I’ll watch him!”

Shinra: “Thanks, Reeve. I shouldn’t be more than an few hours.”

(and with that he walks out the door without giving rufus a look. sephiroth kneels down on the floor)

Sephiroth: “All right, Rufus. Time to get down.”

Rufus: *shakes head* “Nuh uh.”

Sephiroth: “Rufus…”

Rufus: “I don’t want you to go!” *hugs tighter*

Sephiroth: *small smile* “All right… If I promise not to go, will you let go?”

Rufus: *pauses but then slowly nods*

Sephiroth: “All right. Let go then.”

(rufus lets go. sephiroth then stands up and stretches out his back a bit.)

Sephiroth: “You can go if you like. I’ll stay with him.”

Reeve: *shrugs* “I’ll stay if you don’t mind. …I’ve got nowhere to rush home to.”

(sephiroth nods once and sits down)

Reeve: “…I’m Reeve Leander.”

Sephiroth: *nods* “I’ve heard of you. I’m Sephiroth.”

Reeve: “I know. …I think everyone’s heard of *you*.”

Rufus: “And I’m Rufus!” *holds up teddy bear* “And this is my bear.”

Reeve: *smiles at him* “And how old are you, Rufus?”

Rufus: “I’m five!” *he holds the bear out to sephiroth* “Hold, please.”

(sephiroth rolls his eyes but he smiles a little and takes the bear. rufus then takes a small ball out of his pocket and sits down to play with it)

Reeve: “I have to admit I didn’t expect to see you babysitting the President’s son.”

Sephiroth: *shrugs* “When I’m not off somewhere on assignment… I’m used to it.”

Rufus: “Sephiroth watches me ’cause daddy is busy!”

Reeve: “And where’s your mommy?”

Rufus: *looks up with big eyes* “…My mommy is gone.”

Reeve: *frowns* “I’m sorry, Rufus. You know, my mommy is gone too. She went away when I was little like you.”

Rufus: “Did she go to heaven? That’s where my mommy went!”

Reeve: “Yes she did. And I’m going to build a great city for your daddy and name it after her!”

Rufus: “Wow!” *turns to sephiroth* “And where’s your mommy?”

Sephiroth: *ruffles his hair* “I told you we don’t talk about that.”

Rufus: *to reeve* “You know Vincent?”

Sephiroth: “Rufus. Play with your ball.”

(he does so, talking quietly to himself)

Reeve: “He seems like a good kid.”

Sephiroth: “He is.”

(then the door opens and president shinra sweeps in, some random assistant is with him)

Shinra: “The dinner was cancelled. Thanks for sticking around.” *picks up rufus and gives him to the assistant*

Rufus: “Bye bye Sephiroth! Bye bye Reeve!”

Reeve: “Bye Rufus!”

Sephiroth: *smiles* “Bye, Rufus.”

(the assistant carries rufus out. sephiroth goes to leave as well)

Shinra: “Sephiroth…”

Sephiroth: “Yes, sir?”

Shinra: “…You won’t be watching Rufus anymore.”

Sephiroth: *frowns* “…I see.”

Shinra: “He’ll be starting boarding school soon. He’ll be there year round. So there’ll be no need for you to watch him.”

Sephiroth: “I see.” *to reeve* “It was nice meeting you.”

Reeve: “Nice meeting you as well.”

(looking obviously downcast, sephiroth leaves, shutting the door behind him)

Reeve: *stands up* “Wow. Boarding school at five years old? Rufus must be a very smart kid.”

Shinra: “Rufus will grow up to be a businessman. It’s what’s in his blood, and I am sending him to school to make sure that’s what happens.”

Reeve: *nods* “I understand.”

Shinra: “Rufus is not a normal child, Reeve…” *small smile* “…and you might be surprised to discover he and Sephiroth have more in common than either of them know about.”

Reeve: *raises eyebrow* “Oh?”

Shinra: “…Have a seat, Reeve. Now that you’re part of Shinra there’s a lot you should know.”

(and the tape cuts out there again and ends. hojo gets up and pops it out of the vcr.)

Rufus: “…Stuff in common with Sephiroth, huh? That’s something I never saw coming.”

Sunshine: “Do you feel better now, Rufus?”

Rufus: “…………….You know….I do. I still think my father was the most horrible human being on the planet, but he’s dead, I’m rich and my life is pretty damn good.”

Sunshine: *smiles* “Yeah. So is mine.”

Kuja: “So can we watch E! now? I think they have a special coming up on Orlando Bloom.”

Seymour: “Ooh, he is hot.”

Nida: “No! Heidegger and I have to have a rematch in that game! I’m going to beat his brains out this time!”

Heidegger: “In your dreams! Gya haa haa!”

Sunshine: “Well, I guess we better be going.”

Scarlet: “Okay, well you’re welcome any time.”

Hojo: *digging through the tapes* “These are in horrible order…”

Kuja: “Scarlet, tell them we’re watching E!”

Nida: “Hoebag tell them we’re playing our game!”

Scarlet: *annoyed sigh* “Do you have to involve me in every fight?”

Sunshine: “We’ll let ourselves out.”

(they leave. rufus is being very quiet)

Sunshine: “What’s on your mind, Rufus?”

Rufus: “It’s just weird to remember all this about myself. I had no idea that Sephiroth used to babysit me. …And Vincent really stuck up for me too.”

Sunshine: “You know, I never thought I’d say this, but I’m glad I didn’t know our father.”

Rufus: “I told you.”

Sunshine: “And you know, Rufus…. When our father told Reeve you and Sephiroth were more alike than you realized you were, well, I think you’re more alike than *he* realized you are.”

Rufus: “Oh yeah? How’s that?”

Sunshine: *smiles* “You both have horrible fathers.”

Rufus: *thinks about that*

Sunshine: “Well, I have to go. If you need me just give me a call, okay?”

(they hug)

Rufus: “I’ll be fine. But thanks, Sun. Thanks a lot.”

Sunshine: “Anytime, brother.”

(so she goes off and rufus heads back to the ramble room. there he sees vincent and sephiroth on the porch. they’re arguing.)

Sephiroth: “Hey, Vincent, do me a favor, okay? Next time you see that troll you call a boyfriend, tell him not to park his car anywhere near mine.”

Vincent: “Sephiroth… It was the only open spot.”

Sephiroth: “I don’t care! He can park it on the street then for all I care! He’ll probably purposely ram his doors into mine and chip the paint on my car!”

Vincent: “That is ridiculous.”

Sephiroth: “It is not!”

Vincent: “I’m going inside.”

Sephiroth: “You better tell him!”

(and so vincent goes inside. sephiroth crosses his arms across his chest and looks annoyed. rufus goes up to him)

Rufus: “Hi, Sephiroth.”

Sephiroth: *sigh* “What are you selling *now*, Shinra?”

Rufus: “Nothing.” *pause* “Hey, Sephiroth? Can I ask you a question?”

Sephiroth: “What is it?”

Rufus: “When you were growing up…did you see a lot of my father?”

Sephiroth: “Not really. But I saw enough to see he was an asshole, if that’s what you mean.”

Rufus: “I barely ever saw him at all. And when we spoke, it was mostly over the phone. And now I find out about the Jenova thing. And that should have shocked me. It should have. But it didn’t. Because even though I barely saw him, I knew enough to know what kind of man he was. And I know he really didn’t give a sh*t about me.”

Sephiroth: “…You weren’t his child to him, Rufus. You were a genetically bound burden, and he was going to turn you into what he wanted you to be, or kill you trying.”

Rufus: *looks at sephiroth* “It’s hard to think about it that way. Isn’t it.”

Sephiroth: *looks at him* “That’s what it was like growing up Shinra.”

(and with that he turns around and goes inside. rufus stands there a moment, a small smile on his face)

Rufus: *to himself* “Oh, and Sephiroth… Thanks.”

THE END

 

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