"And just what do you propose?"

"Constant vigilance. If you don't watch someone like him, he might get out of hand. And the other one... You surely don't trust two people like that, do you Rufus? I thought you were smarter than that." The assistant's sneer irritated the blond as he sat behind his desk, fingertips together, staring at him. "There's always hiring others..."

"Unacceptable." What the hell was he supposed to do about Reno's drunken antics and Rude's silent accompaniment? That was just who they were, and he wasn't about to try and change him unless it had a bearing on how the company functioned. As long as Reno wasn't spilling bile all over his paperwork, Rufus thought of him as a stellar employee, and even more so if he kept his weapons in prime condition. One never knew when they were needed...

"Then you doom your own company to failure in its most tender stage. You're just getting past this. How do you expect to make money with two screw-ups like that? You have to rehabilitate them. Especially the red-head. It'll lead to trouble, that it will. Do you think they're just going to get lucky and complete missions without him being sober? I think you're crazy, ShinRa. You put too much faith in them."

"They got me through geostigma. They can get me through this."

"Unlikely. If you don't get yourself through this, no one will. You have to take action to get rid of screw-ups like them. And if you don't want to take action by yourself, then we're just going to have to force you. May I remind you that we are giving you money to build your precious little ShinRa back up?"

Rufus narrowed his eyes, antarctic gaze peering right back at the assistant. "I think you put yourself out of your place, Riley." Edward Riley had always been persistently annoying, but lately it seemed that he'd started grating on Rufus's nerves much more than in the past when he'd advised his father. "This isn't the old man's company anymore. Do you think you can tell me what to do? The youth of the world doesn't listen to the old farts anymore." He stood up, his hands resting on the desk, paperwork in varying sizes of neat stacks on either side. "I have my own way of doing things, and if you think that you're going to control me like you did the old bastard, I think you've lost your mind."

"I'm simply trying to save the pure majesty of the ShinRa family from disgrace, sir," said Riley with the 'sir' hesitantly muttered. "If one as noble as yourself, as your father's legacy, makes a foolish decision, that reflects on his mem-"

"I don't give a damn about his memory." Riley was startled into speechlessness at the young one's impatience. He wasn't usually as irritable as he was that morning. "Get out of my office before you meet a good friend of mine." There was a growl from behind the desk, tails flailing as Rufus mentioned such a notion.

Bowing slightly, Edward Riley nodded. "Certainly, sir. I'll be back to deliver my report later today."

"One last thing, Riley." Rufus stared into his eyes as the adviser stopped from his trip to the door and looked back at him. "If you mention him one more time in my presence and compare him to what I'm trying to do, your presence will be forever absent from the living side of the planet." Riley swallowed hard. Yes, he got the idea, and he knew that the young ShinRa had handled such matters himself in the past. It made him nervous. Bowing again, he ushered himself out of the office and closed the door to give the blond privacy as he started on a new stack of paperwork, likely insurance papers for the newly built and functioning building. From experience, Riley knew that it didn't bode well to incur a ShinRa's wrath. That was almost like playing with a loaded gun.