First of all I would like to apologize for the first five chapters, which were written during high school. They will be revamped sometime before I die. I may also alter the timeline a bit (because I made many errors when planing this out first!), at a completely undetermined time. As for the rest of this fic, I will try to write it in a more refined manner. I'm keeping the fic up for now because people seem to like it! You guys humble me with your numerous favorites. And now enjoy 16-year-old me:

Hello there everybody, 'tis Kaarina with their second fanfiction ever =D This one's about Rufus, the most badass guy in FFVII. I know he doesn't get much screentime in the whole story until Advent Children, and he kinda looks like an arrogant dictator, so I just wanted to delve into his character a little more. What exactly happened to him that made him into the cold-hearted, fear-mongering president that he is in FFVII? That can't be his true face, no no. Rufus has a heart, you'll see =D Although I'm not very good at this drama/angst stuff, gimme a break, okay?

Oh yes, and before I forget, I haven't played any of the games before. I think I got to Costa Del Sol in the original game, and that's it. I've seen AC and watched all the cutscenes for Crisis Core, FFVII, and Dirge of Cerberus. I have done very little research on the events before FFVII ^_^; And so, I'm going with educated guesses made by me or other people. I guess you could say it's a bit of an AU (Alternate Universe, right? ^_^;), but eh... this is just a disclaimer, so I don't look like a retard for not knowing anything. Well then, you won't have any more of these boring introductions for future chapters, so you can go enjoy =D

What Started It All

The curtains swayed as a cool breeze blew through the open window, the soft morning light filling the room. A figure stirred under the red satin sheets; it was getting late, and he had to get up soon if he wanted to be on time for once. Another figure shifted, revealing that he was not alone. The man finally sat up slowly, rubbing his eyes, then groaned as he stretched his arms above his head and yawned. He pulled back the sheets and threw his legs over the edge of the bed, touching soft, white carpet. He sat there for a while, forcing the sleep from his eyes.

"This is a miracle; you've awakened without me nagging you for once." She woman lifted her head and rested it on her hands, facing the man. She was unnaturally beautiful for just waking up, with her bright smile, piercing blue eyes, and the sun shining on her dark brown hair, causing it to glow. She looked almost angelic.

"Yes well, if I'm late today, nobody in the world will forgive me." The man turned around and smiled back. He had short blond hair, dark green eyes, and a sharp, powerful face. After a quick smile, he turned back around, and rubbed his eyes some more, grunting.

"What's wrong? Asked the woman. It couldn't have been her, could it?

"The sun was right in my eyes..." the man replied.

"Well then, don't stare at the sun! You'll damage your eyes that way."

"The man smiled. "Why, I just couldn't resist turning to get even a glimpse of your beautiful face, my love." He leaned over and planted a peck on her cheek.

"Oh, you're so charming today." The woman replied. She sat up and kissed the man right on the lips, eyes closed.

"So are you." The man said with a chuckle. "I need to get ready. Remember to wake Rufus, okay?"

"Yes, yes..." the woman said. "You know how cranky he gets when he doesn't have time to wake up before doing anything physical. Just like someone I know..."

"Hah hah, I need a shower. Go wake him." He kissed her once more, then stood and stretched once more. He crossed the room and disappeared into the bathroom.

The woman sighed, and pulled herself out of bed. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes, ran her fingers through her silky brown hair. She also crossed the room to the exit, opened, the door, and crossed the hall to her son's room. He wasn't going to be happy about being awakened, especially with the intensity of the sun shining right through his window. She grasped the brass doorknob, and twisted it until the door clicked open, revealing a brightly lit room, the walls a baby blue color. There was a white, wooden crib next to the far window, in which a sleeping child lay. He had golden blond hair, fair skin, and looked to be about four years old. In fact, his birthday celebration was to be the next week when he would, in fact, turn four years old.

"Rufus... hello sleepy-head." She ran her fingers through the boy's soft hair, and he stirred. There was a small, childlike grumble, and he opened his eyes. They were the same piercing blue as his mother's, full of deep thoughts and emotions. At least that's how they usually were, however, at the time they were full of irritation. The boy squinted in the light, and whined.

"Come on, you have to get up some time." She picked him up gently, and held the small boy in her arms. He was limp, but slowly regaining consciousness.

"Do you remember what day it is?" The boy shook his head sleepily, while rubbing his eyes. The young mother responded in a surprised tone. "Why Rufus Shinra, how could you forget the first day you get to ride in a parade?" The boy looked straight at her, confused. "There now, let's get you dressed and fed. We don't want to be late, do we?" She walked out of the room, and closed the door behind her.

She walked down the hall to the kitchen. Her maid, a young girl of Wutaian descent, was cooking breakfast rather frantically. She noticed the woman who had just entered the room. "Oh my, I'm so sorry!" The girl apologized and ran around the counter and took Rufus in her arms. "I promised to wake up early and take care of him, and my alarm—oh, I'm such a dunce!"

"Oh, never mind that Yori, I usually wake him anyway. Just take care of everything while I get ready? She tousled the boy's hair, and pecked him on the nose. "I'll be right back, okay? Be a good boy, no complaining." She turned and left for the bedroom again. The maid watched as the woman left, and sighed.

"Whew, I thought I was done for. If it weren't for your mother's kind heart, I would be out living in the sector 6 slums still. I don't understand why they don't hire more servants, let alone me." She looked at the boy she held in her arms. "What do you want to wear today? How about the brand new suit you just got?"

The boy grumbled, and said, "It's too tight."

"Now now, it fits you perfectly. It's just a little restricting, that's all. That's how suits are; they're made to look good. And you look simply adorable!" She brought her hand up and pinched his cheek, all the while squealing about his apparent cuteness. Rufus was too tired to do anything but grumble. And with that, the young maid took him to his dressing room.

Thirty minutes later, the man came out of the bathroom with a red towel wrapped around his waist. He turned to the dressing room next to the bathroom; he and his wife used a different one than their son. He stepped through the open doorway, and over to his closet.

"Is that you, honey?" The woman called from behind a screen. Apparently, she had begun dressing before he did; she took her baths at night, when there was no rush and she could relax.

"Yes, it's me." The man said with a smile. He slid open the closet doors, and started shuffling through his suits. "What to wear, what to wear…" he mumbled.

"Do you need help?" Asked the woman, chuckling.

"No, I think a thirty-five year old man can manage picking out his own clothes. Do you need help?"

"Please, don't even think about it…" she laughed.

"It was worth a try, right?"

"Get dressed, you have a big day today."

"Yes mother…" He chose his favorite red suit, and stepped behind his screen.

He came out from behind the partition, fumbling with his tie. He almost gave up, and looked up to see his wife, standing with her back towards him. She faced the mirror, and fumbled with her necklace. She wore a flowing, sleeveless, light blue dress that hugged her slight frame. The man let go of his tie, and walked towards her.

"I told you, I didn't need help." She said.

"Everybody needs help from time to time." He grasped the two ends of her necklace, and connected them.

"There, that wasn't so bad, was it?"

She woman sighed, obviously conceding. She turned to face him, a smug look on her face. "It looks like you could also use some assistance." She chuckled.

The man sighed, defeated. "Please, oh goddess, help this powerless, hopeless man with the tying of his necktie. I am entirely at your mercy." The woman laughed at this remark, and grabbed his necktie.

"Now, that's not how the president of Shinra Incorporated is supposed to act." She said with a chuckle."

"It's called sarcasm, heard of it?"

"Yes, I'm quite familiar with it, thank you." She finished with his tie, leaving the president looking rather spiffy. There was one problem though.

"Do you really have to wear that red suit? It isn't very appealing to the eyes…"

"Nonsense, my tailor said it looked marvelous."

"Maybe he didn't want to upset you, considering you love the color red."

The man paused for a moment, then said, "Well, I feel confident in this suit. I stick out among a crowd, and I look powerful, don't I?"

"I think it looks like you're on fire." The man pouted in response. "But, I'm sure it's more important to look powerful and confident in front of the whole world." She said quickly. "You look fine, nobody's going to care when they see their new leader, the very symbol of a better world."

The man's face lit up, and he pulled his wife close. "Thank you." He said. He lifted her chin, and kissed her. Right about that time, the maid came and knocked on the door.

"Excuse me, Mr. And Mrs. Shinra, your transport will arrive in thirty minutes. I suggest you both wrap up what you're doing and come get breakfast..." The two broke from their embrace.

"Yes mother!" Yelled the president.

"I thought I was your mother! You can't go around with two mothers."

"I think I'd rather have her as a mother-"

"Oh, shut up!" The woman laughed, and pulled him towards the door. "Come on, we've got to go soon."

They both reached the private dining room, with a small wooden table fit for the three of them. Rufus was already sitting in one of the chairs, with his eyes barely peeking over the edge of the table.

"I'm so sorry, I'm in such a hurry right now, I can't seem to do anything right!" The maid ran to get Rufus his booster seat, so he could actually reach his food.

"Oh, I think you're doing fine, the food smells amazing." Said the woman. She sat down next to Rufus, picked him up and set him on her lap, so Yori could set the seat down on the chair. She put him back when the maid went to get the food. "That's better now, don't you think?" Rufus was still waking up, so he didn't answer. The president sat on the other side of him and waited patiently.

"I'm so sorry, I have no excuse for being late, I really don't-"

"Please, Yori! You're amazing as it is. You do all of the chores, and cook all the meals. I think we can forgive a few little mishaps." The woman replied.

"But my work was so shoddy today! I'll need to redo all of it after you leave." She set down the dishes. Today's menu included pancakes, bacon, potatoes, and bowls of fresh fruit.

"Yori, you're amazing. I can't imagine how you find the time to make all of this, and do the chores. The house is always so clean, I don't think it will be necessary to do the chores another time." said the president. Yori looked astounded.

"U—uh, thank you very much, Mr. President. I don't deserve such praise."

"What you don't deserve is to turn away such praise." Yori looked even more shocked. "No, you haven't done anything wrong, I'm just telling you the truth. You're amazing."

The girl's face turned a deep red color; she was speechless.

"I love the shade of red your face is, by the way." The girl gasped, bowed to the family, and left the room, stiffly.

"What she doesn't deserve is you picking on her all the time! You know how hard she works..." scolded the mother.

"I guess you're right. I mean, she was able to get a half-asleep Rufus into his clothes without much fuss, am I right?" He chuckled, and tousled his son's hair, which caused the latter to groan.

"Oh, stop playing and eat your breakfast, we haven't much time!"

"Yes mother."

Sure enough, thirty minutes later a private coach arrived at the front of the Shinra estate. The family was on time getting on the road, surprisingly. It was a short ride to the beginning of the parade, where they were all treated with the utmost respect. Everyone was in a hurry, however, to get the parade started, and they were rushed aboard their float. It looked like a cruise ship made of tissue paper, basically, but it kept the crowd cheering when it passed by. With the light-colored float he was riding on, the president really did stick out like a sore thumb. I seemed nobody cared though. Here was the president of Shinra Inc., and practically the whole world.

Of course the most important family in the world had the most important float, so they were the first ones to enter the parade. After that was the Mayor's float, followed by Weapon's Development and Urban Development. Nobody seemed as excited about weapons as they were the president, but what came after that was much more interesting. On this day, many different departments were being introduced to the public, including Space Exploration. Although that in itself was amazing and unheard of, the main event of the day would be the announcement of the new SOLDIER program. The people had long heard stories of super humans with glowing blue eyes, and were finally getting a glimpse of them. These SOLDIERs would be used to protect the poor people of the world who could not help themselves, especially since relations with Wutai were becoming a bit strained. Thousands of people had gathered to see the renowned SOLDIER program come to life, officially.

The parade went on predictably, with no complications to set it back. The people were throwing confetti from their balconies, and children bounced up and down, cheering. Small stands sold food, balloons, and other carnival items. There was a carnival, in fact, that would be held after the parade, right in the middle of the city. It seemed every person in Midgar was lined up along the street, waiting their turn to see the famous SOLDIERs. When the float finally came by—after many small and rather useless floats that were mainly for decoration—the people screamed and yelled, and threw even more confetti at the float. Standing there were five SOLDIERS, four looking rather generic, save for their massive muscles. They looked to be in their early or mid twenties, a young group; they must have been trained from a young age. The final SOLDIER was a young boy with silver hair. He looked to be about thirteen, much younger than the rest of them. Although he was younger, his physique far surpassed that of a thirteen year old boy. Standing behind him was a scientist in a white lab coat. He had black hair pulled back in a ponytail, and glasses framed small, beady eyes. He seemed to be frowning with great distaste, although none of the spectators could really tell from their distance, and the dark caused by the thick smog that hung over the whole city. It seemed that he didn't like being shown off in front of so many people. The SOLDIERs all had rock solid expressions; none of them moved a muscle, except for one; he seemed to be having trouble keeping that way. Discipline is a hard thing, it seems.

While the whole crowd was in an uproar about the SOLDIERs, the president and his family neared the end of the parade. At the end, a platform stood waiting for them; this would be the final stage, where the SOLDIERs would be announced officially. Much of the crowd tried following the parade, but not everyone could fit into the square behind the floats. Though it would be easier when the floats were taken out to be stored for next time. When the time came for the parade to end, the Shinra family stepped off the float and onto the platform, and waited for the SOLDIERs to catch up.

"There, that wasn't so bad now, was it?" Asked the president's wife. Rufus was more than wide awake at this time, and jumped up and down beside her, tugging on her dress constantly.

"I'm starting to regret wearing this suit. I'm sweating like hell-"

"Don't swear in front of Rufus! You know how easily children pick up bad language... Rufus, please stop tugging my dress, it's delicate!"

The man looked at her sheepishly. "Sorry... but it's true! I don't want to look unprofessional, but-"

"Oh no you don't." The woman interrupted. "You are not taking that jacket off in front of all these people. You made the decision to wear it, and you'll suffer the consequences."

The man's face showed a mixture of confusion and annoyance. "I thought the whole reason I wore it was to be comfortable-"

"I don't want to hear it!" the woman interrupted once again. "Just deal with it for a little while longer—look, there's the float right now!" She pointed towards the oncoming parade, indicating its impending end. Rufus turned, and his gaze followed his mother's gesture.

He gasped. "Look, daddy, it's the best SOLDIERs in the whole program! They're so cool—even cooler than the Turks!" He danced around, pulling his mother's arm with him.

"Rufus, calm down! You're going to rip my arm, just like my dress." She said with exasperation.

At the thought of tearing his mother's arm off, Rufus stopped suddenly and looked up at his mother's face with wide eyes. He whimpered, "Mommy no, did I rip it? I didn't rip it did I? He began examining his mother's arm.

"No, it's fine, really. Just don't jump around like that, please. Here they come!"

With the short attention span of a four-year-old, Rufus whipped his head in the direction of the float once again. He smiled widely, as the enormous men in uniform advanced ever closer. He noticed the boy with silver hair, in the same uniform.

He looked around his mother, and gave his father a confused look. "Daddy, who's that boy? Is he a SOLDIER too?

The president smirked. "Yes, he's one of the best. I'm expecting great things from him."

The boy looked confused, despite his father's explanation. "I've never seen him before, though. All the others I have once." He turned back to the SOLDIERs. They were close now, about two hundred feet from the platform, and moving slowly. He could hardly wait to actually see a real SOLDIER in person; he had only seen them at a distance, or on a screen. The wait was killing him.

His mother smiled as the float came closer, then looked out at the crowd. She had to look interested in the crowd. Just smile and wave. She thought. It will all be over soon. She waved to a little girl in front, who looked ecstatic to be viewing the most important people in the world at the moment. The young mother smiled at the young girl's happiness, and turned away, looking at the people in the balconies. They were starting to run out of confetti, but they were still cheering louder than ever. She smiled and waved at them, practically drowning in the cheers of onlookers.

She noticed one person on the roof next to a chimney, sitting quietly, but smiling. He looked to be in his early twenties, with short, brown-red hair. He wore glasses, and looked to be talking on a cell phone. He wasn't looking at anything in particular, until he glanced at her. He looked away, then looked back again. His smile dropped from his face, and his eyes grew wide. He spoke frantically into the cell phone, but kept calm. He regained his composure, and closed the phone. He smiled at the president's wife, then got up to join another group of people on the roof. He began cheering and screaming along with everyone else after that.

The woman was uneasy. That look of shock in the young man's eyes got to her somehow; she had a bad feeling about all of this. The float moved ever so slowly.. for some reason, she felt like she was running out of time. She urged for the float to move faster, so everything could just end, and she could get home, where it was safe. She looked up at her husband, who was smiling with great admiration and satisfaction. No, it's probably just a feeling. I don't want to make a scene my voicing my worries. She thought. It's almost over, soon the Turks will be here to escort us away, and we'll be safe. There might not even be anything wrong—She paused. What if that man was just embarrassed that she was staring at him? She mentally slapped herself for worrying. Everything would be fine, she decided. Just try to enjoy it, have fun. She thought to herself. She felt much better.

At that moment, her stomach dropped. She knew something was wrong this time. She looked over her shoulder slowly, a concerned look on her face. She tried to hide it, but she was truly frightened this time. She turned more, causing Rufus to look up at her. He saw the worry on her face, and stopped smiling.

"Mommy, what's wrong?" He asked, concerned. "What are you looking at?"

The young woman didn't hear him. She was scanning the balconies for something, anything that would help confirm her feelings. Was something really wrong, or was it just her own paranoia?

"Mommy, why won't you answer me?" Rufus cried. Tears formed in his eyes; he wasn't used to his mother being worried. What was wrong? He looked up at the balconies and roofs, trying to see what his mother was so worried about. Then he saw it. He saw it, but didn't know that he did. His mother, on the other hand, knew exactly what was going on. A man crouched down on one side of the roof, and spoke a few words into his cell phone. Then he looked up, and have a small thumbs-up signal to someone on the roof. The frightened mother scanned where the man was looking, almost crying from fright. Her breathing stopped as she found what she was looking for.

A rifle barrel was sticking out from behind a chimney.

She gasped, and pulled on her husband's arm. "H-honey, were there any soldiers or Turks stationed here?"

The man raised an eyebrow. "No, we figured the SOLDIERs here would be enough. The Turks don't need any publicity."

"No, I mean for security." The woman answered worriedly.

The man looked at her skeptically. "What are you worried about? Look, the SOLDIERs are almost here, they can take care of anything that goes wrong, okay?"

"I'm worried, because there's a..." She turned back to see a man's face looking around the chimney. He looked startled. He darted back around the chimney when he noticed that she had spotted him.

"Honey, there was a gun, I saw it!" She urged.

The man frowned. "I thought the Turks were all out at Junon... except for Veld, of course. Could they have completed the mission that quickly?"

The woman was almost shaking. She stared at the chimney, her gaze fixed on that one spot. It looked like she would have to deal with her fear; sometimes her husband just wouldn't listen. Although, it could have been a Turk, she supposed. She still wished the float would move faster. It was still about a hundred feet away.

The face came out from behind the chimney once again, and she jumped. The man looked frustrated, like he really didn't want to be there. He pulled out his rifle again, and aimed. The woman gasped—He was aiming for her husband!

There wasn't time for thinking, only action. "Honey, move!" She pushed him out of the way, praying she had acted quickly enough.

She didn't even hear the gunshot.

Rufus was still scanning the roof when his mother shouted. His eyed darted to see his mother pushing his father. Why would she do that? Did his father do something wrong? He stepped towards his mother, slowly; everything seemed to be happening very slowly. Then he heard a shot. He jumped as blood splattered his white suit, and his mother's blue dress. He stood still as his mother fell and hit the platform. His father shouted, but Rufus couldn't understand what he was saying. All he was was his mother's pained face, growing more pale by the second. A red stain was growing on her chest—if she had just been splattered with blood, why was it spreading? Muffled shouts and screams filled his ears, screams unlike the cheering of the crowd. The people were afraid. What had happened?

His father was holding his mother in his arms, petting her head. Rufus stepped closer, until he knelt next to his mother. What was going on? His mother's pained, beautiful eyes, rested on his, and she reached out with a pale hand. He heard her voice very clearly.


He took her hand and held it tight. Was she trying to tell him something? Why did she sound so weak? Was she sick? He looked at the ever-growing red spot on her dress. It was huge now—she was almost drenched in the stuff now. His eyes widened. Was she hurt? What was that loud sound, and why did she collapse after it happened?

He looked back at her eyes, which were closed. His father, the most powerful man in the world, cried as he held her. Hi father was crying—he never cried. Ever. Not even when he dropped things on his toes, or cut his fingers. What had happened to Mother?

Was she dead?

Tears filled his eyes and spilled down his cheeks onto his suit. His lip quivered as he felt his mother's hand go limp in his. It was cold. Skin was never cold, at least when it was alive. He had held a dead animal before, his pet dog had been poisoned a year ago. It felt cold in his arms as he cried over it, mourning its death. Was that what had happened to Mother? He called for her, but she didn't answer. Just like when he called his pet's name, Rudy. He didn't like it. She was always there for him. Why did she want to leave him now, when he was so scared?

"Mommy, please wake up. Don't go..." he whimpered. "Please, I'll be good, I promise! Don't go! Mommy!" She wouldn't answer.

It was then when he knew that she would never answer. He'd never hear her warm voice, never see her smiling, glowing face ever again. He would forever remember her as cold, dead, and in pain. He gasped, and screamed.

He didn't even remember much of what happened after that. His father had stopped crying, and looked mad, angry even. The president had said a few words, and then a pair of hands grasped the boy's, pulling him away. Rufus didn't like that at all. He kicked and screamed, demanding that he stay with his mother. She couldn't be dead, that was impossible. She even promised him once that she would always be there, so why were they taking him away? He watched as the crowd ran away, screaming, from of the town center. He watched as his mother's figure grew smaller and smaller.

He watched as he left part of his soul behind on that platform.