Author's Notes: It's been a long time since I last did a short little drabble for Reeve. It's kind of odd for me to realize that. None the less, while dealing with a problem recently in my yahoo account, I stumbled over a few old reviews and names that put me back into the mind of it. That, mixed with the rather odd mood I am in, resulted in this, a small little piece of that classic Reeve.
Dedication: To, in no particular order - Strange and Intoxicating -rsa-, whatevergirl, and LilTigre. These three helped me to get through the FF100 challenge with Reeve really. Whatevergirl supported me with the reviews that made me want to write more. LilTigre was a great constructive help, and someone to look up to in the process of writing. And SaIr was... well, I didn't realize it until much later, but she was a favorite author of mine, whose attention I managed to not only grab, but hold during the whole process, and never even knew it until much later. In your own ways, all three of you have helped me to become the writer that I am today, and I thank you for it.
So, this is for you.
By the time five o'clock hits, most of the building starts to clear out. When seven rolls around, only thirty percent of the total employees of Shinra are in the building. Only about fifteen percent of that number is made up of people who are not maintenance, janitorial, security, or part of the SOLDIER program. Once ten hits, the building is a ghost town, even the janitors and security jumping at the slightest noises. At this point of the night it is likely that only two or three dozen people are staying late to finish reports, or whatever other paperwork lies around on desks. And by midnight...
Midnight is a quiet time. So quiet that it had shocked Reeve, the first time he had hung around the office overnight to finish a stack of paperwork that his supervisor had thrust upon him at five in the evening. He'd been so much younger then. Or at least it seemed to him now that it was so much younger. Twenty-five and just out of graduate school, having passed out early due to that same drive which had kept him there overnight. Ten long years ago. The only sounds at that time had been from the heating system and his keyboard. The only lights from his monitor and the lamp on the small desk they'd given him on the 65th floor. It had practically been a broom closet, but he hadn't complained. Reeve had wanted to impress his boss, and knew he had to finish the work if he wanted to have a free weekend to go out with his then girlfriend.
But that was ten years, and ten hundred nights ago, give or take a thousand. Still, midnight hadn't changed. The place was still as quiet as death, save for a keyboard and a heating system. The only lights still came from his computer and lamp. There was no reason for security to patrol this high, after all. The sixty-sixth floor applied to that rule more than the sixty-fifth so long ago. If people were wandering around without permission this late at night, it wasn't going to be on the executive office level. The security was too hard to pass getting up here, or going back down. Hell, these days Reeve had all but given up on going home for rest once he hit the midnight mark.
Twelve-ten, and all is fine. Another stack neatly signed and set aside for the 'Out' box, destined to be collected when his secretary came in at seven. Another stack, just as thick, picked up from the 'In' tray, his final for the night. Except it had been the tenth, the seventh, the third, the first thing in his pile, set aside every time he noticed the title and told himself 'surely this can wait just a little while longer.'
Except there wasn't any more 'little while longer.'
Operation Domino. A horrid little name. Reeve signed and reached for a notepad, pen, and black, permanent marker. The former two were for taking a few notes that he'd have to have committed to memory before the morning came. The latter was for blacking out any and all sensitive information before he had his hard copy of the report destroyed.
The costs were high. Reeve already knew that, without having to open the report, without having to see the projected damages. How could they not be, when the goal was to bring an entire plate of the city falling to the ground? Hell, the numbers wouldn't even be right, would they? No one knew for sure how many people lived in the Sector Seven slums, or how many people ended up passing through there nightly. What about the people on the plate? Many would die there, the fall of plate and the buildings around them being too much for most people to handle, even if they survived the initial crisis. Damages to buildings, projected repair costs, the damage to the reactor system, structures of the city, train lines...
Billions of gil in damages, if you took the lives destroyed into consideration. Not that Shinra would.
And all of it Reeve would have to be able to parrot back from the numbers developed by the Turks, and those few members of his own department that probably actually worked more for the 'Investigation Section of the General Affairs Department.' No one who really worked for Urban Development in their hearts, in their minds, would agree to come up with this sort of figure. They'd sooner risk telling the city, of dying, than letting this happen. Or so Reeve liked to think.
Five pages read. Ten. Thirty. Detail upon grisly detail. Honestly, if he had known that being an executive would result in this sort of paperwork, Reeve never would have accepted it. Except being the Head of Urban Development didn't usually give you this sort of work to look at, did it? Sure he got lots of reports of 'terrorist' attacks that might have just as well been done by Shinra as a publicity stunt. Sure there were times when he got minor memos of 'potential' damages that 'might' result from some 'minor training exercises' for both SOLDIER and the 'General Affairs Department.' But this...
When was the last time the Head of Urban Development was told, flat out, on paper, in black and white, that the Turks planned on bringing down an entire plate to take out a single terrorist group?
With a sigh Reeve ran his black marker over yet another line, his eyes stinging from the strain, or maybe the tears. All it left was a blurred smudge on the paper, and Reeve stared at it in puzzlement. He looked briefly over at his computer monitor, and after nudging his mouse, checked the time. Two in the morning. Again he looked to the report, finding now that this was not the first of the smudges. Slowly he flipped back one, two, four pages, to where the last thick, impenetrable black line waited, a silent, erased accusation of what he had no choice but to allow. Four pages ago, page forty-three of the double-spaced, single sided report. That was when his new black marker had given out.
Looking down at the notepad by his other hand, Reeve couldn't help but sigh. His note taking had given out long before that. Page ten, he thought. Not that it mattered. All the details were already stored away in his mind, locked up forever with the realization that there was nothing he could do to stop any of it. He couldn't even speak out, or he'd likely find himself not only dead, but the sector five plate dropped too, right on the heads of his grandparents, on old friends from back before his parents had made it topside, and started scrapping out a 'better' living for him. How many more would die if he even tried to save the people of Sector Seven?
It takes all of three minutes to find another, new, black marker and go back over the last few pages that hadn't quite been marked 'clean' of the dirty lies of Shinra.
It takes thirty more to finish the stack, his hands and the pages streaked with the black of lies, deceit, death.
And then it is all Reeve can do to calmly turn off his computer, place the stack in a manila envelope, and turn out his lamp. What he really wants to do is scream, rage, destroy everything in his office. A chair through the computer, his bookshelf overturned, the desk cleared in an angry swipe of his arm. Files torn, knickknacks thrown to the floor, and everything in utter disarray. Rip his nameplate off of the door and ram it through the leather chair the President used in the nearby executive conference room. Destroy everything he can get his hands on, achieve some minor, petty revenge for the people who would lose their lives in less than twenty-four hours.
What he does is pick up his coat, close and lock the door of his office when he slips out, and carries the gruesome package towards the office of the head of 'General Affairs.' There he puts the package into the locked mail box by the door, his delivery to reach Tseng in the morning to inform the Turk that he was aware of plans, and had fulfilled his duty in them.
It's getting close to three by now, or close enough for the trip back home to be pointless. The latest he could afford to sleep until is six if he goes home, the travel time to work, the time to prepare for the day, just too much to be worthwhile for the upcoming day. Better to ignore getting a new, pressed suit, his morning bowl of cereal, and his comfy bed. After the work of this night, he doesn't want any of it, not the slightest illusion of comfort after what he has done.
Instead Reeve heads down a floor, makes his way to the room he used to come to this late at night, back when staying late at the office was only an effort to gain a free weekend, or impress his boss. Back when he was twenty-five and idealistic, thinking that Shinra could change the world for the better. Then he had thought he was doing good, and would come here, to the model room, to look at the beautiful city he was helping to make a better place. Now the model was a reminder of the failure over the years, the lives he couldn't make better, not even his own. And tomorrow night, it would be a memorial, almost, to his greatest failure.
The coat pockets are emptied, and the coat folded and placed neatly on the floor. With a sigh, Reeve stretches out on the floor, his head coming to a rest on the folded coat. Coming to rest just under the Sector Seven plate piece. More than anyone, he deserves to be there, waiting with no hope, as the plate comes down. The sky falling, just like in those old children's stories his parents used to tell him.
For just a few moments he waits there, staring up at Sector Seven. Then he reaches for where he had put his cellphone. No use letting someone catch him here. He sets an alarm for five. It isn't long, and he doubts he will sleep, but he wants to make sure he can go back to his office and grab just a few hours of real shut-eye before his first meeting of the day. The couch up in his office is comfortable enough for him to fall asleep no matter the weight on his mind, and there was a spare suit he could change into after a shower on the sixty-fourth.
Right now, though, he stares up at the plate piece, and wonders. What was it that he did—in this life or the last—that put this knowledge on his shoulders? He wonders if the President will change his mind, if maybe the terrorists will find out and clear everyone out of the Sector.
He wonders if there is a special place in Hell, a place with his name on it, for men like him. Men who stood by and watched as other men condemned so many to death to kill so few, and named it all for a game.