Shinra Inc. And The Wedding
By: Jason Tandro

Suggested By: Greg

Author's Note: There may have been some confusion from an earlier statement I made. I have no intention of stopping the Shinra Inc. And Series. It's probably my favorite project and it's fun to tell these stories. However I don't think I'm going to attempt something like what I've done with Season 4 again.

Telling an engrossing, but to be blunt a meandering story over the course of a season was a ballsy… but dumb idea. It's an obstacle I felt Shinra Inc. And needed to overcome. It's a story I felt needed to be told, but comparing the stats on Season 4 versus Seasons 1-2 and parts of 3 have kind of brought home the point that yeah, I need to stick with short one-shot stories that don't really have a big overarching storyline.

I know a few of you liked it, and those of you who stuck around and followed this whole thing I appreciate the support! I also appreciate all the readers who have continued to stick with this series since it's humble beginnings, but I'll do a nice long rant on that when I hit episode 50 in Season 5 (can you believe I've almost written 50 of these?)

So ending the series the same way the last season ended, we've got our Christmas celebration along with… you guessed it, a wedding. And the resolution of this long and winding story. It's been fun guys!

==Midgar Hospital==

"Dude… wake up dude…."

Rufus rubbed his forehead in pain. Where the hell was he and who was that annoying bastard? Did he know him? Could he punch him in the face? Rufus slowly opened his eyes. The searing pain of the blinding white light above him forced him to shut them again.

"Where am I?" Rufus asked.

"You're in a hospital, bro," came the unmistakable voice of Bosker.

"Hey Bosker," Rufus said with a slight wince.

"Hey Rufus. How are you feeling?" Bosker asked.

"I fell through the fucking ground, how do you think I feel?" Rufus asked, slowly opening his eyes again now that he was adjusting to the light.

"Heh, good point, good point. But that was a while ago," Bosker said.

"A while ago?" Rufus asked. "What are you talking about?"

He looked around. He saw his legs were still bandaged but they didn't feel broken. Both of his arms didn't appear to have any current wounds either, but there were definite battle scars. In the room with him was Bosker and lying in the bed next to him was Reeve.

But that wasn't the only thing that worried him. There were Christmas decorations everywhere and even choppy Christmas music was playing on the radio by the bed.

"Man, you were out for like four months. Both you and Reeve. He woke up before you did though," Bosker said.

"Still a show off, I see," Rufus grunted nodding towards Reeve.

"We were lucky," Reeve said. "The water cushioned our impact just enough to not kill us all. But we did get beat up pretty badly. Though I think you were hurt worst of all."

"Of course," Rufus nodded.

He had just started accepting his bad luck these days. With any luck in a few more months he'd just be some guy laying in a pine box in a hole in the…. Something stirred in his memory.

"Hey, Reeve. Do you know what 'the secret sleeps underground' means?" Rufus asked.

Reeve looked at Rufus with an odd combination of concern and suspicion. "And how did you learn about that?"

"My dad told me," Rufus replied.

"Your father?"

"Yup."

"Your dead father."

"Yes sir."

"And this was-"

"During a vision I had while we were in space."

"And it was during this time that he told you-"

"To ask you about the 'secret sleeps underground' thing, yes."

Reeve rubbed his head. "You know, there's a lot of that I would like to question, but I'm very tired and I have to get back to work. Your father invested in a project for a secret breed of military called Deepground. He never got around to finalizing it to my knowledge though."

"Really," Rufus said. "Could you maybe double-check that?"

Reeve folded his arms. "Hmm… well I've never been one to argue with a dead guy. Fine. I'll have Hojo look into it."

"Hojo? Doesn't he work for DevCom still?" Rufus asked.

"Oh, dude," Bosker said, interjecting for the first time in a few minutes. "DevCom. That's right you haven't heard."

"Heard what?" Rufus asked with growing concern.

"Alan Messier is dead. And DevCom's main facility is a smoking crater," Bosker explained.

"What the hell?! What happened?!" Rufus asked.

"Hojo, of course," Reeve replied, tying his necktie and standing up out of bed. "He… well suffice to say he did what he does best and bred monsters. The entire place is a smoking ruin and Alan was found with his head smashed to a bloody pulp."

"So much for that hostile takeover," Rufus said, dismissively.

Reeve put on his jacket. "I didn't like Alan, but he was just a businessman. And besides, with DevCom out of the picture we're in basically the same shape as we were last year around this time."

"Well let's hope my dad knows what he's talking about then," Rufus said.

=Shinra Tower=

Reeve walked over to Hojo's lab and knocked on the door. Hojo opened it and let Reeve inside.

"Good to see you up and awake again, Reeve," Hojo said, shutting the door behind him. "Can I get you something to drink?"

"As long as it's not something you've concocted," Reeve replied, sitting in a chair opposite him.

"No no, just some coffee," Hojo said, pouring them both a cup. "A shot of peppermint and ginger for the holidays, you know."

"Peppermint and ginger in black coffee?" Reeve asked.

"Yes. I didn't think the cream would help in this case."

"So basically you have two ground up minty roots in a drink made out of ground up bitter beans?" Reeve asked.

Hojo looked at the coffee suspiciously. He took a sip of his drink and then spit it out.

"It sounded a lot better in my head," Hojo insisted as he grabbed a rag to clean up the mess.

"Stick to what you're best at: making monsters," Reeve replied.

"Are you still bitter about the DevCom thing? I'm not the kind of person to take living in that sort of work environment very well. For crying out loud, I'm a mad scientist, do you expect me to be the best at conflict resolution?" Hojo asked.

"That's not why I'm here, Hojo," Reeve said.

"Oh? Why then?" Hojo asked.

Reeve cleared his throat. "'The secret sleeps underground'. Ever hear about that?"

Hojo sat back in his chair and smirked. "You're referring to Deepground. The original plan was to create an army completely infused with Mako similar to SOLDIER. The actual site of this army was hidden, but I believe the plan was to have them make a base out of Mako Reactor 0."

"Reactor 0?" Reeve asked.

"It was built under this tower, actually," Hojo said.

Reeve looked at Hojo's eyes. For the first time they did not look calm, cold and calculated nor menacing and deviant. They were darting back and forth as though he was trying to remember something.

"The project fell through," Hojo replied. "At the last minute, Shinra decided against it. I'm still not sure why. But he set aside an enormous amount of funds in case we ever needed to reopen that project. But because it was kept secret only a handful knew about it. Not even Domino or Hart would have known."

"Wait, wait, wait, wait. You mean the money is still there?!" Reeve asked.

"It must be!" Hojo said. "I thought that Hart figured it into his calculations when the company was going under, but of course. Only Heidegger, myself and you were ever briefed on the project. Well, Director Lazard and Professor Gast were briefed too, but they're dead so who cares?"

"And how much money is in that fund?" Reeve asked.

"Around 1.4 billion gil," Hojo said. "We need to send a team to Reactor 0 at once!"

"I don't believe it," Reeve smiled. "By dumb luck, Rufus may have saved the company."

=Shinra Tower Balcony Garden=

The day of Tseng and Elena's wedding had finally arrived. They chose to have a small, simple ceremony with their close friends… and Palmer. They had chosen Christmas Eve as their wedding date, with the ceremony taking place around eight in the evening.

The balcony garden on the 25th floor was decorated in white and gold lights, and there was an elaborate arch decorated with lilies and tulips. Behind the arch was the fountain which was currently iced over in the winter's chill.

Reno, Rude and Cissnei sat in the front row, wearing thick black jackets for extra warmth.

" You still carry that hip flask with you everywhere right?" Cissnei asked.

"We both do that," Rude replied.

"I might need a shot to keep my blood from freezing," Cissnei shivered.

On the otherside of the aisle, Rufus, Reeve, Geneva, Bosker and Bosker's wife sat; Bosker and his wife admiring the decorations, Geneva checking something on her phone and Rufus and Reeve sitting in animated discussion.

"So, I've been thinking," Reeve said.

"Yeah?" Rufus asked.

"I don't know how much of that vision in space story is true, but even if it is totally made up, you did come up with the idea that saved the company, not me. Technically that means you win our bet," Reeve explained.

Rufus grinned. "I guess so. But I'd still like you to be my Vice President. Not assistant, Vice President. I need somebody like you to keep me in line."

"Thank you Rufus," Reeve nodded. "But hopefully this year will have taught you a very important lesson."

"Really. I don't think so," Rufus replied.

"What do you mean?" Reeve asked. "You haven't learned anything?"

"What's the moral of this story Reeve? Fiscal irresponsibility will solve itself as long as a dead relative reveals to you in a near death experience that there's an enormous stockpile of gil buried underneath your company? I think not. How about alternative energy is the safer and better way to go and saves money too? Well yeah but only if you can afford to put it in place in the first place. The only lesson I've learned so far this year is that I can be a real prick sometimes and occasionally life has to beat the hell out of me to prove a point."

"I think that is the moral of the story, Rufus," Reeve replied.

Behind them, Heidegger and Palmer were busy drinking shots of gin and commenting on the wedding.

"It's a beautiful thing to see love bloom," Heidegger said, partially in tears. "I wish I'd gotten married."

"There's still time for you. Compared to me, you're young," Palmer hiccupped.

"Compared to you, this building is young," Heidegger commented.

"I guess a toast then, to being young at heart?" Palmer asked.

Cid leaned over from the row behind them. "Better make that a toast to making history by remaining young at heart."

"Cheers!" Heidegger said, downing his shot.

"I better not get too drunk," Palmer hiccupped again. "I'm officiating."

"Wait, did I hear that right?" Rufus said, turning around. "You're performing the ceremony?"

"I'm licensed to wed under the Church of Bob. It's a recognized religion, you know!" Palmer explained.

"And you're half-baked to boot," Rufus nodded. "This should be fun."

Behind the Turks was Hojo and Scarlet. They were in a conversation of their own.

"I'm so happy for these two," Scarlet smiled. "And only slightly jealous."

"Why haven't you ever settled down?" Hojo asked.

"Not many men like dealing with a woman like me. I guess I can seem like kind of a bitch to people who don't know me," Scarlet sighed. "Powerful woman stereotype and all that."

"Eh, if it makes you feel any better, I've always found you attractive," Hojo said.

Scarlet shivered slightly. "Uh… thanks…"

"Not physically," Hojo explained. "Not that you're not, mind. But a person like me is attracted to intelligence and you are one of the smarter women I know. It was fun working with you this year. I'm sure you'll eventually meet somebody who appreciates your intelligence."

Scarlet smiled. "Well… thanks Hojo."

The wedding music began to play and Palmer rushed up to stand under the arch. Tseng walked out, arm in arm with Elena. He wore a dark black tuxedo with silver cufflinks and patent leather shoes. She wore an elaborate white dress that fit her form perfectly and reached her ankles. She wore a single lily in her hair.

"Ladies, gentlemen, friends and guests from all around the world," Palmer began. "We thank you for coming together to witness the joyous union of Tseng and Elena. They are living proof that an office relationship can work as long as you don't mind your coworkers knowing every intimate detail of your love life."

"Uh, Palmer," Reeve said quietly.

"Why I remember this one time, Elena sent a saucy email out to everybody in the company by accident when she meant to send it to Tseng. In fact I brought the email here, I thought I'd share it with you all."

[Author's Note: See Shinra Inc. And Netiquette]

"Palmer!" Rufus shouted. "This is a wedding, not a roast!"

"Oh! Er, right. Sorry!" Palmer said, slipping the paper with the email in his pocket. Tseng reached directly into his pocket and slipped it into his own. "Er, yes. Very well. Now then, do you have the rings?"

Tseng looked back at Reno.

"Oh, shit, yeah. I forgot about that," Reno stood up and reached into his own pocket, revealing the rings, both matching white gold, hers including a sparkling diamond to match her engagement ring.

"You gave the rings to Reno?" Elena asked incredulously.

"It seemed like a good idea at the time, I don't remember why."

"And now you can say your vows," Palmer explained.

Elena and Tseng got down on their knees.

"Tseng," Elena began. "I've never known anybody like you. You're so serious. But behind that seriousness is a sweetness that most people aren't lucky enough to see. You have always treated me like a princess, and you took our relationship as seriously as anything else you put your mind to. We should all be so lucky to have somebody like you looking after us."

"Elena," Tseng smiled. "You've been the sweetness that has rubbed off on me. Nobody can be around your innocence and kind heart without it leaving an impact on them. You have forever changed my life and I want nothing else but to spend the life that I have left with you."

They placed the rings on each others fingers.

"Do you, Tseng, take Elena to be your lawfully wedded wife, in sickness and health, yadda yadda?" Palmer asked.

"I do," Tseng smiled.

"And you, Elena?" Palmer asked.

"I do," Elena replied.

"By the powers vested in me by the Church of Bob, I declare you husband and wife. You may now kiss," Palmer explained.

The two kissed and everybody applauded. The rest of the wedding seemed to go by in a flash. They walked down the aisle and they all adjourned to the Conference Room which had been decorated for the reception.

While the others celebrated, Rufus adjourned to what was now his office once again. The office was dark, but he didn't bother turning the light on. He sat in his chair and looked out the window at the starlit Midgar. After a year of absolute hell, he was back at the helm.

He reached to his terminal, but did not find what he was looking for.

"The bastard removed my break button," Rufus whined.

[Author's Note: See Shinra Inc. and DIY]

Reeve walked up the stairs a few minutes later.

"Hey, Rufus, you kinda disappeared on us," Reeve said.

Rufus turned around in his chair. Reeve was stunned to see that Rufus had his head in his hands.

"Rufus, are you crying?" Reeve asked.

"No," Rufus replied. And his voice was perfectly normal. He lowered his hands and there were no tears in his eyes. "I just don't understand."

"What don't you understand?" Reeve asked.

"This year. I'm just trying to make sense of how we got to where we are. At the end, it doesn't seem like anything really changed," Rufus sighed.

"Why do you keep trying to make sense of it?" Reeve asked.

"What's that?" Rufus asked.

"Why do you care? Life isn't a series of episodes with a moral or lesson to teach us. Life is a day-to-day thing. Sometimes just living is enough. To know that on this one day you've done something that mattered to somebody else," Reeve explained.

"Yeah, but in the grand scheme of things it doesn't make much difference does it?" Rufus asked.

Reeve chuckled. "Well, as a wise man once told me: 'We're charged with only handling the tiny picture that we have to deal with and thank goodness for that.'."

[Author's Note: See Shinra Inc. and Space]

Rufus smiled and nodded.

"So, I suppose you'll want to hit the ground running come Monday morning?" Reeve asked.

"Yeah. I want everybody in the Conference Room. We have some things that I want to go over. If we're making this whole alternative energy push on our Mako Reactors, I really think we should think of some other green initiatives that will help save us money."

"Rufus?" Reeve asked.

"Yeah?" Rufus asked.

"We've already done that," Reeve smiled. "It was a terrible."

Rufus chuckled. "Oh yeah, I remember that. God I was stupid."

[Author's Note: See Shinra Goes Green]

"You see, Rufus. You are learning!" Reeve smiled.

"Merry Christmas, Reeve," Rufus grinned.

"Merry Christmas, Rufus."