Title: Blond Devils

Summary: One day, an announcement is made that there will be a new Director of SOLDIER and Turks, setting off a series of changes among ShinRa Corporation, and an uproar of unimaginable proportions. It's just another day at ShinRa at this point. brother!Rufus and Cloud

Beta'd Pure Red Crane

Chapter 1

It all started with a mass email sent out early in the morning of the new work week.

"To all employees of ShinRa Corporation:

Starting in one week, there will be some changes regarding the current heads of departments. Vice President Rufus Shinra has volunteered to replace the current empty position as the permanent Director of the Investigation Sector of the General Affairs Department. In return, SOLDIER Director, Lazard Deusericus, will be promoted to take the Vice President position that Rufus Shinra will be leaving vacant.

To fill in the empty position of the SOLDIER Director, Cloud Strife has been hired with excellent recommendations of both previous Vice President, Rufus Shinra, and temporary department head of Investigation Sector of the General Affairs Department, Tseng, and will officially start in three months time once officially trained. To offset the absence, Lazard shall continue overseeing SOLDIER until the new Director is ready while covering half of the Vice President operations. The other half shall be taken care of by Rufus Shinra himself.

Let us congratulate our new heads of departments, Cloud Strife and Rufus Shinra, as well as our new Vice President Lazard Deusericus.

Have a nice day,

From the Human Resources Department.

Co-signed by President Shinra."

The stunned uproar that followed said email was expected and as a result, word of the news traveled swiftly throughout the various divisions. Within thirty minutes, the entirety of ShinRa Corporation had learned of the newfound changes and the turmoil that followed afterwards remained as a sign of foreboding.

No one knew what was to happen now and that was the scary part to all those that would be affected, especially the SOLDIERs.

"Director Lazard!" The sudden yell was followed up with a loud bang against the door, nearly startling the individual inside the enclosed office. "We need to talk. Now."

Lazard sighed, pushing up his glasses along the curve of his nose as his blue eyes glanced up at the metal frame before him. He should have expected this the moment he entered his office to start the new work week and it hadn't even been five minutes since he sat down in his office chair. He hadn't even pressed the system button to start up his computer.

Luckily, he had picked up an excellent cup of coffee from the shop two blocks down (because everyone knew that ShinRa's coffee was retched and it was the very reason he was late to work) with two extra shots of espresso, though he wasn't certain it would be enough to push him through the day. Perhaps later, he would take a break and grab more, should probably get some Aspirin too. He had a strong overwhelming feeling deep within his chest that it was going to be a long day.

Sighing once more, he pressed the 'on' button of his computer before calling out, "Come in!" As he waited for his door to be slammed open, he pushed his chair back and decided grudgingly to ignore his current workload that needed to be completed by the end of this week. The announcement had been unforeseen to everyone as he had expected and he should have known that there would be certain individuals that wouldn't be pleased with the abrupt changes. Still, to become Vice President, to gain a higher position that would allow him to keep a closer eye on the company itself, well, he would be a fool to not take it.

His door opened, revealing General Sephiroth himself, dressed in his modified overcoat uniform, the silver-haired male clearly frazzled. Right behind him was the Crimson Commander, Genesis, and Honor-bound Commander, Angeal. Both were dressed in their usual uniforms and all perceptibly stressed, the blond speculating from the news.

Lazard observed from behind his rims as Angeal closed the door behind him, locking it to keep eavesdroppers from slipping in. Not that it mattered since the three best SOLDIERs were standing before him and they had the most sensitive hearing. Sneaking up on these three was impossible. Unable to hide his smirk, his pleasure of seeing the 'Holy Trinity Firsts' (a nickname some men had given them) so frazzled, Lazard placed his folded arms against his desk. "I take it that you're here about the announcement?" There would be no other reason as to why all three of them would be here.

Sephiroth decided to make the point of this hasty meeting, stepping forward before the other two. "It should be obvious. You haven't once mentioned anything regarding this. It's unexpected."

Lazard's lips twitched into a smile. "Yes, well, it was unexpected for me as well. The decision was only made last month."

"Last month? And you never once thought to alert us?" Sephiroth wasn't pleased regarding the changes. For himself and the rest of SOLDIER, Lazard was one of the few good uncorrupted men of ShinRa that actively sought to help his men than just use them as expandable goods. Anyone else would willingly send them to their deaths and not even blink an eye at it.

"My apologies, but I've been too busy dealing with these changes to actively seek out a meeting with the three of you, much less send a message. It doesn't help that two of you were off on missions and the other was on mentoring duty with Third class, Zack Fair." The three Firsts glanced at each other, knowing that little tidbit of information was true. They had been busy the last month, dealing with Wutai, outside terrorist groups, and just the regular hordes of monsters surrounding Midgar. The combination just simply ate into their free time. Attending regular meetings with other members of ShinRa, sorting through potential cadets, and various complaints from their own men hadn't made things any easier. Lazard sighed, tilting his head to the side as he took in the three men's facial expressions. They were unreadable except for Angeal, all of which wasn't unsurprising. "And to be honest, I'm not entirely one-hundred percent sure what's going on to cause these changes. It was Rufus himself that asked me to take his position and the very same to employ Cloud Strife as my replacement."

The surprise that followed was obvious, Sephiroth glancing towards his fellow companions to ensure what he was hearing was indeed correct. "Rufus? Rufus himself? He actually willingly demoted himself?"

Lazard nodded. He too had been surprised when his younger half-brother had suddenly called him out, considering they rarely spoke to each other outside meetings between board members. He wasn't oblivious to the detestable rumors that circulated around the ShinRa heir, but this sudden development was eccentric. It wasn't like the blond to give up such a high position of authority so willingly, not when he was known to be power-hungry. Lazard almost sighed once more and leaned back against his chair. "I don't know Rufus very well, but I can say for certain that he's up to something and I've been included in his little plot. That's all I can say on this matter."

Sephiroth shuffled in his stance as he tried to look anywhere besides the blond man before him. Genesis already had a sneer on his lips, looking just moments away from getting in a verbal fight.

It was Angeal that spoke up, wanting to get things rolling. "And this Cloud Strife? When will he be making his appearance? He'll be spending these three upcoming months training with you, yes?"

"About that..." Lazard sighed heavily. He was definitely going to need more coffee today and perhaps for the rest of the week. "He actually already started two weeks ago."

"What?" This time, the yell came from all three SOLDIERs, each surprised by the unexpected news.

Lazard wanted nothing more than to take off his glasses and rub in-between his eyes. This was going to take a while. "Remember I mentioned that these changes were decided last month?" He received a nod. "Well, Cloud decided to get started right away instead of waiting. The first week, he was with me, learning the ropes of the business and management. I'll admit, he's quite the...competent individual. He memorized everything and more during that time, and has already started thinking up of ideas to reorganize everything I've done. Apparently, he found my organizational skills regarding the paperwork for missions and individual SOLDIERs...unsatisfying." There was a click of his tongue, unsure if he was impressed or offended. For now, he would go with impressed. "He finished learning everything within a week and has moved on to something else."

There were three looks of confusion facing him, but none of them were entirely sure on what exactly to speak up about. And the thing is, either did Lazard. He was...uncertain when it came to Cloud Strife. A single week wasn't enough time to get to know someone and he hoped that in the upcoming months before the complete switch, he would be able to learn more.

"To be completely honest, I'm not entirely sure what he plans on doing, Cloud at the very least. But I can give you all certainty that he's a decent individual. Very thorough too. If he's to make changes to the SOLDIER program, it'll be for the benefit of the men themselves than for personal gain."

"How certain are you about that?" This time, Genesis spoke, voice bitter as he folded his arms, crinkling his red coat underneath. "How certain are you that he won't absolutely fuck everything up for everyone?"

"Genesis!" Angeal automatically called out, sending a disapproving glance towards his childhood friend.

The scolding wasn't enough to stop Genesis. The Crimson Commander was livid and sneered in reply. "No, Angeal! This new Director could damn us all! I'm not going to follow orders that could very well lead us to our death!"

Lazard quickly raised his hand up, stopping the Firsts before their verbal arguments turned physical. Sometimes, he felt like he was handling children than men when he got in-between them or at least when he tried. It wasn't like he could do anything to the super soldiers except get in the way and he was unenhanced as it is, damageable. Genesis, known for his explosive personality, had once destroyed three entire levels in his rage against Sephiroth. It was lucky that the only people on the floors had been fellow SOLDIERs, but even they hadn't escaped unscratched. If it had been anyone unenhanced, they would have been burned to a crisp within seconds, only their ashes remaining as proof that they were once there.

"I understand your complaints, but I wouldn't have agreed to switch or have this man as my replacement as Director if he wasn't thinking for the best for you and your men." The silence that followed was enough for Lazard to follow up. "And as far as I can tell, he's enhanced so he'll be a little more understanding to your conditions compared to how I was."

"He went through the SOLDIER program?" Angeal spoke up, folding his arms to raise his hand up under his chin. Was there a chance that they had already met this individual? If so, why was Cloud the one that got promoted and not say, one of them instead?

Lazard sighed. He was already exhausted and it had only been thirty minutes into this meeting. "No, he didn't."

Genesis snorted, "What the hell does that mean?"

"It means," This time Sephiroth was the one to interrupt, drawing the attention to himself. "That our new Director will be a mystery to us because the information regarding him won't exist or is so tightly covered up that it'll be impossible to get into. This is ShinRa, after all. But you know the real reason as to why, don't you, Director Lazard? Because you've already worked with him."

The blond smirked, folding his hands onto his desk and leaned forward. This was astonishing. Trust Sephiroth to figure out the details when there was hardly anything on the table to reveal. "I'm afraid the information regarding Cloud Strife is highly classified, so much so that not even the President of ShinRa can get it."

The brief widening of eyes all around conveying their shock, until the red head spoke, "How the hell does that work? The President should be able to get into anything."

"It means that the information doesn't exist. Can't give something that's not there." Lazard almost laughed at the almost comically confused faces he was given. Yes, not even the President himself could get information on Cloud Strife that the blond didn't want to give away.

Because there was absolutely nothing on the man in the systems.

It was like Cloud Strife didn't exist until now.

Genesis and Angeal peered at each other, trying to understand what their Director meant. Sephiroth, however, looked like he was starting to figure it out. After all, the silver-haired General had spent most of his life in the labs and understood hidden concepts, little details, and blurred out meanings because of Hojo. Those cat-like green eyes were almost smiling in a way as they pondered through his shared knowledge.

"Interesting..." Sephiroth hummed, "So this means that either this Strife is an enemy they want to reign in and they want no one to know...or he's an experiment."

Right on both regards, Lazard smirked, but kept his lips sealed shut on the matter.

"But that doesn't mean he holds any loyalty towards us. He could still very well tell us to march to our doom."

Lazard almost wanted to laugh. Apparently this conversational turn was lifting up his spirits. To see the three most powerful individuals completely lost was just...funny. "I highly doubt it. Believe me when I say this, you'll all be impressed with him. If anyone is going to change ShinRa and help protect you and your men, he'll be the one."

Lazard nodded as if agreeing with himself. Yes, he could see it. Despite Cloud Strife's personality and blank expression, he had seen the burning ferocity in protecting those he considered dear to him during the times they talked in that one week, and if the men of SOLDIER went under his protection...

Well, he could see the following explosions occurring. It would be quite the site to see.

The blond smiled, "That I'm certain of."

Three weeks before...

Lazard stared at the door before him in question, the uncertainty keeping him from knocking and entering. It was...extremely rare for him to be summoned like this. Actually, he had never been, at least not by Rufus of all people. The President, yes, but the Vice President? Absolutely not. It was for that very reason why he was hesitating.

Still, there was the burning sense of curiosity. He knew Rufus was his younger half-brother and he always wanted to have a more official meeting with him than just glances out of the corner of their eyes. He was absolutely certain that the other already knew about his identity, having worked with the Turks multiple times in the past, but never once had it been brought up.

A momentary flash of worry slipped through him. Ah, that's right. Hasn't Rufus had been involved in an accident a week and a half ago? He had survived the blast only by pure chance, considering he had been the only survivor out of at least fifty individuals. There was little news regarding the attack, everything swept under the rug within a day or two, never to be mentioned ever again.

Taking a deep breath, he mentally decided it was high time to get this done and over with. Stalling wasn't making it any better for his nerves. Lazard reached up to politely knock on the door, but was stopped by a resounding voice that came through the metal frame.

"Come in!"

Lazard blinked once, surprised he had been caught, but shrugged it off. There were cameras inside the room to monitor the outside, to keep eavesdroppers from getting too close. This meeting room was one of the few that had that option.

As he opened the door, Lazard took immediate notice that it wasn't just Rufus who was waiting inside, but two others as well. He recognized Tseng instantly, the man familiar with him, but the other, nothing. The person was blond, leaning against a wall on the opposite side of the windows with his eyes closed shut. It was almost like he was sleeping, unbothered by the rest of the world surrounding him. He hadn't even stirred from his position upon Lazard's arrival.

The windows covered two sides of the room, illuminating the late night scenery of Midgar, the bright lights of the various buildings glittering in the haze. It would have been a beautiful backdrop if Lazard didn't have a sense of dread. Stepping closer inside and closing the door behind him, the SOLDIER Director peered up at his younger brother curiously, who was currently standing close to the window near the corner and facing the outside world.

"Vice President Rufus?" Lazard called out, circling around the large table between them. No one was sitting down and he didn't want to be the odd one. "You called for me?"

"Yes, I did." Rufus didn't turn around, continuing to gaze out the window with his hands behind his back. His reflection on the window showed an impassive feature, as if thinking about something. "If you don't mind, I want ask you a direct question."

Unable to help raising an eyebrow up, Lazard answered. "Of course not."

Nodding to that, the Vice President's reflection smirked with his eyes drifting towards one side like his attention had been caught by something in the distance. "Tell me, Director Lazard, what do you think of this company?"

"What?" The older blond couldn't help his response, confused by the question. What he thought? About this company? There was plenty on that single subject, but he wasn't a fool to openly admit it, especially here in front of Tseng, Rufus, and this unknown blond.

In all honesty, he hated this place. From its corruptive nature to its inability to not use someone until they were completely dried out and the human experimentations that were going on in the background didn't help. There was a long list and he had joined this company in hopes of fixing them. However, it was proving to be more difficult than originally intended.

Going with the safer response, Lazard answered, "It's good. There are a lot of opportunities, great pay, diversity in jobs, and a safe environment. We have it all for our new employees. It's a place one strives to be at."

Rufus snorted, shoulders shaking like he was laughing, before spinning around. No, he was actually laughing. The man strode forward to grab the chair beside him. He was...amused by that answer, Lazard could see it on his face. "You're just repeating the useless brochures we send out. I want to know your true opinion on this company."

The SOLDIER Director went silent, eyes narrowing behind his glasses. His true opinion? Now that was definitely asking for trouble. His eyes went back over the younger looking blond in the corner of the room, never having moved once from his spot, then to Tseng, who was standing faithfully at Rufus' side. There was no way in hell he was going to admit anything, even if the truth was that he despised this rotting position.

The Vice President just smirked, as if having read Lazard's inner thoughts. "Oh please, be honest with me. You hate it here. You hate everything about this place."

Lazard kept his face miraculously still, "Those are your words, not mine." Complete deniability on his side, he has played these little games all his life, too familiar with the miswording.

"Scared that I might do something if you were to say anything negative? The truth of the matters at hand?" Rufus was clearly amused by the whole thing and shrugged his shoulders to it. "Don't worry, I know exactly how rotten this company is and I hate it just as much as you do if not more so."

"If you hate the company that much, what exactly do you plan on doing?" Lazard could admit that he was curious. This wasn't what he had been expecting when he had been called out and hearing such...derogatory words gave him a little hope. His half-brother wasn't like everyone else here, he wasn't like what the President had trained him to be, or how the rumors had been whispered. Perhaps Rufus could possibly be an ally to his plans?

Or was it all a ruse to drag him out into the open?

The blond Vice President huffed, attitude shifting slightly towards a darker side, taking in something that didn't quite belong to him. He looked older in a way as the background lights hit him, creating an illusion to that effect. "First things first, I don't give a shit about your plans. And yes, I do know about them." Rufus rolled his eyes, like what he had just done was mere guess work. Like he had just typed it up on a search engine on the internet and got his answer.

Lazard was barely able to hide his flinch. So he had been found out. Damn, and it stung that his younger half-brother would say it so bluntly too.

Still, it didn't look like Rufus was done, far from it. The man huffed once before taking two more steps forward, the luminosity dancing along his body like there was an open flame nearby, darkening the shadows along his features. "Because, to be perfectly honest, your plans are ridiculously dim-witted and are bound to fail at the slightest tumble. They're so fragile and so revolving around someone else that they'll fall apart at the first notice." At this, Rufus sneered, creeping around the table with his gloved fingers scrapping against the oak wood. "So I want you to throw them all away. Every. Single. One of them."

Lazard looked absolutely offended, grinding his teeth together out of frustration. His fingers clenched together into a fist, just moments away from attacking his brother regardless of their relationship and position. The only thing that had held him back was the thought of throwing away his dream. If he struck, it would all be gone, all his hard work, all his sweat and tears, all of it wasted away. And for what? Because of a verbal argument?

Rufus just chuckled, clearly having already expected this. Manipulating his older half-brother was simple, too easy to read, too easy to twist. Cloud, the other blond, was a complex challenge (who he could hardly get a read on at times) compared to Lazard, but that might be because the other was used to his antics.

Stopping before Lazard, the Vice President chuckled softly, "I can't have you getting in my way for what I plan to do because of your ideals or because you're questioning my orders. I want to change everything about this company and you're either going to help me or be a liability. And to be honest, I'd rather have you at my side."

The SOLDIER Director almost sneered at first, offended by the whole verbalization and was about to argue in retaliation, but caught himself. Momentarily taking a step back, he thought. He was being baited, he knew that. He wasn't dealing with any normal person, a SOLDIER, or a board member. This was Rufus Shinra.

Taking a deep breath and exhaling, he observed his newfound situation carefully. Rufus was taunting him, waiting for a reaction, to see how he'll counter. The knowing smirk resting on the younger blond's lips, the positional reflection of the lights, gave it all away. At the same time, it was like Rufus wanted him to think that too. Oh, he was a tricky one. Lazard almost laughed, unable to find anything in this situation but amusement.

Still, that brought up the question: Was Rufus really serious? For the son to take down the company his father had built up? Or was this really some bizarre idea to wheedle out the traitors in the company? However, there were worse ones in the departments, ones stealing money, one experimenting on people, and the list goes on. Why go after him out of all of them? What he wanted...it wasn't anything like that. His was peaceful, for the sake of the people. He wanted... Lazard pushed his glasses back. Yes, if anything, he would be the least threatening of them all.

So that means Rufus wanted him as an ally, someone to work with him for the same achievement or one similar.

Lazard smirked. He didn't get this far into the company through sheer dumb luck. He had the brains, the will, and the burning ambition. He wasn't averse to playing dirty to get what he desired, especially in a company like ShinRa where backstabbing, blackmail, and death were prudent. One made allies where they could and played themselves up as a useful individual to their enemies to ensure they would never be missed, that their enemies would never want them to be expendable. He fought tooth and nail, bled, tore his very fingers, to get this far and he had every intention to continue moving upward.

He had his ambition for revenge against the man that had caused the fall of his mother, pushing him forward, and the sense of justice of the unfortunate, the people of the slums that decayed down below the plates because of ShinRa's vile deeds. He had suffered that fate first hand, understood the bitterness and loathing of defeat and helplessness towards those that held everything. He had been beaten down as a child, spat on, and tossed aside like garbage. But nothing compared to his hatred when he watched his mother get taken away through death, suffering and gasping for air that would never fill her lungs once more.

One didn't get this far in a company such as ShinRa without some darkness in one's soul.

Those that were pure never lasted long, taken advantage of and thrown aside when their usefulness was no longer needed.

And though he couldn't physically fight like his men, he could strategize instead.

This time, Lazard laughed, throwing his head back. A dark bitter laugh it was. This... This was his chance, the chance of a lifetime. He could feel it. Rufus wanted to destroy this retched company and he was asking him to join him in his little game. Oh, this was exactly what he had been waiting for since stepping into this building when he had been a sixteen year old boy long ago.

Rufus grinned as he watched his older brother finally break loose, cracking through the carefully constructed mask the man kept on for public relations. "I knew you couldn't be the forever polite man you made yourself out to be. I've learned that everyone has bitterness within them, a scalding darkness that chokes oneself in the middle of the night, especially those that work here. Some are just better at hiding it than others. But men like us," Rufus purposefully tilted his head, his lips stretching upward as he spread his arms out before him. He looked like a demon, the shadows curving around his facials, and his blue eyes almost glowing unnaturally in the dark. "We live in the darkness, we breath it in, and we move through it. It means nothing to us but a sorry excuse to run away and hide. But we'll never do that because we're stronger than those weak-willed individuals. We'll attack and if we can't go through the front, then we'll sneak through the back, slowly crumbling them down until they beg for forgiveness."

Rufus wasn't done. Oh, he was far from done. Everyone in the room knew it and they listened to him, hanging onto every word.

"But you know what?" The Vice President looked positively demonic in nature, lips stretched wide. "They will never get that forgiveness. We'll slit their throats the moment they turn around, the moment they show their weakness."

More laughter, a slow chuckle that was picking up in a bitter edge, coming from Lazard himself. Rufus wasn't laughing, but he didn't need to, not when the obscurity decorated his expression so beautifully. Tseng, meanwhile, remained quiet at the side of the room and the blond settled against the wall. He still hadn't budged an inch. It was like he was sleeping, almost like a statue.

Rufus smirked, revealing his teeth. "If ShinRa wants to make monsters, then we'll just have to become the figurative monsters they didn't want behind their backs, to tear them down with claws in a way they would never expect!"

Lazard laughed louder. Oh-


This was-

This is-


Lazard slowly calmed down from his high, gasping for breath. "And what exactly are you planning to do? Changing this company isn't easy as saying one-two-three."

The younger brother snorted at the mocking he was shown, but knew he had Lazard's full attention. "I already have a plan, a really good one, but it's one where I need to have you at my side to completely work without fallbacks and to cover areas I possibly can't." Rufus tilted his head slightly. "Plus, you're better at dealing with certain idiots in the higher divisions than me. I'll probably just shoot them out of mere frustration and that won't get me anywhere." Despite the odd humor at the end of his words, Lazard felt his lips twitch in amusement. Yes, he could agree that there were a lot of idiots in the departments, many of whom needed to be fired or killed off long ago. "Anyway, I need someone trustworthy to take my place."


Now Lazard was confused. Take his place? Was Rufus planning on leaving the company? No, that would never be allowed. The President would rather bolt his son down personally with rods made of steel then give him a chance to get out. Rufus Shinra is the heir to the company. He would never be allowed to escape, never. No, and Lazard couldn't allow that. Even if they were half-brothers and barely knew each other, he couldn't help the concern that overwhelmed him.

"Worried, Brother?" There was amusement in Rufus' voice, the grin present even as Lazard twitched in return. "Just to confirm for your sake, I don't actually plan on leaving the company, just my position."

Lazard almost wanted to sneer. He had been tricked. Rufus had wanted to see if he would be worried about him and the man had won when there was a flicker of emotion that slipped through his mask, even after just piecing it back together from his break. Damn...

"I plan on demoting myself." Rufus strode closer to his eldest brother until they were mere inches apart. They were about the same height with familiar hair and eyes, despite the older keeping it purposefully straight to prevent him from being identified. "And you are to take my place as Vice President."


"You heard correctly." Rufus continued, ignoring the surprised exclaim from the other. "I can't do anything if I'm the Vice President, so I need to head somewhere else where I can work in the dark, where I can gather secrets, where I can watch over everyone from far away. And as I do so, I'll strike them down with a knife in their back or a bullet in their brain. That's not exactly behavior from a Vice President, yes?"

No, no it wasn't. That behavior belonged to a... Lazard's eyes widened as realization came to him. "You don't mean..."

"You guessed correctly, Brother." Rufus grinned, the manic look slipping through his eyes. "I will become the Director of the Turks. What better way to signalize the rotting individuals in the company than to become the assassin that lurks in the dark."

Tseng, having been quiet the entire time and nearly forgotten, decided to make his appearance known. "Director Lazard, I have already agreed to the changes. I too...think that this is a good idea, one that places you at an advantage over the company. You want to make changes? You would now be in a position that can do so."

Lazard couldn't believe what he was hearing. This was...too much. All he ever wanted was to get higher up in the company, to have an ally that would support him. He had wanted to make a change, to make a difference. And now...now he was being handed it over on a silver plate perfectly tied together in a neat little bow and he had the support of insiders he never had before: the Turks. Could this really be true? Still, there was one more thing. His old position, he couldn't just leave it empty. His men depended on him to keep things effectively rolling. "And what of SOLDIER? If I'm gone, I have no doubt that Heidegger will attempt to take control of it. I'm not about to let that man run the program to the ground because of his idiocy."

"Now, now, you don't think I already have that covered?" At that, Rufus glanced towards the one individual that hadn't spoken the entire time. "Meet our younger half-brother, the youngest among the three of us, Cloud Strife. Your replacement."

At those words, and knowing it was time for him to get involved in this conversation, Cloud opened his eyes and pulled away from the wall. He ignored the following gasp from Lazard, stepping forward until he was beside his brothers.

The eldest of the siblings stared at Cloud, unsure on where to start from the sudden announcement. He had known that Rufus was his half-brother and that there were others out there in the world. Or so he thought. When he had investigated on his various half-siblings, many were either put down or in hiding. So to find one before him, all of a sudden, was a complete surprise. It didn't help that Cloud had mako eyes, eyes that only belonged in SOLDIER, and Lazard was absolutely certain he had never seen this man before in his entire life. A man like Cloud would be memorable simply because of his abnormally spiky golden hair and oppressive aura. In a way, Cloud reminded him of Sephiroth with his imposing attitude (except the blond before him was missing a weapon.

Lazard decided to ask the current safest question. "Our younger brother?"

"Yes, our younger brother. Half of course."

That wasn't entirely the answer he was expecting, Rufus purposefully twirling around on his words. Lazard didn't know what to think about his now youngest sibling, examining him carefully. Cloud simply stared, unbothered by the sudden announcement, probably having known about it in advance. But damn, if Rufus is twenty-five currently, just how old was Cloud?

"He's young."

"So what?" Rufus couldn't help rolling his eyes, spinning around once more to face the window. "He has seen and knows enough beyond anyone's years. We all know age doesn't matter much when it comes to certain things." He then shrugged his shoulders, almost like he was offended by the subject matter. "Get to know him and then you'll see what I mean. Before you know it, you'll be admitting to yourself that he's the absolute best thing for SOLDIER."

Lazard almost wanted to look offended. For Rufus to openly admit that Cloud Strife, their youngest sibling, was the best was like admitting all the hard work he had done was for nothing. At the same time, Rufus wouldn't want anyone but the best at his side. It made Lazard a little happy to know that he was being included on that list and being placed in a much higher position than before.

There was still one last thing.

"The President will never agree to it."

Rufus just smirked, "Don't ever underestimate a Turk. I have my ways of being...convincing." The sinister expression that slipped onto him made Lazard almost shiver in fright. There was no doubt about it. Rufus was thinking more like a Turk than as a normal person. "The President has so much black worthy material against him, it'll be a simple little matter to take care of. The bubbling idiot has gotten so reliant on everyone else to do the work for him that all he does now is sit on his little throne, give orders, and rot in his chair."

Well, wasn't that the most accurate description of the President right there.

"So leave everything to me, I'll have everything taken care of within twenty-four hours and we'll make the official announcement regarding the changes in three weeks time. That's more than enough time to get started, don't you agree?"

Lazard could only stare.

Since when had Rufus become such a scary individual?

Two and a half months passed relatively quickly and no information regarding the new Director had been announced since then. No one had seen the man considering there was no profile picture uploaded on the website yet. It contained the bare minimum, not enough to gather a full picture of whoever this man was to be. There wasn't even a hometown listed or an age. Whispers floated about, people speculating, and rapidly threw about various initiatives into the wind. However, it was just that, ideas and nothing more. Some attempted to ask the two Commanders and General, but even they didn't have any information to share. They too were in the dark regarding the entire ordeal. Some dared to ask Lazard personally, figuring he would have at least seen the new Director to get a feel on him, but the blond kept all details regarding the identity to himself.

"Stop worrying so much. I'm sure everything will work out just fine."

Regardless, people continued to speculate back and forth, unsure of what changes their new Director would bring. It was hard to say as most held high regard to Lazard as their current leader. Many feared they would receive a person like Palmer or Heidegger as their Director, neither of which are excellent. SOLDIER needed a person that knew exactly what he was doing as these were people's lives on the line and they had already seen what Heidegger had done to the regular army.

Before anyone knew it, another email was sent out to all SOLDIERs.


Mandatory meeting at 08:00 hours on Monday morning. Location will be at the ShinRa Stadium near the gyms. All missions that were handed out before are to be completed before then, preferably on Saturday to prevent any layover. All future missions that have the chance to overlap the meeting shall be either suspended or delayed until a later hour. Information regarding the latter shall report to their mission leader for updates regarding the changes.

Those currently deployed to Wutai are to remain there to complete their current rounds as exchange will not occur until after. A meeting regarding those deployed will be scheduled at a later date.

Both Vice President, Lazard Deusericus, and Director of the Investigation Sector of the General Affairs Department, Rufus Shinra, will be attending for official position adjustment and regards to new changes within both departments.

Attendance is mandatory. Those that don't show up will receive disciplinary actions.

Have a nice day,

SOLDIER Director, Cloud Strife"

Another uproar followed soon after as the speculations began anew and no one was left untouched by the questions. Even the three Firsts were starting to prowl for accurate information, information they would never receive.

Cloud had never been one for dramatic appearances, but in this case, he didn't quite mind. He opened the door to the stadium from behind all his men, knowing their eyes would turn to stare out of curiosity.

After all, he had purposefully been the last one to arrive.

Rufus and Lazard stood at the front, both patiently waiting for his arrival and dressed in their usual attire. For a split second, the youngest blond examined the middle brother and almost chuckled. It would appear that the three months had been plenty of time for Rufus to gather an assortment of weapons, the budges barely noticeable under the white overcoat. At the same time, Lazard had twin pistols holstered to his side, something that was new to the eldest of the siblings. Rufus must have convinced him to carry around something for protection, something Cloud greatly approved of. It was never good to be unarmed in ShinRa Corp.

After all, there are monsters prowling about.

But who are the monsters now?

Them? Or him?

As the youngest blond went up the steps to stand on the podium, Cloud examined over his men, many startled by both his young appearance and the modified uniform he had been wearing for years. It didn't help that he was carrying First Tsurugi on his back and his bracer. He was never one to wear a suit, too uncomfortable and restricted to maneuver freely like he desired. Even Rufus had refused to wear the blue Turk suits, loving his white overcoats instead, which concealed his weapons underneath perfectly, and Lazard stuck to his dark striped blue blazer and tie, matching them with the white undershirt and pants. In a way, the collection of all three of them stood out among the rest.

He smirked, still unbothered by the stares and gazed into the young men before him with his glowing blue eyes from the very front of the podium. He had expected the strange looks. After all, he was so out of place among the people...but well, that was never anything new. For a long time, he wanted more than to just simply blend in, to be forgotten.

He almost smirked at the thought. Like that would ever happen.

As Cloud spent a few seconds to ponder over everyone, especially the three well-known Firsts that were standing right before him, he rotated slightly to Rufus on his right and then to Lazard on his left, getting a small nod from each. Knowing that it was finally time to get started, Cloud reached up to tuck a loose strand of hair behind his ear.

"Good morning, everyone. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to attend this meeting." His voice was soft but strong, the microphone unnecessary, considering all the enhanced men could hear him clearly regardless.

There was only a resounding silence that followed, no one daring to speak up, everyone listening intensely to the man before them, to their new leader.

"As you may have already noticed, you may have seen me under a different name during these last three months." There was a shift at that admission, some of the men looking between each other as they paled in realization. Some had most definitely seen him, either in passing or on a mission. The three Firsts couldn't hide the shock that overtook their expressions, having remembered placing this very man under their radar for a potential SOLDIER promotion when he first appeared, never knowing the now obvious undercover nature of the matter. Cloud couldn't help but revel in that. Ah, to see the Holy Firsts Trinity in shock... Pulling himself out of that little thought, he continued, "The purpose for such tactics will be explained later into this meeting. However, first things first."

There was a small purposeful pause before he took a step forward, letting the heaviness of his weapon weigh his foot down to create a loud crack on the ground, reveling in the echo that followed.

"My name is Cloud Strife, and I am your new SOLDIER Director."

His hair bounced slightly and Cloud smiled softly as he gazed down at the scared men in amusement, purposefully channeling Rufus Shinra through him.

"It's nice to officially meet you all."

There will be some oddness among the chapter but all will be explained in the upcoming ones. I hope that you enjoyed it and tell me what you think. Its the first time I've written in FF7 area so hopefully I got the characterizations down close enough.

These are the tags that are on AO3 right now so that everyone on FF will stay connected in a way: Not exactly a time-travel fix-it, dimensional travel, Rufus is in charge here, Cloud is just there for the ride, Director!Rufus, Turk!Rufus, Director!Cloud, BAMF Cloud, BAMF Rufus, everyone is just confused on what's happening, Except Tseng who knows everything, Lazard gets thrown into the mess, might contain slash latter, possible SOLDIERxCloud, possible TurksxRufus