by llamajoy

there's a smog moon, in the amber sky,
wavering and burning like a golden lie
I fell so far, I didn't think I'd make it back
--matthew sweet

Timing, Reeve fretted for the twentieth time, was everything. Right. He clicked and reclicked his cheap ShinRa issue retractable pen, till the aide sitting down the corridor from him sighed in annoyance. He resisted the urge to look over his shoulder. No one knew what he was doing; he'd made sure of that. It looked like a routine profits check, of course, and he had come high enough in the ranks that he'd earned the right not to be questioned.

But, for the moment at least, he'd not come quite high enough. He made a face, sliding his hand through his hair and trying not to seem nervous. The Turks would laugh at him, if they knew. Developing some ambition at last, Mr. Secretary? But the world was about to end, and if anyone in Midgar was going to survive, they'd have to listen to him.

Reeve had known for several days what he'd wanted to do, and with the Diamond Weapon attacking, his opportunity had landed in his lap. In the confusion, it would be a small matter to activate a trap door and a containment field, add a shot of exit materia and stir liberally. And get one minor political official out of his hair for the next few days.

Rufus ShinRa was going to be royally pissed. Reeve half-smiled. That was all right. It certainly wouldn't be the first time.

Still, his fingers were a little unsteady as he started typing in code sequences. He knew he was lucky to have an eye for numbers, all those passwords running into a binary blur. Almost done.

Upstairs, there was a sound too close to be thunder, and the floors shook violently. In that moment of earthquake silence, Reeve closed his eyes, keying in the final code. Now klaxons were going off around his ears, and secretaries and executives alike were scurrying through the halls with panicked eyes. The computer thrummed contentedly, taking its time. Reeve chewed at the top of his pen, resisting the urge to kick the hard drive. ~Come on,~ he urged it, silently. He was the only one still seated at a computer console, everyone else was fleeing on foot down the fifty-seven flights of stairs. ~Come on, you piece of junk...~

His cursor flashed, "Code accepted," and a little video blip popped cheerfully onto the screen, showing him that his target-- about twelve pixels tall and decidedly blond-- was indeed secured.

He exhaled.

But at that moment, the intercom erupted into the chaos, channeling a frantic radio signal. A toneless voice spoke through numbing static-- "Weapon fired-- Energy blast more powerful-- Top floor gone-- President dead-- the President is dead--"

Reeve stared at his screen, realizing that he was clutching his pen in sweaty fingers. He wondered if he were going to laugh, or if that tremor in his chest was something else. The tiny video image on his monitor was terribly still-- but then it stirred, just faintly, right before the lights died and every computer on the floor powered down. Reeve found himself running, elbowing his way through the crowd like the ruthless executive he'd always been trained to be.

He hadn't kidnapped the president, he'd saved his life.

At least for the moment, and he couldn't be sure. Reeve swallowed.

Timing was everything, indeed.


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