Reeve had never liked hand-pressing events, even when he'd worked for ShinRa. There had been plenty, after the Mako reactors, after construction on Midgar had begun. Plenty over the years, to try and drum up resources for a department no one cared about, to try and remind people that Mako Energy was supposed to make lives better.
It seemed that bringing about ShinRa's downfall and launching his own organization hadn't changed much, but what weighed on him now was the pointlessness of it all. He was here to be seen, because it was expected of him and the WRO. Here to soothe ruffled feathers and reassure the few people left on Gaia who didn't need a roof over their heads. Financially, the WRO was stable for the next year.
The reason for it glided up beside him like a ghost, swathed in white bandages. "Someone is, eventually, going to recognize you," Reeve murmured. Rufus was not at the top of the invitation list this season. Reeve had seen the polite noises people made when his name came up, their insincere concern, and it wasn't as if he didn't understand. It wasn't only Rufus's family history; the first and most advanced case of Geostigma in the city was unwelcome all on his own.
Rufus gave a soft laugh, relaxing back into the chair Reeve believed to mostly affectation, and moved past the statement without comment. "I can't say I'm surprised to see you here," he murmured, his voice pitched low enough that only Reeve could hear. "Drumming up support for our latest enterprise?"
Reeve glanced around anyway, but no one seemed interested in who he was speaking with. "Keep it down, please?"
"If I didn't know better, I'd say you were ashamed of me." Rufus's voice was low and amused, and Reeve was all too aware that he held the upper hand here. He cleared his throat and dodged the question, staring out at the ruins of the city.
"What is it you want, Rufus?" he asked, his fingers twisting around the stem of his wine glass. The sound of the party crested and fell like waves behind him, polite laughter and the clinking of ice on glass.
"We don't have that kind of time, Rufus said lightly. "Why don't we just cut to the chase and ask what it is you'd like?"
Reeve froze for a moment, his lips pursed as he stared into his wine glass, allowing the sound from the party to fill the air. "It's not about me or you," he said finally. "You know that. It's about that."
He jerked his chin at the tiny collection of lights, allowing it to speak for the time they were wasting, the helplessness and frustration inside him. Rufus raised an eyebrow, following his gaze out the window.
"Of course it's about you. And me." His tone didn't leave any room for Reeve to protest. It said, without words, that he thought Reeve was being an idiot. "The point is, Reeve, what are you going to do? I didn't give you that money to feel sorry for yourself."
"You gave it to me to feel sorry for yourself," Reeve reminded him, resting one hand on the glass. Rufus was in motion behind him, rolling back.
"Maybe." Rufus didn't seem at all bothered that he'd lashed out, but he didn't seem pleased, either. It was possible, Reeve mused, that they were both growing as people. "That doesn't change the question," Rufus said, and then he was gone.
The thing was, Reeve mused, spreading his fingers over the cool glass, he hated it when Rufus was right.