Reeve woke up to an empty bed. "Ray," he called softly. (Oh come on, it was not just a dream. I remember everything too vividly.) He saw the note on the pillow. (Alone, Ray? Oh God, what the hell are you thinking of doing? What is in that dream, Ray? What scares you so much?) He got up and dressed quickly. After much consideration, he got out the PHS.
Cloud answered. "PHS," he yawned.
"Cloud," said Reeve, "so glad it's you. I've got a little problem on my hands. Ray's gone."
"Reeve, it sounded like you just said Raieyana's g--"
"Yes, I did. But I don't want a big ruckus."
"So?" asked Cloud.
"Just you go look for her, and I'll go look for her. Say you're going to Gold Saucer for a break, and that Ray needs one more day to recuperate. We've just got to find her."
"You do realize," Cloud said slowly, "that girl has the most awesome disguise skills, not to mention knowledge of the real locations of legendary places. But I'll help you, if just to get her alone, if you know what I mean..."
"Sorry. I forgot you corporates locked up in your cubicles have no sense of social things, or of needs and desires, apparently. After all, you were a stuffed cat for awhile. Anyway, you check your continent, and I'll check Junon. She probably couldn't have gotten anywhere else in such a short time. And don't worry. If Sephiroth comes back, and we still don't know where she is, I'll just kill him again."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Raieyana stood in front of her aunt's house. She turned the key in the lock and walked in.
"Hey," said a Soldier, "how the hell did you get in here? Don't say you live here, because the owner of this place died without a living next of kin..."
"Too bad," said Raieyana, "this is my aunt's house, and I am the only living next of kin."
The Soldier laughed. "That's a good one. So, what would your name happen to be?"
"Raieyana Amine," she said.
The Soldier looked at her. "I'll be damned. They declared you dead when they declared the president of Shinra dead. I'll need to see some I.D., though." She showed him her Junon I.D. card. Sure, it was two years old, but it still looked like her. "Fine, fine, fine," the Soldier muttered. "Sign this, the deed, and these for proof of receipt. Oh, and you probably want the keys, too." He handed her the keys he had.
She put them in her pocket. (Wouldn't want you walking around with them, that's for sure.)
He started to walk out the door, but turned around. "Oh, hon," he said, "wouldn't stay in here too long if I were you. The warrant's still out even though President Aysta's dead. However, this stuff you signed is still legal. Have a happy time in your newly-inherited house." Then he left.
(Shouldn't stay for too long? I guess it's off to an inn.) Raieyana locked the door and left for the inn.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
(Well, the innkeeper acted weird. Like he was expecting me...) Raieyana took out her room key and unlocked the door. She walked in and turned on the light. Cloud was sitting on the bed, waiting for her.
"Y'know, Raieyana," he said, "you scared the hell out of Reeve leaving like that. He and I are looking for you, because the others would simply have had heart attacks if they knew how you took off." There was an odd quality to his voice.
"Well, I was just going to go back to the crater so I could use the materia to destroy Mutate, and send Sephiroth's spirit back into the Lifestream," she said.
Cloud walked over to Raieyana, grabbed her shoulders, and shook her. "And you don't think that his spirit wouldn't have pulled out all the stops to make sure you didn't? This is Sephiroth, hon, not your evil twin. He could probably just will you to die and it would happen. Stupid. Real stupid."
"Look," she said, "I'm not the problem. If I had brought you along, he would have just taken over your body and I would have had worse problems. A formless spirit willing me to die is one thing. A psycho Mako-enhanced human with a large sword is a totally different thing."
Cloud had a strange gleam in his eye. "Raieyana," he said in a low voice, "what makes you think Sephiroth isn't controlling me right now?" He shoved her against the wall. Hard.
Raieyana reached up and touched her lip. (It's split. It's bleeding. Is Sephiroth in Cloud?)
"Don't you think," said Cloud, "that he wouldn't do anything to hurt or humiliate you to pay you back for your disobedience..."
He grabbed her and threw her onto the bed. He pinned her arms down. Raieyana struggled furiously. She got one arm free and caught him in the jaw with her fist. Cloud turned his head slowly to look at her. He smiled cruelly. Raieyana turned away in horror. He banged the side of her face against the headboard of the bed. Then he ripped off her sweater. Raieyana used one last burst of energy and kicked him onto the ground. He lay there for a moment.
"Raieyana," he said drowsily, "what did I do?" Sephiroth had apparently left Cloud for the time being.
"Cloud?" she asked, bending over him.
He looked at her face. Her lip was swollen and he could see the beginnings of a black eye. He noticed the torn sweater. (What would I have done to her? How did I get here? The last thing I remember was being at the deli and a Soldier came in. Said something about seeing someone who looked like Raieyana... Did Sephiroth take me over?) Raieyana pulled off the remnants of the sweater, and she was just wearing her dress. She walked over to the bathroom mirror and examined her face. "I'm sorry," said Cloud, "I know that must not mean much to you, but I wasn't myself. Hey, I got Cure. Just a second."
She shrugged. "You can try Cure, but White Wind didn't work on me in the Shinra building, so why would Cure work here?" The materia Cloud was holding flashed. Raieyana's appearance stayed the same. He used it again. No result.
"What am I going to tell Reeve?" he asked.
"Nothing," she said, "because I'll talk to him. We'll go back to Costa Del Sol and have the Airship pick us up. I'm not quite done with the translation for destroying a Black materia, though. Translating this Ancient stuff is really difficult and takes a lot of time. And effort. It always tires me out."
Cloud took out the PHS. "Umm, Raieyana? Before I call, I gotta tell you one thing. Next time I go psycho on you and if I try to do what I was trying before, you have my full permission to kick me where it hurts."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Sephiroth was glad to be out of the Lifestream. Aysta had succeeded. (Foolish Raieyana. She will always be watching Cloud. Little does she know, I will be gaining control of the person closest to her. I am just so sorry my daughter has the wisdom of her mother, being so foolish she would give her life for others. When this one joins her mother, however, there will not be a person left on the planet that I will not be able to control. One good thing to say about the Lifestream was how it raises one's awareness of others' consciousness. My mind controlling abilities have now spread to those who do not have Jenova, those who possess materia, or have had contact with Mako. Virtually everyone but my daughter. I cannot control her. She is too strong. But my control of others can destroy her. It will destroy her. I will destroy her.)