(Almost time...) Sephiroth felt a rush of pleasure as he pictured his return to glory and power. (I will control the world. All people shall become my slaves. Cloud will make an entertaining jester... I don't know where Meteor is, but that was getting boring anyway. Mutate will hold my attention for a long time. After all, Aysta was kept well amused by it. My poor daughter. Well, Raieyana will pay...with her blood. And after she dies, I will completely control him. My puppet. Oh, how my dream terrified his simple mind. And it was only the near future. I can only imagine what it would do to him to see the events of the rest of his life--my life. If he thinks Raieyana's death an atrocity, wait until he sees what I have in store for him... But now, they approach me, unaware that their mission will ultimately lead to a disaster...)
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Reeve woke up from another hideous dream. Raieyana was getting dressed. She turned around and walked over to the bed. "Are you okay?" she asked.
He quickly nodded. (Keep strong. She has enough troubles of her own without you adding yours on top of them. Dreams are just fabricated by the subconscious. I just need to give mine a nice, big slap across the face for scaring the hell out of me.)
She looked at him closely. "I don't believe you. But I guess you don't want to talk about it," she said.
"You never wanted to tell me about your dream, Ray," he said.
"I didn't want to weigh you down with my problems."
"Ray, the feeling's mutual."
"Fine," she said, "but I could carry the weight all the same. Just pass some trouble my way when it gets unbearable. I'm stronger than you might think."
"I don't think you're weak," he said, "that's not the reason at all." (But knowing about this dream could change the way you look at what we have to do today. I don't want to affect this mission with fear. I'll be scared alone--so Ray can destroy Sephiroth along with my fears.)
"Reeve, get dressed. I have a feeling we're leaving soon."
"What, no breakfast? You're sure a poor hostess, Ray." She threw a pillow at him. It hit him square in the mouth.
"I'm going to start cooking right now, smart-ass," she said, "I just thought you'd want to be wearing something besides boxers and a grungy old T-shirt when you came to eat it. Wait, what does that T-shirt say?" She walked back over to him.
He shrugged. "It's a really old one," he said.
She pulled down the blanket and read the faded lettering. "I'll be damned. Junon Academy."
"What's the big deal?" he asked. "It's not like I constantly wear it, like that big ol' locket of yours."
She touched the gold locket softly. "My fath--, I mean, Tseng gave it to me..." She walked over to the hamper and pulled out the one she had worn earlier. "Anyway, Junon Academy's my old alma mater, too, Reeve."
"When'd you graduate, Ray? Ten years after me, right?" he asked.
She smiled. "Actually, eight. I skipped two grades. I was eleven when I graduated."
"Fine," he said, "go, my intelligent woman, while I dress, and cook some of your delicious food."
She raised an eyebrow. "I would take that as an insult if I thought you didn't love me so much," she said.
"Insult? I was complimenting your culinary skills. And your brain. So let me compliment your ass as I see it walking out the door. It will give me something to contemplate while I put on some clothes."
"Contemplate this." She picked up the pillow and took a few swipes at him before walking out the door. "Oh, Reeve," she called, "you should probably go see if Yuffie and Vincent have rejoined the land of the living after that violent episode last night."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Yuffie?" Reeve knocked on the door of Yuffie's bedroom.
"Gawd, Vincent, again? Don't you ever sleep?" was her muffled reply. Then he heard Vincent's voice clearly.
"That wasn't me, Yuffie."
Yuffie screamed. "There's a strange man in here?!"
Reeve knocked again. "No, just me. I'm outside the room and hopefully not what you'd consider a strange man." Vincent got up and opened the door. He looked perfectly normal, except for the fact he was wearing Yuffie's shorts. "Ray told me to wake you guys up," said Reeve, seeing Vincent's apparel, "we heard you last night, and I thought you might be tired, but I wasn't expecting this..."
"What?" asked Vincent.
Reeve gestured towards the shorts. Vincent, finally realizing what he was wearing, turned a nice, warm beet-red color. "I'll see you at breakfast when you guys get dressed," said Reeve, leaving. "Hopefully in clothes you can fight in," he added. He couldn't help himself.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"How can I beef up for a fight without any meat?" asked Barret.
"You could not use the term 'beef,'" said Legolas, always helpful. "The term 'bulk up' would be more appropriate. Besides, 'bulk' makes you think of fiber instead of meat."
"Legolas, you missed my point entirely. I want some meat with this meal!"
"Well," said Lia, "I don't allow any meat in my house, so if you want a meal before you leave, you'll accept my vegen thing. Or at least put up with it one last time."
"It's not that I don't like meat in some things, it's just a fact that no one here eats any meat. So I get my protein fill when I'm away from Undor-Hai," said Raieyana.
"Carnivore," muttered Lia.
"Damn straight," she shot back.
"Anyway, Barret," said Legolas, "there isn't any meat, so we'll have to make do."
Tifa stabbed a strawberry with her fork. "I bet plants feel pain when you kill them just like animals..." She put it in her mouth and chewed, casting a glance at Lia to see what her reaction would be.
"I never considered that before..." she said.
"Don't," said Raieyana, "you have to eat something, Lia. If you stopped at plants, that would leave fungus, algae, and one-celled organisms, which aren't very appetizing."
"There's mushrooms," said Tifa, "not to mention truffles..."
"Okay, Tifa you live off a diet of fungus, and report back to Lia right before you die of malnutrition," Raieyana said.
"I'm changing the subject now," said Reeve, "now, Ray, Lia, this food is delicious, even without the meat, fungus, and protazoans."
"Raieyana will respond to that when she figures out whether or not that was an actual compliment," said Yuffie.
"What was wrong with what I said?" he asked.
"All the crap about fungus and protazoans. Don't know about anyone else, but not while I'm eating..." She did look slightly green.
"Sorry. I forgot about your weak digestive system."
"Excuse me." Yuffie ran to the bathroom. Vincent looked a little worried.
"I hope she's okay," said Red XIII, "we need everyone to be in their best condition down in the crater."
"Are you okay, Cloud?" asked Tifa, "you haven't said much of anything.
"That's because," he said, swallowing, "I've been stuffing my face with this tasty food." He nodded at Raieyana.
She looked away. (Somehow a compliment from him is impossible to take. At least when he looks at me that way. With desire. Longingly. And not just because he wants another helping.)
"So we're leaving soon, right?" said Ruther.
"Then I'll go outside and have one last smoke," said Cid.
Blake, Drake, and Quake stood up. "Can I bum one off you?" they all asked at the same time.
Cid looked in his pack. (Five left.) "Okay, but just one apiece," he said. They all walked outside.
Lia hopped up and started clearing the table. "Ray," she said, "go see how Yuffie's feeling."
Yuffie was seated in front of the toilet. She looked up as Raieyana walked in. "I don't know what's wrong with me today," she said, "I usually don't get ground-sick. I just woke up this morning and felt all weird. Maybe I have the touch of the flu. But it doesn't feel like I'm sick from something..."
"Well, Yuffie," began Raieyana. She looked around, then she shut the door behind her. "You're either sick from something, or..." She leaned closer. "Yuffie, can I ask you a personal question?"
Yuffie gave her a strange look. "Sure, I guess. Shoot."
"How long has it been since you and Vincent first, umm, the first time you two..."
"I know what you're driving at. Somewhere around...like twelve days ago...when we were in Wutai...almost two weeks. Are you implying that I caught some kind of thing from him?"
"If you regard it as catching something, then I guess, yeah," said Raieyana, "but pregnancy isn't generally considered something you can catch."
"Preg--," said Yuffie, "no, not that! For christsakes, I'm only sixteen. I'm not...pregnant." Her voice trailed into a whisper.
"Well, I'm not saying it's that for certain," said Raieyana, "but it is definitely a possibility that you should be prepared for. After all, what the hell did you think was going to happen?"
"Raieyana, it's not like being with him was my purpose going into it all. I didn't even mean for anything to happen. It wasn't like I had this plan of 'invite him to my house, give him a replacement for the All he gave my father, then sleep with him.' It wasn't on my list of things to do for that day. So what am I going to tell Vincent? How would you tell Reeve?"
Raieyana was startled. (If that was the worst of my problems...but it's not. I would trade with you if I had the chance, Yuffie.) "What makes you think that there would ever be a possibility of me needing to tell Reeve anything of the sort?" she asked.
"Come off your high horse," said Yuffie, "and stop pretending you two haven't done anything. Now give me a suggestion."
"The truth! I would tell him the truth."
"Well, I'm not telling Vincent now, or he won't let me go to the crater with the rest of you."
"However much you hate it, that's not such a bad idea. Maybe you should stay here," said Raieyana.
"The hell I am! You said yourself you weren't sure that was the reason why I have a touch of...of nausea."
Raieyana shook her head. "Now I am. Morning sickness, mood swings... I highly doubt it's anything else besides that. But I guess it wouldn't be a threat to you to go. After all, I'm the only one who'll be doing anything dangerous." They both got up to leave.
"Raieyana," said Yuffie, "tell Vincent I'm feeling better now. I think I'm going to go change into something else."
"Why?" asked Raieyana.
"It's probably nothing, but these shorts feel a little loose. Like they've been stretched out or something..."