Cloud looked at Reeve, disgusted. "You sicken me, you really do. You just gave in to his will and he took over. I guess he just picked the weakest of the lot this time to reduce his effort. And you just let him."
"Shut up, Cloud," said Yuffie, "it's not like you never tried to do the same thing to Aeris...or Raieyana."
"But I didn't," he said, "and that makes all the difference."
"...yeah, you just sat there and watched him kill her. Both Aeris and Raieyana. You did nothing at all. Yeah, that's a lot more manly than being overcome by Sephiroth's will, except, oh wait, you have. Many more times than Reeve."
"I fought it," he declared.
"So did I," said Reeve quietly, "do you think I wanted this?" The second and third materias now joined the first and waves of warmth and grace started to surround Raieyana's body.
Lia ran into the cavern. "How is she?" she asked. She saw the body and responded without batting an eye. "Still dead..." she murmured.
Tifa noticed the light when the fourth materia joined the first three. She watched in wonder as the fifth lit up and all of the colors of the rainbow floated around Raieyana. There was a burst of light brighter than the one that destroyed Mutate, that lasted longer. Everyone shielded their eyes, except Reeve.
He watched as the light surrounded Raieyana. (What's happening?) He saw Faith light up. Faith may have been the smallest of the White materia, but it shone the brightest. The wound in her chest slowly began to close. He touched her hand. (Still warm. Or is it getting warm again? No, nothing is happening. You're just getting delirious, like when Mom died.) But when he looked at her again, he noted with disbelief that she had begun to breathe again.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Raieyana and Ishmael broke apart. "I can't believe you let me..." he whispered.
"Ish," she said, "I have a feeling it's going to be a very long time before I see you again. I feel like I've started to return to life already..."
"You deserve to be happy," he said, sadly.
"So do you."
"I guess, but if one of us can be happy, maybe that will be enough."
"Good-bye, Ray. And no matter what happens to you in your life--I will always be watching over you, I promise. I love you."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
("...I will always be watching over you, I promise. I love you."
And I know.) Raieyana opened her eyes.
"Ray, I've gone insane," whispered Reeve, bending over her.
"Maybe we all need to be checked into the mental hospital," said Cid, "because I sure as hell see it, too." Vincent slapped him on the back of the head. She slowly sat up.
"Are you sure you should?" asked Cloud.
She looked at him. "It's funny," she said, "I have this...feeling. Do you know what it is? It's this feeling that you were saying some pretty nasty things while I was dead."
"You could hear me?" he asked.
"Well, I feel only this vague sense of nastiness. It was one of the many things that embittered my few moments of heaven." She looked at Reeve. "How are you doing?" she asked.
Reeve shook his head. "What? If I'm not mistaking, you're the one who just--and you're asking me--that's just screwed up. I'm just fine, compared to you."
She stood up and walked over to the sword. "The materia's all gone. I guess it used itself all up."
"Ray?" said Lia.
"Look," said Raieyana, "I'm fine. Guess what? One of the nice things about materia. It's magic. I'm healed. And I sure as hell want to get out of this place. Can we leave instead of hanging around with our mouths hanging open? Or at least start heading towards the Airship with our mouths open?" Raieyana led the awestruck and confused group towards the exit.
When they had returned to the place where wolves had first ambushed them, they saw that there was another large pack sniffing the bodies. The wolves, of course, hearing and smelling the group prepared to attack. Raieyana went after one wolf, only to find Reeve suddenly appearing to kill it. She went after another, but this time Cloud stepped in to prevent her from a fight. (Those two aren't going to let me kill any of the filthy beasts. I'm perfectly fine!) Everyone else was fighting, even Yuffie, which had Raieyana enraged. (She's pregnant, yet no one's protecting her from the vicious wolves. God, what is this crap? I'm not helpless.) She saw one wolf topple Reeve from behind. She ran over to kill it. (At least I can do something now.)
Cloud stepped in front of her. "I'll handle this," he said, killing the wolf.
"What the hell did you just do?" she asked.
"I killed an enemy, Raieyana." Sick and tired of the sarcasm and patronization, she went to slap him.
Reeve grabbed her hand in mid-air. "We're just protecting you," he said.
"Protecting me! We could have been done with the whole wolf mess at least an hour ago, if you had actually kept your mind on just the fighting and would have let me done what I could have, too. I'll tell you something. With all this stupid shit you've been doing between the two of you the last couple of hours, you have wasted everyone's time. Besides, I personally think it's a little too late to be having any concern for my well-being. I'm fine and have neither one of you to thank for it. Now if you think I'm strong enough, I'm going to go walk to the Airship and go home." She wrenched her hand free and started walking. She looked at Ruther. "What the hell are you staring at?" she snapped.
Cloud shrugged and started following her. "I suppose we should get going, before everyone in the outside world starts thinking we're all dead." Everyone started after Cloud.
Vincent turned around and saw Reeve hadn't budged. "Reeve, are you coming?"
He looked up and shrugged. "Of course."
"Look, Reeve," said Vincent, "it'll all work out. She's just pissed off because you wouldn't let her do anything."
"She could have hurt herself," Reeve said.
"She also could have hurt herself on the way in, but you sat back then and let her rip apart over half of the other pack of wolves. You might feel like you need to protect her, so what? She doesn't need any protection and she knows it. And I think you do, too."
"I didn't protect her from Sephiroth. I owe it to her."
Vincent shook his head. "I think, perhaps, maybe you couldn't protect her from Sephiroth. I also think that she knew that."
"I just want to make it up to her," Reeve said.
"That's wonderful," said Vincent. "However, it's obvious that being overprotective just isn't the way."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
When they returned to Undor-Hai, their success was celebrated with the traditional bonfire party. Well, traditional for the Undorians, anyway. Yuffie tried not to look ill as Vincent roasted her a hot dog and some marshmallows. "C'mon, you have to eat something, if only for the baby," he said.
"Maybe she wants to eat something besides flesh or fluff," offered Lia, from her position on Legolas' lap.
Raieyana smiled briefly at the discussion. She looked through the fire and saw Reeve. (I wonder how he's doing. I don't know why I blew up at him in the crater. He wouldn't have been acting that way unless he cared about me.) He looked up and met her eyes. She looked away quickly. (That doesn't mean that he still does now, though.)
He slowly got up. "I'm tired," he said.
"But the party isn't over," said Tifa.
He glared at her. "I've had a long day." He walked slowly towards Lia's house. Raieyana debated with herself briefly, then got up and followed him.
Reeve flicked away his old cigarette butt and lit a new one. (The hell with trying to quit. Damn it, she couldn't even look at me. Is it because of what I did when we went to face Sephiroth, or what I did afterwards?)
"I thought you were trying to quit," Raieyana said softly.
Reeve laughed bitterly. "Yeah, so did I. What brings you to talk to this old businessman, anyway? Haven't you had enough abuse for one day? For the rest of your life? It doesn't matter anyway. I decided this hero stuff isn't right for me. I'm going to find a few of my buddies from business school, start my own company, make a million..." He took a drag. "...or more. But then, I suppose you're not the type to worry about money. You're above that. And that's why you're above me."
Raieyana swallowed. (I don't know what to say to that. I shouldn't have followed him. He's not yours anymore. You've lost him.)
He looked at her. "You know, you're going to find yourself a fine young man one day, and..."
"I thought I had," she muttered.
He continued. "I'm sorry for you. About Ishmael, that is. He would have made a damn good husband for you."
"Well, maybe I don't want a damn good husband."
"What the hell do you want, Raieyana?"
He shook his head. "You don't want me," he said, "all I'd ever do is disappoint you. All I ever have done is disappoint you. Get over it and move on."
She walked over and stood in front of him, grabbed the cigarette, and put it out. "The only thing you've done to disappoint me is sit here in the dark, smoke, and feel sorry for yourself. So I guess this will be the good-bye that you want it so much to be." She walked away.
She turned around. "Reeve, I'm not going to say good riddance, because it's not. I love you."
He smiled wryly. "I'll tell you what. Tomorrow you're going to wake up and realize how confused you were right now. And how much better off you are without me."
"If I'm better off without you, then I was better off dead. At least then I wouldn't have been alone."
"You came back because the world needs you," he said.
"No," she said, "I came back because I need you."
"The hell with me, Ray!" He picked up a glass dish from a table and threw it at the wall. It shattered into a thousand pieces. "See. I'm a horrible person. I break things."
"Next time," she said, "try breaking something that belongs to me instead of Lia. You might not know it, but you are. My heart."
"Raieyana, you don't love me." He looked at her, waiting to see her reaction.
"You can believe that if it makes it easier for you. I won't deny what you said. But I won't lie," she said, and left. It wasn't until she was in her room, with the door firmly closed behind her, that Raieyana broke down.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Raieyana woke up the next morning and heard voices outside her door.
"Where's Reeve?" asked Lia.
"Oh," said Tifa, "he just left a few minutes ago. Didn't say a word about where he was going, either."
"I can't wake up Ray and tell her that," said Lia.
"So don't. She'll find out sooner or later for herself."
Raieyana sat up and looked at what she was wearing. (The only time I'll ever say I was glad to have fallen asleep in my clothes. Now I don't need to bother with getting dressed. I'll just slip out the back door. I wonder which trail he took?) Raieyana decided she knew both trails well enough to go down one really fast and come up the other. She started sown the back trail, which was the easiest. Also, unbeknownst to her, it was the trail that Cloud and the others had taken the first time up to Undor-Hai. About halfway down the mountain, she finally saw Reeve.
Reeve looked behind him, but Raieyana ducked into the bushes. (What did you think? Someone was following you? After what you said to her last night, you would be a dog to think she would come after you. But I love her. Why the hell was I so damn obstinate last night? Why did I leave today?) But Reeve couldn't convince himself that he wasn't seeing a flash of blue among the bushes on the trail behind him. "Ray?" (Of course there isn't an answer. She isn't there.) "What the hell were you thinking, Reeve?" he yelled to himself out loud. "She'd just follow you after you were a total, complete asshole? She's probably still asleep. And when she finds out I'm gone, she's just going to say big fucking deal, and Cloud will be there for her and she'll be happy. And I just left her there."
Reeve sat down and put his head in his hands. Raieyana watched him, stunned. She slipped out of the bushes and came closer to where he was sitting. "You're wrong about me going to Cloud. Ruther's much better looking and he's nicer," she said.
He stood up. "Raieyana." He reached out to take her hand. She ignored him and wrapped her arms around him. Surprised, he slowly put his arms around her. "I need to apologize..." he began.
"Apologize if that's what you need to do. Just so you know, I've already forgiven you."
"I did. And there's no use arguing with me. I've forgiven you, so come back." He shook his head.
"It's still not the life for me. Up there. I need technology. I need meat food products," he said.
"Just for a little while. I'll make the memorial. And when we get sick of Undor-Hai, I have a house in Junon. Hopefully I'm not still wanted..."
"I still want you," Reeve said.
"That's not going to help me if I get arrested..."
"I'll bust you out."
She laughed. "Can we go have breakfast first?"
He considered. "Only if you're sure you want to get stuck with me," he said.
"I followed you all the way down here," she said, "you can consider me insane if I did that not just because I loved you."
He kissed her. "Okay, I'll go back with you. I can't remember why I left in the first place." They started back up the trail. Back up the mountain, to Undor-Hai.