Raieyana brushed her blond hair out of her eyes. (I hate wigs, and these contacts are getting painful.) She glanced at Reeve, who looked equally uncomfortable in his new grunge get-up. (No one could recognize that former businessman.) She giggled.
Reeve glared at her. "You look real stupid, too, Raieyana." (Bet you don't feel as stupid as me, though.)
"You're each a laugh riot-and-a-half," said Ishmael, "now don't call each other by names anymore. Ray's wanted, and so are Denmae and I for going AWOL."
They sneaked up towards the airport.
"There's no ladder," exclaimed Denmae, "now what?" Raieyana smiled and climbed up the anchoring rope hand-over-hand.
"Sure," yelled Ishmael, "no one will recognize you if you're doing that!"
She dropped down the ladder. "Hurry up, Ish. You're so slow."
When they were all on deck, Denmae said, "Okay, now who knows how to fly this thing?" They all looked at Reeve.
"Hey," he said, "I've never been on this thing before, either. In person, anyway..."
Raieyana ran to the controls. "Here goes... Denmae, go cut the rope. 1-2-3 takeoff!" The Airship dropped. Now it was hovering less than five feet above the ground.
"Here, I'll do it." Ishmael flew the Airship over Junon and landed at Ft. Condor where the others were waiting.
Vincent saw the Airship hovering over Ft. Condor. "Now to see Lucrecia...get Hope..." he whispered. Yuffie slapped him on the back of the head.
"I owed you one," she said. He glared at her. A ladder dropped down before them. Raieyana and Reeve came down, ripping off parts of their disguises.
"Where is everyone?" she asked.
Vincent shrugged. "Barret and Cid are at the bar..."
"Go on up, you two," Raieyana said, "we'll get the others when we go to change out of these disguises. These contacts are killing me." And they went inside.
Yuffie crossed her arms and shook her head. "Being on this thing makes me so ill. I don't know why I had to open my big mouth and mention we didn't have the Airship anymore. I'm sooo idiotic. Gawd!" The last yell came as Vincent raised his hand to slap her. Yuffie flew up the ladder and promptly hid in the chocobo stable on the Airship.
When everyone had gotten on the Airship, they resumed the previous conversation about the White materia.
"Well, it's too late to start today. Darn. I know! Let's rest." Yuffie left on this pretense, and everyone ignored her, except for Vincent who looked oddly aggravated.
"We need to get Holy, and possibly Hope..." Raieyana was saying, when Ruther interrupted her.
"What about the other four?" he asked.
"We should concentrate our efforts on those two, I think," she said.
Barret shook his head. "If there's fourteen of us, we can split into parties of..., umm...(never was too good at dividin'...)"
Raieyana solved his math dilemma. "Four parties of two and two parties of three," she said. "We'll just be too spread out. Together we stand, divided we..."
"...drink," Cid replied, and Vincent, well, slapped him on the back of the head.
"We never really decided how to go about getting the materia, either," Red XIII said.
"For once, Yuffie had a good idea," Tifa said, "I'm tired." She left the deck, followed by Barret, Cloud, Ruther, Denmae, and Cid, who left on various pretenses.
Ishmael said, "Maybe we should split up in more than two parties; time really isn't on our side, Ray." He exited, taking Blane, Ishmael, Red XIII and Vincent with him.
"Aren't you going to leave, too?" Raieyana asked Reeve, turning around and looking at the sky. Reeve walked over to her.
"Do you want me to?" he asked.
She looked worried. "I don't know what to do. They're all expecting me to come up with the answers because I kind of know what Aysta's doing." She sighed. (I wish he'd leave me alone to think.) But it looked like that was not going to happen.
"Do you know why Aysta's doing this?" Reeve asked.
She shook her head. "No...yes...it doesn't matter." She looked at him, and smiled. "I guess it does. Sure, I know, but I don't think anyone else needs to know."
"What?" he asked, confused.
"The reason why Aysta went psycho. Blane and Ish don't even know themselves, and they've been near her in Junon all this time..."
Reeve broke in unexpectedly. "Why do you call Ishmael 'Ish?'"
Raieyana was surprised. (That just came out of the blue.) "I don't know. He calls me Ray because he says Raieyana takes too long to say, so I gave him a nickname." She glanced at the moon. (It isn't full anymore, so we'll have less light at night.) Raieyana was still of the belief that some evil things lurked out in the dark. Maybe not in closets, but definitely in the wilderness. (At least we're not on the ground.) She shivered, thinking about some of things that could be down there if Aysta had used Mutate.
Reeve looked at her. "Are you cold?" (Maybe I should offer her my jacket.) He had changed back into a business suit.
"No, that's alright," she said, unconsciously moving closer to him.
They stood there, watching the night pass by. Reeve slowly leaned down and kissed Raieyana. Then they both jerked apart as if by reflex. Reeve would have been bright red if it wasn't so dark.
"I'm sorry, that was totally uncalled for..." (What were you thinking, Reeve! She's sixteen! That's a ten year difference.) His meaningless apology trailed off into the dark silence.
Raieyana tried to reassure him. "It's okay. Look, it's late You should go to sleep."
"What about you?" Reeve asked. "You should go to sleep, too." (Because you're only sixteen...) His conscience was not going to let him off the hook, even if Raieyana was.
"I'll be fine," Raieyana was saying, "it's not like I ever get much sleep when I go to bed anyway. Good night." She turned around and looked at him.
"Good night," said Reeve, still embarrassed.
Then he left, and Raieyana was left by herself to think at last. But she only had one thing on her mind. (He's too old for you, Ray. Did you feel when he pulled away? That's when he remembered you were just a kid.) She was still looking to the sky when the sun arose the next morning.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Barret was the first to talk to Raieyana the next morning. (My head feels like hell... Mebbe I should have stopped after the fifth beer...)
"Raieyana, I was thinking last night. We really shouldn't go off looking for that materia when we don't really know if Shinra has any of it. Wouldn't want to waste our time. So, it would probably be quicker in the long run if we split up to look for Shinra. We could go in like five groups of three or somethin'. Meet up at Rocket Town in three or four days."
She nodded. "That really is a good idea. And then we could go look for all the materia, together."
Suprisingly enough, everyone thought that this was a rather good idea. They started splitting up into groups. Something was bothering Reeve, though. (There's only fourteen of us. There'll be one group of two.)
Cid was going with Vincent, so Vincent could keep an eye on him. He was dragging along Yuffie for the same reason, so she could be under his watching eye. They were scoping Wutai, so Yuffie could visit home. Ruther, Legolas, and Denmae knew each other the best, so they grouped and were going to stay on the continent. Cloud, Tifa, and Red XIII were going to see if Nibelheim was "still sane," and Barret, Blane, and Ishmael were heading north.
"That leaves you and Reeve, Ray," said Ishmael, "is that okay?" He would have switched groups in an instant if he knew how much the arrangement really bothered her.
"No," she said, "it's okay. Where should we go?"
Barret smiled. "Go to Costa Del Sol. Stay at our villa. Check out Gold Saucer. Give the Shinra manager a vacation."
(Three nights. With him. Alone at a resort. I barely survived one.) Raieyana smiled weakly. "Sure," she said.
"Allright," said Cid, "I'm dropping everyone off."