Redemption Chapter 11
By Janet Monstwillo
Aeris knelt beside her mother and prayed.
Reeve turned his head and walked out of the medical bay of the Highwind. Well, it was the Highwind II, and, in the words of Cid, "bigger and badder than the original." Since the first Highwind was obsolete and retired now, pretty much everyone referred to this as the Airship or the Highwind, to which Cid would demand "it's the Highwind II, dammit, say two!"
(Full speed ahead, to Cosmo Canyon. But is this the place to find the answers?) Something deep inside him told him that what he ought to be doing was to take his children to the City of the Ancients and see if they could hear the voices of the Planet. He stopped this thought, though. (Ray never heard the voices. How could my children? The blood of the Cetra has become too dilute.)
The blonde stood up and exited after her father. "Dad. We have to do something after we get Mom to the Canyon."
"What do you suggest?" There was a strain in his eyes that Aeris had never seen before. She had been too young during the time Raieyana was pregnant with Patrick, and Raieyana's death was years before her birth.
"I need to find Patrick." She looked at him. "How could you let him go like that? It's obvious he has all the answers to these questions. Besides, if it comes to a last resort such as that...if anyone could hope to get inside Mom's mind, it's him."
"What?" The tone in Reeve's voice told Aeris she was treading on thin ice.
Emerald eyes filled with tears and she fled from his presence, crying all the way to the bridge.
He turned and slammed a fist into the wall, Barret-style. (Dammit all to hell.)
"I'll be the first to admit that I do not live with Patrick on a full time basis, but the last I saw of him was not too terrible. Circumstances are hard enough without you transferring your harsh energies to your other two children." Red XIII emerged from between the supply bags where he had been napping.
"You don't know him at all," muttered Reeve.
"And do you, Reeve?"
"I saw him the day after he was born. Placed into the hands of a crazed madman, while I strained every muscle in my body and every bit of energy I possessed, trying to rescue him. I risked my life for his."
"That in itself does not equate to knowing the person at all." He frowned. "I just do not understand how you can feel such a way to your own flesh and blood. I denied my father, but that was just because I did not understand his actions."
"You are correct about one thing, Red. I do not understand Patrick's actions." There was a sudden fury in Reeve's eyes. "But I will not be chided for denying my own offspring. Especially when Patrick is not my son."
Red XIII watched Reeve storm to the observation deck. (With this startling revelation, Reeve's behavior begins to fall into place. But the problem is that his actions are in no way beneficial to Raieyana. No matter who Patrick's father was, he is still Raieyana's son. She may need him.)
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Azura grunted as she hit the ground again.
She shook her head. "I'm fine." She hopped up again and readied the long stick she had been using as a practice staff.
Patrick twirled his own stick and took on a defensive battle stance. "Okay then, come at me this time."
She bit her lip and concentrated. A few steps toward him, a couple swings, and...Patrick had her up against him, with a move that would have placed his staff against her throat in battle. Her own stick was lying on the ground. (Damn it.) Then suddenly, she sensed an uneven balance of weight. (A-ha!) She leaned to the right, and before Patrick could compensate, wrenched the stick from his hands.
A blow against his lower legs landed him on his back. He looked up to see the end of the stick pointed at his throat and Azura grinning broadly. "Okay," he said with a smile, "your point."
The smile grew wider and she stepped back just a bit, relaxing her stance.
He flashed her a mischievous look and grabbed the end of her stick, pulling her down. She landed in a heap on top of him.
"Hey! That's cheating!" she protested.
"I know," he replied, tossing the stick aside. "It's break time."
"Oh really!" She was indignant. "Well, I think I'll spend my break pouting that you just made me fall for no purpose."
"Come on, Zuri, I was playing," he whined. Scooting up next to her, he gave her puppy-dog eyes. "If you say you forgive me, I'll let you win next round."
"You'd let me win when I'm training?" Azura added a bit of drama to her speech and turned her head with a "hmph." Before Patrick could get out another pitiful plead to her, she turned quickly to face him. Quickly pressing her lips to his, she kissed him--hard.
His eyes were full of surprise. "I think I'll just let you win things on your own from now on. I like the results."
There was a sparkle of extra confidence in her eyes as she smiled warmly at him.
They were interrupted by the roar of a large mutant beast. (Shit) thought Patrick (of all the times for one of these to show up.) "It's a Ruby Dragon!" he shouted to Azura, tossing the real staff at her. "Stay back and just work spells." He took a pair of sabres from his hip sheaths. "Come to papa!" he yelled at the dragon as he touched the 4x cut materia.
Azura stood back, readying a Bio spell. She found that the longer she prepared to cast, the more energy flowed into her. (Or is the energy growing inside me?)
Patrick continued his slice-and-dice action until the boost added by the materia began to wear down. (I got in there nine times.) He was amazed. (Over double what's advertised isn't a bad deal at all.) He looked to his partner, eager to see what kind of magic she had in store.
She hopped forward a bit and raised her arms, palm outstretched in the direction of the dragon's head. "Bio!" A torrent of bright green energy soared towards the dragon.
(Thank god her aim is true.) He could feel the sickening poison in the air itself as the thick stream passed close to him. The dragon roared in agony and tried to counter attack, but failed. The only thing it could do was muster up a meager Cure for itself.
(That won't help you.) Azura shook her head and decided to put another spell in the works. She twirled her staff, pointing the Lightning materia in the dragon's direction.
Patrick noticed that she was preparing to cast again. "Want to try and finish 'em off yourself?" he asked, half-jokingly. He knew that the Ruby Dragon was the strongest little enemy around, and it would take about fifty turns between himself and Azura to bring the beast to its knees.
She closed her eyes in concentration, knowing that the third level Bolt spell would take much more energy than the dinky poison. She could almost feel the electric particles moving between her body and her weapon, surging into her more and more. For a moment, she was scared. Patrick had told her that casting with a materia in your weapon meant using the weapon to guide it. But she also remembered how she had to stop touching the materia in her armlet to direct the spell, when it was in her armlet. So she dropped the staff.
(Uh oh.) His hand inched to his 4x cut materia, hoping that Azura had only had an accident and was otherwise okay. Then he stopped in his tracks. (She's still casting?)
Her eyes opened and glowed green like the energy contained in the crystals. Spasms of electric power shot from her outstretched hand and the Ruby Dragon went into series of convulsions. One upon the other, which were never going to end, as long as the spell poured from Azura. The glow in her eyes faded as the spell subsided, but the dragon was now a steaming, charred carcass.
"I got him!" She jumped up and down with joy. Hopping over her weapon, she wrapped her arms around Patrick in a tight hug. "This is already paying off!"
"Ack...Zuri, wait a sec." He wiped his bloody sabres on the grass and sheathed them. (I got the best materia prodigy since the legendary Sephiroth on my hands, and we're hiding out in the middle of the woods. And she thinks it's all due to my training?!) He stepped over to the body of the dragon. "This is a Ruby Dragon," he said in his best teacher voice. "It usually takes me about twenty minutes to kill one of these things, unless I get annoyed and use a summon like Ramuh. Then it takes ten."
Azura giggled. "Stop trying to win me over by doing the opposite of bragging."
"To anyone but you, those stats would be bragging."
"Did I do the 'amazing materia' thing again?" She looked confused. "But I didn't even cast it like you told me to."
"Never mind for today. Time will tell us what your strongest level is. Training's over for today. You look tired."
She walked over and picked up her staff, then skipped over back to Patrick. Spontaneity took over and she grabbed his hand.
He smiled at her and they walked back. Together.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
("The time is upon you. Get up, Cloud."
Can't you just leave me alone?
"I wish I could, but something happened to you a long time ago. In a time before your time, the natural order of things was altered. The destiny of the present generation was altered, in turn, to correct this mistake."
If you know so much about things, why don't you just go fix them yourself?
"Only one soul per generation is given to the Planet to fix such things."
And it's me, I suppose.
"No. It's your son."
"That's his name this time. It has been other things before. His destiny is twofold. To destroy the 'Calamity from the Skies...'"
Jenova? We destroyed her.
"As long as her cells reside in any human body, she is not truly gone. And until Patrick defeats her, she will never truly die. If Patrick succeeds this time, the Jenova line will die out."
I will be normal? All the ex-Soldiers...their children...we'll all be normal?
"Yes. Even though Hojo used altered Jenova cells in his experimentation, they are still truly part of Jenova enough for her to regenerate herself."
You say "this time." How could Patrick have failed before now? He is only fourteen.
"The true line of Jenova has extended for millennia. In every incarnation of you, you have created an incarnation of Patrick as your son. This is the first generation in which the 'Son of the Sun' has survived to be born and lived through infancy. His birth signaled the Reunion."
Jenova gathered her minions to destroy him?
"Yes. But she underestimated Raieyana and overestimated Hojo. It is time you understood the truth about Patrick. The Jenova/Hojo cells inside you tried to prevent your desire for Raieyana, but your desire for Aeris overrode that, and you wished to be with her anyway. Even though the same consciousness had practically no power over Raieyana, it hardened her heart to you."
Jenova made Raieyana dislike me?
"Yes. All to prevent Patrick's birth."
If those powers did not want me to have a child with Raieyana, then how the hell was I forced into...into...
"The intentions of the Planet marred by the desire of Jenova caused that. Raieyana was to have been deep in sleep, and you were supposed to have been led by Aeris...in a dream. She would have been reconciled with Reeve, her lover, and no one would be wiser...but Jenova..."
She made me violent to Raieyana after she used all her power to make Raieyana awaken at my presence.
"Yes. For even though Jenova could not prevent the conception, she thought she could prevent Raieyana from trusting you. Prevent Raieyana from wanting the child, loving the child. An attempt to make the destruction of the child as easy as possible."
But we were too strong. We were all too strong.
"You must go now, Cloud. The last efforts of Jenova have begun. Raieyana has finally made a concession to the mind control, after a shattering event. Reeve, Vincent, and others have hardened their heart to the anointed child. United you should stand... It is your job to reconcile things. Cloud, once you divided. Arise. Tomorrow you shall unify.")
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