Reunion Chapter 1
By Janet Monstwillo
(After all this, to come full circle. All the trouble we have gone through, and the one problem still remains. To protect ourselves from the greed and power of money. From the insatiable greed. Shinra.)
Raieyana put down the PHS. After seven years of basically no communication, she had been startled to hear it ringing. And after seven years of inactivity, Shinra was at it again. Ironically, they were at again, as simultaneously, severe side effects were popping up in the original members of Soldier. Whether from the Mako or the Jenova remained to be seen. (But they both are in me. By the metric ton. No wonder they called me. But then again, they're calling everyone.)
Raieyana also remembered Barret's words: "I gotta go to work. You gotta get ahold of the people I haven't yet. Yuffie, Vincent, and Reeve."
Yuffie and Vincent, Mr. and Mrs. Valentine, were easy. They were in Wutai, as they had been since they were married almost seven years ago. But Reeve... (Just use the PHS. He still has one, probably. At last resort, I could go to Junon. Well, not really...)
"Mommy?" A small boy tugged at Raieyana's skirt.
"What is it, honey?" she asked.
"Aeris is looking at me funny again!" He looked close to tears.
"Aeris," she called. His sister peeked from around a doorway. "Stop bothering Ishmael."
"I wasn't, Mommy," she said.
Raieyana sighed. "Don't you two ever play nice?"
"We played nice for approximately five minutes yesterday," said Ishmael.
She shook her head. "That's because I was in the room with you..."
"Ray." Lia walked into the room. "Funny thing, I thought I heard a phone ring. You wouldn't happen to know anything about it, would you?" There were no telephones in Undor-Hai.
"PHS," said Raieyana, "there's trouble a-brewing, with the stench of Shinra. And some Soldiers have been afflicted with some odd side effects to their treatments. Reaction to either Jenova or an excess of Mako."
Lia grimaced. "Sounds serious. Legolas was a Soldier...he's okay."
"But," said Raieyana, "it is, like, the very first set of Soldiers. Treated before I was born. It may eventually affect me, and all the Soldiers from after these few. Barret called. Everyone's coming up here in a couple of days. And I need to call Yuffie and Vincent. And he needs me to call Reeve."
"Are you?" asked Lia.
"I have to try," she said.
"Mommy," whined Aeris.
"Aeris, Ishmael," said Lia, "let's go play with Danny, okay? Your mommy has some things to take care of." The two kids ran out. "Are you going to tell him?"
"I will when it's time," said Raieyana.
"I think the time has passed..."
"I know what you think," said Raieyana, "and now I have to get in touch with Yuffie and Vincent. ...and Reeve."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
("You just stay in Undor-Hai until Alcor gets established. You don't need to be involved in the messy beginnings of a business..."
The last words he wrote to me.) The postscript of the reply he sent to her letter asking for either him to come back home or to let her go to Junon. (I couldn't tell him I was pregnant in a letter, or even over the phone. Too impersonal. And then later, I was in no shape... And afterwards, I didn't want him to come for me because of the kids...only if he loved me.) Raieyana knew Lia's opinion of the whole situation. She had, several times over the last six-and-a-half years, threatened to go to Junon and "drag Reeve's ass back here with the children where he belongs." (But I swore I would never use my kids as a bargaining tool to get my lover back. And I won't. He will finally know, when he comes.) And Raieyana had firmly believed that if Reeve was meant to know, somehow he would know, eventually. (I promised myself never to initiate anything that would make him pity me. I don't want pity, I don't need help, I already have plenty of support. But now, I have to call him and give him the news. He will come if he wants to.) Raieyana picked up the PHS.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Because of the new Shinra Macroreactor, our profits are down approximately 15.6 percent. We can't ignore this Mako thing anymore. We have to stop pretending it went out of existence when we went into business. It's more reliable, cheaper to extract, and more abundant."
Reeve tossed aside Yorlain's pie chart. "I don't want figures," he said, "I don't need pie graphs, and I have plenty of knowledge of the abundance of Mako energy to be extracted. There isn't an abundance."
"Then, explain why Shinra has more reactors than we have power plants."
"Yorlain, some of these reactors are almost as old as I am, are plagued by mechanical defects, and use more power to function than they extract. The majority of them operate just to make it seem like Shinra has got the Mako thing under control. But they're running out of Mako and getting desperate. I see this 'Macroreactor' thing as a last-ditch effort to put us out of business so they can buy the land our thermal power plants are on. They know we have Mako, because the heat comes from the Lifestream, and they know we haven't actually extracted the Mako itself. And the figures Shinra gives to its shareholders are incorrect, altered to their favor, probably to scare our shareholders into selling. And if most of them are like you, we're doomed."
"Reeve," said Yorlain, "the share holders want a press-conference or the equivalent. They want to hear you give them hope that we're gonna stay in this thing for the long haul."
"Fine, get me Reno, on the phone, now."
"Not Reno. You remember what happened last time he held one..."
Reeve shook his head. "I'm sick and tired of you telling me how to run this business. Reno is my partner. I'm going to confer with him on what I'm going to say at the press conference."
"Fine," Yorlain said, "I'll page him."
Reeve watched him leave, and lit up a cigarette. He took a drag, then opened the bottom drawer of his filing cabinet, reached in the back, and brought out a worn piece of paper. He gazed at the neat, curved script.
"God, Reeve, you don't understand. I need to be with you. It is really important, not just because I miss you, I swear. Not just because I'm lonely without you here. I have a valid reason. So valid, I would even go to Junon. I would leave. Please, tell me you'll come home. Or you want me to come to you..."
(She loved me so much. And I said no, just a little longer... Lost her, for this. A business full of problems and money losses. Finally turn a profit, and it's a Shinra revival. Oh well, I always knew that Raieyana would be better off without me. But I don't know if I'm better off without her.) Reeve tried to imagine her face, the way her voice sounded, the exact way she would tilt her head when he said something totally idiotic. But he drew a blank, just as he had that day five years ago when he realized he couldn't even remember her in his dreams. He replaced the letter back into its hidden spot, luckily, just in time. He knew Lavana would laugh at him if she saw him moping over a letter that was almost seven years old.
Lavana smiled, and sauntered over to his desk and sat down on the chair in front of him, pitching slightly forward so he could get the full effect of her low cut dress. "Shit, Reeve, I heard you were giving a press conference," she said.
His mind being completely off someplace, he gave the eloquent reply of, "Huh?"
"You. Speaking. At. Press conference. Totally surprised me. Not that it doesn't turn me on, a surprising thing..."
Reeve sighed. "Lavana, I won't date you. End of story. Two years ago."
She looked at him in disbelief. "I could, you know," she said, "have any man here in the company, on my desk, in my office, now. Except for you. I'm starting to believe you may walk a little on the fruity side, if you catch my drift. After all, Reno and you have a lot of long nights together. Here. Alone."
Reeve stood up. "If you don't have anything useful to say to me, then go. Just because I'm not attracted to you throwing you breasts in my face every opportunity you get, does not mean that I'm gay. Maybe it just means I'm a little more picky in who I want to date. Number one on my 'don't date' list: whores. With number two on the list being employees, you're definitely a 'don't.'"
Lavana started to leave. "Yeah, but you haven't had a date in all the time I've worked here. Look, you're thirty-three years old, Reeve. You're a workaholic. Look at me. I want you. If you're that picky, then I guess you'll be alone."
Reeve grabbed his cigarette out of the ashtray. (But I decided that when I decided Raieyana didn't want me anymore. She is the only woman I want.) The phone rang. Reeve picked up the one on his desk. (Nope.) He reached for the cellular in his briefcase. (Nope.) The phone continued to ring. He grabbed the cellular from the desk drawer. (What the--) He held his pager to his ear. (No?!) He paused, and listened carefully. (The closet? But that's just...the PHS!) He fumbled with his keys, finally finding the one that unlocked his office closet. He fumbled around, finally finding it in and old duffel bag he had used when he went around with Cloud and the others...and Raieyana. He pulled it out, shakily putting it up to his ear. "Hello?" he said. "Hello, who's there?"
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Raieyana heard his voice.
"...Hello, who's there?"
She could barely speak. "Reeve," she finally managed to get out.
"Raieyana. So, ummm, why...what's going on?"
Raieyana blanked. "Uhhh, Barret," she said, "asked me to call you because there's been...some trouble with Shinra in Corel...and some of the first men who were in Soldier are having reactions to either the Mako or the Jenova in them. And he wanted everyone to meet in Undor-Hai in three days, but..."
Reeve cut in. "I'll be there."
"Hey, it's allright. I have a ton of vacation days piled up. I'll be there. God, I wish I could talk more, but I've got a press conference...we'll catch up when we see each other again, right?"
"Right," Raieyana murmured.
"Goodbye," said Reeve.
"Bye." Raieyana put the PHS down. (Reeve, you didn't let me finish. No one else can come until the next day. I didn't want you here...just you...with me. I didn't want it to be awkward. But now I can tell him about the kids before everyone else gets here...I guess...)
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Reeve looked at the PHS sitting on his desk. (It all came back to me...when I heard her voice... Her face...her eyes...her love.)
"Awfully quiet, man, for someone who has to go out and reassure the stockholders we aren't going belly up in the business world." Reno stood in the doorway, pulling off his sunglasses.
Reeve grimaced. "Thanks for reminding me, Reno. What do you want me to say to them? Any specific requests? I can do a decent rendition of 'Come Sail Away' by Styx."
"Somehow," said Reno, "I don't think that would make them any more confident. Just tell them Shinra's sucking up all the Mako and they can't go on forever."
"That's what we always tell them!"
Reno shook his head. "Is there anything we should do besides stick to the original story? I don't think we should lie."
"I don't know," said Reeve, "Shinra always lies and right now, it looks to me like they're going to come out ahead in all this."
"Of course, monsieur pessimist," said Reno.
"Parles-vouz français?" asked Reeve.
"No," said Reno, "I took French for a semester in high school."
Reeve shook his head, and grabbed the paper on which he had scrawled a few, very few, statements regarding the latest Shinra profit report and the effect of it on Alcor. "Guess it's now or never," said Reeve, "by the way, I'm taking a few days off."
"Great timing, partner."
Reeve smiled. "I haven't taken hardly any time off in nearly seven years. Besides, it isn't going to be a vacation. I'm going to see Ray--, I mean Cloud Strife and the others."
"Dude," said Reno, "you trust those bozos?"
Reeve shrugged. "Those bozos saved my ass quite a few times..."
"Yeah, but they kicked mine just as much, if not more."
"You were still Shinra then," said Reeve, "you were the enemy."
"So were you," said Reno.
"I quit," said Reeve, "because of them. And it was the best decision I have ever made in my life."
"See," said Reno, "I quit because I was sick of getting my ass kicked while Elena sat and watched."
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