Reunion Chapter 11
By Janet Monstwillo
When Raieyana woke up, the sky was still dusky. She would have rolled right over and went back to sleep, but she was distracted by an orange glow coming in through the window. She peered through the curtains. (That's not the sun...something's on fire! And this looks huge.) She ran into the living room.
Reno was watching a porno, with a bored expression on his face. He hurriedly turned off his VCR. "What do you want, Raieyana?" he asked.
"There's a really huge fire outside," she said. She grabbed the remote control and turned the television to the local broadcast station.
"Channel Six here, live from the scene. Although we don't know the cause of the fire, it has been spreading through the main streets of Lower Junon and has started on the bottom of the Alcor building. So far, we do not know if anyone has been injured by the fire, but if anyone is inside the Alcor building, it's going to get hotter than hell inside there..."
Reno was on the phone instantly. "Reeve, you jackass, answer the damn phone." He looked at Raieyana. "There's no answer," he said.
She opened the door. "Then we're going to the Alcor building."
Reno was not in bad shape, but he was having trouble keeping up with Raieyana as she hurried down the streets of Junon. They didn't see the full brunt of the fire until they passed through the tunnel connecting Upper and Lower Junon. She shook her head. "Shinra must be in some way responsible. This may cause me to lose my faith in humanity."
"I already did," said Reno, "a long time ago. My motto: live only for yourself."
"And then you die by yourself. I'd like to think that some people would care if I died."
He looked at her. "I would. For every loner like me, there needs to be five of you to keep this world together."
"Nonsense," she said, "you're just imagining five of me in bed with you."
"I had an image, but I'd be satisfied with one of you...really."
Raieyana chuckled at his frankness. "Well, suddenly I feel less threatened," she muttered sarcastically.
Reno looked at her. She was wearing a T-shirt and a pair of sweat pants; she had been sleeping in them. The shirt fit her kind of tightly. He could tell she wasn't wearing a bra. And he knew that there could be some major repercussions if her didn't keep his eyes off her. After all, he wasn't made of stone. (I wonder what she sees in Reeve...he's not bad looking or a bad guy or anything...but she could probably have any man she wanted on this whole planet. And walk all over him if she wanted to. Damn it, Reeve has no idea how lucky he is. I wouldn't have left her with another guy for an entire day...and then that night...even if it was my best friend...even if I thought she couldn't stand him.)
Raieyana, however, was completely and totally oblivious, even to the men she had passed on the street who turned around to give her a second look.
"Raieyana," he said, "over the past couple of days I've had a temptation to kiss you. You're Reeve's, I know. But that doesn't mean you don't attract me."
Raieyana caught her breath in surprise. Sure, this man was grungy, but she had to admit to herself that she had been feeling some slight attraction to this former colleague of Tseng's. He was still a womanizer, but there was a fire that burned in him more brightly than in most people she had ever known. And even though she was fully aware of the consequences, she let her lips meet his. She allowed herself this for one fleeting moment. One electrifying moment. She broke away, confused.
"J...J...Jack. Look, maybe we...we coulda been. Under different circumstances, maybe, you know. But...I love Reeve and we have to find him."
"If that's what you want...then..." Reno turned to go on.
"Hold on, there. You're going the wrong way. You're heading towards the fire."
Reno looked at the annoying policeman. "I know that, dipshit. We have to find someone."
"Well, I can't let you do that. Now just come with me, and you can go stay someplace safe."
"Look," Reno said, "go pour water on the fire or something. I have some business."
"I'll have to arrest you if you don't cooperate..."
Raieyana drew her sabres. She had grabbed them before leaving Reno's place. "Maybe you should go pretend you didn't see anything here," she suggested in a soft voice.
"Little lady," said the cop, "don't try to threaten me."
"I'm not trying to threaten you. I am threatening you. And if you don't want me to prove how many pints of blood are contained in the human body by demonstration, it would probably be a good idea to get your ass in gear."
His eyes widening in fear, the policeman scurried off. "I love Junon's cowardly police force," said Raieyana with a sigh, "home sweet home."
"Holy shit," said Reno. The Alcor building was engulfed in flames.
"How do we get up there?" asked Raieyana.
He looked around. (Service tower...but that would only get to the twentieth floor. Wait, there's some wires up there that go to the top. If they're phone lines we can use them. If they're power lines...) "Raieyana," he said, "look up there." He pointed. "Are those wires phone or electric lines?"
She squinted. "Phone lines."
"How'd you know that?" he asked, surprised.
She shrugged. "They're connected to that 'Junon Bell' telephone pole."
He grabbed the wire and started pulling himself up it. "Can you climb it?" he asked.
Raieyana looked at it. She nodded.
"Well, then," he said, "here we go."
They had climbed steadily upwards. Reno estimated they were around the height of the nineteenth floor. Suddenly, his cell phone rang. "Who is it?"
"Reno. My God, there's a fire."
"Reeve, I know. Where are you?"
"Trying to find the stairs, but it's dark and the sprinkler system is on up here, and Yorlain has gotten us lost. Wait...Yorlain's found the stairs. We're heading up to the helicopter launch pad on the roof...but it'll take us a while. Where are you?"
"As we speak, Raieyana and I are climbing up to meet you."
"No shit. I think Shinra did this. I've been on my other cell phone, calling all the police. There's been emergency evacuations. They've been fighting the fire...with a lot of effort...but the winds been blowing and somebody cut off the hydrants in our block. Whoever's behind this really wanted to get us...bad. Either that, or we've got damn bad luck here. But the rest of the city is looking like it won't get hit too bad. And, if anyone dies it's gonna be Yorlain and I because we were on the phone so long trying to save everyone else."
"Just hurry up and get to the roof. We'll meet you there."
Raieyana had been waiting patiently while Reno talked to Reeve. But just as he hung up, she slipped. "Reno!" she screamed as one hand slipped off completely. Not wasting a moment, he grabbed her wrist and half-pulled her up to him.
"I thought you said you could handle this," he said.
"I didn't know I'd be stopped to a standstill while you blabbed on the phone. I have plenty of strength, but my endurance ran out."
"Well," he said, "we can't go back down. The place where we first climbed up is probably an inferno. You'll just have to trust me. Here. Put your arms around my neck." He wrapped an arm around her waist and held her tightly against him. Using a combination of his feet and his other hand, Reno slowly climbed up to the top. They finally reached the roof of the Alcor building, a mere forty stories high. Even with both feet firmly on the roof, Raieyana still hadn't let go of Reno.
"You saved my life," she said.
He tried not to pay attention to the sensation of her body against his. "It was...nothing, really."
"Thanks," she whispered.
"Ray." Reeve ran over to them. "Ray, you allright?"
Embarrassed, Raieyana broke away from her embrace with Reno. She nodded, trying to hide the guilt she felt at being seen with Reno by Reeve. Reeve hugged Raieyana. He looked at Reno.
"We've got two helicopters. I'm taking Yorlain; he can't pilot a helicopter and I know you two don't get along."
"The guy's an idiot," Reno muttered.
Ignoring him, Reeve continued. "Ray, you don't mind another hour or so with Reno, do you?"
(Yes!) Her inner voice screamed. (I don't want to find out what he's really like. I'm afraid of myself. I don't want to spend another moment with him!) "I'll survive," she whispered.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Bored with the images of flames on the screens, Lavana got up. "I want to see if I can make any progress," she said to Laida.
Laida laughed. "Good luck."
Lavana walked out of Laida's office and took the elevator to the forty-fifth floor. Pausing in front of Scarlet's office, she unbuttoned her shirt another couple of buttons and tousled her hair. She slipped in the door with hardly a sound.
"Look," said Scarlet, "I specifically said I didn't want to be disturbed. Now go..." Scarlet stopped in mid-sentence when she saw it was Lavana. "Oh...I didn't know it was you...but I kind of want to be alone."
"Fine," said Lavana. She went and locked the door. "Now we're alone." She walked closer to Scarlet.
With her breath coming more quickly, Scarlet tried as hard as she could to keep her eyes off of Lavana. (A spy for us at Alcor...nothing more.) Lavana stared at Scarlet. "What... what is it?" Scarlet asked.
"Oh, you just have a piece of hair in your eyes. Just right...here." She reached over and brushed it from Scarlet's face. "I'm ashamed to admit it; but I'm attracted to you, Scarlet."
Lavana leaned down and kissed Scarlet passionately, and Scarlet took the bait.
About an hour later, Lavana returned to Laida's office. "I have Scarlet where we want her," she said.
"You really have no inhibitions, do you?" asked Laida in astonishment.
Lavana shrugged. "Scarlet was a better lover than most men. And she enjoyed it. I could tell from the beginning she wanted me. She started panting the moment I walked in the door."
Laida smiled. "Well, sis, I think we'll probably be running Shinra in no time."
"And how is Heidegger comin' along?"
Laida made a face. "I finally found a guy that was willing to be paid for providing... services to Heidegger. And to think, in the beginning, we thought Scarlet and Heidegger were sleeping with each other! But now they're distracted...so we can put our plan into play."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Cloud didn't understand the reason why he had went to Junon. He didn't understand how he could have said those things to Raieyana. (It...it...made me do it. I ought to go find a sword just so I can plunge it into my chest and end the misery I've caused everyone. But I just can't help but hope that I am here for some reason...to do good.) He remembered Tifa's words. And there was nothing else in the world he wanted more than to be able to love Tifa. Because she deserved it.
(But she deserves someone better than me...and so would Aeris, if she were alive.
"Aeris...poor girl. Well, she served her purpose. In time you will realize that everything has its purpose. Your purpose...is to serve me."
No! I've already done too much. I cannot go on. You will not always control me.
"God made good and God made evil. Aeris was the good before, and her enemy--the evil--was Sephiroth. Raieyana is good. You are her evil. Nothing remains unchecked. Not even the righteous things."
Why can't the righteous be allowed to let live?
"Let live? Hardly. The righteous are burned along with the evil, because nothing is fair. Bad things happen to the righteous, the meek, the pure, the deserving; while the evil, the braggarts, the hypocrites, the corrupt, reap the rewards and pleasures of this earthly plane."
No, that's not the way it happens. Good triumphs, and finally the wretched get theirs. Angels may burn, but they will know peace.
"But you won't...puppet."
I am not a puppet!
"If you aren't a puppet, then everything that you have done was out of your own free will. If there is a heaven, you will never see it; if there is a Promised Land, you will never know it. If there is an afterlife, there is still no way you and Aeris will ever be reunited. Because all of this was...of your own free will."
Never. And you can't control what will happen. You do not decide what I do.
"Beware your destiny. You will lead the reunion. And with your son at your right hand, you will open the gates of hell. It was arranged long before you existed. And you cover your ears, and cower, but this is the future. Maybe you would be more open to the idea if I revealed to you that Raieyana will be at your left hand...ready and willing...at your disposal..."
Don't tempt me. I am truly ashamed of what I did. I swear to you, I will never follow your plan...willingly. And though I may walk through your valley, surrounded by the shadows and shades of the blackest night and the most horrific turmoil...I will fear no evil. You have no power over me.
"The only thing you have to fear is yourself. You are the evil and the evil is in you, and you cannot change that. The only way you'll ever be truly happy is if you accept it and understand: The evil is there, everpresent. The evil lives...it lives in you.")
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