Reunion Chapter 12
By Janet Monstwillo
It was nearly a war in the sky. As soon as they had left the roof of the Alcor building, the two helicopters had been attacked by a barrage of Shinra aircraft. And the helicopters weren't armed very well. "You're crazy, Reno."
He looked at Raieyana. "We have to do something," he said.
"I seriously don't think hanging out the window with a machine gun is going to do us any good. You'll just end up being killed."
"Well, honey, you just take over the controls like a good girl and keep us in the air."
She glared at him. "I ought to crash right here and now just to spite you. But I really don't want to die."
Reno fired out the open door at the Gelnika in front of them. (One propeller gone. I need to take out the other one, and then it'll go down for sure.) He took out the Gelnika, but was hit in the arm by a stray bullet. "Shit." He sat down on the floor of the copter and held his hand over the swiftly bleeding wound.
Raieyana looked at him. "You're going to bleed to death."
"So what? I got the bastards out of the sky, didn't I?"
She suddenly remembered that she had materia stuck in her sabres. She took them out and glanced at them. (One summon, and two yellow ones. I can't do anything with these. Unless...) She was relieved to find that her Enemy Skill materia did, in fact, have White Wind. Reno's wound was closed almost instantly.
He stood up, brushed himself off, and walked over to her. He kissed her on the cheek. "Now we're even," he said. Suddenly they heard a voice coming in loud over the two-way radio.
"That shot was courtesy of the Turks. You better believe now that Alcor will be dead by morning. We have a large amount of money wrapped up in this job from Shinra, even though we aren't employed by them anymore. But they offered the job, the money was good, so we decided to take them up on their offer this time... Shut up, Rude. Like it's dangerous for them to know we wised up and quit the Shinra gig. Or that we're doing the mercenary thing."
Reno raised his eyebrow. "I would know that information leak anywhere. That was Elena." He grabbed the microphone and shouted into it. "Yeah, Elena, well it's me you hit with that, you wench! Don't think for a minute now that your ass is not grass! Where is your goddamn helicopter?"
Raieyana spotted the bright blue Turk helicopter and motioned to Reno. "It's blue. It has to belong to the Turks. They love blue."
He smiled and grabbed his machine gun. He was interrupted by Elena's response.
"Reno! I had no idea you were part of the Alcor losers! Well, if you get your ass out of here right away, we won't shoot you down..."
Raieyana grabbed the microphone from Reno. "Don't you guys realize that this fire could have killed thousands of people? Who do you think is going to get the blame for this? Well, it sure as hell isn't gonna be us. And if we split, then no one will be left to defend Alcor."
"Precisely," said Elena.
Reeve's voice came over the radio. "Ray, you and Reno get out of here. Yorlain and I will stay."
"The hell we will," shouted Reno, "you guys can't do jack by yourselves!" The conversation was halted immediately by a large explosion. The largest Shinra plane went down.
"I'll be damned," said Reno, "it's the Highwind."
"You guys leave, now," said Cid, "try to make it to Undor-Hai. Reeve, you guys head to Ft. Condor. Being split up, you should probably be able to hold off anyone who follows you. I'll kick all the Shinra asses who stay here. No arguments, I don't want anybody dying on me. Over and out."
"What should we do?" asked Raieyana.
Reno looked at her like she was crazy. "We're going to fly to Undor-Hai before we run out of gas. But wait...Undor-Hai..." He gave her a funny look. "Cid Highwind is one crazy-ass drunk bastard! Undor-Hai's just a legend."
Raieyana shook her head. "Just try to make it close to the ruins of Midgar if you can."
They ran out of gas near Kalm. Reno landed the helicopter at the last possible moment. Raieyana sighed. "We have a long walk ahead of us." She yawned; they had been up all night.
Reno couldn't take his eyes off the beautiful scene in front of him. She was silhouetted perfectly against the morning sunrise. He didn't draw his eyes away even when they met her questioning look. She walked over to him and rested a hand on his shoulder. "We should probably start walking," she said.
"Aren't you tired? I can get you a room at Kalm...or you could take a nap here, if you want."
Raieyana shook her head. "No. Besides, I did get a little sleep already. You're the one running on empty."
Reno hopped lightly onto the grass and reached back to help Raieyana down. He didn't take his hand off of her waist after he put her down. "Reno," she said, trying to sound like she was joking, "let go of me, so we can go."
"But isn't this nice, being right here...and the sunrise..."
She wrenched herself free. "Next time," she spat out, "when I ask you to let me go, you're going to take your hands off me as quickly as you can. I'm not just some stupid little girl who would let anyone have their way with me. Look, I made a mistake before in kissing you. But you have to understand, I'm..."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," he interrupted, "you're with Reeve. Wonderful, neat, clean, moralistic, conscienscious Reeve, the boy-wonder. The only reason you're angry at me is you don't want to find out whether or not you love him as much as you think you do. You're not angry at me for anything I did; you're angry at me because you might actually feel something for me."
"If Reeve was really your friend, you would leave me alone."
"And if you loved Reeve heart and soul like you say you do, you wouldn't have put so much passion into that kiss we shared."
Raieyana slapped him.
"If that makes you feel better about it, then I don't mind," Reno said, "but if you were firmly set in your emotions, my words couldn't have bothered you at all."
"In one ear and out the other. You don't affect me in any way. You just have pissed me off."
He grabbed her hand as she raised it for another blow. "If I don't affect you, then why are you trembling? Tell me, why are you scared of me? Of my touch? Of..." Forcefully, he kissed her. At first she struggled, but then she gave into the temptation. Her lips met his with an equal fury. One of her hands rested on his shoulder as the other entwined in his hair. His lips moved down her neck as his hands moved upward from her waist. It seemed that the fire lit by their heated words could never be exstinguished.
But Reno broke away. "No," he whispered, "you're just confused right now and Reeve would beat my ass. And really, I am to blame." He moved away, leaving Raieyana flushed and breathing heavily. But he was breathing just as heavily as she was.
"I'm sorry Raieyana, I shouldn't have instigated anything...I... Look, we should go to wherever the hell Cid wanted to meet us." (Something in the way she used to look at me made me think she didn't feel even a pang of emotion towards me. Yet, now I'm even more confused than she could possibly be. If she was indifferent, then she couldn't excite me so much...) "Don't worry," he said, "as soon as Reeve has you safely back in his hands, you won't ever have to put up with seeing me again. I can assure you of that." (Because I couldn't stand it. I want her so bad...and I can't have her. And I accept that. Just...I need to hurry and get her away from me. Before we do something we both regret. I don't want to be the guy who goes after his friend's girl. I want to be a decent man. That's why I quit the Turks. But I'm messing up again, in a different way.)
They plodded towards Midgar, and unbeknownst to Reno, Undor-Hai. Neither one of them had spoken a word since their...romantic outburst. Raieyana, however, had been stealing guilty glances at Reno, and he at her. Every time their eyes met, they would hurridly look away, ashamed. Finally, at the outskirts of the ruins of Midgar, Raieyana spoke. "I'm exhausted. We need to stop. I...I need to rest."
Reno nodded. "I'm beat, too. Let's just sit down for a little bit." They sat.
"You know," Raieyana said, "Reeve told me he hadn't even thought for a second about...about anyone else these past seven years. Neither had I. Why now?" She looked at Reno. "Why now? Why now, after we've finally gotten back together, do I meet somebody who makes me doubt myself? Why?"
"Look," he said, trying to comfort her, "I promise from now on I will stay away. Don't worry...I won't try to rock the boat anymore."
"Maybe that's not what I want! I don't know if I want you to leave. I don't know if I feel anything for you. I don't know whether or not I would let you...maybe I even want you to. But through all of this confusion, I still think I love Reeve. Reno...Jack, is it possible to be attracted to somebody when you're in love with another person?"
"You tell me, Raieyana. Is it possible?"
She nodded, her eyes brimming with tears. "But I wish it wasn't," she whispered.
"Oh," said Reno, "don't cry." He took her in his arms and held her. (And slowly...maybe, this is becoming more than an attraction. For me, at least. Steady, Reno. Don't hold her very close. I won't touch her any more than this. She's with my friend...that makes her a friend, but nothing more. I won't try to get her to be more than a friend. She's Reeve's...) That's when the rope ladder from the Airship unrolled right next to them.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Lucas Shelding walked over to the large Mako-filled containers that housed his latest Soldier candidates. He checked the stats on each one, satisfied at his results. He heard a noise behind him, and turned in time to see Laida enter his lab.
"I just thought you'd like to know that Junon has been burning," she said, "and our plan is now underway. Reeve and Reno escaped the Turks just as we thought they would."
He smiled. "Excellent. Do we have enough evidence to hang Scarlet and Heidegger?"
Laida grinned mischievously. "Yes, and we did it all with ease, considering we had them both...distracted. How are our warriors coming along?"
"They are coming along excellent," he said, "and there shouldn't be any...nasty side effects with these. No Mako poisoning...none of the 'Reunion' craziness...hopefully none of the inexplicable rage of some of the former Soldiers...these are coming along in tip-top shape."
"Perfect," she said, "so what's our next step?"
Lucas walked over to a computer and punched a couple of keys. A picture of a young woman slowly gained clarity.
"Raieyana Amine," read Laida. "What's the point?"
"She is the key," Lucas said, "to making the next Sephiroth. She has not to date exhibited any of the symptoms other Mako/Jenova patients have had...and she is the daughter of Sephiroth, as documented by Hojo. She is also part Ancient. To get our hands on her would be to get our hands on the future of Shinra."
Laida studied the picture. "She is quite beautiful."
"Well," said Lucas with a grin, "there may be a few personal motives involved here as well. Some scientists don't leave all their emotions at the door to their lab."
"Just remember what the goal is," she reminded him, "we want the Promised Land. The Mako our Macroreactor could extract... Money is the only thing that makes me happy. And that would be insurance for my eternal happiness. Especially since you have almost figured out how to solve that pesky little problem of mortality."
"This close," he said, holding his thumb and forefinger and breadth apart, "this close."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Ray, I'm glad you're safe." Reeve kissed her softly.
Raieyana forced a smile.
"I'm just a little disappointed that our desperate rescue was thwarted by the fact that you guys were perfectly safe," said Reno, "I thought the whole 'climbing up a wire' for a 'daring rescue' thing was exciting. But you safely found a helicopter. Whoo-hoo! Exciting."
It hit her. In the past eighteen or so hours, Raieyana had almost forgotten about it. But suddenly, she remembered. And she remembered that however much Reno attracted her, Reeve was who she trusted...and loved. (I need to tell him...I need to tell him.) "Reeve," she said, "I need to talk to you ...now."
He smiled. "Sure, Ray."
When they reached the chocobo stable, the only place on the Airship where they could be alone, Reeve laughed. "You don't have to tell me how much you hate Reno. I'm sorry you were stuck with him for so long, but..."
"Reno? No, he has...nothing to do with this. Reeve, I'm...I'm pregnant."
He shook his head. "You can't be...are you sure?"
She nodded. "I saw two lines."
"Well," he said, "am I correct in assuming that you're not going to have this baby? There is no way I would even consider letting you take the risks of childbirth again, after Lia told me about what it was like the first time. And not for Cloud Strife's child."
"I have no other choice," she said.
"And what if this was the purpose of the rape in the first place? Do you want him to degrade me again for the chance of another conception? You know the chances of it are supposedly, like, one in a million. How many more times? One? Five? Twenty?"
"You're being crazy," Reeve said angrily, "there is no way in hell that his intention was...this... No way that anything like that was planned by destiny. It was just a perversion of that sickened mind of his."
"I had a dream," she said, "and one of my nightmares has come true again. You don't have to believe me. You don't have to help me. God knows I got through my first pregnancy just fine by myself!"
"I didn't know! Don't blame me when you didn't tell me!"
She turned to leave. "And if I had, would you have suggested I aborted our children, too?"
Reeve softened. "Ray," he said, reaching for her, "I'm sorry I yelled. But you...it wouldn't be safe for you to have the baby."
Raieyana shrank back. "Maybe I was wrong. Maybe we have changed since seven years ago. Don't you realize I have to do this? Maybe I was right seven years ago to keep my impending death a secret. You probably would have handled that by locking me up so I couldn't go to the crater."
He looked her straight in the eyes. "Don't say that! I know this has hurt you. I know that you're scared. But my concern is for your immediate safety. I swear to you I haven't changed; I love you as much as I ever did."
"I don't doubt you," she said, "I doubt myself. I know I said I still love you. But I've had to rely on myself for a long time now, and..."
"I swear to you," he said, his voice cracking with emotion, "that I will be there for you from now on."
"I can't come running to you every time I have a problem. Because some things I have to solve on my own. Maybe I was wrong in turning to you. This may be my own problem." She slowly walked out the door.
Reeve shook his head. (She doesn't need to prove to me that she can handle things. I never thought of her as a child. And I don't want her to get hurt.)
"Reeve?" Reno walked in through the doorway.
"Jack," Reeve said, "I just want to thank you for taking care of Ray."
Reno shook his head. "Don't. Believe me, you shouldn't. I have to tell you something now, because if I don't, I'll feel like I've lied to you, and we're friends. I made a pass at Raieyana."
Reeve shrugged. "You're human. It's not like no one has ever tried to come on to her before."
"No, Reeve. This is different. Nothing happened, but if we had waited one more second to get control of ourselves, something would have in the heat of the moment. The only thing that stopped me was the fact that you are my friend. Every other part of me was ready to go."
"What are you saying? Why," asked Reeve angrily, "do you bother to say 'we?' We both know she's not like that. Why don't you just tell me you tried to take advantage of her?"
"Because, Reeve, I truly think it was mutual, even though you may not believe it. And I need you to tell me--right now--to stay the hell away from that girl you're in love with...so I don't let myself do what I desire to do. I don't want to betray you, so make me leave her alone. And I'll leave and try to forget about her. But she's infected my blood."
"It's just infatuation, Reno, you'll get over it eventually," Reeve said.
"But maybe I'll end up acting on it before it burns out."
"Why can't you leave it damn well alone, Reno? Don't pester me about it. Fine, get the hell away from here if you can't trust yourself enough to keep your dick in your pants."
Raieyana was sitting on the deck when she heard Reeve's voice, yelling from down below.
"Actually, go ahead, friend, and do whatever the hell you want. God knows I never deserved her anyway. Mack on her all you want. It's just too bad you won't be able to handle her when she's upset. It's just too bad you don't give a damn about her!"
She ran down the steps and into the chocobo stable, where Reeve was screaming at Reno. One look at Reno told her he had confessed. "I heard you from on the deck," she said.
Reeve shrugged. "I should have seen this a mile away. The way you two were just now, when we picked you up, the way you were on the roof in Junon..."
"It was a mistake, I shouldn't have let him go on like that for so long," she said softly. Reno gave her a shocked look, which she ignored. "We were in a tense situation, and we got a little carried away," she explained.
Reno shook his head in disbelief. (Real tense, Raieyana. We were walking to Midgar, we argued, and I kissed you to rile you up more. You responded to it, and we almost did it right there on the grass. I thought you were attracted to me. For a split second, I wondered if maybe... For a split second.)
"I still love you," she said. Reeve was positively beaming as her took her in his arms for a long kiss. Raieyana actually prolonged the kiss, as proof to Reno that his caresses were long forgotten. But that's all she thought about as she kissed Reeve.
"Maybe you better leave, anyway," said Reeve, "if you still can't trust yourself."
Reno shrugged and walked out the door. The Airship dropped him off near Edinborough.
Raieyana soon realized what a mistake she had made, pinning all the guilt for what they both had done on Reno. After receiving a bum rap for being honest to his friend, he had returned to the one place where he didn't have to answer to anybody; Reno was rejoining the Turks.
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