Reunion Chapter 16

By Janet Monstwillo

(She went to meet Reno. And she never came back.) Reeve held back the urge to go put a bullet in Vincent's head. Vincent had let her go meet him alone...hell, Vincent was the one that told her Reno wanted to meet her. Reeve had tried and tried to remain calm in the two days that had passed since Raieyana had disappeared on the pretense of running errands, but he was close to desperation. There had been no news about the whereabouts of either Raieyana or Reno.

"Reeve...I mean, Daddy?"

He looked up into the eyes of a certain little girl named Aeris. "What is it, honey?"

Her lower lip trembled and her eyes filled with tears. "Where's Mommy? Was she killed by a Cactuer?"

Reeve shook his head, amazed at the imagination involved with her selection of a Cactuer as her mother's murderer. "No... Your Mommy's just fine. She most certainly was not killed by a Cactuer. She's nowhere near a Cactuer. There aren't any that live around here."

She looked at him in wonder, then ran out of the room. He could hear her voice. "Ishmael, Daddy said there ain't any Cactuers around here!! You lied to me and I'm going to tell on you!" Someone knocked on the front door.

"Cloud. Get the hell out of here." Reeve was in the process of slamming the door in his face when Cloud spoke.

"I just want to know if Raieyana's okay. She got into some trouble the other night."

"Ray never came home. What do you know about it?" Reeve demanded.

"She was with a whole bunch of Turks. It looked like they were going to kidnap her. I attacked three of them: Elena and two rookies. I thought she got away from the other two."

Reeve sighed. "Raieyana left unarmed. I guess the other two were Rude and Reno, so she's probably in a lab in Edinborough by now."

Cloud shook his head. "No. I killed the rookies, but Elena escaped. I guess she reported it in Edinborough. Rude and Reno have been missing since that night. Shinra has no idea where they are, either. My best guess is that one of them has Raieyana and the other as hostage. Or they've made a pact between them for money. I heard that the Science Head at Shinra offered the Turks one and a half million gil if they got her within the month. Sure it's a lot of money split five ways, but even more split two. And if this leak gets to you--and it was obviously intended to--someone's figuring you'll up the ante."

"Well, whoever 'they' is, 'they' are an idiot if they think I would bid for Ray! We'll just go into wherever they're hiding out and get her back. We'll kick 'their' asses while we're at it."

Cloud smiled. "I noticed you said 'we,'" he said sadly.

"I guess I did," said Reeve, "because I'll need all the help I can get. I suppose I could get Yuffie and Vincent to help us. I won't bother the others."

"Why not? They probably want to know," said Cloud, "that Shinra wants Raieyana. You know they have to want her for experimental reasons. She's the only thing--besides me--left that's even remotely like a clone. And to their knowledge, she's the only living Ancient."

"To their knowledge," repeated Reeve slowly.

"Your kids are in danger. If there is an informant at Alcor--and I highly doubt there isn't--somebody at Shinra's gonna find out Raieyana's had children."

Just thinking of his children being experimented on enraged Reeve. He clenched his fists. "That Shelding will not get his hands on Ray--or our kids!"

"This is the worst possible time that they could possibly get her. I have something to do with that. I'm sorry." Reeve's eyes blazed. "But," Cloud continued, "even though I can't excuse my actions...perhaps I can help you understand the causes. I can only liken it to the experience you had in the crater seven years ago and tell you that it took seven years for the Jenova to wear me down on that point. But I let it wear me down... And I've secured my passage into hell."

Reeve could not say anything. (I can kind of understand. But I can never forgive him. Maybe it's hypocritical, maybe it's selfish, but I just can't. Because what he did distanced Ray from me at the time when we where just beginning to be close again. If Cloud had kept control, there wouldn't have been that gap in our relationship for Reno to hop into and widen. But Cloud is my key to rescuing Raieyana, I must trust him. And even if his motives were--are--warped, he still wants to rescue her as much as I do. Maybe even more...because he wants redemption.)

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The cell door opened for a moment, as Rude deposited the bread and water which Raieyana understood would be a daily ritual.

"Raieyana," he had said the day before, "I don't want you to starve. You have to be in good condition or you won't draw much money."

He failed to mention Reno. The portions, as a matter of fact, were adequate enough...but only for one person. A person in good health. Not anything near adequate for a person recovering from major loss of blood or a pregnant woman. Especially not both of them. But Raieyana nursed Reno through the second day of his fever. He barely woke from his delirium to take the pieces of the bread she had softened in the water for him. When he sweated from hot flashes, she wiped his face with a wet rag, courtesy of his torn shirt. When he shivered with chills, she drew the thin blanket from the cot tightly around him. A couple of times when he was really bad, she lay there beside him, holding his shaking body in her arms.

Sick as he was, Reno consumed most of the food. Raieyana saved a meager bit for herself. She spent most of the time worrying about his health. When she tired of that, she worried about her own health. Although she was hardly comparable to the last time she was pregnant, she knew last time she was sick when she was this far along. If she got sick now, both she and Reno would die. Yet this time, she had barely even noticed any side effects to the pregnancy. On an average person, the change in appearance would have been barely noticeable; on Raieyana, who had been a little too thin in the beginning, it was rather obvious now that she had gained a little weight. She was still thinner than the average person...but there was a little bulge in her abdomen and a little worry line on her face every time she remembered it. Reno suddenly stirred.

Raieyana got up and carried over some bread. He looked tired, but he was aware again of his surroundings--at last.

"I'm not hungry," he said, his throat dry. She handed him a glass of water. He drank it slowly. She placed her hand on his forehead.

"Your fever must have broken," she said, with a smile of relief.

Reno closed his eyes. "I had a lot of hallucinations when I had that fever...but I had this really nice one. About a little nymph who sang to me about the Promised Land."

Raieyana reddened. The night before, when Reno was thrashing about, she had sang to him. It was a poem written by the Ancients that she had translated. She was enchanted by it, and set it to music. She sang it to her children sometimes before bedtime. It was the only thing she could think of to do to soothe Reno is his sickness.

"I sang to you last night," she said, a little embarrassed.

"Beyond the horizon, across the farthest sea..." Reno quoted.

"...I know there is a place where I belong, and it always beckons me. Past and present, now and forever, I shall reach for this special space, the home of my dreams and pray it is my resting place," Raieyana finished.

"It's even better now that I know it wasn't a dream. You don't look well. Are you okay?"

"Oh," Raieyana said lightly, "I've just been worried about you. Maybe I stayed up with you more than I ought to...but then, if I hadn't, you might still be sick."

"You should be worried about yourself, Raieyana."

She smiled. "Why? You're worse off than I am at the moment."

Reno shook his head. "No," he said, "you are in more danger than you think. Let's say this deal works out in Rude's favor and the Shinra pay him the money he wants for you. Even if Shelding wanted you because you were an Ancient, he'll want to have your baby more. He'll want to examine it and he'll want your other kids and he'll probably clone you all. You're in danger."

"Reno," Raieyana said, "don't you think I know that? Don't you understand that I do worry about that? I worry about more than you know. I even know more reasons why Shelding...if that's the name of the guy at Shinra who's head of Science...would want me. Sure, the whole Ancient thing is enticing to any madman, but chances are he wants to play Dr. Frankenstein. I don't doubt he knows who my father was. That probably intrigues him."

"Why would a Turk be intriguing?" asked Reno.

"He wouldn't be. My father wasn't a Turk."

"What the hell do you mean? Of course he was. Tseng was the commander..."

Raieyana interrupted. "Tseng wasn't my father--biologically."

"You lied!" said Reno angrily.

"I didn't lie...Hojo did! Tseng always believed he was my father. You know how I found out the truth? I read it in a report in the basement of an abandoned house in Nibelheim."

"Now really, Raieyana. How could you have known it was about you?"

Her eyes blazed. "You don't believe me? The dates involved were too perfect. And the descriptions worked out as well. One of the babies had a blue tattoo of the Roman numeral 'I.' So do I. And there was a postscript mentioning how Hojo had told Tseng we were his children."

Reno touched her hand. "We?"

"Yeah. My own sister put out a warrant for my arrest. My own sister calmly forced one of our childhood friends to kill himself. She drove another one mad. My own sister used Shinra to install her plans for resurrection...the resurrection of Sephiroth."

Reno saw the image of Aysta Laurince in his mind. (She had been kind of crazy.) "We just took the jobs," he said, "and never asked questions. She must have been really messed up. Resurrect Sephiroth! You would have to be demented to want to do that."

Raieyana shrugged. "She was. But she is partly justified in her actions. She just wanted to raise her own father."

(Father? Her... Sephiroth...Raieyana's father? No!) He grabbed her by the shoulders and turned her so she faced him. "You are wrong to even suggest you are the offspring of that monster! Ugly, vile, loathe, are none of those things. There was a mistake somewhere..."

"Reno, you don't know how many times I've tried not to believe it. But it's true. And if it makes me a monster, then I am a monster."

Reno stood up--stiffly--and held her in his arms. "I don't care...even if you mutate into Jenova-LIFE in the next minute. You're still Raieyana. And if you're a monster, then I wish I could be a monster."

She smiled. "That's very sweet."

"But this is sweeter." He kissed her.

"How are we going to get out of here?" she whispered.

"Leave it to me," said Reno.


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