Reunion Chapter 22
By Janet Monstwillo
Elena glanced around the outside of the Alcor building. (It doesn't seem like much security. After Reno, after the fire, after everything, does Reeve still have this much faith in people?) Then she noticed one of the cameras was following her movement. (It must be an infra-red or a motion dectector camera. It knows I'm a living thing that needs to be tracked, that's for sure.) She walked into the building.
A security guard peered at her from his post. "What're you doing here?"
"Ummm..." Elena stammered. "I'm, I'm dropping off a few things for Lavana," she said quickly.
A crooked smile played across the guard's face. "You a friend of Lavs'?"
Elena gave him a sly look. "That's right."
The guard's smile went down a little. "Any friend of Lavana's is welcome everywhere here, if you get my drift. It's just too bad today's her last day..."
"Well, thank you very much, Mr., Mr..."
"Just call me Louis." He licked his lips. "I'm awfully sad Lavs is leaving. Say, maybe you could make it up to me..."
Elena raised an eyebrow. "Louis, I'll take a rain check. This is important business."
He reached out and caressed her inner thigh. "You know where to find me..."
Elena turned and power-walked to the elevator. She tried to will away the feeling of nausea that had come over her. She pushed the button for the top floor. (What did Lavana do for that security guard? Wait, I don't even want to know...)
Elena stepped out of the elevator and glanced around the floor. She spotted Reeve's office and walked straight towards it. She took a deep breath and knocked on the door. She heard a loud exclamation of "damn, I need a secretary" from the inside, and she crossed her fingers that Reeve wouldn't pull out a gun and kill her when he saw her.
"What is it, I'm busy... Elena, what the hell are you doing here?" Reeve glared at her. "You should know that it would be a stupid idea for you to come here."
She glanced around. "I know," she whispered, "you're right. But I have to talk to you. I needed to so bad that I risked everything by coming here. Now please, doesn't that get me a few seconds with you privately in your office, at the least?"
Reeve glared at her. "I've already given you more than you deserve. But unlike most people, I have a little compassion. Step inside, for this brief moment you requested."
Elena followed him inside, silently. He closed the door behind her. She swallowed. "Please, Reeve...I need your help. Reno's gone, he may be dead. I know he must not be your favorite person in the world right now, but he's all I have left. You must know where he is. I know Raieyana got away, so they must be together, somewhere. Do you know, Reeve? Please tell me where Reno is." A tear slipped down her cheek. "Everything else is gone. All my illusions I had, of what it takes to make it in this world, and of power and of morals, what's right and what's wrong, they've vanished. I learned about the real world and I have nothing to replace my dreams with. Not even nightmares."
Reeve suppressed a smile. "Look, first things first, congratulations for quitting the Shinra."
Elena looked at him. "How'd you kn--"
"Second, if you want to see Reno, you should check his office. I don't think he's left for lunch yet."
"I'm confused, how did you know I quit--"
Reeve smiled. "That's almost the same paragraph Reno gave me word for word, when he quit. And I thought a few of the same things myself. Ex-Shinra are all in the same boat, I guess."
"Reno was in his office and you let me go through that whole speech?"
"Just because I let you in the office doesn't automatically make us friends, Elena. Besides, I was finding this whole situation mildly entertaining."
She threw her hands up in the air. "What, do you think I'm some kind of show to watch?"
"Just go talk to Reno, or he may leave for lunch."
Reno opened his office door and found the last person he expected--Elena. "Elena? How've you been?" he asked politely.
"Reno, you can let down your guard. I'm here for me...I mean, I quit Shinra. Quit the job."
Reno raised an eyebrow. "Well, Elena--"
"Reno," she interrupted, "I thought you were dead. I came here as a last resort."
"Elena, do you think I'd die so easy?"
"Laida said they found your blood all over the cell."
"Laida," he said firmly, "is full of shit. I bled a little, but it wasn't all over. Raieyana cleaned me up really well."
"Raieyana saved my life."
"I owe her an apology. For everything," said Elena. "Reno, can we go inside and really talk?"
He shrugged. "Sure, why not?"
Elena glanced at Reno, who was standing in his "give me the assignment, chief" stance. (He'll always be a Turk, even if he quit. He'll always be a Turk, even though the Turks are dead.)
"What do you want Elena?"
"I want to know... Why'd you come back, Reno? To the Turks? The only good thing about the Turks died when Tseng died."
"But the Turks completely died when Rude pulled a gun on me."
"What happened back there?"
"Shit happened, Elena. What else do you want me to say?"
"Reno, I don't need you telling me that."
"Elena, you held on to the dying gasp of the Turks and I moved on."
"Then really Reno, why the hell did you come back?"
"What else could I do? I thought I couldn't make her love me."
Reno sighed. "It doesn't matter, I've made things worse."
Elena looked at him. "How?"
"I made her love me."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Cid steered the now-functional Tiny Bronco into a soft landing in the fields outside Rocket Town. Even from ten miles away, he could see that the flames flared higher than the height of the old Shinra #26. (Shera's in that fucking inferno. She could be dead by now. It's been all this time, and she'll still never know what I think. Everything I'd been too damn chicken shit to say. All the apologies I should've said, all the things I could've done to help her out. I never told her "thank you" for saving my life. I never told her that I--)
"Cid?" Barret interrupted his thoughts. "Are we gonna stand here in horror, or are we gonna go and kick some goddamn Shinra ass?"
Cid squinted at the blaze. "Do you even think there could be anything left?"
"I don't know," said Tifa, "but Cloud and I both survived the Nibelheim fire. Shera's tough, she's not going to go very easily..."
Cid took a drag of his cigarette. "What the hell are you talking about? I meant the Airship. And as for Shera, don't worry, I don't think for a minute I could get rid of her stupid ass so easily."
"Why don't we just go," said Cloud, "or everything will be gone by the time we get there."
(I don't understand what the problem is. I don't even see that many Gens.) Tifa looked around, with an uppercut to a Gen here, a kick to another one there... (The four of us will take them out in a matter of minutes.) She saw Barret spraying five Gens with bullets, and Cid skewering three more to her right. Cloud was sliding his sword through Gens like a warm knife through butter.
Cloud removed his sword and glanced around. "Are there any more?"
Barret glanced over at the airport, his eyes widening. "There's about fifty of them attacking the hangar over there. That must be where--"
"Shera is!" Cid glanced around. "Well, she must be trying to protect the Airship. C'mon, get your asses in gear. We gotta go save the Airship before those Gens get their grubby paws on it!" He ran off towards the Airport.
"Ummm, Cid..." Tifa shook her head. "They'll kill him. Four versus fifty is impossible. And since he didn't wait for us, it's one against..." She stopped short when she heard Cid's yell.
"KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND!!" Cid was now essentially invisible in the cloud of colors that enveloped him and the army of Gens.
Tifa closed her eyes. "I hope that works."
About half of the Gens fell to their knees or the ground, critically wounded. The rest began to laugh, and Cid found that rather unnerving.
"What's he doing now?" asked Barret.
Cloud raised an eyebrow. "It looks like he's doing all of his Limit Breaks."
"All of them?" asked Tifa incredulously. "Is that possible?"
He shrugged. "Now he's doing them all over again. I think it's quite possible he'll keep going like that until either all the Gens are dead or he sees Shera is all right."
"Shera? He doesn't give a damn..." began Barret.
"It has to be Shera," said Cloud, "because I've never seen him quite this mad about anything before. Not even tea."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Yuffie shielded her eyes from the hot, midday sun. (Why in hell's name would a metallic Weapon come here? I'm gonna get a sunburn.) She glanced at Vincent. (Oh dear, if he doesn't have any sunblock, I'm going to hear some whining from him tonight.) She heard a loud bang.
A group of tourists ran screaming from Costa Del Sol. "Well, I guess the Junon News was right for once," said Legolas, "I'll bet those people are absolutely terrified of our Amber Weapon."
Vincent shook his head. "Don't say 'our Amber Weapon' like it's our fault it's here. We can blame the Planet. How is it, Red, that these supposed 'guardians' of the Planet end up going on rampages of destruction, with little heed to what they're actually destroying? You'd think something as omnipotent as the Planet could give its protectors brains larger than walnuts."
"You've forgotten," said Red XIII, "that we are the enemy."
"For christsakes, Red, the thing could at least go destroy Edinborough first. The thing is so stupid. And that's why we were able to kill the other ones. But this one's tougher."
"We can do it," said Yuffie, "we have to. Because we're good enough, and we're smart enough, and, doggone it, one-eighth of that villa's mine!"
Legolas smiled. "Well then, kids, what are we waiting for? Let's go!"
Vincent looked up at the Amber Weapon and sighed. (We've fought it so long. This time, we have to go all out.) He closed his eyes.
Yuffie turned around. "Oh, Vince, no..."
"What else can I do?"
She shook her head. "At least give me your materia so I can use it while you're Chaos."
"Fair enough." He handed it over. (Focus now. All my concentration. Chaos...)
Legolas aimed at the Weapon and shot his cross-bow. It was a direct hit, and the Weapon was now preoccupied with removing the arrow.
Red XIII arched his back, and cast Flare. The Weapon snarled in retaliation and swiped at him.
Yuffie winced as Red XIII fell and decided to do something big. She stared at the pile of materia she had laid at her feet. (What the heck did Vince have in there, anyway?) She picked up a red summoner. (This better be good...) She stuck it in her weapon, and it began to glow. "NEO BAHAMUT!!" The Weapon and the chunk of earth beneath it slowly ascended higher in the sky. "God, Vince," she muttered, "did we end up with all the sucky materia?"
All of a sudden there was a crash and pieces of earth flew all around. Legolas squinted at the spot as the dust cleared. "The Weapon's gone."
Vincent resumed his normal form. "What do you mean...damn it, the Weapon is gone."
They heard a distant roar. "Running away?" suggested Red XIII.
Yuffie shook her head. "No." She pointed. "I can still see it. It looks like it's stuck."
"I don't believe it," said Legolas, "the Amber Weapon is caught in the frickin' jet stream. And we all know what that means."
"Let's pretend we don't," said Yuffie, "and you tell us what that means."
"We can't attack it from here."
"We need the Airship."
"So we go to Rocket Town," said Vincent.
"So we have no way of getting there. How'd we get here?" Red XIII sighed. "We'll just have to wait until Cid and the others finish. We have nothing, no buggy, no chocobos, no helicopters, no anything. We could walk to Corel, but that does us no good."
Yuffie shrugged. "There are worse places to be stranded."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Cid crawled through the hangar on his hands and knees. The smoke inside was so bad he knew he couldn't stay inside much longer. (But if I leave, Shera may...) He coughed hard. (Damn it, why the hell do I have to smoke so much! This would be hard enough with healthy lungs.) Then he saw a slender form down the corridor, coughing hoarsely. "Shera!" he called.
"Cid?" Her voice was weak, and he could see she was slightly convulsing.
"Shera, I'm comin'!"
When he reached her, she looked up at him. "I...I... They didn't get far enough..." She coughed. "...the...the Highwind's still there..." She smiled weakly. "...I knew how pissed off you would be...if I let them take it. Did you kill them all?"
"All I could see. I was so damn pissed."
"Nobody could ever mess with the Captain's Airship."
Cid looked into her eyes. (She did this all...for me. I don't even deserve...) "Umm...well, what the hell are we doing here? Let's go get that damn Airship before we die of smoke inhalation!"
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"We can't go nowhere, Reeve. Those Gens are in gelnikas, helicopters, you name it. We gotta lay low and then go after that Weapon. I mean, I'm sure that Yuffie, Vincent, Red, and Legolas are even sick of paradise after what, two-and-a-half months?"
"So you're all stuck?"
"Basically, yes. Well, Cloud wanted to go to Mt. Nibel and we let him. We're basically in that range of mountains, anyway. We look for a clear spot, and then go to Del Sol and blow that fucking Weapon so hard the crater he makes won't know what hit it. Then we find Shelding."
"I'm coming when that time comes. I gotta get my hands on that Shelding, I..."
"Don't mean to cut you off, man, but this connection probably isn't the safest. Don't want to leave it open too long..."
"No problem. I wasn't thinking. Just play it safe. Bide your time. We need you to do this, so don't rush. I'll talk to you later, Cid." Reeve put down the PHS and looked at Reno and Elena. "That was Cid."
Reno raised an eyebrow. "No shit, Sherlock. God, those Gens have all this info on Raieyana."
"I wonder who gave it to Shelding?" Reeve muttered.
"Not me," protested Reeve, "I've been saying it for months, there's gotta be a spy here."
"But who? I trust everybody."
"Lavana was the spy," said Elena. "You trusted her? How could you be so blind?"
Reeve shrugged. "I thought she must have been trustworthy because she quit the Shinra."
"It was all an act, Reeve, a sham. I know, I was there. She was affiliated with Shinra still the whole time. I suppose you're right in a way, though, Reeve. It seems that you can trust anyone who realized their stupidity and quit Shinra for real. We were all deceived."
"However, a few of the best," said Reno, "died as Shinra."
Elena sighed. "Tseng and Gast never escaped...they should have, though. They deserved it, more than anybody. They were better than the Shinra."
"We were all misled too far to back out," Reno mused. "Too far to leave."
Reeve fidgeted, and stood up. He looked out the window. "With Shinra, it's back out or check out."
"Poor Tseng," said Elena.
"He couldn't take the chance," said Reno, "I know that now. He had more than himself on the line. He did everything for her."
Reeve nodded in agreement. "And she has never forgotten."
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