Reunion Chapter 28
By Janet Monstwillo
"Aunt Lia, whens Mommy coming home? When can we go to Daddys office again?"
Lia looked at Aeris with a pained expression. "Aeris, cant you see Im busy right now? Your mommy is safe and so is your daddy." (I hope.)
"Where is she, Auntie Lia?" asked Ishmael, "is she going to the Re-un-ion?"
Tonia walked into Lias house. "Maam? All of our forces are safely on board the Alcor helicopters."
Lia sighed. "Thank you, Tonia. Have you seen Marlene?"
"Shes probably flirting with my fourteen-year-old brother again."
"She was supposed to have been back here an hour ago to baby-sit. Tell her that Ill tell her father about that skinny-dipping incident if I cant trust her to do what shes supposed to do. For gods sake, youd think she was sixteen and horny, not twelve and ornery."
Tonia smiled. "Yes, maam."
"Stop that! Im too young to be a maam! Do I look old enough to you?"
"If you werent the leader, Lia... I cant call you miss, that would be like you were inferior to me... You do understand, right?"
"Of course I do, its just that...Im worried, Tonia. Im so scared."
She nodded. "I think we all are. Weve never sent our warriors outside before."
"Weve never needed to. Just remember this day, Tonia. The day we dared to show ourselves to the world because the world needed us. And because one day we might need the world."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Cant this Airship go any faster!"
"Raieyana, you sound like youre looking forward to this," said Vincent, "I for one, dread having to confront Lucrecia."
"You wont have to, Vincent, shes dead." She looked at his shocked expression. "She was out of her mind, Vincent. Hojos experiments never prepared her for something as mind-revolving as this Reunion. Surely you must feel it, too."
"I just pushed it back and hoped I wasnt going crazy."
"And you were allowed to push things back because you never got that close. Are you strong enough?"
"Raieyana, are you?"
She looked at Vincent. "Look at me. What is there that Im not strong enough for? I used to be so afraid... There isnt anything left that could hurt me. Nothing left to give me pain. I dont fear death. Shelding and types like him feed off fear. Everything he does is out of fear. All this experimenting? It stems from his fear of his own mortality."
"The reason some of us fear it is not for our own sake. It is because we are needed by others."
"Vincent, dont you realize every day is a gift, and when your time is up, then everyone has to let you go? Im not saying be apathetic and stupid and dont defend yourself; Im saying give life everything that youve got while youve got it, because its better to die young and have fought for what you believe in than to die at an old age and have been oppressed."
"Its just...Raieyana. This could be the last time we talk. You...or I..."
"Dont worry about me. I cant die. This isnt my time. I just feel it." She turned her face to the east. Midgar.
Vincent was silent. (Im not afraid that something will happen to you. I just dont know what will happen if the rest of us cannot keep control of ourselves.)
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Whoa, Camilla! Whered you learn to fly one of these things?"
She laughed. "Silly Blake, while you all languished in Undor-Hai, I was on the outside getting my pilots license."
"Just in case?" asked Drake, raising an eyebrow.
"Of course. Sure is useful now, aint it? Wheres Quake?"
Blake and Drake exchanged glances.
"I see. Airsick. No biggie. You guys will be parachuting down into Edinborough in about five minutes."
"What about you," said Drake, "arent you coming?"
"No," she said, a gleam in her eye, "I get to drop bombs on the Mako reactors. Just remember, if theres no call to retreat, Ill pick you up on the shore at 1800 hours. Kick some Shinra ass! For Raieyana and Lia!"
Blake shook his head. "Never shouldve let you, of all people, on the outside. Next thing, youll be telling us about all the steaks you ate."
"Well, there was this one hamburger joint--what the hell are you doing? Its almost time. Get ready!"
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Lavana peered out the Gelnika window. "Laida, whats that?"
Laidas eyes widened. "Theyre bombing Edinborough!"
"We have to go back!"
"We cant!" Laida glanced at Lucas. "Hell go nuts on you. On all of us."
Someone tugged at her shoulder. "Laida?"
He lowered his voice to a whisper. "I just got a message over the radio. Its the Gens. Junons forces werent as weak as Lucas estimated. Almost all of our Gens, weapons, everything--have been destroyed. There has also been an air raid on Edinborough--"
She waved her hand. "I know. I saw."
"--along with a massive ground assault. I have no idea where the hell were going, Laida, but there wont be any Shinra left for us to go back to. So Lucas sure as hell better be leading us to the Promised Land, or Im going to go get a position at Alcor."
"If you tell Lucas what you told me, hell kill you."
"Notice that Im telling you."
"Why do you think Id have mercy, Martin? Just because I enjoy the sex? You should know it wouldnt be that hard to replace you...improve upon what Ive got..."
"Laida, Im telling you because youre not a fucking lunatic."
"I know Martin, just a poor attempt on my part to joke. You know that. Its just... Lucas did some experiment on himself...tried to turn himself into Hojo. I dont know if it worked, or he just drove himself nuts. Either way, were all going to some little thing he calls the Reunion." She paused and put her hands to her head. (Damn...another migraine...
"Its almost time...RAIEYANA...")
She screamed and fainted.
"Laida..." Martin caught her in his arms.
"Whats going on?" asked Lucas, coming back to where they were sitting.
"I think...I dont think she feels well...Ill lay her down in the sleeping quarters."
"Be careful with her." (I wouldnt want her to...
"miss the Reunion...it would be such a shame...")
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Is this seat taken?"
Tifa looked up into those blue eyes...those bright blue eyes... "No Cloud, go ahead. Youre not sick, are you? Well need you."
"No...at least not motion sick, if thats what you mean. I just dont feel well."
"Is it the Reunion?"
He nodded. "I dont hear a beckoning, or a calling...it just feels like occasionally a telephone conversation is switched on in my head. Between Hojo and Sephiroth and..." (I dont want to say it when Im not sure. I dont hear Aeris voice. I dont hear Raieyanas voice. But I can feel their strength. I dont know if theyre protecting me...or if theyre trying to stay Sephiroth and Hojo, keep them from our minds...from my mind.)
Tifa smiled sympathetically. "It must be hard. I guess Im lucky." (What can I say? I dont know what it feels like to have voices in my head. All I ever had, all I have, is my feelings, my emotions. They give me strength, they can make me weak, they can give me empathy...but not for this. Because I have no idea what this is.)
"Tifa, Ive been stupid."
"What in the world are you talking about?"
"I pushed you away, I pushed everyone away. Because I couldnt let go of the hope, that some way, somehow, I could bring Aeris back to me."
Tifas face fell a little. "Oh."
"But Im sorry. I pretended not to hear your words, see your eyes. I never tried to see your love. I never tried to love you."
"Cloud," Tifa said, putting her hand on his shoulder. "Love isnt something you try to do. It just happens. Its better for both of us that you never pretended, never tried. We would have tried to make love where there wasnt any. We would have ended up with what we started with. Nothing but good intentions."
"No, thats not what I meant. I never tried to comprehend what I felt for you. It was just like, Theres Tifa. Shes my friend. When shes around, its good; when shes not, its bad. I never tried to understand it more than that. But I realize now that I care about you, Tifa. I dont know if I love you. But I hope you can let me try and figure out if I do or not."
"I dont know if I can..."
"Cloud, there was a time when I would have given you the world. I would have done anything to get you. That was a long time ago. I think Im just finally starting to heal."
"I never wanted to make you unhappy."
"I know that...its just... Its not that I dont still love you. I just dont know if Im willing to open myself up to so much hurt again. Besides, this isnt the right time for any of us to make promises. We have no idea what the hell is going to happen to us out there."
"How far are we?"
"I can see the shore... Were almost back...back to Midgar."
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