Reunion Chapter 3

By Janet Monstwillo

Reeve sat on his bed. An involuntary shudder went through him as he considered the suffering of the woman he loved. (I love? Of course. I still love her, because I never stopped.) He seriously contemplated the thought of just leaving. (Without me, she would never have gotten pregnant. This is the second time I've almost killed her. She may not believe it, but naming our son "Ishmael" was unconscious wishful thinking on her part. Because if she hadn't of been with me, Ishmael Deline might still be alive. And he would never have left her for any reason, no matter how short the time. He would have come back even if he thought she didn't love him anymore. He would have come to her if she even hinted at it, instead of passing over her queries as loneliness for him. Like he would ever have been so smug to think she asked him back because she was longing for him, only because of longing for him. He would have been around to raise his children, not wasting his time in a business in Junon founded with former Turk Jack Reno. And his family wouldn't have slipped through his hands. Raieyana, the kids. Mom. Anna...) He got out a pen and paper. And began to write...

"Austin was a buddy from ol' Junon Academy. We were roommates at Midgar Business School. He wasn't a bad guy, really. The kind of pal you take home and show your mother and she's glad because he gets good grades and doesn't use drugs and only drinks when it's wine at communion. We were sixteen, so there was nothing odd about how he was horny 24-7. When you're that age, looking at linoleum makes you wanna have sex. So the girlie mags and pictures off the 'Net didn't bother me that much either. And I thought it was kind of cool how he had a new girl every week, and every once and a while he got a piece. At that age, that sort of thing raises you in the eyes of your peers. I never really suspected he had a problem.

"Austin didn't have a real family, so on holidays he would come home with me and visit with my mom and my eight-year-old sister Anna. (My dad died when Anna was one and I was nine.) Anna was the sweetest, shyest little girl you could imagine. She thought Austin was "cute," and Austin would always play along, calling her his "girlfriend." It was the sweetest little thing. He started at the business school when he was around fourteen, so this thing went on for about two years. Around the major holiday in my household, it had become tradition for Austin to babysit my sister while my mother and I went out shopping for gifts for Anna. (And a couple for Austin as well.) But this time, when I came home...

'Hey man,' said Austin, 'when's your mom coming in?' He looked worried.

'I don't know. She's leaving Anna's gifts at my uncle's house so Anna can't find them,' I said.

His eyes grew wide. 'I don't know what came over me," he said, 'and she screamed so I held my hand over her face and I guess she suffocated.'

'What?' I asked.

'Look, it wasn't my fault. There was something wrong with her. She would always try to touch me and she was always getting me up and I finally gave in. And then she didn't like what she asked for.' His eyes glowed. He had gone to a Soldier military-type school for a year before joining the class at the business school. He had already had some Mako/Jenova treatments done. There was a half-mad rage in his eyes.

'Are you talking about Anna?' I asked. He shrugged.

'The little bitch can't take what she needs,' he said. Sometimes he had spoken about ex-girlfriends like that. I had never thought much of it. But this was...

'My sister?' I asked, shoving him against the wall, 'my eight-year old, little, innocent sister!'

"I never heard my mom come in. I would have stopped her. But she slipped in, and went to my sister's room. And she found the bruised, beaten, torn body of my sister. Anna. I might not have heard her come in, but I heard the scream... I don't clearly remember what happened next, but I remember... Getting the gun. Loading the gun. And the fear in Austin's eyes. I remember the bang of the gunshot, and the silence afterwards.

"For some reason, Soldier (the acting police of Junon) believed my story of Austin's suicide. He had already been labeled 'volatile' and 'unstable.' They also knew by looking at my rage and sadness that he really had killed and molested my sister. And my mother...she died...after she put a bullet through her head. She didn't wait to see if I had been charged with Austin's death. She just assumed, as most do, that the authorities go on the truth. Not on the story of an angry, young aspiring businessman who had good reason to avenge his sister. But I had never picked up a weapon since that day until the time I was in Undor-Hai. And Lia handed me the knives. And that opened the gateway to me holding the sword and killing my...the only woman I really loved. Raieyana.

"And I blame myself for Anna's death. My mother's, as well. Even if my expensive psychiatrist told me my mother shot herself because she was a manic depressive. He didn't seem to see that if I had seen how warped Austin was, my sister would be alive, I would not have killed Austin, and my mother would have had no reason to kill herself. I should have seen there was something wrong with Austin. Testosterone, Mako, Jenova? I don't know. But I do know Aeris, my daughter, looks like Anna. And I will watch over Aeris and keep her safe. Safer than the woman she was named after--and safer than the girl she takes after. And her mother--Raieyana, I love her. And I will give her no more pain. Not physically, nor emotionally. And if I have to leave to do that, I will. But I want to hold her again, touch her again. I miss my Ray, the ray of light in my darkness, who kept watch over me when I slept, who loved me unyieldingly, to whom I owe everything...maybe even my sanity."

Reeve finally slipped into a troubled sleep, haunted by the faces of Austin, Anna, his mother, and of Ishmael Deline.


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