Reunion Chapter 30

By Janet Monstwillo

Reno glanced at Reeve. "If they’re coming like that lunatic says they are, Raieyana and them should be here pretty soon, you would think."

Reeve shrugged. "I don’t know. I daresay they may have tried to hit Edinborough and are lost now that they found nothing there."

"Why wouldn’t they just know where we are? They say there’s this sort of mother-child bond. Can’t Raieyana just sense where her baby is?"

Reeve tried to slap his forehead, but remembered his hands were restrained. "They’re probably coming, Reno. I completely forgot. The whole Jenova thing links minds. Raieyana can probably tell where Shelding is, too."

"I wish they’d hurry their asses up already!"

"I don’t know. Maybe it would be better for them if they didn’t find us."

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

Red XIII sniffed. "If this isn’t the place, then we must be fairly close."

Raieyana nodded. "Yeah, we’re close all right." She glanced at Cloud. (I wish I could go into this battle and have complete faith in him. Yet, he is to blame for this to begin with.)

"What the--" Barret ducked down and motioned for the others to do the same. "Look, they’re all up there. Just sitting there. Shelding and his people. I can see Reno and Reeve."

Raieyana gasped. Even from such a far distance, she could tell that they had been pretty roughly treated. (All this...surrender...just to get Elena out of Junon and save me. And then Elena... I am not worth all this. No one is.) "What the hell are you doing, Barret? We came to fight them. Why are you hiding?"

"Umm... Ray?" said Yuffie, "there’s this...skill used in fighting...called the ‘element of surprise.’"

"We can’t surprise them. What do you think they’re waiting for? We can’t surprise them if they’re expecting us. They’ve probably prepared for every situation...except... I have an idea."

"So do I," said Cid, "ambush their fucking asses."

"No," she said, "walking up there like we’re walking into a peaceful little meeting."

Tifa glanced at Cloud. "This plan is bullshit..." she sang lightly.

"Actually," said Vincent, "when you consider our reputation of surprising violent attacks, this will probably surprise them a lot. Then we attack."

"Damn, Vince," said Cloud, "that’s just redundant. By not doing a surprise attack, we can do a surprise attack? You’re talking silly."

Then they watched in amazement as Raieyana walked straight into the midst of the Shinra. It seemed like everything on the entire world had paused, her presence was so commanding.

Reeve felt like slapping her. (Ray, you’re handing yourself over. What the hell is wrong with you?)

"I believe," she said, "that the person that I have business with is a man by the name of Lucas Shelding."

Lucas smiled at her. "The person you are looking for was a man by the name of Lucas Shelding."

"Well, who should I look for now?"

"I think the person you want is called Hojo."

Raieyana laughed. "Actually, I would love to speak with him, but unfortunately, he died seven years ago."

"Yes, but now he breathes again."

"That’s not possible."

"How can you, Raieyana Amine, tell me that it is impossible to bring back the spirit of a soul gone from the Planet?"

She paused, wondering how much he knew. (This is, undoubtedly, the person I’m looking for. So he thinks he’s Hojo.) "I’m not saying that it’s impossible. I highly doubt that the spirit of Hojo was allowed to rest seven years and was not assimilated into the Lifestream."

"Ah, yes, your religion tells you no, but science will now tell you yes. You are such an ungrateful child, doubting the scientific skills of your creator. I can see Gast’s suspicion in your eyes."

"His discrimination created a child who was the savior of the Planet and Hojo’s lack of it produced a child who was the would-be destroyer of the Planet. Tell me, who is the greater man?"

Lucas stood up. "I am, because it is Hojo who stands before you now. All that is left of Gast is probably heating homes in Edinborough."

Cloud emerged from his hiding place and stood next to Raieyana. "I don’t know about life after death, but I don’t believe what you say about Gast because all that is left of Edinborough is smoldering ashes."

"You lie!"

He shrugged. "Believe what you want to believe. If you really are Hojo, then damn, why did you have to come back to prove your incompetence? We already knew about it the first time we killed you here."

"And as you say you will destroy me, I say that you will sit down and slumber. Who is right?"

Cloud fell over, in deep slumber.

"Who is in complete control?" He turned to Raieyana. "Why do you insist on continuing this farce of resistance?"

"I will continue until you drop your farce. All I ask is that you give me my son and free my friends. This is no threat towards you. I came in peace, and all you ask for is battle."

"It’s not that I want a battle. I can’t expect anything better from organisms of such low intelligence."

Raieyana shook her head. "All I want is peace. All I ever wanted is peace. If you are Hojo, don’t you understand that you make this world a living hell for everyone? Can’t you comprehend what tragic things you create?"

"The comfort of one person should not stand in the way of science."

She clenched her fists. "How about every person living on the Planet?" She stepped closer to him.

"Do you think you can kill me and save your friends? Your child? My men are instructed to carry out executions if you lay a hand on me."

"I don’t need to lay a hand on you."

"Neither do I."

Raieyana was knocked down by a blast of energy. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see everyone else attacking Shelding’s back-ups. Everyone but Cloud. He was still sleeping. And then Vincent fell.

"Vince!" Yuffie screamed as Shelding’s guards restrained her. She twisted and tried to wrench herself free, but her efforts were futile. She strained to get a glimpse of her husband. (He’s breathing...wait, he’s not even injured. He’s just sleeping like Cloud, like...)

Tifa realized what was happening as both Legolas and Red XIII became unconscious. She moved to attack Yuffie’s captors when she found herself also held by Shelding’s men. "Let go of me, you low-life bastards! Damn you to hell!"

Raieyana scanned her surroundings. All of her allies had either been restrained or rendered useless by Shelding and his men. (Such a short battle. Why is it that I stand? Is he saving some sort of torture for me?)

"Raieyana," Lucas muttered with scorn, "I guess Tseng was an emotional sap, just like any other weak mortal. I heard that he worshipped you. Raieyana, such a silly name. It suits you, though. I suppose you’re wondering why you’re the only one left standing. I’ll tell you why--I want to see you surrender."

"Never," she swore.

"What if I said I would free your two ‘friends?’" he said, emphasizing the quotation marks.

Reno burst out. "It’s all bullshit, Raieyana, don’t fall for it!"

Lucas smiled. "And to emphasize my point, I’ll give you a preview of what I’ll do to them if you try to keep this stalemate up." He raised his arm and pointed towards Reno. He made a motion as if he were grasping something and throwing it.

Reno flew into the side of his cell. He fought to breathe. "None of this fucking matters," he said, choking, "just get your son and go."

Raieyana looked into his eyes. (Earnest.)

Lucas shook his head. "That is not one of the options. Either surrender and save your friends or resist and destroy them. It doesn’t seem like a hard decision. I will have my specimen!"

"You are bluffing," said Raieyana. "You will not harm me and you will not harm them because that will leave you without a bargaining tool. We are safer here than anywhere else."

"Believe it if it makes you feel better," said Lucas in a low voice.

"Why do you insist on saying things about my father, of whom you know nothing?"

"Why do you insist that I cannot be Hojo, even though the proof lays right before your eyes?"

"There is nothing you do that I haven’t done or am not able to do."

He smiled. "Is that that so... Then tell me, oh, great and powerful Cetra, why is it that I am able to direct your life from beyond the grave while you cannot, even though it is your life, and you have been trying to control it from the realm of the living?"

"Assuming you are Hojo, what have you done since your all too wonderful demise to control my life?"

"You could say that I am solely responsible for the existence of that child that you seem so eager to hold in your arms again. Jenova-path communication has its power."

"You expect me to believe that?"

Lucas shrugged. "The other alternative is that Cloud Strife willingly and purposely rape--"

"Don’t say that! He wasn’t in control of himself!"

Lucas smiled excitedly. "I know. I was."

Reeve banged on the walls of his cell, enraged. "Rot in hell, Shelding!" He was flung into the wall of his cell telekinetically.

Raieyana concentrated on Lucas’ face. His nose snapped back and blood spurted out his nostrils.

"Pretty good for a beginner."

"You fucking bastard."

"Take out the ‘bastard’ and your sentence is correct," he sneered.

Her eyes blazed.

"Yes," he said, "let’s see it all. This is what I’ve been waiting for. The last of my theorems. The Jenova/Rage connection. I’ve seen it in all specimens, save you, although that Gongaga incident aroused my suspicion. Give into it. Rip me limb from limb. Give into your madness. Feel your power."

"I have no rage, just disgust towards you!"

"Come on, Raieyana. You enjoy it. Anything and everything with Jenova does. The rush off power gets most specimens off. Does it turn you on? I saw the Gens go through multiple orgasms as they trashed Rocket Town. I guess it felt really good when you tortured Rude."

"Shut the fuck up," she yelled.

"Why are you so afraid to hear this? It’s your’s who you are..."

Raieyana’s head spun. She heard the words. (My nature...who I am? Who am I? What is it that I’m missing? What... Wait...I think I understand.) "I know who I am," she said.

Lucas took a step closer. "Then you realize what you must do."

She nodded. "I understand."

He lifted his hand and caressed her cheek. "Why did it take you so long?"

Reeve was bewildered. (If he is who he says he is, then this is really sick and wrong. Has he got her brainwashed?) He met her eyes, briefly. (No, she has a plan.)

She smiled weakly. "I had to sift through false accounts, false information. Some of the people closest to the original situation had gotten the facts wrong. Now I realize where they were wrong."

Lucas’ hands closed around her waist.

Raieyana’s hand closed around his throat. "The only person Hojo injected with Jenova cells was himself." She twisted his head around, trying to break his neck.

He threw her back with an astonishing amount of strength. She had almost forgotten about her injured ankle; now, she struggled to stand.

"Lucas, you lied to me." A voice that came from above. Laida stood on top of the old Mako cannon. "You told me it would make me immortal." She sneered at him. "You were only trying to make yourself immortal."

"Laida," he begged, "I never lied. You will never die."

"Yes, my body will live on, but not me. Not my soul. And now, it’s too late for you. He told me the truth. Your son."

"My son?"

"You killed your own child and made him into a clone of yourself. A manifestation of your own hatred for mankind, who had made you an outcast. Just like they had made Jenova an outcast. You had heard the legends. You knew that if you tried, you could make a perfect engine for revenge. Jenova was willing; the hatred was filling her frozen cells to the brim. You needed a strong body for your purpose, and that’s when you chose Lucrecia. If you had offspring with her, they would be physically stronger than you yourself." Laida looked at him. "I have always been selfish, and I have never thought of anyone but myself. You lied to me, Lucas, and I think he is inside me. Sephiroth. The real Sephiroth. The one that was never born because you replaced his genes with your own through your injections while he was in the womb."

"Nonsense," said Lucas, "everything I have done is for science."

"It was a nice false cover, but I see through you now. I agree, this is too much to take. You’ve gone too far, even for immortality. I...I have to kill you now, Lucas. I’m sorry."

"No need to apologize. You wouldn’t be able to go through with it, even if you really wanted to." His words were cut short as a facsimile of the Masamune Blade tore through his back and exited through his stomach.

"No," said Laida, "I’m sorry I didn’t do it sooner. Damn you, you destroyed Shinra. Now I have to commit suicide before someone lynches me."

Lucas coughed up blood. "Raieyana," he murmured, "this will never be the end. As your child...breathes...I breathe... You will save him..." He pushed a button. "Because the plate fifteen minutes..." His eyes shut, and Lucas Shelding, or Hojo, returned to the Planet.


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