Reunion Chapter 7
By Janet Monstwillo
When, Raieyana awoke the next morning, she was still in Reeve's arms. She closed her eyes as the horror of the previous night came back to her. She felt dirty; she felt like a piece of trash. But she almost could forget it all when she closed her eyes and realized that she was in his arms. She studied his features as he lay sleeping. She could feel his muscles through his shirt. (He's been working out. Must be afraid he's losing his youth.)
Reeve opened his eyes and found two perfect emerald ones shining back into them.
"I...I would have gone back to my room," he said, "but you had fallen asleep, and I guess I nodded off myself."
She smiled. "That's okay."
Raieyana got up and walked to the window. Reeve noted that every movement was tainted with pain, and she looked more fragile now than she ever had before. (I swear to you Raieyana, I'll kill him. He'll taste his own blood before he rots in hell where he's supposed to be. Ray...)
"You can't, Reeve," she whispered.
He looked up, startled.
"I'm no mind reader. But I saw some sort of resolve in your eyes right then, and I'm going to tell you now, violence isn't going to solve anything. What's done is done."
There was a knock on the door, and then it opened.
"Ray, wake up," said Lia gently. Then she noticed that not only was Raieyana awake, but she was engaged in a serious conversation. "Uh, sorry." Lia shut the door and they could hear her footsteps as she rushed off, embarrassed at her intrusion.
Reeve stood up. They spent a few moments looking at each other in silence.
"Thanks for being there for me last night. I really needed that," Raieyana said. Then she hugged him. Though she had intended the embrace to be brief, a sort of "good-bye for now" thing, she couldn't bear to break away.
"God, Ray," said Reeve, "I lied. I didn't care about waking you up last night. I mean, that was important, but holding you again was heaven. I've missed you. God knows I have."
Raieyana looked up into his eyes. All of the pain was gone, if only for a second. He leaned down and softly kissed her. And tasted tears. Reeve didn't know whether they belonged to him or Raieyana. Because they both were crying.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
To say that breakfast was strained would be an understatement. Many tempers had been lost the previous night. Vincent and Yuffie were still in the midst of an argument. Tifa was still upset from her revelation to Cloud the night before. And for obvious reasons, tensions between Raieyana, Reeve, and Cloud were so intense, so thick, it would have taken something stronger than the Masamune Blade, or even the Evenstar, to slice through. And a poor, confused Lia was in the center of it all. Making matters worse, no one was eating a thing. And she had slaved since three in the morning to prepare food for twenty people. Granted, the children wouldn't have eaten much anyway, but still...
Lia placed down the last plate of food, in front of Raieyana.
"Looks good," said Cloud in a half-whisper. Raieyana choked back a sob, threw her napkin on the table and quickly exited the large dining room. Reeve, who had just murdered Cloud in his mind, rose to follow her.
Raising her voice from quieter insults, Yuffie yelled, "See, Vincent? That's why you had nightmares. You have no idea how to treat a woman with the respect she needs. And no, you don't comfort me when I'm upset. Why can't you be more like Reeve?"
Vincent slammed his fist on the table with a bang. "If you want a man like Reeve, I'd be glad to leave you for seven years. My God, if you hadn't gotten pregnant, do you think for a second I would have stayed with you? Yuffie, you've always been so goddamn annoying. I've only stayed this long because I felt pity for your sorry ass."
Yuffie smiled with antagonism. "That's not what you said after you were done screwing me last night. I thought I had you satisfied. But I guess you can't satisfy an animal!"
Red XIII growled. "Don't bring my kind into your childish argument."
"Shut up, Red," said Cid, "you're just pissed off because you're the last of your kind. No midnight dancing for the giant pussy!"
Tifa was shocked. "You are so crude. I can't believe you could talk to another person like that. Everyone has feelings, you dumb drunk bastard, and you're always finding someone to crush to bring up your own paltry self-esteem."
Lia looked around in a daze. Everyone was screaming back and forth and back and forth. The children were whining, and the adults were even louder. Cloud was sobbing with his face in his hands. Legolas, Elsie, Barret, and Marlene were trying to calm the kids down.
(I'm the one left to calm everyone else down? That's never going to happen.) Lia picked up a plate, considered for a moment, and hurled it against a wall. The shatter got everyone's attention. One look at Lia and everyone grew silent.
"We are here," she said, "to discuss Shinra and Soldier and what to do about them. We are not here to bring up old issues, argue with spouses, or talk about other people's sex lives. And I don't care why you're married to Yuffie, Vincent--or why Red XIII is offended by a statement regarding animals. I don't give a damn! I just want to try and figure out what's happening and keep my family well and safe."
There was silence. Lia had never raised her voice before in her life. She had shocked even herself. "I'm sorry. It just seems that in only one day everyone has lost track of why we're all here. And I guess I'm just worried about what could happen to Legolas or Danny or Ray or anybody. No one knows what's wrong."
"I'm sorry," said Yuffie, "I've been getting worked up lately over minor things when all I really care about is whether or not my kids will have problems with this. And you, Vincent..." Vincent put his arm around his wife. There was one truce, at least.
Cloud stood up. "I shouldn't have come," he said.
"What? You're the fuckin' leader, you damn jackass! Jus' because you haven't kept in touch with us at all doesn't change it, right?" Barret knew the he was no leader, and the only one that he had respect for was Cloud.
Cloud shook his head. "I've destroyed a delicate flower," he mumbled in a low voice.
"Cloud, you're talking crazy," said Tifa, "what the hell are you saying?"
"Aeris left me a legacy. And I squandered it. She gave us life. I've just wasted it." He started walking out. "Don't worry," Cloud said, "I might come back. But you'd all be in better luck if I didn't."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Raieyana sank onto her bed. Reeve sat down next to her. She shook her head. "There are some things that you just can't help me deal with. This is one of them."
"But I..." He paused. "...you have no idea about what I know about this sort of situation. Come with me." He took her hand and led her to his room. He rummaged around in his things until he found it. He handed the written pages to her.
"What is this?" she asked.
"Read it. It's the reason why I can't sleep at night." He kissed her on the forehead, and sat down in a chair across the room.
"...Sometimes he had spoken about ex-girlfriends like that. I had never thought much of it. But this was..."
She finished, and laid the sheets aside. She smiled weakly. "Fine, you can deal. But you've never gone through what I have, and--wait, don't interrupt--you'll never be able to understand this part of it." She tapped her head. "What goes on inside here. Don't worry about that. And don't...blame yourself for my death. That was decided by destiny long before you or I or anyone on the planet today was in existence. I fulfilled the prophecy. And so did you."
Reeve shook his head. (She will never understand. Why I am to blame for everything, everything wrong in her life.) He felt a jolt in his pocket. He removed his pager.
"God, Reno, what the hell is that important?" He gave an apologetic look to Raieyana. "I'll just be a sec. Call him and chew him up. For all he knows, I'm on vacation."
Reeve heard the phone on the other line ring once before Reno picked it up.
"Reeve, it better be you..."
"Jack, right here. What the hell do you mean, paging me? I'm taking time off, remember?"
"It's important. I wouldn't interrupt you for something that wasn't major. I wouldn't do it for bankruptcy."
"What is it then?"
"It's just...weird, Reeve. Something's gonna happen. Something big. There isn't any solid hard-core evidence, but the Shinra are planning something. There's been a hush over Junon. Besides the normal commuting crowd, over a thousand people have left since you were gone. Those are only the scared ones. The rest are keeping the faith. But Shinra's going to do...Christ, I don't know what the fuck they could do. You gotta come back, Reeve. This isn't Midgar. There is no way to prevent assault. People will die if we don't nip this thing in the ass."
Raieyana heard him. "Then I'm coming back," he said.
Panic came over her. She ran to her room and removed her satchel. She threw a shirt, a dress, and a pair of pants in there. Adding potions and what-not, she suddenly came upon, in her closet, her twin sabres. She examined them. (No nicks.) She checked the materia. (Enemy Skill, 2x-Cut, and...) She squinted at the red orb. (Some summony-type thing.) Reeve walked into her room. She dropped the sabres and stood in front of her bag, hiding it from his view.
He gave her a weird look. "What are you doing?"
She shrugged. "Nothing unusual, I guess."
"Ray...I have to go back to Junon."
She shrugged again. "Reeve...I have to go back to Junon."
"What the hell did you just say?"
She smiled. "What," she said, "I have to stay here, in the same place, for the rest of my life? I haven't left in seven years."
"The kids? What about the kids?"
Raieyana waved her hand. "I'm sure Lia wouldn't mind taking care of them."
"Why wouldn't she mind?"
She laughed. "Lia'd probably help shove me out the door. She's always saying I should do more. She says I would feel better if I traveled somewhere."
Reeve sat, deep in thought. "Are you sure you could handle...fighting and stuff...so soon after..." He blanked. (I'm just not going to say the word. I heard her say it once, and neither one of us is going to hear that word again. Rape.)
"I need to get away," she said, "for a little while, anyway. I'm still afraid to sleep in my own bed. Besides, you said you wanted to show me Alcor."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Cloud sat atop Mount Crist, looking down at the ocean. (In trying to solve every problem with violence, I've secured my own end in violence.) He looked at his sword, the Lowlellean, which had slain mutant wolves, and probably a thousand other things in the last seven years. He hurled the sword as far as he could. He saw it splash into the water.
(So the Lord will help me. If I need that sword to live, I shall cease to live.) He looked at his hands, the hands that he had used to kill Sephiroth, beat Aeris, and rape Raieyana.
(I've washed them so many times. So why do I still see these blood-stained hands? It's just too easy to blame it on Sephiroth, or Jenova. There must be a flaw, deep inside me, which allows my body to do these deeds. The philosophers call it natural depravity. The name is too pretty for the horror it signifies.) He fell on his knees in anguish.
"So save me God, because you made me this way. Not Hojo--you. You let it happen! You created him and me...in your image? I can't worship a god who lets angels burn. Tell me, is Aeris in hell? She shouldn't be. But any being who lets souls suffer--no, condemns them to suffer--is not a god, but a monster. Who would let his children rot in the sulfur fire in the darkness of hell. And maybe I am being punished for my actions. Maybe I am a monster."
(But perhaps, I also was made in the image of the One who damns us all.)
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