Reunion Chapter 9
By Janet Monstwillo
Raieyana awoke from a deep, dreamless slumber. She glanced around the darkened room, then closed her eyes. She smiled as she heard the familiar sounds of Junon at midnight, the sounds she hadn't heard in over seven years. (There's just something about the place where you grew up. Coming back is always satisfying, no matter what the circumstances. No, that's wrong. This time it is tough. I don't know if it's because of what happened in Undor-Hai, or the fact that Reeve is so close...) She suddenly had a desire to go to him. (Even after...the horror...I still slept like a child in his arms.) She got up and walked to his door.
Silently, Raieyana crept in. His face was illuminated by a square of moonlight coming in through the window. The peace was suddenly interrupted by the wail of a police siren as it passed. Reeve stirred. He opened his eyes.
"I thought I saw you standing there," he whispered, "did you change your mind about the bed?"
She sat lightly on the edge of the bed. "Reeve? When I read what you wrote...about Anna, it said that you loved me. Do you still love me?"
Reeve closed his eyes for a moment. (Of course. Ray, I wrote that the first night in Undor-Hai. I haven't had a change of heart in the last couple of days. I couldn't.) "Ray, I never stopped."
"Then how did it get like this? Why am I afraid to look at you? All I had hoped for over the years was being here with you...yet, I can hardly bear to talk to you. I don't want to go home alone. Someday I'm going to wake up and know that I don't care if I make it anymore. If it weren't for the kids, maybe even now..."
"Shhh..." Reeve held her close. "Don't talk like that. Anything that's gone wrong for you, it's my fault."
"Why do you say that?" Raieyana asked.
"Just name it. Tseng's death. Cait Sith gave him the key to the Temple of the Ancients. He wouldn't be dead if he hadn't gone there. Your death. Hey, I did that myself. Ishmael's death."
She cut in. "You had absolutely nothing to do with that. Why do you..."
"If he," Reeve said, "hadn't have seen us kissing, he would have never given in to the mind control. He wouldn't have wanted to die. Don't you see, I just make a mess out of everything I touch, yet...yet you... God, Ray, you're beautiful. And I will never understand how you can possibly love a man like me."
"Look," said Raieyana, "I can't do anything about your self-doubt. Your guilt about things you had no control over. But I know that the hardest thing in the world is being in love with someone and not knowing what they're doing, how they are, whether they've found somebody. I'd always wondered if...you'd found someone who wasn't still just a child. I'm still younger than you were when I first met you."
"Raieyana, the things your eyes have seen... You have experienced so much...you are wiser than I'll ever be. I'd put all my faith in any decision you made. You are no child."
"I suppose you're right," she said, "children are innocent. And I lost my innocence a long time ago."
Reeve leaned down and stopped her words with a kiss. Passionate, trying to make up for lost time, they clutched each other as they went deeper and deeper. Raieyana was enraptured. This was the man she loved; this was everything she had ever wanted. And yet, the gnawing terror growing at the back of her mind rose and devoured any other emotions. She felt his hands rush up the small of her back until they came to rest...the same place that Cloud's hands had rested. Her barely suppressed cry turned into an overly emphatic "stop, please." Even though in the heat of the moment up until that point, Reeve leaned back to give her more room.
"What is it, Ray?" He scrutinized her face, wondering what in particular she wanted him to say. "There hasn't been anyone since you...no one I've wanted since you," he assured her.
"Oh," she said quickly, "that's not it. I mean, I don't really care about that." She gave him a weak smile. "As for me, there hasn't been anyone ever but you. Except..." Her face contorted as a sharp pain went through her. "But that wasn't my fault," she whispered, "not my choice."
Reeve's eyes widened. He could have slapped himself. (Only a couple of days ago...and I wanted to? What am I, inhuman?) "I am so sorry, Ray. I can't believe I even considered for a moment... After you... Hell, Ray, I'll be celibate for the rest of my life, if that's what you need."
She shook her head. "No. I even wanted to... I've been lonely for so long... I was fine, but I couldn't suppress my reactions. Maybe it is too soon. All I want to do is make you happy. I will, I promise, as soon as I can."
"No," he said, "take all the time that you need. Get better. That's all I care about." And as he said the words, Reeve wasn't sure if he meant her physical health or her mental health. (Raieyana is so weak. And then Cloud... I'll kill the bastard, make him pay...like I made Austin pay. No matter what Ray thinks, there was something that was just Cloud that made him do it. Jenova or Mako alone are not to blame for the inner disfunctions in his personality; no, Jenova and Mako just enabled him to act on them.)
"Reeve?" His attention was immediately back to Raieyana. "Could I...could I...sleep here tonight?"
"Oh sure," he said, getting up, "remember? I said you could have the bed."
"No. That's not what I meant. I meant with you."
Reeve was reminded of how frail she was as he took her light frame back into his arms. With a soft sigh she nestled her cheek against his chest and was soon asleep. (Raieyana. My Ray. You shouldn't be here if the Shinra really are going to attempt something catastrophic. How many more blows can you take? But I can't leave Junon. And it might hurt you worse if I left you than if you stayed. But I'll protect you. Until the last breath of life has been taken from me. Because I was allowed to be here like this. With you. When these hands, my hands, have destroyed so much, they are still permitted to touch an angel. And brush away her tears. The only heaven that exists is the one I hold in my hands this very moment.)
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Raieyana woke up in a very happy mood. She couldn't refrain from humming lightly the instant she opened her eyes.
Reeve smiled. "Well, good morning sunshine," he said. She shrugged and looked out the window.
"It's a beautiful morning," she said, "and I'm just...happy. I haven't felt this good since, since..." She paused. "...since Ish died."
"When I arrived in Junon, the first thing I did was find Ishmael, Blane, and Denmae's families and tell them the bad news. I was rather vague about the circumstances when I talked to Blane and Denmae's parents. But..." He paused and turned to Raieyana. "Everything I told Ishmael's family was fabricated. I told them he died saving you. I've always been jealous of him, even after he passed on, but hell, I could never say anything ignoble about Ishmael Deline. The only thing he ever wanted...I got. I owed him that story. The end...wasn't his fault. I felt bad lying. But the truth would have been worse."
"You didn't lie," said Raieyana, "he did save me. He saved me, but he couldn't save himself. Everything...it had all eaten away at his mind. No one can withstand that forever. (Not even I... But maybe I will outlive it. Or die before my time to fall.) Cloud, he couldn't withstand it forever, either."
"That's different. He wasn't being forced to do something he didn't want to do. I know he wanted you; he just can't hold on to his self-control."
"But Cloud, even though they were his desires, wouldn't have consciously decided to act upon those desires. Maybe there is something in the Jenova. After all, Austin... And remember those Soldiers in the Shinra building that you ended up...decimating? They had Jenova, and the wolves in the crater, too."
He shook his head. "But there's you. You have Jenova, and you're not violent."
"Until I get mad," she said, "until I get mad."
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