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Final Fantasy VII--Resurrection
by Quinctia




Part 4- A Glimpse of Truth

Chapter 12

Reeve woke up to an empty bed. "Ray," he called softly. (Oh come on, it was not just a dream. I remember everything too vividly.) He saw the note on the pillow. (Alone, Ray? Oh God, what the hell are you thinking of doing? What is in that dream, Ray? What scares you so much?) He got up and dressed quickly. After much consideration, he got out the PHS.

Cloud answered. "PHS," he yawned.

"Cloud," said Reeve, "so glad it's you. I've got a little problem on my hands. Ray's gone."

"Reeve, it sounded like you just said Raieyana's g--"

"Yes, I did. But I don't want a big ruckus."

"So?" asked Cloud.

"Just you go look for her, and I'll go look for her. Say you're going to Gold Saucer for a break, and that Ray needs one more day to recuperate. We've just got to find her."

"You do realize," Cloud said slowly, "that girl has the most awesome disguise skills, not to mention knowledge of the real locations of legendary places. But I'll help you, if just to get her alone, if you know what I mean..."

"What?"

"Sorry. I forgot you corporates locked up in your cubicles have no sense of social things, or of needs and desires, apparently. After all, you were a stuffed cat for awhile. Anyway, you check your continent, and I'll check Junon. She probably couldn't have gotten anywhere else in such a short time. And don't worry. If Sephiroth comes back, and we still don't know where she is, I'll just kill him again."

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

Raieyana stood in front of her aunt's house. She turned the key in the lock and walked in.

"Hey," said a Soldier, "how the hell did you get in here? Don't say you live here, because the owner of this place died without a living next of kin..."

"Too bad," said Raieyana, "this is my aunt's house, and I am the only living next of kin."

The Soldier laughed. "That's a good one. So, what would your name happen to be?"

"Raieyana Amine," she said.

"Spell that."

"R-A-I-E-Y-A-N-A A-M-I-N-E."

The Soldier looked at her. "I'll be damned. They declared you dead when they declared the president of Shinra dead. I'll need to see some I.D., though." She showed him her Junon I.D. card. Sure, it was two years old, but it still looked like her. "Fine, fine, fine," the Soldier muttered. "Sign this, the deed, and these for proof of receipt. Oh, and you probably want the keys, too." He handed her the keys he had.

She put them in her pocket. (Wouldn't want you walking around with them, that's for sure.)

He started to walk out the door, but turned around. "Oh, hon," he said, "wouldn't stay in here too long if I were you. The warrant's still out even though President Aysta's dead. However, this stuff you signed is still legal. Have a happy time in your newly-inherited house." Then he left.

(Shouldn't stay for too long? I guess it's off to an inn.) Raieyana locked the door and left for the inn.

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

(Well, the innkeeper acted weird. Like he was expecting me...) Raieyana took out her room key and unlocked the door. She walked in and turned on the light. Cloud was sitting on the bed, waiting for her.

"Y'know, Raieyana," he said, "you scared the hell out of Reeve leaving like that. He and I are looking for you, because the others would simply have had heart attacks if they knew how you took off." There was an odd quality to his voice.

"Well, I was just going to go back to the crater so I could use the materia to destroy Mutate, and send Sephiroth's spirit back into the Lifestream," she said.

Cloud walked over to Raieyana, grabbed her shoulders, and shook her. "And you don't think that his spirit wouldn't have pulled out all the stops to make sure you didn't? This is Sephiroth, hon, not your evil twin. He could probably just will you to die and it would happen. Stupid. Real stupid."

"Look," she said, "I'm not the problem. If I had brought you along, he would have just taken over your body and I would have had worse problems. A formless spirit willing me to die is one thing. A psycho Mako-enhanced human with a large sword is a totally different thing."

Cloud had a strange gleam in his eye. "Raieyana," he said in a low voice, "what makes you think Sephiroth isn't controlling me right now?" He shoved her against the wall. Hard.

Raieyana reached up and touched her lip. (It's split. It's bleeding. Is Sephiroth in Cloud?)

"Don't you think," said Cloud, "that he wouldn't do anything to hurt or humiliate you to pay you back for your disobedience..."

He grabbed her and threw her onto the bed. He pinned her arms down. Raieyana struggled furiously. She got one arm free and caught him in the jaw with her fist. Cloud turned his head slowly to look at her. He smiled cruelly. Raieyana turned away in horror. He banged the side of her face against the headboard of the bed. Then he ripped off her sweater. Raieyana used one last burst of energy and kicked him onto the ground. He lay there for a moment.

"Raieyana," he said drowsily, "what did I do?" Sephiroth had apparently left Cloud for the time being.

"Cloud?" she asked, bending over him.

He looked at her face. Her lip was swollen and he could see the beginnings of a black eye. He noticed the torn sweater. (What would I have done to her? How did I get here? The last thing I remember was being at the deli and a Soldier came in. Said something about seeing someone who looked like Raieyana... Did Sephiroth take me over?) Raieyana pulled off the remnants of the sweater, and she was just wearing her dress. She walked over to the bathroom mirror and examined her face. "I'm sorry," said Cloud, "I know that must not mean much to you, but I wasn't myself. Hey, I got Cure. Just a second."

She shrugged. "You can try Cure, but White Wind didn't work on me in the Shinra building, so why would Cure work here?" The materia Cloud was holding flashed. Raieyana's appearance stayed the same. He used it again. No result.

"What am I going to tell Reeve?" he asked.

"Nothing," she said, "because I'll talk to him. We'll go back to Costa Del Sol and have the Airship pick us up. I'm not quite done with the translation for destroying a Black materia, though. Translating this Ancient stuff is really difficult and takes a lot of time. And effort. It always tires me out."

Cloud took out the PHS. "Umm, Raieyana? Before I call, I gotta tell you one thing. Next time I go psycho on you and if I try to do what I was trying before, you have my full permission to kick me where it hurts."

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

Sephiroth was glad to be out of the Lifestream. Aysta had succeeded. (Foolish Raieyana. She will always be watching Cloud. Little does she know, I will be gaining control of the person closest to her. I am just so sorry my daughter has the wisdom of her mother, being so foolish she would give her life for others. When this one joins her mother, however, there will not be a person left on the planet that I will not be able to control. One good thing to say about the Lifestream was how it raises one's awareness of others' consciousness. My mind controlling abilities have now spread to those who do not have Jenova, those who possess materia, or have had contact with Mako. Virtually everyone but my daughter. I cannot control her. She is too strong. But my control of others can destroy her. It will destroy her. I will destroy her.)

 .

Chapter 13

The Airship had picked up Cloud, Reeve, and Raieyana. However, Reeve had not even exchanged a greeting with Raieyana because it had come so quickly after they met up at Costa Del Sol. Raieyana was walking towards the Airship's bathroom.

"Wait, Ray," he said. She walked even faster. He caught up with her and put a hand on her shoulder. "Stop. Are you mad at me?"

"No, Reeve," she said.

"Then what is it?" he asked. "Hon, look at me." She did. "Your face..."

"Yeah," she said, "my face. Can I go to the bathroom and fix it up now? No, materia didn't work."

"What happened?" She ignored him, and opened the bathroom door. And saw Yuffie and Vincent. In the midst of a major make-out session. They glanced up at Raieyana and Reeve.

"What?" said Yuffie, "it helps me keep from being quite so airsick." Raieyana shut the door.

"What happened, Ray?" asked Reeve, rather forcibly.

"Look, Reeve, I don't want to talk about it."

"Ray," he said, "if you tell me who did this to you, I assure you they will get what's coming."

"Fine, Reeve. It was Sephiroth," she said. She finished sarcastically. "Do what you need to do, Wonder-boy. Unfortunately, you happen to be one of my biggest problems at the moment."

"Why am I a problem? All I do is love you," he said.

"Not in my dream," she said, "that's what worries me."

"Why don't you tell me about this dream you keep having."

She shook her head. "It's just a dream. I need to focus on my translation. I need to learn how to undo what Aysta's done. Even though there's so much damage that I will never be able to repair. But I have to keep going. To save the Planet. To avenge Ishmael. He will not have died in vain. Well, I have work to do, so if you'll just leave me for a little while..." She kissed him. "...maybe we could have fun later," she finished.

Reeve smiled. "Okay, finish your homework."

.

Raieyana went into the command room to get to work on the last part of the translation. Reeve started to go to the bridge to tell the others to leave her alone. (I wonder if the incident with Cloud scared her into coming back here? If she's afraid to be near him without someone else around?) He turned around and was face to face with Tifa. "Hey, Tifa," he said.

"What is Raieyana doing?" she asked.

"Oh, you know, just working with the last portion of that Ancient translation," he replied.

"It's really terrible how Cloud went berserk on her, when he likes her so much. Yeah, he told me so. Something about her being absolutely perfect, like a new-and-improved Aeris."

"Really," said Reeve. (This is all interesting Tifa, but frankly, I don't want to know who has the hots for Ray. After all we're together, aren't we? I mean she told me she loves me. That has to count for something, right?)

"So Reeve," said Tifa, "we don't really know each other that well, and I kind of guess..." She looked at him and smiled. She leaned forward. "I really would like to," she said softly.

(What should I say? Ray and I never said anything about not telling anyone about us, but I didn't know that no one knew we were kind of hooked up. But then again, I didn't see the Vincent and Yuffie thing coming and wouldn't have seen it, except we kind of walked in on them. But Tifa is coming on to me and I want her to stop...) Tifa leaned forward and kissed him. Reeve quickly pushed her off of him. "Stop," he said.

"Why?" asked Tifa. "Don't you like me?"

"Sure," he said, "but me and Ray are kind of, well, kind of together."

She gave him a knowing look. "Probably not for long. Cloud has a tendency to get what Cloud wants," she said.

"Yeah, well, I really don't think Ray's going to be touching him with a forty-foot pole. Besides, even if she did go for Cloud, what makes you think I would even want you anyway? You're not quite my type," said Reeve. (Didn't want to hurt her feelings, but if she insists on being pushy, hey, I'll push right back.)

"I'd like to know what your type is, Reeve. If you change your mind, though, I think you know where to find me." Tifa walked up the stairs to the deck.

Reeve continued going to the bridge, shaking his head. (Does she seriously think I wouldn't prefer Ray to her after that little scene? She wants to know what my type is. Hell, I don't even know myself. But what is my type, anyway...classy? Well, a little bit. Definitely has to be kind of smart. But devoted, that has to be it. Ray is really committed, to everything she does. That has to be it. I want a woman who's committed. To me, for one thing. And that pretty much sums Ray up, I think. But Tifa, well... The only thing to possibly describe her? Overwhelming...)

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

Khazed. It was just three Ancient glyphs, but the word khazed had Raieyana completely stumped. (Could it be derived from the word zeld, shield, or is it from zehd, death? Either way the first syllable is from kha, sacred energy. Sacred shield, or sacred death...) She scanned the surrounding words. Ina- killer. Nefomire- beloved. (Okay, beloved killer...then this has got to mean sacred death. Oh! Brainstorm! It means sacrifice. So, "the one who is the sacrifice dies by the hand of a beloved killer." Doesn't quite fit with "the black materia must be surrounded by the white on a sword of thrice-tempered adamantium." Oh, I see...the sacrifice is killed "with this sword." Oh God. My dream. Am I to be sacrificed? It is my sword. Reeve stabs me with it in my dream. So I know what has to be done. To end this all, I must give my life. Should I tell anyone, should I tell Reeve? No, no one should know. I accept the fact that this must happen, and cannot be prevented, but would anyone else accept it? No. They would stop it at any cost and the cost would be not destroying Sephiroth before it's too late.) She stood up, scattering her translated pages over the floor. She picked them up, stacked them, and set them down on top of the Ancient scrolls.

(No time to bother with the rest. I now know all I need to. Can I handle this? Can Reeve handle this? I forgive him now already, but could he forgive himself afterwards? I need to tell him something so he will know how I feel, without telling him our destiny. How can I hint to him that this tragedy would, in actuality, be a triumph? Not a defeat, but a victory for us all? What do I tell him? The only regret I have is that he must be the one to kill me. Yes, it is much more painful to die by the hand of someone you love than by the hand of someone you hate. Did Ish wish that Aysta had killed him so I didn't have to be the one to... Ish, I miss you. You were the one who always assured me everything was going to be okay. But now you're gone, and I will be soon, and I just want Reeve to know even if this happens, I'd still love him. And I will. So how do I tell him that?)

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

It was about six o'clock in the evening when Raieyana emerged from the command room, tired. "So Ray," said Reeve, "did you get all the information you need?"

She nodded. "I think so. It's probably going to be hard going in the crater though. I was stupid to go by myself last time. We should probably get some help from Undor-Hai. A few fighters, and Lia would probably come, and we all could prepare and go through some weapons training."

Reeve looked at her. "Training?" he asked, a little indignantly.

"Oh Reeve," she sighed, "a few lessons on those knives would be a great help to your present 'cut in half first, ask questions later' technique. With that, miss once, and you're in a bad situation. You should master them, really. Everyone should master at least one weapon."

"Ray, pray tell me, what weapon have you mastered?" he asked.

"Weapons," she said, emphasizing the 's.' "I've mastered the staff, double-edged sword, and twin sabres."

"Twin sabres?"

She withdrew two long thin blades too long to be knives, but too short to be swords. "Sabres," she repeated. "It's really not a pleasant time if you get cut or stabbed or sliced with one or both of these. As an added plus, almost no one else uses them. So it confuses the hell out of most enemies. Which is good, because the crater is probably filled with more of those wolves and other mutant creatures."

"Mutant creatures?" asked Yuffie, who was a most interesting shade of green.

"We are definitely stopping for aid in Undor-Hai," said Cloud.

Raieyana noticed she was surrounded by everyone else. "How much of this have you heard?" she asked.

"Well," said Ruther, "the first thing I heard was 'cut in half first, ask questions later.'" He grinned at Raieyana.

"C'mon, now that was an example of what not to do," said Legolas, "I learned that twin sabre are these things that nobody knows about and they really confuse people."

"Would Lia be an asset to our party?" asked Red XIII.

"Of course," said Raieyana, "and she has lots of people who would love to help us, since it has been so boring over there."

"Wonder what it's like to live in a place that's boring..." said Barret.

 .

Chapter 14

(God this is hard work. Never exercised so much in my life.) Reeve wondered how they were going to be able to stop Sephiroth if they were going to get all worn out first at Undor-Hai. (The only people who don't look exhausted are Yuffie, Cloud, and Raieyana. Well, Ruther and Legolas just broke a sweat, but the rest of us?) Cid was wheezing, finally showing side-effects from the chain-smoking. (Note to self: quit smoking after all the crater stuff is over. But I really need one now...) Reeve felt his pockets for his cigarettes, but they weren't there. (I did not leave them in my bag, did I?)

"Okay," said Lia, "now for training on separate weapons. First up, guns and projectiles. Throwing stars, bow and arrows, etc."

"Are you trying to kill me?" asked Barret.

Raieyana, who was still exercising, said, "Whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Besides, gun training doesn't take as much energy as, for example, staff training or double-edged sword training."

"Oh, and Yuffie," said Lia, "be sure to stick around after this for training on that spiral of yours. Those of you who don't use guns or projectiles can go for break now. I'm sure Ray can get you guys some refreshments."

Raieyana half-jogged back to Lia's house. Reeve was absolutely amazed. (How does she still have a spring in her step? Maybe she's used to this, but God...)

"Okay," she said, "we have any kind of fruit juice imaginable..."

"How about beer?" asked Cid.

She shook her head. "No, sorry. You can help yourselves to food in the cabinets, but a word of advice: Don't eat too much before you go back to weapons training." She got herself some water and sat down. She started examining her staff. Reeve sat down next to her.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"Well," she said, "if my weapons needed to be repaired, now would be the time to have it done. But the staff looks okay." She took out the sabres.

"What are those made of?" asked Cloud with a mouthful of food.

"Crystal. Any nick in the blade and the whole thing might shatter. But I don't see any in either of them." She put them away.

"What about the sword?" asked Reeve.

"Since I've never used it, there should be no problem," she said. She looked at Cloud's large plate of food. "You really shouldn't be eating all that. Makes it really hard to work out later."

"So," he said, "I'm hungry."

"Well," she said, getting up, "I'm going to go change into something more suitable for weapons training. Don't want to restrict my movement, you know." She walked to her room, with Tifa following. Cloud took a large bite into his third bean sprout sandwich.

.

Raieyana opened her closet and took out an old "Junon Academy" T-shirt, a pair of jeans, and a pair of shorts.

"Wear the shorts," said Tifa.

"Oh," said Raieyana, "you surprised me. But I am wearing the shorts. These pants were just in the way." She quickly changed.

"I wonder what he sees in you," said Tifa.

"Huh?"

Tifa stood up. "Cloud. And Reeve. What do they see in you that they don't see in me? I just thought maybe you had some idea, that's all."

(A lot less silicone, perhaps... Well, I can't say that to her face.) "Ummm, I didn't know Cloud saw anything in me," said Raieyana, purposely avoiding the subject of Reeve for the time-being.

"Well, he does. I don't know what it could be, since I'm better-looking, smarter, stronger..."

(More conceited, maybe?) "To each his own, I guess," said Raieyana, "maybe they just have a less cultured taste, to not want you." (Boy am I the queen of b.s., or what? Right now, she's making me want to leave the room. Wonder what the guys' reactions were when she was coming on to them?)

"That's probably it," said Tifa, "Cloud's just attracted to you because you've got the whole Jenova thing inside, and Reeve..."

"Yes, what about Reeve?" Raieyana asked.

"...just has psychological problems, obviously. After all, he worked for Shinra for eight years, straight out of business school." However, Tifa was aware of the more tasteful approach of Raieyana's T-shirt and shorts getup. (Well, if you got it, no use in hiding it. And that Raieyana, she definitely has not got it.) Tifa left Raieyana, who was now puzzled.

(Does she actually realize the way she's acting? I mean, it's probably not acting, but she really needs to take a long look at herself. What do they see in me that they don't see in her? And the funny thing is, I always thought that Tifa really cared about Cloud.)

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

It was night. Finally. Reeve was completely and utterly exhausted, mentally and physically. (Slash, stab, block. Slash, stab, block.) Lia's commands still echoed through his skull three hours later. (I could do it all in my sleep, for crying out loud.) He pulled out his knives and went through the exercises, ending with the crossed block. He sighed and put them away. He remembered more of the lesson. ("Mastery is more than these simple techniques, but mastery includes these techniques. Without them, you cannot effectively use the weapon.") Raieyana hadn't joined them for that particular training session. She had gone to get some more people to go with them to the crater. (Wish she would have been there. I haven't seen her since she left.)

"Reeve," said Raieyana, "you look really tired." She sat down next to him. He kissed her on the cheek.

"Ray, I was just thinking about you," he said.

"Wonderful," she said. But her voice was sad.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"If Cloud did something else to me, because of Sephiroth, would you forgive him?"

He took her hand. "Of course. I know it wouldn't be his fault," he said.

"Well, what if," she said, "what if he killed me? Would you forgive him then?"

He looked at her, stunned. "Well, Ray, I would understand it wasn't his fault, but I don't know if I'd ever forgive and forget. If you died, that is. Why do you want to know these things?"

"Reeve," she said, "I've been thinking about a lot of things. My dream, for one thing. I die in my dream. And it has made me wonder if maybe I would have to die to stop all this. Like Aeris. Could you forgive him if it happened like that?"

"But Ray, why do you keep asking me if I would forgive him if he killed you?" he asked.

"Because I want you, if anything happens to me, to blame no one but Sephiroth, no matter how it all occurs."

He hugged her. "Fine," he said, "I understand what you want."

"If something happens to me..."

"Ray," Reeve said sharply, "nothing is going to happen to you. I'll make sure of it."

She smiled. "I know. But just in case... I am planning to make a memorial, up here in Undor-Hai, for everyone I loved that has died. Aeris, Tseng, my aunt, Aysta, Blane, and Ish. I just want you to know that if something happens, I would want you to do this, and put me there with them."

"Fine, Ray," said Reeve, "I promise you I will do this, in the unlikely occurrence of something happening to you."

She leaned into his shoulder. "That's all I wanted to know," she said. (I hope he will understand, when it all falls into place. That the blame would not lie on him, but elsewhere.)

 .

Chapter 15

Early morning. Lia was instructing Ruther on proper axe swinging. "Now don't put too much of your weight into it, because if your axe gets deflected, so do you." He gave a light half-swing onto the dummy. The dummy's head rolled away down the floor. "Right. Not too much power, because it decapitates all the same, even with just a little bit of effort." Raieyana walked into the room.

She stopped and picked up the dummy's head. "I think you'll want this back, Lia," she said.

"Well Ray," asked Lia, "what can I do for you?"

"If you weren't busy, I was going to ask you to spar with me," she said.

Ruther replaced the dummy's head. "It's okay," he said, "we're basically done here. I'll watch." He went and reclined on a gymnast's vault horse.

"Staff or sword or sabre?" asked Lia. Raieyana took out her staff. Lia smiled, and took out hers. "Ruther, count to three."

"One, two, three!"

The two girls were a whirl of parries and blocks. Then they jumped back. Out came the blades on both of the staffs. Raieyana did a little quick twist and disarmed Lia. Then Lia was on her back with a blade at her throat. "I can't spar with you anymore, Ray," she said, "you're too fast for me."

Raieyana bit her lip. "But there isn't anyone else as good as you," she said.

"Ray, you're better than me," said Lia, getting up, "grasshopper, you're training is over. It's all in God's hands now. But I bet you could spar with me on an axe. Or with Ruther."

Raieyana wrinkled her nose. "I hate axes," she said.

"I know," said Lia, handing her an axe.

"Thanks, Lia," she said sarcastically.

"Get up Ruther. It's your turn," said Lia, "one, two three!"

Raieyana's first swings were tentative, learning the weight of the axe. Ruther swung at her--hard. She blocked it and he fell right down on his butt. Lia shook her head. "Don't put so much weight on a swing, especially against Ray. She's defensive with an axe, because she really hates the thing."

Raieyana gave the axe back. "Sure, tell him my technique. Well, I should probably get the other guys breakfast now."

"Ray, who decided to go with us?" asked Lia.

"Camilla, Blake, Drake, and..."

"Quake," said Lia, "so, Camilla and the triplets. Well, now we have four men on axes. This is going to be interesting. Go have breakfast, Ray." Raieyana smiled, and left. Lia picked up her axe. "Now Ruther, like this," she said, demonstrating the proper swing for the second time.

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

(Raieyana is an excellent cook. I hardly miss the meat.) "Compliments to the chef," said Barret, as Raieyana came back from the kitchen with his third helping.

"Tifa helped me cook. But they were my recipes," she said modestly.

"So," said Cloud, "we leave tomorrow morning?"

"That's the plan," said Raieyana, "then we split up and search for the spot the spell was cast to begin with and there..."

"It all ends," said Cid.

"It all ends," murmured Raieyana. Her mind was on a manic spree, recalling everything from song lyrics to the memory of her dream. (I want to capture this moment as it floats beyond the skies/And hide beneath the wings of a bluebird as she flies... This is my last full day on earth. I want to savor everything, look at everything, try to memorize every detail, everything. But there was no malice in his eyes, not even in the dream...)

Suddenly, Lia and Ruther walked into the room. "We didn't miss all your wonderful cuisine, I hope?" she asked.

"There's plenty in the kitchen," Raieyana said blankly. Then she got up and went to her room. Cloud got up, wiping his face with a napkin.

"I should probably get back to practicing my sword-swinging," he said. In actuality, he followed Raieyana to her room.

.

"Ray," Cloud said, leaning in her doorway. She looked up from where she was sitting on her bed, deep in thought.

"Don't call me that," she said.

"Why not?" he asked. "Reeve calls you that all the time."

"Maybe it makes me uncomfortable when you do it."

"Raieyana, I really want to apologize for what happened in Junon. I hoped that you'd forgive me. I never would want to do anything to hurt you," he said.

"Cloud, you scared me. I wasn't afraid exactly of whether or not I would have been injured. Physical injuries heal quickly. What were you trying to do to me? I'm not going to try to answer that question, Cloud. It makes me uneasy just to think about it. But every time you have tried to talk to me or do anything since then, that question comes back to haunt me. And the truth is, I don't really want to know what would have happened if you hadn't regained control of yourself. But I think I may learn anyway, if you and I are ever alone again."

(What does he see in you?

I wish he didn't see anything, Tifa, I swear to God...)

"Raieyana... Please, if you'd just let me try to make it up to you, maybe you'd..."

"Cloud," she said, "leave me alone, please."

"I just want to get to know you better. What happened there was not my fault. Raieyana, I really like you. A lot."

"I'm sorry, Cloud. No."

"Why not?" he asked.

She looked at him. (He really is serious about this. Then I'll give him a serious answer.) "Cloud... I'm in love with Reeve," she said, "even if the thing in Junon had never happened. I still..."

"You know what, Raieyana," Cloud said, "I really did have strong feelings for Aeris. She died and then you came...it was like a miracle. You're two totally different people, but I saw the same things I loved in her, in you--and then some. Reeve might not know it, but if he's got you, then he has the one person in this world who is absolutely perfect."

Raieyana shook her head. "I'm not perfect." (If I was perfect, I could have saved Ishmael. If I was perfect, he wouldn't be dead. If I was perfect, I wouldn't die tomorrow by Reeve's hand.)

"Tomorrow--the crater," said Cloud.

"Yes," she said, "tomorrow it all ends." (Here I arrive at the beginning of the end. Is there a Promised Land? I don't know. If there is, will I finally see it with my own eyes? Tomorrow the last of the Cetra dies; but Sephiroth will never return. That is my reward, but what will be the cost to the Planet? Could it be greater than the price of Sephiroth's return?)

Final part


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