Final Fantasy VII--Resurrection
Part 5- Final Fantasy
The day had gone by quickly, full of training and preparation for the journey the next day. Everyone agreed that Lia, Camilla, Blake, Drake, and Quake would be a great addition to the party. They were all gathered in Lia's dining room for dinner. Raieyana sat and picked at her plate. (This is too much like the Last Supper for my taste. Or maybe like my last meal before I go to the electric chair.) She got up. "We have an early start tomorrow and I'm tired, so I'm going to wash up and go to bed."
"Sounds like a good idea," said Yuffie, getting up as well. Vincent and Reeve stood up simultaneously.
"Boy," said Reeve, yawning, "I'm exhausted." He quickly followed Raieyana. Vincent and Yuffie left the room without so much as another word.
"What was that all about?" asked Barret.
"I know exactly what it's about," said Cloud.
"Yup," said Cid, "me, too." Everyone waited, expecting to hear their explanation, but they went back to their desserts.
"So?" said Barret.
"I said I knew; I didn't say I was going to tell you," said Cid.
"Why you little drunk bastard..." Barret leaped across the table, aiming for Cid's neck.
Tifa grabbed his collar and yanked him back into his chair. "With everyone so tense, sleep sounds like a very good idea to me," she said.
Cloud snorted. "I don't think sleep is what those guys had in mind," he said, referring to Reeve and Raieyana, and Vincent and Yuffie.
Tifa threw her napkin on the table and got up. "I'm going to bed before I lose my temper. However, this solution has come a little too late for some of us." She stormed out of the room.
"Well," said Lia, "I guess the vote is for bedtime. Everyone has rooms, right?"
"Pssst, Lia," Camilla whispered loudly, "I live here. I'll just go back to my house." The joke put everyone in a good mood, except Barret, who was still sulking over Tifa's scolding.
Cloud heard a strange sound coming from under the table. He lifted up the tablecloth and looked. (Aww, Red's purring. He's sound asleep, curled up like a kitty. Wonder if he'd like a catnip mouse?)
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Big day tomorrow," said Reeve.
"Yes," said Raieyana.
"Ray, you have me worried," he said, "you've been acting weird all day."
"Guess I've just been excited for tomorrow, like everyone else. Oh, by the way, Cloud came on to me."
Reeve looked at her. "Tifa came on to me the other day."
Raieyana laughed. "So that's what that whole thing was about!"
"What thing?" he asked.
"Yesterday, I think it was," she said, "Tifa came in here and she asked me, 'What does he see in you?' And so I say, 'Who?' She says, 'Oh, Cloud. And Reeve. I just thought you might know, that's all.' So then she goes into this whole big thing about how much better she is than me, blah, blah, blah, and the entire time, I'm thinking, 'If she has this wonderful opinion of herself, maybe that's what Cloud doesn't like.'"
"She told me Cloud had the hots for you the other day," he said.
"Is that the word she used? 'Hots?'"
Reeve shook his head. "That's my own personal addition," he said, "and believe me, Ray, it suits you."
"I know." She glanced at him. "You would look pretty decent yourself, if you ever wore something besides that boring suit."
"Only decent?" Reeve threw a pillow at her. It missed by a wide margin.
She picked it up and put it back on the bed, smiling sadly. (How many more moments like this would there be, if I didn't have to... Or moments with Ish, if he hadn't of...)
They were startled by a loud bang on the wall. "Ray, who's next door?" asked Reeve.
"Yuffie, I think," she said. Then they heard Yuffie's moan of "Ow, my head," and Raieyana's guess was confirmed. "Well, all I have to say is that those two must have a fairly interesting relationship over there; that's for certain."
Reeve acted offended. "I'm not interesting?" He pulled her towards him and kissed her softly.
Raieyana was pretty sure what he was getting at. She pulled away. "Reeve..." (What are you going to tell him? You're not in the mood tonight? This is the last night, your only night left with him.)
"It's okay, Ray," he said, "if you don't want to..."
She shook her head. "I was just going to tell you that I love you."
"Well if that's all..." He pulled her close again. "...I love you, too."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Vincent," said Yuffie, "maybe we should tell the others about us."
"Well, that wasn't exactly the most eloquent scene after dinner. Actually, we probably came off as pretty strange."
Vincent shrugged. "They already think that I'm strange."
"Not me. And I'd like it to stay that way. As it is, they think I'm really selfish," said Yuffie.
"The one thing I can say for you, Yuffie Kisaragi, is you are definitely not as selfish as you appear on the surface."
Yuffie rubbed her sore head. "At least somebody gives me credit for my good qualities."
"I think they all would, if they knew you like I do," he said.
She laughed. "I don't think my poor head could take that."
Vincent's eyes widened. "I didn't mean if they knew you that well! I hope no one else ever gets that pleasure."
"Except you?" asked Yuffie.
He kissed her. "No one ever will but me, if I have it my way."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
At about one in the morning, Reeve sat up, having woken up from a startling dream. Raieyana, in his arms, was forced to sit up along with him. "Reeve?" she said, opening her eyes, "you okay?"
He got up and walked to his bag. "I need a smoke," he said. He looked at her sheepishly. "I'm trying to quit."
"It's nothing to be ashamed of," she said, "I've been known to have an occasional one myself."
Reeve was amazed. "Really?"
She shook her head. "No. Just trying to make you feel better about it. Just crack the window. Lia can't stand the things and would kill me if the room smelled like smoke." Her words died. (Not the greatest choice of words, considering tomorrow--no today, I won't be here anymore.)
Her remark had shaken Reeve up as well. His fingers were trembling so much, he could barely light up his cigarette. He took a long drag; it gave him no pleasure. (I doubt Lia's ever going to kill you, Ray. Especially not if I... Gotta get a hold of myself. It was just a dream.
"Some dreams are premonitions...") Sephiroth's voice rang through his head, like in the dream.
"Reeve," said Raieyana, "what's bothering you? Did you have a bad dream?" (Can he know? Will he try to fight it? Does he hear Sephiroth's voice, too?) She got up and touched his arm. It was still shaking.
"Sometimes, sometimes," he whispered, "I wonder if you're just a dream."
She leaned on his arm. "Maybe I am," she said, "but not tonight."
He put out the half-smoked cigarette and held her tightly in his arms. "Then we have tonight, even if you've gone by tomorrow," he said.
"Reeve...it is tomorrow," she said.
"Well then, I just want you to know that I love you, Ray, and I would never do anything to hurt you."
"I know. But today is going to be a long day. Today is the end."
He held her at arm's length and looked her in the eye. "The end of what?"
"Sephiroth," she said, "what did you think I meant?"
He shook his head. "I was just being stupid."
"Reeve, you're not stupid."
"Well," he said, "we all say stupid things."
"What you said wasn't stupid."
"Fine, it was a very intelligent thing to say. Anything to stop this pointless arguing. We should probably try to get some more sleep."
Raieyana smiled. "For once, I was having a good night's sleep."
"Sorry for ruining it," he apologized.
"I've ruined enough of yours," she said, "I guess we're just a couple of God-forsaken insomniacs."
"God-forsaken. What made you say that?" he asked.
"Lack of sleep."
"Fine, Ray, I get the hint."
She looked at him. "No more bad dreams after this. Either of us. Big day today."
He pulled her back into bed with him. "Deal," he said.
(Almost time...) Sephiroth felt a rush of pleasure as he pictured his return to glory and power. (I will control the world. All people shall become my slaves. Cloud will make an entertaining jester... I don't know where Meteor is, but that was getting boring anyway. Mutate will hold my attention for a long time. After all, Aysta was kept well amused by it. My poor daughter. Well, Raieyana will pay...with her blood. And after she dies, I will completely control him. My puppet. Oh, how my dream terrified his simple mind. And it was only the near future. I can only imagine what it would do to him to see the events of the rest of his life--my life. If he thinks Raieyana's death an atrocity, wait until he sees what I have in store for him... But now, they approach me, unaware that their mission will ultimately lead to a disaster...)
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Reeve woke up from another hideous dream. Raieyana was getting dressed. She turned around and walked over to the bed. "Are you okay?" she asked.
He quickly nodded. (Keep strong. She has enough troubles of her own without you adding yours on top of them. Dreams are just fabricated by the subconscious. I just need to give mine a nice, big slap across the face for scaring the hell out of me.)
She looked at him closely. "I don't believe you. But I guess you don't want to talk about it," she said.
"You never wanted to tell me about your dream, Ray," he said.
"I didn't want to weigh you down with my problems."
"Ray, the feeling's mutual."
"Fine," she said, "but I could carry the weight all the same. Just pass some trouble my way when it gets unbearable. I'm stronger than you might think."
"I don't think you're weak," he said, "that's not the reason at all." (But knowing about this dream could change the way you look at what we have to do today. I don't want to affect this mission with fear. I'll be scared alone--so Ray can destroy Sephiroth along with my fears.)
"Reeve, get dressed. I have a feeling we're leaving soon."
"What, no breakfast? You're sure a poor hostess, Ray." She threw a pillow at him. It hit him square in the mouth.
"I'm going to start cooking right now, smart-ass," she said, "I just thought you'd want to be wearing something besides boxers and a grungy old T-shirt when you came to eat it. Wait, what does that T-shirt say?" She walked back over to him.
He shrugged. "It's a really old one," he said.
She pulled down the blanket and read the faded lettering. "I'll be damned. Junon Academy."
"What's the big deal?" he asked. "It's not like I constantly wear it, like that big ol' locket of yours."
She touched the gold locket softly. "My fath--, I mean, Tseng gave it to me..." She walked over to the hamper and pulled out the one she had worn earlier. "Anyway, Junon Academy's my old alma mater, too, Reeve."
"When'd you graduate, Ray? Ten years after me, right?" he asked.
She smiled. "Actually, eight. I skipped two grades. I was eleven when I graduated."
"Fine," he said, "go, my intelligent woman, while I dress, and cook some of your delicious food."
She raised an eyebrow. "I would take that as an insult if I thought you didn't love me so much," she said.
"Insult? I was complimenting your culinary skills. And your brain. So let me compliment your ass as I see it walking out the door. It will give me something to contemplate while I put on some clothes."
"Contemplate this." She picked up the pillow and took a few swipes at him before walking out the door. "Oh, Reeve," she called, "you should probably go see if Yuffie and Vincent have rejoined the land of the living after that violent episode last night."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Yuffie?" Reeve knocked on the door of Yuffie's bedroom.
"Gawd, Vincent, again? Don't you ever sleep?" was her muffled reply. Then he heard Vincent's voice clearly.
"That wasn't me, Yuffie."
Yuffie screamed. "There's a strange man in here?!"
Reeve knocked again. "No, just me. I'm outside the room and hopefully not what you'd consider a strange man." Vincent got up and opened the door. He looked perfectly normal, except for the fact he was wearing Yuffie's shorts. "Ray told me to wake you guys up," said Reeve, seeing Vincent's apparel, "we heard you last night, and I thought you might be tired, but I wasn't expecting this..."
"What?" asked Vincent.
Reeve gestured towards the shorts. Vincent, finally realizing what he was wearing, turned a nice, warm beet-red color. "I'll see you at breakfast when you guys get dressed," said Reeve, leaving. "Hopefully in clothes you can fight in," he added. He couldn't help himself.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"How can I beef up for a fight without any meat?" asked Barret.
"You could not use the term 'beef,'" said Legolas, always helpful. "The term 'bulk up' would be more appropriate. Besides, 'bulk' makes you think of fiber instead of meat."
"Legolas, you missed my point entirely. I want some meat with this meal!"
"Well," said Lia, "I don't allow any meat in my house, so if you want a meal before you leave, you'll accept my vegen thing. Or at least put up with it one last time."
"It's not that I don't like meat in some things, it's just a fact that no one here eats any meat. So I get my protein fill when I'm away from Undor-Hai," said Raieyana.
"Carnivore," muttered Lia.
"Damn straight," she shot back.
"Anyway, Barret," said Legolas, "there isn't any meat, so we'll have to make do."
Tifa stabbed a strawberry with her fork. "I bet plants feel pain when you kill them just like animals..." She put it in her mouth and chewed, casting a glance at Lia to see what her reaction would be.
"I never considered that before..." she said.
"Don't," said Raieyana, "you have to eat something, Lia. If you stopped at plants, that would leave fungus, algae, and one-celled organisms, which aren't very appetizing."
"There's mushrooms," said Tifa, "not to mention truffles..."
"Okay, Tifa you live off a diet of fungus, and report back to Lia right before you die of malnutrition," Raieyana said.
"I'm changing the subject now," said Reeve, "now, Ray, Lia, this food is delicious, even without the meat, fungus, and protazoans."
"Raieyana will respond to that when she figures out whether or not that was an actual compliment," said Yuffie.
"What was wrong with what I said?" he asked.
"All the crap about fungus and protazoans. Don't know about anyone else, but not while I'm eating..." She did look slightly green.
"Sorry. I forgot about your weak digestive system."
"Excuse me." Yuffie ran to the bathroom. Vincent looked a little worried.
"I hope she's okay," said Red XIII, "we need everyone to be in their best condition down in the crater."
"Are you okay, Cloud?" asked Tifa, "you haven't said much of anything.
"That's because," he said, swallowing, "I've been stuffing my face with this tasty food." He nodded at Raieyana.
She looked away. (Somehow a compliment from him is impossible to take. At least when he looks at me that way. With desire. Longingly. And not just because he wants another helping.)
"So we're leaving soon, right?" said Ruther.
"Then I'll go outside and have one last smoke," said Cid.
Blake, Drake, and Quake stood up. "Can I bum one off you?" they all asked at the same time.
Cid looked in his pack. (Five left.) "Okay, but just one apiece," he said. They all walked outside.
Lia hopped up and started clearing the table. "Ray," she said, "go see how Yuffie's feeling."
Yuffie was seated in front of the toilet. She looked up as Raieyana walked in. "I don't know what's wrong with me today," she said, "I usually don't get ground-sick. I just woke up this morning and felt all weird. Maybe I have the touch of the flu. But it doesn't feel like I'm sick from something..."
"Well, Yuffie," began Raieyana. She looked around, then she shut the door behind her. "You're either sick from something, or..." She leaned closer. "Yuffie, can I ask you a personal question?"
Yuffie gave her a strange look. "Sure, I guess. Shoot."
"How long has it been since you and Vincent first, umm, the first time you two..."
"I know what you're driving at. Somewhere around...like twelve days ago...when we were in Wutai...almost two weeks. Are you implying that I caught some kind of thing from him?"
"If you regard it as catching something, then I guess, yeah," said Raieyana, "but pregnancy isn't generally considered something you can catch."
"Preg--," said Yuffie, "no, not that! For christsakes, I'm only sixteen. I'm not...pregnant." Her voice trailed into a whisper.
"Well, I'm not saying it's that for certain," said Raieyana, "but it is definitely a possibility that you should be prepared for. After all, what the hell did you think was going to happen?"
"Raieyana, it's not like being with him was my purpose going into it all. I didn't even mean for anything to happen. It wasn't like I had this plan of 'invite him to my house, give him a replacement for the All he gave my father, then sleep with him.' It wasn't on my list of things to do for that day. So what am I going to tell Vincent? How would you tell Reeve?"
Raieyana was startled. (If that was the worst of my problems...but it's not. I would trade with you if I had the chance, Yuffie.) "What makes you think that there would ever be a possibility of me needing to tell Reeve anything of the sort?" she asked.
"Come off your high horse," said Yuffie, "and stop pretending you two haven't done anything. Now give me a suggestion."
"The truth! I would tell him the truth."
"Well, I'm not telling Vincent now, or he won't let me go to the crater with the rest of you."
"However much you hate it, that's not such a bad idea. Maybe you should stay here," said Raieyana.
"The hell I am! You said yourself you weren't sure that was the reason why I have a touch of...of nausea."
Raieyana shook her head. "Now I am. Morning sickness, mood swings... I highly doubt it's anything else besides that. But I guess it wouldn't be a threat to you to go. After all, I'm the only one who'll be doing anything dangerous." They both got up to leave.
"Raieyana," said Yuffie, "tell Vincent I'm feeling better now. I think I'm going to go change into something else."
"Why?" asked Raieyana.
"It's probably nothing, but these shorts feel a little loose. Like they've been stretched out or something..."
(How are we supposed to find the spot the first spell was cast? All of the old tunnels collapsed. I guess we'll have to do it by feel. I hope we don't come across the remains of anyone. They already will leave with a big enough nightmare than they would ever want to see.) She glanced at Reeve. "Do you see anything familiar?"
"Nope," he said, "just the ordinary cold, dark, damp, dreary Northern Craterness. Although I wouldn't call anything about this place ordinary."
"Then why did you?" asked Barret angrily.
"Damn it, Barret! You have to calm down those nerves!" Everyone looked at Tifa after her outburst. "...so do I, I suppose," she said.
"Wh...what nerves?" asked Barret. He looked down at his shaking hand. He held it close to stop the movement. "I ain't nervous," he declared. They came to the first fork in the new tunnel.
"What now?" asked Ruther. Everyone was silent for a moment.
"That way," said Raieyana and Reeve simultaneously, each pointing to a different path.
"Raieyana's right," said Cloud softly.
Raieyana looked at him. (This whole situation is a little too serious to try to win my affection by agreeing with me. This won't be a trivial decision.) He looked right back at her, directly in the eye. (But I don't think that's why he agreed with me. Am I right?)
Vincent nodded. "Has to be the way to go."
"Why?" asked Reeve.
"It's the only way," said Legolas.
"Logical choice," said Red XIII.
"Why?" asked Reeve.
"We can't take any other path but this," said Ruther. No one else had said anything.
"Why?" asked Reeve, for the third time.
"I know it is," said Raieyana.
"If so many of us feel so strongly about it," said Lia, "and no one has any idea at all, I don't think we can sit here and think of a reason. It will just waste our time. If we haul ass, even if they're wrong, it won't be too late to turn around and go Reeve's way." They started down the tunnel of Raieyana's choice.
Reeve's vision came in a flash. ("Did you think you sensed me? You will never feel me...because I'll always be right with you..."
Now he's taunting me. He's wrong, though. I will never lift even a finger to harm Ray. No matter what the hell he tries to do to me.) Cid fell onto him.
"Reeve, you okay, man?"
He nodded. "Fine, Cid." The tunnel ahead divided into three paths this time.
Barret, who had somehow managed to stumble his way to the head of the party, looked up in confusion. "I'm just going to ask those with the 'Sephiroth Positioning Systems' come up here and figure out where the hell we're going to go!"
Cloud pointed to the middle. "That way."
"No," said Raieyana.
"Where, then, Ray," he said.
She closed her eyes, ignoring how he had called her by her nickname and his ugly tone of voice. A soft voice whispered in her ear. ("Go right...and you will find him.") "Right."
"No," said Cloud, "the center path is where Sephiroth is."
"Let's go left," suggested Yuffie, "it's the only fair compromise."
"This isn't something that can be compromised," said Raieyana.
"I think I would know something like this better," he continued.
"Well, you're wrong, Cloud. And it's probably not going to be the last time. He's pointing you wrong on purpose. I also have the urge to go that way, but..."
"Then why don't you," said Blake, "I'm sick and tired of sitting here." He was the only one of the Undorians besides Lia who had gotten up the nerve to butt into one of the party's arguments.
"Because it's a misdirection," said Raieyana, "and I am not going any way except for the path that leads to Sephiroth. And the one that does is the one on the right."
"Cloud, if she feels so strongly," began Tifa.
"Tifa," Cloud interrupted, "I feel just as strongly as she does. Strongly that she's going to die if she goes that way."
(But that's what has to happen, Cloud... So he feels something, too. And maybe even the right vibes.) "Cloud," Raieyana said, "I can handle myself. No matter what is on the path ahead of us. Whatever danger lurks around the bend of that tunnel, we have to face it. If you have worries about me, worry as we head towards them. We're going to have to confront him again. Even if this time it's something we can't see, something some of us can't even feel. There will be risks. I think anyone who isn't prepared to handle them should probably go and walk back the Airship and wait for us to finish what we came to do here."
"I can handle them," said Reeve.
(He answered so quickly. Sephiroth wouldn't let him turn away now, even if he wanted to. Reeve, please be able to handle the aftermath...the consequences of my...) "Anyone else?" she asked.
"We are all going to be able to handle this," said Cloud, "my concern was for your safety."
"I'll be fine."
"Then I guess we're going right," he said. The journey continued, reluctantly, to the right tunnel.
("Ray, you okay?"
Just fine. I have to be strong. There will probably be more setbacks. We'll have to handle them, no matter what happens.
"I would take you by the hand and lead you to him if I could..."
I know you would, Ish. But that's not possible.
Raieyana noticed that Yuffie had fallen back a little from the rest of the group. She glanced at Vincent. (Trying to talk Cid out of having another cigarette.) She walked back to Yuffie. "Yuffie, what's wrong?"
She grimaced. "I feel sick again. I just want to be able to duck around a corner and get it all out without anyone else hearing. Don't want to make them sick, too."
"Yuffie, it's not safe for you to be so far back. There were some pretty dangerous things in here last time. I don't doubt that they've multiplied."
"Raieyana," Yuffie said, "I don't think many things could have multiplied while you've been away."
"They are mutants. You really never know with mutants. They might spawn. Or divide. Those methods allow for rapid multiplication..."
Yuffie wrinkled her nose. "You're not helping..." She held her stomach.
"Is there a problem?" The two girls looked up and saw Vincent. "Yuffie, are you sick?" he asked, concerned.
"Just probably a little bug," she said. She glanced at Raieyana, who looked at her, expectantly. Her look was saying "oh excuse me, I thought you were going to tell him what the problem actually was." "Vincent," Yuffie started reluctantly, "actually, it's not a bug."
"Then what is it?"
"To put it in layman's terms, I suppose that I might be--" They were interrupted by several growls.
"I hate wolves," said Raieyana.
The entire group was surrounded by a group of about forty wolves. However, that number was increasing rapidly.
"It looks like we're a free fry day at Burger King for them!" said Ruther. One wolf leaped into the air, aiming for Lia.
"Carnivore!" she yelled. Then she cut off its head with the blade of her axe. She headed towards another one. "The only blood you'll be tasting is your own!" Everyone else was busy killing and chopping and dicing wolves of their own.
A small pack had Yuffie cornered. She swiped with the Spiral Blade, but she was obviously ill. "Go away before I puke on you," she groaned. Raieyana noticed this and was just in time to block a wolf from attaching to Yuffie. Unfortunately, Raieyana accomplished this with her shoulder. There was a loud ripping sound. She turned to face the wolf.
"That was a brand new sweater," she muttered. She looked at it vengefully. The wolf started to whimper. "Yeah, I'd be running just about now if I were you," she threatened. "Oh, darn. You've waited a little too long. And I'm just too impatient, I guess." Everyone saw the flash of red.
"Who's having a Limit Break?" asked Barret, pulling out a bag of popcorn from his bag.
"Raieyana," said Cid, grabbing a handful.
"And this one obviously came from the Sephiroth side of the family," said Tifa, wincing as five more wolves went down with loud yelps.
"Neat," said Yuffie, "but she's goin' so fast it's making me motion sick." Raieyana suddenly snapped out of it. She shuddered and dropped the carcass of the wolf she had just decapitated with her bare hands.
"I hate wolves," she said sheepishly, "and it was a brand new sweater... Well, what are you staring at? Haven't you ever seen a Limit Break before?"
"Remind me to stay on her good side, Drake," Camilla whispered.
"Let's get going," said Cloud. They carefully stepped over the dead, bloody bodies of the wolves and continued.
"So, Yuffie," said Vincent, "what was it that you were going to tell me?"
"I'm--God, don't hate me, Vincent--pregnant."
"Don't hit me for saying this, Yuffie, but I was afraid that something was seriously wrong with you. Life-threatening. This is a relief."
"So you don't hate me?" said Yuffie.
"No. If I hated you for this, I would have to hate myself...and I just stopped hating myself, so I'm not too anxious to go back to that... But, Yuffie, you shouldn't have come here."
"I knew you'd say that. That's why I didn't tell you before we left. I couldn't just be left behind to wait. And Raieyana, she said something like she'd be the only one doing anything dangerous, so she thought I would be okay. I didn't expect to get sick. And the wolves..."
"I wonder why she said she'd be the only one doing anything dangerous... Well, I'll tell you what," Vincent said, "you stay and come along with us. I'll protect you. And we'll just avoid saying anything about this to anyone else for the time-being."
"Are you ashamed?" asked Yuffie.
"No, they'll just make me take you back to the Airship. I don't want to miss out on anything, either."
"One more fork in the road," said Cloud, "I say left, so Raieyana wants right, of course."
("Why does he talk to you like that?"
Ish, don't worry about it. What way should we go?
"Which way do you think he is? I've only been telling you what you would have told yourself."
I don't know...left?
"Well, you're right. Go left.") "Left is the way, Cloud," she said.
"I'm glad to hear Sephiroth hasn't muddled up my head this time," said Cloud sarcastically.
"Raieyana," said Legolas, "no offense. But I don't want to go in there, if that's where Blane... I can't."
"Then you don't have to," she said softly, "does anyone else want to stay here and wait?"
"Ray," said Lia. A tear slipped down her cheek.
And Raieyana then knew that Legolas had spoken on Lia's behalf. (She can't see where Aysta died.)
"We have to stay and protect Lia," said Quake.
"I understand," said Raieyana, "you came to help her. So help her. I trust everyone else is coming, then?" She looked around and when she met the eyes of each person, they nodded. "So let's go," she said. She turned towards the entrance to the tunnel.
"Wait," said Reeve, "you shouldn't go first, Ray. Someone else should...someone that Sephiroth wouldn't want. Do you know what I mean?"
"But you can't go in front without a better weapon," said Cloud. Raieyana reached for the Evenstar.
(It's like every word, every action, was scripted long, long ago. We're playing parts in a play where the script was written in stone. And we can't change a thing.) She handed him the sword. "Use this," Raieyana said. He headed into the dark cavern. And she followed, right behind him.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
(You can't hurt her. Cloud can't hurt her. I have the sword and I will protect her.
"Yes, and it was amazing to watch you protect her from Cloud when she was in Junon."
I didn't know you were in him.
"I wasn't in him. I don't manipulate him anymore. Now you..."
Yeah, you're manipulating me right now. That's why I have free will. That's why you won't harm Ray at all. And she will destroy you.
"And I will leave your head and you will live in harmony with your 3 kids and your dog, Spot. You'll be normal. She'll be normal. No more bad dreams. I hate to burst your bubble, but nothing ever happens like that."
The hell would you know...
"I know many things. I know why Cloud wants Raieyana so bad he would... I know why your mother died."
I didn't do anything to her. She was a manic depressive, and she...
"Yeah, that's what your nice psychiatrist told you when you paid him a couple hundred gil an hour to stop the voices in your head. I guess he was a rip-off, because here I am... I know why you couldn't prevent Shinra from destroying Sector 7. And I know why you're holding that sword. Because you are weak...weak, but still a good puppet.")
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Raieyana looked around. It was dark up ahead and she couldn't see Reeve anymore. "Reeve?" she called. "Come back, we can't see you."
"Okay, I'm coming," he said.
Then suddenly she was in the moment. (And everyone else is unaware. That I'm a sitting duck in the dark.) She saw his form walking closer in the darkness. (It comes down to this. I don't want to die.) There was the glint of the hard sword blade. (Reeve, I don't want to die.) It was thrust towards her.
"Hey, Reeve," said Barret slowly, "what're you doing?"
She was fully conscious of every feeling as the blade moved down through her and back out again. She saw Reeve's shocked expression, heard every sound as the sword clattered to the ground when he dropped it.
Finally having regained control of himself, he kneeled at her side. "Ray."
Cloud ran over and tried to get him away. "I think you've done enough."
"Wait," she whispered, "Reeve." And then everyone else was frozen where they stood, motionless, unable to do anything as the final moments came to pass. "You have to stop the spell." She swallowed. "Get the sword."
"Does it hurt bad, Ray?"
"Just get the sword." He grabbed the sword, trying to ignore how it was covered in Raieyana's blood. "We need Faith to stop him."
"The materia?" he asked, bewildered, "But we don't have it. We never had it, never found it. Did we come here for nothing?"
"The sword would never have been safe for anyone to have with all of the materia in it. And I guess I'm not able to trust anyone enough to... I had Faith the whole time."
"But we could have stopped Aysta before it came to this...why, Ray?" She tried to think of an answer to that question.
"Ish," she said, "he took the materia and brought it to Aysta. If we had Faith with it, Sephiroth would be walking among us now... I guess it really was better this way. The materia's in the locket...I wear...around my neck."
He reached down and opened the locket. A small white orb, the smallest of them all, lay inside. He placed it into the last slot on the sword. The materia started to glow instantly. He ignored it and turned to Raieyana, in time to see her close her eyes and take her last breath. (Well, Sephiroth, I guess we both lose.)
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Calm down, Lia." Legolas watched Lia as she paced back and forth in front of the entrance to the cavern.
"I can't. I don't know what to do. I know. I'll look at Ray's translation. She opened Raieyana's satchel and took out the notebook where she kept the translation. "Okay," said Lia, "surround the Black materia with the six White on a sword of thrice-tempered Adamantium." She looked at Legolas. "That's the Evenstar." She continued. "The sacrifice will be killed with this sword by the hand of a beloved killer..." She gasped. "What? And that's where she stopped translating. Do you think that it means she... It is her sword... Legolas, she's going to die. She just handed that sword to Reeve."
"And she knew what she was doing," said Legolas, "Lia, finish the translation. Maybe there's a way we can stop it. How fast can you translate?"
She shook her head. "I'm not that good. But this looks pretty easy. And it's short." She studied the glyphs. "...then...Black...materia...will be...destroyed...and...the spell...will...be..."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Raieyana was sitting in a grassy field. Above was a clear night sky filled with stars. She saw a man approaching.
"Ray," he said, coming closer.
(Is it?) Then she recognized his face. "Oh. Hi, Ish," she said, "I guess I'm dead now, right?" (It would be a beautiful scene if I didn't feel like my heart was about to explode with all this misery. I wonder how Reeve is?)
"Is it all right, Ray? I tried to make it look like that night so long ago, but I don't remember it that well anymore..."
"It wasn't that long ago," she said, "only a couple of years."
"But it's been such a long time, here, without you. I couldn't call it heaven, with all the pain I've felt..."
"Couldn't agree with you more," said Raieyana, "especially the pain. I might call it hell as soon as I get over the shock of, you know, not living. But it's wonderful seeing you again. I've missed you so much..."
"Yeah," he said sadly, "I've missed you, too." (And I will miss you...)
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Ray," Reeve whispered. One of his tears fell on her cheek.
Cloud reached down and felt her neck. "No pulse," he said softly. Suddenly, Mutate was destroyed is a burst of bright light. Yuffie gasped and Vincent held her closer. But Reeve's eyes were only on Raieyana's face.
(She trusted me. And I...all I am is weak. Why didn't I just stay away from her? I destroyed her.) Behind him, the first White materia began to glow even brighter...
* * * * * * * * * * * *
(...when you leave me again.) "Ray," said Ish, "you're not going to stay here."
"Something tells me that you never finished the entire translation...if you had, then you would know."
"Know what?" she asked.
"Would you kiss me good-bye?" he said, "I never got to when I was alive, but now you're here--no matter how briefly..."
"What would I know?" she asked.
"Please," he pleaded.
"No," she said, "tell me. Why would we say good-bye?"
"When you go back," he said bitterly. He looked at her. "You still don't get it? You're not really dead permanently." He pushed something towards her.
"This looks like the Ancient scroll I was translating," she said.
He shrugged. "Close. It's an image of it. Everything here is an image, just like this sky is an image of the one from our past. Look at the words you never bothered to read."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Lia was interrupted by a blast of bright light from the cavern. "God," whispered Legolas, "has it happened already?"
"...the spell...will be...transferred...into...the one...which has been killed."
"What does that mean?" he asked.
"The first spell...the one Aysta cast...Raieyana said it was successful... It was a resurrection spell," she said, "but I don't know if I should even hope...we never even found one of the White materia."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Ish?" she asked. "Will I be resurrected?"
"Something could always go wrong," he said hopefully, "maybe Aysta cast the original spell incorrectly."
"I won't be dead. I'll get another chance..."
"Just consider, Ray. Reeve killed you. You shouldn't forgive him for that."
She looked at him. "You led me to my death. Maybe I shouldn't forgive you for that."
"Ray, I had to."
"Reeve also had no choice. I wonder how long it will take to get back. I wish it would hurry."
"Ray," Ishmael whispered, "I love you."
She shook her head. "I love you, too, Ish. But I can't ever love you the way you love me. I wish I could..." She leaned forward to kiss him on the cheek. He turned his head and their lips touched... (I'll just let this happen. He really wants it. And we'll be apart again soon. I'll be able to tell Reeve how much I love him...)
Cloud looked at Reeve, disgusted. "You sicken me, you really do. You just gave in to his will and he took over. I guess he just picked the weakest of the lot this time to reduce his effort. And you just let him."
"Shut up, Cloud," said Yuffie, "it's not like you never tried to do the same thing to Aeris...or Raieyana."
"But I didn't," he said, "and that makes all the difference."
"...yeah, you just sat there and watched him kill her. Both Aeris and Raieyana. You did nothing at all. Yeah, that's a lot more manly than being overcome by Sephiroth's will, except, oh wait, you have. Many more times than Reeve."
"I fought it," he declared.
"So did I," said Reeve quietly, "do you think I wanted this?" The second and third materias now joined the first and waves of warmth and grace started to surround Raieyana's body.
Lia ran into the cavern. "How is she?" she asked. She saw the body and responded without batting an eye. "Still dead..." she murmured.
Tifa noticed the light when the fourth materia joined the first three. She watched in wonder as the fifth lit up and all of the colors of the rainbow floated around Raieyana. There was a burst of light brighter than the one that destroyed Mutate, that lasted longer. Everyone shielded their eyes, except Reeve.
He watched as the light surrounded Raieyana. (What's happening?) He saw Faith light up. Faith may have been the smallest of the White materia, but it shone the brightest. The wound in her chest slowly began to close. He touched her hand. (Still warm. Or is it getting warm again? No, nothing is happening. You're just getting delirious, like when Mom died.) But when he looked at her again, he noted with disbelief that she had begun to breathe again.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Raieyana and Ishmael broke apart. "I can't believe you let me..." he whispered.
"Ish," she said, "I have a feeling it's going to be a very long time before I see you again. I feel like I've started to return to life already..."
"You deserve to be happy," he said, sadly.
"So do you."
"I guess, but if one of us can be happy, maybe that will be enough."
"Good-bye, Ray. And no matter what happens to you in your life--I will always be watching over you, I promise. I love you."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
("...I will always be watching over you, I promise. I love you."
And I know.) Raieyana opened her eyes.
"Ray, I've gone insane," whispered Reeve, bending over her.
"Maybe we all need to be checked into the mental hospital," said Cid, "because I sure as hell see it, too." Vincent slapped him on the back of the head. She slowly sat up.
"Are you sure you should?" asked Cloud.
She looked at him. "It's funny," she said, "I have this...feeling. Do you know what it is? It's this feeling that you were saying some pretty nasty things while I was dead."
"You could hear me?" he asked.
"Well, I feel only this vague sense of nastiness. It was one of the many things that embittered my few moments of heaven." She looked at Reeve. "How are you doing?" she asked.
Reeve shook his head. "What? If I'm not mistaking, you're the one who just--and you're asking me--that's just screwed up. I'm just fine, compared to you."
She stood up and walked over to the sword. "The materia's all gone. I guess it used itself all up."
"Ray?" said Lia.
"Look," said Raieyana, "I'm fine. Guess what? One of the nice things about materia. It's magic. I'm healed. And I sure as hell want to get out of this place. Can we leave instead of hanging around with our mouths hanging open? Or at least start heading towards the Airship with our mouths open?" Raieyana led the awestruck and confused group towards the exit.
When they had returned to the place where wolves had first ambushed them, they saw that there was another large pack sniffing the bodies. The wolves, of course, hearing and smelling the group prepared to attack. Raieyana went after one wolf, only to find Reeve suddenly appearing to kill it. She went after another, but this time Cloud stepped in to prevent her from a fight. (Those two aren't going to let me kill any of the filthy beasts. I'm perfectly fine!) Everyone else was fighting, even Yuffie, which had Raieyana enraged. (She's pregnant, yet no one's protecting her from the vicious wolves. God, what is this crap? I'm not helpless.) She saw one wolf topple Reeve from behind. She ran over to kill it. (At least I can do something now.)
Cloud stepped in front of her. "I'll handle this," he said, killing the wolf.
"What the hell did you just do?" she asked.
"I killed an enemy, Raieyana." Sick and tired of the sarcasm and patronization, she went to slap him.
Reeve grabbed her hand in mid-air. "We're just protecting you," he said.
"Protecting me! We could have been done with the whole wolf mess at least an hour ago, if you had actually kept your mind on just the fighting and would have let me done what I could have, too. I'll tell you something. With all this stupid shit you've been doing between the two of you the last couple of hours, you have wasted everyone's time. Besides, I personally think it's a little too late to be having any concern for my well-being. I'm fine and have neither one of you to thank for it. Now if you think I'm strong enough, I'm going to go walk to the Airship and go home." She wrenched her hand free and started walking. She looked at Ruther. "What the hell are you staring at?" she snapped.
Cloud shrugged and started following her. "I suppose we should get going, before everyone in the outside world starts thinking we're all dead." Everyone started after Cloud.
Vincent turned around and saw Reeve hadn't budged. "Reeve, are you coming?"
He looked up and shrugged. "Of course."
"Look, Reeve," said Vincent, "it'll all work out. She's just pissed off because you wouldn't let her do anything."
"She could have hurt herself," Reeve said.
"She also could have hurt herself on the way in, but you sat back then and let her rip apart over half of the other pack of wolves. You might feel like you need to protect her, so what? She doesn't need any protection and she knows it. And I think you do, too."
"I didn't protect her from Sephiroth. I owe it to her."
Vincent shook his head. "I think, perhaps, maybe you couldn't protect her from Sephiroth. I also think that she knew that."
"I just want to make it up to her," Reeve said.
"That's wonderful," said Vincent. "However, it's obvious that being overprotective just isn't the way."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
When they returned to Undor-Hai, their success was celebrated with the traditional bonfire party. Well, traditional for the Undorians, anyway. Yuffie tried not to look ill as Vincent roasted her a hot dog and some marshmallows. "C'mon, you have to eat something, if only for the baby," he said.
"Maybe she wants to eat something besides flesh or fluff," offered Lia, from her position on Legolas' lap.
Raieyana smiled briefly at the discussion. She looked through the fire and saw Reeve. (I wonder how he's doing. I don't know why I blew up at him in the crater. He wouldn't have been acting that way unless he cared about me.) He looked up and met her eyes. She looked away quickly. (That doesn't mean that he still does now, though.)
He slowly got up. "I'm tired," he said.
"But the party isn't over," said Tifa.
He glared at her. "I've had a long day." He walked slowly towards Lia's house. Raieyana debated with herself briefly, then got up and followed him.
Reeve flicked away his old cigarette butt and lit a new one. (The hell with trying to quit. Damn it, she couldn't even look at me. Is it because of what I did when we went to face Sephiroth, or what I did afterwards?)
"I thought you were trying to quit," Raieyana said softly.
Reeve laughed bitterly. "Yeah, so did I. What brings you to talk to this old businessman, anyway? Haven't you had enough abuse for one day? For the rest of your life? It doesn't matter anyway. I decided this hero stuff isn't right for me. I'm going to find a few of my buddies from business school, start my own company, make a million..." He took a drag. "...or more. But then, I suppose you're not the type to worry about money. You're above that. And that's why you're above me."
Raieyana swallowed. (I don't know what to say to that. I shouldn't have followed him. He's not yours anymore. You've lost him.)
He looked at her. "You know, you're going to find yourself a fine young man one day, and..."
"I thought I had," she muttered.
He continued. "I'm sorry for you. About Ishmael, that is. He would have made a damn good husband for you."
"Well, maybe I don't want a damn good husband."
"What the hell do you want, Raieyana?"
He shook his head. "You don't want me," he said, "all I'd ever do is disappoint you. All I ever have done is disappoint you. Get over it and move on."
She walked over and stood in front of him, grabbed the cigarette, and put it out. "The only thing you've done to disappoint me is sit here in the dark, smoke, and feel sorry for yourself. So I guess this will be the good-bye that you want it so much to be." She walked away.
She turned around. "Reeve, I'm not going to say good riddance, because it's not. I love you."
He smiled wryly. "I'll tell you what. Tomorrow you're going to wake up and realize how confused you were right now. And how much better off you are without me."
"If I'm better off without you, then I was better off dead. At least then I wouldn't have been alone."
"You came back because the world needs you," he said.
"No," she said, "I came back because I need you."
"The hell with me, Ray!" He picked up a glass dish from a table and threw it at the wall. It shattered into a thousand pieces. "See. I'm a horrible person. I break things."
"Next time," she said, "try breaking something that belongs to me instead of Lia. You might not know it, but you are. My heart."
"Raieyana, you don't love me." He looked at her, waiting to see her reaction.
"You can believe that if it makes it easier for you. I won't deny what you said. But I won't lie," she said, and left. It wasn't until she was in her room, with the door firmly closed behind her, that Raieyana broke down.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Raieyana woke up the next morning and heard voices outside her door.
"Where's Reeve?" asked Lia.
"Oh," said Tifa, "he just left a few minutes ago. Didn't say a word about where he was going, either."
"I can't wake up Ray and tell her that," said Lia.
"So don't. She'll find out sooner or later for herself."
Raieyana sat up and looked at what she was wearing. (The only time I'll ever say I was glad to have fallen asleep in my clothes. Now I don't need to bother with getting dressed. I'll just slip out the back door. I wonder which trail he took?) Raieyana decided she knew both trails well enough to go down one really fast and come up the other. She started sown the back trail, which was the easiest. Also, unbeknownst to her, it was the trail that Cloud and the others had taken the first time up to Undor-Hai. About halfway down the mountain, she finally saw Reeve.
Reeve looked behind him, but Raieyana ducked into the bushes. (What did you think? Someone was following you? After what you said to her last night, you would be a dog to think she would come after you. But I love her. Why the hell was I so damn obstinate last night? Why did I leave today?) But Reeve couldn't convince himself that he wasn't seeing a flash of blue among the bushes on the trail behind him. "Ray?" (Of course there isn't an answer. She isn't there.) "What the hell were you thinking, Reeve?" he yelled to himself out loud. "She'd just follow you after you were a total, complete asshole? She's probably still asleep. And when she finds out I'm gone, she's just going to say big fucking deal, and Cloud will be there for her and she'll be happy. And I just left her there."
Reeve sat down and put his head in his hands. Raieyana watched him, stunned. She slipped out of the bushes and came closer to where he was sitting. "You're wrong about me going to Cloud. Ruther's much better looking and he's nicer," she said.
He stood up. "Raieyana." He reached out to take her hand. She ignored him and wrapped her arms around him. Surprised, he slowly put his arms around her. "I need to apologize..." he began.
"Apologize if that's what you need to do. Just so you know, I've already forgiven you."
"I did. And there's no use arguing with me. I've forgiven you, so come back." He shook his head.
"It's still not the life for me. Up there. I need technology. I need meat food products," he said.
"Just for a little while. I'll make the memorial. And when we get sick of Undor-Hai, I have a house in Junon. Hopefully I'm not still wanted..."
"I still want you," Reeve said.
"That's not going to help me if I get arrested..."
"I'll bust you out."
She laughed. "Can we go have breakfast first?"
He considered. "Only if you're sure you want to get stuck with me," he said.
"I followed you all the way down here," she said, "you can consider me insane if I did that not just because I loved you."
He kissed her. "Okay, I'll go back with you. I can't remember why I left in the first place." They started back up the trail. Back up the mountain, to Undor-Hai.
(The next chapter is the Appendices, filled with info and author notes about the story.)
Coming Soon... Reunion
Seven years after the party paid their life insurance by destroying Mutate, a new force reunites them. Former Soldiers are getting sick, and the affliction could affect any one of them in an instant. Shinra is trying to rebuild itself, while Reeve and Reno's business, Alcor, is trying to establish itself in Junon. But no one is where they expected to be seven years ago. And every single thing is tainted with treachery: Shinra, Alcor, and even Cloud's party. As the final consequences of the Jenova experiments come to light, they realize that the only way that they can survive is to face the demons--even the self-created ones--together.