Reunion Part 3- Falling Into Place
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.
"Wha'? 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.
Raieyana read. "...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 hundred 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. "She'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.)
"Laida." Heidegger smiled as the Head of Weapons and Machinery walked into Scarlet's and his joint office.
She smiled back and tossed her ash-blond hair. "So, I had our little worker at Alcor spread the word in Junon. About conspiracy...danger...and what-not. My plan wouldn't have worked with Reeve Jordan out of Junon. I had her start a little scare. Jack Reno's probably on the phone beggin' him to come back right now."
Scarlet leaned forward. "So, what is this...plan?"
"Oh, I don't know," said Laida coyly, "we need something big...something huge...that Alcor--and Reeve--can be blamed for. Now what could we do to Junon that would ruin them?"
"That's what we're asking you," said Heidegger dryly.
Laida rolled her eyes. "As you know, I've had agents buy us some property in Upper Junon. That's where it will start."
"It?" inquired Scarlet.
Laida grinned, her eyes excited. "Fire. Deliberate arson. We come in--at the appropriate time, of course--and save all of Junon from burning to the ground. We let Alcor burn. We will be heroes, and then we'll prove how our friends Mr. Jordan and Mr. Reno started the whole thing."
"How long until the 'Great Fire of Junon?'" asked Heidegger.
"A week, maybe two. I have to let Reeve start to feel secure. Who knows? Maybe he won't even survive the fire. That would be awfully good for us. It's easy to blame someone who can't defend himself. Reno's just a drunk, stoned idiot. He's nothing without Reeve."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"What are the rest of us supposed to do?" asked Yuffie, angrily. "I don't enjoy sitting on my ass, either."
"Look," said Reeve, "if there is anything up with Shinra, we would throw them off by all coming."
"You don't seriously think you an' Raieyana are gonna hold off the Shinra by you'selves, do'ya? Why can't we all come? You think we ain't up to it, dontcha?"
Reeve shook his head. "That's not it at all, Barret."
Everyone looked up in wonder as Cloud sauntered back in. "Barret," said Cloud, "he'll call for our help if there's a problem. This is just a precaution."
Reeve looked at Cloud with scrutiny. (Nice. You're defending me. Look, I can hold my own in an argument. But...what...what happened...to his sword?)
"Besides, Barret," said Tifa, "we can go and visit those sick ex-Soldiers and maybe get some idea of what's the problem."
"Will you be all right, Ray?" asked Lia.
Raieyana nodded. "I can take care of myself. And Reeve will be with me."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Reno was waiting in a helicopter right next to the ruins of Midgar, where Reeve had told him to meet them. He squinted at the two figures approaching him from the horizon. (It's Reeve...and somebody else...)
Reeve and Raieyana reached the helicopter. Reno raised an eyebrow. "You told me you were bringing someone who could help us."
Raieyana shook her head. "Last time we met, you insulted me then, too. I guess I should expect it from someone like you. After all, my father always said you were a tactless idiot."
His eyes widened. "That's right! You're Amine's kid, aren't you?" His eyes checked over her body with a pleased expression. "Although I daresay you've grown up. Come up into the Alcor helicopter." He lowered his hand.
Raieyana glanced at Reeve.
"Jack, she doesn't trust you," said Reeve.
She grabbed Reno's hand and he pulled her into the helicopter. Reeve climbed up, without aid.
"Reeve's a better pilot than I am, and there's only two seats," said Reno, with a grin, "so I guess the little Amine will have to sit on my lap."
She shook her head disgustedly. "I wouldn't want to get you hard or something," she said.
Reeve caught her eye and gave her an amused smile. "I guess her daddy told her a lot about you, Jack," he said with a laugh.
Raieyana plopped down on the floor.
"But, seriously, it's not safe for her to be sitting on the floor," Reno said.
She shrugged. "I think I'll take my chances. The floor doesn't have any ulterior motives, unless..." She shook her head and laughed. (Wow. That's been the first time I've laughed since Cloud...)
Reno and Reeve talked on the way back to Junon, but Raieyana was silent for the remainder of the trip.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Outside of his office, Reeve turned to Raieyana. "I've got to do some things. Jack will give you the grand tour, won't he?"
She made a face.
"Look," Reeve whispered, "he'll say a crude thing every once and a while, but he would never take advantage of a woman. He'd rather go rent one off the streets. He won't hurt you."
"Reeve," she whispered back, "I just don't like him. But I'll go. I won't be away for very long, though."
"So," said Reno, "what's your first name?"
"Raieyana. That's beautiful. I hope you didn't take what I said on the way over here personally. I wasn't very serious."
"The only thing that offended me," she said, "was when you said that I'd grown up. I've been grown-up for a long time."
Reno shrugged. "Maybe. But I remember going out drinking after hours with Reeve and sometimes Tseng, and he would talk about his beautiful little daughter. You know, I always thought Tseng Amine fell in love with Aeris Gainsborough by watching his daughter grow up."
She looked at him in disbelief. (How could he know who my mother was?)
He looked at her expression, and chuckled. "Raieyana, he told me she was your mom. And besides, you look an awful lot like her. Anyway, here's my office. Let's take a look."
Reno walked in the door and saw Lavana. He noted with disgust that she was wearing an even skimpier outfit than usual.
"So, is Reeve back?" she asked.
"Lavs, why don't you leave a good man the hell alone? He doesn't want your skanky ass."
Lavana noticed Raieyana. "Reno, who's the little lamb?" she asked.
"Do you remember Tseng Amine?" Reno asked.
"That's his daughter."
Lavana gave her a once-over. "She looks like him. Just, like, the posture and the attitude. She carries herself like him. But, tell me now, is Reeve back?"
"Why do you care?" asked Raieyana.
Lavana gave Raieyana a look of amusement. "So," she said, "the girl has a crush on Reeve, does she? She's a little young for him, I think." She started to walk out. "Oh, and honey," she whispered loudly, "put off having kids as long as possible. I can tell that when you do, your hips will get huge. Be happy with the little virgin hips you have now."
"Sorry about that," said Reno, "she's the company slut. But I guess every company has at least one."
Raieyana looked at him. "Tell me the truth. Have she and Reeve ever, well, y'know..."
"Raieyana, I have no idea. Do you have a thing for Reeve?"
"Look," she said, "everything that bitch said was way-off. 'Put off having kids' because my hips will get huge? That's a laugh. She should have seen how small they were before I had my kids!"
"You have kids?" asked Reno, totally surprised.
"Well, twins. I've only been pregnant once."
"Are you single?"
She had no idea how to answer that question. (I hope I'm not...) She blinked back the tears that burned her eyes. "I can't answer that," she said, "because I'm not sure. The only thing that I know is that I am in love with someone, and I think the feeling's mutual, but the situation has been getting more and more awkward. We get one issue settled, another pops up."
"So you're not into Reeve..."
Reeve walked in. "Why are you constantly trying to find out who people 'like,' Reno? That's none of your business."
"Come on, Reeve," said Reno, "you want to hear her answer as much as I do--maybe more. I know you want her."
Reeve and Raieyana looked at each other. "You know," she said, "the reason why Alcor isn't successful is the fact that the company is run by juvenile imbeciles."
"Look, Reno. It's more than 'wanting her' with Ray. We have two kids together."
Reno threw his hands up in the air. "How come I'm the last one to find out the important things?"
"Actually, he didn't know himself until a couple of days ago," said Raieyana.
"You two are confusing me! How old are they?" asked Reno.
"Well, Reno..." said Reeve "...Six and a half..."
"...but, if I had known you were gonna give Raieyana the third degree, I wouldn't have sent her with you. By the way, where's Lavana? I'm trying to avoid her."
Lavana stepped inside. "I thought I heard you call my name," she said, "by the way, your sister's friend or whatever--she's kind of pretty. For her type."
"Not friend, Lavs," said Reno, "l-o-v-e-r. That news makes you pretty happy, I'll bet."
"That's why I don't tell you things, Reno," muttered Reeve.
"Lover," said Lavana, "your lover? Have you told her...about us? What kind of thing we have?"
"Had. A long time ago. Nothing since."
"That's right," she said, "you've had nothing. For a long time. My theory still stands."
"The only thing it takes to resist you, Lavana," Reeve said, "is taste."
"To each his own. Here's the new figures on the people who have left Junon. Don't say I don't do anything around here."
"I'd say you do everyone," said Reno.
"Except you," she said, "I drew the line at creatures without spines. I am discriminating in my choice of men..." Lavana turned on her heel and walked out of Reno's office.
"Fire her, Reeve," said Reno.
Reeve shook his head. "If I do that, she'll go to Shinra. I can handle her. I just shouldn't have hired her in the first place."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"God, am I tired," said Reeve, tearing off his tie and throwing it over the couch.
Raieyana looked around Reeve's small apartment. (This place is tiny. I wonder if he even has a...spare bedroom...) "I can't believe the entire city is so quiet. It's only ten o'clock. It scares me," said Raieyana, "while I was growing up here, sometimes we would run around until long after this time, clubbing."
"Clubbing?" Reeve gave her a disgusted look.
She rolled her eyes. "Like when we were fourteen and here to visit Aula. We would visit the teen clubs. They're all closed now. One was a bar last time I was here. Another one was that deli." She smiled. "That was an interesting conversation we had in Reno's office."
"I am so sorry about Lavana," said Reeve, "she's a bitch and I should have kept her away from you."
"Reeve? Did anything ever happen between you and Lavana?" Raieyana asked.
Reeve sighed. "When I was like eighteen, in business school. She was my first. And she won't let me forget it. To top it off, I think she's seduced most of the men in the company because she thinks it makes me jealous. It just makes me ill. I'm not ashamed about what we did, though. I was young, and it was a long time ago. Everyone has a past. I made some mistakes. A lot of mistakes."
Raieyana laid down on the couch. "Just get me a blanket," she said, "and I'll be fine right here."
"No," said Reeve, "I'll sleep on the couch. You can have the bed."
"Why? I won't get a good night's sleep in strange place, anyway. I don't have to spoil yours. Go sleep in your own bed."
"If you make me get up, I'll refuse to sleep. Go to sleep. It's your place, Reeve. I'm imposing on you."
He shook his head. He draped a blanket over her and kissed her lightly. "Feel free to come at any time and kick me off the bed. So when you come to your senses..."
"If you don't go now, I'll throw a pillow at you," she threatened.
"Then I'll leave. I remember how hard you throw pillows."
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.)
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," she said softly, "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."