Initial Reality

Prologue

The wind howled through the night. Pitch black if not for the neon signs and lanterns along the street, sending out colorful glows of ghastly pink or hideous green. Walk along the streets and you surely would not miss the signs of Lady Marmalade or The Obscene Dungeon.

He detested places like that.

Brown eyes narrowed in annoyance as he watched another staggering man with ruffled clothes, falling out from one of the doorways, all merry and drunk. A tired hand massaged his temples as he walked away from the window. Reeve was not entirely pleased with the apartment he rented. But it was enough for him; a living room combined with the bedroom and a small kitchen. Not much else, but across the room was a small pedestal, on it sat Cait, shut down. Reeve turned him off because he had no need of him, but the cat had helped him and deserved to be honored.

He had managed to get out from Midgar with just minor cuts and bruises, when the meteor came. When the lifestream had joined with Holy, the meteor was gone and everything went silent. That was, until cries of joy and relief had washed over the people.

That was over a year ago.

Reeve had returned to Midgar with his robot cat Cait Sith, and got this room. He was tired and needed a place to rest, not the exact truth, but mostly. He also wanted to be left alone for awhile. Once the Highwind had landed just outside the wrecked city, Reeve greeted them. With silent discussions and crying from the small ninja, they departed, each to their different destinations.

He knew where most of them went. Tifa reopened the Seventh Heaven bar and also established it into an orphanage, for those children that lost the ones they loved. Cloud joined in and got a job as a part time mercenary and a deliverer. In his spare time, he would join Tifa and the kids for games and such.

Barret had met Aeris's foster mother, Elmyra, and his daughter, Marlene, in Kalm. Elmyra went back to Midgar to see if her house was still intact after the crisis. As for Barret and Marlene, they returned to living in the city. The former AVALANCHE leader left Marlene with Tifa when he was at work. Reeve had received rumors about an artillery shop and chuckled at the very thought.

Red XIII or Nanaki returned to Cosmo Canyon and took his role as the protector for the small village. Both Elder Hargo and Elder Bugah took good care of him during a period of time…after Bugenhagen's death. Reeve remembered it clearly. He received a call from Cloud, telling him the news. It saddened him really; Bugenhagen had helped them so much through their journey to save the planet. The feline had let his grandfather's body be cremated and spread his ashes in the wind through the canyon. Reeve wouldn't be surprised if the elder wanted it, that old man was full of surprises and held wisdom far surpassing anyone he known.

The spunky little ninja had of course left for Wutai, and as promised, nearly all materia belonged to her. Reeve had received messages from Yuffie, either complaining of her duty as a Kisaragi or eagerly just wanting to talk to him. It was hard to tell which, but it didn't hurt to get some mail now and then.

Cid traveled back to Rocket Town and started working on the Highwind. Though the new one was a better update, it was only an emergency pod. It was not built for long adventures. As the mayor of the town and a hero from saving the Planet, many volunteers helped him with different sets of parts. The smoking pilot got extra help from the very sweet assistant, Shera. As far as Reeve knew, the two had grown very close the last year. He could tell by the silent bond between them, but also by the several distress calls from Cid whenever something had upset her.

Several, as in about 89, in the last year.

However, there was one that no one of them had heard anything about. Vincent Valentine; former member of the Turks and extraordinary gunslinger. Like a ghost, he disappeared without a trace not long after the crisis. Reeve didn't know the man very much to be honest, in fact, almost nothing at all. Vincent was very closed up and only spoke when he needed to. When he first met him through Cait Sith, Vincent was even colder that ice. He never spoke of his past; though there was one time he told us of the Jenova project, but kept most of the facts untold. Even during the time with the meteor, Vincent still portrayed himself as a dark shadow, standing far back in the corner where no light touched. But as a shadow needs the light to exist, Reeve knew that Vincent grew more accustomed with his comrades.

Reeve walked towards his desk and glanced at its surface. Several notes in different sizes were scattered on the table, books laid opened and many others were stacked in piles on the floor. All of them belonged to archaeologists. The former spy had spent five months reading and searching for answers, but only came up with a few. One of the archaeologists, Jones, explained numerous discoveries of the Cetras. That's what had caught Reeve's eye; information on the Ancients was scarce at best, if not nonexistent. Jones had traveled through the Planet more likely over 200 years ago, and tried to piece together the history of their background. Reeve was impressed; Jones's notes were full of discoveries. Some of them traced back to a couple of hundreds of years after the Calamity from the skies, over 2000 years ago.

Sadly, most of them were written in what he presumed to be Latin.

With a heavy sigh, Reeve turned to the little colorful box on the table. The box was not very big, probably 8x8 inches in square, very colorful despite dark paints of purple and green. He had just received it by his door; no note nor person in sight. He sat down by his desk and stared at it. It lay on its right side and had a small handle. The lid was locked. Reeve knew what kind of a box it was and grasped it in his hands. While his left held it, the right turned the handle. After a few turns, nothing happened and Reeve put it back down with a small frown.

Suddenly the melody began.

Reeve's eyebrows rose in surprise while he listened to the song.

Where did he hear it before? He faintly recalled a quiet melody from his childhood, very similar to this one. Then it hit him. Of course, it had to be that annoying song that drove you to madness if you listened to it too long; the same song children loved to sing. Small children that gathered around an older woman, each one wearing a big smile on their faces, and soon started singing with pitch high voices. Reeve could smirk at that, he could see himself that young, eagerly alive in that melody; many others for that matter. Now he could see himself, in present time, finding it bothersome. But children are children; pure and innocent, young and lovable. Reeve respected that, he loved to see smiles and hear laughs, even if it required him to listen to childish tunes.

The handle turned by itself as the song continued. Reeve soon became lost with the song; his ears strained past it, almost hearing the wheels working inside the box. He could hear himself in his mind, along with other kids singing it:

Round and 'round the cobbler's bench
The monkey chased the weasel
The monkey thought 'twas all in fun
Pop! Goes the weasel

A penny for a spool of thread
A penny for a needle
That's the way the money goes
Pop! Goes the weasel

As the melody went into the last verse, the Jack popped out, startling the silent man. The jester looked, in Reeve's point of view, impious. A wide grin stretched over the doll's rubber face, eyes gazing at him mischievously, and the nose was long, pointed, and slightly bent like a crow's beak. The twin set of brows were lowered in a V shape over its eyes, making it look insane. The hat was colored in dark nuances of black and red with three small bells hanging in each tip. While the jester looked at him devilishly, he popped back again, revealing a piece of paper previously obscured by his head.

Reeve, who was still rather stunned by the jester's appearance, raised a hand towards the folded paper and opened it.

If you think the world is safe, that you won the war
Then I tell thee, how wrong you are
A war is never won, I'm afraid
For in the future, blood will stain the blade

Reeve frowned and read the text again. War, which war did it mean….the one between Shinra and Wutai? That was over 15 years ago; could it really be referring to that one?

Blood will stain the blade….more lives will go to waste.

Reeve's eyes relaxed and he lowered his gaze in thought. Deep hazel orbs glanced at the clock, reading the two arms' positions.

23:02

It was getting late. For over six hours, Reeve had read the notes from Jones; his exploring and his discovered items.

Reeve closed his eyes and rested his head in his right hand. In the last journal of the archeologist, he mentioned something about an ancient battle and another world. In the dark ages of the……

Damn!

Reeve's eyes snapped open and stared ahead. He got the message clearly now. He also noticed that the robot cat sitting on the undersized pillar was gone. A slight shock crept over his face before his eyes caught something flickering in the glass of the clock. By reflex, he whirled around and got a glimpse of a dark item, clutched in a white clad hand.

Then, his world turned black.

To be continued