Memory

It had been a shock to see the fiery haired man again, after so many years had passed. The young reporter remembered her last sight of him, when he'd been led away to his sentencing, sporting a mythril-reinforced straitjacket and chains over every inch of his body. They'd added a muzzle for extra humiliation, since Turks were known to be less than civilized.

The only thing you could see of him was the brilliantly red hair like a trail of blood against the white of the straitjacket. She'd later learned that not even mythril saws could cut that hair; she didn't want to think about how they figured that out. Was it possible to kill a fallen god?

Today would be the day she'd find out.

The Turk and the reporter were locked in a small room with guards just outside the door. She had requested that he be unchained and allowed to move freely during the interview, something that had shocked the prison officials, but they had complied. Now it was time to start the interview.

"I know you from somewhere, don't I?" His voice was hoarse and grating from lack of use, but it was still Reno's voice. She almost resented the fact that he'd recognized her, but deep inside a little thrill nearly made her shiver. He remembered.

"Yes, I believe you do, Reno."

"You're that girl...from that time..." His struggle for words brought tears to the reporter's eyes; they'd had him so loaded full of drugs that even a month after being taken off them he was still struggling with memories. "The spunky one..."

"Yes, that's what Don Corneo called me." She laughed a little at the expression of fierce rage on his face. Any other person would have peed their pants, but not this woman.

"You shouldn't laugh about that... I was really scared about what he might have done to you..." Reno's face twisted up in a concentrated frown. No matter how he tried, he couldn't say her name. Part of the drugs? Or was it a psychological block? What had she meant to him?

"I know. It was sweet of you. Now I need to ask you some questions about what you remember..." The reporter had sobered, meeting Reno's gaze with her own. He seemed not to hear her, but became lost in her eyes. He would have bet his life that she'd meant something special to him before his arrest, and in a way, that's what he was doing.

"I remember the day Rufus died. I remember the day President Shinra died. I remember when Tseng died. I remember dropping the Plate, kidnapping the Ancient, all of that." He paused, his eyes becoming cold and hard. "But I don't remember you.

"I remember that you were with Cloud and them when they fought Sephiroth. You were there in Junon when they broke into the reactor. You were there on the night it rained when you found me at Celes' grave."

Reno's words caused a blush to stain the reporter's cheeks. Yes, yes, yes. She'd been there when he mourned his daughter. She'd...comforted him, handing him her heart on a silver platter for nothing but a roll in the wet grass in return.

"What else do you remember, Reno?"

He snapped, standing up and slamming his hands on the table. The guards were trying to get into the room, but found it had been secured from the inside.

"That's not my name! That's not what you called me, damn it!"

The reporter kept her eyes locked with his.

"I know. But you haven't used my name yet either."

Reno calmed down slightly, enough to slump back into his chair. He stared at the woman for long moments, before sitting up and leaning forward over the table. He caught her face in his hands and brushed a delicate kiss over her lips.

"I remember this... the way you taste, the look in your eyes when you laugh, the scent of you mixed with rain. All my memories are of you; they've kept me sane throughout all this. And I know that I love you, but I can't remember why."

It struck him suddenly that she was crying, her arms wrapped around his neck, her tears soaking into the worn blue suit they'd allowed him to wear. The guards had the door broken open and were pulling them apart much too soon. She was screaming and fighting against them, using skills that Reno's body knew firsthand. She had been his enemy back then.

Now, she was his salvation.

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The day of the execution was dull and gray; it had been raining for a week. Reno stood in the courtyard of the prison, in a spot where the cobblestones were forever stained red, his fiery hair plastered to his head, his dark blue suit turned black from the rain.

He sent a silent thanks to the heavens for the weather on this day, grateful that the Planet's tears masked his own. He looked to the opposite end of the courtyard where those who'd been affected by his crimes stood under black umbrellas.

He was surprised to see all of Avalanche was there. Elena and Rude, who'd been granted pardons for their crimes stood alongside the spiky haired blond and his comrades. The only one who wasn't standing with them was his love.

She stood apart from the rest, literally, with a folded umbrella by her side. The firing squad stood slightly angled away from the observers. Suddenly, his beloved was walking calmly toward him, the umbrella held tightly in her hands. The warden motioned for the guards to do nothing. It was not an uncommon practice for Wutainese women to join their men in death. The beautiful woman snapped the umbrella open and held it over their heads.

"Yuffie..." Reno breathed her name in a soft whisper; only she would know how much he remembered.

"Yes, my koibito." They kissed, the firing squad let fly with their mythril bullets, and when the smoke cleared, all that was left was a dented mythril umbrella.

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It is rumored that a former killer and an exotic princess live together in a faraway land. No one knows for sure, since those who go looking never return.