Intro: There's a price to pay if you do no wrong…
A/N: I'm a big Cait Sith AKA Reeve fan, though I can never pronounce either of their names properly. This story starts at the span where Reeve "takes in" the Shinra hostages. How and why he does so, and the consequences though –a thing the game really overlooks- are more far reaching than could be expected.
"Come now lassie, you have to come! Please!" He used the voice, but without the fur to soften his visage or the comical tail to swish about he wasn't sure she'd trust him. He was a tall man, not powerfully built but not as fragile from his work as to appear harmless. Normally he prided himself on his façade of strength. It was an illusion he upheld so that others wouldn't hurt him, but he knew deep in his heart in the places he cared not to pry that when action came to him he'd balk.
That was the reason behind Cait Sith, the purpose behind the cat. Cait wasn't some harmless hobby or form of escapism as he had assured his few friends and family over and over again. He wasn't a toy either, no that lie was as hollow as Mog's back. That harmless piece of fiction was for AVALANGE benefit only. The little white lie he'd fed Cloud and Aries had been eagerly taken. Taken and wheeled out, until the line, hook, and sinker had flown down the dark caverns of lovesick born trust and hope. The others were skeptics, but for those two he could do no wrong.
So he did no wrong.
"Take the girl, we need leverage."
Such were his orders, Shinra's orders. He'd balked then, he wasn't a Turk, but the artic glare of the President had brooked no complaints. He'd asked for clarification, and those fat rimmed eyes had thinned into small lines of distaste, no answer had been forthcoming.
So he'd walked down the slums, seeing the horrors of poverty with his own eyes rather then those made of glass and wire. The smell, Cait had shielded him from that at least! His nose wrinkled in disgust as he carefully weaved his way through the trash strewn paths. He took to the center of the roads, a habit born to one of the upper plates, and he folded to it as easily as submitted to the urge to breathe. He was careless in his wanderings, skirting the jagged edges of risen and broken slabs of pavement, uncaring to how the edge of his pants was fast becoming black streaked. In his soft blue suit he surely stuck out, a blue jay amongst a host of vultures and crows…
No, he had realized, not vultures and crows. There were colors here. He saw them, ringed round by filth and shadowed by loss. There were colors here, if not in the clothes that these people wore than in the eyes. A small spark of hope, perhaps overshadowed by need, but need could be alleviated.
Given time and compassion and care… need could be soothed, like any wound a balm would make the healing easier.
So lost in his half formed plans of restoration –the slums weren't half so bad if you looked at them just right- he barely noticed the odd echo from his steps. It was only when he stopped unexpectedly. His breath flew from his body as he made another turn and saw the magnitude of destruction and decay on this street. He had been dwelling on a half baked plan of encouraging local residents to do some street cleaning and clearing and the fact that the pavement had totally petered out and became dirt had made him stop in his tracks.
It was then, when he halted, that his stalker came to a stop a moment too late. Reeve froze, hand drifting to a canister of mace he kept clipped to his belt.
He'd never owned a gun, had refused to learn how to shoot one. Midgar was a place of peace, her citizens should strive to follow suit. That's what he'd always said, and he'd even once said it with pride in the presence of Rufus and the vice president's pet Turk, Tseng. They'd both looked at each other, than to him, and they'd laugh. Reeve had even cracked a small indulgent grin at that moment. Mainly because he'd never seen the vice president relax, so much as laugh. The sight brought home the fact that Rufus was little more than an over achieving adolescent with parents in the right places.
Then Rufus had stopped being a child, the last laugh became little more than a confused ghost as he quietly sobered up and pinned a brooding look upon the head of Urban Development.
"You are such an optimist Reeve. You're a good man and an optimist. How has my old man ever managed to keep you all these years?"
Silence had fallen then, it was an awkward and heavy thing. Reeve had been completely confused at the question. There was a faint hint of pity to the youngest Shinra's voice, yet under that was a breath of discontent and frustration.
The silence and stealth of his follower had made Reeve think of Tseng. Was Tseng following him? Rufus had sent the man to escort Reeve home a few times. It was a sign of their friendship that Rufus would extend his protection to encompass a man who was twice his years. Their odd friendship was based in a mutual fascination in watching the silent Turk quietly court the not so quiet Elena. Romance, like war, had a habit of bringing together the oddest of bed fellows…
Reeve had half turned to face the expectant silence. If it was the man he'd pad out of the darkness with a nod that was half greeting half apology. Nothing greeted his query save silence, silence and a sense of watching that chilled his blood.
So like the coward that ruled his heart he had ran, ran from the darkness of the slums into the muted light of a humble guardian.
From light he'd run to, to be cheerily haled. An old woman, more grey haired than brown, her posture just beginning to bend from her old age. She looked up from sweeping the front step; her broom was a thing of twigs twined to the staff by way of a few no-color rags.
A small child hid behind the elderly ladies skirts. She was dressed in an oversized tee shirt that hid what ever pants or shorts she was wearing. He froze then, the description flashed in his mind and the child certainly fit it.
"Marlene?" He queered.
She smiled then, showing one tooth to be lost, but it was a warm smile of recognition. For the name, not for the man who uttered it. But recognition was recognition, and this couldn't be anything but. In the innocence of childhood she thought him to be a friend of her father's.
He smiled and told them another lie, yes; he was a friend of her father's.
"I'm a man of many names." He teased the ladies both. "But your father knows me as Cait Sith."
"Well then… Mr. Sith." The old woman half stumbled over the alien nominative. It was most certainly not Continental. Her lips had curled a bit in distaste at its Wautian flavoring. "If you'd like to come in and explain yourself?"
The dark behind him seemed ominous, foreboding, and all too full for his liking. He smiled up at her, and assuming his toy-a-sauras' accent and gait –forgoing the four legged walk for a strutting two legged walk that better suited Mog than Cait- he took her up on the offer.
The three of them –for he'd sternly called Marlene in when Aries' mother would have left her out- had just seated themselves around the humble kitchen table when a faint hiss and thud just outside in the air made his blood thrill. Instinctively he wrenched himself back, and the motion upset the chair and he hit the ground. For one moment four wooden legs were stuck in the air, the next there were only three and bits of wood had flown in his face. Wiping away the streaks of blood, oblivious to the pain in the face of his terror Reeve ordered them all down. The old woman, a survivor of gang wars and worse was quick to obey, the child though screeched in terror.
"Not now lassie, not now!" He barked, falling back on the accent that was not his own. And as if by magic his voice changed, became lighter, even though some corner of him was screeching like the girl. A victim of mindless terror, he was frozen, but even as he froze his limbs moved stiffly. The motions of crawling were like and unlike his own. A throwback to the infantile, a time so long ago it must have been in another life. "We need to be away. Stiff upper lip, my girl, we need t' be off."
She calmed, she quieted, looking to him with wide eyes and trust. So young, she was oblivious to how another bullet hissed over their heads and blasted through a plate left out to dry. He offered her his hand, a hand that could not shake.
He'd do them no wrong, not the girl, not his friends, not to those who mattered.
"Come on lassie, I've come t' take you away. We've places to go, people to see don'cha know?"
And with a trusting smile she took his hand, and he held her close as the air above their heads was ripped asunder by bullets.