Personal Agenda

BY : Madisuzy
Category: Final Fantasy VII > General
Dragon prints: 519
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy 7 or its characters and I make no money from this story.

 

Title – Personal Agenda

Fandom – FFVII Crisis Core

Pairings – Reeve/Tseng, Cait Sith/Reeve, Aerith/Tseng

Rating - M

Warnings – M/M, F/M, Oral sex, angst

Written For – Chocobo Races, September Round, Team Tonberry

Summary –Four characters bound together by infatuation, obsession and unrequited love.

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Prompt -         

elixile   Fic or Art welcomed: - Reeve Tuesti / Cait Sith / Aerith  Gainsborough / Tseng. -  Anything from one-sided infatuations to sexual interactions on all behalfs.  Bonus if Zack/Cloud is referenced.  -  I would really like a character exploration of these four but how you take it is up to you.   -  Additional prompts: - Flowers – Longing - Security - Fortune - Sacrifice

Authors Notes:            

A little AU, mainly because I gave Cait Sith artificial intelligence, rather than just having him as a puppet.  Roughly set around Crisis Core’s timeline.  Self edited so please excuse any errors.

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Tseng watched Reeve Tuesti intently, studying the older man and trying to find a weakness in that charming, friendly façade.  The Head of Urban Development was dressed immaculately in a black suit, smiling and chatting to his dinner companions with a calm, comforting air that had all around him captivated.  It seemed to be effortless for him, as if he was truly just a nice guy out for a pleasant evening.  Tseng didn’t believe it though, knowing how important the people at that table were.  Blue Horizon was one of the riches companies on the planet, its fortune only second to Shinra Power, and dining with Mr Tuesti were the top five employees and the owner/Director of the company.

Tseng’s observations were interrupted when his meal arrived and he took the opportunity to order another drink while he had the waitress’ attention.  Once she left, he began to eat with no thought of what he was putting in his mouth, too busy looking over the other patrons to ensure nobody was paying him any undue attention.

The sound of laughter brought his eyes back to Reeve’s table and he watched as a middle aged woman leaned in close to whisper something in the engineer’s ear, her breasts rubbing up against his arm as she did so.  Tseng scowled at the shamelessness of the woman, knowing that she was already married to the company’s head accountant.  Of course, her husband wasn’t in attendance tonight to see her sluttish display, although the fact she would act like this in front of her husband’s coworkers was disturbing.

Tseng was surprised when Reeve simply laughed at whatever she had said, shaking his head and replying with something that had the woman blushing and moving back away from him.  He began to wish he had sat closer, so he could hear what exactly they were saying, but realistically, it was wiser to keep his distance.  The Head of Urban Development knew who he was and would become suspicious if he spotted Tseng, the older man a little too intelligent to believe he was dining alone here without a purpose.

As Reeve’s dinner guests’ meals arrived, Tseng took the opportunity to ponder his latest mission.  This had all started when Shinra’s closest competitor had begun trying to poach their top employees, managing to convince three to change companies in the last six months.  Reeve had been an obvious target, being well known for his genius when it came to design and recently earning himself a place on the board of Directors.  His ideas were original and innovative, despite the fact the President tended to be unaware of just how valuable Mr Tuesti was.  Rufus had noticed though and that was why Tseng was here tonight. 

The Vice President wanted Reeve’s loyalty, wanted to ensure the engineer wasn’t lost amongst the upheaval that would follow the current President’s future downfall.  At first, Reno and Rude had been given the task of finding something on Tuesti to secure his faithfulness to Rufus.  Unfortunately, Reeve didn’t have any sordid secrets or bad habits and never seemed to do anything that could possibly be used as blackmail material.  The man was so squeaky clean that Tseng had been forced to take over the investigation himself, Reno replacing him at his usual assignment.

He already missed Aerith and her flowers.  It was so peaceful in the church, despite its location in the slums.  Tseng had stopped noticing the rank smell of the area on the first day, captivated by the beauty of the young lady he had been tasked with watching.  She moved with a quiet grace so out of place with her surroundings and her interactions with others demonstrated her kindness and willingness to help with no benefit to herself.  He had never seen anyone like her before and when the orders came in to retrieve her for the President, he found himself unable to do so, disobeying a direct order for the first time.

Tseng had sacrificed everything to be a Turk.  His homeland, his family, his conscience and even his pride, but he couldn’t sacrifice Aerith.  He had made plans to have her resituated to another city under a different name, even gone so far as to have fake documents drawn up but before he had a chance to approach her with his plan, Rufus had stepped in.  Tseng had thought he would be terminated when the blond told him he knew all about Aerith and his refusal to retrieve her.  Instead, the Vice President had informed him that he was to continue watching the young lady and ensure her safety, reporting only to him in the future.

Rufus had won Tseng’s loyalty with that, despite the fact the Turk knew it was a calculated move on the blond’s part.  He didn’t object to the manipulation, more than willing to give his devotion in exchange for Aerith’s continued freedom.

It wasn’t lust that made him so dedicated to her.  He didn’t yearn for her or long to touch that pale skin.  Tseng would never dare to taint such perfection with his blood soaked hands or let that innocence be diminished by his own sins.  She was crucial because she represented everything he had lost, every little part of him he had left behind to become what he was today.

Tseng was pulled from his thoughts by the approach of a waiter with his vodka on ice.  He watched as the young man cleared his table, noticing that the boy was of Wutain descent.  It was rare to see someone from his homeland in Midgar and he curiously observed the youth taking the dishes to the kitchen before moving on to Reeve’s table.

Tuesti didn’t notice the waiter at first, caught up in conversation with an older gentleman on his left.  When the youth leaned between them to collect their plates though, he captured Reeve’s full attention.  The engineer tried to be discrete, but Tseng saw him look over the young man, his eyes lingering a little too long on the boys backside when he leant across the table.

Tseng smirked, relieved to have finally found a line of attack.  Reeve Tuesti was attracted to men, and the young Wutain seemed to be of particular interest to him.  While Tseng wasn’t quiet as young, he was male and Wutain… two out of three should be enough to work with.

***.***

Mr Winebecker continued to explain the functions of the computer system that controlled his chemical plant and on any other occasion, Reeve would have been listening intently to the elderly gentleman, always eager to learn about industries he was unfamiliar with.  Tonight though, he was hard pressed just to keep an expression of polite interest on his face as the hand grasping his thigh slowly began creeping higher.     

The owner of the hand was the wife of Mr Winebecker’s accountant, who unfortunately couldn’t make it to the companies weekly dinner party this time.  Reeve was beginning to wish he had stayed home as well, especially when her hand moved to cover his crotch and suddenly squeezed.  He grabbed hold of it and moved it away, managing to cover his sudden movements by standing up and excusing himself to use the bathroom. 

The men’s room was thankfully empty and Reeve sighed as he leaned against the wall, closing his eyes and enjoying a moment’s peace.  The accountant’s wife had been flirting with him all night and most of the evening had been wasted politely deflecting her advances to no avail.  It riled his temper to have his evening ruined in such a way, especially when there was so much he’d hoped to learn from Mr Winebecker.  The computers which ran his plant had a one of a kind design and Reeve had spent the last month worming his way into the older man’s circle of friends just to be invited tonight.

“What a complete waste of an evening,” he muttered out loud, resting his head back against the tiles and trying to think of an excuse to leave.

“It is still too early to write the night off completely, one would think,” a voice murmured nearby.

Reeve jumped at the sound, his eyes flying open to find a gentleman standing a couple of meters away, looking at him intently.  No, not a gentleman but a Turk… and not just any Turk.  Tseng’s was a face he was well familiar with as too many of his dreams had guest starred the young Wutain in various scenarios that all ended the same way.  Just thinking about it made Reeve’s pulse quicken and another part of his anatomy spring to life, much to his mortification.

“Why are you here, Tseng?  Am I under surveillance?” the engineer asked, not expecting an explanation but feeling the need to at least pretend he had a right to ask and be answered.

The Turk smirked before replying, “Maybe I am simply here to save you from Mrs Dorse.”

“Mrs Dorse?” Reeve asked, forehead furrowing as he tried to place the name.

“The accountant’s wife who was fondling you under the table,” Tseng explained, taking a step closer.

Reeve felt his face heat.  “You could see that?” he squeaked out.

“No.  It was a case of reasonable suspicion and your reply simply confirmed my guess.”  Tseng took another step forward as he spoke, eye’s locked onto Reeve’s and the older man began to feel decidedly uncomfortable.  Tseng was far too observant and would soon notice how aroused he was if he didn’t find a way to end this.

“I should return before they become concerned with my absence,” the engineer murmured, his body tensing as Tseng took yet another step closer which brought them face to face.  They were so close that Reeve could now smell the Turk’s aftershave, an unusual scent that reminded him of the forests inland of Costa de Sal that he had visited as a child.

“You haven’t been gone that long… or are you simply eager to return so that she can continue?” Tseng whispered, leaning in close but still keeping a hair’s breath of separation along the length of their bodies.

“What do you want?” Reeve whispered, breaths speeding up as his heart beat thundered in his ears.

“Hmmm,” Tseng hummed, head tilting slightly to one side as his lips curled up in a slight smile.  “There are many things I want, Mr Tuesti.  But right now, what you want is more important.  Care to share?”

Reeve tried to think of a response through the panic he felt, but when the tip of Tseng’s tongue darting out to lightly lick over his lips, the engineer’s brain blanked out instantly.  All he could think of in the moment was how much he wanted Tseng.  He’d always wanted him, from the first day he’d seen him in the distance across the foyer of the Shinra tower.  The Turk had only just been hired at the time but he already moved with a natural grace and had a presence that made people move out of his way.  Reeve had longed for him for two years now, never having the courage to approach him or even try to converse with young man.  How does one make a pass at a person that is known best for the way in which he tortures and kills others?

“Cat got your tongue?” Tseng whispered, a small chuckle rumbling softly from between his lips as Reeve stared.

“What?” the engineer mumbled, jolted out of his frozen panic by the question.

“I asked you what you want… right now,” Tseng patiently explained, hands raising to adjust Reeve’s tie and straighten the line of his collar before resting on his chest.

“I-I want…I…,” Reeve stuttered as Tseng leaned in closer.

“Yes?” Tseng encouraged, so close that when he spoke, Reeve could feel the younger man’s lips brush over his own.

The door to the bathroom suddenly opened but neither man moved or looked to see who it was.  An unknown voice made a sound of surprise, the unknown interrupter quickly exiting the room and letting the door slam shut behind them.

“Maybe this isn’t the best place for this discussion,” Tseng mused, moving back a little but keeping his hands where they were.  “Whoever that was is probably reporting us to security as we speak,” he added with a grin.

Reeve could only nod, fighting the urge to pull the man before him into a kiss, despite the threat of discovery.  Tseng didn’t make any move to leave, seemingly content to just watch him intently, as if waiting for him to decide on their next move.

“What exactly does this discussion entail?” Reeve finally whispered, his brain making a come back when the rest of his body wanted only to go with need and damn the consequence.  Unfortunately, his brain pulled rank.

“An exchange.  I have something you want and you have something I need,” Tseng responded without hesitation.

“What do I have that you need?”

“I need your loyalty, for you to swear your allegiance to Rufus Shinra and follow him over his father.  If you are asked to do certain favors, you will carry them out without question,” Tseng explained, hands idling tracing the lines of Reeve’s suit as he spoke.

Reeve almost sighed, but managed to contain it.  Everything in his life somehow seemed to come back to Shinra, one way or another.  It was like a curse, shadowing his whole life.   Despite that, what was being asked of him didn’t sound like much effort.  He’d personally rather follow Rufus that the President, simply because he despised Shinra senior.  Reeve didn’t know much about the Vice President, but surely the boy couldn’t be any worse...

“And in return for my loyalty, what exactly do I get?” the engineer asked, wanting the whole picture before he agreed to anything.

“Once a week, for as long as your loyalty remains, I am at your service,” the Turk replied, serious as he turned his eyes up to meet Reeve’s.  “Whatever you wish of me in that time, I will do.”

 The realization of what he was being offered here hit Reeve like a brick and his knees went weak, beginning to tremble as he tried to search the dark eyes before him for how Tseng felt about this deal.  He gleamed no answers there though, a calm patience the only emotion he could decipher.

“And here and now is…?”

“Your first payment, if you agree to the arrangement.”

Nodding, Reeve frowned as he wrestled with his conscience.  He was a man who always strove to take the moral high road, even to his own detriment.  It was the way he had been raised… old values and honor above personal gain.  Standing here right now though, with the scent of Tseng flowing through his senses and that perfect body so close, he found himself for the first time in his life, strangely bereft of his usual guilt.

He had spent too long yearning for a taste of the Wutain, a man he would usually have no chance of ever touching.  Maybe it was the wine he had consumed with dinner, but for some reason he didn’t want to analyze, he decided this once to be selfish.

The male toilets in a restaurant were hardly the most appropriate of settings for such activities, but Reeve was beginning to lose his grip on the reality of the situation and he feared that if they left this room, the whole illusion would simply disappear.

 “A stall?” he finally whispered, eyes glancing over to the closest toilet stall before darting back down to watch Tseng’s lips twitch, fascinated by the fact that there was more emotion shown in those thin, pink lines than in any other part of the Turk’s face.  The silence after he had spoken dragged on too long, and Reeve began to fear that he had misinterpreted Tseng’s offer, nerves churning in his stomach.  The sudden reply made him startle a little when it finally came.

“As you wish.”

There was something to the young man’s tone of voice that troubled Reeve and he distractedly pondered what it was as he was led into one of the bathroom stalls.  The sound of the door being locked brought his attention back though and he looked up just in time to watch the beautiful Turk sink down onto his knees.  It was wrong, so very wrong for a man such as Tseng to kneel before him like this but Reeve found his courage to object gone, his lust and need taking his mind hostage and keeping him silent.  His pants were unfastened quickly, the material of his slacks and underwear falling to pool around his ankles and still he did nothing, ignoring the voice in the back of his head screaming at him to cease this madness.

Tseng didn’t look up at him even once, taking Reeve’s cock into his mouth with the same grim determination in which he did everything.  The engineer began to feel like an abuser, as if he was forcing the beautiful man before him to perform like a whore for his own amusement.  Unfortunately, that thought only drove his desire higher.  The power of it, the simple unfettered bliss of threading his fingers through the deadly Turk’s hair and thrusting into his mouth, even making him choke a couple of times… it was so fucking intoxicating.

Reeve had never had any power in his life.  He’d always been physically weaker and slower than everyone else.  The only reason he’d managed any success in his life was because he worked so hard at being smarter and could take another ruling over him and pushing him around with a smile plastered on his face.  Reeve Tuesti had always been a follower but now, for the very first time, he was getting a taste of what drove men like Rufus Shinra to be so very ruthless.  Power felt amazing.

Unfortunately though, nothing lasts forever and too soon Reeve was shuddering through his climax, hands grasping Tseng’s hair tight just to keep himself upright.  When the bliss dissipated, Tseng released him and sat back on his ankles as he redressed Reeve with the same unemotional efficiency that he’d held through the whole incident.

Reeve couldn’t help but feel dirty… and not in a good way.



Those feelings only increased as he watched Tseng stand up and straighten his suit, expression cold and stony.  He wanted to see warmth there or even anger… anything better than the nothingness he was presented with.  The playfulness and smiles of the beginning of their encounter had been burned in his memory and he promised himself that somehow, he would find a way to see that side of Tseng again.

“What now?” Reeve whispered, eyes unable to meet the Turk’s as the shame from his actions washed over him.

“You will be contacted when your services are needed,” Tseng murmured, turning his back on Reeve to unlock the door.  “As long as you co-operate, our arrangement will continue.”  He paused half way out but didn’t turn back.  “Enjoy the rest of your evening, Mr Tuesti.”

***.***

Cait Sith gazed into the bathroom through the small window, watching his creator and trying to understand the interaction he just witnessed.  It didn’t make sense when compared with Reeve’s usual behavior so he was at a loss to the logic behind it.  Most of what the man before him did was predictable and followed his personality type.  This though…

He searched the data he had collected so far, only able to come to one conclusion.  Reeve must have emotional feelings towards this Turk.  It was the only logical reason the usually intelligent and moralistic man would agree to such an arrangement with Shinra.

Love…. 

He’d studied it, as he had all human emotions, but it was the one that always brought forth the most illogical of actions.  They would do anything for it, debase themselves and throw away all morals and self respect, hurt others and themselves.  Honestly, he would have said that they were better off without that emotion if he hadn’t also seen the good it could dredge from a human soul.

He’d seen people shine in the name of love, becoming better people and even sacrifice their own lives.  Whether is was family love, romantic love or just friendship, the fact it could bring out the worst and best in humans was un-debatable.

Sighing, the mechanical cat watched all the different emotions flitting across Reeve’s face.  He longed to be able to go and comfort his creator, bring the bright smile back to the engineer’s face that he believed always belonged there.  But if he did, Reeve would know Cait had been following him, might even check his data and find out that his creation had been following him for weeks now, observing all his dealings with others.

Cait didn’t want to have to justify why… didn’t even really want to justify it to himself.

He had been gifted with artificial intelligence around a year ago by his creator and at first, there had been no problems with his processes.  Instead of being just a mindless puppet, he could process large amounts of data and act on them without being given instructions. Reeve had pacifically programmed him towards social interaction so that he would take humans emotions into consideration before taking any action and up until recently, his progress had been deemed a total success. 

While humans were uncomfortable around him at first, after prolonged periods of interaction, they tended to forget he was artificial and treat him as a companion.  Some of the staff in the Shinra building had even called him a friend.  Their words had given him strange reactions in his circuits that, at first, he had mistaken for some kind of glitch. 

System checks had found no problems and all his processes proved to be running as they should.  It took him some time, but eventually he had reasoned that the strange reactions he felt were simply pride and happiness.

The problem was he wasn’t supposed to be able to feel.

He understood emotions, the psychical reaction in a human body when different emotions were experienced and the causes behind them.  But to feel emotion himself… that was something Reeve had never said he was capable of.  It was an anomaly… something that his creator may see as a fault and take away, so Cait kept this new develop to himself. 

He wanted to feel.  Each emotion that he experienced was a thrill and he soon found himself going through the whole range of emotions, both good and bad.

Two hours stuck in a broken down elevator had given him frustration, boredom, loneliness and even a little fear.  When one of the secretaries on the tenth floor had given him a new shirt and jacket, hand made and tailored to resemble the suits all the professionals around him wore, he had felt happy, touched and accepted. 

Spending time with his creator made him feel comfortable, at ease and content.  The familiarity and affection he felt towards Reeve seemed to grow with time, strengthening and morphing into something that at first, he couldn’t decipher.  Eventually, he’d worked out it was love.

That was when he’d started following Reeve, watching the way he interacted with others so he could try and distinguish how the engineer felt about him.  From his observations, he leant that his creator let his emotional walls down when they were together, trusting Cait with his vulnerabilities and worries.  It proved the engineer did feel affection towards him and it seemed to be stronger than what he felt for his human friends who he never showed such weakness to.

Despite the fact he had the information he needed on his creator, he found he couldn’t stop following him and watching him from afar.  Just to be able to see the engineer, whatever he was doing, gave him a sense of contentment.  When he’d lost his creator in a crowd one day and hadn’t been able to find him again for hours, Cait had panicked, feeling fear and worry that had left him returning to their shared apartment to curl up in a corner, unable to function normally.

When Reeve had found him, Cait had explained it away as a low power supply, making the excuse that he had simply been conserving energy until his creator returned and could recharge him.  Luckily, Reeve had accepted his excuse and not checked his levels… lucky but also disappointing in a way.  Cait had almost wanted to be caught out so he’d have an excuse to admit what he’d been doing.

It was starting to frighten him.  The feelings were too strong and bad emotions were beginning to taint what had felt so good in the beginning.

Seeing Reeve with the Turk had given him his first taste of jealousy.  He didn’t want anyone to touch his creator like that.  He’d heard their conversation, understood that Reeve had just sold off his loyalty for sexual favors and it made him feel disappointed in the man he’d held so much respect for up until now.  Reeve had proved to be just as weak as all humans when it came to desire.  The fact his creator loved the Turk didn’t excuse what he’d done in Cait’s opinion.

Sighing once more, the mechanical cat moved away from the window and went home. When Reeve returned soon after, he looked so downtrodden and sad that Cait lost the urge to be cold towards him for what he’d done.  Instead, he curled up in his creators lap, purring when he was absently petted.  Reeve gave him a small smile and relaxed, eventually falling asleep on the sofa, his hand resting gently on Cait’s neck.

Weeks passed and things only got worse.  The jealousy was the worst part of these new feelings and it flared up every time his creator met with the Turk.  Reeve began to come home with a smile from his weekly rendezvous… and that hurt.  Cait had to do something, felt the need to tell his creator that he loved him and maybe try and convince him that he didn’t need this Turk playing with his heart in such a way.

The risk of Reeve reacting badly to his new found emotions always stopped him though.  Cait didn’t want to be reprogrammed.  He liked to feel and even the bad emotions were something he clung too.

Eventually, he decided he needed advice so he began to search for a human that could be trusted, was kind enough to listen to a robotic cat’s problems and knew something about love.  That was how he ended up at the church in the slums, staring up at the crumbling building while hope bubbled in his metallic chest.

***.***

Aerith heard the sound of someone clearing their voice and looked up from her flowers to find Reeve’s little creation peering at her from a few meters away.  Her smile was automatic, as it always was, but she was a little worried as to why the robot was here.  Ever since Reeve had given the little cat its own artificial brain, she’d found it a little creepy and didn’t know quite how to treat it anymore.

“Hello Cait Sith,” she finally greeted, watching as the little cat walked over and sat down beside her, looking nervous as he looked down at his paws.  That a robot could be nervous was something she was still coming to terms with, but she put her own misgivings aside and decided to treat him as she would anyone else.  “Can I help you with something today?”

“I’ve just come to ask some questions,” Cait answered, smiling and finally looking up to meet her gaze.  She couldn’t resist the temptation to reach up and scratch behind his ears and he seemed to enjoy it, his eyes half closing and a sigh escaping him as he began to relax.

“Questions hmm?” Aerith murmured, her curiosity piqued.  “Isn’t Reeve better at answering your questions?  He knows far more than I do about… your kind of things.”

“Not when the questions are about him,” Cait answered immediately, his mouth curving up in a small smile.

“Ah,” she murmured, nodding her head in understanding.  “I don’t know how much help I can be, but I am willing to try.”   When she stopped her petting to rest her hands back in her lap, Cait’s seemed disappointed, an almost pout forming on his furry little face.  She had to withhold the urge to grin at how cute it looked displaying such a human emotion.  Reeve really was a genius with mechanics.

“Well, I have been keeping a secret from Reeve,” the mechanical cat began, eyes darting over the flowers as one paw came up to rub an ear.  “I am afraid to tell him because he may reprogram me and I don’t want to die.”

Aerith’s eyes widened at the robots use of the word ‘die’ but she reasoned that reprogramming would be like death to the little creature before her.  “Cait, Reeve cares a great deal for you.  He would never reprogram you just because you kept a secret from him.  I’m surprised you would think he could ever do such a thing.”

“Wouldn’t his reaction depend on the secret?”

Frowning, Aerith tried to think of something that would make Reeve take such extreme measures.  “Cait, have you harmed someone?” she finally asked.

“No!  I would never harm a human.  My programming doesn’t allow me to be violent in any way,” the robot answered, looking offended.

“I’m sorry.  It was the only reason I could think of that would force Reeve to reprogram you,” she tried to explain.

Cait sighed, looking over the flowers as if considering something.  Aerith hoped he was thinking about admitting to her what the secret was, as she couldn’t really help out without knowing more.

“The secret is that I… I like Reeve,” Cait finally murmured, eyes still focused on the flowers.

“I would expect you to like him, Cait,” Aerith replied, frowning in confusion.

“No… that’s not the point!  Oh, you just don’t understand,” the little creature muttered, bringing both paws up to rub over his eyes in frustration.

Aerith paused, trying to work out what Cait was trying to explain.  He liked Reeve… he liked Reeve.  Oh!!!  He liked Reeve!  Wait a moment, can he even do that?  While she knew the little creature had been given its own artificial intelligence, could a robot really fall in love with anyone?

“Cait, are you telling me you’re in love with Reeve?” she finally asked, watching as the robot pulled its knees up to its chest and wrapped his arms around them.

“Yes.  Well, I think it is love.  I can’t stop thinking about him.  I find myself following him around everywhere, wanting to know everything about him and every person he knows.   When he’s late home, I worry and I miss him.  I’m always the happiest when I’m in his lap, his hand stroking me gently.”  Cait peered up at her, his eyes wide and imploring and Aerith felt a tightening in her chest.

Could a mechanical being really feel anything, little lone love?

“Are you sure this isn’t just the affection a child feels for its father?  He did create you and he looks after you, so that kind of an attachment would be expected,” she reasoned, not wanting to directly question the creature’s ability to love.

Cait leveled a look at the flower girl that had her leaning back away from him in surprise.  “I know the difference between the two.  My programming has been extensive in covering social situations and accepted behaviors.  I’ve learned all about different relationships and the different types of love there can be between two humans.  I have access to endless multi media on the subjects of love and sex.  I don’t want him to be my father, I want him to be my partner.”

Aerith stared, finding herself lost on how to reply.  Usually, she liked to give positive, encouraging advice, but in this instance, encouraging Cait would only make matters worse.  She had spoken to Reeve enough to know he felt a fatherly love for his creation and while it was a strong attachment, it wasn’t the kind Cait was talking about.

“I wish I could help you, Cait, but sometimes, what we want doesn’t matter.  If the other person doesn’t feel the same way, there’s nothing you can do but try to forget those feelings.  You are fortunate though because Reeve does care for you and will always look after you, even if it is not in the way you desire.”

Cait’s expression softened at her words and he tilted his head to one side in thought.  “You seem to know a lot about unrequited love, Ms Gainsborough,” he said softly, surprising her with his change of direction as he reached out to grasp one of her fingers with his paw.

Memories of Zack suddenly filled her mind, making her heart clench in her chest.  “Yes, I have a habit of falling for people who don’t feel the same way about me,” she whispered sadly, remembering the first time she’d walked in on Zack and Cloud, wrapped around each other as if they couldn’t touch enough.  “I suppose it makes me an expert on the subject, especially since I seem to continue to have the same misfortune with my affections.”

“You want someone now who doesn’t want you back?” the little robot asked curiously, intently studying her face.

“Yes.  There was somebody a long time ago that I loved and while he did love me, it was as a sister.  I let it close off my heart, thinking that nobody else could ever compare.  Then, all of a sudden I find myself falling once more, out of the blue.  Unfortunately, this time was the same as the last.”

Cait couldn’t help but wince in sympathy, taking the young lady’s hand in both of his paws.  “But… but that’s so unfair!” he exclaimed, his own worries temporarily forgotten.  “Are you sure this one couldn’t love you in time?”

Sighing, Aerith straightened her skirt, trying to stop her thoughts wandering to the mysterious dark haired Turk who had spent years following her and hiding in the shadows.  “Yes, I’m sure.  He… he doesn’t see me as an equal.  I am really not even a person to him, but something to be secured and hidden away from harm.  That is as far as his feelings go though.”  Tseng would always be there in the shadows for her, so close but always too far away to touch.

It had been a horrible repeat of history that day when she’d seen Tseng in the market place and followed him in the hopes of finally striking up some kind of conversation. At least this time, the object of her heart’s desire had been clothed, although the embrace he shared with Reeve in that alleyway had been no less passionate.  How ironic that the man she loved was with the one Cait pined after.  The fates did indeed have a strange sense of humor.

“I’m sorry, Aerith.  I know how much that hurts,” the robot replied, turning his gaze back to the flowers as she wallowed in her memories.  The little paw still holding on to her hand was oddly warm and she grasped it tightly, using it as a kind of anchor to her spiraling thoughts.

Aerith watched the toy cat beside her as he gazed at the flowers and wondered if they brought him any comfort, as they seemed to do for so many others.  They had long since stopped bringing her any kind of consolation, instead becoming a reminder of how she would always be different and set apart from everyone else.

The planet murmured in her mind, trying to lend its support to the role she had been born into.  The voices talked of how special she was and how important it was for her to stay focused on saving the planet.  Aerith didn’t want to be special.  Deep in her heart, all she wanted was to be normal and be able to love like all the other girls her age.

Regardless of her selfish desires, she would continue to nurture and protect the flowers that taunted her with their very existence, just as she would continue to nurture and protect the humans who filled her with longing and made her heart ache with want.

When Cait finally stood and left, giving her a hug and a brave smile, she watched him go with tear filled eyes.  They were so alike in many ways, never able to have their hearts desire because of the form in which they’d been born.  Yearning and longing for things they would never have.

Alone, she let her tears fall in vain.  The flowers continued to sway slowly in the breeze, their scent permeating the whole church after so many years growing there.  Like all things that were alive though, one day they would die and be returned to the earth, even their smell eventually fading away to be forgotten.  No matter what sacrifices she made, she knew her fate would be no different from theirs.

THE END

 

 



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