Possibly has spoilers in it. I'll err on the safe side and say it's mildly spoilerish. o_o Takes place the night before Advent Children and deals with Kadaj's group. Smidgen of Yazoo+Kadaj, nothing exciting. Italicized dialogue is flash-back dialogue, or something. Umm. I've never written in this fandom before; I have one fandom that I stick rather loyally to, so this was interesting to try. x.x;
"Do you ever wonder what he's looking at?"
He remembers being asked that a long time ago, remembers flicking a questioning look at his brother in response. A tilt of the other's head indicated where Kadaj was crouching off to one side, arms hooked around his legs, as he stared out into the distance. It was an odd little habit of his; Yazoo figured it was acceptable because it meant Kadaj wasn't talking, for once.
"How do you know he's looking at something?" he'd asked, giving a careless little shrug of his shoulders.
Loz had considered that for a few moments before looking back towards their youngest. He'd given the response serious consideration before looking back towards Yazoo, and their eyes had met for just a moment before the oldest was turning and heading away to entertain himself with something else. "He is," had been the simple response.
Yazoo had let it slide, not interested enough to give it much thought- until the next time he caught Kadaj at it, that was. He'd gone over under the pretense of having a question about their bikes, and he'd never gotten the words out. Loz was right; it was there in Kadaj's eyes. The youngest wasn't with them- physically, perhaps, but mentally, miles away, and Yazoo had no clue where he'd gone or what map he was following to get there.
"Do you ever wonder what he's looking at?"
He's doing it again.
Yazoo looks up from his spot on the bed, peering through silver bangs towards where his brother stands by the window. Black-clad arms are folded across his chest and he's staring at the glass, but he's not admiring the view. The chill of the night has fogged up the window too badly to see through. No, Kadaj is looking at something none of them can see. Yazoo reminds himself that it's none of his business and looks back to his weapon, tilting it to one side to eye the designs carved down its length. Tomorrow they'll reach Midgar; tomorrow they'll reach their brother's city.
He can almost taste it; there's a wrenching feeling in his stomach at being so close to Mother. So close to finding her…
"We shouldn't have stopped," he says, breaking the silence between them at last. He sees Kadaj give a little jolt; his voice is overly loud in the quiet between them. It is loud enough to bring Kadaj back from wherever he's gone, and he tilts his head to one side. It's not enough for him to look back at his brother but it's an acknowledgment, and Yazoo continues, looking towards him once more. "We're too close to stop now."
"Fu." He can hear the smile in the words, and Kadaj lifts a gloved hand to press it to the glass. The inn left them robes on their beds but they haven't been touched, and Yazoo watches as his brother smears his hand through the condensation. It leaves a black streak behind where the night shows through. "It's too late, Yazoo."
"I'm not tired," Yazoo returns pointedly, and Kadaj looks back at him at last, reading his tone to be a taunt. Yazoo meant him to, and he gives Kadaj a cool look as their eyes meet across the room.
He realizes then that Kadaj isn't back- not all the way, anyway. The look on the other's face is not his brother's, and Kadaj glances away from him, flicking his gaze to the far wall first before turning back to the window. "It's too late," he says again, and he sounds distracted. "Even if we continued on, we wouldn't find what we were looking for. It's too dark." He smears another line across the glass, and Yazoo sets his weapon to one side.
His shoes thud lightly against the floor as he pushes himself to his feet and heads to Kadaj's side. The youngest has his arms folded again, but this time they are crossed across his stomach. He doesn't look at Yazoo as the other stops beside him, though his jaw tightens as Yazoo reaches out and touches a finger to his cheek. "You're ignoring us."
"There's not an 'us'," Kadaj points out sensibly, and he reaches up to brush his brother's finger away. His hands settle on the windowsill and Yazoo thinks that it's an improvement, though he's not sure why. "Loz isn't here right now."
"Aggravating as usual, aren't you?" Yazoo returns. "Why did we stop?"
"Fine, fine," Kadaj says, and the tolerance in his voice is exaggerated as he pushes away from the window. He lifts his hands in the air in a careless shrug as he turns around, but he turns away from Yazoo instead of towards him. "We'll leave."
Kadaj's hair isn't as long as his own but it's still enough for him to reach out and catch, and he snags his brother by a fistful of it to bring him to a stop. This time Kadaj looks at him; it's the first time all evening he's actually looked at his brother, and Yazoo arches a thin brow at him. "I want to know why we stopped," he says again.
Kadaj scowls at him. "I already told you. There's no reason to show up in the middle of the night when everything we need will be dark and everyone there will be asleep." His fingers clench around Yazoo's wrist but Yazoo doesn't relinquish his grip. There are loud footsteps in the hall, the unmistakable sound of Loz's approach, and Kadaj's eyes dart towards the door. "You can tell him we're leaving."
For a moment, Yazoo's tempted to hit him. He's not sure how to handle Kadaj's attitude right now. Kadaj has always been loud, has always been confident and sure of where to go and what to do. Yazoo decided a long time ago that he likes the sound of his own voice; he certainly uses it enough. That he's refusing to talk now is both a surprise and an aggravation, and Yazoo finally lets go of his hair, lip curling in disgust. Kadaj sees the expression and gives him another scowl in response.
"We are all… so special, you see…"
"The only special one here is you," Yazoo says, and Kadaj stops before he's even managed to make it a step closer to the door. Bright eyes flick back to his face and there's something sharp and fractured in his gaze that Yazoo doesn't recognize. The door knob turns with a squeak and the door swings open to reveal their missing third, but neither notices his entrance as they stare each other down. Yazoo is answering words that are hours old, words he hadn't bothered to acknowledge earlier because he had easily accepted them as fact.
"We're the only ones here," Loz announces, not yet noticing the tension he's stumbled across. He shuts the door behind him and starts towards the window, but he's only half there when he realizes his brothers haven't moved. He comes to a stop just a few feet away from them and now Kadaj is stuck between his older siblings. Siblings? Sometimes the word makes Yazoo want to laugh; for the most part, he is content to rely on the tight connection between them. "What happened?"
"The only special one here," Yazoo repeats himself, and he can hear the heat in his tone.
Kadaj doesn't let him finish. "We'll go if you want to go," he bites out. It's almost good to see his eyes flash. Kadaj is such a child sometimes; he swings between his emotions like a chaotic pendulum. For the most part his amused arrogance is the easiest role for him to play, but there are moments like these when it breaks and shows the frustrations and shortcomings of a simple teenager. "I didn't say we had to stop. I said we would and you didn't argue."
"You were tired," Loz says, thinking to make things better.
It fails; the words have the exact opposite effect. Kadaj shuts up abruptly, lifting one hand to knot it in his hair. Loz looks to Yazoo, who just lifts one shoulder in a shrug, and the oldest looks back to their brother. Kadaj steps away from them, starting towards the furthest bed, and neither of them move until he is sitting on it. When he lets himself fall onto his back, silver hair spilling across his face and the pillow, Loz finally starts that direction. Yazoo doesn't bother to follow, folding his arms across his chest as he watches from a distance.
"We're special," Kadaj murmurs. "We're the only ones Mother has."
Loz immediately interprets Kadaj's strange mood to be a prediction of failure. "We'll get her back," he insists vehemently. "We'll take care of her. Won't we?"
Yazoo laughs at him. "You shouldn't scare him, Kadaj," he says. "He'll be up all night crying."
That's enough, at last, that a smile quirks at Kadaj's lips. It's an empty expression, there and gone again, and he finally releases his hair to settle his hand on his stomach at last. "We'll get her back," he assures Loz, studying the ceiling. "He won't have it any other way."
The male pronoun is what brings Yazoo up short. He thinks he sees Loz react in his peripheral vision, but his gaze has narrowed in on Kadaj's face and that's all he can really focus on. Silence stretches in the room and finally Yazoo starts towards the corner where his brothers are. Kadaj doesn't look at him as he stops beside the bed, choosing instead to gaze up at the ceiling. His expression is finally crumbling; the detached anger gives way to something more honest, something young and troubled.
"It is wrong of me," he murmurs, and he closes his eyes, giving a little shake of his head, expression twisting slightly. He's trying to stop himself from speaking but he can't hold back the words. "It is wrong of me to think sometimes- that I do not want to be special."
Loz looks to Yazoo; Yazoo considers his brother in silence.
They are all special, these three brothers. Bound by power and their Mother's love, they have the world at their fingertips. They are the only ones who can find their Mother. They are the only ones who can make the Reunion happen, the only ones who can make her happy and bring him back. They are as much him as they are their mother, but Kadaj? Kadaj has always been the most special, and Yazoo and Loz know this. They can hear Mother's voice; they can feel her twisting in their veins. But Kadaj can feel him too, can feel their Mother's lost child.
They do not know what the Reunion will bring. They followed Mother's voice here because it is all they know to do, because it is all they know to want to do. They know what she wants but not what will come of it; she leads them step by step and Kadaj has pulled them around the world to follow her voice. Yazoo wonders then if Kadaj knows more than they do of what is coming.
"Is he here?" Yazoo asks.
"He did not want to stop," is the breezy answer, and Kadaj is already recovering from his slip. His eyes crack open and his expression is something almost lazy as he laces his fingers together on his stomach. "I can feel that he does not want to stop, not when we are this close."
"Should we leave?" Loz asks, uncertain.
Kadaj doesn't answer immediately, so Yazoo does. "I'm tired," he says, turning away. He can feel their eyes on him as he makes their way to the next bed over. Gloved fingers lift the robe that the innkeeper laid out there for him; he snags a corner of it and lifts it to offer it a critical look. Loz hesitates by Kadaj's bed for a few moments longer before accepting this decision. He's the oldest but he decided long ago that they know best. Being oldest has its drawbacks- Loz has the least of him inside. Yazoo is closest perhaps in looks and voice, but Kadaj is the one that has what counts. Loz knows to follow them, so he doesn't argue and instead heads to the last narrow bed.
Yazoo isn't tired. He flicks the robe to one side and sits on the edge of the bed, fingers working at the buckles on his boot. Kadaj is watching him; he can feel the other's gaze on his face as he works.
"She's talking again."
"I don't hear her."
"No. Not to us. She's talking… to him. Again."
The boots are nudged off to one side; Yazoo glances up through his bangs where he's leaning over and sees that Kadaj has turned away at last, rolling onto his side to present his back to the room. He gives a quiet sigh, straightening and tugging at the fingers of his gloves.
"We'll find her, won't we?" Loz asks from the other bed.
"I told you he'd be up all night crying," Yazoo says, sounding bored.
"I'm not crying," Loz sends back, annoyed.
Kadaj laughs. It doesn't sound quite right but it's close enough. "We'll find her," he promises. "Everything will happen exactly the way Mother wants it to."
"And how's that?" Yazoo presses, tossing the gloves to one side. One lands on the end of the bed; the other hits the bedpost and falls to the floor.
"She'll tell us," the youngest answers, and at last he sounds sure about something. "She'll tell us. We'll reach Midgar tomorrow, and she'll be waiting there for us."
"Midgar," Loz murmurs, and it sounds like the name of paradise when he says it that way. Yazoo supposes it is, in a way. That's where Mother is; that's where she has to be. They'll find her because it's all they know to do, because they will not accept failure. They'll find her and they'll have their Reunion.
None of them are tired, but they lie there nonetheless, each thinking their own thoughts. The hours drift by, dragging slowly as if mocking their decision to stay when they could have been on their way to find Mother already. It makes Yazoo restless but he forces himself to stay put. Kadaj wants to stay; Yazoo doesn't know why but he doesn't think it matters.
He hears Loz's bed creak and glances that way to see if he's getting up. He doesn't care one way or the other, but he's bored of lying still. The fire in the hearth has almost burned out completely but he can still see the other's eyes, and they study each other in silence for a few moments, communicating without words. Yazoo knows by looking at him that Loz is worried, but the concern on his face isn't the pinched, restless worry that he wears when he's thinking about Mother. That leaves Kadaj, and Yazoo just gives a slight shake of his head and a shrug. It's an awkward gesture when he's lying down, but Loz can see it nonetheless.
"Na, Kadaj," Loz says.
"Mm?" There's no hesitation to the response, and Yazoo considers commenting on the fact that he's not sleeping either. In the end he swallows it.
"Put your blankets on, then," comes the response. The other bed creaks; Yazoo rolls his head that way to see Kadaj turning at last to face them again. There's not quite enough light to get a good look at his expression. Yazoo knows he's spent the last several hours thinking of what's coming, and he wonders what the youngest has come away from such musings with.
"The fire was warmer."
Kadaj gives a little laugh. "I suppose it was," he agrees. There's silence for a moment- expectant on Loz's part, and considering on Kadaj's. Yazoo lies between them, considering the ceiling as he waits. At last Kadaj pushes himself up. He hasn't even bothered to take off his boots yet and he starts across the room. The fireplace is closest to Loz's bed; the oldest moved the bed there when they first showed up. Loz rolls onto his side as Kadaj crouches in front of the hearth, content to watch as the youngest sets about adding logs to what little fire is left. He gets it going again with a bit of himself, adding a spark of power to help the burning embers catch on the logs again. Wood starts to crackle and Kadaj considers the flames for a moment before pushing himself to his feet.
As he straightens, Loz reaches out and catches his wrist, and Kadaj sends his oldest brother a questioning look.
"I like you better," Loz announces, and Kadaj blinks, looking past Loz to Yazoo's bed. Yazoo arches an eyebrow at him, but Loz clarifies himself before either of them can react to that apparent favoritism. "Than him, I mean." Kadaj isn't sure what to say to that; Yazoo can see the small struggle on his face. "We all love Mother," Loz continues, "and she loves us. We're her children; we will do what she wants because we love her. She doesn't love any of us more than the other. She's a Mother; that's how mothers are. But I like you more."
Yazoo thinks he can finally understand and it irks him for a moment that Loz saw it first. The only sound in the room is the popping of the wood in the hearth as Loz and Kadaj stare each other down, and Yazoo watches his younger brother's face as he waits for the reaction. At last Kadaj relaxes; Yazoo can see the tension slide out of his shoulders and his expression is finally Kadaj, through and through. His lips curve into a smile and Loz lets go of his wrist, content that he's said something right.
"Let's go, then," Kadaj says.
"Are you still tired?" Loz asks, sending the question over his shoulder to Yazoo.
"I've rested enough," Yazoo answers.
"Then we're going," Kadaj says, and Kadaj knows best, has always known best, so his brothers get up. He strides to the window where the glass has already fogged up again, and one hand reaches up to smear a clean path along it. He presses his fingertips to the dark spot and throws them a grin over his shoulder, eyes alight with feverish anticipation. "To Midgar. To Mother."
"To Mother," Loz agrees, thumping a boot against the floor to shake the dirt free before tugging it on. Yazoo retrieves his second glove from the floor and Kadaj is already starting towards the door, intending on checking on their bikes. Yazoo is the next out, leaving Loz to figure out where his other boot has gone, and he catches up with his younger brother out back where they left their transports. Kadaj turns at his approach, mouth open to say something, but he forgets it as Yazoo comes to a stop right in front of him. Two hands close on the bike to either side of the shorter youth and Yazoo doesn't think about it, just leans forward and kisses Kadaj's open mouth.
Loz was right earlier; the night is cold. But Kadaj is hot, and Yazoo likes his heat. Just a heartbeat of warmth and then Yazoo leans back to consider his younger brother's blank expression.
"Mother may talk to him through you, but we're the ones making this Reunion happen," Yazoo informs him. "We're the ones she's relying on here. We're the ones that are looking for her and fighting for her- not him, because he's already failed her once. Remember that."
Kadaj hesitates, then gives a nod, and Yazoo smiles and pushes away as Loz appears in the door. The oldest has a mad grin on his face at the prospect of being back on the road and on their way to Midgar, and Yazoo is in a good enough mood to answer it with a vicious smirk. They're on their bikes before Kadaj thinks to move again; bright eyes flick towards Yazoo before he tears his gaze away and turns to his own bike.
"Is he happy we're leaving?" Loz asks, and Yazoo wants to kick him for being stupid enough to voice such a thing after what happened earlier.
But Kadaj just offers them a lazy smile, every bit their brother and their Mother's special child, and not a trace of him in sight. "I don't care," he answers. "We're going for Mother, not for him. I don't care what he thinks." Loz laughs, liking that answer, and Kadaj glances towards Yazoo. Yazoo has a smirk to offer him in response, and Kadaj's smile stretches wider. "Let's go," he says.
The engines roar to life and they tear off into the night. The inn is left behind; the uncertainties are thrown away like the dirt beneath their tires. All that matters from this point forward is Mother. There is no one around to watch them go, and in the dark of the night they can feel her in their veins, faint and warm and pleased, and Yazoo thinks they can all be okay with being special.