TAKE NOTE: There ARE spoilers in this fic for anyone who has yet to watch the movie. Consider yourselves warned.
Author's Note: Even before having seen Advent Children in its entirety, I was enthralled by Yazoo. He's androgynous, he's silver-haired, he's dangerous, and therefore he's everything I adore rolled together. It's my personal opinion that Yazoo didn't get enough screen time, but he was still interesting nonetheless. The part in the movie that made me really wonder about him was the part where he was rounding up the children "to be healed", and the end result of my curiosity in that area is this fic.
"He says he can heal us."
Loren, from where she sat with her back against the wall, looked up sharply from the bandage she was winding about her wrist at the words. Looking at the speaker, a short stocky boy who was just barely over the age of thirteen, she said with heavy scepticism, "Can he prove it?"
"No- well, I … I don't know ." The boy, whose name was Jess, faltered, but then quickly added, casting a glance at the rest of the children assembled before him, "It's worth a try, isn't it?"
"So we can all be disappointed again?" Piped up another child, a boy known as Eric.
"But what if-" Jess paused as voices rose in agreement with Eric's statement, before continuing at greater volume, "What if he really can help us? What if he's telling the truth?"
Loren, tying off the edge of the bandage and tucking the ends neatly underneath, asked, "And what if he's not?"
Jess scowled in her direction; Loren ignored him. Eric was right –the chance that this strange man was another charlatan, another fake claiming to possess the ability to heal all the Geostigmatics was too great, and none of them wanted to have their hopes built up and then cruelly crushed anymore. It was hard enough to live with the knowledge that they would never know normal, healthy lives, that this mysterious, recent sickness that held thrall over them would most likely one day end their lives prematurely.
Jess, sensing he was losing their attention, beseeched softly, "C'mon, you guys …"
A little girl named Cora with bandages obscuring half of her face said glumly from where she was perched atop a garbage can, "Nobody can help us."
"Are you so sure?"
The new voice came from the entry to the alley in which the children were all gathered, and as one their eyes fell upon the tall, lean man that stood there. He was partially in silhouette from the sunlight shining upon his back, but when he moved closer a moment later he became clearly visible. He was clad entirely in black, an ensemble that should have seemed outlandish but didn't. Long hair, an unusual silver-metallic color, fell in wayward strands across his face; he brushed it away with a gloved hand as he studied the children assembled before him.
Loren, needing no introduction, said bluntly, "You're the one who thinks you can heal us."
His eyes fell upon her then, and even though they were several feet apart she could tell they were not normal eyes. He nodded after a moment and said quietly, "Yes."
Loren made a rude noise, shaking her head; from where he sat beside her Eric said, "Prove it."
"It can't be done here," the man replied.
Eric snorted and some of the other children echoed his discontent; the stranger's voice rose smoothly above their own. "If you'll come with me, I will show you that it can be done. You will be healed."
"You're not the first to say that," Loren said. "We won't fall for it again."
"Nobody can help us," Cora said again, and her words were plaintive, heavy with grief. The other children looked at her grimly then, for she voiced the pain and the despair they all harboured within themselves, knowing every day that to hope was just practice in futility.
"We can," the man said, moving until he stood before Cora. He knelt so that he was at eye level with her, and reached up one gloved hand to touch gently the thick swath of cloth bandage that diagonally dissected her face. "My brothers and I, we can help you."
"What makes you so different from the others who said they could heal us?"
He turned his head then to answer Loren's question, his odd, cat-like gaze encompassing all the children before coming to rest on her once again. "Many things," he said with a small smile.
Unsatisfied with the answer, Eric demanded, "What kinds of things?"
The man didn't answer, turning his attention back to the little girl who stared at him a trifle apprehensively. She asked him nervously, "Are you like the others?"
"No." He shook his head before bowing it. "We're nothing like them. All we want, really, is to find our Mother. That's why we're here."
It was Jess who asked somewhat timidly, "Was she lost when Meteor came?"
For a long moment, there was no reply; curious at his silence, Cora reached out and touched her small fingers to the strange metallic length of his hair. He looked up quickly, with a gentle smile, and in response she slowly and uncertainly smiled back. "Do you miss her?" She asked him then.
"Yes," he sighed. "But we are close to finding her, I think."
"I hope," the little girl said solemnly, "that you find her soon."
"We will," the man replied, standing. He turned his attention upon the other children who had watched the exchange in intrigued silence. This man, with his strange appearance and fantastic claim, did in fact seem different than all the others that had promised them good health and then cruelly dashed their hopes. There was something calm about him, something self-assured that told them he would take care of them as he said he would. Even Loren, pessimistic and sceptical to her core, found herself wondering what the harm would be in following him; the worst that could happen, she knew, was nothing ...
"I must go," he said. "My brothers are waiting for me. Will you come with me to meet them? Together we are going to a special place, a place where all wounds can be healed." He held out one hand to the little girl; after staring at it for a moment she tentatively wrapped her fingers around his own, and he lifted her off the garbage can and set her on her feet.
"I'll go," she told him with a firm nod, and then looked at the other children. "Come on, guys."
Jess was the first to move to the man's side, and was followed quickly by four more. Gradually all the children save two had gone to stand beside him; Loren and Eric remained where they were.
"You will not come?" The man asked; he reached out his free hand, the hand not holding Cora, towards them both.
Eric glanced at Loren, but she fiercely shook her head. "It would take a miracle to heal us. I don't believe in miracles."
"Loren," Jess said coaxingly.
"We'll be okay. I know we will," Cora chimed in.
"No." Loren said, gazing sternly at them both. She got to her feet, shaking her head again. "You guys go. If he's telling the truth and he really can heal you, then I guess I'll regret it later."
Jess asked hopefully, "Eric?"
Standing now alongside Loren, Eric sighed. "No, I'm staying. Loren's right. Miracles don't exist here anymore."
The man regarded them both for a moment, his face an implacable mask. He then nodded once, and pointed to the mouth of the alley. "Let's go, then. My brothers will be getting impatient."
The children, eight in total, began to walk as a group, whispering excitedly amongst themselves. Still holding Cora's hand, the man said, "You two are foolish to remain behind."
"Maybe," Loren replied, shrugging. "But I don't think so."
A smile curved the man's lips, but this time it wasn't a friendly, warm smile. It was chilling and carried within it the promise of a threat; a moment later it had faded and he turned, Cora walking alongside him, asking him a question in her soft voice. Loren stared after them both, feeling fear and uncertainty well up inside of her. That man was no friend, she was suddenly certain. That man was an enemy.
"Loren," Eric whispered, and turning to look at him she found his eyes were wide and fearful as well. "Should we try and stop them?"
"They won't listen to us," Loren said, turning her head to watch as the man and Cora rounded a corner and were then completely out of sight. "And- if he has brothers …"
Silence fell over both of them, and when Eric's hand closed tightly, worriedly over her own she didn't try to make him let go.