Love you, Brother!
Chapter two: Settle Down
Disclaimer: It's not mine!
Warning: hmm…great deal of spoilers to those who haven't seen the movie. Hints of Cloud x Kadaj throughout the story…ehehe but that's what you all have been waiting for, right?
Forget About Me: hehe, gimana udah bikin fanfic nya? Aku nungguin loh…
RuByMoOn17: hehe, yup I can speak malay, but I'm Indonesian, not Malay. Thanks for your reviews, you're so kind! huggles
Cloud brought plenty of gil with him, more than enough to take care of their life for at least one month. He rented a house at the outskirts of Nibelheim, one that had been built near the mountain. The surroundings were relatively quiet and deserted, with only a few other houses lining the road. It was a good thing, Cloud didn't want to attract any unwanted attention, and risking a chance that somebody might see and recognize him.
He dumped a large amount of gil into the palm of the house owner, a plump old woman with warm face. She was the kind of woman who you could immediately like at the first sight, a motherly figure. Cloud felt that he liked her already. From the chat he knew that news from the outside didn't spread well in Nibelheim; no one knew about Geostigma which had become an endemic at Midgar, or the attempt to summon Bahamut by three silver-haired men trying to destroy the city. Kadaj stayed silent behind him during the conversation, his hand still latched firmly against Cloud's. He knew the boy probably felt bad from hearing his evil deeds with a third person point of view, but Cloud needed to know. It was important to learn about the condition and situation of the city if you were going to hide inside it.
He told the house owner a made up story about their backgrounds, of how their parents died because of Geostigma, of how they tried to forget the bitter memory and went traveling to find a good place to start a new life. She believed it all, even went as far as sympathizing with them and shedding tears.
Cloud felt bad to lie to such a good woman like her but he didn't have any choices. Either this or he couldn't rent the house. They were both tired from the exertion of the battle and the long trip in the train. Kadaj didn't say anything but Cloud knew that he probably used all of his strengths for standing up by himself and not sliding down and collapsing to the ground
The old woman must have noticed it too since she reached out to hold onto Kadaj's shoulder, her eyes shone with concern. "Poor lad, he has been through a lot…"
Kadaj recoiled from the touch like it was burning, the scowl quickly pasted on his face. He took a step back, unconsciously hiding behind Cloud, using him as a shield. "Do not touch me!" He hissed.
The old woman drew back her hand in shock, clearly unprepared for the harsh response. Cloud cringed inwardly; it looked like some parts of Kadaj didn't change at all. Because he stopped acting like a prick in front of him didn't mean that he would do the same toward other people.
"Please forgive him, madam," Cloud quickly apologized." He doesn't like people touching him, must be because the trauma of losing our parents."
"It's okay, I know it must be hard on you," She smiled." Well I must be going right now, but if you need any help feel free to come to my house. I live only a few houses away. Can you see the one with the red roof? That's mine."
"Thank you. I'll keep that in mind."
She gave him a light pat on the shoulder before turning to leave, smiled warmly at Kadaj who glared back in return from his position behind Cloud. Cloud sighed, waiting for the old woman to walk far enough before he grabbed the silver haired boy gently by the shoulders, spinning him around to face him. The emerald eyes looked up at him in questioning, head slightly tilted to one side in an innocent gesture. Cloud sighed again. Oh well, how should he do it?
"Listen, Kadaj!" He said gently, brushing back long strands of hair away from the fair face." You shouldn't be too harsh , she was only showing her concern."
Kadaj immediately pouted," I can't? But I don't like her!"
"Why not? She's a good woman to me."
"That's easy. I don't know her so I don't like her!"
It was good Cloud had had enough experience of dealing with children from an orphanage; if not he would be sweating already for being faced with such an obviously childish statement.
"You mean you could like someone only if you know them? But Kadaj, remember, you didn't even give her a chance in the first place. So how could you two like each other? You might not have enough experiences in dealing with people but it can't continue this way, you have to loosen up a bit. Your attitude could bring us trouble one day."
Kadaj chewed on his bottom lip and looked thoughtful. "I don't want to bring any trouble to you," he said after a while." I don't know if I can do this but I promise I'll try. I'll behave if that's what you want."
Cloud smiled and patted the boy's head gently." That's my good little brother. Now come inside, shall we? I know you're tired so let's take you to the bedroom and then you can sleep as long as you like."
Kadaj let himself be dragged away by Cloud, a smile lingering at his lips. He never knew but it felt good to be praised, like something warmed his body from the inside. It almost felt like when he drank a cup full of steamy hot chocolate on a cold rainy day. He wondered if he became a good boy whether or not Cloud would praise him again. If that was so, he would do anything his brother ordered him to.
Some days had passed since they decided to stay at one of the small houses on the outskirts of Nibelheim. Everything was going on smoothly. Cloud went monster hunting every morning, killed whatever monsters he could find near the town to collect gil. Sometimes the villagers also gave him gil as a token of appreciation.
Ever since the young swordsman moved to their town the roads became relatively safe from monsters that usually lurked around at night. Cloud didn't take Kadaj with him, the boy had lost his souba at the last battle, probably left to rust somewhere along with the debris that used to be Shinra Headquarters.
Cloud had been afraid that Nibelheim would arouse all of his bitter memories but to his surprise he had none of that. Every time he passed the run down building of Shinra mansion he would stop in front of the gate, waiting for the wave of apprehension, despair, or any of the negative emotions to wash over him. It never happened. It was true what people said, that time could heal anything. Cloud came back to the place where all of his nightmares had begun, all of his pain, to find that it couldn't affect him anymore. He finally had been freed from his own demons and nothing could make him happier other than that.
He glanced down at his watch; the time had shown that it was time to go home. Cloud wiped his sweat away with his free hand, the other holding onto the heavy buster sword at its current position of being slung over his shoulder. Blood stained his gloves and clothes from the monsters he'd slaughtered earlier and he couldn't help but grimace in disgust. It smelt bad. No matter how many times he did this monster killing Cloud was positively sure he wouldn't get used with the smell. He planned to get back into the job of doing delivery service like he used to do at Midgar, but first he had to gather as much money as he could. It wasn't cheap to start a new business nowadays, no matter what kind of business it was.
He wanted to kill few more monsters but if he didn't go back soon Kadaj would be worried. The boy didn't have much to do at home; he usually spent most of his times when Cloud went to work reading any kind of books he could find. He didn't strike as the type who liked to read but guess appearance could be deceiving. Cloud also found that Kadaj could act very sweet if he wanted to, not only to Cloud but to others as well. He smiled more often each days, talk politely to neighbours, even went as far as apologize for being harsh to Martha, the old woman who rented the house out to them.
It was good, but what was bothering Cloud was the fact that Kadaj did almost anything he asked the boy to do. No questions were asked, the boy would only nod eagerly and run off to do whatever tasks were assigned to him like a puppet. Cloud tried to explain to him one time that he was a free person now so he had the right to object if something went against his will. But the boy only smiled to him, saying that whatever Cloud wanted he wanted it also so there was no reason to object. Cloud lost all of his words that time but he sure wasn't going to give up. He would talk to Kadaj again sooner or later.
Cloud adjusted his heavy buster in one hand, fished out a key from his back pocket with another hand. He inserted the slightly rusted key into the key hole, the wooden door slowly swung open, and revealed a comfy living room with a blazing fireplace. Kadaj sprawled on one of the cushions, a book at his hand. He immediately looked up at the sound of the door being opened, a sweet smile blossomed on his lips and before Cloud could react he found himself being enveloped by pair of warm hands.
It had become a habit. Every time Cloud came home from a tiresome job of monster killing or just going to the nearest store to buy something Kadaj always welcomed him with a hug. Cloud usually liked it, it was cute, but not on one of the rare occasions where he was dripping blood like this time. He wanted to reprimand the boy but at the next second he found himself effectively silenced by a soft peck on the lips.
"Welcome back, Nii-san," The boy still hasn't loosened his grips around Cloud." I missed you, you know…"
Cloud didn't know what to say, a finger found it's way to his lips where he still could feel the kiss Kadaj had given him, red tints immediately coloured his cheeks. He sighed and looked down to the oblivious boy who snuggled happily into him.
"Kadaj…" He gently detangled himself, holding firmly to the thin shoulders to get the boy's attention. Green eyes looked back with confusion, but then realization settled in and he looked slightly sheepish." Uh…I did it right, didn't I? Um…what did they say it was…a kiss?"
Cloud heaved a sigh." Yeah, it's a kiss. How did you get the idea to give me a kiss?"
"Oh, I read it in this book," Kadaj pointed to a book he currently holding with the other hand. The cover showed a young man and woman as they embraced each other tightly, a heated kiss was shared between them.
'Oh, no wonder,' Cloud thought,' I should've been able to guess it.' He made a mental note to pay more attention to the books the boy bought next time they decided to visit the local book store again. No more romance novels.
"I don't know how to explain this but you have to know. Brothers don't kiss each other, Kadaj, lovers do."
The boy pouted." Really? So what are lovers?"
Cloud suddenly empathized with any mothers out there who had to explain these kind of things to their grown children. He wished he'd paid more attention to Tifa when she had to answer questions coming from the curious orphans. But there was no time for regret now so Cloud answered with the first answer flashed through his head." Uh…lovers are two people who love each other?"
"Then why am I not allowed to kiss you?" Kadaj crossed his arms, sulking. "I love you, Nii-san, you know that and I suppose you love me back…" He grew a bit hesitant. …You do. Don't you?"
"Of course I do," Cloud embraced him in a tight hug. "But they're different, Kadaj. The love between you and me and the love lovers have."
The boy didn't answer anything. He only made a sigh and burrowed himself deeper in Cloud's arms. Pairs of thin arms rose to circle the older man's waist." I don't know. They never taught me about love."
"It's okay," Cloud stroke his silver hair soothingly. One day you'll meet someone destined only for you, fall in love, and then you'll perfectly understand what love actually means."
"Like when you met Sephiroth?" The boy pulled back a little. Green eyes are searching for Cloud." That time you understood that you loved him?"
Cloud raked a hand through his spiky hair, smiled sheepishly." Er…actually it started as mere adoration, he became a commander and all…but hell, yeah…I guess it was."
For a moment Kadaj continued staring at him, unnamed emotions were reflected in his eyes. But then he smiled back, only a slight tugging of his lips, exactly the opposite from the radiant sunny smiles he usually reserved for Cloud. In fact the boy looked rather sad. Cloud opened his mouth to ask but Kadaj quickly detangled from him, muttering something like he had to prepare supper and hurried out of the living room.
Cloud stood rooted to the spot, staring at the door where the boy had vanished. He thought and thought but no matter how hard he tried he simply couldn't catch of what had gone wrong. So he simply shrugged, headed to the bathroom for a good long shower to remove any trace of blood and gore from his body.
Author: wee I love Kadaj sooo mucchhh, Squeeze Kadaj :D
Cloud: Hey! I love him too! pout
Author: I know, I know, don't glare at me, geezzz. Here, take him!
Cloud: hehehe, let's go to the bed, honey!
Kadaj: yipeee :D