A/N: My first FFVII fic, yay! Pre-Advent Children, brotherly fluff. Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo belong to Square Enix, but you already knew that.
Ame ni Matte
Wait in the Rain
Chapter 1: Thunderstorm
The dirt path that was so arid and deserted in the afternoon was now quite the opposite as rain tipped from the darkened sky and a small foot, clad in a white shoe, stepped accidentally in a puddle that was far deeper than it looked. There was an unpleasant squelching sound as the foot brought itself back up, and a relatively high pitched nasal voice muttered, "Dammit, why is it always me?" Bright green eyes stared accusingly at the backs of two other teenagers in front of him. It was typical, of course, for Kadaj to think only of himself. And it was typical, without a doubt, for the burlier of the trio – Loz – to seize this opportunity to whine.
"It's not always you, look at my shoes – they're soaked! I don't want to walk anymore!" Loz's voice was deeper, but at times, much to Kadaj's delight, the eldest's voice would unexpectedly turn shrill and return to its usual tone as if nothing had ever had happened. Yazoo was the middle brother – the peacemaker, the responsible one. Leave it to Yazoo to stop Kadaj from teasing Loz, and from Loz not to tease Kadaj. When it came to teasing Yazoo himself though, he'd merely accept it with his usual reserved air, and sooner or later, the two brothers always apologised.
"Hey, sure Yazoo's shoes aren't dirty."
Yazoo didn't need to turn round to know Kadaj was giving him a fierce glare. Within seconds, he found the youngest next to him, kicking muddy rain onto his shoes. Loz gasped, as though Kadaj had just committed the most sinful crime imaginable.
"Kadaj! You can't just do that! Mother would cry in shame if she found out you treated your older brothers like that!"
"She'd cry for shame at the sight of your face, actually," Kadaj snapped the same time Yazoo said, "Loz, don't make a fuss, it's only rainwater."
"Hah!" Kadaj jumped a few steps. His silvery, neck length hair bobbed up spiritedly, "Yazoo says don't make a fuss!"
"Kadaj, don't go so far ahead, we're stopping here to rest anyway." His slender yet surprisingly firm hand took hold of a swinging forearm. "If you keep jumping, you'll slip." He let go of the arm, and squatted down to unpack his bag, pulling out an easy-make tent.
"It's a good job we got that tent at a bargain price," Loz commented as his muscular self took charge in setting up blankets. Yazoo nodded in mild agreement, deciding to add, "And the blankets. That old man was too friendly, giving us three of them."
"Too scared, more like," Loz guffawed. Kadaj was looking between the two, frowning. "You were giving him your classic evils."
Yazoo hid a smile. "I can never understand what you mean when you say that, niisan. I have no 'evils'." He patted a corner of the makeshift sleeping bags and blankets as he sat down, as if finalising the end of the discussion, though it seemed to look more like an invite. Kadaj was still stood a few feet away, unbothered by the dismal weather that encouraged Yazoo and Loz to set up quicker.
"Kadaj, you'll freeze if you stay out there. Come sit down, the tent's all set up now." Kadaj scowled, and sat down with unnecessary heaviness between his brothers, kicking Loz's foot.
"Oy, brat, don't hog all the space. Do that, and you'll make Yazoo mad."
Yazoo rolled his eyes, pulling off his jacket and stuffing it in his bag. Being the oldest didn't mean being the smartest, and Loz was living proof of that, he noted as his fellow siblings began to squabble over a small space that was unlikely to make any difference in comfort.
"Don't tease Kadaj, niisan." Those four words were used together so often by him, the meaning and sincerity in his voice had faded over time, yet it had the desired effect. Loz grunted, rolled onto his side, and moved no more. It was envious that Loz could fall asleep so quick, and pondering that thought, Yazoo snuggled into the blankets, looking up at the plastic covering their heads three feet above him. He felt Kadaj curl up in the warmth of the blankets, muttering something to himself before the half shut eyes closed completely. Yazoo watched him for a few moments, anticipating for the green orbs to peek open and the cheeky grin to show, but it seemed that Kadaj was actually getting to sleep.
He rolled to his side – away from both his brothers – and shut his eyes. In doing so, the rain seemed to sound harder, more torrential, and behind his eyelids, he could see a quick flash of white. Yazoo's naturally narrow eyes snapped open.
"There's like, a super spikey rock under my pillow." Kadaj sounded sleepy, so Yazoo sat up, gently lifted the pillow with one hand resting on the back of Kadaj's silky head, and felt underneath it.
"So there is." Yazoo tossed the stone out the tent lightly. "You should be able to sleep better now."
"Like I can – it's thundering isn't it?" Yazoo didn't need to answer, since, as if by rehearsal, a large thunderclap sounded, and Kadaj – where Yazoo was expecting him to hide under the blankets – sat bolt upright, the mischievous grin clear in the dark more than anything else.
"Hey!" he whispered loudly. "Let's wake up Loz! He'll start crying, won't he? Won't he, niichan?"
Probably, Yazoo could feel himself burning to answer, but instead, he took Kadaj's shoulder, and shook his head. "Let him sleep – we've walked a long way."
The all-too-familiar pout came onto Kadaj's face.
"Stop giving me evils."
Yazoo blinked. "I'm merely looking at you the way I usually do, Kadaj…" He swore he could see Kadaj's hair bristling in anger, but it turned out to be mischief, as per usual.
"No, you're giving me EVILS!" Kadaj bellowed the last word (startlingly loud for someone so small). Loz snorted rowdily, rolled over, and sat up – now completing the set of brothers who were sitting up in bed rather than trying to sleep.
"Oy, brat! The heck is wrong with you?" He glared at the youngest, who was grinning brightly at Yazoo. "Brat!"
"Niichan, you shouldn't deny you're giving evils." The grin widened, and he lay back down with an air of evident triumph. Yazoo could see he was watching Loz out the corner of his eyes. The middle brother rolled his eyes, rubbed one side of his head, and got ready to say, "Don't cry Loz", as lightning blazed across the sky and thunder crashed.
"Oh…man, it's shit weather out there now…" Each word seemed to have less and less confidence, and grimacing, Loz swallowed. "…How am I going to sleep in this now?"
He blinked away his tears, and suddenly frowned. Two and two clicked, and Loz rounded on Kadaj, shaking the youngest's shoulders.
"You! You woke me up didn't you! Brat! Scum!"
"It weren't me, Yazoo was giving me evils!" Kadaj whined piteously. It seemed well rehearsed. Kadaj was a natural at feigning innocence. Yazoo could have felt sorry for him being battered by Loz if Kadaj wasn't dropping him in it.
"Look, just so we can get some sleep, stop quarrelling. Kadaj, apologise to your brother, and niisan, stop trying to strangle him." Kadaj took apologising to his brother as meaning a good display of his tongue, and Loz, who had let go obediently, mumbled something involving the words 'brat' and 'so childish', and looked over at Yazoo.
"When we reach the next city, I'm going to get myself my own tent, so I never have to put up with this again!"
"No you won't, niisan." Yazoo smirked, but it was lost in the darkness of the tent. "Our money is used for necessary items. Your own tent is a desire."
"Bow down to the evil one!" Kadaj exclaimed out of the blue, slapping Yazoo's back playfully whilst bringing his knees up to his chest as he sat up. Yazoo found himself rubbing his temple tiredly and with a sore back. Loz started to snicker on seeing Kadaj lift up strands of Yazoo's long snowy hair, making him look like he'd received an electric shock from something. Presently though, there was a large thunderclap, and all three jumped. Loz's snickers died out, and Kadaj stopped murmuring 'Evil…evil…' in what was meant to be a scary voice.
Yazoo wasn't sure if either of his brothers had noticed the lightning before, illuminating the tent and casting spots of black on the greenish sheet where the raindrops were rolling down. He wasn't fond of thunderstorms, but his anxiety wasn't going to improve the situation. Loz looked ready to burst into full-scale tears, and Kadaj's eyes were abnormally wide. Yazoo opened his mouth to say something reassuring, but the silence was broken by Kadaj laughing nervously.
"…Heh heh…see that? We were all like this at the same time." He jumped in mock fright, waving his arms and biting his bottom lip. "We were all like that, we were."
Loz began to chuckle, though with the same apprehension as Kadaj was pretending not to have.
"Yeah, we were as well. Even Yazoo!"
"…I think it caught all of us by surprise," Yazoo said mildly. "What terrible weather."
There was a murmur of concurrence, and swallowing, Loz mumbled, "It looks like the sky's crying for us…do you think Mother's crying too?"
"…I'm not sure, niisan," Yazoo chose to answer vaguely. His swept his gaze around the tent, seeing Loz's feet sticking out the end of the blankets, their bags in a pile, the flap open the tiniest fraction. Kadaj had been watching Yazoo's knife-like, acute gaze, and crawled over to the flap, bringing a green orb to it. His oversized T-shirt slid to one side down a shoulder.
"…Do you think the thunderstorm will be here all night, niichan? Will we get lost, do you think? Will we find Mother?"
"…I don't know, Kadaj." Yazoo was being unclear again, and as the lightning flashed again, Kadaj leapt away from the flap, cat-like, seeing both brothers in a millisecond of clear light. For that millisecond, Yazoo almost looked as though…almost looked like…
"Kadaj?" Yazoo sounded genuinely concerned. "Why are you looking at me strangely?"
The youngest of the three was silent for a few moments, but it was long enough to arouse suspicion – suspicious behaviour that was Yazoo's responsibility to respond to. Loz had said once that Yazoo's eyes always looked as though he was scrutinising everything for faults. Yazoo wriggled himself out of the blankets, edging over to his younger brother and sitting by him.
"Did the lightning scare you Kadaj?" Loz was looking ready to hurl a smart comment like pointing out how Kadaj teased him so much for being afraid of storms. Yazoo shot Loz a simple cautioning but slightly intimidating look (not too different from his usual expression), and wrapped a slim arm around Kadaj, who was now staring back at Yazoo with a searching gaze.
"…You look like him," whispered the youngest. Yazoo blinked slowly. "Like niisama."
Kadaj could have been referring to Loz, but Yazoo knew that Loz was never 'niisama', nor did he look anything like him. Kadaj was clearly talking about the one person that only he seemed to be able to see, and General Sephiroth could only be drawn in Yazoo's mind according to Kadaj's description of him.
"You look like him more than ever." Kadaj shifted away from Yazoo, but once again, like always, Yazoo's strength overpowered his futile struggle.
"But I'm not him, Kadaj." He pulled Kadaj closer, and kissed the top of his head. Kadaj's smell was pleasant. It was familiar. Yazoo felt the heavy yet reassuring weight of blankets over his shoulders, and saw in the dimness of their tent, Loz settle down by them too. The eldest forced a smile, which Yazoo assumed was meant to make him look brave and unafraid, and patted Kadaj's shoulder.
"We'll find Mother," said Loz clearly. "We'll reach the next city, get loads of supplies, and we'll find her."
"It will take more than rain and flashes of light to stop us from reaching her," Yazoo said warmly. He gave another heartening kiss to Kadaj's forehead, and clapped Loz's shoulder nearest to him.
"You'll need to get a job at the city when we get there. Money's low."
"Me? Job?" Loz pointed to himself, staring at Yazoo. The middle one was under the amusing impression that Loz thought he was speaking a different language.
"Of course," replied Yazoo. "I may be able to get one, though I'm not of age yet…"
"I'll look like some…some…weird freak if I get a job – how the heck am I supposed to know what to do? All the forms and stuff…" Yazoo could sense those tears brimming below the green eyes.
"Don't cry Loz," he said absently.
"Are we weird?" Kadaj spoke, lifting his small head so abruptly, it caught Yazoo by surprise and hit him under the chin. "Weird? Are we weird, niichan?"
Yazoo lowered his gaze a fraction. They were a travelling group of two teenagers and a little kid. The eldest one was a crybaby, the middle one had an air of unwelcoming enigma around him, and the youngest had such violent, sudden mood swings, it was impossible to label him normal. In addition, they had equally silver hair, albeit Yazoo's was a lot more ghostly than the others, and Loz's tended to frizz in the rain. And finally, their eyes were exactly the same, pea green in colour with narrow, slitted pupils that made them look like snakes a human body…Loz's too-close-together eyes that sparked off some sort of unfriendliness, Kadaj's raving, mad glare and Yazoo's narrow, unapproachable gaze…What about them wasn't weird?
"…No, Kadaj. We're not weird." Yazoo rubbed the youngest's back. "We're not weird. Now let's get back to sleep."
"…Let's wait for the storm to finish first."
A/N: First chapter finished! Review please! Next chapter: Loz goes to find himself a job.