Kadaj raised his eyes to meet Sephiroth's, moving his thumb to find the soft pulsepoint on her wrist. Her skin was as cold as the moonlight at his back, but she was clearly alive. He looked at her again, wondered what she could have possibly been thinking.

"Stupid girl." He said softly, as he rose to his feet and stepped over her.

"What a romantic picture you two make. It warms my heart." Sephiroth said.

"Good. At least it would've felt some kind of warmth before I cut it out." Kadaj said flatly, as Sephiroth's smile spread into an outright grin.

"Your posturing is very entertaining, but I don't have time for games. You haven't held up your part of the deal and we are no closer to reaching mother." Sephiroth said, and almost as if it were some kind of reflex, hysterical laughter tore wildly from Kadaj's throat.

"The only pretense here is yours. You…" he laughed, "you must think me a great fool! But I suppose," he suddenly sobered, " that I have made myself look very much like one." Kadaj looked to one of the large windows. "But no more." He unsheathed his sword. "I know everything, Sephiroth. I know everything and I can't believe that I was once jealous…of you." He could see that Sephiroth was watching him closely.

"You're going to have to find a new puppet." He swallowed. "And as for mother, you can have her."

"And what will you have then Kadaj, what will you be?" Sephiroth said smugly, and Kadaj stilled as his brother's words struck him right in the heart, in the heart of all the convictions he used to hold, the heart of his fear of what would be left for him now that he didn't have them anymore. This was the question. The one Yazoo had told him that he could answer on his own.

"I'll…" he started, but the hesitation proved to be just enough time for Sephiroth to vanish, and when he looked up he found someone else standing in Sephiroth's place and a very familiar shuriken flying towards his face. He managed to sidestep it just in time for it to graze his cheek, and as he brought his hand up to the cut, he watched the shining star spin back. His eyes followed its path back into a very unexpected hand.

She stood deadly still, arm extended high in the moonlight. She was looking directly at him, shadows around her eyes.

"What the hell are you doing?" There was no reply. "This is my battle to fight, all you need to do right now is run." She was still silent even as she ran towards him, star still in hand. His eyes moved from the gleam of her star to her leg which swiftly kicked out towards his stomach once she was close enough, but he moved just in time to completely evade it.

"Yuffie." He said, bewildered. After she tried to strike him again, he grabbed her by the shoulders and with some trouble managed to subdue her. Holding her arms together in front of her, he looked into her eyes, her… green eyes. He blinked.

"No." He thought back to all the children drinking in the water in the forbidden forest, how he'd urged them on. He thought about their still bodies in the water, green eyes like his. She was polluted with Jenova's life water like they all had been, the stigma. He willed her eyes to go back to their own dark color, for her to snap out of it, but he knew that was just wishful thinking. He spun around on his heel. "Sephiroth, what did you-"

But all of his words were lost when he felt the length of Masamune sink into his stomach. He could only keep thinking that he needed to keep a grip on his sword no matter what, even though his vision was going black. He saw a vision of his brothers, Yazoo with his brown hair that still looked a bit like tinsel, Loz with his burns and skinny, broken frame. He saw Yuffie, crying under the streetlights and he couldn't believe that it might end like this.

I knew there would still be a time when you would need me. I'm sure you knew this too, didn't you my son?

Mother?

He had never seen his mother, he'd only ever heard her voice and so this time as he felt himself fall to his knees, he was surprised to glimpse tendrils of silver hair, carried on a liquid current. Mother.

Let me in Kadaj, I'll make sure you get what you've always deserved.

Her voice was as tender as he'd always needed to hear it, and he didn't know if he could fight it. He could almost feel her arms around him, he could touch the dream of a reunion he'd never been able to achieve, he could smell…that stench.

He could smell flowers.

He could see green eyes, and he could feel two hands on his stomach where Sephiroth's sword had gone through.

You can do this Kadaj.

I don't need your help, he thought, pushing her hands away with the musical jangle of her bracelets. She instead took his hand and put them on her stomach.

You can stop this, she said. You can end this, but you're going to need help. He looked down to her stomach where his hands lay, watching the slow spread of blood through the pink fabric of her dress.

I did this. He said, soberly. She shook her head.

No, you're no longer a part of the man who did this. You can do something different.

Something…different?

He could hear the clamour of his mother's voice screaming for him to ignore the meddlesome flowergirl, but both voices were already becoming very faint. He could only hear his own voice, and very distantly, rain.

Suddenly all he could hear were his own thoughts. Coming to, he realized Sephiroth had managed to vanish again. The room was empty, except for the moonlight. He looked around for Yuffie and found her standing in the far corner of the room, considering the shuriken in her hands. But once he got to his feet, she immediately started off towards his direction, all legs and dead green eyes.

She hurled shuriken after shuriken and they all only barely missed, as he tried to steady himself on his feet. Her hand was shockingly accurate, and he wondered if she could not always be so swift. Undoubtedly, the poison of the stigma had shut her up and given her a singular focus, which he found made all the difference. And though he still could not take her seriously, as one of her stars hit him at the base of his spine, he realized he might have to change his tune.

He swept his sword through the air in a lax, experimental swing which cost him, as he suddenly found his neck securely in the crook of her arm. Reaching up to simply remove her, he found that her skinny grasp worked very much in favor for her.

But he didn't care what stigma she had, he was stronger than her and he should easily be able to remove her. The thing was, he couldn't seem to, especially with the gaping wound in his stomach. As she pressed her forearm into his windpipe, he brought the hilt of his sword up and pushed it hard into her stomach. She went tumbling off of him and he immediately tried to grab hold of her to subdue her again, but she was more slippery than even in her normal state (which was saying something) and he couldn't seem to even catch her.

Now, pissed off and injured, he ran after her with his sword at the ready. He was running out of breath faster than usual, which was one stumbling block, the other was that he had never been in pursuit without the intent to kill. He was reluctant to take off his kid gloves, because it was a very real possibility he might kill her by accident and he…he didn't want that.

Deciding he didn't want to think about that admission too long, he started down dark corridor she'd disappeared in and almost immediately fell to his face as he tripped on an outstretched leg he hadn't seen. When he got up she was attacking him from behind, and when he turned around, a surprisingly forceful right hook landed in his eye. An elbow to his jaw followed, which sent him stumbling into the wall.

"Goddamnit Yuffie, my patience is-" he ducked an outright slap and caught her hand. But she wasn't going down without a fight and she hoisted her weight onto him unexpectedly and knocked them both to the ground. His grip around that one hand was lost and she was gone towards the front of the mansion, his sword in hand.

With an infuriating flash of déjà vu he ran after her again, finding she had merely stopped in the middle of grand hall where she lay some minutes before. Seeing him, she charged with his sword, handling it one would handle a staff or a blunt object. Managing to get in between one of her wild swings, he made to knock the sword from her grasp. But she was wilier when silent and as he took his sword back into his grasp she pushed his arms back, sending the sharp edge of the sword into in shoulder. Cursing, he quickly shoved his sword back in its sheathe and swiftly grabbed both her arms in his anger, propelling her to the far end of the room. She lost her balance then and he ran to where she lay and grabbed her ankle and dragged her towards the doors that led to the garden, figuring he could keep her locked out as he figured out how to properly handle it.

He dragged her out into the rain and she fought more ferociously the farther he dragged her. She fought like the rain was…acid. And then he remembered. He pulled her further out and she fought harder, but halfway into the garden she stopped struggling. He stopped dragging her, and thought of that woman who smelled like flowers. Healing Rain.

Healing rain that was once like acid to him. But not anymore, for he stood out in it and just felt the water. No stigma being painfully ripped away from him, not even the presence of his mother. He breathed in, turned his eyes downwards to where Yuffie was opening her eyes. And they were now as dark as he always remembered them. On his next breath his vision went blurry around the edges.

"What the….what's happening?" she muttered.

"You've been possessed with the life force of my mother." He said, and she jumped as if she had just noticed him there. She scrambled to get up and nearly fell down again, the affects of the possession apparently still wearing off.

"What're you….how are you…" She looked around, started backing away.

"Yuffie." He said, rubbing the bridge of his nose.

"No, I thought that you…I came in right through the window and now I'm in this garden with you, and Sephiroth…you and Sephiroth-" Kadaj tried to grab her arm but she slapped his hand away. "Don't, do you even know what those ShinRa punks are doing now? You know what, I don't know why I even bother, this is so stupid and now I'm probably going to die-"

Kadaj finally grabbed her arm and she stopped, tried to pull her arm away.

"Let go of me!"

"No, if you just listen-"

"I've listened okay? I got it, I'm leaving you alone like you wanted." Yuffie hated the way her voice nearly cracked. "I'm not here for you, I'm here because I see the same things happening again, and if I have anything to do with it, they won't." She shook her head. "I can't believe this whole time, you and Sephiroth, no…no I can believe it, you-"

"Damnit, be quiet!" he said, and she stopped, crossed her arms. "I am no more working with my traitorous older brother than you are." He said and Yuffie blinked.

"Yeah? Well, that sure isn't Loz living in your house. I know that I saw Sephiroth, you going to deny that too?"

"No. I'm not." He said through gritted teeth, and when she went to talk again he put a hand over her mouth. "Sephiroth is here and alive, and if you don't listen,we wont be." He said and Yuffie's frown dissolved as realization dawned, though there was still a bit of suspicion in her eye.

"You're not trying to destroy the planet or take it over?" she asked, watching Kadaj closely, the hand holding the gaping wound on his stomach, the shadows his eyelashes cast on his pale, pale, cheeks. He looked a step away from death.

"No." He took a breath. "Nothing about this planet is worth the effort to destroy, or remarkable enough to conquer." He said, and Yuffie, despite herself, believed him.

Suddenly the garden around them erupted completely into flames. They both stilled, and Kadaj looked around for his brother but there was nothing. On each side of them though, he saw summons rising from the burning flowers, black hulking shapes.

Yuffie looked horrified, but he was interested to see she had her stars at the ready regardless. As all three large, six legged animals advanced on them, Kadaj drew his own sword, watched one the far left launch itself at Yuffie. High above them, Kadaj could see the dark, billowing descent of his older brother, who apparently couldn't pass up the chance to make a dramatic entrance.

When Sephiroth touched down to the ground, Kadaj felt Yuffie freeze just long enough for one of the monsters to overtake her. He swallowed back the blood in his mouth, looking to where Sephiroth stood and to his side where Yuffie struggled. He knew paying more attention to either could possibly get him killed.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw Yuffie fall, and her ninja stars scatter. Another monster was approaching but he was reluctant to turn his back to Sephiroth, who was smiling like the madman he was, also aware of the choice that lay before Kadaj.

Then, just like that he turned his back on Sephiroth and speared one of the dog-like monsters right through its heart, and Yuffie rolled from underneath the carcass with a look of both disgust and wonder.

"Uh..Thanks."

Before he could turn around, Sephiroth had him by his collar and was dragging him back into the thicker part of the burning garden. He wasn't strong enough to fight it, and before he could tell Yuffie to run, she was already heading fast through the doors leading into the house, two of the monsters following close on her heels.

Kadaj was sure that this was going to be it. It wasn't as if he had any reservations about dying. He had done it once, and be rudely ripped out of his comfortable non existence. Who wouldn't want to die when Sephiroth was dragging you through the dirt and fire as you bled to death, waxing poetic about familial loyalty?

Kadaj realized that he had found his purpose. And that purpose was that there was no purpose. When he said this Sephiroth just laughed, told him not to be so bleak.

"I'm synthesizing a new materia Kadaj. Imagine the essence of both myself and mother."

"I'd rather not."

"Well neither would I, mother is after all only a leech, drawing her power from the control of her sons." Kadaj was stunned.

"You…knew?" Kadaj asked, striken. Sephiroth stopped walking and let go of Kadaj's collar. Kadaj fell lifelessly to the hot earth. Turning his head, he realized the house itself was going up in flames. Sephiroth looked down on him.

"Of course I knew, I've known her the longest. I only hoped you would remain ignorant long enough so that I may see my own triumph over this planet." Sephiroth sighed. "A shame." Kadaj struggled to his feet, he shook because of the blood loss, he shook because he realized now that he had only been helping Sephiroth, and that his older brother had never intended on reuniting him with their mother.

"Yazoo was right, about everything." Kadaj said, shaking his head. Sephiroth frowned.

"Yazoo talks too much. I liked him more when he properly embodied my silence."

"We have nothing to do with you anymore."

"You only ever existed because of me remnant. But all is well, I only need myself for what will follow." Sephiroth smiled.

"What are you talking about?" Kadaj asked, narrowing his eyes.

"Did you know that you could garner raw mako from the blood of the afflicted?" Sephiroth lifted his hands up, turned his wrists outwards. "The afflicted being me and you, and of course your brothers. I suppose SOLDIER would work too, but the difference between them and us, is the purity. That is why, the leftover dogs of ShinRa did what they did to Loz."

"You…knew about that?" Kadaj said through gritted teeth. Sephiroth laughed.

"It was a consequence of my own actions that it even happened little brother. Loz was the first of you to suspect that I was living too, so he thought that he would play hero and find me and kill me himself. He failed. If you've seen him lately, I'm sure his appearance speaks for itself. One thing you remnants never seem to understand is that even altogether, you can only be just as good. The sum is always greater than its parts." Kadaj thought back to the charred insides of ShinRa storage, and Loz's burned skin. It didn't take much to put it together, even looking around him his older brother's affinity for fire was apparent.

"So the ShinRa dogs found your dear brother Loz, and commenced to garner raw mako from his blood." Sephiroth said, and Kadaj was completely appalled. Who was Sephiroth to talk about familial loyalty? "It gave me inspiration, and so I did the same with my own blood. Jenova's traces can only be erased to an extent, and so here," Sephiroth held up a strange cloudy materia, "exists the threads of both my and Jenova's life force and thoughts." Kadaj thought of all the materials he'd brought to Sephiroth. "And I couldn't have done it without your help."

"That is only true for the dead." Kadaj said. "Your thoughts and life force can only exist in that if you have joined the lifestream." Sephiroth smiled.

"Precisely." And right then and there, Sephiroth drew Masamune and put it through his own heart. Kadaj stared, mouth agape. He watched as his brother fell to his knees, black wing spread, dark energy swirling overhead. A bright circle was opening above them, and Sephiroth himself was disintegrating into the earth and sky with so many bright lights, Kadaj could only think that it must be the lifestream.

He stood there for as long as it took for Sephiroth to fully die. And when that finally happened and the lights cleared, there was no body. But there was a shimmering materia in place where Sephiroth's body should've been. Kadaj went forward and picked it up, feeling everything within him stir just as the touch of it. He vowed to make sure the wrong hands couldn't possibly get a hold of it.

Then. holding his stomach and swallowing another mouthful of blood, he left the fire garden. He knew his way back to Yazoo's place, he just wasn't sure he could make it. That he had stayed alive this long was surprising. Stepping inside the mansion itself, which was quickly catching fire too, he could see rain outside the windows.

He knew the possibility of making it through that was very slim. Watching the rain, he thought about his purpose once more. He thought of all the things he cared about, and having lost so many of his convictions, the number was much smaller. But Yazoo and Loz were among that number, and he thought that it was good enough.

Suddenly, he literally stumbled upon something on the mansion floor. Looking down through the smoke, he could see that it was a someone. There at his feet, lay Yuffie in a pile of heal materia. And he knew then that she hadn't run when he'd told her to. She never listened to him, after all.

This hardheaded girl had tried to be heroic, as if heal materia, she and him could defeat Sephiroth.

"Stupid girl." He said again, softly as he lifted her into his arms. Clearly just the summons had been too much for her. But he knew from experience that her spirit could not be crushed, even you were trying really hard. And he had tried. Healing them both, but not really feeling any better afterwards, he headed out into the rain with the ninja in his arms.

He knew something about his purpose extended beyond his brothers.

Hours later when Yuffie awoke, it was in strange bed. Sitting up abruptly enough to make herself dizzy even in the dark, she looked around the room, spotted a line of light underneath what must've been the door leading into the room.

She could hear that it was still raining outside, and creeping out of the rather musty smelling bed that was really just a mattress on the floor, she went to stand by the door. Putting her ear against it, she listened. The first voice was hushed, but it was very clearly Kadaj's. With a flash of déjà vu of being a captive so long ago, she stepped away from the door and put a hand over her mouth.

Mind going into overdrive, she looked for a way out but there were no windows. The she stopped. The areas on her arms and legs where the beasts had scratched and bitten her were all healed, and Kadaj had said that he wasn't interested in doing anything to the planet, so what was she doing?

Still, she wasn't even quite sure that all hadn't been a dream, and even if it hadn't been, there was no reason for her to anywhere near Kadaj anymore. Yuffie nodded, yeah that was best.

She smoothed down her damp clothes and opened the door, unprepared to find three familiar remnants sitting at Yazoo's small wooden table. All three looked up at her. Yazoo smiled. Loz smiled as best he could, and Kadaj looked back away.

"You're awake. Would you like something to eat?"

And though Yuffie wanted nothing more than to run out of the door and never have to burn under those green eyes like she was now, her stomach pulled her forward and she went and sat down.

And as expected, dinner with them was indescribably awkward.

"Sephiroth was using the same procedure they were using on Loz?" Yazoo said, lowing his fork down to his plate.

"Yes, on himself. To create this." Kadaj held up the strangest materia Yuffie had ever seen. She watched the colors in it shift from green to black, and when Kadaj caught her staring scowled and put it back in his pocket. Yuffie shoveled more rice into her mouth, and looked at Loz who hadn't said much of anything, but just mostly stared into his own plate and struggled to lift his own fork to his mouth without spilling.

She felt sorry for him, and also for Yazoo whose face was characteristically stone, but with a few noticeable cracks. She could tell that he felt a lot of the pain Loz felt, almost like they were one person.

"But why?"

"I'm not sure. But I'll make sure no one will ever find out." Kadaj shook his head. "Was I ever that mad? That…verbose? Gaia, he never shuts up, I can still hear his voice in my head, taunting-"

"I'd get that checked out, voices in your head are a sure sign of insanity." Yuffie interjected, earning a terrible, terrible silence. Yazoo cleared his throat and shifted his plate on the table.

"Don't dwell on it Kadaj. He is gone now." Yazoo said and Yuffie wanted to say that it was just a joke but realized that considering the situation insane jokes probably weren't all that funny.

"Yes, you're probably right."

"I don't think so guys." Yuffie nearly shriveled when three pairs of green eyes fell on her. "I mean, come on, we all know that staying dead isn't something Sephiroth's great at, or any of you really." There was silence. "Really, I don't wanna be that person but...do you really think that's it?"

"Be quiet. As usual you speak only out of ignorance." Yuffie stopped, frowned.

"I'm ignorant? I knew Sephiroth before you were even a thought or a larvae or whatever the hell Vincent said you were," she pointed her finger, "he was murdering people long before he was insane, and it was Wutai that paid before he went crazy in the mountains. I'm ignorant when sixteen years down the road I have to play queen and pick up the mess he and ShinRa left? I'm Ignorant when two years ago, three silver haired man came back in his place and surprise, surprise Sephiroth's not really dead? It never ends easy, ever."

"You're a queen?" Loz said, breathing hard with the effort. Yuffie blinked, coming back to herself.

"I…" she hadn't meant to go as far to mention that but it was too late. "When, my dad dies, yeah."

"Princess then." Loz said, smiling as wide as his burns would allow. "I read…" he breathed. "I read a book once…about that." Yuffie looked into his eyes, still the most youthful out of all of them.

"Just don't call me princess, and we'll be fine."

"You never mentioned that, why not?" Yazoo interjected, his razor sharp gaze rather unnerving.

"I just…it's not important."

"Really?"

"Really, can we change the subject?" she snapped, and she was grateful for Yazoo's quiet understanding when he actually did. But Kadaj was not so kind.

"Does it have anything to do with why you choose not to go home?" Yuffie met Kadaj's steel gaze, disbelieving that he remembered their conversation from so long ago.

"I don't want to talk about it." She said, heaping more meat onto her plate.

"Don't you want to see your father?" Yuffie stopped.

"Don't talk about my father." She said pointing her spoon at his face. He didn't flinch.

"Is that a sore spot?" he asked softly, and it was all she could do not to launch herself across the table.

"Your. Mother."

"Don't talk about her." He rose from his seat.

"Why, is that a sore spot?" she said, rising from her seat as well.

"She, is a traitorous, self interested presence, who was only ever interested in using her sons as tools. What do you think?" he said, and the air hung tense between them. Yuffie was stunned, not at all expecting him to have said something like that. Things really were different. When Kadaj left the table, Yuffie looked at Yazoo and Loz, who looked just as troubled.

They had all figured out about Jenova what everyone on the outside could see immediately, and Yuffie averted her eyes. She was sorry she had even brought it up. Why did she always end up looking like the ass?

About a half an hour later, when she could swallow her pride, she stepped into the bathroom where Kadaj was standing in front of the mirror changing his bandages. He was really messed up.

"Leviathon, what happened to you?" she asked, Kadaj didn't look at her.

"You did."

"What?"

"While you were full of Jenova's life force, you were some semblance of a ninja."

"No, seriously?"

"Yes, seriously. Now get out." He said and Yuffie shut the door behind her.

"No." she said, and he just scowled. "I'm sorry okay, that really sucks about your mother." He didn't say anything, only shrugged his leather top all the way off, and started on the bandages on his stomach. "But you…" she shook her finger, "you are an ungrateful, confusing, asshole."

"I think I've heard this before."

"Really, because I'm experiencing a whole hell of a lotta deju vu too, how bout that?" She swallowed. "Why didn't you just leave me in that burning house?" she said and Kadaj stopped, but said nothing. "Nothing? You have nothing to say? Then answer this, why did you come for me? That's right, Yazoo told me." There was still no answer. "Why do you keep on doing this to me? Is this some kind of sick joke or something? You say one thing and then you do another, and now I'm all screwed up because I'm so stupid that I fall for it every time!" She began to feel the heat behind her eyes.

Don't cry, don't cry, she told herself.

"And even when all I want is never to see your face again, there you are! And you're not just there, but your saving me or kissing me or something, and all I want to just to be away from you so I don't have to feel this anymore!" she said, voice breaking. She swallowed and put a hand to her face, spinning around to find the doorknob so that she could leave and run far, far away. But a paler hand came over her head and rested hard on the door.

She could feel the solid plane of chest on her back.

"Don't you think that's what I want too?" he said, and she stared at the hand on the door that kept it closed, kept her from being able to open it and run away from him and everything he ever made her feel. He stood so close behind her, she began to have flashbacks. "Everything I have ever believed in, has been crushed." He breathed. She shuddered. "Blood was supposed to mean more than this, Yuffie. The path I followed was supposed to lead to somewhere more than this, but instead my path always finds yours. These are not the kind of jokes I play." His breath was hot on her neck.

"So now, I search for new purpose. Over and over, here I am with you. I might as well have voices in my head as many times as I see your face, or do something I don't understand. You want answers to your questions, I…" he sighed, "I have none. I've tried everything." he stepped away from her. "I don't understand why when all I want is for you to leave, to never have known you, what I want more is…" He left off and she turned around. He ran a hand through her hair.

"I should've killed you when I had the chance, " he said, a shadow passing over his face.

"Your scaring me." Yuffie said, smile tugging at the edge of her mouth. Kadaj rolled his eyes.

"I doubt that very much." And it was true. He'd been able to strike fear into any heart he chose to, but Yuffie through either stupidity or that spirit no one could crush had never been that heart. He realized that he wanted her heart for other things now, he knew that he wanted it all for himself. Because she had his in grip he knew he'd never be able to break, no matter what he did.

So he surrendered to the purpose the universe that forced upon him in the form of crude, clumsy ninja. He pushed her up against the door and took her face in his hands, like he'd done once before. And when he pressed his lips to hers, she bit into his lip and told him that she would kill him if he wasn't for real.

And he told her that was fine, as he lifted her shirt over her head and tasted her down from her neck to her collarbone, because he was hungry and he remembered her lying nearly naked in his clothes that time ago. He remembered her that way, all the softness and the skin, and he wanted her that way immediately.

"Take your shorts off." He breathed against her shoulder, and she grabbed him by the hair and told him that he had to take something off first. Glaring, he threw his jacket to the floor, annoyed more than anything when he felt her hands on his arms and back. But as her uncertain hand moved to the curve of his back and towards the base of his spine, his breath caught.

He had never felt anything like it, and she grinned at his expression.

"I could go lower." She said, and he looked at her like he didn't care or understand. She frowned. She was a virgin too, but surely he knew that—

"Just take your clothes off." He said, eyes bright. "I need to see you." Touch you, taste you. Yes, there was another voice in his head, but it was all him, but another version of him that could only think about being with her, touching and seeing all he'd only wondered about. Looking into his eyes, she undid the first button and he suddenly stopped her, hooked his own fingers into her belt loops.

"What?" she said, as he brought their hips together again and kissed her on the mouth.

"I think it'll be better, if I undress you myself." He said, and she blinked.

"Okay." And so slowly, he pulled her shorts down, tips of his fingers skimming the side of her thighs in their descent. On his knees now, she stepped out of them and kissed above her knee, licked the inside. She giggled and he looked up, eyes dark. Raising an eyebrow, he kissed the inside of her thigh and stood back up. He got his finger underneath her bra strap.

"I want this off next." She frowned.

"No way. I get to take your pants off now."

"Really? Did I say you could?"

"Do you know me Kadaj?" He sighed.

"Fine." And she went about taking off the pants, though it was harder than it looked. It seemed that Kadaj liked being touched a lot less than he liked touching, and Yuffie wanted to change that. When she finally got his pants open, she realized that she really didn't know what she was doing and more importantly, that he didn't wear any underwear. It wasn't really surprising when she thought about it.

And so when she wrapped her hand around it, he had a rather entertaining violent reaction involving gasping and punching both his fist to the door.

"Gaia." He said sucking air through his teeth. She stroked again, and felt triumphant until he pulled her hands away and held them high above her head in one hand. The other hand tore both bra and panties away, sending them as scraps to the floor.

"I want all of you, princess." He said into her ear, and before she could tell him not to call her that, his fingers were sliding up the insides of her thighs, and she couldn't tell him not to do anything. She especially couldn't do that, when his fingers came upon her most intimate place, touching softer than she knew he was ever capable of.

"Does it feel good?" he asked, breathless in her ear. And she was choking on her own tongue, grinding into the soft, teasing pads of his fingers, and she just needed more of his touch, more of---

"Kadaj, I need—"

"What do you need?" he said, looking kind of evil, circling his fingers, kissing her neck.

"You. Right now, oh god." And it was apparently all she needed to say because he was lifting her up against the door, and she was wrapping her legs around him like she knew how. And he pushed into her without any 'are you sure's' but Leviathon, it really hurt, but then it didn't. It really didn't.

She grabbed onto his shoulders, and he leaned his head into the crook of her neck, groaning through his teeth, and driving her hips back into the door over and over again. He knew he had never felt anything so good, never.

"Yuffie…." He groaned, knees going weak with the sensation.

"Oh, God, Kadaj, don't drop me…" Her toes curled in the air. He laughed, and it sounded a little too maniacal to be normal.

"Say my name again, and I'll consider it, fuck…"

"Oh my god, you bastard, just do it harder…" And when he did, it sent them both over the edge, and incidentally it was his name that came out of her mouth. He let her down and she sprawled, a lifeless mess on the bathroom floor. He sat against the side of the tub.

He didn't bother with covering up, it seemed he was perfectly comfortable naked. But after about five or so seconds she was searching for her clothes.

"If I had known it was that good before, I might have kept you around in the first place." He said, watching her get up and use his jacket at a cover while she picked up her clothes.

"Wow, you're still such a jerk. You destroyed my underwear by the way." She said, sweeping aside the scraps of them with her foot.

"I'm sure you have more." He said as picked up her shirt and shirts and glanced out of the small bathroom window.

"Leviathon, No." she said, and he shrugged.

"I'll buy you more then." he said and suddenly she whipped away from the window, dropping his jacket and her own clothes in the process.

"No, we have to get out of here. Now." She picked up her shirt and threw it, and jumped into her shorts. Kadaj stood up, and Yuffie pulled him towards the window. When he looked out, he saw a shock of red hair, the man with sunglasses, and the two he'd tortured years ago. Turks. Turks entering the building.

Yuffie threw his jacket and pants to him, and he put them on.

"Kadaj, hurry up!"

"I've taken them down once before, it should be no problem now." He said, face dark. Yuffie stamped her foot.

"No, no we're not doing that."

"Your instinct may be to run, but-" Yuffie slapped him on his chest.

"Loz can barely move, Yazoo doesn't look much better, and you have a gaping hole in your stomach. And Reno's going to kick my ass after I stole his car, let's go."

Kadaj was silent, but went over to open the door. Yazoo and Loz were already on their feet.

"You heard?" he asked and Yazoo nodded. Yuffie's eyes went wide.

"They heard?" she asked.

"Apparently."

"So they heard the…other stuff too?" Yuffie covered her face with her hands. Kadaj shrugged.

"Probably." Yuffie glared at him.

"Oh great," she said avoiding Loz's wolfish grin, and Yazoo's perpetually perceptive gaze. " Okay, and now we really need to go, I don't know why I didn't think of this, I-" She stopped when she heard footsteps outside the door. Kadaj stepped forward, and Yazoo and Loz lifted their heads as if it were some kind of reflex. It was clear to Yuffie that she was witnessing some kind of silent exchange between the brothers, and before she could get to tapping her foot, Yazoo was taking her and Loz's hands and leading them to the bathroom.

"Kadaj-" Kadaj shook his head.

"Be silent now, and run. I know that you're capable of at least one of those."

"But-" He handed her the materia he had brandished at the table.

"Make sure this doesn't fall into the wrong hands." Yuffie bit her lip.

"You mean like mine?" Kadaj smirked.

"Precisely." He stepped away. "Now, get out."

And when Yazoo pulled her the remaining way to the bathroom, she could only look back at the image of the remnant she hated, needed and still couldn't stand. And as she put one leg through the window, she watched him wrap the bandages around himself tighter, and glance back at her with the same green eyes she'd too often tried to forget.

This time, she was going to remember. Falling into the streets below with Yazoo's hair flying in her face and Loz's hand securely in hers, she had a feeling that things would never be the same again. Above her, a door busted open and Kadaj drew his sword.

Their progress was slow, but with Kadaj holding the Turks off, they managed to make it into central Edge. The only safe place she could think of was her own apartment, and as they climbed the stairs she tried to think of what her next steps would be. But as it turned out, there would be a minor road block. The fact that her door was unlocked should've been some kind of clue.

But the moment she swung her door open with Yazoo and Loz standing at her sides, she met the eyes of not one but all of her teammates.

Cloud was the first one forward, and to say he looked unhappy might've been the understatement of the year.

"What the hell is going on here, Yuffie." He said, blue eyes dark, and behind her she heard Yazoo cock his gun and Loz shift on his feet. She felt her heart jump into her throat. She turned to the two brothers.

"I swear I didn't set this up, I swear." She said and Yazoo stepped protectively in front of Loz.

"I've already come to understand that there is no honor among thieves." He said, and Yuffie tried to get him to understand.

"The only fuckin people you owe a fuckin explanation to, is us." Cid said, gripping his staff so tightly his knuckles were white. She spun back around.

"I…guys…"

"Reno called us." Cloud interjected.

"We weren't going to come, but then Marlene told us everything," Tifa said, looking distraught. "Is it true?"

"You made my little girl, keep your disgusting secrets? What is going through your head!" Barrett said. Yuffie shook her head.

"No, you don't understand, it's not like-" she stopped, looked at Vincent. His face was unreadable, but his eyes did not move from her.

"I oughta ring your skinny little neck for what you did to all them children, you sick bastard." Barrett said, advancing on Yazoo who still hadn't lowered his gun. But Yuffie could see his arms shaking with the effort. Cloud moved his hand towards his sword.

"Stop!" Yuffie yelled and everyone did. She ran a hand through her hair. "I can explain, this isn't what it looks like and I know that when people say this isn't what it looks like it totally is, but I swear that this time it really isn't-"

"How are we supposed to believe you." Cloud said, some other emotion passing over his eyes. "This whole time you've known, do have any idea what could've happened? Do you have any idea, what could still happen because you-"

"Where's the other one." Cid asked, looking murderously at the men behind her. Her breath caught.

"What?"

"The other one, your boyfriend." Cid said, and Yuffie scowled.

"He's holding the Turks off, by himself. He's holding them so that we could get away, because the ShinRa dogs are up to no good again, big surprise. He's holding them off, even though all four of em are probably gonna kill him, or drag him off to do some sort of weird science or some shit."

"What are you going on about girl?" Barret said, interest piqued no doubt because of the 'ShinRa dogs'.

"They were holding Loz in what's left of the ShinRa labs, getting mako form his blood. Reno said they were gonna use it again, to rebuild their…empire."

The faces of her friends changed, if only a little bit. Tifa looked the most disgusted.

"Even if that was true, that doesn't explain why you're involved in this." Cloud said and Yuffie shook her head.

"It's a long story, like nineteen chapters long. Or something."

"Shorten it."

"It was two years ago." She didn't look at their faces, but she heard their reactions well enough. "I was heading to Edge and…Kadaj took my materia so I went after him and I didn't know he was insane or related to Sephiroth or anything, but he found out that I knew you and so he…kept me. He wanted me to lead him you, but I wouldn't."

Cloud looked like he couldn't believe it. Yuffie took a breath. "And then I don't know, I was stupid and I stopped taking all the chances I had to run away. After a while I didn't want to anymore, even though he was still a bastard, like…such as bastard."

"Why did you call anyone?" Tifa asked.

"I did." Yuffie shook her head. "I called Cid." Cid was slackjawed, remembering that phonecall he'd gotten late at night that sounded so crazy back then. "But then I didn't want help anymore, I thought I could change things, but he wanted that reunion thing so bad, Cloud, you know. And then he died, and I thought it was the end of that. I thought, I could just forget about that and forget about…him. God this sounds so stupid." Tifa's face softened.

"And then he came back, remember Cloud? I was with you. And when I went off to find him, I did." Yuffie looked up at him. "I'm sorry, really. I can't tell you why I didn't say anything. He seemed like a different person and I knew it was dumb but I had to see for myself, and he was different but he, he thought it was his fault or something. And he didn't want to see me, I'm pretty sure he hated me," she laughed, "and I hated him for making me do all that crazy shit. He was always telling me to go away, but I never did, and then he finally got his point across. And I just wished I'd never met him. That same night Reno saw us together."

"I found out the Turks knew about it too, that they were tracking all three of them. And I knew that something was up, because Kadaj lied and Reno told me that they were keeping Loz in the lab. He told me that he would show me, if I showed him where Kadaj was. So I did." She looked back at the brothers. "And I saw that sick shit they were doing to him in the labs, and Reno only just wanted to get me out of the way in the first place and he tried to put me out, but I got Loz and escaped. I knew there was someone else in Kadaj's house, I knew something was up." She looked at all her friends. "Sephiroth was there, alive."

Clouds face was one of complete shock.

"How?" He couldn't wrap his mind around it. Kadaj becoming Sephiroth was one thing. Sephiroth existing on his own was another.

"I don't know."

"They were working together."

"No, I don't know, well not then they weren't. Sephiroth tried to kill us both and-"

"What?"

"But I went to go get some heal materia, and Sephiroth went for Kadaj. He set the whole place on fire too, if think he has some serious pyromania issues to work out..."

"Oh my god." Tifa put her hands up to her mouth.

"And then he committed suicide."

That, got wide eyes from every single one of her friends.

"What?"

"Kadaj told us about it, but listen to this, I don't think that's the end of it-"

"It never is." Cloud said, looking far away.

"Right, and Sephiroth was apparently going on about this materia that he synthesized full of…um…"

"Using the raw mako extracted form his own blood he has been able to create a material of his own. However, within the blood of myself and my brothers are the remnants of Jenova's thoughts and life force. Even in the absence of the stigma." Yazoo said, and everyone's attention shifted to him. It was then that Yuffie realized how Sephiroth must've put her under Jenova's influence. He'd cast on her, with the materia she held in her pocket.

"And about Kadaj?" Cloud asked.

"He told me, that he'd rather have nothing to do with this planet at all. And I…I believe him." Yuffie said.

"But that still doesn't make any sense, materia doesn't exist with the life force of the living." Tifa said, and then realization dawned, on everyone.

"But it does for the dead." Cloud said, and Yuffie pulled the materia out of her pocket and held it out in her hand. The colors in it were moving around faster now. "That was why he killed himself."

The room was abuzz with exclamations from the team, why did she have it, put it away, destroy it, how did she have it?

"Kadaj gave it to me when the Turks were coming, didn't want it tall fall into the wrong hands."

"So he gave it to you? Ifrit's fuckin' balls, that's always a great idea."

"Shut up Cid." Yuffie said, looking back at Vincent who still hadn't said a word. She needed him to understand. Cloud stepped forward.

"Listen we have to-"

He cut himself off when the door burst open and in came all four Turks. Rude threw Kadaj forward to the floor, and Yuffie could see that he was beaten and unconscious. But too his credit, every single one of the Turks looked almost as beaten. She rushed forward to his side, and glared hard at Reno, who was very clearly just as pissed off.

"Rufus ShinRa is dead. We're here to collect our payment." Reno said and Tseng put a hand up.

"Under the new law of the City of Edge, all three of you must come with us." Yuffie looked up from Kadaj's bruised face.

"What?" Tseng turned to regard Yazoo Loz and then her.

"All three of you." Yuffie stood up. Yazoo lifted his gun and the blonde female Turk seemed to visibly flinch.

"Me?"

"For conspiring."

"Bullshit, none of us are going anywhere!"

"You ShinRa dogs think you can just come here and—" Barrett came forward.

"You can take the hard way if you want, I actually prefer it that way—" Reno stepped out.

"Yuffie told us about your experiments, haven't you learned anyth- Tifa came forward.

Everyone started to bicker, and Yuffie took the chance to run towards her stash and find a heal materia and her big shuriken. Running it back to Kadaj she cast, and through the green light she saw Reno take out his rod, Barrett shake his fist, Cid advance on Rude and Tifa lay a hand on Cloud's shoulder. Kadaj opened his eyes, and above the din there was suddenly a loud screeching noise. Everyone silenced as from out of Yuffie's hand, rose the materia.

The lights flickered as the orb began to glow, and move higher into the air, blazing among the circle every person in the room had come to create.

"What the fuck is that?" Reno, Cid and Barrett all said nearly in unison. Then the materia started to move, fast. It took off by itself and everyone took off after the ball of light, down the stairs and into the dark open streets. Once out in the open, it dropped and dimmed, rolled into a nearby alley.

Kadaj, now standing conscious by her side, had a look on his face that she couldn't decipher. And then out from the alley came three men, three really familiar men.

The leader, a boy who looked exactly liked the one standing next to her, was holding the glowing materia. The three men stopped only feet away from them.

"Hello. We come in the name of Sephiroth." The one who was Kadaj smiled, and it was so mad Yuffie felt a collective shiver. The second Yazoo stepped forward, as did the second Loz. "This planet is his now, but there are a few things standing in his way. Do you know what those things are?"

"No, we're dying to know." Reno said, from the side of the crowd. Second Kadaj's smile was nasty.

"Well, it's all of you of course." Above them a bright circle opened up in the sky. Second Kadaj sighed. "I'm tired of talking, it's time to paint the town red." He drew his sword. "Loz, Yazoo, take care of the extras, I'll take of us."

And then all around her, Yuffie saw the battle start, and damned if she would be left out. Cloud went straight for Second Kadaj, impossible sword drawn before the remnant could open his mouth to mock. Second Loz went straight for Tifa as if he'd known he would all along, but the original Loz was there, despite his condition, to pull her away from a hit she didn't see coming from behind.

Having missed with a hefty blow, the time it took to recover was all the time Rude needed to get a blow in before he could rise up and start after Tifa again. Turning in dark fall of hair, Tifa came forward and grabbed Yuffie by the arm.

"I don't think we have to worry about the Turks now. I'm going to go for…" original Loz came up beside Tifa.

"Loz." He said. And Tifa nodded, remembered a time before when he had thrown her around in Aerith's church. He was much skinnier now, but his eyes were the same. Young.

"Loz. We're going after Loz. If we team up and bring them down together we'll have a better chance." And so they all went after the second Loz, and though their numbers were an advantage, he was a behemoth of a man and Tifa was the only who could get effective hits in. Yuffie's hits weren't super powerful and original Loz was in the worst shape out of all of them.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Tseng cast Lightening at Second Yazoo, who shot a round at Elena, and swung the long barrel of his gun into Reno's jaw.

"I hoped I'd see you again motherfucker." Reno said, and Tseng glared at him, while Elena looked uncharacteristically shaken, more especially when she stumbled into the original Yazoo, who glanced once at her and aimed and cocked his fun at his own doppelganger. Seeing both Yazoo's Reno gave pause.

"Or was it you, pretty sure it was you." He said brandishing his electro mag at the original Yazoo.

"I'm not your enemy right now, it would be best you to focus on the task at hand." Yazoo said, and Reno sneered.

"Really, like beating your ass?" Reno said and Yazoo scowled.

"If you can." He replied.

"You sick bastard, I'll make you pay for what you did to Lena and Tseng." Reno said, closing in on him.

"That's enough!' Tseng interjected. Both original Yazoo and Reno turned intime to see a bullet graze his shoulder. Tseng fell to his knees and Elena seemed to find the nerve then, and she cast a bright rain of lightening.

Vincent was there in a streak of red to catch Second Yazoo with a cold barrel to the neck, as he recovered from the lightening cast. Both Barrett and Cid were teaming up in Loz.

Farther off in the distance, Cloud and Kadaj were fighting Second Kadaj, who was fending them off with an unearthly amount of dexterity. Yuffie could see that Cloud was still keeping an eye on the original remnant, but occasionally would block a strike that was meant to fatally injure the other silver haired boy. But Kadaj, was solely focused on killing his doppelganger, as if the eerie replication of his face and mannerisms was some sort of personal offense.

Above them in the sky the bright circle was widening, and Second Yazoo fell to the ground in a cloud of gun smoke and a blaze of electricity. Vincent, Reno, original Yazoo, Tseng and Elena stood around the remnant and looked forward to Cloud and Kadaj's fight.

But in that moment, Second Kadaj seemed to see them too, and his fallen brother. His scowl was visible when from where Yuffie stood. As the circle crackled with energy overhead, Loz fell to the ground under the spark of Tifa's punch, Rudes own force and Cid's spear through his shoulder. Barrett's gun arm was still spinning. Both Loz and Yazoo duplicated disintegrated into mere dust.

"Flimsy copies." Rude said, earning looks from everyone around him. Cid raised an eyebrow.

"You talk?"

With the two brothers gone, everyone looked up ahead to were Cloud and Kadaj fought Kadaj.

"Tell me how you exist!" Kadaj said parrying a strike, and watching as Cloud knocked him sideways.

"Just like you do brother."

"You, are not my brother."

"I came from Sephroth's remains just as you did." He smiled. "Come on, you didn't think Sephroth would just lock himself in a materia without an enacting agent?" The duplicate said, and Kadaj stopped. Cloud looked at him.

"What is he saying?" Cloud asked, face dark. Kadaj turned to face the man who he'd called brother so long ago.

"It's going to happen like last time, he's coming." And Cloud didn't have to ask who, because the duplicate, seeing his desperate situation pulled out the glowing materia. The circle in the sky spun down to a shining point and the duplicate was heading towards it with the materia in his hand.

Yuffie had never heard the kind of silence that followed. She wanted more than anything to break it with some kind of joke, but looking around her, she figured it was kind of a bad idea. They all watched as the duplicate rose until he was fixed in that shining point, like a star. Suddenly the materia came falling down from the sky, still a roiling green and black. It fell right at her sneakers.

But as Yuffie bent down to pick it up, the sky exploded. There were blues and green and even pinks, dust and smoke like glitter and among it all was the black shape they were all looking at. And down like an angel, came Sephiroth.

"Holy hell. Say what you want, but he knows how to make a fuckin' entrance." Reno said, looking up. Half of the people glared, half nodded dumbly.

"Now this is a proper welcome." Sephiroth said as some of the crowd backed away, experiencing whatever emotion they associated with the Ex-general. Surely there were many.

Farther off, Kadaj looked on, unsure of what to do. There was Sephiroth again. After so long of existing as a voice in his head, here he was again. No mental push, no thing he could physically with his own hands would make him go away. What would? What? Cloud turned to him.

"I may not completely understand how or why this is," Cloud sheathed his sword. "But something's obvious here."

"What is that?"

"This is your fight." Cloud said and Kadaj looked on at the shining vision of the General.

"How do you kill a thing that cannot die?"

"I couldn't say. But I think that he can die, he just refuses to realize it. I think it's his pride that brings him back." Cloud said and Kadaj turned to regards him. "So you have to be different. Somehow, you have to become more than he is."

"More."

"Find something that gives you purpose," Cloud said, looking over at the crowd gathered, "and you have to realize that you are also less."

And Kadaj found four particular faces in the crowd.

"I…understand." With that he was off, running towards the crowd. Yuffie saw him coming, and almost instinctually cast with her Time materia. Everyone around them froze, and only Kadaj was moving through the crowd, heading fast towards her. When he reached her, they finally stood toe to toe.

"I need the materia." He said, and she handed it over without thought because she knew he level on the Time cast wasn't high enough to keep them all frozen for much longer.

"What're you gonna do?" she said and he looked so certain.

"The sum is always greater than its parts Yuffie." She blinked.

"What? What are you talking about!?"

"This is it, I've found it."

"Found what?"

"My purpose." He said, breathlessly with his eyes so bright and she could feel that something big was about to happen, and so she just threw her arms around him, and he knew then that she knew too. He held her, like he'd never held anything, and when he closed his eyes there was complete and utter silence in his head, so stark and right he could only hear her breathing.

He knew that he would do whatever he had to, to keep her breathing.

And then when her cast wore off Sephiroth was advancing on them and Kadaj started off towards his broken brothers, the original remnants. They stood together and she watched as Kadaj spoke to them. Whatever he said made them both step in towards him and Sephiroth, whose pride and appetite for games was perhaps the biggest flaw, watched on, amused. Kadaj lifted the materia skywards.

Then, in an even brighter burst of light than Yuffie remembered from the Kadaj duplicate's transformation into Sephiroth, there was another Sephiroth standing where the three remnants had been.

This man was very clearly Sephiroth and yet his hair wasn't as lustrous, face not as smooth. He had no billowing coat, but long burns on his arms, a jagged scar down his side and one across his stomach. The prior Sephiroth looked utterly shocked, and sneered, drawing his sword.

"A pretty trick, and only that." He said, and the other Sephiroth said nothing, only rushed forward, not with Masamune but Loz's Dual Hound. Swings were deflected, and the first Sephiroth gained the advantage the fastest. They all watched from the ground in awe, unable to truly follow the movements of the two silver haired men.

The brother's Sephiroth was able to defend very well, but it seemed as if all of the laughter had been ripped from the proud original General, who seemed enraged at the paltry emulation. He was clearly determined now to strike this false Sephiroth down, quickly and violently.

But what the brother's Sephiroth lacked in power, they had in guile, likely a result of the merging of all three minds. The moment the original General went to mock, a telling sign of the Kadaj duplicate's major influence, the brother's Sephiroth delivered a powerful electric blow.

It was then that the sky went dark, and the original Sephiroth struck back so hard the brother's Sephiroth went reeling back far enough that it allowed time for Sephiroth to drive Masamune right through the other's heart.

The crowd watched with bated breath and waited for the brother's Sephiroth to fall, but instead…only Loz came falling from the sky. When he hit the ground, it was with an accompanying crack that every one of them heard. He lied there, officially broken. Yuffie thought to run to him, but before she could his body was disintegrating too, and she and everyone else stood shocked, as he disappeared into his own bright lift energy.

Both Sephiroth's rode the invisible current of the night air, looking down at what had just happened. The Brother's Sephiroth did not lose shape, but everyone watching seemed to understand what it meant. That it was only two brother's maintaining the form now, and that depending on the fatality of the blow, they could both be torn from the form.

Yuffie knew what it meant.

Sephiroth smirked.

"Have you realized that it's over yet?"

The other Sephiroth was still looking to where Loz had died. He said nothing, only hoisted Yazoo's Velvet Nightmare up and cocked it. The original Sephiroth only laughed but was quickly shut up when the barrel was thrown against his face. Masamune came out again, but this time the brother's Sephiroth could afford the space and moved farther away in better range to shoot. The first shot grazed a shoulder, the second was dead in the heart.

Tit for tat.

The original Sephiroth keeled, swept out madly with the long blade, as he swept over in a flash of silver.

"You won't make me look like a fool." He said, and this was the only time there was any semblance of a smile on the brother's Sephiroth's face. But he still kept that eerie silence, the very hallmark of the middle brother. But it was a smile with a cost, because the original Sephiroth had gotten close enough to knock the gun from his hands. When it when sailing down to the ground, the brother's Sephiroth tried to land a physical hit but it was too late and this time when Masamune went through the heart, Sephiroth twisted the blade.

Yazoo came sailing down towards the ground. The Brother's Sephiroth still kept the form, and only glanced once at the falling brother before he turned back to face the original Sephiroth.

"Now we're the same." The original Sephroth said.

"No, we will never be the same."

"Really Kadaj? Tell me, is it lonely in there? Do you think now about all of the things you failed to achieve, reunion, mother? Do you see now what real power is, what fear is?"

"I want none of it, Sephiroth. Not the power you so often chase, not your ideas of family, not mother, and I've known fear long enough. In the form of your voice in my head, and in the form of a mother's love always out of reach. I don't want it anymore. I don't…need it anymore."

"And what will you have then, what will you be?" This was the same question Sephiroth had asked him before. The one he hadn't had the answer for. Sephiroth was the embodiment of all the power, pain and potential he only just barely skimmed the surface of. But he was also the same as he always was, playing the same games, working towards the same ends. Sephiroth, the golden brother he'd never been able to match, was shackled, limited. A delusional slave. And then Kadaj knew his answer, that now he was…

"Free. I'll be free." With that, he tightened his grip on Souba and thrust it into Sephiroth cold, persistent heart. He had used Sephiroth's moment of incomprehension to his advantage, but in terms of who was driving both General's minds there were very much the same. The original Sephiroth had used the time they were talking to cast his own spell. Even as the Brother's Sephiroth was twisting Souba deep into Sephiroth heart, his own energy was draining at an alarming rate, so much so that he could barely hold onto the hilt.

But he held on and he twisted, until he saw that tell tale life energy. And as he delivered the last fatal twist, Masamune came down one more time and slide through his own heart.

This time, both men came falling back to the ground. Halfway to the ground, Kadaj had turned back and when he hit the ground Yuffie was there, kneeling by his side. He was bloody, broken, and she knew from the green light, beyond repair. She didn't even care to know what had happened to the original Sephiroth, but she could see that by the cloud of black energy, that he was already gone.

Kadaj opened his eyes and looked up at her, and she saw nothing else. Not everyone watching them, not the night sky, nothing. Just him. She leaned her head into his bloody chest, and tried not to cry. She failed, but didn't really care if anyone saw anyway. There were tears and blood on her face.

"I told you so many times to go away, and you never listened." He said, and she inhaled sharply.

"Yeah, and that's why…" she wiped at her eyes, "That's why you can't go, Kadaj please…" He shook his head.

"You're so…stubborn." She laughed through her tears.

"Yeah, everyone says I never know when to give it up." She tried not to weep too hard, but his body was already dissolving under her fingers. He closed his eyes. "Don't forget me okay?" she breathed, and he opened his eyes again, and looked at her. Looked at her for a long time. It felt as potent as the first time he'd ever turned his eyes on her, and she shook as brown met green for the last time.

She saw everything she ever need to see there, all the words he'd never spoken, prevented by pride or lack of understanding, all the words he'd meant to say but hadn't had the chance or time, and all the things he'd ever said that meant other things, or meant exactly what they meant.

It was enough. And when he closed his eyes this time, he didn't open them again and she leaned down in the warm place where his body had been, she cried all the tears she had managed to hold back all those times he was cruel, when she knew that he had her heart and didn't want it.

She cried happy bitter tears for him and his found purpose, and the one time he'd touched her with tenderness, let her know in his own biting words, that she had his heart as well.

It was enough.

She knew that he had done the best thing, but she was great ninja Yuffie, princess of Wutai and she was selfish. The safety of the planet was an insignificant thing, in the wake of what she'd had, even as her friends came to hold her and pick her up and tell her that it was a noble thing. Yes, she'd known it was. She known him as he was alive, watched in awe at his stark metamorphosis. She was sure he would remember her, but…

That just wasn't quite enough.

The End.

A/N: So, there it is. I really, really, hope you all liked it, because I felt that this was the best way to end it. I had given up on this so many times, but then I'd keep on getting encouragement from you guys. Seriously, you all have been so awesome, after a while I knew I had to finish this up. I really can't rave about you guys enough. And I really wanted to make this worthy of the ridiculously long wait. I'm so sorry. But unfortunately this might be it from me, it was an amazing run, but it seems I've fallen out of this fandom. It makes me sad, and I'll miss it, but I'm just not as in love as I used to be. But I knew I couldn't just leave these loose ends when we were so close! Again you guys are amazing, and this time I won't see you later. XD Take care of yourselves!