A/N: Hey people, how are you all doing? This is my third fic, which, similarly to the others, stars the SHM with Yazoo as the leading man. The 1st chapter is Kadaj's POV to set the scene though.
This fic follows on from Ame ni Matte, my other story which bases on Kadaj, Yazoo and Loz when they were younger. In this fic, Kadaj is 12, Yazoo is 17 and Loz is 18 - this is important because I don't want complaints from people saying that they're way OOC or something.
Although it's been stated officially that Kadaj and co. are 'bodies of thoughts', I like to stick with them being clones, because 'bodies of thoughts' is a really lame, vague explanation. Blatantly Square Enix created such great characters, but couldn't quite explain how they got there.
Note: Just to say a big thank you to 343GuiltySpark for being the beta reader for this fic:)
Disclaimer: Characters are all copyright to Square-Enix. -sigh-
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Ameagari: After the Rain
Chapter 1: Temper Tantrums
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Sector 5 Slums of Midgar was as dull as just about any part of the city. Dark unfriendly streets weaved under the metal plate that served as a poor replacement for the sky, and if someone were to head down the ghostly empty road that was 3rd Street, they would find near the end of it, between two grim houses, a narrow home with a single light on upstairs.
Due to its small size, the home could barely be suited to house three teenagers. Yet in the cramped hallway, the musty bedroom, the disordered living room and the cupboard under the stairs, there was an indefinable air that this was not just any place. The kitchen displayed clear evidence that someone had atrocious cooking skills; it was surely no coincidence that the small holes on the wooden board outside by the front door looked suspiciously like bullet impacts. And as it were, number 21 of 3rd Street housed three brothers who were far from normal.
At the age of twelve, Kadaj's hormones had kicked in, and he spent a lot of his days aggravating his brothers and deliberately causing them grief. He hadn't differed much in his personality, if truth be told. He was as childish, conceited and illogical as ever. Madness still flickered in those green eyes of his, his lunacy accentuated by his signature smirk that often played on his lips. However, in a blink of the eye, Kadaj could rearrange his face to feign innocence and sweet naïveté perfectly.
In the bedroom, it had gone without argument that Kadaj, by far the youngest and temperamental of the three, got the cushy spot: where the draught from the old window just missed him and where the carpet was in tact. He lay still on his sleeping bag, the back of one hand resting on his forehead. Kadaj's silver hair was kept short and jagged, with an asymmetrical parting where the tresses gathered more over his right eye. He had (secretly) been trying to grow it to match that of his older brother, but it was so irritating to feel the strands tickling his back and neck that he virtually lost it one day and begged the oldest brother for a haircut.
It wasn't unusual for the lamp to be on whilst they settled in their beds, and that was courtesy to the middle brother, Yazoo. He had grown up to take the reputation of being the most handsome of the three: a tall, lithe seventeen-year-old that moved with effortless grace. His long, sleek hair tickled the pages of his book as he lay on his front, immersed in it and paying very little attention to anything else. In fact, it was common to have to address Yazoo twice before he responded. Yazoo had the cool air of composure and pensiveness but underneath it, there was a complex personality that was difficult for even his brothers to decipher.
On the three's rare outings together, Yazoo seldom participated actively in conversations, and to suit his character, he said absolutely nothing to strangers unless they said something first. And even if they did, it was highly likely that Yazoo would respond with a cutting remark, or simply a deadpan look. On first impressions, Yazoo could be labelled as withdrawn. He could even be labelled as shy. But he knew, and both his brothers knew, that Yazoo was far from it, and it was best to leave him as he was.
Kadaj liked the enigmatic air that surrounded his brother Yazoo. He sometimes wished that he could have the same powerful mystery, the inscrutable look in his eyes, the small smile that hinted he knew something you didn't. But Kadaj found it difficult to hide his emotions, and stop with his childishness that inevitably meant he could never be mysterious.
From under his hand and fringe, Kadaj watched Yazoo turn the page. The little rustling initiated by the book irritated Kadaj.
"I want the light off."
He moved the hand on his forehead to rest over the blankets, ensuring that his peeved expression could be seen. The furrowed eyebrows, pouting lips, narrowed eyes. It was perfect.
Yazoo didn't even look at him. He merely spoke, his voice low and placid, and continued to set his gaze on the tattered book. "Two more pages."
Kadaj stared. It went unnoticed. The book had captured all of Yazoo's attention successfully. The pea green eyes were moving from left to right, the slender hand was poised, ready to turn the page.
Kadaj sat up. "No, I want it off now."
He spoke clearly, firmly. It had the desired effect. Yazoo finally looked up from the book, eyeing Kadaj for a few wordless moments before reaching out to turn off the lamp. Triumphant, Kadaj settled back down in his bed, listening for the sound of Yazoo next to him.
Sure enough, there was some movement. Kadaj's eyes adjusted to the unlit room, and he was not at all impressed to see a willowy figure step over the sleeping bags to the door. Yazoo was as refined in the dark as he was by day.
The door opened and closed, briefly allowing for the landing light to illuminate the bedroom. And Kadaj saw Yazoo. Cotton pyjamas clothing long legs and a slim torso, jutting elbows and skinny waist. Book in hand.
There was nothing at first, but then, the door opened a fraction. Kadaj was in his sitting position again. At the far end of the room, the oldest brother rolled over.
"What is it Kadaj?"
Yazoo was stood at the door, still as ever. Kadaj ran his tongue over his dry lips. How could his brother not tell that he was hurt? Why would Yazoo choose to leave the room?
The book had to be really good.
"Come back here, you don't need to read." Kadaj laughed hopefully. "Come back here. Read in the morning."
Yazoo didn't reply. Kadaj waited. Subsequently, the door closed, and Yazoo was out of sight once more. Releasing a growl of frustration, Kadaj pushed back his hair and contemplated unleashing his fury by throwing the lamp. But even that wouldn't resolve his anger, if anger was the right word to describe his childish tantrums. All he wanted was for Yazoo to tear his eyes away from that book for once and sleep next to him; it wasn't too much to ask for.
"Loz!" Kadaj hissed through the dark after a few minutes. "Loz, are you awake?"
The oldest brother, Loz, made no sign that he had heard him. Sleeping soundly was one of the many things Loz could do which neither of his brothers could. Whilst Kadaj took hours to drift off, and Yazoo was a light sleeper anyway, Loz could drop off in a matter of seconds. There was very little that could rouse him, though this was the complete opposite when he was awake.
Kadaj could never understand how Loz could be so expressive about anything. The oldest displayed a passion for cooking and cleaning, and had a talent for being able to spot the beauty in things. He was frequently teased by both brothers (though admittedly, Yazoo was very tactful, knowing when to draw the line) for being simple-minded and although looking nothing like one, a bit of a cry baby.
Loz differed from Yazoo and Kadaj in terms of looks as well, where instead of a skinny, scrawny body, he was muscular, bulky and tough; his hair was kept short, swept away from his face. His love for cooking came only second to that of his workouts; he had forced open the back door of their house, and now used the backyard as a workspace for his stretches and exercise. With only one year between the two of them, Yazoo and Loz were often absorbed in conversations that Kadaj either failed to understand or pay attention to. He'd watch the two talk as they trained together: Loz's audible chuckle and twinkling eyes, Yazoo's quiet laugh and averted gaze.
"Loz, wake up!" Kadaj tried again.
Predictably, there was no response. Kadaj flopped back down in bed, his sigh fluttering the tips of his fringe. The silence continued, leaving Kadaj alone to dwell on his absent thoughts. It was a few minutes before once again, the door opened and Yazoo's silhouette could be seen before the hallway's light was switched off. Yazoo slid into bed beside Kadaj, the sheets ruffling quietly.
"Did you finish your chapter?" Kadaj tried to keep his voice indifferent, telling himself the answer didn't matter, but something told him that Yazoo knew that he was the careless attitude was pretend. Yazoo's reply was delayed, not because of hesitance, but simply due to the fact that the middle brother always took plenty of consideration in what he said.
"I went downstairs to check the front door was locked. And turn off all the lights."
"Oh, right," Kadaj smiled. "The book wasn't too good then?"
There was a chuckle, so faint that Kadaj almost wondered if he had imagined it. But it was definitely there, and Yazoo, who had been looking up at the peeling ceiling, looked over at him.
"…I read it at the same time."
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Kadaj was the first to get up the next morning. Loz was still fast asleep, curled up at the end of the room with the top of his head very close to the wall. Yazoo was half-awake, eyes staring into space with one hand fingering the sheets and silver tresses fanned out on the pillow, ruffled yet elegant. Then again, Kadaj noted as he pulled himself out of bed, there wasn't anything about Yazoo that wasn't elegant.
"Are you awake or sleeping with your eyes open?" Kadaj nudged the middle brother's arm. Yazoo's eyes flitted very slightly. Then, wordlessly, he sat up, pushing his hair out of his eyes and looking over at Loz.
"Niisan. Wake up."
Kadaj watched uninterestedly as Yazoo tapped Loz's shoulder.
"…Fifteen more minutes," came the muffled answer. Yazoo's expressionless face didn't change.
"Okay." Yazoo got up and walked past Kadaj, and after a few moments (where Kadaj was pondering whether to throw the blankets off Loz – he decided not to), followed. The worn carpet that lined the stairs and landing felt rough against his bare feet as he stepped out the bedroom and headed downstairs to the kitchen.
Kadaj was never the person to make breakfast, so he climbed onto the counter, banging his heels against the cupboard underneath, and waited for Yazoo to finish showering and give him food. It was a good twenty minutes, by which time Loz had also lumbered down the stairs. He nodded his head in greeting, ducking down to open the cupboard and at the same time, shift Kadaj's legs out of the way.
" Yazoo's making breakfast."
"Well, I'm in the kitchen before he is, so it looks like I'm making it." Loz closed the cupboard door with a foot, washing his hands and rolling up his sleeves. His T-shirt ruffled a little, and at his waist, a long-barrelled gun rested in its holster comfortably.
"Are you going to shoot someone today?"
"What?" Loz looked up from the eggs he had been cracking. "No, I'm training after breakfast."
Kadaj shrugged, frowning and looking away. No doubt Yazoo was going to train as well. Loz stirred the eggs, whistling and oblivious to Kadaj's miserable mood.
"I don't want eggs for breakfast." Kadaj spoke up after a few minutes of silence had passed. Loz only cheered up more, cutting off the whistling and smiling.
"Course you do. It's scrambled eggs, your favourite."
"It's not my favourite anymore."
Kadaj was pleased to see Loz lose some of his content air and sigh. The oldest brother stirred more vigorously, tipping the pan and giving him a weary look. Just as Kadaj was about to be reprimanded, Yazoo entered the small kitchen, as usual having nothing to say and making no sound. His entrance was always quiet and passive, but that didn't mean it was unnoticed.
The youngest brother slid off the counter, joining Yazoo at the counter next to Loz. Slender hands were working a knife, peeling the skin off an apple. It was the usual breakfast, Kadaj observed. Whilst Loz cooked up an expert serving of eggs and bacon, Yazoo opted for the simplistic sandwiches he shared with Kadaj. The apple came afterwards, where Kadaj ate the juicy part in the middle, and Yazoo took the peel.
"Loz and I'll be going out today." Yazoo spoke softly, still peeling the apple and not bothering to look at the brother at his side. "Do you want to come?"
"Not really. I can't shoplift, and that's your job anyway." Kadaj took the knife out of Yazoo's hand and examined it idly. "Do you want me to?"
Yazoo was smiling. A small tug at the corners of his mouth that Kadaj probably wouldn't have been able to see if he wasn't so close.
"…Would I have asked otherwise?"
Loz chuckled, giving Yazoo an amiable grin. "I dunno, Yazoo, you're a bit ambiguous these days."
Kadaj was about to ask what 'ambiguous' meant, but the movement of Yazoo's left arm caught his eye, and to his mild surprise, Yazoo took out a sheet of paper.
"They finished making Souba."
Kadaj knew that Yazoo was expecting for him to jump up and down with joy. So he didn't. He merely shrugged, pulling his sandwiches onto his plate.
"That was years ago. I don't care about it."
Loz made an audible tut at the ingratitude that was evident, but Kadaj was more interested in Yazoo's reaction. Only to find the middle brother didn't really have one.
"Okay then." The paper slid back into the jeans pocket underneath Yazoo's loose shirt. Kadaj scowled. It was plainly obvious that sooner or later, Yazoo was going to throw one of his bitchy moods that were worse than Kadaj's tempers. He walked round, lifted up Yazoo's shirt and took out the piece of paper.
"Fine, I'll go. Just to keep you happy."
"Out of curiosity more like," Loz replied airily. "I'd like to know what it is…"
Loz looked wistful for a moment, lost in thought and forgetting that his scrambled eggs were going cold.
Seeing his own brother curious made Kadaj ponder too about what this Souba was. That then led onto thoughts of if he'd be able to use it in the first place, whether he'd find his mother quicker with it. Maybe, if he didn't like it, he could swap with Loz and use a pile bunker instead. Then again, Dual Hound would no doubt slip off his skinny arm or pull it out of its socket even. Velvet Nightmare, Yazoo's trusted weapon, could also be another option for Kadaj, but of what he had seen of it, it looked difficult to handle one, let alone two.
Kadaj snapped out of his daydream, and to his fury, realised that both brothers had left the kitchen, leaving him by himself with a plate of sandwiches clutched against him. He glared at nothing in particular, and made his way to the living room to tell them off.
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A/N: Thanks for reading until the end :) I'm sorry if I kept Kadaj a bit too childish in this - let's just say that he hasn't matured at all since Ame ni Matte. Loz got a minor part as usual (why do I always do that!), but never mind - I'll make sure he gets a big part in the next one.
Please be nice and send a review - I really want to know what you think of it :)