Disclaimer: I own nothing but my notebook.
Notes: I love my own little brother who brought this movie home to me. I find it odd that the image on the back cover never actually happens in the movie. It's beautiful. Here's my interpretation.
Oh yeah, spoilers if you've not seen Advent Children.
Kadaj lost himself and was found again in a flurry of midnight feathers.
Sephiroth had been birthed from his reunion with Mother. He'd felt the one winged angel spawn within every cell of his being as he forced her flesh into the cradle of his own. Sephiroth had always been a part of him, perhaps all of him in a cellular sense, and now that genetic material, his treasured legacy, blazed with awakened fire. A commanding will arose from what had been a silent specter eternally scratching at the back of his mind. The overwhelming power of Sephiroth arose and Kadaj sank quietly beneath the tidal wave, falling in awed stillness before the glory of his mother's chosen son.
They had fought. Cloud had won. Sephiroth and Mother were gone forever and now...
...there was only Kadaj.
That word struck a terror into his heart like nothing he had ever known.
As his feet touched down onto the rooftop battleground he felt the pain of his lengthy battle rushing back to him, he felt the molten fire of Sephiroth's mortal wounds, he felt the ache of betrayal and terrible loss of Mother's ultimate choice, and he felt death itself as his mother's wonderful gift, her own precious cells, died within and among his own, taking his own life force with them.
His body fought the darkness, fought the pain, trying to stand and face his foe even as it could barely draw breath into broken lungs. Cloud was still there, standing tall, sword in hand, Cloud who had killed Sephiroth, Cloud who had shattered all their plans for a joyous Reunion, Cloud who had killed their mother!
Souba somehow still hung in his hand, so he charged, throwing every ounce of strength into the attack. If Mother must die at least he could send Cloud with her...
...but it wasn't enough. He didn't even make it within striking distance before his strength was gone and his legs collapsed, sending him tumbling to the hard steel along with his useless double blade. He knew death would be swift in the form of Cloud's Buster sword, but somehow he didn't feel the sting of cold metal. Opening large slitted eyes revealed a face -- a familiar face.
"Big Brother..." His voice was weak, a mere whisper in the wind, but Cloud nodded down at the limp form cradled in his arms. Kadaj could not move, could scarcely breathe, but he stared up with wonder at the expression of... regret on his brother's face.
Mother was gone. Sephiroth was gone. Yazoo and Loz... he didn't know. Everything he'd fought and longed for his entire life had vanished in a cloud of black feathers and now, here he lay in his brother's arms. Kadaj had lived for his family. He had no other purpose, no other joy or hope. Now, the only family left to him, was gazing into his eyes with such sadness, it shattered the decayed fragment that remained of his heart.
His hand reached up of its own accord, he lacked the strength to lift it himself, and cupped his brother's cheek.
"I'm sorry, Brother, for the trouble I've caused. No hard feelings, ne?" The plea was forced between shuddering gasps, velvety voice gone raspy against the pain.
Cloud blinked and he felt something wet splash onto his cheek. Was Big Brother crying? No, surely not. Not for him. It must be the rain, for the skies had opened, dropping one, then two, then a hundred upon hundred drops of planet infused water. Kadaj hardly noticed as the tiny teardrops stung his skin, burning away at his familial genes. His body hurt so fiercely that his skin had grown rather numb. At least now he could feel Big Brother holding him again. His hand slid from his brother's cheek, rising to catch the falling water against his palm. He could feel the burn even through the leather, but didn't mind. This must be his end. Maybe he could join Mother and the others in the Lifestream.
For a moment Cloud stared upward, awed by the soothing beauty of the natural planet, of Aerith, but the body in his arms shuddered, demanding his attention. Kadaj gazed with wide turquoise eyes at the falling water, but Cloud saw the angry red welts begin to appear where it touched his frost white skin. He reacted immediately, swinging the fallen boy down to the rooftop as he shifted his own body over top. This was not Sephiroth. He did not need to die for the other man's sins. No one had to die today.
Kadaj blinked up in childlike wonder as Cloud's body covered his own, shielding him from the deadly fall.
"Brother?" Cloud's sapphire eyes now shone with determination, glaring into his own with a strict command: hold on. "Big Brother, why...?"
But his question was never finished as the outside world came crashing back in. A ship approached overhead, coming to block out the rain, and his brothers appeared a short distance away on the rooftop. They too, saw the dry shadow of the ship and dove for its relative safety, rolling to their feet and aiming battered weapons at the blond warrior.
"We all go together."
"And together we can play."
Yazoo sounded as bad as Kadaj felt, his soft voice shattered into a bark of rough painful edges and Loz wasn't much better, but he twisted his neck upward at the sound, eyes gazing in burning relief upon his older brothers. The curtain of water held them back, but it would not stop a bullet. They paced with the shadow of the approaching ship, drawing ever closer as their aim remained on Cloud's golden head. The explosion had not been kind. Burned leather and flesh gave little ground to charcoal, dirt and bruises, all streaked with angry red welts from the deadly rain. Their steps were shaky but their hands were firm. It didn't take much finesse to hit a stationary target. Still, the rain kept falling, and Cloud wasn't moving.
Kadaj stared up at his big brother with wide unbelieving eyes. After all the fighting, all the loss, they were still a family. They were brothers forever, with or without Mother.
Kadaj's smile vanished as a bullet whizzed a centimeter above Cloud's back. The next would not miss. He had lost everything today. He would not lose more family.
"No!" Without a second thought the silver haired boy threw his arms up over Cloud's head, shielding his big brother from gunfire even as his own body was being protected. The vile rain splashed over his hands and arms, biting through the dark leather to eat away at his fair skin, but he ignored it, focusing on the startled gasp he felt against his chest. Water dripped into his hair, down his neck and across his shoulders. He buried his face in the knit shoulder of Cloud's vest, savoring the sensation of warmth even as his body screamed at the slightest movement.
Yazoo blinked as the youngest of their little trio threw his arms around their enemy. What new chaos was this? Where was Mother and what had happened to the Reunion? Yazoo started slightly when Loz placed a large hand on his pistol blade, gently pushing it downward and away from Kadaj and Cloud. What could be happening? He looked up into Loz's equally confused eyes with the sense of falling. When had the ground been ripped away from their feet?
As Sierra finally moved to cover the prone pair, Cloud shifted carefully off to the side, lifting Kadaj once more to rest gently in his arms. The boy's brilliant eyes were beginning to lose their focus, fluttering as they wandered back and forth across his face. That last effort to protect him from his brothers seemed to be more than the small nearly-human body could handle, but Cloud could do nothing as tiny convulsions raced through the limp frame.
Yazoo and Loz stood close now, still wary, but lost, unsure. They looked at their little brother with something akin to fear and Cloud cast his eyes purposefully between the three, a silent invitation backed by a silent warning. Yazoo hesitated, tossing torn glances between brothers as he fought to understand what was going on and what it all might mean, but the larger brother stepped forward, moving slowly until he knelt by Kadaj's side.
Darkness was coming, streaming in like Sephiroth's black mako, but Kadaj found his brother's eyes glowing bright against the blackness and smiled.
Yazoo was there in a flash, gazing down at his sibling with such desperation Cloud feared he may rip himself apart.
"Brother, are you...? What can we...? What do we do now?" The soft plea dissolved into a wail as the proud boy begged like a frightened child. Kadaj was their leader, their light, their brother. How could he and Loz go on without him? Kadaj couldn't leave them! He couldn't! There was no life without Kadaj to shape it. They would be lost without him, completely undone.
"And where is Mother?" The whimper was so tiny, so broken, it barely reached Cloud's ears, but Kadaj heard, and he understood. He smiled sadly and raised damaged arms to embrace his siblings with a feather-light touch.
"Mother is gone now." The two drew back with horrified gasps, pain and terror clear in their bright green eyes, but pulled close as Kadaj continued, voice growing weaker by the second. "But everything... will be alright. Don't worry. Listen... to Big Brother. He'll take care of us."
Cloud blinked. He would?
He felt the weight shift in his arms as Kadaj's body fell completely slack, finally drifting into unconsciousness, and was startled by the agonized wail that rose from Loz. Yazoo merely whimpered, a tiny sound that forced its way out through clenched teeth. He clutched at Kadaj, tangling frantic fingers in black leather and silver hair, searching, pleading for some sign of life or hope. His little brother was hurt, was dying right here in Cloud's arms, and there was nothing he could do.
The blond warrior waited silently as the brothers fought back their grief and returned to themselves. Finally, twin pairs of green mako eyes turned up to his. They were terrified, lost and alone for the first time in their lives, but Kadaj had said to trust Big Brother.
Cloud looked upon the two silver haired men, fierce deadly warriors, now looking to him with the pain of lost children. They were orphans now, Jenova and Sephiroth both gone for good, everything they had lived for shattered in the wake of his Buster blade. Cloud looked into their glowing slitted eyes and realized, with sudden clarity, that he would take care of them. Kadaj was right. Kadaj had been right all along. No matter how twisted the means, they were family. They were Cloud's family.
He stood slowly, gently lifting and cradling Kadaj, as Yazoo and Loz backed away, unsure and afraid. Cloud faced them, calm and quiet, until their eyes came to meet his.
"We can still help him."
The brothers stood still and silent, waiting for the catch they knew must be coming.
"Will you help me and listen to me?"
Yazoo and Loz looked at one another, then back at Kadaj, pale and silent in Cloud's arms. Big Brother was their enemy. He had betrayed them, turned against Mother and the family, but Kadaj had protected him. Kadaj told them to listen. Kadaj had faith in Big Brother.
"Yes." This time it was the smaller brother to move first, bowing his head slightly in acceptance. Loz nodded as well, eyes never leaving Kadaj's pale face.
"You can't hurt anyone." This time Cloud made them meet his sapphire gaze, making sure they understood. This was not negotiable and their freedom was forfeit.
Both men nodded. They understood. If Mother was gone, there was no more reason to fight. All they wanted was their family. All that mattered was Kadaj.
"Please..." Yazoo's voice was pleading again, but Loz's held a tone of determination.
"Please take care of Little Brother."
Cloud nodded, accepting their sincerity. Sierra had landed directly overhead, still shielding them from the deluge, and Cloud turned to carry Kadaj onboard, trusting his brothers to follow.
Yazoo and Loz moved slowly, still hesitant, but unwilling to let their brother out of their sight. He needed them. Yazoo bent to pick up Souba as he passed, but made sure to keep it in a loose downward grip. He did not want to test Big Brother's generosity so soon, but he refused to leave the double blade behind. Kadaj would want it when he woke, and Yazoo would do anything to make his little brother happy.
Cloud watched Yazoo's motion from the corner of his eye. He saw the reverence with which he held the blade, and also the effort to remain non-threatening. The three really did care for one another. Cloud no longer doubted that fact. Yazoo and Loz had scarcely taken their eyes from their fallen brother since they first spotted him. He trusted the two elder boys not to do anything that would endanger their younger sibling.
Kadaj was warm in his arms, and though he was gravely injured, Cloud vowed that the boy would survive. He glanced down at his own arm, still vaguely awed to see smooth skin from shoulder to wrist. Aerith had granted him a new chance at life. He, in turn, would share this gift with Kadaj, his little brother, his family.
As the four brothers ascended Sierra's ramp, many faces looked down with surprise and suspicion, but held their peace. They trusted Cloud. Tifa was there to meet him, wide brown eyes darting across the body cradled to his chest. Her fists came up as Yazoo and Loz appeared at his back, Souba in hand, but Cloud just nodded toward the small silver haired man, then to Tifa.
Yazoo clutched the sword to his chest. No! It belonged to Brother! How could he just hand it off to this woman? But Big Brother's eyes were firm, and they were to follow Big Brother. Kadaj had said. With an unhappy frown, Yazoo offered Souba's hilt to the black clad woman. She didn't look much happier about the idea, but took the double bladed weapon with grace, glancing back to Cloud. Cloud nodded to Yazoo, then turned to his lifelong friend.
"Sephiroth is gone for good." She nodded, a small smile curving sweet lips, before looking back toward Kadaj and his brothers.
"So what about them?" Her voice was pleasant and light, surprising Loz with its gentleness. Did she not hate them -- hate him?
Cloud glanced back at Yazoo and Loz, then down to the boy resting in his arms.
"They are... family."
x x x
Notes: So this is my first attempt at Final Fantasy VII or Advent Children. I hope it stands up. If I've gotten things wrong, please let me know. I'm really unsure about the name of Cid's new ship.
I just thought the brothers weren't so bad. They were just made for a singular purpose, to raise Sephiroth. They didn't even kill anyone to get what they wanted. Without the looming possibility of Sephiroth, I thought they deserved a chance at a free life just as much as the geostigma victims. So, what do you think?