Lizard and Fly

Kadaj watched with an twisted expression of glee as the last of the children finished drinking the black water. How perfectly his plan was moving along, even with the President's persistent lies.

"Denzel," he heard a soft murmur from behind him. He turned around and studied the small girl that Loz had brought along before allowing a smirk to form once again. "Denzel, Denzel, Denzel," he laughed while walking towards the girl. "Is that all you know how to say?"

She glared up at him as he came near, then slowly began to realize that he was the most powerful of her three captors and attempted to hide herself behind Loz, holding on tightly to his hip.

"You're like a fly," Kadaj commented with a frown, and the knelt down and looked at her. "A stubborn pest until you realize something bigger is coming."

"I'm not a fly," she replied sharply, hiding her face from the madman.

"So you do speak," Kadaj laughed, and then tilted his head with a bit of curiosity. "What is your name?" He frowned when she didn't answer him. "Where are you from?" Again, there was no answer. He growled at her boldness, and then grabbed her arm and pulled her away from Loz. "What is your name?" he demanded again.

Loz watched with a frown as the girl whimpered, and then glanced away quickly when he felt a lump in his throat. The last thing he wanted was for his brothers to see him cry over a little girl that meant almost nothing to any of them. He cleared his throat, and then spoke up when he realized Kadaj was going to strike the girl. "The woman called her Marlene," he stated evenly while looking to his youngest brother.

"Marlene," Kadaj repeated thoughtfully, and then looked at her with a smirk. "So now I know you. My name is Kadaj. Lets befriends, now that we're no longer strangers."

"I don't want to be friends with you," Marlene replied quickly while looking away.

Kadaj growled softly, both annoyed and impressed with her stubborn behaviour. Even the great President Rufus often tripped over his words when Kadaj was about, yet even when this little girl was frightened, she continued to be strong when she did speak. He thought for several minutes before shaking his head, and then smiled at her. "It must be hard to see your friend sick. Denzel, was it? You must fear for his life sometimes."

Marlene whimpered at the reminder, and then looked angrily at him. "Denzel is going to get better!"

"My dear, he already is getting better," Kadaj laughed. "Kaa-san is making him strong right now, preparing him for our family's Reunion."

"Reunion, Reunion, Reunion," Marlene replied sharply. "Is that all you know how to say? Denzel's and my family is back in Edge. All the kids here are not part of your family."

Kadaj laughed while standing up, and then began circling the girl. "They are indeed a part of my family. They share Kaa-san's cells and agreed to help the Reunion when they drank from the lake. They all understand their place." He came to a stop at the edge of the lack and grasped the shoulder of a young boy before guiding him over to Marlene. "Including your beloved Denzel."

Marlene stared at her friend shakily, tears threatening to reveal themselves for all to see. His eyes were similar to Kadaj's cunning, lizard-like eyes. Cold and distant. "Denzel..."

"If you are lonely," Kadaj began with a strange gentleness in his voice, "you could join Denzel." When he had the young girl's attention, he smiled. "Become a part of our family. Wouldn't you like to have lots of brothers and sisters?"

"I already have big brothers and sisters," she replied sternly. "I have Papa and Cloud and Tifa and everybody else. So does Denzel. We don't need your family."

"You have no mother," Kadaj pointed out in a matter-of-fact tone. "And if you have such a great family, why didn't Cloud come to save you and Tifa? Why wouldn't he tell you he's our brother?"

Marlene watched him with a rigid glare as he spoke, and then glanced to the ground. "He doesn't want others to know he's sick," she replied quietly. She didn't really know why Cloud was the way he was, but she didn't want Kadaj to know that. She looked up quickly and defiantly. "You guys just got lucky. It isn't going to happen again."

"You're right," Kadaj said cooly. "The next time, whoever gets in our way will die."

Marlene stared up at him nervously, and then deciding she was safest with Loz, she ran back to the eldest of the three brothers and hid behind him before speaking up again. "Cloud is coming for you," she said softly, leaving Kadaj to watch with admiration for her determination to use every last ounce of her strength.