A/N: Written for the 30 nights community challenge. Prompt: 001 - You were never mine to begin with.
Warnings: None, worksafe.
Disclaimer: Square Enix owns all.
Together on their own
It is such a beautiful night, he thought. The ragged moonlit sides of the mountains stood out against the overall darkness, the glittering snow-covered peaks reaching up to the pitch-black sky like hands raised up in a mute prayer. Millions of stars twinkled above him and his two brothers, one of which was sleeping soundly and the other... The other was wide awake and possessed with heavy thoughts he could not shake off, not even if his older brothers tried to help him.
Yazoo could clearly see his younger brother in the distance, standing stock-still as if he were nothing but a statue. His fragile-looking form was darker than black against the starlit sky, and if not for the moonlight playing in his silver hair, average eyes would never be able to notice him. Yazoo's eyes, however, were not those of an average human. Giving off a faint pale green glow, they saw more than he ever let on.
Even now, though his gaze was locked on his brother's silhouette, Yazoo saw something more than just the corporeal form. He took notice of how stiff Kadaj's shoulders were and how his hands had clenched into such tight fists that, without those gloves on, his nails would have pierced his skin and drawn blood. And beyond all that, Yazoo could almost see what was going through his younger brother's mind. He saw the nightmares haunting Kadaj nightly because he could see their shadows in his own mind. Not nearly as strong and barely above a whisper, but they were still there as a reminder, a warning of what was going to happen.
Yazoo did not know what the youngest of them was thinking because Kadaj never shared his thoughts; neither of them did. And the remnant had grown himself a shell, had withdrawn to a place deep inside him that kept his memories locked away as well as housed the visions of the future that could have been if only...
But things never went the way they wanted them to be. Someone already had a plan set out for the trio and all they had to do was follow it. Subconsciously, but follow it to the tiniest detail and do as bidden.
And they did. Holy help them, they did...
Kadaj stood on the edge of the cliff, gazing into the black abyss below and feeling lost, so very lost... He did not know what the future held for him, he was barely aware of the thoughts in his mind, of the voice that spelled out his actions beforehand, that made him act upon an instinct that was not entirely his own, that could never be his own... And yet it was. He had acknowledged it with some strange clarity once, and did not fight it anymore.
Oh, how he had fought! In the very beginning, he had done everything in his power to keep control over himself, to keep control over his thoughts and actions. He had succeeded, at first. But when Mother's voice had entered his consciousness and kept haunting him even in his sleep, he had realized that it was all futile. Right then he had known that he was going to fail the struggle against the other's mind, that he would surrender himself to the other's will.
He had been afraid. So afraid, in fact, that he had distanced himself from his older brothers. It had hurt him to do so, perhaps more than it hurt his brothers because those two still had one another to hold on to. He had watched them from a distance, envious of all the small things they shared, the barely noticeable gestures they used to communicate without words, envious of the special bond they had formed and strengthened, and regretful of burdening them with his presence.
And so he pretended that he did not care. Pretended that his brothers' closeness was something to be scorned and scoffed at, something that had no place in their little three-way relationship. His brothers did not argue against this command. They never did. Silent acceptance was their only response.
After that, Loz devoted himself to strenuous and merciless training, making his speed and strength increase dramatically; his devotion and drive worth admiration. Yazoo, on the other hand, had distanced himself from his brothers even more, hardly talking to anyone lest it was a monosyllabic answer to a direct question that he could not avoid, or an insult that was just too irresistible to be kept in. And Kadaj... Kadaj had become vengeful. He obliterated every small thing that got in his way, with each time eliminating some sort of a barrier inside him. He knew that, once the last vestiges fell, he would be swallowed by a wild torrent, drowned under a force far too great to counter, to comprehend. It was living within him, that unnamed force, and it would break free one day and then there would be nothing more... nothing left.
And he did not know whether he wanted for this moment to come as soon as possible or to forestall if forever.
Yazoo saw Kadaj shudder. It was barely noticeable, but it was still there, and he wished to walk up to his little brother and hold him through the night until darkness faded, until his fears dissipated and sun shone right into his eyes and into his soul once again. And he remembered – a little too late – that they had no souls. They had not been created with them. But still he wondered what that strange feeling in his chest was, that inexplicable swelling and tightness that reappeared every time he saw his brother in such a distressed state. If he was truly a soulless thing, should he be feeling anything at all? Should he even care so much for something that was his brother and yet was not?
Slowly, without even thinking about his actions, Yazoo got up and approached Kadaj, silently wondering about how light and soundless his own steps were on the rocky ground and how drawn he was to the youngest of the three of them. He pondered the feeling that made him long to be with his brother, to keep him close and never let go. It was inexplicable, almost like the same feeling that drove them onwards in search of something nameless that Kadaj had opted to call 'Mother'.
There was but one thing that Yazoo knew for sure – when he was with his brother, he felt more complete, more at ease with the world, but Kadaj rarely chose to acknowledge his existence as if being afraid to lose the cool façade he had developed.
And it hurt. It hurt to have a dearly cherished brother ignoring him, but Yazoo had learned to deal with it the way he was dealing with everything else. It never lessened the inexplicable pain he felt in his chest, though.
Kadaj tensed even more, feeling his brother approach. He knew that it was Yazoo. Only Yazoo could walk as lightly and soundlessly as moonlight on water, and the teen scoffed at himself for such a silly comparison. He was not supposed to think about anything other than finding Mother. But he sinned against that resolve every time Yazoo was near, every time just the two of them were awake while Loz slept or was gone investigating one thing or another. And the teen was not sure whether he should appreciate or loathe the distraction his older brother provided.
Yazoo was dangerous in his own special way and Kadaj often felt an alarming thrill when watching him. It had taken time for the teen to realize that the possibility of getting closer to Mother was not the only reason why he enjoyed those hours of torturing humans. It was Yazoo's voice and movements that kept him glued to the spot, made his body tense like a string and kept him almost breathless in anticipation and a strange sense of admiration. And if he ever felt misguided or disappointed when the interrogations were fruitless or revealed only the information he was already aware of, his older brother's presence soothed the rage and helped to settle his sorrow to a more bearable ache.
Yazoo stopped by Kadaj's side and patiently waited to be acknowledged with a small nod. It did not happen, but he chose to remain where he was until his brother said aloud that his presence was burdening him. That did not happen, either.
And so they stood side by side, comfortable in their silence, until it became jarring and the need to break it arose. Still, they held back for as long as they could.
Since Kadaj had not snapped at him yet, Yazoo took that as his incentive to speak up.
"We'll be there soon."
Kadaj nodded at the silent statement. He continued looking away at some faraway spot. There, in that direction was Midgar.
"We'll find her."
Kadaj shot his brother a quick glare, thinking that he should be the one saying it, that he should be the one reassuring his brothers, but it rarely worked that way. They knew for a fact that Reunion was inevitable. It was only the time and place that was unknown. And more often than not, a reassurance like this was very welcome.
And so, Kadaj only nodded in agreement. "We will. And they won't be able to stop us."
Yazoo inclined his head, contemplating those words. They had so many enemies, so many humans trying to prevent them from reaching their goal. It was unfair, he thought. They had done nothing wrong, they were not doing anything wrong, yet humans treated them as if they were. It made Kadaj angry, and when he got angry, he could kill without a second thought.
It was troublesome, Yazoo admitted to himself, but it was also understandable, as he himself had been there more than once. He knew what was going through his brother's mind when the outbursts of violence occurred. It was something they all felt, even if to a lesser degree, when another unwanted obstacle came in their path. It was irksome and it was annoying, and Kadaj wanted to get rid of it as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Yazoo met his younger brother's gaze with a hint of wonder that soon turned into understanding and he nodded his agreement. It was one of those nights again. A night that would be better spent on the road, moving forward and closer to their goal, because the voices in Kadaj's head had grown too loud for him to sleep or rest. Yazoo knew that it was as much of a burden as it was a blessing. Even though sometimes he would much rather have the ghosts haunting his own mind instead of his little brother's, the Remnant also knew that it was not meant to be.
Silence was Yazoo's armour. And having Mother's voice haunting his mind, he would much rather suffer in silence and see his brothers live on happy and not knowing of the destiny that was set out for them. But Kadaj was the most open to Mother's influence, the most willing to respond, the most determinate and the neediest for acknowledgment. It made him the perfect choice for carrying out Mother's plan. A small lie here, half a truth there, and the promise of a Reunion was all he needed to try and prove himself more capable than his predecessor.
Kadaj was many things. There were even more that he was not. He was, for example, Yazoo's brother, but it was only a title used for convenience to refer to him and Loz as well. He was the youngest of the three, but it was irrelevant. It was meaningless.
Yazoo could never say that Kadaj was his. Not his brother. Not his companion. Not even his leader. Saying so would be lying. And Kadaj hated liars.
The possession worked only one way. There was only one way to say who belonged to whom. Because Kadaj did not belong. He did not belong to anyone; not even himself. He was Mother's. And he would always be Mother's.