A/N: Written for a LiveJournal 10settings community challenge using the prompt number 11 - Wonderland.

Warnings: None. Worksafe.

Disclaimer: Square Enix owns, I'm just borrowing the characters.


Into the Light

Silence.

White light.

It felt like freedom.

He felt oddly out of place here and at the same time – like it was the only place in the whole wide world where he could finally feel like home.

Kadaj opened his eyes to take a look around and discovered that there was nothing to see. He was floating in white nothingness, his body feeling feather-light; and he could finally say that he belonged only to himself. There were no voices in his head, no inexplicable urges to go somewhere and look for something, yearn for something so desperately that every failure was equal to having his heart ripped out of his chest, equal to slow suffocation. It was all gone now.

Somewhere between dying on that roof and opening his eyes here, in this white world, all of that empty yearning and pain had flowed out of him, leaving nothing but eternal peace and light behind. Such serenity was new to him.

Kadaj had not even completely figured out the meaning of his current situation, but it was sinking in slowly and steadily. He had not even begun to fully realise what the silence in his mind meant, had not fully begun to cherish it, when the realisation of something missing struck him so hard he nearly choked.

Once again, he was alone. He had been left behind just like he had left his brothers behind on that highway.

Before he knew it, he was starting to hate the silence surrounding him. If the voices of his Mother and Sephiroth would still be present, at least he would not feel so alone.

"Give them back!" he demanded even though there was no one to hear him, even though he was not sure what exactly he was asking for. Then and there, he was ready to exchange this peace and quiet for the endless whispering and haunting nightmares. "Mother! I want them back!"

"Soon you'll want the exact opposite."

Kadaj tensed up, so suddenly alerted to another person's presence when he had thought there was no one else around. Moreover – it was not possible to approach him without his notice, so the spoken words had to be a fruit of his imagination; all the more when he thought to have recognised the owner of the painfully familiar voice. He was used to hearing that half-mocking, half-amused tone every day, yet right now he was reluctant to believe his own ears.

Maybe his wish was being granted and the voices had returned?

Not remembering when and how he had stood up, Kadaj spun around, half-expecting it to be just a trick of his mind, mentally preparing himself to see the same white nothingness he had experienced all this time...

He was proven wrong instantly. The person standing just a few steps behind him was just as real as the last time they had seen each other.

"Yazoo."

Yazoo's smirk widened a little. "Welcome to the afterlife, Kadaj."

"After..." Kadaj fell silent. He had never pondered the existence of a place like this, never wondered what came after his life ended. Back then, it had not mattered. Neither he, nor his brothers had had the time to be concerned about something like that. The search for their Mother had been the only thing of importance.

"Where's Loz?" Kadaj asked to escape the silence filling the space between them. For some reason, it was making him feel uneasy.

Yazoo made an indefinite gesture. "Somewhere around. Making a complete fool out of himself. As usual."

The wish to laugh out loud was irresistible and Kadaj gave into it. He was quite surprised to discover that his laughter did not sound half as insane as it had been just a little while ago. This newly found freedom was intoxicating and the lack of things to worry about made Kadaj giddy. Suddenly having gained free will, he did not know what to do with it. Being allowed to make his own decisions, to concentrate on his own wishes, he did not know what he really wanted anymore.

One answer to the question he did not even know yet was already standing right in front of him – his brother. They were being reunited again, allowed to spend the rest of eternity together without any more sacrifices.

Yazoo tilted his head, showing the tiniest bit of interest in the subject he spoke about, "Should we go find him?"

"Wh- Oh, Loz?" Kadaj pondered about it for a moment. He really wanted to see the oldest remnant as well, make sure that he, too, was all right. "We should. Before he gets lost again."

The incredulous snort Yazoo made sounded exactly like Kadaj remembered it. He had half-expected, half-feared to see changes in his brother, but Yazoo was exactly the same; like none of the last events had taken place, like they had not died at all. It all seemed so strange to Kadaj because he had felt changes happening in him, in his mind; he even felt different now. But seeing that his brother had not changed one bit, he felt reassured again and decided that some things always remained the same no matter what.

After a short while of walking through the infinite whiteness, there came the discovery how good it felt just walking side by side with Yazoo, just knowing that he was not alone, that there was no need for words to be spoken to be understood. It seemed like just one look could tell everything that needed to be said.

Kadaj inclined his head, giving his brother a long sideway glance. Right now, there was one thing he wanted, no, needed to hear. "Yazoo?"

"Hm?"

"Don't leave me again."

The corner of Yazoo's lips quirked upwards. He had expected such a request from the minute he had seen Kadaj's arrival. "Not even if you tell me to."

Kadaj smiled to himself, very satisfied with the answer, and realised that with every passing moment he was feeling more and more like this was where he truly belonged, like he had finally found what he had been looking for all this time.