Kira: Dang, I thought I put this up MONTHS ago! So sorry everyone! This was made for last Christmas! No worries, for those who want a HAPPY ending, just review, and I'll put up the other half of it.


It made me so happy. He would be home for Christmas, after years of not being able to. I never thought that I'd be in this position, living a relatively normal life. I had remembered fading into the Lifestream, where Jenova was waiting, ready to re-claim my mind to twist. It seemed as though the Lifestream had a plan of its own. It reacted so violently to fight off Jenova that it released several occupants from its grip.

That was where the story, my story, the beginning of my new life, began. I had remembered it being cold, even in my warm leather outfit. I couldn't open my eyes, but I remember a familiar voice talking in the background after a thud. From what I remember Big Brother telling me, Reno had found me, and had called him while nearly having a heart attack. The day before Christmas had been when Zack, Sephiroth, Genesis, Angeal, my two brothers, and I had been reborn, to say the very least. Sephiroth had seemed to regain his sanity, but guilt immediately set in as he, along with the other four of us, was nursed back into consciousness.

It's now been four years since that day exactly. Christmas Eve was upon us, and I had lots to do. Thus begins my running about on my annual last minute Christmas shopping. It was going to be such a wonderful day, especially with me being able to see Reno for the first time in three months, due to him being on an information gathering mission coupled with a few criminal tracking down on the side. I just couldn't wait…

- - - - - - - - -

He could not stop fiddling with his phone. It was not only that he was still slightly agitated and annoyed at the looks he was getting from the individuals around him, but he was more anxious about a certain Turk calling him. It was surprising to see the youngest remnant in such casual everyday clothes. His eyes were still the same mako enhanced color, cat slitted in nature, both fascinating and frightening at the same time. Medium long tresses of pure silver moonlight flowed down to his shoulders, hiding his right eye in a teasing manner.

His clothes were bought by none other than Cloud when he had decided to take the three brothers out on a clothes shopping spree. Tifa had scolded them for wearing the same exact outfit each day, especially since she considered it too hot to be in. Though he at first had protest with his brothers, the current outfit was his personal favorite to wear now. A black turtleneck shirt graced his top figure, as a red scarf, a gift from Vincent Valentine, was wrapped around his neck. Jeans of jet black covered his legs, partly hiding those boots he always wore. Leather gloved covered his hands because of the slight cold. The most striking accessory that was on him was a Santa hat plopped onto his head. Cloud insisted on him wearing it, and by even sweet talking, or rather blackmailing, Sephiroth into agreeing with him, he had to comply.

"Mommy, isn't that one of the meanies that tried to hurt big sister?" The remnant nearly twitched at that, but his face remained neutral, hearing the comment come from the side where a small kid had been pointing at a few toys he wanted. He had thought that he had gotten used to hearing the remarks. But it seemed as if the people of Edge still couldn't let it go. It was pleasant enough to know that he was being tolerated, though several times he had spoken to Cloud about wanting to live somewhere else. Cloud wouldn't put up with that, wanting Kadaj to stay with them as a family. He had teasingly said he could move out if Reno ever decided to propose to him, but Kadaj had just rolled his eyes at the very comment while Cloud smirked at his little brother, like he knew something the young male didn't.

"Hush, son, don't be saying things like that!" the little boy's father said to him. Both he and the mother looked at Kadaj in nervousness, but he didn't move his head or his eyes from where he stood in line to purchase a few gifts. Most of the people looked nervous, but a few of them ignored him, to which he was pleased about. The line moved forward a few feet. He took the chance when it stopped to take out his phone, as if expecting a call. His intense staring could have melted the phone where it was clutched in a gloved hand. Still no call. The remnant sighed, pocketing the phone once more and shifted his weight, accommodating the weight of the presents in his arms, waiting to be checked out and wrapped.

Boredly, he considered taking out Souba, which still was attached to him no matter what, and threaten the people in front of him, but he knew his big brother would have murdered him for doing that, so he squashed the feeling. Getting things his way was a hard habit to throw away, even through the pressuring and scolding of the others, especially Cloud. His mind wandered, realizing how different things now were. Instead of being bent towards reviving Sephiroth and obtaining Mother, he actually had a life where he could choose his decisions instead of being forced to take certain ones. It was the freedom the remnants never knew, and now that they had it, it was almost a dream.

Unbidden, a small smile twisted the tips of his lips upwards, gently making the child-like remnant look even more angelic than he already did. Luckily for him, no one else had noticed. His thoughts turned to a certain Turk, taking a few steps forward when the line moved again, tuning out the excited chatter around him. The Turk was one of the ones mainly against letting Cloud take the remnants into their house, as well as trusting Sephiroth. It was almost funny when he thought back at it. He could still hear clearly what the Turk had said.

"You're crazy Cloud! How can you trust that spoiled brat after how he tried to kill you? He even tried to hurt Denzel, yo!"

When the remnant had heard that statement across the room, he had reacted so violently that he nearly severed Reno's head from his neck. His retort had echoed through the room, making everyone suddenly silent.

"You BASTARD! Do you even know how it felt to be manipulated, to have your actions played out before you and lied to since you were created?"

The silence that had settled around them after that was intense, tears spilling out from his eyes. Even the mighty general had to look away, having felt the same way. That had been the turning point in the remnants' lives, the others finally realizing what they had been through.

"Excuse me, young man; can I help you with those?"

The voice jerked him out of his walk through memory lane. Blinking his cat eyes, he stared at the cashier, a slightly old woman of forty years old. A few wrinkles stood out of her tanned forehead, caused by the stress of raising so many children, but a kind smile graced her lips, vivid brown eyes staring past dark brown hair. He silently nodded as the smile quickly dropped from his lips. He carefully sat his bundle of gifts on the counter, watching intently as she started to ring it up, and then gift wrapped them with another younger woman. Idly he glanced at the total amount the gift cost, fishing around in his low hanging jeans to find the small wallet his big brother gave him to keep his Gil in.

"Here you go, my dear boy. Happy Holidays to both you and your family." It was one of the kindest comments he had ever had around the small town. The woman surprisingly was one of a few that accepted him as he was now. He handed her the Gil required, but slipped in a generous amount extra, something even Cid would be shocked to see, as the youngest remnant wasn't known for such generosity.

"Keep the change and buy yourself something nice." he said in such a low voice, the woman was quite certain that he didn't say anything at all. With that said, he picked up the gifts and walked out. The unexpected action left the kind cashier staring after him, blinking before looking down at the extra Gil that had been passed into her hands.

Despite such odd glances he received when stepping outside the store, he continued, idly searching for the next place to shop at. So far he had gotten gifts for Yazoo, Cloud, Loz, Vincent, Marlene, Genesis, and Sephiroth. Yazoo's present, or rather presents, of course was books, around twelve of them, all heavy four hundred to a thousand pages long. His brother loved to read. Marlene's gift was a special one, as he almost now saw her as a little sister. He was getting her a small windowsill plant holder that could hold enough soil to provide a place to grow flowers. Sephiroth's gift was one no one would ever see, a big bundle of the only hair care products he would ever use on his long gorgeous hair. Cookbooks were something Genesis loved, and he loved making new recipes, so he had gotten half a dozen new books for him to look through and make. Vincent's gift was quite simple. He had heard of Vincent wanting a phone, so in a tiny package was a jet black phone with a design of a Cerberus on the back of it, perfect for him.

He had so many other gifts to get, especially a certain someone's gift, Reno's. A warm smile perked up his lips once more, heart warming his normally icy heart. Just a thought of the Turk made him so happy. When he had first come back out of the lifestream, he would have never thought he would fall for the clumsy Turk. But a few months later he had. It was hard to pinpoint when he had. Maybe it was when he stood in the rain, staring at the ruined Midgar Memorial Statue, reminiscing about what he had done while controlled by Jenova. Yes, that was probably then when the attraction first had sparked…

The only thing he remembered was being cold, so numb. It had been a week since he had donned casual clothes, even leaving his Souba at Cloud's house, his adopted home. But without his leather forbidding rain to even touch his skin, now he was soaked to the bone. It wasn't like he minded; his mind was too far gone, delving deep into his memories, almost as if he had forgotten where he was. His silver hair was plastered to his skin, ungloved hands slack against his side. Cat slitted eyes were unfocused, staring beyond the ruined statue. Even when a voice called out to him, he didn't respond, looking lifeless as he stood there.

"Hey, I'm talking to you! Cloud will kill you if he finds out you're still out here." When there was no reply, the owner of the voice walked closer, dry from the rain by having an umbrella over his head.

"Are you even listening to me?" Again, there was no answer. This time the red headed Turk reached out to shake the remnant's shoulder, which resulted in bring him back, blinking those enhanced eyes.

"What do you want, Turk?" Kadaj muttered, his soft voice barely even heard over the rain.

"I was ordered by Tifa to bring you back before Cloud notices you're not in your room." Reno said, staring at Kadaj. He still found it hard to trust the remnant at all. Most of the others had accepted Kadaj and had given him a second chance.

"I'll come back to the bar when I want to."

"It's past one in the morning." Reno said impatiently, a hand on one of his hips. Kadaj raised his eyes from the ruins to look slightly up. One in the morning? Perhaps that was why it was so dark. He had been standing there so lost in his thoughts that time seemed to be of no interest to him

"Is it truly that late?" he mused to himself quietly. He slowly glanced over his shoulder at the nearly dry Turk, studying him.

"… You still think I'm a threat." he observed, eyes locked onto the sapphires of the Turk's. Reno shifted his weight, frowning slightly. He was right, naturally, and both of them knew it. Nevertheless, Reno nodded, boldly staring back.

"After what had happened, I still find it hard to trust you." The red headed male admitted. Kadaj let out a dull chuckle. Of course… Even a remnant like him could understand that. After all, he had tried to follow through with Jenova's plan to destroy the world with Sephiroth. One would be a fool to not trust him at first. Kadaj was about to turn away again, but the next sentence stopped him.

"But Cloud said you changed. So… I have to try and trust you now, especially since that seems to be true." The Turk obviously was having trouble saying what he meant. But the mere sentence of him even admitting to trusting him made him stare at him like a deer in headlights. Cloud had actually managed to convince even the stubborn headed, cocky, lazy bastard of a Turk to trust him?

Lightning flashed over head, but the two remained silent, Reno blinking at the shocked stare he was receiving, Kadaj still pondering how Cloud had done it. The rain increased, soaking him even more. Reno sighed silently, reaching out to grab the remnant's arm.

"You're getting soaked; Cloud will have my head on a silver platter if I don't get you home." He said, trying to pull him under the umbrella so he would not be in the rain. It caused Kadaj to jerk back, a defiant glare lighting up his fiery eyes.

"I'm not going under that thing. Plus, being able to see Cloud try to slice your head off would be amusing." He retorted, the two in a stalemate, though Kadaj was gaining a few inches. One misplaced step in a deep puddle caused him to slip, landing hard on his back. It caused a chain reaction, sending Reno falling on top of him because of his hand still holding his arm. That in turn caused all of the wind in his lungs to go rushing out painfully. Thinking fast, Reno managed to catch himself, almost clumsily, before their lips touched, causing the two stare eye-to-eye, expression wide and shocked at the event that had happened.

The two stayed like that, staring, silent. Each of them looking like a perfect living statue. Due to the fall and rain, it led to Kadaj's hidden eye to be revealed, both mako orbs staring into twin sapphires. To his dismay, he felt a light blush rise to his cheeks due to both the closeness of the other male, as well as the suggestive position they were in. The red haired male also began to notice their position. Quickly, Reno stood up, looking away as he helped the remnant up, muttering a soft apology.

"Let's… get you back to Seventh Heaven before Tifa starts to beat me up for 'neglecting' you."

A small chuckle broke the silent walk home, causing a few bustling people around him to look at him strangely. He ignored their looks, feeling his phone ring. He felt hopefully, eyes lighting up as he stopped close to a shop's window, out of the way of other shoppers. He dug through his pocket to retrieve the ringing device, hearing the tone blurt out loudly. The number and name caught his eye. Cloud… Flipping it open almost disappointed, he put one end to his ear.

"Yes brother?" he asked.

"Kadaj, when you're done with your last minute Christmas shopping, hurry up home. Genesis is making his famous Dumbapple pie!" Cloud said happily. Ever since they returned from the Lifestream, Cloud seemed so much happier. There was an annoyed yell at Cloud, sounding something along the lines of Genesis saying that it was Banora Apples, not Dumbapples. A smirk appeared on his lips at the ruckus in the background. From what it seemed like, Genesis was threatening to throw a pan at Cloud, Sephiroth and Zack were helping Yazoo decorate, Loz was having fun trying to get Vincent to help put up mistletoe and failing, Tifa was helping Genesis in the kitchen, and a certain ninja girl was trying to steal some materia.

"Alright, I still have a bit to go. Um.." Kadaj paused, glancing off to the side as he frowned. Cloud paused, not reacting even as Zack glomped him from behind.

"Kadaj?" the chocobo-headed male asked, glancing up at Zack, who was leaning on him, trying to listen in on the conversation. The eavesdropping was spoiled as Sephiroth grabbed the 1st Class SOLDIER by the arm and dragged him back to the tree, giving him a stern glare.

"Have you heard… from Reno yet?" he asked, almost embarrassed to ask. That caused Cloud to smirk, making a curious Zack try to sneak back over there, this time by Yazoo, who had one hand on one of his Velvet Nightmares, a warning to have his head shot off if he continued.

"No, but you know him, he procrastinates on everything. Don't worry; maybe he's picking out the... perfect gift for you." Cloud said, giving a look to the now silent house, all them sharing a knowing look. The perfect gift indeed. Kadaj's excellent hearing picked up the silence and raised an eyebrow.

"Is there something you all know and I don't?" he asked, suspicion clouding his voice. Cloud sweatdropped, hanging up quickly before he could start giggling happily. He would never have thought that a day like this would come, especially for his little brother! The young remnant blinked at the sudden ending of the call. How peculiar that was.

"What were they hiding? Unless it's just them high on eggnog, I want to find out…" The silver haired male flipped the phone off and placed it back in his side pocket, knowing he will question them later after shopping. Slipping back into the flow of people running with packages, he set off to buy more presents.

- - - - - - - - -

Cloud fell back onto the couch, pinned by Zack as soon as he hung up the phone. The others went back to what they were doing beforehand.

"Tell me what you were talking about!" he said, grinning. Before Cloud could say anything, a certain ex-General grabbed Zack's shoulders and maneuvered him off the squished male.

"Cut it out Zack." He said in a neutral voice, turning his glowing eyes onto Cloud's ocean blue ones. Cloud could have melted into a puddle at the way those eyes looked at him, taking the hand that was offered to him to help him stand back up. The spell was broken when Sephiroth smirked, turning to walk back to the tree.

"If you so much as touch my materia, I will burn you to a crisp." Genesis said without turning around. A sweatdropping Yuffie slipped back into the living room, with no materia in her hands. Darn it, and she was so close too. She sighed, sorting out the presents beneath the tree quite neatly. She knew what presents she had. They were all round shaped. Everyone knew exactly what she wanted

"Hey, Vincent, can you hang the mistletoe above the doorway?" Cloud asked, bouncing over to look at how many decorations they still had. All that was left was a few wreaths for outside the bar, a few more sprigs of mistletoe, and plenty of tinsel to decorate with. The dark figure turned blood red eyes onto Cloud, a thin eyebrow delicately raised. He was not one for this Christmas cheer at all, but when Cloud stared up at him, joined by both Denzel and Marlene, all dressed up festively, he finally relented. Plucking up a sprig, he reached up to tie it to a hook, letting it dangle there.

"Yazoo! Can you read Marlene and me a story?" Denzel asked, a bright smile lighting up his face. Yazoo chuckled, a smile forming on his lips. He nodded, nodding to Sephiroth to continue while he left upstairs with the children.

"Genesis, please do not mess up the kitchen!" he called downstairs to the redhead when he heard a bunch of pans clatter noisily to the ground.

"It wasn't me! Agh, girl, stay AWAY from my materia or I swear to the Goddess I will scorch you!" Fire erupted into the kitchen, making Tifa leap back at the heat of it. A fireball formed in the palm of his hand, glaring at Yuffie, who just placed a finger on a materia near his rapier. She nearly yelped, leaping back when the heat got too intense for her to handle. The fire instantly died, Genesis eyeing her harshly as she backed away again. As soon as he decided she was far enough away, he went back to preparing more pies. Cloud looked up at the mistletoe, Vincent eyeing him questionably.

"You know, I think this will be the best Christmas Eve Kadaj will ever have…"

- - - - - - - - -

Finally, the shopping was done. And it took six hours to complete. Balancing the massive load of gifts, the young remnant walked down the familiar street towards Seventh Heaven. It was dark outside, just his luck since he couldn't call ahead saying he was nearly home. His phone had decided to die two hours earlier, and he hadn't bothered to check it. He spotted the bar, letting out a sigh of relief. He shivered a bit, snow having started to fall, so unusual for the part they were in. But he then noticed something…

Something was wrong.

The lights at Seventh Heaven were off, which made him frown. It was only 11 at night; surely the others couldn't have left already. He sped up, kicking a bit of snow up as he hurried to the door. It was unlocked. Taking a deep breath, he opened the door, letting the Santa hat slide off onto the ground as his night vision flashed on, making his eyes glow even more so, cat pupils easily seen. Where was everyone? Dodging the mistletoe he spotted above the doorway, he eased the pile of presents onto the ground near the presents. Taking into view that all the presents were grouped together, he knew Yuffie had been there, but now where...

"Cloud?" he asked, standing up straight. There, movement, like someone had been leaning against something. And dim light, coming from the kitchen. He approached it, unwinding the scarf from his neck. He saw a figure, Cloud he recognized it as; exit the room, a sad expression on his face. His face was blotchy, like he had been crying. Cloud rushed forward, sweeping him into his embrace, tears falling from his eyes.

"I-I'm so sorry Kadaj… I'm so sorry!" he whispered, his form shaking. Kadaj was almost horrified, having never seen his big brother cry like that. He saw Sephiroth exit the room next, followed by the others. Vincent was supporting Yuffie, who took one look at the remnant and started to cry again.

"S-Sephiroth, what's going on? Why is everyone crying?" he asked. He looked around, as if expecting Reno to be there to tell him something. His eyes returned to Sephiroth again as the lights were turned up a bit so everyone could see, making Kadaj reverse his night vision. He blinked, seeing Sephiroth slowly pry Cloud off him, only to have Cloud wrap his arms around the general's chest, still crying. The ex-general looked away, trying to keep his face straight. Seeing no answer was going to be told from him, he looked at where Loz was crying on the nearest chair, Yazoo trying to comfort him, then to Genesis, whose cheeks were streaked with silent tears.

"Someone tell me what happened!" he said, his tone rising loudly. Yazoo rose up to his feet, approaching his brother.

"Kadaj… We were trying to contact you for hours… Something… Something happened to Reno… One of ShinRa's enemies got a hold on where he was and…" He couldn't continue. Kadaj's eyes were wide, dreading what happened.

"Reno was killed." Genesis said. Kadaj felt his heart shatter into tiny glass fragments, everything becoming silent to his ears. He felt Genesis dig through a pocket and hand him a small black box. His hearing returned slightly in order for him to hear what the red headed male was saying.

"He... was getting this for you…" Kadaj shakily took the box, feeling the world coming down on him hard. He opened the box.

Inside it was a simple ring, with a beautiful emerald set into the silver band. With one look at it, and the realization on what the Turk had been planning on, he dropped the box, fleeing outside, tears falling down his face.