A/N: Written for a writing community 30 nights over at LiveJournal for a prompt 036 - Bonus: Don't worry, I'll always be by your side.

Warnings: worksafe.

Disclaimer: Final Fantasy VII and all related titles belong to Square Enix. This story was written for non-profit entertainment purposes and I claim no ownership of the characters. Please support the original creators by buying their production.


They had failed. It had been their first attempt and their first failure, and all that when they had already been so close, so close... The two prisoners they had acquired meant nothing – they didn't matter anymore because they couldn't tell them where their comrades had taken Mother; they would never be able to, no matter how long they would be tortured. Nothing mattered. Not when Mother had slipped from their grasp. They had felt her almost against their fingertips only to have her taken away, hidden from them.

Kadaj raged. He turned and attacked the closest thing in the vicinity, which happened to be Loz. Even though Loz could easily keep his own against the youngest of the trio, Kadaj was overwhelmed by fury, desiring nothing more than to eliminate every little thing in his reach. While the two fought, Yazoo secured their two hostages and checked the area for other possible attackers. Briefly he admired the red of the blood on the pure white snow – a beautiful sight to commit to his memory. Then he turned to his fighting brothers, quickly assessing the situation. Loz was strong. Stronger than Kadaj, but in the current situation he wouldn't hold out too long against him. He was already losing, forced into defence, unable to get in a hit because of Souba, his close-combat weapon proving useless. Kadaj was using his double-bladed sword with blinding speed, the anger driving him being too great to be handled by just fists alone. When Loz stumbled, Yazoo joined the fight, barking a rare order for Loz to back down. Kadaj didn't even seem to notice the change in opponents. His world had bled red and all he saw was just a target to eliminate.

Yazoo dodged and wound around the attacks, sometimes blocking an inevitable strike when he could afford it. He led Kadaj around until the youngest grew tired and started seeing his surroundings in colours closer to reality, but even then he wasn't willing to stop. With his anger spent, sorrow and spite had taken its place and he refused to stop, his mind tricking him into believing that if he did so, he would never reclaim Mother again. Only when he collapsed, overbalanced by his own attack with a swing too wide, he remained kneeling on the ground. Staying still for a moment, he threw his head back and screamed. Only then did Yazoo put his gunblade away and approached him. He lightly placed his hand on his brother-in-soul's shoulder, as if to say I'm here. Kadaj stilled, but didn't push his hand away. They remained like that for quite a while, simply breathing, feeling each other's presence and the cold snow around them, until everything else faded away.

When Kadaj finally stood up, he already knew that they would find Mother. He knew that his brothers would follow him wherever he went, that they would always be by his side. He was calm and collected again, if rather tired from the vigorous exercise against terrible ghosts, but his mind was clear again. First, as he informed Yazoo who was still standing by his side, they would inquire a few answers from their dear guests. The noncommittal sound along with a smirk on Yazoo's lips expressed his agreement and approval of such an idea.

This was, after all, just the beginning, and the road they had to walk was quite long. But they would make it side by side, till the very end.