Legacy

BY : Rina76
Category: Final Fantasy Anime > Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children
Dragon prints: 1417
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VII Advent Children or any of the characters from the film. I am not making money from the writing of this story.

Now that we've all noticed he's here, watching us, Loz's glare deepens, his slanted silver brows almost joined at the centre and his strong jaw gritted with fury. He's still wearing his mechanics' overalls so he must have come straight from the garage. Whirling around, he zaps over to the nearest tree in a flash of blue light. Growling, he punches the giant frozen tree with one fist, cracking the thick trunk and causing it to splinter in half with an ear-splitting sound and crash to the ground. The water in the lake shudders as if in an earthquake.

I gasp in shock, pulling myself out of Yazoo's arms and pushing Kadaj away.

"Oh, brother. What did you do that for?" Yazoo chides, as if speaking to a child.

"Why do you think?" Loz roars with both fists clenched, his hand unhurt by the punch.

Clicking his tongue scoldingly, Yazoo begins to wade through the water towards Loz.

Afraid for Yazoo's safety, I grab his arm and urge, "No, don't go near him!"

"It's all right. I'm good at calming him down." Yazoo pats my shoulder. "Just stay here."

The middle Remnant gets out of the lake and quickly pulls on his pants. "Loz, please calm yourself."

"Don't speak to me, you son of a bitch!" Loz shouts angrily at him but Yazoo remains impeccably unruffled.

"That's our Mother you're talking about."

"I don't care! You were touching Cate. Both of you!" Loz shoots a visual dagger at Kadaj, his lip curled in a snarl. "How could you do that to me? You're supposed to be my brothers! I'm supposed to be able to trust you."

"You can," Yazoo assures him. "But you've got it all wrong. It's not what you think."

"Oh yeah? What is it then? Because it sure looks like you're trying to steal my girlfriend away from me!"

"We were doing no such thing, Loz. Now, listen here…"

Yazoo's voice quietens as he leads Loz away from the broken tree trunk. As he tries to talk sense into his pissed-off brother, I stand in the lake hugging myself and shivering even though it's not cold. I'm actually petrified, the same way I was when I saw Loz trashing the club and everyone in it seven months ago. He's been nothing but gentle with me since I got here yet beneath his tender touch there lurks a terrible violence, like a volcano waiting to explode, and watching him smash that tree down with one punch acutely reminds me of the fact that he's killed before, without remorse and without mercy. I don't want to see him turn that violence upon his own brother, just because of something I've carelessly done or let happen.

As if reading my mind, Kadaj offers, "Don't worry. He won't hit Yazoo."

"Are you sure? I've never seen him so angry."

"I have. Worse, even. That big hot-head has a habit of over-reacting and blowing everything way out of proportion. But in two minutes he'll be over it and back to his usual dorky self. Trust me."

Kadaj sounds confident but I'm not. I realise how it must have seemed to Loz when he stumbled across us like that. I'm not naked but I may as well be, the two piece suit I'm wearing only covering the bare essentials of my womanhood. And there I was laid out in the water with Yazoo and Kadaj who, incidentally, were fully naked, not that I touched any part of them below their chests. I can't describe what occurred between the three of us just moments ago but it was innocent and we weren't doing anything wrong. Right?

I don't know but I can't stop shaking. Unexpectedly, Kadaj slips his arm around my shoulders and gives me a reassuring squeeze. "It's okay," he says. "Yaz will calm him down. You'll see."

He rubs my goose-pimpled arms until I stop shivering so much, his surprisingly kind touch soothing my jangled nerves. It helps that Loz has quit yelling and punching things and is now listening to Yazoo's logical rationalization for why I was in the lake with his two nude brothers and why their hands were all over my bikini-clad body. I don't know how he's explaining Kadaj's belly-kissing but whatever the long-haired brother is saying seems to be working. Gradually, Loz's scowl turns into a frown and then the frown turns into a shamefaced, dismayed kind of expression as he comprehends how he jumped the gun and acted without thinking it through or giving us a chance to justify ourselves. He is nodding glumly as Yazoo finishes his spiel and then stares down at the forest floor, muttering something remorseful and contrite. Yazoo takes his arm and leads him back to the shore, close to where Kadaj and I are standing, Loz barely able to meet our eyes.

"You frightened Cate," Yazoo tells him. "She's not used to your temper like we are. Apologise to her, Loz."

"I'm sorry," he mumbles. "Didn't mean to scare you."

"It's okay," I reply quietly.

There's an uncomfortable silence.

"Well, we're gonna leave you two alone to kiss and make up," Kadaj announces, rising from the water beside me in all his unabashed nude glory. I look away but not before glimpsing his lower belly tattoo and a thatch of silver pubes.

"C'mon, Yaz. Let's get the fuck outta here."

Yazoo throws over his pants, Kadaj stepping into them once he's on the shore but not bothering with anything else. Carrying the rest of their clothing in a bundle, the pair of them begin strolling back down the path to their subterranean den, shirtless, the skin of their muscled chests and arms gleaming whitely, almost as white as the eerie trees around them.

Turning after their retreating backs, Loz calls out anxiously, "Hey, you guys! Sorry. Seriously."

Not looking back, Kadaj raises his hand in a resigned gesture, as if this is just one of many times they've had to deal with Loz going psycho on them and it's not even worth talking about. Yazoo at least turns around and smiles forgivingly before Kadaj snakes an arm around his waist and pulls him away. I can't even hear a leaf crunch under their bare feet. Once they're gone, Loz turns to me. I'm still knee-deep in the water.

"Here, let me help you out of the lake," he offers. As he strides nearer, starting to loom over me with his arms out, I get inexplicably terrified. I'm just a small human girl and he's a huge, genetically-engineered killing machine. What am I doing with someone like him? What am I even DOING here? Acting purely on survival instinct, I turn and attempt to run through the shallow water. It was not a good idea because the heaviness of my belly has changed my centre of gravity and I accidentally slip on some loose pebbles on the lake floor, tumbling into the water and landing on my hands and knees.

Rushing into the lake, Loz exclaims with panicked concern, "Shit, Cate, are you okay?"

He goes to help me up but I slap his hands away, yelling at him, "Don't touch me! Just leave me alone!"

Then I burst into tears, sitting there up to my waist in the water and sobbing loudly into my own hands. I'm humiliated, angry, afraid and confused. Normally, it's him that gets all emotional but now it's my turn. I don't think I've ever felt more like a hormonal bawling pregnant lady than I do right now but I can't help it.

Not having had much experience with hysterical women or knowing how to soothe me, Loz stands there awkwardly in the water, his boots and work overalls getting wet at the bottoms, and waits it out. He allows me a few minutes of this nonsense before deciding to get me up, scooping me out of the lake as though I weigh nothing. I reflexively clutch at his shoulders, knowing the brute, superhuman strength just barely contained in his massive, muscular arms. But he doesn't hurt me; just holds me close and softly pets my hair as I cry, kissing the top of my head in a protective gesture.

"Shhh," he whispers comfortingly. "Shh, little one, it's all right. You're safe. I got you."

With the kindness and caring he's giving me, I realise now that I have no reason to fear Loz. Whatever he's done in the past, no matter how many people he's killed, no matter how many trees he breaks in half, he has never shown any violence towards me and he never will. I shouldn't have doubted him. Crying even harder, I tighten my grasp around his neck and hide my face in his shoulder, feeling both guilty and relieved. He smells like engine oil and grease from the garage, but under that is his own familiar scent, the one I adore.

After some time, I manage to calm myself down, my sobs and hiccups eventually subsiding.

Finally, he pulls me off his shoulder and tips my chin up, peering at me in concern.

"Are you okay, Catey?"

I nod my head, sniffling.

"And the baby?" he asks carefully. "He's all right, isn't he?"

The baby jabs its tiny foot into my ribs, as if prompting me to respond and I nod, trying not to wince. The only thing damaged by my clumsy tumble was my pride.

"C'mon. Let's get you dry. Don't want you to catch a cold," Loz suggests, wading through the water with me in his arms and taking me over to the shore, exiting the lake and gently depositing me on dry ground. My legs feel weak and rubbery, as though I can barely support my own weight. My knees have scrapes and small bruises on them.

"Aw, shit. I'm sorry, pretty girl," he begins regretfully, looking down at my minor injuries.

"Don't worry about it," I reply, grabbing for a towel to cover myself. "It's nothing."

He stills my hand. "It ain't nothing. Cate, I made you run from me. You almost hurt yourself when you fell. The baby could have been hurt too and it would have been all my fault!"

I shake my head. "But we weren't hurt. And it wasn't your fault, either."

"Yes, it was." He takes the towel from me and pats me down with it, soaking up the beads of water from my skin.

"I never wanted you to see me that way, Cate," he confesses remorsefully, stooping to dry my bruised legs, his actions particularly soft and gentle, like he's trying to compensate for the aggression he displayed only minutes ago. "Not again. Not after the night in the club, when we started that brawl. I remember how you looked at me, with such fear in your eyes, before running away like a Shadow Creeper was on your heels. When you came back here, I swore I wouldn't make you afraid of me a second time. And what did I just do?"

He halts, kneeling on the ground at my feet, clenching the towel angrily in his fists. "Godsdamn it. You have no idea how much I fucking hate myself right now!"

Loz grits his jaw in self-loathing and then bows his silver head, letting out a heavy breath, knowing that it's no use getting worked up again because it won't fix anything, only make it worse. When he looks back up at me his emerald eyes are sad and sorrowful, full of unhappiness.

"I wish I was calm like Yazoo," he despairs. "I wish I could change myself for you, Cate. But I can't. Those asshole scientists in the lab screwed up my brain somehow and I'm stuck like this forever."

"It's okay," I reply. "I understand. And I accept you the way you are."

"Maybe you shouldn't," is his muttered answer. "Maybe you should leave me and find someone who'll treat you better."

"Don't say that," I interject, feeling a lump sticking in my throat. "I don't want to leave you."

"You sure about that?"

"Yes. If I really wanted to leave, I'd be packing my bags right now."

He gazes up at me, his gorgeous green eyes beginning to glisten emotionally in the light of the frozen, glowing trees. He's on the brink of breaking down, looking more like the sweet, sensitive Loz I'm familiar with and not that other savage monster I just saw.

"I'm so sorry, Catey," he gushes guiltily. "I swear I will try my hardest not to frighten you like that again. No matter how I mad I get, I'd never hurt you, or the baby. You gotta believe me!"

The tormented anguish in his voice makes my heart twist excruciatingly.

"I do believe you. And I'm sorry too," I whisper, knowing that I contributed to his extreme jealousy by getting into the lake with his brothers and letting them touch me. I tentatively reach out to his cheek, my fingertips brushing over the sweep of soft silver whiskers there. It kills me how damaged he is and I hate how it causes him to act violently. Yet underneath all that, I know there's a beautiful heart and a man who'd do anything for those he cares about.

"I love you, Loz," I choke out, fresh tears starting to spill free as I realise how dear he is to me and how scared I am of losing him. "Do you…do you love me?"

"Of course I do, little girl," he whispers painfully, standing up and hugging me tight with his strong arms. "Of course I love you, more than anything in the world. C'mon. Please don't cry anymore."

It's the first time either of us has said how we really feel about each other but I wish it had been under more pleasant circumstances. Loz keeps whispering that he loves me and soothingly strokes my hair and that helps a lot to settle my shot-up emotions. I still feel awful about everything that happened but mainly I'm just drained and exhausted. I'm sure being pregnant was never supposed to be this tiring.

"Sorry for making you jealous," I mumble. "I don't even know why I got in the water with them. I should have said no when they asked."

"Oh no, babe…you're not to blame. I know how attractive my brothers are," he grumbles. "Damn Allure."

"I realise how it must have looked from your point of view, them being naked and all," I confess. "But when you saw Kadaj touching me and kissing my belly, he was just bonding with the baby. There's some connection between your brother and our child and I'm certain it has something to do with Mother. The baby has the same weird alien cells as all of you and Kadaj is simply responding to them. No matter what you thought you saw, he wasn't trying to seduce me. "

"Yeah, that's what Yaz said. Him and Kadaj …they've always had each other, you know? Until you came into my life, I had nobody special of my own," Loz admits. "I've been lonely for so long and my brothers don't need you, not the way I do. When I saw you with them both, I thought that I was gonna somehow lose you to them and it made me crazy."

"Won't happen. You're the one I love, Loz," I tell him seriously, holding his handsome face in my palms. "It's always been you."

Starting to smile, he says, "I don't think I could ever get tired of hearing that."

"Then, take me back to our bedroom and I'll tell you again," I promise. He kisses me on the forehead, wraps me up with the towel I brought along and then picks me up in his arms again, carrying me through the forest and back to the lair.



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