BY : Rina76
Category: Final Fantasy Anime > Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children
Dragon prints: 1511
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.

Kadaj is a monster. He knew I would get out of bed in the middle of the night for a drink, as I've been doing regularly since I started living in the lair. He knew what time I would show up and he was there in the kitchen, waiting for me. He'd already tainted the milk with his black materia, his dark power, knowing that if I drank it, Jenova could take over my body. He knew I had some of her cells in my blood and he knew he could use them to his advantage. He knew that it would be a highly frightening experience for me and yet he still did it. I could have been so frightened that I had a heart attack, or I could have gone into premature labour and delivered a stillborn baby. Perhaps he didn't think of that, and perhaps he wasn't trying to kill me but he still put my life, and the baby's life, below that of Jenova's. The blue-skinned figure we saw standing in the kitchen was only an apparition. Her real body may be damaged and in hyper-sleep or whatever but she's an alien from light-years away and can live for eons, apparently. I can't and I doubt my baby can either. Kadaj was willing to risk two innocent lives just for a glimpse of his red-eyed Mommy dearest.

So yes, that act alone makes him a monster.

Due to the detached way Yazoo looked at me after Mother left, as if I wasn't even there and didn't matter, I'm even starting to believe that he is one too.

But Loz isn't. He's cloned from Jenova as well but he's not the same as his brothers. He doesn't have Kadaj's madness, cruelty or obsessiveness. He doesn't share Yazoo's coldness or emotional distance. Loz has more compassion, warmth and kindness than they do combined. Right from the beginning he has been wonderful towards me. He stood up for me in the club, punishing the arrogant cowboy that groped me, making him say sorry. When we made love in the club's bathroom, Loz was so careful not to hurt me and treated me with the utmost respect and tenderness. When he found out I was pregnant, he didn't react badly as other men might have done, instead offering me a secure place to live and his support and protection. Since I arrived at the lair, Loz has made me feel at home, taking care of my needs and making sure I've been well looked after. He's always concerned about the baby's wellbeing and would never do anything to put our child in harm's way. Loz may be a musclebound assassin with bloody gloves at work but with me he's my big gentle, loving bear and a very attentive father-to-be. It was unjust of me to judge him the same as Kadaj or Yazoo simply because of who his mother is. And as he said, he didn't ask to be created.

Knowing that I can't stay in the bathroom forever, I venture out. Loz is not in the bedroom so I go to the kitchen. He and Yazoo are at the table, drinking coffee. Kadaj isn't there and for that I'm eternally grateful. The other two brothers look up. I get the feeling they were just talking about me and I glance away uncomfortably.

Speaking only to my boyfriend, I say quietly, "You're not a monster, Loz. I shouldn't have said that and I apologise. But Mother is, and so is Kadaj for what he did to me, and for that I'm not apologising because it's the truth."

Then I leave without waiting for their responses. I don't even care if I've offended Yazoo, speaking badly of his lover. Loz comes after me, but I shut the bathroom door on him and take a long, hot shower, trying to scrub the stink of Jenova's evil off my body, even though it's my imagination and there's no real smell there. Loz is waiting for me in the bedroom when I get out, sitting in the chair in a corner. He still hasn't put a shirt on, only wearing a pair of pyjama pants. He gazes at me with serious, troubled green eyes.

"Cate?" he asks questioningly, wanting to talk. I ignore him, putting on a new maternity nightdress with my back to him. Then I get into bed, turn the light off, and draw the covers up to my ears like I'm trying to protect myself.

Loz climbs into bed behind me and tries to give me a hug. "Babe, are you okay?"

I pull out of his arms. Touching my shoulder, he tries to get through to me again, his voice urgent and worried. "Catey. Please. Talk to me. Say something!"

Turning around, I exclaim, "Why, Loz? Why didn't you tell me Jenova was like that? That she could do things like that?"

"I didn't…I didn't know," he says helplessly.

"She nearly swallowed me whole. If the baby hadn't forced her to leave…" I start to shake uncontrollably. "Oh, Gods. I was so scared."

"I'm sorry," he whispers in remorse, taking me in his arms because he doesn't know how else to help me. This time I let him, clinging to his strong, solid warmth like a shield. He smells safe and familiar. I know he comes from Jenova's cells but he's not like her. Loz could never be like her.


He proves this by asking in concern, "Is the baby all right?"

"Yeah. Sorry I called you an idiot," I mumble against his chest. "I didn't mean it."

"I know," he replies understandingly, kissing the top of my head. "It's okay."

"Can we leave this place, Loz?" I blurt out in desperation. "Can we just pack our things and go? I don't want to be here anymore. I just want to be with you and the baby. Away from them. Away from all this. Can we go tomorrow? Please?"

He doesn't answer me straight away. It appears he wants to say yes but isn't able to. I know what he's thinking. He won't leave his brothers. Not even for me. He can't. Even if he tried to, their cellular bond would pull him back kicking and screaming. As long as they're alive, he's stuck with them. And if I want to be with Loz, that means I'm stuck too. Leaving by myself is not an option either as I literally have no place else to go. I have no family. No friends. All the people I used to know are strangers to me now and can't help me anymore. I'm trapped. Trapped in this cave of terror and nightmares.

With my face against Loz's broad chest, I start to sob at the hopelessness of the whole situation.

"Don't cry, little one. I'll work something out," he promises, sounding torn and guilt-stricken. "We'll talk about it in the morning, okay? Shhh. You need to rest now."

He hugs me tight and tries to soothe me but I can't stop sobbing and shaking. Not for a long time. I only stop when I fall into an exhausted sleep.

My dreams are full of blood and bones and fire and horribly mutated babies with burning crimson eyes and tentacles for legs.

The next morning when Loz and I enter the kitchen, Kadaj is sitting on the bench while Yazoo makes fresh coffee. I don't know where the younger Remnant went last night but Jenova is still first and foremost in his mind. Dreamily, he sighs, "Isn't Mother magnificent?"

"Yes, she is," Yazoo answers him in a murmur.

"Mother is glorious," Kadaj continues, sounding like a mental patient in a padded room, rocking in a corner with no idea of how messed up he is. "Mother is divine."

I make a disgusted sound and shake my head. I'd dearly like to say no, she's a vile, cannibalistic piece of slime but Loz slips his arm around my waist and squeezes, cautioning me not to anger Kadaj.

Yazoo looks at me, seeing how pissed off and creeped out I am still about it all.

"We're sorry, Cate," he offers belatedly. "If we knew what was going to happen last night, we would have warned you."

"I knew," Kadaj reveals, his lips turning up in a secretive smile.

Loz looks at him sharply. "You KNEW Mother would come? Why didn't you tell us?"

"I wanted it to be a surprise."

"Well, it certainly was," I say acidly. "Especially for me since it was my body that got hijacked without permission."

"You should be honoured that Mother chose you for her vessel," Kadaj lectures me. "You should feel special. Privileged."

"Privileged? Gods, that's the last thing I feel."

"The Gods you believe in don't exist," the clone leader proclaims. "Mother is the only true Goddess and once we find her you'll see how wonderful she is. Once you accept her into your life everything will change."

He's talking like some religious nut.

"Nothing good will come from you finding her. Nothing!" I strongly emphasise. "What she said about you guys, what she expects from you…" I look at both Loz and Yazoo, then back at Kadaj, wanting them to hear me.

"She doesn't care about any of you at all, just what you can do for her. Her body is weak and useless so she's using you three to do her dirty work. She doesn't love you; she's just taking advantage of you because you're made from her cells. Can't you see that?"

"I wouldn't expect YOU to understand. You don't even have a mother. Or any parents at all." Kadaj is mocking me openly now, speaking in a condescending, falsely-caring tone of voice, his brow creased in fake sympathy. "Poor little orphan Cate. Do you miss your daddy? Is that why you picked somebody tall and strong like Loz - to take his place? When he's thrusting deep inside you do you call him Father?"

Feeling me boiling with rage, Loz's arm tightens around my middle in warning but I'm too far gone to censor myself.

In a guttural growl, I say to Kadaj deliberately and slowly, "Fuck. You."

Kadaj stares at me in dangerous silence, his slitted green eyes like those of an alligator right before a sudden strike out of the water. For a minute I think he's going to get up and backhand me hard across the mouth but then his mutinous expression morphs into a patronising smirk.

"I already offered you that but you didn't want it. Changed your mind? Hmm? Is Loz's huge dick not doing it for you anymore? Is my big dumb brother boring you in bed?"

I'm so angry I actually lunge at him but Loz has got a firm hold on me, not so much to protect Kadaj but to protect me. Who knows? The insane son of a bitch might decide to snap my neck just for the fun of it. He has no empathy, no regards for other people's lives or feelings, only thinking of what HE wants, and that makes him nothing more than a psychopath.

"You're gonna send the world to hell, Kadaj, you know that?"

"That's kind of the point," he reminds me with an arched eyebrow. "Hell is exactly what this planet deserves. Everybody on it will meet the same end and Mother and I will rule over this cosmos together."

"Once Jenova has her way, there won't BE anything left to rule over," I predict angrily. "Hope you enjoy being king of a dead universe."

"I don't want to talk to you anymore. Humans are so dull." Kadaj sounds childish and petulant, instead turning to the one other person completely on his side. "Yazoo, wasn't it nice to finally meet Mother after all these years?"

"Yes. It was."

"And isn't she beautiful?"

"Very beautiful," Yazoo agrees with his little brother. "You look just like her."

"I know." Kadaj smiles mistily, his fingertips trailing over his lower lip, right where she cut him last night. There's a small, scabbed over wound. "Do you think she wants me more than Sephiroth? I believe she does. She said I was her favourite."

He gives a happy little giggle, sounding so young and optimistic and totally out of his motherlovin' mind. He's utterly mad if he can't recognise her for the horror she really is. He's blinded to her evilness and nothing I say will make him open his eyes.

"You're crazy, Kadaj," I grit out. "You're a lunatic. A fucking psycho!"

"Let's go, Cate," Loz brusquely urges, steering me around and out of the kitchen before Kadaj can respond. Not that the younger clone does, instead snubbing me completely, as if I don't even exist, as if I'm just some lowly human soon to be extinct from the planet.

As Loz is returning me to the bedroom I think back to the night in the lake, when Kadaj called me 'little mother'. He wasn't giving me a nickname; he was making reference to Jenova's return. Even back then he knew that Jenova would appear and take over my body. He knew what all my midnight ramblings were about. He knew it was Mother speaking through me and he didn't tell anyone. He kept it all to himself. That sly, scheming fucker!

When we get to the bedroom, I yank out of Loz's grasp, pissed at him now. When Kadaj was saying all those nasty things about me nobody stopped him. Normally Loz would have been at Kadaj's throat for daring to speak to me like that but this time he didn't utter a peep. Nobody stuck up for me. Yazoo and Loz, they stood there and let him do it.

"Thanks for letting Kadaj insult me, Loz," I say in sarcasm. "I appreciate that. You're such a GREAT boyfriend."

"Cate…" He sighs.

"No, really. Thank you. It wasn't just me he was mocking either. He was mocking you too. Why didn't you stop him?"

"You know what Kadaj is like. You should just ignore him."

"Oh, is that how we deal with problems in this family? Ignore them?" I return challengingly. "Just like you're ignoring Kadaj's obsessive insanity and how Yazoo grows colder and more detached every day? Are you going to ignore the fact that your Mother is an evil, terrifying hell-bitch who's solely responsible for all of this?"

He comes to her defence. "Don't call her that. She's not evil."

"Right," I return sarcastically. "So, she's a shimmering angel of goodness sent straight down from the Heavens to bring peace, joy and love to the world?"

"Well, not exactly," he concedes uncomfortably.

"So, what is she then? Tell me that, Loz. What the fuck IS she?"

He spreads his hands helplessly. "She's Mother."

"And what about The Reunion? What's going to happen when you find Jenova's remains?"

"We will become whole again."

"What does that mean, exactly? Is she going to come back to life? For good, I mean?"

Loz shrugs, neither a yes or no.

Frustrated, I say, "You said your father was going to return as well and that you'd all be together again. How's he's gonna do that when he's been dead for over 2 years? He would be a decayed skeleton by now. How is Sephiroth going to resurrect himself without a body?"

Shrugging again, Loz replies, "He just will."

I'm getting nowhere with Loz. It's like he's talking in riddles, giving me no definite answers or explanations. It's as though he doesn't even know himself what's going to happen or how it's going to happen. He just believes with blind faith that everything will unfold just as it's meant to and he doesn't have to understand it, just accept it.

Trying a different tactic, I say, "Loz, can I ask you a personal question?"

"Sure you can. You can ask me anything, you know that."

"Did seeing Mother last night…did she…frighten you?"

"No! Of course not," he denies too strenuously. "I ain't afraid of her."

"So, you weren't bothered by the things she said? She wants to kill everybody on Gaia who won't bow down to her. She wants to turn women into breeders for her alien spawn and men into monsters to serve her. She wants to get rid of humans entirely. Think about it, Loz. I'm human. If Jenova ruled the world, she would turn me into a baby machine and if I didn't co-operate, she'd rip out my entrails and eat them." I hold my stomach protectively. "And what about our child? It's half-human. You'd let her murder our child? Our son? Our daughter?"

"Mother wouldn't do that," Loz says doubtfully. "It's her grandchild. Her legacy." I'm not sure who he's is trying to convince, me or himself.

"If you tried to stop her in any way, Loz, she'd kill you too. She expects you to die for her. She said that; I heard her."

"She didn't mean it. She was just testing us, seeing how devoted we were."

"And how devoted are you, Loz? Are you willing to kill innocent women and children for her? Are you willing to replace all of humanity with an unstoppable army of Jenova clones? Are you willing to watch the entire world burn around you until there's nothing left but ashes and bones?"

"We should do what she tells us to," he says evasively, avoiding giving me a direct answer. "Mother knows best."

He sounds like a parrot; simply repeating what Kadaj has told him. He's probably heard it so many times, over and over again, that it just springs to his lips automatically, whether he really believes it or not. Loz is much smarter than people think he is but when it comes to Jenova, his intelligence vanishes. He can spot a threat from across a crowded dance floor in a dark, smoky club but just like Kadaj and Yazoo, he cannot see from one inch away how awful his Mother really is. He can't see it because he's been brainwashed. With everything Jenova has said over the years, and had repeated by Kadaj, it's made the whole three of them into silver-haired puppets, ready and willing to have their strings pulled by her. Mother's visit has only worsened their dedication to her.

In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if that ancient alien squid infected her sons with more of her virus-like cells when she touched them, just to ensure she can control them the way she wants to. That would explain why their devotion has deepened so dramatically since she appeared. She basically owns them, like she's queen-bee and they are her worker-bees, and no amount of arguing or fact-pointing-out is going to make the guys realise the truth. I know the truth because I haven't been brainwashed. I know the truth because I saw it from the inside. I saw what a monstrous thing Jenova is and though I may never be able to make Loz and his brothers open their eyes, I have to keep trying.

The fate of the whole world depends on it.

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