BY : Rina76
Category: Final Fantasy Anime > Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children
Dragon prints: 1515
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.

Warning: Major Character Death!

Chapter 27. Broken Bond

Nobody seems to hear my screams or the crashing and thumping behind Kadaj's door. I try to open it again, yanking on the handle with all my might, but to no avail. The thing is locked tight. It's then that the baby kicks me, as if wanting my attention.

"Oh, you think YOU can unlock this door?" I ask in frustration. I get another kick, a harder one.

"Ouch! No need to get violent." I stand back, glaring down at my belly. "Okay, then. Give it your best shot, space-kid. Let's see what you can do from all the way inside there."

I am forced to eat my sarcastic words when a little blue zap of electricity comes from my stomach and goes into the metal lock, making it release. The door just swings open.

"Whoa!" I stare at my bulging belly with enlarged eyes, an amazed grin spreading across my face. It seems that Kadaj isn't the only one with growing powers.

"That was awesome! High-five, little guy," I enthuse, holding my palm above my bump, half-expecting a tiny hand to come out and slap it. Doesn't happen of course, but there is a smug little I-told-you-so nudge from the inside.

"Can you get rid of the 'stigma?" I ask expectantly, hoping my child's powers extend that far. I feel the baby trying to mentally push at the black mark on my arm, trying to force it out like an ink stain but it appears the infection has too strong of a hold on my flesh to be removed. Jenova herself was able to be pushed out of my body because she was only a temporary manifestation. She wasn't really there; she was just using me to project an image of herself so others could see it. This disease is real, the viral particles having invaded the cells in my arm, already replicating themselves and starting to spread like parasitic organisms across my skin. Geostigma may have originated from Jenova's remains but it appears to be a life form all on its own and merely willing it to leave isn't going to work.

Turning serious, I stroke my round tummy and whisper, "Thank you for trying, sweetie. Now, let's go save your Daddy."

When I burst into the living room, the three silver-haired brothers are almost ready to leave, dressed in their leather gear with all guns and weapons strapped on. Kadaj looks at me, clearly wondering how I got out. I don't speak to him, only to the other two, who may still yet possess some degree of rationality.

"Loz, Yazoo…Whatever you're planning today…you're making a big mistake. If you do this, something very, very bad is going to happen." I look to them pleadingly. "The baby told me so."

"Don't listen to her. She can't be trusted." Kadaj turns to his big brother. "I didn't want to tell you this, Loz, but it seems I must."

"Tell me what?"

"Cate's been lying to you. She doesn't love you. If she did, she wouldn't have tried to seduce me this morning."

Loz frowns and I object, "I did not!" but Kadaj continues speaking to his eldest sibling in a tone of great concern. "I'm only telling you this because I don't want you to get hurt. Your girlfriend kissed me and put my hand up her top. She asked me to take her to bed. She said that she's wanted to sleep with me ever since that night in the club. Now, does that sound like someone who loves you, Loz?"

Frowning more intensely, Loz glances between me and Kadaj, not wanting to believe it. Finally, he faces his little brother. "You're lying."

"Am I? Look in my eyes, brother," Kadaj challenges. "Read my mind. I am unable to lie to you – you know that."

Loz sees something undeniable in Kadaj's green gaze because he turns to look at me, appearing deeply troubled. "Cate?" he ventures uncertainly. "Did you do what he said?"

"I don't remember. If I did, it was only because Kadaj used magic on me," I reply defensively. "I wouldn't have known what I was even saying!"

"I might have used a little magic but all it did was allow her to say what she actually thinks." The young leader gives me a supercilious stare. "And now you know what kind of person Cate really is."

"At least I'm a person, Kadaj. Not a brainwashed puppet of Jenova's, like you," I fling back, looking to my boyfriend next. "You're not a puppet, Loz. Don't let Kadaj treat you like one."

"Don't listen to her!" Kadaj says for the second time, his voice rising. "She's trying to stop us from finding Mother."

"Of course I am. She's evil!" I spread my hands in incredulity. "Look at what she's making you all do. You look like you're going to war!"

"Mother's not making us DO anything," Kadaj answers in a tone that sounds rational, but isn't. "We're willingly doing this FOR her. So we can find her and The Reunion can take place. Without Mother, we can't-"

"Enough about your fucking Mother already!" That gets the attention of all three brothers. I gesture towards the hallway that leads up to the garage. "Doesn't anyone care about those kids? You've got them up there caged like animals, without food, without any basic human necessities."

I glare at Yazoo.

"YOU did this," I accuse him angrily, feeling like he betrayed me somehow. He calmly looks back at me as I vent at him, the slim Remnant displaying no sign of guilt whatsoever.

"You lied to those children, kidnapped them and let Kadaj put them under some kind of mind-control magic so you can what? Use them as your zombified little foot-soldiers? It's wrong, Yazoo. You know that. Even HE knows that."

I swing to face Kadaj.

"That's why he tried to lock me in his room. I'm surprised none of you heard me yelling and smashing things with your super-senses but then again, you're all too distracted by the thought of your precious family reunion to notice anything these days. Nice porn collection, by the way, Kadaj," I drawl. "Real original too, hiding it under your bed."

Loz turns to Kadaj in astonishment, looking even more confused as each new secret and dirty deed comes out.

"Good thing the baby knows how to pick locks," I add, "or I'd still be in there."

With disbelief, Loz asks his little brother, "You locked Cate in your room?"

"She found the children," Kadaj replies in irritation. "She was causing trouble so I had to detain her."

"That's not all he did," I carry on, pushing up my shirt sleeve. "Look."

Seeing the black stain on my forearm, Yazoo's eyes widen - as if he didn't know Kadaj was capable of such a power - while Loz's face goes pale with shock.

"I didn't mean to do that," the teenaged clone tries to explain. "It was an accident, Loz. I took her arm and it just appeared."

"Accident or not, that fucking psychopath threatened to kill me," I say heatedly, pointing at Kadaj. "He said he would cut me open and take our baby!"

Instinctively moving closer to protect me, Loz questions in a careful tone, "Is it true, Kadaj? Did you say that?"

Slitted pupils shifting aside, Kadaj looks like he wants to deny it but at the same time he cannot lie directly to his brother because Loz would be able to tell, so he doesn't say anything. Loz takes the silence as confirmation, tremendous rage surfacing in his eyes and spreading across his face, twisting it into something vengeful and violent.

In a motion almost too swift for the human eye to see, Loz's powerful arm pulls back, then his fist flies forward and he punches Kadaj, hard in the face. There's a dull thud and Kadaj's head snaps to the side. His nose starts to bleed, green fluid trickling onto his upper lip. Kadaj would have seen the blow coming and been able to deflect it but he simply stood there and took it. He doesn't hit Loz back. Fighting his own brother would only waste valuable time and energy, and Kadaj knows they need all their energy to get Jenova back and complete the Reunion. However, the youngest Remnant doesn't look happy about having his leadership challenged.

Very slowly, as if controlling his anger, Kadaj licks the blood off his lip, finally swinging back to Loz.

"I wouldn't put the child's life in danger. I only said that to make Cate behave. If she stayed out of the way and didn't interfere then I wouldn't have to use threats." Kadaj points a gloved finger at his older sibling, his voice sharp with warning. "This is FAMILY business, Loz. It's got nothing to do with her. Make sure you keep your bitch in line from now on, brother, or else I will do it for you. Let's go, Yazoo."

I look to Yazoo, wondering if he will defend Loz, and me, but his loyalties lie with his little brother first and foremost and so all the middle Remnant affords us is a brief, unhelpful glance before turning away, Yazoo's face smoothing into the frighteningly blank and expressionless mask I saw that first night in the club, his eyes going dead and dull, like he just stopped caring. I think he stopped doing that a while ago, not just today. Kadaj leaves the room, heading up the hallway to collect the children and like a robot Yazoo dutifully follows him, ready to obey and carry out whatever orders he's been given.

Loz takes me by the shoulders, steers me to our bedroom (Loz glancing at Kadaj's trashed belongings as we pass the other boy's doorway) and tells me to stay there, adding grimly, "I can't guarantee what Kadaj will do to you if you don't."

Holding out my arm so he can see the ugly patch of Geostigma on my skin, I insist, "Look at what he's already done to me!"

"We'll fix it," Loz swears, sounding entirely too optimistic.

I shake my head. "There's no cure. Kadaj told me himself."

"Mother will know how to cure you. She created this. She'll tell us how to make it go away."

"No, she won't," I answer, strongly believing that Jenova is not going to give one speck of space-dust about an insignificant human like me and will just let me rot and die like the others afflicted with the disease.

"We'll fix it," Loz repeats, pulling my sleeve down. "Just let us find Mother first."

"But why do you need the kids?" I ask, still not understanding.

"They have Mother's cells in their bodies, from the 'stigma. Kadaj has activated the cells so they will be drawn to Mother and point us to her location."

"Like human homing beacons? You should know better, Loz - you're gonna be a father soon," I remind him, trying to appeal to his paternal, caring side. "Children need to be protected, not used. If you let them get hurt, I swear I will never forgive you."

"We're not going to harm them," Loz vows. "After we get Mother back, we'll let the kids go. Kadaj said so."

"And you believe him?"

"Of course I do."

"You just take every single word he utters as the truth, don't you?" I remark in amazement. "How can you trust him so much when he's a complete mental patient who needs to be locked up in a straightjacket?"

"Don't say that about Kadaj! He's my brother," Loz says, looking pained. "Do you know how old he was when he led us out of that underground lab? He was only thirteen years old. Just a kid! But even then he knew what he was doing. He told us to do whatever he said and because we listened to him, we're free now. He saved our lives, okay? I trusted him then and I still trust him now. So yeah, I believe what he says."

Green blood is definitely thicker than water and I start to think that I'm fighting a losing battle. Unless I'm a direct relation of theirs, none of these guys are going to listen to me, including my own boyfriend.

"Don't you care about what the baby is telling me? About the visions of doom I'm being shown?"

"He's just a BABY. He doesn't know anything," Loz replies, as if I'm being silly. "You've just been having weird dreams because of the pregnancy. Yazoo said that can happen."

"They're not dreams, dammit! This whole thing is a really, really bad idea," I try again in a last ditch effort to get through to Loz. "People are gonna get hurt."

"Well, this is what I do, Cate: I hurt people. That's my job!" My muscle-bound lover sounds exasperated with me. "You've known this from the night we met."

He's right; I've known and I've accepted it. But no more.

"If I could go back in time to that night, I never would have talked to you, Loz," I snap angrily.

He frowns down at me. "What do you mean by that?"

"Gods! How can you be so fucking stupid?" I yell, grabbing a large cylinder candle off the bedside table and hurling it at his face. He just bats it away with one arm.

"If I hadn't talked to you, then I wouldn't have to worry about you not coming home today. You're gonna get yourself killed, you idiot!" I'm yelling at him so that I don't cry. "You're gonna leave me all alone and our baby's going to be left without a father!"

"That's not gonna happen. I'm coming back to you, all right? We're gonna move into our own house together and we're both gonna watch our kid grow up and everything will be fine," Loz promises in an attempt to calm me down. "I just have to do this one thing first."

"No, you don't have to do it. But you're going to anyway, no matter what I say." I can't help sounding disappointed and disillusioned. "Kadaj and your so-called mother are obviously more important than me so you may as well go. Go run to them like the obedient clone you are."

Appearing torn, Loz says, "Cate, don't ask me to choose between you and my family because I can't."

"Looks like you've already chosen," I mutter, getting up and yanking the wardrobe door open, finding one of my suitcases and dragging it out onto the bed.

Looking alarmed, he asks, "What are you doing?"

"Packing," I say shortly, beginning to pull my clothing out of drawers.

"What? Why?"

I don't even turn around to look at him. "Because coming here was the worst thing I've ever done."

"Don't say that," he replies uncertainly.

"Just go," I repeat dully, stuffing clothes into the suitcase. "I don't need you anyway. I can take care of this baby by myself."

"No, Cate," he objects anxiously. "You can't leave!"

"Watch me."

"Catey, c'mon," Loz starts to plead. "I love you…"

"You love Jenova more," I state, cutting off his useless protest. Turning around with a bundle of baby jumpsuits in my hands, I gaze at my child's father with gut-wrenching sadness, knowing that this relationship is over. "I can't be with you any longer, Loz. I just can't."

He is about to say something else but at that moment Kadaj screams for Loz to hurry up and get his ass out there, sounding highly impatient and aggravated. Loz closes his mouth, hardens his face and leaves, going straight to his bossy younger brother, just like I knew he would.

If Loz really loved me, he'd beg me to stay.

But he doesn't, just roars off into the forest on his bike, following Kadaj and Yazoo and leaving me and the baby by ourselves.


As I'm packing my suitcase it dawns on me that I have nowhere else to go. I don't have any relatives whose doorstep I can land on without prior notice. The only person even remotely classed as family to me is Jaren and though I'm sure he'd welcome me into his home I can't show up and burden my foster-brother with all my fucked-up problems. I can't just show up eight months pregnant, afflicted with Geostigma, and move right on in to his house. Even if he did allow me to stay, I can't expect to live off his generosity and have him support me, when I'm not even his girlfriend. In addition to that, I can't expect Jaren to take care of me when my disease worsens. I know how rapidly the 'stigma kills. I might have anywhere from six months to two years left to live and I can't force Jaren to mop up puddles of black puke while I'm lying in bed slowly dying.

And what about when the baby comes? How do I explain why it's got slit-eyes? Or worse, what if it doesn't look human at all? What if it really does look like an alien? I'll love my baby no matter what it looks like but if it comes out with red wings and shape-shifting abilities like Jenova there's no way I can keep that a secret. Even if Jaren somehow managed to accept my baby's green-blooded heritage, would he be willing to look after the infant when I'm gone? I don't know if he'd be prepared to take on such a huge responsibility, providing for someone else's child for the next eighteen years.

There's also the very real risk of Kadaj coming to steal the baby back when it's born, which I will fight like a snarling hellcat not to let happen. With such a tempestuous and emotionally-charged custody battle, Jaren could get caught in the middle of it and get hurt, or worse. I love that guy like my own brother and I can't do that to him. Anyway, he doesn't even know that I'm expecting and the fact that I care about him so much is precisely why I haven't told Jaren the news or even spoken to him lately. I don't want to put him in danger. If I go and see him that's exactly what will happen.

I suppose there's always Paxx Fair. I still have his number somewhere. The blue-haired bartender promised to help if I ever needed it, or needed to get away. But what if I call him and the people he's connected with go after Kadaj and try to stop him? Innocent people could die, including the children I saw in the garage. Not only that, but Loz would be in danger too. If Paxx's associates go after the Remnants with the strongest weapons they've got at their disposal, Loz could be wounded. Or worse. He may have alien healing abilities but I doubt he's immortal and I don't want to do anything that could result in the man I love (and the father of my child) dying. If Loz dies today because of his own ill-chosen actions, well, that's not my fault. I tried to stop him but he didn't listen. However, if he dies because of me, because of a phone call I made to someone else, then I wouldn't be able to live with my own guilt.

With that idea squashed I sink back down on the bed, knowing that I'm not going anywhere. I'll just sit here and wait for Loz to return.

I'm so furious and upset with him right now but I still love him deeply and I still want to be with him, in spite of what I said. I know he doesn't want me to leave and I have to think of the future, of our child's future. If Loz comes back later today (with or without Jenova), I'll make him stick to his promise of getting us our own house, away from the rest of his awful family. If no cure for Geostigma is found, at least I know Loz will take care of me in my final moments and I know he will also take care of our son or daughter. If I'm gone, the best place for my child to be is with their father.

However, if Loz doesn't come back today, I will be forced to make alternative arrangements for my child's welfare. I will have to call Paxx. I'll call him and ask him for help because I will need somewhere safe to live and I will need medical assistance for both myself and for my child when it's born. Hopefully, Paxx's associates will provide that. They may want information from me in return, such as the whereabouts of the Remnant's lair, and I will gladly give it to them. If Loz dies today, if he gets shot to pieces or blown up by Shin-ra or the Turks, I won't give a shit about his two remaining brothers or his mother. I won't give a shit about Kadaj or Yazoo or Jenova and will happily hand them all over to their enemies on a silver fucking platter. I don't care if they get tortured or killed. They can get cut up and stuffed into jars for the rest of time and I won't spare any one of them a single thought. If my beautiful, sweet, gentle Loz dies today because of their brainwashing and their stinking Reunion, the whole damn lot of them deserve to die too.

To stop myself from thinking about that catastrophic ending, I sit on the bed and picture all the ways I'm going to punish Loz when he returns, so that he never leaves me like this again. I could line all the doorways with flowers so he can't cross them, like rock-salt keeps out spirits. Or I could take his bike apart and use each piece as a planting pot, creating a wonderful display of spring blooms. I could spray all his leather gear with perfume or stuff his boots with rose-petals. Either way, he's going to be seriously punished for being such a stupid ass-head and not listening to me. I dream up all these unique and cruel punishments for my boyfriend, imagining his reactions and how much satisfaction I'll get from making him squeal like a little girl but in the back of my mind, I know I'm only doing it so I don't dwell on the thought that Loz may not come home at all.

I've been asleep on the bed, dreaming of things like swirling black water, crushed lily flowers, falling feathers, green sparks of spirit energy and colourful clouds of materia. My ears ring with the clanging sounds of steel on steel, the roar of collapsing buildings and the shriek of hundreds of people screaming. I can still smell smoke. I awake with that same foreboding feeling I've been getting lately, like something bad is going to happen.

When I glance at the clock, I realise it's now dusk outside and Loz has been gone the whole day. I try to call his phone but it doesn't even ring. When dusk stretches into night time with no messages or signs of anyone returning, I start to become frantic.

How long was this mission supposed to take? Where are they all? The idea of something majorly catastrophic happening increases by the minute and I have no idea what's going on.

Desperate for distraction, I turn on the TV to find shock news reports about gun battles, explosions, crashing helicopters and a giant flying dragon which completely trashed the city earlier today. It looks like a war zone out there. Somehow, beneath my stunned disbelief, I just know it's all connected to Kadaj somehow, especially when I see a televised shot of all those stolen street kids he had locked up in the garage. Someone had taken the footage on their phone so it was shaky and blurry but I know it was the same collection of kids. They had formed a circle around the Midgar memorial statue in Edge, before it was destroyed and toppled over. I don't know what they were doing there but I dearly hope all those children got away safely and were returned to their families.

In the news reports about the chaos, there are also mentions of motorcycle chases on the freeway, bony dog-creatures being conjured out of thin air and a small group of silver-haired men which only confirms it all being Kadaj's doing. But nobody knows the identity of those men sighted or even where they are now. Some witnesses are saying that they're dead, that they got blown up, others are insisting they escaped. Some are claiming the mysterious men to be terrorists or religious extremists worshipping a Goddess called 'Mother'. Some people are calling them ghosts or demons. There are even mentions of aliens and laboratory experiments. Other people (mostly shrinks and sociologists) are stating that there were no ghosts or silver-haired men at all, only a panicking public still traumatized by the advent of Sephiroth, and that all the drama was caused by angry ex-employees of the Shin-ra Corporation, taking their revenge.

Hearing all this and seeing the footage of how much damage has been done to the city does nothing to allay my fears down in this cave. I know I'm safe here but I'm also very alone and I just wish Loz and the boys would come back already. I just want to know that they're all right, that they're alive. Explanations can come later.

And so I keep waiting.

Sometime late in the night, I hear a motorcycle roar into the garage. I leap up from the couch in the lounge room, hurrying along the corridor to meet whoever's here. Loz comes down the concreted passageway first, limping as though his left leg is injured. He looks exhausted. His suit is ripped and torn, bits of dirtied skin showing in between the jagged holes. Dual Hound is missing from his arm. He's got cuts and scratches all over him, an especially deep gash on his forehead. He stops and stares at me, as if not believing his own eyes. Saying a silent prayer of thanks for his return, I rush up to hug him tightly even though he's covered in dried green blood and grey plaster dust.

With surprise, Loz utters, "You didn't leave."

"Of course I didn't. I love you too much and I've been sitting here worrying sick about you," is my scolding reply to him. "You know, a phone call would have been nice."

I pull back to look at him, about to ask if he's okay, if they found Jenova, whether the kids got away safe and sound. All those questions die on the tip of my tongue when I realise that Loz has been crying, his eyes red and puffy. I notice that Yazoo is standing in the hallway with his head bowed, looking every bit as weary and filthy. His coat is in tatters and blood has clumped his hair into stiff strings. His gun is gone. Instead, he's holding a sword.

Kadaj's sword.

"What happened?" I ask with mounting dread. "Where's Kadaj?"

Yazoo just looks down with his pale, dirty face and tiredly walks away, the tips of the double-bladed sword dragging on the ground, as if it's too heavy for him to even lift.

"Loz?" I stare up at him, feeling my heart drop into my stomach at his devastated expression. "Oh, Gods. Please don't tell me…"

"He's dead." Loz's voice comes out rough and hoarse. "My baby brother is dead."

And then he starts to cry. As though he has no energy left to stand, Loz weakly sinks to his knees and wraps his arms around me, his crumpled-up face against my belly and his whole body racked with loud sobs. As Loz's tears are wetting the front of my shirt, I reflexively stroke his dusty hair but I'm too shocked to feel anything inside except numbness.

The bad thing that I feared would happen has happened. Only it wasn't Loz or Yazoo who got killed.

It was Kadaj.

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