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.

Chapter 33. Dream

I'm standing by the lake, looking into the water, which is as calm as a sheet of glass. I can see Kadaj just under the surface, reaching out to me. His eyes glow green and his hair floats around his face. Shoving my arm into the water, I try to touch his hand, to pull him back, but I can't quite reach him. He's too far down. His lips move and although he's underwater, I can hear his voice in my mind, clear as day. "Help me, Cate," he says urgently. "Help me." I look down at myself and see a little handprint on my tummy, as if the baby is trying to reach him too. But no matter how hard I try, my fingers just don't connect with his and Kadaj sinks further and further back into the lake, pulled down into the murky darkness. Lost. Gone. Forever.

I wake up crying.

Loz rolls over in alarm, switching on the lamp and taking me by the shoulders. Anxiously, he questions, "What's wrong? What is it?"

Between my sobbing, I stammer, "K-Kadaj. He was asking me to-to help him. I was so close and…and I couldn't reach. I couldn't save him!"

"It was just a dream," Loz replies softly, wiping away my tears and trying to calm me down. "Only a dream."

"No, it was real," I insist, still seeing Kadaj's pleading face beneath the water, his outstretched hand. "He was right here in the lake!"

"You're not at the lake, Catey," Loz returns. "You're in bed. You were dreaming, that's all."

Realising where I am, in the bedroom with Loz, I stutter, "But…but it can't be. I don't want it to be a dream. I want him back, Loz. I want Kadaj back here with us!"

"I know, little girl," he returns sadly, hugging me with comforting arms. "I miss him too."

Fresh sobs come bursting out of me, the pain in my heart too much to handle. Holding onto Loz's warm solid figure, I eventually cry myself back to sleep.

In the morning, I should have forgotten that dream but I can't, still feeling that awful sense of helplessness and guilt at not being able to reach Kadaj's hand, at not being able to save him or pull him back from the void. That feeling only increases when I'm walking down the hallway past his room. I pause to gaze at his closed door, knowing that there's nothing behind it but an unoccupied bed and clothes that haven't been worn in weeks. Everything in that room would still be right where it was left, unused and untouched.

All of a sudden, I feel a presence and my body physically reacts, as if someone just walked by and brushed against my arm. Someone like Kadaj. I know I'm not imagining this as I can feel tingling and warmth on my skin, the way I would when the silver-haired clone touched me in the past. Shivering, I rub my arm and find it covered in goose-bumps.

Turning slowly around in the empty hallway, I query tentatively, "Hello? Are…are you there?"

I get no reply but all the little hairs on the back of my neck are standing up and I swear I can smell Kadaj's scent. I never used to believe in ghosts but I'm definitely starting to now.

"I know you're there," I state in a stronger voice, trying to look for a glimmer in the air where a spirit may be. "Are you okay? Say something. Show yourself. Please."

I'm straining my ears for a faint voice, a whisper from the realm beyond this world, so I jump two feet into the air when someone behind me clearly asks, "Who are you talking to?"

Whirling around, I discover Yazoo looking at me curiously, the tall Remnant having exited his room without making any noise, as usual.

"Oh, Yazoo," I gasp, covering my thudding heart. "You scared the crap out of me!"

"Sorry," he replies, sounding puzzled. "What are you doing?"

Realising how crazy I must have looked, standing there in the vacant corridor talking to myself, I quickly explain, "I think Kadaj is trying to contact me. Just before, I felt him. Right here in the hallway."

Yazoo's look of puzzlement turns sad. "I feel Kadaj everywhere," he reveals.

"No, I mean, I really FELT him. Touching me," I emphasise, gesturing to my arm. "And I had a dream about him last night…except I know it wasn't just a dream. He was sending me a message, probably through the baby somehow. I believe Kadaj wants our help. Maybe he's even trying to come back!"

I thought Yazoo would be excited about this revelation but he just turns even sadder.

"Cate, whatever you felt…it's not real," he says gently, as if speaking to a delusional person. "I have dreams about Kadaj too. Every night. I sense his presence in each room of this lair. I can still smell him and hear his voice. What we're feeling…it's just us missing him. Nothing more."

Attempting to change his lack of belief, I reply, "But you said yourself that life and death are not absolute on this planet. Sephiroth died and then returned. Why couldn't Kadaj?"

"Sephiroth only returned because Kadaj was his blood, his son, his vessel," Yazoo answers dully. "Kadaj has no son. No vessel to return in. It's impossible."

All I'm doing is encouraging Yazoo not to give up on his little brother but it seems as though the middle Remnant already has.

"You two used to have an uncanny bond," I remind Yazoo, wanting him to focus on how close he and Kadaj were. "Perhaps you still do. Can't you use that bond to see if Kadaj is out there somewhere, trying to get in touch with us? If anyone can connect with his spirit, you can, Yazoo."

"Don't you think I've tried that?" Yazoo's voice rises in exasperated anger, his gaze ablaze like green fire. "All I get is empty nothingness, like a phone line snapped in two. He doesn't answer!"

At that moment Yazoo seems completely furious and I'm not sure if it's with Kadaj, himself or me but I take a step back anyway, holding my belly protectively. Then the slender gunman sighs, lowering his eyes in resignation, all the anger leaving his body.

"Forgive me, Cate. I didn't mean to yell at you."

I bite my lip, not game to say anything else. One of Yazoo's hands comes up to his hair and he fingers the snipped strands regretfully, as if wanting it long again so he can hide his face behind it. His hair used to be his veil, concealing his feelings from the rest of the world in a shimmering silver screen. Now, there's nothing for him to hide behind and the hopelessness and heartache he's experiencing is visible, even to me. He used to look so composed and unaffected, like an animated plaster mannequin, but right now I can see him splitting apart inside with very real human misery, loss and suffering.

"I'd dearly love to believe he's coming back, I really would," Yazoo tells me in a near-whisper, dropping his hand dejectedly to his side. "But I can't wait around for something that will never happen. He's not here. He's gone. Kadaj is dead and there's nothing we can do about it. I think it's best for all of us if you let it go, Catalina."

I want to tell him that he's wrong and that I know Kadaj is still around us in some form but I can hear the raw pain etched in Yazoo's words so I stop arguing with him, realising that I'm only opening up his deeply-cut wounds again.

"Maybe you're right. Maybe I'm imagining things," I say hesitantly, starting to doubt myself. Over the last few weeks we've all been through a highly traumatic ordeal and it's bound to have affected each of us psychologically, making us want to deny reality and cling to straws of hope. I rub my arm again, letting out a weary breath. "I'm sorry, Yazoo. I'm probably just overtired. It was a very vivid dream."

He nods once, acknowledging my apology and explanation. Without a backward glance, he leaves, striding silently down the corridor. I watch him go, berating myself for making Yazoo hurt anew and wishing there was something I could do to help ease his grief.

Later that morning, I ask Loz to take me into Edge, telling him that I need to get a few things for the baby's room. He asks if Yazoo is coming with me and I shake my head, saying that I want to go by myself this time. Loz frowns and states that he's not leaving me alone in a big city, especially not one where Turks may be lurking. His protectiveness is very sweet but I doubt that a dozen armed agents are going to attack a pregnant woman in the baby aisle of a major department store, surrounded by teddy bears, diapers and nipple cream. However, if they see Loz in public, standing there like a six foot tall target with an arrow on his back, they'll be all over him in seconds so I argue that for his own safety I don't want him to come, that he should just drop me off and pick me up later. Loz argues back that there's no damn way he'll let me venture around Edge on my own, that his duty as my boyfriend is to protect me and our kid and I finally agree to let him stay while I go shopping. While he may not actually go into the shops with me and buy things, he will trail behind me unobtrusively, staying hidden but still keeping a watchful eye out for any Shin-Ra spies. If he sees any, he'll use his blue zappy powers and teleport us both away before the Turks even have a chance to draw their weapons.

Now that we've reached a satisfactory outcome, I grab my jacket and backpack and the list of items I want to purchase, which are jotted down on a notepad. Just before we are about to leave, Loz gives me a fat wad of money, wrapped in a rubber band, telling me he's been saving it for the nursery. I know what awful things Loz has had to do to earn that money, and I know how hard he's trying to take care of us so I thank him gratefully as I tuck it into my bag, promising him that I will spend it wisely.

"Don't be silly," he chides me, slipping his hands around my expanded waist. "Spend it on whatever you like, Catey. This baby needs a room so you make it as pretty and purple as you want, okay?"

"Green," I tell him with a smile, reaching up and caressing his angled brow-bone. "It's going to be green and beautiful like your eyes."

He smiles down at me with those sensual lips and my heart skips a beat at what a gorgeously handsome man he is. Lowering his head, Loz kisses me on the mouth and I kiss him back, closing my eyes and stroking my fingers along the sides of his silver beard. His whiskers tickle my chin and upper lip as we're kissing but it doesn't bother me; I'm paying more attention to what his tongue is doing to mine and how the feeling spreads warmly through my body. We're just getting into it and vaguely thinking about making a quick bedroom visit when Yazoo's curious voice interrupts us.

"Where are you two going?"

Breaking apart, Loz and I turn to face his brother. Yazoo has been in the gym, training, and is still wearing his karate outfit.

"Um, I'm gonna buy some paint and things. For the nursery," I add awkwardly.

Yazoo cocks his head. "And you didn't come and get me first?"

A sudden guilty flush heats my cheeks and I avoid his eyes. "I…I thought you were mad at me…"

"Of course I'm not." Yazoo's voice is mildly scolding but not angry in any way. "I'm still grieving and my emotions are all over the place. Please don't think that I was mad at you earlier because I wasn't, all right?"

"Okay," I say uncertainly, lifting my eyes and meeting his gaze.

"Cate, I said I'd help you with the nursery. I meant that," Yazoo insists.

"You don't have to."

"No, but I want to," he replies firmly. "This is my nephew – or niece – and they deserve to have a special room of their own. I want to help you create it. I want to go with you and get those things we spent so much time talking about."

Loz opens his mouth, about to protest, but Yazoo already knows what his big brother is going to say. "Loz, I'm perfectly capable of protecting Cate on my own. I'll bring a gun, don't worry." Yazoo pats Loz on the shoulder. "Besides, I know how much you hate shopping so you can stay home and work on the bike or something."

"But what about getting noticed?" I propose in concern. "You shouldn't go outside in public, Yazoo. People might recognise you. People like the Turks."

A dry smile twists Yazoo's lips. "I doubt it with all my hair gone. That was kind of my trademark. I'm coming with you, Cate. Just let me change my clothes."

It appears that his decision has been made as he strides back to his room. Loz seems secretly relieved that he doesn't have to accompany me to the shops, even though he would have done it. While Yazoo is getting changed, I stand on tiptoe and whisper into Loz's ear what I'll do to him when I get back, slipping my hand up the front of his shirt so I can caress his muscled stomach. He groans, telling me I better not take too long.

Shortly, Yazoo returns from his room. Now he's wearing blue jeans, a white long-sleeved top to hide the bandages and still-healing scars on his arms, and a red and black checked shirt over that. The shirt is left unbuttoned and loose to conceal the weapon he's got tucked into the back of his pants. Instead of boots, he's wearing sneakers. He must have raided Kadaj's wardrobe because nothing seems like Yazoo's usual style of clothing. Although his distinctive silver-coloured locks have been cut short, he has even put on a baseball cap, just to be safe.

"What do you think?" he asks, gesturing down at himself. "Do you think my disguise will work?"

I can't help staring at him. He looks much younger, like a kid who rides skateboards, like a teenage boy. A very pretty, very tall teenage boy but definitely not a dangerous assassin or a Sephiroth clone.

"Yeah," I answer, slowly nodding. "I think it will work."

"Great." Yazoo smiles and holds out his arm. "Let's go shopping."

Excited about the trip into the city, I take his arm and push all thoughts of Kadaj and that unsettling dream I had out of my mind, determined to have fun today.

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