Freeze Like That
Title: Freeze Like That
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Cloud, Kadaj
Summary: Kadaj can't listen to the part of himself that wants to be rescued.
Notes: [for Emerald Embers]
He wondered how anyone would know they were drowning if they'd never drowned before... But Kadaj was also not so sure about that last part. He had drowned, if not literally. Been consumed.
Things he'd never once thought about - things like breathing and moving and seeing daylight no matter how unwelcome... Maybe he was frozen.
There was a sharp stab of recognition and Kadaj wanted to laugh. He had been washed away and drowned, yes. A name was on his lips - "Aerith".
'If you keep making that face, it'll freeze...'
No, that wasn't it.
'If everybody else jumped off that bridge...'
His head hurt even more. She'd made him call her 'sister'.
'That lifestream current... well, Cloud will find you naked!'
Unable to open his eyes, unable to breathe but still very sure he was somehow alive, Kadaj could only wonder if he had clothing on. He couldn't really feel anything, other than...
A fitting fate.
This was what he deserved, after all. He didn't learn. He pushed too far, needed too much. Desired...
Kadaj was unaware of exactly how much time passed before the first sharp crack rattled through his entire body. His eyes were still closed, and he'd been so far into madness that he'd all but forgotten his predicament.
Another, smaller crackle made him shiver in his confinement. If he hadn't been hearing voices for the last unknown amount of time, he'd have been fairly sure he heard voices. Real ones.
'If you keep making that face, it'll freeze that way, Kadaj.'
'Come on, it's okay, you're free. Stay here with me.'
'If everybody else jumped off that bridge, would you?'
'I'm not your mother. Everybody keeps calling me that. I'm not that old!'
'Cloud will find you naked!'
Even his teeth rattled as something very hard slammed into his crystal prison. He wanted to scream that he was better off trapped. Finally, he was somewhere that would keep him from acting on impulse. Somewhere that...
Small, chipping sounds. And voices, definitely voices.
"I can't believe his face froze like that."
Aerith? But he couldn't speak, or move.
"I really don't remember, before..."
"Neither do I."
Aerith, and Cloud.
Cloud. His knowledge of Cloud was far too complicated for his own liking. He knew things he shouldn't. Desired things he shouldn't.
Kadaj wondered why Aerith was defying the Planet by aiding Cloud. The Planet trapped him, neutralizing him, keeping him...
Shocking cold touched his leg and Kadaj understood completely, finally, how correct Aerith had been with her words.
And then warmth, overwhelming, as skin touched his skin and rubbed lightly.
"Definitely alive," Aerith said as she pulled her hand away.
"He keeps calling to me," Cloud said softly - much softer than Kadaj thought he should be able to hear. He hadn't... called out to Cloud at all. Had he? He didn't want Cloud to rescue him! Not... not like this.
Before he could try to send out a nice, angry counter-message, another sharp crack nearly deafened him. He wanted to put his hands to his ears but suddenly wasn't so sure he even had them. He thought he did. Hands. But Sephiroth...
Images raced through his mind, a blur that left him wanting to scream.
More little crackling noises and more heat on his skin. More skin.
When everything shattered around him, he was fairly sure he shattered as well. He inhaled instinctually, pulling cold air into lungs that had forgotten how to breathe. Coughing, he fought at Cloud as the blond tried to pull him away from the remains of his prison.
"Don't..." Kadaj whispered, his throat too dry to manage anything else.
"Be quiet," Cloud commanded, his voice angry even though his touch was soft as it pushed silver hair away from unfocused green eyes.
"You were screaming," Cloud said. "Endlessly. Even though I didn't want to hear you."
Kadaj shook his head. He hadn't been screaming. Only thinking, constantly, unable to do anything but. Finally, he looked to Aerith.
"Take me back."
She frowned. "It's not that easy."
"But..." Cloud frowned as well.
"I'm sure you'll work it out," Aerith commented, before slipping quickly away. "You always do."
Kadaj was already shivering, but if he could have been rendered frozen solid by Cloud's icy glare, it would have been a welcome reprieve from the awkwardness of the situation. He was clutching at Cloud, practically on Cloud's lap as they sat splayed on the cavern floor.
Cloud sighed. "I brought extra clothing. Aerith had hinted that..."
As Cloud averted his eyes, Kadaj wondered if he should be ashamed. He wasn't so much modest as he was cold and certainly any of his indecent thoughts about Cloud wouldn't be effective under the conditions.
"You have to let go of me."
Kadaj had the feeling they were talking about the exact same thing even though they couldn't manage to spit out the words. Clinging to Cloud as he accepted assistance dressing, they stayed silent even as Cloud picked him up again, cradling him as he would a woman or child, and headed for the exit of the cavern.
"Don't rescue me again," Kadaj mumbled. Slowly his body was listing complaints - hunger, thirst, stiffness, pain...
"Listen to Aerith," Cloud retorted, almost smiling. "Especially about your face freezing that way."
Kadaj opened his mouth to speak, but he didn't have any words. Instead he could only wonder. And possibly never ask.
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!