Categories > Games > Final Fantasy 7

Changes Through The Years

by aiIenzo 1 review

a drabble about what life may have been like for Kadaj if he had never rejoined the Lifestream. Includes DoC characters

Category: Final Fantasy 7 - Rating: G - Genres: Crossover - Characters: Kadaj - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2006-12-30 - Updated: 2006-12-30 - 2362 words - Complete

I wrote this purely for my enjoyment and the amusement of my friend, so please don't bag on me because a few of the characters might, to you, act a little...well...OOC.

I spend most of days in the far corner by the window.

The light in the mornings is sharp and bright and nearly blinding, but I turn from it and wait until it passes above and beyond the roof before looking outside. I still don't like it all that much.

The woman, Tifa, wakes up early and paces from room to room, looking rather comical, and I watch from a distance without having to be a part of the morning routine. She wipes down the nonexistent dust that never settled during the night with thick cloth, and stands with her hands on her hips, inspecting the job. This is the part I most enjoy. She does it several times each day, after she completes this or that, often coupling it with a sigh or a swish of her hair. I snicker, but she never notices it anyway. I think sometimes she forgets I'm here.


After an hour or so, she'll go and wake the kids. And they'll either come down or they won't. It doesn't matter to me; I don't know the story about them anyway.

Cloud passes in and out. He'll stay for days, or minutes. Several times he was gone for such a time that I figured he'd never come back. He stuck around quite often when I first got here--to watch me, make sure I was adjusting well and that everyone was adjusting to me. I remember asking him once about the fate of Mother, and he corrected me. Jenova was nothing, he had told me, nothing but a wreck. As was Sephiroth.

The name infuriated me. Bound me with jealously. I told him that I heard her calling to me atop the wreckage, after Sephiroth had left my mutilated body for dead, and he asked me who. Who I had heard. I answered Mother. He answered Aeris. I said yes.

And after that, he stopped coming by so frequently.

Sometimes, the Turks show up for a drink. Or several. It's usually the redhead and the black one. They take the middle table, often scooting two of them together to make twice as much room, although they never need it. They just seem to get a kick out of doing it.

The lanky one, the redhead, seems to come solely for the purpose of vexing Tifa. He'd swing his legs up onto the table and chat brightly with his partner, nuzzling down his beer, which he kept gently, almost cockily between three fingers. And Tifa would rush over and chastise him, and they'd argue about how many times she's told him "not to put his feet on the table," but he'd always manage to hush her up by placing a respectable amount of gil on said table and smirking while Tifa stood there, torn between her fury at being treated like this and her desire to take the money.

She'd compromise by doing nothing except turning on her heel and sorting the bottles of wine in the back, grumbling. Then they would call for another, and Tifa would come back and set two more bottles down, smacking the redhead's feet from the table as she did, earning a chuckle from him and an approving nod from his partner. And when she'd turn away, there was always the ghost of a smile on her lips.

It only took several weeks to figure out that this is how they connected. Connection was awkward and unsuitable sometimes, but they had still managed that. I couldn't deny that I found it mildly interesting.

It was in this deep observatory that I found myself rudely awakened one morning. With a sudden, apprehensive realization, I was being gently pulled out of my seat and into the middle of the bar, where the kids and that ninja girl stood, clapping and giggling. For the first time in days, I spotted Cloud in the background, leaning against the door and watching me with mild suspicion.

As if I was the out of place one at this moment.

They sat me down in a comfortably cushioned wooden chair and I felt a small flicker of heat coming off from the table in front of me. There was a small cake there, with little...sticks? Little colored sticks, burning brightly in the dim lighting of the bar, and I must have given them the strangest they've ever seen, because the small ninja giggled and Tifa looked politely concerned, while the kids, still slightly nervous, gave each other bewildered glances.

"Haven't you ever had a birthday, Kadaj?"

I gave them another strange look. A birth day?

"I was never born," I say simply.

There was an awkward silence, broken only by the ninja's slight cough, which may have been hiding a laugh.

Tifa fidgeted. "Well...well we can still celebrate your being alive!"

Cloud snorted. Tifa seemed keen on ignoring him.

"Come on, Kadaj. You need a birthday."

I didn't reply, but looked over at the frosted baked good set in front of me.

"What is the fire for?" I ask, and I see the ninja out of corner of my eye, turned away and snickering slightly, her shoulders shaking in what she thought was contained laughter.

"It's for how old you are!" one of kids shouts out suddenly, brightly, but when I look at her, she swallows thickly and hides everything but her eyes under the table. I look at Tifa. She's biting her lip.

I can almost feel the horrible comedy dripping from the scene we're in, but no one wants to take it seriously in case of what might happen. I've already figured out that Cloud is there in case things go wrong.

Tifa looks at me. I look down at the little burning sticks. "You have too many," I say bluntly.

I know I'm making this awkward. It doesn't bother me.

Cloud responds to their questioning looks effectively. "He's just hit three years old. You might want to discard 14 of those candles, Tifa."

The tone in his voice unnerves me, and I feel my shoulders slump. He knew. He knew I wasn't going to take this the way Tifa hoped I would. And the look on her face, mixed with the fear and disappointment of the children, and the ninja, who was still tittering, and Cloud...who never believed it in the first placed something new upon my chest.

I don't know what it is. But I genuinely feel /bad/.

I take my finger and slide it gently into the icing; yes, Tifa had let me taste it before, after she sensed I was more curious than usual towards the creamy coloured treat when she was decorating sweets for the children. I feel all pair of eyes on me, but it doesn't faze me much, and I'm nonchalantly tasting the icing while they stare, as if my reaction weighed the fate of their very lives.

I look up at them. They all look at me. I raise an eyebrow. I can easily make them look like the fools.

"I'll share."

And with the simple words, the tension is lifted, and Tifa is bringing out a cutter and separating the cake into even pieces, the kids waiting at the edge of the table expectantly, talking and giggling. The ninja girl is doing some sort of dance behind the counter. Cloud continues to stand there. Tifa sets down a slice in front of me, and I can see the little holes from where those small burning sticks were, and I still think it's a weird way to celebrate life, by burning things down, but it's just another tradition that I'll never fully understand.

Before I can delve into my delicious reward for doing absolutely nothing besides existing, Tifa is bending down in front of me. For a moment I can feel her thinking about embracing me, but she apparently tosses the idea aside and settles on resting her hand on mine momentarily.

"Happy 17th birthday, Kadaj. We're glad you're here with us."

I can't think of anything to say to that (was I glad to be here? With these people?), so I give her a meaningful look that I hope portrays something kind to her, and it seems to work. She stands and smiles at me. I might have returned it. I'm not too sure.

And then, as the clinking of forks and plates commence, Cloud takes his leave, his hand resting on my shoulder for only a moment, before it's gone along with it's owner, the upstairs door creaking slightly as it opens and shuts.

One of the children grins sheepishly at me after Cloud leaves. She needn't have bothered. I never really wanted to hurt them. Every good thing comes with a price.



She's in my spot when I come down one morning. Her light brown hair is overpowered by the strange blue uniform she sports, and she has a small journal open in front of her. Her pencil taps against it gently as she stares out of the window.

I must have stopped, because Tifa comes up to me and says gently, "Kadaj, this is Shelke. She'll be staying with us for a little while."

At the mention of her name, the girl looks up. She looks no more than twelve years old, but her eyes glow with a strange, eerie nature; like amber orbs in something that is both winter and autumn. I narrow my eyes.

I sit across from her, unwilling to give up my long-occupied spot entirely to this girl. She stares at me with startling intensity.

"Tifa told me that you've had your birthday recently. How old are you now?"

Her voice is metallic and almost static-like, as if she were nothing more than a computer program. A fit of irritation and annoyance courses through me and the blandness of the question.

"Older than you," I snarl through my teeth.

"Hmm," she muses, turning away. "I'm nineteen."

I bit my lip in irritation and feel my cheeks redden. I turn away.


They said they rescued her from something called The Tsviets, but they'd tell me nothing more. She seems to be connected with the sardonic Valentine man, and they talk several times a week on the phone. Nothing more than a short conversation, but I've noticed that the ninja eyes her fiercely when she does this.

But there is no tension. Nothing to be won.

This girl's sudden appearance solved none of my endless answers, merely created more. Driven by the endless desire to learn, I continued to sit across from her every morning. But she never says a word, and I become increasingly more frustrated at sitting on the wrong side. The sun wouldn't blind me over here. It threw off my rhythm, my motion, the way I lived the third of the life I have.

"You're in my seat."

She looks up. Her notebook is still laying in front of her, unguarded, accessible to my eyes if I wished to look down and read it. She didn't seem to care that I could. Maybe she wanted me to.

She blinked. "Are you going to take it back from me?"

"/Kadaj/," I heard Tifa hiss, and though it was my fault, I blamed it solely on Shelke.

When she arrived, Tifa and Cloud thought it best to separate us, for what I figure was security; in case we decided to gang up on them.

I decided that they were right to try and keep up as far away as possible. But for entirely different reasons.


The next day after my humiliation with Tifa, I made my way slowly down the stairs only to pause and stare.

My seat was free.

When I sit down, she looks at me from across the table, head titled slightly. "Now would you like to talk?"

I tense. Talk?

"About what?"

Her voice was still metallic, but it had lost the static edge. Maybe since she had starting talking more. Or less.

"They told me what happened. How the Lifestream sent you back."

"I wasn't sent back," I respond immediately. "She...she gave me a choice. She let me choose."


I looked up. "Mother."


I nodded. "Yes. Bro--Cloud. Cloud and the others call her Aeris."

"Hmm," is all she says, and in the silence I've grown so accustom to welcoming, I rather miss the sound of voices.


My seat is still open the next day. I'm not surprised, but I don't quite think I'm flattered, either. It was mine in the first place.


Her eyes burn and liquefy at the same time, and it chills me. "So?"

"So...what's your story?"

She sets her notebook down and begins to talk.

And for once in this bar, I seem to be learning something worth knowing.


I barely remember half of the things we say.

I tell her about the Forgotten Capital, because she's never been there.

She tells me about hacking into computer programs, because I've never done it.

I tell her about rage, because I've felt it course through my body whilst another controlled it.

She tells me about love, because she's felt it as someone else.



She jumps, nearly dropping all the mugs she had been carrying.

"Kadaj!" she breathes, hand to her heart. "What do you need?"

I had followed her into the backroom, so it's no surprise my voice came as such a shock; though I'm curious, I never venture for answers beyond the realm of my routine. Death did that to me.

"It's about Shelke."

Tifa sighs. "Look, Kadaj, I know she may irritate you, but she just can't go anywhere else right now. She's recovering from something very traumatic, just like you are, and--"

"No, no," I say quickly. "It's not like that."


I shift, looking at the shelves and spotting a bag of flour at the top. " you know when her birthday is?"
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