Disclaimer: Nothing in FF7 belongs to me. Nothing at all. You don't have to rub it in.


The Job


"Is there a problem?"

The young man shook his head weakly, the motion causing a lock of black hair to fall forward and conceal one blank brown eye. His blueblack suit was rumpled, jacket torn in several places, and his shirt was stained scarlet so completely that even he would be hard-pressed to prove that it had once been white. His tie was gone, lost somewhere in the charred mess that his last assignment had been. He heaved a sigh and reached up, raking a soot-streaked hand through his dark hair, pushing it away from his eyes, and tilted his head back to look at the ceiling.

"Are you sure you're okay?" the other man inquired, arching one black eyebrow as he used two fingers to push up his silver-framed glasses. Unlike the short-haired young man, this figure was in perfect condition, aside perhaps for his hair. His black turtleneck was free of wrinkles and his pants were still creased, the little pale skin visible on his hands and face was clean--his fingertips were scarred, mostly on his right hand, hinting that he worked with heat on a regular basis. His hair was long, to the base of his shoulderblades, and kept in a tight tail placed at the base of his skull; wisps of pitch-black stuck out like poorly-trimmed bangs in the front, covering half an eye here, touching an ear there, and looking nothing but unkempt. It wasn't his fault, though--his hair had refused to behave since he was six years old.

The other young man, short-haired and bloodstained, remained silent for a long moment more. Finally he turned, slowly spinning on his bar stool to face his companion. "I..." he gave a melancholy smile, "killed six children today."

The long-haired man winced and turned back to the bar, placing a slender hand on either side of his glass and turning it slowly, palms cold from the condensation that had settled on the cup while he spoke. "That's..."

"Bad," the brown-eyed young man completed. He spun back around to face the bar, bracing both arms on the wood and leaning forward, touching his forehead to his own glass gently. "More than bad. Disgusting. Some would even call it evil."

The long-haired man turned once more. "What is it to you?"

A moment passed in silence. The barkeep peeked out from the back room and, discovering that the bizarre young man covered in blood hadn't left yet, retreated again. The man in the corner murmured something to the woman sitting next to him, gesturing to the bathroom. The minute hand on the clock ticked once, moving over one notch.

"It's...the job," he completed. "It's just the job, that's all. But--" He ground his teeth. "I wish it wasn't. On days like this, I wish to Gaea it wasn't."

"It was your choice, wasn't it? You could have turned the offer down." The black-eyed man lifted his glass, took a sip.

The short-haired man slanted his companion a look that inquired, quite clearly, if he was an idiot. "You didn't turn your job down, did you?"

He chuckled. "Why would I? I like what I do for a living."

"But it's not what you wanted to do." When the pristine figure averted his eyes the torn one narrowed his eyes slightly. "I remember high school, you know. I thought you wanted to do something involving technology, not biology."

With a shrug the reply was given, "Mako Sciences pay well enough; and it has its...perks."

The first man rolled his brown eyes. "I know all about your perks," he scoffed. The glint faded from his gaze and his expression darkened again. "Do you think...she'd be mad?" His brow furrowed. "That I killed kids?"

"She doesn't have to know."

He sighed. "Yes she does. This might be the job, but she's..." he turned. "She's my life. My real life--the one under this suit and away from my shotgun." He sighed and leaned forward against his arms, folded on the bar.

"But you can't tell her," the smaller man said, taking another drink.

He turned. "Why not?"

"Because," he replied quietly, setting his glass down and spinning his stool, giving the weatherworn man an apologetic smile, "it's the job."




Author's Note: Could you tell who the two people were? I was very proud of how vaue it came out, and I hope everyone was duly confused.