Minerva: -has been reading over Final Hikari's shoulder while she typed- My eyes are green.

Final Hikari: Hmph! I'm hellbent that there's some sort of translucent, luminous gray coloring to them.

Minerva: Why? -slight scowl-

Krynn-Meridia: The CC Ultimania says her eyes are green.

Final Hikari: Humph! Athena is the Greek equitant of Minerva and is referred to as the Gray Eyed One. I'm sour that I learned otherwise on the CC Ultimania webiste… Now, Genesis, do the disclaimer!

Genesis: -.- The Final Hikari does not own anything Final Fantasy VII or lyrical quotes from Gackt songs.

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Justified

Blood.

Since becoming a First Class SOLDIER, Genesis Rhapsodos had only seen more and more of it. He wasn't surprised he was being sent on more assassinations, but the sheer amount of lives he was responsible for silencing since finally reaching his elusive childhood goal was staggering.

When first joining SOLDIER as a Third Class, the company has used him as little more than a disposable foot soldier. Subsequently, he was seldom sent on important missions, and was only instructed to kill actual people a few times.

Back then, he'd tried keeping track of how much human blood he got on his hands. How many sins he'd committed in the name of gaining honor in the eyes of his superiors. He vaguely remembered having a resolve to make sure he saved twice as many lives as he'd have to take.

He wasn't sure where the ratio currently stood, but it was probably dipping to fifty-fifty. He doubted the countless enemy soldiers he'd slain deserved their fates. He knew since he was usually sent to eliminate high-ranking members of the Wutai army or government, most of their intentions were darker than Shin-Ra's were going into war.

Nevertheless, the large gap between Second and First Class was becoming evident to him.

Genesis sighed tiredly, continuing down vacant street of the Wutai city. They'd conducted reconnaissance missions the last few days, and the siege planned to happen at night. Genesis had been appointed to lead the operations.

Subsequently, the city was under Shin-Ra and SOLDIER's control within hours of the attack starting. The main bases of the Wutai military were taken first and fell easily enough. Other police forces the city always had, even in times of peace, were gone after simultaneously by the lower ranking SOLDIERs and infantrymen.

Genesis himself had lead the attack on the main military base located on the outskirts of the city. All the residential and business areas were being patrolled by their military and the civilians dealt with accordingly. Genesis was familiar with the process; kill those with connections to the government or who resist.

According to his superiors there was a former member of Wutai's infamous Crescent Unit retired in this particular city. They'd gotten word they wanted him to come out of retirement to assist in coordinating battle tactics. Shin-Ra didn't want them to gain another experienced strategist, and decided to send their best SOLDIER to do it; Genesis.

The civilians in this distract had been evacuated by Wutai forces when Shin-Ra's advance started. They'd learned from one of the Turks deployed on the mission that their target remained. He hadn't been informed of what the Turk did to ensure this, only to be ready for any form of trickery from the old tactician.

Though he knew the district would be free of civilians and infantrymen alike, the dead silence and complete lack of movement was slightly unnerving. He had his sword in his right hand, still ready for combat, but pulled his phone from his pocket and flipped it open to see his location parallel to the target's home.

He was still on course but knew the path got complex when the satellite reception suddenly disappeared. He blinked and scowled at the small device, as the map turned to fuzz. What the hell…? It was receiving all signals a moment ago…it never goes out that abruptly…

He glanced up to the night sky, half expecting to see storm clouds obscuring the stars, but there were none. Even so, Shin-Ra technology wasn't supposed to succumb to changes of weather in the first place.

"Stupid things work underground but not in Wutai…" he grumbled to himself, trying to exit the map. The screen stayed the same and refused to open or change to another menu.

His frown deepened. This isn't normal…did Wutai send some sort of scrambling wave out? He closed the phone, expecting that to clear the program, but both screens remained lit. He tried turning it off, but even that basic control wasn't working.

This isn't good. If it isn't responding at all I've completely lost contact the Shin-Ra, Lazard, and the other SOLDIERs in charge of this mission…hell, I don't even know if I'm supposed to receive contact with that Turk or meet up with them.

…They're going to kill me if I screw this up…this is only the seventh attack on a city like this I've been put in charge of…Shin-Ra really does make some crappy stuff. He shook his head slightly and flipped the device closed a second time.

As he did, he heard a soft footstep against pavement behind him. He swore silently to himself for messing with the defective gadget distractedly for enough time for someone to get so close without him hearing them. He whipped around immediately and has his sword inches from the person's neck reflexively in no more than a second.

A surprised expression crossed the woman's face as Genesis scowled. A civilian…? he wondered, knowing it wasn't uncommon for Wutai soldiers to approach in disguise. She was dressed formally in clothes that looked like they'd been purchased in Midgar rather than Wutai. She had long, luminescent blond hair that fell down her back.

Her eyes were a luminescent emerald green but seemed to have a veil of translucent gray above them in addition to the silvery flecks of color. Her expression was peaceful and her presence, if possible, serene. He frowned slightly, suspicion creeping into his eyes.

"I'm sorry," she said apologetically, "I seem to be lost."

"This area is under military control," Genesis said firmly, "the movement of civilians is being controlled by the infantry and SOLDIER. How did you get here?"

She shrugged in response. "I'm not entirely sure. The area was deserted when arrived."

"You don't look like you're from Wutai. Do you live in this city?"

"No, I'm only traveling through in this country. I'm afraid I don't have my passport or any other ID with me. I was staying in a small motel not far from here. It's in my luggage there."

"Traveling in a time of war?" he asked abruptly, trying not to make fun of her feeble excuse.

She shrugged helplessly. "I was having trouble planning my rout because of that. I have been trying to make my time here as brief and far away from the combat as possible…" She looked up, her eyes meeting his as she asked, "Could you please lower your weapon?"

Genesis obliged reluctantly but kept his sword in hand. Her story was less than believable, but he didn't have time to deal with her properly. She was definitely a foreigner, like him, and even if her story was true, the company wouldn't care if she was dead. They'd dismiss it as a civilian causality, no matter what country she was actually a citizen of. Nothing would link back to him.

She's delaying my mission…if I waste too much time dealing with her. that old strategist might escape. It isn't something Sephiroth would approve of, but I don't want to kill her…

"Go to the military base in the center of the town where SOLDIER is collecting the civilians," he said resignedly. They can deal with her and her halfassed story properly there.

"But you're with SOLDIER, aren't you?" she questioned, glancing down at his uniform.

"Yes, but-"

"Why can't you escort me there?"

Genesis' scowl deepened. "I don't have time to take your there myself."

"Isn't it dangerous to be in this city alone?"

"Yes, very, thus you should get to-"

"There could be other members of the military or Wutai's forces that might just kill me on sight," she said hurriedly, interrupting him a second time. "It could be terribly dangerous if I went alone. And I was thinking it was so lucky to meet such a thoughtful SOLDIER in the middle of all this…"

"Do you know how to get here or not?" Genesis asked crossly, pulling his cell phone from his pocket thoughtlessly, momentarily oblivious to its condition.

"I didn't really go that way when I was walking around yesterday, can I see?" she asked, stepping beside Genesis and gently reaching out to tilt the screen of his phone so she could see as he flipped it open.

It was still stuck on the "lost satellite reception" screen and for the umpteenth time he swore silently to himself. He was about to tell her he couldn't give her detailed directions, but the moment her fingers came in contact with the phone, it became obvious. The screen turned to fuzz, a state he thought he was impossible for it to get. A few small sparks flew from the sides of the phone and the light of the screen and buttons blinked rapidly then went dark.

Genesis blinked, somewhat horrified at the state of his new, four thousand gil phone. He'd bought it right after getting sent back to Wutai with the promised pay raise of making First Class in mind. And now it's scrap metal.

The woman frowned slightly. "I don't think that phone is going to work…"

"No shit," Genesis grumbled, more to himself.

A slight bemused smile played at her lips. "Do know where you're going without it?"

He cast her a dark, displeased look. "Of course I do," he lied, "now go to the center of the city where the rest of the civilians are."

"I did explore the residential area a bit yesterday…perhaps I can help you get near the place you're looking for?"

Goddess…Genesis thought sourly, was this maddening woman sent just to make this mission difficult and get me demoted? "I seriously doubt you can help."

"Awww, but how are you sure? You haven't even asked me yet…"

He tried not to swear aloud at her. "Miss, you're a civilian. It's against company policy to involve the citizens."

"Even if you can't find your way there otherwise?"

"Oh, fine. Do you know where some old fart named Arata Ryuunosuke lives?"

The woman stared a second than burst out laughing.

He felt his eye twitch. "What the hell are you laughing about?!"

She cackled then composed herself with a grin. "You have no idea how to speak this country's native language, do you?"

"So what? I'm a SOLDIER, not a linguist!"

"If that person's name is spelled anything like I think it should, that's so far from the proper pronunciation he wouldn't recognize his own name said like that."

"Do you know of him, or not?"

"Well, yes, of course I do," she replied with a smirk, "you just passed a statue of him when you left that stronghold of yours'. That was, of course, based off a picture of him when he was a great deal younger… He's quite famous in this town…but what does a big company like Shin-Ra want with an old strategist?"

Genesis didn't reply immediately, and her smile faded. "Or rather, why do they want him eradicated? Is that why you're here?"

"Can you help or not?" Genesis questioned tiredly.

"Maybe. Are you assassinating him?"

"Look, it's just a mission. I don't have any involvement prior to getting the order."

"So then you are killing him," she said calmly, turning away from him but not walking away. "Don't you think there's great meaning in all of god's creatures?"

"I don't know of any gods, just a goddess," he said tersely.

"Either way…don't you believe there is?"

"I suppose," he replied reluctantly. "why?"

"Ah well," she said quietly, turning around with a slight smile. "I suppose there's no harm in helping you. His house is a bit of a landmark, lots of children go there to interview him. He's a local celebrity of sorts. I was there yesterday and a lot of people were disappointed when he refused to take any visitors after some men in suits came to visit him."

"Mmm," Genesis replied, frown apparent. "Well, you lead the way."

She took a few steps forward and passed him but turned around almost instantly. "I don't think I caught your name."

"Genesis," he replied gruffly.

"Genesis what?" she asked playfully, only getting a glower in reply. She turned around and started forward again. "I'm Athena."

"Athena what?" he retorted.

"I'm not going to fall for that, you retorted with it far too fast," she said, walking elegantly toward the intersection. "Well, follow me."

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Final Hikari: I must say, Gackt's cover of To Feel The Fire really makes me laugh. XD

Genesis: …Why?

Final Hikari: Don't get me wrong, I love all his work dearly, but his is just really, really bad in this song. XD It's all grammatically correct but he sounds like Takanori Nishikawa sometimes and his accent is kinda…strong.

Minerva: Is that why you made me quote that man's madness? -.-

Final Hikari: :D You quoted a different song, released years later. Any reader who spotted it gets a cookie. XD Anyway! As you probably guessed, this is a two-shot. What you read has been rotting in My Documents for a few months so I decided to divide it into two chapters. XD I'm also taking suggestions for 'the fight.' -shifty eyes-