The lips.

Not his ready smile, nor the way he was always in motion, even in sleep. It wasn't the unwavering glow of love in mako-green eyes whenever the boy looked at him. It wasn't even Zack's misplaced loyalty to a company that smiled to the public but carried poisoned knives underneath its mantle of benevolence that made Angeal's knees weak.

It was those lips that undid the reserved, stoic SOLDIER. The way they bunched together and seemed to invite a gentle meeting with his own, whenever the boy pouted at him. Their soft curves, like ornaments on some ancient scroll, almost girlish in their fullness, always ready to stretch into a wide smile at any moment. The way they plumped up red, like ripe cherries, when Zack gnawed at them, lost in some thought or problem that demanded all his attention. Their irresistible softness was like finest velvet or the skin of freshly picked peach, that Angeal dared touch only - oh so carefully, the lightest of caresses with the very tip of one trembling finger - when the boy was deep asleep. He wondered whether they would taste sweet or spicy, whether the moisture of a kiss would cling to them, making them glisten and open in invitation.

It wasn't Zack's body, or eyes, or movements that Angeal watched hungrily when he thought the boy didn't notice. It was those irresistible, incredibly alive and always moving – and to his own unending shame arousing – lips that never failed to draw his gaze.

And yet they were still the lips of a man, strong in his convictions, determined to succeed in whatever he did, bringing forth words of truth and honor and pride like flowers growing unexpectedly among the desiccated rocks above Midgar. Lips that Angeal yearned to touch with his own, and yet dared not, for he felt he had no right to take away that innocence.

Not until those lips came to him of their own free will, offering themselves on the altar of his blazing desire, did Angeal give in to his longing. Their touch would remain burned into his memory until that last moment, when the sight of them faded forever into the darkness.