[A/N: Man, I actually wrote this MONTHS ago, and only just found it again D:

Seriously. Months. I don't know what happened to it *pets*

Dedicated to gothicdragon752, the wing-kink, and the buffalo. 'Sup.

Enjoy~!]

Burn You Down

How beautiful the flames were when they danced over Genesis' skin, bathing ashy porcelain in the golden light of destruction. How cleverly they concealed the decay, like perfuming a corpse so as not to offend with the smell; flickering shadows blended seamlessly with patches of grey in the hollow of an aristocratic jawline, the side of a face turned away. It was almost possible to imagine that the brilliant red hair, once radiant as the fire illuminating it down in the valley, was not streaked with white and instead retained its perfect shade.

All an illusion.

And maybe, Sephiroth thought as he approached Genesis, it had always been an illusion. He had spent months mourning this man – abomination? – but the image he remembered was so different to what stood before him now. It wasn't just the degradation; desperation had changed Genesis, corrupted him irreparably. His stance, while it had always been arrogant, was plainly aggressive now; lowered eyes flared in hatred as they turned away from the ruin Sephiroth had wrought.

"A remarkable show."

The words were sharp, acerbic, soaked in sarcasm and disdain. Sephiroth ignored it, not even mildly offended or disturbed by the burning distaste from one he would once have trusted his life to. To tell the truth, he wasn't entirely sure why he'd sought out Genesis here; he'd thought earlier that he never wanted to set eyes on Genesis ever again, for the pain he'd caused. But then again…

He had brought Sephiroth to Mother. Indirectly, of course – the failed experiment would have no personal knowledge of her except from what he'd been told – but all the same, if he had not intervened Sephiroth might never have known her. They hadn't met yet; that was what he was on his way to do. Something had convinced him to detour and find the instrument of his destruction before finding Mother.

Some twisted remnant of loyalty to Genesis? Love? But he could feel nothing of the sort as he stared back at the redhead implacably, measuring him as he would measure an opponent before he cut it down.

"I thought you might appreciate it."

Genesis laughed softly and moved forwards, his grace not depleted at all by his condition; there was still that jauntiness to his hips, a trademark swagger that had never failed to capture Sephiroth. And even now, he could not deny its effect – watching his former lover pause and meet his eyes, head tilted to one side, the urge to possess him again almost overwhelmed his mind.

But he resisted, for the moment; if he was going to take Genesis, it would be on his terms. For now, it was obvious that the redhead wanted him to give in to the desire, and therefore Sephiroth remained determined to deny him.

"Why? Because I'm a monster, and as such I must enjoy death?" Genesis laughed again, glancing back down towards the burning village. Sephiroth did not respond, avoiding following his gaze; the place meant nothing to him.

"I thought I was the monster here," he replied emotionlessly, feeling cold and empty as he said it. Was it the truth? He didn't know, but the anger and confusion he'd experienced when Genesis had first accused him were gone like the smoke twisting up to the mountaintops. The redhead cast a strange look at him. Pity?

"Do you believe that?" Genesis asked, morbid curiosity glinting in his eyes. Sephiroth shrugged, green eyes staring flatly.

"What does it matter?" he said. "What does any of this matter any more? It will all burn."

Genesis blinked slowly and moved forwards again, inching his way towards Sephiroth like a serpent approaching its prey. Sephiroth tensed, unable to deny the desire evoked even by his lover's degraded body; he'd been without any touch for so long now it was impossible to resist. Just as he was about to close the distance between them, longing to feel hot skin under his hands again, Genesis paused.

"I am curious," he murmured softly, bringing in his left hand to his chest; it was only now that Sephiroth realised that the redhead's black wing had disappeared. Maybe that was why these emotions had been stirred again – seeing Genesis without such a visible reminder of how he'd changed almost allowed him to see past the other pointers.

Almost.

"Curious?" Sephiroth inquired, though the lust bubbling through his veins was becoming more and more irresistible. Genesis met his eyes and without breaking contact threw his arm out, scattering ebony feathers as the wing burst from his shoulder. Sephiroth did not react, though inside that small part of him not enveloped by icy impassiveness recoiled.

"Impressive."

"To an onlooker now, who would seem more of a monster?" Genesis asked, ignoring Sephiroth's observation as he winced a little, obviously trying to conceal his weakness. In kind, Sephiroth disregarded his question and moved up to him until there was barely a breath between their bodies, staring into tired azure eyes shadowed under a furrowed brow.

"I would not count myself as qualified to answer that question, biased as I am." Genesis' eyebrows drew together a little more in consternation, evidently unsure as to how to take the statement; but Sephiroth gave him no more time to think, claiming the redhead's lips hard, harshly, tasting Genesis' unique flavour overlaid with the sweet odour of his decay.

Genesis gasped a little at the sudden assault, but soon his body automatically yielded, just as it had been trained to do over the years of their relationship; his lips parted to let Sephiroth's darting tongue in, his own entwining with it in the re-enactment of the choreography practised so many times before.

It was as if no time had passed since their last encounter of this kind; Sephiroth's hands wandered of their own accord down Genesis' back and sides, unerringly finding all the places where he loved to be touched. He was rewarded with purrs of encouragement into his mouth as Genesis' fingers twisted and caught in his hair, tracing patterns they'd established years ago, the first breathless times; the redhead's body moved against his hands willingly, muscles now wasting away from the degradation rolling towards him, begging to be touched. It seemed that Sephiroth was not the only one who had missed this.

Revelling in the power he had over Genesis, Sephiroth continued his exploration of the other's body. Though he'd always been able to assert his dominance over the redhead easily, the feeling was amplified now by the physical advantage he knew he possessed. Before all of this, they had been almost matched in strength – the mako infusions and treatment had seen to that – but the degradation had taken its toll on Genesis' abilities and now he was like clay in Sephiroth's power. Malleable.

He didn't oppose Sephiroth in the slightest even as the other's hands danced up his back and to the base of his wing; Sephiroth could tell the area was sensitive from the falter in the movements of Genesis' tongue, the shudder that rippled through his body as it pressed against Sephiroth's. The silver-haired man smirked, not in the least repentant for causing his lover pain; the strange cold emptiness still pervaded. Now, he saw Genesis merely as a tool, as a way to satisfy himself. Their history only gave it context - another spice to the brew.

Fingers encased in black leather gently probed the place where flesh melded into feathers, feeling the flakiness of the skin around the tear, the slight stickiness of blood from an open wound. It was plain to see that the appendage was not natural – it did not flow easily into Genesis' body, and his shoulder muscles trembled with strain; though that could have been an effect of Sephiroth's touch.

He didn't realise that he'd broken off the kiss until he heard Genesis' tiny whimper, and the sound jerked him from his contemplative reverie. In all their time together, he'd never heard any sound like that from the redhead – he was too proud, too arrogant to ever let anyone see his pain or anguish, except perhaps Angeal. Sephiroth had never asked. He was too detached from human emotions to ever be comfortable with dealing with other people's; yes, his intimacy with the other two SOLDIERs had helped him immeasurably in moving away from his role as just a weapon, but he knew he would always be different.

That same detachment overcame him now, and he looked curiously down on Genesis' lowered head as he continued to investigate the wing, stroking glossy feathers further out from Genesis' body with one hand while the other, glove removed, explored the root more. The wing muscles seemed to grow directly from normal shoulder muscles, emerging from the same points on the redhead's left shoulder joint and between his shoulder blades; Sephiroth could only imagine the suffering that must have caused in the wing's development.

Those muscles shifted now as Genesis tried in vain to shift away from the touch, shaking his head as he attempted to escape curious fingers. Sephiroth couldn't see his face, but he could well imagine the repressed pain reflected on it; he took his hand away from the feathers and lifted the redhead's chin, mildly surprised to see tears welling up in sapphire eyes from the discomfort.

"Please don't, Seph…" Genesis pleaded, pain overtaking his arrogance even as he fought to retain a shred of dignity before the man he'd worked so hard to destroy. Sephiroth quieted him with another kiss, spreading his fingers on the hand on Genesis' back so as not to touch the afflicted area, knowing now how far he could push the redhead before agony took over lust.

Once again Genesis relaxed into him, shoulders still trembling a little in the aftermath of pain; it was not long before it seemed to be forgotten in the throes of desire. Their mixed breaths grew shorter, more ragged as they lost themselves in the other, bonding together as one with an intensity magnified by the months apart; even though he could not – would not – fully immerse himself in the moment now, Sephiroth could nonetheless feel the remnants of what once had been. It was there in the familiarity of the touch of Genesis' body; the way Sephiroth could predict his reactions and movements to each stimulus, and the way the redhead returned his caresses with unashamed boldness and experience.

The breath rushed out of Genesis' already winded lungs as Sephiroth pushed him to the ground, drawing a savage pleasure from the twist of the redhead's features as his shoulder hit the soil. The silver-haired man followed him to the rough earth, straddling his slim frame as he swept the dusty leather trousers from Genesis' legs; red-gloved hands had already been busy at his own waist, though they were markedly less nimble than Sephiroth remembered.

He returned his gloved fingers to the wing sprouting from Genesis' back as the redhead's mouth became swiftly occupied with his other hand, stroking the feathers as if they were of a captive bird. Genesis did not seem to mind this time; the wing twitched and furled against him as he ran his fingers through multitudes of sable quills, twisting and pulling to test their strength.

A strange kind of childlike delight tinged with malice bloomed in him as, fascinated, he touched the wing more; the scientific, calculating part of him wondered at the size of the feathers, yet they detached surprisingly easily from the main body in his hand. That tiny element of his mind that still cared about the man wrapped around him in ecstasy was filled with horror at what his lover had become; and guilt for causing the little spasms of pain that echoed through Genesis' body each time his upper body met the ground.

When he lost interest in examining Genesis' wing, Sephiroth returned his attention to the redhead's body; withdrawing his well-lubricated fingers from the ministrations of a tongue that had lost no finesse in their separation, he moved them down Genesis and with no preparation or teasing slid one finger inside, following it quickly with the second. Genesis moaned weakly, drained by the ache from his shoulder and the reduction in stamina brought about by the degradation, but didn't protest or complain when Sephiroth withdrew his fingers and lined himself up expertly, pushing the redhead's thighs back onto him as he entered with a sharp thrust.

Genesis instinctively arched backwards into the sensation, but recoiled when the pressure on his shoulder caused a stab of pain through him. Sephiroth smirked and thrust again, and when Genesis' eyes flashed open to glare up at him, they were once more brimming with loathing and unwilling, primal desire. Sephiroth didn't care. He knew the same expression was reflected in his eyes, together with the tinge of madness and smug arrogance at how easily he could still dominate Genesis.

Furious sapphire eyes brushed closed involuntarily as Sephiroth established his pace – harsh, unrelenting, and unforgiving of Genesis' physical weakness. One hand was planted on the rocky earth beside Genesis' head; the other combed again through the feathers of his wing with almost unconscious intensity, gripping ever more tightly as he drove them towards climax.

It hardly took any time for Genesis to finish; his stamina gave in far too soon for Sephiroth's liking, with barely any additional stimulus from either of them. The redhead writhed for a few seconds, releasing a desperate call of his name that sounded like a plea as his wing flexed upwards convulsively. He collapsed back onto the ground, pale with exhaustion and pain, and the very sight of him lying so defenceless and obviously in distress pushed Sephiroth over the edge of pleasure. The fact that he had been denied this for months contributed to the vicious delight of releasing into Genesis, retaining his silence so as to keep the position of dominance he so treasured.

There was silence for a few minutes, permeated with the crackle of the all-consuming flames in Nibelheim, until Sephiroth rearranged his clothing perfunctorily and stood, leaving Genesis to haul himself up and make himself presentable again. The silver-haired man watched him dispassionately, feeling only grim satisfaction and cold amusement that he had reduced Genesis to this.

"Where will you go now?" the redhead asked quietly when he was dressed again, swaying a little on his feet. Sephiroth glanced towards the ruins of the village and up in the direction of the reactor, and her.

He could feel her now, calling to him, and wondered how he'd managed to ignore that beseeching all his life. Safety, comfort – she promised everything, power beyond his dreams. Even over Genesis and his fickle whims of destruction.

"I will find Mother," he replied softly, still staring towards her resting place. Genesis did not reply; he looked towards the redhead sharply. "And yourself?"

Genesis shrugged, winced, and tried to laugh it off. "What does it matter?" he said, repeating Sephiroth's words from earlier. "If I can't find the Gift of the Goddess, there is nothing worth living for."

Deep inside, Sephiroth grieved once more for the loss of the unpredictable, untameable man he'd fallen in love with – but the feeling was soon overturned by her calls, and urgency gripped him in cold claws. Genesis didn't matter any more. Now, he needed to get to Mother.

But a shred of compassion still lingered in that shell, and he turned back to his former lover momentarily. There was a long pause.

"Then I am sorry." Genesis did not reply. "I would not see you die in vain."

He didn't see Genesis' expression as he walked away.