Sephiroth has a smile reserved just for Angeal.

It is not his patronizing smirk that is so frequent- or rather, frequent relative to Sephiroth himself. It is of a softer nature; the corners of his lips gently turn upward, his eyebrows unfurling in creaseless arcs. It is a smile that ascends when Angeal hands him a mission log, or when their swords lock in the heat of a spar. It is a smile of fondness, the kind of smile you set aside for your very first friend and the only friend you know you will have for the rest of your life. Yes, Sephiroth has a smile reserved just for Angeal.

Genesis is disgusted by it.

Sephiroth is determined to take everything away from him. His glory, his pride, his place in ShinRa. He will not take Angeal away. Sephiroth cannot share in what they possess. He cannot share in their midnight whispers and morning caresses. He cannot share in their childhood reminiscences. If he tells Angeal, he will be affectionately reassured that it is all in his head. But Genesis knows better. He is well acquainted with jealousy, as desperately as he tries to pretend he is not. He knows that Sephiroth lusts after everything he can take away from him. Angeal has always been his, and will always be his. Not even Sephiroth's smile can change that.


Genesis awakens just in time to witness the glaring red digits of his alarm clock indicate that the damn thing is less than sixty seconds away from blaring into his ear. He reaches a hand over the nightstand, slightly clumsy from sleep, and turns the wretched thing off for now. He sinks deeper into the white bedding, brushing up against the warm body lying soundlessly beside him. Genesis sighs with content, curling his naked form up against his bedmate's and resting his head in the crook of the man's neck. Satisfaction coils in his stomach as a nigh unconscious arm wraps around him and pulls him close. Genesis relishes the sensation of being sandwiched between warm arms and the cool, soft sheets beneath him. When the five minutes of leisure are up (perhaps ten, though Genesis will never admit it), he leans upward and presses his lips against his lover's.

"Rise and shine, Angeal," he whispers, earning a soft moan and a rustling of the blankets. Genesis would love to stay curled up in the other's hold for the entirety of the day. However, Angeal is a stickler for punctuality and would not forgive him easily for sabotaging their responsibilities. Mako-blue eyes flutter open, only to shut once more as a kiss is bestowed on Genesis' forehead. A gesture of affection that, while chaste, sends the redhead's heart thumping against his chest. He purrs, settling back against the mattress for a few more stolen minutes of sleep while Angeal, an early riser at heart, prepares for the day. It is a routine, Genesis admits, but a superb routine nonetheless. What is it that they say? If it isn't broken, don't fix it. Angeal peels the covers away carefully, as not to disturb the other, and trudges to the adjacent bathroom. Genesis groans when he hears the rhythmic pattering of water against tile, waiting until he is certain the water will be warm before climbing out of bed himself. He shivers against the cool air of the apartment, flexing his feet against the fluffy white carpet before gathering the courage to stand. He begrudgingly flips the curtains open on his way to the bathroom, offering an ideal view of the city of Midgar. The towering buildings of Sector Eight are bathed in the glow of the rising sun, the sky painted a beautiful mixture of gold, red, and orange all blended as a result of the invisible smog. Had he not seen the picture a thousand times before, Genesis might have lingered to admire it.

Genesis stifles a deep yawn and edges into the bathroom, shivering with discontent as his feet met cold tile. Angeal stands listlessly in the glass shower beneath steaming water, smoothing his soaked hair back as he relishes the leisure of hot water that is even now largely unfamiliar to him. Genesis pulls the door open and hops in as quickly as he can, letting out as little water as possible. Angeal graces the man with a warm smile, wrapping his arms around Genesis to reverse their positions. Now the redhead groans with pleasure as he is doused with warmth, Angeal's hands still cupping his waist. He lays his head against Angeal's shoulder, content for a moment with watching the mirror behind them fog with steam and water bead along his lover's form.

Angeal reaches behind him toward the shower rack, his deep voice mumbling an amusing and unbecoming question: "Passion fruit or coconut?" Genesis thoughtfully runs his fingers through his damp hair, pretending not to notice how Angeal's eyes run up and down his body. He stretches his shoulders and arcs his back, taking pleasure in the soft noise the other makes as their thighs brush together.

"Passion fruit," Genesis commands, stepping out of the ongoing stream of water to allow Angeal to massage the sweet-smelling shampoo into his hair. It is heavenly, feeling those strong hands lather the soapy solution, nails softly brushing against his scalp. A bought of sadness washes over him when Angeal pulls away, only to return with a bar of soap that he rubs between his own hands. Genesis' eyes flutter shut as the swordsman's trained hands run excess soap along his chest.

He can't repress a shiver when Angeal whispers into his ear, "How long did you let me sleep in this morning?"

Never 'if'. Always 'how long'. Angeal knows by Genesis' playfully guilty expression that he must pick up the pace if he is to leave their apartment on time- or at least, leave their apartment at all. With much less tenderness than he bestowed upon Genesis, he runs a more generic (and dare he say manly) shampoo through his own hair. Somewhat miffed at being left out to dry, or rather 'rinse', Genesis returns to his personal morning routine that consists of more hair products than many suspect exist. His red-haired lover is still running conditioner through his cinnamon locks by the time Angeal steps out of the shower to dress and start the coffeemaker.

Far less concerned with punctuality (ShinRa is lucky to even employ him, let alone tell him what time to show up for work), Genesis shuts off the water only when he has completed his ritual to his satisfaction. He wraps a towel around his waist and runs a preliminary brush through his sopping hair. Genesis treads through the bedroom and into the kitchen, paying no mind to the water dripping from his figure. He finds Angeal pouring coffee into two mugs and one spill-proof thermos, dressed in his standard SOLDIER uniform and seeming much more alert. Without having to ask, Angeal adds a spoonful of cream and three of sugar in the foremost cup before passing it to Genesis. "You're getting the floor all wet," he scolds, nevertheless chuckling as his lover shoots him a mischievous smirk and trots off toward the bedroom, leaving wet footprints in his wake.

Contented, Genesis sets his coffee down on the nightstand before shedding his towel to the floor (he would pick it up later) and adorning his uniform that hung dutifully in the closet. He pulls on his red leather gloves and smoothes his drying hair. No longer is he Genesis, friend and lover to Angeal, but Commander Rhapsodos, SOLDIER First Class. He downs the last of his coffee in a rather professional manner before attaching his sword to his belt and slipping his mobile phone in his pocket. He joins Angeal at the front door, who patiently awaits him with the coffee-filled thermos still clasped in one hand. Down the hall and toward the elevator they stride, boots snapping against the floor as they nod to saluting officers.

Genesis whips out his keycard and waves it in front of the sliding metal door leading to the First Class lounge. Modernized yet rather plain in style, the white tiled floors, the sleek black couches, and the monochrome glass coffee tables seem to invite blood to be spilt upon them if only to add a little color. Angeal makes a beeline for the silver-haired General seated in a chair at the corner of the lounge, taking a pen to the latest reports. Genesis follows a few steps behind, his eyes hardening behind his steadfast expression as Angeal hands Sephiroth the thermos full of coffee, earning a smile that made the Rhapsodos' stomach turn inside out. Before he can step forward to forge his mark of possession, each of their mobiles buzz simultaneously, as did those of the other SOLDIERs in the lounge. Mission assignments, issued the moment the second hand determines them to be 'on the clock'. Genesis scrolls through the information, a sigh escaping his lips as he reviews the synopsis. "How terribly boring," he muses. "It seems I've been assigned to the slums for a little monster eradication."

A smile crosses Angeal's face as he reads his orders. "I'm playing substitute teacher for the new recruits. Hand-to-hand combat classes." Angeal cannot even begin to hide his approval, Genesis notes, as his counterpart's eyes brighten. Angeal loves working with fresh minds willing to learn. Even if he has to wheedle through the less intelligent young men first. Their eyes turn to Sephiroth, signaling that he too is expected to partake in the mission summation.

"I have been assigned to reconnaissance in Kalm."

"Sounds like an all-day mission," Angeal says sympathetically as he flips his phone shut and pockets it. "If you get off at a reasonable hour, come down to our apartment. I'm cooking genuine Banoran cuisine tonight."

"Which means we're in for a mean Dumbapple pie," Genesis purrs, stepping closer to his lover and pressing a kiss to his lips, just to remind Sephiroth of his place. Angeal blushes, as public displays of affection often cause him to do. The resulting aversion of Sephiroth's eyes is exactly what Genesis is dreading, yet hoping to see. He can see straight through that cold, feinted indifference. Genesis remembers that expression today, no matter how many monsters he kills, no matter how many weights he lifts, no matter how many words he reads. It has become his very inspiration for becoming the best, for finally overtaking Sephiroth. Healthy? Perhaps not. Effective? Surely. At the day's end he returns to his apartment, hungering to hold Angeal and remind himself that he is not alone. He runs his keycard through the lock and opens the door, immediately catching a whiff of yet another delicious meal prepared by Angeal. He grips his shirt fabric with one hand, reminded of how he has not yet eaten today. However, the sight he bears witness to immediately runs his appetite dry.

Sephiroth and Angeal are sitting side by side on the sofa, chatting enthusiastically with smiles- fucking smiles- on their faces. He makes his entrance prominent, hoping to draw a little attention his way. Genesis dodges behind the couch and wraps his arms around Angeal's neck from behind, purring into his ear while locking eyes with Sephiroth, "Good evening, my friends. I pray that this day has treated you as kindly as it has me."

"Kindly enough," Sephiroth speaks up, his lower lip twitching downward. "Not so well for Angeal, I'm afraid."

Genesis' eyes narrow as he playfully squeezes his lover's shoulders. Angeal leans against him, making him wish he could crow in victory. "What has spoiled my Angel's day? Am I required to shed blood?"

"Just an overzealous cadet who got his hands on a mastered Fire materia on my watch," Angeal mutters with a rather gloomy expression, rising to attend to the bubbling pots on the stove. Genesis calmly replaces him on the couch, gracing Sephiroth with a cool smile of his own. "Did some pretty serious damage on the thirty-ninth floor. I'm being cited for neglecting my duties as an authoritative figure."

Angeal is troubled, and Genesis doesn't blame him. Such an accusation, while nearly ineffectual to a SOLDIER, may forbid Angeal from teaching for a long while. It may also prevent him from taking on a protégé, which Genesis is well aware his lover desires. "Lazard will drop it in a heartbeat," Genesis insists, dismissing the matter with a wave of his hand. "He knows you better than that."

"One would hope." Angeal sounds less than convinced as he absently checks the oven- seven times in the same minute.

"When the cadet finally admits to how he received the materia, it's likely that the fault will shift," Sephiroth adds, collected and logical even while the aroma of Angeal's cooking intoxicates him. "If he was supplied with it by a higher SOLDIER or found it in a supply closet left unlocked, you cannot be blamed for what happened."

Angeal's expression seems to soften at this, his self-culpability easing if only for a moment. "Yes. Yes, I suppose you're right, Sephiroth." Genesis' nails dig into the leather of the sofa at these words, his mind jarring him for being unable to properly comfort his lover. Like Sephiroth. Following dinner, they adhere to their age-old ritual that Angeal and Genesis have forced upon Sephiroth ever since first acquainting themselves with him. Sephiroth sits in the center of the couch, his companions on either side, each armed with a slab of warm apple pie in preparation to watch the latest movie rented from the local video store. Angeal has chosen an action movie, filled with plenty of explosions and stunts just the way they like- if only to critique the strategies of the protagonists.

"Rather than placing the explosives at the base of the canal, it would be more effective to attach them to the side of the bridge," Sephiroth says conversationally as rubble and fire fill the television screen. "The collapse would have blocked their exit, making it impossible for the enemy to escape."

"Poor form," Genesis agrees, shoving another bite of pie into his mouth. "See? A machine gun isn't a very practical choice there. A little more stealth might have offered her the results she was looking for."

It is almost like old times; the times when their youth was boundless and their destinies unshaped. When Sephiroth had not yet stolen everything from him, now intent on taking away the one thing he cannot survive without. But Genesis allows himself a moment of reprieve, reaching over to stroke the silver hair that is so neatly pulled over Sephiroth's right shoulder. The man sighs tolerantly, perhaps even with a hint of content; Genesis' habit of playing with the man's hair is a gesture of affection that has persisted over many years. He will not stop, even if Sephiroth asks him to. When the movie ends, Sephiroth utters a quiet 'good night' and leaves the lovers to their apartment. Genesis sees the backward glance the General sends toward them- no, toward Angeal- just before the door clicks shut. The blazing possessiveness stirs in his stomach, and he lurches forward to pin the black-haired man to the couch. A chuckle escapes Angeal's lips, and Genesis is thrown over his lover's shoulder (just the way the other knows he likes it) and carried to the bedroom where he is stripped, tenderly prepared, and made love to. Genesis clutches his lover, fingernails digging into the man's shoulder blades as he concentrates on the feeling of the man moving inside of him, the contorted pleasure on the other's face that is his doing. The very thought is enough to send him over the edge, and he arches his back with a cry with Angeal buried deeply within him and a hand firmly pumping his cock. He convulses with ecstasy, his trembling thighs wrapping around the other's waist to draw the man as deeply into him as he could. Genesis is utterly claimed when he feels Angeal reach his climax, drawing him in for a kiss.

Entwined in Angeal's strong arms, Genesis sighs and rests his forehead on his lover's chest. His heart continues to pound long after his orgasm, and he can feel the fear wrapping around it. The brink of love and pleasure thrusts him toward the brink of terror; the horrifying prospect that everything he feels at that very moment can be taken away from him. "Don't leave me," he heard himself whisper. There is an inflection of imploration that is unintended.

Angeal's brow furrows as he pulls away to look Genesis straight in the eyes. Somehow, even though he doesn't understand why, he knows what the older man needs to hear. "I will never leave you," he murmurs, stroking the other's face with a loving hand. "Never."

Angeal never thought to ask the same of Genesis.