"This may have been a mistake." Was all Angeal said, forearms flexing as he opened the window and looked down on Midgar. He was tense, coiled tight everywhere, and Zack could see in in the curled fingers on the sill, the hard flexing of his jaw.

Zack feared that he was right, feared that he had pushed too far with the questions about Banora, the mother that still lived there and the alleged fling he'd had one autumn with Scarlett. He didn't believe that last one, but Angeal hadn't said anything to deny it. Nothing to confirm it, but nothing to deny it.

Angeal was one of the warmest soldiers he'd met so far, but there was so much he wanted to know, boundaries he wanted to extend beyond squats and honor. A cold breeze blew in and Zack felt it move through his hair. He tapped on Angeal's kitchen counter, tsked at the burning pie sitting before him.

"You know, I don't actually like apple pie." Zack said truthfully, running a fingernail over the charred crust. Angeal seemed to still, spoke his words out to the city.

"An odd thing to say for any country boy." He said and Zack shrugged.

"Gongagan apples aren't great, they never get sweet." He tapped his finger again. "You ever had one?"

"No. But I'll take your word for it." Angeal wouldn't move away from the window. The distance felt unnatural for Zack, who was so used to being close to any company he kept. He needed to be, he liked being among people, hearing them laugh, breathe, trade casual touches. It was just hardwired into his DNA that way, but Angeal was his mentor and something told him he ought to be more mindful.

Something that should've been the need to be professional, but was only the dark mood Angeal seemed to have fallen into in the past week. Zack knew it was something, Angeal was carrying it around it his face, which was too naked to hide much, too kind for such a look to fit as well as it did.

In glimpses, Angeal looked like an older man, and it stopped Zack in his tracks, made him want to get closer than he knew would be appreciated just to figure it out, just to feel it because he's sure he would know then.

Zack trusted his feelings, he trusted them enough to put his life on it, and he had them in such excess, the only way he could think to deal with it was to be how he was. Puppy, he guessed. He wasn't sure how he felt about that nickname, but when Angeal-

He breathed out, watched the smoke rise up and rush passed Angeal and out the window.

That name, he liked it best when Angeal said it. He hated it the most when Angeal said it. He couldn't make up his mind. He walked a razor thin line somewhere very high up with it all, he was the student, he was a solider and Angeal was kind of like family, the way he felt like they connected in blood, which on any day was thicker than mako, water or the knot in his throat now as he watched Angeal exhale out and over the darkening city.

Zack reached to turn the light on, but decided against it.

He tapped his fingers. This was no get together, this was some awkward thing layered underneath with a whole bunch of bullshit that was making him uneasy even as he didn't understand it.

"I've never had a Banora White." Zack said, and Angeal flinched, clearly dragged from his thoughts.

"I have one." Angeal suddenly said. "One more, I mean." And Zack didn't know if that was actually a smile he heard, or if he was just fanciful and simply wanted it to be there. It was a weird feeling to feel like you knew someone, and then very suddenly have it flip on you so that you just had no idea at all.

He had no idea. Angeal wasn't the gloomy type, even if he was he still wouldn't be the type to indulge in it.

"One you didn't put in the pie?" Zack asked, looking at said pie. "Where?" Zack immediately spied it sitting on the other end of the counter. "Oh. Nevermind." He picked it up. It was still as odd looking as he remembered.

"You can have it." Angeal said, with not so much as a sideways glance. Zack frowned, threw the apple up and down, up and down. He threw it right at Angeal's head. The older soldier turned and caught it with ease, and watched his student with still blue eyes.

"What are you doing?" he said, and Zack stared back.

"I was gonna ask you the same thing." Zack said and Angeal tossed the apple back and Zack caught it. Angeal sighed.

"I'm sorry Zack, I have a lot on my mind. Maybe you should go." Zack didn't know why something stupid like that kind of hurt his feelings. He threw the apple back with more force. Angeal caught it, the apple slapping hard into his palm.

"No." Zack was never one for the right words in the most crucial moments. Angeal was still. "Tell me what's going on, I know something's up, you're never like this."

"It's nothing you need to be burdened with." He smiled, and Zack was not buying it. Angeal tossed the apple back gently and Zack caught it, put it down on the counter and savagely cut it in two.

"Is it about Genesis?" he asked, raising the apple half to his mouth. "The copies?"

"Zack-"

"It's probably really hard, I know you guys were-" Friends. Close. Closer than friends.

"Zack." Angeal snapped and Zack was stunned off his train of thought, stunned right off it because he'd never even heard Angeal come close to sounding like that. That it was directed at him-he just looked on as the anger in Angeal's face was slowly coming away, swiftly replaced by one of regret.

"Puppy…I-"

"I'm not a puppy." Zack said looking away, and he kind of meant it but didn't because the sound made him think and feel all these things, and yet he knew a tide was turning, things were just different. The man was shutting him out, and he knew it'd just be easier to let it go, separate himself.

But he wasn't that guy. That need for closeness was in him so deep, speaking to all his muscle, bones everything.

Angeal looked like he wanted to fix what had just happened in all of maybe two milliseconds. What had just happened?

It was suddenly Zack's turn to be ashamed. He turned his face down to the apple half he had let back down on the counter. He cut a slice off of that. He bit into his slice for something to do. He screwed his face up because the taste was terrible.

Angeal saw it and was coming forward, coming forward finally and the current in the room was changing in a way that was outrageously synaptic, and Zack looked up as Angeal was reaching into the cabinets, taking out a bag of brown sugar.

Angeal was cutting a slice off, sprinkling sugar, and Zack seized the chance to get closer. Hip to hip at the counter, Zack looked up at his mentor, who was already looking at him.

"I didn't mean that…what I said." Zack said, running a hand through his hair, down the back of his neck. Angeal was lifting the sugared slice for him to take, and Zack moved his hand to take it.

"This one doesn't seem to be in season is all." Angeal said and Zack went for the slice but ended up grabbing the wrist of the hand that held it out to him. Angeal's eyes flashed. Zack swallowed.

"I didn't. I just…you're scaring me, you know?" Zack said and Angeal looked away, breathed.

"That was my mother's recipe." He said glancing towards where the burned pie sat, "I remember when I was a boy how that used to taste." Zack could feel the pulse in his wrist, and it was soft under his hand, hypnotic. "So many things have changed since I was a boy, the things I know now-make me wonder how—" He stopped, closed his eyes.

"How what?" Zack asked.

"How… it can all change like this. You're forced to question everything you once thought to be important, true." He said, opening his eyes. He looked at the younger boy, and Zack opened his mouth, lowered his head and took part of the slice between his teeth.

Angeal pushed the rest in, fingertips and tongue in very brief, wet contact. He shuddered, and Zack chewed, eyes going cloudy. It was all wildly inappropriate both for who they were, but also for the tempo of their conversation. It wasn't by itself, but all things combined , it looked more vulgar than it should have.

Zack swallowed.

"I know what's important." And Angeal could smell the sour of the apple, the sweet of the sugar, all on his breath.

"I'm glad someone does." He said, and Zack just looked at him, eyes firm.

"You know it too."

"I'm not sure what I know these days." He said, and Zack could feel that they were almost chest to chest, though he didn't know when they had shifted like that.

"You know it," Zack said seriously, "That the most important thing is to have dreams and, protect your hon—" The word died between their mouths as Angeal leaned down kissed the sweet mouth of his student, and immediately and without thought Zack was slinging his arms around his back and shoulders.

Zack didn't question it, knew his excess of feelings were all there for the shutting down or taking, but it didn't matter because this was it, this was it. He could feel the heat flare up in his stomach as Angeal's tongue licked very softly at the corner of his mouth where sugar was caught.

Angeal pulled away first, looked unfocused and shaken.

"We can't." he said, but Zack was seizing in on it, taking a mile on the inch he got because this was just as close as he wanted it, and he was going to be damned if he was going to be pushed away, or shut out.

He got to his knees, and Angeal's need was evident, and Zack felt his hands shaking for in all the ways this could end, he wasn't thinking it would be this, he never imagined he would want it as much as he did. He hadn't thought he would want it at all really, and there was still something firing off in his brain that reminded him, mentor—student-soldier-what are you doing?, but he brushed it all away, opened the zip, and tried not to have an overreaction because-

"Ramuh, Angeal." The only time he'd been on his knees was to find something under his cot, and with what was in front of him he wished for some kind of tutorial, thought am I crazy, am I crazy for doing this? Angeal was already breathing ragged above him, and the smell was thick, already at the bottom of his curling toes before he even took the head into his mouth.

And when he did, Angeal's hands were there in his hair, fingers jerking, stomach muscles quivering. Zack let his mouth go lower down on it, and he gave an experimental suck. He didn't know, all he could think was if he'd like it himself. But he knew he did like Angeal's long groans, the shallow circling of his hips which held so much insinuation Zack let it hit the back of his throat just to get a more violent reaction.

"Leviathon, where…?" Angeal was trying not to choke him, but failing by a couple inches or three. "How do you know how to…." Angeal left off into a growl, and Zack got his tongue on the underside and felt the heavy pulse beating in his mouth. He sucked, bobbed, and he fuckin' choked but he didn't believe in doing things halfway. Angeal's thighs were shaking, and he looked up to again see Angeal looking down on him.

The eye contact happened in one snap motion, a moment in which it was just eyes on eyes, and Zack really saw black spreading in on green, Angeal saw the haze and devil in his, and his mouth moving up and down, his own hips moving in time.

Angeal came into his mouth, and it was clearly a surprise to the both of them. Angeal sank down to the kitchen floor with his pants around his ankles and apologized through the fog, and Zack coughed, laughed.

"Was that alright?" he asked, and Angeal just looked at him. Just stared long and hard.

"That was-" Angeal sighed. "That was you're first time doing that?" Zack raised his eyebrows.

"Hey, I know what they say about joining the army but-as far as I knew, I mean I never had the urge to…suck a dick or anything. So yeah, sorry. If it was bad, I could try again."

"Shiva Alive, Zack. Don't say things like that. And…no need, that was….more than alright."

"I bet I'm tight." Zack said suddenly, looking over with a smile. Angeal's mouth was agape. "You know, since I've never done this before."

"Zack, I don't think that's a good idea." Somehow they were on this different realm, where serious concerns and conversations didn't seem to exist.

Zack took his shirt over his head, took his boots and pants off. Angeal watched the hurried movements with lidded eyes, did nothing to stop the boy. He felt drunk. Out of his mind. Zack settled back, naked against the floor cabinets.

"I know what I want Angeal." Angeal moved over then, kicked his own boots and pants off. He moved over his student, kissed his mouth, ears, neck, and Zack's chest was falling and rising fast against his.

His ran his hand s down the forming planes of muscle, kneaded the side of a thigh with his thumb. The reactions were sharp and full, and Zack was watching him, writhing as he stroked at the length, buried his nose in the dark nest of curls, breathed. It felt like he was getting himself into something dangerous.

"Angeal." Zack whimpered when he kissed just above it, the space where thigh met hip, the dip of a belly button. "I need, I need-"

Angeal got his hand in the crook of a leg, Zack looked up at him, said:

"I know that this is-everything."

"Zack?"

"You said you didn't know what you knew anymore, so I just…that's what I know. I can believe in this." Zack looked at him harder. "Right?" Angeal paused, looked at the hope in the boy's face.

"Of course."

"And you can believe in me." Zack said, he thought it might be good enough. Good enough to keep things right, to keep him and Angeal just exactly this close. But as much as Angeal did believe in Zack, he didn't believe in himself at all anymore. He couldn't say that, he couldn't tell the kid that just that fact, sent the 'this' Zack believed in into pieces.

And so with hasty preparation and Zack's shuttered encouragements, he pushed inside, waited for the boy to adjust as both voices relevant to the situation and voices apart screamed at him to go. Zack rolled them over, head hitting a discarded boot in the process. When he sat firmly on top, he looked into his mentor's eyes, wanted to see the proof of the promise. But both their eyes were so clouded, it was just impossible to tell.

He rolled his hips and Angeal set a strangely languorous pace, hands sliding out of the firm grip on hips, to his sides and spine.

"Fuck me." He said, but Angeal shook his head.

"I want to remember this." And effectively stayed, Zack rode out the tortuous rhythm, gasping and clutching at skin and his own sanity. Angeal's own bright, sleepy gaze was enough to undo him, but he felt every centimeter in him, brushing slowly past something insanely good, brushing softly, too soft, so good-

"Shit, Angeal, shit-"

He could feel it like slow motion, see Angeal's chest rising, hips rising higher, circling that growing itch, as he put a hand over his eyes, gasped with his mouth wide open and Angeal told him to look at him so he took the hand down, shook with the tight coiling in his stomach.

"Puppy…"

"An…Angeal…" Zack said and Angeal smiled, angled and hit-

"Fuck!" and Angeal just laughed did it again, still so slowly, but going so deep with it when Zack ground down into it he nearly blacked out. "What the fuck… is that?" he breathed, half whimpered.

"You like that?" Angeal said, voice heavy.

"Oh, yeah." Zack said breathlessly, asking him to do it again and playing no games. Angeal did, even obliged a faster pace. Zack picked it up, worked his hips faster, slammed them down harder, let his head loll back as Angeal thrust up with perfect time and force.

"…sotight, Shiva Burning…." Angeal said digging his fingers into Zack's hips, glancing once at the door and walls because of Zack's loud, colorful exclamations.

"I'm gonna-Angeal I'm almost-" and Angeal could feel it too, so he flipped them over pulled Zack's legs up around his waist and gave the kid what was begging for, hips slamming, and shoulders flexing, hair falling into his eyes. The kid, he was just beautiful. He wanted the image to burn into his brain, so he could keep it when the inevitable happened.

And then Zack yelled out, muscles pulling violently taut. Angeal was pulled over with him, and they sank down together, Zack's legs and arms all around him. They moved to his bed eventually, and slept there for the remainder of the night. Sitting up with dawn at his back the next morning, he looked at the boy in his sheets, thought for a moment that it would be enough to stay.

But things were changing without them, and it just wasn't enough no matter how he wanted it to be. If not the other way around, he knew he could always depend Zack, he could believe in him, to carry on a legacy, fulfill his dreams, and do all that was necessary if anything got in his path.

Even if that thing was a friend, or a lover. But probably-just a monster.

Author's Note: I think I've been majorly bitten by the smut bug. Not super substantial, but fun? I started off with the best intentions, but then it happened. If you read, tell me what you think?