Disclaimer: Nope, don't own
Warnings: Nothing this chapter
Shimmering, resplendent in glory, the sparkling green stream of life gently permeated all facets of the planet. The source of creation, shrouded in mystery, skirting the fringes of fantasy, the Lifestream was the only place where one could ever obtain the abstract state known a Peace. The beings who inhabited the breathing blue-green rock proclaimed desire of the hypothetical idea, but their dreams betrayed them. They sought change, living one moment to the next, hoping each will be different, wanting new memories, clinging to visions of a future that will be altered from the spot they are rooted in.
Change is violent, the destruction of the past to make way for the present, and cutting a subtle but bloody path into an unknowable tomorrow. The theory of tranquility, harmony, and peace, was just that: a theory. No living soul really wanted to exist in those states of being, only attracted to the notions because there was a void that needed filled. People looked for action and adventure, fraught with danger and peril. They wanted to discover new wonders that would lead them to their next quest. Even those who never actively peruse fate listen with rapt fascination to the stories about those who had.
The swirling green energy of the Lifestream glittered around the silver-haired being as he pondered these philosophies. What would it mean if the planet ever achieved peace? It would mean stagnation. No wars, no disagreements, no differences of opinions, no growth...no individuality. The thought was unsettling.
Obtaining perfect peace meant sacrificing ones self to the meaning, and in the process one loses their identity. He listened carefully to the melody of those who had surrendered to tranquility, those who were no longer individuals but The Collective. He knew what they knew, and how they only existed in a state of unknowingness, allowed intellect only when the spirit of the planet considered it a worthy endeavor. Perfect peace meant perfect ignorance and Sephiroth rejected the idea utterly.
After Sephiroth's initial renunciation of The Collective, he had been forever barred to become one with them, not that he was upset. He did not want to be part of that static group who's existence depended upon the memories of those still alive. His very sense of self preservation refused to allow him to become some pathetic spirit guide who only became aware when a mortal clung to the past memories of him; he was too powerful for that.
So he wandered.
He traversed the Lifestream, at first only seeking to grow in power and knowledge. At certain intervals, when he had grown bored with what he had learned, he breached the barrier between life and death. The two times he had crossed, he had been unclear as to what he really wanted. In a times past, when he was bitter and unsure, he believed he wanted to sail through the cosmos and find or build Utopia. Both times he attempted his plan he had been defeated and sent back to wandering.
It was only after his second defeat that the realization dawned on him that he hadn't clearly defined his goal. What was it he was actually striving for? The Promised Land? He found the Promised Land, that place of peace that he called The Collective, so it couldn't be that. What was it that made him happy?
When it hit him, the simplicity of it, he could have kicked himself, and would have if he still had a corporeal body. A old friend of his used to tell him he always missed the simple things, he always made things too complex.
As he peered from the Lifestream down on Gaia, he knew what made him happy. Now all that was left to do was claim his godhood and descend upon the mortal realm once again; this time a decisive plan in mind.
Moving quickly, before Gaia's manifested will, Minerva, could react, Sephiroth called the remaining souls of the Geostigma victims to him and used what was left of their essence along with his own power to rip through the time-space continuum.
The portal he created was dark light, oozing and seething malice, reeking of blood, steal and fire, offsetting the vibrant green magic that surrounded it. With his own made destiny coiled around him, the warlord stepped through the portal, headed for a time when he could change everything in his favor. When he arrived, he took the next logical step; he searched out the perfect body that could house his soul: his own.
Half sitting, half laying on his bed, Sephiroth had his back resting against his headboard, legs stretched out with one ankle crossed over the other. His tall but slim figure only took up a small portion of the queen-sized bed, the rest of the mattress was occupied by an auburn-haired teen who had somehow positioned himself diagonally with his booted feet too close to Sephiroth's face, and his head laying in the silver-haired boy's lap.
Nobody else on Gaia, including Sephiroth's only other friend Angeal, dared touch the warrior without his express permission, let alone use him as a pillow. But the redhead wasn't just anybody; he was Genesis Rhapsodos and there would be hell to pay if Sephiroth tried to move him. Not in the sense that Genesis could kick his ass, but if the teen pushed his friend away, Genesis would probably sit outside his room all night, singing at the top of his lungs, keeping him awake. Also, Sephiroth had to admit, he enjoyed physical contact with the other.
After an hour of them lounging in silence, Sephiroth reading a book and Genesis doing a crossword puzzle, the silver SOLDIER laid aside his reading material – The History of Biological Warfare – and watched as the other boy entertained himself with his word-search. Genesis was beautiful, Sephiroth observed unnoticed while his friend was occupied. The way his red hair, rust inlaid with copper, framed his face made Sephiroth want to run his finger's through it, just to see if it was as silky as it looked. Features, soft and delicate, high cheek bones and forehead, small nose, slightly arched brows, rounded chin, almost symmetrical to the point of perfection, had Sephiroth's heart beating faster than normal every time he looked at them. Blue eye that could captivate for hours, were brighter than any he'd ever seen. And lips, those pink lips, wet from having just been licked, were the lips men and women alike dreamed of kissing.
Sephiroth knew he shouldn't be thinking of other boys as beautiful or in Genesis' case, achingly desirable. Professor Hojo had once explained sex to him – when he had been caught exploring himself and discovering how enjoyable touching himself was – and that he should find a woman to have sex with. Hojo then went into the details of sex. However, even though embarrassed, and still painfully in need, the suggestion held no appeal for him. He wouldn't lie, some women were very pretty; he could see himself kissing one, maybe even fondling her, but when he tried to imagine himself having sex with a girl, he lost interest completely. Yet, when he looked at other men, he found he liked them better: their strength, the shapes of their bodies, how rigid they carried themselves. He could envision himself naked with another man, holding him, touching him intimately, the both of them reaching completion together.
He never told Hojo of his lusts, a part of him truly feared what the Professor would say or do, and he never acted on his instincts, choosing masturbation instead. Then came Genesis, and whenever the redhead took the liberties of touching him, which was often, always under the auspice of horseplay, Sephiroth felt his resolve slipping. Self-gratification was suddenly not as fulfilling and the more he was around the auburn one, the more powerful the need became. He knew the feeling was mutual, Genesis' eyes would brighten when the two were in close proximity, and Sephiroth could almost caress the subtle heat rolling off Genesis' body.
"Genesis," his voice cut through the quiet, "does Angeal allow you to lay on him during your downtime?"
"Why would he?" Genesis responded without looking up from his puzzle book.
"I am merely curious as to why you find it acceptable to use me as a head-rest."
The redhead circled a word, focus still not on Sephiroth, "because I feel special being the only person you let touch you...other than the scientists, of course."
"...I see. And would you move if I told you I had to relieve myself?"
"Depends," Genesis' eyes scanned the page, "do you have to go to the bathroom?"
"No...I was only asking."
The red SOLDIER turned his face toward his friend, crooked smile upturning the corners of his lips, he chuckled, "you are so weird."
Had anyone else called him weird, Sephiroth would have taken grave offense, since it was Genesis however, Sephiroth smirked. The teen seemed to be the exception to all of Sephiroth's rules. Also this was his way of flirting.
"I find it strange that you call me weird, but it is you who is using the most dangerous person in the world as a pillow."
Amusement had Genesis' body trembling, laughter becoming a crystalline bell that filled the empty places where silence was lurking. "You are NOT the most dangerous person in the world. I think your mad scientist fills your head with nonsense."
In a single, fluid motion, without Genesis having a chance to defend himself, Sephiroth had the boy beneath him, lower half between his legs, and Gen's arms pinned above his head.
"Really?" the silver SOLDIER's emerald eyes had darkened, his face now only inches from his captive's. His long hair was cascading around them, threatening to hide them in a curtain of silk.
Genesis' laughter had trailed off, leaving a short gasp in its wake. He shivered and peered up into Sephiroth's face expectantly. Sephiroth could feel, even through his clothes, that Genesis' temperature had sky rocketed and his skin was entirely flushed with anxiety and want. He understood what the redhead was feeling because he felt it as well. His stomach did a somersault, his heart pounding so hard it was ringing in his ears. He wanted to claim, to dominate, those wet, pink lips. The lips that recited poetry, and read aloud. The lips that curled up on only one side.
Sephiroth lowered his mouth until it was touching those lips, but he did not kiss. He wasn't ready for that, he wouldn't be able to stop if he did. He worked his jaw, forcing Genesis' mouth to move with his.
"Don't ever forget who I am, Genesis Rhapsodos,"he loved saying Genesis' name, loved the syllables dancing on his tongue. His voice became low and deadly, "and how dangerous I really am."
Sephiroth's copper beauty slid his eyes closed, and nodded, his lips now grazing the set above.
Not daring to move, maintaining a constant amount of pressure, fearful of devouring the boy under him, the silver SOLDIER held the not-kiss, allowing the tingle of Genesis' mouth to flood his senses.
A knock on the door separated them instantly, as if they'd never been in such a compromising position in the first place. Sephiroth was in his original position, back against the headboard and Genesis was sitting cross-legged on the bed, word-search in hand.
Mentally cursing the intrusion, and wishing he could will his hardness away, Sephiroth intoned, "It's open." He hoped his heavy breathing wouldn't be detected. He also hoped his hair wasn't too out of place.
It came as no surprise to see Angeal poke his head around the door, and had Sephiroth not been yearning to continue touching Genesis, he would have been genuinely thrilled to see his friend back from his mission.
Genesis shot Sephiroth a glare that said, 'are you kidding? the door was unlocked?' before raising from the bed and throwing his arms around Angeal's neck. Angeal returned the embrace of his childhood friend, holding his tight, chin stubble scratchy against the redhead's cheek.
"It's good to see you too Gen," The dark-haired SOLDIER finally pried Genesis off him, laughter tainting his speech.
"Sorry, Geal, I miss you when you're gone, and you know I worry easily."
Broad shoulders shook with mirth, "you have no faith in me, Genesis Rhapsodos." People used both first and last name when they wanted emphasis on their words, as if Rhapsodos was an exclamation point.
"I do too...just not when you could get killed."
Sephiroth had also moved from the bed when Angeal had entered, but he stayed back, giving the other two room for their reunion. He was feeling a pang of jealously clinch his chest, but the emotion didn't show on his pale, chiseled face. He wondered what it would be like to have Genesis welcome him home from a mission with such enthusiasm. In his mind's eye he saw the red SOLDIER entwining his slender, but defined arms around his neck, and instead of just hugging Sephiroth, Genesis would kiss him, that crooked smile etched on his mouth.
"Welcome back, Angeal," the silver SOLDIER stepped forward and held out his hand when Genesis moved away.
"Sephiroth," the third class clasped his superior's hand and shook firmly.
Angeal's formality drew a great deal of respect from Sephiroth, and though he knew he would never be as close to him as Genesis was, he still counted him as a friend and confidant.
"How was your mission?" Sephiroth took the seat at his desk, leaving the other two the bed to sit on. Though he was a rank higher than his friends, his ugly, army-green room was the same size, consisting of his bed, a desk, a small closet, and a tiny bathroom, the only difference: he didn't have to share.
Angeal, so much bigger and more masculine than his counterpart, practically fell back on Sephiroth's bed, making himself comfortable, while Genesis sat at the foot, legs crossed, looking pretty and demure, almost dainty, especially in comparison.
"One word," the rougher looking boy growled, untying a ribbon from around his wrist, "Malboro."
There was a wince from Sephiroth but Genesis' eyes grew wide, curiosity shining across his face. "Really? Tell us about it."
Pity was the emotion Sephiroth would never admit to feeling for the red SODIER, though it stung him sharply, mostly at times like these. Genesis was begging to hear about Angeal's mission, living it vicariously though the brawnier teen. Due to the redhead's small size and stature, the higher-ups hadn't given him his own mission yet, regardless of the fact he passed the SOLDIER entrance exam with ease and his speed and use of materia were superb. So Genesis was left to experience the excitement and glory through tales told by his friends. The silver second ached that for the teen, yet another part of him, the better part, was angry. He wanted the redhead's ability to be tested, he longed for Genesis to be on par with him. If the auburn fighters lips were ever stained with sweat and blood, the flavors of battle, Sephiroth knew he would become addicted. One day soon, that would happen.
"Well," Angeal began, sitting up, and unlacing his boots, "technically it was a test. Professor Hollander taped a bunch of electrodes to my chest and back before I was sent on the mission. I was then dropped off near a dense patch of forest a few miles outside Junon." When the dark-haired teen had his boots off, he laid back down, wariness apparent from the way his limbs were spreed. "I spent two days in the woods, hunting the Malboro. And yes, Genesis, I did run into a few random encounters while looking."
Opting for a position switch so he could better watch Angeal's face when he spoke, Genesis put his back to Sephiroth, sitting Indian style, with one of the silver teen's pillows crunched to his chest. "Details, Geal...details," the redhead encouraged.
"Alright Genesis, relax. The random encounters were Capparwires, and except for the few times they zapped me with electricity, they were almost harmless and easy enough to dispatch."
"Did you use Buster?"
"Didn't need to. My fists worked just fine. A couple of well placed hits and they dissolved into the Lifestream.
It was on the second day that I finally tracked down the Malboro..."
"Did you use Buster then?" Genesis was becoming impatient, wanting Angeal to get to, what he deemed, 'the good parts'.
"Yes, Gen, I used Buster. I had to; the beast used it's ice attack on me. I needed to end the fight quickly..."
"You did not have a wall or M. barrier equipped?" Sephiroth asked reproachfully.
The dark-haired warrior sat up and gazed at his superior. "Wouldn't have done any good. His ice attack is a natural ability and not magic, and even if it wasn't, I find using materia a dishonorable way of defeating my enemies. I'd rather depend on my own prowess."
Sephiroth snorted, "there is nothing honorable about being dead, SOLDIER third class Angeal."
"The ribbon was enough," Angeal retorted.
"Anyway," Genesis cut in, not wanting his friends to argue over battle morals. "what happened?"
Readjusting his head so his shocking, Mako-infused, blue eyes bore into Genesis, Angeal continued, "I had trapped the creature between myself and a ravine. I did use my fists as the opening attacks, but its ice blast kept knocking me back, and it hurt like hell. That's when I drew Buster. I dodged a few more spells, including Bio, and thank the goddess for the ribbon. I waited for it to use its Bad Breath, and holding my breath to combat the smell, I jumped. After a few swings, mostly chopping off eye-stalks, I finally hit it at the proper angle, cutting the monster in half." He sat up on his elbows and scrunched his nose, eyes shifting between his two friends, "It was very strange seeing two...piles, I guess you would call them, of eye-stalks, tentacles and teeth."
Genesis smiled at his friend, "That sounded awesome, Geal." Then he sighed wistfully, "I can't wait to go on a real mission."
Torn between anger and pity, Sephiroth abstained from commenting on Genesis' words. Keeping in conversation with Angeal, he asked, "and your tests, how did they come back."
Angeal shrugged, "same as always, high above the average marks in all categories."
Sephiroth nodded, he had expected no less.
Plastering a fake smile that the silver SOLDIER could see right through, Genesis stood. "I'm happy for you Geal. You'll have your next rank in no time." He walked to the door. "I just remembered some things I have to do. I'll see you guys later." Without waiting for so much as a 'bye' from either of his friends, the auburn third left the room.
Forcing himself not to go after the redhead, Sephiroth continued to talk to Angeal for the next hour.
Would the flow of tears just not cease? Goddess how he hated crying; he felt small and insignificant. Genesis was angry, bitter, jealous and...it just wasn't fair. He worked just as hard as Sephiroth and Angeal, yet there were never missions given to him. He hadn't even been given 'slum patrol' and even regular army cadets got that. He was a fricken SOLDIER for Gaia's sake, he should be out being a hero, not stuck in the tower as if he were a fragile, Wutaian doll that would break easily. It didn't make sense to him, he was strong and fast and could take on any mission thrown at him. Ifrit's Hell, he probably could have taken Angeal's Malboro in record time.
One thing had become clear, as he checked his PHS every day for missions, he was being held back. Someone didn't want him to gain in rank. He had thought perhaps it was Sephiroth, but ruled out that suspicion when during their training session, he had demanded his all and became agitated when Genesis held back. Skill wise, the two were on par, and from the pitying looks Sephiroth cast (only when he thought Genesis wasn't looking) when the redhead announced he still had no missions, it was easy to tell Seph wanted him on the same level. Genesis also knew it wasn't Angeal. Though his friend would sometimes cluck like a mother chocobo, the dark-haired teen would never stop Genesis from reaching his dream. So the who and why was still a mystery.
Curling into a tight ball on the top bunk of his and Angeal's bunk-bed, the redhead let the waterworks stream down his cheeks, staining his face. He prayed his childhood friend wouldn't walk in and see him crying like a little girl. It wasn't so much Angeal's opinion that concerned him, but what if Sephiroth was with him? The silver second was the last person Genesis wanted to see him cry. Sephiroth was the initial reason he had joined SOLDIER, and if he saw him in this state, he would think of Genesis as nothing more than a child; Genesis couldn't handle that, not after what had happened right before Angeal had shown up.
The tears slowed as his thought back to that moment and his face grew warm. Sephiroth had kissed him...kinda. He broke into a smile as his heart began to stammer. Their lips had touched and moved as one, and the silver-haired teen had made him weak, powerless and breathless in a way that Genesis hadn't minded. He had been crushing on Sephiroth before they had ever met, but until today, could only express it in a flirting manor that could be passed off as teasing.
When Sephiroth had pinned Genesis beneath him, somehow fitting his hips easily and effortlessly between his legs, the red SOLDIER had gotten light-headed and forgot to breathe. He had no idea, until that moment, Sephiroth returned his feelings. No resistance had been forthcoming when Sephiroth's mouth descended upon his, and the words, meant to be menacing, shot straight to his groin. He had shivered and hardened. Neither had tried to actually kiss the other, the moment was too intense to be ruined like that, however, Genesis had no doubt that if Angeal hadn't knocked when he did, something more would have happened. He had been frustrated and relieved at the same time. As he laid there reflecting on the moment, he couldn't wait to see his silver-haired friend again. Later, after curfew, he would go to him.
The emotional ride of the day's events combined with already insane, out of whack, teenage hormones, overwhelmed the redhead, and it wasn't long after his crying spell that he found his only true solace to be in slumber.
The visit with Angeal, after Genesis had left, had been pleasant, even if Sephiroth was somewhat distracted. The taste of the redhead, apples and cinnamon, lingered on his lips, and each time it was his turn to speak, the sweet taste sizzled on his tongue. He didn't necessarily want the brawny third to leave, but he would have preferred having Genesis' body under his again.
The conversation with Angeal had been enjoyable, and since it was apparent Genesis wasn't returning, it served to pass the time until he had to go to his Tactics and Strategy class. He was an aid and expected to show up on time.
From there, the rest of his day went by as usual, nothing to break the monotony. Today, that wasn't such a bad thing; his mind had been given free reign to daydream. Genesis! Every fantasy he had involved the redhead. He pictured him back on his bed, arms wrapped around his neck, and this time they were actually kissing. He imagined their positions changing and Genesis was straddling him, fingers deftly exploring his bare chest, lighting his skin aflame. By the end of the day, the auburn SOLDIER had been claimed a hundred different ways in a hundred different environments – mostly on the battlefield, after a bloody but victorious fight.
He didn't need to question why he kept picturing Genesis sweaty and bloody and glowing with pride. He knew. Sephiroth was born a warrior, trained from his earliest memories to love the battle, and he wanted Genesis at his side, sharing a victory, making love on crimson stained grass, the smell of copper and steel surrounding them.
Storm cloud had gathered high overhead when Sephiroth finally managed to make his way to Hojo's dungeon. As usual, the labs were cold, sterile and too bright for his liking. However, this evening, he had the images of Genesis to accompany him, so this visit was a little more bearable.
While waiting for the professor and ignoring the objects in the room he'd seen a million times before, Sephiroth pushed away the sexual thoughts of the redhead, and started to analyze why he had allowed Genesis to invade his mind as he did.
Lightening couldn't have stuck quicker or petrified him more. He had read about what he was feeling in the cheap, paperback romance novels that no one knew he owned. Setting on a hard examination table, waiting to be injected with Mako, insight that he fiercely wanted to deny was granted, yet it was the only logical explanation. The emotion he had never experienced before had a name: Love. He was terrified. Yet everything suddenly clicked into place. It now made sense why he wanted to spend all his free time around Genesis, felt light-headed when he was near, did everything in his power to make the redhead grace him with that crooked smile. Something unnameable soared in his chest, and he was warring with himself to either hold tight to it, or push it away as if it didn't exist.
The inner struggle wasn't seen on his features, his mask of indifference firmly in place, or if it did, Hojo didn't comment on it.
"Here," the scientist cracked after the Mako injection, puncturing Sephiroth's arm with another needle. "Just a mild sedative, to help you sleep through the storm."
The silver SOLDIER jumped off the table, but didn't argue. Not only did he not want to talk to the professor, but storms made him anxious, and if Hojo was willing to help him sleep, he wouldn't complain.
Alone again in his room, the second class SOLDIER sat on his window seal, watching the sky, waiting for the rain to come. The cloud overhead was ominous, darker than the night sky, ruthlessly dicing through the haze caused by the Mako reactors. There was lighting, pinkish-white, and there was thunder so harsh it caused the Shin-Ra tower to rattle, but the rain refused to fall.
To the core of his being, Sephiroth knew the storm was connected to him in someway, but because of the sedative, he couldn't find it within himself to care.
"Sephiroth," the voice was a purr in his ear.
Having no idea how someone had gotten into his room and this close to him undetected, the teen spun around, ready to fight.
However, in the next second, after he processed who he was looking at, he backpedaled. His back hit the window, shattering glass, sending glistening, deadly shards fifty-two stories to the ground.
"We have a lot of work to do," the older, transparent version of himself smiled wickedly and touched a hand to his cheek.
Sephiroth was emerged in velvet darkness.