Disclaimer: I do not own FFVII

Summary: Genesis believes that Zack cannot appreciate beauty, and is proven wrong. Genesis/Zack friendship. Not slash.

Genesis considered himself a connoisseur of all that was beautiful and inspired, and was frequently and brutally disappointed by how few of his fellow SOLDIER's seemed to feel as he did. His enthrallment with Loveless was viewed with derision, and unbecoming in a man of war. They believed him to be ruled by the tale, and he allowed them this presumption.

But he was a hedonist, and gloriously unashamed of his vice. He surrounded himself with lovely things, paintings, sculpture, precious gems and the like, all for his eyes alone and anyone who shared a genuine appreciation for their exquisiteness as he did. He had not found such an individual yet, not even amongst his closest friends.

Angeal, for all his of his unassuming tolerance and stalwart reliability preferred to let his actions speak for themselves. He found beauty in dreams, and honour, whilst Genesis condemned them for their fallibility and the inevitability of their brief longevity. They would all die, better they do so in the throes of their misspent youth before age and experience wizened their youthful features before their time.

Sephiroth shied away from beautiful things, like a nervous animal, fearful that by mere proximity he would tarnish them with the taint of blood and hardship that had leeched away of joy of simply living for him. Death and ugliness were all he had ever known, and he could only see the beauty in the enemy when impaled on the breadth of his blade.

Zack, he would have dismissed without a second thought, believing him to be of Angeal's ilk, the kind who gravitated towards warmth and human contact, as opposed to cold and lifeless ornamentation. Then one day he was passing him on the way from the training room, him having just finished, and Zack coming in with energy to burn.

He returned his exuberant greeting with a flippant response, and was prepared to leave the room and the memory of the encounter behind when he suddenly spied a splash of colour on the otherwise predominant black of puppy's uniform. Closer inspection determined it to be a flower, a simple white bloom, a common sight in the fields of Banora in which he had spent his childhood with Angeal.

But not in the industrial wasteland that was Midgar. And if his enhanced eyes did not deceive him, the flower was much too unspoiled to have travelled any great distance, the afterthought of dew scarcely dry on its petals and the flare of life having not yet succumbed to inevitable decay.

"Where did you acquire that blossom?" he asked, curiosity plaguing him despite himself. It was a rare phenomenon, but he had never been one to deny himself what he wanted, and was not about to start now.

Zack blinked and stared at him for a moment, clearly wondering at the deviation in attitude that was a far cry from Genesis's usual impatience. "I have a friend who grows them," he said simply, an absent smile adorning his lips as he gently fingered the aforementioned marvel. Careful, and reverent, qualities he had not believed that Fair possessed.

Genesis frowned. "And where would this friend be located, might I ask?" he pressed. Zack chuckled.

"Her name is Aeris and she lives in the slums. She's got a garden in an old church in sector seven, has a way with plants," he said fondly.

His eyebrow shot up. "Under the plate?" he queried disbelievingly.

Zack nodded eagerly. "Sure, and there's more where this came from. She's so kind, it was difficult for me to make her think about selling these and not just giving them away because she's sweet that way, but I did, and now she makes lots of people happy with these flowers and she gets gil for her hard work too."

Genesis stared at him, for once bereft of a witty riposte. How had he, so fervent in the pursuit of beauty been unaware of such a wonder for so long? It was a disconcerting feeling, having looked down on this boy for his supposed ignorance of the finer things in life. The persistent seeds of something resembling resentment had been planted, but Zack's next comment prevented them from taking root.

"I could show you," Zack offered, a wide grin stretched across his face at the prospect of sharing the secret. Not like Genesis, who selfishly kept his treasures to himself, like the mysterious Aeris he only wanted someone else to share in his pleasure.

"That is acceptable," he replied blithely, as close to enthusiastic as he would ever be. Zack was undeterred, and it was only a short time later that the unlikely pair stood before the weathered doors of the church. Even without having seen the interior, a sense of pervading tranquillity imbued the stale air, and he allowed the tension he carried always to dissipate.

Genesis started a little when the other presumptuously plucked the white bloom from his person and deftly put it through his own buttonhole. It looked frail there, a pale blot in the midst of deep crimson.

Zack grinned, satisfied with his work. "That's a little something from me to you, a flower for a friend, like Aeris taught me." And with that startling pronouncement, he pushed open the heavy doors and strode inside, yelling a greeting to their hostess.

"You are strange Fair, a flower for a friend?" he muttered, not moving from his spot until the chatter from within ceased, and Zack called out to him. Genesis smirked, and made to follow him inside.

'Now I too can see what you do in him, Angeal' he thought amusedly, walking slowly up to the smiling pair who awaited him. Aeris was as natural as her creations, and his smirk softened to a smile unbidden. He held out a hand, and for the first time in years, decided that there was beauty in living things beyond his beloved apples, even if would fade eventually, it was pure and lovely in its prime.

And those flowers were not the only living things with worth.