Disclaimer: You and I both know who owns it, and it's not me. XD
Warnings: Minor gore (kinda), boy love, minor swearing. (maybe I should rate this teen?) Adult themes. Eventual character death.
A/N 1: Belated Birthday fic for Nephilim Rising. I know I told you a million times on your birthday, but happy belated birthday. Many, many hugs and much love.
A/N 2: Though just a one-shot, it grew into a monster, so I'm releasing it in two parts. I know some people don't mind big stories or chapters, but most don't want to read 1,200 words at once.
Many thanks to Nephilim Rising and Chance969 for the awesome beta.
&%$ POW $%&
"Why am I just now finding out about his capture?"
The silver general tried his best not to let his anger show, but the tail-tell signs were there – a flaring of the nostrils, the way the vein in his temple throbbed – all minute hints of his mood. The flash-fires of fury smoldering in his aqua-marine eyes did nothing to thaw Sephiroth's glacial exterior. A living, breathing flame could have been trapped beneath his skin, and instead of it warming him, his frigid demeanor would have frozen it solid. His pale lips had resorted to forming a decisive, thin line, cutting off all circulation making them appear blue – always the first sign of his displeasure. His skin, alabaster and deceptively appearing as hard as marble, was now flushed pink with rage.
The private he was addressing, a small blond couldn't have seen more than fifteen summers, had the misfortune of delivering the news. Sephiroth found it pitiful that the boy's fear was almost palpable and he couldn't bring his eyes to meet Sephiroth's unwavering glare.
"The Turks...Sir..." the blond paused to inhale, delivering news that the general found unsavory was something Cloud never wanted to experience again. "They wanted...to...interrogate him first."
The adage of 'don't kill the messenger,' rang loudly through Sephiroth's thoughts as he began to pace the War Room floor. The weight of his long silver hair was felt acutely in that moment, as if it were a physical manifestation of the problem that now pressed on his mind. It was force of will alone that stopped him from turning around, drawing his prized Masamune blade and cutting the private down for not only being the bearer of bad news, but also for shaking like a leaf in his presence. It was a sickening display and Sephiroth had no respect for the spineless.
Quickly turning his thoughts to said captive and ignoring the blond boy, though he had yet to dismiss him, Sephiroth had to wonder how exactly the Turks had caught the Mideelian's four-star general. Rhapsodos, better known as the Red General, was the best and brightest warrior Mideel had to offer, and by no means would he have been easy to acquire. And while Sephiroth supposed he should have been happy at hearing the news of the redhead's arrest, Rhapsodos' previous transgressions against Sephiroth had made capturing and/or killing him a personal matter. The silver general's ire with the Turk's grew. For them, it was just business.
Thoughts of the red general carried Sephiroth back in time to the Battle of Cartwright.
Shin-Ra had first invaded Mideel a little over a year ago, claiming that they had stolen scientific technologies, and the mega-corrporation hoped to enrich their Mako resources along the way. It was his first battle of the war, and Sephiroth, leading a company of 150 regular troops and 3 SOLDIERS, had entered the city of Cartwright – a major exporter of silks and materia and supporting over 10,000 people – expecting little to no resistance. He was wrong.
Many civilians in the city had been armed with guns, knifes, and swords. Though not trained like army soldiers, they did enough damage in their own right, killing at least 40 regular army men. It didn't help that the troops couldn't tell military from civilians. The Shin-Ra SOLDIERs on the other hand, were a great asset, taking out anyone who even looked like they were going to draw a weapon, without suffering any harm to themselves.
On that fateful day, the silver general and the red general met for the first time, and their meeting was to the sweet symphony of a hail-fire of bullets and steel clashing against steel. Sephiroth had seen the opposing general in the city square, though at the time, he didn't know the redhead was a ranking officer. The man wearing a red duster was cutting down Shin-Ra troops as quickly as Sephiroth's own SOLDIERs were killing enemy combatants, and he was dodging gunfire while doing it.
One SOLDIER, 2nd Class Anthony Torveny, had his head cleaved from his shoulders before Sephiroth could intervene. A wicked blade that matched the color of the redhead's coat was responsible, and all the man had done was flicked his wrist. Sephiroth now had reason to suspect the man of having the same powers as a Mako infused SOLDIER. One didn't slice a head off with ease without having an external power as aid, especially not someone as slender looking as the redhead. The glow of the red warrior's blue eyes was what finally gave it away, and also served as proof that Mideel had indeed stolen Shin-Ra technology.
Not a single feature was missed by Sephiroth the instant blue and green gazes collided. Not the way the other man tilted his head, or the slight smirk of arrogance that danced upon his naturally cherry-kissed lips. The way his auburn hair shined in the sunlight that morning did not clash with his ensemble as some might think, but blended perfectly and served to enhance the redhead's delicate facets. Had the man not been an enemy, Sephiroth would have found him beautiful.
As it was, Sephiroth did not give himself time to appreciate the man's appearance. Swinging Masamune diagonally upward, intending to cut the man in half, he was shocked to find one of his strongest swings blocked and held by his opponent's crimson sword. The redhead broke away first, countering with a side swipe of his own. Again their weapon's met; a resounding clang called out and blue-white sparks showered them. The silver SOLIDER applied pressure to Masamune's hilt, and the force sent the red warrior back a few feet. Sephiroth followed up his attack the a low slash aimed at his enemy's knees, but the other man jumped high above the attack, and raised his blade above his head. He came toward the ground hard and fast. Sephiroth had to jump back to avoid being cut in half. However, he quickly recovered and went back on offense. Three slices in rapid succession – cross slash, cross slash, downward diagonal slash – had the redhead doing a one handed back handspring to keep from being hit.
Now that distance was put between them, Sephiroth had to charge his enemy. He was not expecting nor prepared for the mighty ball of flame that the other man summoned and released from his hand. The silver-SOLDIER tried to fight off the magical fire with a flurry of swings from Masamune, but it was in that moment when he broke free from the magic attack that he felt something foreign, sharp and metallic, slide through his abdomen. Shocked that he had actually been hurt, all movement from him ceased.
Masamune felt heavy in his hand so he let his arm drop, it seemed like a good idea to rest it for a short time. An arm encircled him, holding him up while the sharp object pierced deeper into him. He fell into that arm, letting it support the whole of his weight. Red, the color of his opponent's hair, the color of his coat, the color of his sword, was gathering on the fringes of Sephiroth's vision, but he was able to make out an azure blue glow, much like that of a shimmering sapphire, and a cherry-kissed smirk. The auburn warrior's face was alight with victory, and Sephiroth relished that. It was a light that he clung to even as darkness threatened to descend upon him.
There was no shame in being defeated by a superior opponent, and before he totally lost himself to an inky blackness, he let the feeling of profound respect wash over him. The last words he heard, being sung by a rich, melodic voice, were "It was a pleasure to kill you, General Sephiroth."
Death reached its icy claws up and claimed him.
Sephiroth, thanks to healing magics and trained field medics, did not die.
"Where is he now?" Sephiroth growled, breaking out of memory.
"Cell block C, Sir" the kid answered straight away.
Cell block C? It was where Shin-Ra held political prisoners, so why was a military officer being held as a political prisoner? Sephiroth nodded, and though perplexed, he didn't let his subordinate see.
"What is your name private?" Sephiroth was starting to feel some of his fury drain, therefore he was able to talk to the boy without scaring the daylights out of him.
"Strife, Private Cloud Strife, Sir."
"Very well. Private Strife, I want you to go and bring me back a mastered Full Cure Materia. Meet me back here in half an hour. Am I clear?"
"Sir, yes, Sir."
Again Sephiroth nodded. "Dismissed."
All he had to do was merely ask, and the guards outside of the red general's holding cell gave Sephiroth the keys. Being one of the most powerful forces in the world did have it's advantages.
With his eyes rendered shut – swollen, beaten black and blue – Rhapsodos was a pitiful sight to behold. Streamlets of blood trickled freshly from his nose, encrusting the ring around his mouth crimson. His lips, once vibrant and forever holding the hint of an arrogant smirk, were now exaggerated in size, the split down the middle, still open and quite visible. His right cheek, oh so delicate and fragile, was shaded an ugly purple, and stuck out from his face like an obscene tumor growth. A laceration ran the entire length of the prisoner's forehead, the cut flowing freely, painting most of his visage red.
The man was shirtless, life fluid covering most of his upper body, slouched in a straight-back metal chair. His ordeal had drained him so he couldn't hold up a decent posture. His head lolled to one side, rusty auburn locks plastered to his face and neck with blood. His wrists were cuffed securely behind the chair, and occasionally a slight whimper could be heard spilling from his parched throat.
A new fury roared through Sephiroth's chest as he stared down at the redhead. No warrior, especially one that he held such respect for, should be beaten and broken like this. His first urge was to cast a full cure from the materia now equipped in his left pauldron, but he thought better of it. While the silver general did hold a certain amount of admiration for this man, he was still the enemy. Knowing it best to leave him in his weakened state since Sephiroth wanted to extract information of his own – Shin-Ra had classified the Rhapsodos' file to a point that not even he had access to it – the silver haired man went to the small sink in the room and wet a cloth, intending to at least clean off some of the blood.
The redhead jerked when the cool, damp material was placed against his forehead. His neck straightened and he turned his face toward the sensation, but since he was lacking vision, he had no chance of identifying his benefactor.
"Shhh," Sephiroth intoned softly, "I'm not here to hurt you." he said soothingly. 'Yet' there was a hint of maliciousness in the underlying thought. He had not, nor ever would, forgiven the crimson haired warrior for leaving him to die in the middle of a war-torn street, like some beast meant for the slaughter.
Once most of the blood was cleaned off his face and chest, the redhead suddenly pulled away from the SOLDIER's touch, craned his neck, and tried to get the cloth in his mouth. Sephiroth understood instantly. The man's throat was probably raw and burning – the blackened marks covering the pale skin of his chest, arms, and hands were indications of mild to intermediate forms of electroshock – and the screams that most likely had been released had torn at warrior's esophagus.
Thankfully, the detention room for political pundits was equipped with the luxuries like a bed, a built in shower, a working toilet, a chair and desk, and amenities like soap and towels. Finding a drinking glass and filling it with water, Sephiroth took it over to his enemy, and held it while the redhead drank deeply.
Now that need was out of the way, Sephiroth, standing almost at attention, glared down at the wounded man. There was still residual animosity, but his vengeance would wait until Rhapsodos was healed. The red general had already proven himself in battle, and Sephiroth wanted to settle the score, but he refused to do that when the man was in such a sorry state.
"Do you think you can talk now?" The silver general's voice was monotone, flat and even.
The room was silent for almost a minute while redhead pulled forth the strength to speak. Finally, with a dry, cracked voice, which somehow remained strangely melodic, he answered. "I've...already told...you everything." Blood and saliva rolled down his chin as he spat the words.
"You may have told somebody something, but I have yet to hear it." Sephiroth noticed that the opposing fighter kept his head tilted toward the silver SOLDIER's voice. "I have a few questions of my own."
Rhapsodos clenched his teeth, and Sephiroth briefly wondered if they were all still intact. He didn't want to picture the auburn man without his teeth.
"In the...statement...I gave...all of it...in my file."
"Ah. I see we are having a slight communication problem. You see, I have not read your file or the statement you gave. I would rather you answer my questions personally, that way I can judge whether or not you are lying."
"...Why? It's always...wise...to learn...all you can...before going...toe to toe...with the enemy." The red general made a small noise after, and Sephiroth was reminded of a tiny, hurt animal.
"I agree. It is wise. But I wanted to hear your story before jumping to conclusions. And we both know how biased reports can be."
The redhead tried to laugh but it ended up as a strangled cough. However, when the gurgling sound had tapered off, he did his best to hold his head high. "You...whoever you are..." he coughed again, "are not privy to the...information...are you?"
A silver eyebrow arched, and he questioned his transparency. "And what makes you say that?"
Even wounded, the man's haughtiness was apparent, "because...I've used..." his head fell forward and it took his extra reserves of strength to push it back up, "the same line...before."
Sephiroth couldn't resist a smirk. He liked this man, though he had almost lost his life to him. "Think what you wish. It matters little. May I at least have the pleasure of your first name, Sir?"
For over a year the auburn general's name had eluded him, and the more he sought, the more obscure it became. He had even gone so far as to asking the president about it, but the blond, heavy-set man had brushed him off, saying it wasn't important.
This time the redhead suppressed his cough in order to genuinely laugh. "My name? You don't...know...my name?"
Irritation coursed though Sephiroth. Something as simple and stupid as a name was starting to grate under his skin. And sitting, bound before him, was the possessor of that name, and he was mocking the silver general over it. It would not be tolerated. It became clear why the redhead was in the shape he was.
Dropping an octave, Sephiroth's tone became dangerous, "Why don't we introduce ourselves? I am General Sephiroth, SOLDIER 1st Class." The name was hissed in the prisoner's face. He took great pleasure in saying that, for he was sure that Rhapsodos still thought him dead. He wasn't disappointed.
A sharp intake of breath and a furrowing of auburn eyebrows gave away the Rhapsodos' surprise. "You're...dead. I killed you."
"No. You left me in the street to die, then ran off without making sure. You really didn't think it would be that easy to kill me, did you?"
The redhead was quiet for a long minute. "How?" He finally asked.
Sephiroth sighed, however, the question could be used to his advantage.
"I will tell you how I survived...after you give me your name." He figured it wouldn't hurt to tell the guy how he was healed. A simple answer for a simple answer.
Genesis thought this over, then nodded. "Genesis...Genesis Rhapsodos."
"Genesis," Sephiroth spoke the man's name for the first time. It was very appealing, and seemed to shape the contour of his lips. "Genesis," he repeated and it left a pleasant taste in his mouth. "I find it quite fitting."
"Now, tell me...how are you alive."
Sephiroth noted Genesis' speech pattern had become stronger, not so broken – yet another sign of the Mako pumping through his blood.
Sephiroth could find no harm in telling, so he shrugged, an action the temporally blind man couldn't see. "One of my men saw me fall. He rushed over with a Phoenix Down and called for the medic. There was nothing special about it."
Genesis accepted this with a soft moan. "Water," only now there was some sort of humility in his voice. He didn't demand the drink, but asked with but a word.
Sephiroth gave the man another drink, and as he removed the glass from the redhead's lips, a new question was asked.
"Are you going to kill me now?" Expectancy twinged Genesis' words.
Setting the glass on the sink, the question was left hanging in the air. Returning to the redhead, Sephiroth placed his hands on the auburn warriors shoulders, making sure his fingers dug into
burn-blackened skin, causing Genesis' to flinch. "Do you expect anything different?"
"Don't answer a question with a question," Genesis shot up at him.
Sephiroth's squeezed deep into hurt flesh, and lowered his face. Genesis' scream was a mist against Sephiroth's cold continence. He relished in it.
His reply was structured, "Then yes, Genesis, I am, in fact, going to kill you." Serious, deadly, demeaning.
Pain was a commodity here and Genesis was buying in wholesale. He acclimated himself with the sensation before retorting, "Then do it...General," he hissed the title with no little amount of disdain, and sarcasm leaked into his words. "I'm bound in front of you. At your mercy. I couldn't stop you."
"I think not. When I take your life it will be on my terms, and my terms are not to murder you when you are helpless."
"You lack conviction." Genesis gathered all the saliva in his mouth and spat in Sephiroth's face.
Sephiroth straightened, removing his hands from the redhead's shoulders. Spittle with trace amounts of blood, clung to the silver SOLDIER's cheek. The spitting didn't upset Sephiroth as much as did having one of his focal virtues called into question.
The fury that he had been holding in check since getting news of Genesis' capture was released in a single strike. The back of his hand connected with the auburn warrior's unmarked cheek before he had time to reign it back. A disturbing crunching sound was heard, and the force of the blow sent the cuffed general, chain and all, sliding a good ten feet before the chair wobbled and flipped on its side. A soft sigh was issued from Genesis, and Sephiroth figured that was all the man could muster at this point.
A wave of self-disgust rocketed through him. Rarely did he act on impulse, and the fact that this one man could get under his skin and cause such a reaction, was cause for alarm. He would have to monitor future emotions more carefully when dealing with the red general.
He came into this cell having absolutely no intention of physically harming the redhead. Sephiroth had come to talk; to find answers as to why Genesis' was being held as a political prisoner. While it was true that he could be quite brutal during an enemy interrogation, he never intended to add to the brutality Genesis' had already been treated to. The man deserved far better than that. Never before the Battle of Cartwright had Sephiroth encountered an opponent of equal skill, and therefore, he believed that the red general should be treated better, more fairly than other POW's.
As a form of apology – Sephiroth never said he was sorry, only made up for his wrong doings through action – he went over to Genesis, righted the chair that he was bound to, and unlocked the handcuffs. He then helped Genesis stand. The entirety of the auburn warrior's weight fell against him; Sephiroth held him up with ease.
Genesis was then taken over to the shower area, where his high-healed boots, black leather pants and matching black underwear were removed. Sephiroth was positive the man would have put up a form of verbal resistance, but with both cheeks broken, he imagined talked would be excruciating, if not impossible.
He would be lying to himself if he said Genesis did not have a beautiful body, but reminding himself that the redhead had once tried to rob him of his life and he was still the enemy, Sephiroth tore his eyes away from him and started a warm shower. He would also be lying to himself if he said there wasn't a slight pull of physical attraction.
While helping the red general wash (helping would be the wrong term. Genesis was broken, so Sephiroth did all of the scrubbing) he noticed an ugly red scar down the left side of the man's back. The SOLDIER filed it away in his memory banks to ask Genesis about it later.
The shower was a slow process because Sephiroth found he enjoyed touching Genesis with his bare hands a little too much. However, when the red general almost collapsed on him, Sephiroth turned off the water, got him out, and dried him. Another amenity that the cell stored was a clean set of simple clothes – a loose pull over shirt and bottoms. The exact style an inmate would wear.
Once he had him dressed, Sephiroth laid Genesis on the bed and covered him up. "I will check on you tomorrow."
The words wasted on Genesis – he had already passed out. Sephiroth smirked and before sliding his gloves back on, he let his fingers wonder to the spot Genesis had spit. He had failed to wipe it away earlier, but by this point it was already gone. Sephiroth dressed his hands and went to the door.
"Yes Genesis, I will visit you tomorrow and every day after until you are well, and then I will extinguish your life."
&%$ POW $%&
Sephiroth's stance, perfect in form and rigidity, was what all other military personnel modeled their posture on when standing at attention before a superior. However, the elite SOLDIER was not standing in font of Lazard – the only person in the military unit who outranked him – he was standing before President Shin-Ra, the self proclaimed ruler of the Central and Northern Continents.
The robust blond was behind his desk, a stack of papers off to the side, and a glass of scotch in hand.
"Have a seat, General." Shin-Ra gestured to one of the two chairs across from his desk.
Sephiroth, far from being a "yes" man, but wise enough to know that when the president tells him asks him to sit, he'd better comply, pulled up the more comfortable looking of the two chairs and sat down. Still his posture was perfectly aligned; it was almost painful to see someone sit like that.
"So General, it has been brought to my attention that you have a question?" The president to a sip of his drink.
"Sir, I would like to read General Rhapsodos' file." Sephiroth began, hoping his very presence in Shin-Ra's office would be enough to intimidate the man into giving him what he requested. "I am of the opinion that if I knew something about General Rhapsodos, I could more effectively stage our next strike against the Mideelian troops."
The obese man took another swallow of his scotch. "I see," he said when the grimace on his face had disappeared. "While I hate to do this General Sephiroth, I am formally denying your request. That file is for my eyes only."
More questions shot like a bullet through Sephiroth's skull. Why was Genesis so important? Aside from being a high-ranked officer, why was he so special that the president himself would seal his file? Sephiroth had clearance to read other enemy officers profiles, so why was Genesis' not available?
"Sir," Sephiroth was now glaring at the president, and could see the man cowering back in his seat, trying to escape that look. "I think it is a matter of national security that I be kept informed of all possible enemy threats, and that includes the one presented by General Rhapsodos."
As fearful of his army general as he may be, Shin-Ra was steadfast in his refusal. "I understand the validity of your argument, General, and I would allow you access to any other file but this one. I am sorry Sephiroth, but you will just have to accept my call on this."
"Yes, Sir." Sephiroth's teeth were clinched together in attempt to hold in what he really wanted to say.
"Will there be anything else?"
"Very well. You are dismissed."
Sephiroth saluted, pivoted on his heal, and almost stormed from Shin-Ra's office. Had he not been more disciplined, his strides alone would have been testament to his displeasure. It took a conscious effort not to slam the office door behind him.
Genesis' file may be sealed, but Sephiroth, being general of the army, was able to obtain his personal belongings: a sword, his coat, a book, a summon materia and a dangling silver earring.
The red sword, which had nearly laid claim to Sephiroth's existence, was now propped up in the corner of his living room; Masamune lay across it, guarding the crimson weapon like a jealous lover. Sephiroth thought the two weapons accented each other perfectly.
The red duster – Genesis had worn during their first meeting and Sephiroth had come to think of it as a trade mark of sorts – lay across the back of his couch, and would soon be hung up and put in his coat closet. Nothing in terms of sentimental value, the SOLDIER had little use for such ideas, but because it was too nice a clothing article to leave in a confiscation bin for someone to steel, and it deserved better treatment than being left to collect dust.
The earring lay forgotten on his dining room table, though the piece of jewelry attested to the air of pomp the red general enshrined himself with.
However, it was the white, leather-bound book that attracted Sephiroth's attention the most. He couldn't have guessed that a five-star general would carry around a book of poetry. Engrossed in the poem, titled Loveless, Sephiroth could almost hear narration given by the redhead. Genesis' mental voice was not the choked, cracked voice from the night before, but the one he first used on the battlefield – the musical, haughty one that informed Sephiroth that it was a pleasure to kill him.
He didn't put the book down until well after lunch. While the words were simple enough to follow, Loveless was not an easy read. Many times he found himself staring off into space, contemplating the philosophy of the poem, because when taken as a whole, it really was a book of philosophy. He disagreed on many points but he would save those topics of discussion for Genesis – a man with such a book in his possession was bound to be a philosopher, or at least have deeper insight – when he was well enough to talk.
The rest of Sephiroth's daylight hours were spent going over reports from the front lines, and issuing commands to the SOLDIERs and troops in combat zones. He didn't mind that thoughts of his redheaded prisoner would occasionally distract him, after all, it was a pleasant distraction. As much as he preferred to be on the battlefield, and hated giving orders from afar, being home after a six month long tour was a well deserved rest. Now that he had a past time to keep him from getting bored, (he considered the Mideelian general a past time) being home was even more enjoyable.
The digital clock on the wall of his private office read 7:12 when General Sephiroth ended the video conference call with SOLDER 2nd Class Zachery Fair. The black haired teen was stationed in a small town called Banora; at oh-eight-hundred the next day, he would be pushing his company into the city of Easter, and the silver general wanted to go over tactics one final time before the invasion began. If Fair's company was victorious, they would then make plans to take Mideel City.
Tying up a few loose ends and putting his signature to a document he barely read, Sephiroth left his office, stopped by his apartment to get a little something in his stomach, then made good on his word and went to his enemy's cell. He had brought Loveless with him.
Two guards outside the solid-iron, windowless door, both helmeted so the upper portion of their faces were hidden, and dressed in identical blue uniforms with yellow armbands that read MP, saluted as he walked by. Without a second glance or a simple nod of acknowledgment, he unlocked the door and passed beyond the threshold.
The buzz in the room, coming from the single yellow blub, did nothing to sooth the nerves, but then it wasn't supposed to. Now that rage wasn't coloring his vision, Sephiroth took the time to antiquate himself with his surroundings. The room, gray and lifeless, was devoid of all but furnishings he mentally listed the previous night. A place deficient in hope, its design was based on bleakness, causing the occupant to want to corporate, if for no other reason than to be allowed to see color. It was a room made to instill insanity. Sephiroth had to agree that the room was efficient in purpose.
In almost the exact spot Sephiroth had left him the previous evening, Genesis dozed. His slumber was light, more a state of meditation than real sleep. As soon as the SOLDIER had opened the door, his head shot in the direction of the sound.
Sephiroth saw that Genesis' eyes were still swollen shut, however the larger of the two lumps on his cheeks had decreased in size and faded from outstanding purple to become somewhat of a sickly yellow-green. The bruise Sephiroth left had yet to start the process of healing. The red general's lips had also returned to normal though they lacked the lush cherry hue that Sephiroth remembered. The cut on Genesis' forehead had all but disappeared.
"I didn't mean to wake you," Sephiroth said as he pulled the desk chair close to the bed.
Genesis waved his hand with a disinterested grunt; Sephiroth couldn't tell whether it meant for him to go away or if the redhead was silently telling him that he didn't mind his sleep being disturbed. He hoped it was the latter.
"I want to ask you a few more questions, considering all I received last night was your name. Are you capable of speech?" The SOLDIER wanted the answer to be yes, because not only did he want his questions answered, but he secretly enjoyed their antagonizing banter.
"A little," the red general laid his head straight on his pillow. "But it hurts." His tone was less raspy though still deprived of melody.
Disappointed with the answer, Sephiroth knew what he would have to do if he were to get anywhere.
"Have you eaten?" the silver general asked and payed the food tray on the desk a sparing glance; the content looked untouched.
"No." Genesis seemed about to elaborate, but stopped. Sephiroth believed him when he said that talking hurt.
"Why not?" Sephiroth asked with an arched eyebrow. The food on the tray – a turkey sandwich, a baked potato, and a sliced orange – was better than what his soldiers were given in the mess hall.
Genesis' answer was a groan.
"You have to eat to heal."
Struggling through agony, Genesis retorted, "You care because...fill in the blank here General." The phrase oozed sarcasm.
A genuine smile dragged the corners of Sephiroth's mouth upward. He found the acrimony amusing. He liked this part too much. However, he had to let it go, he had more important issues to discuss. He could always pick a fight with the temperamental redhead later.
"Mr. Rhapsodos, I want to make a deal with you..."
"We don't negotiate with terrorists," Genesis cut in, voice filled with rancor.
"You're not a terrorist are you?" Sephiroth kept his tone flat, not wanting Genesis to mistake his mirth and think that he was laughing at his situation. Sephiroth found nothing funny about Genesis being detained, however he did find the red general's quick wit and sharp tongue to be entertaining.
"Good, then we can make a deal."
"It's simple. I cast Curaga on you, and you answer my quest..."
"No deal." The auburn warrior interrupted before Sephiroth could finish. "You're a fool if you think..." he ceased to rub his cheeks, then continued, "I will give away any information about my forces."
Sephiroth snorted. He honestly had no intentions interrogating the general about his army – that's what the Turks were for. But he could understand why Genesis would think this. "Alright, let's do this. I cast Cura and you answer my questions as long as they don't pertain to your military, movements or strategies."
"What type of questions?"
"Questions of a more personal nature. Let us say I would like to get to know you better." Sephiroth could see the wheels turning in Genesis' head as he thought it over.
The redhead chuckled slightly, "General, are you flirting with me?"
Taken aback, Sephiroth's mouth fell open. "I...so what if I am?" Sephiroth had never been put on the spot like that before, and was more than a little embarrassed.
Slowly shaking his head, shoulder's trembling with unheard laughter, Genesis let the topic drop. "Your deal...agreed." Pain caused him to moan again.
Sephiroth was glad Genesis was one of the more amenable types, else the Turks would end up having to cut his tongue from his head. It was also nice that the crimson warrior appeared to be a talker. The silver general was more the silent, reclusive type, but he did enjoy listening to people who has something worth saying.
Needing less than ten seconds worth of concentration, Sephiroth focused on the green orb slotted in his shoulder armor, then visualizing Genesis in his mind, the Cura was cast. Manipulating magic really was that easy for him.
He watched as the healing spell went to work on the redhead's body. The first injuries to vanish were the burn marks lining his arms and what little he could see of his chest. Then the cut that was a nasty groove in Genesis' bottom lip disappeared and the natural cherry shade returned. The puffiness and discoloration of his cheeks were next to go, returning them to their delicate condition. Finally the swelling of his eyes dissipated and with a fluttering of his thick, black lashes, Genesis opened his lids. Then quickly closed them again.
"Oww! Light." Genesis complained.
Smirking, Sephiroth stifled a chuckle, "You'll get used to it. It must have been frightening to be blind while being detained by the enemy."
Slowly opening his eyes again, a soft glow radiating from blue crystal, Genesis focused his gaze on Sephiroth. "Hump," he snorted, raising from his lying position to sit cross-legged on the bed, "it was rather...unpleasant."
"Are you feeling better now?" Since Sephiroth wasn't dying and Genesis was busted up and wounded, the SOLDIER had time to study his appearance. The red general was – beautiful – for lack of a better word. The physical attraction was growing.
Genesis flipped his hair over his shoulder with a pomp that was born to him. "Much." Gracing Sephiroth with an almost bashful smile, he added tenderly, "Thank you."
The silver SOLDIER nodded a brief acknowledgment, "Now, as for my questions. How did the Turks manage to capture you?"
Genesis shrugged, "They set a trap. I was on my way to visit my mother, and they were waiting for me. Before I knew it, I was in a steel net, and dragged off to a chopper. I was knocked out. When I awoke, I was in here. My turn. Why are you so concerned about my well being? First you shower me, by the way, did you like what you saw and touched?"
Genesis was looking directly into his eyes when he asked. Sephiroth felt heat rise to his cheeks. Was he embarrassed? No, he firmly answered himself, 'The question caught me off-guard. That's all.' Playing it cool, giving the impression that he wasn't phased, he replied, "I did. On both accounts. However, we are not playing a game where we take turns asking questions. The deal was you talk if I healed you, and I did."
It was Genesis' turn to flush. He had only meant to unnerve the opposing general, but instead, Sephiroth had turned it around on him. His mouth formed an 'O' for a split second before he regained his composure, then he pouted. "I think that's a little unfair. How else am I supposed to get to know you?"
"You aren't." Sephiroth was mildly enchanted by Genesis bottom lip, but quickly tore his gaze away. "I fail to understand why you are being held as a political prisoner, and not a standard POW. Elaborate."
"You're very demanding. I sometimes like that in a man," the redhead winked.
Sephiroth raised a perfectly arched silver eyebrow. Dear Gaia, they were flirting. Sephiroth felt a little start in his chest. Wanting to respond with a witty retort, one filled with innuendos, but knowing he couldn't, he snapped the general's name, "Genesis!"
"Alright, already, but I'm a little surprised you don't know. It seems that everyone else around here does, no matter how hard we worked to keep it a secret."
"Genesis, your file has been classified for the president's eyes only. I went to ask him for it, and was denied. I don't know what questions you were asked or what answers you gave. I am in the dark here. What makes you so damned important?"
"I couldn't convince you that its my stunning good-looks or my loveable charm, could I?" A dry, mirthless humor. There was contempt in the auburn general's tone, and his eyes shifted from Sephiroth's face to the floor. "Didn't think so." He sighed. Picking at his bedsheets, Genesis looked up again. "President Ashcroft..."
"The president of Mideel?"
Genesis confirmed by nodding. "Melanie Ashcroft is my mother. Therefore I'm considered very valuable to President Shin-Ra. He hopes to use me as some sort of bargaining chip, or as means to cause my mother to surrender."
A bucket of ice-water could have been thrown over Sephiroth's head, and he wouldn't have been more shocked. He hadn't even known the Mideelian president had children. It made sense though, Genesis being held in here rather than normal prisoner cells.
"Surely she is negotiating your release?"
"I have no doubt that she is. But if Shin-Ra's demands are too insane, she will have no choice but to abandon me. She is the leader of our country after all, and the welfare of the citizens must come first. Sometimes she is forced to make the hard choices."
Sephiroth leaned back in his chair. He didn't understand exactly how he was feeling right now. Because his mother died in childbirth, and that role had never been filled in his life, he always held this idealistic and somewhat overly-romanticized notion about all mothers. They were angels, blessed by some greater power, gifted with a small life they were then responsible for. A mother should give unconditional love to her child, and be willing to sacrifice anything for them. That Genesis' mother would abandon him to the enemy, just so she wouldn't have to fly the white flag of surrender, filled him with unspeakable rage. The only reason he didn't let his temper get the better of him was because he, of all people, knew what being a leader meant and there were times he had to make some pretty tough decisions.
"Does it not bother you that she would make such a choice. She would chose strangers over her own blood?"
"No. I would gladly sacrifice my life for my country any day, if it means keeping the people free from the oppression and tyranny that Shin-Ra proposes. My mother knows this and understands. She will make the right call when the time comes."
"How very altruistic." Sephiroth rolled his eyes in mock exasperation.
Needing to change the topic, Shin-Ra's general pulled out Loveless. "Is it customary for Mideelian troops to carry poetry books with them?"
Blue eyes narrowed, cherry lips pursed. "I think you are being rather invasive, General. I don't see how my reading material will answer any of your questions. Besides," Genesis rose, his graceful movement subconscious, but there nonetheless, and snatched the book from Sephiroth's hands, "I don't want you damaging the bindings." The red general returned to his seat.
The display of speed was nothing short of impressive. Sephiroth knew Genesis was fast, but he hadn't been prepared for the action that was born in lightening. He figured that the redhead would go for the book, but he didn't think he would be so damn fast. "Genesis," he stated coolly, "weren't you taught that taking something out of someone else's hands is rather rude?"
Genesis glared. "How dare you have the audacity to insist that I was being rude. I am the one being held captive. I am the one who was beaten. I am the one who had all my possessions taken." He flared hotly, "and weren't you taught that taking other people's belongings is rude?"
Under his cold exterior, Sephiroth found himself smiling. It was so easy to stir Genesis' passions, and it seemed that he was good at it. And as a bonus, he was having fun. It was better than spending his evening alone in his apartment.
Shrugging Genesis' statement as if it meant very little, Sephiroth remained calm. He wasn't going to let the man goad him into looking anything less than in control. "That's what it means to be a prisoner or war, Genesis. I would have thought that because you are a general, you would understand this."Taking pause, he let his words sink it. Then derisively he asked, "do you fancy yourself a poet then?"
Genesis' face turned crimson, his face now an odd contrast to his hair. For a split second, the SOLDIER saw murder in the other man's eyes, and he braced himself for a attack. True, he didn't have to be so condescending, but the red general's emotional spectrum was amusing to prod. He especially liked how easily Genesis cycled through them.
The glow from Genesis' eyes dimmed, and after a few deep breath's became tranquil, "I mostly read, but sometimes I write. There's not much time for writing when you are in constant battle."
"I see." He could sympathize completely with the red general. Not having more to say on the matter, though it was nice to learn a hobby of Genesis', he returned to the topic of Loveless. "I read it, you know."
An auburn eyebrow was cocked, "And...?"
Sephiroth crossed his arms, and removed his gaze from Genesis to stare at the ceiling. "I could care less about the story of the three friends. However, the philosophy and religious overtones intrigued me. In so far that I disagree with us seeing the contemplation of mystery as a gift. All higher thinking persons try to solve mysteries everyday, just because some want to figure out the divine mystery doesn't mean its a gift, it just mean they focus on more spiritual questions. And if the war of the beasts really is going to end the world, why would the goddess save the unjust as well as the just? Why not just save the righteous and just, and let the wicked parish in the war? Or am I misinterpreting the goddess spreading wings of light and dark? Is this not talking about the righteous and unrighteous?"
Stunned – it was the only word to describe the look on Genesis' face. He then shook his head in disbelief. "Let me get this straight. You are concerned with my healthy, and are concerned whether I ate, then you say you want to get to know me better, and now you want to talk philosophy. All of that is fine, if you're going to ask me out. But, you're not. You plan on killing me. I'm sure you can see why I find this a little strange."
Biting his inner bottom lip to keep from smiling, Sephiroth replied, "And who says I am not going to ask you out?" He achieved his aim, Genesis was flabbergasted.
"Um...uh..." The red general was speechless. After the shock, he muttered, "you're missing the point...it's the killing me part that bothers me."
Sephiroth waved dismissively, "Yes or no, she saves the just and unjust alike at worlds end?"
"That's what I've always taken it to mean. But I don't think it's the soul she saves. I think its the spirit energy. Something else happens to the soul."
"Hmm? And what happens to the soul?"
With Genesis not letting himself dwell on Sephiroth's words about killing him, and Sephiroth ending the emotional game he was playing with the redhead, the two spent the next few hours talking – religion, philosophy, strategies, hobbies, likes and dislikes – whatever subject they breached, they talked about.
At one point during their discourse, Sephiroth had left the uncomfortable steel-gray chair, and joined Genesis on his bed. And at some point after that, Genesis had decided that Sephiroth's lap made for a good pillow. As their discussion progressed, the silver general enacted an more intimate gesture; while the redhead was talking, he removed his gloves and started to run his fingers through the silky, auburn strands. Due to the nearly-affectionate touching, and the nature of the pleasant conversation, it was easy to forget that they were enemies, and that Genesis was a prisoner locked away in a dank cell – at least for a time, anyway.
He finally had to leave, and on his way back to his room, Sephiroth thought about all the little details he had learned about the red general. He knew the redhead's favorite color, his favorite type of music, his favorite movie, and favorite flavor of ice cream. Trivial really. So why did an unknown, foreign emotion sweep through him when he thought about spending tomorrow the exact same way?