This is set after Dirge of Cerberus, if you didn't already figure out. This is my first fic writing Genesis, and some reviews I've gotten say I had him in character, so I'm hoping that it's true haha. Enjoy people and prepare to get some tissues if you think you might cry. There are no pairings in this, but you can see some hinted SephGen in this if you look closely.

My friend, your desire
Is the bringer of life, the gift of the goddess

Hues of different colors shimmered through the air as the sun slowly crept below the horizon, rather hesitant on completely disappearing. Below the endless sky, the ruins of a village were lit up with a fading reddish-orange tint, so eerily similar to the flames that had once consumed it. Nature had slowly started to take over it as the flames ceased to exist, vines wrapping around charred remnants of the houses. Even the trees had recovered, arching higher and producing more apples than ever, standing strong, yet sad. In the silence, there was nothing, no monsters dared to go near the once inhabited town. Something broke through the void of silence, a soft sound as if a bird's wing was striking the air, the slight rustle of feathers as air blew through them. Though nothing was seen at first, the destroyed village almost holding its breath, a black dot was seen streaking out of the large cloud formation overhead, coming to a stop in the air and hovering.

Diving down, the figure landed down on the ground, sinking to one knee to absorb the shock of the landing. Above him, sprouting from his left shoulder was a large raven black wing. Closed eyes slowly opened, revealing glowing sapphire eyes, mako dancing in the depths of them; the SOLDIER trademark. Slowly standing, a gloved hand reached up to brush away his auburn bangs away from his line of vision. Accented by the glow of the sky, the red leather coat that swirled around him proudly stated to the dead village who he was, who had finally returned and redeemed himself.

Slowly looking around, sadness overtook the indifferent expression in those smoldering eyes. Banora, his village, his home. Clenching a hand gently, he pulled in his wing so that it wouldn't get into his way, the act causing a multitude of black feathers to rain down around him, drifting off when caught in the wind. The soft thud of boots hitting the toughened rich soil sounded around him, walking underneath the orchard of Banora White trees, head tilted back.

The scent of the apples hung heavily in the fresh air. The timing of his arrival had been perfect; he had arrived when the Banora Whites randomly bloomed. He wasn't surprised at all at how quickly the trees recovered from being burned. Though the trees looked quite delicate from afar because of how they grew, they were very hardy, especially the one that had belonged to his foster parents. Just thinking about them caused a sharp blade of pain to be shoved into his chest. Stopping with a hiss, the former SOLDIER clenched his chest with one hand, leather creaking as it met with the soft black material of his SOLDIER issued 1st class shirt.

Inside his mind raced with sadness and regret. All of those years ago, believing himself to be a monster and killing the only parents he knew because they had lied to him… He closed his eyes tightly, shaking his head. He had been wrong, he knew that now. The degradation had affected his personality, making him prone to violent outbursts and inhibiting his rational mind. What he had done tore him apart, slowly tormenting him even as he searched for the cure to his degradation. Such a selfish goal it was. With his fall from grace as one of the best SOLDIERs, he stripped the wings of his best friends who soon followed the descent into darkness.

Releasing his grip on his shirt, he raised his bright mako filled eyes to the sky, despair and anger dwelling in the depths of them. Normally there was an inferno that gleamed brightly in those eyes, driven by determination and pride, but over time, ever since he learned of the truth behind his birth, it had dimmed down until it was nothing, hate and anger darkening his eyes. Even when he had been saved by none other than Zack, it was gone, only now starting to smolder back into existence, a flicker of the fire that once consumed him. The jealousy that harbored deep inside of him was simply gone, having dissolved into dust long ago, the darkness that resided in him finally leaving his mind.

No matter what was in the past, he knew he had to press forward in an act to redeem himself and to fulfill the debt that he owed the Lifestream, that he owed the Goddess, his Goddess. Lowering his eyes, he banished the negative thoughts from his mind. Not surprised at all, he found himself standing at the grave of his parents. Kneeling, he placed a hand on the soil, stroking the soft grass that had started to grow there.

"Please forgive me, father, mother…" He bowed his head, wing curling around him on its own accord, becoming a comforting blanket that blocked out the colorful sunset. If he concentrated, just for a moment, he could almost feel their smiles, their hands on his shoulders. Even if it was his imagination, it comforted the crimson SOLDIER. A hint of a smile appeared on his lips and he slowly, gracefully, stood up. His wing shuddered, bathing the grave in black feathers, a few getting caught in the grass. Nodding once more to his parents' graves, he whispered three words that he, as a brash and arrogantly selfish child had hardly ever said, before he turned and walked away. His eyes were only on one destination, his father's prized Banora White tree.

The said tree was bigger than he remembered, sprouting more apples than it ever had before. Reaching up and plucking a ripe one that dangled a few feet in the air, he was reminded about how he and his best friend had climbed many of the trees, but never his father's. His best friend never wanted to ask for an apple, he was far too proud, too honorable. A small soft smile lit up his face as he bit into the fruit, white teeth slicing through bluish purple skin. The succulent tart flavor of the apple exploded in his mouth, eliciting a soft moan from his throat. It had been far too long since he allowed himself the pleasure of eating one of his father's prized apples, and now the taste, which he had experienced all of his childhood and a few years of him being in SOLDIER, courtesy to his parents sending him a few crates, it seemed as if he was first tasting it. He bit into the apple again, the juice trying to escape from inside his lips and dribble down his chin like it always had back when he was a child.

Oh the memories…

He felt the wind weave through his feathers and his eyes softened, remembering how he wished he had wings of his own when reading Loveless beneath his father's tree. Such a childish wish, yet here he was now, able to fly with just one wing. Strange how the childish of wishes come true, though sometimes in strange ways. Glancing over at the base of the tree, where he remembered eating Banora White Pie with Angeal, he suddenly was struck with a perfect tribute to his best friend. Finishing his apple and tossing it to the ground, giving nature back what it had produced, his brilliant eyes scanned for a certain apple that was at its perfect peak of ripeness.

There! At the top of the tree! Jumping into the air, his wing flapping once to carry him to the top, he reached out a hand to pluck it. Gently he floated down to the ground again, his left hand now holding another Banora White. When his feet were only a few feet from the tree, he spotted two other apples that looked perfectly ripe. Gently smiling down at the two pieces of fruit, he realized that two others deserved a taste of Banora. Picking them from the branches on which they hung, he touched down to the ground. Turning with a particular destination in mind, his feet carried him on an invisible path that was engraved into his mind when he was a kid, sneaking over to his friend's house to go around goofing off at night. Fondly he shook his head, treasuring those innocent moments with Angeal. Raising his eyes, he came to a stop in front of Angeal's house, slowly observing the ruins that stood there, still proudly showing its honor.

"Angeal, didn't you once say that your honor sometimes could be a burden?... All you had to do was ask." Genesis said softly, placing the apple that had been plucked first onto the earthen doorstep of the ruin. His eyes dropped down to the last two that he held in his hands and placed one of them to the left of Angeal's apple.

"For you, Sephiroth. Though the pup did fulfill my dream partially by eating a Banora White, I wish I had been able to share one with you. In this way, I can at least put my dream to rest." His voice was bittersweet as he deposited the last one to the right of the middle apple. It was for the one who had brought him back from the darkness and madness he had spiraled down into, into the light.

"Zack, so you can once again taste the wondrous taste of the apples. Thank you." The brunette paused, closing his eyes, bowing his head in respect to the three deceased men. He took a few minutes to form words in his mind.

"The Gift of the Goddess is the pride of a SOLDIER. It's similar to what you always lectured me on, Angeal. Pride, and honor, to never give up on your dreams… I had, but your pup restored them to me." A small smile made its way onto his pale lips, a weary expression overtaking him, his shoulder slumping and showing the burden he had been carrying since he had been defeated by Zack. He reminded himself that right now, he was to fulfill his role as a Hero of the planet, of the Goddess. Standing up, one lone feather fell from his wing to land in front of the apples, the wind refusing to brush it away. Curiosity overtook his features as several strands of the Lifestream came into existence, dancing over two of the apples, the ones that were for his best friends. They twirled into two separate shapes and solidified into two feathers of opposite tones, one black and one white, settling to lie across his own feather.

"Is this your way to say thank you?" A chuckle emitted from his throat. How appropriate it was, the wings that they had been given donating each a feather to this very spot of remembrance. He turned around; it was time to leave. Walking to the middle of town, his wing flared out to the side. His lips parted, preparing to speak a verse from his beloved poem of Loveless.

"Infinite in mystery is the gift of the goddess
We seek it thus, and take to the sky."

The SOLDIER's voice echoed, the poetic verses drifting away from his lips like a siren's song. Emotion carried through the words. The mysterious 'Gift of the Goddess' had been found, and he embraced it fully, knowing that many have not discovered theirs yet. Now with his Gift close to his heart, he could now take to the skies freely, ready to accept the role as the Hero in his friends' places. A gentle smile spread onto his lips as his eyes gaze up at the darkening skies, the first stars appearing in the heavens above. As his glowing eyes reflected the star, he glanced back at the apples and the feathers that lay next to them, his expression drawn and full of regret and sadness at having to leave, but his brother needed him. Weiss needed him, and they still have much to do. Raven feathers drifted to the ground as the powerful wing beat its way through the sky, the only reminder of who had been there.

"Until we meet again, my dear friends."