ch. 1. call it vanity.

o.o

Truth. Okay.

So, maybe Genesis wasn't supposed to be on this floor (in fact, there might have been some executive function he was supposed to attend), but what could Lazard possibly do? Put him on some crummy mission? Even supervising cadets would be better than sitting in some ridiculous, pretentious meeting that had nothing to do with him. Well, maybe not that part about the supervising cadets was true, as the current trainees were horrendous, but besides that, Genesis was fairly confident he could handle whatever attempt at discipline the older man would foist on him.

And then a chocobo suddenly mauled him over.

It all happened too fast for Genesis to even comprehend; one moment, he was lounging around the hallway, (and if he recalled correctly, a hallway that should have been empty considering the time of day), when out of the corner of his eyes, he saw a flash of something spiky and yellow; for a second, he had thought it was a chocobo. In hindsight, he should reacted better, but the absurdity of it all (honestly, a chocobo? On one of Shinra's top executive floors?) seemed to have stunned him.

Then, he felt a large weight slam into him. He didn't even have time to react; his hands were grasping at anything to hold at this point and somehow seemed to find their way onto something warm and breathing. For a moment, the world swung below him in a dizzying fashion.

And then it righted itself.

"Sorry," the chocobo said—no, it wasn't a chocobo. It was a man. And the man was holding him upright, kept him from falling. "I wasn't looking where I was going."

Genesis quickly broke out of the stranger's grasp and gave him a quick, cursory glance. The man was dressed as a technician (which, for one, definitely did not have clearance for this floor), but Genesis had felt clearly-defined muscles when he had held onto the man, muscles that a mere grunt shouldn't have. And that he hadn't even noticed the man's presence until it was too late? No normal person should have that kind of speed.

However, when Genesis lifted his eyes and looked up into the stranger's oddly dull green eyes, instead of voicing these suspicions as he should have, he instead found another statement coming out of his mouth.

"That is the most ridiculous hairstyle I have ever seen."

A look of incredulity sparked across the man's face and he gave Genesis an appraising glance.

"At least I don't have hips like a teenage girl," the stranger replied without missing even a beat.

Genesis opened his mouth to bite out a scathing reply, but before the sounds could even come out, he heard the sound of rushed footsteps stampeding through the hallways. The sight that met his eyes as he turned to look was so ridiculous, for a moment he briefly thought himself transported into some sitcom comedy. The Turks, looking more harried than he had ever seen then, were rushing to the point of almost tripping over each other, their hair frayed and sticking out in comical fashion. They all were pointing in his direction, and it took Genesis a brief moment to realize that they were yelling at him, telling him to…

"Stop that man!"

Genesis turned back to look at the man, who gave him a quick wry smile.

"I'll see you around?"

He wasn't sure exactly what possessed him that second, but in the heat of the moment, as the man turned to begin his escape, Genesis took the very moment to hold out his foot across the man's path. Of course that would never work. This man was obviously competent enough to avoid a single foot if could avoid the Turks. Why hadn't he reached for his materia? His sword? Or just tried to grab the man?

And then he watches as the unthinkable happens: the man, perhaps too concerned with avoiding the Turks bullets, hadn't noticed Genesis movements. A feeling of pride battling with utter disbelief washes over Genesis as he watches the man actually fall over himself as he tripped over Genesis' foot.

The short accident was enough; within seconds, the Turk caught up and had all their guns pointed at the stranger. Yet the man just shrugged and raised his hands in nonchalant surrender, looking completely non-plussed as the Turks grabbed him on the arm and arrested him.

Only Veld seemed to give Genesis any attention, and even his glance was brief, short.

"Thanks for the help."

They were gone before Genesis could even say another word.

o.o

The odd incident ended up bothering Genesis more than it probably should have. Throughout the week, he found himself returning to the incident, for some reason unable to let it go. Perhaps he was just curious as to find out what kind of man could evade the Turks so easily. Perhaps it was just the comment on his figure (hourglass, Genesis found himself, in his mind, correcting the man belatedly in biting tones. and women find it attractive, which is more than I can say for that mess on your head).

But the Turks had gone completely underground; he hadn't even able to find an operative to grill for information.

At least, not until the next mission Lazard ended up assigning to him.

"How did you of all people end up being the new Turk recruit?" Genesis gave the man a look-over, still a little surprised to see the chocobo-head that had ran over him just the week before all dressed up like a Turk. Genesis almost would've been impressed by how well the suit fit the man if he wasn't so surprised. "If I recall correctly, last time I saw you, the Turks were in the processing of arresting you."

The man shrugged. "They were impressed by my skills. Wanted to hire me."

"Yeah?" Genesis raised an eyebrow. "What skills were those?"

A small smirk graced the man's face. "Evasion."

"I see."

Genesis decided not to mention the circumstances that brought about the man's capture. Instead, Genesis turned away and looked outside, barely paying attention as the sights of Midgar quickly flashed by the train. Lazard had told him the mission was just a simple monster extermination, and that his role would only be to supervise the new Turk recruit. He had been a little confused as to why he out of all people was chosen for the job, but now seeing who the new Turk was, it made a little more sense. Or maybe Lazard was finally getting back at him for skipping out on the executive function.

"Hey, what's your name?" Genesis asked after a while, when he finally realized he actually didn't know how to address the stranger sitting across from him.

The man paused, as if still getting used to his new alias. "Fenrir. …And yours?"

Genesis snorted. "As if you don't know."

"Just being polite," Fenrir returned, seemingly unconcerned with Genesis' contemptuous tone. "Besides, you're my superior for this mission. How should I properly address you?"

Genesis paused, a little surprised by the man's question. Most men that he commanded, even the ones far older than him, had automatically defaulted to using 'Commander Rhapsodos', out of a mix of fear and respect. But this man was different, utterly indifferent to their difference in rank and age, to the point that he even asked what a proper address would be. Yet, strangely enough, Genesis found he didn't want to assert his rank over this man, wanted to see what would happen if he didn't. So finally, after a long a moment, he answered, "Genesis… will do."

If Fenrir felt any shock at the casual address, he didn't show it. Instead, he just nodded. "Nice to work with you, Genesis."

Genesis felt himself twitch slightly at hearing the older man say his name, if only at the unfamiliarity of hearing it from someone other than Angeal and Sephiroth. "'Fenrir' is quite the mouthful of a name," he found himself asking. " Did you choose it yourself?"

The man gave a crooked smile. "Believe me. It's far better than my real name."

Genesis cast a look at the man's dreadful hairstyle. He didn't doubt it.

o.o

Baby-sitting mission, that's what Lazard had called it. Genesis bit back a growl as the phrase came back to him with irritatingly perfect clarity. Baby-sitting mission, just to see how the new recruit takes care of some escaped specimens. Nothing much.

Lazard, of course, hadn't mentioned that the 'some escaped specimens' were actually a horde of escaped, enhanced, and very angry zoloms.

Screw you, Lazard, Genesis found himself thinking furiously. Screw you and your stupid, little omissions. When I come back, I'll swear, I will fucking burn down—

But he couldn't even complete that thought, and jumped back to escape a blow.

Soon, Genesis found himself back to back with Fenrir, gritting his teeth as he blocked off another dangerous strike. Fenrir, while still holding up and dodging the moves surprisingly well, seemed to be struggling a bit with his gun, which left most of the work to Genesis.

"You doing okay?" Genesis called out to Fenrir.

"I don't know," the man replied, his voice strained yet somehow nonchalant at the same time. "If one more shows up…"

Genesis grinned, thanking the Goddess that at least the man wasn't one of those pathetic fighters that lost their cool easily. "Honestly," he drawled in mock disdain. "Recruits these days are fucking useless."

The man behind him chuckled. "Oh? You mean you're fighting too?"

Feeling charged up from their short banter, Genesis raised his rapier and began his offensive again, trusting that Fenrir would be able to handle himself for a bit. He charged, hoping he'd be able to take at least down before regrouping with his partner again; but even he couldn't keep up.

Just as Genesis held off the brunt of one attack, a tail whipped out of no where and hit his head straight on. He could feel his sword being knocked out of his hand, and pair of strong arms just catching hold of him as he feel, but already his vision was starting to blur out. He was barely conscious when he felt himself put down against something sturdy—a stump? A tree?

A whisper cut through the haze, just for a moment.

"Let me borrow your sword for a while," said the whisper.

Then there was darkness.

o.o

Note: yes, I did very much steal that fighting scene from Kingdom Hearts II. But I love it, I love it, I love it; seriously, it's the sole reason why the second game is better than the first. That scene alone.

Also, I'd like to note, I would very much love some criticism. This isn't just fishing for compliments, I swear. If there are any areas that need work, dialogue, description, please leave me a comment about it. Thanks so much. :)