Disclaimer: FFVII is the property of Square Enix. No profit is sought from this work.

Contents: Prostitution, threats of violence.

Red Light

Genesis was on the couch when Angeal came home. He was sitting in a circle of dim light, smelling of cheap beer and nicotine. "Gen?" Angeal stepped closer.

Genesis held up a finger and shushed him. Angeal watched how his fingers moved as he smoothed crumpled bills into a sizable pile on the table. Something sank in Angeal's gut like a stone. "You went out again."

"Hmm?" Genesis turned. There were traces of eyeliner smeared across his skin. "You were out. I was bored." He stretched, elegant as a cat, and gave a languid stare at the night's take. "Good haul tonight. I think I've got the rent covered."

"Our rent is covered." Angeal stalked over, resisting the urge to kick the table over. "Why are you doing this? Look at you!"

"Yes," Genesis said, leaning back to catch the light. "Look at me." Angeal stood over him, mad enough to spit. It wasn't the makeup caked on Genesis's face, or the fishnet stockings, or even the finger marks that striped their way up Genesis's thighs.

Angeal grabbed Genesis by the shoulders and hauled him to his feet. Genesis swayed a bit on the ridiculous boots he kept for his walks but he was finally angry enough for it to show. "Get your hands off me, Angeal." His breath smelled of stale beer. His hair smelled like smoke. The rest of him smelled of other men. Angeal grimaced, wondering how many it had been for the night.

Genesis squirmed. "I said let go!" He broke Angeal's hold and stalked off to the shadows. Angeal caught sight of more bruises heading up the backs of Genesis's thighs, shadowed under the short red coat he wore.

"Why do you do this?" Angeal's voice was thick.

"Why shouldn't I?" Genesis turned back, half-lit by the weak lamp. "I like a good, hard fuck and I can get paid for it. What's your problem?" Angeal could not voice one right then. He was too busy staring at the cheap, tawdry imitation of himself that Genesis was when he whored.

"Why?" he asked again.

Genesis made a dismissive sound. "I told you," he said, "I want a fuck. Is something wrong with your hearing?"

Angeal spun away from the sight. He tried to push his hair back and ended up grabbing handfuls of it. He slumped to the couch and tried to make himself be still. He focused on the pile of 'rent' money on the table. It was big. Genesis probably did have the rent covered, maybe part of next month's too. Angeal felt himself shaking.

"Why don't you wait?"

Genesis looked up from his nails. "For what?"

"For me to come home!" Angeal snapped. "If you want a hard fuck, I'll give it to you."

Genesis scoffed. "It's not the same."

"What is it, then?" Angeal gripped the seat cushions and closed his eyes. He couldn't stand the sight of the gil on the table. "What do you want? Money?"

Genesis cocked his head. "Is that what the problem is? You have issues with the world's oldest profession?"

Angeal's head snapped up. "If other people do what they have to, fine, but you don't have to earn money on your back!"

"Of course not," Genesis said. "Sometimes I earn it on my knees." Angeal could have slapped him and it showed. Genesis narrowed his eyes and prowled forward. The stiletto boots added to the swaying of his hips

"What's the real problem here, Angeal?" he asked, slithering down the far end of the couch. "You don't like how I dress?" Angeal choked and knew that Genesis had not missed it. Genesis slid forward. Angeal saw the imprint of teeth on his neck as the coat shifted. The urge to be violent stirred again.

"That's not it, is it?" Genesis said, leaning in and studying Angeal's face. "You like this get up, don't you, Angeal? Me, but so, so slutty. Are you wondering how the brass would react if I walked into to a meeting like this? Are you curious about what people would say, if they saw me this way?" He licked Angeal's ear.

Angeal bolted off the couch and retreated to the far side of the room. "I don't like it and you know it."

"Liar," Genesis said, settling his legs in an invitational sprawl. "No hiding what happens below your belt." He patted the seat cushion. "Why don't you come over here and let me take care of it?"

"Like the other dozen you took care of already for the night?" The words were out before Angeal could stop them. Genesis scowled but it was fleeting.

"Well, it's good we got that out," he said, running a finger along a cushion seam. "You're jealous."

"I am not." Angeal turned away. "With all these strangers, I just worry about you… getting hurt."

"Bullshit!" The scowl was back. "You know damn well I can take care of myself out there so don't go feeding me any lines about concern for my safety. I'm not buying it."

Angeal whirled back. "What if you can't take care of yourself one day? Huh? What about that?"

Genesis shook his head. "Will you listen to yourself, Angeal? It's not like I'm hooking up with a bahamut out there." He stood up and began to pace. "They're ordinary shmucks who think they're renting a SOLDIER look-alike for an hour. They have no idea they're getting the real thing. There's nothing they can do that would take me down. The ones who tried learned the hard way already."

Angeal went stony, quiet and cold. Genesis couldn't read him that way. He waited for a response of any kind, but there was nothing. "When you're done grinding your teeth in the dark, you know where to find me. I can help you work out that kink in your neck."

Angeal's fingers curled into fists. "How much will that cost me? A hundred gil? Two."

Genesis sneered over his shoulder. "You don't own me, Angeal."

"Not yet," Angeal said. "How much will that take? A thousand? Two? Do I need to pay you in installments?"

"You couldn't afford me, SOLDIER," Genesis said, "not on your pay."

Angeal lunged across the room and grabbed Genesis by the chin, forcing the sneer from the man's lips, but not his eyes. "Go ahead, Hewley," Genesis taunted. "Slap me like a proper pimp." Angeal dropped him in disgust and stalked away.

Genesis sat on the couch and flexed his jaw, careful not to turn his back on Angeal. "You have no right to be jealous," he said, licking a sore spot on his mouth. "What I do on my own time is my business."

"I didn't think you'd take up turning tricks." Angeal was an inch away from yanking his scalp bald. "How can you stomach it, walking the streets like a common whore?"

"When I'm on the streets, I am a common whore." Genesis made a show of studying his dark lacquered nails but attention was all on Angeal. "I'm entertained, I'm well-compensated and I meet so many interesting people." He crossed his legs and bounced one foot. "And there are no strings attached, just the way you wanted."

Angeal quaked, restraining himself from violence by force of will. "I didn't want this," he said. "I didn't want you out on the streets, peddling your ass to every loser with a cashed paycheck."

"Hard luck," Genesis said. "You gave up any say over how I seek my entertainment a long time ago."

"Are you doing this to spite me?" Angeal had to know. "Because I didn't want a steady relationship?"

"Goddess, Hewley, you do give yourself a lot of credit." Genesis stood and went closer, getting into Angeal's personal space. The tension was high there, and the danger too. "My life does not center around you. This is about me and what I want and what I need, so take your duty and your pride and your old-fashioned honor and get over yourself."

"Why are you doing this?" Angeal was shaking, trembling from his boots to his shoulders. It was in his voice and he knew Genesis saw it in his eyes. "What do you want?" There was a moment when Angeal thought Genesis would break, give in and give up and come back to every promise they had mutually broken.

But something shifted in Genesis's gaze. "I want a good hard fuck like you can't give me," he said and turned away.

Angeal grabbed his arm. "Who says I can't?" He pulled Genesis closer, close enough to smell the stink of mingled sweat on his skin, to see the bruise blossoming on one cheek beneath the powder. Angeal tightened his grip until he saw Genesis's eyelashes flicker. "Who says I can't?" He breathed the words into Genesis's smoky hair and reached up with one hand to brush the bruise.

Genesis grunted and pulled free. "Nice try, Angeal, but that ship has sailed. You pulled the anchor up yourself, remember?"

Angeal closed his eyes and breathed deep. He counted to five, then did it again, but the shaking would not stop. "So that's it?"

"Pretty much," Genesis said, scooping up the night's take.

"You going back out tomorrow?"

"We'll see." Genesis bent over and made a show of straightening a stocking seam. "My last trick tonight was… demanding."

Angeal's hands fell limp at his sides. "Gen, there has got to be another way."

"Way for what?" Genesis was busy tucking his earnings away in places Angeal didn't want to think about.

"To… get your anonymous sex fix. To have your flings with total strangers. Why can't you go to a bar or a club like normal people?" The stare Angeal got for that was withering. "Put an ad in the paper or the web, maybe? Be a proper escort. Get a higher class of client."

"And run into somebody who might actually recognize me?" Genesis snorted. "Not on your life."

"So you're just going to let every freak and weirdo roaming the slums rough you up?"

Genesis scoffed. "Really, Angeal, we both know the worst freaks in Midgar aren't below the plate. Besides, I like it rough." Angeal shuffled over to his armchair and collapsed into it, head in his hands. "Relax," Genesis said, "I use protection." He slid his short coat off and turned around. "All kinds."

Angeal stared at the switchblade sticking out the back of Genesis's leather shorts. Something turned over in his mind. "Need more?"

Genesis looked back over his shoulder. "Doubt it."

"Want more?" Angeal tried again.

Genesis straightened. "What are you saying?"

Angeal shrugged. "If you're going to do this, Gen…." He swallowed. "If this is what you need to do..."

"Angeal." Genesis was all business, eyes shining doubly bright. "I was only kidding about that slap. If you'd done it I would have burned a new kind of hell into your ass."

"Just offering," Angeal said with a heavy sigh, "only if you want me to."

Genesis folded his arms and sighed himself. "I suppose it would be nice to have someone to keep the hustlers off my back. They're so tiresome to deal with." He flipped the switchblade out and studied the sullied edge. "They just don't learn."

Angeal felt his fingers curling again, nails scraping along his palm. "You going out tomorrow?"

Genesis looked up. "No. I'm not going out until I get you a proper coat."


"If you're going to be my pimp, you're going to look the part."