Title: Knowledge Bleeds
Author: Killaurey
Fandom: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
Rating: T
Word Count: 1,343
Warnings: Canon Suicide & Character Death
Prompt: I'll be waving my hand / watching you drown / watching you scream, silent or loud - from Clumsy by Our Lady Peace
Summary: Looking down at him looking up, Genesis knows Angeal is a dead man.
Author Notes:Written for the theme "Death" and the above prompt on comment_fic on LJ.

Genesis sits high in a tree, his coat swept back to tumble off the branch, and Loveless open in his lap. It's like turning back time, though he can't do that, when days of sitting and thinking and brooding later-a month of thoughts-Angeal shows up.

Looking down at him looking up, Genesis knows Angeal is a dead man. Angeal just doesn't know it yet.

Honor is a brittle thing, Genesis thinks.

"Genesis." There's mild reproof in Angeal's voice.

"Old friend," Genesis says, "tell me, have you ever wondered what purpose you have in life? What we were made for?"

It won't be Genesis who kills him.

At the same time, it will be.

Knowledge wounds as surely, as deeply, as any blade.

One thing they share is that, when they are troubled, they brood. But while Genesis will lock himself up in his room, or hide up in a tree where no one will look for him at the very edges of what can be reasonably called 'Banora', Angeal disappears into the surrounding wilderness for days on end. As a child, he'd only disappeared for hours, to commune with nature in ways that Genesis has never cared to understand (nature is capricious and sharp-edged and aloof; Genesis knows the dangers of the city and prefers them for they are less like him).

One day becomes two and then becomes three and Genesis reclines in his tree, brooding in his own way, while watching the wildness that Angeal has escaped into to brood in his own way, and Genesis thinks that already they have begun to fall apart.

Him less (and more) than Angeal.

Angeal has always considered himself a man, with the honor of a one.

Years ago, Genesis had guessed he was a monster by birth. He remembers the first time waking up in Banora, to people who said they were his parents and who he'd known even then, as a child, as liars.

He thinks of his copies, which already are spreading out through the underground, in places he doesn't know. He's made them, stolen their wills a second time, and given them his image. Some linger in Banora, hidden away where they won't startle the villagers.

They're monsters too. Ones that he's created.

Genesis knows what Angeal thinks about monsters.

How could he not? They're very old friends.

He broods on the way Angeal's face had gone tight and remote and despairing when Genesis had shown him the copies.

Perhaps he shouldn't have. But he's never been much of a liar when it comes to what he tells Angeal.

And he has no illusions about his capacity to be kind.

Genesis is many things.

Never that.

The day the Turks come skulking into Banora is another day when Angeal is nowhere to be found. Genesis does what he feels needs to be done. (As he always has.)

He leaves Gillian alone. "Death," he tells her in passing, "is too sweet a peace for you."

(He never forgives her, much later, when he finds out she's killed herself. Genesis despises cowards who cannot live with what they've done.)

As he buries the bodies-not just the Turks, not just his foster parents-Angeal finds him.

Angeal doesn't help him bury them.

That's alright; Genesis does it himself and ignores the burning pain-grief-in Angeal's eyes. That pain has the power to cut Genesis.

Only once he's done and everyone but himself, Angeal, and Gillian alone in her home, are under earth, does Genesis look at Angeal.

"My friend," Angeal quotes from Loveless, "the fates are cruel."

"Yes," Genesis agrees, with a twist of his lips. He can't call it a smile while he's riding high on feeling nothing at all. He does what he has to do. "They are."

Angeal looks at him for a long while and then slowly walks away. He looks a million years old, in that moment.

"There are no dreams," Genesis says softly, so softly he does not think Angeal will hear him. "No honor remains."

Genesis knows that if he has not killed Angeal with the knowledge of what they are, why they were born, and what Genesis has done with the SOLDIERs who now wear his face, then this has been the final blow. He leans against the tree that marks the mass grave, dirt clinging to his gloves like a sweet embrace, and watches as the clouds darken.

He stands vigil for three days and three nights.

(Genesis does not believe he killed innocents here. He never will. But in his own way, he mourns the necessity of it. His penances, like his crimes, are of his own choosing.)

Angeal does not ask for an explanation. Not for the deaths and not for the days that follow.

Genesis does not offer one.

The time for explaining themselves to one another has drifted through their fingers, like dandelion fluff, and is gone.

(In those three days, Genesis says good bye to Angeal. It's only a matter of time now.)

ShinRa sends Zack after them.

Genesis does not know why. Perhaps, he thinks, it's an attempt to entice Angeal back. Only it's too late for that. Angeal grieves and loathes himself and despair has rooted and flourished.

(If Genesis had watched his words more carefully, explained everything more circumspectly, would Angeal have given up so easily?)

Genesis prefers the Turk, who watches, who thinks, who hates and who does what's needed. As they're forced from Banora-but only temporarily-Genesis admires that.

Zack bores him.

And his presence stabs Angeal's agony deeper.

Genesis hates Zack for that.

He hates him even more when he realizes that Angeal has disappeared.

Angeal returns the next night but Genesis doesn't fool himself about what that means. Angeal has made his own decision. Genesis moves forward with his plans. If he is to be a monster, then he will do monstrous things.

But only to the people who have hurt him.

(And Angeal says no honor remains.)

Angeal watches and watches and moves to a different plan, a different beat. He tries to save them. To stop the destruction.

But Angeal does not overly inhibit Genesis' plans and Genesis knows, by that, that Angeal is not really trying.

Genesis wonders when Angeal will realize that.

How much faster will the realization kill him?

Zack finds him again in Modeoheim. Genesis is not surprised but then, Genesis was not hiding.

Genesis does not talk to Angeal, though he knows he's there, as they wait for Zack to find them. He thinks that, here and now, Angeal has figured out that this is the final good bye.

For Angeal, that is.

Zack has grown much stronger but he cannot kill Genesis yet because Genesis does not want to die. As Angeal gets up to retreat, perhaps to leave, Genesis watches him from the corner of his eye.

He'll miss him.

"Angeal, even if the morrow is barren of promises," Genesis says, knowing it's futile to explain now when it's far too late, "nothing shall forestall my return."

Genesis has no intentions of letting anyone kill him. This path in life is dark but it's his and he's too broken to deserve peace.

(Like Gillian, who claimed it anyway. He will not be like her.)

Angeal hesitates for a moment but says nothing. Just shakes his head one last time.

That's Angeal, saying good bye to him.

Hours later, broken and bleeding and alive, Genesis is still in Modeoheim.

Angeal is dead.

Genesis mourns.

"The arrow has left the bow of the goddess," he says, as he watches the sky through broken glass. "I told you, old friend, that Loveless fits everything." It's an old argument. One, now, that will never be resolved.

Angeal cannot answer him. He's gone. Genesis wonders if it's a weakness or a strength to know that even this cannot stop him from carrying on.

Genesis sets an apple down where Angeal had chosen to fall and walks away.

He supposes that he'll find out.