For some reason, this work will be more lyrical and poetic than narrative actually, and don't be surprised if the format changes anywhere. And no complaints about incomplete thoughts or run-on sentences either - they are there for a reason. I am going to unleash everything and go wild with this. Screw my older works, where the formats are strict as hell. This is for the general audience, so there is no yaoi. No more questions about that, this decision is final. I've been wanting to novelize Crisis Core for a really long time now, and since no one has done it in G's POV yet, I figured I would. And I am pretty serious about this. This will take years to finish, definitely. And if the chapters stretch on for too long, I am going to split this into two fics.
This is rated M for a reason. Pretty serious M. There is a person going insane, an insane disease, human and genetic experimentation, torture, abuse, anti-hero, criminal acts, inhumane cruelty, character deaths, violence, blood, gore, numerous suicide attempts.
The story of Crisis Core is already tragic by itself. In the point of view of the acclaimed villain, Genesis, the story is going to be very ugly, of course. There are nothing but ugly and tragic and depressing things here. So if you're sensitive or can't tolerate angst, I suggest you get out now. This story is not for the faint of heart ;_;
One last thing: PLEASE tell me what you think. Tell me if this is a piece of shit. I need reviews to continue this.
Chapter 1: Ripples Explode to Waves
Silently, but surely.
He knew there was something hidden within him.
Deep within his soul.
Not dark, but not light.
Real was his dream,
and he wanted it to live and scream and hurt and heal,
And through this, the dream became real.
But neither was it extinguished nor fulfilled.
Tousled cinnamon hair
Pale, almost-lifeless skin
Painfully shut eyes
Blazing was his heart, mind, and soul
His nerves were on fire.
The familiar sight of evergreen soft against his eyes, laced with pale-brown trees here and there, and elegant purple jewels was immensely comforting.
Raven hair, stale-blue eyes that were comforting to him, but intimidating to others. An eternal jewel.
Moon-kissed tresses, a perfect veil against the warm sun. Harsh and sharp emerald eyes that saw right through his soul.
Melded with their smiles, the world was perfect, if not heaven.
Masterly controlled by an unknown, dark force in his mind and deep unconsciousness, his body tossed and writhed, a hopeless attempt to escape the discomfort. As a bead of sweat ran down his pale forehead, the green darkened to the black of soot, and the scent of purple apples transformed to...smoke. Smoke. He couldn't cover his nose.
The familiar metropolis transformed into flames, the magnificence reduced to rubble and ashes.
A fierce, determined face, eyes as cool and deep as the sea and blue sky, stood out somewhat, defiant. Refusing to back down, refusing to lose. His hair was a fine obsidian, wayward and unruly.
There was fierceness in those rare, rare eyes, but in them, he found an eternal reconciliation, an eternal forgiveness.
The sting of the cold night dissolved into sweat that ran down his palms.
Blood stained his own hands endlessly, vivid even against his crimson coat.
"The time has come."
A harsh gasp. In his unconsciousness, he couldn't cover his ears.
"Surrender to the blood lust. Let the hatred control you."
In his unconsciousness, an ear-splitting noise nearly deafened him.
"The world has turned against you. Listen to me."
The inhumane voice drowned out, a new scenario played in his nightmare.
An angelic, noble-looking monstrosity wielding a deadly trident. Blood, soot, and the smell of thunder. The darkening sunset was mixed with tears and wails and pity.
Slain by the obsidian-haired child. Loss and sympathy cut deep through his tortured soul. Emotions flooded to him, and even in his unconsciousness he somehow felt tears running down. Lost was a portion of the world. Lost was a third of his heart.
"The world has nothing left for you. Turn away."
There was an intense heat, of hatred and flames and evil. And amidst the inferno, an outstanding figure stood - someone he knew all-too-well. The moon-kissed tresses were immaculate against the red and yellow and orange dancing, but the emerald eyes were tainted. Tainted beyond this world. Beyond forgiveness.
"Abandon all hope. Love is only ephemeral."
The three of them were there. Their blades clashing, singing the song of metal and swords clashing, boots heavy and quick against the ground, body and mind one entity - the song only the three of them could sing to the world. Friendly spars that were huge slices of their paradise. The adrenaline rushing through his veins, spreading like wildfire. Pride and impatience got the better of him, and the unwanted voice invading him. A reflection?
With a backfire, the world ended for him. Everything turned upside-down. His left shoulder burned. Burned.
What was wrong was now right. What was right was now unacceptable.
Genesis somehow managed to jerk awake. Never had been a nightmare so real, so terrifying. He had never been terrified in his life - this terrified. Genesis was almost never capable of feeling the emotion they call "terror". The images were too vivid, too unforgettable. As if in queue, his fingers thrust themselves to feel his left shoulder, the normality unacceptable. They dug deeper into the flesh, the mako and alien in his system pushing his fingers even more deeper to leave bruises.
The redhead swore he could still feel the burn. He swore he felt the pain. He swore he felt the hatred, the anger. The confusion. But his shoulder was unscathed, good as new.
"It wasn't just a dream," the words began slipping out of his mouth rapidly, uncontrollable, as if it was the second-in-queue. "It wasn't just a dream. IT WASN'T JUST A DREAM!" With the scream, there was a jolt, a jolt that snapped him back to reality. Urgent gasps and spasming took its place. The redhead felt trapped, felt caged, as if there was no air to breathe. The room was hotter than a forge, and the comforting darkness was now a silent inferno slowly dragging him into insanity if he didn't do anything.
He felt wrong, so upside-down. And gaia, was he shaking? He never shook. Crimson Commander, SOLDIER 1st-Class Genesis Rhapsodos never trembled.
Forcing his body to get up, he felt and saw his bare feet wobbling against the carpeted floor. There was no coldness in the friction, but his feet felt like ice. Still unable to brush the feelings off, he headed to the bathroom, or forced himself to.
Blade-sharp sapphire eyes, dangerous as a tempest. Pale, unblemished skin. Cinnamon hair styled to perfection.
A flawless reflection. A sculpted beauty. The redhead blinked his eyes. His reflection emulated him, and Genesis could see the invisible, mocking smile in the mirror.
He splashed cold water on his face. Nothing changed. Unsatisfied, he splashed it on the bathroom mirror, careless. Genesis was a person who cared about and for nothing, but tonight was different. For eternal minutes his troubled breathing was booming in the still silence. Then when he felt calm enough, an inhumane figure took his reflection's place in the mirror, as if it was the third-in-queue. He turned around quickly, but he found nothing and no one around him.
A dark-crimson monstrosity.
Twisted beyond humanity.
But looking deep through the ugliness, he swore he saw himself.
He lunged the glass he used for brushing his teeth against the mirror, tainted with a superhuman sight. Shards of glass were flying everywhere. Some prickled their way into his creamy skin, leaving red dots on his flawless skin. Some fell to the sink. Genesis' eyes were wide with uncharacteristic fear and confusion, his pale body trembling once again. After eternities of the now-unnerving breath-in breath-out, he shot the most ferocious look he could muster at the mirror. It was shattered, no more trace of any crimson. The redhead swore. And swore again when he realized he was doing it out of fear. Nothing could ever scare Crimson Commander, SOLDIER 1st-Class Genesis Rhapsodos.
The redhead felt transparent, fleeting. As if he was a dream. As if he had no place here.
Walking out of the damaged bathroom, he dialed the room service, politely requesting for a mirror repair the next morning. He settled with standing in front of the bedroom window, refusing the urge to open it because of the polluted metropolitan air. Images of his clean, heavenly hometown flashed into his brain, and longing grew. He momentarily pushed away the memory of paradise. SOLDIER was his life, his duty, his calling. There would be a time for vacation later.
"The world has nothing left for you. Turn away"
A scream tore out of the redhead's lips. It was the same ear-splitting voice from the dream.
I swear it was.
He covered his ears, wondering how the dream suddenly jumped into the reality. It seemed to come from deep inside him, but it wasn't his own voice. It wasn't even something subconscious. It was foreign.
An inhumane surge of energy flooded his whole being. Mind, body, soul. It was unwanted as much as the voice was. The redhead felt every single nerve, muscle, and bone flare up, trying to fight it. As if it had something to take, something to subjugate.
"Listen to me, my faithful puppet"
A cosmic yell from his subconscious tore out from nowhere and everywhere.
The redhead's clammy hands began flailing for something, anything, to hold on to, and to distract himself. They landed on the adjacent chair's cool handrest, but Genesis felt his grip on it loosen each passing second. His consciousness was slipping into the darkness already. A surge of inhumane feeling coupled with a deafening ring left him knocked out.
The familiar ring of Genesis' private phone expected five days a week at this time rang him to consciousness. Fellow 1st-class and irreplaceable childhood friend, Angeal Hewley's voice through his phone. The unwelcoming sting of dawn chill that always made him resist the urge to crawl back to bed. As they were meant to everyday, the images and feelings piece themselves together, and this is how Genesis knows it's morning, and the long, rough, but unpredictable day would have to begin.
6:00 a.m was the time the 1st classes would have to wake up, even though no one liked it, and even though there weren't many 1sts in SOLDIER. Genesis just happened to hate it more than everyone in SOLDIER put together. As all the bones in his body settled into place, the aches in many corners registered. The redhead noted to himself that he spent nearly half a night sleeping on the cold carpeted floor. In a quite uncomfortable position. Several unpleasant headrushes attacked him, and his back and legs felt even more sore.
How he hated mornings. Mornings were cursed.
Thinking it would be a good idea to stretch, he proceeded to do so and unwillingly rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. The colors and shapes that made up his hotel-apartment came out clearer.
But something felt wrong. Something felt different. He ignored the feeling for now, and was in desperate need to wash his face. Still groggy, a prick on his foot surprised him mildly when he reached the bathroom. Painful and anxious memories from last night's nightmare flooded to him, fast and powerful as an ocean wave.
Was it a nightmare..or was it real?
His sapphire eyes were locked on the sight of the ruined bathroom. Ruined, quite awfully. There were glass shards everywhere, the bathroom mirror could no longer be called a mirror. The hair and facial care products near the sink were a sorry mess, and even the shower curtain was torn, as if it was clawed by a wild beast. Genesis wondered how a hurricane could have made its way into his precious, dear bathroom.
If anxiety, anger, hatred, helplessness, and fear could all be felt at the same time, Genesis was sure he was feeling it right now. He scratched his head, trying to ignore the strange feeling for...forever.
A ring of the doorbell. As if in reflex, the redhead's hands automatically reach up to fix his hair into normality. After a clear of his throat, Genesis tightened his bathrobe ribbon and opened his apartment door.
"G-good morning, Genesis, umm, s-sir," a young, frightened hotel boy looked up to him, trembling as he gripped the cleaning-tool wagon (as Genesis called it), his eyes clearly stating the fact that Genesis was a person who scared him. The redhead's brain was unbelievably slow on mornings, and this fact was written on the crotchety face. He remained standing there, the door in front of him ajar, not knowing exactly what was this about, or what he should do.
After what seemed like too long, the hotel boy squeaked out, "You requested for-for m-mirror repair th-thi-this m-midnight...s-sir..," The last word was more of a terrified scream, as if he was expecting the redhead to eat him alive. If it wasn't morning, the redhead would have rewarded him with an amused-sadistic smirk.
His fingers crossed and pressed at the keys skillfully, the beeps and pressure creating the message that showed on the small phone screen. It read,
"'geal, Seph, I'm running at least an hour late. Bathroom mirror repair."
The redhead needed to be dressed in his uniform...or gear, as he liked to call it, now, but he valued privacy. Dressing was an important process, and there was no privacy in his hotel-apartment now. He sat on his armchair and turned the pages of LOVELESS, the words imprinted on the paper sentences already melted into his brain. It was an ancient epic, a classic play that always sold out in every single theater and cinema here in Midgar. A magnificent tragedy of three friends - a hero, a wanderer, and a prisoner - how they lost each other, how they lost themselves.
Genesis, at age ten, shyly gripped the doorframe of his father's study, his eyes darting everywhere, trying to memorize everything in the room. Oaken furniture, chandeliers illuminated with warm, orange light, dusty bookshelves. An open book atop the expensive, crafted oakwood table, was the most attractive object. It was yelling at him, asking him to read it, to touch its pages and be lost in the words.
"You will fall to the abyss, when you search for Her gift, you set to a hopeless journey," the words slip out of the child's mouth as he read aloud from the pages, the ends and corners of the paper smelling ancient, the book's leather cover smooth against his palms.
"What nonsense is this..?!" Genesis asked himself in a mocking tone, a derisive sneer at his face, still round with youth and innocence. Not wanting to entertain the rising feeling within him, he threw the leather book to the floor, furiously.
Genesis' fingers gingerly ghosted all over his leather-clad form, trying to find a fault, or trying to imagine any faults in the pool of black straps, belts, and fabric just to have an excuse to admire his battle-honed physique. Angeal and Sephiroth would always advise him to forget about the decorations - replace them with something more...practical. A vain person, of course the redhead would always brush them off. True; elegance was not essential in battle, in the heat, amidst the blood and dirt and grime. But looking good was one of the few things that made him feel more alive, in the monotonous strings of battles, missions, paperwork, errands, and bloodshed that was their life. Their world.
Black leather chair, spotless black porcelain desk, deceiving books that have absolutely no connection with the redhead or his interests, lined the metal bookshelves. The walls were painted with a cross between obsidian and a very heavy purple. Genesis added a heavier accent to every footfall as he made his way to his office desk - oh, how he loved to hear the fact that the floor tiles were glass. His signature smirk washed the angelic serenity from his face, gloved fingers fiddling with his silver-black raindrop earrings. The moment he sat on his desk, the laptop singing its routine "good morning, let's get to boring paper work" with a beep, Genesis patiently tackled with the daily portion of fatigue and stress and and boredom and monotony. Being a 1st-class SOLDIER meant having to be buried in paperwork, too. An exasperated sigh slipped out of his lips as another secretary brought in more paperwork. To amuse himself amidst the boredom and uninteresting readings, Genesis measured the day by counting how many secretaries have come into his office. He longed for a phone call from the President, assigning him to a mission or a patrol - anything to escape all this. A call from Angeal or Sephiroth would be better, he wistfully added to himself.
"So...'geal...how did it go with the coach?" Genesis asked, pretending to sound as if he cared, when truth be told, he was more interested in the apple-cinnamon-strawberry cocktail he was slurping on. He did care about anything that involved his childhood friend - his brother - but if it was a story tangled with Shinra or SOLDIER, he could do with one less of those repetitive military reports or whatever.
Angeal, sitting opposite him and Sephiroth in the 1st-class cafeteria, let out a low hum. "I was the one chosen for the apprenticeship program." The obsidian-haired man's news and words were drowned out by his own musings. Being with his best friends, the only best friends he had in this whole boring world, was more than he could ever ask for. They were friends he would throw away his life for, people he trusted to have his back, to always be there for him, with his life. Their friendship, their bond, carved an ideal, infallible covenant between the three of them. Carved with blood, sweat, tears - tested through the cornucopia of battles, missions, enemy interrogations - every single kind of test.
Sephiroth, head general of SOLDIER, also sat beside them, there and not there at the same time. His presence was both fleeting, as if a whisper would blow him away - and immortal, like a skin no one could ever get rid of.
"And...here's the big thing," Angeal raised his voice to catch the redhead's attention. Looking up, Genesis locked his eyes to his childhood friend's face. Sephiroth also seemed to be paying attention now.
"Zack Fair - a 3rd-class prodigy," Angeal let out after a deep breath, as if he was preparing them for the "big thing", "is going to be my apprentice from now on."
The news hit Genesis like a thunderbolt. He didn't exactly know what the uncomfortable feeling rising within him was, and didn't want to entertain it, either. Was it...jealousy? Pain? Fear? His sapphire eyes hardened, focused on the table instead, trying to get some distraction out of his own finger-tapping. Sephiroth seemed to be taking the news easily - but Sephiroth was a poker-face. Still struggling to fight off the uncomfortable feelings, he shifted his gaze to Angeal's rain-blue eyes, hoping they would just slide away and leave him alone.
"I'm already assuming your schedule has been turned upside-down," Sephiroth commented before pristinely, noiselessly wiping his ravioli-stained lips with a napkin. "Mentorship is not...an easy task."
A slow smile softened Angeal's face, eased the creases on his forehead. "It shouldn't be. But Zack - he is something else."
The feelings swelled until the redhead felt his chest tighten. Genesis forced himself to rise, the strained effort resulting in an unceremonious squeak of the chair. "Ange, Seph, I gotta go," he said, beats too fast and much too nervously. As he stormed out of the quiet cafeteria, Angeal came into his mind - everything about the man and friend he'd known since..forever. His shoulder-length obsidian locks. His clear, vivid rain-blue eyes, that always spread out and radiated a sense of security for Genesis. Angeal's muscular figure, the steel-like defense of his body. The stability. The protection, despite the fact that Genesis was the eldest of the three. Honor. Angeal.
Jealousy. It was jealousy.
Angeal..will be taken away from me, a thought presented itself to Genesis, both subconscious and sure.
Genesis walked down the corridors like a possessed man, earning frightened and alarmed reactions from the cadets, fellow soldiers, and staff he passed by. Genesis, calm down! - he tried to tell himself. Angeal's just going to have an apprentice. It's not the end of the world. Sweat broke out in his pale forehead, subtly glazing the cinnamon locks that spilled on it. His mind recoiled to that moment, those cursed words that came from Angeal's lips. Zack Fair is going to be my apprentice. The redhead clenched a fist, harder and harder as he couldn't control the feeling within him anymore. A grunt uncharacteristically managed to escape his lips. Frustrated, Genesis quickened his pace, practically stomping now. He tried to burn away the clench in his throat and the tightening of his chest with a good walk...
"Am I due?" he asked himself, stopping short.
As if answering his question, his cellphone beeped.
Dr. Hollander's voice came, as if exasperated, as if he was conveying a message repeated much too often. "Genesis," he said with a sigh so tired, "You've forgotten again. I'm waiting for you in the lab."
Genesis shut his cellphone, heading to the science building. The place he hated the most.
Grey. Aluminum, cement. Wires, tapes, tubes, glaring lights, hospital beds, computers. Brains-on-a-stick, and more abominations, all in perfect attendance, greeted him glumly. Something was either too drab or too psychedelic. But compared to Hojo's lab, which was a hellhole no one dared to speak of, Hollander's was merciful...much more humane. Like the scientist who owned it.
Hollander was a warm and considerate scientist, sensitive to everything anyone felt. As much as the redhead hated to admit the fact, Hollander was like a second father to him and Angeal. Spirited and smooth, the man never stopped reminding him of a fireplace - open and there for comfort. The sore feelings and ends Genesis could never bring up to his own father, Hollander understood it all, flawlessly. Whether it was an unusual pain or an ache that wouldn't go away, Hollander was there. Maybe it was the same with Angeal. The both of them knew Hollander since they were children. Every single week, he would come from the city to check on them both, as if they were special, as if they were something different. And when they left Banora to join SOLDIER, fourteen and full of dreams, Hollander was still assigned to them.
"You can't keep forgetting, Genesis," the tired voice calls out, breaking the lab's unnerving silence along with footsteps. "It will be bad for your health."
Everything passes like last time, and the time before that. Genesis didn't even need to crack his eyes open or to rely on a sensation to know every single step. The scientist makes him sit on a bed, rolling up his leather-clad sleeve, injecting the disgusting green substance into his system. The same pungent substance that makes him stronger, faster, less human. The substance that makes him 1st-Class SOLDIER, Crimson Commander Genesis Rhapsodos. A killing machine. For Shinra. For SOLDIER.
The price? Fever. Mood swings. Emotional instability. Nausea. Sometimes all of them put together. Being 1st-Class meant having the most mako in your bloodstream. In exchange for power, every week, they had to do this, and they had to deal with the cursed side-effects for at least three days after every injection. Genesis always took it the worst. It was during a vomiting spree or a painfully white-hot fever when he realized how lucky he was to have Angeal and Sephiroth. When he realized how much he really needed them both.
The feelings weren't buried yet. Genesis observed the repaired bathroom mirror, LOVELESS in hand.
From the heart's water surface
A hopeless wander will flow
Like ripples to waves
Come forth the dreams below.
The feelings? He didn't want to feel them. He wanted nothing to do with them. Why did he feel this way? He had no right to. Angeal had his own life. Angeal has his own dreams, his own happiness, no matter how much the three of them shared everything. Genesis wasn't a fool. Today's overdue mako appointment had nothing to do with all this. He couldn't stop it. He could control nothing today.
Genesis looked up to the mirror, pristine and perfect, no traces of yesterday's incident. He saw his eyebrow quirk up. Did today have something to do about yesterday's...adventure?
Zack Fair, 3rd-Class, Genesis read from the folder, furious and impatient. His eyes ran through every single letter, absorbed every single word, trying to find out...something. Trying to pick out the secret. The riddle. Hometown: Gongaga. 15 years old. Exceeds training standards in all subjects. Broke every sparring instructor's sword. Transferred to advance class thrice. Apprentice to Angeal Hewley, effective 14/7/0000.
Genesis rubbed his eyes after seven minutes of reading. Almost forgetting, he pulled out the attached pictures from the folder, and there's nothing he could do but drop the folder, papers and pictures and all, to the floor.
Wayward, unruly black hair, a fine obsidian, unbelievably spiky.
Eyes as cool and deep as the sea and blue sky.
An ear-splitting grin.
An aura and spirit that was a rarity, a jewel in this drab world.
So this was Zack Fair. The boy from his nightmare.