Towards the end of Crisis Core. Genesis /Zack. What if they end up helping each other?
I hated leaving Genesis behind. I wasn’t too keen on leaving him in the middle of a ruined village with nothing more than a chair to prop him up. He really was a sitting duck, but I really didn’t have any other choice. I carried Cloud halfway around the world and couldn’t carry another person. Still, I felt my heart drop with each step. I told myself that Genesis would be fine. I still swam in the rush of fighting him. I knew that even if my brain fell out of my head, I would never forget the intensity, the battle of wills and skills. For a while, I didn’t think I’d win, but I had to. I worked too hard to lose to him, and Cloud needed me.
The best victories are the most difficult to gain. I remember Angeal saying something like that, and he’s another person that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. He was my mentor and Genesis’ best friend. I sighed, tempted to turn back and try to wake Genesis because I knew Angeal would have done that, but I’m not Angeal, and before all this, I kept my distance from Genesis for a reason. He could take care of himself. He got what he wanted, so I decided to keep walking. If we’re meant to meet again, then we would.
I paused. That sounded like Genesis, but wasn’t he unconscious? Cloud felt a little heavier, but I stayed right where I was. I heard my name being called again, so I turned around, and there he was with one arm around the chair, trying to stand.
“Genesis . . . ” I headed toward him. I knew how he was, I knew what he did, I knew what he was capable of, but I also knew that he was SOLDIER, like me, and no matter what happened, I knew that he wasn’t a bad person. No way was I going to leave him behind now. The Angeal clones had already vanished into the Lifestream and I saw the wind paste Aerith’s letter onto the front of the chair.
“Let me help you,” He whispered, gazing at me with those sharp blue eyes that used to scare the shit out of me. For once, he didn’t look perpetually pissed off. “It’s the least I could do to make amends for what I’ve done. Angeal would have wanted it this way.”
As soon as he mentioned Angeal, I nodded. “Yup. Just that you’re still hurting. Are you sure you can move much?”
“I’ll be fine.” Genesis said. He tried to get up again, but he groaned. I grabbed an X potion from my belt and handed it to him.
“Here, take this. It’s the last one I’ve got, but you should have it if you’re going to help me.”
“Thanks.” He drank it as soon as he grabbed it. He tossed the bottle, then looked around before looking at me. “I know you’re not going to like hearing this, but we’ll have to go back through the caves.” He chuckled when I whined because I sounded just like the Puppy Angeal loved calling me. I liked how he sounded. “I know you look forward to it the way one looks forward to illness, but we’re wide open here, and I doubt that Shinra will just go away.” Before I could even blink, Genesis headed toward the entrance. “Don’t worry. There are other exits. I know the way.”
I wasn’t surprised he knew the caves the back of his red gloved hands, but I dreaded going back to the very place I dealt with him and who knew how many monsters there. I knew I could handle them, but this time I had Cloud with me, and my shoulders ached. Hell, I ached. For about a second, I was sorry I gave Genesis the potion, but then I remembered I could always get more somehow. My phone didn’t work anymore, but those were caves were vast, and I didn’t exactly have the time to look everywhere. Everything would be okay. I tend to think that when things go wrong. Hasn’t failed me yet.
I looked around at the ruined, burnt houses, and scorched ground. I saw little more than green, green, and more green. Oh, and dumbapples. Genesis, well, didn’t. He just walked onward, biting his bottom lip, never looking at anything but his destination. I honestly couldn’t blame him. Once back in the cave entrance, I looked toward the desk where I spent some time reading a magazine about the apple juice that Genesis himself invented.
“If you want to rest a bit, we can,” he said, his black boots echoing against the stone floor. “But, we don’t have too much time, so let’s be careful, okay?”
“Sure,” I sat Cloud down on the only chair in the entrance. He still slept, and I didn’t know if he could hear anything or not. I hoped he could because as far as I was concerned, that would lead to waking up. I’d carry him all over the world, but I wanted him up and strong, like me. I spotted a treasure chest right across from me, and couldn’t believe my luck both good and bad. I headed to it, sensing Genesis behind me, and listening to his black and red leather coat creak a little as he leaned on the desk. He opened one of the drawers and muttered something about “keys, keys, keys.” I turned around. “Goddess keys?”
“No.” Genesis twirled a keyring around his gloved fingers. He grinned. “Vehicle keys.”
My jaw about dropped. “Really? Where did you get them?”
“A little while ago, some people decided to get a little too curious, and,” Genesis’s auburn hair fell to the side of his face, “they got themselves killed.”
“Oh,” I looked down at the treasure chest. “Why would anyone who isn’t SOLIDER or a Turk come down here?”
“Because they’re stupid.” He put the keys in an inside pocket before locking his piercing eyes on me. “So, where do you plan on going?”
Genesis sucked in his breath. “What?” He stood up straight looking like I just tore apart his favorite poetry book. “You’re kidding me, right?”
I didn’t color myself surprised at his reaction. I just shrugged. “No.”
He took a step toward me. “Do you walk into the belly of a hungry beast?” I just looked at him, not budging to his hand waving drama he was well known for. “Do you walk down a dark alley wearing money? Do you go through the valley of evil fearing nothing because you’re eighty-thousand feet and climbing?” He clenched his fists. “Do you intend to sign your own death warrant?”
“I’m going,” I stated. Simple as it got.
Genesis glared at me. “It’s only the Shinra capital of the world! How could you even think of going there?” He shook his head. “No way, Zack! Think of somewhere else to go, but not there. You will die there!”
I glared right back at him. Yea, I knew how he was, and I knew how Angeal dealt with him, but I wasn’t calm. Genesis got under my skin all too easily. I raised my voice. “It’s the last place they’d look! Think about it!”
“Genesis! There is nowhere else I could go! If I could easily die there, then they’d simply think I’d go somewhere else, so they won’t think to look there!” I wasn’t going to let him stop me, so I didn’t. “Besides, I have friends there. They can help me!” I smiled. “Everything will be okay. I don’t plan on dying anytime soon. I know what I’m doing.”
Genesis lowered his eyes. “Friends . . . I see . . . ”
“Shinra is all over the world, but when I get into Midgar, we’ll be safe. I know it.”
“Fine.” He had a pained look on his face, but he backed down, for once. “But, I seem to recall you telling me that I’d better stay alive.” He narrowed his eyes. “You’d better follow your own advice, Zack.”
“I will. I promise.”
Genesis leaned back against the desk. “Okay.” He relaxed a bit, and whatever tension filled the air simply went away. “My apologies.”
I shrugged. “Don’t worry about it. I don’t blame you. So, how long would it take to get there?”
“At least two days,” Genesis smirked, “and I drive like a demon.”
“Why am I not surprised?” I laughed a bit, not bothering to ask about him flying us there. One wing plus two people equaled NO in my book. I finally opened the treasure chest. There weren’t any potions, but I found some dried apple snacks and a black bottle marked with ‘Banora XXX Cider ’. I picked up the bottle and looked at a wide-eyed Genesis. “Oh . . . ”
He raised his thin eyebrows. “That’s a find and three quarters.”
“Yea,” I whispered. “If it didn’t kill you, it was brilliant.”
Genesis tilted his head. “I beg your pardon?” I knew he heard me, but I also knew that he knew who said it first.
“Angeal would say it about this cider.”
“Yes, he would.” Genesis nodded. “Highly alcoholic. It is poison, delightful poison.” He spread his hands out for every word he said. “You take one sip of that, and you’ll die without dying. It’s glorious.”
I opened the bottle and took a swig. I damned near fainted from mix of strong wine, spices, and, of course, Banora Whites. “Geez, that’s no lie.”
“It’s only the best in the world.” Genesis held out his hand, my cue to pass the bottle, so I walked over to him and did.
I looked at the pictures plastered on the wall. Everyone looked happy, like they just won a contest, then I remembered that at least one of them did. “Did you mean for me to see all this?” I asked, gazing at a very young farmer who stood in the middle of a cluster of people. I noticed that he looked like a younger version of Genesis, only his hair was longer and was wearing a hat. I thought he looked cute.
“Yes, I did,” he said after downing a bit of the cider.
I turned to him. I couldn’t help but smile. “You were a farmer?”
Genesis nodded, also smiling, but he looked away a little bit. “For a couple of years.”
“Awww, that’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
“I’m not.” Genesis scanned the pictures. “I didn’t mind doing it, but it wasn’t for me.” He took another gulp of the cider. “One advantage of living in the countryside is that you learn about yourself.” I got that immediately, but I didn’t interrupt him. “You learn what you can and can’t do, and what you should and shouldn’t be doing. In fact, sometimes you have to actually walk down a path a little before you realize that it isn’t the right one.” He put the bottle back on the desk. “To succeed in farming, you have to have a certain sensitivity to the earth, the weather, and even to time itself.” Genesis shrugged. “I found that my sensitivity was best suited to the written word and the sword.”
“A warrior poet.”
“Exactly.” He passed the bottle to me, and I moved back to the treasure chest. For someone full of rage just a while ago, he proved to be pleasant company so far. I opened some of the snack bags and gobbled on the dried apples. Genesis kept talking. “Angeal, on the other hand, could grow a tree in the middle of a desert. He had that kind of patience. Me? If I want something done, I want it done last year, and if it isn’t? Then, I go back in time to make sure that it is. He grew most of the plants he owned. You had to have seen them.”
I laughed. “Yea, he had so many plants in his room. I mean, sheesh! If I wanted to live in a jungle full of plants and bugs I’d go back to Gongaga!”
“Oh!” Genesis rolled his eyes. He cracked up just like I did. “The goddamned bugs! I hated them in Banora and you can bet I hated them in Midgar! I mean, I don’t mind the wonders of nature, but I tend to believe that some things belong here,” he pointed in one direction, “and other things belong here,” he pointed in another. “Do you see what I’m saying?”
I got him easily. Plants belong outside, Angeal. “Yup.”
“I just figure that when I’m in the city, I expect to see nothing more than elegant machinery.” Genesis swept out his arm like he was ready to take a bow. “Don’t get me wrong, I won’t kill anyone over a few trees, but, eh, lose the bugs. How much is too much, you know? But Angeal . . . ” He shook his head.
“Yea, no kidding, but I didn’t dare say anything to him about it.”
Genesis pointed at himself. “I had no such fear, but did he listen?” We both yelled, “NO!” at the same time, and we laughed together once again. I found myself wishing that I didn’t keep my distance from him before all this happened. I took another drink of the cider and devoured the dried apples. Genesis hopped on the desk, crossing one leg over the other. “Getting Angeal to do anything he didn’t want to do was like pulling teeth with a toothpick. I might as well have been a dentist. He was wrought out of iron, I swear.” He pushed himself forward. I could see his eyes gleaming. “Let me tell you something, Zack, there is nothing worse than sitting on top of someone writhing in ecstasy, coming,” he shut his eyes, “yes! Yes! Yes! YEACHGH!” He spat on the ground, his blue eyes flashing with a mocking glare. “Needless to say, I was angry.”
I knew they were friends, but I never thought of how close they really were. I realized that it might have been part of the reason why Genesis acted the way he did toward me, but I didn’t ask. “Yea, I bet you were. He did get rid of the bugs eventually though.”
“That he did, and believe it or not, it wasn’t just to shut me up, it was because he didn’t like the idea of bugs invading my mouth. Still, he always did as he pleased.” Genesis grinned, but I somehow knew his heart ached. “We were different and very much alike. We mixed quite well.”
I finished the last of the snacks and held the bottle close to me. “You must have really liked him.”
Genesis sighed. “That’s putting it mildly, Zack.” His eyes almost stared through me. He looked stunningly sad. “I loved him very much.” His voice dropped to a near whisper. “Very much.”
I liked the way he said it. No poetry, no running of his mouth, and no drama. Just the facts, but I felt a lump in my throat. I took a long drink from the bottle before letting it drop back into the chest. I knew Angeal wouldn’t have approved because he hated waste, especially of such fine alcohol, but I felt tears in my eyes, and I was trying damned hard to suck it up. Genesis must have sensed it because he walked toward me, and before I could do anything, wrapped his arms around me. I almost choked trying to hold back crying.
“Zack . . . ” He whispered in my ear. I could smell the leather, and it smelt new as if the degradation never happened. I could feel his dangling silver earring slide against my cheek while his gloved hands caressed my back and my hair. I could just feel him--period. He felt warm. “I wish I had his strength.” His voice broke. He was trying to suck it up too. We both failed. “Maybe . . . things . . . would have been . . . different.” We held each other at arms’ length, both of us gasping through tears. “I have many sins to atone for and it’ll be a long, hard path, but I’ll do it. A true hero would do it. Angeal . . . ” Genesis put his hands over his mouth. “He would . . . ” I couldn’t say anything, but I didn’t have to because Genesis stood beside Cloud and stroked the kid’s blond hair. “Awww . . . is he yours?”
Mine? I finally managed to dry my eyes. “Yea, he’s a good friend of mine.”
Genesis smiled through his remaining tears. “A puppy of your own?”
“You can say that.”
“Whatever you do, don’t abandon him. Don’t even let him think that you would.”
“I don’t intend to,” I answered. I looked at the entrance and Genesis followed my gaze.
“You’re right,” he said, “we should get going. Angeal would have been gone a long time ago.”
“Heh. True.” I slung Cloud over my shoulder, careful not to slice him with my Buster Sword.
“Oh, and before we go any further,” Genesis leaned toward me with a mischievous look. “If you tell anyone about any of this, I’ll kill you.”
“Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me,” I answered without even flinching. We stared into each other’s eyes until we both realized that this was no time for a staring contest, especially when we both heard a helicopter outside.