FALSE ADVERTISING

07-03-04

WARNING! This story is rated R for a reason. There is very strong profanity (This IS about Cid Highwind here...)lewd talk, and will eventually become YAOI (gay romance) with the likely lemon. (lemons are yummy) If you don't like any of this, run away screaming. Usually, I'd say that everyone is entitled to their opinions, but I feel strongly about this, as it came as complete inspiration, and flames will be either completely ignored or completely roasted. That said, have a nice day! =)

Oh, yeah. I'm supposed to throw out these disclaimers that I don't own anything to do with FFVII. There, that said.... Onto the main event. Read and Review, PLEASE!

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EDIT: 2/25/2010 I'm going to be doing some minor revisions to this fic. Editing, mostly, and re-formatting. The difference in my writing skills between now and when I finished this six years ago have changed enough that honor demands I fix all the little errors. XD The full content of the story will not change: if you've read the fic before, you still shouldn't notice any differences, unless you've gone and memorized the damned thing (I really hope none of you have...) ~MRE

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Chapter 1

To dig thine own grave…

Cid lit another cigarette, laughing with his friends. The bar was smoky and hazy in the dark, but none of the men cared. It was well past ten, and he and some of his old buddies from when the Rocket had been built were celebrating the restoration of the Tiny Bronco. Cid loved the Highwind, it was his pride and joy, but the littler one-man plane was his baby. His soul. He'd just taken it up for the first time since before Cloud and his friends had crashed it three years ago. Now he drank, heavily, to its rebirth with his friends. They had the entire front of the bar to themselves, and they were noisy and raucous, drinking and smoking, and cracking bad jokes and swapping manly stories. The man nearest to Cid turned smiling broadly to Cid.

"So whatcha gunna do now, Highwind?" He said, words starting to slur just a little. Cid shrugged.

"Fuck, I dunno! Go for a nice long flight, I suppose!" Honestly, the thought delighted him. The man, Randy, frowned a little.

"I mean with yer life, ya shithead!" He laughed, and Cid inwardly winced a little. "When're ya gunna get yerself a woman?!" Cid choked on his beer, then downed it and quickly ordered something else a little harder.

"...Whadda mean?" He said slowly. Randy laughed. By now, there were others listening.

"Fuck Cid! I swear, sometimes I even wonder if yer interested in women!"

Cid coughed violently. He suddenly wasn't having very much fun anymore. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck FUCK! Was all his brain could supply to him for help. He scrambled for the best response.

"Fuckin' bullshit!" Well, it was a good start, anyway… "Didn'ja know?!" He went on, formulating a plan. "Shera 'n I been 'tagether fer fuckin' months!" Cid blurted out. Inside him, his pounding heart stilled a little, but his brain was still filling in the blanks. Fuck fuck fuck! Cid, man, what the HELL are you digging yourself into?! He knew he was a crappy liar, but hoped that the others were just a little too drunk to notice. A silence fell through the group of celebrating men, and then they all cheered as one.

"Bout time, Cid!"

"Knew you two'd end up together!"

"Why th' hell din' you tell us, Cid?!" Cid was receiving toasts and hearty claps on the back. He stared down at his brandy, then downed it in one gulp and ordered more.

"Damn…Shera… That woman's got ass…"

"Yeah! Heh!"

"Cid, you lucky bastard!" Cid didn't need to provide any more to the others, they seemed to have everything figured out just fine. It was all wrong, but it was just fine. Cid plastered on his rare but handy fake smile and sat through the cheering until midnight. Drunk as hell and feeling a tad shit-faced, Cid stumbled out of the bar with a few of his friends supporting him, and managed to get them to drag him back to his home across town. It was a short walk. Rocket Town had stayed small after its namesake had been destroyed in an attempt to stop Meteor. It was no longer an attraction, but just a small, simple town filled with mechanics, engineers and their families.

Cid stumbled up to the door of his estate, tried the door, discovered it was locked, and knocked with a curse. The door opened, and Shera stood in the golden light of the house, staring down at Cid, face looking barely surprised at his state. He stumbled inside, or began to, but outside in the yard, near the freshly painted Tiny Bronco stoodRandy and a load of drunken men started cheering loudly. Lights turned on in nearby houses, and a dog started barking further out in the neighborhood.

"Have fun with 'da lady ta'night, Cid ya beast!"

"Be good to 'em, Sher!" Cid groaned. Shera frowned darkly, then quickly plastered on her own cheerful face. She was quite used to drunks, and she'd learned that if she was nice, they were usually easier to deal with.

"Okay, Boys." She caroled. "You all go home now, its getting late!" She waved to them and they all waved back in unison, smiling stupidly up at her, and she dragged Cid inside, and threw the door shut with a bang, locking it. Cid was in a heap on the floor, looking green. "Cid, what was that all about?" She asked sternly. Cid muttered something incoherent. She toed him with her slipper angrily. "Cid, speak up! What's going on?" She demanded. Cid rubbed his eyes groggily.

"Shat da fuck up woman and leave me the hell alone!" He spat, and staggered to his feet, yanking on her arm to heave himself up without even realizing he was doing it. Standing upright, he got a little greener and rushed into the bathroom.

He came out ten minutes later looking gray but feeling a little better. Cid drank heavily, often, but he had a strong composition and wasn't usually this bad off. It took a lot of alcohol to put him so thoroughly under the table. He groaned, flopping onto the couch in the living room and stretching out. He still felt a little dizzy, and couldn't see very well. He found one of the couch cushions and crushed the cool pillow over his face.

"Shit…" He muttered. Shera was going to kill him. He knew she was pissed, uncharacteristically so, which meant that she'd probably figured out what he'd done by what his buddies had been yelling. Shit. What the hell am I going to do? True, he lived with Shera. She virtually took care of him. He was a horrible cook, a slob, and often forgetful, and/or very drunk. He'd been happy for a while after the defeat of Sephiroth, and his recent flight into space. However, after coming home he felt himself empty without any more dreams to cling to, and had fallen into an even worse slump, hiding his boredom behind alcohol and nicotine. It seemed like half his life he was either drunk or slept through. He didn't need work: He'd been given such a huge reward for his help in saving the world that he would never need to work for another penny the rest of his life. So he sat at home, loyal Shera helping him stay alive. In return, he let her live in his home, eat under his food bill, and do whatever she damn well pleased. Still, he had no relationship with her whatsoever, and more often than not, the only time they spoke was to either exchange orders or get in yelling contests. (Which, he had to admit, she had a knack for giving him a run for his money.) He did not love Shera, nor did she love him. He was certain of that, because of two things: He'd outright asked her, because he couldn't understand why she stayed to help him, and she'd answered honestly, telling him he was like a pathetic little brother she felt like she needed to care for. Besides, he'd saved her life once and she said she owed him for that. The second reason he was so certain there was nothing between them was simple, clear, terrifically embarrassing for Cid. He'd never fancied women to start with.

No one knew this. Nobody. Not his parents who were long deceased now, not his closest friends, not anyone from AVALANCE or any of his crew from the Rocket. He had the sinking feeling that Shera suspected it though. Still, it was a closely guarded secret of Cid's. He was terrified of himself, scared to know what the guys would think of him if they knew every now and then he caught himself staring at all the wrong people; if they knew that his first dreams were that of his best friend in high school… So, he did everything he could to make sure no one knew. He cussed and smoked and had that Bikini Babe, lewd as it was, painted nice and big onto his namesake, the Highwind. He honestly didn't understand what was so fantastic about that picture himself: He'd had his friends help choose it for that reason, when he was looking for designs. Also, he'd forever remained single. He wouldn't have himself bringing home any boyfriends for the others to see, even if it meant a life of solitude.

Now, that night, he had nearly been cornered: Called out, even though Randy nor any of the others had a clue. They had been teasing him, but he had panicked anyway. He fell asleep mentally cursing himself, twisted and sprawled badly on the couch.

Shera flopped into her cushy bed with a growl. She was sick of staying up late so that she could let a wasted Cid in, only to be cussed at and then have to mop up the results the next morning when he had to nurse a killer hangover. She was almost always mad at him when he came home, and the anger usually faded by morning when he got up looking like he'd been run over by a truck, but this was different. She could tell by the words of his friends, and his reaction, that he'd gone and brewed up some cock-and-bull story about a relationship between them to save his own ass over something, and now she would have to put up with the catcalls and cheers, and playing along with the stupid masquerade. Or did she? Shera started to think on that.

The sun rose high and bright in Rocket Town, and pointed its blinding summer rays right into the living room window, waking Cid bright and early. Cid growled, tried to roll over, and fell off the couch with a resounding thud, and a curse. He rubbed his bleary eyes, and then pressed his palms over his temples. His head was pounding, and he felt weak. He wobbled as he stood and glared at the sunlight that woke him up so early. He wished suddenly that the sun wouldn't rise until well after noon. Grunting and picking up his jacket from the floor, he started towards his own room, muttering. Damn hangovers…Always come back to bite yah in da ass…He thought bitterly. He really should have known better, but actually, he didn't quite feel so awful as usual. Perhaps because he'd puked most of the alcohol back up the night before instead of letting it settle harshly into his system like he normally did. Huh..have tuh remember that… He turned down the hall, barely looking where he was going. Almost there..Almost… He said the last word out loud.

"Shit."

Shera stood before him, blocking his way, arms folded over her chest, a dark look fixed on her face that told him he wasn't getting around her until she got whatever it was she wanted.

"Well, good morning, Sunshine!" She said coldly. Cid grunted humorlessly.

"Like fuck it is." He grumbled.

"Oh, I don't know, honey. You did land yourself a girlfriend, last night, right?" She spat. Cid wavered where he stood, rubbing his face wearily.

"Damnit…" He muttered. "Can we talk about this later?" He said wearily. He started to scoot around her but she swung her arm up, planting her palm firmly against the wall blocking him.

"No, Cid. I want to know what's going on. Now." Cid gave her a hollow stare, but she didn't falter. "Back to the kitchen. Now, Cid. I won't let you go back to bed until we've talked."

Cid looked horrified at her threat, and his face sagged miserably. He started to turn around, muttering hollowly in defeat and shuffled back down the way he came, towards the kitchen. Shera sighed.

"Thank you," She finished. "Look, I'll make you some nice strong tea to help you up a little," She added. The way Cid didn't put up a fight worried her slightly. She followed him into the kitchen, watched him slump into one of the chairs at the little table, and promptly let his head drop to the table with a heavy thud. Shera quickly made him some tea, extra black, and dropped a few sugars into it, handing him the steaming mug. He took it numbly in both hands, and took a long sip. She watched him loosen a little as the hot fluid warmed him up, and soothed the hangover a little. His eyes didn't look so hazy now. She made herself her own cup and sat across from him at the table. "I think its best you start from the beginning." She said, words gentle but stern. Cid glanced around, hoping for a way out, but after a moment of her just staring expectantly at him, he relented.

"I told they guys you and I were an item." He murmured, eyes on the swirling black of his tea. He wouldn't look up. Shera nodded.

"I gathered that, Cid. But why!?" Cid kept his eyes down, but wouldn't answer. "Cid, tell me, damnit!" Shera demanded, raising her voice. Cid winced, anything but a whisper grating on his brain like iron shavings.

"Fuck, Shera, I dunno!" He said mournfully, shaking his head lightly, already patting his front pocket in search of cigarettes. There were none, so he went back to his tea. Shera eyed him.

"Yes you do." She said quietly. Cid looked up, suddenly angry.

"Yeah, fine, I do! But ya know what?! It's none of your fucking business, so leave off it, damnit!" He ran a hand through his hair, stressed. "Look, I'm sorry, it was a stupid thing for me to tell them, alright? I didn't mean nuttin by it!" Shera stared at him evenly, lips drawn in a tight line with her anger. Cid went on. "Would ya mind pretending a while until I get it cleared up?" He added selfishly. Shera's eyes flashed.

"Damnit, Cid! What the hell have you got to hide that's so horrible! And what has it got to do with me?!" She demanded, voice rising again. Cid let out an angry growl, standing.

"Fuck this." He snarled, storming out of the kitchen. "I'm going to bed. Don't you dare try 'n stop me!" He shouted over his shoulder. He stomped back to his room, slammed the door shut, locked it, threw off his clothes, and dove into bed angrily. He lay awake for a while, staring off into space thinking dark and angry thoughts, mixed with the occasional earth-shattering fear, before finally falling asleep wearily.

Cid woke again just after noon feeling much better. Hungry, and far from refreshed, but much better. He'd all but forgotten his fight with Shera for the time being, and went off into the bathroom to shower the rest of the sleep out of his system. Coming out a long half hour later, after the hot water had finally run out, he dressed lazily, managed to find some food leftover in the fridge, ate all of what was there, and strolled out of the house. There he paused, smiling dreamily.

There standing in the bright summer sunshine was his baby, the Tiny Bronco, fresh red paint gleaming with a newfound sparkle. Grinning, he rushed to the other end of the wide yard, pushed open the large gate that divided his property from open, untamed land and hopped into the open cockpit of the little pane. He started her up, gave her engine a rev, and carefully taxied it out of the yard into the open field that served in its earlier days as a short runway. This side of town was devoid of houses or other buildings, now that the Rocket was gone, and the yard opened up beyond their fence into an open meadow, lined with by a forest a few acres off, blue mountains rising into the sky in the distance. Cid heaved a big sigh, marveling at the beauty of the moment. He checked the Tiny Bronco's fuel: the tanks were full and ready. He checked the engine: perfect. Props: perfect. Her flight instruments were on the money. It was as if she was brand new. Cid's chest swelled happily. He gave the engine another rev, and it went rolling, gaining speed rapidly as he slowly pushed the throttle in all the way, the little plane bouncing lightly over the imperfections of the grassy meadow. Finally, with its light roar, it took to the air, gliding swiftly over the field, taking a tight turn to climb out over the forest, and headed back toward the town. Cid grinned to himself, pulling his flight goggles down over his eyes as the wind blew his scarf tight around him. He brought the Tiny Bronco down low, not thirty feet from the ground, and roared right over the center of town. Pedestrians in the streets all cheered and applauded as he passed them, sending leaf litter on the ground swirling up in a cloud of dust behind him. Cid let out an excited whoop, throwing a fist into the air as he pulled up tightly, gaining altitude fast and hard. A mile up, he pulled up even harder so that the plane went vertical for a moment, causing it to stall. Its engine sputtered and whined, and died, and the plane began to fall backwards slowly. No one seemed concerned, though. Cid let out another echoing whoop that traveled from there to the distant blue Nibelheim. mountains to the not so far away ocean and back. The Tiny Bronco rolled fully onto her back, and the engines roared to life again as Cid pulled her out of her fall upside down, letting it go inverted for a while before finally rolling it upright again and diving back towards the town, bringing it in low again. He could hear cries from over the hum of the twin engines of "Well done, Captain," and "Nice one, Highwind!" Cid grinned wider than he had in a very long time. Waving, he swung around and took the little plane out towards the coast. He skirted the shore, then went out over the blue, bringing the plane so low that the wheels positioned under her belly brushed the dark waters, making it ripple and spray.

It was a perfect day to fly. It was warm and sunny, the sky blue as heaven, the occasional fluffy white cloud not darkening the sky, but adding dimension and detail. Cid's eyes shone with happiness behind the safety of his goggles, misting over slightly with joy. He couldn't remember the last time he had had so much fun and been so solidly satisfied with himself. He rose again, and pulled the plane into some tight aerobatics, rolling and diving, doing cartwheels across the sky. The Tiny Bronco was lithe and moved to his every demand, not complaining once despite the intensity of his stunts.

He flew for hours, whooping and yelling to the sky, until the sun began to set. Finally, with a relaxed sigh, he turned towards home, the orange sun glittering low over the sea behind him. The air was cooling to a soothing level, and he flew slowly, taking in the deep smells of the summer and the clean crisp air, smelling the grass and the trees and the earth as he went inland, finally landing back where he began just before the sun set fully. He pulled the Tiny Bronco back into his yard, and parked her. Stepping out only to shut the gate and lock it, he wandered into the house, whistling. The house was very quiet, and dark.

"Shera?" He called curiously. No answer greeted him. There was no sign of his coworker. Shrugging, he went to his room, grabbed his cigarettes -the only time he didn't constantly need a smoke was when he was flying- lit one on his way back through, and left for town, a thin trail of smoke behind him his only witness.

Cid wandered across town, his feet taking him casually towards the bar on their own. He strolled, arms behind his head as he stretched while walking, head turned upward towards the darkening sky.

Why the hell can't life always be this good? He thought, grinning. He supposed now that he had his baby back, it could be. He stepped into the bar, waving to a few of his friends as he sat down at his usual seat, right in front of the bartender. He didn't have to say a word for a bottle of his favorite brand of beer to be placed promptly before him. He grinned, nodding his thanks and glanced around. Most of his buddies must have still been hung over, because only Randy and a few of his coworkers sat nearby. They saluted him and he grinned.

"Nice flyin' there, Captain!" Randy complemented. Cid beamed.

"Haven't done that in ages. Felt wonderful." Randy sniggered.

"Sounds like that ain't all yeh've done!" He quipped. Cid went red along the ears in embarrassment. He hadn't done anything like that in years either, to be truthful. With the lifestyle he'd chosen, that of a false image, he didn't get much of a chance. He laughed anyway, as that was what he was expected to do.

"So you say!" Both men spun on their barstools in surprise at Shera's sudden interruption. Cid blanched. He hadn't noticed her in the bar, nor anywhere in town at all, and he'd been looking!

"Uh, hi there, Shera." He said, trying to hide his nervousness. She smiled darkly at him.

"Hi, Cid." She said, voice clipped. Randy whistled.

"Whoa, you kids havin' a rough day?" He said tactlessly. Cid went paler. Damnit, I'm not even done on my first damned drink! Shera raised an eyebrow.

"Us?" She asked, voice sugary. "Hate to break it to you, but there never was an 'us'." She said, glaring at Cid. Randy looked horribly confused.

"Huh? But I thought Cid said that you two were--" He was cut off.

"Yeah, well Cid lied!" It came out louder than Shera had anticipated. Everyone in the bar froze, silence falling heavily on the usually rather loud joint. "We're not together, never have been." She paused to make sure her point had gotten across. Randy looked like he was already well on the way to being drunk. He usually wasn't that dense. "I don't know why Cid would say that." She went on, gaining momentum. "I don't even think he goes for women!" Randy dropped his beer, bottle shattering loudly on the floor at his feet. Cid's ears were ringing, heart thundering as panic rose up into his throat. Shera saw the horror in his eyes, and suddenly felt sorry.

"Shera--" Cid started, horrified. His face glazed over for a split second, and when it cleared, it was filled with vicious anger. "That's crap, and you know it, Shera. Don't you dare go spreading lies like that. I made a fucking mistake, alright? I opened my big fat fucking mouth and said something stupid. Forget about it!" He stormed toward the door, not caring if he was making a scene or not. Randy jumped to his feet, nearly fell, crashed into Shera, and stumbled after Cid.

"Wait!" Cid turned, face and eyes dark with a boiling anger not entirely congruent to his usually benign albeit volatile personality. "Why'd you say it in the first place?" Randy asked, panting. Cid frowned. He tried to shrug nonchalantly, pretending to be casual.

"Well, you all have girls. I Just wanted to fit in, I guess. I was drunk, what'dya expect?" With that, he turned and strode quickly out of the bar and down the dark streets toward his home. Randy stood in the yellow doorway, stunned into silence as he tried to work out the true meaning to what Cid had said.

Shera watched Cid go, feeling guilty. She'd hit the nail on the head, she realized, which was a huge mistake. Cid had a very strong sense of self pride and image, and she realized that he'd just been trying to preserve his right to be 'one of the guys'. Randy stumped back to where she sat in Cid's seat at the bar. She paid for Cid's drink, bought her own and two for Randy. Her hopes were to get the other man drunk enough that he'd forget about tonight, for Cid's sake. She would stay here, drink Randy under the table, giving Cid some space, and go home and apologize when everyone had cooled down.

"Is he really gay?" Randy asked, making Shera jump. She turned on him, and put on her happy mask. She laughed like he'd said the damn funniest thing on the planet.

"Oh, Planet no!" She laughed more. "Does he look gay!?" She asked, rolling her eyes like it was obvious. Randy had to think a little too long on this.

"No."

"Told ya." She ordered him another drink.

Cid almost couldn't see, he was so angry. Angry, and hurt, and feeling utterly betrayed. He went across the town, shivering, and pulled his jacket and scarf tightly around him. The air had turned quite cold after sunset.

He had a horrible lump in his chest, frozen and twisted, threatening to strangle the life out of him. He got home quickly, went though the front yard, grabbed a large canister of fuel, carried it though the house, set it outside the back door, pausing only to glance lovingly up at the Tiny Bronco sitting silent and cool in the dark, then went back inside.

He tore his room apart, taking a single duffel bag and stuffing his clothes, his cigarette supply, a few tools and a large sum of cash into it roughly. He swung the bag by its strap over his shoulder and went out the back door.

Throat closed, he gave his plane a quick tune up, re-fueled it, and swung the gate open. He leapt into the open cockpit, started it up and roared out of the yard into the night sky, not even bothering stop to close the gate behind him. He circled out wide so as not to fly over the rest of town, and coasted into the dark, heading toward the even darker range of mountains to the north. He didn't entirely know where he was going or what he was going to do, but he knew he wouldn't be going back to Rocket Town for a long time. He couldn't dare. He doubted that Randy would believe what Shera said about his preferences, but… He couldn't go back. End of story. He thought of his old friends. Barret, Cloud, Tifa… He grimaced as he thought of Yuffie, the endless bundle of energy who had the uncanny ability to drive him up a wall. He thought of Barret and Tifa, and grimaced again. He thought of Cloud as he saw the Nibel mountains, right before him. Cloud wouldn't ask questions: He'd take Cid's company for as long as Cid needed, and stayed too close to himself to pry into other people's secrets. Decided, Cid veered more directly towards the mountains, settling down for a long flight.


AN

Wow I just sat down today and wrote that and I'm already partway into chappie 2!

I love Cid. He's my favorite. Well, besides Zack, which is kinda sad since Zack gets what...ten minutes and no last name? lol. Cid isn't mr Bishi boi that every girl falls in love with (me included, in that fashion) but he's got all kinds of room for not-so-cliche' depth in his character. And he's fun to write for. He's got the greatest syntax. hehe. :) (talks like me, actually, lol) Hope everyone likes this. Hopefully, this fic will kind of pose as a prequil to my also-in-progress New Life, taking both 3 years before said story, and 3 years after the game. This fic will focus on mostly Cid and Vincent, while New life involves them but is centered around Cloud and Sephiroth.