Okay. What this is, is what will be a series of short stories that have nothing to do with anything at all. EACH CHAPTER will be a DIFFERENT STORY. Don't miss this part or you're gunna be REALLY confused!!! They're all just little shorties, blurbs of ideas I've thought of... maybe I'll build off of them, maybe not. I dunno, but I figured this would be better than a million and one half-page-long seperate stories... shruggs As if you didn't need to hear this, I don't own anything FFVII related. Don't sue me, I'm just an obsessed fangirl with lots of stupid ideas in her head. .

Read on

Number One:
Touch of Humanity

"Okay: Nanaki and Cait Sith to one tent, Tifa and Yuffie, me 'n Barret, and Cid, you bunk with Vincent." Cloud pointed as he spoke, doling out a small tent kit for each group.
"I have no problems with these arrangements, Cloud, but I need someone with opposable thumbs to help pitch out tent." Nanaki said thoughtfully with a sigh. Tifa laughed and left Yuffie to pitch their own tent while she managed Nanaki and Cait Sith's. Cloud and Barret wandered off to pitfch their own, and cid turned around to see his own nearly half way up already.
"Hey! Whoa! Lemmie help ya there! Ya dun have to do it all on yer fuckin' own!" Cid cried, rushing to help Vincent.
"…" Vincent remained silent a moment. "It is fine, Highwind. I can manage." "Yeah, but if we're sharin' the space, we should share the work. I'm helping." Cid insisted.
"Fine…" Vincent worked in silence alongside Cid, letting the pilot help only because he had to. It was done quickly, and after a short meal with the rest of AVALANCHE, Vincent crawled into his and Cid's tent without a word.
"What a mope!" Yuffie cried once the caped man had disappeared into the minor shelter. Her voice was loud enough to leave no doubt that Vincent had heard her.
"Its's not as if we're very fucking nice to him, now are we?!" Cid demanded. "I don't blame him for moping one bit! Hell, I'd mope if people looked at me funny, callin' me shit like 'Vampire' and 'Mope' too!" Cid finished, leaving Yuffie and the rest in a stunned silence. He stood. "Anyway, I'm hittin the sack- I'm beat… But if I hear any more shit talk about /anyone/ I'm gunna come back out here and I ain't gunna be no fuckin' ray of sunshine." He added sternly, walking towards his tent. Before entering, he turned and smiled. "Sweet dreams, kids." he said in a sugary-sweet singsong voice, then disappeared inside.
Vincent lay huddled against the fall wall of the tent, inside. He was curled up as if cold, or perhaps just unhappy.
"You didn't have to defend me, Highwind." He said softly. Cid shrugged.
"Well, I did. 'S about time you were treated better by these people anyway." Cid declared. Vincent sighed.
"It does not matter." "Sure it does!" Cid argued. He squeezed into his sleeping bag and tensed. His proximity to Vincent was a little too close for normal comfort. "huh…" He muttered. "Kind'a tight spaced in here, isn't it?" Vincent sighed forlornly in response, pressing against the far wall to give Cid some more space.
"Sorry." Vincent said softly. Cid sighed.
"Not yer fault, so dun worry about it, okay?" There was a pause as Cid peeled off his shirt, tossing at his feet where his and Vincent's boots already lay in a heap. "Ya dun kick or nutt'in, do ya?" He added, hoping to lighten the mood just a little, but Vincent didn't respond, being already half asleep. Cid heaved a sigh, and turning his back to Vincent's, dozed off to sleep himself.

Cid was a heavy sleeper by mature, usually unshakable until he was darned ready to get up himself, but when Vincent began to whimper lightly in his sleep, Cid was instantly awake, propped up on one elbow to stare down at his comrade through the darkness. Vincent thrashed a little, cried out softly, and then sat up suddenly with a terrified scream. Cid's heart nearly leapt clean out of his mouth in the shock of fear that hit him. Vincent sat stiffly, eyes wide and unseeing, mouth open in terror. Cid's fear melted into adrenaline and he quickly grabbed Vincent by the shoulders, shaking the thin frame firmly.
"Vin! Wake up, man!" He muttered, giving Vincent one last jolt. Vincent cried out again, jumping, but his eyes focused and he turned to look at Cid numbly, then broke down into uncontrollable sobs.
Stunned, Cid did his best to comfort Vincent, letting Vincent hold onto his wrist in a two-handed death grip -ignoring the lines of blood carved into his skin by Vincent's claw- until the man calmed down and sank shakily back into reality.
"Hey, its okay now, shh… It was just a nightmare, you're okay." Cid assured softly, and eventually, Vincent relaxed, heaving a sigh, shoulders going limp.
"I'm…sorry…" He said softly, finally letting go of Cid and looking away in shame.
"Hey, no problem." Cid said softly. "Are you okay now, thought? You had me really worried there." Vincent let out a shaky breath. "Yes. I'm fine." He flinched as Cid touched his shoulder carefully. Cid sighed sadly.
"You're shaking, Vincent." He said gently. "Look, maybe not right now… but if you ever need to talk or anything else, I'm here, okay? I ain't gunna hold nuttin' against ya." Vincent's head snapped around and he gave Cid a weird stare. Cid returned his gaze evenly, eyes warm but serious. "How can you even begin to imagine that…?" Vincent asked mournfully. "How can you fool yourself that there's any glimpse of humanity left in me? I'm a monster: I don't deserve the spark of comfort you offer me." Cid could see fresh tears forming in Vincent's eyes.
"Don't you think you've suffered, alone, for long enough?" Cid asked softly. Vincent pinched his eyes shut as if in great pain.
"Nothing will ever be enough." He replied in a whisper.
"I don't believe that." Cid said, suddenly firm. "I think you've paid far more than your due. I won't profess to know you so well, because I don't: But just from looking into your eyes, I can see you've been through more than your share. Vincent looked away again.
"No…Not for a monster like me…" "You are NOT a monster!" Cid cried, gripping Vincent by the shoulders and turning him forcefully to face himself. "Monsters don't wake up in the night screaming in terror, Vincent!" Cid kept his grip on Vincent, going on. "Yeah, I've seen what's livin' inside of you, but /that's not you/. You're better than those things! Don't let them or anything else ever keep you from being happy, or you're just wasting your life." "I don't even /want/ to live, Highwind" Vincent confessed. "I've tried, so many times, to just be finished, but it just never works. The demons or the mako or some other mistake always 'saves' me." He went on mournfully.
"Vincent…" "No matter what I try -and I've tried it all- I end up waking up just fine. I've tried everything: cutting myself, bullets…I even jumped off a cliff a few mornings ago, but Chaos took over before I could even hit the ground and flew me right back to where I'd started….All I want is to end, but I can't even do that…" Vincent's voice caught in his throat, choking him lightly. He turned out of Cid's grip. "Look, lets just get back to sleep." With that, Vincent was back down in his sleeping bag, his back to Cid, and silent. Cid lay back as well, but did not sleep very well, the image of Vincent's terrified face floating in his mind.

The next day, AVALANCHE broke camp and went on. Cid didn't mention Vincent's nightmare, nor his confessions of repeated suicide attempts to anyone. Vincent, even quieter than usual, didn't mention anything at all.
"C'mon, Vinnie!" Yuffie badgered, bouncing around the silent man as they walked together in a large group. "Say /something!/" Vincent looked irritated and tried to ignore the bouncy child. "C'mon! SaySomething!SaySomething!SaySomething!SaySomething!!!" Yuffie shouted, right up into Vincent's pale face. Vincent heaved a sigh.
"Something." He said flatly. Yuffie paused, blinking.
"…Hey! That's /so/ not what I meant!" Yuffie went to tug on Vincent's cloak, and he spun on her, claw-arm snapping up in warning, his crimson eyes flashing.
"Hey! Brat!" Cid called back. "He's not some dog to poke at with a fucking stick! Grow up a little and leave the poor man alone!" Yuffie glared balefully at Cid, but bounded up to harass him instead of Vincent. Cid looked back and shot Vincent a grin just before stealthily tripping Yuffie with the butt end of his spear. Yuffie went down with a yelp, landing face first into the ground in a cloud of dust. No one saw Vincent crack a small smile.
"That was a cheap trick, you crusty old creep!" Yuffie yelled, getting up.
"Hey! Yo knock it off now, got it?!" Barret yelled back. "/Both/ of ya foos!" Yuffie sank back, sulking. Cid grinned, noticing that some of the shadow over Vincent had lifted.

During the drowsy dinner by campfire that night, Yuffie finally had decided that she could spare Vincent her constant harassment and the whole of AVALANCHE was allowed a few rare moments of peace. Cid yawned, stretching lazily. "I'm beat…" He yawned, standing from his rather cold seat on a large boulder. "Time fer my beauty sleep…" He said as he wandered off towards his tent, again shared with Vincent. Behind him, Yuffie snorted humorlessly at his joke.
"There ain't nuttin' that'll ever be beautiful about you, you stinky old mechanic!" Cid turned around and shot Yuffie a smirk.
"Oh, you know you want me!" He quipped. Yuffie's eyes went wide.
"Eeew! Yuck! Total grossness! Oh! Gall!" Cid laughed heartily at Yuffie's disgust, sauntering as he walked. Cid's head snapped around at the sound of a low chuckle right at his shoulder. "Holy shit!" Cid jumped, surprised by Vincent's sudden appearance. Vincent gave another soft, low chuckle. "You may not be beautiful, Highwind, but there was a certain grace in the way you jump and spin like that. Almost like ballet…" Vincent said softly, eerie eyes glittering. Cid stood in shocked silence, just outside the tent, eyes wide. "…Highwind…?" Vincent pressed, worried. Suddenly, Cid's face unfroze and he burst into laughter.
"Sweet planet, I think I just had a fucking heart attack!" He paused to laugh more. "Damn… do my ears decieve me or was that a joke you just cracked?!" Vincent gave a soft snort in response.
"In the tent, Highwind. I'm tired." Cid turned to shoot Vincent a smile, then dove in, Vincent crawling in after him. Again, Vincent moved to the back of the little tent, gingerly stepping over Cid's legs. Cid was still trying to pull off his boots by the time the gunman beside him had fallen firmly asleep. Cid shot Vincent a small smile, and settled down for sleep himself.

And it seemed like only a split second later, though it really had been hours, that Cid was awake once more, to the sound of screaming. He was alert instantly, hand's on Vincent's shoulders, shaking the man.
"Vin! Vincent! Snap out of it, man!" Vincent jumped, nearly attacking Cid before suddenly going limp, the crimson glow of his wide, frightened eyes dimming. "Cid…" He choked, then sighed. "I'm sorry…" Cid sighed, reaching out again to touch Vincent. Vincent flinched away. "Don't… I know you mean only good, but please, don't." He said softly as Cid dropped his hand. Vincent sat in silence, shivering. "…every…night…." He whispered.
"Huh?" "The same thing every night… I won't blame you if you want to sleep alone tomorrow night…" "No. I'm fine." Cid answered. Vincent sighed sadly, sinking back down into bed, eyes still wide and scared. "Can't sleep it off?" Cid asked gently.
"I'm pretty used to it." Vincent mumbled. "There's no helping it." Cid shifted a little, thinking.
"Ya know…" He began carefully, "I've never been real good with dealing with other people, or their issues, in any aspect, but I remember some advice Shera gave me once… She told me to trust whatever my heart and my gutt told me, just like when I'm flying or doin' some other stupid stunt…." Vincent lifted his head to look over at Cid. "This may probably won't be your cup of tea, but I have a hunch…" "…What do you mean?" Vincent asked softly.
"…What I mean is it kills me to see you waking up so terrified every night. I don't mind being woken up myself, I sleep too much anyway, but to see anyone suffer so much… I wanna try something." He said, finally laying back, facing Vincent.
"…If you must…" Vincent said nervously. Cid swallowed.
"Sorry, this is going to be a little weird…" He began.
"Huh---ah! Cid!" Cid had lunged foreword, pulling Vincent's body against his firmly, hugging the thin man around the shoulders. Vincent had gone stiff, fighting Cid's grip.
"Yeah, yeah… look, try to relax. If you can't stand it, fine, but try it, okay? I know it's weird, and trust me, if I thought I could find anyone else like Tifa or Yuffie -god forbid that little monster- I would for ya…" Cid hadn't let go of Vincent. His skin crawled in protest to his sudden intimacy with the man, but he had this overwhelming hunch that this was what Vincent needed. Vincent hadn't relaxed. "Look… I just…have this hunch…If it doesn't work, fine: but I've survived my life on trusting my hunches, and this will be no different." "You're crazy, Highwind." Vincent mumbled, almost sourly, but began to relax into Cid's awkward embrace.
"Thanks." Cid replied cheerily. Vincent shivered and he pulled the man a little closer, cradling his head against his shoulder. Vincent finally relaxed fully, melting slightly.
"…Cid…" "Eh?" "…Thank you…" With that, Vincent finally fell asleep. Cid watched the man cuddled up against him in awe for a moment before heaving a shaky sigh and dozing off himself. This is too weird…/
Cid had proved his point, however, when Vincent awoke, still wrapped loosely in Cid's arms, rested and refreshed and nightmare free for the remainder of the night. Cid woke a little more groggily to Vincent poking at him.
"Wake up, Highwind, I have to move." He said softly, shaking Cid awake. Cid snorted, azure eyes peeling open blearily.
"…eh…fuck you…" He mumbled incoherently. Vincent chuckled. "No thanks, now wake up!" He banged his head against Cid's chest firmly -his hands were stuck under his body- causing the pilot to grunt, and sit up, freeing Vincent. "thank you…" He mumbled, sitting up himself. Cid seemed to have finally come around.
"Huh… didja' sleep okay?" He asked concernedly. Vincent smiled weakly.
"Yeah… heh…I did." "Sorry. Was kinda weird, huh?" Cid said apologetically.
"Was worth it…Thank you." Vincent said. Cid blinked. "Huh… well good…" They rose to greet the day in silence from there, finally emerging to greet the rest of AVALANCHE as well.

Again, that evening, the group was left to sleep in their assigned tents.
"Shit…man, what I wouldn't give for a fuckin hotel…" Cid muttered as he sank stiffly back into his sleeping bag. "One more rock in my back and I swear I'm gunna fuckin beat Sephiroth to destroyin' the world…" Vincent chuckled softly as he followed Cid into the tent, shaking his head in awe.
"You're insane." "Your point?" Cid asked, carefully snuffing out a burnt-down cigarette on his shoe before tossing it out the open tent flap as Vincent came in. Vincent shook his head again, ignoring Cid's arrogance. A few minutes later, Cid paused as he sank down to sleep, spotting his companion still sitting up, eyes distant and unfocused, and drawn around the edges. "Hey man, what's wrong?" He asked gently. Vincent sighed.
"I don't want to live through more nightmares, is all…" Vincent said softly.
"…ya know," Cid began. "It might just be an old wife's tale, but they say that if you talk about a repeating nightmare to someone else it wont' come back or bother ya anymore…" Vincent snorted softly.
"I suppose so, but these aren't things I feel prepared to talk about. They're more flashbacks than nightmares, exactly, and it's a part of me I can't reveal just yet…" He said, almost apologetically. Cid shrugged.
"Okay, sure, I don't blame ya." He said lightly. Vincent sighed, sinking back against his pillow. Cid rolled over to look at his friend, glowing crimson eyes lighting both their faces just enough to make out key features in the dark. Vincent's eyes were wide: he was dreading sleep. Cid sighed. "C'mere, Vin." He said, reaching his arms out to the other man. Vincent hesitated, then scooted closer to Cid, letting the pilot pull him up and wrap strong arms around his waist and shoulder. Vincent managed to relax pretty quick this time. He let his forehead drop to rest just above Cid's collar bone, Cid's chin on his head.
"…This is… actually kind of… …nice…." Vincent admitted softly. He winced lightly as he felt Cid tense a little. "its just that…I haven't been given a hint of comfort from anyone in so long…" He amended, hoping he didn't sound too…off. Cid laughed lightly, actually subconsciously hugging Vincent a little closer for a split second.
"Yeah, I bet. Well… all it takes some times is a touch of humanity, I guess…" Vincent nodded as best he could, agreeing.

With the sun the next morning, again Cid and Vincent floated back into consciousness. This time, however, things went slower. Cid was already awake when Vincent awoke after a full, peaceful night's rest, eyes hazy with sleep and an almost foreign security.
"Hey, he wakes again by dawn.." Cid quipped, grinning down at Vincent, still cuddled up against his chest. The awkwardness of the situation had left Cid the night before when Vincent had admitted his appreciation of the gesture. Cid didn't care that it might be weird, or awkward, or taboo or whatever, Vincent was his friend and he cared about the man, and did not want to see him in any more pain. So he'd done what he could, and it had worked. It made Cid's heart warm and sort of swell with a type of happiness that perhaps was more for Vincent than himself, which is what made it so sweet. Vincent smiled sleepily up at him.
"Sort of…" He mumbled, letting his head drop back to Cid's chest. Cid chuckled. "Well, that was funny." He said.
"What was?" Vincent asked, voice muffled against Cid's chest.
"That sleepy grin of yours. Never seen ya smile at all, let alone something that candid." He commented. Vincent shrugged.
"…Whatever…" He started to doze back to sleep. The tent rustled, and Cid spun his head around to look over at the tent flap behind him in time for Barret to poke his head in. Brown eyes went wide as Barret realized he was seeing his two /male/ teammates curled up together like lovers. Cid's eyes flashed in warning for Barret to keep quiet. Fortunately, the leader of AVALANCHE was too stunned to argue. Vincent had sensed the third party by now, and started to look up in alarm, but Cid caught his head, holding it flat against their pillows.
"Relax, and don't look. I'll work this out…" Cid said sternly, shooting a look up at Barret that would have made Sephiroth piss those expensive leather pants of his. Cid spared another glance to make sure Vincent had obeyed him - the smaller man's vision had been blocked by his own broad shoulders, much to Cid's relief. With a grunt, he climbed out of his sleeping bag and threw it over Vincent. He looked over at Barret. "You. Me. Outside. Now." Barret turned and hurried back out, Cid following. Once the tent flap had fallen shut again, Vincent sat up suddenly feeling worried. He knew it must have looked awful… He hoped Cid wouldn't be mad.

Cid led Barret out past the rest of the tents, beyond earshot to Vincent or anyone else who might overhear. He paused, and turned back on Barret.
"Okay, What?" He said tersely, still glaring at Barret, whose mouth was working silently as if he /really/ wanted to say something.
"What th' 'ell was goin' on in dere?!" He asked in a hoarse whisper. Cid heaved an irritated sigh.
"Aint' what yer fuckin' thinking, that's fer sure!" Cid growled. He sighed, calming down a little. "Look… Vincent's been wakin' up /screamin'/ every night…" Barret's face softened slightly, and Cid went on. "I had 'ta do something for him.." He smiled crookedly. "He was wakin' me up every fuckin' night!" Barret chuckled at Cid's obvious cover up. Cid laughed lightly too.
"Yo ah fuckin softie, Cid!" Cid shrugged.
"Yeah…well, its helpin'… and yeah, its kinda weird, but…" he shrugged again, uncertain. "Look, just forget about it, alright. It doesn't concern you, 'n I'm just helping a friend." Cid said.
"Yeah, okay. No problem, pal." Barret said, nodding. "Sorry 'ta bother yo." He began to wander off, and Cid sighed. "Might's well get yoselves up now, though." Barret added over his shoulder. "We gotta get goin'." Cid nodded, and wandered off back to his tent as well.
He slipped back in to see Vincent sitting up, eyes hurt and worried. Cid came down next to Vincent, giving the man a slight hug.
"Hey…" He began, sitting back. "You alright, Vin?" Vincent looked up at him.
"Are you…? Who--?" He began.
"It doesn't matter. But don't worry, they understood what was goin' on as soon as I explained it all.." Vincent blinked, then looked away abruptly.
"I'm sorry…I'm going to ruin your image…" "Naaah!" Cid argued. "There ain't nothin' that'll take out the good 'ol Highwind style!" He said, throwing a fist up into the air in triumph. Vincent snorted dryly, shooting Cid down. Cid laughed it off, grinning over at his friend. "Whaaat?" Vincent chuckled.
"Nothing can take out your image because it's already hit rock bottom." Vincent said, smirking lightly. Cid's jaw dropped, and he laughed.
"Damn, man. You got a wicked sense of humor!" He observed, shaking his head as if he'd been struck. "You oughta' turn that venom on that brat Yuffie or somethin'!" Vincent grinned.
"Yeah…" He agreed. Somehow, though, Cid sensed that Vincent wasn't comfortable enough with any of the others to be mean to them. Somehow, that made him warm a little, proud that he'd gained Vincent's comfort. He could see already that the smiles, jokes and laughs that came along with their building friendship was a very precious gift that was very rarely given. By breakfast, Cid was whistling happily, despite Barret's weird stares, and as they walked later, his spear didn't seem quite as heavy as it had before, nor did the rest of him for that matter, a light bounce forming in his step.

"Cid! Watch it, damn it!" Cid barely dodged a large pair of claws swiping at his face. He swore, and lunged, ignoring Cloud's shouted warning. He knew what he was doing. They all did. Beside him, Vincent lunged foreword, raising his weapon to shoulder level and firing off a volley of explosive rounds, sending the large monster that had ambushed them reeling backwards. It roared angrily and lunged at Vincent. Cid's world slowed down as he watched, a sudden horror hitting him as he saw Vincent lower his weapon, relax his stance, and stare the monster right in the eye, his own crimson eyes dull and empty.
"SHIT!" Cid lunged, " Vincent, don't!" He tried to reach Vincent to pull the man out of the line of danger, or block the blow, or anything, but he was too slow on the uptake, and a large clawed hand swung down across Vincent's chest and abdomen, felling the man in one fell swoop. Vincent staggered back, collapsing.
"Vincent!" Cloud spared a glance, before lunging in for the kill, moving in unison with Cid. Both men had hit their limit break, and a few seconds later, there wasn't much left of the monster except a large crater and a few bits of warty flesh. Without turning for a second glance, Cid tossed his spear aside, diving down to his knees beside Vincent, who was sprawled out on the ground in a pool of blood, staring up at him mildly. Vincent coughed, and spat out a small amount of blood, then returned his gaze up to Cid.
"Vin…" Cid scooped Vincent up, cradling the pale form against his shoulder. Vincent winced, in pain, but didn't say anything.
"Highwind--" Vincent began, slightly irritated.
"TIFA! RESTORE! NOW!" Cid bellowed, cutting Vincent off. Tifa came running, along with the rest of the group, skidding to a halt where Cid knelt with Vincent, a small ball of green light already forming around her closed fist.
"No. Wait." Vincent said, voice clear and firm. "Can't you see I want this, Cid?" He said, turning dull eyes up on his friend. "I have nothing to live for, let me go!" Above them, Tifa and a few others gave startled gasps. "I let that thing hit me, now spare me the agony of being defeated /again!/." Cid's eyes hardened.
"No. No, Vin." He cradled Vincent's head against his shoulder, clutching the man to himself. "Let me try and find something for you to live for. Don't give up just yet… Just… just… don't… leave me…Vin…" Cid said softly. "…please?" He added. Vincent had looked up at him sharply, eyes watering.
"Cid…. Ah!" He gasped, clutching his side in pain, then glanced back up at Cid, and nodded. Tifa was right on it, having been watching carefully.
"Let him down, Cid…" She said softly, encouraging Cid to release Vincent with a gentle touch to his arm. Cid jumped a little, but carefully lay Vincent down again, exposing the growing bloodstain that smeared both their fronts now. He kept one hand on Vincent's shoulder, though, not quite willing to break contact. Tifa nodded. "Hang on, guys." With that, she cast the spell, green light bathing Vincent in its soft glow for a moment before fading, Vincent sitting up slowly. He looked over to Cid.
"Cid…relax…I'm fine now.." He said, noticing the fear in Cid's expressive blue eyes… as well as a few tears. Cid blinked, and lunged foreword, pulling Vincent up roughly against him, cradling him there against his chest.
"Don't you…. /ever/ do that to me again, Vin…" Cid said, voice shaking. Cloud, who had been standing by, watching carefully, raised an eyebrow. Vincent let Cid cling, face tilted into the collar of his flight jacket. Cid had paused, waiting for an answer. "Vincent!" His voice actually cracked this time, and Vincent had to pull away to look at Cid. He was alarmed to see the usually gruff man had tears in his eyes.
"You really care about me that much?" Vincent asked, awestruck. Cid looked aghast.
"Well, /yeah!/ You're my friend!" He said passionately.
"Perhaps a bit more, Cid?" Tifa said gently from behind the two. Cid stiffened lightly, turning to look up at Tifa in surprise, and perhaps a hint of alarm. "C'mon, Cid." Vincent said gently, standing and pulling Cid up with him. He shot Tifa a gentle but meaningful look.
"Cloud?" Tifa called, turning away from the odd couple. Cloud jumped -he'd been mentally somewhere between Gaia and outer space.
"Yeah?" "Can we rest for the day? I think this was rough on everyone, and Restore Materia or not, Vincent should rest up after such a nasty wound." Cloud nodded quickly. It was a well known fact that whatever Tifa asked of the young warrior, he would do, whether it be step to one side, or step off a cliff.
"Yeah. Sure thing. Lets get a way from this corpse, though." He said, gesturing to the gore-splattered crater just behind him. There were several disgusted sounds as AVALANCHE tip-toed through the muck to a grassy meadow upwind by a hundred or so yards. It was actually a rather pretty area, skirted by trees and a small stream that made for a relaxing evening for the group. He worked in silence as he pitched their tent, anxious because Vincent kept shooting him strange glances, even as Tifa's words kept spinning around in Cid's head, making his mind reel. He wasn't sure about himself for the first time in years, and it had set him terribly off balance. He sighed heavily as they finished anchoring the tent , and looked up in time to see the rest of AVALANCHE, save himself and Vincent, wandering off down towards the creek. Tifa turned to him and waved. Cid glanced over at Vincent, and back to the retreating bodies. She's giving us a chance to talk alone…Cid wasn't sure he liked that notion or not, but when he turned around again, he realized that Vincent had come to the exact same conclusion, as the slender man was standing beside him, watching him intently.
"I think she's right." Vincent said softly after a moment of watching Cid flounder mentally.
"Huh?" Cid's eyes went wide and his face flushed a little as he turned to look at Vincent. Vincent smiled softly.
"I said, I think Tifa is right." He said, voice soft. Cid felt his heart skip.
"Uh…whadaya mean…?" Cid stammered. Vincent smiled again.
"…You know… nobody…all my life…has ever extended their hand in friendship to me…sure…I had teammates, coworkers…they all put up with me, whatever… but… no ones' ever really… well…gave a shit." Cid started.
"What?!" Cid wanted to hit something…but not Vincent, so he simply yelled instead. "Well, /I/ give a shit!" Vincent smiled at Cid's outburst.
"I know you do, Cid… And I'm very touched…" Vincent leaned in, carefully pulling Cid up to him in a gentle, cautious embrace. Cid gasped a little, but after a moment, leaned into Vincent's shoulder, sighing. Vincent held him there for a moment, before pulling back slightly. "Cid…" Cid looked up into Vincent's face. Vincent stared down into his eyes for a moment, smiling, before carefully tilting his head just enough to kiss Cid, ever so lightly, on the forehead. "Thank you." He turned away just as quickly, giving Cid his space, if it was needed. Vincent feared he might have pushed his luck with the usually gruff man, and judging by the gasp that had slipped from Cid's lips, he'd certainly surprised the pilot. Suddenly he didn't have the courage to witness Cid's reaction.
"…Vincent…" It was barely a whisper, and had Vincent not had enhanced hearing, along with the rest of his senses, he likely would not have heard Cid's breathy response. Vincent turned back to Cid, worried, but somehow encouraged by the unmistakable tone in Cid's voice, soft as it suddenly was. Cid was reaching out to him, perhaps unconsciously, hand wavering near his own. Vincent took that hand, and held it gently as Cid pulled him back to within inches of each other. "What…." Cid began, voice shaking. "What do you want to live for…what can I give you to make you happy…?" Vincent smiled "Your friendship is good enough, Cid." Vincent said softly.
"…Can…can I give you more than friendship?" Cid asked. His hand in Vincent's was shaking. Vincent pulled Cid the rest of the distance between them, eyes boring down into azure windows to Cid's soul. He lifted Cid's face, and could see thin veins under the man's jaw throbbing with his racing pulse.
"You're shaking, Cid." "Vin…" "Yes?" "Please, don't tease me." Cid said softly. Vincent smiled gently. okay.Cid read the word in Vincent's eyes, and his face relaxed a little. Vincent raised his hand to touch Cid's face, causing the pilot to shiver and close his eyes.
"Open your eyes." Cid obeyed, eyes opening just in time to watch Vincent's face dip down to his, soft, thin lips brushing his a split second later. Cid gasped, startled, but instead of pulling away, he pulled Vincent closer. I didn't know… it could be like this…He was acting solely on instinct, and as terrifying as it was, it was thrilling. Vincent pulled away, keeping the kiss gentle and polite, and looked down at Cid, who was gaping, speechless and flushed. "Was that… okay?" Vincent asked gently. Cid's eyes widened, but then sparkled as he smiled a little.
"Yeah. I dun know what the hell to say, but… yeah. That was okay."


AN: Okay... Yeah, I know, I have a lot of unfinished stuff floating around out there right now... But I'm hitting a rough part of my life right now -just had my /first/ day of college today (ooh...scary... lol. it was actually kinda fun) and my boyfriend of six years (we've been happily together since junior high) is moving about three hours away from home to go to school as well. we're not broke up or anything -absense makes the heart grow fonder, ne?- but I've had a hard time focusing on anything solid. So... here's some shorties to hold everyone over. yeah, I just sat down and did both of these tonight. a couple of ideas I thought up and couldn't fix into another fic. (don't worry, they're not abandoned, just put on hold because I just can't focus that hard)
Again, sorry to all my readers that I've just sorta... well, dropped off the planet the last week or so. . I tried, I really did. So here's some sweeties for ya all. The next shortie isn't very significant, in any aspect. just another dumb idea that didn't go anywhere, but its kinda cute... so.. .shruggs you've been warned. not my best writing. just cute shonen ai fluff. (gotta love that crap, lol :) )