The following is an excerpt from the VincentxCid Yahoo Mailing List:

>Ok, I've had enough of this. Are we or are we not the
CidxVin ML? Duh! Why would Vinny need a phone when
Cid can just carry it for him in all those pockets
he's got ! What obviously happened is Vinny
went off to help Cloud and forgot his phone on Cid's
floor... along with his good shoes and his real arm!

>...LOL! dies laughing
oh god.
fanfic inspiration...
no time!

And thus, this fic was born. I blame Brin and Mako Red Eyes.

PS: Edge is apparently the name of the city where the fight against
Bahamut takes place, built up on the 'edge' of Midgar.

I make no money from this, everyone belongs to SquEnix, etc.

Bad language and Advent Children Spoilers, if you care.

o o o

"VINCE! Get yer ass up, he's gonna be here soon!"

Vincent half-yawned and curled up under the blankets, burying his head beneath a pillow. He was warm, and comfortable, and there was no way anyone was going to wake him up.


He sat up angrily. /No one/ called him by his full na-Tseng?"


Vincent hurriedly untangled himself from the blankets, cursing. Tseng was coming to talk with him about re-joining the Turks and here he was, naked and cocooned in a pile of bedclothes. He shook his arms free and tried to roll off the bed. His ankle, however, was wrapped in a fold of the sheets and he stumbled, falling to the floor on all fours

Something crunched under his knee.

Blinking, he lifted his leg to look. His favorite jeans were under his knee-and so was his phone. Or, well, it WAS his phone. Now it was scraps of silicon and plastic. Could he blame Cid for this? Nope, he'd pulled off his own pants the night before. Dammit.

"Well, this is interesting."

Vincent blinked back over his shoulder. Cid was leaning against the door-frame and smirking. "Nice view, Vince." He grinned.

The gunman stood up, toga-ing the sheet around his bare torso. "I broke my damn phone." He grumbled. "Who's great idea was it to make them so flimsy?"

"Not mine." Cid replied. "But you might want to get dressed before he shows up, you know."

"Shut up, Cid." Vincent said through a yawn as he headed for the bathroom.

He dropped the sheet to the floor, kicking the door shut on Cid's snickers. With a sigh, he unbuckled the belts holding his prosthetic arm in place. Shera had made a covering for it, exchanging battered bronze for smooth, almost natural false skin. Between the padding over the hand-joints and the smooth movement of the prosthetic itself, it was near-indistinguishable from a real hand. But it was still a machine, and didn't take kindly to getting wet, so he removed it while in the shower, leaving it on the counter.

Stepping under the hot water, Vincent sighed in pleasure, leaning against the shower wall as steam wreathed his narrow form. In his opinion, few things felt better than ridiculously hot showers.

The bathroom door creaked and Vincent smiled without opening his eyes. It was probably Cid, coming to keep him company, and he waited for the curtain to rattle back. Instead, he heard the click of nails on the floor and heavy sniffing.

The gunman frowned, sticking his head out of the shower. Bront, Shera's pet mutt, was sniffing at the fingers of his false hand, which dangled over the edge of the counter. "Bront!" Vincent snapped. "Get out of here!"

The large dog blinked up at him, startled, then grabbed the prosthetic and ran.

How Vincent managed to wrap a towel around himself so quickly one-handed was a question even he couldn't answer. He exploded out of the bathroom in a fury of black hair and dripping water, hot on the heels of a large, shaggy mutt that wanted to play. Anyone else would have laughed themselves sick, or called the police. Cid Highwind merely watched on as Vincent chased Bront down the hall and into the kitchen.

After the second lap around the kitchen table, Vincent realized how ludicrous the whole situation was. He stopped running and Bront, being none to strong in the brains, continued around the table and nearly ran into him. Unfortunately, he skidded to a stop just out of arm's reach.

"Drop it." Vincent said flatly. Bront wagged his tail, the arm of Vincent's false hand clenched firmly in his teeth. "Now." He added, his voice dropping ominously. Bront gave a small whine and backed up a step.

Stuck as they were in a staring contest with each other, both failed to notice Cid sneaking up on the dog. "DROP IT!" Cid roared, giving Bront a whap across the hind-quarters. Bront yelped and took off for Shera's workroom, leaving Vincent's abused arm behind. With a snort, Cid picked it up, wincing at the interesting holes in the artificial skin. "Well..." He said slowly, trying not to laugh at the look on Vincent's face. "Now it's not the only part of you not scarred."

"You're not getting any for a week for that."

"What in the name of Alexander All-Mighty did you do to my dog?" Shera exclaimed, stalking into the kitchen. "He's cowering behind my toolbox like someone put the fear of the gods in him."

"Look what your dog did to my arm!" Vincent snapped back, pointing at the appendage with the remains of his left arm. "He shredded it."

Shera blinked and took the prosthetic from Cid, running an expert eye over it. "You're lucky." She said after a moment. "He only pierced the skin. The mechanics look fine."

"Bront's lucky Vince didn't change and eat him." Cid commented. The others ignored him.

"I'm not walking around with a metal skeleton for a hand." Vincent said flatly.

"Of course not." Shera replied, tucking the appendage under her arm. "Can't leave the wires exposed like that. But I'll need to replace the false skin. For now, I'll just put the old covering back on it."

Vincent firmly told himself that he wasn't pouting. "I had hoped I would never wear that again." He said.

Shera grinned over her shoulder as she headed for her workroom. "But I hear it turns Cid on, so it balances out." She called back as she disappeared.

Cid turned a funny shade of red and muttered something obscene under his breath. Vincent sighed.

o o o

The doorbell rang. And rang again. And again. And once more for good measure as Vincent again untangled himself from the bed. His week-long ban hadn't lasted very long at all, and Cid heartily protested as Vincent snatched his shirt from the floor and tried to get it on one-handed. He heard the bell finally quit as Shera answered the door, and frowned. Whoever she was talking to, it wasn't Tseng. Tugging his shirt sleeve down to hide the metal cuff that ended his left arm, he stalked out of the room.

Reno sat at the kitchen table, slouching back and waving off Shera's offer of tea. He stood quickly when Vincent entered, snapping a quick salute. Vincent noted the folder on the table and the way Reno's eyes darted to the empty sleeve dangling below his shoulder as he returned the salute. There were some things one didn't forget, when one had been a Turk. "Where's Tseng?" He asked, not bothering to sit down.

"That's what we'd like to know." Reno replied, shoving the folder across the table. "And that's what your first orders are. Find him, and Elena."

Vincent frowned, opening the folder. Tseng and Elena's files first, mug shot style pictures and physical descriptions. Then three others he didn't recognize, all with silver hair and green eyes. Then a map of the Northern Continent, a typed report, and a few scribbled notations on Post-It notes. He skimmed them quickly and went back to the three silver-haired young men. "Sephiroth clones." He stated.

Reno nodded. "Looking for Jenova." He said. "They seem to think we have it. And we seem to think they're somewhere near the old Ancient city."

"Vince, I got it done." Shera said, walking into the kitchen with Vincent's arm, now covered in gleaming bronze plates. "I even did a bit of fine-tuning. It'll respond a lot better now."

"Thank you, Shera." Vincent said as she placed the arm on the counter, well out of Bront's reach.

Reno watched interestedly. "I always wondered if that was a glove or something." He mused before saluting Vincent again. "Well, good luck." He added, turning to walk out the door with a little wave over his shoulder.

"Wait." Vincent said, shutting the folder. "I thought I was supposed to discuss whether or not I would be inducted back into the Turks, not handed orders already."

Reno gave him an impatient look. "Valentine, if Rufus hadn't insisted, Tseng would have handed you back the title of leader without a second thought, and I don't blame him. Turks are for life, and as far as I can tell, you ain't fully dead yet." He continued on out the door, giving the bell one last ring in parting.

Vincent sighed and pulled off his shirt to strap on the prosthetic arm, Shera helping him adjust the buckles he couldn't quite reach. Cid wandered in, flipping through the folder on the table. "The Capitol, hm?" He pondered. "Cold weather, better get the ol' cloak out again."

"Yes, I know." Vincent said, pulling his shirt back on. "Those two went and got themselves kidnapped. Brilliant."

Cid shrugged, closing the folder. "At least you got those nice, new, leather hiking boots last month, huh? Then you don't have to wear those pointy things."

"True." Vincent replied, heading for the closet where the shoes were stored.

The peace reigned only for another thirty seconds.


o o o

Vincent was fuming. He was also in a tree. Bront had chewed his new boots into scraps, which meant he was wearing his old metal-plated ones. Sure, the things had excellent traction, and they came in handy when something nasty or annoying came into kicking range, but they were incredibly ugly. At least they matched the claw. And of course he wore his brilliantly red cloak; despite the color and the tatters, there was nothing better for cold weather and late-night espionage. And let's not forget his old pants, perfectly loose around the joints and just tight enough in the thighs that his holster fit excellently. And wonder of wonders, Cid had found his traveling shirt in a drawer somewhere, which he wore because it matched everything else. he really wouldn't have been surprised if Shera had shown up with underwear and a pair of socks he had worn during the Sephiroth fiasco as well. Though it would have made him wonder what she was doing with his underwear.

There was one rather nice consolation, however. Okay, two. The first was the heavy gun in his thigh holster. Like the Death Penalty (currently hanging on the wall at home with the Venus Gospel) the Cerberus was one of a kind, and was a gift from a loved one, although Cid was a lot more alive at the time of giving than Lucretia had been, and therefore was much more up to receiving a hearty 'thank you'.

The other consolation was that the Clones were idiots.

They might be ruthless, cunning, and talented at torture, but they were still rather young, had probably grown up quite sheltered in a Shinra-funded lab somewhere, and knew very little about woodcraft in general. Like that if one wished to go undetected, one didn't build a large campfire near a prominent landmark and talk loudly about one's mother. Or that looking up occasionally might be a good thing, what with the owls and panthers and Turks that hid in the trees.

Tseng and Elena, however, were no fools. Tseng had seen him first, his eyes briefly widening above the gag in his mouth. Elena had noticed a second later, blinking as if she was hallucinating. Aside from the rare glance they threw at him, neither gave any indication to their captors that anything was amiss. Not that the Clones would notice anyway. The two older ones were arguing about the best way to cook the fish they had caught for dinner and the youngest one was yelling at the two of them for yelling at each other.

This would be almost too easy.

Vincent quietly moved through the trees until the noisy camp was out of sight. He'd already picked out where he'd take the two after he'd lured away the Clones; a small, dark valley along the river that fed Aerith's Lake. But for now he headed off to the left of the river. Logic states that if you wish to go one way and not be seen, lure them in the exact opposite direction. The problem with logic was that it could be used against you. So Vincent, never a big fan of logic, headed directly away from the Forgotten Capitol with the river somewhere to his left. Logic said he should hide them within the City while he went for help. And that would be the conclusion he hoped the Clones would come to.

A little over half a mile away, he drew the Cerberus and started firing. The gun was delightfully loud, and echoed over a long distance. He emptied the clip into a large tree, toppling it to the ground with a resounding crash. Immediately he fled into the shadows of the forest, sticking to the dark underbrush between the glowing trees. He soon heard the Clones, crashing through the forest like hounds on a scent, and passed them silently.

One of them should have stayed as a guard. But someone had never taught them that little skill, so the camp was unwatched when he melted from the shadows. Again, Tseng and Elena were no fools. They had started tugging at knots as soon as the Clones had left, and Tseng had his hands already free and was tugging on Elena's bonds. Vincent knelt without speaking, using the sharp talons of his claw to sever the bonds. He noted that while they both had numerous cuts and burns along their arms and upper bodies, their legs were more or less fine. Probably so they could move quickly if discovered. "Can you walk?" He murmured as he sliced through Elena's gag. Both nodded without speaking and he led them through the woods, towards the City.

They passed through the City on an angle, cutting across stone yards where they left no tracks, and entered the forest again on the opposite edge. Vincent led them in a zigzagging path to the little valley, having already mapped out the darkest path that would leave the least tracks. The Clones were already howling among the abandoned houses of the City when they entered the valley.

Elena collapsed among the high rushes at the edge of the river, panting and staring at Vincent with something akin to hero-worship. Tseng hid his awe a bit better, but not by much. Vincent felt suddenly uneasy. But at least now he knew why the normally insolent Reno had bothered to actually salute him. He was something of a legend to them. He wondered if this was how Sephiroth had felt.

"Well." Tseng said, his voice a little too awestruck to be completely business-like. "Welcome back to the Turks, Mr. Valentine."

o o o

They spent the next day in the valley, Vincent binding and curing their wounds, sharing the meager food he had brought, and feeling generally nursemaid-ish. The two rescuees had shared all of their knowledge about the Clones and Jenova's neck, which amounted to quite a lot of info. He severely hoped that Rufus had destroyed the thing and not kept it around somewhere. Fat chance.

In the middle of the night, Vincent awoke the other two and they set off towards the rendezvous point. Reno and Rude would be waiting for them just this side of the Sleeping Forest at dawn. Hopefully, nothing would screw up.

Twice, they had to stop and crouch in the undergrowth as an irate Clone thundered past, searching without really seeing anything. Idiots. Once, the little one paused within a foot of Vincent, needing to only look slightly down and to his left to see a pair of dimly glowing red eyes peering at him from beneath a bush. But he instead he passed on, and Vincent's grip loosened on the butt of the Cerberus. There was no way he could take on all three of them at once, not ladened with two injured and unarmed Turks as he was.

The hours and the miles passed achingly until they were in a small clearing near the humming drone of the Sleeping Forest. And here, standing tall and impassive, was Rude, along with a good-sized helicopter.

Vincent felt like collapsing with relief. Instead he accorded Rude a short nod, deciding his reputation was more important than sitting down and demanding a shot of scotch. Hard, throat-burning, tear-inducing scotch. And knowing the Turks, Rude would have some.

Elena staggered over to the bald Turk, barely managing to remain standing and not collapse into his arms. The Clone's had really gone to work on her, thinking her weak enough to spill the beans, and she's have a hard time before her fingernails grew back in. But small or not, she was still a Turk, and had kept her mouth shut. Rude took her by the arm and led her into the helicopter as Tseng turned back to Vincent.

"Valentine," He said slowly, his lower lip still swollen and painful. "I know you want to go back home-"

Oh no.

"But I'm going to ask you-"

Great. Just peachy.

"To stay here."


"We need someone to keep an eye on them, and you are best suited to the task."

No, no, no.

"Of course I will."

Damn him and his Turkish loyalty.

Tseng nodded and got in the helicopter. With a dull roar, the blades started spinning and the chopper lifted off, disappearing to the south.

Vincent immediately cursed. How was he supposed to keep them updated if he didn't have a phone? Then he spied something laying on the ground where Rude had been. Not a phone, but a flask. Full of hard, throat-burning, tear-inducing scotch.

Maybe things didn't suck so bad after all, and may the gods bless big, bald Turks.

o o o

Three days later, Vincent was again in a tree, wondering how it was that the Clone's hadn't found his little valley after five days, but Marlene had found him in under an hour without leading the Clones to him. Finally, he settled on female intuition and checked the flask again. Still empty. But the hangover had been worth drinking the whole thing down like cola. How the Clones hadn't found him when he was drunkenly sitting in a house in the city and singing was beyond him. Maybe they were just that damn stupid.

Check. Nope, still empty. Rude should have left him two. Or a case. He could probably wander through the woods, dead drunk, butt naked, and singing love songs at the top of his lungs, and the Clones wouldn't find him.

Note to self; he owed Rude a drink or twelve.

He sighed, leaning against the white bark of his tree. Not an hour before, the Clones had left on their bikes for the south, and he had no way to keep up with them. Cloud had left the night before with Marlene, and while it was tempting to go diving for the blond's phone, he wasn't about to disturb Aerith's grave anymore than it had been, and he doubted the phone had survived it's dip.

He wondered why he had wanted this job back.

He heard propellers.

He blinked up at the sky as an airship roared up and came to a hover fifty feet overhead. The Sierra, Cid's latest pride and joy. "Good Morning!" Roared an unmistakable voice from a speaker set on the hull of the ship. "How's the weather down there?"

"Will you just drop the ladder?" Vincent yelled back up, trying not to grin at the sound of Cid's voice. A laugh issued from the speaker and a rope ladder was flung from the ship's cargo door, unwinding to dangle a few feet away. Vincent jumped from the tree and caught the ladder, scrambling up the wooden rungs as fast as he could.

One of the crew members met him at the top, giving him a salute and a grin. Every person in Rocket Town knew he was sleeping with the good Captain and accorded him a healthy mixture of respect and teasing. Vincent nodded in response, speech all but impossible with the wind whistling through the open door, and stalked off towards the cockpit.

Cid was at the wheel when he entered, and turned to grin at him. "Sleep well?" He asked.

Vincent stepped up into the Captains roost, as Cid called it, grabbed the pilot by the front of his shirt, and kissed him soundly. "When we get done with all of this," He growled, "I am going to fuck you until both of us scream."

"I thought I was still on ban for another day or so." Cid replied, grinning.

"I lied."

"A touching reunion," Came a calm voice from the floor. "But I believe we need to be in Edge soon." Vincent blinked and looked up. Nanaki was watching them calmly, Yuffie was grinning like an idiot, and Barett looked like he didn't know whether to laugh or be sick.

"Um." Vincent said intelligently.

"We figured it was time for a reunion of our own." Cid grinned, not at all embarrassed about giving the others a free show. "Up for some kicking of ass?"

"I'm up for getting off this damn continent." Vincent replied. "Let's go."

o o o

The event would there after be known as the Healing Baptismal.

Granted, Cloud looked nothing like a priest of any sort. And a water-filled hole in the floor of a broken-down church looked very little like the usual spotless baptismal font most churches had. But no church font ever had this kind of healing prowess. The people circling the impromptu pool cheered as Cloud lifted a double palmful of water over Denzel's head. Soon children were leaping in from all sides, allowing the cool water to wash away Jenova's taint.

Vincent watched the proceedings quietly, arms crossed over his chest. He was content to sit by the sidelines and observe. Although for a good portion of the time his view was obscured by a particularly rambunctious duo of pilot and ninja who were cheering and urging all of the children in the crowd into the pool. Vincent frowned, not wanting to move to get a better view.

Then he noticed Yuffie bending forward, her hands on her knees to say something to Cloud, and Cid's hand drop to her shoulder for balance while he leaned forward to call out to someone on the other side. It was tempting, so ridiculously easy that even he couldn't help himself. Later he would blame the urge on the frivolous mood at the time. Or maybe it was the last vestiges of Rude's wondrous scotch in his bloodstream.

He reached forward and gave Cid a firm push in the center of the back.

Already off-balance, Cid let out a yell, pin wheeling one arm to keep his balance. His other hand tightened on Yuffie's shoulder and dragged her along as he fell head-first into the water. There was a tremendous splash as the two hit and everyone went dead silent for a second.

Tifa looked at the turbulent water, then behind her at the gunman. He stared back impassively, but she caught the barest hint of a smile at the corner of his mouth. "Vincent," She started slowly, "Did you-"

"God-DAMN" Cid shouted, finding his feet in the pool. Beside him, Yuffie spluttered to the surface, coughing. The pilot felt at his pocket and pulled out a mushy pack of cigarettes. "You owe me some new smokes, Valentine." He growled.

Cloud burst into laughter. Marlene smothered a spasm of giggles into her hands. And then the room was full of laughter as a well-sodden pilot and ninja duo pulled themselves out of the water. Cid ran a hand through his hair and flicked the water at Vincent. "Ass."

"Watch your language, Sidney." Vincent said mildly, smirking at the way Cid's face purpled at the name. "There are children around." Things were definitely starting to look up again.

Now he just needed a phone store.