MakoRedEyes: okay. I've just noticed something. you and fira seem to give Cid matching scars (on his shoulder?) is there a story behind that? or am I just being a dumbass? XD

Me: ish. We were discussing her pic, the tattoos and shampoo one, and talking about 'Vin should have a Turtle's Paradise tat 8D' and 'I bet Cid has a bajillion scars from falling into engines.' She gave him the shoulder scar, probably because it would have stood out where she placed it, and I just copied it. He probably has a long, hilarious story about it that involves the Tiny Bronco and a terrifed woman wearing only a towel, but I haven't heard it yet :3

Annnd that's where this came from. Dedicated to Mako Red Eyes, (who makes a cameo 8D ) Fira, who first drew Cid's shoulder scar, and anyone who thinks Cid Highwind is awesome.

Cid, the Bronco, and the rest of Avalanche belongs to Squenix, Joscelyn belongs to herself, and everything else is mine 8D

o o o

"Okay, Highwind, fess up." Yuffie demanded.

Cid looked across the table at the Wutaian girl, raising a brow as he swallowed his food. "Okay. I killed President Shinra. And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for you meddlesome kids."

Yuffie rolled her eyes and planted both her hands on the tabletop, leaning towards the blond. "I'm serious," She said, trying her best to look, well, serious. "Equiring minds wanna know. Why pink?"

"The Tiny Bronco?" He asked, leaning back from the girl a bit. "What's wrong with pink?"

Yuffie stood straight again, folding her arms. "I know you too well by now." She stated, despite having only known him for a little over a week. "You're not the type to paint something like your precious plane baby-doll pink on a whim."

"Okay." Cid said agreeably. "I'm secretly a fruit and pink's my favorite color."

"Actually," Cloud interjected from the table over as Yuffie growled in frustration. "I wouldn't mind knowing why, either. Fruit or no, you don't seem like a 'pink' man, Captain."

"Y'all really wanna know?" Cid questioned, looking around at his various companions. When he was met with several nods, he grinned and settled back in his chair, lighting a cigarette. "All right, story time."

o o o

Cidney Alan Highwind might've been a poor kid from Cosmo canyon, but he was a poor kid with one hell of a brain in his skull. And he hoped that said brain would get him a nicely high-paying job within the Shinra. His ticket in would be the device he was currently sitting in, a small airplane made from scrap metal, car parts, and an engine cobbled together from two semi's and a motorboat. The plane had the tentative name of the Bronco, and though it rattled and clanked a bit as it flew, it DID fly, and well. Not bad for a poor kid armed with a wrench, an acetylene torch, and a battered book on aviation technology.

He had sent letters to the Shinra detailing what he had done and what he had done it with. When two weeks passed without a reply, he sent them an update on the plane's condition. It became a ritual, every two weeks he sent another update on how the Bronco was coming along. Then, three months later, he'd finally gotten a reply, which said for him to be at the Gongagan Shinra base with the plane on a certain date.

This was the Bronco's first flight outside of the Canyon and she was behaving beautifully. Teaching himself how to fly had been a bitch, but he had managed, and now, almost four years after he had gotten the notion to build his own plane, he grinned as he set the Bronco down on a dusty airstrip carved out of the dense Gongaga jungle.

A man in baggy camouflage pants and a tank top jogged to meet him as he exited the plane into the oppressive heat. Cid managed a slightly clumsy salute even as he eyes the carbine in the man's hands. "Cid Highwind, reporting for duty, sir."

The man snorted, icy blue eyes taking in the young man before him and the plane, it's bare metal gleaming under the sun. "So, you're the one who kept pestering the bigwigs in Midgar." He said, his deep voice betraying only the faintest amusement. "That thing looks like a sub that was attacked by a blowtorch."

"Actually, it's part motorboat." Cid replied.

The man blinked, then laughed. "First Sergeant Michaelson." He said, holding out his hand, which Cid shook firmly. "Welcome to the Shinra."

As the Sergeant led Cid towards the main command building, he explained the situation. Albert Palmer, head of Shinra's Department of Aviation, would be at the base in three days to examine both the Bronco and Cid, and hopefully let Cid know if the Shinra could use his talents. Therefore, Cid had three days to get the Bronco 'prettied up', including a paint job. Cid nodded in understanding, and Michaelson left him before a large storage building, telling him to 'go in and pick a color'.

Opening the door, Cid was greeted by a lanky man with glasses and a grin. "Roy Parker." The man introduced himself. "Hear you need a plane painted?"

o o o

"So you chose pink?"

"I ain't done yet, brat."

o o o

The passage of a couple hours found Cid reclining on a lumpy cot in the barracks, arms behind his head as he went over plans for the new look of the Bronco, which Roy had been calling 'Tiny' by the end of their meeting, due to it's size. The man was the base's storekeeper, and also an artistic genius, who helped him design the Bronco's new paint job, a crisp blue with red decals on the wings. They would start the next day.

Caught up in a pleasant daydream of becoming the greatest pilot the world had ever known, Cid didn't notice the commotion around the camp until a nearby explosion knocked him off his cot. Cursing, he staggered to his feet and ran for the door.

Soldiers were running back and forth, shouting, as another explosion rocked the camp. Suddenly Michaelson was there before him, hard fingers digging into his arm. "Bandit raid." The man explained tersely. "Best keep outta the way." Watching Michaelson jog away, Cid was struck by a sudden fear - what if the bandits hurt the Bronco? The blond broke into a run, heading for the airstrip.

As he approached the airstrip, he heard a loud ruckus to his left. Turning, he saw a dozen chocobo's heading directly for him, shrieking and being chased by a group of roughly dressed men. Ahead of him, another group of men were coming at him, being chased themselves by armed soldiers on the airstrip. Figuring his plane was safe for the time being, he turned, catching a chocobo as it ran past and swinging up into it's saddle. He'd be safer on one of the speedy birds than he would be on the ground.

From his vantage point atop the bird, he saw organized chaos all around. The soldiers were fighting back against the bandits in neat ranks, killing many and driving the rest into the jungle. But the group herding the chocobo's was still going strong, whooping and screaming, driving the frightened birds into a frenzy as they moved towards the trees, Cid borne along with them and cursing the fact that he hadn't better learned how to ride.

A scream made him look up. A woman in a towel was dodging several bandits, one hand clutching valiantly at her cover while she swung her other fist at any bandit who got to close. "Miss!" He cried, managing to nudge his bird in her direction.

She spun around towards him, short brown hair clinging wetly to her scalp. How she knew he wasn't a bandit, he never found out, but as he held his hand out, she grabbed it, swinging up behind him and still, somehow, holding her towel. "Who the hell are you?" She half-yelled over the noise, one arm snaking around his waist.

"New recruit!" He shouted back, trying to control the wayward chocobo. "Nice outfit."

"The bastards blew up half the damn shower hall." She explained. "I'm lucky I found anything to cover up with."

Cid, completely oblivious to the weirdness behind having a conversation with a near-naked woman while riding a scared chocobo, opened his mouth to respond, but was interrupted by another blast, this one quite near. Many of the chocobo's around them screamed in fear and pain, bolting into the forest, his own included. As they headed away from the camp, a hot line of pain was drawn across Cid's shoulder, so sudden and sharp that he grayed out. The chocobo, undeterred, continued into the hot jungle.

o o o

"So, wait a second." Cloud said. "The base got attacked, and all of a sudden, you're injured and stuck in a jungle with a chocobo and a woman in a towel?"

"Sounds like a plot out of a bad romance novel." Tifa commented.

"Or the start of a really bad porno." Barett added.

"But what does this have to do with your plane being pink?" Yuffie asked.

"Chill, I'm almost there." Cid said. "You're the one who wanted to know why."

o o o

When Cid's consciousness came back fully, it was to the feel of ferns under his butt and muttered cursing in his ear. The woman was kneeling beside him, a torn strip of towel folded against the long gash along the curve of his shoulder. "That's going to leave one hell of a scar." She told him, noticing he was fully there again. "If you're going to completely pass out, I suggest you do it now, while you're not on the bird."

Cid blinked around, noticing 'their' chocobo nearby, along with three others. "Where are we?" He managed. "And for that matter, who're you?"

"Captain Joscelyn of the Shinra Air Force." She replied, tying the strip around his shoulder. "As for where we are, I'd say a couple miles outside of the base. You've been out for a good fifteen minutes, and you dropped the reins, so all we could do is sit there and let the bird run until he got tired."

Cid cursed himself again, this time for letting the pain get to him so badly. Clutching the towel to the wound, he staggered to his feet. "Didja see what hit me?" He asked, gingerly testing his injured arm.

"Shrapnel." Joscelyn answered, carefully arranging her newly shortened towel for maximum coverage. "From the explosion. It was a hunk of metal that nearly took my ear off."

"Glad you escaped a maiming." Cid said, eying the trampled track the chocobo's made through the undergrowth. It would be easy enough to find their way back, even in the dark.

"What's your name, recruit?"

"Cid."

"Well, Cid. I think I owe you a big 'thanks'." She said sincerely. "You probably saved my life back there. Now, whadya say we get back to base?"

"I say that's a damn good idea." He replied. Clumsily, due to his arm, he climbed back onto one of the birds, politely looking the other way as Joscelyn climbed onto hers and settled on side-saddle. Clucking to his chocobo, Cid aimed it towards the beaten track through the woods.

"Oh no, recruit." Joscelyn said, kicking her bird beside his. "I outrank you, I'm leading the way back."

"With all due respect, ma'am," Cid retorted. "I out-clothe you. I'm leading."

"I've been in this jungle longer, I'm leading."

"I grew up in the freaking wilderness, I'm leading."

"You're hurt."

"You're not wearing shoes."

Thus bickering, their birds side by side, they headed back, the unmanned chocobo following obediently behind.

o o o

"So, where's this Joscelyn now?"

"Actually, in Junon. She flies one of the big airships."

o o o

"Captain! Highwind! Thank the gods."

They emerged from the woods at the edge of the camp to see Michaelson running towards them, relief etched onto his angular face. He stopped short when he saw the blood trickling down Cid's arm from his soaked bandage, and Joscelyn's 'attire'. "Highwind, report to medical, that way." He said pointing. "Captain... erm, you can go back to your shower, the opening's been partitioned off."

"Thank you, Sergeant." Joscelyn replied, directing her bird towards the half-gone building.

Cid swung down from his bird, tossing the Sergeant the reins. "You guys have raids often?" He asked.

"About once every few months." Michaelson replied. "The bastards are getting smart." He gave Cid an odd look. "How in the hell did you end up out there with Captain Joscelyn in a towel?"

"No idea." Cid said. "Where's medical again?"

A nurse, stitches, and six hours of heavy sleep later, Cid was back in Roy Parker's store house. Or rather, what was left of it. Parker, looking like he hadn't slept at all, was sitting among a pile of half-burnt boxes, carefully sorting out usable bandages from crispy ones. "Need help?" Cid asked, leaning over a tall box to look at the man.

"Thanks, but no." Roy said, pushing his glasses up his nose with his thumb. "I'd rather do it myself, so i know where everything is, you know?"

"Yeah, I got ya." Cid replied. "How bad is it?"

"Not as bad as it looks." Roy replied, throwing a blackened roll of gauze at a mound of similarly scorched items. He gave Cid a semi-sympathetic look. "A lot of the cans of paint went up, though. Including that blue you wanted."

"Damn." Cid said, his face falling. "Is there anything left?"

"You could always paint the thing rainbow." Roy suggested, digging shoulder-deep into a box. "Got enough of each color to stripe it. But there's only enough of one color to paint the whole think, though damned if I can figure out why the Air Force needs so much of that color."

"What color?" Cid asked, folding his arms. "Anything'd be better than leaving it plain... except, maybe, baby-shit brown. It's not that, is it?"

Roy flashed him a half-grin. "See for yourself, it's on that shelf over there." He said, jerking his thumb over his shoulder.

Cid walked over to the shelf and picked up one of the heavy cans, reading the label. "Oh, hell no." He said, unable to help a laugh.

o o o

"Bright pink?" Cloud asked.

"Bright pink." Cid confirmed, his stubbing out his cigarette in the ashtray on the table. "'Carnation pink', actually. Palmer showed up two days later and said that any man that had the balls to show up on an army base with a baby-pink plane had to be good enough for the Shinra. Got hired two days later." He looked at Yuffie with a grin. "Satisfied?"

o o o