"Ain't Like I Planned…"

Hey everyone, it seems like I just can't keep away from writing FFVII fanfiction. First off, this is not a YuffiexVincent romance. This is also not a CidxShera, even though their relationship plays a part in the story. The rating is mostly for Cid's swearing and appreciation of the fairer sex, which I didn't censor. I say "mostly" because there might be a little citrus later on, if I grow some guts. The story fits into both the AC and the game universe. The only big difference from AC is that Cid still flies the Highwind around. Special props to Zephie-chan for innocently needling this plot bunny until it grew into a pink elephant.

As usual, no profit is being made from this, and all things FFVII belong to Square-Enix.

Chapter 1: Livin' the Homelife

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

The whistling of the kettle gradually grew louder, until the quick patter of footsteps interrupted its violent whine abruptly. There was a faint sound of pouring water, and a few moments later Shera emerged from the kitchen, carefully balancing the heavily laden tray in her arms. Quietly, she set it on the table before seating herself in the adjoining chair.

Cid watched her from the corner of his eye, his feet still propped defiantly on the table, dangerously close to Shera's plate of scones. He scowled and chewed on his cigarette, watching the woman carefully. The scowl deepened as she took no notice of him, delicately picking up the pot of steaming tea and pouring it into his waiting cup. He shifted a little when she hesitated while holding a lump of sugar, and grunted once as she turned questioning eyes onto him. The quiet plip of the cube hitting the surface of the water seemed loud in comparison to the unnatural blanket of silence settling over the house.

With a polite smile, Shera leaned over, proffering the cup and saucer to Cid with steady hands. The smile never left her face as Cid lowered his feet onto the floor with a loud thud, leaving dirty black streaks across the pristine table. Deliberately, he removed the cigarette from his mouth and leaned forward. The half-chewed butt landed into the proffered cup with a hiss, and Cid raised one eyebrow expectantly. Shera remained frozen, the smile still on her face, before carefully pulling the teacup back towards herself and standing up. "I'll get you another," she said quietly as she shuffled her way back towards the kitchen.

Cid watched her intently until she disappeared behind the door and then let out a loud sigh, running a hand over his face. "Christ," he swore softly to himself. "What am I going to do with that woman?"

It had been five years since Cid returned to Rocket Town as a triumphant member of AVALANCHE. Despite the fanfare and celebrity that had greeted him then, the only thing Cid could concentrate on was returning to the peace of his own house and the woman waiting within it. He had been to more countries than he even knew existed, fulfilled his dream of reaching the stars, and even reversed it in a sense by travelling to the centre of the planet. Cid had seem the breadth and height of the world, and that was exactly what it had taken for him to realize that all he really wanted was the comfort of home. Back then, he had thought that he could find it in Shera's waiting arms. As usual, however, reality had decided to take a large bucket of cold water and thoroughly douse those dreams.

Shera emerged from the kitchen once more, holding a new cup. Repeating her previous ritual, she seated herself at the table and once again prepared the tea. This time Cid took it without any argument, a tired frown lining his features. I'm exhausted just watchin' her, he grumbled to himself as he raised the cup to his lips.

It had been wonderful at first, or so Cid had thought. He had assumed that Shera was simply overwhelmed by the eager emotions bursting through his normally gruff demeanour. It wasn't as though he actually had very much practice trying to make other people happy, let alone a woman. Slowly, however, the awkwardness began to emerge. Cid's fumbling attempts to confess his feelings were met with the same placid smiles as his bare-faced insults. At first it was simply a quirk, but it slowly grew into an increasingly large irritation for the pilot. He wanted to touch Shera, to make her feel the same passion and energy that she ignited within him. But she never reacted to his advances, whether they were gentle or rough. Always he was greeted with the same Cheshire smile, the same sweet devotion and silent understanding. It was maddening; he wanted her to scream at him, to burn with desire, to laugh without reservation, or even just to cuss him out. But it never happened; she was silently devoted to him, yes, but she never showed him anything more than quiet obedience.

Cid Highwind was tired of silence.

With a loud clatter he slammed the half-drunk cup onto the saucer and pushed himself away from the table. Shera watched him with wide eyes, her own cup poised halfway between the saucer and her lips. "Is something wrong with the tea?" she asked tremulously.

"There's nothing wrong with the fuckin' tea," Cid swore at her, grabbing for his jacket and storming towards the front door. "I need a drink," he added roughly, pausing for a moment to gauge Shera's reaction.

She looked at him for a moment, her eyes giving away nothing, and then tilted her head in affirmation with another sad half-smile. "I'll leave the door unlocked again tonight," she answered, and then sipped once more from her cup.

Cid's teeth clenched and he shut the door behind himself with a loud slam.

.x.x.x.

"Gimmie another," Cid growled as he fumbled for a cigarette. "Shit," he swore, his vision doubling as he tried to light the smoke with unsteady fingers. After a few more failed attempts, he gave up and crumpled the cigarette back into his jacket pocket.

"I think you've had enough," the bartender noted with a raised eyebrow as he dried off a mug. "Besides, don't you think Shera might be getting worried about you?" he added helpfully.

Cid snorted and cast a baleful stare into the empty mug before him. "Naw, she ain't," he said dully. "S'ain't like that. Ain't nothing like I planned it," he added sourly, even though the barkeep had already moved away. He continued muttering incoherently to himself even as he pushed his way out of the bar and into the empty, moonlit streets of Rocket Town. He paused to take in the giant scaffolding that jutted into the bright, moonlit sky. It was horribly old, rust flaking off of it everywhere and according to some of the townspeople quite an eyesore. It was largely due to Cid's influence that the contraption hadn't been torn down, left to stand instead as a landmark and quasi-memorial to AVALANCHE's efforts to save the planet despite its shoddy appearance. For Cid, however, it was one of the most beautiful sights in the world. Devoid of the tilted rocket from five years earlier, it was a constant reminder that he had succeeded with at least one of his dreams. Not the most important one, he reminded himself angrily as his house came into view.

Unwilling to face the reality of his unsatisfying relationship with Shera, Cid veered off course and stumbled towards the huge scaffolding. Surrounding himself with reminders of his success always helped ease the sting of defeat. As he settled himself against the one of the steel supports, he wondered briefly what the other members of AVALANCHE were doing. "Probably all getting their fuckin' happy ends," he snarled to himself, his hand fisting unconsciously against the cold steel. He hiccupped and caught himself; that wasn't entirely true. The group still kept in loose contact with each other, though they had undoubtedly grown apart since their wild adventures together as a team. The unspoken cause was, as everyone knew, Cloud's behaviour after meteor struck. He withdrew from the group just as he withdrew from almost the rest of the world, and without his leadership, they had drifted apart. Cid had been mildly concerned for Tifa, who seemed to hang so much importance on her relationship with the reticent blonde.

"Naw… Tifa's doin' fine," he mumbled to himself, rubbing a weary hand through his hair. Even though the martial artist hadn't gotten her "happy end" with Cloud, she still seemed to be content with herself, living in Edge and helping out at the orphanage there. Tifa had discovered that her happiness lay, in the end, not with Cloud after all. And as for the cause of the trouble? He was still wandering the world, doing his best to pattern his new life after Valentine's – reclusive, quiet, guilt-ridden and sullen. After Aeris died, Cloud had just seemed to give up on life in general.

Cid blinked, memories of their green-eyed companion flitting through his thoughts. "Aeris. Now that was a real woman," he mumbled to himself, reaching for his cigarette once more and this time succeeding in lighting it. Hell, he thought to himself sourly as he reflected on the past. Everyone was in love with Aeris. No wonder the kid's turned into a goddamn recluse. Even Cid himself hadn't been immune to the lovely, pure innocence exuded by the beautiful Cetra. When those gentle smiles would cross her face, she had reminded him so much of Shera—

"Fuck!" Cid swore, spitting out the cigarette and lowering his face into his hands. Shera. The cause of his currently inebriated state managed to burn away the pleasant effects of Cid's alcoholic buzz, leaving him only with a wobbly sense of nausea and a pounding headache.

Shera, the woman who loved him. Cid was sure of it, as confident of Shera's feelings for him as he was of his own piloting ability. "So why the hell can't she show it?" he swore out loud, pounding his fist against the scaffolding and then swearing loudly as the pain registered. He looked at the house, a pained grimace crossing his face. Shera was waiting there, his devoted little Shera, who still didn't even share the same bed with him after all their years of living together. It wasn't for lack of trying; the first time Cid had come to her, all thumbs and blushes like an inexperienced teenager, she had willingly taken him into her arms. But it had been anything but the paradise he was expecting. "Those goddamn radio ballads are full of shit," he swore with an ironic chuckle.

Their first and only time together had been punctuated by awkward silence and his fumbling fingers and constant apologies. He remembered it clearly, though not with a sense of pride or pleasure; he had been her first. Throughout the entire evening, she hadn't said a word, simply smiled at him with her soft, half-closed eyes, withdrawn within her shell as he moved above her. To say it had killed the mood would have been an understatement; Cid had felt like an intruder, an unwelcome visitor in her bed. And yet, when it was over, she had taken him into her arms and whispered soothing platitudes against his sweat-slick skin, reassuring him and letting him drift to sleep in her arms. The next morning when he woke, she had already risen to prepare breakfast. He had walked into the kitchen, wearing a stupid grin and not much else. The look on Shera's face as she saw him had stopped him more effectively than any splash of cold water could have. And yet, she said nothing! Just a moment of surprised scrutiny, and then a gently voiced offer to fetch his pants from the bedroom. Since that morning, Cid hadn't dared venture near Shera's room, afraid of what he might do, and more afraid to find out what she wanted… or if she wanted it. If she wanted him.

"Fuck me," Cid groaned as he stumbled towards the building, his stray thoughts betraying him as he felt warmth flush through his body. He flung open the door to the house almost violently, barely remembering to shut it behind him as he made his way towards his bedroom. He paused as he passed Shera's closed door, staring at it angrily. As much as he willed himself to ignore it, his self-recrimination was slowly fading in favour of the more pleasant memory of Shera's body against his, free of her usual loose clothing and baggy trench coats. He swore again and leaned his head against the door, struggling with his own desires and losing. Finally he looked up, a gleam in his eye as he reached for the doorknob. "Damn it, woman, a man has needs," he mumbled to himself as he slipped into the darkened room.

Shera's form made a small lump under the heavy quilts in her bed, and with a sense of anticipation, Cid roughly pulled away the sheets. To his disappointment, she was fully clothed in a nightgown that unfortunately left everything to the imagination. Moreover, she was sleeping soundly, something which irritated him for a wholly different reason.

Why the hell isn't she worried about me stayin' out late? he wondered to himself as he reached blindly for the hem of her gown. "Hey babe," he said out loud, grabbing Shera's hip and shaking her not-so-gently. "Wake up," he growled, crawling on top of her and breathing heavily into her ear.

"Mmm… Cid?" Shera's eyes fluttered open and widened slightly as a blast of Cid's alcohol-laden breath assaulted her. "You've been drinking too much again," she said reprovingly, as though waking up in the middle of the night to find him pawing her was not unexpected or out of the ordinary. "Do you need help getting your boots off? You're getting the sheets dirty," she added softly as he scrabbled on the bed, trying to roll her over.

Cid, who at that point had been trailing his lips across her neck, sat up with a grunt and gave Shera a hard stare. "What the fuck are you talking about?" he growled suddenly, grabbing her arms and pulling her up forcibly into a seated position. "Here I am, horny as all hell, and the only thing you can ask about is my fucking shoes?" he swore at her, his blue eyes burning as he pushed his face against hers.

Shera's eyes clouded slightly, and she looked down. "I'm sorry," she murmured softly. "Please, don't let me stop you." Her gentle request had the opposite effect on the pilot, who leapt off of her as though he had been burned.

"H-hell," Cid swore, breathing heavily through his nose and trying to calm himself down. "How're we supposed to do anything when you're too busy acting like a goddamn kicked puppy, woman?" he growled at her, his glare sharpening from one of lust into one of anger.

"I'm sorry," Shera said again, more quietly. Then, carefully, she began to undo the drawstring on her nightgown, never once looking up.

To Cid, she had the look of a defeated woman. His hazy lust quickly vaporized in a cloud of regret and self-loathing. What the fuck was I thinking? Suddenly disgusted with himself, he moved to the bed, reaching out to stop her before she could pull the garment off of her body. He froze as she flinched under his outstretched hand, froze and felt something other than alcohol churning unpleasantly within his stomach. "The hell…?" he whispered hoarsely, his hand still outstretched.

Shera blinked, her hand still raised to her neck, and lifted her pale face to Cid's. Her eyes were large and glassy, frightened as though she had realized her mistake. "I… I didn't mean to!" she said quickly, her hands leaving the drawstring and reaching out for his. He pulled away from her as though her touch physically pained him. "I-I don't know what got into me, Cid. Please, just come to bed—"

"WHAT THE FUCK?" Cid roared as he backed away, his eyes wild, unable to control his own shudder as she flinched again under the volume of his yell. "You thought—you thought I was gonna—what the FUCK, Shera?" he yelled again, this time unable to keep the hurt from mixing with the anger in his voice.

"Cid, please!" Shera tried again, her eyes misting with tears as she launched herself out of the bed and moved towards him. "I didn't mean it like that—" She stopped as Cid took another step back and hit the closed door, breathing unsteadily.

"Didn't mean it like what?" Cid answered roughly, staring at the woman before him in shock. It was the most emotion he'd seen her express in months, but it wasn't exactly the reaction that he had been hoping for when he entered her room that night. "You thought I was gonna fucking hit you!" he repeated, the words sounding sour in his ears. "You really thought I was gonna hit you like some goddamn punk off the street!" His mind raced, the blood pounding in his ears. Gotta get outta this damn room, he thought muzzily to himself as he fumbled for the doorknob.

"Please don't go!" Shera said again, this time reaching for his arm. Brusquely, Cid shook her off and nearly tore the door off its hinges as he pulled it open.

"Fuck, woman. You can stop pretending already! I know you don't want me in your bed tonight," he cursed at her. Then he laughed bitterly, taking one last look at Shera's bedraggled, trembling form. A stab of regret made him wince, but the hazy anger soon rose again to take its place. "Holy shit… all these years…" he said gruffly, trying to form coherent words around his jumbled thoughts. "I thought you knew me better than that, Shera," he added finally, feeling a dull, throbbing ache expand in his chest. And then, with the slam of a door, he was gone.

AN: Hope you enjoyed it. Please leave a review, tell me what you think. I write abnormally fast, but I write even more abnormally faster when people leave reviews.