Lucky number 13. Here it is.

Chap 13: The First Sip

Finally Cid had a semi-confession from Vincent, yet he was torn between jumping for joy and strangling the gunman. He couldn't believe that he'd been put through so much trouble because Vincent had the hots for him and obviously couldn't deal with it. If only Cid had known that earlier, he would have gladly puckered up for his old teammate if it meant he could have saved some of his sanity and gone without a large bump on the head.

"Hey Kid. You mind givin' us some privacy?" Cid asked Cloud, staring up at Vincent the whole time, keeping his sights on him for fear that he would magically disappear if he looked away.

Cid didn't figure the gunman would try to run anymore. His secret was out so he had nothing else to hide. So given that, the pilot figured it was safe to let Cloud off the hook from his guard duty, plus he was betting that Vincent would relax a little more if he had one less audience member. He couldn't be sure, but he felt he had to risk the possibility of being trampled by the gunman to keep whatever was going to happen solely between himself and Vincent.

When Cloud left the galley, Cid decided to be strong and not call him back, even though Vincent instantly became more nervous once Avalanche's former leader was gone. The pilot gave him what he hoped was a reassuring smile as he stood up and walked over to stove, putting the kettle back on boil. "How do you take it, Vin?" he asked.

"Excuse me?" Vincent replied quietly, not following the line of questioning.

"Yer tea, Vin," Cid clarified, "Ain't no way in hell yer gettin' a kiss 'til you try my tea. You owe me somethin' for all the shit you put me through. Don't ya think?"

Vincent blinked. "You're going to kiss me?" he asked in wonder.

The pilot grunted. "We'll talk about that in sec. Now answer the damn question."

"…which one? You asked two questions…"

Cid rolled his eyes to the heavens. "Oh for fuck's sake!" he growled softly, looking for strength. "What do ya want in yer tea, goddammit? Milk? Sugar?"

"…plain will be fine. Thank you." Vincent answered meekly.

Cid nodded and grabbed the kettle off the stove, pouring the boiling water into the tea pot. Somehow he had been expecting that Vincent wouldn't want anything in his tea, and he hadn't been disappointed. The guy took his coffee black after all.

"So…" Cid carried the teapot over to the table, maneuvering around the spilled breakfast that was still on the floor. He set the pot down and sat beside the gunman. "How long you wanted to kiss me, Vin? Since I grabbed you at Tif's place?" He asked, fishing for compliments, and to get Vincent to repeat what he had confessed to Cloud. After all the abuse, he felt his pride could use a little stroking.

Vincent looked away, his face red. "…Yes. The first time was then."

Cid grinned and jumped to the next topic. "What do ya like about me?" he asked, incredibly curious. He watched Vincent's brow furrow in thought, though he had to say that it looked more like he was suffering from an intense headache.

"I…find you vulgar," the gunman began, "Uncouth...and loud—"

"Any time you wanna get to the good points is fine with me, Vin…" Cid interrupted him a little moodily, his smile slipping.

"—but you have a good heart," Vincent continued hastily, "And I admire your passion. I suppose I am attracted to your personality, though I never thought I would ever say those words. I always believed that you'd be the last person on earth I would fall for. It's so strange."

Cid's smile completely vanished then, thoroughly insulted by the confession, even though Vincent had probably not meant it to hurt his feelings. Was he honestly saying that Barret or that irritating Turk Reno had a better shot with him than he did? He scowled. "Well fuck. Thanks for makin' it seem like liking me's the worst thing to ever happen to ya, Vin."

The dark-haired man frowned. "I am sorry. I did not mean it that way."

"But you don't like it," the pilot countered, "Wouldn't'a run away from me like ya did if you was happy about wanting me."

Vincent met his gaze briefly before looking away. "How would you feel if you were in my place?"

"Considerin' I'm the actual guy yer bitchin' about, I really can't empathize, Vin. I'm biased. I like me."

The gunman sighed heavily. "I like you too. The trouble is that I've spent so long being irritated by everything that you do, that it's difficult for me to accept that what I hated about you, I now like."

Cid grunted and didn't speak for a while after that, deciding to try and calm down a bit before he said something really nasty or scared Vincent off. He wasn't particularly fond of the man's company at the moment, but his former teammate was finally talking, and he didn't want to ruin that, even though he was pissed.

At last he let out a sigh that turned into a weak chuckle. "You really are one hell of a fucked up, unpredictable sonuvabitch, you know that?"

Vincent frowned, but then nodded morosely when he realized that Cid wasn't really trying to be insulting. "I have come to realize that, yes," he admitted.

Cid's smile returned. "Good," he said, "Just so long as you know yer crazy. And I got one last question…How come you was so hostile with me? I mean, I get the runnin', but the hostility?"

The former Turk heaved another sigh. "I suppose I was subconsciously trying to push you away, but it only seemed to bring you closer. It was very frustrating."

Cid took it all in and his grin widened. "Thanks Vin. And I'm not trying ta being sarcastic and shit. Never had anyone so into me before that he had to be such a prick. So I'll take it as a compliment."

"But it does not bother you that I like you?" Vincent asked, returning his gaze to the pilot.

Cid only continued to smile as he turned on the bench to pour the tea, carefully sliding a cup over to Vincent. "Try it."

"Highwi—Cid. Please answer my question."

"Try the damn tea first," Cid replied pointing authoritatively at the cup, secretly happy that Vincent had used his first name.

Vincent stared at the tea cup, but gave in quickly and picked it up, watching Cid over the rim as he lifted it to his lips. Cid held his breath as he heard a small slurp and watched Vincent swallow. He couldn't believe the gunman had finally tried his tea.

"Well?" he stared at him expectantly, "What do you think?"

"It's…," Vincent hesitated, "Do you honestly want to know what I think?"

"Fuckin' hell. Of course I do, Vin! Just tell me."

Vincent sighed. "If you'll excuse the pun, it's not my cup of tea."

Cid scowled, not really knowing what that meant, yet sensing an insult in there somewhere. "Speak English, dammit. What are you saying?"

"I am saying that I will not give up on coffee."

"Okay, but what the hell do you think of the tea?"

Vincent sighed again in frustration. "I don't like it, Cid. I was trying to be polite about it, but truthfully, I hate tea. Whether you make it or not, or whether it's a special brew, I will still hate it. I am sorry."

Cid's jaw dropped. Never in his wildest dreams had he ever thought that someone could hate tea, let alone HIS tea, his special tea. "Yer fuckin' crazy, Vin! Are you sure you hate it?! Take another sip. I bet you barely swallowed any. Drink the fucking cup. You can't tell me you hate somethin' when you didn't even have HALF a goddamn mouthful!" Cid spoke quickly, desperate to get the gunman to change his mind.

Vincent shook his head in a refusal. "I'm sorry, Cid."

"Vin! You have—" the pilot was about to begin an argument when he saw Vincent quickly turn his head away. His eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Wait just a goddamn minute…Are you fuckin' with me Valentine?!"

The gunman's face dipped lower behind his cloak and Cid heard a soft snort, which he suspected was suppressed laughter. In irritation, he grabbed the man's cape and yanked it down, revealing a Vincent Valentine who was trying very hard not to smile.

Cid found he couldn't return the gesture. "You sneaky sonuvabitch! You lied to me!"

Vincent actually laughed, and the pilot thought he'd entered a parallel universe. Vincent wasn't capable of smiling or laughing, or playing a joke for that matter. Who the hell was this creature sitting in front of him and what had it done with the stoic gunman?

"You should have seen your face!" Vincent continued to chuckle and Cid got scared. He'd broken Valentine, but how the hell did he fix him?

"Stop laughing, dammit. It's not funny!" Cid grumbled. "You piss me off to no fucking end sometimes, Vin."

Vincent snorted, "You're so easy!"

Cid scowled, not liking being the butt of the joke, but since it was the first joke he'd ever heard Vincent make, he let it slide, and had to wait five whole minutes for the gunman to quiet down. Once Vincent was silent again and wiping away his tears of laughter, Cid hit him with the all-important question. "Did you actually like the tea?"

Vincent smiled, trying not to laugh again. "Yes. It was actually very good, Cid. You were right."

"Damn straight. Good thing you liked it, Vin, cuz otherwise I wouldn't'a done this…" Cid grabbed Vincent by the collar and yanked him forward, kissing him firmly on the lips before letting him go and getting up.

"Got a ship to run now, so I'll see ya later, Vin." he walked to the doorway and paused, turning back around to smirk at the stunned gunman. "Just so ya know, I think yer a good-looking guy, but if you insult my tea again, I don't care how hot you are, yer getting' tossed over the side. You got me Vin?" Cid waited for a nod before walking out to go about his duties, smiling.

Sometimes Vincent pissed him off to no end…but only sometimes…