Author's Beginning Note Thingy: First thing's first, takes place DIRECTLY after AC, like... later that day. And now...
...CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED... I refuse to be held accountable for any of the lame, brain-aching, heavy-sigh-inducing, eyeroll-worthy, and potentially suicidally suggestive metaphors you are about to read. XD You were warned.
That having been said, this is a little thing my friend and I roleplayed (most of the dialogue is taken directly from our original) one day, when we got really bored and were fiddling around with our relatively new cellphones. We took the idea and ran with it (and ran and ran and ran). Hope you enjoy anyway.
The hectic events of the morning had settled into an anticlimactic and unremarkable afternoon. Avalanche was convened in the livingspace of the Seventh Heaven, lounging around with cold drinks and taking shelter from the harsh Midgar sun. Some idle chit-chat later had found them all agreed to one thing: in the quite likely possibility that the world would be in need of saving again sometime soon, their reaction would have to be much quicker, and better planned than it had been today. Consequentially, this involved each of them vowing to stay in better contact with all the others. Cellphone numbers were switched, and in this process it was noted that neither Cloud nor Vincent was any longer in possession of a phone.
"I think mine fell into the lake at the Sleeping Forest when I got attacked..." Cloud noted, staring down a little longingly at the empty clip on his belt where his phone would normally rest.
All eyes looked to Vincent, who kept his arms crossed and didn't answer.
"He never had one." Marlene provided, nodding sagely. Vincent sighed.
"Well you have to get one." Tifa said matter-of-factly. "Cloud can take you down to the cellphone store." she suggested with a bright smile, indicating the blonde, who looked up cluelessly upon hearing his name.
"Go get Vincent a phone!" she sighed.
So that was how Vincent came to be waiting outside the phone store just down the block, leaning sullenly against a battered light post with his arms folded across his chest. Crimson eyes stared out at the busy Midgar street as he kept a bored mental counter on how many yellow cars had gone by. Getting his own phone had been a matter of minutes, but the swordsman had to have been gone at least half an hour. What in the name of Odin was taking him so long?
"846-2367." came the proud announcement from behind. Vincent turned to face Cloud as he emerged triumphantly from the phone shop. "I wonder what my number spells..." he rambled on, flipping the device open and peering down at the buttons. He glanced up from the keypad to Vincent momentarily, as a haze of pink settled in on his cheeks.
It was this that at last bought Vincent's attention back from glaring angrily at the next yellow car on the street, and chalking off another tally on his envisioned blackboard, bringing the total count to ten. "What is it?" he asked, picking up on the suggested question.
Cloud, on the other hand, didn't seem to realize what an obvious follow-up this had been, "N-nothing, it's..." he stammered, trailing off.
A moment of silence followed, Vincent staring determinedly at Cloud, Cloud staring determinedly at his phone. "Well, what is it?" the gunman impatiently pressed.
"Tin... beot..." Cloud provided hopefully.
"That doesn't mean anything." Vincent stated the obvious with a roll of the eyes. Cloud's smile turned sheepish, and he let the hand in which he held the phone drop to his side. "I wonder what mine is..." the gunman did mumble to himself a moment later, carefully opening up his phone and reading aloud, "465-6739." A silence hung in the moment, broken only by the honking of yellow-car-#11, which passed by Vincent otherwise unnoticed. The gunman suddenly seemed much more focused on another thing. As suddenly as glass shattering, his eyes shot open wide and his jaw dropped, an action mostly hidden by the collar of his cloak. "I need to get it changed." he stated, flustered.
Cloud blinked in confusion, "Why, what's it spell?"
"Nothing." Vincent answered shortly, and far too quick, straightening up tensely. Cloud laughed. "No..." the ex-Turk hissed, "It's really not funny. I need to get this number changed."
"What's it say?" Cloud prodded innocently, leaning over as if the answer lay written out plainly on the screen. Vincent quickly turned, tilting it away so that it wasn't seen. The boy frowned.
"It doesn't say anything!" Vincent assured, though it must've been quite a significant nothing to have him worked up so... a slow smile tugged at the blonde's lips.
"Ohhh..." he breathed, "Didja know what the last three spell?" and a soft snicker to follow.
"Yes, I know what the last three spell!" Vincent snapped, before his face softened into simple surprise, "I- I mean no!" he vainly corrected, "I didn't know it spelled anything." the lie was evident.
"And the rest..." Cloud was already moving on, doing a bit of mental calculating, "It's gonna be an 'o'... probably another 'o'... ho... ko? Go... ko? Gojo?" he tried.
"Well yours says 'Vincent'!" the gunman blurted.
Cloud gasped, and countered defensively, "I didn't pick it out!"
The ex-Turk rolled his eyes and sneered behind the collar of his cloak, glad to have diverted the subject so that he was back with the upper-hand, "So when you practically skipped down the steps of the Seventh Heaven fourty minutes ago, rejoicing because you were 'finally going to get that custom phone number you've always wanted', you didn't end up getting one after all?"
After a short silence, and an awkward shifting from foot-to-foot on behalf of the blonde, he meekly answered a very hard-to-believe "...they didn't have the one I wanted." all the while glancing feebly off to the side, as if the mangled candy wrapper on the sidewalk were somehow incredibly interesting.
"And what did you want?" Vincent continued his interrogation with suspicion.
"Well, my first choice was 922-5739." he rambled quite easily, and went on, "Then I wanted 237-484... but I forgot the numbers were seven letters..." he sighed mournfully.
Vincent huffed. Perhaps he'd lost this battle, and conceded. "So, I'm third best. Great. Well, so much for 692-5683..."
Cloud did some figuring in his head, "My... Cloud?" he slowly looked up from the aforementioned candy-wrapper. "Vincent," he continued, "is there something you wanna tell me?"
"No." Vincent said, quickly punctuated and cut off by a clearing of the throat.
A moment of quiet twined between them... another yellow car whizzed past, sending up a light spray of rainwater from the gutter by the sidewalk. Vincent flinched and frowned, idly shaking off the corner of his cloak from the wetness, and neglecting to raise the count.
"I've got a confession." Cloud stated.
The gunman blinked before realizing that he was expected to respond, "Uh, yeah?" he managed.
Cloud's eyes fell to the dusty sidewalk and he kicked it slightly, "I got my first choice of number."
"...well." Vincent cleared his throat, "...ironically enough, my number was assigned randomly, but I..." he paused, but decided he'd come too far to stop now, "...was planning on getting it switched to 692-5683."
"But..." Cloud began, amazingly straightfaced, though his eyes betrayed a certain degree of shock and something else, "...how do you know it'll get accepted?"
"Well, I..." Vincent began with a thoughtful frown, "...don't. I still have to go to the store and find out, but I'm hoping it is."
"Let's go together." Cloud suggested lightly, glancing as the owner of the store they were standing by turned the 'Open' sign to 'Closed', and slipping his phone back into his pocket, "What are you gonna do to find out? I hear attention at this time of day over there is pretty cutthroat." he mentioned, starting a slow amble going down the street again.
Vincent snorted bitterly, "I imagine all I'd have to do is walk in and open my eyes really wide so everybody can see the color." he half-joked... but really, he'd experienced similar reactions before... "Then they'll all scramble to get out of the way."
To this, however, instead of laughing at the joke, as he was meant to, Cloud frowned, "You're gonna force your way in? That might get you kicked out and told to never come back." he crossed his arms over his chest as he walked, watching Vincent expectantly in the peripheral of his gaze.
"...should I just wait in line, then?" Vincent bit slightly. He wasn't being serious, after all.
"Probably." Cloud gave a thoughtful nod to the idea, "But you also gotta be assertive." he grinned and punched the air slightly, with a haughty and assured tone to his voice "You know. Lay claim on what's yours."
A long moment passed with no further dialogue, except for the rather dry conversation of their boots hitting the pavement, Cloud's: thunk, thunk, and in between, Vincent's: clank, clank, before the gunman tilted his head to the side with curiosity and asked skeptically, "Are we still talking about phones?"
Cloud could do nothing to hide the obvious blush that crept over his face, "O-of course! Obviously." he stammered, glancing off to the side at some graffiti on a nearby brownstone (Moogles Suck!), "I- I mean, what else would we talk about? Shiva... Phones, of course." his eyes were bouncing around to touch everything but Vincent faster than bingo balls in a little glass shuffler.
"Right." Vincent smirked, "Because subtlety is too much to expect of you, Cloud Strife."
"Vincent." he sounded very serious, "Look at me." Cloud had stopped, and was standing in the middle of the walkway with his arms spread out to the sides, forcing Vincent to slow his gait and glance back, "Look at my HAIR. Do you think I do subtle?"
"...understood." Vincent coughed, "So..." changing the subject back, "...which phone store should we go to? Tifa told me that there's one on the corner of 5th Street and Ifrit Road that usually has good deals... but there's also this other..." he looked up, checking Cloud's face for any change, or, hopefully, some sign of approval, "...in fact, just down the block," he motioned with his claw-hand up ahead past the next crosswalk, "that's right across from a... really nice Wutaian restaurant." he tried to keep his resolve, and not falter as he spoke... and, for the most part, succeeded. The alternative came out sounding completely casual, as intended.
Cloud tapped his lip. "Maybe I'll hang around for a while, or reserve a table, because buying phones has gotta be exhausting and you'll be hungry." the ex-Turk was amazed as the blonde spoke, because he didn't seem to think that anything he was saying was the least bit completely ridiculous, "They're expensive, so it's my treat." he added onto the end with a boyish grin.
"Sure." Vincent said coyly, watching Cloud with a glint in his eyes as he slowly proceeded again down the street, boots clanking pleasantly on the concrete. "I'm sure the phone store won't really take that long..." he spoke, as usual, softly and surely.
Cloud looked at him, partially confused. "You won't be disappointed," he said, crossing his arms. "They're reliable, I can assure you that. I mean... once you're a trusted customer, it's almost instant and constant access, whenever you want it." he realized, suddenly, that he had lapped ahead, and looked back over his shoulder, up, admittedly, at Vincent.
"Are you sure we're still talking about phones?" the taller muttered under his breath, hardly audible enough to reach Cloud. "Allright, shall I meet you at the restaurant, then?" he asked, pausing before the entrance to the phone shop.
"At the restaurant." Cloud verified, stopping just outside it and calling back across the street. "Good luck, Vince." he added in, softly. The young man was smiling, "I make a big deal about it, but it's really pretty easy. They're nice people if you're nice to them." he started to slip into the exotic restaurant, "Good luck."
Vincent spent far longer waiting and listening to the gripes of incompetent Edge-dwellers in that store than he would have liked, but luckily was able to distract himself by spending most of that time, not counting yellow cars like before, but deciding whether he should go with the numbers to spell out 'My Cloud' or 'No Chaos'... however, when he got to the counter, he went with his original choice (only partially because the alternative had already been taken). It was dark out by the time he left, slipping his now-customized phone back into the clip on his belt, and peering out across the street to the warmly lit restaurant. One minute hesitation later he was striding purposefully across the road for the door.
The seater at the front of the store gave Vincent one look before he smiled sheepishly. That blonde kid hadn't been lying. Tall, dark, and handsome allright. And creepy as hell! He spoke up, "Mr. Valentine? Your table's at the back, would you like me to take you to it?"
"I think I can find it myself." Vincent blandly assured the man, not wanting to cause him any further trauma... and more importantly, not wanting to look like a complete idiot following around an underage busboy through the maze of packed-in tables. Instead, he set out to navigate it alone, "Thankyou." he awkwardly added onto the end on his way past toward the back.
The seater nodded. "Okay, sir." Normally he would have insisted, but he didn't really want to hang around the guy too much longer... not to mention, the kid he was looking for was recognizable enough.
Cloud, meanwhile, was playing with a spoon, trying to get it to stick onto his nose, and didn't notice Vincent's approach.
Vincent slid easily into his seat across from Cloud. He somewhat uncomfortably noted the intimate setting: quite private at the very back, dim lighting, the candle... though thankfully it wasn't lit yet. That would just push his present suspicions all the way over the edge. Suspicions was an understatement, even. "692-5683 it is." he announced.
Cloud snickered immaturely, "Sixty-nine." he pointed out, and straightened himself, "Do you know how to use the phone?" he asked next. He reached across the table, "I can help teach you."
"Uh..." Vincent didn't really want to admit it... 'back in the day', ugh, he hated the sound of that, there were no cellphones. With a defeated sigh, he took it out and laid it on the table, "...allright."
Cloud moved his chair over, picking up the phone. "Allright, here we are. What do you want to know?" he looked at Vincent, almost elbow-to-elbow with him.
Vincent thought. Pushing the buttons... that was easy enough... send and end, those were all self-explanatory... but then there were these menus and menus of things... "What do those do?" he pointed to the listing, tapping lightly on the wide screen with his metal claw.
"That's your contacts list." Cloud answered, taking the phone and beginning to scroll through the defaults. "You enter information and numbers for people you know." he went through the process using himself as an example. He put down his mobile phone number and listed himself as 'Cloud'. The boy looked up, "Does that make sense? Think you can do it again?"
Vincent had been watching closely... he thought about it, then nodded, "Yes, simple enough..." besides, the screen showed what all the little buttons would do anyway. It would just take a little getting used to... but it was all really very clear. Still, he scanned the various symbols and noted a succession of lengthening bars near the top, "...that is...?"
"Reception." he answered. Cloud slid his fingers up the phone and gently unhooked the antenna, extending it. The blonde winked just a tad suggestively, "You're gonna always wanna have your antenna up if you want to get anything done." A nice one. He complimented himself inwardly.
A short silence followed as Vincent considered the meaning of this... it took him longer than he would have liked to understand, but once he had, he shot Cloud a quizzical look. "Yours isn't up." he noted, glancing at the protruding corner-of-phone that was visible in the boy's pants pocket. "Or is it just shorter than mine, and harder to tell?" he raised an eyebrow and thought touché.
Cloud looked appalled. "Mine's just stronger, you don't need to see it to get results." he responded bluntly, huffing.
"Hm." he considered... and an instant later, Vincent Valentine actually smiled... not a mere quirk of the lips, but a full on grin. Just as quickly as it arrived, however, it was gone, replaced by another expression of sheer concentration, his eyes set again on the little device, while at the same time his mind focused only on... playing along. "How do you set the ringer to vibrate?" he asked, keeping his voice lower than was necessary, "The way things are going..." he briefly eyed Cloud, "...I may be in a situation where I must keep quiet while using it."
"You gotta press the right buttons." Cloud answered, keeping eye contact with Vincent rather than looking at the phone, where he led Vincent's fingers to the up and down volume control. His voice was intense and fell in volume as he described it: "The ringer gets softer and softer until it's gone completely, and the only way to know is to feel."
Thoroughly amused, Vincent shifted even closer, until his and Cloud's bodies more than just grazed eachother as they sat, in an attempt to hear the diminishing beeping noise. "I see..." he breathed, "...but... if it's completely silent..." he pushed one extra click past the setting Cloud had left it on, "and the vibrator is turned off..." he looked up at the blonde pointedly, "...there's no way for me to know if someone's trying to reach me. And I don't want to just... feel around, because I'm afraid I might..." a glance at the phone, "...mess something up so badly that it can't be fixed again. Just pushing buttons, I mean." he reminded at the end to emphasize the fact that they were, of course, still talking about phones.
"Technology's getting pretty smart these days." Cloud remarked, seemingly off-topic, "It's been dumb in the past... but it's smarter now." he answered, offering a smile and more eye-contact. "It saves calls, tells you who you missed while you weren't paying attention. On top of that, it's pretty hard to break one." he looked at the phone, at the options and glowing lights. "You seem awfully paranoid about this... have you broken a phone before, accidentally?"
"No." the ex-Turk leaned back, "I'm just broke." he smirked a little bit. It was true... the day's purchase had used up the last of his gil. "I don't think I could get a new one if this one didn't work out."
"It'll work out." Cloud assured him gently, looking at the phone. "I've... been through a few. Lost them... but no matter how desperate the situation got, it always seemed like, when I needed it the most, something came along... and I got ahold of a new one. Money wouldn't ever be an obstacle. Usually, these are given for free... it's the later consequences that get you."
"We're not talking about phones anymore, again, are we?" Vincent practically whispered, the soft breath just lightly jarring a spike of Cloud's yellow hair. His arm had somehow found its way to rest on the back of the boy's chair, but his gaze remained on the phone, "This... would be my first time, you know." he mentioned casually to Cloud. "Having a phone, that is... and... using it." he made a face as if he didn't like the choice of the word.
Cloud laughed, which soon degraded into a light chuckle, "I don't think there's much more to discuss." he added. "You know how to get it to alert you, and the contacts." he shifted in his chair, just an inch closer, so their legs just happened to occasionally touch. He looked up. "What do you think about text messaging?"
Vincent offered a blank look. "What?"
"Here, I'll show you." Cloud slipped out his own phone again. He set up a text message with a few deft buttons, then turned it so only he could see it as he speedily typed out a short message and sent it. Vincent raised a curious eyebrow at the deliberate secrecy, but was offered only a sly smile in return, as the boy looked up. "You'll get it soon," he said, "don't worry."
The gunman glanced down at his phone. Nothing. He waited... it seemed illogical that it would take so long for one small message to pass between two phones right next to eachother. The man frowned, and looked up at Cloud questioningly, "It hasn't come."
"You don't get it?" he asked, disappointed. Well, then he'd have to show him. "You'll get it." he whispered, adjusting in his chair and lifting himself up. Their faces got close, too close. His eyes closed and he went the last inch of distance blindly, until he felt the amazingly soft touch of Vincent's lips against his own. Vincent would get it now. He had to. It was like receiving a call on his fancy phone: the lights flashed and beautiful music played for him, all thanks to a gift from a friend, and some unexpected contact. He pressed against Vincent once, twice, three times, before backing off to check and make sure the man would pick up on what had just transpired. He jumped a little as the new phone started to shake violently, and his eyes drifted over to watch it. "I think you've got it now." he said softly.
He'd seen it coming. He knew it would happen, and found himself gently sighing in premature anticipation as Cloud neared... but when the connection occurred, he couldn't have possibly expected the charge, the sheer energy that sparked between them at first contact. His eyes fluttered and slipped closed as Cloud... what was he doing, after all? He felt... strength returning... will, the power to go on flowing into him, and he returned the attention lightly to show his appreciation. He eased back only marginally as the boy pulled away, and smiled with the resulting shuddering beat of the phone in his hand, reminding him that it did, in fact, still function as it was meant, and he was capable of receiving the message and replying. "Yeah... I've got it." he turned his eyes back on the device and surely pressed the 'accept message' button, blinking at the wording that popped up before him:
Message from Cloud Strife: I love you.
Another smile pulled up the edges of his mouth, and crinkled the corners of his eyes as Vincent carefully made sure to save the message before turning back to Cloud.
"It's kinda funny." Cloud mused in a whisper, smiling back, "How long it can take to connect... even though we're so close together." he slipped the phone away into his pocket once again. "I don't think... we need to talk about the phones anymore, though."
"No." Vincent hummed approvingly, clicking the screen shut and moving the phone to his belt, "I understand completely now... even if it did take a long time. I'm sorry." his metallic hand slid out and ever-so-gently took hold on Cloud's, "I'm not always as close as you like. I'm sure that attributes to the delay."
He held on, rubbing his fingers on the bronze metal. "Well... now that we have phones," he looked up, smiling brightly, "I'm sure we can connect in new ways... and whenever the need arises."
Author's Ending Note Thingy: There... now if you can tell which writing is mine, and which is my friend's, that will be really scary and you need to stop reading my fics right now. XP That certainly dragged on way too long, didn't it? Yeah, so we went a little overboard... Hope you liked it as much as I did... and please review!
By the way, I completely credit the title to my dearest friend Jenny... who went on a long tagent one day, and when she reached the end, forgot what she'd been talking about... so finished off with the oh-so-smooth declaration of 'and therefore... cellphones!', which fit this fic so well, I couldn't help but quote it.