Note: No, Cid's "Friend" isn't someone from da game. At least, I don't think they are. ^_^o They're just some sick son of a #$^#^. ^_^o I don't even know what da buggers name is. Anyway, cause peeps asked fer it, da angst fic continues.

Mother#$%#ers...all of them...#$^#, how am I supposed to take five at once? #$^@, they knew it, they knew I'd be tired, #$^#in'...god#$^#in' #$^#it...what the #$^# did I ever do to them? #$^#...

Cid made a sharp cry, a short one, as a tender area underneath his chest was kicked harshly. It would have been a scream, if it hadn't been cut off halfway through. Cid wasn't about to scream for them, those five who constantly haunted him.

#$^@ers, #$%#ers, leave me the #$^# alone...

His teeth remained clenched, his muscles tensed as he tried not to wince as he was struck again, his eyes closed. He could taste something odd in his mouth, but he didn't know what it was. Another strike, a blow, and a fresh stab of pain shot through his body, seeming to reverberate until the pain faded away, the laughter of those who tormented him echoing around him.

Why are you doing this to me...#$^#...

His thoughts remained his own. He didn't talk much, finding that not only did it change nothing, it often made them worse. Maybe what he tasted in his mouth was cigarettes. He had been smoking before. He tried to focus on that train of thought, but another kick hit his upper arm, jerking it away form his torso sharply. Rolling with the blow, Cid moved a few feet away, colliding with a wall as he silently begged any god of mercy, or any god at all, to spare him this humiliation, this pain.

But mostly the humiliation.

There was a pause, and the laughter stopped for a few moments. Cid rolled onto his stomach, propping himself up on his elbow, his eyes still shut tight. His body rocked as he felt a wave of nausea which he fought back. No matter how many times this happened, he would never get used to it, and his body was adamant on this point. He kept his eyes closed as he coughed brokenly, finding whatever was blocking his throat moving. He opened his eyes slightly to see the dark red flecking the concrete below him and he groaned inwardly. He wasn't about to give them the satisfaction of hearing such a pained sound.

The effort it took to keep himself up was too much, and he let his arm collapse as it apparently wanted so badly to do, supporting his head on his arms as his eyes eased open slowly, fresh aches and pains coming back at the movement.

He was fighting them off. No surprise there...this had always happened as well. It was almost as routine as the beatings themselves. The only variable was when he would be rescued, not if.

He closed his eyes, finding something pounding inside his skull. He weakly pulled his free arm upwards and held onto his head, trying to find some way to alleviate the ache. His hands presence did nothing but remind him of how tender his skin now was, and he winced again as pain went through not only his hand, but around his ears.

"Hey there."

The voice slid through his ears and again he felt the nausea rising again. He was grateful, of course, but he didn't like him. He didn't like his voice...and he had this horrible feeling inside that perhaps, all these rescues and the like that he did because they were "friends" were in fact going to be used against him somehow. He was in debt and he knew it. He opened his mouth and felt something liquid slide past his lips. #$^#, he had been chewing the inside of his cheek, something that had become a nervous habit for him when he wasn't smoking, particularly when he was around, and he had put too much pressure. The metallic taste was enough to make his body rock again, and he managed to curl up into a ball, wishing to anything to make this kind of pain stop.

He tried to focus on his sky, his beautiful sky that someday would be his and his alone, but it was stained with clouds and blood, and it frightened him.

"Are you going to be okay?" Hands rested on his shoulder, cold and thin. He could feel them even through his thick shirt, and he shivered again, his body gladly taking the opportunity to use the energy it had been storing while his muscles were pulled taut. His whole body shook in abrupt spasms, with irregular pauses between, and he felt his teeth click against eachother occasionally. He shivered on the concrete floor, wanting to be anywhere then this place, bleeding and bruised, sick and weak. Small. Anywhere but small.

"They got you pretty bad this time, my friend..." Cid didn't like it when he used that phrase. He used it too much. "I was engaged somewhere else, but otherwise I would have come to your aid sooner..."

Cid coughed violently, trying to clear his mouth enough to be able to speak, finding his entire body quaking along with the movements. He held onto his upper arms violently, digging his fingers deep, trying to cease the motion and find something else to focus the nervous energy on.

"Here..." Something was held to his lips that was cold and wet. He recoiled instinctively until he realized it was a water bottle. "Wash out your mouth and try to breath."

When the liquid first entered his mouth he coughed again, violently, and the water escaped against his will. Another try had more success, and his mouth soon became clearer, and it was easier to breathe. He pushed himself upwards on his weak, shivering arms, trying to get away from the clouded, dirtied water on the concrete. His eyes showed him two of everything, including his friend, and he felt dizzy.

"There. Are you okay now?"

Cid touched his jaw carefully, wondering if perhaps it was broken. It only felt like it was. Brushing his thin, bloodied fingers along his bruised jawline, he managed to make his eyes focus on the young man in front of him holding the water bottle, making him one being. Again, the sick feeling of uncomfort and confusion came over him as his eyes flashed over his face, not wanting to make eye contact for any undue amount of time. Wouldn't a normal friend have looked more concerned...?

He felt sick.

"Two black eyes. They did do a lot of damage this time."

"#$^#ers." The words were cracked, but they seemed to remind his throat of it's purpose, and he could feel words coming easier. "What the #$^# did I ever do to them..."

"It's not what you do, it's who you are." The quiet amusement in his voice did not warrant Cid's approval, and he moved his eyes away, turning them to his feet, safe in his boots. His lungs were clearing, that was good. The aching was now insistent and could not be remedied, but at least his breathing was easier. His eyes still hurt terribly, and when he licked his lips he felt sharp stinging and something coming off on his tongue. Again the metal taste in his mouth. His lip must have been cut. Probably several times. #@$^. "My friend, it's not going to be easy for you."

"No #^#^in' kiddin'." Cid felt dizzy again as he felt hands on his shoulders. They gently pushed him towards the wall, letting him lean against it. The cold stone against the shirt on his back made his body again begin to shiver, and he wasn't sure he appreciated being moved in such a way, even if it was just out of concern. If it was out of concern."#$^# 'em, #$^@ 'em all to #$^#in' #$^#, #$^#..."

"You do have such a dirty mouth." He almost seemed to sigh, but Cid wasn't sure why. He was never good at reading subtle things into conversations, and the sigh could have been for any number of reasons. Things blurred again, but he blinked hard and the came back into focus. He could feel something sliding past his forehead, a trickle of blood no doubt. "And that, my friend, may be part of why you get into such trouble."

"Don' need y'r #^#$in' advice..." Cid grumbled angrily, rubbing at the trickle with his hand furiously, not wanting to be showing any more pain then he was already in. God, he was being weak here. He had to be #$^#in' saved like a #$^#in' baby, god. Why was he even here?

The image of his sky taunted him, that beautiful sky that he knew was waiting for him. Was made FOR him. He was going to get there. He had to get there...and that's why he was here.

When he got up there, then none of this would matter. He knew it.

"And that's the thanks I get for saving you?" He sounded affronted. Cid felt rage building in him.

"#$^# you, could've saved m'self, don' need you t'#$^#in' take care of me."

"Of course you don't. When were you planning on fighting back in that previous battle, my friend?"

"#$@$ you." Cid felt sick and dizzy and he was in quite a lot of pain. He held onto his sides with his hands, wishing he could squeeze his pain away, find a certain part of his body he could focus on so he wouldn't have to think about the pain. As long as he didn't think about it...but he was thinking about it now. Blond strands of his hair fell in his vision as he shivered again. He really needed to find some way to keep his hair out of his eyes. "Y'#$@$er."

He could feel those thin cold hands brushing over his shoulders again, and he shivered, unable to stop the reaction. Why were his hands so #$^#in' cold?

"You're not very grateful, are you? How many times have I saved you?"

"#$^# you." Cid muttered underneath his breath, trying to sound angry but only coming out muffled. The contact on his shoulders wasn't just momentary, he could still feel those slender fingers on his shoulders, fingers like small icicles. His eyes had been closed while he had been thinking of his sky, and when he opened his pained eyes, he could see his friend in front of him, hands on his shoulders, sitting on his legs. "Get th'#$^# off me."

Thinking it had been an accident, he shivered again, this time with more force, as he felt one of those icicles travel across his collarbone, rubbing against the raised area with a softness that filled him with fear. Confused and angry, he opened his eyes more properly, trying to ignore the pain, and glared at him.

"I said get th'#^$# off me, y'#$^#. Don't #$^#in' play around."

He simply gave a serene smile back at him. Perhaps he could hear the fear underlying the angry tone in his voice.

"You do have quite the dirty mouth." Those hands remained on his shoulders, burning through the fabric of his shirt as if it wasn't there. He wanted to push them away, but his own hands were weak and shivery, and in this kind of state, he doubted that he could truly do much damage in terms. Why the #$^# was he playing these kind of stupid games? Why isn't he getting off? What the #@#%...?

"Look, you saved m'@#@, 'kay? There, said it. Now get off me."

"That's what friends are for, aren't they?" The lack of emotion, or at least any reaction to Cid's negative response was beginning to creep him out. The hand moved back and forward for a moment, a brief twitch in either direction, the cold burning.

Cid galvanized himself into motion, trying to move himself forward or at least move so that he could show him that he was serious. "I #%@in' mean it-"

The hands on his shoulders suddenly tightened into an icy grip, squeezing his wounded skin and bringing back aches that had just begun to dull. Startled at the suddenness of the motion and the equally sudden influx of pain, Cid's shoulders were pushed into the wall with frightening force without much resistance. The back of his head collided with the stone sharply, and his vision blacked for a moment. His head lolled forward as he made an agonized sound through his teeth, hissing to try and hide the noise as a sharp pain seemed to hit his very mind, blocking out almost all his thoughts. He continued the natural movement of his head back upwards, wanting to support it to try and lessen the pain.

He only made it halfway up when something met his face, stopping him abruptly. His vision was coming back slowly, but he didn't need his vision to know what was happening. His head was again pressed against the wall, this time at a slight angle to his right, and his mouth was not his own anymore.

Unable to even formulate a correct response for what had just happened in his muddled state, he simply tried to struggle in some way, but his body had given out. The last injury to his head had seemingly weakened his arms and such to such an extent they barely moved at his command. The hands on his shoulders, those icicles now digging into his skin, felt like iron, and he wasn't sure that even if he could move properly, he could push him away.

There was pressure, painful pressure, as his head was continually pushed back into the wall, pushed back until he could almost feel his skull scraping against the brick, feel his head trapped. He wasn't just being kissed, he was being pushed back into the wall, pushed so that he couldn't muster the leverage nor ability to move his head away. Panic was surging through his system, but most of his adrenaline had already been spent on the fight beforehand, and his body twitched feebly for his efforts. He tried to open his swollen eyes, and even they were fighting against him. He could see glimpses of him, looming above him, and he felt a breeze go by his neck, reminding him painfully that his neck was exposed at this angle. He made a protesting noise as best as he could, but it was choked and inaudible, and had no affect, much as he had thought it wouldn't.

If he had wanted to be somewhere else before, he wanted to be somewhere else more then ever now. He would rather be back, huddled on the floor, bleeding from the mouth and unable to breath, then in this position. Fear was filling him, but he didn't know what he was supposed to do. He couldn't do anything.

This would have been frightening enough for him without what followed.

It was bad enough to feel something surrounding his lips, trapping his own completely. He was almost positive that this wasn't what it was supposed to be like. He felt something pressing against his lips, something trying to get between them. He tried to clench his teeth and something seemed to nip his neck, something cold and sharp. He involuntarily opened his mouth to gasp, to protest, to do something, and this opportunity was immediately seized. He felt something invading his mouth, something that was strange, strong, and very wrong. Very wrong. He thought maybe he should bite or do something, but before he could he felt another shock as the cold left his neck and replaced itself on his shoulder. He tried again to take a breath, unable to do so through his mouth, and hissed through his nose, which was clogged with dried blood. His breathing felt labored, and he felt like he was choking.

His panic was receding into fear, unable to remain active for so long, and he wasn't sure what he should do. The fear had paralyzed him, left him unable to move at all, as he could feel the foreign tongue prodding, exploring, feeling, violating. His own tongue seemed to shrink back, refusing to touch the other. When it was touched, it shivered almost as badly as it's owner did, and remained still.

And then, he felt the angle change sharply. His head was leaned at another angle, a sharper one to the left, causing the muscles in his neck to be stretching and protesting angrily, helped by another icicle stabbing his skin, and then he could feel something sharp inside his mouth. He could hear blood vessels popping as the teeth sank into the flesh of his inner lip, causing his mouth to again be filled with that metallic, horrible taste.

Noises were useless, struggling was useless, everything was useless. He could barely gather his thoughts to even think, and they were broken words that almost formed sentences.


And the pain was overwhelming, the shock and the pain of what had happened, and the taste continued to grow, until he felt like he could smell it, feel it, hear it...

It was everywhere...

And when he opened his eyes, now shedding helpless tears, a silent plea for this kind of violation to stop since his body would not do so otherwise, all he could see was that horrible emotionless face, that look...those eyes that continued to haunt him to this day...

Those eyes...those burning, empty eyes...

And he felt blood in his mouth.


"Highwind? Highwind! Highwind!"

Vincent was awakened by whimpering. He gently brushed his hand over Cid's hair, thinking perhaps this would calm him. The whimpering did not stop, only increasing in volume and frequency until Cid began to shake, to shiver, to begin to jerk, and Vincent pulled himself away, pulled himself out of the bed so that he could think of what to do.

What was happening? He had to be having a nightmare, but he had never seen him do this before...this wasn't like must have been everything they talked about before that triggered the spell...if he hadn't been so stupid as to try and sleep with him in the first place, to think this kind of horrific nightmare would not have visited the poor pilot. But now he was in it's grip, and it was terrible.

Cid began thrashing about, his arms clawing and waving near his face, making incoherent noises of fright and small sobs of anger. His mouth didn't close at all as the sounds escaped, and his eyes closed tighter with each wave of his arms. Vincent wasn't sure what to do.

Should he wait it out?

Before he could even seriously consider such an option he found himself seizing Cid's wrists with his hands and holding them still, stopping the frantic motion. No. No. He would not allow this kind of torment to overtake his dearest friend, not while he was around.

Cid bucked underneath him, pulling and twisting his hands in a desperate attempt to free himself. His sobs increased until they were almost shrieks of fright, tears beginning to fall from his eyes.

Vincent had kept his grip, and he pulled upwards sharply, dragging Cid upwards, still convulsing. He let go of his hands and grabbed Cid's shoulders, shaking him back and forth urgently.

"Highwind? Highwind? Listen! Listen! You're dreaming! You're having a nightmare! Wake up, Highwind, wake up! Please, listen to me!" Vincent's voice was frantic and frightened, and finally Cid opened his sky-blue eyes, clouded with tears and fright. When they opened, it was almost as if the floodgates joined them, as tears began to flow without stopping, a constant stream that streaked down his terrified face.

He made an incoherent noise of fright and fear, staring at Vincent with incomprehension and fear for a few moments, apparently still shaking off the remnants of the dream he had been so deeply locked in, then he put his hands over his eyes, pressing his palms into the sockets as he began to shake, heaving sobs that were barely audible as he struggled to keep them under control.

Vincent, greatly shaken, sat down next to the sobbing man, putting an arm around his shoulders and waiting for a few moments. "Highwind, you know're safe, nothing can get you now. You're with me. We're safe. You're safe. It's okay."

Cid let his eyes free for a moment, the area around them regaining the blood that had been pressed out of them as he looked at Vincent with pained, frightened eyes. He reached out, wrapping his arms around Vincent's torso and burying his face in his chest, shivering and crying, still unable to explain what had frightened him into such a near comatose state.

Vincent rubbed his back, not sure of what else to do, finding his own tears escaping him despite his efforts at the pitiful sobs that could only have come from such great pain. At the feeling of his muscles shaking, shivering against him, at the more abrupt jerks as he struggled to keep sobs under control, at the sound of the air trying to escape uselessly from his throat as he tried to keep his tears away, the convulsive, almost painful grip which encircled his chest, nearly crushing his air away, and above all, the growing dampness he felt where he knew Cid's tears were being absorbed by the dark fabric that he was wearing, Vincent felt his own motions beginning to mirror his own, his body shaking fitfully as his emotions ran high within him, unable to find any way to be expressed. When he moved his hands, it was in quick, jerky movements, and his voice was shaky and frightened. To see Cid in such pain, to see this, to feel this, it confused him and moreover, it hurt him. Although he himself had been well-versed in the ability to keep his emotions under control, ever since that fateful day when revealing how he felt had ruined everything for everyone, he couldn't help but feel his own body begin to release air in the sharp gasps that Cid was trying unsuccessfully to block. He could feel his own tears crawling down his face, and caught a glimpse through dewed eyes at the droplet shining, broken, in the strands of Cid's hair beneath him. Shivering and trying hard to be strong, he couldn't help but feel, and know inside, that the two of them were just as frightened, just as scared, and in the end neither of them was able to completely support the other. Their pasts had become too strong for either of them, and it was crushing him. The only thing they could do was cling to one another now, and hope that the pain would go away, since as it had already occured, it was impossible to stop.

His voice was frightened and shaky and soft as he told a lie that he had tried to force himself to believe throughout his life without success.

"It'll be okay, alright...? Everything's going to be okay..."