It was now a week since Vincent had disappeared. At first the fact that he had left his pack behind was encouraging, now the mystery of why it was still here was unnerving.

The Rocket Town Police had been contacted, but there were no leads.

"Getting a hangover isn't going to help," Shera scolded him.

"I don' care," Cid mumbled, his head on the table. "And keep it down."

"It's two in the morning."

"I don't fucking CARE."

Shera didn't bother trying to talk to Cid, but cleared the beer bottles off the table. She wanted to tell Cid not to smoke inside anymore. Or at least not so much. The smoke alarm had already gone off twice and she was worried about his increase in smoking.

Cid didn't care about how much he was smoking. He probably hadn't noticed how much more he was doing it. He didn't even notice Shera picking up the bottles, he was only aware of loud noises resembling glass hitting glass.

He had been preoccupied with going over a conversation he and Vincent had had the night Vincent arrived. The whole thing bugged him. This was either preplanned, or Vincent's worrying was well timed. He didn't want either to be true.

Vincent had agreed to go to bed, joking that he would only do so if Cid came with him. Cid had left the broken arm on the table and complied, partly because he was exhausted and didn't want to think about having failed Vincent, and partly because it always worried him when Vincent didn't sleep.

He had finally convinced Vincent to stop wearing his pants to bed, and smiled at the results.

Vincent, however, wasn't in the mood and killed that thought rather quickly with his brooding.

"You okay?" Cid had asked, crawling into bed. He adjusted the blanket over Vincent, trying to reassure him. God, asking him to take the arm off. He felt like such a bastard.

"I'm fine." Translation: 'Leave me alone, I want to sulk.'

Cid sighed. "Vince, can I ask you a question?" He meant to get his question about how much of Vincent's arm was real answered now, when they were lying just like this. But Vincent wasn't meant to be brooding, and he certainly wasn't meant to have busted his arm. And they were meant to be wearing a lot less. That was how it was supposed to be the first night after Vincent came back.

"Cid. You know I initially liked you because you never did ask questions."

"Look, I'm not going to start bugging you about your past. I promise I won't. I just want to ask you something."

"What if I don't want to answer?"

"Then don't. I don't care." Okay, that one was a lie. He'd care if it was too much for Vincent to answer this question. He'd be worried, although he wasn't sure he wouldn't be worried about it if he did get an answer. "Where were you? Where did you go?"

"You promise not to get mad?"

"Unless I get a call from the cops, sure."

"I was in Nibelheim."

'He says the word 'Mansion' and I'm gonna kill him,' Cid thought.

"I was kinda in the Shinra Mansion."

Cid slapped him forehead. "Holy fucking shit. Why?"

Vincent rolled over, put the pillow over his head and muttered something.

"Okay, I'd hate to think my hearing's going at my age, but could you say that three times louder and six times slower? And let's try it without the pillow."

"You're going to get mad," Vincent said as Cid took the pillow away.

"Why? What'd you do? Burn the thing down? Actually, that'd be kinda cool."

"I was worried… I went to get Hojo's notes on me."

"Why? You spent all this time trying to forget what he did."

"You're mad."

"I'm not mad, I'm confused. And loud. Now why the hell did you spend months getting notes from some dead git?"

"Cid, I'm worried about getting hurt. I mean, if I get hurt. I know it sounds stupid after we killed Sephiroth together, but I'm worried about something happening to me. What if something happens and I wind up in the hospital?"

"That's what insurance is for."

"Cid, there could be wires in my brain and I don't know it. I had to get those notes. I have no fucking clue what'll happen to me if I'm in the hospital and… and… and what if someone screws up, thinking I'm normal? I'm completely fucked up, and if someone's going to put me back together again, they need to know how fucked up I am."

"Vince…" Why bother convincing him NOW that that was such a stupid idea? Besides, maybe Vincent was right. He may be perfectly fine, even sexy as hell on the outside, but if there was something in him that let him transform into Chaos, Cid wasn't going to make the argument. "As long as you're okay."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, as long as it made you feel better. I've constantly goofed around with the engine just to cheer myself up when she didn't need anything."

"Cid, why aren't you mad?"

"Whatever gets you back here is fine. Hell, you can go snowboarding for all I care as long as you won't leave now that you're back. I mean, you aren't right?"

"Of course I'm not," Vincent said, taking his pillow back and settling down.


"Cid, go to sleep."


"Of course I promise."

Vincent didn't really get to sleep for a while after that. It didn't matter. He was back.

He had been back. He had promised not to go anywhere and now he was gone, practically disappeared into thin air along with his gun.

What did he do? Hadn't Vincent enjoyed himself here? Where else did Vincent have to go?

The phone rang, far too loudly than Cid would have liked it to when he had a hangover.

He checked the clock before answering. Four eleven. Good, that meant he could still complain.

"Hi'nd 'liv'ry shervish. Can I fucking help you?"

"Is this Cid Highwind?"

"Who the fuck else would this be?"

"Sir, this is the Rocket Town Hospital. We're contacting you about a Vincent Valentine."

"Holy shit!" Cid yelled, managing to wake up Shera for a few seconds.

Cid bolted out the door, forgetting to hang up.

"Hello? Hello?"