Author's Note: If this seems incomplete, that's because it kinda is. I consider it an exercise for the eventual story of how, least in my AU, Cid and Vincent begin their relationship. I'm a strong shipper of these two so expect a lot of stuff for them. I'm uploading this here because I liked it too much to keep it myself.


The wind bit through Cid's jacket. He shivered, then cast a glance over at the silent figure across from him. Vincent Valentine, the mysterious gunman, sat as still as a statue, his shadowed eyes staring intently into the meager fire. The cold didn't seem to bother him, or if it did, he wasn't revealing as much. Cid shuddered again, hugging himself as another breeze blew through. The firelight flickered, casting long shadows behind Vincent's cloaked figure.

"Ain't this cold botherin' you, spook?" Cid asked gruffly, bringing his knees up closer to his chest. Vincent angled his gaze upwards briefly, then lowered back to the fire.

"No, the cold does not affect me," he replied softly.

Cid grimaced. Figures, he thought. Separated from the group and he gets stuck with the weird one. Still, Cid's mood softened as he looked at Vincent again. The reddish hue from the fire danced across Vincent's pale features, highlighting his strange eyes and long black hair. Cid felt a blush rise to warm his chilled cheeks. They'd been relatively close since the events at the Golden Saucer, preferring to hover in the background while the younger members of the party took center stage. To say he felt a kinship towards the other man would've been an understatement. At least, in the emotional capacity.

Cid blushed anew. It couldn't be denied, his strange attraction to the gunman. Especially not when they were alone like this. Cid shifted uncomfortably, drawing Vincent's attention from the fire. Wordlessly, the other rose and crossed the space between them. With a deft, graceful movement, Vincent swept the long cloak he wore from his shoulders and draped it over Cid's back. Like a mother securing her child in a warm winter coat, Vincent fastened the high collar securely under Cid's chin, then moved back to his rock. Cid bowed his face into the collar sheepishly, trying very hard not to breathe in the scent of musty gunmetal.

"If you are tired, I will stay awake and keep watch for the others."

Cid looked up, startled. Vincent stared at him expectantly. Seeing him without the cloak for the first time, Cid couldn't help but notice how slight the other was. How he managed to heft that weighty gun into the air like it was nothing was astounding. Did he really have definition under that suit? The mental image of Vincent sans his clothing forced Cid from his rock. Vincent straightened a bit, watching as Cid marched to the mouth of the cave. "I'll watch for them," he called back, forcing his voice to remain steady and calm despite his pounding heart. "You stay in there. Sleep. If you even do that sorta thing..." he muttered as an afterthought. He heard the other man shifting behind him, undoubtedly trying to find a comfortable position on the cold, unforgiving rock floor. Risking a glance over his shoulder, Cid saw Vincent had turned his back to the cave opening. He exhaled slowly, willing his heart to still and for his body to stop shaking. Turning back towards the swirling snow outside, Cid stared forward, his eyes struggling to see through the white winds.

Damn, it was cold.


Vincent stirred in his uneasy sleep, his mind filled with nightmares of the past. Pushing himself up onto his elbows, he scanned the cave's interior for signs of the pilot. His eyes traveled over to the mouth of the cave, then widened sharply. In a pile of tattered red fabric, Cid lay on his side, his face turned towards the roof of the cave. Vincent bolted to his feet and hurried to the fallen man. Cid's skin had turned a dangerous blue hue, his lips purple like a bruise. Ice crystals gathered in his short blonde hair, frosting the goggles he wore over his forehead.

Quickly, Vincent gathered Cid's stiff body in his arms and returned to the dying firepit. Grasping the edges of the cloak, he wound it tightly across and around Cid's frozen form, then bound it with his belt. Vincent positioned Cid's cocooned body against his chest, his right arm encircling him and holding him securely to him as he stabbed at the smoldering fire with his claw. He struck the flint beneath the embers sharply, igniting the shriveled wood once more. The fire blazed to life, sending a heat wave to stir Vincent's hair. He shifted Cid's body in his arms once more till he was between his legs, then coiled his limbs around his waist.

He was careful to keep his claw positioned over his right arm, certain it was as cold as the icles outside the cave. Bowing his head onto Cid's shoulder, Vincent began rocking slightly, encouraging warmth back into the pilot's frozen body. While he wasn't sure how he felt about the other, he wasn't about to let him freeze to death. The Highwind's creator had been nothing but civil to him, even going so far as to call him a friend. Yet, something had awakened inside him. Something he'd denied himself for the duration of his long nightmare slumber.

He felt for Cid, a warm rush of emotion and understanding had permeated his mind and body since the Golden Saucer. And here, alone in this frozen cave, Vincent had come to feel that and more. He had kept his eyes downcast on purpose, knowing if he gazed too long into the other's gently-lined face his resolve would crumble and give him away. Briefly, he had imagined the pilot was struggling with the same feelings. His own self-doubt had quickly squashed that possibility, along with Cid's persistant need to be coarse towards others.

Vincent turned his face towards Cid's sleeping features. The prickle of Cid's whiskers grazed Vincent's smooth cheek and he stifled a shudder. The scent of tabacco and leather surrounded the pilot; even clad in the cloak it remained dominant. Vincent permitted himself a deep breath, taking in the overtly masculine aroma and allowing the shiver to pass through his body. He had wanted to deny this, deny this urge to be close to the other man. Yet how natural it felt, holding him this close. Gingerly, he lifted his claw and traced the broad outline of Cid's jaw, the tips of his fingers barely touching the skin. Though the situation was dire, Vincent was thankful for this moment of personal reflection, thankful to be able to observe the pilot closely.

"Don't die," Vincent breathed hoarsely, unconsciously pressing his lips to the pilot's temple. " Please live." He rocked Cid more urgently, willing his body to heat up and revive itself. "I never should've let you take the watch," he murmured, anguish entering his voice. Another sin, another weight on his shoulders. Guilt wracked his mind, causing him to grip Cid tighter to him. "Forgive me..." He closed his eyes tightly, his lips remaining close to Cid's skin. Boldly, he dared a lingering kiss to Cid's chilly flesh. "Live..."

Without warning, Vincent found himself becoming drowsy. Grateful for the weight in his arms, he nestled his cheek against Cid's and allowed the gentle embrace of sleep to take him over.


Cold sunlight crept into the cave. Cid's eyes opened slowly, his gaze traveling sleepily across the floor of the cavern. He was warm, comfortable. The tickle of something against his ear made him look up. Vincent, his arms and legs wrapped securely around Cid's body, sat with his head slumped over. He breathed evenly, seemingly unaware of the other's wakefulness. Cid felt heat rush into his cheeks again, followed by another, more indecent flush. He struggled to shift, surprised to find his arms bound by Vincent's belt. How had he gotten in this position?

Memory returned and Cid grimaced slightly. He'd stubbornly taken the first watch and had passed out from the cold. Vincent must've found him and had taken it upon himself to ensure his survival. Cid's heart thumped loudly in his chest. Being this close to him was almost unbearable. He had to get away before his body betrayed him.

"Hey. Hey!" Cid bumped against Vincent's chest as best he could. The gunman opened his eyes quickly, startled. Cid stared at him, his expression fighting to stay stern and offended. Vincent glanced down at him, then unwound himself from the pilot. He unbuckled the belt holding the cloak against Cid's body, then unfurled the fabric from his arms and legs. Cid remained still, his limbs aching from the cold and from being tied down for so long. He observed Vincent's detached expression, envious of the gunman's ability to turn off emotionally.

Once fully unraveled, Cid sat up completely and gazed intently into Vincent's crimson eyes. Mutely, he made to unclasp the collar and return the cloak to its rightful owner. Vincent shook his head, understanding Cid's intent. "You still need it. Please, I am fine. I would rather you keep it. For now," Vincent told him quietly. Cid's fingers stilled on the buckles, his eyes remaining fixed on Vincent's face. "I am relieved to see you alert," he continued awkwardly, shifting to move further away from the pilot. "Your condition seemed dire; I did what I had to. I apologize if I have offended --" His protests were silenced by Cid's sudden lunge for him, the pilot's arms coming up to encircle Vincent's slender neck. Astonished by the abrupt display, Vincent tumbled backward, Cid's body coming into close, and very alive, contact with his.

Cid stared deep into Vincent's eyes, emotion coloring the blue of his irises. "Cid..." Vincent breathed. Cid withdrew a hand from behind Vincent's head and he placed a finger to the other's pale lips. He felt Vincent shiver beneath him. So, it was mutual.

"You talk too much," Cid whispered gruffly, pulling himself further up Vincent's body till his face hovered above the gunman's. "Ironic, considering..."

"Cid....!" Vincent gasped suddenly, arching his neck so his lips met with the pilot's. All common sense fled from Cid's mind as Vincent closed the gap between them and he gripped the other hard, shamelessly savoring the taste of his cold lips. In a tangle of limbs, the men twisted on the rocky floor, gasping into the heated kiss and clutching each other tightly. Fingers crept over buttons and clasps, undoing all of the boundaries that lay between them. Vincent's cloak fell from Cid's shoulders as shirts were opened and discarded. Bare chests met urgently, the cold of the mountain cave forgotten in the heat of the moment. Their lips met repeatedly, passionately, and with more desperation than the last.

Cid broke away from Vincent briefly, rising up to straddle the other's legs and gaze down at his flushed companion. Steam rose from their skin, breath from their open mouths. Vincent lay with his shirt unbuckled, his pale skin glowing in the blue light of the cave. Cid slid a rough hand down that skin, feeling the deep shudder thundering through the flesh. Scars, pink in their discoloration, like a roadmap over the alabaster flesh, became visible in the dim sunlight. Cid felt another rush of emotion for Vincent and drew the other into his arms tightly. His fingers coiled in Vincent's long, black hair, tangling there as he took the gunman's lips once more. The sharp prickle of Vincent's clawlike digits bit across Cid's back, drawing pinpoints of crimson blood to stain his skin. The pain mingled with passion, driving Cid's kisses. He had to feel more of his dark companion against him. He had to know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that he was real. That this was real.

Bowing his lips to Vincent's neck, Cid lavished the shivering skin with deep kisses and long strokes of his tongue. His fingers left Vincent's hair and moved between them to grip at the remaining buckles and zippers of the other's suit. Vincent gasped as Cid's questing hands found his lust, completely overcome with the sensation of the other man's work-roughened palms gliding and stroking over him. Heat rose between them once more as Vincent swallowed repeatedly, his breath coming in sharp rasps. Cid gripped him expertly, working the gunman to the edge. Cid felt Vincent's lips touch his ear, his name a ragged whisper on equally ragged breath.

When the other erupted in his hand, Cid rose up once more and claimed Vincent's parted lips urgently. As they expressed their passion, Vincent's right hand slipped beneath the waistband of Cid's trousers. Cid groaned into the kiss as Vincent wrapped his fingers around him. The cool touch of the other's hand heightened Cid's lust. He parted from Vincent, arching backwards dramatically as the gunman slipped his nimble fingers over him swiftly. At the touch of Vincent's lips to his belly, Cid shuddered. Was he...?

The sudden moist warmth around him caused him to double over, his hands clutching at Vincent's narrow shoulders. He forced the other's name from between clenched teeth, his fingers digging into Vincent's skin so hard his arms shook. Red pinpoints of light exploded behind his closed eyes as his end overtook him. With another shudder, he collapsed against Vincent, his arms coming around his waist clumsily. Unable to hold the pilot upright, Vincent allowed himself to fall to the side, taking Cid with him to land on his discarded cloak.

For many moments, they lay panting and gasping for breath, neither completely able to believe what had just happened. As their heartbeats slowed, sense returned and they turned self-conscious eyes to each other. Vincent was the first to look away before rising. He turned away from Cid, his fingers refastening all of the carelessly undone buckles and zippers of his black suit. Cid propped himself up on an elbow and stared hard at the gunman's back.

"What is it?" he asked roughly. "Are you ashamed now?"

Vincent remained silent as he collected his cloak and swathed it about his narrow shoulders once more. When he looked back towards Cid, his face was hidden by his collar, his hair trespassing into his eyes to hide his thoughts. "I would suggest you dress. You are still weakened from the night's ordeals," came the cool reply. Cid's face flushed angrily. Vincent ignored it and politely retrieved the pilot's abandoned jacket and shirt. He held them out to Cid without emotion.

Cid grabbed his clothes from Vincent's hand brusquely. In angry silence, he pulled his shirt over his head and quickly stuffed his arms into the jacket before zipping it up securely. His eyes were narrowed and cold when he turned back to Vincent. "What a fine bit of fuckery this is," he snapped testily, stooping to take up his spear and stalking to the entrance of the cave. "Jerk a man off and then pretend it never happened. What the hell is wrong with you, spook?!"

Vincent inclined his face away from Cid's biting commentary. When he looked to the mouth of the cave again, Cid had disappeared through it. He could hear the crunch of the pilot's boots over the freshly-fallen snow cover outside, overshadowed by his snappish remarks about Vincent's behavior. Vincent quietly lifted his gun from where it leaned against the wall and holstered it before exiting the cave as well.