Title: Prison

Author. Enide Dear

Rating: no violence, no sex, some little nakedness

Pairing: Valenwind, also featuring Kadaj, Yazoo and Loz, but no Remnantcest

Summary: Cid is transporting the Remnants as prisoners on the Highwind.

Sighing inwardly, Cid wondered what in the seven Hells had ever possessed him to agree on this Gods-damned stupidly dangerous flight. He was used to flying cargo, or, when the chance came for him to do join the fight, fly into battle. He'd faced storms, hostile fire, *friendly* fire and fucking exploding craters with his airship and he'd trusted the Highwind to carry him through it all.

But he'd never flown prisoners before. And most certainly never prisoners like these.

From three separate steel-welded cages, three pairs of identical reptile-green eyes looked back at him and blinked in unison. Cid scowled. It freaked the Hell out of him when they did that.

"A'right," he said, glaring back and chewing his cigarette, "I'm the captain here and ya and me will be seeing a lot of one another on this trip, seein' as I don't trust ya with my crew. Ye'll be referring ta me as captain Highwind, and I'll refrain from callin' ya 'copies', 'bastards', 'dip-shits', 'lunatics', 'larvae' or any of the other pretty names I've heard used.

This trip will take 'bout a week before I can get yer sorry pale asses delivered ta Midgard prison and then ya'll be someone else's headache. First sign of trouble from any of ya, and I'll dump ya all out the cargo hold. Now, we're about seven thousand feet up, so I figure a drop like that ought ta have had rather terminal effects even on old Sephy, but yer welcome ta try. Yeah, ya with the long hair?"

Cid pointed at the cage closest to the door where the pale Remnant had risen a hand – quite politely - in query.

"Please stop smoking around us. That thing is poisonous."

"No. Now, ye'll get the same kind of food as the crew and me, three times a day and tea at four o' clock. Ye'll sleep, eat and shit in the cages – that's what the buckets are for. Ya make a mess, and ya'll get ta live in it. Any other questions?"

He pointed at the oldest Remnant, who sat with his knees drawn to his chest in a childish position.

"I don't like tea. I want coffee. With lots of sugar."

"I want milk in mine."

"Plain black, and very strong. Got any espresso?"

"This ain't a fucking pleasure cruise!" Cid scowled, a nagging suspicion of being wound up bouncing in his head. "It's a prison transport and ya ain't getting a damned à la cart menu!"

"I'm cold. Can I have another blanket?"

"No!"

"I'm allergic to apples, and I don't like pears."

"Tough shit!"

"This is so boring. At least put in a telly."

"And a radio."

"Some beers would be nice."

"Fuck ya all!"

The Remnants sniggered as Cid started to storm out, but before he could reach the door Kadaj said sweetly:

"Oh, captain?"

"What?!"

"You've never flown prisoners before, have you?"

Cid stared back at the three grinning, haughty faces and then slowly stubbed out his cigarette on the sole of his boot and lit a new one, letting the smoke drift over to the cages.

"No," he admitted, "but I figure that evens out, seeing as how ya've never been prisoners before either."

Three smiles disappeared instantly, exchanged for sulky annoyance. Pleased to have got the last word, Cid made a mock salute and closed the door on them.

"Captain! Captain!" Remnant voices drawn taught and shrill by fear echoed over the Highwind and Cid hurried towards the cargo hold, pushing worried crewmembers aside.

When he opened the door to the hold he saw Kadaj laying on the floor of his cage, shaking spastically, his eyes rolled back behind his eyelids, foam around his mouth.

"What the fuck now?" Cid growled. "What's wrong with him?"

"He needs – we need – physical contact." Yazoo stood clutching the bars, his face even paler than usually by worry. "He'll die without it! You must let us touch!"

In the third cage Loz tore at the unmoving steel bars, tears running down his face. Cid's piercing gaze darted from one cage to another as he stroke his chin. Then he turned and hurried to a corner, slamming with something metallic.

"Yes, that's it," Yazoo mumbled inaudibly, smiling wickedly, "get the keys…what is that?"

Cid came running back with a big bucked, his face set, his eyes glowing. Careful not to get too close to the cage with the trashing Remnant he drew his arm back and dumped a bucket full of ice-cold water over Kadaj.

"Hey, what ya' know," Cid grinned as the young Remnant's thrashing ended in a squeal of surprise and anger, "I've found a cure. They ought ta give me a fucking prize or somethin'."

"You idiot!" Kadaj raged, trying to shake himself dry like a wet cat. "My clothes –my blanket – it's all wet! I'll freeze and catch a cold!"

"Oh, I'm sorry. Ya must be mistaking me for someone who gives a rat's-ass."

"You'll regret this!" Kadaj hissed, his green eyes glowing with anger under the wet, dripping hair.

"No, opening the cage I would have regretted. This – this is somethin' I'll cherish for the rest of my life and tell my grandchildren."

Cid did bring a dry extra blanket when he took a tray of tea to the prisoners that afternoon, figuring that the cold shower probably had done all the good it could by now. But when he opened the door he almost dropped the tray.

Loz had thrown his blanket to Kadaj, who had used it to dry himself, and Yazoo had thrown over his jumpsuit. But as the standard-issue prison suits where the only clothes allowed to the prisoners, it meant that Yazoo was now naked. The long-haired Remnant stood facing his brothers' cells, giving Cid a perfect view of graceful long legs, a perfectly rounded sweet ass and a slim back disappearing under silky silver hair.

When he heard the door open Yazoo spun around, blushing and fumbling for his blanket, which he swept around his waist. The threadbare cloth more accentuated the vulnerable nakedness than covered it.

Cid let his gaze sweep slowly up the young, blushing Remnant's gorgeous body.

Then he shrugged.

"I've seen better."

Yazoo's jaw dropped and a real, rather ugly, blush came over him.

"You have not!" Loz shouted before he could stop himself.

"Hell, yes I have." Cid started to deal out a teacup and a cookie to each cage. "I'm married ta Vincent Valentine. Now sit down and shut up and drink yer Gods-damned tea."

Rather sulkily, they did.

Before going to bed, Cid went to turn off the lights to the Remnants. Kadaj and Yazoo were already asleep, swept in their blankets, but Loz sat leaning against the bars, sleepy but awake.

"Captain Highwind…" he said when Cid came in to check on them.

"Yeah?"

"…have you ever been to prison?"

That was an odd question. Cid wondered were this would be going.

"Yeah. Once. Some git said somethin' bad about Vince. I beat they guy up and had ta spend a few days in prison."

"What's it like?" Loz fiddled with the blanket. He looked very lost and young.

"Boring as Hell. People ta tell ya what ta do all the time. No freedom, no choices, no friends…"

"Are there…" Loz hesitated. "I mean, I've seen on the telly…that people are not very nice in there."

"They're in there for a reason, ya know. Just like ya."

Loz shook his head.

"No, I'm not worried about me. But my brothers, " he cast a quick, worried glance at the sleeping forms, "I mean, you know what they look like. I'm afraid that the other prisoners will…do things to them."

Cid followed Loz gaze to the other cells. Asleep, Kadaj and Yazoo, looked very young, their faces softened, their strange eyes hidden. They looked to Cid like any sleeping young punks would. Vulnerable. Innocent.

"You could let them go." Loz said quietly. "As long as I am in there, they will behave. They won't do anything that might make you punish me. But they'll be free. They'll get another chance."

"You are Loz, right?" Cid sighed as the Remnant nodded. "Well, I have ta hand it ta ya. Of all the tricks ya three tried today, this was the best one. Even better 'cause ya probably mean it – at least until ya realise that it wouldn't take two days fer yer brothers ta get ya out of a place like that. And anyway –" Cid smiled lopsided "-I bet both ye and yer brothers will be eatin' anyone who tries anythin' in there alive. Heh. Cloud and the Turks should have warned me about ya as well as yer brothers."

Loz almost smiled.

"Well, you can't blame me for trying."

"I guess not. Good night."

"Good night, captain Highwind."