[Shattered] Ice 17

Chapter Seventeen – Underwater Race

“Wow!!” Yuffie exclaimed, pressing her hands and nose up to the cool, thick glass of the underwater walkway that lead from Junon to the underwater reactor. She smiled with glee as she took in the wonders of the deep ocean from her lucky position. It wasn’t a sight she often was privy to, and despite being on mission, she had decided to take it for all it was worth.

She felt a hand on her shoulder and turned her head to smile up at its owner. Amber eyes winked at her happily before turning to gaze out the thick glass as well.

“It is a beautiful creation, despite having been built by ShinRa,” Reeve murmured, squeezing her shoulder briefly in an affectionate gesture before allowing his hand to drop to his side.

Yuffie giggled, though she kept her nose pressed to the glass. “Do you… regret working for them?” she asked slowly, displaying a surprising amount of tact.

The ex-executive sighed and turned away, unconsciously tossing a throwing knife up and down with one hand. “There were times that I could do good with their money and influence, keeping my integrity as well as could. And then of course, I would never regret meeting Re– him.” A brief smile crossed his features, almost wistful before he continued. “In all honesty, I cannot say I would change the way things turned out.”

Over to the side, completely ignoring their conversation, Cloud knelt, an eyebrow raised in confusion. “I wonder what this is?” he asked, absentmindedly running his hands over a thick leather-bound book. There was a script on the cover, but it was in a language that he didn’t recognize.

“Where did you get it?” The Wutaian moved to look at it before shrugging in disinterest, returning her gaze to the glass and the myriads of brightly colored fish that swam by her view.

“You turned that creature, the Ghost Ship, into it,” Reeve answered, giving her another affectionate pat on the head. “Maybe Nanaki knows something about it. Perhaps it will even come in handy later.”

Yuffie huffed, rolling her eyes at both men as she turned from the glass and tapped her shuriken. “If Nanaki had given me his Mystify materia like I asked, I wouldn’t have been confused in the first place,” she announced, adding in a quieter mutter, “the stingy old wolf.”

Reeve smiled at her youth and shook his head, eyes already sliding towards the door that would lead them into the reactor’s core. “Should we continue then?”

Cloud nodded, hefting up the sword that the crew had bought for him in Mideel, as a welcome back gift. “Wait until Rufus hears I’m back,” he announced, unable to contain his glee at finally being on his feet again and understanding himself. Aeris had done a lot for him; he only wished he could see her again for real.

Reeve chuckled at their leader’s antics as Yuffie giggled, hefting up her shuriken menacingly. Exchanging glances, the three members of AVALANCHE headed into the ShinRa reactor.

– – –

Cid Highwind still lay in his bed, despite the late hour of the day. It was well-past the time in any normal person should be sleeping, but the exhaustion and stress from the past few weeks coupled with the warmth wrapped around him was enough to make him linger. Especially since he was comfortable among a pile of blankets and limbs, Vincent wrapped around him, and one arm was even thrown possessively over his chest, giving him even more of a reason to remain. It wasn’t often that he was awake and Vincent wasn’t, so he took the moment for what it was, admiring the other man and simply relaxing in the peaceful quiet.

He turned his head to side and found his nose buried in a pile of spicy smelling black hair. Vincent had nuzzled his way onto his shoulder and had fallen asleep promptly after sex earlier in the day, as if he were even more exhausted than the pilot. He now breathed evenly, seemingly sound asleep, and for once, he was not plagued by the nightmares that were usually so frequent, his face actually lax and peaceful.

Cid knew he had them, even if Vincent didn’t say anything about it. The few times they had slept together, Cid had been woken up by restless movements or frightened murmuring. And though insanely, he refrained from asking. Vincent could be quite bristly if one poked in the wrong direction.

The Captain smiled at the brief thought, entertained by memories of crimson eyes flashing with slight irritation, and rubbed a gentle hand over the gunman’s bare back. He felt the soft, pale skin beneath his fingertips, which was interspersed with upraised scars and marks that he didn’t even want to consider. In nameless voices, they told of unspeakable tortures and horrors that made him shudder every time. Not that they bothered Cid aesthetically, just that he hated to think of what had been done to Vincent, what the man had to suffer through.

He had not expected them to reconcile, especially after Vincent’s reaction the first time they had slept together. The former Turk had run away so quickly that Cid half expected to get whiplash. Nor had he expected Vincent to be the one to make the first move either. He couldn’t say that he wasn’t happy about it, however.

He simply enjoyed spending time with Vincent, which brought to mind their most recent and purely strange conversation. It seemed uncharacteristic for the normally reticent gunman to speak generally, a conversation just for the hell of it. Still, Cid was rather pleased to see the gunman finally opening up. He knew that the man couldn’t be all gloom and doom; he just needed to find someone to trust again. And without pushing, the ex-Turk had opened up to Cid.

Regardless, he wasn’t sure how to define their relationship. They were lovers, sure enough, and it probably wouldn’t be a good idea if one of them decided to randomly fuck another person. Yet, he wasn’t sure if there was commitment or anything else. Vincent was decidedly skittish, and Cid… he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted. He knew he wanted Vincent, but as for what his feelings were, what his heart said, he hadn’t really thought about it.

Only, the desperate need to have the gunman beside him was beginning to get slightly worrisome.

Chewing his lip in thought, Cid turned his head away from the thick mop of black hair, blue eyes searching for the cigarettes that he remembered were on the dresser earlier. He spotted the small packet and the lighter pushed into the foil, reaching for them happily, careful not to disturb the sleeping man on his chest.

“You really should quit, you know,” Vincent’s smooth and silky voice stated softly, causing the pilot to startle. He had thought the gunman asleep, the sneaky bastard.

Cid rolled his eyes, muttering under his breath as he grabbed his vice and pushed himself to a sitting position, no longer concerned with disturbing the obviously awake man. Vincent rose with his movements, though he didn’t remove his head from Cid’s chest, and the two lazily reclined against the headboard, which was a cold contrast to Cid’s bare back.

There was the quiet snick of a lighter and a happy exhale before the pilot finally responded, attempting to ignore the subtle trace of fingers over his naked chest. “I’ll quit when I’m damn ready to,” he muttered around the cigarette, “and it’s not looking like that’ll be anytime soon.”

Vincent shook his head, a slight smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth as his finger wandered over to one flat, dusky nipple, the smooth pad tracing over the soft flesh. Cid’s skin goosebumped as his nipple slowly began to harden, and Vincent rolled the pebbled flesh between his fingertips, a somewhat devilish expression on his face.

Cid groaned at the distraction and sucked deeply on his cigarette, closing his eyes in satisfaction. “Ya keep doing that… and we might never leave this bed,” he warned, though he couldn’t necessarily see where that was a bad thing.

“Is that a promise?” Vincent queried, turning his head to the side and letting warm, moist air ghost over Cid’s flesh before drawing the other nipple into his mouth, laving his tongue over the dusky flesh until it, too, hardened. His other hand continued to pinch its twin. The blond moaned again at his touch, his hand holding the cigarette trembling as the sheets bunched around his waist gradually began to tent.

Cid reached out with his free hand and tangled it among the thick, black strands of Vincent’s hair, encouraging him. Smiling to himself, the gunman nipped lightly on the nub of flesh as he allowed his hand to slip down the hard plane of the pilot’s abdomen, dipping beneath the sheets for the already hardening member. He wrapped his fingers around the warm flesh, stroking gently and causing hips to surge upwards briefly, eliciting another aroused sound from the pilot.

“Damn!” Cid cursed, cigarette burning away, nearly forgotten in his hold as another moan escaped his mouth. “You’re a horny bastard, aren’t ya?”

Vincent paused in his ministrations without realizing it, the sudden thought occurring to him that he could have explained all the reasons why. That Cid made him forget, that he made him feel… all right, for lack of a better term. That being with the pilot chased away all the guilt and the regret and every negative feeling he harbored deep inside. It washed away the taint he could still feel against his skin, the taint that he knew was there even if he couldn’t remember it. And even if he wanted to cling to those unhappy thoughts and his remorse for failing Lucrecia, around Cid he simply couldn’t, and that it frightened him beyond belief.

He could have told Cid just how different he was around the pilot or that he was starting to change, and he didn’t understand that either. Or that with Cid he felt he was worth something, even with an infested body of demons. That Cid made him feel needed and wanted. He could have said a lot of things that he probably would have regretted since it would bring out every last one of his vulnerabilities. Despite the trust he had granted the pilot, he didn’t think he could take that step.

Nor could he completely walk away from Lucrecia or what he knew he once felt for her. Something inside kept holding him back. His own loathing for his inadequacies. His self-hatred.

It all withheld that most important part of him from perhaps the only person that could help to heal him. He wasn’t ready for all his walls to come down, but damn if Cid didn’t keep knocking without even having to try.

It simply came down to the truth. If he really wanted to keep his distance, he would sneak from the bed in the middle of the night like some mistress than actually stay every time.

He wanted to walk away, but like someone starving for attention, Vincent kept returning. No matter what he told himself, he couldn’t leave anymore. He wanted, and it was simply that. He didn’t know what to do with it, the want and the desire to be free.

He could have said so many things, but instead of blurting out his heart, he kept it simple, easy, something he couldn’t regret but was still the truth. All in all, he still was not ready to divulge that part of him. He was still afraid, and like a coward, he ran away.

His hand, which had briefly stilled, picked up the steady rhythm once more, tightening slightly on his lover’s cock. “Only for you,” Vincent murmured against Cid’s chest, knowing that it was the truth. The pilot was the only one allowed to see any side of him other than the silence. “Only for you.”

He was glad that the subtle hitch in Cid’s breath was the only response he was given because he didn’t think he could handle any fluffy words as he grudgingly released Cid’s erection. For the moment, he desperately wished that he had two hands as he reached down and gently fondled the pilot’s scrotum, one finger probing lower. Cid unconsciously spread his legs, groaning aggravatedly when he realized he couldn’t move because Vincent was attached to his side.

Taking it as an invitation, the gunman crawled between Cid’s legs, his mouth paying attention to the other much neglected nipple as the pad of his finger teased at the pilot’s entrance, rubbing along puckered skin but not probing any deeper. He could feel himself quickly growing hard at the thought of soon being inside Cid, plunging deep into the warm and tight tunnel. His stomach coiled with the beginnings of arousal.

A golden claw reached up and plucked the cigarette from Cid’s lips, crushing it easily before dropping it to the floor. The pilot didn’t bother to protest, already occupying himself by allowing his slightly rough touch to roam all over the pale flesh in front of him. Vincent took advantage of Cid’s free lips and latched onto him, engaging the pilot in a searing kiss. The blond eagerly opened his mouth, inviting the gunman’s tongue inside for an alluring game of dominance.

One spear-calloused hand dipped between their bodies, grasping onto Vincent’s stiffening arousal and stroking him into full hardness. The gunman moaned into the pilot’s mouth, nipping a bit roughly on Cid’s bottom lip. He eagerly pressed forward, guiding their bodies downwards as he covered Cid’s slowly undulating body with his own, matching the blond’s movements. He didn’t know what it was about Cid that got him so quickly worked up, but at the moment, he didn’t care to question it, too interested in quenching the fire that was frantically building up inside of him.

Vincent rolled his hips, grinding their groins together as strong hands squeezed his ass, holding his lower body still so that Cid could buck upwards. It created even more friction, which sent sparks of desire through his body. He groaned.

Vincent broke away from the searing kiss, granting Cid some breathing room as he nipped along the pilot’s fuzzy jaw line. The blond could use a shave, but sometimes, the gunman actually enjoyed the feeling of scruffiness against his skin. He licked gently, both tickling and arousing Cid as he made for the man’s ear and the sensitive spot at the base of his jaw. He bit lightly before sucking on the pilot’s neck.

“Uhhn… Ifrit’s fire, Vince!!” the Captain moaned aloud, squeezing the gunman even harder, the precum seeping from their combined arousals slickening their movements even further.

“Say it…” the gunman whispered in Cid’s ear, causing the blond to shudder involuntarily as whispers of arousal trickled down his back. Vincent was using both arms to keep much of his weight off of the pilot, but his mouth was more than enough for the other man to moan his name aloud.

“I want you so fuckin’ bad…” Cid panted as he leaned forward and nipped lightly at Vincent’s shoulder, biting down just enough to be noticed but not enough to break the skin. He could feel the shudder that made its way through the ex-Turk’s body as his tongue teased the slightly irritated flesh.

Vincent took the pilot’s earlobe between his teeth, nipping gently before he whispered seductively, “I’ll have you screaming yet.”

Cid shuddered at the thought, feeling the straining between his legs becoming almost too much to bear. But it wasn’t quite what he wanted, not this time.

“N…no…” he stuttered out, barely comprehending anything beyond the blinding pleasure as his hands kneaded pale globes of flesh.

A dark brow raised in question, clearly confused. “No?” Vincent pulled his head back, crimson eyes locking with sky blue as he deliberately rocked their hips together, causing Cid to bite his lip in frustration, nearly succumbing then and there.

“No,” repeated the Captain a bit more firmly, licking his lips. “I want to be on top this time.”

Vincent shook his head, withdrawing slightly as something strange flashed in his eyes, something that the pilot was unable to identify. “No,” he said simply, offering up no other explanation.

Cid narrowed his eyes, unable to help the slight bit of anger and irritation that crept into his heart. “Why the fuck not? Think I can’t make you feel good?” he accused, wondering why the negative answer hurt. He realized there wasn’t any definition to their relationship, but he was a bit annoyed at always being on the bottom.

Vincent closed his eyes briefly, a small sigh escaping from his lips before he leaned in for a brief kiss. “Don’t get a big head,” he began, his breath whispering across the pilot’s mouth, “but there’s no way I’m letting that monster anywhere near my ass.” He kept his eyes carefully averted, however, not wanting the pilot to see the real reason why.

He couldn’t explain it or really understand himself, he just knew that the very thought of it evoked this great feeling of utter disgust and horror inside of him. It was irrational and a bit crazy, but he couldn’t seem to get past that and wasn’t ready to deal with it just yet. If the pilot didn’t understand that, then perhaps it was time he ended their farce before it even got started. Still, it seemed he wouldn’t have to.

“Hmph.” Cid rolled his eyes knowing on some level that it wasn’t the true reason. But he couldn’t necessarily be angry about it considering there were things he simply didn’t know about Vincent or his past.

For all he knew, it brought back bad memories. After all, when they had been taken by ShinRa, Vincent had been handed over to Hojo’s custody, and Cid knew that Vincent despised Hojo just as much as he feared the man. There was something there; he just didn’t know what. So for the moment, he would let it slide.

“Fine,” he huffed, feigning surrender. “Have it your way.”

Vincent wasted no time in taking advantage of the permission, diving in for another kiss, eager to get things back to the way they were before. Their tongues danced around one another, consuming them with their overpowering need until the gunman pulled away from Cid and dug beneath the pillow for the lube he had shoved there earlier. After a few moments of fruitless grasping, he finally found it, emerging victorious as he popped it open with a thumb and let some dribbled out onto his fingers.

As Cid dragged him forward for another kiss, nearly drawing blood with its intensity, Vincent eased two of the oil-slicked digits into Cid’s anus. He was internally pleased when the pilot let out a muffled groan of pleasure, body automatically seeking to deepen the touch by shifting downwards. Vincent purred in his chest as the tight muscles clamped down on his fingers and hurried the process, brushing his fingers only briefly over Cid’s prostate.

Panting, Vincent withdrew his fingers when a sudden idea occurred to him. It wasn’t quite the same as what Cid had wanted, but it would give him a certain measure of control. As Cid protested the loss of the fingers, the gunman leaned forward, murmuring seductively into Cid’s ears and enjoying how the other man squirmed beneath him.

“Ride me,” he suggested on the end of a purr. Cid shuddered as his fingers clenched deeper into Vincent’s flesh. Clearly, he liked that idea as a bright shiver of lust spread through his body.

Cid grinned as he surged upwards, flipping the lither man with ease and straddling him within seconds. “Now, that’s more like it.”

– – –

“They’ve already harvested the materia,” Yuffie commented glumly as she slashed at another ShinRa soldier, easily dispensing with the grunt. A splash of blood soared through the air, but she hardly paid it any attention as he tumbled to the ground, no longer a nuisance. Her eyes were locked on the visible mechanical arm in the distance, which was transporting the huge materia.

Cloud growled, tightening his grip on his sword as he saw the mechanical arm move materia from the reactor and into a waiting submarine. He dimly heard the sounds of booted feet across the floor, more lackeys doing nothing more than delaying them.

Reeve tossed several knives at a control panel before they could enter, cutting off the power. It sputtered and hissed, sending sparks flying into the air, but it did its duty, closing and locking the automated door.

“We can still retrieve it,” the ex-executive huffed. “If we can stop the submarine…” he trailed off, his meaning quite clear as he pushed past them, stepping over fallen soldiers and heading for the opposite end of the platform.

Cloud and Yuffie exchanged glances before following. They tore through the doors and into the submarine dock, weapons held at the ready. However, they ended up nearly crashing into Reeve, who had stopped in his tracks, seemingly unable to move. He stood rigidly, his eyes locked on the path in front of him.

“Did we make it?” the blond asked as he nimbly side stepped, wondering what in the hell had bothered the ex-executive enough to make him halt in place.

“What are you doing?” a voice came from the walkway in front of them. Cloud shifted his gaze towards a man dressed in a dark blue suit with a red ponytail, his back to the door. “Help load,” the nameless man continued as he turned to face them.

It was Reno,

“Cloud! Reeve?” the Turk exclaimed, nearly stepping backwards in shock. Yuffie had been completely ignored.

Cloud, however, was wasting no time. “Give us the huge materia, Reno,” the ex-SOLDIER growled as he leveled his sword menacingly. “Do it now!”

Reno tapped his Electro Rod against his shoulder and glared at them. “ShinRa is trying to save the world, asshole!” His mako eyes narrowed but flicked to the third man for an instant before moving back. “I thought Sephiroth killed yer punk ass!” he stated, his voice strangely calm.

The blond gritted his teeth in anger. “You have no idea what the hell you’re doing!!” he growled. “I will take it by force if I have to.”

“There is knowledge in that materia that we can’t afford to lose. Perhaps even a better way to destroy Meteor,” Reeve interjected softly, face incredibly pale like he had seen a ghost.

Yuffie glanced at him strangely before furtively looking to Reno as well. Something was definitely up.

Reeve continued, missing her look, “You are making a mistake.”

A strange expression crossed the Turk’s face, but it was gone in an instant. “Seeing as none of us speak Ancient, we’re workin’ with what we got.” He rolled his eyes, regaining his composure.

“You don’t have to do this,” the ex-executive continued in a voice that bordered on pleading.

His companions looked to their friend in confusion, Cloud’s eyebrows rising nearly to his hairline.

But Reeve ignored them. “We don’t have to fight if it is for the sake of everyone. Can’t you see that?”

Aquamarine eyes seemed to soften for just a moment before the Turk shook his head and took several steps back. “No,” he said simply. “Unfortunately, I don’t have time to deal with you. My priority is the Huge Materia!” He signaled with his hand moments before an enormous metal creature moved in front of him, snapping its steel claws dangerously at the friends. “However, Carry Armor will be more than happy to entertain you.” He waved dismissively at them before dashing away, casting a glance back that both Reeve and the ninja noticed.

“Damn!” Cloud cursed, fingers tightening around his Crystal Sword as he took an unconscious step backwards. “Looks like we are going to have to fight!” he growled as a metallic claw hand reached out for him.

– – –

Finding the discarded oil had been no easy task, but once it was located, Cid wasted no time in dribbling some of the sweet-smelling liquid onto Vincent’s cock, taking his time in slickening his erection. Vincent hissed at the touch, something akin to a growl echoing deep in the base of his throat as Cid’s weight on his thighs prevented him from arching forward. His hands fell of their own accord on Cid’s hips, trying to urge the pilot to hurry along.

Fingers danced along his cock, teasing touches that did nothing but arouse him further. “Quit… teasing…” he groaned, giving a none too gentle yank on the pilot’s hips and poising him above his aching cock.

Cid smirked but pinched him on the belly, causing Vincent’s eyes to narrow in slight pain. “I’m on top; I’m in charge,” he taunted.

Vincent sighed and reluctantly loosened his grip as if to prove he could. Cid seemed satisfied by this, tossing the bottle of oil over his shoulder to land in some obscure place. This didn’t mean he ceased his teasing touches, however, only stepped up the pace, rubbing a thumb over Vincent’s leaking slit and stroking the gunman. It took all of the other man’s will power to not thrust upwards, body beginning a slight tremble as he groaned.

The pilot finally decided to take pity on him, stopping his torture and slowly lowering himself onto Vincent’s erection. The blunt head probed at his entrance before gradually slipping inside, as if Cid was determined to test Vincent’s patience. Slightly sharpened canines dug into the gunman’s lip as he resisted the urge to take Cid quickly, allowing the pilot at least that much control. He deserved it after all.

“You’re… always so tight… hnn,” he panted, fingers reflexively squeezing on Cid’s hips. Warm muscles gripped him tightly as he was slowly seated deep inside of the blond, a sweat breaking out on his brow from holding back.

“Hunh,” Cid replied, more of a grunt escaping his mouth than a moan as he consciously squeezed his inner muscles, delighting in the moan that emerged from Vincent’s throat. “And you feel damn good,” he countered, slowly raising and lowering himself once on the gunman’s cock. It brushed lightly over his prostrate, sending sharp stabs of pleasure ricocheting through his body.

His gaze raked over Vincent’s features as he slowly undulated his hips, watching the play of expressions over the former Turk’s face. His eyes were closed, completely unaware that he was being watched as Cid admired skin so pale it was nearly milky white and dark hair that was a complete contrast. Vincent was as pretty as any woman, but he always carried some of the harsher lines around his chin that easily identified him as male. Still, there was no other word to describe him but beautiful, even more so with the naked hunger and desire filling his expression, beads of sweat dotting his forehead.

The slow pace while fulfilling was quickly not becoming enough, and Cid swiftly worked his body, pleased to find that Vincent was beginning to thrust upwards to meet his every downward plunge, making him moan.

Vincent was no less affected. His eyes cracked open, and from his angle, he could see everything. Himself disappearing inside of Cid’s body, the flush of arousal that was spreading across the blond, the play of emotions across the pilot’s face, displaying everything he felt inside. It was like taking a peek into his lover’s soul.

A sudden desire erupted in the gunman’s deeply hidden kinky side. “Touch yourself,” he abruptly requested. “I want to see you touch yourself.”

Cid smirked, having no qualms with the request as he reached down and wrapped his fingers around his arousal, beginning a slow and steady stroking pace. He rubbed his palm over the tip, spreading precum over his shaft to ease his way as he locked onto crimson eyes.

“This what you wanted?”

Vincent licked his lips, eyes dilated with arousal and darkening until they were almost the color of blood. “No,” he responded.

Suddenly, it simply wasn’t enough. He had to be closer, feel more. Something inside of him was desperately crying out for something, but he didn’t know what.

The pilot’s brow furrowed in confusion. “No?”

Vincent shook his head, unable to explain it properly. He surged upwards, rocking his body forwards until he was sitting with the pilot in his lap, arms wrapped around Cid’s waist. He quickly pressed their lips together, flesh hand dipping between their bodies to join Cid’s in stroking his sex. Vincent continued to rock his hips forward, and just like that, the entire affair took several closer steps to intimate without either of them realizing it.

Cid tangled the fingers of his free hand in Vincent’s hair, refusing to allow the gunman to end the kiss. He relentlessly pushed his tongue into the other’s mouth, need building to a crescendo within him, and he unconsciously tightened his inner muscles. Vincent moaned into his mouth and pulled Cid closer to him, shifting his angle yet again and managing to glide perfectly along the pilot’s prostate.

That was all it took. The blond’s entire body seemed to shudder violently before it stopped moving entirely. The rush of sensation and pleasure all corresponded to one spot as he came in a giant spurt, coating both of their chests with his seed.

The rhythmic pulsing of being inside Cid, coupled with the breathy moans that his lover was emitting, and Vincent no longer had any restraint. He broke away from their kiss, his forehead falling to the pilot’s collarbone as his release was pulled from his body, rough growls of need emerging from his mouth. He gripped Cid tightly as he spilled his seed deep inside, every muscle drawn taut.

– – –

“It was just a distraction,” Reeve murmured more to himself than the others as Cloud kicked the mangled heap of metal that was once their enemy in disgust. “They never meant to kill us. That creature was far too weak.” He sighed, shaking his head. “It worked though; the submarine is gone.”

Yuffie gave him a strange look, but a metallic gleam caught her eye. “There’s another!” she exclaimed, pointing to the submarine platform. Indeed, a second one, a grayish-blue in color, was still docked, but it swarmed with ShinRa soldiers.

“We’re taking it by force if we have to,” Cloud announced grimly, giving one last violent kick to the annoying piece of rubbish at his feet. The others nodded, quickly following his example.

They forced their way onto the sub, easily dispatching with the weak outer-guard. Once inside, they crawled through the tight cramped spaces to get to the control room for the sub. They did not have much time to catch up to the leader submarine with the Huge materia.

After mercifully allowing the obviously frightened captain and his two subordinates to flee, Cloud took a seat at one of the control panels. He gazed at the myriad knobs and buttons with a look of complete and utter incomprehension. He didn’t even know where to begin.

“Dammit! I should have brought Cid!” he cursed aloud, angrily banging his fist on the control panel. It beeped at him furiously before the submarine gave a sudden shake.

“Don’t worry! I can do this!” Reeve smiled, sliding into the empty seat next to him. The blond and the ninja gaped at the ex-executive as he smoothly flipped switches and proceeded to move the submarine slowly out of the dock.

Brown eyes widened in shock. “H… how?” she stuttered, unable to formulate a complete sentence.

Reeve shrugged, his face full of mischief. “You guys are slow! It took forever for you to get to Gold Saucer. I occupied my time in Wonder Square and finally learned to beat that damn submarine game.”

Cloud continued to gape, even as the submarine began to sink into the water and headed for the small tunnel that connected the underwater dock with the open ocean.

– – –

Panting, slightly overwhelmed by the intense orgasm, Vincent kissed Cid’s collarbone. He rested his head on the pilot’s chest, feeling Cid’s heaving breaths beneath him, but he couldn’t find it in him to pull away for the moment. He was simply too tired.

They stayed like that for several minutes, allowing their heart rates to even out and their breathing to return to normal. It was nice, a peaceful moment as each tried to work out the confusing feelings that were suddenly bombarding them.
Vincent was the first to stir, his legs beginning to go numb. Cid took the hint and carefully climbed off of him as the gunman slid to the edge of the bed, a strange gleam in his eyes. He couldn’t quite explain it; he just had the feeling that something had changed. He idly touched the wetness on his chest and stomach.

“I need a shower,” he murmured, more to himself than Cid, still distracted by all the thoughts running through his mind.

Cid nodded, stretching across the bed to reach for his cigarettes. He, too, had noticed a strange shift but was unwilling to comment on it. That had gone far beyond simple fucking, even if words hadn’t been spoken or tears shed. He didn’t comment, however, when Vincent rose and gracefully headed to Cid’s private bathroom. Still, the pilot couldn’t resist watching him go, eyes glued to a pale backside.

He took a deep drag of his cigarette as he mused, idly noticing the sound of the shower starting. The change in position, the almost desperate way that Vincent had clung to him, it was very strange. As if in some silent way, he was being shown that Vincent needed him. As much as he might have wanted to and judging by the odd new beat inside of him, he didn’t know what Vincent truly wanted; he was half-afraid of putting more into something that hadn’t yet been defined. It wouldn’t do for him to get attached too early and set himself up for heartbreak later on. He didn’t want another Archer.

The blond groaned as he put out his cigarette, it suddenly tasting like ash in his mouth. Vincent might have needed him, but the man had yet to realize that the feeling was mutual, if he even knew what he wanted at all.

Cid climbed to his feet, determined to slip into the shower and see if he could surprise Vincent. There was something he wanted to ask the gunman, and judging by the strange but not necessarily negative tension in the air, now was the perfect time.

However, a sudden knock at his main door disrupted his plans. Cursing to himself, he found a robe and threw it over himself before stomping over to the door.

He just managed to growl as he pulled it open slightly. “What?”

Brown eyes blinked at him. Barret.

“Cloud called,” the big man explained, shifting in his stance. “We gotta get them at Junon and rush to Rocket Town.”

Frowning, the Captain started to wave his hands in dismissal. “Then go tell the actual pilot! I’m on vacation,” he grumbled.

What a stupid reason for bothering him– Wait.

He peered at Barret. “Did you say Rocket Town?”

The older man shifted uncomfortably once again, as if just noticing the blond’s half-dressed state and most likely catching sight of what was a new mark on his collarbone. He nodded a little too enthusiastically.

“Yeah. ShinRa’s taking the Huge Materia, and they’re going to use the Rocket.”

“No, the hell they ain’t!” the Captain spluttered angrily, shouting at the dark-skinned man, although he was just the messenger. “Tell that bloody pilot to use max speed and tell that spiky-haired idiot that I’m coming, too. He better not leave me behind!” Cid made as if to slam the door in Barret’s face.

“Wait!” Barret said, beefy hand stopping the door immediately. Blue eyes narrowed as Cid impatiently waited for him. “Have ya seen Vincent? Cloud told me to tell him to come.”

“No,” the blond muttered crossly. “But if I see him, I’ll tell him.” He finished slamming the door in Barret’s face and stormed into his room, kicking at his desk angrily and instantly regretting the action when pain lanced through his foot. “God-fucking-dammit!” he cursed loudly, rage beginning to build inside of him.

ShinRa thought they could screw him over not once but twice? The nerve! The audacity! The–

“Cid?”

The pilot’s head snapped up as he paused in his frantic pacing, noticing that Vincent was standing directly in front of him, a towel wrapped around his waist. He looked slightly concerned, perhaps even a bit wary.

Cid shook his head. “Cloud is looking for ya,” he muttered, beginning his frantic pacing once more.

Vincent furrowed his brow. “They are back already? And why me?”

The pilot shrugged, a quick and almost violent motion. “They’re now,” he spat. “ShinRa’s got the last Huge Materia, and they’re headin’ for Rocket Town.”

“Why would they be going there?”

“Why the fuck else?” Cid yelled, nearly tearing out his hair in frustration. “Dammit! Fucking ShinRa doing everything they can to destroy my dreams, and now, they want to take my last chance at the stars?” He growled out of pure aggravation. He had placed his every hope in that rocket. Everything he had left home for and struggled for was in his sweat and blood, poured over that one damnable machine.

Vincent frowned again. That still didn’t explain why Cloud wanted to take Vincent and not Cid. He mused inwardly as he searched the room for his clothes, ignoring the other’s frantic pacing for the moment. Last night, they had been haphazardly thrown in various directions in their hurry to get undressed and into bed.

“Why didn’t Cloud tell you to come then?” He threw on his clothes quickly, slowed down only by the many buckles of his cloak and belts.

The pilot threw up his hands. “Hell if I should know! But if he fuckin’ thinks I’m staying behind here, he’s dead fuckin’ wrong!!” Cid suddenly whirled on his heels and started heading for the bathroom, grabbing clothes along his way.

Vincent moved so quickly he was surprised that he had even shifted positions himself. He intercepted Cid on his way to the bathroom and grabbed the angry pilot by the shoulders, kissing him deeply. The blond seemed to relax under his touch, though the tenseness in his shoulders did not ease. He didn’t know why, simply that he felt it was something he should do.

“I’m going to go meet with Cloud and see if I can stall him.” With those words, Vincent headed for the door, peering out furtively before opening it and disappearing.

The pilot still stood stunned where the gunman had left him a few minutes later, wondering what the hell had just happened. However, reason soon returned, and he rushed around once more, hurriedly trying to redress not even knowing that the former Turk was wondering the same damn thing as he moved swiftly down the hall.

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