Vincent paced his dark cell, anxiously peering out the bars every few moments. Cid had managed to return his beads and jewelry to him, their weight comforting after their absence. Vincent walked up to the bars again, trying to see any glimpse of the captain.
Suddenly, hard, panicked footsteps burst to life from the end of the hallway that contained the door to the main lab, followed by the appearance of Cid, panting and sweaty. He fumbled with the cell door. "We have to hurry," he gasped. Vincent watched as the pilot scrambled to unlock the door, and he glanced down the hallway to see why the pilot was so panicked.
"What do you imbeciles think you're doing? AFTER HIM!" came Hojo's screech. Cid unlocked the door and quickly leaped at Vincent's neck, pushing the button on the remote to unclasp the collar. Vincent caught it as it fell, normally warm amber eyes hardening into the true look of a warrior. He glanced at Cid and back down the hall from where the cry came.
Hojo was stumbling down the hall, obviously having been abruptly awakened by Cid's espionage, three guards following clumsily behind. Cid grabbed Vincent's wrist, bolting in the opposite direction. Vincent followed Cid effortlessly, eyes darting around for something that he could defend himself with. He wanted to turn and charge the vile man that captured him but he dutifully reminded himself of his promise and continued racing behind Cid.
They broke out of the emergency exit and into the open air, the night hanging heavy and warm around them. "Where to now?" Cid asked, continuing to run towards the jungle.
Vincent increased his speed, darting ahead of Cid in an instant. He raced into the undergrowth, pulling the captain with him. He knew that Cid wasn't in condition enough to continue their sprint much longer. He stopped suddenly and tugged the pilot down to the ground, covering Cid's mouth with his hand.
"What are you waiting for?" Hojo's voice flashed through the silence. "Follow them!"
"Where did they go?" one of the guards cried. Cid heard footsteps as both guards ran right past them. Hojo sighed and presumably turned to go back to the lab.
Vincent remained crouched over Cid, hand still covering the pilot's mouth. He didn't trust the man to give up that easily. He looked down at Cid, motioning him to stay completely still and quiet. As expected, the softer, slower sound of Hojo's own footsteps soon permeated the area around them, deliberate. Cid could hear the man's excited breaths as he whipped his head around, searching the terrain for any sign of the runaways.
Vincent motioned to Cid to stay still again before he slowly crawled off the pilot. Without a sound, he raised his head enough to see where the professor was located.
There was no sign of him.
Vincent relaxed in relief, looking down at Cid, motioning that he could relax as well.
Cid let out a long breath. "Be careful, though," he warned. "He might come back."
Vincent shrugged, surveying the area before standing in one fluid movement. He looked down at the pilot, smiling softly. A small, pale hand was offered to Cid. Cid took it, letting Vincent help him to his feet. "Where now?" he asked, looking around and wishing halfheartedly that he'd thought of grabbing some supplies. At least his goggles. He felt strangely naked without them.
Vincent looked at Cid, running the question through his head. It would be a few hours to get anywhere close to safe for the night before continuing to the village in the day. He tore his gaze away from Cid, turning it to the trees above, looking for something.
Cid looked up as well. "Somethin' up there?" Without a word, Vincent darted at a tree before climbing it in smooth, movements. Vincent's lips quirked slightly as he found what he was looking for, exactly were he had left it. A graceful, powerful looking bow complete with a ornate quiver lay nestled in the leaves of the tree. He checked it over, satisfied that everything was still in good condition.
Cid's eyes widened. "That's... nice," he said awkwardly. Vincent smiled down at the captian before stepping off the branch and landing in an easy crouch with out a sound.
Cid smirked. "I'd sure as hell like to see one of those shish-kebab Hojo..." he muttered to himself, turning away from Vincent to peer into the trees. Vincent whacked Cid's arm with the bow, trying to get his attention. "Hm?" Cid whipped back around.
Vincent shoved the bow into his hands, motioning him to try it.
Cid looked at it nervously, taking it and removing an arrow from the quiver. Vincent watched anxiously, hoping the man would be able to handle the strong pull of it.
Cid raised it, pulling back and aiming the arrow at a tree. When it shot from the bow, it soared straight past the tree in question and into the dark of the jungle. Cid deflated visibly. "Dammit."
Vincent sighed lightly and rested a comforting hand on his shoulder, smiling softly. He hadn't expected the pilot to be able to wield it without being conditioned for it. He motioned to his still swollen arm and pressing the bow to Cid's chest, knowing that it would be of better use in his hands.
Cid nodded. "I'll try," he said with a grimace. Vincent cupped the pilots cheek before turning away to lead him deeper into the jungle. Cid slung the quiver over his shoulder and followed behind, grabbing hold of Vincent's good hand to keep up.
As the first twinges of pink started to bleed into the sky, Vincent slowed his relentless pace outside of a secluded cave. A waterfall rumbled nearby, it's sound drowning out the various animals calls that filled the air. Vincent looked back at Cid, his lean frame betraying his exhaustion. Cid had nodded off while standing, leaning against the mouth of the cave, one hand tightened into a fist around the bow.
Vincent put a hand on Cid's cheek, thumb slightly tracing the cheekbone. He felt like he was on fire, the cool night air providing no relief. "Cid..."
"Mm?" Cid's eyes opened slowly, gaze locking onto Vincent's drowsily.
Vincent tugged Cid down, forcing him to lay down. He sat down next to him, stroking his hair absently. "Sleep, Cid..."
Cid shook his head, sitting back up again. "No... you need more sleep'n I do..." he murmured.
Vincent laid his head in the crook of the pilot's neck, almost sighing with relief with the cool feel of Cid's skin.
Cid pulled Vincent closer without hesitation, laying the back of his hand against a pale forehead. "You're too hot," he said with concern. Vincent hummed slightly at the touch, using his hands to hold Cid's large, cool hand closer too him. His skin on his arms burned and he felt his stomach roll in response.
"You're not sick, are ya?" Cid asked, taking Vincent's face in his hands and looking at him eye-to-eye. Vincent's stomach rolled again and he groaned in response. Why did he feel so sick all of the sudden? He had only ever been ill when he was a child. A sudden thought flashed to mind and he cursed himself on his lack of vocabulary. Mind reeling, Cid backed up a bit. "Did... Hojo do somethin' to you?"
Vincent looked down, angry red bumps making themselves clearly visible in the crook of his arm.
Cid's eyes widened. "Ah, fuck." He took Vincent's arm to look closer, before looking fiercely into the amber eyes. "I know you dunno many words, but can you remember what he did to you?"
Vincent shook his head. Any memories were a hazy blur and a feeling of pain. He didn't know what had happened; the professor had kept injecting the mind dulling liquids into him.
Cid leaned back against the mouth of the cave again, pulling Vincent back into his arms. "Sleep," he said. "Until the sun's up all the way, at least. Please." Vincent curled up into Cid, slowly willing himself to a restless sleep at the pilot's soft request. Cid's cheek pressed against thick, soft black hair, and he forced himself to stay awake and alert in case Hojo or anyone else from the crew should come searching for them.
- - - - - -
The sharp sting of the strange knife... the echoing laughter in his years... amber eyes desperately searching for the kind eyes of the sky pilot. He struggled to fight his restraints, anything to get free....back to the lush jungle that he called home... back to the man that showed him kindness and concern... a burning pain in his veins had him writhing and trying to break his restraints even more--
"Vince. Vincent." At what felt like the next moment, Cid was shaking him awake, and sunlight was pouring on them through the trees. Vincent's eyes snapped open and in an instant, he was huddled outside the entrance of the cave, emptying th contents of his stomach. Cid cringed, following and holding Vincent's long hair away from his face.
Vincent sat back against the captain when he was finished, sweat soaked bangs plastered against his forehead. Cid brushed the sweaty hair away, then put both hands on Vincent's weak shoulders. "We gotta move. Need me to carry you?"
Vincent shook his head, slowly making his way to his feet. Fevered eyes scanned the scenery before motioning to Cid to get his belongings. Cid grabbed the quiver and bow from where he had left them, and followed behind Vincent, watching his movements carefully.
Vincent determinedly led the pilot deeper into the humid jungle for hours, occasionally stopping at the demand of his churning stomach. The air had become thick and heavy, the temperature reaching highly uncomfortable. Vincent continued to push onwards, stubbornly refusing to let his illness affect their travel.
"Look," Cid said when they had made their fifth stop. "Are you sure you don't wanna stop for a little while?" Vincent hissed menacingly at Cid as he leaned hunched over against a tree, not wanting to stop. He wanted to make his hut before nightfall and taking a break wouldn't be in their best interest. Cid's eyebrows shot up. "Okay, okay... sorry I asked."
Vincent sighed and slid down to sit at the base of the tree. Cid was right and he was only trying to help. He looked up at the pilot, amber eyes apologetic.
Cid fell into a kneel next to him. "Do you wanna keep walking?" he asked. "I'm strong enough. I can carry you, if you need. You can even heave on me if you want." Vincent leaned against the pilot, enjoying the extraordinary amount of heat the man gave off. Even despite the warmth of the day, Vincent felt chilled to the bone. He looked into the bright eyes of the captain, seeing concern and tenderness. Sighing, he silently gave in to the man's request, wondering why the man was doing so much for someone a world apart from him.
Cid gently lifted Vincent into his arms, supporting him behind his shoulders and under his knees. "Just point me in the right direction."
Vincent made a series of motions, giving silent directions to the man before curling up into Cid's chest. Cid nodded at every command, stumbling along the way Vincent had indicated while carrying both him and the bow and quiver. Vincent watched the pilot's face through fevered eyes. He admired how the filterd sunlight caught on pale hair and lighted up those clear light eyes that fascinated him completely. Without fully realizing it, he traced the strong jaw with thin fingers.
Cid paused, craning his neck to kiss Vincent on the forehead. "Almost there. I think." He frowned. "I hope." Vincent blinked in surprise at the pilot's kiss. It had been a long time since anyone had shown him affection in that way. He stroked the man's face slowly, utterly limp in the pilot's arms. "Let's keep going," Cid said with difficulty, a warm hand encasing the cold one on his face, and continued forward.
Vincent gently pulled his hand free, running his hand down Cid's face again and continuing down his throat, hazy amber eyes crossing as they followed his hand's path. Cid stopped to lean against a tree, mildly irritated at himself for being so easily entranced, and let his eyes travel across Vincent's face.
Hazy amber eyes flicked up to meet clear sky blue, a pale finger lightly running over the pilot's lips.
We should be moving, Cid's conscience was persisting, as he slid down into a sitting position against the tree, with Vincent curled in his lap. We don't have time for this. But Cid threw caution to the wind, as he was so good at doing, and leaned in to tentatively press his lips to Vincent's.
Vincent blinked in surprise and shock, the fevered haze over his mind lifting momentarily. Large amber eyes stared at the pilot's, mind somersaulting at the soft kiss.
Cid almost immediately looked away. "Sorry..."
Pale fingers caught the pilot's chin, turning it back around. Soft lips settled on Cid's just as tentatively as the kiss he had received. Cid inhaled sharply, returning the kiss slightly more firmly than before, while being careful as to not make Vincent uncomfortable.
Vincent placed his small hands on the either side of Cid's face, pulling him closer. A raging fire consumed the chill that had previously occupied him, his pale flushing from the sudden heat. Cid broke away, if only slightly, their faces remaining only centimeters apart. "You alright?"
Vincent ignored Cid and pressed another kiss to his mouth to distract him.
"Mmm." Cid melted into the kiss this time, closing his eyes and letting himself be pressed back against the tree slightly.
Vincent pulled back sharply as he felt his stomach churn again. He stubbornly pushed down the feeling, taking a deep breath. Cid sighed, head resting on Vincent's shoulder. He tried to scrounge up something to say, something to break the silence, but anything he came up with would just sound like an excuse to talk.
Cid raised his head again, locking their gazes. Vincent shook his head, resting his heated forehead on the pilots. His eyes held desire but it was overshadowed by the turmoil his body was in.
Cid nodded, understanding. "Later," he promised, holding tightly to Vincent and standing up again. "Let's go," he said, with more determination than before.