At the pilot's insistence, they finished their meal, enjoying each others company and the sounds of the jungle. Vincent stoked the fire from were he lay. He had unrolled several large furs next to the fire and had crawled under them, wanting to learn at least a few words before he fell asleep.
"Alright." Cid sat indian-style in front of him. He turned slightly and indicated the flames. "Fire," he said.
Vincent's gaze flickered to the fire and back. "Fire," he repeated with a lilting accent.
Cid took Vincent's hand and guided it along the fur beneath them. "Fur," he said slowly.
"F-Fur," Vincent said, stumbling slightly. Why did this language have to be so rough compared to his?
"Um..." Cid looked around the hut, trying to find something else to teach him. "Hmm...."
Vincent's eyes landed on his weapons, his spear leaning in a corner and his bow hung on the wall. He nodded his head towards them.
"Ah." Cid stood, walking over and first touching the bow. "Bow," he instructed.
"...Bow." Vincent huffed slightly. This was a lot harder than he thought it would be.
Cid moved on to the spear, wrapping his hand around it. "Spear," he said slowly.
Vincent watched with fascination as the pilot picked up the spear. He held it like he knew how to use it.
"Cid...spear?" He ventured, wondering if the other was also a warrior.
"I have one," Cid explained, unsure if he would be understood, "back on the ship..."
Vincent thought about his response for a moment before tentatively trying it. "Cid... have...Vincent spear."
Cid blinked. "You want me to keep it?" Vincent nodded and nestled himself deeper into the furs, smiling tiredly. Cid smiled, too, returning to Vincent's side and brushing a hand against his cheek. "Sleep," he whispered.
Vincent moved over in the furs, pulling Cid down to them. The pilot covered them both with the top fur, wrapping his arms around Vincent's waist and snuggling closer. Vincent tucked his head under Cid's chin, falling asleep almost instantly, the past days events overwhelming him. It didn't take Cid long to fall asleep afterward, inhaling Vincent's natural scent and feeling more at peace than he had in a long time.
- - - - - - -
The days quickly passed and the pair adapted to life with another. Each day, Cid would teach Vincent his language while Vincent inadvertently taught the pilot his. They began hunting together, a quickly healing Vincent taught Cid how to live as one with the jungle. As his arm healed, he was able to teach the pilot how to use a bow, though the spear appeared to be is weapon of choice. Each night after their meal, they would sit together by the fire and enjoy each others company. Their relationship had blossomed quickly with each new word they learned, understanding easing the tension between them.
On a particularly hot day, about three months later, Cid was out hunting, spear clutched in his hand. Vincent had taught him a lot about hunting the many birds and small mammals that inhabited the jungle, and his eyes were more trained than they had been at his arrival. Just as he was sneaking up on a small, pecking bird, he heard whispers behind him.
He whirled around. "Vince? That you?"
The whispers suddenly stopped and there was a slight rustling in the leaves.
"Cid?" Vincent's low voice suddenly came from behind him.
Cid turned, silently pointing to the moving leaves. Vincent turned his attention to the flora, squinting. Suddenly there was movement, the sound of footsteps running away from them. Vincent gasped, shoving Cid into motion.
"Cid, hide!" Without another word, he darted into the leaves, chasing the footsteps.
"Wha-?" Nonplussed, Cid shot in the opposite direction, finding a place to hide in the thicket of leaves. A moment later, two yelps rang out through the air and Vincent's recognizable growling. The sounds of a scuffle and snapping leaves filled the air.
"AUGH!" a female voice yelled loudly, followed by an exclamation in Vincent's language that Cid didn't recognize. Seconds later, Vincent stalked back into the clearing, hauling two young girls with him none too gentle by their arms. He dropped them to the ground, glaring at them with a fierce expression, rubbing a bite mark on his arm.
"Hey! Go easy on us!" the younger one cried, still, of course, in the natives' language. "You're the one who went missing for four months and came back with one of the intruders!"
Vincent snarled, "Yuffie, keep your mouth shut and listen to me. The 'intruder' is the only reason I am standing in front of you."
She scowled. "How are we supposed to know that? He could be spying for them or something! What happened to you, anyway?"
"Yuffie, he gave his life up to save my own!" The air seemed to drop in temperature at Vincent's anger.
She was silent for a while. "He did?" she asked, sounding confused. "Why would he? What's in it for him?"
"He did it because he follows the old ways, Yuffie. He wasn't going to let another being die and watch."
"Yeah, well, none of the others are like that!"
"Which is exactly why I didn't kill him on the spot!"
The other girl sat watching the exchange in silence, too scared to direct Vincent's anger towards her. Yuffie crossed her arms. "Fine, then. But you'll have a hell of a time explaining that to everyone else."
"Tifa," he looked at the long haired girl before looking back to the short haired one, "Yuffie. I want you to see him but you must swear to me that you are not to speak to the village of this until we're ready."
Yuffie nodded grudgingly. "Does he speak our language?" she asked. "Tifa speaks English, but I still suck at it!"
Irritated, Vincent covered her mouth with his hand, squeezing slightly. "Swear it Yuffie."
She rolled her eyes. "Okay, I swear." Tifa nodded in agreement. Satisfied, Vincent let go of the girl's mouth and stood up, looking around.
Cid stood, letting himself be seen. He walked out into the clearing and slowly lay the spear on the ground in front of him.
Vincent placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. "They are children from the village. They will not talk."
Cid nodded, brokenly introducing himself in their language.
Tifa looked to Vincent, her dark eyes wide in surprise.
"You taught him our language? Vuisen, you know that is against the elder's law."
Vincent sighed in response, unconsciously moving himself closer to Cid. "It's the only way the elder's will understand."
Cid blinked. He hadn't learned that much. Yuffie leaned in closer, examining him.
"My name is Yuffie. I don't like you."
Vincent hissed warningly at the girl at the same time Tifa smacked her upside the head. "You are going to have to accept this, Yuffie. There will be another Great War. He is our key to winning."
Yuffie's eyes widened. "War? You really think that?"
Vincent nodded tiredly, "Yuffie, Tifa. Go back to the village and please do not speak of this."
"So you want us to just go back and let everyone keep thinking you're dead!?" Yuffie cried.
Tifa tugged the girl to her feet, "Yuffie, Vuisen knows what he is doing he will come back. Please...he wouldn't do this if it wasn't important."
"But-" she protested, looking from Vincent to Cid and back to Tifa. "Whatever you say," she eventually sighed. "But we miss you," she added scathingly, not sounding much like she missed him at all.
"Go. Now." Vincent hissed, as Tifa tugged the smaller, protesting girl away, back into the foliage.
"Alright! Alright!" Yuffie ran after Tifa. Cid stared after them for a while.
Vincent glanced up at Cid, wrapping his arms around his waist. "I am sorry."
"Are they all like that?" Cid asked, hands on Vincent's shoulders. "Will they not trust me?"
"In time," Vincent murmured. He looked away, uncomfortable. "The young one has... feelings... toward me."
Cid frowned, remembering the look on her face as she inspected him. "She saw," he said. "How you protected me. She knows."
Vincent shook his head, smiling slightly. "She does not want to see it. She will in time."
"Should I be scared?" Cid asked, half joking.
Vincent watched the pilot, placing pale fingers on his lips. Though they had grown together, Vincent held back on his feelings for the pilot. Part of him was still scared, and he felt guilty as he saw the hurt in those blue yes.
Vincent shook his head, "Let's go back."
Cid nodded. "Fine with me," he said, taking the spear from the ground and turning his back on Vincent to head back to the hut.
The pair finished their meal in silence that evening, both lost in thought from today's events. Vincent could tell that Cid was upset but he wasn't sure how to change it. He sighed from his spot by the pool, watching the moonlight reflect off the waterfall. Fireflies lit up the clearing, flying from place to place. Vincent glanced back at the dark hut. Cid must have gone to sleep without him. He looked back, watching as a firefly landed on his outstretched fingertips.
Cid wasn't asleep. He, too, was sitting awake, staring into their dying fire, more upset with himself than he was with Vincent. So he wanted to take it slow. So what? Cid was being the stupid one, for acting like they were married or something after two months. He flopped over onto his side and stared at the angry red embers until he did fall asleep.
Vincent stood up and walked into the hut, sitting beside the sleeping form of Cid. Was he just using him for a link to the outsiders? Vincent pushed that thought away angrily. He did deeply care about the pilot. Pushing his fear aside, Vincent leaned down and placed a lingering kiss on the pilot's lips.
Cid smiled slightly in his sleep, shifting onto his side. Slightly crestfallen, Vincent closed his eyes and placed another lingering kiss on the corner of the pilot's eye.
Cid opened one eye. "What?" he asked sleepily.
Vincent looked down at him, stroking the pilot's face lightly. "I'm sorry," he whispered.
Cid rolled back over onto his back and propped himself up on his elbows. "Nah... you got nothin' to be sorry about."
"You are unhappy," Vincent pointed out simply.
Cid looked away for a second. "I just... I got this feeling that there's somethin' you ain't telling me. Somethin' that... I dunno, happened to you in the past or something. Something that's holdin' you back."
Vincent froze, eyes large. He didn't want to talk about it, not after he tried everything to forget it.
Cid stopped, realizing he'd hit a nerve. He sat up all the way, putting an arm around Vincent's shoulders. "You okay?"
Vincent pulled out of the pilot's hold, standing suddenly. No not again. He never wanted it to happen again. Vincent dashed out of the hut, back to his previous spot by the pool. Anything to get away from the Cid.
Cid was left sitting there, alone and confused, before he sighed and lay back down, back facing the entrance of the hut and eyes burning.
Vincent audibly choked as her fought back the memories of her, her smiling face, her long auburn hair. Hands dug into his scalp as he choked again, trying to forget. His eyes burned but he refused to break down.