"You don't see me angsting over stuff like that, do you?" Stupidity is a result of far too much angsting, as far as Cid Highwind is concerned. Vincent Valentine, unfortunately, suffers from it. Cid...
Vincent hissed as claws swiped towards his shoulder, jerking his body sideways barely in time to dodge it. He fired, the gunshot echoing in the forest before being swallowed by the vast expanse of vegetation. The Diablo didn't even flinch, poising itself for another strike. A distance from Vincent, Cid cursed as the bullet whizzed past his ear.
"Damnit, Vince! Watch where you're fucking firing that thing, would you?!"
Vincent didn't bother to reply, firing again at the Diablo's head. Cid swore, jumping up slightly and swinging the Venus Gospel in a wide arc, decapitating another of the monsters that surrounded them.
They had gotten separated from Cloud and the rest of the party a mere hour ago. A sudden swarm of Diablos and Epilonis had taken all of them by surprise, and, combined with the unfamiliar forest terrain, they had somehow ended up like this. 'This' meant being cornered and surrounded by countless monsters. What makes the situation worse was that Vincent's almost endless supply of ammunition, hidden in pockets of coats and boots and even his gloves, was slowly but surely running out.
'You have no need for those useless bullets if you just let me out.' Chaos's voice, if that rumble of menace in his mind could be called a voice, was low and harsh, almost but not quite like the sound of sandpaper being scraped over unpolished wood.
'No.' Vincent turned, kicking out sharply at an Epilonis that had managed to penetrate his guard. The monster flew and slammed into a tree. Vincent reloaded as fast as his fingers could manage, and shot at it point-blank. An enemy alive is a dangerous enemy.
'So you're going to keep doing this? Shoot them until you run out of bullets?' Even though Vincent could not see Chaos's face, the contempt was clear enough in its voice.
'Yes.' He emptied a clip into a Diablo that was creeping up on Cid in his blind spot. Counting silently, Vincent mentally winced when he realized that he only had five more clips to go.
'What would you do after you run out of bullets, hmm? Tear their heads off with that shiny golden arm of yours, oh master of mine?'
Stoic silence was his only reply.
'I can probably take over your body without your permission, you do know that? I don't need to ask.' Chaos's voice was laced with an underlying smugness that the demon did not even bother to conceal. Vincent growled, hands tightening around the Peacemaker as he reloaded again. Four more clips left.
He frowned, debating mentally on whether or not to believe the demon's taunt. He knew perfectly well that the other three demons could only take over his own body if Vincent allows them to, but Chaos was different. Chaos was truly the epitome of its name, and Vincent didn't know if the taunt was completely true. After all, Chaos was stronger than all of the other three demons put together.
His choice, however, was taken from his hands in an instant.
"Fuck!" Cid's voice was half-choked with pain.
Vincent turned, eyes widening when he saw a Diablo that had gotten far too close to Cid (how did it get past Cid's defenses anyway?!) sink its claws into Cid's shoulder.
Cid shouted, seemingly in more shock than pain, as the Diablo pulled its claw back, dragging pieces of skin and flesh with it. Blood dripped from its talons and down Cid's arm onto the forest floor. A red stain spread all across the pilot's shirt.
Vincent saw red.
Chaos laughed in his mind as Vincent felt his hair extending down to his waist, bleaching it white from roots downwards. It seemed that it was starting there this time. He felt, vaguely, almost detached, as his bones shifted and his skeletal structure expanded. He grew taller, lankier. His bones hollowed, the calcium traveling to between his shoulder blades. He felt his skin break, the back of his shirt absorbing the blood as wings burst from his back, huge and leathery and blood red. The joints of his claw squeaked in slight protest as his nails lengthened into talons.
Chaos flapped its wings, and /laughed/.
Vincent could, from the back of his own mind where he was shoved to when Chaos took over, hear Cid's voice in the background. He duly noted the shock and awe, and smelled the slight, badly-concealed fear. He closed his eyes.
Chaos growled, not even glancing at Vincent's comrade, instead focusing on the mass of monsters surrounding him. Fear rolled from them in waves. Chaos grinned, and showed its fangs.
'The paint is peeling off the ceiling.'
Vincent blinked, trying to clear his vision, which seemed to be swimming in front of him. Belatedly, he realized that he was in his room. On the Highwind.
He blinked again. He was still in the room. How did he get there?
As if on cue, his memories started rushing back.
Chaos laughing, claws, one golden, one black, flashing as it massacred the monsters surrounding them.
Cid shouting for him to look out behind him, and that he was an irrational bastard.
A spear through a Diablo's head as it lunged towards his back.
Shoving Chaos back and the pain as he transformed back into his normal body.
Cid shouting at him again.
Being half-carried, half-dragged into the Highwind, and Tifa's concerned questions and Cid's growled replies.
Ah. So that was it.
Vincent sighed, dragging his one normal hand over his hair. He grimaced slightly when he saw that blood had dried in it. Just how long had he been unconscious?
Just then, rather conveniently, the door opened rather quietly. Cid Highwind entered, carrying two chipped mugs and a scowl.
"You're awake? No, stupid question. Of course you're awake. Here." Cid thrust a hand out.
Vincent stared at the cup. Steam escaped in faint trails above the ceramic, and from one glance, he could tell that it was mint tea. His favorite.
Cid sat down on the chair next to the bed, cradling his own cup of tea and peering at Vincent from the top of it, no doubt trying to find the reason why he had suddenly collapsed in the middle of the battle. He wasn't the first to speak, however.
"Why?" Vincent's voice was soft, the question tentative.
"Why aren't you afraid of me?"
Cid snorted, sipping his tea before he answered. "Why the fuck should I be?"
Vincent raised an eyebrow, then, placing his own cup of tea on the nightstand with deliberate calm, he started pacing around the room. He didn't look at Cid. "Why shouldn't you be? I have four demons living in my head! I may lose control of them at any time! Every single one of them is a /monster/! That's why?"
His voice had taken a slightly hysterical edge.
"But you aren't." Cid stated, matter-of-factly.
Vincent paused in his pacing, turning on his heel to face the pilot. "What does that have to do with /anything/?!"
Cid sighed, reaching out to grab his arm. Vincent flinched slightly, but Cid ignored the move. The pilot stood, manhandling the ex-Turk back to the bed, glaring at him for all his worth.
"Sit down and drink your goddamn tea and I'll explain it to you, moron."
Vincent sat. He picked up his cup of tea, and sipped it cautiously. Cid threw up his hands and sat back down, grumbling slightly, though it was too soft for Vincent to hear.
"Look, you haven't gotten out of control yet, have you? There's no use of thinking of what may happen. That's just a fucking waste of time."
Vincent opened his mouth to protest, but Cid waved it off, still glaring at him.
"Shut up and just listen to me/, damnit. See, Vince, there's a chance that we won't be able to stop Sephiroth and Meteor will fall and the world will end. There's also a damn good chance that I will die before I hit fifty. There's a chance that Cloud might go fucking insane again, or the Planet deciding that it's really /that fucking pissed off at us and commits seppuku."
Vincent tried to speak again. Cid threw an unlit cigarette in his general direction. He got the hint.
"You don't see me angsting over stuff like that, do you? I mean, all those stuff have pretty much the same odds of happening as you losing control and killing all of us."
"'sides, Vince, even if you did lose control, who says that all of us won't be able to distract it long enough for you to get your own body back? We aren't run-of-the-mill John Does, you know. I betcha that Cloud can stop Hellmasker or Galian Beast on his own, so if we all chip in, I'll put my money on it that we can stop Chaos." Cid stated sardonically, taking a sip of his tea. His eyes never left Vincent's.
"How... How can you stay so calm about this?" Vincent's voice was strangled, almost as if he had to force it out of his throat.
Cid shrugged. "I'm a realist. There's almost no chance of any of those 'demons', as you call them, will be able to overcome you. Have more confidence in yourself, dumbass."
Cid waved a hand negligently as he stood, deciding that the subject was closed without any approval from Vincent. "Drink your damn tea then go back to sleep, Vince. Stop thinking so damn much about stuff that won't happen. You're killing your brain cells. God knows that you have little enough already."
Sipping his tea silently, Vincent sighed. "How are you so sure that I won't lose control of Chaos?"
Cid shrugged again, half out of the room when he turned, fixing Vincent with a hard stare. "I'm not sure, but we trust you."
The pilot left the room, closing the door behind him with a 'click' that echoed in the room. He left Vincent staring after him, thoughtful and not little amazed.
'Trust,' Vincent decided, as he finished the mint tea, 'tastes cool and sweet.'