Warnings: Yummy foods, hormones, college drinking, swearing, and some other stuff I haven't thought of yet
Author's note: Long delay again. x.x Sorry. Blame Tera. DX that game is an addiction for me. Oh and work. x.x A lot of issues involving work.
Culinary Boy 18
It felt like the walk home seemed to do some good in helping Cid to calm down, even if Cid did walk ahead of him the whole time. Vincent stared at Cid's strong back, counted the amount of cigs he smoked until he ran out of them with a violent curse. He himself was too busy contemplating just what all he was going to say to the other man. The one thing he was sure of was that he couldn't lie again. He'd already destroyed Cid's trust in him. There really was no reason to make it even worse. He didn't want to think about how much that made his chest hurt, to know that Cid couldn't full bring himself to believe in him again.
As Cid went into their room, Vincent hung at the door with a frown that looked permanently etched into his face. He was getting cold feet but could anyone really blame him? He'd been trying to avoid this very thing from happening which was all thanks to Sephiroth…and to that girl Shera. The fact that Cid had stayed silent the rest of the walk home bothered him more than it should have. He knew the reason why though. He was scared. It wasn't something he liked to admit, but Vincent was scared of Cid leaving him.
It was a noticeable fact that Sephiroth wanted him for one reason or another, more so evident to Cid by yesterday's short greet and meet. Would Cid leave him because of that? Maybe he'd leave out of fear for what could happen to him. Vincent couldn't say he blamed him. Even Zack was really careful concerning Sephiroth and his family.
"What are ya doing?" Cid had come back to the door, frowning though the glare and look of distrust was still there in his eyes. It hurt to look into the eyes that normally brought him peace. Vincent glanced down at the floor. His mouth opened fluttering for an answer before the words froze in his mouth as the blond grabbed his wrist dragging him into the room. "Hurry the fuck up so we can get this over with."
Vincent frowned following him in ignoring the feeling of butterflies flying in his stomach. Whether it was from Cid touching him or the thing they were about to talk about right now, he wasn't sure. Fear was definitely eating away at his thoughts right now. He was waiting for Cid to tell him to get the fuck out and never speak to him again. Maybe he'd just beat him and leave him for dead. These were the thoughts running through Vincent's mind before he found himself being embraced in heavy arms. He tensed in surprise before he heard the words slipping from Cid's lips into his ear.
"Fuck…why? Why the fuck do ya keep lying to me?"
…So Cid knew. Cid knew he'd been lying for quite some time now. But he'd never bothered to say anything about it. Why? Was it because of the trust he had in Vincent? Because he believed in him? Damn, this was making him feel even worse. How much of a damn loser could he be? But…he had to. If he wanted to keep Cid and his family safe, he'd had to lie.
Right now, he had to make a decision. If he kept up with the lie, if he broke it off with Cid now, he could keep him safe. It was obvious Sephiroth wanted him…he could still stay with him. At least it'd be quicker to pay off his debt to the man if he was living with him and giving him everything he wanted. But he still had the choice of telling Cid the truth and putting his boyfriend in danger…. Damn it, neither option sounded very good now. But he had to choose. Otherwise he was sure Cid would choose the option for him.
"…I did it to protect you." A coward. He was too much of a coward to hurt Cid like this any longer. Even if it was shortening the other man's life just by him being involved. Why couldn't he just walk away from him?
The body wrapped around him froze before Cid leaned back, blue eyes staring at him in confusion at the words. Cid swallowed slightly, looking like he was working up the nerve to speak again before the soft word slipped out of his lips filled with so much meaning even though it was so short. "…What?"
Staring back into those eyes, Vincent knew there was no going back now. He'd have to explain the things he'd been through for weeks since Amy's illness came into the picture. He stepped back walking over to the window to stare out at the darkened streets below. It sure got dark out fast but it helped to relax him, darkness being more a comfort to him instead of something to be feared.
"The day I took Amy to the hospital," he said starting off with that and swallowing slightly. "I told you about how Dr. Hojo took care of her." He could imagine Cid nodding behind him staring at his back with a frown on his face. "Her care wasn't free." He turned glancing at his face before looking at the floor. "I signed an agreement. In exchange for saving her life, I had to agree to work it off." He frowned thinking about it again, remembering that man's intense stare. He knew what his son was into. He knew that his son had an infatuation with Vincent. "Part of that agreement was that I had to do whatever they wanted me to. They being both Hojo…and his son Sephiroth."
Nothing but silence spoke to him in return. He took a chance on looking up at the other seeing only a blank expression being returned. There was nothing to read there on the usually expressive face. It was more than a little eerie and made him actually take a step back to lean against the windowsill, staring…waiting.
"…I'm going to kill him." Cid said it suddenly while heading towards the door leaving Vincent staring at him stupefied before the taller male rushed after him.
"Wait, Cid!" Vincent reached out grabbing hold of Cid's wrist stopping him in panic. "Don't do anything!"
"I'm not going to let that asshole get away with messing with my boyfriend!" Cid struggled to pull himself free, initially pulling Vincent along with him who was powerless against his stronger, angrier body. "Vin, let me go! Let me kill him!"
"No! Stop! Cid!" There was no getting to the man. The rage was taking over. Vincent had never seen Cid get so angry before. Part of him was glad that it was in defense of him, but there was no way he could let Cid see Sephiroth and give away that he told him everything. It looked like he'd get his way when Cid tripped getting off balance and falling with the inevitable chain reaction of Vincent falling with him. The landing was soft for Vincent, well at least as soft as Cid's muscled body would allow anyway. It took the wind right out of him causing Cid to grunt underneath him as vertigo seemed to reach its maximum level.
It took Vincent a moment to sit himself up, his dazed eyes glancing around before he realized where he was again and backed off of Cid quickly. "Cid!" He reached down shaking the man by his shoulder and staring at his back scared at the lack of motion from the other's body. "Cid, are you ok?!" He was about to freak out and call the cops when the other's words reached him.
"…Why?" Vincent blinked staring down at the body before Cid turned his head just enough that he could look up at Vincent with one eye. The red eyed male could clearly read the emotional turmoil spinning around in Cid's stormy orb. "Why are ya protecting that jerk?"
"Why Vin?" Cid yelled out cutting him off, the anger and frustration boiling up again as he narrowed his eye. "Damn it, why the hell are ya protecting him?! Ya two fucking dating?! Fuck, are ya doing more than that with him?!"
"What?! Cid, we're not-"
"Two timer!" Cid sat up then, yelling and glaring at him. "Just using me! That's all it is! Just fucking use me like toilet paper for ass wiping!"
"I don't want to hear it!" He yelled glaring at him hard, his eyes looking red like he was on verge the tears. It was nowhere near as red as Vincent's natural eyes though. But it still crushed the ebony haired male to see Cid like this. "I can't believe how much of an idiot I was! I'm a fucking-"
"Cid, just listen to-"
"-idiot for believing you actually-"
"I didn't want you to die!" The outburst and the way he grabbed Cid's shoulders startled them both. Somehow they were both breathing hard staring into each other's shaky eyes. It was the first time he'd ever raised his voice at Cid, the second he'd even had an argument with the man. He knew he was scared for the very words he'd burst out. He feared for his family and for this man's life. And for that he was willing to give up his own for them. That was why he agreed. So they'd be safe. But he wasn't prepared for all of this, for this fight to ever start, for him to have to admit to those fears again.
"Vincent…what…did ya…?" He sounded just as stunned as he looked, his voice coming out softly as if he was afraid of making too much noise. Vincent's words were slowly catching up to him. It meant something really deep was going on for Vincent to even mention anything about him dying. This was more than just a normal little tiff involving some jealous stalker or whatever Sephiroth was. Cid had to be wondering just how much trouble Vincent was in. It was time to explain everything in detail now.
"Sephiroth…threatened to kill you and my family if I tried to retaliate," he said trying not to put as much emotion into the words as he felt on the inside. "Yesterday, he…he threatened to do something to you if I didn't go along with it. I have to work there. Melissa and Mrs. Cook are gone."
"Wait, what? What the hell happened to them?"
It was like he couldn't hear Cid talking to him now, his words just came out quickly, every feeling he'd held in these last few weeks were bubbling out, and he couldn't stop the flow of it. "I wasn't supposed to say anything to you! If I said anything to you, he'd kill everyone close to me!" Vincent clenched his hands on his knees. "I can't lose you all!"
"I can't!" He lifted his head, eyes crazy with fear. "Cid, I can't! I can't do it! Please…don't…don't tell him…if he finds out I told…" He trailed off, staring ahead of him feeling his gaze get unfocused as his thoughts got carried away. This house was owned by Sephiroth. What if he had cameras around or tape recorders? What if he'd already messed up by telling Cid all of this? Had he already written out a death sentence for his family? For Cid? He shouldn't have told him. What if Sephiroth found out? What if he already knew? What was he going to do then?
Cid wrapped his arms around him. Just being wrapped up in the warm arms of the person he was trying to protect was too much for him. The tears fell before he could stop them, his hands clutching at Cid's shirt feeling both relief and guilt at his confession. He hadn't cried since he'd been a child. With all of this happening all at once, it was just too much for him.
He could hear Cid gently shushing him, could feel the numbing effect Cid's voice had on him. It might have been too much when he felt his body shutting down forced into a world of needed slumber. His throat hurt, his eyes burned. He felt miserable and he hated it. But there was nothing he could do, not right now. He wasn't sure how long he'd been down, reduced to sniffling and finally just complete silence. But with everything he'd gone through in just one day, sleep caught up to him before he could fight it. And because he was still in Cid's arms, he could feel nothing but the care of the other male watching over him.
When he woke up the next morning, he was alone. It seemed Cid had carried him to bed seeing as he didn't wake up on the floor. He couldn't remember ever falling asleep last night, though the memories from that time didn't do anything to make him feel any better. He was tired still, his brain ached from everything. Coffee could probably help but he really didn't feel like getting out of the bed if he didn't have to.
There was still one more day before classes would start and he didn't have to start his new job until later tonight. Cid had been nice enough to leave a note on the nightstand for him saying that he had to go in early at the automotive shop…which was weird because Cid never went in at this time of the day. Was the shop even open this early? No, Cid was obviously avoiding him. Otherwise, he wouldn't have left him when he'd normally be begging Vincent to come to the shop with him.
Could he blame the man? He'd be surprised if he stuck around at all. To know your life was being threatened would scare anyone. Of course, Cid would stay away from him. Though it wasn't a bad thing. The less Cid hung around him, the better off he would be and the less likely Sephiroth would feel the need to want to kill him.
Vincent showered before calling his mother to check on his family, smiling slightly when he learned everyone was ok. It meant Sephiroth hadn't done anything…yet. That was if he knew about what happened. He'd keep checking up on them, though. Keeping tabs and being reassured by their voices. He had to…he'd go insane if anything happened to them.
By afternoon with no phone calls from Cid, he was starting to think the man really ran away. He found himself staring at his phone, hoping for something. He'd tried texting a couple of times, asking how Cid was doing and if everything was ok. He'd done that around lunch time. Two hours later and he still hadn't received anything. It was until the start of the third hour that he started to panic wondering if Sephiroth had actually figured everything out and killed him.
"Hey, you alright?" Zack stopped in front of his open bedroom door, frowning as he looked in at Vincent sitting on the edge of the bed.
"I'm fine," Vincent said closing his phone and sitting it behind him. No, he wasn't fine. Either Cid was dead somewhere or he'd completely run away. Neither thought was helping his overactive imagination right now. He remembered Sephiroth saying something about messing with Cid's car. What if he went to the shop to work on it and got into a car accident while test driving it? Didn't he say he was almost done with it? Or maybe Cid left and went back to his old home, or convinced the school to give him a dorm.
"You don't look alright." Zack invited himself in, moving to kneel in front of Vincent as he looked up at him. "I haven't been your friend all these years without knowing when something was wrong. Hell, I can assume I'm your best friend by now. So you know you can tell me anything." Vincent didn't as he glanced to the side avoiding the other's honest gaze. He knew Zack would listen. He knew all about Sephiroth…but he was afraid of pulling more people into this. He'd already doomed Cid, maybe even his family. Did he really need to bring anyone else down with him?
"It's about Sephiroth, isn't it?" Zack said frowning and hitting the nail on the head dead center. "We didn't get to finish our talk the last time, but I want to know." A hand came up to rest on Vincent's knee drawing his attention back to his spiky haired friend who was staring up at him dead serious. "What kind of deal did you make with Sephiroth?"
There truly was no hiding this from Zack. He was obviously familiar with Sephiroth's methods, granted Vincent wasn't sure of how that could be. Well he might as well be truthful about it. If Sephiroth already knew and Cid was dead, what was the point? "Hojo. When we were at the hospital, I signed an agreement with Hojo saying that I would do whatever he and Sephiroth wanted to pay them back for Amy's treatments."
Zack blinked, staring up at him. His eyes got wider and wider the longer he looked at him, mouth half open before he spoke. "Vincent, what were you-"
"I had to," Vincent said cutting him off, glaring down at him as he pushed the hand off his knee. "If I hadn't, Amy would have died."
"But you let yourself walk right into their hands!" Zack yelled out before he lowered his voice standing up. "I told you, remember? That Sephiroth's been after you since high school. Hell, it might have even been before that! Damn it…" Sighing, Zack bite at his thumb worryingly. "If it's something like that, it's going to be a little tougher."
"…What are you talking about?" Vincent asked frowning as he stood as well, his eyes glancing to his phone when he heard it buzzing alerting him to an incoming call. Was it Cid trying to contact him back? Or was it the dreaded Sephiroth at his tricks again?
"There's…there's a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes." Zack glanced away from his accusing stare. "I can't really talk about it here but…" He looked at Vincent again, his usually playful physique completely gone in the face of this quiet, almost somber male. "What has he threatened to do if you don't follow his demands?" The phone quieted down but Vincent resisted the urge to look at it, his eyes focused on Zack, debating telling him. But he knew he could trust him. He'd known him how many years now? "…My family. He threatened to hurt my family…and Cid too."
"Hmm…" Zack frowned a little bit looking like he was thinking hard in that spiky head of his. "That's going to be a little tougher…but I think it's manageable." Vincent blinked staring at him in confusion.
"What are you talking ab-"
The phone buzzed again. "You better get that. It might be important." Zack looked down at his watch before he cursed under his breath. "Ugh, I'm going to be late! I'll talk to you later, Vin!"
"Zack!" Too late. The man was quick, already gone before Vincent could even say anything else. He couldn't imagine what Zack was up to. Frowning, he glanced at the phone that once more stopped ringing. Was it Cid? Was it Sephiroth? At least if it was Cid, he could feel safer knowing the man was alive. But what if it was Sephiroth? He only called when he wanted something. What could he possibly make Vincent do this time?
When the phone ring for the third time, he reached down picking up the phone and clicking answer before he had the chance to look at the number. He swallowed, listening to silence on the other end of the line before he spoke breaking the still air around him. "Hello?"
"Vin! Fuck! Ya had me worried sick! Are ya ok?!" Cid. The sound of his voice put Vincent's mind at ease as he fell back on the bed, lying back to look up at the ceiling feeling the pounding of his heart calming down in his chest. How could the sound of one voice make him feel so much better? "Vincent? Vincent, talk to me."
"I'm here," Vincent said sure the relief was there in his voice. He couldn't hide it, couldn't disguise it. He heard Cid let out a breath on the other end, realizing that he'd been just as worried.
"Ya weren't answering your phone, I thought…" Cid didn't continue his words probably out of fear of what he thought had happened. Instead, he changed the conversation all-together. "How are ya holding up?"
"I'm doing fine," Vincent said feeling the smallest of a smile grace his lips. "It's…good to hear your voice. I'd been worried…when I saw you gone. You never texted back, so I thought…that maybe something happened." Or that he'd left. He'd definitely thought he'd left. God, did he have to feel so good about knowing the man of his life still cared about him? Granted the phone call could be from cities away. But then again, it wasn't a good idea to think about that just yet.
"Nah. It's just been crazy here." There was pause, definitely hesitation on the other end of the line. It was enough that Vincent caught on to the fact that something was wrong.
"Did…did something happen?"
"Hm? Oh, nah. Nothing bad happened just…well…" The hesitation again. "I changed my hours at the shop. I'll be working in the morning before I get to my classes." Vincent blinked. That was…well not as bad as he thought it would be. But it was kind of weird.
"Why? Is something wrong at the shop?"
"Oh…oh nothing's wrong. Heh, actually I just kind of uh…took up another job."
"Another job?" Was money that bad for him now? He frowned.
"Yeah. It'll be good to have the extra money. I can save up money for extra car parts. Hell, even for my future plans." No, there was still something missing. It wasn't about the money. Cid said he had a bunch from his dad that was still in savings waiting for him to sign for it and take it all on. There was more going on here for Cid to be so hesitant.
"So…with you having a second job and school…we won't be able to see each other as much." He was right…Cid was avoiding him. This was it. Once they started being apart more, it was inevitable that they'd break up. Then…then he-
"Actually, I doubt that'll change. Since I'm fucking working at that night club you'll be working at."
Wait a minute. "What?" Vincent stared up at the ceiling, eyes wide now from that one sentence. There was no way he'd just heard that.
"I'm going to be working at 7th Heaven as an exotic dancer."