I have no images for this one. It kinda started taking on a life of it's own...
This isn't a slash fic. It looks like it might turn that way at times, but honestly, I just write them as good friends.
Vincent woke in what he guessed was the infirmary on the Sierra. A large room with beds lined against the walls, tubes and vials filled with healing liquids. Someone sat beside him, snoring softly; Cid. Vincent turned his head to look at him. A dead cigarette lay on his lips, arms crossed over his chest, still bandaged but no longer in a sling.
Yuffie, where was Yuffie? Trying to get up, Vincent found he was chained to the bed. His nightmare returned, Hojo loomed over him, scalpel in hand, lips forming a manic grin. Panic flew through his body. Fighting the chains he cried out; "Let me go! Let me go!!" He could not be trapped again, unable to escape the pain.
"Hey, hey!" Cid's hand pressed on his chest. "Calm down."
"Let me go!"
"Stop yer fittin' first."
"Highwind!" Vincent lay back, his chest rising and falling with short, rapid gasps. "You don't... understand. I can't... tie me up on the ground... don't chain me to this... this table!"
Calmly, the Captain took a syringe of dark liquid up. Vincent's panic doubled; "Wh-what are you doing?! Highwind! Cid!" He struggled, straining still against the chains.
"Just somethin' to calm yah down. Ah can't abide anymore o' yer screamin'."
Cid administered the drug with some difficulty as Vincent fought within his confines. There was a brief pain in Vincent's arm, then a sharp coldness which quickly faded. As the drug travelled through his blood stream it had the same affect on the rest of his body.
How could they do this to him, after what they all saw? Did they not understand what he had gone through? "Please," he mumbled, the drug chilling his mind before allowing it an unnatural state of calm. "Let me go..."
"And what will yah do if ah unchain yah?" Cid shook his head. "Wasn't mah decision anyway. Took a vote; ah lost."
"They think this... will contain Chaos? It won't. Please..."
"Stop it!" Cid slammed his fist on the little white table beside the bed. "Stop yah beggin'! Who d'ya think we are? We're yah friends."
"I know," Vincent closed his eyes, the drug clouded his mind, set his fears aside. "Yuffie?"
"She's fine. A little shaken up is all."
"What... what did I do?"
"Nothin'. She says yah fought her for a few seconds then passed out. No Chaos."
"I could have killed her. I should never have gone in there."
"Maybe not. But now we got the info we need."
"You listened to the recordings?" Vincent looked at his friend who seemed to be avoiding his gaze. Did they hear it all? Had Cid heard him begging for his freedom, for his death? Is that what the Captain had meant by not being able to 'abide anymore of his screams'?
"Yeah, some of 'em," Cid re-lit his cigarette. "Reeve's gatherin' it all together for us, along with anythin' the WRO could find in the fallen Shin-Ra Tower."
What would his conclusion be? Was there a way for them to stop Chaos claiming Vincent's body? His mind danced with the possibilities; the endless options that could be put forward.
"What yah thinkin' about?" Cid asked quietly, smoke swirling about his head.
"Nothing..." Vincent closed his eyes again, resting as best he could in the restraints... in the fearful state of mind he was in. It seemed to take hours before the door to the infirmary opened, followed by the sounds of footsteps as several people entered the room. Had he slept and woken again?
"Vincent?" he heard Cloud's voice.
"We, er," Reeve coughed, Vincent heard the shuffle of papers.
"Just tell me," Vincent kept still, kept his eyes closed. He could smell fresh cigarette smoke. Cid was still there; had he left at all?
"It seems that," Reeve coughed again before his puppet, Cait Sith took over; "Hojo never finished his work. You died on the table, Vincent."
Never finished? Vincent sat up as much as the chains would allow and faced his friends; the people who had confined him. They were all there, Cid still sitting beside him, Yuffie shuffling at the back. They seemed tired, haggard. How long had they been working through Hojo's files? Vincent was lost in time, the events of the last few days strung together by bouts of pain, madness and darkness like a broken nightmare.
Reeve continued; "We know what Hojo planned to do. We can finish his work."
Vincent shot his gaze at Reeve. The head of the WRO was staring intently at his papers.
"Your system..." Reeve's words came out in a rapid string. "Your genetic structure is still fractured. Hojo was never given the chance to stabilise it. This is what is allowing Chaos to slowly take control; it can manipulate your mind and body with greater ease than it should be able because of the instabilities and inconsistencies."
"And what?" Vincent asked, his voice low. "Do you plan to correct this?"
Reeve could not answer him. Vincent looked at everyone in the room, none could hold his gaze.
"Someone answer me!" he growled.
"Yes," Cloud finally replied.
"No. I won't agree to it."
"It has already been decided."
What? They were going to continue Hojo's work on his body, whether he wished it or not? How could they even think of it, using his body without his consent?
"Let me go!"
"If we do that you'll run again. It's decided." Cloud began to leave.
"No! No it is not!" Vincent struggled in the chains again, the metal cutting into his wrist. "You can't do this to me!"
Cid's hand pressed against his shoulder; "Now wait a minute! When was this decided?"
Reeve spoke up, finally; "Just now. Vincent, we've been over and over all the information we have. This is all we can find."
"That ain't true," Cid said. "What about the drug yah gave me; that black stuff. Yah said that'd stop 'im from transformin'."
The black stuff? Vincent had thought it only a mild anaesthetic; an opiate to calm his frayed nerves.
"It's a stop-gap; a short term measure," Reeve addressed Vincent. "Hojo created a chemical that would suppress your ability to transform. However, it must be administered within a solution of heavy metals that have a bio-accumalitive affect; your body is unable to expel them. Over time they build up. There is much in your system already. Eventually, continued use would kill you."
Reeve consulted his papers; "One month."
"Then continue searching for that one month."
"Vincent," Tifa approached the bed. "We've been searching for days. Not just us but all the people that Reeve could round up from the WRO. This is all we could find; not even a glimmer of anything else."
Vincent lay back on the bed, his eyes closed. His heart raced, pounding against lungs that fought for air. He knew that they would not do this unless it weas the last resort. How could he accept it though? How could he let himself be used again?
"You'll be under sedation," Reeve's voice cut in again. "There will be no pain."
"Only nightmares," Vincent whispered. He had to bow down to it; there was no other choice but death. Death? If the drug confined his other forms, confined Chaos, maybe he could finally let go. They would never release him though. Even if they did, Cid would not let Vincent out of his sight. "Leave me. All of you, just get out."
"We'll be at the WRO head quarters in two hours."
He heard shuffling feet, the door opening, a match struck. The door closed again, but someone was still in the room; "Cid."
"No chance, boy. Ah'm stayin' right here."
"Tell me," Cid took a drag on his cigarette, drawing out his words. "What was she like? The woman that managed to get some emotion, other than anger, out of you."
"Lucrecia?" Vincent closed his eyes. Surrendering to the pain in his wrist, he relaxed into the pillow again. "Why?"
"Somethin' to talk about."
"Thank you," Cid was trying to take his mind off things; he would obey. "She was light. Always smiling, joking. She took away the pain of my father's death. I was happy when she was nearby.
"But," he sighed softly, turning his head to look at the Captain. "It all crumbled away. We both made mistakes... and Hojo took advantage of that. And now... now I'm paying for it.
"Sorry, I can't... I can't talk about her. Talk to me. Why did you call your ship Sierra?"
Cid grinned; "Ah asked Shera to marry me. You remember her?"
"I remember you were awful to her."
"Yeah, well," Vincent thought he saw a slight blush under the Captain's stubble. "Ah realised mah mistake. She's smart, she's beautiful, she knows mah ship better than ah do. What more do ah need?"
"She's obedient to," Vincent drawled. He could almost forget he was chained up, awaiting the violation of his body.
"Not so much anymore, not since I proposed to her."
"And apologised," Cid admitted, putting his cigarette out on the bedside table. Vincent watched his hand move to it, amazed at the small pile of ash and butts.
"How long have you been here?"
Cid shrugged: "Days?"
"Thank you," Vincent whispered again. He stared up at the grey ceiling.
"Not much else to do."
Cid tried time and again to get Vincent to talk. It did not matter what it was about, he just wanted to distract his friend from his suffering. As the moment drew nearer Vincent crawled in on himself even more, giving one word answers, or just grunts. Fear slowly trickled into his mind, blotting out all thoughts.
By the time Cid felt the change in inertia signalling a landing Vincent had not spoken for nearly fifteen minutes; the Captain was running out of things to say.
"I can't do this!" the ex-Turk suddenly blurted. His eyes screwed shut, arms straining against the bonds once again. "Please, Cid, don't let them do it." He felt Cid's hand clasp his shoulder, heard him stutter, struggling for words. Vincent knew the Captain could do nothing; he was one man, and this was the only course of action left open. Yet how could Vincent just let it happen? If all he could do was beg then he would do it. "Cid, please. Please, let me go. Please, Cid."
"Ah can't." Cid's words were barely audible. "Stop beggin', there ain't nothin' ah can do now. Don't plead with me anymore. It ain't like yah."
The door slid open. How were they going to do this? Could he make a dash for it when they released him?
"Mr. Valentine?" he did not recognise the voice. "Mr. Valentine?"
"Jus' talk to 'im. He's not gonna answer yah."
"We are going to anaesthetise you here. We understand this is going to be difficult..."
"Difficult?!" Vincent tried to sit up. "You're about to... I don't want this! You can't do this to me!"
There were five people in the room; three women and two men. They were all dressed in medical whites and greens, gloved hands. Two of the women were standing over a trolley working with the contents, of which he could see nothing. The man who had spoken stood closest to him, carrying a clipboard. He did not flinch at Vincent's sudden movements, but his words seemed to cut the man.
"I was informed that... this is to save your life."
"I don't care!" Vincent was terrified; what would he be when he woke up? "You can't just play with my body! Let me go!"
The man shook his head; "Mr. Strife informed me you might be this way. I'm afraid I have to continue. Please, do not struggle." He turned briefly, taking a syringe from one of the nurses and passing the clipboard to another.
Vincent thrashed in the chains, ignoring the pain in his wrist, the screech of metal from the gauntlet. "Cid, stop him. Please."
"Ah can't. Ah'm sorry, Vincent."
He watched the Captain move away, head hung, as the third woman approached him. She carried a mask attached to a string of canisters and dials.
"Cid! Cid!!" Everyone had abandoned him. They were supposed to be his friends! No, they were not his friends; they were simply people he had fought alongside to save the Planet. Now they were saving the Planet again, but this time he was the enemy.
He felt the needle in his arm, within seconds he felt heavy, tired; his limbs would not obey. In a dark haze he watched the woman draw nearer, lifting the mask and placing it over his face.
"Please," he mumbled. "Let me... go. Please... don't... don't..."