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Only Human

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Emotion made him uncomfortable; his own, anyone else’s, it was a blistering, blathering tangle that was best avoided. Cid was a con artist of the highest degree, peddling his dry brand of self deprecation to a worldwide, wide eyed audience. He placated anxiety with irritation, cornered distress with a deadpan disdain. He was a brittle, brash self creation doing his best to refuse to suffer from his own nervously neglected flaws and failures.

He did a fine job of it, keeping the world and all its insecurities and necessities out of his line of sight and peace of mind.

But he had trouble putting the right amount of fire into his blistering temper after catching the edge of emotion writhing in lidded red eyes. Self defense clashed with self defense and Cid stumbled from his high horse and fell back to humanity.

Which wasn’t the most comfortable place to find oneself after such a long career as a caricature.

Caring was about as comfortable as a hammer to the thumb. But Cid found himself caring about the careless way with which Vincent seemed to approach every situation. There was too much similarity in the distance Vincent kept between himself and the world and all its little concerns and grand schemes. But where Cid was intent on nice numb hermitage, Vincent was an old fighting dog that was too grizzled to notice, or care about, the difference between courage and idiocy. Vincent didn’t flinch at the crop of new and interesting tears decorating cloak and flesh, far too concerned about the flesh of the bizarre crowd that had taken him in. He raised an eloquent eyebrow the first time Cid’s cutting commentary was directed at him, blinked as bandages were thrown with the intensity of a grenade.

Cid snapped and snarled and tried desperately to pull himself from the trap he had fumbled into. He would deny to the grave that he found an ounce of appeal in the crooked smile on Vincent’s face as the reticent man settled in his accustomed place in the corner of the room. He didn’t want interest, and he damn well didn’t want the intensity with which he found himself looking at and after Vincent’s lanky form.

They both had their demons, history bowing their backs and lending caution to their interaction. Vincent was a man intent on believing he was a monster. He carried past failings, both real and perceived, as a cross- hunched and ready to be martyred. It was a bad idea, an ounce of inspiration that needed to be shoved back into the bottle.

And as much as Cid hated to hope…

Vincent smelled a bit too much like basement and old blood to be comforting, was a bit too bony to be comfortable, but Cid expected discomfort as an unfortunate reality of humanity, and was not at all put off by the wariness in Vincent’s eyes. It wasn’t going to be quick, or easy, but maybe they could sort out this whole human thing if they worked together.