It was hard to say when Vincent had first become accustomed to having Cid around, particularly given he’d gotten fiercely protective of his personal space and the captain tended to be a bit tactile. Not to mention that the captain’s loud, quick-tempered, foul-mouthed persona should have grated on him more than anyone else. Gods knew he could only take Barret in small doses, generally across the room, with someone else in charge of the conversation. And it wasn’t that either man was better than the other, they both had good hearts under their rough exteriors, but Cid… Well. The captain was something else.
Speak of the devil and he doth appear. Vincent smiled, soft and fond behind his collar, and peered over the edge of the piece of machinery he’d sat on. Cid had half turned from his drafting table to look unerringly up at him. “Yes, Captain?”
“Good, thought you mighta fallen t’ sleep up there. Come look at this.” Cid crooked a finger at him, other hand tapping at the paper that even Vincent’s enhanced eyesight couldn’t quite make out. He didn’t miss the amusement in the captain’s eyes when he hopped off and drifted down, nor the little tilt of his head that always said he was trying to puzzle something out.
Landing with a soft tap of boots, Vincent smoothed his cloak back and made his way over. “And what have… oh.”
The initial draft had clearly been done under inspiration, sketched hastily with quick, light lines and marked with tiny notes around it. But much more had been applied in the second drafting, heavier lines flowing smoothly across the paper and details filled in with care. The brace was laid out in layers, the top suggesting some sort of alloy he didn’t recognize molded and reinforced for the forearm to take blows and redirect them from the vulnerable limb beneath, a slot for materia and the option of clawed tips. If he was reading it right, all he would have to do amounted to little more than a flex of his hand to go between deadly sharpness and something that would still allow for a gentler touch.
Vincent couldn’t tear his eyes away from it, even when he heard Cid shift in place. Dimly, he had a feeling the captain was probably a bit nervous with his silence, even though he normally managed it well. But that was going to have to wait, because he’d made him this… this…
“I know you do just fine with yours, of course, but it sure didn’t look comfortable that time you let me look at it t’ fix up some of the dents, an’ there’s a helluva lot better materials out there now t’ use, especially with the kinda shit you get up to. I mean, unless that’s special for transforming. Is that special for transforming? I mean, Chaos has one, too, an’ Galian but I didn't think the others had any not that I got real close ‘cause those two are a lil’ wild even for my tastes but-”
“Cid.” Vincent smiled softly, finally able to look at the captain when he heard the increasing nerves in his unusual rush of words. “Thank you.”
“Oh.” Cid grinned broadly, relief a quicksilver flash in his eyes that was overridden by satisfaction. “Great! I mean, I can change it however you might need it t’ be but I thought it was far enough along that you oughta see.”
“I’m glad you showed me.” Vincent touched the paper lightly, already trying to imagine what it would be like when he would be able to do so with either hand and not worry about tearing the paper. “I’d like to try it. Did you need to see this one, for measurements?”
“Well, I wasn’t gonna ask, but if you’re offerin’ it’d help t’ get whatever measures I can,” Cid admitted.
“Whatever…?” Vincent glanced back to him thoughtfully, seeing the younger man was debating his words. Just thinking about what must have made him hesitate made Vincent pause, putting it together after a moment. “Oh. All of it, then?”
“Well, everythin’ elbow down would be great, yeah.” Cid shrugged. “Wasn’t gonna press for that either, but I could get you an even better fit if you don’t mind it too much.”
That made him chuckle softly, flexing and clenching the hand in question with a delicate clink of metal. “I don’t think I mind too much, no.”
Cid was many things and not all of them good, but at some point Vincent had registered him as ‘safe’ and that was the end of it. As unbearable as his trademark behavior should have made him, there was also this side that casually got some tools together while the gauntlet was unstrapped and carefully set aside.
He felt the lack of support in seconds, his arm throbbing dully, and took a moment to bend and flex it, rotating his wrist carefully before getting up to his elbow to remove the close-fitting glove. The air always felt too harsh against hyper-sensitized skin when he took it off, making him shiver slightly. Disgust rarely got the same reaction, but he felt his lip curl all the same at the sight, pale as death until you got to the needle scars and mako burns. Some of it was his ‘fault’ arguably, trying to escape from the processes that had led to the rest. Either way, it remained a memory of pain and betrayal that had shaken him to his core.
“Vincent,” Cid’s voice was unusually gentle, and the blue eyes that met his own were calm and understanding. “You don’t have t’ do this now. I can measure your gauntlet, maybe do the rest later when you’ve thought about it some more. You don’t have t’ push for me.”
Vincent took a slow, even breath, and reminded himself that this was why Cid was safe. Offering a faint but genuine smile, he shook his head and set the glove down. “It’s fine, Cid. Just old scars.”
“Scars that run deep hurt like hell,” Cid retorted, smile gentler than his tone when he got a smile back. “If you’re sure, I’ll make it quick.”
“I know you will, Chief. I trust-”
The door to the hangar opened, several voices meaning several people, and Vincent snatched his hand back. He trusted Cid, but that was not Cid. He had just long enough to recognize disbelief and Cid’s temper hitting like a limit break as he wisped himself away in a blur of red.
Cid’s nostrils flared with a deep breath and he rounded on the group, certain Vincent was well out of reach by now. “You goddamn motherfuckin’ morons can’t remember that IF THE DOOR IS LOCKED YOU FUCKING KNOCK? It ain’t fucking rocket science an’ I think I’d know since ‘m the goddamn rocket scientist around here!”
“Git yer asses outta my hangar it’s a goddamn Saturday there ain’t no reason ta be here without callin’ first!” He snarled, pointing to the door when they didn’t move. “Don’ make me say it twice, I’ll throw ya out on yer ass so hard yer folks’ll feel it!”
“Did I give ya permission ta fuckin’ speak, idiot?” Cid started towards them, well aware that being shorter didn’t do diddly to take away from how intimidating he could be, and raised his voice to a full bellow. “GIT OUTTA MY HANGAR!”
They stumbled after each other, but all made it out fast. Cid marched himself off after them and slammed the door before locking it securely. “Goddamn idjits can’t remember th’ simplest courtesy! Folks outta be ashamed lettin’ brats out without th’ sense the gods gave a dog… there’s beach plugs smarter’n that, for fuck’s sake!”
A pointed throat clearing had him spinning, giving Vincent a sheepish smile. The former Turk was clearly amused. “I think you’ve traumatized them, Chief.”
Cid laughed quietly, rubbing a hand over his neck. “Yeah, well, they earned it. You okay?”
“Just startled, it’s fine.” Vincent came back down, cloak billowing out around him in a lighter ripple than physics said it should.
“How the hell does that even work?” The words were out of his mouth before he realized it and he was maybe just a little embarrassed, but Vincent had heard worse and just looked amused still. “The cloak. Is there an anti-grav device in there, an’ if so why haven’t you shared?”
“There’s no anti-gravity device in any of my clothing, Chief.” Vincent made his way back over, smiling softly. “Perhaps we should get the measurements down now?”
Cid huffed, nodding. “Yeah, we’ll do that. C’mon, might as well take it all up t’ my loft. I can put on some tea an’ it’ll be more comfortable.”
Vincent nodded, heading back to get the glove and gauntlet while Cid gathered his supplies. “You have a kitchenette up there?”
“Eh, enough t’ manage.” He shrugged, gesturing with the papers. “It’s just stairs t' get up there, no elevator.”
“Really? I’m surprised.”
Cid huffed at him. “I’m not all machines, Vince. Here, come on up; lil’ steep but I imagine you’re light enough on your feet t’ manage.”
“… I’m imagining you carrying all manner of things up and down these,” Vincent admitted, voice quiet but close enough to be clear behind him. “It’s a bit worrisome.”
“Only fell the once, ‘m used to it now,” Cid said. “Besides, I can take some knocks.”
“That doesn’t make me any more inclined to want you to.”
“Aw, it’s fiiine, got myself a nice thick skull, haven’t you heard?” Cid let them in, taking a moment to swat at the light switch. “Lemme get that tea on.”
“I listen to everything, but I’m far more picky about what I believe,” Vincent said.
“Yeah well, good on you for that much, but I’m fine.” Cid set water to steep, then came back to see where Vincent had settled - or not, really, still standing near the desk he’d put his papers on, gauntlet laid down carefully beside them. The black glove held in his bare hand just made the paleness more striking, the deep scarring more vivid. He’d seen plenty of scars before, though, and didn’t flinch from it. “So, how sensitive is all that? I’m not a tailor, but I could see about a lined glove t’ go with this.”
Vincent froze a moment, but relaxed slowly at the calm questioning. “Most of it is fairly sensitive, but I can adjust.”
“Yeah, an’ usually you do, but I don’t want you t’ have a big change t’ adjust to.” Cid shrugged. “We can look into that later. I’ll need time t’ make this anyway, give you better mobility than that one you’ve got.”
Vincent nodded slowly, extending his arm once more to let Cid work. He was silent for most of it, answering questions when they were asked and watching Cid with intense red eyes.
Cid was calm under his stare, moving slow and doing his best to project his own calm and confidence as he worked. He was sure he only had the bare outline of what had happened to his friend, but that was enough to be honored by his trust, and he was damn well going to treat it accordingly.
Still, there was something that eased a bit when Vincent got his glove back on. Their silence was fairly comfortable, in fact. “Yours is an interesting art, Cid.”
“Hnn?” Cid glanced at him and shrugged, smiling at the compliment. “Thanks. Helps t’ have somethin’ t’ do that I really enjoy.”
“I’d honestly expected this more of Reeve,” he admitted, turning to admire the sketch again.
“Just ‘cause my machines are bigger doesn’t mean I don’t like all the fiddly details - just means people don’t see ‘em near so much.” Cid watched him a moment. “You know, you can take some of that off, too. If it’s comfortable.”
Vincent’s brows rose, heading for his bandanna. “You just want to look for the presumed anti-gravity devices.”
“Well, I’ll admit I’m goddamn curious about how you pull that fancy wispin’ maneuver of yours,” Cid said. “Looks awful close t’ flight. You know how I am.”
The teapot began to whistle and Cid headed back to get it, making two cups of tea and setting them to brew. He made a startled noise in the back of his throat when he turned to see Vincent standing without the obstruction of the omni-present red fabric, currently draped over his arm instead. “Well.”
“I know how you are,” he said simply, offering it for inspection.
Cid arched a brow, wondering at all that might be implied in that sentence. Still, he accepted the cloak in silence, marveling at how soft it was. “Well, no wonder you wear it. ‘S just like a blanket.”
Vincent chuckled softly, watching him spread it out and the gentle way he examined it. “It’s… comfortable.”
“Guess so.” He held it by the collar, trying to get a feel for the weight of it, only to stop when Vincent approached him. It was a little disappointing to have him gesture for it back, but he handed it over without complaint.
There weren’t really words for Cid’s surprise to have Vincent swing it around to rest on his shoulders, the weight settling differently than he’d pictured.
“I don’t think it’s quite your color,” Vincent said, amused.
“I probably look ridiculous,” Cid agreed dryly, aware that there was enough differences in height to make something that fell lightly on Vincent’s thighs to look odd on him. And that wasn’t even going into the style of it, not that Cid didn’t have plenty of raggedy things. “But it is comfy, yeah.”
“And does not, in fact, contain anti-gravity equipment or experimental materia,” Vincent added, lips twitching.
“I didn’t even get around t’ suggesting that one yet!” Cid huffed, but he couldn’t help a little smile. “So, how do I make it fly?”
“Never so at home as when you're in the sky, are you?” Vincent shook his head. “I couldn’t tell you. There’s no secret magic that I know of that makes it possible.”
Cid didn’t pout - he didn’t - but he wished there was something. Actual flight, without even a plane between him and the sky… that would be amazing. “Ah well. Life’s just like that sometimes, isn’t it? It's a nice dream t' have.”
“Sometimes it is,” Vincent agreed quietly. “But you’re good at watching things until you figure them out. Maybe sometime I can show you.”