This is Absolute Drivel
Title: This is Absolute Drivel
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII/Final Fantasy IX
Disclaimer: No implied ownership, no financial gain, only fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Vincent/Kuja, Aerith, etc.
Summary: Vincent couldn't help himself, really. As much as he liked Aerith, present tense included, he rather wished that she would just stay dead and stop trying to meddle in everyone's lives.
Notes: (aka Deep Silent Complete aka 'Bob') The original disclaimer was as follows and is sort of funny enough to keep: "Disclaimer: I don't own anything FF or Nightwish or anything Sprink gave me. I'm also not going to admit how much of the story Kuja reads aloud is copied from decade-old drafts of DM" Written, of course, because Sprink complained about all the bad Vincent/Kuja stories out there.
In your creation heaven did decree
Vincent couldn't help himself, really. As much as he liked Aerith, present tense included, he rather wished that she would just stay dead and stop trying to meddle in everyone's lives.
He knew that it wasn't exactly the sort of thought that he should be having, but after waking up to find a note in her very obvious handwriting tacked to his door saying 'Hey Vincent, I kinda goofed...', Vincent really just wanted a bit of peace and quiet.
Unfortunately, no matter how many times he'd moved after Sephiroth was no longer a threat, Aerith kept finding him. Probably one of the perks of being a demi-goddess, Vincent assumed. He had to admit that he really didn't know much about the Cetra. At the time when it had originally been a focus, he'd really just been trying to get laid.
And after that, well...
That wasn't the point. Aerith had tried something again. And failed. But whatever it was, Aerith hadn't stuck around to scrawl anything about it.
Vincent wasn't about to go back to sleep, either. Not until he found out just what Aerith had done and how it would affect him for the next period of time. He wasn't even sure why Aerith had decided she liked him all of a sudden. Probably because Aerith knew that he liked dead women.
Whatever Aerith had done... Yes, he knew quite well that it was going to be his problem too.
Halfway through straightening every cushion on the sofa that he never sat on anyway, Vincent heard a crash somewhere beyond his porch. Vincent paused, fairly sure that it wasn't trash day despite at least part of the sound definitely being his garbage cans.
He didn't know why he had two - on a particularly trashy week he was lucky to have a bag to put out. They'd come with the place, though, and he hadn't ever thought of trying to sell a garbage can.
Wondering just how someone would throw a trash can away, another thought collided in Vincent's mind - Aerith didn't really have a corporeal body, with her being dead and all.
Yet something had crashed into his garbage cans after a particularly cryptic note had appeared on his door.
He wasn't entirely sure his feet touched the floor between the sofa and the porch.
Throwing open the door, Vincent nearly tripped over his own feet getting down the steps and to where a rapidly fading Aerith was trying to grab a slim body from against a tipped-over can.
"So tired..." Aerith mumbled as she looked at Vincent. "I'll totally pay you back..."
Before Vincent could express that 'paying him back' would involve staying dead, Aerith vanished from sight. With luck, Vincent hoped, she'd be worn out for a little while and stay in the Lifestream where she belonged.
A little surprised when the frail thing Aerith had been dragging let out a soft moan, Vincent dropped to his knees to try to scoop Aerith's catch into his arms. At least she hadn't screwed up enough that she'd brought him a dead body. That was a bit of a relief. He was totally out of that business once and for all.
A girl, Vincent thought as he got awkwardly to his feet. Dead weight wasn't his favorite thing to move. No... A boy? Either a very pretty boy or a rather flat-chested girl.
Not quite wanting to strip down the not-quite-conscious body he was holding out of respect for whatever poor thing Aerith had dragged home, Vincent left the front door wide open as he maneuvered them both inside.
Only after depositing the... Just to make it easier, Vincent decided it was a very pretty boy because he knew Aerith did like those. After depositing the very pretty boy on the sofa, Vincent took the time to close up and mutter a few slightly rude things under his breath. He certainly wasn't a babysitter and until Aerith could reappear and explain exactly what had happened...
He'd just straightened that sofa, too.
Grabbing a blanket from the chair that he did sit on, Vincent quickly covered his accidental guest after very quickly glancing for any more telltale signs of gender. Most likely a boy. A boy... with a tail?
Vincent shook his head. He considered going back to bed. Certainly he was dreaming. But no, in his dreams he did not... Making a fist of his metal claw, he tried to think of anything he could do around the house, quietly.
Sometime just as he was trying to figure out whether or not to eat dinner or play another round of Tetris on his cell phone, Vincent heard movement from the front room.
The boy was already half-sitting up when he got there, head down and seemingly in pain.
"Hey..." Vincent was really sure what to say - he didn't want to scare the boy who was now looking at him with intense, dark eyes. Blue.
"I'm not dead," the boy muttered, looking at his own outstretched hands. "I haven't been freed from this cursed existence."
Yes, if ever there was a time to really not like Aerith's meddling, this was one of them.
"You might have been," Vincent said as he crossed the room to sit on his chair. "The woman who brought you here is amongst the non-living, even if she tends to forget that little fact."
Vincent found his hand hitting his head. "Oh, I wish I knew, too. She just dropped you off in the yard."
Wondering if that hair was purple or silver, Vincent nodded. "I'm not entirely sure what she was trying, either. But until she can come back and explain, I don't think I have much choice about keeping you."
"I am not some bird to be kept in a cage!" the boy exclaimed. "I... Where are we, anyway?"
"Near Kalm. Which I don't think is anywhere you'd be familiar with - no one on this world has a tail," Vincent said. The boy was sitting up now, the blanket having fallen away to reveal just how much his outfit revealed.
"Death was welcome - I... I had made my amends and said my goodbyes, my time..." the boy trailed off. "This is a strange price to pay for a life marked by ill doing."
Vincent really thought he could agree with that. He didn't say anything though. He only nodded.
"I will stay with you, sir -"
"Vincent," Vincent said. "Not 'sir'."
"Kuja," the boy said. "And the woman who brought me?"
"Aerith," Vincent said. "If you don't remember her..."
"I do not recall anything past... There are things I am better to not recall, such as the wealth of everything," Kuja said.
"Are you hungry?" Vincent asked, hoping that putting something in Kuja's mouth might get the boy to be a little less wordy.
"Yes," Kuja admitted. "And..."
"Would you like something to wear? It's colder here."
"Yes." And Kuja stayed quiet, standing slowly and moving to look out the window.
"There is a guest room for you to stay in," Vincent continued. "It'll only take a minute to get it ready but I didn't want to wake you up earlier."
"Has she done this before? Aerith?" Those blue eyes again - perfectly confident yet questioning.
"Not like this," Vincent admitted. "I think she knows that I wouldn't turn someone away."
Trying to pick something for Kuja to wear was not quite such an easy task. Kuja was certainly smaller than he was and Vincent didn't want to offend the man too much. Wishing that Cloud had left something behind the last time he'd visited, Vincent finally settled on a thermal shirt and sweatpants.
When Vincent returned to the front room, he noticed that Kuja had barely moved.
"I was powerful," Kuja lamented. "Perhaps far too powerful for my own good. But this is a second chance that I do not deserve, if even I am allowed to keep it."
"Clothing," Vincent said bluntly. "There is a bathroom down the hallway. I'm going to start on dinner, which you are welcome to help with."
Not sure if even the smallest bit of gratitude was peeking out from behind those almost-liquid eyes, Vincent tossed the outfit onto the sofa and headed towards the kitchen. This was only until Aerith came back. When she came back. If she came back.
Vincent was fairly sure that he wasn't above dying himself just to get a few answers.
Almost nervously, Kuja crept into the kitchen a few minutes later, looking at everything as though it was indeed completely foreign. Vincent wanted to chuckle - dropped into loose-fitting clothing, Kuja was more androgynous than he had been in what amounted to little more than a decorated bikini.
"I don't know how to cook," he admitted as he took a seat at the table.
"I do," Vincent replied. "Not that I was good in the beginning. Some of my still-living friends gave me cookbooks."
"You..." Vincent had no problem following Kuja's gaze to his left hand, metal shining beneath the stove light. "Your hand - that isn't armor?"
"It wasn't entirely by choice, if you're asking," Vincent said coolly. There was little way to live with someone without getting to know a bit about them. But so far, Kuja didn't seem like the best possible choice in houseguests.
"Apologies." Kuja glanced away and decided that the wall calendar was a thousand times more interesting anyway as Vincent continued preparing the food.
"You do live alone here, right?" Kuja asked suddenly. "I just now thought to inquire after seeing so many notes and names..."
Vincent turned to see Kuja pointing to the calendar.
"Friends," he said. "The still-living, thankfully. They insist on visiting quite often if only because I live alone."
"Friends..." Kuja sounded sad.
Well, they'd certainly found each other's sore spots quickly.
"Do you like books?" Vincent asked, fairly sure of the answer based solely on how Kuja spoke. "Normally I just read after dinner."
"Plays, epics, grand poetry..." Kuja was on his feet, lithe body slipping around the kitchen. "I wanted to act."
Vincent frowned. "I'm not sure I have anything beyond the pulps from the drugstore. But some of them are worthy of reading out loud if only for the humor."
"May I? I've longed for an appreciative audience." Kuja was pacing now, sliding from one end of the kitchen to the other as he investigated drawers and knick-knacks left as gifts.
Aerith wasn't going to be able to come back for a few days, Vincent assumed. He might as well attempt to enjoy company, even strange and noisy company like Kuja. It wouldn't be much different from Yuffie, really.
Not quite expecting Kuja to offer to help set the table or anything, Vincent made quick work of the task, hoping that his mismatched utensils didn't offend his guest. Between the way the boy carried himself and his speech pattern, Vincent was sure that Kuja had been amongst a privileged class at some point in his life.
Still, after Vincent had set the still-steaming pot on the table, Kuja did sit down properly to eat without questioning anything further.
In all honesty, Vincent couldn't remember the last time he had laughed. He'd chuckled at times, and occasionally thought of laughing at some of the downright ridiculous things that Cloud said, but actual laughter had escaped him for a very long time.
Which was exactly why he was so surprised to be laughing, distracting his entertainment from the thin volume of poorly strung together words.
"M'lady," Kuja continued, trying to stay in character despite a quick glare in Vincent's direction as he dropped to his knees, "I humbly and thoroughly apologize for your continued imprisonment at my cruel hands. I wrongly believed that you were the witch I was seeking while all the time, that very witch had me in her hands..."
Yes, Vincent thought, this was worthy of laughter - not because Kuja was a bad actor but because his choice in material was quite riotous.
"You're the one with only trash to read," Kuja stated, frowning as he got to his feet. "The library that I had..."
"I'm not laughing at you," Vincent managed, willing himself to not even snicker. "And I never claimed to have any great literary works, either. Normally, I have no one to impress but myself."
"Alas, my lord," Kuja continued, sinking down into a very submissive posture and quickly turning the page, "These months in your dungeon have weakened me. Take me to your bed, my lord, and show me your loyalty...
"Show me your loyalty?" Kuja shook his head. "This is absolute drivel. He's kept her prisoner and she's just going to push her way into his... bed?"
"In about two or three pages, yes," Vincent admitted. "You don't need to act out any of that. I've read it."
"Hmmm." Kuja flipped the pages, eyes scanning over the text. "Oh, my lord, take from me my maidenhood with your might and claim my heart that I might fight beside you. We shall break the spell that witch has cast, our love as the grand catalyst..."
"Is there a lamp in the spare bedroom?" Kuja inquired, setting the book pages-down on the floor. "I cannot help my curiosity about this disaster of a story."
Vincent wanted to mutter that there was more where that came from, but he kept quiet.
"Yes," he said, hoping that meant the night was over and he could rest as well. Another thought popped into his mind, though. "Do you want something to sleep in?"
"I would," Kuja replied as he stood and stretched, still clutching the book. "Though perhaps in the morning we could possibly find a town and..."
There was a minute of silence as the men stared at each other. Kuja seemed to be making himself right at home. And Vincent felt like sighing - this did have the feel of a long-term commitment for better or for worse.
He may as well buy the boy a few pieces of clothing. Money wasn't an issue. Just the overwhelming feeling of responsibility.
Aerith really would have been better off bringing him a puppy or something. Equally noisy, probably equally demanding, and definitely equally... entertaining.
"Rest," Vincent said. "Whatever you've been through, even if it isn't clear, probably warrants more than a good night's sleep."
"Of course, Vincent," Kuja said, a smile crossing his face. "And tomorrow you can help me find a good bookshop as well, one with something a bit more... tasteful."
Vincent wasn't sure quite what to make of that last statement as he watched Kuja slip off down the hallway. Kuja had just asked for books while insulting his own preferences while still clutching a piece of so-called drivel as though it were gold.
Deep inside, he knew that no matter how late he decided to linger on the porch, Aerith would not come. Not that night, at least.
He wondered if he would dream.
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!