We Do What We Can
Title: We Do What We Can
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Summary: In the quiet before, Cloud and Vincent keep finding each other. And do what they can to ease each other's suffering.
Notes: Prompt: Cloud/Vincent: A little "rest" from the mission on the airship, and Cloud has to start the whole thing. Smut sounds good, but doesn't have to be uber-graphic. [Note: Here's the catch: mention the past but do NOT let Cloud pine after Sephiroth, or Cloud got together with Zack. I want a clean Cloud/Vincent story, not Cloud think about somebody else's touches while doing whatever with Vincent.] (for solitaryjane, yaoi_challenge eljay comm)
"He's waiting," Vincent said, his presence startling Cloud just a bit. Truthfully, Cloud hadn't noticed Vincent slip into the room, if Vincent had even slipped into the room. Vincent could have been there the entire time and Cloud, admittedly, never would have known.
His bandages were sticking to the gash on his right arm, pulling at tender flesh and causing the bleeding to restart as he tried to take them off to change them. Wincing, he tore at the last part, trying to get it over with as he held his stinging arm.
"I don't care," Cloud replied, teeth clenched in pain. "I know he's waiting but we aren't going to do any good if we run in there all banged up!"
"You heal quickly," Vincent commented, somehow managing to silently cross through their makeshift medical lounge despite half his wardrobe being metal. He took Cloud's arm in those sharp metal fingers, holding it so he could examine it with his other, more nimble flesh hand.
"Mako," Cloud muttered, his mind flashing back to dozens of other times he'd been hurt and someone had been there to care for him. Tifa. Aerith. Zack. Even Sephiroth, once upon a time.
"Amongst other things," Vincent added, turning Cloud's arm a bit in the already poor lighting. But after all, the Highwind hadn't exactly been designed as a medical airship. They made do.
"It looks better," Cloud said, well aware of the black hair hanging down to brush against the uninjured parts of his arm.
"It does," Vincent agreed, dropping Cloud's arm and heading over to their dwindling supply trunk. "Let it breathe for a few minutes longer. Air is good for it."
"How do..." But Cloud did know how Vincent had gotten so medically adept and that wasn't really any subject worth bringing up. "Thanks."
Glancing around the small, dim room, Cloud really wasn't sure just where Vincent had been hiding, unless he'd been resting on the small cot shoved in the corner. Without thinking more about just why Vincent would be hiding, Cloud moved over to sit, slipping a bit when the cot was lower than he'd expected.
Vincent just lingered by the supply trunk, eyes focusing on nothing in particular. Cloud found himself watching the older man, looking for some clue to just why he was lingering about.
"So what are you going to do?" Vincent asked finally, looking upward after what had seemed like an hour. "Magic only goes so far and we don't know when Meteor will..."
"I know," Cloud snapped, glancing down at where a small river of blood was forming on his arm, threatening to run to his palm and spread. But the stinging was fading. He'd never asked to suddenly be the leader, after all. He'd never wanted...
He'd wanted to be just like Sephiroth. The General. The leader.
"But... Sephiroth is..."
"I know," Vincent replied in turn, nodding to Cloud's unspoken words as he unlatched the trunk and pulled out a roll of gauze. "Let me wrap your arm. You do a terrible job when you do it yourself."
Cloud would have said something had he a leg to stand on. But Vincent was right, if only because he'd never made it to any of the advanced medical training classes thanks to what had seemed like an eternity of capture. Though nothing like what Vincent had been through.
Vincent sat down beside him, making the already rickety cot groan under their combined weight. Without speaking, Cloud held out his arm and let Vincent take it again, this time not wincing as metal touched him. Certainly Vincent had less control in that hand, but he worked with it well.
He couldn't help the warm feeling that washed over him as Vincent carefully bandaged his arm, doing the entire thing much quicker and with a hundred times more skill than he ever could. The fresh blood was cleaned away quickly and a bit of dried blood was removed with a seemingly unconscious saliva-dampened finger.
"There," Vincent said, a smile threatening his usually unreadable expression as he tied the last of the bandage off and cut it with a slice of one finger.
"Thanks," Cloud said again, wondering how exactly he should repay his mysterious comrade. Already Vincent had tied up so many loose ends of his past that all that was left was Sephiroth.
In a way, that was all he had left, too. It was all that any of them had left, and once Sephiroth was gone - once Meteor was no longer a threat, there'd be nothing to bind them together.
"Vincent?" Cloud asked, wondering if his question was even an okay one to ask. But Vincent hadn't moved, instead staying there silently.
"What?" Vincent questioned in return, his red eyes meeting equally bright blue.
"Have you thought about what you'll do... What you'll do after?"
"No," Vincent replied. "If I survive, I'll think about it then. This isn't my world anymore."
Cloud hadn't thought about that - he knew his family was lost to him but he hadn't thought much about anyone else's. But Vincent, trapped in time for nearly thirty years, he couldn't have anyone left who would know him. Not with Lucrecia gone. Not with...
Not that it was even really his, after all.
"Could always move to Costa del Sol," Cloud commented, going with the first thing that popped into his brain. "Now would be the time to buy, though. Impending world destruction should lower the price of that fancy house a little bit."
Vincent didn't reply with anything other than an expression that clearly said more than words ever could.
"Right," Cloud said softly under his breath as he got to his feet and headed out of the room. Though as far as stupid things he could have said went, that one really hadn't been so bad.
They had landed near Kalm the next day, in need of supplies and simply some time on the ground. Both Cloud and Vincent had wandered off their own ways and both had returned, oblivious to one another.
Almost surprisingly, as Cloud wandered onto the bridge of the Highwind in search of any given member of the crew they'd also hijacked from ShinRa, Vincent was standing there instead, letting himself be bathed in the sunlight that came streaming down through the glass at the front.
"Vin..." Cloud whispered, watching his comrade for a moment through floating dust particles. He hadn't thought his voice to be loud enough to hear, but Vincent turned anyway.
"You're back," Vincent said, stepping out of the sunshine and letting his body fade back into the shadows near the controls. He didn't seem to want to get too close, as though that would keep the conversation to a minimum.
"I heard an interesting rumor," Cloud said, figuring that even without a crew member to ask about the likelihood that they could make the trip in the Highwind, Vincent was even-minded enough to offer a valid opinion.
"Another side trip?" Vincent inquired. "Time isn't something we have."
"This ship is fast," Cloud countered, finally closing the space between himself and where Vincent had nearly backed himself into a corner. Not that Vincent could back himself into a corner, in that sense. Cloud still knew enough to not dare make Vincent actually angry. But he could impede a little bit on personal space. After so many days on the airship together, personal space wasn't exactly existant, anyway.
"Sephiroth..." Vincent began.
"Sephiroth will wait for me!" Cloud exclaimed before even realizing what he said. But Sephiroth had always chased him even as they'd chased Sephiroth. Sephiroth had waited for him. Sephiroth had let him live at every turn even when Sephiroth hadn't been so kind to...
Stomping off the bridge, Cloud didn't see anyone else anywhere on the ship. He'd let them have their fun, though. Even Tifa, who was half-bandages at the moment, had been eager for some time in a town.
Fists clenched, Cloud couldn't help but notice the stinging in his arm. When he looked down, angry red showed through his bandage. The deep wound still hadn't closed properly, despite a few cure spells and a few rough stitches from two different crew members.
Cloud swore under his breath at the thought of asking Vincent to come patch him up again. He liked Vincent, but he couldn't help feeling at odds with him.
Logic prevailed over his ego, however, and Cloud defeatedly walked back onto the bridge. Vincent hadn't moved.
"Bandages," Cloud said firmly. "Yes?"
"Poison in its claws?" Vincent asked back, less that he knew and more that he was curious. Either way, he did follow Cloud, silent until they were back in the makeshift treatment room, surrounded by new supplies that one of the crew must have dropped off earlier.
"Esuna," Vincent suggested, reaching under his cloak to pull out a softly glowing green orb of materia. "Maybe we do need more of a rest if we're missing the obvious."
Cloud nodded, beginning to unwrap his arm. At least the blood was keeping the bandages from sticking as badly as they had the last time.
Vincent cast the spell easily, green warmth flickering around them both, before looking a little dazed in its aftermath. Cloud knew the feeling, though it took stronger spells now to pull at his energy.
"I'm fine," Vincent said, blinking red eyes a couple of times as though to clear his mind. "I'm just not much of a healer."
"Oh," Cloud replied, looking over at his arm. He would have sworn it looked better, though without being cleaned there was absolutely no way for him to know. But it felt better already, even if it was purely in his mind based on the treatment. Then again, he'd been poked and prodded at plenty of times. None of that had ever...
He felt sick. And it wasn't the airship this time. They were firmly landed on a flat field.
"Cloud..." Vincent's palm felt cool pressed against his forehead. "Your body is fighting a lot of things right now. Let me dress your arm and then you should lay down."
"I was doing really good," Cloud said, pulling his feet up onto the cot and settling on its length once Vincent had risen to gather bandages. "Not thinking about everything, I mean. How do you not think about it?"
"I think about everything," Vincent said softly. "But I don't let it consume me. Not when there's something that still needs to be taken care of. Afterwards, maybe. But right now..."
"Right," Cloud replied, bringing his good arm up to rest on his forehead as he made a thorough study of the ceiling. Vincent's hand felt cool on his skin, but not as cold as the metal of the claw delicately supporting the actions of that cool hand. But the metal likely sucked away at his body heat, Cloud decided, which also made all that clothing necessary. That and the scars. He knew Vincent was a roapmap of scars, many more times the amount he had crossing his abdomen from shoulders to navel. He'd seen some of them once when Vincent had been knocked unconscious and Tifa had rushed to look for injury, unbuttoning buttons that had brought sunlight onto pale flesh and almost instantly brought Vincent back to angry alertness. Since then, not a one of them had bothered touching his clothing. Vincent could be as he was, hurt or not.
Cloud certainly hadn't thought that an ex-Turk could be so gentle. He couldn't imagine any of the current group being so careful, save perhaps Elena. But her overenthusiasm also wouldn't have done much for the good of whomever she was assisting. No, Vincent had everything down. Perhaps things had changed in a lifetime longer than his own. He had never studied much history, especially about anything ShinRa. And it was a little too late for even a cram course.
"Are you sure that you're alright?" Vincent asked as he tied the end of the bandage to secure everything he'd done.
"I'm not sure how I'm supposed to be," Cloud admitted, sitting up to look at his arm. He didn't feel quite as dizzy as he had, though the realization that he was now face to face with the kneeling Vincent didn't help anything. There was something about the red of Vincent's eyes that kept and held him, some emotion swirling inside that Cloud couldn't fully understand. "But thanks..."
The last two words were whispered as he surprised even himself by leaning to quickly kiss Vincent's lips, lingering for just a second before pulling back. His sexuality was one of the few things he'd managed to resolve during their travels, but he didn't have the foggiest about Vincent other than that Vincent had loved a woman once.
He expected a new deep gash somewhere on his body, or a bruise at least. But instead, Vincent only spoke.
"Don't," Vincent simply said. "You'll only taint yourself."
"How am I not tainted?" Cloud replied, thinking that perhaps being punched would have been better than slow, verbal rejection.
"Things like this happen when people are alone together," Vincent continued, apparently digging for excuses with the largest metaphorical shovel he could manage. "Fake emotion."
"We might die," Cloud countered, reaching to push some of Vincent's hair from his face. He wasn't stopped. "So even if it's fake, we can still get off and then go our seperate ways..."
"Cloud, listen to yourself."
"Listen to yourself," Cloud shot back, wondering what Vincent would do if the issue was pushed a little farther. He wasn't exactly skilled in this field. In fact, unconsciously kissing Vincent was a heck of a lot easier than meaning to kiss Vincent.
He did it anyway. He'd faced scarier things, after all, than a fairly demonic angsty pretty boy with enough baggage for each creature within him.
And Vincent kissed him back, metal moving to rest against his hip in an almost questioning manner. Vincent's mouth wasn't cool like his skin, thankfully, letting the man keep some of his humanity in Cloud's mind.
"Vin..." Cloud said softly as Vincent pulled back, having leaned further into the kiss than Cloud had.
"I'd suggest somewhere with a real bed, if you intend to proceed with this," Vincent said, a hint of red appearing on his cheeks, making Cloud want to smile at the contrast to his pale complexion.
"This isn't pity?" Cloud asked, getting to his feet.
"No," Vincent replied, staying back for a second. "Not pity. Mutual need, perhaps."
Cloud nodded. He could live with that. He had before.
The hallway between the medical room and his own room felt frustratingly long, as did knowledge that his room was shared even if everyone was well away from the ship anyway. Vincent was quiet behind him, lingering back as though he was rethinking everything.
But no, Vincent was with him as he stepped into the room, his face unreadable as Cloud reached to lock the door as if that would stop anyone from intruding on them is someone really wanted to intrude.
"I haven't done anything like this in awhile," Cloud admitted, reaching up for one of the catches on Vincent's cape.
"Neither have I," Vincent replied, his voice smooth but not without implication that Cloud had just said something fairly stupid.
Cloud chuckled, managing to undo the cape and let it fall away, revealing more of Vincent's face and also a nasty pair of scars running down either side of Vincent's neck. On his tiptoes, he moved to lick one of them, pressing his weight against Vincent and certainly not expecting the soft moan that escaped between Vincent's parted lips.
"Strife..." But it wasn't a warning tone, just surprised. And Cloud liked being able to surprise Vincent. He was going to keep surprising Vincent, if possible.
"I don't mind your scars," Cloud said, moving to lick the other and wondering if they were indeed a matched pair, from wounds inflicted at the same time. He'd likely have a scar similar when his arm healed, not treated quite properly and left to fester.
He could only imagine the pain though, despite knowing pain quite well. But Vincent seemed so... Vincent was pulling at his clothing now, awkwardly trying not to snag metal in the otherwise durable fabric of Cloud's clothing.
"Maybe we should just undress ourselves," Cloud suggested when he couldn't quite get anywhere with Vincent's shirt with a hand forced between their bodies, seeking the cool of Vincent's skin. No wonder Vincent had been lingering in the sunshine. He still felt cold.
"Might be easier," Vincent replied, removing his good hand from just beneath the bottom of Cloud's shirt. Cloud stepped back, looking downward for a second before reaching to pull off his clothing, thankful he didn't have his armor or gloves or anything too extraneous on. The sound of armor clunking to the floor before this sort of encounter stuck in his mind, making him linger in a place he really didn't want to be in. This was Vincent. He wanted to be with Vincent, if only for the afternoon.
Still, he could hear the sound of Vincent's boots being discarded followed by the sound of pants being undone and crumpling downward.
His own boots took a bit more work. Obviously neither of their outfits were designed for this. That or they weren't supposed to be getting as naked as they were.
Cloud couldn't help wincing as he looked up at Vincent just before crouching to fight with a knot in his bootlaces. Scars did crisscross more of Vincent's body than his own, and the pink puffy skin of Vincent's left arm simply made him angry.
"I shouldn't..." Vincent grabbed to pull his shirt back on.
"You're still good looking," Cloud said quickly, stumbling to his feet with his pants at his knees, causing him to almost fall against Vincent. "I'm just... you shouldn't... we shouldn't have had to suffer..."
"I deserved it," Vincent answered. Cloud knew he was being watched closely as he reached to pull Vincent's shirt away, forgetting the notion that they should undress themselves. He even managed to kick his boots off without pulling away from Vincent, studying the scar that caught the edge of one of Vincent's nipples, more white than even Vincent's nearly-translucent skin.
"Bed," Cloud said, wanting to draw Vincent's attention back to what they were doing. Even if it was just a one-time thing, they were going to be the ones doing it. Not ghosts from the past.
"Sephiroth?" Vincent asked once Cloud was halfway across the room, having jettisoned his pants midway in a motion that he hoped hadn't looked as goofy as it felt.
"Amongst others," Cloud admitted, wondering what he had that could be used to ease the encounter, at least physically. If they could even manage to emotionally connect for just a second. He really didn't want to think about it.
Lotion. Not his, but Barrett's. Used for soothing the irritation prone to forming on skin connecting to metal. Would probably help with the obvious problem Vincent had with his own arm, if he'd accept help.
Either Barrett would slap him on the back or knock him to the floor. Cloud tried to very carefully memorize exactly where the lotion was sitting so he could return it.
Vincent was already on the bed, better than the cot but still not roomy enough to let them be more than basically on top of one another. Cloud wanted to laugh. That was what they were going to be doing, anyway.
Crawling onto the bed, he grabbed a blanket from the end to drape over them both. Vincent didn't feel quite as cold as he had earlier, but still cool. Uncertainty lingered in Vincent's eyes, almost as though he was wondering just what sort of stupid thing he was doing now.
"We do what we can," Cloud said, kissing Vincent again and finally getting a full response, tongues touching in a spark Cloud hadn't been expecting as he gained entrance to Vincent's mouth, doing more than the kisses before. Despite the scars, Vincent's body was still sensitive and responded to his touch beyond what he'd expected. Cloud groaned into the kiss as he felt the swell of Vincent's arousal against his leg, wondering which one of them was going to submit to the other.
"We do what we can," Vincent echoed, letting his hand trail down Cloud's back while keeping the metal claw at his side, almost unsure of its power in this situation.
And then Vincent was kissing him, surprisingly, probably as equally unskilled as he was but Cloud wasn't bothering to critique technique as his own erection pressed hard against Vincent. Neither of them had touched anyone in quite awhile. Cloud would have admitted that he'd tried, if asked, but his body had refused. His body was not refusing Vincent.
"Lotion," Cloud replied to the curious look on Vincent's face as he started to move off the bed to grab at the bottle now resting on the crate beside his bed. "Except..."
"You..." Vincent began, apparently not entire sure where the statement was going.
"Me?" Cloud asked, trying to figure out how to keep the blanket over them when he really wanted to be at a very different angle so he didn't hurt Vincent. He had to at least see a little of what he was doing.
"You," Vincent replied, nodding.
Cloud decided that Vincent could have the blanket later if he even really wanted it back.
Trying to gracefully slip down the bed without half-falling on Vincent's body or irritating his complaining arm made for a bit of a task, leaving Cloud to give up on grace and hide his flaws by letting himself fall with his mouth beside Vincent's arousal. Darting the tip of his tongue out to clear the tip of strangely sweet pre-come, Cloud tried to remember how to be good at this - how to do it without being forced.
He wondered if he'd ever been necessarily good at it before not worrying as he took more of Vincent's arousal into his mouth, sucking at what he could and closing his eyes to divert from the scars that cut through dark pubic hair to make a line of white.
Years of masturbation as a teenager, before everything in his life had turned to catastrophe after stupidity, had taught him to get a bottle of something open without seeing it. Because it had always been easier in the dark, not admitting to himself what he was doing.
The lotion bottle was no different, an easy task to open and get his fingers coated. Vincent lacked the muscle in his legs that Cloud was expecting, but keeping muscle-tone wasn't likely an option during a thirty-year sleep. Either way, Vincent let Cloud spread his legs a bit further until one nearly dangled off the bed and the other hit the wall softly.
Cloud didn't open his eyes, going purely by feel as he kept sucking at Vinecnt's erection, alternating between that and running his tongue around the natural curves of the head, pushing at the slit or wherever else got the most vocal reaction from Vincent. He couldn't help but think that Vincent had forgotten any of this was possible.
He'd nearly forgotten himself.
Vincent tensed a bit as Cloud found his entrance but relaxed a moment later, letting Cloud push one of his fingers past tight muscle. Going as slowly as he could, he began to ease another finger in, enough to actually stretch as opposed to just probing a bit for what he hoped would make Vincent see stars.
As Vincent moaned and tried to make some sort of warning commentary, Cloud gave Vincent's erection one last nearly-playful lick before trying to make a smooth transition between his fingers and his own arousal, juggling lotion as well as he could while trying to make sure neither of them would get hurt.
Sliding his hardness into Vincent's body, Cloud was nearly overwhelmed by the sensation sparking through his body. He almost wished that they'd both gotten off once already so they could at least attempt to make their coupling last more than five minutes.
"Cloud," Vincent managed, making Cloud meet his red eyes for a moment. Vincent's skin felt nearly warm beneath him as he didn't dare move. Wanting to think about chocobo races or basic training or something to at least distract his mind, Cloud found himself unable to focus on anything other than Vincent. He knew the basic mechanics of all this, after all. Even if he came too soon, he could still finish Vincent off. He had his hands and his mouth if other parts of his body gave in first. And he was quite sure that would be the case.
Warm. Vincent was warm inside, slick from lotion and not too tight as Cloud pulled back and slowly thrust, a low moan catching in his own throat and coming out nearly choked as he reached to slide still lubricated hands around Vincent's erection, hoping to pick up where his mouth left off.
"Vin...ah!" Cloud managed a few more thrusts before resigning himself to the knowledge that if he kept watching his hands sliding up and down on Vincent's arousal, he was going to come as unspectacularly as he seemed to do everything. He didn't care. He just wanted to give Vincent some pleasure in the process. Vincent was always there for him. Vincent always was...
Metal grabbed at him, not breaking the skin but close, catching him unaware as Vincent moaned again, gasping for breath and looking just a tiny bit insane just before Cloud found himself unable to watch anything but the proof of orgasm that Vincent's body was offering, hot on his hands as Vincent's body shuddered against his - around his.
A few more thrusts and Cloud gave in, spilling himself in the most intense orgasm he could remember having in quite some time. He wanted to linger in the warmth of Vincent's body, but he was hardly comfortable otherwise, panting as he watched Vincent watch him back, cooly curious.
"What do we do now?" Vincent asked, making Cloud feel rather hurt. He'd just... "The bed isn't quite big enough for us both..."
"We could always just sit on the bridge," Cloud replied, breathing a sigh of relief. "No one else is here. They won't see."
"Maybe," Vincent said, grabbing Cloud's right arm with his claw and checking it. "No more bleeding."
"Ah!" Cloud exclaimed, digging for the lotion that had gotten lost in the blanket. Thankfully he'd gotten the lid back on it. "Should get you some of this..."
"What is it?" Vincent asked, reaching for it.
Cloud held it away. "Special lotion for flesh-metal junction irritation. Barrett gets it at the drug store, I think. Should help your arm as well."
Vincent opened his mouth to speak but didn't say anything as Cloud reached to smooth lotion onto the angry red patches of his left arm.
They really didn't need to bother with any more words.
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