Title: Arcade Games
Warnings (if applicable): yaoi, boys' love
Rating: R for safety
Author on LJ: Fortuneaux
Author Website: fortuneaux.livejournal.com
Cloud and Vincent look for Aeris in Goldsaucer but end up finding each other in the heat of the moment. Yaoi alert.
Spoilers to those who haven't been to Goldsaucer twice.
This is a CLEAN VERSION - For the uncensored version, be 18+ and go here. You've been warned.
It was raining.
Cloud looked out the window of the horror hotel. He glanced at the keystone resting on the night stand next to his bed and a sigh escaped his lips. The Temple of the Ancients was waiting. Hadn't the cable car broken down they wouldn't have had to spend the night. He felt anxious. He wanted to keep moving, driving towards something, occupy his mind with work. Thoughts of Vincent had been flooding his mind lately and those were the ones he was most eager to run away from. Often he was able to divert his trail of thought to their mission but alas, forced to stay alone in an empty hotel room ignited his imagination. He leaned his forehead against the cool window, it felt nice. Vincent, Vincent, Vincent. His breath created small condensation on the glass. Raindrops pummeled the window from outside. Lightning stroke once or twice. Otherwise the hotel room was quiet, there wasn't even a clock to tick on the wall.
Cloud sighed. Ever since they had found Vincent in a coffin in the basement of a mansion in Nibelheim, he had been on Cloud's mind. At first he had thought it had been just curiosity towards a man-made monster. Maybe it had been. When his thoughts had started to involve romantic feelings, he had still assured himself that it had been merely admiration of some sort that had made him feel attracted to Vincent. Much the same way he had once felt about Sephiroth. Then had come the dreams of which he woke up panting and all covered in sweat, let us spare the reader of the details of those dreams. He found himself blushing just slightly. Even though he had tried to repress his desire, his dreams were more and more persistent. He had had to admit to himself that he had fallen for Vincent. He had not been able to use the word love. He wanted to call it a curse, a poisonous snake that seduced him day and night. Or a monster. Love monster.
"Cloud..." A voice called out to him from the darkness of the room behind him.
Cloud flinched and jerked away from the window. Vincent could move so quietly. "W-what?"
He stood still and looked at Vincent from across the room. Immediately he could feel his heart beat slow down, his muscles tense, his whole appearance turn awkward. Why did it have to happen only when Vincent was around? He looked at his feet. The one person he didn't want to look dumb in front of.
Vincent stared at him with empty eyes, the only part of his face to be seen. The rest was covered by either his cape or a bandanna. "Aeris was looking for you." He said nonchalantly.
"Why?" Cloud asked, trying to act casual when in fact his insides were twisting into a knot. Love and desire... pain and torture... no matter what he wanted to call it, he couldn't run away from it.
"I wouldn't know." Vincent turned around with his cape fluttering behind him like a cloud of bats. He was already on his way out, having delivered his message he was ready to fall into into sopor until disturbed again. Until the following morning, that is.
"Would you help me look for her?" Cloud asked, not even understanding why he did. Logically he wanted to stay as far away from Vincent as possible, but his heart blew raspberry at logic. It had forced the words out of his mouth, deciding that waiting time was over.
Vincent sighed, stopping on his toes. "I suppose."
Cloud quickly hid the Keystone under his pillow just in case and followed Vincent into the hallway. He wasn't into cheap horror tricks, but he had to admit that Vincent fit the decor of the place. He couldn't help smiling as the thought of an old vampire movie with splendid over-acting passed his mind ("Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make"). He was shot a red glare, Vincent couldn't understand what made him chuckle in a place like the horror hotel. Then again, he had noticed having less and less understanding of human beings the more time passed. It seemed to circle him from afar, withering and aging those around him but leaving him a bystander. A fate worse than death, he lamented.
"Let's try the arcade first. Maybe they're there." Cloud said, a haze in his eyes. Not knowing it himself, his heart had already devised a plan and with those words he had set it in motion.
There was no one there at the arcade. Only the lonely machines and simulators beeped and booped and played their monotonous tunes. They kept each other hollow company, their lights flashing to impress no one. Lots of razzle dazzle but it seemed so fake and uninteresting. Cloud peeked between the machines to make sure they were the only ones there. No one. Only a sense of dull emptiness occupied the arcade. He sighed, turning to Vincent and shaking his head.
Vincent stared at nothing in particular. His eyes were as hollow as ever, highways to nowhere, mirrors to darkness, portals to an endless void. Maybe he wasn't even there.
"Want to try to race me?" Cloud asked, leaning to the motorcycle simulation G-Bike. It oddly reminded him of an incident during their escape from Midgar (but it couldn't be). He had a natural fondness towards motorcycles and thus even if it seemed a bit expensive he was willing to try it if it got Vincent out of his shell. Or into his shell, whichever seemed to make more sense.
Vincent blinked to his surprise and gave him a long look. "...No."
Cloud sighed. "You're no fun."
"Weren't we looking for Aeris?" Vincent said in an insipid tone.
"I thought we might have some fun doing it. She's not in any trouble after all." Cloud said and took a hold of Vincent's wrist. He didn't know why he did so, but even when Vincent tried to pull his hand away he refused to let go. His heart was in control. It wasn't going to back down. He couldn't help a small gasp escape his lips as Vincent stared at him, no, into him. Past his eyes and into his soul. Vincent wasn't an empty shell at all. Cloud swallowed. They both had a sense that something irreversible was about to unravel in a moment.
"Still no?" Cloud forced the words out. His mouth was dry, his hands sweated, his heart beat like a techno song.
Vincent tried to pull his hand away again, but Cloud held on. He didn't want to hold on. He just couldn't let go. He knew his moment had come. It was time to come clean, spit it all out, show his cards. Tell Vincent what a terrible curse he was. Then they could start all over again, become a tabula rasa if you may, create a new friendship that had no lust nor love. If he swallowed his feelings again, they would boil over one day. And there was no guarantee what would happen then.
Words eluded him, they stuck in his throat and refused to come out. He moved straight to plan B, took a deep breath for luck and pulled Vincent closer. Clumsily Vincent jerked towards him like a wooden doll, surprise in his eyes. To reach Cloud stood on his toes and with one free hand he pulled down Vincent's scarf, trying to steal a casual kiss. Awkwardly, he was slightly too short and his kiss only reached Vincent's lower lip and managed to confuse him even further. Not defeated by a kiss gone bad, Cloud took a step back and decided to try a different approach. Vincent's red eyes were wide with surprise. Cloud was fast enough to make use of his confusion to steal not only one but two kisses. The second one was a success. He took a hold of Vincent's both shoulders and forced him to bend so that he didn't need to stand on his toes to reach. It was a sight to remember, an awkwardly crouching Vincent kissing Cloud who held onto his shoulders like clinging onto dear life.
But Vincent did not resist. He didn't even try to jerk away when Cloud finally let go of his shoulders and softened the kiss. Had Vincent felt the same way? Cloud was afraid to break the kiss in case reality would catch up on him turning Vincent into smoke (or maybe bats, he briefly wondered) and he would be cold and alone in the yellow glow of the machines. Unable to wait he quickly opened one eye to make sure it was really happening, that Vincent was really there.
He was there. It was real.
With a newly gained confidence Cloud decided to find out how far he could go before Vincent would stop him. All the way, his heart whispered. With a snap he had Vincent's cape straps open and silently his cape fell on the floor, looking almost like a puddle of blood at his feet. Button after button he opened the black shirt with agile fingers, waiting to be stopped. Each button open was one step closer to his dreams turning into reality. Cloud waited anxiously for any response at all, but Vincent did neither resist nor participate. He pulled away from Vincent's warm lips and gave him a defiant stare. Vincent looked back at him with empty eyes. Cloud was torn inside. Why didn't he react? He submit so completely that he was almost like a doll, like he wanted Cloud to direct him. Tired of trying to get a response Cloud slipped his fingers between Vincent's buttons and ripped his shirt open. Small black buttons fell on the floor. Vincent seemed surprised, but didn't react. Further aggravated Cloud stared at him with fierce eyes and pushed him behind the G-Bike arcade simulation, there was a tight dark spot small enough to hide them among electric wires and dust and plastic.
Vincent fell on his back and tried to cram himself up. His red eyes weren't empty anymore. They were wide open, questions lingering in them. Cloud jumped on him, suddenly regretting his forceful approach. He had never seen so much emotion in Vincent's eyes. Maybe his importunate harassing was what made Vincent submit so completely? Maybe he needed to be more gentle to get him to respond.
"Vincent..." He said hoarsely, not knowing how to continue.
Vincent's eyes narrowed as he stared at Cloud. He couldn't understand the sudden change.
"I... I..." Cloud tried to confess once more but the words were stuck in his throat. He was choking on them again.
Another awkward silence fell between them. Vincent on his back supporting his upper body with his elbows, Cloud sitting on top of him looking like he was about to sneeze. Vincent frowned. He really couldn't understand. It had been so long since he had even tried to understand. Vincent cleared his throat and rose an eyebrow but Cloud didn't snap out of it. He was like a broken record on a loop.
To get out of the situation as fast as possible, Vincent took a deep breath and plunged into a kiss. It was Cloud's turn to have eyes blown wide open. Surprised by the sudden change in his friend Cloud couldn't help but feel like he was the one being harassed and not the other way around. He was even a little frightened. He tried to pull his shirt down, but Vincent trapped his hands and forced his way on top. His black shirt hung on him like a rag in contrast with his smooth white skin. His lips revealed his white teeth, his red eyes shone fiercely, his pitch black hair flowed down his shoulders. Cloud stared at him, laying on his back, feeling defeated and exposed. Vincent was beautiful. Scary as hell, but divine. Eyes like two suns burning into him. A beast watching it's prey.
Suddenly he put a finger over Cloud's lips. The other watched him quietly with questions in his eyes. Vincent found himself drowning into the turquoise fog in those eyes they made his heart beat irrationally.
"He's not here either." Aeris's voice came from behind the arcade simulation.
"We've been looking all over!" Yuffie exclaimed impatiently, jumping on two feet. "Come on, I wanna have some fun!"
"You can go", Tifa responded in a calm voice. "We'll keep looking for a little while longer."
"Yay!" Yuffie squealed and her set of footsteps faded away into the sounds of the machines beeping.
"I hope he's not in trouble..." Aeris said. Vincent held a finger on Cloud's lips quietly, watching the ocean of emotions in his eyes.
"Well, he's not here. Let's go get smoothies, we'll find him eventually." Tifa said encouragingly as she started to walk away. Aeris seemed to hesitate, but soon her footsteps followed Tifa's.
"Maybe he's on a date with Barret." They heard Tifa say and she and Aeris burst to laughter as they walked away. Gradually their footsteps faded into the arcade's sounds.
"Barret?" Cloud whispered. "What the-?" His pondering was cut short when Vincent silenced him again with a kiss. He forgot everything about Aeris and the others as he drowned in the pleasure they shared. His skin would only remember Vincent's touch as burning passion. His lips would only remember his kisses as the fire of a beast. His mind would remember the moment as the one time he had truly experienced euphoria.
With his dream come true having had the chance to enjoy Vincent's touch Cloud let out a sigh of utter happiness. Had it been visible, it would have been made of tiny hearts. He slid his arms behind Vincent's neck and hugged him, in his mind thanking him for going along with his fantasy.
Cloud crawled out into the open, where blinking lights and sound effects welcomed him. He got up on his feet and staggered, still a little disjointed of the world. A heavy sigh escaped his lips. He wasn't sure was it out of relief or regret.
"There you are! Aeris has been looking all over for you!" Cait Sith shouted from across the arcade. Cloud flinched. Goddamn cats moved so quietly, even on giant white toys, Cloud found himself thinking.
"Wh-what!? How long have you been here?" He asked impatiently.
"Long enough to know you weren't napping." Cait Sith winked as it rang its bell to signify a joke.
"Wh-what?" Cloud covered his mouth with his hand as he noticed Vincent's cape still lying next to the motorcycle simulation. "Wh-why are you here?" He fixed his eyes on Cait Sith, hoping he wouldn't notice.
"I was looking for the keyst- I mean, you!"
Cloud looked at Cait Sith with a raised eyebrow, shuffling past the simulation and casually pushing Vincent's cape out of sight with his foot. His actions went unnoticed. What a relief. He wasn't sure had he been able to answer the question that would have been inspired by Vincent's cape lying around.
"Well, then, off you go! You don't want to keep Aeris waiting any longer, do you?" Cait Sith pushed him out of the arcade, giving him a giant white toy machine kick on his bottom for luck (I suppose). After having made sure Cloud was really gone it jumped to the submarining arcade game, muttering to itself: "I love this game... Submarines... I should've become a submarine engineer..."
Vincent rolled his eyes, trying to put on his clothes or what was left of them as quietly as he could. He was glad Cait Sith had actually only made a joke about napping and was more interested in gaming than what was hidden behind the motorcycle simulation. He was gathering the memory of their moment passed and filing into his archive of oblivion.
Cait Sith took its time playing. At some point Vincent fell asleep.
The following morning everyone was poorly rested and quiet. At breakfast little words were spoken. They had all spent the night looking for each other and miraculously missing each other. Cait Sith had stolen the keystone. Cloud had chased him and beaten his puppet body into a pulp, threatening to do the same to the guy at the controls if he was ever to meet him.
Tifa only drank her orange juice and exchanged looks with Aeris. They had eventually given up trying to find Cloud, ended up at Chocobo square and lost all their money. Both of them were wondering how to break the news. Cid was still under the influence of his best friend Jack on ice and muttered swear words to himself while adding a little whiskey to his coffee. Feeling defeated, Cloud barely touched his cereal. Barret was the only one who had slept like a baby and whilst eating breakfast enough for everyone, complained about the quality of his company.
There was a question hanging in the air, but no one vocalized it. They had subconsciously noticed that someone was missing. No one had seen Vincent. He hadn't been in his room and wasn't at the breakfast table. Cloud idly mixed his coffee with a spoon, staring into the vortex he had created. An announcement began with a tune and an advertisement for the new rollercoaster that was to be completed in a few months, then an uninterested female voice announced that the cable car was back in order. Everyone got up as fast as they could, leaving all of their half-eaten breakfast plates, glasses of juice and lukewarm coffees spread all over the table.
As they rushed towards the cable car Cid was the first one to say out loud the question that had been at breakfast with them: "Where's Vincent?"
The group looked around as if Vincent had just disappeared into thin air, then gave each other quizzical looks. Upon giving it a second thought, no one had seen him since last night.
"%§¶%#"! Always hafta wait for someun'!" Barret clenched his fists. Some anger management problems, maybe.
"I'll go look for him. I have an idea where he might be." Cloud said abruptly in a determined voice. "I'll catch up in just a second."
Tifa nodded, smiling. No one volunteered to go with him, they were all eager to leave and hoped that by going by himself, Cloud would also return faster. And subconsciously they wanted to watch the cable car so it wouldn't leave without them. Cloud was relieved. He had a few words to say to Vincent, having mulled over the events of the night before.
Cloud ran straight to the arcade and past two ten-year-olds playing the motorcycle simulation. Just as he had suspected, from behind the simulation he could see a pointy shoe sticking out. Without hesitation he grabbed the leg and pulled Vincent from one foot into the light. Vincent hissed like an animal, shielding his eyes with his claw.
"Good morning! We're leaving!" Cloud shouted. The two young boys leaned over to look at them in agape.
"There was a dude in the machine..." One boy whispered to the other.
"That's why I kept losing." The other one whispered back.
"Do you mind?" Cloud barked over his shoulder.
The two fixed their eyes on the screen again. Vincent squinted and focused his eyes on his friend, clearly annoyed that Cloud had once again disturbed his sleep.
"Leave me alone..." He said faintly.
"No. Get up. We're leaving." Cloud took a hold of his good hand and tugged.
"You don't get it..." Vincent said almost to himself as he got up. His whole appearance was different from last night. He looked like a sad scarecrow with his hair in knots, wearing a ragged shirt and his cape drooping on his shoulders. So different from the sleek and cold Vincent Valentine Cloud knew. He couldn't help wondering had he accidentally broken him.
"I just want to be left alone..." Vincent said defeatedly.
Cloud bit his lower lip. Sometimes this hatred and remorse and self-loathing drove him insane. He took a hold of Vincent's shoulders and slammed him against the wall between the machines. Vincent's eyes blew wide open with surprise upon such a violent approach. Cloud held him still with his forearm on Vincent's chest, glaring at him. He was so angry at Vincent, it had suddenly boiled over. A guy in a chocobo suit called out to them in a worried tone but Cloud shot him a murderous glare over his shoulder and he understood to stay away.
"At first I was surprised you didn't resist at all." He hissed into Vincent's ear. "But now I know why you gave in to me so easily. You didn't want me, no. At first I thought you felt sorry for me, but that didn't make sense either. You didn't want me but you submit because you thought I'd leave you alone after I'm done with you. You thought that it'd be easiest to just let me have my way with you and forget you, didn't you? Just like Hojo did!"
Vincent looked away, his pale skin turning even whiter.
"Answer me!" Cloud demanded, pushing once more. He wasn't going to listen to any more of his self-loathing.
"Yes", Vincent glanced at him and closed his eyes.
"Just like everyone before... Abandon you and forsake you. Leave you to rot in a basement!" Cloud jeered, watching his expressions closely as he spoke. He wanted Vincent to stand up for himself just once. To just once admit that he was worth fighting for.
"Stop it." A bleak reply.
"You're so sure, aren't you?" Cloud pressed him harder against the wall, forcing eye contact. "That I couldn't actually care for you?"
"No one cares for me." Vincent said monotonously.
Cloud stared at him for a while in disbelief. Even after everything, Vincent was so sure that it had been just an insignificant trail of events. Cloud snorted, so angry he was.
"Why do you think I opened your coffin twice?" He asked, scrutinizing the red eyes. "Because I wanted to annoy you? Or because I wanted you to come with me?"
Vincent looked away again, swallowing. He wanted to be able to turn into thin air and be whisked out of the situation. He hated the part of him Cloud was poking at, stirring something forgotten with his words, awakening feelings lost to despair and hatred. Wrath and disgust were so much easier to succumb to, hope and love made him vulnerable weak and spineless. It was easier to have lost faith on humanity than to believe in one good man, so much easier to harbor hatred than give love a chance.
"Look into my eyes!" Cloud shook him. "I'm right here."
Vincent tried to look at him, but failed. He had seen honesty in Cloud's eyes. It wasn't possible. He wasn't good enough. His insides were torn apart. No matter how much he wanted to repress his feelings, those three words had meant the world to him. He grimaced. It hurt as something inside him changed. Wrath dissolved into discomfort, hatred into inconvenience. For the first time in years he wanted to see colors. Tears stung in his eyes, he tried to crouch to get away but Cloud held him still.
"Don't look away! I'm right here!"
Upon hearing those words twice Vincent let out a defeated sob, one that had been stuck in his throat for years. It had held back all the feelings that he had wanted to forget. He gasped for air, trying to swallow the sob that had got away but couldn't and with an ocean of sobs finally pouring out he collapsed into Cloud's shoulder. No matter how much he wanted to contain those feelings, they refused to stay inside anymore. He had so much to cry for.
"I'm right here." Cloud said slowly and caressed his long black hair as the sobs wet his shirt.
Even if it didn't look like it and even if he didn't realize it himself, Vincent was happier than ever before in his life. Through the black ice that had covered his heart Cloud had planted a seed of hope. There was hope for him. There was someone who had finally reached out for him and pulled him into the light.
Thoughts are much appreciated! And thank you for reading! <3