Goodbye is only the Beginning

BY : Madisuzy
Category: Final Fantasy VIII > Crossovers
Dragon prints: 539
Disclaimer: I do not own FFVIII, FFVII, Laguna, Vincent, Kiros, Cloud or Squall. If I did they would be naked more often. I'm not making any money from this and all rights remain the property of the original owners.

CHAPTER 7


Vincent left before Squall had even gotten off the Ragnorak, taking Cloud with him despite Laguna’s protests. He insisted that Cloud and he had a lot of catching up to do and would be back by dinnertime.

Both men lay on their backs, staring up at the sky as they swapped stories of their time apart. Vincent found it harder than he had expected. He couldn’t tell Cloud about Squall drugging and assaulting him, even though he trusted the blond with his life. His failure to protect himself in the bedroom from a young man that he could best on the battle field was humiliating and left him feeling powerless and weak. It reminded him of his time under Hojo’s control and he couldn’t deal with the similarities of yet another failure. When Cloud asked him directly what had happened, he simply replied that the details where unimportant before turning the conversation over to his friend.

Cloud’s time here had been a cruel replication of his younger years. Once again ostracized by the locals and left friendless and alone, he had dealt with it by reverting back to the silent outcast, just as he had then. Vincent insisted that Cloud should leave Winhill and return with them to Esthar and the young man agreed, much to Vincent’s relief.

“So, we really are stuck here?” Cloud asked turning over on the grass to face the gunman.

“It seems so. Esthar is the most technically advanced city on this planet and they have no idea of how we were transported here or even what Mako is. While I will miss our friends, I am happy to be given a chance to start over new, even if I am still less than human,” Vincent answered with a smile.

“You’re more human than most of the people in this town,” Cloud muttered, making the gunman laugh out loud. “I’m worried how Tifa, Marlene and Denzel will cope without me though. We were barely making ends meet with my delivery service. Now I’m not there...”

“Trust me, Cloud. Our other friends will step up to help them and ensure they are safe and taken care of, I am sure. You need to let them go and take advantage of this new start we’ve been given. This world is a far better place than our old world will ever be. There is no Shinra, Hojo or mako reactors sucking the planet dry and the leaders seem to have the people’s best interests as their top priority.”

“I suppose you’re right. It’s just gonna take time to get used to, you know? You being here does make it easier, though,” Cloud answered as he closed his eyes and sighed.

“Remember, Cloud. I am here for you and I always will be. You are not alone,” Vincent replied.


**.**

Squall appeared with his usual frown which Laguna ignored as he wrapped his arms around his son and greeted him warmly. Kiros was surprised when the Commander returned the hug, something Squall had never done before. Pulling away from his father, he greeted Kiros and then mumbled something about getting some rest before disappearing into his room for the rest of the day.

As night fell, Laguna insisted they all eat dinner together and after a quick introduction between Squall and Cloud, the table had fallen quiet. Now, the only sound was the clanging of cutlery as the five men ate their meal in silence. Even Laguna kept quiet, frowning as he stared holes in his plate. The tension in the air was so thick that Kiros felt like he was on the edge of a chasm with the ground slowly crumbling away beneath him. To escape the stifling environment, he stood and began clearing the table. Cloud got up to help him, following him into the kitchen.

“Is it always like this when Squall comes to dinner?” the blond asked, keeping his voice down to avoid the others hearing him.

“No, usually he lightens up a bit around his father,” Kiros replied with a smile. “All the tension is because it’s the first time that Squall and Vincent have been in the same room since Laguna recovered. We knew that it would be difficult but Laguna is determined to try and broker some kind of peace between them. I told him that it was too soon. Vincent won’t even talk about what happened and Squall only shows remorse for hurting his dad. If I was in Vincent’s place, I wouldn’t forgive him either. I just wish Laguna would let it go and except that the two are better kept apart.”

“Kiros, could you tell me what exactly he did to Vincent?”

“He didn’t tell you? Oh shit, I’m sorry Cloud. I just assumed that he would have told you today when you were catching up,” Kiros babbled out, blushing in embarrassment. He should have known better than to bring up the subject with Cloud unless he knew for sure that Vincent wanted his friend to know about it.

“He did tell me about most of it,” the young man said with a smile. “He just wouldn’t tell me exactly what Squall did to him.”

“Oh…um…well I…” Kiros’ reply died on his lips when the sound of raised voices interrupted him. Running back down the hall, he found Laguna standing between Squall and Vincent as the two glared at each other.

“What in Shiva’s name is going on?” Kiros questioned, walking forward to join Laguna between the two.

“I’m sorry Laguna but there is no possible way that I will leave Cloud under the command of this…this man,” Vincent hissed from between clenched teeth. Kiros could see the gunman shaking with the effort to keep his anger under control. He could only pray that Chaos held to his side of their deal and stayed away.

“He is a fighter. He belongs in Garden not in Esthar leaching off my father,” Squall spat back. “It’s bad enough dad insists on letting you stay there and take advantage of his kindness.”

“Damn it, Squall. For the hundredth time, Vincent is not taking advantage of me! He is my partner and he works for me,” Laguna growled out, his temper flaring. “I am not some fucking pathetic old fool…,” he began, voice rising in volume before Squall interrupted him.

“What he does in the bedroom doesn’t count as work, father.” Laguna’s face turned beat red and his mouth dropped open in shock at his son’s words.

“How dare you speak to Laguna like that. Have some respect for your father, at least!” Vincent retorted.

“Vincent! Don’t rise to his taunts. Please, just walk away now,” Kiros pleaded, trying in vain to push the gunman out of the room.

“Don’t you dare tell me how to speak to my own father. You are nothing but a failed science experiment, a freak that should be put down. My father should be with Kiros, not you!” Squall yelled.

“I may be a freak, boy, but you are the monster who drugs and rapes people,” Vincent hissed back.

“SHUT UP!” Laguna screamed, momentarily silencing the room. “This stops now or I swear, the next person who speaks is going to get my gun up their fucking ass, is that clear!”

“That’s no threat to Vincent. He’s already had your gun up his ass so many times...” Squall’s retort was cut off as Laguna lunged at his son. Kiros managed to grab him around the waist before any damage was done and held him still as the President fumed in his arms.

“Right, both of you go to your rooms, now before you give Laguna another heart attack,” Kiros demanded, glaring at both men in turn as he stood between them holding the struggling President. When neither man moved, Kiros felt his own temper explode. “I SAID GO!” he bellowed.

Vincent was the first to move, sweeping out the door and up the stairs without a word. Squall followed seconds later and Kiros held on to the still cursing Laguna until he heard the Commanders door bang shut. He finally released the President, only to be shoved into the wall as Laguna stomped out of the house, slamming the door in his wake.

Silence descended on the house as Kiros leaned back against the wall and took a deep breath. Movement across the room reminded him that he’d forgotten all about their other guest. Cloud stood staring at Kiros, his face pale and his eyes wide. The poor boy looked completely shell shocked.

“Can I get you a coffee, Cloud?” he asked softly, smiling at the blond.

“Got anything harder?” Cloud muttered. Kiros’ smile grew wider as he made his way over to the small bar in the corner of the lounge room. Pouring a generous glass of whiskey, he handed it to Cloud and watched as he downed the whole glass in one go. Kiros refilled it and the boy did the same with the next before handing the glass back to Kiros.

“Thanks, I needed that,” the blond sighed out, still looking pale. Kiros didn’t know what to say but felt the need to at least make an attempt at comforting the blonde.

“Cloud, I’m sorry you had to see that. It is unfortunate that finding you coincided with this particular night,” Kiros said, wincing at his insufficient words. Cloud looked up at him, smiling at his attempts.

“It’s alright, Kiros. I’ve just never seen Vincent show…well much of any emotion before. Whatever Squall did must have been bad,” Cloud mused, his eyes questioning silently. Kiros twined one of his braids between his fingers uncomfortably as he thought over telling Cloud about that night.

“I’d like to tell you what happened but it’s not my place. It was something…personal and very traumatic for Vincent and I really think it best if he tells you himself. I don’t want to cause him more pain by telling you something that he doesn’t want you to know,” Kiros murmured quietly, hating to keep the boy in the dark but knowing that Vincent would be angry at him if he did not. Cloud considered his words for a few minutes before a small smile grew on his lips.

“Vincent is lucky to have found such loyal friends here,” the blonde remarked before continuing, “and don’t worry about it. I’m sure if it was important for me to know, Vincent would of told me. Maybe in time he’ll feel more open to discuss it with me.”

“Thanks for being so understanding,” Kiros said lamely, still feeling a little guilty. He didn’t like keeping secrets but his loyalty to Vincent allowed him no other option. Kiros realized the hypocrisy of that statement in his head and ignored it. His secret was different.

“Think I’ll turn in now,” Cloud announced, jogging the older man from his thoughts. “See you in the morning, Kiros.” He watched the blonde disappear up the stairs before he headed for Laguna’s bedroom, wondering what state he would find Vincent in.

He found the gunman in their bed, curled up on his side facing away from him. Vincent looked oddly childlike as he hugged a pillow to his chest. Kiros undressed and crawled in behind him, spooning the dark haired man and placing an arm on his hip in a gesture that was hopefully comforting.

“Sorry,” Vincent’s voice whispered softly in the dark.

“It’s alright, Vin. You’ve got a right to be angry about what he did to you,” Kiros replied, placing a kiss onto the shoulder before him. “Do you want to talk about it?”

“No,” came the usual reply, making Kiros frown but not voice his disappointment. Vincent needed to talk about what happened to begin to heal but Kiros knew that pushing the issue would achieve nothing.

“Okay. Just remember that when you’re ready to talk, I’m here for you,” he said instead. The gunman responded by taking Kiros’ hand from his hip and kissing it before hugging it to his chest. Smiling sadly, Kiros curled closer to him while wondering when the hell Laguna would come home.

**.**

Cloud made his way across the fields just as the sun was cresting the horizon. He’d escaped the house early, not wanting to see anyone after last night’s argument. Witnessing Vincent losing his temper had shocked him at first but when that wore off he’d become angry at the fact they had completely left him out of the conversation. It was his future after all. If there was another option open to him, apart from Esthar, than it should be up to him to decide. Vincent wasn’t in charge of him and had no right to refuse in his place, even if the gunman seemed to have his best interests in mind.

Vincent’s refusal to tell him what Squall had done to him also ate at Cloud’s mind. After everything they’d been through together, he’d thought the gunman trusted him and respected him as an equal but maybe it’d been nothing but wishful thinking on his part. He had lain awake all night, turning it all over in his mind until first light when he’d given up and decided to leave the house and find some monsters to take his aggravation out on.

Cloud had no idea where to go from this point. He didn’t want to be a liability to Vincent, following the gunman around like some needy child and getting in the way of his new life. The problem was he really had nowhere else to go. Maybe he should talk to Squall about this ‘Garden’ organization and see if there was a place there for him. Vincent had already mentioned they were a mercenary group who fought for a living. Sounded like the perfect place for him. Spotting some prey and readying his sword, Cloud let last nights trouble fade away as his body slipped into battle mode.


**TBC**



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