Cid leaned on the outer fuselage of the Highwind, absentmindedly studying the noseart. He wasn't exactly sure what had made him put it on in the first place. "The girl in the bikini seemed a lot more interesting then. I thought it was 'cool'." He thought. "Back then this was all I had to worry about. No Shinra tricks, no Sephiroth, no fight to save the planet...." It had been simple then, he realized. His 'young' days, as he thought of them. "As If I'm #@$%#ing OLD now". He reminded himself roughly. He wasn't sure what to make of Cloud's speech, but it made him feel old. It was a depressing speech, he decided. All about finding something to fight for, a reason to go on and face a monster that they probably could not beat...."Do I have a reason?" He wondered as he surveyed the bleak and desolate scenery of North Crater. Small jets of steam rose from the broken rocks. It made him think of the vapor trails the wingtips of the Tiny Bronco made when he pulled really tight stunts. Thinking of that made him grin. Damn, he loved that plane. He could spend hours up there. No #@#$* people to irritate him, just the hum of the engine, and the feel of wind rushing past his face as the earth wheeled and spun far beneath him. "Then that fat@$$ Palmer decides to steal it, and stupid @#!*ing Cloud gets it shot down". As if they would ever understand what flying meant to him. To them, it was just another piece of machinery to use as a boat. "A goddamn BOAT! My pride and joy being used as a BOAT!!" He was not sure he'd ever forgive Cloud for that. "But this is off the subject". He thought. "I should be searching for a 'reason', a 'meaning'." He wondered vaguely if having nothing better to do was a good enough reason. Nothing really ever had meaning for him others than flying. Always further, faster, higher, longer. Getting into space was just another form of flying, just higher up. And he had done it after all..... He looked to the South. Even though the crater blocked his view, he could still see the red glare of Meteor in the sky. "@#$%* Meteor. Cluttering up MY airspace." He muttered scowling at the wall of the Crater. Then it hit him like a Choco-mog summon. Flying was his reason. "Holy $#!* was I ever dumb." He marveled. "Right in front of me all this time. Nothing else really matters to me, and if the planet gets it, that's gonna seriously screw up my flying." Anger rushed through him. "Like hell I'm gonna let that damn Sephiroth take the sky from me!"
It was clear to him now. He headed for the Choco stable in the Highwind. Perfect. He thought as he looked at the golden Chocobo standing patiently in the pen.
"Never really rode one of these before.." He realized as he clambered awkwardly onto its back. The Chocobo let out a startled 'Wark' at the ungainly rider on its back. "Yeah, Yeah. Cut me some slack, huh?" Cid growled. "Now how do you get it to move?" He wondered. He decided to try digging in his heels. He did so. Hard.
A few minutes a wild Moogle popped out of the ground of its island home in response to a strange sound. It stared in wonderment at the sight that greeted it. A human was hanging precariously onto the back of a golden Chocobo, who was in an all-out sprint. They flew by, as the human left behind a long string of very ugly sounding words, and a very confused Moogle.
Nearly two hours later, Cid finally was in Rocket Town, and had developed a fervent dislike for riding Chocobos. He looked around the town. "It's just not the same without the rocket..." He murmured. Swallowing his depression, he headed to his old house. Shera greeted him at the door. "Oh, Captain! Good to see you!" she said rather awkwardly. "She still can't believe that I apologized to her," Cid chuckled to himself.
After briefly outlining the events that had transpired since the rocket launch, Cid excused himself. He headed directly for the back door. Once outside, Cid could hardly contain himself. He had had the Tiny Bronco taken from the Bone Village shore back to its original place a few weeks ago, but had no time to inspect it thoroughly, due to minor disturbances like WEAPON raids and the like. It wasn't in bad shape, really. Cid thought. The damage to the rudder, rust forming on the aileron cables, and cosmetic damage, but it was fixable. That night the lights in Cid's backyard did not go out, the sound of tools never faded for long, and the neighbors did not get any sleep. In the morning, Shera found an exhausted Cid Highwind sleeping, draped over the wing of a nearly new looking Tiny Bronco. She smiled to herself as Cid muttered something about #$@!* % Chocobos in his sleep. A few hours later, a loud crash and an even louder fit of profanity announced that Cid had awakened, and fallen off the wing. Despite that, he was in a extremely cheery mood as he strode in demanding his "@$%* TEA."
The residents of Rocket Town were suddenly disturbed by the sound of engines revving. Heads popped out of windows just in time to see the Tiny Bronco leap clear of the road and soar into the sky. Cid laughed openly for the first time in a long time. He was in his element. He set the little aircraft through every trick he knew. The townsfolk cheered on their Captain as his plane pulled split-S's, loops, barrelrolls and wingovers in dizzying patterns. Cid was sure now. He could feel the Tiny Bronco's responses to the air as if they were his own. Rocket Town and its people became a single blob as he urged the plane higher. He could see the Nibel Mountains stretching out to the northwest and the sparkling waters of the ocean to the east. Far in the distance to the south, Cid thought he could make out the outline of Gold Saucer's massive domes. For a time, all was right with the world as far as Cid Highwind was concerned. Even the ominous red glare of Meteor in the east didn't bother him. The world passed beneath him as he drifted in and out of puffy cumulus clouds and the sun beamed down on his small craft, casting dancing reflections off of the wings and windshield. Cid was as free as he could ever be, feeling detached and strangely superior to all of those people on the ground.
Almost five hours later, Cid landed the Tiny Bronco on the road to Rocket Town. He glanced at the fuel gauge. Almost empty. "Oh, well. 'All good things must come to an end'." He sighed. He had made up his mind. He had his reason to fight. "The others won't understand, but it's a @#*&^ reason."
The Chocobo ride back did not seem as disagreeable. Cid thought of the Tiny Bronco, safe in his backyard. Meteor might destroy Midgar, but nothing would touch his plane again. Not Shinra, not Rufus, and ESPECIALLY not Cloud. He smiled. He had his reason. He would save the planet for his love of flight.