Tired from work Sephiroth opened the door to his home. Immediately he was greeted with the bickering of his smallest children, Sora and Roxas; twins but as different as night and day. Sora ran behind his father and stuck his tongue out at the blonde Roxas. Calmly Sephiroth put his hand in front of his son's face.
"Don't do that to your brother."
"He started it!" the boy shouted.
"Well, are you the wiser one, getting all worked up? Where's mum?" he answered, patting Sora's brown, tousled hair.
"He's in the kitchen!" answered Roxas, pointing at the direction of the said room.
"Good. Now you two stop fighting and go play in the backyard. I saw a delicious mud hole there this morning", Sephiroth said, tousling the blonde's hair as he passed.
Even before he could get to the kitchen door, he smelled the wonderful mix of something delicious in the oven, coffee and his wife's shampoo. He peeked through the door and smiled. Cloud was facing the opposite direction. Good.
Sephiroth tiptoed his way behind Cloud and quickly kissed him on the cheek.
"Honey, I'm home", he whispered, still smiling.
"So I see", Cloud answered, blushed.
After all their married years Cloud still blushed whenever Sephiroth gave him a kiss on the cheek. Sephiroth thought it was cute.
"What're you cooking, Cloud?" he asked, sitting down on the table coffee cup on his hand and the fresh Evening Post.
"Well, the twins asked for cheese and ronies, again, but I'm making lasagne."
"Didn't I tell you to leave those kinds of foods to me?"
"I thought, since you were busy, I might as well. Kadaj specifically asked for it."
"Okay, but don't spoil that boy too much."
At that moment Kadaj strolled into the room, hair on his face and eyes sparkling. "Who's being spoiled? I know I'm not."
"Please, don't start right after dad's home", Cloud said, turning back to the cook book he had been reading.
"Start what?! I'm just asking!" the boy exclaimed and slumped down beside his father. "Hi, dad. How's work?"
"Just fine, Kadaj. School?" his father answered, folding down the newspaper.
"I got scolded, again! The teacher told me I've a serious problem with authority! Like hell, I do! I live with you guys. You'd beat the living daylights out of me, if I behaved bad."
"Well", Sephiroth rested his head on his hand, "maybe his good and bad are a tad different from ours?"
"Most certainly", agreed Cloud, opening the oven, "I mean, he hasn't been through the same things your dad and I have. Right, honey?"
Sephiroth smiled: "I can only agree." He turned to Kadaj. "Do you want me to visit him?"
Kadaj shook his head and got up. "No need, you'd just scare him, like any other teacher so far." The teenager turned to leave.
"Not so fast, young man. Set the table!" Cloud commanded.
"Why me?" Kadaj moment, "Ask Yazoo."
"He's got a date. He's preparing", Sephiroth said, getting up, "I'm going to change."
Sephiroth climbed upstairs, listening to Kadaj moan about the unfairness of life. When he came to the second floor, he noticed that yet another argument was taking place. Yazoo was locked in the bathroom and Loz and Riku were banging the door.
"What is it?" he sighed.
Loz turned and explained: "Well, you know that Yazoo has a date today, don't you." Sephiroth nodded. "Good. He's been in there for two hours! Riku has to go and I want my CDs back."
"Why not use the bathroom downstairs, Riku?" Sephiroth asked, loosening his tie.
"Mum cleaned it and he told us not to flush the toilet for a day, so I don't wanna go there", the boy answered, moping, "and I really need to go!"
Sephiroth frowned. "Okay, wait a moment." He knocked to the door: "Yazoo, open the door. Riku needs the toilet."
"I'm ready in a minute!" came the answer.
"He's been saying that for ages", Loz muttered.
"He needs it now!"
"Yazoo, you know what I can do to this door. Open immediately", Sephiroth said calmly.
There was a quick clatter and the door opened. "You wouldn't dare! Mum said he'd throw you out if you ever did it again!" said the flustered boy.
"Well, let's just say, he wouldn't be too happy about cleaning you-know-what off the floor either. Now move over."
Mumbling to himself, Yazoo returned to his room, followed by Loz who wanted his CDs. Riku went into the toilet and locked the door. Sephiroth sighed; sometimes it isn't easy to have this many children, but he loved them all anyway.
He changed and went back downstairs. Yazoo was ready to leave, but Cloud was still holding him.
"Now, young man, remember if he tries something funny, you --"
"I know, mum."
"And just in case take this", he said and gave his son something that made the boy blush.
"Mum! It's just our second date!"
"You'll never know", Cloud answered and winked.
Yazoo opened the door, still blushed and quickly left. Sephiroth sneaked up behind his wife and hugged him close: "What was that all about? Did you really give him a condom?"
Now it was Cloud's turn to blush a little. "Yes, but as I said, you'll never know."
"Did he take the car?"
"No, I thought you wouldn't like it."
"Good, because then I would've to punish you", the last words were whispered and meant only to his wife's ears. Sephiroth quickly pinched the blonde's bottom and ran away laughing. Cloud at his heels.
Cloud tackled him at the living room door and they started rolling around, both laughing.
"Look, Sora, Roxas! Mum and dad are wrestling again!" they heard a bright voice say from the couch.
Sephiroth looked up and saw three little heads peeking over the back of the sofa. The boys were looking at them with clear curiosity.
"Right", he muttered and got up, pulling Cloud up too.
"When's dinner?" Riku asked.
Cloud straightened his shirt. "As soon as Kadaj has set the table."
"How long is planning to take?" asked Sephiroth.
"I'm finished", Kadaj grumbled from the door, "Dinner's served", he said, giving them a gracious bow.
"No need for sarcasm, little one", Sephiroth said, ruffling the teen's hair.
They all sat down to the dinner table. Cloud brought the lasagne pan from the side table and placed it on the table. Of course the twins started complaining, but after a few stern words from their dad, they ate.
After dinner Sephiroth took the twins to bath. Cloud and him had made that agreement, because Cloud took care of them all day. As usual there was a huge row before he got both of them into the tub, but once they were there it was all peaches and cream.
The twins, like all children, loved to play in the water. They loved to splash and hop in the tub, no matter how much Sephiroth tried to stop them. Soon enough his shirt was soaked so he decided to take it off.
"Okay, kids. If it's water fight you want, that's what you're going to get", he said and took the shower head. "I'm going to wash your hair."
The kids screamed as if terrified and tried to get away from their dad, who first grabbed Sora and sprayed the water on his head. Pinning the boy between his knees firmly, but gently, he started shampooing his brown, tousled hair. Sora knew well enough not to squirm as he'd gotten a fair share of shampoo in his eyes a few times before.
"Cloud! First one's ready!" Sephiroth shouted after rinsing the shampoo off.
Cloud came with Sora's pyjamas and took the towel wrapped boy in his arms. "Oh, look at your fingers! They're like raisins! I can't believe you're younger than mum with hands like that!"
"You'd have these if you'd been in the tub for that long", Sora protested, "Besides, Roxas' are much more wrinkly!"
"Are not!" The other boy protested, showing his equally wrinkly hands.
"You're both silly little boys, who ought to be in bed already", Cloud said, drying Sora's hair. "Is that going to take long, dear?" he asked Sephiroth, who had started rinsing off the shampoo from Roxas' hair.
"Not long. You can go brush his teeth and I can put them to bed."
"Okay", Cloud smiled and took Sora upstairs.
After a surprisingly easy bath and teeth brushing, Sephiroth sat down on a stool between the twins' beds.
"So, what would you like to hear tonight?" Sephiroth asked, pulling Roxas' blanket higher.
"About your and mum's wedding!" they answered together.
"But you've heard that so many times already."
"Still", Roxas said, tugging the blanket off and sitting up.
"Lie down, young man, and I'll tell you." He pricked his ears. "Just a minute, boys. I'll be back soon."
He went out and knocked on Loz's – and Yazoo's – door.
"Yeah", their eldest answered.
"Turn the music down, I'm trying to get the twins to sleep. Or put headphones on."
"Yes, dad. Sorry."
"And, Loz, remember to tell me what time Yazoo comes home tonight, okay?"
"As always, dad."
Sephiroth returned to the twins' room, only to find Sora's bed empty and two pairs of feet on Roxas' pillow.
"Well, peek a boo, boys", Sephiroth said peeking under the cover. "You still want the story?"
"Yes!" Sora exclaimed, quickly sitting up.
"All right. Lie down properly and I'll tell you", Sephiroth said, smiling.
The twins settled into the one bed comfortably and Sephiroth started the story: "It was otherwise just a normal wedding, but as you know, all of mummy's friends don't exactly like me. So the air around the reception was a little heavy..."
He told the story as he'd always told it and the twins were asleep in less than half an hour. Smiling, Sephiroth picked Sora up and placed him on his bed. He pulled their blankets up to their chins and kissed them. Tiptoeing out of the room, he turned on the mother's-eye and turned off the light.
He returned to the living room where Cloud was sitting with Riku, who looked a bit like he'd been crying. He sighed.
"What's wrong?" he asked Cloud.
"Kadaj chased him out of his room."
"Riku, what were you doing in Kadaj's room?" Sephiroth asked, looking at his silver-haired boy. "We've told you not to go there without his permission."
"I was just getting a video game. He's got them all! It's not fair!" the boy buried his face at his mother's side.
"There, there. Perhaps it's time for you to go to bed, too", Cloud said soothingly, caressing the silky hair.
Riku nodded, got up and ran to his father.
Sephiroth smiled; the boy clearly had something in his mind. "Yes?"
"Come tuck me in."
"I will. Just say when you're ready."
As the boy left the room, Sephiroth sat next to his wife on the sofa. He sighed again and covered his eyes with his hand.
"Had a difficult day?" Cloud asked, looking at him.
"Not at work, you know I have it easy", he smiled, "I only got tired after getting home."
"Yes, I can understand that. I'm beat, too."
"Well, it's not my fault we had all of them. You wanted one that looked like you. It's not my fault you've got weak genes."
"Why you--!" Cloud snapped and swatted his husband with a cushion.
"Daddy! I'm ready!"
"Coming!" Sephiroth shouted back and left the room, laughing. Cloud looked so cute when he was pouting.
He knocked on Riku's door and went in. "What is it? You're a big boy already, you don't need daddy to tuck you in."
"I wanted to ask one thing."
Sephiroth sat on the boy's bed. "What?"
The boy went serious. "Why did you fall in love with mum?"
"Eh? Why would ask that?"
"I want to know..." Riku mumbled.
"You've got someone you like?"
The boy nodded. Sephiroth smiled.
"Okay, I fell for him, because he was – and is – so headstrong. He knows what he wants, but can still be so gentle. He doesn't pretend. All that. One might say that I fell in love with his personality. I know it sounds cliché, but it is really the inside that counts."
"Do you know if she likes you back? The one you like, I mean."
"I think so. She keeps sending me papers with hearts in them."
"Well, she must like you a lot. But now to sleep, young man. You've got school tomorrow."
"Good night, dad."
"Night, son. Sleep well", Sephiroth answered, patting his head.
It was already ten o'clock when Sephiroth checked the clock on the second foor hallway. He knocked at Kadaj's door. He heard a quiet answer and entered.
"You should consider going to bed, too, Kadaj", he said leaning to the door frame.
The boy sat in front of the small TV he had for watching movies. "I'll just finish this, OK?"
"OK, but immediately after that you go to bed. Understand?"
"Yeah, yeah. Now let me watch."
"Good night, Kadaj."
He only heard a mumbled answer. Shaking his head, Sephiroth returned downstairs. He heard noise from the kitchen and went to look. Loz was there, making a small evening snack. Sephiroth raised an eyebrow.
"I hope you're not going to eat all that. It'll ruin your sleep."
Loz jumped and turned around. "Okay, I won't", he said and put the second slice of bread away."
"Those, too. They're your mother's", Sephiroth said, pointing at the two cookies on the plate.
"Okay, I'll take an apple instead."
"Good boy. And remember not to be too loud in your room. Keep the music low."
"I will. Good night, dad."
Cloud was channel-surfing when Sephiroth finally got back to the living room.
"What took you so long, honey?"
"I said good-nights to the rest, too and stopped Loz from over-eating."
Cloud laughed. "You're silly. But should we go to bed, too?"
"Is there anything good on TV?"
Cloud shook his head: "Not really. That movie is only so-so, not worth watching."
Sephiroth shrugged: "Okay, then let's get to bed."