………………………………

Daddy Blues

…………………………

Baby Highwind

………………………………

Once they were done eating, everyone did their share to clean up their section of the park and the women walked over to sit with the men, who were talking more easily now that they had more than a few drinks down. Yuffie crawled onto Vincent's lap and watched their son and the other children as they surrounded Reno, with the exception of Kimi, who was napping in Tseng's arms. Sydney was playing with his long ponytail while Rowan was wearing Reno's goggles, and little Zack was trying to climb his back.

"I think Reno would be a great babysitter," Yuffie said to Tifa and Shera, ignoring the look on their respective men's faces. "Now we know who to call when we want to go out alone," she said to Vincent.

Vincent's look could've melted the entirety of Icicle Town. "I think not," he said flatly. "I wouldn't leave our child in his hands if he were the last man on earth."

"Hey!" Reno exclaimed, letting out an 'oomph' when all three kids tackled him down onto the blanket they were sitting on and proceeded to climb over him. "Ah, a little help, Rude?"

"The children love you Reno," Rude replied before taking a gulp from his beer.

"Well... I'm not loving the way your kid is pulling my hair, Valentine," Reno said with a wince, trying to get his hair out of the child's grip.

Yuffie smirked and tried to pry her son's hand from Reno's hair. "Come on kiddo, we don't pull hair," she reminded him. Once she was able to free Reno from her son's clutches, she picked the boy up and handed him over to Vincent, who usually took care of berating him, but she gave him a look when he smirked and merely shrugged. Hmm, she couldn't believe that he could be so childish when it came to the Turk.

"Come on, we're waiting to hear Highwind's story!" Reno called before Sydney jumped on his middle and knocked the air right out of him.

"My story is nobody's business!" Cid called, mysteriously falling backwards in his chair.

Yuffie whistled and inspected her fingernails, trying not to burst into laughter. Shera, who had been close by picked up a deadly looking mini-shuriken and held it up to her. "Lose something?" she asked with a smile.

Vincent gave Yuffie a look after noticing that the two back legs of the chair had been sliced off, causing the pilot to topple backwards. "What?" she asked innocently.

"Fucking brat!" yelled Cid, sitting up and rubbing his back.

"Cid!" Shera exclaimed, mortified that the children had heard the curse word. "The children!"

f"Don't worry about it Shera, Rowan hears Vincent cursing all the time," Yuffie said matter-of-factly. Everyone turned to look at Vincent and he just glared at Yuffie enough to nearly burn a hole through her head. "I'm kidding. He hears me cursing all the time. I swear, I was a little surprised that his first word wasn't a curse word," she said with a grin.

Shera smiled and turned to Cid as he stood and smiled when Sydney walked over with her handful of flowers. Despite his rough exterior, her husband had turned out to be a sensitive husband and father, though he would rather poke himself in the eye with the Venus Gospel before admitting it. She turned to their friends and sighed. "Well, as you've heard, it all began in a hangar of the WRO…"

"I could've been permanently scarred," Reeve muttered, earning a glare from a certain pilot.

"When I told him I was pregnant, he fainted!"

"Goddammit Shera!" yelled Cid as Yuffie and Reno broke into loud guffaws and their other friends covered their laughs with coughs.

…………

As she worked on a few formulas, Shera felt a smile pull at her lips when she noticed Cid working in the back room. A few weeks before, she could remember herself walking on shaky legs, straightening her lab coat as she stepped out from the back room of a WRO ship hangar. Her hair had been a little mussed and her glasses had been missing a leg. She'd been able to fix them herself, but right then she had been worried about looking presentable to her coworkers so that no one suspected about the activities she had engaged in with her husband. Not to mention that Reeve had nearly walked in on them, she thought with a blush.

Sighing dreamily, Shera watched Cid as he stepped out, a greasy ship part in his gloved hand. He was sweating, smudged with oil, and smoking. Really now, he was the epitome of a caveman and with the manners of one to boot. But still she loved him more than she ever thought it was possible to love someone. Though their beginning had been rocky and she'd cried many tears for her failures and his attitude towards her, he had finally seen through her modest exterior and into the woman who wanted nothing more than to be happy and give his life to him.

The sudden stench of Cid's cigarette hit her nose and her stomach roiled in protest. That was… strange… nothing of the like had happened before. She had grown accustomed to Cid smoking, and to make it more comfortable for her, he didn't smoke when she was in close proximity; except when he was working on his ship. Shera stood from her workbench and walked straight towards the restroom, nearly bowling Cid over.

"What da hell? Watch where you're goin'!" he yelled. He almost expected her rushed apology, but she didn't even stop to berate him for yelling. He handed over the ship part to a passing engineer and then quickly followed Shera. He stood outside of the restroom, to give her some privacy and waited. Cid made a face when he heard her retching from inside. "What the fuck? Did ya eat somethin' bad?" he asked, trying to mask his worry.

The sound of a toilet flushing interrupted him, followed by the water running for a few minutes. Shera stepped out, looking faintly pale and managed a weak smile. "Sorry, captain. I think it was the smell of your cigarette," she murmured, rubbing her stomach as it still roiled.

Cid pulled off his gloves and stuffed them into his pocket, then he touched her forehead and then cupped her cheeks, rubbing them gently. "Maybe you should see a doc," he said seriously.

Shera shook her head. "I may specialize in engineering, captain, but I know my symptoms. Lately I have been more tired than usual, I can't stand some smells, and my breasts have been feeling sore," she said, hoping he caught the hint.

Cid's eye twitched. "Shit, Shera, ya gotta know that you can't talk about the ladies while were at the job. It makes me wanna—"

Shera shook her head when the nausea returned and she ran towards the porcelain bowl. "Damn it, Sher…" he muttered, a little disgusted, but not willing to run off like some sissy boy.

"I was trying to tell you," Shera said as she rinsed her mouth out once more. "Those are all symptoms of a possible pregnancy," she said, watching his reaction closely.

Cid's mouth fell open in shock and he sputtered for a few seconds. "What the… fuck… what?" he asked.

Shera smiled slightly and shook her head. "I'll have to get some blood tests done before we can know for sure. Don't look so elated before we even know if we are pregnant," she said the her last sentence with a touch of sarcasm. Cid looked like a fish out of water, and she didn't even know if he'd be happy about a baby.

"Well… what da hell are ya waiting for?" he snapped, grabbing her hand and nearly dragging her off. "We're goin' down to see one of Reeve's doctors so that we can know for sure!"

Cid was nearly eating his fingernails raw. His foot tapped, he stood to pace, he chewed on a cigarette until Shera started to look faintly ill again. "What? What's wrong?" he asked, moving towards her.

Shera shook her head and held up her hands, trying to ward him off. "I can smell the cigarettes and they're making me nauseous," she said quickly.

Cid cursed and stuffed it into his pocket, realizing that if Shera really was pregnant, maybe he'd have to… quit. He nearly pulled out his own hair, but was interrupted when a lab tech walked in and handed Shera a sealed off envelope. She opened it quickly and read it. Cid knew that she handed it over, he wouldn't be able to decipher all the medical crap, even when he understood numbers quite well. "And?" he asked her in annoyance.

Her eyes were literally shining in her pretty face. "It's positive!" She looked up to see Cid's reaction, but all she heard was a loud thump. "Cid!" she exclaimed, running to his side when she realized that he was unconscious. "Come on, captain, I thought you were a big strong man," she muttered, slapping his cheek a little."

Cid groaned and rubbed his head as he came to. Had he fainted…? Naw, he was too manly to faint. He had simply passed out. He looked up to see Shera's beautiful face hovering over his. He smirked. "So there's a bun in the oven?"

Shera broke into sweet laughter and nodded. "Yes, there's a little bun in the oven," she said, leaning down to kiss him lightly on the lips.

"Not a word of me passin' out to anyone, much less the brat," he muttered.

"Of course not," Shera assured him. "We're going to be parents!" she said in a high, happy voice.

Cid chuckled and nodded. "It's about damn time."

…………

"Is it just me or are Vincent and Yuffie giving each other looks?" Shera asked Cid as he downed a gulp from his beer.

His blue eyes narrowed and Shera could sense the thundercloud settling over her husband's head. "What," he stated flatly.

Shera regretted saying anything, but she had been quite excited to see the silent gunman moving on. Yuffie was a wonderful girl who could melt even the coldest of icebergs. Cid was another example of how the diminutive ninja could get even the most stubborn of men to care for her. "Stop being so overprotective. Sometimes I think that you considered yourself a father already," she said with a smile.

Cid cursed and glared at her. "Stop talking crazy, Shera. The brat is nothing but a nuisance," he muttered.

Shera just nodded and offered no other comments. She smiled when she saw that Cid had started watching the ninja more carefully throughout the room. They were all enjoying their anniversary party and Shera felt happier than she remembered being in her life. She and Cid were celebrating another year together, they were having a baby, and they had all their friends close by to celebrate together.

Cid sidled up to Yuffie as she was pouring herself a drink and gave her a careful look. "What's new with ya, brat?" he asked.

Yuffie smiled slowly and gave him a strange look. "…Nothing," she murmured. "You?"

"Shera's pregnant," he blurted.

Yuffie's eyes widened and she nearly spit out her drink, which she had only begun to sip. "What…?" she coughed. "Really?"

Cid nodded and smirked at her reaction. "Just don't tell no one. We were supposed to tell you all together."

Yuffie's expression softened and she smiled. "Aww… now I feel all special and shit!"

Cid grunted when he realized just how bad an influence he had been on the girl. "Yeah. Shera and me are happy that we have a brat on the way."

The ninja nodded. "Congratulations," she said, patting him on the back.

"Thanks," muttered Cid. Shera watched them from a distance and smiled to herself as they stood awkwardly for a moment and then Yuffie grinned before wrapping the pilot in a bear hug.

"You're gonna be a great dad," Yuffie said, sniffling a little. "I'm sure of it."

Cid nodded and gave Yuffie a squeeze before releasing her. "Thanks brat."

They separated and Cid walked over to his wife, his fingers tracing over her still flat stomach. The doctor had said that pretty soon they would be able to see her stomach develop into the bump and after that, Shera would be able to feel the kid move. There was no describing how he was feeling at the moment. How much pride filled his chest at the thought that in a few months Shera would bring their child into the world. Though he didn't mind what the baby turned out to be, a big part of him was hoping that she had a boy, so that he would be able to pass on his knowledge on airships. Though if the baby was a girl, he supposed that she would learn to pilot anyway.

After announcing and celebrating with their friends, everyone went to bed. Cid pulled off his shirt and sniffed it before throwing it into the hamper. Shera was sitting on their bed, brushing out her long, brown hair and with a dreamy expression on her face.

"What're ya thinking?" Cid asked, sitting in front of her to pull off his boots.

Her nose wrinkled delicately. "I'm thinking that you need a shower," she said with a laugh. She broke into giggles when Cid nearly tackled her back against the bed, though he was careful with her middle and the treasure within.

He leaned in to kiss her gently and pulled back to run fingers through her soft hair. "Are you gonna tell me what you were thinkin'?" he asked her with a faint smile on his face.

Shera reached up to run the tips over her fingers over his lips. "I was thinking that maybe if our baby is a girl… we can call her Sydney," she said with a giggle.

Cid started at the sound of the name and then grinned slowly. "Shit, I don't wanna curse a baby girl with a name that sounds like mine."

Shera shook her head. "But it's not a curse!" she said quickly, sitting up. "I think it's a wonderful name for a girl. I just know that she'll be beautiful and that you'll love her with all your heart."

"In all this, why are you so sure that we're havin' a girl?" Cid asked her, eyes narrowed.

Shera shook her head. "I'm not one hundred percent sure, but something inside me is telling me that our baby will be a girl."

"You wanna bet on that?" asked Cid.

Her eyebrows rose in interest. "You've got yourself a deal, captain. What should we bet?"

"Hmm, well if you have a boy, you'll have to… take a month off of work and we'll go on vacation," he said.

"A month off work?!" Shera exclaimed, not believing what he was saying. As far as she had known, Cid loved his job just as much as she loved her own. He would willingly put off doing his job for so long? She thought about it for a long moment and then sighed. They'd never been on a trip before, even their honeymoon had been rushed to a few days in Costa del Sol. His plan didn't seem like a bad idea. "Fine. But if I have a girl, you'll have to quit smoking for good."

Cid didn't know if he wanted to take the bet now. "You drive a hard bargain, Sher," he muttered.

"I know," she said smartly. "Take it or leave it, captain."

"Mrs. Highwind, you've got yourself a deal," he muttered before kissing her.

…………

A month and a half later, while visiting Tifa and Cloud, Cid had to endure listening to the women as they cooed over Shera's baby bump. Shit, what was the big deal about talking to her belly? He doubted the little larva heard anything yet, though Shera tried to convince him otherwise; he'd never been all that interested in biology after all. Math and science—especially things on space—had been all that had interested him. Sitting back with the men, he noticed Valentine's eyes on Yuffie as she rubbed Shera's stomach like some kind of crystal ball.

"What's with ya, Valentine?" Cid asked him suspiciously.

Vincent turned to him and raised an eyebrow lightly. "Nothing," he said with a small, secretive smile.

Cloud focused his gaze on the gunman as well and raised his eyebrows when Vincent shrugged slightly, the move very much reminding him of Yuffie. "Is there… something we need to know?" he asked, his eyes darting from the ninja to the gunman.

Yuffie, Tifa, and Shera approached them then. Yuffie settled her hands over Vincent's shoulders and smiled at their friends. "I guess this is a good a time as any," she said with a light shrug.

"What is?" Barret asked, looking at them curiously.

Tifa smiled and looked up from four month old Zack, a knowing smile on her face. She nodded at the young ninja and Yuffie let out a deep breath. "Uh… well, Vince and I… we're…"

Vincent was not intimidated by the looks he was getting from Cid and Barret. "Yuffie is pregnant," he said calmly.

"WHAT?!" Both Cid and Barret yelled. Luckily, Tifa had been holding the baby close to her and had shielded Zack's ears from the noise.

"You can't be pregnant, you're just a kid!" yelled Cid. "And what the hell... how come we didn't know that you and the vamp were an item?!"

"Yeah, what he said!" Barret spat. "And you!" he yelled, pointing at Vincent. "You took advantage of her. Are ya at least gonna marry her?"

"Yuffie and I have decided that for now we are happy with our arrangements," Vincent replied, glaring at the other men.

"That's bullshit," muttered Cid when Shera gave him a look. "It ain't right, Sher. The brat is supposed to get married properly…" he trailed off. "When did you even... fuck, I don't wanna know!"

Tifa, Cloud, and Shera wisely kept silent about knowing that Vincent and Yuffie were together. After all, they had all agreed that Cid and Barret knowing about them would be a bad idea. Yuffie shook her head. "I don't want to get married. I just want to be with Vincent, and our baby and I want all our friends to support that. If you don't, maybe Vince and I should leave," she said, grabbing his hand and pulling him a little.

"Well, for what it's worth… congratulations," said Cloud, hoping to alleviate the tension. No such luck, even when Yuffie smiled and nodded.

Cid glared at them before storming out of the bar, leaving Shera to see a rather dejected Yuffie get wrapped up in Vincent's arms. Tifa glared at Barret, and the big man apologized for overreacting because of that single look. "We're just worried 'bout ya," he said, calmer. "You're... together, an' I am happy for ya."

"Thanks." Yuffie managed another smile and moved away from Vincent. "I'm gonna go talk to the old man," she said, her eyes suspiciously watery.

"Are you sure?" Vincent asked her, trying to mask his worry at her getting her feelings hurt.

"Yeah. If we don't settle this now, I don't think we ever will," she said before she was out the door. Yuffie caught up to him outside, as he was lighting up a cigarette. "You're gonna need to put that thing out," she said quietly.

Cid cursed and threw the barely started stick onto the ground, stomping on it with more force than was necessary. "What do ya want?" he snapped.

"What was that back in the bar?" she asked him quietly. "I knew you weren't going to be happy, but can't you at least fake it so that I can be happy?" she asked.

Cid sighed and shook his head. "You wouldn't understand!" he snapped. Yuffie gave him a hurt look and turned to go. Cid cursed even worse than before, realizing that now he had to be considerate with the brat the same way he was with Shera unless he wanted her to end up in tears. He may have been an asshole with anyone else, but he'd always hated making a lady cry. "Wait," he called to her. Yuffie stopped but didn't turn. "I'm sorry."

"I'm listening," Yuffie said.

"It's just that… shit… you're like a kid to me. I still imagine you like the snot-nosed sixteen year old we met back in the forest. Ya know? And… to find out that some man has gone and…" he grimaced. "…deflowered you, it's not something I'm going to be happy about!" Cid finally forced out.

Yuffie sighed and smiled, turning to look at him. "Well, I hope you get happy soon. I want you to be around for my kid too," she said lightly.

Cid nodded and ruffled her hair. "I'm gonna always be here for both of ya, kid."

Yuffie nodded and smiled. "Thanks old man," she said with an evil grin. "Come on and let's get back inside before Shera and Vincent start to think that we killed each other and they rush out here for nothing."

Cid nodded and followed her. He hated being a doormat for pregnant women, but maybe Shera was right and he was a big ol' softy.

…………

"Cid," Shera nearly purred into his ear.

He cracked open an eye tiredly and groaned. "Sher… I'm tired," he said into his pillow.

"I know… but I'm not," she stressed, rubbing his arm suggestively.

"Come on, Shera! You've woken me up the last three nights for this. I'm not as young as I used to be!" he exasperated.

He heard her breath hitch and sighed to himself, knowing that with her hormones she was about to start crying for the next two hours. If he didn't do something quickly, he'd be up far longer than he would've if he had just given her what she was asking for. He turned to face her quickly and kissed her, his tongue sweeping into her mouth.

"Do you still find me attractive?" she asked meekly.

Cid stopped and stared at her. "You'll be the most beautiful woman even when you're ninety," he said before kissing her again.

Shera smiled and nodded, closing her eyes. Really, it wasn't her fault that her hormones were all over the place!

About an hour later, Cid stood out on the backyard porch and smoked in the dark. His eyes were blinking sleepily, but he had needed a smoke and wanted to make sure that Shera was out like a light once he returned to bed. He was dead tired and though he knew that Shera wasn't herself, he was getting frazzled. She had seriously woken him up the last few nights just to ask him for… some love.

He guessed that he should've been happy that she and the brat were healthy, because when he thought of how he could've lost her when she had contracted Geostigma, it made him cherish all that he had with her now even more. The memories of her sick, of the black ooze just consuming her, it brought a tight, painful feeling to his chest. The fact that she was healthy and that she was giving him a child made his love for her rise to unmeasured heights, as unmanly as it sounded. That thought kept him in check when his patience wore thin.

"Cid?"

He cringed slightly when he heard her calling from their bedroom window. "Out here," he said. He stomped out his cig and walked back into the house and to their bedroom.

She was looking at him with big, watery eyes, her lip in a pout. "You don't love me anymore," she said with a rather loud sniff.

Cid threw in a few breath mints and moved back into bed, taking her in his arms. "Of course I love ya. I just need some rest once in a while," he muttered with a faint smile.

"I'm sorry," said Shera, her voice sounding sleepy.

"Don't apologize. You're having a kid, your body is going through different changes and you have a right to act all… weird and shit," he said.

"Okay," said Shera. "But… will you do something for me?"

"Anything if you'll just let me get some shuteye," he muttered, already on the verge of sleep.

Shera smiled and knew she had him.

………

It was hideous. With big, wide eyes, clad in nothing but what looked like a loincloth—which Shera insisted it wasn't—and he was supposed to hold it without the thing falling on its head onto the ground. Cid looked up when a giggle reached his ears and he saw that Shera was watching him closely. "What the fuck am I supposed to be doin'?" he asked with a scowl.

"We're practicing changing the baby's diaper. Come on, Cid. Won't you even help me a little in that department once Sydney is born?" she asked him with a pout.

Cid's eyes narrowed. "Seriously, do ya know something that I don't?" At her confused look, he elaborated. "Is our kid a girl and you haven't told me?"

Shera shrugged slightly. "I haven't wanted to know, but I tell you that I'm fairly certain we're having a girl. Prepare to quit smokin' honey," she said, imitating his voice with her last few words.

He glared at her. "This is some stupid shit, Shera. I don't know why you roped me into comin' to this class. A baby is way different than some plastic, alien lookin' imitation," he muttered, looking around at the class they were standing around in. It made him sick to see the other men participating gladly.

Shera smiled. "But you promised that you'd bring me here! Besides, I'm in the process of convincing Yuffie to come along. So you won't be the only one suffering because I'm sure she'll bring Vincent with her. Isn't it just cute how he can't deny her anything?" asked Shera with a dreamy smile.

"Right," muttered Cid. It was pathetic. And he could say it because he was just as pathetic too.

Shera removed the "dirty" diaper from the plastic baby's behind and had it powdered and in a clean one in record time. Then she proceeded to wrap the thing in something resembling a very neat burrito. Cid was impressed. "How did you learn that shit?"

She gave him a disapproving look at his language and smiled. "I used to baby-sit a lot when I was a teenager. I guess I just remembered how to do it now."

Cid smirked in amusement and stepped back when she offered the "baby" to him, wrapped and ready for a nap. "I'll be willing to help when the real one comes along. I ain't holding that thing you've got there," he muttered.

Shera just sighed and pretended to cradle and rock the baby gently and above her ever growing stomach. "Oh, and Cid?"

"Yeah?"

"I expect you to be present for my baby shower so that you can see every single gift given to our baby," Shera said with a smile.

Cid sighed in irritation. Like he'd said. Pathetic.

………

It was weird seeing the ninja brat with an expanding stomach. He'd gotten used to all the bare middles in the years he had known her. She looked weird wearing a dress. He tried to seem interested for Shera's sake in all the baby stuff the neighborhood women and their old friends had brought in brightly wrapped gifts. The baby shower was in full swing and he had himself a living room filled with hormonal and a few pregnant women. They were all carrying on about the color of this, the style of that, and he just couldn't take all the chattering. It was like a henhouse.

He couldn't tell how Vincent was sitting through it all. He motioned towards the kitchen and the leather clad man said something to Yuffie before stepping away from her chair and towards him. Cloud joined them after making sure that Zack was sleeping peacefully in his stroller, even with all the noise.

"How can ya just sit there and take all the fuckin' noise?" asked Cid once they were in the kitchen and with fresh beers in their hands.

Vincent shrugged. "I've been through worse."

"So have I," said Cloud, leaning against the kitchen counter. "So… you know what you're having yet?"

Cid shook his head. "Shera doesn't wanna know. I don't care, as long as the kid is healthy and normal," he muttered. "You goin' all soft yet, Valentine?" he asked with a smirk.

Vincent just raised an eyebrow at him. "This is… my opportunity to make amends. If a child makes me soft, I would welcome it," he replied.

Cid just smirked and nodded, turning to Cloud. "And you, Strife?"

Cloud sighed. "I like being a father. It's… it gives you a sense of accomplishment that nothing else does. Not even saving the world," he said with a tilt of his lips.

"Shit… you're all a bunch of sissies," he said, walking back out into the living room when he heard chairs scraping and the women beginning to say their goodbyes. Many of the neighbors stayed to help clean away the trash so that Shera wouldn't have to do a thing and before long, the living room was near spotless. Only Tifa, Cloud, Yuffie, Vincent, Marlene, and Denzel remained then.

"You didn't see all of the gifts," Shera said to Cid as he sat next to her.

"Sher, I just wanted you to be the spotlight," he muttered, ignoring the looks he was getting from the other two men.

Shera began to sniffle and he looked at them all in alarm. "You don't care about the baby!" she exclaimed before bursting into the tears.

At the sight of her, Yuffie reacted in much the same way, sniffling and with big fat tears rolling down her face. Vincent glared at Cid and took a seat next to Yuffie, rubbing her back smoothly and trying to get her to calm down. "Why are you such a jerk, Cid?" Yuffie asked him tearfully.

Cid looked at them all in bewilderment. "Well shit! I don't know I'd make ya both cry!" he exclaimed. "All the gifts look great, Sher, I just needed a little break from all the hens of the neighborhood. It wasn't because I don't care about our kid. Shit, I think I'd love her even if she turned out like the brat," he said, hitching a thumb towards Yuffie, who was still sniffling but listening intently too.

Shera stared at him and then smiled, her nose red and her eyes puffy. "You made Yuffie cry," she said, giving the other woman an apologetic look.

Cid looked at the ninja and sighed. "Sorry, brat."

"Fine, you're not such a jerk," Yuffie said with a wink. She smiled brightly and then turned the sunny look to Vincent, who was rubbing her stomach gently.

"How 'bout I go and get ya your favorite ice cream?" Cid asked Shera, kissing her knuckles.

Shera's face brightened and she nodded. "Ooh! You can bring me a pizza and I think we have a can of sardines left in the pantry," she said excitedly.

Cid tried not to gag, since he didn't know if it would set her—and consequently Yuffie—to tears again. "Fine," he said, standing and walking towards the front door.

"Hey, Vince?" asked Yuffie.

"The chili cheese fries?" asked the gunman as he stood. She nodded and squeezed his hand. "Any ice cream?"

"Rocky Road," she said as both men began to walk out the door.

Tifa sat with them and smiled. "Wow. You two have them nice and trained."

Shera giggled and shushed her. "Don't let them hear you though!" she said as she and Yuffie high-fived each other. Cloud just shook his head to himself and was thankful that he had gotten through that phase already.

……

Later that night, Shera was finally sleeping through the nights and was not waking him up nightly to get some lovin' anymore. She had been getting more and more tired and all she wanted to do was sleep. Cid was thankful for more hours of sleep himself, but on that particular night, after looking at the various tiny articles of clothing, it had finally hit him that there really was a tiny person growing inside of Shera's ever expanding stomach.

Smirking, he moved down so that he was eyelevel with Shera's stomach and pressed his ear gently to it, wondering if he would be able to feel anything. Sighing to himself, he decided to do something he'd seen all the doormats that had gone to the birthing classes with them do. "I… don't know if ya can hear me, but I wanna let you know that your ma and I wanna meet you soon," he muttered.

He slid a hand over a small bump and couldn't contain the feeling in his chest. "You'll be daddy's girl, 'cause I know that you're gonna be a girl. You'll be beautiful like your ma, but you'll love flying and space like me. Maybe you will be the first person in space," he said with a wide grin. "It don't matter though. If you go to space, or become a pilot, or even if you stick around on the ground and become someone who does good in the world. I'll love ya with all my rusty, black heart," Cid said quietly.

He looked up to Shera's sleeping face and was happy that she hadn't woken up to hear his sappy words. "Only for you and your ma would I give up my beloved smokes," he muttered, feeling a kick return as a response. Already a smartass and back talker. He was in for a wild ride. Turning off the lights, he laid back against the pillows, his hand still resting on the spot where his daughter had kicked.

In the dark, he missed the knowing smile on Shera's face.

……

Shera hadn't been able to resist and had stubbornly gone to the WRO with Cid for the afternoon. The baby wasn't due for another week, but she and Cid would remain in Edge for the birth and the following month while she recovered. Sitting in a comfortable chair, watching with a smile as Cid worked in his element, she couldn't help but feel happy. She felt heavy, tired, and she was ready to have the baby, but she was happy.

Cid was yelling at someone from the altitude of one of The Shera's engines and she just rolled her eyes and stood with a bit of difficulty to rub at her aching back. "Cid? I'm going to check on—"

"No!" he yelled. "I agreed to let ya come with me with the condition that you wouldn't do any work," he called, glaring at her from a long altitude.

"But I'm bored!" Shera nearly whined.

"Too damn bad!" he called back.

Shera sighed in irritation. She couldn't just sit around and do nothing for another hour! She let out a small gasp when she felt pain in her stomach. She breathed in deep and tried to relax her breathing to figure out if maybe she was having fake contractions. A couple of minutes later, she felt it once more. "Cid?"

"Goddammit Shera, I said no!" Cid yelled before he went back to the solder in his hand.

Shera grit her teeth. "Goddammit Cid, I'm in labor!" she yelled right back.

"What?!" he yelled, nearly falling out of the harness that was keeping him from a plunging death. "Fuck, are you sure?"

"Well captain, if the pain is any indication… yes I'm sure!" she snapped. She waited for Cid to come back down and glared at him. "Do you require any proof?" Shera asked him smartly.

Cid gave her a critical look. "Stop bein' a smartass and let's go," he said, motioning towards a car that Reeve had provided for them. "Hangin' out with the brat isn't a good idea if you're gonna talk back and get all smart with me," he muttered.

Shera just rolled her eyes.

"And don't roll your eyes at me," Cid said.

………

"What's takin' so fucking long?! We've been here for hours," Cid said, pacing and trying to avoid tearing out his hair.

Shera watched him calmly from her seat on the bed and shook her head. "Sit down, Cid. I told you many times before that this is a long process," she replied, leaning back when a contraction moved in on her.

Cid offered his hand and rode it out with her, worry cramping his gut when her face contorted in pain but she made no noise. "Fuck, Shera, you got no idea how proud I am of you at this moment," he muttered.

Shera let out a long breath and leaned back against her pillows, smiling even through the pain. "I think I do," she said with a smile. "You don't have a rusty, black heart at all," she murmured, reaching up to touch his cheek.

Cid flushed red when he realized that he had described himself that way the night he had talked to Shera's stomach. "Shit, why didn't you fuckin' tell me you were awake?" he asked in annoyance. "That was a private conversation!"

She smiled and rubbed her hardened stomach. "Don't feel bad. It has to be one of the sweetest things you've ever said and done," said Shera as she brought his knuckles to her lips.

Cid shook his head incredulously. "What the fuck did I ever do to deserve ya?" he asked, smoothing her sweat matted hair away from her face.

"You're a good man," Shera assured him, holding his blue gaze and admiring just how handsome he truly was, even with his rough exterior. "I ask myself what I did to deserve you," she said with a bright smile. The smile wilted when a contraction hit her again. From then, it all progressed in near slow motion for Cid as he watched the doctor come in and examine Shera until she was well and truly ready. The labor stretched on for hours until he had missed another night of sleep.

He was beyond stressed since it was all nearly one continuous pain for her, but Shera continued to assure him that it meant that the baby was ready to come and that it was a natural process in labor. Still, it looked like it hurt like a bitch and he didn't know whether he'd want her to ever go through it again. Then just as suddenly he found himself standing in a different room, holding Shera's hand as her doctor told her to push, that the baby was… crowning.

"Fuck," he muttered, not being able to avert his gaze as he watched the head coming. "Sher… I think I'm gonna pass out again!" he ground out.

"It's childbirth, captain," she replied with a smile. "Most women consider this a beautiful part of life. And I think I'm one of them."

Cid turned back to see and his eyes nearly bugged out of his head when he saw the baby finally come out completely. "Shit!" he yelled, paling.

"It's a girl!" the doctor said with a wide smile. "She's healthy and beautiful."

Cid couldn't take his eyes off of the red, gooey, screaming thing as the doctor cut the umbilical chord and then swabbed at her mouth. "I'm gonna give up my fuckin' smokes," he said faintly, watching as a nurse set the baby on Shera's chest.

Shera was crying silently, carefully examining what she could of the newborn. She would be blonde, just like her father, she realized. "Isn't she beautiful?" she asked Cid, looking up and into his eyes.

They mirrored the look of adoration in hers, and Cid nodded, swallowing hard. "My girls," he muttered, kissing Shera and then the cleanest spot on his daughter's forehead. "Shit, now I gotta worry about the both of ya curling me around your fingers," he said, grinning widely when he saw the baby open her eyes. He caught a sliver of blue and grinned even more broadly. "I gotta go tell the gang. Yuffie and Tifa were worried," he said to Shera.

"In a little bit." She smiled, tears of happiness squeezing out of her eyes. "I'm sure she'll love the stars and the skies, just like you," she said gently.

Cid nodded and leaned in to kiss her. "Yeah, I'll teach her to fly before she walks," he said with a happy chuckle. His life couldn't be more complete.

…………

"Aww!" Yuffie crowed, squeezing Vincent around the neck and nearly cutting off his air supply.

"Yuffie," Vincent warned.

"Sorry!" she exclaimed, easing up.

"You were saying about going soft?" Reeve asked smartly.

"Meh, she's my princess. I'll make no excuses," Cid muttered, picking up Sydney and throwing her into the air before catching her safely.

"I still say Vince was the one who suffered the most," Yuffie said.

"Are you kidding?" Tifa interrupted. "Cloud had to endure my mood swings and my whole nesting episode."

"Well, Cid had to suffer through all those maternity classes," said Shera thoughtfully.

"So did Vince!" Yuffie exclaimed.

"Why don't we just call it a draw and leave things how they are?" Tifa offered, ever the peaceful one.

"Hey!" yelled Reno. "I had sympathy pains and I wasn't even the father!"

Elena broke into snickers and Tseng just smirked. The women looked at him and then shrugged. "Fine… you win," said Yuffie as they all broke into laughter.

"Why don't we just call it a draw and say that they all suffered their own share in each of our pregnancies?" Shera asked with a smile.

"Alright," Tifa conceded, taking Zack into her arms when he asked to be picked up. "They did suffer in their own ways. Maybe in the future, men getting pregnant would be a good idea," she said with an evil smirk directed towards her husband.

Cloud cringed and shook his head. "I think I'd rather defend the earth one more time," he muttered.

"That's a horrible thing to say!" Tifa said. Cloud just shrugged.

"I'd go through it again, if it brought me another kid that looks like my Sher," said Cid, ignoring Yuffie's expected teasing.

Shera sighed and smiled happily. "I'm glad you think that Cid," she started.

Cid nodded. "Why is it so shocking?"

Shera walked over to kiss his cheek. "It's not. It just makes me happy to know that you'd go through it again, because you will."

"Huh?" he asked unintelligently.

"I'm pregnant," she said with a grin.

"What?!"

"Are you gonna faint again, old man?" Yuffie teased.

"You mean that?" Cid asked, ignoring Yuffie and staring right at his wife.

Shera nodded. "Yes. In about eight months we'll possibly have a baby boy," she said and winked. "I've got a feeling."

Cid hugged her around the shoulders and then kissed her forehead. "Damn it, Sher. You've got no idea how happy I am." He glared at Yuffie. "Not a word from you, brat." He took Shera off to the side and examined her closely. "Are you all right?"

She smiled at the man that she loved with all her heart. It gave her butterflies to her stomach when she saw just how similar Sydney's gaze was to Cid's. "I'm perfect."

Cid chuckled and nodded, placing a hand on her stomach. "We'll be good, Sher, but you gotta promise me one thing." She nodded curiously. "Promise that this'll be the last brat?"

Shera laughed out loud and nodded. "As you wish, captain. Besides, I think I'm done too," she said with a grin. "You'll have your hands full with teaching two kids how to fly, I think."

"Yeah," Cid muttered, wrapping an arm around her neck and pulling her into a rough kiss. "Yeah, I got it all."

Yuffie just smiled and held her son as they all took a shot back—with the exception of Shera, of course—to celebrate the news once Cid relinquished his hold on his wife.

"Hmm… this has been a really enlightening day, but I need to get going," Reeve said as he stood.

"Spoilsport!" Yuffie called.

"Duty calls," he said with a shrug, bidding everyone goodbye and thanking them for a good time. Reno, Rude, Barret, Elmyra, and the children left next, and the couples separated to take walks once they had left their sections clean.

"We must get going as well," Tseng said, standing and holding out his hand to Elena.

Tifa and Yuffie approached them. "It was nice that you guys came out to spend time with us. I'm sure that it's the best way we can work towards peace," said Tifa.

Yuffie nodded. "Don't be strangers. I'm sure Kimi would love it if she could hang out with kids her age."

"Thank you," Elena said with a smile. Tseng nodded and began to guide her away.

Tseng and Elena took a walk down the path that circled the park and then took them back towards the parking where his car was located. Their pace slowed as the sun began to set. "Did you have a good time?" she asked almost hesitantly.

Tseng nodded once. "It was… interesting. I didn't know that pregnancy was such a chaotic time in the lives of a woman and a man."

Elena smiled and nodded. "It's different. It changes a woman's life and body completely," she said calmly.

"I can see that," he commented, eyeing her carefully and slowly from head to toe. Pregnancy had filled her in all the right places and she had never looked as beautiful as she did then.

Elena tried not to blush since it was ridiculous; they were lovers for goodness sake! Though they hadn't exactly figured out where they would go as a couple in the future, that hadn't stopped them from getting to know each other even more intimately. "If there's one thing above others that I can admire about AVALANCHE it's that they always put the safety and health of their children first," she said quietly.

"It will be no different with you and me," Tseng replied, looking down at Kimi, who was still sound asleep in his arms. "It's a new era, Elena. We… don't live in the same world where we grew up. ShinRa isn't destroying the planet, and asking us to get rid of possibly innocent people. Kimi can grow up healthy and without the worries and shadows that we had in our lives," he said seriously.

Elena nodded and smiled. "I want our daughter to be happy."

"As do I," Tseng assured her. He looked at Elena and reached over to tuck a few blonde strands behind her ear. "I want you to be happy as well."

"I think that if you keep being the way you are, I will be."

"It's not enough," Tseng said, stopping her. "I am trying my very best to be a man worthy of you."

His words touched her heart and Elena shook her head. "I admire you for it. As long as you're here for our daughter and me, I can't ask for anything more." She leaned forward and brushed her lips against his. "I know we can be happy with effort and time."

Tseng nodded and allowed a small smile to grace his features. If there was one person who would be able to break through his thick wall of ice, it was Elena, and he knew he was willing to let her get into his heart. She and their daughter meant more to him than his own life, and he was thankful to have them.

"Don't put that in your mouth, Zack."

Tifa smiled as she began to fold up the thick blanket that she had brought from home for the children. "I thought he had grown out of that," she commented.

Cloud watched his son and shook his head. "Do you have any idea how many times I said that to the real Zack? It made me feel like his mom sometimes," he muttered. Zack ran into his arms and hugged him around the neck. Cloud could barely remember his mother, but whenever Tifa and little Zack hugged him, a warm feeling filled his stomach and made him think of her.

Tifa giggled and pulled the grass blades from her son's hand, throwing them a distance away. She kneeled in front of them and met Cloud's eyes, so blue and clear. "Are you happy?"

Instead of replying right away, Cloud leaned forward and kissed her, not minding that Vincent and Yuffie were nearby. Even squeezing Zack between them didn't stop him. "What do you think?" he asked when she drew away a little.

Tifa smiled and to Cloud it looked like the sun rising. "I'm happy too," she said, cupping his cheek gently.

Cloud nodded, leaning his forehead against hers. "You were the only person who kept me going, who let me see that I had a chance to be happy too," he said quietly.

"I don't know what my life would be like if I hadn't had you or Zack in it," she said, smiling when Zack let out an annoyed sound and wrestled himself out of the circle they had created. "I wouldn't be so surprised if he picked up your sword and automatically knew how to use it," she said, watching him walk off as if he were an adult.

Cloud smirked and shook his head. "If we've done things right, he'll never have to know about fighting and hurt," he said quietly, getting to his feet and pulling her with him. "Nor will we allow him to hurt the girl he'll eventually fall in love with," he said, holding her around the waist.

Tifa leaned in to kiss his cheek and smiled when his eyes fluttered closed. "No one is that perfect Cloud. All we can do is raise him to be the best man he can be. If he's anything like you, he'll be a wonderful person."

Cloud just shook his head and couldn't understand how Tifa could love him so much when a part of him still thought that he didn't deserve her. "Stay with me forever?" he murmured against her ear.

"I'll try," Tifa replied, running her fingers through his soft hair. Of course she would try.

"So sappy," Yuffie murmured as she watched their friends having a moment. A quiet grunt came from behind her, but he offered no comment.

Vincent and Yuffie sat in a low tree branch, Rowan, Sydney, and Zack were playing nearby in the grass. "He'll be one gorgeous guy when he grows up," she commented, leaning back against Vincent's chest.

He merely grunted in response. "Do you…" he trailed off.

Yuffie felt his arms tighten around her and turned to look at him. "Don't ever hesitate to tell me anything, Vince," she said with an honest look.

"Do you think it's time to have more?"

"More kids?" Yuffie asked with wide eyes.

Vincent smirked and shook his head. "More in our lives. A deeper relationship," he offered.

"You mean aside from being friends, lovers, living together, and being parents?" Yuffie asked with a mischievous grin. He inclined his head and she shrugged. "I wouldn't mind, but it's not something that I think is required."

"Good," said Vincent, reaching into his pocket and then moving his hand in front of her so that she could see it and open it. She did so and let out a shriek when she saw that it was a beautiful engagement ring, set in silver and with a green stone in the middle, surrounded in diamonds.

"What is that?!" she asked, turning to look at him with wide eyes.

"Some people would call it an engagement ring," he deadpanned.

Yuffie whirled around in his arms and threw herself at him. The next thing she knew, they were falling headfirst down to the ground, and she let out a loud grunt as Vincent righted them at the last moment and they landed on their feet. Really, how could Vincent pull off looking graceful after falling out of a tree?

"Will you marry me?" he asked her with a smile curling at his lips.

Yuffie jumped up and down excitedly, waiting until he had slipped the ring onto her finger before she ran off and gave the three children a huge bear hug. They all toppled to the grass in giggles and Yuffie hugged Rowan tightly to her, kissing his forehead. "I guess I have to say yes to your dad now, huh? He bought a ring after all," she said, giggling more.

"You never did give me your answer," Vincent said calmly.

"Well, yes! Of course!" she said, getting to her feet and dusting off the tots. "I'm getting married!" Yuffie screamed at the top of her lungs.

Vincent just watched her with a smirk and didn't resist when Yuffie brought their son over and they engulfed him in a hug. As his arms circled them, he felt his eyes close in sensation. It was in a man's nature to complain, but even with all the aches and pains he had suffered along with Yuffie, he knew that he wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Dunno how this was for an ending, but I do hope that it was to everyone's liking. It took me a while, but since a couple of people asked me about this final chapter, I finally got the inspiration to write it. I hope I didn't kill Cid or Shera's character and I really went easy on the whole "writing" slang thing, since I just can't do it that much without it giving me a headache. I want to thank those of you who reviewed a thousand years ago and just recently. I appreciate all the support I got for this story, since I don't know that much about pregnancies. I hope everyone has a great week and I will try to update other fics soon. See you all around!

Joey