AN: Final chapter. Thank you so much for all the reviews, and for reading this. I hope you've enjoyed it, I've really enjoyed writing it, and your reviews are so encouraging. If anyone has a pairing they think I should write next, tell me in a note or a review.
The sun had been shining almost constantly for the last month, and the air was so warm it was almost stifling. Reno had been spending his days inside, or playing with the children in the pool, and on one occasion Vincent had been found curled up inside the refrigerator, trying to stay cool. After a few minutes, Reno had managed to tempt him out, and normality had been restored.
Finally, Reno had had enough. He looked around the house, found that the freezer was out of ice cream, and reached a decision.
"Today we're going to the beach." Vincent had looked less than impressed, but the others had thought it was a good idea, the children were very happy, and soon everyone was dressed in their swimming costumes and bundled into the helicopter which Rude had borrowed for the purpose. Vincent sat next to Reno, watching him fly. It had been a long time since he had needed to be in a helicopter, he could fly himself to wherever he wished to go. Yet he could still remember everything, and kept correcting Reno's movements.
"No backseat flying!" Reno muttered, rolling his eyes and smiling at his lover before leaning over to kiss him. Vincent kissed back.
"Reno, the chopper!" Rude called from the background, used to monitoring his friend and ensuring that there wasn't a crash. Reno laughed and moved away from Vincent, continuing to fly. The twins were bouncing in the seats, staring out of the window, but Chiot was curled up against Anna, shivering a little, uncertain about the loud noises and strange sensations inside the machine. Anna was talking to him, trying to reassure him and stop him from worrying. She told a joke and he laughed, relaxing, and was calmer for the rest of the journey..
Reno expertly steered the helicopter down onto the beach. It was a private one, and they had been permitted to use it today by ShinRa. As soon as they parked, the twins clambered out, running off to play on the beach. Chiot watched them, mouth open at the yellow ground. He gasped as he noticed the sparkling blue water. He hadn't seen this much water before, he was used to the bath at home, and the paddling pool, and had occasionally seen the stream in the woods, but he had never seen this much water in one place before. It was breathtaking. He stood up, moving to the door of the helicopter, tail wagging rapidly in excitement.
Reno smiled, getting up and wrapping an arm around Chiot. Chiot looked up at him, grinning.
"Wow, Dad! It's huge, can I go and play please?" Reno smiled, impressed by how much stronger and more confident Chiot had gotten over the last few weeks. He hugged him tighter, and nodded, then let him go. Chiot beamed, grabbing Anna's hand, and the two of them ran out. Chiot giggled a little at the strange feeling of sand under his feet.
Reno picked up and set up an umbrella, then managed to pry Vincent from the helicopter. He kissed him gently to reassure him, and lay down a towel for Vincent to sit on in the shade. He sat beside him, kissing and cuddling against him. Vincent smiled slightly, glad that Reno had thought of everything, and kissed his cheek.
"You really are perfect Reno." Reno laughed, noticing the way Tai was busy burying Sai within a deep pile of sand. Vincent nuzzled against him, also smiling, then looked up into Reno's eyes. "Reno, I know you want to go and play." He raised a hand to shoo him away.
Reno nodded, kissing his cheek and then running off to make sandcastles. He had found a bucket and spade, and sat by Chiot, showing him how to smooth the wet sand, and turn it over to produce the sand castle. Chiot copied him, while Anna skipped among the waves, collecting shells and pebbles to add and make the castle prettier. Chiot helped her apply the shells, smiling at her.
"Thank you Anna."
Vincent watched from under his umbrella, safe from the heat of the sun. He watched the other three, feeling proud. It was four days until the year's anniversary of their first meeting, and in that time the boy had grown from a cowed and frightened creature into a confident and happy child. Someone he could be pleased to call his son. He hoped that the success he had had with this boy meant that in some way he had begun to atone from the sins of his past. When he looked at that boy's smile, he felt in his heart that he had.
"Hey, Chiot, do you wanna go into the waves?" Reno grinned, picking him up. Chiot nodded. "Anna, why don't you go and play with Vincent? I think he's a bit lonely, but you'll look after him right?" Anna nodded and giggled, running back to Vincent. Vincent blinked, wrapping his arms around her. She patted his hair in an attempt to make him happy, and he smiled obligingly.
Reno held Chiot to his chest, carrying him up to the edge of the shore.
"Okay, it's a bit cold, but it's fun." Chiot nodded, holding his hand and walking with him out into the waves. He gasped a little at the first touch of the waves, but he tried not to yelp at the cold, and then giggled, jumping up as the next wave approached. Reno grinned, holding his hand and jumping with him. The two of them slowly moved deeper, jumping until the water reached their knees. Then Reno picked the boy up, lifting him.
Chiot squealed, head thrown back happily. He giggled, holding onto Reno's arms.
"Dad! This is great!"
"Yeh…." Reno nodded, bouncing a little, before skipping over another wave. Chiot clapped, squealing as he jumped up. "Glad you could come today kid." They were lucky to have each other, they knew that.
Vincent watched the two of them, smiling at the way Reno had managed to make a game of the sea. That was so typical of Reno. He raised his hand, waving at the two of them, and Anna copied him, rapidly waving at her friend
Chiot noticed first, and tugged on Reno's arm. Having got his father's attention, he pointed at Vincent.
"Look Dad, he's waving at us." Reno picked him up, and lifted him onto his shoulder. The two of them waved rapidly back at Vincent, Reno still laughing and skipping over the breaking waves.