The babies hadn't left the apartment at all since they'd been brought home from the lab. They'd been outside here and there, toted along for a sit down by the pool if they were being too noisy while their brothers were trying to sleep. It wasn't important from them to have too much outside stimuli yet, and frankly Cloud was happy to put it off as long as possible.
But they had an appointment at the lab, and Aerith insisted they be brought in for a more formal evaluation than a house call could permit.
Sephiroth was greeting the stressful challenge with as much fury and attitude as possible. Even just strapping them into their car seats for the first time was a huge ordeal for the General.
Luckily for Cloud, Sephiroth was taking his anxiety out on the mannies. "What the hell are you doing?"
The manny in question was Rob, a graying second class SOLDIER who was a father of two and a grandfather of three. He paused in mid-action to answer his superior's question, "Well, I'm strapping James here into his car seat."
"His name is Jamie, and he doesn't have a coat on, yet!" Sephiroth spat at him, reaching past to hastily unbuckle the baby. "It's autumn! There's wind! It's practically snowing outside!"
Bob patted Sephiroth's shoulder, "The jumper he's got on is fine, General. I'm going to buckle them in and then cover them up with a warm blanket... so they'll be covered entirely and it won't be a lot of hassle to undress them for the check-up."
"Oh," Sephiroth's expression softened.
He might not have risen to the military ranks that Sephiroth occupied, but Bob was far wiser in the arts of being a dad. "Trust me, the last thing you wanna put on a newborn is outer wear. Blankets are a lot easier than tugging eight little flailing arms through sleeves."
Cloud seemed a tiny bit put out by this practical advice. "Aww. The jackets are so cute, though."
"Put them on some other time and take a picture," was all Bob had to say about it, and continued strapping Jamie in without one.
Manny Jude was coming along for the trip to the lab, and was in charge of packing the baby bag. "You think eight diapers will be enough for the trip?"
"I hope..." Cloud sighed, gently struggling against Zacky while he squirmed feebly against being buckled into the car seat. The baby didn't seem to like wearing clothes, and any further restraint was unwelcome. Cloud laughed a little at the scrunched displeased expression his son made, and covered him up in a wool blanket, to which the baby used his tail to push against it.
Eventually the rest of the babies were buckled into the seats, tucked under heavy blankets and a pacifier in their mouths to occupy them. The bag was packed with enough diapers, extra clothes, powder and formula to survive a sudden apocalypse. Each man took a car seat and they left the apartment for the outside world.
The baby seats included a cradle that stayed permanently in the car via the seatbelts, and a locking baby carrier. But figuring out how the cradle actually secured via a seatbelt was also a huge challenge for the new dads. Jude didn't have much experience on the subject to offer any real advice, and Bob was accustomed to a far older, simpler version of car seats without all the bells and whistles.
The four SOLDIERs couldn't figure out how they worked, so Cloud had to run back up into the apartment for a manual. He then proceeded to loudly bicker with Sephiroth over how to lock them in place.
"It says to move the seatbelt diagonally through the blue strap!" Cloud kept repeating.
"What the fuck does it look like I'm doing?" Sephiroth kept demanding.
Meanwhile, the mannies stayed as far away as possible with the four babies, who seemed in no better mood than their dads. But with a little team work, two seats were secure in the backseat of Sephiroth's truck, and two in the back of Jude's sedan.
The situation revealed the fact that they needed a bigger car. Sephiroth's truck and Cloud motorcycle wouldn't do with four babies. They needed something more family friendly... but definitely not a minivan.
Despite the drama, they made it to the lab on time for their appointment. The mannies bid the family farewell and busied themselves with their own duties at HQ to give them privacy, and to get the hell away from Sephiroth's foul mood. Sephiroth was grateful for the exodus, if only for the fact that Aerith or Cloud might accidently say something that incriminated his male body of being able to fucking bear mutant children.
"There are my favorite boys!" Aerith cooed, practically skipping towards Sephiroth and Cloud when they entered her office.
"Hi Aerith!" Cloud greeted.
She definitely wasn't so excited to see Cloud in particular, and immediately snatched one of the baby carriers from him. "Which one is this? Ohhh, hello Lucas!"
Cloud smiled and set the other carrier on a seat near the examination table, "I must be getting out of shape. Carrying two of these is killing my arms!"
She wasn't listening, and had uncovered Lucas to unbuckle him from the seat. She scooped the baby up and pressed her cheek against the wispy silver fuzz starting to cover his bald head. "Did you get here alright? Any trouble?"
Sephiroth set the occupied carriers securely on her countertop. "I can move troops without even trying, but getting these four little fuckers to HQ was nearly impossible."
Cloud shot him a dangerous look. "Well if you hadn't gotten impatient and broken off that plastic thingy we needed to get the car seat - "
"Shove it," Sephiroth cut him off. He then turned to Aerith. "We're taking up the manny's time too, so let's get this over with. I don't like my kids being here."
"Alright. Lucas is first, then!" She popped a kiss to the little boy's full, round cheek and set him on a cushioned, colorful countertop cover.
She checked the little boy head to toe for any signs of abnormality. Lucas didn't seem to like all the contact and attention, and mostly shoved his tail in his mouth to comfort himself as much as possible. When Aerith pulled it out to check his throat and gums, he let out a shrill wail that only served to speed up the process. Once the tail was reinserted, Lucas was quiet again.
"Alright, here's the tough part." Aerith drummed her fingers on the table. "I need to get him his shots... I'm worried that if he cries, he's going to scare the others... so how about we save the shots for last and do all the boys at once?"
"Shots," Cloud said dreamily. "I could really go for a few lemon drop shots right about now."
And so Aerith continued examining each boy in turn. Eventually while examining Zacky she broached an uncomfortable topic. "Um... we never really discussed circumcision - "
"No!" Sephiroth and Cloud cried in unison. They made eye contact with one another and smiled, and it seemed as though a bit of the stressful tension in the room dissolved.
She grinned as she put Zacky's diaper back on. "I think that's the first time I've heard you two agree on anything."
While it was Tommy's turn, Cloud watched the way she snapped her fingers around the baby's head, trying to gauge his reactions. "I read that they can't really see much at this age."
Aerith shined a light near Tommy's bright green eyes, "I'm guessing they can't see details, normal babies only see shapes, shadows and figures. They're reacting to light and sound normally... there's just no real way to be sure. Their eyes are feline, so there's really no telling how developed they are at 2 months... All this is going in my second book."
"This is all going in my baby book!" Cloud agreed, turning to the diaper bag to retrieve his coveted memento scrapbook. "Can we make little footy prints? I wanna compare them to when they were born!"
"Good idea! Can you scan them and send them to me? Actually, scan the whole book and send it to me."
"Sure!" Cloud giggled.
"I'm assuming our children are receiving confidentiality?" Sephiroth interjected. He didn't mind that Aerith was using their children for cornerstone research, but didn't really want their names associated with a book about butt babies.
"No names, no photographs!" Aerith promised. "I'm referring to them as the Doobie Brothers."
"That joke's never going to get old with you, is it?" Sephiroth griped.
After a little play time in the print powder, Cloud marveled at the difference two months made. The newborn hatchling footprints barely registered as human since they were so tiny, but at two months they were normal, chunky baby footprints. Their weights were normal as well, all four boys were a few ounces give or take from nine pounds.
But then the fun was over when Aerith finally announced, "It's time for the shots. You gave them the baby Tylenol this morning, right?"
"Yeah..." Cloud nodded, kissing Jamie on the forehead before laying him on her soft countertop cover. "Let's get it over with."
"What are the shots, exactly?" Sephiroth questioned.
"Immunizations that normal children get. I don't know if they need it or not... but it's standard, and the records are necessary for them to attend preschool. Plus, I think it might be beneficial for them to be put on a mako regimen - "
Sephiroth made an incredulous noise. "You know what I'm going to say to that, so why even bring it up?"
"Well, they come straight from you, Sephiroth... you're the most heavily engineered SOLDIER in the army. They were born with an element that they're no longer getting..." Aerith gently gestured to Jamie. "He can't speak for himself yet, we don't know how he's feeling. He doesn't seem to be uncomfortable, so if he went through a withdrawal it's long over. But putting them on a small dosage will help gauge how -"
"No," Sephiroth decided. "This is too close to experimentation. I won't have it."
Cloud touched his arm, "I don't think a tiny dosage will hurt. If nothing else... it'll just make them healthier. Mako is good for everybody."
"You really wanna risk mako poisoning your sons? Because I don't. They're not SOLDIERs, they're two fucking months old. I don't think they need enhancement."
"It's not about enhancement. I think giving them a tiny amount weekly will benefit them. If I don't see any change during their check up next month, we'll just wean them off of it and forget it. And I'm not recommending this to get them into the lab more often, it can be a small shot you administer at home."
"Fucking doctors. You people are all the same," Sephiroth muttered irritably. "Fine, do it. I don't have a say in anything having to do with these kids, anyways. The two of you just do what you want."
"Seph, I know how you feel when you've gone too long without mako therapy..." Cloud told him gently. "I would hate for the boys to feel like shit and not know why or be able to tell us..."
"I already said to go ahead with it. Let's do the shots so we can get them out of here... before this bitch talks you into something crazier."
Aerith let the comment slide, and went into her cooler to retrieve the vaccinations. She brought out several needles on a tray and set them next to the baby.
The syringes were almost as long as Jamie's entire leg. Cloud's eyes went round and wide. "Don't you have a baby-sized needle?!"
"It's okay," Aerith assured him, and prepped the syringes for four sets of hasty injections. She then picked Jamie up and passed him to Sephiroth. "Will you hold him while I do it? Make sure he doesn't squirm too much."
Sephiroth did as she asked. Cloud chewed on his thumbnail, watching with wide eyes as the first needle sank into Jamie's stubby little thigh. The baby whimpered as it was pulled out, but when Aerith came back for the second one, he began to wail in earnest. Sephiroth held his leg still however, allowing Aerith to finish the injection without dragging the needle around in his skin and making the pain worse. It was a clean process, only a tiny droplet of blood left behind after she pulled it away.
"I'm gonna be sick!" Cloud cried, reacting almost as badly as the baby was.
Sephiroth tried not to think about it, but couldn't help wondering if the lab had showed him this sort of care when he was Jamie's size. He knew for damn sure they didn't care when he was old enough to retain memories. It wasn't as though they got off on causing him pain. But if it happened, it happened. No baby Tylenol to ease his aches, no caring hands to hold him still against his natural instinct to fight against shots, or electrical charges, or survival tests, or impromptu operations.
The medical lab violated his body every day of his childhood. While Jamie and the others would never remember this brief round of shots, Sephiroth vowed to protect them from that kind of physical trauma.
"Don't give him mako," Sephiroth heard himself say over the sound of Jamie's screeching.
Aerith was already poised with the syringe, a very tiny amount still making the entire thing glow and pulse with soft light. "Are you sure?"
Cloud touched the small of Sephiroth's back. "I agree, no more shots."
"You're not going to give me shit and argue with me?" Sephiroth prodded.
"I trust you," Cloud told him, rubbing up his back a few times before kissing the top of Jamie's head.
"Jamie's done with his shots, then. Who's next?"
While they'd discovered many of the joys of being fathers already, doing everything four times over was a serious drawback. Each boy had to be held still against the shots, and soon the office was echoed with a chorus of hellish agony. The sound broke both fathers' hearts, and they kissed and cuddled the babies as best they could.
Tommy was the last one to be done, and Cloud rocked him gently in an effort to soothe his crying while he dug around in the diaper bag for formula. "Can I heat some of this up? Bottles will help put them to sleep."
Aerith was sitting on her desk with Lucas and trying to shush him. "Good idea! There's a burner under the sink and some big flasks."
Sephiroth was slouched down low in Aerith's rolling desk chair with both arms full of Jamie and Zacky, both babies hysterical beyond consolation. "Fucking hurry. Jamie is losing his mind."
While Cloud balanced setting up the burner and gently bouncing the very fussy and irritated Tommy, he broached another topic of conversation. "Hey Aerith? I wanted to talk to you about something really weird that happened to us the other night. I - "
"Whoah!" Sephiroth interrupted, "I thought we were gonna wait to talk about this when the kids aren't here."
"This experience is giving me a very real incentive to get this out in the open!" Cloud insisted as he began mixing formula.
Aerith glanced between Sephiroth and Cloud, waiting for either to elaborate. "What?"
"We were being intimate the other night..." Cloud nervously continued, "... And something very strange came over me. I tried to... fertilize Sephiroth again."
If she had been standing, Aerith would have very likely dropped the baby she was holding. "What? Why would you do that?"
"Jenova," Sephiroth stated, as though that explained everything.
Aerith's jaw kept dropping as she processed this information over and over. "So... Jenova... you allowed him to... I thought you two were going to use condoms!"
Cloud was bright red, "We did! But I wasn't really in control of my body, something came over me and it made sense to... take the condom off."
Aerith gasped, "So did you?..."
Cloud buried his face in the top of Tommy's silver head and nodded in shame. "Yes!"
Sephiroth gave a bored sigh, "I'm not fertilized."
"So make me understand this. You were making love, and just... decided to remove the condom? Because... why?"
Cloud shrugged remorsefully. "I don't know. It just... made sense. It was as if I was drunk."
Aerith snapped her head in Sephiroth's direction. "And you let him!?"
"Sure," Sephiroth affirmed as though it was no big deal.
"When exactly did this happen?" Aerith asked.
"Night before last," Sephiroth answered.
"Oh thank God!" She cried, holding the baby secure against her chest as she grabbed her phone and began to jab at the numbers. "I can give you a Plan B prescription, just in case fertilization did occur! Better safe than sorry... and if Jenova does this again you'll have some at the house!"
Sephiroth huffed, "It probably won't work. But sure."
Once Aerith called in a hasty prescription, she hung up with a gasp of disbelief. "I've never heard of Jenova cells influencing anybody but... Sephiroth or his clones. This is major."
"She considers him one of her own, now," Sephiroth said, bouncing the babies gently.
"What the hell did she say to you in the reactor?" Aerith demanded to know.
"None of your business!" Sephiroth growled. "You know what you need to know."
Cloud had an opening to continue on to his point. "So since it's obvious that Jenova has some amount of control over me... maybe it's a good idea to have a vasectomy? For real."
"You're only nineteen," Aerith remarked sadly.
"And I'm already a father of four," Cloud reminded her. "I really don't need to add to the litter."
Sephiroth let out a long sigh. "It's probably the only real option we have... I can't imagine a scenario where we'd need them, but we could freeze some of Cloud's semen right?"
"If we do it, Cloud... think you can keep it in your pants long enough to make sure it works?" Aerith laughed. "Sometimes you still release sperm after the snip, it takes a couple weeks to tell."
Cloud was thoroughly embarrassed to be spoken to this way. "Yes, ma'am!"
"We'll schedule you for it as soon as possible."
Cloud was using tongs to shake formula around in the flask as it warmed. "When's the soonest you can take a day off work, Seph?"
Despite his blush, Cloud was resolute as he agreed. "Sounds good to me... this needs to be done right away. And... once that's taken care of, there's also something else you and Sephiroth need to do..."
Aerith didn't even bother trying to guess. "What now?"
"I want to take our girl's remains to Nibelheim," Sephiroth told her. "And I need to talk to my mother about boundaries."
"Do you think she'll even listen?" Aerith wondered.
"Well... we can take a trip out there sometime next week?"
"How about the day after tomorrow?" Sephiroth suggested, as he wasn't in the mood to fuck around.
She blinked her eyes in disbelief, but nodded. "... Okay... I guess I can move some things around and free up the day."
Cloud grunted. "I know I can't go with you guys, but I cannot believe this is going to be your second trip to my hometown without me."
"Next time it'll be all about you and the boys," Sephiroth promised him. "When they're a little older we'll take them out to meet their grandmother."
Cloud stopped shaking the flask. "You'd really want to do that?... I haven't talked to my mom in years..."
"Oh." Sephiroth blinked. "I was talking about my mom. But they should meet yours too, of course."
Cloud and Aerith exchanged an uncomfortable glance. There was an unspoken understanding that Sephiroth was a stark raving lunatic when it came to a handful of topics, and the disfigured alien garbage that referred to itself as his mother topped that list.
Aerith laughed nervously, "I must say, you two have made my life very interesting."
Once the formula was nice and warm, the boys were fed until they stopped crying and fell into an exhausted, traumatized sleep. The next time they awoke, they were safe and sound at home, and the awful shots were long forgotten.
When Cloud entered the apartment the following afternoon, he was walking very slowly and carefully, as though he had a massive plug up his ass.
Sephiroth was in the kitchen giving the boys their lunch. He had dismissed the daily manny and had taken care of the babies all morning on his own. Even though he'd only worked a few days since his leave, he still seized the opportunity to spend the morning with them.
The novelty of being alone with four demanding babies soon wore off. He'd been relieved to hear Cloud return home, and was about to call out to him when Cloud slowly passed the kitchen without a word.
Jamie seemed done with his current bottle, so Sephiroth tucked the baby into his high chair and hesitantly followed Cloud towards the bedroom. "So what happened?..."
Cloud didn't turn around, and continued his slow, careful trod.
"Cloud, stop. Are you okay?"
"Can't," Cloud rasped. "Can't stop. Gotta make it to the bed before I stop."
"Let me help you - "
"Don't touch me!" Cloud squeaked. "Just... don't."
Sephiroth anxiously followed him into the bedroom, where Cloud very slowly pushed all of their pillows to the center of the bed. He then gently crawled on top of them, then rolled over onto his back with a meandering whimper.
Once he'd settled, Cloud eyed his shoes and pants wearily. "Can you help me?"
Sephiroth immediately went about untying Cloud sneakers and dropped them on the floor. Very tenderly he unzipped Cloud's jeans and pulled them down his legs, stopping whenever Cloud hissed in pain.
"What are you wearing?" Sephiroth asked, referring to the odd bulge in Cloud's boxer briefs.
"A jockstrap underneath my undies," Cloud answered, his eyebrows knitted in discomfort as he shifted around on the mound of pillows.
"Want me to take your jacket and shirt off?"
"It's the least of my worries," Cloud sighed, looking quite odd on the mountain of pillows in an oversized hoodie and his underwear.
"Are you in serious pain right now?" he asked, coming closer to help adjust the pillows.
"Seph... you shat five huge eggs in front of me," Cloud grunted and hissed again as he came to rest. "I'm fine compared to that."
"Did she Cure you?"
"Yeah. But it's still so sore." Cloud opened his eyes and gazed up at Sephiroth. "She drove me home and I... couldn't sit on the passenger seat. I had to stay on all fours in the backseat."
Sephiroth tried not to laugh, but failed. "Sounds like you had a fun morning."
"It was humiliating," Cloud grunted, shutting his eyes again.
There was a small cry from the kitchen, and Sephiroth smoothed Cloud's hair out of his face. "I'll bring them in here. Would that cheer you up?"
Cloud nodded with a wide smile. "I missed them this morning."
Sephiroth made two trips, tucking the boys on the bed beside Cloud. They weren't big enough to roll anywhere, but he created a little nest out of a few spare blankets to ensure that they couldn't even if they tried.
They were a little drooly and sticky from their lunch, but ready for a nap on their dad's cozy bed. Lucas was a little unhappy however, so Sephiroth scooped him up and laid him on his tummy against Cloud's chest.
Once the boys were settled in, Sephiroth propped his head on his elbow and smiled at Cloud. "So tell me what happened."
Cloud let out a long sigh, kissing the top of Jaime's fuzzy head. "... First of all, Aerith made me jerk off."
There was a sputter from Sephiroth. "I assume she had you go in a different room for that?"
"Of course!" Cloud squawked. "I told her I really didn't need to freeze a semen sample but she insisted. She even gave me lube and dirty magazines."
"GQ and Men's Health."
Sephiroth chuckled. "Did they help?"
Cloud made a casual humming sound. "Uh... Well, Hugh Jackman was in Men's Health, so there was that."
"How long did it take you?"
"About... three minutes."
Cloud wrinkled his nose. "Anyways! After I gave her a sample... Aerith shaved my balls."
Sephiroth let out a booming laugh, and attempted to stifle it to no avail. It roused the babies however, and he stroked the tops of their heads to get them to settle back down, "Why didn't she just tell you to shave them beforehand?"
"She's insane..." Cloud grumbled, staring up at the ceiling in misery. "She said she prefers to do the surgical prep herself... so after she shaved my fucking balls, she put me on some laughing gas..."
"Do you remember anything from the surgery itself?" Sephiroth asked morbidly.
"Not really... it only took a few minutes. She Cured me before she took me off the gas... it is totally sore, though. I was too afraid to look... " Cloud lifted his head to peer down at himself over Lucas. "Will you look at it? Tell me if it looks okay?..."
Sephiroth didn't particularly want to, but didn't show any discomfort or disgust on his face as he gently nudged Cloud's underwear down his thighs. He then peeked inside his jockstrap and didn't see anything out of the ordinary. "It looks fine."
"My balls, though. Check out my balls," Cloud urged.
Sephiroth couldn't help but laugh again, and then pulled the strap down lower to get a better look at them. What he discovered sent a whole new shock of laughter echoing through the room. "They're bald, and there's a Hello Kitty band-aid on your gooch."
Cloud joined in on the laughter, shaking Lucas awake. "Please don't ever say 'gooch' to me again!"
Sephiroth readjusted Cloud's jockstrap and pulled his underwear back up. "You'll be fine, champ. Thanks for going through it."
"You're welcome," Cloud replied, and let his head drop onto the pillows. "... But I didn't do it for you. This was completely necessary for me."
"Fair enough," He said, giving Cloud's thigh an affectionate rub before settling back on the bed beside the drowsy babies, who seemed a little irritated with their parents' loud conversation. "So what do you have to do now?"
"I have some medicine to take for a couple days, and I can take off the jockstrap when the pills run out. No sexual activity for a week... and once I have about twenty ejaculations, I need to call her to test my junk and make sure it's semen-free."
"Twenty ejaculations, huh? ... We should work hard to bust that out as soon as possible," Sephiroth flirted.
"You're not invited," Cloud replied. "I'm gonna be doing it all by myself, without any help from you or Jenova."
"... Ouch," Sephiroth responded after a moment of shock.
Cloud looked over at him, his mouth a tense line. "... Did that sound mean?"
He reached out to touch Sephiroth's face. "Sorry honey... when you talk to her, just... make sure she knows she's not welcome here."
"I'll fix it," Sephiroth told him, leaning over the boys to give him a kiss. "I'm gonna put them to bed. Put some earplugs in and sleep for a while."
Cloud craned his neck up to steal another kiss from Sephiroth as he took Lucas. "Thank you."
"Alright," Sephiroth said, entering Jenova's chamber and closing it behind him, much to Aerith's protests. This conversation needed to be completely private and off the record. "What the hell are you thinking?"
'What?' Jenova asked innocently.
Sephiroth had enough time to think about this situation on the helicopter ride to get really fucking angry. The fact that Cloud had to go through a painful procedure and subsequent recovery process, the fact that he was uncomfortable about their sex life now, and the fact that his mother had lied to him about having a daughter was beyond traiterous. He'd agreed to help colonize the planet with thier cells, but didn't agree to have his sexual freedom stripped away.
Sephiroth wasn't shy about displaying his anger in front of his alien mother. "You know damn fucking well what. Don't you ever get involved with Cloud like that again, ever!"
'What are you so upset about?'
"You tricked me," Sephiroth realized. "You set me up. You did this on purpose."
'If you're referring to the incident with your human boy, I did not have anything to do with that. I have no control over him, he is not of me.'
"Then how the hell did that happen?"
'Your daughter did it. She's ready to be born, now.'
Sephiroth's anger was amplified by grief. "Please don't make me ask the right questions to get the right answers. Just tell me why she wasn't born like you said she would be. What did I do wrong?"
'Your sons were too strong,' Jenova explained. 'She couldn't survive the first litter. She'll be born in the next one.'
"I'm not having another litter," Sephiroth seethed in rage, but carefully took the tiny tube full of misshapen remains from his bag. He set the little container down on a ledge by his mother, securing his unborn daughter a place to rest. He looked at the little mass of mutated cells... a tiny cluster of veins clutched by a pink tentacle. She looked just like her grandma.
"We never die, you know that..." Jenova seemed bemused, 'And you can multiply many more times. You are capable of producing dozens more offspring.'
"Four is all," Sephiroth told her. "That's all."
'At least give your daughter a chance. Just once more?'
'Please?' A tiny voice called. 'Please, daddy?'
"Don't do this to me," Sephiroth begged, closing his eyes.
'I can bring more sisters and brothers."
"You two are cruel," Sephiroth said, and left the chamber. He closed the door behind him, locked it, and left the reactor without looking at Aerith. He stormed down the metal steps, clanking hard with each enraged footfall.
Aerith followed him outside with her tape recorder poised. "Well? What happened?"
"This place is a morgue. Let's never come back here again," Sephiroth hissed.
"Let's talk about this! Wanna go get some cherry pie from that cafe, again?"
"I'm on a diet," Sephiroth said, climbing back up into the helicopter.
"Daddy?" Tommy called softly, obviously in need of Cloud's help with his buttons.
Cloud was busy trying to disentangle Zacky's little fingers from Jamie's buttons, as he was having a great time undoing all of his brother's work. Cloud took one of Zacky's hands and slapped it sternly, to which the little blonde brat threw back his head and wailed.
Tommy moved softly over to Lucas, motioning to his buttons. "Can you help?"
"I can do mine!" Lucas declared petulantly, every ounce of three-year-old brattiness on display. "Why can't you do yours?"
"He's at the shallow end of the jeans pool!" Zacky hollered, obviously over his disciplinary angst.
"Where did you hear that?" Cloud clucked, scooping him off the floor.
"Uncle Zack!" Zacky gushed over his patron saint.
The constant commotion that was the boys' bedroom didn't stop or slow for one moment, and Tommy's problem was forgotten as soon as it was mentioned.
Sephiroth touched Tommy by the shoulder. He sat on his son's tiny bed and pulled the boy to stand between his legs. He manually turned him around and began to slowly do his pajama buttons for him. "You have to reverse your hands from what Daddy shows you."
"Reserve it?" Tommy asked, watching intently.
"Reverse it," Sephiroth corrected. "Turn it around. The way Daddy does it is different from the way we have to do it."
"We?" Tommy questioned softly.
Sephiroth took Tommy's tiny hands in his own. "Let's say your right hand gets into a big fight with your left hand. Who would win?"
"This hand?" Tommy hesitantly guessed, lifting his left one, although Sephiroth knew he knew that it was the correct answer from performing even the simplest of tasks as a lefty.
"It would win because it's stronger. Daddy and your brothers are different, their right hands are stronger. But you and me are just alike."
"We are," Tommy nodded. Sephiroth peered down and looked at his son's face. Out of all of the mutants, he favored Sephiroth the most. Favor was a drastic understatement, however. If he were Tommy, he would have elbowed himself right in the 'nads for creating an exact replica
But with pure naivety, love, and trust, Tommy was for some reason happy about being just like his dad.
Sephiroth left a few buttons undone and Tommy turned around to clumsily complete them. After the last button, Tommy looked up for some sort of approval, and Sephiroth nodded. "Good. It'll get easier as you go."
Tommy touched the buttons that Sephiroth had done for him, some sort of emotion creeping into his rounded, neon green eyes. Before Sephiroth could wonder what was wrong, Tommy's little arms were locked around his waist.
"Sorry, Dad. Sorry!"
Sephiroth bent down low to return the embrace around the little boy, very confused. "What for?"
Out of the four of his sons, Tommy looked the most like him, yet interacted the least with him. He was the shy child of the litter. He seemed more content to be in Cloud's lap, often lacking the confidence to even raise his fiercely glowing green eyes to meet Sephiroth's. He didn't ignore Tommy per say, but at that moment he was ashamed of how unfamiliar his tiny, fragile body felt in his arms.
He leaned back to look down at him, and the little face turned up. Quiet, emotional Tommy stuttered hesitantly before making a confession : "This morning, before you went to work? Remember when Daddy said we could have pop tarts for breakfast, but then you said we couldn't have pop tarts for breakfast, so then Daddy gave us oatmeal instead? After you left, I said you were mean. You're not mean, Dad! I'm sorry I said that!"
Sephiroth was stricken speechless for a moment as his heart swelled with love for the little boy. Tommy wilted a little against him, misinterpreting the expression on his father's face and obviously preparing for some sort of punishment or strict words.
Instead, Sephiroth smiled. "I am mean, though."
Tommy released a gasping smile of relief, but then shook his head violently. "Nuh uh!"
"Yeah, I am. You see, it's very mean of me to do this."
Sephiroth forced his wiggling thumbs into Tommy's armpits. For a moment, he thought he'd hit a dud of a tickle spot, but really, his identical son was in complete shock. Once it hit him what was happening, he let out a scream that could have woken the dead.
Tommy quickly became hysterical, but Sephiroth refused to release him. Instead, he swept an arm under his knees and rolled him up into his arms, planting a rough kiss on his forehead. "Next time you want pop tarts and I'm being mean, just say, 'Hey asshole, let us have pop tarts.'"
Lucas was only too happy to oblige, and ran over to shout, "Hey asshole! Let us have pop tarts!"
"Nobody's talking to you," Sephiroth growled, gently knocking the white-haired child over with a socked foot, sending him rolling back over to Cloud. He turned his attention back to Tommy, who was happy but obviously nervous in his more unpredictable father's arms. Sephiroth grinned at his little reflection. "… Next time you're craving pop tarts, what are you gonna say?"
Tommy giggled and shook his head violently.
Sephiroth winced a little. "You know Cloud, I was never really convinced that this one was ours. You think maybe this is someone else's who got mixed in? Should we give him back to the lab?"
"Noooo!" Tommy squealed. The boys hated going to the lab.
"Tell me what you'll say when you want pop tarts, or I'm throwing you out of my house right now."
Tommy was giggling so severely he could barely complete the sentence. "Hey… asshole! Let us have pop tarts!"
"Alright then," Sephiroth nodded, pleased. He dropped Tommy roughly onto the bed, ensuring a few bounces. "Tell Daddy to give them to you tomorrow, just like that. And remind me too, in case I'm grumpy. Which I probably will be."
Tommy nodded happily, and began wiggling under his covers. The other three-year-olds in the room seemed extremely pleased with this news as well. Once Tommy was settled, Sephiroth carefully tucked him in as he'd seen Cloud do nightly, usually when he himself was busy slapping Zacky around or smothering Jamie with pillows.
"Night," Tommy said, his smile small and shy. "I love you."
"I love you, too," Sephiroth said.
"Love you!" Zacky mocked.
"Hey. I love you, too," Sephiroth told him seriously, to which the rambunctious little blonde smiled and shoved his face into his pillow.
"I love you, too, Dad!" Jamie called, kicking his feet under the blanket.
"I love you, too," Sephiroth called out.
"Guess what Dad? I don't love you," Lucas declared snobbishly.
"Well I don't love you either," Sephiroth snorted.
The white haired boy then raised both arms to protest. "I'm just kidding! I really, really love you!"
"I really love you too, Luke," Sephiroth leaned down and kissed him.
"I love you guys, too!" Cloud called, slowly closing the door. "Go to sleep."
The boys then sweetly proclaimed their love for Cloud in turn, then began verbalizing their love for one another. Sephiroth and Cloud both waited by the door, listening to their children talk with almost morbid curiosity. Creatures made entirely of their genes were communicating. What could they possibly have to say to one another?
When Jamie said that he loved Lucas, Lucas said he loved Jamie so much that it made him want to poop. This was the funniest thing any of the boys had ever heard in their lives. Tommy was hiccuping from laughter, while Zacky roared above all the rest.
Suddenly the door tore open and Jamie bumped into Sephiroth's knees, his little fair face flushed bright with humor. The ditziest child of the bunch seemed pleasantly surprised to find his fathers both standing there. "Hey! Guess what Lucas said, Lucas said that – "
"We know what Lucas said, you're all loud enough to erode granite!" Cloud said sternly, and it was no doubt something that was said to him when he was a child in Nibelheim. "Now back to bed!"
Jaime laughed and turned to gallop back to his bed. Cloud gave them all a fierce warning, "I don't wanna hear any more laughing. If I hear laughing, you're all sleeping in your own rooms. I mean it!"
There was a chorus of grief stricken children swearing that they would be quiet.
After closing the door, Cloud stuffed his hands into the pockets of his hoodie and leaned against the wall, looking happy but exhausted. "…You wound them up."
Sephiroth shrugged a shoulder. "I like them better that way."
"... You always get to be the good cop."
"I love it that you're the bad cop."
Cloud giggled innocently. "You think they buy it?"
"Fuck, I buy it!… You're such a commanding man…" Sephiroth whispered, kissing Cloud's neck.
Cloud smiled and leaned into Sephiroth, pulling him down the hallway and shutting off lights as he went. He didn't give Sephiroth much of a choice in the matter. He tugged him into their bedroom and closed the door behind them.
"I need you..." Cloud declared, pulling his hoodie over his head. He shook his hair out and paused for a moment before melting against Sephiroth.
They were used to quick, quiet, efficient. Bang bang, get on, get off, get out. It was all they had time for, save for the few times the boys had been taken by Cloud's family for a bonding holiday. Once Mrs. Strife was made aware of the babies, she was one of the most involved grandmothers the world had ever seen. She didn't even mind that they weren't brunette, or that they hadn't come from a heterosexual union... she was just pleased that Cloud had a family of his own.
On that first weekend without the little ones, they barely knew what to do with themselves, it was like relearning how to relax again and simply make love. Unfortunately, they'd perfected it again just in time for the boys' return. And all four wanted to sleep in the Daddy bed for the next few nights to recover from their separation anxiety.
Most nights, Sephiroth and Cloud had time for one lingering kiss before sleep overwhelmed them. In the blink of an eye it was time to get up. Sephiroth jumped in the shower while Cloud let the Manny du jour in. The sounds of stirring would wake up the little ones, who would file out to storm the kitchen in search of food.
Then Sephiroth would make breakfast while Cloud took a shower. When Cloud was out, Sephiroth usually went to work with merely a loving glance goodbye – and that was when he could manage even that. Cloud's day revolved around keeping the kids clean, fed, safe, and entertained. Sephiroth either had a predictable office day, or was called out to a mission.
Cloud always hated when Sephiroth was away on missions, but even more so now. It was terribly lonely in their bed at night without him. He was tempted to pull a couple of the boys into bed with him to keep him company, but that was something his mother had done to him when he was a child. He vowed to never pull a child into bed to ease his own fear and loneliness. It should be strictly the other way around.
He had to be the strong one. A dark room at night wasn't allowed to make him feel isolated, lonely, or even scared anymore. He simply cuddled Sephiroth's pillow and went to sleep.
Times when Sephiroth had any sort of leave, Cloud usually took at least a portion to train. Getting out, getting sweaty and dirty and sore, was a wonderful relief. He was able to remind himself of his long term career goals, and of his current standing. A third class SOLDIER was still a SOLDIER. He might not be working on moving up the ranks yet, but one day he would.
But for then, at that time, it was the best they could do.
"Slow down," Cloud begged, cupped Sephiroth's hands on his skin. "Just a little."
Sephiroth did, kneading Cloud's hips in his hands. His lover was so pliant and lovely pressed against him, but his pretty eyes were dimmed slightly. He was tired. Sephiroth's instincts told him to speed up so his pretty blonde could get as much rest as possible, but if he wanted it slow he could gladly do that for him.
"Cloud…" Sephiroth murmured, almost dancing against him in the dark. "I wanted to talk to you about something."
"Oh please not now," Cloud whispered, and broke away. He went to the bed and laid down, making himself available and reaching out.
Sephiroth crawled between his legs, kissing him. "It's just… something that I can't get off my mind. And it's been with me for a long time."
"I hate talking while we're making love," Cloud frowned.
"I want another one," Sephiroth whispered against his ear anyways.
"They're going to preschool next year. You're going to full time duty. I want to retire. I want more."
"Really?..." Cloud's eyes went wide in the dark. "Me too!"
"Are you fucking serious?" Sephiroth asked, actually a little offended that the man was agreeing to this insane plan.
"Oh God. Were you kidding? I was just kidding, too!" Cloud grimaced, waiting for a punch in the face from his unpredictable partner.
"I was... half serious," Sephiroth admitted. "I just wanted to know what you thought."
"... Let's think about it. We can talk about it when they start preschool?" Cloud suggested.
"Can we do it in a test tube, this time?"
"I would prefer it," Cloud nodded.
Sephiroth smirked. "... We're not gonna do it."
Cloud gave him a half smile. "... No. But... it's fun to think about. I like the idea of you retiring and stay home with babies."
"I could do that even without babies. If you're gonna be full time, someone should be here with the boys."
"You should be home with them."
"Well if I'm gonna be here anyways, we might as well have more kids," Sephiroth grinned.
Cloud rolled his eyes. "Are we really talking about this?"
"Let's talk about it next year."
"... Next year," Cloud agreed.
Two years later, Sephiroth retired from the position of General and took a step down to a first class SOLDIER in the reserve. With the help of Aerith, a test tube, Cloud's frozen sperm, and Sephiroth's mysterious doobie, a manipulative little calamity named Jenova Strife was born.
With her, she brought Emma Strife, Lacy Strife, and a little brother they called Vinny. Aerith had never encountered such a thing happening with a test tube birth, and was happy for material for her fifth best selling book.
It seemed Cloud and Sephiroth were doomed with another litter, which was no less demanding and troublesome than the last. But this time, there were four doting big brothers to help feed, play with, and bathe their baby sisters and brother. The big brothers even liked changing diapers, which Sephiroth and Cloud took advantage of to no end.
Just like Jenova said they would, their children quickly grew and multiplied like rabbits. It surprised Sephiroth that none of his sons were homosexual, until the fateful day just after the boys had turned fourteen. Lucas had come home late after school with Aerith, and had literally hid behind her while she broke the bizarre news that Lucas was... pregnant.
"Please don't tell dad!" Lucas had begged Sephiroth. Cloud was always the scarier of the two to their children.
Cloud and Sephiroth had taken Lucas' litter and raised them as their own to allow their son to have a chance at young adulthood. But they were sure to sit all of their sons down to explain the true nature of their bodies, and where they'd all come from. It was a little late, but it was necessary.
The boys were surprised, to say the very least.
Cloud and Sephiroth had been afraid that they didn't have the emotional capacity to raise any more babies, but didn't have a choice by the time Lucas presented them with their first six grandchildren. Going through the delivery with their young teenage son had been one of the hardest things they'd ever had to do as parents. Lucas' litter was the biggest, but by far the easiest to raise with three blonde, bubbly, ten-year-old girls in the house to eagerly help them.
Even their boys who fell in love with human women were producing at least two at a time, owing the odd luck to a family curse. No amount of condoms, birth control, or 'pull and pray' could prevent their handsome sons from impregnating their wives and girlfriends. And when their daughters became young women it became common news to Sephiroth and Cloud that they were going to have five more... four more... even seven more grandchildren at a time.
And then little Vinny got knocked up by one of his college professors and decided he loved the feeling of being pregnant, and decided to pursue that as a career instead of Creative Writing. He dropped out and moved in with the professor, and kept getting pregnant over... and over... and over again. Vinny had thirteen by the time he was through, and fully expected Sephiroth and Cloud to help him out.
Which they did. Much like Lucas had made a career of being pregnant, Sephiroth and Cloud's career became helping their children with their children. And then the day came when one of Lucas' litter, the rebellious punk rocker Gabby Strife was pregnant with three great-grandchildren at the tender age of thirteen.
Cloud was a great-grandfather at forty-six-years-old. Sometimes in bed at night, he would turn to Sephiroth and say, "You just had sex with a great-grandpa."
"So did you," Sephiroth would reply.
Sephiroth and Cloud would have sex with great-great-great-grandpas before they died. Long after they were gone, their cells spread throughout the planet. The lineage they created rose up to change the human race into something... else. Not better, but different.
They steered the planet away from the oppressive Sun, and onto greater destinations than any of them ever dreamed of.
-.-.-.-.-. The End -.-.-.-.-.-
1 - MPREG
2 - I love a happy ending ;_;
3 - Thanks for all the kind reviews, hope you enjoyed the story!