"Relax, Zidane!" Eiko said confidently as she grinned up at her favorite genome. "I can handle this! You and Dagger should go have some fun. It is your birthday after all, Zidane! Dagger has been planning this day out for the two of you for months. No need to cancel it because I showed up. I'm family, remember? The kind that tends to drop in uninvited for unexpected reasons."
"Eiko, you do realize you've volunteered to baby-sit the twins, and they are not the easiest children in the world to take care of?"
"I'm thirteen. I took care of myself and a whole village of moogles for almost a whole year after my grandpa died. I can handle two little girls."
"Eiko, they're my daughters, and they're three. You know what I'm like. You know what Dagger's like. Multiply that potential combination times two. You're volunteering to look after two rather high-strung three year olds," Zidane pointed out.
"Not just volunteering, but looking forward to it!" replied Eiko. "Shoo, shoo, go watch Ruby's new play and eat that insanely romantic dinner that Dagger has been planning for you two."
Eiko took Zidane's hand and began leading him down the hallway toward the suite of rooms she shared with his wife. "Go! Get ready, make yourself pretty. I know you're just dying to primp that tail of yours," she said with a very mischievous wink. "I'll head down toward the girls' rooms and there will be fun times to be had."
"You can get us anytime if it gets to be too much to handle, Ei. And Steiner and Beatrix should be in their wing – are you sure you don't want me to ask them over to help?" asked Zidane.
"Who knew that fatherhood could turn you into such a worrywart, Zid!" Eiko rolled her eyes. "I am more than responsible enough to keep an eye on your daughters. Besides, they love me, and we will have a great time. Mother and Father trust me, and you've known me longer. Z, we saved the freaking world together, I think I can handle babysitting."
"I should call Beatrix," said Zidane, eying the door cautiously. "She can keep an eye on all three of you."
"Beatrix and Steiner have other things to worry about right now," Eiko said, placing her hands on her hips. "Beatrix has the flu, or did you forget that? Remember Dagger shooing Beatrix from the conference hall yesterday and telling her not to come out of their wing for at least a week? And you know very well that Steiner's armor scares the twins. And you bet he's got enough on his plate trying to take care of Beatrix and their son right now!"
Eiko paused for a moment to catch her breath before continuing on. "Give it a rest, Zidane! I can baby-sit. Besides, there is a whole palace staff around if I do realize I'm over my head later in the evening. I am thirteen. I don't need a babysitter, and besides! Dagger is going to be pissed if you flake out of your own birthday dinner, especially after she managed to talk the nobles out of throwing that ball for your birthday instead."
"Fine, you win," agreed Zidane at last. "You're pretty stubborn, you know?"
"I learnt that from the best," replied Eiko with a very wry smile. "Now go, shoo! Get ready! I'm sure Dagger's not gonna like it if you take longer to get ready than her!" Eiko waved her hands in a get out type motion.
Zidane moved to open the door to his and Dagger's room, but then he paused and leaned on the doorframe. "Did Dagger put you up to this?" he asked.
"You're stalling!" Eiko raised her eyebrows and wagged a finger at Zidane. "Now shoo, or I'll tell Dagger the truth about that time we took the twins to feed the chobobos at the Black Mage Village and somebody let them all loose. Because they most certainly did not free themselves."
"Resorting to blackmail?" said Zidane, this time with a raised eyebrow of his own. "You really have been hanging around Tantalus too much, Eiko."
"Again, I learnt all of my important life skills from the very best!" Eiko replied, this time with a very mischievous-looking wink. "Now stop stalling and go get ready."
"Yes ma'am!" Zidane gives Eiko a mock-salute before disappearing into the room.
Once Eiko was finally satisfied that Zidane was actually off getting ready and not worrying about her again, she clapped her hands gleefully and skipped off in the direction of the twins' nursery. "Aunt Eiko is ready to go have some fun!"