"Moooooooom!" fifteen-year-old Remi Crescent-Valentine shrieked right after slamming the front door behind her.
Aeris walked into the living room as if she had been expecting this outburst.
"Please tell me you at least refrained from smashing their cameras," Aeris said warily.
Remi angrily held up a tabloid. "Who told the paparazzi about my operation?! They all think it was a boob-job!"
"I told you not to look at those," Aeris said as she snatched the paper from her daughter's hands, "You can't stop what the media decides to print, nobody with half a brain believes these, and the people who really matter to you don't care,"
"But they're being mean to Sera now and she's only four! Why can't more mixed-race aliens move here? It would take all the attention off us!"
"No, I'm afraid it wouldn't. Your father is still a famous mercenary,"
"Well, at least when Daddy's around, I don't have to kick people out of our trees,"
Aeris stared in horror. "Remielle, PLEASE don't tell me you were making people fall out of trees! Remember that lovely settlement we had to pay that photographer last year when Al shot him with his slingshot and he fell down the hill?"
"I cast a float spell at the last minute," Remi defended herself, "Daddy says as long as I don't leave visible marks, I can deal with them however I want,"
She flopped onto the couch, laying on her belly as she always did. The stitches in her back still hadn't come out, and any pressure against it was still extremely painful.
"I don't get it," Remi sighed, "What's so special about us? I mean, I know everyone oohs and ahs over Neo-Avalanche, and yeah, I'll join someday, but can't they leave me alone?"
"You're not the one telling the TV stations for the umpteenth time, that no, you do NOT want your family's life to be filmed in a reality show,"
"They're still bugging you about that?" Remi exclaimed, "Seriously- what would they get out of it? Twenty-two minutes of Raz and Sam having arm-pit farting contests? Sera's phobia of public restrooms and automatic flushers? Keter trying to light his farts on fire? Seriously- the guys are gross. I can't believe they're Daddy's kids,"
"Remi, when your dad was seventeen, he would hunt for monsters outside of Cosmo Canyon,"
"I've heard that story from him a million times,"
"Well, this has an epilogue. Humor me,"
Remi rolled her eyes.
"The first day he went to work, he came back with his shirt all ripped, and his hair was soaked with blood. This is why he doesn't wear shirts when fighting,"
"Really? I always thought he was trying to be dashing,"
"Remi- one thing you need to know about the men in this family. Any 'dashing' traits are purely accidental. It so happens, your father just makes his macho pride work for him. Just like girls find Keter's cluelessness adorable, and Al's absent-mindedness cute. Now girls are giggling for Mal as well. After all, he's all quiet and brooding like you-know-who,"
"So what about the women?" Remi asked.
Aeris smirked. "We know exactly what we're doing when we try to look good. But that's a secret between you, me, my mother, Sera, and your aunt Rockie,"
"Rockie's boyfriend is a klutz,"
"Yes, but to my little sister, that makes him 'endearing',"
"She'd have to save him if they ever got mugged. At least Daddy keeps us all safe,"
Aeris put her hands on her hips and glared at her daughter. "Are you saying I couldn't hold my own against a single mugger? Remember who taught you how to block with that spear of yours,"
"It's called a naginata, Mom. And yes, I know you're like the librarian who rips open her blouse and the random superhero logo shines on the leotard you wore all day,"
"Hey- I only wore a leotard once in a fight, and it was extremely uncomfortable. I dare you to try…just not in front of your father. For his sake I hope he doesn't see the 'boob job' allegations. Your father has the habit of picturing unpleasant scenarios and then getting furious…or depressed,"
"So what- in his head, he sees droves of boys rushing forward if I practiced my fighting skills in a leotard?" Remi propped her face on her fists.
"It's irrational, but accurate. You can't help your father for wanting to hold onto his little 'white-wing',"
"White wing is gone, along with all the infections and molting and sensitivity," Remi stated happily, "Maybe I'll get a boyfriend if I practice in a bikini instead,"
"Would you please go easy on him?" Aeris complained, "One day, he WILL mount his sword collection above the front door,"
"C'mon, Mom- I'm not exposing anything until the stitches come out, and the scar fades,"
"And that's just in time for when your father has to leave to patrol the islands around Mideel with Cloud and Yuffie," Aeris recalled knowingly.
"Is it?" Remi looked innocent.
Aeris rolled her eyes. "You're so much like your father when you play dumb, it's almost uncanny,"
Just then, the phone rang. Remi reached over and picked it up.
"Crescent-Valentine residence…oh, sorry, but my dad's at work, and my mom's…uh…got gangrene,"
Realizing who it was, Aeris collapsed into the loveseat and began to groan.
"Remi…!" she whined, "Mother needs water, please? For the gangrene...?"
She then began to cough violently.
"Look, I know I'm not the head of the household, but fifteen isn't such a bad age that we can't discuss this you and me, right?"
Aeris couldn't help but snicker as she watched her daughter leave the room with the phone.
Just then, the door opened and Sephiroth entered.
"How was your day?" Aeris asked as she sat up.
"Boring. Nothing but paperwork. Yuffie's collateral damage to Kalm's town hall mostly. Why did you look like you just passed out a second ago?"
"The network is calling again. Had to play sick,"
Sephiroth groaned and collapsed on the loveseat next to her. "What did you tell them?"
Aeris smirked. "Actually, our daughter is taking the call,"
Sephiroth's eyes opened wide. "Uh, Aeris, was that a good idea?"
"But why film us?" Remi asked as she passed through the living room again, "I don't get it…yeah, there's seven kids, so what? There's a family in Kalm with decuplets. Single father. The mother wouldn't reduce during the pregnancy, and died in labor. Sounds like a lot of drama…okay, there's seven kids, yes we're only half-human. I don't see why that's a big deal either. There's plenty of small communities that have aliens…oh god, you're gonna rehash that again? Look, I don't know the answer about that. Our parents don't like to discuss it, and my brother and I don't remember when it happened. If they won't discuss it with their own children and continue to insist it's not worth talking about, you really think they'll talk about it on national TV to a lot of strangers? …The Jenova Project…?!"
Sephiroth's eyes widened, "I will grab that phone right now if they say anything about that!"
"Right- it's a religious cult, right?" Remi gave her father a look that told him to calm down already. "A scientific-?! No, I heard from my friend Skylar that it was a big cult that worshipped a big, phallic-shaped dragon…!"
"Where the hell did she learn that word?!" Sephiroth hissed to Aeris, "I knew we should have home-schooled them!"
"You're losing it," Aeris said flatly.
"I don't see what the problem is," Remi could be heard saying as she re-entered the room, "I simply wanted to engage in a discussion over whether there truly are higher powers than the planets. I mean, most humans believe the Cetra are just people with magic powers and schizophrenia. …You do believe in a higher power? But you're the perfect one to discuss this with! Well, I dunno why you're so offended. You wanted to talk to us, and you have…fine!"
She extended the phone to her parents. "They wanna talk to a grown-up," she said unenthusiastically.
"As far as I'm concerned, you're the grown-up today," Sephiroth told her, "Just get rid of them and don't hand that phone to me again unless it's someone else on the line,"
"If I hang up on them, they'll just keep calling back," Remi argued.
"Then find another way to get rid of them," Aeris said.
"Hey, what's enfant terrible mean?" Remi asked, her hand still on the mouthpiece.
"Where did you hear that?" Aeris asked.
"The man called me one before demanding to speak to you,"
"It just means you're doing a great job and keep going until he hangs up in frustration,"
"You got it," Remi gave her father a thumbs-up and left the room again.
"She'll be a while," Sephiroth observed.
"Guess I'll start dinner," Aeris said as she stood up.
Aeris turned around to face her husband.
"You're forgetting something," Sephiroth reminded her gently.
"You want a massage after doing paperwork?!" Aeris exclaimed.
"Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?" Sephiroth suggested as he held his wrists up to Aeris.
Aeris rolled her eyes and walked away.
"Tendonitis!" Sephiroth called after her.
Aeris ignored him.
"I might get a crooked back hunched over all those forms!" Sephiroth tried one last time.
Still no response.
"No 'happy ending' either, I guess," Sephiroth muttered.
"Inbred?!" Remi could be heard squawking from the hallway, "Now you're going to insult me?! You're inbred- how about that? No, my parents aren't siblings- the cowlicks are a coincidence!"
"Ho boy…" Sephiroth muttered as he got up to follow his daughter, "Okay, Remi- I think it's time for you to hang up…!"
A/N: This story is dedicated to all the large/weird families that choose not to exploit themselves through the media as many seem to be doing lately…and to finding a way to eradicate tendonitis.