Sighing, Cloud leaned back against his chair. The breeze was warm on his face as he basked in the sun. From where he sat he could hear the birds calling and the nearby river. Most of all though he could hear the heartbeat of his best friend and the second heart beat within her.
"So when are you due?" he asked. Krysta smiled gently at him, her hand on her stomach.
"Got another month to go," she said wryly. "After that Zack and I are going to be laying down some serious ground rules. This is our eighth child after all. How about you? How does it feel to have yet another child?"
Groaning Cloud threw the girl a glare. "Seph is lucky I love him so much," he muttered. "But I'm putting my foot down this time. Twelve kids are more then enough, thank you. Although," his eyes softened, "it's funny. When I find out I'm pregnant yet again I get so angry and I'll cuss out anyone I see. Seph especially. But then once I've given birth and holding the baby in my arms I can't imagine anything else. I honestly can't imagine my life without a single one of my children."
The two fell into silence, enjoying the peace and solitude of the mountain. They weren't far from Nibelheim; maybe thirty minutes. Sephiroth had bought the land and built a large house just for Cloud and the children there. Sure, the house had been added on to as Cloud just kept having more kids. Though both men complained about the sheer number of children all their friends knew otherwise. The truth was that both men loved having all those kids. They were both in love with children. Probably because neither one had had much of a childhood.
Just then an alarm went off in the kitchen, drawing Cloud out of his reverie. "Cookies are ready," he said, standing up with a small wince. His body was still sore from giving birth only four days before. Gaia curse it, if Seph got him pregnant one more time…
Knowing what her Sh'Adi was thinking, Krysta smiled. The General was going to have to be really careful now. You could only press Cloud so far before he exploded. That was a lesson she and AVALANCHE knew only to well. Maybe it was past time Sephiroth learned it as well.
By the time the pregnant girl got to the kitchen Cloud already had the cookies out and was setting them to cool. He nodded to one of the more comfortable chairs which she sank into with a grateful sigh. For a moment she wondered why the smell of cookies wasn't drawing the kids in before she remembered that Reno had taken all the little ones for the day. Only the older were still at the house and they were actually scattered around the property. Well, most of them were. A select few were missing altogether. Speaking of those kids…
"Have you heard anything from Aubry?" Krysta asked, taking a sip of her tea. Aubry and her oldest son, Ashmit, had gone with Ian on some official meeting with Wutai. Aubry was Ian's Turk bodyguard and Ashmit was his SOLDIER escort. They'd been gone for a month now and she was starting to worry.
"I have," Cloud said, fiddling with something on the stove. "She called just last night. Things are finally wrapping up and they expect to be back soon. Although your son may be brought up on murder charges." If she had not felt the obvious humor in her Sh'Adi she would have panicked. As it was she just rolled her eyes at the blonde, making him smile. "Seriously. Aubry said he's about three steps away from murdering Kanaye. According to her reports the boy is more annoying then his older sister, Yuffie."
"That is impossible," Krysta grouched darkly. "No one on the planet is more annoying then that bloody monkey. The world would self-implode if that happened."
Just then footsteps could be heard, making both adults fall silent. It wasn't until a blonde head poked around the corner that they smiled. "Hello Sachiel," Cloud greeted.
"Hey ma," the teen replied, his eyes already on the cookies. Laughing, Cloud just picked one up and offered it to the boy. Of course, instantly after that he had to grab another to give to Kitrin who had been standing behind her brother. The two teens munched on their treats, not speaking. That was a miracle considering how they had been as children. Constantly talking and, worse, arguing. There had been no peace in the house for years. Cloud, Sephiroth, and Ian all proved powerless in the war between siblings. In the end it had been Aubry who'd ended it. Despite the fact that the oldest girl was rather quiet and reserved she had blown up. She'd screamed at her siblings for hours, releasing years of pent up frustration and anger. Since then the two children had been much more careful in expressing their displeasure with each other. Even then all it would take was a single glare from their sister to make them behave once more.
A sudden cry from upstairs had Cloud sighing and heading for the stairs. It only took him a moment to reach the nursery and duck inside. His newest child lay in his crib, crying in hunger. With practiced ease the blonde grabbed a bottle of formula and picked the boy up, holding the bottle so that his son would latch right on. It all went smoothly and in seconds the baby was silent once more as he drank. A gentle smile spread across Cloud's face as he watched. The boy, Luke, was so much like Aubry. Quiet, simple, and yet firm and focused. There was little doubt that he and Aubry would be good friends, despite the eighteen year difference between them.
Once Luke was done with his bottle Cloud moved to place him back in his crib when he froze. A presence was tickling his mind and he turned fully to it only to smile. Pure white fire. Aubry was home. Shifting the now sleepy baby in his arms the blonde nearly ran back down the stairs. Krysta hadn't reacted yet nor his two older children so he knew his daughter wasn't actually there just then. But her fire was growing brighter so he knew she was close. So, without telling the others, he left the house and started jogging down the road. It didn't take him long to see the ShinRa truck heading his way. As expected, Ian sat up front, Ashmit at his side. However, Cloud's eyes were for the person on top of the truck alone.
Aubry saw Cloud the same moment he saw her. With a happy cry she leapt off the truck and raced to him. She was as fast as any SOLDIER and outracing the truck was child's play to her. Although it was a little awkward to grab her mother in a hug when he was holding a baby. Not much more awkward then tackling him with a hug when he was pregnant but still.
"You're back early," he said but didn't let her go. Both knew he wasn't complaining; rather he was just stating fact. Nevertheless, Aubry pulled back slightly to look him in the eye.
"Yeah," she said flippantly, unconsciously pushing her bangs out of her eyes once more. "Ian was getting horribly homesick and wouldn't quit complaining. Honestly ma, I thought you taught him patience after you got him away from the tower!" Cloud could only chuckle helplessly. Ian had never been and would never be patient. Aubry should know that by now. He was about to tell her as much when he realized her mind was now on the baby in his arms. Gaia above, this girl could act like she had the attention span of a four year old.
"Who's this?" she asked, her eyes soft and gentle. She always did like meeting her younger siblings.
"This is Luke," Cloud introduced, offering the small bundle. Aubry took the baby gentle, shifting so that he was held properly. She didn't coo over him or babble to him in baby talk. No, that was her siblings' job. Instead she just stood silently, watching him. There was a small smile tucked into her mouth that made Cloud smile himself. It was rare to see even that from her. Really, his little girl was so much like her father. It had been a bit of a shock that she had chosen to go into the Turks instead of SOLDIER. At least, it had until she told him that she was shooting for the top and didn't feel like ousting her father as head of SOLDIER.
Just then the truck finally reached them and stopped. Ian leapt out, groaning in a mixture of pleasure and pain as he stretched his legs. Cloud just watched him fondly, having a hard time remembering the man before him was already twenty-seven. That just reminded him that he himself was thirty-six. He really wasn't looking forward to his fortieth birthday. Actually, coming to think about it, Sephiroth's fortieth birthday was only in a couple days. He'd have to hurry and plan the party. But that could wait for now.
"Hello ma," Ian greeted, gently giving Cloud a hug. Being the head of ShinRa had made the bright, exuberant boy more reserved but nothing would stop him from hugging his mother. He always claimed that he was making up for the eight years they hadn't been together. Really though it just felt nice to still have a parent that loved him. He'd never be able to forget the pain and torture his father had put him through but Cloud helped a lot.
Pulling away, Ian finally spotted the baby in his sister's arms. Instantly he was at her side, looking down at his new brother. He couldn't help but smile at the thought. Gaia above, he was in his late twenties and his mother was still having kids. Sephiroth was going to have to back off eventually. Although, really, he wasn't actually expecting it to happen. For all that Cloud griped and cursed and complained he could never refuse his husband. Thus the eleven siblings he had, all rather annoying pests in his opinion. Well, okay, that was a lie. He got along rather well with Aubry, Christina, and Zion. After all, Aubry was his official Turk bodyguard. Christina was the first female SOLDIER and Zion, though only thirteen was already an excellent secretary and the two men loved working together. It was just everyone else that Ian rather avoided.
"I think you'll like him," Aubry said suddenly, speaking to Ian but not taking her eyes off the baby. "He seems to have my temperament." Well, then yes, he probably would like the new baby. Anyone who acted like Aubry wasn't too bad.
Silently, the three walked back to the house. By the time they got there Ashmit had already been dropped off and was hugging his mother tightly. Cloud noticed the look Ashmit and Kitrin shared and shook his head, grinning. He had no doubt the question would be popped soon. Sachiel was already engaged to, of all people, Yuffie's daughter, Kimiko. Hell, even some of his slightly younger children were in rather solid relationships. Only Aubry was still single, as she had been all her life. She kept claiming that she wasn't against men. She just…well…was waiting for the right guy. Apparently Sephiroth knew who the 'right guy' was but he refused to tell Cloud. Something about the blonde being worse then a mother hen when it came to their children. Well, Cloud couldn't really argue with that.
As the sun began to set more and more people started arriving. By the time dusk was upon them the house was packed and everyone was having a good time. After all, it was the anniversary of the peace between AVALANCHE and ShinRa. That was something worse celebrating. Well, for most of them at least. Cloud was on the sidelines, watching with a small smile on his face. The smile was largely due to the fact that Sephiroth was behind him, holding him close. Neither man had to speak as they watched their friends and families mingle. They both pretended not to notice that Ashmit and Kitrin were sneaking away but Cloud knew he would speak to Krysta about it. Neither of them actually wanted their children to make a move without being married. That was a recipe for disaster.
Sighing, Cloud closed his eyes and leaned fully against his love. The years had had their rough points and there had been times everyone was sure they'd split up but somehow they'd always made it through. Now it seemed like it was all smooth sailing and he was looking forward to it.
Gentle lips met his and Cloud opened his eyes to stare into the jade green of his husband. He smiled and kissed back, losing himself in the feeling. When he pulled back for a breath he tried to force some strength into his voice. "I'm not having anymore children," he said, hoping for a strong voice but it came out more like a breathy moan. Sephiroth just chuckled and kissed the blonde again. "You said that seven children ago," he reminded his mate. Cloud just scowled at though but was smiling inside. True. He had said that.
"I'm getting to old to be pregnant," the blonde insisted. "Seriously; I've had twelve children and I'm only thirty-six. Eleven of them are yours; isn't that enough?" Sephiroth didn't reply, he just kissed the blonde again. The very act made Cloud frown. Normally his husband would have made some remark. Maybe sarcastic, maybe condensiding, maybe even serious. Silence wasn't the answer unless he actually had something mind. With that though the blonde actually pulled out of his arms. "Tell me," he ordered, his eyes hard as sapphire's. Krysta sent him a wave of concern, feeling his irritation. He just sent back his irritation at Seph and she withdrew. She was very careful of interfering with a lover's quarrel.
Sephiroth sighed, clearly not happy. Finally he pulled Cloud close again so that his mouth was right next to the blonde's ear. "I always wanted a lot of children," he whispered, catching Cloud's attention. "It started back with Hojo. Actually, that's the only thought that managed to keep me sane. So my goal, once I got out of the labs, was to someday have fifteen children I could call my own. That's all." Cloud stood still for a moment before sighing yet again and burying his face in his mate's shoulder. He was silent a moment more before smiling slightly.
"Four more kids," he said quietly. Sephiroth tensed until Cloud pulled back with the smile still in place. "Alright, I think I can manage that. But after that, that's it. No more. Deal?"
"Deal," Seph promised before pulling Cloud back to his chest. Honestly, didn't his mate know that was where he belonged? If the chuckle was anything to go by then yes, Cloud knew. He just loved to irritate Seph. That was fine. After all, they had the whole night for him to teach the blonde why it was a bad idea to irritate him.
Babble time: And that, my friends, is the end. Yep, that's right. The end. As in finished. As in, I'm never adding anything else to this story. Guess what? I've finally decided to do a sequel. I was able to think of a following to this story that didn't threaten to destroy what I'd already written. So now my question is, who wants me to actually write it? I have a poll up right now or you can just message me; whichever is easier. Just please let me know! You have…I'll give you a week, alright? That should be enough. Also, keep an eye open for my new FFVII story. I've gotten a bit tired of making Cloud pregnant. In my new story, 'I'm not cut out to be a mom' Zack is the lucky mommy. That ought to be fun. On to the reviews!
EeepEeep: Lol, thank you very much for the compliment. I always end up with a lot of lurkers but at least you wrote in the end. That makes me very happy. I hope you enjoy this final chapter and I really hope you like my future stories.
Vampirelove00: Yep, Seph is a walking dead man. Well, not really as he is still alive here but yeah. Things are a little strange to say the least.
Darkwhizper: Yeah, most of the time I'm all for Reno and Rufus. Just not this time. I'm sorry it's ending but maybe I'll post the sequel. Would you like that?
UltimateNinjaOfDoom: Strange, when I asked Cloud what he did to Sephiroth he just blushed while Seph glared at me. Although they both agree with you and Cloud will not be wearing a dress if I ever do, do the bonding scene.
Dawn chase: Seph took care of everything, never fear.
Kurosaki9: Yeah, Ian was about nine then. Four kids is nothing though; now he's dealing with twelve. Well, granted, some are like Aubry and her siblings; old enough to care for themselves. Still, that's a lot of kids. Oh good, I'm glad it was good cheesy. And yeah, I guess people would tell me if it was bad cheesy. See you soon!
Dragi: And thus ends the fic you inspired. Did I do a good job? I hope so. Anyway, since it is sort of your story do you want to sequel? Or should I just end it there?
BrokenAngel1816: YEAH! YOU'RE BACK! I thought you left me. Lol, I'm glad you liked it so much. Yes, I'm planning a sequel but it's not set in stone yet. If you want me to do it I suggest you vote. That's easier then tallying up reviews or messages. Thanks again for all your reviews! And since I now have three new FFVII stories planned I hope you'll join me again soon.
Shadow of the Forgotten Ones: Oh relax. Seph handled himself just fine.
Thanks for reading! Goodbye!