A/N: Last Chapter! Holy Crap! Anyways, glad that this is one of our most popular stories! There will be a brand new story up tomorrow. Thanks for reviewing!
Leon - a week or so later
Why? Why was there a phone ringing? My phone was turned off for that very reason. Waking up to some shrill ringing when you should be waking up to a warm and snuggling Cloud was inhuman. Oh wait...I did have my arms wrapped around Cloud and he was definitely warm against my skin. Well, his skin was always warm against mine when we were naked in bed, but that's besides the point.
The point was that I should not be waking up to a ringing phone and therefore, I was not waking up happy. This week had been rather hectic between moving Cloud's things to my house and me getting my office set up so that I could start working half the week from home. I'd graciously given Cloud the other half of my office to set up his work area since it was just easier to have one room off limits to Yuna than having two rooms off limits.
I figured we could test out how we could work together in the same room and if it really didn't work out, then we'd go from there. But I figured we'd be able to keep our hands off of each other long enough to get some work in. Either way, I'd moved more furniture around this week than I had in years. So I was a little tired and grumpy about being woken up by that damn ringing. Cracking an eye open, I glanced down at Cloud and shook his shoulder gently.
"Cloud? It's your phone."
He groaned, nodding, "Might be Peter." Peter being his current client who was constantly freaking out about the tight deadline. Cloud had to repeatedly reassure the man that they would make the deadline no problem. "I was distracted last night..." Cloud grinned sleepily, giving me a sloppy kiss as he climbed partly over me to reach for his phone on the night stand, "Forgot to turn it off." I guess it was a good thing then that he had since he shouldn't be coherent enough to think of such things when we had sex. Pushing a button on the device, he muttered a hello into it, listened and then frowned.
"Why are you calling me?" Cloud mumbled, propping himself up on top of me, "At eight in the morning?" He added. Cloud paused to listen and then to my great surprise, he suddenly didn't look all that sleepy anymore as he bounced up onto his feet, standing gloriously naked right above me, looking all kinds of panicked as he screamed, "What?" into the phone. Scrambling off the bed and nearly breaking his neck in the process, he managed to get up onto his two feet, his eye twitching.
"I... No. Well, yes, it's still my apartment for now, but I'm not there." He agreed with whoever was calling. And then he shrieked, "How'd you get a key?" before running across the room, his naked ass on full display as he bent over to pick up his pants. "No. I don't want to see you." He turned around, his dick now on display, "Sure I love you." He rolled his eyes, "Fine. But only because you drove. Bye." He growled, tossing the phone over his shoulder, letting it land on the arm chair.
Blinking and not sure I was really hearing what I thought I was hearing, I narrowed my eyes at Cloud. "Who exactly has a key to your apartment that you love? They had better be blood related or a girl. Wait, not even a girl..." I trailed off ominously. Cloud grinned, hitching his pants up over his hips as he climbed back up onto the bed, hovering over me to give me a proper good morning kiss.
"My brother. He's standing in my apartment wondering why the hell I don't live there anymore."
"Brother? Umm, Zack, right?" My eye twitched. This was the part of most relationships that sucked. "Are you going over there or are you inviting him here? You can borrow the car if you need to." I rolled onto my back and looked at him.
"Zack, yes. And that depends. Do you feel up to meeting him, or would you like to wait a bit?" He got off the bed again, searching for a clean shirt, and when he couldn't find any of his own, he shrugged and took one of mine, pulling it over his head, "Aerith is pregnant and every three times before that she always kicks him out for like a weekend, telling him to go drink himself silly with his little brother and bond some because apparently he's one of those worry types and smothers her a bit. She does it for their marriage, she says, those weekends she kicked him out avoided divorce." He shrugged, "I guess he's smothering her again, hence how he's here right now."
I glanced at the clock and figured that Yuna was up and watching cartoons or playing in her room. "If you would like to invite him over, that's fine. It's up to you. I just need to get dressed and make sure Yuna ate something for breakfast." I'd loved it when Yuna had gotten old enough so that on Saturday mornings she could find a poptart or something to eat and watch cartoons, giving me a chance to sleep in.
"I'll bring him over, but he can sleep at the apartment." He grimaced, "It's annoying he never warns me." Running his hands through his hair to straighten it, he then lifted a palm before his mouth, breathing into it, "That doesn't work." Smirking, he walked back over to the bed, leaning in and grabbing my face so he could lay me a good one. "Does my breath smell?" He asked when he was done making out with me.
As much as I tried, I couldn't keep the slight grimace off my face. "A little. But it just tastes like the jelly beans you were sneaking last night when you thought I wasn't looking." I chuckled as he pouted. "It's fine. So, are you bringing him over right now or did you want to take him out to breakfast?" And warn him you're living and dating a guy with a kid.
"Nah, I want to eat breakfast with you and Yuna and since he didn't have the decency to give me a notice, he'll just have to tag along and deal with it." Sitting down beside me on the bed, he pulled on some socks, "And I would have told him about my relationship with you and the moving in part, but every time I call, which isn't often because we don't know how to talk to each other on the phone, he always gets interrupted by one of my nephews and tells me to call him again later. I could have told my mother and she'd have been able to tell Zack about it, but..." He wrinkled his nose, "Well, when you meet my mother you'll know why I didn't tell her." Completely dressed, he gave me another quick kiss, "I'll pick up some bagels and a baguette so you can take your time to wake up and that way you won't have to worry about breakfast either."
"Sounds good. Tell Yuna on your way out to get dressed. I'm going to jump in the shower really quick." Smirking at him, I added, "I smell like sex."
"Will do." He said and then smirked himself, "Yeah, you do. I'm going to have to kick my brother for making it so that I can't help wash it off you and you off me." Sighing, he growled out a muttered, 'stupid Zack' and then exited the bedroom. From here I could hear him say good morning to Yuna and when I heard her giggle, I knew he was giving her a hug and a kiss before I could hear him tell her that she had to go get dressed. She asked him if he'd bring back chocolate breads and he then returned that he would, which was then followed by footsteps and a minute later the front door closed and the car engine started not long after.
Groaning, I rolled out of bed and headed for the bathroom. So. Here it was. Meeting a member of Cloud's family for the first time. I didn't really know a lot about Zack, only that he'd helped Cloud out when he'd needed it, so he must be a pretty good guy. Quickly showering and dressing, I went to the living room and saw that indeed, Yuna had dressed herself. In a green shirt with orange pants. Even I knew those colors didn't match, but I just chuckled and went upstairs to grab her some jeans instead. They went with anything and it really was a little chilly outside to be wearing shorts.
"Yuna, put these on and be on your best behavior when Cloud comes back. He's bringing a visitor." She nodded, then turned back to the TV to finish her show. I headed to the kitchen to make coffee and wait for Cloud.
About a half an hour later, I heard my car pull into the driveway and it's engine turn off. Deciding that it would be a good idea to just stay in the kitchen and have Cloud bring Zack in here, I checked once more to make sure that it wasn't a complete disaster.
The door opened and I could hear Zack's voice first... "You say you couldn't have told me to shu-"
"Zack. Five year old kid in the house repeating everything. Mind yourself." Cloud interrupted.
"Oh fine. You couldn't have told me to stop talking and mentioned you're in a serious relationship, so serious that you actually moved in with him?" Zack sounded somewhat skeptical.
Cloud snorted, "Our phone calls last three minutes tops in which you're the only one talking and I never even get to so 'hi' properly. So yeah, I'm telling you that I couldn't mention it before. The only way for you to hear about it would have been through mom and well..."
Now Zack snorted, "Right. Getcha. No hard feelings then." They appeared into the kitchen now. Zack taller then Cloud, hair just as spiky but brown instead of blond. They looked sightly similar, but it wasn't obvious at all that they were brothers.
I stood up from the table and stuck my hand out. "You must be Zack. I'm Leon, nice to meet you." There. Standard, not too formal, good enough to hopefully make him comfortable.
Zack shook my hand, giving me a warm smile, "It is nice to," He raised an eyebrow, giving Cloud a sarcastic stare, "Finally... meet you. I've heard a lot about you in one thirty minute car ride."
"Oh, get over yourself." Cloud muttered, smacking his brother's shoulder, before moving over to the bar and putting the breakfast food down there. "Yuna! Chocolate bread!" He shouted.
"Don't worry." Zack said, getting my attention, "Cloud never tells me anything. You must be very important to him if he's allowing me in here."
Not really knowing how to respond without sounding like an arrogant jackass, I just nodded and smiled. "It's nice to meet you. Please, have a seat." I gestured to the empty seats around the table. The actual dining room table. Since we'd finally set up an actual office, Cloud had pointed out that we could finally eat around the table if I just put everything in there. So now we had a dining room table that other people could sit at. And just in time too. Yuna came running in and gave Cloud a hug.
"Thank you! I love chocolate bread!"
"Know you do. Careful though, don't wanna spill it all over your shirt like last time." He murmured, giving her cheek a soft pat, handing over a plate with a chocolate bread on it. "Hey, Yuna? This is my older brother, Zack."
Zack smiled at her, "Nice to meet you."
Smiling back at him, she giggled. "Nice to meet you, Zack. Are you my uncle?" Well, leave it to Yuna as always to ask the awkward questions two seconds after meeting someone. I cringed, and glanced at Cloud, raising my eyebrows. How was he gonna answer this one?
Zack did instead though, "Oh man! I'd love to be an uncle. Sure thing kido, I'll definitely be your uncle. I'll make sure to bring you candy next time I come visit."
Cloud groaned, hanging his head, "That's cause I always do, resulting to his kids all sugar high."
Zack chuckled, "That's right. Payback is bugger."
"Well, let me just grab some milk and we can eat." I chuckled, grateful that Zack seemed just as easy around kids as Cloud. Then again, the guy had three of his own already so it made total sense. Yuna didn't actually have any uncles or aunts, as both Rinoa and I didn't have siblings. "So, Zack. How long are you in town for?"
"Till the wife lets me back in."
"Ah." Setting glasses on the table for everyone, I sat back down and grabbed a bagel. I really didn't know what to do or say. It was a little hard to feel comfortable getting to know someone when they are in your house early on a Saturday morning when you weren't expecting them. Focusing on my food, I figured we could work it all out after breakfast.
"What'd you do this time?" Cloud asked.
Zack shrugged, "Nothing! I just told her I was willing to take some time off work to help her get around seeing as she's all big and round now."
Cloud grinned, "You called her fat. No wonder she kicked you out."
Zack glared, "You guys get each other way to well." He shook his head, "Anyway. Leon, sorry for bursting into your Saturday morning bubble like this, I tried calling Cloud yesterday to tell him I was on my way, but he didn't pick up."
"When?" Cloud asked.
Zack shrugged, "Between ten and eleven."
"Evening or morning?" Cloud mumbled, a light blush appearing on his cheeks.
"Evening." Yeah, okay. No wonder Cloud hadn't picked up.
"That must have been when we were watching a movie." I quickly jumped in, hoping that would satisfy any sort of curiosity about why Cloud hadn't picked up. "And it's fine that you stopped by. We didn't have anything planned for today." Taking another bite, I glanced at Yuna. She was happily finishing her chocolate bread and I figured she'd be happy to play in her room or do whatever in case Cloud wanted to spend time with his brother.
"Cool." Zack said, smiling, "I won't be bothering you guys for long though, just wanted to see how Cloud was doing, grab a coffee and then I'd planned on crashing at the parents since they haven't seen me in a while."
"Oh? I didn't realize your parents lived around here." I glanced at Cloud, wondering why he hadn't really mentioned that. Well, I guess I didn't really make an effort to see my parents and from what I remember him telling me, he still wasn't very close to them.
"Twilight Town..." That was less then a thirty minute drive... Cloud gave me a look that said he'd explain later, probably not able too right now in Yuna's presence.
"Uh oh..." Yuna said, grabbing our attention as she looked sheepishly down at her shirt, now smeared with chocolate.
Cloud chuckled, "Forget again that it drips out from the other side as well?" She nodded, giving Cloud a pout. He shook his head, "It's okay, sweetheart, it's tricky food to eat. I'll help clean you up, kay?" She smiled, reaching up so she could wrap her arms around his neck, leading him to lift her into his arms and go to the bathroom upstairs.
I couldn't keep the silly smile off my face at how Yuna was just as clingy with Cloud as she was with me. It made our situation less scary in many ways. Sometimes I still thought that we'd moved a little fast and I wasn't sure if it had been smart, but I seriously couldn't even remember what my life had been like without Cloud in it.
"He's always been really good with kids. Kinda wish I was like that what with knocking up my wife at sixteen." Zack chuckled. My eyebrows shot up into my hairline. I wondered if perhaps he didn't really care what people thought about him, or maybe he figured that since I was pretty serious with his brother, he could just share the family secrets with me. Cloud had mentioned something about Zack getting his wife pregnant, but I hadn't really paid too much attention.
"Yeah, he's great." I was starting to get a bad feeling about being left alone with him...
Zack grinned, "We're polar opposites. Where Cloud is reserved, I'm not." He shrugged rather simply, "Wanna hear a story he'd never tell?" He smiled, "It's not a secret, he won't mind if I tell you."
Smirking and feeling the tension ease a little, I looked at him, "I'm not going to regret saying yes, am I?"
"Nah, never. Might shed some light on Cloud's being." Zack said, leaning back in his chair as he cracked his knuckles, getting ready to tell the story. "He was in high school, fifteen at the time. He'd already figured out he was gay, about to come out to our parents. He'd come out to me without really meaning too. See, there was this girl in his class, she got pregnant and they were friends. The girl told the baby's daddy about it, who, like she, was fifteen. Boy didn't know what to do with himself, freaked out and ran off, leaving the girl all kinds of pregnant and alone. She cried to her friend Cloud about it and he then came to me, figuring I would know what to do as I'd gotten Aerith pregnant around that age."
Zack shook his head, looking amused, "First thing I thought was that he was the baby's father and finally, he wouldn't be our parents little angel anymore as he'd made the same 'mistake'," He air quoted the word mistake, "as I had. Course then he told me 'No Zack! I'm gay! Can't knock anyone up like you did, you brute!'," Zack laughed, "That's how he came out to me and how I instantly knew he'd never again be our parents little angel anymore..." Zack grimaced, "They're a bit uptight about the subject. Still are, hence why he doesn't visit them much."
He shrugged, "Anyway... Back to the story. The girl decided to keep the baby and so she had to deal with being pregnant while going to high school. Cloud, being as caring as he is, always stayed by her side, helping her out and making sure no one was bothering her. Couple months later into the pregnancy, the girl realized the baby's daddy would most likely never come back to her, and she was very upset with that. Cloud suggested he be there for the kid, he'd take care of it as if it was his own and he'd even marry her if that would make her feel better..." Zack murmured. "She said yes to all that, led him to believe he'd be the baby's father and that he may have to go against who he was and be a husband to a woman."
Zack sighed heavily, "She went into labor, called Cloud, but by the time he got to the hospital to be there for her, the baby's daddy had finally come to his senses. Cloud suddenly wasn't necessary anymore. It hurt him, but he was glad for her and the baby, that the daddy finally did the right thing."
I'd stayed silent throughout the entire story, wondering how I should feel about it. On the one hand, I'd known how amazing Cloud was almost from the first meeting, granted, it had taken me a little while to finally admit it to myself and act on it. He had the natural caretaker ability and I loved him for it. But that must have hurt something fierce being a teenager.
"Thank you for telling me that. I guess it just let's me know that he's always been a great guy. My daughter loves him."
Zack smiled, "I'm sure you already are aware but, I told you that so you could be sure that Cloud isn't gonna run. He loves you and your daughter." He laughed then, "Aerith left for two weeks, a vacation with her sisters. First time I was alone with the three boys all by myself..." He groaned, "Dude. They'll eat you alive if you give them the chance!" He snickered, "Anyway... I had this moment where I'd just put the boys to bed and I started thinking... What if Aerith never came back? Didn't matter the reason for it, just the idea... I can see how you'd most likely worry about such a thing being a single parent, the running? So I figured I'd tell you that story about Cloud."
"I guess it's nice to hear that, but I'm not too worried about it. I love Cloud, and I'd do almost anything to keep him around." Despite their age difference, I had a feeling that Cloud and Zack were closer to each other than the rest of their family. I wanted Zack to know that I really did love his brother.
"Know you do, otherwise you wouldn't have let him this close to your kid." Zack frowned and then I saw him fish his cellphone out of his pocket, "That'll be my eldest. They grow up too fast... He's nearly fifteen." He muttered, pressing the device to his ear, "The only reason you could be calling me is if you broke that damn brake on your scooter again. Dammit, Sora, I told you to wait till I got back!"
The rest of the day was pretty easy going, Zack was a laid back kind of guy and Yuna just made everything easy to focus on her. I definitely looked forward to meeting Aerith and all of Zack's kids at some point, especially since it looked like Cloud would definitely be a permanent addition to our family and Yuna needed some cousins. Grinning as I watched Yuna use her pout on Zack to get a drink of his soda, I figured it would probably be a good idea to introduce Cloud to my family in the near future. Not that I really wanted to, but if I didn't, it would only suck more in the end.
Cloud - a week or so later
Today was Yuna's birthday, she was turning six and was very excited she could say she was 'just six' instead of 'five and three quarters'. Leon was nervous as although he wasn't close to his parents much, they weren't out of contact either, meaning they were there during birthdays and holidays. This one included. I'd never quite seen Leon like this. He wasn't bouncing off the walls, biting his nails or stressing visibly or anything, there was just this tension in his posture and his words were sometimes clipped.
My own nervousness at meeting his parents sort of faded as I tried to make him feel better, reassuring him that everything would go fine. He wasn't so sure though, and I knew it wasn't concerning Yuna, it was the 'meeting Cloud' part that had him frowning. I'd suggested I stay away while they were here, of course he'd refused, saying he wasn't going to deprive Yuna of my presence on her birthday and kick me out of my own home just so his parents had no reason to make remarks. So, we'd sucked it up and steadied ourselves, focusing on the good things.
Tifa had taken Yuna out for a couple of hours so Leon and I had the time to decorate the house with colorful balloons and banners, and we'd gone out to buy her a pile of presents, clearly spoiling her, but neither one of us stopped the other from buying her more presents, figuring it couldn't harm her to own five princess dresses, right?
Not just dresses, the shoes and tiaras went with it and two of them were actual Disney dresses which we both knew she'd love to death. Of course that didn't top the present Leon had made her... My heart had gone to complete mush when he'd told me and shown me... Being the awesome architect he was, he'd taken some time out of work, or not really, since he'd been in our office anyway, designing her a doll house...
While he'd been putting it together with wood and all, he'd asked me to draw out textures and patterns, so once printed out, the doll house had paper printed bricks on the outer walls and each room had different patterned wallpaper which I'd drawn on the computer.
Clearly we had no issue working together in the same office, to be quite honest, I think I was even more focused... Having Leon in the same room was very comforting, being able to talk to someone while I did my job was more than nice and of course... When I wanted coffee and was too lazy to move, he'd sometimes cave and get me a mug. Of course I got him a cup when he asked as well, so it was all fair and everything.
In any case, today wasn't about work, we'd both made sure to clear our schedules for today, today being Friday and neither of us worked during the weekends, so we had three days of complete Yuna focus on our hands and the house looked all kinds of pink since that was her favorite color, a pile of presents on the living room coffee table and two cakes.
One made by Leon, which looked perfect... and one made by me because I'd been bored and hadn't wanted to just watch Leon do the work, so I'd joined him and made the exact same cake while he'd made his. Course mine didn't look as good... it hadn't risen... It was all flat... Leon had laughed, telling me I'd forgotten a certain ingredient which the name of I couldn't remember right now. Whatever. He'd let me draw Yuna's name, her age and 'happy birthday' along with some flowers on his cake, since I was the artist and what not.
Then we'd shared some heated kisses, since we knew we wouldn't be sharing those until at least late tonight and that just wouldn't do, so we'd stocked up until Tifa had come back with Yuna. Yuna had gone wild... Sugar high without actually having had any sugar. She didn't know where to focus, whether to chase balloons, open the presents, or give me and Leon a thank you hug. She'd just stood there staring and going 'Pretty, pretty, pretty!'
Then she'd snapped out of it, clapping her hands together and bouncing throughout the entire house, looking at everything we'd set up for her. Opening the presents would come when his parents would arrive, and Yuna was clearly having a hard time not touching them, so now she was just sitting on the couch, staring at them, probably hoping the wrapping would magically come off just with her staring.
Tifa had gotten her a present though, saying Yuna better open it now since she had to leave real soon, so that eased Yuna down a bit, and since it was a barbie doll, Yuna was content to play for it long enough to keep her mind off the other presents. After Tifa had gone, Leon's parents had finally arrived...
"Leon, it's nice that you've finally invited me to your home again." Leon's mother said, glancing around as she set her purse down on the coffee table. He'd warned me that she was sort of a round about kind of rude. Very passive aggressive in her criticism. It wasn't too bad so far.
"Yes, mother." Leon's voice was neutral as he kissed her cheek and took her coat. "Yuna, Grandma's here!" He yelled up the stairs and we heard Yuna come slowly down the stairs.
We waited for Yuna to get here, Leon put his arm around me. "Mother, this is my partner Cloud. Cloud, this is my mother, Raine Leonheart."
I offered her my hand with a smile, "It's nice to meet you Mrs. Leonheart." She was relatively tall for a woman, brown hair with grey streaks tied up in a tight bun on top of her head, a pair of navy pants and a beige sweater that was decorated with a pearl necklace. The heels she wore made her nearly as tall as myself. I'd wondered about Yuna's eyes, how she'd gotten to have miss matched colors, figuring that since Leon's eyes were blue, Rinoa's must have been green, but I'd seen a picture and hers were brown. Leon's mother's eyes were green though. I suppose I could see some of Leon in her, but I figured he resembled his dad more, who wasn't here today as he couldn't get out of work.
"Cloud, it's nice to meet you." She shook my hand, her eyes sweeping over me, obviously giving me the critical eye. Thank goodness Yuna came into the room and distracted her.
"Hello, Grandma." Yuna didn't run excitedly up to her, but she did look excited.
"Hello, Yuna. Happy Birthday." Giving her granddaughter a short hug, Raine turned to look around the room. "Did you help decorate today?" I felt Leon' fingers tighten on my hip, and I smothered a snort. Okay, so it was clear Leon and I couldn't start a decorating business if that was something we'd have liked to do. Anyway...
"How about we all go sit down and have Yuna blow her candles!" I said excitedly.
"Yeah!" Yuna said happily, quickly making her way to sit down by the coffee table, staying close to her presents.
"Maybe we should sit at the table so you don't make a mess sweetie." Leon's mother was staring at the two cakes with a distasteful look on her face.
"It's fine, Mother. She's old enough to eat in here." Leon's voice was still neutral and he let go of me to start getting the paper plates ready with cake on them. I'd look at my cake with a grimace too, but Leon's cake looked awesome... I think I thought Leon's mother weird. I couldn't focus on that right now though.
"So, what are you gonna wish for?" I asked, sitting myself down close by Yuna.
She giggled, poking my cheek, "I can't tell you, silly, or else it won't come true!" Yuna climbed partly onto my lap, clinging to me, "Cloud..." She wanted something, "Can I open one tiny little present?" She pleaded, bringing out the big guns as she pouted.
"After the cake, remember sweetheart?" I told her, tugging on her hair gently.
"But it's my birthday..." Major pout now.
"Argh... Okay." I grinned, reaching for the pile so I could snatch out the smallest present. Smiling, I gave Yuna the present, watching as she laughed joyfully, grabbing it greedily from my hands so she could start tearing the wrapping off it.
"Perhaps it would be best if Yuna waited. What do you think, Leon? As her father?" Raine turned to look at her son, completely serious and slightly condescending. My lips pressed tightly together, and I'm pretty sure my eye twitched at her comment, having a hard time keeping my mouth shut as that was a hard one to swallow. I managed to, figuring Leon better answer that one, instead it was Yuna who did.
"But Cloud is my dad too." She murmured absently, before shrieking happily as she saw what she'd gotten, "Hair scrunchies! And they're pink!" I stared at the girl beside me, my mouth parting as my hand absently rubbed her arm. She thought of me as her dad as well? I smiled, pulling her into my arms and giving her a hug. She giggled, hugging me back.
"You're not getting my scrunchies even if you give me the bestest hug, Cloud..." She said.
I grinned, putting her back down beside me, "Was worth a shot, wasn't it?"
"Cake!" She then said, attention span of a butterfly as she bounced on spot, tugging on Leon's pants so he would set down her plate already.
After putting the candles on, we all sang Yuna a happy birthday song, Leon's hands resting on my shoulders as he stood behind me, giving me a reassuring squeeze. After she blew her candles and then made us light them three more times to make absolutely sure her wish had gone through, she had then began the opening of presents, showing the same excitement and happiness after opening each one of them. She'd put on the Cinderella princess dress and then asked Leon to bring her doll house up to her room so she could start playing with it. Which is how I was now sitting in the living room with his mother all by myself.
"So, Cloud. Tell me a little bit about yourself. Leon hasn't mentioned a thing about you." She took a sip of tea that Leon had to make for her as she said the cake had upset her stomach.
Alright... Here goes. I'd never done the whole 'meeting the parents' thing, and I had no idea how to go about it, specially because Leon's mother seemed the kind of person to be hard to impress. I'm pretty certain I was already aware she wasn't going to like me.
"Okay, well... I'm a freelance illustrator, do story boards mostly. I-" I was going to say I met Leon through Yuna who'd skipped out of school, but she'd most likely have something to say about that, so... "I'm friends with Tifa, who's principal of the school Yuna goes too." There, that's enough, I don't have to actually lie about how we met, but now she had a connection that could dot us back together. "I'm twenty-five years old and love your son and granddaughter very much."
"A freelance illustrator?" Raising her eyebrows a little, she set her cup on the coffee table. "So it must be nice to have some stability with Leon and Yuna. I can't imagine that your income is very steady. How did Leon manage to meet someone so young?" Well she didn't beat around the bush. Apparently I was a gold digger now. Young, blond and greedy for money. Splendid.
"Actually," No way in hell I was just going to sit here and nod along, "I make more then Leon does, so now that we've combined our incomes it allows him to spend more time with his daughter. As for my age. There's only a four year age difference." Easy Cloud... Keep things polite, you can do it. "Isn't there a five year age difference between you and your husband?" Kay... That wasn't what I'd been going for. Well, couldn't take it back now, could I?
"That's beside the point." She said, waving her hand and dismissing my question. "Well, I'm glad that he is finally able to spend more time with Yuna. I offered to have her come and live with us, I'm a stay at home mom you know, but he has always been a rather stubborn child. Insisting on making his own mistakes." Pausing so she could take another drink from her tea, she continued, "But you must come down and visit us sometimes. I do miss seeing my granddaughter." Shoving my hands under the coffee table, I clutched my pants tightly, trying to put all my irritation into that little hidden action.
"Well, clearly you've done a great job with Leon, otherwise he wouldn't have been the amazing single parent he's been." Suck on that bitch. A compliment so you can't get angry at me, all the while pointing out Leon hadn't made a mistake whatsoever. "And that sounds very nice, but wouldn't it be easier if you came to visit us more often? Since you're a stay at home mom?"
"I wouldn't want to inconvenience you with my presence." She replied, tucking a stray hair behind her ears.
"Nonsense," I smiled, "You're welcome here. It would be easier for all of us that way." I was being good. What I actually wanted to say is that it would be more of an inconvenience for us to come all the way out there, considering we both have jobs and a kid to raise, than it would be to invite her into our home.
She just hummed in response, obviously not listening to a word I said, lost in her own little perfect world that no one could change. And the worst part was, she was certain that she was a loving individual, completely selfless and mistake free. No wonder Leon just tended to avoid her.
I frowned as my phone rang, fishing it out of my pocket. "Ah, excuse me, I have to take this." I smiled at Raine, "It's my mother." Zack clearly hadn't been able to keep his mouth shut about my situation, I didn't see any other reason for her to be calling. "I'll just..." I pointed at Leon and I's bedroom door, standing up and saying 'Hello Mother' into the phone as I made my way to the room to get some privacy. The first thing she said was 'What about me?', telling me I was in for it. Ugh... Clearly the universe had decided to throw everything evil at us in a short expanse of time, most likely figuring the happiness I'd been basking in with Leon had lasted long enough, hence how they'd thrown not only his mother in our faces, but mine now too.
I trudged up the stairs with the dollhouse, feeling accomplished as it was such a big hit with Yuna. At least she was glad to have it. My mother had asked if I thought she would even like playing with it, since she was so little. I'd kept my voice and face straight and reminded her that Yuna was six now and perfectly capable of playing with a dollhouse.
I hated when she implied that since I was a single parent, Yuna was suffering in developmental areas. She'd been all over Cloud helping Yuna with things which hadn't made any sense to me. She'd implied for years that I wasn't doing Yuna any favors by not getting remarried or whatever, then when I finally settle down with a partner, it's not in Yuna's best interest.
What she really wanted, was for me to beg her to take Yuna and raise her, then as I was desperate, she'd swoop in and save the day, taking all the credit and showing everyone how amazing she was as a parent. I sighed. It wasn't a battle I could win, and I was tired of playing her game. I was just happy to avoid her as much as possible. Hopefully, she'd only talk about herself or something down there with Cloud. Dear god, please let her just talk about herself.
Setting up the dollhouse, I told Yuna that she could stay up here and play, and I would clean up her party. Nodding happily and already getting out her dolls, she completely ignored me as I left. Chuckling, I closed her door. I headed to the living room and noticed that Cloud wasn't there and that my mother was collecting her things.
"I'm heading out, dear. I had a lovely time and tell Yuna that I love her." Biting back my tongue, why couldn't she just wait and go say goodbye, she waved and didn't even give me a chance to walk her outside. A normal person might accept that behavior as odd, but when my mother wanted to leave, it was always quickly. Whatever.
Where was Cloud? I heard his voice coming from the hallway leading to our bedroom, so I ignored the mess that my living room was in and headed to down the hall. Pushing our door open, I saw Cloud talking on the phone.
"Cloud? Who is it?" I kept my voice to a murmur so whoever it was wouldn't hear me.
I frowned as he was pacing the floor, one hand in his hair, tugging harshly as his teeth were gritted. He quickly glanced at me, nearly smiled, but whoever was on the phone said something that had him snapping back in the device, "Right now? You want to do this right now? It's Yuna's birthday, can we please have this talk tomorrow?" He muttered out and then sighed at whatever the person said.
"No mother, I'm not telling you I don't love you, I'm saying that I am busy and would like to talk to you about this some other da-" He groaned as apparently his mother, cut him off. Letting his head fall back on his shoulders, he was clearly trying to calm himself down by breathing steadily. "Oh for fucks sake!" He shouted, stamping his foot, "How can you possibly say I'm trying to get attention by being with a man that has a daughter, when I didn't even tell you about it?"
Walking over to the wall, he let his forehead drop against it as he listened to her reply, "Yes, I know Aerith is pregnant. No, I'm not jealous of the attention you are giving to her and Zack. I'm not trying to steal his thunder. I know he had Sora when he was only sixteen. The fact that you nearly shunned him out of the house has nothing to do with me. You know this. Again, I'm not seeking your love." He growled out before falling silent, listening as his mother most likely gave him a speech of some sort, his shoulders tensing and then he turned around, sliding down the wall so he could sit on the ground, looking utterly miserable.
"The fact that you didn't give Zack the attention he needed back then can't be blamed on me. You can't just tell me that because you are suddenly happy about Aerith having his fourth child, I'm with a man who already has a child to try and steal that attention."
He grimaced, closing his eyes as he listened to her some more. "Fine." He clipped out. "Have it your way then since you won't let it go otherwise. Here, I repeat what you want me to tell you." He took a deep breath, clearly not happy about what he was going to say, "I'm an attention seeker and am self centered. I admit it. Can you please leave me alone now?" His voice tiny.
What the fuck? Striding over to grab the phone out of his hands, I at least had the decency not to yell at someone who I'd never even met. But that didn't mean I was going to let anyone say that to Cloud.
"Excuse me, what the hell is your problem? What person in their right mind could ever call Cloud an attention seeker? Are you sure it isn't you, you hypocritical ass?" Okay, maybe not the best way to talk to my partner's mother, and maybe Cloud would get mad at me, but I could live with him being mad at me as long as I didn't have to watch some woman verbally abuse her child right in front of me.
There was a beat of silence on the other side of the phone and in that moment, Cloud got up, looking beyond hurt and extremely miserable, stepping over to me so he could hide himself in my arms.
"Who is this?" His mother finally answered. As much as I wanted to tell her it wasn't really any of her business, I acknowledged that it sort of was. I suppose she had a right to know who was yelling at her.
"This is Leon. And I will not stand for you speaking to my partner that way. So back the fuck off."
"He is my son and I'm his mother. What I say to him is none of your business, for one, and two, I know him much better than you do, dear Leon." She clipped out, "I have seen him grow up and know exactly how he is." She sighed, "You will learn in a while that he is what I told him to say he is. A mother knows best."
Cloud's arms tightened around my waist, his face pressed against my chest, "She's drunk..." He mumbled.
"That is no excuse." I told him quickly, the phone turned away for a moment. And it wasn't. Turning back, I snapped, "You know nothing about him. You are a sorry excuse for a mother if you can't see how amazing your child is. Although, you are probably jealous of him, which is just pathetic. I wouldn't call you an adult, much less a mother if you just did a drunk call to your son."
She laughed, surprising me, "He told you I was an alcoholic, didn't he? He always does that, blaming it on me being drunk. It's called attention seeking when someone lies about such a thing."
"I call it attention seeking when a grown woman has to call her son to validate her sorry existence. Especially interrupting a child's birthday party. Now, I'm giving you one chance to end this conversation pleasantly. So, take it or leave it."
"She's going to start crying now..." Cloud said.
And he was right, "I'm such a horrible person. I'm sorry... It's always all my fault." His mother said, sobbing.
Really? Tears? Rolling my eyes, I snorted. "That is pathetic. You are really a piece of work. I'm hanging up now and you can wallow in your own self pity." Glancing at Cloud, I quietly asked him if that was okay.
"I won't give you that pleasure!" Click.
"Finally! I thought she'd never shut up." Throwing the phone onto the bed, I held Cloud in my arms, almost afraid to speak. "You okay?" I whispered quietly.
"No," He muttered, pressing himself closer against me, "But thank you for doing that... I love you."
"I love you too, Cloud. And I'm sorry that you had to have this happen today." My mother being her regular charming self and then his mother saying those horrible things all on the same day wasn't really fair.
"Probably why she called. I shouldn't have picked up. I should have known it, but she wasn't always like this, so I always sorta hope she'll be like she was years ago." He groaned, "The only real reason I let her walk all over me. Because at some point in my life she didn't drink and didn't think the world revolved around her."
Nuzzling his head, I placed a quick kiss against his temple. "Parents have a way of showing us that they are human beings with faults. I guess that isn't really an excuse for her behavior, but I guess that might ease my hate for her someday." But not today. No, today was the day I could be really angry at her for making Cloud sound so miserable.
Tilting his head up, he sought my lips, kissing them softly and I was glad they quirked into a smile. "Lets not give her what she wants. We're gonna change the subject now." He murmured, "Did you hear that earlier? Yuna totally thinks I'm her dad too." I smiled and since I'd been accustomed to pushing back bitterness and anger at mother's in general, I let it go.
"Is that okay? I mean, I don't mind at all and she really loves you."
"Are you kidding?" Cloud said happily, "My heart went all fluttery and... Okay, you know how in movies or something they often say dads start to feel like dads when their baby grabs their finger? Whatever. I wasn't there when she was born, so that can't happen, but her just putting it out there without thinking about it? I guess that'll be my thing." He laughed, "So, if you're willing to share the official dad role, I'm totally telling you right now that I'm a fucking dad." Then he looked sheepish, "Scratch the 'fucking' in that exclamation, of course."
I bit my lip, thinking that perhaps there would be a better time to ask but it just seemed too perfect. "Want to get married?" Shit. "I mean, we should talk about it, just for the future or whatever."
He blinked, looking completely shocked, "Woah, Leon... You really don't build up to things, do you?" I was worried now, wondering if I'd screwed everything up by blurting that out. "I.. Oh god. Kay, shit, oh my god. Leon!" He pulled out of my arms, walking over to the bed to sit down, but then stood up, taking my hands, pulling me with him and then sat down again. "Sorry, you surprised me!" He said quickly, standing back up to frame my face, "Yeah." He then said. "I mean, yes, yeah, of course, definitely, totally, no problem, lets do that, you know, yes, I'll marry you." He said, without breathing, "Okay, I need to sit down."
I really did have the worst timing, but hearing him talk about being excited to be a dad was just so heartwarming and mushy, I couldn't hold it in anymore. "Just breathe. I'm sorry I surprised you, but I am just thinking that I'd like to introduce you as my husband in the future. Okay?"
He smiled softly, snaking his arms around my neck, kissing me, "Yes, I want that too."
Epilogue - About six months later
"Hey, Cloud. You want some more coffee?" I asked, as I got up from my desk and stretched. This working from home thing was getting easier and easier and I was thinking about taking the companies offer of working from home full time. I'd been getting more and more done lately, probably because Cloud was here and if I needed a break, he was usually in the same room and we could just relax together and take a breather.
Yuna had started first grade this year and so her school went a little later in the afternoon, and that gave us both a little extra time to work on whatever we needed to do.
His eyes still fixed on his screen, right hand wrapped around the tablet pen, he reached out with his left, grabbing my sweater and pulling me close. He then finished his line before finally giving me his attention, smiling and then waiting for me to lean down so he could give me a kiss.
"Coffee sounds good, thanks." He murmured, giving me another kiss before zoning back into the drawing. It was terribly cute the way his mind was so focused on it, but he still managed to know when I was close enough to offer a kiss. I wasn't that good, my work sometimes completely took over my brain and I could zone out completely. He'd come up with some creative ways to break my concentration over the past few months, my favorite being the one where he'd start rubbing my shoulders and he'd time it to see how long it'd take me to notice.
"Okay." I wandered out into the kitchen and decided that the four hour old batch of coffee was no longer appealing. Glancing at the clock, I figured that we had about an hour before Yuna got home from school. Because she was in first grade and not kindergarten, she was able to ride the bus home and she loved it. It was pretty hard to see her growing up and becoming so independent lately. Learning to read and discovering new things.
I sighed as the coffee maker started brewing. Pretty soon she wouldn't need us to read her bedtime stories, she'd be able to read them to us. It was slightly depressing. Cloud was slowly teaching her how to draw using his tablet thing and I thought it was adorable to see them both hovered around his computer laughing together. He'd tried to teach me how to use that thing, but I was really uncoordinated with it. But I tried every now and then.
With two fresh cups of coffee in my hands, I headed back into the office and set one down in front of Cloud which earned me another kiss. Smiling at his screen, I was thinking that he was actually drawing something just because, and not for a client. He looked pretty excited about it so it had to be just a regular one. Getting back to work, I focused on my work so that I could be done when Yuna got home and so I could start on dinner.
A while later I frowned and nearly swatted Cloud, thinking he was a fly or something as he'd begun trailing kisses along my shoulder and neck. I didn't though, thankfully realizing it was him and not a fly.
"Yuna is home." He murmured, grinning as he moved and slipped back behind his own desk.
Blinking, I came out of my concentration and noticed the clock. "Oh shit. I need to start dinner." Quickly saving and sending the current project, I heard the front door open and Yuna yell that she was home. I walked out to give her a hug and kiss, reminding her that her afternoon snack was in the fridge and that she needed to do her homework before she went outside and played.
"Okay, daddy. Is dad home?" I smiled, telling her she could find Cloud in the office and then made my way over to the kitchen while she skipped off to say hello to Cloud. We'd wondered if Yuna would get confused, calling us both dad, but generally when she said 'Dad' she didn't care which one of us would come running and when she needed one of us specifically, she'd generally add our name behind the title, 'Daddy Leon' or 'Daddy Cloud'. Actually, she did that with Cloud more since she used to call him Cloud and it wasn't as weird for her to use his name as it was using mine. Point being, she wasn't confused at all and managed to have it all make sense to her in her own way.
Glancing through the refrigerator, I pursed my lips and tried to think of what I wanted to make for dinner. Cloud was never picky about his food, pretty much eating whatever I placed in front of him, Yuna was sort of picky, never wanting her food to touch but she would eat anything that I told her to.
"Hmm, how does lasagna sound you guys?" I called, waiting to see if they would answer. I'd expected a group shout of 'sounds good!', but instead I heard Yuna's footsteps and then after a moment she poked her head in the kitchen.
"Your husband says that it sounds good." She said, giggling as she skipped back off again. I rolled my eyes, shaking my head in amusement. Yuna was still very excited that Cloud and I had gotten married not that long ago, and her being in the phase where she married off all her dolls, led her to continuously remind me I was married now and had a husband.
Not that I'd forget. It had been a small wedding, parents only invited for the ceremony as we'd wanted to celebrate the union without them to avoid any criticism from my mother and a drunken shout out from his. So the reception had taken place at the Red Lobster, because we'd both caved and allowed Yuna to pick the place. Tifa and Zell had been there and she couldn't hide the fact she was pregnant anymore, her belly starting to round up slowly.
Zack, Aerith and the kids had been there as well, which was nice because Pence was Yuna's age and Roxas was only eleven so he still allowed it to be cool to play with the younger ones. Sora hadn't minded keeping an eye on them so the grown ups could talk, the only kid having remained at the table being Selphie as Aerith had given birth since. Zack was over the moon that he'd gotten a daughter, saying that now they could stop popping out kids since they had each of both. Yuna, of course, was very happy she suddenly had four cousins and now two uncles and two aunts as well, since Tifa and Zell, although not related, pretty much fell into that category too.
"Dad!" Yuna shouted, most likely needing help with her homework or something. I was layering the lasagna, which is the main reason I didn't stop what I was doing and go help her, but also...
"Coming!" Cloud shouted back, quickly running out of the office and into the living room where Yuna was. I grinned. It had been months now that she'd started to call him 'dad', and he still got the giddy rush when hearing it, effectively leading him to hog the 'dad' shout whenever Yuna used it to get either of us their attention. Whatever worry I used to have about Cloud being able to handle the whole settling down in a home with kids and being married, had been gone for a long, long, long time now.
Done layering the lasagna, I set it into the oven, moving over to the sink to wash my hands and by the time I was drying them, Cloud was done helping Yuna with her homework, having made his way back into the kitchen, his arms coming around me as he placed a soft kiss against the back of my neck.
"Everything okay?" I hummed and turned around to bring my arms up and settle them on his hips.
"Yeah, she just wasn't sure about a word she had to read." He murmured, tilting his head up so he could kiss me softly, "Hmmm... Love you." He whispered, pressing his body closer against mine. "Wanna have another kid?"
"Really?" I couldn't keep the surprise and hope out of my voice. I'd figured that he would need a year or more before I'd be able to bring up the idea that we should have more kids. "You really want to have more?" It was something that we'd never really talked about.
He nodded his head happily, "Yeah, definitely. Maybe we can get our hands on twins..." Grinning, I nodded back at him and then made use of the four minutes tops available before Yuna would come bursting in, to give my husband a kiss that would leave his knees shaky until after dinner.
A/N: We hope that you enjoyed this story because we had a lot of fun writing it. We usually try and come up with ways to make our stories challenging and unique. This one we decided on multiple lemons and a single father. If you have any challenges that you would like to see, feel free to share your ideas:D