Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy, Square Enix does.
Warning: This story contains angst, yaoi (man on man), bi-gendered pregnancy, and family issues.
Synopsys: He was a well-to-do kid with a heavy rebellious side. She was his childhood friend. But those he hung around with were from the 'other side of the tracks'.
He gingerly washed his golden locks in the sink, wondering if his parents would even notice the new tattoo that kept him from actually taking a shower until tomorrow. He'd already brushed his teeth to try and get the smell of liquor off his breath before his goody-two-shoes friend came over and gave him another scolding.
"Cloud, Tifa's here!" called one of the maids.
Cloud sighed. Of course it would be a maid telling him. His parents were never around much; hence they hadn't noticed that their son was using his mother's maiden name instead of his father's last name. It was just one of the many things he tried to do to get their attention, and they had all failed.
"Coming." Cloud called, shrugging a long-sleeve shirt over to hide the tattoos he already had. They were tasteful, and hidden by almost any shirt, and often written in a rather nice scrolling. Even the words were often something he wouldn't have been ashamed of. But his first tattoo with his mother's name scrolled in red ink on a white ribbon, an act of pride that he'd wanted to show her, had turned into something he did out of rebellion after his father had beaten him.
"Cloud?" Tifa looked at him, her hands on her hips. Her dress was a nice crimson, but she probably could have used a bigger size. The fabric stretched over her butt and breasts, and would have given any normal man a nosebleed.
Too bad Cloud wasn't a normal man. "What do you want?" he asked as he finished toweling his hair.
Tifa frowned, and Cloud realized he should have done up the top four buttons on his shirt. "Who's Gen?" she asked.
"Genesis is a friend." Cloud returned. He wasn't about to say the guy was his Poetry teacher, or that the man had been his first sexual experience. It just wasn't something you talked to Tifa about. In fact, he couldn't talk to Tifa about much anymore without knowing that, somehow, it would get back to his father and he'd be reduced to lying in a bruised heap on his huge bed and having the maids baby him back to health.
He did up the last few buttons, only to hear the whinny bitch in front of him gasp. He sighed. "What now?" he asked.
"You got another?" Tifa asked.
Cloud followed her line of sight to the outline of the bandage covered image on his shoulder. "So, what of it?" he asked. "I'm not a kid."
"Your under-age to be getting tattoos." Tifa scolded. "And besides, your parents have arranged for you to marry me on your next birthday, remember?"
Cloud sighed. He remembered. It had been announced all over the news that Cloud Shin-ra, son of Rufus Shin-ra, would be marrying Tifa Lockhart the summer after his eighteenth birthday, which was only a week away.
"And do something about that hair. You look like a chocobo."
Cloud glowered. "I like my hair this way." he snapped. "Besides, if you want to marry a Shin-ra you'd be better off with my older brother, Terra. He would at least make you happy." he brushed past her and headed for the kitchen.
"Where are you going?" Tifa demanded, following him.
Cloud poked his head into the huge refrigerator. "Looking for something to eat." he replied.
"You can just ask the maids to get you something." Tifa returned.
"Look, bitchy, I'm not broken or that arrogant. I can get a snack on my own." Cloud found what he was looking for and pulled out a tub of yogurt. "You want anything?"
"No." Tifa frowned. "And what did you call me?"
"Bitchy." Cloud replied, retrieving a spoon from the drawer and stirring the yogurt. "I've never seen you happy aside from that day my father decided he'd force us into living together."
"You sound like you hate the idea of being with me."
"It's not far from the truth." Cloud said through a spoonful of yogurt. "You've never left me alone since kindergarten, when I made that mistake of stopping some kid from punching you. You're just a pain, always nagging me about everything." Cloud finished his yogurt, rinsed the container and the spoon, and put them away. The spoon went into the sanitizer, and the yogurt pot down the recycling chute.
"Well excuse me for wanting to know what my future husband is up to!" Tifa snapped.
Cloud ignored her, pulling on his leather jacket and gloves. He shouldered a small pack and grabbed his helmet. "Don't be surprised if I leave you bawling at the altar." he said as he walked out.
Tifa frowned and followed him. She had her own motorcycle, so it was easy to keep up with the sporty Fenrir that Cloud was driving. She even sped past him before quietly parking a few buildings away when he stopped.
Cloud got off his motorcycle and walked it into the run-down building. He slipped into one of the abandoned rooms and changed out of the prissy and stuffy rich clothes, opting for a sleeveless zip-up and loose black pants. His motorcycle boots were fine, and he slid his goggles down so that they fit properly. He attached a sword-strap and pauldron to his left shoulder before walking an entirely different bike out of the building.
"What in the world?" Tifa whispered to herself. She climbed onto her bike and followed Cloud again, wondering where on Gaia he'd managed to find such a beat-up looking hunk of junk.
Cloud skid to a stop next to where a rag-tag bunch of teens stood. Two had black hair, but one was obviously closer to Cloud's age. The other was maybe a year or two older, and seemed a little reserved. Then, there was a red-head. He was of a slender build and had fluffy red hair that was tied at the back to a long, thin ponytail. But the last one was beautiful. He stood half-a-head taller than Cloud, with broad shoulders and was dressed in black. The only difference was, he wore no shirt under his long coat, only a pair of criss-cross straps that were obviously there to hold the pauldrons in place on his shoulders. But that silver hair, which was currently tied in a bun, was what drew Tifa's eyes to him. So, naturally, she didn't notice when Cloud gave one of the others a kiss.
"So, what's the Coliseum got tonight?" Cloud asked.
"Bike battle." said the red-head. "Cissnei's in."
Cloud grinned. "Got the armor?"
The others nodded and set to work fitting what looked like curved metal pieces to the old beater Cloud was on. One of the guys handed Cloud a huge sword.
"There's no way he can use that!" Tifa gasped.
Cloud idly spun the sword once over his head before setting it in the belt on his back. "Which one of you is pit duty, and who's got body count?"
The silverette raised his hand. "I'm pit duty."
"I got body-count." said the red-head.
"So that leaves you two to pick me and the bike up if I go down." Cloud grinned.
"You won't." said the ravenette with the hedge-hog hair. "You never do."
Tifa followed them into the huge makeshift arena, grudgingly paying out five dollars for her seat. She swallowed when she saw the landscape.
A packed-dirt pit with several humps and pits through it, with a few metal dividers set up here and there. The sides of the arena had metal shelters set up, where riders would stop to refuel their machines before continuing this crazy deathtrap game. This did NOT look like something Rufus Shin-ra would approve of if he knew of it's existence.
A scantily-clad woman stepped out into the arena. She was wearing a harness with a line to it, and Tifa guessed this was so she could get out when this crazy game would begin. The girl held up a black cloth and a white cloth. The first down was the black, closely followed by the white. As Tifa had guessed, the line was to get her out.
Monsters filled the arena, specifically several discarded lab experiments and a few behemoths. The seven motorcyclists revved their engines and shot out of the fuel stations. Each one was armed, and the place was soon a bloodbath. Two riders went down, their crews barely able to grab them using the deterrent sounders.
Tifa gasped, putting her hand over her mouth as Cloud took a jump and slashed a behemoth through the throat. He seemed to be acting recklessly, as though his own life didn't matter. The huge behemoth let out a howl and tried to attack, but Cloud skid the bike sideways underneath and carved out it's belly. With a scream, the beast died.
The crowd cheered as two more fighters went down and the last behemoth went with them. Only three fighters remained: Cloud, a youth with shoulder-length silver hair, and a girl with crimpy red locks. One that used a broadsword, one katana wielder, and one using a strange round weapon.
Suddenly, the big doors opened, in in burst a King Behemoth. The crowd cheered as the trio raced in for the chance to kill the monster. They moved quickly, but the silverette went down. Tifa gasped, and things seemed to move in slow motion.
The girl threw her weapon, slashing the Behemoth in the face and blinding one eye. Cloud skid under a paw, cutting the fleshy pad with his broadsword. He hit a jump, twisting his bike around in mid-air and slashing the other leg. The girl gashed the beast down the side as Cloud landed and charged forward, holding his sword high and carving the monster from chest to rump. The beast fell, dead, kicking up dust as it crashed.
When the dust settled, only the girl was left. Cloud was nowhere to be seen, even though it was obvious he'd made the kill. The girl stopped her bike and ran over to where someone was pinned, trying to help them out. The person got out, blood marring their clothes and one arm hanging loose.
"The winner of tonight's Bike Battle: Cloud Strife!"
The crowd cheered, but Tifa looked puzzled. Hadn't she followed Cloud Shin-ra? When had he changed places with this guy?
Cloud walked the damaged bike back towards where his friends were waiting. He was limping, and nearly fell on one of them.
"I gotcha, buddy." said the ravenette hedgehog. "Look, you guys get his bike fixed, I'll get him home."
"Sure, Zack." said the silverette. "I'll bring his regular bike back later. Tell his folks I'm fixing it, that a tire blew or something."
"Front or back?" Zack asked.
"Make it the back, those ones are the worst."
Zack nodded and sat Cloud reverse in front of him on his own motorbike. He noticed Cloud pass out on the way back and figured he'd probably earned himself a concussion from the King Behemoth landing on him. He drove over to the impressive Shin-ra Estate and knocked, holding Cloud in his arms.
Evelyn Shin-ra answered the door this time. "Hello, Zackary."
"Good evening, Mrs. Shin-ra. Just bringing Cloud home." Zack replied.
Evelyn looked at her son, who was lying peacefully in Zack's arms. She glanced behind him. "Where's Cloud's motorcycle?"
"Blew the back tire, did a header when it went."
"That explains the marks and his limp arm. Bring him in."
Zack carried Cloud in, up the servant's stairs and to his room. Zack, because he was a slum kid, wasn't allowed to walk the regular hallways. But he knew every servant's trail in the place like the back of his hand.
Cloud moaned slightly as he was lain in his bed and looked over at Zack. "What?"
"You blew a tire, the back one, and did a header when it exploded. Racked yourself up pretty good. Just rest, buddy. Sephy's got it getting fixed."
Cloud nodded, knowing Zack was outlining the alibi they were going to be feeding his parents. He swallowed when he saw the house doctor come up to attend to his injuries.
Zack caught the glare Cloud's mother was giving him and stood. "I'd better be leaving." he said with a sigh.
As soon as he was gone, Evelyn grabbed Cloud`s shoulder, making him hiss in pain. "So, what's this one got on it?"
Cloud's head was spinning, and he felt sick. He fell limp in his mother's grasp, trying not to lose the yogurt he'd eaten before the bike fight. His vision began to fade as his mother demanded to know what was under the bandaging that covered his tattoo.
"Cloud Shin-ra, answer me!" Evelyn shouted. It was no good. Cloud dropped into unconsciousness, leaving her to let him go and nod for the doctor to do his work.
Cloud came downstairs the next morning, already knowing what was coming. For that reason, he wore a short-sleeved shirt and his jeans. He was right.
Rufus grabbed him and tore the sleeve, showing the beautiful scrolled ribbon and brown calligraphy writing that graced his shoulder. The angry man didn't even bother to notice that the writing named his fiancé; he just belted Cloud across the face.
Cloud went down without a fight. He just lay there, letting Rufus haul him to his feet and then punch him down again, with the occasional kick to the stomach. Eventually, Rufus stopped and walked away, ordering the doctor to remove the tattoo in the cruelest manner he could think of.
Evelyn sighed and helped Cloud up. That was when she saw the writing. "You tattooed Tifa's name to your arm?" she asked.
"You're forcing me to marry her; I thought it would be appropriate." Cloud held his stomach, knowing something was wrong. He headed back up to his room, where he removed his shirt. His body was covered in the scars where he'd fought back from having specific names removed. Zack. Sephiroth. Genesis. Terra. Evelyn. Rufus. Ventus. Angeal. Aerith. Vincent. Reno. All names he'd had marked to his body because they were people important in his life. The names that had actually been removed, he still had photographs of, alongside photographs of the person the name belonged to. Kadaj. Yazoo. Loz. Cissnei. Tseng. Elena. Rude. Barret and Marlene. Bartz. Aqua. Sora. Squall. Cid and Shera. Those that had been 'taken' from him when his father had beaten him into unconsciousness.
The doctor arrived. "You're still conscious?" He seemed amazed.
Cloud looked away. "Whatever." he mumbled.
The doctor walked over and saw that Cloud was starting to bruise in several places, most notably his shoulders and stomach. "There is nothing I can do about that tattoo with the way you're bruising." He attended to the split lip. "Some of these bruises are a little older, though. I recognize them from last night. What happened?"
"Back tire on my Fenrir blew and I did a header into the pavement." Cloud returned.
The days flew past as he recovered from the beating, and fairly soon his birthday was upon him.
He hated it. The whole place was decorated with lights and colorful banners, there were mountains of food and fountains of wine. All the guests were from the upper class; Cloud's real friends weren't even on the guest list because they were all 'slum kids'. In fact, only Tifa, Angeal, and Genesis were there, and the last two because they were his teachers.
Tifa looked up at Cloud. She had been told she had to remain by his side the whole night, but it was so boring when Cloud seemed to have his mind elsewhere. It also didn't help that he was also avoiding his parents as much as possible.
"Cloud, is something wrong?" Tifa asked.
"I hate this." Cloud muttered.
"What?" Tifa sighed. "Is it because I'm here?"
"Well, there is that." Cloud said. "No, it's just that . . . my friends. They're missing this."
"But these are your friends." said Tifa.
"Correction; these are the brats from my father's business connections. They are neither my friends nor my peers. The only two on the list I submitted that were allowed here are my Math and Poetry teachers." Cloud sighed. "I need to step outside."
Tifa followed, knowing that Rufus Shin-ra was watching everything they were doing. She noticed that Cloud used a servant's passage to escape the party and get into the kitchen, and that he collected what seemed to be leftovers and scraps from plates that had been removed from the party. Grabbing a bottle of cheap wine, he stepped out into the loading dock area just outside.
Zack looked up. "Hey, how's it going in there?"
"It's going." Cloud replied. He smiled at his small group of friends. The red-head was there, and the other ravenette. There was one of the off-duty security guards there, too; a tall, well-built chocolate-skinned fellow with his hair braided in corn-rows. There were also a few of the security personnel there as well.
Cloud handed the red-head the bag of food and the bottle of wine. "Sorry, but it's all I could scrounge up with the guys in the kitchen. Tseng saw me, but didn't say anything. He'll probably be out to join you guys soon."
"Eh, he was made for those kinds of parties." said a little ravenette. Her hair was tied back with a headband, and she wore Wutainese clothing.
"And you are . . ."
"Yuffie!" the girl replied. "Tseng was asked to watch me, but he had to do shift at your father's big party, so I'm out here with Reno."
Cloud sighed. "Uh, yeah, about that . . ."
"Cloud, who are these?"
He suddenly stiffened, then turned to look. "Oh, it's just you. I thought it was my mother." He sighed. "Tifa, these are my real friends." He motioned towards the group.
"Wow. Mind if I ask who they are? By name, if it's alright." said Tifa.
"I'm Sephiroth, and these are my younger brothers, Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo." said the silverette with the ankle-length hair. "We run a garage that fixes mostly motorbikes."
"Barret Wallace." said the security guard. He pulled out a wallet-size photo. "This here's my daughter, Marlene."
Tifa smiled. "She's cute."
"Reno Sinclair, Elena, Rude, and Cissnei, all private security, yo." said the red-head. "And while on Mr. Shin-ra's payroll . . ." He noticed Cloud motion something and continued, "We are loyal only to Cloud."
"Tseng, too." said Elena.
"So that's why he said nothing." said Tifa.
"I'm Zack Fair, and this is Vincent Valentine." said the spikey ravenette. "So, who is the lady?"
Before Cloud could say anything, Tifa gushed out, "I'm Tifa Lockhart, Cloud's fiancé."
Cloud facepalmed. The others stared.
"You said nothing about this, Cloud." came a low voice.
"Sorry, Vincent." Cloud returned. "Some people need to learn when to shut up." He turned and walked back into the house.
"What's his problem?" asked Tifa.
The others were all silent.
"I asked a question." Tifa repeated.
"Why don't you go back to the party, yo?" suggested Reno.
Tifa bit her lip and left, feeling as though she was missing something. When she re-entered the room where the party was, everything seemed alright. The people were still laughing and talking, Rufus was still making a drunk ass of himself, and the guests were all being their usual sociable selves.
"Where's Cloud?" asked Evelyn as she came up beside Tifa.
"He didn't come back?" Tifa asked. "We stepped out for some air, but he went in before I did."
"Where could that boy be?" Evelyn wondered. "We're supposed to toast your upcoming marriage to end the party, and he's not here."
Cloud suddenly seemed to materialize next to his mother. "I'm here. Just had to freshen up." Tifa noted that he was wearing a pair of black gloves.
Cloud went through the motions of the toast, but rather than drink from the glass, he faked it and spat the contents into a plant pot afterwards, pouring the rest of his drink with it. He had a feeling it had been spiked, and he was right. As he made his way up to his room, his body started to feel hot.
Damn it. I must have swallowed a small amount, he thought. He staggered into his room and locked the door. He didn't want his parents forcing him into something that he would regret later. Quickly, he stripped out of the fancy clothes and shrugged on his satin housecoat.
There was a knock at the door. "Cloud, are you alright?" It was his mother.
"I'm fine." Cloud replied. He sat on the bed and pulled his gloves off, showing the bandaging he'd had to do hurriedly before the toast.
"You don't sound well. Should I send Tifa in to help you?"
"Keep her away from me!" Cloud snapped. He gripped his aching member in his hands and started to stroke himself. "Just . . . go away." He began to pant as he raised a leg up onto the bed, bent at the knee.
He didn't answer, only placed two fingers into his mouth and began to suck on them while he continued to stroke his cock. Oh, how it ached!
"Cloud?" Evelyn was starting to sound worried. "Rufus, Cloud's not answering his door."
Cloud figured his fingers were wet enough and lay back on his bed. His hand still rubbed up and down his red member, and his fingers found his twitching entrance. With a sharp inhale, he drove two into himself, pausing a moment to get used to the intrusion.
"Cloud Shin-ra, answer me!" That harsh voice belonged to Rufus.
Cloud began stroking again, plunging his fingers in and out of his ass as he did so. The feeling was undeniably good, and he began to gasp and pant. He moaned softly, trying not to say the name that came to mind. With a grunt and a gasp, he came all over his chest and abdomen. Carefully, he pulled his fingers from his ass and sighed.
"Cloud, open this door now!" Rufus shouted.
Cloud sighed again. The heated sensation was dissipating, so he pulled himself up and walked over, doing up the housecoat in order to cover what he'd just done. He unlocked the door and stepped back, putting his hands behind him.
Rufus slammed the door open. "What took you so long?!" he demanded.
Cloud took another step back. "Can I not make myself presentable before getting the door? You could have thought that through, first."
Rufus went to strike at Cloud, but the youth caught his hand. His eyes widened when he saw the bandages that wound over his hand. "What did you do?" he snarled.
Evelyn gasped. "Cloud, the vanity . . ."
"I hit it." Cloud said evenly. "I'm tired and cranky, so will you please just leave me alone, and send that bitch Tifa away." He let go of Rufus's hand.
Rufus went to say something, but Evelyn put her hand on his shoulder and guided him out. They both heard the door lock as they left.
"That boy is trying my patience." snorted Rufus. He noticed a young man about two years older than Cloud standing at the door of the next room over. His brown hair and eyes seemed solemn, and he watched as Rufus and Evelyn walked away.
The young man walked over and knocked on Cloud's door. "Cloud, you awake?"
Cloud answered the door. "Hey, Terra. Come on in."
Terra stepped in, noticing the broken vanity mirror. "Let me see your hand." he said as the door closed.
Cloud didn't argue and sat, holding out his hand for Terra to attend to.
"Is something wrong?" the elder brother asked.
"Why me?" Cloud asked. "I thought you were the eldest, and that they'd try to get you married first."
"I may be the eldest, but I'm not Evelyn Shin-ra's son." Terra replied. "Thus, I'm an embarrassment to the family and kept away. Unofficially, I don't even have the Shin-ra name."
Cloud blinked at him. "Is that why I have to marry Tifa?"
Terra nodded. "Though I am expected to stand as your best man at the wedding. It's mostly for ceremony, though, considering my mother's a maid."
"Who's?" Cloud asked. "Sorry, I shouldn't pry."
"Your wet-nurse, Aqua Marine." Terra replied. "Sora's my half-brother."
Cloud sighed. "I don't want to marry her." he said. "Tifa admires you more, and besides, the name on the wedding forms is wrong."
"What do you mean?" Terra asked. He finished bandaging the hand properly.
"It says Cloud Shin-ra." was the reply. He looked at Terra. "I've legally renounced that name."
Terra stared at him.
"My legal name is Cloud Strife." He looked at his brother. "And that makes Ventus the heir."
Terra snorted. "So, you've made it that the only one of us with any interest in the company can get it? You are cunning."
"Thank you, I try." Cloud sighed. "Terra?"
"Will you . . . stand in for me at the wedding, if I don't show?"
"You hate the idea of being with Tifa, don't you?"
"Yeah, especial since . . . umm . . ."
Terra tilted his head. "What is it? Are you sick or something?"
"Father would say I am." Cloud replied, looking away.
Terra sighed. He understood. "Alright, Cloud. I'll take your place at the wedding ceremony when you don't come."
The three weeks to the wedding sped past. Cloud had no idea what to expect, though he did know that his mother was planning the whole affair. When he saw the way the grand hall was decorated, he felt ill.
Terra swallowed. "I can see why you don't want to go through with this." he said. "Well, we'd better wait at the altar."
Cloud nodded and took the side entrance, where he, Terra, and three guys he didn't know stood with him. Cloud coughed lightly into his hand and swallowed a small pill. Sure enough, within half an hour, he was feeling ill. Noticeably.
"Cloud?" asked Terra. "Are you alright?"
He shook his head. "I need the washroom." he said, brushing past.
"Ceremony starts in ten minutes." said Terra as his brother left. Right on cue.
The minutes flew past as Cloud changed from the stuffy suit to casual women's wear, including a wig. He stuffed the suit into a bag and slipped up to his room unnoticed.
Five minutes left. The bag was ditched under the bed, and he grabbed his backpack before climbing out onto the trellis that went up to his window.
Three minutes left. He slipped past a few security guards and headed to where Sephiroth had parked his old Hardy Daytona near the bushes at the front gate, which was open.
One minute. He sped away, not daring to look back.
At the grand hall, everyone seemed to be looking around for Cloud. The ceremony was supposed to be starting, and the groom was nowhere in sight. They could only delay a few minutes before they would have to either cancel, which would upset Tifa's father, who was a major government player, or follow through with the best man taking the groom's place.
"We have no choice." said Evelyn after fifteen minutes of searching. "Call it off."
"We can't." said Rufus. "The bride's father has ties to every major government office and media outlet. We have to go through."
"But Cloud's not here." said Evelyn. "No-one's seen him."
Rufus glowered. "He's forcing us to have to accept Terra." he growled.
Tifa came over, dressed in her wedding gown. It was a lovely collection of white ruffles and lace that made her look almost like Cinderella. "Why hasn't it started yet?" she asked.
"Cloud's not here." said Rufus. "The brat got cold feet and ran."
Evelyn sighed ."And Terra's . . ."
"I'll still go through with it." said Tifa. Inside, she was happy. Trying to be friends with Cloud all those years had really been trying to get to see and know Terra, who had rescued her at a playground when she was just a little thing. Even accepting the marriage to Cloud had been in hopes of being closer to Terra. Now, she was secretly getting her heart's desire.
"Are you sure?" asked Evelyn.
Tifa nodded. "Father won't care, as long as I'm married off to one of Rufus Shin-ra's sons, he'll still have what he wants."
Rufus left to inform the wedding party of the change, and Terra stepped over to take the place of the groom. The music began, and the wedding procession started coming down the aisle.
Meanwhile, Cloud sped along the roads towards the slums. He stopped at an old apartment and slipped in to get changed out of the dress and wig and into something a bit more comfortable. There was a sound as he slipped the dress off his shoulders, and he looked around for the cause. He found it in a pair of bright red eyes that seemed to glow from the darkness.
"Vincent?" Cloud whispered.
The ravenette appeared, putting his arms around Cloud. He held the blond protectively, fiercely, and yet at the same time, lovingly.
Cloud looked up at him. "Vincent, I'm sorry about what Tifa said at the party. I just . . ."
"It's alright." said Vincent. "I was actually planning on going to that stupid wedding and making off with you, but Zack said not to. Now I understand why." He loosened his grip on Cloud and tilted the shorter's chin up. Gently, he claimed those soft rose-petal lips for his own, nibbling the lower one gently and licking the inner walls of Cloud's mouth with his tongue. His hands wandered down Cloud's body, sliding the dress from his slender frame while Cloud made quick work of Vincent's shirt and pants. Clothing was discarded here and there with reckless abandon, and the kisses became deeper and more passionate.
Vincent tossed Cloud onto the nearby bed, mounting up after him and rather roughly taking Cloud's unprepared ass. The youth under him cried out in pain and lust, yelping and nearly screaming as Vincent pounded away into him. His hands pinned Cloud's down, and his mouth crashed into the younger's, reveling in the muffled sounds his young lover made. He changed his angle of attack, and his cock hit Cloud's prostate. There was a different kind of scream, one of pure lust and enjoyment, so Vincent kept hitting him there, forcing his lover closer and closer to the edge of lustful insanity. Carefully, he wrapped his hand around Cloud's hardened length and began to pump it in rhythm with his own thrusts. Cloud whimpered and moaned.
"V-Vince-Vincent!" Cloud shrieked, his hot white seed spraying all over his chest and abdomen and coating Vincent's fingers.
Vincent grunted. "C-Cl-Cloud!" He groaned as he filled Cloud's ass with his own warm essence.
The two collapsed together onto the bed, basking in their endorphin-riddled high. Neither knew when they had fallen asleep, but the sun was setting by the time they both woke up.
"The wedding should be over." said Cloud.
"Mhm." mumbled Vincent. He cupped Cloud's cheek in his hand and gently turned his lover's face towards him. His lips connected softly with Cloud's, pulling him into a soft embrace. "I love you, Cloud."
Cloud smiled. "I love you, too."
Vincent looked at Cloud. "So, umm, now that you're away from your father, what are you going to do for money?"
Cloud looked at Vincent. He'd discussed this several times with him, but Vincent seemed to need to know that this was what Cloud was going to do. "I'm a whore, Vincent. You know that. Even when I lived at my father's estate, I slept with other men. It's the only thing I'm good at aside from the bike battles."
Vincent sighed. "I know, Cloud. It's just . . ."
"You're other half, right?" Cloud asked. "Chaos wants me all for himself, doesn't he?"
Vincent nodded. "Not only does Chaos want you for a mate, he's detected an anomaly and wants to abuse it."
"Something changed with the introduction of Mako to my body, didn't it?" He felt Vincent draw him closer.
"Yes." Vincent whispered. "Chaos has detected that, and also that you were hiding something else." He leaned closer and whispered, "Futanari."
Cloud swallowed. "It wasn't functional, so I never . . ."
"The Mako changed that, Cloud."
His blue eyes looked up into Vincent's crimson. "So, Chaos wants . . . a baby?"
Vincent nodded. "Specifically, he wants to mate with you and have you produce a child."
Cloud sighed. A child? He was only eighteen. How would they get what would be needed for a baby, since at the moment Vincent was the only one that worked. Still, if they thought it over, they might be able to make it work out.
Vincent could see Cloud was thinking about this. "The Turks who serve you faithfully already knew of your escape plan, and what Chaos has wanted of you. Everything is already prepared, Cloud. There is a home for us, and a place arranged for the child, should one come along." He gently stroked Cloud's corn silk hair. "There's nothing to worry about. They even arranged for a doctor for you."
"Reno Sinclair." Cloud whispered. "He may not show it, but he is a medical professional."
"So are Cissnei, and Tseng." Vincent replied. "Get dressed, love. We're going home."
Home. It was a word that seemed foreign to Cloud, and yet when Vincent said it, it felt warm and inviting. He dressed in his black sleeveless and jeans, pulling on his boots before stepping outside. The two climbed onto the Hardy Daytona and sped for the slums, their new home.
The six Turks stood before Rufus Shin-ra the next day, half listening as he ranted and demanded that they find his ungrateful bastard of a son and drag him back to the estate. Vincent was counting down the hours left until he would be able to return home to his precious lover.
"Are you even listening to me?!" Rufus shouted.
"Sir, yes sir." the Turks all replied, snapping to attention.
"Then find him!"
Tifa leaned her head on Terra's shoulder. She didn't like how cranky her father-in-law was, or how teary her new mother-in-law was, either. Rufus had been pissed about Cloud ditching on the wedding, but the marriage to Terra couldn't have been better. Terra would now inherit the entirety of the Lockhart Media Company, leaving Ventus to inherit Shin-ra Electric Company. There was really no need to find Cloud aside from the fact that he was the only one of the Shin-ra boys that had been exposed to Mako.
"Tifa, dear." said Terra. "We should head over to the company. I need to familiarize myself with the job."
Tifa nodded. "Right."
As they drove along they passed Vincent, who was talking to a pretty young lady with corn silk blonde hair.
"Please, just head back home." said Vincent. "Mr. Shin-ra's looking everywhere for you."
"That's kinda why I'm here. They stormed our home." Cloud looked up at Vincent, his face full of fear. "It was Gino, leading a group of infantrymen. They . . . the whole place is . . . they burned it, Vincent." He started to cry. "The bar's gone, too."
Vincent sighed and dialled Tseng.
"Yes?" said the lead Turk.
"We have a problem." Vincent said. He pulled Cloud close and ducked down an alleyway. "Gino's also been assigned to look for Cloud. He's already torched the Bumble-bee Bar where we'd been living."
Tseng paused. "Seventh Heaven." he said. "The last game on the right. Order a whiskey and rye, and give the barman a twenty-five gil tip. He'll hide you for me."
"Thanks." said Vincent. "Come on."
Cloud followed, worried that something might have been up. He didn't question, or really say anything, when they stepped into the little bar and Vincent placed the order. The man nodded and handed the raven-haired Turk a key, motioning to the game on the far end and to the right.
Vincent slipped the key in, and the game moved, revealing a door. He led Cloud through and down into the basement. "Stay here." said Vincent.
"But . . ." Cloud suddenly fell silent as they heard heavy steps above. They could hear Gino swearing at the man behind the bar, and then the sound of the place being ransacked. Then, silence.
Tseng stepped into the bar. "Gino." he said. He looked around. "This isn't very civilized, now, is it? Busting up people's livelihood just because they happen to live down here in the slums? For shame."
Gino huffed. "I'm looking for a fugitive."
"So are we, yo." said Reno. "Now, I heard you torched the Bumble-bee Bar, down under the fifth plate, yo."
"So, what of it?" Gino demanded. He puffed out his chest to try and make himself look bigger, and a lock of his shock-white hair fell into his face.
"That's where Vincent lived." said Elena. "So, basically, you just ousted a Turk from his home."
"Some dumb broad was living there, not Vincent. Had everything set up for a kid." Gino said in his defence.
"Vincent's personal life is none of your concern." said Cissnei, tossing her red crimped hair over her shoulder. "Although, he did mention a lover."
"Yeah, and that he may want to settle and have a family, yo."
Vincent smirked. He had mentioned those things, and around Gino, too. He gently stroked Cloud's hair, trying to calm his lover.
Gino suddenly felt foolish. "Well, uh, there's a place over under the seventh plate that has a vacancy, I'll put the first and last down for him if he likes it." He handed Tseng the address, then hurried out.
Tseng waited until Gino was out of sight, then knocked on the side of the game. Vincent and Cloud stepped out of the hiding place behind the wall. "You heard that?" he asked.
"How could I not? His voice is loud enough to wake the dead." Vincent returned. "Still, Cloud and I will take a look at this place before taking Gino up on his offer."
"Vincent, now I have to find work." said Cloud. "We need to at least have something to sleep on."
"Work here." said the bar man. "I pay minimum, you work six hours a day, Monday to Friday. In cash, so da big man doesn't know." He smiled. "You's a good boy, Cloud Strife."
Cloud blinked at him. "Thanks, Benny."
"You know Benny?' asked Tseng.
"Who else in all of Midgar would honestly let me drink before my birthday?" Cloud returned. "Benny is the husband of my wet-nurse, so yeah, I know him."
"I say nothing. Cloud's good boy. I wish Sora was even half da man he is." Benny said. "Now, go embarrass dat ass of a man that ruined ma bar."
Vincent smiled and took Cloud with him to the location on the address card. The place was nice, a fairly large size, and included a loft bedroom over the livingroom.
"I like it." said Cloud. He looked around, trying to visualize the place set up for a baby. He could picture a few different ways, and was happy that the kitchen included a bar-counter that looked into the livingroom.
"Good." Vincent contacted Gino and let him know they were accepting the apartment. Arrangements were made, and then the other Turks were notified.
It was four days later that the home was furnished with a double bed, a couch, and some basic kitchenware. Cloud worked hard at Seventh Heaven, always dressed as a girl, and was able to pick up some necessary items, like food.
But his love life with Vincent was under stress. Cloud worked from five in the morning to eleven, and often came home, showered, cleaned the house, cooked dinner, and did the laundry in a washtub and had to hang it out to dry. Vincent worked from seven in the morning till six at night, often hearing Rufus yell at them to find Cloud and then deflecting anyone who decided to check out the loft apartment under plate seven where a corn silk blonde was usually seen hanging out clothes. The bonus was that Cloud often wore women's clothing, so it was easy to say that it was his girlfriend doing the laundry. But he was always exhausted when he came back. They ate together, and then Cloud would do the dishes. The pair would be tired, so they would go crawl into bed, where they would exchange a few light, loving kisses, and Cloud would snuggle into Vincent's chest before they would fall asleep.
Three months passed before Rufus called off the search. He had other things on his mind. Terra and Tifa had announced that Tifa was expecting, so now he was trying to figure out how to use the baby as further leverage with the Lockhart Media Company.
Vincent was relieved when Rufus called off the search. While Cloud was still being looked for, it had been downgraded significantly from a priority to one of the things they were just to keep an eye out on. He decided now was a good time to ask.
"Hmm? What is it?" Rufus asked harshly.
""I would like to get some time off."
Reno was passing the door when he heard the answer.
"My girlfriend has been taking care of my place for me, and . . ."
"Yeah, whatever." said Rufus. "Take a week off, starting tomorrow." He finished his coffee in one gulp. "Ventus!"
Vincent left, stepping aside for a sixteen-year-old boy with mixed wheat colored hair. He'd seen the boy enough to know that he was Ventus Shin-ra, and the only Shin-ra child interested in the company.
"Your girlfriend?" asked Reno. "What's up, yo?"
"Claudia is working herself half-crazy around the apartment, setting it up for something that won't happen unless I get time off." Vincent replied.
Reno nodded. "Hey, when you get home, tell her I said hi, yo."
Vincent smiled softly, then headed to his desk. It was only an hour until he went home, and he couldn't help but wonder if Cloud had made soup for dinner. He collected a few personal things from his desk and slipped them into his briefcase. He clock-watched for a while after, until it said six pm. His one-week vacation was starting.
Cloud looked up from washing the clothes. It was almost six-thirty, so Vincent would be home soon. He pulled out the heavy black shirt, made heavier by the water, and tried to wring it out before hanging it outside on the laundry line. As he stepped outside, he spotted Vincent walking over from the train station, and smiled. He liked his life away from Shin-ra; his new life with Vincent/Chaos was much simpler, much sweeter.
"Welcome home!" Cloud called as Vincent stepped in. He walked in and untied the apron from around his waist, lifting the loop from over his head. He leaned up and gave Vincent a kiss.
"I'm home." Vincent smiled, wrapping his arms around Cloud. He felt tired and worn, but the pain could wait. He was holding his beloved Cloud in his arms, and there was a light fragrance in the air. Vincent smiled again. "You showered recently?"
Cloud nodded. "I made onion soup for dinner."
Vincent smiled again, tilting Cloud's face up to look at him. "Working tomorrow?"
"It's Saturday tomorrow." said Cloud. "I'm home all day."
Vincent nodded. "Good." He kissed Cloud lovingly. "I'm home, too."
They sat and ate supper, telling each other about the other's day.
"Claudia?" Cloud asked.
"Well, your father's office door was open, so I didn't want to use your name, so I picked one that sounded similar." Vincent replied.
"I like it." Cloud smiled. "You can call me Claudia while you work."
Vincent smiled, blinking when the onion pieces in his soup seemed to float just right to make a happy face. Then, he began to laugh.
Cloud looked over, laughing as well when he saw the pieces.
After dinner, Cloud went to do the dishes, but instead of being alone, Vincent stepped in to dry them.
"This is new." Cloud said.
"I want to spend as much time with you on my vacation as possible." Vincent said. He dried a bowl.
"Thanks." Cloud smiled. He drained the sink and watched the bubbles go down while Vincent finished up with the silverware. He felt his lover's strong arms around him, and sleep was starting to overtake him. With a soft sigh, he passed out in Vincent's arms.
"Cloud?" Vincent looked down at the tired youth. He knelt and scooped Cloud up bridal style, carrying his sleepy lover up to bed. While Vincent had had other ideas, lovemaking could wait until tomorrow.
Cloud snuggled next to Vincent as the light began to come through the curtains. He was feeling warm, but in a good way. His hand wandered down towards Vincent's lower regions, smiling when he noticed Vincent was sleeping naked. For that matter, when had he fallen asleep? The last thing he remembered was Vincent holding him, and then . . .
Vincent groaned slightly and looked at Cloud. "You going to do anything, or are you just going to touch?"
Cloud blushed and shifted, realizing he was also naked. When had that happened? He slipped on top of Vincent and rubbed his already hard length against Vincent's growing erection. "Vincent . . ."
The older grinned and placed three fingers in Cloud's mouth. "Suck." he said. He grunted and moaned as Cloud sat himself upright, wrapping his delicate fingers around Vincent's hand and sucking hungrily at those semi-calloused fingers. All too soon they were slipped out of his mouth and he was turned around. Cloud glanced back a moment, moaning as Vincent licked his hardness and slipped a slicked finger into his ass. Cloud frowned. This wasn't going to give Chaos, or him, what was wanted.
Vincent looked at Cloud quizzically when the younger suddenly moved, slipping his ass away from him. "Cloud . . ?"
Cloud turned back to face Vincent and ground his hips against the other, trying to feel something out. That heat in his body wasn't from his need for a good old gay fuck. It felt deeper, like it was in the pit of his stomach. Reaching his hands down, he pressed Vincent's hard length at the small space just in front of his ass. He looked at Vincent before trying to lower himself onto his lover.
Vincent's heart nearly tore in two at seeing the tears run down Cloud's face. He'd wanted to wait until at least until that afternoon before using Cloud's 'special place', but apparently Cloud had other ideas.
Cloud swallowed. It hurt so badly, and he was sure something had torn inside him, but he wanted this. He was ready to take the responsibility of parenthood, if it was granted him. Slowly, he began to move.
It didn't take long for the movements to become more fluid, before Vincent was bucking his hips up into Cloud, holding him pinned against the wall. Cloud gasped and clawed at Vincent's back, screaming out in pleasure as he was filled with his lover's seed.
"By the way, I called Benny." said Vincent after the few minutes it took to calm his breathing.
"And?" Cloud asked. He was still panting.
"You've got the next week off as well." Vincent said with a smile.
"So, you up for another round?" Cloud asked.
The next seven days were a blur of pleasure. Any time either of them was up for it, they had sex. It didn't matter how. More often than not, it was Cloud's feminine parts that got the attention, but there were also times when it was Vincent getting sucked off, or their more usual way of having sex.
All too soon, Vincent's vacation was over. Things went back to normal for the most part. Cloud would get up early and go in to work, come home, cook and clean. Vincent would get up, go to work, come back, they would have dinner, and then cuddle on the couch watching the world go by outside.
And then, Vincent came home to find something wrong. The laundry was sitting in the tub, still waiting to be hung. Supper hadn't even been started yet, and there was the sound of water running from the bathroom. He decided to check there, see if everything was alright.
"Cloud?" He stepped in to find the shower running, but the door was open. Cloud lay on the floor of the stall, water hitting his half-clothed body. He was panting hard, but didn't seem conscious.
Vincent turned the water off and picked Cloud up, carrying him to the livingroom and stripping him out of his wet clothes. Gently wrapping his lover in a towel, Vincent checked his forehead. "You're a little warm. Just rest, I'll order something out and get the laundry finished."
Cloud didn't answer, just lay there. He shifted when the doorbell rang, but didn't move much aside from that. He noticed Vincent check his temperature with the thermometer, and tried to speak. "Vin . . . Vincent." he managed to croak out.
"Shh, it's alright." said Vincent. He held Cloud close for a moment. "I called Reno to take a look at you."
Cloud slipped in and out of consciousness for the next while, so he didn't notice when Vincent had to get up to get the door.
Reno walked over, carrying his bag. "He doesn't look too good, yo." he said. He checked Cloud's temperature. "It's a little warm. Has he eaten or drank anything?"
"Not since I got home." Vincent replied. "I found him lying in the shower, panting like he was out of breath. Water was cold, too."
"Hmm." Reno took a blood sample from Cloud's arm. "Hey, uh, when you had your vacation time, did Chaos . . ."
Vincent suddenly got a shock through his skull, and he gripped his head. "You were saying, Reno?"
"Did he actually mate with Cloud?" Reno asked, doing a few tests.
"Not directly, but yes, Cloud and I were active in that regard."
"Well, that explains this test result, then, yo." Reno replied. He looked up at Vincent. "He's pregnant."
. . . when Vincent came to, Reno was looking at him with a smile. "He's what?"
"Pregnant, yo. You know, with child, gonna have a baby, that kinda thing."
Vincent looked at Cloud. "Is that why he's feverish?"
"Nope. That's from something else, yo. He's probably got an injury somewhere as best as I can tell. I do need to examine him and check to make sure he and the baby are alright, yo." Reno looked at Vincent. "Can ya move him to the bed so I can do this properly?"
Vincent nodded, gathering Cloud up into his arms and carrying the blonde to the bedroom. He noticed Cloud was awake when he put him down.
"Vincent . . . I . . ."
"Shh. It's ok, Cloud."
"I threw up." Cloud mumbled. He blinked at Reno. "What are you doing?"
"Pap test." Reno replied. "It's standard procedure at the beginning of pregnancy."
Cloud blinked, then looked at Vincent. "Did he just . . . Aah! That's cold!" Cloud glowered at Reno.
"Sorry, yo." Reno finished with what he was doing. "Everything looks alright, but we need to keep an eye on him."
"Why?" Vincent asked.
"For starters, Cloud is rather petit, even for a guy who can heft Zack's sword, yo. This may put some strain on his shoulders and lower extremities. Second, and I'll have to get Tseng to check too, but it looks like Cloud may have what's called a weak cervix. In other words, if we don't force it to stay closed until close to his due date, Cloud could lose the baby, yo."
Cloud looked at Vincent, worried. He closed his hand around the bigger, stronger one.
"When will you do the ultrasound?" Vincent asked.
"I can check now, but I doubt I'll be able to tell you much, yo." He could see the pair needed some assurance and smiled. "If it's big enough, we might see a heartbeat, yo." He could almost feel the hopefulness as he got his small ultrasound device ready. "This is going to be cold, yo."
Cloud flinched as the cold jelly was spread over his lower belly and Reno carefully moved the wand over it.
"There we go." smiled Reno. He turned the small screen to show Vincent and Cloud. "I had to zoom in a bit, but you can already see them, yo."
Cloud's hand tightened on Vincent's. There, clear as day, were two little flashes of light. Even better, though, was the fact that, along with those little heartbeat flashes, they could see the tiny forms of the babies.
"So little." said Cloud. A sudden wave of dizziness and nausea hit him, and he passed out.
The pain ripped through Vincent's head again. "About how old are they?" Vincent asked.
"I'm guessing at about eight to ten weeks, yo." Reno replied. "That would co-inside with your vacation about ten weeks ago. It also means we need to do something about his weak cervix soon, yo."
"Tseng's the one that has to do it, right?" Vincent asked.
"Yeah. I'll have him come by tomorrow, yo." Reno fished out a bottle. "Get him to take these, they're a maternity vitamin."
Tseng confirmed that Cloud did, indeed, have a weak cervix, but also said that they could do nothing about it when he examined further.
"Why not?" Cissnei asked.
"The issue is where the twins are. The placenta has nestled itself along the lower back area, which isn't bad. It's that one of the twins is close to the cervix always." Tseng explained. "And the problem's only going to get worse as they get bigger. For now, Cloud can still move around, but I would suggest getting help with some of the household chores. You're not allowed to lift anything over five pounds. I'm going to start limiting his movements so we can lower the risk to him and the babies. But, just to warn you, Cloud, you will end up bedridden before the babies come."
Cloud nodded. His hand rested on his lower abdomen, feeling the minute bulge that was starting to form. Children. His and Vincent's. The thought alone made him smile.
"I'll come check on him on a weekly basis." said Tseng. "Reno will be on-call for during the day, and Cissnei for at night in case anything goes wrong."
Cloud tried to be careful, but his daily chores were now seriously limited. Even worse, in his mind, Benny switched him from cleaning the tables, windows, and floors, to sitting behind the counter cleaning the glasses and wiping down the counter. It was light duty, and something to do, but to have Reno or Tseng pick him up every day to go home was a little annoying. Cissnei drove him to work, but it didn't make him feel any better.
At twenty weeks, Cloud was pissed. He was taken off of work unless he could be restricted to a wheelchair. This also limited his working ability even more, but he was able to still do things at Seventh Heaven. The hard part was not gawking the one day.
Terra walked into the bar, a very pregnant Tifa on his arm. "Hey." he said.
"Hi." Cloud returned. He was semi-grateful for the long golden locks that now got in his face. The weight didn't leave him with chocobo hair, though it was still light and bouncy. "What can I get you?"
"Coffee." said Tifa. "Black."
"I'll take a light beer."
Cloud retrieved the beer while Benny got the coffee. "Here you go."
Tifa looked at him as she sipped her coffee. "You look familiar. Have I seen you somewhere?"
"Maybe." Cloud replied. He began to idly wipe the counter.
"What's your name?' Terra asked.
"Terra." Tifa whimpered.
"I'm just curious. Maybe she was on one of your father's shows."
"I'm Claudia." Cloud replied. He placed a hand on his stomach as the twins wiggled around.
"You're expecting?" Terra asked, trying to make light conversation.
"Yeah." Cloud replied. He felt a little awkward talking with his brother, but he didn't seem to recognize him.
"How many?" Tifa asked.
"Twins." Cloud said. "You?"
"Just one, but it's still so exiting. I'm due in a month. You?"
"Still got four to go." Cloud replied.
"That's where I know you." said Terra.
"You're Vincent's girl."
Tifa looked at him. "Huh?"
"Remember back when my father was looking for Cloud? Vincent said his girlfriend was working herself half-crazy the day dad called off the heavy search, the day we announced your pregnancy. Reno had asked, and Vincent said her name was Claudia." Terra looked at Cloud. "Am I right?"
Just then, Vincent walked in. He noted the pair sitting at the counter and smiled. "Good day, Terra, Tifa."
"Hey, Vincent." said Terra.
Benny looked up. "She's been a good girl, today. See you Monday."
Cloud sighed as Vincent came around behind the counter and moved the wheelchair. He felt Tifa and Terra's glances as he was taken out to the car, picked up and placed in the rear passenger's seat.
"She looks sad." said Tifa.
Terra only watched as they drove away. He wasn't going to say anything, but he knew those pretty blue eyes anywhere.
Vincent drove back to the apartment, smiling when he saw Cloud had fallen asleep on the ride back. Gently, he placed his beloved in the wheelchair and walked him over to the apartment. He noticed Sephiroth waiting at the door.
"What is it?" Vincent asked.
"Just checking up on you guys. He looks like this is taking its toll on him."
"It is. He's frustrated a lot because housework isn't getting done since he can't do much of it anymore."
"Thought so." Sephiroth put the bag he'd brought with him down on the table. "Listen, my brothers and I care about you guys. We're willing to come one day each during the week to help out. It's all we can do because of the work at the garage but . . ."
"Any help is welcome." said Vincent.
Cloud shifted. "Hmm?" He rubbed his eyes. "Vincent."
Cloud made a face when he saw Sephiroth was there. "Umm. . ."
Vincent nodded and helped Cloud to the washroom. "Cloud, it's alright."
Cloud shook his head. "I feel so useless." He began to cry. "Vincent, I'm scared."
Vincent helped him back out to the couch and sat down, letting Cloud lie across his lap. Sephiroth sat on the stool nearby.
"Something wrong?" he asked.
"It's taking its toll on Cloud. He's unable to do much, and the fact that a wrong move could cause an early delivery frightens him." Vincent stroked Cloud's pale blonde locks. "If he starts to look upset or something, this usually helps."
Cloud sighed softly, relaxing onto Vincent's lap.
"We have tomorrow off, being Saturday and Dad not wanting the shop open on weekends, so, um, is it alright if we come by to learn what needs to be done?" Sephiroth asked.
Cloud nodded. "Ok." he said softly. "I get lonely without someone here to help."
"How is your father anyway?" asked Vincent with a smirk.
"He hasn't been the same since you ripped his legs off." Sephiroth replied. "He's got cybernetics, but he can't walk far without she-dogging about how his experiment went wrong when he picked your nearly dead corpse." He snickered. "I think he's just upset that Mom now makes more money than him."
"Yeah, well, you got your mother's looks at least." said Vincent. He noticed Cloud shift uncomfortably. "You alright?"
Cloud shook his head. "Something . . . it doesn't feel right."
Vincent hit the speed-dial on his phone for Reno's pager. "What feels wrong?" he asked, gently stroking Cloud's hair.
"I'm not sure." Cloud said. "It feels . . . strained."
"In a constant motion, or . . ." Vincent paused when Cloud shook his head again. "Then what?"
Sephiroth got the door as Reno walked up. "Hey. They're on the couch."
Reno came over. "What's up, yo?"
"Something feels wrong. Like . . ." Cloud made a face, trying to figure out how to describe it.
"Where is it?" Reno asked, gently placing a hand on Cloud's rather firm belly.
"Inside." Cloud mumbled.
Reno nodded, knowing it was hard for Cloud to really say anything. The boy was shy enough as it was, having to be examined every time something seemed wrong with him or the babies was taxing his nerves. "Just tell me higher or lower, alright, yo?"
Cloud nodded. "It's lower."
Reno nudged his fingers down.
He looked at Cloud when the other suddenly winced. "There?'
Cloud nodded. He felt Vincent trying to remain calm.
"Vincent, can you move him to the bedroom, yo?"
"Perhaps I should go." said Sephiroth.
"No." said Cloud as Vincent picked him up. "One of you needs to know how to help with this."
Sephiroth smiled slightly. "Alright, but I'll stay in the doorway." He followed.
Reno took out some equipment as Cloud was laid on the bed. "This is . . ."
"I know. Cold." Cloud said. He still winced as Reno ran the ultrasound wand over the lower area of his belly. He swallowed. "It happened again."
Reno smiled. "You're sensitive, you know that?" he asked. "The baby's been head-butting you close to the opening, yo."
"Is that bad?" Cloud asked.
"A little. A hit in the wrong spot and . . ."
"AAH!" Cloud suddenly shouted, arching his back.
"Cloud?" Vincent touched his lover's hand.
"That." said Reno. "The baby's small enough that it can't cause too much damage right now, yo, but as they get bigger, it may stimulate sudden labor."
Sephiroth swallowed. "What do we do if that happens?"
"Call us." Reno replied. "Even if it's just suspected, it's better for us to come and check and be wrong than to have not been called when we should have been, yo."
The days passed. Cloud continued to work at Seventh Heaven, so he was there the day Terra came in wearing the stupidest grin in the world.
"What will it be?" Cloud asked.
"Coffee, double-double." Terra replied. He downed the drink in one gulp once it was passed to him.
"Well?" Cloud asked.
"It's a boy." Terra replied. "She had him at about four this morning, Cloud."
There was silence for a moment.
"Claudia." Terra corrected.
"You knew?" Cloud asked.
"Yeah. When Tifa and I came in about a month ago, I could tell right away." said Terra.
"What tipped you off?"
"Your eyes. Only you have a glittering blue like that."
Cloud sighed. "Just . . ."
"I know. Hey, as far as I'm concerned, Claudia works here, and will be pleased to know that Tifa and the baby are doing well."
"Thanks." He looked over as Kadaj pulled up in the car. "Guess shift's over. I'll see you tomorrow, Benny."
The ride back was uneventful, but Cloud had learned early to not plan anything too difficult to cook when Kadaj was helping. So tonight's meal was simply going to be mac and cheese with some hot dog pieces tossed in for protein. Because he needed it, Cloud was cutting up some cucumber when he suddenly dropped the knife.
Kadaj looked over from mixing the noodles with the cheese. "Something wrong?" He stopped and came over when Cloud didn't answer. "Cloud?" He tapped the pager, doubly so when he realized Cloud had passed out.
Reno and Tseng were there relatively quick. "What happened?" Tseng asked.
"He . . . we were cooking . . . the knife fell . . ." Kadaj looked frightened and was shaking.
"Deep breaths, yo." said Reno. He looked over at the kitchen. "Now, what was going on, yo?"
"We were making dinner. Cloud was cutting up a veggie when the knife fell. I asked him if he was alright, but he didn't answer. So I paged. I paged again when I saw he wasn't . . . when he . . ."
"He was passed out?" Reno supplied.
Kadaj nodded, and Reno and Tseng silently prayed it wasn't him there when Cloud went into labor. Reno sat him down and told him to finish making supper.
"Well?" Reno asked.
Tseng shook his head. "The babies are fine, but I'm afraid this was Cloud's last day at work."
"Why?" No one had noticed Vincent come home.
"The pressure of sitting upright a lot causing him to dilate briefly. He has to remain either in a reclined position, or on his sides." Tseng sighed. "This also means that I pull Reno and Cissnei from active duty to stay here at the apartment."
"If he's already dilating briefly, it's gonna be quick when he does birth, yo." said Reno.
Cloud shifted. The first thing he noticed was that he was lying on the bed. The second was that Vincent was home. "Vincent?" he whispered.
"Cloud, it's alright." Vincent gently stroked his hair. "I'll call Benny and let him know you can't come in to work anymore."
"Why?" Cloud asked, trying to sit up. He struggled a bit when Tseng held him down, but settled after a few seconds.
"What happened just before you passed out?" asked Tseng.
"I was cutting a cucumber. Then, there was pain, right across my stomach. Next thing I know, I'm lying in bed." Cloud replied. "Can I roll onto my side?"
Tseng pulled his hand back, startled when Cloud grabbed a pillow before rolling over. He smiled softly, though, when he saw that it was being used to cushion Cloud's belly.
As the days passed with Cloud lying on the couch or bed, Cloud got more and more miserable. Sure, housework and the cooking were getting done, but he was of no help to anyone. If fact, he felt more like a burden.
It was while Yazoo was helping, about a month after he was put on bed rest, that Cloud suddenly, and with no warning whatsoever, screamed in frustration. He threw a pillow at the next person that tried walking through the bedroom door, growling that he was just fine when he noticed it was Reno. He fussed and hit at the doctor-Turk when he was checked over anyway, and eventually settled on biting the sleeve of Reno's coat to try and get his attention.
"I don't see anything wrong, aside from the fact that you have my coat sleeve in your mouth, yo." Reno said. Then, he looked at Cloud's face. The proud, stubborn child of Rufus Shin-ra was now reduced to lying like a discarded toy on either a couch or the bed, and he was frustrated. Everything he used to do had been taken away from him, including the dignity of going to the bathroom by himself. Reno sighed. "Need a change of scenery?" he asked.
"I need this over with." Cloud grumbled. Still, he didn't argue when Reno carried him down to the livingroom.
Yazoo peered out of the kitchen where he was making lunch. He looked humorous with his silver locks tied back, since half of them fell back in his face anyway. "Are you alright?" he asked in his soft voice.
Cloud nodded. "Just had to let out some frustration."
Yazoo nodded. "Try a pillow to scream in next time." he said. He sighed and finished putting together the sandwiches. "No canned fish, so I fried some sole and made fish sandwiches." he said. He lifted Cloud up a bit behind the shoulders so he could prop him up a little. "There."
They ate in relative silence for a bit.
"Yo, is something bothering you, Yazoo?" Reno asked.
"Hmm? A little."
"What is it?" Cloud asked.
"My mother has your problem. They were able to do something to help her, though, so she was able to function almost normally through both pregnancies. But . . ."
"But what?" asked Reno.
"They had to let it open early when she had my brothers and me." Yazoo replied. "Kadaj and Loz were healthy and active when they were born. Me . . . I didn't move. It took effort to make me cry. I was the weak and sickly one."
"I read that report, yo." said Reno. "Your parents were ready to give up on you. It took effort to get you to move, extra help for you to feed, and you made no sound or eye contact. They had little Sephiroth to take care of, and Kadaj and Loz were healthy, yo. But someone convinced them to take you home, too."
Cloud looked at them, trying to wipe the crumbs off his shirt. "Who?' he asked.
Yazoo smiled softly. "Sephiroth." he said. "They had brought him with them to take Kadaj and Loz home. He stopped at my bassinette and looked in at me. He put his hand out over mine, and I reached for it. And I looked at him." He smiled. "Sephiroth asked why they weren't taking me home, wasn't I also his brother? The whole room went dead silent."
"Hojo asked him what he'd want with a silent little weakling like that for a brother, yo." said Reno. "Guess what Sephiroth said."
"He said he could hear me." Yazoo said. His voice had always been soft, like a whisper. "So our mother bundled me up, too, and took me home. While she was holding me, I latched to her, better than to any bottle they had tried to give me. There had only been two of the three cribs set up, but Sephiroth made them make mine and put it in his room. He told them every time I cried or made noise. It wasn't until I was almost a year old that they finally heard me."
"Really?" Cloud asked. "What did you say?"
Yazoo smiled at the memory. "I said 'mama'." he replied.
Reno nodded. "The report says that Lucretia was so happy that she cried herself sick. But they knew then that in order to hear you, they had to hold you close, yo."
"Wow." said Cloud. He suddenly made a face.
"Cloud?" asked Reno.
Cloud frowned down at his belly. "He's head-butting me again."
"He?" Reno asked. "We were never able to tell what the genders were, yo."
"I know." said Cloud. He rubbed the lower part of his belly, trying to encourage the baby to stop. "But, somehow, I know this one's a boy." He seemed content, so Reno guessed he'd gotten the baby to stop.
"There's only two months left, yo." said Reno.
It was six weeks later that Cloud suddenly hit Vincent at six in the morning.
"Hmm?" Vincent rolled over. "Cloud?"
Cloud made a grunting sound. "Tseng." he said after a moment. "Get Tseng." he said, suddenly grunting again.
Vincent got up and walked over to the edge of the loft. "Tseng, up and at-em!" he called.
The Wutainese got up and headed up to the room. "What is it?" he asked.
Cloud grunted. "Five minutes." he said, looking at the watch in his hand.
"Huh?" Tseng wasn't getting what Cloud said.
"Apart. They're five minutes apart." Cloud clarified.
Tseng caught on. "Labor?" He moved closer and began to help get Cloud ready when the little blonde nodded.
Vincent sat beside Cloud and held his hand. "It's alright, Cloud. I'm here for you."
Cloud nodded. He'd been slightly propped up so he was lying at about a 40 degree angle. "They're getting closer." he said, a slight whimper in his voice.
"Come on, you need to bend your legs." said Tseng. "That's good." He swallowed, knowing that Cloud was going to be completely helpless in a bit. "Do you need help with the pain?"
Cloud shook his head, even though tears were running down his face.
"It's alright if you do need help." said Vincent.
"It's not that." Cloud choked. He swallowed as a gush of fluid escaped him. "There's no space left."
Tseng looked at him. "What do you . . ."
"AAAHH!" Cloud arched and cried out as the first child began it's exit into the world.
"Cloud, it's alright." said Vincent. "Just breathe."
Cloud swallowed, tears in his eyes. He tried to breathe, but it was hard. The pain tore through him, making him scream as the baby began to show.
"It's alright." said Tseng. "You're doing good. Push."
Cloud gripped Vincent's wrist, almost cracking the joint as he gave a hard push. He loosened his grip a moment, allowing Vincent to change so Cloud had two fingers.
"One more." said Tseng, holding the baby's head.
Cloud obeyed, gasping once the first was out. He heard the baby cry, and then, pain again. The second baby was on it's way.
"Cloud?" asked Vincent.
His vision was starting to swim in and out of focus. Still, Cloud focused on the baby that was coming.
"Here we go." said Tseng. "It's over. They're here, Cloud." There was no response. "Cloud?"
Vincent was trying to get a response Cloud. "Cloud, wake up."
Cloud made a light gasping sound, turning his head to look at Vincent. "Well?"
"Well, what?" Vincent asked.
"Was I right?" Cloud asked. He sighed lightly, looking at his chest as Tseng lay one of the babies on him. "Hmm?"
"That's your firstborn." Tseng replied. "So, what were the guesses?"
"Vincent said girl, I said boy." Cloud replied. "I said the second one was a girl. Vincent said the same, but Reno guessed it would be two boys."
"Cissnei said two girls." said Vincent.
Tseng laughed and handed Vincent the second. "Never second-guess a mother's intuition."
Cloud blinked down at the blue-eyed baby snuggling his chest. A boy and a girl. He smiled. His little family was complete.