Continuation of Tragedy Belies the Sacrifice
Disclaimer: I own nothing and make no profit from this fanfiction.
Chapter Three: Introducing To Family
It was the next day and both Squall and Cloud had been called by Lightning to meet up at Snow and Serah's place. Snow had gone back to the shop to run it for the day, when the other two asked him if they should go with him, he shook his head.
"Nah, I'm gonna just handle this day myself, besides that way the house'll be ready sooner then later." said Snow.
Lightning looked around and sighed. "At least the oaf told me where all the window proofs are, Cloud you put together the crib, Squall I need you to look up the prices of other cribs since we'll be needing two." said Lightning.
Cloud and Squall nodded, Squall began to research on the computer while Lightning began working on the windows, Cloud in the meantime began to decipher the crib and put it together.
That's when Cloud's phone vibrated, a call from Aerith, he answered it of course. "Hey there." he said.
"Guess what?" asked Aerith.
"What?" asked Cloud.
"My friend Zidane told me he could give me a ride into town today, the shop's being ran by his girlfriend Garnet, wanna meet up with me?" asked Aerith.
Cloud smirked. "Sure thing, but I'm with a couple of friends today, putting together a crib for my friend Snow's baby, you alright with that?" he asked.
She giggled. "Sure I don't mind." she said.
Cloud smirked and hung up his phone, he worked more on the crib and soon got a call on his cell again, it had been only thirty minutes. "Hey Cloud, I'm in front of the bike shop." said Aerith.
He got up. "I'll be right there." he said.
Cloud hung up the phone and walked out looking to Lightning and Squall. "I gotta go pick up Aerith, I got half the crib done, we're coming right back." he said.
"Alright no problem, Squall's having some troubles anyway finding a decent crib." said Lightning.
"Whatever, I'm not having 'issues'." he said in retaliation.
Cloud walked out though then while Lightning and Squall bitched at each other, he just shook his head and drove over to the shop. Aerith was standing there in a white and light blue dress, sandals, and a pink longer ribbon in her hair. Snow smirked and walked out to greet Cloud.
"This your girl?" he said.
Cloud looked away embarrassed and Aerith politely extended her hand to Snow's hand. "Hi I'm Aerith." she said.
"Pleasure to meet ya, I'm Snow, Cloud's boss." he said.
She smiled. "Nice to meet you Snow. You just had a baby Cloud told me." she said.
"Had two actually, twin girls." said Snow proudly.
"Oh congratulations!" exclaimed Aerith happily.
Snow smirked and Aerith rummaged through her basket for a moment as she pulled out a card for a good baby shop in town. "My friend Garnet runs this place, she's watching over my shop today since her shop is closed on weekends." said Aerith.
"She have any kids of her own?" asked Snow.
"Yep, she has a little girl, they named her Mikoto after Garnet's husband Zidane's sister who died a couple years ago." said Aerith.
"Well glad to know there's a good shop in town, I'll send Light there when it's open. he said.
Aerith smiled and Cloud smirked a little, she seemed to be getting along with Snow nicely. Snow went back into the shop as a customer came along and he waved them off. "I'll see you two later, gotta run the business." he said with a grin.
Cloud smirked as Aerith waved back at him, they walked to his bike and drove back to Snow's place. Aerith and Cloud walked in to finding Lightning and Squall glaring at each other and Cloud sighed.
"Come on you two, Aerith solved this problem." he said.
They both looked and saw Aerith standing there. "Who's she?" asked Lightning.
"Hi I'm Aerith, Cloud's girlfriend." she said.
Lightning looked at Cloud and smirked. "Way to go slugger." she said and punched his arm.
Cloud rubbed the back of his head, Squall walked over. "Hey I'm Squall, Cloud's room mate." he said.
Aerith smiled at Squall and then got out the card for Lightning. "This is my friend Garnet's baby shop, maybe she can help?" asked Aerith.
Lightning took a look. "Ah on the other side of town, it might be worth it though, can't seem to find a good crib online." said Lightning.
"Aerith this is Lightning, she's Serah who is Snow's wife's sister." explained Cloud.
"Yeah I'm just in town for a month to get this place set up and then watch it until they get settled in again." said Lightning.
"Oh? Where do you live?" asked Aerith curiously.
"Los Angeles, California." said Lightning.
"Oh? Wow the west coast." said Aerith.
"Yeah it's not all it's cracked up to be, but I run a rather large weapons manufacturer over there." said Lightning.
"Lightning works for the military as well, she's a colonel actually. She lives in LA but half the year she's stationed in San Diego." said Cloud.
"Yeah you know how it is, this is my vacation time." said Lightning.
Squall meanwhile had received a message from Laguna. "My dad's calling me for lunch." said Squall.
"More bonding?" asked Cloud.
"Ugh I hope not, I know he's trying but...yeah whatever." said Squall.
"Rinoa at work?" asked Lightning.
"Yeah but she gets off after lunch so I guess I'll come back with her after meeting my dad." he said with a groan.
"Good luck." said Lightning with a knowing smirk.
Squall left and Cloud looked at Aerith. "Squall's father is the mayor of New York." he said.
Her eyes went wide. "Laguna!?" she exclaimed.
Cloud nodded. "Yep, they don't get along very well though." said Cloud.
Lightning sighed. "Can we get the crib set up completely before we call this a day?" she asked.
Cloud nodded and walked over, he began to put together the crib, Aerith looked to Lightning. "Can I help?" she asked.
Lightning looked at her and sighed. "I hate to ask that of you since we barely just met." she said.
Aerith shook her head. "Oh I don't mind, after this maybe we can all three go out and get some lunch together?" she asked.
"Hm make that four, looks like Snow closed shop early." said Lightning pointing as he walked up.
"Hey there again." he said with a grin as he walked in.
"Slow day?" asked Lightning.
"Yeah decided to come and see how things were going." said Snow.
"Cloud's working on the crib, Aerith here just offered to help out but I.." said Lightning.
"You wanna help out Aerith? How about you help me get some laundry done and dishes? I have no problem putting people to work." he said.
Aerith smiled. "We were thinking lunch after this?" she asked.
Snow nodded. "Sure thing, come on let's get this place ready for my little girls." he said.
Aerith followed Snow and the two of them began to clean the place up, Lightning worked on moving furniture and getting the place set up better for children. The few baby toys they had, the crib, and the windows were baby set up. Aerith thought for a moment then once they were finished.
"Did you guys have a baby shower?" she asked.
Snow shook his head. "We've been so busy." he said.
"Well how about I throw you guys one? My friends can meet you all, I'm sure you'll get along!" exclaimed Aerith.
Snow smirked. "Cloud she's a keeper, got good initiative." he said with a grin.
Cloud rubbed the back of his head, that's when Snow got a text. "Tifa's texting me, says she wants to meet us for lunch, she just got finished with her morning work out." he said.
"Tifa?" asked Aerith.
"She's a friend of ours." said Snow.
"Where are we all heading then for lunch?" asked Lightning.
"How about that place Rinoa works?" asked Snow.
"Squall should be picking her up right about now." said Cloud.
"Nah lunch with his dad takes a while, he texted me letting me know to tell Rinoa he might be late. But that way Rinoa can join us." said Snow.
Cloud nodded and soon they were off, Snow texted Tifa letting her know of course. They soon arrived at the Italian looking place, Cloud held Aerith's hand as they walked in with the others. Tifa walked up. "Hey there." she said.
"Hey Tifa, meet Aerith, Cloud's girl." said Snow.
Tifa looked to Aerith and although she was jealous she smiled at her. "Hey I'm Tifa." she said.
Aerith could sense her jealousy but she smiled politely back at her. "I'm Aerith nice to meet you." she said.
Rinoa walked in. "Oh hey there guys, wasn't expecting you." she said.
"We thought we might have lunch, you just got off of work, right?" asked Snow.
Rinoa nodded. "Squall running late with his dad again?" she asked.
Snow nodded, Rinoa spotted Aerith and walked over. "Hey there, you must be Cloud's girl. I'm Rinoa, Squall's girl." she said.
Aerith smiled. "Nice to meet you." she said.
They all sat down and Tifa looked to Aerith. "How long have you lived in New York?" she asked.
Aerith smiled. "All my life actually." she said.
"She lives on the other side of town." said Cloud.
"Really? A sweet girl like you lives in the slums?" asked Snow.
Aerith nodded. "Well I may SEEM sweet but mess with me and you'll see another side." she said with a smile.
"Nah still seem sweet." said Snow.
Aerith giggled and Cloud put an arm around her shoulders pulling her closely, she smiled at him.
"Well Aerith what made you interested in Cloud?" asked Tifa.
Aerith looked back at her. "Oh you know, he's so shy and cute, yet strong and manly. He isn't the best as conversation sometimes but he tries, and I love the way he blushes around me." she said.
Cloud blushed and Snow smirked. "Yeah Cloud could always use a motherly type older woman to take care of him." he said.
Aerith nodded. "Well I am a couple years older then him." she said.
"What do you do besides sell flowers Aerith?" asked Tifa curiously.
"I grow a garden at home, I love to go to the beach as well, I'm a nature sort of girl." she said.
"Ah so you like things simple?" asked Snow.
She nodded. "Oh but I love riding on Cloud's bike with him! It's so much fun!" she exclaimed.
Snow smirked. "Ever think of having a bike of your own?" he asked.
Aerith nodded. "Yeah sure! The wind in my hair, I'd love that." she said.
Snow grinned. "Cloud she's a major keeper." he said.
Cloud blushed and Aerith smiled, Rinoa looked at her. "But you seem to like to dress feminine." she said.
Aerith nodded. "Yeah I like dresses, feminine is my style. I love your style, blue is definitely your color." she said.
Rinoa smiled. "Yeah I'm going into fashion myself." she said.
Aerith smiled as the conversation continued, everything seemed to be going perfectly. Lightning was just laying back since she was a little bit jet lagged still, they ordered their food and everyone seemed to be having a good time.
-Meanwhile with Squall-
He had walked in to finding his father waiting there for him. He sat down of course while his father finished another phone call, before Laguna looked at him.
"Squall, how have you been?" he asked.
Squall shrugged. "Fine." he answered quickly.
"Squall...I wish you'd just let me in." spoke Laguna.
Squall kept his arms folded, since what had happened with Edea, he didn't trust very many people and he let even fewer in, only Rinoa...and well she had made it seem ok for him to be friends with Cloud and all the others. In fact she was helping him get closer to them, but things with his father were still rocky.
"Whatever." said Squall.
"Same as ever eh puberty boy?" asked a familiar tone.
Squall's eyes went wide an he looked back at Seifer, the man with the scar matching the one he had on his face.
"What are you doing here?" he asked.
Seifer was the rival of his for as long as he could remember, all of his school life they'd been put on projects against each other, competed in every competition, Seifer had even dated Rinoa before he had, though they didn't last.
"You two know each other?" asked Laguna.
"Yep, I'm your dad's security guard actually." said Seifer.
Squall pinched his forehead before he looked away. "Whatever." he said.
'My dad didn't know he was my rival? What did he not look up my school records or anything?' thought Squall.
"Oh well anyway Squall I was thinking we could spend some time together maybe besides lunches?" asked Laguna.
'Right spending time with you is essentially spending time with a moron.' thought Squall to himself.
"Sure, whatever." he said out loud slumping in his seat.
Seifer shook his head. "You really haven't changed much." he said.
Squall looked back at Seifer with the glare and Seifer just grinned. "Come on Squall, we used to practice with our gunblades in the competitions over the years, tell me you don't miss it?" he asked.
Squall thought idly, gunblades were technology developed for the military but there were competitions held for minors to get into it. Lightning had one as well but he'd never fought her, she was a specialist in the military. Seifer and him had practiced so much as kids, they'd even given each other those scars. But it had been a long while.
"You know my mansion has a gun blade practice range." said Laguna.
Squall looked at his father and then back at Seifer. "I suppose I could schedule a match." he said.
Seifer grinned and Laguna smiled happily, Squall was confused as to how they had met and he knew he'd have to question Seifer. Laguna looked at his calender on his phone. "How about in two days time around noon? Can you take off work?" he asked.
Squall nodded. "Yeah I'll let Snow know." he said.
Laguna looked at his watch and sighed, he quickly ordered something to eat, Squall noticed the time as well and sighed, he'd let Snow know of course in texts before he ate as well as Laguna took off, Seifer looked back at Squall and Squall walked over to him.
"Just what do you want with my father?" asked Squall once they were alone.
"Nothing actually." he said.
Squall narrowed his eyes and Seifer sighed. "Look I'm not here for any of that trouble that happened back home. I'm here for a fresh start just like you and Rinoa." he said.
"Where are your lackies? They helped you spread those rumors after all." spoke Squall with a glare.
"Look it's just...it was hard always being second best to you in EVERYTHING. As much as I liked to brag you were better then me. So yeah I helped spread the rumors about Rinoa, and I dragged Fujin and Raijin into it too. But they're off in Colorado right now living together as room mates and going to college. I don't even see them anymore unless it's a holiday. I myself had to figure out what to do with my life. And well I didn't know Laguna was your dad until today. I promise I'm not trying to get in the way of his political career or sabotage him, or even cause you problems anymore." said Seifer.
Squall put his hands in his pockets. "You better not be." he said in a threatening tone.
Seifer nodded and Squall looked away. "You know I'm...not good with these kinds of things but...maybe now we could put this rivalry crap to the side." he said.
Seifer grinned. "You mean be friends?" he asked.
Squall nodded and Seifer punched his shoulder. "Sure thing man, tell Rinoa I said hi." he said.
Squall smirked a little and nodded before he walked back to his bike and rode to the restaurant. When he got there he saw everyone sitting around the table and he sat down next to Rinoa wrapping an arm around her shoulders.
"There you are, was wondering when you'd be joining the party." said Snow.
"How did your lunch go?" asked Rinoa.
"Fine, Seifer was there." said Squall with a sigh.
Rinoa looked alarmed and Squall shook his head. "It's ok, he's alright now. I'm gonna keep an eye on him though. Snow I need to take off around noon on Monday." he said.
Snow nodded. "Sure no problem, we're flexible." he said.
Rinoa smiled a little and Squall held her close. "He said to say hi of course." he said.
Rinoa giggled a little. "Oh of course tell him I said hi back." said Rinoa.
Squall smirked and looked back at everyone. "So everyone getting along with Aerith ok?" he asked.
Aerith blushed. "Yeah I hope I'm not rubbing anyone the wrong way." she said.
Snow laughed. "Nah you're just fine." he said.
Tifa of course was jealous but she liked Aerith alright, she was sweet and she couldn't find a reason to dislike her except that she was dating Cloud. Soon the lunch had gone into evening and they all got up after paying, they all paid individually even Aerith who seemed to have no problem with paying for her own dinner. Once they had paid Cloud and Aerith decided to head back with Snow and Lightning, once Lightning got a text.
"Huh looks like Vincent has some things for your house Snow." she said.
"Vincent? Haven't seen him in a while." said Snow.
Lightning shook her head. "He at least picked me up from the airport yesterday." she said.
"Yeah well he doesn't seem to like being around people a lot still." said Snow.
"He's always been quiet but since the death of his beloved Lucrecia, who can blame him?" asked Cloud.
Aerith looked curiously at Cloud and he sighed. "Vincent's a friend of ours, he was with a woman named Lucrecia but she cheated on him with a man named Hojo...then she was killed. He's been kinda the Vincent we know now since, it happened a long time ago. He's refused to move on at all." said Cloud.
Aerith frowned. "Poor man." she said.
Cloud nodded. "We've tried to set him up on dates but he's just too stubborn." said Cloud.
Aerith giggled. "Some men are stubborn." she said.
Cloud smiled and they went back to Snow's place. There stood Vincent arms folded with that claw for an arm and the red cape. Aerith walked over to him.
"Hello I'm Aerith." she said.
He looked to her with blood red eyes and nodded before he shook her hand with his gloved hand.
"Vincent." he said.
She smiled at him. "Well Vincent, what did you bring to help Snow hm?" she asked.
Vincent moved his cape and there were several bags of diapers. "I plan to get more in case of a baby shower." he said.
"Oh yes I'm throwing the baby shower." said Aerith.
Vincent smiled a little. "Good to know." he said.
"She's Cloud's girl." said Lightning.
Vincent nodded and Cloud looked shyly at Aerith who took his hand in her own. They went inside and began to put the diapers in one of the closets.
"It seems you're becoming more prepared for this." said Vincent.
"Yeah with time, you know how it is." said Snow.
"Aerith gave us a card for a baby shop in town, we plan to head there tuesday since monday Squall has to take off of work." said Lightning.
Vincent nodded and looked back to Aerith, she thought for a moment before she grabbed a flower from her basket, a red rose and put it into his hair.
"There! It looks great on you." she said with a smile.
He blinked and chuckled. "You remind me of her." he said.
She tilted her head to the side. "Who?" she asked.
He shook his head. "It's not important." he said.
Cloud looked at Aerith. "You got him to chuckle, not something we see everyday." he said astonished.
Vincent smirked. "Yes quite true, it took me until last year to finally get a phone." he said.
"And even now you hardly use it." said Lightning.
Vincent shrugged. "Technology isn't my cup of tea." he said.
"We noticed, just glad you helped Light get here." said Snow.
Lightning yawned then. "I'm gonna go sleep off some more of this jet lag. Aerith you busy tomorrow?" she asked.
Aerith thought for a moment. "No I think Garnet can watch the shop tomorrow for me." she said.
Lightning smirked. "Good." she said.
Aerith then sighed. "But I don't know if Zidane can give me a ride tomorrow." she said.
Cloud smiled a little. "I can pick you up." he said.
She smiled at him. "Alright, I'll see you then." she said.
Lightning nodded and punched Cloud's arm before she whispered to him.
"Good catch, don't screw it up." she said before she went to bed.
Cloud blushed and Snow stretched. "Alright we should finish up here." he said.
They finished putting the diapers away before Vincent left first, he waved before he disappeared into the night, he liked Aerith but he wondered what would happen with her, she really was rather gorgeous, he hoped Cloud could stay with a girl like her. Snow of course called Serah, she asked him questions once he said Aerith had shown up, and he told her that Aerith was a perfect girl for Cloud. Cloud meanwhile took Aerith back to the shop, he looked to her.
"Hey..." he said.
She looked back at him. "What is it?" she asked.
"Thanks for coming today." he said.
She giggled and leaned in kissing him sweetly on the lips before she pulled back. "Cloud I like your friends, I'm glad they like me." she said.
Cloud nodded. "Yeah, I'll meet yours soon?" he asked.
Aerith nodded. "Definitely, goodnight stud." she said with a smile.
Cloud smirked and he drove back to his home, Aerith began to walk back to her home, she was happy with how that had gone, she'd been nervous of course but they all seemed to like her.
Squall laid down with Rinoa for the night. "My dad's still trying I just..don't know what to make of it." he said.
Rinoa nodded. "Just give it time Squall. I'm sure with time you two'll get along alright." she said.
"I don't know...honestly." said Squall.
Rinoa sat up. "Just know that maybe he won't hurt you." she said.
Squall sighed. "It's hard...after what Edea did and Quistis did." he said.
Rinoa nodded. "I know but just remember I'm here for you." she said.
Squall nodded and closed his eyes slowly falling asleep with her there.
Tifa got back to her home which was connected to the bar which was closed, she went up to her room and sat down. She was worried about Cloud and Aerith, she liked Aerith, she was sweet, but surely there was...what was it? Was she worried about what might happen if Cloud got close to someone else besides her? They weren't even all that close, not as close as she wanted them to be. She was worried maybe because of what had happened with Zack. She shook her head, the odds of that happening again were bad, she must have been overthinking it, she slowly moved into bed and fell asleep.
Cloud got home, he went to his room and opened his phone, he had one text from Aerith.
Goodnight Cloud, I had a wonderful time today. Hope to spend more time with you -kisses-
He smiled and slowly fell asleep on his bed, happier then he'd been in a long time.
Author: Reviews? Please