“Take it off.”
“Wow, you didn’t even buy me dinner first.” Cloud sighs as he hikes the oldest triplet, Sora, higher onto his hip. It was a vain effort as the baby just ended up contorting his body to do as he wanted. Which was to press the button at the bottom of the blond’s sweater.
A high pitched, overplayed holiday tune filled the room. Cloud’s sweater glowed and flashed in time with the music (Ironically, the only part of his ridiculous attire that didn’t light up was the embroidered words that read ‘It’s Lit’). Sora found the whole thing hilarious, giving long belly cackles that had his parents smiling at him, and proceeded to press the button again once the music ended.
“Why would you even think that god-awful thing was a good idea? We have three young kids who love anything bright, loud, and obnoxious.” Cloud smirks-a truly terrifying image that involved far more teeth than should be allowed.
“Don’t worry Squall, you don’t have to be jealous. I got you one too. And some for the kids.” No. Squall’s mouth dropped opened in shock. This couldn’t be happening! “I was thinking that we could all wear them and take our Christmas card pictures.”
This was a punishment for something.
It had to be. Cloud was smart enough to keep all the obnoxious decorations well out of reach of their youngest children...so why did he buy the loudest (both figuratively and literally) sweater he could find?
Squall racked his brain, going through every conversation and action from the last few days that he could clearly remember, but for the life of him he couldn’t pinpoint what it was he had done to deserve this cruelty.
He almost didn’t notice little Xion’s hands slapping against the hardwood as she crawled to him. He definitely noticed the onslaught of music as her knees hit the button on her sweater. “Da!” She reached for him, and even though she was wearing an illuminated monstrosity that had no right calling itself a sweater she was still the cutest damn kid he’d ever seen. He scooped her up into one arm, placing a kiss to her dark tufts of hair.
“Oh Xion you poor thing, what did Daddy do to you?”
Xion grinned, all gums and drool. She was having the time of her life in her musical shirt and was undoubtedly less offended by the object than he was. “Dadada!”
“I know, he’s got questionable taste. (-”I keep you around so, yeah.”-) Wow . Xion, Daddy’s mean. Let’s go get you changed into something less...gaudy and then we’ll find some nicer company.” Non-festive company preferably. The boys were in the dining room doing their homework (supposedly sweater-free. They'd be annoying the hell out of each other if they weren't.), and Roxas was still napping.
Surely one of his other children hadn’t turned on him yet-maybe he could get them on his side before Cloud bribed them with bright lights and catchy tunes...
But before he could leave the room Cloud called his name in a tone far too cocky to be comforting.
“Guess who I found out hates sweaters like these. Specifically the ones that play music.” Oh lord. There was only one person on the planet that could garner that kind of malicious reaction from Cloud.
“Sephiroth .” Squall sighed. Because wasn’t it always that silver-haired bastard’s fault?
“Well...yeah, but he hates anything fun. This one’s better .”
Who was more fun to irritate than Sephiroth? Xion seemed just as confused as he was. They shared a look that consisted of a few slow blinks that were probably too intelligent for a nine month old. He tilted his head to the side and she copied.
Irvine? Zell? Too easy to be that fun.
Selphie? Cloud wouldn’t...or would he?
Vincent lived too close for them to be safe after…
Rufus would retaliate with something more annoying and more garish.
Was it Seifer? Oh god...
“Do you give up?”
“ Laguna .”
Squall froze. There was no way…
No way that Laguna, who was obnoxiously cheerful by nature, who put up a tree the size of their freaking house , who tried dressing up as Santa for the kids a few years back (and scaring the shit out of them, but that’s a story for another day), hated ugly christmas sweaters. That was the kind of over-the-top shit that was right up his Father’s alley.
As if sensing his denial, Cloud’s grin got impossibly wider. “Reno, Rude, Rufus, and Rinoa can all confirm-they were the ones that told me.” Reno he could believe would bullshit something like this, even Rufus to some extent...but for Rude and Rinoa to also…
“And...your first response to hearing that was to go to the store and buy all of us the ugliest sweaters possible to take what...a video?” When Cloud nodded with that vicious grin still on his lips, Squall had to physically restrain himself from crushing them together. If it weren’t for the babies in their arms he would have already pinned Cloud to the counter.
He did end up pressing their lips together in a bruising kiss, only pulling away when Sora slapped their cheeks for attention. “I love you so fucking much.
“I know. Your sweater’s on the bed.”
“I'll go get the camera.”