“I can’t do it!” Cloud threw the wrapping ribbon. It fell to the ground far too gently for Cloud’s mood. “Zack, wrap your own damn gifts!”
Zack popped up from behind the counter, arms full of mixing bowl. “C’mon Cloudy, I got two arms and a buttload of prep to do before the guys get back. You promised.”
Zack was covered in flower and bits of vegetables already. It was like the kitchen had gone and thrown up on him. But, honestly, Cloud wasn’t faring much better. He was a mess of tape, scissor mishaps, and stupid ribbon stickers.
“That was before I realized how much stuff you got.” Cloud gestured to the massive pile of things Zack had acquired. Sure, Zack always went a little overboard during the holidays but he usually wrapped his own presents by locking himself in a room on Yule Eve and singing carols loudly. Which was today, and which he was not doing.
“Yeah. But.” Zack looked desperately at the wall clock. It didn’t have a second hand, but Cloud still imagined it ticking away ominously. “I don’t have time!”
“Whose idea was it to have a big family gathering again?” Cloud said as he rubbed at his forehead.
On cue, Zack’s phone light up.
“Ah, poop knuckles.” Zack accepted the call using just his elbows and turned it on speaker. “Hey! Sephiroth, babe! Where are you guys?”
“We’re just loading the Rhapsodos’s luggage now.” Sephiroth sounded absolutely giddy. “Your mom and dad are asleep in the back seat. And - and Mrs. Hewley has promised to braid my hair and Mama Strife is trading recipes with Mrs. Rhapsosdos and -”
“Sh, Seph, calm down.” Cloud said when he got a little closer. “Breathe.”
It had been Sephiroth’s idea: gather the entire family of their group together: meet all of the parents. Sephiroth didn’t really have a family to celebrate with, so he was particularly excited about celebrating with theirs. They’d been hesitant, of course.
They had planned to rent out a vacation home for the holidays this year. And then they needed to make room for six more people. Not to mention all the logistics of travelling as their own group (since they got off on different days) but also getting all of their families here and then back. IT was, well, it wa a nightmare.
Apparently one that was still going on.
Zack had paused mixing a minute and was grinning ear to ear before he remembered himself.
“I heard on the news that traffic’s pretty terrible right now.” Zack said as he laid some dough into a bowl and covered it. “You guys still have a few hours of travel just getting out of town and up to us.”
“Zack?” Angeal’s voice cut in. “How are you doing over there? Not burning anything down?”
“No, sir.” But Zack swiftly turned on his heel and checked the oven. “And turkey is not yet burnt. We’re good.”
“Be sure not to overcook it. Wait until the internal temperature reaches -”
“We’re leaving now .” Genesis interrupted. “We are going to beat traffic and not have to go anywhere for days.”
Cloud and Zack shared a look. Genesis was always a little high strung, but with all the family in he was even more tightly wound than usual.
“I’ll have snacks ready for you guys!” Zack sing-songed. “So come hungry.”
“And remember Santa’s watching!” Cloud threw in. “So don’t pout too much.”
“I’m not pouting.” Genesis defintely sounded like he was. “Ugh. I’m sorry darlings. I loathe travelling. I just want to be home with you and give you kisses and -”
“Mrs. Rhapsodos!” Angeal said on the line, a little too loudly. “Yes, we’re just about to leave.”
Genesis was saying something too far from the receiver and Sephiroth was laughing.
“We’ll be there soon!” Sephiroth said breathlessly. “Love you!”
Followed was the chorus of love you’s and drive safe’s. And the call ended.
“Santa’s watching?” Zack said as he pulled out ingredients for the next dish. “That sayin’ you’re going to cover me?”
“Yeah, well, I’m not wrapping anything you got for me.”
Zack just laughed. “Love you, too!”
The dinner table was massive - as long as one in the mess hall.
Zack brought the plates out with a flourish. Stopping to give both of his parents a kiss on the cheek as he went. And then of course each and every one of his boyfriends (“It’s unfair if i don’t!” he claimed). The whole place was decked out beautifully, and the pile of presents had grown exponentially thanks to Cloud’s wrap job. Not to mention the families each bringing their own little additions to add to under the tree.
I mean, at this point it really wasn’t under the tree, it was more spilling out and kind of trailing behind it. It was a little over the top, but they had planned the holiday that way.
Dinner was more than pleasant. It was warm, and full of laughter, and an affair to remember. Stories were shared, baby pictures came out, and love was had all around. It was enough to melt even the stoniest of hearts.
And when the night came to an end, the five boyfriends found themselves piled together in bed.
“I don’t think we’re going to be able to wipe that smile off his face.” Genesis said sleepily. Once he was off the road and had some food in him he was much more pleasant to deal with.
Sephiroth just nuzzled into Genesis. “M’not smiling.”
“You’ve been estatic since we planned this trip,” Angeal pointed out. He had one arm around Zack and Cloud. Both of them were half-dozing - they had ended up swapping jobs half-way through mostly because Cloud had started to get to his own gifts and Zack didn’t want to ruin the surprise.
“Well.” Sephiroth huffed. “I love you all.”
“Love you,” Zack and Cloud mumbled sleepily.
“Love you, you big oaf.” Genesis reached back and kissed Sephiroth. “Happy Yule.”
“Love you guys, now get some rest.” Angeal kissed his armfuls of sleepy boyfriend each on the forehead. “Tomorrow is Yule and we have a lot of cooking to do in the morning.”
Genesis and Sephiroth chuckled, but snuggled closer and obeyed.
It was a stressful, but beautiful Yule.