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One week of vomiting, one week of Sephiroth and Zack panicking, one week of black eyes courtesy of Cloud and whatever object was close by when they wouldn’t leave him in peace to vomit, one week of frantically hiding Cloud from Hojo and the Turks, before Zack hustled Cloud to Aeris for her help.

For some reason, while Cloud wasn’t expecting Aeris’s happy congratulations, it didn’t surprise him too much.


“Green is a very soothing color,” Aeris chattered, comparing different shades of fabric while Zack ran screaming behind her. “Don’t you think, Cloud? Oh, sweetie, grab a lighter weapon. You’re going to have to watch how much you carry for the next couple months.”

Cloud sulked but agreed to the switch of Zack’s sword for Aeris’s staff. The lessened weight helped give him a burst of speed and Zack yelped as Cloud sprinted after him.

“Blue is good, too, though,” Aeris mused. She raised her voice a little to hear herself over the thuds and cries. “Blue goes nicely with Cloud’s eyes…what do you think, Cloud?”

On the other side of the church, Zack’s pants shredded in an explosion of fabric and tentacles. With the new appendages, he scurried up the church wall.

“I like yellow,” Cloud called, aiming a rock. Zack shrieked as it hit the top tentacle dead on, and he tumbled to the floor.

“Watch out for the benches, and yellow is too excitable a color. It’s not good for them in large doses.”

Zack’s tentacles helped him navigate through the benches, but Cloud had years of experience hurtling through Nibel’s forests. Zack yelped as Aeris’s staff whistled by his ear. “How was I supposed to know that would happen?”

This time, Aeris’s staff slammed into the tip of the closest tentacle. Zack howled. “Maybe you should have thought about that BEFORE you wanted to shove a Hojo-created tentacle up my ass!”

Zack cuddled the bruised tentacle. “But it was hot!” he wailed.

Aeris, Cloud, and Zack all paused for a moment to appreciate the resulting mental image. Then Cloud swung the staff again. “HOJO-CREATED TENTACLE.”

Aeris picked up the green fabrics again. “Green is always good,” she decided. “Now which shade…?”

A quiet cough from the entrance of the church stopped them. Wielding an armful of caramel apple pies, Sephiroth crept past Aeris and her fabrics to where Cloud had Zack trapped in a corner. Sephiroth’s eyes dropped to Cloud’s still flat stomach before he coughed again and shoved the pies toward Cloud.

“Ah, if Aeris is correct about the timeline…” Sephiroth’s gaze flitted to Cloud’s stomach to Zack still huddled in the corner, “…then Zack was on a mission at the time. The child is most likely mine.”

Silence descended on the church as Cloud contemplated this. After several minutes, he sighed and threw Aeris’s staff back to her. She caught it one-handed. “Everyone knows that we can’t stay in Midgar, right?”

Zack sputtered and shakily rose on battered tentacles. “Hey! Why aren’t you going after HIM?”

Cloud accepted Sephiroth’s generous offering and held the pies close. “Because unlike you he WOULD have reviewed the possibilities. Not his fault. By Hel, I need a drink.”

“Not for a couple more months, dear, and how about sea foam green? I like sea foam green.”