“This is a horrible idea.” Leon commented softly, biting his bottom lip worriedly. “I don’t think they’ve ever been around so many people before.”
“We promised.” Cloud groaned, sharing in his husband's misery. “We’ll never hear the end of it if we back out now. Besides, the twins don’t care but Riku is so excited about his costume. It’s not like he’s gonna trick or treat, he’s too little.”
Leon grunted, Riku didn’t understand exactly what was going to happen but he knew he got to dress up. He’d been wearing his costume all day.
Barret was throwing a halloween party and they knew he was going all out with the decorations and food. Not to mention the fact that everyone was going to be there. The problem with that though was taking three toddlers to a house full of people. They’d considered a babysitter but everyone they knew would be at the party and Barret had specifically said at least four times that the children were more than welcome.
Once they’d agreed the onslaught of questions began. Yuffie had been texting them both several times a day, asking what their halloween costumes would be. Not just what Cloud and Leon would throw together for themselves, but for their babies.
They were largely ignored but the closer it got to the day of the party, the more people began asking. Reno had started sending pictures of baby costumes, almost all of them monsters. Trolls and gnomes and bats. Aerith went a different approach, trying to talk them into dressing the boys up as cupcakes. Tifa sent pictures of dinosaur costumes and even Cid laughingly suggested they dress the boys up as a biker gang.
Yuffie sent the really strange ideas. Ketchup bottles and avocados. Skeletons and scarecrows. She even sent a combined text trying to convince them to dress Riku up as the pope while the twins could be matching burritos wrapped in foil. They had no idea what went through that girls head.
As it was, neither man could be bothered with an extravagant idea that that children wouldn’t even remember. Instead, they’d asked Riku what he wanted to dress up as for pretend and the two your old had answered with a happy growl. Decision made.
They’d bundled the kids up in the chilly weather and and drove to Barret’s house. It being their first halloween with three kids was exciting but they weren’t sure how the kids would respond to so much spooky stuff.
Riku was quiet now, suddenly realizing they were going somewhere else for this adventure but the twins babbled nonsensical words only they could decipher.
“Daddy?” Riku whispered, sounding worried as they parked, looking up at the house he no longer recognized. There were flicker lights and a fog created from a machine drifting across the yard. There were inflatable skeletons in the grass and frankly, it was just the start.
“It’s okay, baby boy. It’s all pretend and daddy and papa will protect you.” Leon said, pulling his oldest son out of his car seat. “You’re a great big scary wolf, remember?”
Riku nodded his affirmative, his gray wolf costume coming out more adorable than scary. Riku reached back to pull his hood up that looked like a wolf’s head and behind him was a tail. Cloud had painted a little black puppy snout on his nose and the boy had spent the whole day howling baby ‘awooo’s’.
“That’s right.” Cloud agreed, working on getting the twins free. They were in little lion costumes that were similar to Riku’s. The hoods were huge manes with ears and Cloud had drawn whiskers on them for fun. They both had long tails that dragged the ground but neither foresaw the boys being on the floor much tonight.
Sora was happily buried in his hoodie while Roxas kept pushing his hood off. He didn’t much care for the mane but he loved the tail.
Leon was sure they’d hear complaining about their costumes at some point but simple meant they’d be easier to change diapers when it came to that and Riku seemed happy with the results.
Once Cloud had a twin on both hips and Leon grabbed the diaper bag they headed inside.
The twins were looking around curiously but Riku already had a death grip on Leon.
“It’s okay, baby.” he promised, walking inside like they lived there and dropping the diaper bag off in the closet just inside the door. The house was already crammed with people and Riku buried his face against Leon’s shoulder, his face hidden by his wolf hood.
It was the amount of people that had the twins finally curled up a little closer to Cloud, not just because of the number of them, but because they didn’t look like regular people. Everyone was dressed up and even people the boys at met before were unrecognizable.
“You’re here! You’re so lame!” Yuffie’s voice cut through the crowd as she went to greet them dressed as Wonder Woman. “You didn’t dress up at all!”
“We did.” Cloud disagreed. “And just to be disgusting we picked a couples costume.”
Yuffie eyed them up and down. “I’m not seeing it.”
Cloud smirked at his, showing off expensive and well done vampire fangs. “See, we put thought into this.”
“Hah…” Yuffie rolled her eyes. “So your some lazy, casual vampire. What are you?” She nodded at Leon.
Leon couldn’t resist a smirk of his own when he tilted his head to the side to show off two darkened dots on his neck. Cloud had even gotten the area around them to look bruised. “His victim.”
Yuffie sputtered out a laugh. “Are you serious?”
“Whatever, original idea goes to us.” Cloud shrugged.
Reno approached, his costume so well done he looked like his throat had been slit, blood pouring down his shirt. The twins eyed him warily and Riku had yet to lift his head. “I admit, it was more than i was expecting from you two. Gotta say though, your boys will steal the show.”
“They are so super cute!” Yuffie agreed. “Hi Roxas! Hi Sora. And hi Riku who’s hiding.”
“You wanna say hi to auntie Yuffie?” Leon asked, getting a very soft ‘no’ breathed against his neck. “Okay then.”
“Strifeharts!” Barret welcomed, “Come in!” The bigger man was dressed as Frankenstein’s monster and he’d clearly spared no expense. “How are the tykes!?”
“Kinda petrified.” Cloud snorted. “Smells good, who’s cooking?”
“Me and Marlene have got everything covered. That brother of yours helped out too. They’re around here somewhere.” Barret agreed, smiling at the twins who offered a tentative smile back. He was also kind enough to leave Riku alone while he was adjusting.
“Denzel is good like that.” Cloud agreed, offering a wave to a few other people he knew. He and Leon would find a corner to settle in and get the boys feeling comfortable again.
They explained their costumes at least three more times and got amused reactions from everyone that heard them. Lazy costumes just worked sometimes.
“Look Riku.” Cloud said, trying to coax Riku into looking around. “Auntie Tifa is here.”
Tifa entered the room and cooed at the kids, finding all three of them adorable. She’d come dressed as some kind of fairy princess down to the glitter makeup and fake wings. Riku peeked up at her and actually smiled.
“Hey there, little man. You look so amazing in your wolf costume. Just like your papa. Did he tell you he dressed up as a wolf one time too?” Tifa smiled, bending to be his level. “You did such a good job!” she praised and Riku’s smile grew shy. As long as he was focused on her he seemed to be okay but his grip on Leon hadn’t loosened any.
“Of course,” Tifa smirked. “Nothing will out shine the time you dressed as a woman.”
Cloud shrugged. “I made it work.”
Leon shoulders shook with sudden laughter. “I’d have loved to see that. You have any pictures?”
“I don’t. Yuffie probably does.” Tifa laughed. “I’m surprised he told you about that.”
“Why?” Leon’s brows rose, amused by the thought.
“Not ashamed.” Cloud shrugged. “And i looked good so whatever.”
Tifa laughed, finding the whole thing funny and the happier she seemed the more relaxed Riku got. He latched into laughter as a good sign. “Because it wasn’t halloween when he did it.”
Leon turned to look at his husband with an amused glint. “That bit you did neglect to mention.”
Cloud just returned his smile. “I reiterate. I looked good.”
“I need pictures.”
“Just get him to do it again.” Aerith laughed, having heard the tail end of the conversation. Her Lara Croft costume had come as a surprise, seeming out of character but she wore it well. “He can still pull it off.”
Cloud grinned at her. “You guys are trying to embarrass me but it won’t work. Not ashamed.”
“Fair.” Tifa agreed. “Does Leon know why you dressed up as a woman since halloween wasn’t the excuse?”
Cloud went pink then and shrugged. “Also doesn’t matter.”
“Rain Cloud, i think we’re having a talk when we get home.” Leon smirked, settling Riku more comfortably on his lap.
Cloud’s blush darkened but he brushed it off. “You’re falling into their trap again.”
“As long as i get pictures, whatever.” Leon smiled faintly. “You want me to get you some food?”
Cloud had both twins in his lap, the boys examining their surroundings with a touch of confusion. They didn’t have much of a concept of monsters. It did make it harder for him to maneuver.
“I could eat.” Cloud admitted.
Tifa patted Leon’s shoulder. “I’ll help. Riku, you want to come get some food with me?”
Riku gave it some considerable thought before sliding off Leon’s lap and reaching up to hold her hand. She walked him into the next room with all the food and they could hear all new people commenting on his amazing wolf costume.
“I’ll help, it’s so crowded.” Aerith commented, hurrying off after them.
“Okay,” Cloud sighed quietly. “It’s not as bad as i was thinking but sitting with them is the way to go.” He smiled at the boys and laughed as Sora rocked right out of his arms and onto Leon’s lap. “Careful baby.”
Sora erupted into happy giggles, grabby hands reaching up to Leon. “Da-aa”
Leon’s heart squeezed and he lifted Sora into his arms. “Hello little cub. You are freaking precious. Just like papa who thinks he’s getting out of our cross dressing conversation.”
Cloud groaned. “Drop it. It’s not that interesting…”
“I’ll be the judge of that.”
Sora started growling, holding his hands up like claws.
“Oh scary!” Yuna gasped and grinned as she walked passed them. It had Sora rolling into giggles all over again.
Roxas looked harder to please but he was spending his time chewing on his tail and giggling as Cloud pulled it out of his mouth. He’d grab it again and start the cycle over again.
“Sora! Roxas!” Zidane grinned as he appeared in front of them. “Our costumes almost match!” He held up his monkey like tail that didn’t exactly go with the rest of his attire. It was always hard to tell with him. “Cool!”
The twins wiggled and laughed until they were put on the floor to tug on Zidane and see if his tail really was like theirs. He sat on the floor with them and wasn’t the least bit worried about sitting on the floor in the middle of the party to play with them.
“When are you gonna have your kids?” Cloud teased. “You’re made for it.”
Zidane grinned as he cuddled the boys. “Well yeah, but i can give them back. Having my own would be a whole other thing.”
“You’re telling us.” Leon muttered. “We figured that out real quick.”
“And even when they’re just visiting you ended up keeping them huh?” Zidane laughed. Everyone refused to let Leon live that weekend down. They knew the Strifeharts would have two more kids long before Leon was ready to admit it.
Leon shrugged. “Bite me.”
“Whoa, hold on. That is an invitation that only i can accept.” Cloud interrupted with a grin, his sharp vampire fangs obvious.
"You're keeping treats from me and you think you get rewards?" Leon glanced at his husband before returning his smirk. “Zidane. What do you know about Cloud’s cross dressing expedition?”
Zidane laughed so suddenly he almost choked. “Oh gods, no. I’m not going to get in the middle of this.”
“You have pictures?”
“No.” Zidane grinned, squeezing the twins closer and holding them up to almost hid behind them. They pair of them giggling loud. “But he was super cute.”
“Well of course he was.”
Cloud sighed loud, still pink. “You keep this up and you’re never gonna see pictures.”
“Yes i will.” Leon said, sure of himself. The rest of his teasing comment died on his tongue when Riku dashed back into the room on tiny legs. His face was stark white and tears poured down his cheeks. He paused in the middle of the room, scanning to find his fathers before running back to Leon with open arms.
“Hey, hey…” Leon scoped him up and held him tight. Riku sobbed against his neck a second later, clinging like his life depended on it. “Shh…” Leon rubbed his back. “What happened?”
Aerith followed quickly, looking apologetic. “I’m sorry! Rude’s zombie costume scared him.”
“Awe, don’t you worry Riku. It scared me too.” Zidane said.
Cloud leaned closer to kiss his forehead. “It’s okay baby. Totally safe now.”
Riku whimpered, holding to Leon like a lifeline. This was one huge reason why he and Cloud hadn’t put more effort into dressing up. With every adult they usually knew dressed up, they wanted to make sure they remained recognizable in a crowd.
“Ri!” Sora and Roxas both started trying to climb up Leon’s legs to get to their big brother. They didn’t know why Riku was crying and probably didn’t care but they wanted to give hugs.
“C’mere.” Cloud lifted them up again so they were closer. Sora was clinging to Riku’s arm, trying to get onto Leon’s lap too.
“Rude feels awful. He didn’t mean to scare him.” Aerith commented.
“Oh of course he didn’t.” Cloud nodded, balancing both twins. Leon had moved to cross his legs and give the babies more to lean against.
Zidane had gotten up and waved everyone off who stared on curiously. The last things the boys needed was to be hovered over by more people in masks and makeup.
“It’s alright, sweetheart.” Leon muttered, patting Riku’s back. “It might look scary but it really isn’t. Nothing will hurt us.”
Cloud hummed his agreement. “Besides. I bet all you had to do was growl at anyone that seemed scary would back right off. Wanna try for me?”
Riku didn’t seem overly interested at first but Sora and Roxas vibrating with squeaky growled had him looking up from Leon’s shoulder.
“You should try.” Leon said, wiping his face dry. “Want to?”
The toddlers lips trembled still but he offered a tiny ‘awoo’ that had the twins bouncing in excitement and mimicking him.
“I can’t stand how sweet they are.” Aerith muttered, turning to Tifa who returned with plates of food for Leon and Cloud and a third for the boys to pick at.
“How you holding up, Riku?” Tifa asked, setting the plates down. “I got you a mini chocolate cupcake." If nothing else, she knew the way to the boys heart. He was still hiccuping out small sobs but he reached for the cupcake anyway.
“What’s all the whining in this corner?” Cid’s gruff voice carried closer. He was, of all things, dressing in a skeleton onesie. Only days before he’d shown up with three pairs of the same thing for the boys to wear as pajamas. They’d loved them instantly.
The twins were laughing immediately, pointing at him and cheering. “Pop!”
“Look what you two started.” Cid gave Cloud and Leon a bemused look. “Now they all do it.” He's been under the impression originally that it was a joke for the kids to think of him as their grandfather. Cloud was only proving how serious he actually was about it.
Cloud pouted, exaggerating it as much as possible. “But it’s okay because you love us, right?” He loved they way Cid’s eye twitched.
“Of course it is.” Vincent said softly, appearing behind Cid. He was dressed as a gunslinger and scarily enough, fit the part perfectly. “What’s wrong, Riku?”
“Got spooked.” Leon explained softly.
“Can’t blame him.” Tifa snorted. “A lot of people went all out tonight.”
Riku sniffed and wiped the chocolate off on his hands. “Una Valtine…”
“Come visit with me, Riku.” Vincent said, holding his hands out. “Tell Valentine what happened.”
“Una Valtine.” Riku reached for him, letting Vincent lift him up into his arms. Riku held onto his face, arms wrapped around his head to hug. “Itis scary.”
“Tell me.” Vincent said, every bit like he was speaking to an adult.
“Animals.” Cid teased. “All the costume potential and you two went for cats and a dog.”
“Lions and a wolf, pops. Get it right.” Cloud chuckled and as if on cue, Roxas and Sora both started growling, holding their arms up to Cid. For all the man groaned and complained, he loved those boys to death. He lifted the twins up and Roxas immediately rested his head against his shoulder.
“Come, show me who scared you.” Vincent said, as if something truly dreadful had happened. “I’ll deal with them.”
With his lips drawn into a tight line Riku nodded and pointed to the kitchen. With Riku feeling braver they headed into the kitchen in search for zombies. Vincent often had that effect on the kids.
“Good he’s feeling better.” Cid commented, watching Leon breathe a sigh of relief. “It’s good for all of them.”
“They’re handling it better than us.” Cloud snorted. “You mind hold them, pop?”
“Nah, you two eat.” Cid said. “We’ll wander around and see who we can find, right boys?” Sora growled and Roxas was already peering around. Cid took that as a positive sign and took off.
The boys going to someone else meant Cloud and Leon got a chance to eat but they also had to make sure their kids ate more than cupcakes. That was a hard feat when literally everyone who complimented their costumes followed it up with a cookie or cupcake.
“They’re fine.” Cloud whispered against Leon’s ear over an hour later when the boys kept changing hands. Riku had stayed with Vincent but Sora and Roxas were happy to hang out with anyone that wanted to hold them.
“Yeah.” Leon grumbled. As much as he needed the break and he did really enjoy the time for just him and his husband, he was paranoid about where the boys were. “I know.”
Cloud dropped a kiss on Leon’s neck. “Don’t stress, have a drink. I’ll drive home. We’re allowed to have kids and still have a life.”
"Just keeping an eye on them..."
“Gotta do what we gotta do, lion.” Cloud snickered, loving his partner being a good daddy.
“I’d rather do you.” Leon muttered, a gasp lodging in his throat when Cloud nipped at his neck with those pretend fangs right after. The tease had even aimed for the pretend mark he already had on his neck.
“Hey!” Reno’s voice carried across the room. “Leon needs his blood, Cloud!”
“No the fuck i don’t.” Leon muttered, voice breathy. His arms circled around Cloud’s neck to pull him closer. Cloud was all too happy to playfully bite. At the end of the night, he could still be easy to distract even when worried about their kids.
They could hear their friends laughing and heard the click that said someone was taking pictures but nothing would disturb their moment. Nothing except…
“Papa…” Riku appeared in front of them, tugging on Cloud’s legs. “Bitin’ not nice.”
“No?” Cloud pulled away, catching Vincent a withering stare. His adopted father smothered a smile, not looking the least bit sorry.
“Yeah Cloud!” Denzel’s voice drifted from across the room. Cloud couldn’t even see him from where he was sitting. “Listen to Riku!”
Cloud lifted Riku into his lap and hummed. “Well, i guess Riku is right.”
“To be continued. I want my treats” Leon muttered. “You can keep the teeth in.”
Cloud breathed out heavily, looking forward to the boys bedtime. His attention was drawn back to the crinkling of paper and Riku was trying to open a reese’s cup “Where did you get that?”
“Aunt Yuffie. Trick-treat.” Riku held it out to Leon to open for him.
Leon sighed and caved at Riku’s puffy looking eyes. At least he was feeling better. The sugar damage was already done tonight anyway.
“Look on the bright side. Maybe we’ll get to sleep in tomorrow.” Cloud commented.
“Cute you think you’re going to be allowed to sleep after hiding pictures from me and leaving me with a serious need for treats at a party.”
Cloud grunted, squeezing Riku closer who was more focused on his chocolate. “Gonna be a Happy Halloween.”