Happy Hour Pt. II - Little Wing.
Author: The Magic Rat
Warnings: Dumb shit, mpreg, icky stuff.
Word Count: 7,718
Website – Ex Libris: www.winter-wood.net/ex-libris/…
Live Journal: delaese.livejournal.com/profil…
Disclaimer: All Final Fantasy Seven characters, places and situations are the property of Square Soft/Square Enix and are used without permission and without intent of plagiarism or profit. Metalocalypse, the members of Dethklok, and lyrics to Dethklok songs belong to Brendon Small, Cartoon Network and Turner Music. Copyright for all stories and original characters such as Badger the Roadie is with the author, and may not be published, copied, distributed or archived without the author's prior written consent.
Summary: Loz and Yazoo catch a ghost, and Yazoo passes a milestone.
Author’s notes: The second of two commission fics for SparklinBurgndy, complete with a tip of the hat to her series “Backup Plan”. Really hope you like it, hon!
Song “1983” © Jimi Hendrix.
Normal. To some he knew, it was a dirty word. Normal spoke of average jobs with average pay, that earned one a home in an average area of town, with an average car to shuttle back and forth between the two. Normal spoke of dull, mediocre, and boring. It droned on and on about the two kids, the wife, the dog, the picket fence and Sunday dinners with the family. To most of the people Yazoo knew, that sounded like their version of Hell.
It was all Yazoo had ever wanted.
Even growing up isolated in the crater, he knew something was wrong. Perhaps it was some distant connection with Sephiroth, which spoke of the joys of family, love, and stability. Sephiroth was happy with his friends and husband and children. He loved being part of a stable household, even if at times he had difficulty grasping things. He was where he wanted to be.
For Yazoo, finding stability and normalcy was proving difficult. For one thing, he was sure his sexual orientation had far more to do with how Hojo had programmed Sephiroth than it did his own nature. For another, being highly intelligent meant more confusion, indecision, and over-thinking matters. In a way, the fact that Loz was dumber than dirt made it much easier for him to fit into this world. But for Yazoo, it was, to quote Andy, aaaaaallll too complicated.
Andy was doing his best to make things right for Yazoo, but it wasn’t easy. Thanks to Hojo, Yazoo now had numerous health issues, as well as depression and nightmares. Then there was that never-ending faux pregnancy that had Yazoo vomiting every morning, sometimes so hard it blackened his eyes. Life for Yazoo had become one of nausea and tears, and Andy genuinely feared for him. As a Remnant, Yazoo could at any time simply will himself to stop living and vanish into the lifestream. And that more than anything scared Andy. It seemed Sephiroth was aware of this too, and more than once Andy came home from work to find the Silver Cub curled close to the Tiger, both sleeping, both purring.
Andy knew Sephiroth could kill him with a sneeze, but the photos were too adorable not to post on-line.
However, despite Andy and Sephiroth’s best efforts, it was clear Yazoo needed something to do with his time. Apart from lie around depressed on the sofa all day and munch chocolates, that is. Even for a Remnant that was bound to lead to complications, and Andy still recalled the blood-curdling scream Yazoo let out when one fine morning he couldn’t get his leather pants on. Yazoo hoped it meant he was finally pregnant in reality, but sadly, no. He was just getting fat.
Andy showed him a site on proper nutrition, and came home that night to vegan spaghetti with tofu balls for dinner. Yay. However, as unappetizing as he found his meal, it did give him an idea as to how to occupy Yazoo’s time.
They had recently viewed a house – a large old house available for a cheap price due to it being what real estate agents termed “a fixer-upper”. A century ago, the large rooms and fireplaces, huge windows and sweeping marble balconies had been the envy of all who saw them. Now, the only emotion expressed by those who saw them was worry over how much the old barn would take to repair and heat. Yazoo had fallen utterly in love with it, sensing and smelling and feeling a thousand wonderful memories in the tired old frame. Andy knew he could afford it. Even as an intern, his job at Healin paid well, and his wages would only go up as he specialized in modified patients. They could buy the old house, and Yazoo could spend his days restoring it.
“Let’s buy the house,” Andy said that night as they got ready for bed. Yazoo gasped, green eyes large.
“Really? The beautiful big one that I loved? The one with the hole in the roof?”
Hole in the roof? Crap. He hadn’t noticed that.
“Yes,” said Andy. “The one with the hole in the roof.”
Yazoo made a squeak of glee and pounced on him, thumping Andy to the floor and knocking the wind out of him before kissing him.
And so, the next day, Andy horrified his mother by buying a crumbling white elephant of a house, which needed a new roof, new foundation, and new wiring. And that was not counting the myriad of other smaller issues.
“You’re insane!” his mother told him.
Andy didn’t try to justify the purchase. It didn’t have to make sense to anyone, anyway. But Zack understood. Zack understood better than anyone.
Yazoo did a lot of the renovations himself; dragging out old brickwork and replacing it with new, mending rafters, laying new marble tiles to replace the broken ones, and generally doing the very heavy labour. Sometimes Sephiroth and Loz came by to help, their combined power making the renting of costly machinery and crews unnecessary. Yazoo’s waistline returned to normal, the house was repaired at a fraction of the price normally required for so great a job, and all seemed to be going well. Until Andy noticed once again Yazoo seemed depressed and listless. By now they had been living in their renovated house for a month, the work was all done, and Yazoo was slowly wandering the halls and rooms, desperately trying to cope with instincts he did not understand. Fortunately, however, Andy did. He knew Yazoo’s pacing and searching and wandering was ‘nesting’ behaviour. He wasn’t pregnant, but his hormones and instincts did not know that, and he was being told that he needed to make a place for the baby he was never going to have. Once again it was up to Andy to give him direction.
“Why don’t you decorate the place?” asked Andy one morning, staring warily at a stack of granola pancakes.
“Decorate?” asked Yazoo.
“Yeah!” said Andy, carefully trying the mutant flapjacks and deciding that they were tasty, if ugly. “Hang up some curtains, buy some furniture…”
Yazoo blinked at him in confusion. It was then Andy realized that a man who had grown up in a crater with a corpse and a mad scientist might not understand that was an option. So Andy led him to the study that had little more than a desk, a lamp and a computer and began showing him home decorating sites. Then he gave him a fond kiss, and left for work.
He came home to a nightmare of fluff and lace and wall paper samples and fabric swatches and paint chips, as well as painting supplies. Yazoo’s tastes, it seemed, hovered somewhere between Edwardian and Victorian. Andy had effectively doomed himself to forever living at Grandma’s House. As he munched his vegan tofu-turkey, Yazoo rambled on happily about things he had no idea even existed just that morning. He could nest to his heart’s content.
Andy noticed Yazoo’s plans included a nursery, but he said nothing about it. He was the last person to discourage Yazoo’s hopes that one day there would be children.
Decorating the house would be a life-long project for Yazoo. He would work on one room for months, even years, until he was certain it was perfect. Then he would move on to the next. For Andy it was a bit like watching the slow reverse of time. Every day, there was a little more paint, a little more polish, a little more light and gaiety, a little more colour. He hoped Yazoo was finding some inner peace with the project. So far nothing he had found helped with the overwhelming chaos Hojo’s nightmare concoction of drugs and hormones was inflicting on Yazoo’s system. Massive blood transfusions from Loz and Sephiroth helped, but thus far nothing solved the problem.
“I’m never going to be normal, am I?” Yazoo said to Loz. It was a rainy fall day. Sephiroth was off looking for Aeris, Zack was sick in the hospital, and Andy was working very long hours tending to Zack’s fragile condition. Yazoo was sipping good oolong tea from a silver-edged antique tea cup. Loz was stuffing handfuls of teacakes into his face.
“What do you care?” asked Loz, spewing crumbs in all directions. “I’m never gonna be normal either, and I do all right!”
Yazoo smiled slightly, hearing Sephiroth’s eye-roll through their constant mental link. Loz did not need to worry about being “normal”. According to Andy and most of the other non-modified humans Yazoo met, Loz was
normal. He was a big, handsome, happy-go-lucky young adult male, who was mostly concerned with sex, beer, and fun. To many, that made him an average male.
“But you can get married,” said Yazoo.
“No I can’t, Phoenix keeps saying ‘no’. And so does his daddy.”
Yazoo sighed. “I mean you can start a family. You can be a father.” Yazoo thought for a moment. “Or a mother.”
“There’s a frightening bloody thought,
” muttered Sephiroth.
“HEY!” said Loz, reacting to Sephiroth’s psychic comment. “Meanie!”
“Loz why do I bother trying to talk to you?” sighed Yazoo.
“’Cuz I’m adorable! Got anymore cakes?”
Yazoo just rolled his eyes. “Loz you’re the most astoundingly oblivious man I know.”
“Thanks! Does that get me cakes?”
“I’ll have to make more,” said Yazoo.
They walked into the kitchen, which had been the first room to be remodelled. It was the height of late 1800’s technology, and Yazoo loved it. One thing he did not love was stoves with microchips and memories and timers. Growing up in the crater, Yazoo counted himself lucky to have the occasional fire, so ultra-modern conveniences did not sit well with him. The only truly modern devices in the kitchen were a fridge and freezer. Yazoo began bringing out the things needed for making more tea cakes while Loz sat down at the huge wooden table where Yazoo was working. For a long time there was silence.
“Yazoo? Do you… miss him?”
Yazoo knew exactly who Loz meant – Kadaj.
“Sometimes I think I do,” said Yazoo quietly. “But I don’t want to be hurt by him anymore.”
“It’s been so long since we heard his voice,” said Loz, lower lip starting to wibble.
“Don’t cry, Loz,” said Yazoo softly.
“But he was our brother! It’s not fair!”
“He’s gone,” said Yazoo. He remembered he had been letting bread rise, and that it should be ready. He rolled up his sleeves and drew the bread out of the bowl, placing it in a pool of flour to knead. “There is nothing we can do about that. He was too evil to survive when Mother was taken away and thrown into the sun.”
“Loz, won’t Jeff and Collin be waiting for you?”
Loz left to go meet his friends by the little waterside dive they liked to haunt, sparing Yazoo from having to further discuss Kadaj. Yazoo missed and loved Kadaj as much as Loz did. But Loz had a child’s ability to forget just how bad his brother had been. Yazoo however could never forget how Kadaj had helped Hojo to ruin his body.
In the hall, the grandfather clock chimed. Yazoo counted the chimes, and sighed. Six pm. Time to take the pills that prevented his hormones from reaching the point of making him completely irrational. Yazoo washed his hands and took his pills, hating Hojo on a level few could come close to comprehending. The bread would have to wait as Yazoo stumbled to his bed, the pills knocking him out for hours.
When next Yazoo opened his eyes, it was ten past ten at night, and Andy wasn’t home. He slowly crawled out of bed, feeling like ten miles of bad road, and dragged himself to the kitchen. He lit the lamps along the way, casting soft golden light and dancing shadows on the walls. Yazoo suspected that the bread and cake batter were ruined, but he put them in the oven anyway, after building the fire up once more. He then poured himself some cold tea, added lemon, and sat at the kitchen table, hoping Andy’s late return home had nothing to do with Zack’s health taking a turn for the worse. But then Sephiroth would know, which would mean he would know. There were benefits to having psychic links to….
Yazoo shook his head, then, when the sound did not go away, listened. Sure enough, it was Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix, but it was not Hendrix singing. Where was it coming from?
“Loz? Loz what is that? Who is singing? Where is that music coming from?
It was a long time before Loz responded.
“It was a ghost! A pretty ghost! But then Collin opened the door and scared it away!
“A ghost was singing to you? But why could I hear it?
“I dunno! It came out of the fog and sang to me. I wanna follow it!
“Loz I’m not sure that’s a good idea…
Loz was gone, hanging up the psychic phone and departing. Yazoo sighed quietly and sipped his tea, then smiled as he heard the front door open.
“Ward, you won’t believe what the Beaver did today,” said Yazoo.
Andy dragged himself into the kitchen and faced his lover; glasses askew, gauze stuffed up his nose, hair at all angles, and one eye blackened.
“Fuck the Beaver, we can get a new imaginary kid,” said Andy.
“What happened to you?!”
“Zack Fair happened. This is why you should never try to change the IV on a sleeping SOLDIER. I woke him out of a nightmare. If he’d been at full strength you’d be scraping me off the wall.”
“Are you all right?”
“I’m fine, Yazzy,” said Andy. He leaned forward to kiss him. “How was your day?”
“Loz is chasing a ghost.”
“Dare I ask?”
Yazoo shrugged. “Something came out of the woods in a cloud of fog and sang to him. I heard it too. It was using the same frequency that Sephiroth, Loz and I use to communicate. I told him not to go after it, but…well… chasing ghosts just doesn’t seem like much fun after a handful of pills to stop my body from tearing itself to pieces.”
Andy set down his briefcase and slowly sat at the table, reaching a hand out to Yazoo. “Baby I swear, we are doing all we can. Are the transfusions helping at all?”
Yazoo shook his head. “Not really. I’m still all shaky. I miss being me, Andy. I can’t even drive my motorcycle anymore. I can’t trust my body. It betrays me at every step. He has ruined me utterly. There is nothing in this body I can call my own. Not even my emotions. I am only waiting to die, and with Jenova’s cells infused into my being, it will be a very long wait.”
“I’m doing the best I can, Yazzy,” said Andy softly, touching the long white hair. “Please believe me.”
“I know you are, Chip. I’m just angry.”
“You have every right to be angry,” said Andy. “But we are going to fix this. Now what’s your current biggest issue?”
“Those damned pills,” said Yazoo. “I have to take them twice a day and each time they knock me unconscious. Bad enough I can’t ride my bike or look at photos on the computer without bursting into tears, I shouldn’t have to sleep what remaining life I have away. Might as well just buy a red cape and change my name to Vincent.”
“All right,” said Andy. “I’ll look into it. Hey, how about I order in some Wutainese food?”
Yazoo perked up slightly. “With Moogle balls?”
Andy sighed. “Yazzy I told you, those are balls of pork meat deep fried with plum sauce.”
“I know, but they look like bloodied Moogle testicles.”
“Do I even want to know how you know that?”
“Probably not. But I would like Moogle balls please.”
Andy sighed once more. “And deep fried bloody Moogle testicles you shall have.”
Andy changed Yazoo’s pills, and Yazoo began to feel less hopeless and exhausted. Andy also began taking blood from Sephiroth on a regular basis, which never became any easier as Gaia’s greatest warrior and hero sat and breathed hate at him, the cold green eyes DARING Andy to do something he didn’t like.
“Is there ever going to be a point that I don’t feel like you’re going to crush my skull and eat my brains?” Andy asked one day.
“When you stop shoving needles into me,” growled Sephiroth.
“I’m doing it for Yazoo, I should think you’d be more helpful,” said Andy. “If I can get enough blood to do a complete transfusion it might make him better.”
Andy knew the problem was not with helping Yazoo, it was with doctors and lab coats and needles in general, but there was little Andy liked less than approaching seven feel of resentful war-god with a big needle.
Yazoo however was feeling better. He was being gradually weaned off the heavier medications to check how his body was functioning, and it seemed to be improving. They still had to be careful, but there was at least now a glint of hope at the end of the tunnel.
Loz meanwhile was continuing to chase ghosts.
“I’d have caught it if you were there to help!” said Loz, shoving tea cakes into his mouth as Yazoo stood by the kitchen table, sleeves rolled up, apron covered in flour, glaring at a recipe book.
“I don’t understand where I went wrong with this recipe,” Yazoo said. Before him on the table, something that should have been a truffle cake blooped and oozed in a most uncakelike manner.
“Aw who cares about a stupid cake?” grumbled Loz, sulking.
“Loz don’t sulk.”
“You’re sulking,” said Yazoo, still staring at his cookbook and failing to notice his cake was very slowly creeping out of the pan and starting to hunch like a caterpillar towards the edge of the table.
“I want you to come help me find the ghost!”
“Fine,” said Yazoo, snapping his cookbook closed with a large puff of flour. “I can’t get this truffle cake to work so I may as well end one pointless quest in favour of another.”
He noticed the cake slowly escaping and caught it. He walked it over to a large closed cupboard, which, when opened, revealed jar upon jar of hunching, scrunching, pulsating food-based life forms. He stuffed his latest creation into a jar and closed the lid.
“Where did you find that cookbook?” asked Loz as Yazoo shut the cupboard and removed his apron.
“Lukis gave it to me.”
“And where did he
“No idea, but it doesn’t work, all it does is spawn small monsters that like to hide under things and growl. I really hope Chip never opens that cupboard, I’m not sure his heart will stand it.”
“HAH! Yazoo is Morticia Addams!”
“Well then that must make you Uncle Fester.”
Loz snorted. “So are you gonna start calling Chip ‘Gomez’?”
“I don’t know, I’ll have to learn French and see how he reacts. Where is this ghost?”
“Up by the bar where I like to drink.”
Yazoo dusted himself off and went for his riding leathers, calling to Loz as he walked down the hall. “And how does it arrive, on a pink elephant?”
“HAH! Shows what you know. It rides a cloud.”
“Of course,” said Yazoo dryly. “How silly of me. You’re driving.”
They arrived outside the bar. Inside there was laughter, music, drinking and fun. Outside in the dark gravel parking lot, surrounded by tall and aged trees, there was silence and darkness. Yazoo crossed his arms and gave Loz a sidelong look.
“So where is this ghost?”
Loz looked around, clearly worried. “Dunno. Maybe you scared it.”
“Well what were you doing the last time you saw it?”
“The first time I was fixing a truck,” said Loz. “The last time I was trying to make myself puke so hard I knocked a tree over.”
“You are a man of much talent, Loz,” said Yazoo dryly.
“Thanks! Come meet my friends.”
Yazoo followed Loz into the bar, pausing as he was greeted with a lot of hoots and catcalls and rude noises and sexual invitations.
“Loz! Who’s your friend?” yelled an old drunk from across the bar.
“That’s not my friend, that’s my brother, Yazoo,” said Loz.
The bar went silent. Loz just looked confused. Yazoo patted him on the shoulder, then looked around, green eyes filled with amusement.
“That sensation you’re feeling is called sexual arousal, boys,” said Yazoo.
Half the bar left. Yazoo seated himself with Collin and Jeff while Loz went to get beer.
“I find you disturbingly pretty,” Jeff informed him blearily.
Yazoo kissed his nose. Loz returned in a few minutes with four pitchers of beer and proceeded to try to convince Yazoo to get into a chug-a-lug contest.
They drank until about 11:30, then went into the parking lot. Yazoo found that a combination of pills, hormones and beer did not make for a steady walking speed, but Loz seemed fine, even if Yazoo was currently lying butt-up at the base of a tree with no idea how he got there.
“Loz I’m stuck,” he said to the dirt in front of his face. Moments later Loz rescued him, helping him to sit up. Loz watched as Yazoo slowly slumped over backwards.
“HAH! Yazoo’s bombed.”
Yazoo used one hand to swat Loz’s legs out from under him, landing him on his ass.
The pair lay on the ground, staring up at the stars overhead. Then Loz glanced at his brother. “You okay Yazoo?”
“Why is the parking lot spinning?”
“You’re fine, you’re just drunk.” Loz looked around, then pouted. “Where’s my ghost?”
“Hanging onto a tree waiting for the parking lot to stop spinning. Oh gods, Loz…”
“You’ll feel better after you throw up.”
Yazoo vomited, somehow managing to avoid hitting himself as he abruptly turned to his side. When at last he finally stopped, he slowly got to his feet.
“Loz I’m leaving. I’ve had enough of…”
“There!” hissed Loz quietly. “Over there!”
Yazoo turned, and froze as he saw the rolling mist Loz had mentioned. A strange and unnerving silence enveloped the parking lot, and Yazoo saw the fragile entity that his brother had spoken of. It was trying to communicate, but all Yazoo could hear was fragments of mismatched songs, as if someone was spinning the dial on a radio. Yazoo carefully approached the spectre.
“Speak to me,” he whispered. “Why are you here?”
<center>“Hurray, I awake from yesterday,
Alive but the war is here to stay.
So my love Catherina and me
Decide to take our last walk thru the noise to the sea.
Not to die, but to be reborn,
Away from the lands so battered and torn,
Yazoo and Loz looked to each other, as if silently asking a question.
“Who’s Catherina?” demanded Loz.
Yazoo rolled his eyes and walked away. “The question is not who is Catherina, but rather who is this ghost asking to be reborn?” Yazoo looked to the wavering shadow. “That is what you are seeking, is it not? Rebirth? Who are you?”
The ghost seemed flustered. Clearly whatever event that led to its demise had rendered it incapable of communicating directly. Yazoo cocked his head, sensing something incomplete about this specter, as if even in life it has never been more than a fragment…
No. Not a fragment. A remnant. Yazoo gasped quietly.
“Brother?!” exclaimed Loz.
They approached Kadaj, trying to cement their contact with him, trying to draw him into their world, but it was of no use. Kadaj was a mere fleck of wavering light, hardly able to communicate other than by randomly pulling fragments of radio signals out of the air, signals put out by the bar’s aged jukebox which had not been updated since Hendrix was alive. Telling his story was a painful, tedious task, but eventually the two living remnants grasped most of it. The Jenova cells in his body had abandoned him, slipping off to infuse the mako surrounding his corpse to await rediscovery some time in the distant future. All that was left of Kadaj now was this weak and wavering specter that wanted nothing more than what his brothers had – life.
“We have to help him!” said Loz tearfully, lower lip protruding.
“How?” asked Yazoo. “What can we do? He needs a body and the one he had is gone.”
“I don’t know!” snuffled Loz. “Something!”
The pair thought, then Yazoo shook his head. There was only one solution he could think of.
“Come into me,” he told the ghost. “I do not know when you will be reborn, but it is all I can think of. It is the only fair chance at life you will have, with someone who understands who and what you are. Come into me.”
The ghost did, and within seconds the mist in the parking lot had cleared, and once more the natural night was all around them. Loz just stared at Yazoo, large green eyes afraid.
“We’re gonna get in trouble,” said Loz.
“The only one who will be in trouble will be me,” said Yazoo. “He’s not evil anymore. He’s hardly even a spark. We all got our second chance, I don’t see why he can’t have one too.”
“Well when will he be born?” asked Loz.
“I don’t know,” said Yazoo. “But he’s with us now. That’s all that’s important. We will keep him safe. He will be our secret.”
Sephiroth’s voice sounded in Yazoo’s head. “You know that I can hear you, right?”
“No you can’t!”
“Of course, I’m hallucinating again.
“Please don’t make me discard him,”
said Yazoo, genuine fear in his voice. “Please don’t make me hurt him.
“I will do no such thing,”
said Sephiroth. “I don’t believe he has any strength left to be evil. And if he tries… I will take care of that if the time comes. We will just hope that time never comes. Keep your brother safe, Yazoo. Perhaps he too will have his second chance.
“Thank you, Big Brother.
” Yazoo looked to Loz. “Take me home, Loz. I’m tired.”
<center>***TWENTY YEARS LATER***</center>
Yazoo gazed at the large and pompously grand hotel where Andy’s achievement ceremony was to be held, studying the stone front. Andy pulled up before it, stopping the vehicle, then leaning over to the passenger seat to kiss Yazoo.
“I booked a room for us. In case we needed it.”
“You spoil me,” said Yazoo quietly.
“Of course I do. It’s my job. Hey there’s Dr. Pierce’s car.”
“And Dr. Fairchild’s is parked right beside it,” said Yazoo snidely. “Gee I wonder if he brought the Magical Slut Sisters?”
“Yazzy you really do have to start working on saying what you feel and not being so shy.”
Yazoo poked his tongue out. Andy opened his door, and was instantly accosted on either side by matching scrawny bleached blondes with collagen lips, silicon tits, and rubber ass implants. It was of course the “Magical Slut Sisters”, also known as the Fairchild twins.
“Oh, Andy we’re so glad to see you!” gushed Mona Fairchild.
“Oh yes!” agreed Monica. “It wouldn’t have been any fun here without you at all.”
Andy attempted to extract himself from the duo. “Well it’s nice to see you two as well but I have to help Yaz…”
“Oh don’t waste your time with him, talk to us!” said Mona, pressing against him. Her breasts were so large they bordered on parody, and Andy shuddered at their artificial touch.
“Look will you kindly get your body parts off me? I’m not sure if you two are aware of this but contrary to some theories a gay man will not
be turned straight by gigantic breasts. In fact they kinda make me feel ill, so will you please back off?”
“Well that’s not nice!” said Monica, pouting.
“Neither is throwing yourselves at me with my husband less than six feet away but that doesn’t seem to stop you.”
“But…!” said Mona.
“Look get off me! You two are like used gum on the ground – distasteful and almost impossible to scrape off. Now go away. I’m a doctor, I can’t afford to contract any diseases you two may have.”
Andy pulled free of the two failed temptresses and went to Yazoo’s side of the car, opening the door. “Are you okay?”
“Little weak,” said Yazoo. “I’d like some water.”
Andy helped Yazoo out of the car and gently walked him into the hotel, taking him up to their room for a glass of ice water.
“Do you think Dr. Fairchild will be pleased with you calling his daughters used gum?” asked Yazoo as he eased himself down onto the bed.
“Frankly I don’t care,” said Andy. “He bought them everything they ever wanted, now when they get told no they can’t believe it. How dare they pounce on me like that with you right there! I can’t believe they would be so… so… horrible! And Dr. Fairchild told me that they would not be here.”
“I think he lied,” said Yazoo.
Andy brought Yazoo his water and seated himself beside him on the bed. “Here you go. How are you feeling?”
“Really weak. And hungry.”
“I’ll get you something,” said Andy. He walked to the door, pulling it open, and stopped short as he saw Dr. Gaywell before him, her hand raised to knock.
“Hi!” said Andy, surprised.
“Hi! I saw one of my favourite patients come in and I wanted to see how he was.”
“He’s hungry. I’m going to go slaughter him a cheese roll.”
“Pack a first aid kit,” said Dr. Gaywell. “Cheese rolls can be dangerous.”
Andy left to get Yazoo some food, and Dr. Gaywell walked over to the bed, seating herself on it. She reached out to take one of Yazoo’s gloved hands.
“How are you feeling, Yazzy?”
“I don’t know. Lots of everything. I’m sick, I’m hungry, I’m cold, I’m hot, I’m thirsty, I’m bloated…” He shook his head. “I give up. I quit. I can’t take any more false hope. I can’t. I just want to give up but my body is so loaded with Jenova cells that I’ll probably never die. And Andy found a strange sound in my stomach.”
“Strange sound?” said Dr. Gaywell.
Yazoo rolled onto his side, the velvet coat following the lines of his slender body as he turned to look at her. “He said it sounded like horses galloping.”
“Well that can’t be good. Does he have his stethoscope?”
“Oh probably. Does it matter? It’s just one more thing wrong with me that cannot be fixed. He should just take me back to the crater.”
Dr. Gaywell squeezed his hand. “Yazzy I know it’s been a long time, but…”
“Twenty. Years,” said Yazoo, stating each word clearly. “It has been twenty. Years.
Over half my life. I have been ill longer than I ever was well, and no one can help me. My hair is falling out, my gums are bleeding, I’m throwing up, I’m bloating…. And to make matters worse I have the Fairchild sisters hovering over my husband like harpies, they don’t even care I’m right there.” He closed his eyes. “I really don’t think I care anymore about getting well or having a family. I don’t think I’m going to have either.”
Dr. Gaywell was at a loss for words. She didn’t know what to say to him. Twenty years was a long time for anyone, but to deal with an illness that affected every aspect of his life for that amount of time had to be exhausting. And what encouragement could she offer, especially in light of his new symptoms? She said nothing, simply giving his hand a gentle squeeze.
Andy returned with a plate of things he knew Yazoo was likely to eat. He seated himself on the large bed, reaching out to touch Yazoo’s shoulder.
“I brought you something.”
Dr. Gaywell looked at Andy. “Yazoo said you have been hearing strange noises in his abdomen.”
“Yeah,” said Andy. “Kind of a galloping noise.”
“I’d like to hear it.”
“I don’t mind if Yazoo doesn’t,” said Andy. He looked down at his beloved. “Do you mind?”
Yazoo stuck out his tongue and blew off a raspberry. Andy handed Dr. Gaywell his stethoscope. She accepted it, and used it to listen to Yazoo’s abdomen. She raised an eyebrow.
“It does sound like galloping. Yazoo what have you been eating?”
She rolled her eyes. “Seriously.”
“I had some fruit earlier.”
She listened, then shook her head. “I’m going to go get a friend of mine, let’s see if we can shed some light on this.”
Dr. Gaywell left, and returned a few minutes later in the company of a very beautiful and very nicely packaged young woman with long brown hair and large brown eyes. Yazoo raised his head.
Andy gently pushed Yazoo’s head back to the pillow. “Hush, you’re not feeling well.”
Dr. Gaywell’s friend sat on the bed and listened. After a moment she raised an eyebrow and looked to the older woman.
“What is that?”
Dr. Gaywell shrugged. “I was hoping you could tell me.”
“We should get Dr. Chin, she’s good with funny-noises-in-the-guts stuff.”
“Is that a medical term?” asked Andy.
The woman with the long brown hair smiled at him. “Hi I’m Dr. White.”
Her eyes lit up, and she looked down at Yazoo. She spoke in the sort of sing-song voice one used on pets and small children. “Well that must make you Yazoo! Aren’t you
a pretty boy!”
Yazoo growled faintly. “He’s a bit touchy,” said Andy apologetically.
“Well who can blame him,” said Dr. White. “No one likes being sick and surrounded by people poking him.”
“And talking to him like he’s three,” grumbled Yazoo.
“Sorry,” said Dr. White. “It’s an occupational hazard. I’m a paediatrician.”
“What’s going on in here?” asked a familiar voice. “A room party?”
“Hello Dr. Pierce,” said Andy.
Dr. Pierce walked in with two other older men and a woman, all of whom Andy knew from the Healin Spa. The woman was in fact the afore-mentioned Dr. Chin. Dr. White held up a stethoscope.
“Wanna hear something cool?”
“Do I have to eat all my vegetables first?” asked Dr. Chin.
Yazoo sighed. “Should I take my clothes off now or later?”
“Just open your pants and say ‘ahhh’,” said Dr. Chin. She listened to the noise, cocking her head. “That’s very odd.”
More stethoscopes came out. Yazoo lay on his back and tolerated being the entertainment for the evening.
“Any idea what it could be?” asked Andy.
A head poked in. “What’s going on in here?” asked Aldus Shinra. “Is it kinky? Can I play too?”
“Do you have a laptop?” asked Dr. Gaywell.
A laptop was found and set up in the room so possible sources and causes for the noises could be researched. Food and drink was brought up, and for the time being Andy’s award seemed forgotten as most of the guests packed themselves into Andy and Yazoo’s suite. Yazoo hadn’t been terribly pleased at first, but soon found he didn’t mind being waited on hand and foot as doctors from all over Gaia examined him. They might even find out what was wrong.
“This is crap,” said Dr. White two hours later as the bartender that had somehow materialized filled her glass. “We need to look inside. We’re not going to solve this mystery just by listening.”
“I might have something we can use,” said Aldus. “Just a moment.” He left the room, returning after only a few minutes with a small device that looked like a large computer mouse. “Here we go – Shinra technology at its finest.”
“It’s a mouse,” said Dr. Pierce dryly.
“It operates on some of the same principles, yes, but it is, in fact, a very powerful sonogram. Plug it into the computer and we will be able to see inside our little patient without the bother of cutting him open and getting our hands yucky.”
Dr. Pierce plugged the ‘mouse’ into the computer, then handed it to Andy. He took the little device, which was surprisingly weighty, and placed on Yazoo’s stomach. He began slowly moving it across the white flesh, his peers fixated on the computer screen, looking for the potential source of the strange galloping noise in Yazoo’s insides. Dr. Gaywell walked over to the laptop and studied the screen.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have found our galloping horses.”
Several doctors drew close, looking at the screen as Dr. Gaywell pointed. “There, there, and there.”
Aldus pointed over her shoulder. “What about that there?”
Dr. Gaywell peered at the screen, then nodded. “Yeah I would say you’re right.”
“What are you looking at?” asked Andy.
Dr. Gaywell picked up the laptop and handed it to Andy. He took it, setting it on the bed, and stared. For a very long time he was unable to wrap his mind around what he was looking at.
“If this is a joke it’s really not funny,” said Andy, his voice quavering slightly.
“It’s not a joke,” said Dr. Gaywell. “It’s exactly what it looks like it is.”
Andy felt the blood drain out of his face, his body becoming cold. The world became strangely grey and distant, surreal. He closed his eyes and swallowed. Yazoo slowly sat up, looking concerned.
“Chip? What is it?”
Andy put a hand over his face and slowly lay back on the bed, saying nothing. Yazoo blinked, then looked to the other doctors.
“What is it?”
“Quadruplets,” said Dr. Gaywell. She smiled. “It took twenty years, but the baby-gods finally came through for you, kiddo. You’re pregnant. For real. No mistakes and false readings this time. We’ve all seen them.”
“Quad…?” said Yazoo quietly.
Dr. Gaywell held up four fingers. “Quad. Four babies. Looks like you’re getting paid off for all the years you waited with interest.”
Yazoo looked at Andy. “Chip did you hear that?!”
“Oh I heard all right,” said Andy.
“Four babies! Four! We’re gonna have four!! Aren’t you excited?”
“Thrilled,” said Andy. “I’ll be more thrilled when I’ve had a chance to…”
“Whoops,” said Dr. Chin, looking at the screen. “Miscounted.”
“Only three?” asked Andy hopefully.
“Nuh-uh. You’re not that lucky, stud. Five. Not four.”
Yazoo squeaked with glee. Andy made a strange panicked sound.
“Well this has been a most exciting party!” said Aldus. “Champagne all around! A toast to our little mother, here. Yazoo, your days of waiting are at an end. Andy are you all right?”
“I think I’m having a panic attack.”
Andy had everything ready for the day Yazoo finally gave birth. He had bags packed, numbers taped to the phone, emergency personnel on speed-dial… there was nothing he had not planned for. Except one tiny thing he could not have accounted for.
Yazoo, like Sephiroth, could delay his birthing time in order to have his babies when he
chose. And Yazoo, like Sephiroth, had absolutely no intention of having his babies in a hospital.
“You’re sure you are okay?” asked Andy, fretting over his heavily pregnant husband.
Yazoo was huge. There was no polite way to say it. He was gigantic. Five babies had turned his slender little frame into an oddly pulsating bedridden mushroom.
“I’m fine,” mumbled Yazoo from within the depths of his huge four-poster antique bed, carefully guarded by his elderly greyhounds.
“You have your phone?”
“Yeeees…” droned Yazoo.
“Do you need…?”
“Chip go to work and let me sleep.”
“Fine.” Andy bent down to kiss Yazoo gently.
“Am I pretty?” Yazoo asked drowsily.
“Prettiest mushroom I know.”
Andy kissed him again, then left the house. Yazoo listened to the familiar sounds of his husband’s departure – the key in the lock, the footsteps down the stone steps, the slamming of the car door and starting of the engine… and finally the sound of the car driving off. Yazoo sighed heavily with relief, then called his housekeeper, telling her that his brothers would be coming to sit with him so she could just take the day off. Lying to Loz and Sephiroth was just pointless since they could read his mind. Instead he told them he would scream if he needed them. Alone in his house, safe and settled in his bed, Yazoo went to work delivering his five babies.
Andy phoned several times throughout the day, checking on his husband, and each time being assured that everything was fine. So Andy kept working, making his rounds, checking his other patients, his pager firmly attached to his belt in the event Yazoo called him. Finally at the end of the day, Andy drove home, wondering how much longer he was going to have to wait for his quints to arrive.
He came home, and sighed as he saw the house was dark. Yazoo would be asleep, the housekeeper would be nodding over her tea in the kitchen, and the babies would once more have refused to leave their mother’s body. Andy could feel his hair turning grey daily.
He entered the house, and paused, smelling something… rather awful. Like dead meat. He could not for the life of him think what made such a stench. It was as if something had died and been rotting in the sun, and while it lay rotting it had been farting rancid cabbage.
Maybe Loz was over. It was the only thing he could think of capable of making a smell that bad.
“Chip! Come see what I did today!”
Andy just shrugged, took off his jacket and hung it up, then walked down the hall to where Yazoo had long ago set up their bedroom. He stepped into the chamber, then stopped dead.
Yazoo had been a very busy bunny.
The five babies were arranged on the bed, dressed in white lace outfits, like little dolls. There were three little girls and two little boys, all currently asleep. They were pink and perfect and healthy, with all three of the girls having Yazoo’s white hair. One of the little boys had Andy’s brown hair, and one… well…. didn’t really look like either of them. Andy looked from the little misfit to their mother, deciding to not darken this moment by asking where the hell baby number five had come from. Instead Andy sat down on the bed, facing Yazoo.
“Why didn’t you call me?” he asked softly.
Yazoo was worried that Andy would not be pleased, but… “I just wanted this all to myself. No doctors, no nurses, no worried friends and relations… just me. Just mine. I didn’t want to hurt you but I just didn’t want one more fucking herd of people stampeding though my existence and treating me like the lab experiment I am. Please tell me you understand.”
“Of course I do,” said Andy. “I just wanted to be there too.”
“You would have just panicked when I pushed out the black stinky thing.”
“Yes what IS that stench?!”
“I don’t know. I kept it in the event you wanted to examine it. I think it’s supposed to be placenta but I have no idea. I put it in a waste basket and you can dissect it later. Look at our babies!”
Yes stinky things could absolutely wait for later. Andy turned to look at his babies. Five adorable little bundles of joy…
“They’re all yours,” said Yazoo.
Andy laughed. “I didn’t think otherwise, but… well…”
“He just looks like his uncle,” said Yazoo.
Kadaj, yes, THAT was who he looked like. All right, no big deal there, lots of kids looked like relatives other than the father.
“I’m naming him Kadaj,” said Yazoo. Andy knew better than to argue, and picked up the tiny baby boy.
“Well hello, Kadaj, welcome to the world! What’s that you say?” Andy held the baby close, as if listening. “You say you want to destroy the planet and pollute the rivers with Jenova cells?”
“Hilarious,” said Yazoo. “I demand murdered Moogle balls.”
“And murdered Moogle balls you shall have. Yazzy…. I am so proud of you.”
They kissed, Andy passing baby Kadaj to his mother, who watched Andy depart to order in food. Yazoo then turned to glare at the baby.
“You better not!”
Baby Kadaj remained asleep, while Andy moved the stinking afterbirth Yazoo left in the waste paper basket to the garage. Dissection and chemical analysis would later reveal it to be nothing more than a solidified lump of the chemicals and matter Hojo injected into Yazoo years ago, now turned solid and expelled. Yazoo’s system was clean. He would be healthy, strong and happy again, raising his children, having sex with his husband, and doing all the things he had missed.
Andy wished he had bothered to explain birth control to Yazoo when five weeks later he was pregnant again.