Diana gave her sister a worried frown. She trusted Averia more than just about anybody in the whole world, but they really weren't supposed to use the stove unless a grown up was with them. Well, almost any grown up. Their mommy probably didn't count since she'd almost set the kitchen on fire a few times. It was funny though – their mommy never had any problems cooking something over a fire when they went camping. Aunt Vanille said it was because their mommy was old fashioned, so maybe that was it.
"Averia," Diana said as she clutched Mr Snaggles to her chest, "We're going to get into trouble if we use the stove." Normally she wouldn't have minded breaking the rules too much, but the rule about the stove was one of their mom's rules, and their mom's rules weren't like other rules. Breaking one of their mom's rules meant getting grounded and that meant no going to sleepovers, no candy, and even no television. And there was a really nice television show about gorgonopsids coming up that she just couldn't miss.
Eyes still on the stove as she fiddled with the settings, Averia just shook her head. "No, we won't, Diana. It's Mother's Day today, and that means that some of the rules don't count."
Diana crunched up her face. "What do you mean?" If the rules didn't count then maybe they would be okay, and maybe she could even sneak some candy out of the place where their mom tried to hide it. Besides, if there was anyone better than her at finding a way around rules it was Averia since Averia just hated to lose or get caught doing something she shouldn't.
"Well, it's Mother's Day, so we're supposed to treat our mothers really nice, right?" Averia turned and nodded firmly at Diana. "And that means we have to make them breakfast in bed and them give them our presents."
"Oh." Diana ran one hand through Mr Snaggles's soft fur and pursed her lips. That did make a lot of sense. After all, their parents always made them breakfast in bed on their birthdays and Mother's Day was sort of a birthday. "I guess it's okay then." She turned and glanced at the kitchen door for a moment. "Here, Mr Snaggles," she said as she put the plush toy down on one of the kitchen counters facing the door. "You get to keep watch. That way it'll be a surprise for mom and mommy."
The plush toy nodded solemnly before he tipped over onto his front. Diana sighed and propped him up against the microwave.
"No falling over! You have to keep watch."
There was a low whoosh and Diana turned to see that Averia had lit the stove. Her eyes were drawn to the flames and she was sorely tempted to get a stick from outside and see if she could make a torch or something cool like that. However, the warning look on Averia's face was enough to change her mind. Averia was almost always really nice to her, but a cranky Averia was no fun at all. Just to let her sister know she wasn't happy though, Diana made sure to pout at her.
"That doesn't work on me," Averia said. She pointed toward the pantry. "Go get the pancake mix, I'm going to get the frying pan hot and everything."
Diana grumbled but headed off to the pantry. It was just like Averia to make her do all the carrying things around, which was really unfair. She was smaller than Averia so she couldn't carry as much, and when Aunt Vanille came over, their mommy never made her carry things around. In fact, their mommy was always carrying Aunt Vanille's stuff, and even their mom was always carrying Aunt Serah's stuff too. Now that she thought about it, Averia really should be the one carrying all of her stuff around. Oh well. She'd just have to tell her sister the next time they went to school. She'd make Averia carry her school bag for sure.
It took her a few minutes to find the pancake mix in the pantry, but it wasn't too bad. She found a box of chocolates that her parents had tried to hide behind a box of yucky muesli bars. The pancake mix came in a carton and she gave it an experimental shake. Good, it hadn't been opened yet. Sometimes, their mom made pancakes without using the pancake mix, and Diana thought those tasted even better than the ones made out of pancake mix. It would have been nice if she and Averia could have done that, but neither of them knew how to make pancakes for real. It would probably be fun guessing how many eggs they'd need, or how much milk and flour was good, but it probably wouldn't taste very good. She winced. Poisoning their parents on Mother's Day was probably a crime or something, and if it wasn't, it was definitely pretty evil. And she didn't want anyone to think she was evil.
She went back into the kitchen and put the carton of pancake mix next to the stove. "Okay, here it is." A frown crossed her face as she noticed that Averia was fiddling with the frying pan. "You better not keep the frying pan to yourself, Averia. I want to use it too."
Averia shook her head. "Mom hasn't shown you how to use it yet." She tossed a spoonful of water onto the frying pan and it vanished in a cloud of steam. "See how hot it is? If you don't know how to use it, you might get burned, and it's pretty heavy too."
"I suppose," Diana grumbled. Averia was probably right. She was still a little too little to use the frying pan properly, especially since she still had to reach a lot to get things that were on the stove. "But I get to watch, okay?"
"That's okay." Averia started to open the carton of pancake mix. "Get a chair from the dining room, and maybe while I'm making the pancakes, you can be the one to decorate them. You're much better at doing that kind of thing than me. You can make them look nice and taste really good."
Diana punched the air with one fist. "Yeah!"
She went into the dining room to get a chair and after a bit of huffing and puffing – the chair was a bit big compared to her – she came back to find Averia in the middle of making the first pancake. She dragged the chair over to the stove and them climbed up to take a look, careful not to lose her balance. If she fell onto the stove, she might catch fire and then they'd really be in trouble. Averia would probably get into super trouble since their parents always expected her to look after her.
"Wow," Diana said. "It smells really nice." And it did, and even though the pancake wasn't finished yet, the smell was enough to make her stomach grumble. Nothing smelled as good as pancakes, not when they were fresh and hot and hopefully covered with something nice and sugary. "How much longer until it's done?"
Averia scowled at the pancake and Diana giggled. Averia was just like their mom – she seemed to think that scowling at something could make it work better. One time, their lawnmower broke and their mom had stared at it really hard for a long time, but it hadn't started working again.
"It'll be a little bit longer." Averia poked the pancake with her spatula. The circle of pancake mix on the frying pan was still soft and mushy. "See how it's all sticky and soft? You have to wait until there are bubbles everywhere and then we can flip it over."
"Cool." Diana grabbed a spoon and gave the pancake an experimental poke. "Hey, if we can pour it into a circle shape, we can try other shapes too, right? How about we try and make one that looks like Chirpy?"
Averia pursed her lips. "Maybe, but we have to make some normal ones first." She eyed the carton of pancake mix. "There isn't a lot in the carton so we need to be careful."
Diana nodded. "I guess, and making a Chirpy pancake might be hard." She paused. "Maybe we could make a Gary one too…" Her eyes widened as she saw bubbles appear along the top of the pancake. "Look, Averia! Look! There are bubbles. Flip it over, flip it over!"
"Shhhh!" Averia growled as she put one hand over Diana's mouth. "They'll wake up if you keep yelling." She took her hand off Diana's mouth and pointed at the pancake with her spatula. "We still have to wait a little bit longer until the bubbles are bigger and there are more of them." She looked back at the pancake and then nodded. "Okay, now we can flip them over." Quickly, she slipped the spatula under the pancake and flipped it over. It landed in almost exactly the same spot it had been in before.
"Wow," Diana said, "You're good at this." She grinned. "Maybe if mom and mommy like the pancakes they'll let you make them everyday. That would be nice."
Averia grinned and poked Diana in the stomach. "We'll get fat if we eat pancakes everyday." She looked around. "This one will be done soon, so why don't you start getting ready to decorate it. I think there is some chocolate sauce in the fridge, and I know we've got maple syrup and some other stuff lying around."
"Okay, I'll make the best pancake ever," Diana cried before a glare from her sister made her realise what she'd done. "Oops. I mean, I'll make the best pancake ever," she whispered.
Diana hopped off her chair and then hurried back and forth to gather the things she needed. Once she had everything, she got out a large tray and two big plates. They were pretty heavy, but she got them up onto the kitchen counter next to Mr Snaggles. Then she dragged her chair over to make sure that she could do everything without having to reach up so much.
"This one is done," Averia said. "Come over here and get it."
Diana took one of the plates and walked over so that Averia could lift the pancake out of the frying pan and put it onto the plate. It smelled so good that for a moment she almost bent down to take a bite out of it, but at the last second she stopped herself. This was for her mom and her mommy, so she couldn't just take a bite, even if it was just a small one, and even if it would taste really, really good. Hopefully there would be enough left over for Averia to make a few pancakes for the two of them.
"Okay…" she murmured as she studied the pancake closely. "What should I put on it first?"
She decided to go with the chocolate sauce. Her mom liked sweets although she didn't eat them very much, at least not where Diana could see her. But Averia had told her that sometimes, when their mom thought no one was around, she really did eat candy. Diana wouldn't have believed it from someone else, but it was Averia, and she was sneaky like that. Besides, Averia never lied to her, except for when they were playing around and trying to trick each other, but that was different. Averia never lied about anything that mattered.
She took the chocolate sauce and poured some onto the middle of the pancake. However, rather than spreading easily, it sort of clumped together in the middle. She giggled. Of course, it was still cold from the fridge. Smiling broadly, she poked it with her spoon until it warmed up enough to spread evenly over the pancake. Then, just for good measure, she added some sugar since sugar made everything taste better. Finally, she got some peanuts and put them on top into a shape that she thought looked a lot like her mom's face, only the peanut face was smiling really widely.
Averia walked over. "Oh, that looks interesting." She tilted her head to one side. "But if it's for mom, then maybe you should make it scowling instead of smiling."
Diana giggled. "Maybe, but I think mom would like it more if it was smiling. It would be weird if she ate a frowning one. Maybe we can make mommy's one the scowling one since she seems to like it when mom scowls at her."
"I see." Averia had that funny look on her face, Diana thought. It was a look that she sometimes got when Diana said something weird. Oh well, Averia always knew what she meant anyway so it didn't matter too much. "I think I'll make two more pancakes after this one. That way mom has two and mommy has two. But I don't think there's enough for any more than that."
Not enough for any more than that? Diana's eyes widened. "Does that mean we won't get any?"
Averia sighed. "Well, I could probably squeeze out one more pancake if I shook the carton really hard. You could have it."
"But what about you?" Diana asked. She didn't want her sister to go without a pancake while she had one. That was just wrong. If she had a pancake then Averia just had to have one too.
"I'm not hungry," Averia replied. "I'm still pretty full from dinner last night."
"Oh… okay." Diana pursed her lips. Was her sister lying? She couldn't remember Averia eating that much for dinner, but maybe she'd eaten something else after dinner. Besides, Averia looked the same as usual, with something that was almost a frown on her face. Sometimes Diana wondered if her sister's face ever got tired since frowning took so much more energy than smiling.
It took them a while, but in the end, they managed to get all four pancakes made. And just like Averia had promised, there was just enough for one more pancake for Diana. Of course, she didn't eat all of it. Instead, she ate half and gave the rest back to Averia after saying she was too full to eat anymore. After that Averia made a big pot of hot chocolate for their parents and Diana made some toast.
The only thing left to do now was to go upstairs and give everything to their parents. Diana grinned. She just knew they'd love it.
X X X
Lightning bit back a moan as one of Fang's hands wandered down her front toward her stomach. Maker, it was just like Fang to wake her up with a kiss instead of a 'good morning' like any normal person. Not that she was complaining. As that hand splayed out across her belly and stroked with a perfect mix of tenderness and firmness, Fang's other hand reached out to cup her cheek.
"Happy Mother's Day, Lightning," Fang murmured. She was on top of Lightning, the other woman so close that she could feel her body heat through the pyjamas that she was wearing. Honestly, if it were up to Fang, Lightning would have been banned from wearing clothes in the bedroom.
Almost lazily, Fang lowered her hand a little more, watching Lightning shiver as she touched, stroked, and caressed with an almost lazy rhythm. Good, Fang thought with a smirk. Real lightning might vanish from the sky in an instant, but Lightning, her Lightning, was hers to love forever.
"Happy Mother's Day, Fang," Lightning breathed back. She wanted to switch their positions and pin Fang to the bed so that she could kiss her senseless, but she couldn't seem to find the strength to do anything except rock back against Fang's wonderfully skilled hand. As her breathing quickened, the hand that had been on her cheek dropped lower to stroke her across her collarbone and then down across the top of her chest. Maker, why wouldn't Fang just hurry up?
Some of her frustration must have shown in her eyes because Fang's smirk only widened, but before the other woman could get any further, Lightning heard a giggle come from the corridor outside their door. Immediately, she tensed. "Fang," she whispered harshly. "It's the kids."
"I know," Fang said.
"That means you should get your hands away from my panties, Fang." Lightning shuddered as Fang's fingers skimmed the top of her panties and then down across the front. Well aware of that fact that her resolve wouldn't last that much longer – and even more aware of the fact that Fang knew that – she decided to play her trump card. "If they come in here and find us like this, Fang, you get to be the one to explain the birds and the bees to them."
In a flash, Fang's hands had returned to somewhat more appropriate places, and just in time too. The door burst open and Diana bounded in, waving her arms in the air.
"Surprise!" Diana cried. "Happy Mother's Day!"
Lightning did her best to look surprised and gave Fang a sharp nudge with one elbow to make sure that the other woman did the same. Behind Diana, Averia wobbled in with a large tray that she quickly set down on their bedside table. On it were pancakes, toast, and a big pot of hot chocolate. However, the food had a slightly unconventional look too it. Lightning honestly hadn't known that you could have whipped cream and maple syrup with chocolate sauce and peanuts on the same pancake, but apparently you could.
"Good morning," Lightning said. "Did you two make breakfast for us?"
Diana nodded eagerly. "We got up extra early to make it." She nodded happily. "It's breakfast in bed."
"Thank you, it all looks great." Lightning eyed the toast more closely. Most of it was okay, but a few slices had been burnt almost to charcoal. Just how long had the girls put that in the toaster? Two of the pancakes also featured what looked to be her face outlined in peanuts, one with her scowling and another with her smiling. "Did you two do all this yourselves?"
Averia smiled faintly. "Yes. I made the pancakes and the hot chocolate. Diana decorated the pancakes and made the toast."
Fang grinned and gave the scowling Lightning pancake an experimental poke. It was still a little mushy. "Yes, I can see that." She smirked at Lightning. "Look at that, I get to eat you for breakfast again."
Lightning's cheeks reddened and she was strongly tempted to get her pillow and whack Fang over the head with it.
"Again?" Diana asked as she tilted her head to one side. "Did you already eat a pancake like that one, mommy?"
"Uh, yes," Lightning said. "That's it, isn't it, Fang." She stressed the other woman's name and gave her a smile that promised a world of pain if Fang even thought of making another comment like that.
"Yes, it is." Fang reached over and pulled a plate of pancakes into her lap. There was some cutlery on the plate too and she cut a small slice of the pancake off and raised it to her lips.
"How is it, mommy?" Diana asked eagerly.
Fang put the piece of pancake into her mouth and immediately wished she hadn't. Apart from the chocolate sauce, peanuts, and maple syrup there was also a lot of salt on the pancake. Dear Etro, her mouth felt like it was going to explode and not in a good way.
"Yes, Fang," Lightning drawled. "How is it?" She had noticed the small white grains that were just a little too large to be sugar on the pancake, but had decided to let the other woman hoist herself on her own petard.
"It's great," Fang managed to get out. "You put salt on this, didn't you?"
Diana nodded. "Yeah. I put lots on since I know you like salty food, mommy."
"Yes, I do." Fang forced herself to smile as she ate another piece. "It's great."
"And you have to try yours too, mom," Averia said as she handed Lightning her plate. "We made plenty for both of you."
Now it was Lightning's turn to sweat – and not in a good way – as she eyed the pancakes in front of her. Gingerly, she cut a piece from the pancake closest to her and took a bite. It was sweet, almost overpoweringly so, but as strange as it seemed, the peanuts actually added a nice sort of crunchiness to everything.
"Hmmm… it's quite good." Lightning smiled. "Sweet, but nice." If looks could have killed at that point, Fang would have been convicted of murdering her.
"Cool," Diana said. "Now, just keep eating. I have to go get something." She ran for the door and then stopped. "Remember, I'll be back right away, so don't try and drink the hot chocolate or anything."
Taking another bite of her pancake, Lightning turned to Averia. "How did it go making the pancakes?"
"It was okay," Averia replied. The girl gave Lightning a serious look. "I was really careful, and I checked twice to make sure that I turned everything off just like you showed me, and I was extra careful to not let Diana get burned or anything." She winced. "Am I in trouble for using the stove without an adult?"
Lightning chuckled softly and reached out to pat her daughter on the head. "No, not this time. So long as it's only for special occasions and so long as you're really careful, I suppose I could let it go." She paused. "And good work on taking care of your sister, I know what a handful she can be. The last time she helped me cook, she asked if she could use my gun blade to peel potatoes."
Averia laughed and smiled brightly. "Thanks, mom." Her brows furrowed. "But you didn't let her use your gun blade, did you? Because if you did, I definitely want to help next time."
Diana charged back into the room waving two mugs around. "Here, mom! Here, mommy!" she cried as she handed Lightning one of the mugs and Fang the other.
Lightning took her mug and turned it around to take a closer look at it. On the front was 'Best Mom Ever' in Diana's surprisingly neat handwriting. The whole mug was covered with pictures of her frolicking in a forest with Odin and what looked to be half the cast of Gary the Gorgonopsid. Beside her, Fang had a similar mug with "Best Mommy Ever" on it. However, instead of a forest, the mug showed her and Bahamut soaring through a sky filled with chocobos, which was a little odd considering the fact that chocobos couldn't fly.
"These are really good," Fang said with a smile. "I like the chocobs. It would be nice if they could fly, then Chirpy would be able to go with Sazh and Dajh everywhere. Did you paint them yourself?"
Diana grinned. "Yes. We did it in class. Most people only had one, but since I have a mom and a mommy, Miss Gainsborough said I could do two. Painting them was really fun as well, since Miss Gainsborough let us choose what we wanted to put on them. I just wish I could have gotten bigger mugs, then I could have put more stuff on them."
"Well, I think they look great," Lightning said. She nodded at Averia. "Can you pass me the hot chocolate?"
Lightning poured herself and Fang some hot chocolate and watched in amusement as the other woman handled the beverage as though it were as dangerous as molten lava. Knowing their children, though, that sort of caution might actually be justified. Still, there wasn't anything to do but try it. Slowly, she took a sip. Well, well, well, it was really quite good, although it was very sugary.
"Hey," Fang said. "This is really good. Really sweet."
Averia nodded. "I know mom likes her hot chocolate to be pretty sweet, and Diana said we should add some more sugar to it just to be sure."
As they continued to make inroads into their pancakes – Lightning with considerably more gusto than Fang – Averia handed each of them their toast and then headed for the bedroom door.
"I have a present for you two as well, I just need to go get it."
Averia came back with a bright yellow sunflower in a pot.
"Is that your present?" Lightning asked.
Averia nodded. "It is." She paused dramatically and then added with a huge grin, "I grew it myself."
Lightning was actually stunned speechless, as was Fang. Even Diana seemed amazed.
"But… but it's a plant," Diana murmured. "And… and you grew it… and… and it's alive."
"I know." Averia seemed to be too happy to be put off by her sister's comment. "I saved up some of my pocket money and I bought some sunflower seeds. I asked Aunt Serah if I could borrow some of her old pots and I hid them in Aunt Serah's backyard so you wouldn't know about them. I had seeds in ten pots, but only this one grew." She put the potted plant on the floor. "Since it survived, it has to be super lucky and super strong or something, so I just knew I had to give it to you."
Fang looked at the plant. It looked quite cheerful actually, and very healthy, something that she didn't normally associate with her daughter when it came to plants. "But why sunflowers? I thought you might get us a rose or something."
Averia looked down at the ground for a moment, and Lightning had to fight the urge to ruffle her hair. Fang, of course, had no problem doing exactly that, and Lightning hid a smile as her daughter blushed and tried to slap Fang's hands away. "It's… it's stupid."
"Whatever your reason is," Fang said. "I doubt it's stupid. Trust me, I've seen a lot of stupid people in my life, and you definitely aren't one of them."
"Well…" Averia fidgeted with her shirt for a moment. "It's just… you and mom… you're like the sunshine. You… you always make me and Diana happy all the time and…"
Lightning couldn't stand it any longer. She set her food aside and scooped Averia up into her arms.
"Hugging time, yay!" Diana cried as Averia squirmed. Within moments all four of them were in one big group hug.
"Okay," Lightning said at last. "How about you two go back downstairs? You can watch your cartoons while your mommy and I finish eating. Once we're done, we'll make you two some breakfast and then we can all go to the park."
As the two girls hurried out the door to watch their cartoons, Fang turned to Lightning.
"You know," Fang said. "They burnt a lot of the toast, put enough sugar in that hot chocolate to give me cavities, and I don't even know what they were thinking putting salt on a pancake but… well… this might just be the best breakfast I've ever had." She grinned and then added, "Except for you, of course."
Fang's head jerked back as Lightning whacked her with a pillow.
"Anyway," Lightning said, voice softening as she looked at the food in front of her. "I think you're right. But you do realise that we're going to have to eat all of this. The girls will know if we get rid of it. I'm going to be fine since mine is mostly just really sweet, but how about you?"
Fang squared her shoulders. "We Yun are known for our cast iron stomachs."
Lightning chuckled. "Yes, I know all about how good your stomach is." She glanced down at said stomach and grinned.
"Lightning," Fang said in mock shock. "Are you… ogling me? Keep doing that and we'll never get through breakfast."
Lightning cut herself another piece of pancake and popped it into her mouth. Keenly aware of Fang's eyes on her, she made a show of licking off an errant bit of chocolate sauce from the corner of her mouth. "Mother's Day belongs to the kids, Fang, but I suppose that since you've been very good lately, I could give you Mother's Night."
"Mother's Night?" Fang smirked. "I've never heard of that before, but I like the sound of it." She chuckled and looked down at the likeness of Lightning on her pancake. "Do you think I could have you with chocolate sauce and whipped cream?"
X X X
As always, I neither own Final Fantasy, nor am I making any money off of this.
To be completely honest, this wasn't going to be the next chapter of this story. I actually had an entirely different chapter planned, but when I realised that Mother's Day was coming up (at least it's coming up where I am), I just knew that I had to write something and this chapter sort of just popped into my head and so here we are. I think it turned out okay.
For those of you who are wondering, salt on pancakes really does taste terrible. I can still recall one particular breakfast when I was adding what I thought was sugar to the peanut butter already on my pancake (try it, sugar and peanut butter taste great on a pancake). However, the second I took a bite out of it, I realised the mistake I had made. I ended up sort of scraping it all off, but even so I could still taste the salt. Not one of my finer moments.
Also, for people waiting for updates to other stories, never fear, I am working on those. Whispers of the Gods was updated last week, and I've got the next chapter of Wasteland kind of kicking around in my head.
As always, I appreciate feedback. Reviews and comments are welcome.