"That ribbon suits you," Terra said, and Celes met her love’s gaze in the mirror. She shook some of the tension from her neck and smiled back. Terra’s hands slipped around her waist and she rested her head on Celes’s shoulder. "I’m surprised you went with the dress."
"Well, I’ve come to accept that our friends are unregenerate leches." Celes planted a kiss on Terra’s nose. "So if I am to be gawked at, I’m at least going to wear something worth gawking at." Celes gave her delicately styled curls one final check in the mirror.
Terra scoffed. “Hey, now! I always gawk.” Terra swatted Celes on the butt. She could barely feel it through the many layers and folds of the white dress, but that was very much beside the point. Celes spun in mock anger, her face clenching a giggle on a short leash.
Terra’s rotten little smirk dared her to do anything about it.
For her part, Terra’s green hair was as vibrant as ever, pinned up in a bun that gave her sharp features a severe authority. The collar of her midnight-blue dress extended above her head to form a feathery halo, and a slit ran so far up her leg Celes could barely resist the urge to slide a hand through it.
Terra smoothed Celes’s dress, but she was so excited that her love’s touch bordered on tickling. Her squirming only seemed to excite Terra, who abandoned all pretense of polishing Celes’s appearance to wrap her in her arms and dig her long, red nails into her back. Her voice was hushed, but carried a predatory longing. “And besides, none of them get to see my darling general out of the dress later.”
Terra’s nose brushed against her ear, and Celes couldn’t resist the urge to kiss Terra’s prominent cheek bone. The taste of her lover’s skin cried out to her, and Celes whimpered, “This is true.”
"Mamaaaaa!" Marcus cried out as he dashed into the room.
At the sound of her children’s voices, Terra tensed in Celes’s hands. The lascivious smirking was gone in an instant, replaced by concern (and, Celes hoped, a bit of annoyance). “Hey, kiddo, what have we said about opening doors without knocking?”
"It’s a monster, mama! You have to come help!" Nothing in his voice hinted at any sense of threat, though, so Celes had some hint who this "monster" was. Marcus grabbed Terra’s hand in both of his and pulled her. She giggled in surprise and gave Celes a helpless shrug as she was dragged out of the room by a gleeful child.
A bear-like roar echoed from the open door, followed by a threatening shout. “Aaargh! I’ll toss you all into the sea!”
Celes snickered and trotted after them. Sabin stood in the middle of the room, children climbing on every limb, some punching, some kicking, all working together to bring him down.
"Cid!" Terra sternly rebuked. "Down." She had spotted the mischievous middle son plotting to jump from a chair onto Sabin’s unsuspecting back. Cid looked at Celes, but she was already grinning too hard to pretend to disapprove now. He jumped, knocking Sabin off balance and finally bringing the man down. Sabin was buried under the cheering children.
Terra turned and glared at Celes. “Don’t encourage him.”
"Sorry," Celes said. She hoped she sounded contrite, because she was beaming. It was such a small moment, but her heart swelled. For that moment it seemed like Cid was finally warming up to the idea of Celes as another mother and not simply "Miss Celes."
A wolf-whistle snapped Celes out of her musing. Edgar leaned in the doorway, elbow on the door jamb and royal circlet askew. “Oh, don’t mind me. I was just making sure my brother behaves himself.”
Celes laughed and embraced Edgar, who planted an utterly polite kiss on her cheek. “Ah, the burdens of ruling a kingdom never end, do they?”
"He’s not so hard to keep in line," Edgar replied with a wink.
"I think she means him watching you," Terra retorted, sliding an arm around Celes’s waist.
"Terra, you’re looking marvelous," Edgar replied and kissed her hand.
"Hey," Celes said. "Find your own fiery esper queen."
Edgar wagged a finger at her. “I’m working on it.”
Sabin rose out of the pile of kids, sending Cid and Nadia tumbling. Miranda clung to Sabin’s neck, legs flailing. He reached over his head to pull her off and set her down. “Don’t be fooled. Big brother’s found himself someone new.” Markus kicked Sabin in the shin. “Oof!”
"Hey now," Terra said and pulled Markus back with a hand on his head. "Think you’ll be able to handle them all by yourself?"
"I think I can manage!"
"We really appreciate it," Celes said. Celes hugged Sabin tightly, and he lifted her up. Then he lifted Terra up in his other arm, making her squeak in surprise.
"My two favorite ladies deserve a night out."
"You sure you don’t want to join us? Katrin and Duane can handle them."
Sabin set them down and shook his head. He moved to offer them both a friendly hair tussle but to Celes’s relief, he thought better of it upon seeing how much care each had put into theirs. He settled for a pat on the shoulders. “Opera is lost on me, I’m afraid.”
"Trust him, I’ve tried," Edgar chimed in. "Ready? The Falcon is waiting.”