Disclaimer: Nope

Disclaimer: Nope.

Author's Note: Wow…I'm the WORST author ever. I haven't updated ANYTHING in FOREVER! And yes, I do like caps lock. Anyway, sorry for this freakishly long wait. Things are crazy right now. It seems if I'm not doing something, it's something else. Thanks for sticking with me! Oh, and I haven't decided if I'm going to bring back Lyoko or Xana or anything like that for this story because that plot is done a lot. But yeah, I'll think about it. If you'd like to see that (much later, may I add), then review and lemme know.

Bitter Sweet

Chapter 1: A "Warm" Welcoming

Ulrich Stern could remember sleep. Not just sleep, but deep sleep. He could also remember dreams, nightmares, and other such hallucinations. He never thought he'd miss them until now…

"Ulrich…?" Yumi groaned from her side of the bed. She sounded terrible. "Please…"

They both knew it was her turn, but she had just crossed the threshold between consciousness and sleep, and Ulrich was wired. So, with a nod, he threw the covers off himself, getting chills at the spring air and making a mental note to start wearing more than just boxers to bed, and stood and stretched. His eyes fell on the digital clock on his bedside table. The neon red lights changed, and read 3:02. Surprisingly, he was too restless to even think of sleep.

Crossing the small house, he stopped just outside the kids' room. Nanami, who never seemed to stop crying, was hollering as loud as she could. Usually, there was nothing wrong with her, so Ulrich figured she just liked to hear herself make noise. Alex on the other hand, never made a sound, even when he was hurt, and often made it hard for his parents to tell when something was indeed wrong.

"Shh, honey," Ulrich whispered, picking up Nanami and rocking her slowly. "What's the matter?" Nothing. Of course not. After Ulrich made sure nothing earthly was making her upset, he sat down in the rocker and laid her against his chest. She yawned and started to fade back into sleep against her new pillow. Her father smiled down at her. Suddenly, it didn't matter that it was three a.m. or that he couldn't remember the last night he'd actually gotten a good amount of sleep. Everything was alright when he was with his children and with Yumi.

His children…though it was a blissful thought, it was also scary. He was sixteen, soon to be seventeen, and already he had the most beautiful children on the planet. Well, that was to be expected, he decided, just by looking at their mother. He smiled to himself.

Nanami yawned, her eyes slowly closing despite her best efforts to stay awake. Soon, she was asleep again, and after Ulrich had returned her to bed, he crawled back into his own. He wasn't wired anymore. He was exhausted.

It was a nightly occurrence. Yumi and he were lucky to get more than just a few broken hours of sleep each night. They were both physically and mentally exhausted, past the breaking point. But they never complained. And they never would.

"Ulrich?" Yumi muttered sleepily when he had returned to bed. She snuggled into his side, laying her head on his chest. She only slept best when with him. That must be love.

He smiled, wrapping his arms around her. "I love you Yumi."

"Love you too," she said between yawns, and was instantly asleep again.

X

"Jeremie!" Aelita called from the bedroom. "When are we going?"

Her husband had lost track of the time. He flipped the egg casually as his eyes scanned the clock. They were already late. "In just a minute!" he yelled back. Well, they couldn't let the food go to waste.

Aelita meet him in the kitchen, towel drying her beautiful, pink hair. She smiled, leaning against the doorframe. "I'm glad you got today off of work. It'll be nice for us all to be together again."

The blonde genius nodded. "Yeah…I wonder if the kids have driven them insane yet…" He muttered, mostly to himself, as he set down Aelita's breakfast.

She beamed. "Thanks." They usually took turns making breakfast, but, despite herself, every time he cooked, she always felt so grateful. Jeremie knew it was just because of what kind of person she was.

"And, I don't think so," she continued, replying to his previous thought. "Yumi and Ulrich are both strong. If anyone can do this, they can."

Jeremie ate his eggs idly. That was true. They were probably the strongest people he knew. He wasn't sure if he could handle fatherhood so early, even if it had been planned.

"Jeremie…?" Aelita whispered a few moments later.

He stood to rinse his plate, but stopped dead in his tracks at the sound of her voice. Why did she seem so…sad? "What is it, Aelita?"

"Do you think….Well…could I ever have children?"

Jeremie had to remind himself how to breathe. For a full ten seconds, he stood in silence. Was she implying that she wanted kids? No, no. Perhaps she was simply curious. But if she did…could Jeremie explain to her why it would be a bad idea? Would she take it the wrong way? He bit his lip, evening his heartbeat before answering. "I'm not sure…I'm not really the one you should ask." Though she had asked him a few times before, never really getting an answer.

"Why not?" she asked, not understanding. "You know more about me than anyone. You researched me-" he flinched at the word choice-"You rescued me from Lyoko. You brought me here…shouldn't you know?"

He gulped audibly. "Listen Aelita…that may be true, but I'm just a guy…this is something you would have to talk to Yumi or Sam about. I'm sorry."

She didn't understand, but she trusted him. So she simply nodded, letting the conversation die. After she had rinsed off her plate and grabbed her jacket, she chanced talking again. "Alright…I'll talk to them."

Jeremie nodded back, wondering where this had all come from. "Alright. Let's go meet up with the others."

X

"Are we gonna tell them?" Sam asked, staring out her window.

Odd wanted to be able to calmly talk to her about this, to try to help, but he was driving. His eyes never drifted from the highway. "If you want…" he muttered. He was having a hard time believing it still. He doubted he could tell anyone.

She shrugged, finding interest in the simple scenery of Paris. She knew she probably would tell them…who knew when their next get-together would be. Everyone was working now, trying to support themselves. They were lucky they had today. "Alright…we tell them then."

Odd recoiled at "we" but knew he was just as responsible for this as she was. He had to step up, be a man. So he nodded. "Alright…"

He pulled into Yumi and Ulrich's driveway, putting the car in "park" but refusing to turn it off. It idled there for a few minutes before Sam turned to look at him.

"What's the matter?"

He shrugged. "Nothing. Sorry." Quickly, he turned off the car and let himself out. Sam followed quietly. She was scared too. Odd was just too proud to admit it.

Yumi answered the door, looking more like a zombie than ever. Her eyes had think, black rings beneath them, and they were puffy and bloodshot. But she was still as beautiful as ever. Sam smiled, hugging her tightly, before they all went inside.

"Sam!" Aelita exclaimed with a huge smile, jumping up from the couch to embrace her other best friend. The men, too Y-chromosomed to do more than a handshake when they first saw each other, just looked on quietly, before Jeremie and Ulrich continued their previous conversation. Odd tried to jump in, but Jeremie had gone all scientific. Even Ulrich looked confused.

"Now that you're both here," Aelita whispered from the couch, across the room from the boys, to Yumi and Sam. "I need to ask you something."

"Okay."

"Do you think…well…would it be possible for me to…have kids?" she said, visibly nervous. Sam and Yumi looked at each other, then at Jeremie. What had they been doing? They both laughed out loud at the thought, since they were guilty as well, but realized how serious Aelita's face was. This wasn't a laughing matter, apparently.

Sam spoke up first. "I don't see why not. You are still a girl, even if you lived in Lyoko first."

Yumi agreed. "Yeah. I mean, you are capable of having kids…" there was a pause, "right?"

Looking between them, Aelita shrugged. "I dunno. That's what I was asking you."

"Well," Sam continued, "there's sorta an obvious way to tell."

This gave Aelita hope. "Really?! How?!"

The two dark-haired girls looked at each other, saying "you can explain" simultaneously. And, poor Aelita, she just looked on, confused.

X

Sam and Odd kept glancing at each other over the table. She had only nibbled on her pizza, but Odd was as odd as ever. He'd already eaten five slices.

"Good thing we ordered extra," Yumi muttered, and all the girls agreed.

"Hey, don't hate me cuz I'm beautiful," Odd countered, which of course, had nothing to do with anything. Yumi laughed. "That's not why I hate you," she joked back.

Nanami started crying, ending all talk at the table. Ulrich and Yumi got up to check on her. Sam moved closer to her boyfriend, whispering in his ear. "Alright, when are we gonna do this?"

"I don't know…" Odd muttered. "You pick."

Sam stared at his expression. "Oh my gosh…is the great Odd Della-Robia actually scared?!"

"No!" he shot back, a little too loudly. Aelita and Jeremie looked up, but didn't say anything. "Fine," he whispered to Sam. "We tell them when Yumi and Ulrich get back."

She nodded, going to sit down. Picking up her pizza slice, she realized she wouldn't be able to eat even if she was hungry. Frustrated, she threw it back on her plate.

"Everything okay?" Aelita whispered worriedly. Sam nodded.

Yumi came back in, holding the small baby girl. "Nanami wanted to say hi, apparently."

All eyes flew to her. As Yumi reclaimed her seat next to Aelita, Ulrich came back in as well. "Alex is still asleep."

"Can I hold her?" Aelita asked. Yumi smiled and gently passed Nanami over.

Aelita smiled back, staring down at her goddaughter. Nanami yawned, big brass-colored eyes looking up at Aelita.

Sam looked at Odd, who closed his eyes and nodded. He clenched his fists together; he was scared, though he wasn't sure why.

"Uh…" Sam choked, looking around. "Odd and I have something we need to tell you…"

Everyone stared at them, confused; though they were pretty sure they already knew what they were going to hear. Yumi and Aelita both knew the news, unless more had come up, and, of course, they had to tell Ulrich and Odd.

"Well…I'm…" Sam sighed. "I'm pregnant."

X

Okay, clearing a few things up now. One, Sam didn't know that everyone already knew about her being pregnant.

Two, I still don't know the entire plot of this story yet. Ideas would be appreciated.

Three, it may take me awhile to update. School is going to start soon, and I'm usually pretty busy. Especially since it's senior year this year. Just be patient with me!

Thanks for reading! Review!

Fox Kitsune