Author's Note: Originally I wasn't going to go this route since it's sort of expected (hey, a pun!) in this contest, but I decided that I liked this idea enough to go with it. Besides, my brain is fried from final projects, and the only other option I could come up with was about Chelsea's first attempt at gardening.
When you see dialogue that is underlined, the characters are speaking in unison.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harvest Moon or its characters, so there.
Expecting the Unexpected
Tick... tick... tick...
It's taking too long... We've been here what... six hours? And no one's told us anything yet. Is she going to be alright, or should I be in there with her? If I knew it was going to be like this, I might've thought this all the way through.
Step... step... step...
Why wouldn't they let me in there? If Mom's there with her, don't I have the right to be, too? I don't know how much more of this I can take... I knew I shouldn't have let this happen, especially when I knew she wasn't ready for anything like this.
Tick... step... tick...
And look at him. He's sitting there glaring at me like this is my fault. I wasn't ready for any of this, either, but she wanted it to happen so bad that I figured we could give it a shot. I just thought, What the hell? I'm sure I've got what it takes to handle this kind of thing. Still... maybe I should've pulled out when I had the chance.
Step... tick... step...
Goddess, can't he stand still for even a minute? He's been pacing that floor ever since we got here. If he doesn't sit down, I'll... Why did she have to marry him anyway? He's not responsible enough for something like this, and for that matter, neither is she. I guess my opinion doesn't matter, though... not that it ever did.
Tick, step, tick, step, tick, st-
"Kai, just sit down for Goddess's sake!" the man barked from where he was sitting on the couch of the small waiting room. His long, strawberry blonde hair fell into his eyes, but he still managed to glare at the other through his thick lenses. "You've been pacing that damn floor for six hours now. You're going to walk a hole right into it if you don't cut it out."
"Better than you just listening to that broken watch of yours and glaring at me," his reluctant companion countered while rolling his brown eyes. He tightened the purple bandanna tied around his shaggy locks as if he were preparing for a fight, but he still smiled all the same. "It's not like it's your wife in there, Rick."
"She's still my sister!" the man snapped. However, when he realized he'd lost his temper with the other once again, he bowed his head and ran his knobby fingers through his hair in frustration. His own wife was always telling him to mind the doctor's orders to keep his blood pressure in check, but this brother-in-law of his was just too much for him to handle, especially given the already stressful situation. "As long as she's home, I'm the one who's responsible for her."
"Popuri can take care of herself without your help," Kai argued back with a dismissive wave of his hand. "She's obviously a grown woman now... You're just the only one who hasn't realized it yet." When his companion continued to glower at him, he simply shrugged, and then his lips revealed a sly grin.
"What's that look for?" Rick muttered, glancing down at the floor. He wasn't exactly sure he even wanted an answer, but it was already too late since he'd gone and asked anyway. However, that meant he'd probably end up getting a glimpse into his rival's rather deprived mind as well which was surely going to be an unsavory adventure at best. After all, the other man didn't have much in the way of shame...
"Just thinking," he replied casually. That made it even worse as far as Rick was concerned, and of course, he would have to be right. "A girl sure wouldn't have been able to pull off that kind of position..."
Not a second after the words left him, Kai found himself being lifted up off the tiled floor by his collar and gazing into the enraged eyes of the other man. This turn of events wasn't much of a surprise for him, though, since he was more or less used to this kind of treatment at the hands of what he considered to be nothing more than a typical over-protective brother. As far as he was concerned, this was just a further continuation of their usual little game of being at one another's throats on a regular basis, and with that being the case, he felt he really didn't have to worry about his own well being.
However, the temptation to push just a little bit harder was difficult to refuse.
"Oh, come on, Rick," he teased with a feigned sigh as he rolled his eyes. "That baby had to be made somehow, you know..." When the other's grip tightened, his grin only broadened and a chuckle escaped him. "Besides, you didn't even give me a chance to tell you which one."
"You have to be one of the sickest bastards, I've ever met, you son of a bitch..." Rick growled, tossing him back which caused the man to stumble. Of course, Kai remained unfazed since his would-be attacker had once again been outwitted by his smart-ass remarks. It was also rather degrading for a man's face to turn that many shades of red at once, and his embarrassment had all but destroyed any desire to maul the individual who was to blame for it.
"Being as I don't know my father and my mother ran her only son son out of the house, I'd say you got two our of three," Kai remarked, perhaps with more thought than he should've.
"And you still think you have what it takes to be a parent?" his brother-in-law scoffed while rolling his eyes. However it was clearly too soon for him to turn his back since he found himself being whipped right back around by the slightly shorter man. It was rare to see his rival showing any sign of frustration, let alone anger, but at the moment, he was suddenly face to face with a pair of narrowed and darkened eyes. Although the rogue's unusually solemn expression was foreboding, Rick wasn't one to back down so easily, either, and he actually found himself smirking in satisfaction to have finally riled up the other for once.
"Don't try and tell me whether I'm going to be a good father or not," the young man warned. He took a fistful of his opponent's sweater and jerked his head down to his level. "'ll admit I wasn't exactly planning on having a kid, but I'll be damned if I'm going to let you decide how well I'm gonna raise it."
"For its sake then, I hope you don't plan on going anywhere until its grown," Rick replied casually. "We don't want to the child to grow up to be like you, after all."
"What'd be so wrong about that?" Kai chuckled. "The kid would probably be better off than its uncle ever was," he continued with a smile as he shoved the man back away from him. "It'd be a shame for him to grow up as 'Chicken Boy' like a certain someone else we both know..."
Rick's face flushed slightly after being reminded of the all too familiar nickname, but he only scowled back at the other while doing his best not to let himself get stirred up again. His rival's face was once again split in half by a confident grin. However, it wasn't meant to last since both men suddenly heard a rather unsettling cry coming from the delivery room, and no sooner had they heard it, they were anxiously waiting right by the door and trying to get in. Although they turned the handle numerous times, neither one could seem to pry it open.
"There's no need to worry!" a young woman's voice called out to them sweetly. The scream that followed her words didn't assure them any, though, and after a brief pause, the men resumed desperately trying again to jimmy it open.
"She's in pain!" the pair insisted angrily as they continued to try and force their way inside. While in their haste, they still managed to glare at one another for daring to speak at the same time. Bother-in-laws or no, they had always been the bitterest of enemies, and as far as they were concerned, they always would be. Even so, both of them retreated when they heard the shill voice on the other side.
"I swear to the Goddess that if either of you comes in here, I'll- Augh! Don't shush me, Mother! That hurts, dammit!"
Kai was the first to cast a nervous glance towards his companion, and while under normal circumstances he would've laughed to see Rick completely slack-jawed, he knew he probably looked more or less the same. "Did you teach her to talk like that?" his rival breathed at last, cleaning his lenses furiously.
"Hardly..." he replied with a sigh. He leaned back against the doctor's desk and rubbed his chin in careful thought. "But I think this is the first time I've ever heard her say something like that, either... I mean, there was that one time she gave me a black-eye, but-"
"Wait, Popuri did what to you?" Rick asked in disbelief as he slipped his glasses back up his nose. "She won't even let me squish a damn spider without crying, and you're telling me that she actually hit you?" When the other nodded with a shrug and a chuckle, he only sighed once again and shook his head. "Well, you really must've done something to set her off." Then he scoffed, "After all, you're her precious husband..."
"Not at all," Kai snickered. "It's called hormones, and let me tell you, they pack quite a punch if you don't say exactly the right thing at the right time."
"Guess I don't have to worry about it then," the man replied, running his fingers through his long, silky tresses. "Karen's abusive enough without any of that," he chuckled quietly with a bashful grin. It wasn't as if his wife was intentionally unkind to him, but she'd always been rather sharp tongued whether it was towards him or someone else. There wasn't anything to be done about it, though, which was why he never let it get to him. They'd been friends for years before they finally got married, so he knew she meant none of it.
"Oh, that's right... You guys decided not to have kids, huh?" Kai murmured thoughtfully. It didn't really surprise him since that woman had never seemed even vaguely interested in becoming a mother, but he could still clearly see the sadness and regret in the other's eyes. "Or did she make that decision on her own?" he asked in an unusually apologetic tone.
"Karen told me when I proposed to her that she didn't want to raise a family," Rick explained quietly with a shrug. "Even if I wanted to have kids of my own, I just don't want to put my wants first... you know?"
"You really should tell her anyway," his companion insisted with a sigh. "Maybe she's just worried she won't be a good mother. Shit... The thought of being a parent scared the hell out of me at first!" the young man confessed as he rubbed the back of his neck. "I mean... you're not the only one who doesn't exactly think I'm father material." Gazing up at the fluorescent lights, his warm brown eyes narrowed and a frown appeared as he crossed his arms over his chest. "In almost every town we went to there was someone talking behind my back, and after a while, I almost started to believe them." Then he smiled and chuckled to himself while he shook his head, but he didn't say anything more for a time.
"Do you think you have what it takes?" the other asked with a hint of amusement in his voice. "It's not going to be all fun and games, Kai... You'll have to be responsible for once," he reminded him sharply. However, even though he tried to hide it from view, he still couldn't help but smile. "And that means you'll have to share my sister, too."
"I know," I rogue agreed with a cheeky grin. "I've already been sharing her anyway when you think about it..." He laughed then with a playful wink. "After all, you can't actually sleep with a pregnant woman, can you?!"
Rick's face screwed itself up with nothing less than disgust, and he glared at the young man in annoyance. "Kai, that is the sickest thing I have ever heard!"
"Trust me," his companion assured him with a chuckle. "I can come up with a lot worse than that." Although the other certainly wouldn't have doubted it, he didn't have a chance to lecture him, for there was another piercing scream coming from the door that had been temporarily forgotten by the pair. However, this one lasted far longer, and the pain fueling it made both men grit their teeth and wince. "Goddess... what the hell is happening in there?"
"Something that we will never have to experience for ourselves," Rick muttered, feeling his face heat as he suppressed a shiver. "Maybe we're better off out here, after all..." The two shared a glance, and while neither one would've expected it, they not only exchanged a smile, but a laugh as well. Of course, they also neglected to realize they were laughing at the expense of the poor woman in the other room, yet soon enough they were reminded of the situation as the door finally opened to them.
"Although I hate to interrupt such a rare moment between you two," the nurse mused with a small smile, "I think there's a very special little boy you should both meet."
Neither man hesitated to hurry towards the room where the mother and child were waiting, but once they reached it, Rick took a step back. When the other raised a curious eyebrow, he just smiled. "What? You didn't think I'd let a father see his own son first?" Then he chuckled and motioned for his former rival to go in ahead of him. "I'm just his uncle."
"Popuri was calling for you the entire time, you know," Elli assured the young man. "The only reason why she didn't want you with her," she continued to explain, "was because she didn't want you to see her in such a state." He nodded weakly, the color gone from his usually tanned face, as he finally made his way through the door. However, once inside the room, he felt himself immediately relax to see his wife propped up in bed and with a small, purple bundle cradled tenderly in her arms.
Her bright red eyes flickered up to meet his own warm brown pair, and although she blushed slightly, she still offered him a brilliant smile. He, too, grinned as he came to join her, sitting on the other side of the bed across from her own mother. However, the older woman merely smiled softly towards him before she stood to leave the two proud parents alone with their new child. "She could've stayed..." Kai murmured as he kissed his wife for the first time since they'd arrived at the clinic. It was such a blessing to be able to see her again, especially with the light blush that crept across her cheeks once more.
"I think she knows," she replied with a giggle, "but I guess she figured that she'd better keep Rick occupied for a while."
"Oh, I don't think she has to worry about him anymore," he assured her with a chuckle of his own. "He actually willingly let me come in here first." When the young mother's eyes widened, he merely laughed. "I'll explain later, but for now... can I see him?"
"Do you even have to ask?" she teased, gently turning back the purple cloth from the infants face. When he first laid eyes on the child, he just had to smile to find that. despite his young age, he already was the image of his father with from his olive skin to his gently sloping nose. However, as he went to stroke the baby's soft cheek, the little one's eyes opened revealing two ruby red orbs. and once the blanket fell further away, there was a single, pink curl atop his head.
"Now there's a handsome kid," Kai chuckled, feeling his face warm slightly. His wife merely continued to smile until she lifted her head to see her brother had finally come to join the happy couple. Rick may have stood back a ways, but when he happened to catch a glimpse of his nephew he just had to shake his head in amusement.
"Looks like we're going to have another trouble maker on our hands," he mused with a knowing smile as he leaned over the proud father. "Still, I guess if I could put up with you for all these years, he won't be too much trouble."
"I wouldn't bet on it," his brother-in-law countered with a wink. "After all, he is my son an' all." The two men simply grinning at one another while the women looked on in confusion, but the silence was interrupted as the nurse once again reappeared in the room. There was a gentle smile on her face, yet it faltered slightly to find she was being ignored. The only way she managed to get their attention was by feigning a cough, and at last they all turned to face her.
"Forgive me, but... Have the parents chosen a name for the baby?" she asked sweetly with her clipboard in hand. However, the couple simply looked at one another and blinked since the thought had honestly never occurred to either of them to come up with a name. While her husband only shrugged, though, Popuri seemed to have come to a decision, for her eyes immediately lit up after a moment or so to think. However, she simply motioned for Elli to lean over so she could whisper the name to her. "Ashley Makani then?" the nurse replied with a gentle smile, jotting it down before anyone else could protest.
"Ashley?" the men echoed, both raising an eyebrow. "Isn't that a girl's name?" The two exchanged uncertain glances, but the young mother remained firm as her full lips assumed a childish pout.
"Yes, Ashley," Popuri insisted with a curt nod. "I think it suits him."
Both men glanced down at the infant, who had apparently decided it was far too troublesome to keep himself awake any longer, and while neither one of them said a word, they both smiled gently and chuckled to themselves. Although they didn't have to say anything, they both knew they shared the exact same thought.
As long as he doesn't mind, I guess... Then Ashley it is.
Final Author's Note: As if giving that poor boy pink hair wasn't bad enough, I had to land him with that name. Sorry to any boys named 'Ashley,' but I just always thought that was a strange name for a grown man later in life. Same for the name Candy. : /
I really don't know if I'm happy with this, though... except for the fact that the boy's were actually getting along. I love those two~