For RenaYumi, as a birthday story. Inspired after asking John for a letter, color, and object (B, Blue, and a Cup).
Advertisement: If any of you reading this are a fan of RenaYumi's The April Fool series, then I have an announcement for you! To celebrate the coming of the series's final instalment, RenaYumi and I (I'm cowriting) are holding a contest, the prize of which is a sneak peak at the story before it's posted! For more information, go to my profile. Contest opens March 25th.
Ulrich Stern—powerful Lyoko warrior, conqueror of evil viruses bent on world domination, so-so former Kadic student, star of his school soccer team and building an increasingly impressive professional soccer resume, and all around handsome, wonderful guy Ulrich Stern was at a complete loss of what to do.
And his equally beautiful, lovely wife thought it was hilarious.
"It's not funny," Ulrich whined, frowning at Yumi as she completely failed to stifle her giggles.
"Yes it is," Yumi said, smiling up at Ulrich. "It's very funny."
"It's not!" Ulrich said, looking affronted. "It's a very legitimate concern!"
"You know it's not," Yumi said, shaking her head and turning away from her flustered husband. He made a few complaining sounds at her turned back, but living together with the man had fine tuned Yumi's skills when it came to ignoring him.
"I just don't understand why we have to pick something that's so…definitive," Ulrich said, trying to regain Yumi's attention.
"Ulrich, I'm so proud!" Yumi said, glancing over her shoulder. "I didn't think you knew what definitive meant."
"I told you the word-a-day calendar was a good idea," Ulrich responded. He then paused, realizing that he'd gotten off track from his original point. And judging by the triumphant look lighting Yumi's features, she'd realized it too.
"Come on Ulrich," she said, grabbing his hand and pulling him along a little ways. "Look at them with me."'
"No," Ulrich said, using Yumi's grip on him to pull her right back. "I don't think we should be looking at those ones." Yumi sighed.
"Ulrich, why?" she said, exasperation lacing her voice.
"Because," Ulrich said slowly, "I'm not redoing it." Yumi rolled her eyes.
"You won't have to," she said, doing her best to sound reassuring.
"Yes I will," Ulrich countered. "You know it as well as I do."
"Oh, I do, do I?" Ulrich nodded.
"Everyone knows that if you go and choose one just because you think you know what you're getting, then you'll get it wrong."
"Ulrich," Yumi said, her expression flat, "No one knows that."
"Yes they do," Ulrich countered.
"No. No, they don't. Now come on," Yumi said, pulling Ulrich over again. Ulrich sighed, hanging his head dejectedly as Yumi pulled him over to the wall of cards, all displaying the dozens of colors available to pick from. All of the dozens and dozens of shades of blue.
"How about this one?" Yumi asked, snatching up one of the cards and showing it to Ulrich. He pouted. Yumi ignored him. "Azure dusk sea breeze," she read from the back of the card. "What do you think?"
"Uh," Ulrich said, blinking. Azure sea…what? Yumi blinked at him, and then sighed. She seemed to be doing that a lot today.
"You're useless," she huffed, stuffing the card back into its little plastic slot.
"I am not," Ulrich said, zoning back into the conversation. "Personally, I think I'm being incredibly useful."
"Oh?" Yumi asked. "How?"
"By trying to show you these," Ulrich said. Grabbing Yumi's wrist, her pulled her back over to the paint cards he much preferred—the greens and yellows.
"Why do you keep wanting to use these?" Yumi asked, frowning and then trying to scoot back over to the blues.
"Because," Ulrich said, carefully wrapping his arms around Yumi and hugging her against him to keep her from escaping. "They're much more gender neutral."
"We don't have to be gender neutral," Yumi said, sounding like she was saying it for the tenth time that day. "We know that he's going to be a boy."
"We don't know that for sure," Ulrich argued. "And I already told you, when you paint the room based on what you think it's going to be, you end up jinxing yourself and you get the other gender." Yumi stared at Ulrich.
"It's a wonder you passed high school biology," she told him flatly. He stuck his tongue out at her, which Yumi tried to pinch between her fingers before Ulrich pulled it in again.
"I just don't want to have to explain to our kid why they grew up in a room painted a gender specific color," Ulrich explained. "The wrong gender specific color."
"Well, I don't want to paint the room yellow or green," Yumi said, reaching up to wrap her arms around Ulrich's neck. "So now what?"
"Hmm." Ulrich leaned down, pressing his forehead against Yumi's. "Maybe we'll just have to compromise?" he suggested. Yumi narrowed her eyes.
"We just might."
And that was why, three months later, Ulrich Stern stood in the middle of a room painted with the top half of the walls blue and the bottom half yellow as he gently rocked the blanket wrapped bundle that was his new child.
"Look," his whispered, a small smile on his face. "You're mommy's finally asleep." The baby gurgled contently as Ulrich shifted slightly, reaching over to take the coffee cup from Yumi's hand before she dropped it. She had finally fallen asleep, curled up in the overstuffed armchair the pair had crammed into their new nursery.
"I'll have to put her to bed too now, won't I?" Ulrich cooed, looking back down at his little child as he set the cup down on the small table beside the chair. "I might as well have had two kids, huh?" The baby gurgled again, curling and uncurling the tiny fingers on its little, pudgy fist while looking up at its father through drowsy blue eyes.
"Time for bed," Ulrich whispered as he walked over to the baby's crib. Ducking under a mobile decorated with little ducks, he settled the baby down. "There you go, all comfortable." The baby yawned, blinking up at its dad for a few moments before shutting its eyes and promptly drifting off to sleep.
"Sleep tight," Ulrich whispered. He turned away from the crib, just in time to see Yumi blinking awake.
"'sleep?" she murmured, pointing to the crib. Ulrich nodded.
"Out like a rock." Yumi smiled.
"Good," she said. "Now it's our turn." Ulrich grinned, swooping down and scooping Yumi into his arms. Yumi smiled, snuggling against Ulrich's chest.
"Hey, Ulrich," she whispered, as Ulrich carried her from the room.
"Yeah?" he asked.
"What do you think the baby dreams about?" she asked. Ulrich laughed softly.
"Probably about what could possibly possess her parents to give their daughter a blue and yellow bedroom."