Dedicated to: You, the reader, for making all of this possible; and to the girl I'm madly in love with, who inspires me more than she'll ever know.
Disclaimer: Any names that are unique to other works are only used for entertainment purposes.
Kairi wasn't one to regret her biggest decisions in life, but the problem at hand challenged her ethos like never before.
"Why did I marry him again?" Kairi asked.
"Because you love him," Namine, her best friend, said.
"He must've... tricked me or something!"
"Kairi, you're overreacting."
"So tell me about it."
It was always like this. Ever since childhood, Kairi would come running to her level-headed best friend in times of need. Whether it was boy trouble, girl trouble, homework trouble, or oh-no-I-locked-my-keys-in-the-car trouble, Kairi always turned to Naminé.
A very pregnant Kairi was sitting on a stool, idly making patterns with her finger on her confidante's granite island table. Her pseudo-shrink, meanwhile, quietly brewed decaffeinated coffee with trained expertise.
Hell, Naminé was an expert on anything and everything. She had it all. The money, the cars, the family… the husband (Kairi questioned her fate: why did she have to fall for the dumb one?) and the ability to get it all done before dinner time.
And that was why a frustrated, emotional, and pregnant Kairi was sitting in the humble abode of her lifelong best friend, who, by mere chance, happened to marry the other brother. The brother that didn't push her to the brink of ripping her well-kept hair out.
"Can't I complain a little more?"
"Well, Roxas will be coming back home in about thirty minutes. I'm afraid you're rant will last for an hour. So if you want this to be girl talk, you're going to have to get a move on, hon."
The redhead huffed, crossing her arms indignantly. She wasn't going to complain that long. The accusation made her consider pulling the preggers card, but would lying about the smell of coffee making her nauseous really be considered payback? Of course not. The coffee was for her anyway.
"We've been at this for months, Naminé. He hasn't been any help at all."
The blonde raised an eyebrow. "I thought you guys already decided on a name for the baby."
Kairi laughed darkly. "Ha. Did Sora tell you that? We are far from over. Do you know what he's been suggesting?"
With her back turned to her angry pregnant friend, she muttered under her breath, "No, but I get the feeling you're about to give me an earful."
Just as predicted, Kairi continued. "He's been giving me the most ridiculous names ever. You know how we want the gender to be a surprise?"
"As you've told me about three hundred times." The blonde casually went through her phone.
"Well, yeah. I told him to pick names for each gender. A few boy names, a few girls names. Easy, right? I just told him to pick the ones he liked."
"And let me guess: you didn't like any of them." After serving Kairi her coffee, Naminé placed her cell phone face down on the countertop.
"Naminé, don't give me that look. Wait 'til you hear what he gave me." She pulled out a crumpled piece of paper from her purse, flattening the paper out to reveal Sora's scrawl that he called names. "Here. Let's start with…"
"... Altair, Kratos, Dante, and Napalm," Sora said, listing off the names he had suggested to his wife.
Riku let out a low whistle. "Shit, man. Those are awesome names. Especially Napalm. Sounds like a name reserved for the biggest badasses in the world."
"I know!" Sora threw his hands up. "And Kairi didn't like any of them!"
"That is ridiculous!"
"Thank you, Riku! I knew you'd get it!"
"Yeah, I don't know what Kairi's thinking. Those are pretty awesome names, if I do say so myself. And I-" Riku stylishly poured more of his soda into a glass- "am quite the authority on judging the awesomeness of things."
It was always like this. Ever since childhood, Sora would come running to his super-cool-and-suave best friend in times of need. Whether it was girl trouble, more-than-one-girl trouble, homework trouble, or oh-no-why-am-I-naked-in-the neighbor's-backyard trouble, Sora always turned to Riku.
A very exasperated Sora was now sitting on a beanbag, furiously pressing the buttons of the controller in his hands. His best friend, controller also in hand, mirrored his actions, fighting back with unparalleled skill.
Hell, Riku was good at everything. He had it all. The money, the awesome motorcycle, a yacht… and the freedom (Sora questioned his fate: why did he give up his freedom to leave the bathroom without putting the toilet seat back down?) to do whatever the hell he wanted.
And that was why a frustrated, confused, and tired Sora was sitting in the sweet bachelor pad of his lifelong best friend, who, by choice, decided to stay single for a little while longer. He was the best friend that chose not to chase after Kairi beyond age sixteen. Not that he would ever admit it, but he was fighting a losing battle at that point anyway.
Sora continued his explanation. "She didn't like the girl names either. I don't know what I'm supposed to do, man. She told me to pick names for both boys and girls 'cause, you know, we decided to surprise ourselves."
Without tearing his eyes from the screen, Riku nodded. "Uh-huh."
"I did pick names. I gave her the ones I picked. In fact, the girl names were pretty awesome too."
"Oh yeah? What were they?"
"Xena, Leia, Samus, and Lightning."
"Dude, again, that last one is awesome. Your kids would be so lucky if she would let you name them. How'd she react?"
"She yelled at me. I just don't know what to do anymore. I do what she asks, and she gets mad at me for it. I don't know if I can take it anymore," Sora said.
"Unbelievable. You know, that's why I stayed sin—"
The two guys paused the game and turned themselves around to face the interrupter.
"Are you leaving already, Roxas?"
"Yeah." Roxas, Sora's brother, stepped into his shoes. "I gotta buy some groceries before heading home. Are you guys gonna play a lot longer or something?"
Riku looked at Sora, waiting to hear his answer. "Nah, I'll probably leave in an hour. It's getting late. See you later, man."
"Yeah bro, later." Roxas turned to leave, but their host called him before he could take a step.
"Hey, Roxas! Help Sora out. What's a good name for Kairi and Sora's kid or baby or whatever? One that applies to both sexes, please. Kill two birds with one stone that way."
The blond thought for a moment, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. He tossed his keys up and snatched them midair. "I got one. How about Terra?"
Roxas looked to Riku, who looked at Sora, who looked at the ground in thought. He lifted his head to speak. "You know, that's really good." He looked at Riku, who gave the nod of awesomeness-approval.
"Yeah, I know. All girls secretly want a daughter, but it works for guys too. Kairi's really into the meaningful names, right? Tell her it means 'earth' in Latin. It's a pretty powerful name. Very profound, and I'd say it communicates strength."
"Roxas, you are awesome." Sora smiled widely at his brother's suggestion.
"No, you are awesome. You're not going to tell Kairi I told you that. You're going to tell her all that stuff as if you found it in a name catalog. From what I heard about from your conversation just now, you'll need all the brownie points you can get. "
The future father was stunned speechless. "Wow... thanks!"
"Anytime. I'll see you guys later. I really gotta go." Roxas took a quick glance at his watch and pointed his thumb to the door.
"Thanks, Roxas. You have permission to leave." Riku gave the blond a mock salute, who closed the door loudly behind him. The two guys resumed their game. "Terra is a really good name."
"Yeah." Sora snickered as he went back to playing. "A lot better than Kairi's names."
"Oh yeah? What'd she pick?"
Sora paused the game and sat up. "Oh, I don't know where to begin. A lot of boring names. Like for guys, she picked…"
"Aiden, Leon, Joshua… you know, names like those."
"Aww. Aiden is such a cute name." Naminé took a sip of her coffee and smiled. Sora's amusing name suggestions lightened her mood (she wondered if he seriously considered naming his child 'Obi Wan'), and Kairi's nice ones were making her even happier. "If you won't take that name, I will."
"Don't you dare!" Kairi joked, breaking a piece off her chocolate chip cookie. "And for girls… I liked Lucia, Catherine, Teresa…"
"Those are so pretty!"
"I know. But still, he shot down every single one."
"I didn't feel bad before, but after hearing all those names, I'm kind of wondering if Sora was dropped on the head."
"One too many times." Kairi shook her head with a giggle. The sound of a key being inserted into the front door caught the women's attention. Roxas entered the house, tossing his keys from hand to hand.
"Oh hi there Kairi. Didn't know you were here." He made his way toward them and planted a kiss on his wife's cheek.
"I was actually… Selphie should be coming by any moment to pick me up now."
"It's not because of me, is it?"
"No, it isn't. Our girl talk session has officially ended," Naminé said. Before he could walk away, however, his wife grabbed him by the wrist. "Wait a second. We have a little predicament and we need your help."
"Oh? Talk to me." He turned himself around to face the two women, ready to offer any advice.
"So Sora's being difficult with the baby names. They're ridiculous." The redhead looked to her best friend, who nodded slowly. "I was wondering if you had any good ideas for names. Any name. But please, don't tell me to name my child Optimus Prime. I got that enough from your brother."
Roxas couldn't help but laugh, "Yeah, I feel you on that one. He can be hard to work with at times." Putting the joking aside, Roxas stood still, twirling his keys around his finger. "Oh! I got one. How does Terra sound?"
Roxas looked to his wife, who looked at Kairi, who looked at the ceiling in thought. She brought her eyes down to meet her brother-in-law's. "Wow. That's a really pretty name." Her eyes met her best friend's, who smiled softly in return. Approval shone in her eyes.
"Yeah, I know. It's pretty obvious Sora's secretly hoping for a boy, but it works for girls too. A lot of his name suggestions came from his games and stuff, right? Terra is a protagonist—female, pretty, and badass too— from one of Sora's favorite game series. He'll like it."
"Wow, Roxas… what can I say? You're amazing!" Kairi giggled elatedly at the suggestion. She silently considered getting up and giving him a hug, but that seemed like too much effort.
"No, you are awesome. You're not going to tell Sora I told you that. You're going to tell him that you went through his video game collection and found this name. He'll be delighted to hear that you went through such a huge amount of games just to find a name you both could like. He's a total sucker for that stuff."
"Wonderful, isn't it? Take it Kairi; Sora will love you even more." Naminé turned to her husband with a smile. "Thanks, hon."
"I can go now?" Roxas asked with a relieved laugh.
"Yes. I'll have dinner ready in a bit." She squeezed his hand before letting him go upstairs to relax. The two women sat in amidst a feeling of accomplishment. "Terra is a really good name."
"Yeah, I wouldn't mind calling my daughter… or son, of course… that name. In fact, I'd love to call that name..." Kairi trailed off. The sound of a car horn interrupted her reverie. "I guess that's my ride."
"I'll walk you out." Naminé stood, followed by her guest. "Thanks for stopping by. It was actually a lot of fun hearing you rant about Sora."
"Thanks for listening yet again. It's nice to know I have a free psychiatrist of sorts." The two shared an amiable laugh. "Tell Roxas I said thanks again. Sora's really gonna love it, I'm sure."
Naminé bit her lip in amusement, opening the door for Kairi and twirling her hair around her finger. "Oh yes. I'm sure he will."
Later that day, a fight ended between a couple who, by the strings of fate, had fallen madly in love all over again. At the same time, another couple celebrated quietly together, congratulating themselves on a job well done.
Even later still, amidst screams and insults and imprecations directed at an imminent father, a perfect baby boy was born at Island Medical Center. With happy smiles on both parents' faces, one tired voice supported by the strength of her ecstatic husband's, simultaneously spoke the name of their first child:
For those who are interested in the technical aspect: If it wasn't obvious, the main focus was practicing parallel structure. I did a lot of copying and pasting, making small edits to make it fit. Also, transitions: I wanted to practice the scene change while at the same time maintaining the momentum created from the previous scene. I think it worked out well. Could've been a little smoother going back to Kairi, but I think it suffices. Tone was also in mind throughout the work.
Thematically: Fights happen all the time, and sometimes all they need is a little third-party push in the right direction. And despite the unique nature of each relationship, it isn't wrong to take advice, or at the very least listen, to someone who might know a thing or two about it.
Plot idea: There really isn't a plot, is there? Well, there is, but it's more like an idea. And this idea came from a certain conversation I had with my girlfriend. Quite frankly, I've always wanted to name my child Optimus Prime.
Terra: I chose this name because Kingdom Hearts fans can understand it. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of it. It just fits thematically and it was a really easy fix to an interesting problem.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you found it enjoyable. Also, a huge thanks to all my loyal readers, reviewers, and those who added M&M to their alerts and favorites list. Take care, please! I'll see you around.