I was planning on having this up on Wishfulshipping Day(August 1) which shows how good I am with deadlines. Well, happy very late Wishfulshipping Day, anyway!
And before you say, "It took you that long to write this?" keep in mind I am a firm believer of revising the revisions, and that, combined with procrastination, postponed it by nearly two months. On the bright side, I've already started next year's Wishful fic. XD
Iris was not normally the kind to be afraid. She'd gotten over her fear of Ice-types years ago, taken over from Drayden after he retired from his Gym, and faced a lot of crazy stuff head-on. She'd traveled with Ash, for Zekrom's sake! But now she stared up at the large doors to the Striaton City Gym, debating whether or not she really wanted to go in. One look at Cilan's expectant face, however, and she knew that there was no backing out.
"They have to be told, Iris," the green-haired man said quietly, almost unheard. He held out his hand. "Shall we?"
"I don't know." She frowned at the door. "What if...what if they don't get it? Or misunderstand completely?"
Cilan sighed. "Iris, if you stop complaining and survive my brothers, I'll make you waffles."
The young woman's attention was immediately diverted by the very thought of her love's cooking. Everyone knew the kitchen was his man-cave, something he never seemed to mind when she teased him about it. "Fruit waffles?" she asked, not daring to get her hopes up.
"Anything you want. Ask and it's yours." He smiled and took her hand. "Now, come on. They're waiting."
"I'll bet Ash never bribes Misty with waffles." Iris felt a flash of irritation, but she let Cilan drag her into the building.
Cress and Chili were happier than five-year-olds that had gotten everything they wanted for Christmas, though they tried to hide it under 'cool faces.' Seeing their brother again was a very good thing, but heaven forbid they lose their manly image.
"Hey, Cilan!" Chili called, giving Cilan a quick, one-armed man-hug.
"And what brings you here?" Cress asked, brushing his blue hair out of his eye. It didn't stay out for long, of course. Here he was, twenty-four, still with the same stubborn hair that he had when his brother had left.
Cilan smiled and pulled Iris closer. "You remember Iris, don't you?"
"That girl you ditched us for?" Chili studied her for a moment, then grinned. "Yeah, we remember her. Hard to forget the girl your brother won't shut up about."
Iris offered a brief smile, knowing that she was here to deliver important news to the two men in front of her. "Well, since you remember me, I guess we'll have to tell you. We've got something we want to say -"
She was cut off by the arrival of a trainer, a girl around fifteen with short, spiky blond hair and a Purrloin in her arms.
"I'm here to challenge a gym leader," she announced, looking around. "I heard there were two of them?"
"The third just came home," Cress stated. He turned to Cilan. "If you'd like to be an option for her..."
"Oh? Oh, all right. I'll offer." Cilan turned to the girl. "Now, which one of us would you like to face?"
"Um...you'll do fine," she said, clinging to the Purrloin even tighter in her nervousness.
"All right, then. Care to referee, Cress?"
As the two of them led the girl to the gym, Chili turned to Iris. "So? What's the big news you and Cilan brought home?"
"Who says it's big?" Iris challenged, picking dirt out from under her fingernail.
"It has to be," Chili declared, crossing his arms stubbornly. "Otherwise you would have called."
Iris laughed. "And here Cilan said you weren't that intelligent."
"He said what?"
"Kidding, Chili. Grow up a little." She glanced at the door, then grinned. "We'll be staying a few days, so how about a bet? If the girl gets the badge, we tell you today. If she loses, we don't."
Chili learned a valuable lesson that day: Do not gamble with Iris. Ever.
The girl lost, and after explaining the bet to Cilan, his brothers got to know Iris a bit more. She was an interesting flavor, a twenty-one-year-old woman who still thought a tree was a reasonable lookout spot, had hair that could once support a Pokemon, and honestly believed in spirits. But the way Cilan acted around her...
It was Chili who came up with the idea.
"How big do you think their news is?" he asked his blue-haired brother as the two were cooking, giving the happy couple some alone time.
Cress shrugged. "It could be anything from moving in together to being engaged. After all, they're obviously in love. First comes love, then comes marriage -"
"- and then comes the abrupt, tragic miscarriage. I know the rhyme, Cress."
"I'm not sure you do."
"The point is," Chili continued as if his brother hadn't spoken, "what if she's already pregnant?"
The other man paused, then looked back at the couple. Neither had really showed much to hint at the theory.
"Does she look pregnant to you, Chili?" he said, going back to preparing the potatoes with something very close to a smirk.
"No. She looks great, actually. But I never said she was showing."
Cress sighed. He knew how Chili got - he thought one thing, and it took several rounds of solid proof to even plant a seed of doubt in his mind. "Well, ask them."
"You don't say that to a woman!"
And that was the wisest thing Chili had said all day...and possibly his entire life.
Cilan watched Iris carefully the next morning, having picked up on her strange behavior around his brothers. She'd said something about her 'sixth sense,' but he was waiting for a logical response. He knew she'd find a way to say it without triggering another of their famous debates.
And, sure enough, it came.
The two had been ditched once again by his brothers, left to take care of the gym, when Iris spoke: "Is it weird that I had a dream last night where I stabbed your brothers with a pregnancy test?"
"Is a pregnancy test sharp enough to do any damage?" he retorted, concerned for not just his brother's lives but Iris's sanity.
"I don't know, but it turned positive." Cilan's disapproving expression was ruined by the twitching at the corner of his mouth. "Do you think it means that Cress or Chili is pregnant?"
"I doubt it. It is biologically impossible, after all."
She hung her head in shame. "Silly boy. Don't you believe in aliens?"
They were still laughing about it when Cress and Chili returned and stood expectantly in front of them.
"Now, what were you planning on telling us that you tried to let us guess yesterday?" Chili demanded, taking a curious interest in Iris - there had to be some physical symptom, if he was right.
Cilan noticed. With a slight narrowing of his eyes, he pulled the woman closer, enough to shock Chili out of his stare. "Surely you must have some kind of idea," he said, his tone light despite the warning look still on his face. "We would have told you earlier, but you willingly made the bet."
Cress looked between his brothers, and, noticing Chili's rather obvious uncertainty in how to phrase something, sighed and asked it for him: "Is she pregnant?"
"Does she look pregnant to you?" Cilan asked, while Iris stuffed her sleeve into her mouth to muffle her laughter. So that was what the pregnancy test murders meant...
"Your brothers think I'm pregnant," she giggled.
"I told you waiting to tell them was a bad idea," Cilan whispered, then cleared his throat and spoke a little louder. "We came to tell you that we're getting married. Not having a baby."
There was silence, and if you listened closely, you could hear the farting sound as Chili's theory and ego flew off like a balloon with the air being let out. Then, when the last bit of the sound vanished, Cress chuckled.
"Called it," he said, and went over to congratulate the couple - Cilan giving Iris her ring back, having held on to it since she'd explained the bet - while Chili returned to reality.
"And I was looking forward to being an uncle," he sighed, but with typical Chili enthusiasm, bounced right back and began to imagine his life with Iris as a sister-in-law. It wouldn't be too bad, he decided. They could be a big happy family after all.