"It's not funny, Soul!"
"They're comparing our child to food, how can it not be funny?"
Maka snaps the laptop shut, giving Soul a dangerous glare. "Well, I think it's cute that our baby's growth is compared to food. What would you suggest they be compared to?"
Recognizing the look in her eyes, Soul hastily relents, edging away from where he sat beside her on their couch ever so slightly. Ever since Maka found out she was pregnant a month ago, not much had changed. But lately her temper was getting shorter and that did not bode well for his head-he had seen stars the last time he earned a Maka chop. "I guess food isn't a bad comparison, if not weird as hell."
Her eyes narrow. "What's so weird about a kidney bean?"
Soul can't hold back his laughter. Throwing his head back, he laughs until tears are rolling down his face and he falls on his side in the couch cushions. He can hear Maka's voice growing more annoyed in the background so he pulls himself together and sits up. "I'm sorry," he says as he wipes his eyes, "bbut you honestly didn't picture a kidney bean sprouting inside you when Stein said that?"
The smash of "What to Expect When You're Expecting" into his head tells him that no, she hadn't.
He's learned by now not to openly snark about their child's food evolution. When Stein tells them in his flat voice of his that their child is now about the size of a lime, he keeps his mouth shut and shares in Maka's absolute delight that their unborn child has been upgraded to lime status.
But that doesn't stop him from calling the baby "Limey" in his head. It certainly was a great deal better than "Kidney Bean" but he knows Maka wouldn't approve. She almost catches his secret nickname one day when they're window shopping at a baby store.
Holding up a green onesie, she asks him, "Wouldn't this be perfect for baby?"
He snorts. "Yeah, that would be perfect for Lim-I mean little baby."
Maka gives him a curious stare. "You okay?"
Soul nods a little vigorously, brushing a hand through his hair. "Just grand."
Lucky for him, she just arches an eyebrow before dropping the matter, turning back to the clothes.
Soul gives out a small sigh of relief. He was going to have to watch himself.
Soul looks thoughtfully at the avocado he's buying for his wife's sudden craving for pickles and guacamole. This could be the exact weight of his son or daughter. Maka had had to go to the last appointment alone because he was on an overnight conference run with Kid but she had happily reported that their unborn child had now evolved into a bumpy, green fruit. Well not exactly in those words but that's what it translated into for Soul.
Because as he stares at the avocado more and more intensely, he realizes that he doesn't see their child as a person yet. He sees him or her in their comparable fruit stage of development. He's not sure why-only that it is.
A lady stares at him owlishly and he gives his head a shake and puts the avocado in the basket, tucking his sudden realization away to the back of his mind until Maka blends the guacamole.
He thought the avocado was ridiculous.
But apparently, he stood to be corrected.
A banana. That was what was in his wife's stomach. It was in vain that he had tried to picture an actual person in there, his "fruitization" of his child has become too much.
He considers that maybe the black blood took over with him noticing these kinds of things but he sees Maka sometimes unraveling as well, waking him up in the middle of the night with questions of since she ate that one piece (actually three) of cake would that permanently impact their child's future? What about the chances of them becoming a weapon? And then she launches onto a fruits and vegetables-only diet for about three days, forcing him to suffer with him.
Today, her current fixation is on finishing the baby's room, even though they still don't know if they're having a boy or a girl. But when he points out this logical detail, she pouts her lips and widens her eyes just so, knowing full well he can't resist her when she makes that face.
So that is how they ended up here in a store with more paint colors than candy in Willy Wonka's factory. Maka had excitedly run off, like a kid in an amusement park, and he was designated as the one to carry all the paint samples she threw at his face.
His hands now hold roughly half of the store's colors. They were all a blur to him, pretentiously named colors that were going to mean nothing to their screaming newborn at one in the morning. One color did stand out to him though. Banana Cream (would he never escape banana hell?) was a soft, creamy yellow. Maka had said something about it being a good calming color for the baby's room.
It could also be a good skin color, he thinks.
He gives himself a sharp metal slap. His child was not a banana. His child was a person. With a face, arms and legs.
And who hopefully doesn't look like a banana, the adamant voice in his head chimes in.
He takes this as the sign to go preoccupy himself with Maka, who is currently asking the confused salesperson what the difference is between rose and salmon.
Well hello there, Cobby, Soul thinks as he stares at his wife's protruding stomach. He's given up trying to set his mind straight and instead embraces his fruit-child as they are. Right now, they are about the size of an ear of corn, which he supposes is a good thing. At least it's not as ridiculous as a banana.
Maka happily munches on the cake he made for, the one he labored two hours in the early morning because he can tell her cravings like clockwork now. Suddenly she sets down her fork. Her eyes light up excitedly.
"Baby's kicking again!" She practically yanks him from his seat across the table and places his hand on her belly. "Can you feel them?"
Her belly is warm, even through her shirt. For a moment, there's nothing. Then a little nudge. And then another. Cobby keeps it up for a bit before tiring out and going silent.
"Yeah," he finally breathes. He looks up at her, awe shifting something ever so slightly inside him. "They're strong."
Maka's smile couldn't grow any wider. "Isn't baby magical?"
Soul snorts. "A one-of-a-kind wizard."
Soul's hands move gently up and down Maka's neck, down her back and up to her neck again. Back pain has developed into a problem for her, which worried him but as she and the various baby books told him: it was something that was quite common. Still, he wishes there was more he can do for her than work out her knots but she assures his hands are magic (exactly what she said in a far different situation seven months ago.)
Maka sighs in temporary relief and murmurs for him to please continue. Boy for a head of cabbage, you sure do weigh a lot, he thinks.
His child has been recently dubbed "Cabby" or as Stein put it, "roughly the size of a head of cabbage." He had fixed Soul with a glare of his glasses, as if he knew what went on in Soul's mind.
Which he probably did.
Luckily Maka is still in the dark and he hopes it stays that way.
These days she gets set off too easily. Her moods change as quickly as they come. He can feel her nervousness, gets a case of the nerves too on occasion. But he tries to keep her steady because she is the one with a cabbage child growing inside her. He hopes he can be this steady when Cabby becomes real.
A jicama. He hadn't even heard of it until Stein said it. But apparently that was what their child was.
Maka's too tired to do much these days but he works as much as possible so he can be there when his jicama is born.
The nervous tension that started last month stretches even tighter. Now any pain that Maka feels could be it and he nearly chokes on his food when Maka is suddenly hit with a violent attack of the hiccups one day during dinner.
And he knows that their jicama is a lively one because he sleeps with one hand on Maka's belly on the nights he's at home and it's become a habit for him to fall asleep with a steady rhythm beating against his hand.
It's this rhythm that jolts him to the realization that jicamas don't move. But his baby does.
When worries and old nightmares don't let him sleep, he doodles on a composition sheet while listening to his baby's melody.
It's Maka who jokingly brings up the food thing again one day. "Boy, Melon sure is getting heavy."
Soul has to frantically remember if he ever mentioned melon outside of his head and pray that he doesn't talk in his sleep. But from her expression, it doesn't seem like she got it from him. He gives her a grin. "I thought you didn't like calling our child by food names," he teases, getting a rise out of her blushing face.
"Well, it's better than calling them baby so shut up," she mutters as she glows even redder.
He doesn't let her live it down for the rest of the week, making cheeky remarks when they pass by a market with melons on sale. He whispers in her ear, "Want to get a brother or sister for Melon?"
She might not feel like doing much these days but her aim with the book to his head is still as sharp as ever.
Pumpkin-head is leaking. Well, as he drives to the hospital as quickly as he can without breaking any speeding laws, he rationalizes that it's not actually Pumpkin-head but the fluid surrounding Pumpkin-head. He tries to tell Maka this, to settle his heart that hasn't stopped racing since she gave a little gasp on the couch, the seat under her growing damp, but she's having none of it.
In between deep breaths, she growls, "Keep your eyes on the road, you idiot!"
That kind of clears his mind and even though his heart is still lodged in his throat, he manages not to completely lose his marbles while they're in the car. And as Maka's nails dig into his shoulder, he definitely doesn't mention the idea of recording Pumpkin-head's birth.
In the hospital, though, everything moves a little too quick for his taste. They had no time to pack, no time to call anyone and from the rate things are going, no one is going to get to the hospital on time. They're rushed to a delivery room and Maka latches onto his hand. "Don't leave, okay?"
She's holding his hand so tight, he can hardly squeeze it but he says, "You know I'm with you, wherever you go." He also kind of wants to tell Pumpkin-head to cool it, that they have their mother's temperament, which is certainly not cool in this case.
But Pumpkin-head listens to no one. Maka's yells get louder and her grip on his hand turns positively lethal.
Soul has reverted back to his fruit-child stage.
"You're just a Pumpkin-head," he thinks. "Just an orange little ball."
But Maka gives a final groan and the cries that fill the room are certainly human enough. He mechanically cuts the cord and watches as Pumpkin-head is wrapped in a blanket. He has to admit, Pumpkin-head doesn't look like a pumpkin at all, not with those green eyes and white hair.
He holds her closer. She looks like his daughter.