New Joys

(Disclaimer: Megumi Mizusawa is the author of Hime-chan's ribbon. I merely borrowed her characters in this fanfic.)

(Author's Note: This story is set in 2004, ten years after the finale of Hime-chan no Ribbon's manga. Daichi and Himeko have been married for more than one year and they are now expecting their first child to be born by late March or early April.)

Nearly two years had passed since Himeko and Daichi's wedding. The two of them got married together soon after their graduation. Daichi is now working in a television station's research department. He was always busy with is job but never forgets about his six and a half month pregnant wife. Once he had called Himeko as a boy, now he calls her an angel. Himeko is now a computer programmer and is currently making a webpage for her mother's latest novels while staying in their home.

Aiko had married Hasekura Kouichi four years before and they now have a son they named Satoshi who is now about to turn three. The boy looked very much his father except he got his mother's black hair. Since Kouichi is working abroad, Aiko and their child have been spending their nights in the Kobayashi residence as company to her sister whenever Daichi comes home late or cannot come because of his assignments.

"Daichi, are you coming late tonight?" Himeko asked her husband as she grabbed her cell phone.

"Yes, but I'll try to be there as soon as I could. Just wait for me, OK." Daichi responded. He then locked it as he went back to work.

"Man, should I bring her dango or blueberry cheesecake. I'm sure she'll ask for a midnight snack once I'm home." the twenty four-year old man reflected as he tried to finish editing a news video as fast as he could.

Meanwhile, Himeko has been wondering about what their child would turn out to be for quite some time. But tomorrow, she and Daichi would visit the doctor to check on the condition of the baby.

"So what are you expecting about your child?" Aiko had asked to her twenty-four sister as she looked at her belly.

"I don't know if our first baby will be a boy or a girl. But either way, it's fine for both of us." she responded.

"By the way, Himeko, if both you and Daichi were eager to have a child of your own, why was it that the two of you waited for one year before he got you pregnant?" Aiko had asked to her sister.

"Well, Daichi doesn't want our first child to be a honeymoon baby since it might imply to others that we could no longer control our passion for each other." Himeko had answered to her.

"What gives? That kind of response from other people didn't stop me and Kouichi from having Satoshi, even though he would be a honeymoon baby." Aiko told her.

"Aiko onee-chan, isn't it that you also first got pregnant when you were still twenty three, just like my case." the blond woman had said in inquiry.

Aiko then nodded in response.

"Have you decided on any name by now?" the older woman asked her.

"Well, if Daichi and I would have a son, I would want to name him Seiji, but I made a deal with him when we first discovered I'm pregnant, onee-chan." Himeko retorted to her.

"What deal?" Aiko asked out of curiosity.

"He will be the one to name our child if we would have a boy." she had answered to her sibling. "Daichi said that if we'll have a son, he would either name him as Byakuya or Suzaku." Himeko added.

"But if you'll have a daughter?" the more mature lady asked her.

"In that case, I'll be the one to name her and I'll give her the name Mikage." she responded.

"You know, Himeko, Suzaku seems to be a better name for a boy than either Byakuya or Seiji….at least for me." Aiko said as she returned to the previous topic.

"Well, if we would have a boy, its fine if Daichi will name him after the legendary bird. But let's leave that to him, Aiko onee-chan." Himeko answered. "I'm sure you and Satoshi-chan will get along very well when you grow up." she added as she glanced at her sleeping nephew.

"And I'm sure you'll be a good mom to that child." she replied to the younger lady.

"I wish what you said will turn out to be true. I've been consulting with mom so that I could be a good mother just like she is to us and you are to Satoshi-chan, Aiko onee-chan." Himeko then mentioned to Aiko.

She then felt some kicks from within her womb as she reclined herself in the bed.

"Himeko, it seems your baby is more athletic than you or Daichi." Aiko told her as he saw Himeko held her belly.

"I don't wonder over that. Both Daichi and I are athletic so it's no surprise our child is twice as energetic as either one of us." the letter said in response.

"I wonder if Erika and Pokota are still watching over me right now. I wish they could come again once this child is born." she thought.

After an hour, Daichi finally came home to his half asleep wife.

"Did you miss me, angel?" he asked as he kissed her gently on her forehead.

"Always." Himeko replied.

"I bought you some dango. I thought you would like some." Daichi said as he handed the snacks to her.

"Thanks." she riposted. "Would you also want to have some bite?" she offered to him almost immediately.

"Maybe later. So how is our child doing now?" he had asked to Himeko.

"Oh, the little one is more energetic than before." she replied to him. "I think this is due to our athletic natures." Himeko added.

"Probably. I wonder if we'll get a boy or a tomboy." Daichi said in response as he teased his wife.

"Mou, Daichi!" she muttered as she had pinched her husband's right cheek, slightly annoyed.

"I'm just kidding. But who would have thought back in 1993 that a once bashful tomboy would blossom into a sweet angel." he mentioned to her.

"Thanks; I still remember the time when you first told me I looked like a boy. Back then you call me as Nonohara, not Himeko." she answered. "And so do the time when you moved to Kirigaoka City. I nearly thought we would be separated forever." she added.

"Do you still remember the time we met your younger self?" Daichi asked her.

"That's on November 12, 1996, wasn't it? When I returned to 1993, I wrote in my diary what you two had told me so that the future would turn out the way I had seen it. Three years later, I said the exact same words I heard from my sixteen year old self before." Himeko continued. "Such sweet memories." she thought.

"How about our final college days?" he followed to her.

"I would never forget that! You had asked me if I would marry you just before graduation on my twenty second birthday, much to everyone's surprise." she answered. "Then, on your twenty second birthday, which was four days later, you told everyone about it." Himeko added.

"And this place used to be our hideout until we had this renovated way back in late 2001. Now, it's the home for us and for our future children." Daichi complemented to her.

He had then placed his hand on Himeko's belly and felt a quite powerful kick from within her.

"We'll discover what our child would be once Ichiko give you an ultrasound scan tomorrow." Daichi whispered to his wife. "Go to sleep after you have finished your snacks, OK?" he added as he kissed her again, this time on her lips."

"Thanks for looking after your sister while I'm still gone." Daichi said to his sister in law.

"You shouldn't thank me for that, Daichi-kun. After all, she is helping me watch over Satoshi while I'm busy with the house chores." Aiko replied to him. "

"If you'll have a boy, will you name him either Byakuya or Suzaku?" she followed.

"Yes. Suzaku is the red sparrow, who, based on legends, protects the south." he retorted. "Byakuya literally means white night, which could only be seen when once spring began in the Arctic. Since we expect our child to be born towards mid-April, either of the two would be a fitting name if we'll have a son." Daichi continued.

"But if you'll have a daughter, Himeko would be the one to name her, isn't it?" Aiko asked in continuation.

"If we'll have a girl, Himeko has said she'll name her Mikage." he responded.

After Himeko had finished her meal, Daichi carried her to their bedroom and laid her on their bed. Meanwhile, Aiko carried her sleeping son to their room and tucked him to his bed.

"You're as gentle as you've always been to me, Daichi." Himeko whispered to him as he put pillows on her right and left sides in order to cushion her belly.

Daichi then let her head rest on his shoulder as she had fallen asleep. He then brushed off the strands of long, yellow hair out of her tender face.

"Sweet dreams, my lovely angel." Daichi whispered in his wife's left ear before falling asleep.

As the two of them entered a well-earned rest, the phone suddenly rang and Aiko answered it right away.

"Hasekura Aiko speaking, Hello?" she told the person on the other end of the line.

"Good night there, Aiko. How are you doing with our son right now?" a familiar voice responded.

"Kouichi! It's been six weeks since you last called to me. I miss you so much!" Aiko replied to her husband.

"And I miss you so much as well. Don't worry; I'm just fine here in Canada. I'll be coming home within a month. It's nearly a year since we were last together. I want to be with you and Satoshi again." Koiuichi told his wife.

While the Hasekura couple was having a little talk in the phone, their son suddenly came up to his mother's side.

"Mommy, is Daddy talking to you now?" Satoshi asked Aiko.

"Yes, yes, it's him." she replied to her child.

"Wait a second; Satoshi has just woken up. Do you want to hear him?" Aiko said to Kouichi.

"Sure." he retorted.

"Satoshi, do you want to talk to Daddy?" she asked the little boy.

The boy then nodded in response as he grabbed the telephone from his mother.

"Daddy!" the two year old muttered to his father.

"It's good to hear my big boy's voice again." Kouichi told his son.

"Really?" Satoshi questioned.

"Yes. I know you have been a good boy, but do you miss me too?" His father replied to him.

"Yeah. So when will you come home, Daddy?" the boy asked Kouichi excitedly.

"I'll be home for your birthday. I know you have been a good boy so I'll give you a special present." Kouichi promised his child.

"Yay!" the boy replied.

"Satoshi, Mommy wants to talk to Daddy again, so can you please hand me the phone?" Aiko asked her child.

Satoshi then promptly handed the phone to his mother.

"I'm really exited to see you again, Kouichi." Aiko mentioned to her husband.

"I know. Just wait for a little longer. I'll be home soon, Honey. Good bye!" Kouichi said to his wife.

"Good bye. Take care!" she replied as she hung back the phone.

"Satoshi, go back to sleep now. I'm sure Daddy will buy you something very nice." Aiko told her son as they walked towards their room and went to bed.

The next morning, Daichi and Himeko got up rather early as they were going to visit Manami. She had recently passed the doctor licensure exam and she agreed to be the Kobayashi couple's family doctor.

"So how do you feel now, Hime-chan?" Ichiko asked her friend.

"Well, this kid is much more energetic than either me or Daichi alone." she replied to her as she lay on the clinic's bed for scanning.

"Fine then, we'll soon see whether you'll have a boy or a girl." Ichiko told the Kobayashi couple.

"I'm very excited about this!" Daichi told Himeko as he held her hand while the ultrasound scan was being performed.

Before long, the ultrasound scan finally revealed the condition of Himeko's pregnancy. She and Daichi had never anticipated what Ichiko was about to tell them.

"Daichi, I'm sure this will surprise both of you." she told the Kobayashis.

"What is it?" he excitedly asked their friend.

"You and Hime-chan have twins!" Ichiko revealed to them.

"Are they both boys or both girls?" Himeko asked the doctor.

"Nope. One is a boy, the other is a girl." she told them.

"Thank you so much for giving me these gifts, Himeko!" Daichi said to his wife as he embraced her. "You really are an angel" he had thought.

"Thanks for your appreciation, Daichi!" she complemented to him.

"I guess what we just needed to do now is to decide which names would best fit them." Himeko told her husband.

"Why, Hime-chan? Have you already thought of possible names for your twins?" Ichiko asked them.

"Well, I have already named our daughter Mikage." she riposted to their doctor.

""That name literally means shadow beauty, isn't it?" Ichiko asked her friend.

"Yes.I'm sure she'll take on the same angelic appearance of my wife." Daichi answered.

"How about you, Daichi? What name will you give your son?" she asked her friend's husband.

"I still haven't decided whether I'll name him Byakuya or Suzaku." Daichi replied.

"So you want a name that would surely stand out of the crowd, don't you?" Ichiko complied. "Suzaku is a very good choice since it's rare to find someone who is named after the red sparrow of the south." she said in connection. "But then again, Byakuya will be just as good since only a handful of people here have ever experienced a midnight sun." she added further.

"Daichi, I'm sure our parents will be surprised by this news." Himeko said as she turned to her husband.

"That's for sure. They only expect to have one grandchild as of now." he retorted. "How about we pay a visit to your parents now. I'm sure everyone will be there since its Saturday." Daichi added.

Himeko then nodded in response when suddenly she sensed her cell phone vibrated.

"Hello?" she asked at the caller.

"Himeko, it's me, Aiko. I told Mom and Dad as well as your in-laws that you have your examination today so they want you to come here in the house." her older sister mentioned.

"I didn't expect that Daichi's parents will also be there, but that's very pleasant. We'll be there in a while." Himeko responded.

"My dad and mom have already arrived there, aren't they?" Daichi had asked his wife.

Himeko nodded in response.

"I plan on surprising them separately, but this is equally fine. At least that saved us the trouble of going back and forth." He had continued.

Daichi drove for nearly half an hour and as soon as they reached the Nonoharas' residence, everyone welcomed them.

"So are we going to have another grandson or a granddaughter?" Taro asked her.

"Please wait until everyone is here, Dad." Himeko replied to her father.

"I'm sure that child would be an energetic one like the two of you." Yumeko told her sister as she and their mother descended from the stairs.

"How are you feeling, son?" Daichi's father had asked him.

"Great! I feel very proud now that I'm going to become a father myself!" he had retorted to his dad.

"Daichi, are you taking a very good care of your wife especially now that she is pregnant?" Daichi's mother had asked him.

"Don't worry, mom. Daichi is doing his responsibilities and commitments to me very well." Himeko assured to her mother in law.

Himeko and Daichi then proceeded to the living room to tell everybody about the news as they all gather there.

"Everyone, I know this will surprise you." Himeko said to her parents.

"What is it?" Taro asked her daughter curiously.

"Well, Daichi and I…..we'll have…" she said quite nervously.

"Have what?" Hanako asked.

"What she wants to say is that we'll have twins." Daichi replied to their respective parents.

"Twins!" Yumeko nearly yelled.

"Yes; fraternal twins. One boy, one girl." Himeko said quietly.

"So have you given them names already?" Taro asked her again.

"I have already named our daughter Mikage, but Daichi still hasn't decided what name he would give to our son." she retorted to her father.

"So what will be our grandson's name, Daichi?" his mother asked as she turned her attention to her son-in-law.

"The truth is, it's still something I'm having hard time thinking about since Suzaku and Byakuya are equally good names." he answered to her.

"If you ask me, Suzaku is the better one of the two." Hanako said in return.

"No, Byakuya would be a much better name." Taro intervened.

"Hanako, I think would have to agree with you since Suzaku sounds a lot nicer." Daichi's mother had said in conjecture.

"Dad is right, Himeko one-chan. It's rare to find someone whose name means midnight sun." Yumeko had said in support of their father.

"Well, why don't we let him decide about that. I'm sure Daichi is still choosing between the two." Himeko politely told them as she intervened.

"I guess I'll just have to pick a card from this deck in order to decide about that. If I get a diamond or hearts card, our son's name will be Byakuya. If clubs or spades, I'll name him Suzaku." Daichi had mentioned to everyone.

"Fine by me." his wife answered.

The couple's parents, along with Himeko's sisters, all nodded in agreement.

"Here it goes." the young man said as he shuffled the deck and pulled a card from it.

Everybody then looked at the card as Daichi flipped it up for everybody to see.

"It's diamonds!" Aiko said to them.

"So it has been decided. Our son's name will be Byakuya." Daichi had pronounced.

"Alright, we concede." Hanako had said to Daichi.

"Don't feel bad about it. Maybe if we'll have another son in the future, I'm sure Daichi will name him Suzaku." Himeko said to her mother and mother-in-law.

Later that day, as Daichi and Himeko went back to their home, some familiar persons had been waiting for them. Daichi then immediately parked their car to the garage and led their visitors to the living room.

"Erika, Pokota, Sei!" Himeko yelped as she saw her old friends.

"Its so nice to see the two of you. It has been a long time since we last met each other, Himeko. Sei, Pokota and I decided to pay you a visit since we learned that you'll have twins." the magical kingdom's princess greeted to them.

"Ever since Erika took me with her, we have been watching you from time to time. We were really shocked when we learned that you have twins." Pokota told Himeko.

"You know Himeko, I think both Byakuya and Mikage would reflect your younger selves once they're born." Erika mentioned to her double.

"If that will be a case, I hope Mikage would immediately blossom to a sweet cherry blossom." she retorted to the princess. "How about you and Sei? Do you already have a child?" she added.

"No. We decided to have one when we feel responsible enough to be parents." Erika answered to her double. "We just wish that our future child will resemble one of your kids, Hime-chan" the princess continued.

"If that's the case, it would just be fine for you if we discovered that your future child have given a magical item to one of our kids." Daichi had commented

"Somewhat." she answered.

"So Erika, when do the two of you exactly plan to have a child?" Himeko asked her clone.

"I think we'll probably have one the next time you'll get pregnant." Erika has responded as she chuckled.

"Can you guys be there when I give birth to Daichi's children?" Himeko asked her friends.

"Of course! We'll be there to support you, Hime-chan." Pokota had answered to her.

"Why don't you stay here for tonight. I'm sure no one would be able to notice you here." Daichi and Himeko had mentioned to their friends.

"Thanks, Hime-chan, Daichi kun. It's been two years since we last went here, so it's probably alright for us to stay here for even just tonight." Erika had riposted.