Twelve: Ostentatious Naming Part 2

There are, Mikado notes, a great number of differences between when the twins were born and now. There are also a few similarities—the stark white walls, the beeping monitors—but he can't help noticing the differences.

For one, he's the one in the chair this time around, while Masaomi lies exhausted in the hospital bed, cradling their newborn son in his arms. For another, there is only one baby, but there is the addition of two awestruck eleven-year-olds taking up space on the bed with Masaomi.

He's even happier this time around, if it's possible, now that they're simply adding to their family instead of starting from scratch. It's less scary. They know what they're doing now.

Takeru leans over the baby, eyes curious. "He's so tiny. He didn't look that tiny when he was in your belly."

Masaomi chuckles. "That's because there was other stuff in there with him, Take-chan. You were that tiny when you and your sister were born, too. And Papa's belly was even bigger than mine was."

"Yeah, but that's because he had to fit two of us in there," Himeko says, hanging back, arms crossed over her chest.

"Himeko," Mikado says, "do you want to hold your new brother?"

"No," Himeko says stubbornly.

"I want to hold him," Takeru says. "Can I hold him?"

"Sure, Take-chan. Get in the chair beside Papa." Takeru obliges, climbing gingerly off the bed and seating himself. Kida leans up carefully and passes the baby to Mikado, who places him in Takeru's arms.

"…He looks a lot like Himeko," Takeru says, propping up his brother's head with his small arms.

"Do you think?" Mikado kisses the top of Takeru's head.

"You know," Masaomi says, tugging Himeko by the hand so she's laying on his chest, "I think he does look like Himeko. Ne, Hime-chan~ Your baby brother must be really cute if he looks like you, ne?"

Himeko pouts. Masaomi taps her nose and looks up at Mikado. "So! I believe I have a name to decide on."

"Why," Mikado asks, "do you always get to pick the names?"

"Because you never offer up anything good, of course! I spent hours brainstorming names for our surprise princess, and were you any help at all? No."

"I'm terribly sorry," Mikado says wryly, "but I'd just given birth to twins."

"Excuses, excuses."

"Well, I do have an idea. And it'll even satisfy your eccentric tastes."

"Eccentric," Masaomi scoffs. "All right, fine. You get one shot. Make it good."

"Akio," Mikado says. "Written as 'glorious hero'."

Masaomi blinks. "That's… that's actually good. I'm impressed, Mikado! Your naming skills have improved dramatically since the twins were born. Glorious Hero of the Dragon Mountain. Beautiful."

"…We're all gonna get made fun of a lot, aren't we?" Himeko asks dubiously.

"Well, you'll have something to bond over," Masaomi says brightly, patting her head.