The group was down. It was very easy to see that and, while understandable taking into account the hurdles to come, with this attitude they would not stop Hao. Anna saw all this and, to be honest, didn’t know how to overcome it. Contrary to popular belief, Anna knew her shortcomings and cheering people up was one of them.
One couldn’t just force people to be optimistic.
“Hey,” piped up Manta when Anna was about to try anyway, “If you had a daughter, what would you name her?”
All the boys turned to look at him with various levels of disbelief.
“Manta, I don’t think…” began to say Yoh.
“Makena,” cut Chocolove, “or Sunny. Makena Sunny. Sunny Makena. Whatever the case, she’s gonna be a cheerful and happy girl.”
“You’re giving her two names?” asked HoroHoro, “I think with one is enough…”
“One is gonna be her middle name, so she can ignore it if she wants. Or go by it and ignore her first name, whatever she wants, really,” the New Yorker shrugged.
“Oh, right, you guys only have one name, right?” asked Lyserg.
“Yup,” Yoh nodded.
“If I were to be blessed with a daughter I will want to name her Eri or Takara,” declared Ryuu, striking a pose.
“I myself have always liked Elizabeth and Alexandra or any of their variations,” contributed Lyserg, “And if my hypothetical wife likes neither, Lydia is plan C.”
“Lyserg has it all planned, hu?” asked Manta, while Yoh chuckled. The sound made Anna relax some. “I’m fond of Masuyo, myself.”
“Masuyo?” Lyserg blinked, echoed by Chocolove “That’s a female name?”
“Sure is,” Tamao piped up, “written as benefit the world?”
“Hai,” Manta nodded, “What about you, Tamao-san?”
“Me?” she asked. The boys nodded as if coordinated and Anna nudged her with her elbow, “Well, I’ve always liked Hiro for either, but specifically for a girl I think Rie is pretty”
“Nice,” Yoh commented, to which Tamao’s cheeks pinked. Yoh didn’t catch it, tough, as he was already turning to HoroHoro and Ren, “What about you two?”
“Meiniang,” was Ren’s curt answer, “After Emperor Wu”
“… You’re naming your daughter after an Emperor?” Chocolove asked.
“That’s what I said,” the Chinese said, sneering.
“…Was Meiniang the name of the Emperor?” was Yoh’s careful answer.
Ren looked at Anna’s fiancée like he was stupid. Well, he looked at Yoh like that 80% of the time, but this time seemed particularly vicious. Anna rolled her eyes. None of them had balls…
“What they want to know is if Emperor Wu was a woman,” she told him.
“Oh, right, Emperor is gender specific in English,” Ren mumbled and made a face, “Yes, Emperor Wu Zeitang was a woman,” he capitulated rolling his eyes.
“Why no say Empress, then?” prodded Chocolove.
“Unless I call all other male Emperors Empress as well, I don’t see why,” he said.
Both Chocolove and Lyserg looked like they wanted clarifications, but Ren looked ready to lunge at the next one that questioned something he seemed to deem obvious. Or maybe he just wanted to fight.
“What about you, HoroHoro? What would you name your daughter?” Manta cut, trying to redirect the conversation.
“Heh? I’m fourteen, I’m too young to be thinking about children,” he complained.
Ren turned to the Shaman next to him. If he was not going to fight with the ignorant westerners, he could always go for the blue haired teen.
“C’mon, it’s just for fun,” encouraged Yoh, “no one is saying you’ll have children right now. It’s hypothetical.”
“Yeah,” drawled Ren, “like in a hypothetical future were you hypothetically found a woman to hypothetically marry and carry your hypothetical children.”
HoroHoro narrowed his eyes. “So much ‘hypothetical’…. You wanna go?” Ren tensed and Anna just knew they were seconds from summoning their over souls.
“Just answer the damn question,” she snapped.
The boys settled reluctantly and, after an uneasy glance her way, HoroHoro sighed. “Fine. In the hypothetical case I ever marry, I’ll probably name my hypothetical daughter Kamui, happy?” and he crossed his arms.
“With which Kanji?” asked Ryuu.
“I’m not thinking up the Kanji now,” he snapped and turned to Yoh, “Your turn.”
Yoh looked at her and cocked his head, “Well, it would depend on Anna.”
They all looked at her warily, but HoroHoro worked on steam and he was still fuming. “You have to have some preference.”
“Let’s hear them,” she prompted, her hand moving discreetly to her abdomen. She had been wearing looser and looser dresses lately and the boys, being boys, having a healthy fear of disrespecting her and being stressed about the Shaman Fight, didn’t seem to have noticed. Either way, this was actually a relevant conversation for Yoh and her.
“Well, there’s quite the numbers of names I like,” he said, scratching the back of his neck. “There’s Sakura, Ran, Tsubaki, Hana, Hanako, Kiku, Nadeshiko, Ayame, Hinata…”
“Oi, Oi,” interrupted Ryuu, “I thought you were opening an Onsen, not a Hanaya, danna”
The Japanese speaking boys laughed, while Yoh pouted a little and Tamao giggled. Lyserg and Chocolove scooted to HoroHoro’s side.
“Explain, please,” the African American poked him in the side.
“All of Yoh’s names have flower meanings. An Onsen is a hot spring, the business Anna wants to open, and Hanaya is a flower shop,” was HoroHoro’s brief explanation.
“I like Hana,” She declared, pausing all activity.
“You do?” Yoh asked, his face lit with hope. Anna could feel herself melting at his cuteness.
“I do,” she repeated. “It could even work for a boy, although it wouldn’t follow the ‘Yoh’ pattern”
“Who cares?” Yoh dismissed with a shrug, “If we both like it, then it’s decided, our first born will be ‘Hana’,” he declared.
“Wait, what?” asked everyone else.