Five years later, July 15th, 2023 (Saturday)

"Mama, you're it!" a small Japanese doll touched her mother and ran away swiftly, giggling.

Sawako gasped surprisingly, but smiled and joined the game of Tag. Four other little kids were running around like crazy, trying to avoid the "oni." (literally demon, but in Tag, that's who you call "it")

"You're it, Machi-chan!" Sawako exclaimed as she touched a girl with a short-cut hairstyle. The two-year-old screamed and giggled as she tried to chase the others, all who were bigger than her.

"Go for it, Kouki, Hina!" Ayane cheered for her two children. She is five months pregnant with her third child.

The three families are having a get-together and are now at a local park. The five kids are playing Tag, the mothers are watching their kids, and the fathers are out strolling around the park.

Chizuru chuckled as Sawako returned to her two friends. "Sachiko tried to get you in the game, huh? They just don't know how fast we can run. Well, except for maybe Ayane."

Sawako just smiled and stood watching the kids, none of whom came over to them to tag them anymore.

After a while, the kids got tired and ran over to their mothers for energy boosts (snacks and drinks).

A medium-brown haired boy came up to Chizuru and said proudly, "Mama, I tagged Kouki and Machi-chan and knocked 'em down!"

"Good job, Sora!" Chizuru chuckled and stroked the boy's hair. She's a little awkward being a mother to her two-and-a-half-year-old, but she frequently gets tips from her two best friends. "You'll grow up to be a fine runner."

Sora grinned from ear to ear, and then turned to wrestle with Kouki, who is five years old.

"Hey, have the kids finished their game?" a male voice shouted out to them. It was Kento, Ayane's husband. The three dads have just come back from their stroll.

"Apparently… they seem tired, but at least the boys don't seem like it," Ayane remarked to him. Kento, always the cheerful and happy-go-lucky person, chuckled goodheartedly and stood by his wife.

Ryuu took his stand beside his wife, Chizuru, also, and watched his only child, Sora, try to wrestle the bigger boy. He surprisingly seemed to be winning, despite his small size. "Sora is strong," Ryuu said simply, to which Chizuru nodded proudly.

"Papa, hold me!" the girl with the short-cut held up her arms to Shouta, who graciously complied with her request. He stroked her hair and smiled as his second daughter, Machi, sighed with happiness.

Hina (three ½ years old) and Sachiko (four ¾ years old) stood aside from everyone, munching on Pocky sticks. They are the bestest of friends.

Sawako sat observing the children. Sora and Kouki stopped wrestling with each other and went over to the two girls that were snacking, and took a few Pocky sticks to munch with them. Sachiko giggled at Kouki, who placed two Pocky sticks upright over his head and jumped around like a rabbit. Sora, wanting to compete, did the same and jumped around, frequently jumping at Kouki, which made the girls giggle even more. Pretty soon the two boys laughed at their own antics and ate the Pocky sticks.

The children got to talking about random stuff. Sachiko was constantly smiling at her friends, some for no reason, but smiled genuinely at all times, perhaps to cheer the spirit of her friends and of people around her. She was indeed a happy child.

The sky was blue and clear. Birds are chirping happily. The sun is shining brightly, and the heat is rising. To Sawako, and perhaps to everyone else that knew Sachiko, however, the Japanese doll's smile is the very highlight of the day every day. It cheers the heart and soul to the deepest sorrows.

Sawako smiled proudly at her. "Sachiko"… "happy child." A name that fits her to the finest atom of her nature.

She remembered that wonderful dream five years ago on the morning of her child's birth, and realized that now it has come true. Her friends' children and her children are all good friends. They were laughing and playing with each other. Sawako and Shouta get to enjoy the interactions between their own children. And they had the privilege of raising the two best children on earth.

She would not change her position for anything, not even for the world.


I hope that you have enjoyed this story. I might not write anything for a while.

Profiles of the children will be at the end of my FanFiction profile.