164 – Family Sleepover
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Alpha sighed and walked out of the elevator to her room. As she did, she pulled out her phone to check the time. "Midnight already...?"

The stream went on a lot longer than she anticipated. The plan was just to have a cozy late night stream to relax with everyone, but the chat was super insistent on spending more time with her and kept giving her gifts throughout the night.

Alpha hugged the bouquet of roses against her chest and smiled. "...It was nice though."

She didn't know when he had the time to do it, but her Papa had made a formation that linked the virtual world to the real world. Or at least, a part of the virtual world.

Alpha couldn't take everything the chat gave her, but a bouquet of roses wasn't too much.

Though she did wonder how her Papa was going to explain it to Asako and Rin if they tried doing something similar...

"You look happy, Alphy." A serene and sweet female voice called out to her. Auntie Zhaojun's.

Alpha looked up to see Zhaojun sitting at the sofa and waiting for her. "Auntie?" Alpha frowned and walked over. "You're still awake?"

Zhaojun stood up and smiled. "How could I sleep when my niece was still doing her best?"

Alpha blushed. "T-That... Uu... You saw it, didn't you?"

Zhaojun walked over and patted Alpha's head. "I did. And as expected, my cute niece is the cutest."

"...You're just saying that to make me feel better."

"I'm saying that because it's the truth considering the response of those watching you... But enough of that." Zhaojun put on a stern face and said, "I've made your bed for you, so after cleaning yourself up, I expect you to go straight to sleep."

Alpha froze, subconsciously glancing towards her Mintendo Switch lying on the countertop.

Zhaojun moved to block her eyesight and shook her head. "A young beauty needs her sleep. Understand?"

"...Yes, Auntie."

Alpha sighed and then set the bouquet of roses down on the countertop next to her game console. After that, she headed to the bathroom to get ready for sleep.

It was a shame that she wouldn't be able to practice more Super Smash Brawls or work on her island in Animul Crossing, but... Well, Auntie went out of her way to make Alpha's bed, so she couldn't just ignore that, could she?

Alpha paused right in front of the bathroom door, glancing once more at her game console.

Zhaojun crossed her arms. "Magnum Opus Alpha. Do you wish for me to call your father and tell him you are staying up late into the night?"

Alpha sighed and headed into the bathroom. "Yes, Auntie. I'll get ready and go to sleep."

"As you should."

Alpha shook her head and then entered the bathroom.

...Well, Asako was going to be streaming early in the morning as well, so it was probably better that Alpha got some sleep if she wanted to wake up in time to catch it anyway.

-----AI|IA-----

"Achoo!" Asako sneezed and wiped her nose with a tissue. "Weird... I'm never sick."

Rin glanced over from her chair and said, "Maybe it's because you keep pulling all-nighters, Aneue?"

Asako sighed. "Maybe."

She was used to staying up late and doing work in the morning, so since 'Aoko' had a morning stream time slot, Asako had kept up the schedule.

Of course, that meant that she didn't actually get much sleep, what with doing all the stream prep, spending time with Rin, and other things. But then again, that hadn't been an issue in the past for her... Mostly because her physique was crazy by virtue of her father's genes.

But it seemed like the accumulated stress and fatigue was finally catching up to her and wreaking havoc on her immune system.

...She blamed John for that.

Asako shook her head and then glanced at the door.

True to what she said to Alpha as they left, she had taken Rin back home for the night and was waiting for Sakura to get back. At the moment, the two sisters were seated at the kitchen table, just finishing watching Alfi's stream.

Rin glanced at her phone and said, "Mom's still not back, huh?"

"Looks like it." Asako frowned and said, "What's your Mom been up to recently anyway? She's been working pretty late hours... Is she sneaking out to see someone?"

Now that Rin was self-sufficient and Sakura nee-chan had time for herself, Asako didn't think it'd be too odd for her to try and find a guy.

Rin laughed. "As if." She slipped her phone back into her pocket and leaned on the table. "Mom's not interested in any guys." She paused. "Well... Uncle Kai might have a chance, but Mom's pretty stubborn."

Asako pursed her lip, trying hard not to remember the crush she had on that guy in the past.

Stupid sexy older men and them being taken...

"Speaking of guys..." Rin smiled and said, "Are you seeing anyone, Aneue?"

"Pft." Asako laughed and said, "Me? Seeing a guy?" She shook her head and said, "Do you think I have the time for that?"

"Of course you do!" Rin nodded and said, "There's all that free time after your morning stream, isn't there? And with how cool and beautiful Aneue is, I'm sure you could find a guy in no time!"

Asako let out a bitter laugh. "You'd think that would be the case, wouldn't you?" She shook her head and then headed over to the kitchen. "Want some tea?"

"Oh! Yes please!"

Asako put some water in the kettle and set it to boil. After that, she turned back to Rin and said, "Why'd you even bring that up, Sis?"

Rin shrugged. "It's girl talk, isn't it? I mean, isn't that what sisters are supposed to talk about during sleepovers?"

"I mean... I guess so." Asako frowned and then said, "Well, what about you then, Sis? Any guy you like?"

She was just saying it to humor her younger sister. After all, as young as she was, Asako didn't expect her to actually have anyone in mind.

But Rin immediately nodded and said, "Yep!"

Asako blinked. "Wait, really?"

"Mmhm." Rin laughed and then rubbed the back of her neck. "I actually liked Mister John a lot..."

Asako froze. At the same time, she quickly remembered how young John's wife looked, how he met Rin, and then the guy's natural ladykiller moves...

Rin blushed and quickly held up her hands. "Calm down, Aneue! A-And besides, you can't tell me that you wouldn't like a guy like Mister John!"

Asako sighed. "...Just because you're correct about that doesn't make it right, Sis. And remember, John's taken. Also, he's probably over twice your age."

"I know, I know." Rin let out a wistful sigh. "Still, Mister John is really like a prince or the main character from a Shoujo Manga, you know? Miss Yue is really lucky to have him."

Asako cleared her throat and pointedly tried to forget about her own crush on the guy. "Setting that guy aside... Is there anyone else you like, Sis?"

"Mm... Not really. I mean, I like Alphy onee-chan and Eldest Sister, but it's not like I *like* like them. I think?" Rin frowned and then looked up at Asako. "Speaking of Eldest Sister... What's really going on between you and her anyway, Aneue? Onee-chan said that you were sparring partners, but are you really just sparring partners, or-"

A high-pitched whistle. The sound of the tea kettle.

Asako let out a nervous laugh and said, "Looks like the water's ready. Jasmine tea fine with you, Sis?"

Rin huffed. "You're dodging the question, Aneue."

"Jasmine it is." Asako quickly pulled out a teabag and placed it into a cup. After that, she poured the hot water into the cup and placed it in front of Rin.

The younger sister rolled her eyes and pulled the tea cup close to her. "Fine, fine. I'll stop bugging you about it." Rin took a sip from her tea and then said, "What about your stream though? You said you were going to do a morning stream, but it's pretty late now."

Asako poured herself a cup of jasmine tea as well. Taking a long and slow sip... making sure to not burn her tongue on the hot liquid. After all, she didn't want to get bullied by her Ki-Sama during her stream for a weird accident.

Anyway, after sipping her tea, Asako sat back down at the table and said, "I'm thinking of streaming a little later tomorrow." She furrowed her brow and said, "Those bastards have it too good anyway. Let them stew for a while wondering where I'm at."

"...You know that your fans enjoy being treated like that by you, right Aneue?"

Asako froze, suddenly realizing that Rin had a point. She let out a deep sigh and mumbled, "Whatever. I'll just have to scold them harder when I roast them for their weird comments."

Rin giggled.

"What's so funny?"

Rin shook her head. "Nothing, Aneue. But if you're planning on streaming later in the morning... Um..."

Asako set down her teacup and frowned. "What is it, Sis?"

"...Could we sleep together then?"

Asako blinked.

Rin blushed and quickly waved her hands. "N-Not like that! It's just... I mean..." She lowered her head and said, "I heard about sisters sharing beds and sleeping together growing up, so I wanted to see what that was like since I have a real big sister now. Um... Is it too weird?"

Asako sighed and bopped Rin on the head.

"Ow! What was that for?!"

"For being an idiot." Asako let out a soft smile and said, "Of course we can sleep together... Though it'll be hard to fit on one bed-"

"That's fine! I think I have some sleeping bags in the closet! Wait right there!" Rin dashed off to go rummage around in the closet.

Asako sipped her tea, watching her younger sister run around the house. As she did, she couldn't help but sigh.

...If her father hadn't chosen the path he did. If he had decided to be a virtuous person with his skills instead of blindly seeking the pinnacle of martial arts no matter the cost...

Could she have had a peaceful scene like this before? A full-fledged younger sister from her mom as well, and maybe her father acting gruff but supportive?

"...What am I thinking?" Asako shook her head and took a long sip from her tea.

There was no use in what-ifs. Even if she could change things, or even if things could have taken a different turn, the fact was that here and now she had a younger sister that looked up to her, as well as an older nee-chan who cared about her like a mother would despite being only a few years older than Asako.

That part was a bit awkward... but the fact was that she had a family. A real one, not the one in name that she had with her mother and father in the past.

"I found them!" Rin ran back into the kitchen, dragging a pair of bright orange sleeping bags. "I'll go set the tatami mats now!"

Asako chuckled and sipped on her tea.

Yes... This was nice.

...Even if she had to put up with being an idol in some weird company run by a guy who might or might not be the leader of an international crime syndicate that eloped with an imperial princess and had a bunch of other beautiful foreign mistresses who were fine being second-rung in the relationship ladder.

...Maybe it was better to just not think about that part. Yeah, trying not to worry about the headache that was John Smith and his background was probably for the best.

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