December 13th. A Friday... and the day the Winter Tokyo Electronics Expo was set to begin.
John parked the car in their hotel's parking garage. After adjusting his tuxedo and fixing his collar, he looked over to Meggie. "You excited, Meggie?"
"N-No." Meggie averted her gaze and tugged on the hem of her oversized black hoodie. "I just want to check in already so we can drop our stuff off and get lunch. I'm starving."
John chuckled. Meggie was being 'tsun' as always, huh?
Time passed faster than he expected. Maybe it was the old saying about how time flew faster when you were having fun?
Like he promised, he spent the week with just Meggie, going all over the world to make sure she had a good time.
Getting ice cream from a niche shop in the U.S. that had the server doing some fancy tricks before serving it to you.
Shopping in various outlet malls throughout the states.
Returning back to Japan and doing a clean sweep of all the claw machines in Tokyo...
It was fun. Meggie was still a bit awkward around him, but it seemed like she was warming up to him again.
...Though the fact that she had to do that in the first place made John sad.
"What?" Meggie stared at John and huffed. "You go senile already, Dad?"
John laughed and opened the car door. "I might be old, but I'm not that old, Meggie."
"That's what all old people say."
"Ouch." John grabbed his chest and said, "What will this poor old heart do when faced with such targeted cruelty?"
Meggie rolled her eyes and got out of the car. She closed her door behind her and said, "If that's enough to take you down, I wonder how you even got this far."
John gave a sincere nod and said, "I wonder sometimes too. After all, I got lucky enough to have such a cute daughter." He smiled and then ruffled Meggie's hair.
"H-Hey! Quit it!" She blushed and ducked out of the way. After that, she looked around and said, "Don't embarrass me in public!"
"Oh? So in private is fine?"
John laughed. "Fine, fine." He unlocked the trunk and pulled out his suitcase.
Nothing special. Just a plain black leather case with wheels and a handle to roll it around. He didn't pack much since it was only a few days.
"Hmph." Meggie reached into the trunk and pulled out her suitcase.
Like John's, the suitcase was a plain black leather case with wheels and a handle to roll it around.
Unlike John's, Meggie's suitcase was completely covered in stickers.
A familiar swordsman with a green tunic. A plumber with overalls and a red cap. An anime electric mouse. A bunch of red and white capsules. A few stickers of Alfi and Hana. And then... a bunch of stickers of Jenny?
John blinked and then pointed at Meggie's suitcase. "H-Hey! Where did you get those?!"
Meggie looked at where John was pointing and then turned up her head. "Where else? From 'Aunt Jenny.'" She let out a mischievous smile and said, "If you're going to embarrass me, I'm going to make sure you get embarrassed with me, Dad."
"But- I...!" John sighed. "Never mind. ...I guess they're kind of cute anyway."
"Ew!" Meggie quickly stepped back and said, "Why!?"
"Well... isn't she? I mean, objectively she's pretty."
"...You're so full of yourself, Dad."
"That's been said, yes. But now I'm full of love for my family, so I think it's a fair change."
"Are you? Are you really?"
John walked over and pulled Meggie into a one-armed hug. "Well, if I wasn't then I am now that I've got my cute daughter here with me."
"...W-Whatever. Dummy." Meggie blushed, but she didn't break away.
John smiled and patted her shoulder. After that, he closed the car trunk and started rolling his suitcase up the ramp of the parking garage. "Come on. We should probably check in before the lines get too long."
Meggie ran after him and said, "But it's only noon!"
"And this event is bigger than Comiket-" John paused. "...Well, maybe not. But it's still pretty big, and it starts at one. If we want some time to grab lunch before the doors open, we should hurry up."
"If it starts at one, why the heck did we wait so long to get here!"
"Weren't you the one who wanted to do research and plan out what exhibits you wanted to take a look at?"
John laughed. "It'll be fine, Meggie. Now, let's get going."
...Especially before anyone got any smart ideas and started trying to flirt with his cute teenaged daughter.
He wasn't about to judge her for her clothes and wearing those see-through leggings leaving behind some 'absolute territory' between her thighs and the hem of her sweatshirt.
After all, the dress code at the Three Realms had been even wilder sometimes.
...And Meggie probably got that fashion sense from Xuannu who used to just walk around wearing just a see through crimson silk sash covering the important bits.
But this wasn't the Three Realms where people didn't care what you looked like if you had the power to back it up. Nope. Here, people were stupid. Especially around beautiful women and cute girls.
And John would very much not have to clean up if Meggie got pissed off and turned a touchy person into tomato paste.
Speaking of that...
Meggie paused and looked at John. "Yeah, Dad?"
"I give you full permission to use your powers and make an anti-touching field, but *please* don't go and murder anybody. No matter how obnoxious they are. People in this world are really, really, *really* fragile."
Especially the otakus, nerds, and gamers bound to be present at the expo.
Meggie rolled her eyes. "I know, Dad. Aunt Xuannu and Mom already taught me about that. But if it makes you feel better..." She snapped her fingers, causing the air to ripple around her. It was just for a second before the ripple vanished.
But John could sense it. A small bounded field that would reject any person from touching her while still letting Meggie grab what she wanted.
"Yes." John let out a sigh of relief. "And I didn't want to bother you, but-"
"Weird things happen around Dad and trouble is sure to follow. Yeah. I know."
John blinked. "...Who told you that?"
"Aunt Jenny." Meggie kept walking.
John followed after her and said, "Her? Really?"
Wait. Didn't she say that she didn't know who she was? How the heck did she know those stories then?
Did Titor tell her?
No, that guy wouldn't... Would he? No, he definitely would just to troll John.
"Mm." Meggie glanced back at John and said, "Is Aunt Jenny really your sister though, Dad? She feels really familiar and looks a lot like you... and she doesn't feel like a clone."
John sighed. "Being completely honest... I don't really know who she is. But she's not here to cause trouble at least." John paused and thought about the fact that she had apparently opened a 'LonelyFans' page and was growing a devoted fanbase online...
"...Though apparently 'mischief' isn't included in that trouble."
Meggie was silent.
Seeing that, John didn't say anything else and just kept walking with Meggie.
After a while though, Meggie spoke up. "Dad."
"Serious question here."
Meggie looked at John and said, "I heard from Aunt Zhaojun and Alphy nee-chan that Aunt Jenny acts just like you did when you were cross-dressing."
John let out a wry laugh and rubbed the back of his neck. "Y-Yeah. She kind of does-"
"But I also heard that she's more modest about it than you were."
"...Tell me, Dad. Do you... like flirting and seducing guys? Because you're way too convincing at it..."
"I-It was just a phase, okay?"
John cleared his throat. "I-I mean... nothing like that ever happened. And I was just... carefully observing the culture and techniques to teach your Aunt."
"Why were you the one who had to teach her?!"
"Because like hell I'd let some perverted old man or women teach my pure disciple!"
"Oh, so you decided to take her first time yourself, hm?"
"Wait. That's not what happened- Hold on." John narrowed his eyes. "And just what are you implying, sweet daughter of mine?"
"T-That's..." Meggie cleared her throat. "N-Nothing. Just... something I saw in- I mean, I didn't see anything!"
"Something you saw in..." John groaned. "Looks like I need a chat with your big sister Betty about leaving her books around."
"Hm? But the book was in Alphy's room?"
The book was in-?
John felt a headache. He rubbed his face and said, "You know what? Let's just forget this conversation happened."
"Y-Yeah. That's... That's fine with me."
"So!" John looked at Meggie and said, "What do you want to check out first after we drop our stuff off?"
"Ooh! There's this Creature Hunter cook-off thing. They're making a bunch of recipes from the game and selling food. Can we go take a look at that?"
"Of course. Though you know that I can cook better food, right?"
"Fine, fine. I'll try not to critique the food. And how they don't actually give you buffs like in the game. And how mine does."
Meggie rolled her eyes.