"Ugh." Asako clutched her head and muttered, "What hit me?"
She had a throbbing headache. Not only that, but she couldn't remember anything about what happened.
It didn't help that her surroundings were completely dark. The blackout curtains on the windows were definitely doing their job.
Was it just a dream?
The last thing she remembered was staying up late and chatting with Alphy. Before that, they were with Rin and Sakura and planning what they were going to do on Christmas Eve...
Asako squinted and tried pushing through her headache.
That already happened. Yeah, she remembered now. It was definitely Christmas Eve already. She woke up late. Sakura and Alphy cooked a late breakfast/early lunch-
A flash of pure white skin. A flushed and cute Alphy, clinging to Asako and trying to say she wanted to see if Asako really tasted sweet. And also that it wasn't fair for Betty to steal her away when Alphy saw her first.
Asako felt her entire body heat up and she tried standing.
Only to immediately get tugged back down and a pair of soft warm cushions pressed against her left arm. "Nyo. Shtay. Not wanna."
Asako's mind ground to a halt and she slowly turned to her left.
It was dark. Because it was dark, it was impossible to see anything.
It should have been impossible to see anything.
But there in the dark, Asako could see it.
Pure white skin. Bleary crimson eyes staring back at her, glimmering with tears.
Alphy. And not just Alphy. Alphy in her birthday suit, everything bare and clear for Asako to see.
And now that Asako thought about it, the same was true for her. Looking down, there was no bra, no panties. Nothing but-
Rin fell off her bed, flinching from a sudden scream. "What the heck...?" She groaned and then pushed herself off the floor, rubbing her eyes. "What's Aneue screaming about so early in the morning...?"
She grumbled and then walked over to her door. But before she could open it, she heard a door slam in the distance followed by someone running into the bathroom. Right after that, the sound of a shower starting echoed.
Rin blinked and then the foggy morning cobwebs faded. "Oh right. Aneue probably remembered what happened last night, huh?" She giggled and then glanced at her phone still sitting by her bedside table.
It wasn't anything super spicy. Onee-chan wasn't that type of person. But she turned out to be the really clingy and affectionate type. And she also like 'sharing' a lot too.
And Aneue was too much of a pushover for Onee-chan to say no. Though it seemed like she also secretly liked it.
Rin giggled again and then walked out of her room.
The morning light was filtering in through the windows. The warm rays from the sun, giving a pleasant and lazy atmosphere.
Almost enough for Rin to want to head back to bed.
But what would be the fun in that? Especially when such a fun show started this early in the morning?
The door to Asako's room was still open. And because she had black-out curtains, it was dark in there. But even so, Rin could see something... or rather, someone even in that darkness.
Alphy slowly sat up, rubbing her eyes. Holding a blanket to her chest, she tilted her head in confusion and then moaned in pain. "Why is everything spinning? And why does the light hurt my eyes? Uuu..."
Rin let out an awkward smile. "W-Well, Onee-chan..."
"That's because you had too much fun drinking wine. And also because you're definitely a super lightweight drinker." Sakura's voice echoed from the kitchen. A few moments later, she walked over.
Rin's mother was wearing a cozy Christmas sweater and pajamas with reindeer patterns. And she was also carrying a steaming mug.
"Here." Sakura walked over to Alphy and handed the mug to her. "Drink this. My special hangover cure that's 100% guaranteed to work. Should make things better."
Alphy closed her eyes with a wince and carefully raised the mug to her lips.
"It tastes pretty bad," Sakura said. "But if you stick through it-"
Alphy took a sip and then shook her head. "It's not that bad. I've had worse in the past before Papa learned how to cook... And I think it's helping..." Alphy blinked and then slowly took another sip. After that, she let out a sigh of relief. "Yes. It's helping a lot." She smiled at Sakura and said, "Thank you."
"Don't mention it." Sakura waved her hand and said, "It's my fault for not reading the labels carefully enough." She frowned and glanced at a bottle still sitting by the kitchen table. "I could have sworn that we bought regular sparkling wine though. It should have been non-alcoholic."
Rin suppressed a nervous laugh bubbling up and said, "Maybe it was just a bad reaction from Onee-chan? I drank the sparkling wine too and I was fine, right?"
'...Let's not tell Mom about swapping out the sparkling wine with an alcoholic one during check out.'
It was lucky. Rin fortunately had a high alcohol tolerance, so no one suspected anything.
Sakura hummed. "Maybe. Considering how John drank Kai under the table, Alphy should have at least *some* tolerance... Unless you got it from your mother's side of the family?"
Alphy shook her head. "If it is just alcohol, I should be tolerant. I used to sit with Papa and drink with him as he cried his sorrows away in the past." She frowned and then sipped on her mug. "...Maybe it is just this land's alcohol? Or perhaps the air is affecting me...?"
Sakura blinked. "John used to what?"
Alphy sipped on her mug, lost in thought.
Seeing that she wasn't answering, Sakura sighed and said, "Never mind." She pulled out her phone and said, "Since Asako woke us all up so early... I guess we should get ready, right?"
Rin clapped her hands together. "I forgot about the party! And we can see the cute new baby too!"
Alphy smiled and then stood up, her eyes sparkling. "Right! My new and cute baby sister. Hopefully Papa gave her a cute name..."
Rin nodded. "Well, she's cute either way so-" She cut herself off, eyes widening.
Since Alphy stood up, the blanket she was using to cover herself fell to the floor. And when it did, it revealed pure white skin... and some red marks in certain conspicuous areas.
Rin's face heated up and she fanned her self. "O-O-Onee-chan! W-W-What did you do with Aneue last night?"
Alphy blinked and then slowly looked down. When she did, she paused. "Ah." She slowly finished drinking the hangover remedy and then gently set the mug to the side.
And then she fainted, face a bright red with her eyes swirling in place.
"O-Onee-chan?! H-Hey! Stay with us!"
Sakura chuckled. "Well. I guess John doesn't have to worry about a troublesome son-in-law for Alphy."
"Achoo!" John sniffled and then wiped his nose with his sleeve.
Yue glared at him and then hugged Aurora close to her chest. "If you are sick, then do not stand so close to our daughter, Husband!"
"I'm not." John paused and then quickly knocked a nearby wooden table. Just in case.
Considering how other members of his family seemed to be getting trolled by ordinary human status effects, it never hurt to be too careful.
Yudi chuckled and stroked his long beard. "So even my formidable Son-in-law fears the rules of this world."
"Absolutely." John gave Yudi a serious nod and said, "Karma, Murphy, and Destiny are extremely close friends in this world and apparently love messing with people who normally operate outside of the world's laws."
It was to the point that John thought those three might seriously be conceptual entities... Well, that or there was someone from on high still messing with John.
It wasn't anything serious though. Mostly just slightly annoying events that actually helped out John in terms of making the family closer.
But it was still annoying.
John sighed and then stretched, taking a look around.
It was early in the morning. Christmas Day. Also the day of cheerful joy and gift giving... according to everywhere else in the world except for Japan apparently.
Didn't matter though. John was going to throw a Christmas party even if other people thought it would be weird.
...Though considering his current reputation, it probably didn't matter, huh? Some things never changed...
Anyway, it was early morning. John was with Yue, Aurora, and Yudi in the makeshift infirmary below Myth Inc. HQ.
Hugging Aurora to her chest, Yue was glowing with happiness.
That might change when she realized that breastfeeding was a thing and she learned all the other parts that came with being a proper mother in terms of the physiological effects... but that was later.
Yudi looked every bit the proud and happy grandfather, standing off to the side while stealing glances at his new grandchild.
As for Aurora herself, she was playing the part of a simple and unaware infant, giggling and babbling while hugging her mother.
Of course, John knew better considering how she tagged along with him last night when he went to grab Meggie... but hopefully his stern lecture and warning would keep Aurora from shenanigans-
Aaand that was a flag.
'I swear to all that exists, if Aurora gets a weird random growth spurt, I'm going to-'
A knock echoed at the door.
Yudi paused in the middle of stroking his beard and then turned to look at the door. "Hm?" He looked at John and said, "Were you expecting visitors, Son-in-law?"
"Yes, but no?" John paused and then walked over to the door.
It was still early, so Meggie and the others were definitely still asleep after last night's hectic events.
Alphy, Rin, and Asako were having a little party of their own for Christmas, so they wouldn't be here til later.
Betty was doing whatever Betty liked to do these days as a mature and independent (hopefully responsible) woman, so she would be there later.
And John didn't sense the presence of either Zhaojun, Xuannu, or Daji behind the door.
So that meant...
John opened the door. And the moment he did, Deck the Halls started to play.
"Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas, Mister Smith! Old Saint Nick has come bearing gifts!"
It was Titor. Titor, wearing a fat suit with a red Santa outfit and carrying a bag full of gift boxes.
And standing next to him was Amadeus, also wearing a Santa outfit, but one with a short red miniskirt. And a pair of reindeer ears. ...And a red LED nose.
Amadeus blushed and looked to the side. "...H-He talked me into it, okay?"