The day was shaping up to be a very normal day for Kimihito Kurusu. And by "normal", it should be noted that it was normal for him – living with seven liminals. Although, if you knew the (female) liminals he lived with, it'd be a toss-up between jealousy or anxiety.
In fact, he was almost done with tonight's dinner when his phone rang.
"Huh?" It wasn't Ms. Smith, his interspecies coordinator. No, no, it was his greatest fear…..
Kimihito's scream of agony made all the girls look up, their faces ranging from curiosity to fear for her beloved/darling/lord/etc. "Why didn't they give me more time?!"
"Darling!" The lamia Miia slithered her body over to him. "What happened? You look so pale….!"
"Um…..well…how to p-put this…..!"
"Speak quickly, milord!" Centorea the centaur placed a hand on the hilt of her dummy blade. "So I can ascertain the identity of what is causing you stress and defeat him or her!"
"Geez, always with the gung-ho response, hmm?" In contrast to her housemate/rival, an arachne like Rachnera took things more casually and less zealously. She placed a hand under Kimihito's chin and lifted his head up. "If you were being threatened, Honey, I don't think you'd still be here."
"No…..it's not a threat. BUT it IS something I've been dreading for months! And now you're all part of it too….." Kimihito's whole body was shaking. "It was….my parents."
"NO!" Miia's tail was already wrapped around his form. "I won't let them take you away, darling!"
"You've got it…." He struggled under her binds. "….wrong, Miia! They're not taking me away, they're coming HERE! For a surprise visit!"
"How lovely!" The mermaid, Mero, clasped her webbed hands together. "You probably haven't seen them in a long time, Beloved!"
"Yeah, but I've picked up a few housemates since I saw them last…." And what are the odds they don't run screaming from this place? "And we don't have too much time. They're coming tomorrow!"
"OH MY GOSH!"
"I know, it's awful, isn't it?!"
"Huh?" Papi the harpy cocked her head. "Whatcha talking about, Boss? Papi was talking about the smoke from the kitchen."
OH CRAP I LEFT THE HEAT ON!
"Hahahahaha! Is that what you're worried about, Darling-kun? A visit from your folks?"
Smith was the source of all things monster in Kimihito's life, while she was extremely approachable and helped him out of problems before, she was also very blasé and sometimes made things worse.
"You don't get it, Ms. Smith, they only knew I took Miia in. And they're not too familiar with liminals. I just want things to be okay for them when they arrive."
"Can you just make sure something dark and mysterious DOESN'T attack my house tomorrow? Or MON breaking down the door?"
"I can't make any promises, Darling-kun," Smith said in her usual laidback way, "but I'll try to up the security. Or something like that."
"Tomorrow's my day off. Good luck!"
Kimihito sighed and slumped back down onto the couch. "Thanks for the help….." he muttered. "Well, it'd mean a lot to me if all of you girls got to meet my parents. It's only fair, right?" So far he had met the mothers of Miia, Papi, Centorea, and Mero.
"Really now? You're not embarrassed by us?" Rachnera teased.
U-Uh…. "No. But they worry about me, and I don't want to give them any reason to. I'm happy where I am, with you all! So you don't have to pretend to be someone else, but we do need to prepare."
"Food!" Papi exclaimed, mouth already watering.
"Not just that, but we have the morning to go over it all. It's getting late, so…..why don't we all get a good night's sleep?"
He smiled and waved at the girls as he went up the stairs, but once he reached the top, the smile collapsed and he bolted to his room.
Tomorrow's gonna be a long day….
When morning came, Kimihito's eyes creaked open. He was expecting to either be ensnared in Rachnera's webs or wrapped by Miia's long tail, but the coast was clear.
Until he got out and fell into some slime.
"Guuh?! Suu! What happened?!"
Said slime was parched, and that meant reason would be thrown out the window for *any* kind of bodily liquid. Kimihito flailed himself to break free.
"Let's get water from the kitchen!"
"Mmmm….." All Suu needed to survive was water, and any cup was enough to start her day. Kimihito, meanwhile, started on breakfast.
"Suu, you're not gonna do that to my folks, right? I know it's been a scorcher these past few days, but it's better if things are a little…calm."
"But why, Master?" Suu cocked her head. "You think we'd hurt them? Suu would never!"
"It's not that, I'm just kinda paranoid."
"Pray tell, milord-" Centorea was there, wiping her sweaty face from her morning run. Suu was already eying the droplets. "-how much have you disclosed to them about….us?"
"Er…..way back, I did send them a letter about Miia and the cultural exchange, but they didn't really ask any follow up questions. So we didn't really discuss it. Wait until they see this place now…"
Kimihito's house had been through a few renovations to accommodate the needs of the girls, including a larger bath to fit Miia, and a room with a pool for Mero.
It was once a regular Japanese two-story house.
"So, you gals know what to do, right? Say yes, because I want to go to back to sleep."
Although she was specifically told not to get them involved, Smith had decided to give some orders to the MON unit, a four-girl team specifically designed to handle dangerous laminals without getting humans involved (preventing them from breaking the law). They were:
"Um, yes. Protect Kurusu's parents." (Manako, the sniper cyclops)
"Why do YOU get to loaf off? We want a day off too!" (Zombina, the gun-toting zombie)
"Oh stop whining, they're not even coming until the afternoon."
"WHAT?! Then why did you tell us to drive all the way to the airport! It's only…." Zombina checked her watch, only to have her hand fall off. "Can someone get that?"
"Aye-aye!" (Tionishia, the strong-but-sweet ogress). "Here you go, Bina-chan!"
"It's only 10 in the morrrrrrrning. Sigh. Can we at least get some food from Buddy later for doing this?" (Doppel, the mischievous shapeshifter)
"Long as you girls don't break down the door, he was very clear on that," Smith said cheerfully through the phone.
"Got it, we'll knock. If anything comes up, we'll contact you ASAP!"
"Please don't. Bye!"
The MON girls sat in silence in their vehicle. While Manako was ready for the task, Zombina looked bored out of her skull and Doppel was ready to fall asleep. Luckily, Tio, always the bright optimist, had an idea.
"Hey, let's listen to the new ANM48 album!"
"A pop band with….oh, these types of girls…." Kimihito's mother looked carefully at the magazine page.
Unbeknownst to Kimihito, his parents were closer than he had expected - on an early flight.
"Okay, I think this store will have it." Darling-kun looked down at the list, stuff he wanted to get to make the best possible meal for his parents. Accompanying him was Centorea, Miia, and (in a wheelchair) Mero.
"Aw, you don't have to spice them up, Darling! I'm sure anything you make will make them happy! You are the best cook, after all."
Centorea and Mero glanced at each other; since his parents knew of only Miia, of course she would aim to be the center of attention when time came.
"That is not it!" she snapped, when asked five minutes later. "Darling went through so much just to survive our parents, so he needs an easier time!"
"Aye, but you're not going to introduce yourself as his betrothed?" Centorea wondered.
"Well, he is at that age, hehehe…..what if his parents want to know who he's involved with?" Miia giggled and swayed her tail back and forth.
"But he hasn't been involved with any of us. It's not fair to put pressure on Beloved, especially not now."
"I agree with Lady Mero."
"Uhhh, girls?" Kimihito peeked out from the aisle. "Can you give me a hand with this?" They scrambled for assistance:
An hour had passed, and they had left the store, bags in hand. Centorea didn't mind loading some of the groceries onto her back.
"Milord, a moment? What are your parents like?"
"Like….?" Kimihito searched for the words. "I guess they're pretty ordinary. They've been abroad for only a year or so, so it's not like I haven't seen them in ages."
"Do they prefer snakes or fish?"
"Miia!" Centorea shot her a glare. "I trust they weren't completely skeptical of the program? Do they need some reassurance that their son is…"
She thought of the times Kimihito had been slammed by a door.
"That I'm what?"
"You're…." Miia thought of all the laminals that had targeted him.
"Oh here, the light turned!" Off Darling-kun went, but he was forced to the ground by a careless driver that nearly hit him. "C-Crap…close one! You girls alright?"
Us?! It's you that's always in danger! They all thought together, shaking.
"We're home!" Once back to the house, Kimihito only got a couple of centimeters inside before he was suspended in the air by one of Rachnera's webs. The arachne lowered herself from the ceiling, looking pleased at her handiwork.
"Well, well….are you enjoying my new web, Honey?"
"Rachnee….urgh…..what about the chores…?"
"See for yourself." Her clawed hand pointed to Suu's slime form ingesting all of the dust and dirt between the furniture, and Papi was flying out of the window with a garbage bag.
...before it ripped across the backyard, of course. Seeing the more tempered glares of Centorea and Miia, Rachnera untied Kimihito.
"Thank you….ow…..um, if it's not too much trouble, can you-"
"Don't worry, Honey, I won't trap your parents. It's more fun to tease you." She said with a sly smile and wink. [This only got Centorea angrier]
"Great…well, at least we have some time to relax."
Then the phone rang. It had fallen out of his pocket when he was hanging, but Miia quickly picked it up and answered. "Hello?"
"Hello? Who is this? We're calling for our son, Kimihito?"
Miia gasped and put the phone on speaker. "He's right here!"
"Huh? Mom? Dad?"
"Hello, son!" his father said. "Was that the Miia you talked about? We just wanted to let you know our flight landed, so uh…..we'll probably be there in an hour or so."
"Oh, okay. See ya!"
The whole house had gotten so quiet, Lala the dullahan had appeared. She looked around and cocked her head, confused.
"I guess we didn't have that much time!" Mero said cheerfully, although her face was starting to sweat. Kimihito, on the other hand, was frothing as he raced to the kitchen with the speed of a bullet train.
"Well, he sounded fine to me." Kimihito's father scratched his cheek. He and his wife, having just gotten off the plane, traversed through the gate. "What are you doing?" he asked her.
"Oh, calling for a car service."
"What-car service? We can just take public transportation. Our house isn't far from here!"
"Are you serious? This is a visit to our son, dear! You can't just…..wait, look! That's our name on that sign. Did Kimihito call someone to pick us up?"
Doppel was holding up the sign. Unfortunately for her, she was in the form of a regular looking Japanese girl. "Do we really have to hide me? They're gonna see the rest of you."
"But Doppel, you don't wear any clothes."
"….I don't see the problem," she said bluntly to Manako. The sniper sighed and called up the Kurusu household.
"Hello? This is Manako from MON. Ms. Smith told us to pick up Kurusu's parents…?"
There was a crashing sound, some yells, but soon it was the panicked voice of their son. "Damn it, why doesn't she listen to me?! But this is perfect! Can you guys stall?"
"Stall?" Zombina didn't like the sound of that. "What do you want us to do, drive around in circles?"
"No, just….t-take the long way or something. I want things to be ready here. Please! I'd really appreciate, it and I'll make it up to you!"
Before the "date all of us" idea could be suggested, Tio chimed in with: "Can we have some of whatever you're making?"
"Because, lover boy, you're pretty good when it comes to cooking!" Zombina laughed. "And we're getting hungry."
"F-Fine! AFTER they leave!"
"That's not part of the deal!"
"Ahem!" Doppel gave them a side look; Kimihito's parents had walked up to her. "Hello! You must be the guests of honor, right? With a son living with some laminal girls? What's his name?" she wondered, playfully, then looked to Manako. "Wait, what is his name again?
"Kimihito Kurusu!" Manako whispered, shrinking under the stare of his parents. "W-We're, um…MON, a special ops unit tasked with bringing you to h-him…."
"So you are," his mother said with a smile. "I'm Erika, and this is my husband, Takeshi. We're very grateful for your assistance. Did he call you earlier?"
"No m-ma'am, we were ordered by our superior officer, Ms. Smith….K-Kurusu's coordinator…"
"Ah, her name came up in his letter," recalled Takeshi. He looked what an older and wiser Kimihito would look like, with graying streaks and a stern disposition. His wife had black hair was well, tied in a simple bun. "Pleased to meet you….monsters? Is that….okay to say?"
"Meh, laminals works, but we've been called worse," Zombina said lazily. Then her finger came off. Erika gasped. "N-No worries! Hahahaha, let's just head to the car…"
"I'm M-Manako." The sniper was still too nervous to look directly at them.
"I'm Tio! You look a lot like snookums, mister!"
"Just a nickname," Doppel grinned. She would've transformed back but she decided against it, Buddy's mother was already NOT taking well to limbs just falling off. "And I'm Doppel. I call shotgun!"
"No fair, Doppel-chan!" Tio whined. Already the four were getting into their usual verbal back-and-forth, while the Kurusu parents stood there in mild confusion.
"They're….agents. One's a giant, another is a cyclops, one is undead…..I have to say, it makes me a little concerned for Kimihito…just what has he been up to?"
"Dear, you have to keep an open mind. Our son is being a cultural ambassador to these girls, and if they have nicknames for him, he must be doing well!"
"He's not doing well….."
The girls watched Kimihito dart back and forth in the kitchen, adjusting heat, cracking eggs, stirring pots-he looked like a one-man army. On top of that, he had refused help from them.
"Maybe Darling's just worried his parents will be afraid of us…." Miia whispered. "We'd better make sure everything goes well!"
"Indeed, but if MON is involved, that does not bode well for our success…."
"Hey, hey! Does the boss's dad look like him, like me and my mom?" Papi wondered, putting a wing to her chin in (rare) contemplation.
"If he does…."
"Hello, Miia-chan. I'm Darling's father. Nice to meet you! Of course you can marry my son!"
"Hey! He wouldn't say that last part!" Mero whined, although Miia was too busy lost in her fantasies to listen. "And we mustn't forget his mother."
Rachnera looked amused. "Considering the competition, she'll be sane."
"Sane?! Are you implying something, spider?"
"Your mother cucked her husband, Miia's mother tried to get a booty call from Honey, the queen mermaid tricked her entire race, and Papi's….."
"You don't have to rub it in…" Centorea sighed. "I cannot imagine what your mother is like, then."
"Oh, that's a story for another day," Rachnera replied cheerfully.
"Wait!" Miia snapped out of her wedding night fantasy. "Are they just going to stay for a meal? What if the visit is longer?"
Kimihito nearly fainted.
Back on the road-
"So, what exactly do you girls do?"
"Ah, the Interspecies Exchange Accord states that humans and laminals can't hurt each other, so…we step in to deal with troublemakers on our side of the law."
"See, dear? Kimihito is safe."
"Oh I wouldn't say that," said Doppel, "you should see the stuff he gets tangled up with! What was it last week, Tio?"
"Some spore mushroom thing," Zombina said. Manako had begged her to not be so rough and fast behind the steering wheel, not just for the mission but her own personal safety.
"Then it was a killer bee girl!" The ogress added. "But it's okay, snookums is way tougher than he looks!"
"You should see all the times he's almost di-"
"THEY'RE KIDDING!" Manako shouted, waving her hands frantically. "Kurusu is safe, like you said!"
"About him, why does she call him that?"
"The other girls give him nicknames too…."
"What's the big deal, they're gonna see them anyways." Doppel smiled, and suddenly turned into Miia, with the longer tail uncomfortably clustering around Zombina. "She calls him Darling."
"Y-You can t-transform?" Erika was wide-eyed, as was her husband.
"Yep!" Doppel said in Miia's voice. "Wanna see the other girls he lives with?"
"Wait, Doppel! There's no damn room for the centaur or spider!" Zombina snapped. "Get this tail off me!"
So she turned back into her base form, unamused. "If you say so."
"Is…..is this one of the girls?"
"Huh? Nah, this is just me."
"You're not wearing any clothes."
"And water is wet, so?"
Finally the cooking on Kimihito's end was done. He took a sip from the last spoonful of the pot, added a pinch more salt, and was pleased. "Okay. Everything's all set?"
"Yep!" Papi called out from the other room.
"Well, that's that!" He wiped his hands, turned off the flame, and headed into the other room. "Great table setting, girls!"
"You're much chipper now, milord. Has cooking been that much of a panacea?"
"Heh….I guess the weight's been lifted a bit. At least we've got some extra time."
Then the door knocked. Suu was the closest, so she checked the peephole. Then she opened it ever so slightly.
"Hey, uh, we're gonna have to 86 the stalling plan." It was Zombina, and she had pointed to the flat tire of the car. "So go tell lover boy, okay?"
"Okey-dokey! Hey, master, Zombina says they're gonna 69-"
"Huh?" Kimihito headed over to the door. "Zombina, what's wrong?"
"Your parents are here, so uh….just give us some takeout containers."
Damn it, today is just not my day, thought Kimihito, as his parents walked up the path to greet him. "Mom, Dad, how was the flight?"
"The flight was fine, but this drive….." Erika looked over to MON. All but Manako gave a grin and a thumbs up. "….w-was interesting…."
"I'm sorry!" Kimihito got to his knees. "And look, before you come inside-"
"We know about the other girls, son, they told us. If you don't mind me asking, how did you get six more roommates in less than a year?"
"Uh ha…..w-where do I start…..but listen, they're all nice, so there's no reason to be scared of them or anything." Spotting a bead of sweat on his father's face, he panicked and quickly wiped it off.
"Goodness, what happened to the house?" Erika looked at the roof. "It's been completely redone!"
"Uh ha….where do I start…." Already their son was turning pale. "Let's just get inside."
"Welcome back!" was the greeting given to the Kurusu parents. Unsurprisingly, Lala had disappeared, and that was worrying to Kimihito.
"T-Thank you…..um, we're Kimihito's parents, Erika and Takeshi. I hope our son has been treating you all well?"
"Oh yes!" Mero clasped her hands together. "Beloved has been such an excellent host, others simply can't compare! By the way, my name is Mero."
The regal aura of the mermaid shined down on the pair, and they felt at ease. Although they could see the pink of her tail peeking out, Mero's skirt did a good job at making her conspicuous.
"And I'm Papi the harpy! Sorry, haha….I must've forgotten about your son. What's his name?"
"Papi, their son is standing right there," the mermaid whispered.
"Huh? That's just the boss."
"Moving on!" Centorea cleared her throat. "My name is Centorea Shianus, of the proud centaur race! It is a pleasure to meet you both." She bowed. "I must be frank, though. I serve your son in the same way a knight serves her liege! For this reason, I will happily accommodate the both of you."
"Oh, pleased to meet you!" His parents bowed back. Takeshi gave his son a look, and he had to frantically whisper that the service was "not sexual!".
Next was: "I'm Suu!"
"Suu? What a cute little name…"
"Master's a great guy, so don't worry!"
"It's not like that, Dad, I swear! Tell them, Rachnee!"
"Mm-hmm…yeah, Honey's too pure for what you're thinking, but what can I say? Give him a few years, and he'll be completely insatiable."
"I'm just joking, Honey! And good for you, using the nickname! Am I really that special~? The name's Rachnera Arachnera."
"And I…." Miia giggled. "Darling is saving the best for last, it seems. I'm Miia!" She slithered over to his parents and shook their hands. "In the letter? The first girl? Darling's amazing, and I just want you to know that I would be the best daughter-in-law-"
"Miia!" Kimihito quickly pulled her back. "Well there's someone else, but I guess she's just too shy."
"That'd be me."
Lala was behind the Kurusus. Appropriately Erika screamed and Takeshi broke out in a cold sweat. Not perturbed by their reaction, she moved to the front of their vision.
"Oh no…." Kimihito covered his eyes.
"I am the avatar of death, the being existing into darkness! Gaze into my eyes, mortals, and listen to my words of wisdom when I say your spawn is extraordinary! Death approaches him at every turn, and in at every turn, he deflects it as if it was nothing, a power behind even my own comprehension. I, Lala the dullahan, reveal myself to you both, so that I may understand the source of his power!"
To top it off, she struck a very striking pose.
"O-Oh…..um…" Erika was at a total loss.
"Honey, there's no reason to worry. She's just acting like our son did back in his middle school days. What was it? The Bastion of Twilight?"
Kimihito's dignity was gone. "Yeah….."
And so was Lala's bravado. The chuuni now looked incredibly anxious, and her face was beet red. "If that's all ye have to say…."
First off, a tour of the renovated house; Kimihito led his parents up the stairs to the second floor.
"And the program covered all of the expenses?" his father asked, bewildered.
"Yeah. We stayed at a resort in the mountains while they did all of this. And I get reimbursed for living expenses. Helps out my part time job."
"The girls work too?"
"Some of them, yeah. They're not freeloaders, Dad!"
"They're so fond of you, Kimihito," Erika mused. "Who knew you were such a charmer?"
"You asleep alone, right?"
"Yes!" their son opened the door to his room, the only room to not be changed. "Trust me, it's not exactly easy, um…..well, you heard their names…." Sensing his implication, Kimihito closed the door and continued. "I can't do anything even if I wanted to, it's against the law. I'd be jailed and they'd be deported."
He showed them the rooms of the other girls, and pulled down the attic's door to show Rachnera's abode. All the time, the girls were following and watching.
"I'm impressed. Honey is being upfront about the whole thing."
"That must mean he trusts and respects his parents a great deal….."
"But they're still not used to us," Miia concluded. "And you know what they say, first impressions are everything! Did one of us come off too strong?"
The irony went completely over her head.
Once downstairs, Kimihito showed them the living room and kitchen. "Hope we didn't miss any spots….gets a little crazy in here sometimes…."
"Looks good to me," his father said. "Son, you're not overworking yourself here, right? No reason for you to get gray hairs at your age."
"Nah, it's good. So, um…." He leaned in. "Any questions about the girls? Like cultural etiquette or something?"
That must be why Centorea-san addresses him as such... "Well, why did Miia-chan reference marriage? Are you steady?"
I can't tell them about Ms. Smith's crazy plan! Not when I haven't picked someone yet…. "She was trying to make a good first impression, I guess."
"That sounds like a lie," his mother countered.
"Kimihito, is there something you want to tell us?"
One by one, the girls took their seats, but only after the Kurusu parents sat down first. Lala had reappeared again, although she was too shy to look at them. Kimihito came in with some plates.
"Here's the first course. Enjoy!"
Takeshi and Erika were just gawking while the girls were enjoying the food with equal fervor. And of course, Centorea had a salad.
"H-Hey! None of you said the table greeting!"
"It's fine," his father said. "To be honest, I'm pretty hungry." He took a piece of the dish from his plate, put it in his mouth….and experienced a brief existential trip due to how good it was.
Mero wiped her mouth. "May I ask what your profession is? If that's not too forward…."
"Not at…all…." Erika was surprised the mermaid could eat fish. "I'm a programmer, and my husband is a mechanical engineer. Funnily enough the same company employed us, right dear?"
"Huh? Oh right, right. It's hard work, but it pays well. Now uh, I've got some questions for you, if that's not too forward."
He pointed to Suu. "She….she eats anything?" The slime girl could consume anything without it affecting her body at all.
"It appears so…."
"I think it would be a good idea to tell you how we all met Darling!" Miia sighed dreamily. "Ms. Smith brought me to this house, and he was so kind…."
"He helped me stop a purse snatcher by riding me. Twas a memorable day…"
"Suu washed Master in the bath!"
Kimihito couldn't bear to look at their (probably incredulous) faces, so he turned to the window, sweating like crazy.
MON was there, waving and pointing at the food.
When the second course came-
"Here's what I call, the cross-hatch formation. A little elaborate, but it always catches them off guard." Rachnera was showing off her web handiwork.
"Them? What do you mean?" Kimihito shook his head frantically behind his mother's head.
"Ah, just a figure of speech. By the way, is the Kurusu cooking talent hereditary? Honey makes the best dishes. I almost envy how skilled he really is."
"Actually, I'm a terrible cook," Takeshi admitted sheepishly. "It's nice to see Kimihito really excelling at something. I wouldn't even be disappointed if he wanted to be a chef."
"Oh for crying out loud..." Kimihito ran to the foyer and opened the door. "I already gave you enough sauce, Doppel!"
"I'm not Doppel, human!" It was Lilith the Devil, the troublemaker that Rachnera took care of. "Stop hoarding Mistress Rachnee and let me see her!"
"Go away! Don't you have any hobbies?!"
"I got it!" Tio scooped her up in an armlock. "But that'll cost you some more rice, snookums!"
"Fine! Get her out of here!"
He closed the door, but five seconds later it knocked again. This time it was Draco, the draconet that lusted for Miia.
"Kurusu?! I was hoping Miia would answer the door….let me see her!"
A flat: "No. Please leave."
"WHY YOU DAMNED MAN! YOU THINK YOU CAN-" Manako shot her with a tranquilizer dart, knocking her out.
"Sorry. We'll keep a better eye out."
"Can you not say that with soy sauce on your cheeks?"
On the third knock, Kimihito growled and opened the door. It was something worse than Draco and Lilith being annoying.
"Hi mister! Do you want some girl scout cookies?"
"No, I don't want cookies! I just want one day where something isn't attacking me!"
So Zombina chased her off with a totally-not-real missile launcher. Totally. Not. Real.
"Sorry about that…..huh?"
Across the table, everyone looked content, but all of the plates were empty. Including Kimihito's own dish.
"So a princess, that's amazing! Kimihito is fortunate to have you met you."
"Oh no, the pleasure was all mine…."
Now everyone was relaxing in the living room; Darling-kun even went to the trouble of making desserts. At least his parents were getting to know the girls better.
"You are truly noble, good sir," Centorea said to Takeshi. "I can see where milord's spirit comes from!"
"Aw, no need to flatter me. I'm just glad my son is treating you all well. Rachnera-san, you were saying your host family didn't treat you right….?"
"No, but that was in the past." [Kimihito made sure to NOT give her any caffeinated beverage.] "I live in the present, right honey?"
"Boss is the best! A place to sleep, good food….Papi doesn't run away anymore because of him! Your son should meet him some time."
"Huh? Papi-chan, didn't we-"
"Every three steps," her son reminded Erika.
"Darling is the best! Ohh, I can count the amount of times he's made me feel good!"
"I can count higher!" Mero interjected. "Truly a wonderful man!"
"Oh yeah?! Well the Boss makes Papi feel REALLY good! Like that time Papi laid that egg, and Boss used his fingers-"
Do they even realize what they're saying?! ABORT, ABORT!
"You can stop, girls. We know."
Six blank stares.
Takeshi sipped his cup. "Apparently his coordinator suggested he marry one of you for a case study. To help species relations. You all care about him, huh?"
"But our son hasn't made any long-term decisions yet, and that only shows how responsible he is. To work, be a student, and take care of all of you? It's not easy. But luckily, you're all wonderful."
"We….we are?" Miia asked, subconsciously hoping they would nominate her.
"We only ask you give Kimihito the time he needs to really think about this. A couple of years to weigh on it, and if he doesn't want to marry any of you…." Takeshi set the cup down. "You accept his decision."
"But if he cares about one of you enough to want to marry…..then we can revisit this discussion when the time comes." Erika smiled.
"Milord, milady…..you're so understanding of this predicament. But why?"
They looked at each other. "We raised our son right," they said together.
"It's not a problem if we stay a little longer, right son? We don't have to leave until nighttime. Let us clean up to thank you, then we can catch up some more!"
They got up and left the room, leaving Kimihito relieved and content. The girls smiled, glad it all worked out so well.
The couple were washing and drying dishes together.
"Our son isn't a boy anymore, he's a man. A man that will soon have a laminal wife…."
"Y'know, I was a little put off by them at first, but that bill seems to have done a lot of good, especially for Kimihito."
"So Mero's definitely the best pick for him, right?"
"Nice joke, dear. Miia-chan is superior."
"What?! Well, who's your second place?"
"Suu?! What about Centorea?"
And thus, Takeshi and Erika Kurusu got into the time-honored debate that plagued anyone who knew of Kimihito and his harem – who was best girl.