Chapter 21: The Present

(POV Kaito)

I was able to warm up the bath water more smoothly than usual.
Well, I was just happy as normal.
It was a profound feeling… My daughter is such a good child… Anyway, it’s not good to keep indulging in happiness.
You always have to keep looking ahead.

Today was December 22nd, and tomorrow marked the beginning of winter break for the four sisters.
Unfortunately, I had to work, which meant I wouldn’t be able to spend much time with them during the day.
With Christmas Eve just around the corner on December 24th, there was a lot to look forward to, including one of the most anticipated events—indulging in delicious food.

For children, this is the perfect opportunity to enjoy dishes they don’t typically have and drink as much juice as they want, which is usually off-limits.
But as exciting as it may be, the main event of Christmas Eve isn’t the food or decorations, no matter how scrumptious or breathtaking they may be.

In fact, it’s the Christmas presents that truly steal the show.
To children, the anticipation of receiving gifts is so exhilarating that everything leading up to it can almost be considered a prelude.
They get to have exactly what they want—a new piece of game software they’ve been eyeing, a special effects belt, or even a giant robot from their favorite hero squad.
The possibilities are endless, and anything can be bought.

When I was a child, I remember how happy I was when my parents bought me Christmas presents.
Knowing that happiness, I wanted to buy something for the four sisters this year too.

I wanted to buy something for them…

But they would most likely be reluctant to accept them….

Up until this point, they had never been in an environment where they could ask for anything they wanted.
They couldn’t even afford the bare necessities.
Getting a present was out of the question.
They probably don’t even remember when they first stopped believing in Santa Claus.

Reluctance can be a virtue, and I think it’s admirable when children show restraint.
But sometimes, holding back too much can be a bad thing…

“Kaito, can we take a bath now?”



Chiaki walked into the living room and immediately headed straight for the bathroom. 

When I told her she could go ahead and use it, she smiled and thanked me without any hesitation or shyness.
It’s a real talent to be able to express gratitude and say thanks so openly.
I genuinely think it’s amazing, especially since it’s something that seems to be lacking in young people nowadays.

“Hey, Chiaki,” 


“Is there anything you want for Christmas? Like, a present or something?”

“Huh? Are you serious!?”

“Of course I am.”

“…But, I’m really content with just having food.
I feel like I’ve been making a lot of demands since coming to this house…and honestly, just being able to eat cake on Christmas is enough for me.
I don’t need a present!”

Chiaki smiled again as she spoke, and I could tell she was being sincere.
It was an odd feeling, almost like it was normal to hold back and not expect anything.
As if it was normal not to receive presents, and just having food was enough to make her happy.

Yes, Chiaki was definitely a good kid.
I’m not going to deny that.
She was able to find joy in small things, never asking for more than she needed; she was truly a well-behaved child.

But…wasn’t that a bit unusual for a child her age? I don’t remember everything from my childhood, but I recall getting excited for Christmas, begging for presents, and just being generally more childish.

“Ah, really, Chiaki is a good girl who knows how to be reserved.”

“Heh heh, of course she is.” 

“Well, you’re really good at being considerate and holding back.
But there are times when holding back too much can make the other person uncomfortable.”


“No, no, I’m not mad or anything.
It’s just that…it’s Christmas, you know? You can be a bit more selfish on that one day out of the year.
I’m not saying we should buy you everything you want every day, but on Christmas, you don’t need to hold back on what you want in terms of gifts.”

“I-is that so?” 

“Y-yeah, I really think so…” 

Oh no, I’m not sure if what I said was the right thing or not.
After all, holding back certainly seems like a virtue.

Also It’s always a bit embarrassing to say something that sounds like an educational theory.
Oh no, was it okay to say that?

“Well, let’s see… I want some new clothes…maybe?”

“Then let’s go buy some.”

“Are you sure? Buying something that costs over four digits is a hassle…”

“Don’t hold back.
It’s definitely better to plead with me to buy it for you than to give off that kind of vibe.”

“Is that so…? Then….Kaito, could you buy me some clothes?”

“Of course.”

I still don’t know if what I said was the right or wrong thing to say.
But what I do know is that it’s cuter to honestly plead for a present on Christmas day than to refuse it because you feel indebted to someone.

“So, you want some clothes…”

But those are everyday items, right? I mean, something like a game or…oh, she must mean clothes they normally wouldn’t buy.

“Yeah, the junior brand one.”

“Oh, I see.
I didn’t know there was such a thing.”

“Chinatsu said she wants that too.”

“Perfect, let’s buy two.”

“T-That’s expensive, you know?”

“It’s Christmas, that’s why.”

“Is that so…Christmas is amazing…”

“Did Chifuyu and Chiharu mention anything they want?”

“Um…I don’t know.”

“I see…”

Chiaki might know specifically what Chinatsu wants, but what about Chiharu and Chifuyu? They seem like they would be more reserved than Chiaki.

“Chiaki, could you try asking Chiharu and Chifuyu what they want in a roundabout way?”

“Y-Yes, I understand.”

“All right, I’ll leave it to you.”

As soon as I requested a favor from Chiharu, she promptly left the living room.
Without any delay, I pulled out my smartphone and began searching for trendy brands that sell casual clothing.

“Oh, these are quite pricey.
The whole outfit with a hat, earrings, and other accessories adds up to around 10,000 yen.
Well, it’s Christmas after all, so I guess it’s not a big deal.”

I couldn’t help but think that she was a typical girl, wanting things like this.
I thought she might be interested in video games like Mystery Dungeon, but I guess I was wrong.
Oh well, that’s understandable.

Chiharu was still a fourth-grade girl who would naturally have some interest in fashion and makeup.


“Did you hear anything about what they like?”

“Yeah, they both said they wanted clothes.”

“As expected… they’re in an age when fashion is a concern.”

“Are you sure it’s okay? It’s expensive…”

“It’s Christmas.”

“Christmas is amazing.”

“For now, the four of you go take a bath together.
We’ll talk about it later.”

“Got it!”

And with a ‘tete tete’ sound, Chiaki headed back upstairs.
They all wanted clothes, huh? Maybe I should order them online or something… Oh no! Girls at this age probably want to choose their own clothes themselves.
It might be better to talk to them directly instead of asking through Chiaki.

Phew, that was close.
I’m glad I noticed this point just in time.

What pointless talk we had, if I may say.

Well, it wasn’t entirely a waste of time, even though it felt like a wild goose chase.
I think I was able to get to know Chiaki a little better.

Well, these things can happen.
I don’t really feel comfortable with the idea of surprises anyway.
It’s probably better to have the girls choose for themselves.

However, Chinatsu still isn’t completely used to me.
Now, what should I do?


 (POV Chiharu)

I wanted to go and ask Oniisan if it was okay to take a bath, but just as I was about to do so, Chiaki came from downstairs.

“Chiaki and Chifuyu, do you want anything?” she suddenly asked.

“Onee-chan wants to see Chiaki’s smile,” 

“That’s not what I meant.
I’m talking about something that costs money,” Chiaki said.

“For Chifuyu…maybe clothes?” 

“Hey, why aren’t you asking me?” Chinatsu complained.

“Because I know you like brand clothes,” Chiaki explained.

“Oh, I see.”

I wondered why Chiaki had asked us that out of the blue.
But since she had asked for something that cost money, then clothes are probably the best answer….

“I think it’s clothes for me too…,”

“Got it,” Chiaki replied.

With a ‘tote tote’ sound Chiaki headed downstairs.
Huh? Didn’t she go down to ask about the bath? I see; as the Oneechan, I should probably always go down and check.

As I was contemplating that, Chiaki came back up.

“Alright, let’s go take a bath,” she said.

I prepared my change of clothes and went downstairs to greet Onii-san before entering the bath.
We enjoyed a blissful time washing each other’s backs and hair.

After the bath, Onii-san was waiting for us on the sofa, with a desk and computer in front of him.

“Okay, everyone’s out now.
Um, since it’s almost Christmas, I’ve been thinking about giving you guys some kind of present,” he said.


Onii-san spoke hesitantly, his expression conveying a sense of awkwardness and embarrassment.
Chifuyu, Chinatsu, and I were the only ones taken aback by his unexpected words.
Is it really okay to receive not only food but also presents? The idea of receiving more than just the basic necessities, including gifts, seemed foreign to us.

“Well, I guess, you guys do have reservations about it, but Christmas is special, you know.
Actually, this is the only time you can be selfish.
So, um, please choose what you want.
Use the computer and choose while I’m taking a bath.”

“Yay! Nee-nee, Chinatsu, Chifuyu, did you hear that? We can buy presents! We can buy clothes!”

“Well… but… is that okay?”

Chinatsu expresses hesitation.
Is it really okay? Perhaps it’s better to hold back.
This was also the sentiment shared by Chifuyu and me.

“I think Chinatsu has a point… We’ve never had presents or anything like that for Christmas before, so…”

“Yeah… That might be true…”

“No! Don’t hold back! Kaito said he’ll buy them for us! And he means it!”

“Well, I don’t really want clothes or anything like that…”

Onii-san had offered his kindness, but I couldn’t bring myself to accept it graciously.
I was always hesitant and reserved, having learned to be cautious to avoid getting hurt in the past.

Though I knew Onii-san had no ill intentions, I couldn’t help feeling uneasy about accepting anything too expensive or extravagant.
I was content with the small pleasures in life.

“Well, I see…I understand how you four feel,” 

Onii-san said suddenly, causing Chifuyu, Chinatsu, and I to turn and face him, with Chifuyu and Chinatsu hiding slightly behind me.

Perhaps we’ve put him in a bad mood……?

“Alright…as the head of this household, I’m going to make a request of you four.
First, please choose a complete set of clothing, accessories, or other items you want using the computer.
Second, the total cost of your selections must be over 10,000 yen.
Third, don’t hold back just because it’s Christmas.
Fourth, choose your items while I’m in the bath and have them ready.
If you can’t follow these rules, you’ll go without side dishes for tomorrow’s meals.”


Chiaki let out a cry of surprise and despair.

“Listen up, you guys.
You better choose something.
It’s seriously rude to refuse the head of the household’s request, and if you do, I’ll be seriously annoyed.
Alright, I’m going to take a bath now,” 

Onii-san said before leaving the living room.

What should we do…

“Well, if it’s the head of the household’s request, we don’t have much of a choice, right? right?” 

“…Maybe you’re right,” Chifuyu said.

Chiaki encouraged everyone with a smile.
With the head of the household making a request, it was clear that we couldn’t hold back.
We had to choose something we wanted.

“Alright, let’s choose our clothes!” 


“Chinatsu, you have to choose your clothes without holding back!” Chiaki said.

“… that’s right”

“Chiharu too!”


Thank you Oniisan

We sat on the sofa together, all facing the computer,

“You actually know how to use this thing!”

“You’re amazing, Aki-nee.”

“I’m always the best in the computer lab, that’s why”

Chiaki typed away and navigated to the webpage for clothes.
There were various items like wide-legged pants, earrings, and fashionable, clean, and brand new hoodies that weren’t worn out.

I’ve always wanted to try wearing something like this…

“Hey, wait a minute! Go back on the screen! There was something good there!”

“Oh, the one that is a bit torn is for Chifuyu…”

“I saw it first! It’s mine!”

“Ah, come on! Put that clothing back! Put it back!”

I never thought a day like this would come.
Thank you, Onii-san…

I wiped my eyes a little so my sisters wouldn’t notice.
A single drop fell, wetting my hand just a little.


(POV Kaito)

“I failed…” 

I blurted out without thinking as I soaked in the bathtub.

Looking back, I realize that my approach was entirely inappropriate.
It was akin to exerting power and engaging in workplace harassment.
I had forced them to choose clothes they didn’t want, and I couldn’t help feeling a little nervous in front of the four of them… it made me feel a little embarrassed to say I wanted to give them all presents.
Was I acting like a child?

Initially, I considered using persuasive words and suggesting a more subtle way of having them choose the presents, given that it might be challenging for them to do so with me present.

However, I soon realized that this approach might not work, and ultimately resorted to a more forceful one.

This was not good.
What if it had a negative impact? I couldn’t help blurting out those words like that.
It was wrong.
I had shown them the wrong way to handle things as an adult.

Maybe people prefer to see and choose in person rather than on a computer.
Today, I wasted my efforts and made mistakes.

It’s funny how we only realize these things after it’s too late.

Sighing deeply, I wondered if they were still choosing their clothes.
It takes time for girls to select their outfits, and I knew that.
So, I checked the time on my phone and waited patiently in the bathtub.

I wonder if one or two hours would be enough time.

Ugh, the waiting time is depressing.

From now on, I won’t make any more mistakes.
I would even prepare a fantastic meal.
I needed to show them a good example.

While waiting for one or two hours to pass, I took out my phone and started searching for Christmas recipes.

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