WP's comment: Completely in tune with the festive spirit that’s so contagious in December, we get a warm fluffy chapter for Christmas (filled with some pages of smut of course). Hokuto learns it’s more important than ever to treasure Chiwa through meeting a special guest during the holidays and Chiwa gets the stirrings of desire to become a parent?
It’s Christmas eve and Chiwa stands in the middle of the freezing harbor wondering what on earth Hokuto was thinking asking her to come here. She thought that they would be staying at a hotel this year since Christmas lands on a Saturday. Instead, he has asked her to pack one day’s worth of clothing and a nice dress and wait at the harbor. She looks around and notices couples and family strolling along with smiles on their faces despite the biting cold. Suddenly she hears Hokuto call her name from the ship parked along the harbor.
Hokuto: I told you to call me if you got here. I even boarded first.
Chiwa: Is this…a passenger ship?
Hokuto: Yea. It’s our Christmas cruise ship.
Chiwa lights up thinking that it’s a holiday getaway on their own private ship. Only in reality, she’s dragged around by a kid asking to be entertained. It seems that Hokuto boarded in the first place to observe how their tourism department is doing and Chiwa just tagged along as a leftover. Not only that, but a child of Hokuto’s old friend has taken a liking to Chiwa. Because the man is a powerful figure and may be beneficial to the Mamiya Tourism department, Chiwa is left to take care of the older couple’s child.
Here we meet Souta-kun, a boy of about six to seven. He tugs on Chiwa’s coat and asks the slightly depressed Chiwa what’s wrong, and if she doesn’t want to play with him. Determined to have fun since she’s on the ship anyways, Chiwa turns around and beams at Souta, taking him to play. The two enjoy themselves doing various things like playing bingo and grabbing desserts at the buffet. Meanwhile the couple chat to Hokuto, worried that they may have been too selfish to impose on his vacation. Hokuto pauses as he watches Chiwa and Souta fight over the last slice of cake like children, “Even if you say so…as you can see…”
Souta kindly offers half of his cake to Chiwa as a little girl walks past him and trips, spilling her plate of desserts. Souta turns back to Chiwa as if nothing had happened, but Chiwa asks him to apologize. Souta mutters, “It’s not like it’s my fault.” Chiwa glares at him pointedly as she helps the girl up. “Then I’m confiscating the cake! And the prize we won at bingo before too!” she scolds. Souta whines, “No way!” The older couple and Hokuto continue to watch in amusement as the scene unfolds. Slightly embarrassed, Hokuto moves to tell Chiwa off. Souta’s mom stops him however, saying that Chiwa is right and Souta should apologize. Souta apologizes solemnly before he finds out that his cake disappeared.
Souta exclaims loudly, “What is this??? Why isn’t my cake here anymore?”
Chiwa grins sheepishly, “Ah, you caught me.”
Souta reprimands, “And you call yourself an adult???”
Meanwhile Souta’s mom says to Hokuto, “She was right then, but just now…”
Later in the night, Souta follows Chiwa and Hokuto back to their room. Chiwa asks Souta, “Are you sure you can stay tonight?” Souta nods yes enthusiastically. Chiwa then says, “You sure you don’t want to be with your parents? Just don’t cry later.” Souta replies, “I won’t.” Souta stares at Hokuto’s back a bit suspiciously and suddenly pops the question, “Why is this oji-san entering the room with us?”
(Note: Oji-san is just a polite way to call acquaintances of your parents. It means uncle, but it doesn’t translate well in English because some connotations are missing. Although Souta’s usage is appropriate, oji-san is used more for middle-aged men, say from mid-30’s to late 50’s.)
Chiwa stammers, “That’s because he’s my husband.”
Souta says, “I see…” while sizing Hokuto up critically. Hokuto thinks, “Brat, if it weren’t for my job…” Hokuto then tells Souta, “Souta-kun. It’s getting late now, so why don’t we go sleep?”
Souta answers, “No way! I’m not sleepy yet, let’s play some more.” He points to Hokuto, “I know! Oji-san, let’s play horsie! Papa hasn’t played with me lately because he says his back hurts.” Meanwhile Hokuto looks horrified to be asked of such a thing. Chiwa interrupts worriedly and offers to play horsie with Souta instead, but Souta refuses because she’s too small. Hokuto slaps on an overly sweet smile and agrees to Souta’s request. “Of course, let’s play. Oji-san is still young.” Shocked, Chiwa tells him he shouldn’t force himself, but Hokuto orders her to go to the bathroom and stay in there. He glares at her scarily, “Listen, don’t come out until I say so. Absolutely not, got it?!” Chiwa scurries away to the bathroom.
Souta falls asleep later in the night. Hokuto wonders just how much his parents spoil him on a regular basis. Chiwa asks him, “Do you not like children?” Hokuto answers exhaustedly at Souta’s sleeping figure, “To like this… How about you?” Chiwa ponders, “He’s cute and he expresses with his whole body how much he likes me.” Hokuto sits back against the bed and tells Chiwa, “I express it too. Even if it’s only in the bed.” Chiwa blushes profusely and stammers, “It’s because you say things like that that you’re called an oji-san.” Hokuto exasperates, “Not you too… Well, it was out of my expectations but it seems I don’t have a chance to express my love tonight…”
Chiwa: You just decided that on your own.
Hokuto: Ever since you’ve met that child, you haven’t been very nice to me.
Chiwa thinks that it is a bit of a shame not to jump into the bed with Hokuto tonight, but isn’t this just as nice? This feeling with three people? But she feels that Hokuto may get angry if she says it out loud, even if he had said in the past he wouldn’t mind having one. Chiwa continues to look at Hokuto, wondering at what he really wants. Hokuto asks if there’s something on his face since she keeps looking at him, and then hops off the bed to the shower. Since Chiwa had already showered with Souta earlier and there’s nothing to do, Hokuto decides to go to bed afterwards. Seeing at how unhappy Hokuto is about not having sex that night, Chiwa decides not to bring up the topic of children.
Having slept early, Hokuto gets up even earlier next morning at 5:30. Souta wakes up too, saying Hokuto has been noisy and that it was too cold to sleep.
Hokuto says, “Too cold? The heater is working fine, and it must be warm sleeping next to Chiwa.”
A lightbulb goes off in Souta’s head, and he asks Hokuto, “Are you…jealous?” The two sit down across from each other and begin talking. Souta apologizes for intruding on Hokuto’s vacation and knows his parents probably have asked Hokuto to take care of him for the night. His parents had always listened to his requests because they pitied him. Souta says that he knows his body is not as strong and healthy as other children, but he doesn’t think he’s a pitiful child. We get a mini flashback of what happened earlier. As Souta said, his parents had asked Hokuto to look after him. They explained that Souta had been born with an illness that will probably not allow him to live very long, and that as parents, they wanted to fulfill as many of his wishes as possible. Even if Hokuto had come on the cruise with his wife, the couple had asked him to be understanding.
Souta continues telling Hokuto that Chiwa was different because she didn’t patronize him. Hokuto thinks, “Well, it’s because I haven’t told her about your condition.” He asks Souta, “So is that it? Is that why you like Chiwa so much?”
Souta answers carefully, “Honestly I can’t word it well. I wonder why? It’s just for some reason, I really like her. How about you, oji-san?”
Hokuto replies, “Well there are a lot of reasons I like her. But I’m afraid I don’t have one to properly put into words. Before I realized it, I had fallen in love.”
Souta sulks, “Isn’t that what I just said?” before muttering “Even though you’re her husband.”
Hokuto ignores that and continues, “That’s why I understand you. So is there anyone you like at school?”
Souta answers, “I don’t go to school very often. My parents also didn’t enroll me in kindergarten.”
Hokuto looks at Souta, “So your first love is Chiwa then. Just like me.”
Souta pauses and thinks a bit. “So if we’re so alike, that means if I was an adult right now, I might have been the one who married Chiwa, right?”
Hokuto gets irritated, “What?! Why you little… That’s my…”
Souta interrupts, “That’s why I said if. Geez, you’re such a child.”
A little later, the three sit down for breakfast. Chiwa notices that Hokuto and Souta seems to have gotten along together, but both boys deny it. She laughs and says, “It’s just when the two of you sit together like that, you give off the feeling of father and son.” The two freeze in disgust. Hokuto stands up, “Don’t joke around! How can I be the father of this bratty kid.” Meanwhile Souta cries, “You’re so mean Chiwa. How can I even be related to this oji-san.”
Once they get off the cruise, it’s time to say goodbye to Souta and his parents. Souta tells Chiwa he wants to see her again. Chiwa says, “Of course we’ll meet. I gave you our contact info, didn’t I? How about we go on the same cruise next year?” Souta looks emptily ahead, somewhat disappointed. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t know whether he’ll live until next Christmas that he’s saddened. Nevertheless he smiles for Chiwa, “Got it, next year. I’ll be bigger then too.” He looks at his parents, “Papa, mama, let’s go on this cruise again next year. Be sure to register for it.” His parents look away somewhat guiltily but promises Souta. Souta then tells Hokuto, “I’ll be here next year too. Until then, treasure her.” Hokuto smiles, “I’ll be waiting.”
Walking back to city center, Chiwa asks for Hokuto’s bags. She tells him that she’ll be heading home first and offers to take his luggage since he’ll be going to the office. Just as she’s leaving, Hokuto remembers Souta’s words to treasure Chiwa. Hokuto takes her hand and tells her he won’t be going to the office. Chiwa asks, “Are you sure?” He replies, “Let’s have fun. Since it’s not a given that we’ll always see tomorrow. Besides, today is Christmas.” The two go shopping, watching movies, eating desserts, and jewelry browsing (Hokuto tells the salesperson seriously to wrap it all up, but Chiwa tells him her husband’s joking). They come home with tons of presents, so many that Chiwa is dizzy with it.
Hokuto: It’s alright once in a while.
Chiwa: (holds the bags close) But keep it at this limit.
Hokuto: Why, don’t you like them? Is it…
Chiwa: No, it’s just that I won’t be able to hold myself back. If I get used to you spoiling me, I might ask for more and more in the future.
Hokuto: (leans in to kiss Chiwa) Come. I’m going to spoil you all night tonight.
The two proceed to have fantastically passionate sex, and in Chiwa’s opinion, more passionate than usual even if they weren’t doing anything out of the ordinary. Chiwa asks Hokuto to stop, but he says, “I told you I was going to pamper you. If I don’t do it now, when should I do it? So stay still and let me pamper you. I’m going to love you with all of myself tonight. All of me.” Chiwa distinctively feels all of Hokuto, and she’s so overwhelmed with his words and actions that tears spill over. Hokuto stops for a second to ask why she’s crying. Chiwa says, “I don’t know…it’s just… I love you.” She smiles up at him, “I love you very much. Just having you here by me makes me happy.”
Chiwa reflects that her wish may be modest, but it’s also a very extravagant thing to ask for. She wishes that she’ll always be next to Hokuto, and to continue living the miracle of being loved by the person she loves. It may be extravagant, but since tonight is a holy night, she’ll try wishing it upon the stars.
Hokuto holds her close and asks, “So what do you think about adding another member to our family?”
Chiwa replies, “Is it because of Souta?”
Hokuto says, “I think I want a boy.”
Nervously, Chiwa responds, “Even if you say so right now…”
On new year’s, the couple get ready to see Hokuto’s family. Chiwa frets about her appearance, not wanting Hokuto’s relatives to say anything bad about him again. Hokuto threatens to leave her behind as she checks over her appearance in the mirror once again. He says, “Chiwa, there’s not going to be a new year’s party.” Chiwa flips around surprised. Hokuto continues, “He…my father is gravely ill.” The chapter closes with darkness.
Chapter 34 end.
Whisperpuppies's commentary: Did anyone else go “kyaaa” at the interactions between Hokuto and Souta? I cannot wait until Hokuto and Chiwa have children, and yes, a tiny Hokuto would be nice. I’m having a ball imagining how the two boys would treat each other and how Hokuto would deal with a mini version of himself. Chiwa would probably turn out to be a good mother too. All the lovey-dovey scenes and dialogue make me feel so warm inside. But putting that aside, I feel like Chiwa is still holding back quite more so than Hokuto is in their relationship. There are still a lot of moments where she is unable to voice her thoughts to Hokuto in this and previous chapters. I mean, I get that she doesn’t want to be insensitive about the children-issue as she had been in the past when she told him she should be a good wife and just bear children for the sake of bearing children, but damn woman, how many years have you been married now? Is it that hard to ask your husband what he wants? But I admit, your love is still blossoming into something more beautiful each and every chapter. It’s even more meaningful now that we’ve gotten the evil ex-boyfriends and girlfriends and excessive work hours out of the way. These are moments where I feel the situation is more realistic and the author is able to show us the small mechanisms at work for their marriage. It’s honest, and frankly it speaks out more to me than any other plot devices. And drumroll please….We’re finally going to get a move onto the mysterious death of Hokuto’s mother and possible reconciliation with his father. I can’t wait!