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September 2036


"A swan isn't a pirate!" Shoma hears Rosa say. 

"I am elegant and deadly," Yuzu replies.

He flaps his wings at little Rosa , who giggles.

Marina shakes her head.

"What?" Shoma asks, flipping up his eyepatch so he can see her.

"I just don't think any other adults will be dressed up. This is a children's party," she ruffles his hair. 

"But we are a family of pirates," Shoma brandishes his plastic sword. "Except for Yuzu."

Marina snorts. 

"So we are," she says, adjusting her head band. 

" Mamá, look at what Papi Yuzu did to my hair!" Rosa ran up to them.

"Oooh, what nice glitter. You look like a truly fearsome pirate," Marina says. 

She grabs her daughter by the shoulders and Shoma fetches the little girl's green coat. While they wrangle Rosa into it, Shoma asks, not for the first time: "This party is okay?"

"Of course. I found them online."

Shoma makes a face.

"It's all right Shoma. I checked them out. They're families just like us."

Shoma nods. He's not used to the idea of people being like them. It feels surreal, like these other polyamorous families shouldn't exist. Logically he knows they do.

Javi swoops in from upstairs, kissing each of his partners in turn, before snagging Rosa and putting her on his shoulders. 

"Are we ready?" he asks.

Marina and Shoma roll their eyes.

"We've been waiting for you ," Shoma says. 

"Oh," Javi says, then tickles Rosa, who giggles.

"Come on," Marina says, squeezing Shoma's shoulder.

They file out of the house and Shoma hopes it will not be too awkward. He hopes he can find at least one person to talk to about all this: his family, the daughter who is technically not his, the massive bed which sleeps four now, the house they bought to accommodate everyone, with a few extra bedrooms for when people have sex, or are fighting. He talks to Itsuki about it, and Itsuki is smart, kind. But it's different, Shoma assumes, when someone has experience with it. 

"Shoma?" Marina calls. "You don't have to come . . ."

"No," Shoma says, shutting the front door. "Just locking up."

Marina nods. 

Shoma locks the door. He looks back at their little house, safe, quiet, and then forwards to his family, waiting for him.