Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai:Volume 1 Chapter 4
One night has passed since that offline meeting, and it's after school of the following day.
As usual, I was walking home side by side with Manami.
"And so, these days I sleep while squeezing a teddy bear. It feels so nice!"
"I see." I make half-hearted responses to the slow pace granny talk that my childhood friend makes. That was when she asked in a worrisome tone,
"Hey Kyou-chan... Should we call off studying for today?"
"Oh? I was thinking of going to the library with you like usual. Why do you ask that?"
Did she find out I wasn't really listening? Although that's normal...
Even if that were the case, she would probably express her anger more directly.
Then, was it wrong that I held her up to study three or four times a week even though exams are still far off? Well... That doesn't seem to be the case either.
As I was thinking with a stare, Manami looked down worrisomely,
"Kyou-chan, it’s because you looked really tired since morning..."
Of course I am. Since yesterday was one of those very rare days in life which were rough for me.
I'm worn down psychologically. Even after the events, Kirino was hissing at me during the entire train ride back home. “What an idiot. What was that for?” “Terrible! It was a complete failure today! Damn! Who was it that recommended to me to go to an offline meeting?” Sure, she was avoided in the offline meeting, and continued fighting the whole time with Kuroneko, though...
She did look like she was having fun. How dishonest can she be?
Being a bit naughty might be cute. But if you have her clicking her tongue for 90 minutes in the seat next to you, you’d only hate her.
I made another one of the many deep sighs I made today. With my shoulders down, I say,
"Well, a lot of things happened. Surely, I don't feel like studying today... I'm just so tired..."
"Oh really... What a pity... I guess that can't be helped then."
Manami shows disappointment with a gesture exactly like mine. She always smiles with me when I'm happy, and gets gloomy with me when I'm depressed too.
So troublesome for her, since she feels empathy for others. She's too nice to others.
Well, I am thankful for that, in a way, but I won't take the time to thank her now.
"So yeah. Why don't we go out somewhere, today?"
Manami looks straight at me like something unexpected happened. Behind her glasses, her little eyes were blinking.
"I was suggesting going out and enjoying ourselves now to raise our spirits, but you don't want to?"
"Oh no, I do want to, absolutely!"
Manami shook her head quickly. Calm down... You're like a puppy greeting your master.
"All right. Do you have anywhere you'd like to go? If you prefer, we can even go to the adjacent city. Are there any movies you want to see?"
Manami thinks while continuously changing the position of her glasses. Well, think deeply.
While I was recalling how much I had in my wallet, I was already thinking, "Emptying it this time is fine." It's not wrong to treat my childhood friend occasionally since she's done so much for me.
Don't get me wrong. This is for my own good.
If I keep talking with this carefree girl, some of my stress will be relieved. That's my intention.
"A-Anywhere is fine?"
"Yeah, just name the place."
"Then, I won't hold back,"
Manami proposed with a very loose smile.
"I want to go to the central park."
"Without holding back, you chose the most boring choice of all choices. You chose that, after asking 'Anywhere is fine'?"
Jeez. I feel like treating you, so make some bigger requests.
"Oh, huh? Why are you mad? You said anywhere was fine."
Manami makes a duck face. Yeah I did tell her that, but she's just way too different from those three otaku from yesterday. If I brought up the same topic, I would have had everything squeezed out of me.
"Well, fine. I'll treat you something to drink at least."
"Wow, thank you! In that case, I'd like some tea. The warm one!"
"Yeah, sure. The usual one, right? Would they still have the warm ones? Spring's over already..."
She's so cheap.
How could you make such a happy smile with only 120 yen?
And so, after 15 minutes or so of walking, we came to the central park of the adjacent city.
This park is quite famous and large. It shows up in tourist maps of this region.
It's a relaxing place with fountains, seats, ponds, bridges and a rose garden.
The fancy western-style building, which acts as a museum, is considered a place of interest.
There's a tree-lined street around the whole area, where the elderly and families with small children take a stroll.
In the spring, the cherry blossoms bloom and this park becomes a great flower viewing spot.
It's a little chilly today, so the hot green tea, which is out of season, isn’t so out of season.
"Here's your usual."
"Oh thank you. Itadakimasu!"
*rustle* From a plastic bag, I took out and opened the hot green tea I bought at the convenience store before passing it to Manami. Manami wrapped it neatly in her handkerchief as she receives the hot tea and carries it carefully. I drink half of my tea and look beside me. Hers is still untouched.
"What's wrong? It's not hot enough to burn you."
"Oh haha... It's nothing..."
Manami is somehow smiling while carrying the tea.
I don't understand at all. I take another sip from my tea and breathe out.
The tea is great. I'm being warmed from the core of my body.
"Ah... It's great... Being like this... I'd like to stay like this for a millennium..."
"Hey... That's a bit too long. What were you in your past life? A bonsai tree for sure."
"That's fine, as long as you take care of me, Kyou-chan."
We continued meaningless talk like that and enjoyed the sun on the bench.
With Manami beside me, I always feel like relaxing on the porch of a home outside the city.
"Ah, I'm getting sleepy..."
It'd probably feel great if I took a nap here... Only if I had a pillow... As I was wondering, I felt my shoulder being grabbed.
I look back with sleepy eyes. There was Manami, with her hands opened up wide...
Blushing and all nervous, she whispered,
...Uhh, what is she talking about?
I don't understand what she means by "please", so I shake my head in puzzlement.
That was when I caught sight of something behind her shoulders.
Oh? Could that possibly be...? I move to the side a bit, and looked more carefully.
"Oh, sorry. What were you saying?"
I go back to looking at Manami. She rolled her eyes.
Uhh... I feel some silent pressure coming from Manami...
It's like she raging with anger, since her face is red all up to her ears.
"Your glasses are clouded..."
She quickly looks away. Surprised, I blink my eyes.
"Hey, what are you mad about? It's rare that you are mad."
"Hmph, it's Kyou-chan being insensitive!"
Manami wipes her glasses, still steaming with anger.
After putting her glasses on, she asks,
"That aside, what were you looking at?"
"Oh yeah, look over there."
Manami looks in the direction I pointed. It was an open space where children often play soccer and baseball.
Right now, there are two vans parked.
"What are they doing there? Something like... shooting something for a TV Drama show?"
"Probably. But not a drama show. Look. Those aren't TV cameras. They're using flash. They're taking photographs."
With needless interest, we approach the vans.
From the pathway, we look at the grassy space. Some of the staff were at work, like adjusting the lamps and talking with the model girls.
"I guess they are taking pictures for... a fashion magazine...?"
"By the way, do you read that kind of stuff?"
"Haha... Not really. Whenever I buy clothes, I choose according to the opinion of the store clerk..."
As I thought. Well, I also think they're taking photographs for a fashion magazine.
It looks like they are taking photos with the sunset as the background. Some fancily dressed girls are making many poses and the camera was flashing. Orders from the staff came one after the other, the girls skilfully changed their expression and poses. It's not something simple like just smiling and choosing one pose.
Strictness fills the air.
It's obvious, but modeling isn’t an easy job.
Two girls are being photographed now, but I can see a few more girls who are most likely models standing by. " Wow, look Kyou-chan! That girl is so cute!"
"Yeah really... She is cute."
"Oh? That's a plain reaction."
Umm you see... Even though we aren't dating or anything, when I'm talking with a girl I won't say stuff like "Damn, that girl over there is so cute!"
Wouldn't you find it unpleasant? I guess you don't. You are lacking in the realization that you are also a young woman. Heh... What a difficult feeling I have.
"Look, that brown-haired girl! She's so cute and cool!"
She's so excited. It's not like they are famous actors or anything...
What a commoner, she is.
Heh. I even thought of saying something like "You're cuter than them".
I wonder what kind of face she would make. I make a wicked smile. That was when my sight was naturally locked onto the girl Manami was praising like crazy.
Hmm... The brown-haired girl does look quite nice.
Her legs are long, she's tall, and her face is...
"Isn't that Kirino?!"
Both of us were astonished. It appears Manami, who had no clue about it, was even more surprised than me. She's blinking non-stop, looking at Kirino and then me in turns.
"Err... Umm... Kirino-chan... Is your sister, right?"
"Uhm... Well... I guess so."
"Erm... what do you mean by ‘you guess so?’"
Well, I'm surprised too...
Oh yeah, she said before that she was modeling or something...
It's not that I didn't believe her, but I didn't comprehend it completely, until I saw it with my own eyes like this.
...So it was the truth.
I looked at the brown-haired model once again.
She's sitting in a chair and seems to be talking with staff.
She's doing her job properly along with adults...
I guess I need to re-evaluate what I know about my sister.
I was underestimating her quite much. I didn't consider her seriously.
I thought her modeling thing was just child’s play. Like how they get a few praises and get all happy then they have their photograph taken or something...
Kirino was watching the model being photographed with a serious look I have never seen as she talked with staff. At the same time, the makeup artists are quickly fixing her clothes and hair...
The air around the models that were being shot now was glorious.
But around Kirino, who was probably waiting for her turn, the air was tense.
"Phew... It's somehow... great..."
I thought they do the shots in a more unserious way, but it sure wasn't. Though I only took a glance at it, so I can't say much, they're getting quite a lot to get their photo taken, so I guess it means it has to be serious.
"...Wow, it's great. It's like they live in some different world..."
You don't need to tell me so many times for me to realize. She's a great person, and lives in a different world from commoners like us. I just happened to forget after going out together recently.
Damn it. I don't know why, but I feel annoyed.
"Yeah sure, I don't look like her. She always has looked good at least, so..."
"Oh, no need to be humble. I hear it’s not only the looks but she's very smart too"
"Huh? What are you talking about?"
So lame. I'm speaking as if I envy my sister. I regret doing so, but... Manami smiled as if she accepted it. I feel like she's telling me not to mind it.
"My brother's in the same grade as your sister. Though they're in different schools, they had a universal exam. I hear she was on the rankings for the highest scorers in this prefecture."
"Who do you mean?"
"Like I said, your sister. Kirino-chan."
At first, I didn't understand what she was talking about. Then, after thinking about it for a few seconds...
"What? Are you serious? Not only the class, but the prefecture you said?"
"Yes. I hear she's fourth or fifth in the grade. I don't really know the specific rank though... Anyhow, that's what I hear."
She had such great grades? I didn't know at all. Well, I had no interest in my sister up until now and didn't even talk to her so...
I guess it's natural I didn't know, but still it was surprising.
She plays around with kids her age, then she does modeling so seriously like that, and is so into children's anime she can talk for hours about it, not to mention erotic games too...
And she studies a lot?
Heh... That scared me really.
My sister might be someone much more outrageous than I imagined.
I mean in many ways...
A few days have passed. After I returned from school, I met my mother in the living room, as she seemed to have come back from shopping. My mother is humming happily, as she is shoving the goods into the fridge.
I wonder if anything good happened. I ask her with barley tea in hand,
"What's the matter, Mom? You seem quite happy. You need to go get some medical help soon?"
"Oh Kyousuke, Mother hasn't gone insane or anything. Don't worry; it's just that my neighbour praised me, like how your child is great."
"Oh my, I'm blushing. So, what part of me was being praised in the neighbourhood talks?"
"Of course, it wasn't about you."
Yeah, obviously! I did know! Since she added off course to it, I now have a dark feeling of distrust towards my parents! Ha! Look forward to your retirement days!
"Oh huh, then it has to be about Kirino..."
I mutter as I twitch my face. Mother makes a smile like she was waiting for me to ask about it. Well, I didn't ask her anything at all though.
Yeah yeah, sorry for being a good for nothing son. Please continue with your talk about your prized daughter.
"That girl got a great record during her club activities, so she's going to compete in a big competition. It seems my neighbour heard that from her daughter."
"Oh? She does club activities?"
"What? You're her brother and didn't know that? She's on the track and field team. Jeez, you two don't go along at all."
"Leave me alone."
Give me a break will you? Not only does she look great and have good grades, but she also does well in sports?
This is absurd. That's enough. I feel like I'm hearing one of those character settings in manga where they only have good points.
The problem is, this is the truth.
They do exist in reality. These mutant-like beings...
"But does she even have time for club activities? She has to study and play too... She must have many other things to do."
"That's obvious, being good at studies and also martial arts. She maintains both, otherwise Father wouldn't let her. You might not know, but she's modeling for a magazine too!"
That old-fashioned grump wouldn’t allow something like modeling so easily.
Now that I think about it, how she is allowed to dye her hair and put on makeup too...
"That girl made a promise with Father. As long as she does what she should, she's allowed to act freely."
"What she should, eh?"
I make half-hearted responses.
My mother is chuckling,
"Thanks to that, her reception among the neighbourhood is so great! She acts nice outside and greets people well. And she looks cute like me right?"
I scrunch my eyebrows in disagreement, but my mother ignored me completely and continued talking.
This parent and child surely are alike in the aspect about not listening to people.
"She's so popular among the elderly too! Oh, I'm so proud! They envy me so much too!"
"But that's all from the conditions of the agreement she made with Father, right? It's so morally wrong."
"Morally wrong? Who cares about that? As long as we don’t say anything, it's the same. It doesn't change how great Kirino is!"
This is absurd... Is this mother sane or what? Well, this is logical in one sense.
Kirino is trying hard and achieving results to get her demands through.
That has to be recognized. Since it's not something easily done.
At least, it's impossible for me.
But really, every time Kirino comes up as a topic of conversation, she seems to be called great. Don't people need more vocabulary? When I say it, it makes it seem like I'm envious or something though...
But yeah... I never had any interest at all in my sister, so I knew too little of my sister. Still, it's outrageous.
What the heck is she?
As a commoner brother, it's not fun only having your sister praised as great. It feels like your needlessness is being insisted upon. Sad, but true...
As I continued thinking with a complicated face, my mother said something unexpected.
"By the way, that girl seems lively these days. Well, it's a difference only I would notice so maybe no one else would notice though..."
My eyebrows become even closer, and then she blurted out something completely strange.
"Ah, I got it! It's a boy! Kyousuke, don't you know anything?"
"Yeah, she must have a boyfriend now! That's why she's brimming with happiness!"
That's impossible. There's no way a boy who could go out with her exists. If there were such a man, I would admire him as god!
But my mother doesn't seem so, and with even greater excitement, she asks further.
"So, don't you know? Even a bit of speculation?"
"Like I'd know. You know me and Kirino are on bad terms."
I answer like it's obvious, and my mother stares at me with a disappointed face.
"You really are such a useless boy! Be more of a man! Your sister is doing great, so your bloodline should be good enough."
"Heh, since I'm like my mother, being a commoner, I will just study normally,"
I say as I leave. Turning the doorknob, I open the door.
...Kirino looks lively, eh?
...I know something that might have to do with it. Though it's a small possibility, but just possibly...
After being shown the surprising hobby, being dissed like crazy, being forced to play erotic games, being dragged to an offline meeting, and then dragged around Akiba... Maybe the life consultation that seemed so meaningless had some effect.
Haha, it's so not like me... What am I saying? I feel so stupid.
On the night a few days later, I finally completed 'Let's Make Love to Your Sister'.
Honestly, it was a tough, gruesome task...
Well, it's not at the degree of being boring or anything.
I can't count how many times this game almost destroyed my mind.
I was suffering from the pressure of having to play a little sister game while having a real little sister, and it's amazing I was able to get this far. I am impressed with myself. I really am, so happy!
I can't express my happiness! Disregarding my thoughts about the game, I really have a great feeling of achievement.
What is this? This feeling of high...
From the bottom of my heart, this hot passion is rising.
Because! It means, now, from tomorrow on, I won't be forced to play erotic games anymore... Oh, I'm just so incredibly happy! Banzai! I want to shout aloud! AHAHA AHAHA AHAHAHAHA, I don't need to see the face of this little demon anymore!
"Onii-chan... It’s ok..." she whispers, and shed tears of blood... No more of that!
I'm showing some crazy excitement I haven't showed in years. I can't stop my feelings anymore!
The end credits were displayed on the laptop I borrowed from Kirino.
I breathe out as I was sitting at my desk.
And then, this feeling of achievement was slowly changing into an empty feeling, and now my heart was hurting. My elevated feelings are now falling rapidly.
I understood for my first time, the empty feeling after fully completing a dating sim is crazy.
Shit, I can't do anything about this... How do you put it... it's like some enlightened philosopher.
Phew... Why was I so happy a few seconds ago?
"All right, I should go give the game back."
With a silent calm heart, I stand up. I leave my room and then knock on the door to my sister's room.
The door opens slightly, and my sister peeks out.
And as usual, she stares at me like she's looking at trash.
"What do you want?”
"Oh, nothing... Just the game... I came to give it back..."
And she's like this again. Heh... Reality sure isn't like a game. Even after I've gone through Event Scenes, her affection points toward me haven't increased at all. What is this? Is this game too hard or just broken?
As soon as Kirino takes the laptop from me, she asks me with distrust,
"Did you complete it?"
Dear sister, why are you looking at me like a mad sergeant?
I can imagine myself being shot if I make the wrong answer. Afraid of her, I answered very carefully.
"Well... I guess... it was so-so. I mean, it was quite interesting."
"Oh? Like what parts? Be clear."
Kirino continues her emotionless questioning.
Heh, so I'm right in the middle of a 'route selection choice' scene in those games...
But the sister in front of me has negative infinity affection points.
That means, if I make the wrong choice, I would lose my life... The problem with the game called life is that there's no saving and reloading... You got only one shot at it. Dead or alive...
Very well. I smiled meaningfully (in my heart).
"Well umm... Shiori’s scenario... Uhh, the latter half of it was... quite a good story... Like you see... How the parents oppose their relationship... and then Shiori runs away from the house... and then the main character chases her... and then that scene where they look at each other in the setting sun..."
Hearing my answer, Kirino closed her eyes and went silent.
So, did I make the right choice or not? My heart is pounding.
Heh... I only summarized the part I was playing just now.
How the heck am I supposed to remember all those scenes that screw my psychological state every click? At least spare my life!
Then, Kirino slowly opened her eyes. With cut eyes seemingly looking down on me...
"W-Well... It seems like you’re starting to understand it."
Oh, wow. It looks like I made the right choice. Phew... As I miraculously survived, I let out a deep breath, and then again, I feel...
How god damn stupid! No kidding! Why do I have to talk to my real sister about little sister games? I tried so hard to get myself out of this! I demand to hear what progress you had on your side!
"But still, you have a long way to go. That wasn't the only good scene. For example..."
"W-Wait a minute!"
I stop Kirino with my hand as she was starting to speak. I try hard to change the topic.
"I'll spend plenty of time listening that later, so let me hear first... How are things going with those people you met at the off line meeting last time?"
"Oh? Yeah... Those people..."
Kirino suddenly made a frown and blankly let me into her room.
It seems she figured out it was bad to continue with this talk in the hall.
I obey her requests obediently. Kirino puts her laptop on her table and sits on the bed.
She stretches around and makes cracking sounds from her neck, then continued talking as if it didn't matter for her.
"I do talk with both of them still. Like using email and instant messengers."
"Oh, so you've become friends after all."
"I'd rather call them people I can talk to, rather than friends. Since you know... They know the common topics, and sometimes teach me stuff I don't know so... Well, I guess they're of some use."
Hey, that's what you call friends. It seems she seriously doesn't want to use that word.
Though she would call the friends she has when she's pretending to be nice as real friends, why can't she be honest about the friends she has when she's being herself? Well, it does suit her personality though...
"So you haven't seen them in person?"
"Nope. Looks like that black one lives somewhere close, but the jumbo one seems to live somewhere far so... It's kind of arranged that we meet up again at the next offline meeting so... Well, since there's no better option, I guess I can go."
"Oh I see..."
So she's managing things well.
Since I completed the game, and Kirino has friends who she can talk with her real self.
According to my mother, she seems to show happy expressions so... Oh yeah, ever since that time, she stopped relying on me. It looks like she's going to the next offline meeting alone too.
That means, everything is going fine, and there's no need to consult me.
Now my job is finished for sure. Feeling refreshed, I said.
"Hey Kirino, don't leave your DVDs around again."
"Shut up idiot! I won't repeat such a stupid mistake!"
Who says that? That time, only a little inspection got you freaked out, and a simple trap was all that was needed to catch you. You were too worried so you couldn't act logically at all.
As I'm recalling my memories with a smile, Kirino blushes, and throws a tissue box.
I tilt my neck and dodge. I then just leave the room through the door.
I hear a thud as something hits the closed door.
I guess she will stay being like this from now on. Jeez, what a scary sister...
Well, anyhow, today marks the end of Kousaka Kyousuke’s Life Consultation Services Inc.
Yeah, I'll never do it again.
Sunday evening, as I came home from the library, the whole house was silent.
I didn't hear any sounds of cooking, or anything on TV, or anyone talking. Not a single sound was heard.
This isn't normal. As I take my shoes off, I feel an intense sensation, and place my hand behind my neck.
There's this strange tense air. I feel this shock go through my skin.
It's strange. Something's not right.
With a serious look, I quietly walk down the hall heading for the living room. I stop at the door. I feel something horrible coming as I touch the doorknob, and hesitate to turn it.
I gulp down some saliva as I open the door.
Coming in through the door, I see Kirino on the sofa facing my father across a table.
Both of them say nothing. My father is normally silent, and Kirino doesn't talk too much with the family either.
So, a quick glance at this won't reveal what's strange.
But still, it's weird they don't react at all when I entered the living room.
That's not the only something strange. A father and a daughter are sitting right across each other, saying nothing. It's not like they're watching TV, or reading a magazine or anything...
Since my father isn't expressive, I don't know what he's thinking now, but Kirino is all frozen, and looks very disappointed.
I saw what was on the table, and figured everything out.
On the table was two pieces of evidence, as my father would say in his job.
One, was a brand name purse Kirino would often carry along.
And the other thing, there's no way I would forget.
'Stardust Witch Meruru' DVD case containing,
'Let's Make Love with Your Sister (R-18 edition)'.
It's opened up properly. The evidence is clear. No excuses possible. She's guilty.
I blinked a couple of times, and understood the situation during that time. I would say what I thought.
WTF IS SHE INSANE????????
IDIOT! HOW FUCKING STUPID IS SHE??? I'm pitying her so much I'm going to cry!
I told her so many times not to let Father find out.
I told her not to leave behind DVDs again! And look what happens!
You repeat dumb mistakes again!
GAH! You made the same mistake you made when you let me find out! Why do you still make these silly mistakes when you're good at everything else! You can't be more careless than this!
Oh man... What are you going to do now? I'm not getting involved with this...
I was trying hard enough not to show a surprised look.
"Kyousuke, hey Kyousuke..."
Mother was whispering to me from the hall as I was frozen at the half-open doorway.
"You stay in your room."
As my mother pulled me into the hallway, she closed the door to the living room quietly.
"Well... Uhm... What happened?"
I wasn't a great actor.
"Well you see..."
The answer I got from my mother was right about what I expected.
Kirino dropped the DVD case right in front of Father and let him see the contents.
I tried to ask how things happened exactly, but it seems my mother wasn't there when it happened, so she doesn't know. The most probably case I think is like the time I found out too, when we bumped into each other here. If the DVD case opened when it hit the floor, then what kind of coincidence is that? It might have been that Father opened it when he saw the anime DVD case.
Hmm, I can't imagine what kind of expression my father would have had when he saw the R-18 markings...
I guess even my father would have been surprised. Since I was so surprised that I burst out.
Why is Kirino bringing something like that around in the first place?
A few questions arose, but still it's a miraculous situation.
It's not some issue we can easily call misfortune. Maybe this was fated. I'm starting to think so.
"Kyousuke, you don't seem to be too surprised."
"Well yeah. Since I don't care a bit about her."
I was honest. I didn't lie. But my mother asked me the question straight.
"Did you possibly know...?"
"Huh? What about?"
"That... you know... that... that Kirino had that stuff..."
I glance indirectly at my mother who doesn't seem to want to talk of this, and I think.
How should I answer? If I think of my own good, then surely I should lie and fake it.
I couldn't decide, and became silent.
...Jeez. How difficult this is. I find I'm sneering at myself.
I don't care a bit about her. This idea hasn't changed a bit.
What I desire is a normal life.
A common, talentless character in a slow, daily life...
I don’t need rapid unexpected events or unique, special characters in my life.
Kirino is a prime example of that. So, honestly, I don't care. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
But... The memory of being consulted by her, and going through all the hardships for her was giving me a strange sense of association. And I saw a glimpse of my sister's 'important things' in Akihabara...
Damn, I guess I've gone too deeply into my sister's issue that I can’t just pretend to know nothing.
"Well yeah... I knew."
"As I thought... It wasn't because of you... Was it?"
I knew you'd get to that. Look at how much trust I have. Isn't it sad?
"No, it wasn't. Think before you say something, Mother. I have no computer in the first place. You should know I have no place to hide stuff in my room."
"That's true... Anyhow, no matter how you look at it, that stuff is Kirino's...”
My mother sighs with great disappointment.
I guess she makes such a reaction because she found out her brilliant daughter had that stuff in her possession.
If it was me who got caught by Father with an erotic game in hand, Mother would have been bursting out laughing.
"I haven't seen Father mad like that in a while. At this rate, he won't calm down for quite a while..."
My mother seemed to be thinking for a while, but seems like she thought up of something.
"Kyousuke, I'm going out for a while, so you head for your room."
"What? You're going out?"
"There's no use in staying here. I'll go buy Father’s favourite sake. He won't get drunk at all, but if we make him drink loads, he'll become calmer."
My mother was speaking like she was trying to calm an angry spirit or a protective god of the land.
But I understand what you mean. There's nothing scarier in this house than my father throwing thunderbolts.
After my mother went out, I was at the living room door, all afraid for around ten minutes. I would go back and forth in the hall, bite my nails, try to hear what they're talking about, but they seem to be talking with their tones down, so I hear nothing.
What kind of excuse is Kirino making, with her secret hobby revealed?
I can't even imagine, but it's all no use against that father. Father will never change his ideas over things he believes he is right.
And he's abnormally sharp. You should consider that all lies fail to work on him.
When I was very small, I played a prank on a girl and put duct tape on her hair. That girl had to cut some of her long hair to get it off. I didn't think it was anything serious at that time, but when my father found out, he scolded me severely, and shaved both his hair and mine. Then we went to her house to apologize together...
That time, I did admit my wrongdoing, but still I cried and resisted. However, Father didn't listen to me no matter what excuse I made or how much I apologized. He didn't go easy at all on me.
In both the good and bad sense, you can take his word for it, and he will do anything he decided to do.
"Phew... What's going to happen...?”
Behind this door, what kind of conversation is going on...?
I'm a spineless wimp, so there's no way I would know.
It was at least ten minutes after that, when the living room door opened, and Kirino popped out. Kirino looked like a devil, all red and kicking through the door. Her face was red from rage, and her eyes are bloodshot and puffy.
"Get out of my way! Go away!"
As she stomped on towards me, she looks with me with eyes of hatred, and shoved me away. It's like she has feelings she has nowhere else to release. I wasn't expecting the hit, and lost balance.
Kirino was breathing hard and headed for the entrance hall. She puts on her boots roughly and...
"H-Hey, Kirino, where are you going?!"
"Shut up! It's none of your business!"
I try to catch up with my sister but...
*Slam* Kirino surely tried to hit me, and closed the door violently.
"Aagh!" My face was caught by the door. "Ugh... Noo..."
As I limped outside, there was no little sister to be found.
... Shit I have to be the most uncool guy ever.
*Sob* I can't help but sob. GRRRRR My face hurts!
I look ahead at where Kirino ran off while realizing the pain from caught by the door and the misery.
I shake my head off and try to clear myself. One of the few good points about me is how I recover quickly.
...Should I go after her or not... Wait... before I do that...
I go back inside. Honestly, I had no confidence on doing so; I thought I should ask my father about why and how things turned this way. Without doing so, I'd have no idea why Kirino is all nuts like this.
Of course, I can suspect about the most part.
Besides, she told me she was having an offline meeting with her friends today.
She would meet her friends alone, even without me, and must have spent some nice time together. Like fighting with Kuroneko, making nasty remarks to Saori but her not reacting to it... I can imagine everything... somehow. Since I was watching right beside her the other day.
Kirino is acting lively these days... Ironically, my mother's words came to mind at this moment.
I guess that's because she made friends who she can share the hobby she had been hiding with, right?
I guess she never expected this trap to be there when everything seemed to be going all so well.
I sneak into the living room. My father was somehow cleaning the room with a vacuum cleaner. On the floor there was a crystal ashtray upturned. I guess he's the one who did it.
I hope he didn't rage and throw this at her.
What kind of battle happened here? I gulp.
My father is cleaning the room silently. In the silent room, only the sound of the vacuum cleaner helplessly resounds. This bad silence after a domestic issue happens is dampening the room.
As my father finishes cleaning, he breaks out in a low heavy voice.
"Kyousuke, you need to sit here."
I do as he says, and go towards the table and sit on the sofa.
I guess I'm going to be interrogated about Kirino's issue too. Maybe he's going to scold me.
Kirino has her stubborn side so I assume she hadn't revealed anything about me, but my father can suspect that even without questioning her. It's useless to fake innocence.
That said, I have no intention to reveal Kirino had consulted me about this issue. That's the right attitude one should take as being consulted.
I look up at the table. The proof material, the open DVD case is inside. Right next to it, I find a single piece of paper.
It seemed to be some ad from an anime/manga speciality store. It had a big illustration of Stardust Witch Meruru on it and next to it said this:
Stardust Witch Meruru Volume 2 (limited first issue edition) finally in-store! Those who bring the package for the previous volume will be given an autographed postcard by Hoshino Kurara, the popular voice actor!
...I get it. This will answer many of the questions I had.
The reason why Kirino was trying to bring out the package of Stardust Witch Meruru when she was supposed to go play with her non-otaku friends.
The reason why she brought this package out today, it must have been that she wanted to get this Hoshino Kurara autographed postcard.
It's not that much effort, so she could have just gone already. But out of all the times she could have chosen, she had to do it today... What bad timing.
Now I figured how Father found the thing, and that it was in the evening after Kirino came back from the event. I'm quite sure it was like this. Kirino came back home once, returned to her room, and now she went off trying to get the post card, but crashed into Father... I can imagine how things turned out easily.
Although I can't imagine how things turned out after that, but anyhow he found the contents, and then a family meeting was held... I can only describe this as miserable...
As Father finishes putting away the vacuum cleaner, he sits in front of me.
I get nervous, like an instinctual reaction, and straighten up. The first words Father spoke were like this:
"Kyousuke, you knew about it?"
I had no other choice but to answer honestly. My father's eyes have been sharpened through the years to get those criminals to talk. Don't use them on your son... What if I pee my pants?
"All right. I won't ask how you found out. I assume you aren't supposed to say."
Not only are my father's eyes scary, he seems to see right through into my heart.
How much does he see into the accomplice relationship between Kirino and me? I feel shivers down my spine.
"I will not buy this kind of stuff for you two. Do you know why not?"
My father picks up the DVD case by one hand and speaks of the contents with prejudice. Only the DVD inside is R-18 stuff, but I don't think he would be able to differentiate between them.
Unable to talk back, I stay silent. I look down, trying not to see my father eye to eye.
When Father scolds us, we both become like this.
"It's because this kind of stuff has negative effects on you. You see in the news too, right? Playing video games makes you stupid. They report how they find perverted comics and games in the houses of criminals... Of course, I don't take what the media says word for word but still..."
...It's just harmful stuff anyways. My father's expression says so.
My father's understanding of sub-culture is unbelievably low, and he looks at Kirino's hobby with the 'responsible respectful adult figure' lens filter.
...My understanding of otaku weren't much different from that of my father until recently.
Since my parents would never have bought stuff like games which were unaffordable with our allowances, unlike CDs and comic books.
I just had stronger prejudice to sub-culture than ordinary high school students.
Games are useless, and only idiots play them. Therefore, I'm not envious at all even if I don't have them...
That's the kind of logic I had. The kids with parents who don't buy them games derive at that logic.
And I guess that's exactly why Kirino had the deep inner conflict with herself.
"Regardless of whether it is a fact or not, what do you think of people who play that stuff, even if it's said to have negative effects? And those otaku who only play that stuff... Of course, they would be looked down on. If so, then there has to be no good effect. Thus, we would never buy that stuff for you."
"...But you know, that was..."
I barely try to talk back to Father, but he overlaps and continues speaking.
"You're going to say she bought it with her own money, right? Well, that's true. So I do not say much against what she buys on her own money. Like cosmetics, flashy clothes, bags... Honestly, I think that stuff that isn’t fit for her age should be off limit for her too. But if she gets her mother on her side and claims she needs that stuff to have relationships with friends, then I can't say anything more. I have to give up and let her do as she wishes."
"So you're saying cosmetics and bags are fine, but games and anime are not?"
"Of course not. I can't let Kirino have that kind of stuff that's considered bad by society. And while it's strange for me to say so, she's quite a good girl. If she's going astray following strange hobbies, I have to correct her before she becomes completely ruined."
So otaku hobbies will ruin Kirino, and thus he must stop her... That summarises his intentions.
Truth is, with Kirino becoming completely obsessed with little sister genre erotic games, she sure is becoming spoiled as a junior high school girl, so I had to keep quiet about that for now.
As soon as he finished scolding me, he stands up and tries to leave the living room.
I felt a chill go down my spine.
"F-Father, where are you going?"
I hurry to catch my father and try to stop him, as he tried to go up the stairs.
Above the stairs, there are only two rooms: Kirino’s and mine. No way, he can't be...
My father's lines spoke exactly what I feared.
"I'm going to check Kirino's room. She might be hiding something else."
"W-Wait, could you please wait?"
Shit! Kirino's collection is in there...
I look up at my father from down the stairs and shout out to stop him.
"If there really are that stuff, than mother would have found them. She does clean the room everyday after all... She found all the porn books I hid too... Of course, she has nothing else to hide. I'm sure she put everything she had in her hand bag."
Kirino must have claimed so too. Why? Because if Father finds other stuff like erotic games and the sort, no doubt my father will throw them all out. Even if it were going to be a one-on-one death match between Father and her, she would surely defend her collection.
"And that's why I'm going to check. If I do a search and still find nothing, then that's good."
Uhh you will surely find stuff... That's officially your job...
If I let Father into her room, then her entire collection will be found.
And I can be sure, take my word for it, he is underestimating the extent of Kirino's hobbies.
I'm not trying to be evil or anything... just call off the search! You're better off not seeing it! It's not only two or three erotic games that she has!
Since I saw at least 20 or 30 the last time she let me see!
And there are ones she said she was still embarrassed to show me stuffed in the depths of that closet... If my father sees that stuff, he might go insane...
Th-This is bad. Seriously bad. Reality still looks lukewarm compared to the situation that awaits...
"W-Wait a second, Father!"
Father is continuing up the steps with thumping sounds. I hurry up behind him, and go in front of him and spread my arms, blocking him.
"Out of my way, Kyousuke!"
"I-I won't move!"
What am I saying?! Am I insane?! If I go against my father now...
My father easily twists my wrist and repeats what he said.
"Out of my way!"
My father still tries to let me give the way on my own intention. He can easily throw me away and get through with force. With the pain in my wrist causing tears, I tell him,
"I won't move!"
The pain in my wrist just got stronger. He's a professional at efficiently giving pain.
It hurts so much! Seriously, what the hell am I pulling?!
I don't understand myself at all!
"Whatever the reason is, it's still wrong to do a house search without the resident’s permission... Even if you are the parent, there are things you can do and things that are still wrong. And so, I won't move."
I insist, withstanding the pain.
It seems like I was trying to defend my sister's collection.
Even though I don't give a damn about what happens to her...
Even more, it's the father's job to scold a daughter if she has inappropriate things.
Father is only trying to do his obvious duty, and if Kirino is going to cry as a result, it's her own fault.
Then why am I doing such a futile, fruitless deed, going through all this pain?
Well, of course... I did get the consultation, while it went strangely... And her face as she was proudly showing off the collection to me just came back to my mind. That's why.
I just remembered myself trying to want to do something for her, as she forced me to play erotic games and kept asking my thoughts about it.
And then that huge fight at first sight they had in the McDonald’s at Akiba, the fun looking otaku, I witnessed myself, and they made me realize, they aren't anything to look down on at all.
That's why I'm doing something so off from my style...
"Father, just leave this to me... I'll have a talk with her. So please, give her time until then. Isn't it pitiful to have all your precious stuff thrown out while you were away by someone without any acknowledgement?
I'm begging you please."
As I plea as hard as I can, Father looks at me with suspicion.
Sure, I know what you feel like saying, Father. Why would someone like me be going through all this trouble to defend my sister who I'm on bad terms in, right? Well, it does seem strange, I admit it.
However, I'm the one who understands the fact the most!
We stared at each other silently for a while. He seemed to have been thinking of something with a stern face but...
He let go of my wrist eventually.
"Fine. I'll wait. I won't go into Kirino's room."
My father will never break his promises, no matter what.
"But the deal is that you are responsible for throwing them out. All of them! Okay?"
"Got it... I'll talk with Kirino, and surely make it happen."
I had no choice but to answer so. From what he said right before, you could see he is confident there are 'things that mustn't be there' in Kirino's room.
Though there was no better option to choose, it was like I was shouting aloud that she had stuff in there, by resisting the search so hard...
If I break this promise, Father will surely not forgive me. It's no exaggeration to say that he could kill me. It's a man-to-man promise after all.
Throw out every piece of that collection... I must give that sentence to my sister...
Not only is it a huge responsibility, it's extremely difficult, and a reward less mission!
This is surely not my style. Like I'd continue with this...
Jeez, hey Kirino... I did buy you some time...
So appreciate it... You probably won’t, will you...?
After managing to halt my father, I left the situation to my mother as she came back from shopping, and went out to go search for Kirino. However, I’ve not a clue about where she might have gone, after dashing out of the house.
In the sunset, I run off without direction.
You think I should call her up on her phone? Like hell I'd know that... I've no clue what her mobile number is.
Didn't you hear what my mother said? Us siblings are really on bad terms. Kirino hates me like I'm some piece of crap. I ignore my sister as if she has nothing to do with me.
We have no conversation. We don't see eye to eye... A cold relationship between complete strangers, that's what our relationship is like.
That's why I don't know her number, and don't even want, or need to know it.
"Damn it, where could she have gone?"
But I find myself searching for that complete stranger and running all around town.
The park, the shopping arcade, school, the station... My sister that would stand out with her beauty is nowhere to be seen.
Not here either... Damn it! Where the heck is she?!
I insist that the irritation that burns my heart doesn't come from worrying for her.
I don't know where the frustration comes from, but I'm doing something that is not like myself. I guess that's why it feels so strange. Is it that which makes me so frustrated?
"I don't get it. Am I stupid or what?"
This is so not me. Seriously... Oh, damn it. God damn it, shit!
Oh whatever. No use thinking. It's needless!
I gulp down this chaotic feeling, bite hard, and keep running.
Like the main character in one of the little sister games which I borrowed from my own sister, I, Kousaka Kyousuke, am running off in the sunset, in search of his own sister who ran off. In his mind, there is nothing but thoughts about his CUTE sister.
The only thing different from the game is that my sister's affinity level is at minus infinity...
And unlike that sister complex bastard, I fucking hate my goddamned sister!
Even though we're doing the exact same thing!
Kousaka Kyousuke in the game would find the little sister he was searching for in the orange coloured city.
Right in front of the exhausted main character, the little sister is supposed to appear at the best timing.
Well, that only happens in games.
In reality, the scene where I found my little sister was far from that typical romantic place you've always seen it kind of setting.
In the shopping arcade, in front of the station during the evening, as I was about to go past the game center...
A brown-haired girl that resembled someone I knew was smashing the sticks on a drum game as if she was blaming the game for all the rage. She was completely ignoring the rhythm and music and just going WHACK WHACK WHACK!
Are you trying to total it?
I can't help whispering.
That idiot! I was going through all this trouble looking for you... I'm getting a headache...
Well, this is reality. Yep, things don't get pretty like you've seen in fiction.
"Die! Die! Die! Die! EVERYONE DIE!"
She was murmuring something and when I wondered what it was, that was what it was... What a violent woman she is...
I approach Kirino with a strangely powerless sensation, as she continues to inflict damage to the game machine...
I softly hit the back of her head.
"No, you die."
*SWOOSH* Kirino swings her sticks as she looks behind. Again, I get hit in the face.
"Oh what, it's you again."
Damn you! You just smacked without even checking who the target was?! What if I were the shop staff trying to teach you how to safely play that game?! Damn you! You really must be raging!
But Kirino's attitude didn't look like it was someone who'd been repeating "Die". Her face, her voice, they were all horribly dark.
"...What are you here for?"
"What you ask? You went running off, so I've been searching for you..."
"...Disgusting. What's with you? Quit getting games and reality mixed up."
I guess she's trying to say, I'm not going to fall for you or something. Well that's fine. Since I'm going to dump you anyways. I understand even better after playing the little sister games.
Little sisters in 3D are seriously needless!
All of you brothers out there who have some annoying little sister will surely agree with me.
Jeez, what was I thinking of doing after finding her? Bah, I don't even remember.
"Shut up! But hey, be thankful of me at least."
"Huh? What the heck? Why should I thank you?"
"It was hell after you left you know... Like how Father tried to get into your room and..."
Kirino opened her eyes puffy from all the crying wide, and held me by the neck. Hey, you're strangling me to death!
"...You DID stop him, right?"
The heck? Why are you speaking like it's natural that I stop him? I'm you older brother, not your servant. I hope you understand that already.
"Oh yes ma’am. I did stop him, sacrificing myself."
Well done, doggy. That's how she said it like. Though I do have some blame for it, I still feel like my dignity is shattered. As Kirino releases me, she holds her arms and looks at me with a complicated expression.
"Let's go somewhere else. We're standing out here."
We moved to a Starbucks nearby.
Though it's early summer now, it's starting to get darker.
In plain clothes, Kirino and me sit on across a little round table and drink coffee.
There seems to be quite a few guests, like college student looking boys and people in business suits looking like they are back from work. At this hour, there aren't any middle schoolers and high schoolers who're going home after club activities.
Considering the other customers, how do people around us look at us?
We haven't spoken a word ever since so...
Kirino was carrying an aura of anger, and is staring at me with bloodshot eyes...
A couple in crises, and the reason was me having illicit relationships with other girls... I hope the people around don't look at me like that...
Since the silence was killing me, I started talking without much thought.
"What are you going to do from now on?"
Kirino takes a sip from her coffee with a puffed up face and murmurs.
"I don't know..."
Of course you don't. If she goes home, she would meet Father. How would she know what to do?
And Kirino continued by asking me, as expected. "What do you think I should do?"
This was the second time hearing that line from my sister's mouth.
I can’t ever call myself a dependable brother, yet she still has to depend on me. That just shows how troubled, and option less she is. It's just like last time.
So I can't say "Not my problem." even if I believe so.
The part about Father telling me to throw every single piece of it out, I will keep silent for now. My father's words are the golden law in the family. How would she feel if she found out her precious collection was handed a confirmed death sentence?
Heh, it's just more trouble to have her get mad here. I guess it's better to ask her more and as much as I can for now.
"By the way, there's something I want to ask you before we start. Okay, Kirino?"
"What did Father tell you? It looked as if you were having some long talk."
From how my father was when speaking with me, he probably didn't tell you to throw it out...
This was a question to find out what Kirino's current standing was.
My mind went blank for a second after seeing Kirino's unexpected reaction.
The moment she heard my question, her cheeks went red, and started shaking.
She held her chest with one hand, and with the other hand, she's holding a fist on the table.
Her cute face is a mess. I quickly stopped looking at her, but I can clearly imagine her enormous rage storming in her heart.
Rage, hatred, and slight feeling of giving up...
So mortified, mortified, mortified, mortified, but also sad...
I can feel this strong directionless emotion.
What happened in the living room that time and what they talked about I would not know yet.
But, I sensed there must have been something that would have made Kirino change like this.
I heard a whisper like a black mist come out of my sister's mouth as she kept looking down.
I go on to ask what she said, with so much fear, and Kirino slammed on the table.
"He called it stupid, all my favourite anime and games! Even the offline meeting I had today! He called it stupid, everything, everything, everything, all of it! It's not! It isn't anything like that at all... But I... I couldn't..."
Here onwards, it was mostly her sobs and cries that I couldn't hear much.
Kirino is sobbing in the same position as she continues to have her fist on the table.
"You weren't able to say anything back, you mean?"
Droplets of tears fell onto the table.
I understand her after going with her life consultations for a while.
Kirino had something to rage about today. Someone had tarnished her precious thing, which I saw a hint of that time.
That's why she is so angry. She is mortified and is crying.
It might be wrong to compare, but even I have my precious things.
If someone just denies it, saying it's stupid, I'd surely go nuts and get angry too.
I'm definitely sure about it. Let it be my father or who ever, I’ll be beating them up. Or else I won't be satisfied.
Kirino must feel that way too.
"I... I couldn't say anything back... I... grabbed and tried to go hit him with the crystal ashtray, but he subdued me... So mortifying..."
Uhh... So you tried to take a blunt object to hit him with by instinct? How violent. I didn't really hear much, but such a battle was going on there...
I cancel my previous thoughts that she must feel like me!
She won't just beat up someone... She would murder them... surely...
"Here Kirino, use my handkerchief."
"Oh no, my makeup is a mess..."
I lend her my handkerchief, and Kirino wipes her face. She leaves her seat, and takes a break.
Re-makeup time. We calm ourselves down, and start again. It's for both her and me...
Hey, you guys, what do you think you're looking at, huh? I look around, and smash away the eyes of curiosity.
What a relief that it was this hour. None of our classmates would witness the conversation we had just now.
After finishing off the coffee that had gone all cold now, Kirino came back makeup-less.
She sits softly across me.
...I'd definitely never tell her this, but doesn't she look cuter without makeup?
Since I got into thinking about unrelated stuff like that,
I was caught by surprise as she suddenly talked to me.
Kirino without makeup asked me with a weak tone.
"Am I... weird...? Is it wrong... to like that stuff...?"
With eyes all puffed up from the crying, she asks me that. What am I to answer...?
"Of course, Father would say it's wrong. It's not because my father is more strict than average. A normal parent would surely say so. That's obvious, and you should know that. You know that, since you couldn't publicly show your interests because of how people around consider that stuff."
"But... still... it's already public..."
"Yeah, so it's too late. We can't cry over spilt milk."
With all the sincerity I can show, I say aloud,
"So you must make a choice."
I stopped talking here, and looked my sister in the eye.
"You're telling me to stop this hobby...?"
"If you could do so, things would all be settled. If you quit being an otaku, then there's no problem. Father will quit being angry, and you won't have a time bomb in you that may explode and screw your public image.
I heard many rumours about you recently... Like how great you are, sports, studies, and you're a fashion model, and you do great in club activities too... That's amazing. I really do think so. So if you didn't have that hobby we're talking about, you're flawless. You know where I'm getting to right?"
"Yes... I know very well myself that I'm amazing. If I quit being an otaku, everything will go well... I already knew that from the beginning."
This time, Kirino lightly hits the table with a fist and calmly says...
"But I won't quit it. That's because... I love it... I really love it! Quitting it even when I love it... I don't want to... I just can't..."
"I see, but your father doesn't seem to care about how you feel about it. Bad things must be corrected... He told you countless times already, right? Regardless of how much you like it, Father thinks of it as a 'stupid hobby that's not desirable'. He will force you to give it up, and we can't do anything to resist that."
Kirino shouts with a serious face. It's the expression that moved me that other day.
"I will not quit! I will not quit things I like! I've told you before. They're both part of me. If one of them is lost... If I give one of them up... I won't be myself. Of course, I'm a child and should listen to what Father says. That's how children are supposed to be and can't resist that. But still... Having them, all thrown away... all lost... that make it so that the me until now will have never existed... So I will never quit having love for it!"
...And so that's what she said.
Even if she gets her whole collection thrown out, even if she gets her cell phone and computer thrown out, even if she loses connection to the internet...
She still claims to continue being an otaku. She never will quit, since she loves it...
If one or the other disappears, then she won't be herself...
You're an idiot... You seriously are one. I can't believe how stupid you are, idiot.
Are anime and manga that important? Do you have to be that stubborn and defend it? I don't understand you. Not at all. Even though it's absolutely not a hobby you can be proud of, you still treat it so importantly, enjoy it, meet up with friends to talk about it, and have fun over it...
Jeez... Are all otaku like this...?
Then it seems like it's as I guessed.
As my sister looked with a puzzled expression, I made a sly grin, and told her...
"I said, it's not bad, and that's my answer to the question you had before."
What's gotten into me? I'm weird today... Uhh... Rather I’ve lately have been... If I were my usual self, well... like me last month, I would have had not a speck of a chance that I would think of stopping Father like that.
I wouldn't have imagined of going looking for my terrible sister that I could care less about.
And hearing the painful statement from my sister, I would not have felt this way...
I click my tongue, and stand up, with a strangely clear feeling.
I look up into my sister's face, and with my thumb, I point at my own face.
"Leave it to me."
In my 17 years of my life, I've never said anything more unfitting than this.
It's as if I'm her brother.
...What the hell am I saying? Am I stupid or what?
As I hurried home, I was developing so much self-hate.
I've left Kirino in the store, telling her to come home after an hour. I just told her without waiting for her response, so I don't know if she would follow my orders.
Whatever her choice is, she would not come home until she feels ready to do so.
So before she does, I'm going to have my talk with Father.
You're fine to laugh at me.
I agree that I'm an idiot. I really am an idiot...
How could I just go "leave it to me?” How embarrassing! Getting so caught up in the moment...
I can feel my face blushing. Plain people like me shouldn’t try to be cool!
Now I will be having an unmatched fight with father.
The only future I can see coming is being crushed easily and getting my head shaved bald.
But, hell! I have no other choice!
"Throw out everything in your room. Quit being an otaku!"
How could I tell her that?
After knowing how she feels, I won't allow anyone to say that to her! Even if that is my father!
...Sure, I freaking hate my damn annoying little sister.
I don't need non-average characters like her in my life. Since she seems to hate me too, we can just get things sorted and start ignoring each other.
That point seems to have not changed though.
She means nothing to me. She seriously is meaningless.
Do you find something wrong here? You think I'm contradicting myself?
...Who knows? Even I don't know what I'm doing now.
I'm being sincere about every bit of it, yet there might be something there that I haven't realized within myself... I haven't figured out what the identity of this feeling coming within my heart is...
Yeah, so there's only one thing I understand.
While Kirino has never called me this before...
I'm her older brother.
Even if I hate her like hell and don't give a shit, and she's only annoying to me...
I have to help my sister.
Don't you think so too?
Thirty minutes later, I was in front of the living room door.
There's a secret plan hidden in the bag I carry in one hand. While running home, I thought up of this with my less than adequate mind. Having my mother help, I somehow got the needed stuff prepared. As a finishing touch to this, I told Mother not to enter the room. All is prepared.
But honestly... There's no guarantee that things will go out well. There's a much higher chance that he will just deflect it away without any effect.
But I'm still going to do it. It's not for my little sister, but for myself, since I decided to do so.
Damn it, I'll do what I have to!
With renewed high spirits, I opened the living room door.
A pungent smell of alcohol... It's like how Minamoto no Yorimitsu would have felt when he arrived at the Shutendouji's mansion. (!)
Father was sipping sake from an ochoko. As soon as he spots me coming in, he gives me a glare.
"Kyousuke, what happened to your greetings?"
"U-Uhh... I'm back!"
No way, no way! This is just crazy! What's with his incredible presence!
He has a yakuza face when he's normal, and now with all the anger, he has an even more demonic face.
I thought I was getting high spirited. Now I have none.
I can't stop my skin from shaking. I feel the saliva going down my throat. I slowly approach Father. I couldn't dare to stand in front of Father...
I was praying that he wouldn't look this way, yet stand beside him, about three meters away.
You think I’m a wimp? Heh, newbies know nothing. If you try standing here yourself, you would understand.
It's like having some crazy hungry monster right next to you making growling sounds. I don't even want to take one step closer.... You see, I'll tell you now but... I'm already teary eyed.
"Father, I have something I need to talk with you about."
I tried hard to stop my voice from shaking, and started talking.
Father didn't answer me, and took a sip from his sake.
"Did you find Kirino?"
"Yeah... I had a talk with her."
He doesn't even give a glimpse at me, and urges me to continue. Honestly, I'm thankful he didn't. Though in the end, I'll have to look him in the eye, and persuade him. I still wanted to avoid that for now.
Since I'm scared...
The air became tense. It's strangely hot, and difficult to breathe. Still I can't stop myself from shivering.
I was sweating profusely from my face, droplets started to fall from my chin.
He urged me to speak with the same words. I open my mouth with a similar feeling to jumping off a cliff.
"I want you to recognize Kirino's hobby."
The moment I said that, was it just me imagining this, or did the room become completely silent?
The only thing I can hear is my heartbeat and heavy breathing.
With a deep emotionless voice, his response came.
"I told you back there, ‘You are to throw them all away with your own responsibility’ And you answered, "I understand. I will talk with Kirino, and surely make that happen." Did you not?"
"Yes I did."
"Do go by your words."
He says shortly, and went silent. Sure... what Father said was correct. There's no doubt, I'm in the wrong.
But you see... I can't retreat here.
"I cancel that."
"So you're saying you are going to break a promise you made? When did I teach you to do so?"
Every single word of my father resounds deeply. I bit my lip and with a huge voice I shout,
"Fuck that shit! I'm not going to force her to give up that hobby of hers, and won't throw out the stuff she's hiding either! Even if I'm going to defy logic, there’s no way I would! Listen carefully Father, I'm going to tell you why I arrived at that conclusion."
"Go ahead... My parent teachings to you can wait."
Aagh. I kicked into talking well, but in reality, I'm seriously crying!
I can't see my face now, but if I let him see my pitiful face like this, he will surely not listen to my excuse.
He'd rather slam me away before I start. Good move there by me, not standing in front of him!
Heh, newbies! This is what I call pro!
...Okay enough with making me look even more pitiful. I wipe my face with my T-shirt.
"Sure, Kirino has hobbies different from ordinary little girls. That means however, that she would not have friends she could share that hobby with, among her ordinary friends."
Taking a short pause here, I continue.
"That's why she tried to find friends she could share her hobby with. And so... She searched around, and somehow managed to find some... and progressed as far to meeting them for her first time."
Father is drinking sake at a much faster pace, and silently continues listening to what I have to say. I'm speaking now without any regard to saving myself. It's not much of a surprise if he already decided to hand me the death sentence.
This silent pressure is just devastating. Well, thinking in Father's perspective, it must be a nightmare today.
His precious little daughter reveals she actually is in love with erotic games...
So he tries to move her into the right direction through a good scolding, but that ends when he almost gets murdered with a crystal ashtray.
Even worse, the needless son comes out, and speaks junk in defence of that unadvisable hobby...
Sure, he'd go into heavy drinking. I'm sorry. I really do feel sorry for you from my heart.
You surely would like to punch me now, but bear with me for a little longer.
"Well, that was just some while ago. Today, with those friends she made that time, she had an offline meeting together... Uhh, it's a meeting among those with the same hobby. You heard about it, right?"
"And after hearing that, you told her it was stupid. You told Kirino, who tried so hard to make friends, the effort was stupid... What the fuck was that for? You knew nothing about her! Don't go thinking you're god or whatever!"
I let out all I had in place of my sister who was miserable and mortified because she wasn't able to say anything.
This wasn't supposed to be my feelings... It should have meant nothing for me, yet I was angry, from the bottom of my heart.
It was already something important for me, without me realizing it.
"I saw with my very own eyes the ‘things that are precious’ to her. I've met the people who share the same values. Sure, they may deserve to be seen with prejudice. They are weirdoes after all. They speak strangely, and dress weirdly... Honestly, I thought I would never understand them. But still..."
What I saw back there flashes back, and so do my feelings as I saw them...
"I thought to myself, it's not bad, since they seem to be having hell of a nice time. They started a loud argument the very day they met and made a mess. How much could they love that stuff? It's nothing ordinary to get that seriously mad about that stuff, both Kirino and the other people I mean. They were that absorbed into the stuff! It made me, the bystander, become embarrassed! But you see, as they were arguing, they were already comrades, they were such good friends they can speak without being reserved!"
I wouldn't have imagined myself doing something so warm blooded like this until recently. I'm still surprised at every word I speak.
I never thought I was this hot tempered. Living a normal, commoner, average, lazy life... That was my policy.
And I haven't changed that now either.
However, something in me has changed between the me a little while ago, and the me now.
After being consulted by her, and helping her with a lot of stuff, after seeing a lot of stuff I never thought of watching, after being affected by her... It was I, who changed.
I don't want to admit I was being affected by those weirdoes and stuff I can't understand, but it's still reality.
I have to accept that.
I received something through them, and changed, into an idiot, into some embarrassing person.
That's why, even with eyes filled with tears from fear,
I can still go against this fearful father like this.
"Of course, I can't understand their hobby at all. But still! Is it that wrong to be absorbed in stuff? That stuff is important! Right? You can't just simply discard it like that!"
"So you're telling me to let her be? Let her continue with that stupid hobby that only has negative effects to her?"
Father stood up and looked into my face. His look, 100 times scarier than Kirino, pierced my heart.
I'm about to pee my pants. I should kneel down and ask for forgiveness.
"You called it a stupid hobby that only has negative effects...?"
This is my chance. I'm ready to use my trump card! I close up to Father and throw the contents of the bag out in front of him. Bang! First, I slam Kirino's grades in front of Father.
"Look at these incredible grades! She's within the best five of this prefecture. I hear it wasn't just this time either. You should know best how her grades have always been."
"What does that have to do with anything? Kirino is keeping the promise we made. No big deal. That's why I allow her to dress up so flashy like that. I even let her be a fashion model."
What I hit him with were countless trophies and awards.
The newest one was from a track and field tournament last year.
"This, that, this one too... Look at them! All of them say either number two or champion! These are from her grade school years! These are from her preschool years! Why the heck does she have this many? I'm surprised after I actually gathered them up! Look, Father! Your daughter is this amazing!"
"I know that. What does that have to do with anything?"
"What does that have to do with anything? I'm saying you're being too anal! She's that smart, and that good at athletics, and has so many other skills... She's such a great daughter unlike me! She has much to be admired about! What's wrong for her to have one strange hobby? That should be acceptable! Can't you be lenient? Just because you find something you don't like about your proud daughter, you scold her like crazy, you make her cry, and then you make her throw away stuff important to her? That's pathetic!"
"I call that parenting!"
Damn it! I try persuading with impulse, but Father doesn't seem to budge.
However, this isn't the end yet! *BAM* I slam a thick book in front of him.
"...Kirino's album? What does that have to do with anything?"
Father started to speak in a slightly softer tone. In the gorgeous thick album, there are scores of photos of Kirino starting from when she was born until now. A photo of Kirino sleeping in the baby bed, a photo of mother carrying her in her arms... A photo of her getting the main part in the preschool play, her Shichigosan photo, a photo of her preschool graduation, her grade school entrance photo, a photo of her winning in the athletics meeting... etc etc...
Of course, Father, with his super expensive professional class camera, took them all.
Damn, there is no photo of me...
"Kyousuke... What are you trying to say?"
"Don't be in such a rush."
*WHAM* I smack another, thinner book. I can see Father's face become blue.
"I asked Mother to let me borrow this. I hear this is a treasure to you."
What I showed to Father was a scrapbook. Inside, are clippings from a teen magazine. Our well-known brown-haired model is wearing the newest trendy clothes and proudly making a pose.
There are many photos, covering countless pages.
There was a complete collections of photos ever since Kirino made her debut, all neatly filed...
Of course, I'm not a parent yet, so I don't understand how a father feels when he has a daughter.
But you see, I can imagine it.
"You must have been happy, eh? You keep saying you're not amused, but you buy the magazines that Kirino's photos are in, and trim her photos only and collect them..."
"...Quit the nonsense! I need to know and check up on my daughter’s job!"
The way he tries to make excuses... I guess they are related by blood after all, Father and Kirino...
"So, after you checked, what did you think about it? Was it some harmful, unfitting job like you were prejudiced against?"
I continue on talking as I flick through the pages of the scrapbook.
"It wasn't, was it? Because if it were, you wouldn't be collecting all her work and considering it your treasure, would you?"
This tense sensation like walking on a tightrope... Our eyes, meet. It's so scary, but I won't step down, or look elsewhere.
Father finally released a deep breath.
"I am not in any position to comment about that job of hers. Although I still do have my objections to how she's dressed..."
"Then, what are your thoughts about this?"
I take the last photo I have from my chest pocket.
In the photo were the three: Kirino, Kuroneko and Saori.
I heard Saori took this today with her mobile phone camera.
When I had my talk with Kirino in the Starbucks, I borrowed the data from Kirino and printed it out. It was quite a lot of trouble getting the data though...
"Is this something you have to make comment on?"
It's a photograph of Kirino and her friends during an offline meeting.
One of them is stretching her arm out and holding the mobile phone camera.
The other two, although they seem to be fighting each other, they still somehow look into the camera lens.
"Is this what you call a hobby that only has negative effects?"
The photo almost lets you hear all the noise and chaos; within her frown, you can easily see her true thoughts... It was such a heart-warming photo. At least, that's how I perceived it.
"Although you might not want to admit it, this is what she obtained."
"Kirino smiling happily in the album with the family... Kirino making a cool pose in the latest trendy clothes for her modeling job... Kirino making a frown and making noise at the offline meeting with her otaku friends... All of these are Kirino! With all the pieces together, she can consider herself complete. With even one of them gone, she will not be herself!"
What I shouted out now, were Kirino's words I heard sometime before.
But I didn't say this in her place.
What I shouted out against my father was my very own words and emotion that came boiling out of my heart.
I held him by the collar and appealed.
"Hey! If you still joke that you won't understand her hobby after seeing this, I'll beat you up in place of Kirino! You don't know anything, so quit talking nonsense like you know shit!"
Father was looking at me solidly, but with a hint of surprise.
Finally, a response came in an emotionless tone.
"I understand your claim."
His veins are showing in his yakuza face making an out of this world expression.
This is nothing other than a true demon. I'm feeling pinned down when I'm the one holding him by the collar. "I take back what I said about it being stupid for now. Sure, I know nothing about it. I admit I was talking with prejudice. Fine. I will allow her hobby for your sake."
I let out all of my emotion against Father.
I had no logic or any order in it, it was just shouting with force. It was a horribly done plea.
But even still, since I did it so seriously, I guess something struck him.
He will allow Kirino's hobby... As I was able to hear that from him, I can consider this match of mine as a win.
But Father continued to say this.
"Don't make me repeat my words, but I will limit them to only a portion of them. I can't allow lewd things like the stuff that was in that case. This is not a matter of good or bad. It doesn't have to do with me having no knowledge or having prejudice against that stuff. Consider what only for 18+ means."
Finally, this line came... I let go of Father's collar and went silent with an uneasy expression.
What Father is saying now is completely logical. Since it's restricted to 18+, someone under 18 shouldn't have that stuff.
But if I were to do as he says, then I would have to throw away most of Kirino's collection. Then this would all be meaningless.
However I think of this, Father is still correct. He is, but I can still have my counterclaim to this. Since I did expect that line to come, I did have my preparations to counter it.
Well I do have it thought up but... Honestly, I didn't want to use it.
There's this strong conflict storming in my mind.
Is it really okay? Do I have to do that much for that damn sister?
But I was weird today, too weird. I was just screwed up.
That's why, my brain gave the signal to go ahead in this direction.
I said aloud.
"K-Kirino has no age restricted stuff..."
Hearing that, Father closes his eyelids and starts shaking, seemingly trying to calm himself down. Suddenly he opens his eyes wide.
He was holding me by my collar so swiftly that my neck was falling off, then grasped the back of my head, and forced me to look at the DVD case. Ugh... That hurts so bad...
In the case was the stuff we all know. Glittering so vividly was the text saying 'restricted to 18+'.
"Do you still make such a lie in this situation...?"
"I-It's not like that!"
I received something from her, and changed. I turned into an idiot. I changed into an embarrassing person.
That's why I decided to execute such a stupid plan.
"THIS IS MINE!!!"
Okay I admit. This was the worst line I ever spoke in my life.
"So, this is not Kirino's for sure. It's mine that I had Kirino look after! If that's the case, you don't need to throw it away do you?"
You would never be able to see this sight, so open your eyes wide and watch.
The mad demon with veins showing in his face becomes expressionless and comments to me.
"I don't really know much but... This is a game you play with your computer, right? The only computer in this house is... the one Kirino has."
"W-Well I borrowed Kirino's computer and played it."
"O-Oh, really... Y-Y-You were using your little sister's computer, in your little sister's room, playing games where you perform illicit acts on your little sister?!"
"Yeah, it was so fun! You have any objection to that?!"
He punched me in the face. I flew across the room and hit the wall.
How stupid am I?! At least tell him I played it in my room with a laptop I borrowed from her!
I feel dizzy. There's blood in my mouth. The headache is horrible. I'm about to faint. Oh I'm finished. I might be dead now...
But not yet! I can't end here!
I raise my face while still on the floor, and appeal to him with tears.
Now listen to my excuse! It's as pure as a saint!
"Anyways, that's mine! High school boys can have porn books that are restricted to over 18, right? Even Mother lets me keep my collection under my bed! That game isn't any different from porn books! How different is it? Eh? Tell me! There isn't, is there! So I'm not going to throw it away! HAHAHA! No matter what anyone tells me, I will defend it at the cost of my life! Listen to me Father! I FUCKING LOVE anime and erotic games! I can say I'm engaged with it! If you throw this away, then I won't be myself anymore! Erotic games are my soul!"
With the last of my power, I shouted out in utter desperation.
Receiving my soul shout, my father staggered as if he was blacking out.
He holds his head as if he was hit with a strong blow to his head.
"Bastard son! Do as you wish! I DON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT IT!"
It was a huge yell, one like we’d never heard. I've never seen my father so angry as this before ever in my life.
But he doesn't seem to want to kill me. Breathing heavily, Father turns around and stomps away.
Good. I won. Holding my bleeding nose, I make a smile.
So how was it, Kirino? I defended every single piece of your collection.
Haha. This surely turned out so differently from my usual ways.
It was the following morning after the madness in the Kousaka family was solved...
When I went to the usual meeting place, the spectacled childhood friend was already there like usual and waiting for me. And as usual, she would flutter her bag in front of her skirt and call for me with a smile.
"Good morning, Kyou-chan!"
"Yeah good morning, Manami."
A typical morning scene found everywhere.
Oh how soothing.
My days should always be like this.
My name is Kousaka Kyousuke. I'm a 17 year old who goes to the local high school.
I might not be the one to say this but I'm an ordinary high school student.
I'm going to school in no rush with my plain and normal childhood friend.
So you feel envious of us? Normal means to live as do others without doing unnatural things. Safely, means to live with little danger.
All hail mediocrity! Viva, normal life!
But, an abnormal dangerous way of life has its charms too.
Well, these days I can feel that way too.
It's fun, loud, painful and embarrassing.
Going your own way, making challenging tasks and living like you're flying in the skies...
I was able to experience that with my own life.
"K-Kyou-chan... what happened to your face?!"
"Oh, this you mean?"
I thought she was surprised at how plain my face is. Well, I won't deny that, but probably Manami was talking about the large compress placed on my face.
"Well you see, things happened..."
Yeah seriously, many things happened. The events that happened recently made the times the most concentrated I have ever had in my life. I'll probably not forget about this time.
My little sister who's so annoying and hates me like I'm trash, her secret hobby and her life consultation...
I had my talk of tens of years worth with her. I feel I know a little bit about her, something I didn't even feel like knowing.
But you see... That doesn't mean our cold relationship has changed in any way.
I still hate my little sister so much, and don't care at all about her.
She's not changed either. She completely ignored me like I'm some pebble on the street, even this morning.
Well, reality is like this. It doesn't change that easily.
You think it's strange? Since I did work that hard, you think my sister's affection level towards me should rise proportionally, right?
Quit joking around! Don't make me have weird imaginations! This isn't a game after all! Life is not proportional! That's especially true for my life.
Oh yeah, I was getting excited and got off topic. Let me get back to it. Yeah, I did help my sister yesterday. I convinced my father and let him accept her hobby.
But you see, I didn't do that to be thanked by her. I didn't do that wanting something in return. I'm not repeating some famous person's line but...
I just did what I wanted to, the way I wanted to. All selfishly, I just meddled with things.
As a result, what I obtained is something within myself, and not something I get from another.
"I see... A lot of things happened..."
"Yeah. A lot happened."
It's not something I get from another but...
"Good work, Kyou-chan. You did a good job."
This loose statement of appreciation from my childhood friend, who knows nothing about this, was enough to make me feel fulfilled.
After school that day, when I came home, my sister was calling someone on the phone in the living room.
I make a greeting just for the formality. But not only does she not respond, she won't even look a bit at me. Kirino in her school uniform was sitting deeply on the sofa, crossing her legs with a super short skirt. She is laughing happily to her mobile phone.
That smile was surely cute, but it won't ever be used against me.
That’s what I was thinking...
"What the heck? Did you watch that DVD properly? I'm talking about the DVD edition!! Why would you derive at such a conclusion?! I don't understand you at all! That's why women with Jakigan are said to have a messed up sense of perception! Oh, whatever! You need to graduate from your Chuunibyou! Bye!"
What the heck was that conversation...
I'm disgusted as she throws away her mobile violently the moment she finishes her call.
Well, she might have changed in a way than before.
She seems to be doing well without me, huh?
Anyhow, Kirino's problems are solved now.
So finally, my role in the unsuited life consultation is finished!
I talk to myself, and open the refrigerator. I take out a carton of barley tea and pour it into a cup and drink it in one go.
Phew, I let out a deep breath with great satisfaction.
A feeling of assurance and fulfilment, with a hint of loneliness hits my mind.
I shrugged and tried to leave.
The moment I placed my hand on the doorknob, she stopped me, and I looked back. With her usual cold tone, she told me something outrageous.
"I want another life consultation."
That left me in such despair that tears were coming down my face.
I freeze with my hand on the doorknob.
"And also um..."
Kirino looks up into my eyes and mumbled...
Just one phrase, with a shy smile,
"Thank you, brother."
She clearly said so.
Then she looks away quickly.
It might have just been my imagination but she may have been blushing.
I could do nothing but open my mouth and eyes wide in awe.
Because you see... It's just impossible...
I doubted my own eyes and ears while thinking this...
There's no way my sister is this cute.
- This is a way to show apology.
- Small sake cup.
- Children celebrate coming of age at ages 3, 5, 7 the celebration age depends on gender.
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