Monday, May 9, 2011

Ore No Imouto Ga Konna Ni Kawaii Wake Ga Nai, Chapter 4 Part 2

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!

"Who cares?" 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-colored city.

Right in front of the exhausted main character, the little sister is supposed to appear at just the right moment.

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...

"Oh..."

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?

"Ouch..." 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."

"Wh-Who?!"

Kirino swings her sticks as she looks behind. Again, I get hit in the face.

"Ack!"

"Oh what, it's you again."

Damn you! You just smacked without even checking who the target was?! What if I was 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..."

"Wait, what?!"

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."

"Good."

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 we entered. Kirino was carrying an aura of anger, and is staring at me with bloodshot eyes. A couple in crisis, 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.

"So, Kirino."

"...what?"

"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. 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 as much as I can for now.

"By the way, there's something I want to ask you before we start. Okay, Kirino?"

"What...?"

"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.

"H-Hey... Kirino..."

My mind went blank for a second after seeing Kirino's unexpected reaction. The moment she heard my question, her cheeks went red, and she started shaking. She held her chest with one hand, and with the other hand, she's making a fist on the table. Her cute face is a mess. I quickly stopped looking at her, but I can clearly imagine the 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 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.

"He..."

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 favorite 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 understand. Kirino is sobbing in the same position as her fist continues on the table.

"You weren't able to say anything back, you mean?"

"...no..."

Droplets of tears fell onto the table.

I understand her after going along with her life consultations. Kirino had something to rage about today. Someone had tarnished her precious thing, which I saw a hint of.

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.[1] 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,

"Hey..."

"H-Huh, Wh-What?!"

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...?"

"Kirino..."

With eyes all puffed up from 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 her interests because of how people around consider that stuff."

"But... still... it's already public..."

"Yeah, so it's too late. We can't do anything 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 rumors 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."

"But still-!" 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 makes 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...

"...All right."

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.

"Not bad."

"Huh?"

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... 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 that painful statement from my sister, I would not have felt this way.

I click my tongue, and stand up, with a strangely clear feeling.

"Kirino..."

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 decided to do so. So before she does, I'm going to have my talk with Father.

"Heh..."

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 in repentance.

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 this up 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.

"Heh..."

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.[2]

Father was sipping sake from an ochoko.[3] As soon as he spots me coming in, he gives me a glare.

"Kyousuke, what happened to your greetings?"

"U-Uhh... tadaima!"

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, and stood beside him, about three meters away from him.

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.

I tried hard to stop my voice from shaking, and started talking. "Father, I have something I need to talk with you about."

Father didn't answer me, and took a sip from his sake.

"Did you find Kirino?"

"Yeah... I had a talk with her."

"And...?"

He doesn't even 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.

"And...?"

He urged me to speak with the same words. I open my mouth with a feeling similar 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.

"Kyousuke," his response came in a deep emotionless voice. "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 the 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 wouldn’t be much of a surprise if he already decided to hand me the death sentence.

This silent pressure is just devastating. Well, thinking from 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 defense 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?"

"Yeah..."

"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 hot-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."

"There's more!"

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! 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[4] 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."

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 a 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."

That is...

"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 and he’s 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."

"S-Seriously?!"

I had 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 so, 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 on to say:

"Don't make me repeat my words, but I will limit myself 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, it 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 prepare 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.

"Ack!"

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!

"Ugh..."

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.

"YOU UNDERSTAND?!"

Receiving my soul shout, my father staggered as if he was blacking out.

"You... You...!"

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 tens of years worth of talking 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.

“Well, yeah.”

After school that day, when I came home, my sister was calling someone on the phone in the living room.

"I'm back."

I make a greeting just for the formality. But not only does she not respond, she won't even look at me. Kirino in her school uniform was sitting 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[5] 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 from before. She seems to be doing well without me, huh?

Anyhow, Kirino's problems are solved now.

So finally, my unsuitable role in 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 fulfillment, with a hint of loneliness hits my mind.

I shrugged and tried to leave.

"Hey,"

"...Huh?"

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."

I freeze with my hand on the doorknob.

...seriously?

That left me in such despair that tears were coming down my face.

"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.


[1] Translator noted this is normally for weddings. Just FYI

[3] small sake cup

[4] Children celebrate coming of age at ages 3,5,7 the celebration age depends on gender

[5] Third eye, supernatural stuff

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