April 7th: 14th Day Living Together (Day of the Opening Ceremony)

Now then.

Or should it rather be ‘at last’, perhaps? Or maybe ‘it’s coming to a head’?

I’ve been impatiently waiting for this day, yet I also wanted it to never come.

St. Liliana Academy… Today’s the joyous opening ceremony.

“…Okay.”

I stood in front of the entranceway mirror in the 70-year-old, broken-down dorm.

I had constantly been looking at myself for a while now.

“I feel like that’s not good enough somehow… I don’t really know why. Does this even suit me?”

While twisting my neck, I turned my body halfway to the left.

And then turned all the way back to the right.

After thoroughly checking up on myself, I let out a small sigh.

“No good. I don’t know how to pull this off… I’ve never worn such a thing up until now.”

I was talking about St. Liliana Academy’s male uniform. It had been the traditional gakuran[1]. Using solid cloth for it’s material, the sturdi- and simpleness of it were certainly magnificent. However, the person who had chosen this uniform, had to compare to it.

To be honest, it looked forced on someone with average height and weight as I.

Well, let me be straight.

This uniform didn’t suit me at all.

The uniform wore me.

Ah, damn it, I’ve screwed it up.

If I had known that, I would’ve taken some measures beforehand. If I only had worn the uniform frequently to get used to it… I mean, look, isn’t it the same for university graduates that are looking for jobs? If they can show off that they’ve gotten used to suits and thanks to that underline their ‘professionalism’, it’d certainly help gaining points in the interview.

Yup. This is bad.

St. Liliana Academy’s a prestigious school living up to its name.

‘A school where young masters and noble ladies from all around the country gather to study.’

My little sister’s the secretary of the student council…

As her older brother I can’t run around like that.

I’ve known it ever since I’ve come under the care of the Takanomiyas, but… the elite of society’s really fussy about reputation. If I were to show off disgraceful behavior, it would’ve have a direct effect on my sister’s too.

Even though it’s unlikely that I’ll hurt my sister’s reputation, I’ve to use all my power to smash the tiniest of chance that that could happen.

“Heeey! Akiko~”

With that, I tried calling out to the person in question.

I wondered whether the really bad way this uniform looked on me was still within acceptable limits. I wanted her verdict too, no matter what.

“Akiko~? Heeey. Come over here for a second.”

“…”

“Akiko~?”

I called out to the room where my sister should’ve been, but there was no response.

“Heeey, hurry up. We don’t really have a lot of time and you must be busy yourself, but can you please come over here for a second?”

“…”

Still no response.

That’s strange. Usually she’d immediately stop what she’s doing and answer me even if she’s somewhat busy. Seems like she’s having some difficulties herself.

Thinking stuff like that, I tilted my neck.

“…Onii-chan.”

A voice came from the other side of the door. A voice so small, that it appeared like the buzzing of a mosquito.

“To be honest, I was hiding from Onii-chan.”

“Eh?”

Being bewildered at this sudden confession, I said:

“What? So you hiding from me, huh? But I mean, do we have to talk about this now? We’re a bit tight on the schedule.”

“Anyway, it would’ve come to light sooner or later.”

My sister said with a subdued voice that sounded as if she had been driven into a corner and thus given up.

“Even though I knew that the day would come eventually where it’d be revealed… until now I’ve delayed it to the utmost maximum. If you find my cowardness laughable, then it’s fine to just laugh.”

“Errr, I still don’t know what you’re talking about though.”

“A serious matter. A very serious matter.”

What’s going on?

I suddenly started to feel anxious.

This was my sister we’re talking about, so it had probably been nothing big and I shouldn’t have thought too much into it. However, hearing her having such a serious tone made it hard on me to calm down.

“Hey, hey. Please don’t scare me like that. I’m a bit faint-hearted as you might know, so when I feel threatened like that it makes my heart cower in fear.”

“I’m sorry. But for me the feelings I’m confessing are like a leap into the dark. Please forgive me.”

“You’re awfully calm, aren’t you? …But you know, if you’re over there anyway, why don’t you come out already? It’s a bit difficult to talk to you if I can’t see your face.”

“…I understand.”

She said timidly.

My sister came out of her room wearing her uniform. Well, I thought she’d come out, but she suddenly retreated back into it like a small fish hunted by a predator.

“Akiko?”

“…Um, Onii-chan.”

“What?”

“…You won’t laugh?”

“Eh? Laugh? What do you mean?”

“Nothing at all. Anyhow, please promise me that you won’t laugh, no matter what.”

“Ah… Well, it doesn’t matter to me. Sure.”

What does she mean? What with this ‘please don’t laugh’ act?

Just what in the world’s she going to reveal here?

“You promised… Okay?”

She scraped these words together with a frightened voice.

My sister’s figure nervously showed itself.

“…?”

I tilted my head to the side.

Eh?

What?

What has she been so anxious about?

There wasn’t anything strange about her, not even mentioning anything that could be laughable.

If I had to name something then that my sister was currently wearing glasses and had her bangs pulled up. But it couldn’t have been just that, right? I mean, certainly, this was the first time I had seen her wearing those, but it couldn’t possibly be that alone… right?”

“I-I understand that this look doesn’t suit me at all.”

Her face turned bright red and she averted her eyes.

She looked like she couldn’t bear standing there any longer, her body was fidgeting all around while she continued with:

“If it were possible, I’d’ve liked to conceal this my entire life. But at the academy everyone knows that I’m wearing glasses. No matter how you look at it, trying to hide something like that would’ve been impossible.”

“…”

Seems like it’s been that after all.

“Akiko.”

“Y-Yes?”

“Your eyes, are they bad?”

“That’s correct. In a short timespan they suddenly went bad.”

My sister had a terribly regretful expression.

“The truth is, even these glasses appear to be a bit too low. But if I switched to thicker lenses, it’d look even weirder. So that’s my so-called limit right now.”

“…”

“Um, I’m sorry. It seems I’ve asked something absurd of Onii-chan after all. If anyone saw a strange-looking figure like this, they’d naturally want to laugh… I’m sorry, Onii-chan. It’s actually fine if you laughed at me. It must be painful for you to endure such an unreasonable request, so…”

“Ah. No, I mean…”

Then I gave my honest thoughts to my sister who was smiling self-deprecatingly while she had said those words.

“They don’t look weird on you at all. Don’t they rather suit you quite well?”

“That’s a lie!”

She glared at me with teary eyes sharply.

“It’s fine, you don’t need to try and make me feel better. I mean, I’m wearing such an unnatural thing on my face, after all. Despite that you’re saying it’s not weird? …There’s no way that could be true.”

How rude.

Apologize to all the glasses-wearing girls in this country and to their fans as well!

“If you find glasses that unpleasant, why aren’t you wearing contacts then?”

“I couldn’t ever do such a frightening thing like putting a foreign object into my eye.”

“But I mean, really, I’ve never seen you wearing glasses before. You managed hiding that and leading your life as if it was nothing. Hasn’t that been quite troublesome?”

“So that I wouldn’t get found out, I put in a great amount of effort. For instance, I practiced how to appear like I could see something that I actually couldn’t.”

“Those great efforts were obviously for naught… By the way, that aside, take a look at my uniform. I’m a bit troubled about how bad it looks on me, what do you think? What could I do about that?”

“…? What in the world are you talking about? It suits you very well.”

“Is that so? I can’t really see how it could look good though…”

“That’s a foolish thing to say. I mean, if it’s Onii-chan, then no matter what he’s wearing, it’ll always suit him.”

“…”

Yep.

Seems like my super-bro-con sister isn’t fit to give me advice on this. Our aesthetic senses seem to be way too different to begin with.

“Well, forget that. I really do think they’re cute, you know? Those glasses.”

“It’s fine already, Onii-chan. I’ve given up on this point of mine by now. Even if the Onii-chan I dearly love says something like, ‘They’re cute’, I can’t be honestly delighted by it… I’m sorry, even though you’ve finally made up your mind to compliment me.”

“Errr, that was what I truly thought, though, you know?”

“Anyway, I’ll try to not wear eyeglasses in front of Onii-chan as much as I can. So I hope you can somehow forgive me this terrible appearance for now.”

“But you know, that’s dangerous, isn’t it? Not wearing glasses even though your eyesight’s bad.”

“That’s something I’ve taken into account.”

“You’re worrying me. If something dangerous was to happen to you, what am I supposed to do?”

“Even with that, it’s inexcusable, but… I’m sorry, my resolution won’t sway.”

“A ball flying at you or a car that goes hurtling towards you. You can’t see all those things, that’s considerably scary, you know?”

“Even if it’s from my beloved Onii-chan, I won’t listen to anything pertaining to this matter!”

“But – I mean…”

Since she was being so obstinate to turn a deaf ear towards me, I tried a change of strategy.

“If you don’t wear your glasses, then how can you see the face of your so-called ‘beloved Onii-chan’?”

“The critical spot!”

Giving off a scream, my sister collapsed onto the floor.

“…That’s right, it’s exactly that. I’m totally at a loss as to what to do about that… I don’t want Onii-chan to see me wearing glasses, but if I don’t wear them I can’t see Onii-chan… This dilemma of mine that I’ve been keeping secret, from now on it seems like I’ll have to just bear with it. I fear that’s something I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life.”

“Errr, if it’s going to be like that then why don’t you just wear your glasses?”

“It’s unpleasant.”

“You want to see my face clearly, though, right?”

“That’s true… However, think about it carefully, if I’m constantly staring at Onii-chan, couldn’t I die from my heart beating too fast?”

“There’s no such thing!”

“Also, there’s a more simple solution. It’d be better for Onii-chan to just bring his face closer to mine. If you’re constantly next to me during our days, sleeping together with me, waking up together… Look, like this everything’s solved, right?”

“If I stick close to you for even one day it’d bring various problems to my life.”

“If possible I’d like us to be at a distance where our lips can touch.”

“Don’t keep talking as if I’d stick my face that close to yours! Anyway, I won’t do anything like that.”

“Don’t be so cold! At least let us be separated by a piece of glass!”

“No. If you wear your glasses then this discussion’s resolved, so make sure to properly wear them from now on. Understood?”

“Uu…”

“That’s an order from Onii-chan, alright? Got it?”

“Uuuuuu~”

Even though my little sister was groaning with tears in her eyes and scowling at me, she seemed to have given up before long. She sighed and said:

“…I understand. If Onii-chan says that it’d be unpleasant for him, then I can’t object. From now on I’ll try and wear my glasses as often as I can… However.”

“However?”

“When it’s just the two of us, I won’t wear my them.”

“Why?”

“I want to show off the cutest possible side of me when I’m near Onii-chan. For my beloved Onii-chan that’s the minimum courtesy I must show as a woman. That’s the one thing I won’t yield in.”

“Hmph.”

She was saying cryptic stuff as usual.

“I understand, that’s fine. You’ll wear your glasses when you’re going about your daily life and when it’s just the two of us, you won’t. Okay?”

“Yes. I don’t mind it like that. Onii-chan doesn’t mind it this way either, right?”

“Ah, like that I can compromise with it. When it comes to just you and me – whether it’s a ball or a car, I’ll definitely protect you.”

“Hau…”

My sister’s body suddenly started to shake uncontrollably.

“A-Another love attack I didn’t see coming… But I must bear with it. If I’ve a nose bleed every time something like that happens and collapse, it’ll hurt my honor as a young lady. And, I mean, it’d be a terrible thing if I were to die from excessive blood loss…”

“What are you muttering about? Look, it’s about time we get going, we really don’t have much time.”

Even though I originally had planned to give myself plenty of time to get to the opening ceremony on my first day as a transfer student, it seemed like all my planning had gone to nothing. The matter with my uniform hadn’t been settled either.

Oh well, it’s fine.

The small bit of nervousness I kept feeling had come undone because of this happening just now.

And anyway, we couldn’t keep worrying about every little thing.

I’d have to deal with things like I did before, it’d be my everyday life from now on after all.

That’s right.

Just like I had declared in the beginning.

This story…

This is a story about the peaceful, trouble-free daily life of an older brother and a younger sister who were separated for a while because of certain circumstances and then unexpectedly reunited to live under the same roof again. With that said, we’re done with the introduction and can carry on with my uninteresting story.

 

No more, no less.

From now on, I had to steadily live my peaceful everyday life.

I had to give it all my heart, work myself to the bone, and devote myself to give it my very best.

Because I had put in a great deal of effort to get where I was right then.

“Now then, let’s get pumped up and head out!”

Letting out a fighting shout, I vigorously opened the front door.

Because today was the first day that I’d charge head-first into that new, brilliant everyday life of mine.

 

*

 

…I was so enthusiastic on my way to school and yet…

“It seems like we meet again.”

St. Liliana Academy, front gate.

Going against the stream of students, kind of like a salmon – born and raised to swim upstream against the flow – she walked through the archway towards my sister and me.

Then she called out to me like she usually did.

“I’ve prepared myself in advance, and yet you’ve brilliantly managed to shock me regardless, our school uniform really doesn’t suit you in the slightest. Even if we consider that you’re not used to this new uniform, it’s still hard for me to believe how much it mismatches you. Maybe I should call it a yet undiscovered ability of mankind. This precious talent of which there’s no other in the world, make sure to treasure and develop it for all the world to see.”

“Tch… It’s been how many days since we’ve met each other? And that’s the first thing you say?!”

I should’ve fixed this up before I left the house! Just so that she can’t have anything to nitpick me about!

“Please don’t worry about it too much.”

And with her usual pokerface, she continued:

“There’s no real meaning to it, I’m just pointlessly picking a fight with you. I was hoping you’d realize that I didn’t really mean anything when I said that.”

“Ah, that so? If that’s the case then fine. But, well, I’m actually aware that this uniform doesn’t suit me…”

“There’s no need to say such a thing. It suits you like a bodybuilding champion’s suited to wink at a camera wearing a miniskirt.”

“…In short, there’s nothing in this world that’d look worse than I do?”

Wait, did she hope that I’d catch on or did she only diss me here?

Well, let’s leave it at that.

It was Nasuhara Anastasia.

“Good morning, Nasuhara-san.”

“Ana’s fine.”

“Ah, that’s right. Good morning, Ana-san.”

“Fuu. To think that you’d call a woman your hole. How befitting of a man like you.”

“…You’re really keen to keep that up, aren’t you?”

Business as usual. Well, I’m already used to it.

I’m kinda shocked, yet honestly happy about it.

At any rate, this academy’s a place that puts me completely to awe. I’ve only been here for a few days, but I already have an acquaintance. That’s something amazing of its own. Not to mention that being greeted and called by her like this made me really happy.

…*Sigh*, I’m really a timid person, huh?

Even though I one of my closest friends – my sister – is already at the school… Even with that I’ve still been somewhat nervous. For a transfer student I’m already blessed enough.

Actually, my sister’s been awfully quiet – As I was thinking that I, turned my head to look at her.

“DO-DO-DO-DO-DO…”

…It didn’t seem like she was repeating the ‘Do’ from ‘Do-Re-Mi’.

My sister’s eyes were blazing and her mouth gaping wide open. Her body trembled all over, she looked at Nasuhara-san and I, she then said:

“DON’T JUST MOVE ON WITHOUT GIVING ME AN EXPLANATION WHAT THE MEANING OF ALL THIS IS, ONII-CHAN!”

“Explaining the meaning of all this? The meaning of all what?”

“Why are you acting so friendly with that person?!”

Ah.

I see, that’s what she’s talking about.

“What do you mean by ‘that person’? Are you perhaps acquainted with Nasuhara-san?”

“No, she’s a complete stranger!”

“There’s no way that’s possible. Just look at how you’ve reacted right now.”

“Anyway!”

She said with a ‘Fuuu~’ and let out an intimidating growl while separating Nasuhara-san and I.

“Please don’t go near my Onii-chan, vice president!”

Hm?

Vice president?

“There’s no need for you to be so rude, is there?”

Nasuhara-san continued on with a cool and composed expression:

“There’s no need to concern yourself on how your elder brother and I came to know each other. No matter in what way or manner him and I met, it doesn’t concern you in the slightest. Even if you’re his blood-related sister. Don’t you think so too? Attending the same school as me while you’re shorter, have a smaller chest, lower grades, and a lower position than me in the student council, Arisugawa Akiko-san?”

“Please don’t try to blend in slander while giving me an explanation! And that all of this is true as well makes me even more angry!”

“Well then, could you please step aside?”

“I don’t want to! No matter how correct you are, I still don’t want you to get close to my Onii-chan!”

“Now, now, Akiko.”

I decided to step in there.

“You might have your reasons, but can you please calm down for now? Everyone’s staring at us.”

“Onii-chan doesn’t know what kind of a heinous person she is, that’s why Onii-chan can still say things like that so easily!”

With that my sister turned a deaf ear on me.

“In the first place, my height and chest size aren’t that much different from hers, okay?! Concerning the test scores I’m only one or two places behind her! She’s constantly, constantly nagging me about it nonetheless!”

“It’s the truth that I’m always superior in everything, though.”

Even though my sister brought up a specific example, Nasuhara-san seemed to just glaze over it.

“Or perhaps the point that I always manage to come out on top, even if only by a whisker, exemplifies all the more that there’s a wall between us which you can’t ever overcome? Don’t you think so? Position-that-is-lower-than-vice-president secretary Arisugawa Akiko-san?”

“Secretary’s a position that’s just as splendid! In the first place, don’t you always neglect the student council meetings? And yet you’re the vice president of the student council!”

“I can still accomplish my responsibilities as the vice president even without attending the student council meetings. The job of the vice president at our school is to assist the president by offering advice on certain matters. And as you know, our current president’s super capable and an ultra dictator. So there’s no need for an advisor. Also, you’re a member of the student council too, so you should be plenty aware of that, right? Don’t you think that singling out my attendance rate’s perhaps a bit unreasonable?”

…Looks like those two don’t get along at all.

But this seems to be it, I finally understand.

My sister and Nasuhara-san – the reason for their somewhat random oversensitivity to my smell must’ve been this.

They were able to recognize a lingering scent on me from each other or something. Just how bad of a relationship do these two have that they’re having that kind of a reaction just from each other’s scent on me. Wait, I mean, isn’t their sense of smell too unbelievable for a human being?!

Anyway, that’s at least proof that the suspicions about my body odor were all false. That’s a load off my mind…

“Ah, mou[2]! Why do you always retort to everything I say!”

It didn’t look like my sister’d join in on my innocent-after-all party.

“Onii-chan! Onii-chan!”

“I can hear you just fine, you know, even if you don’t shout like that.”

“You understand now, right?! That’s just how she is! That’s why I told you that you mustn’t get close to her!”

“I certainly recall that you were telling me that there’s a person that I mustn’t get close to, but I never heard anything about who said person was, you know?”

“Even Onii-chan’s now retorting to all I say?! Ahh, that’s all because of the bad influence from terrible vice president! The Nikkei Index[3]‘s not rising, the yen value’s stopped in its tracks, and we’re not seeing any improvement in the current deflation, there’s no doubt that all of that’s her fault!”

While saying some incredibly flashy things out of pure anger, my sister glared fiercely at her blonde-haired superior with so much vigor that her eyes seemed to be on fire.

“In any case, on no account are you to get anywhere near Onii-chan! Because Onii-chan’s mine and mine only!”

“I’m very sorry, but that’d be troublesome. Or rather, I believe things are going to go against your hopes from now on, unfortunately.”

Saying that, Nasuhara-san turned towards me.

“Himenokouji Akito-kun.”

For the first time she had called me by my name. She then continued with:

“I’ve a request. Would you please hear me out?”

“Eh? What is it?”

And then she said with that expression of hers which ever scarcely moved:

“Please make me your woman.”

With a small bow she lowered her head.

“Eh?”

“Please make me your woman.”

“No, I heard you the first time. There’s no need to repeat. Ehm, but what? What do you mean by that? When you say woman, do you mean like that kind of woman?”

“I’m sorry. That might’ve been a bit too sudden.”

Nasuhara-san’s expression didn’t show any clear change as always.

“I’ll try and explain it a bit more. In other words, whenever you come in contact with me like earlier, I’d like it if you kept the thought that we’re lovers in the back of your head. You don’t need to give your answer right away.”

“Huh? Well. Um.”

Uwaa.

That’s bad.

I wasn’t able to keep up with all those developments. My body couldn’t, nor could my mind.

“Rather than a confession, it’s more like me asking you to accept a declaration of mine. I simply want you to have a precise and clear grasp of my thoughts. That’s all there is. So there’s no need for you to act so shocked.”

“Um… Hey, ehm… Ana-san?”

“Fuu. To think that you’d refer to a woman as a hole. How befitting of a man like you.”

“Err, well, could you please listen for a sec?”

“I see. Well?”

“Um, well, that’s… Why?”

“With ‘why’ you want me to point out the reasoning behind my confession?”

“Yeah. That’s right.”

“It’s because I love you.”

“…”

With that my brain functions ceased.

If you want to laugh – go ahead.

To be confessed to so directly, simple, suddenly, and on top of that in public… If there’s someone out there who could calmly reply in a situation like this, then I’d very much like to get to know said person—

[4]Wait! Wait a minute!

My sister’s face looked as if 90% of its life energy had been drained out and she finally barged in on our conversation like that.

I don’t get what you said! Oh my God… OH MY GOD! Please tell me why! Why would you do such… such a strange, unbelievable, immoral, and… AAAAAHHHHH!

“Calm down, Akiko. Come back to Japan.”

[5]Kore ga ochitsuite iraremasuka! Onii-chan ni chikazuku dakedemo ikari shintou nanoni! Sonoue ko-ko-ko-ko-kokuhaku nante! Eei, kore wo misugoshiteha okemasen! Kyou koso wa ano hito to Kecchaku wo tsukenakereba![6]

Translation: ‘How could I calm down like this! I can barely contain my rage seeing when seeing how close to Onii-chan she already is! On top of that she c-c-c-c-confessed to Onii-chan! Aaah, I can’t let this go any further! I’ll settle everything with her right now!’

It looked like she was so agitated that she didn’t know which language to speak here—

 

“Ahaha! Ain’t that good, not bad at all!”

 

I heard a familiar laughter from over there.

“I ain’t mindin’ things like that at all, this feelin’ of stuff bein’ on the edge and ‘bout to get crazy. It’s the day of the opening ceremony and we’re already havin’ a lover’s quarrel this early in the mornin’, don’t’cha think it’s wonderful? Don’t’cha?”

When I looked around, a female student pushed her way through the crowd of onlookers.

Red hair, eyepatch, Japanese sword.

With the nickname ‘Predator’, giving off a sense of ferocity like a leopard that strides around in the Savanna – the student council president of St. Liliana Academy, Nikaido Arashi.

“Yo, mornin’ my cute, little subordinates.”

“Good morning.” Nasuhara-san said, keeping her pokerface.

“…Good morning.” My sister said with some wariness.

“Hmm. Ya two seem more beautiful than usual. Why’s that, I wonder? Did’cha finally decide to become my lovers today? Eh?”

“I humbly decline.” My sister answered immediately.

“…” As for Nasuhara-san, she completely disregarded the question.

“By the way, student council president.” My sister said while increasingly flaring up and continued with, “We’re in the middle of something here, so could you please leave?”

“Hey, hey, ain’t’cha too cold? Why’re you treatin’ someone who’s confessed their love to ya time ‘n time again like some kinda nuisance?”

“It is not ‘as if’. You’re a nuisance in every way imaginable. With the president here it’ll just get more complicated, so can you please leave?”

“I’ll listen to ya request if ya’ll be my lover.”

“I humbly decline. I dislike people like you who’ve no decency, and I’m also not interested in relationships with women. Even more than that, I’m completely devoted to my Onii-chan.”

“Kakaka. Gettin’ turned down again, eh? Well, it’s fine, the more difficulties, the more joy I’ll feel once I’ve finally captured ya. Anyways―”

Saying that, Nikaido-san glanced into my direction.

…Uwa.

She seems incredibly fascinating.

Her roughness made her appear like a wandering ronin. Plus, her image often gave off the feel of a vulgar woman. Being looked at by eyes like that made me feel like she was tracing the outline of my back with her wet tongue.

If we’re going by cuteness, then it’d definitely be my sister.

If we’re going by beauty, then it’d be Nasuhara-san.

But if we’re going by sex appeal, then the decisive winner’d be that person – that’s the kind of feeling I got.

“Himenokouji Akito.”

“Huh? Yes?”

“I henceforth declare the following order…”

The student council president said, took a piece of paper out of her cleavage, opened it up, and then continued with:

“From this day onwards, yer to be immediately appointed as a special member of the student council. That’s all.”

“…What?”

“Sorry, but ya have no right to refuse. ‘Cause in our academy the authority of da student council president’s absolute.”

“No, even if you say that…”

“By the way, yer official title’s ‘secretary’s deputy assistant’.”

“So I’m basically no more than a low-rank? A position where nothing’d change even if it disappeared? Just what exactly do you want to achieve by having that position in the student council?”

“So ya can be my cub.”

“I must humbly decline.”

“Kakaka, don’t’cha say that. What, ya could just spend yer time countin’ the number of holes in the ceilin’ until yer day’s done.”

“Hold on a second, president!”

My sister intervened.

“Just what in the world’s the meaning of this?!”

“It’s just as ya heard. The Onii-chan ya love so much’s goin’ to become my cute li’l boy from now on.”

“I don’t want to hear such terrible jokes! Really, just what do you think you’re doing?! Asking my Onii-chan to enter the student council even though he doesn’t know much about the academy yet… No matter how popular or capable you are, I just can’t pardon your selfishness!”

“Don’t’cha worry. That’s how it always is, ya know?”

“Please don’t talk of it as if it was someone else’s problem! To begin with, why didn’t you consult me on any of this?! It’s about my Onii-chan after all!”

“Well, why don’t’cha calm down and think ‘bout it. Ya Onii-chan’s position is ‘secretary’s deputy assistant’, so… ya bein’ the secretary and he’s gonna be the secretary’s subordinate. Do ya understand the meanin’ of this?”

“Mumu…?”

The sullen-faced expression on my little sister loosened up a bit and she followed up with:

“Onii-chan’ll be my subordinate… So I can give Onii-chan as many orders as I want…?”

“Plus, yer older brother and yaself’ll always be together from now on. Ya’ve finally reunited and now to be separated at the academy… Don’t’cha think somethin’ like that’d make ya a bit lonely?”

“Mumumumu…”

“And also, with ya Onii-chan bein’ a student council member, I’ll be able to have mah younger lover at hand at all times too. It’s like killin’ three birds with one stone.”

“Hold on a second! I was almost accepting your proposal for a second there, but that last point’s unacceptable to―”

“Student council president.”

Saying that, Nasuhara-san, who had been silently watching over all the events that had been unfolded, raised her hand and then continued with:

“I object. Himenokouji Akito’s a man I’ve already set my eyes on. Are you saying those things deliberately even though you know that?”

“Yep, I knew that, vice prez.”

“If that’s the case, then please give up on him. I’d appreciate it if someone like you who already has an amount of lovers one can’t even count with both hands and yet still feels that her harem’s lacking members for some reason, would use some discretion when choosing another person to add to said harem.”

“It’s pointless askin’ that, ya know? If another woman’s already set her eyes on a man that I’ve become interested in and I’d just be like ‘oh well’ ‘n give up, it’d tarnish mah honor as a woman, ya know?”

“Is that so? I understand, student council president. I must see you as my enemy then. I don’t want to, but unfortunately this is something I’m unwilling to concede on.”

“Kakaka, good, good. I like that stuff, ya know? Bein’ so in love that it’s stiflin’, bein’ head over heels for someone, that’s surely what every woman wants. Since I happen ta be a woman too, it ain’t nothin’ but natural for me to desire that too. The cherry petals are fallin’ today, I think it’s the perfect day we settled everythin’, and most of all, this stage seems to be quite suitable, don’t’cha―”

“H-Hold on a second! Please stop for a second!”

My sister let out a wail and tried to get in control of the situation.

She stepped in and objected for me, whose veto in the matter was completely ignored – that was of course not the case. Rather than that she continued with:

“Please stop saying things as you please, you two! Ever since the time of his birth, Onii-chan’s been my Onii-chan! He’s already been reserved, no, rather the escrow’s already been closed on him! Saying those things now’ll have no effect on―”

“What’cha talkin’ ’bout?”

“Just what are you talking about?”

The president and vice president’s voices cut in cleanly.

“You and him are blood-related, aren’t you? You should’ve no reason to barge in on us, correct?”

“I know that’cha thinkin’ very high of yer brother. But it’s a bit unreasonable for ya to stick yer nose into that kinda matters, don’t’cha think?”

“T-There’s no such thing! The love between Onii-chan and I’s not that―”

 

“Could you guys hold on for a sec?”

 

The one who stopped them wasn’t me.

Of course it wasn’t Nasuhara-san or Nikaido-san either. Nor was it the misfortunate sister of mine.

“I’d appreciate if you could lemme join in on the conversation.”

“――――?”

I heard a voice which I shouldn’t hear from a person who shouldn’t be here.

A figure appeared from a gap in the increasingly rowdier crowd.

“Gin?!”

“Yo, Akito. Been a while, hasn’t it?”

I hadn’t been mistaken.

Very un-Japanese silver hair made into a short bob. Blue-green eyes. A slender, child-like figure.

OniAiIllu10

There was no mistake that it was my very esteemed friend who should be in Kyoto, Sawatari Ginbei Haruomi.

“Wait, what are you doing here?! I mean, what’s up with those clothes?!”

“Ah, you mean these?”

My good friend suddenly raised the hem of the skirt.

“Pretty good design, don’t you think? I’m very pleased.”

“Not that! I mean why’re you wearing St. Liliana Academy’s uniform?!”

“That’s not like you to play dumb, is it, Akito? At St. Liliana Academy there are people who wear this. So there’s only one possibility, right?”

“…You transferred schools?”

“Exactly, Akito.”

Showing me a sly chuckle, Ginbei closed one of her eyes.

“I’ve come without fail to get my revenge. You, of course, haven’t forgotten ’bout it, right?”

Ah.

I’ve said something like that, right.

Something like that she’d pay me back twice-fold, that she’d prepare for a proper full-scale review of my actions, and that before long she’d come to visit.

“I swear… Just what part of that is ‘playful revenge’? I think my heart stopped there for a second. Gimme a break, please.”

“Yep. First of all, I wanted to scare you so much that your very foundation’s shakin’. If it didn’t, my ruse would’ve been for naught.”

“One of your bad points is that you like pulling pranks.”

“No need to worry ’bout it. By and large the target of my pranks was mostly you.”

“That’s even worse! I mean, didn’t you say stuff like, ‘Won’t you come back here?’, over and over again? So all of that was a bluff… Ah, I give up, that’s just how you are…”

“H-Hold on a second! Please stop there!”

At that point, my suddenly flustered sister jumped in:

“Onii-chan, is that the person that you had talked about the other day…?”

“Ah, sorry, let me introduce you. That’s Sawatari Ginbei Haruomi, a good friend of mine. At the Kyoto residence – when I was with the Takanomiyas – we got along quite well. It’s just like you heard, it seems that from today on Ginbei’ll be a student of this academy. Well, now that I think about it… Gin comes from a pretty complicated household, you shouldn’t have been able to transfer schools that easily and in such a short time―”

“No, I understand that part, but there’s something more important besides that!”

“Ah, yeah, yeah. Ginbei’s actually of Scandinavian descent even though the name suggests otherwise. The appearance doesn’t quite tell but Gin’s completely Japanese by heart, it’s just that there were certain family circumstances that caused―”

“Not that! Although I’m a bit interested in that part, there’s something even more important!”

“Something even more important?”

“You friend – Ginbei’s a girl, you know?!”

“Eh?”

…Ah.

I see.

That had been careless of me.

For me it has been something obvious, I might’ve left out an explanation on that part.

Going by her name and way of talking, one might think that she was some houseboy from the Meiji era, but Sawatari Ginbei Haruomi was a full-fledged woman.

Well, she had good looks and personality, she could sometimes be a bit too suspicious of things, but that had probably been caused by her family circumstances and such―

“Now then.”

Well, that’s been said, so please don’t worry about it too much.

Then my close friend put on that slightly cynical smile she was known for and faced both Nasuhara-san and Nikaido-san.

“Pleased to meet you, esteemed acquaintances of Akito. Although it might look like this, Akito’s and mine relationship’s rather close. I’ve no intention to behave like a sister-in-law, but I find it kinda hard to just shut my eyes in front of this ownership debate.”

“Whoa now, Ginbei.”

She started off rather harsh with that people she was meeting for the first time. If I wouldn’t cut in here, things’d turn for the ugly.

“Why are you getting so belligerent all of a sudden? I mean, you’re in my shoes here – well, no, actually you’re in worse shoes, you don’t have anyone you know in this academy, right? You should try and get on good terms with everyone, it’s a rare opportunity.”

“True that. However, I can’t concede in this kinda situation. Like that, there are things I won’t stand down in and things I’m unable to hold myself back from.”

“…I see. Ehm, okay.”

As Gin drew that conclusion with a strong tone, I was embarrassed but also moved.

I continued with heartfelt admiration:

“Thank you, Ginbei. For all you’ve done for me. You’ve always been like that, huh? Always worrying about me and now you even went as far as transferring schools for me. You’ve ignored all my objections and came to put a halt to all of this. I’m truly grateful. I’m honored to have a friend like you.”

“…Yare, yare.”

Despite my speech, Ginbei sighed for some reason and shook her head.

And then, with a stunned expression on her face, she muttered:

“You’re always treatin’ me so cruelly. When a girl goes to the far-off east on her own chasin’ after someone, just what do you think that means? I guess this proves that denseness isn’t curable. You’re a pretty good example for that, if I do say so myself. Well, that’s just the way Akito is, I guess…”

“Eh? What? I couldn’t hear you very well.”

“It’s nothing. I was just talking to myself. Anyways, I’m―”

“Hahaha. Good, ain’t it? So good!”

With that, Nikaido-san cut in with a hearty laugh.

“Seems things are gettin’ more and more interestin’, aren’t they? Well, well, fact is, I love exactly that kinda development… ‘N all of that this early in the day of the opening ceremony… It’s effing wonderful!”

Seemingly pleased, she stretched her shoulder and then looked around.

Nasuhara Anastasia.

Sawatari Ginbei Haruomi.

She surveyed them in that order and continued:

“What mah lover said aside, three beautiful women in a similar situation meet – just like destiny. Anyways, this talk ain’t somethin’ that’d be done in a day or two. Let’s put the freakin’ talk for later. Some female bondin’ will come first… What’cha thinkin’? Eh?”

“That sounds good.”

Nasuhara-san nodded her head in agreement.

“We’re mutual enemies. I’m not sure if there’d be any gain if we deepened our relationships. I, however, agree that there’s no benefit in fighting right now.”

“I’m also agreein’.”

Ginbei also voiced her agreement and continued:

“I’m a freshman and don’t know much about here. I tried to prepare for the lessons as good as I could, but this academy has some unwritten, peculiar rules and manners I gotta follow, right? Facin’ that fact, I’d totally appreciate any help and instruction I can get.”

“‘Kay, ain’t we good to go then?”

The smile on her face grew increasingly more profound and so Nikaido-san clapped both of her hands together.

“Gotta leave this stuff here alone for now. Aight, let’s put the formalities aside and go for a drink, let’s all exchange drinks together while we’re at it. Like that, it’ll be the fastest way to deepen our friendship, don’t’cha think?”

“President, what are you going to do about the opening ceremony?”

“Didn’t I just say we’re puttin’ the formalities aside, vice prez? We’ll skip it, of course.”

“So you’re sayin’ we should skip a formal event and go drink Sake… Kinda shockin’ to hear somethin’ like that at, as far as I’ve heard, a leading prestigious school.”

“Hahaha. What’cha sayin’, Ginbei-san? I can’t remember mentionin’ anythin’ ’bout Sake. ‘N anyway, the most important thing here’s to have a full-fledged life. People who can’t who can’t do anythin’ but to study aren’t fit for this academy. When it’s time to work, then work. When it’s time to let loose, though, ya gotta let loose. Ya need to know how to balance those two with skill, ya know?”

Somehow it seemed like the matter had been resolved.

“Alright, now that that’s settled… strike the iron while it’s hot! Let’s head for the student council room at once―”

“STOOOOOOOOOP! STOP, STOP, STOP!”

Well, she probably had the right to cut in by now.

My completely ignored sister finally got enough of all of this and let out a yell.

“Hold on a second! Just because I remained silent doesn’t mean you can just keep me out of this! Why wasn’t I asked to take part in such an important conversation?! No matter how you look at it, it’s beyond weird, isn’t it?!”

“What’cha talkin’ ’bout?”

“What are you going on about?”

“What are you talkin’ about?”

Nikaido-san, Nasuhara-san, and Ginbei-san.

All three of their voices rang clearly.

“Haven’t we talked ’bout this earlier? Yer Himenokouji Akito’s little sister, aren’t’cha?”

“I believe I said from the start that your inclusion hasn’t to be considered at all. Things would only get complicated if you joined in, so please keep yourself out of this.”

“You’re Akito’s little sister. I wanna respect your opinion as much as I can. But you need to know your place. You understand, right?”

“It’s not like that!”

My sister fought back desperately.

“The love between Onii-chan and I is the real deal! In the face of our true love, taboos don’t mean a thing! Something like blood-relationship is nothing but a trivial matter!”

“That’s absurd, don’t’cha think?” Nikaido-san said.

“That trivial matter’s something pretty decisive, don’t you agree?” Nasuhara-san said.

“Please have some common sense.” Ginbei-san said.

“That’s not how it is! It’s not like that!”

My currently overwhelmingly disadvantaged sister looked like a child which was about ready to cry and continued with:

“The bond between Onii-chan and I is nothing like that! Since we were born we’ve always been – with the exception of the time we were separated due to our families – we’ve always been together! The time we’ve spent together isn’t just for show! Onii-chan has protected me from bullies, he ate the celery I didn’t like, on nights I couldn’t sleep he’d lay in bed with me until I fell asleep after all – and also, he honored his promise to find a way for us to live together again! It’s only natural for me to have my emotions sprout beyond what siblings could have!”

“If ya ain’t pretendin’, then…”

While shrugging her shoulders, Nikaido-san continued:

“…why don’t’cha try askin’ ya older brother himself? That’d settle things way faster.”

“A-Ask Onii-chan?”

It seemed like it was my turn again after a long period of silence.

Nikaido-san, Nasuhara-san, and Ginbei.

Their gazes were focused on me.

“Onii-chan…?”

I stared directly back into her eyes.

I started speaking slowly, so that I wouldn’t fumble with my words.

“You’re a good girl, you know?”

“R-Really…?”

“Really. You’re obedient, honest, and cheerful – you listen to everything I say, and you do things without me even asking. If you’re not a good girl, then who is?”

“So I’ve lived up to Onii-chans expectations…?”

“Of course. You did way beyond my expectations. And you’re not only a good girl, you’re a cute one as well.”

“Really?!”

“Really. Your smile’s cute. And it’s cute that whenever you laugh, your teeth are showing. How your eyes give off that slightly vivid yet soft feel is cute, and how your bangs collect in uniform just like a straight line – it’s cute as well. Your energetic way to walk’s cute, how your back’s perfectly straight when you sit’s cute. And how you easily start sulking’s cute, and so’s the way you quickly recover your sunny nature. I’ve always treasured you.”

“Wawa― Saying something like that, wawa―”

“I love you, Akiko.”

“I-I love you as well! I, too, have always loved Onii-cha―”

“Although it’s still nothing more than the love of an older brother for his younger sister.”

“UWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.”

Her sparkling expression changed completely.

An expression of despair showed on my sister’s face, somewhat like manga characters you’d see with that glass mask[7] expression.

“Onii-chan, you dummy! Meanie! I don’t care anymore! Fumyaaaaaaaaaaa!”

She ran off crying.

…Hm.

Did I overdo it?

Ah well, it’s fine. It was just a somewhat harsher scolding.

Hopefully denying my sister’s bro-con-ness in public like this won’t cause any unexpected consequences in our school lives.

Or wait, where’s she running off anyway? The opening ceremony’s about to start, isn’t it?

“And that’s that, ain’t it?”

Nikaido-san said with a face by which one could tell that she didn’t really care about this small incident at all.

“Let’s go someplace else. The student council room has everythin’ we need. It’s mah fortress, ya know? …Alright, bystanders, show’s over. Break it up, break it up, yer not gonna be in time for the openin’ ceremony, aight?”

“I don’t believe that this is something you should say when you’re about to skip the opening ceremony yourself. However, this time we’re of one mind.”

“Oh, as expected of the vice, ya switched gears pretty quickly. I love that trait of ya. If ya ever became mah lover, then I’d have nothin’ to complain.”

“Hmph. I’ve never imagined that things’d turn out like this… So that’s part of this academy too? And here I put in effort to transfer… Wonder whether that was the right thing to do after all…”

“Hahaha. Ya pretty quick on the uptake, aren’t’cha, Ginbei-san? Yer still a freshman, and yet ya’ve managed to keep yer composure in front of mah student council members, that’s a rare talent, ya know? What do ya say? The treasurer spot’s still open, if yer inclined to do it, then―”

For some reason those three girls seemed to really hit it off with each other.

The three of them left side by side with an unexpectedly harmonious atmosphere among them, whilst ignoring the mountain of bystanders (and me).

 

*

 

I should apologize for the violation of the announcement from earlier.

‘This is a story about the peaceful, trouble-free daily life of an older brother and a younger sister who were separated for a while because of certain circumstances and then unexpectedly reunited to live under the same roof again. With that said, we’re done with the introduction and can carry on with my uninteresting story.’

That’s what I had planned originally. But before I realized it, things turned out to be completely different instead.

The student council president whose behavior honors her name.

The vice president who’s said to be hard to get along with.

The treasurer (or more like candidate?) who’s my friend and has a skin so thick that doesn’t compare to anyone.

The secretary who happens to be my misfortunate little sister.

And last but not least me, who had luck that was bad enough to become an underling of the student council before I could realize it.

I must make an announcement with great regret.

The probability that I could continue a peaceful and ordinary life was lower than winning the lottery, being the owner of a racehorse, or conquering the world.

With an appearance and grades that are the average of the average, a person like me, who doesn’t even have a single shred of boldness within his heart, who doesn’t hold any secret abilities – this whole matter put me in a dire situation.

I wouldn’t want to spend the remaining two-thirds of my high school life stormy and filled with drama like this for anything in the world. My plan was to live together with my sister – for that alone I’ve exhausted efforts worth a lifetime. That workload had been nothing but agony for me.

Still, it’s not like I’d given up already.

When it came to my will to do something about things, even while I was surrounded by rich people who were fighting like cats and dogs… I wasn’t done for just yet.

Living each and every day in peacefulness – that’s the one tough demand I wished to see through. From this day onward, I’d devote my whole life to make that happen.

Consequently, there was still one secret that I absolutely had to keep hidden.

Everyone – even the Arisugawa and Takanomiya Families – firmly believed without a shred of doubt that my sister and I were blood-related. However, the ‘facts’ that had been written in the family registers weren’t exactly true.

My sister and I were ought to be fraternal twins… Truth is, we actually weren’t blood-related at all, we had both been born from completely different people.

I’d keep this matter, which could easily destroy my ‘ordinary everyday life’, hidden deep within my chest. And with that, I’ll end it for now.

 

If fate allows it, let us meet again.

 

Translator notes and references

[1]‘Gakuran’: Traditional male uniform of middle/high school students. Long black coat with collar standing up and loose trousers.

[2]You probably heard it in an anime already. Can mean “Jeez” or “Enough!”. Let’s keep the moe-ness.

[3]‘Nikkei Index’: Japanese stock index.

[4]All italic from here on was written in English.

[5]All italic from here on was written in roumaji’ed, simplified Japanese.

[6]Situation normal from here on. Thanks, Akiko.

[7]A manga expression like this.