Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
… Good, we can keep a normal conversation.
I feel my heart clench as I showed my younger brother, Tatsumi, around the school… This clenching, this discomfort probably came from that day.
The day I rejected him.
It was when he was just 10 years old. Mom had come late from work, so I took care of him. I never once thought it was burdensome to do so. I really loved him…
That day, I took him out to a neighborhood park so he could play around. There were other children there, all playing joyfully. However, I noticed a group of five kids making a lot of noise, all while surrounding another one.
… It was bullying.
Having a strong sense of justice ever since I can remember, I could not let it go, so I just ran up to them so I could stop the bullying. I felt I had to do the right thing, as well as meet the expectations of those around me.
Naturally, the five bullies retaliated, and the kid who looked like the leader raised his hand against me. It was at that moment Tatsumi stepped in. He fought desperately to protect me.
… And I was happy.
I watched him fight five on one, feeling like a princess being protected by a knight in shining armor. But my awe soon transformed into fear upon looking at my brother’s eyes.
I could almost swear they changed color. His eyes turned to those of a predator, and an eerie smile crept up his face, almost like a waning moon. It looked like he was reveling in violence, ecstatic with fighting.
Even though the five bullies surrendered, Tatsumi did not stop his hands. He was too far gone. Meanwhile, I couldn’t watch that display any longer, and called out to him, all in hopes he’d finally stop.
“Tatsumi, that’s enough! Don’t go any further!”
My voice made him stop his hands, and he turned around to face me.
“… Big… sis?”
He had such a lost look in his eyes, and they were so dull, so unfocused. Yet they carried such a violent ember within. Upon seeing those two vile eyes, I yelped and backed away. I was just too frightened.
Seeing me so afraid, he wondered if I was injured somewhere. Worried, he reached out his hand to me and said, “It’s okay, big… sis…”
“—! G–Get away from me!”
And with a thud, I slapped his hand away. That hand, so full of good intentions. From that day onward, I barely spoke to him.
I just couldn’t forget the look on his face, the ember in his eyes. Though guilt from slapping him away also consumed me. Still, I wanted to talk to him properly, to apologize for rejecting his concern. All I wanted to say was “Thank you for protecting me.”
But I couldn’t. I noticed he started avoiding me. After all, I’d pushed him away with such a desperate look in my eyes. I didn’t want him to hate me, so I didn’t force myself to talk to him either.
This relationship has been going on for years now, and it got even worse when he entered junior high. These days he doesn’t even come home often. Worry about him going away consumed me, and I was scared I’d never see him again.
That’s why I was ecstatic when I found out we’d go to the same high school. Even if we’re not home together, we could still be at school with one another. We could see each other whenever we wanted to.
Now that we had that in common, I’d love to take the opportunity and talk to him once more.
For example, “I’d like to show you around the school.” Yes, let’s start there!
Would giving him a tour around on his first day be good? Where should we go, the cafeteria? The library? Or would he prefer the infirmary? Either way, I’d have lunch with him every day from now on.
After school, we can read or study together at the library. If he ever gets sick, I’ll take him to the nurse’s office and take care of him. I’ll even introduce him to everyone in the student council, and proclaim that he’s my little bro to everyone!
It would be amazing to have him join the council. That way, we’d be able to spend even more time together. Yes, that’s one hell of an idea, even coming from me.
Then afterward we’ll have the sports and the cultural festival. I even wonder if we can go on a trip together… Maybe I could even help him study for the tests. No, he’s smart so he doesn’t need it…
In that case, I’ll have him help me study! I’d deliberately drop my grades and then we could do that… After that, we could go to and from school together every single day, talking about class, like how was it? Did you make any friends? Did you manage to score a girlfriend—
I imagined something unpleasant… I shouldn’t, but I’m always thinking a lot of dumb things.
—Shuri is a talented girl, recognized by everyone as being intelligent and talented. Her sense of humor was also praised to no end. Yet, when it came to her little brother, Tatsumi, she instantly became unapologetically clumsy.
That was an unconscious reaction to her loneliness, a seed planted after many years of being separated from him.
Normally, she managed to contain these bursting feelings, pushing them to the back of her mind so that they wouldn’t overflow.
Her thinking, “Good, we can keep a normal conversation”, doesn’t mean that she and her brother were now able to talk, even if for a bit. No, it meant that she was able to talk to him without going off the rails.
At this rate, one could only wonder what would happen if he did manage to get a girlfriend…
Well, if Tatsumi’s happy, all is well…
Just imagining him with another girl made my insides boil with disgust, but as long as he was happy, I’d be fine with it.
But not THAT girl! The only one I WON’T accept is that wench that betrayed Tatsumi!
I heard from neighbors that she was enrolling in this school. The reason I insisted Tatsumi would come early, and that I’d show him around, is that he wouldn’t end up seeing her.
… Correction: I was excited to be with him, too.
Anyway! I have to make sure they don’t meet until the ceremony starts.
But worst of all, she’s in the same class as Tatsumi, 1-B. When I checked the list earlier this morning I saw her name written there. In any case, it’s inevitable they’ll end up meeting unless things change.
I’ll have to think on ways to prevent these two from contacting each other.
“… In the meantime, I should talk with the principal to see if he can change Tatsumi’s classes… With his academic prowess, isn’t it possible for him to skip a grade? And if so, I can ask for him to be put in my class… Worst case scenario, I should consider locking him up…”
—Shuri kept mumbling to herself until Tatsumi called out to her.
“… Um, sis?”
“Eh?! Yeah, what’s wrong?”
“It’s just that you’ve been mumbling for quite a bit…”
“It’s fine… I was just thinking about something.”
“Really? Well, that’s fine.”
Shuri turned forward again, her eyes resolute, determined to accomplish what she’s been planning.
Don’t worry… I’ll protect you, Tatsumi.
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