Serious. Devotion. Course Counselling.
Mariko still had her good mood from yesterday and smiled more than usual.
Since the person her little sister Chitose-chan likes is an idol singer, her worries were gone... what's this? Mariko ended up saying "I might have been an overprotective sister", but I had no idea how to reply to it.
My history of being 'onii-chan' is just one month. On the other hand, Mariko's history as a sister was more than ten years.
The time spent together with little sisters... with family... is irrelevant! I was unable to assert myself that. We were still strangers last month.
Still, I want to give them something.
As I vaguely thought of that, Mariko started to talk with me about homework.
And that this entire time the reply for question what I would like to eat was on hold.
Seeing me in thoughts worried, Mariko said "request accepted" and smiled. Somehow I felt like I did something bad to her all the time.
In the end what was she making, even as I asked she wouldn't tell me. It was too late.
Really... what's going on.
Just, Mariko didn't show any signs of anger, any signs of sadness, she continued to smile and didn't pursue the topic.
In the first place it was my fault for not deciding on it. And yet, it was strange to hear that the request was accepted despite that.
I went home while still worried about Mariko's case.
Today Yuuki was waiting for me in her room. While she was happy, I worried that the case with club tour might not have worked.
"Welcome back Nii-san. Now, come enter."
When I passed by the living room and sat down on the sofa, Yuuki immediately made me coffee. Even without asking for it, she made me one with milk and plenty of sugar.
Yuuki sat down with a mug of black coffee and stared at me.
"I have a report for Nii-san today."
Her eyes sparkled.
That's great. It seems like the club tour was successful.
"It looks like something good happened?"
"Yep! Actually I was given a tour of the tea ceremony club."
As she flashed a smile, happy I ended up smiling myself.
"Ohh. That's nice. Weren't you nervous to stay with girls?"
"I-I did my best. I think it's also thanks to Nii-san's and everyone."
Yuuki faced down a little embarrassed, shyly.
She was honest, gentle and innocent. Although she tends to be reserved, Yuuki is a really good girl. Unintentionally, the fondness towards my little sister turned into worldly desires.
"So, how was the tour?"
"I've been treated to green tea and sweets. While simple, I was also taught tea etiquette. The tea ceremony seems formal, traditional and stuffy but everyone is a good person, they welcomed me."
I'm relieved Yuuki was able to do well.
"I see. You did well, Yuuki."
"It's thanks to Nii-san encouraging me. And so, Nii-san... I'm thinking of entering a club once I enrol in high school."
Yuuki too is trying to take a step forward. As her brother I need to support her.
"There's a lot of various clubs, are you going to enter tea ceremony club?"
She raised her eyebrows, troubled.
"To polish my insufficient girl power, I think a feminine club would be better, right?"
"I sure would like to see your appearance during tea ceremony. The kimono would surely fit you well."
Suddenly, Yuuki turned red up to her ears.
"T-tt-that's impossible. There's no way a kimono would suit me."
"There's no need to panic so much."
"B-bubut... there's no way, Nii-san."
Yuuki appealed to me with tears in her eyes.
"Are you bad with kimonos?"
"T-they say J-Japanese clothing doesn't suit big breasts... not that, a-actually... I'm bad with seiza. My feet get numb and I can't stand. Today too, during the tea ceremony club they had to massage my feet... it makes me embarrassed."
What specific person... rather, I think normally one can get accustomed to sitting in seiza...
"I'm no good with it either, so I have nothing to say in response. Ah! What about the tea itself?"
"I still like coffee more, I guess."
Maybe Yuuki was too hooked onto coffee to do tea ceremony.
"W-well there's that. I don't know well myself and only have an image, but in tea ceremony rather than drink tea by yourself it's more about serving the visitors entertaining them with beautiful etiquette. The spirit of hospitality, kind of thing."
"I-is that so. Yeah... hospitality is very feminine isn't it. And yet I... was completely unable to welcome..."
Yuuki got depressed?!
Seems like I made a mistake in how lead the topic.
The club activities weren't limited to cultural-types.
"Oh right! If its you, aren't sport clubs all right? Since you're tall you might be welcomed in basketball or volleyball clubs."
"I only did it in gym class before, is it all right for a novice to start from high school? I'm worried that I'll hold them back."
She's modest, but as I thought, she holds back too much.
I want Yuuki to have more confidence.
"Everyone is a beginner when they first start something, I don't think it's too late in high school. Not hiding anything, I too, am just a novice onii-chan with less than a month practice."
Yuuki suddenly burst laughing.
"Fufufu! ...ah., sorry Nii-san. I was surprised since you said something strange."
"It's not that strange is it. Oh, that's right! How about a drama club?"
"M-me in a play?! I can't do it!"
"No no, I don't think you should say it's impossible right from the start. I mean, you can do either a man or woman's role."
Her ponytail shook to left and right like a dog's tail.
"Whether a man's role or woman's role, it's impossible for me to act in front of public in the first place!"
"I think having courage is a good thing. Also, plays aren't just the actors, there's also work behind scenes right? Like setting up lighting, sound effects and costumes. Also, small and large props. There's a lot of roles, you might find something that interests you, Yuuki."
"You know a lot Nii-san, you're amazing after all."
It's troubling if you look at me with so much respect, Yuuki-san.
"I'm not that knowledgeable."
"Um... drama club is good, but what other club activities are there? In high school there's probably a lot more club activities than in middle school, right?"
That was true, but what was the club Yuuki would be able to live fulfilling high school life in? Since I, in the first place didn't participate in club activities in my middle school either I was unable to give her any advice...
Speaking of which, in the middle school's student council I spoke with various people in charge of various clubs and also attended in club presidents' meeting on behalf of the student council president.
In the middle school there was the baseball club, tennis club, soccer club as well as track and field club. From the arts, there was brass band... hmm, what kind of club could capitalize on Yuuki's talents?
Since it felt like Yuuki would be able to do well in any kind of club, there was no special "this is it!" I could think of.
"I-in any case! If it's you, whether sports or cultural ones, I think you'll be able to do well in any of them, Yuuki. I guarantee that."
You can do anything! That kind of advice was no good. Still, Yuuki smiled in return.
"Thanks, Nii-san. Oh right, tell me about your middle school days, Nii-chan."
Yuuki nodded deeply.
"I'd like to know for reference."
"While I did recommend you club activities Yuuki, I actually haven't entered any club myself."
"Eh?! I-is that so."
As her eyes rounded in shock, I continued.
"But I did enter student council. I helped out with chores as the first year and eventually I've become the student council's vice president."
"So not the president but the vice-president. I'm surprised there was someone more talented than Nii-san."
She let out a sigh with a shocked expression.
"Hey hey, what did you think I am."
"A wonderful Nii-san who thinks of his little sisters, of course!'
Yuuki is too honest, she's a girl immune to sarcasm.
She really did admire me... ahh, how frustrating. My heart hurts.
I'm not the person Yuuki respects. Rather, I'm mostly incompetent piece of junk. Sorry.
And, as I started to depreciate myself unable to find balance in my mind, Yuuki continued to stare straight at me.
Please stop! My own worthlessness is going to make me drop dead!
I lowered my shoulders and started making excuses.
"U-uhhh... thanks to leading the juniors in the student council, I'm able to speak with Yuuki normally, I mean... back then I was in charge of the juniors for which I was complimented by president. But, that was about it, even after I became vice president nothing changed from what I did since first year, I'm not a respectable person you think I am. The ones deserving respect are those people who stand above and make the decisions."
Thinking of it now, back then the student council president pushed all the work with juniors on me.
Thanks to that when I suddenly got five little sisters, I was somehow able to act like their onii-chan... I think. There's a lot I still can't do though.
I'm convinced now, was written on Yuuki's face.
"So Nii-san is so caring because you have experience, right. As I thought, you're amazing."
"Don't praise me! It's embarrassing!"
Yuuki lightly shook her head and ponytail.
"I'll praise Nii-san lots. Since Nii-san always praises me, I want to return a little of it. Nii-san is very caring, good at making curry... and... c-cool."
Her blushing face was incredibly feminine and sweet.
When we're alone, from time to time this expression Yuuki makes has my heart skip a beat.
Even though she says she's lacking in femininity, Yuuki is a gem with hidden girl power. From some of the polished spots she's already starting to shine through.
Red up to her ears, she repeated in panic.
"I-it's true. Nii-san is really, really cool!"
"T-thanks! B-but let's stop this! Any more and it'll get dangerous!"
As we complimented each other, the atmosphere turned really strange. Also, the hurdle was raised too high. Unable to live up to Yuuki's expectations I'll start feeling increasingly useless.
The "be confident" I said to Yuuki had returned like a boomerang and pierced me... I guess.
"Hey, Yuuki. Do you dislike being praised by me? Doesn't it turn into pressure?"
"I-it was embarrassing at times, but I never disliked it before. It's because Nii-san is a good person. I was really happy."
Yuuki made a carefree smile and like that, she continued.
"I look up to Nii-san, I think that's why I honour you."
"I mean, Nii-san too has his high school life, that life might be over as soon as tomorrow or there's a possibility it'll continue until next week, or the week after that. So, since Nii-san has friends, if you want to go somewhere with them after school, get along... I'd like you not to worry about me and just do it."
Leaning forward, Yuuki seriously peeked into my face.
"We'll meet on Saturday and Sunday, it's my decision. I want Nii-san to spend his time meaningfully. Of course, if you have no other plans I'll gladly welcome you."
Mariko's face floated in my mind. Since Yuuki proposed it herself, if such an opportunity came I'll take her up on her words.
"Well then, today I'll make curry and Nii-san will be the one eating!"
With that said, Yuuki started to prepare dinner.
The secret ingredient of her curry, was somehow just like I imagined... the instant coffee.