Contradiction. Hesitation. Innocent Feelings.
After school, we walked together the school route while talking about the next day's schedule.
Tomorrow after the lessons are over, we're going to western department store in Ikebukuro, to pick a present apparently. She thought of some, but she wanted me to make the final choice no matter what. If it's a gift from Mariko, I'd be happy with anything.
After returning from Ikebukuro after we decide on a gift, we're supposed to celebrate together in Mariko's house.
I've heard of it before when we talked through STRING, but Mariko's parents are scheduled to be travelling together and the little sister, Chitose-chan is staying at friend's house.
In other words, this...
N-not good. Don't be confused by Tomomi's words, me. Once again I ended up imagining Mariko's figure wrapped in a ribbon.
Serious Mariko wouldn't present herself as a gift... probably.
I felt as if fire was coming out from my face. Seeing it bright red, Mariko asked "what happened?", tilted her head and blushed.
W-why is Mariko getting embarrassed.
Uu... I've turned strangely conscious of her, unable to look at her face directly, I separated from her at usual intersection and took the road home.
When I stood in front of Yuuki's room, I realized I was relieved.
Even among the little sisters, Yuuki was the most mature one. When we first met each other we were nervous and at wit's end, but thanks to her being informal I was permeated with her kindness and consideration.
It might be strange to say this like that, but I'm not afraid of meeting her.
When I rang the interphone, Yuuki opened the door and welcomed me.
"Welcome back Nii-san."
"U-um... I'm back."
Even though I quit being her older brother, my contact with Yuuki didn't change.
When I passed through the living room and sat down on the sofa, she started making coffee in the kitchen. It felt like she was making regular coffee, but it might be because she's usually drinking instant coffee.
Before I realized, I've come to like the coffee with plenty of milk and sugar she makes.
The two of us drank coffee in silence. In relief, the time had slowly passed. Yuuki didn't say anything from herself.
"H-hey, Yuuki. I... quit being onii-chan but..."
She put the mug with black coffee on the table and lightly nodded.
"Whatever path Nii-san takes, I'll accept it."
"The path I take... o-oh, I see."
Speaking of which, the little sister selection hasn't concluded. I've been still putting it off.
I couldn't choose whether I continue being siblings or choose only one person and quit.
"I'm not going to chose any one of the little sister, you don't have to worry... it might sound weird, but don't worry for now."
Yuuki raised her eyebrows, troubled.
"T-that's included in it too, but my declaration just now... it meant I'll accept everything of Nii-san's."
"Yup. That's why today too, I'll continue as it always was. The coffee's still black. Nii-san's is milk coffee with sugar. Also, we'll spend time together. Rambling without sense. It's an incredibly happy, pleasant time for me."
"Nii-san worried about me and became my strength. I'm very grateful for that. As not to let it turn into just past, I'll continue to always, always thank Nii-san."
"B-being thanked that much actually turns really heavy!"
"So-sorry Nii-san! But, that's how much I want to thank you. That's why Nii-san... you might have thought of stopping being nii-san, but despite that thanks to Nii-san being nii-san, a little sister here was saved, I don't want you to forget that."
She smiled bashfully.
Not forcing or denying me. She just accepted me as I am. She acknowledged the effort I put into acting.
What a good girl she is. Yuuki's halo was too dazzling.
There was only one thing I could respond her with. Gratitude.
"U-um... thanks Yuuki. I too, am glad to have a little sister like you. Of course, it's not just you. Selene, Tomomi, Sayuri and Mika too, everyone is my precious little sister."
"Then, will Nii-san continue being nii-san?"
I didn't have the right to say that. Surely, Yuuki would say "no such thing" but I was afraid of being spoiled by these words.
Let's change the topic.
"H-hey, Yuuki. Look, I... in course of events ended up being onii-chan..."
"I was surprised when I suddenly learned I have a nii-san. Also, that as onee-chan I have little sisters, I was surprised... but happy. Wasn't Nii-san happy?"
"When I heard the story from Murasaki-san, it was too abstract so I didn't have time feel any emotions like happiness sprout out, I guess."
"I see. That's very much like Nii-san. Thinking ahead rather than feeling."
"You're right. I'm thinking too much."
"This time you thought too much, and your head turned too heavy, unable to hold the balance you lost support."
"With strong momentum I fell and seriously injured myself. I'm no good after all."
"You're not. Also, I don't think there's a need to force yourself to change. Nii-san just have to be himself."
If Yuuki were to become a teacher in school, she would definitely be liked.
"Be myself... huh."
"Nii-san, tomorrow, you're going to Mariko-san's place, right?"
While I felt awkward, Yuuki smiled.
"Leave Mika-chan to me!"
"Sorry... not that. Thanks, Yuuki."
"Yup yup. That's it, Nii-san. It's fine to rely on me. So, at what time will Nii-san come home? You're eating lunch with Mariko-san, right?"
"T-that's...um, how long will it take..."
"Eh? It can't be, are you staying over?!"
Yuuki's eyes opened with with surprise. Her face turned red up to her ears.
"No no no. It's just Mariko's parents and little sister being away from home... haa?!"
I ended up saying that.
"Nii-san, c-c--can it be... you're graduating from virginity?!"
"How about you're more discreteeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"
"But, that's how it is right?"
"T-that possibility... isn't non-existent but..."
Yuuki's face was completely boiling red. She had a dumbfounded expression.
"Nii-san. Make sure... uh, to w-wear the rubber thing."
"W-want to do it with me first and p-p-practice? I-if we stop halfway, it won't be a crime right?"
Did Yuuki turn into Sayuri?!!
"N-no way we can do it!"
"I-it was a joke. Oh no, Nii-san's such a pervert."
As if whispering, Yuuki muttered into my ear.
No way, to think she would say something like that... it must be the influence the sisters had on each other.
Yuuki faced down embarrassedly, then moistened mouth with coffee in her hand.
"L-let's leave stairs to adulthood aside for now... if you have any worries, you can consult any of them with me."
"It's different from a worry but, um... about Mariko... is it better if I hold hands with her?"
"You should! Nii-san has to escort her."
"I-is that so."
"Indeed, Nii-san. At times like this the man has to do it."
I had no experience holding hands with any girl other than my little sisters. I mean, even when dating Tomomi in Shibuya I felt nervous with my little sister.
"G-got it, I'll try."
"It's okay. Nii-san can do it!"
Being encouraged felt somewhat embarrassing.
"See, Nii-san already gained experience on a date with Tomomi-chan and me, so you should be confident!"
Speaking of which, I was going out with Selene too... haven't I.
There was no need to hesitate on tomorrow's date with Mariko.
"Y-yeah. Thanks for encouragement, Yuuki."
"Do your best, Nii-san!"
I drank the coffee with milk and nodded. Healed by the sweetness, I exhaled with relief.
"Nii-san, you've got a beard of milk-coffee colour."
Yuuki took out several tissues for a box and lightly touching me she wiped it off.
"I-I'm not a kid, I can do it myself!"
"It's fine isn't it. We're siblings and all."
She stared at me again.
"It's really a wonder, that we are siblings."
Yuuki was a slender and well-proportioned beauty, just by standing there she gathers a crowd. In addition to being slender she has large breasts... a-anyway, she's a conspicuous existence.
Noticing my gaze lowered a little, Yuuki hid her chest with her arm.
"I didn't mean appearance wise, I just meant there's mysterious fate!"
With my stare being found out, I responded in panic.
"Y-yeah! Fate... huh. A year ago, if I was told this will happen, I wouldn't believe it."
"I think it's the same for me. I'd be surprised to learn that I have such a wonderful Nii-san."
"I-it's embarrassing! Don't add any praises into it!"
"It's the truth and yet getting all embarrassed, Nii-san's so cute."
This is bad... no, actually there's nothing bad about it, it's just Yuuki's own pace.
"U-umm, Yuuki. I..."
"What is it, Nii-san?"
"At first... I hardly knew anything about Jinya-san, and I forgot everything from when I small... when it turned like this, I was confused."
Yuuki fell silent and waited for me to stop speaking.
"I was glad, being able to meet everyone."
"Somehow, that way of putting it feels like we won't meet again."
"I didn't intend to say that..."
Since tomorrow, I'm celebrating my birthday with Mariko, it feels like everyone is very distant.
"What about declaration of quitting being onii-chan?"
Even though everyone declared "they won't become my little sisters" it felt strange.
"Yuuki too, when I asked you to become my little sister, have said you won't."
"You're right. I guess it's still in effect."
"And yet, I"m still onii-chan, right?"
"Isn't that a contradiction?"
"It's a contradiction, but you should accept it as is. What's wrong with contradicting! So what! Kind of feeling. I like Nii-san and all my sisters. If I have to lie to these feelings in order to solve the contradiction, I'd rather accept this contradiction."
"Somehow, it's a real mess... but once said, instead it feels like a large vessel."
"Nii-san too, should enter the big bag of contradictions and get engulfed, it's fine you know?"
"Engulfed you say..."
"I think it's important."
Yuuki gently put a hand on whereabouts of her heart.
Knowing something is important and not losing sight of it, you'll somehow manage.
That's what Yuuki taught me.
Before I realized, I became her student. At times she teaches me, is taught by me, supports me and is supported by me, and so we live on. It might be normal, but I feel like I was taught the importance of it by Yuuki.
"Oh right, Nii-san! How about we go out now?"
"Where on earth?"
"If we play with her together, Mika-chan won't feel lonely any more."
"So Mika's room, huh!"
When I realized, Yuuki happily squinted.
Compensating for tomorrow... is how it turns out, I guess.
"Is that fine with you, Yuuki?"
"Nii-chan knows best, that she's the girl I like the most, right?"
"Yeah, but... is it all right?"
I was worried about intruding on Murasaki-san's schedule.
"I confirmed that Mika's free today."
Yuuki took out her smartphone and smiled. She was too skilful, as expected of the girl Mika loves a lot.
"Let's go then, Yuuki."
"Yup! Let's go Nii-san!"
We lef the room together and got down to the second floor on elevator together.
As we stood side by side in front of Mika's room, I rang the interphone.
Mika immediately opened the door and smiled to me and Yuuki.
"Yay! It's Nii-chama and Nee-chamaa. You really came, Mii-chan is thrilled. But, is it really fine, Nee-chama?"
Erasing her smile, Mika looked up at Yuuki anxiously.
"Since I'm intruding together with Nii-chan, I won't think "Nii-chan was taken!". More than that, spending time with Mika-chan makes me happy."
If I was a girl and Yuuki a boy, I would fall for her, that's how strong her handsome power is.
"Same for me. That's why there's nothing for Mika to worry about."
Mika jumped happily in the front doors.
"Then, theen, together! Four of us together!"
"Me, Mika and Yuuki... f-four?!
I turned around and confirmed in a hurry. There was no one in the apartment's hallway. It can't be, meanwhile Murasaki-san has...
Yuuki nodded to Mika with a smile.
"That's right. Mika, Nii-san, me and Maple makes four."
Ahh, what, she meant Maple. I'm a bit too scared of Murasaki-san, aren't I.
Mika let us pass through, and I went with Yuuki to the living room.
Speaking of which, although the weekend we're together, spending weekdays like this is a first time. Being with Mika and Yuuki together felt fresh.
In the living room, on the stool, sat Maple.
"Maple is sleepy today. Good night."
Mika took Maple in her hands and dragged him to the bedroom.
From the bedroom's direction we could hear her voice.
"C'mon, from here on it's adult's time, it's too early for Maple. Also, staying up late is against beauty and health, right?"
It seems like she was having a hard time persuading him. Still, Maple's setting had changed into something strange again...
After a while, Mika returned to the living room with look of accomplishment on her face. Yuuki asked.
"Did Maple go to sleep properly?"
"He diiid. His sleepiness is way too awesome."
"If he's that sleepy, it's better if he sleeps, right."
While speaking with Mika, Yuuki happily squinted. I need to do some work too, I guess.
"Sit down you two."
As I headed to kitchen, Yuuki called out to me.
"It's fine Nii-san, I'll do it."
I turned around and spoke to her as if pleading to her.
"Let me do it from time to time. Please."
"Will you be all right, Nii-san?"
"Making cocoa is simple enough."
I warmed up milk in the range in the kitchen then made instant cocoa.
With three cups of cocoa lined up on the tray, I returned to living room.
Mika and Yuuki were singing together on sofa in the living room.
"What taste will Nii-chama's cocoa have〜〜♪."
"Surely a gentle taste〜〜♪."
These were some extremely embarrassing lyrics. Unfamiliar with such happy feelings, I felt awkward.
"I have kept you waiting, Milady. Princess. I have prepared cocoa."
As I quietly put cocoa on the table, Mika opened her eyes wide.
"M-Mii-chan's milady? Princess? W-which is it?"
Yuuki folded her hands and thought.
"Hmm, which is it I wondeer."
Mika nodded with cocoa cup in her hands.
"Nii-chama, Yuuki-neechama is like a prince, isn't she."
Suddenly, the talk turned into a strange direction.
My reply was stuck in my throat, when I turned my line of sight, unexpectedly Yuuki was agitated by what Mika said.
"I-I-I'm a prince?! And here I thought I raised my girl powerr."
"Don't get depressed, Yuuki! It was my mistake now. Both of you are princesses."
Mika said "I see, Nii-chama's so careless" and laughed innocently.
Yuuki was also relieved.
Sipping her cocoa, Mika proposed to me and Yuuki.
"Umm, you know! Mii-chan wants to take a bath together today, with three of us!"
Yuuki's face turned red.
"T-three of us... siblings alone..."
She soundly swallowed saliva. This is where I need to interrupt as older brother.
"Hey, Mika. As expected, the three of us is a little..."
Mika puffed up her cheek, it looked like a baked rice cake.
"Eeee! But Nii-chama took a bath with me before."
Yuuki's ears twitched. She leaned towards me, who was sitting on the stool.
"What does that mean, Nii-san?!"
"Umm, by that, you mean?"
"Did you bath?! Did you take a bath with Mika-chan?!"
Thoroughly, she asked me twice. I guess I need to answer honestly. And, about the time I thought that, Mika smiled happily.
"That's right. Nii-chama did work with shampoo. After that, um, Mii-chan's boobies are flat so there's no need for bra and I was made to go into bath for hundred count."
"Nii-san! T-that's no good!"
"W-what's no good..."
"I-I'm o-outrageously envious! Nii-san!"
She was disturbed to the point her tone changed... when it comes to Mika, Yuuki actually changes into a different person.
Mika stared alternately at mine and Yuuki's face.
"Then then, let's enter together three of us?"
Yuuki's face went *paaaaaa*! And started emitting heat.
"M-Mika-chan, t-that's um... err..."
"Yuuki-neechama, do you hate Nii-chama? You don't want to take a bath together, yet Mii-chan is forcing you?"
Hearing Mika worry about that, Yuuki held down her own cheeks with both hands and shook her head sideways.
"I-I like Nii-san! It's because I like him that it's troubling."
"Yuuki-neechama is strange. Nii-chama will of course enter bath, right?"
Ugh... this is where it gets stormy... heck, I'm minding others again.
That's not it. If I speak with Mika properly, she'll understand.
By believing others, we can face each other. I need to speak with her honestly here.
"We can't go in the three of us."
"Did you go to a public bath, hot spring or a bathhouse before?"
"I know what are they!"
"Adult men and women go into bath separately."
I don't think it's on purpose, but her way of mistaking it is really risqué.
"Uhh, that's not it... anyway, when you turn into an adult, a woman being seen naked by a man is extremely embarrassed. That's why men and women are separated in bath."
Mika tilted her head.
"Haa. Is that soo. It's slightly hard to understand for Mii-chan."
She spoke strangely like Murasaki-san does. And then, noticing something, Mika opened her eyes wide in surprise.
"Does that mean, Mii-chan is still a child?!"
Troubled, Yuuki raised her eyebrows.
"It might be so."
"Kyaa! How embarrassing! Mii-chan is so embarrassed for being seen by Nii-chama."
Then she strangely screamed. So that's how much she wanted to be recognized as an adult.
I continued towards her.
"It can't be helped then. Mika's an adult lady, so there's no way you'll enter bath with me."
"Ah... y-yup. Mii-chan won't repeat herself. I'll enter bath alone."
Regretfully and sad, Mika lowered her shoulders. Somehow, it was a pitiful deployment as well. All right, let's do it like this.
"But, both Mika and Yuuki are girls, if you two girls enter bath, it won't be embarrassing, right?"
Mika's smile, dazzling like the sun had returned.
"Is Nii-chama a genius?"
"Genius sounds like too much, but I think it's a good idea myself. Yuuki, it's fine isn't it?"
When I turned my gaze towards Yuuki again... with tears in her eyes and red up to her ears, she was trembling.
Mika stared anxiously at Yuuki's face.
"Nee-chama, are you okay?!"
"I-II'm a'all right! If anything, I'm turning really healthy!"
After exhaling with relief, Mika stared at my face next.
"Nii-chama, Mii-chan climbed the stairs to adulthood."
Umm... since she knows being seen naked by a man is embarrassing... I guess.
"Y-you're right. You grew significantly."
"It's like impressive, very distinguished. Anyway, I'm impressed by how amazing Mika is."
"So it's that much."
Ehhen, Mika puffed up her flat chest. And then continued calmly.
"Mii-chan loves Nii-chama."
"Mika... w-what are you saying suddenly here?"
"Because she loves Nii-chama, she wants to cheer him on."
"Mii-chan heard a lot for Nee-chamas. Yuuki-neechama, Selene-neechama, Tomomi-neechama and Sayuri-neeechama, they all cheer for Nii-chama, so do your best. Mii-chan is the same. That's why next Mii-chan wants to cheer Nii-chama on."
Yuuki gently embraced Mika from behind, wrapping around under Mika's arms.
"That's right Mika-chan. I feel the same. Mika-chan is still an elementary schooler, but to be able to cheer Nii-san on, you're amazing."
Mika nodded with a big smile.
"Yup! 'Cause, Mii-chan is lady! That's why, take care tomorrow Nii-chama! In exchange, give some service today!"
Service, just where did she learn that word...
She forgave me for spending tomorrow with Mariko.
The stabbing I've felt in my heart the entire time felt like it's being washed away.
It's not just Mika.
From Selene, Tomomi, Sayuri, Yuuki too.
I felt everyone encouraging me.
"G-got it! I'll do anything today! I'll service you with my body on the line!"
She nodded, and immediately made a request.
"Then then, continuation of playing house. Mii-chan will be mom, Yuuki-neechama will be dad instead of Maple. Nii-chama's eldest son!"
On that day, I played house until Mika got tired of it. In the middle of it Yuuki had gotten really into it and the two acted unexpectedly excited, until it was time for their bath, I continued with the role of the eldest son.