Chapter 1: Prologue

It was 8:34 and Akihito's finally done his shift for the day. He let out a satisfied moan while stretching his aching muscles and yawn loudly. His shift starts a little earlier tomorrow. Since the manager herself personally requested it, he couldn't say no. The manager could be tiresome, but Akihito won't complain because Mcdonald's the only one that would and actually hired him. Despite the busy rush hour, hot and cramped workspace, and know-it-all coworkers, he love his job. It wasn't the best, but it was enough for him to get by. It was getting dark and chilly so Akihito got on his bike and bike home as fast as he could to catch some shut eye.

He open the door and was greeted with the sight of his sister snoozing at the dining table, with dinner already cooked and wrapped up, obviously waiting for him. His face soften.

"Akane," he said, shaking her lightly. "I'm home. Wake up."

She got up so fast and cling onto Akihito in iron grip, "welcome home! I miss you all day, Aki-chan!"

He patted her back lightly and chuckle at her antics, "now, now. Don't get too excited or you'll end up in bed again."

Akane is a girl of average height, long dirty blond hair, soft hazel eyes, opposite of Akihito's rich hazel ones. Her body is fragile and so is her health which often led to her ended up in the hospital's emergency room. Akihito had to work part-time at late afternoon so he would have time to look after Akane and take her to her checkups in the morning. Even with their dead parents' savings, it could only cover so much of the expensive hospital bills and prescriptions. Akihito pretty much cover rent, food, bills, household necessities, transportation, and Akane's tutoring fees (as she couldn't attend high school like other girls her age). It was barely enough and Akane often blamed herself for their predicament, but there's no way Akihito could blame his baby sister.

"How was work?" She asked as they ate in small chatter.

"Same as usual. The manager asked me to go in early tomorrow," he sigh.

"Don't overwork yourself, Aki. You know I could always find a job too-" she said but was cut off.

"Akane, don't worry about that," Akihito's voice raised in volume, he was seriously getting tired of this conversation. "Your health is your priority. You should focus on getting healthier and just let me worry about the money."

She began to cry. "But I just want to help! I don't want you to take up the burden all by yourself! I'm your sister, right? Share it with me I'm not a child anymore!" She yelled. "I hate your selflessness!"

"You'll end up getting even more sick!" He yelled back. "Your health is bad as it is, we can't afford to let you do what's beyond your capacity!"

"You can decide that for me!" She retorted. "You just don't want to rely on me because I'm a burden!" Her blood pressure suddenly rise causing her to hyperventilate. She fell on her feet and grab her chest as she gasp desperately for air. The tightness in her chest is almost unbearable.

"Akane!" Akihito was kneeling beside her right away, eyebrows knitted in worry. He soothe her back with his hand and whispered soothing words. He picked her up and laid her in bed. "You have to calm down. Don't get too riled up," he said. "Sleep for now. We'll talk later."

She grab Akihito's hand when he tuck her in soft,

baby-smelling blanket. She whispered with regret, "I'm sorry for yelling at you…"

"It's okay," he smiled. "Just sleep, okay?"

She nodded. "Okay."

"Goodnight, Akane."

"Goodnight, Aki-chan."