A week went by without nothing special happening, and things went the usual way, though there was one thing that changed in my life, and that was Nishimiya…for some reason, everyday at the end of class I would wait until everyone leaves, and she would wait there with me. At first, I assumed it was because my notes were helping her, but she could ask them from anybody, but no matter the amount of people she 'talked' to, she never asked for their notes.
I'm starting to think that it's her way of making time to talk to me…it's not like she didn't try interact with me during classes or lunch, but she realized the looks that she was getting every time she went close to my person. Of course, she can't listen to the whispers, but she can feel how uncomfortable everybody gets every time she shows me her notebook.
Specially the girls, I could hear them say things like "Why is she talking to that" or "I thought she was deaf, not blind" and stuff like that.
Pretty cruel things…I know it may sound bad, but sometimes I'm glad that Nishimiya is deaf, so she doesn't listen to those things.
Today though, we had choir practice with Kita-sensei, something about a tournament that doesn't really matter if you ask me, obviously, again, they did something stupid.
Putting Nishimiya to sing with everybody.
Why don't you check on her before doing this stuff Sensei?!
I know that you want to be inclusive and not let her feel excluded, but you're just making her have a bad time here! It's obvious she's tone-deaf sensei!
"I'm Kita from 'The Hearing Classroom'" Sensei makes it worse by bringing Nishimiya her in front of the classroom and explaining "Shouko-chan is a little tone-deaf, and it's part of her handi…" she's not a zoo animal sensei…why are you exhibiting her like that?
"What about the choral contest?" "We're ruined"
I can hear some of the girls talking, this is why you shouldn't put her on the spot like that sensei…look, Nishimiya doesn't even know what you're talking about.
"Everyone, can we please work a little harder so that she can join the choir?" Kita-sensei exclaims excited "If you want it, please give her a clap"
Of course, kids will do anything that their teachers tell them to do, so everyone clapped.
I know Kita-sensei has good intentions, but this is definitely a bad idea…if she insist on this, when we (and we most likely will) fail at the stupid contest, all the kids are going to blame Nishimiya for it.
Not saying that they're going to star treating her like they treat me…but her 'Lets all be friends' isn't gonna get better.
After classes ended, we were on clean duty, and by we, I mean Nishimiya and I. She seemed down, and I can't blame her, she's deaf, not stupid…she knows how the choir stuff is going to end if this keeps going.
Having finished sweeping on my side, I look at her.
Damn…well, if I don't know what she actually wants, I better ask her. So, I take out my notebook and write 'Do you want to be in the chorus?'
I waited for her to finish her tasks and show it to her, she looks up to me while biting her bottom lip.
'I want to learn how to sing' she writes.
I look at it for a moment, then look at her. This is not what I asked.
'I can help you with singing, but do you want to be in the chorus?' I think a little more about what I want to say, and write even more 'You know that when we lose, and we will, because our chorus sucks, everybody will blame you, even if you learn how to sing'.
She reads carefully, her face lights up for a bit reading the first part, laugh at the fact that we're going to lose and remains contemplative at the last sentence. I know, it's not nice, but it's the reality.
And reality is cruel.
'Can you teach me how to sing first? I will think about the chorus' she turns her notebook showing me that.
Well, I can't blame her…for some reason Kita-sensei put this pressure on her that "If you want, you can! With the power of friendship!"
Sorry sensei, but this isn't a movie.
'Are you doing something later?' she shakes her head after reading it 'Do you want to hang out? We can't go to a Karaoke, but we can go to your house or mine and see what we can do so you can learn to sing' better not get her hopes up 'at least a little bit' immediately after finishing writing I can feel something shaking over my shoulder, Nishimiya is there, about to burst into tears.
What the heck?! Just how much do you want this.
She fervently nods to the point that her hair ends up being a mess.
I give up, I think with a smile…this girl is too enthusiastic.
'Let's go wait for your mom outside' I finally write, she picks up her things and we go forth to our usual spot, the sidewalk.
It's only when we sit that I remember something that I should never forget.
I can't leave her alone…but I already told Nishimiya that we would hang out today…wait, both of these things aren't mutually exclusive. As soon as I came to that conclusion, I ask Nishimiya for her notebook again.
'Would you like to meet my sister?'
She reads it and let's her jaw drop, looking at me with surprise. What? Is it something weird to ask?
She nods many times…I know she's nodding to the 'meeting my sister' and not my 'is it something weird?'…but my mind can't help but relate her action to both statements. Before she can write anything more her mother arrives.
Okay, deep breaths Hachiman, I know it's your first time meeting someone else's parent, but how hard it can be?
I stand up, lend my hand to Nishimiya to help her stand up and we shake the dirt from our clothes.
She walks up to the car and opens the door…now that I think about it, how does she communicate with her mother? Does she write too? Soon enough, Nishimiya signals me to get close, doing so, I get to see Nishimiya's mother.
"He-hello" Good Hachiman, stutter, that always gives a good first impression.
"Hi there? It seems Sho-chan wants something from you?"
Oh…so she can't talk to her in some secret mother-daughter mind reading technique?
"Uhmm, yeah…nice to meet you, I'm Hikigaya Hachiman, I was talking to Nishimi—I mean, Shouko?" I should call her by her name, so her mother doesn't get confused "We wanted to hangout today…and we were wondering if it would be more convenient to do it in her house or mine…we might get a little loud" that sounds so baaaaad.
And wow, her mother looks scary! Why is she squinting at me?! Lady, I know my eyes look bad, but please don't look at me like that.
My heart! Oh my heart!
"If she insists…" she gives me a stinky look to then turn to Nishimiya, who looks confused, oh right…she was about to nod before a raise my hand to stop her, I ask for her notebook writing a simple 'Your mom wants to know if you're okay with hanging out with me' after reading she gives her mother a nod, with a hopeful look on her face.
Nishimiya's mother glares at me for a while…honestly, I don't know what I did, or if I did something wrong, and sadly for her, I'm quite used to being glared at.
She ends up sighing "Fine, you can come at our house…and what do you mean with 'we might get a little loud'"
"It's kind of a long story…"
"Where do you live"
Now that's an odd question "Down the street, a twenty-minute walk"
"Get on, you can tell me while I give you a ride"
Oh…okay, not awkward at all…please don't kidnap me.
I look at Nishimi—Shouko, and give her a nod while getting in the backseat of the car, to which she gives me a curious glance, so I ask her notebook again.
While writing that her mom would give me a ride, Nishimiya-san starts talking "So?"
Ah, right "Well, pardon my language miss…" I look at her through the rearview mirror, not knowing how to address her.
"Nishimiya Yaeko…call me Yaeko"
"Okay, Yaekoba-san—" woah, that's a nasty look to give to a kid lady "—Yaeko-san" and the glare reseeds "the teacher did something really stupid, and that's the reason why we have some work to do" I'm not going to hide your incompetence Kita-sensei, be better. Yaeko-san sends me a look though the mirror, so I continue "She signed Nish—Shouko to the chorus without consulting with her first" I said while passing Shouko her notebook with an explanation of what I'm doing in her car "I don't think she had any bad intention, but putting her on the spot like that, like she was some zoo animal, trying to give the message of 'We are all a team' by setting an example with Shouko…it's disgusting" it's the kind of things that adults do to kids without any consideration. Like when the teacher makes you put on a costume for a play you got not interest in participating at all.
Worst, making use of her disability just to get a self-righteous and self-satisfying message across.
I could see Yaeko-san furrowing her browns in the mirror — Scary lady…you're really are scary — I don't know if what bothered her was what the teacher did, or what I said "So after classes ended, I asked Shouko if she really wanted to participate in the chorus, to which she only told me that she wanted to learn to sing…so we're doing that today, and after that she will think if it's worth participating in the chorus" I finished my explanation, at the same time, Shouko passes me her notebook again.
'Where are we hanging out?' it read.
"Why do you think is a problem that she participates in the chorus?"
Good question, while writing on Shouko's notebook I answer "Is not that participating is bad, but there will be a stupid tournament in a few months, we're going to lose, that's a fact, Shouko participating or not…the problem is our classmates" Yaeko-san raises an eyebrow at that comment "You can imagine how stupid kids are when it comes to taking responsibilities for their failures, so, when, not if, when they lose, they're probably going to blame Shouko for it" I just hate the idea of looking at her going through that…and what pains me the most is that she would endure it with a fake smile on her face while still trying to befriend them "…I don't want that"
An awkward silence descends upon us, at least between me and Yaeko-san, the only sound that's present is the scratching of paper in the messages I exchange with Shouko.
We finally arrive at my street, I inform Yaeko-san of my house and she stops the car.
Oh right "I…mmm, I have a little sister and I don't want to leave her alone, can I bring her with me?"
For some reason Yaeko-san makes the same face that Shouko did back then, in front of the school, when I talked about Komachi.
"Then, can you give me your address, as soon as my sister arrives, we will go"
An awkward nod later I descend off the car, with a note with their address at hand, I wave Shouko goodbye and say a "'till later" to her mom, but a few steps in Yaeko-san talks again.
I turn around and look at her, why thank me? Is not like I'm doing anything special.
She doesn't say much after that, just giving me a small smile and the car drives off.
What a weird lady.
Scary too, definitely scary.
"I can't believe that I'll finally going to meet your girlfriend, Onii-chan!"
"Oi, just how old do you think I'm?!"
"Old enough to make Komachi worry"
Just what kind of magazines have you been reading Komachi, you scare me a little.
After informing my sweet imotou that I would visit the Nishimiya residence, I didn't even have to inform her that I wanted her to come too, she just jumped at the opportunity. Though, I'm rather curious with what was up with the reaction of the mother-daughter duo, I mean, Komachi is cute, extremely so, but they don't know that. I mean, I would have jumped at the opportunity of talking about my sister, the only light in my life, any day…but with Shouko it's hard to fawn about Komachi since it would be like writing an essay, and her mother…well, that lady is scary.
Arriving at their home, I knock three times and wait.
How does this work? If Shouko can't listen…maybe her mom is here too? While thinking that, the door opens, and in front of us a grandma becomes present.
Did I get the wrong house?
"Uh…uhm" my brain doesn't work, what do I say?
"Excuse us…is this the Nishimiya residence? Is Shouko-chan here?" Of course, my sister being the extrovert that she is, can go through this kind of situations without batting an eye.
How is my ten-year-old sister better than me? I don't know, that's just how amazing she is.
"Ah, yes! You young-ones must be the Hikigaya's?
"Yes! I'm Hikigaya Komachi and this here is my Onii-chan, Hikigaya Hachiman!"
"Well, nice to meet you both, Yaeko told me you were coming" she bows while giving us a happy smile, it was quite radiant "please come in, make yourself at home!"
The Oba-san seems really enthusiastic for some reason, but better not question it. We proceed to the living room where a few snacks were already prepared, taking our sits in the couch we look around, seeing a few pictures while smelling the scent of…manjuu? In the air.
"Let me get Shouko, she's just in her room, she's being excited about your visit since she's arrived"
Now that was something embarrassing to hear.
I never expected someone to be excited about seeing me. Much less a girl.
"Onii-chan, should I get my notebook out?"
I look at Komachi, such a considered girl, I nod at her and do the same, a few moments later a wild Shouko appears.
Smiling like there's no tomorrow.
It's too effective!
Why is everyone so happy?!
"Let me get you kids some tea and manjuu, don't let this old-lady hold you back"
"Do you need help Oba-chan? I'm trying to cook at home, so a little practice is never bad!" my sister follows Oba-san to the kitchen but, before she leaves, she turns to Shouko bows, flips the notebook that she has in her hands and shows what she wrote before coming here.
'Nice to meet you, I'm Hikigaya Komachi, Onii-chan's little sister'
Your sentence is quite redundant there Komachi, but that's okay, because you're cute.
Shouko smiles at her and starts writing in the notebook that she has at hand.
'I'm Nishimiya Shouko, nice to meet you' after that Shouko seems to think about something before writing and flipping her notebook again 'Please call me Shou-chan' she seems a bit eager while showing it.
But Komachi being Komachi, she gives her a huge smile while writing again.
'Shou-chan! Please take care of my brother!'
Why does it sound like you're giving me away?
'I'm going to help Oba-chan in the kitchen. Use him as you please!' with that she gives her a wink and leaves, following a giggling Oba-san.
Shouko for her part is blushing…I don't blame you there, Sho-chan, what my sister just wrote is quite embarrassing. I got to take care of those magazines before they contaminate her brain even more.
I clean my throat to get her attention, then I remember she can't listen. I got flustered all by myself.
So, I wait for her to recover, after a few seconds she finally does and gazes at my direction.
She doesn't move for some reason, and stands there looking at me. I was really confused, so I grab my book and start writing.
'Is everything okay?'
She nods after reading and comes to my side…
I'm just a boy, I'm not ready for this!
You got plenty of space Shouka! Why do you sit on my side?!
"Onii-chan we're ba— oooooh"
Don't give me that 'oooooh' Komachi.
And you too Oba-chan, why're you looking at me with that face that says 'Oh my, how I envy the youth'.
It's for functionality, just so we can communicate faster while writing, nothing more.
"Just come already Komachi, we don't have all day"
"Yes Yes!" she answered giving a military salute.
When we settle in, I began explaining to Komachi Shouko's situation.
After that my sister for some reason had long…talk? With Shouko, though they said it was girl stuff and didn't let me in, so I decided to eat and drink tea in the meanwhile.
It was after ten minutes that I realized…we're probably not gonna do anything today, are we?
Standing up I let them know that I was going to the bathroom, though midway I remembered that I don't know where the bathroom was, luckily Oba-chan was just there watching over us.
"Oh yes, call me Ito, or Oba-san, however you like"
"Yes, Ito-san—" I was about to ask about the bathroom, but then a question that's been eating me came to mind "Can I ask something?"
"Of course, what is it?"
"Why is everyone so happy?"
Okay, that may have come up a bit dark.
"I mean" I licked my lips trying to process my words "Why did…Shouko and you seemed so…excited when you saw us?"
Ito-san lightly widened her eyes, barely perceptible "So you notice it…you're quite perceptive for your age…and with what Yae-chan told me about you…" she gave me a kind smile after saying that.
…Told her about me?
"What did Yaeko-san say about me?"
"Oh, she just told me how you're worried about my Shouko" she gave me a smirk at that.
"I-I'm not worried!"
"A shy one, aren't you?"
"No…of course not" Geez, what is it with women and the teasing "I'm not worried…because—" she doesn't need me…she's doing fine on her own, and she has a will hard enough to not break under the look of the others, she'll eventually be able to make a friend, a real friend, one that won't cost her anything, unlike what it would be like if she befriended me "She's strong…Ito-san, that's why I'm not worried"
The Oba-san gave me a kind smile when I said that "I'm glad she could make a friend like you"
"No" I can't be her friend "if I became her friend, everything she's been working so hard for would go to waste" those words scaped me before I could hold them.
Realizing what I just said, in front of a stranger no less, I look up, not knowing what to expect, yet she receives me raising the corners of her lips.
Gently patting my head, she says "You're really a good kid Hachi-chan" Hachi-chan? Really? "Please take care of my Shouko"
"But I'm not her—"
"I know…still, please take the request of this old lady, coff coff" Oba-san, those fake coughs won't convince anybody.
I scratch my head in frustration, what is it with everybody asking me this "I will do what I can, just, answer my question, please…why do you people seem so happy to see us?"
It's really eating me up, but I feel like I'm forgetting something.
"Oh, that's easy, it's because you're the first friends Shouko brough home" she said like it was the most obvious answer.
I didn't expect that, with how eager she's on making friends, if she didn't bring anyone before…then maybe.
"Don't tell me she doesn't have friends" I can feel my throat go dry just thinking about it…she couldn't be like me.
"Mmm, she doesn't talk very much, so I don't know…I can tell you this, she had a bad time in her old school too"
A lump forms in my gullet while my fists turns pale from how hard I'm clenching them.
So, it was like that…I turn my sight to the living room where I see Shouko smiling with Komachi like there's no tomorrow. Have I ever seen her smile like that in class? The answer is no, yet, a girl like Komachi (taking aside that she's the cutest in the world) that she barely met can make her smile like that.
How did I not notice before? Or was I too self-absorbed in my own misery that I was blinded by it? In what way am I different from the kids that avoid her, if even when I have her in front of me, I'm not looking at her.
"I don't think I deserve to be her friend" I say in a whisper, but by the look on Ito-san's face, it seems she heard me.
"Then you just have to try harder, it's never too late when it comes to become friends"
I guess…I mean, I've only known her for one week.
I'm overthinking this, maybe.
"Okay, I'm going to try then" I nod at her.
But that doesn't change the fact that everything she wants will be out of her reach if she becomes my friend.
"Oh, and can I know where is the bathroom?"
How could I forget?! The most important thing that I wanted to ask, it was, why did Shouko and Yaeko-san react like that when I mentioned Komachi?!
Ito-san was the perfect person to ask, but now, the opportunity is gone. Though, I don't think I will need it.
Well, because on my way back from the bathroom I came across a curious sigh.
A little girl, short black hair, about Komachi's age, tomboyish look, kneeling behind a corner, watching intently at the direction where Komachi and Shouko where talking if I'm not mistaken.
I stood there in shock.
Okay, think Hachiman, who is this girl? Probably a member of the family, I don't think robbers start this young…so, member of the family…Komachi's age…a little sister? So that's why Shouko and her mother where surprised.
I have to admit, the coincidence is rather eerie, especially now that I know it's almost her same age.
If she's her little sister, and given what I know of Shouko until now…I can practically guess what she's doing.
Such a good little sister!
I would hug you! But that would be creepy!
So, I walk up to her, not really trying to conceal my presence, yet, she doesn't seem to notice me…so I proceed to the next step and kneel behind her, my head just above hers.
She still doesn't react, huh.
"How are they doing?"
"It doesn't seem bad, but I'm not sure"
Hum, interesting, she seems to not notice anything strange with me asking.
She jumps a little…there it is, that's the right reaction!
"Wha-what?! How?!" she hisses in a whisper.
I chuckle a little at her reaction, she has a short hair, if I didn't have my 'little sister' sensor sharp and updated I would her thought she was a boy.
So a tomboyish little sister…humm…this is new territory.
"Shhh" I put a finger in front of my lips.
Shouko may not be able to listen, but Komachi is sharp, too sharp.
Both of us unconsciously peek at both of our sisters, non the wiser it seems.
"You're Shouko little sister?"
She glares at me suspiciously while nodding, not that I blame her…if I had a sister like Shouko, I would give everybody that would get close to her a stinky eye
"Hikigaya Hachiman" I bow a little to show her respect, how could I not respect a little sister?!
"Nishimiya Yuzuru" she bows a little as well, not taking her eyes from me.
We share a moment of mutual understanding, one that only siblings who worry about their sisters would share, we both nod at the same time, and peek again beyond the corner to look at the source of our worries.
"Now, seriously, do they get along?" I say.
"So it seems" she answers.
We stayed like that, both of us knowing that any word would just distract us of our main objective, yet she says something not interrupting her duty.
"I'm watching you, Hachiman-san"
I roll my eyes to her little figure.
"I'm watching you too, Yuzuru-san"
That's how I met Nishimiya Yuzuru, a little sister worried about her older sibling.
Woah, this took longer than it should...yet it was quite fun, I don't know when I'm going to update this, probably within a week or something, maybe more, since this chapters are longer than what I'm used to.
But on other news, I'm working on a Danmachi fanfic if you're interested, yet to publish, just another practice for my English writing like this one. If you're interested just follow my user account.
While "My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Too Honest, As I Expected" works in sharpening my dialogs skills, "My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Silent, As I Expected" serves to work on my description of actions skill.
The Danmachi one will be of use at training my story-telling and fighting scenes, as long working on a long term plot.
Well, this is just me rambling.
As always, reviews are always welcome, both good and bad.