Alright, let's recap for a moment: We have me with a huge scar on my stomach and without my shirt just coming out of the bathroom. My sister came home quietly and ran into me, seeing the scar that I've been hiding for a year. And now, what're my options…
Get back in the bathroom and lock myself up
Lock myself up in my room.
Joke about it.
Get away by being an ass.
Tell the truth.
Well, I'm sure as hell NOT gonna go with option 6 and the first two seem more like what a girl would do. And why am I thinking like in an eroge goddammit?
"Kyousuke, what happened to you?" Kirino asked in a small muffled voice. I looked at her face. She had her hand clasped in front of her mouth and had tears in her wide eyes, showing that damned look of pity.
"Don't look at me like that with those pitiful eyes. I survived the wound without your help and learned a valuable lesson from it." I muttered in a dark tone. The look of shock turned into anger.
"Oh yeah? You didn't even tell me about it, so how the hell could I've known you needed help?!" Kirino yelled in my face. Is she serious? No, I should've seen it coming. It's so typical of her. I started chuckling softly without me realizing it.
"What's so funny? Did you finally go crazy or something?" Kirino asked in a badly masked quivering tone. I looked her in the eyes with an empty look.
"I did ask for your help. I asked if you could pick up a bottle of painkillers for me when the wound was still fresh. But you, like always, thought only about yourself." I said in an even tone. Kirino looked lost for a moment before she started recalling that day. I simply walked to my room, past my sister who stood still in both present and past. I closed my door and slid down against it. Tch, now I'm remembering that day as well.
I woke up thanks to a flare of pain in my abdomen. Trying to get up only made it worse, so I rolled myself out of my bed. I lied face down on the cold floor, moaning in pain thanks to the impact. At least the cold floor somehow dulled my nerves. After a few minutes I dragged myself towards my desk and pulled myself up, trying to ignore that damn pain! After I got up and stood unsteadily on my legs, and went to the bathroom. I quickly found the bottle that held my pills. Seating myself on the edge of the bath tub, I tried to open the goddamn lid. This thing is glued to the goddamn bottle. I finally opened the damn thing after wrestling with it for a few minutes. With a hopeful look, I turned the bottle around and watched the last few pills that were in it down in my hand. At least, that's what should've happened. Well, nothing that I can do about it, maybe somebody else would be willing to get a new bottle. I clutched my stomach and slowly went downstairs.
After I finally made it downstairs, I had to sit down on the stairs for a moment. When a doctor says not to move unnecessary, he really means unnecessary. Now, who would I be able to ask to get me a new bottle of painkillers? The old fart already went to his work and mom went somewhere with other housewives, so that leaves—
"Why are you sitting on those stairs like a hobo? Do you really not have anything better to do like school maybe?" I heard the spiteful voice of Kirino. I looked up at the only person who could help me at the moment.
"Say Kirino, could you please do me a favor? I need to get some painkillers from the pharmacy." I asked in a hopeful tone. The look on her face could be described best as mix between disgust and surprise.
"Hah, if you're gonna play hooky like the little delinquent that you are, go and do it yourself!" she spitted out before turning and leaving the house.
If it wasn't for Kouhei dropping by a bit later, I would've laid their suffering in pain all day with a freshly operated wound. I owe that bastard way too much. In the following weeks of my return people started to cut ties with me. Yet, he was the one that stayed by my side. After all that he did for me, he doesn't ask anything in return.
"You're gonna live man, I'll make sure of it!"
I scoffed a bit at that thought. If I ever find a way to repay that crazy bastard, I certainly will. A timid knock on my door shook me out of my thoughts. Huh, since when am I lying on my bed.
"Kyousuke, can I come in?" Kirino asked timidly.
"what, no nightly raid this time?" I asked jokingly.
"Oh I don't know. I can always come back later so that I can get attacked with a knife again." She said sarcastically. I chuckled softly before standing up and opening the door. Kirino stood there with a meek look.
"Are you ok Kirino?" I asked. What, it's not because we haven't had a decent talk for a year until last night that I don't care about her… somewhere deep inside… maybe…possibly.
"Y-yeah, it's just that I was a bit surprised at the scar. How did you get it?" she asked me worried while her eyes trailed down. Right, still haven't put on a shirt.
"Not gonna tell." I deadpanned her.
"Oh, come on!"
"Life's unfair, get used to it."
"Fine, but I want a counterfavour!" she nearly yelled. I lifted an eyebrow. This is gonna be interesting.
« So, why exactly do you want me to stalk you ? » I asked Kirino with a bored voice. Or maybe not so interesting after all.
"don't call it stalking, as much as I resent it you're going to be my secret escort." Kirino said with a sneer. Then why did you even ask me to do it in the first place? If you're wondering how the hell I've got into a situation where my own sister asks me to stalk her to a meeting for girls who like anime (or a possible molester trap as she calls it), trust me, you're not the only one. How did it come to this? Oh yeah, in order to stop her constant inquiring about the scar on my abdomen. But I have a feeling that she's gonna try to find out anyway. But she won't find any information worthwhile unless Dad helps her, which is highly improbable. If that accident gets public, he'll be taking quite some heat as well.
"Do you know what you have to do?" Kirino asked me in an impatient voice, bringing me back to reality.
"I think I got it after you stressing over it four times." I retorted with a sigh. I have way more experience in these kind of things than you Kirino, so please get off my back so that I can go to the store.
"Prove it." she said with a threatening glare.
"It's easy, I wait outside of the café where you're supposed to meet 20 minutes prior to the arranged time. When you meet up with the group it can differentiate into two routes. The first is that by all odds, it is a group of perverted molesters. If they don't want to let you go, I jump in and wave around with my knife until they run in fear. I'll fight if necessary. The second route is that this is a legitimate site and that you meet up with other girls interested in anime. Thanks to your paranoia, and please stop glaring like that, I'll enter around 7 or 8 minutes after you, get a seat where I can see you and continue to 'secretly escort you'." I said the last three words with air quotes. And why is she looking at me like that? I waved my hand in front of her face to snap her out of her stupor.
"Where did you get that whole plan from? You were only supposed to follow me." She said with a mixture of irritation and awe.
"It's much more noticeable if I keep following you and everyone will think that I'm a stalker. Trust me, this way is much easier for both of us." I tried to assure her.
"What if I get attacked on the way?" she asked me with a smirk. What, did she really think she'd catch me off guard with that cheap trick?
"Don't you usually carry that bottle of pepper spray around the old geezer gave you? Use that, run, hide and call me then, I'll be there as soon as possible." I said with my eyes closed and acted like it wasn't a big deal.
"Why would you even go so far for me?"
"You're gonna live man, I'll make sure of it!"
So that you won't have to go through some kind of suffering like I did, how small the chances may be.
"Because I don't do an half assed job. If that's all, I'm going to the store. You need something?" It's not like she needs to know the truth… for now at least. And if I turned around I would've seen the sad look on Kirino's face.
It's almost 12.30 and I was waiting in the alley across the place where Kirino was supposed to meet with the other girls who liked anime. I already saw a few girls waiting in front of the café, so it's not a trap. Still, why did they have to meet in a maid café in the middle of Akiba?
Never mind, that was a stupid question on my behalf. It wouldn't have hurt to have Kouhei with me, but it'd be too obvious and creepy to see two guys trailing a group of girls, especially with his antics. The meeting should start in a few minutes so that means I'll be stuck here at least another 10 minutes. Until now, nobody really took any notice of me so let's try and keep it that way. Oh, there's Kirino, heading towards the group and a bit behind her… oh god, why did Ruri have to come to this meeting? Is there a force up there that likes to screw with me or is some crappy writer making this up for his own twisted fun? And what is up with that gothic Lolita dress she's wearing?! I took a few steps back and hid myself a bit more in the shadows of the alley. Thank god that I got my headset and laptop with me, that way, I can at least try to ignore her if she tries to make contact. I still need to finish the lyrics to that half-finished song anyway, so I might as well use that music program to play the tune while throwing something together. The girl leading the group arrived. If you wonder how I know, the flag she carried with 'Otaku Girls United' on it was a dead giveaway. She was wearing a stereotypical otaku outfit from the 90s, glasses included. Everyone already went inside, but she looked towards the alley where I was standing with a small smile before entering. They took a long table near the window which had a great view on the street, and gave a good view on them as well. This is either a really big coincidence or she's seen me. And I really hope it's the first one.
Okay, 8 minutes have passed, I'm going in. Upon entering the café, a cute girl with pigtails and (surprise, surprise) dressed in a maid uniform came to greet me.
"Hi there, is this your first time here?" she asked me with a smile and bending a bit forward. Eyes on the face Kyousuke, eyes on the face.
"Uh yeah, a friend told me I'd be able to work quietly here. Do you have a table for one?" I asked her nervously. I haven't been able to talk with girls normally after that incident. Well, Ruri and Manami are both exceptions due to their respective reasons. Manami is like everybody's favorite granny and Ruri is stoic enough for me to picture her as a robot.
"Sure, follow me." She said with a wink before turning around and walking with a slight spring in her steps. I awkwardly followed her while several people were glaring at me. I haven't even done anything this time!... I think, and I'm just guessing here, but I may have violated some kind of code without knowing. Anyway, the girl gave me a seat which let me see around a third of the table Kirino was currently sitting at. Luckily for me, we could still see each other. After (quite awkwardly) ordering something simple to eat, I took my laptop out of my bag and booted the program up. Alright, the headset is plugged in, the program is up and loading and I got an empty word document on which lyrics should be written. Should be being the key words here. That and I still have to watch Kirino.
While waiting for my food I was playing around with the music program, trying to make something decent. The program I'm using is fairly popular and can mimic the sound of actual instruments. I use that to write tabs, send them to Kouhei through mail and he plays them. We already wrote some songs in this way and they turned out pretty well. Someone tapped my shoulder and I turned around to see the maid who took my order standing there with a smile and the rice omelet I ordered.
"Here you go cutie, would you like me to write something on it with the sauce?" she asked me with an innocent smile while bending forward, giving me quite a clear view of her *ahem* cleavage. I turned my slightly reddened face to the side to avoid staring. She noticed this and started laughing.
"That's such a cute reaction. I'm on break right now, you don't mind if I join you, right?" she asked me with that radiating smile of her.
"N-not at all." I stuttered out. And the glaring I got at the entrance returned and was even more intense as the last time. Seriously people, I haven't even done anything! Wait, cute girl in uniform, maid café in Akiba and glaring means that… ah so the glaring people are her fans and usual customers. But why is Kirino glaring like that as well? No seriously, weren't you trying to make new friends over there?
"Ah, does that music program already have an update?" the maid asked me curiously.
"Yeah, it came out a few days ago. You use it as well? I asked her a bit surprised.
"I used to. I tried to make my debut in the music business, but it's really merciless there. And before you know it, you're already working six months in a maid café just so you can pay the rent because you're 7 centimeters too tall." She said with a sigh. Wow, things got heavy all of a sudden. She looked at me with an apologizing smile.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to discourage you or anything." She apologized halfheartedly.
"It's alright, this is more of a hobby of mine than anything else." I said with a nervous smile. She looked a bit confused.
"Hm, I thought that with the way you were looking so focused that you were serious about it." she said before grabbing the head set from my neck.
"You don't mind if I listen for a bit ,ne?" she asked with a wink.
"Sure…" I mumbled uncertainly. I've never had someone else besides Kouhei listen to it, so I'm not that sure about its quality. She put on the headsets and played the song without lyrics. Her face looked focused and she tapped her fingers in an even rhythm. After the song was finished, she copied the intro into a different save file and started to change a few minor things. I looked along curiously. She slowed the pace of the song a bit and made the tone a pitch higher. When the maid/musician noticed me looking along over her shoulder, she finally realized that she was messing with my song.
"A-ah sorry, I just changed things without noticing! It's really a bad habit that I picked up from my music instructor! I mean, the basic foundation and tone of the song were great but the pitch and pace were a bit misplaced! Not that I say that it was bad but it could use a bit of polishing and I'm just rambling on, aren't I?" she finished her rant with a dejected face. I just took the headset and listened to what she made of it. the moment I pressed play my eyes widened in shock. This is the same song that I made, only much better!
"Ah, I only changed the intro, but the pitch and pace should come out like that the entire song. The rest remains the same."
"This is much better! Maybe I should start following a music education as well!" I exclaimed excitedly.
"… you haven't followed a musical education?" the maid asked me surprised.
"How long have you been making music?"
"With this program for six months, and I started teaching myself basic guitar play a year ago." I answered sheepishly. She just looked at me in surprise. Did I say something wrong?
"ARE YOU SERIOUS?!" she suddenly yelled surprised. I flew of my chair and landed on my butt. The maid didn't seem to notice as she kept going on.
"You made that yourself without any lessons on the structure of music, pitch, pace or notes and still you already compose music like that?! Why haven't you gone to a professional music academy already?!" she nearly shouted in my face.
"Does that mean that I'm really good or just hopeless?" I asked worried.
"It means that you have a friggin' talent that only one in ten thousand musicians have! Why the hell haven't your parents noticed it yet!" she started complaining.
That's right, I've been interested in music for a long time. How come I haven't acted upon it until one year ago.
"What're you playing?" a nine year old me asked a weird guy in the park. He had long brown hair reaching his elbows and a goatee. But the most interesting thing for me was the old guitar he was holding.
"Oh, just a tune that popped into my head. Do you like it?" he asked me while he kept playing the tune.
"Uhn, it's kinda relaxing." I said honestly. The man laughed happily.
"Is that so? Well, I am feeling quite relaxed right now." He said with a kind smile.
"I don't get it." I said in a blunt way only a child could pull off. The man didn't get annoyed or something, he just kept playing.
"Music is played with your feelings. When you feel happy, your music will sound happy. When you're sad, the music sounds sad as well. Even if people can't see what you're feeling, they will hear through the music you make."
"Then how do you make music?"
The man stopped playing and reached into the bag beside him. He pulled out a mini guitar and gave it to me.
"How about you try on that ukulele." He said a bit challenging.
"Umuhewe?" I asked confused. The man started laughing.
"Not umuhewe, ukulele. It's a mini guitar that they use in Hawaii mostly. Now, you play like this…"
For the next two hours he taught me a bit of how to play. When my mom called me to go home I wanted to give back the ukulele, but he refused.
"Keep it boy, I get the feeling you're gonna get far. Besides, how else are you gonna practice?" He said amused. I gave him a quick hug and ran towards mom to show off what I got. On the way back home I kept playing simple tunes but my mother enjoyed it all the same. Some of the passing people commented on me, mostly good. There was even a guy and his friends that started applauding and cheering. Whether it was meant for encouraging me or just as a joke, don't know and I honestly didn't care back then. I felt like I could do anything. Until I showed it to my father.
I looked shocked as that old fart smashed the ukulele into pieces.
"I will not let you play that thing any longer, or any kind of music! Now get to your room and go study, I expect more than average grades from you! Your sister scores much higher than you!"
Right that's the reason, that goddamn old fart and his indomitable quest to turn his spouses into the Ubermensch. I got up from the floor and saw the maid looking worried at me.
"Are you alright? You looked like you remembered something awful." I showed her a strained smile.
"Yeah I'm fine. I'm just gonna take a quick smoke outside." I said while walking towards the exit. Outside, I lighted a cigarette and forced myself to calm down. It's just an old memory, nothing more.
"You might want to let your sweetheart know that you're alright, she looked worried you know?" I heard a voice besides me. My hand went to my knife while I looked at the person who just started talking. It's that weird 90s girl again.
"I have no idea what you're talking about. I'm single as far as I know." I said coolly.
"Ara, then why were there two of my group looking extremely worried? I mean the one in the black dress and the model. Could it be that you're actually a playboy?" She asked me mischievously.
"The girl in the dress is just a classmate and the model is my sister. Now why are you talking to me and not your group?" my voice dripped with suspicion.
"Oh, since the two of them don't really talk with someone I was going to take them somewhere else afterwards. I just wanted to invite you along so that you don't have to stalk us." The girl said with a smile. That's it, I officially don't like her or her weird vibes.