Chapter 9:

Caretaking Competition

Heartless Overclock

 “Have you eaten breakfast? I brought food,” Nana asks.

“I was about to cook, but I will kindly receive this,” Juusaki says as he sets the food on the large table that is too lonely for one to be eating at it. “Want to join me?”

“No, it’s okay. I already have eaten before I arrived here.”

“Alright,” Juusaki starts digging into food, but a doorbell rings interrupting him.

“I’ll open the door,” Nana says. “Continue eating.”

Nana opens the door and looks at the visitor in shock, “Misaki!? What are you doing here?”

Misaki returns the shock, “I think I should be asking that question. What are you doing here?”

“Well, I’m here to take care of Hachiko.”

“But Denji didn’t give you permission, did he?”

“I asked again for that. I made him reconsider it telling him that this is an act of gratitude.” Nana puts her hands on her waist, “What about you? What are you doing here?”

“Well, I am here to take care of Hachiko.”

“But I am already taking care of him. You could go back home.”

“Why are you turning me away? Could it be that you want Hachiko for yourself?”

“N—no! That’s totally wrong! And besides, you are the one who wants Hachiko for yourself!”

“N—no, I don’t! My heart belongs to Denji only!”

“Then, please feel free to go back home. Be loyal to Denji!”

“But I am to take care Hachiko—”

“For what?”

“To thank him for saving my life too.”



“Don’t worry about it. I’ll take the duty of doing that.”

“No, I want to do it personally.”

“P—personally!? W—what do you mean by that!?”

“It means what it means. I never leave my debts unpaid.”

Juusaki, having taken notice of the commotion at the doorway, asks, “What is going on here?” Juusaki notices Misaki who is holding a couple of plastic bags, “Oh, good morning, Itou-san. What brings you here?”

“Didn’t I tell you? I am to take care of you today.”

“What!?” Juusaki blurts in surprise and quickly calms himself. “I mean, what?” He says in a lower voice.

“Scenario not found,” AI informs Juusaki. “Would you like to perform simulations?”

“Let me guess,” Juusaki replies to his AI, “it would take forty hours?”

“No, fifty.”

“That’s just the same. Don’t perform it. It’s a waste.” Juusaki stops talking to his AI and refocuses on the two girls. “You don’t have to worry about me. I can handle yourself.”

“With that?” The two girls point at Juusaki’s broken left arm simultaneously.


“No, you can’t!” The two shout in sync.

“Yes, I can.”

“You are not allowed to take care of yourself today. You got that?” Misaki commands him.

“We will take care of every chore in your house until your arm has recovered. So for now, leave it to us.”

Juusaki ponders for a moment. “What should I do, AI?”

“The least deviating choice is to deny them.”

“Alright,” Juusaki replies to his AI. “I won’t allo—”

Misaki suddenly tackles Juusaki causing both of them to fall on the floor inside the room. “Nana, close the door!”

Nana obeys and locks it.

“Now you are forced to accept our services!”

“That isn’t how that works!” Juusaki says.

“Misaki, I never knew you could be this aggressive.”

“Oh, I’m sure you knew.” Misaki stands up and pulls Juusaki on his feet, “Is your arm okay?”

“It’s fine.”

“Now go to bed,” Misaki commands.


“Go to bed or I won’t talk to you.”

“What?” Juusaki’s eyes show confusion.

“I’m serious.”

“Misaki, what are you saying?” Nana asks Misaki.

“I know his weakness. It’s the lack of communication.”

“And how would you know that?” Nana inquires further.

“Because since day 1, he has been looking for a way to talk to Denji. And I have a connection with him. That’s why he talks to me.”

“Wait, really? But why are you saying this, right in front of him?”

“To spite him.”

“You can’t spite me,” Juusaki remarks, but Misaki doesn’t acknowledge his reply. “I said you can’t spite me.” Juusaki struggles to make Misaki notice him.

“Hey, Juusaki. Didn’t she say that she won’t talk to you unless you lay in bed?” Nana reminds.

“Is she serious?”

“Yes. Never have I seen her this serious.”

“I won’t,” Juusaki starts walking to the kitchen but Misaki makes him trip but catches him with her arms before he falls to the ground. “Fine, I will.” Juusaki reluctantly reclines on the bed and pouts.

“Wait, are you pouting?” Nana asks.

“No, I am not.” Juusaki straightens his face.

Moments pass as a tasty aroma fills the room.

“Wait, you are cooking?” Nana asks Misaki.

“Yes, chili Salisbury steak and creamy mashed potatoes.”

“So all this time when I was cleaning the bathroom, you took the chance to cook? But I already bought food for him!”

“No one likes bought food from the convenience store.”

“I—I didn’t buy them from the convenience store! Geez, you sly.”

“Heehee!” Misaki sticks out her tongue.

“Why are you doing this much for him anyway? How about Denji?”

“Because he helped me get closer with him, other than him saving my life.”

“Really? But you are the one who said that he talks to you because he wants to talk to Denji?”

“I guessed we helped each other mutually then.”

Nana leads her eyes to the ground, and for a moment had a dark expression on her face. “Then, I will at least prepare the table.”

More moments pass and Misaki calls out, “It’s time to eat!”

Denji enters the dining room, “I have eaten my fill. You guys can go ahead.”

“What? No! I cooked this for you. So you should eat with us.”

“I already what Nana gave me though.”

“That isn’t enough! Come eat mine!”

“Why are you raising your voice?”

“Because this room is too big!”

“It’s true that it’s spacious. But it’s empty enough that I can hear you.”

“I agree,” Nana cuts in, “Denji’s room has the same size, but he has more stuff in it. Speaking of which, you don’t have much stuff you own?”

“No, I don’t own much. I don’t need much after all. And I recently moved here.”

“I see,” Nana replies.

Misaki goes over to the TV and opens it, but the screen shows that it doesn’t have a signal. “You don’t have cable? Don’t you watch anything?”

“I don’t need to.”

“Not even news?”


“How can you get through this boredom?”

“I never said I was ever bored.”

“Then you are boring.”

“Thank you. I strive to be—”

“I didn’t mean it as a compliment!”

The three settle down at the table and start to eat.

“Wow, you cook very well, Misaki!”

“Thank you!”

The two look at Juusaki as he eats his share.

“Hey, what do you think of Misaki’s food?”

“Hm? Good.”

“Just good?”

“You should compliment a girl in this situation, you know?” Misaki states.

“Thank you for the meal.”

“I said compliment! Not thank! Gosh, what is wrong with you?”

“I’m sorry. I don’t quite understand the request.”

“I just want to know what did you think of my cooking.”

“I see. Then, it’s average.”


“How could you say that?” Nana adds in.

“But it’s true. Based on my statistics and data, compared to other meals, this is ave—”

“Sh—shush! I don’t want to hear that!” Misaki interrupts. “I want to know what you really think.”

“But that is my answer.”

“I don’t want technical information. I want your feelings.”

“My feelings? I don’t think that quite appl—”

“Why do you have to be so blunt?” Nana asks. “Do you even know proper manners?”

“I’m sorry. Did I come off as insulting?”

“W—well, not really,” Misaki replies.

“T—then, what I mean, it’s good! I—it’s good. I like it. It’s delicious. Excellent!”

“T—thank you…”

“Excellently average!”

“You really had to add that part in!?”

After they finish the meal, Juusaki starts carrying the plates to the sink while the two girls obliviously talked to each other. Juusaki opens the faucet, and Misaki looks back.

“Stop! I’ll wash the dishes!” Misaki rushes beside Juusaki to stop him, but she gets stopped. “Wait, isn’t your left hand your dominant hand?”

“Why, yes. It is one of my dominant hands.”

“W—what!? Anyway, I’ll do the dishes, so move away! You wash dishes with two hands, you know!?”

“Really? I was thought to wash them with one.”

“They probably said ‘It’s possible to wash them with one hand.’ Not was them with only one hand! Gosh, how dumb can you be? No, how strange are you?”

“Strange, I am not.”

“You just worded that strangely too.”

For the rest of that day, which is the school day, the two girls competed to finish the most chores while occasionally stopping Juusaki from doing them. Night falls, and the two girls announce their leaving.

“Good night, Hachiko-kun,” Nana says.

“Take care, and have a good night’s sleep. And promise me not to do any chores but instead immediately go to sleep! You got that!?”

“Understood,” Juusaki bows his head gently with his expressions unchanging.
Joe Gold
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