“Do you know this girl, Masuyo?” Sute looked at the boy.
“It’s difficult to say that I really know her, but we’ve spoken a few times.” Masuyo folded his arms, “I didn’t even remember that she had a little brother.”
“Hmm, I see…”
“I’m sorry to interrupt the couple, but can you go now?” Kazashi scowled at them.
“Masuyo and I are NOT a couple!” Sute stated.
“Looks like you don’t have much luck, Masuyo.” Kazashi put one of her hands on the door, “Well then, bye.” she closed it.
“That’s Kazashi for you.” Masuyo murmured, “Maybe we should come back when she’s not on our way.” he started to turn around. “I have to look through those files again anyw…”
“Knock, Knock, Knock.” Sute knocked on the door again with one hand while pulling the boy with the other.
“If you know her, you should talk to her properly. Haven’t you learned anything from…”
“What are you still doing here?” Kazashi peeped through the door.
“Talk to her.” Sute mouthed to Masuyo.
“Aargh.” the boy sighed. He glanced at the ajar door where Kazashi was giving him a dirty look. “Can you let us see your little brother?”
“Why would I do that?”
“We have business with him.”
“Business? Stop saying nonsense.”
“It’s related to…” Masuyo looked at Sute, asking for help, “Mechanic battles…?”
“Heavy Meka Battles.” the girl corrected him.
“That’s it.” the boy turned to Kazashi, she kept scowling at him.
“it’s an anime with huge meka fights!” Sute explained, “One of the main Mekroxx is a black and purple one called Syringa, but there’s another call…”
“Black and purple?” Kazashi looked at the girl, she seemed interested in that meka.
Sute and Masuyo looked at each other and then the girl replied: “Yes, we know it is in your brother’s mind these days.”
Kazashi looked at the two once again and then started to open the door: “I don’t know why you are talking about this, but just don’t overstay your welcome.”
“Thank you, Sasaki-san.” Sute bowed and stepped into the room.
Glancing at Kazashi, Masuyo followed the short girl into the room. It was a simple bedroom with a laminated floor, grey walls with anime posters, a screen attached to the wall with a gaming console unplugged from it, a small closet, a bunch of shelves, and a bedside table with two framed pictures on it.
“Huh?” Masuyo looked to his right, there was one more thing: a single bed with a boy on it, he was holding his legs and had all his attention on the television.
“Who are these? What are they doing in my room?” the boy scowled at Sute and Masuyo. It was clear that he had been crying.
“Looks like they have business with you, maybe they can fix your television after all.” Kazashi crossed her arms and gave Masuyo a dirty look.
“Television…?” Sute walked towards the screen, “A problem with the recording of a show?” she observed the thing.
“Yes…” the boy murmured.
“Hmm…” Sute pondered for a moment. She walked towards Masuyo and whispered to him: “Look for anything that might resemble the dive, I’ll fix his television problem and talk to him.”
“Okay…” Masuyo whispered back. He observed as Sute started to mess with the screen and then started to look around the room. After a few seconds of wandering around, Kazashi stopped him: “
What is wrong with you?”
“I’m just looking for something…”
“Ugh.” Kazashi sighed, “Stop prying into my brother’s room and tell me what you want.”
“Hmm…” Masuyo pondered while looking at the girl, “...something related to that anime...?”
“Are you asking me?”
“No… it’s an affirmation.”
“Well then…” she raised an eyebrow, “...he has a bunch of toys and figures, but you should be looking for that purple and black one, right?” Kazashi pointed at her brother.
“Huh?” Masuyo squinted his eyes and looked at Hikaru, paying more attention he noticed something was in his hands. He cautiously walked towards the boy who was giving him a dirty look, “They really are brothers.” while Sute finished what she was doing to the TV.
“That’s it!” the girl looked at the screen now showing a scene from an anime. Sute looked at Hikaru and crouched to hand him a controller: “This always happens to me when I want to watch, but now it should be fine.” it was impressive how her eyes conveyed no emotion while her voice was gentle.
The boy abruptly stole the controller with his free hand and changed what was on the TV to something familiar to Masuyo and Sute: a fight between huge Mekas. It was not the same fight from their dive, but it was certainly from the same show.
Sute as always, admired the anime, but her glance at the television quickly ended when she decided to focus on her job first: “Huh?” she looked at what the boy was holding, it was a small version of the Mekroxx named Syringa. “Hey, it is Syr…”
“Aaah!” the boy jumped back, getting as far from Sute as he could.
“He…” Sute tried again.
“Aaah!” the boy pressed his body against the wall, trying to escape the girl.
“Hmm…” the girl held her chin and pondered.
“What was that about?” Masuyo turned to Kazashi.
“He has been acting this way for some time now.” she looked worried, “The only thing he wants to do is watch that anime, and he doesn’t let go of that stupid toy.”
“That’s exactly the reason why we’re here.” Sute stood up, giving up on talking to the boy, “We want to help your brother go through that.”
“Go through what?”
“We're sure something is tormenting him, and we want to fix that.” she stared at Kazashi, Sute’s words were fierce, leaving no room for misunderstanding, it was clear that she was serious about it. “So it would be nice if you could cooperate with us.” Sute bowed to Kazashi: “Please.”
Kazashi stared at the bowing girl for a moment: “Raise your head. If it’s something to help my brother I’ll obviously help.”
“Thank you very much, Sasaki-san.” Sute raised her head.
“Whatever, what do you need from me?”
“Let me try something…” Sute rummaged her pockets and picked a small device, it was something similar to a camera: a mind eraser.
“Hey, Sute!” Masuyo looked at the girl, “Why do you need to do this?”
“I have reasons to believe she can be one of us, so I’m just making sure.” she pointed the device to Kazashi: “Say cheese.”
“'One of us'?"
Sute pressed a button and the device acted similarly to the first time Masuyo had seen it: the sharp noise, red glimmering, and roasted scent. Kazashi didn’t react to it, she simply scowled at Sute and said: “Are you joking with me? I’ve just said that I’ll help you and you try to take pictures with your broken camera?”
“Okay, I have some questions for you, Kazashi Sasaki.” Sute put the device back in her pocket and walked towards Kazashi: “Since when has your brother been acting weird?”
“Hmm…” Kazashi kept stroking the floor with her foot and her arm with one finger, “A couple of weeks, I think.”
“A couple of weeks…” Sute rummaged her pockets and picked something.
“A Notepad?” Masuyo tilted his head.
The girl started to take notes: "So, he has been that way for all this time?”
“No… he was acting weird at home but was at least going to school in the beginning.” Kazashi pondered, “Although it didn’t seem like he was taking school seriously… it was like he was doing it on autopilot.”
“Hmm…” Sute took some more notes.
Leaving the two girls talking, Masuyo looked around the room until something caught his eye on top of the bedside table. He ignored the scowling face of Hikaru and looked at the framed pictures on top of it, one was the same as one of the pictures on the first floor: the little boy Hikaru with his older sister Kazashi and an old couple; the other picture visible was one of only Hikaru and Kazashi, the boy smiling and the girl scowling.
“And what could possibly have happened for him to start acting like that?” Sute asked.
“The only thing that crosses my mind…”
Masuyo noticed that there was another framed picture on top of the bedside table, but it was lying downwards. He grabbed it and turned it to reveal Hikaru and an old man playing in a park.
“...is our grandfather’s death.” Kazashi completed.
“AAAAH!” Hikaru jumped on Masuyo, “GET AWAY FROM IT!” he tried to take the framed picture out of Masuyo’s hands but accidentally made it fall to the ground after knocking down Masuyo.
“SISTER!” Hikaru turned to Kazashi, tears forming in his eyes while he reached for the framed picture, “GET THESE TWO OUT OF HERE! I WANT THEM OUT OF HERE!” he screamed with all his might.
“Aaah.” Kazashi sighed, “You heard him.”
"GET AWAY! LEAVE ME ALONE!"
“Yes.” Sute looked at Masuyo, her eyes didn’t say a thing, but she was clearly mad at the boy, “But can you come with us for just a moment, Sasaki-san?”
“Aaah.” Kazashi sighed again, “Of course.” and headed to the door.
“GET AWAY FROM HERE, GET AWAY FROM HERE, GET OUT NOW!!” Hikaru kept yelling.
Completely dumbstruck by the boy’s reaction, Masuyo didn’t move a finger. Sute had to help the boy get up, pulling him to the door, and letting Kazashi close it.
“I shouldn’t have let you go in there. I knew this would happen.” Kazashi smacked her head.
“What did you do?” Sute frowned at Masuyo.
“Hmm… I… I…” he stuttered.
“You can tell me when you recover your voice.” Sute turned to Kazashi, “So, we were talking about your grandparent.”
"Aah." Kazashi sighed, “Yes, he died at the hospital a few weeks ago.”
“It must be the cause of your brother’s behavior.” Sute concluded, “But you don’t seem affected at all.” she stared at Kazashi.
“Gr.” the girl clenched her teeth, “What do you mean by that?”
“I said that you don’t seem affected.” Sute repeated, “At least not as much as your brother.” she added. “But it’s not like it doesn’t hurt, right?” she kept gazing at Kazashi, who gazed back at her.
“Huh?” Masuyo looked at Sute, “What...?”
“I wasn’t as close to grandfather as he was.” Kazashi explained, “It’s been weeks and I’m not a little girl anymore.” she added and then looked away to murmur: “Besides, I’m already used to it…” without letting the two hear.
“Huh?” Masuyo only noticed that she voiced something weird.
“I see…” Sute wrote some more on her notepad, “That might be enough for now…” she turned to Masuyo: “Now you, Masuyo, what did you do?”
“Hmm… I... I only looked at a picture…”
“What was in the picture?”
“Hmm… I didn’t see it clearly, but it looked like it was that boy and an old man playing in a park.”
“In a park, huh?” Sute pondered for a moment and then looked at Kazashi, “Do you know where it is?”
“I guess so, but I’d like to know why is this relevant to help my brother.”
“That’s fair enough, I can tell you everything on our way there.” Sute didn’t waver.
“Huh.” Kazashi looked at Sute, noticing that the girl was serious, “Okay then, come with me.” she headed to the stairs.
Sute started to follow Kazashi and Masuyo went right after her, approaching the girl he whispered: “Are you really going to tell her what we’re doing?”
“Of course, she might be one of us in the future.” Sute whispered back, “Although I won’t be the one doing the talking to her.”
“There she goes again saying ‘one of us.’” “With one of us, you mean a diver?”
“Yes.” she replied simply and hurried to accompany Kazashi.
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