Chapter 19:



“I don't mind if I'm only watching”

“Sister!” the little Hikaru stopped before Kazashi when she got home, “Do you know if grandpa is coming today?”

“Huh?” Kazashi frowned at him, “What did you think I went to do?”

“Hikaru!” a gentle voice came from behind Kazashi, “It’s been a long time!” it was from an old man.

“Grandpa!” the boy ran towards his grandfather.

“Oh! You’ve grown!” the old Sasaki-san crouched and looked at his grandchild.

“But grandpa, you came here last week!”

“But I can say you’ve grown anyway, right? he smiled patted Hikaru’s hair.

“Hehehe! Okay!” the boy closed his eyes, accepting the affection and smiling.

“So, why don’t we go to the park today? We couldn’t go there last week, right?”


“So, just jump on my back, and let’s go there.” the old man turned around and the boy quickly accepted the offer, changing his shoes and then jumping on his grandfather’s back to start a piggyback ride.

“Grandpa.” Kazashi called when he went to the door with Hikaru on his back, “Are you sure you should be doing something like this? Won’t you hurt your back?”

“It’s fine Kazashi-chan!” Sasaki-san faced the girl with a smile, “For my family, I can endure any pain! I can even give you a piggyback ride just like in the old times if you’d like one”

Kazashi cracked a tiny smile, “Thank you grandpa, but I don’t want my consciousness aching when you are unable to straighten your back.”

“Hehe. I love that little smile of yours. It’s just like your mother’s.”

“Oh…” Kazashi’s eyes widened as she looked at Sasaki-san. “Thanks, grandpa.” her smile widened.

“Hehe, off we go then!”

“Off we go!” Hikaru copied the man as they crossed the threshold of the door.

“I don’t mind not being the one to make him smile like that.”

“Huh?” Kazashi stopped and looked to the side when she heard a laugh. Just as she thought her brother was playing in the park with their grandfather. “So he’s too ill to go to school but is fine enough to play, huh?” she sighed and resumed her walk: “Well, let him enjoy grandpa as much as he can.”

“But sometimes it doesn’t seem like he knows.”

“Are you sure you’re fine enough to go to school?” Kazashi asked Hikaru. After what had happened to their grandfather, she was surprised the boy was ready to commute the next morning.

“Of course.” his tone was dry, “I have to go to school.” and his eyes looked dead.

“Hmm… let’s go together then!”

“There’s no need for that.”

“Why? We live in the same home and our schools are integrated. It’d be perfectly normal to commute together.”

“I can go by myself.” the boy said with his face down.

“I know but…”

“I CAN GO BY MYSELF!” he cast a furious glare at his sister.

“Okay…” Kazashi noticed that Hikaru was on the verge of tears. He was trembling while tightly gripping something. “Huh?” Kazashi gazed at the boy’s hand, he was holding a little toy… a gift from their grandfather. “Hikaru, what is this…?” she approached the boy while looking at the figure.

“Aaaargh!” the boy turned around and darted out of the room, leaving the house and his sister behind.

“Sometimes it doesn’t seem like he knows that I just want him to be happy.”

“If the problem is going together, then it should be fine if we commuted separate, even if it is only by a few meters, right?” Kazashi murmured to herself as she followed her brother. She was hiding behind a corner while glancing at him.

“Look at that girl…”

“Is she stalking the little boy?”

“Should we call the police?”

“Ugh.” Kazashi clenched her teeth as she heard the whispers, “WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?” she scowled at the ones gossiping about her.

“Aaah! Run! She might do something to us!” one of the boys yelled to his friend as he turned around to run.

“Idiots.” Kazashi returned her attention to her b…

“What are you doing here, Sister?” Hikaru was right in front of her.

“Aaaah?” Kazashi crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow, “Our schools are right next to each other. It’s only natural to take similar paths.”

“Yes, but we always take them at different times. Don’t you usually go with your friends?”

“Well, they aren’t here now… but I don’t know why I have to give you an explanation. You should be at school by now.”

“Yes, and it’s your fault I’m not there…” the boy muttered and turned around, heading to his school.

Classes were over. Kazashi had bolted out of her classroom and was now leaning against a wall in Botan High’s front gate. “When he’s going home, he has to pass through here…”

“Don’t you have club today?” someone stopped before her.

“Huh?” Kazashi looked at the boy in front of him, "What does he want?" “Not really. But I don’t see how that should concern you.”

“You’re right! I’m sorry for prying, but it’s not like I have something better to do, you know?”

“Hmm, are you sure you aren’t just trying to hit on me? I’m sorry but…” “I don’t have the time for something stupid like that.” “...I have an appointment today.”

“Haha.” the boy smiled and sighed, “You’re way out of my league, you know?”

“Flattery won’t get you anywhere.”

“It isn’t flattery…” he remained standing still before the girl.

“What is he doing?”

“Yeah… maybe I should…” the boy gawked at the ground.

“Huh??” “You are kind of weird, Masuyo Hirano.”

“You just wanted to be the last one to talk…” the boy murmured.

“What?” Kazashi raised an eyebrow and looked at Masuyo, but he ignored her and left the school property. “Hey!” she crossed the gate and gazed at the boy. He didn’t even react to her, he kept walking, completely absorbed by thought. “This guy is a real weirdo… but at least he seems honest. Actually, it's more like he just says what comes to his mind.”

The girl observed Masuyo wander until she noticed a group of middle schoolers drawing closer to her, so she quickly returned to Botan High’s gate and waited for Hikaru.

“Sometimes it doesn’t seem like he knows that I don’t hold a grudge against him. It wasn’t his fault, so he can rely on his older sister. He can rely on me.”

“What do you mean you’re not coming to school today?” a female voice talked through the phone.

“I can’t let my brother stay here by himself.” Kazashi replied, “My grandma isn’t here today to take care of him…”

“Hmm, I understand. I hope your brother gets better soon.”

“Thanks, Kawa-san.”

“But you sure are a good older sister, huh? Mine would never do something like that.”

Kazashi gave a soft laugh, “I wish I was...”

“You know Kazashi-san.”


“I’m sure your brother will realize how good of an older sister he has. When he does that he probably won’t let go of you so, I'm advising you to enjoy freedom while you can.”

“Hmm, I don’t think I’d care about freedom at that time.” Kazashi murmured.

“Well… that’s it. I’ll get going now, okay?”

“Yeah, you shouldn’t be late for school.”

“Bye, then.”

“Bye.” Kazashi uttered as her friend hung up the call. She put her phone in her pocket and went up the stairs, stopping before the first door to the right. It was ajar, but this didn’t prevent her from knocking:

Knock, Knock.” no one replied.

"Knock, Knock." no one replied again. Instead, the only sound coming from Hiraku’s room was that of the television.

“Hikaru?” Kazashi called.


“Hikaru, I’m coming in, okay?” the girl slowly opened the door. While opening it, she could see her brother in the dim bedroom. Staring vacantly at the television, he was sitting on his bed with his eyes swollen. “Huh?” Kazashi once again noticed something on his hands: something that looked like a purple robot, a gift from their now-deceased grandfather.

“Hey.” Kazashi tried to give a warm smile as she approached the boy, “That’s grandpa’s gift ri…” her voice died when Hikaru jumped back and shrank in his bed.

Startled by the boy’s reaction Kazashi stopped and analyzed the room. She hadn’t noticed because of the lack of light, but it was a complete mess: jumble everywhere, piles of clothes lying on the ground... It looked like he rummaged his shelves looking for something, “It’s probably that little toy.” Kazashi looked at what the boy was holding, “But since I haven't been here in an awful while I can't know for sure…”

Kazashi held her chin for a moment, pondering on what to do until she decided to open the window so a bit of light could pour into the room, but it was only for the boy to quickly get up and close the window with excessive force, returning to his bed afterward.

”Okay then... I doubt he’ll let me turn on the light.” Kazashi looked at the untidy floor and cautiously crouched to pick up the clothes while looking at Hikaru, making sure he didn’t disapprove of her actions. She received a bunch of dirty looks, but the boy remained on his bed, watching “Heavy Meka Battles” without interrupting her.

Kazashi proceeded into cleaning the boy’s room while glancing at the television from time to time. She was beginning to understand what that show was about when a sound caught her attention:

GROWL.” even with the loud noise of his stomach growling the boy didn’t move.

“Hmm, looks like you’re hungry Hikaru.”


“Okay, what do you want to eat? I’ll make whatever you want.”

“...” the boy kept staring at the screen.

“Hey!” Kazashi frowned, “If you don’t say a thing I’ll do something really gross, is that alright? Something like... dog soup! That has dog meat and dog food, this sounds good for you?” she crossed her arms and looked at her brother, this time he at least gave a faint reaction, glancing at Kazashi as if saying “Are you crazy?”.

The boy returned his attention to the television. Kazashi, on the other hand, left the room smiling, “I don't know what I was saying either, but I’m glad you reacted.” she went down the stairs, heading to the kitchen. “Sadly, we don't have the ingredients to make that dog soup, so a simple miso soup will have to do it.”

“Knock, Knock.”

“Hikaru, I’m coming in. I brought lunch for you.” Kazashi was bringing her brother food once again. This time she had a basket filled with sandwiches.

The girl slowly entered the room, receiving the usual treatment: the boy scowled at her, not uttering a single word.

“I brought some sandwiches today. We could go to that park and have some type of picnic if you’d like. I can call grandma as well.”


“Hmm.” Kazashi sighed, “I thought you loved going to the park.”

“I don’t want to eat.” Hikaru murmured.

“Huh? What did you say?”

“I’m not hungry. I don’t want to eat.”

“Look, you have t…”


“Grr, he’s getting on my nerves now!” “WHAT?” Kazashi scowled at the boy, “You don’t want to eat, again?! Didn’t we go through this yesterday?! You’ve got some balls with you’re implying I wasted my time preparing something for you!”

“I don’t even know why you do this. You keep doing this for someone you hate.” he muttered.


“Nothing.” Hikaru kept watching the television.

“Hey, look at me when I’m talking to you!” Kazashi yelled.



“...” he ignored her again.

“Aargh! Okay, I don’t care anymore!” Kazashi walked towards the television and plugged it off.

“HEY!” Hikaru protested.

“Listen to me! You’ve been watching this shit nonstop until now! I’ll turn it on after you finish eating.”

Hikaru sulked and stood up, walking past Kazashi to try and turn on the TV, only to be stopped by the girl, who grabbed him by the collar.

“I said you should eat now.”

“I don’t wa…”

“I DON'T CARE.” she scowled at him.

“Grr.” The boy clenched his teeth and tightened his grip around the Syringa figure.

“Oh, it looks like you want to lose your toy as well.” Kazashi swiftly stole the purple figure.

“GIVE IT BACK!” Hikaru tried to reach for the toy, to no avail.

“Only after you eat a sandwich!” she raised the toy beyond the boy’s reach. “Besides, I don’t even know why you’re so obsessed about it, going as far as taking a shower if it! You have to let it go at least sometimes you know?”

“SHUT UP!” Hikaru jumped on his sister, making them both fall to the floor.

“Aargh. Maybe I should break it then!”

“NOO!” Hikaru struggled, trying to retrieve his gift. Although he was in his development phase, he was still no match for his older sister Kazashi, who overpowered him in an instant, quickly standing up and dragging the boy to the basket she had brought.

“You’ll have your toy back when you eat one.”


“Be glad I’m only making you eat one.”

“Grr.” Hikaru scowled and looked at the basket.

“Making that face won’t make me change my resolve.”

“Hmm.” he opened the basket and picked one of the sandwiches, it was a ham sandwich, but it was supposed to be made from a “special family recipe”.

"Hey, what do we say before eating?"



“Thanks for the food.” he murmured while taking the first bite.

“So, how is it?”


“Hikaru.” Kazashi crossed her arms.

“I’m eating now!”

“Hmm. So I’ll wait for you to finish.” Kazashi crossed her arms and watched her brother eat, but he didn’t say a thing after he finished his first sandwich. The boy kept eating more and more sandwiches, giving Kazashi the answer she wanted.

“I’m home.” Kazashi crossed the front door.

“Hello, Kazashi-san.” an old woman greeted her from the kitchen.

“Hi, grandma. How have you two been doing today?” the girl quickly changed her shoes and walked towards the lady.

“I’m fine, but the boy hasn’t eaten the entire day.”

“Grr, so he’s making things difficult again, huh?”


“Well, you can leave it up to me.” Kazashi went up the stairs, turning left in the end and knocking on Hikaru's door.

“I don’t want anything!” Hikaru replied from inside.

“Are you sure you’re not hungry?” the girl asked through the door, “I heard you haven’t eaten the entire day!”

Kazashi’s voice was followed by a silence that was broken when Hiraku’s voice stuttered:


“Looks like you can’t measure time when you watch this crap. Who else did you think would be at this hour?”

“...” the boy didn’t reply, instead, the sound of muffled footsteps could be heard from the other side of the room until it stopped before the door. Hikaru, as if to confirm if the one talking to him was really Kazashi, slightly opened the door and scowled at her.

“Don’t be an idiot.” Kazashi frowned and pushed the door, leaving it wide open and making Hikaru take a step back. “Hmm.” she observed the room, it looked like their grandma didn’t let the boy mess everything up that day.

Hikaru stared at his sister for a moment and then sat on his bed while Kazashi noticed a familiar basket near the door. “What’s up with him now? Sandwiches are the one thing he was starting to eat without complaining much.” she walked towards the basket and lifted it.

Kazashi sat beside her brother on the bed and picked a sandwich from the bag, starting to eat it while watching the same anime as her brother.

“What are you doing?” Hikaru stopped watching the television and glowered at the girl.

“If you’re not going to eat it...” she munched the sandwich, “I will. I’m hungry after school.” she kept eating.

Even though Kazashi didn’t understand much of that anime, she continued to watch it while chewing the food. It took some time, but after giving the girl and the basket several glances, Hikaru finally started to eat. They both enjoyed the food and tried to understand what was happening on the television.

“I wonder if he’ll come here again.” Kazashi was sitting on a bench, staring at the park in front of her.

“Are you listening to me, Kazashi-san?” a voice asked beside her.

“Huh?” she turned to the voice. It came from a man with black eyes and hair. His name was Hisoka.

“I’m asking you if you understood everything I said to you.”

“Hmm… I guess so. It sounds surreal to me, but if it’s true it means my brother won’t be acting like an asshole, right?”

“That’s right!” Hisoka smiled and closed his eyes. “So, what do you think about working for us?”

“Well, if I see results… my brother getting better like in a magic trick as you say, then I can consider it.”

“So, it’s a deal, right?!”

“We’ll see about that.” Kazashi remembered Hisoka’s words. After they talked in the park, he had stayed around to ask a bunch of questions to her family. He even talked to her brother, somehow making him reply, but besides that, it looked like the boy’s situation had gotten worse.

“We’ll see about that today.” Kazashi murmured to herself. On the previous day, Hisoka had left their house saying that Hikaru would get better the next day.

“The next day” arrived, bringing a more problematic than ever Hikaru. The boy screamed at his sister and didn’t let Kazashi enter his room in her two attempts: one before she went to school and one after returning home. he was even refusing to eat anything.

“Grr.” Kazashi clenched her teeth and slammed the wall, “Shit! Shit! I knew it was all bullshit! I don’t know why I had a slimmer of hope…” she then walked with heavy steps to her room and collapsed onto her bed. “I knew he couldn’t magically get better… and I should’ve known that we’ll never have that type of relationship…” after brooding, the girl closed her eyes and fell asleep.

Real Aire
Kerry Kamiya