Chapter 55:

My Little Brother is On the Run.

My Dad is an Otaku, My Mom is a Fujoshi, and I Wish I Was Dead

Today, once again, my parents weren't at home, I couldn't get the floppy to work, and Ryou wasn't in his room when I kicked the door open. His assignments were done, once again, laid out in a neat little stack on his desk, so I couldn't complain about that...he's basically a Study-lenquent at this point! Ahahahahahaha!

I'm not apologizing for that one, because that was good! I think I'll try that one on him at some point! I bet it'll make the little brat mad and then he'll go "I was only studying because I was forced to, now screw off Nee-san!" or something like that.

Anyways. His room was clean and his stuff was done and the window was open, so I assumed he was down at the music store, but when I called down there and talked to the old guy who runs it, he said that my little brother wasn't there. That's when I started to get nervous. After how hard he's been working lately (or at least it seems like), there's no way he could have snuck out to do "gangster stuff", right? I mean, every day, it seems like when he's not doing his supplementary lessons, he's down at the shop for hours. He wouldn't throw all of that away and go back to the way he was, I don't think...Or maybe he would. I can't say for sure.

I got all protective of him when I was talking to Haru-kun and the others, but I really don't know my brother at all. I haven't been able to do anything to get him out of the situation he's in, and it's August by this point...maybe that's what I deserve for not being on his side before now.

Ugh! If I had just believed in him before, I would have already been able to save him!

Well...not much I can do about it now. I just gotta hope there's a Kurogane or a Kagari or an Iida that can take his side...but from what he was saying, the student council are the ones that hate him. I guess that's out of the question, then...


That note on his desk said Wednesday. Today's Wednesday.

But the address on was in Tokyo, right? Let me check my phone for a second...I took a picture of it...Yup. Nerima. If he's really gone all the way there...even for someone who doesn't respect authority, that's way too risky! It's two hours or so just to get there and back, and who knows how long it'll take him to do whatever he's doing there! And if my parents come home and see that he's been gone for hours when he's supposed to be grounded, they'll throw him out in the street in a cardboard box like an abandoned kitten but no one will come by to adopt him because he's not a kitten, he's an annoying kid...

Wait a minute...I was supposed to tell my parents that he's been sneaking out...heh, heh. Let's just ignore that for now...

With how rough Ryou's had it these last few weeks, and how hard he's been working despite all that, he doesn't need me snitching on him. I promised I'd have his back.

So if Dad decides to unexpectedly come home while Ryou is sneaking out and gets up in my face and goes "Why weren't you watching him?!" I guess I can play dumb and go "I got a little distracted, ehehe~" and stick my tongue out and make a pose or something. The cute act always works on Dad.

But if it's Mom who ends up coming home instead...yeah, there's no way I can fool her. She can see right through the stupid act. Yes, it is an act. Haru-kun says I'm stupid all the time, but he's just being a tsundere. I'm not actually stupid. If I was stupid, I would have failed my finals, but I've never done that. And stupid people like Sachi over Nagisa-chan, and I don't like Sachi. So that means I'm not stupid. See? Makes a lot of sense, right? So why does Haru-kun call me stupid, then? Oh, I just remembered something I read...when a guy insults you all the time, that means he likes- AAAAAAAAAAAA! Forget I said that! Just forget it!

So anyway, I can't fool Mom. The great Mikono-sensei has such a fantastic grasp of human emotions that she always sees right through me. I reread Color for the seventy-sixth time last week and I still cried at the part where Yuko di- Ah, spoiler! Phew, I'm glad I caught myself there. So Mom'll figure out that I'm lying and covering for the brat and then I'll get thrown out on the street in the same cardboard box as him and then we'll have to figure out how to survive as homeless...I mean, I read the part in Tanabata where Anna's time machine breaks and she has to live with the homeless for a while, but I don't have psychic powers...what are we gonna do?! She eventually started a ramen cart, so I guess eventually we might be able to do that, but she had financial backing from Niida and we don't have anyone who'll give us anything once we're out on the street!

Stop it! Calm down, Ayame. Take a deep breath. Let's look at this logically. I've gotta be more of an Onishi than a Jitanda.

First off, let's consider the facts of the current situation. Let's...turn the chessboard around, if you will. Heh.

Are there any glasses around here? Come on...come on...Ugh, I wanted to put them on and then push them up my nose when I said that like all the smart detective guys do in anime!

I guess these heart sunglasses I got from C*mitia will have to do...anyways.

FACT ONE: Ryou is missing. That's a given.

FACT TWO: The window in his room is open. That means he left through there. That's how I figured out he sneaks out to go to the music store (see, Haru-kun, I'm not stupid).

Therefore, it should logically follow that the brat went to the music store. Thanks, D*ath N*te, for teaching me what deduction means!

But, consider this...

FACT THREE: Ryou is not at the music store. Mitsukoshi-san said he'd come by earlier in the day, at about noon, picked up his guitar, and left. That's unusual. Since I know he's taking lessons from Mitsukoshi-san, it would make sense for him to stay for a while. But apparently, he didn't.

Which leads us to...

FACT FOUR: The guitar is not in his room. I haven't seen it for a while, and this means that he did NOT come back home after going to the music store. So wherever he is, he's got it on him.

FACT FIVE: You wouldn't take a very expensive, hand-made guitar to go do "real thug stuff". Or at least I wouldn't. So my brother's not doing delinquent activities, because I wouldn't do that if I was him. That rules out loitering.

FACT SIX: Mitsukoshi-san said Ryou came by his store at about noon. I had track practice today, so I was at school then. It's 3 now, on a Wednesday. Dad only comes home on the weekends, and Mom never gets home on weekday nights before eleven PM. So that means Ryou must be doing something that takes a long time, because he snuck out when all of us were away to get a headstart.

FACT SEVEN: Mom and Dad took his cell phone, so he doesn't have one. How does someone navigate without a cell phone? Good question...

FACT EIGHT: The scrap of paper that had an address on it was missing from his desk! How do you find a location when you can't use Googol Maps? You write it down, of course! Just like everyone did in the Dark Ages! And Tora-senpai does now.

I'm getting really close. I can feel it. Your favorite cute and lovable Supernatural Detective, Ayame-chan, is about to solve this mystery! And unlike Kotoha, I did it without any help from my youkai friends! Take that, Haru-kun! Bwahahahahahaha!

Well, I'm not actually supernatural...but just ignore that part!

Let's see. Where does this address lead to? Let me plug it in real quick...

"Legit School of Rock Music for Legit Rock Musicians (NOT A SCAM)"?

I've always wanted to do this. Deep breath, Ayame. Deep breath.


Whoa, that felt awesome! It's even echoing a little bit!

So the little you-know-what went by Mitsukoshi-san's store to get the guitar he's been borrowing, then he went right to that address in Tokyo, and it was a music school, so he's there right now! See how smart I am?

Well, I guess I'll wait for him to get home. The school says it's legit, so he'll be fine, probably.

I'm kinda curious what it looks like, now...time for the Mystic Eyes of Faraway Perception! Street View, activate!



Where's the school?

That's weird...

This whole block looks pretty rundown. It doesn't seem like a place where an annoying little brat should be going...

Wait a minute! He doesn't have his phone on him, so what if whatever he's doing takes him so long that it gets dark, and he can't find his way back? What if the police pick him up?! He's already a person of interest! What if he takes a wrong turn and ends up in Roppongi and some guy pulls him into a hostess bar and he wakes up the next morning missing ¥100000 and one of his kidneys?! What if he ends up in Ikebukuro and a large, angry bouncer throws a vending machine at him, or he gets run over by a dullahan on a motorcycle?!

Hang on, Ryou! Your big sister's coming to save you!

The doors are now closing.

Whew! I just barely made it...

I had to run the whole way to catch the afternoon train, but they don't call me the first-year ace of the track team for nothing! I think I might have set a new personal best! I had a head of steam the whole way here...pfffffft...ahahahahahahaha!

Wait. That joke doesn't make sense. These trains are electric. I just made someone reading this very mad. Sorry.

Ah, the familiar lurch of a JR inter-city train...the familiar smell of decades of salaryman B.O. and booze...don't you just love it? I love seeing the buildings go by most of all- it feels like you're watching a still frame get animated as they roll past. This is giving me an idea for my next one-shot! Connections on a train? Maybe a boy and girl meet each morning and evening on the train and slowly fall for each other? No, that's way too cliche. How about an ordinary schoolgirl who gets caught in a terrorist attack on the train in the morning and then uses her newly-gained powers to turn the train into a mecha and foils the crime? And then a kaiju shows up and she beats up the monster with her new train-mecha...I like that a lot! Okay, once I rescue Ryou and get back, I'm starting on that one-shot, and I'll submit it to the Janp contest-

Hold on a minute.

Ryou might not be in Tokyo at all!

I thought I'd determined with pinpoint accuracy suitable for a Supernatural Detective that he was at this Legit Music School place, but for all I know, he's out practicing in a park somewhere close by and the note got blown off his desk by the wind! I drew my conclusions based on what I would do!

Which means...

If Mom or Dad get home and the brat's there and I'm not...I'M getting in trouble!

Somebody, help me!

Steward McOy