Chapter 27:

The Otaku and The Nurse

Love, Manga & Blackmail: A Secret Otaku's Countdown To Romance!

“I will not let you do this Shulox!”

“You can’t stop me Lilia! I will destroy everything!”

“Pingin, now!”

“Pingin… ray!”


Colors danced in the sparsely lit room as the TV's glow lit up our faces like arcade lights.

“What?” Ichika uttered, weirded out.

“Pingin ray?” Kotone too, raised a brow.

“What the hell?!” Safe to say I was going ballistic, “This wasn’t in the manga!”

“Yeah, I don’t recall Pingin using… rays.”

I buried my face in my hands.

“This is preposterous…”

Lilia-chan's weekly episode was about to air, and the three of us abandoned our tasks, including the half-done dishes, to watch it. However, instead of indulging in pure Lilia bliss, we found ourselves witnessing an entirely new, anime-exclusive technique and a villain who was previously just a subplot for character bonding.

“All who slaughter source material shall die, in the name of otaku, burn my enemies—“

While Kotone chanted a somewhat ominous incantation, Ichika laughed dryly.

“Maybe… maybe it’s not that bad?”

“All shall die in the name of the almighty otaku Go—“

The three of us were huddled on the couch, with my leg elevated on a pillow over the coffee table. The room's lights were dim, casting an eerie ambiance in our living space.

Maybe it was just slightly straying from the path? So what? Anime-only scenes give a whole new vibe to the story…

Sometime later…

“Pingin! You’re very strong! I can’t believe this!”

“Don’t worry… Lilia.”

Pingin gave an ikemen smile, as his arm muscles twitched in unison with the glint of his blue eyes. Lilia the magical girl, was resting in his arms, completely enthralled.

Pingin was handsome, ripped, and blue eyed. And more importantly, he had the capacity to speak human words?

“What… what is this episode?” I muttered, while Kotone had blacked out and was foaming at the mouth a little ways to the side.

“They… they killed it. Lilia-chan the magical girl is… DEAD!”

Fair to say, Ichika too, was completely mortified by what we were witnessing.

I’ve never seen such a one sided slaughter of the source material before…

“How dare you do this to the show? Have you no shame? Lilia-chan the magical girl is, and always will be—“


As I typed in a friendly message to the studio, Ichika's exclamation caught my attention, and I leaned in closer to the screen. Pingin had just woken up, but something was different. Not ikemen, not overly muscular. In fact, he couldn't even speak. Exactly as it should be.


“It’s the real Pingin!!” Ichika's excitement was palpable.

A thought bubble appeared over Pingin's head, and tears welled up in his eyes. Wait... was he imagining all of the previous scenes?



Ichika and I slumped back as the credits rolled and the words "EPISODE 14.5" flashed on the screen.

Turns out it was just a recap episode from Pingin's perspective, or rather, his wild fantasies about his and Lilia's adventures.

"Phew…" Ichika exhaled and got up from the couch.

“I am revived.” Kotone voiced too, as she rose from the dead.

“That’s why I hate filler episodes.” I shook my head, while the bespectacled girl before me flicked the lights on.


My phone's alarm suddenly went off, causing me to jump slightly before realizing.


It was time to apply that stupid gel, to that stupid ankle…

“What’s… up?” Ichika's curious gaze met mine as I shook my head.

“Nothing. Just gotta change the bandage and apply this… diclofenac gel.”



Ichika's voice broke the quiet, her brow raised in question.

For some reason, I had a bad feeling about this.

“Want me to do it for you?”

There it was.

“Eh… why?” I asked, as her face went from normal, to street sign in a matter of seconds. Ichika always took the gold at blushing.

“I… just thought it would be hard for you to do it on your own… It might hurt and all that.” She said, avoiding eye contact. “Plus you helped me with the cut earlier too, so…”

So she wanted to help me? Out of her own goodwill?

I gave the situation a thought.

I mean it couldn’t hurt, right? Having Ichika tend to me in a moment of need was, kind of heart-racing. The thought gave me a sense of… satisfaction?

“Sure.” I shrugged, while Kotone shot up from her seat like a toad, dramatically covering her eyes.

“Perverts! Indecent! Yukkies!”

“Yukkies?” Ichika frowned, as she caught ahold of my leg.

“Oye!” I hissed. “Don’t pull like it’s a damn stick!”

Ichika offered an apologetic smile as she removed the bandage and gently examined my swollen ankle.

"Don't prod either..." I sighed, and she nodded in understanding.

“Now where to find that gel…”

I pointed her to a shelf across the room, and the blonde girl was quick to retrieve the tube and return.

“Yosh!” She hyped herself up, and rubbed some of it on her palms, while giving me a curious look.


“Don’t get any… weird ideas.” She gulped, her cheeks reddening.

Weird ideas? I mean her tending to me was kind of… alluring. But my head was still not even halfway through the gutter.

“I’m not. You’re probably the only pervert here.” I smirked, causing Ichika’s ears to puff out a gush of steam each.

“M-me? A pervert?” She muttered, pouting. With slow, gentle strokes, she began rubbing the side of my ankle with the cream.

The thermic gel provided a soothing sensation, loosening the tension in my joints. Her touch was surprisingly delicate and skilled. As her fingers moved over my skin, I couldn't help but appreciate her tenderness.

“Am I doing it… right?” Ichika's gaze met mine briefly, then returned to her work.

Don’t make it weird now, Haruhi. Don’t make it weird…


She wasn’t bad, that’s for sure.


“I think you’re doing great, thanks.”

A small smile played on her lips, and she continued her ministrations. There was a serene focus in her eyes, as if she were engrossed in her task. It was a side of her I rarely saw, and I found it quite… endearing.

She didn’t seem particularly hard working at a glance, but she was definitely earnest when you got to know her like this.

Like how she had tried out cooking, failed, and then kept trying, all while injuring herself.

Although, I couldn’t quite tell what drove her towards that.

Nor why she was doing this now…

Maybe she wanted to show how loving and caring we are to her parents?

Yet, they weren’t around.

Well, she could always take a picture as she usually did.

“Done.” She announced, finishing her impromptu medical session and wrapping a fresh bandage around my ankle.

I had to say, bending at weird angles wasn’t my forte, so this would have been a hassle to do alone. I thanked her twice inside my head, as she tightened the bandage.

Unlike her cooking, her interactions with the human body weren’t even remotely as clumsy. She was gentle, light, and had a feathery touch, almost like a caress. When Ichika had seized my leg, I had felt somewhat anxious, yet through her touch, that tension dissipated completely.

Even I, the doctor 2.0 of the family hadn’t reached that level.

“Thanks.” I mouthed, leaning back against the couch.

“No worries…” She shrugged, and leaned away.

There was a silence between us for a brief moment, as Ichika wiped her hands away with some tissues, and looked back at me.

“What now?”

A thought struck me, and I blurted it out.

“Aren’t you gonna… take a picture for you parents or something?”

With a raised brow, Ichika studied me and almost laughed.

“Why? I didn’t do it for them.”


I was left dumbfounded. What did that mean?

“I didn’t do it for them.” She repeated, this time without breaking eye contact. “I did it because I wanted to help you.”

Was I hearing this right?

“Why are you looking at me like that…?” Ichika's voice wavered, and she glanced away.

“Nothing, I was just taken aback…”

Ichika really wanted to help me, huh?

“Why is that so surprising? Does everything have to be for… show?” Ichika’s gaze dropped, causing me to feel a pang of guilt deep within me.

It was true. Whatever we did for one another, it could all ultimately be disguised as a way to make this farce more believable.

A lie that turned every truth into an excuse. A lie that enveloped every little action in its own little theater curtain. A curtain that hid every truth and every lie, behind the same play.

Which was which?

And even amidst that, Ichika had admitted that she didn’t do it for show.

She actually… cared?

I smiled.

“I’m sorry. You’re right.” I chuckled. “Thanks Ichika, I honestly appreciate it.”

With a deeper blush, the girl before me shook her head, as if to snap out of it, and shrugged.

"No need to thank me. It's not that big of a sprain anyway... You'll recover soon." She muttered to herself, “Geez, and I thought you were seriously hurt…”


“Wait, how did you know?”

I cocked a brow, causing her to flinch.

“Know what?” She tried to play it off, while I threw her the pillow next to me, playfully.

“Aye!” I cried, letting the pillow fly, “How badly or mildly injured I am?”

She shielded herself, catching it before it hit her chest, “Eh?” She looked at me, puzzled, and then her eyes travelled across the room.

“That’s because… I know.” She puffed out her chest, yet her evasive response didn't escape my notice

“Come on, that’s vague!”

“I’m vague like… THAT!” She threw back the pillow she had collected causing it to slam against my face.

“Oye!” I hissed, as Ichika used that brief window to escape away from my sight.

“Heh.” She laughed playfully, her voice travelling from across the hallway. “Where should I put this?”

She was probably talking about the gel tube.

“Just leave it on my desk…” Since she was already close to my room, there was no need to bring it back all the way here.

“Oh, your room huh?” I could hear the mischief in her voice, as she said that, her voice growing more distant.

“Yeah, first door to your right.”

I said, oddly relaxed by the earlier sensation of the massage.

I heard the door open, and Ichika entering my room lightly.

Was she on her tiptoes? Why? I mean it’s just my—


Oh yeah… That very messy room of mine.


I shouted, while a heavy silence hung in the air.

Damn it, we’ve been had boys.

Scattered across the floor of my room were a series of very loose fitted shirts I had forgotten to put away, some socks from yesterday, as well as a ton of cups I drank tea from while streaming anime.

And as if that weren’t enough, there was something even more questionable somewhere in there.

More specifically, something I wanted to hide, but completely forgot.


Ichika returned.

As rare it was to hear her use my name, it was even rarer to see her eyes so devoid of light and compassion. She was never the biggest sweetheart, yet something about her expression at this very moment, sent shivers down my spine.

“What’s this?”

She asked, her tone detached.

Suddenly I was very grateful Kotone found us yuck and left, because my reputation and respect as a big brother would have all been gone by now.

Ichika was holding a porn magazine, between her thumb and index finger, almost as if it were some piece of trash someone had forgotten to throw out.


It was very vanilla stuff though, I had to admit.

Yet the question remained…

What was one supposed to do now?

Taylor J
Mario Nakano 64