If you like our work, please follow us on our social media, join our discord and support us on Patreon:This might be a bit sudden, but I will take a leave from home
"……Ahh, it's morning already, huh…"
While I was still half-asleep, I slowly raised my body and checked the time. Though I had woken up earlier than usual, I didn't want to go back to sleep.
…Recently, I haven't been able to sleep well… Maybe it's because I'm still reeling in shock.
I forced myself to get up from bed and headed to the bathroom. The cause of my shock is the incident from a few days ago, when Suzuka decided to write a new novel and Mai demanded a competition. In addition, Suzuka said that she wouldn't use a little sister character. In my opinion, Towano Chikai was a little sister novel author, which is why I was really flustered by that. Though I was satisfied after hearing Suzuka's reasoning behind it. Since this will be her new novel, she wanted to broaden her horizons— It really makes sense if you think about it.
"Mmmm… But still, you know…"
Somehow, things still don't really click with me… But I can't help it since I don't know what exactly is bothering me.
"A new novel without a little sister character… I wonder what she's thinking…"
Trying to get rid of my misgivings, I washed my face. And as I went to head back to my room to change my clothes, I heard noises coming from the living room.
"Ah, good morning, Onii-chan. You're up early today, I see."
Confronted with an unbelievable situation in front of me, I completely froze up.
"Ehm… What are you doing…?"
"Just as you can see, I'm packing my belongings," Suzuka answered calmly. She was wearing her school uniform.
Just as she had said, her actions right now couldn't be anything other than packing stuff. Inside a big bag, I spotted several sets of clothes, workbooks, and other necessities for daily life. She even put in her favourite cup, so it definitely didn't look like she was just going to school.
While I was still staring at her blankly, Suzuka continued to pack her things. The gears in my brain slowly resumed operation, and a thought entered my mind.
…………Don't tell me……………………She's running away from home?
Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh?! Wai—?! Ehh?! W-Why is Suzuka running away from home?! D-Did she finally have enough of me?! Even though we've made up?!
"S-Suzuka…! I-I'm sorry, okay? Please forgive me…!"
"…O-Onii-chan? Aren't you having a weird misunderstanding or something?" Suzuka bluntly asked.
…No, what is there to misunderstand? If she's packing her things like this… there's only one thing that this could mean, right…?
"Really, you're thinking of something weird, aren't you…? Listen, this is for research for my new novel."
"……Eh? Research… for the new novel?"
"That's right. So from now on, I will be leaving the house for a few weeks."
"S-So you're still running away?!"
"Like I said, please listen until the end! For crying out loud, Onii-chan…"
She then continued with a "Okay?" with an astonished expression on her face.
"As I just said, I will be leaving the house for my research. Instead of siblings, the story will be about a couple, and there are a few things that I have to know about that… O-Of course, as my partner, I will have Onii-chan help me out."
"O-Oh, so you're going to write a story like that, huh…? If that's the case, I don't mind, but why are you running away?"
"Calling it 'running away' is not necessarily accurate… Even if I wanted to write a story about lovers, I wouldn't get any good data if I continued to live here. It would still feel like siblings more than anything. Though you might think I'm taking it too far, I've thoroughly thought about this, and deemed this necessary. That being said, I will be leaving the house for a while. I-If we don't live in the same house, we can build a better relationship more like actual lovers, don't you think?"
I-I see, now that I think about it… But, that being said, leaving home like this for research certainly takes some dedication.
Just what one would expect from the genius author Towano Chikai. I mean, even I'm trying to act like a light novel protagonist in order to write better novels, but — how do I say it — she's on a completely different playing field.
"…? Onii-chan? Is something wrong?"
"Ah, no, it's nothing. Anyway, I understand the circumstances. But where are you going to stay, then? You're not saying that you'll crash at a hotel, right?"
"What are you saying…? I cannot waste my money like that."
With all the money from her novel that she's saved, she could surely afford it… but she wouldn't be my little sister if she used it like this.
"I will be staying in the Hakuou dormitory. I received permission to use a room for some time."
"Huh? Hakuou had a dormitory?"
"It's mostly for boarding students, in case their home is too far away from the school."
Well it makes sense that students from all over the country would attend a famous school like Hakuou.
"I see, if it's the Hakuou dormitory, then I don't have to worry… Ah, but what about our parents—"
"I've also received permission from our parents."
Yeah, it figures. She even received permission to take the entrance exam at my school. Really, don't they spoil her a bit too much?
"Anyway, now that that's said, I can research all day, every day. F-For the time that we're living apart, we'll be lovers, so I hope Onii-chan keeps that in mind."
"Y-Yeah, I don't mind that, but…"
"Well, suddenly living apart after all these years is making me worry…"
"…Yes, that makes sense. Leaving Onii-chan all alone at home worries me as well."
U-Uhm… I was actually worried about you though… But since I'm always depending on Suzuka, I can't really say anything back.
"Onii-chan might be able to use this chance to pull himself together a bit more."
"I will try my best…"
"B-But, well, that's exactly why I'm taking these countermeasures…"
"I-It's nothing. Anyway, starting from today, I will stop being your little sister. Please keep that in mind, Onii-chan," Saying that, she picked up her bag and headed towards the entrance. "I will properly explain what kind of research I would like when the time comes. If it would be possible, I would like you to come to Hakuou after your classes are over. T-There's something I would like to do immediately."
I nodded while sending her off, to which Suzuka only said "T-Then, I'll be going," and slowly stepped out of the house. For a short moment, I thought that her face seemed to be red, but I decided to ignore it for now.
Again, another weird situation… — I thought as I once more tilted my head.
But I was sure that, seeing how far she was willing to go, there was no question that Suzuka would create another masterpiece. Not to mention that it would be a completely new series. Just when I thought that I was slowly starting to catch up to her, she moved even further ahead of me. I know very well that I can't keep going like this.
"…Alright, at the same time Suzuka finishes her new novel, I'll finish mine for the contest!"
If even a genius is working this hard, a normal person like me has to catch up with effort!
I turned around and hurried back to my room, wanting to come with a few ideas before it was time for school. It's important to work even in this short amount of free time, after all.
Or so I thought, but I was so focused that I was almost late for school.
…As soon as Suzuka's gone, I'm even more of a good-for-nothing older brother? Come on, me…
That day, after classes. Just as Suzuka had told me to, I made my way to Hakuou. Since she was living there right now, there should be no reason for me to come pick her up. That must mean that it has something to do with research… but what kind of research?
"O-Oh, I made you wait, huh?"
As soon as I arrived at the gate, Suzuka came to meet me. Though it was the same situation as ever, for some reason the word 'lovers' popped into my head, and I could feel my heart beating faster.
"U-Uhm… So what kind of research are we doing?"
"First, a scene where the boyfriend comes to pick up his girlfriend from school. And after that, they go have fun at the boyfriend's house."
I see, a simple concept. So that boyfriend will be me, and even though it doesn't feel great to say that Suzuka is my girlfriend, I guess I can't help it.
"H-Having fun at your lover's home is a very important event…! E-Even more since we've never been able to do that…!"
Actually, as of this morning it was still your own home too — but of course there's no way I'd say something as dumb as that. Immediately going into full research mode is a very Suzuklike thing to do, so I have to do the same.
"T-Then, I'm counting on you, Onii-chan."
"Y-Yeah, let's go… Wait, why are you still calling me—"
"I-I know! I really do, but! T-This is the only thing I cannot change…! I-It's completely become habit at this point…"
If even the perfect superhuman Suzuka says so, then there's really nothing she can do.
"I got it. I'll try my best not to pay too much attention to it."
"I'm sorry. I'll try to think that Onii-chan's real name is 'Onii-chan' too."
"Isn't that the worst name ever?!"
…But, if Suzuka's fine with it, then I'll play along. Ahh, just imagining if my name really was "Nagami Onii-chan"… I'd probably make me want to die every time I introduce myself.
While the two of us were saying this, we started walking. On the way home, we held hands because of the reason "We're lovers, after all", and soon we arrived at home.
"S-Sorry for intruding…" Suzuka said the phrase any girlfriend would say as she entered her boyfriend's house.
Though this was still her actual house too, she played it so well that you couldn't tell at all. As always, she's way too good at acting like this…
"I-I see, so this is how a girlfriend feels when she visits her boyfriend's house for the first time," Suzuka said.
"I-Is that so? It seems like you can use that in your novel."
"Uhm, what about Onii-chan? Bringing your girlfriend to your home for the first time…?"
Thinking that… I could feel my heartbeat accelerate. Even if I try to think of her as my little sister, just the thought of her being my girlfriend is really throwing me off. Also, I’ve never had the experience of inviting a girl to my home before. All the other guests prior to this also made me nervous, albeit for completely different reasons.
For example, that stalker classmate, and that blonde-haired perverted illustrator, and that voice actress who decided for herself to become my little sister.
"……Onii-chan, why do you have such a distant look…?"
"N-No, it's nothing. Anyway, what are we doing next?"
"L-Let me see. I think that going to the boyfriend's room would be a good idea."
"I see, that’s pretty common. Then, we're gonna play in my room?"
"P-P-P-P-Play?! W-What exactly do you mean by 'play?!'"
Eh? I mean playing games, or just talking about whatever comes to mind… why are you panicking like that? Even your face is getting red.
"S-So we're going to do adult stuff now as girlfriend and boyfriend…?! T-That's what it means, right…?! I-I haven't finished preparing myself for this yet…! But, but, this might be good research after all…!"
"Hya?! W-W-W-W-What isch it, Onni-schan?!"
"W-Well, was the idea of playing in my room that bad…?"
"T-That's not the case, but…! Uhm…! S-Something like that is a bit too early, I think! O-Of course I don't mind or anything?! I-I will soon be a high school student after all, right?!"
…Uhhh, I have no clue what she's going on about now.
"Anyway, w-we'll leave that for later! Cough, there's something else that I thought of beforehand, so let's do that," Suzuka said.
"O-Okay. And, what exactly is that?" I asked.
"Can I borrow the kitchen?"
Kitchen? What are you going to do in there, though?
"I don't mind—but why are you glaring at me?"
"This is the first time I've come here, so I won't know where it is if you don't tell me."
"Ah, that's right, sorry. It's over here," I said and led her to the kitchen.
When we arrived, Suzuka took out a small supermarket bag from her bigger one.
"So basically… you're gonna cook something?"
"That's right. I thought that Onii-chan wouldn't have prepared his dinner yet. You were going to make some instant noodles, right?"
…Uuu, bullseye. I had been planning to make some frozen pizza.
"I can't accept that. During this research, I will be the one making the food. Your lunch box as well. Though breakfast might be a bit hard."
"Well, I'd be grateful for that, but wouldn't that be too much work? I don't want to burden you even more."
"I-It's not a burden in the slightest. Looking after Onii-chan—N-No, after my boyfriend—makes me happy more than anything. O-Of course, that's just a general opinion among girlfriends, right?!"
Suzuka's cheeks went red as she quickly averted her eyes, and it was the same for me.
…Can you not switch into research mode so quickly? That surprise attack is really bad for my heart…
"So basically, this is what you thought of doing for your research, right?"
"E-Exactly. Since the boyfriend will be living alone, the girlfriend, aka me, has to look after him. And that's only the setting for the research, so don't misunderstand, okay?!"
Knowing that I'm the model for that boyfriend makes me kinda feel depressed when she says that she has to look after me all the time… though it's true in reality.
"I get it. If that's the setting for your research, then I'll play along."
"T-Thank you very much.To look after her boyfriend, the girlfriend comes to his house every day. B-Basically, a 'commuting wife'!"
"C-Commuting wife?!" I couldn't hide my surprise after these words suddenly came out of her mouth.
…And where did Suzuka hear such a term, anyway?!
"T-That's just what Double Peace-san called it before, okay? Uhm, it's not like I had any interest in the idea, but I just happened to hear her say it, that's all…"
"Ahh, now that you mention it…"
She came to our house once with a new eroge, saying that we should play it, and commented on every little thing that made it great. Somewhere in those comments was also that term.
…Every time I’m not paying attention, Double Peace-sensei teaches Suzuka bad words behind my back…
Ah, by the way, Double Peace-sensei is the illustrator for Suzuka's novel.
"I-I thought that this idea would be perfect for my current research, so it's not like I was interested or anything, okay? …Anyway, that’s how we’ll do it, so please support me as much as you're able, Onii-chan," Suzuka said.
"And this way I can look after Onii-chan without having to make excuses, so it's two birds with one stone—" Suzuka whispered before continuing.
"And also… There is something that I have to do as a commuting wife… B-But, it's not like I want to do it… It's just something that has to be done, or something like that… For now, can you just leave the room for a bit, Onii-chan?"
For some reason, Suzuka's face was bright red as she muttered that last part, but I ignored it and did as I was told.
"I will call for you when the preparations are done," she added.
For some reason I have a bad feeling about this, I thought as I stood in the hallway. No matter how long I waited, however, she didn't call for me.
She said something about preparations, but what in the world is she doing that would take this long?—I tilted my head in thought, but in that moment, I heard a quiet "Kya…" from the kitchen.
"W-What is it, Suzuka?!"
Reflexively, I jumped into the kitchen. And what greeted me there was…
Confronted with the scene in front of me, I completely froze up.
There was Suzuka, crouching down on the kitchen floor. She didn't seem to be hurt anywhere, so I was relieved for second, but the problem was her clothes. Normally, she'd be wearing an apron—but even that wasn't quite normal. After all, she was wearing nothing BUT the apron. Her white shoulders, arms, and legs were visible, though they soon turned bright red when she noticed my gaze. As the words 'Naked apron' came to mind, I could feel my face getting hot as well.
"Y-You… T-T-T-T-T-Those clothes…?!"
"Hyaaaah?! P-P-P-P-P-Please don't look…!!!"
As Suzuka hurriedly hid her body with her arms, she panicked and turned to the side. Because of that, I was able to see her complete body line—or at least, I should've been able to.
"H-Huh…? I-It's not a naked apron…?"
I couldn't clearly see it when she was facing me head-on, but she was actually wearing a tank-top and shorts under her apron. But for some reason, they were of a size that didn't fit her at all, and I could catch glimpses of her underwear beneath them.
…No, she isn’t even wearing her shorts properly, so I can clearly see her panties!
"I-I just said not to stare so much!!! Auuu…!"
Suzuka glared at me, looking like she was about to cry, so I hurriedly looked away.
…Now that I think about it… It doesn't matter if I was surprised… Why the hell was I staring at her like that…!
"I-I'm really sorry…! B-But, I heard you shriek, so I thought that something might have happened…! And then you were wearing those clothes…!"
"T-This is…! R-Research on a naked apron…!"
"Research for a naked apron?! Now that I think about it… Minazuki-san was wearing one before, right…?"
"T-That's right…! T-There's no way that I could've done it naked, so I thought back to how Sakursan did it and wore the same clothes…!"
It seems that the size didn't fit her, and her pants were about to drop down when she shrieked. And that's when I came in…
"I-I see, I understand the circumstances… But why a naked apron…?"
"L-Like I said, I remembered that Double Peace-san said something about a commuting wife, and how wearing a 'naked apron' is a must…!"
And that's why she decided on doing a fake naked apron…?
"Auuu…! E-Even if it's not fully naked, I still can't do a naked apron it seems…! In front of Onii-chan, my skin and underwear…! Anyway, I'm going to change again, so please leave the room…!"
T-That's right! Why am I still standing here!?
I immediately left the kitchen and once more stood by in the hallway. Though the image of her in the apron lingered in my mind, I tried to rid myself of such thoughts. Suzuka finally called me back into the kitchen with a bright red face. Of course, her clothes were back to normal.
"U-Uhm, things like a naked apron and a commuting wife… If Double Peace-sensei says stuff like that, please don't take her too seriously, okay?"
"U,Uuuu… I know… It was still too fast for me… I-I'll forget about it, so please do so as well, Onii-chan…!"
The both of us nodded at each other… But how am I supposed to be able to forget something like that…?
"U-Uhm, how was that for your research?"
"…F-For now, we'll continue the commuting wife research. Without the naked apron, of course," Suzuka said. She put an apron on, this time with proper clothes underneath.
"Now I will make dinner, just like a commuting wife would…"
"Got it… But what should I do in the meantime?"
"Since it's research, I want Onii-chan to watch me while I'm making dinner. I-In times like these, the boyfriend is supposed to watch over his girlfriend… right?"
…I-Is that so? Well, if she says so.
Suzuka turned her back to me and started bringing out the ingredients. Maybe it was because of what happened before, or maybe she was nervous about the boyfriend-girlfriend situation, but I could see her blushing all the way to her ears. And, even though I was only watching her, I also felt really embarrassed. Even though this situation had been something completely natural before, just thinking of Suzuka as my girlfriend made this really awkward for some reason. And since I'd never watched her this intensely while cooking, I couldn't stop my heart from beating faster.
…Really, watching her like this once more reminded me of the fact that Suzuka was an exceptionally beautiful girl. Thinking that such a girl would make handmade food for a guy like me makes me incredibly happy. Wow, I was just thinking like this was completely normal…
Wait, no no no! She's just my little sister! Not my girlfriend! What am I getting confused for?!
"O-Onii-chan, how is this situation…?"
"Wh?! Ah! U-Uhm, that's… I-I-I-It's pretty nice, I think?"
"I-Is that so. F-For me, this also feels different from when I'm normally cooking. B-But, since this is research, I'll be sure to put in a lot of love as a commuting wife, but this isn't something I'll do all the time, okay?!" Suzuka continued her monologue.
Though the atmosphere felt a bit stiff, it somehow wasn't that bad. As time progressed, however, I was unable to hold back my embarrassment and stood up.
"T-That reminds me, did you go out of your way to buy the ingredients?"
"N-No. This morning, I took everything I would need from the refrigerator as I left the house. I-It's my duty as a commuting wife to prepare everything that's needed, after all."
"H-How thoughtful. Yeah."
Trying to hide my discomfort, I tried to change the topic, but since we returned immediately back to the original one, it felt even more embarrassing.
…It's really no good. I shouldn't be getting embarrassed. Since this is research, I have to watch over my girlfriend, even if it feels awkward.
In the end, I continued to keep quiet and just watched her. The only sounds that could be heard in the room were her cutting the ingredients, the sizzling of the hot pot, and her soothing humming. All this in combination with the sight of her working caused me to feel quite entranced by her.
…I don't know what she'll gain from this, but there is already one thing I'm very well aware of. Having a girl like her prepare food for me makes her divinely cute… I definitely have to use this in my novel as well.
"Fuu, it's done… Onii-chan? What's wrong? You're spacing out."
When I returned to reality, I saw Suzuka looking at me, apparently having finished cooking. Quite a bit of time had already passed, and it seemed like I had been so entranced by Suzuka that I had completely spaced out.
"N-No, it's nothing! Anyway, you're done, right? How was your research?" I asked.
"T-That's…! It was really great… I-I was just spacing out from the happiness…! Ah, of course, just as a character! F-For now, the research was a success!"
"I-Is that so? I'm glad to hear that."
"So… how was it for Onii-chan?" She asked.
"U-Uhm…I really liked it, yeah."
Hearing my words, Suzuka's face turned red, and she said "I-Is that so…!"
Uuu… What's with this atmosphere…? I might actually die from embarrassment…!
Trying to change the topic again, I directed my gaze towards the table.
"Huh? Why is there only a portion for me?"
Since there was clearly only enough for one person, I tilted my head in confusion.
"Because I only made Onii-chan's share. I will eat as soon as I return to the dorm… And also a commuting wife only prepares the food for her husband."
I-Is that so? I don't really get it, but if her inner commuting wife deems it so, she must be right.
"So we'll both eat dinner alone, huh?"
"I-It's about that… There's actually another thing to research that's left…"
"Another thing?" I asked, to which Suzuka responded by sitting down across the table to face me.
She proceeded to take out her chopsticks and picked up some food with them.
…D-Don't tell me.
"I-I will will be the one to feed you…! T-This is something a commuting wife has to do, after all…!"
I-I thought so! B-But feeding means…
"H-Here, Onii-chan. O…O-O-O-O-O-Open wide…!"
"Of course, right!? But wait! D-Does this really have anything to do with a commuting wife?!"
"I-It will be less persuasive if I don't do this…!"
So she can't even leave something like this out, even though she's just doing research…
"H-Here, Onii-chan…! O-Open wide, will you…?"
"I-I get it already."
Swallowing my embarrassment, I opened my mouth. Shortly after, a potato from a meat and potato stew entered my mouth.
"H-How is it, Onii-chan? Is it good?"
I-I was so nervous that I couldn't focus on the taste at all…! T-To think that something like this could be so embarrassing..!
Without being able to say anything, I simply nodded.
In response, Suzuka happily smiled with a "Thank God." E-Even if I knew that she was simply acting out a character, I couldn't help but be entranced by her once more.
"Alright then, be sure to take a bath, brush your teeth, and don't go to bed too late."
After what happened, my dinner continued with Suzuka feeding me, and when it was time for her to go back to Hakuou, I escorted her there.
After we arrived, she continued to warn me about various things before she finally went through the gate. When she did that, she was very reluctant, as she constantly looked back at me with a lonely expression. She's even acting in character until the very end, huh?
"Well, time to go home…"
Now that I was all alone again, I walked home as I looked up at the night sky. As soon as I started trying to relax my mind, I remembered the naked apron from before, so I hurriedly shook my head to clear my mind of these thoughts. A girl walking towards me saw that and hurriedly tried to avoid me. Thank you, but I'm not a pervert, okay?
"But, Suzuka really is amazing, huh…" I muttered. That phrase had a lot of different meanings. Just thinking about it made my heart beat faster.
When I arrived home and opened the door, I unconsciously let out an "I'm back," but of course no one replied. I took a bath just as Suzuka had told me to, properly brushed my teeth, and spent the night just as I always would. My parents didn't come home either, and now that I was all alone in such a big house, I somehow felt lonely.
"This feels just like a year ago… At that time, Suzuka and I weren’t talking at all…" Saying that out loud, I laid down on my bed.
Thinking back to it, my relationship with Suzuka has really changed. We only made up just recently, and now that she's gone, it feels like there's a hole in my chest…
"Wait, this makes it sound like I'm in love with Suzuka…! She just left the house for research, that's all! Pull it together, me…!" I slapped my cheeks with both of my hands and stood up from the bed, heading towards my desk.
I don't have time to waste like this. Let's just think about the plot for my own novel. And I'll just say this upfront; it's not like I'm trying to distract myself from my earlier weird thoughts, okay?
I booted up the writing software on my laptop and looked at the white document in front of me.
"……Nnn? A phone call?"
But in that moment, my phone started ringing.
Who? At this time of the day, it could only be Shinozaki-san calling me because she's bored, Double Peace-sensei calling me to trouble me about some erotic topic again, Minazuki-san who just randomly calls me for no reason, the Kanzaka sisters who start fighting while they're on the phone with me… I doubt that it's Mai so suddenly after that incident, but you never know…
However, when I checked, I could only force a dry "Eh?!" out of my lungs.
"S-Suzuka? W-Why would she call me…?"
I don't know. And we never talked on the phone before. Flustered, I picked up the call. And…
Though it should be obvious, it was Suzuka's voice that greeted me.
"W-What's wrong? Did something happen?"
>Ah, no, that's not it… Uhm, I just felt a bit uncomfortable in this environment without Onii-chan… so I just thought of calling you…<
"So you were also lonely?"
>Wha—?! W-W-W-What are you saying, Onii-chan?! T-T-T-There's no way that I would feel lonely and start missing Onii-chan or anything! T-That's right! I-It's not like I wanted to hear Onii-chan's voice or anything, it's because I'm acting like a girlfriend…! B-Basically, it's just for research!<
I had to pull the phone away from my ear for a moment because Suzuka started screaming.
"I-I see, just research, huh! Y-Yeah, there's no way you'd also feel lonely, ahahaha!"
>T-That's right! …Huh? Onii-chan, did you just say 'also lonely' or something…? D-D-D-D-Does that mean, that…?!<
"Ah, no, you're wrong! It's not that… it's just… Yeah! I-I was also pretending to be a boyfriend, which is why I said that. It's not like I was actually lonely or anything!" That was a complete lie.
>I-Is that so!<
The both of us exchanged an awkward agreement, which helped calm me down at least a bit.
>…I don't often talk on the phone with Onii-chan like this…<
"Yeah, now that you mention it, we haven't really done this until now."
>I-It feels kind of weird for some reason. Talking with a boy this late at night really makes my heart pound… Ah, I mean that in the context of research, okay?!<
"I-I got it. If I'm able to help you with your research, then that's all that matters."
>That reminds me, Onii-chan, since you've been on the phone with countless people before, this surely isn't your first, right…?<
"W-Why do I suddenly feel like your voice got deeper for a second?!"
>O-Of course, a girlfriend is interested in who her boyfriend is on the phone with! There's no way she wouldn't get jealous!<
"Aren't you confusing me with that fictional boyfriend character?!"
>The boyfriend character in my new novel is also very thick-headed and doesn't realize that he's very popular with the girls around him, so there's no way I'd be confused!<
"No, you really are! I'm not popular at all! It only looks like that because I'm acting as your stand-in, and you should know that very well!"
>Muu… That way of thinking has saved me a lot of times, so I can't say anything to that…!<
"I don't understand what's troubling you at all, you know…"
While the two of us kept talking like that, I completely forgot about the plot of my new novel and just genuinely had fun talking to Suzuka.
…I know that it's just for research, but still…
>T-That reminds me, I heard that on phone calls like this, you're supposed to tell the partner the color of your underwear, but is that really necessary…?<
"Who told you that?! It was Double Peace-sensei, right?! It's gotta be! Don't take her seriously, okay?!"
Suddenly that loneliness from before is completely gone… Am I that dependant on Suzuka?—That gross thought entered my mind, which I hurriedly tried to get rid of by shaking my head furiously.
Even so, I didn't end the 'research' phone call with Suzuka until almost midnight.
It was a few days since Suzuka and I started living separately.
"Hey, Yuu? Do you have a moment?"
During break in the classroom, an anomaly happened. Mai suddenly called out to me.
"W-What is it? Are you going to talk to me normally?" I asked, flustered, to which Mai tilted her head with "What do you mean?"
"I mean, we're technically in the middle of a competition, right? You haven't talked to me these past few days, and I thought that we had broken up our friendship until then."
"W-What?! W-Why would we have to do that?! That would mean that I couldn't talk to you for at least two months! Don't make a joke like that!"
Though these words would normally sound really cute, she was basically saying "I can't conduct my stalking activities then!", so I can't find it in myself to be happy about it.
"It's not like I'd be clinging to you all the time, but I don't plan to stop researching you."
"How convenient for you…"
"W-What? This research has priority over everything else, so I can't help it. Though I've been a bit busy these past few days with my operation, which is why I haven't had the time to come talk to you."
O-Operation…? This word would normally give me a bad feeling even if it weren't Mai we were talking about. And since it's actually her, that bad feeling was only worse.
"W-What are you planning? You're not gonna make me a dead person in order to win the competition by default, right?"
"W-What the hell are you talking about?! I will win with skill alone! I've never once thought about using a method like that! …I-I've never thought anything like making you fall head over heels for me or anything like that either."
Isn't that something oddly specific to have never thought about?!
"That's not it, okay? I'll win, plain and simple. And to achieve that, I need you."
"…I don't get it. I'm your enemy, right? So why do you need me to win? You're not asking me to do something stupid like help you out, right?"
"I-I never said anything about you helping me out… But," Mai's face went red.
She looked at me, and her serious eyes seemed like they were stabbing into me. If you set aside her good-for-nothing personality, she still holds the rank of being the most popular beauty in the school, and seeing this expression of hers was indeed very cute. To be honest, it's actually pretty unfair at times like these.
—And it happened while I was being careless.
"B-Basically, I'll just do this…!"
Just when I thought that her voice somehow sounded closer than before, her face appeared right in front of me.
There's some kind of weird, soft feeling on top of my thighs. And her arms were wrapped around my neck in an instant. Not to mention that plump, voluptuous feeling on my chest—
"W-W-W-What are you—?!"
That's right, before I realized it, Mai sat down sideways on my lap, and was hugging me!
"W-What the hell are you doing?!" I asked, trying my best not to lose to the stimuli that assaulted my brain.
"J-Just as you can see! I'm hugging you!"
I'm painfully aware of that! I'm asking why you're suddenly doing that?!
"Fufufufu, this is my plan…! My research…!"
"R-Research, you say…?"
"T-That's right! This is necessary research for me to write my rom-com! I wanted to try out for myself what you're always doing with Suzuksan! But since I can't just ask my enemy for research, I thought of something… Basically, I'll just be all lovey-dovey with you without asking for your permission! That way I can get my data, and also throw you out of the competition! It's perfect!"
"How is that perfect?! As if I'd accept this delusional reasoning!!"
"W-Why! I-It's not like I'm directly asking you for assistance, so it's fine, right? You just have to act like usual! I'm just selfishly doing my research here!"
Screw you! As if I could just ignore the situation happening right now!
…Ahhhhh, for crying out loud! I thought that she was crazy, but this is taking it too far…! This is bad enough to make her stalker activities look cute…!
"Ahhhhhh, Nagami-kun has Himuro-san on his lap, serving him?!"
And in the next moment, just as one would expect, our classmates spotted us, and our surroundings became noisy at lightning speed. But since I was still immobilized by Mai, I could only sit still and accept the situation.
Ahhh… Why is it that these situations keep happening to me…?
"Shit! Nagami, you bastard! I'm so envious!"
"W-Why…! Why is it always Nagami…!"
"H-Himuro-san, you're being deceived!"
The boys in the class kept blurting out whatever they wanted. And, of course, all of their hatred was directed at me.
"I'm sorry, but this doesn't have anything to do you with you people, so get lost already."
In response to Mai's words, which befitted her 'Ice Queen' title, their gazes only grew more intense.
…I might actually not get out of here alive…
"Himuro-san really likes Nagami-kun."
"Maybe she's just being deceived? It's possible that he's abusing a weakness of hers that he's found."
"That's why he's using her like this… Uwa, he's the worst…"
And their goodwill continued to sink. I've always been at the bottom of the class hierarchy, but it seems like I've hit rock bottom now. I have to strike a deal with Mai now and stop this terrible scene.
"Anyway, please let go of me now! Please!"
I tried to forcefully push her away. But no matter what I did, she wouldn't let go.
"N-No! I will never ever let go!"
In response, her grip on me strengthened even more. She looked really serious, and her eyes started to get watery.
"…T-To beat you… I need this research at all costs…! I-If you really try to tear me off that much then I… *sniff*…"
What would happen if I, who was already being treated like scum, made the number one beauty of the school cry? That's a very easy question to answer.
All the gazes in the class gathered on me, and they were filled with disgust and anger.
So you're making her cry on top of embarrassing her like this? — Their eyes were saying something like that.
"Ahhhhhhhh, for crying out loud!"
I didn't know how I managed to muster up enough strength, but I dashed out of the classroom while Mai was still clinging to me.
"Haaah… Haaah… What did I do to deserve this…? And how long are you going to fake cry…? Nobody's around us anymore."
"*Sniff sniff* Eh? Huh…? Why are we here? *Sniff*"
"Y-You… You were actually crying?"
"Eh…………? N-No way, right?! T-T-T-T-There's no way, you know!?" Mai hurriedly wiped the tears off her face as she let go of me.
"Haaah… Really, because of you, I'm being treated like a criminal…"
"What's up with that? I won't forgive anyone who treats Yuu like that."
"It's your fault! Your fault! And what was up with that sudden talk about research!"
"I-I told you before, right?! I also want to collect data like that! I'm Towano Chikai's number one fan and rival, so of course I'd try to steal his techniques!"
"W-Well, I can kind of understand the idea… But why does it have to be me? I'm your enemy right now, right? Isn't it weird to use me for your research?"
"T-That's… There's no other boy besides you that I could use for that…"
"Are you serious…?"
Or rather, thinking about it rationally, it's weird that a beauty like her couldn't find anybody else. She wouldn’t even have to beg; most of the boys at this school would sacrifice anything to help her out.
"And also… I don't want it to be anyone other than Yuu—You know, to win, I will try every method I have!"
"There are limits, you know?! At least protect that final boundary, will you?!"
To win against me, she's forcing me to put up with her crazy research? What kind of crazy logic is that, for crying out loud?!
"W-What about it?! That just shows how serious I am! This is the extent of my resolve!"
I have no idea how to stop this overly-serious, good-for-nothing stalker… What should I do…?
I know that I can't help Mai since I'm on Suzuka's side, but if I don't do anything, she'll continue her selfish research for real.
…T-This isn't good. T-This is really really bad. I don't plan on obstructing her research, but I also have no intention of helping her out—That only leaves… one possible method?
Basically, I have to withstand Mai's selfish research, but now that I've made up my mind to do it, it still sounds crazy.
"Ah… For now, what is my chance of stopping the research…?"
It figures. Though I anticipated that response, I still dropped my shoulders in defeat.
…Damn it, there's no other chance but to do this.
"I-I got it. But for now, please stop doing the research in places where other people can see us. If you can agree to that, I won't help you, but I won't obstruct you either."
"I'll just say this upfront, but I really won't help you, okay?! Just do as you please. I'll just act like I don't notice it," I told Mai, completely giving up my hopes of stopping this situation altogether.
"T-Thank you— …H-Hmpf, this is what I had planned for from the beginning."
"…Really. Still, to think that you'd just force me into your research… I expected as much from you, but not that."
In response, Mai pouted and growled back with a "What do you mean by 'I expected as much from you?!'", only to change her expression into a serious one as she continued. "…This is all so that I can beat you. To write a novel that you think is interesting. In order to achieve that, I will take every opportunity I have," Mai once more stated her resolve as she looked straight at me with serious eyes.
That wasn't the face of the usual good-for-nothing Mai at all, but rather the professional light novel writer Enryuu Homura. In response, I could only gulp.
"That being said, I'll pull off my selfish research. However, I really don't want to make any trouble for Yuu, so I'll tell you beforehand."
"Yes. Even if you don't try to let it get to you, you still have to prepare your heart, right? It would just feel awkward if you started panicking in the middle of it, don't you think?"
Uuu, getting excited by Mai would be bad… That being said, I'd really be thankful if I knew she was going to do something before.
"Now then, I wonder how long you can ignore my approach. I'll make sure to properly make it so that you can't, and make you fall head over heels for me!"
"…Doesn't it somehow sound like your goal has changed a bit?"
"T-T-T-That's just your imagination?! It's just my character for my research, so it's fine! Anyway, our next research time will be during this lunch break, so I hope you're prepared!" Mai declared this with a bright red face as she pointed at me.
…Really, why did this have to happen? Especially now of all times…
Well, the only thing I can do is bring Mai to a place with no people so that my reputation won't sink any lower.
"Well then, I'll go back to the classroom and tell everyone that they can just ignore what happened. I hope you look forward to lunch break!"
Saying random selfish things like that, she turned on her heel as I saw her off.
She really pulls the strangest stunts… — I thought as I sighed in resignation.
The only thing I know for sure is that she's 100% serious. She's doing what she needs to do in order to win against me (Suzuka). Though her methods are a bit…
…Well, I guess it's fine. As Suzuka's stand in, I just have to withstand everything. It's as simple as that.
Go ahead and research all you want. But I won't help you. That's the best I can do. I don't know what you're planning on doing, but I won't falter!
…That's what I thought at the time.
Now, it was lunch break. Mai and I were alone together on the roof.
"…H-Hey, I told you, you're way too close! Why do you have to cling to me like that!"
"I-I can't help it! It's my research for being lovey-dovey! How about you just don't pay any attention to it — Ah, I'll take that."
"Ahhh, that's my lunch?! And don't just eat it off my chopsticks like that!"
"I-I mean, this is supposed to be a scene during lunch break. Here, I'll give you some of mine."
"Gufbu?! H-Hey, don't just stuff it into my mouth like that!"
Though I had steeled my heart to not pay any attention to Mai's research — it spectacularly failed.
I mean, I can't help it, right?! After all, we're sitting so close to each other that our shoulders are touching, my lunch is getting stolen, and she's feeding me!
I really would have harsh words for anyone who'd claim they could remain calm in a situation like this. Not to mention that every time she moves, a soft, plump feeling hits my arms, and even if you spent 1000 years trying to reach Nirvana, it would all be for naught in this situation.
"I-I see, so this is the 'feeding each other' event. It really is different when you do it in person. I-It feels pretty nice."
And it pisses me off even more that her research is smoothly progressing. Even though I'm the one suffering here. However, I could only keep quiet just as I had promised. I really wanted to scream out "Stop it already!" at the top of my lungs, but—
I really didn't want to do that. After all, I can definitely understand her desire to write an interesting novel. In order to write an interesting novel, you have to be ready to do anything. That's what I believe. And that's why I can't obstruct this research, no matter how much I actually want to.
To be fair, I actually kind of look up to her. It doesn't matter how embarrassing it is; if it's for her novel, she'll do it.
I have to do the same for my next novel. No, I have to be willing to do even more than that, since I'm just a normal person who can't win against Suzuka and Mai with skill alone…
"What's wrong, Yuu?" You're looking gloomy all of a sudden… D-Don't tell me, you hate this that much?"
When I came back to my senses, Mai was looking at me, worried, with her face close to mine.
"Ah, no, it's not that, I was just lost in thought—"
"I-Is that so? So I wasn't being a bother, huh? Then I'll continue this research!"
Wha—?! Hey! I never said anything about it not being a bother!"
O-Oh no, I got careless and blurted that out…! And your face is way too close! Your breasts are going to hit me!
I heard the sound of a camera taking a photo, and realized that Mai had taken a selfie. Of course, at that range, I was perfectly visible too.
"Hey, why did you take a photo?"
"Well, I thought of using this as further research material, but a photo as proof wouldn't be too bad either so that I can send it to the Towano Chikai LINE group."
"You know, we girls created a Towano Chikai group on LINE, right?"
"This is the first I've heard of it! What even is that group?!"
"It's like a meeting space for fans of Towano Chikai. Though the group only consists of the people who know your real identity. Your illustrator, the voice actress Minazuki Sakura, the Kanzaka sisters, and me."
…I-I had no idea. To think that they had something like that…
"And before this research, I got a lot of advice from them, so they told me to upload a picture as proof. Really, it's not like I wanted to do it, but I couldn't help it~"
…She says, but she sounds really happy as she gazes at the photo in her phone…
And just when I thought that she would keep admiring it for all eternity…
"And, sent. I-It's not like I'm happy and proud of it or anything, but a promise is a promise~"
*Tap* —She uploaded it. I couldn't stop her in time, huh…?
At that moment, her phone started ringing like crazy, and a cold sweat ran down my cheek as I realized what that meant.
"H-Hmpf, an instant reaction I see. N-Not that I really care or anything~"
"L-Let me see it for a bit," I took took a glance at her smartphone.
I saw that every member of the LINE group had already commented on the photo.
[Ohh, I'm glad that your research was a success, desu! But, it's unfair if it's just Mai! Now I want to do that, too! Sensei should be present as well, right? Please tell him that I will be the next to research with him, desu!] said Double Peace-sensei.
[So jealous so jealous so jealous! Sakura also wants a selfie with Sensei! If she knew that you would use it like this, Sakura wouldn't have given you any advice at all! She will make sure to get a selfie too, so give him my regards!] said Minazuki-san.
[That's nice. I never thought that you would ask Towano-sensei to help with your research. But I will be the one to ask for that next time. And, of course, I will help Sensei with every research need he has. Please ask him if he's interested in writing a more adult novel.] said Akino-san.
[I can't believe this! Even if it's for research, something like that is…! You should really stop being deceived by him, don't you think?! And, Onee-chan wrote something weird, so please ignore that! No, just ignore it!] said the younger Kanzaka sister.
"Ah… This is a nightmare."
"What nice reactions!" said Mai with a grin, but I couldn't help feeling depressed. "Now then, the report is finished, so let's continue the research!"
"Just do whatever you want…"
"Hmm? That's what I've been doing from the very start. What are you saying?"
I don't even have the motivation to respond to that.
With an "O-Okay, then let's do that next!" from Mai, I was pushed over sideways.
"S-So this is a lap pillow, huh… It's really different from what I imagined. This will surely be helpful for my novel…!"
I heard that voice from above, while I felt her soft, warm lap from below, but I didn't have the energy to react.
…That's right. I just have to let her do as she pleases. If I don't say anything back, she'll surely be satisfied.
"U-Uhm, then what should we do next… Ah, I know! The 'sleeping together' event! Now that that's decided, let's go to the nurse's office…!"
"You know, I still wish you'd hold back at least a little bit…"
But alas, my grumble didn't reach Mai's ears.
"Ahhh… What a horrible day…"
After school, I was finally released from Mai's torture and I made my way towards Hakuou.
After what happened, Mai unexpectedly held back on doing her research in front of other people. However, it was even worse when it was just the two of us.
Though I won't go into detail—or rather, I don't want to go into detail at all—Mai's research proceeded smoothly (for her), while I felt like I slowly turned into a living corpse.
To think that she'd go this far just to write a rom-com novel that could win against me (Suzuka).
"So this is what a professional light novel writer is like, huh?"
While I was mumbling that to myself, I arrived at Hakuou. Of course, Suzuka was already standing at the gate. As I was about to raise my voice to call out her, I stopped myself.
…F-For some reason, the aura around her is really intimidating…
"You really took your time today, Onii-chan."
She had her arms crossed as she walked in front of me. Though her mouth made it look like she was smiling, the same couldn't be said about her eyes.
"By the way, would you mind explaining this…?"
And I immediately understood the reason. She shoved a phone screen into my face. And shown there was the selfie that Mai took earlier—
"Wha—?! W-Why do you…!"
"Himuro-san sent it to me. Though probably by mistake."
B-By mistake?! To Suzuka of all people?!
…Wait, I remember her saying something about sending me the photo later… She mixed up our email addresses?! How empty-headed can you be?! And why do I have to suffer because of that?!
"Well, I don't really care about her sending it to me. I'm more interested in the picture itself," Suzuka narrowed her eyes as she glared at me.
"Y-You're wrong! This is just… uhm… ahhhh…"
Since I had already made enough trouble for myself before, I decided to spill the beans immediately. Of course, I emphasized the part where I said that I didn't find any pleasure in it and that I was just letting Mai do it to me.
"A research…? W-With Onii-chan…?!"
"Yeah, setting aside her method, she seems really serious about the competition."
"B-But, Onii-chan belongs only to me — N-Nevermind! Onii-chan is my stand-in, right?! So what gives her the right to use Onii-chan to help her?!"
"I-I didn't help her! I just didn't want anything bad to happen… or rather, happen anymore, so I let her do as she pleased! But let me just get this straight. I have never, and will never betray you, Suzuka. Even if it kills me. I promise you that."
"T-That's… Uhm, t-thank you very much…"
I'm Suzuka's stand-in. She has the highest priority.
Though Suzuka still looked red like she was about to explode from anger, she suddenly nodded, and opened her mouth.
"Let me just make sure that I understand everything. This photo was taken without Onii-chan's consent, and you didn't help Mai at all during her research, right?"
"That's right. It's just as I said."
"B-But Onii-chan will continue to help me with my research, right?"
"Of course. I'm your stand-in, after all," I responded.
Suzuka lowered her head and muttered a quiet "I-Is that so?"
W-What? Am I being forgiven…? Or is it the opposite…?
"…T-Then, Onii-chan, it seems like we have to research something even more important."
"W-Why are you letting out a weird voice like that? Himuro-san is going this far, so we also have to step up our game. Otherwise there's no knowing if we can really beat her!"
"Ah, yeah, that's right," I nodded as Suzuka stared at me.
Though she still seems a bit displeased about something, I'm happy that she's not mad at me anymore…
"T-To think that Himuro-san would resort to such measures… Conducting research with Onii-chan and being all flirty with him is my exclusive right… B-But, he really is only helping me, after all… Ehe, ehehehehe…"
"So what should we do for our research?"
"Hyah?! P-Please don't interrupt me while I'm in deep thought! *Cough* About the research—There's no school tomorrow, right? I would like you to come to Hakuou early in the morning."
"I don't mind, but what are we going to do? Are we going out somewhere?"
"T-Though a normal date would be a good idea, this time it will be different… Though to some extent, it still is a date…" For some reason, Suzuka put both her hands on her cheeks and let out a weird laugh. "…Ha?! Anyway, I'll be counting on you tomorrow!"
Suzuka finally returned to reality and she started walking back towards Hakuou's school grounds.
…Or so I thought, until she suddenly came a stop.
"I-I almost forgot… B-Before that, there's something I have to research today, no matter what…"
"Eh? Right now?"
"I-It's fine. It'll be over immediately. I'm sorry, but could you give me your phone, Onii-chan? Mine is an older model."
"Ah, yeah," I said as I took out my phone and handed it to her.
"Thank you very much. Then Onii-chan, come here for a bit."
Listening to her instructions, I was now standing next to her. The next moment, Suzuka clung to me, and our cheeks rubbed against each other's.
As I let out a confused "Wha—?!", Suzuka put up the phone above us and tapped on the screen. The sound of a photo being taken immediately followed.
"W-What is this about…?!"
"L-Like I said, it's for research! I can't have only Himuro-san experience something like this — no, excuse me! I can't lose against her when it comes to research! O-Of course I also want a selfie! O-Only theoretically and for research, though!"
S-So that's what this was about? That really surprised me.
"N-Now then, please excuse me! P-Please send me that picture later!"
After saying these parting words, she walked towards the school gate and slowly disappeared into the distance. Though I couldn't move a muscle for a short time, my body finally moved according to my will again and I dropped my gaze to the phone in my hand.
A photo were both Suzuka and I were so close our cheeks were touching, where both of us were red-faced. I remembered that soft, warm feeling again, and put my hand on the cheek that had touched hers.
"Uu… So hot… Let's go home already…"
It felt like I was trying to run away from my embarrassment.
…E-Even if it was for research… taking such a photo with my little sister…
The following day. Just as Suzuka had asked me, I made my way towards Hakuou early in the morning. Of course, since there was no school today, there were almost no people around the school and the school gate was closed. However, the moment I arrived, Suzuka, who was wearing casual clothes, greeted me.
"Good morning, Onii-chan. Sorry for making you come here this early."
"Morning, Suzuka. So, we're doing some more research, right?"
"Yes. And, about that research… U-Uhm, for now, let's leave the details for when we're inside."
"T-The school grounds… Specifically, the dormitory of Hakuou."
"……Eh? Ehhh?! Hakuou's dorm?! T-That's a girls dorm, right?! W-Wouldn't it be bad for me to go in there?!"
"It's fine. You can put in an application to invite a person over. Onii-chan is family, after all, and you helped out a lot at the culture festival, so they immediately gave me permission. You don't have to worry about that."
"I-Is that so? B-But, what are you planning, inviting me in like this?"
"Again, it's research. Today's theme will be, uhm…"
Suzuka fidgeted like it was something hard to say, but she finally made up her mind, and…
"I-It's a scene where the boyfriend is called to his girlfriend's room…"
"The boyfriend is called… to his girlfriend's room…?"
"T-That's right. Isn't it perfect that I'm currently living in the dormitory? Since it's a different room from usual, this might be a good chance. And that should be the same for Onii-chan, right? Being called to a girl's room. You might also be able to also collect some data from this."
"True. It really might be the perfect situation for research."
"It's research you normally wouldn't be able to do. We shouldn't let this chance go to waste. That being said, p-please act as my boyfriend once more, Onii-chan," Suzuka said and tightly gripped my hand. "I-I will also act like a girlfriend. L-Let's go," She added and pulled me along.
…I definitely didn't expect this kind of research. This kind of chance really doesn't come along that often. Just as I would expect from Suzuka. Her ideas really are impressive.
"……Fufufu, you normally can't do this after all… I have to show Onii-chan my womanly appeal, and not as a little sister, but as a normal girl… Himuro-san also seems to be serious, after all…"
"By the way, Suzuka."
"Nya?! W-W-W-W-What isch id, Onii-chan?!"
"Ah, well, I just thought of something. Even if the school is fine with it, what will the other girls in the dorm think…?"
…Something feels off. On other research dates, she also seemed a bit weird, but right now it's even more than normal…
"Ah, it's about that, huh! *Cough* …It's perfectly fine. Everyone knows that Onii-chan will be coming over, and I made sure that they wouldn't obstruct our research — Uhm, no, I made sure that we wouldn't bother them!"
"I see. Well, if you say so."
She says that, but I'm still really nervous. After all, it's a famous all-girls school. A place where a boy like me would normally never be able to enter. But, at the same time, there's this expectant feeling— …Well, I don't mean that anything weird by that, I was referring to the atmosphere, okay?
"……Onii-chan? Are you thinking about something weird?" And as always, Suzuka gave a sharp remark.
…I-I'm not thinking about anything weird, okay?! For a normal boy like me, a girls dormitory is something like a sacred place, that's all!
"If anything happens, I will immediately report it, so please don't do anything weird."
While she warned me, we walked towards the back side of the courtyard. We followed the stone-paved walkway, and Suzuka pointed at a building and said "This is the dorm."
"Just as you would expect from an Ojou-sama school. Even on a free day, it's pretty quiet."
"…No, today is special. Rather than that, let's hurry to my room. Staying too long in the reception area is dangerous."
That's right, a boy like me really doesn't belong here, so we'd best not draw any unnecessary attention. Though 'dangerous' is a bit of an overstatement.
I walked down the hallway with Suzuka, and we finally arrived at her dorm room.
"This is my room. That being said, I'm only using it for the time being, after all."
As expected, the interior was extravagant like the rest of the school. Though she didn't have more than the barest necessities. Namely, her room had a bed, a table with a chair, a closet, and a full-length mirror. It still managed to look very high-class.
"This is a nice place you have here… And it's even more spacious than my own room."
"It really is wasted on me… But nevermind that. Let's focus on the research."
I was casually looking around the room, but those words suddenly filled me with tension again.
…T-That's right, today we're researching a particular kind of event: 'Being invited to your girlfriend's room.'
Though to be fair, this is actually my little sister Suzuka's room, but it's in a completely different location. It really feels like I've come to a girl's room I've never been to.
"U-Uhm, so what exactly should I do?"
"I-It's about that… I don't actually know. either."
"Eh? Wait a second… you wanted to do this research, right?"
"That's true, but I've never had my boyfriend come to my room like this, so I wouldn't know what to do…"
Apparently she wanted to hear my opinion, and she give a disheartened response.
"So, Onii-chan, what do you think would make sense for such an event? What would normally happen?"
"I see… But even if you suddenly ask me that… I don't have any experience with going to a girl's room, either."
Ah, that made me feel a bit sad.
"…Is that really the case? You haven't been going to Himuro-san's or Double Peace-san's rooms behind my back, right…?"
"Of course not! I've only brought Mai home without entering until now, and I did enter Double Peace-sensei's room once, but you were with me at the time, right?!"
"N-Now that you mention it… Though I really don't want to remember that…"
"It's the same for me… Anyway, basically I don't really know, either."
"But you should have an idea or two, right?"
Ugh… She's not wrong about that. There are scenes like this in light novels and manga, after all. And, the number one event would be…
"Normally, since this has the benefit of me being able to see your daily life, showing me your personal things would be a good start, I think?"
"That would be pretty difficult in this situation…"
"Yeah… this isn't your actual room after all… But it's still too early to give up. You should have the bare minimum of personal belongings here, right?"
"That would only be my personal clothes though," Suzuka said and opened her closet.
Stuffed in there were Hakuou uniforms and her personal clothes.
"Ohhh, so you had clothes like these. I've never seen them before."
"I-Is that so? This is really embarrassing for some reason… B-But I see now, this is indeed a way to be lovey-dovey."
Saying this, she took out some clothes, went towards the full-length mirror, and held them in front of herself.
"H-How is it, Onii-chan?"
"Ahh, yeah. I think that it suits you."
"I-I-I-I-I-Is that so! Then, I will wear this more often when I come home!"
Like this, she tried other clothes.
…Yeah, isn't this a nice atmosphere? This might actually work.
"Ah, I'll try on some accessories too while I'm at it. They're in the small drawer of the closet, so can you bring me some?"
Just as Suzuka asked me to, I opened the drawer.
"Uhm, is this one good?" I asked as held the thing I grabbed towards her.
…This is some soft fabric, with a nice color. A ribbon maybe?
"Ah, yes, that's…………Ah…"
However, when Suzuka turned around, her face went bright red and she froze in place.
…What is it? — I thought as I looked at my right hand to check.
And… it wasn't a ribbon. It was a boy's eternal romance. A protector of the sacred place. A triangle filled with charm.
"W-W-W-W-Why is Onii-chan holding my pa… pa—!"
Yeah, it's panties! And I proudly held them up! My little sister's, Suzuka's, panties!!!
Wait, this isn't the time to comment on that!
"Y-Y-You're wrong, okay! This is just…!"
"I-I wasn't talking about that drawer… That's for my underwear…! Ahhhh…!"
"S-Sorry! I just happened to! I'll put them back right now…!"
I hurriedly stuffed my right hand back into the drawer. But, since I was panicking, I hit the side of the drawer. With that, the drawer fell out and all the panties danced in the air and slowly fell to the ground.
Suzuka hurriedly ran to pick up her underwear from the floor, half in panic, half in anger. Her eyes were spinning in embarrassment and tears were starting to form. Seeing that, I almost fainted in agony from guilt. Even though I really didn't do it on purpose, I had made my little sister cry, and embarrassed her to this degree. I really deserve the death penalty.
—No, just die already, me! How many times does that make?!
"I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I'm sorry! Though I really didn't do it on purpose, it was 100% my fault! So… I'm really sorry!"
I jumped down on the floor and lowered my head. I knew that this wouldn't be enough, but this was the only thing I could do for now.
"Uuu…!" From above my head, I could hear Suzuka's shaky voice.
In response, I once more apologized countless times.
"…O-Onii-chan, please lift up your head…"
As I finally heard these words, I slowly lifted my head. As I did, I saw Suzuka holding her panties, with tears in her eyes, and a bright red face, glaring at me.
"I-I'm really sorry, Suzuka…!"
"Uuu… it's fine. I know that you didn't do it on purpose… And I should've given you better instructions, too…"
"B-But still, I'm the one at fault here! I'll do anything, so please forgive me…!"
"…Then, will you honestly answer me one question?"
"Yes, of course! I dare not utter a single lie!"
If Suzuka will forgive me, I'll answer as many questions as she wants me to. But to think that she would forgive me just like that… my little sister is so merciful…!
"U-Uhm, were you happy, coming to a girl's room and seeing her panties?"
"…………Eh?" But in response to that question, my eyes opened wide.
"L-Like I said, as a boyfriend, are you happy seeing your girlfriend's panties…?!"
"T-That's… Yes. I think that I was happy… but…"
"O-Onii-chan really is the worst, you ero devil!"
E-Even though you're the one who asked me?! N-No, I don't have the right to talk back!
"…Uuu, but, it's fine. I'm not mad anymore. Though I was really embarrassed, I just have to think of this as research… When we did that panchira research, I also…!" Her small body was slightly shaking as she hugged her panties even tighter. "T-That's right, if it's for research, I can do whatever I want…! If it's like this… I have to use this chance…!"
Her face was still as red as a ripe apple, and she kept muttering something to herself.
…Is she not feeling up to it because she's so embarrassed…? — I thought, but…
"O-Onii-chan, please turn around for a moment!"
Since that sounded more like a demand rather than a question, I did as I was told with a shaky "Y-Yes!"
I heard some rustling sounds behind me, and I wondered what she was doing. After a short wait, I finally heard Suzuka's voice from behind me.
"I-It's okay now…"
After I slowly turning around, I saw that her panties were back to where they belonged, and the drawer was fixed as well.
…Well, that's fine and all, but…
"Why are you sitting on the bed?"
There were two chairs in the room, so even if I took one, there should be no need to sit down on the bed, unlike in my room.
"T-This is another part of the research, of course."
"Another part of it? What is it?" I asked, to what Suzuka responded with "T-That's," seemingly unable to formulate words.
And, after a short pause, it looked like steam was coming out of her ears. She seemed to have reached her decision.
"Uuu…! O-Onii-chan, please push me down on the bed!" She said earnestly, as if her life depended on it.
"E-Eh?! P-Push you down… W-W-W-What do you mean by that?!"
"E-E-Exactly what it sounds like! Onii-chan has to push me down onto the bed!"
"W-Why should I do that?! No, I get that it's for research, but still?!"
"D-Don't misunderstand! I just wanted to experience this, that's all! W-When my boyfriend comes to my room, a situation like that might very well occur! This is in order to write a realistic novel!"
B-But, even if it's for research, doing something like that is just…!
"I-I didn't actually plan to go this far… But now that you've seen my panties…! Although it was embarrassing, I realized that I shouldn't be hesitating this much! S-So please hurry up and push me down!"
"W-Wait! Aren't you getting a bit desperate?!"
"I-I am not! T-This is necessary in order to write an interesting novel! An essential part of my research to win against Himuro-san! Also, this might be a perfect chance — N-No, forget about that! Anyway, in order to write an interesting novel, I'm completely fine with it!"
Uuu… so the genius light novel author Suzuka is ready to go this far… While a normal person like me is still hesitating.
"O-Onii-chan just said that he would do anything, right?!"
And she threw that statement I had said right back at me.
…That's right. I'm Suzuka's stand-in. Even if it's embarrassing, or unreasonable, if it's Suzuka's research, it's my duty to help her!
I took a deep breath, took a step forward, and put my hands on her shoulders. Although her shoulders twitched once, she remained silent as she looked up at me. I put a little more strength into my arms, and her upper body collapsed backwards onto the bed.
"Fua… Auu… Auu…" Indescribable sounds came from Suzuka's mouth.
I knew that she's nervous, but it was the same for me. Her entire upper body was now lying on top of the bed.
…And what exactly should I do now?
"O-Onii-chan, please come closer…!"
For now, I decided to follow her instructions… and moved my body above her. Like that, my shadow fell over her small body.
"S-S-S-S-So this is how it feels to be pushed down…!"
T-T-This is what it feels like to push a girl down…! W-Wait, she's my little sister. Calm down, me. Don't you dare go that direction!
Maybe because she was embarrassed, she didn't meet my gaze and just looked around the room restlessly.
Finally, our eyes met, and she swallowed her breath. So did I.
Suddenly, she closed her eyes.
…Wait, t-this is really bad, you know?! C-Closing your eyes in a situation like this!
However, Suzuka didn't move. It was as if she was waiting for something.
No no no no no?! I-I-It doesn't matter if this is for research! Any further than that, and things will end really badly! And what the hell am I thinking about?! Don't just selfishly think about weird stuff like thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!
And while I was trying to clear my mind of these thoughts, it happened.
As a loud bang resounded from the entrance, both Suzuka and I jumped up.
"W-W-W-W-What is it?!"
"Y-Y-You people…! What are you doing there!"
While I was still flustered because of what happened earlier, Suzuka for her part just glared at the door. Her face was as red as ever.
"I-I told you not to push me this much…"
"I-I didn't push you or anything!"
"I-I tried to stop you…!"
"Ah, suddenly making up excuses like that is unfair!"
For some reason, some female students were lying collapsed in the doorframe.
…So, they've been listening through the door, huh?
"Y-You people… You don't mean to tell me that you've been eavesdropping, do you…?"
Every single one of them gulped. It seems like Suzuka hit the bullseye… And she's so scary…
As Suzuka walked towards them, they all jumped up and tried to make excuses.
"Y-You're wrong, Suzuksama!"
"W-We just thought of greeting Onii-sama, that's all!"
"But we thought that it would be rude if we suddenly barged in, so we decided to wait!"
"I thought I told you not to stay away from us when Onii-chan visits me…?"
So she put out an official notice like that? So that's why it was so awfully quiet when we entered the dorm.
…But that's not important right now. This is actually the first time I've seen Suzuka in her student council president mode… I'm seeing her from the side, and that's plenty scary enough. My body is shivering.
"B-But we still thought that we had to at least greet Onii-sama once.."
"T-That's right. After all, we probably won't get to see Onii-sama again anytime soon."
"We haven't seen him once since the culture festival…"
"We wanted to thank him for before…"
All of them tried to bring their own reasons to the table. There were even faces that I recognized. And since some of them were talking about thanking me… They must be from the theatre club.
"Oh, so that's why you were eavesdropping, huh?"
However, Suzuka didn't seem to care at all. She just kept glaring at them with crossed arms as a dark aura built up behind her, which made the poor students in front of her freeze up in fear.
…Maybe she's mad because her research got interrupted…?
"Now now, Suzuka, calm down. They didn't seem to have any ill intentions…" I tried to reason with Suzuka.
After all, I didn't want them to be scared of Suzuka like this.
"…I think that, no matter how often you explain the situation, a boy entering a girl's dorm is just that big of a deal that they probably couldn't help but be curious. And not to mention that I'm your big brother, right? We can always continue our research later, so how we let them off for now?"
"…T-That might be true, but still… Just when it finally got interesting — No, nevermind! If Onii-chan says so, then I can't help it. I will tolerate it for now," Suzuka pouted and looked away.
Wheew, that was close. Thank God she accepted it…
"Thank you very much, Onii-sama!"
The next moment, all the girls who had been shaking in fear suddenly came closer to me.
"Just what I would expect from Onii-sama. To pacify Suzuksama like this…"
"Just when I was worried what would happen to us…"
"Normally, Nagami-kaichou is very kind, but she's really scary when she's mad…"
"Onii-sama really is an amazing person!"
"Yey, so wonderful!"
"Ah, uhm, excuse me?!"
All of them suddenly showered me with praise, which left me at a loss for words. Somehow, this was really embarrassing.
Though Suzuka was glaring at me intensely, I didn't have the leisure to pay any attention to it.
"There's something that I always wanted to say if I were to meet Onii-sama."
"That's right. Taking Suzuksama to your own school… Onii-sama is so cruel."
"I'll be lonely if Suzuksama is be gone…"
"But I heard that he gave her permission to live here in the dorm for a bit so that she can spend more time with us before she leaves…"
"Really? Onii-sama is so kind!"
"Please let us thank you for that!"
"Eh, uhm… Ehhh?"
After being blamed, and immediately being thanked, for something I didn't even do left me in confusion.
However, while I was still unable say anything, the female students kept showering me with questions and whatnot, which left me no other choice but to get swept along.
After that, the mass of students inside the room only grew larger in number as other students heard the ruckus.
"M-My precious time to be with Onii-chan together…"
Suzuka glared at me with a displeased expression, but I wasn't able to do anything to fix her bad mood, or to fix the situation on general.
"…T-Then, I'll be going home now, okay?" Onii-chan said as he showed me a happy, but still tired, smile.
The sun was currently setting, coloring the sky a deep red.
After all that happened, we still couldn't manage to make the students go home. Instead, they all loudly begged for some tea, so we spent lunchtime with them and talked well into the afternoon — until all the time that I had planned to spend with Onii-chan was gone. But since I got a little bit of research done, I decided not to dwell on it for too long.
…That being said, Onii-chan really is popular. Of course, a lot of it has to do with him being my big brother, but a lot of them also saw him at the lecture he gave. However, the most important thing would probably be Onii-chan's personality.
He's kind, and not exactly reliable, which gives him this familiar, easy-to-befriend atmosphere. And everyone realizes that and is naturally drawn to him. Normally, they would think more rationally, but as soon as it's Onii-chan, they go crazy…
"…? Suzuka? You seem to be upset. Is it about the research?"
That's not good. I was so lost in my thoughts that I accidentally made Onii-chan worry. O-Of course, I'm very happy to see that he's worried about me in the first place.
"N-No, I think that the research was more than enough. With this, I should be able to write a good scene for my novel."
That is the truth. Though we were obstructed at the end, I was able to spend a passionate time — excuse me, a productive time — performing the research. Thanks to that one particular incident, I was able to ask Onii-chan to push me down on the bed, after all. Normally, I wouldn't have been able to ask that.
…Ah, just from remembering it, my face is getting hot… Ehehehe… My muscles are just relaxing on their own… Ehehehe, how troublesome, ehehehe…
"Is that so? I'm glad."
Ha!? T-That's not good. This isn't the time to dwell in my memories.
When he pushed me down, I was ready to give him my everything. And with these feelings that I still remember clearly, I surely won't be able to stop my fantasies from flowing out. I-I have to be content with this for now.
"So do you think that you can write an interesting novel? Even if the genre is different from what she usually writes, Mai seems pretty serious about it. Though you might not be under any risk, she's going to force me to do something she demands, after all…"
What are you saying? This is the greatest possible risk for me! She would surely use that order to be lovey-dovey with Onii-chan… No, possibly even more than that…?! J-Just thinking about it makes my blood boil…! I cannot allow that to happen! I have to fill my novel with even stronger feelings than Himuro-san does, and show her that she can't compete against my love for Onii-chan!
"Well, it's still not enough at this point."
It's still not enough. It's still lacking. It's far from enough!
I realized it after the incident in my dorm room, as well. As soon as there are other girls around Onii-chan, I become just his little sister. And that's not nearly enough. As long as I'm not a girl he's always conscious of, going to the same school as him won't make a single bit of a difference.
I cannot let this time go to waste. I have to move forward with my research… It seems like I really have to prepare for that event…!
"*Cough* Anyway, we have to research even more. To be precise, on the 14th of February — is V-Valentine's day!"
"V-Valentine's Day, huh. Now that you mention it, it's next week, isn't it?"
"This year, there will be no school on that day. Please make sure that you're at home all day. O-Or, do you perhaps already have plans?"
"O-Only normies have plans on Valentine's, you know…"
Though Onii-chan looked like he sighed in defeat, I was relieved. All this time, I haven't been able to give him chocolate, but this year will be different. I will make this Valentine's a success, and engrave myself onto his heart! Furthermore, I will take that experience, and also beat Himuro-san! Because I will write a normal novel with a normal girl as a heroine, and make it so that Onii-chan thinks it's interesting!
Ehe, ehehehe… a perfect plan… If Valentine's works out perfectly, our feelings might even become mutual. With that, we will spend a wonderful evening… Ehehehehehehehe…
"Hya?! W-W-W-W-W-W-W-What is it, Onii-chan?! Please don't scare me like that!"
"I didn't mean to, but okay… Anyway, you were saying something about a Valentine’s Day research, right? I got it, so leave it to me."
"Y-Yes! Please do!"
While gazing at Onii-chan's back as he made his way home, I started working out the Valentine's Day plan in my head. I can't allow failure now! I have to make it perfect!
I'll definitely make it a day you'll never forget, Onii-chan!