A/N: Hi it's uhhh… been a hot minute! Sorry to only come back when the world is in a state of panic… but hey my spring break was extended one week because of… recent events!
The only reason I haven't come back to update this fic in a while was because during October of last year everything just went downhill with my mental health and school and life so I just have barely had any inspiration to work on anything besides one-shots. I have time and a bit more motivation to write now so hopefully, I will update somewhat consistently again.
One last thing I want to say (sorry to ramble in the authors note) but this story is a slice of life with sci-fi elements not a sci-fi mystery. I do plan on a bit of a climax at the end of this story that leans more into the sci-fi elements; this is primarily a slice of life story with a twist. If you were expecting something else this story might not be for you. I am saying this more for myself I am still open for critiques of course but now we are all on the same page I hope… please enjoy this update!
"Oh no…" the blonde boy groaned when he heard a voice from behind him.
"Head straight to class alright?" Len turned to his sister before she could respond Len began to sprint, their blue-haired peer, Kaito Shion happily ran after him leaving Rin in the dust.
Rin quietly followed Len's instructions and headed straight for her classroom. There were a few other girls in the room that happily greeted Rin as she sat down.
"Where is Len?" Gumi asked.
"He was running with Kaito," Rin said.
"More like running from Kaito," Miku chimed in with a dry chuckle. "That poor boy, my idiot brother is practically begging him to join the soccer club."
"Do you think Len has any interest in playing soccer?" Mayu asked.
"I don't know… I've only seen him play video games. But lately, he has played less since he only has his switch."
"Why does he only have one console? Did he have more before?" Mayu asked.
"He told me he left his laptop and most of his other things at home. We did not bring a lot with us when we moved here." Rin informed the girls.
"Maybe your parents will send the other devices over later?" Gumi asked.
"The house is very small, Len couldn't bring a lot on the train," Rin said.
Gumi and Mayu looked at Rin, they seemed a bit puzzled but Miku happily broke the silence.
"Well, maybe he can pick up a new hobby, like soccer!"
"No...way…" Len was now standing in the doorway out of breath. He was panting and looking down at the ground, a thick layer of sweat had covered his face and he began to drip on the floor. Rin grabbed the water bottle and towel he had given Rin that morning and brought it over to him. She now realized he was prepared for this. Rin had now remembered that Kaito ran after Len the previous day after school.
"God I hate being hot and sweaty," Len complained as he sat down. "I'm a winter baby I'll melt."
"Are you like that too Rin?" Mayu playfully asked.
"I have no preference for the weather."
"Well if Rin has more stamina than you then you should just dress her up as you and make her try out," Gumi teased the boy.
"I don't want her getting hurt," Len gave her a serious response.
"You know I would be fine," Rin huffed a bit.
"I want you to find a club you enjoy if you plan to join one," Len said. "Don't worry about me Kaito will get off my back eventually."
"You underestimate my brother," Miku said with a smirk as she headed to her seat. More students started to file into the classroom. Kamui-sensei also eventually entered the class as he sleepily prepared to get ready for homeroom. Moments before the bell rang Haku slammed open the door. She was a bit out of breath and she had a death grip on Dell's arm. He looked annoyed.
"Ah Dell, nice to see you on time for once. Thanks for getting him Haku." Kamui-sensei said after giving the white-haired cousins a quick glance.
"No problem sensei!" Haku sighed with exhausted enthusiasm. Haku sat at her seat while Dell lingered at the door for a bit. It looked like he considered just leaving but all his peers were looking at him and Kamui-senpai noticed his presence. Dell let out a huge sigh as he sauntered over to his seat that just so happened to be right in front of Rin. Len glared at Dell as he leaned his chair back and it hit Rin's seat, Len probably wanted to say something but the bell rang so Rin just put her hand on Len's shoulder letting him know she didn't want to cause a scene.
Len relented and classes went on, as usual, that day.
As soon as the final bell rang Len packed quickly and helped Rin pack quickly as well. He grabbed her arm and the pair rushed away from the school as quickly as possible. Once they were as far enough from the school Len began to slow back down with and let out a hearty sigh as he finally let go of Rin's arm.
"If you want Kaito to stop running with you then you should just try out for soccer, you probably won't make it with that bad stamina," Rin said.
"No Kaito is desperate, he'll probably put me on the team even if I suck," Len said with another sigh.
"You can just say no?" Rin said something that seemed like a statement in the form of a question.
"If I try out, get in and then quit then why even bother trying out? I'll just look like an asshole."
Len seemed frustrated so Rin just decided to stay quiet as the pair made their way home.
As they entered the little shack house they were overwhelmed by the scent of Ramen. For a split second, Len thought the scent was of homemade ramen but when he entered the kitchen he saw Sweet Ann with three cups of instant ramen.
"Same as yesterday?" Len said with a smile and a slightly bitter tone.
"Don't complain this is all I have, I'll go shopping this weekend I promise."
Sweet Ann put the cups of ramen into some bowls and placed them at the table in front of Rin and Len and they all began to eat in silence. Rin looked over at Len as he ate. Len didn't hate the homemade ramen but she could tell he was disappointed. They didn't have breakfast that morning and the only other thing Len had eaten that day was some bread at lunch. Rin wasn't very picky with her food, she just enjoyed anything with flavor. All the things she would eat at the lab were bland, only when Len got to visit did she get to eat candy and bread he snuck her.
"Oh Rin! let me give you this before I forget," Sweet Ann suddenly stood up and went to her room. She soon came back out with a box for Rin.
"I don't make a lot of money so I couldn't buy you an expensive and flashy phone but you should be able to get some games and take pictures with your friends," Sweet Ann explained as Rin opened the box and took out a brand new cell phone.
"You must be jealous to be using my old, beat-up phone Len. Sorry about that," Sweet Ann said while Rin curiously oogled the phone.
"Nah it's fine," Len said with a wave of his hand. "I'll help you set up your phone after your bath Rin."
Everyone finished their instant ramen fairly quickly. Len got up and offered to do the dishes as Rin headed towards the bath. Rin took a quick bath as she was very excited to set up her new phone. When she entered the room she sat next to Len and dried her hair while he opened up the clunky little guide book on how to set up the phone.
"Ann isn't paying for a phone plan but we can set that all up on Line if you need to call or text me, I'll help Ann make a line account as well." Len began to explain as he began to activate the phone. Rin set up a 4 digit passcode for the phone, then Len lifted up the phone to take a selfie with Rin.
"This is the first picture we have taken together!" Len said with a smile. Len then pulled up the picture and then winced.
"God I look tired."
"Don't delete it! I want to keep our first picture together!" Rin said as she tried to grab the phone.
"I won't delete it. Just don't make it your wallpaper," Len said.
"I don't know what that means," Rin said.
"Right… Well let's set up Line, I'll add you to the class group chat as well." Len said as he began to download the chatting app in question.
Once the app was downloaded Len asked her for her nickname.
"Just Rin is fine."
"Rin is too short, you need to make it a bit longer."
"No… you probably shouldn't have your full name…"
"Rin… cute… bunny?" Rin was just saying words she had heard used to describe her. The bunny compliant in particular was from some student in the hallways that commented on her giant hair bow Sweet Ann had made for her.
"Usagi Rin!" Len said as he entered the name into the app. He then pulled up a picture of a cute white bunny from the internet and set it as a Rin's profile picture.
"We shouldn't have our pictures on the internet…" Len told Rin. "My profile picture is of Link from the Legend of Zelda series. We look similar enough!" Len said with a cheeky grin.
Len added Rin to the group chat and Rin was flooded with welcome messages. As Len showed Rin how to respond and use the stickers he flopped down on the futon with a yawn.
"I think I'm still tired from the morning run," Len said with a laugh.
"And sweaty too, you kind of smell big brother," Rin said bluntly.
"Harsh." Len put on a fake pout as he slowly sat up.
"I'll take my bath now, you should find some games to download for your new phone," Len said as he stood up.
"I don't know what games to get," Rin said.
"You can look at the games I have on there, you know my passcode." Len chucked his phone onto the futon as he exited the bedroom.
Rin picked up the phone and unlocked it. When she opened it she saw Len had left google open on his phone. Rin saw that the last thing Len had googled up was "Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild selling price".
"That was the game Len brought up earlier," Rin absentmindedly thought as she began to look at the games Len had. She opened the games to see what they were about but none of them really peaked her interests. When Len got out of the shower he helped her download a game where you match flowers, a game where you feed cute kitties, and mobile game of Uno.
"These should be enough, you can't put any money into these games however I hope that's okay."
"I don't need money to have fun," Rin responded.
Len gave her a relieved smile as he watched her go back and forth from playing her free games to chatting with Miku and some of the other girls from their class.
The next morning as Rin and Len were walking to school they passed the out of place McDonald's and Rin's eyes wandered to the sign on the door that read "NOW HIRING". Rin saw that sign the last time they ate there but she had no idea what it meant. Rin decided to ask Len about it.
"That sign means they are looking for people to work at the register or make the food," Len told her.
"Work… the paintings Sweet Ann paints, those are work right?" Rin asked.
"Why does Sweet Ann work on paintings?"
"Because she enjoys it and she makes money," Len said.
"So work is enjoyable and you make money?" Rin asked.
"Well it's not always enjoyable but you always make money," Len explained.
"If they are hiring… maybe I should apply…" Len added under his breath, he didn't expect Rin to hear him but she did. For some unexplainable reason, his words put a pit in her stomach.
When they got to school the pair heard Kaito's booming voice again, Len was getting prepared to sprint again but Kaito was faster and he grabbed Len by the arm.
"Don't run this time buddy. I just want you to hear about the soccer club before running off. Tryouts are Monday and you aren't being forced to go, however, life is short! Can't you at least hear me out before running from what might very well be your destiny?" Kaito asked sweetly as his fingers dug deeper and deeper into Len's arms.
Len rolled his eyes at Kaito but when Rin gave him a sweet and innocent look, a look that said: "Just go for it!" Len sighed and relented.
"Great! Follow me to the field and I'll show you around and tell you everything you need to know!" Kaito said with glee as he dragged Len towards the soccer field.
"Go straight to class Rin!" Len called out.
Rin waved Len goodbye with a little giggle before heading to class. When Len finally made it to class Rin overheard Len asking Miku if the school had a policy on getting a job. Rin was filled with a strange feeling for the rest of the class. As they walked back home that day Rin saw Len's eyes linger on the "NOW HIRING" sign at McDonald's once again.
When they got home from school Sweet Ann was in the kitchen, she had grocery bags on top of the table and was putting some food away.
"Welcome back kiddos!" She said cheerfully when she saw the pair step into the kitchen.
"I know I said I'd go to the store this weekend but I got a little extra cash today so I just got back from the store," Sweet Ann explained with a satisfied smile.
Len wasn't really paying attention, he was instead eyeing one bag in particular on the table.
"That's a lot of instant ramen Ann…" Len pointed out.
"Oh don't be like that rich kid. I just bought some as a back up if we ran out of food before my next payday, I bought other food as well!" Sweet Ann huffed.
"I am going to go take my bath now," Rin said as she politely excused herself from the situation.
After she got out of the bath Len was playing on his Nintendo SwitcW, he had a pensive look on his face as he played. Rin laid down on the futon and watched him play for a bit.
"What game are you playing Len?"
"Breath of the Wild," Len responded, his attention still mostly glued to the screen.
"I thought you didn't have that game?" Rin tilted her head in confusion.
"I've had the game since it was released."
"But you were looking up how much it cost the other day," Rin thought but didn't say out loud.
Rin couldn't go to sleep that night. That pit in her stomach had grown larger all day and now it was keeping her awake… actually that isn't entirely true. This pit was first planted yesterday when she saw Len looking up the prices of games. Len was also talking about getting a job for money. Sweet Ann doesn't make a lot of money, she said so herself. Maybe he was looking at the prices of the game he already owns hoping to sell it. Maybe he'll even sell his Nintendo Switch.
At that moment Rin realized what the pit in her stomach was, it was a feeling Len had told her about before. Rin was feeling guilt. She felt guilty Len was in this situation because of her. Len needed money to help keep everyone afloat now. If Rin didn't exist and Len was left back at home with all his devices and nice food…
Rin decided she needed to pull the weight in this situation as well. Len has done everything for her, she couldn't let him carry all their burdens alone.
Rin sat up in bed and grabbed her phone, she pulled up the contact info of her most reliable and trustworthy classmate and sent her a text.
"Miku, I need your help with something"
A/N: This probably isn't that good but I needed to write and publish something. I'm going to go crazy from being stuck in my house. Fanfiction and video games will help me cope (hopefully). I gave Rin some of the games I have on my phone, and how is Len googling without service or being hunted down by his parents? Well 1) he has a new phone and 2) he has a VPN probably. Speaking of this fanfiction is sponsored by Nord VP-
Just Kidding :p
Please leave a review. Any praise or advice on how to improve going forward with this story is greatly appreciated! I also wonder if you guys think I should name the chapters or just leave them chapter 1, chapter 2, etc.