"What should I do, Onii-chan?" Noe questioned with panic. She clenched her fist tightly and looked at her brother with worry. As Jun kneeled next to her, he looked at her with reassuring eyes. Tenderly, he ran his hand through her dark hair. "I've changed." Noe said quietly. "I'm so embarrassed now, I can't even look at Shinichiro's face anymore!" She fell into his arms and clutched his shoulder tightly. As she trembled with sadness, he put his hand on the back of her head.
"It's okay to change."
"Yeah, its okay." Jun paused. "No, actually, people have to change."
Noe looked around the empty house. Thoughts about Jun floated back and forth in her head, as she sat at the table with her grandmother's picture in her hand. "Onii-Chan," She whispered. "You said people are supposed to change...but..." She looked down. "...but how about you?" Slowly, Noe stood up and walked to the place where she was on that night. Then, reenacting her flashback and, at the same time, asking Jun as though he was still there, she said softly. "What should I do...Onii-Chan?"
Jun rushed swiftly through the door, wiping the sweat from his forehead with the back of his arm. Lately, Jun had been fixing motorcycles for his job. He knelt down and started to unscrew the dirty motorcycle's tire quickly, but steadily. And after a few more twists and turns, he smiled at the client and nodded. Tossing him a quick tip, the client nodded back and left.
Jun ran to his boss, who was lighting a cigarette with a content look on his face. Jun coughed helplessly. His boss turned his head and looked at him with a questioned look.
"You don't smoke?"
"Hmph. Well you're a good boy aren't you?"
"Whatever. It's break time, by the way."
Jun nodded and turned around to leave, but then, seeing he really had nothing to do, turned back and leaned against the wall, next to his boss. "So." His boss said plainly. "How's life in Tokyo?" Jun looked at the ground.
"Well, I've only been here for three weeks."
"Really? Well, that's not too long!" His boss took the cigarette out of his mouth and exhaled. A cloud of smoke rose into the air, and then disappeared. "You know...I had a little sister who lived here before. But she left for the countryside. I miss her a whole lot. Do you have siblings?" Jun sighed with sadness.
"I also have a little sister" His boss smiled. "Really? That's cute!" He teased. "How old is she?"
"15." Jun's eyes widened as he gave his answer some thought. "Actually...she's almost 16."
"I see..." His boss said. Then looking back at Jun, he spoke again.
"Anyways, I'm going to the store to pick up a couple stuff. Watch for customers, 'kay?"
His boss chuckled, then left.
Jun unlocked the door and walked inside his apartment. He stood there, looking down at the ground, and sighed. "So Noe's birthday is soon." He counted on his fingers. "In four days." He tilted his head and looked up. "What am I going to do?" He didn't know that, if upon visiting her, she would hate him or not. Flashbacks raced through his mind of that one night at the festival. When he confessed his true feelings. Then, he made up his mind.
Noe walked back and forth in the kitchen, with a smile on her face. "Happy birthday to me...happy birthday to me...ha..." She stopped in her tracks. "This is my first birthday without Jun, isn't it?" Thoughts then rushed through her head again, which were then interrupted by the sound of the doorbell. "Probably Shin'ichiro." She said, turning around and walking to the door. She opened it and then looked up. The she froze.
Jun smiled. "Uh...how are y--" A hand came towards him, like lightning, and slapped his cheek. Jun rubbed it with his hand and looked back at Noe. "That's not a very nice way to treat your Onii-Cha--" He looked down. Noe had embraced him tightly. Jun smiled and put his hand on her head. "I missed you too, Noe."
They both sat at the table. Silence filled the room. "So." Noe finally said. "Why...did you come back?" Jun looked at her and smiled. "Because I'm your Onii-chan, aren't I?" Noe looked at the ground. "...and nothing more?" Jun's eyes saddened.
"I was really stupid, Noe." He replied. "But." He stated. "It's not like that anymore...I..." His voice trailed off. Then, with confidence in his words, he looked at her and spoke. "I'm going to make things right this time..." His voice softened. "Ok?...Noe?" Noe smiled. "Yes, Onii-Chan." Jun opened out his arms with a cheerful look on his face. Noe gladly walked over to him and the two embraced.
"Onii-chan?" Noe whispered.
"Don't ever leave me again, ok?"
"Ah. Ok, Noe. Promise."