Author Note: Floppy Black Hats. Indeed
Considering everybody and their sister seems to be returning from hiatus, I shall as well. I can not promise perfection. I can not promise updates at the same speed as The Great September. What I can promise you, however, is that this story will be completed! *Insert Evil Cackle here*
Chp. X: His Little Sister Can't Join an Online Otaku Group!
*Bzzzt*, *Bzzzt*, *Bzzzt*
What was that noise? She thought, another goblin fading to glittering gold dust, her long sword passing right through it. It sounded like the drone of bees, lots of bees; but she'd already cleared this area out of enemies. She turned back to the twin sister's she'd just saved; identical except for their hair, one an almost silver-white and the other jet black. Even with the monsters gone, they still seemed to be shaking for some reason. It was the ground, rumbling softly beneath her. She tried to ignore it, slowly walking over to where they stood, but the buzzing only grew louder and louder, wearing away at her nerves.
Finally she couldn't take it anymore, and swatted in the general direction of the sound, only to have the world fall apart around her. Instead, it was replaced by the back of her eyelids, the buzzing noise continuing to her left.
With a long, deep yawn, she stretched out her stiff back, rubbing away the sleep before opening them to a rather oppressive glare. She had to blink a few times before she could look at it directly without her eyes burning. When she could eventually focus, she saw she was staring at the only light in the room; her computer screen, with an open e-mail flickering on it.
Greetings Kirino-san she read to herself, as she passively reached down to the floor to fish up her phone, finally turning off the annoying buzz. Despite your childishness, I must admit our discussion yesterday had energy I found stimulating for the soul. So I might have a chance to study your innate forces again, I present an invitation to join an elite sisterhood of forbidden lore. The attached link should allow you access to our website, and I expect your presence at our scheduled gatherings.
Kirino couldn't help but smile and clench her fists at the same time. The way that girl spoke to her… it was so demeaning. She thought she was some fancy princess of darkness, too good for the likes of masterpieces like Meruru. She'd have slapped her right across the face if it wasn't for that cute little waitress watching, She'd been taller than her, sure, and older… but the way she'd worn that fluffy apron, the sweet sharpness of her voice, and the way she'd winked while just barely touching her cheek… even the memory of it had her spinning around the chair, giggling to herself before she pressed the link, letting the site load to a page headed Otaku Girls Unite!
Sure enough, it had everything a decent Otaku could want; pages on anime and games of all sorts, clips and factoids with dozens of posts attached to them, discussing everything from character development to debating what that dog in the background at 2:39 meant. She clicked through the various menus as lighting speed, taking in as much of it as she could. This was something she could be part of, something she wanted to be part of. If only there was a way to…
Then, she noticed the register icon at the top of the screen. Leaning in, and focusing intently on the text fields as she worked her way down. The sunlight peeking through her blinds, the faint, bitter smell of coffee coming in through the vent, the footsteps from down the hall; all of that was unimportant. In fact, she was so caught up she missed them completely, the next few minutes a blur of kanji and check boxes.
Then, just as she was about to verify her decision, she was interrupted by a voice. "Kirino, are you awake up there? You're going to be late!" It was her mother, calling up the from the kitchen. For a brief moment, all of her muscles tightened, mouse reflexively moving to minimize the browser.
"Just a minute," she hurriedly responded, quickly submitted the online form before rushing to her dresser, flopping down on her bed and yanking off her shorts. She was still in the same cloth's she'd been wearing yesterday; jean shorts and a nice, light-pink sunshirt, she hadn't applied her make-up, and her hair was still frazzled from sleep. There was no way she was going to be caught dead looking so unkept! She ran about so fast, it was almost like she was teleporting form place to place; throwing her pants off, yanking her school uniform off its hanger, setting herself down on the stool next to her nightstand and applying at least her foundation and lipstick, running a brush through her hair with one hand while picking the crust from her eye with the other. It was the half-hour she usually took to get ready in the morning, crunched down into five minutes. She burst out into the hallway, hair flying behind her as she rushed towards the bathroom. I just slept through my alarm... ya, that's it. She thought as she reached for the knob mid-step, only to have it shift out of the way as the door opened in front of her. Thankfully, her athlete's reflexes stepped in to save her, arms shooting out mid-fall to brace her against the door and frame, face stopping half an inch short of something white.
Her eyes quickly ran up the surface, narrowing in intensity as she finally made out Kyousuke's face, looking down at her in his typical apathy, slowly moving the toothbrush in his mouth from side to side... and continuing to slow down as their eye's met, finally reaching a complete stop. After that brief moment of tension Kirino grit her teeth for a moment, before craning back her neck, and coming down on his stomach with a full-forced headbutt. He could feel the blunt impact knocking the air right out of him, which at the moment included the saliva-toothpaste mixture in his mouth, the grey liquid arching through the air for a short time before falling right between his assailant's shoulders, quickly sinking into a not-so-subtle stain, before her drew in a deep, sharp breath, still tasting the minty freshness.
She shuddered as the wetness sank in, even her brother now slightly phased at the level of murderiousness on her face. "You... stupid slob!" She growled as she pushed herself back to her feet, stomping. "What did you do to my uniform?". Before he answered, Kyousuke gently placed his toothbrush back on the sink.
"It nothing." He told her, shrugging it off as he attempted to skirt around his sister and get down to breakfast. "The neckpeice goes over it." Yet, try as he might, she kept shifting in front of where he wanted to walk. She kept this up for a good minute, arms folded and nose stuck up in disgust, him trying to keep a normal calm through the whole thing. That girl was so stubborn... she'd keep this up all day, just to torture him.
However, their standoff was broken by a noise; a loud, gruff clearing of the throat, powerful enough to be heard from all the way downstairs... a sound that both drew their attention immediately. Though Kirino kept shooting daggers as they walked down the hall, she let him pass, albeit with a quiet humph. They arrived on the ground floor just in time to see their mother laying out the family's breakfast; five plates of rice and omelets, Daisuke staring forward stoically while Drake sat right across from him, seemingly ill-at-ease and avoiding direct eye contact with the man.
"Good morning, Father." They both said, simultaneously, hiding the tension of their recent spat behind a polite tone. They took their spots at the table, opposite of one another, similarly trying to avoid looking at one another. It created a general sense of awkward around the table, as Kirino generally stared Drake down, Daisuke did the same with Kyousuke, and they two boys perfectly still in their chairs, trying not to make a mess of things. Thankfully, though, their mother arrived shortly, pouring the last of the drinks and starting the meal. There wasn't much conversation going on at the table; the quiet sound of chewing and the scratch of wood on porcaline competing with each other for dominance. Even after a few weeks in Japan, Drake still seemed to be having a problem adjusting to the chopsticks, adding the occasional light flop to the silence as well. It wasn't until the end of the meal, when the dishes were in the sink and the children were donning their shoes, that somebody finally bothered to say something.
"Have a safe day, alright?" Yoshino said sweetly as Kyousuke opened the door outside, Drake and Kirino fast on his heels. They weren't 10 steps from the door though when Kirino started to the actual conversation, now out of earshot of their father. "So, how was it?" She leaned in and whispered, slowing down to let her brother get a good distance ahead of them.
To that, Drake, just coming down from the stress he'd seemed to have at dinner, tightened up again. "It?" He questioned, somehow managing to stutter on a single syllable word.
"Don't be stupid." she spared a glance at Kyousuke, who was continuing to walk forward as if he didn't even know them. "It. Tell me." She seemed usually perky this morning, what with how late she'd kept him up last night with all her new game's crashing and flashing and her won giggling. It was really starting to give him bags... especially after the night before.
"It was... fine," he said, trying his best to sound normal. Yet, he ended up receiving a tight pinch on the arm from Kirino, holding the yelp between his teeth as asked again. "Look, can we talk later?" He yawned. "I'm not really in the mood for this right now."
"Come on, Ayase will want to know!" She said, voice growing loud enough to catch Kyousuke's attention, the young man looking over his shoulder, suddenly appearing a bit more interested then usual, staring directly at Kirino, who matched him eye for eye. "Can't you tell we're talking, Aniki? Seriously, some people have no respect for privacy, Deikmann-san." She pulled herself way from him, giving a sweet-yet-serious look that said We're talking later As they reached the split in their two paths, Kirino heading off to the west while Drake hustled to catch up to Kyousuke going east, taking long, deep breaths to help calm himself down.
Drake let out a huge sigh of relief as the lunch bell finally rang, allowing him to finally stand up and put away this jumbled mess he called a Calculus assignment. He couldn't understand anything the teacher had said the whole class... in the technical sense. He'd actually gotten used to hearing the sound of Japanese. In fact, he could swear he was starting to think in it. It was kinda scary if he thought about it too much... but right now, as he jostled his way through the crowd of kids going for the door, he wasn't thinking about much of anything. Except, that is, is lunch. He fingered today's lunch money in his pockets as he started the short walk over the cafeteria, passing a group of runners from boy's phys-ed. Most of the kids he talked to during school didn't have lunch the same time as him; Takugi, and rumor was he'd caught a nasty case of the stomach flu. So, it was just going to be him and whatever he could eat.
Though, considering the selection he saw at the cafeteria when he finally arrived, that wouldn't be so bad. Sweet buns, junk sandwiches... something that looked really good even though it said it had scorpion in it. He looked carefully over the options as he moved his way through the line. So many choices, so little time...
*Bzzzt*, *Bzzzt*, *Bzzzt*
The sound was accompanied by the light vibration in his pocket... his phone was ringing. Without thinking much of it, he pulled it out, politely saying "Hello." to the other end of the line.
There was a moment of silence, before something both familer and painful hit his eardrums. "HIYA, BIG GUY!" It was so loud and cheerful that at least the people next to him in line could hear it, and give him slightly funny looks. Drake's smile widened even more at the familiar tone... something he hadn't heard in awhile put demanded an immediate response.
"HIYA TO YOU TOO!" He shouted, quiet clearly, in English, garnering the undivided attention of the entire cafeteria. His next breath caught in his throat as he noticed their stares, a cold feeling running down his neck as he slowly, silently backed his way out of the line, before running like hell out of the building, stomach turning in embarrassment. "Long time no see." He chuckled once he got outside, nonchalantly trying to put as much distance between him and the place as possible.
"Well, why is that?" the voice on the other side asked knowingly and happily. "Its because you're in Japan! Oh, I'm so jealous I could just huggils you!"
Yep... there was nobody this could possibly be but Rain. She'd always had a certain general outspokenness cute peppiness, and just that slight hint of a Canadian accent. He'd head this voice almost all the time back home, they hung out so much. She just had... life to her. In fact, she was the one who'd encouraged him to learn Japanese in the first place... he'd have to thank her again for that. "Ya, its pretty nice." He told her back, trying to sound cool and calm. "I'm just sorry you couldn't come with."
"UGGGH, I know." She went on melodramatically, as he casually shifted out of the way of an oncoming group. "My parents are SO unfun. They say I've already brought enough of Japan over here. But I don't have NEARLY as much as you do."
"Well, they did already give you a hall closet to store your cosplay stuff in." He joked. "But that's nothing compared to my closet. I actually LIVE in one." He heard a strange gasp at the other end, followed by the most girly squeal you could possibly imagine... but it made her so fun to be around.
" More!" She asked rapidly, the light rush of paper being heard in the background. "Tell me more."
Drake slipped off the main throughfare, taking a rest in a nice, shaded spot next to the main building. "Well," he couldn't help but laugh a bit again at how silly she sounded, especially as his first real English experience in weeks. "I got a room with this really nice family. Their daughter'd been using a spare room as a closet; she's a model, by the way, but her father rented it out to be. Something about a test or something. She's a bit obsessive... but she's usually nice to be around."
"Oh, that sounds so unique! If I could just study abroad like you, we could be roomies! Best friend roomies! You've got to let me visit you sometime, ka?" She asked hopefully... but was quickly interrupted by some loud knocking noise. "Opps... mom's saying lights out. Gotta go bye!" she said the last part so fast he never had time to respond, suddenly on a dead line as kept his smile.
If only he wasn't so hungry.
Meanwhile, at the lower secondary school, Kirino was already well into her lunch, gobbling down the store-bought sandwich as though it was nothing. Of course, the reason she was eating so fast was because she had her phone open in the other hand, continuing to scroll through the Otaku Girls Unite! site, giggling incessantly through bread crumbs and chewed lettuce.
Of course, Ayase and Kanako would be here soon... but it wouldn't hurt just to take a little peek, right? After all, Kanako would always be one of the last girls to leave class, sticking behind to talk with whomever happened to still be there. She was making sure she got at least a look at every corner of the site, trying to see if their was a section specifically for Imouto Moe... but so far, no luck. Still, there was so much other stuff, and enough cute little girls that she didn't feel totally isolated. Some of these other series actually looked kind of nice too.
Yet, in her insistent digging, she stumbled onto random section after random section, running through whatever caught her fancy. However, one of those links she found particularly intresting, reading Otaku Hangout.
My Fellow Otaku,
I would like to extend my gratitude towards your joining of our establishment, and hopes thou might attend a social I shall be hosting in Akihabara. Here, we mightist meet and greet one another, and discuss our mutual interested in a more socially engaging manner. Should you wish to attend, I will be awaiting you at the entrance of the Cure Maid Café, this Saturday. I do hope you shall grace each other with your presence.
Your Noble Hostess, Saori.
Below, dozens of others had already responded with comments and messages, telling them they'd be arriving. There must have been two dozen of them... at least! And it was only Monday. Caught up in the excitement, Kirino spoke into her phone. "Yes, of course I'll come!"
"Kirino-chan?" She quickly flipped her phone shut as she heard Ayase approach, smiling as ever. "Who exactly were you talking to?" She asked honestly, Kanako of course keeping an ear to the conversation as she came in.
"Oh, Ayase. You're here already..." She responded, surprised. Discreetly, she set the phone down to her side, struggling for an answer. Ayase's eyes buried into her with a hidden intensity, pupils dilating slightly. "It wasn't anybody important. Deikmann-san just wanted to make sure I'd be home for dinner." She saw the change... the attention drawn of her and into a small smile to him. "By the way," she started to question, pressing the advantage. "Did you two have a good time?" Her freind didn't react nearly the way her roommate did, taking in a deep breath and keeping her composure, sitting herself down.
"We did." She said with simple contentment. "I'm not quite sure how to describe it... just that I didn't feel threatened. It was sweet, really." She paused, realizing the look Kanako was giving her before returning it was a light slap, looking down at her lunch. Well, shall we eat?"