Arc 1 – Changing Everyday
Chapter 7 – Beloved girl
「O—onii-chan, I made you wait!」(Sakura)
As I was waiting near the first grade classrooms, Sakura-chan came running over.
During lunch break, Sakura-chan said『Onii-chan, let’s go home together』so we decided to go together.
I thought that Momoi would get angry about that, but she told me to take her home as it would be troublesome if she got lost.
It seems she was more worried about her imouto getting lost than to bother with me.
Well, it’s not a problem for me at all to go home with Sakura-chan.
But to tell you the truth…..I wish we didn’t meet each other in such a populated place…
After all, the stares of the first-graders hurt.
In addition to that, Sakura-chan stands out in class more than anyone else, so the sharpness of their eyes increased.
These guys….staring at me like that….have they forgotten I’m their senpai?
I felt like a monkey in a zoo.
…no I’m sure even a monkey receives more favourable stares than me…
I knew this was going to happen, that’s why I didn’t want to meet here…
Yet if the meeting place was too far from the first-grade classrooms, she might get lost.
That’s why I’m waiting for Sakura-chan here.
…to be honest I regret that now, I should have waited somewhere else.
「Hey, onii-chan when we get back home, can I go into onii-chan’s room?」(Sakura)
Well, I guess there’s nothing wrong with it….
—even though I’m an otaku, I don’t collect figurines and other goods.
I’m an otaku who isn’t interested in such things, I only like light novels, games and anime.
When it comes to games, I don’t like normal games like RPGs.
The games I love are eroge. (TLN: Erotic games)
Even if I say eroge, I don’t mean the so called nuki games. (TLN: Think of nuki game to mean a game that you “beat off” to)
I prefer the scenario-oriented works, the ones that are close to being galge. (TLN: Girl games, games focuses heavily on interactions with girls, sometimes having a sexual component and sometimes not)
….I know they are prohibited for under 18s….I’m sorry….
I wasn’t originally interested in eroge, but as I read reviews about them on the internet, I became interested and told myself I’d only try it『once』
I’m a light novel enthusiast after all–I couldn’t help but get addicted to it.
Well I hide those games in my closet so they can’t be found, so it’s not a big deal if she comes in.
But is it really okay for Sakura-chan to go in my room?
If we get caught by Momoi, I’ll definitely be killed this time…
Besides, there’s work to be done today.
I have to keep it a secret from my dad, so I should decline here.
「Sorry Sakura-chan, I have something to do–」(Kaito)
When I try to refuse, Sakura-chan started sulking.
It feels bad.
But I’m troubled…
There’s no way I can leave Sakura-chan alone.
「Etto…if you keep what you see secret from my dad and stay quiet until I’m done, I guess you can come to my room?」(Kaito)
Sakura-chan exclaimed happily whilst looking at my face.
「You’ll really keep it a secret from my dad right?」(Kaito)
As soon as we got home, Sakura-chan immediately went to her room to change clothes, before coming to my room.
「So this is onii-chan’s room…!」(Sakura)
For some reason Sakura-chan was looking around my room with shining eyes.
It’s embarrassing if you look around so much…
「Waa…it’s light novels!」(Sakura)
When Sakura-chan looked at my bookshelf, she was surprised to see the amount of light novels there.
「Eh, Sakura-chan knows about light novels?」(Kaito)
「Onee—–I have a friend who loves light novels, that’s why I’m shown them occasionally~」(Sakura)
「Hee~…then you can read whatever you like, I’ll finish my work in the meantime」(Kaito)
「What work? also what are those books next to your computer?」(Sakura)
Sakura-chan looked at me with a interested look whilst tilting her head.
「Ah, I coded a small program and since it’s just been completed, I need to finish my work by debugging it. The books there are for different programming languages. They should be Java and PHP? The language used depends on the purpose」(TLN: He actually says Jova and PUP in English)
After finishing my explanation, Sakura-chan looked at me with respect.
「Onii-chan is amazing! onee-chan said onii-chan is stupid, but you’re actually really smart!」(Sakura)
That girl….did she say something behind my back?
Really, I want to make you cry someday…
「I’m not that smart, but….」(Kaito)
「Sakura doesn’t understand! I think onii-chan is amazing! That’s the program you’re working on now right?」(Sakura)
「Thanks…..if you’re interested, do you want to watch from the sidelines?」(Kaito)
Sakura-chan replied cheerfully and sat next to me.
This is just like lunch break when she stuck so close…
Why is this kid’s sense of distance so bad?
Eh, maybe this is normal and I’m just not aware of it?
Do girls like to feel so close together when talking with friends?
I don’t know….I’m a loner after all.
「But, why are you doing this?」(Sakura)
Sakura-chan looked at me in wonder.
「Well, this is a part-time job. At first it was to save money to buy what I wanted, but now it’s become a sort of hobby. Don’t you think it’s good to make money from your hobby? I probably make more money than the company workers around here」(Kaito)
「Uwaa, onii-chan is rich. If there’s something I want, shouldn’t I just ask dad? Dad is a doctor and makes lots of money right?」(Sakura)
「Un…..dad doesn’t give me much pocket money. He says it would create bad habits to waste money as a kid. That’s why I’m keeping it a secret from him」(Kaito)
「Then it’s our secret!」(Sakura)
Sakura-chan showed a happy expression.
After that Sakura-chan watched my screen intently whilst I was debugging.
「Hey hey, what kind of program is this?」(Sakura)
Sakura-chan asked me with interest.
「Simply put, it’s an application that speeds up your computer. Once you launch the app, it reads all the data on your computer and deletes any unused files. It then changes the storage type to make operation lighter. When new data is added, it’s automatically changes it to this type increasing processing speed」(Kaito)
It seems that my explanation was too difficult, Sakura-chan is showing a confused expression right now.
「Well, for a visual example. I wonder if the best way to explain it is like folding clothes that are scattered about everywhere and putting them in a closet? Or for example, throwing a heavy object requires more power than a light object right? This program makes those objects lighter, so by running it on your computer, it will run much faster」(Kaito)
「He, hee that’s amazing!」(Sakura)
「…you don’t understand it do you?」(Kaito)
「Sorry, I don’t understand….」(Sakura)
To Sakura-chan’s reply, I couldn’t help but laugh.
That’s right, it’s hard to understand if you don’t know about it already…
「But I’m envious about the faster speed….Sakura’s phone is really slow….」(Sakura)
Saying that, Sakura-chan took out her smartphone.
I heard something similar somewhere else.
—ah, it was a girl called Nishimura who sits next to Saijo-san.
I remember her because she’s an otaku like me and had the habit of telling her friends her likes and dislikes.
She said she was having trouble because her smartphone is slow.
I wasn’t really listening to the conversation, so I don’t know how it started.
If you’re curious about what they were talking about before this.
『Momoi is ugly』
It was Saijo-san who said that.
I agree with her opinion, but her atmosphere when she said that was scary.
It seems she has a grudge against Momoi.
That’s why, the conversation from that time remained in my memory.
「—yosh! Debugging is complete! I just have to burn it to a CD and submit it!」(Kaito)
Saying that, I started to prepare a CD to burn–
「Good work onii-chan, have a drink and a rest」(Sakura)
Sakura-chan had brought me iced tea.
She’s a thoughtful kid….
Somehow I feel that because of Sakura-chan, I was able to do my best today.
I wonder if I can do something for her.
「Thank you Sakura-chan…by the way, you said your smartphone was slow right?」(Kaito)
「Eh? Un, that’s right…」(Sakura)
「Will you wait a little while? This application can be made to work on smartphones」(Kaito)
「Eh, is that alright!?」(Sakura)
「Un, it’s okay so wait a second」(Kaito)
I put the burned CD into a protective case and began rewriting parts of the code.
Depending on the work, sometimes I have to sign non-disclosure contracts, so I can’t distribute the software myself. However since the request was made for a company’s internal system, there was no such agreement.
Besides it’s not like it’s prohibited to be used in this case so it’s fine.
Two hours later–
「Yes, this should make your smartphone work faster」(Kaito)
I said so after returning Sakura-chan’s phone that I had borrowed.
She immediately began trying out her phone.
「It’s true! Amazing amazing! It’s so fast onii-chan!」(Sakura)
Sakura-chan’s face looked like a kid who had found a new toy.
「Haha, I’m glad you’re pleased with it」(Kaito)
Hmm….I’m a bit tired.
I wanted to make Sakura-chan happy, so I remade the code in record time and now my shoulders were stiff.
Despite that, I didn’t cut corners in debugging.
If I did such a thing and a bug occurred, Sakura-chan might cry.
Therefore I checked carefully.
「Ehehe, onii-chan. Thank you!」(Sakura)
Sakura-chan was smiling whilst holding her smartphone in both hands.
I wonder if it’s okay to ask now…?
It’s scary to ask directly, so let’s ask in a roundabout way.
「Hey Sakura-chan. You’ve been close to me ever since you became my stepsister. Are you doing that because Momoi said I have no friends?」(Kaito)
When I said so, Sakura-chan thought for a moment then shook her head.
「No~ Sakura-chan wants to be with onii-chan」(Sakura)
『I want to be with you』is it….
I’m happy to hear that, but I don’t understand.
「We just met right? Why do you like me so much?」(Kaito)
Sakura-chan made a lonely expression at my question.
「Just as I thought, onii-chan has forgotten….just a minute」(Sakura)
With that, Sakura-chan left my room.
But she soon came back.
「Yes, this is a hint!」(Sakura)
Saying that, she showed me a picture that seemed to be of me in the second year of middle school.
「Eh, why does Sakura-chan have that!?」(Kaito)
「Yesterday I asked Dad to show me a photo album and I took this one」(Sakura)
Sakura-chan was smiling whilst holding the photo.
Dad, what the hell are you doing…
Speaking of which, yesterday they seemed to be sneaking around together…
「But this hint…? Did I meet Sakura-chan when I was in middle school?」(Kaito)
To my question, Sakura-chan neither confirms or denies it.
She was staring at my face.
I wonder if she’s expecting an answer from me…
However did I really meet Sakura-chan in my second year of middle school?
Momoi and I went to different middle schools.
Therefore Sakura-chan also went to a different school.
…..I can’t remember….
「Sorry Sakura-chan, I can’t remember」(Kaito)
When I say that, Sakura-chan starts untying her hair that had been put into twintails.
Could it be—
「Well then, this will be the last hint!『It’s not going to the station I want it to…』」(Sakura)
She said whilst keeping her eyes shut.
Those actions and that dialogue flash in my head.
It was that girl who was looking up at me and crying on the train.
「The girl who got on the wrong train was you Sakura-chan?」(Kaito)
Sakura-chan happily nodded to my question.
「I finally met you, onii-chan!」(Sakura)
Sakura-chan’s smile overlapped with the smile of that girl back then who thanked me after arriving at the station she wanted to go to.
「Haha, so there was such a coincidence. So the kid at that time was you Sakura-chan?」(Kaito)
I was so shocked my heart almost stopped beating.
A chance encounter like this can only be considered a miracle.
「When did you notice it?」(Kaito)
When she heard that, Sakura-chan smiled happily.
She called my name.
「On the train I heard Onii-chan’s friends call you Kaito, so I remembered it. When you showed me the way to the library, I thought your tone and atmosphere was similar, but I couldn’t see your eyes because of your bangs so you looked like a different person. At first I was thinking “Even though you’re easy to talk to like onii-chan, you’re a different person right?”. But when I first came to this house, I could glance onii-chan’s face a bit and when you introduced yourself I thought “that’s him!”. Just in case I asked your Dad to show me your album」(Sakura)
Saying that, Sakura-chan let her feet go bura~ bura~ (TLN: Sound effect for something dangling)
「Then, Sakura-chan likes me because of something that happened that long ago?」(Kaito)
「Un, that’s right」(Sakura)
What do you mean by that….
I was afraid she might have feelings for me, but that’s not the case.
She was just fond of me.
I thought the girl at that time was 3 or 4 years younger due to her height, but Sakura-chan was only 1 year younger at that time…
Well I won’t say anything because it might make her feel bad.
「Saying that, I’m surprised onii-chan’s appearance has changed so much. Just like my onee-chan said, why don’t you cut your hair?」(Sakura)
「Ah…..un. It’s okay for now」(Kaito)
Sakura-chan looked a little disappointed, but didn’t say anything else.
There is a reason as to why I let my bangs grow out.
When I keep my bangs like this, they get in the way of my eyes and make it difficult to see. But they also make my eyes less noticeable.
I’ve been hiding my eyes with my bangs ever since that event in middle school.
「–come to think of it onii-chan. If you’re so smart, are you competing with onee-chan in school tests?」(Sakura)
Sakura-chan moved to a completely different topic in an attempt to change the awkward atmosphere.
But in regards to tests…
It’s a painful story for me.
「I barely get an average score, except for math. I’ve never studied for a test before, so I don’t even match up to Momoi’s feet」(Kaito)
「Is that right?」(Sakura)
Sakura-chan looked confused.
「Etto, sorry your ani is so pathetic….」(Kaito)
I’m sorry, I apologize.
「Ah, that’s not it! I just thought『do you really hate studying when you have this many programming books?』…」
Ah, I see.
Is she that type of person?
Well she’s Momoi’s imouto that’s for sure…
「I see……talking seriously, does Sakura-chan like studying at school?」(Kaito)
「Eh? e, etto…..to be honest I don’t like studying…」(Sakura)
With that said, Sakura-chan turned away from me.
I’m not blaming you or anything…
「Then, why does Sakura-chan study?」(Kaito)
「That’s because, studying is important right?」(Sakura)
Sakura-chan looked at me strangely.
Are my thoughts unusual for her?
Well, I know that my way of thinking has changed quite drastically since the past…
「That’s right, studying in school is important—but it’s not important for everyone」(Kaito)
「Eh? Studying isn’t important for everyone?」(Sakura)
「Well, that’s not it exactly. Does Sakura-chan have a dream?」(Kaito)
To my sudden question, Sakura-chan glanced at me with an embarrassed look on her face.
「Can you not say it….?」(Kaito)
Sakura-chan replied shyly.
…..wait a minute.
I’m talking seriously right now.
I can see that Sakura-chan answered me seriously as well.
I know—if you say such a cute thing with such a look, my face can’t help but break into a smile!
Wait, this child is too cute!
I can’t keep up the serious atmosphere anymore!
「Kohon–! That’s a lovely dream, but is there any job you want in the future?」(Sakura)
When I ask that, Sakura-chan’s face goes bright red.
Ah…she seems to have noticed that she misunderstood and quickly answers me…
「E, etto…well I don’t have one right now….?」(Sakura)
「I see. Well then Sakura-chan, keep studying hard for now on. Do you understand?」(Kaito)
「I don’t get it…」(Sakura)
Sakura-chan got depressed.
「Ah I’m sorry. I didn’t explain it well! Do you think it’s necessary for professional baseball players, pastry chefs and beauticians to learn at school?」(Kaito)
When she heard that, Sakura-chan got surprised.
She seems to understand what I mean.
「I understand that it’s important to learn at school. But that’s for people who haven’t decided what they want to be in the future. The school aims at giving you well-rounded knowledge so that when you decide what you want to be in the future, you can be that. Therefore school lessons are important and students are evaluated on their academic ability. But what about the students who know what they want to be? Don’t you think it’s a waste of time to learn things you won’t need in the future? Rather than that, I want to spend my time on things that are useful to me in the future—that’s my way of thinking. I’m not denying school lessons are important. So if Sakura-chan doesn’t know what she wants to be in the future, then you should study hard at school」(TLN: The author needs to stop with these huge walls of text)
When I finished talking after a long time, Sakura-chan fell silent.
Did my explanation make her uncomfortable?
That’s right…..people find it annoying when I talk to them….
But the eyes of Sakura-chan who looked up at me were shining.
「Onii-chan, so cool!!」(Sakura)
「Onii-chan is really amazing! Sakura never thought about that!」(Sakura)
Sakura-chan got excited and rushed towards me.
I was flustered at Sakura-chan’s action.
It’s been a long time since someone has acted that way to me.
「Aside from that, is there anything else?」(Sakura)
「Anything else…? Well…..even if you ask me that….yeah, it’s connected to the previous explanation, but there’s no point in treating people with poor academic ability as idiots」(Kaito)
「Not treat them as idiots?….why?」(Sakura)
Sakura-chan asked me, showing her genuine desire to know.
As I try to tell her why–
Momoi is back.
—this is bad!
It’s that time already!
Looking at the clock, it was around 7:30.
It seems that a lot of time has passed since I was recreating the program I had written earlier.
「Sakura? Is no-one home?」(Momoi)
Cold sweat flowed down my back.
This is bad! This is bad!
If she finds out I brought Sakura-chan to my room, I don’t know what she will do!
「Ah, if I don’t hurry up and leave, she’ll get angry at onii-chan again like at lunch. Then, we’re going to cook together, right onii-chan? Also let’s continue where you left off later on」(Sakura)
With that said, Sakura-chan smiled at me.
I staggered down the stairs with Sakura-chan.
But—by the time I stepped off the stairs, it was apparent to Momoi that Sakura-chan had been in my room.
Because Sakura-chan’s room was on the first floor….