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That rumour settled quickly after that incident.
…Well, ‘settled down’ isn’t exactly true.
Of course, the main issue was resolved. However—
“Ah, it’s Nagami-san’s older brother…”
“Did you hear?”
“Yeah, ‘I will not allow anyone to take my little sister!’ Or something like that?”
“‘My sister belongs to me!’ Right?”
“Whatever it was, it was quite the statement.”
“But Nagami-san actually forgave her older brother for it, right?”
“Uwaa, that sounds just like Nagami-san.”
“She’s a real angel. It seems like she has it hard.”
It had turned into a completely different rumour, for crying out loud!!!
Of course, the contents of said rumours were about the siscon older brother me, and the kind, understanding Suzuka. Thanks to that, Suzuka’s popularity skyrocketed and achieved even greater levels than before.
…Naturally, the rumour was born on the day when Suzuka and I had talked behind the school building. And considering what I said and did on that day, I can’t blame them…
Well anyways, the rumour about me and Suzuka having a fishy relationship disappeared completely, and was instead replaced by a new rumour.
…Ahhh, for crying out loud! I’m definitely the victim again here!
“Onii-chan? Why are you looking so glum? Don’t cry…” Suzuka peered at my face as she walked next to me, holding my arm.
We were on the way to school on this pleasant morning. Of course, Suzuka wouldn’t let this chance go to waste, and she was clinging to me. Thanks to that new rumour, we can now be as lovey-dovey as she wants at school. Her reputation won’t suffer, since I’m the one who’s being treated as the siscon. Basically, she does whatever she wants and I take all the blame for it.
What even is this injustice? Whether it’s self-inflicted or not, isn’t this a bit too cruel?
…But every day, when I see this happy and joyful Suzuka, I don’t mind it at all. After all, the main reason I wanted to dispel the previous rumour was so that the other students wouldn’t think that Suzuka was weird.
“Ah, he’s making Nagami-san do that again.”
“He’s such a fiend.”
“I feel bad for Nagami-san…”
Do I have to go through this very day?! …Haaaah, well, whatever.
Whether it be that rumour, Suzuka’s friendships, the next volume of her novel… Everything had been resolved. No problems remain. Now all that’s left is…
“…? What’s wrong? Is there something on my face?”
“N-No, nothing at all.”
R-Recently, Suzuka has been looking even cuter than normal, and my heart’s been beating like crazy because of it… N-No, nevermind that! That doesn’t count! What disgusting things am I thinking about?! I’ve really been thinking such weird things these past few weeks… What’s wrong with me?
“Ah, Suzuka. And Nagami-senpai too, good morning.”
“Morning, Suzu-chan, Onii-san.”
While I was busy questioning my morals, Suzuka’s friends appeared. With a bright smile, Suzuka returned their greetings. After that incident, their friendship had deepened even further, which made me feel really happy of course.
…Phew, let’s forget about that already.
“Nagami-senpai, do you have some time?” Nikaido-san called out to me, her cheeks slightly flushed.
“It’s about that incident the other day. I heard about what happened behind the school… And I thought that it was very similar to how the older brother in Senpai’s novel was acting. I was very moved!” Nikaido-san said with sparkling eyes.
“W-Well, thanks for that…”
Since her words made me remember my embarrassing actions, all I could muster was a short reply.
“B-But, I cannot allow you to lay your hand on Suzuka like the older brother in your novel does to the heroine! I do have trust in you, so make sure that you don’t betray it.”
“Would you need to say that if you really trusted me…?”
“I-If you really need someone to sink your poisonous fangs into, then I will take Suzuka’s place! Whatever indecent things you force me to do, I will not falter…!”
“Why are you making it sound like I would actually do any of that?! And would you care to explain why you look so happy right now?!”
…This girl… Is she a hardcore masochist…?
“Onii-chan…? You know what will happen if you lay so much as a finger on my friend, right…?”
“I won’t! Your glare is scaring me, so please stop!”
“Ahaha, you all are so lively this early in the morning,” Shiina-san said with a giggle as she watched our exchange.
Like this, Suzuka and I somehow managed to barely scrape by, so that we could hopefully now enjoy our once-in-a-lifetime high school student life.
“Now then, I have to make sure that I don’t fall behind.”
In midst of these days, I was once again working on my novel entry for a light novel contest. A lot had happened, so I wasn’t able to write as frequently. To make up for that, I had to work even harder now.
“…Hmm? This is…?”
When I was about to create a new blank document on my PC, a certain file piqued my interest. It was a part of the novel that I had written in a frenzy when I was imagining that Suzuka would be taken away from me.
On a whim, I decided to read through it. It was a simple little sister novel. A lovey-dovey story with siblings who were perfect replicas of Suzuka and I.
Thinking about it, I must’ve been close to a mental breakdown back then if I wrote something like this. But I actually did find it rather interesting. How is that even possible? I have a real little sister, who is exactly like the imaginary one in my novel… I know that I shouldn’t be feeling like this, but I couldn’t stop my heart from beating faster.
“Onii-chan? Do you have some time right now?”
Suzuka suddenly entered my room, and I hurriedly closed the file.
“W-What is it?”
When I asked that, Suzuka somehow seemed a bit happy as she came towards me.
“U-Umm, I would like some advice about my next volume…”
Saying that, she explained the circumstances to me while holding the manuscript in her hands. When I looked at her expression, she somehow looked more grown-up, and it made me feel flustered to be this close to her.
…Somehow, Suzuka’s expression feels different than before…?
“…And in order to write this part here, I think I’ll need to do some research…!”
Suzuka smiled at me happily while looking up at me. When I saw that, my heart started beating faster once more. Since it was a similar feeling to what I felt when I was reading through my own work just now, I was feeling a bit perplexed, to say the least.
“Onii-chan? Did something happen?”
…Ahhh, it’s no good. I’m really going crazy.
Trying to rid myself of this feeling that I was awakening to something, I shook my head and said, “It’s nothing.”
Really. There’s no way, right? This is nothing more than my imagination, and I only wrote that novel because I was possessed by something. That was what I forcefully concluded. Rather, I had to force myself to think that. After all…
The little sister I like is the one inside the novel, and not my real one—or at least, that’s how it should be.