A Sister Princess fan fiction story
Disclaimer: Sister Princess belongs to Media Works and ADV Films.
Where am I?
My eyes open, and I puzzle for a moment. Why hadn't my alarm woken me up? I must ask Rinrin-chan to fix—
That's right…. My hand goes slowly to my forehead, palm facing outwards, warding off the sunlight. Had I been fully awake, I might've thought it futile, but I'm just concentrating on the memory of the last past days, as it slowly fills into my mind, numbed from sleep. That is all that matters at the moment. All that I give conscious thought to, leaving the rest of m body to operate on auto-pilot.
Akio… my best friend….
He came to take me back from my sisters, away from the Promised Island. And… I left with him. Why did I leave? I don't remember. Why would I want to leave them—?
Leave them? Who are 'they'? Did I leave somewhere behind on that… where was I? I can't remember! Haven't I spent all of my life in Tokyo? Am I not trying to fulfil my duty, and become one of the future elite with my best friend, Akio?
I'm fully awake now. My eyes pass across the room I'm in, and settle on the clock. I'm late for my first day in school! I must hurry. My hand gropes for my glasses, and I put them on a second later, correcting them so that they feel more comfortable on the bridge of my nose. Clothes come next, and before I know it I'm fully dressed.
Luckily, I've arranged my book bag yesterday evening — I recall that as I walk out of my bedroom and into the kitchen, making myself a toast. Going to school on an empty stomach means I would not be able to study efficiently. That's unacceptable for one of the future elite.
My toast is ready, and I grab my book bag, opening the front door and walking outside. I lock it, the toast in my mouth, held between my teeth. I feel that it is slightly singed on one side, but the ways of a high-school student in a prestigious school in Tokyo are fraught with peril.
Book bag in one hand, slung over my shoulder, and the toast in the other, I rush to meet Akio, who is waiting for me by the gates to the apartment complex I live in. He gives me a friendly wave, though I feel the air of superiority around him, as should be. I return it, and once I've joined my best friend, we start walking towards our school.
We will both become the future elite, Akio and I.
What happened? I'm not sure. Wasn't I thinking of Rinrin-chan? No… It was Chikage-chan. I had a dream… the same dream like that time, when I just didn't wake up. Was that real? What is real?
Chikage-chan is real. The cross she gave me is real. It's here, somewhere in the room. I put it… I don't remember! Why can't I remember? I want to, but then my brain becomes so heavy, and it feels like it's stuffed with cotton balls.
It's not a pleasant feeling. I can't help but think, for a moment, that if only I had the cross… if only I could touch it, feel its texture with my own hands… that I could somehow know; that it would help me remember. The moment passes.
Rinrin-chan. Chikage-chan. They are my precious little sisters! I have little sisters?
My eyes have adjusted to the daylight. I might as well take it as a sign to get ready for school. It's only the second day, but I had many assignments to do last night. Just as befits the best school in Tokyo. The best must suffer the most, to become that way. To become the future elite. Akio and I.
It doesn't take me long to pack my book bag, and with a quick detour to the bathroom, which is rather spacious for only one person using it, I'm in my kitchen again. I decide to make toast again. It doesn't come out burnt from the toaster, and I pat myself on the shoulder — metaphorically speaking, of course — for a job well done. I'm getting better at cooking for myself, and it's only the second day of me doing so. The second day of living without Shirayuki-chan's cooking.
I rub my forehead, as a sudden vertigo staggers me. Who is Shirayuki-chan again? Is she one of my classmates? Do I address my peers with such a degree of familiarity?
No time to think about that now. Akio is waiting for me downstairs, and we have to go to school. You don't become the elite without studying relentlessly at the best school in Tokyo. And becoming one of the future elite along with my best friend, Akio, is what I've always wanted to do. There is nothing else.
Light replaces darkness. I don't spend time lingering in bed today, reaching instead for my contacts— my glasses. Have I ever worn contacts? Yes, I remember it, as if in a dream. I had fallen into the water, and Karen-chan helped me out, lifting me to the shore. At that time, she told me that I look better without glasses. One thing led to another, and— it had to be a dream. I never go to the beach.
My hands reach for my clothes, strewn on the back of a chair standing next to my bed. I wear them to school — not quite as a uniform, though they are quite formal. My previous school had uniforms, but I looked much different that time, when Sakuya-chan and I went shopping — she told me she would 'coordinate' something for me — and we bought a new change of clothes for me together. Was that a dream as well? I can't think!
I hear a little voice in my head, telling me to stop thinking about it. It is right, as I see reason now. What's the use of puzzling over strange things you don't know, in the middle of a school year? All of my efforts must be directed towards passing high-school with honors. I listened to my inner voice, and it proved me right.
Wait a minute, since when do I have an inner voice to tell me what is right?
Oh, I see. It doesn't matter. I have to go and wash my face, and don't forget to brush my teeth like I had on the first day. It was embarrassing, though no one but Akio had noticed, because my best friend offered me a mint-flavored gum to chew before we reached school.
I must not embarrass my best friend. I must not hurt my chances to become one of the future elite with him.
The fourth day of school awaits me. Today will be my first Physical Education class since the beginning of the school year. The schedule says it'll be swimming.
Swimming always makes me think of Mamoru-chan. If it were not for her, I would never be able to swim. It was very embarrassing coming to the pool with the rest of your peers, because there is no way out of going without being ridiculed. So you go to the pool, and just sit there, watching the others swim. You pretend to sunbathe, when someone tries to drag you into the water, or make an excuse to go to the bathroom. Anything but coming over to the edge of the pool. That's dangerous — a friend of mine, Minai, once pushed me into the water jokingly.
I almost drowned. Fortunately, I was close to the rim, and pushing back from the bottom with my feet, I managed to resurface and grab the pool's edge. I almost hauled myself out right there and then, when I realized my trunks had slid down slightly. So I played along, and laughed when everyone else did, keeping one hand on the edge to stay afloat and slowly raising my swimming trunks underwater with the other as inconspicuously as possible. Under the circumstances, of course. Akio saw, but said nothing, only giving me a knowing smile. The others thought he was teasing me about being caught off guard, and turned their attention on him. I was off the hook.
Mamoru-chan and her determination to help me, whatever the personal cost to her, changed all that. Now, I won't drown, whether in a pool or shipwrecked at sea. Was that a dream? No! It happened. Even now, I still remember the anguish I felt, when I woke up alone, without my sisters—
It had to be a dream, after all…. I am an only child. Was I dreaming of having a larger family? I can see that, I suppose. For as long as I can remember, it's been just Jiya and I. And Akio, my best friend. I have other friends, of course, but it's just not the same.
Of course, it doesn't have to be. This is a school year, and the competition is ruthless. To be one of the future elite, you must throw away any kind of personal life and private, selfish desires you might have.
Isn't that the way things are supposed to be? The greater the sacrifice, the larger the eventual award.
Somehow, it all seems so empty now.
A knocking on the door distracts me from such unpleasant thoughts. It's Akio! Had he ever visited me at my apartment?
He claps me on my shoulder, and I laugh nervously, rubbing the back of my head in embarrassment. It's just like me to lose myself in thought…. I've done this a lot, lately. Still laughing, I step aside, waving my best friend boy in. He takes off his shoes and then his sunglasses, showily brushing long strands of deep blue hair away from his face.
I offer Akio something to eat, and he reclines politely, though he does feel like having something to drink. I have two bottles of orange juice in the fridge, and I take them out, handing one to Akio. He unscrews the cap and throws his head back, as he drinks. I take a more conservative approach, and walk over to a cupboard, opening it. I pick up a glass and pour some of the juice into it. It's good… better than I'd remembered it. I make a mental note to buy some more on the way back home, when the school day ends.
Speaking of mental notes… wasn't there something I was thinking about just before Akio came so suddenly?
No… It must be nothing….
The explanation doesn't feel right, but the future elite don't have time for such worries. There's a very harsh competition, and once you take your mind off the goal, it's as if you've already lost.
Yet… still…. I can't help but feel I'm missing something important in my life.
But that's impossible! Right?
Akio says it's time to go to school, and I put such thoughts out of my mind.
I'm awake, though it doesn't feel that way for several long moments. I feel as if I exist in the space between real life and a dream world. The state of consciousness I'm in… It's indescribable! You can't understand what I'm talking about, unless you've experienced the same.
I think I understand now what Aria-chan told me once, about going to a strange world that was like our world and yet not the same. She offered to take me there some time, if the nice butterfly would be willing to guide us. I suppose it's not nice to come unannounced.
The entrance was at some island. I remember it now. Strange… to have forgotten of ever being on an island. Is it such a fleeting memory? Maybe I was just visiting it and left right away?
I forego dressing and washing my face, and walk straight into the kitchen. It may not have been proper in the past year, with women under the same roof, but I live alone now.
Instead of making a toast like I have for the past several days, I wonder whether I should prepare myself an omelet. In the past, it might not have even crossed my mind to try and cook for myself, but living with Shirayuki-chan had taught me many things. I doubt I'll ever make Yamada chase after my cooking like he did for hers, but Shirayuki-chan told me more than once that I have talent, her radiant smile changing into a shy one at those moments. My resolve is made… omelet it is! But first, I need eggs….
I check the refrigerator, but I find none. It's weird. I know I had some eggs left… so where are they? Maybe… Bishoujo Kaito Clover stole them?
The search is on.
I go through the various shelves inside the fridge, hoping I had merely misplaced the eggs. It seems to be the likeliest outcome — I'd learned that from Yotsuba-chan. If I had her by my side, we would solve this case in no time… but I'm alone, and she's back on the island—
My phone rings, and I go to answer it. It's a conditioned response. Phone rings — you go and answer it. All thought processes are suspended while you do so.
Akio's on the other end of the line. He's calling me from his cell phone, to make sure I won't forget that today we go to a cram school in the afternoon. I agree, my mind still on auto-pilot, and he hangs up, prodding me to get downstairs faster.
Did he call me just for that?
I catch a glimpse of a clock hanging on the wall above the small table on which my phone rests. I'm late! There's no time to think… I must act!
It is the sixth day of school, since the beginning of the new year… I think. It's not only because I'm confused after just waking up… no, that's not the problem, here. The thing is, all school days look the same. After a while, things blur. Assignments, lectures, people… time itself.
But I think this is the morning of the sixth day. The sixth day I've spent away from my dear sisters… the sixth day I've spent alone, in cold, unfeeling… impersonal Tokyo.
The sixth day.
I remember them only in the mornings, when my body still thinks I'm asleep, or should be, at the very least. The only time my mind is not clouded, as during the day. The only time I can think right.
What is this school — this city — doing to me?! Why don't I question wearing my glasses instead of the contacts I've used to put on while with my sisters? My precious little sisters… why am I not with them? What can possibly be more important than they are?
Akio. My best friend. He took me away… away from them. Away from Karen-chan. Away from Sakuya-chan. Away from Kaho-chan. Away from Hinako-chan. Away from Mamoru-chan. Away from Haruka-chan. Away from Marie-chan. Away from Chikage-chan. Away from Shirayuki-chan. Away from Rinrin-chan. Away from Yotsuba-chan. Away from Aria-chan. Away from Mami-chan.
And now… am I better off this way?
Minai… my friend, Minai…. Wasn't he supposed to be my second best friend, after Akio? The way he spoke to me, after seeing me for the first time after a year's absence….
That's right! I was gone for a year. The happiest year of my life that I can remember. That I can remember….
That's a joke. What point is there in remembering something, when you know you'll forget it right afterwards?
It's cruel. If I can't be with my sisters all the time, I'd rather forget….
I'd rather forget… everything.
Jiya visited me yesterday. He told me that he had waited for me to return for two weeks, before coming to confess in a last ditch attempts to change my mind. And then, he told me that… he told me that….
He told me that he was sorry for lying to me… for tricking me….
I didn't listen beyond that. Akio is my friend, and he never lies to me. He's there for me. What about Jiya? Jiya… he lied to me!
Why do I think of such painful things? Why would one of the future elite be concerned with a foolish old man lying to him?
Why does it hurt so much?
I shake my head, and bring the palm of my right hand to my forehead with a sigh. I'm not depressed…. I'm not. And I won't look at the diary he left on my dining table yesterday, before departing. Even though the key is cross-shaped, and reminds me of something long forgotten — I'd better not think about that.
It's time to get up, anyway.
What's she doing here, near the gates to my school? Never mind that now.
She's saying… that she wants me to go back. Go where? I want to ask, but something is holding me back. I just stare are her blankly, as if someone else is in control of my body, and I'm just along for the ride.
Akio speaks, and I feel my head turn to look at him with that same blank stare. He looks… contemptuous? Why? And he's saying I won't go back. I understand, of course. Why would I throw my future away? And yet, his words strike a chord hidden deep inside me. I'm afraid to look there. I don't know why, but I'm afraid, and that scares me even further.
Mami-chan— Wait! How do I know her name? Why do I address her so familiarly in my mind? — is begging now. She's saying my sisters need me, and—
The pain grips me and I almost faint from the intensity. Images come into my head, and I try to fight them off, but my efforts are akin to a drunk swinging his fists widely at imaginary foes. I can't win individually, so I try to bury them all away in a deep corner of my psyche. It's a losing battle… until I hear Akio's voice again.
The pain recedes, like magic, and I can think clearer now… or can I? My mind seems to clear, but I've learned in my physics lab that if you eliminate factors from your calculations and the lab report, it will indeed appear neater — on the expense of the truth. For by eliminating various variables that seem to be 'in the way', you get farther from the truth. And besides, I constantly get pounded into my head that perfection doesn't exist in nature. It's a man-made, artificial state.
What doubts — which facts — have been eliminated to set my mind at peace?
Mami-chan runs towards me, crossing the short distance between us, and reaches into the right pocket of my jacket. Her hand comes out with a digital camera, which she thrusts into my hands, and flashes of images assault my mind again. With them, the pain returns.
Akio tells me to delete the memory stored in the camera, and my left hand moves by itself to fulfil it, before I stop it. This takes a considerable effort, but I am victorious. My hand hangs mere centimeters from the 'reset' button.
The sound of sobbing catches my attention, and I will my head to turn towards it. Tears run down Mami-chan's face, and she begs me not to do this. I feel she should be relieved that I stopped myself, but she keeps on crying. Getting down on her knees and grabbing the lapels of my jacket, she begs me once more to return to my sisters. I am unresponsive, and a look of pure terror appears in her eyes for a moment, paining me for some reason that I just can't understand.
Mami-chan grabs my hands, and brings them to my face, putting the camera in front of my face. Akio shouts something, and moves to intercept her, but the red-headed girl manages to press a button on top of the electronic device, and I see snapshots appear before my eyes in a slideshow.
No! That can't be! My soul wants to shout that in denial, like my mouth had done so many times in the past, but no sound goes past my lips. After all, I see nothing but the truth, however implausible that may seem to me at first. And once I have accepted that, now, I begin to realize more and more. The girls on the pictures are… familiar! Yes! They are… they are my precious sisters! They— I remember now! They are waiting for me!
But where? Where?! Think, Wataru… think! Something to do with a promise, but I can't remember more….
I want to ask Mami-chan, who is both my sister and isn't, yet is precious to me all the same. But Akio pushes her away, and grabs the camera from my hands, throwing it against the metal gates of our school. It breaks, and the images disappear.
It is as if a piece of me breaks as well. I take off running, drawing surprised shouts from both Akio and Mami-chan. I don't think about my destination, and just run wherever my legs take me. They try to follow, but I lose them after passing a busy intersection at a red light. A red Honda sports car nearly hit me, but I got lucky.
Luck… so it exists, after all? How about duty? Or love?
My mind rationally tells me that they do, but I feel that it has to be false. Only one of them may exist, as they are mutually exclusive. At least, that's what my heart tells me. It's been a while since it talked to me.
My glasses rub against my sweaty nose, and the feeling is unpleasant. Why did I ever go back to wearing glasses? I grab them, and fling the specs away, watching them fly in an arc, before crashing on the ground. My long-range vision is worse now, but I'm far from blind. Squinting, I read the address on the house next to which I'm standing — to prove to myself just that.
It's… home. The word doesn't feel right, and I settle for 'the place I am now staying at'. Still, it puzzles me that I can't call this place 'home'. I add this question to the long list of them I've made while running aimlessly through the busy streets of Tokyo.
So many questions… are there answers for them, now that my digital camera is gone?
There must be… there are! The diary! Jiya left it for me, and I never threw it out. It's been gaining dust on my table for the past two weeks….
I rush to my apartments, and run towards the dining table. The diary is there, just as I left it… but the key is gone! I hurry to the kitchen, grab the largest knife, and rush back towards the diary. Unfortunately, the lock is made of sterner stuff. Panic almost grips me, but I suddenly get the feeling that not all is lost. I have another key… I just don't know where it is….
I wreck the cabinet, pulling out the heavy shelves and titling them, their contents spilling on the floor. I go through them, not really sure what I'm looking for, with nothing but the belief that I would know it when I see it. And there it is! The cross Chikage-chan lent me!
My hands tremble as I reach for the cross and attempt to unlock the diary. The cross makes contact with the lock, and fits perfectly, as if it were made for that very purpose. Due to the tremors going through my hands, I only succeeded on the third try. Undeterred in the slightest by the temporary setback to my search for the truth, yet even more anxious to get to the bottom of things now that the last obstacle in my past had been eliminated, I open the diary to the first page. The characters make me squint — without glasses or contacts, my excitement prevents me from seeing the page clearly — and I bring it closer to my face, determined to conquer my disability. I begin to read.
Hours pass. I've read the entire thing, and then reread it one more time. And then I reread it again. And again. And again. And again….
I have reread the diary once for every sister I have forgotten I had.
This is not penance enough for all the misery I've inadvertently brought into their lives, but it's a start. Or, at the very least, the beginning of the road for atonement and, eventually, forgiveness. My sisters are adorable, and they will forgive me. If only I could ever be able to forgive myself….
But that can wait. My cute little sisters come first. They counted on me to return shortly… they believed in me….
I refuse to betray their faith in me any longer. It's time to return to them….
It is time for me to go once more to the Promised Island!
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