Together with House-Husband, Part 2, Chapter 18 (Interlude 2-1) – Loan
Nee-san fell asleep, exhausted from yelling. Archer-san gently caught her in his arms. With just a hint of sadness on his face, he lifted me, who had been sleeping in his lap, up into his arms as well.
Archer-san stood holding us, and our view became so, so high. All sorts of things we normally couldn’t see became visible. That felt really good. My heart was pounding, and my chest was full.
But now. I can’t see the things I wanted to know about at all. My heart is sad, and just hurts…
“…Thank you for breakfast.”
Morning in the living room. Nee-san spoke, set her knife and fork on the table, hopped down from her chair, and faced the room’s exit. Her plate was still full of food she hadn’t started eating.
“…Rin? What’s wrong? Are you not feeling well?”
Archer-san frowned and called at Nee-san’s back. Nee-san’s shoulders were shaking, and she timidly turned her head and muttered “…nothing” in response. Then she left the living room.
Archer-san furrowed his eyebrows, and looked at the door Nee-san had gone out of.
The past few days, Nee-san had been acting strange.
No… if I say strange, then Archer’s was acting strange as well, but, if it was being different than normal… Then Nee-san was stranger.
My always energetic and straightforward older sister. She can do anything, she looks after me really well, and she’s really nice. She’d probably be able to do a lot more things. When I’m in front of her dazzling shape… My heart is always full of happiness, and a little bit of guilt.
I couldn’t stand Nee-san finding out about those dirty feelings, so I hold it in as much as I can, and I hide it, but Nee-san see right through me, just like a magician.
“Silly Sakura. Don’t worry about stupid stuff!”
Nee-san would be angry, but she would gently pat my head.
“I’m greedy, so I have to take everything I can. So being with a cute person like you is only natural.”
“…But, Nee-san. If you had the time you spend with me… You could do more, couldn’t you? If you ignored me, you could play with lots more of your friends, right?”
I knew she would hate it if I said those things… but I’m stupid, and I’m always saying dumb things to Nee-san.
But Nee-san looked at me whining and said “Then, I’ll make you a loan.” She stared at me with eyes that were more kind than they were mean.
“After you get big, Sakura, when you can do all sort of stuff… satisfy me with things you can do yourself. And then I’ll write off each part of the loan you got.”
“Right. It increases every time you say dumb stuff, okay? Oh, and by the way, the Bank of Rin’s interest rate is really high, so you might have a huge debt when you grow up!”
“W-Waaah! Waaaah! I-, I can’t pay that much!”
“Heh heh heh. Then don’t say dumb stuff!”
Nee-san said so, and smiled. She smiled brightly.
“I’m happy being with Sakura. I’m really, reeeeally happy. Being with you. And so… Well, with Archer too. Right now, I’m so happy. …Are you not, Sakura? Do you want to complain?”
“Good. Then you should feel free to reflect on the happiness of being able to be near the cute genius Rin, and at the same time polish your skills to pay off your future loan, Private Tohsaka Sakura!”
Maybe because she was hiding her embarrassment, just Nee-san’s face looked towards the future, and pointed her finger at me with a snap.
Nee-san was would do that, and always stay with the weak me. She would cheer me on. Then, crying a little bit, I would answer “…Yes!”
And I would wish, someday, that I could protect my gentle, strong big sister.
My sister wasn’t energetic. She’d done a lot of surprising things the last few days, but just being mad was normal for Nee-san. This morning, even though I spoke to her, she didn’t answer. Even when I asked what was wrong, she didn’t pay any attention. Even if we fought, or she was worried, my older sister always, always looked after me… For the first time, she didn’t look me in the eyes.
That was a shock to me. I was really worried.
“What should I do?”
I thought. I put my stupid brain into full operation, and though as hard as I could. Right now was exactly a time I could return my “loan” to Nee-san. But I was always the one who was helped out, and nothing occurred to me. I didn’t know what I should do.
Even if I ran after Nee-san, who had left, would she really be honest about what she was worrying about with me, who always relied on her?
What if I encouraged Nee-san like she always did for me, saying “Don’t worry about it!”? Would she cheer up then? No, stupid dummy, that’s rude to people who are worried…
Would she cheer up if I made some tasty candy? …Oh, but… There was so much food left over, so she wasn’t hungry at all…
My thinking went around in circles. In the end, unable to even stand from my chair, I hung my head. I… Really am…
Just then. Archer-san, sitting across the table, spoke. He had kind eyes that made me feel relieved… The same as Nee-san’s.
I raised my head and answered. The person I loved who always protected us. A trustworthy person who would do anything for us, somehow. If it was Archer-san… It was fine. I looked at him in return with that feeling.
Ah. Archer-san really is amazing. His words were just what I had hoped for. I answered, submerged in the wonderful feeling of the spreading relief in my heart.
Together With House Husband, Part 2, Chapter 18. Interlude 2-1.
Fate is a cruel mistress. The home that she had been born into was a world that had no use for her. The household of a magician has no need for two children. It was a natural principle of that world, a rule obeyed as a matter of course.
The pedigree of the heretic family of Schweinorg extended to the Tohsaka family. Her father, branded and burdened with that mark, had been a strict man, and had gone through with what he needed to accomplish in absolute silence. That was who he was.
Just as the logic of that world dictated, Tohsaka Sakura was treated as though she was nothing but air. Perhaps there was no affection. Perhaps he was awkward and clumsy. Her father spoke to only his eldest daughter… and said nothing at all to the young girl.