This happened on my first day back in class after I was mentally tortured by my own other self. It could have been worse if the higher-ups had chosen me instead of him. Itsuki had that unhappy look when I was there and that “testing” continued on even after I left. I wonder what’s going on?
Female classmate: “Hisakawa-san? What happened to you? You were away for quite a few days. You looked just fine just barely half an hour before you collapsed from the fever.”
My body is now structured in such a way that I can’t fall ill at all, including common colds. However, that also means that they could make me actually feel ill from anything even if the usual cause is completely absent from around me. Itsuki has been abusing this “feature” on me the most.
Me: “My older brother. He had a high fever, but he just won’t stay still in his bed. He walks around the entire house and sneezes all over. He even sneezed at me when I tried to ask him to stay still and let me do the things. Ugh.”
That was an automatic reply relating to her question that came out of my mouth when I am unable to answer the question myself.
Female classmate: “Hahaha. Your brother doesn’t seem the type who would care about others or take seriously of the people younger than him. Must be hard on you being the younger sister. Say, which college do you plan on entering? With the grades that you’re getting, you could even enter Todai (東大) easily.”
[Author’s note: Todai is the common abbreviated name of the University of Tokyo, one of the most prestigious colleges in Japan and ranked in the top 20 around the world.]
Me: “I don’t really know about entering college, but I’ve already receive letters from Hatsuya and Powell institutes to have me work with them full time with pay higher than someone with a degree.”
Before my life was literally dramatically changed overnight, and before I met Kotomi, I was struggling badly with my studies and barely made it through the entrance tests. After that day, knowledge that I had neither knew or understood previously had been injected into my brain. Knowledge that would even creep Kotomi out for overtaking her as was one of the top scoring students ever known by a close friend who had poor grades and a nobody when she first met. I should be in third year of college or working now, and not repeating high school from the beginning, knowing that it will happen again later. Attending school itself was a job given by Hatsuya to me as “a subject” that “others can’t do”.
I, or rather the body I’m trapped in, is a property of the Hatsuya Research Institute, which meant that I am seen as a product they made and not a human. That means that if I complain to the authorities about me being abused, they would certainly ignore me as they were informed that I am “a technological advanced android with sophisticated artificial intelligence, highly textured and detailed hair and skin with minimal or self maintenance ever made that anyone or even the robot itself thinks that it’s a normal human until it notices that it doesn’t ages, attain illnesses or injuries” or whatever. It’s bad enough that they used me as a replacement of lab mice or dummies for untested drugs or products, but criminal investigations? At least I don’t need to use my own energy.
Itsuki called me around dinner, complaining to me about how unfair that the higher-ups had made him part of the experiment as he had already prepared the equipment for me and was only told of it shortly before I arrived. I got angry at him for his whining and asked him about what I went through, though I doubt he cares about anything I say.
Somehow, I have a feeling that his thinking of that I won’t mind what he does to me is simply because I’m Itsuki’s other self is why he keeps annoying me and doesn’t care about how I feel. I know what he’s thinking, but I don’t share the same feelings.
After getting to know Nanami better, she invited me to her house for a dinner with the family. Itsuki had warned me the whole Fujibayashi family, except Nanami, would be murdered next year during an attempted robbery. What I was curious about is the source of this information and the legitimacy of this.
Nanami’s family seems well off: her father has a white-collar job, her mother is a housewife, and her brother has his own motorcycle and attends university. In the living room, there is a flat panel TV with a recent gaming console attached to it. I even noticed a notebook PC and a router lying around there. I wasn’t expecting them to have it, but then again, I grew up in a family that wasn’t well off. In a corner were some family photos of only her immediate family and the parent’s graduation photos. The one that stood out was a digital photo frame of what seemed like an extended family outing, judging from the fact that they all almost look alike and… where have I seen these images before? And who’s this foreign man in this old photo? Nobody would put up a random photo of someone nobody here knows.
Nanami noticed my interest with those photos.
Nanami: “Ah, that’s my grandfather. He escaped from Russia around the second world war. You know how hard things were at that time, though being his granddaughter, even I don’t know what exactly he went through before he met my grandmother. I wonder how did they get along with the language barrier? Nobody knows where he is now or even if he’s still alive. As for that other set of images, it took place during hanami in 2004 with relatives relating to my grandmother on mom’s side gathering together. Can’t say that I know anyone there, and back then, I was too young to even know what was going on. I could only remember playing with other children around my age there. See? That’s me over there playing with one of them.”
Saeko pointed to her 8-year old self. The children she’s was playing with has Kotomi’s younger siblings clearly being one of them, but I did not raise that subject.
Takuya: “Wow. What a big extended family you have. How is possible that you still don’t even know your own relatives?”
Nanami: “Well, my parents seem to have a dislike with them, including their siblings. They moved far away from all of my relatives into this house when they get married. On top of that, my parents never told me anything about them, and they are even hiding any evidence of their existence from me. I only knew about this when my grandmother on mom’s side and grandfather on dad’s side called me to congratulate on my graduation from middle school earlier this year.”
Nanami’s brother: “She’s also quite timid towards others.”
Her brother spoke to us out of the blue.
Nanami: “Oniichan! Don’t sneak up to me like that!”
Nanami’s reaction to her brother’s action tells me that she doesn’t like it, but the brother does it frequently.
Apart from the smaller family that seems to be able to afford nice things to decorate the house, the experience of being in a friend’s house for the first time and seeing a side of them I’ve never seen before is there. Looking at what I could see from the front door, and how far the switches of the lights are from there, I could imagine how scared Nanami could become from the darkness alone, and worse if she saw something frightening in that darkness. This usually doesn’t happen as either the brother or mother is at home most of the time when Nanami comes home at night. Otherwise, they would inform her in advance to head to places like a family restaurant.
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