(POV Kaito)

After talking with Chifuyu, I decided to go back to the living room with the intention of bringing back her dinner.
But when I entered the living room, I saw Chiharu looking at the sleeping faces of Chinatsu and Chiaki.
She noticed me and turned her gaze toward me.

“How did it go?” she asked.

“I think she cheered up a bit… She said she felt better.
Though I’m not sure if she was just trying to make me feel better or not…”

“I see… I don’t think she was lying.
Thank you, Onii-san,” Chiharu said with a grateful smile.

“I don’t know how much help I was, but you’re welcome.
So, Chifuyu said she’s ready to have dinner; shouldn’t all of you eat together?”

“I want to give them a little more time to rest, so let’s wait a bit longer for Chinatsu and Chiaki…” Chiharu spoke softly.


Just as Chiharu uttered those words, Chinatsu and Chiaki stirred awake with perfect timing.
They raised their heads from Chiharu’s lap and surveyed their surroundings.
Chinatsu caught sight of me and promptly hid behind Chiharu’s back, while Chiaki gave a brief glance in my direction before scanning the area.
Even Chinatsu, though attempting to conceal herself, couldn’t help but peek from behind Chiharu, clearly searching for Chifuyu.

“Chifuyu said she’ll be okay.
She said she felt better after Kaito listened to her,” Chiharu explained to her sisters.

“Oh, really? Thanks, Kaito!” Chiaki exclaimed with gratitude.

“Thank you…” Chinatsu added softly.

“Well, it’s not that big of a deal to deserve such thanks… You’re welcome,” 

Chiaki and Chinatsu expressed their appreciation.
I accepted their thanks graciously.

“Alright then, it’s time for dinner! Kaito, what’s for dinner?” Chiaki asked eagerly.

“We’re having meat and potato stew,” I replied.

“Great! Chifuyu will definitely be happy! Kaito’s cooking always lifts her spirits!” Chiaki exclaimed.

When Chiaki said that, I couldn’t help but feel happy.
However, I wondered what we should do next.
Should we eat with all four of us, or should we wait a bit?

I exchanged a glance with Chiharu, and she seemed to be pondering as well, wearing a complex expression.
But before we could decide, the living room door swung open, and everyone immediately knew who it was.
There stood Chifuyu with swollen eyes, just like Chinatsu and Chiaki.

Chiaki, believing that Chifuyu was feeling better, rushed over to her eagerly.

“Hey! Chifuyu! Are you feeling better?”

“I’m sorry, Aki-nee.
Sorry for worrying you…”

“Don’t worry about it! You’re my little sister after all!”

“Sorry, Natsu-nee too…”

“I get worried about you too sometimes, so don’t sweat it.”

“I’m sorry too, Haru-nee…”

“I’m sorry too… I couldn’t do anything.
Even though I’m the oldest daughter…”

“It’s not like that.”

“Alright, we’ve already apologized to each other, so it’s all good now! Let’s have dinner!”

“Yeah, you’re right… You’ve apologized once, so we don’t need to dwell on it.”

“Yeah, you’re right…”

As the conversation seemed to be getting awkward, Chiaki intervened and brought it to a halt.
Then she turned towards me with a bright smile.

“Kaito! Can we have dinner? Ah, everyone’s so hungry~! Right?”

“Yeah, you’re right.”

“Me too.” Chiharu said.

“Me too.” Chinatsu agreed.

“Alright, then.
I’ll prepare it, so just wait here for a moment.”

As usual, I loaded the dishes onto the tray.
Chiharu carried the tray, but the larger items were divided among the sisters to carry.

After that, the four of them expressed their gratitude once more before leaving the room.
As they made their way upstairs, I could hear their footsteps echoing through the house.
I assumed they would be having dinner in their room, but to my surprise, I soon heard the sound of someone descending the stairs again.

I wondered who could have come back.
I focused on the door, and it turned out to be Chifuyu.

“Kaito-san…” she said, slightly flustered.

“What’s up, Chifuyu? Did you run out of chopsticks?” I asked.

“No, it’s not that.
Um… I wanted to thank you for earlier.
It was the first time anyone other than my sisters spoke such heartfelt words to me, and it made me really happy… Um, I just wanted to express my overwhelming gratitude, but it’s embarrassing to do it in front of my sisters, so… that’s why I came here to say thank you,” she explained, stumbling over her words.

Despite feeling like I hadn’t said anything particularly good, I was glad that I could do something for her, even if it was just a little.

“Oh, you’re welcome.
If you ever need anything, just let me know,” I replied.

“Thank you.
I’ll keep that in mind… Well then, I’ll leave it at that.
Oh, and thank you for always making delicious meals,” she said.

“No problem.
Thanks for always finishing your food.” 

She smiled a little, bowed, and went back upstairs.

I wasn’t sure what I had done for her.

At that moment, I realized I could have said something better.
I had only spoken empty words.
Maybe I should have shown more empathy and understanding towards her struggles and conflicts, but I couldn’t pretend to understand something I couldn’t truly comprehend.

I should have known better about Chifuyu, but all I could do was say things that fell short, in other words, I couldn’t do anything.

I wondered if Chifuyu had really cheered up or if she was just being polite.

It’s complicated…


The four sisters were chatting happily, just like before.
They had dinner, took a bath, and I caught a glimpse of them during that time.

Their eyes were a little swollen, but they all had smiles on their faces, which was a relief.

Then, the four of them went upstairs.
I saw Chiaki and Chinatsu yawning after they came out of the bath, so they must have fallen asleep quickly.

I sat alone on the sofa in the living room, reminiscing about my conversation with Chifuyu.
I wondered if she was okay now, if she had recovered her spirits.
I couldn’t help but worry if she would continue to struggle.
Lost in my thoughts in the quiet living room, I heard footsteps coming downstairs again.


“Chiharu, what’s up?”

Chiharu was the one who came downstairs.

“I wanted to say thank you again.
So thank you very much.”

“You don’t have to thank me that much.
I didn’t say anything that significant, really.”

“No, that’s not true; I didn’t ask for all the details of what you talked about, but it’s undeniable that Chifuyu has gotten better thanks to you.
Chiuyu only knew a certain kind of ‘special’ within our sisters, but after talking with you, she realized that there are different kinds of ‘special.’ It made her want to try harder again… at least, I think so… maybe…”

“I see…” 

“Even if you didn’t think it was a big deal, it might have been something really significant for Chifuyu,” Chiharu continued.

“I see… I guess it’s complicated,”

“It is,” Chiharu agreed.

There are times when things like that happen… It’s complicated.
It’s really difficult.
It goes both ways, too.
My casual remarks can sometimes hurt others.
Ideally, I would try not to let that happen, but I’m not perfect either.
There are times when misinterpretations or misunderstandings can cause harm.

Getting involved in someone else’s trauma can sometimes be unnecessary… It may have been better if I hadn’t intervened.
Maybe Chifuyu’s progress was just a coincidence…

There may be times when you don’t want people to touch your own trauma…

…I’ve been overthinking it.
I’ve kept Chiharu waiting.

“…Ah, sorry about that.
I got lost in thought.
I appreciate your thanks, so you can go to sleep now.
Thank you for going out of your way.”

“No, thank you.


I heard the sound of her going up the stairs.
Chiharu must be tired too.
I hope she rests well tonight.

As for me… I still have laundry and preparations for tomorrow.
I can’t just sit here forever, so I got up from the sofa.


(POV Chifuyu)

Yesterday, I had a little disagreement with my sisters, but I ended up talking to Kaito-san, and it felt like we were able to repair it.
At the same time, I felt like I gained something significant.

My backpack felt lighter, and my vision and mind were clear.
I was in great physical condition.
I could talk to my sisters casually and happily as if yesterday’s incident was all a lie.

Kaito-san called Chifuyu special, and just with those words and the fact itself, I was amazed at how much of a difference it made.

“Hey, what were you talking about with him yesterday?”


I was sitting in the back corner seat by the window in the classroom when Natsu-nee came up to Chifuyu and asked about what happened yesterday.
I hadn’t told anyone about my conversation with Kaito-san.
I had brushed off Aki-nee’s questions during dinner last night, so Natsu-nee was probably curious.

“Well, it was just small talk, you know…”

“Hmm, and then?”

“And then what…”

“I’m asking what kind of small talk it was.
Was it something you can’t even tell your own sisters about?”

“No, it’s not like that, but…”

“Then what was it? Did he say something to cheer you up? Like maybe he promised to buy you a magic wand or something?”

“This is truly off the mark…”

Natsu-nee couldn’t understand why Chifuyu had been feeling down yesterday.
I think only Haru-nee knows the truth…

Yesterday, when he called me special so sincerely… When he said those words to me…

“Hey, your face is all red, are you okay?”

“I-I’m fine…”

“Well, as long as you’re okay… Oh, speaking of yesterday…”

I tried to brush off or evade Natsu-nee’s questions while I was thinking.

Surely, as sisters, we might be compared to each other at times.
We might even compare ourselves to each other.

I might feel all alone.
I might feel lonely.

Still, my sisters would still be seen as special.
I would continue to struggle with that recognition.

Perhaps I would struggle with it for the rest of my life.

But just having someone who calls me special makes the future seem a little brighter…

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