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"Nyoko"


Chapter 1
Nyoko, Part 1

By AshelinaB

Upon hearing his voice, people often say he sings like an angel. And it’s true; Tegoshi Yuuya has an absolutely beautiful yet powerful voice. Fewer people know though that like an angel, he has saved a life. His singing brought his sister back from a very near grave once. 

His mother is not a very fertile woman, but she was blessed with him. Chikako had always wanted a daughter however so she kept trying and finally became pregnant with a baby girl. The pregnancy was even more difficult than the first, and she was advised several times to abort the fetus. She refused. “You said I should do the same with Yuuya. and look how beautiful and perfect he turned out!”

She worried about his possible reaction to the baby; the boy was a rather self-centered child, and she didn’t know how he’d handle a younger sibling. When she was far enough along, she told her son about the baby growing inside of her and then about it being a girl. “Yuuya,” she started, “you’re going to have a little sister! Isn’t that wonderful?”

The little four-year-old looked up at her and frowned. Then he seemed to come to a sad revelation. “Just like you always wanted, huh?” His shoulders slumped.

“Yes, Yuuya, just like I always wanted.” She smiled in euphoria. “I’m so happy!”

He was not as thrilled. His whole life, he had heard how his mother wanted a girl and how she wished he was one. “Are you going to give me away now, mama? You won’t want me anymore, right?” 

“Oh, no, sweetie. You’re a perfect little boy, and I’m so happy that I have you.  I’m just really excited for my girl! Won’t you be happy with me?”

Yuuya suddenly grinned. “I’ll be happy if it means I can cut my hair now and not wear skirts anymore!” 

Toshiro sighed in relief. “Yes, Yuuya, you can finally be my son again!” he said with a mock-glare at his wife. 

“Yosh!” Yuuya cheered.

When the pains got bad, Chikako asked her son to come lay next to her in bed and sing. “Angel, come sing for your sister, so she doesn’t give mama such a hard time.” 

With his pure, child’s voice, he complied. He always loved singing for his mother to cheer her up; maybe his sister would enjoy his songs too.

As his mother’s tummy grew bigger and bigger, his excitement grew with it. He started talking to his sister all the time. He would put his ear to Chikako’s belly button and say things like, “Hi, baby! It’s Yuuya! I’m your big brother! I’m gonna be the best big brother ever! I’ll always take good care of you and always protect you! But, don’t be mean to mama, okay? She really, really loves you, and you’re hurting her. I don’t like that. How about I sing for you? Stay still and listen, okay?” and he’d sing.

The difficult pregnancy gave way to an even more difficult birth. 

It took more than an entire day for the baby to come out after labor started but even so, she was named Nyoko, “treasure”. Her troubles became more apparent during her neonatal assessments; it was not thought that she would survive the week. 

The family that had been all set to celebrate began to plan a funeral. Yuuya’s paternal grandmother, who had come to briefly take care of him during his sister’s delivery stayed with him full-time for much longer than anticipated.

Days dragged on, and the baby girl’s condition remained unchanged if not worsening. 

Chikako was devastated to say the least, and Toshiro tried to distance himself from it all. Unexpectedly, Yuuya was wracked with guilt. “I’m sorry!” he cried out after yet another night of his grandmother tucking him in rather than his mother. “I’m sorry, baa-chan. I didn’t want the baby to be born. Mama has been telling me how she and papa might not have much time for me anymore after the baby’s born. They were gonna spend all their time with her and not care about me anymore! I was just being selfish and wished it when they went to the hospital! But I don’t want her to die! I’m sorry!”

Yuuya’s grandmother tried to reassure him that it wasn’t his fault. “Yuuya, that was a selfish wish, but you’re just a little boy. You can’t make these kinds of things happen. This isn’t your fault, precious. It’s really not.”

His mother, crazed with grief, did not agree once she heard what he had done. “Yuuya! How could you wish such a terrible thing?! You know how your wishes come true sometimes! How could you?!” She reached out and grabbed his shoulders, shaking him roughly. “What is WRONG with you?!”

Yuuya sobbed. “I’m sorry, mama! I’m sorry! I didn’t really mean it! I just wished it suddenly without thinking! I didn’t mean it!” 

“Go away, Yuuya! Leave me alone!” With that, she shoved him away.

Toshiro remained more calm in his grief, almost stoic. He knew it was not his son’s fault. He picked up his now five-year-old boy and walked away. “Come, Yuuya. You must say good bye to your sister before it’s too late,” he said, his voice devoid of emotion. 

All the way to the hospital, neither spoke. Through his tears, Yuuya sniffled and asked, “Can I tell her I’m sorry, Papa?” once they had arrived. 

Toshiro’s heart shattered into finer pieces. He made a noble effort to control his face and voice. “Of course, son.”  

A nurse saw the two walking towards the ICU and told them they could not go in. Well children were not allowed in that part of the hospital. Powerful anger flared up in the man, and he tersely told her that his son wanted to see his sister. “This might be the only time he ever sees her alive!” 

No one had ever refused Yuuya’s pleading face, so he looked up at the woman and implored her. “Please?” His voice broke.

They were let through, and he immediately ran up to the machine Nyoko was in. His father lifted him as he pressed his little hands to the glass and brought his face very close to it. “I’m sorry, baby sister,” he told her. “Don’t die, please don’t die.” He lightly hit the glass with his palms a couple of times as if trying to get her attention and tried to open one of the circles in the glass. “Can I hold her hand, papa? Please?”

The nurse spoke for the boy’s father. “I’m sorry. That machine she’s in is very, very clean. You can’t touch her because you might have germs, and those could make her even sicker.”

“But I’m not dirty!” he cried. “Really, I’m not! I promise!” 

Both adults solemnly shook their heads. “Yu-“ his father started.

Yuuya interrupted. “Can I open it just so she could hear me, then? I wanna sing to her. Maybe it’ll make her feel better like it made mama feel better. I won’t touch her,” he pleaded, almost whining at the end.

And so he was allowed to do as he asked. He sung to her, telling her how much he loved her and how much he wished she would wake up. He sung her peaceful lullabies, even parts of the few love songs he knew. He just wanted to sing to her. It actually seemed to help. Her erratic heartbeat calmed down little by little. Her tiny chest, which had been rising and falling rapidly, too slowed to a more relaxed rate. 

Yuuya was overjoyed. “Papa! Is she getting better? Is Nyoko going to be okay?”

His shocked father honestly had no idea. “I… I don’t know, son.” His voice was a whisper, struck by disbelief. “Keep singing to her, Yuuya, keep going. Don’t stop, okay?” While the little boy happily complied, Toshiro asked the nurse, “Can you stay with him? I… I have to tell his… their mother.” He smiled. “Yes, their mother needs to know what’s happening.”

The two women rushed to the hospital. With his family surrounding him, Yuuya sang. Just as quickly as they had fallen apart, they came back together. Nyoko became stable. As long as her brother was there to sing to her, she became stronger. Within a few days, she was home.

Author Notes Holy moly. It's the first true fanfic I ever wrote. I'd totally forgotten about it. I must have written it as a teenager. Does anyone here know JPOP, specifically Johnny's Entertainment? Well, this story is "about" Tegoshi Yuuya, my first idol love, and "explains" a lot of his quirks. heh


Chapter 2
Nyoko, Part 2

By AshelinaB

Yuuya sung to his dying newborn sister, telling her how much he loved her and how much he wished she would wake up. He sung her peaceful lullabies, even parts of the few love songs he knew. He just wanted to sing to her as he had while she'd been in the womb.

It actually seemed to help. Her erratic heartbeat calmed down little by little. Her tiny chest, which had been rising and falling rapidly, too slowed to a more relaxed rate. 

The little boy was overjoyed. “Papa! Is she getting better? Is Nyoko going to be okay?”

His shocked father honestly had no idea. “I… I don’t know, son.” His voice was a whisper, struck by disbelief. “Keep singing to her, Yuuya, keep going. Don’t stop, okay?” While the child happily complied, Toshiro asked the nurse, “Can you stay with him? I… I have to tell his… their mother.” He smiled. “Yes, their mother needs to know what’s happening.”

With his family surrounding him, Yuuya sang. Just as quickly as they had fallen apart, they came back together. Nyoko became stable. As long as her brother was there to sing to her, she became stronger. Within a few days, she was home.


The family had not entirely won, though. Instead, they had more of a treaty with fate. While the little girl had gotten better, she was never completely well, nor would she ever be. The family suffered another major blow when they learned that her condition was indeed genetic and would indeed be degenerative. She spent most of her life indoors— in a hospital or in her house, almost always in a bed. 

Yuuya learned to be energetic, even hyper, for her. His sister was often in pain, and he wanted to entertain her and distract her from it. He often played tricks on others of their family, holding his sister so she could see them play out too. One of her favorite pranks was when he got a chair and put her stuffed animals on top of her bedroom door. He left the door very slightly opened so the toys could rest against the wall above the door. Both of them shrieked with laughter when someone would come in and the animal would fall and bounce off the person’s head. Obaa-chan had the best reactions, she’d cry out, “Aiiiiiieeee!” and toss up whatever she’d been holding. They learned not to do that trick when someone was carrying food or drink. 

He learned to do impressions and make her laugh too. He’d pretend to be their father, tired and grumpy after a long day at work. He’d be her favorite cartoon characters. Since Nyoko so loved magic, he quickly learned simple tricks. Always, Yuuya’s devious mind was working and coming up with new gags to pull for her, and she spent a lot of her time coming up with tricks too. It had actually been her idea to tape people’s shoes to the floor. It would be a trick he would never forget.   

Nyoko was a very artsy person; she loved to color and draw. Being such a young child, she was not especially good at it but kept trying. Sometimes, she and her beloved brother would laugh together at their awful drawings. Yuuya hated to see her sad.

One time, she was drawing a cat. Her hands started to shake, and she’d twitch every few seconds, but she didn’t give up. Yuuya had been too absorbed in what he was drawing to notice. “Look, Nii-chan!” she told him happily once she finished. “Lookit this cat!”

He laughed fondly. “Are you sure it’s a cat, Nyo-tama?” he teased her. “What are all those lines?”

Instead of laughing as usual, his sister pouted. “My hands were moving funny. Don’t laugh at me!” she whined.

Seeing that she was serious, he rushed to amend what he had said to her. “Oh. Oh, baby, I’m sorry. I thought you were kidding. This, this is quite high-class art! It’s a special style, eh?”

She became unconvinced. “No, it’s trash. Throw it away,” she whimpered.

“No! No, it’s beautiful, baby sister. I love it! I was just kidding before! The really great art looks kind of funny to regular people like me. You know, like those strange European artists? Yeah! This could definitely go in a museum!”  

She sniffled, cheered by his words. “Like… like… Picasso-san?”

“Yeah! But this is much better!” He smiled and then took on a posh accent. “Can you tell me about the technique you used here, Lady Nyoko? This is very-“

“Nini!” she giggled. “You’re silly,” she smiled. Then, she too took up the accent. “Well, Lord Nini, this is my own style. I just flick my pencil— sha-sha-sha.” 

“Ahhh,” Yuuya made appropriate sounds of enlightenment and appreciation. “I see, the sha-sha-sha technique. Hmm, that is quite a sophisticated style, madame. Well, I hope to see more of your fabulous work in the future.” He smiled brightly at her and then suddenly jumped up and left the room.

“Hey!” Nyoko yelled in surprise and confusion.

Yuuya came back immediately. “Nyo-tama! Was that an art appraiser who just left here? He told me you were going to sell my picture for millions of yen! Is this true?” 

“No!” she squealed in delight. “I made that one just for you! No one else can have it! But yes, I’m going to be a superstar!”

“Wah! Sissy! That’s so amazing! I told you that you were amazing!”

They laughed together, happy. 

In the future, Yuuya would tell the world that the sha-sha-sha technique was his, but really, he learned it from her. Art was her thing, and he never wanted to draw better than she had anyway. Another thing of hers that he would later claim was his was Tinny. The Papillon had been specially chosen by his sister. Their grandmother had gotten the dog for the girl when Nyoko was old enough to miss Yuuya when he went to school. Yuuya hadn’t liked the dog much at first. He thought it was funny-looking and annoying. He saw how happy Tinny made his sister, though, and so came to love it. 

Nyoko, like their mother, also liked long hair. Both urged Yuuya to keep his long after Nyoko had to undergo chemotherapy-like treatments that caused hers to fall out. He hadn’t wanted that at first either. It got in the way and was hot. It especially messed him up when he wanted to play soccer, his only joy at school. Besides, Nyoko’s existence was supposed to let him be a boy. He’d had to wear skirts all through kindergarten— even after she’d been born because she had only been able to wear diapers so people could get to her tubes and monitors easily. When she was two, she was finally able to walk and wear regular clothes. That got him out of the skirts, but now, he had to have long hair too?

His mother implored him. “Please, Yuuya.” With tears in her eyes, she asked again. “Your… your sister… she can’t. Please, Yuuya?”

Using his own pouty expression on him, Nyoko begged. “Pleeeeeeeeeeeease, Nini?” she’d asked in her little baby-like voice. 

Curses, he’d thought. No wonder people had trouble telling him no. So, he kept his hair long. He never truly regretted the decision either, not even when his classmates teased him. 

Nyoko loved to brush his silky locks for him and try to style it. Mostly she tangled it, but he could never actually get angry with her. Even when he had to brush all the tangles out and remove the tens of bows and clips, he didn’t really mind too much. 

“Maybe it’s better that I don’t have hair,” she decided once. “I couldn’t put it up like I do for you.”

He turned around, laughed, and told her, “Yeah, and you wouldn’t have to clean it up after either!”

She immediately crossed her arms over her chest and made a silly pouty face. “HMPH!” she grunted. “I’m mad!” she told him, trying very hard to keep her mouth turned downwards. She failed, and they both laughed, as always. “No,” she admitted. “I’m not mad. I’m never mad at Nini. I love you, Niichan!” She smiled beautifully and flung herself at him to hug him. 

It always hurt her a little, but she loved to hug her brother and when he held her. 


Chapter 3
Nyoko, Part 3

By AshelinaB

Nyoko loved to brush and try to style her big brother's long, silky hair that he had grown out for her. Mostly she tangled it, but he could never actually get angry with her. Even when he had to brush all the knots out and remove the tens of bows and clips, he didn’t really mind too much. 

“Maybe it’s better that I don’t have hair,” she decided once. “I couldn’t put it up like I do for you.”

Yuuya turned around, laughed, and told her, “Yeah, and you wouldn’t have to clean it up after either!”

She immediately crossed her arms over her chest and made a silly pouty face. “HMPH!” she grunted. “I’m mad!” she told him, trying very hard to keep her mouth turned downwards. She failed, and they both laughed, as always. “No,” she admitted. “I’m not mad. I’m never mad at Nini. I love you, Niichan!” She smiled beautifully and flung herself at him to hug him.

It always hurt her a little, but she loved to hug him and when he held her. 

 

Every night, he came into her room to sing her to sleep. He’d lie on top of the covers next to her and put his arm under her neck so her head could rest on it. Often, she would turn to him and cuddle up close. Her tiny hand would grip the front of his shirt, and her head would nestle on his shoulder near his jaw. Automatically, his arm would bend and his hand would come up to stroke her head where her hair would have been. He’d tell her stories sometimes, but always, he sung. They made their own lullabies, and he sung her to sleep with them.

Yuuya did not have many friends. Most of his time and life revolved around his sister, keeping his promise to always take care of her. He never spent the night away from home. He had tried it once for a friend’s birthday. When he came home, he immediately noticed the dark rings under his sister’s eyes even as she told him she was fine. 

Later, their grandmother had told him how Nyoko had been unable to sleep all night. She had told her grandma thanks anyway, but she could not fall asleep unless Yuuya sung to her. Nyoko didn’t want him to know, though. She wanted Yuuya to have fun with his friends and knew that it must be tiring to be with her for all his free time. If she could could go outside and play, then she would. She was a remarkably unselfish child and did not want her brother to suffer with her.  

His first reaction was to go and make it up to her and never leave her again, except for school. In fact, he pondered quitting school or getting his grandmother to home-school him. Nyoko didn’t want that, though, and told him outright. She did not want him to be chained down like she was. She asked him to go out and play for her. She asked him to go have adventures for her too, for them both. In the evenings, he could come back and tell her all about them. She didn’t mind; well, not too much, not really.

While he was out of the house, Nyoko turned to her dolls. She loved to pretend that they were people, that they were alive. 

Every night when her brother called out “Tadaima!”, she’d be the first to say, “Okaeri!” and always in a funny high-pitched voice. He’d tell her about his day outside and she’d tell him what she, Tinny, and the dolls had done. The dolls always got to eat doughnuts for every meal. The dolls did very many great and funny things. Nyoko loved to make up stories or relate what she believed they had done. She used silly voices and had just as many silly stories as her brother did.     

After she died, Yuuya came to love her dolls too. He didn’t believe they were alive, but he did use the same voice his sister had to greet himself once he came home. After a while, they did seem alive to him. If he really focused on them, his sister’s favorite became her. He saw the little doll come alive and tell him all the things his sister was doing in heaven. This went on for years, but his family never told him not to believe in them. Believe, that had a big thing to Nyoko. He kept his hair long for years after her death too. He wanted her totem to see it and tell her about it. 

Once he finally truly believed her dolls weren’t alive, though, he cut his hair. He had no reason to keep it long. Never again would he feel her little hands running through it or styling it. He lost a lot of purpose after his precious little sister left the Earth. 

She hadn’t even made it to five years old. He thought of when they’d been drawing when she was newly four. He remembered her telling him that her hands had moved on their own. He wished that he had realized she was getting worse. Maybe he had. He just couldn’t admit it. He had pretended it wasn’t happening, as had his family. They refused to see she was withering before their eyes in her last months. Nyoko had known, though. She had tried to tell him once again just before the end. 

“Nini… I… I think I’m dying.” The little girl started to cry. “I’m dying, Yuuya.”

He had tried to brush it off and encourage her to keep going. “You’re not dying,” he’d told her. “You’re just tired today. You’ll be fine tomorrow. Don’t worry, okay? Believe!” he smiled. He felt the lurch, though; she had never used those actual words before. She had also never used just his first name before. If he wasn’t some variation of “Onii-chan,” then he was “Yuu-chan”.

“No,” she’d shaken her head. “I’m really dying. I feel so sick. I’m so tired, dizzy. It hurts, Onii-chan. It really hurts.”

He couldn’t help it when his façade broke. He had never cried in front of her then; he hadn’t wanted to scare her and had wanted her to see that he was strong and that she could always rely on him. Suddenly though, he crumpled. “No,” he whimpered. “Please, baby sister, don’t die. Please!” He scrambled over to her and scooped her up. Crying, he begged her, “Please, please.” He held her tightly without meaning to or realizing it, squeezing her too hard.

She too whimpered. “Too tight! Too tight!” She gasped, “H-hurts...”

He quickly released her, unwrapping his arms from around her. He leaned backwards and put his hands on either side of her face, gently holding it. Then he brought his own face down and kissed her forehead. Around the lump in his throat, he tried to tell her he was sorry. Memories of when she had just been born came back to him instantly. He repeated his first words to her. “I’m sorry, baby sister. Don’t die, please don’t die.” He wrapped his arms around her again, more carefully the second time. “Please, I’m sorry. Okay? I’m really sorry!”

“It’s okay,” she choked out. “It doesn’t hurt so much when it’s you holding me.” She thought for a moment. “Please, hug me again. Hug me really super tight. Please, you never do that. I love you. You can do it, I don’t care if it hurts!” she added when he hesitated. “Please, this… this might be the last time… ever-ever!”

That did it. Yuuya gave her a practically bone-crushing hug. “I love you, I love you, I love you,” he whispered fervently. “I love you more than I love anything and anyone in the whole world,” he continued, loosening his grip a little. 

They cried and clung to each other. She cried until she fell asleep in his arms. Not wanting to wake her, Yuuya lay back where he was, turning a little so his head rested on a pillow. He pulled the comforter back over them and he fell asleep holding onto her. 

When he woke up in the morning, he was disoriented, waking up in her room and using her comforter as a sleeping bag. Yuuya smiled when he looked down and saw his little sister cuddled up into him. “Bay-bee, wake uh-up,” he called to her sing-song voice. He jiggled them both and laughed when she didn’t respond. “Come on, sleepyhead.” She still didn’t respond; it was then he noticed the chill. “It’s cold, huh? You don’t like that. Here, I’ll warm you up.” He moved his hands from her back to her arms to rub them up and down. 

His sister stayed in the same position, not moving at all. Her skin was also cold to the touch. 

“Nyoko?” he asked in alarm. His horror grew when he put two and two together. He screamed for the rest of his family.

Author Notes Whoops. So, this is a four-parter rather than three. I underestimated its word count. Sorry!


Chapter 4
Nyoko, Part 4

By AshelinaB

When Yuuya woke up in the morning, he was disoriented, waking up in Nyoko's room and using her comforter like as a sleeping bag. Yuuya smiled when he looked down and saw his little sister cuddled up into him. “Bay-bee, wake uh-up,” he called to her sing-song voice. He jiggled them both and laughed when she didn’t respond. “Come on, sleepyhead.” She still didn’t respond; it was then he noticed the chill. “It’s cold, huh? You don’t like that. Here, I’ll warm you up.” He moved his hands from her back to her arms to rub them up and down. 

His sister stayed in the same position, not moving at all. Her skin was also cold to the touch. 

“Nyoko?!” he asked in alarm. His horror grew when he put two and two together. He screamed for the rest of his family.
 

They came running a few seconds later. His grandmother spoke first. “Yuuya!” she chided him. “You shouldn’t scream like that in the morning! I’m old; you’ll give me a heart attack!”

“She’s dead! She’s dead!” It was all he could say. He shrieked the phrase over and over. 

“What? No!” his father couldn’t believe it. The man quickly came over and put his hand on Nyoko’s shoulder. Shaking her, he yelled, “Wake up! Baby, you gotta wake up!” Her lack of response soon turned his voice to pleading. “Wake up! Please? Please wake up, little one, please?”

Chikako fell back against the doorjamb. Her face had gone white, and her eyes opened wide. Shaking her head, she whispered the word “no” over and over. 

Baa-chan rushed over to Yuuya once the initial shock wore off and allowed her to move. “Yuuya, precious, stop screaming,” she instructed him. The old woman stroked the young boy’s face, down from his temple over his cheek. “Yuuya, Yuuya, please,” she begged him, terrified. 

His wild cries did not cease, and his eyes remained unfocused. He could not hear her.   

The family which had come together again fell apart. Toshiro tried, but he couldn’t cope with the loss of his daughter. Soon after the funeral, he moved away from his remaining family. He would visit sometimes, especially when Yuuya asked him to, but mostly he stayed away. Chikako became like a living ghost. Absently, she moved through the house. Her eyes remained ever-wide, but she hardly ever saw anything. She would murmur to herself, but for a long time, she did not hear other people either. Only Yuuya’s grandmother remained strong. She took care of him and tried to get him to move past his loss. He was too far gone at first. He was a lot like his mother, an unseeing, unhearing spirit. Sometimes, he was absolutely silent. Other times, he was unsettled, screaming and shrieking without warning or ceasing. 

His tenth birthday brought him back to life. 

His grandmother sent his mother out of the house for a while; Chikako did not even remember that it was her son’s birthday. While he was at school, baa-chan put up decorations and made him a small cake. He blindly stumbled over the doorstep per usual. He noticed the “OTANJOUBI OMEDETOU!” sign over the back wall, only seeing it because it was out of the ordinary. Confused and then stunned, Yuuya realized what day it was.

He started shrieking. “No! NONONONONO!” As if on fire, he ran over to the sign and tore it down. He knocked furniture over and threw things. “NO!” he cried out again.

His grandmother firmly grabbed his shoulders and shook him. “Yuuya. Yuuya look at me.” One of her hands grabbed his chin and forced him to look her in the eyes. “Stop it. This is your birthday; you’re supposed to be happy.”

“NO!” he shrieked again. “No! I don’t want to!” He jerked away from her touch and tried to go tear down the other decorations. 

With surprising strength, his grandmother caught him around the arms and chest and held him to her. He struggled but could not break her grasp. With her chest against his back, she bent forward and then lifted him. She took them over to the couch. “Yuuya,” she told him gently but firmly. “It’s okay. It’s okay, Yuuya,” she repeated.

He started to cry, for the first time since the night his sister died. “No. No, it’s not, baa-chan. It’s not okay!” He finally spoke to her, finally truly spoke at all.  His voice was raw and hoarse. 

His grandmother said nothing but instead shifted him so he sat sideways in her lap. She kept her grip around him with the arm behind him. She let him go with the other to rub his far arm up and down, hoping to comfort him. She kissed the top of his head as she rocked him, briefly cupping his cheek and pressing his face into her collarbone. She just stroked his face then, rocking and humming.  

“It’s not okay, baa-chan,” he repeated. “Nyoko’s dead. She’s dead.” His voice cracked, and he cried freely. A long time later, he spoke again. “I don’t want it to be my birthday, baa-chan. I don’t want to celebrate anything without her.” He came to another realization. “Nyo-tama will never have a birthday ever again. Never. How can I have one if she can’t? …How… How can I be happy without her smiling and laughing with me?” His large, heart-broken eyes searched her face for an answer. “How, baa-chan?”

The broken pieces of her heart shattered to dust. “I don’t know, Yuuya. You have to keep trying, though, like you always told her.” She swallowed, and her strength returned. “She wouldn’t want this, Yuuya. She wouldn’t want you to be so sad like this. You know that. Remember when she wanted you to go play outside? She wanted you to have fun; she wanted you to be happy.”

He crumpled at the memory of his precious, selfless sister. “I can’t, baa-chan, I can’t. I can’t do anything without her...”

“You can, Yuuya; you can. Believe.” She paused. “I think she is in heaven watching us all the time. You don’t want to make her sad, right? If she is watching, she must be so sad because you are sad. Don’t make her feel like that, Yuuya.”

He was suddenly angry. “Then she shouldn’t have died!”

“Yuuya!” The woman’s voice reflected surprise and deep disappointment. “Yuuya, that wasn’t her fault! You know that she would have never chosen to leave you.”

Her grandson again dissolved into tears. “I know. I know.” He sobbed. “I’m a terrible brother. I say terrible things. And I didn’t keep my promise.” His grandmother remained silent, waiting for him to continue. “I promised her! I promised her before she was even born! I told her I’d always take care of her and would always protect her.” Anger came into his voice again. “I lied to her. She trusted me, and I lied to her; I failed her.”

“You didn’t fail her, Yuuya. It’s just like I told you before. You’re just a little boy. Just a little boy, Yuuya. Even your mama, and your papa, and me, we couldn’t save her. Even the doctors. No one could. It wasn’t your fault. There was nothing you could have done to stop it.” 

“I wish I could be with her,” he murmured as he slumped entirely against his grandmother.

“No; no, Yuuya. I’m glad you’re not. I thank the gods every day that you are alive. I am very sad your sister is dead, but I am so happy that you are not. Please, Yuuya, live. Please. Your mama and I, we need you. Smile again, sing. Please sing for me, Yuuya.”

He knew he owed his grandmother a lot. He knew she deeply loved him. Although he didn’t want to sing because that was something he had mostly done for Nyoko, he sung. 

Just that made him feel a little lighter. In his head, he could almost hear his little sister’s voice giggling and singing with him. 

He came to love singing again as time passed. He came to be freed by it. In some ways, he sung for his sister. He felt that what his grandmother had said was true. Nyoko was in heaven watching. He wondered if she had been able to sleep; she had always needed him to sing for her. He flashed back to the especially dark bags under her eyes after the one sleep-over he’d gone to. He renewed his vow to never let that happen again. 

His mother came home later that day. She smiled faintly when she heard his beautiful voice floating out of the house. Over time, Yuuya’s singing healed the family. He and his mother fully came back to life. His mother had to take down all the pictures of her little daughter, though. Yuuya kept them. He has at least three on him at any given time. 

He sings all the time. The voice he had perfected just for Nyoko makes people stop and listen. It has won him the hearts of people the world over. He quickly became an idol after entering Johnny’s Entertainment despite having been a nobody. His posters now cover the inside of his mother’s house; they hide the places on the wall that are lighter because of the removed pictures. 

He now has many siblings, older brothers. He cherishes them, and they adore him. The only problem he has is a crazy girl whose name is Imoto, which is very close to “little sister.”

Author Notes *Welp, there you have it, folks. The first fan fiction I ever wrote, from when I was a teenager. haha Hope it wasn't too awful! :')


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