“ – Nee-sama, what might be the matter?”
With those few words directed at her, Rem’s mind was visited with severe shock and blankness.
Placing a hand on her own cheek, Rem tilted her head while scrunching her eyebrows together in confusion.
Hadn’t there been something odd about that? She inquired to herself about it.
There shouldn’t be anything unusual about that. Just as normal, she had woken up, enjoyed looking at Subaru’s sleeping face in his room, and then made her way to her sister Ram’s room.
And then, she shook Ram by the shoulder (her sister was just a bit of a sleepyhead) to wake her, and was trying to help her get changed; that was when the afore-mentioned call to her had come…
In front of her, Ram narrowed her pale red eyes, and was staring at Rem skeptically. With her smooth hair, strong-willed eyes, and supple limbs, simply having her beside you was enough to draw out a sigh of admiration.
This was her twin sister. Though the molding of her facial features shouldn’t have been that different from Rem’s, that what was hidden inside it could alter the nature of it’s radiance this much, Rem could feel nothing but admiration.
Such an amazingly lovely and wonderful being was Ram, her… younger sister?
“Something really is odd after all. Are you feeling unwell, nee-sama?”
“……No, it’s not like that.”
As her younger sister suddenly reached out a hand and touched her cheek, looking concerned, Rem shook her head.
Once she had arrived at the proper conclusion that this was her younger sister, the sense of strangeness in her chest faded quickly away. It was odd that it had occurred to begin with, of course.
“Perhaps Rem was a bit sleepy as well. It’s fine now, Rem is awake.”
“Is that so…… then that’s fine, but you always work too hard, nee-sama, so Ram worries about that. If it really does get to be too much, you should just leave all of the work to Barusu. Ram will sleep by your side, too.”
“That’s a very tempting suggestion, but…… let’s put it aside for now.”
Smiling at her concerned younger sister’s words, Rem confidently asserted that she was fine.
Taking it easy together with cute little Ram. It sounded very tempting, but if Rem were to slack off, it meant that much more of a burden on Subaru. And besides, she didn’t want to look bad in front of Ram.
“After all, Rem is cute little Ram’s nee-sama, after all.”
“Just as expected, nee-sama. You’re outstanding.”
“Indeed. So, let’s get you changed, Ram. Now then, please raise your arms.”
“It can’t be helped, then. But please comb my hair as well, nee-sama.”
Nodding obediently to Rem’s words, Ram raised both hands and entrusted herself to Rem. Softening her expression at Ram’s pampered attitude, Rem nodded cheerfully and replied “Alright.”.
“He~y, nee-sama. We didn’t need to clean the storage room out today, did we?”
“Huh? Nee-sama? C’mon, nee-sama! Wait, am I being ignored here!?”
“……Ah, were you speaking to Rem?”
Shrugging his shoulders with a ‘Hey, hey’ at Rem’s response, was a black-haired boy, Subaru, wearing a butler uniform. He narrowed his sharp eyes in concern.
“When you ask if I was speaking to Rem, there isn’t anyone else in this mansion that’s a nee-sama, is there? Or wait, does Emilia-tan actually have a younger sister or something? If she does, that would explain her overflowing gentle aura……”
“No, Rem doesn’t think that’s the case. Rem’s apologies. She was daydreaming.”
“……Are you really alright?”
As he hugged his mop, and sent his thoughts far away to Emilia, Subaru asked that of her. The way he would, now and then, show what was going on behind his normal, shallow facade was unfair, Rem thought.
When he looked intently at her like that with that gallant gaze……
“You’re making Rem blush. ……You’re a shameless person after all, Subaru-kun.”
“Hmm, I don’t recall ever having committed a sin like that. Well anyways, if you don’t seem to be feeling well, just speak up. Even I could shoulder some of your burden, nee-sama…”
“Some of Rem’s work, you say?”
“Even if shouldering some of your burden is too difficult and harsh for me, I’ll take on at least a teeny bit of it.”
Indicating the vast Roswaal estate with his hand, Subaru’s statement was too small to be thought of as a grand boast. In response to Subaru’s honest declaration, Rem suppressed a cheerful laugh.
As she did, Subaru let out an ‘oh’ as his expression softened.
“That smile is worth a million night skies.”
After he’d snapped his fingers and winked, Subaru jumped in shock at the quiet voice. As he continued his retreat until his back was against the wall of the room, Ram sniffed with a ‘Ha!’.
Holding her cleaning equipment in one hand, Ram had returned to where Rem and Subaru were. She moved to stand beside Rem.
“Barusu, please refrain from directing your beastly lusts towards nee-sama. It would seem to be more appropriate for you to direct such vile emotions towards Emilia-sama. Know your place.”
“That’s a totally inappropriate thing to say too, isn’t it!? Seriously, don’t be lumping my pure emotions together with beastly or vile stuff or that kind of thing! And the thing I was saying to nee-sama, too, had the nuance of meaning that her smile was cute and stuff…”
“Listen to what I’m saying!”
Uninterested in listening to Subaru howl, Ram took Rem’s arm and rested against her. While feeling the weight of Ram leaning on her, Rem turned her gaze towards the side of Ram’s face, and inquired “What’s the matter?”.
“You’re such a cuddlebug. Go on, you can tell your nee-sama anything.”
“It’s nothing that important. ……It’s just, Ram has grown tired of working at cleaning windows when she can’t see it making any difference..”
“It really is nothing important, isn’t it!?”
Rem’s eyes went round, and on the opposite side of the room, Subaru stamped his foot and yelled.
“Ya gotta do it right, even if ya don’t wanna! Even boring work is necessary! That’s what work is! It’s our job! It’s an ‘It’s my life’ kinda thing! Get it!?”
“Subaru-kun, please don’t get so angry. See, take a look here at Ram’s hands.”
“These white fingertips have darkened this much.”
“That’s ‘cause she’s cleaning! When ya touch the window frame, that kinda thing happens! Don’t pamper her!”
“What’s that coughing about!? Some chronic condition!? It’s just chronic slacking!”
Cradled in Rem’s chest, Ram rested against her and coughed weakly. Seeing the smooth sisterly coordination, Subaru took a very deep breath.
“Honestly…… No matter how cute your little sister is, ya gotta be strict when it’s time to be strict, ya know?”
“You think you’re in a position to say something like that, when nee-sama pampers you so much, Barusu? What a world.”
“How can you say that when you’re being clasped to her chest as we speak!?”
Ram’s arms, currently hugging her sister, squeezed tighter. Patting the head of her pampered little sister, Rem’s expression softened every so slightly, and she looked at Subaru.
“Subaru-kun, Rem is very happy that you’re concerned about her, but she’s just fine.”
“Well, I’m sure you’d say something like that, nee-sama, but……”
“…… Subaru-kun, Rem is just fine.”
“Uh? Ah, yeah. You don’t need to tell me twice……”
“Subaru-kun! Rem is! Just fine!”
“Yes! That’s correct! Rem-san is an upstanding, wonderful nee-sama, after all!”
Standing straight, with a saluting hand at his forehead, Subaru responded with a sharp voice.
Hearing that, Rem was able to let go of the vague unease in her chest. But there was still a faint speck of something she couldn’t entirely erase. The truth behind that was……
“……Nee-sama, it makes you upset when Barusu doesn’t call you by name, then?”
“Is that what it is? Why is that happening all of a sudden?”
Speaking while still held to Rem’s chest, Ram, who had always been good at figuring things out, revealed the truth of Rem’s feelings. As Rem fell silent at what had been pointed out, Subaru raised his eyebrows in surprise, tilted his head, and crossed his legs.
“But I’ve always called nee-sama ‘nee-sama’, right? Why would she get hung up on that……?”
“Rem, too, thinks that something seems odd about it. It’s just… ever since she woke up this morning…… No, ever since she woke Ram up this morning, she’s somehow felt out of sorts.”
As Subaru’s words expressed his bewilderment, Rem, too, had difficulty grasping the true nature of what felt wrong to her.
Even now, the strange, cloudy sensation would not cease swirling within her chest. There shouldn’t be anything that was out of the ordinary. And yet there was; why?
Subaru calling her nee-sama, and Ram being a little sister who was good at being pampered, and Rem taking the initiative and working (which was only natural as a nee-sama) were all normal, so why?
“Subaru-kun, would you please try calling Ram ‘nee-sama’?”
“Rem is sorry. She’s all jumbled up inside, too. What a silly thing to say……”
She’d suggested that feeling that somehow it would make everything clear, but thinking about it calmly, what a foolish thing it was to request that.
And, as Rem was keenly regretting her silly idea…
Suddenly, Ram, who was still clasped to Rem’s chest, raised her head, and gently moved back from her sister. Then, heading towards the back of the room, she turned back towards Rem and Subaru, and spread her arms.
With her pale red eyes alive with understanding, Ram smiled.
“I don’t understand your intention, but Ram will take nee-sama’s feelings into account. ……Go on then, call me ‘nee-sama’.”
“Why are you saying something like that when your eyes look like you’ve got it figured out?”
As Ram’s posture suggested she was ready for anything, Subaru scratched his cheek and looked amazed.
But, next to him, Rem clasped her hands softly in front of her chest, and took a little breath.
Ram trembled in response to the sincere greeting directed at her.
And Rem, who had blurted that out, realized that her own heart had trembled. …No, it was more than that. The cloud of unease that had suffused her chest had fallen apart.
Not only that, each time that Rem spoke those magic words, the effect grew stronger.
“Nee-sama…. Nee-sama, nee-sama.”
“Nee-sama! Nee-sama nee-sama nee-sama, nee-sama!”
With her eyes sparkling, Rem called to Ram again and again, and ran into her arms. Ram caught Rem’s body in a powerful hug, and smiled softly.
“Oho…… so that’s what it was. Something you felt not with words, but with your soul.”
“That’s right, that’s just right. ……Rem is just, is just…”
“You don’t need to say anything, nee-sama……no, Rem.”
With Ram’s tone of voice saying that she understood everything, Rem needed do nothing more than quietly entrust her body and heart to her. With Rem like that, Ram gently patted her back.
With this beautiful sisterly love in front of his eyes, Subaru took a little breath and…
“What the heck is going on!?”,
“And that’s the dream that Rem had this morning, it seems. It’s cute, isn’t it?”
“Nee-sama, nee-sama, nee-sama……”
“Well, I can kind of tell how things went, but…”
While saying that, Subaru frowned a little with a stern look. In the direction of his gaze was Ram, seated on a bed, and Rem, hugging Ram’s waist and doting on her.
When morning came to the Roswaal manor, Subaru was concerned about the sisters who hadn’t shown up for the usual meeting time, and when he visited their rooms, he encountered the scene of the two of them hugging.
What he was told of then was the story of Rem’s ‘nightmare’……
“So Rem was nee-sama, and nee-sama was the little sister, then……”
“Yes, it truly was a nightmare. But, even inside the dream, nee-sama saved Rem……”
With a smug look, Ram was gently caressing Rem’s head as she adored her.
One might want to poke fun at that, but the way Ram’s hand caressed Rem’s head was truly gentle, so to make fun of it would be thoughtless.
“But anyways, even with the sisters reversed, the content is pretty much unchanged, isn’t it? Nee-sama became the little sister, and it just means she had even more justification to be spoiled by Rem, right…?”
“No, that isn’t right! To begin with, Rem is always pampered by nee-sama every day…… In the dream, that feeling was especially clear.”
“You’re saying you’re being pampered every day, Rem……? Does this mean I’m having a nightmare?”
Doubting the reality of the world he was seeing, Subaru rubbed his eyes. Pinched his cheeks. The world didn’t disappear, and his cheeks hurt. This was reality. Ram’s smug face was annoying.
While still looking smug, Ram gazed intently and lovingly at Rem.
“There’s no need for you to worry, Rem. No matter what happens, there will never be a world where Ram is not your nee-sama. Even when we emerged from our mother, Ram came out first for your sake.”
“I’m impressed you can speak so confidently about things that happened not only before you were aware of the world, but even before your birth cries.”
“It’s natural, isn’t it? Ram was Ram from the moment she was born, after all.”
“Amazing. I can’t deny that at all.”
“And Rem was nee-sama’s little sister from the moment she was born! Nee-sama!”
Rem clung to Ram even more strongly and tightly, and rubbed her head back and forth against her. Seeing Rem’s earnestness, Subaru scratched his head, and then suddenly began to smile.
“What’s this, Barusu? The end of your nose has reached all the way to the floor; disgusting.”
“That’d make me a monster, wouldn’t it……? Nah, I was just thinking that it’s rare to see Rem acting seriously like a little sister and being pampered like that, and maybe a morning like this isn’t so bad every now and then.”
It was a rare thing for Ram to simply agree with Subaru’s words. Taking that into account as well, Subaru felt that having a day like this now and then really wasn’t bad.
“Perhaps for Rem, it’s the morning when she saw a bad dream, but for Ram, it turned out to be a good morning.”
“For Rem, too, it’s a morning where she truly felt how much nee-sama means to her.”
“Yes, yes, all this sisterly love has been a treat. Well then, I’m gonna get started on this morning’s jobs. Take your time, and once Rem’s had enough pampering, come join up with me.”
Waving his hand, Subaru began to turn away and leave Ram and Rem behind.
As he did, Rem’s voice landed on his back. Halting his stride, he turned only his head back towards her. His gaze fell on Rem, still resting her head on Ram’s chest, smiling.
“Subaru-kun, too, please call Rem by her name more than usual today. Rem felt down to her bones, not only the importance of nee-sama, but also of having Subaru-kun call her name, after all!”
“Gotcha, I’ll keep it in mind. …Take it easy, Rem.”
As Rem replied with a smile that could only be called lively, Subaru left the room for real this time. And while he scratched his head, his expression softened.
For her to want him to call her by name as many times as he could, it was… yes, what a very cute request that was.