NB: this story contains spoilers regarding the first, 'best' ending of Kana: Little Sister. Please don't proceed unless you've completed this ending to the game.
'My Sister, My Strength', part 2. This story follows 'Differences'.
You were the only one who ever held my hand.
Apart from our parents, I mean. But at times, even when they were there, I could feel that they didn't want to be there. It made me feel bad to know that I was a burden to them. But I couldn't stand on my own. They loved me. They did their best for me.
It was different with you, though. Bro. You didn't have to be there. You had problems and worries and concerns of your own. I... I always looked up to you, even when you were mean to me. You were my big brother. I loved you, even if I was a bit scared of you.
And then things started to change. I held your hand. It was bigger and stronger than mine. Your skin was warm, and tanned from being outside so much. I never had much opportunity to go outside.
I wanted good things for you. I wanted you happy, Bro. But I also wanted you there with me. When you went away and I was alone at the hospital again, something would shrink inside my chest. I would read the books you brought me and count the nights, the meals, the dialysis treatments... counting down the time until I'd see you again.
'My brother is in the fifth grade. My brother is so kind, he always visits me at the hospital and brings me books to read. The hospital used to be boring, but I like the hospital now. My brother...
'I love my brother.'
Before I knew the word 'incest', before I knew 'right' or 'wrong', I knew I loved you.
I don't know if it's wrong. When I left you, a few years ago, I didn't know what I felt. Life was suddenly opening up in front of both of us. A bright gateway that we just had to walk through... and I couldn't hold your hand. Suddenly, despite all those years when your hand was the only thing I had to cling to... despite the comfort I took from the touch of your fingers... Suddenly I was allowed to live.
To live... but without you.
It seemed like the only thing I could do. I remember those days when I was sixteen and still in hospital, times when you'd look at me and the light would change in your eyes. And I knew, somehow, what was going on in your head.
Just a little longer. I will do this for Kana. I'll hold on just a little longer.
Bro, you turned your life off for me. I didn't want that! I didn't ask to feel this way about you. And I... I never wanted to be a burden to you, holding you back. If I could, I would have given you my life. I would have done anything to see you happy. Happy without me.
But instead, you gave your life to me. You gave me a part of yourself that's keeping me alive, that keeps my heart beating. The hospital isn't my home anymore. I don't have to endure the long white days, and the tubes, and the prodding. I was suddenly real, Bro. I was suddenly alive.
I thought maybe I could make you a little happy. Give something back to you. Welcome you home with a kiss. But even that was pure selfishness. It made me happy! It filled my heart to the brim to be able to hold you, and touch you, and be with you. Studying, cooking, loving... Things that normal, healthy people did. And you loved me back. I knew it. Knew it with everything buried deep inside of me.
And that was where the problem started.
There are things we know, and things we believe. I knew I loved you. I knew it made me happy. And I wanted to believe it did the same for you.
But it had to be kept a secret. I believed it was incest. I believed it was wrong, while I knew that it was nothing but sheer joy.
Do our minds rule our hearts? Or is it the other way around?
I loved you. I love you. I can keep saying it forever and it'll never lose its meaning. Love. The times when you held my hand, or stroked my hair. The afternoons when you'd knock on my door and walk in, saying, "I'm back."
I'm back. You belonged with me, Bro. The times we were apart were nothing but empty spaces between the hours where I truly lived.
I learned the ugly words from the dictionary. Incest. Taboo. I started to realise that what I felt wasn't considered 'normal'. But my feelings were all I had. If I turned them off, if I turned you away... what would I have left?
The words couldn't change the way I felt. But they did frighten me. I was scared you'd start hating me if you found out how I felt. But at the same time, I... I wanted you to find me attractive. I was scared and thrilled, and my heart would race whenever I saw you. I knew I could never tell you my feelings. But I could keep wishing that you'd find out, some day.
The pendant you gave me. I'd cling to it after the lights went out at night, when there was nothing but the faintest sliver of moonlight to shine on me. I would whisper to it, five times.
I love my brother.
I love him so much.
I want to be with my brother, always.
I love you, Bro. Please don't hate me.
Please... don't hate me.
And I would go to sleep with my voice whispering my fantasies back to me. I invested my dreams in the gift you gave me, Bro. And I dreamed about you anyway.
I erased the messages every morning... and recorded them again every night. It made it easier to face you in the afternoons, without those thoughts welling up inside me all the time. I tucked my heart away. And I smiled for you, as I thought a sister should.
But then things started changing. It was April, and everyone started treating me differently. Miki, our parents... even you. It took me a while, but I eventually realised that something had to be wrong. Everyone treated me as if I were fragile, as if I might break if they breathed on me.
I felt as if time were running out. I didn't know why. But I knew that if I didn't tell you soon... then I might never get the chance. I knew I had no right to confess my feelings to you. But I was petrified of... of dying without ever having tried to tell you.
And I did try, a couple of times. It was so wrong of me. And each time you gently turned me away. Why did I keep believing, in the face of that? I knew I loved you. But how stupid of me was it to hope that you could ever love me back? You had Yumi. She was pretty, and healthy, and more fun than me. Me your little sister. The one who'd hide behind you and clutch your sleeve. What could I ever offer you?
Even when I got better, even when I left the hospital behind for good, I found it almost impossible to believe that we were together, finally. That I was worth loving. How was I good enough for you? What was I contributing? We couldn't even go out in public together; not as a couple, not the way I wished we could. It was as if I were locked away in that hospital room again the only times when I was really alive were when we were hiding ourselves from the world!
I wanted to live. I believed that. I needed to walk in the real world, and love freely. Openly.
And you, Bro... I didn't want to hide you away in my room, wrapped in my pathetic love, for the rest of your life. How could I pretend that I loved you if I could restrict you like that? If I could... if I could turn you into me?
I walked away. I walked away and I cried for weeks. But I needed to be stronger. I believed I needed a love that wasn't 'wrong'.
And, well... here we are. Again.
It's not wrong. Is it? I mean, we're not really siblings, are we? We just think we're siblings. That doesn't make us actually related. If you think about it, people can have siblings they've never met. If they met and... and fell in love, would that be any better or worse than my feelings for you?
Worse, you might say, because they're so closely related, biologically speaking. People who love each other are emotionally intimate, like we are, Bro. Just because we've been that way ever since we were children doesn't make it wrong, does it? If anything, doesn't it make it stronger? Better?
Whwhat is incest, Bro? It's a concept, a taboo that guards against genetic inbreeding. It's, it's something not natural. Sisters shouldn't fall in love with their brothers, related or not. I've tried to believe I shouldn't love you, but I know I do. I can never stop loving you! So... so what do we do? Tell me! How can... how can we put this right?
Kana's words are making my brain hurt.
We're sitting in the park in the fading evening light, perched on the swings next to each other. She closed up the bookstore early tonight, and we've been sitting here ever since, watching the sun set. She kicks restlessly at the ground beneath her feet, rocking back and forth slightly with the motion.
I look across at her, the shadow of my head and shoulders stretching out to spill against her hips. Her cheeks are flushed pink with the emotion behind her words. She clutches the chains on either side of her, white fingers curled tightly around the metal links. She's delicate, and beautiful.
"That night..." she murmurs. "That time when you first kissed me I didn't believe it was real. It couldn't really be happening. It was like something I'd dreamed, only a thousand times better. My 'strange' dreams, the ones I was so ashamed of."
"I loved you a long time before that, Kana."
"I wish I'd known." She turns her head slightly to look at me out of the corner of her eye, squinting a bit against the dusky light that stains her skin red. "Though I'm sure I wouldn't have felt any less terrified about it."
"You weren't the only one."
She smiles, gently. "I love you, Bro."
"I love you," she repeats, softly. "I love you. There are words you can keep saying and they just stop making any sense. They lose all their meaning. But these words come from inside me, Bro. From inside my heart. They're nothing but meaning."
I can't think of anything to say in response. I just kick my feet, swinging back a little, then coasting forward. My shadow swoops and dives over Kana's long blue skirt. She brings her hands down to her lap, and stares at them for a while. She's thinking. She's always been smarter than me. I can just accept the fact that I love her. But Kana... Kana needs to work things out.
"Can we do this?" she asks.
I skid to a halt. "Can we do what?"
"Can we love each other?"
"Don't we already?"
She whirls to look at me, hair flying in the summer breeze. "It's wrong! It's wrong it's wrong it's wrong! I... I can't work it out. I can't get past it. What's the matter with me? Why can't I..." She pauses, her expression twisted with pain and indecision. "Why can't I make it work?"
We stare at each other for a few moments. Her eyes begging, pleading with me. How can I help her, though? I've probably spent as much time as she has, trying to figure things out, to no avail. Trying to reconcile the fact that I love her with the fact that she was raised as my
And suddenly, it comes to me.
"Because you're still thinking like Kana imouto-chan," I tell her. "My little sister."
She draws back, looking confused. "But I am still your"
"Yes. Yes, you are. But you're also Kana Todo."
"Er..." She doesn't know what to make of that.
"Kana Todo," I say, quietly. "The woman I love."
It dawns on her, slowly. "Bro..."
I don't know why, but it's so clear. We understand each other. We're meant to be together.
She glances up at me with a tentatively hopeful look on her face.
"Try 'Taka'," I suggest.
Her hands fly to her mouth, and her eyes go wide. I chuckle.
"Go on. 'Taka'."
She stammers. "T T..."
You'd think it was the hardest thing in the world to say, or maybe the first word she's ever had to say. Her brow is creased with concentration. Her mouth moves silently, forming the syllables over and over again.
Go on, Kana. I know you can do it.
"Taka," she whispers, in a tiny voice. "I... love Taka."
Yes, Kana. Again.
"I... I'm Kana Todo," she says, her voice rising slightly. "Kana Todo... and I love Taka. I love Taka Todo. I..." She chokes, her shoulders hunching over. "I love him. I do."
"And I'm Taka," I add, softly. "And I love Kana Todo. More than anyone in the entire world."
She just sits there in my shadow, hands still clutched to her face. The knuckles are white. She's trembling, almost convulsively.
"Kana?" I ask. "Kana, are you cold? Do you need anything?"
Slowly, she raises her eyes and looks at me. Through the tears, a smile shines through, brilliantly. And she shakes her head.
"No," she says. "I don't need anything. I just want to keep looking at you."
We sit on the swings, staring into each other's eyes as the sun sets. A faint reddish haze streaks the darkening sky, fading almost visibly as the minutes drift past. I move towards her in the dusk, bending down to find her lips. Her arms come up and clutch mine. And our shadows blend, melting away into the night.
Next, surprising revelations abound in Festival Night.