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If Not For Duty...

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A trait that all siblings share and will share from all eras past, present and future is one thing: ‘Bickering’ it was as certain as the death of the sun, the coming of night and light, working with annoying classmates and coworkers...you got the drill already.

 

“What you did was beyond irresponsible Matoi.” Satsuki admonished her again like the last 20 times. No...make it 21 now.

 

“Sorry, what did you say? I don’t think I got it yet but the 22nd scolding from you will do the trick.” And again she deflected what she deemed unwanted criticism with snarky replies like a petulant child would.

 

She was ready to go for the 22nd but Matoi wouldn’t have it “All of this scolding because of a petty cold and because you have a weird way to thank people for coming to your graduation.”

 

Leave to Ryuko Matoi to confuse warranted criticism with scolding, self-care with frivolousness and 40°C to a petty cold.

 

“I am not here to thank you Matoi.” ’To punish you’ would be a more fitting word…

 

“Good, then stop pestering me and let me rest already!”

 

“I want your apologies.”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

“That’s a start, but they also deserve an apology.” She pointed to the seats beyond the window where the four devas and Mako where seated, unwilling to interfere in a sisterly discussion over if what Ryuko did, while foolish it was done with the best of intentions or just plain stupid.

 

“About?”

 

She started to count on her fingers.“Your thoughtless actions, overprideness, getting them worried...”

 

“Pot calling the kettle black aren’t we?”

 

“You still think you are in the right?”

 

“I don’t think, I am.”

 

And back and forth the sisters argued and bickered for the last half hour, with Mako loath in leaving Ryuko and the devas insistence in staying in the hospital until Lady Satsuki (at this point the title was merely a courtesy from times past but they still insisted in keeping with that old habit) deemed that Ryuko was healthy enough to go home so she could be promptly punished. And also because they feared they might have to intervene should the sisters come to blows for old times sake...

 


 

All of this started a week ago, Satsuki was getting her degree in economy and that naturally came with a graduation ceremony which she told her chat group, one that was composed of the Devas, Iori, Mako and unfortunately Ryuko too, Matoi insisted that they all should come to her ceremony and make a karaoke party and drink until the coming of dawn which was received with the full support of everybody.

 

Not that she was opposed to it, why not enjoy the results of her success with some drinks and bad singing? Well, her sister developing a cold was a good reason against both of them.

 

It was a cold at first, Matoi acting unbothered and playing off the concerns of anyone that asked was very much like her. So Satsuki dropped the issue as everyone else did. Until they had a run in the park together that is and Matoi didn’t notice the bottle of water she threw at her.

 

When you share your house with someone you learn to pick up a few discrepancies when that same someone is not acting as usual. And what wasn’t usual with Ryuko? Well, when she did something wrong that she knew would angry Satsuki should she somehow know, Matoi would be a bit too amenable to Satuski’s requests no matter how unreasonable they were, a mechanism to forestall questions.

 

And when she got sick? Her troubling quirk was to simply ignore it, like the force of her lack of acknowledgment alone would deny its existence, which might work out with Mako because logic meant nothing to her, but with Matoi it was simply plain idiotic, something she said to Ryuko like any good sister would, but Ryuko saw that as a challenge (would they ever grow out of that rivalry? Or it simply evolved into sisterly rivalry? Did she even want to outgrow it?), so she started to show off her healthiness with physical feats even though her body wouldn’t follow exactly like her mind hoped for, like a weird glitch between the brain and the body.

 

So with three days left for the ceremony Satsuki decided that the responsible thing would be to cancel the whole thing off and forsake the ceremony so Ryuko could use the time to rest, she tried to explain her reasons (in hindsight she should have just do it and let Matoi grumble about how she was still a tyrannical dictator deep down for the next month) but how did Ryuko reply? She simply doubled down on her behavior and demanded Satsuki to continue with her plans, that a simple cold was nothing she wasn’t used too already, and that she wouldn’t miss her nee-san’s graduation.

 

For the sake of keeping a harmonious house, avoid future squabbles and because she was too soft for her own good she agreed to drop the subject as long as Ryuko started to show signs of recovery, which after one day left for the ceremony? Ryuko showed the exact opposite of it’s meaning. And that meant another long and arduous discussion over her sister’s health which ended with Satsuki decided under great pains (Ryuko’s puppy eyes were a dirty but effective tactic to employ) to carry on with the ceremony under the condition that Mako, who would be Ryuko's approved caretaker during that day to give her a text telling her about Matoi’s current health state while she got everything ready for the ceremony as vice-president (running a company, studying, her social life and Ryuko Matoi wouldn’t allow time for being a fulltime president).

 

Satsuki was satisfied, Ryuko might be Mako’s first and best friend but Mako would prioritize Ryuko’s health no matter what.

 

So she expected to get a text telling her that Ryuko needed to stay home, then she would have the perfect excuse to stay a couple of minutes in the ceremony and return immediately to their house so she could take care of her little sister like an older sister should...whatever Matoi liked or not.

 

But when she got a text from Mako saying that Ryuko was completely fine, it was becoming rather obvious that the world was in some sort of plot against Satuski’s resolve over doing her sisterly duty. Not only Ryuko managed to completely bullshit her way into convincing Mako that she somehow made a miraculous recovery thanks to the power of sisterly love and some other illogical gibberish that only Mankanshoku could understand, she had the gall to come to the ceremony anyway!

 

But to be fair with Mankanshoku, Matoi almost convinced Satsuki herself when she saw her seated among their friends, completely fine and in her prime, at the distance she still looked somewhat odd but she assumed that it was the aftereffect of being sick for almost a week.

 

Then after the ceremonies, they proceeded to go to a restaurant instead of doing karaoke for the sake of Ryuko’s sore throat as a way to take it easy, so as her way to surprise Ryuko, Satsuki decided they would eat pizza, but it was like a switch was flipped in a second, Ryuko entire face turned pale, her forehead became not too different of a scorching forge, and she had to will all her body just to avoid puking right there and then.

 

So Ryuko Matoi, without any sort of dignity was dragged by Satsuki Kiryuin kicking and screaming to the closest hospital that she deemed decent enough for her sister. She would demand explanations after they left, and once that was done she would judge Ryuko Matoi and give her a fitting punishment in their house...which was perhaps the only pleasure she would take today in her duty as an older sister.

 

“How did you even get better that fast? You could barely get up from your bed yesterday!” Once more she demanded an answer, eventually the doctor told her that Ryuko was free to go as long as she took the necessary antibiotics on the recipe and rested as much as needed, but before any of that could come to happen...answers were a must and they could do it in the car while they waited for the traffic to clear out.

 

“Didn’t you say something about resolve and all that nonsense about how it can defeat any obstacle?” Ryuko replied, perhaps too tired to show off her bark?

 

“That was for metaphorical obstacles.” While resolve could indeed crush any adversity, there was a fine line between resolve and stubbornness. “and what I did say was ‘any sickness can be defeated with a strong resolve and stronger ‘medicine’ .”

 

“And that’s exactly what I did!”

 

“Then you either lack in resolve or your ‘medicine’ is questionable, to say the least.”

 

“Okay fine! If I tell you what I took will you stop the interrogation and let me rest once we get home?” She pleaded.

 

"I can be merciful if the situation calls it" She lied, she had already decided that she would be merciless but Ryuko didn’t need to know that yet.

 

“I took a vial of oregano oil...”

 

“What? In what world is that medicine?” She can’t be my sister…

 

Unfortunately for her deteriorating mind, Matoi was in fact very serious about her lack of good judgment. “Yeah I know, it looks stupid and it tastes like garbage and turns your breath into a rotten corpse but I found it on the internet that a few drops of that stuff can help you to keep it together for enough time to-” Was I found lacking as an older sister and this is my punishment?

 

“That’s why you looked like you were going to pass out after I mentioned pizza?” Maybe she is just a fragment of an eroding mind and I never had a sister, maybe I am hoping for too much?

 

“Yep, I will never eat anything that has oregano until I am either six feet under or my body is burned to ashes.” No, life wouldn’t be that kind.

 

“I will make sure your ashes are mixed with oregano then.”

 

“I hate you Kiryuin.”

 

“Likewise Matoi.”

 

Sometimes Satsuki wondered why she even bothered with the role of being an older sister if ever time she did as her role required she would be met with resistance, constant arguing or idiotic decisions like the one she was hearing right now. Then she would automatically answer that she would do it anyway. If not out of love, then it would be out of duty rendering her protests void and null.