Kyousuke spends a lot of the novel wondering
(1) why he's so against Kirino having a BF, and
(2) what his relationship with Kuroneko is like now, one year after they first met...
He seems to have resolved both of these by the end of the novel
A talent agent who was also a famous former model, Misaki-san, has scouted Kirino and wants her to go overseas. Kirino didn't want to, so she ended up saying she had a BF, which Misaki asked her to prove, leading to her shocking request at the end of the last volume. Things wind up such that they have to go on a date (which Misaki spying on them), and are seen by Manami, Kanako and Bridget, and Kuroneko. The date course included a movie, a desserts place which seems to specialise in shared dishes, and taking purikura in a game centre. At the end of the date, Kirino declares that "Next time, I'll ask my real boyfriend."
Ayase, who has heard from Manami, calls Kyousuke to her place to get him to explain.
(Towards the end of this encounter, Kyousuke states clearly (in his head) that he thinks that he and Ayase aren't compatible with each other.)
After club activity during the summer (the Game Research society), he has to clear the air with Kuroneko, and comes to a strange realisation that has him at a loss for words at one point (p.113): "There's no way I can say that it's like a boyfriend trying to give excuses to his girlfriend for cheating on her!"
There is also a little segment where Akagi calls him for advice, having ended up in his sister's closet whilst his sister (unawares) is playing ero-games in her room - he was there trying to find evidence that she was dating someone. This causes Kyousuke to reflect on his relationship with Kirino and wonder why he doesn't want her to have a boyfriend.
Comiket preparation and the actual event.
LOTS of Kyousuke x Kuroneko hints (see below)
His relationship with Kirino is compared to Sena and her brother's.
=> and Sena notes that she brought up the boyfriend to make her brother pay more attention to her (i.e. be more concerned about what she is doing)
The maid from the previous comiket...drew a BrotherxSister doujinshi with Kyousuke and Kirino as inspiration. (I can't wait to see Kyousuke's reaction animated! LOL!!)
Still at comiket, they meet Mikagami Kouki, who turns out to be someone Kirino knows from work.
Kyousuke's reaction to Mikagami is interesting:
- At first, he's worried because it seems like a repeat of the previous comiket
- Then, it turns to jealousy because Mikagami is the same age as him, but is a successful designer
- Finally, after seeing them go crazy with otaku-talk, he reflects that perhaps Mikagami is someone who can take his place in Kirino's otaku life.
And the last one is what Kuroneko guesses when they walk home together the next day. Which Kyousuke does not deny. Their first important talk occurs here, with them standing outside the Kousaka house.
Kirino interrupts them in the middle of it, wondering what they're doing outside. Kuroneko decides to finish what she wanted to say (she basically told Kyousuke that, after learning from someone, she's going to try and get what she wants, even though she knows that getting one thing may lose her the other).
They go inside for the party to celebrate a successful comiket, but the atmosphere between Kirino, Kyousuke and Kuroneko is incredibly poor. Kyousuke doesn't know what to say when Saori asks about it, as he himself doesn't know quite what to make of it...but she somehow manages to salvage the situation a bit...
...until Kirino declares that she has something to say, which turns out to be "Mikagami is my boyfriend."
Kuroneko snaps and leaves. Kyousuke decides to follow up on Kirino's declaration instead of going after Kuroneko (it's suggested that he's wondering why Kirino chose this moment to make this declaration, but he just asks "what is this about? This "going out with Mikagami" etc)
Kirino snaps at him and runs off to her room...
Kyousuke promises Saori that he'll try and fix things, but has absolutely no confidence in doing so. (This scene would be for the Kyousuke x Saori shippers, if there are any)
And Kirino brings Mikagami home the next day.
Kyousuke's pissed, but doesn't know why. His mum and Kirino kick him out of the living room after he is rude to Mikagami. After consulting his father, Kyousuke figures that they feel the same way (and this while he has to defend Mikagami, whom his father is just completely against): that he doesn't want to hand his sister over to anyone.
The reason he ends up giving is that, no matter what his relationship with her is like (he thinks she still hates him/thinks he's stupid etc), he's worried because she's his sister. She's his precious sister, and he doesn't want anyone else to take her away unless that person can prove that he cares for Kirino more than Kyousuke does.
Kirino breaks down and starts yelling at him ("Why now, why so late!?" and "how can you say that when you always hang out with that plain girl and the black one?!"), leading up to "It was a lie! Everything was a lie!"
Mikagami confirms that it was a lie, that Kirino asked him to probably because she wanted her brother to be more aware of her.
Which Kirino denies...though she has difficulty saying what she wants. So Kyousuke tells her not to worry about it if she can't.
Their mum walks in at this point (she'd left to buy something), resulting in the misunderstanding "Are you finally making a move on your sister!" In the explanation that follows, we find out that Mikagami
- has been asked by Misaki to break the relationship between the siblings - yeah, she realised they were siblings because of the incredibly bad acting - and
- is in love with a 2D character...
Kirino makes up with Kuroneko, and the two have a long talk over the phone. The celebration party is re-scheduled for the day after next.
But the day after the phone call, Kuroneko calls Kyousuke out to "the place of the promise" and confesses formally.
Several days after this confession...
Kuroneko and I started going out.
Summary: According to this interview with Fushimi Tsukasa-sensei, the relationship is confirmed as a real one. From there, I can only see either a Kuroneko end, or a non-couple one. Unless the author wants to go for the impossible relationship, which I find unlikely because he doesn't actually like Kirino.
Kyousuke x Kuroneko
Kyousuke pays a lot of attention to Kuroneko in chapter 2, calling her cute, noticing when she wears contacts or not etc (p.142-3)
During preparation, Kyousuke mentions that he would like to see Kuroneko in casual wear other than her Gothic Lolita stuff. As a result, Kuroneko goes to comiket in a white one-piece that Kirino helped her pick out the week before...and Kyousuke can't stop thinking how cute she is.
(ch4) Kyousuke buys a necklace for Kuroneko
"because it'll be troublesome for you to carry around lots of change, right?)
The important scenes between these two are incredibly cute. We don't know what Kuroneko's thinking, of course, but Kyousuke is often flustered and confused by what she says and does.
Kuroneko definitely likes Kyousuke. The reason she called him out in volume 5 was probably to confess...but Kirino's return made her consider whether she could bear losing her friend if she pursued a relationship with Kyousuke. In the first heart-felt scene with him, she clearly declared that she was going to do her best to keep both.
Kyousuke x Kirino (i.e. the incest route)
I really don't see it. His feelings for Kirino seem to be somewhat like Ron Weasley's regarding his sister, Ginny, in The Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince, but he also gets really irritated when he feels like he's being looked down upon or compared to others. He really is a siscon, but I don't sense any romantic feelings at all. Of course, Harry felt something similar and tried to put it off as brotherly feelings...
We don't know what Kirino feels, except that she does want Kyousuke to be more concerned about/pay more attention to her. The reason is unknown at present, but it's clear that she doesn't hate Kyousuke, despite how much she bullies and puts him down. Clear brocon.
Kyousuke x Ayase
Just about impossible after that declaration.
Kyousuke x Saori
After that scene in chapter 4, I really wonder if something could happen if they both decided to pursue it!
Kyousuke x Manami
Based on this volume (she appears only once and apparently passed the baton on to Ayase, even though Kyousuke studied with her whilst preparing for comiket!), she's down for the count. But I guess I wouldn't count on her being completely out of the picture.