EDIT 9/17/2012: I've been writing a lot of Shizune lately. In an effort to not muck up the board with multiple single-page threads, I'm just going to convert this thread into a source for all of my Shizune one shots.Table of ContentsDance in the Moonlight
Shine On You (this post)A Long DecemberIn One AccordA Master StrokeOriginal post from 9/8/2012So I've been on a hiatus of sorts. Or writer's block. I'm not really sure which. Anyways, I wrote this over the course of the last week. It's meant to fit in somewhere early in Shizune's second act.
Enjoy~.Shine On Youpastebin: http://pastebin.com/e30asvUA
Bright orange sunlight pours into the student council room. Shizune has gathered us here on business; there are stacks of paperwork to be read, recorded, and filed. What about, I'm not entirely sure. We haven't done much official work here recently, so maybe this is just stuff that she's been putting off with a fast approaching deadline. Anything's possible with that girl, I have learned.
Misha drops a stack of pages onto my little desk. “And I want you to file these papers, Hicchan!” she exclaims on Shizune's behalf.
“All of them?” I ask rhetorically. Misha's hands fly through the air, conveying my words to Shizune.
“Yes, all of them! We've slacked off for too long and have a lot of work to get done!” she delivers. I look at the class president, trying to get a read on her mood. Nothing. Shizune starts signing again, and I turn to her interpreter. “Get started on these papers, me and Shicchan have other things to get done.”
“Mind showing me what needs to be done first?” I ask politely.
“You're a sharp kid, surely you can figure it out.” I appreciate the compliment, but I honestly have no clue what any of these papers are for. Before I can protest, Misha and Shizune have already headed to the other side of the room, seated at their joint desk and going through a stack of their own. I suppose I'd better get started, then.
I pull the first sheet down and start reading over it. It's an attendance record for a number of students in the second-year classes across a given week. I flip open the lid of the laptop sitting next to me and start keying in entries to our attendance spreadsheet.
Every so often, I glance up over to the girls. They bounce back and forth between signing and working. I'm able to pick out a few words here and there - cute, nice, smart - but the context eludes me.
I decide to go back to my work.
Shuffling through papers, how exciting... Huh, looks like Natsume has been skipping lately. Blah, blah, blah... Wow, I never noticed Hanako was absent that often. Junk, nonsense... Wait, Miki said WHAT to Mutou?
“Hiiichaaannn~,” says a familiar voice. Misha stands at the edge of my desk, hands on her slightly bent knees. I look up into her golden eyes, rather bewildered. She pulled me out of a focus zone.
“Hey, Misha,” I respond, almost coldly. Actually working for once and she disturbs me. I guess I shouldn't expect anything less from the mass of girly energy.
“Mind if I sit with you for a bit?” she asks, pulling up a chair as if to give herself an answer.
“Of course not,” I respond, shoving my stack a little to the left to make room for my newfound companion. “Shizune wanting to be alone for a bit?”
She nods. “Mmhmm~. Shiichan says she has way too much to do for me to distract her.”
I take the opportunity to pull a punch on her. “So you came to distract me instead?” I say with a cheeky grin.
She pouts at me. “Aww, Hiichan, that's no way to treat poor Misha.”
The fake watery look in her eyes stifles my laughter. “Well, how should I treat Misha, then?”
“Like a princess, of course!”
“Oh, so you're that special now?”
Another nod. “That's right~!”
“So then... what does that make Shizune, the queen?”
She thinks about this for a moment. “Nah, she's just the second princess. Equality and all that jazz.”
“Shizune for equality? I don't find that very likely. She doesn't seem like that type of girl.”
This piques her curiosity, and she cocks her head. “So...” She swings her shoulders back and forth, hands clasped behind her back.
“So what?” I demand.
“What type of girl is she, then?”
My brow arches. This seems odd. What's up with Misha's sudden interest in what I think of her alter-ego? “Well,” I start, setting my pen down on the desk. “She's bossy, for one. She likes to take charge, to be in control of a situation. Almost like some kind of dictator.” Yeah, that's an appropriate metaphor for Shizune, I think.
“But she's a be-ne-vo-lent ruler, right?”
“I guess you could say that,” I reply with a chuckle.
Misha doesn't like that answer. “You don't sound very sure, Hicchan.” She puts her fists on her hips, face scrunched in false anger.
“Well, then, what do you
think of her?” I'm honestly not quite sure where that question came from. The two of them obviously get along to some degree, so it's only logical that Misha would have a positive opinion of Shizune. But I don't think I've ever heard it from the horse's mouth, and I do feel like I should get to know these girls a little better if I'm going to be spending so much time with them.
Misha reels back, equally surprised at my question. “Hm...,” she coos, tapping her chin. “Well, she's smart. Nice. Confident. So sure of herself, as strong as I hope I can be one day. And definitely beautiful~.”
I didn't expect that last one. Or, at least, not the tone that accompanied it. It sounded almost playful. Flirtatious, even.
“I like her a lot, Hicchan. She's just...” She cups her face in one hand, elbows resting on the desk, eyes fixated on our president. “Perfect, you know?” Her voice is solemn, melancholy. As if she's struggling to find the words, holding back a torrent of emotions to keep me shut out from her world.
“Yeah, I guess she is.” I join in looking in Shizune's direction. Her head is still tilted down, focused on her work. Diligent. Assertive. Unwavering. I wish I could be more like her, sometimes.
Shizune looks up, giving us a collective death stare. Her hands fly about in furious signing, and then she goes back to her work. I turn to Misha for a translation. “Shicchan says we should get back to work.”
And so we do. I fly through my stack of remaining papers, keying in each record as it comes up. Some of them are special cases, though most are pretty ordinary. Attendance records, discipline reports, curfew violations... There's a lot of dirt in here. Enough for an entire tabloid, almost. Now I know how the papparazi feels.
Night falls quickly as we go through the motions. I notice Misha's stack hasn't budged much, if at all. “Hey,” I start. She lifts her head slowly. “You okay?”
She goes back to her work. I guess she doesn't want to talk. I set my curret papers into my “completed” stack and start on the next batch. “Do you like her, Hicchan?”
I turn back to my deskmate, who's waiting for my answer with wide, shimmering eyes. There's a hint of red in the corners. “Would I have joined the council if I didn't?” I respond. Shizune's interesting to hang out with, at the least, and Misha is always entertaining. And I've started to enjoy the thought of being in a relationship with the former, however unlikely that may be.
Misha giggles, a stark contrast from her previous demeanor and the expression on her face. “No, Hicchan, I mean do you like~ her?”
I was kinda hoping that wasn't what she was going for. “Yeah,” I answer quickly, without thinking. Cat's out of the bag now. “I mean, I think so. What does it matter, though? She wouldn't go for someone like me.”
“She just might~. You won't know until you try.”
Point taken. Doesn't mean I'm still not scared to death of what that girl might think of me. She seems like she could be judgmental. Hell, I've seen that first hand with Lilly. Not to mention that we still don't communicate very well, despite my sign language improving. Paper notes back and forth only do so much.
And yet... Just sitting here, watching her work is mesmerising. Her pen flies across each form, making notes before effortlessly keying in the appropriate information. A human machine, built for form and function. She's in her element. It's a wondrous sight to behold, and it only reinforces my little high school crush on her.
“Hey, Hicchan~,” the bubbly pink voice utters. I look up, and she starts standing from her chair. “I'm uh... I'm gonna go somewhere else for a while.” There's a slight stammer in her speech, ever a hint of uncertainty or discomfort. “You and Shicchan~ should have some time alone, don'tcha think?” she finishes with a seemingly forced wink.
I look down at the half-finished paperwork, then back to Misha. “Um... sure.” I have to admit, being alone with Shizune still terrifies me. We're so opposite. She's this alpha male of her class, confident and strong, exuding this aura of 'I can do anything.' Then there's me, some kid tangled into this web she's set up for me, for reasons still very unclear to me. Why is she insistent on keeping me around?
“Don't sound so excited, Hicchan!” Misha replies, bellowing with laughter. “I'd kill to be in your shoes.”
“Thanks, I guess...,” I mutter. “Wait, what do you mean, 'in my shoes'?”
I swear I can see the edge of her mouth twitch a bit. “You know, if I were a guy. Getting to talk to a girl as pretty as Shicchan? How is that not a dream come true?” She spreads her arms out for emphasis. “Anyway~. Talk to her, Hiichan. You... you'd make a good pair.”
Misha skips out of the room, the door slamming shut behind her. Which just leaves me and this alpha-male of a girl alone, sitting on opposite ends of the room, scribbling notes and typing in records. Not to mention that I can't even properly communicate with her. Misha says we'd be good together, but how would that even work without being able to talk to Shizune in the first place? I've been working on my sign language, but I'm nowhere close to being able to hold a conversation for some period of time.
Something flies at my face, jabbing me in the cheek and falling onto the desk. After a quick rub on my cheek, I look down to see the offender: a small paper airplane, folded meticulously into a flat-nosed style. I undo the folds, discovering a single message.
I chuckle a bit. This reminds me of the first time we really talked one on one, outside the main classroom building early in the morning before school started.
I write my own greeting, refold the airplane, and send it back to her across the room. I turn back to my work, but it's only a gesture. Instead, I find myself glancing up to watch her. Just like I told Misha, she's so... graceful. Gorgeous, even. But why bother? Misha might think otherwise, but this girl is way out of my league. A regular Quasimodo and Esmerelda story.
The airplane comes back to my desk, presumably carrying another message. I unfold it and am not disappointed. It reads: “(Come upstairs with me. I want to show you something.)”
I lift my head, and Shizune is already standing by my desk, hands on her hips, a coy smile painted on her face. She doesn't take no for an answer, does she?
She curls up her finger, flicking it back and forth to beckon me. I stand from my seat, starting to pack my things before she stops me. A quick shake of her head is all it takes to get the message across. She reaches for the paper plane, writing a simple message. “(We'll be back later.)”
“(How much later?)”
She shrugs. “(Does it matter? That's the fun of an adventure.)” She presses the bridge of her glasses up her nose, the glare of the overhead lights almost shimmering off of the lenses. She even smiles at me, something she doesn't seem to do often. Is this some kind of game to her?
She grabs my arm and pulls me lightly, guiding me to the door into the halls of Yamaku. These corridors are spooky at night. Darkness doesn't suit them, though that might just be me not working overtime in a while.
We don't talk much on the way upstairs. I just follow Shizune blindly, like a horse being led to water. Will she be able to make drink... er, enjoy what she's showing me? Proverbs say no. But those wise old men never met a girl as stubborn as this one. Oftentimes, I think that she could make a rock sprout legs and walk away if she willed it enough.
She comes to a stop, and I do the same, just shy of bumping into her. Only now do I realize where she was leading us. The doorway to the rooftop sits just ahead, locked shut, as I'd expect after regular school hours. But Shizune stays one step ahead, producing a key from one of her skirt pockets.
After grabbing her attenion, I point to the key. She smiles cleverly. “[Being president has its perks,]” she replies, twisting the key in the lock to grant us access. The door swings open, held ajar by my company. One hand rests on her hip, almost triumphant. I take the cleared doorframe as an invitation and start up the flight of stairs.
Shizune is not far behind, and she grabs tightly onto my sleeve before I get too far away from her. When the door slams shut, I can see why: the stairwell turns pitch black, and I'm not sure I can even make out my hand in front of my face. Her hand quivers lightly on my arm. Is she afraid of the dark? It would make sense, given how dependent she is on her eyes.
We swap roles, and I lead her up the stairs. I normally take steps in twos, but my pace slows to make it easier on the girl hanging onto my arm. Thankfully, the single flight passes quickly. I fumble about for the door handle and give it a turn, opening the path onto the rooftop.
This is only my third trip up here. Once with Emi and Rin for lunch, once with Shizune during the festival, and now again with that same adamant girl. The surface of the roof still feels and looks alien, even amidst the dark of the night. The nearby city lights blot out a good portion of the stars overhead, but they are still numerous, hung in the sky alongside a picturesque full moon.
I start to wander over to the border fence; Shizune lets me go freely. My eyes stay fixated upward, my fingers linking with the metal of the fence. A light tap on my upper arm brings me back down to reality. I turn to see a blue-haired girl offering me a small pad of paper and a pen. The pad asks one question: “(Impressed?)”
“(Just as much as I was last time,)” I reply, passing the note back to her.
“(Good, but disappointing. They're less drowned out by fireworks now. You should be more excited, no?)”
True, but there's still the city lights to compete with. I scribble my response quickly. “(Shouldn't you just be happy that I'm enjoying myself as it is?)”
She smirks as she reads that last message. “(I am. I would be even if you weren't. You played along for once.)”
“(I like to think that I'm a fast learner.)”
“(Don't let that smugness go to your head, Hisao.)”
As if she's one to talk. “(Why? Because that's YOUR gig?)” The flustered look on her face is well worth her punishing punch in the arm. Not thinking, she starts signing angrily, too fast for me to catch any of her words. I shrug, and the accompanied confusion on my face makes her stop. She clicks the pen, writes just as quickly, but seems to change her mind. She crosses out all her previous writing and thrusts a single word at me:
“(Ass.)” She folds her arms across her chest, her glasses starting to droop down her nose before she breaks to push them back into place. “(Remind me why I hang out with you again?)”
“(Because you're absolutely wooed by my irresistible charms?)” I make the appropriate Shakespearean gestures when she looks up from reading. She actually laughs at my antics before taking a seat next to the fence. I decide to join her.
“(I guess I can keep you around for entertainment, at least.)”
“(Just entertainment? Surely I'm worth more than that.)”
She taps her chin before writing her response. “(Nope.)”
Ouch, that hits hard. “(Aww, why so cruel?)”
“(Because it's fun to watch you squirm. Why else?)” She's absolutely vicious, isn't she? At least she's enjoying herself, if her silent giggling is any indication.
I catch a light sound from just ahead. My ears perk up. I could have sworn that sounded like the rooftop door closing. But I never even heard it open. Who could that have been? How long were they watching?
Shizune taps me on the shoulder, cocking her head. I point toward the door, and she somehow understands. She jumps to her feet, rushing for the door, throwing it open in desperation to find out who it was. But I think she already knows. I think we both have an idea.
She lowers her shoulders in defeat. No trace left.
Her head hangs low as she walks back to the bench. She reclaims her seat on the bench, picking up the paper and writing out her thoughts. I sit beside her again. She rests her head on my shoulder as she passes me the notepad. I can't say I've ever been this close to a girl before. It feels... nice. Comforting. She might need that, too, right now. I don't want to read too much into this, since I'm still not sure what I am to her.
I glance down at the paper. “(I worry about her sometimes.)” She yanks the pad away from me as I click the pen open. “(Misha.)” Of course, who else could it have been?
“(Why do you worry about her?)” Dumb question. I'm worried about the girl, too. She seemed off while in the student council room, especially as we talked about Shizune. What happened to them in the past that caused a reaction like that?
She breathes deeply, imitating a sigh. She's trying to find the words, carefully considering each and every possible meaning, looking for the best means of expression. “(I have my reasons. Better for her to tell you herself, in her own time. If she wants you to know, then you'll know.)” That's rather admirable of her, I must admit, if a bit frustrating.
I feel her hand lace up and around my arm, her fingernails lightly digging into my skin. Her grip is tight, as if she's clinging to me. She tugs on the pad of paper, claiming it from my grasp. Flipping back to the next sheet, she scribbles her thoughts and passes them back to me.
“(We were talking about you earlier.)”
She takes a while to write her response, crossing out a good number of attempts before reluctantly giving it to me. “(You're a nice person. You're smart, you play along with my jokes and plans.)” She pulls it away from me again, adding onto her previous sentence, then shoves it back in place on my thigh. “(And I think you're cute.)” I look over to her. Her eyes are focused straight ahead, lids shut tight. The muscles in her face are tense. A tinge of red floats on her cheeks. She's waiting for a response, for my judgment.
I give her a firm tap on the shoulder. She slowly opens her eyes and turns to me. “[Just cute?]” I sign with a smile. She shoots one to me, as well, likely appreciating the effort. She always enjoys it when I try to sign with her.
“(What do you think of me?)” she writes. There's one word Misha taught me that I haven't been able to use yet. Now seems like as good of a time as ever. How did that sign look again?
Shizune grows impatient, though. “(Tell me what you think. It's only fair.)”
I lock eyes with her and instantly remember the sign. Call it an epiphany. “[Beautiful.]”
The red flush returns. Modesty is not something I expected from her. She takes the pad again. “(Misha thinks the same thing, you know. About you. Or... I suspect, at least.)” That certainly throws a wrench into things, doesn't it? But didn't she just say she wouldn't tell me why she worries about Misha? There must be another reason, which only serves to trouble me more. “(I... I need time. To think about how to handle this.)”
“(You don't want it?)”
“(I do. But I can't just walk all over Misha like that. Besides, I've only known you for a few weeks now. I want to get to know you better, first.)” The smile on her face is reassuring, if anything. She's definitely rejecting me, at least for now, but she's trying to ease the stinging. I appreciate that.
“(So... let's play it by ear, then?)” Pun definitely intended. She punches me in the arm again when she reads. Looks like she got the joke.
She rises from the bench before handing me the latest note. “(Come on. We have a friend to go comfort.)”
----------Comments and critique are welcome.