An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako)

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Thu Aug 23, 2018 4:50 am

Well, yeah...
It's Hanako's reaction there I think is quite over the top.
I mean, if one of your best friends is asking to talk to you privately, would you say basically "No, I have a girlfriend now, and I can't bear to be seperated from her for 15 minutes, so if you want to share your innermost feelings with me you have to include her as well"?
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
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Re: An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako)

Post by WorldlyWiseman » Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:47 pm

Come to think of it, having Misha remember the fight during the conversation that follows might be an simpler fix to make. She dismisses the idea of Hanako being turned away from Lilly far too easily considering what just happened. Having one of them openly notice that Hanako is behaving differently than she used to would do more to keep that theme active.
Hanako's favorite joke is The Aristocrats, but she never tells it because Lilly finds it really offensive. Instead, she practices her delivery in front of a mirror when she's alone. It's the only time she never stammers.

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Re: An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako)

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Sat Aug 25, 2018 2:51 am

WorldlyWiseman wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:47 pm
Come to think of it, having Misha remember the fight during the conversation that follows might be an simpler fix to make. She dismisses the idea of Hanako being turned away from Lilly far too easily considering what just happened. Having one of them openly notice that Hanako is behaving differently than she used to would do more to keep that theme active.
Good suggestion. I've made some edits to that chapter, trying to incorporate this as well as accounting for Mirage's comment.

---

Chapter 35

Misha tapped a pawn against the chessboard, considering what to do with it. Although Hanako had taught her how to play and she thought she remembered the rules, her mind wasn’t really on the game. Since yesterday’s suggestion of a birthday party, a light fog hung over all of Misha and Hanako’s interactions. Misha felt a certain distance between them, even by her girlfriend’s standard. Hanako was quieter, more withdrawn, and became more difficult to talk to, answering prompts or statements with short, mumbled phrases. It reminded Misha more of how she was when they first met, like their relationship was somehow going backwards.

Misha moved the white pawn up two spaces, knocking over one of Hanako’s black pieces with a dramatic sound effect. Instead of laughing or smiling, Hanako frowned, looking less than amused.

“Misha… pawns can only move up two from their first square, a-and… they can’t take pieces straight ahead,” Hanako said, annoyance lacing her voice.

“Ahh… sorry, Hacchan. I’ll take it back.”

Misha had done her best to push back against Hanako’s dour mood but despite her best efforts, it was wearing on her. She had thought that playing Hanako’s favorite game might cheer her up… she thoroughly regretted the idea now, trying to remember how the bigger pieces could move since her pawn attack had failed. The horse was the cutest piece, so she decided to go with that instead. Misha knew that it could move in a weird way, like up and sideways… maybe diagonally? She slid one of her horses halfway down the board on a diagonal, deliberately stopping it short of taking a piece from Hanako.

“M-Misha! That’s not right.”

“Oops! Sorry, Hacchan, sorry! Let me just… umm… h-how do the horseys move again, ehe?”

“It’s not a… h-h-horsey, M-Misha. It’s a kn-knight, and it moves l-like this,” Hanako said, tapping her own knight in a few different possible movements to demonstrate.

“I don’t get it, Hacchan. It just looks like it can jump anywhere.”

Hanako sighed in frustration.

“It’s an L-shape, Misha. I t-t-told you already… just f-forget it…”

“Ah, okay, so… maybe like, here?”

“No, M-Misha. That’s too far. It’s a little L. Let’s just st-stop… you’re not really pl-playing anyways.”

“What? Hacchan, no! I’m—I’m trying! I want to play with you!”

“I kn-know, Misha. It’s…”

Hanako furrowed her brow, thinking of how to express her frustration with Misha’s attitude. Misha wasn’t playing because she wanted to play chess, she was just playing because she wanted to do something with Hanako, and she thought Hanako wanted to do this. She didn’t actually care about winning the game or even playing it properly. Even though Misha didn’t mean any harm, it really took the whole point out of playing chess to begin with.

“You don’t have to pl-play just for me, Misha. If you don’t w-want to.”

“Hacchan. I do want to play… I want to learn how to do things with you.”

Misha’s voice was low, already recognizing defeat despite her continued protests. Hanako picked up Misha’s queen and knocked over her own black king with it.

“Th-there. Boom~, Misha,” Hanako said, imitating one of her sound effects. “You w-w-win.”

Misha frowned, her eyes downcast. Hanako crossed her arms and stared at the wall, refusing to look at her.

“Hacchan… do you want to, uhh… t-take it back to the tea room? Maybe Lilly…”

“No,” Hanako said flatly.

“Then maybe… I don’t know, Hacchan. What do you want to do?”

“…I don’t know either, M-Misha. Maybe I just want to be al-alone…”

“Aww~. You’re making me sad, Hacchan. Is it because…”

“Because why, Misha?” Hanako asked, her voice picking up slightly.

“Umm, Lilly and Akira told me, about… your birthday…”

Misha looked up, Hanako’s eyes shifting to meet with hers in a sideways glance.

“…they said that, erm, you… you don’t really like… your birthday?”

Hanako huffed slightly, turning her eyes back away from Misha.

“Don’t listen to th-them… just be-because, my first one h-here, they th-think… they don’t have to make it such a b-b-big problem.”

“It’s… not a problem, then?”

“Only because, they… they have to act l-like, like I’m some, I don’t know… like a little d-d-doll, that if they aren’t too careful, I might br-break. I c-c-can’t stand it, M-Misha. Why can’t it just… j-just be a normal d-d-day!”

“Hacchan, they said you didn’t come out of your room for three days. That’s not a normal day.”

“Th-that was because, I didn’t want to see L-Lilly, how she would… how she would l-l-look at me, when she wanted to t-talk about it.”

“Lilly doesn’t look at people…”

“She does, Misha. She looks right thr-through you. When she does it, sometimes, I… I-I really… it’s just the w-worst…”

“I guess I understand that, Hacchan. So… there’s nothing bad about your birthday, after all? We can have the party?”

“Akira and Lilly, they’re being… d-d-dumb, about it. There’s nothing wr-wrong with my birthday, Misha.”

“Hacchan. You’re bad at lying. I know it because I am too.”

Hanako emitted a low growl of consternation. Misha tensed, preparing for the worst… her girlfriend didn’t do anything dramatic, though. Even with the anger visible on her face, Hanako forced herself not to react any further, closing her eyes and taking a few long, shuddering breaths, until she felt like she could think again. She picked up the fallen black king and turned it over in her fingers, needing to do something with her hands while she talked.

“You wouldn’t understand, Misha. You’re not… you don’t even have, h-have a… you don’t even have a d-d-disability,” Hanako said, spitting the last word out like a piece of spoiled meat.

“Hmm… I guess~, Hacchan.”

Misha cupped a hand around the white queen, running her thumb over its crown.

“You… g-guess?” Hanako asked, surprised at Misha’s nonchalant acceptance of the accusation.

Misha put her other hand over her right ear.

“If I do this~, Hacchan, then I can’t hear you anymore. Not really~. It sounds… all garbled, and far away.”

“Your h-hearing… is bad?”

Misha shook her head.

“Nope, nope~. Sorry, Hacchan,” she said, uncovering her right ear. “Now try.”

“Ahh… I said, uhh, is your h-hearing that b-bad?”

“In this one it is,” Misha explained, pointing to her left ear. “It’s all busted up inside. I don’t know how any of it works, but~, more than half of it is gone. That’s what I learned.”

“Learned from… wh-who? Wh-when did this happen?” Hanako asked, her voice growing concerned.

“Oh, don’t worry! I’ve always had it, Hacchan. It’s from when I was very small~. I had many ear infections, over and over, and finally the doctors thought I was better, but~… I wasn’t, not really.”

“M-Misha… you don’t have to t-talk about it, if…”

“Nah, it’s okay, Hacchan. It’s not a problem. My ears finally stopped hurting, but~! They were damaged badly, and my hearing was all messed up. My family didn’t figure it out until they realized I wasn’t learning to talk right. Then I had to go back to the doctors and get tubes put in my ears and stuff. I got all the hearing back in one ear, but this one is messed up forever. So~, that made it hard for me when I was little. I started way behind in school.”

“Why didn’t you t-tell me this?”

“I guess because it’s not a big deal for me now. I got put into different classes because of it, though, with other people that had hearing problems or things that were wrong with them. Some of them were like people here. Other kids didn’t like to talk to us, they thought we were weird because we had special classes, and you know, because of our conditions. If they did talk to us, usually it was just to be mean. I remember~, I even got into fights a few times. I know it’s not a real disability, Hacchan, not anymore, but…”

“Is that… wh-why you came here?” Hanako asked.

“Yep~! I never liked the regular schools, because of all that stuff, and my classes made me want to learn sign language, so~! I found Yamaku, and I told my parents about it, and I begged them and asked them and pleaded forever and ever until they let me sign up! Wahaha~!”

“I’m sorry, M-Misha. Even if you say it doesn’t count…”

“You don’t have to say sorry, Hacchan. I’m still super, duper lucky. I have to tell you that I have anything wrong with me, or you won’t even notice it. It doesn’t get in my way really at all. Most people here have things that are… a lot harder.”

Hanako turned her hand over so that the back of it faced down, hiding the scar tissue there. The gesture left the black king piece resting in her open palm; Misha reached out and placed the white queen next to it, then curled her fingers around Hanako’s and closed them over the pair.

“There~. Maybe they fell in love on the battlefield. Now they’re together forever~!”

“Aha… maybe, Misha. I g-guess… they thought, they’re not so d-different, after all.”

“Yeah~! You know~, one thing I do still have wrong is my voice. My parents think I’m really loud because people had to talk really loud for me to hear, when I was little. So I learned how to talk that way, and~! I guess it stuck! Ahaha~!”

“That’s not a… b-bad thing, though. I love your voice, M-Misha. It’s always so happy…”

“Awww~! Thanks, Hacchan! I like your voice, too. It’s adorable. You’re adorable~!”

Hanako blushed and shrunk away from the compliment.

“Yes~! Just like that! Wahaha~!”

Misha fell halfway down and rolled herself over to lay on the open floor next to the chessboard, holding her arms open expectantly.

“Come here, Hacchan. You’re too far away~!”

Hanako accepted the invitation with a smile, crawling carefully over the board to lay down next to Misha. She wrapped her arms around Misha’s waist while Misha rested one arm behind Hanako’s neck, bringing its hand up and around to stroke her hair as they stared up at the ceiling together.

“M-Misha, I…”

Misha waited for the pause to end and Hanako to continue. It seemed to stretch out forever, until Misha felt that Hanako wasn’t going to keep talking after all. She could feel Hanako’s heart thumping a bit harder against her ribs, her arms squeezing their bodies a little tighter together. Hanako gave one of those slow, drawn-out exhales, then took in an equally deep breath to steady herself. Finally, she spoke again.

“It h-happened… when I was a child, too. When I was eight…”

Misha opened her mouth to ask what happened, then stopped herself, deciding that she should just let Hanako talk. She pulled Hanako’s hair back over her ear, realizing that their positions were such that her hand was on the right side of Hanako’s head. While they laid side by side, Misha wouldn’t be able to see the scars even if she looked, the damaged tissue resting on the far side of Hanako’s face. She continued to stare at the ceiling instead.

“I w-woke up to screaming, and smoke, and the most aw-awful orange lights… my m-m-mother was pulling me out of bed… we tr-tried to go to the door, but it was too hot to open, so… we had to huddle together in a corner. We were tr-trapped, and it got hard to breathe, and so, so h-h-hot…”

Misha traced her fingers down over Hanako’s ear, shocked by how stiff and rigid it felt, with a cold surface like hardened wax. It occurred to her that the ear was not flesh and cartilage; it was a prosthetic grafted onto Hanako’s head, the structure of the original ear likely destroyed beyond recognition or salvation.

“When the flames swept over us, my mother, sh-she… she tried to shield me. It was the only reason I s-s-survived. But she couldn’t… c-cover me completely…”

Hanako choked up a bit and sniffled before finishing her tale.

“I passed out under her, and wh-when I woke up, it was the firemen pulling h-her off of me… she was… sh-she didn’t look like a p-p-person anymore…”

Misha felt a tear touch her right cheek where it met Hanako’s left, having slid down from her girlfriend’s leaking eye. She ran two fingers over Hanako’s right cheek and that side of her neck, feeling the marks of that night, markings that would never go away as long as they lived. It was also surprisingly cool to the touch, like Hanako’s body heat couldn’t reach all the way up to its surface. Misha realized that the scarred skin did not twitch or stiffen in response to her fingertips… she wondered how much of its feeling was left, if Hanako could even tell that she was touching it.

“When I saw her, I kn-knew, that she was gone… and, a-and… my d-d-dad, too. I never saw him, but… I just knew…”

Misha gripped Hanako’s head lightly and tucked it into her neck as Hanako let out a few sobs, finally able to release them now that she was done talking.

“Hacchan… thank you for telling me about that.”

“Th-thanks… for listening, M-Misha… you told me about y-yours, so…”

“I don’t think they’re really the same, Hacchan.”

“I know… that’s why I didn’t tell you e-everything…”

“You… didn’t?”

“Not… not y-yet…”

“…Okay, Hacchan. Not yet. I’m just glad you talked to me about things. I thought earlier, that… even though we are girlfriends, we didn’t really know all that much about each others’ lives. So… this makes me happy.”

Misha kissed Hanako on the top of her head.

“Mmhmm. If I tell you, more st-stuff, Misha… you can’t tell anybody, not even Sh-Shicchan, and…”

“I won’t tell Shicchan about this stuff, Hacchan. It’s different to things like secret spots.”

“Okay, and… you h-have to tell me too, alright? About y-yourself… even if it’s embarrassing… n-no, especially if it’s embarrassing. Pr-promise?”

Hanako levered herself up enough to look Misha in the face.

“I don’t think we have to trade secrets, Hacchan. I don’t know if it’s like that. But I want to tell you about myself, so… I promise. Pinky swear~.”

Misha brought her free hand up and extended the shortest finger. Hanako looked at it for a second, then gave Misha a deep, long kiss instead.

“Waha—mmmpff! Mmm—o-okay, Hacchan. Okay! That counts too! Aha—ahh…”

Misha’s voice cut short as Hanako’s hand gripped her breast, kneading it firmly as its owner came in for another long kiss. Misha could see the lust in Hanako’s eyes when their lips finally broke apart, feel it building in her own chest as well, her heart’s pace speeding up to match with Hanako’s. Her own hand moved down Hanako’s body seemingly of its own accord, its wandering fingers slipping under the waistband of Hanako’s skirt, working their way around the edges of the garment underneath, searching for the best angle by which to proceed.

“Ahh… Misha… I, uhh…”

“Yes, Hacchan~?”

“Please c-comfort me. Just for t-tonight…”

“…Not just tonight, Hacchan. Any night that you need… I’ll be here for you.”

---

Not the prelude to a smut chapter! Just fading to black this time! >.>

Chapter 34 | Chapter 36
Last edited by Hanako Fancopter on Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sat Aug 25, 2018 7:58 am

You know... after so many years this is one explanation for a possible disability for Misha that I haven't read before and that still makes perfect sense...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Re: An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako)

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Sat Aug 25, 2018 12:40 pm

I actually gave Misha my own real life "disability." I have half my hearing gone in one ear from ear infections as a child. Though I exaggerated a bit with the developmental effects.... I don't speak at max volumes and say "Wahaha~!" all the time :p

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Re: An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako)

Post by Oscar Wildecat » Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:00 pm

Hanako Fancopter wrote:
Sat Aug 25, 2018 12:40 pm
I actually gave Misha my own real life "disability." I have half my hearing gone in one ear from ear infections as a child. Though I exaggerated a bit with the developmental effects.... I don't speak at max volumes and say "Wahaha~!" all the time :p
I'm feeling your pain -- literally. I currently have a nasty ear infection that has every part of my right ear just about at the bursting point.

Interestingly enough, one of the things that happened this morning was that my family complained about the loudness of my voice. Wahaha~!, I guess.

On the story itself, I didn't think I would enjoy it when I figured out Hisao was going off the roof. But, I was wrong -- it has been very enjoyable. I found that I liked how you worked the death into the story without making it the central focus of the girls' lives

Also, I like how Misha and Hanako fit together (for the lack of a better term) in this story.
I like all the girls in KS, but empathize with Hanako the most.
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Re: An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako)

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:29 pm

Thanks for your kind words!

---

Chapter 36

“Okay, Hacchan~! Are you ready, are you ready? I am~! Let’s go!”

“I’m a bit ex-excited… is it in the council room?”

“Nah~! Shicchan says there’s no sinks or anything, so we have to go back to our kitchen in the dorms.”

“That makes sense… I hope there’s enough time, with just the lunch br-break…”

“It’ll be fine, Hacchan. If it goes too long, Shicchan will just designate it as official council business! That’s what she always does. Wahaha~!”

“That must be nice, to be able to d-do… oh, h-hi Lilly.”

“Hello Hanako, Misha. How are you today? Going to lunch?”

“Umm…”

“Sort of, Lilly, sort of~! We’re going to Shicchan’s cooking class!”

“Oh… it’s during lunchtime? I suppose it would be…”

“Wh-what about you, Lilly?”

“I hoped you might accompany me upstairs, but… perhaps…”

“Ah… yeah, s-sorry…”

“Don’t say that, Hacchan. You should come with us, Lilly! It’ll be fun~! Maybe you and Shicchan can even give each other fingers! I mean, pointers~!”

“My, that’s quite an idea, Misha. I don’t know if I’m allowed to attend, unfortunately.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. It’s open to any students who want to go! Shicchan probably wants as many people as she can get!”

“Well, I don’t know how I feel about Shizune ‘getting’ me, I suppose.”

“What else are you going to do, Lilly? You’re not just going to sit in that room by yourself, are you? Are you~? That would be lame, Lilly. Reallly laaame~!”

“M-Misha!”

Hanako pinched her arm, pulling her back a bit.

“L-Lilly…” Hanako said, stepping towards Lilly in Misha’s place. “I don’t want you to go and sit al-alone… do you think, maybe… you could come? For… for m-me?”

Lilly’s face softened at this request, though she hesitated for another moment before answering.

“If Sh-Shicchan says anything mean, then…” Hanako said.

“…We’ll stop her, Lilly. We won’t let there be any more stupid fights, right, Hacchan~?”

“…N-no, I mean, right. No f-fighting!”

“For sure~!”

“…Okay, Hanako, Misha. I suppose I can’t refuse if I’m under your protection.”

Lilly held her free hand up, thumb and forefinger apart so as to grip a shirt sleeve.

“Shall you lead the way, Hanako?”

Hanako stared at the hand with ambivalence, glancing nervously at Misha for approval. This behavior only drew an amused giggle from Misha, who jumped forward and hooked her arm around Lilly’s instead.

“Don’t worry, Lilly. You can hang on to me!” Misha said.

“Ah… thank you, Misha,” Lilly said, settling her arm into Misha’s.

Misha held out her other arm for Hanako to take.

“Shall we?” Misha prompted.

“Mmhmm,” Hanako answered, taking the offered arm so they could set off as a trio.

“Hey, Lilly, have you seen Ricchan? She wanted to come to this too but we couldn’t find her earlier!” Misha said.

“Well, I haven’t seen her, per se, but…”

“Ack!! Sorry~!”

“It’s no trouble. I believe she was with Shizune earlier, as a matter of fact.”

“R-really? Maybe she got a head start…” Hanako said.

***

They were a little bit late due to Lilly’s naturally slow pace. Misha worried that Shizune would make her old quip about tardiness upon seeing Lilly and making this connection. While Lilly’s addition to the group surprised Shizune for a moment, she didn’t say anything about it, rapidly reverting to her usual self-assured expression with a glasses adjustment. Her eyes did seem to linger on Lilly a bit, probably taking advantage of the ability to scrutinize her visually without being seen in return. Misha hoped that it would help to see Lilly attached to her and Hanako.

“Hello, Shizune,” Lilly said, her voice cautious. “Misha, would you please tell her I said hello?” she asked, tugging on Misha’s sleeve.

“That’s okay. Hello Lilly,” Shizune said, more confident than Lilly, who had her own look of surprise at hearing her cousin’s voice. Like Shizune, she put her composure back on quickly, though she struggled to find her next words. Her mouth opened once, then changed its mind and decided to stay closed.

“I’m glad everyone is here,” Shizune said, motioning from the trio of girls to the two other apparent students for the day: Rin and another boy from class 3-3, a serious-looking fellow with a bandage over one ear and a beret. Hanako glanced nervously at him, instinctively drawing a bit closer to Misha as his eyes passed over her in turn. His name was Takashi and he had some kind of ear problem, but other than that she didn’t really know anything about him.

Shizune retrieved a rolled-up poster from the dining room table and turned to the wall behind her, motioning for Takashi to join her. He shuffled over and helped her pin the poster up on the wall using a couple of sticky tacks. Shizune made a bit of a flourish as the two of them stepped away to reveal the picture, giving Takashi an annoyed look that prompted him to do the same, even if it was late. The poster read “1ST ANNUAL YAMAKU ACADEMY HOME ECONOMICS SEMINAR, HOSTED BY STUDENT COUNCIL PRESIDENT: SHIZUNE HAKAMICHI,” with an elaborate illustration taking up most of the space underneath. The text was clearly penned by Shizune, while the illustration was clearly… not.

It depicted a swirling cornucopia of different fruits and vegetables, a rainbow of colors that ran together as they drew in towards the middle of the picture. At the very center was a picnic basket with its top open like a gaping mouth, taking in the melded sludge of food selections. It was quite jarring to look at; both Hanako and Misha immediately knew who had drawn it. Shizune looked at them expectantly, as though they were supposed to clap now.

“Err… did you draw that, Rin?” Misha asked.

“Yes,” Rin answered.

“It’s v-very…” Hanako started, failing to go any further.

“It’s… it’s pretty, Rin~!” Misha insisted.

Shizune nodded in approval, aiming an arm towards Rin with hand held open in presentation.

“Introducing: The Student Council Artistic Designer, Rin Tezuka!” she announced.

“A-artistic… director?” Hanako asked, a little shocked.

“Designer,” Rin corrected her.

“You painted something for the council, Rin?” Lilly asked.

“Yes.”

“Well. I’m sure it’s very beautiful!”

“It certainly is,” Takashi agreed.

Misha smiled at Rin, giving Hanako a nudging elbow to do the same. She managed a small, if awkward, smile of her own. For her part, Rin seemed unaffected by any of this. Reclaiming the room’s attention with a snap, Shizune launched into a clearly rehearsed speech about the proud traditions of Japanese culinary arts and the importance of well-prepared food. Her voice was much louder and stronger than it had been a couple of weeks ago, impressive in its use of tone and enunciation. Without prior knowledge, it would be hard to tell that she was deaf.

Once she finished the short speech, Shizune directed them into the kitchen, where their supplies were already laid out. A pair of saucepans rested on the stove while a mesh strainer was ready in the sink; on the countertop could be found salt, sheets of seaweed, cups of fish flakes, measuring utensils, and of course copious amounts of rice.

“R-riceballs?” Hanako asked.

“Correct,” Takashi said.

“Onigiri are a lunchtime staple!” Shizune remarked, another line that sounded like she’d been waiting to use it. “You can put many things in them. Today, we start simple,” she continued, sounding more natural.

“Mmm~! They look yummy already!” Misha exclaimed.

Takashi raised an eyebrow at her, then nudged Rin, prompting her to follow him over to the countertop.

“Excuse me… There is a voice I do not recognize. May I ask who you are?” Lilly asked, turning her head in Takashi’s direction. Her gaze tracked him as he walked across the kitchen, following his footsteps.

“This is Takashi Maeda. He was in the art club with me. Now we’re in the Student Council instead,” Rin explained.

“You must be Lilly Satou. Shizune speaks highly of you,” Takashi said.

“My my. So polite!” Lilly said, using a giggle to hide her surprise at this comment.

“Rin! You’re the new council members?!” Misha asked, mouth agape.

“What’s so strange about that? The Student Council is a noble calling!” Takashi countered, looking a bit peeved at her incredulity.

Another loud snap interrupted their conversation.

“What’s this about?” Shizune asked, turning pointedly to Takashi.

Takashi opened his mouth to speak, paused, then closed it and began to motion in sign language. His movements were stiff and awkward—even Hanako could tell that he was a beginner. Still, Shizune watched him patiently, appearing to understand without needing any further clarification.

“I should have explained. I forgot!” Shizune said. “Rin and Takashi are new members. Takashi is the Council Historian!” she said proudly.

“It’s… not as important as it sounds,” Takashi said, looking a bit sheepish.

“He’s supposed to keep records of what we do. So far he just does doodles of the president,” Rin said.

“I don’t!… Only do that!” Takashi protested.

“Historian? You’re just like Saki,” Misha said. “She couldn’t draw though. Wahaha~!”

“Saki? The, uhh… cane girl?” Takashi asked.

“Yeah~! She was the historian before you. She never did anything though! Shicchan always complained about it. So you’re probably way better than her! Ahaha~!”

“My goodness! Are we here to cook, or to gossip about every former member of the Student Council? I’m rather dreading my turn…” Lilly said.

“Enough talk!” Shizune said, cutting through the chatter. “Learn first. Then talk!” she said, pointing emphatically to the cooking setup.

They were definitely going to run past lunch at this rate. Misha wondered if Shizune had planned from the start to use this as a way to skip afternoon classes…

***

After Shizune handed out recipes—one printed out for each participant, of course, from a healthy stack Shizune had brought—she ran briefly through the steps, then insisted that learning is doing, and so they began. The process started by washing the rice, boiling it in the saucepan, then allowing it to rest and steam for a short time. This produced a fair amount of downtime in between steps during which the participants could talk freely. Rin and Takashi gravitated towards watching (and occasionally correcting) Hanako and Misha, while Shizune and Lilly worked together on the second set.

“We were supposed to do the other ones on our own, but I don’t think Shizune knew Lilly would come. This works just as well, I suppose,” Takashi remarked.

“I’m surprised that, umm… that Sh-Shicchan and Lilly are, err, t-together…” Hanako said.

“Why wouldn’t they be?” Takashi asked.

“No reason. No reason at all~! Wahaha~!” Misha said.

Rin raised her stubs.

“Someone with hands has to help Lilly, if anyone does. Can’t be me.”

“Lilly is the former vice president, correct? I’m sure she and Shizune have much to catch up on,” Takashi speculated.

“Uhh, yeah, Tacchan~! Yeah~! That’s exactly right! Wahaha~!” Misha agreed, flailing her arms around for emphasis.

“So h-how did you, and R-Rin, uhh… end up in the c-council?” Hanako started.

“Maybe Rin should tell that story,” Takashi said.

“It’s not a very good story. When I didn’t want to do the exhibition, Nomiya got pretty angry at me. He said that I wasn’t an artist after all. Takashi heard it and he was pretty angry about that. So they yelled some. I didn’t listen, I just left,” Rin started.

“R-Rin! Really?!” Hanako said, clutching her blouse. “That sounds aw-awful!”

“What was awful, was how that fat, that fat, old… toad talked to her,” Takashi said, nodding at Rin. “The best art student Yamaku has ever had. That’s what my parents said about Rin, and Nomiya acted like, like she was… some sort of weird teacher’s pet of his. He couldn’t appreciate that her unique perspective only thrives outside the artificial constraints imposed by contemporary creative institutions!”

“Whoa, slow down! Whaaat~?” Misha asked.

“I think he means Nomiya was mean to me,” Rin said. “Takashi, it’s nothing fancy like that. I just didn’t want to do it.”

“Well, my opinion stands.”

“W-wait, T-T-Takashi…”

“Yes, Hanako?”

“…your p-parents met R-Rin? Uhh…”

“Not in person. They know of most students in the school, though. They’re on the board of directors, and they’re minor art collectors themselves. My mother nearly had a fainting spell when she laid eyes upon Rin’s work, such was its innovation and beauty.”

“Wasn’t that just the mural I painted for the festival?” Rin asked, sounding thoroughly unimpressed with herself.

Just a mural!” Takashi snorted. “Such humility. You can afford to take at least a little credit for yourself, you know. After all, it was your rebellion that finally woke me from the stagnating pit of that fetid oaf’s excuse for a ‘club!’”

“I think you deserve the credit. Your drawings of Shizune are very good. Your technique is especially detailed on her boobs,” Rin said.

“Wh-what?! Rin, it is… not! My portraits do not linger upon her… chest!

“Pwahahaha~!” Misha blurted.

Even Hanako had to laugh at this.

“What’s so funny?” Rin asked, leaning over the pan of rice to examine its consistency. “I think it needs a few more minutes. Shizune has very well-defined boobs. I think it’s fair to give them attention in matching amounts.”

From the corner of her eye, Hanako could see Lilly’s ears perking up at the far end of the counter. Shizune looked momentarily quizzical as Lilly stifled a laugh. Thank goodness Shizune couldn’t hear any of this, Hanako thought.

“W-wait, so…” Hanako interrupted. “I still don’t know h-how you… joined Sh-Shicchan?”

“Well, that part was simple, really,” Takashi said, happy to change the subject. “I was rather upset the next day. I had to quit the art club as well, of course. Set adrift without a purpose, I felt my pen languishing away, lacking any muse from which to derive inspiration. Noticing my dark mood, Shizune approached me and asked of my condition. I laid bare our troubles, and…”

“She asked if we wanted to hang out with her and talk about it,” Rin continued for him. “So then this just sort of happened. It turns out she’s a really good listener. Did you know that?” Rin asked.

“R-Rin!”

“Wahahaha~! No wonder Shicchan likes you two,” Misha said.

“What do you mean?” Takashi asked.

“Well~! You’re just—I don’t know. Very serious!”

“Dr-driven!” Hanako added.

“Driven! Hm…” Takashi said, looking down and holding his chin in contemplation.

“Oh no. Now you’ve gone and done it,” Rin said.

“Huh?”

“That’s his inspiration look. He’ll probably draw a picture of you now.”

“Wh-what?!” Hanako protested.

“Aha! That’s an excellent idea!” Takashi responded, jumping back to life. “Would you terribly mind?” he implored Hanako. “I already have a title in mind! ‘The Driven Purpose!’”

“A-ahh! I, uhh! I d-don’t know! Why is it a picture of m-m-me!”

“Also a good question! Let me consider…” he said, going back to his thinking pose.

Rin shook her head.

“We’re never going to eat rice at this rate,” she said.

“You’re the sensey one now, are you, Rin~?” Misha asked.

“S-sensey?” Hanako and Takashi asked together.

“She means ‘sensible,’” Rin clarified. “I don’t think I am, but I never know these days.”

“Ahaha~!”

“The president is the most sensible among us, of course. Hmm.”

Takashi tested the rice with a single chopstick, seeing that it had fully absorbed most of the water it had been boiled in.

“I believe we’re ready for the next step. Rin, would you do us the honor?”

Rin nodded, picking up a spoonful of salt in her mouth and turning her head sideways to pour it into a bowl. She nudged it towards Hanako with a stub, reminding her that at this stage, they would fill the bowl with water and dampen their hands in it before handling the rice, thus adding a salty hint to it without overpowering its flavor.

“Th-thanks, Rin. We can do the rest, if you w-want,” Hanako offered.

“It’s not a problem. I like using my mouth,” Rin said.

“Aha~! You’re good with your mouth, Rin, are you, hmm~!” Misha said, barely containing her laughter behind a mischievous smirk.

“I think so,” Rin agreed.

“The things she can do with her mouth alone are fairly amazing. I’ve witnessed it firsthand!” Takashi said.

“—Wahahahaha~! Aha, hahaha~! S-sorry, I—”

Misha collapsed into another heap of laughter. Hanako wrung her hands near her chest, looking down to hide the fact that she was smiling a bit herself. She’d caught on to Misha’s little joke somewhere between the “wa” and the third “ha.”

“M-Misha… quit being g-goofy!” Hanako said, hooking an arm under her shoulder to pull her back up.

“Yes, let’s return to the task at hand,” Takashi said.

“S-sorry, she’s… always like th-this. Don’t mind h-her…” Hanako said.

“I don’t,” Rin said.

As they began to separate out and knead together the rice balls, filling them carefully with fish flakes, Hanako watched Lilly and Shizune from the side of her view. They seemed to be getting along well enough… they spoke in much lower tones than Hanako and the others, probably because one of them was barely talking at all, with Lilly not needing to put any volume behind her words. Hanako noticed that Shizune leaned in very close to Lilly’s face whenever Lilly spoke, watching her lips carefully to make sure she caught every syllable. Perhaps the freedom to do that without seeming weird actually made Lilly easier for Shizune to talk to, when she did it this way. Combined with their subdued voices, it also would’ve made them seem like an intimate couple engaged in a sensitive conversation, if Hanako hadn’t known any better.

“Eep!”

Hanako jumped a bit as she felt Misha’s hands join around her waist from behind.

“They look really nice, don’t they~?” Misha said, her head resting on Hanako’s shoulder.

“M-Misha! Aren’t—”

Hanako looked over her other shoulder at Rin and Takashi, who seemed oblivious to the world for the time being. Rin was making strange shapes out of the rice, manipulating it with her stubs and a chopstick clenched between her teeth, while Takashi stared on as if studying a mad genius at work. For all they knew that was exactly what he was seeing, Hanako thought.

“Y-yeah… they seem, I don’t know… b-better?” Hanako replied.

“Mmhmm. I think so.”

As they looked on, the interaction heated up a bit—Shizune attempted to take Lilly’s hands in her own, which Lilly did not seem to appreciate. Their voices rose slightly for a moment, then Shizune tried again, her hands slower and gentler this time as they took Lilly’s and moved them over the first portion of rice. Hanako guessed that Lilly didn’t actually need any help kneading the rice into its proper shape, but maybe she was allowing this as a way to connect a bit with Shizune. Touch was the only sense they could really share, after all.

“Awww~.”

“Y-you should close your eyes, Misha.”

“Hmm~? Are you going to make me guess, Hacchan?”

“Sort of. I w-want… to h-help you make rice balls, l-like them.”

“Aha~! That’s cute, Hacchan! Sure, of course~!”

Turning back towards their own side of the counter, Hanako saw that Rin was still working on the first one, having turned it into… something. She had no idea what kind of shape it was, but it definitely wasn’t a ball.

“Whatcha doing, Rin? That isn’t a ball~!” Misha said.

“Shhh. She’s creating art,” Takashi said.

“Waha~! Okay, Tacchan, if you say so!”

“Cl-close your eyes, Misha! No more looking!”

“Oops~! Sorry Hacchan!”

Hanako switched positions with Misha, pressing her front to Misha’s back and moving her arms out over Misha’s own. She was reminded of a time that Misha had been the one to guide her hands… her thoughts wandered somewhat into that memory, though not so much that she couldn’t keep to the current task. It was a bit awkward trying to maneuver someone else’s fingers to shape the rice but Hanako didn’t mind the excuse to keep her hands on Misha’s, lacing their digits together a bit more than was really needed.

“Aha~! There~! It’s perfect, Hacchan. You’re good at this!”

“M-Misha! No looking! We’re not done!”

“Oh~? We’re going to do them all like this?”

“Yeah …”

“Alright, Hacchan. You’re the boss!”

“You’re bossing people now? You must have done it too, Hanako,” Rin said. “It’s good, isn’t it?”

“Wh-what do you mean, Rin?” Hanako asked.

“She means… you changed, Hacchan!” Misha explained.

“Oh? Really? H-how?”

“Well. The old you wasn’t the boss of anyone!” Misha said.

Rin nodded in agreement.

“Not many people can be the boss of Misha. Shizune is the only other one. Maybe not even her, now,” Rin observed.

“Ah… I don’t th-think I’m anyone’s boss…” Hanako said bashfully.

“Nah~. You totally are, Hacchan.”

Misha leaned her head back against the side of Hanako’s neck, then turned her face sideways to give Hanako a quick kiss.

“Mwah~! You can boss me around allll~ day!”

“Careful, ladies! Public displays of affection are strictly forbidden!” Takashi reprimanded them.

“M-M-Misha!” Hanako exclaimed, turning red.

“Whoops~. Sorry! Ahaha~!”

“Okay, M-Misha… I or-order you, to… make all these rice b-b-balls!”

“Your order is my command, Queen Hacchan~!”

“I think you two are better at this than me,” Rin said.

“Still so humble! Just look at what you’ve created,” Takashi disagreed.

“Yeah. I think it was supposed to be a ball. So now I’ve learned that it’s hard to make balls without hands.”

“…You mean this whole time, you were trying to make it into a ball?” Takashi asked, dumbfounded.

“…What did you think I was doing?”

“I thought you were creating a work of art! Why didn’t you say anything! I would’ve been happy to help!”

“Cooking is art, Takashi. That’s what Lilly taught me.”

“Wahahaha~!”

Once all of the balls had been made, the final step was to simply wrap them in strips of seaweed and they were ready to eat. Hanako tried to have Misha only wrap the bottoms, but her girlfriend had gotten a bit feisty with their arrangement, trying repeatedly to wrap the strips all the way around their targets. She was probably trying to use them all up faster so they could go ahead and eat, Hanako thought. Clever, but no cigar—Hanako kept a firm grip on Misha’s hands every time they tried to wander too far off course.

“You seem like you are learning sign language, Tacchan~?” Misha asked.

“Yes. Speaking with Shizune inspired me to pursue the craft. She made such an effort to speak in our language, I thought it only fair that I be able to speak in hers.”

“Th-that’s really nice of you,” Hanako said.

“It may also prove convenient when my ear is being especially troublesome.”

“I’m glad he’s doing it. I couldn’t be the new Misha,” Rin said.

“Is that what I am? I suppose I could be Shizune’s new translator. I would consider it an honor, I think,” Takashi said.

“Waha~! Don’t get too excited, Tacchan. I’m coming back soooon~!” Misha warned him.

“Ahh… w-we’ll miss you, Misha,” Hanako said. “In the… n-newspaper club,” she clarified.

“Newspaper club? We all have our crafts, it seems,” Takashi said. “What do you write?”

“Uhhh…” Hanako stalled.

“I haven’t written anything yet. But~! I’m definitely going to write my first recipe this week! Hacchan helped me a lot, and I think I can finally use the computer, a little bit~!” Misha said.

“Your first recipe?” Takashi asked.

“It’s going to be a cooking writing, of course~! If I’m going to write about anything, it has~ to be food. I thought I would make a parfait piece, but~, now I think I will start with onigiri, and work my way up!”

“W-will you have time, Misha? Th-there’s only one more edition before…” Hanako pointed out.

“Hmm~. Well, maybe I can write and be the vice president! I’ll do it somehow! For sure~!” Misha said.

“You seem quite driven yourself, Misha. I can see why Shizune selected you as her vice president,” Takashi said.

“Thanks, Tacchan~!… Ack! Sorry Hacchan~!”

Misha had jerked her hands in excitement at the compliment, tearing the current strip of seaweed in half.

“Whoops~! Was that our last one? Shoot~! I guess we’re all done. Time to eat! Wahaha~!”

“Y-you did that on p-purpose, Misha!”

“No way, Hacchan. I would never~!”

“Y-you are so b-bad… let’s just eat one, s-sure.”

“How did yours turn out?” Lilly asked, tapping over to them with Shizune at her side.

Opening her eyes and breaking her hands from Hanako’s, Misha took the unwrapped rice ball and popped the whole thing into her mouth, her cheeks puffing out as she munched steadily on it, muffled sounds of happiness conveying her satisfaction with the finished product. Shizune touched her forehead and shook it lightly, while Takashi looked like he didn’t know whether to be impressed or disgusted. Hanako turned her around and brushed a few grains of rice from her lips, resisting the urge to take them off in a different way.

“Tr-try to leave some for us, M-Misha…”

“They’re good, then, I take it?” Lilly continued.

“Mmpff hmmppf! Schuper duper~!” Misha assured her.

Shizune walked over to Rin’s one attempt at a riceball and eyed it warily.

“What’s this?” she asked. “Rice… patty?”

“Rin said cooking is art, so… I believe it’s meant to be an abstract statement on—ah!”

Takashi stopped himself mid-sentence as Shizune gave him a piercing look. He cleared his throat, then resumed speaking, this time trying to sign along with his voice.

“I think it’s—”

He paused and scrunched up his face, his ability to use elaborate language completely stolen by the necessity of matching it in signs.

“—It’s an artistic interpretation of a riceball,” he finally said.

Shizune smirked, holding in a laugh at this explanation. Then she pointed at the “artistic interpretation.”

“Try,” she commanded.

“It’s Rin’s, so~! She should have the first bite!” Misha said.

“Good idea,” Lilly agreed.

Rin shrugged, then leaned down and bit off a portion, looking thoughtful as she chewed and swallowed.

“It tastes like rice,” she declared.

Takashi nodded sagely at this deep commentary while the girls shook with silent laughter. Shizune clapped her hands in approval of the tasting, then spread her arms wide.

“Eat!” she said.

“Let me try yours, Hanako,” Lilly said, holding a hand out. Hanako placed a riceball into it, which Lilly rolled deftly around with her fingers.

“Hmm. A bit lumpy, but not bad. Certainly not for a first attempt,” she said.

“Those lumps are alll~ Hacchan’s fault. I tried to do it properly, but she wouldn’t let me! She kept making my fingers do weird stuff!” Misha said.

“N-no! Misha, that’s not—”

“Here, Hacchan~! You try!” Misha said, stuffing another riceball into Hanako’s mouth to silence her. She accepted, biting off a large chunk, albeit with a lingering pout on her face. The frown went away as she continued to chew.

“Mmm. They really are good,” Hanako said after swallowing the bite. “Even if M-Misha kept trying to m-mess them up!”

“Did not! Did not, did not, did not~!”

“Hmph! H-how… how were y-yours, Lilly?”

“I believe they came out well. Shizune was… helpful. I must admit, I’ve never thought about damping one’s hands in saltwater, rather than adding salt directly. It does affect the flavor.”

Lilly motioned towards the other end of the counter, where eight rice balls sat neatly on their seats of seaweed. Their shape was impeccable, all eight uniform in size and volume, in contrast to the more amateurish attempts on Hanako’s side. Whatever difficulties Lilly and Shizune may have had working together didn’t show in their results.

“Mmm~! They look soo~ good, Lilly!”

Misha bounced right over to the other set of rice balls to eat one. Sensing this, Lilly tutted at her.

“Try not to eat too many at once, Misha…”

Misha nodded at her, not wanting to speak through an already-full mouth of rice and fish flakes.

“Uhh… she n-nodded at you, Lilly.” Hanako translated.

Lilly sighed.

“Some things never change, it seems. But others…”

Her head turned slightly to the other side, towards Rin, Shizune and Takashi. The latter two conversed in mixed sign and spoken language, with occasional comments from Rin. The current subject seemed to be a lively debate on whether the artistic aspect of cooking lay in the appearance of the food or the taste.

“Maybe things can ch-change, Lilly,” Hanako said.

Lilly smiled.

“Perhaps they can. I think you should move along… as much fun as this has been, we’ve surely missed part of our afternoon class by now.”

“Don’t worry about that. The president has declared the Home Economics Seminar as an extra credit session. The teachers approved it. Or somebody did, at least,” Rin said, turning towards them.

“Told you~!” Misha added from their other side.

“St-still… I don’t want to just m-miss all day… and if we don’t go soon, M-Misha will eat everything!”

“Hacchan~! I will not!”

“If you’re done, th-then… let’s go?”

“Grrr. Alright, Hacchan. You’re the boss, after all~! We’ll definitely hang out some more later, everyone. I had a lot of fun~! I’m going to write about this in the newspaper for sure!”

“Ah, Lilly, Shicchan… you should come to the newspaper club, and meet Naomi, and N-Natsume. They’d like to see you, I think…”

Takashi relayed this to Shizune, who adjusted her glasses while considering for a moment.

“A meeting may be proper, yes,” she agreed. “Talk after class later.”

“Okay, Sh-Shicchan. Thanks for teaching us today… I really ap-appreciate it.”

Shizune smiled and nodded at Hanako. They all waved goodbye, then Rin and Takashi stepped out, the latter holding their rice-thing carefully in both hands. Hanako and Misha went after them.

“Lilly? Are you coming?” Misha asked, pausing and looking back.

“In a bit. I’d like to stay a moment and speak to Shizune,” Lilly said.

Misha looked to Shizune, seeing approval in the president’s eyes. She tugged on Hanako’s hand.

“Okay! Let’s go, Hacchan~!”

Hanako gave one last look over her shoulder before they turned into the hallway, seeing Lilly walking back towards the dining room table with her hand on Shizune’s sleeve. They were right about to sit down next to each other when they disappeared from view. She turned back to Misha to catch her with a guilty look on her face and rice on her lips.

“M-Misha! You ate another one?!”

“Aha~! Sorry, Hacchan!”

“That’s o-okay… let me help…”

Hanako looked back one more time to make sure no one could see them. Rin and Takashi had turned another corner farther down the hallway… now she could get that rice off Misha’s lips the way she really wanted to.

Chapter 35 | Chapter 37
Last edited by Hanako Fancopter on Sat Sep 01, 2018 12:13 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Aug 29, 2018 8:27 am

That's a completely different take on Takashi from the ones we're used to. I think his language is a bit over the top, but it's certainly distinctive.

Also I wonder how small the Onigiri they made must have been. The standard size ones you can get everywhere in Japan you couldn't eat more than two of...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Re: An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako)

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:54 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Aug 29, 2018 8:27 am
That's a completely different take on Takashi from the ones we're used to. I think his language is a bit over the top, but it's certainly distinctive.

Also I wonder how small the Onigiri they made must have been. The standard size ones you can get everywhere in Japan you couldn't eat more than two of...
Big or small, they're no match for Misha!

---

Chapter 37

“Hi, Naocchan, hi~! Hi Natsu-nyan~!”

“Hello Misha!”

“I swear, Misha, I don’t think my own mother is as happy to see me as you are.”

“Oh! Whoops~! Is that bad, Natsu-nyan~?”

“…Nah, it’s kind of endearing.”

“Endearing?”

“It means she likes you, Misha. Her mom probably doesn’t have such a cute nickname for her!” Naomi said.

Natsume nodded in concurrence. Misha hopped over to Hanako and gave her a kiss on the cheek in lieu of a verbal greeting.

“Mwah~!”

Hanako scrunched herself up a bit, blushing while Naomi laughed and Natsume whistled.

“Don’t let Shizune catch sight of that!” Natsume warned.

“Shicchan’s busy talking to Tacchan. Let’s go to the club room~!”

“Of course! Speaking of Shizune, how did it go with her, err, food thingie? Bring us any treats back?” Naomi asked hopefully.

“We sh-should have, but… they all got eaten, by… by s-someone…” Hanako said.

“Yeah! Hacchan had like eight~!”

“Y-you mean you d-d-did!”

Natsume rolled her eyes, but she was smiling.

“Guess that’s our comeuppance for skipping out. Course, if I’d known it would let us skip the whole afternoon class, that woulda changed things a bit…”

“Yeah, that was kinda weird how Shizune never came back! Maybe she was cleaning up all the cooking stuff? Surely she wouldn’t just skip because she can, and put it down as council hours…” Naomi speculated.

“Wahaha~! Not at all! Shicchan would never do anything like that!” Misha said.

“She was talking to… to L-Lilly, when we left,” Hanako added.

“Oh, Lilly was there? Was she like, checking on you?” Naomi asked.

“N-n-no!” Hanako snapped, looking annoyed. “Lilly doesn’t… ch-check on me!”

“Ah, sorry! Of course she doesn’t! My mistake!”

Natsume didn’t look convinced.

“I mean, she kinda does. Was asking after you just yesterday, round lunchtime. She wanted to know if you were still coming to meetings and everything.”

“Natsu! She said not to—oops!!”

Naomi covered her mouth, knowing she had made it worse.

“She said not to tell me, r-r-right?” Hanako asked. It was rhetorical.

Natsume shrugged.

“She did. I don’t care for lying. Lying is bullshit.”

Hanako’s nostrils flared.

“It is… it is b-b-bull… b-bullshit!” she agreed.

Misha put an arm carefully around Hanako’s shoulder.

“Hacchan, maybe we should—”

Hanako batted the arm away with a jerking motion.

“N-no! Don’t!” Hanako said, her nostrils flaring. “We are going to the club room. And we are going to make newspapers, and have fun, and… and st-stuff!” she declared.

The other three girls looked at her cautiously. Hanako simply stormed off down the hall, closing the rest of the short distance to the club room and slamming the door behind her, not waiting for the other girls to catch up.

“Hell in a handbasket… I don’t favor secrets, but I can kinda get why Lilly might want to keep some from her,” Natsume said.

“Wh-what should we do?” Naomi asked, turning to Misha with a slight tremble in her voice.

“Hmm~…”

Misha tapped a finger to her chin.

“I think, maybe… I think Hacchan gets most upset when people treat her weird, like she is too easy to hurt. That’s what made her mad in the first place, just now. So~, maybe we should just do what she said, and try to be normal?”

Natsume nodded.

“Seems fair.”

Naomi looked more hesitant but she was outvoted two to one.

“I just really hope she’s okay… that was, uhh… really sudden. I didn’t know Hana could be that way at all.”

“Yep~! She can get super, duper stubborn!” Misha agreed.

“…You seem kinda happy about that?” Natsume asked.

“Well~! It means she has a very strong view of things. I think that’s… admirable!”

“Eheh… that’s one way to see it!” Naomi said nervously.

“Come on~! We can’t let Hacchan do all the work by herself!”

Misha took the hands of the other two girls, tugging them along into the club room. Hanako sat banging away at the computer keyboard—not literally banging the keys, but, her typing was unusually loud, Misha thought. She didn’t react to their entry, continuing to work away steadily at whatever she was doing… Misha considered going over and putting a hand on her shoulder, asking her what she was doing and such, but then decided it might be better to leave her undisturbed for a while.

Natsume groaned as she tried to lower herself into a nearby chair, stopping halfway with a hand on her hip.

“Ah, here…” Naomi said, stepping to her and offering a hand to help.

“Thanks…” Natsume answered, allowing Naomi to gently guide her into the seat.

“So I guess Shizune’s cooking thing went pretty well, if you ate it all?” Naomi asked Misha, leaning onto a desk.

“Oh, yes, yes~! We made onigiri. Shicchan said they were simple, but~! I thought they were still a lot of fun to make… probably because then I could eat them, yeah~!”

Natsume chuckled.

“Oh I bet they were lip-smacking good. Whatever else you say about Shizune, whenever she does something, she does it right.”

“No, I made some too. Me and Hacchan! They were just~ as yummy!”

“You’ll have to show us, then! I’d really like to try your cooking!” Naomi said.

“Of course! Actually, I think I’m going to write my first article about it. I can do that, right? Write a recipe and how to do it? Right~?”

“I thought it was going to be a parfait,” Natsume said.

“Parfaits have a lot of layers, Natsu-nyan. They’re too hard for a first time. You have to start simple, then build up! Like a skyscraper tower~!”

“So this is the first floor of the tower? That’s a good attitude, I think.”

“It’s too bad you won’t be around to build the whole thing. I’d really like to see a Misha tower. It would probably be pink and fluffy! And drilled shaped!” Naomi said.

“Wahaha~! Why do you say that, Naocchan?”

“Well, you know! You’ve got the, the these!” she explained, holding her hands up and twirling them to imitate Misha’s drills.

“No no~, I mean, you said I can’t build the whole tower?”

“Oh, I just, uhh! I mean… you’re going back to the Student Council soon… right? Actually, this might be, well…”

“Shame you’ll only get to make the first floor,” Natsume finished.

“Hmm~. You guys give up too easy! I’ll still get to do it even then, it’ll just be… different floors! Like I’ll have one newspaper floor, and one Student Council floor. Layers, with different flavors! Like… a parfait~!”

“Everything comes back to parfaits, huh?”

“Yep, yep, yep~! Wahaha~!”

“You’re so sunny, Misha! I wish I could be that happy about everything,” Naomi said.

“Well, you can! Happiness is like a muscle. You can learn it, but you have to work really hard and go to the gym every day!”

“Where’s a gym for happiness, though?”

“I think… it’s probably the Shanghai!”

“…because you can get parfaits?”

“Ahaha~!”

Natsume and Naomi looked at each other with a smile, then shook their heads in unison.

“Anyways, I definitely won’t let any stuff like that get in my way. I want to have a really big tall tower, like you two have!”

“Like we have?” Naomi asked.

“Because we’ve already written a lot of articles,” Natsume thought aloud, “But haven’t you already done an awful lot as the vice president, Misha?”

“I guess. Maybe~! But~! It always felt like Shicchan was really doing things, and I just did those things with her. I don’t think I ever really did any things of my own, you know? Like… with my own ideas!”

“That actually makes sense. Well, the cooking column was all your idea, one hundred percent. Maybe we should quit yapping and get to building our towers some more, eh?”

“I don’t know how much longer I can carry this metaphor anyways!” Naomi agreed. “Tower time, tower time! Natsu, let me know if…”

Natsume nodded at her.

“Got it.”

“Alright~!”

Misha sat down on another side of the table they occupied while Naomi stood near Natsume, taking a notebook and pen out of her bag. A lull fell over the room as all present concentrated on the actual work of the newspaper club for a while. Misha let the white noise insulate her, the clacking of keys and the low conversation between Naomi and Natsume while they planned this story or that paragraph. Natsume seemed to direct most of the ideas, while Naomi jotted it down for the both of them, sparing Natsume’s aching hands from the task.

After some time passed, Misha thought she had something she could work with. The sound of the keyboard was no longer so loud now, much more even and measured in its tapping rhythm… perhaps she would see what Hanako thought about her work. Misha stood up and stretched mightily, drawing the eyes of all three other girls with the cracks and pops of her joints—in particular, Natsume visibly winced at the feat.

“Whatcha doin’?” Misha asked the room.

“Trying to figure out this editorial…” Natsume said.

Misha looked expectantly at Hanako.

“Ah, I… I went ahead and for-formatted the new edition,” she said.

“The whole thing?” Naomi asked.

“Umm… y-yeah…”

“Wow, really? Hana, that’s amazing! I can’t believe you did it that fast. Let me see!”

“Oh, s-sure…”

Naomi leaned over and put her hand on the mouse, scrolling down through the document Hanako had prepared. Each page had its different elements in place—photos, illustrations, captions, headlines. Each story’s text box was clearly formed and ready to be filled in, if it wasn’t already. Hanako had condensed the work of several days, for Naomi, into just an hour or so. Misha clapped and pointed excitedly at one section near the bottom: one that was mostly blank but bore the title Misha Mikado’s Cooking Corner in flowery, bright pink font.

“Aha~! There I am, Hacchan! That’s me~! Wahaha~! But—let me fix one thing, Naocchan!”

Taking the mouse and keyboard for a moment, Misha moved the cursor to the section’s title and changed it to just Misha’s Cooking Corner. Then, after a moment of thought, to Misha’s Delicious Cooking Corner!!

“You can’t put Mikado twice. It’s already there once!”

“Aha, I forgot…” Hanako said.

“Now all that’s left is to finish all the writing!” Naomi said. “We’re way ahead of schedule thanks to you, Hana. Shizune better notice when it comes out early!”

“I’ll make sure she sees it!” Misha said.

“That’s good… what were you guys w-working on today?” Hanako asked.

“Trying to nail down the editorial on the… roof incident,” Natsume said.

“Ah…”

A moment of silence followed, the girls all hesitant to comment on that subject.

“It’s hard to decide how much information to include about him. Shizune shared some records, so I could write some things about him that we never learned while he was here, but… I don’t know if people want to think about that, or if they might think it’s disrespectful to share details about him that he never did while he was… with us. Anyways…” Natsume continued.

“Anyways~! I did this!” Misha proclaimed, slamming a few sheafs of paper down in Hanako’s lap.

Hanako and Naomi tried to decipher the papers, shuffling through them briefly. The first one looked like Misha had started off by listing ingredients, giving vague measurements such as “handfuls” of rice or “some” salt, then just stopped the list partway through to do other things. Most of the space consisted of simple pictures, depicting different steps in the process of making onigiri… if one looked hard enough. The last page was simply a huge drawing of an onigiri, with much more detail than anything prior, and a big smiley face next to it.

“Uhh! It’s a good start, Misha! I think it’ll turn out really well!” Naomi said.

“Thanks, Naocchan~!”

“M-Misha… I like your ideas, b-but… this is a bit, erm… scattered…”

Hanako scrolled briefly up and down the document again, passing over the section allocated for Misha’s cooking column.

“We can’t really fit so many p-pictures… maybe just one, if it’s sm-small. So you need… more wr-writing…”

“Whoops~! I guess I didn’t really think about that. Writing is a lot harder, so I decided to just draw everything first! Wahaha~!”

“It’s okay. I’ll help you with it.”

“Thanks~! I’m sure I can do it with you, Hacchan!”

“Mmhmm.”

“Okay, welp,” Natsume said, her voice drifting over from the middle of the room, “these old bones need some rest. Think I’m going to call it a day. You?”

“Yeah, I’m ready to head back. I think we did good work for today. Mainly thanks to you, Hanako!” Naomi said.

“N-no, it was…”

Misha put a hand on Hanako’s shoulder as her voice trailed off.

“She’s right, Hacchan. You’re super amazing, of course~! You guys can all go back if you want, but I wanna do more work! I feel like we just started, and I totally messed up on my part. There’s no way I can quit yet!”

“Sheesh, really? Well, suit yourself. Room’s not going anywhere,” Natsume said.

Hanako glanced between Naomi and Natsume, the former of which was helping the latter slowly stand up, and Misha, trying to decide what she wanted to do. Ultimately, it was an easy choice. One place had Misha in it, the other didn’t. Plus, if she let Misha try to do more “work” on her own, she probably wouldn’t make any actual progress. Part of Hanako was afraid of what might happen to her carefully formatted document if Misha were left alone at the keyboard with it…

“Okay, Naomi, N-Natsume. Good night. I’m going to stay with M-Misha.”

“Great, great! I was hoping you’d stay, Hacchan. I’ll definitely need your help. I guess I’m just kinda used to working all night from hanging out with Shicchan! Wahaha~!”

“I do think you’re one of the only people with enough energy to keep up with her, Misha. I don’t know how you do it, but I’m glad you can. I’ll look forward to seeing your column tomorrow!” Naomi said.

“Night!” Natsume added as they exited the room.

“Hm, hm~, well. What now, Hacchan? Hmmm~?”

Hanako heard a bit of an odd note in Misha’s voice, even for her. It sounded almost like—suddenly Misha’s lips were on hers, leaning down and turning her head to the side. It was surprising, and surprisingly good.

“Mwah~! Sneak attack! Wahaha~!”

“S-so bad…” Hanako said, mock pouting at Misha.

Misha’s hand ran from her face down her shoulder, then her side to her waist, fingers pressing firmly against Hanako’s skin.

“You know, Hacchan… I could jump your bones right now,” Misha said suggestively.

Hanako felt the brush of those pink curls against her neck, Misha’s hand on her hip, heat rising in her cheeks. It was tempting, sorely tempting…

“M-Misha… we’re supposed to be, b-be… working…” Hanako said, resisting the urge to kiss Misha again. “We can’t do, uhh… st-stuff, in here…”

“Hmmphh~! Such a square, Hacchan, such a square! But~! You’re right, of course. I’ll get you later! Ahaha~!” Misha said, sliding her hand over to Hanako’s back and scratching it idly. “Should I sit down, or~?”

“Sure, Misha. Sit here. I’ll show you how to wr-write… but first, I, uhh…”

“…You?” Misha prompted, switching with Hanako so that she was sitting in the computer chair and Hanako was standing over her.

“…I want to ask you s-something, Misha.”

“Okay, Hacchan. Anything~!”

“How many, m-many… how many g-girlfriends did you have b-before?”

Misha stared at Hanako for a moment, then burst out into a brief peal of laughter.

“M-Misha! You, you don’t have to answer… and if you do, I’ll t-tell you something too…”

“Oh~, so it’s like a game? Like, twenty questions? What will you tell me, Hacchan, hm~?”

“Ah, well, s-something about… about my l-life, too.”

“Alright. Sure~! Let me see, I’ve had three girlfriends before you!”

“Th-three?!”

“What? How many was I supposed to say, Hacchan?”

“Ah, I don’t know, it just…”

“Does it seem like a lot? I guess maybe it is. Maybe~! I hope it doesn’t bother you, Hacchan.”

“N-no, it’s not that, I… well… t-tell me about them… ?”

“Of course~! One of them was my classmate when I was very young. We liked to hold hands sometimes, so one day the other kids said that we were girlfriends, because that was what girlfriends do. That was the first time I learned about dating, and began to think that I could have special friends, that were more than only friends. But we were still very young, so we didn’t do any naughty stuff.”

“Does that… c-count? If you weren’t…”

“Hm~. Maybe not, Hacchan. But it counts to me! Anyways~! When I was in middle school, then I had two more girlfriends. And they were real ones! One of them was very shy, and very cute. You remind me of her. I would always look at her in class and try to talk to her during recess. It took a long time, but~! I got her to like me, and we began to date. But when the rest of the school found out, it became gossip, and she became very embarrassed, so~. We had to break up.”

“Misha… I’m s-sorry. That’s terrible…”

“Hm? Not really~. I felt very bad for her, because she cried about it, but~. I wasn’t bothered. I was just sad that I couldn’t see her anymore. We didn’t date very long anyways. So because of that~, when I found another girlfriend, who was another girl in my class, we were very secret. We always had to find places to be alone together, so that we could do… you know. Fun stuff!”

“Fun… stuff?”

Misha gave Hanako a look that explained exactly what that meant.

“O-oh… that must have been h-hard.”

“Nah~. It was fun! It was like a game! And~! It made it exciting. We did stuff in some weird places, Hacchan. We really liked each other, but we couldn’t let people find out, so we didn’t talk a whole lot or see each other too often. That was when I learned what to do with other girls, but when I moved away to Yamaku, I realized I never even knew very much about her. It made me a little sad. So~, I’m glad that we’re making sure to talk about our lives with each other!”

“M-me too. So how did you… how did you kn-know?”

“Hm~? What do you mean, how did I know what?”

“How did you know… that they l-liked you?”

“Oh? Well~, sometimes you can just tell! But you can’t really really know, so~, you just have to try anyways. You’ll never know for sure if you don’t try, Hacchan!”

“Like, l-like when…”

“Like when we kissed, Hacchan? Ahaha~! Yes, yes~! We just stayed around each other long enough that we knew, right? Right~?”

“I guess, y-yeah. Aha… I always liked g-girls, but, I never knew how, err, how to… get a g-girlfriend…”

“Well~! Now you do! Sort of, anyways. It’s not really a special secret. You just hang out with the person you like and do… do what feels natural!”

“Mmm.”

“So you only like other girls, Hacchan? You never liked to look at boys?”

“N-no, I… I don’t like boys.”

“I thought so, because of what you said, that you are too shy around them, but~! I didn’t know if maybe that was because you really like them!”

“No, not at all. I really… I’ve never r-really even had a regular friend that was a boy, I don’t th-think.”

“Huh. Really, Hacchan?”

“Really… what about you?”

“I actually did have one boyfriend! So I guess I can like a boy or a girl. It just depends!”

“And… h-how was that?”

“We were only together for a couple weeks, I think! He was my best friend, who I would talk to every day, about lots of things. I even told him which people I liked or that I didn’t like, and he was always willing to listen, no matter how long I talked for. I liked that, because I could tell that some people got tired of me very fast. Then~, one day he confessed to me. I said yes, because I couldn’t reject him, but…”

“You didn’t… r-really like him.”

“No, Hacchan. Not really~. We tried to kiss one time, and… it was really bad, and didn’t feel right at all. So I had to tell him that we would go back to being friends. It was weird, and hard for a while, but eventually we became like we were before. We never really talked about it, we just…”

“You j-just kept going.”

“Yeah, Hacchan. We just kept on like we had before, until it was over, and until we met other people.”

“It sounds like… maybe, you don’t r-really like boys that much, Misha.”

“Oh, I had more crushes on other boys, Hacchan! I liked looots~ of boys! But~! Because of the different class that I was in, and that people didn’t like to talk to us, I could never get close to any of them. I was too scared to talk to them, or if I tried to, they only wanted to stay away from me. That’s okay, though. I still met people I could be with anyways. Like you~!”

Misha took Hanako’s hand and pecked the top of it, not being able to reach her face at the moment.

“You have, uhh… you h-have had a lot more people… in your life, than I have, M-Misha.”

“Yeah~. I hate it when I’m not with people, so… I think I fit a lot more people time into my life than normal.”

“I wish I could be like th-that, because… well, I guess I will tell you about my l-life, like I pr-promised…”

Hanako motioned for Misha to push the computer chair away from its desk. Once she did so, Hanako sat down in her lap, wrapping her arms around Misha and resting her head on Misha’s shoulder. Misha moved a hand instinctively to Hanako’s hair, running her fingers through it.

“After… after the ac-accident, I went to an orphanage… it was… I remember that, for a long t-time, I would barely talk. I saw a th-therapist, but I didn’t want to talk to h-him. Instead, I just wanted to read. The or-orphanage, it had a little library, so I would sit there all day. I think the staff were okay with it, because it made me easy to h-handle… they could leave me alone and I wouldn’t cause any tr-trouble.”

“Hacchan! Really? They just left you all alone like that?!”

“N-no, Misha, at first… they tried to talk to me, or to have me, make fr-friends with other kids there… but I didn’t want to. So they… they were nice, but, they couldn’t make me ch-change, when I didn’t want to.”

“That sounds awful, Hacchan. Really awful~. How could you stand it? You didn’t make any~ friends at all?”

“Not really… I always thought, I thought… my life was on hold during that time. I wasn’t… I wasn’t happy, but I could exist, and be o-okay. Most of the t-time. You know, M-Misha, I stayed in the library a lot here, too… before… b-before I started talking to you.”

“I know, Hacchan. I can kinda see how it’s fun to be in a hidden place, away from stuff, but… even when I was in the library, I think I really had fun because I was there with you. I don’t think I could be happy only being there alone.”

“It’s okay, M-Misha. It’s just how you are. It’s a good thing… I sh-should have left more, sooner… I always wanted to, but…”

“I guess it’s hard to change when you grew up always being a certain way, isn’t it? I still talk funny, just because of how I learned when I was little, after all. Wahaha~.”

“Yeah… thank you, Misha.”

“For what, Hacchan~?”

“For… because… be-because I don’t… I don’t feel like my life is on hold, anymore.”

Hanako nuzzled her face into Misha’s neck and squeezed her torso; Misha kissed the top of her head in return.

“Aww~. I’m glad, Hacchan.”

“As long… as l-long as I’m with you, I think… I feel b-better. N-not since that d-day, I don’t think I was ever really h-happy again. Just… okay, sometimes. But now, I think… m-maybe I can be happy again.”

“Hmm~. Well, I hope so, Hacchan. I hope~! I’m really happy when you’re around, I know that, so~! It’s only fair if you’re happy too! Wahaha~!”

“Mmhmm.”

“Anyways~! You must have talked to some other kids in middle school, right, right~? At least a little?”

“Well… I t-talked to some, but… not… in a g-good way. I was… I got b-bullied at school, a lot, because… because of my, my sc-scars, and because I was very… I wouldn’t f-fight it, so, they knew they could just keep g-going. It’s like… you said it h-happened to you, too, right? Because… you were different?”

“Well… yeah, but, I dunno. It’s different. It never… it bothered me, but~, I thought I could deal with it, too. I had friends from my class and we were together through it. And I pushed people back if they did it too much. I think you, maybe for you, it would be… worse.”

“Mmm… m-maybe, Misha. It was r-really bad, yeah… a lot of people would s-say I was cursed, because of what happened to me, so… they would say that it was bad l-luck to talk to me. Other kids would st-steal my things, or ig-ignore me in group works, or… just little th-things, like, bumping me on p-purpose…”

“Yeah, I can remember stuff like that, too. One time I was in the bathroom and other girls tried to push my head into the toilet and flush it on me. They said I was… I was crap, so I belonged in the toilet bowl. I remember~, I gave one of them a black eye, and I pulled the other one’s hair so hard she bled from her head. I got in sooo~ much trouble, but~, those girls didn’t try to touch me again.”

“I wish… I w-wish I could have been str-strong, like that, Misha… people, they would even, they called me b-b-bacon g-girl, because… I h-hated that name the most…”

“Bac—Hacchan! That’s so horrible! I wish I could say, ‘I can’t believe people would be so mean,’ but~… middle school kids were really mean, yeah… no one here has ever said anything like that to you, have they?”

“N-no. Everyone here… well, n-no one has ever bullied me here, like… like be-before.”

“That’s good, Hacchan, it’s good~. If anyone ever does! You just tell me, and I’ll bust their lip, I will~!”

“Aha… okay. Th-thanks, Misha. But… the l-last thing, that I have to t-tell you, is… I think… I th-think one reason I don’t like b-boys, is because there was a gr-group of them, who were the very w-worst, and would never l-l-leave me alone, even if I was cr-crying… a couple times, they would push me down on the p-pavement when it was h-hot, and hold my left s-side on it, because they said… that I was only d-done on one side, so they had to c-cook the other one…”

“Hacchan…”

“That left m-marks, so they had to st-stop it, but… there were… there were, other th-things, too… that didn’t leave m-marks…”

“…That’s okay, Hacchan. That’s enough. You don’t have to tell me any more.”

“Okay, not… not tonight.”

“Not at all, Hacchan. Not if you don’t want to. You don’t have to think about that stuff, ever again, okay?”

“N-n-no, Misha, you don’t… you don’t g-get it. Not yet…”

Misha pushed Hanako’s head out slightly from its resting place on her shoulder, so she could look her in the eyes. She had expected to see tears there, or at least some kind of expression of remorse or sadness, but… Hanako’s face was blank, like she just felt nothing. Like talking about this had simply made her go numb to any and all emotion. Misha thought that this was possibly even worse than if she were crying about it… not wanting to keep looking at it, she pulled Hanako’s head back into her shoulder, where it rested gratefully.

“Hacchan… is this… why you’re so… so angry, sometimes?” Misha asked.

“It’s… y-yes, Misha. I think… it’s p-part of it…”

“…I see… well… today, you got angry, but~… you sort of, held it in?”

“Mmm… I guess… I m-made myself sit and w-work, until it went aw-away.”

“I’m glad you could do that, Hacchan~. You know, you can talk to me, if you’re really angry about something? Right~?”

“I c-can, but, M-Misha… I really h-hate, hearing myself, when I’m… like th-that…”

“Okay, Hacchan. Whatever you think is best. You know…”

“Hm?”

“…We really haven’t done any work at all. Wahaha~!”

“Ahh! You’re right! I guess… we got a bit c-carried away, with talking…”

“I think it’s okay, Hacchan. It was a good talk. I’m really glad to learn more things about you. Aren’t you?”

“… Of course, M-Misha. We can still… do some st-stuff…”

“Like what kind of stuff~?”

“…L-like, computer w-work! That’s what I meant!”

“Suuure~, Hacchan, sure. I believe you! Let’s do that… if that’s what you want! Wahaha~!”

“…M-maybe it can wait until tomorrow…”

“…Maybe we should just go back to my room, hm~, Hacchan?” Misha asked, rubbing one of Hanako’s thighs gently.

“Mmhmm…”

“Ha~! I knew I’d get you eventually! Let’s go, Hacchan! To the bedroom!”

“M-M-Misha! Not so l-loud!”

“Ahahahaha~!”

Chapter 36 | Chapter 38
Last edited by Hanako Fancopter on Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:38 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Hanako Fancopter
Posts: 148
Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 6:27 pm

Re: An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako)

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Thu Aug 30, 2018 4:34 pm

Chapter 38

“Okay, Hacchan~. Everything’s ready! You can come in!”

Hanako slowly pushed open the door to Lilly’s room, receiving a light round of applause led by Misha. Given that there were only three people in the room, it wasn’t terribly loud or overbearing, but it still caused her to retreat back into the hallway with a surprised yelp.

“Hey! Come back!” Akira called after her.

“Yeah, we won’t clap this time! Promise~!” Misha added.

“…P-pinky swear?” came Hanako’s voice from the open doorway.

“Pinky swear,” Lilly said.

Hanako appeared in the doorway again, this time accosted and pulled inside by Misha before she could get away.

“Surprise~! Happy birthday, Hana-chan~!!” Misha said, hugging her so hard that she had trouble responding.

“B-but we… planned this…”

“I think Misha just wanted to say ‘surprise,’” Akira suggested.

“Goodness, Misha. Let her breathe,” Lilly said.

“Hmph~. Okay! But only for a bit!” Misha conceded, ending the hug but keeping a hold on Hanako’s hand, which she used to tug her into the center of the room.

Lilly sat on the floor, clad in black pajamas, while Akira stood next to her, still wearing her suit from the day’s work. Misha was somewhere in between, wearing a skirt and a sweater imprinted with a couple English words and the year “2004” in Western numerals. Positioned between all of them and only wearing her usual pink nightgown, Hanako covered her scars and stepped back a pace, feeling a bit self-conscious.

“S-sorry that I didn’t dress up m-more…” she said.

“Hey, I’m jealous, personally. If I didn’t have to go back in after this, I’d be right there with you on the pajamas,” Akira said.

“You still have to work? But… it’s night time, Akira!” Misha protested.

“Told you guys I couldn’t stop by for too long. This is an especially busy time of year for us, so I’m on call pretty much around the clock,” Akira said.

“All the time? When do you sleep?!” Misha asked.

Akira laughed and scratched the back of her head.

“Eheh… that’s a good question, isn’t it…”

“Thanks for coming to see me, even when you’re so b-busy,” Hanako said, taking a seat for herself on Lilly’s bed. Misha plopped down next to her right away, taking her hand and humming happily.

“No trouble. Well, maybe a little trouble, but you’re worth it. Besides, I wanted to see you before… I’ll just let Lilly tell you.”

“You see, our aunt has fallen gravely ill this week. Our aunt who lives in Inverness,” Lilly explained.

“In… Sc-Scotland…” Hanako continued.

“…That’s correct. Our parents have summoned us back there, for a short time, while the situation… works itself through.”

“Oh no! Lilly! Is she going to be okay?!” Misha asked, leaning forward.

“…We’re not sure. It’s something we just have to take one day at a time. That’s why it’s so sudden, and why we must leave so soon.”

“Soon? How s-soon?” Hanako asked.

“Two days,” Akira said. “We’re not sure how long we’ll be gone. Shouldn’t be more than a couple of weeks, though.”

“So… this is also a going-away event, of sorts,” Lilly said.

“Hey! This was supposed to be Hacchan’s party, not you guys. That’s not very fair, to change it at the last minute!” Misha protested.

“M-Misha! It’s fine, it’s… I don’t m-mind. I think… maybe it’s b-better this way. I don’t want a p-party that’s only for me anyways…” Hanako said.

“Thanks, Hanako. It is nice for everyone to get a party, I guess. Parties to go around—that’s a mentality I can get behind,” Akira said.

“Hm~… Do I get one?” Misha asked.

“You’re lucky, Misha. You’re gonna get a party all to yourself when your birthday comes around!” Akira said.

“That’s okay… I’ll give you h-half of mine,” Hanako said.

She leaned over to Misha and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.

“Th-there. Now it’s your party t-too.”

“Mmm! Thanks Hacchan~!” Misha said, bouncing a bit as if Hanako had genuinely passed some kind of energy on to her.

“Right. We’re all… partiers now, I suppose. With that being the case, perhaps we should open a case… Akira?” Lilly said.

“Slow down there, champ. If you start too early, you won’t last the night!” Akira said with a laugh.

“I’ll make sure to… well, this time, it’s split three ways,” Lilly said with a slight pout.

“Remember my ‘special tea blend?’” Akira started, taking a suspicious bag off the dresser. “Voila!” she finished, pulling a fancy-looking glass bottle out of it.

Even though she’d never had any, Misha recognized the dark red liquid as wine. Her mother had certainly had some every now and then.

“Cheers, Hanako! Here’s to a birthday night you won’t remember!” Akira said, twisting the top off and holding the bottle aloft in celebration.

“I won’t… r-remember?!” Hanako asked frightfully.

“Ah, I just meant, when people drink too much… they forget, you know? I’m kidding, of course. I just wanted to use that line. Please, uhh… don’t actually drink that much.”

A dark look passed over Akira’s face, a moment of severity that caught both Hanako and Misha unawares, even scaring them a little. While Lilly couldn’t see it, she could likely hear it in her sister’s voice.

“I’m serious. Between three people, one bottle shouldn’t be able to do any harm, but… pace yourselves, and drink water. And don’t feel like you have to finish the whole thing.”

“You aren’t drinking, Akira?” Hanako asked.

“Nope. Gotta drive. It’s all yours!”

“Try some, Hacchan~! The birthday girl should go first!” Misha said.

“Ah… maybe in a min-minute…”

“Well. I suppose it won’t hurt if I have the first taste, then?” Lilly said, holding out her hand.

Akira gave her a look, then another one to Hanako and Misha, as if to say: “Watch her for me.” Taking one of several glasses from the dresser, Akira poured some of the wine out for Lilly—only filling the glass about a third of the way full.

“Thank you, Akira. Would you care for some, Misha?” Lilly asked, taking her first sip without delay.

“Aha~! Lilly, you drink it just like tea, after all! With your pinky and stuff! Wahaha~!” Misha said.

“And what is wrong with having a little refinement in one’s manners?” Lilly asked rhetorically.

“Yeah, let’s make sure you can keep it ‘refined,’ huh?” Akira followed up, turning her defense into a warning.

“Akira, I’m an adult now. I’ll be fine,” Lilly said, sounding slightly annoyed. “Now, this is supposed to be a party. Let’s treat it like one. Here, Misha. Try it,” Lilly said, holding her wine glass forward.

Misha took the glass and threw it back, draining all of the remaining contents, only to spit some of it out with a series of coughs. Hanako and Lilly both regarded her with concern, the former immediately rubbing her back to try and help with the coughs, but Akira simply broke out into laughter.

“…Haha, sorry, it’s just—yeah, that’s not… how you do it,” Akira said, retrieving some paper towels from Lilly’s desk for Misha to wipe down her face and shirt.

“I didn’t think it was that bad… in fact, I thought it was rather good…” Lilly mused.

“She tried to dr-drink it all at once, Lilly,” Hanako explained. “Are you okay?” she asked Misha.

“Ick!! I, I dunno! How do I look?!” Misha asked, shaking her head a bit as she finished wiping the last dribbles of wine off her cheeks. “Am I… am I drunk yet?!”

Akira snickered.

“With that technique? You just might be! Here, try this,” Akira said, holding up a finger and moving it slowly back and forth. “Follow my finger. See if you can track it with your eyes.”

“Okay! Okay~! I’m doing it~!” Misha said excitedly.

“Hmm… I dunno. I’m not seeing your eyes move at all. That’s a classic symptom of drunk-ness. In fact, I think we might need to go ahead and put you to bed, just to be safe,” Akira said.

“Really, really~!? I’m moving them! I promise~!”

“Don’t listen to her,” Lilly said. “Let’s not mock them on their first night, Akira. It’s not so immediate, Misha. You’ll need to drink more of it. And… you’re not supposed to drink it all at once, either.”

“You’re not? I swear I’ve seen people do that, though! Maybe it’s an American thing~!”

“No, I’m pretty sure those are called ‘shots,’ and you don’t need to be doing them just yet. That’s not how you drink wine anyways,” Akira said.

“S-so… you drink different, for different drinks?” Hanako asked. “I guess that makes s-sense…” she answered herself.

“Pretty much. This, just drink it like you would anything. Smaller sips are probably better. And if you don’t like it, no big. It’s, ahh… what’s the expression? It’s an acquired taste.”

“Okay. Let me try,” Hanako said.

Akira poured a new glass for Lilly, then a smaller amount into another glass for Hanako and Misha to sample. Hanako took a tiny sip, barely wetting her lips, as if afraid of the wine burning her face. This fear was somewhat vindicated when she followed up with a proper tasting, frowning and smacking her lips several times in distaste.

“Eeeh… it kinda b-burns… but… it’s okay, I guess,” Hanako decided.

“Yeah~, it really does, huh? Hmm…”

Taking her turn, Misha matched Lilly’s proper form, extending her pinky and arching her back in an attempt to look more ladylike. Hanako held back a laugh while watching expectantly for the results.

“…It’s not so bad~! Not when you drink it right!” Misha decided, taking in the last of the glass with another sip. “It kinda burns your tummy too. But it’s like… a weird burn! Wahaha~!” Misha said, rubbing her stomach for emphasis.

“I guess you’ll take a glass, then. Hanako?” Akira asked, pouring Misha a glass and then holding the bottle over another in anticipation of Hanako’s answer.

“Uhh…”

“Come on, Hacchan~! It’s your birthday, or~! Your birthday party! You’ve got to celebrate and have fun with us!” Misha implored.

“Ah… o-okay,” Hanako said.

“There we are,” Akira said, passing her a drink as well.

“Well, now that we are all situated. Shall we open presents?” Lilly asked.

“Ah… okay…” Hanako said, blushing slightly.

“Well, you already opened mine,” Akira said, nodding at the wine bottle.

“Th-thank you, Akira.”

“What good would I be if I didn’t buy for my little sis and her friends? Ahaha…” Akira said, her laughter growing a bit nervous halfway through.

“When you met Akira and I at the Shanghai, we were actually together to go gift shopping for you, Hanako. Akira helped me pick this out. I think you will enjoy it,” Lilly said, reaching to a nearby drawer and pulling an item out of it. The doll looked old—not old in chronological age, perhaps, but in its style, a thing of porcelain and lace that nonetheless managed to avoid the unsettling aspect that such antique items often carried. It wore a dainty dress with a sun hat, its hair nearly the same shade of blonde as Lilly’s. Hanako held it for a moment with clear adoration.

“Aww~! It’s so pretty, Lilly!” Misha remarked, unconsciously reaching a hand halfway out as if she wanted to hold it too.

“Thanks, Lilly. I’ll… I’ll tr-treasure it,” Hanako said, holding it close to her chest and hugging it for a moment.

“Alright, now~! Take a look at this!” Misha said, clapping her hands together before opening another drawer. “Me and Naocchan and Natsu-chan talked about this a bunch and put our money together to buy it! They said happy birthday, even though they’re not here. So~, we hope you like it, Hacchan!”

“M-M-Misha… you sh-shouldn’t have…”

“No takesie backsies~! Wahaha~!”

Hanako accepted the gift with shaking hands: a brand new laptop, the packaging still unopened. It was a smaller “notebook” style machine with a price and specifications matching the limited funds of the high schoolers who bought it. It wouldn’t be good for much more than Internet browsing and writing in Word but that was more than enough for Hanako. The box had a note taped to it that read: “From the Newspaper Club, to our star member. Happy birthday Hanako!”

“M-Misha… you can’t give me th-this…” Hanako said, her voice trembling “It’s too m-much…”

“Nonsense,” Akira said.

“I mean it, Hacchan. No taker backers~! It’s not just~ good for you, you know. This way~, you can write on your baby computer, and Naocchan can work on the big one. So it’s better for everyone!” Misha said.

“I guess… that’s tr-true…”

“Besides~! I wouldn’t know what to do with it even if I took it. I can’t do anything on a computer! Wahaha~!”

“Aha, y-yeah…”

Hanako hugged the box to her chest just as tightly as the doll, setting it back alongside Lilly’s gift.

“I knew that you had a little computer already, but it broke, so~! I really knew you would like this, but I didn’t have enough money for it myself. Really, Naocchan paid for most of it. I think her parents are rich! Ahaha~!” Misha said.

“You had one already, Hanako? I don’t recall that,” Lilly said.

“Y-yeah, I used to… I only had it for my first y-year here. I mean, I still have it somewhere, but like Misha said, it broke, so…”

“Hey, that’s pretty neat. I didn’t get one until I needed it for work. Most kids still don’t have them, I don’t think. How’d you get it?” Akira asked.

“When I left, the or-orphanage… they had it left over from s-somewhere. I had been there a long time, and at the end I was helping them take care of sm-smaller kids, and… and I liked using it, so… they let me h-have it. But it was already old then… so it didn’t last very much longer.”

“Well~! Now it has a baby sister to keep going instead!” Misha said.

“A sister? How did we decide on the computer’s sex, Misha?” Lilly asked.

“What? Well, it’s Hacchan’s, and she’s a girl, of course. Just like~, with boobs! You call them girls, because they’re on girls! Wahaha~!”

Akira looked down at her chest, as if contemplating the idea of boobs as “girls.”

“I guess that makes as much sense as anything else,” she acknowledged.

“I just had to ask…” Lilly said, shaking her head a bit.

“Heehee… I think it’s a cute i-idea,” Hanako said.

“I mean, you’re a bit biased. You’re probably a pretty big fan of Misha’s ‘girls,’ huh?” Akira asked.

“Akira!” Lilly interjected.

“Sorry! You’d think I’d know better, when I’m not even drinking…” Akira sheepishly.

“Wahaha~!”

Hanako had indeed covered her scars and shrunk back slightly at the remark. After a moment, though, she looked sheepishly up at Akira… and nodded.

“Aha! Vindication!” Akira said.

“My my…” Lilly said, taking a longer drink as an admission of defeat.

“What about the… w-wine?” Hanako asked. “Is it a girl too?”

“Hm~. I dunno, Hacchan! We’re girls drinking it, but~! Maybe boys made it and sold it! Hmm, hmm~!” Misha hummed, tapping her chin thoughtfully.

“Okay, I can’t deal with it if we’re gonna spend the whole night assigning sexes to things. How about a game?” Akira suggested. “I think I have time for something before I leave, if we make it quick.”

“Oh yeah~! Every party needs games!” Misha agreed.

“A drinking game?” Lilly asked, with a hint of hope.

Akira smirked at her, even though—or perhaps because—she couldn’t see it.

“Nice try. No, I don’t think we need any drinking games here. Just something simple and fun. Although, come to think of it… all the games I know are drinking games… crap…” Akira mused.

“What about the k-king game?” Hanako asked.

“Goodness, Hanako. That’s a brave suggestion,” Lilly said. “What if you have to do something… untoward?”

“You wouldn’t make me do an-anything bad, would y-you?” Hanako pleaded.

“Never, Hacchan~! We could never!” Misha assured her.

“Don’t be fooled, she’s just scared she’ll have to do something weird,” Akira said.

The resulting pout from Lilly confirmed this accusation.

“How about this? Birthday girl is the king—or, the queen. For the first round, anyways. That only seems fair,” Akira said.

“Great idea, Akira! It’s decided!” Misha agreed, rummaging through Lilly’s desk for a sheet of paper and a pen.

“Ah, I don’t know if…” Hanako started.

“I think you’ll be a fine queen, Hanako,” Lilly said. “Like you said… you wouldn’t ask anything unreasonable of us… right?”

“Even if it’s bad, you have to do it, Lilly. For sure~! Those are the rules!” Misha said, tearing the paper into three pieces and writing the appropriate numbers on them. She handed them to Akira, who shuffled them up before passing them out, whispering Lilly’s number to her. Two sets of eyes looked expectantly to Hanako, who stuttered and fidgeted with her hands.

“Come on, Hacchan, come on~!” Misha implored, poking her thigh repeatedly.

“Don’t rush her,” Lilly said.

“O-okay, umm… n-number two, you have to! To, to k-kiss the queen!” Hanako decided.

Akira whistled.

“Welp, not me.”

“Or me~! That must mean…”

Lilly scrunched her face up, her expression inscrutable.

“Ahh! Misha, y-you!” Hanako said, slapping her shoulder lightly.

“What, Hacchan, what?! I wish it was me, but it’s just not!”

“You kept… tapping m-me! Two times! Like th-this!” Hanako said, poking Misha’s side twice in rapid succession, as if making morse code on her body.

“Huh~?”

“Man, what a screw-up. I don’t think she meant anything by that,” Akira said, snickering a little. “Well, let’s say we don’t have to do that one, huh?”

“No, I… I’ll do it. We all agreed on the game. We can’t simply… cast it aside,” Lilly said, a bit hesitant, but resolved.

“Hmm~. Okay, well! Not on the lips~!” Misha insisted, frowning slightly.

“M-Misha! Of course n-not!” Hanako said. “I’ll come down th-there, Lilly…”

This really shouldn’t be an issue, Hanako thought—Lilly used to kiss her every time they hugged, which for a good while, was pretty much every day. It had never seemed like a big deal but now, with such attention drawn to the act and Misha watching on… it just felt different, somehow. Yet Lilly waited expectantly on the floor, back leaned against the dresser and empty wine glass held in her hand. Hanako looked down at her own glass and finished it off, then set it atop the dresser before crawling down next to Lilly.

“Okay, Lilly… I’m here,” Hanako said, placing a hand on her shoulder.

Lilly smiled, turning towards her and embracing her. Hanako tensed momentarily, not expecting the hug, then allowed herself to settle into it. She placed a reciprocal hand on Lilly’s back as Lilly kissed her gently on her forehead, just as she had done so many times before.

“Happy birthday, Hanako,” Lilly said.

“Th-thanks Lilly.”

Lilly gave Hanako a final squeeze before releasing her.

“Back to you, Misha,” Lilly said, pushing slightly on Hanako’s shoulder.

“Yeah… yeah, back to me~!” Misha agreed, her arms crossed and her voice sounding slightly annoyed. Possibly for the first time since meeting her, Hanako realized… it was a weird sound, to hear Misha as not teasing or playful, but genuinely petulant for a moment.

“Eha, ha… maybe that’s enough of the king game, huh?” Akira said awkwardly.

Lilly held her glass out for more wine. Not to be undone, Misha gulped down the remainder of hers and matched the gesture.

“You pour it for ‘em, Hanako. I’m leaving these young ladies in your care, alright? Duty calls, and all that,” Akira said. “Happy birthday! Thanks for having me over!” she said, turning to the doorway with a hand held up.

“Ah… th-thank you, Akira!”

“Bye bye~!”

“Drive safe,” Lilly said.

Drink safe,” Akira responded.

Chapter 37 | Chapter 39
Last edited by Hanako Fancopter on Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:21 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:51 am

“When you met Akira and I at the Shanghai...
"Akira and me" - usually I don't point this one out in spoken language, but this is Lilly, and she always uses correct grammar.
Really, Naocchan paid for most of it. I think her parents are rich!
:shock:
“Aha! See! Vindication!” Akira said.
"See"?

All in all In this chapter I got the feeling that you were having characters act a bit too dense just to pad out the dialogues. For example when Hanako first is surprised that anyone got her presents (she has to know that this is what you do for birthday parties) and then complains that she didn't get anyone else presents when they literally decided to make this a farewell party also a few minutes ago.

Actually I've had this feeling for the last few chapters: Most of them seem to be a bit longer than they need to be...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Posts: 148
Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 6:27 pm

Re: An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako)

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Fri Aug 31, 2018 3:53 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:51 am
“When you met Akira and I at the Shanghai...
"Akira and me" - usually I don't point this one out in spoken language, but this is Lilly, and she always uses correct grammar.
Really, Naocchan paid for most of it. I think her parents are rich!
:shock:
“Aha! See! Vindication!” Akira said.
"See"?

All in all In this chapter I got the feeling that you were having characters act a bit too dense just to pad out the dialogues. For example when Hanako first is surprised that anyone got her presents (she has to know that this is what you do for birthday parties) and then complains that she didn't get anyone else presents when they literally decided to make this a farewell party also a few minutes ago.

Actually I've had this feeling for the last few chapters: Most of them seem to be a bit longer than they need to be...
Changed those lines. I'll read back over the chapters on this page and see if there is other redundant/unnecessary dialogue that could be shortened.

Hanako Fancopter
Posts: 148
Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 6:27 pm

Re: An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako)

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:36 pm

Cleaned up a bit more dialogue throughout the last few chapters.

---

Chapter 39

“Waha~, ahh… hit me~!” Misha said, holding her wine glass out expectantly.

“…Did you finish that already? I poured it only a moment ago…” Lilly asked.

“Whuh? Oh, uhh… hey, missus wine-chan, there you are~!”

Misha threw back the rest of the glass, punctuating her gulp with a hiccup.

“I guess… I guess I’m dr-drunk now, huh, Hacchan? Wahaha~…”

“I’d say so,” Lilly agreed.

“I don’t think you need any more…” Hanako said.

“But it’s not fair… we gotta… drink it alll upp…” Misha slurred.

“Not really, M-Misha… I don’t think we do…” Hanako said.

“But missus wine-chan, she’s so… so l-lonely. She doesn’t wanna be all alone in her bottle, Hacchan, you d-dummy… she wants to be right! Here!” Misha explained, patting Hanako’s stomach.

“I think you should be th-there…” Hanako said, cradling Misha’s head and pulling it gently into her lap.

“That’s naughty, Hacchan… very naughty!”

Misha’s hand fumbled its way over to Hanako’s thigh, sliding dangerously far up into her nightgown before Hanako smacked it away.

“We can be n-naughty now…” Misha said.

“M-Misha, Lilly’s right h-here!” Hanako reprimanded her.

Misha pouted.

“So? She can’t see us…”

“That’s—Misha! Don’t say th-that! You’re… you’re too dr-drunk!”

Lilly chuckled, her laugh louder and less restrained than usual.

“It’s no trouble, Hanako. If you’re that desperate… then, do what you must,” Lilly said.

Hanako’s eyes widened.

“Lilly… r-really?! What’s happened to you g-guys…”

“Missus wine-chan happened, of course,” Lilly said with another laugh. She used her other hand to pick up the bottle cradled next to her side, weighing its remaining liquid. “There may be one more round left. Takers?” she asked, going ahead and pouring another glass for herself.

Misha raised a hand silently. With eyes closed and the occasional hiccup jerking her chest, she lacked the energy to use her voice any more . Her empty glass had slipped halfway out of her grasp, looking like it might simply fall free at any moment. Hanako took it gingerly from her and set it on the floor.

“No, Misha, you don’t need any m-more…”

Misha slapped her knee in annoyance but offered no further protest, instead snuggling her head up into Hanako’s stomach.

“And you, Hanako? You don’t seem nearly so… affected,” Lilly observed.

“Mmm, I, I don’t know…”

Hanako closed her eyes and swayed her shoulders a bit.

“I do feel w-weird, like… sp-spinny? Is that… right?”

“Haha, yes, Hanako. ‘Spinny.’ That’s quite right. I’m feeling fairly ‘spinny’ myself, though not as much as Misha, I imagine.”

“I hope she’s okay…”

“You were good to cut her off. She’ll be fine, though sorry in the morning. I suppose we should’ve warned her more thoroughly before letting her appetite have its way.”

Lilly held the bottle up expectantly, waiting for Hanako to take it. The humming sensation in her head was… pleasant, in a way, but also disorienting. It was made more troubling by the presence of Misha halfway conscious in her lap, reminding her of how she didn’t want to end up if she kept going. But if she didn’t take the wine, Lilly would surely drink the rest for herself… Hanako remembered what Lilly had told her about Akira and alcohol. If it could happen to Akira, it could probably happen to her sister.

So she took the bottle from Lilly and poured the rest into her glass. Maybe she’d pour some of it out when she left… Lilly couldn’t see how much she actually drank anyways.

“That was rather a lot. I was hoping I’d get another glass out of it…” Lilly complained.

Even while intoxicated, nothing got past those ears. Though Lilly didn’t seem too terribly different from normal, all things considered. Less restrained, more outspoken, and with a habit of turning her head slightly and humming that was highly reminiscent of Misha… but that was about it. So far, at least.

“I suppose it is your birthday. You should have room for it, if you like. You seem like you’ve a ways to go before you end up like Misha,” Lilly said.

“Yeah… I let her have too m-much…” Hanako admitted, rubbing Misha’s head. A pleased purr of acknowledgment emanated from within the pink curls.

“It’s really more my fault… the alcohol was my idea, and I’ve a bit more knowledge of it. I should have watched you both more closely,” Lilly said.

“W-watched us?” Hanako asked, surprised by Lilly’s choice of words.

“Oh!” Lilly exclaimed, putting a hand to her mouth and laughing. “I suppose it’s finally doing its job,” she said, swirling the wine in her glass. “Well, I’m happy you’re still here to watch over me, Hanako.”

“Ah, okay… but you don’t have to w-watch, or, err, w-worry about me, L-Lilly.”

“Don’t be silly, Hanako. It’s your first time trying this. It’s my responsibility to make sure you don’t follow in Misha’s footsteps.”

“B-but… what if… what if I w-wanted to drink a lot, L-Lilly?”

Lilly frowned.

“Why ever would you want to do that?”

“I don’t kn-know… you know, Lilly, y-you…”

Hanako’s voice recovered from its stutter, gaining confidence.

“Y-you don’t have to worry about me so m-much, Lilly,” Hanako said.

Lilly frowned.

“And where is this coming from, Hanako?”

“Fr-from… from al-always! You always tr-treat me, like, like I’ll just get hurt so e-easily…”

Lilly took a long drink from her glass, unsure how to respond to that.

“I kn-know… you were a-asking Naomi, and Natsume, if I’d still go to cl-class and stuff…” Hanako continued.

Lilly sighed.

“Guilty, I suppose. I tried not to allow it to… well, I apologize, Hanako, if you feel that I’ve been overprotective. I just hope you understand how I feel, as well. I… really do not like to see you hurt.”

“Wh-why don’t you just let me, let me w-worry me about getting h-hurt? It’s my pr-problem…”

Lilly shook her head.

“It’s not your problem, Hanako. Not only yours. It’s like… imagine if you saw something bad happen to Misha. How would you feel, if she told you not to be concerned about it?”

“Ah, I…”

Hanako took a drink for herself.

“I… I guess I understand, L-Lilly. I’ll try not to let it b-bother me, then…”

“That’s very considerate of you, Hanako. I’ll do my best not to be too overbearing, as well. Hanako, I do think, if you’ll let me speak my mind…”

“Yes, L-Lilly?”

“I do think you’re… stronger, now. I can’t imagine having this conversation with you a year ago.”

Hanako allowed herself a smile.

“Yeah… th-thanks, Lilly… so, uhh, you seem like you… well, you… kn-know… about dr-drinking?” Hanako probed.

“I do live with my sister. Or, I did,” Lilly pointed out.

“B-but, uhh, like… maybe you dr-drank, before, too…”

Lilly laughed.

“It’s nothing to be ashamed of, Hanako. Akira claims to prefer beer. In truth, she used to drink wine more often, but… I did get into her stock one night, and perhaps got a little carried away. She knows I can’t stand beer, and ever since, that’s all she would buy.”

“Were you… like th-this?” Hanako asked, holding up one of Misha’s drills from its resting place in her lap.

“Worse. Akira had to hold my head while I threw up in the bathroom… more than once. I believe I ended up sleeping in the bath tub after she washed me down. It was… not my proudest moment.”

“That’s kind of sc-scary, Lilly. Do you really want to dr-drink again… after that?”

Lilly shrugged.

“If I didn’t, it’s a bit late now, isn’t it?”

“Aha… yeah…”

Misha punctuated the lull in conversation with a loud snore. Lilly snorted in laughter while Hanako looked down at her girlfriend incredulously.

“…Perhaps we should put her to bed,” Lilly suggested.

“Yeah, probably… come on, M-Misha… let’s get up…”

Misha mumbled something followed by the shadow of a “Wahaha~!”, looking up blearily as Hanako shook her awake. She managed to take her feet with a little more cajoling, although she had to lean heavily on Hanako in order to keep them. They made it halfway to the door before Hanako lost her balance from the combined burden of Misha and her own tipsiness, slamming into the dresser and nearly falling on top of Lilly.

“Oh dear! Is everything alright? Do you need help with her?” Lilly asked.

“Y-yes, please…”

“Mmmphff…”

Misha mumbled again and shook Lilly’s hand away as the latter stood up to support her, frowning and burying her face in Hanako’s chest.

“Come on, Misha, you’re being st-stupid…” Hanako said, annoyed.

“But I wanna stay, with y-you…” Misha slurred.

“No! You’re too dr-drunk. You need bed, Misha.”

“Fiiine~…”

Misha allowed Lilly to hook an arm under and around her from the other side, though she continued to pout, and certainly didn’t make herself very helpful as the other two girls struggled to move her along. Despite her passive protest, they managed to get her to the door, which Hanako pushed open gingerly without stepping through.

“Is it… are we o-okay?” she asked carefully.

Lilly paused to listen.

“…We’re okay. No one is moving.”

“Alright, L-Lilly.”

Things seemed to go easier in the hallway, perhaps because there was more space and Hanako no longer needed to worry about stepping on things. They made it to Misha’s room without any serious mishaps, although Hanako felt sure she’d have a bruised shoulder in the morning from hitting the wall so many times. She guided her best friend and girlfriend towards Misha’s bed, dropping the latter in it a bit harder than she meant to. Misha didn’t seem to notice or care, going right back to snoring.

“Whew,” Lilly said, breathing a sigh of relief.

“Her legs… ahh, I’ll…”

Hanako leaned down, grabbing Misha’s feet and lifting her legs up into the bed to join the rest of her body. When she was done, Misha laid on her side with a hand near her head and her legs scrunched halfway up her torso, giving Hanako quite a nice view up her skirt. Good thing she had no need to guard her modesty around Lilly. She had gone back to smiling as she passed out, her chest rising and falling gently with every deep breath. Even in this state, Hanako thought again how beautiful she was. It was too bad she’d drank so much… Hanako had really been hoping this night would turn out differently, in terms of what Misha did in her bed.

“Well. I take it she’s situated. We still have our drinks to finish, if you would like?” Lilly asked.

“S-sure,” Hanako answered, feeling a vague sense that she wanted to stay up and do stuff, at least for a little while longer. While she’d definitely had fun so far, Misha’s rapid descent would be a rather anti-climactic note to end the night on, she thought. Lilly held a hand out for guidance; Hanako took it and tugged her to the door, leading her back down the hall and to her bedroom, where the lights were still on and the wine still waited.

“Uhh… where do you wanna g-go?” Hanako asked.

“Well, I’ve been sitting on the floor all night…” Lilly said, stepping ahead of Hanako and taking the lead herself as they entered her room. She walked to the bed, pulling Hanako along, and sat the both of them down on it. Her hand seemed reluctant to let go of Hanako’s, but it did release after a moment, allowing Hanako to retrieve the wine glasses and place one in Lilly’s other hand. Hanako decided to give Lilly the fuller one that she’d originally poured for herself, not feeling up to drinking that much. If Lilly noticed, she didn’t say anything.

“So, a-are you… are you scared to go back to Sc-Scotland, Lilly?” Hanako asked.

“Hmm. I’m not sure how I feel about it. Akira doesn’t want to go, I don’t think. Her boyfriend is here, you know. She’s going to miss him.”

“Well, you don’t have a b-boyfriend, so maybe… it’ll be easier for y-you.”

“No, I don’t. But I will miss you, Hanako.”

“Ahh… I’ll miss you too, L-Lilly.”

Hanako noticed that Lilly’s hand had wandered back into her own.

“What about… your p-parents? Are you excited to see th-them?”

“That’s what I’m not sure about. My parents… I think they always wanted the best for me, and that’s why they left me behind in Japan. They didn’t want to uproot my life and take me across the world to a strange land, where I’d have to start all over… and it would’ve been that much harder, because I’m, well. I’m blind,” Lilly said, a hint of bitterness creeping into her voice on the last statement.

Hanako had never heard Lilly say the word “blind” before. She had always seemed unnaturally comfortable with her condition but she had never, ever addressed it directly. Hanako realized that. She looked down at her wine, seeing a vague reflection of her face there. Lilly could never see the deep red hue of the wine, nor the angry red scars on Hanako’s own face. It had always been a fact of their friendship but it struck Hanako particularly hard in this moment, perhaps on account of the alcohol’s effect. She suddenly felt quite sad about it.

Next to her, Lilly took a long drink. Hanako mirrored it. They sat silently for a few minutes, Hanako looking at her glass, Lilly looking at nothing. The alcohol combined with the lack of stimulus lulled Hanako into a momentary nap; she closed her eyes and let her head hang slightly, taking in the pleasant buzz of the wine. When she opened her eyes again, she realized that Lilly’s head was resting on her shoulder, her friend’s body pressed close to her own. She thought Lilly might have fallen asleep too but when she looked down, Hanako found herself gazing right into Lilly’s large, blue eyes. The question welled up inside her and she had to ask it.

“Lilly, do you… do y-you…”

“…Do I?”

“Does it… b-bother you, being… bl-blind?”

Lilly frowned. Hanako opened her mouth and stuttered slightly, preparing some kind of apology, but Lilly spoke first.

“…I think it does, Hanako. Not… greatly. But I regret some things.”

“Like… like wh-what?”

Lilly drank from her glass again before responding.

“Like… not being able to see you as others do, Hanako. I can’t… I can never know what you look like, even though I know that you are beautiful. I can never look into your eyes. That does hurt me.”

“Lilly, I’m n-not… you wouldn’t… want to see m-me…”

“Don’t tell yourself that. Misha can see that beauty. And I did before her.”

“You say th-that, but, you… you just s-said, you can’t see m-me…”

“I can, Hanako. In a way. Don’t you remember?”

“Ah…”

Hanako did remember, now that Lilly mentioned it. It had been a long time ago, and she had only done it once, but…

“Just like… this…”

Now Lilly did it again, setting her empty glass down and bringing the hand up to Hanako’s face. Hanako closed her eyes as Lilly’s fingers explored her features, features that her friend hadn’t felt in well over a year, not that they had changed any in that time span. Still, the shape of them may have faded in Lilly’s memory, Hanako thought. She saw Misha every day… going for that long without being able to see her girlfriend’s face seemed horrible. Lilly’s fingers found their way to the right side of Hanako’s face, jerking away as they brushed across her scars, as if the ruined skin was hot to the touch.

“Ah… I’m sorry… I…” Lilly said, sounding a bit lost.

“It’s okay… you wanted to see m-me, again. I understand…” Hanako reassured her.

“Yes, Hanako, I… I do want, to see you…”

Opening her eyes, Hanako looked down once more into Lilly’s, which appeared to be staring right back into hers. Even though she knew Lilly couldn’t see her… it felt for all the world like she could. Lilly’s hand came up again, touching Hanako’s forehead and brushing strands of hair back over her left ear. Hanako set her own wine glass down on the floor, taking Lilly’s hand off her ear and holding it tight, though she wasn’t sure what to do with it from there. Lilly’s hand shook in hers. She could feel her own body shaking as well. The thump of both their hearts beat against Hanako’s ribs, one after another, their rhythms out of sync but strong, pounding with anticipation.

Lilly’s face moved up, pressing her lips to Hanako’s in a reluctant kiss.

Hanako stared. Her body wouldn’t move.

Lilly closed her eyes and came in again, more assured this time. She tasted like wine—that was all Hanako could think. Hanako realized that her mouth was moving too. Lilly’s arm wrapped around her back, squeezing her tight. This felt good, but at the same time… panic surged up through Hanako’s chest. She felt like she was going to explode.

Hanako’s arms shot up and clutched Lilly’s face, finally wrenching it away with a brief cry.

“Mmnnn…” Lilly moaned, a sound of mixed desire and regret.

Letting go of Lilly’s head, Hanako snapped her gaze away and stared straight down. She couldn’t look at her again… Lilly was still hugging her. Should they still be so close? Probably not… but her body still refused to move… she felt Lilly’s head resting on her shoulder again.

“Hanako…” Lilly said.

“L-L-Lilly… what… was th-that…”

“It was… what I wanted…” Lilly said.

“You w-w-wanted…”

“I want you, Hanako. If… you’ll have me.”

Hanako felt herself shaking in Lilly’s grip, her hands wringing in her lap.

“You kn-know I c-can’t…”

“Why not? Because of Misha? She’s not here… she won’t even remember tonight.”

“Th-that isn’t… that doesn’t m-matter!”

Hanako shoved Lilly off of her with sudden force, knocking Lilly onto her back while jumping up and away from the bed.

“I-I-I can’t, Lilly!” she said, her voice louder yet still shaking.

Lilly laid spread on the bed, eyes halfway open, her face a mask.

“I know you feel the same, Hanako. You kissed me back.”

“O-only because you, you s-surprised me! It doesn’t… it doesn’t c-count!”

“Are you saying you don’t… want to?”

“N-no, I, I—why, Lilly? Why are you just doing this now? Why did you n-n-never…”

Lilly sighed, closing her eyes and shaking her head.

“I don’t know, Hanako. I didn’t mean to… I don’t know what I’m doing. I think… I’ve made a terrible fool of myself.”

She rolled over onto her side, placing a hand under her face.

“Perhaps we should just go to bed.”

“Is that it, Lilly? Now we just go to bed?!”

“…I don’t know what else to say, Hanako.”

“What am I going to tell Misha!?”

“You don’t have to tell her anything. I’d prefer if we just… pretend this never happened. But if you want to tell her, then tell her. What happens… happens.”

Lilly’s mask broke slightly. Hanako saw nothing but sadness and resignation underneath it.

“Are we… still going to be fr-friends, Lilly?”

Lilly considered for a moment.

“I don’t know, Hanako. I don’t know if I can.”

“Because we can’t… be t-together?”

Lilly nodded once. Hanako felt a tear roll down her cheek.

“I wish… I w-wish… I just wish you could have t-told me…”

“Me too, Hanako. Me too. But I don’t think I knew… until it was too late. I’ll be leaving soon, and then… if you don’t want to see me again after that, maybe you won’t have to.”

“D-don’t say that!”

“So… you still want to see me?”

“I don’t… I don’t know what I w-want, Lilly!”

“If you don’t want Misha, then…”

“N-no! I want Misha. That’s the only one I know, okay! I l-love Misha, Lilly. I love her!”

Lilly sighed in defeat. Hanako saw a tear squeeze itself out of her eye as well, falling to the bed as she sniffed the rest back.

“Well.”

Lilly opened her eyes again, no longer attempting to hide her remorse.

“I guess we know where we stand. I’m… I’m tired, Hanako. I really do think we should sleep.”

“Sl-sleeping won’t fix this, Lilly!”

“Then… what will, Hanako?”

“Ahh… I don’t, I d-don’t know! I w-want…”

A long moment of silence, broken only by the heavy rhythm of Hanako’s shuddering breaths.

“…I need to sleep, but, to th-think. Okay, Lilly?”

“Okay, Hanako. Sleep and think.”

“…Al-alright.”

Hanako turned and stormed from the room, not bothering to turn the lights off on her way out. She tried not to hear the unmistakable sound of a sob as she closed the door behind her. Sleep and think… somehow she got the feeling that she wasn’t going to be doing much of either tonight.

Chapter 38 | Chapter 40
Last edited by Hanako Fancopter on Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Emps
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Re: An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako)

Post by Emps » Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:42 pm

Hanako Fancopter wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:36 pm

“Sl-sleeping won’t fix this, Lilly!”

“Then… what will, Hanako?”
I think there's a saying that goes something like, "drinking can't fix anything, but it can make the unfixable tolerable," or something like that. Not sure how applicable it is in this situation though :lol:
"I can already tell this is going to be a roller-coaster ride of disappointment" - Me

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Imperial_Sheep
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Re: An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako)

Post by Imperial_Sheep » Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:26 pm

Oh boy. Things got... rather complicated. I'm curious to see what happens next.

Interesting anecdote with Lilly's earlier experiences with alcohol. Definitely would not be one of her "ladylike" moments.

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