Ha--I dunno if I'd re-write your Shizune to fit the one from this story, I definitely exaggerated her personality to enable the smut. But I'm glad you liked it! I was rather surprised that no story like this one exists yet, from what I could see, as it seems like such an obvious premise. Odds are it's probably been written out there somewhere but I've never seen it.Lap wrote: ↑Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:17 amHead canon accepted. This is what should have happened in the game after Hisao comforted Misha. Nicely done! So very consistent with Shizune's competitiveness. I'm glad you didn't work too hard to cut the explicit content—this is one story where the sex is very integral to the plot, and it's needed.
Also, it's hot.
And also, damn it—I'm ~14,000 words into a Shizune story that I now feel like I need to completely revise, if not scrap altogether. You've given me too much food for thought on Shizune's nature...
Ah, well. Such is the writer's life.
Okay, here's the story I wrote for the Discord's Christmas Contest. Just a silly meme story that I had fun writing.
An Evening Rendezvous (Naomi x Natsume x ...Hisao?) [Slight lewd warning]
Mother Knows Best (Hisao x Meiko) [Lewd warning]
A Very Unusual Friendship (Lilly x Hanako) [Lewd warning]
A Friendly Competition (Misha x Shizune) [Lewd warning]
Snowed In (Hisao x Hanako) [Not lewd! For once! At least not explicitly so >.>]
Morning Stretches (Emi x Rin + special guest appearance) [Lewd! We back at it!]
Locked In (Hisao x Hanako + bonus pairing) [Snowed In follow-up; A little lewd, only a little]
In The Moment (Rika x Saki) [Lewd warning]
The Student Council Shuffle (Multiple pairings!) [Not lewd!]
Undercover (Miki x Suzu) [Lewd warning]
As I step outside and look around the school grounds, I realize the irony of my surroundings. Snow covering everything, all the trees and other plant life dead and withered, not another student in sight—Yamaku seems deserted and gloomy in late December, compared to the vibrance and life it displayed when I first arrived here. Yet inwardly, I feel that I’ve progressed in the opposite manner. I don’t know if I can exactly say I feel “vibrant and alive,” but I’m definitely a lot closer to it than I was eight months ago.
My first week in particular was rough. I pretty much blew all my chances at making some new friends, then I somehow wound up on the school’s roof with my hallmate, drinking whiskey and ranting about feminist conspiracy theories while the school festival was going on below us. Not exactly my proudest moment. Looking back, I think it was actually my lowest moment. At one point I even lost my balance and stumbled dangerously close to a broken section of fence, coming just a couple steps away from toppling over to an untimely demise. Maybe I’ll die early, but I didn’t plan on it being that early.
When I stepped back away from the fence that night, when I realized what could have happened, what almost did happen, how quickly it all could have ended—that sobered me up, in more ways than one. It’s been hard making up for lost time but I’m determined to do it. Ironically, of all the people, the one who’s helped me the most has been the one I least expected to. Kenji always kept me occupied one way or another, whether it’s spying on the Student Council’s “after-hour activities” or building a “high-tech security system” for my room, if it isn’t one thing it’s another. I can’t tell how much of his crazy crap he really believes, though the more I hang out with him, the more suspicious I’m getting on that front. Whether it’s honest insanity or just a big game, it keeps some color in my life, reminds me that there are things worth doing for no reason besides that they’re weird and fun and amusing.
At the same time, I’ve tried to do my part in keeping Kenji somewhat tethered to reality, making sure he doesn’t disappear into his room for more than a day or two at a time, reminding him to study, dragging him along to the store to buy provisions besides only whiskey and pretzels, things like that. I feel like we actually complement each other fairly well, like maybe I’m the Shizune to his Misha, or the Lilly to his Hanako. Speaking of those girls, I’ve gotten to know all of them to one extent or another, making some casual friends that I can see and hang out with occasionally. It’s tough to spend time with them when I have to get away from Kenji first, for obvious reasons, but tonight I’m hoping to change that.
It’s Christmas Eve and I’ve been invited to a “Christmas Party” in the girls’ dorm, hosted by the Student Council. I feel like it probably violates a school regulation or six, but if Shizune wants to make it happen, I’m sure she can bend the rules as needed. This prospect was exciting enough before I asked if I could bring another friend along. “Is it another boy~?”, Misha had asked with a weird tone to her voice. I had expected her to frown and decline when I told her that it was; much the opposite, she and Shizune both looked delighted, insisting that yes, my friend should definitely come along.
So maybe bringing Kenji along to this shindig won’t be a total disaster. That’s what I’m trying to tell myself. It’s probably a terrible idea but I just can’t hang out with him alone in our little bubble anymore. I want to branch out into a broader social circle, which means that I either have to leave Kenji behind or drag him along behind me. I appreciate the guy so I’m going to try to do the latter. The rest will be up to him. He does have his trademark flask of whiskey, so if he gets too rowdy, I’ll blame it on the booze. They should be pretty understanding of that after the situation with Hanako and that bottle of wine.
Speaking of booze, I could use some liquid courage myself. I hold my hand out and Kenji places the flask in it, knowing implicitly what the gesture means. I give him a manly nod before taking a manly swig of the manly drink. That’s right, I’m a manly man. I’m going to a party with six cute girls and a crazy woman-hating whiskey-swilling wingman. I can do this. Hisao Nakai, lady-killer extraordinaire!… right? Right! I sigh as I feel the whiskey burning down my throat, warming my insides to stave off the chill air of winter.
“Severe conditions tonight, soldier. We’ll have adequate weather cover for the operation,” Kenji asserts as we set off across the grounds, heading for the “insertion point,” as he described it earlier. “Smart planning on your part, as always.”
I didn’t plan this, Shizune did, but whatever.
“Yeah, we’re supposed to get a blizzard tomorrow, huh? It is good timing, we can go ahead and get in there right before it starts,” I agree.
He nods, pulling his scarf up to guard his face against the whipping wind. The snow’s coming down harder than I anticipated, so we pick up the pace, trying to get out of it as soon as possible. Man, it really is biting cold out here… my eyes narrow as I begin squinting to see through the sheets of white. It’s been snowing all day but all of a sudden now, it seems like it’s become a full-fledged snowstorm. Wasn’t this supposed to happen tomorrow?
“Is it just me or is the blizzard coming a day early?” I yell to Kenji.
“Seems like it, soldier! They’ve manipulated the weather to try and block our mission, the clever bastards!”
“Should we just go back?”
“Are you joking? If you can’t handle a blizzard, you’ll never be able to handle feminists!”
He’s probably right on that one—storms probably are easier to deal with than girls, I figure. Raising our arms up as shields, we take off at a jog to clear the rest of the distance as quickly as possible. I’m panting pretty hard by the time we get there, my chest thumping painfully, but it’s nothing dangerous. All those runs with Emi really have made a difference. Kenji on the other hand isn’t even slightly winded… never will figure out how he does that. He puts his hand on the door handle leading into the girls’ dorm and I put my hand over his to stop him.
“Okay, Kenji,” I start. “One last time. You’re good? Right? No uhh? No talking about feminism, or the struggle, or anything like that?”
We’d already been over this several times. Kenji assured me every time that it wouldn’t be a problem. Obviously, I remained skeptical.
“Of course, dude, of course! You keep acting like this is my first time in the field! Remember who you’re talking to. I know the score, man. We’re going in deep here—I won’t compromise our identities, no matter what. Not even if they break out the neural disentanglers!”
The what? I don’t ask, that’s been my policy for a while now.
“Alright,” I say, exchanging a slow nod of understanding with him. I’m looking for any hint of emotion that might confirm or deny his sincerity. Alas, those thick glasses make him impossible to read. Another thing that I’ve begun to grow suspicious of as I hang out more with Kenji. It’s really odd how sometimes his vision seems to be on par with Lilly, while at others, he’s perfectly perceptive…
Well. Here goes nothing, I suppose. I turn the handle and we step into the lobby together.
I immediately wince at the overpowering volume of Misha’s voice, then the exceptionally obnoxious party favor noisemaker she uses. Even Shizune gives her a look that says “settle down.” The furniture of the lobby has been arranged into a rough circle with a little Christmas tree set up in the middle, four girls sitting around it: the Student Council, Emi, and Rin. No Lilly or Hanako, though. Maybe they’re putting on makeup or something.
“And~! Hicchan’s friend! What’s your name?” Misha asks Kenji.
“’Sup,” Kenji says. “It’s Setou. Kenji Setou,” he says, putting on a bit of an exaggerated swagger. Not too exaggerated, though, by his usual standards. Maybe he has things under control after all.
“Shicchan says, nice to meet you!”
“Yeah, you two run the Student Council, right? Nice work putting this whole thing together. Looks like you run a tight ship!” Kenji says.
“Oh yes~! We’re tight, alright. Very tight! Wahaha~!” Misha says.
I look aside quickly to suppress my grin, seeing one rise on Rin’s face as well. Emi doesn’t even try to hold back her laughter.
“I’m Emi Ibarazaki,” she says in between chuckles.
Rin nods at Kenji. They’ve actually met before, though only in passing.
“The best runner and the best painter in the school, huh? Didn’t know you kept such esteemed company, dude,” Kenji says, elbowing me in the ribs.
“Yep! The fastest thing on—” Emi starts.
“—no legs!” Kenji finishes with her. “Heard that one at the last track meet.”
Kenji hasn’t ever been to a track meet.
“Well!” I say, trying to move things along. “I like the decorations! It, uhh! Does look like you put some stuff together!” I continue, nodding at the Christmas tree. “And are those presents I see under it?”
“Yep, yep~! We’re gonna play a game!” Misha says excitedly.
Oh boy. Of course Shizune has to make it a game somehow. Emi gets that look on her face at the word “game” and I already know this is going to be one of those games played at my expense.
“So where are Hanako and Lilly? I thought they were coming too?” I ask.
“They went to the store to pick some stuff up,” Rin says.
“Oh, umm. About that,” I say. “The weather took a real turn for the worse right when we were walking over here. They might have gotten stuck in it. Especially if Hanako’s trying to lead Lilly, then… they might have a hard time of it.”
Shizune’s face immediately grows concerned. She gets up and peeks through the curtains to see outside for a moment, then throws them back entirely to show us the windows, now looking genuinely worried.
“Oh boy,” Emi says flatly.
“It looks like we’re in a cloud. A really angry one,” Rin says.
That is an apt description. Outside the storm has matured into a furious blizzard, with near-zero visibility and an audible whistle leaking into the building from the sheer speed of the winds.
“Oh no~, no no no! Shicchan, Hicchan!” Misha says, the panicked note in her voice saying the rest.
“Don’t worry about it,” Kenji says, already pulling his scarf back up to his face. “What else are men good for, if not rescuing women? We’ve got this!”
Isn’t that a little bit sexist? If so, the situation is too tense for anyone to fret over it.
“Is there anyone we can call? Maybe there’s a security guard around?” I ask, trying to think of the safest way to handle this. The girls all look unsure, even Shizune. Before we can come up with anything further, Kenji whirls right around and marches out the door.
“Kenji!” I yell after him.
I hear gasps of surprise go up from the girls. It’s too late to sit around any longer… if I wait even a minute or two to go after him, I might not be able to find Kenji. I just react without thinking and run outside too, even though I know it’s probably not the smartest thing to do. I have no idea how we’re supposed to go anywhere or find anything under these conditions. It seems like there are pretty good odds that we’ll just get ourselves lost and frozen alongside the friends we were hoping to save.
“Kenji!” I yell again, jogging up to him. “Hold up, hold up! We need to think about this!” I implore him.
“I did think about it!” Kenji assures me. “What better way to gain their trust than by rescuing their kin? We’ll have them practically wrapped around our finger!”
“Kenji, dude! Seriously! This isn’t the time for… that!” I insist. “We’re gonna freeze out here!”
Visibility out here is totally gone. The sky’s gone dark in a big hurry; the lashing of the wind stings my face and I can already feel a deep cold seeping into my skin. The snow on the ground has to be at least a foot deep, probably growing deeper rapidly with how much of the stuff is dumping itself down on us. This isn’t a game, it’s legitimately dangerous to be outside right now. Even still, Kenji stops and looks me dead in the eye.
“No, bro. This is exactly the time for acts of manliness,” he says. “Trust me. It’s the right thing to do.”
Maybe it is the right thing to do, even if not for the reasons he has in mind. Interesting choice of wording on his part. I look behind me and realize that we’ve already totally lost sight of the dorm building. Now we might as well be wandering an empty, endless white void, for all we can see. Guess we’re doing this right or wrong, at this point. Doesn’t seem like there’s any going back.
“Do you even know where to go?!” I yell at Kenji.
“Of course! Just follow my lead!”
Fucking hell. This is going to be how I die, isn’t it? I do as Kenji bids me, forcing my way forward in his footsteps. The big dents he leaves behind in the snow are helpful places to plant my own feet. Once again, he’s somehow able to just bull ahead despite the force of the storm, his stride tall and powerful. Me on the other hand, I’m hunched over and struggling to keep up, but I’m right there with him. I have no idea where we’re going—right when I think it might be time to yell at him again, I think I can hear something through the howling of the wind.
It’s faint, but it’s definitely there.
“Bro? You hear that?” Kenji yells, looking back at me.
“Help! Someone! Is anyone out there?!”
I nod at him and he turns sharply, presumably making a beeline for the sound. I can’t tell where the hell it’s coming from with all the swirling winds, and I hope to the heavens that Kenji somehow can. My prayers are answered as a pair of huddled figures come into view just ahead. As we run up, I can see Lilly has fallen down in the snow, wrapping herself protectively around Hanako. I can’t see Hanako’s face but even under these conditions I can see how bad she’s shivering. Kenji immediately crouches down beside Lilly and places a hand on her shoulder.
“Hey! Don’t worry, the rescue team is here now! We’re gonna bring you in!” he assures her.
Even through her distress, Lilly looks confused by this, but not ungrateful.
“Kenji?” she asks.
“Yes! And Hisao!” I tell her, kneeling down on her other side. “The other girls said you were out here, and we figured you might need some help!”
“Goodness, I don’t know what I was going to do! Thank you!” Lilly yells back.
She wraps one arm under Hanako’s shoulders and another around Kenji; I take Hanako’s other side and we all lift together. I spot Lilly’s cane in the snow next to me and make sure to grab that as well, then we’re off, with Kenji and Lilly seeming to naturally dictate our direction. I’m just gonna trust them at this point. I guess being vision-impaired has its advantages.
“I thought the storm was forecast for tomorrow!” Lilly says. “Hanako was so scared, she tried to help me run, but we just fell down, and…”
“It’s okay!” Kenji reassures her. “All under control now. Here we are!”
And just like that, we’re back in the lobby of the girls’ dorm. I realize that we probably didn’t end up going more than fifty yards from it, though it felt like an epic journey through a vast wasteland. All four of us are damn lucky that worked out as well as it did. I hand Lilly her cane back and we all make our way over to an empty couch, throwing ourselves down and heaving with exhaustion. Kenji even busts out the flask and takes a swig—I feel the urge to say something to him before Shizune writes us up or whatever but I just can’t muster the energy right now.
The president is too preoccupied attending to us to notice, it seems. All the other girls are gathered around the couch with concerned looks on their faces.
“Are you okay, Lilly-chan, Hana-chan?” Misha asks.
“I can’t believe you guys actually went out there and got them!” Emi says.
“Yeah~! You’re like heroes!” Misha agrees.
“Hell yeah we are,” Kenji says, puffing his chest out a bit.
“Ehh, it’s like Kenji said. What else are us guys good for?” I say.
“I guess you never made it to the store,” Rin observes.
“Shicchan says, it’s lucky you didn’t get very far from the dorms before the storm came!”
While we’re talking, Lilly turns and hugs Kenji, then reaches past Hanako to pat my shoulder in thanks as well.
“My my, I’m sorry to have worried everyone. I believe we are deeply in your debt,” Lilly says. “However will we make it up to you, I wonder?” she asks, with a bit of an odd lilt to her voice.
“Th-thank you…” Hanako manages to say. She’s still shivering a bit but already looking more lively than she was outside. She wasn’t moving too well when we were hauling her back in… I was pretty worried that she might have some kind of actual hypothermia. It looks like we managed to avoid that. She’s smiling timidly up at me through her frost-reddened face.
“You s-saved me, Hisao…” she mumbles, before throwing her arms around me in a hug. I’m taken off-guard by this, though I tentatively hug her back. I lift my arms up again after a moment, only to realize that she isn’t breaking off the hug.
“Uhh, well… really, Kenji did most of it. I was kinda just along for the ride,” I say sheepishly.
“No way, dude! You don’t have to be humble about it. I couldn’t have done it alone!” Kenji says.
I realize that he and Lilly have snuggled up pretty close on the other side of the couch. She seems to have done a better job hiding it than Hanako but Lilly was exposed to the same elements just now… she’s probably also freezing cold.
“Is it… okay, if we st-stay like this?” Hanako suddenly asks me. “You’re so w-warm…”
Jeez, where did this come from? I’ve never seen her be so forward. Except for when…
“Probably a good idea,” Kenji comments. “Sharing body heat is a standard survival technique to ward off hypothermia!”
“Well. I guess we have no choice then, do we?” Lilly says with a giggle. I realize that she and Kenji have their arms around each other now, too, and unlike me, Kenji looks totally comfortable with the arrangement. Yep—Lilly and Hanako have definitely been drinking again. I can just imagine how this afternoon played out for them. Akira stopped by, dropped off her Christmas present, which was a bottle of wine or three, and they decided to go ahead and imbibe before the festivities began. Also explains their poor judgment in wanting to make a random store run. Well, hopefully Shizune and Misha won’t figure it out.
I tentatively put one of my arms around Hanako’s shoulder, noticing the smug grin on Emi’s face as I do so. I glare at her in response, daring her to say something.
“It’s almost not fair, you four get to have snuggle buddies!” Emi says as the other girls return to their seats. “And I’m all alone over here…”
Apparently daring her to say something was the wrong move.
“Is that so~? We can be snuggle buddies if you want, Emi-chan! Wahaha~!” Misha offers.
Emi gives Shizune a look and I see some kind of silent exchange pass between their eyes, the kind only girls can understand. I’m not sure what it means but I can tell that Emi is pretty satisfied with the outcome, whatever it is.
“Okay! Thanks!” Emi answers Misha, getting up and throwing herself down next to the pink-haired girl. Seemingly emboldened by our lead, they also wrap their arms around each other with a surprising degree of familiarity. This little party has gotten awfully cozy awfully fast, I think. Maybe I’ll end up being a lady-killer after all… I halfway expect Rin and Shizune to pair up as the spares, but they don’t, staying in their seats on opposite sides of the little Christmas tree.
“Does the party officially start now? I’m not sure how parties really work,” Rin says.
Shizune stands up and snaps as if to say “Yes!” before signing a few things.
“That’s right, Ricchan!” Misha conveys. “Party time~! Party time~! Yay~! Ahaha~! Of course, we have to start by opening our party favors!”
Shizune nods in agreement and takes one of the larger packages out from under the tree. Unwrapping it, she pulls a large glass bottle out of it. That’s… no way. Really?
“…Liquor?” I ask her incredulously.
She gives me a stern look, like I’m the one who’s doing something wrong here.
“Is that a problem, Hicchan?” Misha asks, suddenly sounding rather severe.
“Uhhh. No, it’s just—I kind of thought you guys wouldn’t allow that in the dorms. It’s—against the rules,” I point out, already feeling like a total nerd for even saying it. Shizune frowns and signs furiously, putting the bottle aside for a moment.
“You thought we were no fun just because we’re on the Student Council, Hicchan? Is that it? Don’t you remember all your little parties with Hana-chan and Lilly? We didn’t say anything about that, did we? We knew what you were doing!” Misha translates.
“That’s true, but… you know what, never mind. Never mind me,” I say.
It’s not like I’ve never drank in the dorms. Hell, hanging out with Kenji, it’s become more of a habit for me than it probably should be. Shizune adjusts her glasses with a look of satisfaction, probably thinking she’s won some kind of battle.
“We’re glad you understand, Hicchan. It’s a holiday! Everyone is allowed to relax a little bit~! Wahaha~!” Misha says.
This is a bit more “relaxing” than I was expecting, but I’m certainly not complaining. I thought we would just play cards or something, at best, and at worst, I thought Kenji would get us totally kicked out. Things are going surprisingly well. I thought I’d gotten to know all of these girls but I’m pleased to find that there’s still more to them than I first imagined. Shizune goes and retrieves a set of glasses from somewhere nearby, pouring generous portions of the liquor into them before distributing them to all in attendance, complete with a straw for Rin’s. I take a sip of mine; it’s actually not bad, it’s got a fruity sort of flavor to cover the burn of the alcohol. Next to me, I see Hanako taking more of a gulp than a sip, followed by a long, satisfied hum.
“Mmmm… it’s so warm…” she says happily, taking another drink.
“Mind if I try it?” I ask her, taking the glass and setting it down on the ground, out of her reach. I need to make sure she paces herself at least somewhat. Luckily, she seems to forget about the drink as soon as it’s out of her hands, instead snuggling herself up closer to me than ever. Her head is resting on my shoulder now and my arm is wrapped firmly around her waist. I can’t pretend that I’m not enjoying this but I’m also a bit concerned about where it’s ultimately going to go. Guess we’ll just see how the night progresses.
“Shall we begin the festivities in earnest?” Lilly asks, raising her own glass and clinking it against Kenji’s before they both drink.
I’m not sure what she means by that, though I soon find out as Shizune points to the rest of the presents under the tree, then begins signing again.
“Okay, okay, okay~! The Student Council has prepared a special game for a special night! It’s called: Santa Says~!” Misha explains.
I don’t know what that could possibly mean, but I just have a gut feeling that it can’t be anything good.
“It’s basically like Truth or Dare. But~! You don’t get to pick which one, or even what your Truth or Dare is! You just open a box and that’s what you have to do. So there’s no funny business at all, Santa just tells you your task! Wahahaha~!” Misha continues.
Yep. There’s no way this is going to turn out well.
“We, uhh? Don’t get any choice at all?” I ask hopefully.
“What’s wrong, Hicchan? Afraid you’ll have to do something you don’t want to?” Emi teases me.
“Oh, I wouldn’t be so smug. I don’t have much dignity left to lose at this point. You lot, on the other hand…” I shoot back.
It doesn’t wipe the smirk off her face but it’s enough to silence the banter for now.
“What if we don’t need our dignity tonight, either?” Lilly asks, phrasing it more as a question to the room than to me in particular. She follows it up with a light giggle, which some of the other girls match. Even Shizune looks highly amused. I suddenly realize that if Shizune is actually okay with alcohol in the dorms, maybe Hanako and Lilly weren’t the only ones engaging in a bit of pre-party pre-gaming. Am I actually the most sober person in this room right now?
I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a terrifying thing.
“Okay, okay~! I’ll go first!” Misha exclaims, pulling a gift bag out from under the tree. Inside is a notecard, which must have her “Santa” message on it. “Santa saaaays~… Truth! ‘Who was the last person you kissed?’ Ahaha~! Ahhhh… wahahaha~!”
Misha laughs and looks around awkwardly, clearly not sure how to answer, then turns and gives Emi a quick peck on the cheek. Both of them are blushing afterwards, and neither is willing to look at the other for a moment.
“There~! It’s Emi-chan! Wahaha~!”
“Wait… did you kiss her just now?” Lilly asks, with a bit of pout. “That’s cheating, isn’t it?”
“Nope, nope, nope~! It doesn’t say how long ago, Lilly-chan!”
Shizune nods her head sagely in agreement. Technically within the rules, it seems. The game goes around the room from there, one “present” for each person, some more risqué than others. Emi’s “Truth” just asks what her favorite flavor of parfait is—guess Misha wrote that one—to which she responds “bubblegum,” a bit of a weird choice, but whatever floats her boat. Didn’t even know they had bubblegum flavored parfaits, to be honest. Lilly gets “Dared” to sit on someone’s lap for the rest of the party, which isn’t too hard for her to fulfill, as she seems more than willing to sit on Kenji.
I still can’t believe he’s handling this all so well, but to be fair, this is legitimately the first time I’ve hung out with him and the girls together. I guess I just never gave the guy enough credit. It’s his turn up next and he draws truth: “What is your deepest secret?” That’s pretty ballsy to ask someone, sounds like something Shizune would try and pull. Kenji thinks for a moment, takes a nice long drink, then answers.
“Japan is secretly run by a matriarchal cabal of feminists bent on crushing all men under their heels, and I’m the only one who knows it, the last hope of mankind in a world gone mad,” Kenji says without a shred of sarcasm.
Oh lord. I guess this had to happen sooner or later, once enough alcohol was consumed. The room is silent for a moment.
Then it bursts into laughter from all the girls combined. Even Rin is chuckling a bit, while Shizune is performing her trademark silent shakes of mirth. Me on the other hand, I breathe a sigh of relief and polish off my drink. Kenji gives me a quick sideways glance, as if to say, “See dude? Totally got this!”
Have to give him credit, he pulled that off.
“That’s a good one, Ken-chan~! Feminist… what was it? Cabinet? Ahahaha~!” Misha goes on.
“I guess Shizune’s the chief matriarch of our school, huh?” Rin muses.
“And this party is a trap we lured you guys into to capture and torture you!” Emi chimes in.
Sometimes it sort of seems that way.
“Don’t worry… I’m not a f-feminist! I won’t b-bite!” Hanako assures me with another small fit of giggles.
“Good to know,” I respond dryly.
Once the amusement finally dies down, it looks like my turn next. Hanako leans forward, takes a box and hands it to me.
“Remember… if it’s too em-embarrassing, you don’t have to do it, okay?” she says.
“Thanks,” I say. “Maybe Misha wrote this one and it’ll just be something else about parfaits. That’s what I’m hoping for, at least.”
“Hey~! I did write something else besides parfaits!” Misha protests. “I asked, ‘What is the one thing you want to eat before you die?’ Mine is a matsusaka beef steak! Wahaha~! Ahh—sorry Shicchan!”
Shizune seems to be scolding her for giving away one of the truths and answering it out of turn, even though it was such a trivial question. I cross my fingers that Misha’s is indeed the item now before me. Let’s get this over with. I open the box and—
—some kind of… plant?
A collective gasp goes up from everyone else in the room, and suddenly Hanako’s face turns red, bright red. The hell is going on?
“Uhh? What’s this all about?” I ask, taking it in one hand and holding it up to examine it.
“Dude,” Kenji says, his voice deadly serious. “That’s mistletoe,” he declares, as if it’s a lethal poison.
“And? What does that mean?” I ask.
“It’s a tradition from the West. Whoever is under the mistletoe has to kiss,” Rin says, her voice dry and monotone, like this is a completely mundane and harmless fact.
“What?!” I blurt out, dropping the stuff like it really is poison.
“Ah ah ah~! Too late, Hicchan! You held it up over you and Hana-chan! The rules are the rules! Ahahahaha~!” Misha says.
I look to Hanako for salvation, my own face quickly turning as red as hers.
“But… if it’s too embarrassing… we don’t have to do it, right?”
Shizune gives me a death glare, but doesn’t contradict me.
“Well… yes… b-b-but…” Hanako stutters. “We should really pl-play the g-game, if we can… or we’ll be… bad sp-sports, right?” she asks, looking up at me with huge puppy-dog eyes.
Fucking damn it. Why did it have to be drunk Hanako? Regular Hanako would never go along with this! It’s not like I don’t want to kiss her, of course I do, I’ve wanted to for months now, but—this isn’t exactly the circumstances I wanted to do it under! Hanako’s face shifts up right close to mine, not quite bold enough to do it, but clearly wanting to. The room is silent with all eyes on us. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Kenji give me the slightest of nods, granting his fellow soldier permission to act. Alright then.
I just kiss her.
The room goes up in cheers and I immediately break away in embarrassment, my stomach churning with butterflies and my face burning hot. Misha is doubled over laughing across from me and Hanako, while Emi gives us a whistle and an “About time!” I give them both withering glares, which don’t do much of anything, but I need somewhere else to look besides at Hanako. I still catch myself looking at her sideways before long. She seems… disappointed, somehow, but certainly not upset. She’s still latched firmly around my torso. That’s… probably a good thing?
I don’t even know at this point. I realize how much I’m feeling the alcohol now, as well. Guess that light feeling in my head wasn’t only from the kiss. I keep up with the rest of the game as best as I can, though I find it hard to care or pay much attention now that I’ve done my part. Try as I might, I can’t get the thought of that kiss out of my head, nor think about much else besides Hanako’s warm body pressed tight against mine. It seems like she’s clutching onto me harder than ever. By now I’m pretty comfortable with it, I just don’t know what I’m going to do when I inevitably have to get up.
Where am I going to go when I do get up? Can I even get back to the boys’ dorm with that blizzard raging outside? I’m not keen on trying, though maybe Kenji can make some magic happen again. All of a sudden I feel the unmistakable press of lips against my cheek—I turn aside quickly in surprise and Hanako rewards me with another brief kiss, right on my lips, then closes her eyes and settles her head down into my shoulder, sighing happily. I’m literally struck dumb, my mouth hanging open with nothing to say. Maybe this is a good time to put her to bed.
“I’m, uhh. I think maybe I should put Hanako to bed?” I offer tentatively.
Emi immediately waggles her eyebrows at me.
“Oh, I bet you will,” she says.
Shut up you, I think.
“Are we going to b-bed now? We can get in bed…” Hanako says to me, giggling drunkenly.
“Well, you are. I dunno if I am,” I respond.
“I don’t know about that, Hicchan~! Wahahaha~!” Misha teases me.
“Where else will you go?” Lilly says. “You can’t go back across campus in this dreadful weather. Surely, Kenji will have to stay the night over in our dorms. And you as well, Hisao.”
What has gotten into these girls? I’m starting to think Kenji was right all along, that this is their master plan to capture us and take us hostage. I look to Shizune but she seems to be in agreement.
“Shicchan says, it’s for your own safety, Hicchan~! You have no choice!”
“That’s—that’s r-right!” Hanako says, poking me firmly. “You’re staying over! No ch-choice!”
“I guess it’s settled then,” Kenji says. “Thanks for offering, we really appreciate it.”
“Oh, it’s our pleasure!” Lilly says with a little laugh of her own, sounding nearly as inebriated as Hanako.
“I don’t mind sleeping on the couches, but do you have any blankets we can borrow? I’m sure it’ll get pretty chilly in here,” I say.
“Umm. I don’t think you’re staying on the couches,” Rin says.
“We’re not?” I ask her.
She looks around shiftily, as if she’s not sure how to phrase what she says next.
“That’s not how this was supposed to work.”
“How what was supposed to work?” I ask.
Either Kenji is right or I am seriously missing something here.
“Don’t worry about it!” Lilly says dismissively. “I’ve plenty of room for one more in my room! Come, a smart man told me that sharing body heat is to best way to stave off the cold!” she says, getting up and pulling Kenji along with her.
“Yeah~, uhh, it’s that time! Time for bed! Bedtime, that’s what time it is~!” Misha says.
“That’s right. Come on, s-silly!” Hanako insists, pulling me up from the couch as well. “You have to put me to b-bed, remember?”
Shizune is already at the door leading out of the lobby and into the dorm hallway, as if preparing the red carpet for us. I can’t believe she’s in on this too. It seems like they all are! Misha and Emi are already through the door, while Kenji and Lilly are halfway there.
“Uhh, Hanako, I don’t know—” I sputter. “—let me just—talk to Kenji a sec, okay? About like… guy stuff?”
She hits my shoulder lightly in frustration, frowning at me, but nods reluctantly.
“Okay. But you b-better come back fast! I need someone to… t-tuck me in!”
“Right, right. Tuck you in. Got it, won’t be long.”
Shizune gives me a wink and goes into the hallway after Misha and Emi. Boy do I hope I beat her next time we play Risk. I leave Hanako sitting with Rin and pull Kenji to the other side of the room, keeping my voice down for privacy. Lilly tut tuts me as I pull Kenji away from her. She clearly isn’t going to let me have him for long, so I really do need to figure something out quickly.
“Okay, dude, really? I can’t believe you’re going through with this! Uhh… don’t you see! This is their plan, they’re going to trap us!” I tell Kenji, hoping I can at least get him to back me up.
“Nah bro. They think they’ve got us right where they want us, that’s true. That’s why we have the upper hand! They have no idea that we were onto them all along!”
Why does his insane troll logic always seem to land on the opposite side of whatever the sensible action would be?
“I’m just—it’s my first mission, you know? I’m worried I can’t handle it. What if I get into that room with her, and she breaks out the, uhh… brain scrambler thing?!”
Kenji places a hand on my shoulder, stands up straight, and looks at me solemnly, the way an officer looks at a soldier just before ordering him to go to his death.
“This is the moment I’ve been training you for, Hisao. I think you’re ready for it. It’s sink of swim, soldier. Just don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”
Okay. That doesn’t narrow it down really. At all. Except for…
“Just uhh. Don’t you know… go all the way, right?” he says, as if reading my thoughts. “No, err. Sex,” he says. “None of that. That’s… an advanced infiltration technique, for experts only. Leave it to me for now.”
“Now wait a minute. You are going to have sex?!” I say incredulously, probably a little louder than I should have.
“I, ahh. It’s not ideal, but you do what you have to do to maintain cover, soldier. Don’t worry, I’ve been through this before and I came out the other side. I know what I’m doing.”
Yeah I bet you do, Kenji. Suddenly I think that Kenji knows exactly what he’s doing, the sneaky bastard.
“If I can conquer the blonde amazon, then… I’ll have taken the best of them. This is the final test of my combat skills. If I can do it, then we’ll be ready to take our plans to the next level,” he goes on.
Okay, okay. Enough of this madness. Fuck all of this.
“Alright, alright. No sex. I’m with you,” I say. “Let’s go. Good luck in there, soldier,” I tell him, feeling both absurd and like I’m legitimately psyching myself up for a dangerous mission.
“Alright!” I announce as we walk back over to our companions. “Time to tuck in, I suppose.”
Hanako latches onto me immediately, pulling me gently but insistently towards the hallway door. I go along with her, no longer trying to resist this. I’ve given in to this situation. Somehow, I think Kenji actually managed to give me the right advice. I can’t deny that I’ve been wanting something to happen with Hanako for weeks now, I just never quite knew what to say, when to really tell her how I felt. So I guess that’s why we’ve ended up here. Well, I’ll keep her company, but I’m not gonna take advantage of her.
I don’t know what’ll happen tomorrow but I’ll figure this thing out then. I guess it’s like Kenji says, sometimes a man just has to act. Rin is the last into the hallway after the four of us, closing the door with her foot in yet another display of impressive leg flexibility and toe dexterity. She looks between two different doors like she doesn’t know which one to go through.
“Am I supposed to sleep with Shizune?” she asks us.
“Ah! R-Rin! Do you like h-her?” Hanako asks in shock.
“I guess? It just seems like we’re all supposed to sleep with someone else tonight. You two, and then Misha and Emi.”
“Misha and Emi are sleeping together?” I ask.
Hanako laughs and squeezes my arm.
“Of c-course, silly! They’ve been for a wh-while now,” she says.
“Goodness, Hisao. You’re blinder than I am,” Lilly says. “Do as you wish, Rin. I have a… guest to attend to, for the night. I’m sure Shizune’s bed is rather frigid, though. Perhaps she would appreciate another body to help warm it.”
She goes to her door and yanks Kenji through it; he gives me a salute just before it slams shut behind him. Welp, I guess that’s that. Me and Hanako watch in amusement as Rin uses her knee to press the button next to Shizune’s door; the class president opens up in confusion, then shakes her head when Rin tries to come into her room. She signs something in annoyance, points to the other doors in the hallway, then closes her door again. Guess that didn’t work out.
“Sorry. Think you’re on your own,” I say to Rin.
She just shrugs again.
“Guess so. Emi kept saying I should find a boy to invite over tonight. I think now I figured out why,” she says.
Without commenting any further, she goes into her own room, leaving just me and Hanako alone in the hallway. She’s clearly been waiting for this, as she immediately pulls me down into another kiss, this one longer and more passionate. Now that we don’t have anyone watching us, we have the luxury of going at it a bit. I’ve never actually tasted another person’s mouth before, but I have to say, it’s… not bad, all things considered. Probably better when it tastes less like liquor. But I’ll take it, for the time being. Hanako gives me a sultry look and pulls me into her room.
Once more into the breach, or however that quote goes.
I wake up with a bit of a hangover, but not too bad of one. One advantage of alcohol, Hanako conked right out when we got into bed. Sleeping with our clothes on was a bit awkward but not unpleasant overall. Especially not when I woke up to her kissing me again. Even now that she’s sober this morning, she just seems to have found her courage. Our feelings are out in the open now—we don’t even have to say anything. We both know it. We did agree to get lunch together, though, and I’m sure we’ll talk about things then. For now, I’m heading back to my room to get some breakfast.
The storm cleared up sometime during the night, but lasted for most of it, considering it was still howling away when I finally fell asleep. I’m damn grateful for it, too, because the sound of the wind managed to mostly cover up the sound of Emi and Misha. It turns out Emi is really loud when she’s enjoying herself, and Misha… well. Let’s just say it’s no wonder Hanako knew they’ve been going at it. Probably the whole building knows. The term “pink parfait” has taken on a whole new meaning now, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to order that dessert again, not with a straight face at least.
Stepping out into the hall, I find Kenji also emerging from Lilly’s room nearby.
“Ah, Hisao! Good to see you alive, sol—err! Bro!” he says.
With the door to her room still open, Lilly can probably hear both of us. How can I phrase this delicately?
“You too, man. Uhh… mission… accomplished?” I ask him.
He nods solemnly. I hear an amused giggle float out from Lilly’s room.
“Is that Hisao? I do hope he took care of Hanako!” she says, her voice faint but audible. “Hurry back now, I still need help showering before I can get dressed! If I get dressed!” she says with another laugh.
“Right, right! Just… checkin’ up on bro stuff, you know? Just be a sec!” Kenji calls back to her.
I look at him with awe.
“Really? You’re going back in there?” I whisper.
“Yeah, just got to umm, get some essential provisions from my room. You know, re-stock and re-supply, then back into the fray. We’ve been locked in battle all night long. I think I’ve got the upper hand, but she’s not worn out just yet. She’s a tough one, dude, but don’t worry. I’ll tire her out sooner or later,” Kenji explains.
I can’t believe I’m really hearing this. I just shake my head, accepting his words, then stand up straight and offer him a salute. He returns the gesture and we set off together for the guys’ dorm. It’s been one hell of a night but I honestly don’t think it could have turned out much better. I didn’t get to score like freaking Kenji is, but that was never my goal anyways. I want to do things right—build up trust with Hanako, make a real relationship, before we take that step together. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be messy, but I’m determined to make it work. I won’t let this chance turn out like the last one I had with a girl.
As we walk, I ponder my hallmate and his behavior over the past twenty-four hours. This whole time I really thought I was the Shizune to his Misha, but I have to wonder… have I really been the Hanako to his Lilly all along?