A Prank Gone Wrong - a Shower Scenes continuation (complete)

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Hacksorus
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Re: A Prank Gone Wrong - a Shower Scenes continuation

Post by Hacksorus » Wed Feb 19, 2020 1:25 am

Something strange is definitely going on here, and you've got me quite interested to find out what it is. Good stuff!

Some of the implications feel a bit depressing. Even if all of this gets resolved soon, it doesn't seem like there will be much time left for Hisao and Lilly before she has to leave for good.

Raimen
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Re: A Prank Gone Wrong - a Shower Scenes continuation

Post by Raimen » Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:44 am

Chapter 12: Invitations and Obligations (Mon, July 23)

The door to the tea room opened slowly. Lilly’s voice called out, “Hanako, is that you?”

“Y-yes. I-I’ve got Hisao with me.”

“That’s wonderful,” came Lilly’s reply. “I had hoped we would meet today. Please come in and make yourselves comfortable. The water should boil soon. I have taken the liberty of preparing a shared meal for lunch today. Hanako, would you please retrieve it from my bag and help me prepare?”

Lilly could hear Hanako rummaging through her bag just before the kettle whistled. Then she heard someone on her other side open one of the cupboards. She smiled as she realized it must be Hisao who was taking the plates and cups out. Lilly finished preparing the tea and placed it on the table before taking her usual seat.

After a noisy start of portioning food and pouring tea, the trio ate lunch in silence. After Lilly dabbed her lips with her napkin, she said, “Hisao, as I mentioned earlier, I’m glad that you’re here today, as I have two questions I’d like to ask you. As you know, Hanako and I usually head into town to go shopping on Monday after school. I don’t know if you need to buy anything, but I do know that we would enjoy your company.”

Lilly heard the familiar scratching of pen on paper. Then Hanako said, “He -- he said he’d like to, but he’s busy. He already promised Shizune that ... he’d help her build stalls.”

“But …” Lilly said, her practiced smile falling momentarily before she recomposed herself. “Tanabata is still weeks away. The deadline to register for stalls is this coming Friday. This is overpreparation, even by the President’s standards.” Lilly paused to turn to where she had heard Hisao eating his meal. “Hisao, I do hope that you will stand up for yourself. You shouldn’t have to work for hours because the President is trying to outdo the last Student Council’s Tanabata celebration.”

“I - I was there … this morning. M-Misha was … holding him down. They really wanted his help.”

“She’s resorted to physically restraining people? Her ambition has finally outgrown her sense of decency.”

Lilly heard Hisao writing down something. Then Hanako said, “He - he said it’s okay. It’s ... not that bad.”

Lilly paused to collect her thoughts before replying. “Hisao, the President is fond of surrounding herself with people who obey her without asking questions. Even though you are choosing to be silent, you must still make yourself heard. Otherwise I fear that she will continue to abuse your good nature for her own ends.”

Lilly’s statement hung in the air. It was Hanako that broke the silence, asking, “Lilly, you s-said there were two ... things?”

“Yes, of course,” came Lilly’s reply. She sounded more like her regular self. She continued, “Thank you Hanako. I would like to invite both of you to a tea party this Wednesday in my room. My sister Akira should be able to attend. Are the two of you free?”

“I - I don’t have plans. A-and Hisao nodded, so …”

As Hanako’s voice trailed off, Lilly’s arose. “That’s wonderful. I’m looking forward to our gathering. Wednesday evening at the usual time. I’m glad to hear that the President hasn’t yet figured out how to monopolize all of Hisao’s spare time.”

***

The bell rang to end Monday afternoon’s classes. Hisao was one of the first students to get out the door. Shizune turned to get Misha’s attention as her classmates headed out the door.

[Unbelievable! Hisao seems to be in more and more of a hurry to leave. Were you able to remind him to meet me to build stalls?]

[I’m sorry Shicchan. He left so fast. But it’s Hicchan! He’ll be there. I wonder where he was going in such a hurry.]

[Probably somewhere in the Auxiliary building, like on Friday.]

[Do you think he needs to see the nurse?]

Shizune thought for a moment. [I don’t think so. Hisao wrote that he needed an hour, right? That’s too long for just a nurse’s visit.]

[Who knows Shicchan? Maybe he’s joined the swim team? Or maybe it’s something more scandalous?]

The two friends shared a laugh, one silent, the other loud enough for two. Once she’d recovered, Misha asked, [Seriously Shicchan. I need to wait here for Mutou to return, but why haven’t you started packing yet? You wouldn’t want Hicchan to get there before you!]

[He won’t. I just have two things to do first. Did you hear any of the teachers asking Hisao a question?]

Misha thought for a moment. [I don’t think so.]

[I didn’t notice any questions either. That’s one.] Shizune opened her notepad and flipped to a new page.

[What are you doing Shicchan?]

[Hisao isn’t the only person that can write a letter.] Shizune grinned.

***

Building festival stalls by oneself can be a slow and tiring process. But Shizune was used to it. The challenge was in the order; two or three nails could hold things together long enough for the rest of the supporting nails to be driven in. And when two pieces of wood were joined, the next challenge is finding the correct next piece.

Of course, the process is easier with two people. But even after talking to Misha after class and her impromptu writing project, she knew that she would have a lot of time before Hisao’s arrival. She wanted to see how much of the stall she could finish before he arrived. An entire stall would be impossible unless he was very, very late. But the support skeleton should be achievable.

It was during a short break to admire the completed skeleton that she saw Hisao approaching. Judging from where he appeared, he probably left directly from the Auxiliary building. She checked her watch; it was just over an hour since class ended. [Good afternoon,] she signed to him, even though she knew he wouldn’t understand or respond. Things should always be done properly.

As he approached, Hisao waved in reply. She clapped her hands together so she could feel the friction between her hands, then she signed, [I’m glad you’re here. Let’s get to work.] She then picked up her hammer and extended it towards Hisao. He looked a little confused, but he still accepted it.

The two of them set to work. Shizune would line up the pieces of the stall together, and Hisao would hammer them together. They started out slowly, but soon got up to a good speed.

As he worked, Shizune kept an eye on Hisao’s body language and expressions. When he started looking tired, she would stop him and they would switch roles. Hisao wasn’t always sure how the stall was supposed to be built, so she’d occasionally have to step in. She’d gesture to show him which board needed to go where.

After almost an hour’s work the stall was completed. The two of them stopped to admire their work. After a moment, Hisao moved to leave but was immediately blocked by Shizune. She then gestured at the piles of wood still laying on the ground. Then she held up three fingers.

Resigned to his fate, Hisao walked over to the next pile of wood, with Shizune right behind. They worked through the afternoon, taking breaks as needed. As the sun was setting, they completed their fourth stall. This time, when Hisao turned to leave he found Shizune had snuck up behind him, holding a box of food with a can of soda balanced on it. She offered him the ready-made dinner, and he accepted. Sitting down beside her bag, Shizune took out her own meal.

Under the light of the setting sun, the two of them sat and ate in silence. Once Hisao had finished his meal, Shizune reached into her bag and offered him a letter. Shizune finished her meal as Hisao read her letter.
I want to tell you a story. This happened to me when I was six years old.

My father and I were shopping for school supplies. We got separated somehow. I honestly don’t remember how; I was probably looking at some cute pencils or notebooks or something and I didn’t notice that he wasn’t there anymore.

I do remember holding and admiring this blue notebook with butterflies on it when someone shook my shoulder so hard I got spun around. It was some older woman I didn’t know, and she looked really angry. She was looking down at me and talking but I had no idea what she was saying.

I tried to sign to her, but when I raised my hands up she grabbed my other shoulder and shook me until I fell down. I landed beside a bin of pens, and I was still holding the notebook, so I took a pen and started to write “I am deaf!” in the book.

As I was writing a shadow appeared on the page. It was my father. I don’t know what he said to that woman, but whatever it was, it terrified her, and she ran away. (You have to understand, my father is a very imposing person.)

I remember feeling so happy and proud of him after he rescued me from that horrible woman. At least, until he saw what I did to that notebook. He was not happy. It turned out that notebook was expensive, and because I wrote in it, he had to buy it.

The reason why I shared this story with you is that I want you to understand something. Most people don’t know how to sign. So when Misha or someone that can translate for me isn’t around I have to use a pen and paper to communicate. Ever since I’ve been old enough to read and write, I've had to carry a notebook and pen.

I hate it.

Communicating in sign language isn’t as spontaneous as I’d like, but it’s much easier than writing down what I want to tell people. I hate how slow writing is. I hate how it seems that everything stops when I pull out a notepad. And I really hate how people feel like they can invade my personal space while I’m writing them something.

Don’t do that to yourself. You don’t have to. I know you’re hurt. But every day that you choose to be silent, you’re hurting yourself even more.

Think about it. You know I’m right. Everything will be okay. Just talk.
Hisao’s expression changed as he read her letter, from looking mildly shocked to looking appalled to ending on a sad expression. She wondered if writing that letter was a good idea or not. But at least it seemed like he considered what she wrote.

He folded the letter in half and wrote on the back of it. He handed her his reply as he stood up to leave.
I’m guessing that you want this letter back. Don’t worry -- I’ll keep your story a secret.

I just wish you’d believe me. It’s for the best.
Hisao waited for Shizune to finish reading his reply before he gathered up his stuff and left, heading towards the dorms. This time she let him leave. Shizune kept her eyes on Hisao for as long as she could, until he turned around the main building and she couldn’t see him anymore.

She sat there looking at the spot where he disappeared, lost in thought. Her reverie was broken by someone tapping her on the shoulder. She looked up and saw Misha.

[Wow Shicchan! Four stalls! You and Hicchan must be tired.] Misha paused as she looked around. [Where is Hicchan? Did he leave already?]

Shizune nodded as she stood up. [It was tiring work. I’m satisfied with what we’ve built. As for Hisao.] She paused to think. [Hopefully I’ve given him something to think about.]

[Do you think you’ve cheered him up?]

Shizune shook her head. [He can be very stubborn. I admire that. But his stubbornness is misplaced. He’s defending the indefensible. When he realizes that, he’ll talk.]

[But Shicchan, what if he doesn’t?]

[He will. We will make him realize it.]

=====

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Last edited by Raimen on Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Prank Gone Wrong - a Shower Scenes continuation

Post by Raimen » Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:46 am

Chapter 13: Struggles (Tue, July 24)

“C’mon Hisao! One more lap! Don’t give up on me now!”

Hisao was barely jogging as he finished his first lap. Emi kept pace with him, but her patience with this speed was reaching its limit. He was moving so slowly that she could probably run circles around him.

Instead, she jogged in front of him and turned around, so that she was running backwards in front of him. She normally didn't run backwards; it was a little tricky on running blades. She looked up at Hisao. The look on his face gave her second thoughts.

Determination. Effort. He was trying.

"The second day is always the hardest! First turn!"

Emi turned back around and jogged beside him. She was used to members of the track team running half-assed. At least Hisao was putting his heart into it.

His heart…

She looked at his running form. He's slow, but he's been pretty steady. No grabbing his chest or stumbling or anything. What else was she supposed to watch for? She kept thinking about that as they came out of the turn and onto the back straight.

Emi ran back in front of him and started running backwards again. He's clearly struggling to finish this lap. Was this around the point where he gave up the last time? He's breathing hard, but he's still moving. "Hisao, are you alright?" she asked.

After a few steps and deep breaths, he nodded quickly and shallowly. He's doing okay. He just needs more encouragement. "If you finish this lap I'll make you an extra special lunch today. We'll eat on the roof! Lunch with two bombshell beauties! How about it?"

Hisao nodded again, and Emi turned back around, jogging beside him. "Okay Hisao, we're almost at the last turn. You're more than halfway there! Keep it up!"

As they entered the last turn Emi kept her eyes on Hisao and his technique. “Run tall Hisao! Keep landing mid-foot! Yes!” Emi cried as Hisao straightened his posture. “That’s what I’m talking about! That’s tall! We’re almost there! Let’s finish this together!”

The two of them exited the turn, the start/finish line in sight. Emi jogged beside Hisao, cheering him on as he approached the end of his lap. She was determined not to let him falter now; if Hisao was a sailing ship in calm waters, Emi’s cheers would push him towards the harbour. After crossing the line, Hisao stopped and bent over, trying to catch his breath while Emi jogged past him.

Emi turned around and headed back. “Yes! You did it! You did it! Two laps!” Emi jumped in excitement. “Stand tall Hisao! You’ll never catch your breath that way. Hands behind your head." Hisao complied with her instructions as she said, “Feels good, doesn’t it? That’s your body saying ‘thank you!’. You can do it, and you did! Just walk around the track -- take a cooldown lap. And remember. You. Did. It.”

As Hisao started walking, Emi rolled her shoulders. Her warm-up had just finished. Now it was time for her training. Gently bouncing first on one leg, then the other, she took a moment to clear her thoughts. Yesterday, after realizing how slow and out-of-shape Hisao was, she thought that running with him might have been a mistake.

Today though? Not a chance. After weeks in a wheelchair, everything’s finally back on track.

***

Shizune and Misha waited in the hallway outside of class 3-3. The hallway was full of students heading to their classes. Shizune’s gaze switched between looking at Misha and looking down the hallway. After a few repetitions, Misha got Shizune’s attention and signed, [Are you waiting for someone?]

[Mutou,] came Shizune’s reply. [I want to ask him something.]

[Is it about our class’s stall? I thought we had enough volunteers to run it.]

[We do. And it isn’t.] Shizune looked past Misha again. [Wait. I see him. Let’s get ready.]

Misha turned around. She saw Mutou flanked by students trying to make it to class before the bell. He paused at the door to his classroom, finally noticing that two of his students were waiting outside for him. “Hakamichi, Mikado. Why aren’t you inside?”

Shizune signed her reply. “It’s because I want to talk to you about Hicchan!” exclaimed Misha, translating for her friend. Mutou winced as she spoke.

“Mikako, volume. We’ve talked about this.”

“Right, right!” Misha lowered her voice, loudly whispering in a way that somehow averaged out to a normal speaking volume. “We want to talk to you about Hicchan.”

“Yes, I heard you …” Mutou was cut off by the bells signalling the start of the day’s class. “... the first time. What is this about?”

“Hicchan!”

“Right…” Mutou momentarily covered his face with this hand. “What about him?”

“Well …” Misha looked to Shizune, who was glaring at her. “Hicchan’s been back for three days now. Shicchan wants to know why you haven’t been asking him questions in class.”

Mutou took a breath before replying, speaking slowly, “That’s why we’re out here and not in class?”

“Yes, yes!” replied Misha. “As the class representative, it’s my duty to make sure that no one in my class is being unfairly treated or singled out.”

“And … you think that, because I haven’t asked Nakai questions about polymers, that he’s being treated unfairly?”

“It’s not just that! None of our teachers have asked Hicchan a question since he’s been back. Not one teacher! Not one question! It’s suspicious.”

“Hakamichi, this isn’t the first time we’ve discussed the needs of other students. It is a matter that does not concern you.” Mutou paused for continuing. “But, if it will put you at ease, I will ask Nakai a question.”

Shizune smiled after seeing Misha’s translation. Mutou then asked, “Is there anything else? I do have a class to teach. No?” He opened the door for his students and the three of them entered the classroom.

Mutou slowly approached his desk as Shizune and Misha quickly took their seats. “Good morning class. Before I begin our discussion on today’s topic, there is some unfinished business from yesterday’s class.” He surveyed the room before settling his gaze on Hisao.

“Nakai.”

Hisao stood up, answering his teacher’s call. He looked terrified. Mutou asked, “Nakai, was your group able to complete yesterday’s worksheet on polymers?” Hisao quickly nodded. “Good. Collect the worksheets from the other students and put them on my desk. I will grade them later. And since there is no other unfinished business, ” Mutou paused as he looked at Shizune, “we will begin our discussion on alcohols and ethers.”

***

It was a few minutes before the start of the lunch period. The class was supposed to be working on individual assignments, but there was the occasional conversation. Misha tapped on Shizune's shoulder to get her attention.

[Shicchan, did you finish it? I thought it was pretty tough.]

[I finished a few minutes ago. Why do you ask?]

[Well, you've got your super serious thinking face on, so I thought I might have beaten you!]

Shizune giggled silently. [You'll have to do a lot more studying if you want to be faster than me.]

[Well, I am getting extra help after class,] Misha smiled, [So you never know. But if you weren't working on the assignment, what were you thinking about?]

[Lunch. Ibarazaki and Tezuka still have lunch on the roof, right?]

Misha thought for a moment, [I think so Shicchan. Rin was up there that one time we went to the roof before lunch to survey the school grounds. But I thought we'd be doing some Council stuff after we ate lunch.]

[We will if there’s time. I want to organize a meeting first.]

[With Emi and Rin? What for? Are we supposed to make sure that no one eats lunch on the roof?]

[No. Building safety is the administration’s responsibility. Student happiness and success is mine.] Shizune looked past Misha, towards Hisao.

Misha looked confused. [Are you talking about Hicchan now? Is this meeting going to help him?]

[Yes!] Shizune signed briskly. [Do you remember one of the first things Hisao wrote when he came back? He wrote that, since we don’t speak for all of the girls, he wouldn’t believe us when we told him that he doesn’t have to be silent. I will take that excuse away from him.]

[So … it’s not just Emi and Rin? We’re going to get everyone to come?]

Shizune nodded.

[Even a certain class representative?]

Shizune’s smile faded as she nodded.

[Shicchan! You’re the best! When is it? I can’t wait!]

[It needs to be soon. And immediately after class so everyone attends. Hisao left class quickly on Monday and Friday, but not on Saturday. Wherever he’s going, we can’t let him use that as an excuse. So we need a day he won’t go.]

[But … we don’t know where he goes.]

[It doesn’t matter. If he’s busy Monday and Friday, he’s probably also busy on Wednesday. Hopefully not Tuesday and Thursday. We will watch him after class today. And we’ll need time to organize everyone. Thursday after class is the earliest. Saturday is the worst case.]

[Shicchan … I have after hours study sessions, remember?]

[Tell Mutou that you’ll be late on Thursday. He’ll be grading papers anyway, it’ll be okay. I’ll pull you out for Student Council business if I have to…]

Shizune abruptly stopped signing as her classmates stood up and filed towards the door. Checking her watch confirmed the time. She gathered up her things and put them away for the afternoon classes. After she finished packing, she turned to Misha.

[Shicchan, are we keeping this meeting secret from Hicchan?]

[Absolutely. If he knows about it in advance, he’ll run.]

[Then we can’t talk to Rin and Emi today. Hicchan looks like he’s going that way.]

[To the roof?]

Misha nodded. Shizune thought about that, then she frowned.

[What's wrong Shicchan? You look like you just ate a lemon.]

Looking at Misha, she signed, [Change of plan. Let’s go and eat first. I don’t want to talk to her on an empty stomach.]

=====

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Last edited by Raimen on Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Prank Gone Wrong - a Shower Scenes continuation

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:42 pm

Now this has the vibe of going for a harem ending, with every one of the girls vying for Hisao's attention... :lol:
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.

Raimen
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Re: A Prank Gone Wrong - a Shower Scenes continuation

Post by Raimen » Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:24 am

Chapter 14: Iced Tea (Tue, July 24)

“Bishop c-captures on f3.”

Lilly’s hands went to the kingside. Sure enough, there was a bishop where her knight used to be. Even though she didn’t need to, she felt the bump on the top of the piece that indicated that it is one of Hanako’s. She sighed; she wasn’t expecting Hanako to capture her knight. Recapturing the piece would leave her king open to future attack. But what other choice did she have?

Her train of thought was interrupted by the opening of the door and a laugh that she used to enjoy but has learned to loathe. Lilly took in a deep breath, steeling herself. She stood up and turned to face her unwelcome intruders. “Do we not,“ she began, doing her best to keep her voice level, “have an agreement where you conceded not to violate the sanctity of this space? An agreement that you have just broken?”

"What kind of welcome is that?" came Misha's voice from the door. "I thought you were a proper hostess. Why haven't you welcomed us properly?"

Lilly's reply was immediate. "I believe that the answer to that question is obvious. I did not invite you."

“Awww Lilly … that’s so mean. We just wanted to talk to you about Hicchan.”

“Well, as you can see, he is not here.” Lilly replied as she walked towards the door. “If you want to force him into helping you outdo last year’s Tanabata celebration, you’ll have to search for him elsewhere.”

"What? We haven't forced~ him to do anything!"

"So you didn't hold him down until he was forced to agree to build stalls for a celebration that is still weeks away? I had heard otherwise."

"Well… maybe. We asked~ for his help … we really~ needed it … And what business is it of yours anyway? You forfeited your right to complain about Student Council business when you quit!"

"I will tell you," Lilly said as she got as close to Misha as she dared. "Hisao is my friend. You should be ashamed of yourself for abusing him. And for what? The flames of your ambition are unquenchable. You consume all you encounter.”

There was an uneasy silence broken only by Hanako dropping what Lilly assumed was a chess piece. Then Misha gave Shizune’s reply. “Asking a friend for help isn’t abuse. It’s fulfilling my responsibilities to my school, my class and my friends. Unlike you, I don't hide from my responsibilities in an unused room, sipping tea and playing chess." After a brief moment Misha added, “Is that what that game is? It looks neat.”

“The only thing I hide from in this room is you and your insatiable desire for importance. I had relied on you to at least keep your word to me. Evidently even your sense of honour has been consumed by your ambitions.”

“The only thing you do in this room is hide! You don’t face the hard choices, and you don’t make the hard decisions. I do! Even my presence here proves that!”

“Only a narcissist would believe that her mere presence requires praise.”

Lilly stood there facing Misha, awaiting a response when she heard someone walk around her and towards the table she was sitting at. She assumed it was her cousin. Lilly turned around as she heard Misha’s voice from the doorway, saying, “You’re playing white? You’re about to lose. Really Shicchan? I see lots of white pieces from here.”

"I didn't realize the Tanabata preparations were going so well that you have time to critique other student's leisure activities during your lunch break. Truly our student council is a model of efficiency."

"The only efficient thing about you is how quickly you're losing this game. Still, I didn’t know that either of you knew how to play. Maybe some other time we can play a game."

Hanako’s small voice sounded very confused. “W - with ... me?”

Lilly felt the need to interject. She stated sternly, “As I mentioned earlier, Hisao is not here. Why don’t you search for him somewhere else?”

“Oh, we already know where Hicchan is!” Lilly could hear Misha approach her from behind. “He went to the roof. He’s probably having lunch with Emi and Rin.”

“Wonderful,” Lilly replied dryly. “Then why don’t you leave to go recruit him to build more stalls or decorate the school grounds or deal with whatever non-emergency you’ve concocted, and leave us alone?” Lilly paused before adding, “And if you already knew he isn’t here, why are you bothering us?”

“Silly Lilly! I already~ told you! We’re here to talk to you about Hicchan! And you still haven’t invited us to sit down. How rude! So disrespectful...”

Lilly paused for a moment, weighing her options. Finally, she walked around the table to Hanako’s side, standing beside her. Then she said, “Very well. It’s clear to me that we shall have no peace until you’ve done what you came here to do. Have a seat. I hope you were not expecting me to have tea prepared. I could not have expected your malfeasance.”

Lilly sat down beside Hanako. Misha came to sit beside Lilly. “Yay~! This is the best! It’s just like old times!”

Lilly calmly replied, “The old times weren’t always the best times.”

Misha replied, “But they weren’t~ bad either. I think you’re going to like Shicchan’s idea.”

Lilly could hear Shizune sitting across the table from her. Then Misha said, "As you know, since he’s returned from the hospital, Hicchan has been very stubborn and is still refusing to speak."

"Stop right there, " Lilly interrupted. "Hisao is hurt and scared. He is choosing to be silent because he fears retribution."

"He's just overreacting, and you know it. Every day he chooses to be silent is a day that he hurts himself more and more. Surely you realize that."

"I realize that Hisao needs time to repair friendships and to have his trust in us restored. We need to support him until he is ready. You can't force him to speak."

"Yes, I can! Well, we can…" Misha's enthusiastic reply tapered off. "All of us, I mean. We told him in class that it would be okay. Hicchan said … I mean, he wrote that he wouldn't believe us, since we couldn't speak for everyone. So we're going to get everyone together!"

"Everyone?" Lilly began skeptically. "You're planning a meeting?"

"Yes!"

"And you're going to force him to attend this … this intervention?"

"Yes."

"And … you genuinely believe that, once he's alone in a room with the same people that caused his previous hospitalization, that he will acquiesce?”

‘Yes! We’re going to tell him that we aren’t upset with him anymore. Then he will have no reason to stay silent.”

Lilly took a moment before replying, "He isn’t a broken toy that can be repaired, nor is he a puzzle to be solved. You can’t make him talk with logic.”

“That doesn’t matter. He’ll talk because he wants to. He’s still Hicchan! If he hated us, he wouldn’t even bother writing notes. But he does! He wrote both of us a letter, and when we’re doing group work, he writes us notes. Doesn’t he write notes for you too?”

“Hisao also wrote Hanako and me a letter while he was hospitalized. And Hanako has been kind enough to read aloud whatever notes Hisao writes.”

"See? He wants to talk to you too. I think he wants things to be like they were before. That's natural. You said that he's scared. After we tell him it's okay, he won't be scared anymore. Then he'll talk, and things will be back to normal. See Lilly? Doesn't Shicchan have great ideas?"

Lilly paused to think as Misha continued to deliver Shizune's sales pitch. "It's a good plan. I'll talk with Miki, Emi and Rin. Since Hanako wasn't in the hallway with the rest of us, she doesn't need to be there."

Hanako scooted her chair a bit close to Lilly. She said, "H-he … he knows."

There was a moment of silence before Misha asked, "He does?"

Lilly responded, "Evidently so. He mentioned his awareness of Hanako’s role in the shower prank in his letter to her."

"I underestimated him." There was a pause before Misha continued. "No matter. You'll be there too Hanako. There's lots of room in the Student Council office."

Lilly asked, "And just when are you planning on hosting this gathering?"

"I want us to meet on Thursday, immediately after class. Hicchan goes to the Auxiliary building right after class on Mondays and Fridays. I'm hoping that he won't on Thursday. And I still need time to invite Miki, Emi and Rin." There was a pause before Misha continued, "Do either of you know where Hicchan goes after class?"

"I do not," answered Lilly. "I do not recall Hisao mentioning any new extra curricular activities. And unlike you, I don't spy on my friends."

"Maybe if you were like me, you would take an active interest in your friends well being."

"Is that why you have so many friends?" replied Lilly. "Because of your active interest? Or is it that interest that drives them away?"

"That's none of your concern! And it was really~ mean too!" Misha's voice sounded hurt as she continued, "You're right Shicchan; all we're doing is trying to help our friend Hicchan, and this is the treatment we get. It's not like I want to be here, you know. Unless we get everyone to help Hicchan, it won't work."

Lilly paused before she said, "You usually aren't so altruistic."

"We could argue like this for hours. But our lunch break is short and I still have things I want to get done. Are you going to help Hicchan or not?"

Lilly turned towards Hanako and asked, "What do you think, Hanako?"

Hanako paused to think for a moment before answering,"I-if it'll help. I-I'll go."

Lilly turned back across the table. "Very well. You can count on my attendance as well."

"Yay!" Squealed Misha in delight. "You know Shicchan, it shouldn't be too hard to get everyone else to come now. I can't wait!"

“Is that so?” asked Lilly. "I admit that I am not familiar with Rin's schedule. But I do know that, as Miki and Emi are members of the track team, they practice every day after class."

“That won’t be a problem,” replied Misha. “So they’ll miss part of one practice. Who cares?”

“I believe that Emi will,” answered Lilly. “She does seem to be quite dedicated to her pursuit of athletic achievement.”

“She’s right Shicchan. Remember when we did the announcing for that track meet? I think Emi won every race she was in.” There was an awkward pause before Misha continued, “That’s it Misha! Wait … that’s me … slow down Shicchan … yeah … uh-huh… okay, but … yeah ...”

After listening to Misha’s one sided conversation with Shizune for a few moments, Lilly asked “Can someone please explain what’s going on?”

“Yes! Okay~! The weekend after the Yamaku festival the school was hosting a track meet. The day before, the track team captain came up to Shicchan and me. Their regular announcer was sick, and he needed someone to fill in. So of course Shicchan volunteered. It was a lot of fun! Shicchan would write down race results and pass lists to me, and I’d announce them to everyone.”

“Anyway,” Misha continued on, “Shicchan thinks that the track team captain owes us a favour, since we did such a good job. And at the last minute too! So we’re going to ask him to get Emi and Miki out of track practice on Thursday.”

Lilly heard Shizune get up from across the table. Shortly afterwards, she heard Misha stand up also. “Shicchan says that she’s looking forward to seeing you both on Thursday. Come to the Student Council office after class. And Hanako, Shicchan would like to play chess with you sometime. Come and visit! But we have to go. Bye~!”

=====

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Last edited by Raimen on Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

Raimen
Posts: 39
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Re: A Prank Gone Wrong - a Shower Scenes continuation

Post by Raimen » Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:28 am

Chapter 15: Out of Reach (Wed, July 25)

The sun was shining on Yamaku’s soccer field. Hisao sat in the shade of a rather large tree, finishing the last few bites of his lunch. On the field, some students were playing a pick-up game of soccer.

“You’re just finishing your lunch now? Man you eat slow.” Hisao looked up to find Miki sitting down beside him. "Or was the cafeteria just packed? Don't tell me they got in some veal cutlet bread. They did, didn’t they?"

Hisao laughed as he pulled out his notebook. He wrote,
Veal cutlet bread is just a myth teachers tell to bad students to get them to work harder. I don't think the cafeteria ever has any.

I just didn't know what I wanted to do for lunch today. By the time I decided, other students bought up all the edible food in the cafeteria. This was all I could find.
“Yeah … you have got to get there quickly. I think the first and second years just have an advantage, since their classes are just closer to the caf. Us third years just get the leftovers.” Miki paused and looked at Hisao. “But seriously, why are you here? I thought you’d be eating with your girlfriend.”

Hisao wrote back,
What are you talking about? I don’t have a girlfriend.
“You don’t? Didn’t we talk about this a month ago? You like Hanako. Hanako likes you … probably. Why haven’t you asked her yet? Because I guarantee that she's not going to ask you.”

Hisao briefly shot Miki a mean look before he started writing,
I spent most of that month in the hospital room. Alone.

I haven’t really thought much about dating. I just want to get my life back. Be on solid ground, you know?
“Fine fine … I didn’t mean to bring that up.“ Miki said apologetically. “At least you aren’t avoiding her. That’d be worse.” After Hisao’s inquisitive look, Miki said, “What? The two of you would be cute together. And Hanako’s just … you know … she’s … nice. You’re good for her.”

Hisao smiled softly before turning his attention back to the game. Miki asked, “So, if you aren’t avoiding her, why are you here?”

Hisao looked wistfully at the soft game for a moment before writing his reply.
I just wanted some time to think.
“Uh-oh. That’s never good.” Hisao gave her a funny look, so Miki clarified, “I’m just saying that it’s just not worth it. Stop overthinking. Or at least let me know what you’re thinking about. C’mon. Spill.”

Hisao sighed and wrote,
I’m thinking about what I’ve lost.
“Aw hell.” Miki’s reply was immediate after reading his note. “Damn. I shouldn’t have asked. But for what it’s worth, everyone thinks about that.”

Miki started to rub her left forearm, and she caught Hisao looking. Miki continued, “You aren’t alone, you know. Probably half of us have lost something. Have you heard of phantom limb syndrome?” Hisao looked puzzled, so Miki explained, “Sometimes I can still feel my hand. You know like how your leg falls asleep if you sit on it funny? It’s like that sometimes. When it’s real bad, it feels like it’s in a press. That hurts like hell.”

Hearing that, Hisao looked shocked. Miki said, “It’s not that bad. I mean, most of the time I don’t feel it. Sometimes it just randomly happens. Sometimes if I’m thinking about it, it’ll happen. Like now -- it’s kinda itchy. Damn …” Her voice trailed off as she shook her arm like a whip a couple of times.

“I should’ve seen that coming. Why do people do dumb things? Thinking about it always makes it worse…”

Miki stood up, still shaking her left arm. “I’m going to go play soccer for a bit. Running around usually helps.” She paused before adding, “Look Hisao, you seem alright. If you’re gonna think, think. If you’re gonna be mopey, be mopey. Just don’t get carried away with it, you know?”

Hisao sat in the shade of a rather large tree and watched as Miki joined the game.

***

Akira knocked on the door of room 225. She heard movement from inside the room, and waited for the door to be opened. It wasn’t long before Hanako opened the door.

She stepped into the room and looked around. Hanako, wearing her pink nightgown, was bowing as Akira entered the room. Her sister Lilly was seated at the low table in her dark blue pyjamas. And there was a boy with disheveled brown hair and wearing the school uniform also seated at the table, facing the door. “So you must be Hisao Nakai. I’m Akira Satou, Lilly’s older sister. She’s told me a lot about you. Hopefully only half of those things are true.”

Lilly’s admonishment was immediate. “Akira! Please behave yourself.”

Hisao giggled softly as he wrote down something on his notepad.

Akira laughed as she said, “Okay, okay! I’m only kidding. Seriously though, it is good to meet you.”

Hisao placed his notepad beside Hanako’s teacup as Lilly asked, “Why don’t you take a seat Akira? It’s good that you’ve arrived.”

“Can’t” came her reply. “Hisao’s sitting where I usually do. So Hanako’s going to have to take her seat before I can.”

“O-oh. Sorry …” Hanako’s voice trailed off as she quickly moved in front of Akira to her usual spot.

Akira giggled as she sat down. “Hanako, don’t worry about it. It’s good to see you again.”

“L-likewise.” Hanako said. Seeing Hisao’s notebook, she picked it up and read from it. “H-Hisao says it’s good to meet you too.”

Akira turned to face Hanako, “That’s quite the system you’ve got going there. Do you always read for him?”

“N-not always …” Hanako said, looking down at the table in front of her.

Lilly quickly added, “Akira, as you know Hisao has decided to take on a vow of silence. My understanding is that he sometimes writes notes to communicate with others. Hanako has been kind enough to read his notes aloud for me.”

Akira replied, “So now this school has the loudest interpreter for the deaf and the quietest interpreter for the silent.” She shook her head, adding, “This is one crazy place.”

Lilly giggled, “Indeed. Hanako, I do believe that Misha could stand to learn from your technique.”

“C’mon Lils. Misha’s not that bad.”

Lilly paused before answering, “I know. It’s just ...”

“And Shizune’s not that bad either.”

“Well,” Lilly began her reply before pausing, “I think we’ve had different experiences dealing with her. Just yesterday … well, perhaps it's best to just leave it at that.”

“It never ends with you two, does it?,” Akira said as she looked at everyone in turn. Hanako nervously studied the inside of her cup. Hisao looked at Lilly with a concerned look on his face. "Our last get together was last week. How have things been?”

"Quite busy. Schoolwork and class representative duties have occupied most of my time. That's why I've been anticipating this evening's gathering."

“And how about you Hanako?” Akira asked, “How has the newspaper club been treating you?”

As Hanako prepared to answer, Akira noticed a look of surprise on Hisao’s face. “I-it’s been … good. I-I just type some of the articles on the computer.”

Akira couldn’t help but smile. “It sounds like you’re fitting right in.”

Hanako softly smiled and said, "I-it's nice." Hisao looked at Hanako and smiled too.

Lilly and Akira chatted about school and work life. Occasionally Hanako would say something or Hisao would write a note for Hanako to read, but for the most part they seemed content to observe and enjoy their tea.

After an hour and a half or so, Hisao wrote a note, which Hanako read aloud. "H-Hisao says that it's getting late. He's … got to study. He says … good night."

Since she was the closest to the door, Akira stood up to open it for him. She said, "It was nice to meet you Hisao. You seem like a nice guy. I hope things work out for you."

Hisao smiled and nodded as he left Lilly's room. Akira closed the door behind him and took her time walking back to the table. Once seated, she asked, "Okay, seriously, what's the deal with Hisao?"

"Whatever do you mean?" answered Lilly in an artificially innocent tone.

"You know what I mean. The silent but friendly treatment. What gives?"

Lilly chuckled before replying, "It is as I explained to you earlier. After his recovery, Hisao decided to take on a vow of silence. He believes that there will be … fewer miscommunications that way."

"Wait… " Akira paused to gather her thoughts. "You mean that his whole silent deal is to try to avoid being on the wrong end of another prank?" Hanako gasped at Akira's question, so she added, "Lilly told me about it."

"Hisao wrote both Hanako and me letters in which he explained his reasoning."

Akira asked incredulously, "And you believed him?"

“How could I not?” Lilly answered, her tone becoming more serious. “What exactly are you implying?”

“Lils,” Akira began, “Everyone tries to show the best version of themselves to the world. And everyone has parts of themselves that they try to hide. Everyone does. You’re focusing on the former when you should be asking about the latter.”

“Akira, you aren’t making any sense. In his letter to me, Hisao expressed his sincere desire to repair our friendship. Given that desire, why would he make it difficult to communicate with me unless he felt it necessary to do so?”

Akira chuckled awkwardly, “Well, you know the guy better than I do. I meant what I told him; he really does seem like a nice guy. There’s just something … off … you know?”

“Akira,” Lilly said, “Since his arrival in June, I’ve known Hisao to be a fine young gentleman. His recovery from the unintended injury we caused him has been traumatic for us all. I do believe that once we’ve regained his trust he will choose to speak to us again.”

“Well, he’s got to be someone special.” Akira replied as she started to grin mischievously. “After all, you don’t just invite any guy to see the two of you in your pajamas.”

“Akira!” scolded Lilly.

“Relax! Relax!” Akira said, holding her hands up. “You know I was just kid…”

She was interrupted by a sudden gasp from Hanako. “I …”

Everyone’s attention turned to Hanako. Lilly asked, “Hanako, what is it?”

“... I …”

Akira asked, “You look pale. Are you okay?”

"I’vegottogodosomething!” And with that, Hanako raced past Akira and out the door.

A stunned Akira slowly stood up. Lilly sighed as they heard the sound of Hanako's door closing. Akira closed Lilly's door and asked, "What'd I say?"

"Akira, everyone doesn't share your … familiar sense of humour."

"Is she okay? Should I check on her?"

"No." Lilly said firmly. "I believe that she needs some time to process her feelings. I will visit her before I retire this evening."

"Geez…" Akira's voice trailed off as she scratched her head. "You don't think that she has feelings for him, do you?"

Lilly paused before answering, "I think she expects me to be discreet in matters of romance."

"Privileged information?"

Lilly giggled as she said, "Precisely."

Akira took her regular seat at the table and said, "You know, you'd probably make a good lawyer. Are you sure you don't want to get in the business?"

"I am sure," she answered. "My desire is to pursue a career as an English teacher. That has not changed."

"Fair enough, "Akira said. "There's a lot to be said for knowing what you want. But speaking of the business ... and family … have you given any thought to father's summons?"

Lilly sighed again before answering. "I have not. My thoughts have been elsewhere."

"Just be sure to let me know. The earlier I know, the cheaper your plane ticket will be."

"I know. There are many costs to balance."

"I'd drink to that. If I'd brought anything, that is."

Lilly chuckled and said, "It was probably for the best that you did not. I still have nightmares about my hangover after Hanako's party."

"You've just got to know your limits. Which reminds me, I should probably be heading out soon." Akira stood up and said, "Tell Hanako I didn't mean to offend her."

Lilly rose and said, "I doubt that you have, but I shall let her know. Good night Akira."

"Good night Lils."

=====

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Last edited by Raimen on Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

Raimen
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu May 17, 2018 1:27 pm

Re: A Prank Gone Wrong - a Shower Scenes continuation

Post by Raimen » Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:04 am

Chapter 16: The First Rank (Thur, July 26)

Misha sat at her desk fidgeting with her pencil. Thursday’s classes were winding down. She looked around the room. Hisao sat to her left, and he looked like he was counting the seconds until class ended. Shizune had already put most of her books away and was looking at the blackboard. Miki pushed her desk slightly closer to Suzu’s, and the two were chatting quietly. Misha turned to the back of the class; Hanako was writing something in her notebook, heads down.

She felt a touch on her shoulder. Shizune had her focused determination face on. [We might only get one chance to get everyone together. We must get Hisao to come with us at all costs. Are you ready?]

Misha smiled as she replied. [You bet Shicchan! I’ve been looking forward to this all day.]

Shizune grinned and signed, [This is going to work. I can feel it. There's only a couple of minutes until class ends. Be vigilant!]

Misha nodded and turned back to Hisao. She knew what she needed to do. She just needed to wait until it was the right time. Why does time always move slower the closer it is to the end of the school day?

She mentally went over the list that Shizune gave her. Be packed. Be ready. Get in front of Hisao. Hold his attention. Shizune comes from behind. He’s trapped. Misha put her pencil in the bag along with her books. She was as ready as she felt she could be.

She tapped her fingers against her desk waiting for her moment. When the bell rang, it was a relief. She sprang up and, bag in hand, turned to her left. Hisao was getting up, but she was a step ahead.

“Hicchan! You’re not running off. That’s good! That’s very~ good! I need your help with something. See … um … someone delivered some, uh … food, to the student council office. Huge~ boxes of noodles for the festival. They're too big! And they don't belong there! Shicchan and I need your help to carry them to ... ah … a storage room in the cafeteria. Where they'll be safe. And not in our office.”

Hisao tried to move to the side to walk past Misha, but she slid across to cut him off. “You wouldn’t want Shicchan and me to carry those boxes all by ourselves. There’s so many! But ... not too many if we had your help. C’mon Hicchan! It won’t take too long.”

Hisao seemed to consider it as Shizune came from behind him and put her hands on his shoulders. “Yes!” Misha exclaimed, “Shicchan ... uh … knew you’d want to help. And there she is! No escaping, Hicchan!” Misha emphasized that point by placing her hand on his shoulder. “Let’s go!”

***

Shizune swung open the door to the Student Council office. She was surprised that it wasn't empty. Lilly and Hanako were sitting in the front right corner, and Miki was standing around on the far side of the room.

"Wahaha~! Look Shicchan, we aren't the first ones here! Hi Miki!" Misha exclaimed as she gently pushed Hisao into the room. "That's right Shicchan … this is suspicious. The council room is usually locked."

Lilly turned to her left and said, "I have a key."

Shizune's reply via Misha was immediate, "You should have returned that key when you left the council!"

"You never asked," Lilly innocently replied.

From the other side of the room, Miki laughed. Shizune stayed near the doorway and signed. Misha said, “No matter. We’re here now. Have a seat Hicchan! This really shouldn’t take long. We just need to wait for a couple of people to arrive, and we’ll start. I can’t wait~!”

Hisao hesitantly took a seat near the middle of the room, closest to the blackboard at the front. Misha sat beside him. “Okay Hicchan, I can tell you’ve noticed there aren’t any boxes to move. I may~ have stretched the truth a little. But it really shouldn't take too long.”

“Another lie?” Lilly asked skeptically.

“It’s like a surprise~ party!” Misha replied. “You can’t tell the person you’re trying to surprise that there’s a surprise party. Then there’s no surprise!”

“There’s a party?” Rin’s dry voice filled the room as she and Emi walked around Shizune and into the council office. “I thought we were going to help Hisao to stop acting so silly. Will there be a party afterwards?”

Misha hung her head. "There goes the surprise..."

Shizune closed the door and approached the front of the room. As Emi and Rin sat down near Miki, Misha leaned over towards Hisao and said, "Don't go anywhere~!" Then she took her usual place beside Shizune.

“Now that everyone is here, we can begin.” Misha’s voice easily filled the council office. “Thank you all for coming on such short notice. As you know, we are here to do collectively what we have not been able to do individually.” Shizune paused for a moment before continuing, looking at Hisao as she signed. “Hicchan, I can speak for everyone here when I say that we are deeply sorry for the harm that we have caused you. Hurting you wasn’t our intention. We just wanted you to have a story that you want to keep private, just as we do.”

“Yeah,” Miki interrupted, “we didn’t know your heart would give out on ya like that.”

“Hicchan,” continued Misha, translating for Shizune, “I think that we all wish that things could be like they were before. Do you accept our apology?”

After a brief moment’s reflection, Hisao nodded.

Misha squealed with delight, “That’s good~! That’s very~ good! So no one is upset with anyone.”

Shizune turned to the side to address Misha privately. She signed, [I don’t think he said anything. Did he say something?]

[No he didn’t.]

Turning back to face him, Shizune resumed signing. Misha said, “Hicchan, you don’t need to worry about upsetting us by saying the wrong thing.”

Rin added, “Unless it’s about the shower thingy.”

“Yes! Yes!” Misha hastily added, “But aside from that~, which you know is bad, we won’t get upset with you again. So you don’t need to worry about that anymore.”

Hisao looked at Shizune suspiciously, but she continued signing undaunted. "So it's okay. You don't need to worry anymore. Everything's okay. I know that Misha's looking forward to talking with you in class again. I really~ am! And I'm sure that everyone else is too."

Shizune looked at Hisao expectantly. But he just shook his head and looked towards the desk he was sitting at. She turned to Misha and asked, [How about now? I don’t think he said anything.]

[He didn’t.]

Turning back to face him, Shizune looked serious. “Hicchan!" Misha exclaimed so loudly that Hisao looked stunned. "You’re being very stubborn. We, your concerned and hard-working friends, have all come here this afternoon to apologize and to cheer you up. Surely you realize that you have no reason to remain silent."

Lilly stood up. "If I may." Without waiting for acknowledgement, she continued, "Hisao, we understand that this situation must be overwhelming for you. Please know that we wouldn't put you through this unless it was necessary. I know we betrayed your trust, and that friendships take time and effort to repair. And I know that Hanako and I want to repair our friendships so that, as others have put it, things will be as they were before.”

“But Hisao, “ she continued, “I feel that your silence hinders you unnecessarily. It benefits no one, and it deprives your friends of your wit and charm. If you feel you must continue, then we will support you. But I implore you to reconsider. Please break your vow of silence."

Lilly sat down just as Rin added, "And stop acting silly."

Emi turned to her friend, "Rin!"

"What?" Rin replied nonchalantly.

"Don't you think that's a bit much?"

"No. He is acting silly." Rin replied. "Or he's acting badly. That's what Misha said yesterday when they had lunch with us. And he is. Silly, I mean. He's like a canvas that paint doesn't stick to."

"Wait a sec. Is that even a thing?" Miki asked Rin.

"No. Because that would be silly," replied Rin. "Canvas you can't paint on isn't canvas. Or the paint isn’t paint."

"Yeah," Emi said, "but we're trying to cheer him up, you know? Say nice things. We should try to get him to smile."

"We aren’t doing a good job. He doesn't look happy," Rin replied. "I think I’ve only seen him smile once. At the old store. Maybe we should take him there?"

Meanwhile, Lilly leaned towards Hanako, whispering, “I hope we haven’t pushed him too far. Can you describe his expression?”

Hanako whispered back, “He ... he looks … like he’s i-in pain.”

“Oh dear.” Lilly quietly muttered as her hand found Hanako’s. She gave her friend’s hand a reassuring squeeze.

"Hicchan!" Misha's voice once again filled the room, getting everyone’s attention. "As you can tell, we’re all concerned about you. That’s why we’re all here. We want you to talk to us again. Why won’t you?”

After Misha finished speaking, the room was so still that the sound of Hisao’s sigh could easily be heard. After looking around for a bit he got up to write on the blackboard.
I’ve tried to explain this. It’s just easier this way.
“But it isn’t!” exclaimed Misha, translating for Shizune. “Look around you. Your silence hurts you and us. No one is upset with you anymore. We want you to talk to us. We’re offering you the easy way out. Why won’t you take it?”
I don’t want you to know. It’s none of your business.
“But Hicchan. We’re your friends...” Misha said, her voice trailing off before returning at full strength. “Stop being evasive. It’s a simple question Hicchan. Why won’t you talk to us?”

Hisao turned to face the blackboard. His right hand trembled as he thought about what to do. Then he wrote,
It’s because I can’t.
When he turned to face the girls, he looked like a defeated young man. He kept his head down. There was a moment of silence that was broken by Misha. “Sure you can. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. It’s okay, Hicchan. You can.”

In response, Hisao just turned back to the blackboard, and underlined the words “I can’t”. He turned to look at Shizune. She looked from the blackboard to Hisao with her arms crossed. Hisao just stood beside the blackboard, waiting.

Emi’s voice cut through the tension, asking, “Wait … surely you don’t mean that. Like … you really can’t?”

Hisao meekly nodded. Then he wrote,
After I tried to find where you hid my clothes, I ran across the bathroom to untie Kenji. I slipped and hit my head hard on the shower stall.

I didn’t wake up until the next afternoon. And when I did, I couldn’t speak properly. Everything comes out sounding wrong.
The room slowly became quiet as each girl read the blackboard. Eventually the sound of Hanako’s whispered interpretation for Lilly faded into silence. Shizune uncrossed her arms, but kept looking at Hisao. After a few moments, Hisao continued writing.
When I woke up, I read Shizune’s note where she apologized. I figured the rest of you felt the same way.

After a couple days of testing the doctor's told me what they thought was wrong with me. They said I have "Apraxia of Speech."

It took a few days, but I eventually realized that none of you meant for that to happen. It was a horrible accident, and I didn’t want you to feel any worse than you did.
“Oh Hicchan …” Misha’s voice drifted off as she finished reading what he wrote. Shizune looked especially solemn before she sat down at her desk and stared across the room.

Lilly asked, “So your vow of silence was to try to prevent us from realizing the magnitude of the harm that we caused you.”

Hisao nodded, and Hanako whispered to Lilly that he had. Before Lilly could say anything else, Miki asked, “Okay, so I get it. But I don’t get it. Like, what were you thinking? Did you seriously think you could keep it up for the rest of the year?”

Hisao wrote,
I was hoping I didn’t have to. I practice when I can and I’m getting better.
Rin said, “I practice talking all the time. Most people seem confused though. I don’t think it helps.”

Hisao shook his head in disbelief and wrote,
I really feel like I'm improving.

In the hospital I kept hoping that something would click inside me and I’d be back to normal. But my doctors and therapists don't think that’ll happen.

It’s rough. It’s just sad how quickly something you’ve had all your life can be lost.
“Hey Hisao!’ Miki’s call got Hisao’s attention. “C’mere. And bring your little book.” Seeing Hisao’s confused look, Miki pressed on, “Don’t think about it. Just do it.” Hisao shrugged, but gathered his stuff and went to sit with Miki, Emi and Rin.

On the other side of the room, Lilly whispered, “Has Hisao decided to join them?”

“Y-yes. H-he’s sitting beside Miki”

Lilly replied, “Well, then it would seem we have a few moments to talk amongst ourselves.” She squeezed Hanako’s hand and asked, “Hanako, how are you feeling?”

“I … I’m okay.”

“I’m glad to hear you say so,” Lilly replied. “Hisao’s admission was quite … alarming.”

"H-how about y-you?"

Lilly leaned in closer. "I am … struggling to process things. I hadn't considered that he had a hidden motive."

“Akira … she thought he was ... hiding something. So ... I thought … “

“You realized there was more to his silence than he claimed?”

Hanako nodded quickly, then quietly added, “I ... did it to him. He ... he can’t talk b-because of … me.”

Lilly could hear her friend’s breathing quicken. She leaned towards Hanako and said, “You needn’t bear that burden alone. Everyone in this room bears some responsibility for what happened.”

“I - I know. But … I …” Hanako’s voice trailed off as she couldn’t get the words to her sentence out.

“We must be strong. You told me that he wrote that his words ‘sound wrong’. Perhaps he is ashamed of the quality of his speech.”

“I … I don’t know … I …”

“When he is ready to try to talk to us, we will be ready to listen. Let us invite him to lunch tomorrow. I’m sure he will join us. What do you think?”

Hanako’s breathing slowed back to normal. “O - okay.”

While the girls on either side of the room were talking, Misha pulled up a chair opposite Shizune. Her friend seemed to be lost in thought. After waiting for a moment Misha tapped Shizune's hand. Shizune looked up at her and signed, [I should have realized.]

Misha replied quickly, [Realized what?]

Shizune looked annoyed. [The truth about Hisao’s condition.]

Misha looked around before answering, [But how? Look around Shicchan. None of us knew. You’re being too hard on yourself.]

[No, I’m not.] Shizune signed. [I didn’t understand why teachers were going easy on Hisao. I thought it might have been because it was his first week back. I should have realized the truth. He was being accommodated. That's what Mutou meant.]

Misha's eyes went wide. Then she signed, [Because it’s mean to ask someone a question if you know they can’t talk.]

Shizune nodded, [Exactly. Mutou and the other teachers knew the truth. Hisao didn’t want us to know. I drove the confession out of him.]

[But things aren’t so bad, Shicchan.] Misha signed. [Look around! Hicchan is over there with Emi and her friends and he seems okay. And Hanako is still here! I would have thought she’d have run off.]

Shizune looked around the room. Hanako looked terrified, but she and Lilly were talking about something. And near the windows, the rest of them seemed to be doing okay. She was sure she saw Miki laugh about something.

[You’re right. Even though his silence wasn’t for the reason I thought, it was still hurting him. Now he will be able to socialize again. At least he’s talking now.]

Misha looked concerned. [I don’t think he is Shicchan. I haven’t heard him say anything.]

Shizune stood up and took a couple of steps towards the window. Sure enough, she could see Hisao's notepad. He was clearly still using it.

Returning to her desk, she signed, [You're right. He is still writing notes. That won't do.]

[But what else can we do Shicchan?]

Shizune re-read what Hisao wrote on the blackboard. She signed, [If the only reason he is being silent is because he sounds wrong, then he needs more practice. He should practice in conversations with his friends. He can hear himself and correct his mistakes. But he is falling back into bad habits. He won't move forward that way.]

Misha looked unconvinced. [But what if he sounds really bad Shicchan? What if no one can understand him?]

[He won’t know until he tries. He needs constant practice if he is to improve. I won’t sit idly by while he wastes his potential.]

[Then you better think of something Shicchan. I just heard Emi saying that she doesn’t see the point in this meeting anymore.]

Shizune looked over. Sure enough, Emi, Miki and Hisao were starting to get up. Shizune shot up like a rocket and started signing. Misha translated, “Hicchan!” Everyone stopped to look at Misha and Shizune. “There’s one more thing that Shicchan wants to ask you.”

Misha scrambled to stand up while still looking at Shizune’s hands. She said, “Shicchan wants to know … wait ... that’s too fast Shicchan. Slow down. Okay! She wants to know how not talking is making you feel. She says she wants to know how you feel so she can be a better friend and classmate. Oh Shicchan, that’s sweet …”

Hisao looked over at Shizune, trying to size her up. After a moment he wrote a short note. He walked over and showed it to her. After reading it, Shizune nodded and pointed at one of the filing cabinets at the back of the room. Hisao walked over to it and opened the top drawer. Then Misha said, “No Hicchan! Behind the cabinet.” Then Hisao looked behind the cabinet, knelt down and slid a chess set out from a stack of board games.

He returned to Shizune’s desk and sat opposite her, where Misha just was. He placed the box down and opened it, revealing the chess board and pieces. He set the board down between them and started to set up the white pawns in front of him. Shizune looked very curious, but she decided to set up the black pieces for a game.

“I don’t know if I like where this is going,” Miki said to Emi. “Trying to cheer up Hisao is one thing, but I’m not going to stick around while they play a game. I’d rather be running.”

“You and me both,” came Emi’s reply.

But Hisao only set up the row of white pawns. He took the white king out of the box and set it down on the desk in front of him. Hisao stood up, and as he did so, Shizune looked confused. She took a white rook out of the box and leaned across the board to place it on its square. But Hisao interposed his hand between hers and the board and waved her off.

Shizune sat back in her chair, still holding the rook as Hisao walked over to the blackboard. He wrote,
It’s my turn and every move loses. That is how I feel.
Then he went back to the chess board and stood behind it as he placed the white king on its square with such force that the other pieces wobbled.

Shizune leaned forward, looking at the board as though she was studying the position. Rin got up from her seat and moved closer, silently examining the board from different angles and elevations. Hanako leaned over towards Lilly, telling her what he wrote and what that loud noise was.

After a while Shizune looked up to make sure she had Misha’s attention. Then she signed, and Misha said, “You can’t just wait and try to run out the clock, Hicchan. If we were at a fancy tournament, you’d run out of time and lose.”

Hisao glared at Shizune. She continued nonetheless, “Your opponent isn’t perfect. You can’t capitalize on your opponent’s mistakes if you don’t play the game. But Hicchan, if you never make a move, you will always lose. That’s no way to live.”

Hisao closed his eyes and sighed audibly. Then he carefully picked up the board and rotated it so that Shizune had the white pieces. Then he gestured for her to make a move.

Miki leaned over to Emi and said, “I changed my mind. This is getting good.”

Shizune leaned forward and looked at the board in earnest. She held the white rook in her left hand, moving it between her fingers as a magician would with a coin as she thought. Her right hand moved over the board, miming her hypothetical moves and Hisao’s potential replies.

Visibly annoyed, she put the rook down on the table and leaned back in her chair. She sighed as she looked around the room. Rin was still examining the board in her own unique way. Miki and Emi seemed to be giggling about something, probably her. Hisao, still standing on the other side of the table, had a smirk on his face. Misha was beside him, looking at her and waiting. Hanako and Lilly were sitting close together. Presumably they were talking about something.

Then Shizune’s gaze drifted back over the rook and back to the board. An idea formed in her head, and her grin matched Hisao’s. Then she looked at Misha to get her attention and signed. Misha said, “Hicchan, if you know your opponent and you know yourself, you don’t need to worry about the result of the game. But Shicchan says that you don’t know yourself. That is why she’ll beat you. Really, Shicchan?”

Then Shizune picked up the rook and put it on its square on the right side of the board. She continued signing, and Misha said, “Hicchan, you are unaware of your own strengths. Watch as I make use of what you discard. Now I can castle. It’s more than I had before.”

Hisao sat down as Rin took a look at the newly placed rook and said, “This is an unusual game.”

Misha giggled and added, “Yeah, I don’t understand it either. But it looks like fun!” She looked at Shizune, signing as she asked, “I want to do one. Can I get a castle too?” Shizune nodded and Misha squealed with delight. She took the other rook from the box and placed it on the last unoccupied corner square, saying, “Now there are two white castles!”

Shizune’s looked to her right and met Miki’s gaze. Then she nodded and gestured towards the board. Misha noticed this and asked, “Hey Miki, didn’t Hicchan draw a horse on your letter? There are a couple still in here…”

Miki sighed and said, “Fine. I guess this is a thing we’re doing. Horses beside castles, is it?” She got up and walked towards the board, taking a knight from the box and putting it on the board beside Misha’s rook. Miki turned towards Hisao and said, “So I guess that’s what you were talking about yesterday. I get it now. Just don’t let this beat you, okay? You don’t want to end up like your gaylord hallmate Setou. He’s just a loser.”

“Yeah!”, Emi chimed in, “But you’re practicing talking. And you’re gonna keep practicing it. It took me months of rehab before I could run again. But I did it, and you will too. No excuses! You’re going to beat this, Hisao.”

“But Hisao,” she continued, “You drew a horse for Miki and Rin, but not me? I told you already -- I’m the fastest thing on no legs. And horses are fast.”

Hisao looked up at Emi, waving his hands in front of him like he was trying to apologize. Emi walked over to the box and looked inside. She said, “None of these pieces in here even have hair like mine. Or hair at all. Just a horse and a tall one with a crown and these … things.” She picked up a piece, held it up for everyone to see and asked, “I mean, what are these?”

“It also isn’t a jellyfish.” Rin added. “But there are black ones of those over near Hisao.”

Lilly asked, “Does the piece have a line cut out of it near its top?”

“Yes, it does,“ Emi replied.

“Then that piece is called a bishop,” Lilly answered. She hastily added, “And it can move farther and faster than a knight.”

“Oh,” Emi replied, placing her bishop on the chessboard on the white square beside the white king. “That’s good. Okay then. Good job Hisao!” Then she turned to Rin, who was back at eye level with the chess board. “Hey Rin, you should say something next.”

“This game looks very unusual,” she replied flatly. “It’s symmetrical, but it isn’t. The row of those little pieces remind me of pawns in shogi. That game is very symmetrical. Except when it isn't.”

Emi pressed her friend and said, “No -- say something about Hisao.”

Rin stood up, looked at Hisao and said, “You weren’t acting silly after all. I guess that’s good. Just be who you are. Whoever that is. I’m pretty sure you’re Hisao. Also, can someone get a horse head and put it on the board for me? The negative space formed from the missing pieces looks interesting, but I don’t think that’s the point." Then she paused and added, "Or is it?”

Rin looked lost in thought as Emi retrieved the knight from the box. She placed it on the chessboard between her bishop and Shizune’s rook.

Hanako leaned over to Lilly and described the scene. “S-she put the knight on the board.”

Lilly giggled as she asked her friend, “Then I suppose it is the time for us to do our part. Would you be so kind as to assist me?”

“O-of course.” Hanako replied.

The two friends stood up at the same time. Lilly addressed the room as Hanako slowly made her way to the front. “Hisao, as you know both Hanako and I consider you to be our friend. You did not need to keep your apraxia a secret from us. We both want to support you and to enjoy your company.”

Hanako stood behind Shizune and took the remaining bishop and queen from the box. Then she placed the bishop on its square beside Miki’s knight. Hisao’s gaze turned from Hanako to the chessboard, now mostly set up. He looked as though he might start to cry.

Lilly continued unaware, “We will not be affected by the quality of your speech. It is the content of that speech that we miss. Please know that, if nothing else, you are surrounded by friends that are ready to support you. When you feel ready to speak again, know that we are ready to listen to you.” Then she sat back down.

Hanako fidgeted with the white queen still in her hand. She looked at Hisao and opened her mouth as if she wanted to say something. Hanako saw a tear forming under his right eye and quickly turned away. She blushed and quickly placed the queen on its square. Then she scurried back to her seat beside Lilly.

Misha couldn’t help but giggle happily as Hanako sat down and buried her face in her hands. Hisao turned to look at Hanako before looking back at Shizune. She signed, and Misha said, “You aren’t alone Hicchan. You never have been. Do you understand now?” Then Shizune picked up the chessboard and turned it so that the white pieces were back in front of Hisao. He looked down at the board with all the white pieces in their place, and broke down in tears.

Lilly sounded concerned as she said, “Perhaps it would be best if we concluded our meeting. After all, we came here to heal emotional damage, not to cause it.”

After a moment for translation Misha said, “I think that’s for the best. Thank you everyone for coming.”

Miki and Emi headed for the door. Miki said, “Hey Hisao, things will be alright. Just hang in there. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Yeah!” Emi joined in. “And so will I. Bright and early! Don't be late! And Miki, race you to practice!”

“You’re on!” Miki said as the two girls raced out the door.

Misha got up to yell at them “Miss Miura! Miss Ibarazaki! No running in the halls!” Then, still standing she turned to Shizune, signed and said, “I’m sorry Shicchan. I tried…” Shizune nodded as she opened one of her desk drawers. She moved a few files from her desk to her bag.

Rin walked towards the door, saying, “I’m going to go now. This way. Probably.”

Misha replied, “Okay Rin! We’ll see you around.”

“Maybe. Who knows?” Rin answered as she strolled out the door.

Lilly whispered to Hanako, “Hisao seemed … distressed. Would you be so kind as to place a chair beside him? I think that we should stay with him for a while longer.”

“S-sure” Hanako replied. She found an unused chair and placed it beside Hisao. Then she went back to Lilly, to help guide her to it. As she did so, Shizune closed the desk drawer and stood up.

Lilly took her seat beside Hisao as Shizune joined Misha at the door. After some signing, Misha called out, “Shicchan says that you can stay here for as long as you need to. Just lock up when you’re done.”

Lilly replied, “We shall." She paused before adding, "Thank you both.”

=====

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Last edited by Raimen on Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

Raimen
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Re: A Prank Gone Wrong - a Shower Scenes continuation

Post by Raimen » Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:05 am

Epilogue: Learning Old Skills (Fri, July 27)

Friday’s classes were coming to an end. From her seat at the back of class 3-3, Hanako could see almost everyone. To her, it seemed that even though there were still classes on Saturday, people just seemed to be more excited to leave on Friday than most other days.

Hanako had most of her things ready to go. She usually wasn’t eager to leave as soon as the bell rang. The library would still be there if she waited a minute or two. And if she waited before leaving the hallways would be a lot less crowded.

But today she felt different. She had a reason to be ready to go, and a destination that wasn’t the library. She remembered reading Hisao’s admission on the blackboard in the council room yesterday, and how she had to tell Lilly about it. She did it to him. It was her fault.

The ringing bell broke her out of her thoughts, if only for a moment. Looking up, she saw Hisao rush out of the room. Shizune was right; he really did seem to be in a hurry to go somewhere. She made sure she had all of her things before setting out herself.

Joining other students in the crowded hallway, she thought back to yesterday. After everyone left and it was just the three of them in the council room, Hisao still didn’t speak. He wrote that he wanted more time and more practice. But he also said he'd be willing to try tomorrow at lunch.

But why tomorrow? The three of them had lunch today in the tea room. He could have talked today. Why didn't he want to?

As Hanako headed down the stairs, past the second floor, she remembered yesterday evening. She was in her room, trying to fall asleep. But her thoughts kept spiraling. He couldn’t talk because of her. She did it to him. It was her fault.

Lilly kept telling her that she didn’t need to carry the burden of Hisao’s accident alone. Before she fell asleep last night, she realized then that she didn’t even know what that burden even was.

That’s why she was following Hisao. If she was right, today she would find out exactly how much harm she did to him. It didn’t matter that she lost sight of Hisao as soon as he left the classroom. She doesn’t need to see him to follow him.

At least that’s what she told herself as she stepped out into the school grounds. Shizune mentioned that Hisao hurries off to the Auxiliary building three times a week. Hanako was sure that she knew where he's going.

The Yamaku Foundation has a lot of donors. The grounds. The staff, both educational and medical, were evidence of that. But even the Yamaku foundation has limits. A twenty-four hour nursing staff is expensive. Physiotherapists and occupational therapists for the students that need them aren’t cheap. The therapists and counselors that she and some other students talk to don’t work for free.

Even with all their resources, Hanako knew there was one thing that even Yamaku doesn’t normally have on-site.

A speech therapist.

Hanako entered the Auxiliary building. Most students were going to the pool or the nurse’s office or somewhere else on the ground floor. Hanako headed for the staircase, and when she entered it, she was alone. She wasn’t going to the third floor like she usually does on Sundays. She went over her train of thought as she climbed the stairs.

Even Yamaku needs to bring in outside experts and therapists from time to time. Those therapists need a place to see patients. And Yamaku has such a place. The ad-hoc therapy rooms. They’re on the second floor, almost at the end of the hallway. She found them in her first year when she was exploring the mostly empty Auxiliary building on one lonely Sunday.

Hanako walked down the wide, empty hallway. It hasn’t changed much since she was here last. Some of the motivational posters have been replaced, but it was mostly the same. She took care to try to be as quiet as she could.

“Fear begins in the mind. Always,” she thought, trying to recall those familiar words she enjoys reading. At least today she’ll know what she’s afraid of. Hopefully.

The ad-hoc therapy rooms have a few chairs just outside the door. An impromptu waiting area. She took a seat beside a door that was slightly ajar. And she listened.

She heard an older woman’s voice. “... worksheets have been completed. As you know, these self-reports allow us to best spend our time together. And I see that you’ve finally filled out your focus list. Give me a moment to review your worksheet and your focus list and we’ll begin.”

After a brief pause, the woman continued, “I see most of the words on your focus list are names. That’s common; re-learning how to say the names of your friends and family can be very encouraging. Why don’t we start at the top of the list, then?”

Another pause, and the older woman said, “That’s good. For the first syllable, remember the place of articulation starts in the back of the throat. Don’t be discouraged if you find yourself groping to make that sound. It’s a step in your recovery.”

Then Hanako heard something that she hadn’t heard in weeks. Hisao’s voice was weak and unsteady, but it was definitely his. He said “ aaa … aaa …. aaa …”

The woman interrupted him, “That’s okay. Glottal fricatives can be difficult to articulate. Move on to the next syllable. Tongue just behind the teeth, and …”

There was a pause after the therapist’s voice dropped off and Hisao tried again. He said, “nnn ... naa”

“Very good. Now tongue to the back, block the airway, and ...”

Hanako strained to eavesdrop as the room went silent. She couldn’t be sure of what she was hearing. Was Hisao choking on something? She held her breath and he said, “Ko!” It seemed like the sound shot out of his mouth like a bullet.

She heard a brief clap and then the therapist said, “Good. That’s quite good. Don’t be discouraged by vocal irregularities. Let me get my flipchart set up … “

Hanako pressed her back against the chair. Her eyes widened. Her breathing quickened. She felt her heartbeat accelerate.

The therapist said, “Okay, Let’s try it again.”

Then she heard Hisao. “aaa … aaa … haa … haa”

She closed her eyes, and her heart and breathing slowed down.

It was still her fault. She knew that. But she can get used to this. She wasn’t afraid anymore.


THE END

=====

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kschmidty3
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Re: A Prank Gone Wrong - a Shower Scenes continuation (complete)

Post by kschmidty3 » Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:52 pm

A great continuation of an already great story. I really liked to see the unintended consequences of the prank the girls pulled on him. That being said the story did not go in the direction I was hoping for and there was one major issue I had with it.

Hisao forgave them much too quickly.

I say this because, while the threat he made about exposing the shower incident was a bad move, he barely did anything to deserve the prank they pulled on him. I wanted him to be angry at the others when he got back and have them work for his forgiveness. I still likey how this turned out but I was really wanting things to be a bit more tense between them all.

Sorry if I sound rambling in this, I don't reply to or review things very often.

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Feurox
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Re: A Prank Gone Wrong - a Shower Scenes continuation (complete)

Post by Feurox » Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:39 am

This story started out incredibly promising in my opinion. It continued to demonstrate your impressive writing style, and a mostly consistent narrative that kept me intrigued... usually. When I noticed you had finished, I was excited to read the conclusion to what I had considered a great story. Unfortunately, I found myself disappointed by the ending here, and that prompted me to think a bit more critically about how you've written the rest of the story, namely, the characters themselves.

The reveal of Hisao's acquired apraxia was fascinating, but by the time we got there it felt like the journey had become too drawn out. Nothing had really happened by that point, Hisao has moped around with them all, and they've talked about their concern, but nothing has developed. The really interesting parts, where Hisao was interacted with Hanako especially (i'm not saying this out of bias for her characters, they just seemed to have the best relationship and there was the interesting dynamic of both being pseudo mutes), seemingly faded out by the end of the story... The resolution in the epilogue was cute enough I suppose, but it truly feels like nothing has really changed... Hisao's apraxia is interesting, yes, and a twist I didn't see coming, but all it really did for me is undermine what the whole story was about, Hisao wasn't playing mind games as I expected, the girls weren't really punished... it's a strange reveal in a way, like Hisao was never really upset at all with them, or even himself... the whole thing feels like it just petered out with a dissatisfying puff.

Despite those comments, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this story. It was truly very good. In fact, I only found myself actively groaning for one instance of the story... Lilly. The way your Lilly speaks is like she's wearing a human suit that doesn't quite fit, she sounds absurd. For example:
"I will tell you," Lilly said as she got as close to Misha as she dared. "Hisao is my friend. You should be ashamed of yourself for abusing him. And for what? The flames of your ambition are unquenchable. You consume all you encounter.”
Whilst it's expected for Lilly and Shizune to have an argument in this story, given the stress and their tendency to do so anyway, this line is ridiculous. Nobody speaks that way, certainly not Lilly. It's hilariously silly. She sounds like she's posing as some heroic figure in a comic book. That was disappointing, given the realism you'd given to the rest of the story. Her speech doesn't dip to this level of bad much through the story, but it never struck me as good. She always seemed a bit... off.

Anyway, like I said, I enjoyed this story for the most part, but having finished it now, I'm not sure I'd come back to it. It doesn't feel like everything was building to this ending, rather, this ending just occurred. Regardless, congrats on finishing, I really hope you continue to write stories, it'd be good to see what else you're capable of.

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