*Ch32 Updated 11/9* Precious Friendships (Shizune BE, Sisterhood plot)

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ShizuneFan2019
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Updated 2 Apr 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Mon Apr 06, 2020 4:45 am

Chapter 10: Away in a Flash

When we finally step out of the Business Faculty, my hands hurt so much that I need to keep massaging them. But when I see the smile of satisfaction on Shicchan’s face, I know it’s all worth it~!

Today was the toughest translation session ever for me~~!! In Yamaku, teachers tend to speak slower and write most of the stuff on the board, to comply with the needs of disabled students. Here, in Kasshoku University, they don’t~~. Naturally~. Also, those technical terms in the business world are so hard to translate! Terms such as “expected utility”, “sunk cost”, and “internal rate of return” are all new to me! (I know rare words such as “armadillo” and “parfait”, but not these business terms~~) I had to confirm with Shicchan a few times to make sure that she gets the correct translations. Luckily they do show Powerpoint slides during their presentations~. Otherwise I would’ve been dead~~! Still, translating an unfamiliar topic from 9am to 3:30pm, almost non-stop, is tiring.

Shicchan looks delighted though. It looks like she’s determined to get into this school. This is enough reward for me already~~.

[Are you okay, Misha?]

I nod.

[I’m fine, just a little worn out~~]

[Let’s sit down and take a rest.]

She leads me to a bench nearby and we sit down.

[I’ll help you.]

Shicchan grabs my hands and starts massaging them.

I’m so happy that we’re friends again, despite my mistake with Hicchan. I admit that part of me still wants Shicchan to be more than a friend of mine. Yet I’ll never regret being Shicchan’s friend. I hope our friendship will stay even after I move to America.

When they told me they’re coming to Kasshoku today, I invited myself along and volunteered to translate for Shicchan. She was concerned at first. We have mock exams the upcoming week, and I’m still a few chapters off in several subjects. But I argued that we could study in the train, and the day wouldn’t be very enjoyable without my translations. Hicchan also supported me, saying that he wants his parents to meet his two best friends. Eventually Shicchan was outvoted. We didn’t study in the train though, so I guess we’ll need to do it during the return trip.

The visit almost became a disaster when Licchan showed up. When I translate for Shicchan, I usually don’t think about her words. I just translate literally, and maybe add a few words of my own after that. But Hicchan blocked me out of my job today~. He’s so smart! He brought the same words over but completely changed the meaning~! I dunno, this might be cheating, but I think this is the best for both of them.

While Shicchan is massaging my hands, I can’t talk to her. So I have some time to think about stuff.

Hicchan is definitely Shicchan’s best partner. Not only are they interested in each other, but they also have so many things in common. They can communicate with sign. They’re both good at studies. They’re trying to get into the same university. Their hometowns are quite close to each other as well. They both have a disability, unlike me, so it’s not like it would be unfair to the other party if they are to marry somebody else. Yes, they’re probably different in terms of family background, but you can’t ask for too much.

I hope my mistake won’t ruin such a great match~~

As for me, I’m probably seeking a partner in America. Yet part of me still wants a Japanese, as I’ve been living under a Japanese community for so long. Maybe I can come back and find work after university, and then I can find a partner in the workplace~. But if I live in Japan, I have to find a boy, not a girl. Japan is not as open as America in this aspect, and I don’t want to be discriminated.

[Feeling better now?]

I give Shicchan a broad smile to thank her for the massage.

[I’m feeling much better now! Thanks Shicchan~]

We start walking back to the front gate.

[I shouldn’t have allowed you to come.]

[It’s alright, Shicchan. I’m happy to be with you.]

[But you didn’t enjoy the visit! Business is for me, not for you!]

[No~ I enjoyed it a lot! This is the first time I’ve been to a university~! Being able to see what a university looks like is fantastic! And the food tastes good too~! What’s more, we’ll be able to meet Hicchan’s dad and mom tonight!]

[Alright, if you say so. We’ve got to study hard tonight though. We lost too much time!]

[Okay, okay, we will~!! Don’t worry Shicchan~~]

We arrive at the gate, but Hicchan isn’t here yet. Shicchan is looking at her wristwatch. I’m sure she’s going to start commenting on Hicchan’s punctuality.

[What’s keeping that boy? He’s always late!]

I can’t help but laugh. They’re just so cute!

“Wahahahaha...”

As I’m laughing at Shicchan’s comment, Hicchan arrives.

[“Hey, sorry for the waiting. I got too caught up with the activities.”]

Shicchan is frowning, as usual.

[Too slow! You made two girls waiting for you!]

Hicchan smiles at Shicchan, then spreads his arms before signing.

[“I’m sorry. This school is just too amazing! I really want to get in now.”]

[Childish!]

I’m about to laugh again.

[“It’s alright, Hicchan~! Actually we just arrived a minute ago. Shicchan was as excited as you~ Wahahahaha~~”]

Shicchan blushes while glaring daggers at me.

[“Let’s do our best, Shizune. We’ll be in the welcoming ceremony next year.”]

[It’s a promise!]

“NAKAI!”

Behind Hicchan I see our fellow classmate who we ran into this morning.

“What’s up, Inoue?”

She’s panting heavily. Something’s wrong?

“Nakai…, have… you… seen Hanako anywhere?”

“No. Misha?”

I didn’t recall seeing Ikezawa anywhere either.

“Sorry~ Didn’t run into her. Is she not with you?”

“Mikado, she’s… she’s gone missing!”

“What?”

We both gasp in shock. Shicchan looks perplexed though, and I realize I forgot to translate Inoue’s words for her.

“What happened exactly? She wasn’t kidnapped by somebody, was she?”

“No… She… (sigh) It’s a long story, but… anyway… she ran away on her own during a lecture.”

“Something bad happened during the lecture?”

I quickly translate everything between Hicchan and Inoue to Shicchan.

“Yeah… Anyway, she ran away in a flash, leaving her belongings behind. I picked them up and tried to chase her, but I didn’t know which way she went.”

“Do you have any idea where she would run to?”

“Well, probably a corner where nobody’s around. The Satou’s are checking the toilets in the Faculty of Journalism. You know, Satou’s very sensitive to sounds. She can pick up any sound or breathing even through toilet doors. I’m coming here because we’re supposed to meet up here at 4pm, but I really doubt she’d be here. You see, it’s so crowded here.”

“I see. It’ll be sunset soon, so we’ve got to find her as soon as possible. Anything we can do, Misha?”

I’ve been translating for Shicchan, so I haven’t been thinking. Maybe Shicchan can help us?

[Shicchan, is there anything we can help?]

Shicchan looks annoyed.

[Stupid girl! She’s wasting our time! We’re behind schedule already!]

Hicchan steps up for me.

[I understand, Shizune. But it’s an emergency, and we’ve got to help. Don’t worry. I’ll treat you well in my house tonight.]

Shicchan ponders for a while before answering.

[Alright. Well, given that the school is so big, and there are so many corners and secret paths we don’t know about, it’s not realistic to search on our own. Let’s ask the guards. They might help.]

“Shizune suggests asking the guards instead. They should know much more about this school than we do.”

“Good idea, Nakai. Hey, I see a security over there. What should we say?”

[Just say we’re looking for a tall girl with long dark hair wearing a denim jacket, and ask his colleagues to help for the search.]

“Alright, I’ll do it. Thanks, Hakamichi.”

As Naomi runs off towards the security, Shicchan checks her watch again.

[It’s 4:10 already. How long will it take to get to your home?]

[“Don’t worry, Shizune. It’ll take only about 30 minutes.”]

[I see. Should we go now, or you’d rather stay here and help?]

[“I think we should stay here for a while. We’ll leave at 4:30 if we can’t help anymore. Don’t worry Shizune, we’ll be on time.”]

[Alright then. I trust you.]

I just love how they communicate~. I think Hicchan has grown a bit since he came to Yamaku, and Shicchan is learning as well. They’re indeed a perfect pair.

My sense of guilt comes back to haunt me again. I really hope my mistakes won’t…

“Nakai, I’ve talked to the security. They’ll help search for Hanako.”

“Inoue, I just thought of something. You should probably call Lilly and Akira now. Because if the guards do manage to find Hanako, Lilly’s probably the best person to approach her.”

“You’re right, Nakai. I’m on it.”

Chapter 11: Verbal Machine Gun
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Tue Apr 14, 2020 4:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

ShizuneFan2019
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Updated 2 Apr 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 4:59 am

Chapter 11: Verbal Machine Gun

We decide to sit down on a bench while waiting for the results. Shizune takes out a book to study. Misha tries to follow suit, but obviously she can’t concentrate as well as Shizune. I decide to talk to Inoue instead of studying.

“So, you two are aiming for Journalism, huh.”

“That’s right! We’re in the newspaper club, after all!”

“I see. You two and Ooe, all in the newspaper club, then?”

“Yup. Hanako just joined a few months ago, though.”

“So she wasn’t in a club before that?”

“Nah. We’ve been classmates for three years, but it’s only recently that we became friends. Before that, she only talked to Satou. It’s a shame, but at least we’re getting into the same university. If we can find her, that is.”

“Don’t worry. The security is helping. It shouldn’t take too long.”

“Hope so. Hey, let’s not talk about it for now, okay? How ‘bout you guys? Aren’t you studying Science here? And Hakamichi, you’re studying Business, aren’t you? What d’you feel about this school? Isn’t it amazing? It’d be great if all of us can come here after we graduate, wouldn’t it?”

Wow, Naomi is one heck of a verbal machine gun.

“Yeah, I love this school too. I wanna get in with scholarship as well. Let’s be schoolmates again next year. I’m sorry that we didn’t really talk much before.”

“It’s alright. You’re in the Student Council, aren’t you? Isn’t Student Council very busy? How are you gonna study for the mock exams while taking care of all those tasks? Isn’t it very stressful for you guys?”

“It’s tough at times, but yes, since the elections are over, we can tune it down a little bit to focus on our studies.”

“Me too. I hope I have enough time to study though. I feel like I’m running out of time. How ‘bout you, Mikado? What faculty are you going for? You feel confident about the exams? Isn’t it hard to focus on classes while translating for Hakamichi?”

Let’s see how Misha responds to Inoue’s continuous firing!

“Hi Inoue~ Just call me Misha~~ I’m not studying here. I’m going to America to study sign language~! I wanna become a sign language teacher~~”

“Wow, a career already, Misha? That’s really smart! D’you have a recommendation already? Is it hard to get? Are you ready to speak English all the time over there? Are you finding a job in America? Or are you coming back to Japan?”

Misha looks a bit overwhelmed.

“I need to pass the Center Test to get a recommendation~~. Hmm… I think it’s still too early to decide on things. Probably coming back to Japan, but I dunno~~”

“Interesting! Wish you good luck on the exams-”

“Hey!”

As we’re talking, the Satou sisters have arrived. Lilly looks extremely worried. We all stand up to greet them. Naomi is the first to speak up though.

“So… No results from the toilets, I suppose?”

Akira shakes her head.

“No, unfortunately.”

“Don’t worry. We’ve asked the guards for help, so it probably won’t take too long.”

“Thanks Hisao, that’s a great idea.”

“It’s actually Shizune’s idea.”

“Wow. Help me say thanks to her, will ya?”

Shizune adjusts her glasses to express her pride, but didn’t sign anything.

Just then Naomi’s phone rings.

“Inoue speaking.”

“Yeah.”

“Oh, really?”

“I see. We’re coming then.”

“We’re at the front gate.”

“I see. Thank you so much. See you there.”

As soon as Naomi finishes the phone call, Lilly anxiously asks about it. Naomi looks a bit relieved after the call.

“Is there any news on Hanako?”

“Yep. They’ve found her. She seems to be in pretty bad shape though.”

“Where is she?”

“They say that her location is pretty far away from the entrance gate, so they’re coming to drive us there.”

“I hope she’ll be alright. Sorry… Poor Hanako…”

Lilly’s sobbing, and Akira attempts to comfort her. Shizune is looking a bit awkward too. She has kept silent, well, by silent I mean not signing, for a while now. She’s probably not going to trigger any more fights with Lilly today.

“Hey Hisao, do you have plans after the visit? Are you going straight back to Yamaku? My car should be large enough to drive you guys there. After we’ve taken care of Hanako, of course.”

“Thanks Akira, but we do have a plan. I’m inviting the Student Council to my home. I promised to let my parents meet them. We live pretty close to here. A bus ride is all it takes.”

“Gotcha. Well, we should be able to take care of things here. If you need to go now, you may go. Thanks for helping us by the way.”

With Hanako now located by the guards, I suppose there’s not much we can do at this point. I really hope she’s alright. Part of me still wants to stay here for a while and take the security’s car ride. But I cannot disregard the feelings of Shizune and Misha, and my parents.

“Alright then. Please give Hanako our regards.”

“Thanks Hisao. Have a nice trip!”

“Thank you Hisao, and all of you, for the help.”

“Yep. Thanks everyone. You guys saved us a bunch.”

“Take care.”

***********************

By the time we arrive at my house, it is 5:30pm. We’re ahead of time.

Shizune fixes her gaze on my house, which is many times smaller than her mansion. Even though it’s not our family’s fault, I still feel a bit shameful. I hope she’s not going to criticize it.

[“Welcome to my home. My parents are inside. Just treat yourselves at home.”]

Shizune ponders for a long while, then nods, and follows me inside.

Misha looks a bit surprised when she sees my house. She opens her mouth to say something, but then stops and follows Shizune without saying anything.

My parents greet them cheerfully. My mom takes an immediate liking to Misha when she learned that Misha also calls me Hicchan, much to my dismay. My dad seems to like Shizune more, and they’re having a discussion on board games using a notepad.

***********************

"Make sure you've everything packed."

"Sure, mom. Thanks for everything."

"We'll miss you, Hicchan. See you soon. Goodbye Misha and Shizune. You two are always welcome here."

Dinner was awesome. I haven’t gone back home for more than half a year, so my parents gave us a big treat. We talked about the Student Council, the Yamaku Festival, the summer trip, and today’s trip to Kasshoku. My parents were surprised that we were able to manage so many tasks with a Student Council size of only three. Of course, it is largely because of Shizune. We also declared that the two of us are trying to get into Kasshoku, and I’m going to move back home if I succeed. My parents also supported our decision.

After dinner, Shizune and my dad play a short game of chess, mom and Misha continue chatting, and I help with the dishes. We would have stayed for longer if not for Misha, who started to show signs of fatigue at 8pm. As Student Council members, we have an excuse to miss curfew, but we have a class tomorrow, so we should head back.

We say goodbye to my parents, and then board the train back to Yamaku.

It’s good to see my parents again. They seem to like the girls a lot. We didn’t tell them about my relationship with Shizune. I think they’re going to ask me to pursue one of the girls the next time I call them on the phone.

***********************

During the train ride back to Yamaku, Misha instantly falls asleep, much to Shizune’s dismay. She wanted Misha to take the time to study, but I guess it can’t be helped. With nothing else to do, we both take out our books to study.

After about an hour, Shizune puts down her book and signs to me.

[Let’s take a break.]

[Sure.]

Misha’s still sleeping soundly. We leave our seats and take a walk. The night train is quite empty, so we’re free to walk to the front cabin of the train.

[Thanks for inviting me to your home.]

[I hope you enjoyed your game with my dad.]

[He’s a great opponent! I’ll have a rematch with him!]

[Sure. You can visit any time after we both enter Kasshoku.]

Shizune adjusts her glasses and smiles.

[Did you study hard?]

[Of course. I think I’m ready for the exams. Except for English, obviously.]

[English is your worst subject, isn’t it?]

[I’ve never got more than 50 points in the tests.]

[Maybe you can ask Misha for help. She’s not good at other subjects, but English is what she excels in. She actually ranks second in our school, after… you know…]

[Lilly. I didn’t know she chose Kasshoku too.]

[Thanks for the translation today. You’ve done a great job, for your level.]

She gives me a thumbs up, but since I’ve known her for a bit now, I know she means something else.

[You can be honest with me, you know.]

Shizune looks surprised by my straight-forward approach.

[You’re smart. Well, I’m not stupid. That cousin of mine certainly wouldn’t say such kind words, would she?]

[…No comment.]

[Did you do this for me? You’re smart and brave. I have to thank you for that.]

[I hope there will be no fights the next time you two see each other.]

[Hope so. It’s hard, but maybe you can help again next time?]

[So I’ll replace Misha as your interpreter then?]

[Only in front of my cousin.]

[And after Misha moves to America.]

We both share a smile. Shizune then takes out an envelope and hands it to me.

[Sorry for the delay. Here you go.]

[Should I read it now?]

[Go ahead.]

Chapter 12: Oatmeal Breakfast
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ShizuneFan2019
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 11, Updated 14 Apr 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:35 pm

Chapter 12: Oatmeal Breakfast
Dear Hisao,

Thanks for helping me out in Student Council work. I trust the abilities of Aoi and Keiko to run a competitive Student Council next year.

Sorry that it took me so long to think about our relationship. I said I wanna put it on hold until after the exams, and I’ll stick to my words. But I wanna share with you my feelings. You were honest with me in your letter, so I’m going to be fair and write exactly what I’m thinking.

When Misha pointed me out that you learned sign language just for me, I was moved to the uttermost. I admit I took it for granted. And both of you mentioned that you proposed to me while risking your life. To be honest, I admire what you did. This is something I probably cannot do. I learned a lot from you.

On the other hand, now that I know you’re a risk case, I’ll have to think twice about our relationship. I know it’s probably not very fair to you, as I also have my own disability, but please understand my concerns. If you still like me, and want to pursue a relationship with me, then I want you to do these:

Have oatmeal as breakfast, at least twice a week. It improves your heart significantly. I know oatmeal doesn’t taste good by itself, but with some milk and a little sugar it tastes really good. I can give you a hand if you need help.

Eat salmon. Cooked salmon. It helps a lot. You need to be thankful that salmon is such a common food in Japan. It’s easy to cook as well.

You’ll have to eat more fruit and vegetables, and less fried food. I’ll never cook you fried food again. We’ll eat healthy together.

No more coffee. If you’re hungry, then eat food; if you’re tired, go to sleep.

We’ll have restrictions on the amount of take-out food we order every week. Luckily the second-year students are helping us on our meals during the exam period, so we just need to ask them to cook us healthy food.

You’ll have to do some exercise every day. I know you don’t like running too much, but how about running with me? This should make things easier on you.

Have your health status checked every week. I know you don’t like the Nurse. Let’s do it after you get a bit of health back.

I know this is a lot for you, but I hope you can be a responsible person, both to yourself and to the people next to you.

Let’s study hard and graduate together.

Shizune
I close my eyes and plunge deep in thought after reading the letter.

The advices she gave me… If someone gave me these advices a few months ago, I would have stopped talking to him or her. But this is from Shizune, and I can truly see how much she cares for me in this short yet meaningful letter. I’m especially moved by the fact that she offered to eat and perform exercises with me. Wow… she’s really thought this through.

Come to think of it, I’ve never been taking good care of my health. Despite help from Yamaku staff and students, like the Nurse, Emi, and Mutou, I never paid attention to their advices and offers. Even after I became Shizune’s boyfriend, I wasn’t being responsible to myself or my partner. She’s right. I need to become a responsible person. I’m fortunate to have this girl beside me, who, despite my wrongdoings and my mistake with Misha, still showed such kindness and love to me. She deserves a positive response. It will be hard for me, but I’ll try my best.

When I open my eyes, Shizune looks a bit nervous. She’s probably wondering how I’ll take her words. I look into her eyes.

[Thanks for the letter. I’ll do it. I’ll try to take all of your advices.]

Shizune is visibly relieved as I put the letter back into the envelope. I’ll treasure it.

[Let’s put them into practice. Meet me in the cafeteria tomorrow morning.]

[I hope we don’t oversleep.]

[Then let’s head back and take a nap. Then we can still study for a while.]

[Let’s go.]

I’m about to head back to Misha’s place when Shizune stops me.

[Wait!]

She then leans over and gives me a quick peck on my cheek.

[Let’s go!]

She cheerfully leads the way while I’m left dumbfounded.

***********************

After another hour of cramming, the train finally stops. Waking Misha up took us some time. During the ensuing bus ride, Shizune turns on the torch function of her smartphone so that we can keep studying. By “we” I mean Shizune and myself.

It’s 11pm when we finally arrive at Yamaku.

We say goodbye to each other, and I return to my dorm room. I walk stealthily to avoid Kenji, as I won’t have the energy tonight to take his verbal assaults of feminism. I’m very relieved when I finally lock my dorm room unscathed.

Then I forgot about that I need to take a shower in the bathroom, so I need to dodge him a couple of times again. Oh no! I hope he’s already asleep.

Does he ever sleep? Or does he have any mechanism to keep himself on guard all the time from possible feminine attacks at night?

I shouldn’t think too much. Let’s take a shower now. I seriously need it, especially after a full day of travelling.

Ah… Hot water feels so good.

My mind goes back to Shizune’s letter. I promised her I’ll try to follow her advices. This means I’m going to change my lifestyle, starting from tomorrow morning. I’ll have oatmeal for breakfast and salmon for lunch. No more coffee for me. I’ll run with her, and I’ll go see the Nurse.

Can I do it? Just for Shizune?

Yes, I’ll do it.

It will be a big change, but I find myself smiling in front of the mirror when I exit the shower.

***********************

The blaring sound of my alarm wakes me up from deep slumber. I consider turning it off and going back to sleep, but I’m suddenly reminded that I need to meet Shizune in the cafeteria.

The digital lines on my alarm display tells me that I only have ten minutes left.

I quickly get up, perform the necessary rituals, take my seventeen life-saving pills, grab my coat, and dash towards the cafeteria.

For a moment I wondered if Shizune would trick me and not show up in the cafeteria, but I quickly wrote that possibility off.

Look, there she is. She didn’t disappoint me.

[You’re late!]

Shizune showed me her golden wristwatch after signing using her left hand only. I’m indeed late. Late for 58 seconds, to be exact. In Shizune’s world, even being late for one second is late. I’m familiar with this girl enough to realize this.

Since I have no defense, I can only apologize.

[I’m sorry. I’ll do better tomorrow.]

[As this is your first time, I’ll let you go. I expect you to improve tomorrow.]

[Don’t worry. I’ll try my best.]

Shizune seems satisfied with my reply, and, with her right hand, she takes out two containers from behind her back.

[Ta da! Oatmeal for us! And…]

She reaches her bag to take out another container.

[Boiled eggs! One for me, one for you.]

This breakfast looks plain, but somehow I like it.

She then leaves for the counter and gets two cups of hot water. She returns and takes out two teabags. She soaks the teabags with the hot water.

[And green tea instead of coffee!]

We sit down opposite to each other, and I start by tasting the oatmeal.

It tastes… quite plain.

This is probably going to be the worst breakfast I’ve ever had. But Shizune made it just for me, and I know I need to change my lifestyle.

I realize that Shizune’s looking at me nervously.

Even though it tastes so bad, I’m quite moved. We came back quite late last night. How was she able to get up and make breakfast for us?

I give her a thumbs up and a smile.

She is visibly relieved and smiles back at me. We proceed to eat in verbal silence.

Somehow the oatmeal keeps tasting better. Is it an illusion?

I quickly found out the answer: The food wasn’t mixed well. She probably made it in a hurry. After mixing the oatmeal thoroughly, it actually tastes really good.

Now I can give Shizune a thumbs up without lying.

Chapter 13: Stretching Instructions
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ShizuneFan2019
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 11, Updated 14 Apr 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:57 pm

Chapter 13: Stretching Instructions

After that wonderful breakfast with Shizune, we enter the classroom together. Misha’s already arrived.

[“Hi Hicchan and Shicchan~”]

[“Good morning Misha. Did you sleep well?”]

[“Yup! I’m full of energy now~~ Wahahahaha!!”]

We take our seats and take out our books. Suddenly I remember one thing.

I turn around.

As expected. The seat next to Naomi’s is empty.

Well, Hanako usually shows up right before Mutou does. Or sometimes right after. Maybe she’ll come after all.

Naomi catches me staring at the empty seat. She gives me a shrug. I nod.

I consider asking Naomi about it, but Mutou enters the classroom. I don’t think I should ask her anyway.

***********************

Hanako didn’t show up in class after all. I’m worried.

As the lunch bell rings, I’m immediately surrounded by my two best friends. I’m having a feeling of déjà vu.

Unfortunately, the cafeteria’s menu for today doesn’t have salmon. Shizune looks disappointed.

Just as I’m about to approach the counter, Shizune stops me and orders me to sit down. She’ll order for me. Misha looks surprised, but doesn’t say anything.

They come back with a lot of food, but without fried food, coffee, or dessert. Just meat and vegetables, accompanied by orange juice. I’ve never had a lunch like this in Yamaku. Shizune quickly distributes the food between the three of us. Even Misha’s portion is healthy.

I realize that I didn’t pay for the meal. Shizune made me breakfast, so I should pay her lunch. I immediately take out my wallet.

Shizune puts a hand on mine.

[I’ll treat!]

[Why?]

[No reason. I’ll treat both of you today.]

I decide to tease her a bit.

[It’s so unlike you. You’ve got to have a reason.]

She ponders for a while, then adjusts her glasses.

[Let’s celebrate for us finding a good university to aim for! We’ll ace our exams and enter Kasshoku in style!]

Okay then, I’ll take it.

[Cheers!]

Misha, of course, doesn’t complain.

[“Cheers~~”]

***********************

The “worst lunch ever” for me turns out to be okay, especially when I’m accompanied by my two best friends. I should be able to live with this kind of diet.

Shizune goes to the restroom, and Misha doesn’t waste time to take the chance to question me.

“Hicchan, what’s going on? What’s with all this food? And why is Shicchan treating us?”

I shrug.

“Dunno. She just wants us to stay healthy, I guess.”

“I saw you two in the cafeteria this morning~”

“Why didn’t you come and say hi?”

“I thought you two might be having a secret conversation, so I just sat somewhere else~~”

“No, it’s not secret. We’re out and open in the cafeteria.”

“But you’re using sign language, aren’t you? So even when you’re having an open conversation, only people who know sign can read it, right? Right!”

“I guess you’re right. But no, it’s not secret. We just had a healthy breakfast. I promised Shizune to change my lifestyle. I’ll stay healthy so that I can enter university with her.”

“I see~~ So… are you and Shicchan~~?”

“Not officially, and I probably need to step up my game in order to meet her harsh standards.”

Misha is giggling at my words.

“Hehehe… You two are so cute together~~ You’ll be fine. In case you don’t know yet, Shicchan doesn’t always execute her strict standards~! Hehehe…”

“Well, you know her much better than I do, so I’ll take your words.”

“Hicchan, remember to study hard, and take care of Shicchan in Kasshoku, okay?”

“It’s more like she’s taking care of me. Look at all this food! She even cooked me breakfast this morning!”

“Awww… Looks like she’s ready to be your housewife!! Wahahahaha…”

A “=.=” face followed by hitting her head with my chopsticks should suffice.

“Take care of your own exams, Misha. If you fail, I don’t know where you’re going.”

“Wahahahaha…”

***********************

This is the first time since my first week in Yamaku that I hit the track field again. Well, the one time with Miki doesn’t count, as I wasn’t running. This time I’m joined by none other than the Student Council President.

This is also the first time I see Shizune in her winter sports outfit. Her jacket is wrinkled, probably because it’s unused for some time, but she still looks amazing. White jacket and black trousers suit her perfectly. She always has her outfit well thought-out, even when performing exercises.

She notices that I’m staring at her. She frowns.

[Why are you standing here? Do the stretching!]

I’ll tease her a bit.

[I’m waiting for your stretching instructions!]

[You don’t know how to stretch? You’re pathetic!]

[I know, but I just want to learn the standard procedures in the rule book.]

[There’s no rule book in stretching!]

[I thought the Student Council has a manual for everything.]

[Trying to be funny, huh? We do have a rule book to punish naughty students. If you keep talking to the President like this, I’ll have you run five more laps than usual!]

I laugh. I know she’s not really serious, but we shouldn’t waste time teasing each other like this. So I start stretching and prepare for the run.

While I’m stretching, I try not to stare at Shizune, so I face the track field. Since the exams are approaching, there aren’t many runners in the track today. I don’t see Miki here either.

A gust of cold wind blows by, and I shudder slightly. It’s starting to get really chilly. Luckily we both wear enough for today’s run.

When we finally start running, I feel so out of shape. This is going to be a tough run.

After I finish the first lap, my legs are already burning. Shizune, who runs in front of me, notices my lack of form. She frowns.

[You really need to get back into shape. Don’t give up! Follow me.]

Instead of focusing myself on my tired legs, I decide to fix my eyes on Shizune. Her running form is lovely, with an air of absolute confidence. Chasing her seems to make my run easier. However, by the end of the second lap, I’m almost out of breath already.

[We’ll slow down a little bit, but keep running.]

[Okay.]

Luckily we don’t need to speak in order to communicate, and this helps me save a bit of energy. Nevertheless, by the end of the third lap, I’m almost keeling over.

[Final stretch! Come on!]

My heart is pounding heavily. I can’t… go… on…

Fix my eyes on Shizune. You’re… my… only… girl…

I didn’t know how I managed to cross the finish line.

As soon as I finish, I kneel down hopelessly. My heart is racing. I clutch my chest. It feels so painful!

Throb, throb, throb.

My eyes go blind.

Throb, throb.

No, I don’t… want… to die… in front of… Shizune…

Throb, throb.

Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out.

Throb. Throb.

It’s slowing down.

Throb.

My vision starts to restore.

Throb.

Shizune?

When my heart finally stops racing, I see an extremely worried Shizune in front of me. She’s grabbing my shoulders.

[Are you alright?]

I can only nod. Breathe in, breathe out. Try to calm down.

Shizune takes out a handkerchief and wipes my forehead, which is soaking wet.

Phew. I’m not going to die.

The last thing I want is to die in front of Shizune.

[Thanks, Shizune.]

[You’re tired. Take a rest here.]

After a few minutes, everything is finally back to normal.

[Let’s slowly walk a bit, to cool down.]

She puts my arm onto her shoulder and walks one lap with me.

I haven’t been so close to Shizune since that day in Saitama.

Shizune is such a lovely girl. I want her. I’m gonna marry the hell out of her.

[Are you feeling better now?]

[Yes, thanks.]

[You shouldn’t have stretched things so far. You could have asked me to stop.]

[I just… didn’t think.]

[You’re really out of shape. We’ll have to take it a bit easier tomorrow.]

[I guess there’s no choice. Don’t worry. I’ll tell you to stop if I can’t take it.]

[You might have to see the Nurse.]

[No. I don’t want to get scolded. If the Nurse knows about this, you’ll get scolded too.]

[Then we’ll have to be more careful tomorrow. Drink some water and take a shower. See you in the cafeteria.]

[Sure. Thanks for running with me. It really helped.]

[I’m going to attend a briefing with the new Student Council. I might be late. Please wait for me though.]

[Sure. I’ll wait for you.]

She’s the loveliest person in the world.

Chapter 14: Cup of Tea
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Sat Apr 25, 2020 4:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 12, Updated 14 Apr 2020)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:19 pm

Oh boy, this is a long one... I'm going to comment as I read, so some comments might be redundant with what others have already written.
When did everything start going wrong?
First thought: "In a route going off Shizune's bad end this should be really f*ing obvious... :-)
We really didn't need that recap of the entire route at the beginning...
Best case scenario is Mutou notices and talks to Shizune. Come to think of it, I might get some help from him too.
Well, Mr. Mutou, I cheated on my GF with her best friend, and now we've broken up. Any advice with that?" ...Not my first idea for getting advice...
It's almost as much OOC for Mutou to actually give advice rather than recommending a councelor.
Followed by a bow that is probably more than 120 degrees.
120? Really? Yuuko never struck me as very athletic...
“No. It depends on how much Shic… Shizune knows.
Not quite sure how to interpret this... In the same breath he's talking about honesty he's saying his relationship with Shizune might be salvagable depending on how much she knows... Does not seem to be a healthy attitude to me.
Well, at least it probably isn’t boy jerk or pink jerk.
Who is this, and what has she done with Shizune?
Hisao's letter
Basically: "I know I slept with your best friend, but you're partly at fault for that as well... Oh, did I mention that I have a heart disease and asking you out could have killed me? Shouldn't that count for anything?" Really smooth...
"We'll miss you, Hicchan. See you soon. Goodbye Misha and Shizune. You two are always welcome here."
That was... quick...
If you still like me, and want to pursue a relationship with me, then I want you to do these: Have oatmeal as breakfast, at least twice a week....
What? :lol: :lol: :lol:
Now Shizune turned into Emi :-)
[You’re late!]
TBF she never said a time when they were to meet up. She just said "tomorrow morning"

Okay, final thoughts (on the story so far):
It's quite good in spite of the rather large list of complaints that piled up, but it IS quite a lot of material already.
Personally I'm not a big fan of BEFFs (Bad End FixFics), since on average they tend to be more gratuitious than anything. For this one I don't even know why you decided to base it off the bad end, since that plotline appears to be resolved a third of the way through part 1. I do think that resolution went too easy, and overall the story would probbaly have been better if you had left out that subplot entirely and just started in the middle of the Shizune path.
But since that part is now done with anyway, I'm looking forward to the rest of the story.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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

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Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 11, Updated 14 Apr 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Sat Apr 25, 2020 4:10 am

Chapter 14: Cup of Tea

“Yay~!! Mock exam is OVER~~ It’s CELEBRATION TIME~~!!”

The class bursts into laughter as Misha declares the obvious. Guess who will she celebrate with?

[“Let’s go, Hicchan and Shicchan!”]

I’m not as oblivious as Misha, so I prefer using sign language in this situation.

[Hey Misha, I need to take care of something first. May I join you two later? It won’t take too long. Meet you at the front gate one hour later.]

[“Alright then. See you soon~~.”]

During the run with Shizune yesterday, she said she’ll invite me and Misha to the town, to celebrate the end of mock exams. I’m happy to hang out with them again, but I need to take care of something else first.

When the two girls happily leave the classroom, I leave my seat and approach Naomi.

“Hey Inoue. Ready to go?”

“I am. Let’s go.”

Three days ago, after I finished my first afternoon run with Shizune, she left without taking a shower, saying that she had to attend a briefing with the new Student Council. When I was walking towards the boys’ dormitory to take a shower, I ran into Lilly, and we talked for a bit. She told me that Hanako never recovered from Sunday’s accident, and she had a talk with Hanako’s therapist about it. I told her that Hanako didn’t attend that day’s class. She was extremely sorry for the accident, which I’m yet to find out what exactly happened, and she was worried about Hanako’s mock exams these couple of days. Her sister Akira recommended her to get help from me and Naomi, as we’re in the same class. I promised to keep a close eye on Hanako if she ever comes back to class.

Yesterday I told Lilly after the exams that Hanako didn’t show up on Tuesday, but came on Wednesday to take the test. She, however, came to the classroom five minutes after each of the exams started, and left around five minutes before the end of each test. Naomi, who sits next to Hanako, noticed that she was very nervous throughout the exams. She even took a glance at her writing, and said the papers were largely empty. The three of us decided to visit Mutou briefly after today’s exams. Accordingly, this morning, after the first exam, I asked Mutou for an appointment in the afternoon after I pick up both girls.

Naomi says goodbye to her fellow classmate Natsume Ooe, picks up her notepad (as she aims to be a journalist), and follows me to pick Lilly up. But not before another girl calls my name.

“Hey Hisao!”

“Hey Miki, glad that exams are over.”

“Yup. Wanna join us Saturday afternoon? We’re going to the city.”

Two trips to the city in a week? Alright then. Fine with me. I like hanging out with those guys a lot. I just hope I don’t have to carry Suzu all the way back here.

“Sure. Just pick me up after school.”

“Great. See ya.”

I wave goodbye to Miki and head towards classroom 3-3.

“Geez, you’re surely getting popular.”

“Might as well establish more contacts before we graduate. Heck, maybe we can help each other out after we come out to work.”

“Wow, you’re really looking ahead of things. By the way, just call me by first name.”

“Likewise then, Naomi. But no, it’s Shizune’s idea.”

“She’s really rubbed it onto you then.”

“Well, that’s what you get by working with the Student Council President every day.”

“But it’s good for you, isn’t it?”

“Sort of.”

When we enter Lilly’s classroom, we discover that Lilly is swarmed by her fellow classmates, most likely asking her to join their celebration parties.

It’s too noisy. I need to shout.

“Hey, Lilly.”

Lilly instantly turns towards our general direction.

“Is that Hisao?”

“Yes. Are you ready to go?”

“Yes. Please wait a moment.”

She waves goodbye to her classmates and joins us to see Mutou. She’s again very anxious, not wasting time to bring up the obvious question.

“How’s Hanako? Did she come today?”

“Hey Satou, she came today, but she’s pretty much the same as yesterday. Also, I noticed that her papers are largely empty.”

Lilly sighs and shakes her head.

“Poor Hanako. She was so much better the last few months, and now it looks like she is going back to her old self. And it’s all my fault.”

“Don’t dwell too much on it, Satou. I’m sure Hanako isn’t angry with you.”

“Yes, Lilly. We’ll get help from the staff too.”

***********************

Mutou patiently waits for us to finish our report before he replies.

“Thanks for telling me everything. It seems that we have our work cut out for us. I’ll discuss Ikezawa’s situation with her therapist and the Nurse.”

“Is there anything we can do, Mr. Mutou?”

“You are her closest friend, aren’t you, Satou? I want you to continue keeping a close eye on Ikezawa. I know that she tends to lock herself in her room. We will inform the dormkeeper about her. Report us any abnormalities coming out from her room.”

“I will.”

“Also, I know this is going to be a tough ask for you in this situation, but please take care of yourself and study hard for the exams.”

Lilly gives out a long sigh.

“Yeah, Lilly, please don’t forget to take care of yourself. Hanako will be even more depressed if you don’t pass your Center Test.”

“I will try my best.”

“I promise you, Satou, that we’ll try our very best to handle Ikezawa’s situation. It will not be an easy task, I assure you. Patience is definitely required.”

“We understand, sir.”

“Yes. You take care of yourselves, and we take care of Ikezawa.”

“Yes, sir.”

***********************

“Do you mind joining me for a cup of tea, Hisao?”

“Sure. Naomi?”

“Sorry, I have to meet Natsume for Newspaper Club business. We’ll talk later, okay?”

“Alright. Lilly, let’s go.”

Lilly and I head to the tea room. Her navigation skills never cease to surprise me. If I were blind, it would take me forever to reach my destination.

I open the tea room door for Lilly, who steps in and skillfully takes two cups, put in the teabags, fill them with hot water, and serves me a cup of tea. Amazing skills.

“What tea is it?”

“It’s Orange Jaipur. My favorite. Please enjoy.”

“Thanks, Lilly.”

The last time I visited this room was the day before my fallout with Shizune. Lilly was here too. She gave me some advices on my relationship with Shizune, but I didn’t really listen to her. Luckily, I was able to salvage everything in the end, but I probably should have taken more heed to her words.

However, I don’t think Shizune will be today’s topic.

“Well, Lilly, I just want to say… You might not believe it, but I also care for Hanako. We’re on the same boat.”

“That’s so nice of you. She must be very happy if she knows this.”

“I only talked to her a couple of times, so I don’t know much about her. Tell me about Hanako, will you?”

Lilly looks deep in thought.

“To be honest, I don’t know much about Hanako either. We only became friends for a year. When we hang out, usually I do most of the talking, and she only listens.”

“Understandable.”

“I know very little about her past. I know that she lost her parents at a very young age.”

“Did she live in an orphanage then?”

“Yes. She was bullied by the children over there, and then she came here.”

“Did her behavior change during her stay in Yamaku?”

“I don’t know, because I’ve only known her for a bit more than a year. You can ask Naomi or Shizune about it, as they have been in the same class for three years. As far as I know, she only started to open up herself during the summer break.”

“Makes sense. Otherwise she would have certainly joined a club or had some friends of her own.”

“That’s true. Unfortunately.”

“Hanako is such a tough nut to crack, isn’t she?”

“It would have been much better if I did not mess up.”

“Don’t worry, Lilly. We’ll figure out something. The most important thing is to figure out the correct way to talk to her. And we have the school staff to fall back on.”

Drinking tea with Lilly in the tea room is always relaxing. It makes me forget about time.

Forget about time.

Oh no! I forgot about my meet-up with Shizune and Misha!

“I’m sorry, Lilly. I just remember that I need to meet up with Shizune and Misha. We are going to the town to celebrate the end of the Mock Exams.”

“Oh. Really? Have a nice evening then. Take care.”

“Sure. I’ll talk to you again in the near future. Meanwhile, please try not to worry too much and focus on your own exams.”

“Thank you.”

***********************

[You’re late again!]

Oh no.

[I’m so sorry.]

[Where have you been? Does it take you more than an hour to get changed?]

[I apologize. I had a meeting with Mutou about…]

I spoke too fast. Should I mention it?

[About what? You think you failed the Mock Exams?]

I hesitate.

[No. It’s about…]

Shizune folds her hands and glares at me.

[Tell me.]

I don’t think I can hide any more.

[Alright. Yeah, it’s about Hanako.]

[Why?]

[You remember the accident in Kasshoku? Hanako hasn’t been in class since then. She only came for the Mock Exams, but Naomi noticed that her exam papers were mostly empty. She’s probably in trouble. That’s why I accompanied Naomi and Lilly on their visit to the staff office. I hope the school staff can help Hanako.]

[I still don’t think it’s worthwhile to waste time on such a weakling.]

[“Shicchan! She’s our classmate after all~! Don’t be so mean!”]

[Hmph. Look, Misha, we’ve just wasted another fifteen minutes. We could have done a lot of things in fifteen minutes.]

Misha shakes her head. Wow. It’s quite rare to see Misha standing up against Shizune like this. She’s grown.

[“Shicchan! We can make up for the lost time, but I can’t agree with you this time~! I cannot always agree with you! We’ve got to help our classmates~!”]

[Look, Shizune, I’ll treat you. Don’t get angry.]

With Misha firmly on my side, Shizune finally decides to give in.

[Alright. We’re gonna waste more time if we argue like this. Let’s go.]

Chapter 15: Killer or Lifesaver?
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Sat Apr 25, 2020 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 12, Updated 14 Apr 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Sat Apr 25, 2020 5:58 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:19 pm
Oh boy, this is a long one... I'm going to comment as I read, so some comments might be redundant with what others have already written.
Thanks for the comments. Unfortunately the forum logged me off after a while so I had to type everything again.
First thought: "In a route going off Shizune's bad end this should be really f*ing obvious... :-)
We really didn't need that recap of the entire route at the beginning...
Gotcha. But I intended to describe things on Hisao's perspective, rather than the readers'. It's obvious from our point of view, but not as obvious from his side.
Well, Mr. Mutou, I cheated on my GF with her best friend, and now we've broken up. Any advice with that?" ...Not my first idea for getting advice...
It's almost as much OOC for Mutou to actually give advice rather than recommending a councelor.
Hisao: "As shameful as it is, he is probably the best candidate to ask advice for. At least I can learn from my own mistakes. I know I'm wrong. I'm trying to do something!"
120? Really? Yuuko never struck me as very athletic...
I think she once knocked off Kenji's parcel? And another time her glasses managed to fall off? Correct me if I'm wrong.
Not quite sure how to interpret this... In the same breath he's talking about honesty he's saying his relationship with Shizune might be salvagable depending on how much she knows... Does not seem to be a healthy attitude to me.
Indeed not a healthy attitude, and his attitude hasn't been very good either. But it does depend on how much she knows, unfortunately (or fortunately for Hisao).
Who is this, and what has she done with Shizune?
Pink jerk is her pink friend who writes in pink ink and who actively seduced her boyfriend.
Basically: "I know I slept with your best friend, but you're partly at fault for that as well... Oh, did I mention that I have a heart disease and asking you out could have killed me? Shouldn't that count for anything?" Really smooth...
To be honest, I would say she's indeed partially at fault. Not trying to go too deep here, but in many marriages, one side eventually cheated because his/her spouse was constantly pushing him/her away. Of course I'm not saying that the cheater is innocent, but things could have been salvaged if he/she was treated better. This point of view is quite true for many conservative countries such as Japan.

But in this case, Hisao's just trying to be honest.
That was... quick...
I have a page limit for each chapter. Since I was going to exceed the limit, I cut the details off. For more interactions, see a few chapters later.
What? :lol: :lol: :lol:
Now Shizune turned into Emi :-)
Haha, didn't make the connection. Through all these events, they eventually grow up and become more mature.
TBF she never said a time when they were to meet up. She just said "tomorrow morning"
I intended the discussion on time to be "offline", but since you mentioned it, maybe I'll add it back.
Okay, final thoughts (on the story so far):
It's quite good in spite of the rather large list of complaints that piled up, but it IS quite a lot of material already.
Personally I'm not a big fan of BEFFs (Bad End FixFics), since on average they tend to be more gratuitious than anything. For this one I don't even know why you decided to base it off the bad end, since that plotline appears to be resolved a third of the way through part 1. I do think that resolution went too easy, and overall the story would probbaly have been better if you had left out that subplot entirely and just started in the middle of the Shizune path.
But since that part is now done with anyway, I'm looking forward to the rest of the story.
Thanks for your comments. If you think everything's resolved, think again! Haha!
Given what you said, I'll make Hisao's life harder for the rest of the story. Poor Hisao! At least it won't be until the second part of the story.

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Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 11, Updated 14 Apr 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Sat Apr 25, 2020 9:45 am

Chapter 15: Killer or Lifesaver?

My heart’s pounding really hard. I feel like another heart attack is imminent.

If not for all the afternoon runs with Shizune last week, I might have keeled over already. I’m far from being in good shape, but at least I’m getting better every day.

It’s time for the judgment. It’s killing me! My pulse must be 150 right now.

Mutou the killer hands me the papers. I take a deep breath, then immediately turn to the last page to see the aggregate score.

I close my eyes, take another deep breath, and try to relax myself.

Someone pokes me with a pen. Definitely not Misha.

[Hicchan, Shicchan’s talking to you.]

I look over to see a focused Shizune, most likely eager to know my score.

[What’s your score? Tell me, tell me!]

She’s probably, no, definitely, making this a competition.

In other occasions, I would have made a bet with Shizune. But this time I don’t have the mood. There’s a time for everything, and this is just not the time for betting.

I give her a very relieved smile.

[I got eighty. I’m quite satisfied.]

[I win! I got eighty-one!]

[Congratulations!]

[As the winner, I’m going to claim my spoils! Treat me dinner tonight!]

I smile. It’s alright. I really have to thank her for pushing me so hard last week, so I don’t mind treating her.

[Sure. See you this evening.]

Shizune frowns at me. She probably thought I wouldn’t be so submissive.

[Why didn’t you resist?]

Our sign language catches the eyes of Mutou the lifesaver.

[We’ll talk in the Student Council room.]

I review the papers on the desk. I scored very well in the science subjects. Math is 95, Physics is 92, Chemistry is 93, and Biology is 91. For the other subjects, Ethics is 78, and Japanese literature is 75. History was rough, but I still scored a passable 65. But I’m most satisfied by my nightmare subject, English. I expected to fail it. Thanks to Misha’s help, I managed to just pass by scoring 51. This is the best English score I’ve ever had in high school.

Despite the satisfactory results, I probably shouldn’t relax too much. The true exams are two months away, and I expect it to be harder than this one. This being said, I should be able to celebrate with Shizune today, hopefully along with Misha.

Speaking of Misha…

“Hey Misha, how ‘bout you?”

“Better than I thought, but I’ll probably have to take some of the supplementary classes.”

“Supplementary classes?”

“Let’s talk in the Student Council room, okay?”

Besides Misha, I’m also curious about the results of a few more classmates.

I take a quick glance at Miki. She isn’t even going through her papers, but just sitting there doing nothing. That means she either scored very well or very poorly, with the latter being a much higher possibility.

Last Saturday we had a great time in the city, along with Miki’s three friends. After a brief discussion, it was decided that each of us suggests an activity for the afternoon. I chose arcade games, which pleased everyone except Suzu. Suzu herself chose bookstore, which earned a sharp glare from Miki. Miki suggested dessert, which I was okay with, though a bit concerned about my health. Yukio, who I learned to be a popular guy in the sports team, preferred movie. Haru the rich boy decided to try something new and opted to treat us dinner in a Western restaurant after we burn our dessert on arcade games.

So we left the classroom right after class ended and had a light lunch in the cafeteria because we were all very hungry. We then boarded a bus to the city. I’m quite familiar to the city now, thanks to all the trips with Shizune and Misha (including the one on Thursday), so I helped the country girl Miki choose a dessert café. Shizune’s advices in the letter were still ringing over my head, so I ordered a small cake and a glass of orange juice. Miki and Suzu shared a large cake, and the two boys ordered ice-cream, despite the cold weather. After we satisfied Miki, I brought the group to the arcade center nearby to burn off the energy.

We first let Suzu choose her favorite game. She picked the air hockey table, and Miki decided to be her first opponent. To start things off, I offered to pay for the first game. After slipping in the coins for them, we boys hopped on the motorbikes to start racing. It’s been quite some time since I played this, so it was a lot of fun.

After we finished our respective games, I switched Miki to be Suzu’s second opponent, while the others tried out the dancing booths which were very popular a few years ago. When Suzu scored the final point against me, we found out that they were not done yet. They were enjoying themselves a lot, and were competing against each other on scores. Suzu seemed to be attracted, much to our surprise, and eventually the two of us joined in.

It’s interesting to see how they played the game. Miki and Yukio danced with a lot of style. Suzu, despite being a shy girl, actually played very well. Haru and I had a great difficulty following the arrows at first, but then we gradually became familiar with the tempo after a few practices. We spent quite a lot of money on that game.

We were already exhausted, both in terms of energy and budget, after the dancing. We moved on to the cinema and received the tickets for the comedy movie booked in advance by Yukio, who also treated us some drinks to quench ourselves. I suspected Suzu might fall asleep inside the cinema after all the workout, but the movie was hilarious enough that she couldn’t help but laugh out loud several times.

After the 90-minute long movie, we headed towards the restaurant Haru picked for us, and we had a fantastic time together. I just love their conversations. I didn’t have to speak much, as listening to their banters was enough fun. I also learned a bit more about my friends and their families. Finally, we went to the bookstore, saving the best for last for Suzu. After careful selection, Suzu and I bought several exercise books for the upcoming Center Test. Miki, of course, was “amazed” by the fact that we had the pleasure to think about studying even after exams. She even joked that Suzu and I would be a great match.

We did have an excellent time together, but I felt a bit sad at the end. I was informed that Miki, Haru, and Yukio will go different ways after graduation. Miki’s going back to help her father unless she can miraculously enter a university, while the boys are furthering their studies in the Kansai area. Suzu is aiming for a university in Tokyo, which is near my hometown Chiba. So, except for Suzu, my friendship with the group is probably not going to stay.

Things surely have taken a big turn these few weeks. A few weeks ago, I lost Shizune, I lost Misha, I had no friends in school, and I didn’t have the energy to study. Now I have my two friends back, I have Shizune directing my lifestyle, I’m acquaintances with Miki and her group, and I’m trying to help Lilly and Naomi with Hanako’s issues. The only known schoolmates in Yamaku I haven’t contacted recently are Emi and Rin. The latter already left for Tokyo, but I might be able to find her again after I move back to Chiba. Emi, on the other hand, is going to be a tough one, if I’m trying to make friends with her. I did reject her morning runs after all. But with so many friends around me, I’m now enjoying my time in Yamaku. Unfortunately, we only have a few months before graduation, and a large portion of the time will be spent on studying. On the other hand, many of them are aiming for Kasshoku, so at least some of my friendships will hopefully maintain. That is, if Hanako gets her problems solved.

Speaking of Hanako, she hasn’t come to class today. It makes sense, as she probably knows about her scores already. I turn around and take a look at Naomi. She’s checking her papers, and from her looks, she hasn’t done very well. The accident with Hanako might have affected her scores. I’m also quite worried about Lilly. She looked devastated when we visited Mutou last week.

Then I turn back and take a look at Suzu, who’s also studying her papers. I’m going to ask her about her results too.

***********************

Today’s class ends early because of the paper distribution, so I’m not hurrying for lunch. Even though I have so many friends in my mind, I still want to have lunch with Shizune and Misha. I quickly sign to the duo.

[I’ll join you for lunch, but I’ll be right back.]

They nod as I immediately head towards Miki. Before I say anything, though, Miki preempts me.

“Hey boy, looks like you aced your exams.”

“Not exactly ‘aced’, but I’m satisfied with my results. How did you know?”

“When Mutou handed you the papers, his eyes were sparkling.”

“He doesn’t show his emotions much. Your eyes are unbelievably sharp.”

“I told ya boy, when you don’t need to pay attention to class, you do something else.”

“Not even bother going through your papers?”

“No point. It’s not like checking them will double my score.”

This implies she scored less than half. Not good at all. Do I want to talk to her about friendship worries? Maybe later.

“Not even checking the overall score?”

“I did. As expected.”

I’m not asking her score, but she’s probably going to those supplementary classes Misha talked about.

“How ‘bout Suzu?”

“You really care for her, don’t ya?”

“Can’t I care for my fellow classmates?”

“You’re blushing.”

“Only because I’m ashamed of being friends with such a teasing girl.”

“You actually look kinda cute when you’re teased. Gonna do it more. It’s fun.”

I decide to go back to the original subject.

“Anyway, how did Suzu do?”

“Dunno. Why don’t you ask her, boy?”

“Isn’t it obvious? She’s sleeping.”

“Then wake her up and ask her.”

I roll my eyes on Miki. Once Suzu goes to sleep, it’s nigh impossible to wake her up.

“I’ll ask her later then. Thanks again for the trip last week. I had a lot of fun.”

“Glad you liked it.”

“Can I talk to you and Suzu in the afternoon? Track field.”

“Sup?”

“Secret. See you there?”

“Alright boy.”

Before I head for lunch, I want to check one more thing. I turn around.

No trace of the newspaper group. Naomi probably left already. Her fellow clubmate wasn’t there either.

Hanako, please be alright.

Chapter 16: Returning the Favor
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 12, Updated 14 Apr 2020)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Apr 26, 2020 5:46 am

ShizuneFan2019 wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 5:58 am
120? Really? Yuuko never struck me as very athletic...
I think she once knocked off Kenji's parcel? And another time her glasses managed to fall off? Correct me if I'm wrong.
You might want to double check how much 120° is... Personally I know exactly one person who could pull that off and she's extremely athletic...
Who is this, and what has she done with Shizune?
Pink jerk is her pink friend who writes in pink ink and who actively seduced her boyfriend.
It's just not like Shizune to use such childish insults. The only one of the main girls who might do that is Emi.
Basically: "I know I slept with your best friend, but you're partly at fault for that as well... Oh, did I mention that I have a heart disease and asking you out could have killed me? Shouldn't that count for anything?" Really smooth...
To be honest, I would say she's indeed partially at fault. Not trying to go too deep here, but in many marriages, one side eventually cheated because his/her spouse was constantly pushing him/her away. Of course I'm not saying that the cheater is innocent, but things could have been salvaged if he/she was treated better. This point of view is quite true for many conservative countries such as Japan.
Well, sure. I wouldn't say Shizune really "pushed him away"... Her manner would push most people away, but apparently Hisao was attracted to exactly that...
However that's not what I meant: Regardless of whether or not Shizune was to blame, that's not an accusation you write in a letter of apology!
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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

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Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 11, Updated 14 Apr 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:17 am

Chapter 16: Returning the Favor

This is the third time in a week I have salmon as lunch. So far I’ve been enjoying it.

My Shizune-directed lifestyle has been paying off. I was able to handle exams with much more energy, and I can now handle a moderate amount of physical exercise, such as the dancing session last Saturday with Miki and her friends.

[“Hey Hicchan~, how’s the salmon?”]

[“It’s alright. Not as good as the one we tried last Thursday, but with such a cheap price you can’t bargain.”]

[I’m glad you like it. I can see your health improving.]

[“How do you know?”]

[Your complexion is getting better. Also, Miura told me you went dancing with her last Saturday.]

Misha looks surprised.

“Hicchan~~!!”

[“So she told you? Yeah, I went to the city again with Miki and her friends. Suzu, Haru, and Yukio. We had a great time.”]

Upon hearing the names, Misha instantly looks relieved. She probably thought I had a date with Miki.

[“You’re making friends now, aren’t you~?”]

[“Yeah, I’m now enjoying my time in Yamaku. But, of course, you two are my best friends. That’s for sure.”]

Shizune adjusts her glasses.

[Glad to see how you changed these couple of months. You’re getting more and more adorable.]

[And that’s because of you, Shizune. And you too, Misha. I also wanna thank both of you for helping me out in the exams. Shizune, I’ll treat you a great dinner tonight. And Misha, your help in English paid off. I was able to pass with 51.]

Shizune frowns at me.

[You still have a lot of room for improvement. 51 is a very poor score.]

[I know, Shizune, but I tell you, this is the first time I’ve passed an English test since high school. I can’t thank Misha enough for this.]

[“Wahahahaha~~ I’m glad I could help!! Treat me a parfait tonight, will you, Hicchan?”]

[“Of course!”]

Misha stands up, spins around and raises her hands.

[“Yay~~!! Free parfait tonight!! Wow~~”]

[You’ll go broke if you spend money at this rate.]

[“You’re right. But I’m not spending any more money after today.”]

Shizune puts her hand under her chin and ponders for some time.

[Don’t treat me tonight. You’ll treat me after the Entrance Exams.]

I look into her eyes sincerely.

[I don’t mind spending money on you, Shizune.]

[Thanks. But I’m not stupid. I realized it when I visited your family the other day. I finally knew why you called my home a mansion.]

I immediately feel ashamed. My parents work so hard for me, yet I’m spending money on entertainment.

[“You’re so right, Shizune.”]

[“Hicchan… In fact I was shocked too. You know, Yamaku is an expensive school, so whoever comes here…”]

[“…is supposed to come from a rich family? Yeah, except me. And maybe Miki.”]

Shizune puts her hands on my shoulders and faces me directly. Then she signs with one hand.

[Don’t feel dejected. We understand. That’s why you need to save more money and study hard. Look into my eyes.]

I obey.

[Don’t treat me tonight. Just pay for Misha’s parfait. I don’t need you to treat me. I want you to study really hard, and get the Kasshoku scholarship together. This is the spoil I want to claim. Promise me.]

[Yes, I promise.]

[Good boy.]

And then, she unexpectedly gives me a peck on my cheek, and goes back to eating.

Misha and I look at each other, both shocked. She then puts her hands on her mouth, trying to resist bursting out into laughter. Not wanting to laugh in front of us, she excuses herself into the restroom while Shizune keeps herself busy with her food.

***********************

“Sup?”

“Hey Miki, where’s Suzu?”

“She’s asleep again. Can’t help.”

“I see. Thanks for coming though.”

“I asked her for you. She got 71. Should be good enough.”

“Thanks. Makes me a bit more relieved.”

“You really care for her.”

I think this is the best time to bring out the issue.

“That’s why I wanna talk to you.”

She raises an eyebrow.

“Why? You want Suzu?”

Stop thinking weird stuff, Miki!

“No, that’s not what I meant. What I’m trying to say is... Well... How should I say...”

“Bring it on. Don’t be shy.”

I scratch my head. I’m not shy. I just don’t know how to say it out loud.

“Well... You see, although we only became friends a few weeks ago, I really enjoyed the time I spent with you and your friends. I wanna keep our friendship for as long as possible...”

“Hmm... I see what you mean.”

“Yeah. It ends too soon. I’m going to Kasshoku University in my hometown of Chiba with Shizune, but none of you except Suzu are going to an area with a reasonable distance from me.”

“Help me take care of Suzu, won’t ya?”

“Maybe... you can try...”

“Getting into university? No hope, sorry.”

“I understand, but how about a vocational training center in or near Tokyo? You can train up a skill you like that you can make a living with, and you can still be friends with me and Suzu.”

“Thanks, but I believe I’m hopeless.”

“You told me the same thing last Saturday, didn’t you? I wanna have a say on that.”

I take a deep breath before continuing.

“I never told you about my condition. I have a problem in my heart. Any bump onto my chest or an excessive physical activity might trigger my condition and kill me instantly. I’m now living on a day-by-day basis.”

“Whoa! Didn’t know. How did you survive the dancing the other day?”

“I’ll tell you why next. The truth is, I didn’t want to come here at all. After the accident, I felt hopeless about myself. I didn’t want to do anything except reading books in my room. Then, you know, on my first day here...”

“The Student Council?”

“Yes. They kind of forced me to join them. After the first week, I practically spent every day with the two girls. I ended up developing a crush on Shizune.”

“Makes sense. You’re brave, boy. I tell you. Hakamichi is one of the three hottest girls in Yamaku, according to the boys. The other two are Satou and Ibarazaki. Many boys in Yamaku fall for the President. Yet, nobody ever tried.”

“Really?”

“Yup. And among those boys were...”

Haru or Yukio? Or both?

“Forget it. Anyway, you’re one fearless boy. Especially when you know you have a heart condition.”

“I just went for it, and she accepted. But then, you know, we had a fallout, and I ended up asking you for help.”

“And you two are back together now?”

“Not officially, but close to. We had a long discussion, and at the end she persuaded me to change my lifestyle. I’m now eating healthy food, and I’m running with her in the track every afternoon. In fact, she’s coming to run with me soon. Thanks to the change in lifestyle, I’m now able to withstand a moderate amount of exercise, like the dancing last Saturday. That answers your question.”

“I see.”

“Anyway, what I wanna say is, I also had a time that I felt utterly hopeless. But I learned from my mistakes and slowly, but gradually, I climbed out of the situation. I admit that there was some luck involved, but I can’t stress this enough: Without your help, I couldn’t have made it this far. I’m just trying to repay you for what you did.”

“Don’t think I helped that much, but what you said was quite persuasive.”

“Miki, please don’t give up on yourself. There are still a lot of things you can do. I know you don’t like studying. You can develop a skill and pursue a career on that path. Why not give it a try? We have a lot of examples here in Yamaku. Emi lost her legs, but she runs the fastest. Rin has no arms, but she has a great talent in art. You can do the same. At least consider this with our friendship in mind. And Suzu’s too.”

I can’t believe I’m saying this.

“You should seriously consider being a teacher, boy.”

“Indeed. Shizune and I talked the other day about my career. I wanna become a science teacher. That’s why I’m trying to get a degree in science.”

Miki falls quiet for a moment and faces the track which is empty now. Shizune is coming soon to run with me.

“I’ll sleep on it. Thanks for the advice, Hisao.”

“Again, I’m just returning the favor.”

“You’re adorable. No wonder the President falls for you.”

“Promise me, think about it.”

“Alright. I promise. I suppose you’re waiting for the President?”

“Yeah, I’m going to run with her.”

“Exercise is good. See you tomorrow then.”

“Bye.”

Chapter 17: Water Under the Bridge
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Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 12, Updated 14 Apr 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:33 am

You might want to double check how much 120° is... Personally I know exactly one person who could pull that off and she's extremely athletic...
Thanks for mentioning. I went back and discovered that it wasn't what I meant. I reworded it a little bit: "looks like 120 degrees to me". (Again, unreliable narrative is what I'm aiming for here.)
It's just not like Shizune to use such childish insults. The only one of the main girls who might do that is Emi.
I'll think about it. Personally I don't see any problems, but my (or Shizune's, in my point of view) focus was to avoid using the real name.
Well, sure. I wouldn't say Shizune really "pushed him away"... Her manner would push most people away, but apparently Hisao was attracted to exactly that...
However that's not what I meant: Regardless of whether or not Shizune was to blame, that's not an accusation you write in a letter of apology!
I looked back. I wouldn't interpret the letter to be an accusation. The only possible "accusation" in the letter was the sentence "you know how cool you can be sometimes", which she already admitted. Maybe possibly "I think you can say the same to yourself (i.e. not being a good girlfriend)". Other than that, he was simply stating facts.

I might modify the words if I'm convinced that it's a letter of accusation.

Thanks for the comments. By the way, I was a bit stuck on the second part of the story until you pointed out "not to spare Hisao so easily". That actually was what I planned but eventually forgot about. Now I can continue with the story.

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Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 15, Updated 24 Apr 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:42 am

Chapter 17: Water Under the Bridge

I’m finally free! Hooray!

It’s been two weeks! I can’t wait to do that again!

I quickly enter my dorm room, change into my sports outfit, take care of my hair, and Here! We!! Go!!!

I had another inflammation two weeks ago (the last time it happened was a couple of months ago, after the Track Meet), and I was forced to sit on that stupid wheelchair for a while. The worst thing is, I couldn’t run for Two! Freaking! Weeks!!! That’s so frustrating! Well, exams were around the corner, so at least I could distract myself with those stupid books. Those stuff aren’t gonna be useful (I wanna be a pirate, not a bookworm), but unfortunately I need to pass the test and graduate in order to get into my favorite college to be a physical trainer. I didn’t do all that well in the Mock Exams. Only 52 on average. That damn English! Only got 32. Again! I. Hate. English!!!

But let’s forget about everything! That damn inflammation is over! And I can run again! Straight ahead to the track!

Nothing’s gonna stop me any more. Not the inflammation. Not the asshole Nurse. Not the cold wind. Run, run, run!!!

***********************

Hello sports field! It’s been a looooooong time! I miss you so damn much! Don’t you miss me too? I love you track!!

Let’s do the stretching. I haven’t done any exercise for two weeks, so I’m a little bit out of shape. I’ll have to train twice as hard this week to make up for it…

Hey, is that...?

!!!

They’re... running??

I’ve never seen either of them here. Well, in the boy’s case, not since the Festival.

That asshole’s actually running! I can’t believe it! And it looks like he’s in okay shape. Of course still way worse than mine, even though I haven’t run in two weeks. But when I first saw him, he looked absolutely terrible. He’s looking much better now.

But the most shocking thing is, he’s apparently dating the Student Council President!

I never thought Madame Presideaf would find herself a boyfriend. She’s the meanest girl in the world. I thought she’d be single forever. How can anybody tolerate such a jerk? And yet, of all people, it’s Hisao who’s dating her!

On the other hand, they look really happy together. It looks like they’re racing each other on the track. Somehow I feel jealous of them.

Reminds me of my ex-boyfriend. We were chasing each other on the track too. We had a great time together. He loved me a lot.

We broke up because I kept shutting him down whenever we talked about family. I... squandered a chance. I didn’t treasure him enough. Mom always says I’m stubborn. I guess I am, in a sense.

But everything’s water under the bridge now. Better move on and not dwell on the past. Let’s continue my stretching and forget about inflammation and studies and boyfriends and everything in today’s run.

Oh, they seem to notice my presence.

“Hey Emi!”

That asshole says hi to me. I thought he forgot about me already.

“Oh, hi Hisao. I thought you forgot my name already.”

“How can I forget the name of the girl who bumped into me on my first week here?”

He said it with a joking voice. I don’t think he’s blaming me or anything, but I pout anyway.

“But you forgot about something else. You forgot to join my morning runs. I had to run alone for half a year. It’s all your fault!”

The asshole scratches his head. His hair is still the same, with a bit of stray hair sticking out on his left side. Does he ever comb his hair?

“I’m sorry. I joined the Student Council, and I was always busy with the activities, so I couldn’t run with you.”

“Thanks to you, I had to pay Rin 500 yen. I thought you would continue running with me. But you disappointed me!”

I just realized he’s speaking while making signs. Of course, the President is deaf, so he has to translate. Oh, the President is signing now.

[...]

“Shizune, the Student Council President, says hi. She says it’s partially her fault that I cannot run with you. There are only three Student Council members, so work has been extremely busy. She hopes that you would at least appreciate the Student Council services.”

“Oh hi, President. I didn’t know you would run on the track too. I’ve never seen you here before.”

The President adjusts her glasses.

[...]

“Yes, we started running only two weeks ago. To keep both of us healthy and ready for the upcoming exams!”

Oh shit, don’t talk about those damn exams! I have to change the topic.

“Oh I see. So... Hisao, I suppose you two are... dating?”

To my surprise, instead of admitting it right away, Hisao takes a quick look at the President, who turns her face away from me.

“Erm... We’re... just good friends. We’re both in the Student Council, you see.”

Hisao is so easy to tease!

“Hahaha...”

The two look so embarrassed!

“I’m sorry... I just can’t resist... I’m just joking. Hisao, I don’t know, but if I were you, I would be very careful around the President. She’s the President after all!”

The President looks angry. I’m making it too far.

[...]

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I’m sorry... I’m just teasing you two... Anyway, I’ve got to run. You two have fun!”

And I dash towards the track without even waiting for their reply.

***********************

I can’t believe Hisao actually waited until I finish my run. Does he want to talk to me?

“Enjoyed your run, Emi?”

“Sure did!”

“Hey, I just want to say, I’m sorry for not joining your runs and make you pay Rin 500 yen. I disappointed you. Maybe we can treat you lunch later?”

Compared to the last time he talked to me, Hisao’s definitely grown up a bit. Being the President’s boyfriend surely isn’t easy.

“Nah, that’s water under the bridge.”

“Shizune asks me to tell you that we’ll be here running every afternoon. She invites you to join us.”

“Hmm... I’ll think about it. I prefer to run alone. Besides, I’m way faster than you two. I’m the Fastest Thing on No Legs, you know.”

“Yeah, I heard it from Miki. By the way, congratulations for getting gold medals in the Track Meet. She told me this.”

“Oh, you know her too?”

“Yes, we’re in the same class after all. I’m a good friend of Miki and her group.”

“You’re making a lot of friends now, aren’t you?”

“I guess so. By the way, how’s Rin doing? I heard from Shizune that she transferred to Tokyo after holding an art gallery.”

“That’s right. She left Yamaku before the end of the break. I still contact her regularly though. Looks like she’s enjoying her time there.”

“I see. Well, after graduation I’ll be moving back to my hometown of Chiba if I can get into my favorite university. Maybe I can visit Rin’s school on a weekend.”

“What university are you aiming for?”

“Kasshoku. Shizune and I are trying to get in. Also aiming at this school are Lilly, Hanako, and Naomi.”

“You mean the tall blonde and her shy friend?”

“That’s right. I really hope all of us can get in. We’ll have to study super hard though. How about you? Any university plans?”

“Nah, I’ll be a physical trainer in a college nearby.”

“I see. That means I won’t have many chances to talk to you. You definitely should join us.”

“Uhm... I’ll think about it.”

“Alright. I’m going to have dinner with the Student Council now. I promised to treat Misha a parfait tonight. Hope to see you tomorrow.”

“See ya.”

Although I’m probably not seeing him tomorrow.

No, I’m not running with those two. I prefer to run alone.

He really changed a lot though.

Hisao and the Student Council President. What an interesting pair.

***********************

“Hey Sunshine, I told you not to run to my office.”

“Hahaha...”

“What are you laughing at, Emi?”

“It’s so funny... I’ve got to tell you this...”

Chapter 18: Maximizing Efficiency
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Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 15, Updated 24 Apr 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Sat May 02, 2020 9:53 pm

Chapter 18: Maximizing Efficiency

I take a quick glance at the digital clock in front of me. Fifteen minutes left. I should have enough time to check my answers once.

It looks like Shizune is doing the same. I don’t want to lose to her this time!

Hey look, I’ve left this question blank! I think I skipped it an hour ago. Now let’s tackle this problem again…

***********************

As the clock counts down to zero seconds, it gives out a blaring sound and a series of flashes of red light. This means pens down.

[Pens down!]

Obvious enough. I raise my hands to stress the fact that I’m not cheating. I hand my paper to Shizune for grading and then drink some water.

I’m happy that I bought these exercise books a few weeks ago, when I went to the city with Miki and her friends after the Mock Exams. I selected these books because they have mock exam papers that closely resemble the National Center Test. When I presented them to Shizune in the Student Council last week, she instantly gave me a thumbs up, followed by a quick kiss on my cheek when I was least prepared. She photocopied the exam papers and suggested that we compete against each other on the tests. She bought this fancy digital clock with countdown function and red light as an exam timer. Buying such a fancy countdown clock just for exam preparations seems a bit too much, but nevertheless I appreciate her seriousness.

Shizune said that these mock tests will serve several purposes. They will provide us with an idea of the formats of the questions in the Center Test. With a timer, they can give us an accurate assessment on our study progress. They will also train us to be ready and in form for the real exams.

We have completed four exam papers so far, and this Japanese Literature exam is the fifth. I handily won the contests on Math and Physics, but I lost in English (obviously) and Japanese History. I really don’t want to lose this one, because I expect to lose in Ethics (which is her strongest subject). If I win this test, we’ll at least break even. Since the other two subjects we study are different (Shizune takes Economics and Finance), the contest will be a best of six.

We would like this to be a three-way competition, but unfortunately Misha has to spend most of the mornings and afternoons on the mandatory supplementary classes designed for students who didn’t do well on the Mock Exam, and we know that Misha has a teacher training class with Mutou at night. So we have to make this contest head-to-head.

Misha attending supplementary classes means that Shizune and I are now study partners in the Student Council room. We started studying together since the day we are exempted from classes, which was two days after the release of the Mock Exam results. The Student Council room, with Shizune and the new Student Council duo being the only students possessing the keys to its door, is the perfect place to study, so we quickly decided that this will be our “base of operation”, so to speak. Although there are a lot of board games in this room, we decide not to touch them until the end of the exam period in order to save our energy and brain power on exam preparations.

Shizune set up a strict timetable for both of us: Breakfast at 7pm, study from 8am to noon with a short break in between, lunch made by second-year students, study from 2pm to 4pm, afternoon run, dinner with Misha, study from 7pm to 9pm, then sleep. She claimed that the schedule is designed with a military training timetable as a reference. It’s really strict, but I like it. We’ve run this timetable for two weeks now, and I’ve already made significant improvements on my weaker subjects.

Shizune also asks Misha to join us once her classes are finished, which will be the end of next week. We will have one week of hardcore studying. Then I will bring the girls back home to spend Christmas together before coming back for the final stretch.

We talked about the idea of visiting Shizune’s home in Saitama for Christmas, but Shizune rejected it because she doesn’t want her father to ruin our time together. It looks like she is still angry with her father since their argument here in Yamaku. Then Misha suggested visiting my home again. As a result, I called my parents to see if they will be at home to meet us during Christmas. Upon mentioning the names of Shizune and Misha, they were thrilled, and they promised to give us a surprise if the two girls do come. Misha happily accepted the offer. Shizune simply adjusted her glasses to mean yes.

Speaking of Shizune… Except for dinner time, when Misha joins in, for the past three weeks I have mostly spent my time with Shizune alone. We study together, we have all three meals together, and we run together. I’m getting used to her lifestyle, and we know a lot more about each other. We didn’t do anything weird (except that kiss she gave me), but we’re already living like a couple. I feel so comfortable around her, and I don’t mind spending the rest of my life with this girl. True, she’s extremely strict and competitive, but if anything her personality helps me. Her attitude on money has a huge impact on me. She keeps reminding me to work hard, get scholarships, and earn money to erase my family’s financial deficit. She’s such an adorable lady.

I hope we can resume our relationship after the end of the exams, and I hope my parents won’t oppose us. My dad seems to like her, but I don’t know about my mom. We might need to worry about communication. I certainly cannot expect my parents to learn sign language. I hope Shizune can come up with something about this.

***********************

After checking our papers against the model answers, I know that I’ve lost the race. Shizune has 87, and I have 83. It’s 3-2 in her favor, and she’s definitely winning the Ethics exam.

[I win!]

Shizune signs emphatically, then adjusts her glasses happily.

[Congratulations!]

[You didn’t do too bad. You’re an honorable opponent.]

We shake hands to acknowledge each other.

Although I lost, I’m happy that my score is 8 points more than my Mock Exam result. I’ve definitely improved.

I also recorded improvements on my other weak subjects. I had 70 in Japanese History and an amazing 58 points in English. I also kept my scores high in Math and Physics.

[I’m happy that I’ve improved since the Mock Exam.]

[But you need to study harder in order to get the scholarships! Especially your English!]

[I’ll try to get an acceptable score in English, and focus on getting better scores in the Entrance Exams. All the papers in the Entrance Exams are my strong subjects, so hopefully the results can pull some weight in my favor.]

[Makes sense. Now we’ll take a break, then start preparing for tomorrow’s Ethics exam. I’m up 3-2 now. If you win, we’ll break even; if I win, then I’ll win the race!]

As if I had a chance to win that one.

[Sure. I’m actually going to meet the Nurse now.]

[I forgot you have an appointment with him today. Sorry, too focused on the exams.]

[No problem. I’ll be back soon.]

***********************

When the Nurse checks my heartbeat, the cold stethoscope piece makes me shiver every time it touches my body. I hope that my shivering doesn’t affect the readings. I know nothing about doctors, and I hate visiting doctors ever since the beginning of the year, so I can only assume that doctors can ignore my shivering (and the accompanying increased heart rate) and give me an accurate assessment.

“You can put your shirt back on.”

I obey as he gives me a light smile. I guess this means I passed?

“So… Did it sound okay?”

“I’m surprised, Hisao. I haven’t seen you for months, and you actually came back in a much better shape.”

“Thank you.”

“I heard that you’ve been running in the afternoons.”

“Yes. I started running a few weeks ago. How did you know?”

The Nurse gives me a wink, followed by a wicked smile.

“I have my sources.”

Of course I know the source. There’s only one possible candidate.

“It must be Emi, am I right?”

The Nurse gives out his trademark maniacal laugh.

“Hahaha… You’re sharp, Hisao. Indeed, Emi was the one who told me about you. She told me you were running with the Student Council President.”

“Yeah, she wanted the Student Council to stay healthy, so she asked me to run with her. We ran into Emi the other day. We even invited her to join us, but she declined.”

The Nurse laughs again.

“Hahaha… That Emi, always stubborn. Anyway, any flutters or irregularities during your run?”

“The first few days were very rough for me. My heart was pounding very hard, and I felt a bit dizzy. Everything subsided after a while though. Since the second week I haven’t had any discomfort.”

“Hmm. That’s good to hear. How about your eating and sleeping habits?”

“The President gave me very strict orders on my lifestyle. I’m having oatmeal as breakfast, cooked salmon at least twice a week, and zero fried food. I have to sleep before 11pm, otherwise she would remind me with her cell phone.”

She just calls my number, and then disconnects. Several times I wanted to sleep a bit late, but eventually I decided to obey her orders because she said she trusts me.

“Excellent. I’m glad you’ve been obeying the President’s orders. Keep it up, okay?”

“Sure. May I go now?”

“Are you in a hurry?”

“Yes. I need to go back to study with the President.”

“Hahaha…”

I quickly leave and close the door as the Nurse laughs again.

***********************

As I’m about to enter the academic building to meet up with Shizune, somebody calls my name.

“Hey Hisao!”

I turn around, and my eyes find a familiar face. I haven’t met her in like a couple of weeks.

“Hey Miki, how’s going?”

“Taking a break from the supplementary classes.”

When I talk to Miki, I always talk in a different style.

“Rough?”

“Rough, Tough, Jigglyp… never mind.”

“I can feel for ya. So many years of schoolwork compressed in just a month.”

“Mind help me with one thing, Hisao?”

“Fire it.”

“Tell me how I can pass the Center Test.”

What??

“So you’re actually trying to pass the test?”

“Took your advice, just as you took mine.”

I’m impressed! But how can I help her? She hasn’t been studying since forever.

That’s… not possible.

Don my thinking cap. What’s the most efficient way of studying?

Hmm… Oh, right! I forgot!

“I got it. Go and find Suzu. Ask her to give you her exercise books.”

“Which ones?”

“The ones we bought in the city. They have mock papers.”

“Mock exams?”

“Yup. Study them. They resemble the Center Test questions. With some luck you might be able to pass.”

“Really?”

“I’ve tried a few of them already. I found myself improving a lot. You don’t have time to cram textbooks. Just study those papers. They’ll give you the most points with a minimum effort. Or ‘maximize your efficiency’ if you speak Physics.”

“No I don’t. Heard from Mutou in the class though. What’s the formula again?”

“Output power divided by input power, multiplied by 100 percent.”

“That’s not too bad. But if I take Suzu’s books, what will she study with?”

“Silly. Just photocopy them.”

“You’re a genius, Hisao.”

“Take the first few papers to study. Leave the last one or two untouched. You’ll need them to test yourself after you study everything.”

“Thanks, Hisao. Any more tips?”

“Oh yeah. You can take a lot of free points in Multiple Choice questions if you use the correct strategies. Take Math as an example. When the question asks you to solve an equation, you don’t need to solve it. Just put the numbers in the choices back to the equation to check it.”

“That’s smart! I never knew.”

“Also, you can cross out a couple of wrong answers without doing calculations. For example, if the answer is clearly an acute angle, you can eliminate answers that are larger than 90 degrees. You essentially turn questions that you can’t figure out from a 1-in-4 guess into a 1-in-2 guess. I think this is called educated guess. Statistically you increase your chance from 25% to 50%, or simply double your score if you don’t know what I’m talking about.”

“The statistic part lost me, but the last sentence is music in my ears.”

“Also, many long questions are separated into several parts. You don’t need to do the whole thing. If you don’t know one part, you can try the next part. You can even use the answer given from the previous part to pick up easy points in the next part. If you pick up, for example, two easy points from each of five long questions, you increase your score by 10. That’s a whooping 10% of the whole paper. If you get 40 more points in the easy questions, you pass the test. Not a tough ask at all.”

“You saved me. I wanna kiss you, but I can’t.”

“Ew. You passing your exam is my reward.”

“I’ll ask the President to kiss you then.”

I roll my eyes on her.

“Not official yet.”

“You two will be fine. Thanks anyway. I’ll try to pass.”

“Sure. I’m heading back to study. See ya.”

***********************

I’m met by a gold wristwatch when I enter the room.

[What keeps you so long?]

[The Nurse!]

She folds her hands and stares daggers at me. Alright, I’ll speak the truth.

[I met Miki downstairs. She asked me for advice to pass the Center Test. Miki! Studying for the Center Test! Isn’t this big news?]

Her mouth is wide open.

[Really? Miura?]

[That’s right!]

[You managed to convince her to study?]

[Yeah. She took my advice from earlier. She asked me how to pass the test. I told her to study the mock exam papers and offered her a few tips. That’s why the delay.]

I love how her furious sharp stare transforms into a big smile.

[I spent so much time last year trying to make her study. And you did it within a couple of months? You’re amazing!]

For the second time of the month, I receive a kiss on my cheek. Thanks Miki!

[Don’t be so happy just yet.]

[What?]

Shizune hands me a pile of English exercise books apparently borrowed from the library.

[Remember I told you the other day that I’ll give you some punishments?]

Oh no! She actually remembered! I thought if I don’t say anything, she’ll eventually forget.

[Do these in the weekend.]

I groan.

[No way...]

[No arguing. Deadline is next Monday.]

[Then how about Misha?]

[I’ll give her Math exercise books after she comes back from the supplementary classes.]

There’s obviously no room for complaints.

[Alright then. I’ll do it.]

Chapter 19: No Arguing
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Sat May 02, 2020 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ShizuneFan2019
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 17, Updated 29 Apr 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Sat May 02, 2020 10:05 pm

Chapter 19: No Arguing!

Pfft! My brain’s gonna get overheated if I stay in the classroom any longer!

Let’s go somewhere else. Preferably an empty room.

Hey~ How ‘bout this room? I’ve not been here for a long time. And it’s empty now.

I seldom drink tea, so let’s make a change today and have a cup of tea to relieve some of the pressure from all the Math~.

I never come to this room because Shicchan doesn’t like it. Of course, not because of the tea, but because of the person who usually occupies this room.

Speaking of Shicchan, I’ve been seeing her a bit less lately. She’s now usually studying with Hicchan in the Student Council room. (They say that even though the new Student Council sometimes uses that room, they’re still able to focus on studying even with Aoi’s and Keiko’s presence.) I have my supplementary classes, and whenever I can take a break from studies, I don’t wanna disrupt them from studying (they say that they’re practicing timed mock papers), so I go somewhere else to relax. I only see them during dinner time, after their afternoon runs. They told me that their revisions are in good progress.

I, however, really need to study harder in order to get a passing grade in the upcoming Center Test.

I hate Math! I failed Math in my Mock Exam!

Seriously! Why do I need to study the properties of circles? I don’t need to solve quadratic equations in daily life, and logarithms are simply nonsense to me. Trigonometry may have some use, but I’m not pursuing any kind of career around triangles~!! I hate the fact that you need to get a passing grade on something totally unrelated just to obtain an entry ticket to study your favorite subject in university and make a career out of it. But that’s our education system.

Enough rambling. Let’s make myself some tea~.

I wonder why this room is empty, given that this is a quiet place for studying. The library is of course the most popular place to study. Several weeks ago the roof was quite crowded too, but since the temperature dropped nobody wants to stay there for an extended amount of time. I guess the next best choice would be their dorm rooms. But nobody in the tea room? Seriously! Why?

Ooh… This tea is soooooooo relaxing!

I hear footsteps coming this way.

“Hi Misha!”

“Oh, hi Hicchan~!!”

Why would Hicchan be here?

“Drinking tea, huh?”

“Wahahahaha… Yup. Gotta cool down from all that Math! How ‘bout you?”

“I’m getting tea for Shizune and myself. We’ve just finished another mock exam.”

“Which subject~?”

“Japanese History. I lost again, but I got 76, which is 6 points more than the last time. I must win the next contest in Japanese Literature if I wanna secure a tie.”

“You lost the last race, didn’t you?”

“Yeah. It was 4-2. Although if we count the average score we’re actually tied.”

I take a sip of tea while Hicchan makes tea for the two.

“You two are studying really hard~! You’ll get into Kasshoku with no problems~~.”

Hicchan makes a serious face.

“Ahem. Misha, we’re aiming at the scholarship.”

“Wahahahaha!!! Of course, you’re aiming high, aren’t you?”

Hicchan finishes preparing tea and is about to leave the room.

“By the way, Shizune reminds you to join us next week. We’ll have mock tests together. No rejection is allowed.”

“Hmm… I… I…”

“What’s wrong?”

“I… I dunno…”

Hicchan puts down his two cups, closes the door, and sits down next to me.

“What’s wrong, Misha? You don’t want to study with us?”

I sigh. How am I gonna say this?

“Hicchan~~ I… dunno… I just feel like I’ll be… bothering you two if I join-”

“Cut it off, Misha. We really want you to join us. I know what you’re thinking. You don’t wanna stand between me and Shizune, do you? The thing is, your presence actually makes my friendship with Shizune stronger, because we have more things to talk about. If anything, I think I’ve spent enough time with Shizune alone already. If you don’t join us, Shizune won’t be happy, and I’ll feel dejected too. This will hurt my relationship with Shizune. So please, study with us.”

Is Hicchan guilt-tripping me?

“But I’m so far behind-”

“That’s why you’re joining us. If you study alone, you’re not getting through the Center Test. It’s fine trailing behind, as you’ll be improving along with us.”

“But-”

Hicchan snaps his fingers hard. I flinch because I never expect him to do so!

“No arguing. See you at 8am in the Student Council room.”

They’re so much alike now. I can’t stop giggling.

“Hehehe… Alright then~~. I’ll be there~!”

“Good. See you tonight.”

He opens the door, picks up his cups, and leaves the room.

I love how Hicchan said “no arguing”. Exactly the same as Shizune. I guess they are meant to be together.

***********************

Physics is soooooo booooooring!!! I hate these classes~~.

Sitting in front of Shizune’s desk is Miki Miura. She’s taking notes. It’s quite rare to see her paying attention to classes, but this week she’s been very focused in classes. I asked Shicchan about this the other day. She told me that it was Hicchan’s effort. Sigh~ If even Miura starts studying, I really have to work twice as hard.

Sitting diagonally behind Shicchan’s desk is Ikezawa. After the accident in Kasshoku, she didn’t come to class except the Mock Exam days. She scored a terrible 26 in the exam. I know it because the scores are recorded in one of the documents in the Student Council room. Due to the poor results, she had to attend every supplementary class. She keeps her old habit of coming to class five minutes late and leaving class five minutes early, so I had no chance to even talk to her.

It’s such a pity that she returned to her old self after making a progress to reach out during the summer break. Hicchan told me that he and Licchan tried to help, but obviously that didn’t work, so they had to rely on the school staff. Hopefully her therapist could do something about it.

I realize that I’m spacing out again, but Physics is just not my favorite~~.

Let’s think about dinner…

***********************
***********************

Today’s the last day of the supplementary classes. I can’t believe I made it through.

When the last lesson is finally over, I can’t help but celebrate hard.

“Hurray~~!!! Classes are over~~!!!”

I don’t care about the laughing of other students. I just wanna leave this room right now!!!

After picking up my stuff, I leave the academic building and head towards the pool.

I used to swim in the morning, but in winter I swim in the afternoon because morning is too cold. Although the indoor swimming pool has warm water, it’s easy to catch a cold the moment you pull yourself up from the pool if the temperature is low, and with the exams around the corner I don’t want to risk it. What’s more, Hicchan and Shicchan have their runs in the afternoon, so it’s natural for me to do exercise at the same time.

They invited me to join their runs, but I hate running. Not only because I’m fat, but my breasts keep bouncing up and down while running, and this is so annoying~~. I don’t know how Shicchan, who has a similar breast size, manages to run without problems. Anyway, I decided not to join them and instead swim alone in the afternoon.

Upon entering the dressing room, I change into my swimsuit, and do the stretching inside the room because there are heaters that keep the room warm.

After the stretching, I put on my goggles, enter the main area, and jump into the pool. Splash!! Warm up is always 400 meters freestyle.

This morning, Shicchan visited my dorm room and promised to treat me dinner in the Shanghai, as a small celebration for the end of my classes~. I’m ecstatic!! I’ll have parfait!! Thinking about my dessert makes me swim faster~~.

***********************

After swimming 2000 meters, I leave the pool, take a shower, dress up, and dry my hair. Then I pack up everything and head towards the dorm room.

It’s now 6pm. Shicchan’s run with Hicchan should be over now, so it’s time for me to change my clothes and meet them up at the front gate.

But when I arrive at the school gate, only Shicchan is here.

[Where’s Hicchan?]

[He’s not coming. Miura invited him over to dinner with her friends.]

[He can’t come and celebrate with us? What a bummer!]

I’m a bit disappointed not to see Hicchan, but at least I get to spend time with Shicchan alone, which became quite rare after our fallout a few months ago.

[He said that Miura also wanted to celebrate, and her friends are unavailable this weekend, so they decided to celebrate tonight.]

[Oh yeah, Miura attended the classes too~]

[But he promised to treat you tomorrow instead. We’ll go to the city. To take a break from studies and buy a few more exercise books.]

[Mock papers again?]

[The ones for the Entrance Exams. We figured that our performance in the mock papers is good enough to assume that we will easily pass the Center Test with merit, so it’s time to prepare for the Entrance Exams. At least in terms of hardware.]

[That’s so smart, Shicchan.]

[We’re aiming at the scholarships after all. Let’s go. I’m very hungry now.]

***********************

When we enter The Shanghai, the waitress who comes to greet us is not the usual Yuuko. We pick a seat near the corner and ask for a menu.

[Why is Yuuko not here?]

[She’s studying for the Entrance Exam.]

[Really? She’s applying university too?]

[Yes. I heard that she wants to study history? Somewhere along the lines of anthropology, I think.]

When the waitress gives us the menu, she looks a bit confused, probably because we’re using sign language, and she doesn’t know how to communicate with us. Usually this doesn’t happen because Yuuko knows us, but when Yuuko is absent, this tends to happen. I’ll solve her worries though.

“Parfait for me!! As for Shicchan… Eh…”

I didn’t even look at the menu, because I already decided my food. Shicchan seems to be reading the menu carefully.

[Shicchan, what do you want?]

[I’ll have beef ramen!]

“She wants beef ramen. Wait~!! Is it in the menu~?”

“Yes. What about drinks?”

“Orange juice!”

[What drink, Shicchan?]

[Green tea.]

“She’ll have green tea.”

As the waitress takes our orders and leaves, I turn to Shicchan.

[I didn’t know they sell ramen here.]

[It’s new! It’s best for this season. I want something hot to eat!]

Awwww…

[I should’ve ordered ramen too…]

Shicchan adjusts her glasses.

[Look before you leap. Read the menu before ordering.]

Makes sense. She’s always smart. Like Hicchan.

[How’s your study with Hicchan today?]

Shicchan smiles triumphantly.

[I won again, 4-2.]

[Hicchan must be disappointed.]

[But he actually beat me in terms of average score, by two points. He’s getting much better now. He even got 62 in English.]

[Wow! That’s a big improvement!]

[Indeed. To be honest, I’m proud of him.]

Shicchan’s admiring eyes are so obvious. She’s been looking up to Hicchan recently. I think he deserves it. He’s been doing so well these few months, so different from the Hicchan we saw in his first weeks here. I don’t think Shicchan will choose anybody other than Hicchan now.

[Shicchan, you and Hicchan…]

Shicchan immediately snaps her fingers.

[Nope. I promised to leave it until the end of the exam period.]

Again, she’s quick to deny her feelings to Hicchan. Verbally.

[Alright then~.]

[Misha, remember to join us next week in the Student Council room. No arguing, no absence, no latency.]

[Hicchan said the same thing two days ago. Don’t worry. I’ll remember.]

Our drinks arrive. Shicchan raises her cup of green tea. I follow suit.

[Misha, congrats for surviving all the way through the supplementary classes.]

[Cheers~~]

[Cheers!]

Chapter 20: Fashion Show
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Fri May 15, 2020 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

ShizuneFan2019
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: Precious Friendships (Shizune Bad End epilogue) (Chapter 17, Updated 29 Apr 2020)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Fri May 15, 2020 2:00 am

Chapter 20: Fashion Show

This is the third time I travel by train with my two best friends. We got up before sunrise, boarded the train on time, and had Shizune-style breakfast in the train. Eager to take a break from studies, we decided to just chat in the train. The use of sign language, combined with Misha’s occasional bursts of laughter, inevitably draws the sights of several passengers. Everything looks pretty similar to the previous trip.

Among the similarities, two of them are most notable. First, I don’t have to be a pack mule again, as we’re traveling light; we did bring a few board games with us, but we’re sharing the load this time. Second, Shizune is still not my girlfriend, even though I really want her to be. Still, I enjoy the trip a lot.

After a few hours of train and a bus ride, we arrive at our destination: My humble home.

When I bring the girls home, my parents happily open the door for us. I decide to greet them first.

“Mom, dad, I’m back!”

Mom gives me a spirited hug.

“Merry Christmas, Hicchan!”

When she releases the hug, Misha greets them cheerfully with a broad smile.

“Hi~ Merry Christmas, Mr. Hicchan’s dad and mom!”

“Merry Christmas, Misha.”

Shizune greets my parents with a bow and signs.

[Merry Christmas, Mr. and Mrs. Nakai.]

“Shizune says Merry Christmas to you, formally.”

“What good manners! Merry Christmas, Shizune! Hey Hicchan, why don’t you bring the girls to your room and put down your bags?”

“Sure!”

I bring Shizune and Misha to my room upstairs. I haven’t been here for almost a year (except the Open Day, when I returned briefly), but it’s clean. My parents probably helped me tidy up my room beforehand. On my desk there is a photo frame of me with my friends in my previous high school. We were good friends back then.

Makes me wonder how they are doing.

Come to think of it, I haven’t taken any photos with Shizune and Misha. Today seems to be a perfect opportunity.

[“Are these your friends, Hicchan?”]

[“Shin, Mai, and Takumi. They were my friends in my previous high school.”]

[You look a bit chubby in the photo.]

[“Yeah. Since I went to the hospital, I lost quite a lot of weight.”]

Shizune looks apologetic when I mention the hospital.

[Sorry.]

[“No worries. On the other hand, I haven’t taken any photos with you two. How about we take one today?”]

[Okay! We’ll take a photo in front of the Christmas tree downstairs!]

[“There’s a Christmas tree?”]

[You didn’t see it? It’s right at the corner in the living room!]

[“I didn’t notice! Let’s go then!”]

Misha sprints downstairs, and we follow. My parents are already waiting for us.

“Hey Hicchan, we promised to give you three a surprise! Look, here are your Christmas presents.”

Mom takes out three present boxes with fancy wrappings. An ecstatic Misha spins herself around with arms raised high.

[“Yay~~ Present for Misha~~ Thank you so much Mrs. Hicchan’s mom!!!”]

[Misha, it’s “Mrs. Nakai”.]

[“Oh~~ Um… Do you want me to call you Mrs. Nakai instead?”]

My mom laughs.

“You can just call me auntie, you know.”

[“Alright auntie. What’s my present gonna be?”]

“Here you go. You can unwrap it now.”

Misha carefully unwraps her present. It’s a nice warm jacket, pink in color.

“Hicchan told me that you’re going to America soon. It gets cold in winter over there, and everything is a lot more expensive. This should keep you warm. There’s a hood attached too.”

Misha puts on the jacket. It fits her perfectly. I wonder how my parents managed to know their sizes. They only met them once.

[“Wow~!! It looks soooooo cool! Thanks so much auntie!!”]

Dad and mom are amused by Misha’s reaction.

“Shizune, this is our present for you. Hicchan, here’s yours!”

Shizune makes a bow again after receiving her present. I wonder what’s inside.

“Try them out. See if they fit.”

So they bought us clothes as well.

We unwrap our presents. Mine is a set of sports clothing, with white shirt, black trousers, and deep blue jacket. Shizune receives a set of formal clothing with white shirt, black dress, and black suit.

“Shizune, you study business, don’t you? You’ll need to make a lot of presentations, so you’ll need this a lot. Hicchan, you’ll need to do exercises to stay healthy, so I bought you this.”

“Thanks mom. I’ll treasure it.”

“Why not both of you try them out now? If they don’t fit, we can exchange for another size.”

Shizune bows and proceeds to go to the restroom upstairs. I also go upstairs to my room. Let’s get changed.

Hmm… Looking at the mirror, I do look quite stylish in my sports outfit.

That’s a lot of money from my parents. How did they get so much money?

A couple of clear knocks on the door tells me Shizune is outside.

[Have you finished?]

[Yeah, come in.]

Shizune enters the room and scans me from top to bottom. She gives a satisfying smile.

[You look great! Your parents picked things right!]

Meanwhile, I’m also staring at her because she’s looking extremely gorgeous in her suit. The black-and-white theme suits her perfectly. The white shirt shows off her excellent curvature, and her dress couples well with her stockings. I’m sure every man in the world would instantly fall in love with her.

[How do I look?]

[You’re absolutely amazing.]

She stands next to me in front of the mirror. We look like a pair of fashion models. She looks extremely satisfied.

She then grabs my arm and pulls me downstairs to show off our presents in front of my parents.

“Look at them, hubby!”

“Hmm… Very nice indeed.”

Even Misha is shocked.

[“You two look so cool~~”]

[“Thanks for the gift again. I can’t believe you bought me this.”]

“I love you Hicchan. Study hard and pass your exams.”

[“I will. I’m studying very hard with Shizune and Misha. I’m confident I’ll be in Kasshoku University in April.”]

[Let’s take a photo under the Christmas tree.]

Oh yeah, the Tsu-ree*. It’s full of decorations, and with the lights on, it’s sparkling beautifully.

[“Oh, I forgot. How did you get this Tsu-ree?”]

“Isn’t it pretty? I spent a lot of time on it last weekend.”

[“It is. Let’s take a photo under the tree. Misha, let’s go.”]

We stand under the sparkling tree, showing off our presents together. I stand in the middle, Shizune on my right side, and Misha on my left. My mom happily takes out the camera.

“Say Cheese!”

***********************

While Shizune and Misha are playing trumps upstairs (Shizune wanted to bring Risk, but we outvoted her because we need to save our brain power on the exams instead), I go down to the kitchen to serve them drinks. Hot chocolate should be perfect.

Mom is preparing lunch for us.

“Hey mom, thanks for the presents. You shouldn’t spend so much money on us. We don’t have much money, and my medical expenses are not cheap.”

Mom looks surprised.

“You’ve really grown up, Hicchan. Thanks for your concern of the family’s financial situation. Tell you some news. Your dad’s hard work has paid off. He received a promotion last month, and he got a big raise in salary as a result. I also earned some money from the stock market in the last few months. You know, you’re my only son, we love you so much, we know we’ll need to spend a lot of money on your health. That’s why we’re trying to earn more money for you.”

I give mom a hug and thank her for the effort.

“Thanks for everything. Shizune and I will try our best in our studies and be financially capable in the future.”

Right after I finish, I realize my slip-up.

“May I have a moment with you, Hicchan?”

She leads me to the store room at the back.

“Tell me, son, are you dating Shizune now?”

Yup, she noticed.

“Not officially. The truth is…”

I think I should tell mom the truth.

“Shizune and I started dating in the summer holidays. After the break, I made a huge mistake. We had a major fallout, and we stopped talking to each other for a few days. I managed to make up for my error and reconcile with her. Because exam period is approaching, we decided to put our relationship on hold until the end of the exams. But we’re studying together every day, so we’ve been very close.”

“I knew you would choose her. Your dad likes Shizune a lot too. I personally like Misha more, because I think her cheerful personality can give you more happiness. You know, you haven’t been this happy until you came back last time. We’re both very worried about you.”

“Sorry, mom. But as you know, Misha’s going to America, and we both know that we’re not in love with each other. She’s still one of my best friends. Yes, she’s cheerful, and she brings a lot of joy, but we’re not possible.”

“I understand. On the other hand, I do admit Shizune is a great girl.”

“If I tell you what she did to me, you’ll like her much more.”

“Tell me about Shizune, will you?”

“In short, she changed my lifestyle. I’m now eating oatmeal for breakfast, salmon for lunch, and I stopped drinking coffee. I run with her in the afternoons every day. I sleep at eleven at night, and wake up at seven. I haven’t had any heart flutters or irregular heartbeat for two months. We’re practicing mock exam papers every day. My English improved from 43 to 62. Remember my school Mock Exam score? I had 80. In the last set of mock papers I scored an average of 84, with a 97 in Math. We’re passing the Center Test handily. We’re aiming for the scholarships now.”

I love mom’s shocking reaction upon hearing this.

“I can’t believe it. You certainly changed a lot. She did all that to you?”

“That’s not all. She always reminds me to make better use of money. She wants me to do part-time work when I enter university. Librarian and homeschooling are my best choices, and they make a moderate amount of money.”

Mom’s speechless.

“Wow…”

“I know you like Misha better. I’m also aware that Shizune is deaf, and this might pose a problem in the future, but I really want to be with her. Will you accept Shizune as my girlfriend? We’ll deal with our disabilities later.”

Mom can only give an amused smile.

“How can I say no to such a fantastic girl? But yes, make sure you two can figure out yourselves. Being deaf is not a simple issue.”

“I promise you, mom.”

“Good. Come on, go back and serve your girls.”

***********************

After a wonderful day with the Student Council duo, I find myself in the front cabin of the train with Shizune again. The last time this happened, she gave me a letter that completely changed my life.

[Thanks for the trip. I enjoyed it a lot.]

[Me too. Thanks for coming.]

[Your parents are really nice.]

I smile, then pause for a while before replying.

[They seem to like you a lot.]

Shizune stares at me without signing. She knows I’m implying something else. I’m going to tackle this issue from the side, though.

[Wanna ask you a question, if you don’t mind.]

[Go ahead.]

[Have you figured out how to deal with your disability when you enter university? I can’t translate the classes for you like Misha did, because I also need to attend my own classes, and we’re studying different subjects.]

[I know. No need to worry.]

[I don’t think there is sign language translation service in Kasshoku. Are you planning to hire a translator?]

[That’s a good idea, but no, that will be way too expensive. I’ll tell you later, okay?]

[Alright, if you say so.]

Shizune gives me a light smile.

[Thanks for caring for me. I’ve been in Yamaku for three years, yet nobody asked me this question except Misha.]

[You’re too intimidating. Nobody dares asking you questions.]

[Am I really that intimidating? I always answer any questions, especially regarding the Student Council.]

[You are. Miki told me that many boys want to reach out to you, but nobody had the courage to do so.]

[Thanks for sticking around then.]

If you look past Shizune’s intimidating exterior, you find that she’s actually a caring and lovely lady.

* Note: In Japanese the word “Tsu-ree” (Tree) specifically means Christmas tree.

Chapter 21: Petrified
Last edited by ShizuneFan2019 on Fri May 15, 2020 2:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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