For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (Updated 11/1/19)

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Zaknafein
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 2/14)

Post by Zaknafein » Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:46 am

I know the wait is going to be worth it, this is amazing. It's jsut so brutal.

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Joonwoo
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 2/14)

Post by Joonwoo » Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:28 pm

As I wait here patiently for the next chapter, I realize how much Misha has grown on me :3
Narcolepsy without the cataplexy. Tired but no random fainting. I made it, so can you.

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Razputin
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 2/14)

Post by Razputin » Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:26 pm

I think it'll be interesting to see how Hisao reacts to Iwanako's letter in this route, though I guess that really depends on what the major conflict turns out to be.

I'm also curious about Misha's "disability" is. I'm assuming she actually has one and it isn't just a metaphor for something else due to her reaction to the Nurse and that line about her not knowing what it's like to go to Yamaku without a disability.
Completion Order: Shizune -> Emi -> Hanako -> Rin -> Lilly

Feels Ranking: Hanako > Emi > Shizune > Lilly > Rin

ProfAllister
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 2/14)

Post by ProfAllister » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:37 pm

Well, it's been over a month since I last updated. Nearly two months, in fact. And, counting this update, we've got 2 chapters in the past 4 months, after maintaining a schedule of updating every week without fail. Not my proudest moment.

I'm still very interested in completing this, and I wish as much as you do that I could get back to the chapter/week pace (not sure how much my editors would like that, though). Unfortunately, life has gotten in the way, so I've had much less time recently, and little motivation to write when I do get the time. That and this most recent chapter was surprisingly hard to get through.

Obviously, I can't change much, but I do think there's one thing I can change that should help things progress a little more easily - I'm going to stop worrying about maintaining a buffer. Once a chapter's done and has gone through the editing process, I'll post it. If I manage to get back into the pace of writing where I finish before the week's through, I'll let a buffer build naturally, but I can't help but fell like that's wishful thinking at the moment.

So not making any promises, but hopefully things will pick up the pace a little. And just to reassure anyone who's having doubts, I'm still dedicated to this for the long haul. It just might be a longer haul than we initially anticipated.
Current Project: Misha Pseudo-Route

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ProfAllister
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 2/14)

Post by ProfAllister » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:41 pm

The first thing I hear upon waking up is the dull patter of rain pouring down relentlessly. It's a relaxing sort of sound, so I settle back down in bed, content to just listen. Suddenly, there's a crash of thunder, and, as if on cue, my alarm begins blaring.

I don't want to get up. Today already feels like one of those lazy days, where you don't want to do anything. On the other hand, if I don't get up, I'll miss out on seeing Misha's smile, on hearing her laughter, on tasting her lips...

Hating myself for making the right decision, I climb out of bed and prepare for the day.

***

I grabbed my umbrella, but it turns out to have been a pointless gesture. The wind blows so hard that the rain may as well be moving horizontally, soaking me to the bone.

I don't bother drying myself off when I get changed, since I'm just going to get wet again once I start swimming. Misha gives me the same greeting as yesterday - “G'morning, Hicchan~!” a hug and a kiss.

After the kiss, she looks at me in my sodden state, then down at herself, then giggles. “You got me all wet, Hicchan~.”

“Yeah,” I reply, “it's raining pretty bad outside.” It looks like she may have dried herself off before changing, but her hair hangs down limply, completely soaked. “You weren't planning on staying dry in the pool, were you?”

“Wahahahaha~! That would be pretty hard~, wouldn't it, Hicchan?”

Pretty hard is one way to put it. I'd go for “impossible,” myself. Either way, Misha must be done with the conversation, since she's moved on to her warm-up exercises. I join her before she gets another chance to tease me about slacking off.

I swim my laps with a clear mind. It's nice to be able to simply not think every once in a while.

My checkup with the nurse is similarly uneventful. He gives me his full attention, but he looks a little preoccupied with bigger issues. The regular routine runs smoothly enough.

After my visit to the nurse’s office, I take a quick shower and get changed into my uniform. As expected, Misha is waiting for me just outside the changing room. She's wearing a smile that gives the impression she's up to no good. “Hicchaaan~?”

The way she stretches out that last syllable makes me think she wants something. And that she won't be happy if the answer is no. “You want something?”

“Haha, no, not really~.” As she continues, she begins to pace around me, and I once again start to feel like I’m some sort of cornered prey. “I was just wondering~...”

I don't think I like where this is going... “Wondering what?”

“Well~...” Okay, now she's doing it on purpose. Her back is turned toward me, but she's looking at me over her shoulder with an amused smirk. Turning around, she finally asks, “Do you want to play in the rain with me?”

Play in the rain? What is she, six? “Uhm... okay. Sure.”

My halfhearted agreement is met with a hundred-watt smile. “Yay~! Hooray! Yippee! Wahahahahaha~!”

I narrowly dodge her wild arm-flailing as she celebrates her victory. So much for staying somewhat dry.

“But wait...” Misha pauses, wearing a pensive expression, “won't you ruin your shoes~?”

I glance down at my feet. My uniform shoes do look pretty expensive. On the other hand, Misha seems to have had the foresight to trade her loafers for a pair of bright pink rain boots.

“You're right,” I admit, “it would be a bad idea to mess these up. I guess I could change back into my running shoes. They're already pretty wet.”

Misha frowns at me disapprovingly. “That's silly, Hicchan~. You can't wear those kind of shoes with dress pants! You'll look ridiculous~!”

I don't think it looks ridiculous. Not something I'd normally do, but I think she's overstating the point. I shrug. “If It's a choice between having to buy new shoes and looking ridiculous, I think I'd rather choose the option that costs less.”

Misha seems to stop and think about this for an unusually long amount of time. I can almost imagine a little shoulder angel and a little shoulder devil debating the point. Except they'd probably get tangled in her hair and trapped in drill cages. For that matter, why did she go to all the effort to do her hair if it was just going to come undone in the rain?

After what feels like an eternity, she comes to a conclusion. “Okay~!”

Just “Okay.” No comments, no explanation for why it took so long to decide. I'm surprised I'm not used to that yet.

Misha hops back and forth impatiently as I pull my still-wet running shoes from my bag and change out of my dress shoes. Wearing wet shoes is a rather unpleasant experience, but there's really no escaping that, short of staying holed up in the building all day. Besides, I already agreed to go out and “play” in the rain.

The instant I finish tying the laces, Misha shouts something to the effect of “Okayletsgo!” and clomps out the door, giggling as she runs toward the nearest puddle. Standing up, I watch her through the glass doors, playing in the rain exactly as a six-year old would. Having noticed that I didn't follow her, she turns toward me and yells something. Even if I couldn't understand what she was signing as she spoke, I'd still be able to tell that she wants me to come out and join her.

Leaving the shelter of the building and getting soaked once again, I accompany Misha in her antics. Evidently, “playing in the rain” seems to consist of little more than running around in circles and jumping in puddles. I feel a little silly doing something so childish, but it's still rather early in the morning, and I can't imagine the people that are up are paying attention to anything other than their destination. I must admit, though, it is kind of fun...

Pausing to catch our breath, I look over at Misha. Her drills put up a noble effort of retaining their form, but it was a losing battle. Impressively enough, they kept their shape for a matter of minutes, rather than the seconds I was expecting. Whatever it is that she puts in her hair, it certainly doesn't go halfway. The curls in the back were the first to go, followed by the one on her right. Hanging limply next to the left side of her face is the only remaining drill, making a pitiful last stand against the onslaught of the rain. I grab the top of the curl lightly and run my hand down its silky length, putting it out of its misery.

Misha is flushed from the excitement of running around in the rain. She did most of the running and jumping, in all honesty. Rain drips from her hair, her nose, her eyelashes, and her eyebrows. Pink eyebrows. That couldn't have been comfortable to dye. But what really catches my attention is her smile. I'm not sure I've seen anyone look as happy as she does right at this moment. It's so beautiful, there's only one thing I want to do, only one thing I really can do. Taking Misha in my arms, I pull her close to me, and our lips meet in what is becoming an increasingly familiar gesture.

Melon is quickly becoming one of my favorite flavors. The wetness of our lips makes it feel a little different when they meet. More slippery, I guess. With my face so close to hers, I notice the faint scent of the cocktail of products she puts in her hair. It mixes with the smell of the fresh rain in a rather pleasant manner.

I can feel the contours of her back through her saturated blouse. I can also feel her bra straps. I never learned what the etiquette is for that. Do I avoid the straps? Do I keep my hands near them? Do I just ignore it and leave my hands wherever they end up so I don't come off as some creep who's feeling for bra straps? And am I supposed to do anything different if it feels like she isn't wearing a bra? I figure I should stick to the “do what comes naturally and hope she'll tell you if you're doing something wrong” approach. It usually serves me well.

As all good things are wont to do, the kiss comes to an end. Misha looks embarrassed, and a little ashamed. “We really shouldn't be kissing where someone can see us, Hicchan~...”

I'm forced to chuckle at that. Even though she's always taking advantage of loopholes, she definitely takes the rules seriously. “Don't worry about it. You can barely see anything in this rain, and it's still pretty early. I think we're safe.”

A flash of lightning and a crack of thunder come shortly behind my statement, making it seem entirely too ominous. “We should probably go inside now,” I offer. “It's just about time for breakfast, isn't it?”

“Actually, Hicchan,” she begins, sliding her hand down my shoulder and along my arm until she grasps my hand in her own, “I was thinking it might be fun to get breakfast at the Shanghai~.”

Another clap of thunder. This weather really needs to get its sense of dramatic timing calibrated. All the same, I'm having a hard time believing she'd make that sort of a suggestion. “Go to the Shanghai? In the middle of a thunderstorm? And what about classes?”

Misha smiles a little sheepishly. “It's okay to miss classes every once in a while, Hicchan~. And it's just a little~ storm. Something like this never hurt anyone~.”

That's demonstrably false. Severe weather can cause millions of yen in damage, and kill people, too. But the odds are in our favor, I think. It's certainly not a big enough deal that I'd be willing to get Misha upset by trying to dissuade her. “Okay, we can go. But I think I want to use my umbrella.”

The umbrella won't do much, since we're already soaked, but it might give me a head start on drying off before we get to the Shanghai. Misha grins broadly at my capitulation. “Okay~! But only if I get to hold you tight! Really, really~ tight!”

In spite of the rain and thunder, we make our way down the hill into town without much trouble. It's a little awkward walking with Misha holding me so tightly, but we manage to work it out as we press on. And the wind has died down a little, so the umbrella manages to keep us from getting any wetter than we already are.

Surprisingly enough, there are other people at the Shanghai. This is a first. In another first, Yuuko isn't on duty right now. An older lady leads us to a table, and Misha orders “The Special” for the both of us. After the waitress leaves, Misha begins rifling through her bag.

Strictly speaking, this is also our first date. “So I guess I'm paying for this, huh?”

She pauses to look up from her bag, slightly surprised. Her expression quickly turns to a warm smile. “That's sweet~, Hicchan, but there's no need for it. We're putting this on the Student Council's tab~!”

I didn't realize that the Student Council had a tab here. It's not surprising, though. “I don't think Shizune would approve of that, Misha.”

“Wahahaha~! Of course she would~! We're doing student council work, after all~!”

I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, just now realizing that I've walked into a trap. “...We are?”

Misha grins widely, showing all her teeth. “Yup~!”

Reaching into her bag, she produces a surprisingly large stack of papers, which she places on one of the corners of the table. And here I was thinking that Shizune was the evil mastermind setting up these tricks to rope me into volunteering for student council activities. Rather than get started on the papers, Misha continues rifling through her bag. “Where~ did I put it?”

She sounds a little distressed. “Where did you put what?”

Pushing her bag away slightly, she turns to look up at me. “We need to go back, Hicchan. I forgot my phone~.”

“Why do you need your phone? I thought we were going to do student council work.”

“We are~, Hicchan, but it's my little sister's birthday. I need to call her to wish her a happy birthday, or she won't get any older~.”

“...She won't get older? How does that work out?”

She gives me a look as if everyone should know this. “If you don't wish someone a happy birthday on their birthday, they won't get any older. It's why my mommy's still only 35~!”

That's a pretty odd age to decide to stay. “Why 35?”

“Well,” Misha replies, looking a little embarrassed, “she wanted to stay 29, but I really really really~ like birthdays, so I sometimes get excited and forget...”

I'll admit, this is one of the crazier things I've heard her say, but it's not like it really hurts anyone. “You can use my phone.”

“Are you sure, Hicch-”

“I insist. It's really no trouble.”

She still seems a little unsure as she takes my phone, but she slowly gains confidence as she taps in the phone number. Waiting a few moments for an answer, she begins speaking. “Hello mommy, it's Shicchan~. Yeah~, I'm borrowing a friend's phone. No, he said it wasn't a problem~.”

I try to ignore the rest of the conversation out of respect for her privacy. I grab the top sheet of paper from the stack she placed on the table to get a head start on the work, but can't make heads or tails of it, so I put it back and pull one of the library books I’m borrowing out of my bag. It's a good thing I was paranoid about my swimsuit getting things wet and ruining them, so I bought a bunch of large watertight plastic bags to keep the water off. If it weren't for that, my phone and books and papers would have been pretty much destroyed by this weather. As loud and animated as Misha is, it's difficult to focus on my book rather than eavesdrop, but I manage.

She seems to really enjoy talking to her family. She's the same chatterbox she usually is, smiling the whole time.

But my ears didn't play a trick on me. She calls herself “Shicchan,” not just that first time, but every time the phone is passed to a new family member.

Okay, I lied about not eavesdropping. I honestly try to tune her out and focus on reading, and I do manage to read a few chapters, but my curiosity gets the better of me. I don't listen in on the whole thing – hearing half of a conversation isn't very informative, after all – but she doesn't seem to be talking about anything of import. The usual empty chatter you tend to have with your family.

For not really saying anything, Misha certainly takes her time with it. Even when our food arrives, she doesn't stop talking, opting to shovel food into her mouth between words. As expected, I have no idea what she's having me eat this time, but, again coming as no surprise, it's delicious. When she appears to be wrapping up, I check the time. She's been talking for about an hour and a half now.

“Okay~! I'll talk to you again soon! I love you too. Bye~!”

Hanging up, she hands the phone back to me. “Thanks, Hicchan~.” With a sheepish grin, she continues, “Sorry I took so long, but you know how it gets when talking to family~.” She pauses for a moment, thinking about what she said. With a look of concern, she adds cautiously, “Don't you?”

I wince at her concern. Why does she feel she needs to walk on eggshells around me? “I'm an only child, so I guess it's not quite the same thing.

Her face falls upon hearing my response. “Oh.” Does she think I was offended by her question? With a hint of hope in her voice, she looks at me almost pleadingly. “But you do enjoy talking to your parents, right~?”

I don't really enjoy it, but I need to get myself out of this awkward situation, and quickly. “I guess so. I never really thought about it, since they were always right there.”

Misha stares off thoughtfully at nothing in particular as she reflects on my response. “You're right~, an only child would look at things differently. I never thought about it that way~.”

“I think I can understand why you might spend so much time talking to your family,” I admit, since it's probably easy to be close to people you see as regularly as your family, “but why did you need to call them so early in the morning?”

“Wahahaha~! I was going to tell you, Hicchan~. They're in America right now!”

“...They're in America?” This will not be good for my phone bill. Hour-long international calls aren't cheap.

“Hahahaha, yup~!”

Picking up on the fact that I'm not quite as amused about this as she is, she hesitates. “Is that a bad thing~?”

“No, of course not,” I reassure her, “I'm just thinking of how much that call is going to cost me.”

I actually have no idea how much international calls cost. I think I heard that they cost something like 135 yen every 15 seconds? I grimace at the thought.

Misha's face falls at the mention of cost. “I'm sorry, Hicchan~. I can help pay for that. I just assumed that you were, you know, rich~.”

“You assumed I was rich? Why would you think that?”

My reaction causes her to shrink back a little. It occurs to me that my tone was a little harsh. “I didn't mean anything by that~, Hicchan. It's expensive to go to Yamaku. Really, really, really~ expensive. The uniforms alone cost 20,000 yen each~! Almost all the students come from rich families.”

20,000 yen? For a single uniform? And I have five of them sitting in my closet. “Does that mean you come from a rich family?”

“Hahahaha~! Good guess, but nope! Remember how I told you I wanted to be a sign language teacher? The school's paying for me to go here~. They cover all my expenses and there's even a little spending money left over! And~! If I get my certification~, I won't have to pay any of it back!”

“So... you're basically going here for free?”

“Ahahaha~! Yup~! I get to go to school here and it doesn't cost me anything~!”

“That's great for you, but what about the people who aren't from rich families and aren't in some career program?” Like me. I hadn't thought of it before, but now I'm really starting to wonder how my parents are paying for this.

Misha shrugs apologetically. “That's different for each family. The lucky ones get scholarships, while others... have to make sacrifices, I guess. I dunno, Hicchan~.”

That's hardly comforting. My parents were willing to sell our house to pay for a cure. Would they sell it to pay for a school like this? I really have no idea. Maybe I can ask when I call to let them know why I spent an hour and a half talking to someone in America.

Speaking of which, I return my attention to the girl sitting in front of me. “I think I'll take you up on that offer to help pay for the call. If you don't mind me asking, though, why is your family in America?”

Wearing a cheerful smile, Misha gives me an equally cheerful reply, “I don't mind paying, Hicchan~. Haha, it was my phone call after all! They're in America because we have relatives who live there. Daddy's work takes him to America every once in a while, so the whole family likes to go and visit~.”

“Relatives? Does that mean you're half-Japanese?”

For an instant, I almost think I see a flash of annoyance, but it turns into a flirtatious smile so quickly that I wonder if I was only imagining it. “That's a pretty silly question, Hicchan~. I don't look~ foreign, do I?”

“Well,” I reply, smirking, “I don't know many Japanese with pink hair.”

She sticks her tongue out at me. “I dye my hair and you know it~, Hicchan.”

She doesn't seem to be bothered by my teasing, so I decide to push a little further. “I know you dye your hair, but you never told me your natural color. I bet you're as blonde as Lilly.”

“Actually~,” she retorts playfully, “I was going to tell you, but you're being mean, so I guess you'll never find out! Nope~! Never ever ever ever ever ever~!”

Her childishness makes me smile. It's really cute sometimes. I'm not much better, considering I was the instigator this time. “That's a lot of evers.”

“Haha, Yup~!” she replies proudly, “Almost as many as it will take for us to finish this student council work! Wahahahaha~!”

Damn. I was hoping she had forgotten about that.

Once Misha explains how to fill out the forms, they're quite simple. And it's actually kind of fun. I wonder if Misha specifically chose this paperwork for that reason.

As lunch approaches, Misha catches the attention of the waitress to order two “Lunch Specials.” I'm assuming we got the breakfast special this morning.

The stack of papers doesn't seem to be getting any smaller, even though we've been at this for a few hours. In fact, I'm pretty sure there are more sheets in our “completed” pile than there were in the initial bundle. If Misha's been adding papers to the stack, she's done an excellent job of doing so without me noticing.

We take a break when the food arrives. As with breakfast, there's no real way to identify it by looking at it. I can tell that this part looks like meat, that part looks like some sort of vegetable, and the other part looks like rice, but some things are so finely chopped, or heavily spiced, or even fried, leaving little indication of what they might be. “I'm guessing you know what we're eating?”

“Hahahaha, nope~!” Misha gestures toward the front of the cafe. “The specials change every day~. There's a sign by the door which tells what they are.”

It makes sense that the specials would change, of course. And they usually are posted near the front. “...but you didn't look at it before ordering?”

“Of course not, Hicchan~! I already know that it will be delicious, so it doesn't matter what it is! Wahahahaha~!”

She has a point. It tastes excellent, and I've already endured one lecture from her about being picky. The food is so good, in fact, that we spend a few minutes eating in silence, which is quite unusual.

Even more surprising, I'm the one to break the silence. “I know you probably don't want to talk about it, but it's been bothering me all morning. When you were on the phone with your family, you called your-”

When I first spoke up, she met my eyes with interest, but now it's clear that she'd rather discuss anything else. “Yes, Hicchan, my family calls me Shicchan. And you're right that I'd rather not talk about it.”

“But!” she adds, smiling cheerfully, “But~, I don't think I mind talking about it too much, if it's what Hicchan wants to do~!”

Now how am I supposed to interpret that? She does seem willing to talk about it, so I may as well ask the obvious question. “Isn't it a little weird, calling Shizune “Shicchan,” if that's what your family calls you?”

“Ahaha~, I guess you're right, Hicchan.” Glancing toward the stack of student council work, she bites her lip for an instant before resuming her answer. “It does seem a little weird when you put it that way~. But that's not how it was! My friends never called me Shicchan~. Only my family calls me that. And Shicchan's a much cuter name than Shizune. If I'm not using the name, there's no reason that Shicchan can't use it, right? Right~! Ahahahahahahaha~!”

I'm not entirely convinced that makes sense, but it's her name, not mine. As long as she can justify it, it's really her choice.

“But, Hicchan~,” Misha continues, looking a bit more uncertain, “please don't tell Shicchan that my family calls me Shicchan. She might get the wrong idea.”

With the way she's acting, I feel compelled to state the obvious. “You... don't really like your name, do you?”

Meeting my eyes, she lets out a sigh and responds dryly, “I hate my name, Hicchan. It's such an ugly name. Like the name you'd give some wild woman raised by monkeys.”

Personally, “Shiina” makes me think of a punk rocker, but that doesn’t really fit her either. Still, “hate” is a pretty strong word. It doesn't sound healthy.

“You know, I never really liked the name 'Hicchan.'”

She seems a little surprised by this revelation, but I hold up a finger, indicating that I'm not done. “But when I hear you say it, I don't think I really mind all that much.” She blushes at my comment, but stays silent, allowing me to continue. “So I think maybe we can turn that the other way around. Maybe you won't hate your name so much if I start calling you Shiina.”

Biting her lip, she avoids my gaze, turning her attention toward her recently discarded pen. Rapidly twirling the pen between her fingers, she gazes out the window, clearly torn by the proposal. Without warning, the pen flies out of her hand and across the room, hitting the opposite wall with a loud crack, like a gunshot. Startled, Misha jumps in her seat, then finally returns to looking at me.

“If it's what Hicchan wants~,” she begins, uncertainly, “I guess I don't mind too much.”

“But!” she adds, gaining a little confidence, “I think it might be best if you don't call me that in front of anyone we know~. At least until I'm more comfortable with it~.”

It's a small victory, but I'll take what I can get. “Right. I'm glad that's settled, Mi- er, Shiina.”

She giggles at my slip-up. “Hehehehe~. You know, Hicchan, you could call me Sakura, too, if you wanted~.”

She looks at me, smiling expectantly, but I only can return a puzzled expression. Sakura? Where did that come from? After a few moments of waiting, her face gradually falls.

“Never mind, Hicchan. It was just a stupid joke anyway.”

I wish we didn't have to end the conversation on that note, but I'm at a loss for any follow-up. Either way, she's finished eating and back to the paperwork. I finish my own plate and follow suit.

Act 3 Scene 1 | Act 3 Scene 2 Part 2
Last edited by ProfAllister on Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Current Project: Misha Pseudo-Route

Discord ID: ProfAllister#9754

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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 2/14)

Post by ProfAllister » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:44 pm

After a couple hours, we finally run out of papers to fill out. The rain has been coming down all day and shows no sign of letting up, so we decide it's as good a time as any to make our trek back to Yamaku.

The umbrella is just as useless as it was coming down, and in no time we're completely soaked once again. We managed to dry off completely while we were at the Shanghai, but it wasn't meant to be.

As we reach the crest of the hill and the gates come into sight, I speak up. “So, Shiina, it looks like we managed to skip all of today's classes. Do we have anything planned for the rest of the day?”

She giggles in response. “You forgot already, Hicchan? I was going to start helping you learn English! Remember~?”

She stops walking, and her tight grip on my arm forces me to stop, too. “We can't study on the roof~, today. It's too wet for that. So~! We should study in your room, okay~? Okay! Okay okay okay~!”

“Wait a second,” I interrupt, “why are we studying in my room?”

Turning her head to better face me, she looks at me as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. “Because~! We can't use a classroom, because they're all taken by the different clubs. Also, classrooms are a boring place to study~. It's too wet to study outside, so that just leaves our rooms. Besides, there's no problem having visitors before curfew. Haha, that's why we have a curfew, after all~!”

“That all makes sense,” I admit reluctantly, “but I don't understand why it has to be my room. Why not yours?”

Misha being Misha, my entirely reasonable question is met with her uproarious laughter. “Wahahahaha~! You'd like that, wouldn't you, Hicchan~? Hahahaha~!”

Calming down, she elaborates, “I wasn't planning on having company, so my room's kind of a little bit very messy. And that includes girl stuff that boys aren't allowed to see, so we can't study there~. Shicchan's already seen your room, and she says you don't even live there, so there's no way it will be messy. Also, I packed a change of clothes, so neither of us will have to study in wet and soggy clothes! No excuses and no escape~, Hicchan! Wahahahaha~!”

She... certainly thought of everything. This is the first time a girl concocted an elaborate plan to get into my room. I'll admit, it's a little flattering. “Okay, you win. I have no choice but to let a pretty girl come and give me a private tutoring session in my bedroom.”

“Wahahaha~! Yup~!”

***

Upon arriving at the boys' dorm, Misha ducks into the guest bathroom just off the common area so she can change in privacy. I go on ahead to my own room so I can change into dry clothes as well. Nothing too fancy, but I don't want to look like a slob while I'm having company, even if it's just my girlfriend.

Now that I'm calling Misha by her real name, should I start thinking of her as Shiina, too? For whatever reason, that doesn't feel right. Is that normal? She isn't really comfortable with her real name right now, so I guess it's sort of a pet name right now. Can it even work that way? Not that long ago, Shizune addressed that question by saying that “Misha is Misha.” Is that really all there is to it, then? No matter what I call her, she's still the same person, and that's what matters in the end, right? Right.

Shortly after I reach this conclusion, there's a knock on my door. A loud, cheerful knock. As expected, Misha is waiting on the other side. Oddly enough, she didn't bother curling her hair back into drills, so it hangs limply around her shoulders and down her back, still rather wet from the rain. She's wearing the same outfit that she threw on the other day – a short pink skirt and a lighter pink t-shirt. I hadn't noticed last time, but her shirt has Western writing across the front.

…That's odd. She knows English well enough that she's helping me out here, but I'm fairly certain that that first word on her shirt means “vagina.” I wouldn't expect her to wear something so obscene, especially since she must know what it says.

Upon seeing me, Misha smirks as she tries to avoid bursting into laughter, but the struggle ends almost as soon as it begins. “Wahahahaha~! We're just studying, Hicchan~! You didn't have to dress up for me!”

“What are you talking about?” I ask, thoroughly confused. “I'm not dressed up.”

“Hicchan,” she begins patiently, as if explaining something to a small child, “you're wearing a sweatervest. With a tie.”

“There's nothing wrong with looking nice. I like sweatervests. Besides, you don't have any room to talk. You took the time to fix your make-up when you were changing.”

A look of surprise jumps across her face, before quickly being replaced with mock indignation. “You're not supposed to notice that, Hicchan. It's impolite.”

“Well, maybe you're not supposed to notice that I'm wearing a sweatervest.”

Yeah, that was a pathetic argument. What can I say? I get defensive about my sweaters. Either way, it must have worked, considering the smirk she's giving me now. “Okay, Hicchan, I'll pretend~ I don't notice your sweatervest. You do look nice, though~.”

Letting herself into my room, Misha spins around in a circle as she sizes up my living space. “Shicchan was right. It's like the most boring person on earth was living here~.”

Ouch. That hurts.

“I just like having a clean room.”

“This isn't clean, Hicchan, this is a hospital room~. You need more life~! Isn't there anything that you like?”

If the “boring person” comment stings, the “hospital” comment cuts to the bone. “I'd rather you not compare my room to a hospital, Shiina.”

Her eyes bore into me. “Then stop treating it like one, Hicchan~. I know you miss your family, Hicchan, but this is your home~, whether you like it or not. So try to make it more like somewhere you live, because that's what it is.”

Her earnestness is compelling. I'm not so sure that I miss my family as much as she seems to think, but she's right. I do live here. For now, at least. I sigh in defeat. “You're right. I should at least try to give my room some personality.”

Misha smiles triumphantly at my concession, hopping and clapping excitedly. “Yay! It's so fun to decorate a new room! We should go shopping for stuff together, okay? Okay, okay, okay~!”

I never said anything about shopping. Not that it's a bad idea. I just wish she'd let me be a little more assertive sometimes...

Suddenly shifting from girlish joy to her not-quite authoritative demeanor, she plants her hands on her hips and faces me. “Right~! You've been stalling long enough, Hicchan~! It's time to study English.”

“I wasn't stalling. You got distracted all on your own.”

“Wahahahaha~! I did, didn't I? Haha~, it doesn't matter! We'll worry about who to blame later!”

Without the slightest care in the world, Misha walks over to my bed and plops herself down, sitting on the edge of the bed like a chair. “Now, Hicchan, let's start with plurals, since we were just covering them in class~. How do you make a plural in English?”

This is easy. Better to start slow, I suppose. “You put an 's' at the end.”

She tilts her head to the side. “Is that the only way to make a plural, Hicchan~?”

“Of course. It wouldn't be a rule if it had exceptions.”

It's a flippant answer, and I know it's probably wrong, but Misha doesn't laugh. In fact, she looks a little angry. “Hicchan, this is simple stuff. You really should know it by now. Most nouns can be made plural by adding 's' or 'es,' but there are a lot~ of exceptions. You have foxes and boxes, but if you have more than one ox, it's oxen. It's house and houses, but mouse and mice. And there's no plural for 'moose,' because just one is already too scary.”

Barely five minutes in and my head is already spinning. Sadly, that's the furthest I've ever managed to get with everything making sense. “Isn't this just one of those things where there's technically a bunch of uncompromising rules, but no one actually follows them when they're actually speaking?”

“No such luck, Hicchan~.” Her lips quirk into a smile for just an instant, but she almost immediately reclaims her stern expression. “This is easy stuff, Hicchan, and I know you're smart enough to learn it. You're good at science, and language is kind of like a science, right?”

Not true. Science follows predictable rules and patterns. Language is just a bunch of words thrown together because someone thought they'd sound pretty. I agreed to this, though. I should put in some sort of effort. “You're right, Shiina. I'm not giving it a fair chance. You were patient when I was helping you with your weak subjects. The least I can do is give you the same opportunity.”

Feeling a little mischievous, I throw myself to the ground in an exaggerated bow of supplication. “Oh Great Teacher, grant me your wisdom in this, the art of 'English.'”

She giggles, then, following my lead in theatrics, nods her head benevolently. “Rise~, my student. We will begin with the ancient art of verb conjuga- wahahahahahahaha~! Hahahahahaha! I'm sorry, Hicchan, this is just too silly~! Hahahahaha~!”

Her laughter continues for a few minutes, as she falls backwards onto my bed and begins to roll around. Calming down, she remains sprawled out on her back, catching her breath and wiping tears from her eyes. Sitting up again, she tidies her appearance, fully regains her composure and fixes her eyes back on me. “Okay~, time to study. Let's start with verbs. The more you know, the sooner we can get to the fun stuff~!”

What sort of “fun stuff” is there in studying English?

***

She's a little slow getting started, but I'd forgotten just how good a teacher Misha can be once she finds her rhythm. I'd almost be bold enough to say it feels like I'm actually learning the material.

We've been studying for a few hours now. I'm about to suggest we break for dinner when we're interrupted by a loud knock.

I'm not expecting anyone, but I'm also not terribly surprised when I see Shizune on the other side of the door. With a cheerful smile, she gives me an equally pleasant greeting. [I finally found you two. I made dinner today!]

Beaming, she pulls several containers from her bag, piling them into my arms until I'm nearly overloaded. Where was she keeping all of these? More importantly, when did she find the time to make it all?

“Oh, it's Shicchan! Hello Shicchan~!”

Misha's voice is a lot closer than expected. She must have come up behind me to see who was in the doorway. “Are you going to eat with us, Shicchan~?”

I'm not sure I'll ever understand why Misha always talks to Shizune, considering she's deaf. Maybe it's to be polite, so that everyone knows what she's saying?

Shizune, for her part, shakes her head regretfully. [Sorry, Misha. I still have a lot of work to do tonight, but I wanted to make sure you two didn't forget to eat.]

“Awww... okay, Shicchan~.”

Somewhat dejected, Misha examines the containers in my arms and carefully extracts a few specific ones, leaving me only slightly less overburdened, with a few items hanging at precarious angles.

When Misha turns her back, Shizune catches my eye and quickly signs to me, obviously trying to hide it from Misha. [Can we talk?]

I'm not sure what this is all about, but the concern on her face makes it clear that it’s important. I nod, then turn to deposit the rest of the food on my desk. “Shizune seems to have forgotten to get us drinks, Shi-, Misha. I'll go get some from the machine down the hall.”

“Okay, Hicchan~! I can't promise that I won't eat all the good stuff while you're gone! Hahaha~!”

After we walk out and I close the door behind me, Shizune turns around to face me with an unreadable expression. [I don't mind if you and Misha take time to work on student council business, but you shouldn't do it too often. People tend to make assumptions when a boyfriend and girlfriend skip class together. This is a small school and rumors travel quickly.]

She's right about people making assumptions. Me, for instance.

As she continues, she starts to look a little more uncomfortable. [Also, I wanted to apologize for how I acted yesterday. I have no right to dictate who you associate with. You're free to talk to Ikezawa or whoever else, and I won't bother you about it.]

I had honestly almost forgotten about that. [No worries, it wasn't that big of a deal.]

She smiles as if a small weight were lifted from her shoulders, but quickly regains a surprising sternness. [One more thing. You lied to me. Please don't ever do that again. I'll forgive you this time, because I was in the wrong to begin with, but lying to your friends is one of the most hurtful things you can do.]

Since it's an accusation, you'd expect her to look angry, but she just looks... sad. We spend a moment in both literal and figurative silence, then she turns to leave.

Unfortunately, I need to follow her to get the drinks. It feels awkward, but I figure that she can't hear me, so she won't notice me. At the end of the hallway, however, she spins around, clearly annoyed. [You don't need to follow me to apologize, Hicchan. I was more at fault, and I already apologized. We don't need to continue this discussion.]

… And now it's even more awkward. [I was walking to the vending machines to get drinks. There's no other way to get there.]

Shizune blushes slightly at the misunderstanding, but otherwise maintains a firm facade. Spotting the vending machines in the corner of her eye, she points to them – a mixture of a command and telling me something I already know. Taking the cue, I make my way over to them. As I pull the change from my pocket, I hear the soft footfalls of her departure.

A drink in either hand, I return to my room. About five feet from my door, my ears catch the unmistakable sequence of several locks unlatching. I rush to my door, hoping against hope that I can turn this into a near miss, but it's not use – my hands are full. Grimacing, I turn to face my fate.

“Hey, dude, 'su- oh! Thanks, man, I was feeling thirsty!”

Making use of his uncanny ability to see only what's most convenient, Kenji notices the two drinks in my hand and snatches one, opening it and downing it in a seamless motion. “Ah, that hits the spot. You see, that's why guys like us need to look out for each other. That's what separates us from the feminists! Now a feminist, she'll grab you at the most inopportune moment and talk your ear off about shit that you couldn't care less about. Then she'll start stealing your shit, eating your food, and borrowing cash, which she never repays. And the worst part? She'll do all that and pretend to not notice how much of a pain in the ass she's being!”

“Yeah,” I respond dryly, “I'm lucky that I have no idea what that's like.”

“Damn straight! It's shocking how lucky you've been up until now. And now, to top it all off, you've found yourself allied with the best in the business! Stick with me, and we may just be able to turn the tide against the feminists.”

As he finishes speaking, Kenji strikes a pose - to punctuate the significance of his words, I guess. “That reminds me. You're out of ramen, dude. Better pick up some more to keep supplies and morale high.”

I'm out of ramen? “Why were you in my room?”

“You left it unlocked man, anyone could get in there. Be glad it was me who discovered this vulnerability, so it could serve The Cause. If a feminist found it, she'd take your ramen and probably set up a nasty death trap for when you returned. Besides, you're a cool guy. I knew you'd say yes if I asked, so I didn't bother asking.”

There's no way I'll be able to come out on top with this exchange, so I may as well drop it and just get rid of him. “Ask next time. It's an important formality. I might have poisoned the ramen as a trap for the feminists.”

At this, Kenji starts sputtering uncontrollably. “What? But- Why? You could have- Oh! I get it!” He begins chuckling with a disturbing glee. “You are one devious sonofabitch. My hat's off to you.”

Just as I'm starting to think I've managed to escape, he starts stroking his chin thoughtfully. “Y'know, you're deceptively clever. I think I could use another perspective on this. Let's call it... a 'tactical simulation'.”

I'm not sure I like the sound of that. “Tactical simulation”? Does he mean like a video game?

Taking my silence for assent, or perhaps not caring in the first place, Kenji begins describing the situation in an overly theatrical manner. Or that could just be how he normally acts. “Okay, so I'm in command of a carrier flagship, when I encounter a capital class cruiser. My cloaking fields are up, so she isn't aware of my presence.”

“'She'?” I interrupt.

He replies by glancing at me as if I were an idiot. “Of course 'she'. Spacefaring vessels are always chicks.”

We're in space now?

“Anyway,” he continues, “she's quite a piece of work, equipped with twin-linked fore-mounted ion cannons. And not wimpy Class A or Bs; we're talking Class Ds, easily. A frontal assault's clearly out of the question.”

Why am I getting the sneaking suspicion he's talking about approaching a girl? “It sounds like you're assuming combat is unavoidable. Have you considered a non-threatening approach? Opening, er, 'hailing frequencies'?”

This time he looks at me with a slight air of suspicion. “Dude, sometimes I can't tell if you're way too trusting and getting by on dumb luck, or some kind of tactical savant with poor social skills.”

I have a hard time taking a criticism of my social skills seriously, coming from Kenji, but I bite my tongue.

“So I was thinking the best bet would be to lure her into a trap. Like a gravity well to prevent escape. And then I can deploy some fighters to occupy her defenses, while a squad of bombers takes out her starboard weapon systems. Then I can call in some support with a few frigates hidden behind a nearby planetoid. They'll pin her down, and then I can take her from behind...”

I can't decide if this conversation went to a dark place, or just a weird place. I'm also seriously hoping that he was just talking about a video game, and I'm overthinking things. That's probably best.

“Um, well, good luck with that. Be sure to watch out for, uhm, reverse tachyon polarization mines. I hear they blend well against the backdrop of gas giants.”

The blood drains from his face upon hearing this last bit of advice. “Shit! Damn, you are good! I was completely forgetting about the REVTAKPOs! This will take more thought...”

Muttering to himself, he retreats into his lair, fastening the locks in rapid succession after the door is closed.

Mission accomplished, I guess.

***

I open the door to discover that Misha hasn't been just sitting around waiting. A small table is set up in the middle of the room, with dishes arranged in a setting for two. I didn't even realize I had a table. My parents must have gotten it for me when they moved everything in.

Misha is bent down over the table, adjusting the last few details of the setting. The food containers sit neatly arranged next to the table. Upon, hearing the door open, Misha looks up at me, and seems to study me for a second before speaking up. “You only got one drink, Hicchan.”

Right. Kenji swiped the other one. “I'm not all that thirsty, actually.”

She puffs her cheeks out in anger at my response. “Hicchan, has anyone told you that you're a terrible liar?”

Not in so many words. “You got me. I did grab two drinks, but one of the guys in this wing thought I had gotten it for him and took it before I could stop him.”

This second explanation causes her to giggle a little bit. “Haha, your first lie was better, Hicchan~. The only other boy in this wing is Setou. He drinks milk out of a hip flask~, and only ever eats food delivered directly to the dorm. And you expect me to believe that he trusts you after a little more than a month~? Wahahahahahahaha! Hahahahaha!”

So much for giggling. “Well, Miss Shiina Mikado, you sound like you know exactly why I came here with only one drink. Care to share with the rest of the class?”

Standing up, Misha turns to me, smirking. She slowly comes closer, her hands held behind her back just a tiny bit too innocently. “Well~, I think you wanted to share a drink with me, but were too embarrassed to ask.”

“That doesn't make any sense.”

It doesn't. At all. We've shared utensils countless times before. Just the other day I finished her chocolate milk. Why would she be making a big deal about sharing a drink now?

Her familiar toothy grin returns, as she runs her tongue over the front of her teeth in anticipation. I never really understood that gesture. “Oh, really~?”

“Yeah, rea-mmph!”

She cuts off my response by quickly pulling me into a kiss. I'm shocked at first by the suddenness, but slowly relax as I enjoy the taste of her lips. Before I realize what's going on, she follows up by slipping her tongue into my mouth. I... don't know what to think of this. On one hand it's kind of gross, but on the other it feels nice. Really nice. Before I can come to any conclusions, she's already withdrawn and pulled away.

“Okay~!” she announces triumphantly, “Now you have no more reasons to be embarrassed about sharing a drink~!”

I think Misha actually looks a bit too proud of herself. “Why do I get the feeling that you're the one who was looking for an excuse?”

She giggles, but doesn't actually respond. Not that she needed to. Her behavior makes it obvious. Figuring we've exhausted that chain of conversation, I start looking over the food and grabbing choice bits.

“You know,” I muse, more to myself, “sometimes I'm jealous of Shizune.”

“You are~?”

She sounds a lot more shocked by this than I'd expect. I look up at her. “Is that so weird?”

Misha ponders this for a moment, then replies slowly. “I guess not~. I know that any girl would want to be able to eat like her, but I don't think guys care about that so much...”

“Eat like her?”

“Hahaha~, yup! She eats whatever she wants, and a lot of it, too~! And it all goes straight to her boobs.”

“Yeah,” I concede, “not many guys would be interested in that. What I had in mind was... well, it's kind of stupid. I was just thinking that she doesn't really need to learn any other languages. She can talk to anyone who knows sign language.”

Something about what I said must have struck a nerve, because Misha looks decidedly uncomfortable. “That's not really a good thing to think, Hicchan~. Shicchan may be able to manage well enough, but she has a lot~ of trouble because she can't hear. It's actually very insensitive, Hicchan. That would be like someone wanting your disability so they don't have to attend gym class.”

“Damn, you're right. I guess I didn't really think about it all that much.”

“It's okay, Hicchan. No one expects you to do everything right on your first try. Anyway, that's not how it works. Sign language goes through a formal development and codit- codey- codification, but it's built off the sponty- spontaneous languages developed in local deaf communities~. Like any other language, it follows rules and uses vocabulary influenced by how people in that area live their lives. So there's not technically one 'sign language.' We use Japanese Sign Language, or JSL~. In America, it's American Sign Language, or ASL~. They have similarities, but they're really two different languages, just like Japanese and English~!”

That actually makes a lot of sense. “You really know a lot about sign language. Well, about language in general.”

“Hahahaha, yup~! I told you, Hicchan, I want to be a sign language teacher. Of course I need to know these things!”

By now, we're both quite hungry, so we spend the rest of the meal eating in silence. Even without talking, it's nice to just spend some time together.

***

After we finish eating, Misha leans against my bed, sighing contentedly. Halfway through, her sigh becomes a yawn.

“Mmmm... It's been a long day, Hicchan~. I think it's time for me to go now.”

As I begin to rise to my feet, Misha hops up and catches me off balance, wrapping me in a hug and planting a quick kiss on my lips. “G'night, Hicchan. I'll see you tomorrow morning, okay~?”

“Yeah, tomorrow.” Just like any other day, so I'm not sure why she's asking. “Good night, Shiina.”

Flashing me a warm smile, Misha lets herself out and closes the door behind her.

I glance at the clock. It's not too late yet, but I am feeling rather tired already. My parents should be home now; I may as well call them about the incoming phone bill while it's fresh in my mind. It also wouldn't hurt to call home just for the sake of calling home.

Act 3 Scene 2 Part 1 | Act 3 Scene 3
Last edited by ProfAllister on Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 4/8)

Post by Steinherz » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:06 pm

I have no response but this:
Image
Amazing. Thank you for this glorious update. (I got the email and was like "Oh god, another false alarm" then I saw it was ProfAllister posting and was like "No, it can't be. IT IS!")
I write take a look, would you kindly?
I also draw, kind of.
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 4/8)

Post by YourFavAnon » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:10 pm

Steinherz wrote:I have no response but this:
http://i.imgur.com/rYxKT.gif
Amazing. Thank you for this glorious update. (I got the email and was like "Oh god, another false alarm" then I saw it was ProfAllister posting and was like "No, it can't be. IT IS!")
Mister Allister likes to take his good old damn time with revisions and stuff, just know that.
I write things occasionally.

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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 4/8)

Post by Steinherz » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:18 pm

YourFavAnon wrote:
Steinherz wrote:I have no response but this:
http://i.imgur.com/rYxKT.gif
Amazing. Thank you for this glorious update. (I got the email and was like "Oh god, another false alarm" then I saw it was ProfAllister posting and was like "No, it can't be. IT IS!")
Mister Allister likes to take his good old damn time with revisions and stuff, just know that.
Oh I know that. Better to take an good, long amount of time and produce excellence, than produce a piece of junk every week. :lol:
I write take a look, would you kindly?
I also draw, kind of.
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Oddball wrote:It's an obvious mistake. Both are disfigured orphans that read alot and both wear green skirts.

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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 4/8)

Post by Antor » Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:33 am

and once again it ends, leaving you wanting more and more...
I made just one error with KS, I played the good endings first... now I'm recovering the feels from the first bad one.
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 2/14)

Post by Atario » Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:36 am

Hah. Nice Ramones reference.
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 4/8)

Post by Mader Levap » Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:53 pm

Pretty hilarious, especially, uh, Kenji "attack" plans...

Only why I have feeling there is something dark behind Misha?
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 4/8)

Post by Hoitash » Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:27 pm

Mader Levap wrote: Only why I have feeling there is something dark behind Misha?
There's something going on behind the scenes, all right. Whether its family related or not, something definitely does not smell right in Denmark... er, Sendai.

Love what you're doing with Misha's character by the way; its fun to read the different interpretations writers come up with regarding her (and then comparing them to your own and going "why didn't I think of that?")
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 4/8)

Post by StudyOfWumbology » Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:38 pm

Once again, you have left me hanging and waiting for this nearly perfect Misha Route. Why do you do dis Prof.
Things happen. For the best or for the worst we do not know.

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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 4/8)

Post by yubersarecool » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:00 pm

Long time lurker here, just registered an account to ask a question: Whats the "lie" that Shizune confronts Hisao about ? I don't feel like re-reading half this story (even though it is pretty good :P) in order to remember what it is.

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