For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (Updated 12/3/18)

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fireye9
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 8/7)

Post by fireye9 » Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:42 am

A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse(shoe nail :P)! - Richard III, Shakespeare

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TeeHunter13
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 8/7)

Post by TeeHunter13 » Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:44 pm

This is amazing! Can't wait for the next chapter.
Misha = Emi > Rin = Hanako > Lilly >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Shizune

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Gruntbuggly
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 8/7)

Post by Gruntbuggly » Wed Dec 25, 2013 3:17 am

Join the club. Some of us have been waiting for a while, but we're still as enthused now as we were back when the last chapter came out.
"Oh freddled gruntbuggly, Thy micturations are to me As plurdled gabbleblotchits On a lurgid bee.
Groop I implore thee, My foonting turlingdromes. And hooptiously drangle me With crinkly bindlewurdles,
Or I will rend thee In the gobberwarts With my blurglecruncheon, See if I don't!" - Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz

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grandtheftgentoo
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 8/7)

Post by grandtheftgentoo » Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:24 am

This is an excellent story so far, I'm glad that someone is giving Misha the route she deserves. Awaiting the next installment with baited breath, especially with the promise of such a huge update.

ProfAllister
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 8/7)

Post by ProfAllister » Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:55 am

Tanabata. The seventh day of the seventh month. Except around here it’s in August, the eighth month. Misha said something about how this region celebrates it closer to the traditional date, back when Japan used a different calendar from the rest of the world.

Whatever the reason for the specific date, it feels like the past few months of my life have been leading up to this one day. The last official Student Council session was last night, and that was an emergency session to take care of last-minute details. Just like every other night in the past week since exams ended.

It’s a little odd to wake up alone now. Misha's sleepovers ended the same day as exams, but it was long enough for me to get used to them. It's quite a bit harder for us to discreetly retire together when Shizune, Aoi, and Keiko are heading to bed at the same time.

Just like any other day, my alarm goes off, and just like any other day, I climb out of bed and get ready to go swimming. It's technically a day off, and classes are canceled, so I'm not sure if Misha will even be there. I don't want to disappoint her if she is, though.

The school is somehow even more quiet than it usually is at this hour. There are still the ever-present bugs, birds, and security guards, but even the few students that are normally awake had the good sense to sleep in. Not me, though.

I find the pool similarly abandoned. No sign of Misha. I wait a few minutes, but it's pretty clear she's not coming. This wouldn't be the first time we skipped swimming on a holiday, but we haven't skipped them all, either.

She did mention that I probably wouldn't see her most of the day, because all the girls would be busy "getting ready." I didn't think that she'd be starting on it this early, but what do I know? To me, "getting ready" might be as much as taking a shower and getting dressed. Girls also do their hair and make-up, I guess, but I have no idea how that could turn something that takes a little more than an hour into a day-long affair. If I made a point of doing everything slowly, I might be able to stretch it out to two hours, but even that would be pretty difficult. Come to think of it, I think they only needed two hours last time. I can already hear Misha’s explanation - or would that be Shizune’s? “That was just dinner. This is Tanabata~! There’s a huge~ difference! Wahahaha~!”

I'm a little tempted to just do my routine by myself, but I can practically hear Misha's stern lectures about the dangers of swimming alone. She's right of course. If something were to happen... Well, nothing's going to happen, because I'm not dumb enough to take such a foolish risk.

I'm already awake, so I may as well do something. After a short deliberation, I decide to take a walk. If I'm lucky, something interesting might happen.

It's a short trip before I stumble upon the only other sign of life at this hour - a rhythmic clack coming from the athletic field. If I meet up with Emi, it will be a constant barrage of teasing and mocking “Hicchan”s - not a good way to start the day. Not good for any part of the day, really. Against my better judgment, I decide that even her company is preferable to no company.

As expected, Emi is on her morning run. She really seems into it and has worked up a pretty significant sweat through her exertions. Even at this distance, she looks to be extremely focused. I didn't think it was even possible for someone to get so into running. She hasn't noticed me, and I'm not really in any rush to get her attention, so I take a seat in the bleachers near the track.

Considering how single-minded she was, I'm amazed at how quickly she becomes aware of my presence. She waves at me from the other end of the track, making it clear that she sees me. Even more surprisingly, she slows down on her approach and comes to a stop in front of me.

"Hey there, stranger! Shouldn't you still be in bed, using your girlfriend as a pillow?"

At least she’s kind enough to quickly remind me why I’m not too eager to spend much time with her. I blush at her insinuation. "We're not doing anything like that! Besides," I add, "we normally get up at this time to go swimming."

"Aha! So you do get up together!"

The way she's smirking, I know she's just teasing me, but it does hit a little closer to home than she realises.

"I had an exercise partner earlier this year," she muses, putting on an air of self-pity, "but he stopped coming. I wonder what happen- oh, yeah."

The accusatory glance makes it clear she hasn't forgiven me.

I hear myself reply before I have time to think about what I'm saying. "You're still not over that?"

Emi's kind enough to let me know how stupid I am for asking that question through her body language. In a word, she looks like she wants to kill me. "'Over that?' There are some things you don't just 'get over,' Hisao. I had started to think you were my friend. I was even willing to forgive you after you skipped our lunch date. But you never came through. I started seeing you less and less, until less became never. You never apologized, never said anything was wrong, or anything else. It's like you forgot I existed! I get it, the Student Council is a lot of work for three people, or even five people. But you can't just say 'hi' and pretend you haven't been blowing me off for months. There's a point where you have to take responsibility for your decisions."

I don't reply. There's nothing I can say. She doesn't look angry so much as hurt, now. "...I need to run."

As she dashes off, it takes me a moment to realize that she meant "run along the track" rather than "run and do something." In fact, I don't make the connection until she reaches the bend and begins to circle back.
It occurs to me that running wouldn't be such a terrible way to get in my exercise for the day. I'm in much better shape than I was back in June, after all.

While I make my way through the various preparatory stretches, Emi passes by without a word, apparently ignoring me. She's back at the other end of the track by the time I'm ready.
Unsurprisingly, running is a little easier than I remember it being. Even at that, my feet and shins make it clear that it's a significantly higher-impact sport than swimming.

Since I'm keeping myself at a steady, conservative pace, it's not long before Emi overtakes me. Rather than pass by, she matches my pace. "What kind of stretches were you trying to do back there?"

Great. She wants to talk while we run. Better than the silent treatment, I guess.

"Swimming stretches," I reply between breaths. "Is that a problem?"

"Not my problem. But you might regret it. They don't use the same muscles."

She's right, of course. Parts of my legs are already complaining quite loudly. I ignore them.

"I've noticed."

Since she's not making me feel bad enough by casually chatting while I try to respond in short gasps, Emi pulls ahead of me and starts running backwards. I didn't even think she could do that with her "legs."

"Your form stinks. Keep up like that and you'll probably hurt something."

This is getting annoying. "Thanks. Are you just going to criticise me until I go away?"

Frowning, she turns back around and continues running next to me. "I was only trying to help."

We continue in silence for a short time, but she can't seem to keep her mouth shut. "It's not just me. The way you just stopped spending time with us has been bothering Rin, too. At least, I think it has."

Keeping a steady pace, I glance over at Emi. "You think it has?"

"Rin's not the easiest person to understand," she pouts, “but I can try. She was asking me how likely I thought it was that you and Misha would join us for lunch.”

Deciding I’m done running, I slow down for a cool-down lap. “That seems pretty straightforward to me.”

“Don’t read too much into it. She also asks me how likely it is that space aliens, time travelers, or David Hasselhoff will join us for lunch.”

“Then why bring it up at all?”

“Because she stopped asking about you two.”

I'm not supposed to read anything into her asking about me, but it's important if it stops? That doesn't make much sense. If Emi’s trying to make a point, she’s doing a terrible job of it. "So maybe she cares and maybe she doesn't. What's the big deal?"

"It doesn't matter whether she cares or not, Hisao. She deserves honesty. If you want to be friends with us, you need to act like a friend. You can't just be friends when it's convenient."

I sigh. My cool-down finished, I make my way toward the bleachers. "What do you want me to do? Apologize? I'm sorry you thought we were closer friends than we are."

Still not happy, she puffs her cheeks out in frustration. "You mean you're sorry that we're not happy to be backup friends when your real friends aren't around. Our lives don't revolve around you, you know."

She seems unusually touchy and aggressive today. Between the angry outbursts and teasing, I occasionally wonder why I even bother with her. But she is fun to be around - when you aren’t the butt of her jokes. And, from the time I’ve seen of them together, Misha seems to like Emi. I guess I should at least try to patch things up.

"I get it. I'll try to do better."

"You can start by keeping me company while I wait for the bus this morning. You at least owe me that much."

"Celebrating Tanabata in the city?"

Her reply is surprisingly brusque. "Something like that. I need to finish my run. I'll meet you outside the nurse's office."

"Sure. See you then."

***

The head nurse is wearing his ever-present grin, like he's in on some secret joke.

"I thought Mikado had told me that you two were taking Sundays and holidays off."

I shrug as I remove my shirt. "That's more than she told me."

"Really, now?" His smile widens as he chuckles. "You obviously haven't been swimming this morning - which is a good thing; we don't want you doing that alone, in your condition or otherwise. What kind of exercise were you doing instead?"

Not this again. I make no effort to hide my irritation as I reply, "Running. With Emi."

My mention of Emi seems to catch his interest. "With Emi, eh? How was she?"

I catch my breath as the cold metal touches my chest. I don't think I'll ever get used to that. "She was how she usually is: annoying, bossy, and all too ready to accuse other people of behaving badly rather than looking in the mirror." A bit of a bitch, really.

"It's good to hear that you two are getting along." I can't quite tell whether the nurse's laugh is fake, or if he actually found that funny. "You might want to be a little more patient with her, Hisao. I think you caught her on an off day."

“That’s funny,” I reply sarcastically, “it seems like I’m always catching her on an ‘off day.’”

“You know,” the nurse begins, taking on a stern tone, “I generally don’t consider it necessary to remind people of the obvious, but I think I’ll make an exception here. Emi didn’t choose to go through life without her legs, any more than you chose to have a bum heart. Frankly, it’s a wonder that you kids have anything but off days. If I recall, you weren’t exactly a ray of sunshine when you first came here.”

I sigh. He’s right. I hate it when people are right at my expense. “Looks like I’m in the wrong again. So I'm supposed to just grin and bear it when other people are being a pain?"

He nods sagely. "They did the same for you. I'm not saying that a disability's a blank check to be a jerk, but it's still better to be the bigger man. You're good kids," he continues, a sly grin forming, "and it'd be a shame to write each other off over something stupid like callously rejecting an attempted apology."

"I get it," I groan, "it's all my fault and I deserve it. Can we move on now?"

"You mean it's not just me?" He flashes a smile so wide it would make Misha jealous. "If you learn your lesson, people won't bring it up, because it won't happen."

Turning around, the nurse starts making notes in my file. "That's all for today. Everything's still looking good. You're free to go."

Outside his office, I see that Emi's been waiting. She glistens with a thin sheen of sweat. I guess she must have been pushing herself even harder after I left.

"Remember, Hisao, you agreed to wait for the bus with me. This is your last chance. No excuses."

With that, she disappears into the nurse's office and closes the door behind her.

I haven't showered yet. I should do that - it will kill time while Emi's with the nurse, and she's probably going to want to take a shower herself. Or whatever sort of bathing she does. It occurs to me that a shower might be inconvenient without legs.

As usual, the bathroom in this building is abandoned. It wouldn't surprise me if it's only really used in the afternoon after the athletic clubs finish for the day. Even then, some students probably prefer to just go back to their dorm bathrooms for a little more privacy. Most students probably forget that this building houses anything other than the nursing staff and the administrative offices.

I let the hot water wash over me. It might be a little odd to take a hot shower on such a hot day, but it soothes my complaining muscles. I don't think I'm interested in picking up running again any time soon.
Have I been unfair to Emi and Rin? For that matter, what about Lilly and Hanako? Looking back, I did enjoy the time we spent together. But is it all up to me? They sort of gave me an open invitation to join them - Emi and Rin for lunch on the roof; Lilly and Hanako for tea in the vacant classroom - but shouldn't they have invited me again if they really cared?

On the other hand, I have been keeping myself pretty busy - with the Student Council and with Misha in particular. I guess I've been pretty hard to find outside of classes, and the only one of those four who happens to share a class with us is Hanako. And Hanako is, well, Hanako.

I really am the one at fault here. Looking back, there are countless times where Misha asked where I wanted to have lunch and I just said I didn't care. If I really want to be honest with myself, there were even a few times when Misha suggested we have lunch on the roof and I made up some excuse not to, because I didn't want Emi to call me "Hicchan" or tease us about our relationship. I don't think she was doing it to be mean or anything - she was just having a little fun between friends. Besides, if she didn't tease me about being in a relationship with Misha, I'm not sure we would have ever started dating.

I'm such a huge jerk.

***

Emi is waiting for me outside the nurse's office wearing casual clothes and an annoyed expression.

"What took you so long? I was able to finish my check-up, get showered, and still had to wait for you to finish. Were you styling your hair or something?"

"I'll have you know that it takes a lot of work to cultivate my unique look."

She cracks a smile at my show of wounded dignity. "It doesn't matter. The bus won't arrive for another half-hour, at least. I'll race you!"

She's already turned around and taken a few strides before I'm able to speak up.

"Emi."

Stopping short, she faces me again, pouting. "Did he tell you I'm not supposed to run with these legs? Traitor..."

I'm ashamed to realise that Emi isn't wearing the running legs I'm used to seeing. She seems to be wearing more traditional prosthetics, which are hidden by socks that reach up past her knees. They actually make her look, well, normal. "No, it's not that."

She looks confused for a second, then quickly becomes apologetic. "Oh, right. You have a bad heart."

"Not that either."

And now she's getting annoyed. "Then what is it?"

She must blame me for her inability to guess what I want to say. "I just wanted to apologize. For me being stupid."

Shrugging, she seems to pass it off as no big deal. "These things happen, Hisao."

"It's not just that," I persist. "I want to be a better friend. Or maybe I should say I want to try to be an actual friend."

For a moment she looks sympathetic, but her expression quickly hardens. "I'll believe it when I see it. I'm still giving you a second chance, but it's going to take more than words."

She doesn't give me any opportunity to respond before she starts walking to the bus stop. It makes sense, seeing as she just said talking isn't enough. I run to catch up with her, then try to match her stride.

"I noticed that you stopped calling me 'Hicchan.'"

She answers without looking at me, maintaining her brisk pace, "Of course I did. That's what your girlfriend calls you. It would be weird."

"But didn't you still call me that when you thought we were dating?"

This earns me a sideways glance. "Are you really that clueless? I was teasing you. Even the blind kids could see how you two were making goo-goo eyes at each other." She sounds a little guilty as she continues "I just thought it would be fun to shake things up a little."

"Is it just me, or are people around here completely incapable of minding their own business?"

"What do you expect? It's a school full of teenagers in the middle of nowhere. There's not really much to do - school, clubs, sex, and gossip."

Having reached the bus stop, she turns around to face me. "I don't see what you're complaining about. People said you two would make a cute couple, and that's exactly what you are."

"It's not the results that bug me," I sigh, "it's just annoying to have everyone watching me like this."

Now it's her turn to sound exasperated. "You want to know annoying? When it comes to running, I'm the best. The only person in this school who comes close is Miki. I'm even faster than the boys. But that doesn't matter. I don't count. I'm not a runner. I'm an 'inspiration.'"

She pronounces that last word with obvious distaste, and makes a face to match, then continues. "People don't care about how fast I am. I'm just a story about 'overcoming adversity.' They make it sound positive, but it's no different from the way they stare at a circus freak. It makes them feel better because they're 'normal.'"

She's really getting worked up over this. The more she speaks, the angrier she gets. "And you know the worst part? The people who do think of me as a runner? They say I'm cheating! My legs don't work exactly like real legs, so they must give me an unfair advantage! Even if they do, do you think I want that advantage? If I had a choice, I’d take the real thing in a heartbeat! You think they’re so great, why don’t you cut off your own goddamn legs and see how much you like it!”

Before today, I couldn’t seriously imagine putting “Emi” and “scary” in the same sentence. It was too ridiculous. Watching her temper build over this subject is downright terrifying. All I can think about is how glad I am not to be the target of her anger.

Without warning, she lets out a frustrated screech and falls to her knees, punching the ground with her fists. Luckily, the ground around here is soft - I’d be concerned about her hurting herself otherwise.
I can only watch as this outburst continues for what seems like an eternity. Eventually, she stops hitting the ground and slumps her shoulders, her fury spent. In spite of all her running, this is the first time I’ve actually seen her winded. In a matter of moments, her panting gives way to sobbing.

Remembering myself, I step forward to try to comfort her, but she stops me in my tracks with a sudden glare. “Don’t. Touch. Me.”

Holding my hands up in surrender, I take a step back. This seems to satisfy her, as she begins to recompose herself. I can’t just let a display like that go without comment, so I ask the obvious question. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” she replies, picking herself up off the ground. It looks like she’s already regained her composure. “Sorry about that. I just… didn’t get much sleep last night.”

Something tells me that she means she didn’t get any sleep. Which makes me think she’s been running all night long. Or close to it. "It's alright," I reassure her, "you sounded like you needed to get that off your chest."

"Thanks, Hisao." She gives me a weak smile, which quickly fades. "I wish people would stop... I wish people would just stop."

"Stop what?"

She looks a little defeated as she replies. "Everything. I never asked for any of this. I'm tired of being a symbol, or some kind of mascot. I just want to be left alone."

Perhaps taking her a little too literally, I don't say anything. Fortunately, the bus comes into view before the silence becomes uncomfortable.

"Well, that's my ride."

Emi turns to me, looking much more herself. "Thanks for keeping me company, Hisao... And for listening to me whine about pointless stuff. Maybe you're not such a terrible friend after all!"
And with that, the last traces of her moodiness are gone, replaced by the cheerful and energetic Emi that she normally is. That last barb hurt a little, but I deserved it.

As the bus drives off, I try to decide what to do next. We agreed to meet at the gates some time around sunset, so I have an entire day to kill. Exams are over, so no need to study. In fact, we only have a few more days of classes before the summer break. I still have a large number of library books that I'll have to return - I haven't had much time to read between Misha and student council work. Now's as good a time as any to finish as many of them as I can.

Right as I settle on that course of action, my stomach voices a compelling counter-argument. Food first, then I can catch up on my reading.

Act 3 Scene 5 | Act 3 Scene 6 Part 2
Last edited by ProfAllister on Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Current Project: Misha Pseudo-Route

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ProfAllister
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 8/7)

Post by ProfAllister » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:00 am

Getting food was harder than expected. Some genius decided that it was an excellent idea to close the cafeteria in a boarding school for crippled kids. A boarding school on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere. I managed to scrounge up something that could almost pass for a breakfast from the vending machines, but I’ll probably still be hungry long before lunch.

I could take the hike into town for lunch, but I’m really not too keen on that idea. After the soreness from running with Emi this morning, I’d rather not walk more than I have to. Besides, most of the stores are probably crowded. Everyone in town is busy making their own preparations for the festivities this evening, so it’s going to be pretty chaotic down there. I guess that means I’ll be calling for something to be delivered. Probably the place that Misha and Shizune like to call when they’re working late nights. As long as I do it early enough, the wait shouldn’t be too bad.

Back in my room, I grab one of the unread library books and make myself comfortable on my bed. I really haven’t had too many opportunities to relax since I came to Yamaku. It feels good to have that opportunity again.

***

A loud pounding on the door jolts me awake. I didn’t even realise I had fallen asleep. I can only think of two people who knock like that, making this a “cake or death” situation. Given the choice, I’d rather deal with Kenji than snub Misha, so I pull myself out of bed to answer the door.

Kenji. Of course. "Sup, dude?"

I sigh. "Whatever it is, Kenji, can it wait? I'm busy right now."

“I hear ya, man. The feminists never sleep, so we must always remain vigilant. That’s what I came here to talk to you about.”

In a smooth motion, Kenji effortlessly slips past me into my room. “Close the door. They might be listening.”

I glance at my watch. Almost noon. Plenty of time before I need to worry about anything. Maybe I should humor him. If I play my cards right, I may even be able to get him to pay for pizza. Not likely, but it’s worth a shot. I close the door.

Satisfied, Kenji turns away from me and folds his hands behind his back. “You’re good, Hisao, but not good enough. You’re pretty confident that no one’s noticed your recent… activities, but that’s where you’re wrong.” He chuckles to himself. “Most everyone else hasn’t caught on, but I’ve noticed.”

Maybe this wasn’t so great an idea.

“You covered your tracks well, I’ll credit you there. Only the barest hints. A flash of pink while you skulk down the corridors at odd hours, the hellish banshee cries emanating from your room late at night, that kind of thing. A lesser man would be fooled, but I am a master of counterintelligence, among other things.”

If by “counterintelligence” he means “the opposite of intelligence,” then I’d agree that he’s certainly unrivaled in that category. That aside, he seems to have figured out what Misha and I have been up to.
“I don’t skulk.”

He turns around, shoving his hands into his pockets. “Sure you do. I’ve seen you do it. It’s totally skulking.” Pausing, something seems to dawn on him. “...Damn it! You interrupted my dramatic reveal! I was going to spin around and point my finger at you, with motion blur and lens flares!”

Motion blur? Lens flares? As I try to decide whether or not he really believes the world works that way, he shrugs. “Eh, whatever. The point is, I know that you’re building a robot clone of that Student Council chick.”
Sometimes, there are no words. With Kenji, that’s usually the case.

“I needed to warn you that you might be compromised. If you could keep it from me, then you’d be in the clear, but sometimes I’m just too good. If I could see through your ruse, it’s possible the feminists could, too. Also, your clone’s not as fat as the real thing.”

So she’s not as fat as herself? Is that still an insult? I think it might be…

“Hey, what’s this?”

The box holding my yukata is open and sitting on my desk. I was planning on figuring out how exactly I’m supposed to wear it some time this evening.

“A yukata? Wow, dude, I didn’t think you were that kind of guy.”

“Huh? What do you mean by ‘that kind of guy?’”

“You know, the kind of guy that does stuff like wearing a yukata. Don’t worry, man, I’m cool if you’re into that kinda thing.”

“It doesn’t matter, because I’m not. To be honest, I don’t even know how to wear one.”

“I see.” Kenji strokes his chin thoughtfully. “An infiltration job. I just so happen to be an expert in that field.”

Of course you are, Kenji. He looks me up and down in a way that makes me feel extremely uncomfortable.

“Take off your clothes.”

“...what?”

“You heard me, dude. Take off your clothes. All of them.”

“I don’t think I did. It sounds like you’re telling me to take my clothes off.”

“That’s what I said. Now get to it. If it makes you more comfortable, I can get naked, too.”

“No!” Fortunately, I manage to find my voice before he gets further than removing his coat. “I don’t think I need you to do that.”

In fact, I specifically need you to NOT do that. “Could you at least tell me why you want me to take my clothes off?”

He lets out an annoyed sigh. “If you’re going to pull an infiltration job, you need to do it right. And that means accuracy and attention to detail. A yukata is its own underwear. That’s why there are two robes.”

I had heard people talk about how you “traditionally” don’t wear anything under a yukata, so his story checks out. Regardless, I’m not going to meet my girlfriend, along with the rest of the Student Council, wearing a glorified trenchcoat.

“It may have been that way before, but people don’t do that anymore. It’s unhygienic.”

Kenji solemnly places his hands on my shoulders and looks me in the eyes. At least, I think he is. I can’t really see through his glasses. I can certainly smell his breath, though.

“Look, man, I get it. You feel naked without your clothes. Most guys do. We can work with that.”

Stepping back, he begins pacing my room. When he speaks, I can’t quite tell if he’s thinking out loud or lecturing me.

“People tend to think bigger is better, but that isn’t true. Lots of guys think they’d like twelve or eighteen inches, but that’s just not practical. There’s nowhere to put it, you’re likely to hurt yourself, and you have to keep her at arm’s length to use it effectively. Never mind that you can’t really go eighteen inches deep into someone. Five or six inches is perfectly workable, but, if you really know what you’re doing, you only need three or four inches. That will get you plenty deep enough for it to count…”

“Kenji… what the hell are you talking about?”

He looks up, startled. “Knives, of course. We're going to strap one to your thigh so you don’t feel so defenseless.”

Sometimes I wonder why I put up with Kenji. “No knives. I’ll take my chances with a t-shirt and shorts under my yukata, okay?”

His expression changes as he sizes me up. “You know, sometimes I can’t tell if you’ve got balls of steel or if you’re just crazy. I guess it’s a little of both for what's left of the Resistance these days.”

Walking up to stand next to me, he claps me on the back a bit too hard. “You’re a good soldier, Hisao. You’re probably going to get yourself killed, but you’re a good soldier.”

His arm rests on my back just a bit too long to be comfortable.

“You know what, man? This calls for pizza. I’ll pay this time, since it’ll probably be your last meal. It’s the least I could do. I’ll be looting your corpse when you die, so anything that comes out of your pocket is coming out of mine, anyway.”

Gee, thanks, Kenji. You’re a real pal. I can’t complain too much, though. It is a free pizza, after all.

Act 3 Scene 6 Part 1 | Act 3 Scene 6 Part 3
Last edited by ProfAllister on Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Current Project: Misha Pseudo-Route

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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 8/7)

Post by ProfAllister » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:07 am

Surprisingly, hanging out with Kenji wasn’t terrible. I don’t think I’d ever actively seek him out, but there are worse ways to spend an afternoon. It’s actually kind of entertaining to listen to his rants, as long as you don’t take them seriously. He was going on about how today was going to be a “big night,” and that "everything is going to change.” He wouldn’t go into detail, though. I make a mental note to disavow any knowledge of him if anything catches fire tonight.

I don’t plan on thinking about him any more for the rest of the day, though. The sun’s setting, and I’m in my yukata, headed for the gates. I will give Kenji credit - he was a lot of help with putting the yukata on right.

As I get closer, I begin scanning the crowds for the telltale pink hair of my girlfriend, but she somehow manages to see me first.

“Hicchan~! You came!”

I look in the direction of her voice just in time to see her catch me in an enthusiastic hug. The hug is followed by an equally welcome kiss. She somehow feels softer and more huggable than usual. It must be the yukata.

When we break off the hug, I get a better look at her. Her hair’s mostly the same in front, but I think she pulled her drills in the back up a little, so they’re kind of like pigtails now. Her yukata is… somewhat unexpected. It’s a dark green with a subtle, slightly bluish floral pattern, tied with a yellow sash. It looks like something a much older woman would wear. For that matter, the sleeves are rather short. I seem to remember my dad mentioning that short sleeves meant a woman was married. I really don’t know what to make of that.

Well, she knows fashion better than I do. That's probably an outdated custom or something.

"You look nice."

She blushes a little, and shyly averts her eyes. "Thanks, Hicchan~. You look nice, too."

Her modesty only lasts a moment, and is soon replaced by a playful grin as she peeks back at me. "I especially like what you did with your hair~!" Reaching up, she bats at that one stubborn bit that just won't behave.

"I'm glad you like it," I reply with a smirk, "it took me all day to get it just right."

"Wahahahaha~! All day, Hicchan~? Haha~, I didn’t do anything with my hair~. I just rolled out of bed and it was like this!”

As fun as this is, I can’t resist poking a little fun at her. “I’m not sure I can believe that, Shiina. I’ve seen what you look like when you roll out of bed.”

Rather than stick her tongue out or tease me back, she turns scarlet. I’ve seen her blush before, but it was never this extreme. “You’re not supposed to talk about that~, Hicchan.” Her eyes dart left and right to see if anyone reacted to my comment. “What if someone heard you~?”

I guess I did get a little carried away. “Sorry.” Speaking of which… “Where are the other girls?”

"You were late, and they were getting impatient, so they went on ahead."

It's just now dusk, and this isn't the first time this has happened. Someday I'd like to learn what their definition of "late" is. Probably "whenever Hisao arrives."

"All of them? Even Shizune?"

Misha giggles. "Actually~, Shicchan was the first to leave. She said she had to go do 'something important~.'"

The way Misha says that, along with her coy grin, makes me think there's something more to this story. "You look like you're in on some secret joke. What aren't you telling me?"

"Well~," she begins, her smile growing wider, "Aoi-chan said she saw Shicchan with a boy~!"

"A boy? You mean another student, right? Not some kid?"

"Yup~! Shicchan was with a boy~-boy! Wahahaha~!”

Well, that was certainly unexpected. I mean, it’s not too surprising, I guess. She’s very pretty, and people seem to have been surprised about her recruiting new student council members and making up with Lilly. With changes like that, a boyfriend doesn’t seem too unlikely. “Do we know who?”

“Nope~!” Misha seems shockingly unconcerned by that detail. “Aoi-chan didn’t say!”

Wait a minute. This is Aoi we’re talking about. “...She didn’t tell you this through interpretive dance, did she?”

“Wahahaha~! Hahahaha~! Nope! Keiko’s the one who told me. Aoi-chan saw them one day after visiting the nurse for her infusion~. She told Keiko, but they didn’t say anything, because they thought we already knew~!”

That certainly sounds reasonable. Something else strikes me as a little odd, though. “Keiko? Not Kei-chan?”

My question causes Misha to pout a little. “Yeah. She says it’s ‘not appropriate’ for an upperclassman to speak so casually to an underclassman.”

“Yeah, that sounds like her. She seems to be big on keeping things formal.”

Misha makes a face like she just tasted something bitter. “‘Formal’ is so boring and stuffy.” With a resigned sigh, she continues, “At least Keiko stopped calling me ‘Madame Vice President.’”

"I don't know," I begin, trying to hide my smirk, "'Madam Vice President' seems rather appropriate. It's a title befitting someone of your stature and demeanor. Your every action conveys dignity and demands respect, after all."

In response, she sticks her tongue out at me. "Meanie. If that's how you're gonna be, then my dignity demands that you buy me ice cream~!"

"As you wish, Madame Vice President."

***

The ice cream is just the first of many snacks we end up getting as we steadily make our trek down the hill into town. Misha wants to try everything, so my wallet steadily gets lighter in increments of 100 and 200 yen, with the occasional 300. I'd comment on her endless appetite, but I'm right there with her, and probably eating more, at that. To be fair, she's paying for both of us at some of these stalls, so I can't blame her entirely for being 3,000 yen poorer.

Now that we're in town proper, we find an empty stretch of curb to use as a seat while we sample our latest acquisition - fried noodles.

After taking a bite, Misha frowns. "Now I remember why we did a noodle stand last year. No one can get them right~."

I have to agree. These are pretty unimpressive. "We? You mean the Student Council?"

"It was only me and Lilly and Shicchan by then~, but we were able to do it all with just the three of us! It was lots of fun, too~!"

"So this was before they started fighting?"

"Actually, Hicchan, it's what started them fighting." She puts a large wad of noodles into her mouth, chewing them with a pained expression that makes it clear she isn’t enjoying the taste. If she doesn’t like them, she doesn’t need to eat them. With a deliberate swallow, she looks me in the eyes. “It’s my fault, you know.”

“That doesn’t make any sense, Shiina. Just because they started fighting after you met them doesn’t mean you caused it.”

Misha shakes her head. “I’m not stupid, Hicchan. I know it doesn’t work that way. What I’m saying is that I did things to make them fight~. Not on purpose, but that’s what happened. I’m the one who wanted to do a soba stand, because they always end up gross, like this.”

Even though she just called it gross, she takes another bite. “I was going to take orders, and Lilly and Shicchan were going to cook. They’re both very good cooks~, but Shicchan’s a little better. When we got the booth, though, there was only enough stuff for one cook! Since the whole point was to make really good noodles, we decided that Shicchan should cook, so they’d be the very best~! But the problem was that Lilly can’t talk to Shicchan while she’s cooking…”

Giving up on the noodles in front of her, she sets her plate aside. “If Shicchan did the cooking, Lilly couldn’t really do anything, and if Lilly did the cooking, Shicchan couldn’t really do anything. So the whole idea was a bad one to begin with~. But we managed~! Lilly took the orders, then passed them along to me, and then I told Shicchan, so everyone was able to help! It worked out for everyone in the end~!”

“...At least, that’s what I thought at the time,” she sighs, taking a slow breath. “I didn’t know Shicchan that well when this happened. Shicchan was complaining about how inefficient everything was, but we all were having fun, so I assumed she was just making a joke. Haha~, of course it wasn’t efficient~!”

Even though she’s talking about how Lilly and Shizune started fighting, Misha seems to stay surprisingly cheerful about this whole thing. I guess her fond memories outweigh the parts that trouble her. “You see, Hicchan, Shicchan puts herself into everything one-hundred percent~! She wants everything she does to be the best and most spectacular it can be~! I kinda wish I could be like that. But~! That also means that Shicchan can’t stand it when things aren’t done as best as they can. If it can’t be done big, she’d rather not do it at all~.”

“So,” Misha concludes, sounding a little more regretful, “Shicchan blamed Lilly for it being inefficient. She started accusing Lilly of being lazy and useless, and Lilly had unkind things to say about Shicchan in return. And before you knew it - well, you saw how they were earlier this year…”

I still don't think it was Misha's fault, but this really isn’t the best subject for conversation during a Tanabata celebration, so I try to focus on the positive. “Well, they’ve made up now, so that’s all in the past, right?”

She locks eyes with me. She almost looks a little… hurt? “Just because it’s better now doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, Hicchan. They’ll never get that year back. And it was all because I was being selfish and wanted fried noodles that actually taste good.”

Misha keeps her eyes on mine for a moment, but then she seems to lose her nerve, and avoids my gaze, with a hint of a blush crossing her cheeks. “I’m sorry, Hicchan, I’m being selfish again. It matters to us, but you’re right, there’s no reason for you to care about it~.”

Her apology made, she almost immediately shifts gears, smiling exactly the way you’d expect her to on a day like this. “Especially not today, Hicchan! It’s a festival~! We’ve already had fried food, so that means it’s time for games!” She takes a moment to scan the nearby booths. “That one! It looks like it will be fun~! C’mon, Hicchan~!”

She doesn’t wait for me to pick myself up - the excitement’s too much for her, I guess. I throw the remaining noodles away and take my time as I approach the booth she seems to have picked at random. No sense taking unnecessary risks, after all.

It’s that goldfish game again. "It's your favorite game, Hicchan~! See?"

I never said it was my favorite game. In fact, I hadn't even played it before I came to Yamaku. To be honest, I'm not even sure why I suggested it in the first place. I guess it's because I always heard about those types of games, but never actually saw one. It's really not worth the trouble of trying to correct her, though, so I'll just let it go.

"Didn't we discuss this last time? What would we do if we got a fish?"

"Oh yeah~, I almost forgot. But it didn't matter last time, and you looked like you had so much fun, too~! So~, let's do it again!"

It is pretty hard to argue with that logic. It's also hard to argue with Misha in general, for other reasons. And even if we don't play, I'll just be wasting my money on something else later tonight. "Okay, you win. We can play it a couple times."

I'm not really sure why, but something comes over me, and I find that I'm not satisfied with one try, or even two. Misha seems to be having fun, too, so I don't really have any misgivings as I buy one try after another.

As I'm about to start on my sixth round, Misha lets out an excited cry. "I got one, Hicchan~!"

She stands there triumphantly holding the paper net, and, sure enough, there's a fish in it. A short moment later, she proudly displays her catch in a small plastic bag.

"...Now what?"

Misha's glow fades a little as my question brings her back to reality. We never did figure out what we'd do if we actually caught a fish.

"Well~...um..." She bites her lip, her expression alternately rising and falling as she thinks of ideas and discards them. "We could-! No, that won't work~... How about-! No, goldfish are freshwater... Or maybe we can-! No, the literature club wouldn't like that~..."

I can't help but wonder what kind of ideas she has that she ends up with those objections. Then again, they're probably better than anything I've managed to come up with.

"Hicchan, look! We're saved~!"

I'm pulled back to reality by her sudden exclamation. "Over there~! Across the street!"

Looking over in the direction she's pointing, I can see the stall set up by the local pet shop. They're off to the side, and overshadowed by other stuff, but, sure enough, there are fish bowls and other supplies for sale. Just far enough away and just understated enough that it isn't obvious that they're trying to exploit this very situation. I can feel the pain in my wallet already.

Act 3 Scene 6 Part 2 | Act 3 Scene 6 Part 4
Last edited by ProfAllister on Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
Current Project: Misha Pseudo-Route

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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 8/7)

Post by ProfAllister » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:18 am

"Are there any other games you want to play, Hicchan~?"

We've already played a lot of games, but the only things we've won are the goldfish and an enormous lollipop. To be more precise, Misha won both of those. The fish is sitting comfortably in his new bowl, safely tucked under Misha's arm. Well, it's sitting in its bag in the bowl, next to a bag of rainbow-colored pebbles and a fake castle. The lollipop is in Misha's other hand, half-eaten and temporarily forgotten. Considering its size, it's a wonder it hasn't stuck to her hair yet.

"I don't know..."

That's a lie. I know exactly what I want to play, but we haven't found it. I've been feeling a lot better than I did a couple months ago. In fact, I think I'd say I feel better than I ever have, except for that whole thing with my heart. It still bothers me how I nearly got a heart attack from playing a carnival game. I'm also mad at myself for being too scared to make a decision when Shizune and Misha both wanted that cat. Because of that, my gift ended up going to the wrong girl. I was hoping I could make up for that tonight, maybe get Misha an even bigger stuffed animal. She'd like that.

But, we haven't found that game. No game means no redemption. "I guess not. Are we done with games now, too?"

I turn to look at Misha, but there's no one there. I look back to see that she stopped walking a couple seconds ago, and seems to be staring off at nothing. "Hicchan... I think we want to do one more game."

She's acting a little odd. Well, odder than usual. "Okay? Did you have something specific in mind?"

Wordlessly, she lifts her hand with the lollipop and points straight ahead. I turn to look at where she's pointing, and see a... thing displayed above a booth for some sort of game.

I can tell that it's a huge stuffed... whatever it is, which is probably enough for Misha. It looks kind of like a blob with some sort of protrusion coming out of one end. Do they make stuffed toys that look like bacteria?

"Oh. That looks neat." Misha nods, but doesn't seem able to move.

"...What is it?"

My ignorance seems to have broken the spell on her. In fact, I think I made her angry.

"You can't tell, Hicchan~? It's a narwhal!"

A narwhal? I guess that makes sense. I'm a little surprised that she knows what a narwhal is - the only reason I know about them is a book I read. It spent a whole chapter going into excruciating detail about narwhals, to support the argument that a giant narwhal was sinking ships, then completely forgot about them for the rest of the book.

"So you like narwhals?"

Judging from her reaction, I may as well have asked her if she likes breathing. “Narwhals are the bestest animal ever~! They’re exactly like unicorns, except they’re fish, so you can make sushi with them~!”

I must admit that I never looked at it that way. On the other hand, I can't resist the urge to correct her error. “They’re not fish. They’re cetaceans.”

“Ceta… you mean like lobsters?” She seems skeptical, and for good reason.

“No, that’s crustaceans. Cetaceans. Like dolphins and whales.”

And with that, her skepticism is replaced by a confused "I'm in over my head" expression that has become all too familiar from our study sessions. “That’s a funny name. Why don’t they just call them ‘whales and dolphins?’”

“Because scientists don’t work that way. I’m pretty sure it comes from a Greek or Latin word meaning ‘sea monster.’ I don’t remember which.”

Another expression from those evenings takes its place, and it's one I'm not entirely comfortable with - undisguised admiration. "You're really smart, Hicchan~. You know all that without even trying. I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that even if I had spent all week studying~! No wonder you're Mutou's favorite...”

Mutou's favorite? I don't like the sound of that. Like I'm some kind of teacher's pet, eager to please. I just know the material - nothing special about that. Either way, it's not really the kind of thing I want to talk about during a date.

“I guess so. I don’t really think about stuff like that. I’m good at remembering things, but I wouldn’t say that’s the same as being smart. But why are we even discussing this in the first place? I thought we were going to try to win that narwhal.”

"Wahahaha~, that's right! I almost forgot! You really are good at remembering things, Hicchan~! You’d better keep your promise and win it for me! Hahahaha~!"

So it’s a promise now? Whatever. She doesn’t really seem to take those comments seriously, so I shouldn’t either.

As we get closer, I’m able to make out what kind of game I’ll have to play. It turns out to be what I’d been looking for this whole time - throw a ball to knock over a pyramid of bottles. I think it may even be the same attendant; not many students have brown hair that’s obviously been dyed that color.

Suddenly, I feel Misha's hand on my arm. When I turn to face her, I can clearly see that she's worried.

"You don't have to do this, Hicchan."

"Huh?"

"I'm not stupid, Hicchan." She looks surprisingly stern as she continues. "I knew you weren't telling the whole truth when you played this game last time. I thought you just wanted an excuse to only get a doll for Shicchan."

I almost expect her to look hurt, but she strikes me as more sad than anything else. "But we both know that isn't true, now.”

Her eyes meet mine, and she speaks the words neither of us want to hear. “It was your heart, wasn’t it?”

I don’t say anything. I don’t need to say anything, and we both know it. Her suspicions confirmed, she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. “So you really did want to win a doll for me, too…”

Opening her eyes, she then fixes me with a surprisingly stern gaze. “If you really want to do this, Hicchan I’m not going to stop you. But I don’t want you to hurt yourself trying to win a prize that you’re just going to give to me as a present. It’s not worth it.”

She really is serious about this. I can’t blame her - I was pretty distressed when I learned I could die at any moment, so she has a right to be a little cautious. “I do want to do this, Shiina.” Her eyes dart around at the sound of her name, no doubt afraid that someone might hear me calling her by it. “But I’m not doing it because I feel I owe you anything. I‘m feeling a lot better than I did back then, and I know my limits now. I want to do this to prove to myself that I really can. But I’ll stop if things start looking bad, okay? I won’t do anything stupid.”

“Promise~?”

I smile. It’s cute how childish she can be at times, but it’s also refreshing how honest she is.

“I promise.”

***

At the booth, my initial suspicion is confirmed - it’s the same guy manning the booth as last time. Also up close, I can see that the stuffed narwhal is enormous - it’s probably bigger than Misha. Where do they even get those kind of things?

Misha greets the guy at the booth with her usual exuberance. “Hiya, Shiraki~!”

Right, that was his name. At least I don’t have to pretend to remember who he is without actually using it, now.

As a follow-up to her lively greeting, Misha scowls in her excessively cute and ineffective manner. “You’re running the same booth as last time~? That’s boring, Shiraki.”

Her disapproval slides off him like water off a duck’s back. I get the sense that he’s pretty apathetic about most things, actually. He shrugs noncommittally. “It works. The photography club did so well with this that we were able to make it bigger and better this time around. You can’t argue with success.”

He’s certainly right about it being bigger. It’s not just the prize that’s bigger this time - the pyramids are ten bottles now, rather than six. A sign indicates a few more differences.

One Play - 6 Balls - 60 Yen
1-6 Bottles - Small Prize
7-9 Bottles - Medium Prize
10 Bottles - Large Prize

I guess that “One Play” bit keeps people from buying a ton of balls in one go to win a large prize.

“So, I guess the Narwhal is a large prize?”

Shiraki’s lips form the kind of smug grin that just begs for a punch. “Not quite.” He gestures to a row of stuffed cats, exactly like the one I got for Shizune so many months ago, “Those are the large prizes. That guy up there’s an extra large prize.”

“Extra…?”

Tapping on a sign taped to the booth’s countertop, he responds as if he were telling me to invest in plastics, “Prize exchange, my good friend. Prize exchange.”

I glance down at the sign.

5 Small Prizes - 1 Medium Prize
7 Medium Prizes - 1 Large Prize
3 Large Prizes - 1 X-Large Prize

“That’s a pretty convoluted exchange rate.”

He gives me another shrug. “I was studying U.S. measurements, and the unit conversions were pissing me off. Call it a bolt of inspiration.”

As I reach for my wallet, Misha cuts in. “Since your cute, adorable, hardworking, Student Council put so~ much~ effort into building your stall, do you think we could have a couple free plays like last time~?”

Good thinking, Misha. She’s really turned up the charm, too. Unfortunately, Shiraki seems unfazed.

“If it were up to me, I’d say sure, knock yourself out. But I did that for those other Student Council members earlier - the cute deaf chick and her friend with the fancy hair that talks funny. When Kawana heard, she chewed my ear off about how we can’t afford to give free balls to every girl with a nice rack. Besides, you’re just going to make your boyfriend play like last time.”

Misha’s face falls at this rejection. Personally, I was busy trying to figure out which Student Council members he was talking about.

“Aoi isn’t deaf. She has anemia.”

Of course, if he considers Aoi to be “the cute deaf chick,” then what does he call Shizune?

Shiraki glances back at me. “If she isn’t deaf, then why…? Whatever. Tell you what, since we’re such good friends, I’ll give you a discount on the prize exchange. Six medium for one large.”

That’s a pretty crappy discount, but I doubt he really considers us good friends, so I guess it balances out. Either way, Misha seems satisfied.

So, that means I need to win at least three times. At worst, it would be… carry, the two… ninety times. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

My first attempt goes reasonably well. The technique I used last time seems to work here, but more bottles means less room for mistakes. I leave one bottle standing and get a medium prize. My next attempt leaves two bottles standing. In fact, it quickly becomes clear that knocking down all ten in one play is extremely tricky, even when you know what you’re doing. Seven plays in, I have one of the cat dolls, a small pile of the cheap toys that pass for medium prizes, and a sizable crowd watching me. It’s not hard to see why, either. As difficult as it is for me to knock over all ten, the other people who try their hand at it have trouble getting even one, and almost never get more than six.

I can feel the tension of the crowd as I prepare for the next round. I glance over to Misha, who gives me a smile, but looks a little concerned. I feel fine, though. My arm’s a little tired, but that’s expected after throwing 42 balls. Not much worse than after my normal swim routine, though, so I’m not worried.

I can usually knock out two of the bottom-row bottles in three throws, but sometimes it takes four. If I’m lucky, the tumbling bottles cause a chain reaction and knock over some of the others. No such luck this time - my fourth ball knocked over the two middle ones, causing the center to come crashing down, but the outside bottles remain upright. Cleanup’s always the hard part. My fifth ball strikes true and knocks over the left bottle, but my aim is off for the sixth, and it bounces off the final bottle with a dull “ping.” I may be imagining things, but I almost think I hear the crowd sigh in disappointment as I collect my seventh medium prize.

My heart seems fine, but I’m not sure how much longer my arm can hold out. It’s not just a matter of throwing the balls, after all. I need to be able to put enough force behind them, too. As long as I keep winning medium prizes, I think I can stick with it, but it really isn’t worth the time or money if I start winning small prizes.

I’ve been alternating my strategies between two approaches, since neither one seems to work better than the other. This time, I aim for the bottom two on the left, and manage to knock them over with three balls to spare. Three balls, three bottles, and a crowd breathing down my neck.

Much to my surprise, I don’t even need the three balls. The first throw shakes them up, and the second brings them crashing down. Once the last bottle is down, a loud cheer erupts from all sides and misha catches me in a celebratory hug. At first I’m taken aback by the excitement, but it is a pretty big accomplishment, even for someone who’s healthy. Besides, people wouldn’t be watching if they didn’t care about the outcome.

For the first time in several months, I really feel like I’ve accomplished something. This isn’t something that’s just “pretty good… for a cripple.” This an actual accomplishment - something that most able-bodied people can’t do. I can’t remember the last time I felt this strong - this capable.

“Okay, Hicchan, you hold Mr. Fish-chan. I can’t hold both of them myself~!”

Mr. Fish-chan? I guess it could have been worse. Misha’s lollipop is nowhere in sight. She probably ate it already. That can’t be good for her stomach, though. It takes a little work, but Shiraki and the guys who reset the bottles finally manage to lower the doll into Misha’s waiting arms. Seeing them side-by-side, it really is difficult to tell which of the two is bigger.

“It sounds like you’re getting quite a bit of attention.”

The voice is familiar, but when I turn to look, I can’t see where it came from.

“Yo, over here.”

Akira waves her arm to catch my attention, and I can see why I missed her. I was expecting to see her in her usual outfit, not a yukata. Dressed in more traditional clothes, she actually looks very feminine. It comes as no great surprise that she’s accompanied by Lilly, who’s wearing a matching yukata. Akira’s is primarily yellow, with light blue designs, and Lilly’s is light blue, with the exact same patterns in yellow. For once, it’s not hard to tell that they’re sisters.

Of course, it seems that Akira’s less than impressed with my difficulty finding her and the look of shock I couldn’t hide once I made the connection. “Seriously, you too? I know that a business suit isn’t the most flattering thing to wear, but you look like you just realized that I’m a girl.”

“I’ve told you before,” Lilly chimes in, “there are plenty of feminine outfits that are perfectly business appropriate.”

Akira rolls her eyes. “Right. And give those assholes at the office one more reason to not take me seriously. Good idea, sis.”

“Anyway,” she says, turning back to us, “what’s going on over here?”

“Hicchan won this for me~!” Misha exclaims, proudly indicating her new companion.

“Oh. Wow. I was gonna ask…”

“If I may interrupt,” Lilly says, coming a little closer, “what is ‘this?’”

“Here~!” Misha holds the doll out for Lilly’s examination. See for yourself~!”

No one else seems bothered by Misha’s unfortunate word choice, so I keep quiet while Lilly reaches out and explores the object in front of her.

“My, my, it’s certainly big. And soft. I can tell it’s some giant stuffed toy, but I haven’t the faintest idea what it could be.”

“It’s a narwhal~!”

“I’m sorry, a what?”

“It’s a unicorn-fish~! I mean, a unicorn cet-a-ce-an, right Hicchan~?”

Now that she understands what it is, Lilly smiles benevolently. “Well, that certainly seems appropriate, doesn’t it?”

I get the sneaking suspicion that Lilly is being a little patronising, but it may just be her unfailing politeness. Still, I get the sense that she’s speaking to Misha as if she were a child. Or mentally deficient. And she’s the one who doesn’t know what a narwhal is.

“It is what it is,” I cut in, trying to move the conversation in another direction. “How are you and Akira enjoying the festival?”

Lilly sighs. “With a great deal of ambivalence, I’m afraid, but that’s nothing you need to worry about. I am impressed with what you in the Student Council were able to do, though. It’s impressive how much better you work when Shizune isn’t... ‘overly exerting her influence,’ don’t you think?”

That was uncalled for. I thought the two of them had made up. “I think we just recognise the value of good leadership.”

“Oh? So she resigned? Who took over? One of the new girls?”

Okay, now she’s going too far. Besides, she should know that the charter says that the Vice President takes over if the President resigns. I’m about to respond when I feel Misha tug at my sleeve.

“Hicchan~? I think I’m starting to feel a little sleepy~...”

It is getting pretty late, isn’t it? And Misha hasn’t really been one for staying up late, either. “So we’re calling it a night, then? That’s okay. I can walk you back to your dorm.” I turn back to Lilly and Akira. “Sorry to leave right after meeting you, but it looks like we’ve reached the end of our evening.”

Akira shrugs. “No biggie. I’m sure you and Lilly will be able to catch up some other time this month.”

With that, we take our leave and begin the trek back toward the school grounds. There are still stalls lining the path between the town and Yamaku, but things have died down, with only the occasional group headed one way or the other. A few people try to entice us to their booths, but most of them seem to have decided that a boy, a girl, and a narwhal would rather not be disturbed.

Once we’re inside the gates, things are a bit more active, especially considering the number of students who can’t really make a casual trip down the hill. Fortunately, the dorms have been given a pretty wide berth, most likely out of consideration for any students who want to turn in sometime before midnight.

Now that we’re finally alone, Misha speaks up. “You shouldn’t let it bother you, Hicchan~.”

“Let what bother me?”

She turns to look at me with those golden eyes of hers. Even if they aren’t her real color, they do look very nice. Still, I think I prefer her natural eye color. “The mean things Lilly says. I know they hurt, but getting mad won’t solve anything~.”

“What makes you think I was getting mad?”

“Hicchan, you looked like you were about to punch Lilly. Akira could tell, too~.”

I want to argue, but she’s right. I did want to hit her. Even if she’s a girl and guys don’t hit girls, she had no right to say the things she did.

“Things don’t change overnight, Hicchan~. Lilly and Shicchan may have made up, but they had almost two years to be mad at each other. I don’t think Lilly even knows how to think nice things about Shicchan anymore~...”

I can tell that Misha’s thinking about what she said earlier - about how she blames herself for their feud. Right before I have the chance to bring it up again, she’s back to her cheerful smile. “You’re going to help carry stuff to my room, right Hicchan~? You don’t expect your cute, hardworking girlfriend to have to carry all the wonderful gifts you got her to her room all by herself, do you~?”

I only got her the narwhal, and maybe the fish bowl, if you're counting that, too. But she does have a point - she can't really carry those things and open the doors at the same time. And I'm still holding her fish anyway.

"Of course not. Your loyal selfless boyfriend with dashing good looks would never even consider doing otherwise."

She looks like she’s considering something for a moment, then shrugs. “It’s a start.”

Ouch. I thought it was pretty clever.

***

It’s no big surprise that the halls are empty. Most students are still out enjoying the festival.I don’t mind - it gives me a chance to talk to Misha in private.

“You know, Shiina, there’s something I wanted to ask you. It’s kind of stupid, but it’s been bugging me all night.”

She turns away from her door to look at me, smiling playfully. “That’s a fun way to start a question~. What is it? I promise I won’t laugh too much~!”

Coming from her, that’s probably the best I can get. “Well, like I said, it’s pretty stupid, but I had always been told that unmarried women traditionally wear brightly-colored yukata with long sleeves, while married women wear darker yukata with shorter sleeves. Does it still work that way, or is that just an old-fashioned tradition that no one pays attention to anymore?”

“That’s a funny question, to ask, Hicchan~.” Misha opens the door to her room, revealing a space as neat and orderly as the last time I saw it. She walks in and deposits her burden in the far corner of the room. I follow suit, placing Mr. Fish-chan on an empty portion of her meticulously organised desk. “I think that sounds right, Hicchan, but I’m not very good at remembering that kind of thing~.”

That’s an odd answer. I wouldn’t put it past Misha to be unaware of that kind of thing, but I don’t think she’d choose to wear something that might be telling the world she’s married. Unless… no, that’s too crazy to even consider.

“So, Hicchan~,” she continues, acting as if she hadn’t said anything unusual, “why would you want to know something like-”

Her voice trails off as it slowly dawns on her. “Oh~! You thought-! Wahahahahahahahahahaha~! Ahahahahahahaha~!”

As she doubles over in laughter, I run everything she’s said on the subject back through my head, to see if I’m missing something. There’s something she knows that I don’t that makes her find this hilarious. At least, I think there is. Knowing Misha, she could just as easily find it funny that I care so much about an outdated custom. What was it again? “Festivals are all about games and fried food?”

“Hahaha~, I’m s-sorry, Hicchan!” she gasps, wiping tears from her eyes, “Ahaha~, I really shouldn’t be l-laughing~. B-but it’s- hahaha~! So f-funny~! Wahahahaha~!”

I’d like to say that I trust Misha, and that there’s a perfectly good explanation for why she’s dressing like a married woman, but I keep second guessing myself, and she certainly isn’t helping matters. With every moment that I don’t have an answer, I come up with a new explanation, each one crazier than the last.

It takes much longer than I’d like, but she finally regains her composure, and faces me with a more serious expression. “I’m not married, Hicchan~. Before you, I had never even kissed a boy~! But the yukata I’m wearing used to be my Mommy’s, and she is married. Haha~, I didn’t even think about the sleeves and colors thing until you said something~!”

Oh. That makes sense. It's also a whole lot more likely than my leading theories that she was a princess in a political marriage or that she got married really young and was already a widow.

Obviously a little embarrassed, she turns her head down to look at her feet. "Sorry if I got you worried for no reason. I didn't mean to confuse you or anything."

"But~," she continues, lifting her eyes to meet mine and taking a few steps to get closer to me, "if you want, we can pretend that I'm married~."

A devilish smile slowly creeps across her features as she grabs the front of my yukata, starting at the corners of her mouth and continuing until she resembles mischief personified. It’s obvious what she’s implying, but I hesitate. She’s made jokes like this before, and the last thing I’d want to do is mess everything up because of some stupid misunderstanding.

As it turns out, my indecision doesn't make much of a difference. In a surprisingly quick motion, she manages to pull me down on top of her, making a soft landing on her bed. In practically the same movement, she rolls us over, placing me on my back in the middle of the bed, pinned under her.

From her position straddling my stomach, she looks down at me, but it's not the playful look I'm expecting. She actually looks like she's feeling guilty about something.

"I need to apologize, Hicchan~. I lied about something."

I tense. I can only imagine what sort of bomb she'll drop now that I can’t really escape. She leans forward, and I find myself extremely aware of her body. At some point, her belt must have come undone, causing her robe to open slightly - just enough to reveal a tantalizingly small bit of her skin. It’s a little odd that I care about such a tiny reveal - I’ve seen much more of her chest before today. Then again, that was before she tackled me and pinned me to her bed.

Much as I’m concerned about what she’s going to tell me, it’s extremely hard to focus on anything but the closeness of our bodies. The heat and weight from her as she presses down on my midsection is impossible to ignore, and her face is now inches from my own. Rather than stopping, though, she leans closer and to my side, until our heads are nearly next to each other. She stops with her lips nearly touching my ear, so close that I feel the warmth of her breath. Quietly, her secret is revealed with a soft whisper.

“I’m not sleepy~.”

Act 3 Scene 6 Part 3 | Act 3 Scene 6 Part 5 (18+) (Disable Adult Content)
Last edited by ProfAllister on Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
Current Project: Misha Pseudo-Route

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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 8/7) (18+)

Post by ProfAllister » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:29 am

Face to face again, it’s obvious from her grin that she’s very pleased with herself about this little joke. Sliding her tongue along the front of her teeth, she wastes no time in locking her lips with my own.

What starts as a normal kiss quickly escalates into something else entirely. Misha breaks off the kiss for the barest instant to adjust her position, but gets right back into it almost immediately. However, her shifting makes me want to shift, and our mouths separate and meet once more. After that, we give up all pretense. I’m not sure which of is the first to bring their tongue into play, but the other quickly follows suit. Either way, it doesn’t really work at first - we’re practically fighting over the limited space, and end up slobbering all over each other’s faces. As unappealing as that sounds, we’re past the point of caring about something so trivial. Even if we don’t mind the mess, it still gets in the way, so we eventually manage to find something that works as we take turns exploring the other’s mouth. With every minute, Misha presses her body against mine with increasing force and frequency.

Disappointingly, she pulls away once more. Even more disappointingly, she looks worried.

“Hicchan~, will you be okay if we… you know… go on?”

That’s an odd question, but I guess she had misgivings when the subject came up last time, too.

“I think that now is probably a good time. If you’re okay with it, that is.”

She chuckles at my response. “Haha~, that’s not what I meant, Hicchan~.” She slides her hand down my shoulder and onto my chest as it slowly dawns on me what she’s getting at. “I mean will you be okay… with your heart~?”

There’s no escape, is there? For a short time, I had completely forgotten about my arrhythmia. And for good reason, too. I’m healthy - probably healthier than I’ve been my whole life. I exercise with her nearly every day, so she should be able to know my limits, and know that this isn’t anywhere near them. Why does she keep treating me like some kind of porcelain doll?

“I’m not made of glass, you know.”

That came out a bit harsher than I intended. And she seems to have taken it that way, too. It’s obvious that she’s both hurt and scared by my response. I just have a knack for saying and doing the exact wrong thing, don’t I?

Slowly, with an uncertainty I haven’t heard coming from her in a long time, she replies, avoiding my eyes. “I’m sorry, Hicchan~. I don’t think you’re weak, or helpless, or anything like that~. It’s just…” She looks around, as if she’ll find the words she wants to say floating somewhere in the room. Finally, her eyes meet mine again. “I don’t want to hurt you, Hicchan~. Even by accident.”
Her sincerity’s unmistakable, and that’s certainly the way she’s been acting lately.

“I’m sorry, Shiina. I shouldn’t have reacted like that. You’re right. I guess I’m still a little sensitive about... well, about my arrhythmia.”

Now, I know for a fact that this isn’t how either of us wanted things to work out when all this started, and the reason we’re here is all my fault, so I decide to try lightening the mood a little.

“How about this? If I start getting concerns, I’ll go rigid and wear a terrified expression. If I really want to be dramatic about it, I might clutch my chest and grunt loudly. Like this: Hnnnngg!”

I try to clutch at my chest in pain - no small task with a girl perched on top of you. She does her best to give me a “that’s not funny” look, but she fails in her efforts to keep from smiling. “I can figure out that much, Hicchan~. But if it happens, I’ll have to go get help, and then we’d have to explain... well… this.”

I don’t think any explanation would be needed - it’s pretty obvious. All the same, I’d rather she not worry over these things. Especially not now. “You’re stressing out about nothing, Shiina. You’ve been running me ragged every day for months. This couldn’t be that much worse than one of our swimming sessions, don’t you think?”

That seems to have made an impact, but she still doesn’t look fully convinced. “Tell you what,” I add, smiling playfully, “if something happens, you stall for time, and I’ll think something up while I’m unconscious and fighting for my life.”

It looks like I’ve finally managed to convince her. She smiles back. “Well~, when you put it that way, Hicchan, I didn’t get my normal exercise in today~. You’d better keep up, because I’m not going to go easy on you~! Wahahaha~!”

Unexpectedly, she returns to an upright position. It’s a small consolation, but the new perspective as she sits on top of me gives an ample opportunity to admire her figure. She’s pretty disheveled from our little… whatever this was, and her trademark drills are already starting to come undone. More importantly, it looks like she’s just about ready to fall out of her yukata. Wearing one of her mischievous grins, she claps her hands together and everything goes dark.

“Wha-!”

Before I can react to this change, Misha descends on me once again quite suddenly, knocking the wind out of me. Her hands are clasped firmly on my wrists, anticipating my next move.

“Shhh~,” she whispers softly. “Close your eyes, Hicchan. They say it’s better if you can’t see.”

I’m tempted to ask who “they” are and why she’s been talking to them about something like this, but that’s really beside the point. There’s almost no light coming through the shut curtains, so I can’t really see anything anyway, which was probably her intent. I close my eyes.

Her weight shifts as she returns to sitting, her hands maintaining their firm grip on my wrists. Slowly, she pulls them toward her, placing my palms - one on top of the other - on her chest, just below her neck. With slow gentle motions, she guides my hands - first my left, then my right - along the corresponding sides of her collarbone and across her shoulders, gently pushing the soft fabric of her yukata aside in the process. I notice it every time I touch her, but her shoulders are remarkably smooth.

As my fingertips reach the ends of her shoulders, she releases my wrists. I slide my hands back along her bare shoulders back to her neck, eliciting a gentle sigh. Retracing the same path, I return to her shoulders and run my fingers down her arms. Shortly before I reach her wrists, gravity takes over, and I can feel the top half of her yukata as it lands. Once my hands do reach that point, she grabs them once again.

For a moment, she strokes them, exploring my knuckles and joints with her fingertips. Then, squeezing them gently, she begins to guide me again, placing them somewhere soft and round and… oh. With my left hand, I cautiously offer an experimental squeeze of my own. The pleased sound she makes offers me encouragement, which is reinforced when she places her left hand over my right and presses it into her chest while moving in small circular motions. I follow her example with both hands, occasionally rolling my palms against the small bump I can feel under each, which earns a pleased gasp of its own. As I increase the intensity of this massage, she responds by pressing the lower half of her body against my own, which encourages me in an entirely different sense. I try to arch my back and force myself up at the same time, increasing the sensation.

Before too long, she speaks again, her words escaping between heavy breaths. “Please, Hicchan... Not too much there~... They’re sensitive~... I want you… To touch me... Somewhere else~... Anywhere... Everywhere~.”

Taking her at her word, I move my hands, sliding them under her arms and around her back. Pulling her down toward me, I explore her back, running my fingers across her shoulder blades, her neck, and her spine. With our faces close once more, she takes the initiative, and our lips lock once again, joining in with the rest of our bodies.

Satisfied with her back, my hands venture further down, and I’m surprised to find nothing but skin as I venture past the final curve before her legs begin. I’m not surprised that the yukata slid off, but I was still expecting something to be there. The flesh beneath my hands is soft and yielding, but I don’t have to push too hard before I reach much firmer resistance from the powerful muscles below. She’s actually like that all over, which isn’t too surprising when you think about it. She used to be a champion swimmer, and she is still very good. Besides, someone had to do the heavy lifting for the Student Council before I came along, and it certainly wasn’t Shizune.

As her legs are curled under her at either side, I continue past her hips, down her legs, around her knees, and eventually reach her feet. I take a moment to pay them special attention, gently stroking her ankles before moving on to the rest of the foot. Her soles are surprisingly soft, and she coos appreciatively in response to my touch.

Running my palms back along her legs, I continue along the outside of her hips before moving to her front. As I pass my hands over her belly, she rises once more. I slip my hands under her breasts and gently lift them, which elicits what I could only describe as a pleased gurgle. Their weight is surprising, but appealing in its own way. Making my way back down, I trace the contours of her abdomen, marvelling at how every inch of her skin is so remarkably smooth.

Finally, there’s only one place left. My fingertips lightly follow the curve of her thighs as they make their way to the center, brushing through the short hairs gathered there. For just an instant, I wonder what color they are. The flesh down there is exceptionally soft and pliable, and even the slightest touch causes Misha to respond. Before I get very far, though, she grabs me by the wrists again.

“It’s my turn, Hicchan~.”

I can feel the shift in weight as she lifts herself off me, and another shift as she gets off the bed entirely. Before I can wonder what she’s doing, I feel her hands slip under the robes of my yukata. Once she reaches my waist, she grabs the sides of my shorts and slides them off with little effort. Despite the heat, I shiver a little. With nothing but a yukata covering me, I feel, well… exposed. On the other hand, Misha’s wearing even less, and I guess that’s also kind of the idea.
My thoughts are interrupted by something touching my leg, causing me to start. I hear Misha giggle about the same time I realise that I have her hand caught between my thighs. As I relax, I can feel the bed shift as she climbs back onto it, while her second hand joins the first. She doesn’t settle for rubbing my legs like I did to her, though - she delicately probes my legs with her fingertips, giving the occasional squeeze as she works her way up.

The mattress shifts as Misha makes her way closer, but I’m disappointed to realise that her hands move to my outer thighs as she runs out of leg. Once more at belt level, she reaches behind me, fumbling at the knot of my yukata. I arch my back to give her a little more working room - and incidentally make contact with her bare chest.

I certainly don’t mind the feel of her pressed against me like this, but it’s not an easy position to hold, and she seems to be taking a lot of time to undo a simple knot. After taking much longer than any knot would justify, I feel the belt slacken as the knot gives way, and I follow suit immediately afterward, catching Misha’s hands beneath me in the process.

Rather than express any annoyance or frustration, she giggles and gives my waist a pleasant squeeze. Pulling her arms out, she unwraps my robes, but sighs in frustration on discovering the shirt underneath.

“You wear too many clothes, Hicchan~.”

“I’m starting to think you don’t wear enough.”

I can’t see it, but I can certainly hear her sticking her tongue out at me.

Returning to her efforts, she does her best to peel my shirt off of me, but gives up after hiking it up to my arms. I guess I’m partially at fault there - the feel of her skin against my own makes it impossible for me to think of anything else. Once she finishes with my shirt, she turns her attention to my chest, exploring it first with her hands, then, after getting the general lay of the land, with her mouth. At first, I just feel the soft wetness of the occasional kiss, then a rougher and wetter sensation, which I can only imagine is her tongue, then, on occasion, she adds in the occasional soft nibble. While all of this is going on, she continues to run her hands all over me, and I do the same to her.

And then there’s her hair. Between the closeness of her head and the bedding all around, I’m overwhelmed by her particularly sweet, almost spicy scent. And her every movement is accompanied with a brush of those bubblegum strands against my chest.

Just as I’m getting used to it, though, Misha decides to change things up again, pushing herself off of me to come back from another angle. Much as I wish I could see her, it is a little exciting not knowing where she’ll turn up next, doing my best to interpret the shifting of the mattress as she moves. My first clue to her plan is her hair against my leg, followed shortly by her hands running along the outside and the occasional kiss near the inside.

As before, she works her way up, occasionally bringing her tongue into play. My anticipation builds as she gets closer, until, finally, she acknowledges the elephant in the room.

She starts by feeling its shape, making the barest contact with her fingertips. Gaining confidence, her fingers close around the base as she shifts into a better position. I can feel the heat of her breath, shortly followed by a quick kiss. Another kiss, then an uncertain tap with her tongue. After a few more kisses, she moves on to unambiguous licking and then wraps her lips around the end, taking it into her mouth.

What follows is difficult to describe, as the wetness, the suction, and the physical contact combine into a sensation unlike anything I’ve experienced before. Because of her position, there’s not much I can do to reciprocate, but I reach toward her with one hand and stroke the hair behind her ear.

Unexpectedly, she pulls away. My disappointment doesn't last long, though, as she crawls back up the bed until we're face to face again. Once there, she begins kissing me with renewed intensity. For an instant, I'm slightly repulsed by thinking about where her mouth just was, but it quickly occurs to me that that's probably the worst reason ever to refuse a kiss.

Our kiss only continues for a relatively short time before she lifts herself up, pulling her head away from mine. Reaching down between her legs and my own, she adjusts our relative positions. Perched above me, there's no mistaking what comes next - the position of her hands and knees make that clear.

"Are you ready~?" she asks, her voice quavering ever so slightly.

"Are you?"

Taking my response as confirmation, I hear her take a deep breath, followed by the sensation of entering her, as she lowers herself on to me. It feels surprisingly easy on my side, but Misha lets out a small gasp.

"Are you okay?"

"I'm fine, Hicchan~. That was a good sound."

With that first hurdle crossed, I can feel us both relax. She continues to lower herself, until our bodies meet once again. She lifts herself, then slides down, once, twice, then wraps her arms around my back, her legs around mine, and presses her lips against my own.

I return her embrace with my own, holding her close. For all our entanglement, we still manage to press our hips against the other's in a regular rhythm, each movement bringing us closer together, often punctuated by her breathy voice, wordlessly expressing her pleasure.

With her feet hooked around my ankles, she uses gentle movements to alternately pull my legs apart and push them together, each shift changing the feel of the experience - sometimes subtly, other times dramatically. On occasion, it feels as if I've gone as deep as possible, only to discover yet another level of depth opening up to me - an odd feeling, but certainly not unpleasant.

As much as I'm enjoying this, I have very little control. Laying on my back with Misha's legs wrapped around my own, there's no real way for me to push myself upward. As a result, my attempts to return her own efforts have very little force behind them and feel more like feeble twitching.

Taking matters into my own hands, I run my fingers along her sides. Up, then down, then back up as I place my hands on her breasts once more. I give a gentle push and she responds both vocally, in appreciation, and physically, lifting herself to give me better access. In this new posture, she continues as before, taking a little more advantage of gravity as well.

For a short time I content myself with massaging her chest, but I still feel like its not enough and that I could be doing more. Since my hands are free, I figure they're the most suited to the task. Placing them on either side of her hips, I grab hold and try to match her pace, lifting when she lifts, pushing down when she does the same. The first attempt works surprisingly well, causing Misha to squeak in surprise. She doesn't stop, though, and actually starts moving faster and more forcefully herself. The constant and intense stimulation is unlike anything I've felt before, and I can feel a familiar pressure building up, begging for release.

Misha's breathing is heavy and labored, and I can feel the strain of my own exertions, too. Trying to hold out as long as possible, we pull each other ever closer, maintaining a steady - if somewhat irregular - rhythm. Finally, the pressure becomes too much, and I feel my body tense at the moment of release. For her part, Misha seems to be still in much the same way. Refusing to let it stop, I continue to move my hands up and down her sides - firm enough that I can feel her moving with them, but not so hard that I might hurt her. While she doesn't move with the force or fervor of only a few seconds ago, she seems similarly interested in continuing, rocking her hips while pressing downward. The end result is an unusual blend of pleasure and pain, as my body doesn't want to keep going, but isn't satisfied with it ending, either.

Though our efforts continue, the response gradually diminishes, and fatigue sets in. Relaxing, I slump backwards, joined almost immediately by Misha, who comes to rest on my chest, gently nuzzling my shoulder. We both lie there quietly breathing for about a minute, then I feel Misha move as if reaching for something, followed by the click of her bedside lamp coming to life.

It takes a moment for my eyes to adjust to the light, but I readily welcome the ability to see again, especially the sight before me.

Her hair is a complete mess, and her face is flushed from exertion, but her smile is priceless, and she almost seems to glow.

"Did you like it, Hicchan~?"

What kind of a question is that? How could I not?

"Yeah. It was... good." Considering how bad I am with words right now, maybe I should cut her a little slack. "I'm glad that it was with you, Shiina."

Her expression is one of utter bafflement. "What's that supposed to mean, Hicchan~?"

She has a point. Why did I say something like that?

"Honestly, I don't know myself. I think I'm just saying things."

With another smile, she gives me a long, slow kiss.

"That's okay, then~. I like to hear you talk~."

Given such a license, I immediately say what's on my mind - which, of course, is rather stupid.

"I wasn't expecting you to... you know... with your mouth and all."

Her cheeks color to match her hair, but they're quickly accompanied by an impish grin.

"Well, I did say that you should try new things~!"

Her eyes begin to wander, as if she were trying to remember something. Looking off at nothing, she continues, "I wouldn't say that it was delicious, though."

She flashes another playful smile before bringing her head to rest on my shoulder. "If you liked it, I think I'd be willing to do it again~."

I don't respond. There's no need to.

"Hicchan~?"

"Hmm?"

"I'm glad you were finally ready~."

"What do you mean by that?"

Now it's her turn to be silent.

"Shiina?"

Still nothing. And now her breathing sounds slower, more regular.

I guess she was lying about lying.

Act 3 Scene 6 Part 4 | Act 3 Scene 7
Last edited by ProfAllister on Thu Dec 25, 2014 1:18 am, edited 2 times in total.
Current Project: Misha Pseudo-Route

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ProfAllister
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Adult Content Disabled

Post by ProfAllister » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:32 am

!!!WARNING!!! This is a joke sequence outside the official continuity. If you are not following the breadcrumbs (i.e., the links at the bottom of each entry), turn back now. If you ARE following the breadcrumbs,I'll be doing my best to keep this as somewhat passably believable in continuity.

With a jerk, something lifts her away from my chest, a gloved hand holding a rag or something over her mouth. Her eyes widen in surprise and she flails her arms for an instant before her eyes roll up and she slumps forward, unconscious.

"How about now, bitch?"

Now that I finally have a chance to see her assailant, I wish I hadn't. He isn't wearing his glasses, and his scarf is wrapped over his mouth, but that's the extent of his disguise. It may be anger, or surprise, or something else entirely, but I'm at a complete loss for words.

"Kenji?"

It's a pathetic disguise, and I'm still having trouble believing that this is happening, but he reacts with surprise.

"Damn it, dude, you're making me look bad. You should at least do a bro a favor and pretend to have trouble seeing through my impenetrable disguise. Also, try to keep it down. You'll blow our cover."

It's not his disguise that's impenetrable.

"What... Why... Is that chloroform?! That stuff can kill people!"

"Really? Shit."

He ducks down, placing his head uncomfortably close to Misha's chest.

"Good news, man. She's still breathing."

I sigh in relief. It doesn't excuse anything in the slightest, but things could have been a lot worse.

"Yeah, it's a good thing you didn't accidentally kill another student."

My sarcasm is lost on him. "I hear you, man. I wasn't planning on disposing of any bodies tonight."

Trying to keep calm, I clench my fists on the sheets. He's clearly unstable, and dangerous. Yelling at him or making sudden movements could be a very bad idea. I take a deep breath. I remember hearing about how you shouldn't challenge someone's delusions if you can avoid it, so the best bet might be to play along.

"I'm going to need a report, soldier. What was so important that you risked compromising an extremely sensitive infiltration mission."

That seems to have worked. He snaps to attention.

"Matters of life or death, du-, er, sir. I was tailing you and the target, in case you needed backup. Her sudden sneak attack incapacitated you and compelled my intervention. Also, sir, with all due respect, I'm pretty sure I outrank you."

So much for deference, but he's far more professional than I ever expected him to be. For all I know, he could just be acting the way the military does on TV.

"Yeah, you probably do." It's not like I can really argue the details of his crazy, and now's certainly not the best time to try. "It might be better if we both stay informal - too much pomp in a war zone's likely to get us both killed."

"Good call, dude."

"Also, could you please stop making it sound like you've been gargling sandpaper. It makes my throat hurt just hearing you."

He shrugs, returning to his normal voice. "Whatever, man."

"So you thought she was trying to kill me-"

"No, worse than that."

"...Worse than killing me?"

He still has that ridiculous scarf wrapped around his mouth, but I can see a gleam in his eye that makes me think he's probably smiling. Also, it's really weird seeing Kenji without his glasses on.
"Remember the puppet show? What happened in Roswell during the Philadelphia Project while the Moon Landing was being staged in Bermuda as a distraction?"

Unfortunately, in spite of all the promises that excess alcohol makes you forget what happened, I'll probably take the memories of that puppet show to my grave. Who would have guessed that one of the most traumatic events in my high school career would be the falsetto screams of dying puppets?

"Something about Communism and fluoride?"

"Yeah, when Maggie Marxism poisoned the crew of the USSS Hillenkoetter with the second half of the binary compound, causing their teeth to burst into flame. It's kinda like that, but with your dick."

While that does sound terrible, it also sounds like the ranting of a paranoid lunatic.

"So that was a good enough reason to break into a girl's room and chloroform her? What do you think is going to happen when she wakes up?"

He shrugs. "With any luck, she'll think you two had sex, and it was so great that she can't remember the details."

If a girl wakes up from being drugged, the last thing I'd want is her thinking we had sex.

"Do you even think about what you're saying?!"

I know I shouldn't raise my voice, but this is truly and certifiably insane. And I've had enough. Pulling myself off the bed, I take advantage of the fact that I’m notably taller than him.

"You can't just break into a girl's room, drug her, and expect that there won't be any repercussions! The world doesn't work that way!"

Kenji's eyes widen, and I almost think I'm getting through to him, but then he opens his mouth again.

"Damn it, this is more serious than I thought. You've got stage 4 cootie contamination."

"Cooties? Seriously?"

He shakes his head sadly. "It's a code name, dude. The feminists use a nerve agent, applied topically or through weaponised aerosols. It puts men into a trance where they're extremely vulnerable to suggestion and sympathetic to the feminist cause. Good men. You're only stage 4, so there's hope yet."

The more he says, the less it makes sense and the angrier I get.

"YOU. ARE. NUTS. And why the hell are you running around without your glasses? Aren't you supposed to be blind?"

Kenji's eyes seem to show a hint of regret. "I'm sorry that it's come to this, man."

I feel the blow to my stomach before I see it, and it knocks the wind out of me. Reflexively, I double over and gasp for air, planting my face right into Kenji's waiting rag.

"Justice is blind, dude."

"Legally blind."

Act 3 Scene 6 Part 4 | Act 3 Scene 7
Last edited by ProfAllister on Thu Dec 25, 2014 1:18 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Mader Levap
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 1/18)

Post by Mader Levap » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:58 am

What.
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 1/18)

Post by SwimmingInCloudland » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:12 am

ProfAllister, you are truly a god amongst men, and I'm sure that we're all very happy to be given such a huge amount of content today, so thank you. Brilliant chapter; your pacing was very good indeed.
Also:
ProfAllister wrote: Remembering myself, I step forward to try to comfort her...
...*zzzzip*
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 1/18)

Post by ProfAllister » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:24 am

Mader Levap wrote:What.
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 1/18)

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:37 am

That escalated quickly.

So much for Kenji being harmless. For once, he actually went to far here. If I was Hisao, I would be pissed. Chloroforming my girlfriend then punching me in the stomach when I have a heart condition is pretty hard to forgive, at least easily.

As a side note, why am I not surprised Kenji has chloroform?
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Re: For Want of a Nail - Misha Route (New Chapter 1/18)

Post by BlackWaltzTheThird » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:54 am

Mader Levap wrote:What.
AntonSlavik020 wrote:That escalated quickly.
I feel I should clarify, since it is quite easily missed; the posts beginning in
ProfAllister wrote:Face to face again, it’s obvious from her grin...
and
ProfAllister wrote:With a jerk, something lifts her away from my chest...
Are not consecutive parts. They are two alternative continuations of the post ending in "I'm not sleepy~". Naturally, the Kenji one is non-canon and entirely meant for laughs. It is not part of the actual chapter.

TL;DR: Hisao rooting Misha is canon, Kenji KO-ing Misha is a joke post.
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