NURSE: "My goodness, but you're in a hurry today, aren't you, Emi?"

NARRATOR: "I have no idea how we got to the nurse's office so fast, but here we are. The nurse grins at Emi and seems to completely ignore me."

NURSE: "You've got plenty of time to take a shower and get to class, you know. There's no need to run through the hallways like that. I could hear you coming a mile away!"

NARRATOR: "Somehow, it doesn't seem like he's actually scolding Emi at all. It's like this is a sort of routine between the two of them. Emi does a passable imitation of remorse."

EMI: "I'm sorry! I won't ever do it again!"

NARRATOR: "The nurse and Emi both laugh at some private joke. Suddenly, it seems that he notices me."

NURSE: "Ah, hello Hisao. What brings you here?"

HISAO: "Well, I've been—"

EMI: "Hisao's officially joined me on my morning runs."

NARRATOR: "I start to explain, but Emi cuts me off."

EMI: "I thought he might need to visit you so that he doesn't die or anything."

NARRATOR: "The nurse raises his eyebrows in mock horror."

NURSE: "Yes, that would certainly put me out of a job fast, wouldn't it? Well then Hisao, let's have a look at you. Lift up your shirt, would you?"

NARRATOR: "I'm suddenly very conscious of the fact that Emi's in the room with me and blush in spite of myself. The nurse seems to sense my discomfort, but it only seems to amuse him."

NURSE: "A bit shy, are we?"

NARRATOR: "He makes an apologetic bow to Emi."

NURSE: "Sorry Emi, I tried to get you a free show, but it doesn't seem to have worked."

NARRATOR: "Emi stiffens slightly and fires a look of annoyance at him."

EMI: "You're an asshole."

NARRATOR: "Emi bows to me apologetically."

EMI: "I'll wait outside, okay Hisao?"

NARRATOR: "I begin to stammer that it's not really a big deal, she doesn't have to leave, but she's already out the door and the nurse is laughing as he watches her go."

NURSE: "Still got it! Ha!"

HISAO: "I don't follow."

NARRATOR: "He laughs again, like he's in on some joke that's over my head."

NURSE: "I can still get her flustered. It's a competition of sorts we've had going on for a while now."

NARRATOR: "That sounds incredibly sinister to me, and it seems as if the nurse realizes that too."

NURSE: "Er. That sounded a lot worse than it actually is, come to think of it."

HISAO: "I wasn't going to say anything..."

NURSE: "No no, you're right. I should fill you in so that you don't get the wrong idea. I'm actually relatively new here, you see. I got hired on the same year Emi started going here. Before that, I worked with Emi during her initial rehab following her accident."

NARRATOR: "Hold on, what?"

NURSE: "We had to amputate her legs after a really nasty car wreck. It nearly killed her, and succeeded—"

NARRATOR: "He shuts up abruptly. I blink at receiving this unexpected piece of news."

NURSE: "Well, that's not my place to say. Anyway, we've known each other for quite a while. So we have a slightly more familiar relationship than is strictly professional."

NARRATOR: "He seems embarrassed, like he's done something stupid. I guess he's really worried about that. I wave a hand to let him know it's not a big deal."

HISAO: "Don't worry, sir. I promise I'm going to be discreet."

NARRATOR: "I had been wondering about what caused Emi to lose her legs, and that was one of the scenarios I thought of. There were only so many ways that could have happened, but actually hearing about the facts... it's still a little shocking."

NURSE: "Well, thanks. You're a good kid, Hisao. I can see why Emi became friends with you. She's quite indomitable, you know."

HISAO: "What do you mean?"

NURSE: "You didn't see her learning to walk. She'd go for so much longer than the others in the hospital. She refused to quit. Normally it takes years to get to a point where you can even think about running again. Emi did it all in about a year."

NARRATOR: "He almost seems proud of her, like a father who watches his daughter win a competition or something."

NURSE: "Hell, she'd probably have done it faster if not for the fact that we wouldn't let her."

HISAO: "Wouldn't let her? Why not?"

NURSE: "Because she'd go for so long that her legs would start bleeding where they met her prosthetics. It's a real concern - it's why she comes by every day after she runs. To say nothing of the risk of infection if her legs get cut up and her prosthetics are dirty. But enough about that. If we don't get you on your way soon, Emi will think we're up to something."

NARRATOR: "As he says this, he gives a wink and begins checking my heartbeat. The stethoscope is way too cold. He really should have heated it up or something before he used it. After a few moments he leans back, satisfied."

NURSE: "Well, you sound pretty good to me, Hisao. You didn't have any chest pains while you were running, did you?"

HISAO: "No, not really. I had some trouble catching my breath, though - and my heart was racing by the end, too."

NARRATOR: "The nurse frowns as I say this, but then shrugs."

NURSE: "It's probably just because you're out of shape... but if you don't improve, then you should let me know, okay? Don't push yourself too much - and of course if you have any chest pains, come to me immediately, right?"

NARRATOR: "I put my shirt back on, and the nurse leans out of the doorway to call in Emi."

EMI: "What took you so long? Now I'm going to be late!"

NARRATOR: "The nurse gives me a significant look."

NURSE: "I was just seducing Hisao, that's all."

EMI: "What!? Come on, what have I told you about seducing my friends?"

NARRATOR: "I'd expected Emi to be shocked by this, but instead she seems merely annoyed, scolding the nurse as if he were a child stealing cookies. Meanwhile, I try hard not to blush at the nurse's innuendo."

NURSE: "I'll try not to do it again, though I fear young Hisao may be lost to the female gender forever!"

HISAO: "Not freaking likely."

NARRATOR: "I didn't mean to say that out loud, but both the nurse and Emi regard me for a moment before bursting into laughter again."

EMI: "Told you he was funny, didn't I?"

NARRATOR: "Huh. I guess Emi does talk to the nurse about a lot of stuff."

NURSE: "Well Hisao, you should probably get moving. You still need a shower before class starts, don't you?"

NARRATOR: "Crap! He's got a point, and it looks like I've only got a half hour!"

HISAO: "Thanks for your time. I'll see you later, Emi!"

NARRATOR: "I dash out of the room as the nurse begins to remove Emi's prosthetics. As I head down the hallway, I can just barely hear his voice drifting after me."

NURSE: "Emi, you've got to be more careful..."

NARRATOR: "I make it back to my room and shower in record time. It occurs to me that I've already been up for four hours, and class hasn't even started yet. This is going to be a really, really long day. I hope I don't fall asleep in class."

Next Scene: Track Meeting