NARRATOR: "I'm the first person in class today, although I think I'm a little too early. Then again, sitting alone here for twenty minutes sure beats having to suffer that time with Kenji. The combination of fatigue, frustration, and boredom starts making me feel very tired. I black out for a second, waking up when my head hits the surface of my desk. Rubbing my forehead, I realize this is as good a reason as any to stay up for now and stop coming to class so early later.

NARRATOR: "Eventually, I hear a tapping noise outside in the hallway, and Lilly's tall figure appears in the doorway. She's not in this class, so she must have some other business. Maybe she's looking for Hanako. Lilly stops at the door, looking hesitant as if she was a vampire who can't come in unless invited. I consider doing so because she looks rather lonesome standing there. She steps in on her own accord though, after straightening her skirt and shirt collar as if it was of importance to look prim when entering our classroom."

LILLY: "Excuse me."

NARRATOR: "She calls into the quiet classroom with a probing, delicate voice. I realize the silence might unnerve her because of her blindness so I break it."

HISAO: "Good morning, Lilly."

LILLY: "Hisao? Good morning. I didn't hear you come in."

NARRATOR: "I wonder if she thinks it's suspicious I didn't say anything to her before. It's likely. If I were to tell too big a lie now, it would sink me."

HISAO: "Well, I was already here, just asleep until now."

LILLY: "Oh. Have you seen Hanako today, by any chance?"

HISAO: "No, she seems to come in only just before the bells ring... or after that. Do you want me to tell her something for you?"

LILLY: "No, it's fine. It's strange, but I think we're the only two people in the school right now. I didn't hear anyone else on my way here."

HISAO: "I shouldn't have gotten up so early today, I guess."

LILLY: "You're chastising yourself for doing something that other people should? Punctuality is a good thing. I think so, anyway. It's a very busy morning today. The festival is coming up soon, and today is the deadline for event registration, budget reports, and any other official paperwork. It could be that everyone is trying to complete the necessary forms at the last minute. Maybe that is why it's so quiet today."

MISHA: "Hi ~ Hi ~!"

NARRATOR: "Misha pops into the room with Shizune as if on cue, shouting with a loudness that makes Lilly visibly flinch."

MISHA: "Hi, Hicchan~! Hi."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Look, it's the class representative~! Hello~!"

NARRATOR: "Lilly smiles, probably amused by Misha's - or Shizune's - use of the word “look.”"

LILLY: "Good morning."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Of course, you're not the representative of this class, right, right~?"

LILLY: "I'm not."

NARRATOR: "Lilly seems a little more guarded in her answers to Shizune than she was with me the other day. I guess they really don't get along at all. Then I realize that Lilly might actually not know Shizune is present and she's trying to detect whether or not she is, to know who she is talking to. For all she knows, she's talking to Misha, but knowing that she and Shizune are practically inseparable, she might expect Shizune being the one that actually “talks.” Damn, how complicated. I decide to help Lilly out, for my own peace of mind more than anything else."

HISAO: "You're here early, Shizune."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "You were here even earlier than us!"

NARRATOR: "Misha puffs out her cheeks angrily. Why is she getting angry? Does she feel emotions on Shizune's behalf, too? It's not that weird, though, that Shizune didn't like my little comment. It's true, I was here earlier than them, so me saying something like that could definitely be misinterpreted as anything. Especially to Shizune, who doesn't have the benefit of hearing tone to gauge intent. Before I can start weighing whether or not I should apologize, Shizune has already moved on."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Class rep~! It's a good thing you're here~! We have to talk."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "The festival is coming up in three days, right? Every other class has already handed in their projected budget reports for their events! Even the first-years! Except you~! Wahaha~!"

LILLY: "There is still time to hand it in, isn't there?"

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Today! The deadline is today! You're certainly taking your time, aren't you? If I had it my way, I'd have had all of the necessary paperwork days ago, but someone~! had to say “the deadline, please extend it~!”"

LILLY: "Yes, that was me. Planning something on this scale is not a small task, and a week is too small a time frame to expect a whole class to work out such a complex issue completely."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Do you want to know what's harder than distributing the funds for one class' event? Handling the same matter for every class in the school and then some~! The one who does that is me!"

NARRATOR: "Misha puts her hands on her hips and stands up straight. Wow, she is really getting into the role. Lilly doesn't look like she's very amused, though."

HISAO: "Hey, Shizune, aren't you being a little too hard on her? There's still a whole day left."

LILLY: "Please, Hisao. It's all right."

NARRATOR: "Lilly seems happy I'm taking her side, but a bit conflicted that I might not think she can take care of herself."

LILLY: "If this is about the budget, then I'm disappointed you think I have forgotten about it. I understand how important it is."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Then~! Can I have it, please?"

HISAO: "Shizune, she might not have it on her at this exact second."

LILLY: "It's not here right now. I asked two students to take care of it for me. Students from my class."

NARRATOR: "She emphasizes the last sentence much to my surprise. She knows about Shizune and Misha's efforts to rope me into the Student Council? I guess word must've gotten around, so now she's using me as ammo against Shizune. This just gets better and better..."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "It was your responsibility~! A budget report isn't something you should just be delegating away; as class rep, it's your job to be on top of things! This kind of disregard for proper procedure is really just terrible~!"

LILLY: "They completed it, being capable of doing so, but the students have been sick recently, so they could not come to school and give it back to me. If you want, I will apologize on their behalf for getting sick."

MISHA: "Okay~!"

NARRATOR: "Although Misha misses Lilly's little jab entirely, Shizune doesn't, and she seems torn between being offended by Lilly's daring and jumping for joy at the prospect of a challenge."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Lilly, don't they live here at the school? That's a five minute walk, you know~. What could they possibly have that prevents them from taking five minutes out of their busy lives... to drop off something that will affect the enjoyment of their entire class?"

NARRATOR: "Lilly opens her mouth to say something, but Shizune closes the gap between them and starts signing furiously, waving her hands around like an orchestra conductor. Misha tries her best to convey the same passion, but can't seem to lose her normal cheerful tone. The result is interesting and somewhat surreal."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "And what's with that attitude~? I said that it's not something you should be delegating away; are you the class representative or aren't you? Tell me the names of those two students, they should have your job if you can't even handle something this simple yourself."

LILLY: "One form isn't the full extent of what I am supposed to take care of."

NARRATOR: "Lilly's tone is growing slightly impatient, but she is doing a good job of not letting Shizune see how unsettled she is becoming. She's playing her cards close to her chest. Shizune, on the other hand, wraps her fingers cheerfully along the edge of her glasses, knowing Lilly can neither hear nor see how excited she is."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Of course, you do so much, class rep~! It must be so difficult being you~!"

NARRATOR: "Lilly tightens her lips at Misha's words, clearly understanding the intent behind them even though Misha delivers them without even a hint of the sarcasm which they were meant to have. Shizune and Lilly don't like each other, that much is clear, but this seems a little much. It seems like Lilly has had enough and is ready to push back."

Lilly shizu showdown

LILLY: "I was actually just discussing the budget report before you came by. You must be very talented to have finished all your student council duties so quickly that you can track me down to make sure I don't forget my own."

MISHA: "Are you accusing me of slacking off? It seems like you're confusing me with yourself~!"

LILLY: "I don't think so. That would be a very difficult thing for me to do; comparing myself to you."

MISHA: "You're right, the difference between us is like heaven and hell."

LILLY: "And it's not hard to guess which one you might represent."

NARRATOR: "The air between them ripples with the heat of their enmity. Well, not really. They can't disguise it any more, though. Even Misha looks like she's beginning to understand the real nature of this conversation."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Hicchan~! Don't you slack off either~!"

HISAO: "What are you talking about?"

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Aren't you taking part in the festival, Hicchan? You are, aren't you? Then~! I hope you're going to do a lot more to make sure it goes smoothly than this person~!"

NARRATOR: "I don't understand why Shizune is suddenly getting mad at me."

HISAO: "Why am I being dragged into this, again? I've done more than enough, I think. If you're angry with Lilly, that has nothing to do with me."

LILLY: "Now, wait just a second... are you implying the president is more right in scolding me than yourself?"

NARRATOR: "Ah damn, I think I could've worded that better."

HISAO: "No, I don't know about that but... I mean..."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "What are you saying, Hicchan?"

HISAO: "It's just that I hardly think it's fair you can say that, seeing that I've helped you guys."

NARRATOR: "The mood has changed. This is like a showdown between two gunfighters now. Well, it was like that before too, but this time Shizune's focus is on me. And so is Lilly's, though she keeps quiet. I'm afraid I inadvertently pissed her off."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Are you saying I'm wrong?"

NARRATOR: "What a dangerous situation."

HISAO: "It's too early to argue with you. ...Yes, I think it's unfair of you to get on my case."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Hicchan, you want too much~! But~! You have a point. Okay, okay okay~! You're not lazy, Hicchan. Hahaha~!"

NARRATOR: "Shizune pushes her glasses up with her thumb, almost approvingly."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "That's good! If you're not useless, you shouldn't let anyone say you are~! But the next time I say it, it'll really be because you are disappointing me like Miss Class Rep here, so don't let this go to your head!"

NARRATOR: "Lilly takes the jab silently, a venomous visage frozen on her face."

MISHA: "Class rep~! Shicchan says: “Don't forget that report, please~!”"

LILLY: "I won't. Would that be all?"

MISHA: "Yup~!"

LILLY: "Then, good day to you all."

NARRATOR: "Her voice would cut the air of the classroom into half, if it was more tangible. Lilly leaves the room, understandably in a bad mood but still managing to be as poised and calm as usual."

HISAO: "Shizune, you really did go a little too far today."

MISHA: "It's true, Shicchan, just a little~."

NARRATOR: "If I had been expecting Shizune to grudgingly admit I have a point there as well, I think I was expecting too much. She doesn't respond."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Hahaha~! Shicchan thinks you should mind your own business. Hicchan, we have a few last minute things to take care of before class~! We might be late, so~! Can you please cover for us?"

HISAO: "Yeah."

MISHA: "Perfect~! Yay~! Okay~! Thanks, Hicchan!"

"They walk outside even though there are only ten minutes left before the bell will ring, signaling the start of class."

NARRATOR: "I turn my back at them."

HISAO: "Lilly, class is going to be starting soon, so we can talk more later. I'll tell Hanako you were looking for her."

NARRATOR: "I can feel Shizune freezing. Maybe this is the first time she has ever been ignored in such a blunt manner."

LILLY: "Thank you, Hisao. I'll leave now, then."

NARRATOR: "She gives me the sweetest smile I've seen all week, and turns on her heels to make her exit. As soon as Lilly walks out the door, I suddenly start feeling reluctant about turning to face Shizune. I can feel her eyes burning into my back, and can't bring myself to look at her. She must be furious. I keep expecting Misha to say something to alleviate the tension, but it really is wanting too much. In the end, I go back to my seat and listen to the sound of Shizune's footsteps as she marches out of the room. She doesn't return until a few minutes before class."

Next Scene: Proof of Competency

NARRATOR: "I turn my back at them. I get back to my seat and shut my ears from the finale of the argument between Lilly and Shizune. Eventually, Lilly leaves our classroom and Shizune and Misha seat themselves, without talking to me. I can feel Shizune's eyes burning into my back. She is probably angry at me, but I'm just as angry with her. I don't get why she had to drag me into the argument."

Next Scene: Proof of Competency

HISAO: "Hey, I'm the new guy, remember? It's not like I could've done much, even if I wanted."

LILLY: "That's right, you shouldn't expect a transfer student to jump right into it on his first week."

NARRATOR: "Lilly taking my side feels oddly comforting so I decide to back her up too."

HISAO: "Yeah you're being unreasonable with us both."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Excuses, excuses. Miss Class Rep has had plenty of time to deal with her report. And we repeatedly offered you a position to help with the student council work, but you refused to commit yourself to making the festival a success."

HISAO: "Yeah, but as I said back then, I'm not sure if..."

NARRATOR: "I don't have time for this right now; no matter what I do, it will mean being drawn into a confrontation with Shizune, and that is what she wants."

HISAO: "Whatever. Forget it."

Next Scene: Above and Beyond