|Home Field Advantage|
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NARRATOR: "The door down the hall opens with a crack as it swings forward from being pushed opened too strongly and crashing against the wall. The sound is followed by a peal of bubbly laughter, and I instantly know who it is. At the noise, Kenji disappears into his room like a ninja, slamming the door shut just as Shizune and Misha walk over, the former taking small, efficient steps towards me while the latter more or less bounces off the walls. I try to do the same as Kenji, but it's too late. Misha puts her foot between my door to prevent me closing it, so I have no other choice but to let them in."
MISHA: "Hi, Hicchan~! Hi~Hi~!"
HISAO: "Hi. What are you two doing here?"
NARRATOR: "I wonder if the pause between those two sentences was politely long enough."
MISHA: "Hicchan, that's rude~! We came to pick you up! Did you think we thought you were going to escape and came to make sure you didn't? Surely not, Hicchan~!"
HISAO: "Hey, I didn't say that that's what you were here for."
NARRATOR: "But now I know it's exactly what they are here for."
MISHA: "It's time for student council work, yes it is~! Aren't you happy, Hicchan, to be able to help the whole~ school~! You are like, a hero~! The future generations will tell stories of this day!"
NARRATOR: "Interesting. I didn't think joining the Student Council would be a heroic deed worthy of Hercules."
HISAO: "Well... I guess I did promise so..."
NARRATOR: "I've neglected Shizune, and only now do I notice her in the corner of my vision, peering around my room over my shoulder, her analytical eyes darting from object to object... This is kinda intrusive, the feeling of being exposed crawls in my balls. Luckily I don't have dirty laundry on the floor or anything like that."
MISHA: "Hm~? What is it, Shicchan? Yeah, this is Hicchan's room~! We haven't seen it before, I didn't even realize! It's kinda plain, but Hicchan hasn't had time to decorate it yet, isn't that so~? What are those?"
NARRATOR: "She points at my collection of medications on the night table. I don't really want to talk about it with these two."
HISAO: "It's nothing."
NARRATOR: "I quickly step in front of them, trying to hide the stuff behind my back. Shizune takes a step back, looking suspicious, but it's an expression not without concern. I hope if I avoid it, she'll understand that I don't want her to keep prodding me about it."
MISHA: "Really? What are you hiding, Hicchan~?"
MISHA: "Is that so~?"
NARRATOR: "I realize I can't really squirm my way out of this. They are nosy by nature and hiding it is just going to pique their curiosity more."
HISAO: "Yeah okay, it is something, but I don't really want to talk about it, okay? Not... yet. Can we just put this aside for now?"
NARRATOR: "As Misha translates, Shizune stares at me hard with her eyes focused and analytical as ever, peering at me curiously over the rims of her glasses. Her fingers press against each other thoughtfully, as if she's weighing the value of pursuing this further than necessary against the insult of disrespecting my wish. Her expression finally melts into a slight smile and she signs something to Misha."
MISHA: "Okay~! Then, we'll wait, and become better and better friends, and one day when you feel like it, you can tell us about it~!"
NARRATOR: "Both of them smile widely at me, and I feel shocked and a little stupid about being like this. They are not stupid, and probably can at least halfway guess what's going on with me. And... Such simple, kind words. I feel relieved that they don't think any worse of me even if I'm like this. Even if I'm not like the rest here. Even if I can't be at ease about it. Seems that behind the obnoxious, mischievous acts, both of these girls are really kind and good people. That's what I think."
HISAO: "Thanks. So, you want me to help you out today, right? Since I'm one of you now?"
HISAO: "After class?"
MISHA: "No no no~! Now!"
HISAO: "Now? But what about class? You are going to skip again?"
MISHA: "Hahaha~! It's for the common good, so we sacrifice our math lessons, and maybe the social studies too~!"
HISAO: "Well, I guess I'm fine with it."
MISHA: "Awesome, Hicchan~! You said it, okay? Remember: “I'm fine with helping out~,” that's what you said, right~?"
NARRATOR: "That tone... I suddenly regret saying it."
MISHA: "Okay~! Are you ready to go then? We can go to the office together~!"
HISAO: "No. You're probably going to make me carry all your stuff for you or something."
MISHA: "Don't be silly, Hicchan. We've never walked to school together, Hicchan~."
NARRATOR: "I almost want to ask why we would, but then it dawns on me. The both of them consider me their friend, like Misha said before. And they want to become better friends with me, even. It's weird, I've never really thought about them that way. Or any of the people I've met so far this week. Is it really so easy? Just like that..."
HISAO: "Okay, let's go, then."
NARRATOR: "Shizune grins craftily and puts her hands behind her back."
MISHA: "Hahaha~! That's great, Hicchan~! Okay, okay, but first~! You had a really great idea, Shicchan liked it a lot... So~! it's time for a game!"
HISAO: "Oh no."
MISHA: "Shicchan is holding a 1000-yen note in one hand, Hicchan~! If you guess which one, you can have it! If you don't... You're carrying all our books to school~! Right, Shicchan~? Right~!"
NARRATOR: "She and Shizune exchange nods."
MISHA: "Okay, Hicchan~! Get ready~!"
NARRATOR: "Carrying three bags instead of one, I think about the day that's ahead of me. Of us. I can see students walking back and forth through the courtyard, probably in preparation of their own projects. The festival is practically here. That means there are only two possible reasons that my help is required. Either there is only a small amount of work left, and they just want a helping hand to wrap up the mundane final checks they are obligated to do. Or there is a ton of work left, and Shizune is putting on a calm face as a torrent of built-up procrastinated work threatens to kill us all."
Next Scene: No Free Lunch
NARRATOR: "Even so, they have really crossed the line this time. Nosy annoyances."
HISAO: "It's nothing."
MISHA: "Really~, Hicchan? It doesn't look like it's nothing to me."
MISHA: "What a long line of bottles, right~? Right~! What are all of those, Hicchan?"
HISAO: "Just a few things."
MISHA: "That looks like a lot more than “just a few things”..."
NARRATOR: "I can't fault either of them for being this way. Misha's just talking for Shizune, and Shizune is just curious by nature. Still, I wish the two of them would stop digging and take the hint. But Misha wouldn't pick up on it, and Shizune can't. Because of that, they keep pressing on."
HISAO: "It's really none of your business. Shouldn't you be leaving? A man's room is private, you know."
NARRATOR: "Shizune seems to take that as a challenge."
MISHA: "What does that mean, Hicchan? When someone sees something interesting, their first instinct is to ask what it is, that's obvious. What's wrong with that?"
HISAO: "Because, like I said, there's nothing to see."
MISHA: "Hicchan, I think Shicchan is just concerned."
HISAO: "What I have in my room isn't any of your business, that's all."
HISAO: "Damn it! Sometimes, I wish you two would just stop playing around so much. It's not funny all the time. You know that, right?"
NARRATOR: "I say it way more strongly than I meant to, almost yelling straight at Misha's face. She flinches and freezes in mid-sign, and even Shizune reacts to it even though she didn't hear me. I guess my angry face said all that needs to be said to her. After Misha slowly finishes the translation, the girls look at each other regretfully."
MISHA: "Okay, Hicchan, we'll leave you alone."
NARRATOR: "It's the first time I've heard Misha speak without that familiar lilting up-and-down quality in her voice. It feels so strange to hear, and I want to apologize, but they have already turned to leave. As the silence settles in, I regret what I said more and more. The girls leave quietly, and after a while of standing in my room I dress up and follow after them."
Next Scene: No Recovery