NARRATOR: "The teacher seems like an okay person despite the weird first impression I got, and the material is relatively interesting. However, the way he teaches is really bizarre. It's as if he expects that everyone is a natural genius. When the final bell sounds, I realize that there is still a lot of time left in the day, and I'm left wondering what to do."
NARRATOR: "It's odd, at the hospital I had 24 hours a day of free time, but here filling the considerably shorter hours feels difficult. Everyone else leaves, and I'm left alone with the teacher. Mutou is examining the assignment sheets we were working on earlier, marking them with a red ballpen. Raising his eyes from his papers briefly, he notices me and furrows his brow."
MUTOU: "What is it, Nakai?"
NARRATOR: "I jump at him addressing me, but I guess it's natural to spark some conversation since there is nobody else around."
HISAO: "Umm... nothing. Thinking about what I'd do after school."
NARRATOR: "The teacher slowly puts the cap on the pen he is holding and arranges his papers into a stack, clacking it against the desk twice. He seems very methodical and for a brief moment I'm reminded of Shizune, but the teacher is more unhurried and relaxed, much more routined."
MUTOU: "You have no plans?"
HISAO: "No. I considered joining a club, but don't know what kind of club would interest me."
MUTOU: "Go observe a meeting of someone else's club. Might pique your interest."
HISAO: "I guess... I just..."
NARRATOR: "But I don't know how to continue from there."
NARRATOR: "Mutou looks at me in a way that makes me quickly want to take the words back to avoid a conversation. But I can't, so I have to forge ahead."
HISAO: "I just don't know how to deal with people. I mean, the other students. I'm talking to people and everything, so it's not that I'd be isolated or anything. I just don't know what to think about... the disabilities. It's like... it feels that I'm being impolite if I pay attention to them, and it's weird to ignore them. Damned if I do, damned if I don't."
NARRATOR: "The teacher scratches his cheek absentmindedly, looking very unresponsive."
MUTOU: "These things are only an issue if you make them one. You can talk normally with someone, even if they are blind or something. Try to look behind the superficial. There's not a single student here who isn't just a normal kid behind whatever they might seem at first glance."
NARRATOR: "He says the same thing as Yuuko did. I know they're right, but it's hard. How can you not consider for example Shizune's deafness, when the only way to communicate with her is to talk through Misha? Or Hanako... it's not like you can ignore her face."
NARRATOR: "I'm interrupted by the door of the classroom suddenly slamming open."
NARRATOR: "Misha crashes in, hand straight in an enthusiastic greeting, her voice loud and lively enough to wake the dead from their graves. She starts towards the teacher's desk with her bouncing step, hands energetically swinging with the rhythm. Mutou, visibly dismayed at the interruption and Misha in general, slumps in his chair."
NARRATOR: "Misha stops in her tracks and looks around cluelessly, as if she's sensing from his tone that something's wrong but has no idea what."
MUTOU: "We have talked about volume control before."
NARRATOR: "But she doesn't lower her voice at all, and the teacher just rubs his eyes."
MUTOU: "So, what is it?"
MISHA: "I... we need help! We are running out of supplies for the festival stands! This is a distress!"
NARRATOR: "She waves a pink slip of paper she's holding around."
MUTOU: "So... go get more supplies from the art room. What's the problem with that?"
MISHA: "Plywood! Plywood is always the problem! Last time we wanted more there was only a little, but that time we just took it all and went with that. Now there's like none left there, so do you know where there is some?"
MUTOU: "I don't understand. How would I know?"
MISHA: "Shicchan... I mean the president thought that a teacher would know if there is plywood. Was she wrong?"
NARRATOR: "Mutou looks like he is in great pain, frowning with his entire essence, and Misha doesn't get it at all. Looking at the two of them communicate is terrible, like looking at a man being tortured by drilling his skull open while blasting pop music at full volume at the same time."
MUTOU: "I'm afraid I have no idea if there is any plywood in the school, let alone where it would be if there was any."
MISHA: "Awww... what should I do?"
MUTOU: "Perhaps try to find Mr. Nomiya? I'm quite sure he would know where to find everything you need. You'd have to pry them from his cold, dead hands, but that's a different matter."
MISHA: "Aaaah! I don't have time! We are so busy!"
NARRATOR: "She holds her head with both of her hands, looking as despairing as it's possible for a person like her. Without even noticing, she crumples the note she's holding against her hair."
MISHA: "I shouldn't even be fetching these things, there is so much to do and we are falling behind the schedule!"
NARRATOR: "Mutou looks at her gravely and then, suddenly smiles. Smiling doesn't really fit his face. I think it'd be better if he didn't."
MUTOU: "I wonder if you could get some temporary help?"
NARRATOR: "He switches to staring at me focusedly, with a hard expression, as if trying to say 'go make some friends.' ..."
HISAO: "Eehhh... I guess I can give you a hand."
MISHA: "You can? Thanks, Hicchan, you are really nice!"
NARRATOR: "She pauses, does a double take and then points at me with her finger, yelping 'Ah!' and looking very puzzled."
MISHA: "Come to think of it, what's Hicchan doing here? Class is over, you should be having fun~!"
MUTOU: "We just had a little chat."
MISHA: "Oh no! It's not detention is it? Are you in trouble, Hicchan?"
HISAO: "No, I'm not."
MISHA: "Is Hicchan in trouble, teacher?"
MUTOU: "No, he's not."
NARRATOR: "Mutou sighs deeply and I feel that I have to help Misha to get her off the teacher's back."
HISAO: "So what do you need?"
MISHA: "Here's a list. I can try to find the plywood from somewhere if there's none in the art room."
NARRATOR: "She offers me the note she's holding. I take it, hesitating a bit."
HISAO: "I said I'd help you, but this has no implications on whether I'm joining the council or not."
MISHA: "Awww.... Still, thanks, Hicchan. Try to be quick, we are in a stall-building streak now, we must hurry hurry hurry!"
NARRATOR: "She bounces out of the classroom, leaving me and the teacher looking at each other with something that feels like a silent agreement."
MUTOU: "Well, there you have it, Nakai. You have something to do now."
NARRATOR: "Please don't sound so smug."
NARRATOR: "Looking at the list with a number of items ranging from paint to plywood, all written with small, neat handwriting that is undoubtedly Shizune's, I heave a sigh."
HISAO: "I'll be going then."
NARRATOR: "Waving the long list limply at the teacher, I exit to the hallway."
Next Scene: A Private Lunch