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Hisao "What do you say, Hanako? If we all help it shouldn't take long at all."
Hanako's fidgeting answers my question before she can even form the words.
Hanako "I… I really need to go…"
Well, that was to be expected. Looks like it's just me and the council girls again.
It's easier to resign myself to another afternoon's work in the small council office.
Hisao "I'll catch up with you later, okay?"
Misha "Right! Now that the farewells are over, it's work time!"
Misha and Shizune frog-march me to the student council office, never once letting go of my shoulders.
I feel a little bad for ditching Hanako like this, but if this is the price of getting Misha off her back, so be it.
Hisao "So then, what are we up to today?"
Hisao "Huh? Isn't that supposed to happen after something?"
Misha "Yup! We have to collate all of the information from the festival so that Shicchan can debrief the teachers."
Shizune drops a large pile of paperwork on the desk in front of me, and smiles succinctly.
Misha "You need to sort those out into two piles."
Misha "One for financial stuff, like receipts, one for feedback, one for positive feedback, maybe one for things that look like they could be problems next year, one for problems that probably won't be able to be fixed…"
Hisao "That's a few more than two piles…"
Misha "Huh? Oh, right. Yeah I thought it would be only two piles. My bad."
Hisao "Right. While I'm doing this, what will you two be doing?"
'Misha "Well, we missed lunch because we were collecting all of these reports, so we're going to go get some food!"
Why didn't you just sort them out while you were collecting them…
Thankfully my self-defense mechanism kicks in and prevents me from opening my mouth and further worsening my situation.
Misha "How is that fair?"
I was fretting over the unfair distribution of work so much that I didn't notice that Shizune had kept on signing.
If it weren't for Misha's outburst, I probably wouldn't have noticed at all.
Shizune seems to be delivering a fairly long string of commands to Misha, and none of them look pleasant.
Reaching a conclusion, Misha signs briefly back to Shizune, and then sits down at the desk next to me.
Shizune waves to the both of us before disappearing out the door.
Hisao "What was all that about?"
Misha "Shicchan was worried that you'd get it all wrong unless you were supervised."
Misha "And since she can't tell you how you are messing things up, she's making me stay. Awww… bummer, I wanted to go with Shicchan!"
Misha "But she is going to bring us back some food~!"
Misha "How good is that!"
Misha's flippancy is out of this world. From down in the dumps to on top of the world over some calories.
It's hard to imagine how anyone could operate at that level.
Hisao "Well, it could have been worse."
Hisao "So what are we supposed to be doing?"
Hisao "I gathered that."
'Misha 'Well, let's just start making piles. We'll work out what the piles mean later."
We start to separate all of the papers into increasingly complex piles.
At first it's just simple categories; financial, feedback, incident reports…
Then they split apart into the good and bad reports, and further still, until it starts to look like we've just thrown the papers onto the desk.
Hisao "This is hopeless."
Misha "Huh? Why? We're doing what we were told, right?"
Hisao "Yes, but it looks like we're just making a mess."
Misha "No, I think we got a lot done. Shicchan will be able to work out the rest from here."
Misha "So I think we can stop about here then."
It's almost as if Misha's common sense left the room with Shizune.
Still, there's no point in arguing.
Misha "What's the deal with you and Hanako?"
Misha "You were hanging out with her today, weren't you~?"
Misha "Have there been any fireworks? Any gossip that you're withholding from me~?"
Hisao "If I told you about my own circumstances, it wouldn’t be gossip, would it?"
Misha "I guess not…"
Hisao "We're just friends, I guess."
Hisao "Why are you so interested? I thought you and Shizune didn't like her…"
Misha "It's not really like that. You know Shicchan and Lilly don't get along well."
Misha "And since you can't really get Hanako away from Lilly, we don't talk to her much."
Misha "But that doesn't mean that I can't be concerned for her."
Hisao "What is there to be concerned about?"
Misha "Well, she never hangs out with anyone else, right? It's no good, Hicchan!"
If Shizune and Lilly dislike each other because “their personalities are different” then I hate to think how Misha and Hanako would get along…
Misha "I mean, in one way or the other, we're all in the same boat here, right~?"
Hisao "Well, I guess."
Misha "This one time, when she left class halfway through, Shicchan went to the teacher and asked what was going to be done about it."
Misha "He said that every student here has special needs, and that Shicchan shouldn't worry herself about it."
Misha "Hanako never does any group work; she just runs off."
Misha "Isn't that enough to be concerned about?"
Hisao "I guess you're right. She still hardly says a word when we're talking."
Misha "Well, that's more than I have been able to do. Shicchan and I both tried when she started, but she got scared and ran off."
I consider telling Misha that exactly the same thing happened with me, but she seems caught up in thought.
Listening to Misha without Shizune's influence is… interesting.
Misha "I think she needs to realize that people here don't care what she looks like, and that she can trust us."
Misha "If she could, I'd feel a lot better about her."
I think this is the longest I have watched Misha without seeing her sign.
When she's with Shizune, she is constantly waving her hands about, explaining the world to Shizune.
That amount of effort probably places a strain even on an agile mind.
And let's face it; Misha isn't the world's brightest spark.
Hisao "Well, I'll keep an eye on her for you."
Hisao "But you should probably apologize for earlier. I don't think Hanako is cut out for that kind of joke."
Misha "Oh? Oh~!"
Misha "I didn't even notice. Sorry."
Hisao "Don't say it to me, just mention it to her."
Misha "All right. First thing tomorrow, I'll speak to her."
A cacophony from the door heralds the return of Shizune.
I guess she can't really tell how much noise she is making.
Misha "Oh, Shicchan! You're back!"
Shizune appears, completely laden with goods from the convenience store.
Misha "There was some surplus left from the festival. Since this is officially festival business, I've splurged a little."
Misha "Nice idea Shicchan, ten points."
Hisao ""Is that really allowed?"
Misha "For someone who refuses to join us, you seem to take an unhealthy interest in the politics of this council."
Misha "I shall punish your insolence by rationing your portion of the feast."
Hisao "Fine, fine, I get it."
Misha slides the multiple stacks of paper to one side to make room for the avalanche of food Shizune is spreading out.
As I watch my hard yet misdirected work become wasted, I realize that it's little wonder why these two need help.
The convenience store meal isn't overly tasty, but at the very least it's filling.
Misha "Thanks for helping today. Most of the time we just make up the reports for the staff."
Misha "This year we can at least make up some relevant headings on the debrief."
Hisao "Are you sure this isn't a corrupt organization?"
Misha "Not at all, not at all. We're by the book. It's not our fault if the book isn't specific enough."
Hisao "I thought that was the definition of corruption…"
Misha "You think too much~!"
Hisao "You know what? You're probably right."
Hisao "Anyway, I must be off…"
Hisao "…that is, if I'm allowed to leave."
Misha "Your work has been deemed sufficient. You may leave."
Hisao "Well, thank you."
Hisao "You know, if you stressed the “free meal” side of things over the “endless workload” side, you'd probably end up with more recruits."
Misha "You might just have a point."
Hisao "Well, think about it."
Hisao "And think about what we talked about… you don't have to tell that to Shizune if you don't want."
Misha "What? Oh, right. I'll try to see her tomorrow."
Misha "G'night, Hicchan."
Hisao "Night Misha, Shizune."