NARRATOR: "Another day of class has finally dragged itself to a close. Unexpectedly, I managed to stay awake for the whole day. I'm pretty sure that counts as a miracle. My legs seem unwilling to stand up for a moment. I guess the run took a lot out of me. I head down the hallway and make my way to my room. I sit down and half-heartedly chip away at my homework for a while, feeling like a vulture picking at a particularly unsavory carcass. It knows this is what it eats, but it's not sure that it shouldn't be ordering takeout instead. I don't think I can take this, but it's important to get my work done."

HISAO: "Now let's see... what was I supposed to be looking over again?"

NARRATOR: "I know it's a losing battle, but I fight it anyway. Halfway through my math homework, I put my pencil down. This isn't working. I need a distraction. Unfortunately, my options for distractions are rather slim. I'm not in the mood to read, right now. Kenji is, unusually, out of his room at the moment. If I go to the student council room, I'll just end up doing work for those two. And heaven only knows where everyone else is, except for..."

NARRATOR: "Well, I suppose that's an option. I grab my shoes and head for the track. Emi's probably down there. Track practice is just ending as I arrive at the track. The sun's beginning to dip low in the sky. Has it really gotten that late already?"

EMI: "What are you doing down here, Hisao? Come to spy on me, have you?"

NARRATOR: "I give a shrug. To be honest, I'm not sure why I'm down here."

HISAO: "I didn't have anything better to do."

NARRATOR: "I figure that's about right. At the moment, Emi's the only person I can think of who I could visit."

EMI: "So I'm your last resort, am I? Nobody cool around, so I'll just go see Emi, is that what you thought?"

NARRATOR: "She actually looks angry. A chance for some teasing of my own presents itself."

HISAO: "Actually, yeah, I guess you are."

NARRATOR: "Emi pouts, widening her eyes to give the maximum amount of puppy-dog resemblance."

HISAO: "Kidding! I was kidding!"

EMI: "So you are down here to stalk me!"

NARRATOR: "Wait, what?"

HISAO: "That's not what I meant! Why would I stalk you anyway? It's not like you require stalking. If you're not asleep or in class, you're down here, right?"

NARRATOR: "Emi laughs at this comment."

EMI: "Well, you're not all wrong, I suppose - but you forgot about eating. I do that too, you know."

NARRATOR: "I nod, conceding the point."

EMI: "Plus I hang out with Rin sometimes too... so really I might take some effort to stalk."

HISAO: "What do you two do together anyway? You don't seem to have a lot in common."

NARRATOR: "She puts her hands on her hips and assumes a superior air."

EMI: "That's what you think. I've got all sorts of hidden hobbies, you know."

HISAO: "Oh really? Like what?"

NARRATOR: "Emi puts her head to one side, as if she's trying to remember what it is she does in her free time."

EMI: "Well, Rin and I go out shopping sometimes."

NARRATOR: "I guess that makes sense. Emi's a girl, after all. But Rin?"

HISAO: "Rin comes with you?"

EMI: "We usually swing by the art supply store. Plus she likes this music store that sells all kinds of weird sounding stuff. She says it helps focus her."

NARRATOR: "That makes a little more sense."

HISAO: "I see. Any other hidden hobbies?"

NARRATOR: "Emi wags a finger at me."

EMI: "Now now, why would I go and reveal all my dark secrets to you? We hardly know one another!"

NARRATOR: "Somehow I think that's all that Emi has in the way of hobbies. Still, I don't think my question's been answered."

HISAO: "Even if you do have a few hobbies, I still don't see why you hang out with Rin so much. I mean, she's kind of weird, isn't she?"

NARRATOR: "This comment causes Emi to laugh loudly."

EMI: "Ha! That's the understatement of the year!"

HISAO: "So why? I mean, you're a lot better at conversation and stuff, so I figure you'd hang out with a lot of people, but I think I've only ever seen you with Rin."

NARRATOR: "Emi seems unusually defensive."

EMI: "Hey, I hang out with plenty of people that aren't Rin! You just don't see me doing it because I'm not in your classes."

HISAO: "Okay, but that still doesn't explain why you hang out with Rin."

NARRATOR: "I'm not even sure why I want to know this. I guess it is because lunch was so strange. Emi shrugs, looking for a moment very Rin-ish."

EMI: "It's because we have similar outlooks."

NARRATOR: "If you were to ask me the least likely answer to my question, that would be it."

HISAO: "What do you mean?"

EMI: "It's like... Okay, Rin paints and stuff, right?"

HISAO: "Yes..."

NARRATOR: "I'm not sure where this is going."

EMI: "Well, I run."

HISAO: "And?"

EMI: "And... that's why we're similar."

HISAO: "... You lost me."

NARRATOR: "Emi frowns, as if trying to figure out her answer."

EMI: "Well, maybe it's that we do things for the same reasons."

HISAO: "Huh?"

EMI: "You know, we follow our passions."

HISAO: "So you're passionate about running and Rin's passionate about art, is that it?"

EMI: "Well, sort of. Let me think... Well, Rin explained it to me once, but I don't know how much of it I followed."

NARRATOR: "Not surprising. I think any explanation from Rin would probably confuse anyone."

EMI: "She says we both chase after an extreme. Like, she's always trying to find a new way to show a particular feeling or something. And I run because of the feeling I get from it. And since we don't allow ourselves to be slowed down by anything, we make a connection based on that."

HISAO: "What do you mean “slowed down by anything?”"

NARRATOR: "Emi looks surprised and points to her legs."

EMI: "You know, because I'm a runner. And Rin's a painter even without arms. So we respect each other's determination. And that's why we hang out. I think."

NARRATOR: "Well, I'm not sure that made any sense to me...but from Emi's sheepish expression, she's not sure about it either."

EMI: "Honestly, it's not something I think about much. We just get along - I think that's really all that matters."

NARRATOR: "I suppose she's got a point there. Another question strikes me, and since I've got nothing better to do, I ask it."

HISAO: "So what got you so into running, anyway?"

EMI: "Oh, I've been running since I was really little! My dad was a runner, and so as soon as I could walk, he started teaching me how to run. It was our father/daughter thing, you know? Our own mutual hobby."

NARRATOR: "A shadow crosses her face, and I'm shocked to see her looking... sad. Did something happen between them?"

EMI: "Man, I don't have a lot of time left. Sorry, but I've got to get a few more laps in before I go see the nurse!"

NARRATOR: "She races off around the track, hair streaming in the wind. It seems to me she's going a lot faster than she was this morning. As she rounds the track, I catch a glimpse of her face. It's much the same as it was this morning, but her eyes seem to have taken on a harder edge. I guess she's right. I don't really know much about her. I watch her run for a little while, and then stand up to head back to my room."

EMI: "Hey!"

NARRATOR: "She spots me leaving and waves to catch my attention."

EMI: "Don't forget! Same time tomorrow morning, got it?"

HISAO: "Got it."

NARRATOR: "I head back to my room. Homework beckons."

Next Scene: Second Time's the Worst