Act 1 ~ Life ExpectancyEdit
Hisao meets Shizune and Misha on his first day at Yamaku, when they are paired together by their teacher Mutou. At first, Hisao thinks Misha is the Student Council president, but Misha corrects him that she is only the interpreter for Shizune, as she is deaf. Hisao also notices Shizune's burning work-ethic and Misha's overwhelming enthusiasm. After lunch, the girls guide him to the school nurse, as they don't have time to guide him any more around the school.
The next day, the students get right to work, although they talk about the festival. Hisao has no interest in joining any clubs or extra-curricular activities, so Shizune and Misha "forcefully encourage" him to join the student council by playing Risk. After a lengthy and wild game, Shizune wins, but is impressed with his daring play style and aggressive attack.
On the way to lunch at the Shanghai cafe, Emi accidentally bumps into Hisao and knocks him down. Shizune (through Misha) reprimands her for running in the halls.
Lunch is filled with more relentless teasing and recruitment attempts. They meet Yuuko again, who is just as absent-minded as at the library. During lunch, they let slip that they are the only members of student council, and have recruited no one this year. Hisao promises to give it a trial run. With this new development, they ask Hisao to fetch some supplies from the art teacher (as Shizune doesn't like him) which lets him meet Rin. Since their discussion takes so long, Misha and Shizune come up. Shizune disciplines Rin for sleeping on the tables (misuse of school property)
The next morning, Hisao gets to class with no one else there. Lilly enters the classroom looking for Hanako and mentions they are probably finishing their forms for the festival. Misha and Shizune enter and immediately reprimand Lilly for not turning in her budget forms for the festival. An argument begins -- Shizune harshly accuses Lilly of slacking in her work and Lilly patiently protests that several students have been sick and the time window was too small for forms so complex. Due to Hisao's poor choice of words, he implies that he's siding with Student Council. With Shizune and Misha working together to manipulate Hisao, they successfully coerce him into helping build several festival stalls. After completing six stalls, they convince him to join Student Council.
Next day, Misha and Shizune burst into Hisao's room, making SURE he comes to Student Council. Shizune points out the medications strewn all over his dresser. Embarrassed, he dodges the subject. But all Misha and Shizune want is to walk to school as friends, to get to know him better. Misha/Shizune tells him they will wait for Hisao to get comfortable enough to share.
Saturday morning, Misha and Shizune knock on his door, waking him up bright and early. They work all day on Student Council/festival stuff, taking a break to eat at the Shanghai "tea shop" again. Hisao realizes that Shizune views everything with a Machiavellian slant, that everything is a "win/lose" scenario. Somehow Hisao finds himself in the middle of a friendly wager, that whoever gets back to school last "loses". Shizune takes Hisao by the hand and they sneak out, leaving Misha with the bill.
They work far into the evening, suffering a few mishaps that result in Hisao doing more work than necessary. They joke about all the extra chopsticks they have from all the dinners they've ordered. Late at night, Hisao returns to the peace of his dorm.
Hisao realizes that he also promised to eat lunch with Emi. Knowing he can't be in two places at once, he chooses Shizune, since he is in Student Council. They spend it working on festival stuff and eating instant noodles. Although he's been working on setting it up, the two act indignant when he tells them he has no plans for the festival. They invite him, wanting him to see the result of all his hard work.
On Sunday, Hisao leaves to spend the day with the Student Council at the festival. They eat fried food, listen to music, and visit many stalls, including one Hisao remembers building. It also happens to be the stall where they needed his throwing skills, to win a prize for Misha and Shizune at the milk jug toss. Hisao wins a stuffed cat doll, but struggles to decide who to give it to. He hands it to Shizune and attempts to win a second one for Misha. During his many tries, Hisao suffers a brief heart flutter, a fact he keeps from the two girls.
They decide to eat on the school rooftop to get away from the crowds. While Misha goes to get food, Hisao stares at the fireflies and paper lanterns, thinking how beautiful this place is. When Misha falls asleep, Shizune tries to communicate with gestures to no avail. Finally, she tells him to look at everything in front of him: the stars, the town, the glow of the festival, the vast sky. The fireworks start and they watch together, taking in more beauty. After Hisao leaves for the night, he realizes he may be falling in love with her.
Act 2 ~ Learning to ReadEdit
Hisao wakes up the day after the festival, lingering on the night he had with Shizune and Misha. He realizes that he can't be thinking about how the festival went when he has exams to focus on, as they happen immediately after the festival, which he finds unfair. Deciding to study before class, Hisao goes outside to do so in the nice weather, still thinking about how things went at the festival being accompanied by Misha and Shizune. His thoughts are interrupted by Shizune approaching him from behind. Hisao attempts to greet her forgetting that she can't hear him, and greets her after realizing with a wave. He tries asking where Misha is, thinking that it's less awkward actually trying to hold a conversation with her by talking, even if she can't hear him.
In an attempt to communicate, Shizune slowly makes gestures in response. He sits there not knowing how to communicate back when Shizune realizes his struggle, taking the initiative by pulling out a pad of paper and pen. They then further their conversation this way, beginning with small talk, until Hisao asks about the stalls that they went to. Shizune tells him that they went to the stalls that he had built so he could feel a sense of accomplishment and feel proud about the work he had done. He thinks that it was a trick, but she explains that they had done so because he had looked depressed. She leaves soon after wishing him luck on his exams. Hisao thinks about the oddness of having a conversation on paper between two people that are in each other's presence and ponders learning sign language. Afterwards, Hisao decides to head back to the dorm to try and find Misha, and tells her that he wants to learn sign language. She asks why, and he replies that it would make conversing with Shizune much easier, although requests that she keep it secret. After a sign language lesson Hisao runs into Misha who remarks that she wants to be a sign language teacher, which is why she is at Yamaku. She offers to tutor Hisao since he is behind the rest of the class, and he accepts somewhat reluctantly after a false start.
Hisao is later woken by Kenji who asks Hisao to retrieve his package from the post office, due to a lack of trust in the student counsel for delivering his mail to him. When he retrieves the package he finds himself stopping at the Shanghai cafe for lunch, wondering how it's still in business given that it is empty once again. Outside he meets Shizune, but the two are unable to communicate, which causes Yuuko some upset in trying to determine their order. She also remarks on the strange absence of menus and contradictory nature of a western style tea-house called the Shanghai. Hisao talks aloud to Shizune who cannot understand him and she in turn signs to him although his basic grasp of the language is wholly insufficient to understand. He notices that while he is talking to fill the silence, Shizune appears simply unwilling to change her normal behaviour for anyone.
Shizune turns mischievous and tries to open the package, Hisao scolds her, but Shizune writes on the box saying "lets play a game", wherin the rules are that they both hold the package and the one that makes the package fall carries the package all the way to the dorm. Although suspicious Hisao accepts, reasoning that 50/50 odds are the best so far for games with Shizune. On the way, Hisao accidentally touches the fingers of Shizune under the package and makes her drop it, so she brings it to the dorm, unwilling to accept Hisao's attempt to carry the package for her. He realizes that the game was an exercise in teamwork and not a competition, and that with her hands carrying the box Shizune is effectively 'silenced'. On the way back to Yamaku Shizune shivers in the cold air and Hisao offers her his jacket. She startles when his fingertips brush against her shoulders, but clumsily offers her thanks.
Sometime later Hisao is studying a sign language textbook in the cafeteria when Misha and Shizune recruit him, ostensibly for more student council work which he has neglected lately in order to study. When he reaches the office however the three play games, enjoying a respite before the stress of arranging the school's Tanabata festival. However they are interrupted by Hanako who needs a new ID card. Shizune notices her interest in the chess board and encourages her to play a game. Though magnanimous in victory Shizune subsequently beats Hanako in blitz chess and presses for greater competition, succeeding in scaring Hanako from the room. Afterwards she comments on how chess is too formulaic and that Hanako plays the game for the memories she associates with it, and as such will never be a good player.
During lunch with the two Hisao and Shizune become embroiled in a disput over a rare piece of veal cutlet bread which Shizune attempts to play rock-paper-scissors for, however the game is inconclusive and Hisao splits the food between them. Shizune comments that this feels like a hollow victory, but Misha finds it romantic. Following on Misha tells Hisao that she is behind in some classes and won't be able to attend student council in the coming days, she also reveals that she told Shizune about Hisao learning sign language, which upsets him, thinking he has been made to appear the fool. The next day he meets Shizune to assemble stalls for Tanabata and the two converse in sign after Hisao becomes tired and takes a break. Shizune reveals that she is pleased he took the step to learn, being impressed with his initiative.
The next day Hisao finally delivers Kenji's package to him. Although he is unable to make him reveal its contents, Kenji does instead divulge his dealings with the student council. Later Hisao and Shizune make stalls again, Shizune tells Hisao that she has stored some of the stalls from the first festival to save them work, but that the reason they still have to build some is because the previous council was too weak willed. They share a meal that Shizune has prepared. Lilly arrives and Hisao is forced to tactically translate Shizune's comments towards her. He later asks about the situation between them and Shizune tells him that Lilly used to be on the student council too, but saw much of what they did as meaningless busywork, and the two fought and fell out over it.
Hisao runs into Kenji again and an amusing exchange during which he removes his glasses follows. During lunch with the two girls he reflects that it is nice to have friends at Yamaku, but that he doesn't wish to intrude upon Shizune and Misha's pre-existing friendship. They head to the Shanghai where Yuuko tells them she will have to work over Tanabata and Hisao again questions how the tea-house can afford to stay open. Misha talks about how at last year's Tanabata festival they ran a noodle store with Lilly. Moreover they talk about how Shizune transformed the student council into what it is now, and how it caused more and more members to leave.
On Tanabata Hisao wakes early and takes his medication, noting his recent neglect to. He goes for a walk and ends up on the roof where he finds Misha leaning against the fence. After he almost calls Shizune 'Shicchan' Misha asks if he likes her, although he avoids answering. Hisao returns to his dorm to read, realising that he still has unread books from his time in hospital, until it is time to meet the girls. Shizune and Misha dress up in yukata for Tanabata and the three head to town. As they enjoy the festival Hisao wonders if he has grown to like Shizune, having seen more of her personality since the first week. Misha complains that she is tired and leaves early. Shizune and Hisao return to Yamaku, and Hisao considers confessing his feelings for her, but is worried about his condition like the previous time. However he reasons with himself and asks her to be his girlfriend, which she accepts and they embrace.
Act 3 ~ Sleight of HandEdit
Hisao arives in school early so he can speak to Shizune, however she is there first. With the summer holiday approaching he wants to spend time with her. She reveals she'll be going to see her family. Upon finding out that Misha will be going with her (since no one in her family knows how to sign) Hisao invites himself along too.
They leave for Saitama the next morning where Hisao comments that Shizune's house is more like a mansion and meets Hideaki whom he initially mistakes for Shizune's younger sister due to his dress sense. Inside, Hisao discovers that Lilly is present and is introduced to her older sister, Akira. Lilly and Shizune are cool towards one another again, but Akira deflects attention with the suggestion of a fishing trip, ostensibly so she can get Lilly to cook for them. At the river Shizune attempts to make the trip a competition, although the idea evaporates and in time so does some of the antipathy between Lilly and Shizune. In the end the group has fun and Akira is pleased to have had the experience since she tells Hisao that Lilly and her are going a way for a time.
Hisao has trouble sleeping well and wakes up late, meeting Hideaki, who has been given the task of keeping him entertained for the day, although has little success but does reveal the antipathy between Lilly and Shizune's fathers who are brother-in-law. They eventually head to a nearby park in the hope of finding the girls. Hisao is bothered that the Hakamichi's don't know sign and offers to teach Hideaki, though Misha and Shizune arrive presently and they head home.
Jigoro, Shizune's father, is introduced. He is rude and confrontational, insulting Hisao's sweater vest. The trio make a hasty retreat to town. Hideaki requests Hisao teach him some sign language, which pleases Hisao, although he encounters difficulty and they take a break. When questioned about Yamaku, Hisao reflects on how the students there live normal lives, and how he feels bad for his thoughts about it in the prologue. He also mentions Hanako, Lilly, Emi and Rin, commenting favourably on their individual characteristics. Jigoro interrupts and talks at length about his autobiography and is overwhelmingly hypocritical. He also insults Hisao's sweater again. Thankfully Shizune arrives, having been shopping for new clothes for Hisao of all things. Misha follows, having had her hair cut short, though Shizune deems this a poor choice, preferring her old hair. As Jigoro rants she and Hisao escape inside. Following a conversation about how fun it is to drag people into her life, she and Hisao awkwardly fall onto the couch together, and he becomes flustered and leaves.
Shizune follows him to his room where he says she makes him nevous because of how she pulls people along, causing her to wonder if she wants to be like that any more. She kisses him and ties his hands behind his back, tenderly stroking them. In spite of this initial confidence Shizune beomes nervous, in contrast to her usual demeanor. As does Hisao, thankful that she cannot see his surgery scar. The two have sex, and afterwards when she unties him Shizune gently touches Hisao's hands again, causing Hisao to comment how much closer he feels to her in this moment that the one just prior.
However an awkwardness follows in the coming days, and Misha claims to be too tired to teach Hisao more sign language. He becomes embroiled in an argument with Jigoro about the student council. Hisao defends Shizune and tells Jigoro that he should be as proud of her accomplishments as she is. Jigoro retaliates that though he hired tutors and interpreters for her Shizune would not talk to him, she would not be normal. Realising that he cannot be reasoned with Hisao gives up and Jigoro leaves.
The next morning, if Hisao rejects Misha's advances, he realizes that Misha's situation hit him harder than he thought. Feeling depressed, he skips class and hides in the library. Shizune finds him, and confronts him, remarking that she hasn't seen Misha all day either. The conversation eventually leads to the fact she's noticed Hisao's distress, and she asks him if he's all right. When he asks the same question of Shizune, she doesn't give a complete answer, and leaves. Hisao heads up to the roof, where he finds Misha sitting alone, depressed. It is now that she tells Hisao the truth: she has feelings for Shizune as well. She admits that she didn't initially want to come to Yamaku High, and she got dragged into the Student Council by Shizune just like Hisao. Shizune pushed her so hard to succeed, motivating her to get better at sign language and work hard in Student Council, that she eventually fell in love with her. She confessed her feelings to Shizune, and got rejected. What bothers her most is that Shizune treated this event like she does with everything else: wiping it away, and moving on, as though it never happened. Misha's bitterness festered for 2 years, before Hisao showed up and began immediately growing just as close to Shizune as Misha had always wanted to be. All this time, Misha has been drifting away, eaten alive by her jealousy, angry at herself for being a hateful person. She is now having suicidal thoughts, and leans against the fence on the roof, as if she hopes to fall through it. Hisao pulls her back, and opens up, explaining his time at the hospital, and noting that Shizune doesn't let people in close unless it's on her terms. He knows she probably only got so close to Hisao because he rejected her so adamantly. She is always trying to pull people in close, and his determination not to let her in drove her to push harder. Hisao tells Misha that he admires her for having struggled the same way he had, all for the same reasons, and he is sad and angry that she is giving up. Shizune finds Hisao and Misha alone, and, sensing the tension in the air, proposes that they do something fun together in the Student Council room. Hisao remarks that it sounds like another trap to do more work, and Misha laughs. The tension subsides, and they leave together hand-in-hand.
Act 4 ~ To My Other SelfEdit
The next day, Hisao thinks back to something Misha said, about not wanting to miss people and grow apart anymore, and he realizes that they will be graduating soon. Misha's fear of losing Shizune for good might actually be justified, and Shizune has been treating her feelings with the same coldness that she affords to everything, which is making things worse. Hisao also starts to worry about losing everyone else he's met in his short time there, and he talks to Yuuko for advice. Once done, he finds Shizune alone. She noticed what he and Misha were talking about yesterday, and once she got Misha alone and made her talk, Shizune feels as though everything is all her fault - she tries too hard to bring people close, then pushes them away. She realizes Misha is right, that the Student Council being empty is also her fault, and that she has shut Misha out just like everybody else. She is at a loss for what to do, and thinks herself a bad friend for being the way she is. She vows to fix things, starting with Misha, starting the next morning, and Hisao offers to help.
Shizune wakes Hisao the next morning and proposes a picnic, hoping they could eat together as a group again, but when Misha refuses to cooperate, Shizune becomes increasingly aggressive, and Misha leaves. Not wanting their food to go to waste, Shizune and Hisao go on a date with it, and the conversation leads to Shizune discussing her failure as a friend. Hisao reminisces about how Shizune tried to hard to pull him out of his rut, and succeeded, but wonders if Misha is rejecting that same help because she knows she will never have Shizune's hand. He ends up saying nothing, and Shizune falls asleep, having stayed up all night working on her picnic. The next day, Shizune's father shows up at her school to bring her a new phone and take her on a family trip, but she refuses, still worried about Misha. It is now that Hisao realizes the crucial flaw in Shizune's approach: she sees Misha's depression as a personal failure to correct, not a difficult time in Misha's life. She wants and expects things to go back to normal so quickly that she isn't taking the time to relate, and it is driving them further apart.
The next day, Shizune and Hisao split up to look for her, and once he finds her, he takes her to lunch with him at the Shanghai to talk. There, Misha admits that even though she didn't want to hate or upset Shizune, she has done both. Hisao tells her that even though Shizune is terrible at discussing her feelings, she still needs Misha, but Misha is afraid of making things worse, so she chooses to do nothing. Hisao berates Misha for giving up so easily, and he takes Misha on a tour of the school, discussing how he felt when he first got there, how Misha and Shizune turned his life around, and how he now regrets leaving all his old friends behind on such a sour note, encouraging Misha not to repeat his mistake.
Bad Ending Edit
The next day, Misha is back in class but appears to have lost the spark of her old self that Hisao had enkindled with his impassioned tour of the school. Shizune is absent from class, and when lunch comes around he decides to eat by himself. While he looks for an empty classroom, he stumbles upon Lilly who invites him to join her. They talk about Shizune and the Student Council, and Lilly confirms that Shizune scared off most of the old members with the force of her ambition. She hated having Shizune constantly talking about outdoing the last Student Council by creating bigger and more events, but Hisao argues that it made so many people happy which is what Lilly joined the student council for in the first place. Hisao reflects that his work with the student council, while time-consuming, has kept his mind off self-pity.
When he seeks out Shizune the next day, Hisao finds her sitting restlessly in the Student Council room by herself. He offers to help her with the remaining work but she brushes him off, saying that she also dismissed Misha and can handle it herself. He questions her about it but she refuses to answer him directly, so he seeks out Misha for an explanation. When he finally finds her, Misha has no idea why Shizune is acting so coldly either. Misha wonders if it's her fault, and Hisao thinks it's more likely something he did. They go to bed without discovering an explanation for Shizune's distancing. Hisao wakes a few hours later and goes for a walk where he bumps into Kenji. As they're talking, Hisao reminisces on how he lied to Shizune about everything being fine after he slept with Misha, and how Shizune might have read their lips while they were talking about it afterwards.
The next morning Shizune comes to Hisao's room and the two of them skip classes to wander around the empty school. Shizune continues to close herself off to him, and finally tells him that she's screwed up. She explains her constant drive for ambition, fighting to be the best at everything in life, and then when she's won discarding the victory as meaningless. She feels guilty for dragging Misha and Hisao into the orbit of her life because they were interesting, and jerking them around for selfish reasons. She questions whether all her relationships are like this: competitions to win and games to play. She wants to stop hurting people and be away from them, and so she breaks it off with Hisao. He calls her selfish, but she accepts it. She raises the day on the roof with Misha after he had slept with her, and how he told her everything was fine. Although it's unclear how much of the conversation she understood, she knows something was wrong and tells him she can never trust him again. He leaves her, heartbroken.
Good Ending Edit
The next day, Hisao and Shizune eat together on the roof, where Shizune reveals that thanks to Hisao, Misha has cheered up. She credits Hisao for making it possible, and blames herself for her flawed way of thinking, but she is glad that everything worked out, and vows to improve herself.
After delivering orientation speeches to the new Student Council, the group hangs out, reflecting on how much they will miss being in the Student Council once they're gone, and Misha leaves, opting not to have a celebratory dinner with the others for fear of saying any early goodbyes. Shizune and Hisao have passionate sex in the student council room. Afterwards, Hisao and Shizune sneak to the other end of the school to spy on Misha. On discovering Misha was taking supplemental lessons with Mutou, Shizune realizes that Misha has had more ambition than she had previously credited her. She had always wanted to connect with people, but the only way she could speak was through Misha, and she found it impossible to talk naturally with others. She started to see Misha as just an extension of herself that could speak, and failed to realize that Misha was the friendship she had wanted all along. She feels guilty that Misha sees her as an inspiration, as she has no goals for the future, and was only Student Council president because the job was forced upon her. She loved having more responsibility, but she realizes that being a leader is more than just about giving orders, it's about setting a goal, something she failed to do. Having no direction, she tried to do everything at once, and it harmed everyone she touched.
On the last day of school, Hisao starts saying his goodbyes to the people he will miss. He stumbles into the new Student Council as he searches for Shizune and Misha, and they thank him profusely for his hard work. He finds it curious that they thank him as all he did was follow in Shizune's wake, but he is gratified to see how many students have joined and how ambitious they are. When Hisao finds Misha, they talk about whether Shizune will ever be happy: whether she discards her victories like an artist who throws away their paintings because they never leave the mark they wanted. Hisao argues that, while winning is important to Shizune, her legacy is in making other people happy, and that celebrating the joy of others is the greatest happiness of all. Consequently, Shizune is planning on being a millionaire, and later a philanthropist. Misha is impressed by how well he knows Shizune and confides that she always wanted to be with Shizune and walked in her shadow. But when she realised Shizune's ambition wouldn't wait for her, she decided to go her own path and declares that she is moving overseas, perhaps to teach sign language.
The two of them go to find Shizune and they discover her at the front gate. Hisao hangs back to let the two of them talk privately, and he reminisces over what he's going to do after graduation. He suddenly realises how much he wants to teach at Yamaku, so that if he ever met someone who was filled with bitterness like he was, he would be able to help them like Shizune had helped him; to bring inspiration to a person that needs hope without pity. Yuuko takes their first group photo, and at Shizune's insistence they pose dramatically like musketeers to capture the joyful moment of celebration. Hisao resolves that he too will live to make others happy, and to feel the joy this brings during his own shortened lifespan. Inspired by this chain of thought, Hisao finally tells Shizune that he loves her. She accepts it happily and the three of them agree to meet again before the next school reunion.