NARRATOR: "Some of my pills spilled out all over the bottom of my bag, which I didn't realize until minutes before I was set to go to bed last night. I spent quite a bit of time scraping them out of my luggage. By the time I get up, I'm already starting the day with a migraine from a combination of trouble falling asleep and waking up late. When I step into the living room, Hideaki is there finishing up his breakfast. His fork raised midway to his mouth, he seems unsure whether he should continue eating or greet me. Maybe I should back out of the room."
HIDEAKI: "Good morning."
HIDEAKI: "What do you think we should have for breakfast?"
HISAO: "“We?” Aren't you eating breakfast right now?"
HIDEAKI: "Yes. Everyone else ate already."
NARRATOR: "Despite that, he repeats his question again. He's just trying to be nice. It's an odd way to show it, but I appreciate it nonetheless, and I am feeling pretty hungry. I try to make some conversation with him while I'm getting my breakfast, to fill in the silence."
HISAO: "That fishing trip yesterday was fun. Do the Hakamichis and Satous often get together like that?"
HIDEAKI: "Not really."
HISAO: "I see."
NARRATOR: "I don't, really. There's a brief pause before Hideaki deigns to fill me in a little more."
HIDEAKI: "Family issues. Our fathers are brothers, and do not like each other."
NARRATOR: "Hearing that gives me plenty to think about. It puts the way Shizune and Lilly deal with each other into context, and makes me even more wary of getting involved."
HISAO: "Ah. Family issues can be troublesome."
NARRATOR: "Hideaki simply nods as I sit at the table with my breakfast. I wish he were a little easier to converse with. While I'm eating, I notice that the house seems oddly quiet for a place with Misha in it. If Shizune and Misha ate breakfast already, it can't be because they're asleep. I ask Hideaki where they are."
HIDEAKI: "Shizune and Misha left to run some errands for our dad. The local businesspeople love dealing with Misha, so he insisted."
HISAO: "Well, she's got a nice and cheerful personality. I can see why they would. Maybe you should start taking lessons from her, you could increase your business connections."
HIDEAKI: "Are you serious?"
NARRATOR: "He sounds serious. I don't know what kind of business connections a little kid would need. Maybe he wants to have the best bake sale fundraiser ever. It's a shame I'll eventually have to leave here and won't be around to see whatever he is planning. I wonder what kind of person Shizune's dad is again, other than relatively outdoorsy. What I know so far is that he asks his business partners and friends of his daughter to do favors for him. I'm assuming he's extremely shy or extremely lazy. Maybe it's a rude call to make so early, but it would certainly explain a large chunk of Shizune's personality."
HIDEAKI: "Do you want to go anywhere?"
HISAO: "Not really. Why, do you?"
HIDEAKI: "I thought there might be somewhere you would want to go. You don't want to do some sightseeing, or eat at a specific restaurant?"
HISAO: "I don't know. I've never been here before."
HIDEAKI: "I see."
NARRATOR: "I was just about to ask him about what Shizune was like when she was younger, but he's managed to sidetrack me with just one question. This appears to be as awkward a conversation for him as it is for me."
HISAO: "You're sure eager to please today. Why are you being so nice? Are you showing your secret nice side now that your sister isn't around?"
HIDEAKI: "You're sort of right. Shizune wanted me to keep you company today."
NARRATOR: "I don't want to trouble him, and try to make him see that, but Hideaki is as stubborn as his sister and feels as if this is his duty. He also seems to be earnestly trying to be nice. Quickly, I start to realize that Hideaki's idea of fun is fishing, collecting cameras, and making esoteric puns. Fishing is fun, but it's something I would rather do than discuss. The same goes for cameras; I'd rather handle them than collect them. This is something Hideaki picks up on himself."
HIDEAKI: "Are you bored?"
HISAO: "I'm not bored at all."
NARRATOR: "I almost yawn the words, so Hideaki ignores them entirely."
HIDEAKI: "You are bored. Shizune said to be entertaining, and I think I don't know how to do that."
HISAO: "I am entertained."
HIDEAKI: "You don't sound entertained."
HISAO: "I am!"
HIDEAKI: "Why do you yell? I hope you do not yell so much around Shizune."
NARRATOR: "It's hard to tell if he's joking. Either way, I'm a bit surprised. I try to play it off and change the subject."
HISAO: "Do you just collect cameras, or are you into photography, too?"
HIDEAKI: "Not really. If I did, there would be more photos in this house than there currently are. What is there to take pictures of?"
HISAO: "I don't know. Birds? Architecture? One of those restaurants you were talking about? I thought this city had tons of cool stuff. How can you live in a place with so much to do and do nothing?"
HIDEAKI: "I thought you didn't know what there was to do here. Suddenly you have many ideas and are an authority on how interesting it is. You are like our board of tourism. Do you want to go watch birds or buildings?"
HISAO: "Okay, okay, no need to get so mad."
HIDEAKI: "...I'm not mad. I just think that if you feel that strongly about it, then we should go to an amusement park."
HIDEAKI: "So that you can be amused. It will be fun."
NARRATOR: "Will he have this same flat, un-fun expression on his face while we're riding roller coasters and drop towers? It would sure bring the fun levels down. The thought does not convince me that it's worth the trip."
HISAO: "I don't know, it always sounded to me like going to an amusement park meant you spend more time waiting in lines than actually doing stuff. You'd have to go earlier than this just to skip the lines."
HIDEAKI: "Have you ever been to one?"
HISAO: "No, but it seems like that is what it's like."
HIDEAKI: "...Fine. What about a regular park? There is one nearby that Shizune likes going to. Maybe she will be there, and I can unload you onto her."
HISAO: "What do you mean “unload?” I'm not luggage."
HIDEAKI: "You don't want to go to an amusement park. I don't know what to do."
NARRATOR: "He looks as though I've hurt his feelings by refusing to go with him. I am already rationalizing my decision. I don't like waiting in lines. It would be too much like a date. I'd rather go with Shizune. It would be too tiring."
HISAO: "It's nothing personal, it's just that I kinda wanted Shizune to show me around town instead."
NARRATOR: "And I don't think that with my condition going to an amusement park would be such a hot idea. The park is close enough that their property could almost be considered an extension of it. Both it and Shizune's backyard look about the same, except that the park has benches and more people. That said, it's quite nice. There are even people out walking their dogs, and children flying kites that can be seen lazily drifting back and forth over trees in the distance. I could sit here in a relaxing and scenic place like this forever. Hideaki, on the other hand, looks like he's extremely bored. I want to poke him to see if he is still alive. But, would he react either way?"
HISAO: "Are you bored?"
HIDEAKI: "No. Are you going to jog or play frisbee with dogs like everyone else? Is that what people do in parks?"
HISAO: "Well, you go to parks to get back to nature and enjoy the atmosphere. That's why you jog in the park, instead of just on the sidewalk or something. You can jog anywhere. I can't believe I am having this conversation. How can you not know this? You shouldn't have brought that up, it's too weird. Haven't you ever heard of “children should be seen, not heard?”"
HIDEAKI: "Yes. I lied. I'm bored. Would you like to play a game?"
NARRATOR: "I groan audibly enough to hope that he understands I don't want to. He doesn't care. In fact, he's already toying with a deck of playing cards."
HIDEAKI: "Why are you upset? That is why we are here."
HISAO: "I thought we were here to look for Shizune."
HIDEAKI: "Exactly. That is why we should play a game. It's a Shizune trap. You can trap anything, including people. If we compete against each other in the spirit of competition and in a sportsmanly manner, she will be drawn here to challenge the winner, like a shark. Then I will defeat her like a safari hunter. Then take a photo of the award ceremony."
NARRATOR: "Sharks do not go around challenging people to games of chance like dojo breakers."
HISAO: "When did you bring that camera? Anyway, no. I get enough games hanging out with your sister."
HIDEAKI: "No, come on. It will be fun. We can play chess."
HISAO: "Please, no. Besides, playing chess in the park is something old people do, like fishing. You're going to get old too fast if you keep doing all this old man stuff."
NARRATOR: "Hideaki freezes like I've suddenly started speaking a foreign language. Maybe I've offended him again. Maybe he's secretly 50 years old and has just aged incredibly well. Him being Shizune's brother could be a cover story."
HIDEAKI: "What about checkers, or go? Or even backgammon is fine, even though I don't like it. If board games aren't your thing, we can play card games. Anything other than seven card, because it is for wimps."
HIDEAKI: "Are you afraid that you will lose? If you can beat me I'll give you candy."
HISAO: "Hideaki, you are just like Shizune. I'm starting to think this is all a pretense to play games."
HIDEAKI: "No. That is not true."
HISAO: "You are! I bet that competitive streak is genetic. I'll sell you to science."
HIDEAKI: "No one can own a human being."
HISAO: "How about I teach you some sign language instead? When Shizune asked me if I wanted to come here, we talked a little, and it seemed like you and your dad don't use sign language. I'm just guessing, but if you don't, I could teach you some. I'm not a master at it, though. I think it might be good for you to move your arms more, anyway."
NARRATOR: "He barely moves his arms. Most of the time they just hang limply at his sides. How unnerving. It's been bothering me that Shizune's entire family apparently doesn't know how to sign. I wonder what she did before she met Misha. Did they just hire translators for her? Did she write out everything on that pad she carries around? The second is the most likely, or she could type it out on a phone. That would explain why she dislikes using the pad so much. Sad as it is, I can sort of see why Hideaki or her dad might not have bothered to learn sign language. It probably was too much of a hassle at the time. It's very easy to think that. From what I've seen so far, though, neither of them hold it against each other or are too badly affected by it. It could be that I'm overthinking the situation."
HISAO: "Come on. Well, to be honest, I'm still learning sign language myself. I brought all my books along with me so I can keep up, you know? Still, I can at least teach you the alphabet. It's pretty simple. This is “kite.”"
NARRATOR: "I feel really corny right now, and even more so when Hideaki stares back at me blankly as if the entire concept of learning is alien to him."
HIDEAKI: "Shizune liked flying kites here as well."
NARRATOR: "This is his attempt to salvage the conversation, and I'm happy to oblige."
HISAO: "Fishing, and now kites, too? Shizune really likes all these relaxing hobbies?"
HIDEAKI: "Fighter kites. Actually, about Shizune—"
NARRATOR: "Hideaki freezes as Misha appears behind him and puts her hands over his eyes."
MISHA: "Hi hi~! Guess who~!"
NARRATOR: "He seemed to finally be loosening up, too."
HISAO: "Hi, Misha. Is Shizune with you?"
MISHA: "Hicchan, no spoilers! Don't spoil it, don't ruin the surprise, okay~?"
MISHA: "Bingo~! That's right! But~, it was too easy, somehow."
NARRATOR: "I don't know what she means by “somehow.”"
MISHA: "Too many people can tell it's me! I want to surprise someone! I thought for sure that Hideaki would be fooled~. Why weren't you, hm~?"
HIDEAKI: "You are the only person who does that. You, and kidnappers."
MISHA: "Really? Wahaha~!"
HIDEAKI: "Why do you laugh?"
SHIZUNE: (signing) "Are you giving Hisao trouble? I thought you would take him somewhere more exciting than the park. It isn't even that far from home. You are so lazy."
MISHA: "Hideaki, are you giving Hicchan trouble? You should have taken him somewhere more exciting! The park is too close to home, Shicchan says you're lazy~."
HIDEAKI: "He wanted to come here. Why are you so argumentative?"
SHIZUNE: (signing) "I have to keep my little brother in line."
HIDEAKI: "What is she saying?"
HISAO: "You must be kept in line."
NARRATOR: "They're ready to go at each others' throats this quickly. On one hand, I've heard that siblings fighting so much isn't uncommon, and the fact that they fight at all proves there has to be some level of communication going on. So, it's nice they get along. They argue all the way back home. Misha translates for Shizune, and I for Hideaki. So it looks more like we're the ones arguing instead, except not really. Nobody could listen to Misha and believe that. The day got entertaining in the end, at least."
Next Scene: Family Plot