Part 40: Meet CuteUpdate 36: Meet Cute
Katawa Shoujo OST - Wiosna
And here we go again. I could just take it from the top and transcribe everything like it was a brand-new playthrough where we gun for Hanako instead of Emi, but seriously, why? Instead, Ill just skip scenes weve already seen, make note of any changes too minor to stop the narrative to transcribe, and resume whenever we hit something new. Ill also make note of which updates well be skipping between, so if you want to try and read along like you were playing this route straight through, you can just go back to wherever and flip between old and new updates until they synthesize and we hit Act 2; feel free to ignore it if you want, I'd just like you to have that option. I have no idea how well this format will work: please let me know if I can improve it.
Anyway, lets get started. I may not be writing it up, but I chose to play from the start instead of reloading an old save to make sure I trigger the right flags. Thank fuck for the skip function. Also thank fuck for the scene structure. You know how all these updates have whimsical titles? I name them after whatever the most prominent scene in the update is (most updates include ~2 scenes), and since that means I can tell where in the scene structure a given update is at a glance, I can orient myself pretty quickly. Speaking of which
Katawa Shoujo OST - Daylight
What to do...
>"Read my book."
>"Wait for Shizune and Misha to come to a decision."
>"Go talk with Hanako."
Were picking back up maybe a third of the way through Update 8, at the choice right before the massive block of strikethroughd text where I screwed up the flag calculations. The only thing I did differently this time around was call Hanako cute when Kenji asked about her, which, well, were about to go down her route, we should probably do that on principle. That gave us enough flags to let us hang out with her here, something we missed out on last time.
I still feel bad for making her run away yesterday, so I'd better say something.
HISAO: "Um, hey there, Hanako."
HANAKO: "H... Hisao?"
Well, at least she remembers my name.
HISAO: "Hey... I just wanted to apologize for yesterday. I didn't mean to startle you or anything. I'm just new here and thought I should get to know my classmates."
As Hanako looks up at me, I notice her scarring once more. It's a little bewildering that you can barely notice it from across the room, but it's so noticeable from close up.
HANAKO: "T... that's okay. It... it was my fault."
HISAO: "Nah, that wasn't anyone's 'fault', it just kind of happened. So, are you waiting for someone? I saw you looking at the door before..."
HANAKO: "Y-yes... Lilly."
HISAO: "Oh, you mean Lilly the blind girl?"
Hanako only nods in response, and I can't help but wonder if defining people through their disabilities is a faux pas of the worst kind or just normal here. I guess that explains why Lilly took off after her yesterday.
HISAO: "She seems like a nice girl. Are you two friends?"
As if hoping for Lilly to appear, she checks over her shoulder again. I think I'm making her nervous again.
HISAO: "I hope I'm not disturbing you right now..."
HANAKO: "N-no, that's not it. It's just easier if Lilly doesn't come here..."
HISAO: "Oh, because it's hard to get around the classroom?"
HANAKO: "Not... really."
Hanako's gaze drifts past my shoulder and towards Shizune.
Hanako nods again.
HISAO: "What about her? Don't they get along?"
Hanako shakes her head. Clearly this is something she doesn't want to talk about. It does make a strange sort of sense, Shizune and Lilly not getting along so well. Communication between the two would be all but impossible. It's hard enough talking to Shizune through Misha, even when you can see whose hands are 'talking'. Hanako is so focused on Shizune that I am the first to notice Lilly at the door.
HISAO: "Oh, she's here now."
Hanako spins around to confirm this. Upon seeing Lilly, she moves quickly to the door.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Concord (Lillys Theme)
LILLY: "Ah, Hanako. Good morning. Is the president here?"
Hanako glances over her shoulder at Shizune again, as if to confirm she can't hear them even though that's impossible.
LILLY: "I suppose we'd best be off, then."
Lilly's sigh and tone of what seems like frustration makes me raise an eyebrow. I guess there's some kind of enmity between the two. It's intriguing, but that's not really something I'd ask about. I'm sure if they wanted me to know, then they would tell me. It's only my third day here; I should be trying to make friends, not finding out why people are enemies. Still, it's a little funny to find out that this school has little feuds, just like my old high school. Even if people are more tolerant of others, they're still going to get on each other's nerves.
HISAO: "Hey Lilly. How are things? I'm sorry I made you run off yesterday..."
LILLY: "Oh my, is that Hisao? I didn't realize you were here..."
It seems that Lilly is a little embarrassed about being so frank in front of me.
HANAKO: "S-sorry Lilly. I thought you realized..."
LILLY: "No, it's all right, Hanako. Hisao, please don't worry about yesterday. It was just a misunderstanding."
HISAO: "If... you say so. I'm still working this place out."
LILLY: "Well then, I think you'll find most people here a lot more forgiving than elsewhere. If you are feeling a little confused, please don't be afraid to ask questions."
HISAO: "Sure, I'll remember that."
HANAKO: "Um... Lilly..."
Lilly gives a small nod of acknowledgment.
LILLY: "I'm sorry Hisao, but we must be off."
Hanako really doesn't look all that comfortable here right now, and Lilly still seems a little embarrassed. I wonder if my apologies really made any impact.
HISAO: "Mind if I accompany you two?"
I know I'm kinda pushing it, but... Lilly hmms quietly, still smiling.
LILLY: "I'm sure that we could accommodate you, can't we, Hanako?"
She looks down, then at the camera.
She looks at Lilly, then at me, and then she freezes, wide-eyed.
HANAKO: "S... sure."
LILLY: "Well then, shall we go?"
I'm sure Lilly wouldn't do this so easily if she saw how scared Hanako looks, but it can't be helped now. Declining after the deal is sealed would only cause confusion and problems.
So we leave, all three together.
Lilly walks beside the wall, letting her cane gently tap against it every now and then. Hanako comes along right beside her, so close that she is practically half-hugging her as they go. Although it must make her walking that much harder, Lilly takes it in stride. As we turn around the corner of the hallway, something hits me in the chest with the force of a steam train. Hanako shrieks a little and my vision briefly goes black.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Standing Tall (Emis Theme)
We run into Emi for the first time for the second time. Go back to Update 8 and skip down a bit from where we left off; our first interaction with her here is identical, even though technically were in a separate scene (and the transcript with missing this whole section so I had to go to the transcript of the other scene and compare it with what I saw in-game to make sure that was the case ). When you hit the first line where Shizune makes herself known, switch back here.
LILLY: "Hisao, what happened?"
She's not quite up to speed for obvious reasons, but she sounds very worried. More than what the situation deserves, really.
HISAO: "Someone just bumped into me, nothing serious. Just winded."
EMI: "Er, sorry, it's my fault. I was just going to get some stuff, and I was in a kind of a hurry."
LILLY: "That 'someone' here is Emi, isn't it?"
The little girl coughs quietly and shuffles her plastic or metallic feet, looking down at them before saying anything.
EMI: "Hi, Lilly. Hanako."
I guess the girls know each other.
LILLY: "Do please try to be more careful. You might be sturdy enough to endure these sorts of accidents, but there are people who aren't."
The girl blushes and starts to fidget nervously like a little child caught misbehaving. It's so cute I find myself smiling.
EMI: "I know that! I I, um, I was just... Aaah! I gotta go! Teacher'll have my head, I promised to help with printouts but I went running instead! Sorry, but I've gotta change and everything!"
Her sprite blurs off to the left.
Before any of us can say a thing, Emi has already bolted away, leaving the hallway eerily quiet.
HISAO: "Does that kind of thing happen often around here?"
LILLY: "There are more rules in Yamaku than usual for running in corridors. ...but that rarely stops Emi, it seems."
She shakes her head weakly and offers a slight, composed smile.
LILLY: "I don't think there's anything we can do to stop her, I'm afraid. Shall we be off, then?"
Lilly heads off along the hallway, and Hanako hurries after her. The route to the room the two use for tea is fairly simple to retrace, being still fresh in my mind from yesterday.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Raindrops and Puddles
Lilly and Hanako quickly go about the business of making lunch. Before I can even open my small bag of food, Lilly's busying herself with her thermos and teabags as Hanako is setting out both their lunchboxes.
HISAO: "So, is this what you meant by coming here almost every day?"
LILLY: "Yes, Hanako and I usually have lunch here. It suits both of us, so we ended up using this room regularly."
After seeing Hanako's reactions to me over the past couple of days, I can understand why that is a boon. That, and Lilly being able to get some quiet away from her class as well. I take my seat last, after Lilly's poured the tea for us and sits down.
Wait, hold on a sec. So theyre at a table with four seats by a window. Hisaos sitting next to the window, Hanakos sitting next to him, and Lillys sitting across from her. Though he may have just moved past Hanako to sit down, Hisaos position implies he got there first and moved in. Lilly sat diagonally across from him. Hanako had a choice: she could either sit next to Lilly, the only person she feels comfortable around, or Hisao, the boy she just met. So did she deliberately choose to sit next to him instead of Lilly?
The more time I spend with these two girls, the more I think they're a perfect foil to Misha and Shizune. Even without a voice, Shizune is direct and brash, and Misha seems to get along with everyone. On the other hand, Lilly is soft-spoken and relaxed while Hanako seems to be the shyest girl I've ever met.
LILLY: "So, how are you faring in Yamaku, Hisao? You seemed a bit flustered before."
HISAO: "Apart from getting lost every now and again, and being crash-tackled outside my classroom? Fine I guess..."
HANAKO: "You... you looked pretty hurt before. Are you really... okay?"
For a brief moment, I consider telling Hanako and Lilly about my condition but then, I hold it back. I can't tell why, but for some reason I feel uncomfortable talking about it to these relative strangers, even if they have been pretty friendly.
HISAO: "Yeah, it's nothing. I was just a bit startled."
Judging from the two girls' expressions, I don't think that they're buying it. But, in what I assume is their way of respecting my privacy, they don't press the matter. I guess that is one of the unwritten rules around here: 'don't ask.' Even if people's conditions are obvious, like Hanako's, there's still bound to be a story involved. Everyone has things that they don't feel comfortable speaking about, and I think everyone here recognizes that.
HISAO: "So, uh... how long have you been in this school? You both seem to know your way around pretty well."
LILLY: "Hmm... well, I've been here since the start of high school, but only moved into the dormitories a year ago. Hanako joined at the start of high school as well, and moved to the dormitories when she did, if memory serves me right."
HANAKO: "That's right. Since... high school."
HISAO: "So you've known each other since then?"
LILLY: "Since I moved, yes. Hanako lives next door to me, so it's only natural, right?"
HISAO: "Yeah, of course."
Living next to someone is probably reason enough to befriend them, though I'm guessing that Lilly's blindness played a part in it as well. I can't imagine Hanako easily making friends with someone who has to deliberately avoid looking at her scars. With the immediate conversation dried up, we start to eat our lunch. It isn't long before the bells are signaling the end of the break. Like me, the girls pack up their lunches as efficiently as they set them out.
LILLY: "I guess I'd better be off. Are you going to go with Hisao, Hanako?"
Hanako looks up at me, and for a second I can see that she is considering skipping class, maybe just to avoid walking to the classroom with me.
I don't know what to think of it. Hanako really is delicate to the point of breaking if looked at in the wrong way. It makes me a bit nervous too, but I push the feeling aside, trying to be as natural as I can.
HISAO: "We should hurry then. Class has already started by the sound of it."
Lilly gives a nod of farewell as she bends down to take her cane, Hanako and I filing out before her. We walk quickly down the empty halls to our respective classes. As we reach the door to Lilly's 3-2 classroom, she turns towards me.
LILLY: "Hisao, thank you for sharing lunch with us today."
HISAO: "My pleasure, Lilly."
And with that, we part ways; Lilly entering her classroom and leaving Hanako and I to make off to our own. She's still looking like she wants to run away.
HISAO: "So, do you really want to go back to class now?"
HISAO: "Okay then."
I feel like I should say something more to her, but it's hard to come up with anything that would be appropriate and safe enough. And Lilly was right; the more time we spend out here, the more explaining we have to do. I open the rear door to the class, and walk in. The teacher looks up at me, and opens his mouth to say something. However, as Hanako follows me in and closes the door, he simply nods to us and continues his lecture. This is the third time that Hanako has had her truancy practically ignored. There's definitely something going on here.
We make our way to our seats, and I notice that Misha and Shizune are both missing as well. I wonder if it is some form of informal agreement with the staff, or if it's a 'perk' afforded to the unique students of this school? Trying to make as little disturbance as I can, I extract the relevant textbooks from my bag and start catching up. The class goes on quietly.
Back to the time skip. Everything remains the same as it was in the updates until the bottom of Update 12. Look to where Hanakos asking Shizune if shes seen Lilly.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Stride
Hanako keeps looking uneasily at Shizune, who stares back at her with her usual studying gaze. What is she trying to do? Of course Shizune isn't going to look away, and she is intimidating enough as it is, so I can only imagine how terrified Hanako would be. It is a little uncomfortable, watching Hanako's reaction to Shizune's normal behavior. This is what happens when two people of two different extremes meet, it seems.
HANAKO: "Do... do you know where she is?"
MISHA: "If she has any sense in her head, she's in her classroom, working on their festival project. But who knows where that woman is loitering at."
HISAO: "You need to find her? She was looking for you in the morning but I guess you have missed each other."
She waits a little without answering the simple question, looking awfully like she's not sure if it's proper to answer such a question.
HISAO: "I can come with you. If it's okay.
Hanako nods fractionally, still on guard, her shoulders stiff like wood. I get the feeling that she might be more comfortable by herself after all, but it's too late to back off now. She has this really troubled expression she seems to wear almost constantly, one that makes me constantly be on guard myself. I wonder why. I kind of understand why she always seems to be so wary... or maybe more like, why there could be a person like her. But I still have no idea how I should act around such a person.
HISAO: "It's dinnertime soon. Were you planning to eat with Lilly?"
She nods slightly. So she must have been trying to get in the cafeteria. Well, there's something of a dinner crowd, just like the cafeteria is crowded during lunch. It's not as bad because dinnertime is longer than lunch hour, but I can understand why Hanako could be discouraged from going in. I pick up my bag and we take our leave. Hanako skips a little to meet my initial pace, so I slow down to match her speed.
It doesn't take long for us to be walking at a comfortable pace down the hallway. It almost feels like we're going for a stroll together; something that I can't say I've really done before with a girl. Hanako doesn't seem to be thinking the same thing though. Even though we are walking at the same pace, she never comes within arm's reach of me. I guess she's still a little uncomfortable around me. Given how shy she is, there doesn't seem to be much helping it, at least for now.
Katawa Shoujo OST - Nocturne
By the time we arrive at the cafeteria, there is not much of a crowd there, but Lilly is nowhere to be seen.
Hanako's head sinks even lower than usual.
HISAO: "Have you looked somewhere else already?"
HANAKO: "J-just at the library... I was reading..."
So she does spend the classes she skips at the library.
HISAO: "Ah, so not exactly a thorough search then. Well, if I had to guess, she'd be in her own class like Shizune said, right?"
With the slightest of nods, Hanako agrees with my reasoning. God, she's being so awkward. It's like I need double layered silk gloves with padding to even begin interacting with her. Some small talk might help her become a bit more used to me. It isn't hard to tell that the silence between us is hovering on the edge of both our minds.
HISAO: "So you and Lilly usually hang out together after class, right?"
I'm not quite sure what I expected from her answer, nor why I even asked the question. That much was rather obvious, after all. She doesn't seem like the type to cultivate a social circle, either, so I suspect that Lilly may well be her only friend.
HISAO: "Must be a pain being in different classes, I'm guessing."
She gives a sharp, almost reflexive nod. Compared to Lilly's careful thought about her actions and speech, Hanako hastens to make her answers as prompt and short as possible.
HANAKO: "Lilly... comes by the classroom, though. Even when she's busy..."
She gives a small smile as she says it, evidently appreciating the fact that Lilly goes out of her way to help her. It's pretty cute, really. There isn't any need to say more, both of us content that the discussion's reached an end.
As we ascend the stairs back to the lobby we are met by a group of students heading downstairs like a school of fish moving from one feeding area to another.
They seem to be keeping mostly to themselves, but before I can notice her doing so, Hanako has moved around behind me.
HISAO: "Hey, are you all right?"
HANAKO: "J-just keep going..."
The students pass us without as much as a second glance, and Hanako takes up position to my side again as we enter the building, her momentary reprieve from her anxiety all but snatched away. Even as we climb towards the third floor, she doesn't seem to relax. It isn't as if I've never known a shy person before, or even shy girls, but Hanako seems to be pretty far beyond what I'd call normal in her fear of other people. If it weren't for Lilly acting as a mediator, I doubt Hanako would have even been able to walk beside me like this. She seems to completely shut down in the presence of others. The rest of the walk up to Lilly's classroom continues in strained silence, while I rue her inability to socialize at all. After we make our way up the stairs, the noise coming from Lilly's classroom is audible from halfway down the hallway. I wasn't expecting such a din at all.
HISAO: "Well, I guess we found her..."
This wasn't hard. Did Hanako come here first then come to me for backup, I wonder? Well, if that's true, then at least she's starting to trust me a little.
That can only be a good thing.