The Let's Play Archive

Katawa Shoujo

by Falconier111

Part 46: Tea Leaves

Storm One posted:

How about this?

No screenreader here, any of the options are fine by me.

That's... Damn, I have to try that out.

Update 41: Tea Leaves

:eng101: No Act 1 analysis this time. Let’s move on to the main event, and by that I mean intro cinematic. :eng101:

Jitter - Katawa Shoujo OST/Cinematic

:eng101: I strongly recommend you at least listen to this.

Anyway, we start with a series of blurred images…

… An object…

… A man…

… A family…

… And Hanako, alone in a room.

She stands in a crowd that teems and rushes and blurs around her, leaving her isolated in a sea of people.

Then someone stands out, the first solid person she sees.

She turns to look.

It’s Hisao.

She smiles with relief.

They approach each other, and the scene changes.

Hanako’s reading in the library when someone stands in her light.

It’s Hisao.

She hides behind her book.

He sighs…

… Sits next to her…

… And we begin Act 2.

My alarm blares into my ears, only to be swiftly silenced by my fist.

My body switches into auto-mode, carrying my subconscious self out of bed and into my uniform. As always, my bottles of pills sit on my desk patiently, waiting for me to take them and pick out my daily dosage of medicine; seventeen pills a day. Before I know it, I'm opening the door to class 3-3, glad to see that I'm not the only one who seems to be a little hung-over from festival week. Every face in the classroom looks gaunt. With the festival now over, it's as if everyone's life dreams have been achieved. With nothing left to live for, the students have relied on instincts alone to guide them to class. Or maybe I'm just reading too much into it. I slowly make my way to my seat, and it's only then that I realize why the room is so peaceful. The seats beside mine are blissfully empty; the world's loudest interpreter for the deaf has yet to arrive.

Katawa Shoujo OST - Hokabi

Just as I am about to sit down, the door flies open, revealing a resplendent Misha; drills bobbing from the dramatic entrance and arms stretched towards the sky.

MISHA: "Ya-hooo~! It's all over!"

It would appear that not everyone is affected by the post-festival depression. The rest of the class glare at her, obviously thinking the same thing I am. Misha, still frozen in the doorway with her arms still in the air, nervously looks around. It's obvious that she senses the foul mood, but can't work out exactly what to do. Suddenly, she jerks forward.

MISHA: "Hey!"

As she stumbles into the classroom, she reveals Shizune, arm still extended from where she shoved Misha.

SHIZUNE: "..."

HISAO: "Thanks for the entertainment, but shouldn't you two take your seats?"

SHIZUNE: "..."

Still slightly embarrassed, Misha takes a few seconds to realize she has to translate.

MISHA: "Oh! Yeah! Shicchan says she's not happy with you ditching us last week. We were really busy!"

HISAO: "Is that so? What about the stuff I already did for you two?"

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "She says that only counts for council members. Since you declined, she doesn’t owe you anything."

Misha leans closer, and whispers conspiratorially into my ear.

MISHA: "Actually, I think she's just a little sore that you didn’t spend the day with her. She's really thankful for your work last week though."

:eng101: Eh, maybe next time. :eng101:

Sensing that she is being talked about, Shizune lightly raps her fingers on her desk until Misha turns around to face her. I can't understand any of the fast-paced signing that's going on, but from Shizune's slightly embarrassed expression, and Misha's poorly contained laughter, I can guess.


While this exchange is happening, the door opens once again, but this time at a much more reasonable pace. Hanako quietly enters the room, and pulls the door closed behind her. Peering out from under her hair, she quickly scans the classroom. Our eyes meet, and she suddenly stiffens. She closes her eyes, takes a deep breath, and then walks over to my desk.

HANAKO: "G... good morning Hisao."

HISAO: "Morning Hanako. You're a little late, aren't you?"

HANAKO: "I... was talking to Lilly. A-about today."

HISAO: "Ah, so you've got her list then? We can leave straight after classes in that case."

HANAKO: "S-sure."

HISAO: "I'm looking forward to it."

Hanako briefly flashes her embarrassed smile at me then hurries off to her seat.

Katawa Shoujo OST - School Days

During classes, it becomes apparent that it's not only the students that are a little despondent after the festival. Mutou simply gives us a list of exercises from the textbook and then sits behind his desk. I totally forget about the brief lunch period for a moment, such is the banality of the day. It's mind-numbing, and everyone seems surprised when the bells signal the end of the lessons. As I am packing up my bags, Shizune and Misha flank and entrap me.

MISHA: "Say, Hicchan, it's still not too late to join up. There's a lot of post-festival paperwork for us to complete..."

HISAO: "Er, sorry Misha, I've... got plans..."

As if sensing the cue, Hanako appears behind me, holding a small bag, and trying to avoid eye contact with the outside world. Misha's eyes open wide, then she bursts into laughter.

MISHA: "BWAHAHA! You move fast, don't you Hicchan~? We won't disturb your date any further! Bwahahaha!"

Behind the roaring Misha, I see Shizune taking far too little interest in the scene. I might be taking this the wrong way, but I think she's deliberately ignoring me. I feel a gentle tug on my shirt, and turn to see Hanako's eyes fixed firmly on the floor.

HANAKO: "L... let's..."

HISAO: "Got ya. Shizune, Misha, I'll see you later. And I'm still not interested in the council."

MISHA: "Spoilsport."


Misha and Shizune retreat into the hallway, happily signing to each other.

HISAO: "Got all your stuff? Let's head off."

Katawa Shoujo OST - Air Guitar

Floods of students pour out of the school gates and onto the road into town. It's a little weird. It's almost a scene from any other high school, but the illusion fades because of the occasional wheelchair or missing limb. One thing I do notice is that nobody is alone.

And, as Hanako and I pass through the gates, I notice that she closes the distance between us. Not enough to be considered “close”, but she certainly isn't at her usual just-a-little-far position. I guess we're not familiar enough for her to get as close as she does with Lilly. However, even though she has moved a little closer to me physically, mentally she seems to have traveled a mile. Her hands clutched around the leather straps of her bag to the point of whitening her knuckles, her head down and her mouth pursed closed. She almost looks like she's being walked to the Principal's office for the first time. I try to stifle a giggle at the thought, but it is futile.

HANAKO: "W-what's the matter...?"

I guess there's no point in hiding it...

HISAO: "Sorry. For a second there it looked like you were getting in trouble."

HANAKO: "W-w-what do you mean?"

HISAO: "I think you need to relax a little. We're not going too far, and it's only students around, right?"

HANAKO: "R-right."

It bothers me a little to see Hanako so worked up.

HISAO: "And you do this every week, don't you?"

HANAKO: "Y-yes. With Lilly."

Of course. “With Lilly.” I wonder, has she ever left the school without her? It doesn't seem like much at first glance, but Hanako's dependence on Lilly is absurdly heavy. If she can't even handle leaving the school without her, how would she have managed to survive if the two had never met? Would she have found someone else to latch on to? And what drew her to Lilly? Was it her lack of eyesight, or was Lilly just kind enough to lend a hand? I wonder if anyone would have fit the bill.

HISAO: "Well, I'm here. Besides, we're not going far. It'll be over before you know it."

Hanako's knuckles slowly regain their color as she tries to hide a small smile, but the effort of that seems to prevent further conversation. We travel, side by side, down the winding road towards the town. The crowd of students thins as we continue along the sidewalk. Faster students rush ahead, and the less mobile ones fall behind, rarefying the crowd into nothingness. By the time we reach the convenience store we are practically alone. Using me as a shield between herself and the attendant, Hanako moves through the narrow aisles, adding an assortment of items to her basket. Bread, milk, tea... thyme? What kind of convenience store sells herbs?

Then again, nothing about this town seems normal, which may not be such a bad thing in retrospect. Everything is so different and uncomfortable; dwelling on such matters isn't really an option. When I think about that, it reminds me of Hanako. No matter how much you try, you can't escape her scars; they still interrupt my train of thought when I see them. As much as I don't want to admit it to myself, I think I'm forcing myself to try to ignore them. Not that I am scar-free myself. The jagged line down my sternum will never completely fade away. I just have the luxury of being able to hide it easily. But, in a way, both of our scars remind me that we're all in this place for a reason.

Hanako throws one last item into her basket then sheepishly holds it out to me, along with a few bank notes.

HANAKO: "C-c-could you p-please..."

It takes me a second to understand what she's trying to say.

HISAO: "Oh, you want me to pay for this?"

She nods, but doesn't look up. I guess this task falls to Lilly on the usual occasions.

HISAO: "Sure. Lemme just grab a couple of things..."

Hastily I grab a few essential items for myself and head for the counter with Hanako in close tow. The attendant gives me an indifferent nod as he scans in the items. I suppose just ignoring us is one way to deal with the anomalies of Yamaku; they must get a lot of students here, being the closest store to the school.

The staff must all have their own way of dealing with us. Or maybe they don't; maybe it's only me who thinks twice about my unique schoolmates. Our transaction complete, Hanako and I head back out onto the street.

Katawa Shoujo OST - Afternoon

The road is pretty much abandoned now. The students that were heading out have already left, and nobody has started returning just yet. And, with only the school ahead on the road, there doesn't seem to be anyone else around. The emptiness certainly reflects on Hanako; her arms by her sides each carrying a bag, her head no longer bowed, and back to the upright position.

It's almost as if she were enjoying this walk.

HISAO: "So, why all these weird things? Mixed Spice? Why would you need that in school?"

HANAKO: "I... sometimes... like to m-make food."

HISAO: "Well, yeah, so do I but... spices? That's a little more advanced, don't you think?"

HANAKO: "N-not really."

HISAO: "Well, I think it's cool. You'll have to teach me one day."

HANAKO: "S-sure."

She doesn't seem all that sure, but pushing the point doesn't seem all that wise. At the very least, she seems a great deal happier than she did on the walk down here. That alone makes me a little happier. Outside the girls' dorm, Hanako and I sort out the grocery bags with our respective purchases. In comparison, my things look positively plain.

HISAO: "I tell you, you're putting me to shame here..."

HANAKO: "N-no I'm not... I just..."

HISAO: "I'm only joking. I have a stack of homework that I skipped last week, so I must leave now. Will you be all right getting that to your room?"

HANAKO: "Y-yeah."

HISAO: "Sure? Okay then. I'll see you tomorrow."


HANAKO: "B-bye."

We part ways, and I return to my room. Piles of papers sit upon my desk, begging to be completed. With the entire ruckus of the last week, I've barely had any time to catch up. I tried to keep up with my studies while I was in the hospital, but some of this stuff I've never seen before, even back in my old school. Totally unprepared, I pop the top on a can of drink, and get to work.

Katawa Shoujo OST ~ Passing of Time

Katawa Shoujo OST - Daylight

The days are really starting to heat up. This morning, I awoke covered in sweat. By the time the student body starts leaving their dorms for breakfast and morning duties, the sun has taken full effect; oddly, that puts me in high spirits. It's not even eight, yet I feel that this day is going to be one of those pleasant, tranquil, warm ones. If I weren't at a school that considered every absence from class as a sign of a life-threatening situation, I'd consider skipping the whole day and just relaxing in the school gardens. Yes, today will be a genuinely lazy day.

For a second, I stop in mid-stretch, and consider the nurse's warning about exercise. Maybe I should have kept up those morning jogs. Running with someone like Emi might have been a little testing, but if I worked at my own pace...

Ah, who am I kidding? I couldn't stick to something like that without some kind of motivation. It's not like I sit around all day. The walk to and from the convenience store counts as exercise, right? Especially the walk back up the hill... Yeah, it's no big deal. Compared to months lying in a hospital bed I'm getting plenty exercise.

:eng101: (lol) :eng101:

It seems that I'm not alone in my appreciation of the day. Nearly every member of the class is glancing through the window and into the tantalizing sky. Even the steadfast Shizune seems to lack her usual vigor for schoolwork. Misha, as brazen as ever, has even unbuttoned the top buttons of her shirt and is fanning herself with a note book. I must have been staring, as she's now sticking her tongue out at me. However, she shows no signs of halting her efforts, nor is she trying to hide the fact.

The lunch bells seem to catch everyone by surprise, and the class empties at a much slower pace than usual. The heat seems to be draining the need to rush from everyone. Well, almost everyone.


HANAKO: "H... Hisao?"

HISAO: "Hey there Hanako, what can I do for you today?"

Hanako already has a lunch bag in hand. I don't have to be a detective to work out where this is going.

HANAKO: "Um... would you like to have lunch with us again? I... I brought enough for everyone..."

HISAO: "Awesome. You don't have to be so stiff about it though."

HANAKO: "Ah... right."

HISAO: "I take it we're going to the tea room?"

HANAKO: "P... please. Lilly said she'll meet us in there, so we should... should..."

HISAO: "Should?"

HANAKO: "...should go ahead together..."

HISAO: "Sounds like a plan. This heat has made me pretty hungry."

Hanako breathes a sigh of relief, and I gather my things together.

Katawa Shoujo OST - Fripperies

As usual, the aura of the tea room is refreshing, feeling isolated from the rest of the world. Then again, the usual din of the school seems to be a bit subdued; most likely from laziness promoted by heat exhaustion. Hanako slowly spreads her food on the table, intently focusing on every little movement, as if she's trying to keep her mind off other thoughts. It's not much, but I can tell from her demeanor that she has prepared everything with utmost care.

HISAO: "I guess Lilly isn't here yet. Should we start without her?"

HANAKO: "S-she'll be here soon..."

Hanako struggles with the lid of the container of rice.

HISAO: "Here, let me help with that..."

I take the container from Hanako's hands, and try to force open the lid. Try as I might, it seems wedged shut.

HISAO: "Let me guess, did you put this in while the rice was still hot?"

HANAKO: "Y-yes. I was in a rush..."

I put the container on the table between us.

HISAO: "I thought so. It looks like this is wedged shut. We'll need some hot water to get it open. But that could be a pain in here. We'd get water everywhere."

LILLY: "Well, in that case, how about I contribute to today's meal?"

At the door, Lilly smiles while holding up a bag stocked with various buns and bread rolls. I can't help but do the same.

LILLY: "Since you two had a change of plans because of me, I thought I would bring a little something."

HISAO: "Thanks, Lilly. Here, let me get that for you..."

With a little guidance, Lilly's bread assortment joins Hanako's rice-less platter. I hastily make some tea to complete the picture.

HISAO: "Well, I'm looking forward to this."

As I take a bite, I notice Hanako trying her hardest to not look like she is looking at me. It's nothing special, but then again I can't really complain. I'm pretty lazy when it comes to cooking for myself.

HISAO: "Not bad, I guess this is made with the stuff you bought yesterday?"

HANAKO: "Y-yes."

Hanako's eyes shout at me, begging for some kind of feedback.

HISAO: "Well it was clearly worth it. Thanks, Hanako."

HANAKO: "I... I wanted to show you this... after yesterday..."

HISAO: "It's okay. I was just a little surprised at the stuff you were buying."

LILLY: "Hanako's always liked to experiment when it comes to food. I think it's good... most... of the time."

While Lilly's smile doesn't waver, the slight change in her tone tells me that things have not gone so well in the past. And it's not like Hanako has many people to sample her cooking...


Hang on... was Lilly waiting for me to go first? She didn't start eating until after I said it was all right... Her cheeky grin tells me that this was a deliberate action on her part. I'll have to try and work out how to get one over her in the future, to make up for this.

HISAO: "Well, it's good, and that's all that counts, right?"

HANAKO: "R-right."

Lilly, satisfied at not being the first to sample Hanako's creation, begins to consume the food in front of her. I find myself staring as I watch her chopsticks gently touch the plate, their tips delicately poking and tracing to quickly ascertain the positions of the food as she dexterously picks it up. One might think she were a child playing with her food if not for the situation, though she does it with such care and thoughtlessness that it's obvious this is simply how she eats this kind of meal. Not wanting to miss out, I start filling up myself. Hanako takes a different approach, waiting until Lilly and I have our hands clear before quickly snatching up her share. Before long the containers are empty, save for the still-shut rice container.

LILLY: "Thank you Hanako, that was filling."

HANAKO: "N-no... thank you for the bread..."

HISAO: "Yes, it would have been a disaster if not for that."

LILLY: "You're both welcome. But now, I must be getting back. It's far too easy to be late after eating here."

HISAO: "Yeah, I see what you mean. I think we'll just clean up here and then head off."

LILLY: "Well then, good day."

Lilly leaves, her cane tapping away down the quiet hallway. Hanako and I quickly pack our things and stay seated, waiting for the bell.

Katawa Shoujo OST - Raindrops and Puddles

Together, we stare out the window and into the endless azure sky. If it weren't for the pealing of the bells, I would have sworn that time had stopped. The urge to skip class rises in my gut. I shoot a glance at Hanako, who shows no signs of moving either.

HANAKO: "Not... just yet..."

The interval between the warning bells and the end of lunch bells passes in the blink of an eye.

HISAO: "We really should go... people will freak out and start a search party if we skip..."

Hanako sighs.

HANAKO: "You're right."

Slowly, she rises to her feet, and I follow suit. Silently, we make our way up the old stairs to the third floor and then to our classroom. At the door, I take point and open the door ahead of Hanako, bowing my head down in apology in advance.

"I'm sorry we're late, teacher.”


I am greeted not by stern words, nor by an angered instruction to take my seat, but simply by the silence created by fifteen or so students trying not to laugh. Mutou, ever tardy, has yet to arrive. However, the fact that Hanako and I have arrived together is blatantly obvious.

MISHA: "Pff... pffwa..."

Make that about fourteen students trying, and one student failing.

Katawa Shoujo OST - Katawa Shoujo OST - Generic Happy Music

MISHA: "Pft-bwahahaha! The lovers return~! WAHAHAHA~!"

HISAO: "Yeah, thanks. You can calm down now."

I step through the door, and realize that Hanako is firmly pressed against my back, hiding herself from the class. With my steps coming closer to my desk, she eventually breaks from me and stiffly walks to her own. Her efforts to mentally block everyone's presence from her mind are written fairly clearly on her face. Quickly checking the door for any signs of the teacher's arrival, I make a trip to Hanako's desk and whisper in her ear.

HISAO: "Don't worry about Misha, she's always like this. I enjoyed myself today. Don't sweat it, okay?"

Hanako nods her head behind her folded arms, but still doesn't show her face. I yearn to stay and console her more, but Mutou picks this exact moment to enter the class, halfway through his lecture, as if he started it in the hallway.

MUTOU: "...which, of course, is directly proportional to the charge but inversely proportionally to the square of the distance..."

He's so engrossed in his speech that he doesn't even notice me sneaking back into my seat from Hanako's desk. While Mutou's spiel rambles on, Misha leans over to me.

MISHA: "The teacher may not have noticed your tardiness, but I did."

That much is obvious from the show you just put on.

MISHA: "I have been instructed to let you off the hook for today, but only on one condition."

HISAO: "Oh? And what would that be?"

MISHA: "You have to help us this afternoon~!"

I crane my neck to look over Misha's shoulder. Shizune is conveniently not making eye contact with me.

HISAO: "Fine. Just for today. I've already told you I'm not joining the council, remember?"

MISHA: "Of course! Doing so could be considered... um, considered..."

She looks down at her notebook, obviously looking for her place in her script.

MISHA: "...under duress and hence would be against regulations."

HISAO: "How very strange of you to be considerate of the regulations now."

MISHA: "Things should be done by the book! It's just that the book hasn't been written for every situation, so there are times when it can be ignored."

HISAO: "And yet, you two wonder why no one else wants to be in the Student Council..."


After poking her tongue out at me, Misha returns to her workbook, and we battle our way through the latter half of the school day.

Katawa Shoujo OST - The Student Council (Shizune’s Theme)

Before I can even stand up, Misha and Shizune have placed their hands on both my shoulders.

HISAO: "Hey, I said I'd help out, damn..."

MISHA: "This is just insurance, Hisao, insurance~!"

HANAKO: "H-Hisao?"

Hanako timidly tries to leave the room by circling around us and I suddenly realize that this may be my one chance to escape.

HISAO: "Oh hey Hanako. What's up?"

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Hey, what makes you think you've got time to chat?"

HISAO: "Oh relax, this won't take long... sorry Hanako, you were saying?"

HANAKO: "I... I was going to go to the library, and... and I thought..."

Hanako's thumbs dance around each other and her eyes flit around the room, looking everywhere but at us.

MISHA: "Sorry Hanako, but Hisao has to come with us. He's got work to do."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Oh! But you can help too if you'd like."

HANAKO: "Um..."

MISHA: "So, how about it, Hisao?"

>"What do you think, Hanako?"
>"I've done enough work for the council already."

:eng101: Another false choice, we decided this in the vote last week. Also, let me know how this new format works so I can decide whether to implement it retroactively. :eng101: