Part 57: The Beginning of the EndUpdate 52: The Beginning of the End
Katawa Shoujo OST ~ Passing of Time
Katawa Shoujo OST - Daylight
HISAO: "Right then. Are you taking the bus, Lilly?"
Lilly motions to a large suitcase standing beside her.
LILLY: "I'll have to take this with me, so I've booked a taxi. It'll meet us at the school gates in about five minutes."
HISAO: "Ah, I see."
Lilly reaches down and feels out the handle of her suitcase. Its weight causes her some difficulty, so I quickly offer to take it myself.
LILLY: "That is awfully kind of you, Hisao."
She has no qualms about accepting, and I end up picking it up. It's not what I'd call light, but it's not exactly heavy, either. I don't think I'll have too much trouble carrying it.
LILLY: "Well, thank you then. We should hurry though, if the taxi leaves then it will take quite a while to book a new one. Are you ready, Hanako?"
HANAKO: "Y-yeah. Let's go."
We rush to the gate as fast as we can, only to find that the taxi has yet to arrive.
HISAO: "Well, nothing like a bit of exercise in the morning. The nurse told me that I should be doing that."
LILLY: "I think he probably had other things in mind, Hisao. And probably with more regularity. Do you intend to be helping people with their luggage every day?"
HISAO: "I guess not. Looks like we've got a bit to wait anyway. How long should we wait for the taxi before calling them again?"
LILLY: "I would say another ten minutes, but they've never let me down before. There's probably just a little traffic."
HISAO: "Okay then. So how long is the flight to Scotland?"
LILLY: "About sixteen hours, if I remember correctly. It's a bit hard to tell with the changing time zones."
HANAKO: "So long..."
It's now that I realize Hanako's been unusually quiet, even for her. She doesn't handle stress well, so she's looking really uptight.
HISAO: "Yeah, I can't imagine being on a plane for that long."
I've only ever flown on a short family holiday up north, so it really is quite hard to fathom. If Hanako's spent so much of her childhood at an orphanage, she's probably traveled very little, let alone flown.
LILLY: "It's not too bad. I'll spend most of it either asleep or catching up on my English. I hardly use that here so I need to refamiliarize myself with it a little."
HANAKO: "W-will your accent... be a problem?"
LILLY: "I wouldnt worry about that too much. It may be an issue initially, but I should be fine once I get used to it."
We all move to sit down on the small bench beside the school gate in silence. Strangely enough, even though I know that Lilly is going away, I can't think of anything to say to her. Lilly is a reliable person, so it might be because she isn't the one that I'm thinking of most. Lilly might not be able to see it, but Hanako's chewing her fingernails nervously. I move to talk to her, but can hear an engine straining up the hill before I get the chance.
HISAO: "Ah, I think the taxi is on its way..."
LILLY: "Well spotted Hisao, I only just heard it as well."
A small wave of pride washes over me. To have noticed something at the same time as Lilly must mean that I've become more aware of my surroundings. Anyway, we won't have to call the taxi company, nor worry about missing Lilly's train. Once the taxi stops where we're standing, the driver rolls down a window and leans over. After confirming that, yes, Lilly is the same Lilly Satou that booked the trip, we sort out her luggage. The driver opens the trunk of the taxi and takes Lilly's suitcase, with Lilly climbing into the back seat as he loads it into the trunk and slams it shut. After getting back into his seat and shutting the doors, he waits for us to say our farewells.
HANAKO: "Have a safe trip, Lilly."
HISAO: "Take care of yourself."
Hanako looks understandably downcast, and that much is obvious even in her voice.
LILLY: "Of course I will. I'll be back before long, don't worry. There will still be another person here for you too, won't there, Hisao?"
HISAO: "Yeah, of course."
I turn and smile to Hanako, putting my hand on her shoulder. She only manages to keep eye contact with me for a couple of seconds, her cheeks red all the while, before turning back to Lilly.
HISAO: "See you, Lilly."
HANAKO: "Good bye!"
Lilly gives her farewells to the both of us with a fair measure of reluctance.
Without further ado, the driver starts the engine once more and they begin the journey down the hill, and towards the airport. The two of us stand at the gates for a long time even after they've disappeared from sight, not really knowing what to do.
HISAO: "So, what do you want to do?"
HANAKO: "I... don't know."
>How about we call it a day?
>Do you want to go into the city?
Do you remember when I mentioned two flaws in Hisaos logic? The first is that hes mind reading. He assumes he knows Hanako well enough to anticipate her wants and needs. But while he often makes the right decisions He doesnt. Not really. He admits it himself; every time he thinks hes wrapped his head around her, something else comes up that calls his assumptions into question. Its pretty clear that she does have feelings for him at this point, and we also know shell be lonely without Lilly around. Why not just Do something with her? Treat her like she can make her own decisions about how she feels instead of assuming shes going to go hide again.
=>Do you want to go into the city?
The worst she can do is say no.
The bus stop, standing by the school gates like a mute sentinel, puts a strange idea in my mind.
HISAO: "Do you want to head into town and look for a bookshop or something? We have the rest of the day free."
It's a long shot, as Hanako doesn't like going into the city. I count the fact that we managed to get her out there even when it was so dark as a small miracle, but I genuinely want to spend more time with her. Anyway, she's likely to just refuse and go back to...
HANAKO: "R-really. Let's go."
I can't work out why Hanako has decided to agree with me, but I'm not about to ask her to change her mind.
Stepping off the bus, I immediately notice that a lot of people are around us. In hindsight, it should have been obvious; of course lots of people will be downtown on a Saturday afternoon. Hanako retreats close to my side, and I can feel her hand clutching my arm tightly. Her body is held against mine and her head is bowed so low that her hat hides most of her scarring.
HISAO: "So uh, where shall we go? A bookshop?"
Hanako's present and my other general living expenses have pretty much drained my budget, but I should be able to afford a few books. They're something I try to reserve a few funds for anyway. For a second I think Hanako didn't hear me, but then I look to my side and notice her nodding almost imperceptibly.
HANAKO: "O-okay. D-do you know of one?"
HISAO: "Actually, I do. We passed a few when Lilly and I were looking for your presents..."
Hanako's expression clouds a fraction. I've got to remember to stop bringing up her birthday.
HANAKO: "You both... spent a lot of time?"
Or maybe I misjudged the situation.
HISAO: "We wanted to make sure we got the right present, after all."
Hanako smiles and blushes a bit. It's a small treasure when she does.
HISAO: "Anyway, there should be a bookshop just up ahead, do you want to check it out?"
The crowds start to build as we head towards the bookshop along the raised walkways. Hanako latches her other arm onto me as well, making our progress a little slower. As we walk, the sound of the traffic makes me think of a possible distraction for her.
HISAO: "I was wondering, Hanako... have you thought yet about when you're going to learn to drive?"
HISAO: "Yeah. You're kind of lucky, in a way; there aren't a whole lot of students in Yamaku that are allowed to drive."
It's not the best topic of conversation, but I want to try and distract Hanako from the situation. She's really highly strung right now. Then again, all I've really done is make her feel awkward, since she's probably never thought about it. I wish I hadn't said anything.
Before long we are before one of the bookshops Lilly and I passed by during our search.
HISAO: "What kind of self-respecting bookshop closes on Saturdays?"
HANAKO: "Bookshops... don't make much money any more, because of the Internet. Maybe they just had to close over weekends?"
She seems pretty knowledgeable about technology. I guess it's a pursuit that would lend itself well to someone who enjoys solitude.
HISAO: "Huh, I guess that makes sense... it's easier to find books online. Anyway, it looks like this idea is shot. Anything else you'd like to do?"
HANAKO: "I-if it's not... not a bother... could you show me where you bought my present?"
HISAO: "Sure, not a problem. It's not far from here."
I head off in the direction of the store, only half-sure of its exact location. I don't want a repeat of the last time; spending half the day walking around aimlessly.
HISAO: "Here we are, Othello's Antiques."
HANAKO: "I-it's small."
HISAO: "Well, yes. It took Lilly and I some time to find it."
HANAKO: "Can we go in?"
HISAO: "I don't see why not; it's open."
Katawa Shoujo OST - Air Guitar
Hanako pushes through the door and enters before me. Once again, the store is empty save for the store owner. His face drops a little when he sees me.
SHOPKEEPER: "Oh, you're not here for a return are you? Wait, that's not the girl you had with you last time..."
HISAO: "Er, no, we're not here to return anything. We were just in town and wanted to have another look in here."
The store owner considers this for quite a long time. I guess he's not used to high school students coming to his shop on a regular basis.
SHOPKEEPER: "Might this be the friend you bought gifts for?"
HISAO: "That's right. They were presents for her."
The store owner turns to Hanako, who freezes on the spot like a deer caught in the headlights. He moves to address her, but stops before doing so, looking a little taken aback. He catches himself staring and looks to the side, addressing us indirectly. His expression is awkward and tense, as is his entire body. I want to be mad at him, but I know full well that I had the same instinctive reaction when I first saw her. First surprise, then curiosity, then an awkward look away as I dealt with what I'd seen. Hanako looks less panicked than before... but I think the feeling she's giving off now is worse. It's not anger, nor annoyance. If anything, it's one of apology.
SHOPKEEPER: "You're lucky there, young lady. To have friends that care about you as much as they do."
HANAKO: "Th-thank you..."
If I hadn't spent so much time with Hanako I wouldn't even have realized that she said anything. Then again, the store owner's mumble was hardly clear either, thanks in part to being directed away from us. Hanako strikes out into the store, gazing in wonder at the various items on display. She finds the doll section, and spends lingering minutes studying each and every one. It's a side of Hanako I've only barely been introduced to. I was astonished when Lilly said she liked dolls, and even more so to find her collection sitting on her dresser. She looks a little better now that she's distracted and out of the store owner's sight, but I'm still quite put off by the whole experience. I might have my own problems, but I've never had strangers react to me like that, as if I was something completely alien to them.
HANAKO: "This is a nice shop."
HISAO: "Yeah, it's not what I expected. Do you want to buy something?"
HANAKO: "I-I didn't bring any money."
HISAO: "Well, we can always come again."
Now that I know where to find it, that is.
HANAKO: "W-we can?"
HISAO: "Of course. We can come here as often as you'd like."
HANAKO: "Th-thank you."
HISAO: "You don't need to thank me; I almost forgot where this place was."
I don't really think either of us completely believes in what we're saying, but rather, we're just repeating what we think we should say.
HANAKO: "C-can we go back to the school now?"
HISAO: "Sure thing. Let's go."
(Silence, City Noises)
As we leave for the bus stop, I see the store owner peek through the curtain at the back of the shop. I'm not really sure what that glance he gives to her says. It feels a bit weird, and the fact that Hanako didn't see it is both a relief and a bit frustrating.
(City Noises Stop)
Hanako and I stop walking once we reach the concrete area between the dormitory buildings. There was barely a word said between us on the way back from the city.
HANAKO: "Well then, goodbye."
HISAO: "Do you want to have some tea or something? How about a game?"
Hanako shakes her head embarrassedly.
HANAKO: "I... I'm tired. Maybe later? I've got homework..."
She sounds a little depressed. Hanako obviously does want to do more, but I suppose she would have a bit of schoolwork to catch up on; she's missed a few days of lessons.
HISAO: "Ah, homework. Thanks for reminding me; I've got a stack to do as well. I guess I'll see you tomorrow."
HANAKO: "See you, Hisao."
Before I can say goodbye, Hanako has turned and begun walking towards the entrance to the female dormitory building. I look at the door she disappears through for a bit, before going off towards my own dorms. Today was a tiring day.
END OF ACT 3