The Let's Play Archive

Katawa Shoujo

by Falconier111

Part 58: Truancy

Update 53: Truancy

Katawa Shoujo OST - School Days

I woke up, took my pills, had a nice shower, quickly slipped on my uniform, ate a tasty breakfast, grabbed my bag, and headed off, all as per my usual daily routine. It was only after arriving in class that the normality of the day was thrown off. After taking my seat, I watched my classmates trickle into the room over the next hour, until every empty seat was eventually taken, other than Hanako's.


:eng101: As the camera zooms in on her empty desk, the shapes of other students (including Shizune) move independently to the sides, making it feel like the camera is physically approaching her desk. It’s a neat effect, one I haven’t seen elsewhere yet. :eng101:

I can never get used to the idea that she just doesn't show up to class every now and again. It feels all the more worrying now as well, given that Lilly's left. As Mutou continues to drone on, I find my gaze flicking every so often over to her seat, as if she might appear there any moment now. Nobody else seems to care at all about her absence, but they have little reason to. Hanako being absent from class, after all, is perfectly normal. Or at least, it was. Her attendance hasn't been all that bad from what I've seen in my time here, but it was apparently much more spotty beforehand. This is also an ominous time for her to be gone. It's the day before her birthday, and my suspicions are starting to rise, after the breakdown she had in class when it was mentioned. An increasing amount of my thoughts is taken up by how I can help her, but in the end, I feel like I can't do anything.

The bell heralding the beginning of lunchtime rings out, shaking me out of my thoughts. A collective sigh of relief can be heard from the class, though Mutou looks quite put off. He dislikes being interrupted in the middle of his exciting lectures, after all. Just when I'm wondering what I should do on lunch break, given that Hanako and Lilly aren't here, the solution presents itself.

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

MISHA: "'Afternoon, Hicchan~!"

SHIZUNE: "..."

HISAO: "'Afternoon Misha, Shizune. You both look as bright as ever."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Shicchan wants to know if you'd like to have lunch with us today~?"

HISAO: "Sure. It'll be good to have some company."

(Crowd Noises)

The cafeteria hums with activity, much like my old school's did. Yamaku is different, though, in how... strangely civilized the lunchtime rush is. What one would expect to be an unruly mob chomping at the bit to get to the serving area is, rather, a neat and organized line. There's a small amount of jostling, and people's heads are often craning around to check on what's happening up ahead, but it's pretty subdued. This is due, no doubt, to the very serious rules regarding such matters in this school. The same strict discipline is observed when students move in the hallways, or come to and from their dormitories and the school gate. While the reasons for it may be slightly off-putting, I've come to quite like this sense of order that's enforced in the school.

I didn't really like being told by Shizune and Misha to get their lunches, though. I feel a little used as I take a seat at the table where they're sitting, plunking their food down in front of them. Sweet bread and strawberry milk for Misha, a bowl of ramen and juice for Shizune. I heave a sigh of relief as I put it all down, after the significant difficulty I had carrying it all in addition to my own lunch."

MISHA: "Thank you~!"

Misha claps her hands together before popping open the wrapper and digging into her bread ravenously. Shizune simply gives an appreciative nod before giving her steaming ramen a stir and blowing on it a little to cool it down. I open my own lunch, another packet of sweet bread, and take a bite before washing it down with some juice. The bread is very sweet, so much so that I end up forcing myself to stomach it just to get the experience over with. Midway through, I decide to take a break from the difficult task and ask what's on my mind.

HISAO: "So, I'm guessing you two had a reason to drag me down here? You two seem to always have an ulterior motive, after all."

MISHA: "What are you faying, Hiffan~! We mon't hafe any uffer mofiffe~."

Her mouth is full of sweet bread as she speaks. It's a pretty unpleasant sight. Shizune looks a little grossed out, before going back to eating her ramen. I wait until Misha swallows what she has in her mouth before speaking again.

HISAO: "You're not buttering me up to make me work with you after school?"

MISHA: "Nope!"

HISAO: "Not trying to extract information from me that I might not want to give?"

MISHA: "Nuh-uh!"

HISAO: "...Fine. You win. I guess you just wanted to eat lunch with someone as intelligent and handsome as me, then."

MISHA: "That's it, Hicchan~! You got it~!"

Shizune looks unimpressed as Misha finishes signing our conversation, and sucks in the last of a long noodle as she signs her own thoughts."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Shicchan says you shouldn't be so suspicious of us~. She's just doing her duty as a class representative, after all~."

HISAO: "How is she... err... are you doing that?"

As much as I hate to admit it, it looks as if I still have trouble communicating with Shizune. It should be a simple matter of keeping eye contact with her and addressing Shizune instead of Misha in my speech, but when somebody else is doing the talking for her, it's a surprisingly difficult task.

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "It's the class representative's job to ensure everybody's doing all right in class, isn't it~?"

HISAO: "Not... really... Wait, how is making me get your food ensuring that I'll go well in class?"

Shizune huffs and adjusts her glasses disapprovingly.

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "So this is the thanks we get for giving you companionship during lunchtime?"

That's a total dodge of the question. Wait, hang on...

(Sudden Silence, Crowd Noises Continue)

HISAO: "How did you know that I...?"

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Lilly's away and Hanako is absent, and since those two are the only people you hang around with..."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "You also made it kind of obvious to see~..."

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

Ouch. I may well have done so, but she didn't need to rub it in. Maybe this is payback for before.

HISAO: "Right. Well, thanks. I appreciate it, and that isn't sarcasm."

The two nod, and we get back to finishing our meals. It feels a little embarrassing to be accompanied just because they noticed I was lonely, but it isn't as if they're strangers either. It isn't long before I finish the last of my bread and start on the last of my juice, and as I do so, I find my mind wandering back to what I'd been thinking about before the two interrupted my train of thought. It feels like I'm the only one in the class that so much as acknowledges Hanako not being there. It felt like this the other times she skipped class, but now it's even more acutely annoying. Does nobody care if she's happy or not? Have they just written off any possibility of helping to make her better? Even Mutou doesn't try to keep her in class, and I'm still not wholly convinced by his reasoning.

MISHA: "Hey Hicchan, is your juice past its expiry date?"

HISAO: "What?"

MISHA: "You were pulling a weird face, like this~."

As if it were needed, Misha mimics my own expression. Her exaggeration makes me grimace, though Shizune at least takes some amusement from it.

HISAO: "I was just thinking about Hanako."

MISHA: "Oh?"

Misha's interest is piqued, and so is Shizune's, once my words are interpreted for her."

HISAO: "I'm just worried about her being absent so often. Especially now, though, what with her birthday coming around."

HISAO: "Do you know anything about Hanako? Anything that might help?"

Misha shrugs and looks to Shizune, who mulls on this for a while.

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "The only people she's ever talked to for more than a sentence or two are you and Lilly."

Shizune may not be able to convey Lilly's name in a derisive tone of speech, but I feel as if it comes through in her sign language. The effect is lost, however, after Misha's interpretation.

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "There are a couple of things we know about Hanako as Student Council members, thanks to the records that pass through our hands, but we can't say anything about what's in them."

HISAO: "Understandable."

It sounds a lot like the nurse's “patient confidentiality.” Every time I find someone that knows something about Hanako's past, it turns up being a dead end. The only way I'll ever find out is by asking her. I don't know if she'll let me know such things, but if it's for her sake, I have to at least try.

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Don't worry about it, Hicchan~. It happens every year, after all~."

That doesn't remove my sense of worry at all. I still feel a little at fault for what happened in class, but this feels like it goes further, even without their confirmation of that fact. Misha notes my troubled expression, her own usually happy and reassuring face dropping.

MISHA: "Everyone has problems they have to deal with, right, Hicchan?"

HISAO: "Yeah. I just wish I could help Hanako more with hers.


With that, the conversation trails off on a depressing note. Eventually Misha manages to pick the mood back up through her usual bright and bubbly antics, but my mind remains focused on Hanako. I'll go check on her later.