They're coming! And I need time to get dressed properly! I
scurry back to the room, but I detour just briefly to let 'Brother'
Kinichii know about Hasukawa's arrival. Since his little, uh...
religious group... isn't an officially sanctioned club, he doesn't
feel the need to abide by the "no-direct-recruitment" rule the
clubs are compelled to at least pretend to observe. It should buy
me some time, in any case, and Mitsuru-sempai and Shinobu-sempai
should be able to calm things down if Brother Kinichii gets a little
Okay, what to wear... nothing too feminine, of course. It's not so much that I'm trying to pass for a girl, after all; I'm trying to pass for a girl trying to pass for a guy... you know, you could make an interesting musical from a premise like that.
I finally select a slightly baggy pastel yellow sweatshirt, and a pair of hip-hugging jeans. Nothing so tight as too give me away, but enough to show that I actually do have a bit of curve on the hips. I pinch the chest of my sweatshirt a few times, just to give a little illusion, and...
Mitsuru-sempai's voice interrupts my preparations: "Oi! Your roommate's here!" Okay. I take a deep breath and brush myself down a bit, and give a quick check at the mirror on the inside of the door. The face staring back at me returns a shy smile, and is framed by light, flowing hair, with bangs coming down just to my eyes. It's a cute face, and one that should serve to fool him.
Say, isn't he going to open that door already?
There's a click, and the knob turns. Guess he was gathering himself, too. Probably not accustomed to sharing a room with someone, I'll wager. I widen my smile, and crinkle my eyes shut, to look as 'kawaii' as possible without being too overbearing. So I never even get a glimpse of him, as he promptly shuts the door again.
I can hear them talking outside. "Something wrong, Hasukawa?" Perfectly innocent, too. Damn, but Mitsuru-sempai is a good actor.
"There's... there's a girl in there!" Poor kid. He really is falling for it. This is going to be fun.
"Well, yeah. That's your roommate..." Mitsuru opens the door, and leads him in as he introduces me. "Kisaragi Shun."
Now I open my eyes, and get a good look at the young man I'm going to be trying to fool for the next, oh, however long I can. He looks like he was born to wear the suit-and-tie outfit that serves as the Ryokuto school uniform; a far cry from me, as I look just short of ridiculous in it. He looks rather shell-shocked, and just a little embarrased, as he follows sempai in. "Oh, wow. I though he really was a girl." There's this innocence in his eyes, too; I can tell he's a guileless soul, and I like him right off. It almost makes me feel sorry for him, and for what we're about to do to him.
"Oh, she is," Mitsuru-sempai remarks casually. Hasukawa just goggles at him in disbelief. That's my cue. Time to pull out the trump card. I clasp my hands together in front of myself and let fly with my first line:
"Hi! I'm in tenth grade, too. How do you do?" Not only do I look like a girl, I sound like one, too. If I could sing, I could probably do a passable soprano. It's enough to push Hasukawa over the edge. He really looks like he's been dropped into an alien world.
Shinobu comes alongside him with reassuring, yet deceptive tones. "I understand if this comes as a bit of a shock..." Now there's an understatement, ne? "Since you'll be living together, we thought you ought to know. Actually," and he crosses his arms, as if to admit to something, "we didn't realize it ourselves until she told us. We just assumed that 'he' was a little weird."
At the word 'weird', Hasukawa flinches even more. He really looks scared. Mitsuru-sempai continues the explanation we worked up over the past week:
"Everything up to her family's census file says she's a boy..." which is the first true thing these two have said since my name, "but she's a genuine girl. For reasons I can't go into just now, she's been raised as a boy since birth; and now, she has to graduate from here as a male student named Shun Kisaragi."
"You've got to be kidding!"
Shinobu-sempai doesn't even bother to dignify Hasukawa's outburst with a response. "Anyway, we'd appreciate your help with this." His voice drops to a near-whisper, "This is a secret between the four of us, all right?"
Mitsuru adds to his anxiety, draping a brotherly arm around his shoulder. "I know it's a lot of trouble, but we're counting on you to help her." By now, poor Hasukawa's face has developed a bit of a nervous tic, and Shinobu-sempai senses that the joke's gone on long enough. Besides, Mitsuru-sempai's starting to lose his straight face.
"I think we should go now."
Mitsuru-sempai nods as they make for the door. "Get some rest and settle in." And out they go.
There's an awkward moment between the door closing and Hasukawa letting his bag fall from his hand. A dark scowl forms on his face... this could be trouble...
"Miss Kisaragi!" Ah, well, he's not mad at me directly, just the situation. Fine, then.
"Oh, please, it's just Shun."
Now he looks incredulous. "This is okay with you?"
"Uh-huh." I settle myself onto the lower bunk bed that I have long since claimed as my own. "I've always gone to boys' schools. I'm used to it." Then, I decide to overplay my hand slightly. "Besides, I trust you, Hasukawa."
I do, I really do. He seems a nice kid, one who would go out of his way to help someone in a situation like mine... assuming there was somebody in such a situation.
For once, he's not buying it. "Trust me? You don't even know me!"
Another cue, this time for the sempais. The door swings open suddenly, and there they are, like guardian angels.
"Hasukawa-kun," Mitsuru-sempai leads off this time, "I forgot to mention something. This is an old building, the walls are thin, and our room is right next door."
"If by any chance, we hear even a hint of a scream from her..."
"...then you are going to answer to us. Clear?" Mitsuru-sempai doesn't even wait for a reply, but closes the door immediately. Just as well... their grins were starting to take the edge off the menacing tones they were trying for.
But what's clear is that Hasukawa has missed their levity entirely. He looks stricken. I'm really starting to feel sorry for him, and all that he thinks he's going through. "I'm so sorry... I'm going to be a bother, I just know it.
"You know, I was sort of relieved when I heard you were in the hospital... it gave me a little time here when I wasn't causing problems for some roommate." Then, I really go out on a limb: "If it's too much trouble, you can tell the dorm lady..." and trail off. I'm betting he won't do it; he knows that for me to be 'unmasked' as a female would result in my expulsion.
And he comes through, albeit hesitantly. "N-no, it's okay, really, but..."
"Really?!" I bound to my feet, and practically hug him. "Thank you so much!" He seems really uncomfortable about this. And I'm starting to wonder about him.
That's when the intercom bell rings: "Room 210, Hasukawa-kun... your luggage has arrived."
Well, as long as I'm still in 'perky' mode, I might as well keep it up. I whirl him around as I talk. "They've brought your stuff... c'mon, I'll help you bring them in!" I charge out the door, down the hall, and into the lobby.
Two suitcases, that's all. And they're big and heavy, too. It's like he's stuffed an entire room in this thing. It takes both hands for me just to drag it up to our room...
..and when I get there, 'Suka-chan's still sitting where I'd left him, eyes glazed over with a look of 'how-did-I-get-into-this-mess' somewhere deep inside of them. Well, no time to address that now. "Aw, Hasukawa, get up... I'm not lugging both of these things. What, did you completely move out of your home or something?"
He doesn't say a word as he gets up and trudges into the hallway. I think I might have said the wrong thing...
Disclaimer: Koko wa Greenwood is the creation of Yukie Nasu, and all characters and situations therein are the property of her and Hakusensha Inc., Victor Entertainment, and the Pierrot Project. No infringement is intended.