It's a strange thing to be stuck in the middle of the maelstrom.
I'm in the sempais' room with Takeshi and Suka-chan, who are each
having the riot act read to them for the fight in the furo.
Technically, this would be a school disciplinary matter, but as
Greenwood's an independant facility, we have the option to settle
things before it goes to the principal. Considering the situation
that precipitated it, is it any wonder that the sempais want to take
care of it themselves? Can you imagine them having to explain
this whole bet thing to the administration?
Given his situation, Suka-chan gets off pretty easily. "Nice punch," Mitsuru-sempai mutters, looking over his shoulder at Takeshi's black eye. "Look, I know you were trying to defend Shun-chan's honor," and here I bite my tongue; his grin is almost impossible to ignore; Suka-chan's going to figure this out if sempai doesn't stop this, "but let's try not to let this come to fighting, okay? We don't want to call attention to... her... any more than we have to. Otherwise, things are going to get out of hand." Personally, I think they've been out of hand for some time already. Not that I'm going to correct that any time soon...
Meanwhile, Shinobu-sempai's voice is low and cold as he lectures Takeshi. "You spread the word, Masuyama... anyone else tries a stunt like this, tampering with the bet, and he forfeits any winnings he might have coming to him otherwise. The money'll go to the dorm kitty, and it'll be split with everyone else. Do I make myself clear?"
Takeshi nods miserably. I'm starting to wonder how much money he bet on Friday morning; it must have been an awful lot, for him to have done something so desperate. Of course, maybe he had just meant to embarass me for that little exchange Wednesday afternoon...
Meanwhile, I'm still puzzling over how harsh Shinobu-sempai is being with Takeshi for his efforts at tampering... weren't he and Mitsuru-sempai planning on doing the same thing a couple days ago? Or is this whole thing making me just a little paranoid?
And Suka-chan's looking pretty ill, himself. That's kind of odd... surely he must know how easily he's being let off for this offense. So it's not because of any trouble he's in... but he keeps glancing at me with this sickly expression, and I'm starting to get a bit concerned.
I decide to step in. "Sempai, I'm so sorry to have caused such a fuss. I'm sure Suka-chan feels bad enough already, wouldn't you say?" I jerk my head toward Suka-chan, hoping to direct Mitsuru- sempai's attention to his face. Mitsuru-sempai blinks in mild surprise before nodding calmly.
"Yes, I suppose this matter could be considered settled. What about you, Shinobu?"
Shinobu-sempai looks up. "Fair enough... I think we understand each other pretty well, ne, Takeshi?" Once again, Takeshi nods disconsolately.
"Fine... you two are free to go, then. And watch your step, okay?"
My arm is draped over Suka-chan's shoulder as I practically guide him, hunched over in some distress, into our room. Once the door is closed behind him, he drops into the chair next to his study desk, and I go into this whole 'rescued damsel' routine:
"Suka-chan, thank you! That was so brave and gallant of you to stand up for me back there in the bathroom! You were willing to get into trouble for my sake... thank you, thank you, thank you..." I drop to my knees in front of him, and nestle my head in his lap. I'm really taking my chances here, but he really needs some cheering up or moral support or SOMEthing right now. He looks awful. "What could I ever do to repay you?"
He doesn't move for a moment, and I decide to look up. His eyes are closed now, but the sick expression hasn't left his face. I spring to my feet, and grab his shoulders.
"Suka-chan! Suka-chan! What's wrong?"
He clenches his teeth, and his hands go to his stomach. "It's nothing, Shun-chan..." is all he manages to say before he is interrupted by a rattling belch.
"Oh, gosh! It's that ulcer, isn't it? We've got to get you to the infirmary right away!" Now his eyes pop open, and a dark expression covers his face.
"NO. I'm not going to the infirmary."
"Please, Suka-chan... you're hurting. There's got to be something for you over there. Doctor Hasukawa must have --"
"I said NO!!"
Then it hits me. Doctor... Hasukawa? "Uh... Suka-chan...?"
"Yes?" he snaps.
"Doctor Hasukawa... is he your... ?"
"Brother. Yeah, what of it?"
"You two don't get along?"
"Gee, what was your first clue?"
We talk until it gets dark. I hadn't known Doctor Hasukawa had raised Suka-chan by himself for so many years. You'd think that would be cause for Suka-chan to idolize his brother.
"I did... once."
"For how long?"
"All my life, until..."
And he tells me about this girl that started to come over a few years ago. A beautiful, kind girl name Sumire-chan. Five years or so his senior, but he really adored her. And then, one day...
..she knelt in front of him, asking a terrible favor of him.
"Kazuya-kun... would it be all right, if I were to become Mrs. Hasukawa?"
Suka-chan never had a chance to tell Sumire how much he loved her. And now that his brother had beaten him to the punch, it was too late. "Every night, it seemed I could hear them... carrying on... I couldn't stand it.
"She didn't understand it. She thought I was mad at her. Well, maybe I was. I had to keep my feelings under control, and it was making me sick. And it was HIS DAMN FAULT!
"So you better damn betcha I'm not going to him for help. If I'm getting another ulcer, I'd rather die than talk to him about it. Dammit, he caused it in the first place!"
I sigh. It's funny, but it seems that by venting his rage, he's actually starting to look like he's feeling better. I still would rather not have to be his sounding board all the time like this, though...
Oops. He's noticed my pained expression, and all at once goes apologetic on me. "Oh, gosh, Shun-chan... I shouldn't've dumped all that on you. I'm really sorry about this."
I give him a weak smile. "It's okay... how's your stomach, by the way?"
"Uh?" He pats himself; he doesn't seem to have realized what's just transpired. He does know, however, that: "Hey, you're right! Much better! Thanks, Shun-chan!"
"Sure... now, what say we call it a night?" I'm not ready to ask him about his role in the dorm film festival. Maybe in the morning...
"They did WHAT?"
I'm perplexed. That shooting schedule has been up for a whole day already, and Suka-chan still hadn't known about it. Still, I guess it shouldn't come as that much of a surprise. "Well, they'd cast you in that Devilwood flick Tochizawa's directing for the festival."
"Why me? What about you, Shun? They draft you, too?"
I shake my head, sheepishly. "Uh-uh... I'm already committed to a drama class production, so I had to pass on it. The sempais were pretty understanding about it."
Suka-chan sighs heavily, then clenches his jaw. "Well, I'm gonna have a few words with the sempais and Tochizawa about this." He heads out, muttering something about not have the decency to bother asking, and slams the door behind him. I can hear angry voices from the room next door, but it gets cluttered as Tochizawa and Mitsuru- sempai chime in before Suka-chan even finishes with his tirade.
Finally, Tochizawa calls for silence. "Hasukawa... come with me. We have to discuss this... in private. Is that alright?" There is a mumble of acquiescence from Suka-chan, and I hear the door to the sempais' room open and close. I probably would be able to hear the two of them walk off, if it weren't for the words going on between Mitsuru-sempai and Shinobu-sempai. Evidently Mitsuru- sempai hadn't been consulted about his own participation in the film. I don't know if Suka-chan would find any consolation in that, but it couldn't hurt to tell him... when he gets back.
Consolation isn't necessary, as it turns out. He comes back from his meeting with Tochizawa, all smiles.
"Well, you look happy. Get out of the production?"
"Better." He is beaming ear to ear. "Sempai's the hero, but I get the girl. I get married to the princess, and Tochizawa promises that it's gonna be a real girl, too. It's so exciting! And I know who I want, if we can get her, too..."
Well, good for him, and I say so. "That's terrific. Who is it, anyway? Who's the lucky girl?"
"Well... you remember asking if there was anything you could do to repay me for helping you in the bath?" His eyes are wild and sharp; I'm getting a wee bit nervous just looking into them.
I nod, tentatively. "Yes... what about it, Suka-chan?"
He grasps my hands eagerly. "Shun-chan... will you be my princess?"
I swallow hard. Uh... could we bring the curtain down, already?
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.