Kimagure Orange College [Writer's foreword: This is the thirteenth episode of a fan-fict series based on the characters in Kimagure Orange Road. They are intended to take place after the movie, "I Want to Return to that Day", and follow the characters Kasuga Kyosuke and Ayukawa Madoka as they start the next phase of their lives in college. If you missed the previous episodes, notes about the new characters, and previous events are listed after the ending credits. In addition, previous episodes are available at the wpi.wpi.edu ftp site. One thing I would like to say up front: Although I and my co-writer have both graduated from college, our experience is in the American college system and culture. The span of our experience in the Japanese advanced education system is limited with what we can pick up watching anime, reading manga, and consulting with friends, pen pals and anime clubs. Any mistakes, inconsistencies, etc. are neither intentional nor are they meant to show disrespect for the Japanese education system. In fact, we would appreciate any constructive criticisms, corrections, and insight any readers might offer us. Mail all such letters, praises or flames to email@example.com.] Episode 13 - Calamity Kid [Cut to the Chez Kooun* kissaten**. Inside, the late morning crowd is slowly filling the dining room for early lunch. Amid the customers, the door bell rings as another person enters the establishment.] *Lucky house--kissatens often have Chinese or French names **Small cafe that serves coffee, tea and light refreshments Aoki: [Cheerfully.] Irasshai mase*! Ah Kasuga-san! You're right on time! *Welcome; normal greeting for customers at restaurants and stores. Kasuga: [With Eiji behind him, putting his hand behind his head.] Ah, thanks... Nakamura: [Slyly.] Ah...but who's your cute friend? Eiji: Wow...you really are a ladies man Kyosuke-niichan!* *Older brother, or in this case older male friend Kasuga: [Embarrassed to Aoki.] Heh...sorry about that! I kinda got stuck baby sitting him. Sometimes he talks too much. Eiji: Just wait until I tell Madoka-oneechan!* *Older sister, or in this case older female friend Kasuga: ... Kasuga Narration: It was the middle of the summer. During the school holiday, many students like myself were taking the time to earn extra money in our part-time jobs. However, last week's trip to an expensive restaurant left me short in cash. So addition to my regular job, I had volunteered to watch Eiji in addition to my part time job while Fujimoto-san attended to a previous commitment that she said she had to do alone. Of course, if I had known what was to come, well... [Kasuga goes into the back and changes to his work clothes. Unbeknownst to him, a pair of tiny peepholes open up behind him.] Hitomi: [Whispers while looking through the peephole and scribbling on a notebook.] Hmm...height about average...build about average... Naoko: [Whispers while looking in but without a notebook.] Maybe...below average? Hitomi: Cute though... Naoko: What about his teeth...? Aoki: [From behind them.] Sheesh...do you two ever stop? Hitomi: [Looking guilty.] But the lunch crowd doesn't start for another half-hour! Naoko: [Looking guilty.] And he's the first college guy to work here since we started working here! Nakamura: [Ambitiously.] Heh...he doesn't want a high school girl. [Brushes her brown hair back.] Hitomi: Oh...you're awful! Naoko: [About to retort when she notices something going on in the dining room.] Eh? Who's the little kid all by himself? Aoki: Kasuga-san's neighbor's kid. He's suppose to be...[Aoki hears the sound of a glass container hitting a table.] Hey! [Walks over towards Eiji's table.] You shouldn't do stuff like this...[Replaces the top on the salt shaker and wipes off the salt on the table.] Eiji: [Ogling.] Wow oneechan... you sure are sta- Kasuga: [Comes scrambling out of the dressing room and clamps Eiji's mouth.] Oi, oi...don't be so rude! [To Aoki.] He's joking, joking! [Whispers harshly to Eiji.] You're making me look like an idiot! Aoki: [Smiles and waves off the comment.] Don't worry about it! We get a lot worse than that from salarymen who come staggering in after their all-night drinking sprees! Eiji: [Looking bored.] There's nothing to do here! Kasuga: [To himself.] Che*...if I had known he was going to be such a trouble-maker... *Mild Japanese expression of disappointment/irritation [Cut back to earlier that day in the morning.] Fujimoto: Thank you so much for doing this for me Kasuga-san! I...realize that it's a lot of trouble to ask you to watch him for the day, but my regular sitter has told me that she wasn't interested in looking after Eiji anymore, so... Kasuga: It's OK. I'll just take him with me to the kissaten where I work. It's a nice place and I'll be able to keep an eye on him. Fujimoto: I hope he won't be too much trouble. Kasuga: Don't worry about a thing...I mean, how much trouble can he be? [Cut back to the present. Kasuga watches with dread anticipation as he returns to the kitchen. Eiji meanwhile pulls out a cheap instant camera.] Kasuga: [To himself.] Che...me and my big mouth! Aoki: Kasuga-san! Two daily specials Table 5! Kasuga: [Snapping back to reality.] Ah hai! [Starts grilling two entrees.] [Cut to the mid-day lunch hour.] Kasuga: [Working as fast as he can. The heat of the grill is making him sweat a little and he is struggling to keep up.] Sheesh! This place is popular during the lunch hour! Hitomi: [Comes in and sticks a few receipts on the queue.] Six hamburgers, two fish sandwiches, eight large fries, one daily special... Naoko: [Comes in and sticks her orders on the queue--ahead of Hitomi's.] Four hamburgers, two cheeseburgers, two chicken, two fish sandwiches, three daily specials... Kasuga: [Counts with his fingers as he struggles to keep up.] Ah, ah, right...ten hamburgers, four cheeseburgers, thirteen large fries, three small fries... Hitomi: [Still listing.] ...six hot apple pi...[Notices the receipt ordering.] Hey Naoko...! Naoko: [Sheepishly.] But these guys out there are *really* cute! Hitomi: *I* was here first! Besides, that doesn't give you an excuse to chea... Kasuga: [Flustered.] Girls, girls... Aoki: [Sternly as she enters the kitchen.] Alright you two...[Takes a second to assess the situation, then calmly replies...] Alright, alternate your orders; when Nakamura brings her's in, arrange them round-robin and prioritize them in order they came in. Hitomi, Naoko: [Both concede.] Hai! [All three leave.] Kasuga: [Relieved.] You handled that well. Thanks! Aoki: [Cheerfully.] Sometimes handling the girls here is like herding kittens. You can't let them get away with anything, no matter how cute they might be. [Looks at her watch.] Well, the big rush is over; things should be slowing down pretty soon. I'd better check on Shimamoto-obaachan*. *Old woman; sometimes aunt Kasuga: Eh? Who? [Cut to the outside dining room. Kasuga takes out a bussing tub and begins clearing off the empty tables. He watches as Aoki walks over to one of the window table. Seated at the table is a middle-aged woman dressed in semi-formal attire. Her expression is one of loneliness.] Aoki: [Cheerfully.] Shimamoto-obaachan are you well? Shimamoto: [Cheers up.] I am well. [Smiles at Aoki.] You've grown prettier since last year; those dirty old men will soon be chasing after you. Aoki: [Laughs.] I'll be OK! Do you want the usual? Shimamoto: [Nods.] Hai. [Aoki goes back to the kitchen and but doesn't put the order on the queue. Instead, she carefully pours a cup of hot tea and prepares a cup of fruit annmitsu*. Kasuga watches as he notices that Aoki prepares the order with more care than usual.] *Fruit with brown sugar, boiled red beans and soft-mochi; sometimes referred to as "Japanese sweet". Aoki: Poor thing...[Quietly to Kasuga as she sees his questioning expression.] She comes here this time every month. The master of this place told me that she and her fiancee were planning to elope when their parents didn't approve of their marriage. They were suppose to meet here and leave together but something must have happened because he supposedly never showed up. Kasuga: [Nodding in agreement.] That is sad. Aoki: [Nods quietly.] Un. She must have loved him very much. Since then, she shows up here and waits for him. She hopes that...somewhere out there, he'll one day return to her. [Looks at her watch.] Ah yada*! [Removes her apron.] I have to go pick up some supplies. Business is slowing down now so can you look after things while I'm gone? *Oh my; oh no Kasuga: Ah wait a minute! [Watches her leave. Behind him, Hitomi and Naoko are already beginning to whisper between themselves and pull out their notebooks.] Shoot...how am I going to handle these girls... Hitomi: What are you looking for in a girl? Naoko: Yeah, do you have a girlfriend? Nakamura: [Putting her hand on Kasuga's shoulder, then starts moving her hand down.] Don't pay attention to them. You like an older girl right? Kasuga: [Backing up nervously.] J-just a minute...! <Snap!> Kasuga: [To Eiji in total shock as he watches him snap a picture with his cheap instant camera.] Wh-what do you think you're doing? Eiji: [Watching as the shot self-develops.] Heh, heh... just wait until I show this to Madoka-oneechan! Nakamura: [Pulls back and looks at Kasuga.] Madoka...oneechan? Kasuga: [Looking embarrassed towards Nakamura.] ...! Eiji: Boy, I'll just bet she'll have a fit! Kasuga: [Leans forward aggressively towards Eiji.] Why you...! Eiji: [Keeps the picture away from Kasuga's reach.] Buy me a hamburger! Kasuga: Wh-what? Eiji: [Slyly.] You want the picture or not? [Cut to a few minutes later. Kasuga is in the kitchen frying a patty of meat with the picture in his back pocket.] Kasuga: Little brat...[Puts the meat between a sliced bun. For a moment, he looks at the large jar of hot peppers and considers making a custom job.] Nah...better not. [Kasuga takes the burger out to the dining area, blushing under the giggles of Naoko and Hitomi. He walks over towards Eiji's table and places the plate with the burger and fries.] Eiji: [Picks up the burger.] Hey...it looks pretty good! Kasuga: Well, it better be...[With just a hint of malice.] I made it myself. Eiji: [Freezes as he's about to take his first bite.] Ah-! [Holds the burger there for a moment as Kasuga smiles at him. He looks at Kasuga, then looks dubiously back at the burger. Then with a fearful look on his face...] Y-you wouldn't dare...! Kasuga: [Smiles as he heads back to the kitchen.] Well then, enjoy your burger! [Puts the picture in his back pocket as he reenters the kitchen.] Yatta! Did it! Hitomi: [Calling out from the dining room.] Hey where are you...? Nakamura: [With a worried tone in her voice.] Come back here! Kasuga: [Overhearing from the kitchen.] Eh? What's going on out there? Aoki: [Just getting back with the supplies in her arms.] Kasuga- san! Kasuga: [Coming out from the kitchen.] What's wrong...[Notices that Eiji's table is empty.] y-y-YEOW! Hitomi: I'm sorry, but he just ran out the door! He said something about finding some excitement or something like that! Aoki: [Nods.] I saw him too! He ran past me as I was going down the street! He wouldn't answer me when I called his name out! Kasuga-san, what are you going to do now? Kasuga: [To himself.] I'm half-tempted to let him run off...but... [Fade to an imaginary scene.] Fujimoto: [Crying while beating an SD Kasuga on the head with a rolling pin.] Oh you awful, awful boy! How could you do this to me?!? SD Kasuga: [Looking ashamed and protecting his head.] Ite! G- gome-! Ite! [Fade back to reality.] Kasuga: [To himself.] No...I took responsibility. I gotta find him. [He takes off his cooking apron and goes over towards the kissaten's telephone booth and dials a number.] Shoot! [Looks at his watch.] Ayukawa must have already left for her jazz band practice! I'm not going to be able to warn her I may be late. [Dials another number, then after a brief conversation, he hangs up. Then he goes over towards Aoki.] S-sorry about this! I gotta go find him! Aoki: Sigh...I suppose we all have our little emergencies. Do you have any idea where he would go? Kasuga: I called a friend who knows him a little better. He's going to meet me at the nearby train station. Aoki: Then what do you want me to tell his mother if she calls? Kasuga: Ahh...[Almost panics, but maintains control.] j-just tell her...I went out looking for...I mean...we went out to find a little excitement! Aoki: [Eyes roll upwards.] Oh...I wouldn't have to lie about that... Kasuga: [To himself.] This is really the worst... COMMERCIAL BREAK [Fade into a sizzling hot pan with boiling filthy grease.] Voiceover: One more time...this is Macek... [From off-camera, a raw egg is dropped into the grease. It begins to cook, and change color to a pasty green complexion.] Voiceover: This is your brain on Macek... [The now-cooked egg begins to blister and turn a putrid texture.] Voiceover: [With a hint of menace.] Any questions? Screen lettering: Sponsored by Partnership for a Macek-free America. [Writer's note: Standard Disclaimer.] END COMMERCIAL BREAK [Cut to Sakuragicho train station. Kasuga is waiting impatiently on the boarding ramp as the train pulls in.] Overhead announcer: Sakuragicho, this is Sakuragicho. Now loading for Kannai... Katsu: [As he exits the train.] Let me get this straight. You took your eyes off him for just a minute and he disappeared? Kasuga: [Puts his hand behind his head with embarrassment.] Ah...hai. Katsu: [Looks a little down.] Geez, you know I left an experiment for this. Kasuga: Sorry about that. Katsu: Well Fujimoto-san once told me Eiji likes video games. I guess we can check the University Game room first. [Cut to Uchikoshi elementary school park. Eiji is running away from the park after waving good-bye to some of his school classmates.] Boy 1: See you tomorrow! Eiji: [Waves back.] Un! I'll be here! Boy 2: Watch out for those Kyoritsu guys! They've been harassing some of the others for lunch money! Eiji: [Confidently.] Don't worry about it! I can take care of those punks! [After he leaves the park area, he thinks back and has a pouting expression on his face.] Hrumph! Spike my burger will he? I'll show him! [Despondently pulls out his empty pocket.] Che...out of money! I wish kaachan gave me more mone- [As he rounds the corner beyond the school grounds, his words are cut off by the appearance of two teenage toughs.] Punk 1: [With overconfident swagger.] Hey, it's one of those Uchikoshi brats! Punk 2: [Stepping forward with his friend behind him.] Haven't you heard? If you wanna walk this street, the toll is 100 yen! Eiji: [Fearfully.] B-but...I...I don't have that k-kind of money...! Punk 2: [Begins cracking his knuckles.] Well that's too bad; then we're going to have to make an example out of you! Eiji: [Fearfully backing into the corner fence.] Oh...shoot! [Cut to the University Game room. The electronic machines are extremely busy as the students take advantage of the summer break to enjoy electronic video games. As Kasuga and Katsu enter the room they split up. They both examine machine after machine looking briefly at each player's identity. On one of the machines, Kasuga sees Yoko working one of the machines in front as they enter.] Machine: Supiningu Baado Kikku! Yoko: [Furiously manipulating a joystick and buttons.] Come on! Come on! Machine: Hadoken...Hadoken...Shoryuken! Yoko: What?!? [Pounds machine in frustration.] Game over?!? Machine: ...aaaaiiiieeee...You lose! Yoko: No way! [Looks at the clock and reaches for her workout bag sitting at her feet.] Sigh...almost time for Karate Club. Kasuga: [Taps her shoulder.] Ah, Miyasato-san? Yoko: Eh? Kasuga-san? [Curious expression.] Isn't Eiji-kun suppose to be with you today? Kasuga: Ahh...you knew about that? Yoko: Of course...[Turns her nose up.] You think I'm foolish enough to baby-sit that little brat? I figure Fujimoto-san had to find someone gullible enough, so I figured it had to be you! Kasuga: ... Yoko: So, the little brat ditched you eh? Kasuga: [Embarrassed expression with his hand behind his head.] Ahh, yeah! Have you seen him running around? Yoko: Maybe...[Slyly.] What's it worth to you? Kasuga: Ah...! [Expression freezes up, then he reaches into his pocket, pulls out his wallet, and reluctantly forks over two small denomination bills.] Yoko: [Accepting the bills.] He was here, but he ran out of money so I think he was headed for the school park. Kasuga: Right thanks. [Turns to leave.] Yoko: [Thinking back.] Or...maybe he said the pool. Kasuga: [Hesitantly.] The pool? Yoko: [Still uncertain.] No...maybe the Mitsukoshi depaato... Kasuga: [Getting irritated.] Will you make up your mind? Yoko: [Nodding.] No, I'm pretty sure he said the pool. He was looking for something to do that didn't cost any money. Kasuga: [To himself.] Like ogle at girls...[To Yoko.] Thanks anyway...[To himself.] Hrumph, little mercenary...[Leaves and goes to find Katsu playing a game. He watches as two figures on the screen come close together.] Umao: [Coming from the game machine.] Ushiko-san! Ushiko: [Coming from the game machine.] Umao-san! Umao: Wherefore art thou Ushiko-san? Ushiko: Wherefore art thou Umao-sa...! [The machine cuts them off and display a sign in the middle saying "Insert more coins for more time...".] Katsu: Che...always run out of credits when it's getting good. Kasuga: Well Eiji isn't here, but he was. Hopefully he hasn't gotten very far. [Cut back to the Uchikoshi district. Eiji runs down the alley between two buildings across the street from the elementary school, but just barely manages to clear the alleyway into the side street and is grabbed and held against the alleyway wall.] Eiji: [Fearfully.] LEMME GO! I'LL PAY YOU TOMORROW I PROMISE!! Punk 1: [Grabs Eiji with one hand.] Well that's too bad because that's not good en-! <OOWW!!> Ayukawa: [From behind the punk, holding his free arm in a painful lock behind him.] Apologize to him! Punk 2: [Steps towards Ayukawa with arms ready to grab her away from his partner.] TEME KONO YARO!* *<Netiquette violator> [Ayukawa delivers a solid kick between Punk 2's legs while maintaining her armlock.] Punk 2: [Collapses in agony.] ... Punk 1: [With pain in his voice.] <OOWW!!> WHY YOU LITTLE BI-! <EEYOWW!!> Ayukawa: [Sternly as she lifts his arm to higher position.] Now! Punk 1: [To Eiji in tears.] S-SORRY! I'M VERY SORRY!!! Eiji: [With awe.] Su...sugoi...!* *Wow Ayukawa: [Releases punk.] Get lost! Punk 1: [Picks up his partner and staggers away.] WE'LL GET YOU FOR THIS!!! Punk 2: [Between gasps.] JUST YOU WAIT! Ayukawa: [Half to herself.] Hrumph! [Brushes her hair back.] Guys like that are always saying that when they're running away. [To Eiji.] Are you alright? Eiji: [Nods.] Un! Ayukawa: [Looking around.] What are you doing here all by yourself? Where's your mother? Eiji: Kaachan...kaachan...[Looking down.] had something else to do today, so she left me to take care of myself. Ayukawa: [To herself.] That doesn't sound right...[To Eiji.] Say, how about you stick around with me until she gets back? Eiji: [Brightens up.] Really? [Cut to the public pool. Even with the afternoon sun past it's prime, the pool is still crowded. In this crowd, Kasuga and Katsu wander through the sunbathers and swimmers searching; however, because of their inappropriate attire, they are unable to keep their search subtle.] Kasuga: [In frustration at the size of the crowd.] Geez, where do we even start? Katsu: [In equal frustration.] We'll be lucky not to lose ourselves in this crowd. Let's stick together. Kasuga: Look! [Points to a group of kids by the edge of the pool. One of them is dressed in non-swimwear.] There he is! Katsu: [Running after Kasuga.] Are you sure? Kasuga: [Putting his hand on the kid's shoulder.] Oi Eiji-kun! Kid 1: AAAAIIIIEEEEHHHH!!!! Chikan! Katsu: [Noticing the crowd grow around them.] Oh shoot now you've done it! Older boy: Take your hands off him! [Pushes them away from the kid.] Kid 2: You bully! [Gives them a push.] Kid 3: They're both a couple of meanies! [Pushes against them.] Kasuga & Katsu: AAAHHH!! [Both fall into the pool.] <Splash!> Katsu: [Surfaces with a stream of water coming out of his mouth.] This isn't my idea of summer fun... Kasuga: [To himself.] Kasuga Kyosuke...screwed things up again... [Cut to the Club Noir. Ayukawa and the rest of the club band practice their prepared music for the next week's shows. Eiji is sitting and listening at the rear of the club with half a glass of soda in front of him. As he takes another sip, Handa-sensei brings his arms together as the music comes to an undignified halt.] Handa: [Tapping his baton on the podium.] Geez Youshi-kun...if you're going to improvise at least try and make it sound better than the sheet music. Youshi: [Embarrassed as he holds an electric guitar.] Ahh...hai...Handa-sensei. Handa: [Taps the sheet music.] OK, rhythm section from 45- 52...and go! [After hearing the passage played properly.] OK, let's take a break! Back in 10 minutes! [The band breaks up and most of them head for the washrooms, water fountains, or the bar. Ayukawa heads for the back of the club to the pay telephones and inserts her phone card.] Ayukawa: [To herself as she dials a phone number and looks at her watch.] Kasuga-kun sure is late... [Cut back to the Chez Kooun. There are few customers, but with the incoming dinner hour, there is a little tension among the girls as they know the lull will not last. After finishing up with a customer, Aoki picks up the ringing telephone.] Aoki: [Picks up the phone.] Hello? This is Chez Kooun! Ayukawa: [From the phone.] Hello? I'm looking for Kasuga-kun. Is he still there? Aoki: [To herself.] Oops...! Could she be...? [To Ayukawa.] Err...Kasuga-kun and Eiji left early to...look for a little excitement. Ayukawa: Ehh...? [Momentarily surprised as she watches Eiji at the table.] I see...Thank you very much. [Hangs up, then to herself as she look at Eiji again.] What's going on here? Why is Kasuga-kun not with Eiji? [Looks back towards the phone.] And why did she say he was with Eiji? [Cut back to Chez Kooun. Aoki hangs up the phone and sighs with relief. She looks at the clock and notices that the dinner rush is imminent.] Aoki: [To Hitomi.] It looks like Kasuga-kun isn't going to make it back in time. Can you run the grill tonight? Hitomi: [A little shocked.] Eh? That's not fair! What about... Aoki: [Reassuringly.] I'll talk to Naoko and...make arrangements. [Notices the door ringer indicating someone's entrance.] Irasshai mase! [Watches as a young woman and an old man both wearing traditional kimono walk into the dining area.] Fujimoto: [Gently.] Konnichiwa, is Kasuga-san here? Aoki: [Surprised.] Eh? Well, he stepped out...for a bit. Is there something I can do? Fujimoto: [Smiles.] I'm Fujimoto Mariko. I was supposed to pick up my son here. Aoki: [Almost freezes up.] You're...Fujimoto-san? [To herself.] Oh shoot! Then who was that on the phone? [Cut to the Uchikoshi elementary school park. Kasuga is talking to a younger boy playing on the jungle gym.] Boy 1: Sure he was oniichan, but he left about an hour ago! Kasuga: Sure, thanks. [Walks over to the park bench and sits down.] Katsu: [Walks over from a nearby vending area and hands Kasuga a can of Georgia Coffee.] Here you go. Any luck? Kasuga: Thanks! [Pops the top of the can and takes a gulp.] Some of the kids say he was here, but that he left some time ago. [Looks at his watch.] Katsu: Eh? Do you have to be somewhere? [Takes a drink.] Kasuga: I was suppose to be meeting Ayukawa at her jazz band practice. Katsu: Well if he's at Mitsukoshi depaato, there's no way we'll find him. Kasuga: Yeah I guess you're right. Nothing else to do but head back to Chez Kooun and tell Fujimoto-san the bad news. [Cut to the Chez Kooun. The evening crowd is in full swing and the waitresses are busy serving food. Amid the rush, Ayukawa and Eiji enter the dining area as the sun drops into the horizon.] Aoki: Irasshai mase! Eiji: See oneechan? I told you the girls were pretty here! Ayukawa: [Looking around.] So it seems. [Seeing someone familiar.] Fujimoto-san! Fujimoto: [With a cup of tea in front of her.] Konbanwa Ayukawa- san. [Slightly surprised.] Eh? Eiji? Where's Kasuga-san? Eiji: Well he's... Ayukawa: [Interrupts Eiji.] ...coming later. [Looks at Fujimoto's companion.] But, who's your friend? Fujimoto: Ayukawa-san meet Ohta-kannushi* *Shinto priest Ayukawa: Eh? [Cut to just outside the Chez Kooun. Kasuga and Katsu are just finally drying off from their encounter from the pool.] Katsu: I can't believe you're just going to walk in and tell her that her son's missing. Kasuga: What choice do I have? Katsu: Just tell her he ran off. Kasuga: But I took responsibility. So I gotta take the blame too. Katsu: Well, whatever. I'll support you. Kasuga: Thanks, that means a lot! [Both enter the Chez Kooun.] Kasuga: [Looking around.] Fujimoto-san...[Walks over and looks down.] I've got some bad news. I...eeeeeHHHHHH?? Ayukawa: [Turning around.] Konbanwa Kasuga-kun. Eiji: [Turns around and waves sheepishly.] Konbanwa Kyosuke- niichan! Kasuga: Why you...you little...[Getting a little steamed.] Ayukawa: [Quietly.] Kasuga-kun not now! Katsu: [Noticing Ayukawa.] Err... Kasuga-san... Fujimoto: [Head bowed with regret.] I'm sorry if you were inconvenienced. Kasuga: You won't believe what I've been through today! Ayukawa: [Motions for him to be quiet.] Kasuga-kun! Kasuga: Running out on me like that...eh...? Ohta: Fujimoto-san has been busy bidding farewell to someone important. Kasuga: Eh? Who? Fujimoto: [Solemnly.] My husband. Kasuga: ...[After taking a moment to recover.] What...what happened to him? I mean... Fujimoto: [After taking a long time to consider what to say.] Seven years ago today...he ...died. [Writer's note: Families traditionally mourn their dead for 49 days and then mark the first, third, seventh, and thirteenth anniversaries by engaging a priest to perform a prayer service.] Kasuga: [Almost whispers.] D...died...? Fujimoto: [Almost nostalgically.] I remember it was a rainy night in the middle of the typhoon season of September. He was...an ambitious man...and a loving husband. He had a dream...of owning his own business. Then...when that dream came true...it looked like nothing was going to stop him. Then...something went wrong... [Cut to seven years ago in a dimly-lit boardroom. A younger Mariko watches as a thin young man sits alone at the conference table.] Fujimoto Mariko: What happened... to the man I promised to always be behind? Fujimoto Ryo: [With emptiness.] He became...a nobody. Fujimoto Mariko: [With tears as she puts her arms around Ryo.] You're not a nobody to me. You're my husband; and I'll always be there for you. Fujimoto Ryo: [After a long silence.] Promise me...[Gently removes Mariko's arms.] you'll remember that...no matter what happens next, I'm doing it for you. [Cut back to the present...] Fujimoto Mariko: [Continuing her narration.] Ryo always was the person who wanted to be practical. He wanted with all his heart to support a family and be the kind of man who could be proud of what he achieved. But...when someone stole his dream, he couldn't recover. It was a long time ago. Although you never forget the pain, you learn to live with it. Ah! [Blushes slightly.] Forgive me for going on like this...[To Kasuga.] what were you going to say? Kasuga Narration: I was going to tell all the hassles I had gone through that day with Eiji. But somehow, compared to what Fujimoto-san had been through and what it took for her to recover, my troubles seemed so minor that I felt too embarrassed to mention it. Kasuga: [Nervously.] I...I just wanted to say how much I...enjoyed being with your son. Fujimoto: [As Kasuga and Ayukawa turn to leave.] Kasuga-san. Kasuga: Eh? Fujimoto: [With a knowing look in her eye as she takes Eiji's hand.] Thank you... for everything. [Cut to late that night at the Chez Kooun. Ayukawa and Kasuga are sitting on the outside patio as the neon sign turns off. For a long time, they sit alone under the street light.] Ayukawa: [Turns toward Kasuga.] So, Kasuga-kun, I'm to understand you're a real ladies man. Kasuga: [Startled out of his reverie.] Wh-what? Ayukawa: Don't deny it. You bought Eiji-kun's picture with, what was it...a burger and fries? [Suddenly snatches something from his back pocket.] By the way, you should always destroy the evidence once you have it. [Starts examining the picture.] Kasuga: [Starting to sweat a bit.] A-Ayukawa, it's not what it looks like. They were just, um...[Trails off.] Ayukawa: Yes, I see you really go for the cute girls. [Turns to Kasuga with a serious look on her face.] You know, I may never forgive you! Kasuga: [Sweating a bit more and swallows a lump in his throat.] Ahh... [She reaches up and pinches his nose playfully, while inserting the picture into Kasuga's shirt pocket. She smiles at him.] Kasuga: [Relieved.] Fuuu. There's a part of me that hopes I can do this back to you. [Smiles.] But only a small part. [They stare at each other for a little bit. Eventually, Ayukawa turns away and becomes pensive. The sounds of insects and the neon from a nearby row of vending machines begin to merge.] Ayukawa: Kasuga-kun, do you ever wonder about us? Kasuga: Huh? What do you mean? [To himself.] Only all the time. Ayukawa: Well, it sounded like Fujimoto-san and her husband were very much in love. And yet... [Trails off.] Kasuga: Well, it was just unfortunate what happened. Ayukawa: [Turning towards Kasuga.] Don't you understand what happened to him? Kasuga: Um, he died when they were just starting out. Ayukawa: No, he killed himself. Kasuga: What?! Ayukawa: Weren't you listening? His company was doing well until they tried to expand. From the sound of things, someone with the negotiating company struck a deal with the investors for a lot of money, and bought the business out from under him. Then he died near a train station. Kasuga: You don't think he jumped, did you? Ayukawa: I'd almost bet on it. Kasuga: Umm. But why would he do that? What about those who loved him? Ayukawa: I guess after awhile he forgot. His dream became more important to him, and when he lost it... [Trails off.] [Ayukawa turns away, becoming thoughtful again. She stares out towards an open field. Kasuga stares with her.] Kasuga: I guess I'm not a dreamer. At least, not now. You're...you're more important to me than anything. Maybe, maybe I do dream, of what life will be like for us after we graduate from college. Sometimes I dream of living a normal life, away from all the craziness we've had to experience the last few years. [Looks at Ayukawa.] Ayukawa: [Smiles.] I've thought about it too. But I wonder. [Pauses.] You know, Kasuga-kun, I'm not sure what I want to do with my music. The band is good because it keeps me in practice. And there are times when we're playing at Club Noir, and I look out at the audience, and they're, well, enraptured. And knowing I helped create that music, it's sometimes one of the best feelings in the world. And I wish it could go on and on. [Ayukawa stands up and starts pacing.] Ayukawa: But I know it can't go on. And I don't think I really want to live the life of my parents: travelling from place to place...not home very often...sometimes not knowing for months how their family is doing. Maybe to be up there, at the top, once. [Looks at Kasuga.] But you're also important to me. Even more than all that. [Holds out her hand to him.] [Kasuga takes her hand. She pulls him up.] Kasuga: Ayukawa. Ayukawa: Maybe we should share our dream. [A set of faint lights start to flit over the field. Ayukawa begins walking that way, gently pulling Kasuga. Suddenly, Kasuga looks at the vending machine.] Kasuga: [Releasing Ayukawa's hand.] Stay here, I'll be right back. [Kasuga runs to one of the machines, puts in some coins, and presses a button. He retrieves his purchase, and runs back to Ayukawa.] Kasuga: Okay, let's go. [They begin to walk to the field.] Ayukawa: What did you buy? Kasuga: Fruit drops. "I like the taste." [Removes the plastic covering and opens the metal container. Ayukawa smiles and holds out her hand. A small candy pops out of the circular opening into her hand.] Ayukawa: "I do too." [Puts the candy in her mouth.] [Kasuga shakes another candy onto his palm and puts it in his mouth. He closes the container. Their hands join again as they walk towards the field.] Kasuga: Ayukawa... Kasuga Narration: On that warm summer night when dreams are like fireflies, shining bright but burning out, I learned that just having a dream isn't enough. But...I'll do whatever I have to do...to make that dream come true...and that's a promise. END CREDITS New Characters Designer/Writer Stephen Tsai Co-writer Robert Carragher Doujinshi Artwork Tony Jung Pre-readers Robert Carragher Lisa Richardson Brian Edmonds Robert DeLoura Christian Gadeken Michael Welsh Duggan Eric Shen Peter Van Owen Harold Ancell Very special thanks to Hitoshi Doi A tip of the hat and a deep bow to Matsumoto Izumi for starting the whole thing If I left anyone off, my apologies. Any mistakes/embarrassing faux pas are entirely my own. If there is anything here you must flame, aim them at me and me alone. Thank you for taking the time to read this episode of my series. If you are interested, previous episodes should be available at the wpi.wpi.edu ftp site. Assuming that I don't get flamed off the net, I've got the next episode in the works. If you have any story ideas, or general ideas, please send them. Any tidbits about the Japanese advanced education system will be especially looked at (see first writer's note). Hope you enjoyed it and thanks again! For the new readers: I'll be doing character profiles, major location descriptions, and situation updates on a rotating basis for each episode. If there is a particular character, place or event that you would like to know more about, and it is not being covered, don't hesitate to email me and I will send you either a note or a copy of the episode it is introduced. Focus on Chez Kooun[Introduced in Episode 8]: The Chez Kooun or "Lucky House" is a kissaten/coffee shop located a relatively short distance from the Butsumetsu University campus. It's name is a derivative of French and Japanese. The Chez Kooun is a "bijin kissaten" or "beautiful girl" coffee shop because it's waitresses are picked for their good looks as well as their service. They mostly serve coffee, tea, sodas and light snacks. During lunch and dinner time, they serve hamburgers and other fast food. Currently the waitresses are: Aoki Eriko: Age 20, head waitress Nakamura Reiko: Age 19 Hara Hitomi: Age 15 Takayama Naoko: Age 15 Visual Description: The kissaten is a modern styled restaurant, popular among both students and businessmen. Close anime comparison includes (but are not limited to) ABCB from KOR.