Kimagure Orange College - Episode 21
by Stephen Tsai
 
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stsai@netcom.com (Stephen Tsai)

Kimagure Orange College
 
[Writer's foreword:  This is the twenty-first 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 have 
graduated from college, my experience is in the American 
college system and culture.  The span of my experience in the 
Japanese advanced education system is limited with what I 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, I would appreciate any constructive criticisms, 
corrections, and insight any readers might offer me.  Mail 
all such letters, praises or flames to stsai@netcom.com.]
 
Episode 21 - The Stranger in No. 4
 
[Fade in to the boarding house.  With autumn coming, the 
leaves have begun falling, covering the lawn with a multitude 
of colors.  As Fujimoto and Egami work together to clear the 
lawn, a tall, sandy-haired young man climbs out of a taxi and 
sets his bags on the sidewalk.]
 
Kasuga Narration:  The fall of our first year was one I'll 
never forget.  It was a formative time; one that I look back, 
not with pleasure but with a solemn understanding of 
friendships and trust.  It started with the meeting of 
strangers, both the ones we didn't know, and the ones we 
thought we knew...

Fujimoto:  [Stops raking.]  Ara!  Okaeri nasai Sakurai-san!*
*Oh my!  Welcome back Sakurai-san!
 
Sakurai:  Tadaima!*
*I'm back!
 
Egami:  [Ties a bag of leaves closed.]  You're very late!  
You almost missed fall-registration!
 
Fujimoto:  How was London?  Are you still seeing Michiko-san?
 
Sakurai:  [Unconcerned.]  No, she and I both decided that we 
just weren't right fo--
 
Egami:  [Look of satified glee.]  Well anyway, you're still 
in time for the upcoming baseball tournament!
 
Sakurai:  [Look of fearful worry.]  Ahh...I'll pass.  I'm 
still recovering from last year's annihilati--
 
Egami:  Nonsense!  "Seishun-kan*" will be triumphant this 
time!
*House of Spring/Youth

Fujimoto:  Ahh...what happened to "Yujou-kan*"?
*House of Friends

Egami:  That name has led us to seventeen straight ignoble 
losses!  [With a huff.]  Obviously it's time for a change!
 
Fujimoto and Sakurai:  [As both try to comprehend Egami's 
conclusion.]  Ahh...obviously...
 
Sakurai:  [Watches Egami gloat.]  I...almost wish I stayed in 
England...
 
Fujimoto:  [Understanding tone.]  Don't be too harsh.  You 
were here last year; you know the renters' baseball 
tournament is one of the few things he looks forward to each 
year.
 
Sakurai:  That and dumping my furniture on the lawn.
 
Fujimoto:  Well, maybe he's calming down.  Come to think of 
it, he hasn't done that in...[Counts back.]  about five 
months.
 
Sakurai:  So he's almost due then.  [Tries not to notice 
Fujimoto's embarrassed expression.]  Good thing I left behind 
a large deposit.  So is Akemi-san still around?
 
Fujimoto:  No, I'm afraid all the others have left except 
Tanaka-san.  I'm sure you'll like the new tenants though.
 
Sakurai:  [Picks up his bags and carries them up the front 
door.]  Well, at least they can't be as much a bunch of 
weirdos as that last batch was.
 
Fujimoto:  Well...actually, they all have...unique 
distinctions that make them a special group of young people.
 
Sakurai:  [Waves Fujimoto's explanation off as he walks to 
Room No. 1.]  Fine, fine, just as long as none of 
them...<Sniff!>  What's that awful smell...?
 
<BBBBOOOOOOOOOMMMM!!!!>
 
Egami:  [Gloats as he turns his attention back to the lawn.]  
Meet your new upstairs neighbor!
 
Sakurai:  ...
 
[Cut to the Butsumetsu University library.  With the first 
wave of mid-terms over, the main reading room is only at 
half-capacity.  Ayukawa is reading a book marked "The Works 
and Influence of John William Fenton*".  After finishing the 
book, she puts it down and takes a few notes.  When a shadow 
blocks the fluorescent lights, she looks up and takes note of 
the approaching form.]
*An Englishman who began teaching Western music in Yokohama 
circa 1869.  One of the first foreign music teachers; he 
formed Japan's first brass band.
 
Hayashibara:  Do you have a minute?
 
Ayukawa:  Sure.  [Sets the book aside and follows Hayashibara 
to a secluded corner of the library.]
 
Hayashibara:  [Whispers.]  I was wondering if you'd be 
willing to have dinner with me tonight.
 
Ayukawa:  Well...I'm not sure it'd be proper...
 
Hayashibara:  Please...it's important to me.  [Pauses to 
consider the appropriateness of his request.]  I think you 
should bring Kasuga-san along as well.
 
Ayukawa:  Well, OK.  
 
Hayashibara:  How about I meet you two at the Kisso 
restaurant in the Ginza district at 7:00pm?
 
Ayukawa:  That would be fine.
 
Hayashibara:  I will look forward to seeing you there!  
[Teeth gleam.]
 
[As Hayashibara leaves and Ayukawa returns to her studies, 
she overhears the sounds of muted whispers.  Although exact 
words are lost, Ayukawa belatedly realizes that they were not 
as isolated as either of them had hoped.  She tries to go 
back to studying, but without success.  Deciding to call it a 
day, she checks her watch.]
 
Ayukawa:  Hmm...Kasuga-kun probably won't be back from 
classes for a few hours.  [Walks out of the library and gets 
on her scooter.]  He should be back in time to make it 
tonight though.  [Rides several miles through traffic and 
reaches the boarding house in just over an hour.  As she 
parks, she is surprised to see someone greet her.]
 
Ayukawa:  Tanaka-san?
 
Tanaka:  [Smoothly.]  I saw you pull up and thought I'd be 
the first one to welcome you here.
 
Ayukawa:  [A bit uncomfortable.]  Well, thanks.  Kasuga-kun 
isn't back by chance?
 
Tanaka:  No he isn't.  I don't expect him back for another 
hour or so.
 
Ayukawa:  [Eyes narrow.]  I'm surprised you know his schedule 
so well.
 
Tanaka:  [Looking a little hurt by the insinuation.]  Simple 
neighborly concern.  The break-in a few weeks ago and 
all...[Shakes his head.]  It's simply shocking, such moral 
degradation in these trying times.
 
Ayukawa:  I don't suppose you know any more than that?
 
Tanaka:  [Chidingly.]  You shouldn't be so suspicious...next 
thing you know, you'll be suspecting me of following you...
 
Ayukawa:  Yes, I've been warned about you.
 
Tanaka:  [Eyebrow raises slightly.]  You have?  [Pauses.]  I 
suppose it's something I should have expected.
 
Ayukawa:  Oh?  Why?
 
Tanaka:  [Exhales with fatigue.]  You see, there was a time 
in my life when I engaged in financial endeavors of 
questionable character; perhaps even illegal.  I don't 
pretend I didn't take professional pride in my activities; 
one could even say I enjoyed it.  It wasn't until a 
close...personal friend of mine suffered a grievous loss when 
I realized the consequences of my actions.  [Looks down with 
bereavement.]  I renounced my profession and have tried to 
make amends for my past.
 
Ayukawa:  Why are you telling me all this?
 
Tanaka:  Because I wouldn't want you to get any false 
impressions about me.  Please understand I hold Kasuga-san 
and you with the highest regard.  His friendship...and 
yours...[Watches for a reaction and notes Ayukawa stiffen 
slightly.]  mean a great deal to me.  [Looks away in light of 
Ayukawa's discomfort.]  Besides, I could be very helpful with 
regard to your roommate.
 
Ayukawa:  [Suspiciously.]  How do you know about her?
 
Tanaka:  Call it mutual interests.  You did mention she was 
in finance; think of it as one peer knowing another.  [Noting 
that Ayukawa is entering the house.]  Is there someone else 
you're here to see?

Ayukawa:  Is anyone else here?
 
Tanaka:  Fujimoto-san is aiding her son with his schoolwork; 
like most mothers in Japan, she frets endlessly for her son's 
education.  The boisterous young twins are at the gymnasium, 
Ooya-sama is in his office, our recently-returned Sakurai-san 
is at school completing his late registration and Katsu-san 
left word that he's "at a crucial stage" and doesn't want to 
be disturbed.
 
Ayukawa:  [Deciding to leave the matter alone.]  I guess I'll 
just leave a message then.  Kasuga-kun doesn't have an 
answering machine yet.
 
Tanaka:  I see...how interesting...
 
[Tanaka enters his room and closes the door.  After making 
sure Tanaka isn't coming back out, Ayukawa pulls out a small 
pad of paper and writes a short note.  She then tapes it 
securely on the door to Room No. 5. and heads back 
downstairs.  As the sounds of the scooter fade away down the 
street, the door to Room No. 4 opens and Tanaka takes a few 
steps down the hallway and look at the door to No. 5]
 
Tanaka:  [Reading at the note to himself.]  
Kasuga-kun,
 
Please meet me at the Kisso restaurant in Ginza tonight.  
There are a few important things I need to talk to you about 
regarding what happened a couple of months ago at the dinner.  
Hayashibara-san will be there and I think there are a few 
things he wanted to clear up.
 
The reservation is at 7:00pm.  I look forward to seeing you 
there.
 
Ayukawa Madoka
 
[Tanaka checks his watch and silently ponders the contents, 
then gingerly removes the note.  As he palms it, his motion 
to put the note in his pocket is slightly rushed by the sound 
of an opening door.]
 
Katsu:  [Coming out of No. 6.]  Tanaka-san?  Was someone just 
here?
 
Tanaka:  [Nods amiably.]  Yes, Ayukawa-san was just looking 
for Kasuga-san.
 
Katsu:  Hmm...a shame she couldn't stick around.  We could 
have played some tennis.
 
Tanaka:  Yes a pity.  However, she apparently has a pressing 
commitment elsewhere.
 
[Tanaka goes into his room to place a few phone calls, then 
leaves to go downstairs and lights a cigarette.  Stepping 
outside, he sits on the porch steps and waits for half an 
hour.  When the sounds of another scooter are heard down the 
street, he extinguishes his current cigarette and stands up.]
 
Tanaka:  [To Kasuga.]  Kasuga-san, good to see you.
 
Kasuga:  [As he parks his scooter.]  Ah...hai.  [Noting that 
Tanaka looks like he's waiting for something.]  Anything 
going on?
 
Tanaka:  If you didn't have any plans, I was wondering if you 
would be interested in coming with me tonight.  I've just 
been in contact with some old business associates and I think 
I may be able to swing a few possible student internships for 
you.  This would be a great benefit to your future career 
prospects.

Kasuga:  Well...sure, I guess.  I was going to see if Ayuka--
 
Tanaka:  Ayukawa-san was just here and I think she was going 
to leave a message.
 
Kasuga:  Hmm...[Goes inside and looks at the message board, 
then goes upstairs and looks at his door.]  There's no 
message here.
 
Tanaka:  There isn't?  Strange...I suppose it probably wasn't 
that important.  Then are you free tonight?
 
Kasuga:  Well...[Unsure.]  I guess that'd be OK.  But why the 
interest in me?
 
Tanaka:  Because we're friends... [Kasuga looks a little 
uncomfortable, but nods.]  and I've noted a few...special 
qualities that can be used to carry you far in the business 
community.  I think if you started early, I can help you find 
a few inside roads to your future career.  You do want to be 
a successful salaryman, right?  For Ayukawa-san?  
She...[Subtly emphasizes.]  deserves someone who is a 
success, correct?
 
Kasuga:  Ah...[Nods with a bit more confidence.] hai.
 
COMMERCIAL BREAK

[Fade into a pair of anime fans driving on their way to a 
hotel.]

Anime fan 1:  Can't believe we're going to an anime con...

Anime fan 2:  I can just picture it...

[Fade into an imaginary desolate scene.  A few sleezy looking 
dealers sell pirated tapes as several otaku huddle around a 
9-inch screen watching a 5th generation copy of "Gatchaman".]

Anime fan 1:  Hey, check it out...[Points to a pair of 
convention gofers carting several packs of Keystone beer in 
the back entrance.]

Voiceover:  Who says you can't have a good time at an anime 
con?  You *can* have a good time!

[Both fans walk into the dealers room and are awed by the 
selection.  Both spend a great deal of money.]

Voiceover:  With a great tasting beer like Keystone...

[Both fans walk into the video theatre and are blown away by 
the 100" screen and surround sound.]

Voiceover:  A smooth never bitter taste in a specially lined 
can...

Anime fan 1:  [To one of the con personnel.]  Hey great con!

Anime fan 2:  [To one of the con personnel.]  Yeah, what's 
next?

Con staff:  Costume contest!

[Crowd of fans gather around to watch "characters" from 
Gundam, Sailor Moon, Ranma, Giant Robo, Dirty Pair, Urusei 
Yatsura, Ushio to Tora, Lupin, Video Girl Ai, and several 
other shows dressed with varying degrees of accuracy.]

Voiceover:  Keystone: the "can" beer.  Who says you can't 
have a good time?

END COMMERCIAL BREAK
 
[Cut to the Kisso restaurant.  Unlike most kaiseki* 
restaurants, the decor flaunts a sleek modernity with 
artistic flair.  Black granite walls separate it from the 
Mitsukoshi and Matsuya depaato.  At the front of the 
restaurant, Ayukawa checks in with the maitre'd, who in turn 
confirms the reservation.]
*One of the three basic styles of traditional Japanese 
cooking.  Meals are presented with exquisite arrangements, 
with appearance, color and texture carefully chosen.  Most 
kaiseki restaurants are decorated with the traditional decor 
of tatami floors and shoji walls.
 
Maitre'd:  [Takes a menu from the rack and escorts Ayukawa to 
one of the tables.]  One of your party has arrived, but the 
other is still not here.
 
Ayukawa:  [Nods.]  Un...[Looks at the back-half of the dining 
area and sees Hayashibara.]  Hayashibara-san!
 
Hayashibara:  [Stands up and bows.]  I'm glad you could make 
it!  [Waits for Ayukawa to seat herself before sitting down 
again, then looks at his watch.]  It's a little early, 
Kasuga-san will be here right?
 
Ayukawa:  Sure...I left a note on his door.
 
Hayashibara:  That's good... [Smiles, then to himself.]  
that'll keep the atmosphere strictly platonic.
 
[Cut to Lupin's bar.  The long wooden bar, booths and 
cabinets create a rustic environment, dampening the ambient 
sounds.  Several young salarymen build their company "esprit 
de corps" with generous helpings of complimentary popcorn and 
large bottles of beer.  At the entrance, the sounds of the 
nearby German restaurant Ketel can be heard as Kasuga and 
Tanaka enter the front of the establishment.]
 
Tanaka:  So what do you think?  When you become a salaryman, 
you'll be spending quite a bit of time in places like this to 
help nurture the success of your company.
 
Kasuga:  [Feeling a bit out of place.]  Ah...hai...
 
Tanaka:  Relax Kasuga-san, that's what we're here for.  
Remember that drinking is an outlet and an important 
unwritten rule of cultural intermission.  [Tanaka escorts 
Kasuga to the bar and order two large bottles.  He then helps 
himself to some of the popcorn made available to the 
customers and motions to Kasuga to follow suit.]
 
Kasuga:  [Hesitantly while helping himself to some popcorn.]  
I don't...really like to drink too much.
 
Tanaka:  Well I'm not encouraging you to lose control.  
[Picks up one of the bottles as they are set in front of them 
and pours the first mug for Kasuga.]

Kasuga:  [Looks around while filling Tanaka's glass.]  So who 
are these business friends of yours?

Tanaka:  [Puts the bottle down and raises his glass.]  
Patience Kasuga-san...Good things come to those who wait... 
Kampai!*
*Literally dry glass; traditional salutation or toast before 
drinking

Kasuga:  [Raises his glass.]  Kampai.
 
[Cut back to Kisso.  The clock on the wall reads 7:30pm and 
both Hayashibara and Ayukawa show signs of restlessness.]
 
Hayashibara:  [As he notes the time.]  Maybe he's held up 
with something?
 
Ayukawa:  [Looking a little disappointed.]  Un...
 
Hayashibara:  How about we go ahead and start?  He'll 
probably show up later.  [Motions to the waiter to start the 
first course of the meal.]
 
Ayukawa:  [To herself.]  I hope.  [Tries to ease the tension 
from Hayashibara.]  How is...the baseball team?
 
Hayashibara:  [Relaxes.]  Well we've just completed the last 
set of home games against the division.  The large schools 
have been tough this year, but the Coach thinks we have an 
outside chance to make the tournament if a few things go 
right for us.  Basically, we're rooting for some teams to 
beat some other teams.  We...[Looks at Ayukawa's face with 
some regrets.] don't have control of our own 
destiny...[Trails off.]
 
Ayukawa:  [To herself, not missing the reference.]  Kasuga-
kun...where are you?
 
[Cut back to Lupin's bar.  With the evening in full swing, 
more young businessmen are milling around, discussing 
informal matters of business and personal lives.]
 
Tanaka:  [Spots a familiar face in the crowd.]  Ginga-san, my 
old friend.
 
Ginga:  [Walks up to Tanaka, shakes his hand and embraces 
him.]  You're looking fit, Tanaka-san.  I'm glad to see you 
getting back into the world; the business hasn't been the 
same without you.
 
Tanaka:  [Face turns calm.]  You know why I had to leave.
 
Ginga:  [Looking sympathetic.]  What happened...wasn't your 
fault!
 
Tanaka:  Well...[Turns to Kasuga.]  what am I thinking, my 
manners!  [Berates himself mildly.]  Kasuga-san, this is my 
long-time business associate Ginga-san!
 
Kasuga:  How do you do?
 
Ginga:  Kasuga-san!  You're the young man Tanaka-san has 
spoken so highly about!
 
Kasuga:  Eh?  [Looks surprised at Tanaka.]  Really?
 
Ginga:  Tanaka-san's a very good judge of character and I've 
never known him to lie on matters of business.
 
Tanaka:  [Smiles at Ginga.]  You flatter me...
 
Kasuga:  But...but I'm not a business major.
 
Tanaka:  Perhaps not, but have you considered public 
relations work?  Companies always need people who are good 
writers and communicators.
 
Ginga:  That's right.  There were more than a few times that 
we could have used some really good Public Relations 
personnel.  [Looks at his watch.]  Well, I'd better leave.

Tanaka:  So soon?
 
Ginga:  Personal business.  [To Kasuga as he leaves.]  You 
should listen to what he says.  It'll be good for your 
future.  [Leaves.]
 
Kasuga:  [Nods.]  Un...
 
[Kasuga watches him leave and wonders to himself what Tanaka 
said about him.  After a few more drinks, he turns back to 
Tanaka.]
 
Kasuga:  [A little unsure if he should be asking.]  
What...was Ginga-san talking about when he mentioned "fault"?
 
Tanaka:  Well...[Exhales with fatigue.]  Back when I was in 
the trade, I negotiated several financial deals.  Usually, I 
prided myself on my integrity and discretion, but as you 
know, these are still important deals of a highly sensitive 
nature.  On one particularly important one, I rushed a client 
into closing a deal that I genuinely thought would be to his 
best benefit.  I was wrong...[Lights a cigarette and takes a 
puff.]  The client lost a great deal of money and many people 
were hurt.  [Looks down with regret.]  Even though my 
colleagues insist that I acted properly and with good faith, 
I felt I had to resign.  Put simply Kasuga-san, I made 
mistakes.  At the time, my conscience wouldn't let me 
continue doing the kind of business that was necessary.  
Remember Kasuga-san, you're not a kid anymore.  It's time you 
started joining the real world of business.  The change and 
growth will be good for your future prospects.  You must 
assume responsibility both for yourself and the ones who care 
about you.
 
[Cut back to Kisso.  Ayukawa stands in the back of the 
restaurant next to a pink telephone by the restrooms.]

Ayukawa:  [Holding the phone to her ear for several rings, 
then finally hanging up.]  Where could he be?

[When she returns to the table, she sees beautifully arranged 
dishes of sashimi*, suimono** and yakimono*** have been 
placed on the table.]
*Sliced raw fish
**Clear soup
***Grilled food 

Ayukawa:  Sorry I took so long.

Hayashibara:  It's OK.  They just started the first course.

Ayukawa & Hayashibara:  [Both pick up their chopsticks.]  
Itadakimasu!*
*I humbly receive; traditionally said before a meal.

Hayashibara:  So, you were talking about the first time 
Kasuga-san declared the two of you a "couple".

Ayukawa:  [Noticably more relaxed.]  Well, at first it was 
supposed to be an act, [Thinks back and remembers Hikaru 
whispering from a script while hiding in a barrel.]  it ended 
up being more than that.  [Looks wistful.]  

Hayashibara:  But I thought you said there were several other 
students heading towards the yard.  How did you get away?

Ayukawa:  Kasuga-kun and I used one of the yard rail cars to 
get away.  Unfortunately, it didn't occur to me that we were 
on a circular track until Kasuga-kun asked me where we were 
going.  [Takes a bite of sashimi and continues.]  The 
misunderstanding was cleared up though and I'm just glad that 
no one was really hurt.
 
Hayashibara:  So whatever happened to Hoshi-san?
 
Ayukawa:  Well, I lost touch with her and haven't heard from 
her since.  Kasuga-kun took everything in stride though.
 
Hayashibara:  [Smiles.]  I knew Kasuga-san was a special guy.  
That kind of reminds me of something that happened to me.
 
Ayukawa:  Eh?  Really?
 
Hayashibara:  It was during my second year in high school.  
There was a friend of mine who was in the same class as I 
was.  [Picks up his cup of tea.]  One day after baseball 
practice, Hiro-kun asked me to meet a friend of his named 
Chiba Aya.  It seems he was having some problems telling her 
how he really felt about her and he wanted my advice.  He 
figured that I had it all worked out with girls.

Ayukawa:  Oh?  You were a "ladies man" in school?

Hayashibara:  That was something of a reputation I ended up 
with.  Kiite gokuraku mite jigoku*.  Perception can 
oftentimes equate reality.  So I..."introduced" Chiba-san to 
Hiro-kun, but he still couldn't tell her what was in his 
heart.  Part of that was my fault; I think my being there 
partially ruined the mood.
*Imagination goes a long way/Sounds like paradise, but hell 
when you see it (Japanese proverb/dual possible translation)

Ayukawa:  So did they ever get together?

Hayashibara:  [Smiles.]  Sure, right before our last year in 
high school ended.  It came down to a choice for him; either 
lose her as we all separated to various colleges and trade 
schools or make his declaration right there.  They're going 
to different schools last I heard, but I understand they 
write and call one another a lot.

Ayukawa:  You know, I was wondering...did you ever have a 
girlfriend?

Hayashibara:  [A little evasive.]  I had many friends back in 
high school.  [Finishes his tea.]

Ayukawa:  [To herself.]  That's not an answer...

[Cut back to Lupin's bar.  A young businessman asks Kasuga 
several questions while Tanaka looks on.]

Businessman:  ...and what else do you think you can 
contribute to our company?

Kasuga:  [Tries to be confident.]  I don't have a lot of 
experience Harada-san, but I learn fast and I'm willing to 
work very hard.  [To himself.]  I hope that's the right 
answer...

Harada:  [Nods and makes a notation.]  Very good.  I'm sure 
our company will be contacting you shortly.  [Puts away his 
notebook and bows.]  Sayonara*, Takana-san.
*Good-bye

Tanaka:  [Casually nods.]  By the way, I trust your latest 
government contract came through?

Harada:  [Slyly smiles.]  Of course.  The construction 
business has never been so profitable.

[The evening goes on as Tanaka introduces Kasuga to more 
acquaintances.  Although clearly nervous at times, he tries 
with apparent success to make some good impressions.]

Kasuga Narration:  Being submerged in Tanaka-san's world, and 
meeting his friends made me feel vaguely uncomfortable.  I 
wasn't sure I belonged here...but I was determined to try my 
best...for both my future, and for Ayukawa's sake.

Tanaka:  How is the publishing business these days, Kotani-
san?

Kotani:  [Sips his drink.]  Doing quite well, in fact we're 
considering expanding our market overseas.  There seems to be 
a high demand for certain products, especially in the United 
States.  [Turns to Kasuga.]  Why are you interested in our 
company?

Kasuga:  Well...I'm a literature major.  I like to read and 
I'm hoping some day to write fiction.

Kotani:  Really?  [Dryly.]  JUMP Publications is always 
looking for new talent.  You don't happen to draw do you?  
Maybe you'll be the next Takahashi. [Stares at Kasuga, then 
begins to laugh.]  Ha ha!

Kasuga:  ...  [Then nervously joins in the laughter.]

[Later, the evening is winding to a close.  Tipsy businessmen 
stagger out even as sober ones enter to replace them, but the 
bar becomes less and less crowded.]

Tanaka:  Well, I think that's enough for our first time out 
wouldn't you say?  Definite interest from three companies, 
I'd say you've made some progress.  You've made some positive 
contacts and abetted your chances at getting an internship 
considerably.  [Nods with approval, looks at his watch and 
empties the last of his mug.]  Responsibility and growth 
changes a person; makes him better prepared to face the real 
world.  You'll see it in the way other people treat you.

Kasuga:  Ah...hai.  Do you really think Ayukawa will notice 
the change?

Tanaka:  [Nods and smiles.]  Count on it.

[Cut back to Kisso.  By now, Ayukawa and Hayashibara are 
finishing up their meal and the dining room is emptying out 
as they begin to close down for the evening.]
 
Hayashibara:  [Looks at his watch, then pours Ayukawa another 
glass of wine.]  It looks like Kasuga-san didn't get your 
message.  Would you...[Uncomfortably loosens his collar.]  
like to stop somewhere on the way back for dessert?
 
Ayukawa:  [Distractedly looks up.]  Eh?  Ah...sure.
 
Hayashibara:  Well...things didn't turn out like I had hoped, 
but I hope you still had a good time.
 
Ayukawa:  [Nods.]  Un...this really is a nice restaurant.
 
Hayashibara:  [Nods in agreement.]  Un...
 
Ayukawa:  [Absent-mindedly.]  You know, someone seeing us 
like this would almost think we're...
 
Hayashibara:  Eh?  What?
 
Ayukawa:  N...[Looks away.]  nothing.  Just...thinking 
about...something else.  
 
[Cut back to the boarding house.  Kasuga exits a taxi cab as 
Tanaka takes care of the bill.  Kasuga is a little unsteady 
on his feet, but is able to manage.]
 
Tanaka:  [Helping to keep Kasuga steady.]  Whoa there...had a 
little too much tonight?
 
Kasuga:  [A little loudly.]  I can handle it...!
 
Tanaka:  Well next time we'll...
 
[Just then, a familiar looking RX-7 pulls up to the boarding 
house.  The doors open and Ayukawa and Hayashibara step out 
of the car.  Ayukawa coldly notes his mild inebriated state 
with disapproval.]
 
Kasuga:  [Rapidly sobering up.]  A...Ayukawa...
 
Ayukawa:  [Face softening.]  I'm sorry we missed you tonight.
 
Kasuga:  M...missed me?  Where?
 
Ayukawa:  I left a message on your door.  [Long pause, then 
she turns back to the car.]  It's OK, I'll see you tomorrow.
 
[For several long seconds, both Hayashibara and Kasuga look 
at each other, neither one knowing what to say or do.  Then, 
with a slight look of embarrassment and regret, Hayashibara 
gets back in the car and drives away.]

Kasuga Narration:  It wasn't so much the drinking that 
worried me.  Even the date was only planned that day.  
However, it was the feeling I got from Ayukawa and 
Hayashibara when they both saw me that night with Tanaka-san.  
Nothing was said, but the meaning was plain - "I'm very 
disappointed with you..."

[Kasuga immediately turns away and runs into the Boarding 
house, followed by Tanaka.  He runs upstairs and turns to 
face the door to his room.  He searches his door and can't 
find a thing.]
 
Kasuga:  Where...?  [Unlocks and opens his door.  He looks 
around the front of the room and finds nothing.  Finally, 
after looking under the cabinets, he sees a slip of paper 
sticking to the underside of the door.]
 
Tanaka:  [With regret as he looking over Kasuga's shoulder.]  
Oh my... it must have slipped off the door after she taped it 
on.  One can only guess how it got under there.  If I had 
only known... Kasuga-san, if it's any consolation...[Stops as 
Kasuga immediately takes the note, enters his room and closes 
the door.]
 
[Cut to Room No. 4.  Tanaka closes the door behind him and 
lights a fresh cigarette.  Waiting for him with a fresh pot 
of tea is Ginga.]
 
Ginga:  [With some amusement.]  Well, did my performance meet 
with your approval?

Tanaka:  [With satisfaction.]  Positively theatrical.  The 
embrace was a particularly nice touch.

Ginga:  I thought you'd like that.  It did make passing that 
note easier.

Tanaka:  Yes, good thinking.

Ginga:  Tell me Tanaka-san...were you serious about helping 
Kasuga-san get an internship?

Tanaka:  [Smiles.]  Of course.  Consider it the cost of 
establishing Kasuga-san's trust.  I wouldn't want to 
be...dishonest...  [More seriously.]  Besides, nothing about 
my goals dictates that Kasuga-san must remain a pauper.  
Just...not the right guy...

Ginga:  [Concerned.]  What about Hayashibara-san?  It seems 
like you're just trading one obstacle for another.

Tanaka:  A strong obstacle for a weaker obstacle.  Despite 
his considerable assets, any relationship with him would 
never be as strong as with Kasuga-san.  Don't worry; I think 
he'll serve as a useful foil until such time as I no longer 
need one.  Yes...[Stretches to alleviate the tension of the 
evening.] everything is proceeding just fine.
 
Ginga:  Then what do you want to do now?

Tanaka:  [Voice turns cold.]  First things first...find out 
who's talking to her about me.

END CREDITS

New Characters Designer/Writer	Stephen Tsai
Doujinshi Artwork		Tony Jung
Pre-readers			Robert DeLoura
				Douglas Eckhart
				James Holman
				Quincy S. Huoh
				Jim Ramberg
				Lisa Richardson
				Tony Schrick
				Eric Shen
				Ben Taylor
				Jeff Williamson
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!


-- 
Kimagure Productions| Ranko: Ha...ha...HACHI-JUU-GO-MAN-EN!?!??!!?!!?!??
    --present--     | 
 Orange College #22 |
  Sailor Ranma #7   |
   *Coming Soon*    |
Stephen Tsai        |
stsai@netcom.com    | Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Ranma #7

 

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