Welcome back, everybirdie! To Hatoful Boyfriend, Nageki Route part 2: library boogaloo. Now with anonymous comments allowed!
"Aaah! I knew I should have gotten up when I first woke up!"
"I slept too late!
School starts today, right?
I'm gonna be late!"
"Oh, hello, Tosaka!"
"Sir! I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I overslept!"
"...aaah! My homework! I forgot to bring my homework!"
"Aren't you getting a little bit ahead of yourself, Tosaka?"
"What's the number in the top left-hand corner say?"
"You're just a little bit early."
"Though, since you're here...
Could you lend me a hand for a bit, Tosaka?"
"Lend you a hand?"
"I was about to start grading the freshmens' exams, and I thought maybe you could help, if you don't have something else."
"...of course, you have a test in September, so if you want to go and study in the library..."
Since Nageki misses out so much on the things that require him to, you know, go outside... it's nice when we get these opportunities to visit him. Hopefully.
The library should be open now.
I think I'll go study...
"Umm... I'm sorry, sir, but I'm not sure I've prepared enough for my tests. I'd like to go study, if that's alright."
"Of course! Work hard, okay?"
The music fades.
There are already a number of students working in the library. Looks like mostly third-years...?
They've probably all decided on their colleges and careers already...
Will I be that frantic this time next year, I wonder?
Nageki is here, too, leaning against a bookshelf in a far corner.
Did you need something?"
"Why are you over here? There are still plenty of seats open...
You should sit down!"
"I don't mind standing."
You look like you mind!
"You don't... like being near other birds? Is that it?"
"They'll just ignore me, anyway.
Whether or not I go near."
The first time I played through this, my question was genuinely the former. Now I feel the latter, but that's a jerk thing to say.
He falls silent.
If there's something wrong, I'd like to help...
"Umm, good morning, everyone.
I hope you had fun over the summer?"
(Okosan is always having fun!)
"What is this 'fun'?"
"Once summer's over, time starts slipping by faster than ever. Try to stay focus... ed..."
"Focus, sir! Focus!"
Huh? Is that...
"A student ID?"
Whose is it? Someone from 2-2?
...not a name I recognize.
Should I go find their classroom?
They might already have gone home, though...
Well, any teacher will do, right?
"Hello, Hiyoko. Did you forget to turn in your homework...?"
"I found someone's ID card, sir.
It's someone from 2-2... I thought I should take it here."
"Oh? Thank you, Hiyoko, I can take care of it."
"What is it?"
"Nothing, just... you did find this today, right, Tosaka?"
"Yes. In the corridor just outside..."
"This student has been absent since the middle of June...
So then, was the card lying there all summer?
Nobirdie noticed it?
It's awfully clean, though...
Shouldn't it at least be dusty?
"Anyway, I'll take care of it.
Thank you, Tosaka."
"I had hoped for something a little more interesting from an elective, but... this is dull."
"I can just barely keep up, even though mister Nanaki explains everything so clearly..."
"So this is all easy for you, Sakuya? Wooow!"
"Are you trying to curry favor with me? Hmph...!"
He looks happy, though.
Hiyoko leveled up!
Wisdom increased by 5!
What the heck is going on?!"
The classroom is filled with a cloud of dancing feathers.
Did somebody eviscerate a down pillow or something?
"Maybe they didn't clean up properly yesterday...?"
"It's molting season, so...
Well, one little breeze and it looks like this unless we make sure to keep everything clean."
Now that I look closely, Ryouta's headfeathers are looking a little loose, too. I guess everybirdie's growing themselves new outfits.
"Good morning, everyone!"
"Sir! Can we clean up a little before homeroom?"
"Cleaning in the morning?"
"This atmosphere is quite distracting. Who was supposed to clean yesterday?"
"Wretched mongrel! Can't you even fulfill the duty given to you?!"
I promise that Sakuya gets sympathetic at some point. Sort of.
"Come on, arguing won't solve anything. It'll be easy if we all pitch in!"
And so we swabbed the room down before homeroom.
"This is a lot of feathers! Not enough for a futon, but I bet we could make a nice pillow!"
Imagine how gross it would be if someone suggested making a pillow out of your hair, or dead skin flakes.
"It certainly is more than usual... Did they come in the window, perhaps...?"
"Sir, um... did you spill some chlorine on yourself?"
We don't use that kind of detergent..."
"But, umm, you really smell like it..."
"Oh, that would be the bleach."
"S-sir! Are you one of those degenerates who bathes with bleach powder?!"
I almost wanted to say that this could be a reference to the things women in japan do to make their skin whiter, but I hope not! I hope that instead it's just assuming that Nanaki sensei might bleach his feathers, which of course he'd have to bathe in since he's a bird and not a person. Oh, yes, Japanese don't care too much for bleached hair in professional settings - like schools, for example.
"No, no, I dozed off and got stuck in the washing machine last night, that's all."
Sir, please be careful!"
"Mmm, yes, I'll... zzz."
This class will never survive to maturity. Not even the teacher.
I guess there wasn't any way he was going to stay awake after helping us clean the room.
Today's the school festival!
Our class decided to do a maid cafe. I'm not scheduled to work til tomorrow, so... I have today off!
I don't have anything to do, so I guess I'll go look around.
Hmm, I wonder if Nageki's in the library today? Probably.
I think I'll go buy something and hang out with him.
"Yup, door's open!"
"Close it, please."
"I knew you'd be here!"
"The door. It's loud outside."
"You're staying in here even today? It's almost like this is where you live!"
"...is there something wrong with that?"
"Of course not! You're kind of like a friendly ghost or something. It's reassuring to know you're here."
"Anyway, I brought you something! You're planning to stay here all day, right?"
"What did... cookies?"
"Yup! The birdwatching club was selling bird-shaped cookies.
Aren't they cute?
There's a lot of stuff I wonder about a birdwatching club in a world ruled by birds.
Hearing him thank me makes me very happy, even if it was in a whisper. He even looks a little happier than usual!
"There's lots of other stuff, too! The third-years are doing a play, and one class put together a god-tier haunted house..."
"I was thinking of looking around a little more... Nageki, want to come with me?"
The music stops.
Oh no! He looks angry...
"I... no, thank you.
Go ahead, if you want."
"Well... all right.
Sorry, I didn't mean to try to drag you out of here."
I think he might actually live in here.
Now that I think about it, I've never seen him anywhere else.
Maybe he comes straight here as soon as he gets to school...?
Midterms are right around the corner! Aaagh, I got too excited for the festival and didn't study at all.
I'll have to study at...
Huh? Where's my history textbook?
It's not on my desk...
Oh! I was reading it in the library during lunch, so maybe it's still there. I'll go look.
"Welcome back, Tosaka. Where are you going?"
"I think I left something in the library! Do you know if the door's still open?"
"Umm... somebirdie brought the key to the staff room a few minutes ago, so I think it's locked now."
"I'll go there first, then! Thank you, sir!"
I was sitting... over there?
"Here it is! Yaaaay!"
Somebirdie's written on the page I left open. 'The congress dances, but does not progress.'
...well, that's funny, but don't write on peoples' books!
"Don't leave books lying around with their pages to the four winds."
"What? Why are you so surprised?"
"I hadn't thought you'd still be here..."
"The door was locked! Don't tell me they locked you in?!"
That would be terrible!
"It was? I hadn't realized."
Well, if it was an accident then it's alright... maybe?
Geez, you're supposed to make sure there's nobirdie left inside before you lock the door!
Anyway, I need to lock the door again.
Let's walk Nageki home, so he can keep his lunch money and we can protect him with our buff hunter-gatherer arms.
Let's go home together."
"No, thank you."
H-he didn't even pause to think about it!
"Where do you live? I'll walk you."
"I'm fine, really. Don't worry about me."
"You always get mad when I suggest you go outside..."
"Don't jump to...
If I could, I'd..."
"Don't worry about it. I'll lock the door, so just leave the key there."
He's already reading again.
I think I'm annoying him...
Aaah! My grades aren't looking very good. I need to work harder and recover before finals...
And so I sat studying in the library, while one by one the other students filed out to go home.
When I look up, I'm alone.
"My, how unusual! I think this is the first time you've sat down next to me, Nageki."
"I... want to talk to you."
"You're nothing but surprises today!"
"I'll leave you alone if you're busy."
"Noooo! Talk away!"
"I was... shocked when you first came and talked to me, miss Tosaka."
"You're the only one who didn't ignore me."
"No one but you has ever talked to me. That's why... this is the only place for me."
That's... That's terrible!
"Nageki, that's awful! Which class are you in? I'll talk to your teacher--"
"I'm not done talking yet."
"Sorry, go on..."
"You think I'm being bullied, right? I thought that, too."
"I don't think so, no. Being bullied... might be better than this."
Better than this?
Then what is he...?
"I'm not sure yet, though. When you talk to me, I... remember things, sometimes.
But it's still not enough."
"I don't understand, what do you mean...?"
"Miss Tosaka, I think I...
I think I'm--"
"Tosaka? You're here late!"
"The school's already starting to close for the night."
"It's good to study, but working too hard on your own for too long can backfire on you.
Lock the door and head home soon, okay?"
On my own...?
"Sir, what are you talking about? I'm not al..."
He was here just a moment ago!
Where'd he go...?
Did he leap out the window and go home ninja-style?
(St. Pigeonations' Institute)
We get our finals back today.
Between midterms and practice exams this whole semester has been nothing but tests...
"You ranked top of the year this time! Well done!"
"She beat you by two points, Shirogane. Oh well!"
Sakuya's glaring daggers at me again. How nostalgic!
Anyway, my hard work paid off! Yippee!
Closing time already!
I don't really have any reason to be here again until the semester starts up...
"Oh no! It's snowing!"
It was clear when I left!
Crossing the wilderness to get to my house in a blizzard...
I'd be risking my life.
"...you're still here?"
A quiet piano rendition of Silent Night begins to play.
A book under his arm, the same as always.
I do wonder about last time... But, if he wants to talk, then he'll talk to me.
For now I won't bring it up.
"I was about to go home, but..."
"Mmhmm. I guess I'll have to wait until it stops."
He makes a noise of agreement, and sits down next to me with his book.
He's been a little distant lately, but maybe he's warming up to me in his own way...?
"What are you reading?"
"Dickens. 'A Christmas Carol'."
"Oh! It's Christmas Eve today, isn't it?"
"Please keep quiet in the library."
I completely forgot! I guess this makes it a White Christmas.
More like a whiteout Christmas, if you ask me!
"Looks like you're almost finished?"
"Yup. I just got to the part where Tiny Tim dies and Scrooge sees his own grave."
"That sounds like a... depressing story."
"...you haven't read it? Even though you work here?"
"I'm Buddhist, so Christmas stuff has never been..."
"Tim is a boy born weak, who dies young.
The protagonist, Scrooge, sees that will happen, and tries to prevent it."
Holy oversimplification of the plot, Nageki. Just make her watch the Muppets Christmas Carol.
"Time travel? I thought it was a classic, but it sounds kind of science fiction-y..."
"I can see that. It's not really the focus of the book, though."
"I'd like to see the future...
It would be nice being able to avoid getting into trouble."
"...I wouldn't like it."
"...the future is what it is.
It is what it is, and that's all there is to it."
And so we enjoyed the 'present' point in time along which we flowed.And that's a wrap for Nageki's Route Part 2! Stay tuned for New Year's, Legumentine's, and maybe we can unravel Nageki's mystery and get him out of the Library.
This is a nice way to spend Christmas, I think.