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School Days FS

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[TUESDAY NIGHT, 9:03 PM – ITOU MAKOTO'S BEDROOM]

[WHILE ON THE PHONE WITH SEKAI, MAKOTO BLISSFULLY CHATS ABOUT HIS INTRODUCTION MEETING WITH KOTONOHA EARLIER THAT DAY. THIS ONE-SIDED CONVERSATION GOES ON FOR SEVERAL MINUTES BEFORE SHE FINALLY INTERRUPTS HIM.]

SEKAI: (muffled, off-screen)
Yeah, yeah, yeah... You've mentioned this three times already, Makoto. It's nice of you to notice that about her though.

MAKOTO: (sheepishly)
Oh, I did? Sorry, guess I got carried away there...

SEKAI: (muffled, off-screen)
It's fine, it's fine..! Being such an attentive guy is a plus by most girls' standards. Just don't overdo it with the details next time.

SEKAI: (muffled, off-screen)
So, how about we get down to business and discuss what to do from here? You still need to raise your charm and appeal with Katsura-san. And trust me, there's plenty of room for improvement in that area~

MAKOTO:
...…

"SURE, WHAT'S NEXT?"
::: "... LET'S QUIT DOING THIS" :::

MAKOTO:
… Let's quit doing this, Sekai. All this secret prepping and planning... haven't we done enough already?

SEKAI: (muffled, off-screen)
What are you saying, Makoto? Have you really given up on her?

MAKOTO: (reluctantly)
Ah... w-well, I just realized that I'm perfectly happy with how things are between us right now...

SEKAI: (muffled, off-screen)
Geez..! You're still talking that way? Didn't we go over this before? Don't wuss out on me again and have more confidence in yourself!

SEKAI: (muffled, off-screen)
We've already come this far, so you just make that final push by asking Katsura-san out on a date.

MAKOTO:
...…

"YEAH, I GOT IT."
::: "IT'S JUST TOO MUCH" :::

MAKOTO:
It's just too much for me..! I can't go through with it after all...

SEKAI: (muffled, off-screen)
Ma-ko-to..! Don't be such a chicken! Isn't this what you've been wishing for all along? A chance at confessing to your precious Katsura-san?

MAKOTO: (broodingly)
... I thought that was what I wanted. But then I start imagining what it would have been like without you around, Sekai, and it makes me wonder whether I'm actually ready to take that next step...

MAKOTO:
I don't know... maybe it's a sign that we're not meant to be. I guess I'm just afraid of ruining everything with Katsura if we end up taking things too fast.

SEKAI: (muffled, off-screen)
Makoto...

MAKOTO: (more uplifting)
Anyways, I still gotta thank you, Sekai. Even if we become nothing more than friends, being able to casually talk to Katsura like this is like a dream. And it wouldn't have been possible without your help.

SEKAI: (muffled, off-screen)
… Well, what can I say? You were totally hopeless without me!

SEKAI: (muffled, off-screen)
Although~ I can continue investigating and giving detailed reports on her if you want. With enough time, I can even get Katsura-san's exact measurements down to the last digits~

MAKOTO:
Kuh..! I-It's fine, I said..! You don't need to do any more of that!

MAKOTO: (voice-over, torturously)
Even though I really, really want to know—!

SEKAI: (muffled, off-screen)
Suit yourself. Well—! Looks like another job well done by yours truly, Sekai-sama~

MAKOTO: (sincerely)
Yep, great work. I'll see you at school tomorrow, Sekai. And thanks again.

SEKAI: (muffled, off-screen)
Anytime~ Nite nite, Makoto.

[SCENE FADES TO BLACK]

[THREE WEEKS LATER: TUESDAY MORNING, 08:17 AM – SCHOOL CLASSROOM #3]

[STUDENTS FILE INTO THE CLASSROOM AS NANAMI DISCREETLY NUDGES BOTH HIKARI AND TAISUKE. SHE GESTURES TO WHERE MAKOTO AND SEKAI ARE SITTING AND MOTIONS THEM TO FOLLOW HER.]

NANAMI:
So Itou, going to sneak off with Sekai come lunchtime again? How many times has this been now? You're making the rest of us feel left out.

MAKOTO: (raising an eyebrow)
Yeah, I guess... But what's it to you on where I go, Konroji?

NANAMI: (with a snarky grin)
Hehee~ It's just that the two of you have been disappearing together so often lately. So there are people who are starting to whisper and wonder.

HIKARI: (catching on)
… Oh yeah! Though I still think you can do much better then a guy like him, Sekai.

[SEKAI CAN ONLY STARE AT HER FRIENDS WITH OPEN PUZZLEMENT UNTIL SHE REALIZES WHAT THEIR MOTIVE IS.]

SEKAI: (bashfully pleading)
H-Hikari—!

TAISUKE: (interjects)
Hey, hey..! What's going on, you guys? Don't leave me in the dark here!

HIKARI: (sighing)
My god, Sawanaga..! How thick can you be? We're talking about Sekai and Itou, obviously!

TAISUKE:
Yeah..? I can see that much. But what about them?

[HIKARI ROLLS HER EYES AND HOLDS UP HER PINKY FINGER IN A MEANINGFUL GESTURE.]

HIKARI:
It means they're like this with one another.

TAISUKE: (wide-eyed realization)
No way! Makoto! You've been going out with Sekai this whole time!?

[TAISUKE'S BOOMING STATEMENT CATCHES EVERY STUDENTS' ATTENTION AS ALL EYES INSIDE THE CLASSROOM SHIFT TOWARDS THEM.]

MAKOTO: (flushed with embarrassment)
W-We're not like that at all! C'mon, tell them, Sekai..!

[YET SEKAI REMAINS SITTING SILENTLY WITH HER HEAD DOWN, HER HANDS AND KNEES BUNDLED TIGHTLY TOGETHER.]

MAKOTO: (peeling closer at her)
Sekai..?

[SUDDENLY, SEKAI GRABS MAKOTO AND FORCEFULLY DRAGS HIM AWAY FROM THE CLASSROOM MUCH TO HIS PROTEST, WITH CAT-CALLS WHISTLING CLOSELY BEHIND THEM.]

[HAVING WITNESSED THE WHOLE AFFAIR FROM AFAR, SETSUNA WALKS UP TO CONFRONT NANAMI.]

SETSUNA:
You already know that Itou and Sekai aren't a couple yet. So why did you feel the need to lie and provoke them?

NANAMI:
Because it's going so slow with Sekai barely making any progress, so I figured she needed the extra push.

SETSUNA: (frowning deeply)
...

NANAMI: (a carefree shrug)
Well, you know how that girl is and how timid she can actually be. It's sink or swim for her now.

[SETSUNA REMAINS SILENCE WHILE TURNING TO STARE AT THE CLASSROOM DOOR, UNSURE IF THIS ENTIRE SITUATION WILL TRULY HAVE A HAPPY ENDING TO IT.]

[MORNING, 08:25 AM – SCHOOL ROOFTOP]

[SEKAI CONTINUES TUGGING HIM ALONG UNTIL THEY FINALLY REACH THE ROOFTOP, WHERE MAKOTO TAKES A MOMENT'S BREATHER BEFORE ASKING.]

MAKOTO: (carefully)
… Hey, Sekai. What was all that about?

[PURPOSELY FACING AWAY FROM MAKOTO, SEKAI IS BENT OVER PANTING LOUDLY. SHE THEN TURNS AND BOWS WITH BOTH HANDS CLASP TOGETHER CUTELY IN FRONT OF HER FACE.]

SEKAI:
Sorry! I didn't mean for any of this to happen. It's just that Nanami and the rest had somehow gotten this crazy idea that we've been going out. You know, what with you, me and Katsura-san meeting up for lunch these past few weeks.

MAKOTO:
Oh, is that all it was? I guess people would start thinking that way if they didn't know the whole story. So, do you need me to come along and help explain everything to them?

SEKAI: (softly)
… Say, Makoto... What say you and I go along with it?

MAKOTO: (blinking)
'Go along with it..?'

SEKAI:
With what everyone else has been saying. It doesn't sound too bad, does it? The two of us dating, that is...

MAKOTO:
…...

"SURE, WHY NOT?"
"YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME."
: "WHAT? BUT WHY..?" :

MAKOTO:
What? But why..? It's not as if you like me in that sort of way, do you—?

SEKAI: (blushing hotly)
O-Of course not, you idiot..! Just think of it as best buds going out together..!

MAKOTO:
Saying it like that doesn't make things sound any less confusing, you know...

[SEKAI FIDGETS WITH EDGY FRUSTRATION BEFORE DECIDING TO SWITCH TACTICS.]

SEKAI:
Geez..! I just thought of doing you a favor here! You should be grateful that I'm offering to help you with some hands-on practice.

MAKOTO:
Huh? Practice for what?

SEKAI: (matter-of-factly)
For when you finally muster up the guts to ask Katsura-san out someday, of course!

SEKAI:
You still haven't totally given up on her, right? Then why not use the time to get some actual dating experience under your belt? And this way, I can even give you a few pointers on how to treat a prim and proper girl like Katsura-san.

MAKOTO: (voice-over)
So Sekai's only wants to help me out again, huh? But is it really alright..?

SEKAI: (shyly glancing at him)
Well..? What do you say, Makoto?

MAKOTO:
…...

:::: "SURE, WHY NOT?" ::::
"YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME."

MAKOTO:
Sure, why not? I guess we can give it a try.

SEKAI: (beaming happily)
Great! You won't regret it!

MAKOTO:
H-Hey, Sekai..!

[BUT SEKAI HAS ALREADY DEPARTED FROM THE ROOFTOP IN A CHEERFUL HURRY, LEAVING MAKOTO TO STAND THERE ALONE WITH CONCERNED UNCERTAINTY.]

[SCENE FADES TO BLACK]

[NOON, 11:50 AM – TRACK & FIELD ARENA ON SCHOOL GROUNDS]

[AFTER AN EXHILARATING GYM EXERCISE, SEKAI TAKES A BREAK UNDER THE SHADE OF A TREE, WITH KOTONOHA SITTING BESIDES HER SOON AFTERWARDS.]

KOTONOHA:
So, Saiouji-san. Did something good happen between you and Itou-kun?

SEKAI:
W-What makes you say that?

KOTONOHA:
I couldn't help but notice you've been humming happily to yourself ever since gym classes began.

SEKAI: (rubbing at her neck with a hand)
Aha-haaha... Is it that obvious? Well, you can say that~

KOTONOHA: (speaking frankly)
Saiouji-san. Would it be correct to say that you and Itou-kun are secretly a couple?

SEKAI: (wildly flustered)
Ehhh..?! I— W-Wha— What are you saying, all of a sudden—?

KOTONOHA:
Uhuhuhuu~ You get along so well with Itou-kun that it's simply what I had naturally assumed. Or was I possibly mistaken?

SEKAI:
I-Is that right? So me and Makoto give off that sort of vibe, hmm~

SEKAI: (giddy with delight)
Well, what can I say~? Looks like you have it all figured out. I guess I'm just happy that Makoto's finally taking things seriously between us~

KOTONOHA: (a small nod)
Yes, that's wonderful to hear. Although...

SEKAI: (still grinning ear-to-ear)
'Although...' what? Don't leave me hanging in suspense like that.

KOTONOHA:
I'm sorry. This may sound silly to you, but I've always had a vague notion that Itou-kun may have been interested in me.

[SURPRISE FLASHES ACROSS SEKAI'S FACE BEFORE SHE QUICKLY CONCEALS IT.]

SEKAI:
O-Oh, really? What makes you say that..?

KOTONOHA:
Even back before we had gotten formally acquainted, Itou-kun and I have always taken the same train route on our way to school. And it's during that time where I sometimes feel as if his eyes are watching me.

SEKAI: (joking strenuously)
… Wow! Really? So Makoto has those stalker-like tendencies, huh? Like a total creeper or something... Pretty scary there~!

KOTONOHA: (hastily amending)
Oh..! It's not like that at all! It's probably my own fault for being oversensitive and getting this odd impression of him.

[PE ACTIVITIES CONTINUE IN THE BACKGROUND AS THE TWO GIRLS GROW QUIET, BOTH FOR DIFFERENT REASONS. SEVERAL BEATS PASS BY IN MINDFUL SILENCE, THEN SEKAI SPEAKS.]

SEKAI: (low-key)
… Say, Katsura-san. What if, by some chance that Makoto was still free and available... what if he really went up and asked you out on a date?

KOTONOHA: (blushing furiously)
T-That's impossible! For something like that to happen..! And besides, Itou-kun is already involved with you, Saiouji-san. So even the mere thought of it would be completely out of the question.

SEKAI:
Oh, c'mon now! Just humor me. What would you have done if I was never in the picture and if he wasn't already taken?

[FIDGETING, KOTONOHA SHYLY GAZES DOWN AND GIVES A SMALL NOD.]

KOTONOHA:
… Yes... If he truly and sincerely asked me out, then I don't see any reason to refuse.

KOTONOHA: (softly smiling)
That's because... I may have gotten the tiniest bit curious of him too.

[SEKAI FORCES HERSELF TO SMILE BACK, YET SHE CAN ONLY MANAGE A STRICKEN GRIN.]

KOTONOHA: (turning to her)
I'll always be grateful to you, Saiouji-san, for at least giving me the chance of becoming friends with Itou-kun.

SEKAI: (quietly)
Yeah... Don't mention it...

[KOTONOHA STANDS BACK UP AND REJOINS THE REST OF THE CLASS WHILE SEKAI STAYS BEHIND, HER PREVIOUS ENERGY AND VIGOR ALL BUT GONE COMPLETELY.]

[SCENE FADES TO BLACK]

[AFTERNOON, 4:28 PM – TRAIN PLATFORM]

[STANDING THERE ALONE, MAKOTO PENSIVELY AWAITS FOR THE NEXT PASSENGER TRAIN TO ARRIVE.]

MAKOTO: (voice-over)
So, me and Sekai, huh..? Just like that...

MAKOTO: (voice-over)
It still feels somehow surreal.

MAKOTO: (voice-over)
It's so weird. Why haven't I ever considered Sekai before? It's not like I hadn't noticed how cute, fun and outgoing she is when it was only the two of us hanging out together.

MAKOTO: (voice-over)
Were my feelings for Kotonoha really that strong? Or was I so stuck on the simple idea of being her boyfriend for too long..?

[MAKOTO FLIPS OPEN HIS CELLPHONE, A SCREEN SHOT OF KOTONOHA READING A BOOK ON CLEAR DISPLAY. THE RUMBLING SOUNDS OF OUTBOUNDING TRAINS PASSES BY AS HE CONTINUES STARING INTENTLY.]

MAKOTO: (voice-over, smirking ruefully)
A lot of good this charm did me... Guess it's my own fault for believing in such a stupid superstition for even a second.

MAKOTO:
…...

DELETE PHOTO

MAKOTO:
::::: (…...) :::::

[HIS THUMB REMAINS HOVERING OVER THE CONFIRM BUTTON FOR NEARLY A MINUTE BEFORE HIS FINGERS LAX AS HE LETS OUT A WEARY SIGH.]

KOTONOHA: (off-screen, cheerily)
Ah Itou-kun, good afternoon! I just heard the wonderful news.

[PANICKING, MAKOTO HIDES HIS PHONE AWAY FROM HER.]

MAKOTO:
K-K-Katsura..! W-What do you mean?

KOTONOHA:
About you and Saiouji-san of course. You didn't need to hide it from me, you know? On how the two of you were secretly an item.

MAKOTO:
Wha..? Who did you hear that from? Konroji? Kuroda?

KOTONOHA: (shaking her head)
Saiouji-san had told me everything herself during gym class earlier today. Although, I've always had my own suspicions for quite some time.

MAKOTO:
Oh... I see. You know about me and Sekai now...

KOTONOHA: (smiling gently)
Yes. The two of you suit each other very much as a couple. I'm happy for the both of you.

[SILENCE ENSUES AS THEY BOTH FACE FORWARD. WHILE WAITING FOR THE NEXT INBOUND TRAIN, MAKOTO SNEAKS A GLANCE AT KOTONOHA, HIS FACE PAINED WITH DIFFICULTY.]

MAKOTO: (voice-over)
Why..? I've already decided, haven't I? So it's useless to feel any regrets...

[A MONOTONE VOICE OVER THE SPEAKERS ANNOUNCES THE TRAIN'S COMING ARRIVAL.]

MAKOTO: (voice-over)
Because, Sekai's my girlfriend now...

[THE TRAIN SOON ARRIVES AND SCREECHES TO A HALT.]

[IN FRAME-BY-FRAME SLOW MOTION, MAKOTO DISTRESSINGLY WATCHES KOTONOHA ABOUT TO ENTER WITH EACH AGONIZING STEP BEFORE HE MAKES AN IMPULSIVE GRAB FOR HER HAND; STOPPING HER FROM GOING BEYOND HIS REACH.]

KOTONOHA: (spinning around, very surprised)
Kyaah!

[KOTONOHA INSTINCTIVELY FLINCHES HER HAND AWAY, STUNNING MAKOTO AS SHE RETREATS SEVERAL STEPS BACK FROM HIM.]

MAKOTO:
M-M-My bad! I... I didn't mean to startle you like that...

KOTONOHA: (meekly looking down)
N-No... I should be the one apologizing. I'm just not used to having boys touch me so suddenly, you see...

[DESPITE THE HEAVILY AWKWARD SITUATION, MAKOTO'S EXPRESSION HARDENS AS HE PUSHES ONWARD.]

MAKOTO:
… Listen, Katsura. Don't get the wrong idea. What's happening between me and Sekai... It's not like we've been trying to hide it from you or anything...

KOTONOHA: (raising her gaze)
Itou-kun..?

MAKOTO: (glancing slightly away)
It's just... I want to make sure you didn't get the ordering wrong... That I wanted to know more about you long before Sekai and I ever started going out...

KOTONOHA: (cocking her head)
..? Oh, I see..?

[BUT BEFORE MAKOTO CAN FULLY CLARIFY, A HISSING NOISE RESOUNDS NEARBY AND THE COMPARTMENT SLIDING DOORS CLOSE TO AN AUTOMATED SHUT.]

KOTONOHA/MAKOTO:
Ah.../W-Wait—!

[YET THEY CAN ONLY WATCH AS THE TRAIN GRADUALLY ACCELERATES AND LEAVES THE STATION BEHIND.]

MAKOTO: (full of regret)
Sorry about that, Katsura... We ended up missing our stop because of me.

KOTONOHA:
It's quite alright. The next one shouldn't be long.

[WITH TIME TO SPARE, KOTONOHA TURNS AND SITS DOWN ON THE UNOCCUPIED BENCH BEHIND THEM.]

KOTONOHA:
Itou-kun. There's no reason for you to stand way over there. We're friends now, so it's alright if you want to come sit next to me.

MAKOTO:
Ah, r-right...

[AFTER A HESITANT PAUSE, MAKOTO WORDLESSLY TAKES A SEAT BESIDES HER.]

{QUE MUSIC SCORE "STILL I LOVE YOU ~ MITSUMERU YORI WA SHIAWASE"}

MAKOTO: (voice-over)
I said that it was alright for us just to be friends. That I was satisfied with watching her from a distance...

[HE GLANCES AT KOTONOHA WHO LOOKS BACK AND OFFERS HIM A WARM SMILE IN RETURN.]

MAKOTO: (voice-over, remorseful)
But I wonder... Is this really enough..?

[SCENE FADES TO BLACK: ROLL CREDITS]

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~~~ GREENER GRASS ~~~

Sekai [============^=================] Kotonoha