He couldn’t say exactly when it started. Perhaps it was when the students learned he has a broadcast room on campus (and where it was). Or maybe it was shortly after the school opened the dorms. It could even have been the end of term exams. Regardless, Hizashi had somehow acquired a little follower.
For some reason, Jiro Kyoka from 1a would occasionally seek out his company.
From time to time he would arrive at his studio to find her outside. Some nights she was restless, and he’d find her pacing outside. Those nights he would find her running her hands over spines of ancient records, cassettes, or CDs. He'd pull down the player that matched, and let her pick out some songs. In their earlier visits, he had to show her how to use the older tech, but she learned quickly.
Other nights, she would wait outside, foot propped against the wall, waiting for him so she could talk about some music or radio question. She had started out very shy about it, the first question having been accidentally said out loud. But he didn’t turn her away, so she kept asking.
There was one night she had fallen asleep against the wall waiting for him. With a fond smile, he carried her back to her dorm and let the girls settle her back in her bed. After that, he gave her a key to the room.
And then there were the nights Jiro was already listening to something on her phone, and would settle unobtrusively in a corner and quietly watch him work. Hizashi wasn’t sure exactly what to do. She obviously came to him for a reason, but what exactly he couldn't fathom. Shouta would say he was noser than a puppy seeking treats; Hizashi was perfectly capable of containing his curiosity and letting someone come to him in their own time, thank you very much.
Although it was becoming a very close thing.
So it comes as a surprise when on one of these nights, as he’s putting together mini playlists (groups of three to five songs, compiled by tone to compliment requests by his Listeners) Jiro wordlessly slides a piece of paper into his field of view. A list of about 20 songs, in groups of three to five, compiled by tone. Good choices too; each song was accented by the one before it and would naturally crechendo the mood into the last song in the sets. Hizashi raises an eyebrow at her, giving her a chance to explain on her own.
“My Dad. Well my parents. They’re uhm, musicians.” Jiro starts. Her earplugs tap each other - a nervous tic. “So they let me arrange their music sometimes. It’s… relaxing. I thought you wouldn’t mind if I made a few suggestions.”
Ah, that was it. Jiro missed her parents.
“Jiro-chan, you might be my best Listener. I would love to use these.” A broad grin spreads across Hizashi’s face. And it only gets wider as Jiro returns it.
As they pick songs together to play, Hizashi thinks to himself that he doesn’t mind filling the role of parent. Especially for such a dedicated little Listener.