True to the variety of the students, the game was tackled in a variety of different ways- some focusing on the most obscure place to hide, some considering where Leon would search last, and some considering possible loopholes to Hagakure’s rule.
Celes, who swore by the wisdom that scheming was the way to success, had instantly found the loophole and bolted to the dormitory rooms. She glanced around and, seeing no one in the corridor, slipped into her own room. She shut the door, but didn’t lock it.
‘There. No rules broken. He’ll never look in here!’ she giggled to herself, settling down and picking up a book to read.
Unbeknownst to her, Togami had done exactly the same thing just a few doors down, after first shaking off Fukawa, whom he had ordered away on account of her apparent stench. He calmly strode into his room and sat down at his desk, ready to enjoy a day entirely free from the embarrassment of ‘hiding’. As if he, Byakuya Togami, would elect to squeeze himself into a cramped, dirty crevice just to win at this silly game, when he could win like this! He smiled at his own genius…and picked up his phone.
. . .
Across from the dorms, Asahina had decided to hide almost in plain sight, and had been silently manoeuvring various kitchen utensils about until she was nestled in a now empty cupboard. She reasoned that Leon would rush straight out of the cafeteria, or assume all the cupboards in the kitchen were full of bowls and whatnot. Better yet, from her spot just metres away from him, she could hear what number he was on.
She still had ages to wait, and her neck was already starting to cramp up from her awkward position, but the thought of winning pushed her to endure.
As she sat in the dark, listening to Leon count, her thoughts turned to the other students, and where they could be hidden.
. . .
While Asahina was busy giving herself a stiff neck, Ishimaru was getting right down to business in the infirmary. He did not approve of disrupting school property, so had thought hard about where he could hide without the risk of breaking anything. This eventually led him to conclude that hiding under a bed was the best option, and having disregarded the dormitories as being against the rules, Ishimaru had found himself in the infirmary.
He began shuffling the sheets and covers around so that they hung down to the floor, which meant anyone curled underneath the bed wouldn’t be spotted. He drew the curtains for an added layer of invisibility, and crawled into his hiding spot. Since it was imperative that everything in the infirmary was kept clean and sterile, lying on the floor didn’t even get his clothes dirty. He promised himself he would scrub the floor afterwards, though.
. . .
Yamada and Sakura, although nowhere near each other, were both having the problem of finding a space big enough to accommodate their large bodies.
Yamada had heaved himself up to the botanical garden, deciding that the enormous leaves would give good coverage. He tiptoed in, listening to see if anyone else had had the same idea, but heard nothing. Either he was alone, or whoever else was there was very good at hiding. He followed the path to a particularly dense area of foliage, and rustled through into the middle of the plants, making a huge racket as he did so. He went as far as he could bear and sat down, covered in scratches and slightly damp but well-hidden nonetheless.
Sakura had chosen to use her body to her advantage. She strode to the gymnasium, which contained no nooks or crannies to hide in, but she had a different idea. Rubbing her fists together, taking care not to be too loud since the cafeteria was close by, she got herself to the highest level in the gym, grabbed a sturdy pipe that ran down the walls, and began to climb. It was tough, even for her, but soon she was suspended from the ceiling, looking down at the rather large drop to the floor. The gymnasium’s lights were heavy duty ones that hung roughly a metre away from the actual ceiling, and with a bit of careful movement, she could position herself so that she perched on one of the lights. Thankfully, it was not white hot as she had feared it might be, and although she still held onto a pipe with one hand, the light seemed to support her weight easily once she had distributed it. She hoped Asahina would be proud of her unusual hiding place. Although Leon was just out of earshot, she guessed he was about halfway through counting.
. . .
Chihiro was having a far easier time. His tiny frame opened up a wealth of possible hiding places, but since he knew the computer room best, he ran there.
He creaked the door open gently, peeking in for any other students. Completely empty. What luck!
Effortlessly light on his feet, he walked in and made a beeline for the end of the room. The desks were the type that touched the floor at the back, so crouching behind it meant you couldn’t be seen. Summoning every bit of his strength (and thanking Mondo silently for all his training) he dragged the two desks closest to the far wall away until he could climb into the gap. He rested his chin on his knees, feeling rather snug and enjoying the warmth of the monitors around him. A few rooms over, Ishimaru had just clambered under one of the infirmary beds.
. . .
Mukuro, no stranger to having to hide from enemies in difficult terrain, had decided that Leon was the defeatist type. She figured that if she created a mess in the art room, making it difficult to search, he would give up before reaching the connected storeroom. As soon as she made it to her destination (after checking she hadn’t been followed by Enoshima, who had seemed hard put for hiding ideas in the cafeteria) she shuffled the desks about so Leon would need to move them all again in order to move around. She also pushed the sculptures to block his path further, and moved the paints in order to deflect him from the storeroom- she was certain Leon would avoid them to save his precious white clothes. Thoroughly satisfied with her work, she slipped into the storeroom and began waiting.
. . .
Feeling utterly dejected after being scolded by Togami, Fukawa dragged her feet along the corridors until her eyes fell onto the recreation room- somewhere she had never entered before. Upon closer inspection, she spotted a locker in one of the corners. She went in and checked the inside. It was completely hollow, and her slender body could fit in easily. Her mind made up, she hopped in and slouched against the back, staring vacantly through the small slits at the room.
. . .
Naegi hurried up the stairs, trying to ignore Hagakure’s comment about his hiding spot being particularly bad. He made his way to the changing rooms on autopilot, and almost swiped his ID card before stopping with a jerk. Frowning, he put a hand to his chin. Was going in the boy’s changing room breaking the rules? Was it technically locking the door? He figured no, since Leon was also male, but the spirit of hide and seek had taken over and suddenly the game’s only rule mattered greatly to him. After deliberating for quite some time, he quickly ran back to the staircase and leaned down.
’63…64…65…66…’ Leon was counting rather fast now, clearly becoming impatient.
Naegi judged this as not nearly enough time to find another hiding spot, and rushed through into the changing rooms without another thought. Of course, once in there, he realise there wasn’t actually anywhere he could hide.
. . .
Hagakure, being the one who initially suggested hide and seek, had been planning his perfect spot long before the others. Of course, it was almost necessary considering his general slowness. The quick divination he’d performed told him nothing of his own place, although he knew Naegi was camped out in the boy’s changing room. What a strange place to pick. There’s nothing to hide you in there! He smiled to himself as he entered the botanical gardens. Although usually he feared the plants in there greatly, he felt that assimilation would grant him temporary acceptance from his new chlorophyll-filled brethren, and this put his mind at rest. He fumbled through the gardens, constantly getting whacked in the face by leaves and branches (typical of such malicious creatures) and eventually found himself by the bamboo.
Through a kaleidoscope of greens and browns, Yamada watched him.
Hagakure slotted himself comfortably into the bamboo. To Yamada’s great shock, he then calmly snapped his fingers and his mass of dreadlocks began to move and straighten up, until they were as stiff and upright as the bamboo around them and, since the bamboo was largely dead, the same colour.
Completely unaffected by this display of apparent magic, Hagakure settled down proudly, ignorant of Yamada gaping at him from across the garden.
. . .
‘Shit, shit, where to go, where to go?’
Mondo carried on muttering to himself as he sloped down various hallways, frequently doubling back on himself or almost entering a room, then changing his mind. The frustration made him angrier until he had to pause to calm himself down, taking deep breaths and counting, just like he’d practised. The counting reminded him of Leon, and he looked around impatiently. He’d stopped a little before the library; he darted in.
The shelves were tall and packed with books, essentially creating extra walls that divided up the room. After scoping out every part of it, he crouched down in the smallest aisle he could find and waited. He was in the cookery section, and idly picked up a small recipe book to flip through.
. . .
Maizono had managed to find another loophole to the rule, although it was a slightly more dubious one than Celes and Togami’s. She cheerfully strolled into the ladies bathroom, smiling at herself in the mirror. She hadn’t locked any doors, and it was technically accessible…right? Leon could come in if he really wanted to. But he wouldn’t! She was sure her plan was foolproof. And, if he took a particularly long time finding the others, she didn’t have to worry about getting thirsty or needing the bathroom. She felt almost like a vigilant soldier, stood guard with only basic necessities to last her.
In reality, she was putting on mascara to pass the time, but the idol always liked to dream big.
. . .
Just as Chihiro was starting to get sucked into a light snooze, he heard a terrible clamouring coming from outside.
‘SIS! WHERE ARE YOU?’ hollered what was unmistakeably Enoshima.
She had been successfully ditched by Mukuro, and now found herself with nowhere to hide. Much like the pair in the dorms, Junko didn’t fancy getting herself dirty for the game. Mukuro gave no reply (she hadn’t even heard her), so after shouting for a bit longer, she turned on her heel and went straight back to the cafeteria, sitting down behind Leon in a strop.
Junko rolled her eyes at Leon’s immaturity, willing him with an icy glare to count faster.
Asahina opened her cupboard door just a tiny crack to investigate the set of footsteps as they marched in. Leon didn’t seem to have even noticed since he was shouting numbers at the top of his lungs, but Asahina could make out Junko’s extravagant pink hair. She must have given up. Oh well. One less opponent!
. . .
Kirigiri was the last to hide. She had watched the others run off and tried to predict where they would go, but it hadn’t offered her any clues as to where she herself should hide. To her surprise, she found she wasn’t at all skilled when it came to hide and seek. After deliberating until the count of 73, she rushed up several flights of stairs to the dojo. It was about as far away from Leon as one could get, so chances were he would’ve found most of the other students before even checking there. Looking fondly up at the Japanese scenery, she breezed to the furthest cherry blossom tree and climbed up, sitting comfortably in one of the branches, totally and utterly surrounded by pink.