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Hide and Seek

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Kirigiri was still sat in her chair by Enoshima when Hagakure and Yamada plodded in, only she now had a huge bag of frozen peas (fetched by Chihiro) held to her shoulder with bandages (fetched by Ishimaru, who was delighted to have found a use for them since Kirigiri really wasn’t bleeding). Togami continued to ignore everyone and so did Celes, only she was secretly wrestling with extreme jealously as she watched Kirigiri being fussed over by….satisfactory looking men. Of course, Celes would only have the best looking in her castle, but at the moment Kirigiri was coming closer to realising that dream than Celes was.

Between the time she’d come to the cafeteria and the present, she’d fought unsuccessfully against Naegi and Ishimaru as they tried to patch her up and make sure she was okay.

‘It’s your shoulder that hurts, isn’t it? How bad is it?’

‘Naegi-kun, I’m fine. It’s just a bruise at worst.’

‘A bruise can all too quickly become other things! We must not ignore the possibility of it becoming infected!’

‘B-but bruises can’t get infected if the skin isn’t broken, right?’

‘Like I said, we must not ignore the possibility! Amputation, though grave, could still be on the cards!’

At this point, Asahina had had to shove her sleeve into her mouth to stop herself from laughing.

Please calm down.’

‘Ishimaru-kun, you don’t understand much about medicine do you?’

This had continued for a while, but eventually Ishimaru was more or less reassured that Kirigiri would be fine in a few days. By the time Hagakure and Yamada appeared, the cafeteria was almost in complete silence. Only Chihiro and Maizono could be heard: they were chatting softly about a possible cinema trip over the winter break. Junko had grown bored of talking to Kirigiri (who had barely been listening) and was filing her nails. Ishimaru was getting on with some medical-related studying next to Naegi, who was reading.

Hagakure’s voice broke the silence. ‘Hey guys! Is this everyone Kuwata-chi’s found then?’

‘Not me.’ Junko said. ‘I’ve just been sat here and he hasn’t seen me yet.’

‘What? That’s so lazy!’

‘Well you’ve been found and I haven’t so shut up!’

‘A-Alright! Man, I sense hostility in the air…hey, Kirigiri-chi what happened to you?’

‘It’s quite obvious she made that thud about ten minutes ago. Did you fall over, Kirigiri Kyouko-dono?’

‘Almost. I fell out of a tree.’

‘That noise really made me jump!’

Everything makes you jump, Hagakure-kun.’

The two new arrivals settled down quickly. Yamada tried to ask Togami why he’d called him, but only received a scowl in response. Unfazed, he turned to Celes and started excitedly telling her about Hagakure’s power over his hair. She listened closely, both interested and pleased to have a distraction from Kirigiri. Across the room, Hagakure sat down next to Ishimaru and struck up a conversation about people’s hiding places. Ishimaru seemed more than happy to chat for a little while (it was still quite a novelty to him), and so the cafeteria resumed its typical hum of voices.

A little later, Mukuro walked in, and Fukawa about a minute after that. Junko was delighted to have her sister to rant to, while Fukawa sat by herself and tried to dust off her clothes.

Meanwhile, Leon was assessing where he hadn’t looked yet. He had checked every room in the school except the few that were locked and the kitchen, so he decided to make the trek down several flights of stairs and look there.

As he strode into the cafeteria he immediately set eyes on Junko. She yelled before he could.

‘Finally!’

This is your hiding place?’

‘Yeah. You’re really bad at this game.’

‘I’m not!’ He cried, his pride hurt. ‘Whatever man. I’ve found you now.’

After waving back to the ever-friendly Hagakure, he went into the kitchen. At a glance, it seemed there were no places to hide, but he opened every cupboard anyway. He had to climb on a chair to reach the highest ones (almost falling off a few times as he swung the doors open), but it paid off when he eventually came face to face with Asahina, although her head was bent sideways from her ridiculous position. He hopped down from his chair and she clambered out, groaning with pain as she stretched out her legs and neck.

‘So? Did I win?’

‘No, sorry…’

‘Aww! That sucks! Although, I don’t know how much longer I could’ve stayed in there…’

‘You did pretty well! I’ve only got Oowada-kun and Oogami-san left.’

This cheered her up. ‘I hope Sakura-chan wins!’

‘I hope my brother wins!’ Ishimaru piped up. ‘I am sure he will.’

‘No way, Sakura-chan is way better at hiding than Oowada-kun could ever be!’ Asahina retorted.

Leon made a quick escape before he got caught up in an argument.

Where else hadn’t he looked? The entire ground floor had been covered, then he’d done the first floor, where he found Naegi. That was when he heard Kirigiri! So not only had he ignored the classrooms on that floor, he hadn’t finished checking the library.

He ran up the stairs (trying not to get hit in the face with his necklace as it bounced up and down) and checked the nearest classroom first. He had briefly considered that Oogami could be in the female changing rooms, but since that would constitute cheating he disregarded it. She wasn’t the type to break rules, especially not for a game of hide and seek.

The first classroom was empty, and so was the second. This left only the library.

Mondo had settled back into his reading the moment Leon rushed out. He put the mysterious crash down to a sculpture in the art room falling over and left it at that. Once he’d looked through all the recipes listed, he flicked through to his favourite ones and snapped some photos on his phone, since he’d never be able to memorise even one of them.

When Leon came into the library, he was getting his old, slightly broken phone to focus on the page for Welsh cawl (he’d never heard of it before and it looked so hearty and warming- perfect for winter. And it was packed full of vegetables, so Ishimaru would like it!). Mondo made use of the door’s annoyingly loud creaking to take the picture and stuff his phone back into his coat pocket as quickly as he could. Leon was walking around much faster now, having already checked the majority of the room.

Shit! Leon couldn’t see his cookbook; he’d be a laughing stock. But just as Mondo tried to shove it back into the shelf, Leon rounded a corner and saw him.

‘Hey Oowada-kun!’

‘Oh, hey Kuwata. Looks like ya found me.’

‘What book are you reading? This is the cookery section isn’t it?’

‘Nothin’! Uh, well just an old recipe book. I was just tryin’ to pass the time.’

Surprisingly, Leon didn’t look too interested by this. ‘Oh, cool. Listen, d’you know where Oogami-san is? I can’t find her anywhere. Actually, wait a sec-‘

He went over to the library storeroom and shook the handle roughly. Locked. ‘What the fuck? Where is she?’

‘I don’t know!’

‘I’ve checked every room!’

‘Well check them again!’

‘Ugh!’ Leon tugged at fistfuls of his hair in frustration. Once he’d calmed down slightly, he looked at Mondo again. ‘You need to go to the cafeteria now.’

‘Good luck man.’ He left sharply, still worried that Leon would laugh at him for reading a recipe book, and eager to tell Ishimaru about all the meals he was going to make soon.

Leon hopped from one foot to the other as he often did before an important baseball match- it helped him feel less restless and allowed him to clear his head. He flapped his hands for added effect, but still failed to come up with anywhere he hadn’t been yet. Surely he wouldn’t have to actually look in every room again? No, that would be ridiculous. He could rule out many of the smaller rooms since there literally weren’t any other places a human could fit, especially not one of Oogami’s size. The larger rooms he should check again.

This would include…the gymnasium, the music room, the pool, not the library since he was stood in it, the botanical gardens and the dojo.

He was closest to the pool, so scoured in there and found no one. He had had a good feeling about it too, since she was often in there with Asahina. If only he was the Super High School Level Fortune Teller, he could just see where she was! Although, that would ruin the fun.

Mondo was met with a frantic wave from Ishimaru as he pushed open the cafeteria door. Counting the heads briefly, he saw Oogami was indeed the only one still missing. Good for her.

‘Brother! You were found!’ Although Ishimaru was clearly pleased to see him again, his voice betrayed a hint of disappointment.

‘I knew Sakura-chan would win!’ Asahina cried, jumping up and down.

‘Yeah, Kuwata is really stumped. Can’t find her anywhere. Good to see ya bro.’ He put his arm round Ishimaru’s neck and grinned. Asahina sat down proudly on the floor and carried on stretching.

Once Mondo had grabbed a chair, he started telling Ishimaru about the recipe book. The hall monitor was only too happy to listen, nodding approvingly all the while. Once he’d finished explaining how exciting it was, he pulled out his phone to show him the pictures he’d taken.

‘I must say brother, I never thought you’d become interested in cookery!’

‘Dude it’s fuckin’ awesome I’m gonna be able to eat so many new things, I can’t wait to try. I know we’re going for the holidays now but d’you think the school will have all the equipment and stuff when we get back?’

‘Why don’t we go and have a look?’

The pair got up and marched into the kitchen, while Hagakure (having been abandoned by Ishimaru somewhat) slid his chair over to Naegi and started chatting to him. Naegi prepared himself for the shaman’s usual incomprehensible, but entertaining, prating.