- For Hearts' November KSG contest.
- Shizune twirled a pen between her fingers, caught in the middle of a thought before recording it on her paper. She often did this when it was her turn to oversee detention: homework, student council business, anything to pass the time. As maddeningly boring as it was for those being punished, she could almost tear her hair out if there wasn't anything to do. At least the little delinquents wouldn't be able to pester her with their rambunctious attitudes.
- That, of course, meant that she had to glance up every now and then. However, with only one student to look over for today's session, she didn't think to do it as often. That didn't stop her subject from continually bothering her with notes, a desperate form at communication with the deaf-mute. 'Lesson learned:,' Shizune thought, 'never underestimate the power of one student to endlessly frustrate you.'
- She looked to her side, a small piece of paper now sitting on the edge of her desk. Frowning, she opened the note, glancing over their previous conversation, each participant denoted by a different color pen.
- “Time?” the note read simply.
- Shizune scribbled a response: half past 1500. Detention was just now approaching half-over. The note was filled with these questions, all of them seemingly random. But it was the only way that the two students could communicate. She watched carefully as her subject read the newest message. Her prisoner wrote another response and passed it back.
- “Only half done? But it feels like we've been in here for ages...”
- Stifling a snicker, Shizune replied, “In a hurry? Maybe you should think about that next time you decide to run through the hallways like that.”
- The memories came back to her: Yamaku's track star, the ultimate prize. She and a fellow first-year placed bets on who could catch her first. The 'Fastest Thing on No Legs' - as she liked to call herself - indeed proved elusive. But no one could outrun a Hakamichi forever. The newest member of the student council pulled out all the stops, all of her wit and cunning to bring this hardened criminal to justice.
- That is, if you can call an hour's detention after school justice. Though, for Emi Ibarazaki, it just might be, having to miss out on afternoon practice with her friends.
- Another message found its way onto Shizune's desk, drawing her back into reality. Spy fantasy would have to wait. “But I've learned my lesson, I swear! Let me go and I promise you won't hear anything from me ever again.”
- “That so? Sure you're not just trying to cop out on your punishment?” Shizune returned to her paperwork, barely able to finish a single form before another Emi produced another message.
- “Of course not.” She detected a hint of sarcasm in the girl's words. “Wouldn't a slap on the wrist have done the trick? Or something a little less than detention? It's not like I'm some delinquent or anything...”
- Ha, if only she knew. The girl had a price on her head for months; she was just too hard-headed to realize it. Rules were rules. Iron-fist, steadfast, no bending. Shizune saw no point to even dignify the runner with a response. She glanced up, noticed Emi's eyes locked onto her, and shoved the note into her lap. 'I will break her, if need be,' Shizune thought. 'Whatever that takes. She will come to see reason.'
- The councilmember continued with her paperwork: a combination of officer application forms and the standard daily regiment of student attendance sheets. The former was more important to her. None in Yamaku doubted Shizune's craving for power, and she definitely acted the role of a council president. She merely had to win the hearts and minds of the people. Easier said than done when she couldn't even communicate with them properly.
- Perhaps, she wondered, it would be possible to bring in a transfer student as an interpreter? It would make life around school much easier. She could go without all the note-passing and lip-reading that normally accompanied her daily life. And it definitely beat option two: learning to actually talk again. She had sworn off that already. Besides, bringing another person into her life sounded interesting, at least.
- Out of the corner of her eye, Shizune noticed another folded slip of paper. She smiled, admiring her captive's persistence. It was almost like an arms race of willpower, seeing who would waiver first. For a moment, Shizune thought it might actually be her, for once.
- She opened the note. “I don't really see a reason for me to hang around here.” Glancing up, she caught sight of Emi folding her arms across her chest, adopting a stern expression. “There's gotta be a chance for first-time offenders to be laid off the hook, right?” First-time offenders? She dared use that term in reference to herself? Nonsense, absolute nonsense.
- Shizune tapped her chin, pondering the possibilities. Sitting here had already proved incessantly boring, and here lay an opportunity to liven up her day. After a round of classes and paperwork, couldn't she use a little excitement? Far be it for the eldest Hakamichi child to turn down another game in this match of cat-and-mouse. Would the girl be a challenge? 'Certainly not,' she scoffed to herself. 'But everyone enjoys dominating another person on occasion.'
- Emi would win this round, at least. But there was no way Shizune would let her win the war. “A game,” she wrote. “My game. Chess. I win, you sit tight, no more complaining. No more note-passing. Silence, by the book. You win? You go free, and I won't prescribe detention again. And I'll see to it that you aren't bothered by the rest of the student council, either.” A risky proposition, but Shizune never made offers so clearly in her opponent's favor without a sure sense of victory. “Deal?”
- She passed the note back to Emi, returning to her papers. A few moments later, the paper re-appeared on her desk.
- 'Let the games begin,' Shizune thought, smirking as she rose from her chair, proud and ready to subject Emi to a crushing defeat. The track star remained seated, calmly anticipating the start of their game. A sense of doubt clouded her mind. Could she win this? Her guard seemed rather eager to step up to the plate, as if she knew that there was no way that she would lose. But, the wager seemed worth it: the chance at going free far outweighed having to sit in silence for the next God-only-knows how long.
- Producing a small wooden box from the room's sole wardrobe, Shizune made her way to Emi's desk, chin tilted high in the air. She was guilty of counting her chickens in the past, but this one had to happen the way she envisioned it. Did the girl even know how to play chess? Surely, her jock pea-brain had no comparison to the superior intellect of a student council member. She would be ruined, and there would be nothing left but ashes to be swept away by the overnight janitor.
- Much to Shizune's surprise, however, Emi helped set up the board. She knew where each piece went, even the proper alignment of black and white king-queen pairs. The girl was certainly full of surprises.
- A pair of small wooden dishes folded out on both sides of the board, a container for slain soldiers in this ancient war game. Already, Shizune could see the white pieces filling the tray as she took them from Emi one by one.
- With the stage set, pieces all in their proper position, the girls took their places on each side of the board. Emi brought her prosthetics beneath her thighs, sitting on top of them. Shizune crept forward, leaning against folded arms on the table. She had decided to grant her opponent at least a small advantage with the first move.
- Reluctantly, Emi lifted her king's pawn, moving it forward two squares. Shizune responded accordingly, and the girls went through basic opening moves. As unorthodox as her movements were, the track star at least knew the basics of chess: how the pieces moved, captures, and the like... but she was unsure of how that would fare against someone as into the game as her foe.
- The silence accompanying the game almost drove her mad. No communication, no sense in saying anything. Is this what miss dictator-in-training lived like on a day-to-day basis? She grumbled a few times, just to cut through the tension hanging in the air. She pressed her pieces into the board a little harder, both for the amplified sound and to take out an inkling of her frustration with this whole ordeal.
- The game proceeded as expected: Shizune's skill at the game proved normally insurmountable for the prisoner. Once they had reached mid-game, the council member had constructed a commanding board position; her king protected by a wall of pawns, both bishops, a knight, a rook, and her queen faced down Emi's bishop, knight, and queen. But Ibarazaki was not one to give up so easily. There had to be a way.
- She examined the board as Shizune made her move, capturing Emi's knight with her queen. Was there a way to win now without that knight's support? Her fingers lingered over each piece, lifting and dropping it back into place as she considered her course of action.
- Then she saw it, her path to redemption. Shizune had failed to ever move her rook out from the castling position, locking the king in place against the side of the board. She could move the queen to clear a pawn in front of the king with the bishop defending the queen, a clear checkmate.
- A few turns later, she had built the board in her favor. The white queen station directly in front of the black king, with a white bishop along the same diagonal. The king was trapped, no legal moves left. Shizune stared at the board in disbelief, struggling to find a way out. But she knew defeat when she saw it, regardless of how much it disappointed her. Shrugging her shoulders, she tipped her king over on its side, resigning the game.
- Emi locked eyes with her, teeth bared and beaming. Shizune flicked her wrist, shooing her away for the afternoon. She might be ruthless, but she was at least a woman of her word. The runner complied, packing her belongings before rushing out the door as fast as her legs would carry her. She was free, and she wanted to make the most of it.
- Shizune did nothing but smile. Even in defeat, she had grown to respect the girl. Emi was able to see something that even she had missed; that alone deserved admiration. At the very least, she had found something in common with another student. She wasn't sure if it would ever come about again, but... it was always worth a shot.
A Master Stroke [Emi/Shizune]
DaGarver Nov 27th, 2012 4,994 Never
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