Scene: evening. My home, at my desk. Having put up with nearly 30 girls and eliminating them from this insane competition, one more has arrived late to the party.
(Enter Scott, Nagahide)
Nagahide Niwa: Hello, Scott. Remember me?
Scott: Of course I do. You’re the genderbend version of Nagahide Niwa, strategist of the Oda clan in The Ambition of Oda Nobuna. You were the first waifu I ever declared, long before I did reviews on this blog.
Nagahide: Good memory. 10 points.
Scott: (chuckles) How could I forget? My friends and I used to give each other “points” in conversation all the time.
Nagahide: You had lots of fun then, didn’t you? Now look at you. You’re about as old as me now.
Scott: Indeed. So are you here to seduce me, like the others? I’d hate to disappoint you so soon–
Nagahide: Don’t flatter yourself. You’re still leagues away from ever satisfying me. I’m here to introduce you to your next candidates for best waifu (laughs). Or should I say… hasbando?
Scott: Oh no. You didn’t. (Nagahide claps her hands. Enter Asuma, Fafnir, Haru, Kakeru, Louis, and Yūri. The boys sit down and gather around the couch) You did.
Nagahide: (laughs) Well, get to it. Tell your favorite boys how you really feel.
Scott: Oh come on! I hardly ever declared hasbandos. Why so many?
Nagahide: Would you like me to add more?
Scott: No, why?
Nagahide: No reason.
(meanwhile, somewhere outside, at a park. Enter Eijun and Jyushimatsu)
Jyushimatsu: (walking along a dirt path, chanting) Hustle! Hustle! Muscle! Muscle!
Eijun Sawamura: (makes a loud scream as he throws a baseball toward a wall) YES! YES! YESS! Another perfect cutter ball!
Jyushimatsu: (stops and faces Eijun) Huh? That wasn’t a cutter ball. That was just a fast ball. And it wasn’t even that fast!
Eijun: Oh, what would you know?
Jyushimatsu: More than you think. But whatever. People will think whatever they want to think. So what brings you out here?
Eijun: Training. I’ll be the ace this year for sure! I have to keep practicing. Then I’ll finally show all those guys that I’m better than Furuya!
Jyushimatsu: Ah. Is that why you’re out here so late?
Eijun: No. It’s because I got invited by some weird guy to go and meet some blogger who apparently thinks I’m hot stuff.
Jyushimatsu: Blogger? You mean The True Lystria? I got that invite too.
Eijun: Yeah, I was on my way there, when I stopped by this park. I can’t possibly impress her if I can’t even throw a decent cutter ball.
Jyushimatsu: Uh… you do know The True Lystria’s a guy, right?
Eijun: She’s a what!? (angrily) This is just like that time I was set up with Miyuki-senpai!
Jyushimatsu: Ah, so you’re used to that kind of thing too.
Eijun: I AM NOT!!
Jyushimatsu: Ah, whatever. I was gonna go, too, but then I lost my way there.
Eijun: You wanted to impress that guy?
Jyushimatsu: Nah. I just wanted to screw with him. But since I’m here, I think I’ll go ahead and practice more of my swinging.
Eijun: You play baseball too?
Jyushimatsu: Nah, I’m just a fun-loving NEET. Can’t be too serious, you know?
Jyushimatsu: Say, since we’re out here, how about we play some ball and yell obnoxiously while we’re at it?
Eijun: That’s the best idea I’ve heard all day! Let’s do it!
(Exit Jyushimatsu and Eijun, throwing and swinging as they yell as loud as they can. Back at my house.)
Scott: Look, I don’t do the whole hasbando thing. I’m going to turn all of them down anyway. So can we just skip this chapter?
Nagahide: Fine, but only if you can answer me one thing.
Nagahide: Why do you spell it “H-A-S-B-A-N-D-O,” when everyone else spells it “H-U-S-B-A-N-D-O?” (Nagahide and Scott stare at each other awkwardly)
Scott: (sigh) 20 points.
Nagahide: I still got it. Good luck, my casanova.
Nagahide: And if you don’t mind, some of your previous waifus are here to observe too. (Enter a group of waifus from previous chapters from this ‘fic and a few others, cheering) We’re rooting for you. (winks)
Scott: Alright. Time to make this quick. (Scott gets up from his desk and stands before all the guys, who have been situated around the couch) Listen up! I’m not all that thrilled to be here, and neither are you. So, I’m just going to tell each one of you directly.
Yūri Katsuki: What? What’s happening?
Scott: First off, Yūri! You’re not even supposed to be here! Aren’t you with Victor right now?
Yūri: EH!? EEEHHHH!?!?
Victor Nikiforov: (appears from the crowd of spectators) Whoa.
Scott: You don’t need me. Just go!
Yūri: How? Why? What’s going on? (Yūri continues to mutter in confusion. Victor gets up from the crowd and grabs him by the shoulder. Exit Yūri and Victor, indifferently)
Haru Yoshida: (annoyed) Whaaat.
Scott: Aren’t you supposed to be with Shizuku right now?
Haru: Nah, we’re taking a break from each other. Besides, Shizuku’s probably at her cram school. I’m just here to hang out. Spending the night here too, just to let you know.
Scott: Fine, I don’t care. But you’re not sleeping in my bed!
Haru: (suddenly appears in the bed, about to pull up the covers) Huh?
Scott: How did you get there so fast? (audience squees) Oh shut up! Nothing’s gonna happen! (Enter Shizuku)
Shizuku Mizutani: Aha! I thought I’d find you here, Haru.
Haru: Ah crap! (Haru jumps out of bed and tries to make a run for it. Shizuku grabs his arm and motions him toward the door)
Shizuku: Honestly. I thought it was strange you’d come to a creepy place like this, all because you got an email from some weird yellow rabbit.
Scott: Yellow rabbit? You can’t mean–
Shizuku: That’s not important right now. You’ll find out soon enough.
Scott: Why though? I already know who it is. (Exit Shizuku and Haru, angry, but more at each other. Scott turns to Fafnir next) You here to hang out, too?
Fafnir: I guess. But I’d rather bring death and destruction to everyone around here.
Scott: Yeah… I can’t have you do that. You’re free to stay.
Fafnir: A wise decision. So, what games you got? I’d be more thrilled to stay if I played some video games.
Scott: What? I don’t have video games here.
Fafnir: You don’t?
Scott: Yeah. Why do you think Nanana wasn’t playing any in my last chapter?
Nanana: (from the audience) You still owe me pudding!
Fafnir: Seriously? What kind of house doesn’t have video games?
Scott: Uh, the house that exists in my mind? (awkward silence)
Fafnir: Your mind-house sucks. I’m outta here. (Exit Fafnir, pissed)
Scott: (aside) Huh. Maybe he’ll bring death to someone I don’t like this time. Anyway… (turns his attention back to the boys) Kakeru!
Kakeru Naruse: (appears to have been crying this whole time) Huh…
Scott: What are you doing here? Just let me know. I’ll listen, honest.
Kakeru: (sobs) It’s Naho. She doesn’t like me in this timeline after all! (Scott sits next to him on the couch and pats him on the back)
Scott: It’s okay, Kakeru. It happens. I’m sure Suwa will take good care of her. (Enter Suwa, interrupting)
Hiroto Suwa: Actually, she’s not interested in me either.
Scott: She’s not?
Suwa: Yeah. Apparently in this timeline, she got together with Takako.
Scott: Whoa. I totally didn’t see that coming.
Nagahide: 10 points!
Scott: Like… those two didn’t have any chemistry!
Suwa: Well it happened. Thought I’d bring him here to cheer him up. Also, some weird yellow rabbit thing insisted. (Kakeru cries some more)
Scott: Alright, look Kakeru. (Kakeru stops and listens) I’m only gonna say this once, because I really don’t want to upset the fan base any more than I already have. In 10 years, you’re going to find someone who’s so much better than Naho, she’s going to be jealous that she never gave you the chance. Sure, you’ll still be friends, but your partner will always serve as a reminder of what she missed out on.
Kakeru: Partner? Why are you being so gender neutral about this?
Scott: I don’t know. I’m leaving that up to you.
Kakeru: But I like girls!
Scott: Look, no one’s in control of what happens in your future except you. Trust your friends. Stand by them whenever you can. And take care of yourself. You’re going to be a great guy.
Kakeru: (sniffles, and nods) I’m still not sure. But I’ll do my best, Mister. (Kakeru and Scott give each other a hug. Scott gestures to Suwa to take him off his hands, and he obliges. Exit Kakeru and Suwa, feeling so-so).
Scott: Asuma, you’ve been awfully quiet this whole time.
Asuma Mutsumi: You finally noticed me, Senpai?
Scott: What? No, that — that doesn’t make sense. Anyway, I thought I paired you off with Kae at the end of my review. What are you doing here?
Asuma: Yeah, well she’s not interested in me right now. She said she’d rather see me get paired off with you.
Kae Serinuma: (from the audience) Go get him, Senpai!
Scott: Oh. Well that explains why she didn’t come for any of the previous chapters.
Asuma: Listen (grabs my hands) I will always love you. So how about we get out of here and have some fun? I’ll take you anywhere you’d like. My treat. Senpai. (audience squees again)
Nagahide: 50 points!
Scott: Dude, you say that about everyone. I never thought I’d say this, but that gets really old, really fast. So sorry. The answer’s still no.
Asuma: Oh. Okay then. (smiles cheerfully) I’ll just find someone else. (Exit Asuma, cheerful as ever)
Scott: Damn. How the hell does he have such a quick recovery time? Anyway, I guess that just leaves you, Louis.
Louis Andō: Well it’s about time. And seeing how I was your choice hasbando from your most popular post to date, I’ll make sure to win you over, my little flower.
Scott: Wait. You do know that I’m not Kohana, right? Tell me. She’s in the audience watching us, isn’t she?
Louis: Nope. I’m afraid not.
Scott: Why not?
Louis: Kohana’s the player character. She is anyone and everyone who plays the game.
Scott: Okay, but I’m not playing the game right now–
Louis: (grabs Scott by the hand and raises him to stand up with him) Shall we dance?
Scott: What? No. This seems out of place.
Louis: Is it really? Or have you just not tried?
Scott: Huh? Tried what?
Louis: You know. Dancing.
Scott: Well… No, not exactly. I only dance with myself, when nobody’s around.
Louis: (laughs) Come dance with me. It’ll be fun.
Louis: You’ll never know unless you try.
(As music blares in the background, Louis and Scott dance together, hand in hand. As if they were gliding across the floor in an entrancing tango. It feels strange at first, but after awhile, it feels rather enjoyable. As the music fades, Louis leans in, as if to steal a kiss. But at the last second, he doesn’t).
Scott: Wow. (Louis and Scott separate) That was… kind of embarrassing. But I’ll admit. It was still more fun than I thought.
Louis: Indeed it was, Scott. Unfortunately that’s all I can do for you.
Louis: I only have eyes for Kohana. You on the other hand… remember this experience. And have fun with the one you love most. (winks)
Scott: Wait, what just–
Louis: Well, I’m off now. The culture festival committee is having another planning meeting. Adieu! (Exit Louis, charmed)
Scott: Did… did I just get rejected? By a guy?
Nagahide: (claps) Bravo, Scott! I knew you could do it. We all did. (audience nods)
Scott: Yeah, but… I still haven’t chosen my waifu. Or hasbando, if we’re playing by that rule.
Nagahide: That’s fine by me. (whispers) I already know who it is anyway.
Scott: You do?
Nagahide: Of course! I read your script ahead of time. I’m the Oda clan’s best strategist, you know. So I always have to stay one step ahead of everyone else.
Scott: Okay then. If you know who it is, why don’t you just tell me?
Nagahide: (laughs) I’m not as stupid as you to just spoil that information. Minus 10 points.
Scott: Yeah, I guess you’re right.
Nagahide: Alright, ladies and gentlemen. I think we’ve had enough fun with Scott today. It’s time for us to leave him alone, so he’s rested up for the next challenge. (Exit everyone except Scott and Nagahide) Oh, and one more thing, Scott.
Nagahide: (kisses him on the cheek) That’s for remembering me after all these years. Thank you. (Scott rubs his cheek, dazed) Well, I’d better return to my point in history. You know. Be a guy again.
Scott: Eh!? Then why are you–
Nagahide: (presses her index finger against her lips) Sometimes it’s best not to ask. You did at least enjoy my company, didn’t you?
Scott: Well I’d hate to admit it, but… yeah. I did.
Nagahide: Excellent answer. Anyway, there’s one more hasbando left to visit you. In the meantime, get some sleep. You’ll need it. (chuckles) Sweet dreams! (Exit Nagahide, happily as ever)
Scott: (sigh) What a day. I really do need to get some sleep. (Enter Merry)
Merry: Yes you do!
Scott: What the– aw, no! She sent all the pillow boys, just because I did a yaoi gag review about you guys, didn’t she?
Merry: Nope. It’s just me! And YOU were the one who sent me!
Scott: What? That makes even less sense!
Merry: Oh, don’t be like that. You know I just want to help you relax as you drift away into dreamland.
Scott: Sure, whatever. Tell me, Merry. Don’t you think that all these fan fiction posts have already been an elaborate dream as it is? I feel like I’ve been sleeping this whole time, but I can’t really tell.
Scott: It’s like… I’ve been talking to all of you, without a care that there might not be anyone else reading these thoughts, but me. And besides, none of what I imagine in these posts ever look like real life to me. I can do all of this stuff with you guys because I’m actively thinking about it. But how could I ever turn these experiences in reality, if I can only experience them in a dream-like state?
Merry: . . .
Scott: . . .
Merry: Wow, everyone was right about you. You DO talk too much!
Scott: I know.
Merry: Listen, just close your eyes. Don’t say another word. Let your mind wander some more. Relax.
Scott: Fine… (mumbles about how crazy all those girls and guys were. Then falls into a deep sleep.)
Merry: Yes. Everything you have experienced in these dialogues have been like a dream. Thoughts that have entered your mind, as you experience each of us through this blog. But there were people out there, real people, that you have wanted to say these words to in real life, but you never got the chance to. You couldn’t say what you have said to us because you were too afraid. Too afraid of being hurt. Rejected. Or even loved in return. We may not be real, but all the feelings you had for us certainly are. That’s how you have managed to manifest us in your reality. (A mysterious girl with glasses waves from outside the bedroom door. Merry raises his index finger to his lips, as the girl disappears. Merry gently caresses Scott’s forehead as he makes his way out of the room). When you wake up, you will no longer be inside the comfort of the home in your mind. You will be outside, in an unfamiliar place, surrounded only by others whom you have never loved, but they loved the person you have become. Listen to them. You might be surprised by what they have to say. (Merry gently caresses Scott’s forehead one last time before he stands up) Good night, True Lystria. You shall come to understand it all soon enough. (Exit Merry, grimacing)