Dandelions: An After Story (Updated 4/10)

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DerpyCats
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Dandelions: An After Story (Updated 4/10)

Post by DerpyCats » Sun Mar 28, 2021 12:17 am

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Foreword
Before we begin, I would just like to say a few things to lay out the groundwork for this story. I was partially inspired by Sisterhood , though this will probably not be as well developed or as well written, as I don't have much experience with fanfiction. I think I also need help with formatting, where to put lines of dialogue, etc. Constructive criticism is appreciated.

I haven't really read any fan fiction based on Rin's story either, so I would like to try and take a crack at it and see how I do. I did feel that the original story wrapped things up nicely, but I don't think that a continuation would hurt, of course. I'd also like to point out that I borrow some elements of Sisterhood as well for this story, the changing perspective mostly, as I thought it was really interesting and made for a dynamic narrative that I haven't really seen in other fanfics. If I could reach out to the author I would like to ask if I could use the music application they made for use on this story later down the line hopefully.

This continues about three days after the events of Rin's good ending. Music suggestions will be spoiler tagged like this. You can supplement whatever music you'd like, but I know many enjoy the original KS OST, so there's that. Also, there will probably be sexual content later down the line, just a heads up. I'll try and update it regularly though I'm not going to rush myself. Hope you enjoy this story as much as I enjoyed writing it.


Index
Chapter 1: As Above (Rin)
Chapter 2: Show & Tell (Hisao)
Chapter 3: Stretching (Emi)
Chapter 4: Cloud Walking (Unreleased)


Chapter 1: As Above (Rin)
Nocturne

Love. An alien word. Extraterrestrial. Not like a little green person. Like flying so far away that you forget where your home planet is. Like looking into a mirror and seeing someone else. It is a concept that is difficult for me to process, or even comprehend. When I see him, my skin and eyes feel like they're going to burst from the pressure, an explosion of feelings and passion, and everything all at once. In what way I need to express those feelings, to relieve the pressure, is a mystery to me still, a mystery that I'm trying to grasp. Grasping for hay in a needle stack. I try to collect my thoughts.

Painting helped, I think. To relieve the pressure. It was the only thing I knew how to do, and to some extent, this is still true. Like how some people just know how to ride a bike, or swim, or sing. But it hurt, taking a round cookie cutter piece of my flesh every time I grabbed a brush between my toes. Maybe I am getting better at expression and I can't recognize it. I'm unsure.

Round...

Oranges...

He likes oranges, I think. I remember when he peeled them for me in Sae's atelier. I like oranges too. I can't peel them on my own yet. I don't want to learn, either. I'm remembering those nights we spent together. The cigarettes'. The rain obscuring the window. A domino of memories. My eyes shut.

The sun is making my hair warm. I turn my head towards the window. A bird is perched on a thin branch. I study it. It's small and round like it ate too much birdseed in one go. The light brown feathers it grooms create an earthy hue, and it mesmerizes me. For a moment, it's only me and this bird, separated by a pane of glass and a chasm.

I snap awake.

Wrinkled hands clap together in front of me, but not loud enough to startle me.

"Miss Tezuka," She barks. "Are you paying attention?"

My head turns towards her and I nod. I blink a few times, closing my eyes tightly. I'm unsure of what she expects of me. She emphasized the word 'attention'. Do I owe her an attention, like a debt? I don't remember borrowing any attentions. She goes back to standing in front of the chalkboard, heels clicking. I glance one more time at the bird outside of the window next to my seat. It flies away, rattling the leaves as the breeze carries it. My eyes return to the classroom.

Mrs. Ito is an older woman, with greying hair and a pension for speaking too loudly. Maybe she's partially deaf. I don't see a hearing aid, so not likely. Her forehead is large, and her nose looks like it's misshapen in a few places. The sparkly jewelry she wears sometimes glints and it blinds me. She wears a business suit, complete with those dark leggings that office workers like to wear. Far too fancy for Yamaku.

"So, as I was saying,"

She trails off, the information continuing to go in one ear and out of the other, a stream of nonsense that I'm too distracted to listen to. I stare down at the desk in front of me. It looks like it's been through multiple wars, with carvings and symbols that you would expect high schoolers to chisel into the ancient-looking wood. "R+A, Nana wuz here, school sucks," it all blends together into a motif that feels like a time pod to another era. I try to imagine myself back there, at the moment someone would leave their mark on this desk. I shut my eyes tight. It's too difficult, so I give up.

"Pssstt..."

A barely audible sprinkle. Sounds like someone poked a hole in a garden hose. I perk my head up slightly, but still focus on the desk, trying to ignore the sound.

"Hey..."

I look to my left, where the noise came from. My eyes meet hers. Miki. I've seen her around. I know that she's in Hisao's class, but never exchanged greetings or even looked in her direction like people who talk usually do. I also never paid any mind that she chose to sit next to me, of all people. Strange.

Her skin is more tan than I realized, and her hair is draped across the back of her chair, nearly touching the floor. I think about what it would be like if my hair was that long. A nightmare. Her speech is a barely audible whisper, and I have to lean in slightly to hear what she's saying.

"So, you're in this class too?"

Of course I am. Why would I be here otherwise? Her head snaps to the teacher, who seems to have somehow noticed and is holding a meterstick and staring daggers at her. Impressive hearing. Creepy. Miki sits up straight, smiling cheekily. I continue to zone out, still thinking about the motif of the desk. My thoughts trail off...

Summer...

Something about the word annoys me. Something else about the word makes me feel warm. Not how it sounds, but how it feels in my brain. I feel myself burning up every time it pops into my cranium. Maybe it's my hair. I need a hat. A big sun hat.

Pencil scratching. Is this what summer is about? Sitting in a class, oblivious to the lessons that the teacher is regurgitating? A sporty girl buzzing in your ear? Mundane.

I feel a quick but soft poke in my side. I turn to Miki again. She's holding a piece of notepaper below her waist that looks like it's been through a washing machine twelve times. Something is written on it. It's difficult to read, but somehow I manage to make out the chicken scratches that she scrawled onto the abused sheet of paper.

'Meet me after class'

------------------------------------
Everyday Fantasy
The rest of the summer class goes by quietly. Mrs. Ito scolds a guy in a scarf. I think I recognize him. Maybe not. The other ten students (I counted) file out. An atmosphere of laziness fills the air. A sleepy feeling takes me over as well. I stand up and stretch, yawning. I'm the last one out of the classroom, naturally. Once I exit into the hall, I spot Miki standing on the opposite wall, arms crossed.

She smiles at me, putting her hand on her hips. I take notice of the bandaged stump of where her other hand is supposed to be. I've seen it before, but never this close. A little boring, I expected something more exciting. A third hand maybe. I wonder if she's hiding anything in there. She continues to grin at me, an awkward silence falling as the other students fade into the background. Miki pipes up, her smile still spreading from the corners of her mouth. Too friendly.

"Wanna grab lunch?"

A surprise. Never been invited to lunch by anyone other than Emi and Hisao. What does she want with me? I don't think I look that interesting. I'm supposed to talk to Hisao after class too. Formulating my thoughts. A very long blink. Too much on my plate. Decline.

"Tomorrow."

Miki makes a face. I can't tell what emotion it's meant to convey. It looks like she tasted something too sweet. Was it wrong to decline her? I'm not sure, but she lets out a simple,

"Alright, see ya then."

She turns around and power walks down the barren halls of the school. I'm left standing, complete silence save for Mrs. Ito still shifting around in the classroom behind me.

------------------------------------
My slow walk through the school leaves me pondering about not just today, but the days ahead as well. I place my hope in the fact that it won't be like this all the time, but doubt plants its roots in me. I'm anchored to the ground.

Halfway down the stairs, I shake my head briskly, trying to evict the butterflies. They've been there for a while. I think I invited them in. They always make me nervous. Something about their fluttering puts me on edge. Especially today. Their rent is overdue.

Trudging through the empty campus, I notice something I haven't before. The summer breeze carries a tune around the school. Perhaps so many people talking was enough to mask it, but now that I listen, I enjoy it. Maybe that's the special thing about summer. Is it music? Music has never appealed to me. Too much noise makes me lose what little focus I have.

I look up at the sky for a moment. The sun is high. The clouds are sparse, but those that remain are wispy and dreamlike like someone dragged a brush across the sky and smeared them until they faded into the background of the painting. Painting. I want to paint. Maybe tomorrow. Depends.

Summer...

Never could I imagine a stranger few weeks. It all became a blur some time ago, but now that I think about everything that transpired, I wouldn't want to change anything about it. No one can change anything about the past, I don't think. Maybe they can, and it's just hidden from everyone. I hope not.

------------------------------------
No Music
I make my way to the boys' dorm, the color of the walls an earthy shade of brown, just like the bird I spotted in class today. A coincidence? Most likely. There are still a few students in the boy's dorm, some of them packing their things, others lounging around. I wonder if they're stuck here for the same reason I am.

I'm standing in front of Hisao's door. A feeling wells up in the pit of my stomach. I shift around on my feet. Is this what it means when people say they have a frog in their throat?

I kick the door lightly. Shuffling. A familiar sound. The doorknob rattles. The creaking of the hinges puts me on edge. I get a glimpse of messy hair and brown eyes through the crack in the door.

"Oh, come in!"

There's a familiar tone to his speech. It's strange. Different from other people, I feel like. I can never pin down exactly what about it is different, though. More research is required.

Raindrops & Puddles

It's the same as it always has been. Hisao's room. Plain. The first time I entered, I expected some kind of cheesy motivational poster. A candle perhaps. Maybe something more interesting, like a birdcage or a water bed. It smells like a library in here. Not a bad smell. But murky, like a swamp. I've never been to a swamp, but that's what I imagine it smells like. I sit on his bed. The sheets are perfectly made, unsurprisingly. It's familiar. Most of the rooms have the same bed. But his feels warmer.

He shuts the door, pausing with his hand still gripping the handle. He's wearing a sweater vest and pants I would expect a school teacher or a clerk to wear. An interesting look, I guess. I don't judge. He lets go of the knob and sits next to me. I can feel the heat rising already. Hisao has been busy for some reason these last three days. This is the first time we've been this close since that day the rain obscured the window. I missed this...

"So, how was class?"

He sounds like my mom. It's not annoying, but it feels personal, I guess.

I think about my time spent in class. It wasn't awful. But not good either. I fidget a little and wiggle my toes.

"Fine."

Is that all I can really say? I guess it could be worse. I notice Hisao breathe in and out heavily.

"I saw a bird today."

Deflecting the topic. Nice job, Rin. Thank you, Rin. You're welcome, Rin.

I think again. It's a tough subject. I didn't really listen at all. There was Miki too. A few seconds pass and I'm left wandering in my sea of thoughts. A vertical sea. Is vertical sea the right word? Horizontal sea doesn't sound deep and dark enough. It needs to have weird fish living in it.

Hisao stands up and looms over me. He looks quite imposing like this, like a tree about to fall over. He crosses his arms. Did I say something wrong? Is it about the bird? Words begin to flow freely in my brain. A tidal wave, crashing at the shores of my mind. I start to worry.

Before my thoughts have enough time to escape from my mouth, his lips meet mine. For just a moment the heat of our bodies becomes one. It feels like our own piece of nirvana. He pulls back from the embrace.

"I'll help you study tomorrow, alright?"

I nod. Hisao sits at his desk chair a few feet away. He's hunched over, his posture more serious than the situation we find ourselves in. Like he just got a call from a dead person. The kiss still lingers on my lips, tantalizing.

"Did you get a call from a dead person?" I say. Once again, my social prowess is impeccable.

No Music

"Rin?"

His tone is serious now, I think. Our eyes meet, blush still painting the canvas of my face. That kiss caught me off guard.

"What?"

"I said I would stay for the summer to help you study, right?"

I nod. He's making it seem like it's going to be something serious. What could he say now that would call for something like this? Maybe the end of the world. Or it's about his heart thing. I forget what it's called. I should ask him about it again.

He takes an impossibly deep breath, his chest expanding. An awkward silence envelops us for a moment before he speaks again.

"My parents are coming to visit..."



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ShizuneFan2019
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Re: Dandelions: An After Story (Rin's Good Ending)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Mon Mar 29, 2021 1:59 am

Hey there!

It's great to see somebody writing something similar to what I did and am still doing. I'm also writing a Sisterhood plot story starting from Shizune's bad end, so it's great to see how the same plot will apply to Rin's story.

I really like how the music is integrated into the story, and I did it in my previous work as well, but it seems like others find it disruptive. Maybe you can handle it better than I do.

In Sisterhood the author put the name of the subject (e.g. Rin) after the chapter name. I think it is better than putting it below the chapter name (it looks odd). In my work I just omitted it and let the readers figure out the subject.

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Re: Dandelions: An After Story (Rin's Good Ending)

Post by DerpyCats » Mon Mar 29, 2021 3:39 pm

Hey, I actually did read some of your writing beforehand and it was quite nice, thanks for commenting. I'm still learning of course but I do agree that putting the name in the title probably looks better.

I was more "inspired" by Sisterhood in the regard that it pushed me to want to write my own stuff, so I won't be following the Sisterhood plot 1:1 of course. I also want to work on making chapters longer down the road.

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Dandelions: An After Story

Post by DerpyCats » Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:47 pm

Chapter 2: Show & Tell (Hisao)
Daylight

After the awkward talk I had with Rin about my parents coming to visit, we decided to go for a stroll. Outside of the school grounds, it feels like we can both breathe a little easier. Maybe it was just an excuse to get Rin to talk to me more, but I genuinely like the walks we've been taking ever since the summer break started. I've always enjoyed them, even before summer started. Maybe our situation hasn't really changed all that much. For better or worse, I've yet to decide.

The sun still hangs high, and the sky has turned into a gradient of blues and oranges. The clouds that have hung around are few and far between. Time doesn't seem to stop, but at least slow when it's only us and the road leading to the town below.

Every time I look at her from my peripheral I feel my face get warm. This feeling of belonging with her, like this relationship, this love that we share is something I want to keep, to nourish...

But there's an obvious gap in our relationship. It leaves a silence between us more often than not. Finding ways of communication with Rin is like show and tell, but one of us has to tell and the other has to show. It's left me frustrated in the past, but I've mostly gotten over it. That's how our relationship is, and will probably always be.

"Hisao?"

She chimes in. It's not strange for her to speak up like this, but I assumed she liked the silence more than talking.

"What is your heart thingy called again?"

It's a bit of an odd question. I thought she would have remembered. I guess it's been some time since we talked about it, but it makes me think about our situation.

Once you get to know someone at this school, their physical issues start to fade into the background, and you eventually forget all about it. The ways that the students all deal with their problems start to make it feel more "normal" day by day. I can slip on casual clothes and look "normal" because my problem is internal. Emi can hide her legs. Rin can't do that, but I don't think she cares.

"Arrhythmia."

A simple reply. I don't think I need to elaborate further, she knows the rest.

I look at her for a moment. The orange rays of light beaming down on us through the trees illuminate her short auburn hair, and those dark green eyes seem to absorb everything around them just like the first time we met.

She's not looking where she's going, preferring to stare down at her feet as she glides from one foot to the other, almost dragging her sandals along the pavement. It makes me a little nostalgic for those first few simple days when we met, though in hindsight we didn't meet that long ago.

She looks at me, but our eyes don't meet. She's locked onto my shirt, studying it, or perhaps just looking for the sake of it.

"Does it ever hurt?"

Rin keeps staring, that typical curious look on her face that I know all too well before her eyes meet mine again as we walk side by side.

"You mean my heart?"

She nods. I don't think it's really hurt since that time Emi bumped into me in the hall. My medications help a little. For how long they'll keep helping, I don't know. Maybe it's when Rin touched my scar that she began to wonder.

"Sometimes. Only when I take a bump or overexert myself. Are you worried?"

Asking Rin about her present feelings is a coin flip between silence and incomprehensible nonsense. It's a long road until I can even try and comprehend what she feels and experiences, but the least I could do is try.

She averts her gaze down to the ground again.

"I think it would be bad if you died."

Rin's expression remains still, unreadable as always. But behind the façade that she's perfected, I start to realize she really is worried about me. What would she do if I had a heart attack, or worse...?

I need to talk to Emi about getting back into shape sometime...

------------------------------------
Afternoon

We continue walking down into the small town below the school. It's started to feel more familiar every day. This town has always been quiet, especially now when most of the students are gone. The people we pass don't pay any mind to us as usual, though I imagine it looks strange to still see Yamaku students at this time of year.

I lead Rin to a bakery that I've passed quite a few times. It's near the convenience store that I frequent, actually. I've never been inside, but the smell from out here is nice. But I'm not that much of a sweets guy, honestly. Probably a good thing too. I wonder if Rin likes sweets at all. Doesn't seem like her kind of thing.

I sit on an old-looking bench in front of the store. I can feel my weight slightly shift the bench to one side. I almost stand up out of instinct before Rin quickly follows suit, sitting so close to me that I can feel her thigh next to mine. The bench shifts even farther before finally settling into an awkward position.

We sit in silence for a few minutes, watching people walk by, the scent of fresh bakery goods lingering in the air. It's a common thing between us, these silences, but I don't think I mind them at all. It gives me time to digest whatever thoughts are running in my head at any given moment. I think it's the same for Rin too.

The question of my condition still hangs over us. I want to let Rin know that I'm going to get better. I have to at least promise that much.

"I'm going to ask Emi for help when she gets back. To make my condition better."

Rin doesn't say a word. She's still watching people. I wonder if she even heard me. She shifts around a bit, rubbing her leg against mine.

"Rin?"

I try to snap her out of this trance, but it's fruitless. Best to let her remain like this for a little while...

------------------------------------
Raindrops & Puddles
A few moments later, I feel a weight on my shoulder. Rin is leaning into me even more, resting her head on me. Her eyes are still scanning the people that pass us by but are somehow more relaxed than ever. It looks like she could fall asleep any second now.

I begin to notice the little things about her. The way her cheek feels against my shirt. Her messy hair tickling my nose. The gradual syncing of our breathing. How her smell is nonexistent. The heat rising in my face tells me that I'm blushing pretty heavily.

Never would I have thought that Rin and I would ever make it this far. Our relationship has been rocky, to say the least. How I led her to Sae's gallery, where she nearly destroyed herself for her art. That day I yelled at her when she came to my room. A cascade of regrettable memories.

But...none of that matters now. This moment we share, even as brief as it is, feels like we could stay like this for eternity. The present is a gift.

I almost fall into a trance as well before Rin breaks the silence that's fallen over us again.

"Hisao?"

Her voice is meek and tender next to my ear. I don't think she realizes how quiet she is right now.

"Yeah?"

"Do you want me to meet your parents?"

It's not what I was expecting coming from Rin. I started to think that she would just let it be, and if it happened then it happened, but I think she's being serious about all of this. In her own way, of course. I don't want to force her into it.

"It's up to you."

Not much of a reply coming from me. Maybe I should try to be reassuring. Does she feel obligated to meet them? I hope not.

"My mom would like you. She loves art."

Art is probably still a touchy subject for Rin. Bad move. I feel her shift around again and eventually, it seems like she finds a more comfortable spot on my shoulder.

"I think that parents can be scary sometimes. Not like how looking at the ocean is scary sometimes. That's different."

I've noticed that sometimes when Rin is deep in thought, she'll blink slowly a few times before continuing her thoughts. It's kind of endearing.

"Sometimes I think I'm too immature to meet people's parents. The first time I met Emi's mom was like sticking my head in a beehive but the bees were replaced by Emi's mom."

I feel her shiver a little at the thought. How morbid, but a little funny. Is this really my sense of humor now? I can't help but chuckle a little at the mental image. Trying to suppress it, I blow heavily out of my nose to get it out of my system.

The weight on my shoulder is lifted as Rin sits up and looks at me, still as deadpan as ever. She blinks a few times.

"I'll meet them."
Passing of Time

------------------------------------
No Music
Rin and I parted ways after we got back to the school grounds. It was a quiet goodbye. I feel like she still needs time to think about everything that happened today. I probably do too.

The sun is setting, lighting up the sky one final time before it dips below the horizon. Spending time with Rin makes time pass quickly without me even realizing it. Strange.

Walking back to the dorms, I stop just before entering my room. I hear the sound of chains and locks being pulled, and I turn to see who it is. I can make a few guesses that I'd say are pretty accurate.

------------------------------------
Out of the Loop
"Hey man! You stuck here too?"

Kenji's door is cracked, and I can barely make out the shape of his gigantic glasses from here. I guess he was forced to take summer classes. Who forced this lunatic to stay for the summer, I have absolutely no idea. I wouldn't want to meet them either.

I almost shake my head before I remember that he's mostly blind.

"Not really stuck here, no. I could leave if I wanted."

Kenji shuts the door, the sound of more locks can be heard, and... a drill? The hell does he have a drill for?

Before long his door opens again, and I get a full view of Kenji. He's still wearing that ugly scarf.

"Well, well, well, aren't WE lucky. And by WE I mean YOU. You're the lucky one."

An unmistakable frown spreads across his face. Did I piss him off? I'd probably be pissed off too if I had no choice. He fiddles with his scarf a little, tugging at the fringes.

"Could I borrow some more money? I'll pay you back."

Another one of these scams. How many times is he gonna do this? Might as well get him off my back about it.

"How much?"

Kenji raises his eyebrows and looks pleasantly surprised for once. It's a little disturbing seeing him smile like this.

"Well, that was easy. Have you decided to come to your senses about us being brothers in arms? ¥1000, by the way."

He holds out his palms like a starving child asking for more stale bread. I almost feel bad for him. I reach into my wallet and pull out the cash, placing it into his hands.

Kenji quickly turns tail and retreats into his lair, slamming the door. A second later it cracks again before Kenji meekly lets out a "Thanks bro."

His door promptly shuts again, the sound of dozens of locks being fiddled with. I don't think I'm ever getting that money back.

------------------------------------
No Music
As I step through the door, my room greets me again. I think I've gotten used to the smell of library books. I rarely ever notice it unless I'm out for a long time. I still like reading, but I haven't been reading as much lately.

I grab the bottle of pills on my nightstand and swallow the allotted amount. They go down easier every time, and now I barely even register that it's something I have to do to stay functional. It's become a part of my life that I can't ignore but is so ingrained in my mind that it's a brainless task.

I have to get up early tomorrow to wake Rin up. I've settled into a rhythm with her these last three days. It's not a bad rhythm. A little tedious, sure, but it's been keeping my mind off of the end of the school year. A pit wells up in my stomach at the thought of graduation. I brush those thoughts aside, shaking my head.

I have to remember the promise I made today. I grab a sticky note and a pen and jot my first thoughts down.

'Ask Emi for running after summer !!!'

I stick it to my door. This is the right choice. Even if exercising might kill me, I have to take that chance.

Not even bothering to change into something more comfortable, I collapse on my bed face first. I fall asleep without a second thought, something I haven't done in a very, very long time...



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Re: Dandelions: An After Story (Rin's Good Ending) (Chapter 2 Released)

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:23 am

Hey, I actually did read some of your writing beforehand and it was quite nice, thanks for commenting. I'm still learning of course but I do agree that putting the name in the title probably looks better.
Yup, It looks way better this way.
I was more "inspired" by Sisterhood in the regard that it pushed me to want to write my own stuff, so I won't be following the Sisterhood plot 1:1 of course. I also want to work on making chapters longer down the road.
Me too, and if you read my writing you see I'm not following it 1:1 either.
When I started writing, I also aimed for "increasing the content", but I quickly found out that I should write only whatever is needed, so I started trimming my compositions. I also want to do subject switching more often, to keep the story fresh and allows me to write the story in multiple angles. But longer chapters work too, and so far you've been doing a great job.
Since I find myself unable to write anything about Rin, I'm going to study your work. If I can pick up something, maybe I can write a chapter of Rin in my story, and maybe reference a few of the events in your story too.

Some grammar errors:

Chapter 1:
as the other student's fade
students

Chapter 2:
The ways that the students all deal with their problems starts
start
orange rays of light beaming down on us through the trees illuminates
illuminate
The weight on my shoulder is lifted as Rin sit's up
sits

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Dandelions: An After Story

Post by DerpyCats » Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:54 am

Thanks for proofreading, I fixed most of it I think. And yeah I think that having a chapter be what it needs to be instead of dragging it out for too long is important, but long can be decent as well if you revise it a few times, and read it over thoroughly. I'm still experimenting with length, I think. I'm glad that you like it so far, I was a little nervous to start sharing my stuff but I found that I'm doing it more for myself than anything. Feel free to study my writing all you want, I'd be honored. Rin is a very complex character but if you ever do a chapter on her I'd love to see what you do.

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Dandelions: An After Story

Post by DerpyCats » Sat Apr 10, 2021 6:49 pm

Chapter 3: Stretching (Emi)
Hokabi

The hot summer air clings to my skin. It's the gross kind of sticky air that stays on you all day until you shower. Reaching my arms high into that big blue sky until I feel like I can touch the clouds with my fingertips, I stretch for the first time since I left the pompous gates of Yamaku. It's refreshing after sitting down for so long in a stuffy car, but this heat is gradually roasting me.

I groan a little, stretching my back muscles as well. Best get to it Emi. Shaking my head to get the cobwebs out, I go down into a sprinter stance, like I'm about to pop off of the block. A grin spreads itself across my lips.

The wind blows through my hair, and I feel freer than I have been in what feels like forever. My stride is a little sloppy, and as I pass through my mother's neighborhood for the first time in a year, my heart rate quickens. Still haven't broken a sweat, though.

Schlink, schlink, schlink...

I start to pick up the pace, guiding my leg blades. I miss the track at Yamaku already, but the liberation I feel here in my hometown is second to none. Continuing down the long, winding road of the suburbs, I eventually skid to a halt near a playground.

BZZZzzz...

A vibration in my shorts pocket caught me off guard for a second. Dammit, I was kind of getting into it too...

I pull out my flip phone. A message from my personal spy. Let's see what she's found out...

'need more time 2 talk 2 rin today, lunch'

What the hell is that supposed to mean? It's been three days Miki, pick up the pace! I start to message back, rapidly typing without even thinking about it, my fingers a blur.

'get ur ass in gear! i need answers! have results by tomorrow, or else!'

Sent. Hope I wasn't too harsh on her. I 'hired' her to keep an eye on Rin. Before I left for the summer, that whole business with the art gallery put me on edge more than I'd like to admit. I just wanna make sure my friend is doing well while I'm gone is all. Nothing wrong with it.

Hisao'll take care of her I think, or at least I hope so. Despite how uncomfortable it might be for him the first few times, it was the same for me, and despite them being opposite genders, I don't think Rin really cares all that much. I know they're great friends. Hisao coming to Rin's art gallery was a good sign at least. Any friend would have done that. Maybe they're not just friends...

You're overthinking it again Emi. I close my phone and stuff it back into my shorts. My cheeks turn bright red as I smack them. Focus. Got to get back into my run. I stretch my arms and set off down the winding path.

A few minutes later, I hear a familiar voice call out to me and I skid to a halt again. I swear I'm going to break my blades if I keep doing this...

"Oh! Is that Ms. Emi? It's been so long!"

The old man standing on his porch is none other than Mr. Nakamura. His house is the standard, not sticking out among the others, but his front lawn is littered with different colored flowers and lawn ornaments. It's awash in the scent of pollen and I nearly sneeze just being around the stuff. I think I feel my eyes watering before I call back to him.

"Ah, Mr. Nakamura! Heya! I was just out for my run! It's been a while, yeah?"

Mr. Nakamura chuckles under his breath. He's middle-aged, a head of grey hair atop his head. Despite this, somehow he hasn't lost his youthful appearance, his skin barely has any wrinkles save for the crows' feet at the corners of his eyes. He wears a loose-fitting dress shirt and pants.

"I was hoping to see you come by today, your mother told me that you were coming to visit for part of the summer."

He adjusts the collar of his shirt. Seems like the weather is getting to him too.

"She was quite excited I recall. How has the last year at Yamaku been?"

It's a sweet gesture I guess, wanting to know how your neighbor's year has gone. Unsurprisingly, my mom has been blabbing to everyone under the sun about me coming to visit. But thinking back on it, nothing has been particularly awful for my last year at the school.

"It's not been too bad. I made a whole new friend actually, and I definitely haven't been slacking on my running either!"

Hisao is a good friend, but ever since Rin left for her gallery, it's been radio silence. Understandable, but he could have at least said something to me. I guess the track team has been my top priority too, even over my school work.

Mr. Nakamura smiles, seemingly pleased to hear about my time at Yamaku. He scratches his chin like a school teacher would.

"That's good to hear. Well, I don't want to interrupt your run anymore, so I'll leave you to it."

We wave at each other before I return to my sprint, the cicadas singing all the while. A moment of hesitation overtakes me again and I slow down before stopping my run for the last time today. I put my hands on my hips and try to catch my breath. You're definitely overthinking again Emi.

------------------------------------
Ease

After my run, I head back home. The wrought-iron fence around my mother's place reminds me a little of Yamaku, but I don't mind it. Opening the door, I find the smell of breakfast filling my nose, almost overwhelming my senses.

"Mom, I'm home from my run!"

I call out but she doesn't answer. It's pretty typical when my mom cooks, so I don't pay any mind to it. I bound down the hall to the kitchen, where I see her leaning over the stove. She turns around to look at me, a little surprised.

"Oh, Emi! I didn't realize you'd be back so fast. I guess I underestimated you."

She winks at me. She always likes to tease me about everything, even when I was a kid. I would say that I've gotten used to it, but that'd be a lie. I make a pouty face and sit down at the table.

She turns to me, a wooden spoon still in hand. It's dotted with grains of pure white rice.

"Oh, don't make that face at me young lady. I was only kidding, I would never underestimate you!"

She laughs girlishly before turning back to the stove and the steaming pot, obviously amused that I'm getting so flustered. I pull my phone out again to see if I got any more messages from Miki. Nothing. I let out a sigh before continuing the conversation.

"I saw Mr. Nakamura today."

Mom continues to stir the pot but slows down a little at the mention of Mr. Nakamura. That or her arm is getting tired.

"Oh, you did? That's interesting. Did he ask about Yamaku?"

It's a weird thing to ask about but I guess coming from a school as "unique" as Yamaku, you would get a ton of people who want to know about it.

"He did actually, or at least he asked how my year has been going. Not much else after that."

She glances at me from the side, a smile still firmly planted on her face. It seems like she's hesitating to say something but finally speaks up, placing her hand on her hip as she stops stirring. She turns to me, her old-looking apron stained.

"You know, Mr. Nakamura went to Yamaku too. I just found out a few days ago, but I think he's mostly just curious about what the school is like these days..."

We've known Mr. Nakamura for so many years now that it comes as a shock that neither of us knew this until recently. It's also a weird coincidence, two Yamaku students living so close, but stranger things have happened I guess. I should ask him about it.

The rest of the conversation and the meal trails off like it always does. The steaming hot rice on my plate begs for me to devour it, and I oblige, stuffing my face happily. Much better than the meals at Yamaku. I hear my mom giggle from across the table.

"Emi, you know what happened last time you ate so fast. You nearly choked remember?"

She holds a hand up to her mouth, trying to stop the giggles. I continue to eat, unfazed by my mom's words.

"So, how has Rin been lately? The last time we met was at your track meet, right?"

She asks as if I really know all that well. Rin and I are best friends of course, but do I know how she feels most of the time? Hell no. Reading Rin is like trying to run backward on one leg. Trust me, I've tried it.

I wish I knew what she was feeling, or how she's been. But it's impossible unless you're Rin.

"She's been fine. There was this art gallery thing she did. It didn't turn out that well."

Mom shoots me a concerned look, an eyebrow raised questioningly. Starting to realize what I'm implying, I try to rephrase it.

"Not that her art was bad! It's just...I don't know if it's what she wanted to begin with. You know how she is mom. It's always so hard to know what she's thinking."

There's a quiet moment of contemplation before she says anything further.

"Does she have anyone there to take care of her at least? I'd hate for her to have to do everything herself."

I doubt she even remembers him, but Hisao is my best bet of course.

"I think Hisao is helping her. If not, then I can get Miki on it. She'll be fine for a few weeks."

We continue to eat, discussing different topics until both of us are finished with our meals. Most of the day goes by quietly, and I'm left with my jumbled thoughts about Rin and her wellbeing. I wish I didn't have to worry so much...

------------------------------------
Nocturne
The steam rises from the bath, the hot water comforting and surrounding me. I feel around the bottom of my legs. My run made them raw again, and the pain is only overshadowed by the warmness I feel in the bath. It's a different kind of warmth compared to the summer heat. It doesn't make you sticky, or uncomfortably sweaty. It gives me even more time to think, which I've been doing a lot of over the last few days.

Just like the pain of my raw legs and the summer heat, my anger at the gallery was only outweighed by the love that I have for Rin as my friend. Maybe Hisao felt the same, but I remain unsure. It would be easier if Rin could use a phone. Maybe she could, somehow. I've seen her do way more with her legs than most people could imagine.

A vibration catches my attention before I can think about it anymore. I reach over to the toilet where I set my phone and read the message. Looks like Miki got some results. Now let's see.

'u won't believe what i found out'




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Last edited by DerpyCats on Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

ShizuneFan2019
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:20 pm

Re: Dandelions: An After Story

Post by ShizuneFan2019 » Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:42 am

DerpyCats wrote:
Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:54 am
Thanks for proofreading, I fixed most of it I think. And yeah I think that having a chapter be what it needs to be instead of dragging it out for too long is important, but long can be decent as well if you revise it a few times, and read it over thoroughly. I'm still experimenting with length, I think. I'm glad that you like it so far, I was a little nervous to start sharing my stuff but I found that I'm doing it more for myself than anything. Feel free to study my writing all you want, I'd be honored. Rin is a very complex character but if you ever do a chapter on her I'd love to see what you do.
I agree that Rin is a very complex character, and I'd say I have a simple personality, so the task is really tough for me. I'll certainly have to study more, maybe like 20 chapters, then I might get a grasp.

It's alright writing more for yourself than anything. I think it's the same for me. And by posting, I force myself into writing more and actually completing my work. I've seen so many great stories in the forum that unfortunately went unfinished (I mean, no matter how good it is, an incomplete product is not a product), so I really want to make sure mine doesn't fall into the same destiny.

Finishing off my next chapter but taking a break to read your latest chapter. So far I haven't seen anything referencing Sisterhood, so I'm quite curious where those references will be.

Chapter 3:
a different kind of warm
Do you mean warmth?

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Oddball
Posts: 2960
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:05 pm

Re: Dandelions: An After Story (Updated 4/10)

Post by Oddball » Fri May 07, 2021 9:22 am

Oooh. Ya' had to hit me with a cliffhanger, didn't you? That's just evil. :lol:

This is fairly entertaining so far. The little twist that Miki was acting as Emi's spy was a nice surprise. I really enjoy how you handle Rin's character. She's not an easy one to write for but you've done well. In fact, I think you handle Rin better than you do Emi, which is practically unheard of. :shock:
Not Dead Yet

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