Miki: Fragments (Complete)

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HipsterJoe
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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.18 Posted 4th June 2015)

Post by HipsterJoe » Thu Jun 04, 2015 4:58 pm

Well that ended on a dark note. I'm guessing though that her latest dream will not be the last word on the subject. I'm kind of surprised she left out the parts about the other people when talking to the police, but I'm guessing she didn't want to admit to witnesses who would shred her fabrication.

I had honestly forgotten that this was a Miki route and was caught by surprise when Hisao showed up. That was the slowest build up to Act 1 I've seen, which is in no way a complaint.
Last edited by HipsterJoe on Fri Jun 05, 2015 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Gajzla
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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.18 Posted 4th June 2015)

Post by Gajzla » Fri Jun 05, 2015 11:39 am

HipsterJoe wrote:Well that ended on a dark note. I'm guessing though that her latest dream will not be the last word on the subject.
Absolutely not. :lol:
HipsterJoe wrote:I'm kind of surprised she left out the parts about the other people when talking to the police, but I'm guessing she didn't want to admit to witnesses who would shred her fabrication.
She was going to include them originally, but than I thought about it and decided that in her shoes I wouldn’t. Like you say its stupid to get people involved who can reveal your lie. I wanted to give the impression that this wasn’t an off the cuff fib, but a well thought out fabrication.
HipsterJoe wrote:I had honestly forgotten that this was a Miki route and was caught by surprise when Hisao showed up. That was the slowest build up to Act 1, I've seen which is in no way a complaint.
Yep, I think it comes from wanting Miki to have a solid backstory without having to rely on countless flashbacks and dialogue, also, I expanded from a one shot with little clue about what I was doing. :lol: :lol:

Well I did debate for quite awhile if Hisao would show up or not, I could have made another OC to fill his shoes for the same basic role, but that character seemed to suit another idea I have better and Hisao is basically an OC anyway. Moreover he’s someone everyone can instantly recognise and understand which I like, as well as sticking to VN cannon.*

*Cannon =/= Events.

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.18 Posted 4th June 2015)

Post by HipsterJoe » Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:01 pm

Gajzla wrote:
HipsterJoe wrote:I'm kind of surprised she left out the parts about the other people when talking to the police, but I'm guessing she didn't want to admit to witnesses who would shred her fabrication.
She was going to include them originally, but than I thought about it and decided that in her shoes I wouldn’t. Like you say its stupid to get people involved who can reveal your lie. I wanted to give the impression that this wasn’t an off the cuff fib, but a well thought out fabrication.
Mission accomplished. The lead up to her testimony definitely conveyed that she had spent time on it and that is wasn't some panicked reaction.

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Gajzla
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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.18 Posted 4th June 2015)

Post by Gajzla » Sat Jun 06, 2015 5:24 pm

HipsterJoe wrote:
Gajzla wrote:
HipsterJoe wrote:I'm kind of surprised she left out the parts about the other people when talking to the police, but I'm guessing she didn't want to admit to witnesses who would shred her fabrication.
She was going to include them originally, but than I thought about it and decided that in her shoes I wouldn’t. Like you say its stupid to get people involved who can reveal your lie. I wanted to give the impression that this wasn’t an off the cuff fib, but a well thought out fabrication.
Mission accomplished. The lead up to her testimony definitely conveyed that she had spent time on it and that is wasn't some panicked reaction.
Happy to hear that! :D

Chapter 19, the last part of act 1, will be out Soon™.

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.18 Posted 4th June 2015)

Post by Gajzla » Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:32 pm

“The Tranquility of Repetition”

“It’s not a date,” I protest as Ikuno giggles in the bus seat beside me. I cannot believe I agreed to this.

“He’s a boy, you’re a girl, it’s a date.” Ikuno shrugs, playing idly with her phone.

I think this is the first time I’ve been to the city with her - or that I’ve been back to the city at all since that magical night under the captured stars in December. Shopping trips are not really my thing, unless I know I need something, but Ikuno likes them.

“So you don’t like him?” she asks, feigning innocence.

“I didn’t say that.” I turn my attention back to the window, watching the overcast sky drift past, hopefully it will brighten up for the festival tomorrow. Though if it rains perhaps I can stay in bed. Luckily in return payment for the terrible shifts I got last year Ikuno has gotten me a single morning slot. I knew having a mole on the student council would come in handy.

“Well honestly, I think he’s good for you, you’ve been in a better mood these last three days than I can remember.” She frowns a little, her large blue eyes shimmering slightly in the pale light. I didn’t mean to make her worry.

The fact remains though that she’s right. With Hisao around to distract me I’ve been thinking about Ayumu less. He’s not forgotten but more faded.

My dreams, though still troubling, have subsided slightly. Whereas before I would dream a fragment of my memory, now it seems like they are all thrown together, played back inside my head in a seemingly random order. Images and experiences are thrown at me so fast I can barely keep up, until eventually I find myself paralysed inside a decimated truck cab.

“He won’t replace Ayumu,” I say sternly.

“I never said he would,” Ikuno frowns. “But you shouldn’t give up on boys at eighteen, plus I kind of miss double dating with you.”

I laugh. Perhaps she’s right. Ayumu has for all intents and purposes vanished from my life. I had hoped he would at least find time to phone me, even a handwritten letter would have done. Hell, I could have found someone to read braille if necessary.

“So, what are you shopping for again?” I ask, changing the subject.

“We,” she corrects, “are shopping for kimonos for tomorrow, plus anything else that looks fun!”

Ikuno’s calm, almost shy attitude at school is replaced completely when shopping. It’s almost like a power trip. Although nothing has been spoken aloud, it’s quite clear to all of us that Ikuno’s family have the funds for almost anything they want. When Ikuno goes shopping, she does so knowing no price is ever to high.

“Well, I guess if we find something that looks nice.” I grin, luckily I can fill out most garments, though sometimes my lanky frame and the tone I’ve built up through running pose a challenge. If Ikuno just let me live in jeans and baggy t-shirts there wouldn’t be a problem.

———

“Ikuno, I won’t be able to afford anything around here,” I say, frowning at the dazzling shop fronts. My best friend has dragged me into an unfamiliar part of the city. English words like ’New York’ and ‘London” under signs denote the price of the clothing within. I feel completely out of place, my bandaged stump and modest dress drawing the eyes of people who have money, and want other people to know about it.

“Oh, don’t worry about that! It’s a birthday present.” Ikuno giggles, her bright eyes gleaming as she surveys the luxury stores for a promising target.

“Firstly, it’s not my birthday and secondly you already got me a birthday present, we went out for lunch remember?” I don’t know if I’m entirely comfortable with someone else spending money on me, I suppose it’s what my grandfather has been doing for the last ten years, but that’s different. He’s a parent, Ikuno is a friend.

“Did I?” she shrugs, choosing a white-fronted boutique and making for it with a speed that seems unnatural for her. “Well, you can never have enough birthday presents.”

I protest but entering the store takes my breath away. Inside it’s more like a hotel than a clothes store, modern metal and glass-partitioned walls give way to smooth beach panelling. The clothing in the shop is laid delicately on shelves, or hung from flowing metal rails. Ikuno’s eyes light up in delight, but however much I might like the decor, the whole place seems a bit pretentious.

“Welcome, may I help you find what you’re looking for today?” A small woman, dressed in a radiant tight red dress approaches us, bowing low. Her hair and make-up are pristine - she looks better in her work clothes than most people do in their wedding attire.

“Kimonos please,” Ikuno says with a relaxed air, her confidence is almost startling, I feel like I should be apologising to this neatly dressed women for intruding on her shop.

With a low bow we are led to the back of the store, Ikuno with her head held high. The shop is stretching back farther than I expect, and we are brought to an hexagonal room. Mirrors alternate with racks displaying immaculate Kimonos in every style imaginable. Reflected in four mirrors simultaneously I catch the stunned look on my face.

Can’t hurt to try some things on can it?

The next hour is spent trying on clothes, giggling and admiring ourselves in the many mirrors, much to our host’s delight. She moves around the racks with the grace of a ballroom dancer, eyeing us up and down before selecting a garment. Standing side by side in front of the mirror Ikuno and I admire ourselves. She’s chosen a rose pink fabric with delicate vines the colour of pearls spiral around her body, it looks stunning.

“What do you think?” Ikuno asks, a dreamy look on her face.

“I love it.” I grin, admiring my own Kimono, a soft white fabric interspersed with purple Lillies the colour of my hair. This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever worn. However no matter how like a princess this dress makes me feel, I can’t see a price tag. If I have to ask I can’t afford. But, I can just spend a little more time in it.

“We’ll take them.” Ikuno says confidently, pulling her purse out of her handbag.

“Ikuno no,” I interject, stepping between the store assistant and my best friend, who is about to spend a small fortune on me. With a giggle Ikuno withdraws a credit card, even this simple piece of plastic looks pricey, inlaid with golden lettering.

“It’s a birthday present Miki. It’s very rude to refuse presents!” Her grin is devilish.

I squirm in front of her. “But I will never be able to pay you back.” my voice whines slightly; defeated. I really do love this Kimono more than I can say, it suits me perfectly.

“Fine, you pay for lunch, then we’re even, agreed?”

Before I can say anything she sidesteps me, swaying slightly, to hand over her card. Seemingly happy to be making a sale today the women in red rushes off. She must get paid through commission. Thanking Ikuno repeatedly I start to very carefully slide off the beautiful fabric, Ikuno does the same, unsteady on her feet.

“Do you need to, you know, check yourself?” I ask softly, it’s a touchy subject, but I don’t want her passing out and smashing one of these mirrors. For a moment a flash of anger touches Ikuno’s face, before she turns away, nodding ever so slightly.

“I just need something to eat. It will be okay to finish up here.”

I breathe a sigh of relief, I really didn’t want to fall out with her again.

“Well then, I better find the best cake in the city for lunch.”

— — —

Thirty minutes later we sit at a well worn table, dappled in soft sunlight cast by a swaying tree, bursting with new spring life. After stumbling down several side streets, with Ikuno looking paler with each passing moment I came across this coffee shop. The prices are reasonable, and the cake is good, the best of both worlds.

“This is really good,” Ikuno says, nodding to her spoonful of bright pink cake.

“Ummm hmmm.” I agree, my mouth full.

My newly purchased Kimono sits boxed and bagged at my ankle, where I keep an attentive watch on it. Ikuno, though happy with her Kimono, is much laxer, leaning back in her seat.

“So what have you and Ryouta got planed for tomorrow?” I ask between mouthfuls.

“Well, my parents are coming to the festival,” she says, her eyes fixed on her plate.

“Cool, so you and Ryouta are spending time with them?”

She chews slowly, not meeting my eye. Did she not hear me?

“I’ve not told them,” she admits guiltily.

What?

“…Why?” I stammer, stunned.

“I never really got around to it.”

“You’ve been going out for close to a year!” I protest, “How could you have forgotten to mention it.”

“I know, don’t remind me,” she groans, hiding her face between her folded arms, leaning on the table.

“What does Ryouta think of this?”

Her ears redden, but she remains silence.

“Ikuno,” I pause, “Ryouta does know you’ve not told your parents about him, right?”

“Worse,” she mutters, her voice muffled. “He doesn’t even know they are coming to the festival.”

“…Shit.” I say, half impressed with how much she’s managed to screw up.

“So, just to be clear, Ryouta is expecting to spend the day with you tomorrow. But in reality he’s being stood up for your parents, who don’t know you are going out with him.” Saying it aloud helps clarify the details in my own head. I thought I had boy troubles, but this is something else.

“What am I going to do?” She moans.

“Well, first you should be honest with Ryouta, as soon as we get back to school if not sooner.”

A groan indicates she’s not a fan of this idea, but she nods anyway. Poor Ryouta.

“Then you tell your mum and dad about your boyfriend.” It’s the best advice I can give, but I don’t think it will be enough, I can’t see a way out of this without major fallout. I just hope their relationship can outlast this.

A sniff distracts me. Ikuno is crying gently into her arm, her petite frame shaking softly. Reaching across the table I take the back of her hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze.

“Hey, whatever happens I will be there, okay?”

She nods slowly, as teardrops stain the aged wood.

— — —

Roaring all around us, the crowd feels like a single living entity, trying to catch us in it’s clutches. Swearing to myself I pull a red-faced Hisao to the sidelines, bursting out of the thong of people. Why did we decide to meet in the busiest place of the festival?

Now that there is some breathing room I can get a good look at my companion for the day, neatly dressed with his hair combed back, he polishes up well - in fact he could easily slip away into the crowd. Spend the day as a visitor to this freak show, not an attraction.

I’m jealous.

“You look nice,” he says bashfully.

I feel my cheeks go bright red. Damn it.

“Thanks, so… so do you.” I stammer quietly.

“Thanks.”

Hugging my arms across my chest I look around awkwardly, while he does the same, rubbing the length of his arm with the flat of his hand.

“So, what do you want to do?” I ask, forcing my voice back to normal levels.

“I dunno.” He shrugs slightly. “You invited me, I assumed you had a plan?”

“Well, that’s a dangerous assumption,” I say, raising my eyebrows at him.

“Sorry,” he says, his mouth curled somewhere between a smile and a grimace, not sure if I’m joking or not.

“Well,” I grin. “What did you do before coming here? Other than read.”

He shivers very slightly, like someone has walked over his grave, or he had a haunting memory. I would know all about that. “Hanging out at the arcade and playing soccer with my friends, not much else really.”

Why are you here Hisao Nakai?

“Well, then I think I should beat you at carnival games until I get bored, then you can buy me lunch.”

I wait while he processes what I just said, hoping he won’t become offended. Staring off into the middle distance with a dreamlike look on his face I start to become worried, what if he has epilepsy? One of the girls in my class has. Watching an attack was horrible… I mean I guess it sucked just as much for her, but I was shaken for the rest of the day.

So, are you epileptic Nakai?

“You still with me?” I ask nervously.

“Oh,” he smiles, though it seems to be a little forced. “Just wondering what you’re going to get me for lunch when I beat you at all of these games.”

“What?” I ask, laughing at his leap of logic.

“Well, that’s how it works right, the loser buys lunch?”

“Deal,” I say, a huge smile on my face. “You watch, I will beat you singlehandedly.”

— — —

“Damn it!” I swear as my second ring flies wildly off-target, nearly assassinating Molly, who ducks for cover. Hisao and I are tied neck and neck for carnival games, I had assumed, wrongly, that arcade games would not translate into the real world.

“Are you sure this thing isn’t rigged Molly?” I demand.

“You helped set this up, you were here this morning!” She grumbles, having to bend awkwardly on her prosthetic legs to retrieve an overzealously thrown hoop of plastic. Out of the corner of my eye I see Hisao grimace. He has a lot to learn about the people here.

“If the game is rigged, how come I hit with two of my three rings?” Hisao points out mockingly.

“Listen to new boy Miura,” Molly smirks.

Just ignore them, just ignore them. Focusing my gaze on a suitable looking peg I take a deep breath. This is my goal, I will not stop until this hoop reaches it, nothing else matters.

I throw.

All three of us watch in stunned silence as the green plastic ring soars through the air, obeying some arcane laws of physics that only Mutou can understand. This is the longest second of my life, everything depends on this, well, lunch depends on this.

“Lucky,” Hisao mutters as the hoop lands perfectly on my intended target. Well okay, the peg next to my intended target, but no one needs to know that. Raising both arms above my head I drink in my victory. Wait. Damn it, this is a draw!

“So, this means we buy each other lunch?” Hisao ventures.

“I guess so.” I grin.

“So you two are?” Molly says, a delighted smile spread across her face.

“Just friends!” I exclaim, perhaps a little too quickly.

“Sure you are.” She smirks, moving off to deal with the next customer.

Oh hell, I hate gossip.

“So, lunch?” I ask my distraction.

— — —

“Wahahaha~!”

My head rings with Misha’s resonating laugh. Isn’t there a thing where if you make a sound at the right frequency you can collapse a building? She’s going to split my head in two any second now.

“Hello Misha!” I have to shout to make myself heard above her din. Shizune looks at me curiously. I guess for her the only difference between a shout and a whisper is the amount of strain on the speaker’s face.

“I didn’t know you and Hicchan were going to the festival together!” She smiles jubilantly, though I notice the bags under her eyes, barely hidden by her concealer. It would not surprise me if Shizune chained her to the desk and forced her to work.

I shrug, not wanting to answer her. How these two managed to sneak up on us is beyond me, Misha sneaking up on anyone seems a bit ridiculous. Hisao and I had just been enjoying lunch, seated in the shade away from the chattering crowd.

“I guess you two are pretty busy huh?” I ask, my eyes drawn to the odd look Shizune is giving me. That’s right class rep, he chose to come with me, and I don’t even like him like that. Jealous?

“Very. We have to keep this entire festival working. Your lazy friend is not around to help today.”

“I always said she was the smartest member of the student council,” I shrug.

Misha translates before seeming to realise what I just said.

“Heeeeey!” she pouts, hands on her hips, throwing out her impressive chest. Shizune meanwhile just glares at me, planning some kind divine retribution. At least I got to finish lunch first.

“Hicchan, I hope you don’t plan to spend your entire year around lazy people?” Misha translates.

“Uh, well, I dunno. I’m just trying to settle in right now.” He fidgets uncomfortably in his seat, drawn into an argument he was happy enough to observe. Poor kid.

“Yeah, Shizune, stop bullying everyone just because you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. Hisao has already helped more than most transfers to a new school would.” I say levelly, keeping my temper under control. Hisao throws me a grateful look while Misha translates.

Unfortunately before any more scathing remarks can be thrown Ikuno appears, red faced and flustered, ignoring everyone else she makes a beeline for me.

“Can we talk?” she whispers hastily, clearly upset.

“Sure,” I say, getting to my feet. Catching Hisao’s confused look I grimace. Staying here is not an option, Ikuno needs me. But leaving Hisao to the whims of the student council seems cruel. Sorry kid, sacrifices must be made in war - and high school.

“I have to dash. I’m really sorry, see you in class tomorrow?”

He nods speechless, as Shizune slides into the seat I was just in, a delighted look on her face. Yeah, smile away, Hisao can see where the bad news sits. I hope.

I have to jog to keep up with Ikuno as she power walks away, sliding through the mass of people like a steam ship through an iceberg, I can see her wince as her shoulder connects with each innocent festival goer.

“Hey,” I say, grabbing her arm to slow her down. “What’s going on? Where are your parents?”

She turns to me, large eyes wide, before settling herself into step beside me. For a moment I thought she might try to punch me.

“Mum and dad have gone back to the hotel. They want to take me for dinner in the city later,” She says in one breath, steering us off the path and towards the dormitories. “I have to get ready and meet them in the car park later.”

“Okay?” I really hope she didn’t just drag me away from Hisao and my planned carnival game revenge to help her get dressed up.

“It is not okay!” She snaps, rounding on me, a fury in her eye reminiscent of our last argument. “Ryouta found me, and well, I couldn’t,” She trails off for a moment as she struggles with the heavy door.

“What did you do?” I ask frowning.

“I blanked him okay? I pretended I didn’t know him, and he just kind of… walked off.” She stamps her foot onto the first step as she climbs.

This is amazing, even though she mentioned this yesterday I really did not believe that Ikuno would be the one to mess things up, and in such style. The archetypes of our little group have been so clearly defined from the start: She’s the brains, Ryouta is the funny one, and I’m the screw up.

“Why the hell would you do that?” I groan, as she starts her fevered assault on the next flight of stairs.

“I panicked!”

“Well what are you going to do?”

“I don’t know!” she’s almost shouting now, thank goodness this building is mostly deserted. “And now he’s not answering his phone, and I have to go to dinner, and… Help, please.” She sighs defeatedly.

“Right, well you go to dinner, I will try and find Ryouta.” I try an encouraging smile, but my face betrays me. I really don’t know if there’s a coming back from this, it’s all of Ryouta’s worst fears rolled into one, and I told him not to worry about it.

Ikuno nods, struggling to undo her small black bag. An angry tug sends the contents spilling onto the carpeted floor.

“Damn it!” She yells, punching her leg hard with her hand, fat tears starting to roll down her face.

In two long steps I am crouched at her side, collecting her medical supplies from the floor. At least her electronic blood thingy seems to be undamaged. Silently I pass her the implements she requires in order, I’ve seen her do this so many times it’s become second nature without me realising it.

“I love him Miki,” She says softly as we wait for her blood sugar results.

“Does he know?”

Ikuno shakes her head, another pair of tears cutting lines though her expensive make up.

“Well, tell him. I should have.”

“You mean with Ayu-“

“Yes,” I cut her off, not wanting to discuss that matter further. The question keeps repeating itself in my mind, would he have stayed if I had told him? I don’t know, I could not even hazard a guess, he seemed to be happy with me. But. He accepted we would part so easily, even after months of being together. I need to focus on Ikuno now.

“Look,” I say, “everything is going to be okay.”

“Y… you really think so?” She sniffs.

No.

“Yes, now go get ready for dinner.”

— — —

There are faint gunshots coming from inside Ryouta’s room, I panic for a brief moment, before realising it must be his television. Knocking hard, I wait. The television is muted, but I hear no more sounds.

“Ryouta,” I call through the door. “I know you’re in there, open up.”

Silence, how hard is it to kick down a door? I see it in movies all the time, I take a step back, eyeing up my target. No, no this is not a good idea.

I knock again, harder this time. “Ryouta! Open up, Ikuno told me what happened.”

“Go away, Miki!” He yells back, making me flinch, he must be just on the other side of the door.

“Please? I just want to talk, make sure you’re okay.”

“I’m fine, now go away!”

Leaving isn’t an option, I promised Ikuno, but I don’t know what to tell him. Yes, despite what I said your girlfriend really didn’t tell her parents about you, and yes, perhaps blanking you was a bit rude. But come on, we all make mistakes, she loves you after all.

“Just, promise you won’t do something stupid, okay?” I regret it as soon as I say it, with a crash his door is ripped open. Ryouta stands in front of me, red faced, his neat school tie at an odd angle.

“Is that what you think?” he growls, “Oh poor Ryouta, he’s been dumped and now he’s going to off himself!”

“What… no!” I stammer, but he speaks over me.

“I don’t need her, and I don’t need you, I will be fine by myself.”

But she loves you!

“Just go away!” Before I can reply he slams the door in my face, the bang echoes all along the corridor. Just great.

This time last year everything seemed to be going our way, now it seems everything is starting to fall apart around me, and I have no idea how or if I can put the pieces back together again. Is this Karma?

I’ve never really believed that there was anything More, like a spirit watching over us. But, if I were such an entity and I wished to punish me, this is how I would do it. Hurt the people I care about, take away the one I love and force me to see the details of my crime whenever I close my eyes.

With my hand starting to burn I head back to my room, strolling under the same star-filled sky I tried so hard to put into words. Is something up there out to get me?

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Last edited by Gajzla on Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:33 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.19 Posted 10th June 2015)

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:23 pm

Well I chose a hell of a time to come back(been busy reading RWBY fanfiction, I tend to do that when I get into something new. Love that show.) Anyways, I love where this is going. Looking forward to Ikuno and Ryouta patching things up, I've never particularly liked it when couples get like that.
Best girl
Hanako=Shizune>Misha>Lilly>Rin>Emi

Best route
Hanako>Lilly>Rin>Emi>Shizune

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.19 Posted 10th June 2015)

Post by Gajzla » Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:28 pm

AntonSlavik020 wrote: Well I chose a hell of a time to come back(been busy reading RWBY fanfiction, I tend to do that when I get into something new. Love that show.)
Thought I hadn’t see you around in awhile, nice to have you back. I had no idea roster teeth made anything like that, I normally only watch the GTA5 let’s plays - Will have to give it a go. :D
AntonSlavik020 wrote:I've never particularly liked it when couples get like that.
Hehe, no story without conflict. :lol:

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.19 Posted 10th June 2015)

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:13 pm

Gajzla wrote:
AntonSlavik020 wrote: Well I chose a hell of a time to come back(been busy reading RWBY fanfiction, I tend to do that when I get into something new. Love that show.)
Thought I hadn’t see you around in awhile, nice to have you back. I had no idea roster teeth made anything like that, I normally only watch the GTA5 let’s plays - Will have to give it a go. :D
I highly recommend it. Its awesome.
Gajzla wrote:
AntonSlavik020 wrote:I've never particularly liked it when couples get like that.
Hehe, no story without conflict. :lol:
I understand that, its just that there are certain kinds of drama I don't like, and that's one of them.
Best girl
Hanako=Shizune>Misha>Lilly>Rin>Emi

Best route
Hanako>Lilly>Rin>Emi>Shizune

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.19 Posted 10th June 2015)

Post by Gajzla » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:57 pm

Yay! 4K views, thanks so much everyone. Hope you’re enjoying the story so far.

Many thanks to Mirage_GSM for his proofreading skills.

As always feedback is greatly appreciated. Enjoy!


Fallout

I plummet silently towards the water, it’s icy blackness fills my vision as a scream tears at my throat. Bracing myself against the truck’s dashboard I close my eyes, waiting for the crash… that never comes.

“You want a ride?” Tatsuo asks.

My eyes snap open. I’m standing in a crowd of people, my peers, all looking at me like I’m mad. Without a second thought I climb up into the truck, fastening my seatbelt. With a screech of tyres we tear out onto the road.

I feel like I’ve done this before, but I can’t put my finger on when. Suddenly we are stopped by the pavement, and I’m in the driver’s seat. I blink confusedly, not sure what happened.

“Are you listening to me?” Tatsuo shouts from beside my open window. “Watch the truck!”

I nod mutely, watching him walk away. Rounding a corner he disappears from view, but someone else gets my attention. A black haired boy walks down the street, his white cane unfolded and tapping a safe route - Ayumu!

I watch him move closer, trying to open the door, only to find it locked, but it’s okay he will be here soon. When he’s about twenty feet away he stops abruptly. To my wonderment he slowly opens his eyes.

Recalling in horror, I stare at him. His eyes are cold and white, dead and careless. His mouth opens to shout something, but the roar of an engine reaches me first. Turning just in time I see the outline of a grey prison bus, before it slams in the side of the truck, throwing me into darkness.

The sound of rain echoes around me. Opening my eyes I already know what I’m going to see. Tatsuo lies dead before me, the blood from his head dripping into a torrent of water that is flowing through the ruined cab of the truck, as if we had crashed into a stream.

I try to move, but I’m paralysed, stuck to my seat. Icy water splashes against my cheek, getting deeper; Tatsuo’s face is already submerged, three stray bubbles sliding from his mouth.

“H…help!” I croak, as the rain outside intensifies.

With a sound like a gunshot the windshield cracks, a polished boot blurs into my vision. The water has reached the corner of my mouth. I panic, looking up at the booted intruder. My grandfather stands above me, his wet shirt matching the contours of aged muscle. Eyes fixed on me, he grimaces as if I were nothing but dirt.

“Help! Help!” I cry again, as the water starts to slide over my nose, struggling with everything I have I take a last breath before I vanish under the tide. With my vision blurred by the rushing currents I can just make out my grandfather turn and walk away.

“No!” I scream soundlessly, as icy death slides into my throat. Everything goes black.


I wake up in my dark room, gasping for air desperately. It takes me a few moments to realise that firstly, that was a dream, and secondly I’m not drowning. Outside, the rain that threatened the festival’s firework display pounds on the window. With bile in my throat I climb out of bed, almost stumbling over a discarded t-shirt on my way to turn on my desk lamp.

Falling into my office chair I sigh audibly, the clock on my bedside table taunts me with the time, three a.m. - too early to be awake, too late to bother trying to go back to sleep. Damn the rain! Without it I could be on my way to a run right about now.

Seeming to realise I’m awake and should be reminded of it’s presence my left hand starts to tingle, icy thrills shooting up my fingertips, as if my hand were still pinned under a submerged truck. There’s no way around it, the dreams have been getting worse, much worse. Foolishly I had hoped the truth might relieve my nightly terrors, instead with their grim task completed, they now seem content to play with me.

Ikuno got back late, having been treated to what I’m sure was a very fancy meal. I would have liked to meet her parents as well, if for nothing other than to thank them for my beautiful Kimono, which is now hanging neatly in my closet. At least spending time with Hisao today went well. Despite his apparent apathy he’s a fun person to be with. Secretly I think he enjoyed the competitive games as a much as I did.

— — —

That is my goal I will not stop- “Gaaah!”

My feet slide out from under me on the waterlogged track, just as the sun peeks above the horizon. With a wet thud I hit the astroturf hard. With only one hand to catch my fall I end up sprawled almost face down on the four hundred metre mark.

“Damn it!” I punch the ground with my fist, achieving nothing but more pain. Sitting up I find my knees are scraped, small trickles of blood trailing their way down to stain my socks. It’s disturbingly reminiscent of the blood dripping from Tatsuo’s head. As I get to my shaky feet, trying to banish the memory from my mind the rain which had let up for a while resumes, drenching me in an unforgiving haze.

With the wind at my back I jog to the medical centre. Erupting through the door I sneeze, spraying water droplets from my hair all over the walls, the sound echoing down the corridor. Someones dead, if I end up with a cold on top of everything else.

“You sound decidedly unwell, Miss Miura,” The nurse says, stepping out of his office. He is awake and working at this hour, is he a vampire?

“How many years of medical school did that diagnosis take?” I ask grumpily, wringing the water out of my ponytail, to puddle on the tile floor.

“That diagnosis was inherent skill. It’s a gift.” He laughs. “What can I do for you this morning?”

I point to my scraped knees, feeling like I’m back at elementary school. Nurse it hurts!

“And how, may I ask, did you manage that?” The nurse gestures for me to follow him into his office.

“I slipped on the track,” I grunt, sitting on the paper-covered table in the centre of his sanctum. Or is it a lair? Shivering slightly I watch as he gathers his medical supplies.

“Well, I would say what you need is someone to run with,” he says sagely, starting to clean the grit out of my wounds. I gasp with the sudden sting of the cold antiseptic and rough treatment of the damaged flesh. “Oh yes, this might sting a bit,” he adds unhelpfully.

“I’m not really close enough to anyone in the track team to run with them,” I shrug.

“How about Emi?” he suggests, drying my now clean scrapes.

“Nah, I don’t need to be beaten in my leisure time.”

“Hmmm… How about your new classmate, I’ve been trying to get him to do more to look after himself.” He gives me a knowing look. “And you two get on well right?”

“How could you possibly know that?” I ask, wincing as he applies plasters to my knees.

“I have my sources,” he replies cryptically.

What the hell? Is he saying he has a network of spies or something? I mean, it shouldn’t surprise me really, he always seems to be on good terms with every student he meets, but I didn’t realise he was keeping tabs on people.

“You’re watching us?” I ask, raising my eyebrow.

“I wouldn’t say that, but I like to keep my finger on Yamaku’s pulse.”

“Well if I discover hidden camera’s in the showers you’re getting blackmailed so fast.”

He rubs his chin, feigning deep thought. “I think you should be okay in the girl’s showers.”

“That’s gross,” I laugh.

It’s amazing how quickly I find myself relaxing around the nurse, his natural charm and devilish sense of humour blend together perfectly. It’s like he was designed in a secret government lab. Or underwent secret vampire charm training. Even Shizune would find herself calming down in his presence, assuming Misha was able to translate without laughing to much.

“So, will you do me a favour? Let Hisao join you for some light excise?”

The thought of Hisao running with me scares and thrills me in equal measure. My time on the track, despite appearances, is deeply personal. It’s one of the reasons I will never be as fast as Emi, I can’t let go in front of people.

Allowing him to see me let everything go, and just run for the pure unbridled joy of the movement, of the release, racing against nothing but my hopes and fears… Well, it would be like him seeing me naked, but more than just my bare flesh. Running opens a window into my soul.

“I’ll consider it,” I say simply.

“Well, that’s a start.” Grinning he stands, turning his back on me to rummage in a cupboard, before withdrawing, of all things, a bright red umbrella.

“Just return it whenever the mood takes you.”

“Thanks,” I mumble, getting to my feet. I’ve dried out slightly in his warm office, but the bandages on my arm still feel like paper mache and my damp clothes cling to me, skin tight. I need a shower and some kind of miracle to get through school today.

“Would you like a nurse’s note?” He offers kindly.

I refuse. If I start to skip lessons every time I have a disturbed night I will never graduate. Saying my goodbyes I leave his office, opening the umbrella to ward off the heaven’s assault.

— — —

Hot water flows over my body, washing away the chill and mingled aches of this morning’s activities. I had hoped the steaming cascade would help wake me up - no such luck. It’s around the time in the morning when the students with normal sleep patterns are starting their day. Hearing them drag a pair of sleepy feet into the echoing bathroom I’m glad I didn’t absent-mindedly start singing, an old shower habit.

Regretfully shutting off the shower I grab my pink fluffy towel - Ikuno insisted mine from home was a health hazard and made me get this - before stepping onto the cool tiled floor. Sitting on the bench that runs through the centre of the room Suzu blinks sleepily, still dressed in her sleep shorts and a well worn t-shirt. She’s kind of cute, like a kitten about to nod off into a bowl of milk.

Molly, her neighbour and minder, tugs off her nightdress with no regard for modesty. When I first encountered this particular trait I was shocked, until I realised her reasoning, Molly, like me, would rather have someone stare at her breasts than her stumps.

Not that I’m looking at either.

“You look awful. Did Hisao keep you up all night?” Molly says, striping off the last of her clothing, I look away quickly, like I need any more rumours flying around about my love life.

“N…no,” Suzu yawns, staring dreamily at me.

“And how would you know that?” My legless hall mate enquires, completely ignoring me. She sits down on a wooden stall starting to remove her legs. Normally I would be long gone by this point, but I’m as curious as Molly to hear Suzu’s answer.

“Hisao watched the fireworks with Misha and Shi… Shi… Shizune.” Her yawn has an almost musical quality to it.

“And you’re sure you weren’t dreaming this?” I intervene before Molly, who has her legs off now and is passing them out to her inattentive blue-haired friend, can speak.

My cheeks burn, Hisao, watching the fireworks with them? It doesn’t make sense, we had fun didn’t we? Well, I did at least. Leaving him with her was an emergency, a major catastrophe had just decimated my best friends love life, he should understand that right? He wouldn’t chose her over me. Would he?

“I am awake sometimes you know,” dreary-eyed Suzu replies, taking her friend’s prosthetics and laying them neatly on the bench. There is no anger in her voice, just a sad kind of defiance.

“I know.” Sighing I head for the door. “I’m sorry Suzu, see you two in class?”

“Don’t be late,” she chirps, taking the swish of Molly’s shower curtain as an excuse to lay down flat on the bench, apparently planning a steamy power nap.

“Suzu Suzuzki, I swear if you’re asleep out there!” Molly’s yell follows me out into the corridor.

— — —

Knocking on Ikuno’s door I’m hit with a sudden mix of fear and trepidation. Normally she would be the one urging me to get a move on in the morning, but I’ve not seen hide or hair of her so far today. Being able to shower and dress at a leisurely pace is one of the, admittedly small, advantages of chronic nightmares.

It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve nearly given myself a concussion trying to pull on a knee sock. Luckily I don’t have Ikuno’s make-up addiction, otherwise I would have lost an eye by now. Come on. I knock again, a touch impatiently. She’s sad, I get that, but lying in bed won’t fix anything. Especially after my complete failure last night.

“Ikuno, I have a spare key remember,” I shout through the door, “You can’t hide from me.”

She wouldn’t do anything stupid would she?

Pressing my ear to the wood I listen hard, my eyes closed firmly. Nothing. When I open my eyes again I meet Misaki’s inquisitive gaze as she locks her bedroom door, school satchel hanging from her uneven shoulders.

Under her white blouse the outline of a brace is clearly visible. It looks uncomfortable, like one of those Victorian corsets, but made of plastic. I guess it must help with her condition, sclerosis. Unlike me, our resident class photographer is quick to tell you about her problem, with seemingly no provocation.

With still no sound from inside Ikuno’s room I heave a sigh. Fine, well at least we swapped keys. I must thank the nurse for his little buddy system suggestion. The door unlocks with a ominous click, I half expect a horror movie style squeak as I push it open.

Stepping over the threshold I’m hit by the sudden overpowering fragrance of exotic perfumes, mixed one on top of another, that seem to have crept into every surface. With the curtains drawn the only light in the room comes from her many chains of fairy lights, throwing uncharacteristically discarded clothes into irregular relief. Ikuno herself lies curled under her bright pink bed sheets, a muffled beating explains why I didn’t get an answer, she’s listening to music.

With a squeal of fright and bedsprings Ikuno rips off her headphones, staring at me open-mouthed, she looks a mess. Her eyes are puffy and red, black trails of mascara blemish her cheeks, like mud stepped through a pristine carpet.

“Hey, there,” I say softly, kneeling down next to her bed.

“What time is it?” she whispers, rubbing her tired eyes with her palms.

“Time for school, how you feeling?”

She shrugs, I didn’t get a chance to talk to her last night, having assumed she would go straight to bed. But it looks like she didn’t get much sleep, I’ve never really known Ikuno upset or depressed before, but like her confidence with shopping it seems to be an extreme side of her, one that she keeps hidden.

Her top-of-the-range pink mobile sits open on her bedside table, the screen facing her. Has she been checking this all night? Her bloodshot blue eyes follow mine, glistening with moisture when they catch the phone.

“I’ve texted him like a hundred times, and.. and tried phoning him,” She sniffs. “His phone is turned off.”

“Well, I guess he just wants some space,” I try and sound reassuring, but I don’t think it’s working. “How did dinner go?”

“I told them about Ryouta,” she wails suddenly in despair, like a child a few seconds after falling over. If this was any other time I would laugh at her, but this isn’t funny. Why the hell would she tell them about Ryouta after the argument, if she was going to tell them anyway couldn’t she have done so before the festival and saved us all a headache?

“Were they upset?” I venture, holding my breath without realising.

“Worse!” she cries, closing her eyes. “They want to meet him.”

Oh hell.

“Oh…” I say unhelpfully, after all that they want to meet him anyway? I thought I had a complicated relationship with my parents.

“Dad was angry, but… but mum talked him into meeting Ryouta the next time they’re in town,” she says defeatedly. “But I don’t even know if we are still together, or if he still likes me, and he won’t even talk to me, and I’ve not gotten any sleep, and I’m such a mess and, and, and…” Her frantic list of problems is replaced with deep gasping sobs, as she pushes her face into her pillow.

What the hell do I do?

I have no idea how to fix this, no idea where to even start, she really has fucked this up. Well, I guess one problem at a time normally works, not that I’ve ever been in a situation this complicated. Lying about manslaughter and missing a hand are such simple things to get your head around.

“Look, try and get some sleep. I will tell Mutou you’re not feeling well.”

“T… thanks, M…Miki,” her words are hard to make out between sniffs. Smiling at her softly my eyes wander to her wall clock, is that the right time? Jumping to my feet I startle Ikuno, who gazes at me.

“I’m going to be late for class!” I say, heading for the door.

“Wait!” She calls, catching me just before I open her door. “Don’t we have to tell the Nurse?”

“Oh,” I grin, “don’t worry he will know sooner or later, he has eyes everywhere.”

Leaving Ikuno with a confused look on her dishevelled face, I grab my school bag, sprinting for the stairs; damn short skirts. I can’t believe I’m going to be late for class when I woke up at three AM!

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Last edited by Gajzla on Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:34 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Gajzla
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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.20 Posted 17th June 2015)

Post by Gajzla » Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:47 am

A Note on Settling Dust

How can it have only been five minutes? It’s felt like two hours since I last allowed myself to look at the clock, mounted below the sun faded flag in room 3:3. My eyes ache, the dim morning sun that I watched rise now reflects cruelly off every surface. Moutou stands before us, his outline blurred through my watering eyes.

“I hope everyone had a fun and productive festival.”

More fun and destructive for me.

Without waiting for any kind of reply Mutou begins to write on the blackboard, the lump of chalk complaining audibly at the rough treatment. I wonder if Ryouta made it to class today? He’s not answered my text messages yet.

“We will be splitting off and performing some light work as partners this morning.” Our teacher indicates the page numbers he managed to haphazardly scribble on the board. “I trust everyone is able to find a partner?”

His instructions slowly ripple through the students, who lazily start to shift chairs and desks, establishing their normal pairings. Shizune and Misha, Molly and Suzu, the newspaper club girls - perhaps Ryota had a point about them… No, dirty boy stay out of my mind. Eventually only myself, Hisao and Hanako remain partnerless.

Catching Hisao’s hazelnut eyes I nod at him, gesturing to my desk and hoping he gets the signal. Shizune doesn't miss it at any rate. She stares between us, throwing Hisao a curious look before giving me a withering glare. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your perspective, she’s unwilling to dump her best friend for a boy.

“What about Hanako?” Hisao asks, sitting down at Ikuno’s vacant desk.

Thankfully with her chair being empty I don’t have to get out of my comfortable seat to join Hisao.

“Oh,” I mumble, my eyes drifting to the back of the room. Since starting at Yamaku, Hanako has been somewhat of an enigma. Ikuno talks about her conspiratorially, as if she were a bomb set to explode if noticed. A flash of purple hair disappearing around a doorway has become a common sight. Still, she seems friendly enough, just a little timid.

I’m sure Mutou wouldn't mind us bending the partner rule.

“Mind if she joins us?” I ask, my eyes still on Hanako, who is packing away her supplies quickly. It’s like watching someone turning up for a race, taking their marks, then giving up before the pistol has even been fired. Not quitting in rage or some other over exaggerated display of emotion, but a willing acceptance of her own failings. It’s depressing to watch.

With an ill-fitting grace she rises to her feet, careful not to disturb even the air around her. She has mastered going unnoticed. I bet she would make one hell of a cat burgler. Gliding swiftly past my desk, I catch her eye.

“Hanako,” I call softly.

She stops in her tracks, as the room falls silent, every eye turned to us. Shit. I’ve messed up. Hanako looks terrified, unsure if she should run or try and hide, even Mutou looks up from his magazine to observe this strange occurrence.

“Did you want to work with us?” I ask awkwardly.

The room waits on baited breath for her answer. I wish they wouldn’t. I’ve done nothing more than make our shyest classmate uncomfortable, she’s not able to even speak, instead she shakes her head and rushes to the door. Cheeks burning I turn to Hisao, who shrugs.

“Is she being bullied?” he wonders, opening his textbook. The chatter in the room slowly returning to its normal volume, however much these people might understand what it’s like to be different, they still enjoy a free show.

“I don’t think so, she’s just really shy.”

“Well, at least you tried right?” he says, picking up on how uncomfortable I am.

“I guess, so you know any of this?” I change the subject, looking down at the incomprehensible equations; Newton is like Shakespeare, old and impossible to understand.

“Yeah, I guess.” Shrugging noncommittally he pulls his chair a little closer to mine, starting to explain.

He knows his stuff, but he speaks as if he’s not sure, as if he’s just guessing at answers. If it’s an effort not to make me feel stupid, it’s working. Come on Miki, you can run nearly as fast as a girl with no legs! That will be useful for finding a job. Time passes easily in his company, even when struggling to understand physics. I find myself becoming lost in his words.

“So, do you understand?” he asks, leaning back in his chair, a coy smile on his face.

“I think so. You’re a good teacher,” I smirk. “I should return the favour.”

“Oh?” He sits forward; interested.

“Nurse said you wanted to run, I wouldn’t mind the company.”

My cheeks warm, as if I had asked him on a date. I’m not sure what suddenly changed my mind about running with him, but it’s too late to go back now.

“I don’t know about wanting to,” he says with a grimace. “But I’m supposed to be keeping myself in shape, so, sure why not?”

Do epileptic people need to keep themselves in shape? Perhaps I’m wrong with my imagined diagnosis.

“Good, tomorrow before sundown work for you?” I ask, beginning to pack away my supplies. I want to be able to leave promptly at lunch time.

“Don’t most people run in the mornings?” Taking my example he starts to pack away his books.

“Don’t most people find scientific formulas boring?” I retort, my eyes drifting to the clock, five minutes until lunch.

He laughs softly, a smile playing on his lips.

“Got plans for lunch?” I say, enjoying the dimples that appear on his cheeks when he smiles; something I hadn’t noticed before.

“Hanging out with Shizune and Misha; the normal.”

I feel a stab in my gut - it’s like he just punched me, hard. He doesn’t even look guilty. Did I honestly think he would forget about them after watching the fireworks? I had hoped. I know, looks-wise, I can’t compete with Misha’s ample chest or Shizune’s cool, sophisticated style. My last boyfriend was blind, Hisao isn’t.

“Oh,” I mummer, averting my eyes from his traitorous face.

“Is something wrong?” He asks, his eyebrows creasing in a worried frown.

“No, no, it’s fine, just anxious to catch one of my friends before he leaves class.” It’s not untrue, I do want to catch Ryouta before he can escape back into radio lockdown.

Together we sit in silence. With the brief lull in activity behind me I feel my eyes start to droop. Come on you’ve made it ’till lunchtime. But I still have to talk to Ryouta, and I’ve upset Hanako, plus Ikuno is still depressed. Pushing my stump into my stomach I ignore the tingling, I just want to go to bed.

Finally the bell resonates through the halls, and the class rises as one. Mutou peers up from his magazine dreamily, apparently realising that we are all still here. Blinking wearily he gets to his feet.

“I understand yesterday was a tiring experience, but I want you to give Miss Miyagi your full attention this afternoon.”

Yes, yes, I’ll be super interested in English, just let me go.

“Miura can I have a word? The rest of you are excused,” he says, his eyes meeting mine.

My classmates look at me curiously as they leave. Some, like Shizune, look downright disapproving. I know I screwed up with Hanako, but can’t I get my telling off another time? It’s hopeless, in the time it would take me to explain my situation it would already be too late.

Sighing I step forward, determined to receive my detention with head held high. Hell, at least I tried to get through to Hanako, I don’t see anyone else doing that. No, I did my best, and if I’m to be punished so be it. Come at me Mutou, I’m not afraid. I stand up a little straighter in front of his desk.

“Now Miss Miura, how are you getting on?” He asks, looking up at me with a creased brow.

“Fine…” I say unsurely. Perhaps he’s building slowly to my telling off - would be like him.

“Because I’ve noticed a decline in the quality of your work since the start of the year.” he says matter of factly.

The obvious answer is that between the truth of my accident, Ayumu’s absence and a haunted hand, school work has been very low on my list of priorities. Add to that the sense of hopelessness I get whenever I think about the future, and you have a perfect storm for dodged homework.

“I guess I’ve been falling behind, I will try harder,” I mumble, shrugging my shoulders.

“That’s not a very motivational statement, Miss Miura.”

Well what do you want me to say?

“I’m sorry,” I reply, looking down at my feet; not feeling sorry at all.

“Remember you graduate at the end of this year, have you had any thoughts on what you might like to do?” He raises an eyebrow at me. With messy hair and deep bags under his eyes he looks like a zombie. Though, I doubt I look much better.

“Physical therapist,” I state simply, that dream now seems so far away, replaced by grim prison cells or dead-end labour.

“Well, that’s something at least. I’m unsure about the specific requirements, but I would imagine a good scientific knowledge would be invaluable.” He smiles sedately, sitting back down in his squeaking desk chair. “I can provide additional tutoring and homework, as can every teacher at this school, but nothing is going to happen unless you want it to, do you understand?”

Nodding I take a step backwards, hoping I might be able to escape; assuming it’s not too late to catch Ryouta. Mutou is right, if I want something I have to work for it, I know that, the question is, what do I want? Well, not additional schoolwork for a start.

“Oh, and thank you for attempting to include Ikezawa; I’m afraid I’m quite at a loss with what to do with her sometimes.”

It takes me a moment to realise he’s talking about Hanako and another moment still to work out I’m not in trouble. Success. For me anyway. I still can’t help but feel I’ve done more harm than good where Hanako is concerned.

“I don’t think I helped much,” I grimace, taking another step towards the hallway and freedom.

Mutou picks up his dog eared magazine, interestingly it’s this month's issue, he must have read and reread it multiple times. “Well, it remains to be seen, you will tell me if you wish to utilise extra tuition?”

Again I nod, though with his gaze fixed on the magazine I doubt he saw.

“Good,” he says, “I will talk to my colleague about what might be required for a physical therapist.”

“Err, thanks,” I mumble, almost at the door now.

Mutou, quite unconcerned with what I’m doing, puts his feet up on his desk. “Enjoy lunch, Miss Miura.”

With a stammered goodbye I flee into the corridor. Please say Ryouta was kept behind as well.

— — —

As expected Ryouta’s classroom is deserted. Damn it! I feel like punching something, this is so unfair, why did Mutou decide he had a vested interest in my future today of all days? Resting my head on the cool stone wall I take several deep breaths. Right, focus. Where would Ryouta go?

Pulling out my silenced phone I check for missed calls or messages. Nothing, but I didn’t hold out much hope for that particular means of communication. Deciding to check out his normal haunts I set off at brisk pace. Ryouta isn’t stupid, despite appearances, he knows I’m looking for him and will not be found easily.

Assuming he even came to school in the first place, he might just have stayed in bed like Ikuno.

Taking the quiet steps two at a time I reach the cafeteria. A wall of buzzing sound hits me as I step through the open doors, barely avoiding having my toes crushed by a boy in a wheelchair, who looks back over his shoulder apologetically before disappearing into the crowd.

I scan the room quickly, trying to find Ryouta’s distinctive glasses or plump frame, but it’s useless. He could be anywhere in this sea of faces. I begin to walk down the aisles, quickly checking students. A few jump out, but no one whom I wish to talk to.

With a resigned sigh I make my way back through the chattering crowd, I don’t feel hungry, though I suspect some food wouldn’t go amiss. I have more important things than my stomach to think about at the moment. Stepping back through the white double doors feels like jumping into a pool, the noise level decreases significantly, replaced with half-captured conversations of stragglers left in the hallways.

Think, think, what’s the last place he would expect me to go? Aha!

Empowered with fresh determination I head towards the library.

———

I always expect these places to smell musty and old, but in reality the Yamaku school library is fresh and airy. Large windows bathe the room in natural light. Even if I’m not a fan of the books within, I can appreciate a nice place to sit and relax.

Much like a tourist I set off down the isles, bright book spines catching my attention, poking out of light wooden shelves. To my surprise the room that at first glance seemed empty, is hiding a number of students, sequestered on beanbags among the rows of shelves.

Passing a brass plate inscribed with ‘Fiction’ I spot a familiar shine of dark purple hair - Hanako. With her face buried in a book it seems like she doesn’t notice my approach, but her body tenses slightly as I draw nearer. How fucked up was her life before Yamaku?

“Hey,” I say quietly, sitting on a squishy red beanbag opposite her.

“M..Miura!” She jumps, peeking up from behind her book, amethyst eyes glittering slightly.

“You can call me Miki, if you want.”

“A… a… are you… o… okay?” She stammers, words slightly muffled by the pages of her book, the front cover of which depicts a tiger. I wonder what it’s about.

“Yeah, I came to make sure you were okay, after what happened in class?”

“I…I’m o…okay, It.. it was… j… just a sh…shock.” she hides behind her book once again.

“I’m sorry, it was my fault…” I trail off, but it’s hard feeling sorry for myself around Hanako, it feels insulting. “Listen, if you want to do group work in class; well I don’t mind you working with us.”

“Y…You and… Hisao?” She looks up suddenly with newfound confidence.

“You know him?” I ask, trying, and failing, not to sound like a gossipy girl.

“He… he seems n… nice, L… Lilly likes him too,” She says, as if Lilly’s judgement is a true testament of his character.

I vaguely recall that Lilly is the class rep of 2:3, Ayumu’s old classroom.

Hang on. Hisao has been here for just about a week, and he is already on the positive radar of at least four girls, five if I include myself, which I’m starting to feel I have to. What the hell? Is animal magnetism a disability now? I mean, it can’t be normal, can it? No other boy that I know of has had that effect.

“How do you know Lilly?” I ask, trying not to sound too threatened.

“S…she’s my friend, s… she’s nice.”

“My my, I hope you’re not gossiping behind my back Hanako,” someone giggles behind us, in unison we turn, I crick my neck in my haste; so this is Lilly?

I’m screwed.

I’ve seen this girl before, tall and unmistakably foreign she holds herself like a woman of state, or ballroom dancer poised to take to the floor. Her eyes, a dreamy blue are clouded slightly, other than her white cane the only obvious sign of her blindness. This girl is beautiful, and if Hanako is to be believed, Hisao knows that.

“N…no!” Hanako peeps, jumping quickly to her feet.

Lilly however giggles softly, accepting Hanako’s arm in hers with a well practiced motion. She puts a lot of effort into pretending she isn’t blind, completely unlike Ayumu who did what came naturally to him - it’s a interesting change in perspective.

“Sorry, Hanako,” she smiles benignly at her shy friend, who covers half her scarred face with her hand.

I want to tell her not to, that I would never judge her because of the scars, however such a statement would only cause embarrassment. Because in my own head, I do judge her, not unkindly, but I can’t help but feel motherly around her. Like she’s fragile and liable to fall apart if not handled correctly. I don’t know how true that is, but better leave it up to the experts.

“But who is your friend? I don’t believe we’ve been introduced?”

“T…t…this.. is… Mi…Miki,” Hanako stammers.

“Miki Miura,” I finish quickly, keen not to make Hanako suffer anymore than I already have. “I’m in Hanako’s class,” I say lamely.

“My, then you must know Hisao?” She asks, orienting herself to face me.

Yes, and he’s potentially mine once I can sort my life out, so back off.

“Yeah, we spent most of the festival together,” I reply, getting to my feet.

“Im glad about that, I worried he was struggling to adjust to life here at Yamaku.”

“Well, I think he will be okay, if I can keep him out of the reach of the student council that is,” I respond grumpily. To my surprise both Lilly and Hanako giggle cryptically; offering no explanation.

“Hm, I’m afraid Hanako and I must be going. It was nice to meet you, Miss Miura.”

“And you,” I offer, following them to the doors, where after a brief wave from Hanako, they turn right. Watching them disappear I feel my stomach rumbling, perhaps food wouldn’t be that bad of an idea. Give me something to do at least.

With a last look back at the Ryouta-free library I set off to scavenge whatever the cafeteria has left.

———

“Go away!”

“I think you’re blocking the doorway,” I say sweetly, leaning against the handrail that runs the length of the corridor outside our classrooms.

Ryouta turns, and upon seeing his wheelchair-bound classmate trapped in the doorway steps aside, glowering at me as if I had held him in front of her. “I don’t want to talk to you.”

“I gathered,” I say, following him as he charges away down the corridor.

“How did you mange to get out of class so early? That english teacher normally keeps you and her behind.”

“Told her I wasn’t feeling well. It’s a bad week for me, she understood.” I hope my joy at thinking up such a clever excuse and actually managing to catch Ryouta doesn't come across as gloating.

“Fine, but It was all for nothing, because I don’t want to talk to you.”

In front of us the lift doors open, admitting nearly a full load of students. “Hold the doors!” Ryouta shouts, sprinting the last ten feet or so with the grace of a baby hippo. Squeezing himself in, he turns to me, his eyebrows raised smugly. “Sorry, we’re full,” folding his arms in victory he lets the doors close in front of him.

Really?

The two flights of stairs are nearly empty as I make my way hastily down to the ground floor, even with only a mild violation of the no running in the corridors rule, I make it before the illuminated lift position indicator has even reached level one. I take back everything I thought about Ryouta not being stupid.

With a pronounced ding the doors slide smoothly open, inside Ryouta’s look of triumph turns suddenly to shock. Apparently too stunned to move he stands in the doorway, until his classmate fed up with being kept waiting bumps his ankles with her wheelchair.

“Really?” I ask, as he steps out of the elevator, pacing slowly over to me. “You do know I’m on the track team right?”

“I always thought these things were fast,” he grumbles, wandering towards the front doors, but making no effort to lose me.

“Well,” I say as way of condolences, “I’m faster.”

Grunting in response he follows me out into the grey afternoon. The rainclouds that have lingered all day, like some vast oppressive entity, stare down malevolently at us, threatening to drench us with the slightest provocation.

“Ikuno is really sorry you know,” I say, jogging to keep up with his long strides.

Cheeks reddening he shrugs, quickening his pace.

“Come on, Ryouta, you know she didn’t mean for this to happen.” He leads me from the path and out across the grass, heading directly for the treeline, a small wood surrounds Yamaku on two sides, though I’ve never ventured within. I don’t think we are allowed in, but then again no one has directly said we’re not.

“Planning to murder me in the woods?” I ask, only half joking.

“No.” he snaps.

In silence we cross the lawns and weave between the trees, the air inside the wood seems colder somehow. leaves from last fall crunch under our feet as we trace a hitherto undisturbed path deep into the damp artificial twilight. Ryouta pushes through the foliage with grim determination.

After what feels like an age of walking we come to a stop in a clearing. I stop in my tracks. Dim light from the cloudy sky above filters through the trees, and where it hits the grounds delicate silver flowers shimmer, as if shivering in the cool air. Without asking permission I stride onto one of the naturally occurring paths, a light breeze drifts between the trunks, causing the trees to sing with the sound of a thousand tiny bells.

“Oh, Ryouta, it’s beautiful.”

“I know, I was going to bring Ikuno here,” he says softly, his head hung.

“You still can,” I mumble, bending to have a closer look at the flowers.

“She thinks I’m a joke.”

“She loves you. She loves you, and she made a horrible mistake.” I say, not looking up. It wasn’t my place to reveal how Ikuno felt, but what choice do I have? I can’t let these two fall apart, it would be like burning this clearing to the ground.

“I can’t do it again, I can’t, not like at middle school.” Leaf litter crunches as he stamps his foot, his eyes catching mine from across the expanse of shimmering silver.

“It’s the risk you take,” I sigh. “Man up, Ryouta, if you love her, you’ll fight.”

“Yeah? So when are you going to man up Miki?”

His turnaround catches me off guard, I almost stumble as I stand. “What do you mean?”

“Ikuno told me you like Hisao, but I think you’re too scared to admit it.”

“How did…” I trail off as he speaks over me.

“If you want him, you need to tell him, before someone else does.”

Saying nothing I turn away. How the hell has he made this about me? Still, he’s right - girls circle around Hisao like sharks, and I have only one choice if I want something more. But the very thought is terrifying, it feels like the deepest of betrayals, how can I move on from Ayumu so quickly? How can I love him, with what I’ve done?

“Then you will talk to Ikuno?” I demand.

“I guess, you’ll talk to Hisao.” he says, just as defiantly.

“I guess.”

We share a smile, across a sea of captured moonlight.

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.21 Posted 24th June 2015)

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Wed Jun 24, 2015 5:58 pm

I know more happened in this chapter, but I'm mainly just glad Ryouta and Ikuno are gonna talk it out. It really annoys me when a couple gets into an argument(or even worse, breaks up) over a misunderstanding, mainly because it didn't have to happen. Honestly, until that was resolved, I was semi-skimming through hoping to see it become resolved. Thats how much it bothers me.
Best girl
Hanako=Shizune>Misha>Lilly>Rin>Emi

Best route
Hanako>Lilly>Rin>Emi>Shizune

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.21 Posted 24th June 2015)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:15 am

Hmm... "misunderstanding" is one way to put it..
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.21 Posted 24th June 2015)

Post by Gajzla » Fri Jun 26, 2015 5:37 pm

Sorry it’s taken me awhile to reply someone got me hooked on RWBY. :D
AntonSlavik020 wrote:I know more happened in this chapter, but I'm mainly just glad Ryouta and Ikuno are gonna talk it out. It really annoys me when a couple gets into an argument(or even worse, breaks up) over a misunderstanding, mainly because it didn't have to happen. Honestly, until that was resolved, I was semi-skimming through hoping to see it become resolved. Thats how much it bothers me.
Well happy to know your still reading, though I can't promise a drama free time for Miki and co in the coming chapters. :evil:
Mirage_GSM wrote:Hmm... "misunderstanding" is one way to put it..
Total balls up would be another. :lol:

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.21 Posted 24th June 2015)

Post by Gajzla » Thu Jul 02, 2015 4:36 pm

Thanks to Mirage_GSM for his editing/proofreading.

Enjoy!


Running Into You

I shouldn’t laugh, not even giggle at this. Before me stands Hisao, in typical Yamaku gym kit, complete with tiny red shorts. He fidgets, trying to pull his t-shirt down further than the material will ever stretch. Cute.

“Hey, I didn’t think you would come,” I say, starting to stretch in the grass beside the track. Me and Emi both share a distaste for this particular pre-run ritual, but we’ve had enough strains to imprint in us it’s importance.

“Sorry, It took me a while to find my gym kit…” he trails off, watching intently as I stretch my arms out behind my back, causing other assets of my anatomy to be thrust forward. Well, at least Misha isn’t the only one who can catch his eye.

“You need to stretch, you know how to do that?” I say, delighted by the look on his face as I take away his view.

“Err, what? No, not really?” He stumbles over his words.

Giggling I stride over to him.

It’s not long before I have him stretched out before me, his face curled up in discomfort but trying his best not to show it. In some evil way I feel like I’m channelling every coach and track captain I’ve ever had. It’s all for Hisao’s own good of course; but that doesn’t stop it being fun.

“I don’t think I’m going to be able to walk after this, yet alone run.” He complains as I place my hand on his shoulder, helping him to loosen his calf.

“Don’t be such a baby, you’ll be fine.” I laugh. “Right, that’s you about done.”

“The nurse said I should be doing light excise,” he points out, following me towards the edge of the track.

“You’ve not done any exercise yet,” I laugh, stepping onto the white starter line. I’m normally a lot less formal where I enter the track or even how much I stretch beforehand, but with my newfound role as a coach, it feels like I should be paying attention to these things. Right, this is the track, you run on it, over there is the grass, that’s where you throw up if you're going to.

“So, just start at a gentle jog, tell me if you’re going to keel over.” I say, setting off at moderate pace.

Beside me Hisao hops into action, his mop of messy brown hair bouncing with every step, it’s cute. I like having him to myself. In class I’m in constant competition for his attention against the student council, an atmosphere that has thus far prevented Hanako from joining us. Even Ikuno seems unsure how to react, but for me it feels like my old life, fighting off a harem of pretty girls to grab the momentary attention of some boy.

I wouldn’t say I enjoy the cold war between Shizune and me, but I’m not about to back down. If all else fails I can go full nuclear and kiss him in the middle of class; though the fallout from that could be impressive.

“S…so you run… a… a lot?” Hisao asks beside me, doing his level best to control his uneven breathing.

“Six times a week, if not more,” I shrug, turning to jog backwards next to him. Don’t fall over, don’t fall over. To my great satisfaction he looks suitably impressed.

“I’m never going to be able to keep up,” he huffs, as we near the first bend. His self-doubt is starting to grind.

“No one ever suspects what they are capable of, until they do it.” Like manslaughter for example, don’t think about it, don’t think about it.

“A… are you okay?” Hisao snaps me back to reality. “You s… seemed a million miles a… away.”

He’s breathing harder now, much harder. His face red with effort and perspiration, apparently the Nurse wasn’t kidding when he said he needed some exercise.

“I’m fine,” I say, slowing down. “You should walk for awhile, when you feel comfortable you can join me a few laps, yeah?”

Grinding to a halt he stops, pressing his hands into his knees.

“Hey!” I call back, turning briefly around to face him. “I said walk, not stop!”

Face twisted somewhere between rebellious and guilty he straightens, starting to pace slowly up the track. Turning I smile to myself. Who said power wasn’t fun?

I fly past him, enjoying the wind in my hair and the feel of the dry track beneath my feet. At this pace I barely have to try, I can just enjoy the sensation and focus on the small details that help distract me, the slap of my trainers against the astroturf, the faint sound of birdsong on the blue sky, tinted with rose and ember.

By the next pass he has recovered enough to join me. Slowing I allow him to fall in beside me. With his eyes fixed on the track at his feet he misses the blazing smile I give him. Ah well, his loss. Gradually I increase my pace, looking for the point at which he will start to fall behind, but to my surprise he keeps up. I knew he was more competitive than he looked.

For a half a track length he stays on my tail, breathing hard but making good pace. “Ha, you’re not as slow as you look!” I yell excitedly. With no response I check over my shoulder, Hisao has vanished. Coming to a stop I spot him down the track, on all fours, seeming to clutch his mouth. Oh don’t throw up, they will make me clean it!

Jogging back to him I try and find the right teasing comment to taunt him with, but the statement gets caught in my throat as I get close enough to see the expression on his face; he’s in agony. The hand that I thought he had clutched to his mouth, is in fact gripping the front of his shirt so tightly his knuckles have turned white.

“Hisao!”

Sitting back onto his calves, he looks at me. Red faced he wheezes hard, raising a hand as if to wave off any concerns I might be having. What the hell? Is this what’s wrong with him? Whatever this is, what the hell am I supposed to do? I should have done the voluntary first aid course in middle school. Why didn’t I think it would be useful?

“M… Miki, I’m… O…okay,” Hisao says, though he looks far from it.

“You don’t look okay, what should I do? I can run and get nurse.” I offer, kneeling beside him.

“I… think, think I can.. walk, just, give... me a s… second,” his words are forced out between gaps in his ragged breathing.

Feeling like a waste of skin and oxygen I wait until Hisao is ready to stand, unsurprisingly he’s unsteady on his feet, and I dive under his arm to support him. The feeling of his sweaty armpit on my shoulder is disgusting to say the least, but I endure without complaint, as slowly we make our way to the medical centre.

— — —

“Arrhythmia?” I ask, not sure if I’m pronouncing it correctly.

On the white paper-covered bed in front of me Hisao nods. He seems much better now, but the nurse insists on him getting some rest.

“It’s why I’m here, at Yamaku I mean.” he says, looking at the nurse who rests his white lab-coated back against the wall, who nods in confirmation. “The light exercise was supposed to help.”

“Well the power of good it did you,” I glower, turning an accusatory eyebrow on the nurse.

“Light excise is needed to keep your heart healthy and your body in shape. Is there a chance you were overdoing it?” He asks, a small smile playing on his lips.

How the hell can he turn this back around on Hisao? Then have the nerve to smile about it?

“I might have-“ Hisao looks guiltily at me, “Been trying to race her.”

“You what?” I exclaim, “Did I tell you it was a race?”

“Well no, bu-“

“Did you know you had this heart thing?” I demand.

“Well yes, bu-“

“And you tried to scare me half to death anyway!” I’m almost shouting now. Infuriatingly the nurse is hiding his sniggers behind his hand, pretending to have a coughing fit.

“… I was the one having chest pains?” Hisao says in a very quiet voice.

“Well whose fault was that?” I ask, perhaps a little cruelly. To my alarm the corners of his mouth twitch as he looks down at the pristine white bedsheets spread across his legs, a touch of the darkly apologetic mood that’s clung to him like a limpet since he started at Yamaku, creeping back onto his face.

“You’re an idiot, next time we run I’m going to have to keep a much closer eye on you.” I say, getting to my feet.

“Next time we run?” he asks, looking up curiously.

“Of course, you need to learn your limits, and I need to practice for the track meet,” I smile sardonically, “You don’t escape me that easily, Mr Nakai.”

Well, Ryouta did say to claim him, not sure he meant like this though.

— — —

I feel drained as the nurse walks me to the front doors. I’ve gone from ecstatically happy to deathly afraid, all the way to monstrously angry in the space of about an hour. Now I just want to escape to bed... Well, a shower first, then bed, at least there should be some hot water at this time of night; unless Suzu has fallen asleep again and used a whole building’s worth.

At the doorway I turn to the nurse. “This is your fault you know, you should have told me he had a heart condition.”

Annoyingly he chuckles, “Firstly, even if I wanted to tell you, I couldn’t and secondly Hisao is not a child, neither are you, part of our job at Yamaku is to prepare you for the real world.”

“But, it could have happened again, and it would be my fault-“ I catch myself before I can say any more. Idiot.

The nurse throws me a suspicious look, “What do you mean?”

“Nothing,” I say quickly, “Good night.”

“Hmmm, good night, Miss Miura,” the nurse replies, not entirely convinced.

Without looking back I step out into the darkness, there’s a chill in the air that my thin running clothes do little to protect me from, I hug my arms around my chest. Damn it! If i’m not more careful I’m going to end up letting out the biggest secret I’ve ever kept, the stakes are too high for such stupid mistakes. Admitting what happened in the truck was one thing, being discovered having lied... Well, I might as well kiss my future goodbye.

— — —

“H… help!” I cry, struggling to breathe as the water in the crumpled truck cab starts to rise.

This feels too familiar, but I don’t have time to worry about that now. I’m going to drown, and there's no one to help me!

As if responding to my thoughts a polished shoe kicks through the windscreen, attached to it is a handsome young man with messy brown hair. I expect him to go to Tatsuo, who by this point is well underwater, but instead he turns to me.

“I’m going to get you out okay? Just hang on!” His voice is soft, comforting, when he talks it feels like the rain outside falls that much softer.

Climbing into the cab as if its something he does on a daily basis, Hisao touches my arm, acting as if to pull me from the wreckage. The moment his fingers touch my wet skin I feel a warmth spread from my chest, to my toes. I can move again, it’s as if a giant magnet has been turned off, freeing me.

“Come on!” Hisao says, splashing back through the broken windscreen. Outside the air is clear, the rain seems to have stopped, in fact it’s hard to remember if there ever was a downpour, the ground around the crumpled black truck is bone dry.

“There,” my saviour says with a wry smile, “That’s much better isn’t it?”

I nod emphatically, without quite understanding why, I reach out and stroke his cheek, the fingers of my left hand tracing the smooth contours of his face. It feels wrong, disobedient, like I’m doing something I’m definitely not allowed to, but I have no idea what.

“Miki, I love yo-“

His words are cut short, as a phantom hand reaches into his chest, the rest of the ghostly spectre forming behind him. My rescuer crumples to the ground, falling into my outstretched arms, his assailant solidifies before us; until I recognise the face. Ayumu.

With eyes tightly closed he surveys the scene, gazing, for lack of a better word, directly at Hisao. His face so kind and beautiful in my memory is curled in a feral snarl, seeming to imperceptibly pick up up on my staring he tilts his head, like a curious owl. Slowly, with agonising care he opens his eyes, his piercing, white, eyes.

“This is by your hand,” he gestures to the boy in my arms, his voice gentle.

Dropping Hisao’s now lifeless form I get to my feet. Shaking my head I slowly back away, until my back collides with the sharp wreckage behind me. Without warning a horn blares through the night, as a prison bus bursts from the darkness.

The last thing I see before my world goes black, is the silhouette of my own hand, held up hopelessly against the bus, as a pair of blazing headlights dive straight for me.


For what feels like the millionth time I wake with a start, still holding my mutilated left arm out in front of me, braced against a bus that will never come. Sitting up I lean against the headboard, hugging my stump to my chest. It was whole, in the dream my hand was still there. Under my non-existent finger tips I can feel Hisao’s soft face.

Pulling the multi-coloured elephant that Ayumu once won for me into my arms I try and picture him as I remember, without the glowing white eyes; it feels like the image has been seared into my mind. Like covering over a cherished tattoo with an abomination made of ink. Pressing my lips against my soft toy’s trunk I reach for my phone, lying neatly on my beside table.

The clock reads 11:03, late, but not too late to call him.

Finding his number it takes me a few moments to build the courage to press the green dial button.

If he answers it will be the first time we’ve spoken in close to three and half months. With an effort like stepping off a bridge for a bungy jump, I press the button.

[Ayumu: Dialling…]

Appears on the screen, painfully bright in the dark room. Carefully, I place the phone against my ear, listening to the dialling tone.

“Hello..?” A startled female voice answers.

“H… Hello,” I stammer pathetically, “I was trying to get hold of Ayumu?”

“He’s busy at the moment,” whoever this girl is says irritably.

“Who is it sweetie?” Ayumu’s voice is muffled in the background, but I would recognise it anywhere.

“Look sorry, you’ll have to call back.”

She says no more. I can’t be sure but what I imagine to be bed springs squeak in the background, before the line goes dead.

In silence I sit, just staring at the illuminated face of my phone, watching as the screen dims, before turning completely black. How could he? I want to scream, to yell, to punch something until it breaks. He moved on, of course he moved on, he was always going to. I’m a stupid little girl who believed that we never truly ended, that if I was loyal everything would work out, like a fairy tale.

Filled with a sudden uncontrolled rage I send the elephant spiralling across the room, to smash the lamp from my desk. It falls with a satisfying crash and a flutter of papers. Good, the world can burn for all I care. The hot tears on my face feel like a betrayal. How can I possibly cry over him? In one motion I turn to my pillow, screaming until my throat starts to burn, hoping the cotton is enough to hide my cry of despair.

Someone shakes my shoulder. With a squeal of fright burning my already raw throat I spin around, staring up at Ikuno; who stands before me wide-eyed. In one hand she holds her music player, tinny music still ringing out from the ear buds, and in the other is my spare room key. I was hoping not to wake her, damn it…

“Miki? Whats wrong?”

“The normal,” I sigh, trying to sound convincingly scared and confused, not something I normally have to strive for.

“What happened to your desk?”

I shrug, looking away.

“Miki Miura, don’t make me climb in there!” she giggles.

Wait.

She’s in a good mood? Or a least a good enough mood to be joking and giggling, that’s an interesting development.

“Climb away,” I grumble, shifting myself in bed so my best friend can clamber in beside me. Ha, I should send a photo to Ryouta. Resting my head on her slightly bony shoulder I wait for her to speak, content to watch the ethereal clouds drift across the moon.

“So, what happened to the desk?” She looks down at me, “And your elephant for that matter.”

“I lost my temper,” I divulge grudgingly.

“Why?” she asks with only mild concern. Cheerful people are a delight when you’re also a good mood, when you’re not, though, they are the most grating people on the planet.

“Not that I’m complaining, but why are you in such a good mood?”

“Ryouta spoke to me!” she squeals, hugging one of my pillows to her chest.

I raise my eyebrows slightly, so he decided to man up after all. “What did he say?”

“Okay.”

“Excuse me?”

“I text him, for like the hundredth time, I just asked if he still felt anything for me to text back anything; and he texted back ‘okay’.” In the window’s reflection I can see her smile, showing off her dazzlingly white teeth, an effect I’m sure isn’t entirely natural.

It’s testament to Ikuno’s love or perhaps naivety, that she can find so much joy in such a short and simple message. I had hoped my little woodland prep talk might inspire more dramatic results, but slow progress is progress still; and if it means Ikuno might not be so down in the dumps all the time that’s good enough for me.

“I phoned Ayumu,” I say, fully aware of the effect it will have on the mood. And not caring one little bit.

“What did he say?”

“Not much, his new girlfriend said he was busy.” I continue sombrely.

“New girlfriend?” Ikuno asks, taken aback.

I reply with a nod.

“Well that would explain the flying elephant,” she says in wonderment.

I can’t help but laugh at her ridiculous statement, and a few uncertain seconds later Ikuno joins me, gigging softly. Apparently not even my boy problems are enough to put her in a bad mood tonight. I suppose that’s good.

“Are you okay?” she asks, her voice soft and caring. Shifting slightly on the bed she puts a warm arm around my shoulders.

“No,” I say, snuggling into her side. “But I will be.”

My grandfather used to say knowing is half the battle, well I know now, I know Ayumu can no longer hold me back. I loved him, but I realise he never felt the same and I was an idiot for holding on for so long. I snuggle closer to Ikuno, content to let some of her new found happiness flow into me.

Perhaps Ryouta is right, I should have hooked up with Ikuno when I had the chance, she’s comfortable.

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.22 Posted 2nd July 2015)

Post by swampie2 » Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:22 pm

I hadn't had a chance to dive into this fic until just now, but I'm enjoying the ride!

I look forward to the next chapter :)
One Shots - My stories thread.

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