Gravity: A Molly Pseudo- Pseudo Route. Updated as of 11/03/2019

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Feurox
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Re: Gravity: A Molly Psuedo- Psuedo Route. Updated as of 07/19/2019

Post by Feurox » Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:53 am

Many thanks to everyone who has read the rebooted series.
PKMNthiefChris wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:12 am
You really can tell you've grown since then as a writer. Greatly looking forward to reading the relaunch further.
Thank you. I suppose you're someone who's seen that growth first hand as I started reposting around the time you joined!
Scroff wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:28 pm
I really enjoyed the original, but I agree with PKMNthiefChris that you're more accomplished now than when you started this.

I've got a real soft spot for Molly so I'm very much looking forward to where this goes!
Thank you as always Scroff. Our writing has always been compatible, so many thanks for continuing to read my stuffs! I hope it hasn't disapointed so far, I quite like Molly too ;)
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:06 am
NIce to see this... Well "continued" is not quite right, so... Nice to see more of this.
It's been quite a while, but I don't remember there being much wrong about the story - but on the other hand it's been so long I don't remember most of the details, so I can enjoy this one as almost fresh. :-)

I don't think you had Lelouch and Lezard in the first version... Nice to see some less-used characters get some spotlight. I particularly like Lelouch, since I have fond memories of trying to write him in one of my own stories.
As always, great to see you're enjoying this Mirage and thank you for the amendments, stuff always seems to slip through the cracks. I've been re-reading my stuff several times just to make sure I'm not still making that 'sat' versus 'sitting' mistake aha! Also, I'm pretty fond of Lelouch too, given Ekeprhasis and the like. Just glad you're still a fan of some Molly, especially since your feedback usually puts a smile on my face, even if you're complaining about my purple prose! (I'm trying I swear!) ;)

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:29 am
One heck of a cliffhanger, though one that was telegraphed quite heavily...
I didn't think it was that obvious, but then, I know the plot points before so... I'll try to keep things more subtle, I think I have a few surprises up my sleeve yet. Especially with regards to what's changed from the original route and what's stayed the same.


I'd like to give a huge thank you to Brythain who gave some incredibly thoughtful feedback with regards to the first chapter of this reboot.

I'd also like to give a huge thank you to Lap, who has been proofreading and catching all those awful typos and tense-switches I'm guilty of in my drafts. It's not easy deciphering some of my prose sometimes, so my utmost thanks go out to you! Also, CONGRATULATIONS on finishing Avenues of Communication! What a journey it was.

I hope everyone enjoys the next update.

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Feurox
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Redshift PT1

Post by Feurox » Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:55 am

Redshift PT1
Even Broken Hearts Can Tessellate.

The library has this unusual smell. Like the air is stale or something. Another reason to believe it was devised by sadists, and not by anyone with a human heart. From across the table, I can see Lelouch is struggling to answer this week’s Chemistry worksheet, so I tap my pencil on the top of his paper, sliding my own answer sheet over for him to correct his answers. He smiles, and returns my sheet after correcting his own.

It’s probably a good thing I’m in the library this afternoon. The conversation I had with Suzu last night sent a lot of things that I’d thought were safe spiralling out of control, and I’m not in the mood for a lunchtime of possible awkwardness.

After the walk up the hill, Suzu nearly collapsed onto me. I hadn’t been sure when we would talk about what happened between her and Taro, but I certainly hadn’t expected it to be after coffee with my brother; It had clearly been preying on her mind all day until it nearly broke her. That being said, she didn’t really talk about it once she’d brought it up, she just kept repeating that sleeping with Taro had been a mistake, and a big one at that.

With Suzu’s condition, outbursts of emotion like that can be kind of dangerous. She didn’t really want to delve into how she was feeling, so we sat outside the dormitories and she kind of just… cried quietly, whilst I held her hand and stroked her head a little. When she showed up to class this morning, she seemed a little bit better. Maybe. I hope she was able to let a little bit out last night, because I really don’t know what else she can do, or really, what’s wrong to begin with.

The potential awkwardness of lunch today isn’t the only reason I’m in the library instead of the cafeteria; more like fortunate timing. Every Tuesday, during lunch break, Lelouch and I study together. I think it was our Chemistry teacher’s idea, but Lou was the one to ask me to help him go over the syllabus regularly. I don’t mind doing it; it feels nice to help him out with this, and the extra studying helps me stay ahead of the curriculum.

“Hwyo d-do you fi…” Lelouch takes a deep breath and tries again, “Hyow do you figure owt this one?” He taps the paper in front of him with his pencil, highlighting a question about Boyle’s Law. I smile at him, and he mock frowns in response. I can’t help but giggle at that.

“It’s a law about the relationship between the pressure and volume of gas.” He’s giving me his full attention, so I sketch a crude diagram on my own paper as I explain. “Basically, it says that at a constant temperature, the pressure and the volume of any given amount gas is inversely proportional.” To illustrate that, I write the words volume and pressure and draw two arrows between them. It’s not a very effective diagram, but Lelouch seems to understand anyway, and writes an answer on his worksheet.

From the beanbag behind Lelouch, Hisao looks up and smiles at me. I return it, and Lelouch settle back into the rhythm of his work.

When the morning classes ended, Hisao was keen to follow through on his words from yesterday, about wanting to join me for lunch. He didn’t seem put off that I would be heading to the library, and ended up joining me and Lelouch, much to the dismay of Taro, who will now be having lunch with Suzu and Lezard… Oh, if I could be a fly on that wall…

I’m not sure why Hisao chose hanging out here with us over hanging out with Taro, especially since the two seem to have become quite friendly since we hung out at the Shanghai last week. That said, Hisao and Lou seem to get on just as well, and he’s definitely nerdy enough to enjoy studying. He’s currently got some Physics book in hands, something about ‘Phenomenology’, whatever that is.

A few more minutes of silence pass whilst Lelouch works through the sheet. He bites on the end of his pen every time he gets stumped, but he doesn’t ask me for any help again, so it seems at least a bit of my tutoring is getting through to him.

“You know you can sit with us if you want,” I say to Hisao, which has the side effect of getting Lou’s attention too. He smiles at Hisao, and pulls the chair beside him out. But Hisao chuckles and shakes his head.

“I’m fine being an observer. Besides, I’m really comfortable.” He responds in the hushed tone necessary for library communication. I’m sure somewhere behind me Hanako and Yuuko are appreciating the quiet.

“Molly ish a goid tu-tutor Hishaio, trusht mei.” It’s sweet of Lelouch to say that. It’s only been, uh, I think three weeks, but it’s really starting to feel like I’m helping.

“I don’t doubt it.” Hisao replies. “I was struggling to keep up with her in Yamada’s class yesterday.”

I’m blushing again. At least this time it feels justified; doesn’t everyone blush when they’re complimented?

“Yeah, well she is a little bit nerdy.” The hushed voice takes me by surprise, and I turn around to face the source of it. Rika, twirling her white braid and smirking playfully at me approaches and places her hand on my shoulder. “Hey Hisao, good to see you again!” Her cheery tone quickly rises from her initial whisper, and she’s grinning like an idiot. “Hey Lou.” It’s sweet how her voice softens when she says his name. Hey, I’m the only one she didn’t say hi to!

Rika pulls the chair out from beside me and sits down at the table. I guess Hisao’s worried about being left out, since he gets up and joins us in the seat Lelouch offered him, setting his book gently down on the table. Rika notices the title, and starts giggling.

“Looks like you’re a bit nerdy as well, eh, Hisao?” She points to his book and immediately he goes a little red. Rika looks me in the eye and winks. What?

“I didn’t claim otherwise!” Hisao retorts. He does that thing again, where he rubs the back of his head awkwardly.

Lelouch taps the table in front of me, getting my attention and the attention of everyone at the table. He looks around at everyone, and seems visibly embarrassed, like he feels bad to be asking for my help. I try to give him a reassuring smile, but it’s not much use, so I press on.

“What’s up?” I ask, and he slides his paper across to me before tapping an answer near the bottom of the sheet. He’s progressed quite a bit since he last asked for my help. He doesn’t need my help anyway, since he’s got the answer right. Which makes him smile, and I notice Rika and Hisao smiling too.

“So, Hisao,” Rika asks in a soft voice, “Have you settled in yet?” I return to the worksheet in front of me, but keep my attention on Hisao. I’m curious to hear his answer, to hear what he says when it isn’t just us.

“I think so, for the most part at least.” Rika doesn’t say anything, just waits for Hisao to go on. “I still have to… come to terms with a few things.” He gives a quiet dry laugh. “And I guess it still feels like I’ve been sent away to nowhere.” Before we can get too depressed (or offended) by that observation, he adds, “But I’ve met some nice people, so I’m feeling good, I think.”

Lou taps his pencil on the corner of Hisao’s book, the book Hisao hasn’t really been managing to read since we keep talking to him. “Evewewyhere ish swomewyhere Hishao. Eyven heyre.” I don’t really understand what that means, even after carefully dissecting Lou’s words over again in my head. From the looks of things, Hisao doesn’t either, but he smiles anyway.

“What does that even mean?” I ask. I’m trying to keep my voice quiet, but the urge to giggle at his peculiar remark makes it come across a bit louder than intended. Rika nudges me in the shoulder.

“It means you’ve got to make yourself belong, right Lou?” Rika says. I’m now more lost than before, but after a moment or two of contemplation, Lou nods his head in agreement. Hisao looks at me, seeming equally confused, but I guess he’s not in the mood to press it. Whatever. I guess Rika and Lou really get each other.

I return to the last few questions of my worksheet, as does Lelouch, whilst Rika and Hisao chat idly about some things I’ve already heard, like where Hisao is from, and about his peculiar hallmate. From the way he’s talking about him, it’s kind of hard to think that they’re not at least kind-of friends though. I think he sounds interesting, if a bit eccentric.

The last minutes of the lunch break pass in a similar manner. Rika has some catching up to do, with regards to getting to know Hisao I suppose, since she missed his impromptu introduction at the Shanghai last week. She seems particularly interested to hear that he’s started running with Emi Ibarazaki, but she doesn’t reveal why. Even though there’s no bell in the library, we hear the distant chime from the hallway, signifying the end of the lunch-break, but before we can head off, Rika addresses us all excitedly.

“Wait, wait, I almost forgot!” By this point, she’s not even trying to whisper, but I doubt Yuuko is going to scold her, we’re leaving anyway. “Do you guys have any plans tonight?”

The three of us look to each other, and everyone shrugs and shakes their head to confirm that we don’t. Rika seems pretty giddy, it’s a little contagious, and I find myself getting excited about whatever she’s going to ask.

“No? Great! There’s a new film on in town, they’re screening a new film!”

“Really?” I ask, equally excited now. Even Lelouch looks surprised and is visibly excited. Hisao looks understandably confused.

“Uh, what’s the film about?” He asks, not really understanding our excitement. That’s understandable though.

“I have no idea!” Rika replies excitedly as we pass through the double doors of the library and into the hallway. The disparity between the emptiness of the library to the crowded hallways causes us all to stop for a moment, before we slip into the current of people heading towards class. Hisao looks even more confused than before, so I think it’s time to explain.

“The theatre in town is really nice, but it’s been showing the same three films since I arrived here. Since it’s family owned, they can’t really afford to get the latest stuff in, so it’s always showing older black and white films. Since there’s something new on, we could all go down and watch it!” I explain, Rika and Lou nodding along with me.

We’ve reached the staircase by the time I’ve explained both the theatre and our own weirdness to Hisao. He doesn’t seem put off by my explanation. In fact, he’s chuckling a little bit as well now.

“I haven’t been to the movies in a long time,” his smile falters noticeably, but he tries to recover his earlier mood. “I think it sounds nice, and I haven’t got any plans tonight anyway.”

Rika claps her hands excitedly as we step onto the staircase. “Well it’s settled then. Should we invite the others, or do you want it to just be us?” She asks with a wink.

That’s a good question. It’d be weird not to invite them, but I’m also a little worried that Suzu and Taro’s problems might start to bleed over into the group as a whole. Is that a selfish worry? I hope not, but even if it is, I think it’s a valid one. Lelouch has reached the top of the stairs before the rest of us, and is patiently waiting for us to reach him. I’m a little surprised to see both Rika and Hisao look physically drained. Well, I’m not surprised to see Rika like that, since her heart condition makes her tire easily. But, Hisao doesn’t look as tired as she does, so maybe I’m imagining things. Regardless, I’m still the last to summit, as it were.

Everyone is looking at me to answer Rika. I don’t know why that responsibility falls on me, but the longer I take to respond, the more likely they are to think that something’s up. So, I just get it over with.

“Yeah, we’ll ask them in class.” Hisao and Rika give me what I think are honest smiles, but Lou seems to have noticed my struggle answering. I get the feeling Taro and he have been talking as well, so it’s not especially surprising for him to look dubious.

“Where should we meet, and, uh, when?” Hisao asks, looking at his watch. Maybe he’ll set an alarm or something, can his watch do that? Wait, can mine?

Rika doesn’t respond since she’s noticed a friend from her class and is waving them over. So, I take over the planning. Rika’s a bit too scatter brained to form concrete plans anyway.

“Let’s meet up at 7, at the main gate? We can all head down together from there, it isn’t a long walk.”

Everyone seems okay with that plan, excited even. We wave a temporary goodbye to Rika, as she and her classmate venture off down the hallway, whilst Hisao, Lelouch and I head into our classroom.

I rouse Suzu, who beat me back to class today, and let her know the plans for tonight. Maybe it’ll cheer her up, who knows. Lou makes his way to his seat at the back of the class, and so he fills Taro in. I was hoping Hisao would talk to Lezard, but he seems to have been captured by Misha and Shizune.

I guess that leaves it to me. What a crappy way to end an otherwise nice lunch.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The afternoon classes passed lazily, and before long I’m changing out of my school uniform into a hoodie and a skirt for tonight’s plans. It’s a bit colder outside now, but I don’t have to worry about my legs feeling the chill, and so with Rika and Suzu beside me, we make our way to the front gates of Yamaku, bathed in the gold of the setting sun.

There’s something magical about Yamaku in its evening splendour, from the low chirping of the birds, to the smell of cut-grass that seems to permeate the lawns and flower beds, it feels so far removed from anywhere I’ve ever known. It used to feel so timeless, like nothing was ever changing, and I was all right with that. I know now that things were never entirely static, I’d just fooled myself into believing that. Even before things really started spiralling, we all had our problems. It’s strange how the arrival of Hisao has finally made me realise that we’ll be leaving Yamaku soon, that our time here is running out. I don’t know if it’s entirely fair to say I’m feeling that way because of Hisao, but there’s certainly correlation, if not causation.

The subject of my musing is standing before the gates, talking with Taro about something I can’t make out from here. Lelouch and Lezard are there too, and Lezard gives Lou a friendly punch on the shoulder as we approach, causing them both to laugh; they must have been joking about something. It’s nice to see everyone together again, even if after last night’s talk with Suzu, I’m starting to fear for the longevity of our group of friends.

Taro steps forward from the wall and bows deeply, which has the added affect of dropping his slung arm forward like a cat-flap.

“Ladies. Would you do us the honour of joining us fine gentleman for a trip into town?”

We all giggle at that, especially Suzu, who gives him a gentle push as he straightens up from his display. He immediately starts smiling, and the two head off through the open gates before us all. I really don’t understand her. Or him, for that matter. Whilst everyone is still chuckling, we head on after Taro and Suzu, with Lezard, Rika, and Lelouch slipping ahead of Hisao and me.

This is the second time we’ve ended up walking down the hill together, but unlike last time, Hisao seems more confident in himself. Despite that, he looks like there’s something bothering him. Maybe a memory from earlier that made him frown.

“Hey, Molly, can I ask you something?” We’ve already started to fall behind the rest of the group; I don’t know if he’s walking slow for me or for some other reason, but I appreciate it anyway.

“Sure, ask away.” I highly doubt he’s going to ask me something I’m not comfortable answering. Still, he takes a deep breath, which isn’t a great sign.

“I was going to ask you last week in the Shanghai, but it didn’t seem like the right time.” Okay, I’ll admit, I’m beginning to get a bit concerned. “I was going to ask, where are you from?”

Ah.

I was wondering when he would ask that.

It’s pretty obvious that I’m not fully Japanese. If anything, I’m surprised it’s taken this long for him to ask. That being said, it’s not exactly a simple story.

I’m really curious about Hisao too. I want to know more about him. I want to know why he frowned when he mentioned his old friends. I want to know why he’s here at Yamaku, what his family is like, who he really is.

If I want to know those things, I’ve got to be honest too. Even if it hurts. Especially if it hurts.

“Yeah,” I begin. We’ve slowed down considerably by this point, and the group in front of us are well ahead. That’s, that’s good. That makes things easier, I think. “I was born in Japan, but I’m only half Japanese,” he looks at me patiently. I mean, I guess maybe that was obvious. “My father is Japanese, but, but my mother, she was Indian.”

He clearly flinches when I say ‘was’, but there’s no helping it. I knew it would hurt to bring up again, it always does. But he’s, he’s smiling again. That really patient look from the fireworks. Maybe lowering my walls has lowered his too; it’s a pretty thought. He looks really tired.

“So, your mother… she’s not, uh,” He stutters out.

“No. She’s not.” I reply with finality.

I didn’t realise we’d stopped, but I guess we have, not that the others have noticed. Hisao’s still looking at me, waiting patiently. I don’t know if he’s waiting for me to say something else, there isn’t really anything else to say. ‘She was’, says all I want to say. I think he’s searching for the right words. A part of me wants to cry, but I’m fighting that urge. I’m not the same little girl who cried all the time eight years ago.

“I’m sorry.” He finally whispers, but neither of us start walking again. There’s something in the air between us, it’s not necessarily uncomfortable, but, something’s missing. I think he feels it too. There’s something that needs to be said, like the fireworks are going off again behind our eyes.

I don’t want to keep leaving things unsaid though.

“I was in the hospital recently.” He finally says. The golden light of the evening seems to slow everything down around us, like we’re stood in front of headlights colliding. “I used to go to the movies with my friends, but when I was in the hospital, they stopped visiting.” He sighs, I don’t know how to console him. I was in the hospital too, a long time ago, but I was so young, and Amir was always there. Hisao must have felt so alone, like he’d be left behind. Unless…

“Do you have any siblings?” I ask, and we start walking again, the chill of the evening enough incentive for us to catch up with the others. I think my question takes him off guard, but it really feels like one of his walls has come down.

“No. I’m an only child. Do you?”

For a minute I’m confused that he’s asking, but I quickly remember that he wasn’t present for yesterday’s lunch, and so he missed it when I received a text from Amir. “Yeah, I have an older brother, Amir. He visited last night.” The others have noticed the distance between us, and have slowed down in order for us to catch up.

He looks like he might say something else, but I carry on my train of thought.

“I was in the hospital too, a long time ago. But Amir was always there. I didn’t really need anyone else, and I was pretty young, so the staff kept me entertained.”

Hisao bites his lip in a thoughtful way, like he wants to ask me something but doesn’t quite know how. Even if his last question sent us into a bit of an intense conversation, I want him to keep asking me things. I want to know him more, and if knowing me more gets us there than I’m happy for us to keep swapping. He works up the nerve, and swallows.

“Is that, why you’re here?” He asks timidly. I guess that’s the safe way of asking me if was born without my legs or not.

“Yeah. I was in the hospital after an accident. I woke up like this” I gesture up and down my body,” more or less.”

Despite the atmosphere that we’ve somehow found ourselves in, Hisao chuckles. Rather confusingly considering the subject matter we’re discussing. He notices my confused look, and his smile already eases me, somehow.

“You woke up years older, great at chemistry, and enrolled at Yamaku?” It takes me a moment to understand the joke he’s making, but I can’t help by grin stupidly when I do.

“Okay, last time I tell you anything,” I respond, my tone light enough for him to be sure I’m joking.

He laughs, but he looks a little more serious again. Before we’ve fully caught up with the group, he gets a little bit closer and whispers to me, with a thoughtful look on his face.

“Thank you, Molly.”

It feels really warm here, really warm, despite the chill in the air.

“Thank you, Hisao.” I can feel the crimson in my cheeks again, so after a moment or two of awkward silence, I cough and look away, and he does the same.

We hurry to catch up with the others, don’t want the movie to start without us, now do we?

Maybe that would be nice…


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Last edited by Feurox on Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:34 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Feurox
Posts: 223
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:03 pm
Location: England, Oxfordshire

Redshift PT2

Post by Feurox » Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:56 am

Redshift PT2

To everybody’s surprise, the film being shown was a fairly new adventure flick about two young gentlemen adventurers, who stumbled across an ancient city and released a curse. It ended up having one of those corny morals, about how the treasure was ‘the friends we made along the way’, which was a little hard to believe, when they were in a city of actual, genuine gold. Surely that’s the treasure; physical, tangible treasure…

It was pretty awful, all things considered, but the experience itself has still left me giddy and happy, probably because the cheap popcorn and soda Suzu and I shared was so ridiculously sweet.

It’s a bit jarring to emerge from the pitch black of the movie theatre, but, the sun has pretty much completely set by now, so the transition isn’t nearly as extreme as it would be if it were mid-day. Still, I have to blink a few times, as I take in the view of warm white lights from shops and homes, the street lamps, and the moon mixing in an evening waltz.

It takes everyone a few moments to adjust to the evening light, and some of our friends look a little worse for wear. Rika and Lelouch look really tired, but, at least in the case of Rika, I understand why, her condition is pretty physically taxing. The cinema is a significant walk from campus, and had I not been swimming semi-regularly since I arrived here, I’d probably feel pretty tired too.

Taro stops before us, clicking his fingers together to get our attention. He’s got a surprisingly loud snap, but then, he can’t exactly clap.

“Would anyone care to join me for a drink before bed?”

Lelouch and Rika shrug and seem generally uninterested in his offer, as does Lezard, who I’d almost forgotten had joined us. Suzu immediately says yes, despite clearly being quite tired, but Hisao looks at me as if for… permission? He’s probably just concerned that he’d be a third-wheel if I didn’t join them.

“Sure – I owe you for yesterday’s lunch anyway.” I reply. Taro bats away my comment and spins on his heel gracefully, before leading the way down the backstreets of town towards the Shanghai.

We pass a few other students that I recognise from the year below, but other than that, we don’t see a soul. Once we arrive outside of the café, Lelouch, Rika, and Lezard bid us goodnight and depart for an earlier night.

Sometimes it feels like there are two sides in our group; it’s hard to explain, but when the four of us remaining enter into the quiet atmosphere of the café, that arbitrary division feels real and tangible, if only for a moment.

That’s a thought that’s been in the back of my mind a lot, and not just recently either. What happened to the three musketeers? It was meant to be Suzu, Taro and me against the world. It used to be, before Lelouch started hanging out with us, and before Rika and Lezard joined him.

Still, I’m grateful for their addition. For Hisao’s too. I’m not angry at Lou for our groups dynamic changing, I don’t think. It wouldn’t be fair if I was.

Is it fair if I’m angry at Taro and Suzu though? When they first started hooking up, it was behind my back. Hell, they’re not dating, and Suzu has made it quite clear she doesn’t love Taro, or, if she does, it isn’t in the same way that he loves her. The two of them changed the dynamic of our friendship, perhaps irrevocably, and I didn’t have a say in it. It doesn’t feel fair that they could change it all, and it doesn’t feel fair that I’m angry. Nothing feels very fair, I guess.

We make our way to a booth by the window, and a waitress (still no sign of Yuuko!) takes our orders. Two coffee’s and two hot chocolates, with the two coffees going to the pair sitting opposite me, Suzu and Taro.

It’s strange how quiet the café is now, considering how busy it was last night. I mean, sure, it’s a bit later than it was when I was here yesterday, but other than one elderly man at the front, it’s empty. Suzu notices me looking around and taps me on the hand.

“A change of pace from last night, huh?”

“Sure is, I could barely hear you over the crowd yesterday.” I reply. How is she being so natural around Taro, when she was in tears about him last night? She doesn’t make much sense.

“This place gets busy?” Hisao’s question is interrupted by the waitress depositing our drinks onto the table with a practised clink. He continues after pulling his hot chocolate a little closer to him. “I got the impression this place was always quiet like this.”

“For the most part it is, but every now and then it’s just bustling with people, and we’ve never figured out why.” I respond, and the other two familiars of the Shanghai nod their head in agreement.

The table falls silent. It’s not necessarily uncomfortable, but I’m grateful that Hisao is here, otherwise it may well be an awkward one. He doesn’t seem to mind the quiet, which seems like a good thing to me.

“So, Hisao.” I guess the silence between us was starting to bother Taro. He’s never really enjoyed prolonged silences, comfortable or not. “How’s it been going at the track with Ibarazaki?” I don’t know if Taro is being playful when he mentions Emi, since his tone doesn’t betray much, but Suzu raises an eyebrow inquisitively anyway, and I feel a bit on edge for his response myself.

“Well,” he starts, seeming to consider his drink rather than sip from it, “I wasn’t very keen on the early starts, or the running for that matter, but I feel much better for it now.” Taro seems to know something about Hisao that Suzu and I don’t know, because he makes an ‘ah’ noise in acknowledgement. Hisao continues, “I’ve actually been meaning to ask you guys something.”

Hmm?

It seems, I’m not the only one interested by this, as Suzu has moved from her lethargic position against the window to lean forward and listen intently.

“I know you have your own thoughts on Emi,” he gestures towards me and I feel a little guilty, “but I was hoping you three would join me in watching the track meet this weekend.”

Taro laughs and takes a sip of his coffee. “Don’t fancy hanging out with that Tezuka chick?” Hisao can’t help but cringe at her mention, but it doesn’t really seem like that’s the reason anyway. Before he can explain, Taro continues. “Sure, I’ll be there. In truth, I was planning on it anyway. It was that or tackle this week’s English homework.”

Everybody sighs at the mention of that, especially Hisao. Maybe he’s struggling to catch up. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in his position, and I certainly can’t help him with it – I’m barely keeping up as is.

“I’ll come too, Ibarazaki isn’t the only one on the track team after all.” Suzu waits a moment before adding, “She’s just the fastest one,” in a bitter tone.

Hisao looks at me to answer.

It’s true that I don’t really want to watch Emi race. We’ve never really gotten on, despite, as Taro once said, some obvious similarities. We’re just fundamentally different people. Hell, even our prosthetics are different; hers a below the knee, hence why she can run. I don’t think they even make running blades for my kind of amputation; not that I’ve ever considered running a very enjoyable way to stay fit. I always felt far more comfortable in the water, even before the accident.

I don’t hate the girl. I even understand why so many look up to her. I’ve just always felt that she was brilliant because of her disability, not in spite of it. Her prosthetics are a part of her identity, mine are not. At least, I hope they’re not.

Like Suzu said, it’s not really important that Emi’s racing. There will be others racing that I do get on with, like Miki from our homeroom, who always makes jokes about Suzu faking her condition.

Really, it’s just another opportunity for us all to hang out together. I want to take as many of those as I can, especially if it means I can keep learning more about Hisao. I think curiosity killed something or another…

“Should be fun.” I finally say, and I could swear Hisao looks relieved. I wonder if he’s been thinking about me in the same way I’ve been thinking about him.

“She’s got her hooks in you, hasn’t she?” Taro asks with a playful tone, and I immediately start blushing. Hisao, looks at him confused.

“Who?” He asks, sipping the remnants of his hot chocolate.
I don’t think Hisao is very good at observation, despite his scientific disposition.

“Emi, obviously.”

Oh. Maybe I’m not so good either.

Suzu glares at Taro, and probably pinches him. If she does, he doesn’t react, and keeps looking at Hisao with a morbidly curious expression.

Hisao laughs awkwardly. It’s pretty easy to tell that the question makes him uncomfortable. He even does that silly thing with his hair again. “It’s not really like that, I don’t think,” he says, much to Taro’s disappointment… and, my joy.

“Awww shame, she’s cu – AH!” Taro starts, but is cut off by a jab to the side courtesy of Suzu. He definitely felt that one, and everyone at the table laughs, including Taro.

“Say, have you ever had a girlfriend before?” Taro asks after he’s calmed down from his laughter. I’m not really sure where this line of questioning has come from, but he looks far more serious than before, like he isn’t really being playful anymore, but actually wants to know more about Hisao. It’s a feeling I share, so I turn to face him, intrigued.

“I, uh,” Hisao seems even more uncomfortable than before. “I guess the answer is… maybe? It’s complicated.”

That answer makes something inside me feel peculiar.

“Ah”, Taro says, before some kind of realisation comes over him, “Oh, right!”

What has Hisao told Taro? He sure seems to have a lot of inside information. Maybe I can worm it out of him sometime.

The science of discovery isn’t always moral, after all.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With the drinks paid for, we left the Shanghai and headed into the night. I used some of the money Amir gave me, maybe accidentally taking Hisao out on a ‘hot-date’ as Amir had suggested in the process.

We’ve only been walking up the hill for about seven minutes, but Hisao has slowed down considerably. Taro isn’t exactly a fast walker anyway, so me and Suzu ended up taking the lead, quite a distance away from them, though I can just about over-hear what Taro and him are talking about from behind us. I think Suzu might be eavesdropping too, but we’re both being extremely covert, obviously.

“It’s like, just when I start feeling normal again, or like I’m finally settled in, something reminds me that I’m here for a reason. Also, I really don’t know ho -” Hisao says to Taro, but a car passes us, cutting off the rest of his sentence.

“…it’s to be expected, you’re still coming to terms with everything, your condition included.” So, Taro does know Hisao’s reason for being here. Interesting. “Regardless, don’t make the mistakes I have.” What? What mistakes? What did Hisao say when the car drove past us and blocked it out?

Suzu squeezes my hand, drawing my attention away from the boys.

“Come on, we shouldn’t snoop.” She tries to pull me ahead, but I can’t speed up much more.

She’s right, I guess. But I’m still really curious, and I think she’s probably just worried that they’re talking about us. Maybe they are, maybe Suzu is the mistake to Taro. It would make sense, they don’t exactly have a healthy relationship… but then, what kind of advice was Taro giving?

By the time I’ve ‘accidentally’ tuned back into their conversation, they’re talking about soccer, and my interest wilts.

By the time we arrive at Yamaku, it’s gotten late enough for the campus security to be patrolling. They’re not enforcing curfew yet, but within the hour they will be.

This evening has given me a few things to consider, and since I’m not tired just yet, I could do with an opportunity to relax, but I’m not sure I have the energy to go swimming.

“Molly?” Hisao asks, and I turn to face him. Behind us, Taro and Suzu are sneaking off into the girl’s dormitories together, so I don’t really want to head back just yet.

“Hmm.” I end up responding. I’m not trying to be rude or anything, I just can’t stop thinking about a few things Hisao said today.

“Is everything alright?” He asks, he’s holding something in his hand.

“Sure, I’m just tired.” I respond, making sure to give him a smile in assurance. “What about you?”

“Yeah. I had a lot of fun tonight, so thanks.”

“You don’t have to keep thanking me you know.”

“Yeah, but I want too. You’ve made me feel really welcome here.”

I take a moment to consider that. Have I really been that welcoming? I’m glad, I just didn’t think I had. “Well, you’re welcome. I’m glad I met you.”

He seems relieved, and opens his fingers to reveal a phone. “I was just thinking; it might be useful to exchange numbers,” he says.

scientific fact.

Or maybe he just doesn’t want to head back to his room yet.

scientific theory.

“Good idea,” I respond, automatically fishing my own phone out from my hoodie pocket. “By the way, if we’re going to be at the track meet this weekend, we should try and get that English work done before.” I add. Then I tell him my number.

“Yeah,” he’s entering my number, so he’s preoccupied. “Why don’t we do it together? I could use the help, honestly.”

I laugh, and my phone vibrates with the text he’s sent, It reads [HISAO NAKAI]. I giggle again and add his number to my contacts.

“Okay two things. First, I’m not much help with English, you’d be better off asking Suzu.” He looks a bit disheartened before I continue, a little softer than before, “I still think we should do it together though.” His smile is contagious, especially when it’s half painted in the electric light of the pathway lamps like that.

“You said there were two things?”

“Well,” I show him the text message he just sent me. “You don’t have to text in all capitals.”

He mock sighs, “Just making sure you knew it was me.”

“I appreciate that.” I smile at him, and he smiles back.

A yawn escapes my lips unwillingly, and he chuckles dryly.

“I guess we should call it a night then, otherwise I probably won’t wake up in time for my morning run.” He says, though he looks a bit put down.

“Yeah, we can tackle that English work tomorrow after class?”

“I look forward to it,” he says, as we split up and head in the direction of our respective dorms. He turns around just before he enters. “Goodnight, Molly.”

“Goodnight, Hisao.” I reply, waving goodbye and heading down the winding path to my own dormitory.

I didn’t get to go swimming, and nothing feels very resolved. I still don’t know why Hisao is here. I still don’t know what’s going on with my best friends.

Yet, somehow, despite everything, I don’t feel quite so hopeless as I did last night. I don’t think I’ll mind doing that English homework if it’s with Hisao. Time is a peculiar thing.

I enter my bedroom, adding the letter that’s been slipped under my door to the pile on my desk. After my nightly routine of brushing my teeth, showering, and applying cream to the parts of my legs that are connected to the prosthetics, I’m ready for bed, so I slip under the covers and use the remote to kill the lights.

Just as I’m about to drift off, I hear a thumping sound from across the hall-way, where Suzu’s room is. I hear a few, and blush, before smothering myself in my pillows to try and drown out the noise.

Those idiots really want to hurt each other.


Contents Next
Last edited by Feurox on Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Zerebos
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Re: Gravity: A Molly Pseudo- Pseudo Route. Updated as of 08/01/2019

Post by Zerebos » Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:21 am

I really enjoyed this reboot. It's definitely got a different feel from the first one, but a good different. Can definitely tell that into act 2 you really picked up on Molly's inner voice. Although that could just be Molly finding herself since she's dealing with so much at once :)

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Re: Gravity: A Molly Pseudo- Pseudo Route. Updated as of 08/01/2019

Post by Feurox » Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:31 pm

Many thanks for the feedback Zere, and thank you to anyone still reading this. I hope you're enjoying the story. This next chapter was proofread by Scroff and Lap, thanks, as always.

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Observers PT1

Post by Feurox » Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:32 pm

Observers PT1
…And if you need me, remember not to call.

The facilities at Yamaku are open from very early until very late, because many people here have complicated schedules due to their conditions. It’d make sense for them to be open twenty-four hours a day, but it’s presumably quite difficult to find staff willing to watch over an empty swimming pool in the early hours of the morning, or the late hours of the night.

I’m one of the few people swimming so late, which is a welcome change of pace, given how busy the last few days have been. There’s another girl swimming, and a lifeguard sitting on a high chair, but it’s otherwise empty, and the occasional sound of paddling is soothing.

I remember swimming a lot as a little girl, when my mother would take me and Amir every weekend. I don’t think I was ever brilliant, but I could stay afloat and get from A to B. Obviously I’ve gotten slower since losing my legs, but I’ve never stopped enjoying the feeling of the water underneath and around me. It makes me feel weightless, like I’m suspended in space… when I close my eyes, it’s like I’m swimming among the stars.

I’ve already swam several laps, but I’m not really feeling tired. The week is passing slowly and, rather than being drained of my energy, I find myself to have a surplus of it, hence the reason I’m still swimming laps when there’s Biology, Japanese, Chemistry and English homework to do.

The Chemistry work should be easy enough, and whilst boring, the Biology shouldn’t pose a problem either. I promised Hisao that we’d go through the English work together, for as much help as I’ll be, but I’m definitely looking forward to doing it now more than I otherwise would be. He sent me a text earlier today asking if we could get started on it tomorrow night, as he has been dragged into helping the student council this evening. It’s fine by me, I haven’t had much time to go swimming of late anyway. I do wish I could have seen the look on his face when I told him that I was in the council last year, and I imagine I’ll get some questions about that later.

Last night’s trip to the movie theatre ended up leaving me with as many questions about Hisao as answers. I found out a few things: that he spent time in the hospital, and that he doesn’t see Ibarazaki in a romantic light.

Even nearly alone in the swimming pool, I feel my cheeks burning, and ducking my head under the water doesn’t help to fight that crimson glow.

There’s a lot going on right now. A lot of pots on the boil. I’ve got to work on my studies, but that’s always been a concern. The new stuff, like Hisao… how I think I feel about him, and how I hope he feels about me, that’s the stuff that’s frightening and exhilarating. Then there’s the purely frightening stuff—Suzu and Taro’s relationship. Unstable would probably be an understatement, and I’m worried about what will happen if they have an ugly break up. If it would even be a break up; I mean, they’re not supposedly together, so…

When I surface by the pool’s edge, I notice the other girl that was swimming earlier is staring at me from the shallow end. She’s sitting on the edge, her face a blend of confusion, and nervousness. I haven’t seen her before, and she looks young enough to be a first year. There’s nothing about her that gives away her disability if she has one, but she’s eyeing me up with curiosity. I can’t tell if she’s trying to peer through the water at my lack of legs or not, but the point is kind of moot, because you can’t really stare at a lack of something, right? Maybe I’m overthinking things, and she isn’t really staring at all.

I complete a few more lengths, but every time I reach the edge I glance back at the girl. She’s definitely staring, and I can’t help but feel a bit weirded out.

Is she… checking me out?

I shake the ridiculous notion out of my head. That can’t be it. Surely.



Surely

“Excuse me,” the girl calls out from the edge of the pool, startling me and causing me to swallow a good deal of chlorinated water in surprise. I splutter it up, and grab onto the edges of the pool for support. I’m quite good at floating, if that can be considered a skill. Amir says that it’s because I’m an amputee, but I’ve never done the research to back that up.

“Hi,” I try to respond with a smile, but I can still feel some of the water in my lungs. I end up smiling and grimacing in equal parts. There’s only a small amount of distance between us, about 6 metres, but it’s enough to feel uncomfortable. Given that she’s been staring at me, any amount of distance would probably be uncomfortable. She looks like she’s trying to word something in her head, pondering,. I take the opportunity to look her up and down. It’s only fair.

She’s got brown hair tied up in a pony-tail and her eyes are hazel/green colour. She’s quite cute, I guess. I mean, it’s not like I…

I don’t… I’m not…

I guess I’ve never thought about it…

Again, I shake the notion out of my head. I suppose I did come swimming for a chance to reflect, though I hadn’t planned to muse on my sexuality. That’s pretty rigid, I think. Aren’t you just meant to know that sort of thing?

“Are you a third year?” The girl asks. It’s not a very flirtatious question, which is relieving.

“Yeah. Kapur. Molly Kapur.” There’s a moment after I introduce myself where we both just sit there, well, I’m just sort of floating. “Are you a first year?”

“Second,” She responds, clearly more comfortable now. “Kato. Amaya Kato.” We nod at each other. I’m not sure what the purpose of this introduction was, but I guess it’s nice to know who my mystery watcher was.

She claps her hands together, like a light has just switched on behind her eyes. A eureka moment, if I’ve ever seen one. “Right, I wanted to thank you!” she says with a renewed energy.

Thank me for what? What have I done for her? I can’t remember doing any random good deeds.

“I’ve been to the pool a few times, but this is the first time I’ve actually managed to work up the nerve to swim,” she says, looking at me expectantly. I still don’t know what she’s talking about it, and I imagine my face is reflecting that.

We sit and float in silence for a little longer. This is getting awkward fast…

The look on her face makes me feel a little guilty, but she carries on explaining herself, though her tone has lost its excited edge. “I kept sitting by the edge with my feet in the water. I was really scared to go in, because of those,” she gestures to the wall beside her, where two crutches have been lent. I didn’t notice them before, and I’m not sure I would have without her pointing them out. It appears she’s got something wrong with her legs, or her motor-skills. It’s not a rare occurrence at Yamaku, so the crutches kind of blend into the background. “When I saw you swimming, I just, I realised I was being stupid and I should stop being such a coward. You inspired me to just get over myself and get in!”

Oh. I see.

The realisation that I’ve accidentally inspired this girl makes me blush pretty heavily again, but I can’t exactly duck back under the water now. I swim over to the pool-chair, which is a crane like device that allows me to get out of the water and into a temporary wheelchair beside it. It’s nice to be able to get in and out independently even if it’s not the most efficient. The girl is still waiting for me to reply, but I’m not really sure what to say.

“I just like swimming. I find it relaxing.” It’s not really a good response, but what does she expect. I didn’t come here for a conversation. At least I’ve had some time to reflect on this awkward encounter. Unsurprisingly, the girl looks even more put down than before. After rising from the water, I swap into the wheelchair. On busier days, the lifeguard would move it out of the way for other students, but there’s rarely more than three or four people at this time, so he hasn’t bothered, which is convenient for me now. The lifeguard fetches Amaya Kato’s crutches for her, and she rises shakily. At least the guy on duty has something to do tonight rather than just sit in his lifeguard chair thingy and look bored.

I feel a bit guilty for lowering the girl’s mood, but what else can I do? I’m not some inspiration story, I just do a few laps in the swimming pool every now and then. If that’s enough to inspire her to get into the water, then I guess good for her, but it certainly wasn’t my intention. If anything, I just feel uncomfortable for the observation, and a little sad that she doesn’t have anyone better to inspire her.

She looks like she might say something else, but instead gives me a fragile smile and hobbles away towards the changing rooms. She doesn’t seem to have much mastery over her crutches, which leads me to believe that she’s not used to using them. Though I suppose the floor here would be quite slippery…

The sight of her struggling reminds me of the physiotherapy I had to endure when I was first getting used to my prosthetics. My muscles had atrophied quite a lot whilst I was in the hospital, though I wasn’t ever that strong anyway. I was nine years old when I got my second set of legs, my fake ones. It takes a really long time to get used to artificial limbs, some people don’t at all. And then there’s the phantom pains, and the therapy. Going from functional to, well, functional with an asterisk, is a difficult transition…

I think… I’ve been a little too cold with this girl.

I wheel myself in the direction of the changing rooms. I catch up to the girl pretty easily, and she turns around and looks down to face me, the height difference from this angle is considerable.

“It wasn’t cowardly to be nervous,” I say, and I can immediately see some crimson in her cheeks, but clearly, she needs to hear this. “I’m glad you got into the water, but I shouldn’t be the reason. I didn’t have to overcome anything to start swimming. I just got into the pool… even after I lost my legs. It wasn’t really a big deal for me.”

She’s looking a bit confused now, but at least she’s not wearing that sad expression anymore. I continue.

“You have to accept yourself on your own terms, do what you can on your own terms. I mean, I’m not inspiring because I can swim with no legs, because it was never something that challenged me much to begin with… the idea of swimming, that is. I am a lot slower than before I lost my legs,” I laugh to try and lighten the mood, and Kato gives me a courtesy giggle, though I can tell she’s still a bit lost with my lecture. I shrug and give her a smile. “I’m just saying you’re more inspiring than I am, because you overcame something today.”

I can tell she doesn’t fully get my point, but at least she’s smiling back at me now, instead of looking depressed.

“Thank you, I think.” She finally says, and we both let out quiet laughs. She gives me as gracious a bow as she can, before hobbling in the direction of one of the changing room stalls. I do the same in order to begin the process of showering, drying myself, changing, and re-attaching my prosthetics.

Amaya Kato is a peculiar girl.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The pool building isn’t exactly huge, but it’s definitely one of the newer and more extravagant buildings to decorate Yamaku’s campus. Inside, there’s the pool, (I mean, obviously), a few fitness studios and a very small gym. Not many people use the gym, not that there’s much to use within it, save for a few treadmills, exercise bikes, and two rowing machines that I still have no idea how to operate. There are a few resistance machine things too, according to Taro, but I don’t know how they operate.

As I emerge from the changing rooms, Taro greets me, dressed in exercise gear that does nothing to flatter his figure.

“Hey Molly, heading back to the dorms?” He asks, fiddling with his slung arm and hoisting a small gym bag over his shoulder.

“That’s the plan.” It’s been a while since I’ve seen Taro alone like this. “Good workout?”

“Yeah, it was nice and quiet,” I’ve always found the mental image of Taro working out to be humorous. He gestures towards the doors, and we exit the reception area into the grey evening. It feels like it’s going to rain, like the sky is a canopy in a downpour. “How was your swim?”

“Interesting to say the least,” Taro raises an eyebrow at me. “There was a girl swimming, she said I inspired her.”

I expect him to respond with laughter, but he doesn’t, instead he’s wearing a confident smile.

“Well, I’m not surprised. You’re like the model student.Aren’t you like top of the class for Chemistry and Physics?”

I chuckle at the misunderstanding. Though hearing Taro say that makes me feel a little proud. It’s strange how different that kind of praise feels when it’s about my academic abilities and not my physical ones.

“It was because of the swimming, Taro, and Hisao’s probably top for Physics now,” I correct him, and his poised smile quickly turns to a bombastic laugh.

“Emi of the water!”

One day I’ll figure out a way to use my prosthetic as a weapon, but for the moment I settle for giving Taro a swift karate chop to the side, which I execute masterfully by the way. Taro doesn’t seem to register it much, and just laughs even more.

“I hate you Taro. I want you to know that.”

His laughter has drawn the attention of the few students roaming the pathways of Yamaku, and it seems to have even pierced the heavens, as a single drop of rain lands on my head. I take another look towards the clouds, the sky looks like a porcelain ceiling, cracking under the weight of the world.

We’re passing the auxiliary building now, so it shouldn’t take us long to arrive at our respective dormitories, I highly doubt either of us wants to get caught in the rain, so the tiny increase in our respective speeds feels necessary, even if we’re both used to walking pretty slowly.

“Feels like I’m hearing that a lot lately…” Taro trails off, just as another drop hits my shoulder, and then another on my hand. Hear what? That people hate him? I guess my confusion is obvious, and Taro laughs, like… like the hollow way that Suzu does…

“Well, not that. I don’t know. Sorry Mori, I’m just being stupid.” It’s frightening how quickly his mood changed from a moment ago, but I don’t think it was entirely my comment that set it off. I haven’t spoken to him about Suzu since before the festival… not that I really have a desire to get involved. He carries on regardless, as more and more raindrops land around us. “I feel a bit trapped you know?” Our pace increases again, though I’m not sure if it’s just to avoid the rain anymore.

“With Suzu?” I know the answer, but I ask anyway. It furthers the conversation.

“Uh-huh. I want to believe we can make it work, but I’m beginning to feel like a piece of meat.” He laughs as he says that, but I can tell he’s not really joking.

No matter how much I think about it, I can’t escape the angry feeling in my gut. Like they both took steps to let things reach this uncomfortable point, and neither of them can see past it. Then, I start feeling guilty for being angry at them, but what can I do? I can’t choose sides, they’re my best friends – and they’re hurting each other, seemingly on purpose.

That’s unfair of me, the situation is more complex than that. It’s like they’re doing it knowingly, but not deliberately, and neither one of them knows how to get out of the situation they’ve caused. I don’t really know if there’s a solution… but I hope they try, if not for their own sake then for the sake of our friendship as a group. I’m already feeling uncomfortable around them, and I’ve been friends with them longer than the others, so I can’t help but imagine the others feel the same too.

Taro has fallen for Suzu, but the feeling isn’t returned. And yet, neither of them wants to stop what they’re doing… I think Suzu believes she’ll suddenly start feeling something if they continue, and obviously Taro is keen for her to think that. Likewise, Taro seems to feel like he’s some convenience, not a person of actual romantic interest… I don’t think that’s how Suzu really sees him, but I can’t help but feel sorry for him anyway.

Maybe there’s some logic in Suzu’s actions. I think I was the one who taught her about propinquity, but if there’s no spark, there’s no spark.

The rain has really started to come down now, how miserable.

After a few moments of silent walking, I take Taro’s, uh, clammy hand and gives it a reassuring squeeze.

“You’re not just some piece of meat.” He doesn’t seem reassured, but I think I know how to lighten the mood a bit. I squeeze his hand again, and pull him gently so he’s facing me. “You’re the prime cut.”

That seems to do the trick, if only a little, and he gives me a half-smile. It feels like a reward, like the shelter at the end of the storm. Okay, that might be wishful thinking given the rain.

“Now come on or we’re going to get soaked,” I speed up again a little, tugging him along behind me. I hear him laugh again.

“You were literally just swimming!”

“I still don’t want to get my clothes soaked,” I can’t exactly run, and Taro is pretty opposed to it as well, so we end up speed-walking as fast as possible, automatically heading towards the boys’ dormitory rather than the girls’. We pass by the mural that Emi’s artist friend—Tezuka, I think she’s called—painted.

At this point of the pathway we’d usually say our goodbyes, but Taro gives my sleeve a tug like a lost child or something.

“Why don’t I cook you some food, it’s been a while,” he asks, a pleading look in his eye.

The idea of eating another one of Taro’s… creations … is unappealing at the best of times, but especially so when I’ve already eaten. Still, it has been quite some time since we hung out together.

“I’ll pass on the food, but I’ll come hang out whilst you make yourself something.” He looks happy, and then immediately puts on an exaggerated pout as we head towards the boys’ dormitory.

“What’s wrong with my cooking?”

“You’re kidding, right?”

For a moment he looks at me with a serious expression, but he’s never had much of a poker face, and he relents into another colourful laugh.

“Okay, point taken. Let’s get out of this rain.”

We make our way into the boys’ dormitory in silence. I think both of us are just happy to get inside and out of the weather. I’m immediately greeted by the smell of, um, boys, I guess, as we enter into the warm and welcoming lights of the common room. It’s moderately busy, with about six or seven people mulling around, playing games and chatting. Taro seems to recognise everyone in the room, but he only gives them a wave and the occasional nod of acknowledgement. I don’t know who any of them are; maybe Taro doesn’t either and is just being polite – but his personality, specifically how weird he tends to be, makes that unlikely.

After dropping off our bags off in his room down the hall, we proceed to the pantry. Unlike the one in the girls’ dormitory, the boys’ pantry is down the hallway from the common room, so it’s nice and quiet. We open the window to listen to the sound of the rain, and, though I don’t tell Taro, to avoid the stench of whatever he decides to concoct.

“So, what’s new with you then?” he asks, his hands digging through his pantry cupboard, occasionally pulling out a can of something and putting it back with a sigh. How much food does he keep in there?

“Not much, I’ve been tutoring Lelouch some more, I’m really enjoying it. What’s new with you?” I ask in return. Taro makes a happy grunting sound and pulls out a tin of what looks like chopped tomatoes, or something.

“Besides the, uh, developments with Suzu, not much, to be honest. I’ve hung out with Hisao a little.” He places the can on the worksurface, and then starts to rifle through the fridge for more ingredients. Before he finds anything, he turns to face me. “He’s quite an interesting guy, wouldn’t you say?” He delivers that with a wink. How subtle.

“He’s pretty interesting.” I think Taro is trying to tease me, but I can reverse the position he’s attempting to put me in. I take a look at the door, just to make sure it’s closed behind us.

Good, we’re alone.

I get up from the table, which is enough for Taro to give me a curious look from his position crouched down in front of the refrigerator. Now for the display of strength.

Sticking my hand firmly on the top half of the closed refrigerator door, I put my hand on his shoulder firmly. He’s looking really confused now.

“Spill the beans.” I try to make my voice low and commanding, but I don’t think I do very well. Still, Taro plays along and pretends to quiver under my touch. He raises a shaky hand, and points a wobbly finger towards the countertop behind me. He’s pointing at…

That tin he pulled out earlier. It’s kidney beans.



Don’t laugh. Don’t laugh. Don’t laugh.

Must. Stay. Resolved.


No, it’s no use. I crumple into laughter. Taro chuckles as well, before fishing out some green onions from his shelf in the fridge.

“So, what’re you actually asking me?” He shimmies past, picking up the can and rifling around the drawers for an opener. I’m not really sure what he’s going to cook with a couple of green onions and kidney beans, but I’m not going to hang about the counter waiting to find out. Even my desire for discovery has its limits, so I sit back on the table and lean on my hands.

I let out a sigh, a little frustrated that Taro could just look through me like that. I thought I could be at least a little intimidating… Evidently not.

“Well, you seem to know a lot about him…” I ask, but trail off.

What am I asking? I want to know why he’s here; I want to know what they’ve spoken about, but would Taro even tell me any of that if I asked? Would Hisao be upset me with if I found out these things behind his back? Probably, right?

Taro smiles at me patiently, but also a little condescendingly. I think he knows the predicament I’m in. He turns to face me and leans back against the counter, a newfound seriousness on his face. It’s kind of a rare look for Taro.

“Look,” he says patiently, “If you want to know about Hisao, why don’t you try asking him? That’s what I did.”

I don’t really like how condescending Taro is sounding right now, but he’s got a point. The questions I have about him aren’t really questions I can ask Taro, and even if he were to tell me, I’d probably just end up feeling guilty because of how I learned it. I let my head sink into my arms fully, and let out another long sigh. Taro laughs, and turns around to continue cooking.

I’m asking for romantic advice from Taro… hell must have frozen over already.

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Last edited by Feurox on Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:40 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Feurox
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Location: England, Oxfordshire

Observers PT2

Post by Feurox » Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:33 pm

Observers PT2

I take one last look around my room. Everything has been put away neatly. My bed is made, my clothes are all folded and tucked into their respective drawers, and the piles of letters that I’ve accumulated are no longer scattered all over my room, but are hidden beneath a jumper in my wardrobe. It was a bit surreal to realise how many I actually had, but I don’t have much time to go down that rabbit hole, Hisao will be here soon.

After talking with Taro last night, and watching him eat some peculiar medley of beans and tomatoes that he called ‘cowboy stew’, I texted Hisao and asked him if he wanted to do the English work tonight. Well, when I sent the text it was for tomorrow night, which is now, but anyway…

It was Taro’s idea that I invite Hisao to my room, so we could ‘talk’. He made some exaggerated gestures to accompany that word, but I’m not entirely sure what he thinks we’ll get up to. The English homework does have to be finished, and I’m not sure it’ll set the mood for any of the burning questions I have.

With that thought on my mind, I hear a knock on my door. Of course, the moment I start thinking about anything remotely nerve wracking, he shows up. I stand up from my bed, and take one last look at myself in the mirror. It’s not like I’ve dressed up or anything, but Suzu has mentioned that I look cute in this jumper before, and, well, it is just the two of us, and…

Great. I had to start thinking like that right now, didn’t I?

I take a steadying breath, and say a little prayer that the colour in my cheeks will magically disappear. Then I open the door.

“Hi.” I say.

Hisao hasn’t changed out of his uniform, but it looks like he’s made some effort to straighten his tie a bit. Under one arm he’s carrying a notepad with some English books, and in his other hand, he’s got his phone out.

“Hi,” He follows my gaze to his phone, “I was double checking I had the room number right.”

I smile at that. “You couldn’t remember one number?” I ask.

He sticks his phone in his pocket, and looks me up and down. It feels pretty intense to be examined like that. “I emptied my head for all the English learning we’re going to be doing.” He returns my smile, “I didn’t realise I was supposed to dress up.” He says, and I laugh.

“Well the school jumper is kind of scratchy.” He gives me a curious look, but it’s not exactly a conversation starter so we just stand in the doorway for a minute. “You want to come in?” I ask, which is a bit of a stupid question.

“Well, that was the plan, right?”

I giggle, and step aside to let him in, which he does with a laugh of his own.

He scans my room with a curious expression. I guess my room is a bit plain, all things considered. I have a couple of posters. One’s a large periodic table, and the other is some absurdly girly picture of a unicorn that Suzu thought was funny. Hisao looks inquisitively at the first one, but laughs at the second. I shrug and he continues to look around.

There are a few books on my shelf, mostly stuff for school, and a few light novels Amir bought me when I was younger. At the end, there’s a pile of manga comics beneath the small plush dog that Hisao won for me at the festival, and he gives the plushie a knowing look.

“He guards them,” I answer Hisao’s unspoken question and he chuckles.

The only other things in my room are a few photos of Suzu, Taro and me. A couple are from last year’s festival, and there are a few of each of us in the city, or in the Shanghai. Each photo brings back a series of fond memories, and Hisao smiles at seeing them.

After shutting the door, I follow him into my room fully and sit on my bed, offering Hisao the desk to sit down at. I pull my own English worksheet from my bag.

Hisao pulls my desk chair out and sits down, placing his work on the desk table, and twiddles a pen in his fingers. “Your room is really cosy, it makes me realise how bland mine is.” He says that with a laugh, but sounds a little sad.

“Haven’t you put any photos up?” I ask, nodding to the few plastered across my wall.

He shakes his head. “I just didn’t really think to decorate.”

“Doesn’t feel like home?” I try to soften my tone a little bit, though that doesn’t make my question any less invasive.

Hisao takes a moment to consider that, but shakes his head again. “Maybe, or maybe I’m just a bit lazy,” he laughs.

“Well, why not put up some photos of your friends from home?”

It takes him a moment to think about that. “You know, I don’t think I have any to put up.” That sad smile he wore during the festival rears its heart-wrenching head. Well done, Molly, you’ve dampened the mood in the first five minutes.

“Well then, we should get you a poster or something, or take a photo of us together,” I offer, and he raises an eyebrow in my direction, his pen twirling in his fingers.

“A photo of us?” he asks, and my cheeks immediately heat up again.

“Yeah, like all of us, obviously, not just a photo of us two, not that, I mean, I think,” come on Molly, use your words. I take a deep breath, but Hisao just laughs out loud.

“I knew what you meant; I was just teasing you. It’s kind of easy to fluster you.”

I shrug and pull my jumper collar over my mouth.

“It’s cute,” he says.

Huh? I look towards Hisao, and he’s writing away on the worksheet. He’s not very good at hiding his blush though, and I’m thankful for my oversized jumper too. Did he really just call me cute? Or did I imagine that?

“I…” I don’t really know what to say.

Uh.

Do I call him cute back?

“You’re…”

No that’s stupid. That’s really dumb.

I take another look down at my worksheet. It’s not going to do itself.

“What the hell is an ampersand?”

“Huh?” Hisao asks, following my eyes to the worksheet. He laughs awkwardly, and begins to explain.

It takes me a few moments to really start listening.
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The evening passes quickly. It’s pretty useful studying English with Hisao. Although we’re both awful at the subject, our limited knowledge combined seems to have just done the trick, and we’ve managed to scrape through and finish the sheet with what could be described as ‘some ease’.

“Hisao? I ask tentatively, and tap the wooden frame of my bed with the end of my pencil. He gestures for me to give him a second, and after a moment of hasty scribbling, he looks up with a proud smile.

“Finished!” he practically shouts, before calming down and coughing. “Sorry, what was up?”

I giggle and gently drop my worksheet down on the bed with an unsatisfying plop. “I’m finished too! We did it!”

Hisao bursts out laughing. I think it’s the first time I’ve heard him laugh like that, not thinking about anything but the relief of having finished our homework.

“We should celebrate!” he claims, before tapping his worksheets together on the desk and sliding them back into his bag.

“How?”

“I hadn’t thought that far ahead,” he reveals and laughs again, though it’s more tempered this time.

I lift my sleeve and take another look at my watch, it’s late evening.

“It’s probably too late to walk down to the Shanghai,” I say, and Hisao leans back into my chair in thought.

“We could…” He rubs his chin and looks out the window.

I follow his gaze to the window, to the tinge of purple cresting the tops of the trees outside.

“Do you want to go for a walk?” I ask.

“A walk?”

“Yeah, like, uh...”

“Like old people?” He smiles, but gets up from the chair and slips his work back into his bag.

“I guess. Suzu says I’m a bit of an old lady sometimes,” I respond, and sidle to the end of my bed until I can hoist myself upright. Hisao watches me with a strange mixture of curiosity and bemusement. When I make eye contact with him, he turns to look away.

“Is it hard having prosthetics?” He asks, and the timid look on his face from the festival rears its head again.

I shrug, and stick my arms through my jacket that was hanging on the back of my desk chair. “It’s harder than not having them, but I was young when I lost my real ones.”

He doesn’t say anything else, and we exit out into the hallway. He’s kind of killed the giddy mood we were in.

The hallway smells of something burnt, probably from the pantry, and thankfully there’s no noise coming from Suzu’s room across the hall. I’m pretty sure she’d tease me if she saw Hisao and me walking out into the night.

We take the stairs slowly and quietly. I wonder what Hisao’s thinking; he keeps looking at my legs and rubbing his chest. Taro told me to just ask him my questions and now I can’t help but wonder if he’s had a similar conversation with Hisao.

When Hisao opens the double doors of the dormitoriy, I’m made immediately thankful for my jacket. The evening is still bright, but a gust of wind threatens another cold night at Yamaku. Hisao turns back towards me with a smile, his head backed by swaying tree-tops and the twilight.

“Where to?”

“Let’s just walk in a random direction,” I reply with a smile of my own.

“Molly’s guide to getting lost,” he smirks, and despite my attempts, I can’t help but laugh.

We begin walking without much purpose, and before I realise it, our footsteps sync up. Maybe that’s just natural, to fall in time with the person next to you, but I don’t remember being so conscious of it before. It’s a weird feeling, to be so conscious of the person beside you, to be so focused on them even when you’re not looking at them.

“The stars are coming out,” Hisao states with an absent-minded tone. I’ve noticed him do that a little, like he says things that have just happened to come into his mind without any mediation. It’s honest, and kind of cute.

Just to the right of the path, in a small clearing between the trees, there’s a bench, and we wordlessly find ourselves wandering towards it. Hisao chuckles as I sit down, and takes his seat beside me.

“We’re really going for the ‘old person’ vibe then?”

“Not what you had in mind for a celebration?” I ask, and he shrugs, still smiling.

“No, it’s actually kind of fitting,” he says, and his hand finds his chest again.

That’s another thing I’ve noticed about Hisao. He often does this little routine of rubbing his chest. Like when he’s about to say something or ask something. Maybe it’s another sign of his honesty, maybe his words come from the heart… that’s a pretty thought.

Taro told me I should just ask Hisao about himself, about why he’s here. I want him to be ready to tell me, I do, but I kind of feel like I’m walking on eggshells around some topics with him. His condition is pretty much a mystery, though I have some ideas. He said he ‘sort-of’ had a girlfriend before at the Shanghai, and I’ve thought about it more than I perhaps should have. I want to get closer to him, I know that.

“I really like the stars,” he says a little sadly, “I’ve never really seen them like this before.”

I take a look up.

The purple of the evening has withdrawn so that only small tendrils of twilight seep into it, like veins in the sky. In the darkest parts, the stars burn brightly; a thousand glowing dimensions, holding back another solar system. The view is beautiful, like a symphony of wonder; the swaying of the trees, the bright stars, the gentle breeze.

“I love them,” I reply, but Hisao’s gaze remains on those distant lights. “When I was younger, my mother and I would sit outside until the early hours of the morning, scanning the sky with a telescope she bought for my brother.”

Hisao gives me his attention with an interested smile, so I continue.

“Amir was never really interested in astronomy. He didn’t really like the sciences, much to our mother’s dismay.” It makes me smile to think about her, and I sit back into the bench, relaxed. “She was a science teacher at a local school, while my dad was”—I cough and correct myself—“My dad is a lawyer.”

The obvious correction isn’t lost on Hisao, but he doesn’t ask. I’m thankful.

“Anyway, mom and I would sit outside, she’d point out the constellations and tell me stories about astronauts and aliens. We’d drink hot chocolate and put up a little tent.” I say, and Hisao smiles warmly.

“I like them a lot too,” he begins. “Since I moved here, I’ve found myself looking at them a lot. It’s like behind each star there’s another world.” His expression looks a bit worried, like he thinks I’ll laugh at him, so I give him a reassuring nod.

“I know it’s a bit stupid, but I can’t help but wonder if somewhere out there, someone or something is looking up at our star and wondering the same ‘what if’s that I am,” he continues. “It makes me feel a bit weird.”

“I know what you mean,” I agree, and the conversation reaches a natural lull. I take another look up those stars; like signal fires in a dark sea, and feel a strange mixture of hope and sadness.

“You ever look up and wish you were someone else?” I ask, and Hisao exhales loudly.

“Yeah,” he agrees.

He turns to face me, and I swallow hard.

“Why are you here?”

He winces, but doesn’t recoil or retreat. I was expecting him to react more visibly, but it’s like he was prepared for my question. He sighs again.

“I have a heart condition,” he finally says. He sounds like a recording.

“Is it serious?” I ask, and Hisao looks away from me.

After another long pause, he says, “Yeah. It is.” I guess I appreciate the honesty.

I lean back and sigh.

I’d prepared myself for the worst, like a terminal illness or something, but it still hurts to hear it’s something so serious. I don’t really know what to say.

How do you move on from that?

Hisao…smiles.

He smiles.

I smile back.

“Thank you,” I eventually say.

Maybe things aren’t so bleak as I first thought.

And Hisao laughs, not like a recording, but like someone who hasn’t laughed in a really long time. Full bodied and free.

I’m not sure I could explain why, but I find myself laughing too.

I take another look into the sky as we laugh. Another gust of wind brushes us, it’s still cold on my skin, but somehow, I feel warm.

Maybe somewhere out there, in those millions of burning stars, there’s a couple looking up, crying at some terrible news they’ve just heard, and their lights dim just a little. Maybe in another world, that couple is us.

But our two in a million lights shine on, brighter, maybe.

Closer?

Maybe.

I look up and see those distant stars. Fires burning and exploding, beginning and ending millions of light years away. In the face of infinity, what else can you do but laugh?

Then, I look at Hisao, who turns to face me as well.

And for the first time, I see the boy I’d only seen in glimpses.

We smile.

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Razoredge
Posts: 122
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:31 pm
Location: Bordeaux, France

Re: Gravity: A Molly Pseudo- Pseudo Route. Updated as of 11/03/2019

Post by Razoredge » Sun Nov 03, 2019 4:20 pm

Well, I have to say, it's really cute. I'm not a fan of Hisao's character, but pieces like this one contribute, for me, to like this character a little bit more.

I really think that the relation between Hisao and Molly can become really interesting, and be sure I'll read every update with joy.
Lilly = Akira > Miki = Hanako > Emi > Rin > Shizune

Stuff I'm currently writing : Beyond the haze : A Lilly Satou pseudo-route & Razor's One Shots & misc.

NuclearStudent
Posts: 58
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:05 am

Re: Gravity: A Molly Pseudo- Pseudo Route. Updated as of 11/03/2019

Post by NuclearStudent » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:04 am

Adorable.

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