The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 4/16!)

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HoneyBakedHam
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Re: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 6/2!)

Post by HoneyBakedHam » Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:18 am

Quite a popular theme in Japanese anime and manga. And, unlike how it's done in the US, is done rather tastefully and/or comically (like Negima).

I was just thinking of something not as bland as another Lilly route. Not my story though, so whatever the author chooses, that's fine.

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Puncyclopedia
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Re: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 6/2!)

Post by Puncyclopedia » Thu Jun 04, 2015 12:50 pm

HoneyBakedHam wrote:Quite a popular theme in Japanese anime and manga. And, unlike how it's done in the US, is done rather tastefully and/or comically (like Negima).

I was just thinking of something not as bland as another Lilly route. Not my story though, so whatever the author chooses, that's fine.
The thing is, I couldn't do it comically, because I've seen it happen in real life and how it worked out in that case would inevitably color any perception of it when I actually sat down to try. This story is likely to be depressing enough as it is. xD

It's not an invalid route to take with the premise thus far, just not one I'm particularly interested in exploring.
Characters: Shizune > Lilly > Rin > Emi > Hanako
Routes: Lilly > Rin > Shizune > Hanako > Emi

Replaying now, so subject to flux. Except Shizune. Shizune is best.

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Re: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 6/2!)

Post by HoneyBakedHam » Thu Jun 04, 2015 2:33 pm

Ah, understandable.

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Act 1, Chapter 6 - Night and Day

Post by Puncyclopedia » Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:30 pm

I'm alive! Sorry this took so long to post! Things have been hectic, and may be for another week or so, but after that I should be back on a more normal schedule.

* * *

No matter how much I try to convince myself otherwise, grading handouts just isn't fun.

It doesn't matter what I do. I can have music on in the background. I can put on a wacky game show. I can work in my apartment or the Shanghai. I can have a cup of tea, a cup of coffee, or water. None of it matters.

I remember how annoyed I was when Mutou-sensei would give us unnecessarily long and unnecessarily difficult work. Now, I realize that it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows for him, either. Someone had to grade those assignments. Now? I'm that someone.

Four days in, and nothing's gone horribly wrong just yet. Tomorrow is Friday. I have a quiz tentatively scheduled for Monday. The work I'm grading reflects a class that neither seems to truly understand nor be totally lost with the material. Everything is utterly average.

I think back to what Osamu said as his paper comes up in my stack. Science isn't really his favorite subject. I think most of my class would agree. When I teach, I can see them paying some form of attention. For at least part of the time.

The rest of the time is spent chatting, passing notes, and doodling in notebooks. Nothing's changed. At least I don't have to deal with any troika as bad as Shizune, Misha and I probably were. Sure, our grades were fine – or in some of our cases, better than fine. We were, however, a first-class distraction. Nothing in 3-3 is that bad.

I suppose the quiz will help me know where everyone actually stands. It's also the start of a new year. Students are busy, just like teachers. Club meetings are starting. Yamaku is a flurry of activity. It's almost jarring, really, since I transferred in too late to see it. The school festival and Tanabata were similarly busy, but this is...less urgent, somehow.

That may be because I'm not in the Student Council, though. Shintarou, the student council president, has already skipped a class on official student council business. He seems smart enough that he'll be okay, but it's the principle of the thing. Not that I have any room to judge, really.

Osamu's paper is finished. With that done, nine of the eighteen papers are graded. That, I decide, is more than worth taking a break. When I look up from my work, though, I despair at what I see.

My desk is covered in Chinese food takeout cartons. The apartment as a whole is a mess. Worn dress clothes are strewn over the couch. I don't even know for sure if I have a clean set for tomorrow.

“I'm not very good at this,” I say, heaving a sigh. Grading will have to wait. For now, I have a few other things to take care of. The Chinese food containers find their way into the trash quickly enough, and my slacks and shirts are deposited in the hamper in my room. Mercifully, my room is the one part of the apartment that doesn't look like a disaster area, but that's only because all I do in it is sleep. The bedroom is spartan in décor and limited in function. I read somewhere that the bedroom being a place to focus on sleeping helps you actually sleep. It seems to help me.

With the most obviously offensive mess cleaned up, I sit back down at my desk. There are nine papers to grade and I do not want to grade them, but they aren't going to grade themselves. It would, I recognize, be really easy to procrastinate until there is a giant pile of put-off work and ungraded papers that would threaten to kill me, but I can't let that happen. I want to enjoy my day and a half of a weekend. There's also the fact that I'm meeting my mentor at the Shanghai, and social trip or not, I imagine work will be on the menu for discussion.

With a weary sigh, I dive into paper number ten. It's about as much fun to grade as the first nine were.

* * *

I roll over for the umpteenth time, in the process accidentally knocking my sheet off of me. Groaning, I reach down to grab it and pull it back over me. Even now marginally warmer, though, I still can't sleep.

So much for my bedroom being virtually empty and devoid of light being a good way to help me sleep. I finished my papers like a good teacher and retired to bed soon after, but it's been at least two hours and I haven't gotten a single wink of sleep yet.

Sighing, I spread my limbs out in my bed and stare up at the dark ceiling. Sleeping is good. I like sleeping. This time of day, though, is the time that I hate the most. Nothing good ever happens in the time between I lay down and manage to fall asleep. That's the time I'm alone with myself. It's the time that I start thinking depressing things.

It's been three years, for example, but sleeping alone still feels deeply strange. Not just strange, though. It feels...wrong, somehow. Unnatural. Just as unnatural as being able to sleep next to another person was in the beginning. It took us weeks to not constantly wake each other up. In the dark, we couldn't even communicate, beyond annoyed jabs in the ribs with elbows and crawling all over each other until exhaustion finally set in.

Once it worked, though? It was wonderful.

I miss it. I miss her. No matter how much I think I have myself convinced that I've gotten past everything that happened three years ago, a night like this reminds me that, no, I'm not quite there yet.

I'm much better off than I was in the aftermath, not that anyone would have known. I'm surprisingly good at hiding how I feel when I have to. It's just that some people always seem to know. My mother's one of them. Shizune was another. I couldn't hide anything from her, not that I wanted to most of the time.

Three years. Three goddamned years. I finished my degree in that time and got a job at Yamaku. I'm an adult now, whatever that means. I pay rent and have my own place to live. I am, theoretically, a success right now.

Why, then, do I feel so empty? I have fulfilling work, and yet...

Why, then, do I feel so alone? I have a mentor at Yamaku, a mentor in Mutou-sensei who I can call whenever I want, and a loving family, and yet...

I know why. I just don't want to admit it.

Shizune Hakamichi is the sort of person that only walks into your life once. You get one shot. I met her as a depressed kid coming off the worst time of his life. I had the best four years of my life with her.

In an instant, seemingly, it was over, leaving me alone with a pile of what-ifs and my darker thoughts. That's the way the world works. Sometimes, things just don't work out, no matter what you do or how hard you try. I get that. I understand it.

No pain that exists, or at least, none that I've ever felt, compares to that cold reality.

I resign myself to another night staring at the ceiling until exhaustion takes over.

* * *

As I step out of my apartment building and feel the chill of early morning soak into my tired body, I curse my decision to put my alarm clock all the way across the room from my bed. It worked as intended, forcing me to get up to turn it off. Once I was up, I had a lot fewer excuses to go back to bed.

The walk to Yamaku is a lot harder than the walk from Yamaku. Going there is uphill. It's a gentle, windy incline, but it's a good long way up there when all is said and done. Once I'm out of town, I enjoy the views of open space and green grass as I walk alongside the winding road. With my bag slung over my shoulder, I go at a good clip, not so fast that I start sweating, but not so slow that I'll be late.

Over the past couple of days, I've been early enough that I have no company on the walk. Today, though, I spy someone walking a good hundred yards ahead of me. I'm curious, and I increase my pace to pull within twenty yards. That's close enough to realize that I don't really want to get any closer.

The mystery walker is Kenji, which is alarming enough considering he's either blind or very close to it. He seems to know where he's going, at least, though he stops every few moments, turning around in circles as if reacting to some sound or another.

As much as I want to just let him walk away without noticing me, he's going slowly enough that I won't have enough time to prepare for class if I do that. It doesn't help that today is a day that I really, really don't want to have to deal with Kenji unless it's absolutely necessary.

Maybe, if I just walk by him really quickly, he won't notice it's me.

I increase my pace accordingly. As I draw close, though, his ears perk up, and I realize that I'm probably going to be caught. Walking by him, I hear him call out “Hisao?” in a questioning tone. Maybe his eyes are a little better than I'd thought.

“Yeah, it's me,” I say, sighing as I fall into lockstep with him. “What are you doing out here?”

“Walking to school,” he says, with a deep shrug. “What else would I be doing?”

It's normal. Too normal, really. “I didn't know you lived around here.”

“Where I live is classified information.”

Okay, maybe not normal after all. I'm sure I could find out where he lives if I want to, but pressing the issue is likely to lead to sorrow.

“Fine, then. Let's walk to Yamaku together. Do you usually walk at this time?” If he does, it could be a significant problem, given the identity of my soon-to-be walking companion.

Thankfully, he scoffs at the notion. “This early,” he asks me, as if I'm insane. “Hell no. I'm never up this early unless I'm on a mission.” He barely left his room at Yamaku, so it makes sense that he'd never get up early unless he had some (probably ridiculous) reason for doing so.

“Good luck with your, um, mission,” is about the best I can manage. It seems to brighten his spirits. He smiles at me as we walk up the hill, the road twisting and turning as we go.

“Thank you, Hisao. On days like this, when it seems that the enemy is omnipotent and my capture and enslavement is inevitable, your words make me remember why I do this.”

That piques my curiosity. WHY exactly he's engaged on this campaign against feminism is a question I've never been able to answer. At first, I thought it was some ridiculous inside joke he had with himself, but...no. He seems deadly serious.

I'm already talking to him. Would it really hurt to ask?

“Why DO you do this,” I ask. “I mean, I know, 'vast feminist conspiracy' and everything, but how did you get involved?”

His demeanor changes almost immediately. His shoulders slump, and he stops walking. It's almost as if he's a different person now. He looks vulnerable and afraid.

And then, in the smallest voice I've ever heard, he begins to speak.

“I had a girlfriend once,” Kenji says. “She was the one. I know that sounds ridiculous, but we'd been together for two years. Everything was perfect. Sunshine. Flowers. All of it. And then...and then...”

I can see a bunch of possible endings to this story. None of them sound particularly appealing.

“One of them took her away from me.”

When he looks up at me again, I can see his face trembling, the corners of his mouth twitching with anger, sorrow, or a mix of both emotions.

“A sociopathic lesbian supremacist,” he continues, after regaining his composure. “She stole my love away from me – and worse! She brainwashed the poor girl into renouncing men. From that day forward, I knew that something wasn't quite right – and years later, at Yamaku Academy, I finally realized that I wasn't crazy. No, I am the last sane man in an insane world. And if I have to die to ensure it, no one will ever suffer as I have suffered.”

It takes me a few moments to translate from Kenjese to a more comprehensible language – what I get is roughly “the girl he loved realized that she was attracted to women and left him for one.” Kenji isn't the most reliable of sources, but I can't help but feel sorry for him, somehow. Just a little bit, though – the “sociopathic lesbian supremacist” bit doesn't help his cause. Nor, really, does his belief in a vast feminist conspiracy at Yamaku (and the world at large).

At the same time? This explains a lot. He was 17 or 18 when I met him. Having met his first love at 15 or 16 and then losing her in a traumatic fashion? Given how paranoid he is...

I try not to think about it too much. The rest of the walk to Yamaku occurs in silence.
Last edited by Puncyclopedia on Tue Jun 09, 2015 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Characters: Shizune > Lilly > Rin > Emi > Hanako
Routes: Lilly > Rin > Shizune > Hanako > Emi

Replaying now, so subject to flux. Except Shizune. Shizune is best.

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Re: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 6/8!)

Post by brythain » Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:49 pm

Dat is the Kenji we all know and love. Well done. Also, sane but slightly depressed Hisao was just about right. :)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 6/8!)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:12 am

Four days in and he already had them write a test?
Way to become popular as a teacher ^^°

Kenji's tale contradicts the VN a bit, but as long as you're aware of that, everything's okay.
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: Act 1, Chapter 6 - Night and Day

Post by Blank Mage » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:20 pm

Puncyclopedia wrote:I'm alive! Sorry this took so long to post!
You are, with the possible exceptions of Brythian and Nekodude, the fastest author currently on the forums. That you think 10 days between chapters is 'long' is almost upsetting.
Puncyclopedia wrote:My desk is covered in Chinese food takeout cartons. The apartment as a whole is a mess. Worn dress clothes are strewn over the couch. I don't even know for sure if I have a clean set for tomorrow.

“I'm not very good at this,” I say, heaving a sigh.
And so Hisao completes his transformation into Young Mutou. You either fail science, or you live long enough to become the teacher.

Anyway, I love the subtle signs of Shizune's influence Hisao shows in your writing. Nothing I can point to, just a feeling. I'm also intrigued about Kenji, now. There's no guarantee that it's Yuuko, after all. It might be an OC. It's speculation fuel, and so help me, I cannot stop speculating.
And we're back.
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"I wish I could convey to you just how socially inept I am, but I can't."
"I think you just did."
"No, I really, truly haven't."

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Re: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 6/8!)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:43 pm

It's almost certainly not Yuuko, since she wouldn't have been at Yamaku for two years.
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: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 6/8!)

Post by Puncyclopedia » Tue Jun 09, 2015 4:05 pm

brythain wrote:Dat is the Kenji we all know and love. Well done. Also, sane but slightly depressed Hisao was just about right. :)
Thank you. Writing depressed Hisao is somewhat tough because in spite of being a somewhat generic character, he does seem to have a very specific depressed/worrying/wondering mode that I tried to tap into.

Kenji will have an ongoing role in this, for sure. How important that role is? Who's to say?
Mirage_GSM wrote:Four days in and he already had them write a test?
Way to become popular as a teacher ^^°

Kenji's tale contradicts the VN a bit, but as long as you're aware of that, everything's okay.
The papers he's grading are just classwork. The first quiz is Monday - I can see if I can edit to make that clear.

I am aware of that, indeed. Keep that in mind as we go along, it will likely be (mildly) important.
Blank Mage wrote:
You are, with the possible exceptions of Brythian and Nekodude, the fastest author currently on the forums. That you think 10 days between chapters is 'long' is almost upsetting.
Puncyclopedia wrote:My desk is covered in Chinese food takeout cartons. The apartment as a whole is a mess. Worn dress clothes are strewn over the couch. I don't even know for sure if I have a clean set for tomorrow.

“I'm not very good at this,” I say, heaving a sigh.
And so Hisao completes his transformation into Young Mutou. You either fail science, or you live long enough to become the teacher.

Anyway, I love the subtle signs of Shizune's influence Hisao shows in your writing. Nothing I can point to, just a feeling. I'm also intrigued about Kenji, now. There's no guarantee that it's Yuuko, after all. It might be an OC. It's speculation fuel, and so help me, I cannot stop speculating.
I like that comparison - it's very easy for me to imagine Mutou having seen a lot of himself in Hisao and being willing to mentor him.

Thank you for your feedback and speculation, as always. xD The constant Chinese food is meant to be a bit of a throwback to the old Student Council takeout days.

In re Kenji: It's not Yuuko, for reasons that Mirage focused on. His ex-girlfriend won't actually appear in this story, for reasons that will become apparent...sooon. ;p
Characters: Shizune > Lilly > Rin > Emi > Hanako
Routes: Lilly > Rin > Shizune > Hanako > Emi

Replaying now, so subject to flux. Except Shizune. Shizune is best.

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Re: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 6/8!)

Post by HipsterJoe » Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:47 pm

Puncyclopedia wrote: In re Kenji: It's not Yuuko, for reasons that Mirage focused on. His ex-girlfriend won't actually appear in this story, for reasons that will become apparent...sooon. ;p
Wait... It's Misha, isn't it? Don't answer that.

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Re: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 6/8!)

Post by swampie2 » Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:51 pm

I'm loving this fic so far, keep it up!

On a slightly unrelated note, is there any way I can "Subscribe" to this thread and know when there are updates? I'm relatively new to this forum :)
One Shots - My stories thread.

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Re: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 6/8!)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:06 pm

Bottom of the page: "Subscribe topic"
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: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 6/8!)

Post by Blank Mage » Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:14 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:Bottom of the page: "Subscribe topic"
Or do the like the cool kids do, and compulsively check the entire fan fic board every couple of minutes!
And we're back.
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Re: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 6/8!)

Post by Gajzla » Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:26 pm

Blank Mage wrote:
Mirage_GSM wrote:Bottom of the page: "Subscribe topic"
Or do the like the cool kids do, and compulsively check the entire fan fic board every couple of minutes!
It's cheaper than gambling and just as exciting. :lol:

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Re: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 6/8!)

Post by swampie2 » Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:41 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:Bottom of the page: "Subscribe topic"
Thanks very much!
One Shots - My stories thread.

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