The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 4/16!)

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Puncyclopedia
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Re: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 3/27!)

Post by Puncyclopedia » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:21 am

Quick update, so everyone knows I'm not disappearing for another year. ;)

I'm in the midst of the final stretch of business school right now, which will keep me in its icy grip until the first week of May or so. This is why I wanted to ideally finish Act III before the beginning of April, but obviously that didn't happen.

Expect something from me by around mid May. I've gotten the remainder of Act III roughly half written, so it's just a matter of finishing and polishing things up.

Cheers, and apologies for the wait. I'll reply to comments when I return.
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 3/27!)

Post by VampireSurfer » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:46 pm

Take your time friend, good shit.
Rin is best girl, period

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Re: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 3/27!)

Post by Puncyclopedia » Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:55 pm

So I made a quick update to tell everyone that I wouldn't be disappearing for another year...and I promptly disappeared for another year. Time scares me sometimes. :(

This story will be updated soon. 3-6 and 3-7 are pretty much done, and I'm fighting 3-5 which was what was giving me trouble a year ago. From there, it's smoothish sailing (for me, at least. Hisao's a little less likely to think so).

I apologize for falling off the face of the Earth. I will finish this, I promise.
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 3/27!)

Post by VampireSurfer » Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:13 pm

I knew stalking these forums would pay off eventually.
Rin is best girl, period

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Re: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 3/27!)

Post by NoticeMeOppai » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:21 pm

Just read through this for the first time today and it was refreshing to see them actually being working adults. As many others have said before me, this more mature and open Lilly is a nice change of pace while still retaining the feel of being the same person, just with a bit more life under her belt. I look forward to seeing where this goes.
NmO Does Shorts

I deeply regret my choice of username.

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Act 3, Chapter 5 - A Painful Request

Post by Puncyclopedia » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:47 pm

((And after entirely too long, we're back with 3-5! 3-6 and 3-7 will probably follow pretty shortly after. Act 4 will probably take longer - I'm replaying a few parts of the game for "research" and will need to finish that before I can write. All told, though? We're in the home stretch, folks.

Once Act 3 is done I'll talk a little more about my plans for the Moments in Hindsight section of the Table of Contents.

Enjoy! Here's hoping I'm not too rusty!))

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

I am beginning to wonder if I’ll be renewing my lease on my apartment when it expires. Considering how much time I’m spending at Lilly’s place, moving in with her seems a much more pleasant option.

For the umpteenth straight night, I am here with her, grading papers and preparing for exams. The first begins tomorrow. Before we get too deep into the hard part about being a teacher, though, sustenance is important. Grading on an empty stomach is terrible, after all.

As she digs into the bag of takeout to get her own meal (I have already begun devouring mine), Lilly looks at me and gives a tiny, barely perceptible shake of her head.

“Your bad habits are beginning to rub off on me, Hisao.”

I favor my girlfriend with my best ‘hurt puppy’ look. It’s lost on her, but that’s okay - my best ‘hurt puppy’ look is pretty terrible, anyway.

“Come on, Lilly, ordering in once every so often is fine! Besides, you were right. This place is excellent.”

For once, it’s not Chinese food. It’s pork katsu, cabbage, and rice, with a side of gyoza. Simple, staple Japanese food. Making things better is the fact that the place Lilly ordered it from is on the way back from Yamaku, so in the future I can call ahead from the Academy and pick it up on the way home. This could be dangerous, but so is eating Chinese food four nights out of the week to begin with. Variety is the spice of life, after all.

Lilly sighs, but I notice that she’s eating her own pork cutlet contentedly. “As long as this doesn’t become a habit. We’re so busy preparing for exams, but…”

We should still cook our own dinner. She doesn’t need to finish the sentence. I know. I understand, too. Ever since being diagnosed with arrhythmia, I’ve learned to cope with the unsettling, unasked questions of trailed-off sentences. Will you be alright to…? Do you need any help with…?

I understand people are concerned. I understand people want to help. I get it, and I feel bad when I lash out. I shouldn’t lash out.

But I’m not a porcelain doll. Lilly certainly isn’t one, and she seems even more concerned with me about ensuring that no one thinks of her as one. The fact that she trusts me so much is something that I treasure, because I understand her now. I don’t think I could have while a student at Yamaku.

I shake my head, amazed at how far my train of thought managed to take me in such a short amount of time, and return to the more pressing matter at hand.

“Don’t worry, Lilly. You have more willpower than I do. One night of takeout pork cutlet won’t undo your work ethic, I promise.”

She sniffs, but deftly snatches up a gyoza with her chopsticks. It’s gone in moments - she’s even hungrier than I am, it seems. Not that I can blame her - teaching the students of Yamaku is a challenging task. I come home most days starving - hence ordering in Chinese food way too much.

The dining room table we’re eating at is covered in books and papers to be graded. Lilly’s work ethic on me has rubbed off enough that I’m further along than I expected to be, but not so much that I haven’t ordered in more takeout than I probably should on a teacher’s salary.

“If you’re certain, Hisao.”

She smiles - a sign for me not to take her objections too seriously. It’s little things like that which I could never have picked up on in the past. Spending a lot of time with Lilly helps.

It’s also what tells me that something is...off with her.

Something’s not...wrong, per se, but it’s not right either. Lilly is out of sorts. I can see it in the way she sits. Lilly’s demeanor with most things is so calm that even the slightest bit of unease stands out pretty dramatically.

“Lilly,” I begin, quietly, trying not to make a bigger deal out of this than it should be. “Is everything okay?”

She starts to shake her head - but stops herself. She takes a deep breath and holds it, then blows it out slowly.

“Hisao,” she begins, and I know for sure then that something’s off. She looks very concerned and hesitant - very much unlike the Lilly I’ve come to know since I returned to Yamaku. “I have something to ask that you’re not going to like very much.”

I want to say something to lighten the mood, but I don’t know what she has in mind. Anything I say could be offensive, or too on the nose for the situation. For once, I actually decide to keep my mouth (mostly) shut.

“Just ask me, Lilly.” She looks at me from across the table, her chopsticks placed neatly on a napkin. She’s stopped eating, and is regarding me with as nervous of an expression as I’ve seen since she told me about what happened between her and Hanako. What on Earth could she even have to ask me?

“Before you came to Yamaku, when was the last time we saw one another?”

It was a question that made me think. I had to rack my brain for a moment, but I came up with the answer before long.

“The..family reunion, right,” I asked. “I think that was the last time Shizune and I went to it together.”

A little over three years ago, if memory serves me right. Technically, I was dating both Shizune and Misha at that point, though we were the only three who knew that. I wasn’t fond of the Hakamichi-Satou family gatherings, and neither, it seemed, were most of the people in attendance.

Tradition, I decided, could be a powerful and frightening thing.

“Yes, Hisao. That was the last time I went to it as well. As you can imagine, I am not fond of going. I would not go if not for...circumstances.”

She frowns - as composed as Lilly Satou is (and strives to be), when she’s truly upset, she’s incapable of hiding her emotions.

“My parents are in Scotland and work is keeping them too busy to travel. Akira is in the United States on business as well. I am the only family member who can attend, and a Satou has attended for long enough that my family would be devastated if that streak were to be broken. I would rather not go alone. Might you accompany me?””

In truth, as boring as the reunions tended to be? I would happily put up with boredom to make Lilly happier.

There is only one slight problem with the entire thing.

Slight is probably an understatement.

“I assume that my exes will be there?” I say it as calmly as I can possibly manage, even if my heart has suddenly begun pounding - steadily, I note. In the past, this request might have actually been dangerous.

“Yes, Hisao.”

The words are short and almost guilty sounding. No, strike that - they are guilty sounding.

“Why just not go, Lilly? If you don’t want to go alone, why is going with me a better option than not going at all? I mean, I understand your family will be upset, but they know how difficult your relationship is with most of the Hakamichis, right?”

Shizune and Misha were my primary concerns, but not the only ones.I never quite understood Hideaki, but he was ultimately a good sort when it came down to it. Jigoro, on the other hand? In some ways, I would rather cheerily walk up to Shizune and inform her that I was dating her cousin rather than deal with Jigoro in any capacity.

I snap out of my thoughts in time to see Lilly flinching at my question, which surprises me. It took me a bit to come up with that question, but once I finally did, it made a lot of sense. She doesn’t get along with most of the people who’ll be at the reunion. Having me there increases the number of people she can tolerate by one, but she’s still overwhelmed with unpleasantness. Her family, of all people, should understand.

Right?

You know why she wants you there, Hisao.

A small voice in my head chooses that moment to speak up. I ignore it, and look at Lilly, expecting an answer.

“My family can be surprisingly traditional about certain things, Hisao,” she explains. “And if I must attend, I would like to have my boyfriend at my side.”

It’s a simple answer. Almost too simple. Lilly isn’t lying to me, I’m fairly sure of that much, but...

You remember when she tried to use you as ammunition back at Yamaku? That was a long time ago, but it happened. The memory’s there, right?

It is there. A seven year old memory of Lilly and Shizune exchanging barely concealed barbs at one another through Misha. I frown a bit, because I remember how that story ends - with me trying to defend myself and accidentally upsetting Lilly with impetuous word choice. Does Lilly even remember it happening?

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I’d defended Lilly as well. Would things have gone the same way? Might Shizune have lost interest in me as her newest….project, for lack of a better term? Could that have been the start of something between Lilly and I?

It’s odd to think about what-ifs like that, but the fact of the matter is that Lilly very much was trying to use me as leverage against Shizune in that particular moment, and she didn’t even have that much reason to other than the fact that I was there.

That puts an interesting spin on this entire question. Again, I don’t think Lilly’s lying to me about her reasons, but she and Shizune remain on awful terms. Is there a chance that I’m being invited along to score points in her seemingly eternal rivalry with Shizune?

I slump in my chair a bit when I realize that Shizune would, if in Lilly’s position, ten-thousand percent absolutely do that.

Not that any of this really matters. To some extent, Lilly’s actual motivation is irrelevant, because I have to make the decision regardless, and it is a terrifying decision.

Saying no would hurt Lilly’s feelings - and if her family is serious about this, sentence her to an unpleasant weekend alone with the Hakamichis. That is an unacceptable result.

Saying yes...is almost unthinkable. It would mean that I would have to occupy the same space as my ex-girlfriend while my current girlfriend is quite possibly baiting her with my very presence. I cannot imagine the explosion that would take place - and the idea that Lilly would be willing for such a battle scares me a little bit.

In the end? I take the coward’s way out and try to kick the decision down the road.

“May I have some time to think about it, Lilly?”

I feel terrible for asking, but deciding now is impossible.

To my utter relief, she nods. “Would a week be enough time? We will need time to make arrangements if you decide to go.”

A week isn’t a lot of time to make this decision, honestly, but it’s better than a time horizon of now.

“Thank you,” I manage, and it briefly feels like I’m going to melt into the couch.

The rest of the night is a blur. If this was a book, or a movie, there would be an oppressive, awkward silence between us, but this is reality. We speak about any number of things, from our classes to our fears about the coming exams.

All the while, though? My mind’s playing her request on repeat, like a terrible pop song that just won’t work its way out of my consciousness.

I’m going to have to decide soon, or functioning might become very, very difficult.

Chopsticks in hand, I do make one decision - working out my frustration on some gyoza.
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 4/16!)

Post by azumeow » Sat May 12, 2018 12:52 am

Jesus, that...

That is a hell of a painful request indeed. Fuck me....I thought she was gonna ask for time apart because exams or something because HEALTHY ADOLESCENT ADULT SEX DRIVE
"I don’t want to be here anymore, I know there’s nothing left worth staying for.
Your paradise is something I’ve endured
See I don’t think I can fight this anymore, I’m listening with one foot out the door
And something has to die to be reborn-I don’t want to be here anymore"

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Re: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 4/16!)

Post by Downix » Sat May 12, 2018 1:14 am

Well... that's awkward.

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Re: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 4/16!)

Post by Raimen » Thu May 17, 2018 1:45 pm

I registered to say that (1) I've really enjoyed this story so far, and (2) to point out the same minor issue many times.

It seems that the name of the Student Council President has changed a few times. In 1-4, when he's introduced, he's Shintarou.
Act 1, Chapter 4 - Students, Meet Teacher wrote:Mister Front Row Center, as it turns out, is Shintarou, the student council president.
And in 1-6, he's still Shintarou. So things are good so far!
Act 1, Chapter 6 - Night and Day wrote: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.
But in Act 2, he's been renamed. How he's Shinichirou.
Act 2, Chapter 3 - An Unwanted Legacy wrote:But Shinichirou and Kaede aren’t skipping class to go hang out at the Shanghai.

No, they’re engaging in the time-honored tradition of skipping class to go hang out at the Shanghai on official Student Council business.
And in Act 3, he's lost a letter at the end of his name. How he's Shinichiro.
Act 3, Chapter 1 - The Morning After, Interrupted wrote:Two familiar figures enter - Shinichiro and Kaede, Student Council President and Class Representative.
But halfway though chapter 1, he finds it again. He must've dropped it on the floor at the Shanghai.
Act 3, Chapter 1 - The Morning After, Interrupted wrote:Shinichirou and Kaede seem inseparable even in class, and I can only imagine the amount of time they spend together considering how busy the Council is.
But I think that Kaede needs to step up her game and help her boyfriend keep that letter. Because in the next chapter, he loses it again.
Act 3, Chapter 2 - Driven to Distraction wrote:Shinichiro and Kaede know - and even if they didn’t, the fact that walk home with her every day would be grist for rumor mills anywhere, let alone when you consider that we were once classmates.

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Re: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 4/16!)

Post by PKMNthiefChris » Fri May 18, 2018 1:53 pm

Puncyclopedia wrote Tradition, I decided, could be a powerful and frightening thing.
On that we agree.

New to the forum and I can definitely say I've enjoyed this work. I'll admit I'm as curious about the lives of the students of Hisao's classes as I am about the lives of the characters we knew in KS. Like the girl that does kendo. I'm curious how she works around her disability with it.

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Lap
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Re: The Benefit of Hindsight (updated 4/16!)

Post by Lap » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:28 pm

Okay, you got me on eleventerhooks for what comes next...

Though if Hisao ends up leaving Lilly to reunite with Shizune in the end, I may never forgive you.
Avenues of Communication: Shizune suffers an accident.
Akira's Surprise: Akira pays a surprise visit to Lilly, Hanako and Hisao on Christmas eve. S9 Entry.
Arrival: Hanako's first days at Yamaku. (On Hiatus)
Home: Hanako & Hisao at University, sharing an apartment with their friend Lilly (on Ao3).
One-shots

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