There are some who desired it…
There are the vast majority of you who aren't too fussed any which way…
But… it… is… here…
The First Week –A Soon-hee Story
Table of Contents
Chapter One (this post): Moving In Part Two
Our favorite resident has come to Yamaku! What could possibly go wrong?
Chapter Two: Hello Nurse Part Two
Yamaku must have one heck of a pension plan.
Chapter Three: Soon-hee was Here
You either get busy living or get busy dying.
Chapter Four: Welcome to Yamaku
Don't forget your towel.
Chapter Five: Welcome to the Jungle
We got fun and games.
Chapter Six: A Few Good Men
And women, obviously.
Chapter Seven: Long Live Dewey
Presuming anyone even remembers the Dewey Decimal System.
Chapter Eight: Take Out's Revenge Part II Part III
So much for a free meal....
Chapter Nine: Physical Education
Making friends over lunch. Cliche, but effective.
Chapter Ten: The Shrink is In Part II
Hope you have a nickel handy.
Chapter Eleven: Requiem of a Dream
Everybody lies. Even to themselves.
Chapter Twelve: The Eye of the Tiger (dojo) Part II
Watch out for tigers and flying shinai.
Chapter Thirteen: The First Volley Part II
Time to fight in the shade.
Chapter Fourteen: Take the Cane, Leave the Cookies Part II
She'll make her an offer she can't refuse: free food.
Chapter Fifteen: Circling the Wagons
One step forward, one step back.
Chapter Sixteen: The Thrill of the Fight Part II
Risin' up to the challenge as a mentor.
Chapter Seventeen: The Weekend Comes
These days are oooouuurrrrrsssss~!
Chapter Eighteen: A Day Half-Done
Because wake and baking is for gaylords.
Chapter Nineteen: The Doc is In
Snickel, snickel, snickel.
Chapter Twenty: Lay of the Land Part II Part III
You knew we'd end up here eventually.
Chapter Twenty-One: Full Circle Part II
As scars fade, wounds heal, and life... finds a way.
Chapter One: Moving In
“How’s it look?”
Miya Setou, after taking a moment to look over the Return of the King poster she had stuck on my wall, wheels around to gauge my reaction. I take a step back and duck as her brown-haired ponytail goes flying over my head.
I spend a moment to looking at the poster’s placing before nodding and saying, “Looks good. Thanks.”
“Wouldn’t be right not to help you settle in,” I hear Kenji say behind me.
I turn around to face Kenji, and he uses the hand not holding onto his son Hisato to pat my head. I can’t help but smirk when he does that; it might be an odd gesture, but the sincerity of it always makes me happy. Kenji’s sincerity is one of the things I appreciate about him most.
“Thanks,” I say again, “Sorry for being so much trouble.”
“You’re no trouble,” Miya and Kenji say together.
“No trouble,” Hisato echoes.
I smirk at the young Setou and he smiles at me from Kenji’s arm. I hear Miya pivot on her heel and turn a bit to see her smiling as well, while she looks around the room making sure everything is in order.
The dorm rooms at Yamaku are pretty small, but having four people in it makes it feel practically cramped, even if one of them is a three-year old.
After getting discharged from the psychiatric ward, I spent the last two days at the Setous. Now I’m here, at Yamaku Academy, trying to move on with my life and enter the real world for the first time. Not being one to leave a job half-done, Kenji and Miya made sure my room was in order before leaving me on my own. This included decorating my barren beige walls with some movie posters.
The posters are on the three blank walls, with a window along the wall across from the door. The left wall by the door also has a small bookshelf next to the closet, which I've already nearly filled. There's also a box of more books in the closet. On top of the bookshelf is the frame of the candy wrapper from my first meeting with Kenji. Even though it was six months ago, it seems like longer, somehow. Probably because most of that time I spent fighting withdrawal symptoms.
The bed was across from the door originally, but we moved it along the right wall. Kenji also adjusted it so I can fit under it. Besides the bed, bookshelf, a small dresser by the bed, and a smell desk along the wall by the door –it had been where the bookshelf was- the place is pretty sparse.
Still, for the next two years, room 223 was mine. Even more than the room at the ward had been mine. I'm still getting used to that. Or maybe I'm still getting uses to the idea of being on my own, with no doctor or visits from Kenji and the nurses to help take my mind off things.
Apparently satisfied with her look-around, Miya nods and turns around to face Kenji, “I think we’re done here.”
Kenji nods and looks in my general direction, “We better get outta your hair, let you settle in."
Miya nods and steps over to Kenji before turning to me and asking, “Think you can take it from here?”
I slowly nod. Honestly I’m not sure, but I don’t want to worry them more than I seem to. I still don’t quite get why the two are so fond of me, but I do appreciate it, and I hate the idea of being more of an imposition than I already am –not many people want to deal with a seventeen year old headcase that they practically picked up on the street.
Perhaps sensing my misgivings, or Miya just being Miya, the woman carefully wraps her arms around me in a hug. My body shivers for a moment at the contact before my body relaxes and accepts the embrace, which I slowly return.
Once my own arms are around the slightly taller woman, Miya says, “You’ll be fine, Little Lamb.”
“Bah, bah, bah!” Hisato chirps.
Kenji chuckles, I manage a small smirk, and Miya slowly pulls away, “Text, call, or email if you need something, forgot something, or wanna talk about something.”
I nod, “I will. Thank you, and-”
Kenji cuts me off before I can finish, “You’re no trouble.”
Someday I hope it’s true.
Miya gives me a reassuring smile, but suddenly frowns and snaps her fingers, making me jump in surprise.
“Shoot, a picture! We should take a picture by the front gate! I brought my tripod and I nearly forgot.”
“It’s okay,” I say, “I need to head out soon for my exam anyway.”
Despite having had a physical exam not five days before my arrival at Yamaku, I have to have one with the school’s head nurse today, too. I guess the school wants to make sure their people get a look at the students as soon as they can.
Miya sighs in relief and nods, “Alright, then let’s head out. Do you have your jacket?”
I nod and point at the jacket’s green collar; I had never taken it off. When you don’t weigh much more than a bulk-sized sack of rice, layers are your friend.
“D’oh,” she mutters, then heads for the door.
Chuckling lightly, Kenji waits for me to follow her before heading out himself. Outside in the hall, Miya’s holding a camera and waiting expectantly next to my doorway.
When Kenji stops out into the hall, he pauses to lean forward a bit to see what his wife is up to. When he’s done, he raises an eyebrow and asks, “Honey, what are you doing?”
“She’s about to lock her dormitory door for the first time,” Miya replies, “I wanna commemorate the occasion. Now move behind me so the lighting is the same. Hee-chan, I want you to look at the lock, okay? Forget I’m here.”
I prefer to remember you’re here, actually.
Trying my best to act natural –not my best ability- I close my door, fish my key out of my left pants pocket, stick it into the lock, and give it a turn. I try to take my time, to give Miya the best chance to get a good shot.
I had a key for my room at the psych ward, but the dorm at Yamaku seems different, somehow. Sure it’s another temporary living place, but it’s going to be mine for a while, so it’s the closest thing I’ve had to a home in years.
Besides, once I become a citizen, my juvenile record will be expunged, so my time at the psych ward legally won’t exist. That way I have at least some chance of getting a job in the future. For all intents and purposes, the little dorm here at Yamaku is the start of my life.
Pocketing my key, I look up towards Miya, “How was that?”
Miya grins and gives me a thumbs-up, “Great! Thanks –I’ll send you a copy when I get the chance.”
I smile and mutter my thanks. Miya grins but doesn’t say anything as we leave the dormitory building. Though filled with echoes from rooms as people prepare for the coming year and trimester, we don’t run into anyone in the hall.
Outside, though, students and their parents or guardians are sparsely scattered about, going to and fro as they prepare for what looms ahead. Size and shape aside, people are still people, going about their lives.
Hopefully they feel the same way about me.
About halfway back to the gate Miya looks over at Kenji, who’s still carrying his son in the crook of his arm, and asks, “What’s it like being back here? Any thoughts?”
Kenji frowns a bit in contemplation, the bright spring light reflecting off his thick glasses as he ponders, “Well… I’m glad I met Hisao, for one; he’s always been the voice of reason for me.”
Miya pouts, “What about me?”
Kenji smiles at his wife’s general direction, “You’re a beacon of light in the land of jagged rocks- all three of you.”
Miya grins, and I can’t help but smile, too. It’s kind of weird, though, because I think pretty much the same thing about Kenji.
When we get near the gate, Miya dashes ahead to the car, which is parked near the main gate, along with several others, all trying to be near the entrance and still out of the way of the bus. Several parents are helping students unload things from cars, or waiting at the bus stop a bit down the road. Every now and then a student waves to another, and the two start chatting. Some of the parents look less comfortable than others, and a few are giving Kenji and me a couple spare glances.
It says something about a place that a thirty-something man with a three year old kid and a seventeen year old tomboy wandering around barely registers on the weird-o-meter here. People are strange like that.
My kind of strange, at least.