Black and white (updated 10/18/16)

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monkeywitha6pack
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Black and white (updated 10/18/16)

Post by monkeywitha6pack » Wed Jun 10, 2015 7:43 pm

Hey guys, Monkey, and brythain here. We are cowritting a fanficiton, doing it pass the chapter style. It's been in planning for about 7 months and we are finally ready to start posting!
It started out with 8 of us but devolved into just us. The first chapter contains some work from cloudgrain but he parted ways to put more focus on a different project.

So heres chapter one written by me and cloudgrain


Chapter one

As the black car drives away I slowly settle back onto the bench behind me. I can’t help the barely audible words that manage to escape from my throat. “So that’s it… she’s gone. My head falls into my hands as I sit there, wondering what to do, completely at a loss now that Lilly’s gone. It just seems like something that wouldn’t really happen, couldn’t really happen. But it actually had happened, despite it all.

“I-it will be o-okay.” Hanako says, her voice just above a whisper. I can’t help but shake my head slightly, wishing that I could break down… wishing that there was something, anything that I can do. It definitely doesn’t feel like it’s all going to be okay.

“It w-will be okay.” She repeats, just a little bit louder at my lack of response. I look up, meeting her gaze as she looks at me intently. She’s actually the one who keeps eye contact this time as I look away, grating my teeth just a little bit at the emotions running through me.

“Yeah… it’ll be okay.” I say, sighing as I echo the empty words without much conviction.

I can’t bring myself to get up, can’t bring myself to do anything but sit there with my head in my hands. Hanako stands next to me, silently accompanying me in my misery for a little while, before eventually, silently leaving me to my emotions. It’s a combination of all the most gut-churning things I can think of. Anger, regret, some strange bits of guilt and dark thoughts mingling in there.

It’s not unlike the depression I felt during the very beginning of my time here at Yamaku.

Looking back on it I wonder if there was any way that I might have been able to prevent some of these things from happening. I’m almost certain that I could have, if I’d tried, if I could just have gone back and changed a few little things here and there. Of course, looking back and knowing that I could’ve changed things is completely different from actually being able to. If you could actually go back and change the things you noticed in hindsight… well, things would be a lot easier, wouldn’t they? After all, hindsight’s pretty perfect compared to looking to the future.

I slam my fists down at the bench, feeling the rage surfacing for a moment over the guilt and sadness. This isn’t just my fault! If Lilly had only said something sooner, we might have been able to make things work! If she hadn’t decided to wait until the last possible minute, keeping me in the dark, I might have done something. Grinding my teeth, I feel a tear leaving a hot trail along my cheek before it falls off my chin.
I can’t just sit here and stew in my misery... I need some kind of busy work to get my mind off of it all, before I make myself crazy. Wiping the cold trails of my shed tears away, I try to focus on the future just a little more than the past. The dull throbbing seems to fade away just a little from where it’s hurting as I simply work to ignore it by focusing on other ideas.


Maybe I can see if Shizune and Misha still need help with the Student Council, actually volunteer to do some work for them. Knowing them, they’d be more than happy to provide me with plenty of paperwork to keep my mind off anything else. I feel like they might even do their best to try and cheer me up here and there too…

My mind even flitters to the idea of joining up with the Newspaper Club, seeing as Hanako’s already got a foot in the door. A chance to meet all-new people, to make a few more friendships and memories with as long as I’m still here at Yamaku. Of course, by the same token, I’d have to see if Hanako’s comfortable with the idea. She’s been beginning to do it all on her own, and I’m not sure if my being there would be good or bad for her.

For now… I might just be better off sticking to things I already know. Shizune and Misha aren’t exactly close friends of mine, but they’re both definitely friendly with me more often than not. We do group-work together often enough, and share more than a few little jokes when we’re able to get through our work with time to spare.

I spend far too long sitting at the bench, even noticing a few times that the bus has come and gone as I slip back into unseemly thoughts. The anger, the sadness, the desperate tiredness… it’s all exhausting.

At some point, I decide that I simply can’t take sitting there anymore. Not that I can do anything else right now, feeling a complete mess… but I feel like sitting on the bench is equally as useless as heading back to my room and just trying to sleep through it all.

I make my way back to the dormitories absentmindedly, gaze on the ground as I take wide detours around people so that they hopefully don’t notice what a mess I am. I get to my room without a hiccup, unlock my door and immediately lock it back up behind me. Then I throw myself into my bed and just wish for sleep.

It doesn’t exactly come quickly… but eventually, hours later, it comes.

____________________________________________


I struggle to stay awake at my desk as Mutou goes off on some tangent of his lecture, covering material that I think I already know. If I already know what he’s talking about I guess I could let myself close my eyes for just a minute… All of two seconds later, there’s a sharp object digging into my side, causing me to jump slightly and immediately try to swat it away while I look for its origin.
Of course, it’s Misha. She giggles and retracts her pencil. From the seat beyond her, Shizune seems to be ‘covertly’ signing with some fervor. It’s as if she has a radar that goes off in her head every time she sees me slacking off, and feels that it’s her responsibility to take charge of the situation.

Misha seems to be taking in Shizune’s signing, and turns to me conspiratorially in an all-too-loud whisper. “You’re not allowed to slack off in class, Hicchan~. Shicchan says so.”

I wipe some of the sleep out of my eyes, more than a little irate thanks to the interruption to my little attempted nap. “I didn’t sleep well last night… and I already know all of the material anyway. Cut me a break.” I say, my own whisper much better controlled in volume than Misha’s.

Before she can even finish signing to Shizune, Mutou calls for group-work, apparently having just concluded his lecture anyway. Looking blearily at the board, I make the best sense out of the jumbles of equations and units of measurement as I can. I think that I vaguely remember the proper equations from the homework a few days ago.

“You didn’t sleep well, Hicchan? Was it because Lilly left?” Misha asks, signing as she speaks, and getting a sudden and dramatic response from Shizune the second she finishes. Misha looks startled at Shizune’s wrath, and then genuinely sorry at about the same time that Shizune flashes an apologetic look over to me.

“I’m sorry Hicchan… I didn’t mean...” She starts, looking utterly deflated as she realizes her lack of tact.

“It’s… all right.” I say, grimacing just a little bit as I try to work past the feelings without showing them. I feel better than yesterday, although that’s not saying a whole lot. But I feel like the best way to work through this whole thing wouldn’t be to ignore it and let it be an obstacle to conversation. “I’ll live through it, even if you mention it every now and again.” Misha looks genuinely relieved at the admission, even forgoing her usual automatic translation for Shizune for a moment.

“I was actually wondering if you two still needed help with the Student Council, seeing as I’ve got a lot more free time than I can handle right now.”

Misha seems almost taken back by the offer, and goes right back to her customary almost too-wide smile as she immediately begins signing again to Shizune. Shizune looks tentative for a moment, as Misha begins what seems like a somewhat long session of translation, but is smiling herself at the end of it. She adjusts her glasses, looking at me with a glint in her eyes as she signs back her response.

“Wahahaha~ well I don’t know you declined our offer so many times that we had to find help elsewhere. In fact, by directing our efforts elsewhere, we’ve managed to find several other students willing to help the Student Council. It’s not as time-consuming now that we’ve got more people helping out.” Misha says it proudly, leaving me wondering exactly who the pair had managed to rope into doing their work for them. As far as I can remember, just about everyone seemed to think that Shizune and Misha were just a little unfair seeming with the amount of work they create… not without reason.

“Really? Who did you two manage to convince to help you?” I ask, genuinely impressed by the fact that they’d apparently managed to coerce a few others into working with them.

“Aoi, Rika, and Keiko.” I can’t help but raise an eyebrow, the names are all relatively unfamiliar seeming. “They’re all second-year students.” Misha immediately adds, apparently seeing just a little bit of my confusion at the names.


“Oh well… I suppose if you’ve got all the help that you needed already, I could see if there was anything else to join.” I say, giving a halfhearted grin at my joke as Misha signs to Shizune just a little frantically at the unexpected turn.

Shizune’s reply and Misha’s translation are swift in coming. “Wait~! We’re sure that there are things that you could help out with. There’s still plenty of work.”

It’s good to see that I was right in the idea that the pair was just bluffing… and that hopefully I’ll have something to do every now and again to take my mind off things. I nod once, showing my own approval before asking the all-important question. “So. Is everyone meeting after school today, or…?”

Misha signs over to Shizune quickly, having no idea of the answer to the question herself. The response looks thoughtful. “There isn’t an official meeting today, but, since you’re joining up we might be able to get everyone together and have some food or something… Oh, food Shicchan?” Misha finishes her translation with the question, immediately looking even happier.

Shizune shrugs as they sign back and forth for a short while. “Alright, we’ll see if we can get the others to come. But we’ll definitely be there after school,” Misha finishes. Shizune glances sharply at the classroom clock then looks back with a gleam in her eyes, signing harshly. “Shicchan says we’d better get to work fast now, though. We’ve wasted too much time!”

I nod, happy to pick up my pencil and begin working now that I’ve managed to get everything with Shizune and Misha settled. The group-work takes us just a little longer than usual, and we barely get everything turned in before the lunch bell rings.


Without a second thought, I find myself heading right towards the tea room, suddenly a little guilty as I realize I haven’t thought about how Hanako might be doing today. As much as I know that I’m already missing Lilly, I can hardly imagine just how Hanako might feel about everything right now. After all, they’d been practically inseparable the whole time I’d known them.

I’m not surprised to see that Hanako’s made it to the tea room before me, having probably ducked out of class just a little early in order to avoid the rush that came right at the bell. Coming into the room, she looks up at me a little uneasily before settling back down as she recognizes me.

“H-Hey… Hisao.” She says, a little bleakly. I put on a fake but reassuring smile as I sit down across from her.

“Hey, Hanako.” I reply, feeling a little worn out as I see her. As I expected, Hanako is not exactly in the happiest of moods right now. Then again, I’d be lying if I said I felt any better than she. It’s just that I’ve had a little bit more practice in hiding it, or at least ignoring it. I feel almost obligated to ask the question though. “You all right…?”

Hanako shakes her head a little, letting out an almost defeated sounding sigh. “I-It’s s-strange… without Lilly,” she admits, expressing her melancholy a little more definitely. Empathetically, I find myself grimacing in agreement.

That’s exactly how to define the whole thing,

It’s strange to go to class in the morning knowing that Lilly’s not going to be there waiting for me at the end of classes. It’s strange, coming into the tea room and not seeing her waiting here, or knowing that she’s going to come in the next few minutes to join me and Hanako. It’s strange, and it hurts to know that we’ll probably never be able to see her again… or if we do, that it’ll be so far in the future that we’ll all be different people.

Letting out a sigh of my own, I can’t help but vocalize my agreement. “Yeah… it is strange.”

Hanako repeats almost exactly the same statement she had yesterday after a moment, sounding just a little bit stronger all of a sudden. “I-It’ll be alright, Hisao.” She says, getting a half-grimace half-grin out of me as I take out my own boxed lunch.

I think that I’m just a little less optimistic than I was yesterday after the question… or maybe just a little bit more honest in my answer. “I hope you’re right.” I admit, beginning to dig into my own food. Hanako seems almost disinterested in hers, fidgeting just a little uncomfortably in the silence.

“H-Hisao? What w-were you talking to… M-Misha and…” Hanako asks, beginning to trail off even before the question came fully out into the open. I suppose that with Misha being Misha, it was too much to assume that the conversation had really been at all private.

“I was seeing if I could help them out with some student-council stuff. Take my mind a little bit off of…” I trail off, making a vague gesture with one hand as I leave it unsaid. “Decided that getting involved in a club of some sort would probably be a good idea. Following your example.” Hanako smiles just a little bit at that, nodding somewhat in understanding. I’d definitely been surprised when she’d admitted to both me and Lilly that she was more or less ‘unofficially’ joining the newspaper club for a little while to help them out with a few little things. From the little bit she’s said about it since joining, I get the feeling that she enjoys it.

“I-I think it’s a good i-idea.” She admits, looking just a little bit happy for me as she actually starts eating.


It takes me just a minute of picking at my own food before I realize that I’m really not all that hungry myself. It’s all but impossible for me to ignore the simple fact that the room seems all too empty right now. Yes, Hanako’s here, and even willing to chat a little bit. But things just don’t quite feel right without Lilly here. It’s as if the hole that she left in my life is becoming more and more evident in the silence. The emotions that I’ve been suppressing for the whole day up until this point slowly begin to show their faces.

I take a few deep breaths, forcing myself to relax as I realize just how tense I feel. It doesn’t exactly work… although, luckily, Hanako seems to be focused enough on her own eating to not notice.

I feel sick, even without eating anything for lunch. The thought flits across my mind that I don’t think I managed to have anything for breakfast either, but doesn’t really bother me all too much. It’s not like anyone’s keeled over from missing just a couple of meals.

The silence between me and Hanako drags on… and on… and on.

Normally, it wouldn’t have been nearly such a bothersome situation. Me and Lilly would have been able to get just a little bit of conversation out of her, out of one another. Hell, even just silence was more bearable with Lilly around.

I find my jaw clenching shut as the emotions I was pushing to the back of my mind begin to bubble back up again. Taking a shaky breath, I look up from my untouched food again to Hanako.

She’s looking at me, just a bit concerned.

The shame that I feel just adds right onto the pile of negativity that I’m doing my best to push to the back of my mind. The straw that breaks the camel’s back.

“I’ve uh… g-gotta go do something.” I stammer, grimacing as I grab my bag and find myself on my feet, hardly caring where it is that they’ll carry me right now. Skipping one class can’t get me into all that much trouble, Shizune and Misha might even be able to cover for me now that I’ve agreed to help them.

I just… I can’t let myself break down in front of someone again. Even, and especially, Hanako.
Last edited by monkeywitha6pack on Tue Oct 18, 2016 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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brythain
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Black and White (Chapter 2)

Post by brythain » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:15 pm

Chapter Two: Later

It’s been a month since Lilly left. We still talk, but it’s painful to tell her about Hisao. She wants to hear that he is recovering, that he is becoming his own person, but all I can tell her is that he is undergoing cruel and unusual therapy. Shizune keeps putting motivational posters under his door, and Misha keeps bringing him desserts, and he just keeps quiet and does their Student Council work.

He tries to show me a happy face, but all he can manage is one that isn’t sad. I know this, because I’ve done it too. And I think he’s doing it because he doesn’t want to show me how weak he is. But I can’t tell Lilly any of this, and I’m beginning to dread our conversations.

“Hello, Hanako!”

“Hi, Lilly!”

“How has your day been?”

“Q-quite productive. We managed to get a special issue on information technology done. Even K-Kenji contributed an article on computer security!”

“Oh! My, my… I never thought you might get something like that out of the man. Did he not say anything about having to work with feminists?”

“He doesn’t think I’m a feminist. He thinks I’m a toilet g-ghost. I visited Hisao last night in the dorms to see if he was okay. Then Kenji surprised me and I yelled at him. I almost threw up, I was so s-scared. He fell down and begged me not to eat him.”

“That’s terrible, Hanako dear! What happened next?”

“He said he’d do anything, but I wasn’t thinking s-straight, so I said he had to write an article for Natsume by the next d-day…”

I can hear Lilly struggling not to laugh. I imagine that she will probably have her hand over her mouth in ladylike fashion. It is funny, but it’s not the same as being with her in the tea-room, just the two of us. I’m feeling sad, now.

“And how’s Hisao?”

That’s always such a loaded question. How is Hisao? I don’t really know. He keeps trying to shut his inner self away from me. Don’t I matter to him as a friend?

“He’s f-fine, I think.”

“I do miss him, you know. I’ve tried speaking with him, but he claims he’s busy, or too tired to talk for more than a few minutes. Is he… healthy?”

She’s asking about his heart, in her usual indirect way. But a small part of me tells me that she broke his heart and shouldn’t be asking that question. I’m feeling not only sad, but a little angry.

“Have you asked him yourself, L-Lilly?”

“He says he’s fine.”

“Then he is.”

“I don’t think he is.”

At this point, I’m really angry. You two didn’t talk when you had all that time to do it, and now you still don’t talk even though you’ve made each other sad? That’s bullshit! But I’m Hanako and Lilly’s dear Hanako isn’t known to say things like that. But I whisper it to myself anyway.

“I beg your pardon, Hanako?”

It strikes me that Lilly has very sharp hearing, something I’ve known for a long time, but somehow fails to hear what people tell her anyway. Hisao loved her, and she… just failed to hear how much it meant to him.

“N-nothing, Lilly. I should go now. I have a few assignments to complete.”

“I miss you, Hanako. Talk to you again soon?”

She does sound disappointed, and for a while I don’t feel so angry. But the sadness is still there. I miss her too. But she isn’t coming back, and I won’t let myself just wither away and die because of that. It would be such a silly thing to do.

“Yes. Bye, Lilly.”

*****

A long time ago, my first friends at Yamaku were Natsume and Naomi. But Naomi had this habit of saying cruel things without actually meaning them, and Natsume was always intense about work, and slowly it became hard to take the pressure of being with them. Lilly never did that to me. But now I’m not sure if that was better in the end.

I’m making amends for letting my old friendships go. It’s nice of them to welcome me back as if I’d never gone away, and allowing me to do much more work in the Newspaper Club than I ever used to do.

Today, I’m on assignment with Misaki, the photographer attached to our club. Typhoon Fitow has just left Sendai and it’s done horrible things to parts of the region. I heard it killed two people in the Tokyo area. Misaki and Nat and I are going down to town to take pictures and talk to people. It makes me feel nervous and excited all at once.

Most of the time, I just back my friends up. Natsume does the talking and I help her take notes; Misaki does the photography and I help carry her gear, do the light-metering, and suggest angles for her shooting. It’s okay with me, because I don’t mind being in the background and being useful.

At the same time, I’m learning a few things. I’m learning how it is to be trusted as a fellow clubmate. I’m learning how to be busy and continuously relate to others, how it feels to be useful, and what it means when my opinion is always being requested and valued. It’s not that Lilly didn’t do that; it’s just that she didn’t seem to need it.

We make our way down the streets, which in the mid-afternoon light don’t seem much affected by the storm. People are friendly and treat us well even though we’re from the cripples’ school up the hill. In my rain-gear I can’t tell how much of me they’re seeing, but they don’t seem shocked by the way we look—Misaki in her body-brace, Nat with her mismatched eyes, and me.

Hisao doesn’t mind the way I look or the way I talk, I think. But I also wonder if that’s true. Sometimes he acts as if I’m porcelain and will break if touched. I wonder what it would be like if he touched me, really touched me, held me…

“Hanako, could you please adjust the reflector a bit?” says Misaki gently. I blush, embarrassed at being caught in my daydream.

Nat’s talking to a middle-aged lady in a smart suit. I look closer and realize she’s a senior stewardess, on the way home after her flight landed at Sendai. There’s a lot of makeup on her face, but it can’t disguise how tired she is. She’s rather pretty, her long brown hair braided and tied up in a coil behind her.

“It was a long delay. We were held up at Bangkok for hours. We had to wait in the sky near Sendai for weather to clear, and we had little fuel because there wasn’t refueling at Narita, the airport was full. The passengers got grouchy, but our job is to keep them happy.”

Nat asks something I don’t catch, because I’m busy writing things down after setting up Misaki’s reflector.

“Ah, yes,” says the stewardess, cracking a weary smile. “I had to look after the aircrew too. We’re not bitchy like the movies tell you, but anyone can be less polite when things are dragging on. I think my face froze at the end, always smiling at everyone.”

Nat thanks her, and she gives us that smile, but a more genuine version. I guess she’s happy to get it off her mind. I make a note of that.

It’s thirsty work, so we stop at a little café. Nearby, there’s a small stall selling little cellphone decorations. I notice a lovely purple flower, and store it away in my mind for future reference.

As we’re ordering, I notice they serve both coffee and tea with French vanilla flavouring. They even have an iced coffee with a scoop of French vanilla gelato in it. Below that is iced Earl Grey tea with the same, and that reminds me of Lilly. I wonder if she’s ever been here before. I sigh without thinking, and Natsume looks sharply at me.

“Missing someone?” she inquires. “Don’t worry, Hisao’ll be fine.”

Missing Hisao? Me? Well, yes, I… perhaps… I thought I was missing Lilly, but… my thoughts keep running uncompleted in my head. And every incomplete thought just makes me feel more flustered. I can feel my blush coming back.

“Naomi’s been hanging out with him quite a bit,” she adds, grinning wickedly. “After all, somebody has to protect him from Madam Dictator and the Pink Voice.”

What? Naomi? But they don’t even know each other! Why should I care, though? Is it because Naomi’s so much prettier than any of us? Not as beautiful as Lilly, though. I can feel my thoughts breaking up even more. I look down and point at the… affogato? Is that right, the coffee with gelato? I jab at the picture with my finger, again.

Natsume keeps staring at me, but Misaki saves everything. “That looks great, Hanako. Maybe I’ll order one too. Nat? What about you?”

The two-coloured gaze turns away from me and I can breathe again. This isn’t turning out as pleasantly as it began.

*****

It’s cooling down in the evening as we drag ourselves down the last street. The remains of the affogato are still keeping us alive. I think Misaki is suffering the most. That body-brace must be very uncomfortable, although she disguises it well. Natsume’s arthritis may be acting up too.

“How do you keep goooooooing, Hanako?” Misaki moans at me. With a start, I realize that my stride is beginning to leave my friends behind, and they’ve been hustling to catch up with me for the last few minutes.

“Oh! I’m so s-sorry…” I apologise hastily. I’m the only able-bodied person in this crew, and I hadn’t noticed.

They make faces at me. Natsume suddenly perks up, as if her spare power-pack has just kicked in. “One more,” she says grimly. “How about looking in there?”

It’s an old shop, the kind where the occupant grew up and inherited something from his or her parents. Funny name: ‘Osero’s Curio Shop’ is how it reads as I scan the faded signage.

Taking all the rest of Misaki’s gear because I can’t stand to see her in such pain anymore, I lead them across the road and into the store. It feels so odd to be in front of them, but at this point when everyone is so tired, it would be terrible if the one with the functional muscles and joints didn’t do her bit.

The glass door has a little metal chime that tinkles as we open it. It’s a really narrow place, sandwiched between two large, modern shops that sell clothes. I think Natsume picked it because it stood out so much. Most of Sendai has modernized. This place, it’s from the 1960s or something.

As my eyes adjust to the gloom, I hear a firm greeting. It’s an old but strong voice, almost teacherly or fatherly. “Welcome to this humble place. May I help you? I hope you find some interest in these unworthy things, so carelessly displayed.”

Natsume moves past me to the shopkeeper, who must be Osero-san. We bow as much as he’s bowed, because that voice sounds as if one should give a bit more respect. “Shopkeeper-san? We are students from Yamaku Academy.”

“Yamaku? Ah, that brings back memories.”

I wonder what he means, but I take out my notebook and quickly look around the room. Natsume asks the questions. I only… wait. My gaze turns to some beautiful dolls on a table. There’s a large doll there, with auburn hair and a blue dress. Its style is very much like one I’ve seen before. In fact, there’s a smaller version on the shelf in my Spartan little room in the dorms.

Could it be… ? Is this the place that Hisao bought my present from?

Forgetting myself, I ask, “Excuse me, sir. Do you g-get many customers from our school?”

Nat looks at me in surprise. Misaki’s face also displays a little shock. If I were thinking about it, which I’m not, I would be shocked at myself too.

The old man’s face wrinkles into a benign smile. “Not so many, these days, but a few. One of those beautiful dolls left the shop recently, but it’s rather sad: people don’t look at the old traditional things so much. They’d rather have a giant robot or a stuffed white cat-girl.”

“I-If I might ask… was it a young man who bought the doll?” I can feel my friends’ eyes boring into my mind for explanations, but I try not to think too much about it. Don’t think, I remind myself, don’t think.

“Why, so it was,” he replies. “Whomever received such a gift was blessed, even though it was not of the most excellent quality, it was still not that bad a present.”

“H-How much? If one is not being too impolite?”

He quotes a price that makes me blanch. It seems I owe Hisao a lot.

“There is a discount for Yamaku students, though. This old man used to work there himself, a very long time ago—he used to teach Art and Craft classes.”

Suddenly, the shopkeeper sounds a bit more vigorous, as if his memories give him energy and strength. At the same time, I can’t help comparing him to Nomiya-sensei, who is far louder and not so polite.

“There was a m-music-box as well… ?”

“Indeed. But although this humble person crafted the box, the mechanism was imported from Germany. Both items were about the same price, and the poor young man looked as if he was giving up all his food-money, so… there was a slightly larger discount.”

“I see,” I manage to whisper as I finally run out of courage.

Natsume gives me a hard look that promises further questions, and then resumes her interview warm-up. I slink away behind Misaki, overcome by what I’ve done, and what I’ve learnt. I busy myself with setting up the lighting, conscious that Misaki is just being polite by not interrogating me on the spot.

*****

Of course, when we’ve all had time to wash up and relax a bit, there’s a knock on my door. I debate with myself whether I should answer or just fall back on my let’s-not-make-a-noise-and-they’ll-go-away position. But if I do that, nothing will have changed. I’m resolved to change, somehow. Might as well start here?

Apprehensively, I open the door. Natsume, Naomi and Misaki are all there, and Misaki is even about to knock on it a second time.

“Ah… come in?” I say softly. There’s no point asking what they want. I know I gave myself away when I had that outburst in the curio shop.

Misaki slips in and perches herself on my little stool near the door. Nat heads for the desk. Naomi leans against the wall, looking curious. Her eyes are already sweeping across my embarrassingly empty shelves. When they land on my little doll, I see the light spark in her eyes.

“Nakai gave you that doll, eh?” she says lightly. “It’s very pretty.”

“Y-Yes, it is,” I say softly. I’m feeling a little uncomfortable, to be honest. I don’t like people in my room. But they’re my friends, and that’s what friends allow, don’t they? So I’ve let them in.

Naomi tosses her dyed-dirty-blonde hair slightly, smiling. “You know, I think our friend Hisao Nakai thinks quite highly of you.”

The other two aren’t saying anything. With a flash of irritation and other unsavoury feelings, I realize it’s because Naomi’s already told them what she’s about to tell me, whatever it is. So she might as well tell me now, then. No need to do all this… this… stringing me along, is what it is.

I lean against the shelf, deliberately blocking the doll from Naomi’s sight. “So while we were out working, you were interviewing H-Hisao?” I flinch a bit at that last stammery bit. It’s not timidity that’s doing it, it’s anger. Out with it, woman.

“Well, yes. We had a late lunch together, when I could distract him from attending to the demands of the Student Council. I was sweet and demure, just my usual self, and I got an interview from him. He said that, of all his classmates, Hanako Ikezawa was the one he knew best. So I asked him to talk about you, and he said many nice things about you. It seems you’ve made a conquest of some sort!”

Something switches over in my head. Hisao can’t talk to me, but he can talk to someone else about me? That’s horrible. She seduced him in a way, got him to open his heart. And he hadn’t even done that for me!

“I see,” I say slowly, not stammering. I smile at Naomi. “How… nice.” See? No stammering at all. “Well, his only other choice would be Shizune, so it’s not such a compliment…”

After having said that, I suddenly feel that I’m becoming as much a bitch as I think Naomi is showing herself to be. I feel ashamed. I look at the three girls in my room. Misaki’s eyes are huge and round, Natsume is looking at me as if I’ve sprouted bright green horns, and even Naomi’s mouth is open in amazement.

“N-No… let me take that back, that… that’s unfair. Thank you for t-telling m-me. I should thank Hisao for his kind words too.” I hear myself apologise, and I’m not sure if I hate myself or I’m just having miserable thoughts about everyone.

Still uncertain about my reaction, Naomi closes her mouth and swallows before continuing. “Uh… that’s okay. Actually, I wanted to ask about Lilly…”

This time, I catch Natsume’s quick look. It says: enough for today. Naomi sees it and changes her tune.

“… but that can wait. I hope she’s well. Hisao didn’t want to talk about that.”

No, no he wouldn’t. Stupid Naomi. I realize I’m not smiling anymore.

“Well, it’s been a long day. I’ll talk to people tomorrow. Or n-next week. Good night.”

I know I’ve been rude, but I think my friends get the hint and maybe feel they deserve it. Very subdued, they bid me good night and leave. I shut the door firmly behind them.

Does Hisao secretly still like me? Did he ever? But he’s been with my best friend, and they’ve… they’ve certainly had… relations.

Who cares? I’ve never needed that kind of thing. I think about the whole affair, the sadness, the pain, the need to just get along with life, as I change into my simple flannel nightgown.

I turn off the lights, and sit in the corner of my room, on my tidy little bed. In some corner of my mind, although I try to get rid of it, there’s a small and persistent thought: I wish he were here with me right now, just to talk to, as a friend. I don’t remember when I finally fall asleep.

=====
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Last edited by brythain on Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
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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Alpacalypse
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Re: Black and white

Post by Alpacalypse » Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:58 am

Ooh, a thing! With Brythrain's involvement, no less.
*reads*
Sweet Jesus, are we finally going to get something Post-LNE where Hanako gets with Hisao!?

FINALLY! I have been waiting for one of these for ages! :D

Anyway, enough of that. Good work here, writing was good, interesting concept (not enough Misaki on the forums, always nice to see). Ladies and gentlemen, we are go for an awesome piece of fan-fiction!
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Re: Black and white

Post by azumeow » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:12 am

^We can only hope, Al. We've had Emi win, twice in fact, but now it's Hanako's turn.

Shit, that sounds like the tagline for a bad sequel. And this is ANYTHING but bad.

Brythain, as always, great to read your work. Look forward to more.
"I don’t want to be here anymore, I know there’s nothing left worth staying for.
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See I don’t think I can fight this anymore, I’m listening with one foot out the door
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Re: Black and white

Post by Oscar Wildecat » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:25 am

Alpacalypse wrote: Sweet Jesus, are we finally going to get something Post-LNE where Hanako gets with Hisao!?
Unfortunately, If I remember my early AtD history correctly, this story will (eventually) end with Hisao "sleeping underneath the stars" and Emi "gone running"...

I hope I'm mistaken, and this turns out to be an alternate history...

(BTW, what's with the trend in Post-LNE stories -- Did poor Ms. Satou inadvertently offend the fanfic community and now must do penance? :wink: )
I like all the girls in KS, but empathize with Hanako the most.
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Re: Black and white

Post by dewelar » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:41 am

Alpacalypse wrote:Ooh, a thing! With Brythrain's involvement, no less.
*reads*
Sweet Jesus, are we finally going to get something Post-LNE where Hanako gets with Hisao!?

FINALLY! I have been waiting for one of these for ages! :D
*laughs* What a difference a couple of years makes! When I started writing Developments, the general sentiment was "Well, here comes another post-LNE story where Hanako's going to get with Hisao." Little did they know...

As to the story itself -- as has been noted, the writing is quite good, although I do take some issue with Hanako calling N+N her first friends at Yamaku. Otherwise, I'll wait and see where this goes :).
Rin is orthogonal to everything.
Stuff I've written: Developments, a continuation of Lilly's (bad? neutral?) ending - COMPLETE!

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Re: Black and white

Post by monkeywitha6pack » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:41 am

Wel when this first started, we put up a straw poll for us to all vote on and a post lne was voted to be the topic, the girl how ever well I won't tell :wink:
Wahahaha~.
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Re: Black and white

Post by brythain » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:43 am

Oscar Wildecat wrote:
Alpacalypse wrote: Sweet Jesus, are we finally going to get something Post-LNE where Hanako gets with Hisao!?
Unfortunately, If I remember my early AtD history correctly, this story will (eventually) end with Hisao "sleeping underneath the stars" and Emi "gone running"...

I hope I'm mistaken, and this turns out to be an alternate history...

(BTW, what's with the trend in Post-LNE stories -- Did poor Ms. Satou inadvertently offend the fanfic community and now must do penance? :wink: )
Hey! This is NOT 'After The Dream'. This is monkeywitha6pack's most excellent idea, with me helping it along alternately. It's another world, another experiment, and if you see echoes of AtD, it's because I keep forgetting myself. :)

Next chapter will take a while. We have a lot of threads to weave...
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: Black and white

Post by Mirage_GSM » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:55 am

“That’s terrible, Hanako dear!
"Dear"?
Yes, Lilly talks a bit strange now and then, but that's something she never said once during her route.
A long time ago, my first friends at Yamaku where Natsume and Naomi.
I second dewelar's misgivings about N&N having been Hanako's friends at some point.
I WAS going to object to Othello knowing about Yamaku - it IS not really in the vicinity of the city - but then you came up with him having been a teacher there... Laaarge coincidence, but "plot reasons" are good for most of it :-)

After the first chapter I was thinking this might go in Rika's directions, since you had her join the SC, but chapter two all but put paid to that notion :-)
Since you've been writing this for some time, I assume you have some backlog of finished chapters already?

Lots of multi-part stories running right now. It's getting hard to keep up with all of them. ^^°
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Re: Black and white

Post by Oscar Wildecat » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:59 am

brythain wrote: Hey! This is NOT 'After The Dream'. This is monkeywitha6pack's most excellent idea, with me helping it along alternately. It's another world, another experiment, and if you see echoes of AtD, it's because I keep forgetting myself. :)

Next chapter will take a while. We have a lot of threads to weave...
Well, you do have to admit, the thread for the two stories are spun from the same fiber (i.e. Lilly's Neutral EndReally, what did she do to offend the forum...). Still, I'm glad to hear that it's it own thing(*), It just adds to the anticipation of what monkeywitha6pack and you have in store.

(*)That said, an expansion of AtD!Hisao's Post-Lilly days at Yamaku would have been an interesting read as well.
I like all the girls in KS, but empathize with Hanako the most.
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Re: Black and white

Post by dewelar » Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:29 am

Oscar Wildecat wrote:i.e. Lilly's Neutral EndReally, what did she do to offend the forum...
As brythain has pointed out, it is the one ending in the game where Hisao is still on good terms with everyone, which makes it easy to follow it up with pretty much anything. Personally, I used it because I felt like it was the most incomplete ending, so I felt the greatest need to invent headcanon to explain it.
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Stuff I've written: Developments, a continuation of Lilly's (bad? neutral?) ending - COMPLETE!

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Re: Black and white

Post by monkeywitha6pack » Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:35 am

Sadly the writing itself has only been going on for about 2 months tops. It was very difficult to try to organize 6-8 different people all working on one fic, ironically most of this writing took place after the numbers started dropping
Wahahaha~.
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Re: Black and white

Post by Oscar Wildecat » Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:38 am

dewelar wrote:
Oscar Wildecat wrote:i.e. Lilly's Neutral EndReally, what did she do to offend the forum...
As brythain has pointed out, it is the one ending in the game where Hisao is still on good terms with everyone, which makes it easy to follow it up with pretty much anything. Personally, I used it because I felt like it was the most incomplete ending, so I felt the greatest need to invent headcanon to explain it.
My comment was made mostly tongue-in-cheek. However, I do see your point about it being a good launching pad, plot-wise (unless you're talking about Lilly :wink: ). I would argue, however, that the most incomplete ending honor would go to Hanako's Bad End (which is my theory behind the number of Hanako BEFFs). However, this would be a good discussion for another thread...
monkeywitha6pack wrote:Sadly the writing itself has only been going on for about 2 months tops. It was very difficult to try to organize 6-8 different people all working on one fic, ironically most of this writing took place after the numbers started dropping
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I like all the girls in KS, but empathize with Hanako the most.
"Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience." - Mark Twain
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Re: Black and white

Post by brythain » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:32 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:Yes, Lilly talks a bit strange now and then, but that's something she never said once during her route.
Heh, we made the decision to sort of do our own transliteration. So Hanako thinks of Lilly as saying that, though it's not literal.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
A long time ago, my first friends at Yamaku where Natsume and Naomi.
I second dewelar's misgivings about N&N having been Hanako's friends at some point.
They do sit together, and Hanako has to pass them everyday on the way out, so again, she thinks of them as friends, but her concept of 'friends' is different relative to other people's idea of 'friends'.
Mirage_GSM wrote:I WAS going to object to Othello knowing about Yamaku - it IS not really in the vicinity of the city - but then you came up with him having been a teacher there... Laaarge coincidence, but "plot reasons" are good for most of it :-)
I did say it wasn't 'AtD', but that didn't stop me from raiding this piece. :)
Mirage_GSM wrote:After the first chapter I was thinking this might go in Rika's directions, since you had her join the SC, but chapter two all but put paid to that notion :-)
You never know. The way dewelar strrrrrung us all along for years... :D
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: Black and white

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:37 pm

Sometimes I wish it were otherwise, but I know I can't enjoy a post bad end(I don't care what it's officially called, it's a bad end in my book) story. All I have to do is remember Lily's gone and I'm sad again. Had the same issue with Developments. Just not for me, I guess.
Best girl
Hanako=Shizune>Misha>Lilly>Rin>Emi

Best route
Hanako>Lilly>Rin>Emi>Shizune

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