KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Updated 07/24/15)

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OneManArmy77
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KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Updated 07/24/15)

Post by OneManArmy77 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 1:43 pm

So, this is a new project where I am collaborating with a bunch of other talented writers to create a hopefully immersive story similar in style to KS, but also incorporating the impactful choices. At the end of each piece, we are going to allow you, the community, to help decide where we take the story next, and believe me when I say the choices matter. We will also be rotating writers, so there will be an interesting mix of styles as we seek to make the best story possible. I have the distinct pleasure of being the first writer in the series, so I hope you enjoy!

Index

Part 1 is below

Part 2: http://ks.renai.us/viewtopic.php?f=52&t ... 19#p227889

Part 3: http://ks.renai.us/viewtopic.php?f=52&t ... 34#p228034

KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Part 1)
By OneManArmy77

[**School Days**](http://www.infinitelooper.com/?v=iEfuAH2LUxg&p=n)

I check the wall clock again. 3:15 on the dot. Mutou will have to rush through the end of his lecture about basic economics if he wants to finish it today. I slump back into my seat. This was usually the kind of topic I enjoy, but interest rates and amortization weren’t doing it for me today. I take a moment to check the desks around me to see if anyone is paying attention, but predictably half the class is staring with vacant expressions, and the other half are asleep at their desks. Even the usually exuberant Misha looks like she could use a cup of coffee. I quickly take the time to steal a glance backwards, looking for that familiar streak of midnight purple, but the only sights that greet me are the oak backrest of the desk. Miki gives me a knowing wink before resting her head back on the desk. Ah well, its not like its we’ve done a great job of keeping it a secret.

“And so you see, if you increase the amount of payments from 12 to 13, your additional payment goes directly to the principle, meaning that you can repay your loan in only 19 years instead of 30. As you can see, interest is a-“ Mutou’s well intentioned lecture gets cut short by the familiar chime of the school bell. The classroom is filled with the familiar sounds of papers sliding against binders and pens and pencils clinking together. Mutou gives a disapproving look before readdressing the class. “Just because finals are over and graduation is almost here doesn’t mean that you can stop being students.” With an air of finality, he too begins to load his notes into the stocky leather briefcase. I slowly recline, stretching my arms. As I look back up, I see a suitably energetic Misha and Shizune strolling over.

“So Hicchan, got any plans with your girlfriend tonight?” Misha asks pointedly, “Shicchan and I are busy preparing for the Yamaku graduation festival and we could use your help if you don’t have plans already. Shicchan says there might be cake in it for you!” I instinctively start to think of an excuse before I realize that I don’t really have plans yet. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen much of Hanako since she locked herself in her room in an effort to be more studious. Of course, its probably best if I don’t mention that to Misha and Shizune.

“As a matter of fact, I think she has something planned for us later. If not, I can always drop by and pitch in since the two of you always seem so busy.” Misha gives me a cute smile and signs my answer to Shizune, who gives me a little pout signifying my light jab didn’t quite fall on deaf ears. She quickly signs something back to Misha before picking her bag off the ground and starting to walk out the door.

“Shicchan says that we are only as busy as we need to be to ensure the general welfare and happiness of our fellow students. Oh well, see you later Hicchan!” Misha quickly skips to catch up to Shizune, who had already began to join the throngs of people in the hallway. Some things never change around here. I gather my now mostly empty bag and walk over towards the library.



[**Fripperies**](http://www.infinitelooper.com/?v=eNyGLYKs6pc&p=n)

Once finals were over, the library became a desert with only a few stragglers populating the many carousels that lined the walls. That was just fine with Hanako and me since it was always a little oasis for us, hidden away from the busy life school demanded. I propped my head on one of the shelves and looked over at the beanbag where Hanako usually sits. A pair of deep purple eyes peaked over the top of a copy of a tour guide to Kyoto, smiled at me, and returned to the literary labyrinth. I let out a short sigh and saunter over to the beanbag.

“Kyoto? I guess you were serious about taking some time off and traveling with the newspaper club, weren’t you?” Hanako gives me a short nod before closing up her book. I extend a hand towards her, which she hesitates before accepting. I quickly pull her up and into an embrace. I think she must have changed her conditioner when I told her I liked the smell of cherry blossoms a little while back, not that I’m complaining of course. “What am I supposed to do without you here?” I say, jokingly.

“You could read a book” she suggests half heartedly. I release my grasp on her to grab her small school bag.

“Yeah, maybe.” I reply in a light hearted, pouting sort of way. I contort my face a little to reinforce the point, which draws a tiny giggle out from Hanako. “So, do you have any plans tonight?” She quickly shakes her head. “Ok, then how about we go and grab some dinner at the Shanghai? Just you, me, a spot of tea and maybe a plate of sandwiches.” She mulls it over before shaking her head.

“N-No, I have a better idea.” I cock my head to the side. “Just come d-dressed for sitting outside.” She gives me a playful smile before returning her eyes to the ground. I give her a very exaggerated sigh and acquiesce. Oh well, I picked the location last time, so its only fair that she gets to toy with me as well.

“Ok, when should I pick you up?”

“M-Meet me at 6 outside my room. Don’t be late!” She reaches towards my hand to take her bag, but not before I angle it behind me. Hanako shows off another one of those beautiful smiles before hugging me again. I let my arm drop down to my side and allow her thin fingers to slip between my hand and the bag handle before letting her go. I watch her move as she slowly makes her way to the door before walking out. I don’t think I’m ever going to get tired of watching her do that.



[**Out of the Loop**](http://www.infinitelooper.com/?v=fjoc1ZnGjX8&p=n)

As I walk towards my room, I catch a glimpse of Kenji fiddling with the locks on his door. I’d rather not deal with his unique brand of insanity right now, so I start walking quietly towards my door. It seems I didn’t tuck my pencils and calculator away in my bag properly since he turns around immediately.

“What, who goes there?!?” Kenji hisses at me. He adjusts his glasses before his snarl turns into a smug smile. “Oh, Hisao, I didn’t see you there. Glad to see you are still alive.” Now that I realize I’m probably trapped, I take a moment to size up the giant backpack that Kenji is wearing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him wear it around school, so he must have been saving it for whatever it is that Kenji does. The bag seems to have a set of pans and a couple tent poles sticking out of the bag at weird angles.

“Going somewhere?” I ask, genuinely interested.

“What? No, what makes you think that?!” Kenji fires back. He gives a shifty look to check his flanks before he walks up uncomfortably close to me. He cups his hands in an effort to whisper before saying “Its my fempocalypse survival bag, actually. I need to test that the equipment is in working order, since you can’t be too sure when the feminists will strike next.” He takes a step back, which I’m thankful for considering his breath reeks of instant ramen and garlic. “So, what’s up with you?”

“Eh not too much, just relaxing since finals are over. I feel like I can take a break and kick back before graduation. Speaking of which, are you going to the graduation party this weekend?” I watch as Kenji’s face contorts, almost as if someone stuck a lemon in his mouth.

“What? Why the hell didn’t anyone tell me that the feminists are broadcasting their plans? Don’t tell me you are going to this thinly veiled plot to destroy us, are you?”

I decide to humor him since that generally seems to speed up these conversations. “Yeah, someone’s gotta go under cover. Otherwise, how else are we supposed to gather information?” I give him a knowing wink. Kenji immediately throws the oversized backpack to the ground, making a racket as pots and pans clatter together. He rummages through the sprawled out behemoth before pulling out a walkie talkie.

“You are a brave man Hisao, maybe even braver than me. Take this so we can communicate.” He shoves the small device into my hands. “It’s dangerous to use cell phones, since the feminists are intercepting phone signals now. Use the walkie talkie if you need to communicate with me. Keep it secure. As for me, I’m probably going to have to move up my travel plans to get out of here alive.”

“Travel plans?”

“Yeah, I was planning on trying to get out this hell hole. China has a lower ratio of females to males than the rest of the world, so I’ve been learning Chinese so I can move there later.” He gives me an all-knowing smile. “I’ve already found a small place off the grid here that I can lie low in until I can move to China. You are welcome to rendezvous at my base camp if you make it out alive. I’ll send you to longitude and latitude when I get there.”

I pause for a minute. Even Kenji has plans. Absurd plans, but still, I can tell he’s put a lot of thought and effort into them. I still haven’t figured out what I want to do immediately after school ends, let alone next year. I turn back towards Kenji. “Thanks for the offer, I’ll have to think about it”, not that I actually think I’m going to take him up on it. He nods before trampling down the hallway.

Its strange, but I’m actually envious of him. Kenji seems so sure of what he wants to do, even though it’s not a sane course of action. Well, my grades are good enough for university I think, but I’m not sure what I would study. Maybe science? I’ll have to talk to Mutou about that sometime since he seems to have a pretty good idea of what my options are. As I start to unlock my door, I realize I completely forgot about Hanako as well. It occurs to me that I haven’t really asked her about what she wants to do, or where she wants to go. I make another mental note to ask her about it later.



[**Air Guitar**](http://www.infinitelooper.com/?v=X0y7TpJJISg&p=n)

After cleaning myself up a little, I walk over to Hanako’s door and give the door a knock. Hanako must have been waiting behind the door for me, because I see it crack open enough to see one of her eyes peak out from behind the frame. She steps outside in her cute beret and casual attire with a picnic basket and duffel bag in tow. I reach for the duffel bag but Hanako shakes her head.

“What, do you expect me to just let you carry all of that by yourself?” Hanako thinks for a moment before acquiescing, handing me the duffel bag. Its surprisingly heavy, and I can hear metallic parts clinking against each other.

“No peaking” Hanako chides, “otherwise, its not much of a surprise.” Hanako wags a finger at me.

“Alright, alright, whatever you say.” I throw up my free hand in an exaggerated motion. Hanako walks over and plucks my free hand out of the air, grasping it in hers. She starts walking towards the exit, and I dutifully follow behind her.

Its not long before Hanako has led us to the small strip of green behind the school gym. Its not a bad building, just awfully plain and blocky, with a dull white exterior devoid of color. The small park comes complete with a bench and a manicured strip of lawn, an uncharacteristic effort considering how far off the beaten path it is. Hanako eschews the bench, choosing to unfurl the picnic blanket on the lawn instead. I help stretch my portion of the blanket out, setting the duffel bag on the concrete sidewalk. I flop onto the blanket, laying my back against the floral pattern cushioned by the cool grass and gaze up at a slowly setting sun. Hanako decides to join me, but not before allowing me to wrap my arm around her. We lay down in silence for awhile, just enjoying the warm breeze and the gentle chirp of crickets. Sometimes, words just get in the way.

By the time I sit up, the sun is probably only about half an hour from setting completely. Hanako seems to remember that the picnic basket exists, and moves to unpack it.

“So, what did you come up with this time? I hope its not one of those vanilla and turmeric pot roasts again.” I grimace at the memory. Hanako means well, but there are times where that doesn’t really translate to what goes on the plate, especially when it comes to mixing spices. Hanako makes a cute pouting face, crossing her arms and turning her nose up at me.

“Hmmph, if t-that’s how you are going to be, then you can starve.” I give a hearty chuckle and watch as she melts back into her more playful self. As she brings out the big container, I catch a whiff of something that smells suspiciously like steak. Crawling over on my hands and knees, I start to help Hanako unpack when I see what appears to be another bottle of wine, no doubt a parting gift from Akira. I give her an exaggerated look of disapproval, which Hanako slyly ignores in favor of continuing to remove containers.

Within a couple minutes, the spread is strewn about on the blanket. Hanako really went all out; there’s two steaks, some salad, a bottle of red wine with a French label on it and what appears to be some sort of custard or flan for desert. “It looks fantastic” I say, stating the obvious. Hanako blushes before motioning for me to bring the bag over. Prying the zipper apart, I lay out her surprise on the spare corner of the blanket unpopulated by food. Its an older projector with its small battery pack, as well as what appears to be a copy of some Charlie Chaplan movie. Hanako lighly shoves me aside as she clicks the projector on, training its beam on the gym wall. It suddenly makes a lot more sense why she would pick this location for dinner, as the wall allows her to circumvent the need to bring a screen. I start cutting up the steak and clumsily feeding her a couple bites while she fiddles around with the projector. It’s only a couple minutes before the familiar humming of the projector is casting an in focus image of Charlie on the wall.

I look over at Hanako, who is obviously pleased with herself. “So, when did you become an expert on projectors and date night ideas?”

Hanako blushes a deep crimson before replying. “W-Well it’s not that hard, I j-just needed to read a book or two.”

“Come to think of it, where did you even get a projector from?”

Hanako purses her lips before replying. “Yuuko was cleaning the library and found it. The school must have used it awhile back, but we have n-newer models. I just asked Yuuko if I c-could borrow it.” She shovels a morsel of salad into her mouth in an attempt to avoid further questioning. I figure I wont be getting much more out of her for now, so I drape my arms around her neck like a scarf, and we watch the movie, clip by clip and mouthful by mouthful.



[Comfort](http://www.infinitelooper.com/?v=S6yr56Xvmk8&p=n)

Both the food and the movie are gone all too quickly. I give a sigh of contentment and look over at Hanako. She’s looks so peaceful sitting out here, and without anyone else nearby, Hanako lets her guard down. I can see the discolored burn marks more clearly since she makes little effort in hiding them. I’m sure a glass or two of wine didn’t hurt either. I dare to break the stillness with a couple words.

“So, are you happy to be done with finals?” I ask innocuously. She turns towards me before giving a short nod. “It’s nice to not have that looming over us anymore. Do you want to go to the graduation party this weekend? I’ve heard Shizune and Misha have been working overtime to put it together on such short notice. I figure it could be pretty fun since it’s the last festival before we graduate.” Hanako leans over and hugs my waist, closing her eyes.

“Only if you’re there with me.” She mumbles into my shirt, just barely audible in the crisp night breeze. I rest my head on hers getting another whiff of cherry blossoms.

“You know, I was thinking about what my plans were after graduation, and I realized I need to start applying to universities or something. I was talking with Kenji and I realized I don’t actually have any idea of what I’m going to do after Yamaku. Do you have any plans yet?”

Hanako unwraps her arms and sits up, startling me slightly. She puts a thoughtful finger to her chin. “I was t-thinking of traveling or something. There’s so many places I’ve r-read about that I want to visit. I don’t know about after though…” She trails off.

**Cut music**

“You don’t want to come with me to university if I go?” I ask, being careful not to lace my words with concern. I’d much rather have her by my side if I can help it.

“I…I don’t know” Hanako answers in a very subdued way and starts fidgeting with one of the plates. I’ve brought up this before, but she always seems to want to avoid the topic. Even after trying to get to know her for awhile, she is still harder to read than a good poker player. That does nothing to assuage my concerns, however.

**DECISION TIME**

Choice A: Try to get Hanako to talk about it

Choice B: Change the topic

We are going to be using reddit as well, but for now, please reply to this post with your choice to vote. We are attempting to find a better method that is resistant to vote brigading, but for now, this is the best we can come up with. I also apologize for the weird format, but I originally designed it for Reddit and dont have a better solution right now since Im rather unfamiliar with the processor here. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy!

EDIT: We are now switching over to strawpoll, at least temporarily to avoid breaking the rules. You can find the poll here: http://strawpoll.me/4670215
Last edited by OneManArmy77 on Tue Jul 28, 2015 6:25 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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swampie2
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Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms

Post by swampie2 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:00 pm

I like the idea of rotating writers, though I think choose your own adventure fics are against the rules :c

Regardless, the fic seems well written. I won't comment on spelling and grammar as mine Is far worse.

Write more, even if you aren't allowed to continue the "chose your own adventure" aspect of it

Also, you should consider making a Fanfic BGM list to do music for you, it's a standalone program that runs playlists of KS music, see more here
One Shots - My stories thread.

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dewelar
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Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms

Post by dewelar » Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:02 pm

swampie2 wrote:I like the idea of rotating writers, though I think choose your own adventure fics are against the rules :c
They are.
Rin is orthogonal to everything.
Stuff I've written: Developments, a continuation of Lilly's (bad? neutral?) ending - COMPLETE!

Silentcook
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Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms

Post by Silentcook » Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:14 pm

You have already been alerted to the relevant sticky, so I'll just once again point out that as long as there's no voting in the thread itself, you're welcome to publish your fanfiction in our forums or link to them.
Shattering your dreams since '94. I also fought COVID in '20 and all I got was this lousy forum sig.

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swampie2
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Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms

Post by swampie2 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:30 pm

Silentcook wrote:You have already been alerted to the relevant sticky, so I'll just once again point out that as long as there's no voting in the thread itself, you're welcome to publish your fanfiction in our forums or link to them.
Perhaps a Strawpoll?
One Shots - My stories thread.

OneManArmy77
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Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms

Post by OneManArmy77 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 4:32 pm

To avoid problems, we are moving to strawpoll, as suggested. I apologize on behalf of my team for any problems we caused, and I hope that it didnt prevent you from enjoying the piece!

azumeow
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Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms

Post by azumeow » Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:15 pm

Interested, and voted.

This could go one of two ways, and I don't think I need to explain why. Technically, I found it to be pretty good. Nothing too glaring that made me want to tear my hair out, so that's good.
"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"

OneManArmy77
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Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms

Post by OneManArmy77 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:26 pm

azumeow wrote:Interested, and voted.

This could go one of two ways, and I don't think I need to explain why. Technically, I found it to be pretty good. Nothing too glaring that made me want to tear my hair out, so that's good.
Good to hear that my writing isnt the primary cause of your baldness! But seriously, glad to hear people are enjoying it

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Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:10 am

I agree about the writing - The beginning of the second section stay in past tense a bit too long but otherwise no glaring mistakes.

A few notes about the actual story:
As a minor thing, Mutou is teaching science, not economics. Is economics taught in High school anyway?

A few other things don't seem plausible at all:
Well, my grades are good enough for university I think, but I’m not sure what I would study.
By the time this story is set, he should have decided on a university already, because the entrance exams will all be over. If no university has accepted him yet, he'll have to wait another year.
Hanako eschews the bench, choosing to unfurl the picnic blanket on the lawn instead.
Early march is not really the right season for a picknick in Japan...
there’s two steaks, some salad, a bottle of red wine with a French label on it
A picknick in the open with alcohol? Are they trying to get expelled a few weeks before graduation?

Oh, and the actor's name is "Chaplin"
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.
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Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms

Post by Xilirite » Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:08 am

The choice that we went with from the previous chapter is Choice A: Try to get Hanako to talk about it. I hope you all enjoy my continuation of the story OneManArmy77 started.

Cherry Blossoms (Part 2)

By Xilirite

Caged Heart (http://www.infinitelooper.com/?v=-JeJjWeYQuc&p=n)

I sigh in frustration. I can’t just ignore this problem until it goes away – I have to address this at some point. “Hanako,” I begin, trying not to sound confrontational. “I, uh… I really think we should talk about this. It’s important to me.”

Her hands stop fidgeting, and she slowly sets the plate down on the ground. “Umm… I-I don’t know what to s-start with.”

“Let’s start with grad.” I clear my throat. “We’re almost done here at Yamaku, Hanako. A few more weeks and we’ll have finished school.” I try to pick my words carefully. “And… over the past few months, uh… you’ve kind of kept me in the dark.” I take a sip of my drink as her eyes rise from the plate and begin to dart around the ground. “I know you don’t mean to. I just… I mean…” I sigh. “I want to know what life will be like. For us.”

“Well…” She searches for words, staring at the ground. The projector continues to hum softly in the background. “I-I haven’t really decided on a-anything. I just thought that m-maybe traveling would be fun…” she trails off, furrowing her brow and drawing into herself. “M-maybe after…”

For a moment, I consider the possibility that Hanako may not be there for me after graduation. A chill runs down my spine as cold dread grips me. “But then we wouldn’t be together,” I reply, my voice shaking. “I don’t think I can do that.”

“B-but… Hisao, it w-wouldn’t even be half a y-year, and then-“

I cut her off. “A month is too long. Half a year would be unbearable. More than that would be torture.” I shake my head. “Hanako, I can’t stand being apart from you.”

She blushes. “I… th-thanks.” She smiles, and I feel a surge of warmth flow through me.

“Hanako, I love you.” She blushes even more severely, and begins playing with the tips of her hair absent mindedly. “I love you enough that I don’t want you to leave me.”

Her smile wavers. “E-ever?”

I awkwardly begin to stutter a response, but ultimately can’t find anything to say. I fall silent, and her smile disappears. She turns away, her hair blocking her eyes from view. I can’t help but feel it was intentional. “I-I don’t want to l-leave you, but I s-still want to d-do this.” She turns back to me again, her eyes locking with mine. “And b-besides, I-I haven’t even decided yet.” Her gaze softens. “I heard about a tour of Japan from m-my friends in the n-newspaper club, and it s-sounded fun.” Her stutter is getting noticeably worse. “I thought m-maybe I c-could go with them a-and see the w-world.”

I look into her eyes, and under her gaze my concerns begin to melt away. Something about her eyes makes me feel safe. I sigh, and clasp my hands together, reluctantly breaking eye contact. “Hanako,” I begin to say, keeping my voice light. “I want to spend as much time with you as I can. I want to be by your side.” I hesitate for a moment, debating what I’m about to say, before concluding with “Forever.”

Her eyes light up, and a soft grin begins to emerge. “I’d like that,” she whispers, so quiet it seems as if the words themselves are fragile, liable to break. “I-I’d like that very much.”

I frown in response. “But… you still want to go away.”

Hanako’s smile falters, and I immediately regret my words. Before I can take them back, she angrily responds “It’s not about w-wanting to l-leave you. I-it’s about w-wanting to l-live my life.” She suddenly, and violently, shakes her head and says “I-I already said I h-haven’t decided yet.”

I don’t reply, and a silence falls upon the two of us as she looks away once again. The wind begins to pick up, and the quiet hum of the projector feels deafening. I open my mouth to speak, but she immediately stops me. “I don’t w-want to t-talk about it.” Her hostility has taken me by surprise, and it feels like I’ve been punched in the gut. I stare at the side of her head, trying to take in the deep violet shade of her hair. The setting sun’s final rays illuminate each strand, and the resulting spectacle is intoxicating. I want to wrap my arms around her and run my hands through her hair and tell her how much she means to me.

But I can’t bring myself to do anything.

“Hisao…” her voice sounds uncertain, afraid. I stare into her eyes, but she doesn’t stare back. “I need you to trust me. P-please.”

I nod slowly, considering my answer. “Of course I trust you, Hanako,” I respond. “I’m just… scared.”

She nods, still refusing to make eye contact. “S-sorry, Hisao.”

And that’s all she says before turning around and leaving.

Nocturne (http://www.infinitelooper.com/?v=3RhpTliGv2U&p=n)

The next day of classes is a blur to me. None of the classes grab my attention – math, history, English, not even science. My mind is elsewhere. I can’t stop thinking about yesterday, nor can I shake the profound feeling that I made a mistake.

I don’t want to lose Hanako. Not for a moment, and certainly not for a lifetime. She means too much to me – her touch, her voice, her laughter, her smile, and everything else she does brings a joy to my life I’ve never felt before. Every time I see pain in those eyes, I feel it reflected back upon me. Knowing that this time it was I who caused the pain is unbearable. I had rushed out of class to find her at lunchtime, but she was nowhere to be found. I’ve felt that chilling dread ever since I woke up, and its iron grip just grows tighter and tighter with each passing hour. If I hurt her...

I glance at the clock. It’s 3:15, finally. Eerily reminiscent of yesterday. The final seconds of class pass agonizingly slowly, and when Mutou’s droning voice is finally interrupted by the clanging of the bells, I nearly topple the desk over in my rush to get out of the class.

I half-walk, half-jog to the dorms, desperate to check on Hanako. As I step outside, the overcast skies and dim lighting feel uncomfortably fitting. In a few minutes, I’m at her door. I take a deep breath and knock.

No response.

I wait a moment, hoping, and knock again. Still, silence. I consider knocking a third time, but it’s pretty obvious she isn’t there.

The only place I haven’t looked is the town. Why she’d be there, I can’t say, but there’s nowhere else to look. I set off down the long, winding path leading to the bottom of the hill, past the iron gates and stone walls. The first raindrops begin to fall, and I curse myself for not grabbing an umbrella while I was still in the dorms.

Raindrops and Puddles (http://www.infinitelooper.com/?v=LMv-6ATLw2I&p=n)

As the rain begins to fall, I force myself to think about other things to try and calm down. The soft pitter-patter of the rain is oddly calming, and I take a few deep breaths to clear my head. A little ways down the path, I see somebody walking with an umbrella. They must be moving very slowly – I’m gaining on them rapidly just by walking. The person is wearing a man’s uniform, so I assume it’s a man. With the rain picking up, the umbrella is starting to look especially appealing to me. Maybe it’ll be somebody I recognize, and they’ll let me share.

Then, as I get closer, I notice the limp sleeves. It’s definitely somebody I recognize, all right. At this distance, not even the umbrella can hide Rin’s bright red hair.

But how the hell is she holding the umbrella?

“Uh, Rin!” I call to her, eliciting no response whatsoever. I speed up the pace to close the distance between us, huddling beneath her umbrella before she objects. Not that she tries to. She doesn’t even turn to face me.

Parity (http://www.infinitelooper.com/?v=8tEcG9qpgUg&p=n)

“Hisao.” she says in her own strange sort of greeting. Now I can see she has the handle of the umbrella awkwardly hooked under her shoulder. It sways with every gust of wind, and it’s clearly been ineffective thus far – she’s completely soaked. I wait for her to continue speaking, but she stays silent. I suppose my name is sufficient greeting.

I never really liked Rin that much – she always struck me as off-putting and confusing. However, I’d rather be dry with poor company than wet with no company. “Why don’t you let me hold that umbrella?”

She looks at me and cocks her head to the side. “Why? Do you like holding umbrellas?”

“Er… no. But it looks like you’re having some difficulty.” She stares at me blankly, her head still tilted. I sigh, steeling myself for the test of endurance that the coming conversation is sure to become. “You’re completely soaked and the umbrella keeps tilting.”

She nods. “Yes,” she replies, showing no comprehension. She doesn’t break eye contact with me, but she falls completely silent once again. I wait, impatiently, for her to come to a decision. “I think you’re right.”

“About what?”

“I am soaked.” She grins, as if she had just told a joke. “Okay.”

I can’t tell what she’s trying to say until the feeble waving of what’s left of her arm clues me in. I take the umbrella from her hand and hold it between us, feeling incredibly awkward about the whole situation. “Does this always happen when it rains?”

“Does what happen?”

I shake my head. “Do you always have trouble with umbrellas?”

She shakes her head. “No. I think the rain is only a problem if you make it a problem.”

“That doesn’t actually mean anything.”

She furrows her brow. “I think it means a lot.”

What a frustrating conversationalist. I decide against further provoking her, instead just trying to keep as dry as possible. Rin keeps drifting in and out of the umbrella absent mindedly, and I’m starting to doubt that she can even tell the difference. Eventually she gives up even trying to stay under the umbrella, and she continues to get even more soaking wet.

“Uh, Rin? There’s room under the umbrella.” She looks at me in surprise, as if she forgot I was even there, before shaking her head.

“I don’t need it.” She looks away, towards the horizon. I give up. I probably would’ve been better off without the umbrella.

Raindrops and Puddles (http://www.infinitelooper.com/?v=LMv-6ATLw2I&p=n)

The rain begins to let up, and the wind dies down. The deafening torrent of rain becomes a soft pattering once again. As the clouds begin to part, dazzling sunlight bounces off of small puddles on the path, and the ground lights up in a glow of tiny rainbows and glistening stone. Without the looming threat of the rainstorm above my head, I feel secure in closing the umbrella up and handing it back to Rin. Wordlessly, she takes the umbrella, as rain continues to drip from her hair and the tip of her nose.

As Rin’s odd nature begins to fade from my mind, my thoughts drift to Hanako. Is she angry at me? Or angry at herself? Knowing her, it’s likely the latter. Next time I meet her, I’ll have to apologize – it was a bad idea to bring the topic up. She’s likely just as uncertain about the future as I am, and pressuring her isn’t going to make her life any easier. I need to be supporting her, not clashing with her.

But even saying that, I’m still scared. If she decides that she’d rather travel than go to university with me, my plans for the future will fall apart. I’ve been thinking of her every step of the way, but I have no way of knowing if she’s been doing the same. Am I temporary to her? Or just secondary?

I notice Rin is staring at me now. I meet her gaze for a moment, but I can’t keep it for long. Her eyes give no hints as to how she’s feeling, and it makes them feel impersonal, cold, and intimidating. “What do you want?” I ask, more aggressively than I should have.

She doesn’t respond right away, simply continuing to stare. I don’t know why I continue to expect immediate response from her, but nonetheless I’m still put off by her long pauses and awkward silences. When she finally does respond, I’ve nearly forgotten what I asked in the first place.

“You’re not normal,” she says. “You’re different.”

Look who’s talking. I shoot her a look that’s meant to be a bit nasty, but has no effect on her. “I’m pretty sure I’m a mostly normal person.”

She shakes her head. “I don’t think so. Today, you’re not Hisao. You’re sad. Or angry.” She frowns. “Or both. Is there a word for that?”

“I have no idea. What do you mean I’m sad?”

She doesn’t answer, looking off towards town instead. “There should be a word for that.”

“Rin!” I’m getting impatient. Maybe I am angry.

“Yes?”

I try my hardest not to sigh again. “You think I’m sad?”

“No. I think today you are. Is it because toilet girl isn’t with you?”

I purse my lips. “No.” I cough. “Kind of. I’m looking for her.”

She grins. “Maybe you should check the toilet.”

“Why would she be there?”

She shrugs. “It’s a mystery.”

This time, my exasperation gets the better of me, and I sigh loudly. “Rin, you’re not helping.”

She looks at me, offended, but doesn’t say anything. Something about the silence longs to be broken, and I start searching for something to say. I decide that Rin probably isn’t likely to talk to anybody else about anything I tell her, so there’s no harm in venting.

“I’m only angry at myself. I said something I shouldn’t have yesterday, and I can’t find Hanako to make things right with her. And now I’m worried for her.” Rin nods slowly, but doesn’t interrupt. My tongue feels heavy, but I don’t want to stop. Voicing the problem is hard, but it makes things feel… better. “She might blame herself for something I did wrong, but she might also blame me. And I don’t know which one is worse.” I shake my head. “But I can’t just ignore it, because it’s important to me. To both of us. And if something goes wrong… everything will.” I look at her. She’s still staring at me, her face blank. “Does that make any sense?”

She nods in confirmation. “Not really.”

I clench my fist to suppress myself. “I’m just scared, for her and for us.”

She nods again, although clearly that doesn’t mean much at all. “You’re scared to talk about a scary thing.”

“Yeah, that’s one way of putting it. I guess.”

“Well…” She blinks, somehow pointedly. “Just don’t talk about it then.” She smiles. “If something is scary to me, I don’t talk about it ever. I only talk about things that I like, like banana ice cream and oranges and painting and long walks and sleeping.”

“What are you scared of then?”

She cocks her head to the side again. “I can’t tell you. That would be talking about it.”

“Fair enough.” I notice that we’ve nearly reached the town. “I guess I’ll catch you later?”

She looks at me blankly. “Nobody’s throwing me. Am I going to fall?”

I close my eyes and take a deep breath. “Goodbye, Rin.”

“Ah. Yes. Goodbye, Hisao. I hope you find your mystery.”

“My what?”

She grins again. “The mystery toilet girl. I hope you find her.”

“Yeah, okay. Thanks I guess. See you later.”

“You’re seeing me now.”

Another breath. “Stop that.”

She frowns. “Stop what?”

I’m about to explain, but I realize how pointless it is. “Never mind.” I walk away before she can continue this inane conversation. I don’t understand how Emi stands her. Everything she says is disjointed and unconnected, and everything you say to her she either takes literally or just ignores. It’s like talking to a brick wall, except the wall will say random words every now and then and expect you to understand.

I can’t help but think about what she said. Regardless of whether or not she meant it as advice, the idea of not talking about it could be a better idea than trying to patch things up. I can let her bring it to me on her own time, and make up for what I said some other way. I don’t know if I can trust anything coming from Rin’s mouth, but she could actually have a point.

I try to think of where I would find her if she were here. She could have gone to the convenience store to buy something, but I doubt she’d have gone alone. Suddenly, I realize she might have gotten caught in the rain like I did. If she had come to town, she’d try to warm up after that. And the best place to do that…

Fripperies (http://www.infinitelooper.com/?v=eNyGLYKs6pc&p=n)

The Shanghai is as close to feeling like home as a restaurant can get, with the paper lanterns and the warm lighting. Yuuko is nowhere to be found at the moment, and I decide it’s probably best to get out of the doorway before she notices and has a panic attack. I scan the different tables throughout the building, when my eyes land on a familiar head of hair. Relief floods through me – I finally found her.

I shuffle over to the table and sit down across from Hanako. She jumps, startled, before recognizing me. “Oh!” She blushes, and places her tea cup down on the table awkwardly. “H-hi Hisao.”

“I’ve been looking everywhere for you! Where were you today?”

She looks down at her feet. “In my dorm.”

I feel a pang of guilt. She couldn’t even bring herself to leave her room in the morning. But if she’s here now, she must be feeling better. “How do you feel?”

She smiles softly. “Good. I-I think.” She looks up at me, her eyes glistening. “Hisao, I’m sorry about yesterday. I’ve been f-feeling awful all day about it a-and I didn’t want to f-face you. I thought that y-you’d be angry with me, and I was s-s-scared.”

“Hanako…” I say affectionately, placing my hand on the table, palm upright. She smiles, taking my hand and looking into my eyes.

Choice A: “Don’t worry about it.”

Choice B: “It was my fault.”

Cast your vote here: http://strawpoll.me/4684952
Last edited by Xilirite on Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Writing and lack of sleep go together like procrastination and a boot in the ass. Unpleasant, but productive!

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sat Jun 20, 2015 5:49 pm

Boy, is Hisao a needy bastard...
The only place I haven’t looked is the town. Why she’d be there, I can’t say, but there’s nowhere else to look.
Actually he didn't check anywhere but her room. Not the library, not the tea room - he jogged to the dorms as soon as classes were out.
And how does he expect to find her "in town"?
I'm not sure if this might be an artifact of your multiple-author approach: Someone wrote a scene with Hisao meeting Rin in the rain, and someone else needed to come up with an excuse for Hisao to walk into town...
By the way it is still quite unusual weather for Japan in winter. Nobody is wearing jackets, Rin is walking through the rain soaked, and Hisao does not even comment on her catching a cold.
The end of the scene however was the most irritiating: Hisao was acting like a dick, and Hanako is the one apologizing ^^°
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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dewelar
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Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms

Post by dewelar » Sat Jun 20, 2015 8:14 pm

Yeah, I have to agree with Mirage -- this Hisao feels like he stepped out of a bad romance novel. If this is how you want him to come off, you need to tell us how he got this way, and quick.

Also, I would consider leaving your voting open longer than a couple of days. I know a number of folks who only check this board once a week, which I think should be the minimum you should leave between chapters.
Rin is orthogonal to everything.
Stuff I've written: Developments, a continuation of Lilly's (bad? neutral?) ending - COMPLETE!

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Xilirite
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Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms

Post by Xilirite » Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:03 pm

I have to apologize for my portrayal of Hisao -- the short story of why he's so bad here is that I haven't adapted quickly enough from my previous writing project.

In my current project, Damage, my character is cynical, volatile, and emotionally strong, and I've written nothing but Damage for at least half a year. The cynicism is beginning to creep its way into my writing style, which is a bad thing. Writing from Hisao's perspective is completely different -- as somebody on Reddit said, Hisao is a much more neutral character than he's portrayed here, and I didn't do that Hisao justice. In hindsight, there are glaring issues in this second chapter that I'd like to address in the future -- among them is poor wording or lack of clarification (I should've had a paragraph or two of Hisao just searching the school, as I forgot that lunchtime =/= after school in a really stupid oversight), poor portrayal of character (Not just Hisao, but Hanako's stutter and some of Rin's mannerisms), and stuff that would've normally been ironed out before I submitted it had it been my main project.

Also, each individual post is it's own author -- I wrote everything after the first choice, from the fight with Hanako to their reunion in the Shanghai.

I made a rookie mistake -- I let my story dictate the characters, not the other way around, which is a surefire way to ruin a chapter. Forcing characters down a specific path to get a scene I want is a bad idea. They should have justification for their actions. I didn't even think of why Hanako would visit the Shanghai. The worst part about it is I know better, but I neglected to put in the extra effort. I had plenty of time to tweak things to my liking, but instead I rushed it, and I got what I deserved to get -- a lackluster, lopsided, and lazy piece of writing that should not have been published in it's current state.

So again, sorry for screwing up. In the future, I'll try to take a few extra days to write my chapters in order to make sure that they're up to snuff. I hate when my work is anything less than the best it could possibly be, and this was, looking back at it, probably one of the worst pieces I've written all year.

You don't need to worry about further lapses in quality from me. I'm going to be nitpicky as hell, and I won't allow anything I write to be submitted until it's as perfect as I can get it.

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. Even if it's harsh, it's necessary if I'm to improve.

Edit: Also, as for Hisao's over-romanticism, I personally felt that Hisao would be that kind of guy towards Hanako, but that's all up to interpretation.
Last edited by Xilirite on Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Writing and lack of sleep go together like procrastination and a boot in the ass. Unpleasant, but productive!

OneManArmy77
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Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms

Post by OneManArmy77 » Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:32 pm

Sorry for getting back to you so late, but I had neglected to check the posts.
Mirage_GSM wrote:I agree about the writing - The beginning of the second section stay in past tense a bit too long but otherwise no glaring mistakes.
I'll keep that in mind. When I read through it for proofreading, I didnt notice much there, but the problem with proofreading your own posts is you read what you meant to write, not what you actually wrote. When I work on other projects, I usually have other editors, and when I edit my own pieces, I generally wait a couple days at least before looking at it again so I dont read what was intended. Because of the fact that we wanted to get out a copy of the story ASAP, I was not able to afford myself this luxury.
Mirage_GSM wrote:A few notes about the actual story:
As a minor thing, Mutou is teaching science, not economics. Is economics taught in High school anyway?
This was based more off my personal experience. I had basic economics taught to me by one of my science teachers and one of my math teachers. The reason I had Mutou teach a bit of economics here is because its a practical thing you can teach a bit of post finals, but before graduation as something like a parting gift. Thats what my physics teacher did for me, so it felt natural to have Mutou do the same. I figure the end of year curriculum kind of goes out the window at this point so the teacher can teach whatever they want.
Mirage_GSM wrote:By the time this story is set, he should have decided on a university already, because the entrance exams will all be over. If no university has accepted him yet, he'll have to wait another year.

Early march is not really the right season for a picknick in Japan...

A picknick in the open with alcohol? Are they trying to get expelled a few weeks before graduation?
As for the first two, I am unfamiliar with Japan in general, and especially on how the academic cycle works over there. I had checked with my fellow writers to try and figure it out, but in the end we just decided to roll with it, so I apologize if our setting is not perfect, but thats the best we could do under the circumstances with our limited set of knowledge. Also, didnt Emi suggest a picnic in her route? That would suggest that the weather near Yamaku is fine. As for the 3rd point, I took some creative liberties and probably went a little far there. I had something planned with the wine, but eventually decided to nix it, but forgot to remove the wine from the equation.
Mirage_GSM wrote:Oh, and the actor's name is "Chaplin"
Where memory trumps common sense to google the term in question.

I wont address the writer specific criticism since Xilirite already posted about it.
Mirage_GSM wrote:I'm not sure if this might be an artifact of your multiple-author approach: Someone wrote a scene with Hisao meeting Rin in the rain, and someone else needed to come up with an excuse for Hisao to walk into town...
No, the process is very organic overall. We set up 3 or so plot points that we want to write to complete the story but how each writer wants to work towards those objectives is up to the writer alone. As such, we offer a lot of freedom in how the author wants to handle their section of the story. As Xilirite already explained, he was responsible for his section, and while I personally agreed on a couple of your points and voiced my concerns to him, I respect him as a writer to make his own decisions.
dewelar wrote:Also, I would consider leaving your voting open longer than a couple of days. I know a number of folks who only check this board once a week, which I think should be the minimum you should leave between chapters.
The problem with that is this is a group that Id like to have run multiple stories and even switch out members as we start new stories. We are also posting this to reddit, so while id love to have the maximum amount of people vote on the choices here, I would much rather get in 3 stories this summer rather than just 1. My apologies to those who dont get the opportunity to vote on it, but for the sake of moving the story forward, we cannot just wait a week for the polls to be perfectly accurate. I will say however that on bigger choices, we will be waiting longer before progressing.

Thank you both for continuing to be a good audience!
-OneManArmy77

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Re: KS Writing Club: Cherry Blossoms (Updated 06/20/15)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:46 am

Also, didnt Emi suggest a picnic in her route?
Uh, yes, but that was during her route which ends towards the end of July - and the picknick is two weeks after the festival which would put it towards the end of the rainy season in Japan: warm but with a risk of rain - like depicted in the VN.
You decided to set your story after the final exams and shortly before graduation which would put it about eight months later - smack dab in the middle of winter - probably somewhere in March.
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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