Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Complete]

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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 16/7/15]

Post by Sharp-O » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:25 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:Wow, some serious Nomiya-bashing here.
While I agree he is not really empathetic towards Rin's feelings - though to be honest most people aren't - he is still a teacher and at a school like Yamaku. He would notice one of his students falling physically apart like this.
The scene you described is obvious to everyone stepping into the room and Nomiya has supposedly brought her meals every day.
Besides even if Rin skips a meal or a night of sleep or two, she is still basically able to care for herself or she'd be under heavier supervision.
Nomiya is presented as the bad guy from a Made-for-TV movie in the game! A scheming scumbag hiding behind a mask of affability, but maybe that's just how I interpreted his character and thus his portrayal here.

As for Rin's condition - I had Saionji say Nomiya "assured" her he was looking after her when the opposite is clearly true, showing that he hasn't been there every day and because he doesn't get how Rin works, was probably content to leave her working most of the time after some "encouragement" and a constant reminder of the exhibition and how important it is. Constant pressure and stress. She broke under the strain and stopped looking after herself.

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Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 17/7/15]

Post by Sharp-O » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:47 pm

Chapter Twenty-Seven: Bauhaus Bonds

Image
I rest my head against my arched hands as the din of the hospital around us continues unabated while an eerie silence engulfs myself, Emi and Miki. The doctors have been working on Rin for a while now, I couldn’t even tell you how long and that worries me.

“Why won’t they tell us anything?” Emi breaks the silence and neither Miki or I have a good answer.

“They’re probably still assessing her.” I offer, never taking my eyes off the chair across from me. I breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. Be strong. For them. For Rin.

“Do you think the others will come?” Miki asks, leaning back in her chair with her arms and legs crossed.

“I don’t know… Last bus into the city from Yamaku was a while ago so maybe not.” I close my eyes in thought. I feel my phone vibrate for the third time since we got here and I finally check the messages left by the others.

[Holy shit, I hope Rin’s okay. Last bus was leaving as me, Hana and Ritsu got to the bus stop. I think we can pool our cash for a taxi if you need us. Let me know. - Akio]

[That’s horrible! I’m not one for prayer but I’m definitely sending good vibes your way, guys! - Molly]

[We can’t get there right now but we’re all thinking of Rin. Take care of everyone, Taro. I love you. - Ritsu]


I smile a little at the last one, a loud clap echoing through the hall as I close my phone.

“They couldn’t make it in time for the bus but offered to take a taxi if we need them. Lots of love and good vibes coming in too.” I say to the two girls and it provides a small comfort.

Eventually, a doctor appears to talk to us. He’s relatively young, kind of reminds me of the school Nurse but with glasses and a goatee.

“I’m sorry to keep you waiting. We’ve established that Miss Tezuka is suffering from extreme exhaustion, dehydration and vitamin deficiency. We’ve stabilised her for the most part but she’s very weak right now.”

“So she’s going to be okay? Can we see her?” Emi leans forward, desperate for good news. The young doctor nods with a small smile.

“With time, but she requires lots of rest right now until her levels become normal. You can go in but only one at a time. Like I said, she’s very weak so please bear that in mind. If you have any questions, the nurse will be able to help you.” He gives a courteous nod and walks off, probably to attend other patients.

“Go.” Miki and I seem to be of the same mind as we both issue the order to Emi, who clearly wants to rush to her friend’s side. The door closes and me and Miki are left on our own. I rub my eyes and let out a heavy sigh.

Hell of a day.” I lean my head against the wall behind me and close my eyes, the florescent lighting stinging my tired eyes. Miki shifts over one seat and leans her head against my bad shoulder. She doesn’t say anything but I feel her sigh and nod against my shoulder. The din of the hospital quietly fades as the fatigue takes over and I fall asleep.

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

The soft clink of metal and the smell of coffee stirs me awake. A blanket slides off my front as I stand up. I stretch and feel satisfying pops across my shoulders down my spine. I crane my neck to stretch that out too before taking the can of warm coffee from an outstretched hand.

“Thanks, Akio…” I sigh, taking a tentative sip before several gulps.

“No problem, man.” He pats my bad arm and looks around. “Those chairs do not look comfy.”

“They’re not. My ass is still asleep.” I mumble. I look up and down the hall. Akio is here but Emi and Miki aren’t. “Where’re the others?” I ask with a slight frown.

“Miki took Emi back to Yamaku after we got here. They were both exhausted. Left you because, well, I doubt the five of us could carry you, let alone just those two.” He explains with a half-smile. His levity is much appreciated right now. I take my last gulp of coffee and put the can in a nearby recycling bin. I clap my hand on either side of my face to wake me up.

“How’s Rin?” I ask as the world finally comes into focus.

“Seems okay. Physically, at least. She’s awake and the girls are in the room now talking to her.”

“That’s good. I can’t even begin to describe how we found her…” I say, shaking my head in disbelief.

“Miki told us it was, and I quote, ‘the most fucked up shit I ever done seen’.” He puts on a mocking country bumpkin accent and it makes me smile a little.

“She’d kick your ass for that...” I sit back down, feeling no more relaxed than when I stretched.

“How are you holding up, big man? Heard you lost your cool with some gallery owner.” Akio sits next to me with a concerned expression.

“Yeah… I… Seeing Rin like that scared me, Akio. But once she was in safe hands, I got angry. Real angry. Because of Nomiya…”

“I know you’ve got beef with him but…” Akio starts a thought but I continue regardless.

“This isn’t about my personal issues with him, that shit’s trivial right now… It’s about duty of care. Rin is one of his students and she could have died in that fucking loft. One of our teachers did that, man. Shit, that could have been Tomoko, or Keisuke, or even Maeda.” I can feel the burning return in earnest.

“Maybe I'm playing devil’s advocate but we don't know the full story, not yet anyway. What’s important is that Rin is safe and on the mend. You guys did that!” Akio says earnestly.

“Thanks, man. I’m…” I’m cut off by the door to Rin’s room opening. Ritsu and Hana walk out and Ritsu breaks into a beaming grin when she sees I’m awake.

“Taro!” Ritsu leaps at me as I stand, wrapping her arms around my neck. I place my hand on her back and hold her close, just glad to have her here.

“Hey…” I smile weakly and she kisses me. It’s quick but tender, reinvigorating me a little. “Hey, Hana.” I nod to the raven-haired girl as she sits next to her boyfriend. "Hi, Tarooo…" She yawns, leaning her head against Akio.

“You should go in.” Ritsu smiles. “I think Rin would love to see you.”

“Are you sure? You guys just came out.” I protest but Ritsu just nods with a smile, literally pushing me to the door. “We’ll be out here if you need anything.” She says, closing the door.

Image
The light and sterile hospital room is a stark contrast to the awful loft but it’s sole occupant remains the same. I cautiously step over towards the bed where Rin sits in a relaxed position, her eyes closed.

“Rin?” I ask, tentatively. No response. I creep closer, looking at the saline drip feeding into her ar-- Huh. Well it’s not where it should be so where… I’m too busy thinking where the drip could possibly go to notice Rin open one eye.

“Hello.” I’m not proud to admit that I let out a girlish yelp… At the very least, it seemed to put a smile on Rin’s face.

“Hey, Rin.” I smile, not wanting to ask the obvious questions that everyone else probably has. I look at the drip again and let out an amused snort from my nose. “So where’s the drip implanted?”

Rin looks at the IV, following the drip down to her gown’s sleeve where it disappears. She furrows her brow.

“That doesn’t seem right… It’s supposed to go in your arm. But I don’t have arms.” She flaps her stumps a little and I struggle to hold in a laugh. “So does it just… not go in?” She tilts her head. “Taro, you know the words. What’s the word for a mystery all the time?” She looks to me expectantly. Don’t let her down.

“Um… I think mystery is the right word but if you want another… Quandry? That’s kind of all the time… I think.” I ponder while Rin somehow squirms her face into the gown’s collar.

“Oh. There it is. It is in my arm, just further up.” She says, muffled by the gown’s material. She turns her head but the material just moves with her.

“Taro, I’m stuck.” I guess she’s pretty much the old Rin again. I tug the collar down and her face emerges, a pair of big green eyes staring back at me.

“Hello.”

“Hi.”

I pull a chair close to the bedside and sit while Rin tries to explain why being trapped in your own shirt is a metaphor for life. It’s actually a pretty good one.

“So that’s why you agreed to do the exhibition? Because you felt stuck in your shirt?” I try not to laugh but it sounds ridiculous.

“No? I think I did that so Mr. Nomiya would stop asking. He’s like déjà vu all over again, always with the same thing.” She explains plainly. I dread to ask how she got the way she did but I have to know.

“When we found you last night, you were… How did you even get like that?” My heart sinks before I even hear the answer. She ponders for a little while before shaking her hair. I guess she was taken to a shower this morning because it looks clean and fluffy as it shakes.

“That’s more like being stuck in your shirt. You’re supposed to fix it with hands right? The shirt thing, not the thing last night. Though I think that’s how other--”

“Rin, no! Not that!” I cut her off, burying my blushing face in my hand. That’s too weird and surreal for me to think about. “I meant why weren’t you eating? Or sleeping?

“There was work to do.” She says, as if I’d asked a stupid question. “But I got stuck in my shirt and couldn’t paint any more. I was stuck and couldn’t do anything about it. Everything else didn’t seem as important.”

“So you had artist’s block.” I sum up her words succinctly. “It happens to everyone, Rin.”

“But there was work to do.” She says again. Oh, Rin

“Doing things you can’t do, just because you can. You said that to me once.” I chuckle a little. “But sometimes, there’s a limit to that. You hit that limit and you got really sick as a result. Did you think about what your work was meant to say or were you just doing it because it needed to be done?”

She stares at me blankly and I wait. She’ll say something eventually. Minutes roll by before she closes her eyes in defeat.

“…Unsure.”

“I don’t know how you feel about your own art… But I always saw it as expressionistic. Not in the pretentious sense most people would use, I mean it was literally you expressing your feelings because you couldn’t find the words. The works I saw in the loft… Lacked meaning. They weren’t your words. Do you get what I’m saying?” Do I even get what I’m saying?

We sit quietly for a few more minutes, the clock ticking and our breathing the only sounds in the world.

“Are you okay?” I ask as tiny tears form in Rin’s eyes. A small smile creeps across her face and she looks me dead in the eyes.

“Thank you, Taro. For saving me again… And for understanding.”

I get up out of my chair and wrap my arm around Rin’s back, my chin resting on her shoulder. She turns her head slightly.

“I can’t hug you back, Taro…” She wiggles her arms again and I do chuckle this time.

“That’s okay… I’ve still got one arm and plenty of hugs for the both of us.” I croak, in spite of the lump in my throat.

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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 17/7/15]

Post by HoneyBakedHam » Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:24 am

Folks, we found the true Master of Romance, not that sarcastic joke of one like Hisao.

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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 17/7/15]

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:54 am

Yes, your Taro somehow understands Rin despite barely having interacted with her before.
That's why I like the SoL scenes in thos story much more than the dramatic ones. The drama is always way over the top, and Taro always develops enourmous social skills to be able to deal with it.
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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 17/7/15]

Post by Sharp-O » Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:43 am

HoneyBakedHam wrote:Folks, we found the true Master of Romance, not that sarcastic joke of one like Hisao.
Turns out Suzu was right all along! The harem is nearing completion... :lol:
Mirage_GSM wrote:Yes, your Taro somehow understands Rin despite barely having interacted with her before.
I thought this might come up and I hold my hands up to the fact that I haven't really taken the time to establish their friendship. I didn't follow the 5 P's and flesh their connection out as fully as I could so I apologise for that. I mentioned way back in Nemesis that they knew each other well enough and were in the art club at the same time.

I even thought about writing a one-shot about it but Rin is very difficult to write for, especially her perspective and then I got the idea for Hanakio's one-shots and it kind of fell by the way-side. Again, sorry if it sounds a bit too convenient but my intentions were good.
Mirage_GSM wrote:That's why I like the SoL scenes in thos story much more than the dramatic ones. The drama is always way over the top, and Taro always develops enourmous social skills to be able to deal with it.
SoL? You may have to run that one past me, Mirage. I'm unfamiliar with the term. :?

EDIT: I just realised it means Slice of Life. I feel like a dumbass :(
Last edited by Sharp-O on Fri Jul 17, 2015 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 17/7/15]

Post by swampie2 » Fri Jul 17, 2015 12:06 pm

This was a very nice chapter. Rin felt like VN Rin, something that I have yet to perfect, good job on that.
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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 17/7/15]

Post by Sharp-O » Fri Jul 17, 2015 12:53 pm

swampie2 wrote:This was a very nice chapter. Rin felt like VN Rin, something that I have yet to perfect, good job on that.
Thanks, I'm glad to hear that. It's hard to write some established characters, Rin being the hardest for me personally. Glad that you think I got it right.

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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 17/7/15]

Post by Alpacalypse » Fri Jul 17, 2015 2:02 pm

Okay, I was going to wait until the next chapter to comment. seriously, I swear you got faster with your updates in the past week. You're at, like, FTL speeds now, dude :lol:

Then the Rin chapters happened. Oh, boy.

I actually agree with the direction you took this. Without somebody like Hisao, who genuinely cared for her (I think) visiting almost every day, Rin would have been in a very, very bad state in the atelier. The chapters here captured that really well - also, Nomiya is indeed an arsehole. Fuck Nomiya. :evil:

However, I'm starting to feel like Taro is getting just a leetle bit Mary-Sue-ish; he seems to be getting kinda "perfect", IMO, at least. Are you going to be offsetting that later in the story, or is there a deeper meaning behind this?
I get the whole messiah complex thing, but I'm not really seeing a negative impact on him from that or his attitude. It's a little disconcerting, is all.
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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 17/7/15]

Post by Sharp-O » Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:09 pm

Alpacalypse wrote:I actually agree with the direction you took this. Without somebody like Hisao, who genuinely cared for her (I think) visiting almost every day, Rin would have been in a very, very bad state in the atelier. The chapters here captured that really well - also, Nomiya is indeed an arsehole. Fuck Nomiya. :evil:
Cheers, Al! Glad to see someone sees the character exactly the same way :lol:
Alpacalypse wrote:However, I'm starting to feel like Taro is getting just a leetle bit Mary-Sue-ish; he seems to be getting kinda "perfect", IMO, at least. Are you going to be offsetting that later in the story, or is there a deeper meaning behind this?
I get the whole messiah complex thing, but I'm not really seeing a negative impact on him from that or his attitude. It's a little disconcerting, is all.
Yeah... He really is, isn't he? It's getting really annoying to write such a goodie two-shoes all the time... I wonder if I could do something about tha--
Sharp-O wrote:Part VI - Limit Break
Oh. Well then.

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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 17/7/15]

Post by Alpacalypse » Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:27 pm

Sharp-O wrote:
Alpacalypse wrote:However, I'm starting to feel like Taro is getting just a leetle bit Mary-Sue-ish; he seems to be getting kinda "perfect", IMO, at least. Are you going to be offsetting that later in the story, or is there a deeper meaning behind this?
I get the whole messiah complex thing, but I'm not really seeing a negative impact on him from that or his attitude. It's a little disconcerting, is all.
Yeah... He really is, isn't he? It's getting really annoying to write such a goodie two-shoes all the time... I wonder if I could do something about tha--
Sharp-O wrote:Part VI - Limit Break
Oh. Well then.
I... didn't notice that...

I haven't checked the title page in quite some time :oops:

Fair enough. Continue, good sir.
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Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 18/7/15]

Post by Sharp-O » Sat Jul 18, 2015 12:19 pm

Author's Notes: I'll be honest, I'm not completely happy with this chapter, mostly because I've found that I'm shit at writing drama, or interpersonal drama anyway. It's not my best work and probably my least favourite chapter but it means I can change shit up and get back to the light-hearted shenanigans. (Also, I've half-wrote an alternate cut of this chapter where shit goes bananas. Real Shonen anime stuff. May throw it up at some point just for the craic)

Chapter Twenty-Eight: Altered Ego

It’s a few days before Rin is discharged from hospital. Emi, Ritsu and myself spend the most time with Rin, we even met her parents. They’re… nice. Not as eccentric as their daughter but still a little odd.

Our small group; consisting of Ritsu, Akio, Hanako, Molly and myself, are waiting in the main grounds when Emi, Rin and Mrs Ibarazaki arrive. I met Mrs Ibarazaki at the hospital too. She reminds me so much of Kyoko. So bubbly and charming and extremely maternal. It’s kind of a nice reminder of home…

“Hey, guys!” Emi waves enthusiastically, one arm around a hooded Rin. A chorus of welcome back’s call back and some hugs shared with Rin from the girls. They all have a good laugh at Rin’s newest addition to her wardrobe; my hoodie. It’s comically large on her, easily twice her size. The hood shrouds her face save for a few strands of red hair and I look at the arms and accept that I will probably never wear it again.

“I’m never getting that hoodie back, am I?” I smile with a resigned tone and Rin shakes her head, the hood swaying back and forth in an exaggerated manner.

“I’ve already put knots in the arms.” Rin says in an oddly cheery tone, swinging her arms for emphasis. Everyone laughs while I shake my head with a smile.

“Okay, you can keep it for now. It’s too warm for me to wear it during summer anyway.” I say as Ritsu cups her hand in mine, holding me back for a second while the others walk towards the girls’ dorms.

“You’re going to get it back though, right?” She asks quietly.

“Eventually. Probably.” I chuckle. “Why?”

“I was… I was kinda hoping I’d be the first girl to wear it…” Oh.

“Um, sure. As soon as I get it back, you’ve got first dibs.” I offer a reassuring smile. She accepts and jumps up to kiss me on the cheek before dragging me towards the dorms.

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

Image
The atmosphere is jubilant, both because the airheaded artist back but just to be in each other’s company. Mrs Ibarazaki leaves, giving both her daughter and Rin a cuddle before waving goodbye to all of us.

“Your mum is so nice, Emi!” Molly exclaims.

“Kind of reminds me of your step-mother, Taro!” Ritsu bumps my shoulder and I smile with a nod. “Yup, definitely like Kyoko.”

“Awww, Taro! You’re blushing!” Emi leans forward with a teasing smile and I wave her off.

“What? It just makes me think of home is all!” I can feel my cheeks warm and Ritsu wrap her arms around my good arm.

“You’re such a softie!” Ritsu laughs and squeezes my arm. Molly gets up and collects the mugs of Miki, Emi, and herself.

“Anyone want a refill?” She calls out as she places the mugs on the kitchenette counter. A chorus of “Yes, please” is followed by Akio and Hanako getting up to help, collecting the rest of the mugs.

I look around the room at the motley band of friends and lovers gathered and feel a satisfied smile creep across my face.

“Hey, Nurse, Miss Tsunemori! What brings you… guys…” I hear Akio call out to the school’s resident councillor and nurse before trailing off. There’s a domino chain of expressions changing as the trio enter the girls’ common room. The Nurse, Miss Tsunemori and Nomiya…

“Sorry to interrupt the festivities everyone.” Miss Tsunemori bows deeply, as does Nomiya. The Nurse manoeuvres around Nomiya’s bulk and walks over to us, nodding with a smile before kneeling next to Rin and talking to her in whispers. Emi moves in to be in on the conversation and I instinctively look around the room again to gauge everyone’s reactions.

They’re all watching me out of the corners of their eyes. Why? They should focus on him in case he tries something. But then, he wouldn’t in front of the Nurse and the Councillor, right? They’re good people, I know they are. What’s his game?

“Given the… events of the past week, the School Board thought it would be in everyone’s best interests to have an open dialogue about what transpired and take action from there. In that capacity, myself and the Nurse are here as mediators. Mr. Nomiya?” She speaks calmly and softly, though she’s probably doing so to keep us calm. The hairs on the back of my neck rise as Nomiya moves and Ritsu grips my arm tighter, shooting me a look that says “Wait.”

Nomiya takes a step forward, looking around the room before his eyes settle on Rin. I flinch and Ritsu again holds me firm. He closes his eyes and turns his head.

“I… am deeply sorry, Miss Tezuka. I do not have the words to express that sentiment strongly enough.” He breathes a heavy sigh and looks at us all again.

“I have been dealing with many financial and deeply personal issues of late and because of that; my duty to you, one of the students placed under my charge, was compromised.” Is that it? Is that the best you’ve got?

“It was irresponsible of me to put such an enormous task on your shoulders, Miss Tezuka. No, more than irresponsible, it was selfish and unbefitting of my role as a teacher…” His voice shakes and he brings a hand to his mouth.

“In all honesty, I… I used this exhibition as a distraction from my… My divorce.”

The words carry around the room and there are unsure looks between several of us but what I notice most is Ritsu’s reaction. I feel her whole body tense up through our bodily connection and her eyes go wide. She’s still raw from what’s happening with her parents. I… I’m conflicted. My issues with Nomiya are boiling to the surface but Ritsu needs me more. I try my best to push my anger down and close my eyes, wrapping my arm around Ritsu tight. Hold on to her. Don’t let her go. Focus on her.

“As such, with Miss Tezuka‘s permission, I will cancel the exhibition.” I hear the words but don’t see any reaction. Focus on Ritsu, she needs you.

“Very well, consider it done. And as for my position at this school… That will be for the Board to decide. I do not expect either forgiveness or leniency for my dereliction of duty. My actions were inexcusable and I can only express my deepest… and sincerest apologies. I am so very sorry, Miss Tezuka…” The last half is spoken with a noticeable quiver in his voice and by the end is reduced to an ashamed whisper.

The room goes quiet and I finally open my eyes. Ritsu has her face buried in my chest. Everyone looks either uncomfortable or worried and Nomiya has tears running down his face. He quietly slinks out of the room without any further remarks and Miss Tsunemori gestures to the Nurse to follow him. He pats Rin on the head and does so.

Miss Tsunemori walks over to the kitchenette and helps Molly, Akio and Hanako finish everyone’s drinks. The room is deafly quiet and the earlier jubilant mood lies on the floor of the common room, if not dead then dying.

Miss Tsunemori approaches Ritsu and I with two steaming mugs and places them on the table in front of our sofa. She takes a seat next to Ritsu and pats her back gently.

“You seem quite affected by Mr. Nomiya’s announcement, Ritsu. Is there anything you’d like to talk to me about?” Her soft reassuring tone is perfect for this situation. Ritsu nods gently.

“Would you like to come talk to me now? We can use the admin office here, it’s not quite as comfortable as my office but it’ll probably be a lot less green.” She throws a knowing smile to me and I reciprocate.

“Does anybody else feel the need to have a chat with me?” She asks to the room as she and Ritsu get up. No one seems to. I touch Ritsu’s hand and give her a reassuring smile.

“I’ll be here when you get back.” She nods a little and walks with Miss Tsunemori to a door just the other side of the hall that leads into the common room.

“How’re you holding up, Rin?” I scoot to the edge of the sofa, leaning on my knees. She looks at me with her big green eyes and simply shrugs. Did she zone out and miss all that or does she just not care? Whatever. If she’s satisfied with that, fine. I rub my eyes and let out a groan before standing.

“Just going to grab some air.”

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

Not going to lie, I really did need this. The atmosphere in there was so thick, coupled with my own tsunami of thoughts, it was suffocating. Out here though, with the fresh breeze, the warm sun, the intermittent bird song… It’s calming. I hear the double doors swing open automatically and a familiar subdued tacking approach from behind me.

“Making sure I’m still here?” I ask to Akio, who sits on the stairs beside me.

“Making sure you didn’t anything stupid. Like cave Nomiya’s face in.” He says plainly, without the usual joking tone he’d use with that kind of comment.

“You think I’d really do that?” I chuckle.

“Frankly, yes.”

Okay. That was unusually stern.

“You’re a good guy, Taro but one of the worst things you do is hold grudges. Must be part of that whole hero persona you’ve been building. You might not see it but you get angry at the wrong people. Like that shit at the gallery. I get you were angry at finding Rin like that, that’s understandable but from what I can tell, that lady had no idea what was going on either. Not to mention I heard you attacked Maeda to find out where Rin was in the first place.”

“I barely touched him!” I protest and Akio just stares me down.

“And do you know how strong you are? You could have seriously hurt him, man and what for?”

“Maeda’s a weasel! A despicable little brown-noser too stupid to see when he was betrayed by Nomiya. Ran straight back to him after his breakdown.” I explain and Akio laughs.

“Betrayed by Nomiya? Maeda had a breakdown? Jeezus, Taro, you are fucking dense.” He shakes his head. What the fuck does that mean?

“It was Maeda who pressured Nomiya into putting on that art exhibition here in our second year but he chickened out last minute because he got stage-fright. Hid in his room for two days. Nomiya had nothing to do with that.” What…

“But… He…” Is that true?

“Blamed Nomiya? Of course he did, he’s an asshole, but why would he stick around if he was hurt that bad?”

The realisation dawns on me and the cool breeze dies. My shoulders slump and I lower my head.

“There it is. You’ve been holding a grudge against Nomiya all this time because of a lie told by an arrogant prick and because you’re always so eager to play the hero, you took it personal. Quit the art club. And when Maeda went back to trying to be teacher’s pet; you started resenting him too.”

"…How?" Is all I can muster after the barrage of information. He just taps his nose.

"Investigative instinct. After I heard what happened from Miki, me and Hana went to check on him. Got him to tell us about your beef with him too. Can't believe you never even considered just talking to him about it. But then, when you're angry, you tend to switch off your ears… Don't think I didn't notice you trying to block out Nomiya earlier. I know you were looking after Ritsu but you were also trying to ignore him." He's not wrong. When I found Akio in the city I was just humouring him until he passed out and I could take him home…

“…I’ve been a fucking retard.” I grimly admit.

“Yup. Pretty much.” He nods earnestly. Cheers, pal.

“I think I did the same thing with my Father… I held onto a lot of resentment against him but, in the end, he had a valid reason for being so distant.”

“You can be as blind as Lilly sometimes, wide-load.” He chuckles and I just sink lower. He places his hand on my shoulder and his tone becomes serious.

“I love you, man but take it from someone who knows stupid decisions intimately… You need help with this attitude. You might end up hurting someone you care about one day.”

I close my eyes and think on what I’ve just heard. Okay, so I’ve been stupid. I’ll hold my hands up to that. I’m not perfect but now that I know that I can take things too far the wrong way, I can work on it. I’m fine. I can keep going and just avoid it happening again. I’ll be fine. Akio should know better really, I’ve helped him enough times… Ritsu needs me anyway, I need to get back in there for when she’s done with Miss Tsunemori. As quickly as I think of her, her words creep into my mind.

Exactly, and while aspiring to be a good person is an admirable trait to have, it can run the risk of becoming something dangerous. Starting to believe the people you help owe you something for your sacrifice, for example.

No, I’m not like that. I’ll… I’ll be fine. I can handle it. I’m the strong one here… I don’t need help. I don’t need to rely…

Self-less people rarely can and the stress often builds up until they simply... Snap. It’s hard to see your own limitations, especially in pursuit of a noble cause. Sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees, as the saying goes.

God damn it.” I quietly sigh and Akio tenses. I get up with a groan and walk back inside, patting Akio on the shoulder as I go. I give a reassuring smile to Molly, Hanako and Miki. Emi and Rin have disappeared. Emi’s pretty capable, so she can look after Rin. I pick up my luke-warm coffee and walk back towards the admin office and quietly wait on one of the chairs outside it. Akio sidles up to me.

“What are you doing?” A worried face if ever I saw one. Guess that’s how I’ve looked dealing with him before. Hm.

“I’m going to ask for help, even if my head is telling me not to.” I answer solemnly.

“Well I’ll be here if you ever need a shoulder to cry on.” He smirks, patting my arm.

“When did you become better at this than me?” I narrow my eyes as he walks back into the common room.

“When a goodie two-shoes decided to read me the riot act and put me back on the right path. Payback’s a bitch, huh?”

You’re a bitch.” I give an amused snort through my nose and he just winks.

Miss Tsunemori and Ritsu finally emerge from the admin office as I finish my coffee. Ritsu’s been crying. I wrap my arm around her instinctively and plant a kiss on her forehead. She smiles a little and it helps me with what I’m about to say.

“Miss Tsunemori, do you have some free time tomorrow?”

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swampie2
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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 18/7/15]

Post by swampie2 » Sat Jul 18, 2015 12:38 pm

I actually quite like this chapter. Mostly I find that these heavy scenes seem to go on forever, but the way you have written it here works quite well. It explains the situation and how Taro is feeling without lingering for too long. I like that, a lot actually.

Nice work Sharp, even if I was shouting "JUST GO TALK TO MAEDA!" through the whole of the second part. :lol:
One Shots - My stories thread.

HoneyBakedHam
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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 18/7/15]

Post by HoneyBakedHam » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:18 pm

swampie2 wrote:Nice work Sharp, even if I was shouting "JUST GO TALK TO MAEDA!" through the whole of the second part. :lol:
Yeah, but Maeda is a total bitch.

Anywho, I agree: Awesome work as usual. One thing I had to disagree with was how quick he was willing to accept help after the conversation with Akio. I was hoping for Taro to tell him that he's got it and he knows what he's doing, but start to have some issues following that. He didn't really go through the whole feeling that anyone he's helped owed him or any of the other advice the counsellor said.

You did say that you aren't good with interpersonal drama and don't care for it so, given what you did do in the chapter, it was sufficient for a dramatic scene.

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Sharp-O
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Re: Monomyth: Taro Arai's Story [Update: 18/7/15]

Post by Sharp-O » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:31 pm

I totally hold my hands up to it being a semi-quick resolution. I get halfway through writing something like this and I just don't want to write anymore. I like the idea of doing it, I'm just no good at it. :lol:

Glad you enjoyed it at the very least!

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