Sharp-O's One-Shots! "Lost & Found" 16/5/16

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Sharp-O
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Sharp-O's One-Shots! "Cordially Invited" 3/12/15

Post by Sharp-O » Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:30 pm

Act 2

The street below Akio and Hanako’s modest apartment is filled with a cacophony of coughing and spluttering - the dying groans of tortured machinery. A chorus of curse words follows the thumping bass line of a foot beating a fresh dent into the flimsy metal of a Nissan EXA Sportbak.

“Miki’s here, Hana.” Akio announces dryly, a look of puerile delight playing across his face at the equally childish tantrum unfolding before him. He pushes himself away from the windowsill and turns to face the woman watching him from the wood-framed mirror on their tall chest of drawers. Hanako brushes her freshly blow-dried violet hair behind her left ear and sighs.

“When I said put on p-pants, I was subtly implying you follow that up with a shirt and some socks.” She tilts her head towards her fiancé, who wears the same cocksure grin he’s had since they first started dating. An exercise in provocation, a dare to respond with the razor sharp wit Akio knows she possesses. To fight him with words; a challenge she once found incredibly difficult but now finds almost as effortless as breathing.

“I did exactly what you asked, dear!” He mockingly protests, arms held wide as if to show his innocence before resting on his hips. “You know I don’t do subtle.” His brazen attitude defies the faded scars and cigarette pockmarks across his torso and upper arms, grim reminders of a tortured childhood. Hanako’s body warms as she admires the man before her, both for his physique and for his strength of character.

The doorbell rings out from the hall and Hanako glides across the smooth laminate floor of their bedroom to the door, fully dressed in a trendy t-shirt and jeans, her hand brushing the door frame lightly as she pauses to give Akio an ultimatum. “Get dressed or I’ll send Miki in here.”

You wouldn’t…” Akio’s confidence disappears quicker than the colour from his face as Hanako smirks devilishly at him. He’d often been on the receiving end of Miki’s ire for one remark or another, the threat alone enough to get him to fall in line.

Silently, Hanako moves into the hall, her eyes never leaving his until they are out of sight. “Hana? Seriously though!” His distant voice calls out to her as it takes every ounce of self-control for her not to laugh. She reaches the metal door and opens it outward, greeting the rather flustered looking woman on the other side.

“H-Hello, Miki.” Hanako smiles, a picture of perfection while Miki scowls back; sweating, hairs splayed across her face and huffing as she leans against the door frame.

“Mor… Mornin’.” Miki wheezes, wiping her forehead with her bandaged stump to clear the sweat and hair. “Sorry about the noise…” She smiles weakly, feeling a twinge of guilt for making a ruckus in front of her friends’ apartment.

“Come in, I’ll m-make us a drink.” Hanako holds the door wide and ushers her beloved woman she considers a sister into her cramped hallway. Miki crouches down and tugs her shabby sneakers off her feet, placing them neatly side by side. Hanako couldn’t help but note the large-looped and lop-sided laces. Tied once and never undone —a sign, if ever there was one, of Miki’s limited patience and stubbornness.

“Okay! Okay! I’m dressed!” Akio announced, emerging from the room at the end of the hall, a hastily thrown on t-shirt still in the process of being tugged down his stomach.

“That’s… Good to know?” Miki answers uncomfortably, looking to Hanako as if she’d answer why her boyfriend felt the need to share the amazing feat of putting on his shirt inside-out. Hanako takes one look at the size tag hanging limply under Akio’s chin and finally bursts out laughing at his expense.

“What?” Akio asks, turning almost as red as his hair.

=======

“Bugger me…” Molly mutters, her working-class upbringing sneaking past her lips in a single Briticism. Her eyes glide up the gleaming panes of glass and colossal beams of metal and concrete, finally meeting the bright blue sky several hundred feet above where the foursome stand.

“I take it the exterior is quite breath-taking, given Doctor Kapur’s reaction.” Lilly smiles wryly to herself as Ritsu begins unloading the trunk of her black Honda Civic.

“You can say that again. You’re really living the high-life, huh?” Suzu comments, her eyes just as enamoured as Molly’s. Lilly laughs airily and nods. “According to my assistant, Marcus, the Westin has quite the reputation for being both stunning and extravagant. I’ll let him know you were suitably impressed with its aesthetic.”

“Please don’t tell you booked the penthouse, I think I’d die of embarrassment.” Molly admits, returning to Japanese for the sake of her friends, despite two of them being fluent English-speakers. Her mind races through imagined visions of luxuriously soft bed linen and gorgeous furnishings, juxtaposed with images of her own humble lodgings at a much cheaper hotel.

“Not quite. Though I am technically going to be paying for two rooms on this trip.” Lilly confesses, drawing confused glances from her companions. “When Akira arrives, she will be sharing my room but we both pooled our money to book the honeymoon suite as a wedding gift.”

“Wow! That’s so nice of you. I’m sure Hana will love you for it.” Ritsu compliments, stepping up to Lilly’s side with her luggage. “Suzu, go get us some more coffee while I help Lilly get settled.” Ritsu aggressively suggests, forcing a bundle of notes into the palm of the cerulean-haired woman.

“Um, okay? See you soon, Lilly!” Suzu offers cheerily.

“Be sure to get some rest.” Molly suggest and Lilly offers a polite smile in return. “Doctor’s orders, I presume?”

“If you like, but more for your mental fatigue than physical. I’m not that kind of doctor, remember?” Molly chuckles, thinking of many similar interactions with her extended family, one of whom is a ‘proper doctor’ as her dear old mum likes to remind her.

“I’ll be sure to do so, thank you. I look forward to seeing you both later.” Lilly smiles, bows and then turns, extended her cane as Ritsu verbally guides her towards the door. The pair disappear into the lobby of the Westin and Suzu turns to the dark-skinned beauty at her side.

“Drinks on Ritsu, I guess!” She confidently grins, snatching Molly’s arm and dragging her towards the coffee shop across the street.

Successfully checked in and away from the prying ears of the patiently waiting concierge, Lilly takes Ritsu aside. “Thank you for your assistance, Ritsu. I truly appreciate it.” Lilly bows graciously and Ritsu feels the need to return the gesture, even if it would go unseen. “No problem. Any friend of Hana’s…” Ritsu smiles nervously, unsure why Lilly seemed to want to speak privately.

“Then I hope you won’t mind my boldness but…” Lilly hesitates, unsure herself if she is overstepping the bounds of this new acquaintanceship. She holds out her hand flatly and Ritsu obliges, place her fingers in Lilly’s palm. The blonde woman carefully cups her other hand over Ritsu’s and holds it gently. “I’m sorry about you and Taro.”

“Wh-what?!” Ritsu wrenches her hand free of Lilly’s grasp as she recoils in shock. “Who told you?” She snips, her voice barely raised but the tone surprising Lilly to no end.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…” Lilly scrambles to explain before recomposing herself, her back straightening. “When I mentioned Taro, I noticed you… Avoided talking about him in an intimate sense. Changing the subject and your reaction just now confirmed my suspicions. You broke up with Taro…” Lilly’s beautiful face softens in sympathy.

“He broke up with me, if you must know.” Ritsu huffs, turning away from Lilly’s gaze, despite the inherent futility of the act. Those impassive, cold, cloudy-blue eyes were pitying her, Ritsu could practically feel them boring into her very soul. “Not that it’s any of your business.” She spits quietly.

Lilly nods silently, adopting her default prim stance once more. “Right you are. Please forgive my impropriety, I just wished to offer my sincerest condolences.” Lilly bows once more before taking her cane in hand and slowly edging past the angry young woman.

Ritsu side-steps to let her pass, watching Lilly intently. “This way, ma’am. Would you like to take my arm?” The concierge offers and Lilly shakes her head stoically. “No thank you, but the gesture is appreciated all the same.”

Ritsu glowered a little more as her ears burned. Was that a crack at me? She wondered as the blonde amazon disappeared into the elevators nearby. Who is she to talk about me and Taro? She’s not even been here! Ritsu continued in her mind as the doors closed. What the hell would the perfect Lilly Satou know about us and our brea- And Ritsu paused.

He broke up with me.

Those were the words she said. Out loud. For the very first time. She wanted to scream with every fibre of her being. Lilly had tricked her into confronting it, or that’s what Ritsu angrily assumed. Her left eye twitched as her hand balled into fists so tight, Ritsu wondered if she might break her own fingers.

The tension loosened, her sheer white fingers slowly returning to their usual pinkish hue as blood returned. She took one last look at the elevators and sighed lamentably.

“God damn you, Satou.”

=======

Three open doors slam closed in quick succession, Hisao musing that his faded silver Prius looked mighty fine compared to the scrapheap they had to park behind.

“Did someone abandon this thing? It looks like it oughta be on cinder blocks!” Kenji mocks, looking at the beat-up vehicle in closer detail. His thick lenses peering dangerously close to a rust spot above the wheel well.

“I wouldn’t touch it if I were you…” Taro calmly suggests, smiling a little to himself, as if hearing a joke only he was privy to. It’s the most he’s smiled the entire trip here, Hisao thinks. Kenji bolts upright, looking across the roof of the car at Taro. “Why? Think I might get tetanus?”

“No, I think you might get a broken jaw if Miki catches you sniffing around her car like that.” Taro’s smile broadens a little more, almost sinisterly. Kenji recoils and his gaze flitters between Taro and Hisao in a panic.

“M-M-M-Miura’s here!? You didn’t say she was gonna be here! I think I’ll wait in the car…” Kenji’s squirrelly motions towards the backseat of the Prius are halted by the dull thud of four doors locking in unison.

“Whoops! Looks like you’re gonna have to come in with us!” Hisao smirks, holding his arms up in a pantomimed shrug, his car keys dangling from his right hand.

“Dude, please! I can’t be around that chick! She’ll kill me! She’s said so before!” Kenji pleads in a desperate whisper, ducking a little behind the car. “Taro? Tell him! You know what she’s like!”

Taro thinks on this for a few seconds, stretching out his memories of Miki just to prolong Kenji’s suffering. He nods ponderously. “Yeah, I do. C’mon, Hisao, let’s go say hi.”

Hisao fires a resounding “HA!” into the air before following Taro into the apartment complex, barely looking behind at the anxious Kenji, cowering behind the car like a dog at the vet clinic.

“Okay, I know that was harsh… But it’s good to see you smiling again, sir.” Hisao smirks as he pats Taro’s back as they ascend the stairs towards Akio and Hanako’s apartment

“He kinda had it coming…” Taro says, a little defensively.

“Oh, definitely but you know he’s…” Hisao struggles to find the right word without resorting to…

“Special?” Taro offers in a suggestively derisive way. Hisao sighs and nods. “Yeah… But don’t hold it against him, okay? He doesn’t know what’s going on with you at the minute. Hell, I don’t know the details but I do know you’re dealing with a tough break-up so let me handle Kenji, deal?” Hisao looks to Taro with an exasperated look. It’s not the first time he’s had to defend Kenji, nor will it likely be the last.

“You’re too good a friend for him, you know that?” Taro counters and Hisao raises an eyebrow at the husky guy beside him. He chuckles lightly and rubs the back of his neck.

“Y’know… Akio has said the same about you before. That you’re too good a guy to have took pity on a screw-up like him. His words!” Hisao reveals, much to Taro’s shock. True, their first meeting wasn’t exactly a good first impression of Akio but they’ve been through too much to think of themselves as anything less than brothers.

“Well… He’s a pretty cool guy when he’s not being a sarcastic asshole.” Taro chuckles and Hisao nods in agreement as they reach the door they were looking for. Taro’s meaty lefty hand raps on the door in consecutive thuds. Seconds pass and the duo look at each other, Taro thinking twice about knocking once more as the door unlatches and swings outwards. From behind silken locks, two shining, violet eyes peer out at the two men, a beaming smile greeting them.

“Hisao! Taro!” Hanako cheers, leaping across the threshold as she wraps her slender arms around their necks. “It’s so g-good to see you!” Her glorious smile melts their hearts and they can only respond with sheepish grins.

“Hi, Hana.” Hisao begins, blushing ever-so slightly. “Shizune told me to tell you she’d meet up with the rest of you after work.” He explains, knowing that his girlfriend wouldn’t miss the evening’s events for anything. He thinks back fondly to his university days, working part-time as both a mediocre barista and an up-and-coming science major. He’d met Hanako by chance; barely even recognising her at first, if that were possible, and how they and their respective partners grew closer as friends.

“That’s okay. I can’t w-wait to see Lilly’s face when she sh-shows up.” Hanako giggles, fully aware of the hard work Shizune has been putting in lately, just for this evening and the reunion with her errant cousin. Hanako looks to Taro and she feels a twinge of sadness in her chest. She steps forward and embraces the broad man around his chest. He’s stunned for a second but soon rests his good hand on her waif-like shoulders. “I’m s-s-so sorry to h-h-hear…” She attempts an apology but Taro cuts her off, determined not to make the young woman get upset, especially today.

“I’m okay, Hana. Or I will be.” He reassures her, “Just… Gimme some time. If anything, you should look out for…”

Hanako gets his meaning and nods curtly as she steps backwards, now taking her turn to reassure Taro. “I will. And Miki too.”

As if on cue, Miki comes bolting towards the door; almost skidding to a halt as she comes face to face with Taro. He tries his best to smile warmly at her, the barely hidden sadness as obvious on his face as the paunch under his jacket. She smiles back reflexively but finds herself at a loss after that, completely unable to express what she wants to. The anger and the disappointment, the sympathy and the love; all her words escape her when she looks at him.

Instead, she looks down at the coat in her hand and offers it to Hanako. “C’mon, Hana. We’ve got shit to do!” She moves past Hanako, giving Hisao a nod of acknowledgement and finally; a gentle pat, lasting a fraction of a second longer than it needs to, on Taro’s right shoulder as she slips past his bulky frame. “I’ll go get the shitheap warmed up. Nice seeing ya, guys!”

“See ya…” Taro mutters as Hanako swings her jacket around her, slipping her arms into the sleeves in one fluid motion. She pats her jacket down when a hand grabs her waist and pulls her backwards, a head of auburn hair nestling on her neck as two arms coil around her.

“Akio! I’m not leaving forever, I’ll see y-you when I get h-home!” She laughs nervously, craning her neck to look at her fiancé as he pulls away from her neck.

“I know, just want to give you a reminder of who’s here waiting.” He whispers affectionately. She reaches back and strokes his face with loving tenderness. “I should be the one who’s worried. Drinks with g-guys you’ve k-kissed before? I’ll be surprised if d-don’t elope with one of th-these two!” She teases and Akio’s cheeks burn with embarrassment.

“Well, thanks for making this super awkward…” He mutters, his gaze shifting from his wife-to-be to his best friends, neither of whom were seemingly aware of the other’s sordid past with Akio. Hisao, as Akio notes, is definitely the more red-faced of the pair while Taro barely controls the amused smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth, a distinct look of ‘He got you too?’ about it.

Hanako turns and holds Akio’s face in her hands. “You b-better behave!” Her order is punctuated with a passionate kiss on the lips. “I love you.”

Akio’s hand reaches up to Hanako’s face, hidden under her hair as usual. “Love you too.” He smiles as he strokes the rough flesh of her cheek before leaning in and nuzzling her nose.

Hanako’s blushing smile never leaves her face as she reaches the stairwell. One final wave to the trio of guys and she disappears from view. “Ugh, that was sickening.” A quiet whine declares as a pair of thick spectacles and greasy hair peeks over the concrete veranda.

“What the fuck are you doing, Setou?” Akio demands as Kenji’s wiry frame scrambles over the wall. “We’re three floors up! What if my neighbours saw you!?” Akio growls, Kenji tumbling forwards and spilling out onto floor at Hisao’s feet.

“It’s cool! I’m alright!” Kenji grins, rising with a thumbs-up from his prone position. “That’s debatable…” Hisao groans, helping his friend to his feet before chastising him for his reckless attitude. “You could have broken your damn neck!” Akio and Taro glance at each other, both in sync and wondering if they could really spend Akio’s bachelor party disposing of a body.

=======

A delicate yawn escapes the gaping mouth of Suzu as she scooches onto the hood of Ritsu’s car, her feet firmly planted on the bumper to prevent her from slipping down. A cardboard tray with Ritsu’s coffee still slotted into it rests in between her and the nonchalant Molly, simply perched against the hood rather than sitting on it.

“Late night, short-stuff?” Molly playfully asks, sipping at her latte. Suzu cradles her own drink in both hands and nods tiredly. “Not so much but I kept waking up. Nothing new there just… Felt a little more anxious than usual. Even kept Toshi up half the night…” Suzu laments, a pang of guilt on her worried face.

“And there was me thinking he’d enjoy you keeping him… up.” Molly’s not-so-subtle innuendo, punctuated with a sly smirk and a raised eyebrow, earns her a glare from her friend. “God, you’ve been here all of two hours and you’re already trying to press me for details on my love life… You’re worse than your mother…” Suzu groans with an annoyed sigh but can’t help but smile at having one of her best friends to talk in person again.

“Oi! Let’s not make this about mums!” Molly declares, thrusting an accusing finger mere inches from Suzu’s face. “Because you do not want me to go full-Freud on your dainty little arse.” Her mock anger making Suzu quiver with mirth.

“Okay! Okay! Calm your tits.” Suzu snorts sarcastically, raising her hands in offer of surrender. “My tits are perfectly calm! Tranquil, even!” Molly aggressively retorts and the pair start giggling uncontrollably. Molly feels a lightness in her chest that she hasn’t felt in a while; in her mind, just being in Suzu’s company again —even as friends— is wonderful.

Molly reaches under her glasses and wipes a joyous tear from her right eye and casts her gaze sideways. “I’ve missed this, Suzy. Skype’s good and all but this,” She gestures with her free hand, waving back and forth between the two of them. “This is just like old times.”

“I missed you too, Molls. Just a shame you’re only going to be here for a few days.” Suzu comments, a little sadder for admitting that Molly will be going back home in less than a week. Molly notices Suzy’s gaze and voice fall to the concrete and feels a desperate need to speak up when a shrill voice catches their attention.

“Suzu, I swear to god, if you don’t get your ass off my car right this second…!” Ritsu cries, storming out of the hotel complex with a face of pure fury.

“Am I still cute enough that the cataplexy routine will stop her being angry?” Suzu asks desperately with a panic-filled eyes. Molly snorts with amusement and shrugs.

“It’d work on me.”

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swampie2
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Re: Sharp-O's One-Shots! "Cordially Invited - Act 2" 3/12/15

Post by swampie2 » Fri Dec 04, 2015 10:13 am

Akio chuckles as he reads the message from Hisao.
He lives! :D
Shizune in the snow.
Sharp, you spoil me. :lol:

The writing her is great, and the swap to third person really added to it. Great job!
One Shots - My stories thread.

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Re: Sharp-O's One-Shots! "Cordially Invited - Act 2" 3/12/15

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Dec 04, 2015 12:35 pm

Hmm... I see you borrowed another character from another fanfiction...
Hi Marcus!
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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Sharp-O
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Re: Sharp-O's One-Shots! "Cordially Invited - Act 2" 3/12/15

Post by Sharp-O » Fri Dec 04, 2015 12:41 pm

Thanks, Swamp! :) I have to say that our fics are getting to Oreimo levels of incestuous cross-contamination. :lol:
Mirage_GSM wrote:Hmm... I see you borrowed another character from another fanfiction...
Hi Marcus!
I really should have asked permission from Sadako but it's just a little easter egg for those who read the awesome Fractures (Seriously, stop reading my bollocks and go read that!)

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Re: Sharp-O's One-Shots! "Cordially Invited - Act 2" 3/12/15

Post by Sadako » Fri Dec 04, 2015 6:31 pm

Sharp-O wrote:I really should have asked permission from Sadako but it's just a little easter egg for those who read the awesome Fractures


You’ve no idea how happy it made me to see Magic Marcus in there. :D Blimey, we’ll have a shared universe going on at this rate…

Sharp-O wrote: (Seriously, stop reading my bollocks and go read that!)


No, people, do not stop. Read this lovely, funny, characterful story through to its conclusion, and enjoy it as you might enjoy the warm glow of a premium single-malt scotch.

Then go and read Fractures. :twisted:

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Re: Sharp-O's One-Shots! "Cordially Invited - Act 2" 3/12/15

Post by Sharp-O » Fri Dec 04, 2015 6:45 pm

Sadako wrote:You’ve no idea how happy it made me to see Magic Marcus in there. :D Blimey, we’ll have a shared universe going on at this rate…
I really dug Marcus and I'm glad you enjoyed his shout-out! God, the Monomyth version of Fractures would be akin to James Roberts' work in IDW. All fun and banter until that one character you really love is brutally stomped to death underfoot. That literally happened once.
Sadako wrote:No, people, do not stop. Read this lovely, funny, characterful story through to its conclusion, and enjoy it as you might enjoy the warm glow of a premium single-malt scotch.

Then go and read Fractures. :twisted:
HA! I knew I liked you, Sadako! :lol:

But that's an incredibly humbling description of my goofy stories and I thank you sincerely *bows respectfully*

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Sharp-O's One-Shots! "Cordially Invited - Act 3" 6/12/15

Post by Sharp-O » Sun Dec 06, 2015 7:59 pm

Act 3

“You bought me… Pants.” Akio states incredulously, his brow furrowing at the ugly garment Hisao laid out on his bed. “Not even pants — Leggings. Your wedding gift to me, one of your best friends, is a pair of ugly, beige leggings.” Akio’s arms flail in the general direction of the leggings and Hisao rubs his face in annoyance. The sounds of Kenji cursing in the other room keeps the apartment from being totally silent as he fails yet another challenge on the Playstation set up in the living room.

“Are you done?” Hisao asks, a cheeky grin spreading across Akio’s lips. “Just one more; THESE FUCK-UGLmmph!” His impish tirade is silenced by a large hand clamping over his mouth. “Yerr no fun” Akio mumbles quietly into Taro’s meaty mitt.

“As I was saying,” Hisao continues with a deeply vexed exhale. “These aren’t pants, this is a medical apparatus I designed for people with your condition, you sarcastic prick.” He reaches out and grasps the waistband of the elastic leggings, stretching them a little. “Now, bear in mind that this is still a prototype but the idea is that this neoprene-like polymer compresses against your lower half much like a traditional support brace.”

He turns the material inside out to reveal a series of long, thin patches of a darker, but equally soft, material sewn into the legs. “However, this material here is made of special cellulose fibres, which will add additional structural integrity once exposed to a magnetic charge without the drawback of being made of a cumbersome metal alloy.”

Hisao beams with pride at his invention but his smile fades when he sees the flabbergasted expressions of Taro and Akio. “You don’t like them?” Hisao asks meekly, Akio’s face contorting in confusion. “I don’t understand them. What do they do? In plain Japanese for those of us without science degrees if you would…”

“In layman’s terms, this is magnetic foam. It can be hardened to the point where it’ll bear the brunt of your weight easily while still allowing the wearer to move freely.” Hisao explains and Taro tilts his head. Hisao hopes that he’s making the connection that Akio clearly isn’t, judging from his expression.

“If I got this right…” Taro begins, stroking his chin thoughtfully, “You pass a magnet over that stuff and it’ll harden, making a kind of skeleton frame? Does that mean…” Hisao nods excitedly as Taro’s eyes grow wide. Akio clicks a few seconds later. “I can walk without the cane?”

“More-or-less! I figured you wouldn’t want to be hobbling down the aisle on your cane so I thought…” Hisao mutters but before he can finish, Akio pulls his friend into a tight hug. “Dude, I take back all my shit-talk! This is the best wedding gift ever!” He exclaims, thinking of the possibilities this would allow for. “I could actually dance with Hanako…”

“These is kind of a work-in-progress so I think we better give them a test run before the big day.” Hisao offers cautiously. “Wouldn’t want you collapsing and breaking something on your wedding day.”

“I’m already unbuckling my pants!” Akio grins mischievously at Hisao as Taro chuckles dryly. “Hanako was right to worry…” He offers, earning smirks from the other two guys.

=======

“I enjoy awkward silence as much as the next girl but are we going to talk about what happened back there?” Molly asks glibly, trying her hardest to diffuse the tense atmosphere that’s slowly been building since they got back into Ritsu’s car.

The trip so far has been deafeningly silent, Ritsu’s whole body noticeably tense to Molly’s keen eyes. She peeks slyly over her shoulder to the backseat where Suzu sleeps peacefully. She nodded off a little over ten minutes ago, a small globule of saliva pooling in the corner of mouth that sits lowest on her limply tilted face.

“Nothing happened, Molly. Everything’s fine.” Ritsu’s monotone response causes Molly to roll her eyes. “Of course it is, and your face looking like smacked arse is purely coincidence.” She snorts, still amazed at how people can so easily lie to others and themselves at the same time.

“My face looks like a what?” Ritsu frowns and takes a quick glance at Molly before returning her focus to the street ahead and the directions on her satellite navigation software. “A smacked arse. Red, puffy… Like, noticeably angry. I don’t know what Lilly said…”

“Lilly doesn’t know a god damn thing!” Ritsu interrupts angrily, Molly noting her reaction before continuing.

“But it clearly pissed you off. I’m guessing it’s got something to do with Taro…”

“Oh, don’t you start too! You don’t know anything either!” Ritsu growls quietly and Molly smirks a little to herself. Classic failure to repress emotions, lashing out defensively… “Experience, a P.H.D, and eight grand-worth of student debt begs to differ!” Molly jokes, another attempt at levity that fails to lighten the mood.

“Look,” Molly straightens up in her seat, readying herself to dole out her thoughts on the matter. “I’ve seen you like this before, way back at Yamaku. Remember third year’s summer break? You came back and thought Taro was cheating on you with me?” Molly asks and the sight of Ritsu’s knuckles flinching confirms that she does.

“Well, it’s kinda like that but it’s distinct from the couple times you and Taro have broken up before…” Molly notes more twitching but Ritsu is still focusing on the road. She’s compartmentalizing, Molly deduces, putting all her attention into driving to distract herself from her feelings.

“No, you’re always optimistic that you’ll get back together and you’re usually correct. So that tells m—” The good doctor’s diagnosis is brutally cut short as Ritsu slams her feet on the brakes, the car coming to a jerking stop down a quiet side-street. The three women are jolted violently forward but ultimately unharmed thanks to the relatively slow speed and their seatbelts. Molly quickly looks to the backseat and finds Suzu squinting back at her. “Whu’ happened?” Suzu drowsily asks and Molly slowly casts her eyes back to the driver; head low, hands gripping the steering wheel like her life depended on it and her face hidden behind hazel hair.

“Shut up, Molly. Just… st-stop.” Ritsu pleads, almost silently and Molly’s heart sinks. This is always the hardest part, she remembers, when the patient flat-out refuses to listen to reason. When the truth is too much to bear. Molly places a lone hand on her friend’s shoulder, Ritsu’s muscles flinching upon contact.

“It’s okay to be scared, Ritsu. When faced with a problem that we can’t fix… It’s natural.” Molly’s voice becomes soft and motherly as she comforts Ritsu, Suzu watching from the backseat with silent awe. “But accepting that fear is the first step in conquering it. Whatever it is about this… situation that has you frightened, accepting reality as it stands is the first step to moving past it.”

Ritsu sniffs loudly and loosens her grip in the wheel, wiping her damp eyes before looking nervously at Molly. “Do… Do you know why he…? Did anyone tell you?” She asks in a whisper, giving Molly the chance to look to Suzu with quizzical eyes. The cerulean-haired woman’s gaze flitters between the two and finally shrugs when she realises she doesn’t have an answer.

“No. We don’t know, Ritsu.” Molly confirms and Ritsu snorts loudly again, pushing herself against her seat and closing her eyes, almost surrendering control of her body.

That’s why I’m scared. Because no one else knows why. It’s usually so public but this time… If Suzy doesn’t know then he must not have told Miki… Which means this is…” Ritsu confesses, taking one last deep, noisy inhalation through her nose before sighing defeatedly. “This is it. We’re over.” Molly instinctively lunges forward to take hold of the woman around her shoulders in support, Suzu following suit once her seatbelt is removed.

“Me and Taro are over.” She repeats, almost choking on the words as two of her friends smother her in a vain attempt to comfort her.

=======

“Of course I know why, Hana! He’s my best friend!” Miki answers incredulously, surprising Hanako a little. “It’s just not somethin’ I should spread around. It’s personal shit, y’know?”

Hanako mentally reels off a few reasons she can think of before consciously stopping herself. It wasn’t her place to make wild speculations. “You’re a g-good friend, Miki. Keeping Taro’s s-secret like that.” Hanako nods approvingly as Miki sighs, tapping her finger impatiently against the steering wheel as they wait for the lights to turn green.

“Not that good… Did you see me earlier? I couldn’t even say hi to him! I wanted to smack him in his stupid, doughy face and then hug the shit of him but I just… Fuck, I dunno.” She huffs as Hanako tilts her head curiously at the dark-skinned woman in the driver’s seat. “Take deep breaths, Miki. Just try and f-focus on what you want to say when you next see him. It’ll be alright.”

“I guess… Now which way was this dress place again?” Miki asks as she pulls away from the crossing slowly, keeping her attention on all sides as she does so. Hanako peers through the window, looking for familiar landmarks then gestures casually. “Next right then the second left. My o-offer still stands, y’know…” The woman states, tenting her fingers nervously as she stares at passenger-side dashboard.

“Told ya once, I’ll tell ya again; Shizune should be your maid of honour. Or Lilly. Isn’t it enough that you’re getting me into a dress? Do I need to suffer more?” Miki winces a little, following Hanako’s directions as she drives. Hanako giggles at her friend’s reluctance to play into the wedding wonderment.

“Shizune was too b-busy and Lilly politely declined. She s-said she was overjoyed just to be invited.”

“Why the hell wouldn’t she be?” Miki asks with concern, making the left as instructed as her face scrunches in on itself. “She’s, like, your big sis!”

“It’s been a long time since we’ve see-been around each other though… She f-felt like she’d be intruding as anything other than a guest.” Hanako retorts, offering a truncated version of the verbose response Lilly gave over the phone. They’d been exceptionally close at Yamaku but once Lilly left for Scotland, Hanako found herself with a new circle of friends and, eventually, a new family all her own. Lilly had expressed sadness that she had not been there to see Hanako ‘blossom’, in her words but was ecstatic to hear of the upcoming wedding.

They were still friends, undoubtedly, but not as close as they once were; a feeling they both admitted to sharing. The car came to a stop, Miki slightly scraping her car’s tires against the curb. Hanako looked out of her side window at the boutique as Miki killed the engine. The tomboyish woman leans on the roof of her beat-up car as Hanako clambers onto the curb, her eyes not leaving the elegant window display.

“You shoulda gone to the airport to meet her. I’m sure she woulda loved seein’ you again.”

“Maybe… But we’ve got to head over to the caterer after this, and then I n-need to call Misaki… There’s just so much to do! Who knew d-declaring your love for someone involved s-so much… Planning.” Hanako groans, looking back to Miki with a weary expression, like the weight of this task is almost too much for her frail shoulders to bear.

Miki jogs around her vehicle, Hanako following her with her eyes before they meet face-to-face, Miki standing a good few inches taller than the bride-to-be. “Brave heart, wallflower. That’s what you always say, right? Means ‘be strong’ or something?” Miki takes hold of the woman in a warm embrace before resting her sole hand on the thin shoulders of her adopted little sister in support.

Hanako smiles up from behind her violet hair — similar enough to Miki’s that, in another life perhaps, they could very well have been sisters. “I may n-need a helping hand with that.” She says demurely, to which Miki gives her a confident pat and a cocky grin in return.

“You got it! Now let’s… Craaaap, I forgot that we were getting the dresses for a second there…” Miki practically deflates at the thought, thinking of her bridesmaid dress the same way a condemned man would look at a jail cell; with resigned defeat.

=======

Suzu poked around Molly’s hotel room with a look curiosity plastered on her face, like she was a connoisseur of fine short-stay establishments. It was very plain and Spartan, to say the least. A chest of drawers, what could be positively spun as a ‘large’ single bed, a small desk and very basic ensuite bathroom. Humble is the word that came to Suzu’s mind. There was barely enough room for two people, even if one was just being nosey.

Ritsu had left them to their own devices, citing a mighty need for a little personal time before the gathering later in the evening. Suzu didn’t mind this at all; if anything she relished the opportunity for some alone time with Molly. The good doctor unzipped her duffel bag as Suzu plopped down onto the bed beside her, bouncing a little to test it.

“Okay, at least the bed is comfy. The rest of this place…” Her little half smile becoming an unimpressed grimace as she looks around the small room once more.

“It was the best I could afford, unfortunately…” Molly explains idly as she unpacks several dishevelled pairs of jeans and blouses, tossing them haphazardly across the bed. “Aha! There you are.” She beams as she pulls a sealed package from the under the heap of clothes.

Neatly preserved in a vacuum sealed plastic bag, whatever it was meant a great deal to Molly and thus made all the more curious about the contents. “What you got there, Molls?”

“My dress for the wedding!” Molly declares, offering the package to Suzu as she took the edges of her duffel and dumped the rest of it’s contents out onto the bed. Suzu ran her hand across the slightly reflective see-through plastic as she gazed at what she presumed to be cotton. It’s a cool, oceanic blue with ornate navy and purple detailing woven into what appears to be a hem.

“Isn’t it a bit… Busy?” Suzu asks, concerned by the almost garish design of the dress compared to the one she’ll be wearing as a bridesmaid; a muted lilac with white trims. Molly smirks, an amused scoff eminating from her throat as she takes hold of the package once more. “It’s supposed to be bright! It’s a sari.” The explanation not helping Suzu’s puzzled expression any, Molly decides she needs to elaborate.

“Traditional Indian dress. Think like a kimono but it doesn’t take 3 hours to get into it. Nor does it require a small army to tuck and fold everything into place.” She mocks playfully. “You think it’s a bit much though? Is it bad luck to look better than the bride?”

“You’d look better than the bride in anydress. Hell, you could show up in nothing but a Union Jack and you’d still look great!” Suzu compliments, a little too enthusiastically she admits to herself, but that didn’t make her words any less true in her mind. Blood rushes to Molly’s face as she places the plastic package off to the side.

“Do you think Ritsu’s gonna be okay?” She asks Suzu after clearing her throat, suddenly very aware that she’s in a tiny hotel room with her flattering ex-girlfriend and in need of a change of subject. Molly sets about folding the strewn clothes at the bottom of her bed. Suzu shifts her sitting position, pulling one folded leg onto the bed and begins neatly folding a blouse.

“I dunno… I think you were onto something earlier. What is it with those two? They’re like oil and water sometimes…” A shake of cerulean hair shows her disapproval of the whole affair. “I mean; yes, Taro probably broke up with her for a good reason but at the same time, they’ve done this so many times now…”

“It’s gotten a bit old hat, I agree. But what can you do? Ritsu’s your typical control freak with, understandable, parental issues and Taro’s a walking messiah complex with atelophobia.” Molly clinically diagnoses before realising she’s done it. She looks up from her folding duty to see Suzu mouth the word ‘atelophobia’ to herself, as if silently speaking it aloud would help her understand it.

“It’s an anxiety disorder. He’s likes to think himself the hero while simultaneously not thinking himself worthy or that he’s letting people down. My money is on that being the root cause of the current situation.”

Suzu’s eyebrows climb up her face as Molly offers her genuine opinion. “Huh. I guess that makes sense. Damn, Molls, you’ve still got it.” Suzu smirks as she sets about her task once more.

“I’m more than a pretty face, Miss Suzuki.” Molly nods, appreciative of Suzu’s earnest compliment.

“Oh, I’m perfectly aware of how pretty your face is, Doctor Kapur…” Suzu retorts, blushing slightly but not as much as she does when both she and Molly which for the same pair of black underwear.

Suzu’s slender fingertips graze the caramel skin of her ex-lover and, rather than recoil in embarrassment, the soft, warm hand stays in place. Suzu’s heart skips a beat as she looks up from their hands to find Molly looking at her, but not with the same warmth and affection that she would see when their hands touched before. Now it was sadness and Suzu couldn’t for the life of her understand why. The hand slips away from under her fingers and Molly turns, placing the last of her neatly folded clothes into the chest of drawers and closing it quietly.

Suzu silently rises from the bed, creaking gently as it notices the absence of her weight, and makes her way around its perimeter to the left side of Molly. She stands stock still, unable to quite bring herself to move or to take her hands away from the Beech-effect wooden furniture. A pale hand strokes her own and Molly winces internally.

“How long are we going to dance around the obvious, Molls?” Suzu asks quietly, looking from their hands to the face of her old girlfriend. Molly closes her eyes and shakes her head.

“For as long as I have to.” She grimly states, causing Suzu no end of confusion. “You’ve got a boyfriend, Suzy.”

“Yeah… I know.” Suzu admits, not quite being able to stop herself from locking her fingers in between Molly’s. “He’s a really nice guy too, but… He’s not you.” Molly steps back slightly, and Suzu follows; step-by-step, the distance never growing nor closing.

“Suzu, stop. Please. We shouldn’t…” Molly pleads, soon finding herself pressed against the far wall, Suzu still standing the same distance from her.

“I know.” She angrily sighs, folding her dainty arms across her chest in defiance and looking slightly to the left of her desired target. She takes a few deep breaths as her arms fall to her side. She steels herself by balling her hands into fists and moves her gaze to meet Molly’s.

“Molly, I’ve alw—” ♫~Oooooh, Dream Weaver! I believe you can get me through the niiiight~♫

Molly breathes a small sigh of relief and smirks to herself as Suzu dives onto the bed to pull her ringing phone out of her jacket pocket. She kept the ringtone, Molly mused as Suzu spoke to the person on the other end. “Okay, see you in a few.” Suzu ends the call and pushes herself up off the bed, coat and phone in tow.

“That was, um,” She stammers, staring disbelievingly at her phone. “That was Toshi. He’s outside waiting for me.” She looks up to Molly almost guiltily before striding to the door. She stops and looks back. “I’ll see you later, yeah?”

“Yeah, you will.” Molly nods and smiles warmly, the other woman taking that as her cue to leave. Finally alone, Molly collapses onto her bed back-first; a sharp, strained intake of breath forcing its way into her body. It feels like I haven’t breathed in days, Molly admits to herself, reaching up and plucking the glasses from her face. She lies still for a few minutes, analysing the previous events and making sense of them fully before she heaves herself into a sitting position.

Reaching over to her duffel bag, she unzips a side pouch and pulls out an assortment of documents. Passport, hotel receipt and the most important one of all.

Her work visa.

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Re: Sharp-O's One-Shots! "Cordially Invited - Act 3" 6/12/15

Post by swampie2 » Sun Dec 06, 2015 8:54 pm

eight grand-worth of student debt
I'm not sure what things are like in Japan but I need to get over there. Three years studying a bachelor's degree in music is costing me almost 30k, letalone a PHD. :lol:
Hell, you could show up in nothing but a Union Jack and you’d still look great!
God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen!


Is this an alternate to Miraimyth? Either way, I love the tensions you've created her, Ritsu being unstable, Kenji being Kenji, Suzu and Molly, Miki in a dress, they're all things I could easily see happening in your universe. Now I hope you can back it up with a lasting ending! :P
One Shots - My stories thread.

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Re: Sharp-O's One-Shots! "Cordially Invited - Act 3" 6/12/15

Post by Sharp-O » Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:04 pm

I had no fucking clue, I just thought she'd have paid off the majority of it by this point.

But no, this isn't an alternate to Miraimyth, this is the prequel! How did the lasting break-up of Taro and Ritsu go down? How did Molly come to be Yamaku's resident psychologist? What was Hanako and Akio's bachelor(ette) parties like? All shall be answered!

And yes, Molly is queen of my heart, long my she reign.

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Re: Sharp-O's One-Shots! "Cordially Invited - Act 3" 6/12/15

Post by Alpacalypse » Mon Dec 07, 2015 1:47 pm

Sharp-O wrote:What was Hanako and Akio's bachelor(ette) parties like?
The most crucial of questions!
Sharp-O wrote:All shall be answered!
Oooo, there's more coming. Excellent! :D
I am the harbinger of your destruction... By herbivorous, mountain dwelling quadrupeds... fear me
---
I also write now, apparently. Since everyone else does it, I'm putting it here
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I have also discovered that I'm a decent proofreader. Anybody with SPaG problems is free to PM me their work for a thorough analysis and/or evisceration. Depends on how I'm feeling.

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Re: Sharp-O's One-Shots! "Cordially Invited - Act 3" 6/12/15

Post by Sharp-O » Mon Dec 07, 2015 3:13 pm

There's a part coming up that I don't think anyone will see coming :lol:

But yeah, I couldn't dive straight into the wedding so this story takes place over the course of three days. The parties, the hangovers and the wedding itself. Was aiming for 5 parts, looking more like 7.

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Sharp-O's One-Shots! "Cordially Invited - Act 4" 16/12/15

Post by Sharp-O » Tue Dec 15, 2015 9:40 pm

Act 4

“So? How does it feel?” Hisao inquires, stepping backwards and watching Akio‘s ginger movements. His analytical mind running through a variety of scenarios and possible improvements as he watches his friend gently limp along the road. Akio looks up from his legs to Hisao with a crooked smile. “Okay. Kiiiinda worried I’m gonna put a foot wrong and fall flat on my pretty face.”

Hisao tucks the magnetic pulse device he ‘borrowed’ from work into his jacket’s inner pocket. It looked like a typical metal detector, wand-like in shape and made of a non-descript matte black plastic. It brought to Akio’s mind a nostalgic feeling of watching Ghostbusters at his aunt’s place, after he and his mother escaped his father’s drunken tyranny. “You’re doing great, Akio,” Hisao encourages with an almost fatherly tone. Or a teacher. Yeah, Akio thought, he definitely sounds like Mutou. “How does it fit though?”

“It’s pretty snug in the crotch.” Akio nervously joked, jostling his nether region through his slacks for comedic effect. “And you’re sure that thing didn’t just kill my chances of having kids?”

Taro, walking a step or two behind the pair with Akio’s cane in his good hand, winced at his waggish friend’s poor choice of joke. But then, Taro hadn’t told him yet so he could hardly take him to task over it. He hadn’t told anyone apart from his parents, Miki and Ritsu.

He was still coming to terms with the idea, with the words the doctor used, half of which he didn’t understand. All he knew for certain was that monoplegia wasn’t the only drawback inflicted upon him when the doctor’s wrenched his infant form from his dying mother.

The forceps had pressed against certain areas of his still malleable skull and, until recently, the only noticeable downside was the loss of mobility in his right arm. I adapted to that well enough, he grimly thought to himself, now I just have a couple other things to come to terms with.

“Hey! Taro! You in there, big man?” Kenji clicks his fingers a few times, bringing the gentle giant out of his reverie with a bemused frown. “Huh? Sorry, mind kind of wandered for a second there… How’s it feel, Akio?” Taro asks, remembering that Hisao had already asked that a split second after the words left his lips.

“You know how a blood pressure arm band feels? Kinda felt like that to begin with and now it just feels like I’m wearing one of those kid’s muscle costumes…” Akio explains over his shoulder, rocking his hips side to side gingerly as he walks, unaided.

“You‘re doing great, sir! I recommend you spend the next few hours in them, just to acclimatise, and we’ll see about getting you started on something more advanced than walking.” He smiles sincerely, with much the same tone he has used in guiding Shizune into the world of sound through the device he created for her.

“A slow walk to the bar was a pretty good idea for a test run, Kenji.” Taro offers and the bespectacled guy walking beside him smirks a little. “Well we had to get this party started sometime! I was getting bored waiting for you guys to quit playing dress-up!” He bemoans, thrusting his hands into his khaki cargo jacket. The various pouches and pockets that line the front of it have a variety of patches on them with various insignias. He probably bought it for some bizarre utilitarian reason best left well enough alone, Taro thought. Still, thought he was loathe to admit it aloud, Taro did think it suited Kenji, personality-wise.

“Guys, we’re here!” Akio announces, standing in front of a familiar haunt. A place from his and Hanako’s past. “Welcome to Midnight.”

=======

Ritsu rubs her arm nervously as she paces back and forth, the anxious ache in her chest making her feel worse than she already did. A few hours of quiet tinkling of ivories had mostly cleared her mind, but an electronic keyboard is a poor replacement for an actual piano — Much like a self-indulgent distraction is a poor replacement for an apology.

“There she is, ma’am. Waiting by her car.” The polite voice of the concierge from earlier draws Ritsu’s attention to the entrance way and to Lilly, who gives a polite bow of thanks to concierge. Ritsu’s mouth gapes slightly at the woman taking measured steps towards her. Lilly’s Amazonian stature and golden mane gave her the aura of a radiant goddess and her body complimented that; her buxom form hugged by a navy blue knee-length skirt and a cream sweater.

“Hello, Ritsu. I must say I was surprised when the receptionist called up to say you were here.” Lilly spoke softly, coming to a stop as her cane finds the edge of the pavement. “Is there anyone else here?” She quizzes, her face as placid as ever.

“Just me. I wanted to…” Ritsu huffs, rubbing her arm nervously. “I wanted to apologise for early. I kinda went off on you for no reason…”

“That’s quite alright. It wasn’t my place to--” Lilly counters politely but Ritsu presses on.

“You showed kindness to someone you hardly knew and I was a total bitch in return. Kind of a bad habit of mine, really… Whether it was your place or not, I shouldn’t have reacted like that.” Ritsu admits guiltily — grasping Lilly’s hand gently, taking care not to startle the woman. “I’m really sorry, Lilly.”

“Think nothing of it. I can appreciate the desire for secrecy when it comes to matters of the heart.” Lilly closes her eyes as she speaks with an almost authoritative tone, twinged with a hint of wistfulness. Ritsu nods before cursing herself internally. Despite three years at Yamaku and the large group of friends she acquired, she had never really interacted with a blind person on such a personal level before.

“Y-Yeah…” Ritsu responds and Lilly smirks a little, as if hearing an inside joke that only she would get. The blonde beauty retracts her hand, placing it neatly on the hilt of her cane. “Shall we be off?”

“Sure thing, we’ve just gotta swing by Suzu’s place to pick her up and then we’ll head over to Hanako’s.” Ritsu explains, opening the passenger side door for Lilly.

The woman’s placid smile broadens at the mention of her dear old friend and she obligingly takes a seat in Ritsu’s car.

=======

“Miki Miura, as I live and breath! What are you doing here!?” Molly cheerily asks as the athletic woman uncrosses her arms and takes a step forward, embracing Molly. They hold each other at arms length with affectionate smiles.

“Hana’s giving her place the once over, making sure Lilly won’t trip on shit, so I’m playing gofer. It’s good to see you, Molls. Or should that be Doctor Molls, eh?” She exposits with a grin, giving a pat to Molly’s arm and manoeuvring around the front of her beat-up vehicle. Molly shakes her head, the neat single braid swaying back and forth across the rear of her t-shirt/shirt combo. “Just Molls, seriously. I had enough of that Doctor Kapur bollocks from Lily on the flight over.”

Molly gives Miki’s car the once over before chuckling at the poor beast, looking fairly similar — at least conditionally — to her own Vauxhall Nova. The little-car-that-could; the one she had to leave behind in Britain, served her well despite its age.

“Don’t laugh at my car! Kintaro might not look like much but he gets me where I need to go!” Miki frowns defensively, only making Molly’s small chuckle grow louder. “You named it?” She asks, patting the red rust bucket gently on its roof.

“Hell yeah, I named him!” Miki emphasises the gender, placing her stump on the roof as well. “He’s the scrappy underdog…” She smiles affectionately at the dull red roof of Kintaro, the paint flaking noticeably at the edges of the door to the driver’s seat. She opens the door and hops in, Molly following suit with an amused smirk.

“It’s nothing to be ashamed of, Miki. Though I do have to wonder about the name…” Molly muses as she buckles up, Miki conjuring only a confused look in response. “C’mon, Miki — Kintaro?” Heavy emphasis is placed on the latter half of the name but it still takes Miki a few seconds to make the connection.

“Hey now, don’t start doing that freaky mind voodoo bullshit with me! It’s just a name and I didn’t even think about the connection until you just sa—”

“I called my car Suzie.” Molly’s quiet confession cuts Miki’s flustered backpeddling short and the two women share an understanding look with one another. They don’t need to say another word on the matter as Miki starts up her car. “Y’know… I don’t think Hana’s gonna have nearly enough booze for tonight. Fancy making a pit-stop?” Miki says mischievously, the cheeky grin playing across her face telling Molly that this will be both messy and memorable.

Molly nods in thoughtful agreement. She’s sure that whatever Miki’s going to pick up won’t be quite to her taste but there is one thing at a convenience store Molly knows will satisfy her taste buds.

“Sure but I’m totally picking up Kit-Kats too.”

=======

Hanako puts her entire weight against the closest door, grunting and heaving before the latch finally catches and she can ease off. She rests her forehead against the strained barrier between her and a mountain of junk with a heavy sigh of relief. She turns her attention towards the kitchen area before a clattering cacophony of plastic on plastic freezes her in her tracks

F-Fuck.” She quietly curses as she cringes back at the door. That noise could only have been the vacuum falling from its precarious perch and falling into a dozen pieces as it tumbled down the equally precarious stack of plastic bins. Just one more thing to deal with, she thought ruefully.

Hanako shakes her head, her violet ponytail swishing through the air behind her head as she clears her thoughts and focuses back on the kitchen. “Okay, okay, o-okay…” She mutters, running through her mental checklist. “Tea is prepped, wine in the fridge…” She turns on her heel toward the living room. “Playstation put away, floor cleared and vacuumed… Table centred for more leg room…”

She folds her arms across her chest with a proud smirk as she takes in her freshly cleaned apartment. Her apartment with Akio. Their home. She squeezes her biceps, holding herself tightly as she thinks about that particular word.

Home.

Putting aside the stress and anxiety of getting married, the giddy excitement of truly becoming a family with Akio is what she clung to in that moment, because nothing in the world could make her happier.

The doorbell rings behind her and she practically skips to the door opening it wide to greet whoever is there. Her wonderful smile is greeted by equal expressions of elation. “YOOO! Look’s like someone’s getting hyped!” Miki laughs, a case of beer hefted on her left shoulder. Molly appears just behind her, carrying a cardboard carrier stocked with more wine and a bottle of clear liquid Hanako couldn’t quite see the label of. In her other hand is a generic plastic bag filled with other sundries.

“H-Hi, Molly! It’s a-amazing th-that you could come!” Hanako’s jittery welcome is accompanied by a tight hug around the shoulders of the visiting Brit. “Missed you too, Hana.” Molly nuzzles the side of Hanako’s head, her arms weighed down by groceries. Hanako ushers the pair into the apartment, guiding them into the kitchen.

“Oh my god, Hana! You look so cute with your hair up!” Molly cheers with a playful wink and Hanako’s eyes go wide. Her hands instinctively reach up to her head but one arm is blocked by the firm stump of Miki. “Leave it, girl! It’s looks hot! Now would you mind giving me a hand?” She asks, tilting her head towards the large case of beer on her shoulder.

“I c-can go one better.” Hanako smirks a little, taking the large, heavy box from Miki’s shoulder and placing it onto the counter, a melody of clinks sounding off as Molly provides back-up with her clinking bottles.

“I th-think this is a little more than we’ll be needing though…” Hanako ponders with a small frown, side-stepping her guests and opening the fridge. “I don’t think it’s all going to f-fit.”

“Then I guess we better get started!” Miki grins, making a move on the case of beer before Molly plants her palm squarely into the middle of her chest. Miki looks down confused before raising an eyebrow at the good doctor. “Seriously, Meeks, slow your roll. Throw the vodka in the freezer and we’ll swap out the wine as we need to but first…” Molly trails off, her eyes drifting toward the teapot, Miki and Hanako following suit.

“I’m dying for a brew!”

=======

The clatter of plastic and dull wooden thuds is followed by a chorus of cursing and stamping feet.

“Kenji, you got one in, it’s still your turn!” Taro chides, bringing the former’s tantrum to an abrupt end, his twist scowl becoming a look of surprise. “Really? Sweet! Stripes, right?”

Taro narrows his eyes at Kenji as he moves into position along the table before going back to dusting the tip of his cue one-handed. The soft melancholic jazz playing over the bar’s speakers is oddly relaxing though he can’t exactly say why. Taro never really considered himself a music connoisseur; he liked what he liked, no matter what the genre. He couldn’t be a dedicated follower of one genre like Akio and Ska music.

“How badly are you beating his ass?” A voice calls out to him and Taro peeks over his shoulder to see Hisao and Akio walking back from the bar, beer bottles in hand. Propping the cue against the table, Taro reaches out and plucks a bottle out of his red-headed friend’s hand. “Luring him into a false sense of security. You feeling okay?”

Akio ponders the question as he takes a sip of his beer. He looks down at his legs and bends them a little, testing the pressure to see if its lessened any, which it hadn’t. “Amazing, big guy. I thought I’d have to have my first dance with a cane in one hand but now…”

“One step at a time, glass-jaw. I’m pretty sure the bigger issue is that you have no rhythm.” Taro laughs and Akio follows suit. “Like you have any, wide-load!” Akio jabs, a grin breaking across his face as he offers up his beer and Taro obliges, the pair toasting each other.

“When you two are quite done bonding,” The nasally derisive voice of Kenji cuts through the moment as he points to the table. “We’re in the middle of a wager.”

“I didn’t agree to a bet…” Taro frowns, placing his beer on a nearby table before retrieving his cue. “You don’t have anything I want, for starters.” He surveys the table, only to notice Kenji has potted several solid colour balls instead of the stripes he was meant to be playing. “… Do you have any idea how to play this game, Ken?”

The bespectacled weirdo looks shocked, his face turning to and fro in an offended manner, blustering an assortment of nonsense noises; all the while Hisao quietly watches, sipping his beer. “Of all the…! Do I know how to… C’mon, of course I—”

“Do you?” Hisao asks, his glancing sideways at his friend, knowing the answer long before it escapes Kenji’s flustered face.

“…No.” Kenji finally admits, a visible knock to his pride as a man as his head sinks low into his chest. Hisao closes his eyes and nods, his suspicions confirmed. Taro breathes a grieving sigh for the noble game of billiards but decides to cut Kenji a break and switches to stripes to make it easier for the blind guy.

Taro takes his time placing his bad arm onto the table and setting up his shot, the lack of coordination in his paralysed arm doubling the time taken for every shot. He slams the cue forward, sending the cue ball storming across the table into a striped ball, which itself is sent spilling into a centre pocket.

He repeats the method several more times until he finally misses. Hisao and Akio make small talk in his periphery while Kenji tries and fails to pot another ball. “Fuck it! You win!” Kenji finally gives up any semblance of winning and plops down in the curved booth-like seating next to Hisao and Akio.

“Either of you up for a game?” Taro asks and they both decline, much to Taro’s chagrin. He reluctantly places the cue on the table when a streak of movement draws his attention across the opposite long edge of the table as Kenji’s cue is picked up.

A thin young woman plants the handle of the cue firmly on the ground with a thud as she signals towards the bar. Taro follows her line of sight to a trio of girls grabbing drinks and giggling. “Table’s all yours.” Taro smiles, waving his hand across the table with a flourish.

The girl tilts her head curiously at him, cobalt blue eyes half hidden by a jet black fringe. She leans forward, her swanlike neck cascading down past her choker and down into her loose purple tank-top, gifting Taro with more than he really wanted to see. Planting a palm flatly on the green felt of the table, she smirks smugly at Taro as her friends enter the cornered off pool area.

“Found someone to play with already, Nori?” A petite goth girl with sheer white hair asks and the woman menacingly nods, her piercing eyes never leaving Taro’s. “Do you mind?” She asks and Taro looks at them perplexed for a second. “Um, I dunno, wouldn’t you guys prefer to play with each other?”

Akio almost spits his drink all over himself as he laughs uproariously, a gesture mirrored by a girl with a chestnut ponytail and a single gloved hand. Taro realises what he’s implied and his cheeks burn, the woman opposite him seemingly laughing at his embarrassment — albeit silently — before moving her hands in an eerily familiar way.

“Wait…” Hisao pipes up, planting his beer on the table in front of him. He raises his hands to get Nori’s attention and he begins to sign to her. She grins widely and begins to mirror back some gestures before pointing to her friends.

“Huh. Well, that’s something.” Hisao smiles a little before pointing to his own little group. “These are my friends; Kenji, Akio and that’s Taro.” He speaks aloud as he signs and then points, Nori following his example. She meets Taro’s gaze once more and waves in a friendly manner. He waves back cautiously as Hisao finishes introductions. “Guys; that’s Nori and that’s Yuki, with the white hair.”

The goth girl giggles a little as Hisao continues “The one who likes dirty jokes as much as Akio is Mayumi and the quiet one is Rika.” The two groups share awkward pleasantries as Yuki dashes around the table to Taro’s side. “You gotta play Nori now! How often do you randomly bump into fellow Yamaku survivors out in the wild?”

“More than you’d think and less then you’d hope?” Taro offers jokingly. Nori silently laughs again, making several signing gestures toward Taro before giving a universal ‘come on’ gesture as she waggles the fingers of both hands back and forth with a confident smirk on her face.

“She doesn’t think you have what it takes. Thinks you’re scared.” Hisao explains, Taro puffing a snort of amusement through his nose as he leans across the table.

“Okay, game on. I’m gonna beat you one-handed.” He smirks at the grinning Nori, accepting her challenge. Who knows, he thought, maybe this will actually be a challenge.
Last edited by Sharp-O on Sat Dec 19, 2015 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

freddy753
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Re: Sharp-O's One-Shots! "Cordially Invited - Act 4" 16/12/1

Post by freddy753 » Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:02 pm

Sharp-O wrote: “Don’t laugh at my car! Kintaro might not look like much but he gets me where I need to go!” Miki frowns defensively, only making Molly’s small chuckle grow louder. “You named it?” She asks, patting the red rust bucket gently on its roof.

“Hell yeah, I named him!” Miki emphasises the gender, placing her stump on the roof as well. “He’s the scrappy underdog…” She smiles affectionately at the dull red roof of Kintaro, the paint flaking noticeably at the edges of the door to the driver’s seat. She opens the door and hops in, Molly following suit with an amused smirk.
Golden Boy reference?
Image

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swampie2
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Re: Sharp-O's One-Shots! "Cordially Invited - Act 4" 16/12/1

Post by swampie2 » Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:32 pm

“I wanted to apologise for early..."
Earlier. Or Early-

I dunno. :lol:
Kintaro?
How is Taro meant to be pronouced. I thought it was Tah-ro but I can see how you'd say Tar-o. Not sure why it matters but that thought just came into my head. :lol:

The great Yamaku billiards tourney, now that's a fic that should be written. Great job as usual, Sharp!
One Shots - My stories thread.

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Sharp-O
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Re: Sharp-O's One-Shots! "Cordially Invited - Act 4" 16/12/1

Post by Sharp-O » Wed Dec 16, 2015 4:32 am

freddy753 wrote:Golden Boy reference?
HA! Only in as much as I remember the name from that show. (Man, now I want to rewrite Monomyth purely as a sex romp. It'd be like the Goonies with tits...)

Thanks for reading, guys!
Last edited by Sharp-O on Sat Dec 19, 2015 6:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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