Can You Accept Your Fate? - Saki Pseudo Route (Ch. 8, 15/02)

WORDS WORDS WORDS
sethicide
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 10:56 am
Location: NZ

Re: Can You Accept Your Fate? - Saki Pseudo Route (Ch. 6, 4/

Post by sethicide » Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:30 pm

this is great i cant wait for next chapter
-Seth

User avatar
ComeWhatMay
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:49 am

Re: Can You Accept Your Fate? - Saki Pseudo Route (Ch. 6, 4/

Post by ComeWhatMay » Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:42 am

Chapter 7 ~ Saturday Afternoon pt. 1 - A Yamaku Picnic

I slide my backpack off and make a beeline for my bed. My face hits the pillow and any notions I had of getting ahead on schoolwork vanish until I've had a nice long nap. Friday night at Eiichi's place ran late once again, but at least I wasn't late for class this time around. The whole week actually, something Mutou seemed quite happy about. Still, just over five hours of sleep isn't quite enough, so a nap will do me well.

Unfortunately, I don't even get around to closing my eyes before a pounding on the door draws an exasperated sigh.

"C'mon Hisao, we're headed in to town."

Ignore him Hisao. They'll go away if you just ignore them.

More pounding. "What, are you sleeping at noon on a Saturday? Don't even try it, I know you're awake. No one falls asleep that fast." He's so loud he's certainly disturbing the entire hall. Probably most of the adjacent halls too. I can't let him keep yelling.

"Let me sleeeeep."

"Sleep when you're dead, now get up!"

What is this all of the sudden about doing anything at all, let alone going into town? They didn't mention anything of the sort yesterday, at least.

"Since when were we going into town!?"

"Since ten minutes ago. Now stop asking questions."

Eiichi's voice is muffled by the door and the fact that he speaks at the level of a normal human being. "Eh, let him sleep Nakata."

"Screw that, it's beautiful out. I'm doing this for his own good."

With that, Nakata forgoes the formalities of asking permission to enter and barges in without a moment's notice. Honestly I consider myself lucky he even announced his presence before charging in. Why didn't I lock the door? I squint as the light floods in, first from the door and second from the window as he unapologetically throws open the blinds. Content that my room is now lit brighter than a photoshoot, Nakata stands at the foot of my bed, and Eiichi leans on the door frame, both already changed into more casual clothing.

I lock eyes with the tall albino. "I'm not getting out of this am I?"

"Nope," he says with a straight face. "And you need to get Saki's number so I don't have to keep being her messenger."

"This was her idea?"

"It's always her idea dude," says Eiichi. "Now stop stalling."

I begrudgingly roll out of bed and make for my chest of drawers, before pausing and looking pointedly at the intruders. "Well, unless you wanna watch me change, get out."

"You lock that door I swear to God I'll break it down." He stops, then corrects himself. "Well, I'll have Ichi break it down, but still."

I laugh. "Don't worry, I'll be right out."

~~~~~

"Yeah so why the ice!? It comes out cold anyways, and you get more soda that way."

"Keeps it cold longer dude, how is this hard to understand."

"What you gonna nurse it? By the time it'd warm up the stuffs flat anyways."

"So?"

"You'd drink flat soda?"

"...yeah?"

"We are no longer friends."

"Thank GOD, now I can stop having these stupid arguments!" Eiichi says as he walks out the front door, feigning elation.

Nakata walks up beside me and shakes his too. "Can ya get a load of this guy?"

I chuckle. "Probably not the right one to talk to Nakata, I'm on the pro-ice side of the debate."

"Ice, fine, but flat soda?"

"Okay I'm with you there."

"Knew I could count on ya buddy."

"Glad I could be of service."

With that thoroughly pointless discussion out of the way, the rest of us pay for our drinks and exit the small convenience store to continue our walk down the Yamaku hill and into town below. The Saturday afternoon is bright and sunny, and everything from the weather to our dress strikes as cheery and blithe. Eiichi is of course still doing his best to impersonate the most stereotypical of American Greek Life, and I finally found an excuse to break out my sweater vest, for which I received no end of shit from the other guys.

"Yo Hisao, I ever see you wearing that again and I think I'm legally obligated to give you a wedgie."

I laugh and shake my head, looking at Eiichi. He responds, "you're getting no help from me dude, I'm holding you down."

"Oh stop it," says Saki looking back from her position at the head of the pack and beaming, "I think he looks quite professional."

"Thank you," I reply. "I think the style rather suits me."

"Hey man just sayin', I'm trying to put off the life of the salaryman as long as I can."

"...Okay can't argue with you there. Still, you can't seriously give me shit when you're wearing that. That's a helluva hat there Nakata."

"Hey man mine's out of necessity. The day you show me a disease that requires the wearing of a sweater vest is the day I swap my sunscreen out for a bottle of canola oil."

This quip draws some more laughter from the group as we trek on. Speaking of style, the guys aren't the only ones who have changed into clothes more suitable for a picnic in the town park. Nana wears a white blouse and a knee length forest green skirt with a light tan beret, while Saki opts for a much simpler yellow summer dress. Rebecca, never one to go without pants, sports a pair of jeans and a tank top, though one much more stylish than Eiichi's.

Saki turns back after rushing to my defense and continues on her merry way down the slope. There's a skip in her step, something quite merry and feminine and perhaps even a bit childish. It's a refreshing quality, and compared to Nana and Rebecca, she really is quite girly. Her auburn hair flows gracefully in the wind, and-

"Ow!"

I look at Nakata, who just jostled me with his elbow. He has that same stupid grin he had a few days ago, and to add insult to injury, he gives me a sly wink.

"Oh screw off," I mutter under my breath, punching his shoulder. I never said she wasn't attractive... just that I highly doubt Nakata's judgment when it comes to teenage love interests.

He snorts and leans down to whisper to me. "You're hopeless man." Before I can respond, he jogs ahead a little, joining up with Eiichi to continue the great debate over the complexities of soft drink temperature management.

"So about flat soda-"

"Oh don't start this again-"

"No way, this is a matter of grave importance."

"It still tastes just fine!"

"The carbonation IS PART OF THE FLAVOR!"

I look out over the railing towards the town in the valley below. The day is warm, and the sun shines bright in a cloudless sky. Cars are a rare sight this far out, meaning the ambient sounds are less traffic and more the rustling of leaves in the breeze. Having finished Saturday class at noon, a nap had sounded wonderful, but I'm quite glad the guys knocked on my door and drug me out of bed. It is, quite simply, perfect for a picnic in town.

Today is a beautiful day.

~~~~~

"Hey!" says Saki, "play some of your American music!"

Arriving in town, we found an empty picnic table on the flanks of the park. Pleased with the spot, which has some nice shade and is decently out of the way, Eiichi and Nakata took off their backpacks and pulled out the food, a blanket, and some trinkets, a Frisbee and a portable speaker among them. Nakata spreads the blanket while Rebecca had idly put on some pop music, to which Saki quickly objected.

"Sure," Rebecca responds. "What do you want? Rock? Reggae? Pop?"

"Rock sounds good."

Rebecca searches through her MP3 player before deciding. She chooses a rather upbeat rock playlist, entirely in English of course.

"Oh I love this song!" says Saki, before she starts singing along without any shame whatsoever. Quite well I might add, her voice is impressive.

I put my head in my hands. The choice of music has reminded me of our upcoming English exams, for which I am still woefully unprepared. "Man I should really start studying... I don't understand a word of this."

Rebecca laughs. "I wouldn't worry about that, understanding a language and understanding that language in song are two very different beasts."

"Yeah I know, but you'd think after 2 years of English classes I could pick at least something up."

"Oh come on! The chorus isn't that bad. Listen close, see if you can hear it."

She starts the playback over at the chorus, and after receiving a blank look in return, she ends up replaying it three times before I can even take a shot at deciphering the mess of words.

"Umm, 'I'm... looking? to the sky to...' something, 'looking for-' something, '-of life'?"

Rebecca smiles. "Yeah you've got some work to do."

Saki pipes in. "I like the band name, it's super funny."

Rebecca facepalms. "Saki, it is not the "fool fighters", it's not like they got their name by fighting a bunch of morons!"

"I know, but it's more fun that way!"

"So what is it really Rebecca?" I ask.

"It's 'foo', it's slang for alien."

I look at her quizzically. "The English words for alien and idiot are the same?"

"Well no, it's... it's not really a word, it's slang for an acronym. It's from World War Two, and..." she pauses, looking unsure where to go from there. "Fighter pilots had these... callsigns? Well more like designations, for... ya know what never mind-" she says, throwing her hands in the air.

It sounds complicated, and I don't want to confuse myself any further, so I drop that particular line of conversation. Still... "any chance I could commandeer your mastery of English for my own needs?"

She laughs, "if you're asking me to help you study, sure. These two idiots have been using me for the past two years," she says, pointing at the guys, "one more can't hurt." As an afterthought, she adds, "you should probably take down my number, so I can let you know when we're studying."

"Awesome, thanks."

Saki joins in once again, "we should trade numbers too Hisao, so I don't have to keep texting Nakata to drag you out with us."

Mindful of what Nakata told me earlier, I was actually planning on asking after I swapped with Rebecca. She always seems to be one step ahead of me when it comes to my integration process with this group.

As we all start exchanging numbers, Rebecca addresses Saki, still happily singing along, and having now brought out the air guitar. "Y'know, I still have no idea why you ever left the choir. You're goddamn incredible."

I perk up. It dawns on me I haven't even thought about the student clubs offered here at Yamaku, other than quickly coming to the conclusion that I was certainly not joining the Student Council. Also, it occurs to me that I have no idea what clubs, if any, anyone here is in.

Saki shrugs. "I wanted to try something else! And please, I'm not that good."

This compels Nakata to join the conversation. "Oh drop it. I get why you left the other twenty clubs you've jumped in and right back out. I've seen what you drag out of the art club, that stuff would make a pre-schooler hang their head in shame. God blessed your voice, not your hands," he says, pointing to each in turn, "embrace it."

He's certainly not one to mince words, but it gets me curious. I look at Saki, "twenty other clubs?"

"Oh it wasn't twenty. It's probably only been like... ten or so?" Her correction is met with raised eyebrows.

"That's not better," replies Eiichi.

She continues to defend herself. "I just wanted to see what else they had! I don't wanna limit myself you know?"

Nakata slams his head on the table before looking back up. "Not limiting yourself would be checking out the band, maybe try your hand in the Newspaper Club. It is definitely not systematically checking off the school's entire curriculum!"

Even Nana laughs and joins in. "Remember when she joined the Occult Studies club? Singlehandedly doubled the membership!"

"Hey! Be nice to Yui. She's nice."

"Nice and weird are not mutually exclusive, Saki," says Eiichi with a grin.

"Well I thought it would be fun, so I tried it out. Besides, I'm trying to fill in for all of you," she says pointedly.

Surprised at her implication, I ask, "what, none of you guys are in a club?"

Shaking heads all around. "I spend plenty of time in the gym. Yeah I'm not on the track team, but that should be good enough for them."

"Ain't no one got time for that. It's not required after all," says Nakata, leaning back.

"Yeah, I remember Shizune saying something like that my first day."

Nana is about to respond, but Rebecca cuts her off. "Hey, all this bonding is great and all, but are we gonna eat anytime soon?"

My stomach grumbles in response, I didn't realize how hungry I was until someone brought it up. "Yeah, let's do that."

~~~~~

As the day progresses, the place continues to buzz with activity. A few college students are throwing a Frisbee on the grass, while other groups of families and friends eat or play in the afternoon sunshine. Some runners make their way past, footsteps and breathing measured and methodical. Laughter pierces the air as some of the younger visitors play a game of tag under the watchful eye of their parents, which quickly turns sour as two dispute a tagging. Guess I shouldn't expect anything less from a Saturday afternoon at the town park.

It's hot today, but the shade of the maple tree above gives us some respite. We dig into the food, mostly stuff for sandwiches and a few bags of chips. Nana, apparently something of a chef, brought some rolls she supposedly cooked the day before. Overall, there's more than enough for the six of us. We eat and idly chat, and when we finish, everyone breaks off to do their own thing for a time. Eiichi and Nana take the Frisbee into the park and start passing between them, while Nakata challenges Rebecca to a game of checkers, still snacking. Personally, I'm content to merely sit and enjoy the day.

Eventually, the couple brings it in and takes residence on the picnic blanket. "Damn," mutters Nakata, sitting next to me on the picnic table.

Rebecca smiles. "I win."

Nakata leans back and stretches. "Yeah as always." He leans forward again and puts his elbows on the table. There's a brief silence before he speaks again. "Well, I'd say it's about time we found out-" He suddenly whips his head in my direction and lowers it, looking intently at me. With eyes narrowing, he says in a deep and throaty voice, "so what are you in for?"

Ichi and Nana laugh from their place on the blanket a few feet away, but Rebecca stops chewing her ramen - looking serious. My face twists in confusion, what does he mean by that?

In a deadpan voice and composure, he follows up. "How are you broke?"

Oh.

Oh boy.

"I..." I start, but something in me stops.

This is still pretty personal... Like, I want to tell them, but I also don't. If I do, then what should I say? How much should I tell them? Hell... how much do I even know? I should really understand this better. All I know about my condition is what I should do to make it better and what I shouldn't do to make it worse. I don't know the first thing about what causes it, how I got it, or why I should or shouldn't be doing... whatever. My medications are, at this point, just a routine. A vague morning reminder of my purpose here at this school, which is then more strongly reinforced when I catch sight of literally anything on campus. I don't know what they do at all, I don't even know what they're called. This all came of up faster than I could possibly prepare for it, and my eyes start to flit around. Not really looking at anyone or anything in particular, I just pick what's left of my sandwich and take a bite.

"Here, I'll start," says Nakata, still staring right at me. "I'm white, even though I should be yellow."

More laughter, and I can't help but join in. Nakata does have a knack at diffusing situations.

"Well I..."

I'm still pausing, and I'm starting to get frustrated, completely at myself. Why can't I just say it?

"C'mon man, we're all broke here!" Nakata says, suddenly more animated and opening his arms wide. "I like ya man! And you've already shared a drink with us up on the hill. Way I see it that's practically a membership card. Everyone lets up eventually, might as well get this out of the way now!" he laughs, slinging his arm over my shoulder and giving me a squeeze.

I force another little chuckle, but still find myself looking away.

"Hey!", Rebecca says, giving him a stern look, "let it go Nakata."

"No, it's okay..." I manage to say, I don't want to look weak in front of my new friends. "I..."

Man this is hard.

Hang on...

"Fine then Nakata, you first. How are you," I make quotation marks with my fingers, "Broke."

I think I'll be more comfortable if someone goes first. Maybe...

"And no kidding around!" I add hurriedly, cognizant of Nakata's typical demeanor.

"Oculocutaneous albinism, type 4!" He stands, shouting loudly and proudly. Everyone else is of course used to Nakata's antics, but I cringe a little. Even on campus that would be awkward, but we're in public... I can't help but look around uncomfortably.

No one seems to be paying us any attention though. They're all too busy enjoying their day off at the park.

"Supposedly, type 4 is rare outside of Japan, so I like to tack that on there. Reminds me to be proud of my heritage." He says ironically, jostling me with his elbow and smiling.

"Okay, I just have one question... why are you with the blind and partially blind students?"

"Not many people know about the vision part of albinism. Hell, not many people really know about albinism to begin with, beyond the fact that we exist. Let's just say that my condition messes with my eyes in ways that glasses alone can't fix."

I nod, and Ichi pipes in, raising his hand and dipping his head a bit. "Cluster headaches."

I look at him quizzically. He hasn't complained about any headaches since I've known him...

Sensing my confusion, he adds, "I've been fine ever since you've known me because they come periodically, pretty much yearly. The headaches come in clusters, and my cycle just so happens to hit during the last few months of school, when final projects and exams are usually due. Most teachers at my old school thought I was faking, or at least that they weren't really that bad, but they make special accommodations here."

"Are they that bad?" I ask.

"They're also called suicide headaches. Some doctors say it's the worst pain a human can feel, " he remarks with a straight face.

Oh. I look down awkwardly. Now I remember why talking about this stuff is weird...

Eiichi senses my retreat. "Dude," he says, "chill. We were all curious when we got here."

The trains still rolling and isn't about to stop, so I look at Rebecca.

Nakata chuckles, "here we go..."

She sighs, swallows her soup, and clears her throat. "Multiple ballistics trauma to the right knee and thigh resulted in comminuted intra-articular fracture involving the patella and lateral condyle, as well as butterfly fracture of the upper femoral body and extensive tissue damage. Subsequent infection and muscular necrosis necessitated wide-scale debridement of the quadriceps femoris. The patient continues to experience chronic pain in the right leg and limited range of motion."

Nakata sits next to me, mimicking (or rather, mocking) Rebecca's straight-faced delivery with his eyes turned upwards. She shoots him another glare.

My jaw slackens as she speaks. She says it all without skipping a beat, with the exasperated tone of someone who has said something a few too many times but just knows this isn't the last. Of course, I don't understand a word of it, so I just stare, confused.

Rebecca returns her gaze to me and blinks twice. She elaborates after a pause. "I got shot."

My eyes widen and I start to sit up a bit straighter, but I quickly wipe away my shock. It's probably disrespectful. I can't think of a good response. "Why didn't you just say that?" Is what I go with, despite my curiosity to the events that preceded her, uh, condition.

She shrugs, "I don't like to think about it, so I just say what my patient file says. The words are big and confusing so I have no idea what it means. Makes it feel like I'm not talking about myself."

Glad I didn't ask. Suddenly, though, something dawns on me, and I act on the curiosity before I can think better of it. "Is that why you..." I don't point, but I glance down at her leg, hoping she understands my question.

She nods delicately, her demeanor completely changed from her usual intensity. "Yeah, that's why I wear the men's uniform, and why I always wear pants. Skirts are supposed to be flattering, make the wearer feel pretty, but trust me," she gives a shy, melancholic smile. "A shot up leg isn't pretty."

The way she says it is so wistful, as if it only touches on emotions that the bearer would rather not express. I regret bringing it up. I regret going into any of this in the first place.

She says the next bit glaring at Nakata, leaning in towards him. "So do you understand why SOME OF US don't think is the kind of thing you casually chat about at a picnic?" I involuntarily scoot back. Man she can be intimidating, but hey, at least she's seemingly back to normal.

Nakata raises his hands in defense and leans away. "Hey, I'm just tryin' to get the guy out of his shell!"

Nana smiles. "Guess I'm last."

"I mean... you don't have to tell me if you don't want too." I feel awkward again, especially after the last round of... questioning. If any of them feel anything close the way I do about my reason for being here, I'm really pushing some boundaries... "It's just that Nakata couldn't seem to hold it in." I say smiling weakly.

She laughs. "Li-Fraumeni Syndrome".

Once again, I've been told something that is likely immensely personal but would have to pry to understand a thing about what I've just been told. Thankfully, she seems to understand this, and goes on after a short pause.

"It's a genetic disease that messes with your body's ability to stop cancer. If you had met me a year ago, I wouldn't have had hair. I've already had cancer once, and it's almost a certainty I'll have it again sometime in my life. I had to have surgery first, then chemotherapy, so coming here meant I could go to school at the same time while doing my sessions at the hospital in town. By the time I was totally finished, this year had already started, and of course I had met him," she nods towards Eiichi, "so I decided not to leave."

I nod. I don't know what most of these conditions are, but cancer I understand. Most people know someone, friend or family, who has had some cancer or another, and I'm no exception.

"So it worked? The chemo and radiation?"

"I can't do radiation because the radiation would probably just give me another cancer, but everything else worked! Total remission. Though I do have to get regular checkups."

Nakata starts prodding my shoulder, then swings his arm over my shoulder again. "Yooooouuuur tuuuuuurn," he sings.

I guess it's only fair. Everyone else seemed casual for the most part, but I still think it's weird, talking about this so freely. I want to get this over with quickly, so I take a deep breath and just say everything I know.

"I have... some sort of heart problem." Hmm, I guess I don't know much.

I would go on, but with that in depth analysis, I have run out of things to say. It suddenly dawns on me that I have not a single clue about the specifics of my condition. Everyone around me was able to give names, specifics, medical definitions even, but... I don't know anything. Nakata keeps looking at me, expectantly. Without anything else to say, I weakly follow up with, "apparently it can cause heart attacks."

Nakata stares blankly. "That's it? C'mon man that ain't fair!"

"Nakata!" exclaims Rebecca, appalled.

"What! We tell him exactly what's up with us and he comes back with 'heart problems'!? I could've told him that! There's some give and take here!"

"This is none of our business Nakata!" She sounds absolutely furious. "I can't believe you! I can't believe you would even think abo-"

"-Rebecca," I interrupt. I don't want anyone defending me on my behalf, especially when... well I kind of agree with Nakata. "He's right, I wish I could tell you more, and I should be able too. I just can't... because I don't really know myself."

There's a pause, and Eiichi raises his eyebrows. "Dude, I'm not one to tell someone how to live their life, but I'm just sayin'. If you want to live your life in the first place, you might wanna get a better handle on that..." He finishes with a chuckle, trying to make his rather grave suggestion a bit more lighthearted.

I look down, somewhat embarrassed by how poorly I've been educated- no, how poorly I've educated myself about my condition. Like it or not, I have it, and I need to learn how to live with it. The people seated around me are proof enough of that. "Nah, you're right. Promise, by tonight Nakata, I'll text you with exactly what I've got."

He leans over and throws his arm around me once again, but locks eyes and points at me with the free hand as if giving me a lecture. "You better."

I look around. Eiichi has his arm around Nana's shoulder too, but I think for different reasons than Nakata's is around mine. Nakata is smiling brightly now, letting go and returning to his sandwich, while Rebecca just stares at him shaking her head ever so slightly.

I'm silently impressed by how well everyone here has taken to their condition. The girls are a little more reserved about it, and I don't blame them. Heck, I'm even more reserved than they are. Eiichi though, he's pretty nonchalant, and Nakata is outright proud of his albinism. As for myself? I think it's high time I took control of this. I've kept myself in the dark long enough. Of course, there's still one person who has yet to share.

I turn to Saki, to finish the round of confessions, but I pause and my breath cuts short when I catch sight of her. Her head is propped against the trunk of the maple, eyes closed in peaceful slumber and auburn hair fluttering gently in the summer breeze. Her arms are gently crossed and lie on her stomach, her legs extended, right leg crossing at the ankle over her left. Almost imperceptibly, her chest rises and falls, the faintest smile is still present on her lips. The very picture of peaceful grace.

"Don't bother."

Nakata's voice snaps me back to reality.

"Yeah, she probably has to get to know me better I guess..."

Nakata chuckles. "Doubt it. You'd think two years of friendship would be enough wouldn't ya?"

"You mean you don't know?"

All eyes have drifted now to Saki Enomoto. Even though she seems like the ringleader of this merry bunch... this happy few, this band of brothers, she always seems surprisingly distant. Like a commander, hesitant to fraternize with her subordinates.

Nakata replies, shaking his head. "None of us do."

~~~~~

Everyone now quite finished with heavy topics of conversation, the five of us still awake decide to toss around the Frisbee, happily putting "the talk" behind us. In due time, Saki wakes from her nap (which I am currently quite jealous of), and joins us to make our pentagon a hexagon. Once again, I am reminded of my time with my old friends at my old high school, hanging out and enjoying our time together without a care in the world, but this time, it's somehow different. It's crazy, but already, I feel closer to these five people around me than I ever felt in the years I knew Mai, Takumi, and Shin. I know that sounds ridiculous, and perhaps I'm still a little bitter over how quickly those friendships fizzled out after my heart attack, but maybe those relationships were just a bit more shallow than I once thought. Just in the past hour, I have learned things about Nakata, Eiichi, Nana, and Rebecca that go beyond mere superficial relationships, and now, I think I may even be a bit eager to share knowledge of my condition to the people whom I now know so much about, as if to solidify my place in their circle. It's only fair, after all.

I make to pass to the girl with the auburn hair, but she waves me off, evidently content to sit in the waning sunlight and watch us play. Saki however... she remains an enigma. Of course, as Rebecca was so quick to point out, the details of our conditions are quite personal, and if she doesn't want to share, that is her choice and her's alone. Still, even while it is her right, it surprises me that amongst this particular group of people, she has maintained total secrecy. I smile as I recall her supposed status as "Commander-in-Chief". Perhaps that's just it. Her condition is classified. "TOP SECRET". Need to know, eyes only. Her position within this circle is truly a unique one, and I keep smiling as all these thoughts drift idly in my mind and the Frisbee disk floats gently between us, caught, thrown, caught, and thrown again as the sun settles down over the horizon.

~~~~~

Finally, we make the decision to pack up and head back up to Yamaku. Remembering the last time I tackled that obstacle, I decide to speak up. "If we could take it slow on the way up, that would be great. I don't think we want a repeat of last time," I say with a smirk.

Eiichi responds. "We're really gonna need to get you working out. Gotta have you prepped by the time the three day break rolls around."

I raise my eyebrows. "Why is that?"

"Oh yeah, totally forgot about that. Gotta make sure he's physically up for it," says Nakata.

"It's okay, it's still a while off," Rebecca adds.

Eiichi throws on his backpack before saying anything more. "This one's up to you Saki, this trip is your baby."

I'm still confused. Whatever they're talking about, they're really dancing around it. "Can someone clue me in here? Please?"

Nakata and Eiichi finish packing up, and everyone else is patiently looking at Saki. She looks down and shuffles her feet before aswering coyly. The answer is probably the last thing I expect.

"We're climbing Mount Fuji."
Last edited by ComeWhatMay on Wed Aug 17, 2016 11:59 pm, edited 20 times in total.
Come What May - Cliché No matter what might happen.

Currently writing Can You Accept Your Fate? Saki Enomoto Pseudo Route. 34,000 words and counting.

Oh you wear your facade so well, covered up in your plastic shell

User avatar
Dash9
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:34 am
Location: United States

Re: Can You Accept Your Fate? - Saki Pseudo Route (Ch. 7, 7/

Post by Dash9 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:08 pm

Glad to see you're back, looking forward to the next chapter!

Thanks for sharing,
--Dash

User avatar
Mirage_GSM
Posts: 5775
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:24 am
Location: Germany

Re: Can You Accept Your Fate? - Saki Pseudo Route (Ch. 7, 7/

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:48 am

you should probably take down my number, so I can get in let you know when we're studying."
Seems there are some remains of an earlier iteration of that sentence still there...
"We're climbing Mount Fuji."
That might actually kill him :-)

Anyway, nice to see this story is back. I have some kind of deja vu reading this scene... Did you rewrite an earlier chapter?
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.

User avatar
Hesmiyu
Posts: 177
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:07 am
Location: England, United Kingdom, British Isles, Europe, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy

Re: Can You Accept Your Fate? - Saki Pseudo Route (Ch. 7, 7/

Post by Hesmiyu » Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:17 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:Anyway, nice to see this story is back. I have some kind of deja vu reading this scene... Did you rewrite an earlier chapter?
I'm glad I wasn't the only one who had that feeling of deja vu.
The line below is false.
The line above is true.

Being disabled is just differently abled differently labelled.

My art: http://ks.renai.us/viewtopic.php?f=51&t=10190
Swim story(Currently 11 chapters long) http://ks.renai.us/viewtopic.php?f=52&t=10221

User avatar
ComeWhatMay
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:49 am

Re: Can You Accept Your Fate? - Saki Pseudo Route (Ch. 7, 7/

Post by ComeWhatMay » Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:01 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:Seems there are some remains of an earlier iteration of that sentence still there...
Fixed, good catch. Man, I could proofread a thousand times, but as has been my experience with Pokemon GO, I can never catch 'em all.
Mirage_GSM wrote:Anyway, nice to see this story is back. I have some kind of deja vu reading this scene... Did you rewrite an earlier chapter?
It's nice to be able to sit down with it again. I've been out in the middle of nowhere for the past 6 weeks looking at rocks with no internet connection or even electricity, not exactly conducive to a good writing environment :? Doesn't help that my writing methodology is pretty awful too. I research forever, think, then inspiration hits and I stay up literally all night writing a whole chapter. Not exactly the next chapter either, a lot of what I've written is middle and endgame, I'm just having trouble stringing everything together /facepalm


As for the deja vu, you probably saw my teaser post that came out just under a year ago (... jeez, I need to get working don't I?). This is the cannon version of that scene, which is the first snippet of this story I put to paper. If you compare, you'll notice a number of changes I've made since, probably the most significant in that Nana has a completely different disease.
Come What May - Cliché No matter what might happen.

Currently writing Can You Accept Your Fate? Saki Enomoto Pseudo Route. 34,000 words and counting.

Oh you wear your facade so well, covered up in your plastic shell

User avatar
ComeWhatMay
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:49 am

Re: Can You Accept Your Fate? - Saki Pseudo Route (Ch. 7, 7/

Post by ComeWhatMay » Mon Dec 26, 2016 1:20 am

Friends and family are all out of town, and I had to stick around because of some monumentally stupid decisions this year. First time spendin' Christmas alone, which sucks, but I always heard that a great way to cope was to channel that into something productive. Chapter 8's comin' up boys.

Thanks for the audience.
Come What May - Cliché No matter what might happen.

Currently writing Can You Accept Your Fate? Saki Enomoto Pseudo Route. 34,000 words and counting.

Oh you wear your facade so well, covered up in your plastic shell

User avatar
Dash9
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:34 am
Location: United States

Re: Can You Accept Your Fate? - Saki Pseudo Route (Ch. 7, 7/

Post by Dash9 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:17 am

Sorry to hear about the lonesome Christmas, but if it results in progress for one of the two active Saki routes...well, thanks.

Good luck

User avatar
InSaiyan
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:51 pm

Re: Can You Accept Your Fate? - Saki Pseudo Route (Ch. 7, 7/

Post by InSaiyan » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:11 pm

I'm rooting for you! Keep up the good work. We need some Saki love up in here!
"We're just two children, pretending to be adults, aren't we?"

Current project: Teach Me To Dance: A Natsume Ooe Pseudo-Route

User avatar
ComeWhatMay
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:49 am

Re: Can You Accept Your Fate? - Saki Pseudo Route (Ch. 7, 7/

Post by ComeWhatMay » Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:38 am

InSaiyan wrote:I'm rooting for you! Keep up the good work. We need some Saki love up in here!
It's coming I promise! It's all written, but I'm just doing some light reading to make sure the medical stuff is at least... passable. Trying to make sure the medications are the correct localisations of the generic drugs (and that the drugs even make sense), checking that I've written Hisao's medical records right, the Nurse's description of Hisao's condition being at least reasonable, there's a lot to double and triple check with this chapter. I'm just hoping that, if a medical professional were to see this, their thoughts would be more along the lines of, "well, I can see what he was getting at," rather than, "BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA."

Unfortunately not a whole lot of Saki in this one (sorry), but their relationship will start to develop within the next few chapters!
Dash9 wrote:Sorry to hear about the lonesome Christmas, but if it results in progress for one of the two active Saki routes...well, thanks.

Good luck
Thanks for the support guys, means a lot.

"Chapter 9 ~ Katawa Shounen" coming soon!
Come What May - Cliché No matter what might happen.

Currently writing Can You Accept Your Fate? Saki Enomoto Pseudo Route. 34,000 words and counting.

Oh you wear your facade so well, covered up in your plastic shell

Silentcook
Carelessly Cooking You
Posts: 2508
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:22 am
Location: Imola, Italy

Re: Can You Accept Your Fate? - Saki Pseudo Route (Ch. 7, 7/

Post by Silentcook » Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:06 am

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Well, shoulda expected it, really. :twisted:
Shattering your dreams since '94.

Image

User avatar
ComeWhatMay
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:49 am

Re: Can You Accept Your Fate? - Saki Pseudo Route (Ch. 7, 7/

Post by ComeWhatMay » Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:52 pm

Silentcook wrote:BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Well, shoulda expected it, really. :twisted:
I just got roasted by Silentcook. Fitting, I suppose.
Come What May - Cliché No matter what might happen.

Currently writing Can You Accept Your Fate? Saki Enomoto Pseudo Route. 34,000 words and counting.

Oh you wear your facade so well, covered up in your plastic shell

User avatar
Zerebos
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:30 pm
Contact:

Re: Can You Accept Your Fate? - Saki Pseudo Route (Ch. 7, 7/

Post by Zerebos » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:29 am

ComeWhatMay wrote:
I just got roasted by Silentcook. Fitting, I suppose.
Well at least you predicted it right?

Love the writing by the way!

User avatar
ComeWhatMay
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:49 am

Re: Can You Accept Your Fate? - Saki Pseudo Route (Ch. 7, 7/

Post by ComeWhatMay » Wed Feb 15, 2017 4:47 am

Chapter 8 ~ Saturday Afternoon pt. 2 - Katawa Shounen

My jaw drops and I'm stunned into a momentary silence. As I gawk for the next few seconds, it naturally occurs to me how climbing a goddamn mountain may not be in the best interests of my continued life and good health. I'm no health expert, but when the nurse said "take it easy", I'm pretty sure he didn't mean "climb the highest mountain in the country." Eventually, I find the words to respond.

"Of course by 'we' you mean, 'you guys'. Not sure if you're aware, but I DO have a heart problem. Maybe a badly understood heart problem... but still a heart problem."

"Well you've got plenty of time to figure yourself out man," says Nakata.

Rebecca replies as well. "That's not much of an excuse anyways. I'm not sure if you're aware, but I was shot," she says, tapping her leg with her cane.

"Okay that's true..." how do I put this without insulting her? "But what happened to you probably won't happen again by climbing a mountain. I'm not so lucky."

Eiichi pipes in, "We've got you covered dude. We'll obviously have to take it slow, you're not the only one that needs to take it easy. For most people it's an overnight trip, but we're gonna do it over 3 days during break. Two days up, one down. We're taking the easiest trail, figured out who's gonna be carrying what, we've got the whole thing organized so you don't need to worry about a thing." He nods in Saki's direction. "Saki's actually done a lot of planning to make it work."

"Eiichi and I are the most fit," says Nakata as he sets off in the direction of Yamaku with the rest of the group, "so we'll carry the water and stuff. C'mon man, we already made reservations for six! You're not gonna make us cancel are you?"

Still a little dumbstruck, it takes me a second to realize I'm the only one not moving. I catch up with a little jog before observing, "I don't see how my ducking out precludes you all from going."

"How could it not?" asks Nakata staring at me over his shoulder as if it was a foregone conclusion.

"No one gets left behind, dude."

"If we have to drug you and carry you up the damn mountain we will, so just say yes will ya? I'm already gonna be carrying all your stuff, so it'll be a lot less work for me."

I sigh as I follow the group up the slight incline. Maybe this is something I can ask about when I talk to the nurse tonight, but for the time being, I think back to my first and so far only meeting with the man. I do recall him saying that I should take it easy... but then again, he also said that getting some exercise would do me well. Come to think of it, the only thing he really warned me against was any sudden concussions. This hiking trip... it's just walking, right? Maybe I shouldn't dismiss this outright.

I sigh. "I'm gonna go with a very solid maybe," I say shaking my head in mild exasperation.

Eiichi shakes his head too, but much more forcefully. "Not good enough. The break's comin' up before you know it, we gotta get you in shape."

True. I guess if I want any shot at doing this, then I'd have to start now. "Okay, how about this. I'll start working out, but no promises about this trip alright?"

Even with this concession, I'm not entirely sure what I need to do. I've never seriously committed to working out, and all the time I played soccer was more out of want for something to do than out of any actual passion for the sport. Even on the field I never really gave 100%, which may be part of why my condition never reared its ugly head until that snowy winter day. It passed the time well enough, but I never really took it seriously. I voice these concerns to the group, but as always, they have a solution.

"Oh don't worry about that dude, the answer to that one's right in front of you."

The way he says it worries me. "Oh yeah?" I say, raising my eyebrows with some reservation.

The stocky boy looks back at me with a mischievous grin spread wide on his face. The implication is clear enough even without him speaking. Eiichi is clearly among the top percentage of Yamaku's physically fit, and who better to train an up and coming mountaineer? Well... probably a member of the school's professional physical therapy staff, with years of intensive training to assist the disabled and state of the art equipment to which I'm sure a hefty amount of my tuition goes towards supplying, but he'll do. Still, even with his implication plenty clear, he can't help but verbally express his eagerness to begin training a complete newbie.

"You're in my world now, Hisao."

~~~~~

I manage to make it up the hill without any major scares. Anyways, it was less the climb that had my heart pounding and more anxiety from the lurking knowledge that Eiichi Inoue is now my personal trainer. It appears that he and Nakata have already implemented an exercise regime, to which I have now been included. I begin tomorrow at close of business.

The group breaks apart at the usual spot, where the sidewalk splits to the boy's and girl's dormitories. Everyone says their goodbyes and head off to the dormitories, but I have other plans. As everyone else's back's fade in the twilight, I step off without a moment's hesitation in the direction of the auxiliary building.

"HEY! Numbnuts!"

I turn back to an incredulous Eiichi, who has arms spread wide open in confusion. "Dorm's this way!" he says, pointing his thumb over his shoulder.

"Nah, I'm headed to the auxiliary building. Got a promise to keep!"

There's a pause, but Nakata brightens in a second, remembering my obligation. He calls back, "I await your report!"

"You don't owe this idiot anything Hisao," says Rebecca.

"Hey! He made a promise Yankee! Here in Japan that means his honor's on the line!"

"It's okay, this isn't just for him Rebecca!" I yell in return. I turn back to the auxiliary building and give a low key thumbs up as I set off. "Text ya in a bit bro!"

~~~~~

Having not returned since my meeting the first day, it takes a moments searching to find the head nurse's office. The building isn't large, however, so I find my destination in only a few minutes. Half expecting to be greeted with silence, I raise my hand to knock, and any thoughts of putting this talk off until some other time are quickly dashed when the Head Nurse's voice emanates from within. His hearty, "come in!" has a volume and manner much too energetic for the time. Hooray for the 24 hour nursing staff.

The room is just as I left it last time. The mild smell of antiseptic stings my nose and the desk is still littered with coffee rings, a cup of which currently resides in the Nurse's hand. Vague recognition brightens the man's widening eyes.

"Well hello! Mr..." his face scrunches as he reaches for a name that lies significantly beyond his grasp.

"Nakai. Hisao Nakai."

"Hisao!" he says with a snap, "of course!" He spins in his office chair so he doesn't have to twist his neck to converse and continues. "How are you?"

"Good. Really good, actually."

"I'm glad to hear that," he says nodding. After a pause, he grins as he continues. "Well, considering your answer and the fact you don't seem in need of CPR, can I ask what brings you here so late?" It wouldn't be a visit to the Head Nurse without some awkward humor.

"Yeah... about that..."

The nurse raises his eyebrows.

"Yeah. I, uh... I have, well, obviously some sort of medical thing. Something wrong with... my heart. I mean that is why I'm here. Here at Yamaku I mean, not here in the office here. And, uh, I just wanted to, and sorry for bothering you this late, but I just kinda decided to come in today after talking with some friends, not that that's important, but..." I take a deep breath, then sigh. This isn't coming out very clearly. I take a moment to organize my thoughts, then continue. "I realized that while I was in the hospital... everything was pretty crazy. I did a lot of things to... well to distract myself, rather than really take the time to-"

The nurse holds up his hand. "Let me guess. You'd like to know more about your condition?"

I'm stunned for a second with how quickly he read through that ramble. "Somethin' like that, yeah. How'd you know?"

He grins, then gestures for me to sit down. "Eh, this happens more often than you'd think. Hospitals are intimidating, especially to people your age. Everyone deals with the stress differently. Some get mad, some get sad, some just try to forget completely, and considering the number of student's that come through here, I've seen just about everything."

"I guess..."

"Those last ones usually stop by once they get back in their groove, and going back to school can do that. And heck, if there's one thing I know about teenagers, you guys are absolutely horrible at listening," he says with his typical cheeky grin. "Blind, deaf, or otherwise, a teenager's still a teenager! And anyways, everyone can do with some reminders."

It's oddly comforting, though not at all surprising, to hear that I'm not the only one who wanted to block this all out. Regardless of circumstances, it's always nice to understand that you're "not the only one." What he says is certainly true, the memories of those few months remain quite unpleasant. Meticulously clean hospital sheets, the smell of antiseptic that permeated the building, the demeanor of-

"Hey, Hisao!" the Nurse says, snapping his fingers at me, which quickly snaps me out of my reverie. "Bring it in!"

"Sorry," I say. "Long day, just tired."

"Well I hope you didn't tire yourself out too much." He tone is mostly that of idle chatter, but looking up, I do catch a hint of concern in his expression. I'm quick to wave him off.

"Nothing too stressful, just the walk to and from town is all."

The nurse nods, evidently pleased with my answer. "Good. Now let me just find your file..." he says, standing and walking over to a tall filing cabinet. He opens one drawer and begins shifting through the numerous folders packed tightly within. Of course, I can't see the contents of each folder, but I do notice that many of the folders are quite thick. When he finally pulls out what appears to be mine, I'm surprised to see how thin it is compared with the rest he flipped past. A subtle reminder that things could always be worse.

"If you'll just give me a moment to take a look over this again Hisao, it's not easy keeping track of all of you," he says, sitting back and propping up his ankle on the opposite knee.

"Of course," I say.

My eyes wander the room as I wait for the Nurse to get re-acquainted. The utter plainness of the room still bothers me. Sure, it's the nurse's office, many students come through here and he must be expected to maintain a level of professionalism, but would it kill him to change his computer background or put up a photo of the wife and kids? The way it is now feels so impersonal.

The nurse is intently scanning my records, muttering to himself under his breath. Suddenly, he stops, snorts, and... smiles? After which he looks up at me. Noticing me watching him, he quickly returns to the document, but a faint smile lingers, leaving me perplexed. A few minutes later, he lowers the records and says, "right." He extends them to me. "Would you like to take a look?"

I pause, mildly surprised given that none of my doctors or nurses have offered before. Still, if I want to make an accurate report back to Nakata, I should see it for myself. "Sure," I say, taking the records myself. I flip them around and start reading through... and quickly come to wonder what I thought my unacquainted mind could glean from such a technical document.

Image

Most of the first paragraph is, of course, entirely incomprehensible. I'm able to pick apart some of the record, "18 year old Japanese male" is simple enough. For the most part however, I stare blankly at the page, wondering what a QTc interval is, why my supposed Q wave would be "dagger-like," and what it all means for my overall state of health. This facade of apathy lasts only as long as the second paragraph, however, since those opening sentences are enough to make me cringe rather heavily. So this is what gave the nurse such a kick.

I look up to see the nurse grinning back at me. "Not a whole lot of topics that can get a man's heart racing like that, Hisao," he warmly observes.

"Oh, yeah, no, I was just..." I try to play it off, but I can't come up with any excuses in time, so I just ignore it and go back to my records, hoping he'll let it go.

The information I'm really after tonight is sitting right there, at the bottom of the page. I read through the words, sounding them out and hoping that even if I don't have the definitions down, I can at least get the pronunciation right. Try as I might, the words aren't exactly something a layman can expect to read and understand by intuition alone. I say the words out loud. "Congenital Long QT Syndrome... and Obstructive Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy."

The nurse nods. "You got it."

"So... what's that?"

The nurse smiles. "Well that," he says pointing at my records, "is proof you lost the genetic lottery."

I stare blankly.

The nurse leans forward again. "Two heart conditions, seemingly unrelated, in the same person. One affects the muscle structure, the other affects electrical pathways through the heart. Now, cardiomyopathy is actually more common than you'd think, but genetic Long QT is pretty rare. The chances that someone would be born with both conditions are... very unlikely. Not impossible, but unlikely."

I nod, but he still hasn't really answered my question. "Okay," I say, "but what does it do? You said it affects my heart, the muscle and electrical paths. How?"

The nurse grins again, which I'm beginning to think is actually his resting state. "Do you want the long version or the short?"

I think for a moment. "Can you do the medium?"

He chuckles. "I'll try!" The nurse opens his desk and pulls out a pen and paper, after which he draws a familiar shape. It's the shape you always see on the computers next to the patient in a medical drama, which always beep in the movies but which they thankfully turn off in real life when they know you're gonna be there for the next few months. Unsatisfied with the drawing, he scribbles it out and redraws the shape, after which he labels a few of the bumps. I lean in to get a better view before he points with his pen and begins his explanation.

"So your heart beats because of electrical impulses sent out by two 'nodes', which tell your heart muscles when to contract. We can pick up this electrical activity with a device we call an 'EKG.' This," he says, pointing at the first bump on the graph, "is the P wave. It shows the contraction of the atrium..." He pauses, then looks at me. "You know what the atrium is right?"

"I think so," I say, thinking back to biology. "They're the small chambers on the top of the heart right?"

"Exactly. When your atrium beats, it fills the ventricles, which are the big chambers which send blood to the body. When that beats, you get this big electrical feedback which you can see here," he says, pointing to the big wave on the EKG, "which we call the 'QRS complex.' Finally, you get this last wave here, the T wave, which is basically your heart relaxing and getting ready for the next beat."

"Okay."

"In your case, the pause between your ventricles contracting and your heart 'recharging' is longer than usual. When you're exercising, under stress, or at any other time your heart-rate increases, your heart can try to beat before it's fully recharged. That's when you get problems."

"Like what?"

"Well, that's one of the things that can cause your arrhythmias. Long QT causes a very specific type of arrhythmia, so choosing the right medications usually isn't very complicated, but because of your other condition, your treatment isn't as straightforward."

Right. I forgot about the other, entirely separate condition. I sigh, "so what does that one do?"

"Cardiomyopathy is just a fancy word for a defect in the heart muscles themselves. Yours causes the muscles to get larger than they should, which means there's less room for blood inside the heart's chambers. Also, since your heart is larger than usual, it needs more blood... which your heart can't provide because it's too big. You seeing how the problem makes itself worse?"

I nod. "And that can also cause arrhythmia?"

"Yes. A number of different types, in fact, which is what complicates your treatment. Long QT causes a unique arrhythmia called torsades de pointes, but Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy can cause many different arrhythmias. Supraventricular tachycardia mostly, but also AV block, normal or paroxysmal a-fib..." he stops as he notices my blank stare.

"Sorry," he says looking sheepish. "Basically, it's hard to prescribe you the right medicines when so many anti-arrhythmics can CAUSE arrhythmias themselves, many of which you're already at risk for. We don't want to fix one arrhythmia, just to trigger another, equally or even more dangerous one. Your daily cocktail was very carefully constructed by doctors much smarter than I, which I'd bet is one of many reasons your stay in the hospital was longer than usual." He takes a second to scroll through his computer, as it looks like he has my records pulled up there as well. "Your case is unique, Hisao, but it is manageable."

Right, manageable. Speaking of which...

Image

Flipping the page, I realize I've actually seen this before, the enormous list of medicines and contraindications my doctors gave to me the day I learned about Yamaku. I shake my head looking at the "adverse reactions" list, remembering what my father said when he first took a look at it himself.

So long is right, dad.

The nurse nods sympathetically. "I'd highly recommend you get to know that list, Hisao. You'll be fine here, since we and the nearby hospital have very easy access to this information, but once you're out in the real world... well let's just say I wouldn't leave anything up to chance."

The whole knowledge drop is a lot to take in, and this ominous warning just adds icing on the cake. I sigh and find myself rubbing my face with my hands. Almost subconsciously, I move two fingers to my neck, trying to find my pulse and feel this arrhythmia for myself.

The nurse chuckles. "Your pulse shouldn't be abnormal right now. For the most part, your condition is generally asymptomatic, especially on medication. Remember, Long QT is just a pause before your heart recharges, which you can't pick up on anything other than an EKG. Most of the time, your heartbeat should feel and sound pretty much normal."

I lower my hand. Somehow, what he says makes me feel even more uneasy. It's a ticking time bomb, but without a tick.

As if sensing my uneasiness, the nurse sighs and leans forward, speaking to me very directly. "Okay, time for real talk with the nurse. Look, this school was chartered primarily to help people that are expected to maintain total independence in adulthood. You're expected to graduate and you will need a job. It's easy to get discouraged, but you need to realize that you're here because you will live a mostly normal life. A life with less marathons than some and more pills than most, but other than that normal. The incident that brought you here was unfortunate, but now that you've got the right medications, I promise, you'll stay upright through your next confession."

His words do ease my concerns, if only a little. Coming in to this... session? had been intimidating, but the nurse's words are-

...wait WHAT!?

"No! That wasn't-"

The nurse breaks out in full bellied laughter at the sight of my reaction. "Come on Hisao! Two teenagers, alone, in a secluded park, and a topic that got your heart racing a mile a minute? Tell me, what else could it be?"

My protests fall on deaf ears, and after a moment, I start to chuckle too. Defeated, I adopt the nurse's patented sheepish grin.

As the laughter dies down, the nurse asks, "so what was her name?"

"It was... Iwanako. She had a friend slip a note into my math textbook, told me to meet someone in the park."

The nurse nods in a manner strikingly reminiscent of Nakata. "Classic."

"Not my favorite cliché," I say shrugging, "but I appreciated the effort."

The nurse leans back, looking very amused and maybe even a little nostalgic. Before long, he shakes his head, and says, "Well, anything else you want to know?"

I shake my head in response. "No, I don't think I could fit anything else even if I tried."

"Okay then. And how's everything else? I take it you're settling in okay?"

"Yeah, I met some cool people here pretty quickly. Didn't have to try very hard either."

"Really?"

I nod. "I dunno. With them, it's almost like they wanted to get to know me."

"Good, good. You're lucky, some people have more trouble than that, I'm glad it was easy for you," he says. "Now, I'd be lax in my duties as nurse if I didn't follow up on our last meeting. Have you found any time to do some light exercise?"

I'm unsurprised by the question. Heck, I half-expected it coming down here. "I will be. Actually, I might even be doing some light hiking with the group pretty soon."

The adjective 'light' might not be entirely honest... but at least it's not a full-on lie.

He nods, smiling. "Excellent. Just make sure you build up into it okay? Don't start off with any rock climbing okay?"

"Of course," I say. Note to self, build up to Mt. Fuji.

"Well if that's all, then it was good talking with you Hisao. Glad you stopped by."

"Yeah, me too."

"I'll see you around Hisao!"

"Yeah, thanks," I say, standing. "Good night," I say with a wave as I take my leave from the nurse's office. As the door to the grounds clicks shut behind me, I feel an odd sense of relief, as if a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Blissful ignorance was nice, for a time, but I feel like I'm taking the first steps to taking control of this thing, whatever that entails.

I spend the walk back to my room kicking a rock down the concrete path, enjoying the peaceful quiet of the night. It's rather late now, and there's not a single soul to be seen on the campus grounds. Seems they weren't kidding when they said security was lax.

The walk through the dorm halls is equally uneventful. Mindful not to wake anyone up, I quietly unlock my door and step into the room.

Man, I should really put up a poster or something, I think to myself. Kind of hypocritical to judge the Nurse when my own room is just as barren as his office. And he doesn't even live there.

I've only just laid down and I'm about to close my eyes when my phone buzzes on the stand beside my bed.

Dammit.

I reach over. It's from Nakata. "you finishing your doctorate in there?"

I think for a moment, considering whether or not I actually want to respond. Ultimately, I decide a few short texts would be easier than him kicking down my door.

"its only been 30 minutes" I reply.

"oh. you back?"

"was about to go to sleep"

"sweet. hold that thought"

"?"

~~~~~

The attempt open my door, which I had locked upon entrance, is precluded by a series of loud footsteps in the hall, and then followed by a succession of hard knocks.

"LET ME IN HISAO! I DON'T BITE."

VOLUME! I think to myself, but not before I hear a thud and a scramble from the adjacent room, which I can only imagine is Kenji falling from his bed.

"What's going on! Is it happening?"

Dammit... I did not wanna have to deal with this tonight.

I get up from my bed and open my door. Nakata's tall frame is only inches shorter than the door, and he's standing there with an incredulous look on his face. He points over his shoulder with his thumb and says, half laughing, "THIS looser is your roommate?"

I'm a little taken aback by the enmity, but I manage to respond. "Well he's not my roommate, it's not like we share a room."

Meanwhile, Kenji is working his way through his locks muttering aloud. He's not totally clear, but in there somewhere are the phrases, "too soon," "bug-out bag," and, "preparations." Nakata, juxtaposing Kenji's flustered and frantic demeanor, looks up at the ceiling and closes his eyes, looking annoyed. Finally finished disarming his security measures, Kenji practically bursts through the doorway, holding his math textbook high like a weapon.

"Stop ri-!" Kenji stops dead in his tracks on sight of the tall albino in front of him. "Oh, Nakata..."

An awkward pauses follows, and not wanting to stand there all night, I break the silence with the natural question. "...what's that for Kenji?"

"Oh, I just... that startled me, I didn't hear who it was. I thought that... maybe, it was-"

"Shut the FUCK up Kenji." Nakata makes us both jump with his rather aggressive attack. He isn't loud, but his tone is openly hostile, and he doesn't even turn around to look at the kid.

Through his enormous glasses I can see that Kenji's are wide open, almost afraid. "I... sorry," is all he can muster up before he quietly backs into his room and closes the door.

I'm a little taken aback by the rapid series of events, but it's all over before I can get my bearings. "Well?" says Nakata. "You gonna let me in?"

"Uh, yeah," I say shaking my head slightly and standing to the side. "Think that was a little aggressive dude?" I say as I close my door, make my way to my bed and flop onto it, spread eagle.

Nakata seats himself at my desk and drops his backpack on the floor. "...Have you met him?" he asks incredulously.

"Yeah. He's a little weird, but..."

"Dude, I've been in his class for two years now. Ignored it for a while, but that shit gets old."

"Still, I mean, live and let live?"

"I do. Except when he pisses me off."

I frown. Kenji's ramblings can absolutely get annoying, but I don't think that was called for. Whatever, he might just be tired. I don't feel like broaching subject.

"Eiichi joining us?"

"Nah. Said he didn't give a shit."

"Surprised you care so much."

"I don't, but a deal's a deal Hisao. Now stop deflecting, you get the scoop?"

"Yeah, a lot more than I needed honestly."

"Awesome." He leans forward in a manner comically reminiscent of a counseling session. "Now, tell me, how are you broke?"

"I take a deep breath and let it out before I answer. "I have-"

"Wait!" yells Nakata, making me jump as he jolts upright and raises his hand in the classic "stop" gesture. He reaches down and unzips his backpack. Two cans emerge from the pack, and he tosses one to me. "Almost forgot."

Hoping it's soda but knowing it's not, I confirm with a glance at the label. "Seriously?"

"That's like a 'thing' isn't it?"

"What is?"

"Ya talk about important stuff over a beer right?"

"This isn't a TV show Nakata."

He snorts. "Place this weird?" he says as his can opens with the typical tsssst. "Might as well be."

We're in the dorms, aren't we pushing our luck?"

"I've lived here for two years. They only do safety inspections, never really invasive, and definitely not at this time of night. We're fine, stop worrying so much and live a little." He takes a swig and waits patiently. "Go on."

I pop my own can, and take a sip of what turns out to be a very light drink before I respond. "So it's Long QT Syndrome, and... Hyper-something cardiomyopathy." I'm going to stop there, but Nakata isn't satisfied. He nods and makes a rolling motion with his hand, as if to say, "keep it coming."

"Well, the first one causes this... pause - in my heartbeat. The second makes the walls of my heart too big, so it can't pump as much blood as it should."

He nods, but then he cocks his head in confusion. "Wait, it's two things?"

"Yeah."

"Two SEPARATE things?"

"Yeah."

"That both hit your heart?"

"Yeah."

"Daaaaamn, that sucks."

I laugh. "You're tellin' me," I say as I take another drink. Whatever Nakata brought today, it goes down much easier than the stuff he brought the night of the fireworks show. At the very least, I can drink it without gagging.

Nakata takes the momentary silence to quickly finish his beer, then crumples the can and slips it into his backpack. He fishes around for a moment, and nonchalantly pulls out another. Cracking the seal, he asks, "hang on, this is genetic right? You've had it all your life?"

"Supposedly. That's what 'congenital' means at least."

His face twists and I can watch as his curiosity grows. "Then how come you only just transferred here? I mean, I started when I entered High School, and your... 'thing' seems a lot worse than mine."

"I was asymptomatic. I guess I'd never worked my heart hard enough to trigger an attack before."

"Lazy ass."

I smile at Nakata's smirk. "Yeah well I was never much of a sports player."

"Eh, don't worry about it," he says waving his hand. "Neither was I."

A momentary silence falls. It's late, the busy day has seemingly drained both of us, and the events of tonight have put me in a contemplative mood. In want of something to contemplate, I find myself curious why Nakata cares so much about this. I consider the possibility that he's just a stickler for promises, the idea of holding people to their word, which certainly seems to be part of it, but something tells me there's more. Is he just curious and unashamed to be invasive? That might be good I guess. I doubt he'd pry this much with someone he wasn't at least a little acquainted with, so it could be considered roundabout evidence towards some kind of friendship. Or, could this possibly be his way of making me feel welcome? Given how eager he was to share about his own condition, perhaps it's to show a level of mutual trust? Quid pro quo. Tit for tat. The idea that, 'I trust you enough to share this rather personal information, and I hope you trust me enough to return the favor.'

I'm unable to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion, however, and I recall that I've only known the guy for a few short weeks. I put the thoughts to the back of my mind, and decide that I'm content to just... relax. Regardless of motive, it is nice to chat about this with someone who isn't a medical professional. It makes it seem less... formal. Could have done without the drinks, but I don't object either. In the end, I'm glad he came down.

"So what finally did you in?" he says, breaking the silence.

I prop myself up on my elbows, beginning to find it rather difficult to drink while lying on my back. "Girl asked me out."

Nakata snorts, "funny. No but really."

"I'm serious."

He pauses, with a half-smile on his face. For a moment, he stares at me, searching my expression for any hint of insincerity. The unblinking stare I return is equally intense, and the realization that I'm totally, completely, dead serious dawns slowly on the albino in front of me. His reaction is equally gradual, beginning with a leisurely facepalm, after which his shoulders begin to shake with quiet laughter. I roll my eyes and finish what's left of my drink as Nakata gets it out of his system.

He takes a deep breath, still some ways from composing himself, and observes, "you better get over that or you got a lonely life ahead of ya!"

I chuckle. "Nurse says I don't have to worry about that too much anymore. The drugs I'm on should keep my heart beating through all that sort of stuff."

His eyes narrow and he cocks his head. "You mean... all that sort of stuff?" he says in a highly suggestive tone.

I reply by throwing my empty can at him, which he easily deflects. "It's a legitimate question!" he yells in protest.

"Shut up Nakata," I say jokingly. Then again... the idiot does have a point. Like it or not, that sort of... activity, does involve a level of physical exertion. I'll need to ask about it sometime... but how does one bring that up at a checkup?

Nakata is, of course, still grinning stupidly. "Well I know someone who's never gonna be on top."

"Idiot."

"I can see it now," he says, leaning forward and gesturing with his hands. "You're finally gonna get a girl, you'll get her into your room, clothes'll start comin' off. Then, once you're all ready to go, you'll flop onto your bed first and she'll just be like, 'what?' And you'll be all, 'yeah just hop on. Go ahead and like, bounce around a bit ya know? Have at it! I'll just... I'll be here.'"

"Screw off dude," I say, laughing.

"Oh come on, I'm just messin' with ya Hisao," he says with a chuckle. "If you can't laugh at yourself then who can you? Go on, call me a ghost."

"Shut up."

"Seriously."

I snort. "Shut up Casper."

He laughs. "See? There ya go."

I sigh. For all his jesting, he does bring up yet another aspect of my life that my condition affects that I hadn't considered before, and at this point, so many months later, I'd thought I'd considered them all. In all reality, I wonder how I will bring up this subject when... yeah. Unlike the guy in front of me, it isn't immediately obvious that there's anything wrong with me at all. I can't exactly tell them when we first meet, "hi, I'm Hisao, I have a heart problem," isn't a great icebreaker. Maybe only when it gets serious? I don't see how that would work though, "serious" means she's probably been over to my place already, and I don't exactly feel like hiding my medication so I can bring up subjects of cardiomyopathy and inderal caps for 'when the time is right.'

I sigh. "Can I ask you something Nakata?"

Nakata, who has been staring off into a space at a point halfway up my wall, somewhere between the head and the foot of my bed, looks at me with mild surprise, as if he's forgotten there was someone else in the room. He holds out one finger, as if to say, "just a second," and reaches into his backpack for a third can and fourth can, the latter of which goes to me. He seems to have acquired a mild buzz at this point. I frown, but he takes no notice. Popping the lid, he downs half the can before belching, then responds with a simple, "Shoot."

"How do you deal with the looks?"

"I flex."

I roll my eyes. "I have to say this every time I ask you a question don't I? Seriously, how?"

He shrugs. "If people are gonna stare, might as well give 'em a show right?"

"You're weird."

It's Nakata's turn to sigh, which turns into a groan of frustration and he pounds his knee with his fist. "No. You wanna know who's weird about this shit? You," he says, leaning in and pointing. "Man, people don't give a flying fuck. What does happen is if you start acting all weird about stuff -and, like, drink up asshole- then they get all weird too. It becomes this no-man's land that everyone knows is there but are all awkwardly trying to avoid the subject because, hell I dunno. First of all, they usually don't care, but then, it's like, if they do, why do you care that they care?"

He's flailing as he's trying to get out his sentences, it's actually rather comical. "Arrgh! I just hate how you skirt around the subject all the time like a damn mouse. Just... commit you know?"

With that, he flops back in the chair as if his little rant has exhausted him. I'm just about to respond, thinking it's my turn to speak, when Nakata continues, somewhat quieter this time.

"I think people just get weird when they don't know what to do... when they don't know how to act. Just look at the burned chick in your class man," he says, shrugging. "It's impossible to approach her because, even for the people that just wanna talk, she always acts like she just KNOWS you're gonna bring it up and it terrifies her. Those feelings work their way into EVERY. SINGLE. interaction she has, and it turns it into this subject that has to be addressed if you want to have a normal conversation, but is also impossible to bring up. You get this catch-22, and pretty soon, it's easier to avoid her altogether. It's like she's forgotten that if she doesn't want to talk about it... she can, I don't know, SAY THAT?"

I nod, Nakata's recommendation reminding me of something he said down at the park. "Like Saki?"

"Exactly," he says with a big nod. "I stopped trying to pull it out of her years ago. Why? She said she didn't want to talk about it. No hesitation, just, 'no comment.' THAT'S the mark of someone whose... 'come to terms,'" he says making quotation marks with his fingers. "An answer, any answer. As long as they're confident, it's good enough for me. Get what I'm saying?"

I stare at the ceiling for a moment before answering, trying to think of the best way to respond. "I dunno man, I just... I think it might be harder for some people than you might think."

"Don't give me that bullshit, the word 'no' is pretty simple."

"Oh yeah? Then why don't you just go up and talk to her then?"

He stops to think, but only for a split second. "No reason too."

"No reason not to."

"Plenty of reasons not too. Kind of odd to just go up to someone you've never really met before, and I'm not exactly itching to be her friend. I'm just using her as an example man, there's a big difference between refusing to randomly approach someone and systematically alienating everyone you meet. All I'm saying is she could make friends if she wanted too."

"But isn't confidence something you develop? I mean, you get confident when things work out for you. I'm just saying, that's not the case for everyone."

"Well..." says Nakata, trailing off as if this wasn't something he'd considered before. "Fake it 'till you make it?" he says with a sheepish smile.

I laugh. "We're it so easy," I say in response.

This... reminds me of something. The beer not so much, but I do recall a few nights with Takumi and Shin, the talks always getting progressively more 'real' as time ticked by. It'd start with innocent things like crushes and sports and conversation would naturally wind its way to atom bombs, space travel, and the future of humanity as the hours wore on. You always knew when the Real Talks were about to happen too. You could tell by the way everyone sort of slowly dropped what they were doing, put down the cards, shut off the TV, toss aside the controller. This was usually around the 'light political joking' phase.

God I haven't gossiped in a while.

Well, when in Rome. "So whaddya think she's got?"

Nakata looks confused, and his response drips with sarcasm. "I'll bet she was a monk. I only wonder what cause she considered worthy enough for self-immolation... she got burned you idiot."

I facepalm, wishing I'd been more clear.

"No, Saki. Have you noticed how clumsy she can be?"

"Yeah good work Sherlock, however did you figure that one out?" he says.

I roll my eyes. "Okay okay, whatever... Well, what do you think it is?"

"No idea. Somethin' in her head. I thought maybe Parkinson's, but she's just clumsy, not jerkey. Didn't look into it much. Like I said, I don't much care unless you care I care."

"...that makes no sense."

"What do you want from me, a psyche eval? It's true, all I know is what I see." He pauses. "Though come to think of it, it has been getting worse recently, even though she tries to hide it."

"Whaddya mean?"

"Well, you did only just meet her, but I've known her since we both started here first year, and back then she was just like you. Besides the uniform, I'd have never known she was messed up."

"No cane?"

"Nope, got that just a few months ago in fact."

"No kidding."

"Blows my mind that she tries to hide it too. It's like, you've got a frickin' CANE, I think that's a bit more obvious than losing your aptitude at pencil-spinning. I bet she just does it for her own psyche, but she's only kidding herself."

"So much for 'come to terms,'" I say.

"Nah man, it's different. People can handle their shit however they want, doesn't matter to me. As long as they can still INTERACT with people, it's just, whatever."

I chuckle under my breath. "You're pretty passionate about this eh Nakata?"

After a drink, he points at me with the can in his hand. "And you better thank your lucky stars I am, Hisao. I just barely pulled YOU from the precipice after all."

Feeling mildly indignant, I move to protest. "Dude! I REALLY don't think you can blame people, it's just-"

"I swear if you say it's 'weird' one more time, I'll make sure they never find your body."

Exasperated, I flop back down, lean against the headboard and stare at the ceiling, which has become just a little hazy as a result of the drink. Canes, burns, cardiomyopathy, I had a heart attack while getting asked out by a girl for God's sakes. Forget whatever Nakata says, it is weird.

"Man..." I say, shaking my head. "How'd I wind up here..."

Nakata, seemingly finished with judging me, leans back in my chair. "It's in your blood."

Then again, he is at least somewhat right. At least I can talk about it now.

"Hey," he says.

"Yeah?"

Nakata raises his can. "Cheers to us Hisao."

I follow suit.

"Cheers to us buddy."
Come What May - Cliché No matter what might happen.

Currently writing Can You Accept Your Fate? Saki Enomoto Pseudo Route. 34,000 words and counting.

Oh you wear your facade so well, covered up in your plastic shell

User avatar
Zerebos
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:30 pm
Contact:

Re: Can You Accept Your Fate? - Saki Pseudo Route (Ch. 8, 15

Post by Zerebos » Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:49 am

I cannot verify the medical accuracy of this chapter so I'll just smile and nod :wink:

This is a pretty decent chapter, finding out more about Hisao's conditions. We also learn more about Nakata as a person... he's unique? Definitely interesting to read through, it's odd to see the 'good-guy' Hisao rolling with this crowd. It'll be interesting to see how their dynamic progresses.

Post Reply