Valse Sentimentale - OC Drabble (Updated 4/10/16)

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Valse Sentimentale - OC Drabble (Updated 4/10/16)

Post by TubaMirum » Sat Feb 20, 2016 7:02 pm

Hello there!

I don't know why I had never thought about doing this before I'd written more than 20,000 words, but I decided I might share a story I've started writing here, as well as premiere a few minor re-writes as I post chapters here. I figure being closer to the source forums would be a greater help to the story than simply posting away at Fanfiction, and in any case should be a much better way to find out how medically inaccurate I've been writing.

With all of that said, I have to admit I've only just gotten here for the first time since I first went through Katawa Shoujo at release. A lot has happened in my life since then, drum corps, music school, the loss of my—Anyway! The point is, I've always greatly enjoyed the conception of Yamaku and the way the admittedly morbid idea behind it was made into something far more.

I could talk at length about my motivations, but ultimately I wouldn't accomplish very much and succeed only in confusing people. So I'll keep this short. This story I'm writing is a muse of sorts using two mostly original characters, Kyouko Tadamichi and Sora Akiyama. The both of them share traumatic accidents, leaving the former blind, the latter paralyzed in her right arm, and both with scars to be carried wherever they walk. The protagonist in this case is Sora Akiyama, whose paralysis has been difficult on account of being highly right-side dominant. Before her fall, Sora was an up and coming young artist, whose sculptures and paintings were receiving a good amount of young buzz.

Needless to say, things aren't entirely brilliant in her life anymore, but when she's faced with the reality of the other girl, her pushy hallmate whose blindness has done seemingly little to slow down a budding young music career, drama is sure to be at hand. I won't get any more into it given I've already written about it, but the two have lots to build off of one another.

All things said, this is mostly going to be a dramatic, romantic story of two girls carving out their niche at Yamaku and in life in general. Cameos by the clearly superior canon characters will ideally be extensive, but given that my two characters are first-year students, interaction is relatively limited with their seniors. Blame my tendency to start at the beginning, if you must.

I'll stop boring you with details, but of course that biggest reason to post here is for feedback's sake. So don't hesitate to talk or ask about anything! If you've gotten this far, you're already a winner in my book. Mirror
Chapter Links

Scene One
Chapter 1: Eurydice
Chapter 2: Orpheo 1 2
Chapter 3: Spring Rounds 1 2
Chapter 4: The Sleeping Beauty 1 2
Chapter 5: Ite, missa est 1 2
Chapter 6: O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn 1 2 3

Scene Two (All chapters rewritten as of 3/17/16)
Chapter 7: Fugue in G minor "Little" 1 2
Chapter 8: Introduction, or Sunrise 1 2
Chapter 9: Children's March "Over the Hills and Far Away" 1 2
Chapter 10: Piano Concerto No. 4 in B-flat Major 1 2 3
Chapter 11: Occident et Orient 1 2

Scene Three
Chapter 12: Bydlo 1 2
Chapter 13: Gymnopédies 1 2
Chapter 14: March to the Scaffold 1 2
Chapter 15: Nocturne Op. 27 1 2 (Updated 4/10/16)
Last edited by TubaMirum on Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:49 pm, edited 35 times in total.
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Chapter 1: Eurydice

Post by TubaMirum » Sat Feb 20, 2016 7:15 pm

And thus we begin! In case it weren't obvious, this is taking place the same year as Hisao's arrival at Yamaku, but naturally he's still a short time away from arriving. The rest of the cast is in their spots, however, and things should be right in the world as a result.

Chapter 1: Eurydice

It’s an odd relief, to put things bluntly as could be. Gates aren’t terribly welcoming, and neither is this one, with its far too ceremonial appearance. Wrought iron is a cold and terrifying thing to create anything out of, or at least that’s what I’m feeling right now, but there’s some kind of strange warmth I can derive out of it as cherry blossoms blew gently about in the light afternoon breeze.

A thought such as “This is home now,” perhaps?

It doesn’t seem like a gate for any kind of school, but to say that Yamaku Academy is a school unlike any other in Japan is such an understatement that I can’t even begin to start picking out what’s truly wrong with saying such a thing. Lots of things to fix, I suppose. There has to be a more artistic way to say, or rather, to think that, but I’m just not bothered enough to produce a better method, certainly not in this short walk between gawking and walking onward with an already exhausted father in tow.

“Which would be the girls’ dorm?” Dad offers breathlessly, his statement expectedly dull-minded, though I’ve had far less concern lately over such a teenaged concern, even if I am just newly 15 years old now anyway. It’s strange how partial paralysis and extensive nerve damage changes how annoyed you become with your family’s habits and awkwardness. I almost forget the courtesy of the answer anyway thanks to these ultimately pointless thoughts.

“Wherever the other mass of girls my age wearing this same pompous uniform as me are, I’d imagine.” This stated with a sigh.

I expect a slight reprimand, but thankfully Dad at least sees how obvious the observation is and keeps his mouth shut. Perhaps looking back, his lack of confidence even around his own daughter would be considered quite a serious character flaw, but I always have and still do consider it to just be the sign of an awkward father. We continue on our way, I with a normal schoolbag slung over the left shoulder and he with indefinitely more to drag along and carry. It’s almost a comedic sight on the first day. Somebody should have definitely put “Sora Akiyama’s father struggles epically to carry his daughter’s entire wardrobe and batch of school supplies to her dorm” on the itinerary for the day’s activities.

I suppose for now we’ll just have to settle for the smaller crowd that already exists just inside the gates. Girls and boys, all in their baggy uniforms still stiff from how fresh they are, are gathered around far more extensive families than my own. The faint smell of cigarette smoke has wandered into the area but I cannot pinpoint any sort of location for it at the moment. Instead, I look at the faces, all of my new classmates, as I walk down the path with very deliberate caution so as not to leave Dad in the dust behind me. It’s here that the reality of everybody’s situation is most apparent.

One boy is missing an ear, and the shape of his torso on that same side, even underneath his too-large shirt, is grotesquely obvious. There are too many white canes to possibly begin counting, and each has a person tied to it. Some have dogs, though none will be able to stay at Yamaku. A girl is favoring a leg and a closer look reveals the favored leg is out of place, plastic and lifeless. The sight of it sends a light spike of pain through my own, but I simply cringe and continue onward. Misfires are nothing new by now.

It’s equal parts a depressing and uplifting scene, I realize. The people born with their conditions are finally arriving at the fabled Yamaku Academy, where they can live their golden years without fearing that their existence will get in the way. Those like me, who’ve acquired their disabilities from accident, or did not discover the problem until very recently, lend the depressing side as they still struggle to come to terms. Yet even we’re bright-eyed and ready to get this started, not over with. There’s ambition leaking out of everybody I see.

Somehow those ugly gates have done nothing to diminish this magical sensation.

Before I can wax too lyrically, a voice carries over towards my ears, piercing and perhaps a bit shrill. I decide it’s mostly masculine after some struggle grasping its ring and range, so it’s indefinitely not my father’s thin baritone. I have no idea what’s been said, but it comes from behind and it prompts both of us to stop. Moments later, the culprit walks up in no great rush to Dad and puts a hand on his back.

“You’re going to hurt yourself there, friend. Need some help?” The man offers with a smile.

This newcomer is a curious sight, middle-aged and with a healthy gut, salt-and-pepper hair, dressed in a dull grey, expensive peacoat, wearing a black dress shirt and slacks with a flamboyant pink tie, a metal tie bar, an ornate triangle pin, and… Wait a moment, are those black and white sneakers? He’s making little effort to conceal his white t-shirt underneath from how loose the tie is, too.

My father is too glad to accept some help, having no such thing as manly pride or something foolish like that to keep him from it. He starts to unload a few bags of stuff off of his back, clearly what this strangely flamboyant, half-Japanese man was worried over when he approached. I don’t have any time to protest or the like, but it’s hardly bad that Dad is getting a break.

I don’t bother to tune into their small talk as the other man starts gathering up all of the things my father dumped on him, instead looking about at the other students again. My peers for the next three years, are they? I suppose there’s plenty of time to get to know them, so I don’t see much reason to start just yet. I don’t even know how to begin, honestly. The various things bringing us all here aren’t exactly things to make first conversations out of, are they?

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Sora.” I’m broken out of my strange trance by the mystery man with a smile on his face and some of my bags slung over his shoulder. His posture is far better than Dad’s. “I’m Dr. Eric Tadamichi. Ah, well not a medical doctor though, you won’t be seeing me anytime giving checkups.”

He chuckles at that comment, but I can only offer an unseen cringe at it as my voice catches slightly in my throat. What use is introducing myself if Dad already did so for me?

It’s fine though, I suppose, as the self-proclaimed Doctor-Not-A-Doctor continues without waiting for me to speak. “Say, I don’t want to keep you away from moving in or anything, but it’s kind of a nice day and my niece just finished moving in. She’s not too far behind us with her family if you wouldn’t mind Miss Akiyama?”

“Decide what you’re calling me, please.” I think to myself, but only sigh outwardly, looking to Dad first. The hopeful look in his eyes tells me everything I needed to know, so I let myself perk up a bit.

“Sure, I don’t mind.” I nod, glad now I’m wearing a scarf even if my arms are still woefully under-insulated.

“Right, thanks!” He grins, closing his eyes and standing for a second with a rhythmic bobbing to his body.

It’s only as we turn around that I realize he has a distinctive waddle in his step, like an awkward, self-confident duck. I imagine his figure and disposition have much more to do with it than any conscious decision to look outright silly. In any case, I start scanning the crowds for who this niece of his could possibly be. I try not to set any expectations based on his odd appearance, especially since he spoke of his niece and not his daughter, but I nevertheless let it sneak into my thoughts, even before I use his trajectory to help out.

Unfortunately, I find no fashion disasters with greying hair anywhere else around and finally settle on the small group the doctor is making a beeline for. He arrives first, Dad and I not too far behind.

The family there isn’t extensive, just a mom and a very young sister at the moment, though a tall, thin foreign man leaves another group as soon as he notices the doctor returning. There’s no resemblance I can see at all to the girl in question, however, her back to me but the Yamaku uniform all too evident, her hair long, flowing, and dark.

“Kyouko!” Her uncle yells out, not too jarringly as the girl doesn’t jump at all, though her conversation with her mother is cut short rather obviously as a result

“Found you someone.” He continues, a snide smirk on his face before taking up a position next to this Kyouko’s little sister and patting her head to much fanfare and delight.

My colleague is whom I have my eyes on, however. She lets a light sigh at his behavior I imagine, before turning slowly. It’s only now that I realize what she’d been gripping in her right hand, one of those far too numerous white canes. That answers a question before it needs to be asked, but more pop up rather instantly as more of her face comes into view.

If it had been intentional that the Sun illuminated her hair and face as it had, I would believe it. Nevertheless, a glowing aura envelopes the short brunette in front of me before her features come into clearer focus. Dull, amber eyes. The same flowing hair from the back, but with an unnaturally scraggly grey streak running diagonally from her right bang towards her crown. And most notably, deep, skin-tone colored pockmarks, slashes, and scars all over her face, never running over her eyes but deforming her nose, lip, and an ear, and continuing down her right side very clearly, her hand apparently unscathed.

Her voice is of normal pitch, but it’s clearly scratchy and older than her young, if scarred appearance, suggests. Her words are impossibly clear and easy to understand, despite the scratch.

“Just went and grabbed some poor soul off the cobbles, is it? Well, I suppose that’s Uncle Eric for you.” She chuckles, covering her mouth instinctively.

I can only think to nod dully in response, even if the gesture is likely lost on her. Kyouko doesn’t wait anyway, just as her uncle didn’t, bowing immediately towards my direction, though not quite to me, her motion clearly practiced and refined.

“It’s nice to meet you. The name’s Kyouko Tadamichi. What about you, unfortunate soul?”

My voice catches in my throat again, but for far shorter a time as she returns to a standing position.

“Akiyama… Sora Akiyama.”

So it is here that the two of us meet for the very first time.

Welcome, brave soul! Not so much a spoiler as fun trivia for you at the end of every chapter should you so choose to read! Every chapter in this story, and the story itself naturally, is named after a piece or section of a piece of music. The general goal is to match each chapter with a related track. You wouldn't believe how much more fun this simple little thing has helped in making writing more enjoyable for me. The trivia will wait for Chapter 2, as Orpheo and Eurydice are a can of worms to get into in and of themselves.
Last edited by TubaMirum on Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:22 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Valse Sentimentale - OC Romance

Post by TubaMirum » Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:55 pm

After checking the number of lines, I think I'm going to have to break up the remaining chapters into two posts each. Goodness gracious.
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Re: Valse Sentimentale - OC Romance

Post by brythain » Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:00 pm

I like the tone and the rhythm of the writing so far. You seem like a musical sort; what I think might help is if you consider not just putting a comma in wherever there should be a 'rest' in each sentence, but possibly using semi-colons or breaking up some of the sentences. Some of your sentences go on a bit long, and are hard to understand/parse as a result, without more exact punctuation, if you know what I mean. (See?) :)

Other than that minor quibble (and a few tiny bits I'll overlook for now), it's interesting work!
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Valse Sentimentale - OC Romance

Post by TubaMirum » Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:25 pm

You kind of nailed it hard on the head with the sentences. I like to think of it as just a part of my style, though sometimes I really do have to try and force myself writing smaller. Short sentences feel naked to me I suppose is the reasoning. It also helps that my thoughts flow in such long streams too, though.

I'm interested in those other minor quibbles though! If I must wait, I shall, but you'd be surprised what I can turn around into something useful.
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Re: Valse Sentimentale - OC Romance

Post by brythain » Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:25 pm

TubaMirum wrote:You kind of nailed it hard on the head with the sentences. I like to think of it as just a part of my style, though sometimes I really do have to try and force myself writing smaller. Short sentences feel naked to me I suppose is the reasoning. It also helps that my thoughts flow in such long streams too, though.

I'm interested in those other minor quibbles though! If I must wait, I shall, but you'd be surprised what I can turn around into something useful.
Hi! Sent you a PM. Thanks!
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Chapter 2: Orpheo

Post by TubaMirum » Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:26 am

Edit implementation went much more smoothly than expected. Onward we journey, then.

Chapter 2: Orpheo
Part One

“Sora Akiyama?”

The girl seems to linger on my name, perhaps a bit longer than I’m comfortable with. The judgment is obvious, but the smile she derives moments later is innocent enough that I stop worrying over it.

“It’s a lovely name. Strong and impressive. Would you say you’re either?” Kyouko continues, and now I really am lost for words.

“No, not in particular.” I blurt without thinking, my heart pounding as I try to gather up the wayward thoughts.

This simply elicits a nod, and the girl goes immediately back to her admittedly bright smile, surprising given she could just as easily appear terrifying. She doesn’t have as much way of checking as I do, so perhaps it’s unfair to read too deeply into her facial expressions.

I want to retort with something, but the most I can come up with is some remark on the femininity of her name. This doesn’t happen before she begins again.

“Well, that’s fine. It’s a bit unfair that we’re given such weighty names at birth anyway. Like expectations we’ll never live up to eh?” She chuckles, which doesn’t seem to thaw the look on her mother’s face. Really, a comment like that is really a slight against her, isn’t it? Maybe it’s more likely that her face hardened, then.

Without thinking, I continue onward. “Yeah, well… We also don’t expect the curveballs life likes to throw at us.” I nod along, but cringe as baseball analogies are the last thing I need right now. Pitching was gone from the list of career opportunities now, to put it frankly.

“But they do get us to some interesting places.” She smiles along, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath of the fresh spring air.

I can’t really disagree with her at all. Further, her clear relaxation at the moment is helping to settle me down quite a bit, amazingly enough. I didn’t realize before how tense I’ve become. Every second since I’ve passed through that wrought-iron gate my shoulders have rolled up more and more. Really though, could I be blamed for being apprehensive even still?

“Yeah. So um…” I trail off, starting only to stop again mid-sentence. I have no idea where to build off of this. Was conversation always this difficult for me as it is now? What’s missing here?

“I suppose I should introduce the rest of the family,” Kyouko says, picking up the slack. “You’ve already met Uncle Eric. This is Mom, or Mrs. Tadamichi to you, eh? And the hopelessly adorable little one in the group is Kaede. Uncle Kenji ran off somewhere though last I checked.”

“Present.” The tall man that joined us when the doctor came by piped in. His voice confirms a sinking suspicion I’d been having since being approached by the Doctor.

Of course, the statement in regards to Kaede is thoroughly accurate, as the elementary-aged girl simply offers me a confident thumbs up. Her hair is just as long as her older sister’s, except it’s even wavier to the point of being almost unkempt. She also wears thick-rimmed glasses, and has a smile that could outshine the Sun given the chance. It’s almost a disappointment that she remains quiet, but the silence is endearing enough to make up for it.

“It’s nice to meet you all.” I speak after some long delay, catching myself in a loop of thoughts yet again. “This is my Dad.” I turn to face him quite awkwardly, not sure what else to say. Thankfully he bails me out by going ahead to introduce himself.

I don’t really bother to pay attention to what all the adults of the group have to say, trying to gather myself instead for the inevitable continuation of my exchange with Kyouko. I take this chance to look over her a bit again, but I can barely get any further before I notice she’s shuffling my direction rather expertly given her obvious blindness. I entertain the thought that she might be able to see at least a bit, though I don’t say anything about it. It’s not something to talk about yet.

“Hey, I found you, right?” Kyouko smirks as she’s only barely within earshot, perhaps eager to find out if she’s right. Suddenly, her demeanor has become decidedly less formal, and far more devious and playful.

“S-sure?” I answer meekly.

That’s enough to cause her to light up considerably.

“Good. I don’t really want to stay out here while they’re having their adult exchanges. So we’ll be slipping away to my room.” She smiles, crossing her arms as if she expects me to be impressed. I’m not sure how she expects to be able to tell. “Least as long as you don’t mind.”

“Sure…” I repeat. Do I really have a choice in this matter? The sudden charisma she’s displaying is captivating, to say the least.
Kyouko doesn’t respond to this, instead making a loop out of her right arm against her body that she expects me to put an arm through. It’s now that I notice she’s carrying something in her left hand as well, a handle attached to an oblong piece of yellow plastic, with two noticeable bulges towards one end, a case of some kind. Perhaps a violin is its contents?

“You’re going to have to do the guiding, but the room is 112.” She offers as soon as we were linked.

“Alright.” I nod, before blinking suddenly. 112? That’s certainly very close to 113, isn’t it? So we’re hallmates? Well, that makes finding my own room easier, at least. Perhaps this little experience won’t be so bad after all.

Before we’ve even gotten a step forward, an icy cold but concerned voice calls out to us.

“Kyouko, where are you running off to?” Her mother, who Kyouko might be the spitting image of if not for her extensive scarring and very apparent blindness, is the one to speak.

“My room. It’s a bit cold for me.” Kyouko returns in kind with a smile.

This seems to give the woman pause, but she relents easily enough.

“Alright. Just be careful getting there.” She smiles, their conversation having long since halted anyway. It seems unlikely we’ll be alone for long if at all in Kyouko’s room with that considered.

“You know me! Definition of careful!” Kyouko giggles, and even winks to my surprise, though the gesture is lost on everybody else given our distance.

We don’t have any more of their conversation to worry about as I hear my Dad start to inquire about room numbers, where the obvious will eventually come to light. I don’t really think to bring it up to Kyouko either that we’re hallmates, but something tells me she has no issues hearing the same things I’m currently hearing.

Last edited by TubaMirum on Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:23 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Chapter 2: Orpheo

Post by TubaMirum » Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:30 am

Chapter Two
Part Two

It’s a bit of a strange relief that the inside of the dorms are not near as pretty to look at as the exterior with its red bricks and surprising abundance of ivy. Instead, we’re greeted by clean, well-kept and strikingly modern walls. The wall color is something of a matte beige, and there are enough empty bulletins hammered to both sides to feed an army of termites with plywood and particle board. Still, everything is so new that I’m not concerned about the possibility of wood-eating pests.

Well, I’m not too concerned at the very least. I’m certain I’ve heard rumors.

My thoughts about the room situation are confirmed more or less immediately as it turns out each of the two doors we’ve passed so far are simply gateways into a general hall area, complete with a mini-kitchen, a sizable bathroom, and at least four rooms each. The doorways are bigger than I think I’ve seen in a while. Certainly wider even than those in the hospital where I recovered from my accident, no doubt to fully accommodate students with any of a range of limitations to mobility.

I’ve zoned out to the point that we manage to pass the corridor that houses our rooms, the dorms almost unnaturally quiet at this hour, especially in light of the relatively raucous crowds outside. I realize the interior is a bit stuffy, but it doesn’t seem like something that would drive people out in such vast quantities.

“Sorry, we just passed it, I missed it.” I manage to blurt out before coming to a halting stop.

Kyouko says nothing, simply giggling as we turn about arm in arm. She seems all too comfortable linked up with me like this, though I suppose anybody blind would be quite used to such a basic assistance scenario. For me, it’s perhaps a bit too close, her small frame bouncing gently with each step.

We pass through the doorway two abreast without even a hint of an issue, and I take the chance to look over the unique layout in better detail. Certainly enough, our rooms are adjacent, with two others rooms facing them and the bathroom, with its multiple shower stalls and single bath, separating the space quite nicely.

The kitchen is situated along the wall facing the larger hallway, including a stovetop, rice cooker, and microwave, as well as a warning about specific allergies relating to the other girls who lived here. I could only tell this was a tailor-made warning because it included corn. I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody else allergic to corn. Another closer look revealed that the same information was also printed in Braille.
It’s not long before I notice I’ve had yet another awkward pause, but I manage to laugh it off.

“Well, this is it then. 112 and 113.” I nod, biting my lip for a moment before looking to Kyouko.

My shorter peer doesn’t stir for a moment, as if she’s weighing my statement. I doubt she expected me to list two rooms, but I’m not sure that’s something that would give a person pause.

“Right, sorry. Just let me get my keys.” She smiles, unlinking from me and walking forward towards her door.

A quick tactile confirmation and a fishing of a rather extensive keyring from her skirt pocket later, and the inside of Kyouko Tadamichi’s room waits for us beyond the door. She steps through first, carefully but confidently and turns towards me with an inviting smile. I take a few steps forward, biting my lip nervously as the first details come into view. The lack of decoration. The neatly arranged piles of clothing and other paraphernalia. The undoubted smell of antiseptic.

I remove my shoes instinctively upon entering. The sensation of carpet on my sock-covered feet is very welcome over the light discomfort of my loafers on pavement, and does plenty to make me feel at home. As I look up, Kyouko is once again close, her gaze hauntingly close to matching mine.

“Right then. This is a bit better, don’t you think?”

I only swallow and nod, forgetting again the futility of it. Something is a bit off, but I can’t think of just what that is, or even what it could be.

“Right. Um, sorry.” I finally pipe up as her expectant look never goes away, apologizing for my silence.

“Go ahead and find a seat, they’ll probably be not far behind us.” Kyouko continues, already finding her bed. The height is adjusted to be quite short, no doubt to make climbing in easier.

I simply nod again, forgetting my courtesy all too easily as I look around the room. It’s not completely without adornment, a wall clock that looks as if it might chime quietly every hour, an alarm clock on the desk next to her bed, and even a poster of some sort, though there was no image to speak of. I look towards the room’s tenant again and notice the yellow case is missing from her hand. Despite the bright appearance, I struggle to locate it immediately.

It’s only now that I’m beginning to wonder why everything about this scenario seems so pedantic. Kyouko is acting a bit more mysteriously here than would be fitting for a simple case of a school girl inviting a new friend to her room. I only entertain the thought she may be batting a different angle than expected for a moment before she speaks up again. Her posture is incredibly relaxed, leaning back on both arms with her legs spread with little regard for modesty, though the skirt is long enough that I’m not able to see anything thus far.

“Alright, so before the curiosity kills me. What’s your reason for being at Yamaku, Sora Akiyama?” She smirks, and I can only feel a growling pit in my stomach coalesce in response.

I angle my head to the plain ceiling, kicking my legs as quietly as I can before clearing my throat.

“Well… It’s a story, I can tell you that much.”

Now I can delve into things here! Unlike the other chapters, no specific work is really being referenced by Eurydice and Orpheo (probably better known as Orpheus). This is prudent as there are literally thousands of musical versions of the Ancient Greek myth, including the vast majority of early opera. Rather, the titles are intended to evoke the sensation of the figures themselves, the legendary musician-poet, and his wife who met an untimely demise. I'll trust you'd rather I not explain the myth as it's a lengthy case, just know that these chapter names are highly deliberate.
Last edited by TubaMirum on Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:23 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Valse Sentimentale - OC Romance

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Feb 21, 2016 6:05 am

Hey, welcome to the forums!
First of all: Good start. I agree with brythain's assessment that your writing has a musical feeling to it. I was trying to put my finger on it, but that's pretty much it... It's not bad mostly, but at times it feels unneccessarily cumbersome, like here: say that Yamaku Academy is a school unlike any other in Japan is such an understated proclamation...
The "proclamation" doesn't add anything to the sentence except making it more unwieldy.
Also, at times your sentences become so complex that you yourself don't notice that they are not even sentences but mere fragments, e.g.:
Girls and boys, all in their baggy uniforms, still stiff from how fresh they are, gathered around, on-average, far more extensive families than my own.
Ont thing about narrative voice: You use first person, present tense narration, which is fine - in fact about 80% of the stories atound here do. What you can't do using this voice is something like this:
I won’t realize until much later that the gates of Yamaku have this effect on all of us.
First person puts the reader in the head of the protagonist, and present tense means they are there at the moment the events happen, so there can't be any blatant foreshadowing like this. If you wrote the whole story in past tense then the narrator would tell the story as they know it to have happened, and then this would be okay.
I won't say much about punctuation unless you specifically ask me to proofread your story, but there are a few other (minor) issues:

There are a few instances of past tense that sneaked in. Here are those that I caught:
There had to be a more artistic way...
Dad offered breathlessly
He continued, a snide smirk...
what she’d been gripping in her right hand
Her words were impossibly clear.
just as her uncle hadn’t
I hadn’t realized
Every second since I’d passed through that wrought-iron gate my shoulders had rolled up more and more
Was conversation always this difficult? What was missing here?
The tall man that had joined us when the doctor came by piped in. His voice confirmed...
Did I really have a choice in this matter?
standing for a second with a bob in his step.
It’s only as we turn around that I realize he has a distinctive waddle in his step
How can there be a bop or waddle in his step when he's not stepping? They are just standing around here... :-)
My colleague however is whom I have my eyes on, however.
though I don’t say anything to about it aloud.
she’s only barely within earshot of being heard.
The last part is redundant.

Regarding their discussion on names - I'm not sure if you've given any thought to this, because to me it seems kind of random...
The name Kyouko has several possible writings, only one of which (杏子 - apricot child) I would consider particularly feminine (though not weighty at all), but that will not be understandable to most of your readers without additional explanation.
Sora has only two possible writings, but both mean "sky". "Strong" and "impressive" would not be my first associations, but I guess I can see how you could get there.
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Re: Valse Sentimentale - OC Romance

Post by TubaMirum » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:08 pm

B-but proclamation is such a nice word..!

Well, you're absolutely right. I thought I managed to get as many of the previous past-tenses out, but clearly my editing eye needs work.

As for the names, I might have been stretching beyond just the given name for the two of them. I honestly just came up with something to say about Kyouko on a whim. The reasoning behind Sora is thanks to the combination of "Sky" and "Mountain" in her name. It impressed me as something rather strong, or at the very least grandiose. It's mostly pedantic to include in the end, but I'm glad somebody had some thoughts on it. I might need to rethink what adjectives would be good, but for now I'll focus on other things.

Also, adding the redundant "however" was totally me missing the fact that it was already in the sentence when I was editing the first time... Trust me when I say that redundancy and unnecessary word repetition are my biggest issues when writing quickly...

Anyhow, I should have the improvements implemented soon, as well as the trivia section I blatantly forgot. Then it's on to reworking chapter 3!
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Chapter 3: Spring Rounds

Post by TubaMirum » Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:44 pm

Maybe my trivia would be better at the beginning of a new chapter? Hmm, it probably doesn't matter.

Chapter 3: Spring Rounds
Part One

This kind of situation is inevitable, isn’t it? People would want to or need to know what was wrong with me, right? Yet, the longer I linger on my preceding words, the worse the pit in my stomach grows. Kyouko simply sits with an expectant, if impatient look to her. The only thing missing from the haughty posture she’s taken up is a harem of servants offering her fruit and wine.

“Well do tell.” She speaks calmly to break this long and awkward pause.

I nod, again failing to realize until I’ve already done it that the gesture is utterly useless for the girl I’m talking to. This might be harder to get used to than I thought, and I wasn’t exactly expecting it to be a breeze.

“Right. Well, I had a bit of an accident, you see… Erm, maybe that’s not the word…” I start cautiously, more for my own sake, and yet still end up stepping into an awkward area instantaneously. There’s no reason to get too detailed, but I have no idea how I could possible manage to avoid that.

Kyouko, at least for her part, looks somewhat concerned, but it’s hard to find that quality in her expression when her eyes are twinkling so excitedly at the mention of an accident. Was there something Romantic or exciting about suffering through a literally crippling event? It’s plenty enough to confuse me.

“I don’t want to talk too much about what led up to it but… I had a 20 foot drop when a fence failed above a construction area…” The words sting to speak and I start biting at my tongue, more to chastise myself for failing to keep the composure I was sure I’d managed to achieve.

“Is that so?” Kyouko nods, her previously shimmering eyes dulling a bit and growing wider. I’ll imagine it’s a look of horror just so that I felt better sympathized with.

“They were filling a pit just above with concrete. I fell into the mess of rebar while concrete was still filling it up… I’m lucky somebody was attentive enough to hit the kill switch before my body was completely covered.” My body, I say. Not me, but my body. The chill in my spine is growing worse.

As I continue, I notice that Kyouko’s previous morbid curiosity has become reeling shock. It’s most likely that the details are just that grotesque, but the sense I’m gathering from her doesn’t quite suggest that. Rather, maybe it’s some kind of a familiarity?

“And?” She finally piped back in after we’d both been silent for some time. That question does nothing to ease the nasty rolling in my stomach.

“Well… The fall broke a lot of bones, but those weren’t the problem. I don’t remember how they explained it, but a very small amount of spinal cord damage was done, and… Well.” I try to lift my right arm, to absolutely no avail. My leg on the same side rises slightly, but clearly not as responsively as a teenager’s leg should.

“My entire right side was completely paralyzed for several months. By some miracle, physical therapy gave function back to my leg, but my arm is useless. Probably forever.” I almost forget to continue with words rather than body language.

That last truth was what crushed me the most, what still crushes me today. My right arm. The arm I used to write with. The arm I used to throw with. The arm I used to paint with. It’s a bad enough thought that the corners of my eyes well up with salty water, but I’m not about to cry now.

Kyouko simply closes her eyes and lets a deep sigh, collapsing back against her wall. I wasn’t entirely expecting any of her reactions before, but this one at least seemed like the most reasonable somebody could have, given the information. It’s good that I ended my previous sentence decisively enough that it didn’t demand continuation. Just thinking of what details I’ve omitted makes bile rise up into my throat.

“That’s really heavy.” Kyouko finally speaks up, her tranquil eyes opening and facing towards the ceiling.

The surprises only continued from there as she manages a smile, sitting up and migrating to the edge of her bed. Her skirt unceremoniously rides up through the motion, and she almost doesn’t take any notice of it. Honestly, it’s probably fitting. Why should she care about her decency if she can’t see it for herself?

“I guess we have a surprising amount in common, Sora. We both have concrete to blame for our woes.” She speaks clearly, that scratched voice of hers still impossibly, inexplicably understandable.

I nervously press to the edge of my seat as Kyouko wraps fingers around her knee, hugging it a bit closer to her form but not hiding her face. That much made far more plainly visible than even before, but I fight the urge to satiate morbid curiosity in favor of hearing what she has to say first. I notice again that her hands do not share the scarring that marks her face and neck, and certainly elsewhere across her body.

“Is that so?” I break the growing the silence, still held to the edge of my seat in anticipation of more information. I don’t even know why this is the case; her scarring is clearly far worse than the random darker splotches on my legs caused by cement burns

Kyouko nods along, visual cues certainly something she hadn’t completely forsaken from her arsenal of non-verbal communication. She takes the moment to adjust her skirt to a more modest position before continuing.

“It is. The difference though is almost conveniently funny.” She lets a wry smile, morbid anxiety clear in the expression as she has to force some humor into her tone. “You fell onto concrete and rebar. I had concrete and rebar fall onto me.”

There was little I could do to stop my jaw from dropping as Kyouko went into her own past so plainly and easily. Just how much longer ago had she suffered her accident than I had? It seems almost unbelievable that anybody could display this kind of frankness about such a poor experience with any less than fifteen years to come to terms with it.

“That sounds a lot worse.” I blurt. It’s all I could think to say, really.

“In some ways. I didn’t break any bones outright though. Everything was skin deep,” As if on cue, she pats her chest, a piece of her I noticed for the first time might actually have the edge over my own equivalent. I can’t fathom why, but I’m not going to blame her for drawing my attention to them. “Very skin deep.”

The sound of me swallowing must have filled the room because Kyouko doesn’t wait for a response, hopping off her bed and deftly snatching her cane from where she’d left it. Despite her joke, it’s clear her face is curled up with some amount of pain. Perhaps a frank attitude is just a way to cope?

“We’ll have more time to get into those details, if you’re even comfortable with it. It’s a long school year.” She continues, walking about her room, pacing incessantly several times. Is she attempting to learn the layout?

“And there are two more to do right after it.” I continue for her, able to offer a nervous smile of my own as I relax in the chair, thoughts wandering to the Opening Ceremony later in the day. It’s unusual to have it held on the weekend rather than the actual first day of classes, at least to me, but it does make sense. Most, if not all the students were moving in today, so why not get something ceremonial done?

My quick response is adequate impetus to restore the smile to Kyouko’s lips, and I can’t help but return it. Like her little sister, Kyouko has a smile that could outshine the Sun if given the chance, but hers is tempered by maturity. It’s a rather captivating sight, putting it mildly.

“Indeed there are. It all begins today. I didn’t take you for the type to see life for its journey before that little statement, Sora.” She curiously tilts her head at that statement.

Before I can blurt out a response, my coalescing thoughts stop me. Life for its journey, huh? I don’t even know why that’s never crossed my mind before, but it’s certainly passed my ears many times before. The little analogy or proverb or whatever it was comparing the journey to the destination.

“I don’t really think of it much,” I admit, but cut off the silence quickly. “But it seems like the way to live, doesn’t it? Destinations only exist to give you a journey to go on… Erm, well something like that, right?”

I giggle nervously, trying to bashfully play it off, but I’m surprised that Kyouko takes my words in with vigor rather than brushing them off as the pathetic attempt to sound edgy that they were.

“That’s exactly right! I’ve never even thought of that before…” Kyouko trails off, seemingly in deep thought, although just as possibly to slow the conversation down. I can’t blame her for either approach in this circumstance.

Unfortunately, I don’t have anything beyond that to offer verbally, just another useless nod, and yet another dreadful silence resumes between us as a result. Kyouko doesn’t seem entirely bothered, but I can’t help but feel guilty about my inadequate conversational skills.

Last edited by TubaMirum on Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Chapter 3: Spring Rounds

Post by TubaMirum » Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:03 pm

Chapter Three
Part Two

Fortunately, my incompetence doesn’t have to be the center of my thoughts any longer as there’s a rapping of knuckles on Kyouko’s partially cracked room door. It’s nothing like my father’s unique tapping ritual, but I’m hardly surprised that it’s the flamboyant Doctor-of-Something who answers Kyouko’s invitation to join us.

“Yo! Hope I’m not interrupting too much good girl talk,” This said with the all too obvious but unsaid tag of, “even though I’d be glad and capable of joining in if you let me!”

“Not at all, Uncle. We covered what bases needed covering anyway. Kind of surprised you took so long.” Kyouko smiles and shifts her focus towards the group that’s formed up outside her door. I follow suit. As expected, Dad is there, as is Kyouko’s mother, but the adorable Kaede is depressingly missing. Her absence easily explains the other uncle’s truancy as well.

“Well, you know me! Can get carried away talking and all!” He chortles quite loudly, sending a shiver down my spine from the sheer volume. When I look towards my hallmate, she too appears to be rather shaken, surprising given she actually knows this man. I suppose even familiarity isn’t enough to quell surprising noises, though. After all, thunderstorms are widespread, are they not?

At this point though, I’m not terribly interested in hearing out their conversation, whatever it might involve. I stand up and walk calmly over towards Dad, the light limp I’ve walked with since my accident more pronounced as a result of the short time sitting.

“This is way too convenient, wouldn’t you say?” I tease him with a smirk, as if he somehow knew. The look of bewilderment on his face tells me pretty plainly he wasn’t expecting the way I spoke to him. Admittedly, my own tone surprises me a bit too. In any case, I start to rummage through the things he’d brought, finding the keys for my room in the process.

The clanging of keys seems to alert Kyouko, whose voice breaks through the idle conversation held with her Mom and uncle.

“Are you leaving, Sora?” She questions solemnly, though the look of concern I expect is instead more playful.

“Just getting my stuff into my room.” I assure her, opening the door and then immediately knocking on the wall three times with even calculation.

“Ah. That’s probably a good idea. The Opening Ceremony is fairly soon isn’t it..?” She asks to nobody in particular, before sending a cursory swipe of her wrist, nodding to herself. “Why yes, it’s quite close indeed. Perhaps we should start walking that way right now?”

I can’t quite grace her directly with an answer now that I’ve started setting things away in earnest, but thankfully Dad is there to provide a voice to my nod that wouldn’t have been heard through the walls temporarily separating us.

With that, it’s indefinitely settled, then. It only takes a moment to get everything into a good place before I stand again. I have a momentary panic attack as I look all around for my loafers without success, only remembering they’re still at Kyouko’s door after I’ve already raised my voice. Thankfully, all that comes out was an inexplicable squeak, but Kyouko certainly picks up on it based on her giggling.

“Nothing missing I hope?” She teases, already taking steps towards her door, my shoes right in front of her stride as the white cane sweeps about the room gently.

“Not anymore.” I assure her, gathering them up and hurriedly getting them on before collapsing into an embarrassed shell as we start back out into the hall.

Come to think of it, just where is this opening ceremony taking place anyway? It should make the most sense to hold it in the courtyard just inside the gates to the school, but we were there only a few minutes ago and nothing had been set up yet. It’s a curious thought but I don’t let it bother coming to words as the doctor gleefully and confidently leads ahead of us. There’s something up with that man, and it isn’t his flamboyantly gay attitude.

Even though Kyouko and I drag behind the others on the way to wherever it is we’re being led I don’t feel comfortable enough to ask more about it. This even as his chatter absolutely fills the hall with its boom. I can at least figure out he’s connected to Yamaku somehow, but I have no idea exactly what that connection might be.

The spring breeze greeting us upon exiting the building is surprisingly chilly, and I can’t help but stop to shiver and bite my lip. Kyouko seems less affected, her figure a lot less unhealthily thin than mine after all, but it’s clear that our short stay indoors has managed to completely wreck our previous accommodation to the temperature outside.

The previous question about the location of the Opening Ceremony is answered immediately, at least. Just behind both dorms is a well-sheltered and blooming set of trees. These weren’t cherry blossoms, but the ground was still littered with pink from elsewhere. It’s an absolutely splendid sight, but when I think about it more in relation to my companion, guilt is driven roughly into my stomach.

Chairs have been set up in rows facing the platform, a plain plywood structure that looks almost haphazardly stuck together. It’s still being put together actually. A pair of older girls are waving their arms about wildly whenever they aren’t holding something in their arms. I might not have even noticed them if not for the ridiculous pink drills of hair on one of them.

As it turns out her hair isn’t the only part of her that’s loud. Poor Kyouko’s only solace is that she’s farther away and has my body to potentially eat a few vibrations. When I turn to face her, she’s jumped at least five feet away and stopped in her tracks. The expression she wears is coated in daggers and malice, but she manages to collect herself shortly afterward.

Her lips start to move, but I can’t quite discern what she has to say. The same went for the loud, pink-haired one, for the matter, the volume overwhelming any vocal clarity. I could actually make out a few of the simpler gestures here and there, but as it turned out the little bit of sign language I’d read about hasn’t stuck. Come to think of it, I couldn’t exactly sign successfully myself anymore. Hopefully this pair won’t be featuring too much in my future…

There are plenty of other older students working around the area, but we’ve stopped before I can get a better look. As expected, Uncle Doctor is the one to speak up first.

“Well, I guess you’re here then! We’ll let you two find your seats and take nice commemorative photos, eh?” He grins, his eyes closed and hands on his hips. Somehow I doubted photos would be terribly appreciated around the Tadamichi household, but there’s no reason for me to say that.

“I wouldn’t get too excited. The ceremony still won’t start for a while,” Kyouko interjects with a shaken laugh, the ridiculous yelling from earlier still affecting her. She doesn’t hesitate to turn to me from there, grinning widely despite her demeanor. “I suppose we’ll find our seats now, hallmate?”

I nod along, before adding a verbal “Yeah,” to the water sloshing in my head so Kyouko can hear. I can’t think of anything to add to it, and the adults accompanying us are all out of earshot before I even notice.

There’s a chance we’ll be asked to move before the ceremony starts, but I’m not too worried about the possibility. There aren’t any name tags on any of the seats, and several others are already sitting down.

We find a pair of our own, and face forward as the sounds of light construction fill the gaps left by idle conversations all around us.

The breeze is feeling nice by now. What I’m not expecting is the sensation of something soft resting against my shoulder. A moment later, it’s joined by a flourish of flowing brown and grey hair cutting across my sightlines.

“Kyouko?” I turn to look at my hallmate, but receive no immediate response. She hasn’t fallen asleep, has she?

“It’s a nice day isn’t it?” She says, whisper quiet. To my surprise, her eyes are actually open, the dull amber catching a remarkable glint in the afternoon Sun. It’s all I can do not to stare the entire time.

I hardly think of what to say before it just flows out, my gaze migrating back towards the platform still under construction.

“Yeah. It is.” I murmur.

Spring Rounds refers to the largest section of music in the first half of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. It begins and ends with a tranquil moment, a seemingly endless trill serving as backdrop to a beautiful duet in octaves. The foreboding music that follows sets the backdrop for young girls to dance the Khorovod, gradually growing in intensity until the return of the beginning section. The general mood of Spring Rounds is interesting as it contains some of the most beautiful music of the entire Rite score, yet it deeply embraces a chilling atmosphere that sets it apart from the other sections of the ballet. The atmosphere is a pretty strong reflection of the general feeling of this chapter, I feel, hence the naming.
Last edited by TubaMirum on Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Chapter 4: The Sleeping Beauty

Post by TubaMirum » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:08 pm

Has it been a week or what? Well, at least for me it's been remarkably good, I hope everybody else is enjoying their time!

This chapter gets no extra trivia. This is partly because I can't talk at length about Tchaikovsky very well, but mostly because the title kind of explains itself. :D

Chapter 4: The Sleeping Beauty
Part One

Just wait a minute, is everything alright about this situation?

“Ehm… Are you okay, Kyouko?” I speak up with a healthy batch of baffled worry in my voice. Gentle warmth is spreading rapidly across my cheeks.

“Hmm, just a bit tired. You don’t mind, do you?” The girl giggles so playfully that I almost forget we’ve only been acquainted for the lesser part of an hour.

Is this normal for her? Just falling asleep on relative strangers? Though truthfully, it seems to make sense that she’s comfortable with physical touch. Still, it’s more than a little discomforting, though.

“I-I guess not…” I finally murmur, turning away anxiously and setting eyes on the rest of the crowd. The pace is so rapid I almost can’t begin to comprehend what I’m seeing, but I fixate on the odd pair working on the platform first. They provide ample distraction from the curious situation on my shoulder.

“Good. It’s always more fun resting my head on somebody else than on a pillow anyway.” The brunette continues with a delighted smirk, simply not interested in how awkward I found this entire scenario. In a way, her disregard is helping me relax through the discomfort. Perhaps this is along the same lines of ignoring a dog during a thunderstorm to reinforce that the storm isn’t something to worry over?

Even with that in mind, I can’t entirely shake the unease I’m going through.

Silence resumes between us from there for some time, and I can barely keep my own eyes open as Kyouko’s breathing slows beside me. Curious, I dare a look downward at her form, scarred and battered in ways I’m hesitant to imagine. From the angle, most of what I can see of her is the crown of her head, those unnatural grey frazzles marring otherwise beautiful and perfect brown hair.

Her body rises rhythmically and consistently with every breath, though I swear there’s the barest hint of a hitch or a roughness in it. I’m lucky my own accident hadn’t caused lung damage, so perhaps she’s not quite so fortunate. Her face is dainty, the scarring not enough to destroy the cute and smooth foundation she’s built from. The careful attention she pays to herself despite being blind is clear as day.

It takes me a few minutes to realize I’ve been staring, and when I look up we’re far less isolated than we had been. I give a nervous smile to a few other girls sitting near us, and it seems we have in fact come to rest in the girl’s section. As I look around, it’s curious to note that this half of rows is considerably larger than the other. I can’t put an exact number to it, but it might be something like a 3:2 ratio? 60-40, in percentage terms, I believe.

It’s odd but I don’t think much of it in comparison to all of the others there are around us. If the entry-way with all the new students had been just a taste of Yamaku’s diversity, then this is truly the main dish. White canes are still the most common feature of any, but they’re hardly the only thing I notice now.

One girl who catches my eye hardly looks much like a girl at all. Her hair is short and auburn like my own, but her outfit is the boy’s uniform, with its white shirt and green slacks. Just as curiously, she’s also wearing sandals. I don’t have much time to fret over the injustice of not getting to wear such a comparatively savvy and comfortable uniform; it’s clear her sleeves are tied up and the arms beneath are not the proper length at all. I’m not eager to think of what kind of accident might have led to that.

That thought puts another deep pit into my stomach. Is it wrong of me to be cataloguing my peers and seniors like this? Every single one of them has lived through some kind of personal hardship that at the least matches my own, and here I am with a blind girl sleeping peacefully on my shoulder, putting everybody into categories.

The irony of it all makes me want to throw up. Violently. Instead, I stir a bit, and my sleepy hallmate starts to groan. At the very least, it distracts me from my grim imagination.

“Is it starting yet?” Her voice is far less inexplicably clear than it normally is, easily owed to the fact that she’s just waking from a quick nap.

“Soon.” I try to assure her, but the brunette continues to stir, rubbing her face and working impressively hard to wake up more completely. That didn’t seem to take long.

“Hmm, I can’t sleep anymore anyway.” She murmurs, patting her mouth gently through one of the most absurdly adorable yawns I’ve ever witnessed. My thoughts return to the little sister, and I’m once again not surprised to see that the two have a great resemblance to one another.

My attention is wholly stolen away from the rest of the world now as she stretches, the uniform outlining her form almost provocatively, her over-the-top waking ritual nearing its end.

“You’re pretty stiff, Sora.” She says through yet another yawn before grinning. It seems she’s finally gotten back to her normal, sarcastic self now. Strange that I was missing it a tad.

“Stiff? What makes you say that?” I raise an eyebrow curiously. How exactly am I stiff?

“I could barely tell the difference between your shoulder muscles and blade is what I mean,” Her teasing continues, but I still can’t quite figure out exactly what she’s suggesting. “You should try relaxing sometime.”

“It’s hard to relax when somebody you just met is perched to your shoulder…” I retort in a murmur, but it seems effective as the teasing stops from there. Instead, Kyouko giggles softly, setting herself upright and yawning adorably one more time. On a whim I check my phone for the first time since I got out of the car. It’s already been an hour and a half since that point in time. Or has it only been an hour and a half since then?

“Maybe so,” Kyouko continues right where she left off even as the crowd noise starts to grow and the spots around us start to fill up with young bodies. “I forget sometimes, sorry.”

Last edited by TubaMirum on Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Chapter 4: The Sleeping Beauty

Post by TubaMirum » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:12 pm

Chapter Four
Part Two

Something about her tone tells me she’s not as sorry as she claims, or maybe just that she finds it too amusing. I can’t leave this peculiar behavior unaddressed any longer, though.

“Why were you so tired..?” My head tilts as I face her more completely.

“It was time for a nap,” She explains matter-of-factly, but naturally I’m just more confused about it. It takes her a moment to realize how meaningless her statement was. “Well, rather it’s the only way I can stay functional. When I lost my sight there was a high chance I might develop non-24-sleep-wake disorder. The only real way to counteract it was a completely different kind of sleep schedule.”

“Just a chance you might develop it?” I’m still confused but at least things are starting to make a bit of sense, at least. I do remember reading about non-24, there was even a commercial about it during my stay in the hospital. Something about not having the same internal clock as the rest of the world liked.

Kyouko nods, folding her arms across her chest, her eyes finally opening after all of this time spent chattering. The flash of dull amber is ironically rather eye-catching.

“Yeah. I never did, I still sense just a bit of light, which is enough that my body still gets the signals it needs for a regular sleeping schedule. But by the time that was clear, I’d already been getting just a few hours of sleep a night with regular naps, and I enjoyed it better that way.” The last of her sleepiness has worn off by now, so I nod along rather casually.

She isn’t too bad at giving clear answers after all, though I wouldn’t call it too terribly concise. Still, it’s surprising that the short time we’ve sitting here is enough for her to get a full nap in.

Eventually the area around the opening ceremony has completely filled up, and a few of the upperclassmen have to guide people to the few remaining open seats. Of course, not a one of those poor souls gets to sit next to anybody they want to, but they only keep so many chairs.

“Are they almost done?” Kyouko pesters from the side, warranting a shrug before I can give a proper response.

“Almost.” I confirm quietly, which is plenty enough answer for the brunette beside me.

It’s another several minutes before things have died down enough that the faculty and staff of the school approached the platform painstakingly built up by the blue and pink pair from earlier. Plenty of whispers break out against the tranquil silence, but I’m more intent on following what’s said…

Right, that doesn’t last terribly long. I’m at least glad I have Kyouko to turn to if this overtly boring scenario gets any worse, but it’s hard to imagine these speeches getting any more dull. Overall, the lack of formality is actually a bit stifling, as if nobody up on the platform has any clue what they’re doing.

No single staff speaker seems to stand out here. I have trouble telling if the crowd is listening intently or just sleeping away, but it would be funnier to think that everybody besides Kyouko and me is asleep. One moment a thin, ruggedly shaved science teacher is espousing some nonsense about physics and the universe, the next a rotund, flamboyantly dressed man proclaiming to be the art teacher is talking at length about the program here...

As if I need a reminder of that. If Yamaku wasn’t the only facility of its caliber in Japan I probably would have run someplace else entirely. Instead, the arts are so tauntingly, agonizingly close.

“Everything alright?” Kyouko’s hand moves to rub at my back. It’s only through this action that I realize I’ve been heaving considerably throughout the art teacher’s speech. I let a light cough and nod, sitting back upright.

“Yeah, just a little uneasy in the stomach.” I lie, all too blatantly. There’s no reason anybody needs to be bothered with my past dreams. They’re dead now, and it’s best to leave them buried.

Kyouko simply lets a slight hum, and the other alerted girls around our seats turn back to the boring speeches. I’ve completely lost track of time by the time they introduce the Student Council and their speaker, and it’s hardly surprising to see the pink-haired girl from earlier stepping up. She doesn’t take the podium however, a wide grin on her cheeks as her companion instead steps up, her arms starting to move about in measured patterns once she’s settled in. I notice now for the first time that she wears glasses, stylish thin frames that actually really tied—

“GOOD AFTERNOON YAMAKU!” The ear-piercing sound of an over-amplified voice stabs through the otherwise tranquil sight. The rest of the audience must jump nearly 20 feet back as a result, and I naturally can’t resist doing the same.

Kyouko next to me is a quivering mess when I turn to face her. By the time I can even think to offer some kind of comfort however, the moment has passed.

Whatever noises the crowd has been making before stop now as staff rush to get the microphone levels to an acceptable place once again. The blue-haired girl, Shizune Hakamichi is unfazed by the aural assault, and has to be stopped before her long ‘speech’ goes completely untranslated. The panic on the platform can be heard from here, to say nothing of the visual chaos being wrought.

And among it all, despite my best efforts, I start to laugh. A light, healthy giggle and nothing more.
Last edited by TubaMirum on Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Gustav Mahler wrote:If you find you're boring your audience, go slower not faster.

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Chapter 5: Ite, missa est

Post by TubaMirum » Sat Feb 27, 2016 12:02 pm

The further down I go in editing this story, the more consistent I turn out to be using present tense, so this is a positive thing! Still a few errant slips here and there though, and I'm sure I've missed plenty.

I'm actually a few chapters ahead of what's being posted here, with good reason considering I just got to a chapter that I'm going to have to take a really long, hard look at. In any case, if you've been enjoying or despising this so far, have yourself another helping.

Chapter 5: Ite, missa est
Part One

It’s just one little laugh, but somehow it sets off an avalanche. I don’t know what’s so funny about this disaster of an Opening Ceremony, but clearly I’m not the only one. Kyouko is the next to join in, being closest to me, and from there it just seems to cascade out of control.
I’m probably letting being the first to laugh at a comedic situation get to my head a bit here.

After a moment, a clearing of throats at the platform finally quiets everybody down, and Miss Hakamichi starts addressing the rest of the school. The embarrassed blush on her cheeks is easy enough to see even from here. Her partner in crime wears no such badge, curiously.

“Alright, now that our audio issues have been fixed!” The pink-haired girl, who still hasn’t been introduced, continues while Hakamichi resumes her furious signing. “Welcome again new students and old of Yamaku Academy!”

Somehow, the changes in the audio levels aren’t doing much to diminish this girl’s sheer bravado and gusto. It’s hard to decide if she’s this over the top to compensate for Hakamichi’s apparent deafness or if she really would be like this regardless of who she was associated with. It’s probably the latter.

“We of the Student Council just want to quickly let everybody know that we’re looking forward to making this upcoming year a great one! There are big plans as always for the annual Festival too! Wahaha~!” Again, I have to doubt the authenticity of the laugh to Hakamichi’s speech, but it helps ease everybody a bit, even as this girl’s voice continues to drive ice picks into our ears.

“Anybody interested in joining the Student Council should see us immediately! Or for any other clubs, for that matter… The first deadlines will be coming up already very soon! Ah, um…” The girl pauses as her partner’s gesticulations become impossible to decipher, much less interpret. The two eventually come back to the same wavelength. “So be ready! Don’t expect anything to be easy~!”

I grow increasingly apprehensive as this odd speech goes on, but I feel immediately alone in this regard. Many of the other girls around us look excited, and it’s rare to find anybody with an unenthused expression on their face. None of them are looking around at their peers as actively as I am, and the realization of this sets a blush to my cheeks.

As it drags on, I inevitably tune out the remaining speech, sighing and letting my mind wander to the festival they’d just mentioned. I've heard only a bit about it before, but my limited experience with attending other high school festivals has told me that they typically aren’t anything to get worked up over. I highly doubt Yamaku will be any different in that regard, unless I get roped into helping out…

“Thank you again, and welcome to Yamaku Academy~!” With that there’s a final massive flourish and the speech is finished as soon as it’s started. Surprising, considering all the other speeches seemed to take ages. I suppose Hakamichi is even more pragmatic than I first imagined if her bit is so short in length. Students know students well enough though I suppose.

The light applause accompanying her exit is met even more thunderously as it’s the final thing preceding our dismissal by the staff. The largely pointless Opening Ceremony is finally over. On the one hand, I’m happy to have it over with before classes began; on the other I’m not sure if I’ll regret having that extra class time or not.

I don’t waste much more time before I’m standing again. My companion takes considerably more by comparison, mostly to get her cane ready to go again. It seems like everybody’s clearing out in a fairly predictable pattern, and this is largely thanks to the fact that this wooded area is about the extent of Yamaku’s campus. There’s nowhere to go but back, excusing the more adventurous types.

Unsurprisingly, the exit points are absolutely teeming with club members trying to recruit for the year. Most of the people walking around simply ignore these, but there are enough people stopping that it interrupts the flow of traffic considerably.

Before I can think of my own approach to the looming mass of handout, a hand grabs at my sleeve. It’s Kyouko, naturally.

“Hey, is it clear to go?” She asks somewhat timidly. Her voice is surprisingly meek to the point where I almost forget this is the same sarcastic and joking girl I only met a few hours ago.

“It’s a little crowded… A lot crowded,” I start, looking all around with a sigh. The traffic of bodies is painfully slow. “Um… We won’t get very far very quickly if we head back for the dorms right away.”

This gives her momentary pause, but she simply smiles, tugging my sleeve again.

“We can wait here then, unless you’d rather go ahead. I can navigate on my own and all.”

“Nah. I’ll stay.” I blink nervously, looking back at her smile. It’s so hard to get a full read on her at this point. Is she just naturally a teasing individual to make up for some self-perceived shortfall? Am I not just overthinking this again?

In any case, my comment seems to make her happy, and the all too common silence that resumes between us has taken on a more comfortable, familiar sensation. It might not be so bad after all.

“Are you thinking of joining any clubs?” Her voice suddenly breaks through the silence like a jackhammer, nearly sending me several feet out of her reach. The embarrassment is made all the worse by the fact she uses her normal speaking voice.

“Well, to be truthful, I don’t think I was going to… Joining wasn’t compulsory, right?” I laugh nervously, scratching the back of my head and looking around us. The crowds are starting to disperse. The clubs have all expanded in members certainly, but fewer are holding down their respective forts than before.

This answer isn’t as satisfactory for Kyouko as my previous, however.

“Nothing sounded interesting at all?” She angles her head towards me with an adorable pout. The way she manages to approximate my gaze so often is nothing short of terrifying.

“N-not really…” I stammer, clearing my throat and looking away. Damn it all, my hallmate is going to pressure me into joining a club, isn’t she? I suppose that wouldn’t be too bad though, would it?

I expect a further prodding, but instead Kyouko breaks her false gaze to look towards the ground. She couldn’t be giving up this easily, right? It’s too pitiful seeing her looking like this. I’m playing right into her hands now, completely obliviously.

“But I guess I could always be convinced…” I manage slowly, just as I’m certain that the shorter brunette has given all of the acting she could muster. The reaction is worth it all, as she turns back towards me with the widest, most sincere if slightly disconcerting grin I’ve ever seen somebody have.

“Oh is that right? Hehe, well we’ll certainly find out!” Kyouko smirks before grabbing my sleeve again and starting off suddenly. I almost fail to catch myself from the surprise at being dragged around by a blind girl. The number of inexplicable reversals today is becoming uncanny.

Moments later, we link up in a more convenient fashion for guidance. Though we aren’t touching too closely, her body heat is still radiating onto me. For such a relatively small girl, she’s incredibly warm.

“I suppose you had a club in mind for yourself?” I butt in before we’ve fully cleared the rows of fold-up chairs.

“Music,” I’m answered straight-away! Pragmatism isn’t a lost art at all, it seems. “But, I was thinking of trying something new, too. Maybe the Student Council later on when I’m more acquainted with the school.”

Last edited by TubaMirum on Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Gustav Mahler wrote:If you find you're boring your audience, go slower not faster.

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