A Summer of Tales -A H&K Summer Series

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Hoitash
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A Summer of Tales -A H&K Summer Series

Post by Hoitash » Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:19 am

I. REGRET. NOTHING.


A Father’s Tale


I parked the car outside of the garage attached to the Western style summer home Hanako and I had bought years ago. Turning off the engine, I sighed and glanced at the empty seat next to me. It was a warm summer Thursday in Hokkaido, with the bright afternoon sky just on the verge of changing into evening. It had been a long, long drive, and if it weren’t for my wife’s choice in hobbies, I would much rather have taken the train.

Shaking my head to get the cobwebs out, I grinned and looked behind me, “We’re here.”

“Yay!”

“Finally!”

“That took longer than I remember.”

Refia, our youngest daughter, started fidgeting as she tried to open the back door despite the safety lock, her brown hair catching the light from the windows. Satomi, our oldest daughter, watched Refia with a mild smirk as her amethyst hair rippled in the window light, while Akio, our oldest child and only son, held his door, patiently waiting for me to leave first.

Looking out the window and blinking against the light as it shined on his brown hair, Akio announced, “Aunt Miya and Uncle Kenji are here, too.”

“They were right behind us,” Satomi remarked.

“Daddy!” Refia chirped, and fiddled with the door lock.

I grinned and opened my own door, “Just a moment.”

I stepped out of the car and walked around the hood to open Refia’s door. When I had she practically leapt out of the car and wandered over towards the other car near the garage. The Setous had already started getting out –Kenji was watching his son Hisato hop out of the vehicle while Soon-hee and Miya unloaded luggage.

Akio, meanwhile, opened his own door and carefully stepped out. Turning back, he offered a hand to Satomi to help her out as well. She took it with a muttered thanks before hefting herself onto the packed gravel.

Once everyone was out of the car I popped the trunk and started taking some of the smaller bags. Akio glanced at the two large suitcases Soon-hee was holding and grabbed the biggest piece of luggage in our trunk. Satomi rolled her eyes and grabbed her and Refia’s toiletry bags. There were still a few bags remaining, so I’d have to come back to the car. Leaving the trunk open, I watched Akio dart off toward the still locked front door, while Satomi smirked and followed after. Looking over at the other car, I noticed that in addition to the bulky luggage, Soon-hee also had Refia on her back.

Apparently even Refia could get wound up just sitting in a car for nearly ten hours.

Refia grinned and waved at me, “Hi Daddy!”

“Hi,” I called back, “Hey Soon-hee, are you sure you can carry all that?”

Soon-hee turned toward me and nodded. A short girl in blue jeans, a dark green shirt, and a pair of thick black sunglasses, with dark skin and short black hair, Soon-hee reminded me a bit of a rabbit that had seen you and was deciding if you were going to try and catch it or just keep walking. Refia was holding still for the piggyback ride, although her eyes never focused on anything for more than a moment or two.

“I’m fine,” Soon-hee stated.

“Will Mommy be here soon?” Refia asked.

I shrugged, “She gets here when she gets here.”

Refia sighed and snuggled into Soon-hee. Miya, bags in hand, stepped next to the two and smiled.

“She shouldn’t be long now,” she stated.

Kenji, one hand holding a bag and the other his son’s hand, wandered over to me and grinned, “Which one did she bring this time?”

I shrugged, “Who knows. You guys need a hand with your bags?”

“I can get them,” Soon-hee declared.

Kenji turned to the sound of her voice, “I can get the rest –Hisao should give you a quick tour of the house so you know where everything is.”

Soon-hee glanced at me, nodded, then turned her head towards the road so fast I’m surprised she didn’t sprain something.

“Aunt Hana’s coming.”

I turned toward the road and listened as the rumbling of a motorcycle motor tore through the air. Soon-hee grimaced at the noise as it invaded her sensitive ears.

Down the dusty dirt road appeared my wife, her chopper roaring as it sped ever closer. As she approached I noticed someone sitting behind her. As she neared she slowed her speed, the roaring engine becoming a loud mewling. She stopped entirely a few yards in front of us, and the image of my wife astride her steed made my heart thump in a non life threatening and not altogether unwelcome manner.

Killing the rumbling engine –which caused Soon-hee to sigh in audible relief- Hanako popped out the kickstand and planted her boots firmly on the ground. Lifting the visor of her helmet, Hanako grinned at us before lifting the helmet off her head, her purple hair dancing in the afternoon light as it tumbled down her back. A few stubborn strands clung to her facial scars, but she reflexively brushed them away.

“Hello, everyone,” she greeted.

“Hey!”

From behind Hanako I saw the other person hop off the bike. I could tell from her height and lanky frame it was Akira. She hefted off her own helmet, her blond hair a matted mess as she grinned at us.

Miya pouted, “Aw, how come you get to ride first?”

Akira shrugged, “I got bored waiting for Lils and Georgie. Besides, now I can meet the kid before everyone else.”

I glanced at Soon-hee and saw her stiffen slightly as Akira ambled over to us and extended her right hand. Perhaps because I was the only one who knew the whole story behind her besides Kenji, I tended to keep an eye on her as much as on my own kids.

Grinning at the shorter girl, Akira greeted, “Hey, I’m Akira Hashimoto, nice to meetcha.”

“Hi Aunty Akira!” Refia chirped.

Soon-hee stared at Akira for a moment, lowered the bag in her right hand, and shook Akira’s hand.

“Hello Mrs. Hashimoto, my name is Soon-hee Kim. Please just call me Soon-hee.”

Soon-hee’s unusual formality seemed to amuse Akira. Miya and Kenji exchanged a small smirk, so it probably amused them, too.

Akira grinned and lowered her hand, “Just call me Aunt Akira like everyone else- you’re family, after all! Right Kenji?”

Kenji grinned , lowered the bag in his hand, and patted soon-hee on the head, “That’s right.”

Soon-hee smiled and looked down at the ground. She was still getting used to the circus, especially now that she had to meet a few more of its clowns.

“Aunty Akira!”

Satomi, having abandoned her luggage on the porch, pelted toward Akira. Akira grinned and grabbed the girl in a hug.

“Hey Satomi! How’re you doin’?”

“I’m getting by,” Satomi stated.

Akira chuckled and patted her head. When Satomi let go of Akira she went back to the porch to wait, while Akira waved to Akio, who waved back. Miya and Kenji greeted her next, shaking her hand while Hisato stayed close to his father. It always struck me how quiet their son was, considering his parents were an energetic almost airhead and whatever the hell Kenji was.

Shaking Akira’s hand, Miya grinned and said, “You just wanted to ride Hana’s bike.”

Akira chuckled and lowered her hand, “Well I can’t let Lilly have all the fun. Hey Four Eyes, how’re things?”

Kenji grabbed Akira’s hand and grinned, “We’re doin’ fine. Keeping the fridge stocked can be a challenge on these breaks, but it’s better than Miya tryin’ to cook.”

Soon-hee opened her mouth, probably to apologize, but Miya waved her off before she could start.

“That reminds me,” Hanako said from the motorcycle, “Lilly and George are going grocery shopping, so they might be a bit late. Lilly wanted to know where we were eating dinner and who was cooking.”

“You and I can cook,” Kenji said, “and we’ll eat here.”

Hanako looked over at the house, her eyes looking thoughtful, “…Do we have enough room?”

Miya grinned, “We can handle it.”

Hanako sighed, tucked her hair into her helmet, and put it back on her head, “We’ve done it before, after all.”

“Besides,” Kenji grinned and ruffled Soon-hee’s hair with the hand that had been holding Hisato’s, “she doesn’t take up a lotta room anyway.”

Soon-hee smirked and nodded.

Akira chuckled and went back over to the bike, “We’ll figure it out somehow. See you in a bit!”

Sticking the other helmet onto her head, Akira settled herself in behind Hanako. Hanako flipped her visor down, lifted the kickstand with her foot, kicked the engine to life, revved it, slowly turned the bike around, and then blasted off into the metaphorical sunset.
Last edited by Hoitash on Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:14 pm, edited 30 times in total.
"Who are you, that do not know your history?" -Ulysses
Misha Time: United States of Misha Meet the Hakamichis
Awesome, served on the rocks: Hisao and Kenji- Master Detectives! (Check out the Archive for more!)
I wrote a book! Brythain edited it! If you like mystery and history please consider: A Sister's Habit
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Hoitash
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Re: A Summer of Tales (An H&K Summer Series)

Post by Hoitash » Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:20 am

Part II:

I sighed and turned back to the others, “Let’s head in before the kids break the door down.”

Kenji and Miya chuckled as I walked over to the porch. Soon-hee picked up the two suitcases she had been carrying and followed after us, Refia still on her back.

The Nakai Summer Home was a single story Western-style house, designed for a small family spending a long weekend on vacation. Somehow we were going to cram nine people into it, even though we only had one bedroom. Besides the bedroom, there was a kitchen, living room, bathroom, a front porch with an awning, and recently an enclosed back patio. I figured as long as half the house was torn up due to “storm damage”, we might as well spring for some improvements. Fortunately “storm damage” was covered by our insurance; werewolf attacks, not so much.

Anyway, I barely had time to open the front door before Satomi and Akio dashed inside. Sighing and smiling despite myself, I walked in after them.

I took a moment to scan the house to make sure everything was as we had last left it. I also did some mental arranging to figure out where everyone would sleep. The kids, of course, had their own ideas on that front.

“Hey Dad!” Satomi called from the other side of the house, one hand already on the door to the patio, “Can Refia, Hee-neesan and I sleep on the patio?”

Akio, who had stayed by the door, sighed and glanced at the Setous as they walked in, Soon-hee closing the door behind her with her foot.

“And where would Hisato and I sleep?” Akio asked.

“The kitchen?” Satomi suggested.

“We’ll settle the sleeping arrangements when your mom get’s here,” I declared, “for now just put the luggage by the door and we’ll sort it later.”

I heard Satomi sigh as I turned back to the door for the last of the luggage. Suppressing my own sigh, I saw Kenji give me a sly smirk as Miya went to one of the two utility closets, apparently in search of something.

Soon-hee was still by the door, Refia off her back and wandering over to Satomi while Soon-hee herself took off her shoes. Since it was a Western style house we tended to be pretty lax about them, but I had noticed early on Soon-hee preferred to go barefoot.

“Could you help me with the luggage?” I asked, “Having two daughters on top of my wife tends to create a lot of baggage… that came out wrong.”

A ghost of a smirk flitted over Soon-hee’s face as she nodded, “I’ll help. I need to grab Miya-san’s camera bag and tripod anyway.”

That reminded me I still had my telescope in the trunk. It took two trips, but between us we managed to empty both cars, and if the gravel road bothered Soon-hee’s feet she made no mention of it.

Setting the last of the luggage down by the door, I did a quick visual scan to see where everyone was and what they were up to. Kenji was in the kitchen looking through cupboards to prep for dinner, Miya was heaving a mahjong board into the living room –which explained what she was looking for in the closet- Hisato and Akio were reading in an out of the way corner, Refia and Satomi were discussing something, and Soon-hee was still standing by me.

“Right,” I muttered to myself, “Okay, one last thing before Hana get’s here,” I turned to the young woman and pointed, “See that utility closet by the kitchen?”

Soon-hee turned to where I pointed and nodded, “Refia?”

I nodded and lowered my hand, “Exactly. There’s a broom closet by the bathroom and a closet in the bathroom itself that’s pretty big. She likes the broom closet best because it’s close to the bedroom. There’s a closet in the bedroom, too, obviously, but she never goes there. If you get up in the night and run across her I trust your judgment –this isn’t your first trip with her, after all.”

Soon-hee smiled lightly and nodded, “I’ll keep her out of trouble.”

I smiled and nodded, “I know you will. Oh, and sometimes she tries to go outside via the back patio, so if she’s not in the house she’s probably out there. She won’t leave the patio and she won’t go out on the front porch, so if you don’t see her right away she hasn’t gone far.”

I have a very strange youngest daughter, not that I have any room to judge. Besides, she’s a good kid with her mother’s heart, even if she has the attention span of something with a really short attention span.

Soon-hee moved to help Miya with the board, but stopped and tilted her head.

“Aunt Hana’s back.”

I turned my head toward the door and listened. The rumbling of Hanako’s motorcycle slowly grew louder before becoming muted as she entered the garage, then cut out entirely as she killed the engine. About a minute later she walked into the front door sans helmet, and before she could even hang her jacket Satomi walked over.

“Hey Mom!” Satomi greeted, smiling in that way children do when they want something, “can Refia, Hee-neesan, and I sleep on the patio?”

Hanako sighed and slung her jacket over her shoulder, “Kenji and Miya have the patio, you girls get the living room, and Akio and Hisato get the kitchen,” Hanako glanced around the house until she saw Akio fiddling with the mahjong board, “Did you hear me, Akio?”

“Girls in the living room, boys in the kitchen,” Akio repeated, “Got it Mom.”

Kenji poked his head out from the kitchen, which slanted his glasses slightly, “Is there enough room in here for them?”

“It’ll be fine,” Akio stated, “and it’s not like we have a choice.”

Satomi smirked at her brother, “There’s the garage.”

Akio rolled his eyes, “No thanks.”

I sighed and looked up at the ceiling, “Maybe we should’ve added a second floor while we had the chance.”

Hanako followed my gaze upwards, “If only the insurance would’ve covered it.”

Miya grinned at us from the mahjong table, “It’ll be fine! And now the girls get to fight over the couch!”

“ I’m fine on the floor,” Soon-hee stated, “no futon necessary.”

Kenji, who had stepped into the living room and readjusted his glasses, grinned and said, “We have plenty of futons, so don’t worry about.”

Satomi shook her head, “You can have the couch, and Refia and I’ll take the floor… hey,” she turned to Hanako, “Mom, could Nii-chan and Hisato sleep by the kitchen? We have screens in one of the closets, and the three of us don’t take up much room.”

I palmed my forehead and sighed, “Knew I was forgetting something.”

Hanako smirked at me and scanned the living room, “That could work. Akio, could you get the screens out? In the meantime everyone needs to put their luggage away so we can get ready for dinner. We’re eating outside today, so we need to roll out the awning and set up tables, too.”

We had attached a retractable awning onto the patio for extra outdoor action, and because stuffing two to four families into either our or Lilly and George’s summer home would be a logistical nightmare. Granted we had done it in the past, but with Soon-hee and Lilly and George’s newest daughter added into the mix, we had more people and the same amount of room. At the end of the day, with all four families here, eating outside when we had the chance was the best idea.

Kenji grinned, “Alright, sounds like we got a plan! All we need now is the groceries.”

I smirked and glanced to the door, as if Lilly and George could be summoned by sheer thought, “Yep. In the meantime we got a lotta work to do, so let’s get to it.”

As we went about preparing for the coming weekend, I couldn’t help worry a bit about the logistics. For one thing, our summer home only had one bathroom –that in itself could prove a disaster for the entire trip.

Hanako, always perceptive to other’s emotions, sidled up to me as I helped Kenji move a folding table from the patio outside, the sun still bright and the northern summer warm but not oppressively hot like in the city. It also lacked the humidity of Manila, and the city air of both.

“You okay?” she asked.

I nodded, “Heart’s fine, I’m just worried about all of us being crammed in the same space. I know it’ll work out, but it always makes me a bit anxious when we first settle in.”

Hanako smiled and glanced back at the house, “It’ll be fine. It… it’ll be chaotic and noisy, but we’ll all have fun.”

Naturally Hanako would be anxious, too, although I got the feeling for her it was more an exciting anxiousness than actual anxiety; she loved having the family together.

“She’s right,” Kenji declared, pulling me from my thoughts. Grinning and with the sunlight glinting off his glasses, he set his end of the table down and declared, “It’s all part of weekend trips with the family.”

+++
Next Chapter

So apparently at some point the Japanese built roads to Hokkaido. With bridges. Considering until they had metal ships you couldn’t even travel there in the winter because of the ice, I find this revelation kinda neat.

No I have no idea what I was thinking during Lilly’s Route. I was too busy being ticked at Hisao for his brooding emo bullcrap.

Anywho, I like writing pithy fluff in between my normal low fantasy bullshit. It helps keep me grounded in something somewhat adjacent to reality, like the Beyond section of a Bed, Bath, and Beyond where they still take the coupon even if it’s expired.

Anyway, I’m gonna have fun writing this, and I hope you have fun reading it. Wagons, ho!

(Your axle broke! You can try to repair it or replace it with a spare.)

…I played a lot of Oregon Trail back in the day. Heck I even played the original Mac version when I was young (grumble grumble lawn grumble.)
Last edited by Hoitash on Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Who are you, that do not know your history?" -Ulysses
Misha Time: United States of Misha Meet the Hakamichis
Awesome, served on the rocks: Hisao and Kenji- Master Detectives! (Check out the Archive for more!)
I wrote a book! Brythain edited it! If you like mystery and history please consider: A Sister's Habit
"You are absolutely insane. And entertaining." -griffon8

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Re: A Summer of Tales (An H&K Summer Series)

Post by Sharp-O » Mon Jun 20, 2016 7:31 pm

Very interesting! I'm getting a Summer Wars vibe - well, the stuff that takes place in Ueda - with the big, extended, family dynamic. Should be a hoot, looking forward to see the stories behind the kidlings.

I picked up on a couple spacing errors here and there and only one spelling mistake in the first part but none in the second so kudos! :wink:
Hoitash wrote:as Akira ambled over to us and extender her right hand.

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Re: A Summer of Tales (An H&K Summer Series)

Post by Hoitash » Mon Jun 20, 2016 8:19 pm

Sharp-O wrote:Very interesting! I'm getting a Summer Wars vibe - well, the stuff that takes place in Ueda - with the big, extended, family dynamic. Should be a hoot, looking forward to see the stories behind the kidlings.

I picked up on a couple spacing errors here and there and only one spelling mistake in the first part but none in the second so kudos! :wink:
Hoitash wrote:as Akira ambled over to us and extender her right hand.
Thanks for that. Yeah, should be a fun old time. Hope you all enjoy the ride :)
"Who are you, that do not know your history?" -Ulysses
Misha Time: United States of Misha Meet the Hakamichis
Awesome, served on the rocks: Hisao and Kenji- Master Detectives! (Check out the Archive for more!)
I wrote a book! Brythain edited it! If you like mystery and history please consider: A Sister's Habit
"You are absolutely insane. And entertaining." -griffon8

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Re: A Summer of Tales (An H&K Summer Series)

Post by PurpleCow » Tue Jun 21, 2016 3:54 pm

Hanako riding a chopper, and Hisao some sort of pseudo housewife?? Seems kinda out of character, interesting perspective however.


Also the quick switching between character action and dialog was a little tough to follow.
Nonetheless I'll keep an eye on this. Keep it up.

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Re: A Summer of Tales (An H&K Summer Series)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Jun 21, 2016 4:59 pm

Just FYI - this is not a completely new continuum... to put it mildly.

If you want to keep an eye on it, I recommend starting with some earlier stories. The library is a good place to look for them...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Hoitash
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Re: A Summer of Tales (An H&K Summer Series)

Post by Hoitash » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:05 pm

PurpleCow wrote:Hanako riding a chopper, and Hisao some sort of pseudo housewife?? Seems kinda out of character, interesting perspective however.
Mirage_GSM wrote:Just FYI - this is not a completely new continuum... to put it mildly.

If you want to keep an eye on it, I recommend starting with some earlier stories. The library is a good place to look for them...
What Mirage said -I've been writing in this setting for... a while. Like I was still an undergrad a while. I got the idea for Hanako riding motorcycles from Helbereth, and Hisao's not so much a housewife as he is the guy left driving the car.
Also the quick switching between character action and dialog was a little tough to follow.
I am terrible at handling situations involving more than three characters. I try my best, but I am only one man and his bottle of Johnnie Walker.
Nonetheless I'll keep an eye on this. Keep it up.
Thanks :)
"Who are you, that do not know your history?" -Ulysses
Misha Time: United States of Misha Meet the Hakamichis
Awesome, served on the rocks: Hisao and Kenji- Master Detectives! (Check out the Archive for more!)
I wrote a book! Brythain edited it! If you like mystery and history please consider: A Sister's Habit
"You are absolutely insane. And entertaining." -griffon8

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Re: A Summer of Tales (An H&K Summer Series)

Post by Yukarin » Wed Jun 22, 2016 2:27 am

It's been a while since I've read a Hoitash fic, and I'm currently very confused about a lot of things. Guess I'll have to read the stories before this one.

A thing that caught my attention: Manila? As in the Philippines Manila?

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Re: A Summer of Tales (An H&K Summer Series)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:53 am

Yup, that's a prequel to this story.

But there are lots of prequels to THAT story as well...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
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Re: A Summer of Tales (An H&K Summer Series)

Post by Hoitash » Wed Jun 22, 2016 9:33 am

My One Shot thread for this setting has a handy timeline in the front post:

One Shot Thread Link

(Not to be confused with my one shot thread for Misha stories.)
"Who are you, that do not know your history?" -Ulysses
Misha Time: United States of Misha Meet the Hakamichis
Awesome, served on the rocks: Hisao and Kenji- Master Detectives! (Check out the Archive for more!)
I wrote a book! Brythain edited it! If you like mystery and history please consider: A Sister's Habit
"You are absolutely insane. And entertaining." -griffon8

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Re: A Summer of Tales (An H&K Summer Series)

Post by Hoitash » Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:12 am

And now here’s something we hope you’ll really like!

Yes, I made a reference to a cartoon series made before I was born. Historian’s prerogative.

Previous Chapter

A Mother’s Tale


Cooking with Kenji can be an interesting experience.

I’ve cooked with Lilly more times than I could count, and I’ve cooked with Kenji enough times to know the difference. Whereas Lilly is slow and methodical, Kenji somehow managed a frantic precision in a way that made it clear he’d fail miserably if he spent even a second thinking about what he was doing. It could be overwhelming, sure, but it worked out in the end.

Come to think of it, that can apply to Kenji in a lot of circumstances.

Kenji’s cooking is passable but not the most exciting fair, so when we worked together I tended to expand and add more than actually cook. Essentially I served as the assistant, whereas with Lilly we tended to work together. It required a different skill set, but I didn’t mind taking the back seat, mostly because I could still do the chopping. Not because Kenji couldn’t; I just liked chopping vegetables. Fortunately the kitchen of our summer house could handle two people cooking in it without much trouble.

A little while after we had settled the sleeping arrangements, Lilly, George, Akira, Daichi, and their children all arrived to say hello and wait for dinner. Kenji stuck close to Soon-hee while she met everyone, then went back into the kitchen to cook. The girl handled the massive influx of people well, though she stuck close to Miya when Kenji retreated, and I followed after him, trusting the others to keep things as under control as a cramped house full of children could be. Besides, giving her room to handle things without smothering her was important. I knew that all too well.

After everyone settled, Akira, Daichi, George, and Miya started playing mahjong in the living room. Lilly and Hisao read on the couch, Lilly occasionally tilting her head to check that things were okay, while Hisao did the same with his eyes. Soon-hee watched the kids on the patio. I wasn’t sure how I felt about her handling all the children, half of whom she had known for less than an hour, but the kids didn’t mind, and Soon-hee seemed confident. Being Vice Captain of the Judo Club no doubt helped with that.

Still, I couldn’t help but worry, and such thoughts were one of the many idling in my mind while I helped Kenji. We had considered grilling outside, but eventually decided to do that the next day at Lilly and George’s summer house, since they had a bigger house and a more open backyard.

“Hey,” Kenji thrust a small bowl of broth in front of me close enough to have hit me if I hadn’t reflexively leaned back, “how’s this taste?”

I closed my eyes and exhaled to recover from having the bowl nearly shoved down me nose before accepting it and taking a careful sip, “…Needs some salt and…a bay leaf? Maybe?”

I handed the bowl back and Kenji glared at its contents, his mouth a thin line as he spun back toward the pot simmering away on the stove, “Gotcha. How’re things at Yamaku?”

I figured he’d ask about that sooner or later. I started chopping some vegetables as I replied to Kenji’s question, “Same as usual. Why, did Soon-hee say something?”

Kenji chuckled as he fiddled with the waiting pot, “The usual ‘it’s fine’, but I still worry.”

“It’s called being a parent,” I remarked, “and one who suddenly found themselves with a teenager at that.”

Kenji chuckled again, “Yeah, it’s been a ride, all right.”

I set aside the chopped bits and selected another veggie for chopping, “Anything in particular you’re worried about?”

“The archery club,” Kenji replied, then turned toward me and held out a fresh bowl of broth. This time he nearly sloshed it on me instead of trying to shove it in his face. With his glasses steamed over his vision was practically nonexistent.

I took the bowl and sipped its contents, “…That’s good.”
Kenji grinned and turned back to the pot, “Good call with the bay leaf. So, the archery club?”

I shrugged and started chopping again, “The archery club is what it is. I haven’t heard anything, but I’m just the PR head.”

Kenji snorted, “Which means people talk to you so you can put a good spin on things.”

“I would never allow such abuse of position,” Lilly called from the living room.

I sighed, set my knife down, and turned to Kenji, who had abandoned the pot to raise an eyebrow over his glasses and await my reply.

“I do hear things,” I admitted, “and as far as I know, the archery and kendo clubs have settled because of their advisors. Them and the judo club still fight for funding, of course, but it’s civil enough at the moment.”

Kenji sighed and grabbed the radishes I had chopped. Tossing them into the pot, he muttered, “Some things never change, I guess. Hakamichi fought tooth and nail for that budget reform and no one’s been able to repeal it since.”

I smiled for a moment and grabbed some more vegetables to chop, “The more things change, the more that stay the same. If something really bothered Soon-hee, she’d tell you –I can’t think of anyone else she’d be completely open with besides you.”

“I know, I know,” Kenji grumbled, stirring the pot a bit harder than necessary, “that’s its own problem, in a way. How’s your next book comin’ along?”

No one will every accuse Kenji, Miya, or even Soon-hee of being subtle. It’s just not in their nature.

I shrugged lightly as I continued chopping and setting aside the chopped bits for Kenji to add to the pot, “Well enough. I heard from Hisao your next one is nearly ready for editing.”

“Finally,” Kenji exhaled, “I was starting to worry I had lost my mojo.”

I chuckled and grabbed a new knife –the one I had didn’t quite have the balance I needed for the next batch, “Hisao and Miya wouldn’t let that happen”

Kenji gave a contented sigh and mused, “Yeah, good point. I got close a few times, but I always had them to set me to rights.”

“Hisao’s good at supporting people he cares about,” I declared. Setting aside more veggies, I amended, maybe a little louder than needed, “even if he is a bit heavy-handed about it sometimes.”

“Love you, too,” Hisao called.

Kenji and I exchanged a chuckle and went back to cooking.

“He can be subtle when he wants,” Kenji remarked, “He just prefers the direct approach sometimes.”

I smirked at my cooking partner, “Your influence, I presume.”

Kenji chuckled and continued stirring, “You love it and you know it.”

I rolled my eyes –well, one of them- and opened my mouth to retort, but the collective groans from the living room drew my attention. Setting down my knife, I backed up a few paces and leaned into the threshold to see what the fuss was about. Akira and Miya were slumped over the mahjong table in defeat, George staring dully at his tiles, while Daichi sat in his usual stoic fashion. Hisao smirked at me for a moment and returned to his book, while Lilly continued to read, though it looked like her heart wasn’t in it –she was probably still tired from the trip.

“That’s game,” Daichi declared. Turning toward the kitchen, he saw me and asked, “We have time for another?”

I turned to Kenji, who had taken over chopping. When I relayed the question to him he nodded, and I relayed that to Daichi. Daichi nodded and turned back to the board.

“I wanna be East this time,” Miya stated, rousing herself from her slump to glare at Daichi, “I need the boost.”

“That’s fine,” Daichi said.

Akira shrugged, “Works for me. What about you, Georgie?”

George nodded, “Fine with me. I’m just glad we’re not playing for money.”

Akira started chuckling as the four of them rearranged their seating. The issue in the living room settled, I went back into the kitchen, where Kenji was putting the finishing touches on the pot’s contents.

Kenji peered at me from over his glasses and smirked at me, “Gonna be a long weekend.”

I smiled and nodded, “You love it and you know it.”

Kenji snorted and grinned as he declared, “That I do.”

+++
Next Chapter

Presumably they’re making some sort of hot-pot. My knowledge of Asian cooking is based mostly around boiling noodles and watching a let’s play of Fate/Stay Night.
Last edited by Hoitash on Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Summer of Tales (Updated 7/04)

Post by Hoitash » Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:46 am

I am nothing if not predictable. And inebriated.

Long live the Republic.

Previous Chapter

An Orphan’s Tale


As I’ve mentioned before, I dislike sleeping on beds for the simple reason that I tend to roll off of them at some point in the night. The same goes for the couch of the Nakai summer home. As usual, the fall was enough to wake me up. Once I had kicked myself free from the blanket and calmed down from the shock of my fall and the blanket wrapped around me, I wiped the sweat off my face and scanned the room to make sure I hadn’t woken anyone else.

No one else seemed awake, though Refia wasn’t in her futon, so she probably was. Unless she had added sleepwalking to her repertoire.

Better go find her, just in case. And grab a snack while I’m up.

I sat on the floor for a few moments until my eyes fully adjusted to the dark. Once they did, I hefted myself up and carefully wandered over to the kitchen, around the screens for Akio and Hisato. On the way I found Refia, standing in front of the front door, looking up at the lever like a kid eyeing candy on a high shelf.

The little girl seemed fixated on the door, but when I moved behind her and cleared my throat to get her attention, she turned toward me as if waiting for my arrival. Which, considering her somewhat eccentric thinking processes, was a distinct possibility.

Beaming up at me, Refia chirped in a whisper, “Hi, Hee-neesan!”

I smirked and kneeled down to her level, “Hey Little Albatross. What’re you doing?”

“Daddy’s stargazing,” was her reply.

It was then that I noticed the little girl was dressed for going outside. Raising an eyebrow at her, I asked, “And?”

Refia tilted her head at me, “I wanna go outside with Daddy.”

“Shouldn’t you be in bed?”

“Shouldn’t Daddy?”

Children are too smart for their own good sometimes.

“Uncle Hisao’s a grownup and can do what he pleases,” I explained.

“What about you?”

“I fell off the couch,” I replied, “and now I need to get you back to bed.”

And find a snack. Miya’s cookies should do the trick.

“…Can I see Daddy first?”

I looked at the girl as she waited for my response. I considered putting my foot down for maybe a second before crumbling. Besides, knowing Refia, she’d just get up and head back to the door again once I fell back asleep.

I sighed, smiled at the girl, and patted her head, “Okay, but only for a bit –we have a big day tomorrow and need our rest.”

Refia grabbed me in a hug, “Thanks, Hee-neesan!”

I quickly returned the hug and gestured for Refia to hop on my back. At least then I knew where she was. Once she had settled in place I hefted myself up and quietly exited the house.

The night summer air was cool and lightly breezy, with a scent that reminded me vaguely of Yamaku’s grounds. Even with my allergy meds the sheer amount of allergens in the air made the back of my nose and throat tingle.

Setsuko would love it here. I should send her a picture.

The porch felt smooth on my bare feet, and when I stepped onto the gravel I used the starlight to avoid the more jagged looking stones. The lack of cloud cover made for a well illuminated night, which would explain why Uncle Hisao was out to begin with. Kind of hard to look at stars with clouds in the way, I imagined.

I expected Uncle Hisao to be in the backyard, but after seeing a small light near the garage I tilted my head to look at Refia, who was staring at the light with a rare intensity. Guessing that was him, I cautiously wandered over to the light.

Uncle Hisao was there, alright –he had set a blanket on some grass near the garage to place his telescope, a small electric lamp, a bulky looking book, and a thermos. He had either heard the door or my approach, because he was looking at us as we neared his little outpost.

Smirking lightly, he remarked, “I see the Little Lamb has a Little Albatross.”

At length did cross an Albatross /Thorough the fog it came /As if it had been a Christian soul /We hailed it in God's name,” I recited.

Not that I was particularly religious. I left that sort of thing to Miya.

Uncle Hisao grinned at my recitation, while Refia fidgeted and gave an awkward wave.

“Hi Daddy!”

Uncle Hisao winked at me and then frowned at his youngest daughter, “Shouldn’t you be in bed?”

I felt Refia nod, “I was. Then I woke up. Then I found Hee-neesan. Then I found you.”

Uncle Hisao sighed and looked to me for an explanation.

“She wanted to see you,” I explained, “Didn’t think she’d go to bed otherwise.”

Uncle Hisao shrugged, “Fair enough. Have a seat and stay a bit –but not too long, tomorrow’s gonna be a long day.”

I nodded and unloaded Refia onto the blanket. I took a seat nearby as Refia snuggled into her father’s lap. Uncle Hisao smiled and patted her head, which made her giggle.

“So,” he turned toward me, his brown eyes absorbing the starlight, “whaddya think of the circus?”

I blinked at him a couple times until I figured out what he meant. My response was a simple shrug. Uncle Hisao looked at me for a moment longer, then turned his attention on the telescope, Refia quietly sitting in his lap, though her eyes were fixed on the stars above.

“I hope watching the kids wasn’t a problem,” he remarked, “the twins can be a handful on their own, but fortunately Satomi’s good at keeping them in line, and as much as she complains she’ll listen to Akio.”

“Is Akio okay?” I asked, “He seemed kinda flushed before and after dinner.”

“He’s fine,” Uncle Hisao replied as he lined his eye up with the telescope’s lens, “He takes after his mother in some regards, is all. Speaking of, did Miya tell you about the pond near the trees?”

I nodded despite his inability to see, focused as he was on the stars, “She did. Said she’d come along to keep an eye on me.”

“It’s not very big but it’s better than nothing,” he remarked, “after lunch tomorrow we’re gonna head over to Lilly and George’s, but don’t be surprised if a few of them wander over here first–I can almost guarantee the twins’ll drag Hanaye over.”

“Will Karen come over?” Refia piped up.

“Probably not,” Uncle Hisao replied, “she likes to stay close to her mother. Ah, that reminds me,” he extricated himself from the telescope, his cowlick bobbing a bit in the breeze as he continued, “I know I already asked this, more or less, but how do you feel about the Chairwoman now that you’ve met her in person?”

Lilly Williams was the Chairwoman of the Yamaku Foundation’s Board of Directors. The job was more or less forced on her by her father, according to the school’s rumor mill. Although this was the same rumor mill that said I was some sort of vengeful ghost, so who knew what the truth was.

“She’s… about what I expected,” I replied, “Although Uncle George was… not what I was expecting.”

Hisao chuckled and turned back to the telescope, “No one ever expects the Canadian otaku. Shame his literature preferences and yours aren’t more alike, although he’s probably read every light novel or manga you have. Multiple times. In two languages.”

“He seemed nice enough,” I said, “Chattier than Uncle Daichi, at least.”

“Daichi’s a man of few words,” Uncle Hisao stated.

“I noticed,” I remarked, “that reminds me –you brought up the twins earlier. Kenji told me the best way to tell them apart was that Chise stood on their left. Is there another way?”

“Carry smells like apples,” Refia interjected.

Hisao smirked and pulled back from the telescope to look down at his daughter, “Apparently Carry smells like apples,” he said, “Now, I think it’s time the Little Albatross went to bed –I’ll be in myself in a bit.”

Refia looked up at her father, “Okay, Daddy. Good night.”

Uncle Hisao smiled and kissed his daughter’s forehead, “Goodnight,” carefully reaching over, he gave me a gentle pat on the head, “You too, Soon-hee.”

I smiled and bowed lightly before hefting myself into a crouching position, “You, too. C’mon, Refia –all aboard.”

Refia giggled and clambered onto my back. Hefting myself up, I headed back to the house. I still had a snack to grab.

+++
Next Chapter

I now have this idea in my head that Mr. Satou arranged some sort of Game of Thrones style deal where Lilly could stay in Japan in exchange for becoming Director.

I read too much political history, apparently.

Oh, and Soon-hee was quoting “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” again.
Last edited by Hoitash on Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Summer of Tales (Updated 7/11)

Post by Hoitash » Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:04 am

Apparently Ilya fixed that axle for me. Onward, to New Canaan!

Oh… right… Ilya! We’re going Legion hunting!

(Ilya has contracted cholera!)

For the love of bacon….

(Also, for whatever reason, I’m imagining Hanako listening to Hammerfall’s “Where the Dragon Lies Bleeding” during this scene. So here’s a link if you want some mood music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QSCFI9y3SA )

Previous Chapter

A Tinker’s Tale


After breakfast but before lunch, I took some time to slip into a jumpsuit and head to the garage for some mechanical playtime. I had a mostly built engine for a mostly built chopper, and I hoped to finish the exhaust system before we went back home.

So while Kenji and Hisao readied lunch, I listened to Hammerfall and started measuring piping. I tended to keep a chopper build in the summer home to tinker with, both for the fun of it and to help clear my head. Some people sat in a room with incense; I built motorcycles. I discovered early on the Middle Way was a lot easier if you had a motor.

“Mom?”

I looked up from the pipe in my hand to see Satomi standing by the side door to the garage. She closed the door behind her and walked over to the cloth I had spread on the floor to lay out parts, tools, and the like.

I leaned over to the CD player and hit the stop button, “Something happen with the twins?”

Satomi shook her head, her purple ponytail flapping behind her in the process, “They’re not here yet. I was wondering if I could sit with you for a bit? If you don’t mind?”

I smiled and gestured for her to sit. Satomi had a roundabout way of asking for help when something was on her mind, and Hisao and I had learned that if she had a problem, it’d take time for her to talk it out. Like my husband, she sometimes bottled things up from fear of bothering people.

Satomi looked around the garage before settling Japanese style –another sign she had something on her mind- at the end of the cloth across from me, about the only part of it not covered in tools, bits, or me. Rather than talking, she started scanning the various parts on the cloth before focusing on the partially finished motorcycle waiting by the wall.

“Which part are you working on?” she asked.

“I’m trying to find out where I can put the exhaust system so the tailpipe doesn’t touch my leg when I ride it,” I explained, “it can be a problem with these larger engines.”

“Why does this one have a larger engine?”

I shrugged, “I felt like it. What’s on your mind, Satomi?”

Satomi blinked at me, possibly surprised I had her figured out so easily. Rather than answer right away, she glanced at the partially built bike again, her brown eyes sharing the same sharp intensity of her father’s, while her purple hair caught the light just like mine from the overhead bulbs.

With a sigh and a downward glance towards me, Satomi muttered, “…Does it ever bother you that I’m not into bikes or science or books?”

“Satomi.”

My daughter looked up at me, waiting.

I smiled at her, vainly rubbed a grease stain on my left cheek, and said, “It never has, nor ever will, bother me if my child has different interests than me. Your father knows better than to discuss chemical theories with me, and I know better to talk to him about the CC’s of my latest chopper build.”

“But you both write and read and play chess and stuff,” Satomi persisted, “I play checkers and baseball and read about color coordination.”

Satomi’s interests were considerably different from Hisao's and mine, but it was hardly something to angst over. Of course, she was at the age where angsting over nothing was part of growing up. Truth be told, it was difficult sometimes when she had issues about fitting in or growing up; I didn’t really do much of that until I entered Yamaku. I never cared much about fitting in with people, and family always supported me, whoever they were.

Fortunately I still had advice to offer. I’d be a pretty poor mother if I didn’t have something to say, at least.

“Family is more than shared interests or even blood,” I declared, “You have friends to play ball with and the twins to talk to about clothes. It doesn’t matter that my idea of fashion is an entirely denim outfit or that your father can’t play sports, or that your brother prefers chess to checkers and Refia likes to sleep in closets.”

Although that last one was more about Refia being Refia than Satomi’s concerns about being a black sheep.

Satomi sighed and looked back at the bike, “I know, I know… I just feel…”

“Excluded?” I offered.

Satomi nodded.

I gave her a reassuring smile and tried vainly to rub at the grease stain again, “You’re not. Didn’t we go shopping in Manila together? Don’t you make sure Refia doesn’t wander into trouble? Doesn’t your brother help you with your science and math homework?”

Satomi nodded again, “Yeah… yeah,” grimacing, she fiddled with her ponytail and said, “Sorry -guess I’m worrying about nothing.”

“You’re just overanalyzing things,” I stated, “you got that from both your parents.”

Satomi smirked and hefted herself up, “Thanks, Mom.”

I smiled and nodded, “Anytime, anywhere,” I gestured to my parts-strewn cloth, “like your father, my door is always open. Um, before you go –do I have any grease on my right side?”

Cleaning grease or oil out of my scars was a pain in the ass, and while I did my best to be careful, all it took was a single absent-minded wipe of the brow or finger tapping to eat up time with cleaning and lotions.

Satomi shook her head and tapped where the spot I’d been rubbing would be on her face, “You almost got the other spot, though.”

I nodded my thanks and watched as Satomi turned toward the side door at the same time it opened, revealing Chise and Carry in the threshold. The two girls, wearing matching dresses, their dark brown hair cut just passed the shoulders, focused their brown eyes on my daughter. Despite being the same age, because of Akira’s Western genes they stood a few centimeters taller than Satomi.

There you are!” the twins declared in English.

Here I am,” Satomi replied likewise, “is Hanaye here?”

The twins shook their heads, “She’s watching Karen.”

I still have no idea how they did that.

“Ah well,” Satomi turned toward me, smiling, “Thanks again, Mom!”

“Remember to come in for lunch,” I said, “wherever you three end up. Speaking of, do you know where Refia wandered off to?”

“Hee-neesan’s watching her,” the twins replied.

And with that, Satomi darted to join the twins, who closed the door as they left.

I had enough time to grab the pipe and reach for the CD player when the door opened again. This time it was Hisao.

“Hey,” he greeted, “lunch is almost ready.”

I smiled at him and nodded, “Thanks.”

Hisao grinned, eyed me oddly for a moment, then, leaving the doorway, stepped over to me. Crouching onto one knee and still grinning, he gently poked the grease spot on my cheek.

“Anyone ever tell you how cute you look covered in grease?”

Feeling the warmth of his finger on my cheek, I smiled and briefly placed my hand on his, “Just you.”

Hisao gently kissed my nose and whispered, “Good.”

Blushing as best my body allowed, I lowered my hand while I recovered from my husband’s surprise attack. Hisao, still grinning, hefted himself up and turned towards the door. Walking back outside, he nearly had the door closed when Refia’s head popped through the doorway.

“Mind the door,” I heard Soon-hee chide from the other side.

“Is Nee-chan here?” Refia asked, “I wanna play.”

“She’s with the twins,” I replied, “and we’ll be eating lunch soon, and after that we’ll be getting ready to go over to the other house, so you can play with her then if she wants.”

“Or Karen if you can get her away from Lilly,” Hisao added, “and haven’t I told you to be careful around doors?”

Refia looked up at her father and nodded, “Yes, Daddy.”

Hisao smirked, patted her head, and closed the door.

Smiling, I looked over the tools and parts arrayed on the mat. I had some cleaning up to do myself –cute or not, grease was very annoying to clean, even on normal skin.

+++
Next Chapter

Hanako in a jumpsuit. I am okay with this.

I guess I’d better be, since I’m the schmuck who wrote it.
Last edited by Hoitash on Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
"Who are you, that do not know your history?" -Ulysses
Misha Time: United States of Misha Meet the Hakamichis
Awesome, served on the rocks: Hisao and Kenji- Master Detectives! (Check out the Archive for more!)
I wrote a book! Brythain edited it! If you like mystery and history please consider: A Sister's Habit
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Re: A Summer of Tales (Updated 7/11)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:31 am

Satomi’s interests were considerably different from Hisao and I
At least "from Hisao and me" - but "from Hisao's and mine" would be even better. :-)
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Re: A Summer of Tales (Updated 7/11)

Post by Hoitash » Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:20 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Satomi’s interests were considerably different from Hisao and I
At least "from Hisao and me" - but "from Hisao's and mine" would be even better. :-)
Hmm, "and mine" is a new one for me.

Good to see I'm making the same old mistakes in new ways, I guess :).
"Who are you, that do not know your history?" -Ulysses
Misha Time: United States of Misha Meet the Hakamichis
Awesome, served on the rocks: Hisao and Kenji- Master Detectives! (Check out the Archive for more!)
I wrote a book! Brythain edited it! If you like mystery and history please consider: A Sister's Habit
"You are absolutely insane. And entertaining." -griffon8

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