Teach Me To Dance - A Natsume Ooe Pseudo-Route(Updated 4/8)

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InSaiyan
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Re: Teach Me To Dance - A Natsume Ooe Pseudo-Route

Post by InSaiyan » Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:31 pm

Part 2:
Let the Games Begin

-----

"So," I start. "What now?"
"I'm pretty full, but...I think I'd like to try some of those noodles over there." Natsume states, pointing her green fingernail over my shoulder. I turn my head to see a small line of people all waiting in front of one of the stalls. The stall is pretty tiny, but it has some cute designs on the outside of it, I bet that helps to attract customers. There's a menu placed on the outside of the open window that you order at, but I imagine it's just different types of noodles, based on the little cardboard bowls of noodles that decorate the stall.

I stand up, offering my hand to the girl beside me. She pushes against it, standing to her feet and adjusting her dress. She stretches her legs, raising herself up on her toes, just like before in the Newspaper room. The small, defined muscles in her legs flex and contract naturally, as if they're so used to the movement. She locks her eyes on to mine as she lowers herself down, a look of curiosity and embarrassment on her face.

"Wh..what? Do I have food on my dress?" She questions, looking down to investigate.
Crap, I'm caught.
"No, no..I'm..I'm sorry, I-." I stumble back in embarrassment. I see her demeanor starting to shift a little, into the more conflicted and reserved one that I've seen before. I need to speak up. "Don't take this weird or anything, but do you..uhm..do anything to..stay active, like run or hike?"
She seems a little puzzled by the question. I can't blame her, I did ask it out of nowhere really.
"Nurse wants me to get into something, but I don't really know what to do, I figured someone who's already active might be able to help." I clarify, hoping it helps to ease to awkwardness.

She puts a finger to her chin in thought. She seems to be almost conflicted with answering.
"Well, there's plenty of options Hisao," she starts. "I do stay active in...my own way, but I'm not sure.." Her voice trails off, hesitantly trying to find words. "I'm not sure that you'd be interested in that though." She let's out a giggle as she finishes her statement, seeming to recover her confidence a little.
"Let's get some noodles, we can talk more about it later, okay?" She questions, obviously wanting to move on from the subject, but not in an awkward way anymore.

I'm content enough with that, for now. I received an answer, at least. She does do something to stay fit, I'm just not sure what it is, and she doesn't seem to think that I would be interested in it. Funny enough, that just makes me more curious about it than I was before.

After a little nudge with my shoulder, I nod towards the quickly emptying line for noodles.
"Let's hop in line before it gets busy again!" She exclaims, grabbing my wrist and dragging me towards the stall. I can't say that I'm complaining about the sudden contact, but her grip seems to be...different. It's weak, not like she's physically weak, but like she's just barely even trying to hang on. Surprisingly, she can still drag me around relatively easy, not that I'm fighting back any.

We're next in line and I can see a familiar face taking orders behind the stall window. She looks flustered, as if she's been working since the festival started. The older couple in front of us step to the side, allowing us to move up to the window.

"Hey Lilly." I cheerfully state.
"Oh? Hisao? Good afternoon, are you enjoying the festival so far?" Lilly answers back politely.
"Sure am. Are you? You look like you're pretty busy." I question back.
"Mm...busy is one word for it, yes." She states, a little bit of bitterness seeping into her words. "We're just a little short-handed, no need to worry."
"Short-handed? I thought your whole class was supposed to help out?" I ask, a little confused.
"I suppose that most of them had better plans, unfortunately." She states blankly, letting a small sigh escape her lips.
"Do..do you want me to go round them up?" Natsume offers politely from beside me.
"My my, I barely recognize your voice Natsume, it's been a while, I hope you're doing well." Lilly states, a polite smile forming with her lips. "Thank you for the offer, but the teacher is actually doing that now. We should have some more help soon."

There's a short pause, the three of us content enough with the topic to let it go for now. I can't help but to feel bad for Lilly. I bet, considering how proper and polite she is, that people take advantage of her often. She doesn't seem like the type to hold any grudges, but I can't say that I would be as collected as she is in this situation.

"Oh, I'm sorry. What would you all like to eat?" Lilly quickly asks. I look to Natsume, letting her know that she can pick for me again. It hasn't failed yet, so I'm going to keep riding this wave of good choices. She giggles and proudly nods, turning to face Lilly.
"Two bowls of 'Soba' noodles, please."
"Sure, just one moment please." Lilly responds, turning and relaying the message to someone behind her.

We step to the side to allow the others in line to move forward. The older couple receives their order and strides away, their free hands intertwined together. I always thought it was cute when I saw situations like that, it always makes me hopeful that someday I could have that kind of relationship. One that transcends time and all of the other outside influences. All of the good cliche stuff that they show in movies, but you never really see in person.

I guess, really, I would just be thankful to live to be that old at all, considering my condition. Despite what that Cardiologist said during my stay in the hospital, I can't help but to think that my heart has already shaved a few years off of my life, if not from the condition itself, then probably from the stress that it's caused.

Soon enough, I see two moderately sized wooden bowls placed on the counter of the stall, as the person who brought them quickly disappears into the back again.

I carefully hold the two steaming bowls of noodles, making my way towards a nearby table as Natsume adjusts her dress while she takes a seat. There isn't much room for talking, both of us making short work of the noodles before us. It has a saltier taste than I imagined, but it's still very flavorful. Soon after we had begun, we've both finished up. I grab the two empty bowls and return them back to the stall, giving Lilly my thanks as I turn to make my way back to Natsume.

"Hisao?" Lilly calls gently.
"Yes?" I answer back, turning my head towards her so my voice can be better heard.
"She does seem very sweet. You two have fun!" She says with a giggle. She can't see it, but I'm giving her the stink-eye anyway.
"Thank you Lilly," I respond back. "Take a break soon, okay?" She gives a small nod, bidding me farewell.

I make my way back to our table, only to find the girl in the yellow sundress standing already, her hands on her hips and an expectant look on her face.
"You ready Hisao?" She asks through her wide grin.
"Ready for what?" I reluctantly answer, raising an eyebrow.
"To do some Newspaper work! Duh!" She answers excitedly.

She seems to awfully excited about something as dull-sounding as work, but who am I to judge? I envy her passion a little.

"As ready as I'll ever be, I suppose." I reluctantly start, kind of dreading the very thought of 'work' after enjoying so much food. "You said you needed to collect information on the events, how are we going to do that?"
"Well," She starts, her grin cracking under the pressure, letting out a hearty laugh. "We experience them! I hope you're ready to play some games~!"

This sure doesn't sound much like work to me, but I'm not complaining. I did make sure to bring plenty of money, it would be a shame to not spend anything while I'm here.

"So, we're just going to...play the games to gather information?" I ask, trying to clarify the situation for myself.
"Well, I'm going to win some games, not just play!" She answers with a playful wink.

I've never noticed much of a competitive side to her before, but this might be one of those things that brings that out of her. I can't help but to think, she's pretty cute when she's like this. I decide to play along, only strengthening her desire to win.

"You have to beat me to win though, do you really think that you can handle this?" I answer back, motioning with my hands towards myself in a playful gesture.
"We're about to find out!" She excitedly challenges, giggling over my gestures.

She's almost skipping by my side with excitement as we make our way towards the booths. I appreciate how enthusiastic she is, but I kind of wish she knew about my heart right now. Despite constantly worrying about bumping into people, I can't help but to get a little excited about the prospect of playing the games too. I'm not sure what I really expected before today, but playing some games wasn't what I had imagined for 'work'.

Natsumes excited stride haults suddenly in front of a large booth. It looks like a game where you shoot a water gun into a clowns open mouth, which does something to build up air pressure, which then inflates a ballon behind the clowns head. I'm pretty sure it's some kind of racing game to see who can pop their balloon first.

She turns her head and meets my questioning expression, her bright eyes wide with excitement.
"Let's play this one! I bet I can beat you at it!" She challenges, jabbing my arm lightly with her tiny fist.
"You sure about that?" I play along, jokingly stretching my hands and cracking my knuckles.
"There's only one way to find out!" She fires back, taking a seat at the closest stool and patting the empty one beside of it with an expectant look.

I take my seat and soon enough a few more fill up beside of me. The game begins with the ding of a bell. I quickly focus my aim towards the clowns mouth, trying to steady my arms. I shoot a quick glance to my side and notice that Natsumes aim is pure, never moving from its mark. I look back over to mine and see that I'm now soaking the clowns forehead because I wasn't paying attention.

Game over for me.

Soon, a short -POP- sound comes from my other side, signaling the end to the games. Some middle-aged man that I've never seen before is announced as the winner, claiming a little stuffed goldfish as his prize.

"Hmph.. I thought I had that." Natsume states, a hint of dissapointment in her voice.
"If it makes you feel any better, I'm pretty sure you beat me!" I reassure her with a smile.
"Ha! I just got lucky." She says with a wink of her bright green eye.

She raises herself off of the chair, looking over my shoulder towards the row of different games. I see her expression quickly turn back to its prior competitiveness.

"We actually don't have long, if we want a good seat for the fireworks!" She exclaims. "But we do have plenty of time to win some prizes!"
She grabs my wrist again, dragging me from booth to booth. Time seems to fly by for a while as we jump between them all, trying to collect a bounty of prizes that will satisfy Natsumes competitive thirst right now.

Ring toss, balloon darts, boat races, ball toss...

All of the different booths start blending together. I'm pretty sure we've played each game twice now, with not much to show for it. I can see that Natsume is having fun, but she's obviously not satisfied with the handful of small toys she's won so far.

The sun is quickly going down in the sky overhead now, casting a vibrant orange glow over everything around us. The radiant warmth of the day is slowly drifting into a comfortable stillness in the air. I look to the girl to my side to gauge her reaction on what to do next.

She has a finger on her chin, deep in thought as she looks around us at all the different booths that we've already played. She seems to be struggling with coming to a decision.

"Want to walk around until you find something that catches your eye?" I offer up, giving her a little nudge with my shoulder, trying to snap her out of her daze.
"Oh, uhm..yeah. Good idea." She stumbles back, taking a determined step forward.

We pass by a handful of booths that we've already played, Natsumes eyes dart form booth to booth expectantly. A few moments pass as we walk and we're nearing the end of the booths, when suddenly Natsume stops in her tracks, bringing her dainty fingers to her lips as she gasps quietly to herself.

Her eyes are locked onto a small booth that's awkwardly placed behind a ring toss game that we had played earlier. I can't tell what she's staring at, or what the game even is, but something has her in a trance.

"Wanna play that one?" I ask, nodding my head towards the small booth. I'd have never even seen it, if she hadn't stopped.
"Y-Yeah, let's check that one out!" She excitedly decides, striding towards the front of the booth.

As we approach the counter, I can finally see what game it is. There's a thick plastic bucket sitting in the middle of the booth, angled slightly towards the counter that you play from. I've seen people play this before and it always seemed like a scam to me. You're supposed to throw a rubber ball into the angled bucket and try to get it to stay in. The trick is, the angle of the bucket makes it incredibly difficult for the rubber ball not to bounce back out. Sometimes there's even a small spring underneath the bucket, for added difficulty.

I think I can see what's gotten her attention now too. A large stuffed unicorn with a rainbow tail and horn is proudly displayed on a high shelf towards the back of the booth, directly above the angled bucket. I look over to her for confirmation and her eyes are practically sparkling with yearning. I slowly slide over to the other side of the counter to get the attendants attention.

He's a tall, middle-aged man with scruffy dark facial hair. This must be one of the very few booths that come to this festival that isn't operated by the school. He sure doesn't look like a teacher or student.

"Excuse me, I think I'd lik-.." I start.
"Hey champ! Want to win your lovely little lady something special?" He questions in an excited tone. The big grin on his face betrays his rather rough voice. It sounds like he might be a heavy smoker.
"Uhm..well...yeah." I whisper back, trying to keep the conversation between the two of us. I glance over my shoulder and see that Natsume is still oblivious to our discussion, her eyes still locked onto the unicorn on the shelf.

I pull a few notes out of my pocket and lay them on the counter. The attendant shifts his eyes between me, Natsume and the unicorn before stepping forward and speaking up.
"You need five wins." He whispers over to me. "Toss the balls underhanded and aim for the back corner of the bucket. Easy-peasy." He finishes with a smile, trying to undermine the difficulty of the game.
As he finishes his statement, he lays out ten big rubber balls on the counter and, with a wink, takes the money, stuffing it into the pouch around his waist.
I'm a little shocked that he picked up on the situation so quickly, but I bet he's been through this a thousand times before me.

I give him an appreciative nod as I grab one of the rubber balls and step back to the throwing area marked on the ground by a red "X". Natsumes focus turns to me, a curious look on her face.

"Your..you're going to play?" She questions with a cute smile.
"Well, sure, I'll try my luck." I answer, trying to force some confidence in my voice. She seems content with watching this time, stepping backwards a little and placing her hands behind her back.

I motion a few practice tosses, building the suspense up. I only need to make every other toss to get five wins, so the odds are in my favor. I let the ball fly through the air, a little harder than I expected. The rubber ball makes contact with the rim of the bucket before deflecting a few feet away and hitting the ground.

"Close one big guy! A little easier next time!" The attendant calls out.

Nine more tries, no worries.

I snatch another rubber ball from the counter and line my body up once again, exhaling a little to relax my body. I gently release the ball from my fingertips. It glides through the air for a second, making a dull -thud- as it hits the inside corner of the bucket and bounces gently to the bottom, where it stays.

"Woo-hoo, we got a winner!" The attendant announces excitedly. "Eight more tries, no pressure!"
Natsume politely claps, laughing with excitement off to the side of the booth.

I line myself up again and prepare for the next series of throws to go in successfully.

Miss
Miss
Win
Win
Miss
Win
Miss


So, it comes down to this. One more shot and I absolutely have to make it if I'm going to win that unicorn for Natsume. A small crowd has formed around the booth now, all gazing expectantly at me as I prepare my final toss. I see Natsume in my peripheral, practically biting her nails as she watches with wide, expectant eyes. The pressure is all on me.

I let a heavy sigh escape my lungs as I relax my body and my bring my arm up from my hips. The ball leaves my fingertips and it feels like it's a good toss. Time freezes as the ball makes its way into the bucket, filling the air with a dull -thud- as it comes into contact with the bottom of the bucket. My eyes drop in dissapointment as I see the ball reappear, bouncing back out of the top of the bucket and plopping to the ground in front of the attendants feet.

The small crowd around me lets out a collective "awh" in dissapointment, each person quickly drifting away from the booth in a matter of seconds. Natsumes eyes are dropped to her hands in dissapointment, but she's smiling, trying not to let it show. I drag myself over to in front of her.

"I'm..I'm sorry Natsume." I offer up.
"For...what?" She questions back, raising an eyebrow.
"Well I...I really wanted to win that unicorn.." I awkwardly start. "For you." I lift my eyes up to meet her face, trying to gauge a reaction.
"Was it that obvious that I wanted it?" She asks with a smirk. "It's okay Hisao. That's very sweet of you to try." She gives a sincere smile now. It does make me feel a little better, but I still feel like I let her down.

"Hey champ! Come on over and claim your prize!" The worker calls out from behind us. He has a sly grin on his face, there's something a little mischievous about it. I take a few steps forward, examining my choices. They're all pretty lame in comparison to the top-shelf prizes.

The attendant takes a step forward, stretching his long arms up and grabbing the unicorn from the top shelf. Suddenly, he pushes his body forward, as if he purposefully tripped over something.
"Oh no~!" He says in a sarcastic tone, pretending to be shocked as he awkwardly juggles the unicorn between his hands. He lunges forward once more, lightly tossing the unicorn on the shelf I was choosing my prize from.
"Ah, man~! I hate when that happens!" He starts, laughing to himself. "Looks like I lost one of the good prizes when I tripped!"

...What?

"Well, there's no way I can fix it now, I guess." He states, still laughing to himself and turning his attention to me. "Well champ, what prize would you like?"

I awkwardly raise my finger and point it towards the large unicorn that's now lying on the shelf I'm supposed to choose from.
"Great choice!" He exclaims, grabbing the stuffed animal and shooting me a big wink. "You two enjoy the rest of your evening, okay?" He finishes, laying the prized unicorn on the counter in front of me.

I just stand there for a minute, trying to understand the situation that just unfolded in front of me. I almost feel guilty, but the worker seemed so happy about doing it that I couldn't possibly refuse. Plus, Natsume probably didn't notice any of this with as far away as she's standing. The look on her face is going to be priceless.

"Th-Thank you sir." I call out to the worker. He just gives another big wink and nods his head as he turns to pick up a few stray balls on the ground behind him. I scoop up the unicorn with both hands, it's fluffy limbs dangling over the edges of them. I turn and walk over to Natsume, who is staring in the other direction. I give her a light poke in the back with my finger, making her jump a little in surprise.

"Sorry!" I state, as she quickly turns around. "Didn't mean to scare you!" Her eyes lock onto mine, the lights of the games around us shining through them. There's a certain emotion written on her features that I can't place, it leaves me at a loss for words for a moment.

"Ha! It's okay Hisao. What's u-?" Natsumes cheerful voice cuts off with a small gasp as her eyes lock on to the unicorn on my hands.
"H-How did-" she excitedly starts.
"Surprise!" I announce with a smile, proudly holding the stuffed animal out to her.

She takes it gently with one hand, slowly bringing it closer to her chest. She holds the unicorn tightly with both arms, hugging it softly as she closes her eyes and nestles into its soft back. She looks so..relaxed right now. My mind quickly replays the images of her fragile features in the Newspaper room last night.

I can't help but to think of how much I really enjoy seeing her like this. She has seemed to have her defenses up most of the time that I've known her, always seeming to be concerned or timid about what she's doing or saying. All of that nervousness and anxiety melts away in moments like this, even if it only lasts a few seconds.

It scares me a little, how much I've been noticing things like this about her. I can't help but wonder if she's noticed things like that about me too? She still doesn't even know about my...condition yet, nor do I about hers, really. There's a lot of things that I'd like to know still, some things a little bit simpler than others right now.

"Hisao?" Natsume questions, her voice soft with, what I would assume to be, exhaustion, at this point in the day.
"Getting sleepy?" I question with a chuckle.
"Mmm..a little bit." she answers, raising her head up from the unicorn and connecting her eyes to mine. I can definitely tell she's worn down now. It must have came on quickly, I didn't notice how tired her eyes looked before.
"Do you still want..to..uhm..watch the fireworks together?" She questions, as if I had possibly changed my mind.
"I'd like that," I start, smiling at her to try to reassure her. "If you're still up to it, that is."
"Sure am!" She says, straightening her posture up a little and brushing her dress out with her free hand.
"Let's go get a good view, okay? We still have a little while." She states, striding up to my side.

As I start to step forward, I feel something rubbing against the back of my arm lightly. I stop in my tracks as Natsumes arm that's not holding the unicorn squeezes it's way betwen my own arm and my side, allowing her hand to lie gently on top of my wrist.

I look to my side and our eyes meet once more. She's holding the unicorn closely to her chest with her other hand, her side almost pressed against my own as our arms intertwine. She has a genuine smile on her face and the happiness in her features is reflected into the color of her eyes. The mixture of the two send my thoughts into a frenzy once again as I get lost in their unique depth for a moment.

All I can do is give a weak smile back, completely content with the situation but unable to form any words that wouldn't make me seem crazy right now. She turns her attention forward as we begin to walk, the lights and sounds from the booths behind us beginning to slowly fade away with each step.

-----
"We're just two children, pretending to be adults, aren't we?"

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

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Zerebos
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Re: Teach Me To Dance - A Natsume Ooe Pseudo-Route(Updated 2

Post by Zerebos » Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:18 pm

Great chapter, I wonder how the fireworks go :wink:
InSaiyan wrote:"Ha! It's okay Hisao. What's u-?" Natsumes cheerful voice cuts off with a small gasp as her eyes lock on to the unicorn on my hands.
Pretty much how I pictured Natsume:
fluffy.jpg
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InSaiyan
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Re: Teach Me To Dance - A Natsume Ooe Pseudo-Route(Updated 2

Post by InSaiyan » Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:03 pm

Zerebos wrote: Pretty much how I pictured Natsume:...
Dude, that's fantastic..hahaha. Glad you enjoyed it! More coming soon!
"We're just two children, pretending to be adults, aren't we?"

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

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InSaiyan
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Re: Teach Me To Dance - A Natsume Ooe Pseudo-Route

Post by InSaiyan » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:23 pm

Part 3:
Fireflies

-----

The sun continues to go down as the twilight of the day begins to take over in the orange and purple sky overhead. I've just been walking and letting Natsume guide me by the arm, not really considering where we'll end up. She seems to have a spot in mind already, and I'm enjoying the quiet around us too much to ruin it by asking questions.

Our route so far has just been a wide loop around the game booths, quickly bringing us to an open field of grass with a concrete path cutting it in half. A handful of students are scattered over the grass, some standing and talking, some lying on blankets in small groups. The lights from the nearby stalls stretch to the edge of the field, leaving most of it in a shadowed veil.

"Naomi should be somewhere around here already," Natsume states, looking around the field with squinted eyes. "This is where we've watched the fireworks every year. It's kind of a tradition for us now."
"Well, I'm honored that you two would invite me along." I state with a cheerful laugh.
"Well, we've never had...other friends, really." She hesitantly answers as we walk.
"I can relate to that.." I state, giving a dull laugh to hide my bitter words. "You seem like you know a lot of people though, what's...stopping you from making new friends?"

She let's out a small chuckle at the statement before responding. "Nothing is stopping me, I just don't have much of a reason to. Naomi has always been my best friend, ever since we started school here," she sighs, as she continues. "I guess that I would just rather have one good friend, than a dozen 'alright' friends."

I'd never really thought like that before. Maybe the same is true for me? I had a fair amount of friends at my old school, but I wasn't close with any of them, really. I mean, they completely forgot about me after I was in the hospital for a few weeks. None of them have wrote, emailed, or even attempted to contact me since then, so, can I really say that they were friends? I find it hard to believe that if Naomi were in a similar situation, that Natsume would react like they did.

Even Iwanako quit coming after awhile, not that we said much when she did come anyways. Thinking about her only reminds me of that snowy day back in Winter and how different things were before that incident. I'm not sure that I really miss my old life as much now that I think about.

The thought is a little depressing, but there's not much I can really do about it now. Still, Natsume said she doesn't really need new friends, so...why am I here then?

"Guys! Over here!" A light voice rings into the air. I glance over to see Naomi sitting on a large blanket spread out on the ground about ten feet from the path. She's waving excitedly, a big grin on her face.

"Where have you two been hiding all evening?" She questions in a playful tone as we approach the blanket.
"I could ask you the same thing!" Natsume jabs back, lightly pulling her arm away from mine and taking a seat on the blanket, her bare legs shining from the remaining daylight in the sky.
"I've been...busy!" She answers back in a secretive tone, sticking her tongue out. She let's a dramatic gasp escape her throat as she eyes the unicorn lying in Natsumes lap.
"Ah~! He's so cute~! Where did you get him?" She asks, her voice almost becoming a squeak.

Natsume draws her attention to where I stand and smiles sheepishly.
"Ohh~!" Naomi says mockingly, shooting a sly grin towards me. "You two are so cute together!"
Natsumes cheeks glow pink, even in the dark I can see that. She gives a gentle elbow to her friend, making Naomi erupt into laughter. I feel my own face becoming warmer as I stroll over to the blanket and take a seat beside Natsume.

I glance over to my side, Natsume meets my eyes with a playful look. She smiles warmly, rolling her eyes towards Naomi so I can see the gesture. The awkwardness from the situation kind of melts away as we both share a laugh before Naomi decides to speak up again.

"Hey! Natsume probably knows you pretty well by now, right?" She starts, a playful grin on her face. "So, what about me?"
"I..don't think I follow." I state, obviously confused. I look over to Natsume and her expression isn't much different than mine.
"Okay-Okay! How about we play a game?" Naomi asks in an excited voice. "We will ask you a question and you have to answer, and then you ask us a question and we both have to answer, okay?"

I feel a sense of dread pass over me. I can't rightfully deny that request, there's a ton of stuff I want to know about the both of them. I don't feel good about being so...open, though. I don't think I've even come to terms with my condition yet, how am I supposed to share about it, if they ask?

Natsume looks interested in the idea, but I can see her reluctance to it too. I can't hide everything forever, I guess. Besides, I do consider both of the girls friends. It makes sense that they wouldn't answer each other's questions and that they would just ask one question for the both of them, they probably already know everything about each other, so that would be pretty pointless.

"Alright, I'll play," I start hesitantly. "As long as Natsume wants to play."
"I'll..I'll play." She says, forcing a smile through her nervous features.
"Great! I'll start!" Naomi exclaims.

"Hmmm..where did you live, before coming to Yamaku?" She asks, a finger placed on her chin for emphasis.
"Eh, it's a big city about 30 miles south from here." I respond back. I haven't thought much about my hometown for a few days. On nights like tonight, I'd probably be wandering the streets alone.
"Big city? How cool!" Naomi responds, more enthusiastically than I expected. Natsume seems curious, but apparently decides against asking anything else.

"Hmm.." I start. I have no idea what to ask. Everything I want to ask seems kind of personal, and I don't think I want to start the game like that. "What do you all do to stay active and healthy?" I shoot a smirk at Natsume, who laughs and little to herself, probably remembering our earlier conversation.

"I run..." Naomi says, holding her breath. "...my mouth! ~hahaha!" We all share a few moments of laughter before coming back to the question. "No, I..uhm..well I really don't do much," Naomi starts again, her lips forming a tiny frown. It's uncharacteristic to see Naomi not bursting with joy. "I..well, I can't do much with my condition."

Ah, I feel horrible for bringing it up now. Naomi quickly recovers, shaking her head and laughing a little. "Nobody wants to work out with someone who could break into a seizure at any moment, right?" She says casually, as if it was no big deal.

"I-I'm sor-" I start nervously.
"No need! It's no big deal, but you'll have to wait your turn if you want to ask more!" Naomi giggles while raising a teasing finger at me, obviously enjoying the game. I nod my head as we both turn our attention to Natsume, who's looking down at the unicorn in her lap, a hint of nervousness creeping onto her features.
"Your turn to answer Natty~!" Naomi says.

"Promise not to laugh?" She asks, moving her eyes up to me. I nod with a smile, trying to reassure her a little.
"I...well, I dance." She says reluctantly.

Can't say I expected that. I imagined something a little more...rigorous, with how toned she is. Naomi beams a smile at her, a certain sense of pride in her features. I find myself a little envious of their friendship.

"Well...that's awesome!" I respond, trying to react in a way that helps Natsume relax about the situation. "I bet you're a great dancer." I smile at her encouragingly.
"R-really?" She responds back, a little relieved by the reaction. "I thought you might think it was..well, weird."
"No way! I think it's great. I wish I had something I was good at like that." I respond back.
"Hey~! Didn't you say that you wished you had a partner, like, last week?" Naomi blurts in, excitedly staring at Natsume with wide eyes. "Hisao, what do you think?"

She's staring at me expectantly now, practically bouncing on her butt with excitement. Beside her, Natsume looks a little conflicted about the situation.

What do I think? That's a great question. I think if I tried dancing, I would only be a danger to everyone around me. I'm uncoordinated, to put it lightly. I also know absolutely nothing about...dancing. It seems like such a 'girly' thing to do, but the idea of spending more time with Natsume does sound pretty appealing.

"I..I don't know." I start, stuttering my words. "I could try, maybe. I don't know anything about dancing though." I turn my attention to Natsume. "I'm sure that you would prefer a partner that knows what they're doing." There's a small pause in the conversation, each of us exchanging glances. While me and Natsume are obviously a little rattled by the idea, Naomi is practically rocking back and forth in excitement.

"Well, I.. I wouldn't mind..teaching you." Natsume states, her voice trembling a little as she says the words. "I do need a partner."
"Congratulations!" Naomi excitedly announces. "You have a partner now! Yay~!" She begins laughing with joy, clapping her hands together.
"I'm...looking forward to it." I answer, trying to form a confident smile at Natsume. She grins back, a certain sense of excitement on her features.

I feel sense of relief, but it's mixed with a lot of sudden anxiety. I'm glad I don't have to worry about the decision I told Nurse I would make before Monday morning, but 'dancing'?! That's the one thing I laughed about when I was in his office. Suddenly I recall his words in my head when I think back to that conversation.

'Maybe you're a dancer, you just haven't figured that out yet.'

That son of a-

He did know something! That means Natsume had to have told him something for him to make such a specifically targeted joke at me. I'm going to use my next question to ask her about it.

"Sooo~.." Natsume starts. "What did you do for fun, before coming here?" She asks, looking at me with a curious expression.
"I..uhm..well, I didn't do much." I start, trying to think of a better answer. "I played soccer with...friends pretty often. Other times, I walked the streets alone."
The girls look at me with a curious look, probably wanting me to elaborate a little. I guess a young guy wandering through busy city streets alone isn't normal.
"My parents both work a lot, so I..well, I was by myself most of the time." I continue, trying not to sound so sappy about the topic. "I spent a lot of time just wandering through different parts of the city..I guess it was something like an adventure to me." I laugh a little at my own words.

"That sounds..pretty fun." Naomi states, her usual enthusiasm currently absent.
"It's okay, no need to lie about it." I state with a laugh. "I never claimed to have lived an exciting life." The girls giggle to themselves. They expectantly await the next question as they regain themselves.

I focus my attention on Natsume, shooting her a sly grin. "Natsume, how does..uhm..the nurse seem to know you so well?" I question, hoping it isn't too personal.
"N-Nurse?" She says to herself, a look of confusion on her face. "Oh! He..well, he used to work with my father years ago. He's a family friend, I guess would be the best way to explain it." She continues.
"That's pretty cool. He seems to keep an eye on you." I respond back, laughing a little to myself.
"What...do you mean?" She questions.
"Ah, he just told me to be nice to you when I mentioned the festival." I respond back, neglecting to tell about his stern tone. Natsume groans a little at the discovery.
"I'm sorry Hisao, he's pretty protective. Him and dad are pretty close." Natsume offers.
"It's fine, really! He was never rude about it." I respond back with a smile.

I wonder what Natsumes father is like? I wonder if he's anything like her, or if he's more of a stern business-type? I guess if he had worked with Nurse before, he would have something to do with a medical-related job. Something clicks in my mind as I think about it.

'A special thanks to Dr. Mamoru Ooe.'

Could that be her...father? What are they thanking him for? I have some questions about the topic, but probably not much time to ask, gauging off of the last bit of orange that's quickly leaving the evening sky.

There's a small pause in the game as we all stare upwards. The crisp Spring air glides over my face and arms, sending a clean burst of air into my lungs. In the city, you can't enjoy the small things about nature like that. The air is too polluted with exhaust from the traffic and the hot air of everyone else talking around you.

I look over to my side once again. Natsume has her face pointed towards the clouds overhead still, her tight auburn bun letting a few stray hairs blow back and forth as the wind hits them. To her other side, I can see Naomi shifting her body a little bit, turning it more towards me. She has an almost nervous expression on her face, I've actually never seen it like that before.

"Hisao?" Naomi speaks up softly, breaking my scattered thoughts. Her voice is a little tense, nothing like it normally is. "Would..would you mind if I asked a..personal question?"

Crap, here it comes.


-----
"We're just two children, pretending to be adults, aren't we?"

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Re: Teach Me To Dance - A Natsume Ooe Pseudo-Route(Updated 2

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:09 pm

"No. My turn."

...

Drat, a cliffhanger^^°

Well, I didn't expect the title of this story to be THAT literal... Kind of an exceptional hobby - especially for Japan. How did she train up to that point without a partner?
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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Re: Teach Me To Dance - A Natsume Ooe Pseudo-Route

Post by InSaiyan » Sat Feb 25, 2017 6:17 pm

Part 3:
Fireflies (continued)

-----

My mind is in a frenzy, thoughts of doubt and insecurity bouncing rapidly off of the walls of my skull. I feel the awkward beats in my chest picking up a little, making my breathing a little more difficult.

This is exactly what I was afraid of, but I'd be lying if I said that I didn't expect it at least a little bit. What if they treat me differently? What if they start treating me like I'm made of glass? I've barely even come to terms with everything. Hell, if I'm being honest, I'm still not there myself. I have no idea what my limits are, but one thing that this busted heart isn't keeping me from doing is being honest, I guess. I lightly exhale, trying to straighten myself out without it being so noticeable.

Relax. You can do this.

"I don't mind," I start, clearing my throat a little. "Ask away." I smile, trying to force some confidence into my features.
"Well, what..what brought you to Yamaku?" Naomi asks softly. I see Natsume tense up beside her and shoot her a sudden look of surprise. I assume that they must not have rehearsed this beforehand.

"Well, it's a long story," I nervously start. "To put it simply, I have...I have a broken heart." Both girls raise an eyebrow in confusion. I guess I could have worded that better. "Not the emotional kind, sorry." I clarify, letting a sigh escape my lips as I continue. "Arrhythmia."

The word tastes sour on my tongue as it leaves my mouth. The word means more to me than just some condition I was born with. It's a thief. It found everything that felt familiar in my life and took it from me. It took who I was and molested it into something that I'm still struggling to recognize. As much as I hate it though, it brought me here, and, right now, I can't force myself to be mad about that.

The girls still seem a little lost for words, they probably aren't familiar with just the term alone. Naomi seems interested in hearing more, but Natsume is frozen, her expression I can't identify, curiosity, surprise, and something else mixed on her face. I should probably elaborate.

"My heart doesn't beat like a...normal heart. It's out of rhythm. It can't handle sudden contact or stress very well, so I just...have to be careful." I clarify, forcing a smile onto my face. It doesn't feel good, but I did it. Now they know about my condition, and they aren't standing up to run away. At least, not yet.

After a short pause, Naomi breaks the silence. "Thanks for not getting mad at me for asking Hisao." A gentle smile forms on her lips as she finishes her statement.
"I-I would have never guessed." Natsume stutters, still an unfamiliar mix of emotions on her features. She shakes her head and little, regaining her composure and forcing a comforting smile onto her face.
"It's...well, not very noticeable, I guess you could say." I state, a bitter laugh forcing its way out of my throat at the thought of the scar on my chest.

Silence fills the air between the three of us for a moment. I want to ask a question, but I feel strangely content with the stillness. The air is crisp and sends a cool wave through my lungs as I inhale deeply. The open field around us blinks sporadically with the gentle yellow glow of hundreds, or even thousands, of tiny fireflies.

There wasn't much of those in the city that I grew up in. Statistically, fireflies don't live long in large cities, constantly being drawn to the bright lights of billboards or passing cars.

I remember my dad telling me a story once about when he was a boy. He told me that every Spring he would get an empty glass jar and poke tiny holes in the lid, then he would run through his yard, collecting the little bugs in the jar. He told me that he would seal the jar up and sit it on his nightstand by his bed and watch the gentle flashing lights of the bugs as he fell asleep. In the morning, he would release them, and do it all again the next night.

The fond memory of the story forces me to smile. I can't help but to miss my parents a little. Sure, they're busier than most parents are probably, but they always cared for me and loved me. I remember during my stay in the hospital they even offered to sell their house if it could help me get the best treatment. I'm glad that they didn't do anything that drastic now.

I look over at the two girls to my side. Natsume is sitting with her legs crossed, idly toying with the stuffed unicorn lying in her lap still. Naomi is leaning back, propped up by her arms behind her as she stares at the starry sky above us.

Naomi turns her head to us, pushing herself forward with her hands and leaning up. "I'm going to go get something to drink from the stalls before they close, do you all want anything?" She asks with a smile.
"Hmm...I'll take a bottled water, please." Natsume answers.
"I think I'm fine, thank you though." I respond with a smile.
"Okay~! Be right back!" She states, standing up and skipping off quickly towards the stalls.

It's just the two of us again now. I want to ask Natsume more questions, but I don't want to exclude Naomi from the game. Plus, it got kind of quiet after that last question, I'm not even sure that we're playing anymore.

I glance over to Natsume again, who's leaned back now, resting her slender upper body on her elbows. She's almost lying on the ground, the only thing propping her up are her elbows. Her eyes quickly meet mine in a curious way. She opens her mouth to say something but stops, as if she's second guessing herself.

"I..uhm," she starts, inhaling deeply before speaking up again. "I have rheumatoid arthritis." She says the words quickly. I almost second guess that I even heard them. "It's...mainly in my wrists. I take anti-inflammatory medication to...help keep it under control." She continues on, a worried look on her face. "I...I just wanted to tell you, I'm sure that you're probably curious about...well, you know."

I shake my head gently, still trying to take the information in.

"You know, the other day...at...at lunch." She clarifies. I think back to lunch, trying to remember what she's talking about. It takes a moment, but it finally clicks in my mind. Natsume dropping that plate. It makes much more sense now. I knew that I was out of the loop on something, and that must have been it.

"I'd honestly forgotten about that," I start, trying to convey that it wasn't a big deal so she doesn't worry any more. "I was...well, worried. I assumed there was probably something I was missing." She nods her head, smiling a little at the thought of my curiosity.
"The medicine, along with stretching and staying active, keeps it under control, for the most part, but the pain still comes and goes." She states, clarifying a little. "Unfortunately, that part will gradually get worse as I age, and there's not much I can do about that."

Huh, I can relate to that. I felt like I was pretty alone in that regard. As much as I hate it for her, it is nice to know that at least someone else knows that feeling of dreading getting older.

"Other than that, my right eye is a little blurry, compared to my left. Some simple reading glasses fixes that though. It's too bad there's no fix for mismatched colors." She states, a small bitter laugh slipping out of her lips.
"Why would you ever want to change your eye color?" I ask.
"Hisao, surely you've noticed that they aren't th-." She starts, giggling a little.
"Of course I've noticed, but, " I cut in. "Your eyes are...well, I really like how unique they are."
"R-really?" She asks in astonishment, sitting up a little. I give her my best comforting nod and smile.

She stares into my eyes, a certain sense of joy and relief is swimming through them. I feel much better about the conversation now, us both airing our 'issues' to one another. I still feel very exposed and vulnerable, but apparently she does too, and that makes it a little less uncomfortable.

"I..I.." Natsume starts again, sadness lying heavily on her voice. "I used to...get made fun of a lot as a child."
She let's an exhausted sigh escape her throat, rubbing her arm nervously. "The 'freak' with different eyes was apparently an easy target." Her voice trembles a little bit.

Hearing her say it like that makes my chest tighten and my throat feel dry all of the sudden. I never dealt with bullying much, personally, but I can see how much it's had an effect on her now and it hurts my heart to know how cruel people can be to someone so sweet. Why would anyone make fun of such a beautiful feature, anyways? I don't get it.

I reflexively stretch my arm out, gently lying my hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry Natsume," I start, my own voice trembling a little from the tightness in my chest. "I...I don't understand how anyone could be so cruel."
"Easy target, like I said. It's not hard to find something wrong about me." She responds back, still a little bitter.
"'Wrong?'" I blurt out, almost offended by the thought of describing it that way. "You're a great person Natsume, and there's nothing 'wrong' with being different, especially if it's something you can't help, whether it's a heart or eye color."

I pause for a second, thinking about what I'm about to say and what it may imply.

"What if...what if I...like the 'wrong' things about you?" I question gently. "I have some things that I could consider 'wrong' about me, but without them, I wouldn't be here now."

Natsume shifts her head, bringing us face to face, a matter of inches apart. She has an almost worried look on her features, her eyebrows turn upwards and her thin bottom lip quivers slightly. I can almost feel her breath brushing against my face as we just stare at each other for, what feels like, minutes.

"Y-You...don't mind...my eyes?" She nervously questions. "Or the...arthritis?"
"As long as you don't mind a flakey heart or low self-esteem." I question back, laughing at my own expense.
She laughs along, her previous anxiety melts away into a calm tiredness on her features. She seems content with the conversation, so I let it end on a positive note.

I take my hand from her bare shoulder, letting it fall to the ground beside my hip as I lean back against my arms. I uncross my legs and stretch them out in front of me, allowing myself to get more comfortable.

Natsume shifts her body by my side, stretching her legs outwards as well and lying back, her upper body supported by her bent elbows behind her once again.

I close my eyes to take in everything around me. I can still hear distant noises coming from the Festival, a whirlwind of different conversations blending together mixed with quiet tones of generic music playing from the game booths creates a very soft murmur in my ears.

Beyond that, I can hear crickets chirping at one another and frogs answering back to them. I feel light gusts of crisp Spring air flowing through my messy hair. The still calmness I feel right now is hard to describe. I'm not sure that I've felt this...free, since my incident. It brings an unfamiliar peace in my mind, but I think I'd like to experience it more often.

I glance over to the girl beside me, her eyelids are shut and a small, warm smile stretches her thin lips tightly. I feel...different about her after today. There's a strange longing I feel when I look at her now, it makes my chest tighten a little. Could...could I really like her...more than just on a 'friend' level? What if she doesn't feel the same? I'm not much of a 'steal', all things considered.

The thought is scary to me. While I can't say for sure if I really liked Iwanako like that or not, it didn't end well, and that's pretty much my only experience with this kind of stuff. What if she only considers me a friend? Sure, she's opened up a lot to me today, but what if she's just being nice to the 'new guy' still?

My thoughts are interrupted as a sharp whistle sound cries out through the sky above us, followed by a sudden -POP- that echos through the field. Natsumes body is bathed in a green shower of colors as the night sky explodes with light. Her eyes pop open, wide with surprise and excitement.

She looks up to the sky as another -POP- shortly rings through the open field around us, bathing her excited features in a blue glow now. I want to look up to the sky, but I can't seem to take my eyes off of her joyous expression. I don't know if I've seen her more content looking than she is right now, I want to commit it to my memory as much as I can.

-POP- -pop- -POP-

I turn my head upwards after a moment, gazing at the starry sky overhead. Shades of yellow, green, purple, red and white dance through the sky overhead now. I relax my body back again, taking in everything I can of this moment.

-POP-

Blue, yellow and orange fizzle together in the atmosphere above us. I glance over to Natsume again, meeting her expectant gaze as she sits up. The lights from the fireworks dance through the color of her eyes, putting on a show for only me right now. A peaceful smile stretches the corner of her mouth upwards as she turns her body towards me slightly, leaning her face in closer to mine.

The uneven beating in my chest speeds up a little as she closes the distance between us, stopping as our two cheeks brush against one another. The tight auburn bun on her head let's off a fragrant floral aroma, a familiar scent that I remember from our contact at Nurses office. I inhale, trying not to forget to breathe while my senses get drawn into a maelstrom. I feel a gentle hand on my shoulder as she tilts her head in, bringing her lips a little closer to my ear.

"Thank you for being here with me, Hisao." She breathes into my ear, the warmth of her breath caressing my skin. My mind is a hurricane of thoughts as she slowly pulls away, gliding her hand down my arm as she leans back. She scoots her body closer to mine as her hand stops on top my own.

I can feel myself smiling as she turns her gaze from me back to the night sky, still alive with color. I don't think I need to say anything back, I think that she probably heard it all in my smile. I turn my own face towards the sky, my thoughts still running amuck.

I gently lift my fingers, allowing her own to mingle together with them. A give a gentle squeeze, letting her know that I'm happy with the gesture. She lies back once again, resting her upper body on her elbows as she stares at the light display overhead.

Image
Artwork courtesy of InstantRiot

-POP- -pop- -POP- -pop- -POP-

Soon, the Spring sky explodes as a full array of colors quickly paint it, signaling the 'grand finale'. It almost sounds like machine gun fire going off in the distance as different colors stream through my vision.

I'm not sure that today could have gone by much better than it did.

-----
Last edited by InSaiyan on Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.
"We're just two children, pretending to be adults, aren't we?"

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Re: Teach Me To Dance - A Natsume Ooe Pseudo-Route(Updated 2

Post by Zerebos » Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:18 pm

Two wonderful chapters of course but I'm a little confused about the part where they brushed cheeks. Was that supposed to be a hug or just her getting close to whisper that phrase?

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Re: Teach Me To Dance - A Natsume Ooe Pseudo-Route(Updated 2

Post by InSaiyan » Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:22 am

Zerebos wrote:I'm a little confused about the part where they brushed cheeks. Was that supposed to be a hug or just her getting close to whisper that phrase?
That was just her leaning in closer to whisper that to Hisao. Sorry that it created some confusion, I could have done a better job of explaining the situation. :oops:
"We're just two children, pretending to be adults, aren't we?"

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

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Re: Teach Me To Dance - A Natsume Ooe Pseudo-Route

Post by InSaiyan » Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:25 pm

Part 3:
Fireflies (Continued)

-----

The colorful lights overhead slowly fade away, ushering back in the blackness of the night sky. The gentle glow of the moon and stars twinkle, peacefully dancing with one another. I hear distant clapping coming from the Festival area. I glance over towards the noise, some of the booths are closing their windows and turning their lights off, it must be about time to call it a night.

I see Naomi barreling through the field from the booths, quickly approaching us with a bottle of water in hand. She stops in front of the blanket, gasping for air and putting her hands on her knees. She raises herself up after a moment, exhaling heavily before shooting a smile towards us.

"I got it!" She exclaims, holding the water bottle out triumphantly. "Sorry it took me so long! The lines were all really long!" She plops down beside Natsume, lying back to catch her breath again. Natsume grabs the bottle with her free hand, sitting it between us, but not taking her hand from mine.

A few quiet moments pass by before Naomi sits up, seemingly recovered from her sprint here. She looks over to us with a curious expression on her face, her eyes darting between our two faces as a sly grin forms on her features.

"Well, you two must have had a good time without me, huh?" She playfully questions, raising her eyebrows up and down provocatively. "You sure are sitting close to one another! Hahaha~!" She tilts her head a little, gazing around Natsumes body and towards our intertwined fingers. She let's out an audible gasp and shoots Natsume a look of surprise.

"Natty, wha-" She starts, trying to force words out of her radiant smile.
"I'm pretty tired, are you two ready to call it a night?" Natsume cuts in, yawning into her free hand and looking over to me with a smirk. I imagine she's going to fill Naomi in on our talk later. I agree with a nod and smile.

There's not too much to tell, really. I mean, nobody made any kind of confession that would change our relationship to anything other than friends still, but I can't seem to shake that foreign longing feeling in my chest. I want to sort all of the details out in my mind before I make any rash decisions though, maybe she does too.

"I am pretty beat, it's been a long day." I answer. "Thank you both for inviting me out here, I...I really appreciate it."
"Our pleasure Hisao!" Naomi shoots back with a grin.

Natsumes hand gives mine a gentle squeeze as her fingers slide out from my own. She pushes herself forward, sitting up. I rise to my feet, brushing my khakis off lightly and stretching towards the sky. I look down, offering my hand to Natsume, who is letting another yawn escape her thin lips.

Natsume places her hand gently into mine, pushing against it as she stands to her feet. Her fingers remain resting in my hand for a moment as she glides over to my side in a graceful motion, her fingertips spin in the palm of my hand as she turns her body. I feel her fingertips separate as the slide down my own, gently pushing mine apart as they intertwine once more.

Naomi beams a smile at us as she jumps to her feet. It doesn't seem like she's lost much energy throughout the day, I wish I had that problem. She grabs the blanket up, folding it neatly and throwing it over her shoulder. She bends to her side and picks up the water bottle that fell out when she grabbed up the blanket, offering it to Natsume.

"Oh, thank you. I almost forgot." She states with a tired giggle. She was exhausted earlier when we finished playing games, I bet that she's pretty much on autopilot right now.

"Ready, lovebirds~? Naomi playfully questions.

Natsume leans her shoulder into my own a little as she steps forward. She hugs the prized unicorn with the other arm, holding it close to her chest as we begin our walk back to the dorms. I can feel her weight a little more noticeably this time, she's probably using me so she doesn't fall asleep right here where she stands.

My face is a little warm from Naomi's teasing and the close contact with Natsume, but after the evening I've had, it doesn't feel nearly as bad as normal. Maybe that's some form of progress? Probably not.

The three of us make our way across the pathway through the field, a comfortable silence sits in the air. The fireflies still flicker all around us, more noticeable now that the lights from the booths are completely out in the distance.

Naomi has her usual enthusiasm about her while walking, humming lightly while she skips at Natsumes side. I don't know how she does it, I feel like I could pass out just walking. If it wasn't for Natsume, I actually might. I'm pretty sure we're just holding each other up, at this point.

The grounds leading out of the Festival area are relatively empty now, only a few students drag themselves towards the school. There's a strange quiet in the air around us, now that the crowds have disappeared and the booths have closed for the night. Just an hour ago this area was packed and alive with activity.

Natsume is almost hugging my arm now, the side of her head gently resting on my shoulder. I glance down at her soft features. She seems so fragile again, just like in the Newspaper room. It forces an unfamiliar protective feeling to well up in my chest.

Speaking of protective, I have to see Nurse tomorrow about my plans to dance. I almost can't believe that I'm really going to try it. I really hope that he doesn't tease me too much about it. I still can't picture myself doing it, but it won't hurt to try, and the extra time with Natsume will be nice.

"Hey," I whisper to my side. "When do you want me to meet you tomorrow?"
"Hmm? For what?" Natsume asks, bringing her head up, a dazed look in her eyes.
"For..for dancing." I answer.
"Oh! Well, I normally make sure to get a little time in during the mornings, before class." She softly states. "How about we meet right here again?" She gestures towards the bench ahead of us.
"Sounds good to me. What time?" I question back.
"Well, I normally start at about...6:30..." She hesitantly answers, giggling to herself.
"Six....thirty? So, you are a morning person?" I jest, laughing to myself.
"Depends on how much sleep I get the night before." She explains jokingly, yawning into the unicorn at her chest.

We stride past the bench. It seems like days ago that I sat there, waiting for the girls to show up. I hadn't even realized that we've walked far enough yet to reach the courtyard already, but, here we are. I could have been sleep-walking for awhile, actually.

I glance at my wristwatch. It's almost 10:00 already, and I'm not sure if I've ever been more ready to see my bed. I'm a little surprised that my heart did so well with everything today, I can't say that I expected the festival to be quite so...rigorous.

Naomis skipping stops suddenly as we reach the split in the dorm buildings, her face let's a hint of tiredness show now as she turns to us. Natsume is still leaning heavily against my side, completely drained from the adventures of the day.

"Well Hisao, I'm glad you came today!" Naomi states with a tired smile. "I think I can speak for both of us when I say that I had a great time!"
"Yeah," Natsume starts, cut off by another yawn. She straightens her posture a little as she looks over to me. "I had a really good time. Thank you for coming."
"It was my pleasure, really." I respond, letting out a yawn of my own. "Get some rest, okay?" I state, turning my head to Natsume as I finish the suggestion. "I'll see you tomorrow morning."
"I'm looking forward to it." She states sleepily, beaming a cute smile.

Time stands still for a moment as our eyes lock on to one another. Her drooping eyelids don't do much to hide the vibrant colors shining behind them, even under the dark of the night sky. There's a certain spark in them that I didn't notice before, something that brings that almost painful longing feeling back into my chest. I gently squeeze her hand with my own as she turns her body to face mine, leaning her chest in closer to my own a little, smashing the unicorn between us. She tilts her head to the side a little, lying it softly onto the side of my neck.

It's a small embrace, but it feels so...right. I'm not sure if it's just a friendly, half-hearted hug, or if there's more to it than that. My mind is fuzzy, not just from the tiredness, but now from also thinking about all of the complex emotions that I've felt today. Something is...different with Natsume now. I feel differently than I did before, and I'm really beginning to hope that it's not just me.

Natsume steps back, the warmth from her chest leaving my own as the cool Spring air softly blows between us. She gives another tired smile as her fingers slowly slip away from my own. Our arms stretch outwards, trying to keep contact with one another for as long as possible, before our fingertips are finally separated. Our eyes are still locked as our arms float back to our sides in unison.

"Goodnight, Hisao." Natsume states with an airy voice.
"Goodnight Natsume." I answer back.

The two slowly drift into the building, Naomi waving farewell before dipping into the door behind Natsume. The two are out of sight now, leaving me alone in the courtyard with my thoughts.

I have quite a bit to think about after today. A lot of questions were answered, but even more have been raised in their place. I'm probably too exhausted to figure out any answers for them right now though, so I decide on making my way to my dorm.

The halls of the boys dorms are empty, as usual. It really doesn't matter what time of the day it is, I've never seen more than two or three people in them at one time. The guys here really do seem to be antisocial, compared to the girls I've met.

I approach my hallway soon enough, practically dragging myself forward at this point. I say a silent prayer as I get closer to Kenjis door, just hoping that he's too busy watching anime or whatever to notice me coming in so late. I slowly pass by it, almost tip-toeing as I slide towards my door.

I fumble the keys around before finding the right one, finding it hard to focus through my droopy eyelids. I push the key into the lock, turning it gently. A small -click- chimes into the air as the lock turns over. I'm almost there now, just need to tur-

"Sup dude?" I hear suddenly come from behind me, making my body jump a few inches and quickly turn around.

Why? Why? Why?!

My heart beat slows down a little as I pin my body against my door in shock. Kenji stands in front of his door with an open soda can in his hand. His eyebrows are pointed downwards in a dissapointed way.

"Why are you out here so late? You're normally asleep by now." He questions, leaning his face in to get a better look at me. "And what's with the perfume? You smell like a chick. It's gross." He snubs his nose up in disgust.

"How do you know when I sleep? I've been at the festival all day Kenji. Where were you?" I shoot back, trying to recover.
"Th-...THE WHAT?!" He quickly shouts, taking a step back and spilling some of the soda from his can as his arms shoot upwards. His expression is one of shock and utter panic.
"The...festival Kenji." I answer blankly.
"I heard you dude. My eyes are bad, not my ears. Why the hell would you go down there?" He questions, his teeth almost clenched in, what appears to be, terror.
"It was nice out. You should have gone out and enjoyed the weather too." I answer, yawning into my hand.
"Blah, and risk everything that I've fought so honorably for?! Besides...I had plans today." He shoots back.
"Plans, huh?" I weakly prod.
"Yeah. Plans." He blankly answers back, seemingly recovered a little from his panic attack. "So what's with the perfume dude? It's making me nauseous."
"It's Spring time Kenji, there's flowers outside." I state blankly, obviously trying to end this conversation.

There's a small pause as Kenjis expression forms a sly grin. "I get it. You're a sharp dude."
"Wha..what are you talking about?" I question back. Kenji leans in slightly, his crooked teeth making a rare appearance through his grin.
"You're behind enemy lines dude. Undercover. Incognito." He starts, catching his breath. "Under wraps. Covert. Gathering Intel, you know."

No, I don't know. I'm so lost right now, and I can barely even keep my eyes open. I try to think back to our previous conversations. I remember him saying something about 20% more girls attend this school, and something about an uprising that will lead to a war. He used the word 'feminists' pretty often in that conversation. He also mentioned some graphs and...Oh yeah, and puppets.

That was after I had scared Hanako at the library, the first time I tried talking to her. I'm glad she seems to have gotten more comfortable around me now, as long as Lilly is around. I hope Lilly ended up getting some help at her booth after we left. I shake my head, trying to recover my thoughts.

"Yeah, not really Kenj-" I start, letting the exhaustion I feel seep into my words.
"I got you now dude, relax." He states blankly, giving me a thumbs up and nodding his head. I think he actually winked, but I can't really tell through those thick glasses.
"I have stuff to do. Catch you later."

With that, he turns towards his room, opening the door up and turning back to face me. He nods his head and slowly backs into his room, closing the door between us as dozens of locks clicking and turning sound out through the now empty halls. I let out a sigh of relief, turning to my own room.

I could have done without all of that. Kenji isn't a bad guy, I think. I mean, he's a little weird and his theories are pretty...out there, but he seems harmless enough. I would probably be excited to share about my day with someone, if that someone wasn't a lunatic.

As I pass through my door and into my room, I can't help but to feel a little bit more familiar with it right now. This may not feel quite like home yet, but I think it's getting there. I've been pretty bitter about everything in my life ever since I came to Yamaku, but I think today really helped to offset some of that.

It feels nice to have friends again. Someone I can relate with and talk with about things. I can't help but to still feel a little differently about Natsume after everything that happened today though. I knew before that I felt differently about her than I did Naomi or the others here that I consider friends, but it's more pronounced now. I understand the feeling, I just don't want to admit it.

I've started to like her in a way that's more than just 'friends'. The thought is scary, to say the least. What do I offer a girl like that, that she couldn't find better from someone else? My thoughts fill with doubt as I plop down on my bed.

She didn't seem put off by any of our contact today, she even initiated most of it. What does that really mean though? She's a nice girl, and I'm just the lost new guy at school? That has to be it, as much as I'd like to think differently. What if...I'm wrong, though?

Either way, tomorrow I'm going to wake up early and...go learn how to dance. I'll put forth an effort and maybe, in time, some of the questions I have will answer themselves. I can't deny it any longer though, I definitely care for her in a unique way. I'm just going to have to keep a tight lid on it until I figure out how she feels.

I close my eyes as my head sinks into the pillow beneath it, my thoughts becoming fuzzy as they drift away. The only thing that my mind pictures clearly is a set of tightly held together hands, fireflies, and fireworks as I drift off.

-----
Last edited by InSaiyan on Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"We're just two children, pretending to be adults, aren't we?"

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

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Re: Teach Me To Dance - A Natsume Ooe Pseudo-Route(Updated 3

Post by Zerebos » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:26 pm

I like this chapter a lot! I feel like if Naomi wasn't third-wheeling they would have kissed... Dangit Naomi

One error:
InSaiyan wrote:The two are out of site now, leaving me alone in the courtyard with my thoughts.
Should be sight not site.

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Re: Teach Me To Dance - A Natsume Ooe Pseudo-Route(Updated 3

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:41 am

I sure hope he thought to set his alarm :-)

One more thing:
Why the hell would you go down there for?
This is a mixture of two questions. Decide on one.
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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Re: Teach Me To Dance - A Natsume Ooe Pseudo-Route(Updated 3

Post by InSaiyan » Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:39 pm

Zerebos wrote:I like this chapter a lot! I feel like if Naomi wasn't third-wheeling they would have kissed... Dangit Naomi
Thank you very much! I have something special planned for that moment. Hopefully the teasing will be worth it!
Zerebos wrote:Should be sight not site.
Thank you!

Mirage_GSM wrote:This is a mixture of two questions. Decide on one.
Nice catch! I appreciate your help, as always!
"We're just two children, pretending to be adults, aren't we?"

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

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Re: Teach Me To Dance - A Natsume Ooe Pseudo-Route

Post by InSaiyan » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:42 am

Part 4:
Slow-Crawl

-----

A dull blue light trickles into my room from the window over my desk as I roll over to my side once more. My eyelids fight back and forth, simultaneously refusing to close, and refusing to stay open. I was completely exhausted when I went to bed last night, so, why am I awake right now? A quick glance over to the sharp red numbers of my clock tells me that I still have about an hour before my alarm goes off, but that hour probably isn't going to be spent sleeping.

Giving in to the inevitable, I slowly force myself to sit up, my back sore from the restless night of sleep. I tossed and turned pretty much all night I guess, probably only getting a few hours of decent sleep. I should probably bring it up to Nurse later, it may be one of the side effects from my medicine, hopefully an easy fix.

I drag myself over to my closet, shuffling through the few things that I have. I should probably try to find something comfortable to dance in. The thought alone still makes me chuckle. I really hope that I don't embarrass myself. A plain T-shirt and a pair of gym shorts should be fine, if it's not, I can always pick something up later on in town. I still need some new clothes anyways.

I cram a school uniform, a few hygiene products, and some shower supplies into an old gym bag that was stuffed under my desk. My parents must have brought that for me when I first moved in. I imagine that I'll just take a quick shower in the locker room or whatever and get ready for class there. I'll even avoid the possibility of seeing Kenji, so that's a plus.

Well, now that that's settled, I may as well take my medicine and get ready for the day. Maybe a real quick shower now will clear the grogginess from my head a little.

---

It feels kind of strange, being the only one in the hallways again. I was probably the last one in last night, and now I'm likely the first one out this morning. It's not that I don't like it, but it does almost seem unfair. Then again, I agreed to do this, so I don't have much room to complain. The gym bag on my shoulder combined with the school books for the day is a little heavier than I expected when I took off, but it still beats making an extra trip.

The morning sun is barely visible over the horizon, not doing much to add any light to the darkened area outside of the dorms. As I drag my body from the boys dorm halls and into the courtyard, I glance down at my watch. I still have about ten minutes to kill before it's 6:30, so I guess I'll just take a seat and wai-

My eyes suddenly lock onto the bench as my feet stop moving forward. Natsume already sits there with her legs crossed, her auburn hair done up in a loose bun on the top of her head. She's wearing an oversized pink T-Shirt that droops off of one of her shoulders and black tights, dressing comfortably seems to be a good decision now. She hasn't noticed me yet, her eyes are locked onto the horizon in the other direction. I briefly consider sneaking up on her and scaring her, but that's probably a horrible idea.

"Goodmorning Natsu-." I start, slowly approaching the bench. She let's out a short and sharp "EEK!" in surprise, her body jumping a little as she quickly turns to look at me. She laughs at herself before exhaling in relief.
"I told you before that I was scared of the dark!" She says, still giggling lightly. "I was starting to think that you backed out on me."
"You're early. I still have a few minutes to spare!" I shoot back, laughing along with her. She uncrosses her legs before standing up, shooting me a cute smile as she stretches.
"Maybe I'm just anxious to get started." She states with a wink. "What about you? Feeling nervous about dancing with a girl?" She giggles into her hand.

I'm no expert on the matter, but even I know that there's a lot of different dances and dance styles around the world. The answer to that question heavily depends on what kind of dancing she has us trying.

"What...uhm...kind of dancing will we be doing?" I ask, trying to play off the cute jab she had made before.
"I'm not sure yet, actually. I practice a lot of different styles, but we will start with something easy, don't worry." She answers back with a smile. She bends down and grabs a small pink gym bag beside the bench before stepping forward.

She beckons me to follow as she starts walking in the direction of the auxiliary building, placed directly beside the school. This is the same building that Nurses office is in, so I'm at least slightly familiar with that section of it. I heard that there was a swimming pool in this building too, I think I would like to check that out sometime.

My nerves starts getting the better of me as I follow her down the hallway. Maybe I should have done a little bit of research on dancing before I agreed to this. I feel an unfamiliar tingling in my guts, that must be what people refer to as 'butterflies'. I never had this issue with soccer before, it's a pretty simple sport that most people already know at least something about, whether they've played or not. The same can't really be said for dance.

We pass by the nurses office and soon shoot off into an unfamiliar hallway. Only a handful of doors line the walls, all of which are spaced pretty far apart and have labels on them.

"Gymnasium...Swimming pool...Girls Locker room...Sauna...Boys Locker room...Basketball Court..."

Finally, we reach the last door in the hallway, the words "Misclenaeous Activities" are on a label placed on the window of the door. This must be our destination because Natsume stops in front of it, giving the thick wooden door a gentle push with her hand.

The room is very spacious and open. A large wooden floor covers most of the room, with a few thick foam mats placed in the left corner of the room, where a punching bag hangs from the ceiling, in the middle of the mats. It looks like it's never even been touched before, not very surprising, considering what school it's located in.

There are two very wide windows placed beside each other on the back wall. Through the dull morning grey, I can see a large open field beyond a handful of tall trees. It's a really nice view, from what I can tell. You can't see anything that even resembles school grounds, just the rolling meadows of fresh green grass. It's still a little dark out, but I bet that in the daylight, you would barely even know that you're at a school at all.

There's a row of mirrors on the right wall, and a thin metallic rail in front of them. I think I've seen something like that in movies before, I'm pretty sure it's for ballerinas...or something like that. There's some smaller foam mats to the left, as you walk in the door, they look more like large yoga mats.

"Well, what do you think?" Natsume questions cheerfully.
"It sure is...open in here." I answer, looking for words to describe the room. "You never told me that you were into boxing." I joke at her.
"Eh, I'm not sure that my...wrists would hold up well enough for boxing Hisao." She giggles back, a little bitterly, but still in a playful tone. Before I can apologize for bringing it up, she speaks again. "I spend a lot of time stretching before I start any dancing. Being flexible is one of the most important factors of dance."

She shoots me a smile as she strides over to the yoga mats, plopping down quickly and spreading her legs apart in the shape of a "V". She pushes her upper body downwards towards her knees, almost lying her chest on the quadriceps of her legs. She stretches her arms out forwards, comfortably grabbing the toe of her shoe as she holds the position. I take a seat across from her and try to mimic the moves, coming up just a little short. My legs won't spread apart quite as far as hers and my fingers just don't quite reach my toes. I can feel my hamstrings tighten up painfully like guitar strings.

We're only stretching and I'm already starting to feel like I'm in over my head a little. I can't believe how flexible she is. She shifts her body from side to side every 20 seconds or so, while I continually lunge at my toes, always coming up a little short.

"Have any tips that you'd like to share for stretching? I feel like my body is made of wood, while you make it look so easy." I question, still lunging unsuccessfully at my feet.
"Time." She states, giggling at my weak performance. "It takes time for your body to become more flexible, I've been doing this for years." The way she says "years" makes it sound like that's probably an understatement.
"How long have you been doing this, if you don't mind me asking?" I ask as I lunge to the other side.

Natsume stands up and begins rotating her shoulders in vertical loops. She seems to be thoughtfully considering the question. I stand up and mimic her movements, this seems much easier than the last one. It doesn't really feel like it's stretching anything, more so, it just loosens your shoulder up. I've seen baseball pitchers do this before going up to pitch.

"Well, I started dancing...with my mother," Natsume nervously starts, lost in thought for a moment. "That was when I was a child. It was a fun hobby...for us, while father was working."
"Ah, I see. That's really nice that you two get to share that together." I answer back, not wanting to push the subject too far. She had a certain uncomfortable emotional reaction when she mentioned her mother, maybe they don't get along anymore or something.
"I...well, I...quit for awhile when...I was ten years old." She continues on, a tone of sadness lying on each word. "I started again when I was about 14," she continues, sighing heavily as she regains her composure. "That was when I started getting...well, bullied for being different a lot. It...it helped me cope with things better."

That was a much deeper answer than I had expected. I don't quite see how dancing would help someone cope, but everyone is different, I suppose. Besides, what do I know about dancing...or coping, for that matter? I'm a little curious about her mother, she seemed really burdened by something when she brought her up. I'll save that question for another day.

"That's..very admirable of you. To find something that helps you handle the issues you were having." I state, trying my best to uplift her mood a little. "I...I wish I could say that I've done the same."
"What...do you mean Hisao?" She questions, raising her upper body up from stretching. I think I let that last part slip out. I'm making a bad habit of letting my mouth get ahead of my mind lately.
"It's nothing, really, I...I think I just mixed my words up a little. Sorry." I state, trying to brush the comment off.
"Hisao," Natsume says softly. "We're friends, right? You can tell me if something is bothering you." She has such a genuine look in her eyes, as if she really does care. I can't help but to feel a little disarmed by it.

"I...well, I..." I stutter, trying to find the right words. I exhale heavily, looking down as I try again. "I just don't know how to come to terms with my condition yet. I don't know my limits, at all. I've spent my whole life thinking that I was normal, acting normal, talking normal, thinking normal thoughts, and now, here I am struggling with being...different, all of the sudden. I've had a weak heart all of my life and I never even knew about it, so, what do I do now...that I know I'm broken?" I blurt out suddenly. I probably should have tried saying that into my pillow before coming here and throwing it all at her first. She seems a little taken aback by my sudden outburst.

"I'm...I'm sorr-" I start, trying to frantically apologize for the sudden storm of complaints.
"No, no. Don't be Hisao." She answers back softly. "What did you mean by 'never even knew it'? I thought that you always had your condition?" She raises an eyebrow in curiosity, halting her stretching for the moment.

I think for a moment about the question. I just mindlessly blurted a lot of that out, but I realize now that I have never even told Natsume about what actually brought me here.

"Well, I...umm..." I nervously start. "I...had a heart attack...back in Winter." I pause. "I spent around 4 months in the hospital before starting school here. Before that, nobody had ever known about my condition, me included."
"A...heart attack?" Natsume says quietly to herself in shock. "I'm sorry Hisao, I...I had no idea."
"Yeah, the doctors couldn't believe that the issue had never came up before that." I blankly answer back, bending at my waist and reaching betwen my feet at the ground below me. "Anyways, I'm sorry to bring it up. I'm feeling pretty stretched out, how about you?" I force a cheerful tone into my voice, trying to move past the topic.

I don't feel as bad as I thought I would have after explaining my situation, really. It wasn't comfortable, by any means, but I still did it, and I'm almost proud of myself for that. It feels like a small weight has been lifted off of my shoulders, like maybe I'm not so alone in this thing anymore. Maybe I am getting better at this?

"I think I'm loosened up enough. We will start with basic footwork and timing, sound good?" She answers as she strides over to a small black stereo in the corner, opposite of the punching bag. She bends down and presses a little button on top of it, but all I hear coming from the stereo are small -tck- noises every few seconds. She waves me over excitedly.

I begin to walk towards the corner, but she meets me halfway, stopping in front of the mirrors on the wall. She holds her hand out expectantly. I stare at it blankly for a moment, trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do with it.

"I'm sorry, but what are we doing?" I ask, totally clueless.
"Just take my hand Hisao." She giggles back.

I place my fingers gently on hers tips, following them as they turn outwards, stretching our arms away from our bodies and towards the mirrors. She gently pushes her fingers through mine as they intertwine. She steps closer, placing her free hand on my shoulder. Reflexively, I put my free hand on her side. I'm not sure why, it just felt like the normal thing to do. I'd probably seen it on a movie or something before.

"Almost. Move your hand...down a little bit." She nervously instructs. I slide my hand down her side, stopping at her hips. "We will keep it nice and easy today. This is a pretty common starting position for a lot of different dances." I can see her cheeks blushing lightly, and I'm sure that my face is on fire too. I'm not complaining about it, but it definitely has a certain closeness to it that I'm not used to. "I've...uhm...I've never actually...had...a dance partner before Hisao." She admits hesitantly, her voice lightly trembling. "My mother...she mostly did solo work."
"Really? Me...neither." I stutter back, frowning at the thought of the stupid statement.

Nice one, Hisao.

She chuckles at my nervous comment, loosening her posture up a little with a small shake of her body. The feeling of her chest brushing against mine only adds to my current anxiety.
"When I take a step, you follow with your opposite foot in the same direction. Try to match my steps as closely as you can." She instructs. "The goal is to step together at the sound of the tick. You want to let your movements sync with the music that you're dancing to, the little tick sounds is an easy place to start."
"I...think I can handle that." I nervously answer back.

She slowly steps back with her right foot as a -tck- sounds through the room. She lightly pulls on my left shoulder with her right hand, guiding my body forward as I raise my left foot, letting it hit the ground in front of her. The next -tck- signals her left foot to gracefully move to the side as she steps backwards slightly. I follow with my right foot, turning my body to match hers.

She gracefully guides my steps, slowly sending our bodies into small circles across the room as we step and turn together to the ticks.

"Hisao," She starts in a soft voice. "Try...not to watch our feet so much, it will help you to better sync with the music, rather than just reacting to my movements." I hadn't even noticed, but I've been staring at the floor the whole time.
"I'll...try." I answer back, bringing my head up and looking at her bright face.

I meet her gaze with a smile. Her eyes are bright with joy, allowing a little bit of the rising sun in the window to reach their color. She seems so...in her element like this. I'm not sure that I've seen her more confident than she is now.

We continue to move slowly around the room. I stumble a few times, causing her to give me a small chuckle, but she doesn't seem to mind. I think that I'm starting to get more comfortable with the short movements though, I almost feel like I'm actually dancing with someone now that I'm not looking at my feet. Time drifts by as we slowly move across the floor with each tick.

Suddenly, Natsume pulls our intertwined hands up towards the ceiling as she takes her hand from my shoulder and gracefully spins underneath our extended arms. She smoothely takes a step back, holding our extended arms out in front of our bodies until the next tick sounds. She gracefully slides forwards, resting her hand on my shoulder once again.

She pauses for a moment, as our eyes are drawn together. Her movements were so fluid and smooth, it's hard to wrap my mind around.

"S-Sorry. I've always wanted to do that." She says, giggling a little in embarrassment.
"You make it look so easy." I respond in astonishment.
"Your timing is actually pretty good Hisao. I think tomorrow we will have to speed things up a little." She cheerfully says with a wink.
"That sounds good to me." I say back, forcing a confident smile.

We continue moving around the room, each step seeming to become more and more natural. She closes her eyes and hums a little, trying to put some form of music to our dancing. After a few minutes pass by, her eyes suddenly shoot open and she smiles excitedly at me.

Suddenly, she slides her finger tips from my shoulder across the nape of my neck as she leans her head in and turns it slightly, gently burying her cheek into my neck. The sudden embrace takes me off guard for a moment, it just came from nowhere. Natsume has seemed to really let her guard down the past few days. I have to say, I'm finding it harder and harder to not do the same.

I move my hand from her hip to the small of her back reflexively, lightly squeezing her body against my own. This embrace is a little closer than our hug last night was, I can feel the uneven beats in my chest throb against her chin, it makes me a little self-conscious. I suddenly feel that strange longing feeling well up in my chest again as we hold each other tightly.

There's something...romantic, I guess would be the word, about all of this. The dancing, the way she confidently moves around, the embrace...it all feels so...right. I rest my cheek lightly against the crown of her head, the fragrant smell of her flowery shampoo further sending my senses into a storm.

"Thanks for being a good friend." She whispers, her words slightly muffled by my chest.
"Same to you, Natsume." I weakly reply back, my voice trembling slightly. My heart is jumping awkwardly at my rib cage, trying to take in this moment without collapsing.

'Friend'

I secretly hope that she's using that word loosely, and not meaning 'just' friends. My feelings for her have developed a lot in such a short amount of time, it scares me that they have gotten even deeper the past few days. I feel like I've known Natsume for much longer than I really have. I find myself letting go and opening up around her more than I have anybody else, even before my accident. My old 'friends' would have made fun of me for doing something like this, but not her.

Even Iwanako, the only other girl that I've ever had some kind of feelings for, wasn't like this. I liked her, but it was in more of a shallow, or childish way. I didn't know much about her, really, other than she was popular around school and that she was an attractive girl. With Natsume, it's some kind of deeper feeling. One of understanding and a mutual bond that I can't quite put my finger on yet.

I feel a comfortable warmth slowly leave my body as Natsume steps back a little, lifting her head from my upper chest. She slides her hand back across the nape of my neck, her fingertips sending small shivers down my body as they pass over. Her hand falls back to her side as she straightens her posture.

"I'm going to go get ready for class. Want to grab breakfast?" She asks, stretching her arms out.
"I have to go see Nurse, actually." I answer back, dreading the meeting a little.
"No problem. I'll take care of things here, you go ahead." She answers back, her pearly white teeth shining through her smile.
"You sure?" I question.
"Yep! I'll see you in class!" She states, slowly looking down, grinning at my hand that's still around her waist.
"O-Oh, I'm sorry!" I stutter, pulling my hand back to my side quickly.
"Relax Hisao." She giggles back. "Besides...what if-" she cuts off, giggling to herself as her cheeks brighten in a red tint. "Eh, Nevermind. See you in class!" She nervously smiles and turns, striding over to the small stereo.

I grab my bag and books from nearby the door as I make my way out. I begin my walk down the hall, my head flooded with thoughts. I wonder what she was about to say? Maybe it was nothing. I guess I'll never know now, unfortunately.

Overall, I had a surprisingly good time this morning. Other than the stretching, I wouldn't consider it much of a workout, but this is only the beginning, it's bound to get harder. I can't deny that my heart is definitely beating faster than normal though, whether that be from the dancing or the close contact with Natsume, I can't tell.

I find myself looking forward to more mornings like this one.

-----
Last edited by InSaiyan on Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"We're just two children, pretending to be adults, aren't we?"

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

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Re: Teach Me To Dance - A Natsume Ooe Pseudo-Route(Updated 3

Post by TheZohan » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:06 am

Loving the story so far, it's nice too see different characters get a story.
Keep up the good work. :D

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Re: Teach Me To Dance - A Natsume Ooe Pseudo-Route(Updated 3

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:29 am

There's two very wide windows
"There are"
Move your hand...down a little bit." She nervously instructs. I slide my hand down her side, stopping at her hips.
Actually the shoulderblade would be the correct position for most dances...

For someone who has never danced with a artner before, Natsume sure is proficient at leading :-)
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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