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Re: Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:51 pm
by Oddball
Don't blame me, blame StilesLong.

(Prompt: Give one of the KS girls a surprise Christmas present: a puppy! You pick the breed, the sender, etc BUT they must receive the puppy while on campus. Oh, and Yamaku doesn't allow non-service animals. Oh, and whoever gifted the dog didn't include food. And the girl is snowed in on campus for the week but the new caretaker, Takeshi, isn't a fan of dogs... )

Pet Story

I think I'm starting to hate snow. Between last winter's confession and this winter trapping me at school I wouldn't be upset if I never saw any snow ever again. The school has done a better job than I could have expected at keeping the walkways between the dorms, cafeteria, and medical building clear, going anywhere else would almost require snowshoes... or mountain climbing gear.

The dorms themselves are much quieter than usual as well. Most of the students were going home for the holidays and managed to sneak out before the snow started coming down. As for the ones that were planing on leaving a few days later, well, we're stuck. Thankfully Rin never left for the holidays; I still have her to keep me from going insane.

I go to knock on Rin's door only to have it open right before my hand strikes it. Standing there is an older man wearing a beat up brown jacket, jeans, and a ball cap. His jacket is open revealing a t-shirt with English writing on it. In contrast to his more casual appearance is a think pair of mittens and a long striped scarf. The slight wetness of all his clothes, tells me he's been outside for a while.

He enthusiastically gabs my hand and quickly greets me. “Hey there, man. How it going? Please to meet ya'. Gotta be going. It's been fun. Watch out for ninjas.” Somehow while shaking my hand, he manages to turn me around so he's out ion the hall way and I'm standing in the open door. Then, just like that he's gone before I could even introduce myself.

“Who was that?” I ask Rin when I finally have a chance to process what just happened.

“B.C.” she says flatly.

“What's the B.C. Stand for?” I ask.

“His name,” she replies.

“I mean-” I stop to think how to ask her a question without having her give me an answer that's almost meaningless. “--how does he know you and why was he visiting?”

“B.C. is my adopted uncle,” she says. “and he was giving me this,” she says nodding her head towards something on the floor. It's not until the head nod that I notice she's been watching something on the floor by her bed.

Walking over to where she's sitting, I see a small puppy playing with one of her winter uniform jackets. “He gave you a dog?” I ask.

“Puppy,” she smiles at me.

I watch it for a moment as it tried to crawl into one of her sleeves.

“It's cute. What kind is it?” I ask.

“Fluffy,” she says. She pokes it slightly with her foot which catches the puppy's attention long enough for it to lick her big toe a few times before loosing interest and returning to the coat.

“I meant what breed is it?” I press for further information.

“I don't know it that well yet,” she says. This is going to turn into one of those conversations. I can already tell.

“It's your dog and you can't tell what kind of dog it is? Didn't your uncle say anything?” I try to phrase the questions with as humorous a tone as I can.

“Fluffy. Plenty.” Rin replies. She's now tilted her head and is watching the little dog with head held sideways. The dog continues playing, oblivious to her observance.

I make a note to get to the library once it opens again and try to figure out exactly what kind of dog this is. For now, I guess it being a fluffy dog is good enough. Naturally the next question would be “What's it's name?”

“My Dog,” she says.

“You've named it 'My Dog'?”

“No. My Dog.”

“Your Dog?”

She sighs and looks at me. “It's My Dog. It's not Your Dog. It's not YOU Your Dog. As in, when you are you, you would say You that it's Your Dog. If I was being you, and I'm not except in that one dream where I/You could fly and had to try to stop the color yellow – I can't fly can I?”


“Good then this isn't a dream,” she smirks at me like she's just told some clever joke. Maybe I've gotten too used to her because she way she says it actually does sound almost funny. “Then I was you and saying it. It would be Rin's Dog. As I am Rin. Almost always. This is my dog.” She seems quite satisfied with her explanation. It's actually quite adorable. I'm just not sure it's the best name for a dog.

“Maybe you should name him something else,” I say.

“Should I?”

“I think you should,” I say.

“I'll trust your judgment. You sometimes know things.” The expression she gives me is one it took me a long time to decipher. It's the look she gives me when she knows she's being stranger than she has to be just to mess with people.

After several minutes of trying to figure out a name that name that meant the feeling of sunset or what color was soft and fuzzy, the dog ended up a name.

Rin laid down on the floor next with her face right up next to it. “You are Mellow. Mellow the dog. Hello doggy.” The small tan colored dog started licking her face. Even more remarkable is that Rin actually seemed to laugh. I don't think I've ever actually seen her laugh before. It looks really cute, but I'm not sure the expression fits her face, if that makes sense.

Watching a person watching a dog might not sound like the most interesting thing in the world, but most people aren't Rin. The dog runs around the room chewing on various things and Rin watches it with all the wonderment of a person that's discovered one of the great secrets of the universe.

Then of course, Mellow ruins it by peeing on the carpet.

“Clean that up,” Rin says. She doesn't take her eyes off the dog, so I'm unsure if she's talking to me or Mellow. I answer anyway.

“It's your dog.”

“I know. I'm delegating responsibility,” she says. At least she's turned to look at me this time.

“I don't think it works that way,” I tell her.

“Why not?”

“It's your dog. You need to take responsibility for it.”

She pauses a for a moment and closes her eyes. Once she opens them again, she looks straight at her puppy. “Find me some cleaning supplies. Like the kind you clean carpet with. Or the kind somebody else cleans carpet with if you don't.”

“I'll find the stuff, but you clean it up. Okay?” She doesn't answer that one, but I take it to mean she agrees with that arrangement. I hope she agrees to that arrangement. I'm not cleaning up after somebody else's dog.

… I'm probably going to end up cleaning up after it.

Well, it's not like I can just leave her in a room with pee stains all over the floor. Emi would kill me later when she comes back and has to clean up after it.

In the men's dorms, there's a janitor's closet full of cleaning equipment that they never lock only a few rooms down from where I stay. I was hoping that I'd find something similar in the girls dorms, but I'm not having any luck so far. Do they not except the girls to clean up after themselves? I know it's not a budget thing, because no matter how many times Kenji raids ours for “supplies” they always have it restocked a day or two later.

Finally, after turning more hallways than I thought this building had, I run across Ms. Takeshi, the caretaker of the girl's dorms. To say she's not my favorite of the Yamaku staff would be a bit of an understatement. It's mutual though. I don't think she likes anyone either.

“What are you doing in the ladies dormitories?” she asks. I suppose that's about as nice of a greeting as I can hope for.

“I'm visiting a classmate,” I tell her. Her expression says that she doesn't like it, but at the same time there are no rules preventing it. “I was actually looking for -” my mind briefly panics as I try to think of the appropriate name for a janitors closet, “- custodial office.” I'm not sure that was it. “I just need to clean up a mess a dog made.”

“Why was there a dog in the ladies dormitories?” from the way she says this, I can tell two things. First, there are not supposed to be dogs in the building. That would explain why I haven't seen any of the blind students with seeing eye dogs. The second thing I can tell is that she hates dogs more than she hates people.

“I don't know. I'm just trying to clean up a mess one made,” I lie. I should probably tell Rin about dogs not being allowed. I'm not sure she knows about it either.

She gives me a look that tells me she knows I'm lying and would like nothing better than to catch me but doesn't want to put forth the energy to do so. A blue haired girl starts to walk past us wearing a puffy winter's jacket that makes her upper body look three times bigger than her lower body. Takeshi reaches out and grabs her by the arm, nearly scaring the poor girl to death.

“Fetch some cleaning supplies for our guest, please” she instructs the girl. “And if you see anyone walking a dog, let me know and I'll call someone to have it removed.” I don't know who she would call in this weather nor do I expect that anyone would show up if she did call, but she gets the point across. She doesn't want to see any dogs.

The blue haired girl leads me down another hall. “Sorry about getting you dragged into this,” I say. She grunts a reply making it obvious she doesn't feel the need to talk to me. We continue walking and stop in front of the ladies' room. She tells me to wait there and goes inside. This does explain why I couldn't find the janitor's closet myself. A moment later she returns with a small basket of cleaning supplies, hands it to me, and leaves without saying a word.

I start going back to Rin's room and meet her halfway. She's got her winter coat and boots on now, as well as the bag she normally carries for school. Her dog's head is peaking out from it.

“You might not want to let the woman in charge of the dorms see Mellow. She doesn't seem to like dogs,” I warn her.

“He hasn't done anything yet,” Rin says. “Except on the carpet.”

“We should probably get that cleaned up,” I say.

“Already did. You were gone. I think you were getting that,”she says motioning her head towards the basket I'm carrying. I'm just going to take her word for it that it's clean. Time to move on to the next question.

“Still, I really don't think you should let Takeshi see it. Where are you going anyway?”

“I don't have any dog food, so I was going to get some.” She stops and looks at her new pet then excitedly says “puppy! Should I get puppy food? Is that different?”

“I … don't know, but you're not going to find dog food anywhere on campus. Maybe we could get something out of the cafeteria,” I suggest.

“Yes, dogs would enjoy that,” Rin says. I think she may have just told a joke. It's hard to tell.

“Why did your uncle give you a dog and not give you any food to go with it anyway?” I ask.

“It's cold and I'm snowed in, so I get a dog. He's visiting for a week while we're snowed in and then he'll be waiting for me at home,” Rin explains. “Like a little doggy vacation.”

Then for the first time since I've seen the pet, it barks. There's a moment of panic where I expect Ms. Takeshi to come racing around the corner.

“Let's just get going,” I say. I reach down and ruffle the fur on the little things head. “Try to behave yourself.”

It's going to be a long week.

“How did your uncle get here anyway with the roads being closed?”

“He does that sort of thing. He's like a walking, flying, appearing, going places person that's always showing up somewhere. He's good at it.”

Re: Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:57 am
by StilesLong
Oddball wrote:Don't blame me, blame StilesLong.
Thanks, Oddball. I don't blame you at all. I blame that Stiles guy! What a nerd!

I enjoyed the story though. I hope your holidays went well and thank you for the laughs. I wouldn't have guessed Rin would be getting a dog, but it sure worked well.

Re: Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:56 am
by Mirage_GSM
Who else but Rin?

On reading the promp I was thinking about a different Takeshi.

Oh, and your autocorrect seems to think a literary is a place to look things up.

Oh, and her uncle reminded me of Kenji... :-)

Re: Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:52 pm
by Oddball
It's a little bit after Christmas at this point.

I think we're still missing a few.

Re: Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:51 pm
by Mirage_GSM
According to the Prof there should have been 18 submissions in total.

We know gibzx, WillDFly and Visionary have received a story but have not yet submitted any; there should be one more.
I think WillDFly should have written the one for monkey, because apparently there were three late applicants.

Not sure if we can yet expect those submissions at this point...

Re: Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:02 pm
by Oddball
Kinda sucks if some people aren't getting their stories. Maybe we should ask for anyone whop wants to volunteer to finish them off.

Re: Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:32 pm
by brythain
Oddball wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:02 pm
Kinda sucks if some people aren't getting their stories. Maybe we should ask for anyone whop wants to volunteer to finish them off.
I'd volunteer, if that's acceptable. :)

Re: Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:20 am
by ProfAllister
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:51 pm
According to the Prof there should have been 18 submissions in total.

We know gibzx, WillDFly and Visionary have received a story but have not yet submitted any; there should be one more.
I think WillDFly should have written the one for monkey, because apparently there were three late applicants.

Not sure if we can yet expect those submissions at this point...
Confirmed - I received 18 prompts (15 on-time submissions, and 3 late submissions). The following participants have not received their story yet:


Of the participants who have yet to submit, 2 have provided excuses, 2 have provided radio silence.

On balance, 18 volunteers to participate is itself amazingly successful. A 78% completion rate is also a pleasant result. A couple people have contacted me privately volunteering to cover the delinquent prompts. At this point, I figure I'll most likely release (i.e., give to a volunteer) the silent prompts; still trying to decide on the excused prompts.

Anyway, my take on what we do have completed:

Fresh Snow - Considering the number of attempted pseudoroutes, I have trouble swallowing HisaoxMiki as "unusually paired", but I leave it to the prompt writer to cry foul on that point. A standard does of the cute sugary sweetness we expect this time of year.

Our Holiday Vacation - I personally prefer my own Secret Santa-Prompted Shizune Proposal fic, but it's amusing that something so specific happened more than once. It's fun, and sweet, and has a few nice touches here and there. Like a few others, I was distracted by the idea of expensive jewelry being given for free as an apparent impulse, especially something as specific as a sapphire S, but there are worse things than a little bit of Hollywood here and there.

Unlikely Shopping - It's always fun to jump into Misha's head (unless Doomish is writing). Shizune seemed a little "off", but not too bad.

From Time - It's always refreshing when someone takes a simple, straightforward prompt, and takes it new and interesting places. The idea is excellent. The execution was a little rocky with clarity and readability, but overall very well done.

The Christmas Party of the Yamaku Anime&Manga Club - You took a rather challenging prompt from a very demanding reader, and did a good job with it. Not much I can add to what Mirage said.

Better Than A Blanket - I've said before that Lilly and Hanako fluff isn't exactly my cup of tea (geddit?), but this is probably strongest for its look at a healthier Hanako.

Shizune's Silent Night - Short and sweet. You may feel bad about not writing a novel, but bite-sized is often all you need. That and it's a clever twist on the prompt.

The New Year - Nothing like obsessive stalkers spying on you from the bushes to get you in the Christmas spirit. Taking open-ended prompts in an unexpected direction is half the fun of this format, so good on you.

Pet Story - Rin is one of the most inconsistently-written characters from author to author. That's part of what makes her so fun/interesting. Lots of typos, but that's almost your "thing". It pretty much hits the main notes of the prompt and nothing more, but it fleshes everything out so much that there's no reason to complain - it does what was asked for, and does it well.

Lights Out - A few of the prompts were practically begging for sexytimes, but no one bit. This one throws a bit of a curveball by going AU on us, but no harm done. Well-written, and different enough to catch your attention, kind of leaving you wanting more.

Dark Winter Sky - Plenty of praise for this one, and all well-deserved. A bit of a rollercoaster, especially the several unexpected swerves, but that's hardly a bad thing.

Two Turtledoves - Blind POV and dealing with the ever-popular phantoms of Hisao's past. Very nicely done. My only complaint, and a mild one at that, is that it almost feels that every encounter between Hisao and his past is nearly identical, no matter who's writing it.

Truth and Consequences - I'll be honest: I read the prompt and thought "How the hell would I work with that? Glad I didn't draw it." Natsume's presence and semi-prominence threw me off a bit, but I must say that I'm impressed with how you pulled off a difficult prompt in a very satisfying manner. Hat's off to you.

And with that, I feel we can safely formally adjourn the 2018 Seasonal Solstice Secret Santa Short Story Sharing Session. As for what that means, just that I'm done with any formal organization duties. People are more than free to finish their submissions if they're late, write consolation submissions for the prompts that are released, and (of course) continue to comment on the stories.

Re: Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:45 am
by brythain
Hi Mirage,

I've managed to respond to the QuietlySomething's prompt, in the piece called 'Festival'. I think it gets slotted in before 'Cripple Your Enthusiasm' in your list in the first post.

Thanks, and enjoy!

Re: Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 11:39 pm
by ProfAllister
A Christmas Sketch

When I first came to Yamaku, I never would have guessed that I'd become an artist.

No, I’m not an artist. Not really. But I’ve definitely found that I have a love for the craft. It seems like every moment of my free time I have my sketchbook in hand, forever capturing random, almost trivial moments. But if anyone knew the value of time, it would be me.

Mr. Nomiya - no, he insists that I call him Shinichi now - has been thrilled with my improvement over just a few short months. He says that I may have a talent for this. No ‘spark of genius,’ but having seen what that does to someone, I think I’m okay with that.

“Hisao? Are you okay? You stopped drawing.”

I look up from my sketch and toward the subject of it, reflexively smiling. It’s funny that such a simple action used to be so difficult, but now comes naturally. This has been a hell of a year.

Looking at who I’m drawing, I concede that it’s pretty hard to not smile at such a beauty - her long dark hair, soft eyes, full lips, even little things she gets self-conscious about, like the way her teeth peek out between slightly parted lips.

“I’m fine. Just… thinking.”

She giggles, her hand reflexively covering her mouth in an oh-so-proper way. “You’re always thinking, Hisao. Honestly, I can’t take you anywhere.”

“Then it’s a good thing I can walk on my own, now isn’t it?”

She shoves me playfully, and I allow myself to fall backwards onto the picnic blanket. Right next to the bucket of fried chicken we just shared.

We’re not far from this year’s illuminations - at a popular retreat for couples in the summer. Not nearly as popular in the winter, it seems. But today wasn’t terribly cold. And no snow, unlike the last time we were here.

It feels like so long ago, even if it was just earlier this year. We barely feel like the same people. High school is effectively over for us - she’s going to take the standard route of entrance exams, aiming for Tokyo University, just like anyone else. As for me - Shinichi put in a good word for me at a pretty significant art school. They care more about my portfolio than my academics, so I have an interview scheduled in a couple weeks. Shinichi insists that it’s as good as done, and, given his connections, I don’t doubt it. But I’ll feel a lot more comfortable when it’s official.

I feel the nearby movement as she elects to lie down next to me.

“What are you thinking, Hisao?”

What am I thinking? How to put it into words?

“I’m not really sure. I guess I’m thinking about how life is a journey, and you really have no way of guessing what comes next.”

“Getting philosophical again?” she asks, her tone full of mock annoyance.

“That would imply I ever stopped.”

Another light shove.

“Merry Christmas, you big dork.”

“Merry Christmas to you, too, Iwanako.”


Okay, Story Time.

After posting this year's S9 announcement and linking back to the S8 announcement, I decided I needed to clean up the links so that people could read everything that was submitted last year. In doing so, I realised something terrible - one of the participants never had his prompt fulfilled.

monkeywitha6pack requested "a Christmas date with Hisao and Iwanako"

I figured that someone should step in and try to make things right. It's not much, and late by a year, but Merry Christmas, monkey.