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Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:39 pm
by Mirage_GSM
Hello everybody!

For those who didn't get the note, ProfAllister graciously organized this year's "Seasonal Solstice Secret Santa Short Story Sharing Session" (details in the link) which I shortened to "Secret Santa 2017" so as not to risk breaking the forum...

Anyway, Christmas is drawing near, so I'm going to post my story now, and to avoid cluttering the forum with a score of new threads I talked to the prof about collecting all submissions in one thread.

This post is going to be an index of all submissions. Whether you choose to use this thread or create your own, I'm going to add links to all the stories so they can be easily found.

Happy Holidays!

Fresh Snow - From scratchminus for Zerebos (separate thread)
Our Holiday Vacation - From Zerebos for Riakai (separate thread)
Unlikely Shopping From Riakai For Path
From Time - From Path for Frau Perchta (separate thread)
The Christmas Party of the Yamaku Anime&Manga Club - From FrauPerchta for Mirage_GSM
Better Than A Blanket - From Mirage_GSM for gibzx
Empty Nest for the Holidays - From gibzx for scratchminus (separate thread)

Shizune's Silent Night From monkeywitha6pack for Feurox
The New Year - From Feurox for WillDFly (separate thread)
A Christmas Sketch From ProfAllister (filling in for WillDFly) for monkeywitha6pack

Festival - From brythain for QuietlySomething (separate thread)
Cripple Your Enthusiam - From QuietlySomething for ProfAllister (separate thread)
Freaks and Friends Super Happy Funtime Christmas Special - From ProfAllister for Oddball (separate thread)
Pet Story - From Oddball for StilesLong
Lights Out - From StilesLong for CraftyAtom (separate thread)
Dark Winter Sky - From Craftyatom for EurobeatJester (separate thread)
Two Turtledoves - From Eurobeatjester for brythain (separate thread)

Truth and Consequences - From brythain for Visionary (separate thread)

Re: Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:41 pm
by Mirage_GSM
Better than a Blanket – A Secret Santa Story

From: Mirage_GSM

For: gibzx

Winter break is finally here, and Lilly has decided to invite her family - Hanako and Hisao - to stay over a few days in their small summerhouse in Hokkaido. Unbeknownst to the pair, Lilly has set up a surprise Christmas party with the help of Akira for them to celebrate.
Exhausted I slump down on the sofa.

From the start nothing has gone according to plan today: First our connecting flight from Haneda to Sapporo was more than an hour late due to heavy snow, then something was wrong with the rental car reservation, and then the drive out here took us four whole hours - again because of the snow.

At least I got to sleep a bit in the car, since – again – I wasn’t able to on the plane. It’s an ability I really envy Akira for.

We bought the groceries for tonight in the next town and then came here. Akira had arranged for someone to come over and clean the house sometime last week, so at least we didn’t have to worry about cleaning out four and a half years of dust – not that Akira would have been thrilled to do something like that even if we had all the time in the world.

Now, finally, I’m done preparing tonight’s food and have time for a little break while Akira is out fetching “something important” as she put it. It should still be about an hour until Hisao and Hanako...

A knock on the door startles me from my musings. I check my watch – yes there should still be some time... I cautiously make my way to the door to avoid tripping on something Akira might have left lying around... No that’s unfair. I know Akira wouldn’t do that. The truth is that I’m simply not all that familiar with the layout of this room anymore – having spent most of the afternoon in the kitchen.

As I approach the door I can hear hushed talking outside. I can’t make out any words, but I still recognize the voices.

As soon as I open the door I hear a high squeal, and am almost tackled to the ground by the person bear-hugging me.

“Lilly! So good to see you again!”

And from slightly behind her, “Hi Lilly, hope you had a good flight.” I can hear the smile on Hisao’s face as he is taking in the scene.

I choose to ignore the question and invite the both of them in. Hisao makes a quick trip back to the car and retrieves two small travelling bags which I instruct him to bring to the bedroom.

Shortly we are sitting in the common room sipping a cup of tea each. Hanako is positively giddy, asking me all kinds of questions about Scotland, my family and my college.

“Yes, Scotland does get quite cold in the winter as well - it IS a bit farther north than Hokkaido – but Inverness is located right at the sea, so it doesn’t get too bad. It is not far to the mountains, however, and my mother does like to go skiing on the weekends. A few times she’s taken me along.”

I can practically feel the unspoken question hanging in the air.

“...not to go skiing myself of course, but they have some wonderful hiking trails, and it is a nice change of pace from college. When I am among almost 9.000 students the whole week I miss the peaceful atmosphere at Yamaku...”

“Yes, I know what you mean.” Hanako shifts on the couch uncomfortably for a moment. “It’s been hard for me as well for the first months, but it helps that most of the anglistics students at my university share my love for reading and literature...”

At this point Hisao interrupts his girlfriend. “By the way, did she tell you that Suzu is going to the same university?”

I struggle to remember the name. “Suzuki? Wasn’t she in your class? I’m sorry, I never talked to her much, so I hardly remember her.”

“Yes, I didn’t talk to her much either when I was at Yamaku, so I didn’t even know where she was going. I ran into her by accident when the first semester was already almost over. A university is really a big place. It is so easy for two people to completely miss each other.”

“Especially when one of them avoids crowds and the other spends most of the time sleeping.”

Hisao pays for that jibe by being playfully punched in the side by Hanako, and all three of us start to giggle. I am very relieved to see that Hanako has gotten better to the point where Hisao can make a joke like that without worrying about offending her. During our phone calls I was always worried that she was just keeping quiet about her problems, but those concerns seem to have been mostly unnecessary.

When we have all calmed down a bit Hanako speaks up again. “Say, Lilly, do you think there are any blankets around the house? It’s a bit chilly in here.”

I start. She’s right. I didn’t notice it that much since I was so busy preparing dinner all afternoon, but by now it has gotten dark outside, and just sitting here, you can feel the cold seeping in from outside. “I think there should be some in the bottom of the wardrobe in the bedroom.”

Hisao rises from the couch. “I’ll go get some, so...”

A series of loud knocks comes from the front door. That’s probably Akira. I hope they like the surprise. “Ah, Hanako, can you please get the door?”

I hear footsteps, then the door being cautiously opened, then...

“Hey! S’up?”

“Akira! I thought you had to work!”

“It’s Christmas you know. Over there that’s a holiday. Several in fact. So when Lilly said she’d fly over to visit you I thought I’d tag along. Hope you don’t mind.”

“Of course we don’t mind, Akira, you know that!”

“Well, then I hope you don’t mind lending me your boyfriend for a moment... Hey, Hisao, grab your jacket and give me a hand.” She hesitates a moment. “You’ll be okay carrying something from the car inside?”

I hear Hisao putting on his jacket. “As long as you haven’t parked half a kilometre away, I should be fine.”

The two disappear out the door, and Hanako walks up to me. “Why didn’t you tell us?”

“Is that not obvious? It was supposed to be a surprise.”

“But now we don’t have a Christmas present for her!”

I shrug, grinning. “I don’t think she’ll mind.”

Huffing and scraping from the front door catches our attention, and Hanako moves towards the noise to help. “Hey, that’s really heavy. What is that?”

“Just a little something I thought we’d need for today. Just put it down right here.”

I hear the sound of packaging being removed, then a gasp from Hanako. “A kotatsu.”

“Yeah well, when Lilly told me she wanted to do her Christmas party up here I remembered once coming here with our parents in the winter. That was before Lilly was born, but... Let’s say since then we’ve only used this place as a summer house for a reason... I wanted to have it delivered, but that didn’t work out, so I had to pick it up.”

She’s right, of course. Living in Europe for so long I’d forgotten that this place didn’t have any central heating.

Hisao laughs. “Good thinking, Akira. You know if the thermometer had been just a few centimetres longer we’d have frozen to death by now.”

That gets a laugh out of Akira as well. “Okay, but you know I’m getting a bit peckish. Why don’t you and Hanako, go get dinner ready, while Hisao and I set this big boy up?"


An hour later we are all sitting around the kotatsu, enjoying the meal. The table is smaller than I would have liked for our dinner – it is impossible to fit all the dishes on top together with our plates, so someone has to go to the kitchen now and again – but at least it is cosily warm.

I tried to make a dinner entirely of Scottish Christmas dishes, but some of them were a lot harder to do than others – not just the cooking but also the ingredients.

The entree Cock-a-Leekie soup was one of the easier parts, requiring only chicken, leeks and barley broth, the salmon and scrambled eggs were also easy to get... but getting a turkey required a bit of planning including pre-ordering it from back home and picking it up here in town.

Some of the vegetables for the stuffing I bought canned in Inverness, because they are not commonly used here, and I didn’t want to risk them not being available in the supermarket.

Akira also suggested adding Haggis to the menu, but I put my foot down at that. It’s not something I wanted to inflict on my best friends.

Presently, Akira is bringing in the Christmas pudding desert. This is also something that I bought premade, since it would have taken too long to prepare here... That and my experiments making it last year have been less than satisfactory.

Neither Hisao nor Hanako seem to be very enthused about it – either the cinnamon and nutmeg flavour is just too alien for a Japnese palate or they are simply stuffed from the previous dishes. For me it is one of my favourites, which may be partly because of the rum sauce that comes with it.

After the meal we collectively decide to leave the dishes for the next morning; Hanako just puts the leftovers into the refrigerator.

Hisao addresses Akira. “So are you coming down to our place along with Lilly tomorrow? We could make room for both of you, you know.”

We already talked about this, so I already know Akira’s answer. “Thanks for the offer, Hisao, but no. I’ll be in Japan for a few more days, but I plan to catch up with a few other friends I left behind when I moved to Scotland – mostly old colleagues – and I also plan to visit Daichi’s parents. He wanted to come along, too, but the poor sod is down with the flu. I told him to get a shot, but no, he was like ‘I’ve never had a flu in my life, so why should I get a shot?’”

She ponders for a few seconds.

“Maybe I’ll be able to drop by at your place before I fly back, but no promises. You just take care of Lilly, right. Kid had to practice the language before coming back here because she’s forgotten all about it.”

I feel my face flush at brazen lie. “That is NOT true!”

Akira’s laughter tells me that I’ve fallen for her trap again, and I pout. “My Japanese is still better than yours ever was.”

“Well, that’s not a high bar to pass, “ Hanako pipes up. Maybe she did have more of that rum sauce than I noticed...

After joking back and forth for some more time I feel it becomes increasingly harder to keep my eyes open, and that doesn’t escape the others.

“Seems the jetlag is finally catching up to you, sis.”

Hanako yawns. “It’s not just her. I think we’ve all been on our feet a long time today. We left home very early to account for all the snow on the roads... Even though someone, “she pauses, presumably to shoot her boyfriend a knowing look, “was a bit too pessimistic about that.”

“Come on, it would have been worse if we’d been stuck somewhere on the road and arrived late, wouldn’t it? But yeah, I’m pretty tired as well.”

“Then why don’t you two retire to the bedroom? I’ll put the kotatsu to the side, and well put out our futons here.”

“Aww, why can’t you just leave it here? It’s much better than a blanket.”

Akira sits up straight and speaks in the strictest voice she is capable of. “Lilian, didn’t I teach you not to sleep under a Kotatsu, or you will get burned when you move in your sleep?”

...which is not very strict, admittedly. Still it gets a final laugh out of everyone for the evening, and then Hanako and Hisao leave for the bedroom.

Soon we have set up the futons and are ready for bed. As I drift off to sleep I think about the day, and the coming two weeks that I am going to spend with Hanako and Hisao - my Japanese family - before returning to Inverness.

Despite all her joking a lot of what has made this day special would not have been possible if she had not planned ahead and thought of all the tiny details.



“Thank you for being my sister.”


When I thought about the prompt I noticed the incongruity between “summer house” and “Christmas party” and from that the rest of the story more or less wrote itself.

Lilly was the first one mentioned in the prompt, so I chose to make her the narrator, which caused the difficulty level to go up a bit, but I hope it also makes for a more interesting story.

No, I didn't forget the exchanging of the presents. They are going to do that in the morning. :-)

Proper attribution for the thermometer joke goes to Mark Twain.

Re: Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:36 pm
by Oddball
That was a nice little fun story.

It wasn't as sappy a Christmas story as some of these tend to fall into. It captured a nice peaceful winter mood without feeling like it tired too hard.

... I did have to look up what a kotatsu was though.

Re: Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:57 pm
by brythain
Thanks for your sweet story. :)

Mine is up at my short fic thread.

Re: Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:58 pm
by FrauPerchta
So, sorry for the delay, here’s my story for the Secret Santa thingy. I got Mirage_GSM’s prompt, which threw me off a bit-
"The Christmas Party of the Yamaku Anime&Manga Club"

I know very little about Anime clubs (I do watch plenty of anime and read manga, but have never been part of a club for that) and as I understand it Christmas in Japan is radically different from Christmas here. To help me, I decided to set my story after any character in KS would have graduated, simply because they aren’t needed and no such club is referenced in the game. Its my first bit of writing on here, and the first writing I’ve done for anyone other than myself, so I hope its at least mildly entertaining. It kinda... transformed itself into the ramblings of an OC character complaining about things, in that psuedocathartic way that seems natural enough for me. Naturally, its pretty bad and disorganized, as well as being edited horribly (well, not really any editing at all) on top of being pretty damn short, which I hope is okay. At the bare minimum it was different enough that it was a moderately decent learning experience for me.


Keeping my eyes open is such a pain in the ass. I’m lucky I got to pick the movie- Tokyo Godfathers, an actual good Christmas animated film unlike some of the dribble the others wanted to play. I admit, I did exploit my seniority a bit- there aren’t many third years in the club, and I used that fact to bully my way into getting what I wanted. To be fair, though, it’s not unreasonable- it’s not like there aren’t some of us who can’t sit through an hour and a half with their eyes open. I mean, as far as I know it’s only me, but at least I can recall the bits from memory while listening to the movie when I couldn’t watch it, so… lucky me!Naturally, my role in setting up our little holiday get-together was pretty big- I paid for the privilege of picking our primary entertainment quite literally, seeing as I bought the food I’m sure everyone is unceremoniously devouring. The smell of fried chicken is indeed appetizing, but given my already aching jaw I stick to less messy sources of nutrition instead. Some less tasty and less interesting nutrition. The fact that anyone complains about me not allowing a newer movie or leaving it up my vote only serves to frustrate me.

I really don’t expect much from the club- I mean, it’s the prototypical otaku club, and some of the membership shows it. There are a few people I get along with well enough, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I seriously question why I’m here. I mean, yes, I am an avid fan of quite a few anime and manga, and quite a few movies, but few people here seem to have even remotely similar tastes, instead opting for what I can only describe as the very mundane drivel any studio can pump out without even considering artistic integrity. Perhaps that’s a product of being one of only a few girls in the club, or me being a third year amongst mostly younger students, but I think above all it’s my… for lack of a better word, pretentious tastes. I like the medium for the art- what it can do that others can’t, for those classics that appear in the midst of the mediocre garbage- the bizarre and avant-garde. Yes, I admit to being one of those fans that will chastise you for not seeing Angel’s Egg or not understanding Evangelion, or dismissing Lain for its dated animation. I admit this but I can’t help myself- I need to advocate for them, add a few converts to my little cult within a cult.

I can’t say I enjoy losing myself in thoughts like this, but it’s hard to do so when the lines of a move you’ve seen a hundred times are delivered from a screen you can’t see- but it’s better than listening to some shitty crap, or, even worse, it’s good and I am unable to watch it in full. I’ve had too busy a day setting this party up for me to be able to force myself to keep my eyes open… I’m sure I look like a complete mess, and that would explain why no one has so much as said a word to me. Some of them probably think I’ve even fallen asleep. I mean… I probably couldn’t even talk right now, but I’d love it if someone hung out with me. Its… close to Christmas. And, as much as I hate to say it, it’s pretty disheartening to be alone again this year. I mean, who wants to be with the girl who looks like she’s sleeping half the time, drools, and gets crabby all the time because her face hurts? I don’t blame anyone for not having interest in me, but I still wish I had someone.

I hear Christmas isn’t as much of a couple’s holiday in other places- especially those closer to where it’s from. They have other holidays for that, and right now I kinda wish I was celebrating some other version of the holiday- because for me, it’s always been a lonely holiday. One I keep telling myself that I’ll change, that I’ll find someone next year, and yet here I am, a damn third year, and this Christmas is going be as bitterly boring as ever. I don’t even have any friends to hang out with- they’re all busy with their significant others. I try not to let on that I’m bitter. The movie is all but forgotten in my mind- at this rate, I may as well be asleep. I’m getting there, and I do want to have some rest so that I can make it through the rest of the day… or I may just sleep the rest of the day away.
But that’s interrupted by a tap to my shoulder. Who…

“Uh, hi… I think everyone’s left. We cleaned up and everything!” I barely recognize the voice. Some first or year girl, I think.

I mumble thanks and stretch my hand out, gesturing for her to help me up. She obliges, thank goodness- that'd be embarrassing.

I get my eyes to begrudgingly open, deciding to look upon the person who tried to wake me. I’m surprised by her height- she’s definitely a second year at least. She’s plain but pretty; besides the fact she seemingly only has one arm. After looking at her for a moment, I decide to speak with her and at least thank her for getting me up, despite my body’s protests. I’ll at least try and make the season enjoyable, and being negative and seeming standoffish isn’t going to make me any new friends. Anyway, it’s not like I have anything better to do, so, as always, I mumble out a greeting and do my best to make a smile that looks nice instead of creepy. I sure hope I look okay.

Re: Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 6:15 am
by Mirage_GSM
To help me, I decided to set my story after any character in KS would have graduated, simply because they aren’t needed and no such club is referenced in the game.
That was kind of the point of that prompt. Since I figured most other prompts would be Hanako this or Shizune that I intentionally picked one that would be good for OCs.
And you did a pretty good job of creating an interesting one. Despite not even learning her name I'd definitely read more about her if you decided to continue this story elsewhere.
All in all this is one of the best first stories I've read over here, so thank you for this gift!

P.S.: Are you by chance German, or does your name have other reasons?
P.P.S.: I haven't seen Angel's Egg (though it does look interesting), and I "don't understand" Evangelion either, but I rather liked SEL. Have to rewatch it sometime soon...

Re: Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:05 am
by FrauPerchta
Mirage_GSM wrote:
To help me, I decided to set my story after any character in KS would have graduated, simply because they aren’t needed and no such club is referenced in the game.
That was kind of the point of that prompt. Since I figured most other prompts would be Hanako this or Shizune that I intentionally picked one that would be good for OCs.
And you did a pretty good job of creating an interesting one. Despite not even learning her name I'd definitely read more about her if you decided to continue this story elsewhere.
All in all this is one of the best first stories I've read over here, so thank you for this gift!

P.S.: Are you by chance German, or does your name have other reasons?
P.P.S.: I haven't seen Angel's Egg (though it does look interesting), and I "don't understand" Evangelion either, but I rather liked SEL. Have to rewatch it sometime soon...
I like the idea of using the character again- only reason she has no name is because I'm terrible with names, especially for languages I dont know.

I'm half-austrian by my dad, and spent several years of my early life there, so I'm very familiar with traditions like Perchtenlauf. Frau Perchta is almost... A key figure in my cultural identity, thus the name.

And yeah, the show references all come from my favorites. Naturally, Tatami Galaxy is near the top of that, but I channelled a light bit of my personal tastes.

Anyway, glad to see I didnt dissapoint :)

Re: Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:29 am
by monkeywitha6pack
Im gonna toss mine in this thread since I feel its not long enough to justify its own thread.

Hey guys, I took a bit of a break from my usual fics to join the secret Santa! My prompt was from Feurox and it was “Shizune’s silent night” I feel bad that it's not super long, but I had a tough time coming up with a premise for the prompt, coming up with several different ideas before settling on this one. I hope you guys enjoy it!

The winter has always bugged me, the colder it gets the harder it gets to sign. My fingers get painful and numb in the brisk cold. It's already hard for me to communicate and it only gets harder. For me, a pair of mittens is like a muzzle, but when Hisao saw my hands start to turn blue in the cold he pulled out a pair and insisted on me putting them on. Saying he didn't need to talk and just being with me would suffice. I felt a twinge of guilt when he said that, we are supposed to be enjoying our Christmas eve and now I can barely even communicate with him. He wanted to visit the city at night, see the lights and the snow.

At the current moment, we are stopped on a bridge looking over at the lights reflecting in the water as the snow falls, my mitten-covered hand held in his. I look at his face, it’s just so… peaceful. This ‘silence’ is killing me, its only been minutes but it feels like hours. Its moment like this that fill me with self-doubt. He would be better with a normal person, one he can normally talk to, one that isn’t stopped by a piece of cloth.

I’ve had enough, I take my hand back at start to take the mittens off and he covers both my hands. He lets go and signs

[You don’t need to hurt your hands just to talk to me, I’m fine with just you, me and this wonderful view]

When he’s done he flashes me a beaming smile. Almost warm enough to melt the snow around us. I look at the view in front of me, the snowfall landing in the water, the reflection of the lights in the water, the small trees slowly getting covered with a white blanket. I think sometimes I get a little too tough on myself. I mean this boy learned sign just to be closer to me. While he might be better off with someone normal, he still chose me, and who am I to complain, I love him.

I look back to him and see him looking at me. When our eyes lock he leans in and gives me a kiss. Startled at first, but quickly it starts to warm my heart.

He showed me that our relationship doesn't need words. It just needs to two of us.

Re: Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:27 am
by Feurox
Absolutely adore this story! I know the prompt was a bit ambiguous and didn’t give you much, but I love the idea of Shizune’s literal silence again being silienced, and how for someone without words, actions are the closeness she clearly desires! I think you did a wonderful job and thank you very much for this gift! :)

Re: Secret Santa 2017 - Story collection

Posted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:36 pm
by Oddball
Short, but remarkably sweet.

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...