Yet another one-shot thread (updated 2019-10-16)

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Scroff
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Re: Yet another one-shot thread

Post by Scroff » Tue Oct 09, 2018 5:19 pm

You've zoomed in on the significant factors and in the spirit of constructive discussion, as opposed to me trying to argue that I'm "right", here's my thinking

The key difference for me between Natsume and the other girls is that she has a progressive, degenerative disease - Lilly isn't going to get any more blind but Natsume's arthritis is going to get worse. There are terrifying pictures that show the damage that arthritis causes and I don't think it's unreasonable to believe that she would have researched her disability enough to have seen them. Rather than accepting her disability it seems natural to me that she fears what the future might bring. Saki is the only other person we know of in a similar situation, though her's is fatal and Natsume's isn't, and we know how she tends to be portrayed in fanfics.

I do indeed posit that Natsume has psychological problems and there's very good evidence to show that depression has a high prevalence in people with rheumatoid arthritis - the best study I found was https://academic.oup.com/rheumatology/a ... 36/1800940, it's published in a credible journal and has a decent number of citations. I found the following quote particularly relevant: "Increased depression prevalence in RA is significantly associated with low mean age." Natsume is young to be suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

But you're absolutely right, I should have shown that Natsume had such problems and that Naomi was aware of them!

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Re: Yet another one-shot thread

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:02 pm

Good points from you as well!

I wish there were more places on the internet where a discussion can end with mutual agreement instead of invoking Godwin...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
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Tokyo nightlife

Post by Scroff » Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:04 am

Koki looks around the rabbit warren of streets on the edge of Tokyo's Shimokitazawa district, trying to spot the bar that Miki had chosen for their night out. As always when in public he is conscious of his size, uncomfortable with the attention that his height and bulk attract. He is careful to avoid jostling the other pedestrians, his movements as controlled and precise as a dancer's as he searches for some sign of his destination. A shout away to his left catches his attention and he sees a drunk man stumbling out of a bar, colliding with passersby who voice their displeasure. A dimly lit sign announces that the bar is called The Shanghai.

"Really Miki?" he says under his breath as he heads towards the entrance. The low doorway forces him to duck and when he straightens he spots her at a corner table giving him a cheeky grin. Waving, he walks over and carefully sits down, ready for the stool to give way under his weight. When it shows no sign of doing so he sighs and says, "well Miki, you certainly found a... colourful place to meet!" He looks around at the dimly lit room, the nicotine yellow ceiling and shabby posters on the walls, the gaudy splash of light coming from the beer pumps.

"Its got character and the beer's cheap, dive in." She gestures to the pitcher and empty mug sitting on table next to her half-filled mug. "There's a tea house with the same name close to my old school so I wanted to check it out, but the service here is bad enough to make me want Yuuko back!" She waves away his puzzled look. "It's good to see you big man, missed you last month."

"I suspect you were far too busy for that to be true, but I appreciate the sentiment. Congratulations on being selected for the world championships!"

She grimaces, "thanks, it was only supposed to be for the relay but I ended up being subbed into the hurdles too. I fucking hate the hurdles!"

" 'Only' she says! Weren't you the youngest member of the team? A massive achievement if you ask me."

"Well, a step in the right direction. Congratulations to you too, rocking the second division these days!"

He chuckles, "thank-you! I feel like I've got the measure of most of the other rikishi in the division, though it's still a big step to the next. I got a pretty brutal lesson in sumo from one of the yokozuna at the last tournament."

"Still, it shows that the Professional Sports Association can't spot talent. That baseball player who beat us to the best newcomer award last year is nowhere to be seen."

"Still brooding about that Miki? As far as I'm concerned it was just a free dinner and a very welcome opportunity to make a new friend." He bows his head to her.

"The food wasn't even that good but I guess the friend I found doesn't totally suck," she laughs. "But seriously, I really appreciate being close to someone who's also an athlete, Hisao and Suzu are pretty low energy." Seeing concern starting to appear on his face she says, "don't get me wrong, I love them to bits. I absolutely need that calmness in my life but it's great to blow off a bit of steam sometimes. They really wouldn't approve of the sort of pranks we get caught up in..."

"Maybe not. I don't know how much longer we'll keep getting away with it though, both of us are starting to get coverage in the sports pages and it's a short step from there to being on the radar of the tabloid journalists."

"I can do without that, I resent anything that distracts me. All I want is to get on with training so I can keep winning. Prime example, my agent is pressuring me to go to a photo-shoot for one of the teen mags, fuckers want to dress me up all girly. I hate that shit, I never look right. Give me training kit any day."

"You look great in anything! You're just wearing jeans and a tank top and you're the best looking woman here."

"Koki, I'm the only woman in this bar!"

"A mere technicality. It doesn't matter where we go, the women hate you for looking so good and the men hate me for being with you."

She sighs, "I appreciate what you're trying to do but I just don't get it. When I see pictures of myself all I see is what's wrong, starting with this." She holds up her stump.

"Miki, listen! You're beautiful by any standard, you must be the only person in the world who can't see it."

"Is this a play to get into my pants Koki? You know I'm taken," she says in amusement.

"I said you're beautiful, not that I'm attracted to you. Like a tree or a poem..."

"Yeah but I doubt you'd want to fuck a tree or a poem."

"I don't want to fuck you either!"

"Make your mind up big man, you say I'm sexy but you don't want to get it on?"

"Beautiful, what's so hard to understand about that?"

"So what does float your boat?" Miki asks, her interest piqued. He trides to hide behind his beer mug, hoping his blush goes unnoticed. "I've seen some of the female rikishi, is that more your speed?"

"Miki! No, I... look it's all hypothetical anyway, I'm never going to attract anyone looking like this."

"You're not so bad, you've got the whole rugged thing going on. Wait til you get promoted a few more times, you'll be beating the girls off."

"That's not what I want! I want something genuine, loving. I'm quite envious of what you have, I was a bit surprised when I worked it out but it's so stable, so supportive, so much love."

" 'Surprised' doesn't describe the look on your face when you cottoned on! We're glad you figured it out, it didn't feel right hiding it but I couldn't work out how to tell you. You know Suzu adores you? She's always asking when her teddy bear is going to visit again. I think Hisao was intimidated by you to start with but you did that manly bonding over sport teams thing," she says with a roll of her eyes. "And stop trying to change the subject, you still haven't said what you're into. You know my sordid secrets so it's only fair you share some of yours."

He sighs, "look Miki, this isn't something I have any experience with. Sumo is my whole life, the only thing I've ever wanted to do, the only thing I'm good at. When the head of the Association said there's no homosexuality in sumo it wasn't an assessment of the situation, it was a threat..."

"Oh shit Koki, that sucks. I'm sorry for teasing you."

He nods, "there's no realistic possibility of me having a relationship so I try not to think about it."

"I hope you don't think I've been rubbing your nose in it? It seems unfair that I've got Suzu and Hisao and you've got no-one," Miki asks hesitantly.

"Of course not. I didn't say anything about my personal life, how could you have known? I've wanted to but I was worried about damaging our friendship."

"Idiot." She punches him on the shoulder. "What the hell made you think I would have a problem with that?"

"I didn't say you would, I said that I was worried that you would. I get a lot of irrational thoughts bouncing around in my head whenever I try to think about relationships or the future." He bows his head. "To tell the truth I'm almost ready to call it quits and do something else."

"What the hell?!"

"It's not only my personal situation, it's the scandals and the cheating too. I hate feeling like the public is looking at me and wondering if I'm throwing matches for the Yakuza or having drug-fueled orgies every ten minutes. Last tournament one of the ozeki tried to bribe me to throw a match so he could stay on the gravy train a bit longer."

Miki raises an eyebrow. "Your response?"

"Dumped the bastard on his arse in two seconds flat, perfect nichonage if I say so myself. There's a lot of less overt pressure too. If I get my eight wins early in a tournament I start getting suggestions to take it easy, give myself time to recover, don't let poor so-and-so be demoted 'cos his mother is ill in hospital... It's endless and I hate it. It's not what sumo is supposed to be."

Miki takes one of his huge arms and hugs it tight. "I understand. Marion fucking Jones was my idol when I was a kid, turns out she was rotten to the core. Devastated me. But you know what I did? What I do? I try harder. Every time I set foot on a track I try to prove that you can win clean." She puts her palm on his cheek and gently turns his face so she can look him in the eyes. "You've got it in you to be the first home grown yokozuna this century, the greatest since Chiyonofuji. Are you seriously gonna let that go?"

"Well ain't this cute, a fat man and a cripple getting it on in the back of my bar."

They turn to see a drunk man laughing in their direction. He's wearing black leather jeans and matching leather jacket with patches declaring allegiance to an out of town street gang sewn on to it.

Miki snorts derisively, "no way this is your bar pretty boy, go back to your farm before you make even more of a fool of yourself."

"Looks like you're the one making a fool of herself. Ditch the ogre and we'll show you a good time." He gestures to three similarly dressed men standing behind him.

"I'll give you country boys one last chance. Fuck off and leave us alone and you'll stay out of trouble."

"The mouthy bitch needs a lesso-'"

Miki explodes into action. The speed she moves does not surprise Koki, they have trained together and she has helped him improve his tachi-ai, the opening charge of a sumo bout. It is her total commitment to action that shocks him, the intense focus on her goal, the way she ignores anything that is not her goal. He recognises it as an important lesson that he will need time to reflect on -- time that he does not have as he moves to protect Miki's back.

She grabs the would-be hard man by the throat and starts punching him in the face with her stump. Koki sees that she can handle him so concentrates on controlling the other three using leg sweeps and throws to put them down and open-handed strikes to encourage them to stay down. He is careful not to hurt them badly but the weight of his blows is far greater than they had experienced in street brawls against weaker opponents and the fight soon leaves them. When he steps back warily they take the opportunity to scramble to their feet and run to the door, yelling to their leader. Realising that he is now outnumbered as well as outclassed, he pushes Miki into Koki and follows them.

"Come back you bastards! I'll beat you with one hand tied behind my back!" Miki yells as they disappear out of the bar. They stop and stare at each other, realising it was a ridiculous thing for a one-handed woman to say, and burst out laughing as they lean against a wall to catch their breath.

"So Koki, where are you taking me next month? You're gonna have to go some to top this!"

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Re: Yet another one-shot thread

Post by Lap » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:57 am

I'm so delighted to see the triad of Miki/Suzu/Hisao prospering. And I love the notion that, although she loves them, Miki occasionally finds her lovers a bit...staid and conservative. & Koki is a wonderful OC. Thanks for the story!
Avenues of Communication: Shizune suffers an accident.
Akira's Surprise: Akira pays a surprise visit to Lilly, Hanako and Hisao on Christmas eve. S9 Entry.
Arrival: Hanako's first days at Yamaku. (On Hiatus)
Home: Hanako & Hisao at University, sharing an apartment with their friend Lilly (on Ao3).
One-shots

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Scroff
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Re: Yet another one-shot thread

Post by Scroff » Tue Oct 23, 2018 11:09 am

Thank-you for the kind words!

Koki almost writes himself and he ages well...

I've got outlines in my queue for a couple more stories about the trio but I appreciate that it's not a particularly well received theme so I won't flood the place with them! But i think there are interesting things to explore, like Miki's need to blow off steam, that don't dwell on what they get up to in the bedroom

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Re: Yet another one-shot thread

Post by calcifer » Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:31 am

Scroff wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 11:09 am
I appreciate that it's not a particularly well received theme so I won't flood the place with them! But i think there are interesting things to explore, like Miki's need to blow off steam, that don't dwell on what they get up to in the bedroom
Looking forward to that exploration then :)
Shizune = Rin > Emi > Hanako > Lilly
FluffandCrunch wrote: Every day is a gift, every hour is golden, every minute is a diamond. Life is wonderful, if you have the courage to live it.

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The hairnet

Post by Scroff » Sun Oct 28, 2018 1:16 pm

The hairnet sits on the dressing table where she left it on Friday evening. It is just an ordinary hairnet, a brown elastic mesh that food hygiene regulations require her to wear. She sits in front of the mirror putting her long hair up in a bun. Since it is a style she has not tried before it takes several attempts before it stays more or less in place. Once it is done she shakes her head experimentally a few times and smiles when it does not unravel.

She moves to her bed and checks that her backpack has everything she needs for the day. Satisfied that she has forgotten nothing she puts the hairnet on top of the canvas roll that contains the knife set Lilly had given her as a graduation present when she returned from Scotland. She replays the route to college in her mind to pass some of the time that remains before she has to leave: her apartment is five minutes walk from the nearest station and the main building is a three minute walk from Yoyogi Station. 'Eight minutes walking, that's not even five hundred seconds,' she thinks. 'And I can read my book on the train, I'll be out of sight.'

Seeing that is almost time to leave she stands and checks her clothes one last time. She is wearing light khaki pants and a white t-shirt, tighter than she would normally choose but the instructor had emphasised the hazards of loose clothing in the kitchen. Putting on her favourite denim jacket she realises that her cap will not fit over the bun so leaves it hanging on the back of the door.

She steps into the hallway and calls, "I'm l-leaving a bit earlier than normal this morning Lilly. I should be back a-at the normal time."

"Good luck with your first practical class, I hope to hear all about it when we meet this evening," Lilly replies from the kitchen.

As she opens the front door she feels a momentary urge to retreat to her room and lock herself away, but it is only an echo of the old Hanako. The new Hanako is the woman who singlehandedly tracked down the Yamaku book thief, who travelled the country with just a friend and a camera, who teased Miki about her awful diet so relentlessly that she actually blushed! She steps out of her apartment and walks purposefully to the station.

After an uneventful four minutes and thirty-three seconds she arrives at her platform. The electronic sign shows that a train is due almost immediately and she is thankful that she walked a little quicker this morning; she finds standing in crowded places the most uncomfortable part of her commute. Her tactic of waiting near the end of the platform works again and she finds an empty seat at the rear of the train. Sitting down with a relieved sigh she opens her book and spends the next thirty minutes engrossed in Gurgeh's struggle to master the game of Azad. She has almost come to the conclusion that she prefers Banks' Culture to the empire depicted in Dune when her destination is announced and she readies herself to leave the train.

The streets outside Yoyogi station are packed with commuters hurrying to their workplaces, too preoccupied to pay attention to the people around them. Catching an earlier train has left Hanako with plenty of time before her class so she stops to watch a pair of buskers, one beat-boxing the other playing a bass guitar. She does not particularly enjoy the music but shows her appreciation of their virtuosity by tossing a hundred yen coin into the guitar case. The very handsome bass player responds by winking and blowing her a kiss. She turns and walks towards college with a smile joining the blush on her face. After a few hundred metres she feels a familiar prickling sensation on the back of her neck and a nervous scan of the crowd reveals a scruffy old man staring at her. Her rising panic is replaced by indignation when she realises that he is ogling her breasts. 'Dirty pig!' she thinks, then decides to add a bounce to her step, smirking when she sees the eyes almost pop out of his head as the bounce propogates.

Giving him no further thought she walks the remaining distance to Hattori Nutrition College and stands looking up at it for a few moments, thankful for the scholarship that allows her to attend such a prestigious school. She is determined to make the most of the opportunity she has been given.

Hanako makes her way up to training kitchen two, the first to arrive, opens her backpack and sets the hairnet on her head. She takes her jacket off and folds it neatly, putting it into her pack in place of the knife roll which she tucks under her arm. She looks through the glass door at the gleaming stainless steel worktops with integral hobs, the demonstration station at the front where the instructor will perform a step-by-step walk-through of the recipe they will be practising, the large video screens that will relay the demonstration to the back of the room. Not that she will need to watch a screen, she has decided to take a station as close to the front as possible. Just looking at the facilities excites her, makes her wish that the class had already started so she can begin to learn how to use them. She is so engrossed in the sight that she does not notice the instructor arrive and is startled when he speaks.

"It's good to see you here bright and early Ms Ikezawa, impatient to get into the action eh?" He lowers his voice and leans towards her slightly. "Next time you can use the staff changing rooms to get ready, no-one will resent you being granted that privilege."

"N-no thank-you professor, I appreciate the kind offer but i-it's fine."

And it is true, it really is fine.

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Re: The hairnet

Post by calcifer » Sun Oct 28, 2018 3:38 pm

Scroff wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 1:16 pm
she prefers Banks' Culture to the empire depicted in Dune
Who doesn't :)

Nice slice of life piece, it's good to see you venture outside Miki threesomes :)
Shizune = Rin > Emi > Hanako > Lilly
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Re: Yet another one-shot thread

Post by Scroff » Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:17 am

I dunno, Marain is a bit too much like Newspeak for my liking :lol:

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Home

Post by Scroff » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:58 pm

She sits on her bed with tears running down her face, finally expressing the feelings that have been threatening to overwhelm her for what seems like an age. Despite being alone in the house she does not abandon herself to her emotions: there are tears but nothing more. Even so the friends she left behind would be shocked to see her facade of confidence and tranquility in tatters.

`This is not home, I was a fool to think it could be. They do not know me, how could they? I do not know them either, we spend almost as little time together now as we did when we were half a world apart. I should have noticed the warning signs when we travelled back to meet our aunt, Father was never home and by the end of our visit Mother was becoming impatient with having to accommodate me. I was too eager to believe we could be a family again.'

`Everything here is so alien, the food, the culture, the people. We have no shared frame of reference, no common experiences. The ones I meet regularly are very friendly, they try to include me but although we speak the same language I don't understand what they're saying. I've tried but I'm lonely. There, I admitted it. And it is not just the loneliness. I feel useless, no-one needs me. Overnight I went from the centre of a community to being the unfortunate foreign girl. I hear pity in their voices and it angers me, I wish I could rage and scream at them instead of smiling politely.'

`I want to go back. It is not a failure if you try but do not succeed, if you endure but reach your limit. It is only my pride which is making this hard. Well, that and not wanting to leave Akira. She has adapted far better than I, Father is working her relentlessly and I suppose the culture of business is international to some extent. She will be fine without me and we would still meet quite regularly, she says Father intends her to be some sort of international trouble-shooter for the business so she will visit Japan often.'

`I must be more careful this time though, make sure I'm not fleeing a tiger at the front gate only to find a wolf at the back. Hanako tells such wonderful tales of her life, I knew she would become a strong and confident woman but I did not expect it to happen so quickly! Would she welcome me back or does she think of me as part of the old life she has outgrown? Can I depend on her benevolence to help me find a way to return? She was always willing to assist me before though it was with small things like shopping. This would be a significant reversal of how it was between us but I think I can rely on her, I think she would like to show me that she can be my senior. Can I admit my weakness to her? Damn my stupid pride of course I can! She does not need to be protected from my failings, opening up to her can only strengthen our friendship. But if it does not? Well it would mean that I never knew her and I do not believe I am such a poor judge of character.'

She wipes the tears from her face, takes out her phone and dials a familiar number. "Hanako dearest, it is so good to speak to you. I owe you an apology for being evasive about my life here, I think it is about time that I tell you the full story. But before that I have a favour to ask: will you help me put right the biggest mistake I've ever made? Yes, I want to come h-home."

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Re: Yet another one-shot thread

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:44 pm

It feels like the story is just starting at the point when it ends. I don't know that I've seen any fics where Lilly goes back to Japan after leaving, certainly not any that were memorable... might be cool to see. Either way, this one is nice, seeing her come to her senses as reality sets in following her poor decision.
An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako Route)
Riposte (Rika Mini-Route)
One-Shots Thread (Random Smut/Meme Stories)

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Re: Yet another one-shot thread

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:03 pm

Even if it is just a one-shot, I feel that it does stand well on its own.
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: Yet another one-shot thread

Post by Scroff » Sun Nov 04, 2018 4:38 pm

Thank-you both for the kind words! The other story I'm working on atm has Lilly back in Japan so I wanted to write something to see if I could make sense of her return - if I couldn't then I'd have to rethink. Seems like it isn't too far fetched or out of character, which is a relief!

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"You are not alone..."

Post by Scroff » Fri Feb 01, 2019 2:38 pm

Miki and Hisao sit leaning against each other, arms entwined, Suzu draped across their laps. Miki absentmindedly plays with Suzu's hair, a tender expression on her face as she ignores whatever mindless reality show is currently on the television in the common room. Hisao is entranced by the sight of Miki in repose, a sharp contrast to her usual restless energy. Without warning Suzu jerks awake and cries, "She's alone!" and starts to sob.

Suzu's habit of waking suddenly and bringing her dreams with her still unnerves Hisao, as does the way she does not distinguish greatly between waking and sleeping experiences. Miki, who has learnt to take Suzu's peculiarities in her stride, leans over to kiss her before asking, "Who's alone? And what's so sad about it?"

"Hanako! Who does she have now that Lilly's gone? It's not like first year, she's got used to her little family and it's been ripped away from her."

Miki gently wipes the tears from Suzu's face and makes gentle shushing noises while Hisao rubs her feet in an attempt to help calm her.

"No-one deserves that and I bet no-one will even notice her falling back into her old ways. If we don't do something we'll wake up one morning to her being carried out in a body bag!"

"Is that what you saw? Is that what woke you?" Hisao asks in what he hopes is a soothing tone of voice.

"Yes! No... She was alone in her room, suffocated by the black thoughts that were pouring out of her. So dark, no hope. No-one deserves that," she repeats. "Hisao, you need to work out how we're going to keep her from drowning in her isolation."

Demands to do something are another of Suzu's quirks that he is still getting used to. She will bring some crazy, impossible, idea from her dreams and expect him to make it real. And yet, none of her demands have proved to be impossible so far. Suzu's absolute confidence combined with Miki's drive and energy have motivated him to try things he never would have attempted before. It is exhausting, nerve-wracking, exhilarating; he has never felt more alive.

"Hey, you looking to expand your harem? We're not enough for you?" Miki teases, keen to lighten the mood.

"What? No! It's not like that." A blush spreads across Suzu's face. "You know what they always say at the start of year assembly. Well she is alone and it is up to us to be the better person. People."

"You better not go to her with pity in your heart or any shit like that. People like us, we see it a mile off and don't take kindly to it."

"Where does concern end and pity begin?" Suzu asks rhetorically. "I can't unsee what I saw and I won't ignore it either. They've said a million times that it's a hard world for 'people like us', that we should look out for each other. I just want to put that into practice."

"What's the bridge between Hanako and us?" Hisao asks. "How do we get her to... engage? If we could find some common ground I think we'd be able to get her to open up to us with some perseverance and patience."

"You nerds always have your head in a book, that's got to count for something?"

Hisao kisses Miki enthusiastically. "Yes! Did you submit your review of Life of Pi to the newspaper yet, Suzu? That was the book she was reading when I first arrived, you could ask her for some feedback on what you've written. And I saw her with Lord of the Flies the other day, I spotted something when I read it in the hospital, I could run that by her." He thinks for a while, rubbing Suzu's foot with one hand and stroking Miki's hair with the other. "Food! Miki, you like to eat and she likes to cook!"

"Yeah but her stuff can be a bit out there, I remember being in the kitchen when one of her experiments went wrong... Besides she's into boring stuff."

"You mean healthy food, not pizza or burgers?" Suzu giggles. "She's low-key fashionable when she wants to be, maybe you could ask her for some tips for something other than jeans and a tank top?"

"Dude! That's my signature look and I'm not about to change it!" She thinks for a while. "I suppose I could try to get her to go shopping with me, she'll probably understand my take on clothes better than some people." She shoots Suzu a meaningful look. "Anyway it's getting late, we can't do anything right now and Suzu here is in need of some comforting."

"No, I don't feel so bad, we've got a pla-"

"Hush you. Hisao's looking a bit shell shocked, I bet he's in need of some comfort."

"Umm, not really..."

"For fuck's sake, do I have to spell it out? Fine. Let's go to bed, for some unknown reason I want to have sex with you dumbasses."

***

"Hanako?"

She looks up from her book to see Suzu slumped over at her desk, head resting on one arm while she lazily waves a sheet of paper. "Natsume nagged me into writing a review of Life of Pi for the newspaper, could you take a look at it before I give it to her? I'd be interested in your opinion on it."

"S-sure." She walks over and carefully takes the review. Suzu lets her arm drop to the desk with a sigh of relief. "Umm, are you o-ok?"

"Oh, yes. Sort of. Mostly. My insomnia kept me awake last night so I ended up here early, but now the sleepies have kicked in and I'm not gonna make it through the morning. If I haven't moved by lunchtime, call in the cavalry!"

With a quiet giggle, Hanako goes back to her desk, grabs her green pen and starts reading Suzu's review.

***

"Did you spot the huge mistake Golding made?"

Hanako looks up in surprise to see Hisao smiling at her from an adjacent beanbag. "P-pardon me?" she replies nervously.

"The mistake! Piggy's glasses!"

"W-what about his glasses?"

"He was short-sighted!" Seeing that she did not realise the significance of this he adds, "You can't start a fire with glasses that correct short sight."

"Oh! T-that would change so much! It would remove several points of conflict a-and that big confrontation near the end. They probably wouldn't even have been r-rescued if they hadn't set fire to the forest." She shudders suddenly. "I h-hated that bit."

"I wonder why he made such a basic error? It made me doubt the rest of the story, since he got that wrong maybe he got the boys' descent into savagery wrong too."

"Oh no, I found that v-very convincing, kids can be n-nasty even under normal conditions," she replies sadly. "But I think it probably doesn't matter that he made a mistake. Piggy had to w-wear glasses to establish him i-in the outgroup and I interpreted his s-short sight as symbolising the blindness of pure intellectualism."

Hisao sits up in surprise. "You're right! I didn't think of that, I was so fixated on the science being wrong that I didn't go any deeper. Jeez Hanako, how come we haven't talked books before? What are you reading next? Maybe I could read it too and discuss it with you when we've finished."

"I-I think I'd like that. I'm on a f-first novel kick at the moment and there's a b-book called The Wasp Factory that sounds very i-interesting..."

***

Hanako pushes open the kitchen door and sees Miki staring at the microwave oven with a predatory expression on her face. She hesitates for a moment but decides to go in anyway. She agreed with her therapist to do her best to reach out to people after Lilly left and her recent interactions with Suzu and Hisao have bolstered her confidence a little. She finds Miki's boisterous nature intimidating, but the way she has supported Suzu over the years makes her think that she has a kind heart.

"H-hi M-Miki," she says, disappointed that her voice has betrayed how nervous she is feeling.

Miki spins round quickly and puts on a welcoming smile when she sees Hanako flinch. "Oh hi Hanako. Wow, don't you look cute today?"

"W-what?"

"That outfit! It really suits you." She pauses and Hanako is surprised to see a hint of embarrassment appear on her face. "Listen, do you think you could help me out?"

"M-me? Umm well yes, if I c-can."

"I was thinking about getting some new clothes but I really can't go shopping with Suzu, she throws money around like it's nothing. I don't mean to be rude but I figured that you'd understand what it's like to be on a tight budget."

"O-oh yes, I do. I felt the same about s-shopping with Lilly, but going with another bargain h-hunter might be fun."

"Great! Come on then."

"N-now?"

"You got anything better to do?"

Hanako thinks for a moment then smiles and shakes her head. "What about t-that?" she asks, pointing at the oven.

"Pffff," Miki replies with a dismissive wave. "Microwave pizza probably isn't the best breakfast. We can get ice cream in the city."

"Miki! You r-really need to be eating properly."

"Whatever mom."

"I b-bet you'd be even f-faster if you improved your diet."

"Really? Hmm. Maybe I should enlist you as my dietician as well as my fashion guru..."

***

"Hi you, did you have fun with Hanako? I don't see any shopping bags, what have you been doing all day?" Suzu asks when Miki lets herself into Hisao's room.

"Actually we had a great time. Shopping kinda got abandoned when we saw that the university's cinema club were running an all-day Arjuna marathon."

"You spent the whole day watching magical girl anime with Hanako"' Hisao asks incredulously.

"Arjuna isn't a magical girl anime, it's a modern day re-interpretation of an ancient saga! It's badass."

"Are you sure it wasn't just an excuse for you and Hanako to ogle cute anime girls? I didn't know she swings that way," Suzu giggles.

"I'm not sure she knows which way she swings... She's such a sweetheart though, I hope someone sees how beautiful she is, inside and out, and does right by her."

Hisao pulls her into a hug. "She's found her way into that big heart of yours eh?"

"Yeah. What is it with me and waifs and strays?" She returns Hisao's hug and buries her head into his chest. "You guys better get used to her being around. She's gonna look into high-performance diets for me and we've got a manga evening planned." She glares at a sniggering Suzu. "Manga is literature too! I'm just saying that I'm not dropping her when we think her issues are sorted."

"I'm pretty sure that dropping her wasn't part of the plan. We've got some books we're going to read and discuss."

"And we're going to write some reviews together." Suzu adds. "She came with me to hand in our review of Life of Pi and seemed pretty interested in what they were doing in the Newspaper Club. I wouldn't be surprised if she ended up ditching me in favour of them!"

"Getting closer to her does bring up an interesting question though. Do we tell her about us?" Hisao asks. "We could hardly call her a friend and then keep it from her, but I really don't know how she'd react."

"Well I want to tell her. It's OK for you two, everyone knows you're dating. But that leaves me feeling like the other woman, sneaking around and seeing her lovers in secret. I'm damn proud of what we've made together, of how far we've come, and I'm literally going to burst if I don't tell someone soon!"

Miki and Hisao move to the bed and sit on either side of her. "I know it's rough on you babe and I want to shout it from the rooftops too. But at least you've got a support group, telling her too soon could scare her away from us, send her back to that room with her dark thoughts."

Suzu sighs and rests her head on Miki's shoulder. "When did you get so smart? We will tell her when we think she can handle it, right?"

Miki kisses her forehead. "I've always been this smart, you just didn't notice. We shouldn't wait too long, I think she'd appreciate us putting our trust in her. And going by the way she was so set on improving my diet, I get the feeling that she wants to prove she can be a friend to be relied on. Convincing her that we see her that way would-"

She is interrupted by a quiet knock on Hisao's door. They share a look before Hisao goes to open it, revealing a nervously smiling Hanako holding a book.

"I b-bought my own copy of this today s-so you can have the l-library's."

"That's very thoughtful of you Hanako, the way you described it made me want to start reading right away! Do you want to come in? Miki's here too."

"Oh I d-don't want to intrude."

"Contrary to popular belief, I can keep my hand to myself. For a little while anyway," Miki laughs.

"Hiya, Miki said you had fun watching anime instead of shopping today," Suzu says as Hanako sits on the chair by the desk.

"Y-yes, I loved that show when I was little and it was interesting to watch it again, now that I've read the s-saga it was based on. I thought they did a g-good job of bringing the story up to date and the environmental i-issues it tackles are very topical."

"See? Told you it wasn't just cute anime girls!"

"I knew that Hanako would be paying attention to the plot, doesn't mean that you were!"

"Hey, just cos you can never stay awake to the end of an episode, doesn't mean that the rest of us can't!"

Hisao sees a wistful look on Hanako's face as she watches the girls squabbling playfully. "Are you alright Hanako?"

"Oh, y-yes. It's just that you're all such good friends. W-why are you even bothering with me? It's not like you n-need anyone else."

"Hey, spending time with you is no bother! Did I look like I was forcing myself to have fun today?"

"It's not about whether we need other people," Suzu adds. "Friendship is like love: the more you have, the greater your capacity to express it becomes."

"But you must have all a-agreed to start talking to me, made some sort of p-plan. Why?"

Hisao clears his throat in embarrassment. "Suzu had a dream."

"We don't ignore her dreams, not after that one time..." Miki says with a shudder.

"Umm w-what sort of dream?"

Suzu rushes over to hug Hanako, whose eyes go wide in surprise. "It was horrible, you were so alone. I was scared for you.'"

"Scared for me or s-sorry for me?"

"Scared!" they chorus.

Hanako hesitantly brings her arms up to return the hug. "A-and now?" She is surprised to see unshed tears when Suzu leans back a little, but cannot help smiling back at her.

"Now I'm sad that I waited this long to get to know you. Think of all the fun we've missed out on."

"We'll just have to make up for lost t-time then,'' she replies with a giggle. ``Have you played D&D? I've been working on a c-campaign for years and I'd love to guide you t-through it"

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Feurox
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Re: Yet another one-shot thread

Post by Feurox » Sun Feb 24, 2019 8:07 pm

I took my sweet time getting to your one-shots Scroff! I’m afraid I’ve only been able to catch up with this most recent one, though as I find time I’m sure that’ll change. With regards to “You Are Not Alone” though I can only say wow. That’s a beautiful tale. Your writing is very poetic and it has this gentle sway I can’t place, but still love.

I love how it opens - and the idea of Suzu as a sort of prophetic dreamer is great! There’s some truly outstanding lines in here, right from the start:
Suzu's habit of waking suddenly and bringing her dreams with her still unnerves Hisao,
For me, that was a pistol shot awakening that I’ve been foolish to only catch up now! I’ll endeavour to read some more as time presents itself, but seriously well done! What a great read.

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