From Humble Beginnings (Hanako good end) Part:1 (Post Mirage Edit

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HITK220
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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:43 pm

From Humble Beginnings (Hanako good end) Part:1 (Post Mirage Edit

Post by HITK220 » Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:17 am

Part one: Bliss

I never thought things would turn out this way for me. Coming to Yamaku seemed like giving up on who I once was, and yet here I stand feeling more alive than I did before I almost died. The warmth of the sun on my back and the lingering taste of cherries on my lips, together Hanako and I walk towards Yamaku, and for once the silence between us isn't awkward or strained, it's calm and enjoyable. So calm that I almost jump at the timid touch I feel brushing against my hand. Glancing beside me I see Hanako has her hand just barely outstretched touching mine. I take her hand in mine with a smile, and we walk hand in hand back towards Yamaku.

The large iron gate of Yamaku sits welcomingly open waiting for us. I feel Hanako’s hand tighten around mine as we get closer to the split between dorms. "H-Hisao, would you like to join me for some tea?"

"Of course, I think I might have a few Bento boxes in my room. If you want I can bring them?"

"I...I was actually thinking I could make us something..." Hanako blushes and stares at her feet, but I catch that rare smile that makes my heart melt.

"Do you have a new recipe you want to try? I'd be happy to help." I smile and let Hanako lead the way to her room.

Hanako's room is as empty as always, save for her dolls, chess board and a neat stack of books set next to the bed. I pick up the book on the top of the pile and read the title. "Lord of the Flies… I’ve heard good things but still haven't had a chance to read it. Is it worth checking out?"

"Yeah, I haven't finished it yet though..." She looks back to her recipe book. "What do you want to eat?"

I put the book back down on the pile. "Didn't you have a recipe you wanted to try?”

"Yeah, I just thought… it would be polite to ask." she flips to a page in her recipe book and sets it on her table.

"My cooking experience is lacking, so I’ll leave the culinary decisions to you." I laugh. "Anything I can help with?"

"No...I mean... If you want, could you bring me Lilly's tea kettle?" She points to the shelf with her dolls, and sure enough the familiar red floral tea kettle is sitting next to her chessboard.

With the kettle in tow, we head out into the kitchen and are in luck to see it empty. "Ah...I hope you don't mind, but I ran out of the tea Lilly left me... All I have left is some from the store." She takes the kettle from me and starts prepping the store bought tea.

"Ah...I hope you don't mind, but I ran out of the tea Lilly left me... All I have left is some from the store." She takes the kettle from me and starts prepping the store- bought tea.

I sit down at the table, and she pours herself and me a cup of tea. Letting the tea cool, I decide to ask the question that's been at the back of my mind for a while. "Have you talked to Lilly recently?" I smile sheepishly. "I imagine she would appreciate hearing from you, being so far from her normal life and all."

"... Yeah... I think I’ll call her after we’ve eaten." Her eyes widen. "I should... start cooking soon." she hurriedly gets up and finishes grabbing spices and herbs from a small rotating holder. Wow, they have more species here than I have medicine. The thought makes me smile in spite of myself. Maybe I should see if my dorm is this well stocked.

I relax, taking in this new, more comfortable atmosphere between us. When I first talked to her in the library I don't think I could have ever imagined myself sitting in her room drinking tea after sharing our first kiss. Watching Hanako cook makes me almost forget how shy, she can be. Her movements are so much more confident. A pinch of this and a dash of that, she takes the rare glance at her cookbook, but mostly seems to be going off on her own ideas. I sneak a quick peek at the book propped up on the counter. It looks like some kind of chef salad.

"That looks great!" I can hear my stomach rumbling in agreement.

"Really...? I think it's almost ready... could you grab the plates by the sink there?" She grabs a small bottle and pours a small amount of liquid into the bowl.

I grab two plates and set them on the table along with two sets of takeout chopsticks I find on the counter. The click of her tongs on the counter tells me she has finished. I watch as Hanako dishes out some salad to both plates. "This looks so good, Thanks!" I dig in, the taste of the greens and her precooked chicken is complemented well with the seasonings she used. "Whoa! It tastes even better than it looks!"

Hanako blushes at my compliment. After watching me take the first bite she follows suit, her eyes go wide "It's... good... though I think... .I overseasoned it..."

"For a first attempted I think it's amazing." I smile and take another big bite, followed shortly by another.

Finishing our meal I stand up and grab our plates, "I... can take care of those..." She starts to get up from the table.

"Hey now you cooked so it's only fair that I clean up, right?" I run some hot water and pour in a little soap.

As I start on the dishes I hear Hanako dialing her phone and getting up from the table. "Is... L-Lilly... There?" a few seconds go by and I hear Hanako perk up "Lilly! How are you?” she pauses to listen intently to her every word. “That’s good to hear. Is your aunt doing any better?” I feel odd eavesdropping on their conversation and try to block it out.

After I finish up the trivial amount of dishes I notice she seems to have ended her conversation with Lilly. “So how’s she takes the mansion life?”

She giggles at my joke, “She said she was enjoying being back with her parents... Much more so than Akira is.” Huh so Akira and their folks really don’t get along.

“Did she mention how her aunt was?”

“Yeah, she is doing much better. Lilly said she should be able to go home soon.” We start making our way back to Hanako’s room, and I notice a familiar figure sitting in the common room: Miki. She gives me an earnest smile and a quick thumbs up after seeing Hanako and I walking together.

I sit down on the bed and pick up one of the other books in the pile; Robinson Crusoe. I read it once back in the hospital, but I decide to flip through the first few pages anyway. Hanako doesn't take long with Lilly - not wanting to inconvenience her I imagine. She sits next to me and picks up The Lord of the Flies.

The afternoon sun paints the room a beautiful shade of orange. I look over at Hanako, and I don't think she's even realized time has passed since her call with Lilly. The small smile on her face and the subtle scent of her perfume makes me think of our lazy lunches in the tea room. "We've got an hour or so till curfew; do you want to play some chess?"

"Yeah." Setting her book down, we set the board up and get to playing.

"Ch-eckmate." I look from piece to piece trying to find an out, but despite my best hopes I can't find a single move that doesn't end in defeat.

"Well, looks like I lost." I smile "care to let a loser try and reclaim his pride."

A nod from Hanako is all I need to start resetting the board.

***

Night falls, and with curfew only a few minutes from starting I admit defeat 3-1. "I think I should get going," I turn towards her and pull her into a hug. She tenses slightly from the sudden contact but relaxes returning my hug "I hope you'll join me for lunch tomorrow in the tea room."

"I think... I can make it..." She gives me a little kiss on the cheek and steps back.

"Goodnight, sleep tight." I step towards the door

"H..Hisao?" I turn back. "Thank you."


***

I lie in my bed staring at my ceiling. I can’t wrap my head around the events of today - breaking down in the park, reconciling and confessing our love for each other. I feel warmth spreading through my chest, remembering our first kiss. That beautiful smile I don’t see often enough, I make a silent promise to myself that despite my weak heart, I’ll go to the ends of the earth to see that smile.


***

The ringing of my alarm is quickly stopped by my hand dropping on the snooze button. My feet hit the floor before my mind is entirely awake, for the first time since I ended up in the hospital I’m excited for the day ahead. I quickly throw on my uniform down my pills and head out towards the school.

I see a familiar face sitting near the entrance to the school, Rin crouched down seemingly having a staring contest with a butterfly, but I seem to scare it off.

"Oh, bye." Rin turns watching the butterfly fly off. I give her a halfhearted wave.

"Morning Rin! Up early this morning?"

She tilts her head to the side. “Early? I guess it might be." She stares past me as if I’m not even here. "Is it early if you don't sleep or is it late?"

"Well, I guess it would be late." My answer makes her scrunch up her nose.

"Maybe you're right..." she lets her sentence trail off as another butterfly catches her attention.

"Have you been up all night?"

"No, I slept for a while."

"A while?"

"Yeah"

"Are you going to class?"

"Maybe, if Emi finds me I’ll have to."

"She’s probably still at the track.”

"That is the most obvious place." She turns to me. "So you and bathroom girl?"

I'm slightly thrown off by her comment. "Uh... Yeah... I guess. News sure travels fast… Oh, and please never call her that to her face."

Rin smiles. "Don't worry, I won't." her smile shifts slightly to a concerned frown. "How fast does news travel?"

"... About 12 people an hour I imagine." I smile at my own joke.

Her eyes widen in what I can only assume is wonder. "Whoa really?"

I roll my eyes. "Nope."

Her expression drops to a frown. "Disappointing"

I shake my head and glance at my watch, "I'm going to get some breakfast. Do you want to join me?"

"No, I'm busy studying." She gazes up at the clouds floating lazily by.

"...Well, try to eat something today. You can't watch butterflies if you waste away." I smirk.

I walk into the school and head straight to the cafeteria, I take little more than a passing glance at the menu before making my choice. The cafeteria is about as lively as a morgue at this time. I find a deserted table and set about the business of devouring my breakfast.

A hand finds its way to my shoulder rather abruptly, nearly causing me to drop my food. "WAHAHAHA Hicchan good morning!"

My assailant is none other than Misha, I don't even need to look after hearing that laugh.

"Morning Misha, Shizune." I try my best to match her enthusiasm, but come to the conclusion that it is impossible. "You two look awfully chipper this morning."

Shizune signs quickly, ending with a dramatic adjustment of her glasses, "Shicchan and I heard an interesting rumor, and as dignified members of the student council, we find our only possible action is to bring these to your attention."

Should I play along with their game or shut them down?

Playing along will make this go by much quicker, "Oh my, what terrible rumors could be spread about me? I won't stand for such slander!" I make my declaration with a decisive nod.

Misha laughs, nearly shaking the windows and causing several glances, some of curiosity, some of seeming hatred for this pink bouncing ball of energy to turn our way. "No, no Hicchan not bad rumors! We hear that you and Hanako where…" She glances to Shizune who quickly signs a few decisive words. "Displaying public affection. And Shicchan wants to remind you that such activities while adorable will not be tolerated on school grounds. And congrats Hicchan, Shicchan won't admit it, but she's happy for you guys too." Misha finishes signing, and Shizune glares at Misha, rolls her eyes and smiles shaking her head in mock irritation at Misha.

"Thanks guys, I don't think PDA will be a problem even if Hanako is coming more and more out of her shell." I smile and wink conspiratorially to Misha "At least while Shizune is around."

A giggle from Misha and a scowl from Shizune - the desired response. I return to my meal as the pair walks off signing back and forth. Finishing my breakfast, I drop my recycling in the bin and put my tray in the pile. I find myself playing Hanako's little game of only stepping on the dark tiles on the way to class. I'm grinning as I walk into homeroom, and my grin turns to a smile seeing Hanako buried in her book. "Hey, sleep well?"

Her head rises from her book, "Hi... yeah I did..." she smiles back at me "Did you?"

Sighing "Once I had some time to process everything that happened yesterday and trying to finish that English worksheet."

She gives a small giggle. "Yeah, I had some trouble with that, too." She thinks for a moment before getting an idea, "maybe when Lilly gets back... We could all study together. You could help us with science, and Lilly... could help us with English."

I sense an opportunity. "If I’m teaching science, and Lilly is teaching English, what are you going to teach Lilly and me?"

Hanako pauses, lost in thought for a moment, "Oh, I know... I could help you guys with chess."

Ouch, right in the pride. "Okay, ouch, I deserved that." She stifles a giggle.

As more students begin filing into class I head to my seat vowing to win our next match. Mutou makes it to class just as the bell rings, and in his normal rambling way he begins his lecture.

***

The bell rings again releasing us to lunch. I meet Hanako outside the classroom, and we walk off to the tea room.

As Hanako begins making tea I set up the chess board and unpack my bento box. After fixing the tea Hanako pulls out her own lunch, and we set about enjoying our respective meals. Quickly finishing my meal I grab the well-used chess board and start setting up. "Time for me to regain my honor."

"Y-you can... try" her small smile quickly changes to a look of concentration.

Move after move, every attempt to gain even a little ground is countered. "Huh, round one goes to you."

I reset the pieces. This time I’ll try to play more aggressively. I attempt a gambit using my queen as bait. Sure enough Hanako takes the bait, with my queen gone, she switches to a more aggressive approach. In a few turns I turn the game around, opening up an opportunity to get my queen back and start my offensive. Dismantling her defenses I finally put her in checkmate.

The bell rings before we can start a new game. "Guess we can call today a draw?" I offer weakly

"Yeah... Today's a draw." she smiles.

As we get up to leave I feel a tentative tug on my sleeve. When I turn, Hanako looks like she wants to say something, "I was thinking, after class... Do you want to help plan a coming home party for Lilly?"

"Of course, she'll be home in a few days right?"

"Yeah."

We return to class, and I start planning for Lilly’s coming home party letting my mind wander far from the English teachers lecture. As the final bell rings out, Hanako and I walk around the School's garden chatting about plans for Lilly's return. We decide on getting a cake and trying to convince Akira to buy us another bottle of the wine she brought for their going away party.

***

Sitting in the school grounds with Hanako beside me, I pull out my phone and dial the Satou residence.

"Good morning Hisao, calling for Lilly?" Luck graces me today and Mrs. Satou recognizes the number. This is stressful enough without worrying about my horrid English.

"Actually, I was hoping you could pass along a message to Akira for me?"

She gives a small laugh "Come now, Hisao, Akira is already spoken for."

I nearly choke as I spit out my reply "No, no, nothing like that. Hanako and I were planning a surprise party for Lilly, and we need Akira to be in on it."

She laughs again. "I see Akira was right. You are the bashful type. I'll pass the message and your number along to her."

I see now where Akira gets her sense of humor. "Thank you, Hanako and I are going to get back to working on the party. Have a great day."

"You as well, Hisao. Good bye."

"Good Bye."

I nudge Hanako with my arm to get her attention. As she glances up from her book to me, I steal a kiss. The shock of my sudden kiss makes her go stiff before relaxing and leaning in - if only slightly - to me. I reluctantly pull away, the taste of her cherry lip gloss lingering on my lips. "Sorry, couldn't help myself,"

"I... don't mind." Her beautiful smile makes my heart race. “Though maybe we should get back to the party,”

"Oh, then what type of cake should we get?"

"Hmmm…" She sits thinking for a moment. "How about a layered chocolate cake."

"Sounds good to me, I was thinking we could get her some vanilla tea? "

Hanako nods, and suddenly her eyes go wide, remembering something. "I need to work on Mutou's worksheets..."

"If you'll help me with my English homework, I think we could knock out both assignments in no time."

Getting up from the bench I extend a hand to Hanako, and we walk off to the library. The corridor leading to the library is blocked off by the two person student council. I feel Hanako press herself against my side trying to hide from the duo. "Hicchan! And Hanako, too! Hiii!" Inside the school halls her loud voice echoes and causes both Hanako and me to involuntary flinch.

"Hi Misha, Shizune." My greeting gets little more than a glance from Shizune post translation.

"H-hi." A timid voice echoes my greeting.

Hanako's greeting gets little more reaction than mine. Shizune looks down at a notebook before signing something to Misha. "Hicchan, would you be willing to help us with something? Pretty please?"

"Depends… Does this job pay? Have benefits at the very least?" This earns me a stilted giggle from Hanako, a full belly laugh from Misha and a glare from the student council president.

Several quick, sharp signs from Shizune stop Misha's laughter (mostly) "Now Hicchan, council business is strictly voluntary, and the benefits are simple and rewarding hard work."

I sigh. "Darn… I could have really used some money for takeout." A thought occurs to me. “Wait, you still haven't told me what you want me to do."

Shizune begins signing furiously with Misha trying her best to keep up. “Hicchan, with break coming up we need someone to help us get ahead on our council paperwork so we can have fun fun fun on our break.” I swear I can nearly hear Shizune roll her eyes at Misha's reasoning for getting ahead with their work. "Oh and if we can get ahead, we will be able to start planning for Tanabata and exams of course."

"So you want me to help you catch up since you slacked off after the festival?" I smirk at Shizune who takes my challenge in stride pushing her glasses up the bridge of her nose.

"Actually Hicchan, we are behind because a certain somebody ignored our pleading for help, and instead decided to relax and take it easy in the library." Even Misha's lilting tone can't soften the blow I just walked into.

"Wh-what about... helping Lilly's class project?" Hanako to my shock and admitted joy joins in on our back and forth. Even Shizune is taken aback, though not for long.

"Uh-huh, that’s right Shicchan, Hicchan wasn't being lazy, he was betraying his class to help the enemy!" Misha's laugh once again shakes the windows.

"Traitor? Me? I simply played to my strong suits…" I put on my goofiest accent. "…as an artist."

Hanako giggles, and Shizune fakes astonishment before returning to her assault of signing, "That's right Shicchan, maybe we should have Hicchan do our next mural."

At that moment my phone goes off displaying an unknown number. "Ahh Hanako, I think its Akira." I address the council duo. "I must admit defeat in this most gratuitous battle of wits."

"Hichan you’re gonna help us right?" Misha's lilting voice follows me down the hall.

"Do I have a choice?" I call back before answering my phone. "Ah hello, Hisao Nakai speaking."

"So formal, are we planning a party, or are you interviewing with my dad's company?" Akira's voice teasing me serves as my returned greeting.

"Nah, I just got another job offer, but thanks for asking. I'm glad you called when you did. You saved me from forceful recruitment into the student council's workforce."

Akira chuckles. "Shizune doesn't play around when it comes to getting what she wants. You're lucky I saved your ass. Now what's this mom told me about you and Hanako planning a party?"

"Ah yeah, we wanted to surprise Lilly when you guys got back, we are going to order a cake and everything."

"And you need me to take the leftovers home with me, right?"

"Maybe, if you can get them away from Lilly and Hanako. I was actually hoping I could convince you to grab us a bottle of wine, since Lilly seemed to enjoy it so much at our last party."

"From what I heard she enjoyed it a little too much." Akira laughs. "That'll teach her to pace herself. I think I could manage to pick up a bottle for your little party, but it'll cost you." Even over the phone I can tell she's wearing that mischievous grin of hers.

"Why do I get the sneaking suspicion that you aren't talking about paying you back the price of the bottle."

"Hisao, you really are a smart one. I won't take your lunch money from you, but if I’m gonna break the law for you, you're going to owe me a favor in exchange."

A favor to Akira… The thought sends a shiver down my spine.

"Deal, you get the wine, and I’ll owe you one." This is against my better judgment, but I bite my tongue on that one.

"Before you go, is Hanako nearby?" For someone with such a lackadaisical view on her world she does show a lot of compassion to Hanako.

A quick glance behind me confirms that Hanako is there looking through her notes on Mutou's recent lectures. "Hey, Hanako, Akira wants to talk with you." Her head pops up from behind her notebook. "Here you go, talk to you later Akira."

"H-hi Akira, how's your trip." As Hanako takes my phone and starts chatting with Akira I give them some time and walk down the hall to the vending machine.

I grab a canned coffee for me and a sweet tea for Hanako, taking my time walking back enjoying the quiet atmosphere of the mostly abandoned school. A few students dressed in track uniforms walk down the hall towards me led by Emi and Miki, who seem to be in a heated debate over something.

"I'm telling you the strawberry cake is so much better than the chocolate!" Emi states her opinion

Rolling her eyes Miki looks down at Emi. "You can't beat chocolate. You can yell from the roof till you’re blue in the face, but that won't make you right."

Emi shakes her head, making her twin tails whip around and looking more adorable than irritated "Chocolate’s boring. Everyone gets chocolate. Come on, you know what I mean, right Hisao?" I freeze. Being pulled into their argument was not part of my plan to enjoy the quiet atmosphere of this lazy afternoon.

"Ice Cream cake, duh. You’re both wrong." I smirk. "And besides, unless you two are planning on sharing does it really matter?"

The two of them look at me as if the thought had never occurred to them. "Yeah, I guess that makes sense, but I still think you're dead wrong." It would seem Miki doesn't care about the logic of the argument - just the fact there is an argument to be had.

I shake my head and shrug to the two poor girls following behind the bickering pair. I walk off to meet back up with Hanako. As I round the corner, I see Hanako still chatting with Akira.

"... Yeah... A couple... days ago... when we were at the park." Something about the smile on her face tells me I know exactly what moment she's talking about.

"Hey," I hold out the bottle of tea to her.

"Thanks." She takes the bottle from me before returning her attention to Akira. "Yep... Bye, Akira! I hope you enjoy the rest of your visit."

Hanging up the phone and returning it to me, she looks to our bags sitting against the wall. "We should probably... start on those worksheets if we want to get them done before night falls."

I nod in agreement taking my bag from the floor, and we make our way to the cozy little corner in the back of the library. I nod at Yuuko as we pass. She looks overwhelmed by a large stack of books sitting in the return bin. Pulling up a few bean bags we set about our homework. The science worksheet doesn't take long. It’s basic enough that once I explain it to Hanako she has no problem finishing the rest of the sheet without my help.

The English assignment, however isn't nearly as easy. Hanako does her best to explain it to me, unfortunately, besides the most basic sentences the rest of it just looks like gibberish to me. After what feels like an eternity, we finish the sheet, and I feel as if I have a slightly better understanding of the subject. The warm afternoon sun fills the Library with a soft orange light.

After putting my books away, I can see Yuuko walking up towards us. "Hi, Yuuko! Closing down for the day?"

"Ah yes, but I can keep the library open a little longer if you need. I don't have anything else to do… Well I do, but I guess I can.." Yuuko looks as if she's about to explode.

I cut in before she breaks down on us. "It's alright, Yuuko, we were just wrapping up."

She sighs and lets her shoulders drop. "Oh, that's good. Well, not good you’re leaving, but good that you've wrapped up... And that I can finally go home."

"H-have a... nice day Yuuko." Hanako smiles, attempting to reassure Yuuko, to no avail.

"Thanks Hanako, I’m going to try to." She gives a small bow to us as we head on our way."

Outside the school the breeze brings in a gentle chill in the air. I glance at my watch; two hours till curfew. I lace my fingers with Hanako's, and we walk off towards the dormitories. When we reach the split Hanako turns to me "I have some leftovers... If you want to join me?"

"Hmm microwavables or home cooking? Is it even a choice?" We head off to enjoy a quiet meal together.

The next few days are full of anticipation as we put the finishing touches on our party plans. I use most of my time helping Mutou start the science club with Kenji, Oddly enough, it takes little coercing to convince my eccentric hallmate to join the club. When I asked him, he thought it would be a good cover for organizing the anti-feminist something or other… I have to admit I stopped listening around then.

The day of Lilly's return arrives, and classes drag on. But inevitably the time of the final bell arrives. I meet with Hanako, and we start walking towards the courtyard.

We call a taxi and seat ourselves close to the gate to avoid missing the driver. The warm afternoon sun and the gentle breeze soon become our only guests as the rest of the students set about enjoying their day, going to club meetings, taking the long journey down to town, or just joining their friends in the common rooms. Between spending time with Hanako, studying and the science club these past few days have been a hectic blur compared to our normal life.

My thoughts are interrupted by Hanako laying her head on my shoulder. I lean my head on hers and close my eyes.

"Excuse me, sir, " I open my eyes to see an elderly man. "Mr. Nakai?"

I rub my eyes, "Yeah, sorry, we will be right there." He nods and walks back to a yellow taxi parked near the gate. "Hey Hanako, time to go." I lightly shake her shoulder and am greeted with an adorable, sleepy smile.

"Oh yeah... lets go." We get up and head to the taxi.

The car's engine comes to life before pulling away from Yamaku. The long ride takes us to the city just as the sun begins setting. The setting sun reflecting off of the skyscrapers and the loud din of the city make me a little nostalgic. Pulling into the airport, I pay the driver and thank him again for not leaving us on the bench back at Yamaku.

We see that Lilly's plane landed a few minutes ago. A quick look around reveals the tall duo collecting their bags. "Lilly, Akira!" I call out to them. Lilly’s head turns towards up

"Hisao, Hanako?"

We walk up to them and Akira slaps me on the shoulder "Perfect timing! Mind grabbing this for me?" She hands me Lilly’s suitcase which is surprisingly heavy.

"Did you bring the mansion back with you Lilly?"

She puffs out her cheeks in mock anger, "I told you, it isn't a mansion. I just bought a few books to read."

"Luckily for you ladies I am a gentleman and something like this is nothing for me." I lift the bag up and follow behind Akira.

"Oh, a gentleman are you?" Akira's grin sends a chill down my back "then you wouldn't mind getting mine as well would you?"

"Akira, don't..." Lilly starts to speak up, but I cut her off

"Very well, what kind of man would turn down the request of such a fair maiden?" Lilly and Hanako chuckle as I take her bag and start walking off towards the exit.

A brisk walk to the parking lot and a slow climb to the 3rd floor have me breathing hard. I set the bags down next to Akira's car. Leaning back against her car I realize my chest feels tight, and I can feel my heart racing. I take a few deep breaths, in.... Out.... In... . Out. The tightness fades, and I can feel my heart slowly returning to normal. I feel a hand rest on my shoulder, "H-Hisao?" I open my eyes to see a worried Hanako.

"Just overdid it a little." Her worried expression doesn't fade. It hurts worse than the fading pain of the flutter. "I'll be better in a minute, just need to catch my breath."

"Promise?" Hanako smiles

"Promise." she wraps her arms around me and gives me a tight hug.

I hear Akira clear her throat. "You two love birds ready to roll?" We split, and I can see from the corner of my eye that Hanako is blushing a bright red.

"Akira, it's not very proper to tease someone who just helped you." Lilly playfully scolds her sister.

We climb in the car, and Akira adjusts her rear view mirror and runs her hand along the dashboard. “God, how I missed you, my baby."

We start our drive back to Yamaku. "Is your aunt doing better Lilly?" Hanako asks, breaking the silence that has fallen over the car.

"Yes, she's doing much better. Before we left, we paid her a visit to say goodbye, and she told us she would be able to go back home in a few days."

"Did you guys enjoy seeing your folks after so long?" Lilly talks about them so rarely, and this seems like a good time to learn more about them.

"Yes, it was... Nice getting to be with them again, even if it was just for a few days." Lilly seems almost as if she's convincing herself more than us.

"Yeah, it was great, our dear old dad’s still a grouchy old ass, but it was nice seeing mom again." Akira seems much more certain in her feelings for their parents.

"Akira, they are trying their best. Father is stressed from work, and you weren't exactly pleasant to him either." Lilly takes a moment to compose herself, "The trip was nice, but rather uneventful. Though from what I hear you two had an eventful time."

While the switch of topics was definitely a welcome one, I find myself caught off guard. "Yeah, it was." I give Hanako a smile.

"You know, Hisao, you're a good guy and all, but if you break Hanako’s heart, I’m going to have to break your legs." Akira gives me a menacing smile in the rear view mirror.

I roll my eyes. "You look as if you want to do it right now just to be safe."

"D-don't worry, Akira... I trust him." Hanako speaks in defense of my honor.

"Well, you just say the word and I’ll put him in cast for ya." Akira's joke gets a giggle from her. "Anyway, threats aside, do you guys have any plans for your break?"

Huh, I had almost forgotten about our three days off coming up. "Honestly, I’ve been so preoccupied keeping my English grade afloat I forgot we had a break coming up."

"Perfect! Lilly would you like to tell them?"

"I was going to wait till tomorrow, but I guess some people are too impatient for that. My family has a small house out in Hokkaido, and I was hoping the two of you would like to join me in visiting it for our break."

"Seriously? That would be great." Getting out of Yamaku and away from the routine of school sounds like a perfect way to spend our break.

"Yes, Lilly, that sounds as if it would be a lot of fun." Hanako seems to agree.

"Wonderful, we can discuss the details tomorrow - over lunch perhaps?" I notice Lilly's shoulders drop slightly as if some great stress had been removed.

"Well, kiddies, looks like we have arrived." Akira pulls in and parks in front of the school.

I help Lilly get her bag from the trunk, I glance knowingly at Akira, who gives me a subtle wink before pulling a brown bag from her suitcase and handing it to Hanako. Akira goes to get into her car. "You’re not leaving already, are you Akira?" Lilly pouts.

"Y-you can't go... Not yet." Hanako adds to the pouting.

"Can you really say no to that?" I smirk.

"Damn, twist my arm why don'tcha." Akira shrugs. "I guess I can come in for a little bit."

The four of us head to Lilly's room, and once behind the door, I take Lilly's bag and set it at the foot of her bed. "Ah, Hisao, would you mind giving us a second?"

"Uh, sure, just save me some cake." As I go to close the door behind me I notice Hanako is following out and hold the door for her. She takes her leave into her room leaving me alone in the hall

A few minutes pass before the door opens again and Hanako reapears from her room dressed in her familiar pink nightgown. I follow behind her and see Lilly also dressed in her pajamas. I sit down at the small table and cut the cake, serving a slice to everyone.

We begin eating our cake. "Mmm Chocolate, good choice."

"Thanks Akira." Hanako smiles at the praise.

"You know we might need to start running in the mornings after all this cake." I smile, and Lilly and Hanako giggle.

Once we finish our cake Hanako pulls out our last surprise. "Would you like a glass Lilly?" Hanako grabs three glasses from the Lilly's cupboard and uncorks the bottle.

"Oh my, Akira, what a bad influence you've become." She ends her jab with a nod to Hanako.

"Okay, first, you can't call me a bad influence while asking for a glass, and second, this time is all on Hisao." Akira throws me under the bus.

"Um, yeah, I thought it would be a nice surprise, I mean, if you disapprove I can always just take the bottle and put it in my room."

"No, no Hisao it's quite alright, I think I can forgive you this one time." Lilly takes the glass gingerly from Hanako's hands and takes a tentative sip. "And don't worry, Akira, I’ll take it easy this time. I learned my limit last time."

"We've all got to learn our limits the hard way from time to time." Akira laughs leveraging herself off the bedroom floor. "I wish I could be here to supervise your bad decisions, but I have to be on my way. Hanako you're in charge."

"Are you sure you can't stay?" Lilly pouts

"Sorry, Lills, if I could stay I would." Akira pulls Lilly into a hug. Lilly holds her sister for a moment not ready for her to leave.

"Bye guys, take care." Akira gives a half-hearted salute as she shuts the door behind her.

I stand next to Lilly and place my hand on her shoulder. "You alright?"

She wipes her eyes and gives me a smile, "I’ll be okay, and Akira was so busy on our trip I was hoping she would relax here with us for a while."

"It wasn't for long, but I think she enjoyed herself while she was here." My reassurances seem to cheer Lilly up if only slightly.

"Let's enjoy this wonderful gift Akira left us." Lilly punctuates her declaration by taking a long drink from her glass.

I take one of the wine glasses from the table and sit down next to Hanako. I take the glass and gently swirl the crimson liquid before taking a sip. Unlike the last bottle Akira bought us this one tastes far less sweet almost bitter in comparison. I make a mental note to ask for something similar to this bottle for any future escapades. Hanako takes a deep drink from her glass. “It’s a bit sour." Hanako's nose scrunches up slightly.

"It's definitely different from the last one. I think it complements the rich sweetness of the cake rather well, though." Lilly sets her now empty glass down on the table.

For someone taking it easy she sure finished that glass rather quickly. Just as I’m about to poke fun at her Hanako follows suit and sets down her own empty glass. I just shake my head "Would you two like a second glass?"

"Y-yes, please." Hanako holds out her glass for me to fill, to which I oblige
***

A few glasses later. Hanako leans against me "Lillllyyy, Hisaaoo..." Hanako trails off

Lilly turns towards us holding the last of the wine in her glass. "Yes, Hanako?" Despite my earlier reservations it seems Lilly held to her word and didn't overdo it - or she's gotten much better at hiding it.

I am with her in moderation, only haveing a single glass Hanako pulls her head off my shoulder, seemingly remembering her train of thought. "I...I…" She hiccups. "I want this night... to last foreverrr!" She sniffles. "I missed you sooo much Lillyy and noww you're baack."

I smile at Hanako's adorable honesty. I missed Lilly as well - she and Hanako were the ones to pull me out of my rut - but I wasn't alone while she was gone. I had the student council hassling me, Mutou convincing me to plan for college, and - probably the most impactful - meeting Hanako in the park. Hanako on the other hand had me and Lilly, who was halfway around the world. I look up expecting to see Lilly's kind motherly smile, but instead she has a wistful almost sad smile.

"And I’m glad to be back now, Hanako, but tonight does have to end if we want to get to our holiday in Hokkaido." Lilly's smile returns.

"Oh... yeah." A wide grin spreads across Hanako's face thinking of spending a weekend out in the country.

The three of us sit in a peaceful silence. Lilly quietly sips from her glass while Hanako fights off her drowsiness as I can see her eyes drooping more and more with each passing second. Even sitting I can see her rocking slightly from side to side. "Hanako, you look like you're about to fall asleep on us."

She turns to me giggling "Nooo, I'm fine Hisaaoo" She slurs my name, and I can't help but laugh. She looks to Lilly and back to me. "Maaaaybe you're right."

Hanako attempts to leverage herself up with some difficulty. She makes it to her feet before I can warn her to take it slow. I pull myself to my feet and put my arm around her. She smiles leaning into me, and I stumble, barely keeping us both on our feet.

Lilly looks in our direction in concern. "Are you two alright? It sounds as if you can barely stand." Lilly's worried expression seems oddly humorous given the situation.

"It's alright, Lilly, I'm going to help Hanako to bed and try to sneak back to my dorm." My assurances seem to succeed in easing her worry. Though sneaking back to my dorm sounds like a Herculean task now that I’m standing. "I'll check in with you tomorrow and make sure you aren't too hungover."

Lilly tries to cover her laugh. “Always the gentleman Hisao... Just don't forget to take care of yourself."

"Goodnight, Lilly, sleep well." I smile and quietly open Lilly’s door, grab my bag and walk Hanako to her room next door.

Twisting the knob the door swings open into Hanako's room, and I step inside with her still leaning on me for support. While I shut the door behind me Hanako takes a seat on her bed. I turn to her, ready to joke this is the second time I’ve had to do this when I see she has her head in her hands. She's sobbing faintly muffled by her hands. "What's wrong?" I sit next to her on her bed.

"I...I don't... Want you to go..." She wraps her arms around me. "It's... just... Please stay." Her head is resting against my shoulder and her arms are holding me tight.

"I..." I’m at a loss for words. I run my hand through her long hair, the faint scent of lavender and wine fills my nose. I pull her closer to me and lay back on the bed. I pull the covers over us and continue running my hand through her hair, in only a few short moments she falls asleep face still buried in my chest.
***

Opening my eyes, I find myself staring up at an unfamiliar ceiling. My movements are restricted by the slender frame of Hanako still sleeping peacefully with her head gently resting on my chest. Taking my free hand, I gently move a few stray hairs from her face. "Morning."

A soft smile spreads across her lips as her eyes meet mine."M-morning." She sits up bringing her hands to her head and wincing in pain.

Now free I pull myself up from the bed and get her a cold bottle of water. "You could probably use this." She takes a long drink from the bottle.

"Never... Again." She mutters to herself.

I can't help but chuckle. "Are you sure? Third time's the charm." She pouts. "Sorry, do you have anything I can get you."

"In the... nightstand." Her voice is little more than a whisper. Opening the nightstand I see she has a few small containers, I pick one up. "Not that one... The little green one."

I reach in and grab the small green one handing it to her, she accepts it gratefully.

Stretching while she starts recovering from her hangover a thought occurrs to me. "We have the whole day off, is there anything you want to do?"

Hanako sits rubbing her temples. "I just want to lie here..." She looks down at the bed, her hands grasping at her nightgown. She peeks at me from behind her bangs, "Tha-thanks for... staying."

I pull her into my arms. "You don't have to thank me."

I feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as I hear a knock on the door. I don't remember seeing anyone else when we got back from the airport, did someone spot us coming in and notice I didn’t leave.... "Hanako, are you up?" Lilly's soft voice from the other side of the door makes me breathe a sigh of relief.

"Ah... Yes, I’ll be right there." She looks at the door, but doesn't take a step closer. It dawns on me now what she has already realized. I was supposed to have gone back to my own dorm.

But before I can even come up with a reason why I stayed Hanako takes a shaky step forward. Standing before the door, she takes a deep breath and opens the it. "I hope I didn't wake you. I thought we could go to the Shanghai if you are feeling well enough for a small bite to eat, We could see if Hisao wants to join us before we leave.”

I want to speak up, but Hanako beats me to the punch. "Actually..." She pauses making Lilly raise an eyebrow. "Hisao... didn't... go... back to his dorm."

Lilly blushes ever so slightly. "Oh my, I was worried something happened on his way back. Is he here now?"

"Uh... Yeah, present and accounted for."

"Well... I was going to head to the Shanghai for a bite to eat if you two would like to join me?" It's hard to read Lilly's expression, but at the very least she doesn't seem too freaked out.

Hanako looks down at her nightgown. "Uh... Yeah, I just need to change..."

"S-sounds good,"

Lilly nods and smiles before walking off the rhythmic tapping of her cane echoing in the now silent hallway. Hanako seems to deflate slightly, happy that the moment has passed. She turns to me, and I have to cover my mouth to stifle a chuckle. Hanako's face is a bright shade of red. "Well, that was interesting." I stand up and shake my head "I was sure that was going to be one of the security officers... Or worse, Shizune." I get a small giggle from her.

I grab my bag from where it was unceremoniously dropped last night. "Meet you at the gate?"

"See you there."

I take my leave as inconspicuously as possible. Doing my best to mask that I just woke up. The few students in the common room pay me little heed as I pass through the doors. Once outside I make a beeline for my dorm. I turn the key to my door as I hear a creak come from behind me. Ah shit

"Sup." Kenji stands less than a foot away from my face when I turn to the sound."Damn dude, what's up with you? First you didn't come back last night, and now you’re jumping at your own shadow? You’re not doing drugs are you, cause smack is whack."

I stare at Kenji dumbfounded by the verbal assault I’ve just taken. Wait, did he say I didn't come back. "Whoa, okay, first I’m not on drugs. Second, what are you talking about me not coming in last night?"

"Good, if you ever need some creature comforts I might have a bottle of whiskey we could pass around and share war stories like in those badass western action movies." He nods to himself before remembering something horrifying. "Right! You didn't make it back last night. I thought I lost a brother in arms. You see I heard tell that the feminist’s mob boss was coming back from Italy so I was up all night waiting for the feminist raids, and I never heard your door open. THEN! This morning when she showed her face I thought for sure I was going to have to escape out the window... But she went to your door, and I assumed you must have been found out and had to make an epic getaway."

Of all the people to find out, at least it was Kenji. "Okay, first, Lilly went to Scotland not Italy. Second, I am not infiltrating them, they are my friends."

Kenji's face twists in anguish and anger, followed quickly by a quick, albeit useless glance down the hallway. He leans in close to me. "I get it man the walls have ears and the windows eyes." His whispered voice reeks of onion. "Anyway," he slaps me on the shoulder "If you weren't dying for the cause what where you doing."

If I could get Kenji and Rin in the same room with a camera I could make a fortune on late night cable, The Chaos Corner on every weekday night. My million dollar daydream is interrupted by Kenji waving his hand in my face. "Sorry, I just had a great idea for a TV show."

"Weird man, if you're not up for sharing with your comrade the least you could do is give a brother a heads up."

"I'm an only child."

Kenji looks as fed up as I feel. "No man like brother in arms."

"When did I join the army?"

He strikes a dramatic pose. "The moment you were born into this cruel world."

"Permission to be dismissed?" I bring my hand up in a mock salute.

"Permission granted, get out there and keep fighting the good fight, I’m going to go back to strategizing a better escape strategy."

He turns to his door, blissfully unaware of the new salute I came up with for him. I open the door to my room and set about making myself look presentable. Clean clothes check, brushed teeth check, hair combed... One day I’ll tackle that beast, but not today. Despite every conversation with Kenji taking days off of my life, it would seem this one only made me four minuets late.

Making my way to the gate, I can see Hanako and Lilly already there waiting on me. It's pleasant to see life returning to it’s familiar pace. As I walk up I catch the last of their chat. "Just be safe." Lilly gives Hanako a quick hug. "Ah might that be Hisao walking up?" Lilly turns in my direction.

"Sorry to leave you girls waiting."

Lilly waves my concerns off. "It's quite alright, I think we may have been just a bit early"

"Yeah." Hanako nods in agreement with her statement.

"Shall we be off? The Shanghai awaits." The three of us begin our descent into town.

***

With school life returning to normal, Hanako, Lilly and I go through the paces of life trying our best to not focus entirely on our upcoming break and actually get our homework finished. I'm on my way to get lunch from the cafeteria when I’m suddenly flanked by Misha and Shizune. "Hi Hicchan!"

"Ah, so that's the chill I felt up my spine."

"What do you mean, Hicchan?" Shizune snaps to get Misha's attention. "That's right, Hicchan, you said you would help us with council work."

"No, no, no..." I breathe a deep sigh. "I said might help you. And did you do nothing for a week!?."

"We finished that project, but there’s always more work Hicchan! and we can’t do it all on our own..." Misha gives me her best puppy dog eyes.

"Fine..." I roll my eyes. "I'll help after school."

"Yay! Hicchan's going to help. But you better not back out, or we will find you." I can't help but think continuing to be so helpful is a hazard to my health.

I leave the pair alone in the hall and make my way to the tea room where Hanako awaits. The atmosphere in the tea room is as relaxing as ever, sitting with a warm cup of tea and my bread from the cafeteria. Lilly is busy with class rep work so it's just the two of us today. "Before I forget, Shizune and Misha roped me into helping with the council work, so I'll probably be busy for a while after school."

"Lilly wanted to go to town and pick up some stuff for break."

"I could join you ladies after I’m done if you want."

She looks down at her lap. "Ah... It's alright, we aren't getting too much."

"Oh? I hope you two aren't sneaking off to get more wine."

She shivers at the thought. "No!... No more wine... My head still hurts." I can't help but laugh at her reaction. The tolling of the bell signals an end to our lunch.


***

The student council door swings open to reveal the room a mess. There are two large tables set up in the room. One of them is stocked high with piles of paperwork. The second is empty save for a few neatly written sticky notes detailing Shizune's organization strategy. Oh god, what have I gotten myself into.

"Alright, Hicchan, let's get to work!"


***

My hands are cramped, and I swear I can see the festivals' budget on the blank walls of the student council's office. I look to my side to see Misha slumped over the table all the joy sucked away by the bureaucracy of it all. Shizune on the other hand stretches out and cracks her knuckles. "Well, I think I died a little on the inside, but that's the last of it."

Shizune glares daggers at Misha, she brings her hands together in a loud clap right above Misha's head. Misha lifts her head from the desk slowly. "Sorry Shicchan... Just so sleepy." her singing is much slower than normal.

Shizune shakes her head and grabs a pen and scrap paper. [Thanks for helping us out!]

I flip the page over and scrawl out a quick reply: [No problem, just try not to make a habit out of it.]

[No promises.]
Last edited by HITK220 on Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:18 am, edited 4 times in total.

HITK220
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Re: From Humble Beginnings (Hanako good end) Part:1.1

Post by HITK220 » Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:35 am

I'll be posting the second half of part one tomorrow as I can feel my body betraying me in my time of need, daring to demand sleep. Hope you're all enjoying it so far! ^-^

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: From Humble Beginnings (Hanako good end) Part:1.1

Post by Mirage_GSM » Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:09 pm

Okay, a couple of things (I'll mostly skip over typos and missing commas; if you want advice on those send me a PM with your email):
There are a few lines where you have Hisao talk in a bit of slang, for example here:
"Got a new recipe you wanna try? Gotta be better than what I was bringing."
You might get along with this for Miki, but Hisao doesn't talk that way.
Then in the next scene, either Hanako has a kitchen in her room - which is not likely - or they moved from her room to the common room at some point, but the text gives no indication of when this happened. Given that she's making tea it probably happpens quite early on.
There is no indication when they return to the room either which is really confusing...
The call with Lilly is passing without comment. Hisao is not asking how she is and Hanako doesn't tell him anything but goes straight back to reading afterwards.
she leans in closer to the butterfly
The one that flew away?
a pacing glance
passing

...didn't get to finish the whole chapter. I'll read the second half tomorrow.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
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Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Re: From Humble Beginnings (Hanako good end) Part:1.1

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:25 pm

I like this! You have quite a lot of grammar errors but it looks like you already have someone volunteering to help with that, if need be. The content is good though. I think everyone wishes Hanako's route were longer, so a continuation is good to see.

HITK220
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Re: From Humble Beginnings (Hanako good end) Part:1.1

Post by HITK220 » Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:07 pm

You have quite a lot of grammar errors
Yeah it's been about 3 years or more since I've had to do any kind of writing, luckily that just leaves plenty of room for improvement.

Thank you for your praise hopefully with some help I can have it be a lot more coherent in the near future.

^-^ Cheers friend

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Re: From Humble Beginnings (Hanako good end) Part:1.1

Post by HITK220 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 2:46 am

It's taken me the better part of 4 hours, but I think I have the grammar mostly sorted out. Now to go through and fix some of the things Mirage pointed out.
Thanks for being patient with me while I relearn basic English grammar Lol. ^-^ Cheers!

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Re: From Humble Beginnings (Hanako good end) Part:1 (Post Mirage Edit

Post by Hesmiyu » Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:01 am

It's fine. I'm sure quite a few native English speakers, such as my self, have issues with the English SPaG when writing.
The line below is false.
The line above is true.

Being disabled is just differently abled differently labelled.

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Swim story(Currently 11 chapters long) http://ks.renai.us/viewtopic.php?f=52&t=10221

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