When the Puddles Dry - Post Rin Neutral/True Ending Epilogue, One Shot(?)

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Downix
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When the Puddles Dry - Post Rin Neutral/True Ending Epilogue, One Shot(?)

Post by Downix » Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:53 am

One of the things which saddened me is the dearth of Rin epilogues, and those I have found tend to be centered on Rin. So, for an idea I thought to see where things would go from the only ending in KS listed as a "True" ending in the code, Rin's neutral end. And it helped me process a few surplus ideas from another piece I'm still working on.

I only intend this to be a one shot, but who knows what the future may bring.

...

I don’t know why I agreed to this. I know how this is going to go. They work, I entertain myself. Only now I don’t have friends with which to do so. Right now, I don’t feel like I have anyone.

The next stop and the train arrives back home. Outside, the same buildings, far too built up for my tastes now. I’d grown too used to Yamaku and the quiet. Now, all there is outside is noise.

Yesterday, the girl I fell for told me goodbye forever. Was it only yesterday? It feels like an etermity. The anger faded, the disappointment I let go, now I only felt the emptiness from where she once sat in my heart.

Despite everything that happened, that void now was normal. I would move on, and in time forget the girl who once kissed me in a codeine fueled haze. She was gone, I would not see her again most likely, and if I did, she would not be the girl I care for… cared for.

In the glass, my own faint reflection stares back at me. I am not the same boy who last rode this train, who last saw this town. I said goodbye to him, and moved on.

Pulling in to the train station, the sight I expected greeted me – nothing. My parents are at work and nobody else knows I am coming. Not that I want them to know.

It’s only just past noon, so there’s no point rushing home. I only packed my small bag, carrying my medicine, a change of clothes, a sketch pad and some charcoal sticks.

There is one spot I do want to visit first. The last spot.



In summer, the woods are alive, filled with beauty. Around me, numerous people wander, sit, play, all ignoring my presence. I am not here to enjoy, but to remember.

Slowly I approach the spot, where I stood, where she stood, and where I ultimately collapsed. It looks no different from any other, just another spot in the grass.

Stepping to it, I first kneel, then sit on the spot, and look around. The trees look different, but I can still see the branches I remember as my eyesight faded.

A dead wood brought to life. A dying boy now alive. The dichotomy found here between the cycle of life and death is not lost on me.

Opening my bag, I take out the sketchpad, and begin to draw. I’ll never be as good as others, but it does help. Ignoring the leaves, I focus on the lines, the shapes of the trees, the branches. I focus on the winter scene in my memory.

The sun beating down on me feels good, like the light was washing away the pain of the day before. Forget her? No. But I can move forward.
It feels like I’ve worked on this for hours, capturing every last detail the best I could. The only detail missing now is one figure, and she I doubt I will ever see again.

That is how life works in the end, a series of moments, with the meaning being what you make of them. The riddle of Rin, finally in my grasp. She became what I made of her, nothing more or less.

“Goodbye Rin,” I tell myself quietly as I let those tears finally loose. Only fitting it is here, where I lost the other girl I was interested in, that I finally set myself free of her.



Done with my sketch, I set it and my sticks down before laying on the grass and staring at the branches overhead, the green of the leaves contrasting with the dead sticks in my memory. What was dead is now alive, a new cycle. I can’t help but smile at it.

Nobody really has approached me, nor did I expect them to. A teenage boy drawing was nothing unusual around here. Normally I would be kicking a soccer ball around in a place like this, but not anymore.

My watch chime tells me that it’s 4, almost time to take my next batch of pills.

Sitting up, I take out the necessary bottles, and the bottle of water I kept handy, and began the rote. One, two, half, flat, yellow, olive, the routine was comfortable in and of itself.

As I finish and put the bottles away, a soft voice behind me breaks my pattern.

“Hisao?”

As I close my bag, I look over my shoulder and wave a hand at the girl. “Hello Iwanako. I didn’t expect to see you here.”

“Me either. May I join you?”

I pause and think about this, before quickly making a decision. “Why not?” I turn in spot to face where she takes a seat.

“I received your letter, but I wasn’t quite sure how to respond,” she tells me. “You didn’t really say much.”

“At that point I was still holding onto what happened,” I say, leaning back and looking at the sky.

“And now?” she asks, a bit of hesitation in her voice.

“Your letter helped me finally let go of that hollow boy in the hospital,” I admit. “I’m still a mess, mind you.”

“I am glad if I was any help. Seeing you in that hospital room…”

“I’d lost all hope by the time you’d stopped visiting,” I say. “It’s like a rot, eating you away and leaving you dead inside.”

Watching the sky, I feel when she moves closer to me.

“And now?”

“Not the same as I was, but I’m not the boy in the hospital either. I’m just, me I suppose,” I say, a bit of a smile on my face.

I notice she’s gone quiet. “Iwanako? Everything ok?” Glancing over, she’s sitting with her knees pulled to her chest.

“I am glad you are alright,” she says softly.

“But that’s not what’s on your mind,” I tell her.

She shakes her head, looking down and away from me, breathing hard.

I reach over and take one of her hands, making her jump.

“Hey, I’m right here, alive, and well, in no small part to you,” I tell her.

“T-to me?” she says, blinking at me in surprise.

I nod. “Yes, you. I’ve had my heart problem for a long time without knowing, and it was only luck which made me have my heart attack here, with you.”

She looks down, pulling her hand away. “Some luck.”

I sit forward before telling her, “Yes, luck. I don’t think you were there, but the doctor explained it to me that what happened was just a matter of time. If I didn’t have it here and then, who knows where, or who would have been around, if anyone, or even how long before I got the help I needed. In a very real way, I owe you my life.”

Still not looking up, she says softly, “That is not how everyone else feels.”

I can’t help but snicker. “So what? Forget them. What matters is here, within me, how I feel about it. They aren’t me. They were not in that hospital bed as you sat there and watched them fall apart. Frankly, I’m amazed at how long you kept coming to visit, because I was not fit to be around.”

“Do you mean that?” she asks quietly.

“The past few months gave me time to reflect, and I got help from some of the other students at Yamaku. The hardest lesson I had to learn was to move past what happened,” I tell her. I put my hand to my chest as I continue. “This does not define me. I have a weak heart. I am not a weak heart.”

Sitting back, I consider my first says at Yamaku. “I go to a school now where I see people every day who refuse to let their issues define them.”

She considers, then says, “Tell me about them?”

“They’re kids like us, with the same issues for the most part,” I tell her. “You know, the first person they paired me up with was our class representative, a girl who can’t hear at all and has to use an interpreter to talk. It took me awhile to get used to that, especially since her interpreter is… colorful.”

“Colorful?” Iwanako asks, looking up at me finally.

“Her hair is bubblegum pink, done up in ringlets. I swear this girl has to spend an hour on her hair every morning.” I use my hands to emphasize Misha’s hairdo.

This makes Iwanako snort. “You’re kidding.”

I shake my head. “I have to sit next to her in class. I wish I was kidding.”

Thinking a bit, I continue. “The school has more girls than boys for some reason. No idea why. My hallway only has one other person on it, and I don't like dealing with him.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean the guy is certifiably nuts. I thought guys like that were a joke, and couldn’t be real. He keeps ranting about some feminist conspiracy,” I say, shuddering a bit at the memory of Kenji.

“Feminist… what?”

“You heard me,” I say. “I try and avoid him as much as possible. Thankfully he’s blind, so it’s not as hard as you might imagine.”

“Have you made many friends?”

I shrug. “I have lunch sometimes with a girl from the track team, Emi. She tried to get me running, but…” I tap my chest. “Not for me.”

She smiles a bit at that. “And here I was worried you’d come home with some beautiful girlfriend,” she teases.

Now it’s my time to look away.

“Hisao?”

“I didn’t just have lunch with Emi. Her best friend Rin always joined us,” I say.

“I notice you say that in the past tense. Did something happen?” she asks.

I shrug. “Rin happened. She is a very complex and confusing person. Can’t really express herself well. Or at all, really.”

Thinking back on her, I try and describe the situation. “Apparently she developed feelings for me, but never could express them. And me, being clueless, didn’t figure it out until it was too late.”

“Too late?” Iwanako asks.

“You’d have to know her,” I say.

“You do not seem too heartbroken,” Iwanako says.

“I was, but there’s no point dwelling on it. Part of why I came here was to come to terms with what happened.” I gesture to the sketchbook.

She picks it up, and looks at the drawing. “Did you do this?”

I nod. “Yeah.”

She chuckles. “I did not know you were into art.”

I shrug. “Rin’s the one who managed to get me to join the art club. No real talent, but it’s good to relax with.”

“It’s not bad,” Iwanako says, then she turns it around and points at one spot. “Why is this spot blank?”

“I was trying to recreate that day, and I couldn’t fill in the blank area with what wasn’t here,” I say.

“You mean, you could not draw me?”

I nod.

She smiles and hands me the pad. “Then, how about I help you.” She stands up, and walks over to the spot from all those months ago, spins around, and faces me.

I consider a second, then pick up the charcoal. “Almost, but your face isn’t the same.”

“So, I should try and recreate that moment?”

I chuckle. “Well, not everything,” I tell her.

She smiles, then closes her eyes. As if recalling a memory, her face shifts, and becomes nervous. Her shoulders hunch, and in a flash, there she is, from my recollection.

I begin to work, when she says something. “Hisao, I should get fully into character.”

“Alright,” I tell her.

She coughs, then, a bit of confidence crosses her face, and she repeats those words from so long ago. “You see... ...I wanted to know... ...if you'd go out with me...”

For a brief second, my heart twitches, as if expecting something, but it passes in a flash. In short order, I set down the lines, then nod to her. “Ok, that’s all I needed.”

She comes back over and sits down, watching me work. I’m not fast, but I’m better than the first time I tried to draw a portrait.

Several minutes stretch out in silence, me drawing, her watching. Eventually, I finish, and pass it over to her.

“That is very good. Thank you for sharing it with me,” she says.

I smile and lean back, holding myself up with my arms.

Iwanako then looks over at me, and smiles slightly. “You know, you didn’t answer me.”

I cough out a laugh. “I was having a heart attack, sorry.”

“And this time?”

I blink, and look at her, confused.

She leans in and whispers in my ear, “I just asked you again in case you missed it.”

“Ah, I thought… d-did you mean?”

She nods. “To make it clear, I wanted to know if you’d go out with me.”

“But, you don’t know me,” I say.

She smirks. “And you do not know me. We have five weeks of summer vacation, enough time to get to know each other.”

“Why now? Why me?” I stammer.

She places one of her hands on mine and smiles. “Because I want to know. Because I meant it back then. And because so far I’m liking this new you.”

Live in the moment. Worry when it’s time. And don’t force things. The lessons my time with Rin has taught me.

I close my eyes a moment and check. My heart is beating fine. My hands and feet feel fine. I can breathe fine.

Opening my eyes again, I look into hers and nod. “Okay.”

Hanako Fancopter
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Re: When the Puddles Dry - Post Rin Neutral/True Ending Epilogue, One Shot(?)

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:32 pm

I suppose I'll leave the same comment here as I did on Discord, which is that Iwanako seems a bit lacking in presence. The conversation comes off as very one-sided, with Hisao sort of just relaying his life story while she listens. Which I suppose isn't bad, I just think I would have liked to see them talk about how Iwanako has done since they last saw each other, as well. Who knows--maybe that would come up in a continuation (which I wouldn't mind seeing)! Good work overall.

Downix
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Re: When the Puddles Dry - Post Rin Neutral/True Ending Epilogue, One Shot(?)

Post by Downix » Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:50 pm

Hanako Fancopter wrote:
Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:32 pm
I suppose I'll leave the same comment here as I did on Discord, which is that Iwanako seems a bit lacking in presence. The conversation comes off as very one-sided, with Hisao sort of just relaying his life story while she listens. Which I suppose isn't bad, I just think I would have liked to see them talk about how Iwanako has done since they last saw each other, as well. Who knows--maybe that would come up in a continuation (which I wouldn't mind seeing)! Good work overall.
I did consider that but found it quickly became rehashing her own letter.

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Re: When the Puddles Dry - Post Rin Neutral/True Ending Epilogue, One Shot(?)

Post by AJT135 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:01 pm

I enjoyed that. It'll be interesting to see if it is indeed a one-shot or if you end up expanding on it. You're right that there's a lack of Rin epilogues. Personally I think there should be more epilogues of her good end, since I don't think there's even any of them, but neutral end epilogues are just fine too.

I don't really have any issues with the grammar, except for one thing. I've noticed you occasionally write do not instead of abbreviating it to don't. It's a pretty small thing, but it makes the dialogue seem a bit awkward when it comes up, since don't is virtually always used instead. Like I said though, it's a pretty minor issue.

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Re: When the Puddles Dry - Post Rin Neutral/True Ending Epilogue, One Shot(?)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:53 am

I like it as well, and I think that scene fits very nicely after Rin's bad end.
I didn't stumle over the "do nots" at all. Sometimes it's a nice, subtle way to express emphasis, and personally I like to use it for Lilly's speech consistently, just to set her dialogue a small bit apart from the others'.
There were two points where I did take a start:
The first when Hisao first notices Iwanako. No surprise, no reaction at all. I know this Hisao was supposed to be a bit more serene than normal, but I thought it was a bit much here.
The second was when there:
So what? Forget them. What matters is here, within me, how I feel about it. They aren’t me.
He simply dismisses everything Iwanako has endured because of other people's opinions as unimportant, and in other Iwanako stories, we've seen just how devastating those experiences might have been. Saying his opinion of the matter is the only important one when at that point he plays no role at all in her life anymore and doesn't expect to in the future is quite a bit narcissistic...

But that's all nitpicking. Overall I really liked the story and wouldn't mind if we saw it continue for a while.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Lap
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Re: When the Puddles Dry - Post Rin Neutral/True Ending Epilogue, One Shot(?)

Post by Lap » Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:39 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:53 am
...Saying his opinion of the matter is the only important one when at that point he plays no role at all in her life anymore and doesn't expect to in the future is quite a bit narcissistic...
Yes, well, Hisao has always been a bit self-involved and emotionally oblivious. I thought his reaction was in-character, but I thought Iwanako should have slapped him at that point, either emotionally or literally. Certainly not asked him out again...
Current KS Stories:
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
Home: Hanako & Hisao at University, sharing an apartment with their friend Lilly (on Ao3).

AJT135
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Re: When the Puddles Dry - Post Rin Neutral/True Ending Epilogue, One Shot(?)

Post by AJT135 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 9:33 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:53 am
I didn't stumle over the "do nots" at all. Sometimes it's a nice, subtle way to express emphasis, and personally I like to use it for Lilly's speech consistently, just to set her dialogue a small bit apart from the others'.
I know it's used for emphasis, but it seemed to me like it was used in places where it didn't make sense to use it as such. I guess I'm probably the only one to be bothered by such a minor detail (not that it really bothered me. It didn't lessen my enjoyment of the story or anything.)

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Re: When the Puddles Dry - Post Rin Neutral/True Ending Epilogue, One Shot(?)

Post by sloth4 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:35 am

I like it. Feels a bit short for a review, but I think that's all I have to say.

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Re: When the Puddles Dry - Post Rin Neutral/True Ending Epilogue, One Shot(?)

Post by Craftyatom » Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:27 am

Nice and simple. The ending is a bit cheesy and rather obvious, but I don't think that should be held against you. Hisao's internal monologue was very well-done, in my opinion - the excess focus and artistic viewpoint convey his emotions perfectly.
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Re: When the Puddles Dry - Post Rin Neutral/True Ending Epilogue, One Shot(?)

Post by Oddball » Sat Nov 17, 2018 12:36 pm

Hisao's voice was very well done, but Iwanako just felt like she was there so he could have somebody to tell his story too. She seemed to have very little presence herself.
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