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Fallen Leaves & Broken Clocks/A Conversation on the Roof/A Fluke

Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:21 pm
by PKMNthiefChris
Fallen Leaves & Broken Clocks

A young man sits on a park bench. The air is brisk, typical for this time of year, when leaves begin their drifting descent and slowly return to the earth. Turning up his collar to block the wind he watches the falling shapes that come in a menagerie of colors: purple, orange, and gold, so like her hair.

He remembered her telling him of her love for autumn and it's falling leaves on the school roof one evening, not long after they'd met. "Autumn is like the grand finale," she'd explained. "Even as it all ends it's so magnificent you can only watch in awe. When my time comes... I want to be like that." Her last few words were spoken in a hush that he barely picked up. But he'd found himself in awe of her and her words about the end. He didn't tell her then.

Time drifted by like the bright leaves she loved and they had found themselves in the same park he now sat. A picnic lunch spread out before them and friends under a low hanging tree he watched the setting sun shine through her hair. Neither had much time to their names, a girl with paint splattered sleeves who would be gone long before her time and a messy haired young man whose heart didn't beat in time with the rest of the world, like a broken clock. Summoning what little courage he had, he asked her to go the Shanghai with him that weekend, just the two of them. And with a smile that could've convinced fallen leaves to go back to their trees or stopped time altogether, she'd taken his hand and said, "I've been waiting for you to ask."

Moments and events blew past them like scattered leaves. Days spent mixing colors of paint, nights watching cheesy horror flicks that weren't scary at all, time stolen from a future they might not see. Living in scattered moments and by clocks that didn't keep time right.

And so it came one particularly chilly November night, leaves being blown against her window, they found themselves snuggled together in her room. "I love you," he whispered, the walls of her room and tangled blankets and sheets the only witnesses to his confession and her wide eyes. He was afraid of what she'd say but he knew life is short and the broken clock marked his shorter.

Her hands were trembling as she looked at him fully and voice weak said, "There's no happy ending for me, Hisao. The best I can hope is going out in style."

He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to find the right words. Opening his eyes slowly he spoke, "If coming here has taught me anything it's that there are no happy endings. An ending is always sad, so let's just be happy until the end."

Tears were in her eyes at his words and she stared into his eyes for a long time before eventually nodding. "You've been reading too much poetry," she'd said. "But okay. Let's make each other happy until the end." He pulled her close as she echoed three words and wind blew leaves against a window and a broken clock measured out their time together.

Scattered bright moments blew by: fresh snow, Christmas, graduation, and more until eventually he would find himself on a bench in the brisk autumn air. As he watches the leaves blow about in the wind he smiles to himself and quietly says, "Saki, I'll see you again soon."

Re: Fallen Leaves & Broken Clocks

Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:21 am
by Scroff
I feel you've captured a feeling of mono no aware very well, and they both exhibit impressive amounts of gaman. I had a strong emotional response to this, going to take me a while to pin down why though.

Thank-you!

Re: Fallen Leaves & Broken Clocks

Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:06 am
by PKMNthiefChris
Scroff wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:21 am
I feel you've captured a feeling of mono no aware very well, and they both exhibit impressive amounts of gaman. I had a strong emotional response to this, going to take me a while to pin down why though.
I had to look up what those things were but feelings of impermanence and perseverance through it were definitely what I was trying to show.

Re: Fallen Leaves & Broken Clocks

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:44 pm
by Feurox
A superb read! Heart-wrenching and heartfelt. Incredible job. Like Scroff, this has me feeling things I can’t quite pin down - The timelessness? Broken Clocks are such a powerful image, maybe it’s being unable to comprehend how something like time can break/exist to begin with - and our small part in all of it. Hisao doesn’t seem to accept it, whilst Saki is ultimately the only one fulfilled for not fighting it?

Truly wonderful - look forward to reading more of your work.

Re: Fallen Leaves & Broken Clocks

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:32 am
by Razoredge
I have to admit, it's wonderful. Really nice job.
I'll look to your next job with a lot of attention.

Re: Fallen Leaves & Broken Clocks

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:02 pm
by Hanako Fancopter
Short but powerful. All of a sudden found myself tearing up at this fic which is really, really surprising, to say the least. I rarely tear up at anything, much less a random fanfic. I can just imagine this being the epilogue to a Saki route where it would fit beautifully. Very effective at evoking the sense of people who have made peace with their lot in life, deciding to just live it out in a state of content melancholy. It describes just enough to get you there while leaving the rest to your imagination. It's the most emotional response I've had to a fic by far, so good flipping work.

Re: Fallen Leaves & Broken Clocks

Posted: Sat Jul 20, 2019 2:42 pm
by NuclearStudent
My page refreshed and expunged my reply. I hate this world and everything in it. Truly there is no god. I'll try to remember what I wrote.
Autumn is like the grand finale," she'd explained. "Even as it all ends it's so magnificent you can only watch in awe. When my time comes... I want to be like that."
If I recall, I thought about how I'd like to go. I wrote that I wanted my empty body to be dumped in a park and allowed to rot. Police in some places have that, areas where corpses are left to decay, so that the pattern and pace of erasure can be monitored. I thought that I'd like that, my body being allowed to do one last service. I felt sad that this would probably be denied to me.

Anyway Saki seems to have a very different outlook in life. Personally the people I know, sick or well, either don't care how they go or want to be thrown in holes. Anyway, back to a live reading.
____

Personally I wonder if this story would be improved if every instance of "broken clock" was replaced with "broken cock."

Oh, I'm at the end, and that was a touching last paragraph. I kinda want to apologize. It seems like you put a lot of heart into this, but at the moment all I'm reading thinking about is cliches and dicks snapped in two.

>Neither had much time to their names, a girl with paint splattered sleeves who would be gone long before her time and a messy haired young man whose heart didn't beat in time with the rest of the world, like a broken clock

Others seem to disagree, but I don't like how the broken clock metaphor is appended here. It seems to refer solely to Hisao, making this a run on sentence which doesn't fit in.

Again, I wish I had more to say. I'm currently in an unromantic mood, so this bounced away from my mind like a water bottle bouncing off a tank.

Re: Fallen Leaves & Broken Clocks

Posted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:53 am
by Oddball
Nice story. Shot put very powerful and emotional. Her response that Hisao had been reading too much poetry was a nice one that adds just a slight taste of humor to it.

I'm not so sure I like the last line where he say "Saki, I'll see you again soon." i think the story works well enough as being a melancholy little piece without adding the touch that Hisao is going to die soon as well.

NuclearStudent wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 2:42 pm
Personally I wonder if this story would be improved if every instance of "broken clock" was replaced with "broken cock."
No. It wouldn't.

A Conversation on the Roof

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:57 am
by PKMNthiefChris
A Conversation on the Roof

I’m sitting on the roof of Yamaku, trying to capture the sunset as it settles over the school. Lately, a messy haired boy has been keeping me company, as I try to capture all the colors of the sky. Today, he’s off campus at some science event our science teacher Mutou had invited him to, so instead my athletic, (and easily distracted), friend is up here with me. She’s been patient with my focus on painting so far, but we’re reaching the point where she gets restless and starts to goss-

“So what’s up with you and the new boy?” she asks, obviously bored of watching me paint.

“What do you mean?” I ask, my curiosity piqued. “We just hang out sometimes. He comes to the art club, but he’s not really a proper member.”

Miki scoffs. “Just hang out?” she says in mock surprise. “I was there with you both during the festival, remember? Actually, you probably don’t, you were too busy staring into each other’s eyes and forgot all about Misaki and me.” Her tone isn’t accusing, but I wince all the same.

It’s true that I’d been pretty focused on Hisao at the festival, maybe even at the expense of my other friends… But I’d just been trying to make him feel welcome and have a good time. It wasn’t anything else… right?

“We’re just friends Miki,” I insist, though I can’t meet her gaze any longer. My cheeks feel warmer than the sunset on my easel… Maybe she has a point after all. I imagine holding Hisao’s hand and my heart feels warm as my cheeks do now.

“First you say you just hang out… now you’re saying you’re just friends,” Miki comments playfully, gently poking me as she does. “Everyone already knows you like each other; you might as well admit it already!”

“Miki, I wasn’t aware that I liked Hisao until two minutes ago,” I point out. “If I didn’t know, there must be quite a few people that don’t.” Wait… Did I just admit that I like him? To Miki Miura, of all people? She’s the head of any gossip chain in Yamaku and isn’t exactly selective about who she shares her gossip with.

She smirks at my confession but then her expression grows slightly more serious. “Hisao,” Miki says flatly. “Hisao doesn’t know you like him or that he likes you. That’s it. Even his mental hallmate knows. I heard him ranting the other day how another good man was lost to the feminist army. I’m pretty sure even the teachers know by now.”

“How did everyone know when even we didn’t know?!” I demand, shocked and a little bit amused by her exaggerated claim about the teachers.
Miki stares at me incredulously. “He’s hung out with you almost every day since the festival. The real question isn’t how we know, it’s how you two didn’t.”

I think back on the past couple weeks. If it was a day for art club, Hisao was there. If I was going for a walk into town, Hisao was always invited. If I just wanted to paint on the roof he helped me get up here. We really have been spending a lot of time together, haven’t we?

“He hangs out with you and Misaki too…” I retort. It’s a weak excuse and we both know it. Hisao does hang out with my friends. His friends now. But it’s never one on one like he does with me… “Okay I think I see your point now…”

“Saki, I say this as your friend: Either tell him how you feel, or at least take him somewhere he’ll have to think about it,” Miki says seriously, a change of pace from her usual self. “It took me confronting you about it for you to notice. He’s just as oblivious as you are.”

I nod, giving thought to what Miki’s told me. I run my mind through the possibilities: Up on the roof? No too cliche. After art club sometime? I want it to be a little more special than that… Are there any school events coming up…? Yeah, there is! I turn to Miki. “The track meet is coming up soon, right?” I ask.

Miki nods. “This weekend, why?”

“Well… I was thinking we could go into town for a picnic afterwards? I can try talking to him then.”

Miki grins. “Wear something cute, see if he asks you out during the picnic instead.”

I flush, but nod without protesting. My phone buzzes and I flip it open.
Hisao: Hey just got back. I think Mutou wants me to start a science club…
I write a quick reply, teasing him for being Mutou’s star student, and asking him about the track meet on Sunday.

I turn back to Miki. “That was Hisao, I told him about the track meet,” I say and then my phone buzzes again. “He says he’ll meet us there. Don’t tell him about the picnic lunch, I want to surprise him.”

Miki grins. “Way to go Saki! Just have to make sure you stick the landing with it now, okay?”

It’s not a date, not quite, but it’s a step in the right direction. I end up thinking more about that than finishing this painting.

Re: Fallen Leaves & Broken Clocks/A Conversation on the Roof

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:01 pm
by Feurox
I love how oblivious and fun Saki is here. It's nice to have something light-hearted and hopeful once in a while.

Re: Fallen Leaves & Broken Clocks/A Conversation on the Roof

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:48 am
by Mirage_GSM
Well, that's meta-knowledge and all, but I'm not sure I would consider any story revolving around Saki "hopeful"...
This one was a nice read anyway. A different take on Saki from what we are used to.

Re: Fallen Leaves & Broken Clocks/A Conversation on the Roof

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:27 am
by Craftyatom
Fallen Leaves and Broken Clocks
PKMNthiefChris wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:21 pm
"You've been reading too much poetry," she'd said.
A very meta point, given Hisao's monologuing. This was a piece of rather purple prose. Luckily, I have a huge soft spot for this sort of poetic language, so I loved it. It really did fit Hisao's character, too; he's wistfully melancholic, and it shows.

A good piece that ties up the theme of mortality (one that Saki is never without in fan works) in a brief but broad package. Hisao's mortality is significantly different in fact, but in his mind the two go hand in hand, so I think it's fitting that they're so strongly associated in this story. Your take on their relationship was sweet, too. A few minor SpaG issues, but nothing bothersome.

A Conversation on the Roof
PKMNthiefChris wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:57 am
The real question isn’t how we know, it’s how you two didn’t.
I like this theme, and have used it myself. It fits with the sort of obliviousness and denial that cloud sweet organic relationships like the one in question. Your Saki and Miki felt believable and well-characterized, though I'll admit that it was a bit of a jarring transition from the previous story - that's my problem, though, not yours.

Couldn't spot any syntactic issues. The story was short and sweet, very in the moment (again contrasting with your previous one, which spanned an entire relationship from start to finish). A nice brief read.

A Fluke

Posted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:14 pm
by PKMNthiefChris
My Saki fics (all two of them, admittedly) thus far have been roughly canon to each other. This however is an… alternate ending, you might say. When you've accepted leaving someone behind, what happens when you're the one left behind?

A Fluke

A fluke. That’s what it is.

An accident, most call it, but Hisao’s death is nothing short of a fluke. There’s no way he should be gone before me. My life expectancy is shorter than his, even though I’m taking good care of myself. We both knew it; we came to terms with it our last year at Yamaku. Hisao promised he’d stay with me until things ended for me. I was okay with that; he and my parents would mourn but they wouldn’t be alone. Hisao would have our mismatched family from Yamaku on top of that. I was okay with leaving, I had to be. I wasn’t prepared for Hisao leaving me behind, without a goodbye. He’d gotten himself fit, Miki had seen to that, which I had always been grateful for. When I finally left, he was going to keep going and he’d have people there if he ever felt like he couldn’t. I was happy about that. But now… I’m the one left behind. I never even got to say goodbye. He was dead on arrival; nothing could be done. I’ve seen the pictures of the smoldering wreck of his car, I’ve seen the mess that was made of him…

Miki’s hand is on my shoulder squeezing gently.

“Saki, come on you need to eat,” she says gently.

I blink.

Right, I’m out with Miki. We’ve gotten pizza.

I stare at the pizza in front of me. It’s bacon and pineapple, Hisao’s favorite topping and mine. I stare at it more, not reaching for it. None of this feels right. Hisao should be the one getting comforted at the loss of a loved one. “I…” I try to respond, but trail off, I don’t have anything to say. It’s like my words died with him.

Miki says my name again, her face growing stern. “He would want you to take care of yourself,” she says firmly, though I can still hear concern in her voice.

Fury burns inside me. “I shouldn’t be worrying about what he wanted! This wasn’t how things were supposed to go!” I shriek, but her face remains stern and I hear the sound of people shifting in their seats nearby.

Right, we’re not the only ones here. Why did she bring me here? My phone buzzes, and lights up with texts from my parents that I had ignored for the past week. They were mourning him, too, and worrying about me just added another level of stress. When Miki had shown up insisting we go out for lunch I’d gone with her to try and lessen their burdens.

“Eat,” my best friend says, an order this time not a request. Her tone says she’ll hold it in front of my face until I bite it if I don’t.
I stare at the pizza, taking a bite. It’s cold. The cheese has solidified, no longer gooey. The sour tang of the pineapple and savory taste of bacon mix like they always do, but the taste seems far away…

“I know you miss him,” Miki says quietly. “We all do.” When I open my mouth to snap at her, she holds up her stump. “Saki, we all loved him. Not like you did, not like he loved you. But our group was a family. Just like how your parents adopted all of us. He was part of our mishmash of people that had lost something. None of us thought we’d lose him. I know it’s different for you, but do you think any of us were expecting to lose him like this?”

I stare into the brown eyes of my best friend, anger evaporating and guilt growing. She’s right. I might have never thought I’d outlive him, but my, our, friends thought he was with them for the long haul. Everyone thought he would keep living, he thought he would keep living. I bury my head in my hands and do something I haven’t been able to do until now in the days since Hisao’s death. I start to cry. Hot tears roll down my cheeks and I sob. I don’t know how long I cry for, but when I finally stop and look up, Miki is standing next to me her hand offered. I grab it and she pulls me up for a hug. She doesn’t say anything she just hugs me.

Re: Fallen Leaves & Broken Clocks/A Conversation on the Roof/A Fluke

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:03 am
by Feurox
Heart-wrenching Chris, well done. Fate sure can be convoluted, the world sure can be an awful and sad and hopeless place. You touch on that, but you contrast it with Miki, with the faint hope that we have to carry on, with Saki's realisation that the dead don't want company. If you ever flesh out your Saki universe, I'd expect to see these kind of themes explored: there's a search for purpose in your writing that I think is waiting to burst out. (even in your non-saki pieces). I think that's why you're fascinated by Saki, she can showcase this realisation that there's no happy ending. 'The joy is in the doing'.

Sorry, I rambled there a bit, but this was really good and got me thinking. Thanks man.

Re: Fallen Leaves & Broken Clocks/A Conversation on the Roof/A Fluke

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:39 pm
by NuclearStudent
It's lovely that Saki misses Hisao. It's a Ying and Yang situation; a driver didn't miss him.