Secret Santa 2018 - Story collection

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Bricktycoon
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Re: Secret Santa 2018 - Story collection

Post by Bricktycoon » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:08 pm

Here's mine. Tried to do something you wouldn't expect just looking at the prompt.

Anyway...

Prompt from none other than Mr. Stiles Long:

The KS girls (your choice who attends) throw a New Year’s Party (where is again up to you). An unwelcome and unexpected guest (if the pattern isn’t clear, it should be by now; the guest’s identity is in your hands), however, makes a welcome appearance.

***
The Last Leap of 2007

Why are my ears the only working sense left to me?

I listen to the soft pounding of my shoes against the sidewalk’s pavement. The snow, what little there is, has been pushed aside to clear the path, although I don’t think it was necessary. God, why am I filling my mind with these absurd little details, when I’m walking to my doom?

Just turn around. Just turn around and go back to the dorm. It would be that simple. But my feet keep taking me downhill, into the town, towards the Shanghai. Where they are. Just thinking of them, any of them, brings a storm of turmoil to my already-weak heart. I might just puke right here on the sidewalk. That would be a good excuse to turn around and go back, for certain.

My body almost obeys for a moment, as I stop walking and bend over forward, looking at the snow on the ground. Snow, I think dimly, almost childishly. There was a lot of snow on the ground that day. The day that kicked all of this off. The day of my first heart attack.

It’s been nearly a year since then. Months in the hospital, months at Yamaku Academy, a tumultuous summer break, and then more months at Yamaku.

And tomorrow…tomorrow it will be 2008. Considering everything 2007 hurled at me, is it really strange that I’m not exactly jumping for joy at this?

I stand up, and keep walking forward. The little bag swings in my right hand, and the gifts shift from side to side. I once again tell myself that this is a terrible idea. I know I need to give these, I need to have that closure before we all go off to college soon, but I could have so easily done it separately, privately. But it’s been a chaos of business at the school since the end of the year has sent everyone up in a storm…and of course, all of them are more productive than me. They all have duties to attend to, be they literal…or in some cases, creative. It’s been impossible.

Now, this is my last chance.

A gust of wind rushes up the hill, sending a shiver through me. The town is still alight this late in the evening, although there are no sounds of life to speak of. The cicadas stopped chirping two months ago. Now there’s just the wind, and my footsteps.

My most awkward interactions with all of them keep getting replayed in my brain…even if I’ve had better interactions with them since then, it doesn’t matter. Their impression of me will always be held to that lowest standard.

First, there’s Lilly, Shizune, and Misha…

“Hicchan! Don’t you slack off either!” She said other words after that, but I don’t remember them. I was too busy being mad at her.

“And I’m a part of this, how exactly?” I asked harshly. “This is between you two…er, three. I’m no class representative. Leave me out of it.”

Lilly had a shocked expression, one that read You’re not even going to try and help me out here? I thought we were friends. That was the first hit. And then Shizune had slashed her hands through the air at me, fury written all over her face, and Misha had translated. That was the second hit.

Later on, the Student Council apologized for the nature of how they dragged me into the argument, saying it was uncalled for to do it in such a manner, but Shizune made it very clear that she disapproved of my snarky attitude. You cannot go through life acting as if you don’t have to do anything. You’re living on this planet; you owe it some work.

Shizune and Misha asked me for help with things signficantly less after that. We still talked in class, but it was only out of necessity, due to us sitting next to each other. I got the message loud and clear…they thought I was a lost cause.

And I’ve barely spoken to Lilly at all. We’ve run into each other in the hallways before, and exchanged some polite conversation, but I can tell she doesn’t really want to deepen our relationship beyond that.

Especially now, that I…

No, no. I will not think about Hanako right now. It’s partially my fault that she won’t be at the party that I am approaching. Me and my inability to do ANYTHING properly. I just wanted to be friends, because it seemed like she loved books as much as I did…but I didn’t have the social skills to navigate such a friendship. It was doomed from the start.

In the back of my mind, I can hear Shizune speaking through Misha, in a scathing tone. There you go, giving up again. Do you intend on ever doing anything difficult in your life? Yes, Shizune, apparently I do. This thing I’m intending right now might be the most difficult thing ever.

Emi will be at this party as well. Emi, who I probably got the closest with out of all the people at this school…Emi, who I maybe wanted to get closer with, as we became friendlier and friendlier on our morning runs. But there was a barrier there, some kind of disconnect…I sensed that she was keeping herself distant, and even after all she taught me about running, I was scared of trying to close that distance. I was scared of Emi, and I think she figured it out. Instead of escalating, our friendship stagnated, and then grew colder. I haven’t gone out to run on the track in weeks, citing the cold weather as the reason the last time I saw Emi. She only nodded and said, “I understand.”

Now I’m wondering what she really meant. Was she understanding why I wasn’t running, or understanding something else?

The Shanghai is across the street, the sleepy orange lights giving the area a sort of blurry warmth through the dark, chilly air. Something wet lands on the tip of my nose.

I look up at the yawning, drooping sky. More wet things land on my face. It’s begun to snow again.

I sniff, tears suddenly streaming down my face. What did I even do with my last year of school, with my friendships, with my life? My one real chance to really understand someone else, to share experiences with someone else, to have a meaningful relationship with someone else, was taken away by my heart attack, and I haven’t done anything proactive since.

The snow continues to land on my cheeks, my eyelashes. I’m suddenly laughing, laughing while crying. God, I’m such a wreck.

“You shouldn’t do that out on the street,” someone says. “Someone will think you’re a foreigner.”

I sniff again, sharply this time, and shift my head down to look at the person who spoke. Under the narrow overhang of the Shanghai’s exterior, Rin is leaning against the wall. Probably watching the snow, I think.

“Hello, Rin,” I say, my voice still doing that airy waver that you get after crying. I wipe my face off and step under the overhang. “What did you say? I’d look like a foreigner? Do I look like a foreigner to you?” I’m in a giddy, playful mood, all of a sudden. Have no idea where it came from, but I’ll use it while it lasts.

Rin looks me up and down. “No. You look very Japanese.”

“Is standing in the street and crying like a psycho something foreigners regularly do in Japan?”

Rin shrugs.

“What were you doing out here?” This is starting to feel like an interrogation, but there’s nothing I can really do about it, right?

“Watching the snow,” she answers. Just as I expected. “What are you doing down here? Were you invited to this thing?”

“No,” I reply, “but I’m here.”

Rin nods, as if understanding everything. “I’m the opposite. I was invited, but I’m not here. Maybe if we go inside together, it will cancel out.”

Sounds so horrifically absurd that I want to do it. “Okay,” I agree. “When we go in, I want you to say something. Just anything.”

“Anything?” Rin raises an eyebrow.

“Yes.”

“You’re putting an awful lot of pressure on me.”

“It doesn’t matter. Come on.” I make a gesture, and she pushes herself off the wall with her foot. Swinging around to get ahead of me, she opens the front door to the Shanghai, and I follow inside.

The teahouse has been decorated with streamers and balloons and things like that, clearly made by Shizune and Misha. This is the only thought I have time to process.

“Slugs have four noses,” Rin announces to the entire room. “Also, Hisao is here.”

It goes silent. I swear you could hear a pin drop.

Near the counter, Misha makes a little noise and then turns to start signing to Shizune. They begin having an aggressive conversation, just as far as I can observe.

“Hey, Rin, you finally made it,” says Emi, walking over. “Hey, Hisao. I didn’t know you were invited to this.” Her tone is casual and neutral, but suddenly I’m filled with the butterflies all over again.

“Uh, well…” I rub the back of my neck with my hand sheepishly. “I kinda…”

“He wasn’t invited!” Misha declares, and before I know it, the Student Council is on top of me. Shizune is giving me an authoritarian glare, and Misha has her hands on her hips. Emi’s look is questioning, and Rin just stands there, her eyes half-lidded.

“Um…” The heat is rushing to my cheeks. “Well…” My stomach feels like it’s flipping over and over. “You see…” God, why can’t I SPEAK?

I could just walk out. Run for it. I don’t have to interact with these girls for much longer, anyway. Escaping an extremely awkward situation to make things only slightly awkward for a few more weeks seems like a reasonable trade-off right at this moment.

No.

No, this isn’t how I escape. I escape by powering through. I escape by standing my ground.

“It’s true, I wasn’t invited,” I say apologetically. “But I had something to give all of you, and I didn’t know if I would get a better time to do it.”

Shizune’s dark blue eyes dart down to the bag in my hand, and her face suddenly lightens.

Emi breaks into a grin. “Ooh, Hisao what did you get me?”

Misha’s face relaxes, and she takes her hands off her hips as Shizune begins signing. “Well then, Hicchan, if you…”

“Sorry, I was speaking to Yuuko. Did someone come in?” It’s Lilly, walking slowly and steadily, her cane tip-tapping against the floor.

“It’s Hisao,” Rin tells her.

I look at Lilly’s face carefully. For a moment, she keeps her neutral expression, but then she smiles prettily. “Hello, Hisao,” she says. “What brings you here?”

It’s like their hopeful expressions melt all my nerves away. “I brought some things for all of you,” I announce.

Then, I take the final leap.
Emi and Rin's routes.

PKMNthiefChris
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Re: Secret Santa 2018 - Story collection

Post by PKMNthiefChris » Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:10 am

So here's my comments on what's been done so far:

Akira's Surprise by Lap

I freely admit I'm not a fan of harem endings in general and Lilly or even Hisao being in a poly relationship is pretty outside my view of them. I can however see a post route Hanako being the driving force behind it, along with Lilly fearing Akira's reaction. And Akira ranging from shocked to teasing? Heck yeah, definitely. The writing itself was solid and ending on a note of cheering was good.

Mission Log: Snow Butterfly by PKMNThiefChris

Does this fool think he's a writer? I can't make heads or tails of it.

When the World Stops Cold by Downix

Ah, Downix's Rika. No matter the incarnation her play off Hisao is always enjoyable. It's nice to see her helping Hisao confront some of his demons from the winter before. It's well written like I've come to expect from Downix's work and it was a nice fit for the prompt as well.

A Gift of Confidence by Mirage_GSM

I'm glad I didn't get this prompt. It turned out quite well but I definitely would've been stuck if I'd gotten it. Them helping Hanako worked out well and it's nice to see or see them seeing Hanako's growth as time months go on. Also you really played up Nurse's nature as a meddler. Not that I think you made him more of a meddler than he actually is but it was cool seeing it being the main focus.

The Last Leap of 2007 by Bricktycoon

I'm torn about how to feel about this one when it comes to Hisao. The girls were in pretty good character and so was Hisao for a depressed him but... I'm uncertain he could make it this far, this depressed. Rin was great. Everyone was great. I just feel conflicted about that specifically. Ending on a hopeful note was a good touch since he makes it very clear he wishes to change.

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brythain
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Re: Secret Santa 2018 - Story collection

Post by brythain » Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:38 am

My dear Mirage!

This is excellent. I loved the chronological vignette format, which told many bits of story—about Nurse, Nomiya, and others—while keeping the main storyline flowing. I had no idea what I'd get, and am indeed very pleased with my present. I am now fearful that I am not going to deliver as good a piece for my own victim!

Thanks very much! :)
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:39 pm
Prompt: “Nomiya and Nurse are having drinks at the local bar. They have to resolve a problem involving a main female character who's neither Rin nor Emi.”

A few words regarding the implementation of this prompt: I found this to be quite challenging. The framework was quite restricted both in the characters involved (With Emi and Rin excluded, Shizune and Lilly not really being the ones to have others solve problems for them and me not sure whether brythain would consider Misha a ‘main character’ Hanako was pretty much the only one left) and the location (which pretty much precluded Hanako from making a personal appearance). Oh, and of course I wanted to somehow shoehorn in something about Christmas…
I think the story could have been better if there had been some interaction between Hanako and Nomiya, but on the other hand the prompt caused me to write the story in a format I would probably not have considered on my own.
Anyway, I hope what I wrote will still be considered satisfactory.

P.S.: Genbikei Gorge should be about an hour’s travel from Sendai. Now I want to go there the next time I visit Japan…

P.P.S.: This is now my headcanon for what happens to the other girls after Emis good end :-)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Secret Santa 2018 - Story collection

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:18 am

Thanks!
I'm glad you liked it.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Mineoa
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Christmas Presence

Post by Mineoa » Mon Dec 10, 2018 8:37 pm

Hey ya'll, It's Mineoa. You know, the guy with no presence here because he doesn't do anything. Well, hey. This was fun and thank you all for letting my participate! Hope you enjoy my story. Not too acquainted with writing yet but I think this turned out alright.

VICTIM: Scratchminus

Prompt: A number of students from the KS cast (however many you choose) find themselves stuck in a room literally watching paint dry on Christmas Eve. Go in whatever direction you choose, and have fun with it.



Christmas Presence
The clock slowly ticked its way to 4:30 PM. It had been only an hour but it felt like an eternity. It was Christmas day and Hisao had invited Lilly and Hanako over to his apartment to celebrate.
“This is so booooriiiinnnng…” Kenji, groaned.
Kenji hadn’t been invited. He showed up because he had nothing else to do. Just because he was a paranoid mess didn’t mean he didn’t celebrate Christmas. He was dressed in an elf costume with the bell missing from his left shoe causing him to jingle every other step.
“All of this boredom because SOMEBODY forgot to plan activities! I mean, how do you even forget to plan activities when your best bud’s coming over?!” He shouted in Hisao’s general direction.
“Why did you even show up? How did you even know I was doing anything?” Hisao retorted.
“What, is a dude not allowed to show up to his best pal’s house on Christmas day?”
Kenji leaned back in his chair.
“Especially when he hears the sound of footsteps heading there! I was just watching your back man! What if they were feminist assassins!?! Thankfully it was just those two.” He said while attempting to point at Hanako and Lilly but instead pointing at a poster.
“Wait a second… Since when were there only one of you…?” Kenji asked quizzically. “And have you always been green…?” He continued, still very confused.
Hisao sighed. “Geez, well at least you trust these two… to an extent…”
“Yeah, well, I’m gonna go to the shop down the street,” Kenji said as he got out of his chair. “You guys want anything?”
“N-No thank you.” responded Hanako.
“I would appreciate some tea cakes.” Lilly said.
“No, I’m fine.” Hisao said after sighing.
“Right. Tea cakes. I’ll be back in ten. If I take any longer, just assume that they got me. You know what to do if that happens Hisao… See ya!” Then Kenji stepped out the door and half-jingled his way to the convenience store.
“Shit… How is he even going to find anything?” Hisao said while facepalming.
This made Lilly giggle a bit and Hanako smiled.
Hisao, Lilly, and Hanako chatted idly while waiting for Kenji, who took fifteen minutes to return.
“I forgot the tea cakes.” He said as he stepped through the door. “But forget that, let’s get this shit started!” Kenji shouted as he pulled a few bottles out of his bag. “Who wants to get boozed up for Christmas!?” He shouted.
“How the hell did you get alcohol?” asked Hisao.
“I’ve got my connections man. Not that I’ll reveal them to you.” Kenji untwisted the cap on a bottle of Vodka. “A real man never reveals his connections…” He muttered as he took a swig. It took all of an hour for everyone to get absolutely shitfaced.
“You know, you two are the only two women who I trust to not to put a bullet in my back as soon as I turn away from you.” Kenji slurred out.
“And that’s saying a lot for him!” Hisao said with a chuckle.
“Thank you for the kind words.” Lilly said while giggling.
5 of the bottles Kenji had brought were lying on the ground empty.
“One and a half bottles to go!” Kenji blurted out. He knocked his head back to to take a swig when he realized he wasn’t even holding the bottle. He looked around in confusion. “Where’d the bottle go?” He asked.
“Haha! Too late! Hanako’s chugging it down!” Hisao said while lightly slurring his words.
Surely enough, Hanako had just chugged the rest of the bottle down.
“Sorry for drinking the rest of it.” she said as she handed the empty bottle to Kenji.
“Ah, whatever, we’ve still got more. Probably.” Kenji said as he tossed the bottle with the rest.
“Oh, we got forgot to exchange gifts, didn’t we?” Said Lilly.
“Oh yeah, you’re right.” Hisao responded.
“I can go first.” Hanako said.
She proceeded to grab the two gifts behind her and pass them to Lilly and Hisao.
“Sorry Kenji. I didn’t know you’d come so I didn’t get you anything.” Hanako said regretfully.
“Naw, don’t worry about” Kenji said in response.
Lilly opened her present first. It was a small box wrapped in festive reindeer with a neat little red bowtie. It was a lovely teacup decorated with lilies and silver lining with a delicate handle.
“A teacup! Thank you Hanako. I’m sure it looks beautiful.” she said gleefully.
Hisao’s present was in the shape of a book. It had festive snowflake wrapping and had a large bow tie with hearts on it. inside was a hardcover copy of ‘Life of Pi’.
“Oh! It’s the book you were reading when we first met! Thank you Hanako.” Hisao said, then kissing her on the cheek. She blushed.
“It’s my turn now.” Lilly said and handed out her presents. They were all wrapped tightly around their contents, making it easy to assume what they were by their shape. She had one for Kenji as well.
“I figured you’d probably show up.” She said as she handed him his.
“Oh, t-thanks I guess.” He said, blatantly surprised.
Hisao’s present was in the shape of a mouse with halloween themed wrapping. It was partially open already. He opened his present first and inside was a computer mouse.
“Oh. I’ve been needing a new mouse. Thanks!” He said.
Next was Hanako’s present. It had an oddly rectangular shape and had a good amount of tape on it. It had the same wrapping as Hisao’s and inside was a book light.
“O-oh. A book light! Thank you Lilly.” She said and gave Lilly a hug.
Last of all was Kenji. It was a very lumpy present and was wrapped in wax paper, making its insides visible to everyone. Kenji couldn’t tell anyways because of his incredibly poor eyesight. He slowly opened the present. Inside was an attachable door lock.
“What’s this?” He asked quizzically.
“It’s an attachable door lock. It’s just another lock you can use for your door.” Lilly answered.
“Ah sweet. Even more protection for when they come for me. Thanks Lils.” He said appreciatively.
Hisao then handed out his gifts to Lilly and Hanako. He sat nervously. Lilly’s was a small red and green striped box with a yellow stick-on bowtie on the top. She opened it and inside was… Another teacup. This time it had roses a gold colored trim with a thicker handle.
“Oh! Another teacup.” Lilly said.
“Yeah, sorry, I didn’t think Hanako would give you a teacup.” he said while nervously laughing.
“No. I don’t mind. Thank you Hisao. I’m sure it’s also beautiful.”
Hanako’s present was a very small box wrapped in snowflake and heart wrapping paper. The stick-on bow tie was purple. She opened her present and inside was a queen chess piece key ring. As she looked up towards Hisao she saw that he was holding up a king chess piece key ring himself.
“You’re my queen, Hanako.” He said while smiling. Hanako blushed deeply and looked down.
“T-thank you Hisao…” She said quietly. He smiled and kissed her on the forehead.
“Great! Now that all the sappy crap’s out of the way, I’ve got my presents!” Kenji said.
“You got presents?” Asked Hisao.
“Yep!” Shouted Kenji enthusiastically. He then proceeded to pull out three Ten Yen coins and give one to everyone. Hisao stared at his in disbelief. Hanako tried to suppress her laugh at Hisao’s disappointment.
“Why, thank you very much Kenji.” Lilly said with a smile.
“Yep. No problem.” Responded Kenji.
By 9:00 they were all asleep on the floor. They had enjoyed their Christmas but, oh boy. Oh boy were they gonna love their hangovers tomorrow.


THE
END.
Just waiting to be hit by a bus already...

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Secret Santa 2018 - Story collection

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:36 am

Hi, and welcome to the forums!

The story is fun, but as a practical tip you should use more paragraphs for better readability.

The prompt was... difficult, but you turned it into something worth reading.

If I had happened to get it I would have taken the "literally" literally, which would have meant it would have turned into a crackfic... Which in turn would probably have meant Kenji would have been in there as well :-)

Oh, by the way, nice pun in the title...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Mineoa
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Re: Secret Santa 2018 - Story collection

Post by Mineoa » Tue Dec 11, 2018 5:48 pm

Thanks! I'll hold onto that tip for any future projects if there are any.
Just waiting to be hit by a bus already...

StilesLong
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Re: Secret Santa 2018 - Story collection

Post by StilesLong » Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:10 am

I feel terrible replying WEEKS after poor Bricky posted but here we are.

You must have been aware of my own dislike for Hisao because you beat the shit out of the poor guy. Having said that, it was entirely appropriate. Nothing felt out of place and I think it all fit with his own complacency. I'm also glad he overcame himself and did what he set out to do.

I noticed a handful of spelling/grammatical errors (I can help you find them and eliminate them, if you want) but I liked the narrative overall.

I lost my shit at Rin's comment when they first went inside. As in, full on laughing at five after two in the morning. If anyone else was awake, they must have thought I'd gone nuts. I'll have to google whether she's right or not.

Sorry for taking so long to read that, Bricky. It was hilarious and well-thought out and a wonderful response to an ungrateful (doesn't read it for TWO WEEKS) recipient. Thank you very much!

Hanako Fancopter
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Re: Secret Santa 2018 - Story collection

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:22 am

it is here my dudes
ProfAllister wrote:
Fri Nov 23, 2018 1:13 am
Your victim: Arodyrok
Jigoro is hosting a Christmas dinner for his family (Satou presence is optional) Shizune takes it upon herself to invite the student council. Now a displeased Jigoro has to deal with uninvited guests.
---

Dinner Has Been Served


Misha and I move cautiously as we walk up to the Hakamichi residence, treading carefully as if Jigoro might be waiting to ambush us. Shizune, of course, strides right ahead and through the front door, without a care in the world. I don’t know if it’s good or bad that she seems to be the only person not intimidated by her father. I can’t say I’m not anxious about meeting him again, even if my impression of him has softened a bit over time. Still, when Shizune invited us over for a family Christmas dinner, how could we say no?

I take Misha’s hand and clench it tightly, giving her a silent look of resolve. She returns my sentiment in kind. Even Misha doesn’t have to say what we’re thinking: Into the breach. Here goes nothing. There’s no one in the hall, so we just walk carefully down into the dining room, where Shizune is already seated at the family’s large table, taking the end of it across from where her father sits at its head. Hideaki sits to Shizune’s right, and to the right of him, Lilly and Akira. Didn’t know they were coming, but I guess it’s not—

“Who is this? The boy again?” Jigoro says. “Unannounced. And the pink one? Don’t you know it’s rude, to enter a man’s home uninvited?”

Well. This is off to a great start. Apparently ignoring her father’s comments, Shizune motions for me and Misha to sit down on her left. There are indeed enough chairs for us, though that’s just a function of how large the table is. Neither of us moves.

“Hey~! We have names, you know! Mister Shicchan’s dad!” Misha points out. “Not just boy and pink girl!”

“It was actually pink ‘one,’” Hideaki corrects her.

“Right. Names,” Jigoro says. “Guests are called by name. You two are not my guests.”

“Oh dear…” Lilly remarks, looking down. She’s probably doing it to hide the smile forming on her face, and she’s not doing a very good job of it. After their last encounter back at Yamaku, I’m sure Lilly is happy to see Shizune taking a beating for once. Akira looks very uncomfortable, but also unsure what to say or do. She settles for downing the glass of wine next to her plate and refilling it after.

Shizune hasn’t done anything to contradict Jigoro this whole time. She isn’t even looking at us. There’s no doubt in my mind that she did this on purpose, inviting us without telling him… is it a game to get at her father, or to test me and Misha’s reactions, see if we’re up to the challenge? More likely both. I guess it doesn’t matter, it’s all the same in terms of what I should do.

“You’re right, Mr. Hakamichi. We’re not your guests. We’re your daughters’ guests,” I say. “This is her family, and her home, and she invited us into it. If we’re not welcome, then we can go, but we were really looking forward to spending tonight with her.”

Jigoro gives me a brief stare, his eyes squinting in appraisal, before waving a hand dismissively towards the empty chairs.

“Yes, yes, very well. I’ve hosted you without notice several times now, why not again?”

“Thank you, Mr. Hakamichi,” I say, bowing to him before taking my seat.

He doesn’t look at all appeased, but the fact that he let us stay is promising. I sit down next to Shizune with Misha on my other side, another empty chair serving as a buffer between her and Jigoro. Shizune gives us both a pleasant smile, as if this is a totally normal, loving family dinner, and everything is completely fine. Lilly doesn’t seem to share that sentiment.

“My my, I do hope we have enough to go around, with such unexpected company… we didn’t cook for seven,” she says pointedly.

Fortunately, it does look like there will be food enough for everybody. Whether somebody cooked all of this or Jigoro paid to have it made or whatever, I don’t know, but there’s a wide array of food and drink and it all looks delicious. I have a sinking feeling that we won’t really be able to enjoy it at this rate.

“It’s cool, they can have some of mine. I think I want to leave room for more booze anyways,” Akira says.

I’m more than a bit jealous she gets to do that. I’m sure alcohol would make this whole affair go by easier.

“Don’t go drinking yourself sick in my home. Disgraceful,” Jigoro says. “Do young people now have any restraint left whatsoever?”

“Ah, sorry, was just jokin’…” Akira says.

“I believe some among us still have manners,” Lilly says, taking a loud sip of her own beverage with pinky extended haughtily. “Others… do seem a bit given over to petulant whims and fancies.”

While Shizune doesn’t seem to have any interest in butting heads with her father, Lilly is a different story.

“That’s exactly right, Lilly! Too many class reps these days prefer to sit around drinking instead of doing their jobs. It’s shameful~!” Misha translates.

Lilly spits some of her drink out at hearing this, coughing several times after as she tries to regain control of her airways. A good splash of it gets all over her blouse and she just barely avoids spilling the whole glass. There goes her big fancy lady routine, I guess. She does not look happy about that comment, to put it mildly.

“You’ve been drinking back there at that school? Didn’t send you there to engage in such delinquency. Aren’t you all on the student council? Unbelievable!” Jigoro remarks.

“Not… alcohol,” Lilly clarifies, her voice coming back to her. “We rather enjoy our tea, that’s all. We like to drink lots of tea. That’s what Shizune means… isn’t it, Misha?”

Lilly turns her head towards Shizune’s end of the table, as if daring her to contradict that. That’s a dangerous game she’s playing, but somehow I think she’s made the right call. If Shizune were to just come right out and say “yeah Lilly has gotten sloshed in her dorm a few times,” that would be like snitching, I think. It would ruin the fun of the game. Besides, it’s not like we haven’t engaged in our own bouts of rule-breaking, albeit of a different sort.

“Yes, yes~! Lilly is really fond of her tea. Shicchan says, maybe if you cared about your duties as much as your tea, you would have your reports in on time!” Misha responds happily.

“Ahh, the class reports. It must be nice to have so much time to fill them in quickly. Almost as if one had nothing else to do,” Lilly retorts.

Shizune is already signing her response but Jigoro cuts off further arguing, his booming voice easily dominating the conversation.

“Enough petty squabbling. Not becoming of you, of this family. What is this about tea, boy?” he asks, turning to me. “Do you take tea each afternoon, with these girls? Is that what you are?”

I clear my throat before responding.

“…No, I do not. The Student Council doesn’t drink tea,” I answer with a bit of pride. It’s a weird thing to be proud of, but Jigoro’s inherently accusatory tone just brings it out of me.

“So you are drinking alcohol, then? Should’ve expected as much,” Jigoro concludes. “At least it isn’t a woman’s drink,” he adds, as if my drinking tea would somehow be even worse.

I decide to just accept that as the best I’m going to get and decline to follow up any further, focusing instead on the food. There seems to be an unspoken agreement among everyone present to go ahead and dig in, as a way of avoiding any more uncomfortable conversation topics. Even Shizune and Lilly have reached a truce in the wake of Jigoro’s interruption, neither one wanting to give him any further ideas about their un-ladylike behavior back at Yamaku. As always, Jigoro appears to be the most at ease in the room, refusing to allow unwanted guests or silly family bickering to ruin his meal. Hideaki also seems surprisingly calm and unperturbed. I guess out of all of us, he’s the most used to this type of situation.

On the Student Council side of the table, we might have gone silent, but we’re used to communicating without words. One nice thing about Jigoro is that he doesn’t even look up whenever one of us begins signing to another, being fairly used to the practice—and as far as I can tell, he doesn’t actually know sign language himself. How he raised Shizune with that language barrier in place, I still haven’t figured out, but it does allow us to talk in plain sight.

[Do you think we’ll still be allowed to stay over through the week?] I ask Shizune, as that was part of the original plan.

[Of course. If Father lets you eat his food, he’ll let you do anything.] she assures me.

[I don’t know about that. Anything? He probably wouldn’t appreciate some of the things I do to you.] I say.

Misha puts a hand to her mouth and blushes, though Shizune doesn’t flinch in the slightest. She just gives me a little smile, as if to say “nice try.”

[Maybe we should find out. I’m sure you will have a chance to do some of those things while we’re here.] Shizune says, her eyes narrowing with that typical look of competition.

Damn. I guess I should’ve known what I was walking into, provoking her like that.

[I don’t know. There is so much food here, and I’m starting to feel really stuffed… I might not be in the mood. What if I just want to go to sleep?]

[Hicchan! You’re spending more time signing stuff to Shicchan than eating!] Misha tells me. [If you’re not going to eat your food, give it to me!]

Lilly’s head has been cocked to the side this whole time, a giveaway that she’s listening as closely as she can, trying to figure out what is going on. She’s probably deduced that we’re signing and it must be driving her up a wall not to know what we’re saying. Normally Akira might try to distract her but the elder Satou seems to have checked out of this evening, resigning herself to just drinking more wine while trying not to look too sour about how things have turned out.

[If you leave the class president unsatisfied tonight, you’ll regret it.] Shizune says. [Both of you. You have a duty to the council—if you don’t care for the president properly, she can’t serve the student body at full capacity.]

[Full capacity, huh? I think I can arrange that.] I say.

That one gets a twitch out of Shizune as she stifles a laugh. Score one!

“I’m done eating. May I be excused now?” Hideaki announces.

Jigoro nods while finishing the last bites of his own plate. He pushes away from the table and stands up as Hideaki leaves the room.

“I’ll excuse myself as well. Since those still at my dinner table seem more than capable of amusing themselves,” Jigoro says, picking his sword up from its resting place beside his chair. “Business calls,” he calls over his shoulder as he walks out after his son, twirling the sword idly.

Of all the things about that man, I think the one I’ll never get used to is that sword. As soon as he’s gone, Lilly seizes her opening.

“Amusing ourselves, are we?” she asks the table. “Is there something I should know about?”

“Don’t worry, Lilly-chan. We weren’t talking about you. Pinky swear~! Wahaha~!” Misha says.

“Ah. Right. More important things to talk about, I’m sure,” Lilly says.

“Lilly… please,” Akira says, seeming a bit more herself now that Jigoro’s oppressive presence is gone. “Can we… not? Just for one night? This was supposed to be a family occasion. It’s Christmas Eve, for cryin’ out loud!”

“Hmph. You’re right, Akira. It was supposed to be a family occasion. And yet Shizune felt that she simply had to invite her lovers here, without even informing the rest of us. So if things haven’t exactly turned out well, that is unfortunate, but I hardly think I am the cause,” Lilly says, a pout now clear on her face.

[Jealous that you don’t have any?] Shizune says, no doubt playing off the “lovers” comment.

“Shicchan~! I can’t say that!” Misha says, though she’s cracking up a bit.

“C’mon, are we really so bad?” I ask, trying to lighten the mood a bit. I do feel a bit bad for Lilly sometimes, when it’s three against one… even Akira isn’t really backing her up here. And she does kind of have a point, Shizune did just drag us along with no warning. “You probably wouldn’t really want to listen in on our conversations anyways, Lilly. They’re about, uhh… you know. Council business. Boring stuff.”

I try to get the message across in my tone of voice here, though I can’t tell if it works or not. Lilly purses her lips and declines to say anything further, which I take as a tacit admission that I’m right. If we involved her in our talk, she’d just end up fighting with Shizune immediately. The fact that we can talk in sign while she’s around actually helps to keep the peace. Even if she doesn’t want to admit it out loud, I’m sure Lilly knows that as well as I do.

[That’s right. You’re off the council, so you don’t need to know about council business anymore.] Shizune says. [It’s only proper.]

[Can we give her a rest, like Akira asks? I don’t think any of us really want to get into it right now.] I implore Shizune.

“Here, maybe this’ll cheer you up,” Akira says to Lilly in the meantime, pouring a bit of wine into her glass.

“Ah. Thank you, Akira,” Lilly says.

Me and Akira exchange a look, one where I know that the message gets across: You reign your side in, and I’ll try to handle mine. It’s a role we’ve both had to play before. Shizune glares at me for a moment, her expression much the same as Lilly’s. It says: I’m not done yet, but I know the rest of you probably are. I glare right back at her, refusing to back down.

[…Fine.] Shizune relents. [But only because we have… more important things to do, than bother her any more.]

Beside me, Misha lets out an audible sigh of relief.

“Yeah, it is Christmas, isn’t it? Let’s all be cheery for the holidays! Yay, yay~! Remember, we get to open presents tomorrow! Ahahaha~!” Misha says, doing her part to warm the room up. It works pretty well, too. It’s hard to stay angry or upset when she’s around and in her element.

“I’m sure Shizune will be unwrapping a couple presents tonight,” Lilly says.

“Lilly!” Akira snaps.

Lilly sighs in regret.

“…I’m sorry. You’re right, perhaps we should… try to remember what Christmas is really about,” she says.

“I think so,” Akira agrees. “What’s Christmas about to you guys? To me, it’s, you know…”

She punctuates her statement by finishing her wine glass. Christmas is about booze for Akira, no doubt. But then again, it seems like most days are about booze for her, so. I guess she just has a better reason to indulge on holidays.

“I think it’s about giving,” Lilly says, pointedly holding up her own empty wine glass. Akira rolls her eyes, but dutifully refills it. It occurs to me how well this moment sums up Lilly, her actions and her personality—talking about giving while politely suggesting that someone give something to her. That passive aggressive nature of hers, that’s why she has such problems getting along with Shizune, I think. I do hope that one day they’ll learn to communicate in a healthy way.

“Well~! I think it’s all about food! Lots and lots of it!” Misha says, holding her arms open wide as if to demonstrate how much tasty food she eats on Christmas.

[What about you?] Shizune asks me.

“Hmm.”

I think for a moment before replying.

“I think it’s about family. That’s what tonight was supposed to be about, right? I know me and Misha aren’t technically family, but still,” I answer.

“Well, let’s face it. Ya might as well be now,” Akira says, tipping her glass towards the two of us.

“Ehehe. I guess~!” Misha tentatively agrees.

I just shrug.

“Family or not, I do enjoy spending time with you. All of you. That’s the only way I know how to say it,” I explain.

Shizune smiles at me, clearly pleased by my performance.

“Thank you, Hisao. That’s very nice of you to say. I… do enjoy your company, as well,” Lilly says cautiously, no doubt wary of stepping on Shizune’s toes. Fortunately, Shizune is done attacking her for the night. Her mind has already moved on to other things.

[And? What is Christmas about to you?] I ask her.

She gives me a devilish grin which simply confirms what I already knew about where her thoughts had gone.

[I know what this one is about.] she says.

[What would that be?] I press.

Her eyes narrow and she gives me a sultry look.

[Why don’t you come to my room and I’ll show you?]

[Opening presents already, are we?]

[I’ve eaten my fill of dinner. Now I need my other serving for the night.]

[Ah, it’s time for bed already? Alright! Yay!] Misha joins in, bouncing a bit in her chair.

“Ahem, well,” I say, clearing my throat and getting up. “We’re going to go, umm. Open some presents now. That we got for each other. In private.”

Technically, this is accurate. Shizune does have something new she wants to try out. Lilly just sips loudly from her wine.

“Well, don’t let me and Lils stop you. We’ll be around,” Akira says. Then, she leans forwards over the table. “And remember—use protection. Every time,” she whispers to us.

Lilly snorts, spitting out wine at this comment, but is too embarrassed to say anything, her face nearly the color of her drink. She’s obviously just waiting for us to leave at this point. Shizune scowls at Akira and pulls me away, beckoning for Misha to follow, which she does obediently.

“Uhh, yeah! Don’t worry, there won’t be any, err, Christmas surprises! Not on my watch!” I call back after me, hearing Akira laugh as we make our way down the hall and into Shizune’s bedroom. Misha is the last one in; she closes the door behind her and immediately pounces on Shizune, pinning her to the bed and pulling her into a deep kiss. At the same time, she lifts her skirt up to expose her panty-clad rear, giving me something to do to get started.

I still don’t feel totally okay doing this right under Jigoro’s nose, but by now I’ve learned that it just comes along with dating his daughter. We did have our first encounter in this very same room, after all. Man does that feel like a lifetime ago. Since then we’ve had sex on the roof, in the council room, on a park bench, in the janitor’s closet… in Lilly’s room that time she went to Scotland… it seems like we’ve gotten rowdy everywhere but in our own dorm rooms. Well, except for the times in Misha’s room. I guess those count, considering where we are now.

Anyways. I rub my hands and lick my lips, getting ready to go to work… this looks to be one hell of a night.

***

A short while later and things are going pretty well. Somehow Shizune always manages to stay completely silent if she wants to, no matter what we do to her. Misha on the other hand… she’s been straining desperately not to let out anything louder than little squeals and whimpers. It’s clearly turning Shizune on, and I can’t deny its effect on me, either. Just when we’re really getting into it, we pay for our brazen behavior as the door to the bedroom opens abruptly.

I gave up trying to convince Shizune about leaving the door unlocked like that. But noooo, it’s always just [It’s no fun if there’s no risk.] Well the bill had to come due sooner or later. I would hope she’ll listen to reason after this, but I don’t think I’m going to survive the next few minutes anyways. Jigoro is standing there, sword at his side, staring impassively at us: his daughter tied to the bedposts, Misha’s ankles tied to hers, with me hilt-deep in… one of them. I suddenly realize that I’m not even sure which one it is.

I guess of all the things to go out doing, this ranks pretty high up on the list. I can only hope that he’ll have mercy and make it quick.

“Hello? Ahh~! Waahhhh~!” Misha yells in shock as she looks over her shoulder to see what’s befallen us. She squirms her hips around in a futile attempt to get off the bed or somehow hide herself, causing me to realize she’s the girl I’m currently engaged with. I bite my lips in response, trying not to react to the sensations she’s causing. “Sorry sorry sorry! Sorry I was so loud, I—”

She starts to apologize when Jigoro holds up a hand, cutting her off. I realize that he actually doesn’t look pissed off. Which is weird, because he always looks pissed off.

“No matter, Misha,” he says. “I couldn’t hear. I just had to see if it were true. I apologize for my indiscretion. Didn’t think it would really be happening,” Shizune’s father explains. “I thought you’d all be sat here playing with dolls or some other tomfoolery. Perhaps swilling tea, like Satou's girl.”

“You had to see if… but how did you… ?” I wonder aloud.

Am I supposed to pull out and grab my clothes here? I don’t know if that’s more or less embarrassing than just standing here with my ass hanging out. I stay put for the time being, more out of indecision than anything else.

“You spoke of your plans right in front of me,” Jigoro goes on. “You thought I wouldn’t notice? Truly bold, Hisao. I must say I’ve… misjudged you.”

So much for the guy not knowing sign language. Honestly, I should’ve known better. And that means Shizune knew all along that he could understand us, and she still went along with that little gag. I shouldn’t be surprised by that, either.

“What… does that… mean?” I ask cautiously.

“I thought my daughter had brought home a simpering whelp just to spite me. I see now that she had… other motivations.”

“So you’re not… going to kill me?”

“I had considered it, yes,” Jigoro says, apparently without irony. “But why would I now that your manhood is laid bare before me?”

Interesting choice of words.

“Not even I managed such a… feat, at such a young age. Most impressive,” he says, turning to walk back down the hall. “Also. You’re hunched over like an animal. Stand up straight and thrust from your hips. If you’re to bed my daughter, I’ll have you doing it properly,” he adds as a parting comment before closing the door, leaving us alone once more.

Huh.

Shizune’s looking at the both of us like she doesn’t understand what we’re waiting for, like we’re supposed to just go back to it.

“Uhh… Hicchan… should we… ?” Misha tries to say, unsure how to put words together in the wake of this development.

I shrug.

“Why shouldn’t we?”

“Hmm~… okay… why not~! Waha—ahhh~!”

Even with a broken heart, I’ve got to be the luckiest son of a bitch in the world.
An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako Route)
Riposte (Rika Mini-Route)
One-Shots Thread (Random Smut/Meme Stories)

Downix
Posts: 152
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Re: Secret Santa 2018 - Story collection

Post by Downix » Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:19 am

Wait, Fancopter doing a hetero sex scene?!?

Its a Christmas Miracle!!

In all seriousness that was enjoyable. Well done.

PKMNthiefChris
Posts: 66
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Re: Secret Santa 2018 - Story collection

Post by PKMNthiefChris » Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:49 am

So Jigoro accepted Hisao because he pulled off a 3 way earlier in his life than Jigoro had? To be honest, that raises an entirely new set of questions.

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Lap
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Re: Secret Santa 2018 - Story collection

Post by Lap » Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:35 am

I love the notion that Jigoro knew sign language all along and never let it slip. I just wonder if Shizune knew?...

Oodles of fun! I was giggling through the ending. And, I'm always a sucker for an OT3 :D
Avenues of Communication: Shizune suffers an accident.
Akira's Surprise: Akira pays a surprise visit to Lilly, Hanako and Hisao on Christmas eve. S9 Entry.
Arrival: Hanako's first days at Yamaku. (On Hiatus)
Home: Hanako & Hisao at University, sharing an apartment with their friend Lilly (on Ao3).
One-shots

ProfAllister
Posts: 492
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Re: Secret Santa 2018 - Story collection

Post by ProfAllister » Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:50 pm

Lap wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:22 am
Akira's Surprise
Contrary to Mirage's implications, I did not pick and choose who drew what. And even if I had, I had yet to read any of Lap's work, so he was a complete question mark for me. (Full disclosure: I used a random number generator to pull an array of 27 numbers, 1-27. I rerolled once, because the first roll had too many self-referentials (e.g., the 18th number in sequence was 18))

As for the fic itself, I'm inferring that this is a sort of "sequel" to Home. For the most part, structure seems fine. Not a huge fan of the HASD reference, but I'll say this instance is less my dislike of the meme and more wondering why Akira would refer to a euphemism she wasn't around to hear. The awkwardness between Lilly and her parents seems out of place with canon, but I guess that could be a development from "Home"? Finally, it's a little thing, but I was kind of hoping one of the trio to (good naturedly) remind Akira that they're old enough to buy their own booze now.
PKMNthiefChris wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:36 pm
Mission Log: Discovery of the Snow Butterfly
Not much to say about this one. A fun take on the prompt, and always entertaining to take a dive into Kenji's psyche, especially when it's Kenji trying to decipher Rin. The biggest complaint I have here is the conclusory paragraph seems a bit inconsistent and flighty, even for Kenji. Specifically the "driving off a feminist" bit. This was infiltration and intel gathering mission - driving off a feminist would be a tertiary goal, at best. Perhaps instead Rin extracting information and disposing of the no longer useful agent in a single go?
Downix wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:41 pm
When The World Stops Cold
A cute little sequence. Kind of difficult to get a read on this Rika. Her words taste... off. Like there's a formality to her speech which doesn't reach her mannerisms. That may be the intended effect, but it's hard to tell, given the relative lack of context.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:39 pm
A Gift of Confidence
It's a little unconventional, but most of that comes from the prompt itself. And while I enjoy making jokes at his expense, I tend to have a bit of an appreciation for attempts to depict Nomiya as an actual human being. It starts with an unconventional lead in, and ends in an unexpected, but rather sweet, conclusion. Nicely done. (Although I'll note that you ignored my correction that the plural of "Still Life" is "Still Lifes" :p)
Bricktycoon wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:08 pm
The Last Leap of 2007
Ending on a cliffhanger like that is utterly, horribly cruel.

That being said, it's a solid hook, sets the stage nicely, and Rin gets to steal the show. Now if only the story actually finished...
Mineoa wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 8:37 pm
Christmas Presence
As with many others, I'm mildly disappointed that "literally watching paint dry" didn't mean literally watching paint dry.

While the writing is unrefined, the story is relatively entertaining. Hisao's gift resembling a mouse and being revealed to be a computer mouse is an amusing bit of surreality, but that may have been unintended.

My main recommendation to you would be to read more stories. Read them carefully, so you can see the structure and narrative flow. Your biggest issue right now is lack of polish, and a little practice will help immensely.
Hanako Fancopter wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:22 am
Dinner Has Been Served
And you told me that you didn't think you could turn your prompt into smut... :p

Contrary to Downix's claim, I'd say that calling that heterosexual is grading on a curve.

The story itself is fun. Don't agree with some of your characterisations, but it's mostly enjoyable. Jigoro does a good job of being petty and over the top, while having his own standard of acceptable behavior. Lilly seems to have a bit of a drinking problem.

Akira, though... I think Akira's where this is weakest. She doesn't act like herself. No harassment of Hideaki being the most obvious issue. But even with Jigoro, I'd argue that a lot of the text strongly implies she vastly prefers Jigoro to her own parents. Her behavior appears to be more how she'd act if she were eating dinner with her own family. I almost expect she'd be doing all she can to enjoy the fireworks (short of grabbing a bowl of popcorn). Less "drinking to get it over with" and more "dinner and a show! (+ drinking)"
Current Project: Misha Pseudo-Route

Discord ID: ProfAllister#9754

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Secret Santa 2018 - Story collection

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sat Dec 22, 2018 7:23 pm

(Although I'll note that you ignored my correction that the plural of "Still Life" is "Still Lifes" :p)
I think that must have been in the version the internet ate...
Fixed now, thanks.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

ProfAllister
Posts: 492
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:49 pm

Re: Secret Santa 2018 - Story collection

Post by ProfAllister » Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:43 am

Victim: Hanako Fancopter
Prompt: Hanako Misha hot springs


Onsen a Lifetime


“A-are you sure you can’t come, Mimi?”

There is a small shuffling sound in the darkened room as Naomi turns toward me from under the heavy blanket.

“I’m really not feeling up to it, Hana. Today’s a bad day. But you should go enjoy yourself. Check out the rotenburo! This is an extremely exclusive ryokan, so you’ll probably have the whole bath to yourself. I’ll be fine!”

We’re about halfway through our tour of Japan over the Summer break. I never expected Naomi to be the type, but most of our trip has been visiting shrines, temples, and other traditional locations.

And the tea ceremonies. So. Many. Tea. Ceremonies. And so much green tea. It almost makes me miss the nasty leaf water Lilly was constantly sucking down. Almost.

Anyway, here we are somewhere in Gunma, at a really fancy bath house. *Really* fancy. Even the simple yukata they provided for guests is one of the most comfortable things I’ve worn in my life… if a bit more revealing than I’d like.

I knew it was unlikely that Naomi would come, but I wanted to at least try. Come on, Hanako. This whole trip is about trying new experiences and bravely facing the world on your own. Don’t chicken out now!

Steeling myself, I follow the hallway to the changing room, and then step out into the bathing area.

Thankfully, it’s empty. I’m not sure I’m ready to subject myself to a public bath where everyone stares at my hideously scarred body. Unfortunately, I have no idea where to start. Naomi ran me through the rules before we arrived, but I think I may have forgotten them in the interim.

First step is… wash? I guess that means it’s time to take the Yukata off. But where do I put it?

“Oh~! There’s someone else here! Lucky~!”

I freeze. The only thing worse than that being the person I think it is would be to learn that there are two people on this planet who sound like that.

“I was afraid I’d have to bathe alone! Can you imagine~? That would be so~ terrible! But now we get to be bathing buddies~!”

Bathing alone? With no one to see my hideously scarred body? Oh, that would be such a terrible experience. I’m being sarcastic here.

I slowly turn my head to look at my assailant. As expected, it’s my classmate. Somewhat less expected, she’s standing at the entrance to the changing rooms, stark naked and shameless. And blocking off the only escape route. It appears that I’m stuck as a prisoner of the bubblegum bimbo.

I can’t help but notice how impressively curvy she is. Even curvier than you’d expect from the way the Yamaku uniform hugs her figure. Unlike my skinny, shriveled, bony ass…

“Shicchan wasn’t feeling well, so I was afraid I’d be here all by myself!” she volunteers. I wasn’t wondering, and I really don’t care.

“I told her to stick to the fish~, but she insisted on trying the chicken.”

Again, actively not caring. I’m just glad that I only have to deal with one of you harpies.

“...Oh,” she says, something suddenly dawning on her, “this is your first time, isn’t it?”

How can she tell? Is it that obvious? My body rebelling against my mind, I stupidly nod.

“What was that~? I couldn’t hear you.”

I didn’t say anything. How could you not notice that I nodded? And how could you not hear? The only sound is the water from the hot spring gurgling as it flows by.

Also, how are you so comfortable talking to a classmate while completely naked?

Without any other choice, I speak up.

“Y-yes. I’ve never done this before.”

God, I hate my stammer.

“Well that’s obvious~! Wahahahaha~!”

Tactful, she is not. Bitch.

“I’m sure you’ve done bathing at home, but this is bathing at an onsen~! It’s an entirely different kind of bathing altogether~!”

“It’s an entirely different kind of bathing?” I repeat, dubiously.

“It’s an entirely different kind of bathing~!” she affirms, nearly simultaneously.

“First things first,” she begins, advancing menacingly, “let’s get you out of that robe~!”

Wait, what?

Before I know what’s happening, the other girl spins me around and removes my yukata in one impressively fluid motion.

“You’re supposed to leave this in the changing room~! That’s how I knew this was your first time! Wahahahaha~!”

I brace myself for her revulsion at my scars, or unkind comments, but she seems completely oblivious. Is she that airheaded? Only Lilly’s acted this unaware of my scars, and, well, she’s blind.

Seconds later, she emerges from the changing room, shameless as ever. At least she seems to be as oblivious about my ugliness as she is of her own immodesty.

“Okay~! Okay, okay, okay~! Now it’s time to wash! Sit down on that stool, and I’ll clean your back~!”

She half shoves and half ushers me to one of the wash stations, barely allowing me to sit down on my own. Once I’m settled in, with my hair draped over my bad shoulder, she starts soaping up my back. This feels surprisingly nice.

Up until she stops. With her hand over my scarred shoulder. Slowly, carefully, her hand explores its way down my arm. Finally, she speaks, with a rather unexpected question.

“Ikezawa?”

How could she not recognise me? What the hell is wrong with this girl? I briefly consider lying and pretending to be some other disfigured teenager, but that seems pretty likely to blow up in my face.

“H-hi, Misha.”

“It is you~! Ahahaha~! Serves me right for not introducing myself~! Hahaha~!”

...And now I think I know why Hakamichi is deaf.

Without warning, Misha envelops me in an aggressive hug. I am acutely aware of her bare chest against my back, as well as the position of her hands.

“This is even better~! We’re not strangers, because we know each other! That makes us even closer than bath buddies~!”

Hooray. What fun. I literally cannot contain my excitement.

“Back to washing~!”

Without a single thought, she’s back to soaping up my back. She knows who I am now. Why isn’t she asking about my scars? Every time, it’s all the same - ‘I’m so sorry’ ‘Does it hurt?’ ‘I can’t imagine what it’s like’. But from her? Nothing.

“So~! Since we know each other, that means it’s time for girl talk~! Let’s start simple for now. What brings you to this ryokan~? Shicchan said it was very~ exclusive! And very~ very~ expensive. You must know someone pretty~ important to get a room here~!”

“Y-you’d have to ask Naomi about that. We’ve been travelling together over the break.”

“Inoue~? The one in our class? That makes sense. You can’t tell by the way she acts, but she’s the daughter of someone very~ important! Very very very very~ important~!”

That makes me vaguely curious about the background of my travelling companion. It wouldn’t be appropriate to pry, though. I should ask Mimi directly.

“Where were you travelling?”

It occurs to me that Misha’s hands have left my back, and she’s now rubbing my tummy and… other parts. It feels nice. Not in a sexual way. More like…

Like a mother washing her child.

Damnit! Not now! Don’t you dare start crying now. Not where someone can see you.

“Are you okay? Did I hurt you~?”

Shit. She noticed.

“N-no. I’m just a little sensitive, so try to be gentle.”

“No worries~! I’m just about done~! Let’s just put your hair up, rinse you off, and you’re all done~!”

“Put my hair up?”

I don’t know why that thought bothers me. She’s seen my scars. For that matter, she’s felt them up. But habit wins out, I guess.

“You forgot to bring something for it? No worries~!”

She shoves her forearm in front of my eyes, which I just now notice is adorned with a rainbow of elastic bands.
“Hair ties~! I grabbed extra when I went back into the changing rooms~!”

Displaying an agility and grace I have never seen from the Student Council president’s lumbering behemoth, she effortlessly gathers my hair and ties it up in a neat bun. The ease with which she accomplishes this leaves me dumbfounded. I instinctively put my hands up to examine her handiwork, but can’t find a single hair out of place.

“O-okay. Now it’s your turn, Misha. Once I rinse off.”

I don’t really have a choice in the matter. There’s no way I’d let myself be in her debt. I can only imagine the horrible things her other half would extract from me if I did.

“Okay~! Okay, okay, okay~!” she replies in her bubbly manner as she sits herself down on a neighboring stool, for all the world resembling a pink-haired Renaissance painting.

It only takes a moment to rinse off the soap, then I get to washing the back of my unexpected companion.

“You said you were travelling~, right, Hanachan?”

Ugh. Should have seen that nickname coming. This girl really has no boundaries, does she?

“Mm-hmm.”

“Where have you seen so far~?”

“W-well, we started up north, in Hokkaido…”

“How did you like Hokkaido?”

“I-it was nice. Very pretty.”

“Yeah,” she says dreamily, “I think so, too.”

The whole we've been talking (and whenever her hands weren't … occupied), Misha has been signing like some kind of spastic animatronic. Up until now, I could ignore it, but it’s starting to get in the way.

“Uhm… I think this would be easier if we were quiet for a little.”

“Why would- Oh~! Sorry~! I’ll be quiet!”

Now that she isn’t flailing about all over the place, I manage to complete her back without much trouble. The next step is a little trickier. In order to reach around to wash her front, I practically have to press my chest against her. How did I not notice her doing the same to me?

I am not feeling up another girl. I am returning the favor and washing her the way she washed me - like a mother washing a child.

Unfortunately, she seems to be really enjoying the way I’m rubbing her, which makes it that much harder to believe what I’m telling myself. Thankfully, it doesn’t take me long to finish.

“O-okay. I think I’m done.”

“Mmmm… You did a good job, Hanachan~! I can put my own hair up - you rinse off and then you’re ready to get in the water~!”

We both finish around the same time, and are therefore ready to enter the water proper. I gingerly dip my toe in to test it; she goes right in.

As would be expected of a hot spring, it’s pleasantly warm, and within seconds I understand why bathing in them is so popular.

“Sorry I didn’t recognise you right away, Hanachan. I can’t see very well without my glasses.”

That explains a lot.

Wait a minute. Has she always had green eyes? I think I’d notice that. On the other hand, most of my interactions with her have had to do with trying to be in the same space for as little time as possible.

“D-don’t worry. I wasn’t insulted.”

With that, the atmosphere settles into one of awkwardness - I’m perfectly content to stay quiet, while she’s clearly uncomfortable and wants to talk about something.

After a couple minutes, Misha gets a look in her eye, as if she had an idea, and begins floating toward me.

“You know what makes a soak in the hot springs even better, Hanachan~?”
Why are you coming closer? Please respect my personal space.

Having closed to striking distance, she makes her move. Quick as a mongoose, she has me locked in a full-body hug from behind, with her legs hooked around my waist. So much for escaping.

“Once you have one of Misha’s famous massages, you’ll feel brand new~!”

I can tell that resistance would be futile, and I know I’m too awkward to speak in protest, so I let her have her way with me.

I’m expecting something rough, but am pleasantly surprised by how gentle she is, probing my shoulders for just the right spot and then applying just enough pressure to make it feel… well… amazing.

This girl has no barriers, and no respect for societal convention, but she also has the remarkable ability to make you stop caring as well. I barely know this girl, and I’ve barely let anyone other than Lilly touch me, but right now there’s a part of me that hopes she’ll never take her hands off me.

As I relax, something in the back of my consciousness realises that her legs have released me and I’m free to go, but my body makes it clear that I’m completely captive to her.

“Hey, Hanachan…”

“Mmmm?”

My head feels full of cotton candy, so I’m barely thinking about what I’m saying.

“You ever wish you had someone who was like a friend, but not~? The kind of person who you could tell your deepest darkest secret? Something so secret, you couldn’t even tell your best friend~?”

“Secret? What might that be?”

The airy, carefree way I ask that feels so unnatural. That tiny bit of “me” left in my head is screaming for me to get a grip.

“It’s something that I can’t tell anyone never ever ever~!”

She sighs out of frustration, then begins speaking again.

“But that’s not important right now. I should be paying attention to you. It’s rude to complain like that.”

The massage continues in silence for a moment, but her loss for words quickly evaporates as she blindsides me with another unexpected question.

“Hanachan, has anyone told you how pretty you are?”

The little me in my head is screaming at me as I blithely respond without a care in the world.

“N-never. Not since the accident.”

You idiot! Don’t tell her that! She’ll use it against you! They always do!

“That’s… really sad~, Hanachan. I’ve always thought you were very pretty. With your beautiful hair, slim figure, big boobs~. Not a fat ugly land whale like me…”

Well, that’s wonderful. The half-blind half-wit thinks you’re pretty. I’m certain that you can trust her judgment.

Now, that’s not entirely fair. She may not be able to see well now, but I’m sure she’s talking about how I look to her when she’s wearing her glasses. Except I’ve never seen her wearing glasses...

Also, I’m starting to think she might not be quite as shallow as I initially thought. Either way, I don’t think she’s capable of lying, so there’s that.

“Y-you’re not ugly.”

“Ahaha~ I know you’re just saying it to be nice, but thanks anyway!”

“I’m serious - I’ve always been jealous of how perfect you and the president look.”

Why are you telling her this? You’re giving her weapons and she will hurt you!

“Aww, that’s probably true for Shicchan, but it’s the make-up doing all the work for me~.”

That’s categorically not true. You aren’t wearing any make-up right now, and still look amazing. And that’s beside the fact that you still have your whole face.

“You know, Hanachan~... It’s probably a little weird for me to say this, but… you have nice skin.”

Okay, that’s a new one.

“Even where it gets… ‘different’,” she says, her fingers tracing the area where my scars start, “it’s still nice, in its own special way~.”

Yeah, that’s a little weird. To be fair, it’s so weird that I can’t imagine her making it up, so it’s genuine, at least.

Around this time, I realise that Misha isn’t massaging me anymore so much as stroking my back. Much as I’m enjoying myself, I can’t let myself become complacent.

“O-okay, Misha. N-now it’s your turn.”

Wordlessly, she complies, turning to present her back to me.

As with the washing, my half of the process is done in silence, since Misha can’t sit still while talking. I’m not going to say anything, but her skin feels rather nice itself. Her soft exterior hides a surprisingly strong set of muscles underneath it - I guess she *is* the Student Council pack-mule, after all.

To be honest, I don’t have the first clue how to do a massage. I’m really just kind of squeezing handfuls of her. She seems to be enjoying it, though. And I don’t mind it too much myself. Be that as it may, my hands are getting tired.

“S-say, Misha?”

I can’t believe you’re doing this…

“W-would it be alright if I hugged you?”

She looks at me with a rather surprised expression, which quickly dissolves into good-natured laughter.

“Wahahahaha~! Okay~! I’m never one to turn down a good hug!”

In a moment, she wraps her arms around me while I snake mine under hers and around her torso. I hugged Lilly a few times, and a couple of the grown-ups from the orphanage, but those always felt so… formal. Something that was proper to do. There’s a warmth here that those hugs lacked.

Lost in the moment, I close my eyes, and I can smell Mommy’s famous curry cooking in the pot, and can almost hear Daddy announce that he’s home from work as the door shuts. And then everything starts shaking.
“Hana-chan~.”

Misha’s voice is soft and musical. I open my eyes to see that the sky’s turned a brilliant shade of orange.

“I think you fell asleep. It’s probably time to end the bath, okay~?”

I nod, then notice that my face is wet. Must be the steam from the hot springs.

“Let’s rinse off and get dressed, okay, Hana-chan~? It’s almost time for the best part of a ryokan~! The food~!”
Current Project: Misha Pseudo-Route

Discord ID: ProfAllister#9754

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