Avenues of Communication (Complete)

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Avenues of Communication (updated 1-13-19)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:27 pm

with a trackpad she was able to trace kanji on in addition to keyboarding.
It's true that there are programs that let you do this, but I think that is done mainly when learning Kanji. In my expericene the recognition rate is quite low for Kanji drawn on a tablet or trackpad - especially for more complicated ones - and it is far easier and faster to just use the keyboard.
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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Lap
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Avenues of Communication, Chapter 8

Post by Lap » Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:35 pm

Chapter 8

Sorry for the delay, but this is a long one (~6400 words).

Also, explicit sexual content warning.
________________________

The Friday after Hanako’s interview, Shizune and I were working late in the student council room. Misha had left earlier, pleading a history essay that was due soon. As we wrapped things up, Shizune typed to me, Would you please come back to my room with me to assist me in getting ready for bed? Lilly normally assists me, but I fear she has already fallen asleep by now.

I was somewhat taken aback—both by her request itself, and also by the fact that she’d pre-programmed it into her keyboard. I wondered how long she’d been thinking about this.

Then the second part of her request struck me. “Lilly normally helps you?” Despite Lilly’s revelation that Shizune sometimes spoke to her, I found the notion of Shizune asking Lilly for help almost inconceivable. [Why Lilly, of all people?]

Shizune shrugged. She’s family.

“Oh.” Well, that made as much sense as anything, I guess. She certainly couldn’t ask Misha for help dressing and undressing—that would have just been cruel.

I looked at her, wondering if the request was innocent or licentious. Her gaze seemed open and direct, waiting for my reply. It was probably a simple need for assistance. Something which she hated, but was undoubtedly resigned to with her current short-term handicaps. I felt flattered that she would trust me enough to ask for help of that intimate sort.

I had quashed any notion of physical intimacy with Shizune, aside from the odd kiss here and there, ever since her accident. The thought of jarring her arm or hand and causing her pain was more than sufficient to help me control my libido.

I nodded to her and smiled. [Of course. Happy to be of service.]

She studied my face for a moment, her head cocked to the side, then she smiled and signed, [Thank you.]

I was a little nervous, entering the girls’ dorm so close to curfew, but Shizune seemed oblivious to any such concerns. No one in the common room paid us any mind as I followed her to her room.

She went to her bed and pulled a crimson night gown out from under her pillow. With her back still towards me, she reached up with her right hand and tapped the back of her neck where her left arm’s sling was tied. I untied it carefully, and slipped it off of her. She held her left arm with her right hand as the support was removed. I folded the sling and placed it on the desk.

She sat down on the edge of her bed and rested her cast in her lap. She extended one stocking-clad foot toward me and smiled. I licked my lips nervously and knelt before her. I placed my fingertips at the tops of her stockings, high up on her thigh. Just enough of her skirt draped between her thighs to keep me from seeing her panties as my eye was drawn inevitably up the length of her lovely legs. I glanced up to see her giving me a knowing smirk. I gently tugged on the stocking top, the feel of her flesh under my fingers electrifying. I was gratified to hear her suck in a sharp breath at my touch, and I returned her smirk.

As I rolled the stocking down her calf, I bent forward and kissed her thigh just above her knee. That close to her sex, I could smell a hint of her arousal, and all question of how “innocent” her request for help was went out the window. As I slipped the stocking off her foot, I held it up and looked at her questioningly. “Where should I put this?” I asked.

She leaned forward and grabbed the stocking in her right hand fingers and tossed it over her shoulder. Instead of flying dramatically to the floor next to the bed, it fluttered a half meter and ended up draped across the foot of the bed. We both giggled. It was the first time I’d heard her giggle out loud in a long time, and she covered her mouth with her splinted hand.

I reached up and gently pulled her hand away from her mouth, careful to not touch the healing fingers. I stared intently into her eyes. “Please, don’t hide your laughter. It’s a lovely sound. I love to hear you laugh.”

She stared back at me, blushing slightly, then she nodded slowly.

“Thank you,” I said and signed.

I returned my attention to her other stocking, peeling it slowly down her leg. Now that I felt more certain of her intentions, I let my fingers trail gently across her soft flesh, raising goosebumps as I went, and I kissed her other thigh, more sensually this time.

This stocking I succeeded in tossing to the floor, and I gave her a triumphant smile. She rolled her eyes, a tad hypocritically I thought, since she would have made tossing lingerie to the floor a competition if she’d done better with her initial throw.

Her legs bared, she placed her knees primly together, then tugged off the black bow at her neck. It followed the stockings to the floor. She then pulled apart the first couple of fasteners at the top of her blouse.

Not surprisingly, Yamaku has a wide range of uniforms, to help accommodate various students’ disabilities. Following her accident, Shizune had been issued a set of uniform blouses which had velcro fasteners, with buttons sewn on the front for decoration. Additionally, her left sleeve was extra wide and cut short, to accommodate her cast.

Shizune snapped her fingers up by her face a couple of times to draw my attention away from her suddenly revealed cleavage. I blushed and met her gaze. She had a merry smile, and she arched an eyebrow at me. She gestured toward her blouse. I swallowed. It wasn’t as if she couldn’t unfasten her shirt—she’d just demonstrated that—but apparently, if I was there to undress her, I was going to undress her. I reached out and gently tugged the fasteners apart, slowly revealing a lacy black bra underneath. Her stomach was smooth and taut.

Despite the fact that we had had sex once—I still wasn’t totally sure if I could term the act “making love” or not—I had never seen her naked body. That time she had bound my hands, silencing me, removing my ability to undress her, let alone comment or protest. Not that I had had any desire to protest—the whole thing had been wonderful, if a touch surreal. But now, with her hands silenced by her injuries, and me free to speak or sign, our positions were somewhat reversed. Yet, as she silently commanded me to undress her, she was still somehow in control, still the one metaphorically on top. I wondered if she would ever let it be any other way. I suspected not.

I had to rise up on my knees as I slid the blouse off her shoulders. I gave her a quick kiss as I slid the shirt back off her right arm. I settled back down on my knees to gently work the left sleeve off over her cast. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her body. She was more beautiful than I’d imagined, her skin soft and smooth, a visual delight. A small mole next to her navel was her skin’s only imperfection, and that just made her even more sexy, because it proved she was real, not just some statue carved from marble. My hands itched to find out if her skin was as soft as it looked.

“You are so very very beautiful,” I said, making sure she could see my face so she could read me. She blushed and gave a shy little smile, apparently pleased to be so admired. She tapped her bra between her breasts, and made a “come here” gesture with her right hand.

What she appeared to be trying to convey was that it was a front-clasp bra, and my hands trembled a little as I unhooked it. I glanced up at her face, wondering if she would stop me now, but she was biting her lip, charmingly nervous, cheeks flushed, and she nodded slightly. I let the bra fall open, revealing her breasts.

“Oh, my,” I said softly. Her breasts were large and full, with lovely nipples in the middle of dark pink areolae. Shizune’s face was red, but she also looked a trifle smug, like she was pleased to have provoked that kind of reaction in me. I leaned forward and planted a gentle kiss between her breasts, then lifted my head to kiss her on the lips. She returned the favor quite enthusiastically, and I gently cupped her breasts in my hands as we kissed. I groaned and she gasped as my thumbs found her nipples, and I reveled in getting to feel her for the first time. The softness of her skin and the weight of her breasts in my hands was better than I’d ever imagined.

We were having a weird inversion of the “normal” progression of a relationship—I’d had sex with her before ever seeing her naked, or even feeling most of her body. Since she’d left her skirt on last time, I hadn’t even been able to see the point of our joining, but simply felt her envelop me. But now, I could finally see, feel, and taste her.

I dropped my head to her chest and gently licked a nipple, delighting in feeling the texture of her nipple change as it erected under my tongue. She was so delicious, and smelled so good. She put her right wrist on the back of my head and pulled me against her more firmly. Taking the hint, I sucked her nipple into my mouth, then after another bit of pressure on my head, I took her nipple between my teeth and gently nipped.

That provoked a moan, the sexiest sound I’d ever heard. It was followed by a closed mouth whimper, and I looked up to see her biting her lips, trying to keep in the sound of her passion.

I pulled back a moment so she could see my face, and said, “Please let me hear you. You are so hot to listen to. So sexy.” I smiled at her encouragingly. [Please let me hear you,] I repeated, just to be clear.

She stared at me for a moment, her chest heaving (somewhat distractingly), then she nodded slowly and released her lips from between her teeth. I leaned up to kiss her mouth, pleased she was willing to let me hear her. Her face and neck were flushed red, but I didn’t think it was solely from embarrassment anymore.

Shizune slowly lay down on her bed as we kissed, raising her splinted hand to rest on her pillow above her head. I made a line of kisses from her lips down her neck back to her nipples as she reclined. I was still kneeling on the floor beside her bed, which was actually a pretty nice position for playing with her breasts without jarring an arm.

After a few minutes of kissing her nipples, I kissed my way down to her waist. I unbuttoned the her skirt, and stood up to pull it off. She lifted her hips to help, and I slid her skirt off and tossed it aside, leaving her laying on the bed in nothing but black lacy panties that matched the discarded bra.

Well, and a splint and a cast, but I wasn’t counting those. Though I did need to pay careful attention to them, to avoid them, I reminded myself. I wasn’t going to be able to fully lose myself to passion; I would need to retain enough control to not hurt Shizune.

I stood beside the bed for a moment, just looking down on her, admiring her, and she squirmed a little under my regard. I signed, because I wanted to be sure she understood me, [You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.] For some reason that actually seemed to reduce her embarrassment as she rolled her eyes at me, but I had been being perfectly sincere.

Shizune reached up and stuck her forefinger between two buttons on my shirt, just above my belt, and tugged, pulling the front of my shirt out of my pants. She yanked on it as firmly as she could, with just finger and thumb, and arched an expectant eyebrow at me. I was suddenly very aware that her hand was just centimeters above my throbbing cock, trapped in my pants, but I tried to ignore that.

“What?” I asked innocently. “Is there something you want?”

She gave me an amused glare for a moment, then she slowly said, “I wan…to see you na’ed. Too.”

I felt a shiver run up my spine to hear her address me directly. Even though her words were a little slurred, her voice was still a husky, sexy alto. There wasn’t much in the way of inflection, of emotional content, but I still found it appealing.

Then she let her hand drift down from my shirt and brush against the front of my pants, one fingernail scratching a line of sensation down the length of my cock. I gasped.

“Well. I did say I was happy to be of service,” I said, somewhat breathlessly. She snorted at that, and scooted up onto her pillows so she was partially sitting up to watch me. I licked my lips as I watched her breasts shift and reposition with her motions. I realized I was just watching her with a sappy smile on my face when she snapped her fingers at me and gestured up and down the length of my body.

Now it was my turn to blush with embarrassment. I wondered how I should proceed—should I try to make a show of it, slow and sexy? I had no clue how to do that, though, and I would probably just produce libido-killing hilarity. So rather than risk that, I decided to undress as matter-of-factly as I would have in my own room, getting ready for bed. I took off my tie, and folded it into quarters and placed it neatly on her desk.

Then it occurred to me, I may not be able to do any kind of sexy striptease, but I could stretch things out a bit. Maybe make her impatient for more. So I unbuttoned my shirt slowly. One button at a time, letting my hands drift from button to button at a snail’s pace.

I looked at Shizune, and the tip of her tongue was between her lips as she watched me. Her eyes were glued to my hands, and I felt ridiculously gratified to be so fully the center of her attention.

I hesitated before opening my shirt. I’d told her about my heart surgeries, but she’d never seen the scars before. I stared at her, alert for changes in her demeanor, as I shrugged the shirt open and slid it down my arms behind my back. Her eyes went wide for a moment as she regarded me, then she smiled. “Smooth,” she said. Her tone was so flat I wasn’t quite sure what exactly she meant.

“Pardon?” I didn’t think she was watching my face, so intent was her focus on my torso, so I repeated the question. [What does that mean?]

Her hands twitched as if she wanted to sign a reply, then she said, “I am happy you are not hairy. I lite your smooth shest.” After a moment’s consideration, I translated “lite” as “like.”

“Oh.” I blushed, and ran a self-conscious hand down the length of my scars. “It’s actually kind of lumpy.”

She gave a silent laugh at that, then repeated, “I lite.” Her right hand drifted to her own chest, and as she looked at me, her two unbroken fingers gently circled and teased her nipple. I swallowed hard at that sight. My cock had been softening a little in my embarrassment at undressing, but that brought me back to full attention.

“Hontinue,” Shizune said. Her monotone was at odds with the heat in her gaze as she regarded me.

I unbuckled my belt, then my pants, then slowly slid them off. I was suddenly grateful that I had worn fairly neutral looking dark blue underwear that day. Not that I had been planning on being seen in (or out of) it when I got dressed that morning. Shizune licked her lips as she regarded the bulge in my boxer briefs. I slipped my thumbs under the edge of the waist band and slid them down a centimeter, then paused. After a moment, Shizune looked up at my face, and I smiled at her. “More?” I asked her playfully.

Her eyes went wide, and I suspect that if she had had fully functional hands she might have thrown a pillow at me. She nodded sharply at me, [Yes.]

[Say please.]

Her jaw actually dropped. I think I’d surprised her. She just stared at me for a moment, then she grabbed the edge of the comforter she was laying on and flipped it over her body, covering herself. She glared at me.

I shrugged. I was a little nervous, but I was fairly sure that for once, I had the upper hand. “Ah, well.” I reached for my pants and put them back on. Shizune continued to glare daggers at me. I slipped on my shirt and didn’t bother buttoning it up before heading to the door.

“Wait.”

I turned around, hand still on the doorknob, and looked at her. I was fighting not to grin as I arched an eyebrow at her. [Yes?]

Shizune opened her mouth and stared at me, then closed her mouth with an audible click of her teeth. A hint of humor returned to her face, though she had a stern expression as she said, “You have not finissed helpin me undress ass you shed you would.”

“Ah. Yes.” [It is important that I keep my word,] I said solemnly, struggling to keep a straight face.

Shizune nodded sharply, the corners of her eyes crinkling.

“Well, then.” I let go of the doorknob and approached her bed. I stood beside it and looked down at her. She was mostly covered by her comforter, one leg and the edge of one breast peeking out on the far side. I gently tugged on the comforter, but she held onto it with her three functioning fingers. I didn’t pull too hard, since that wouldn’t have been a fair fight against her injured grip. I desisted, and asked, [How am I to finish my job properly if you won’t give me access to your panties?]

She blushed at my phrasing, which was what I had hoped for. She nodded at me. “You are fully dreshed. That iss not fair.”

With my shirt unbuttoned and untucked I wasn’t sure I could count as ‘fully dressed,’ but I didn’t argue the point. Instead I said, [My being undressed was not part of our original agreement.] Then I bit my lip to keep from grinning at her.

Shizune stared at me for a long moment, then she sighed. “Pleese.”

“Please what?” I asked innocently.

I saw her fingers twitch again, as if she wanted to furiously sign something at me, then she said “Please undressss for me.”

I smiled broadly, magnanimous in victory. [How could I refuse such a charming request?] I slipped off my shirt, and then my pants.

I had just started to slip my boxer briefs off when Shizune said again, “Wait.” I gave her an incredulous look. Wasn’t I giving her what she’d asked for?

She bit her lip, then said, somehow sounding shy even with her monotone, “Would you please undresh me firs?” She flung back the comforter, revealing herself to me.

I sucked in a sharp breath at the sight of her. I smiled and shook my head wonderingly. “Gladly. You’re so beautiful. How did I get so lucky?”

She smiled back. “Not so lutty as you are about to be.”

I chuckled at that and bent forward to place two gentle kisses on her breasts, one for each nipple. She hissed appreciatively. Then I kissed my way down her belly, ending with my face between her thighs. She smelled musky and hot, a sexy scent I was only vaguely acquainted with from our previous sexual encounter. I kissed her thighs, slipping my fingers under the edge of her panties at her hips as I did so. I rubbed my nose up and down along the length of her panty-clad crotch, and she gasped at the touch.

“Please,” she whimpered. “Pleeeease.”

I sat up a little, and again she lifted her hips so I could pull her panties down her thighs and off her legs. I had suspected from our previous encounter that she kept her sex shaved, but she obviously had not been able to keep that regimen up with her injuries. I suppressed a laugh at the mental image of her asking Lilly to help her with that intimate task.

A scant centimeter of fine black hair covered her vulva all over, the contrast with her pale skin somehow making her look even sexier. Her darker inner lips and clit were swollen and peeking out, glistening with her arousal. “Oh, my,” I said, though I don’t think she could see enough of my face to read me. I gently tried to push her knees apart. She resisted my attempt to move her, and when I looked up at her face, she was biting her lip and looking embarrassed. I wasn’t quite sure why, she was incredibly beautiful and sexy. I licked my lips hungrily, and said, “Please?”

She stared at me for a long moment, then she slowly relaxed her thighs, letting her knees fall apart. Her labia separated as her thighs parted, revealing a flash of pink between her dark inner lips to me. Her scent was intoxicating, and I lowered my face to kiss her gently on her labia. Again she gasped at my touch. I stuck out my tongue and gave a hesitant lick, not knowing what to expect.

She tasted somewhat like she smelled, but a touch more sharp. I took another, longer lick, and got more of her flavor in my mouth. It was like nothing I had ever tasted before, but after a moment’s consideration, I decided that I liked it. I licked her a third time, this time going further up, just gently flicking over her clit. Her whole body twitched at that touch, and I lifted my face so I could look up at her. I smiled broadly at her, and said, as clearly as I could, “Yummy.”

Shizune’s eyes went wide at that simple statement, then she giggled. It was unlike any sound I had ever heard from her before. Though I had heard occasional laughs and giggles from her, this one was a little more high pitched. It somehow sounded both a little more relaxed and yet also more tense. As in sexual tension. Keeping my eyes on her face, I gently licked her clit again, and her giggles cut off with a gasp. Her right hand came down and rested on my head, her mobile fingers digging into my scalp.

I wanted nothing so much as to dive into her, licking and sucking and kissing for all I was worth, but I held myself back, keeping my oral caresses slow and gentle at first. I was rewarded by hearing her breathing pick up in pace, and her unconscious whimpers became more frequent. I reached one hand up to pinch her nipple as I sucked gently on her clit, and her whole body convulsed at the combined stimulus. I played with her breast with one hand as I took the opportunity to suck on the fingers of my other hand, wetting them. I peered up at her, my gaze locked on her face as I resumed flicking my tongue over her most sensitive parts and slid a finger into her.

She moaned. And it was the hottest sound I’d ever heard. I realized I was unconsciously humping the edge of the bed as I knelt there. I was half on and half off of the bed, exploring Shizune’s body and discovering new and better ways to make her moan. To make her vocalize.

A second finger joined the first, gently stroking inside her. I was fascinated at how soft and hot and wet she was inside, how textured. I’d never imagined the inside of a woman to be anything other than smooth. Her muscles contracted around my fingers, and she pulled my head harder against her crotch. I sucked a little harder on her clit for a moment as I experimentally curled my fingers inside her, and she arched her back and mewled for a long drawn out minute, her thighs clamped around my face, her insides squeezing my fingers tight.

After a long timeless moment of ecstasy, she fell limp to the bed, and gently pushed my head away from her. “Enuhh,” she gasped. I ceased my oral onslaught, and slowly removed my fingers. She gave a hard shudder again as I slid out of her, and I licked my fingers. I was surprised that my fingers tasted a little different than her labia had. Muskier, and yummier.

Shizune’s breathing slowly returned to normal, and she opened her eyes and looked down at me. I smiled up at her, feeling quite pleased—well, a little smug, actually—that I was able to make her come this way. “Not bad for an almost-virgin, eh?” I asked, but I wasn’t sure her eyes were focused enough to read my speech just yet.

She licked her lips and said, a little unsteadily, “I have not been able to…relieve that partiyoolar itch…since my assident. Thaan you.”

“My pleasure.”

She smiled at me. “Not yet.”

I crawled onto the bed and positioned myself on my hands and knees above Shizune. She tugged gently on my underwear with her right hand, then she stopped, looking frustrated. “Want to touch you. But…”

I hesitated, then sat back on my heels to free my hands up for signing. [How do we proceed from here, without hurting you?] It occurred to me that perhaps this was as far as we could go. The narrowness of the bed made it hard to envision positions we could use without putting her injured arm or hand at risk.

Kneeling between her legs. I was momentarily distracted by the lovely view she presented to me from there, and I ran one hand up and down the length of her leg, enjoying the feel as well as the sight and scent of her. Honestly, if this was all we managed to do tonight, I could be happy. Just seeing and feeling and tasting her was such a treat. Not that I didn’t want to get off too, but not at the expense of her pain.

Shizune frowned a moment in thought, then pointed at her desk chair. I cocked my head quizzically at her. “What?”

“Brin it near the bed.”

“Okay…” I got out of bed and placed it next to the bed. Shizune sat up and swiveled around. Her arm with the cast was hanging over the edge of the bed, and she rested it on the chair. I laughed at the ingenious solution. With her arm out of the way, we had a little more room to work with. I climbed back onto the bed and knelt between her spread legs.

“Wait,” said Shizune. “Hondom.”

“Um, okay.” [Didn’t we not use one last time?] I’d just assumed, since she’d been manifestly in control, that if she didn’t use a condom it was because we didn’t need it. That she was on the pill or something.

She bit her lip, then admitted, “My blood festival had just ended. I tooh a chance. I wanted to feel bare flesh our firsht time.”

“Ah.” [I assume…your gamble paid off?]

She smiled at me. “That wash over a month a’o. No problems.”

Which I assumed meant she’d had a period since then. I let out a small sigh of relief. “Okay.”

I got my wallet out of my pants, pulled out the condom I had in there, then Shizune said, “No.”

I looked at her, puzzled. “No? We don’t need one?”

She shook her head. “We do, but nah that one. Body heat breats down latesh. Use a new one.” She pointed to her bedside table. I pulled open the drawer, and found an unopened box of condoms among the paraphernalia in it. She arched an eyebrow at me. “Thoshe have been there waitin’ for you for a while, now.”

“Really? Dare I ask how long?”

She smiled a smile that had a lot of teeth. “Lawn enough.”

Huh. I unwrapped a condom and unrolled it onto myself. I positioned myself between her legs, then glanced at her. She bit her lip, and nodded, and I fumbled around a bit trying to find the right angle to enter her. She gasped as I rubbed the length of my cock up and down her slit, rubbing her clit, then suddenly she canted her hips just right, and I slid into her.

Ohhhh…” she moaned softly. She smiled gently, her head lolling a little to the side at the sensation of me filling her. My own moan went unheard, but the expression on my face must have been sufficient to convey my feelings, because her smile just grew.

I made a few gentle, tentative thrusts, getting the feeling for how to do things. As each subsequent stroke slid deeper into her, she whimpered more. I glanced over at her left arm on the chair, making sure it was all right. I would have to be careful to not thrust too vigorously; I wouldn’t want to knock her arm off of its support.

I felt her right hand fingers trace a gentle line down my back. I shivered at the sensation, but then worried that she might hurt herself. Suddenly I recalled the last time we’d made love, with her tying my hands into stillness and silence.

I stopped thrusting and pulled back from her a little, so she could see my face more clearly. I said, “I don’t want you to use your hands at all. I don’t want you to get hurt.”

She frowned. “I want to feel you. I will shtop if it hurts.”

I shook my head. “No. I worry too much about you. So I propose a game.”

Her face lit up at that for a moment, then her expression grew wary. “What hame?”

I smiled. “Similar to the one we played last time. But without the ropes. You don’t move your hands or arms at all, or else I win, and I stop.”

She snorted. “That shounds lite you loose, too.”

I shook my head. “No. I win because that way I don’t have to worry about hurting you. My worrying about your pain is distracting. Not arousing.”

She considered my proposal for a moment, then asked, “What ish my prize when I win?”

I smiled at her—leered, really—and replied, “Orgasms.”

She laughed at that, then said, “Orashms plural? I will hoad you to that.” She leered back at me.

Suddenly I realized I'd just inadvertently upped the stakes to a level I wasn’t sure I could deliver on. I was practically still a virgin, after all, and despite having already made her come once, I had no delusions about being a natural Don Juan. I just had to hope she still had a backlog of built-up passion from not being able to “relieve her itch” for the past three weeks.

Shizune smirked at me, and I wondered if I'd let my uncertainty show on my face. I forced a confident smile, and asked, “Do we have a deal?”

She stared at me, her eyes twinkling, then nodded. “Plural,” she repeated.

Oh, boy. Well, I’d gotten myself into it this far, I’d just have to soldier on through. A tough mission, but someone had to do it. Suddenly I was grateful for the slight decrease in sensitivity that the condom provided.

Shizune lifted her right hand to rest above her head, out of the way. I paused to admire the picture she presented. I thrust gently into her, and enjoyed the way her breasts rippled with the motion. I glanced again at her cast on the chair, making sure I wasn’t disturbing it, then lay a little more firmly atop her body. She wrapped her legs around mine, pulling me close, and I licked the side of her neck, making her shudder. The feeling of her whole body, pressed hot against the front of mine, as well as surrounding my cock, was electrifying. The taste and scent of her filled my other senses.

I wanted to move slowly, just to make it last longer, enjoy it more, and also to take it easy on my heart. But even so, my baser instincts were prodding me to move faster, drive into her harder. As I began to settle into a rhythm that I felt my heart could endure, she began to pull me deeper into her with her feet at each stroke, encouraging me. I kissed her, hard, and she sucked on my tongue and moaned.

I didn’t know if it was the three weeks of backlog, or if she was sensitized from having come once already, but it wasn’t too long before she closed her eyes and tilted her head back, a high-pitched mewl issuing from her throat once more. I could feel her spasming around my cock. I dared to move a little faster, my heart galloping, and she opened her eyes to stare at me, her expression almost lost as she moaned wordlessly, and she twitched and convulsed again.

Which was all too much for me, and I moaned myself and slammed deep into her, a white static of pleasure coursing through my brain as I came too. The throbbing in my cock seemed to both last forever and be over all too soon, and I collapsed in a limp pile on top of her. We panted together quietly for a few moments.

Our game over, I felt her right hand trace a gentle line up and down the length of my sweaty back, settling on my ass where she gave me a gentle squeeze. I giggled at that, sat up and slipped out of her, holding onto the condom to make sure I didn’t lose it. She made small noise as I slid out of her. I got out of bed for a moment to dispose of the condom and wipe myself down, then I climbed back into bed next to her, maneuvering carefully so that I didn’t jostle her arm or hand.

“And so…I win,” Shizune said with a small smile.

I shook my head and kissed her. “No. We win.”

Her smile grew broader. “Yesh. We win.”

We lay side by side, our legs intertwined but our faces a bit apart so Shizune could see my lips.

I smiled at her beautiful sweaty face. “I love you,” I said.

Shizune looked startled. “What did you shay?”

I sat up to free both of my hands. [I love you,] I repeated in sign, so there could be no confusion. I was nervous about saying it to her, but it was how I felt. I wanted her to know. Even if the feeling wasn’t fully reciprocated. I lay back down beside her and studied her face.

Shizune looked at me seriously, then a smile slowly grew on her face. “Of hourse you do,” she said.

That was not the response I had expected. Nor was it the one I had hoped for. But at least it wasn’t one of the ones I’d feared.

Shizune read my confused expression and her smile turned warmer. She shook her head slowly, chidingly. “Shilly boy. Recent developments notwithstandin, I mostly speah with my hands and body. I would never have let you inshide me if I didn't love you.”

“Oh.” I felt a little stupid. Admittedly, that was not an unusual state for me in romantic situations. So, wait, did that mean she already loved me a month ago, when we first had sex? I felt my own smile growing as my confusion faded.

“Let me teach you some Amerihan shine language.”

“Uh. Okay.” This seemed like an odd time for a signing lesson.

“Shayin I love you needs both hands in JSL.” She glanced at her cast and grimaced. “Amerihans wear their hearts more on their sleeves. They han say it with one sign. Sit up and hiv me your hand.”

I sat up and extended my right hand, and she manipulated my fingers so that my thumb, index finger and pinky were extended, the ring and middle finger folded down. “There. That ish I love you in ASL.”

I looked at my hand, bemused. “Isn’t that what rock stars do during concerts?”

She giggled. “Thash with their thumbs folded down too.”

“Oh. Right.” I looked at her right hand. “But even one-handed, you can’t make this sign with your fingers splinted.”

“I don’t need to. You should know I love you.”

“That doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear it from you. It’s…both reassuring, and nice to hear. Here, let me show you.” [I love you.]

She smiled. “You are right, it ish nice to hear.” She gave me a kiss, and said, “I love you, too.” It struck me as a little odd to hear those words spoken so flatly, but they still warmed my heart.

“Good. I’m glad we got that settled.” I leaned in to kiss her, then slid my arm under her neck and snuggled closer to her, effectively ending conversation for the night. I sighed happily as I cupped her breast in my hand and breathed deep, taking in her scent. “I love you,” I murmured softly, even though she couldn’t hear me. And I drifted off to sleep.

________________________

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Last edited by Lap on Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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).
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Lap
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Chapter 9

Post by Lap » Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:33 am

Chapter 9
________________________

I was awakened by a buzzing noise, and reached for my alarm clock, only to find carpet where my bedside stand should be. I opened my eyes to see Shizune’s room, from the perspective of the floor beside her bed. Oh, right. I’d had to move to the floor in the night, the narrow bed having proved too cramped to avoid bumping into her arm or hand.

Then the events that had preceded falling asleep came rushing back to me, and I smiled. I sat up, untangled myself from the blanket, and stretched my shoulders, which were a little stiff for having slept on the floor. Above me, I saw Shizune reach over and tap the off button on her alarm clock. The buzzing stopped, and I noticed a cord stretched from her alarm clock to her bed. The sound I’d heard was her alarm, something that vibrated under her pillow to wake her.

She reached for her glasses and pulled them on. [Good morning,] I said with a smile. She looked adorable in her red nightgown with sleep-tousled hair.

Shizune blinked at me a few times, then she gave me a wan smile and nodded. She sat up slowly, settled her cast into her lap, and groaned slightly.

Her unenthusiastic response worried me, and I suddenly wondered if she regretted our activities of last night. My concerns must have shown on my face, because she said, “Forawt to tae meds last night.”

Right, she was still taking painkillers on a regular basis. [Where are they?] I asked as I stood up.

She pointed to her desk, and I picked up the only pill bottle on the desk. The label said to take two with water, so I shook out two pills and handed them to her, then passed her the water bottle she had sitting on her desk.

[Thank you.] She took her pills, then lay back on the bed. I pulled my own pill box out of my book bag and also downed my morning fistful of pills. After several instances of not taking my medications on time because I was working late at the student council office, or because I forgot to grab them before going to the pool in the morning, I’d begun carrying a few days’ supply with me in my bag at all times. And, if I was being totally honest, I’d also begun carrying them in hopeful anticipation of someday spending the night in Shizune’s room.

Shizune watched me, looking curious about my meds, her expression dulled slightly by pain. “Don’t you also have schwimmin?” she asked.

Ah. Right. Reality. As much as I might want to spend the day in Shizune’s room, admiring the way she filled out her red nightgown, there were other responsibilities calling. I glanced at her clock, and was surprised to note that I still had plenty of time to get to the pool—she was an early riser. Something I hadn’t known about her, but which didn’t really surprise me. She looked to be in too much discomfort to want to struggle with speechreading, so I nodded to her and signed, [Yes. I had better get going.]

She nodded back.

I smiled at her and added, [Thank you for last night. It was wonderful.]

She smiled tiredly. [Yes. Thank you.]

[My pleasure.] I bent and gave her a gentle closed-mouth kiss—my morning breath was too nasty to want to inflict it on her. As we pulled apart I was pleased to see the smile on her face was warmer.

I pulled on my pants, then I flinched as the doorbell chimed and flashed. Shizune made a small groaning noise. “Lilly,” she said by way of explanation.

“Ahhh…” [What should I do?] I signed, then hurriedly buttoned up my shirt.

She shrugged. “Ansher it. She’ll know you’ve been here anyway, the room smells of sesh.”

I blushed at that, but I couldn’t deny her statement. And if Lilly’s sense of smell was as acute as her sense of hearing, there was no way to hide it from her. I sighed, and prepared myself for embarrassment as I walked to the door.

“Good morning, Lilly,” I said as graciously as I could as I opened the door. She was wearing a robe over her pajamas and was carrying a bathroom tote with her clothes and all the mysterious bathing supplies girls need. No cane, I was surprised to note, but I guess she knew her way around the dorm well enough to not always need it.

“Oh! Ah, good morning, Hisao.” Her cheeks turned a light shade of pink. “Does Shizune not need my assistance this morning?”

I stepped aside to make room for her to enter, and angled my body so I could translate for Shizune as I responded, “Actually, I was just heading to my morning workout at the pool. If you could help Shizune as usual, that would be appreciated.” I couldn’t help but notice that her nostrils flared as if she were taking in the room’s scents, and her face turned a slightly darker shade of pink.

“Yesh, than you, Lilly,” Shizune agreed.

“My, my.” Lilly smiled wryly. “I suppose I should have assumed you might be here when Shizune informed me my assistance was not needed last night.” I was translating for Shizune automatically, and it took a second for Lilly’s words to sink in.

I arched an eyebrow at Shizune. [You told her she wasn’t needed last night?]

Shizune just smiled broadly at me, and said, “Yesss,” answering both of our questions at once.

“Well, if you ladies will excuse me, the pool awaits,” I said. “Lilly, Shizune just took her painkillers, so it will be a while before she’s feeling a hundred percent.”

“Ah. I hope her…exertions…last night didn’t cause her any extra pain.”

I was grateful she couldn’t see my blush. “No, we were careful.”

“But were you safe?” she asked with a small sly smile.

“Lilly!” She and Shizune both giggled at my reaction. “Yes. We were. Thank you,” I muttered through clenched teeth.

Lilly moved into the room. “That’s good. Have a nice workout, Hisao.” She wrinkled her nose at me and added, “You might wish to shower before getting in the pool, however.”

I didn’t respond, but just grabbed my shoes, book bag, and jacket, and fled before she could embarrass me any further. The sound of both of them laughing followed me down the hall. I was so glad to be able to unite them in common humor.

I paused in the empty common room to put on my shoes, tie and jacket. My hopes of escaping the girls’ dorm without further embarrassment went by the wayside when I bumped into Emi just outside the front door. She was wearing her running blades, and a long sleeved warm-up jacket against the morning chill. Her eyebrows shot up when she saw me coming out of the girls’ dorm.

“Good morning, Hisao.”

“Good morning, Emi,” I replied cautiously. I began walking toward the pool, but unfortunately the path to the track was the same path for the first few hundred meters, so she fell into step beside me. For once, she wasn’t jogging to the track, but she kept pace with me. Dammit.

“Busy night of student council work?” she inquired sweetly.

I stared at the path ahead and didn’t meet her eyes. “I was…just dropping off some papers to Shizune before my morning swim,” I said, pleased to have come up with an almost-reasonable sounding excuse.

“Uh-huh. Which is why you’re wearing the same shirt as yesterday, and your hair looks even worse than usual.”

“What? How can you know that this is the same shirt?” Uniform shirts were, well, uniform. I decided to ignore the crack about my hair.

She pointed to a spot on my chest beside my tie. “Unless you decorate all of your shirts with soy sauce.”

I tugged my tie a little to the side to cover the splotch. I’d forgotten about my little slip-up at lunch yesterday. “Teriyaki, actually.” Then I frowned at Emi. “Wait, I didn’t even see you yesterday. How did you know I stained it yesterday?”

She grinned. “I didn’t. Until now.”

I groaned. I couldn’t believe I’d fallen for that one.

“Relax, Hisao. It’s not like you’re the first boy to sneak out of the girls’ dorm in the morning.” She wiggled her eyebrows at me suggestively. “Or vice versa.” The sight of something as overtly sexual as a leer on her child-like face caused a little cognitive dissonance. I looked away from her.

We walked along in silence for a few paces. She broke the silence with, “So, you’re swimming in the mornings now?”

“Yeah. I needed to do something to get into shape.”

She nodded firmly. “Good.”

“Good?”

“Yeah, it’s good that you’re doing something for your health. It was obvious from the way Nurse bugged me about getting you to work out that you need something for PT. I just wish you’d started sooner.”

“Huh? Why do you care? I thought you were pissed at me.”

We’d come to where the paths to the track and the pool split, so Emi stopped and faced me. She put her hands on her hips and stared up at me, shaking her head. “Just because I was pissed at you doesn’t mean I want you to die, you jerk. I’m glad you’re taking your health a little more seriously.”

“Thanks?”

“Shizune may be a petty dictator at times, but at least she got you to start taking care of yourself.”

“Hey, what makes you think I didn’t decide to do this on my own?” I asked indignantly.

“Pffft. Right.” She punched me on the shoulder, and I flinched.

Please don’t do that,” I said, visions of her missing her target by a few inches and putting me back in the hospital filling my head.

“Huh? What’s the matter, you can’t take a hit from a little girl?” She lifted her fist threateningly, and I took a step back away from her, crossing my arms defensively across my chest.

“No. I can’t, actually,” I said glumly.

Her grin faltered, and she lowered her fist. “What do you mean?” she asked quietly.

I sighed. Well, I’d told Misha and Shizune, I might as well continue the process of becoming a fully integrated Yamaku student. “I have a bad heart. Like, really bad. A sharp blow to the chest could kill me. Literally.”

Emi’s eyes went wide, and she tucked her hands behind her back as if to keep them from accidentally hitting me. “Oh, shit, I’m sorry, I didn’t know.”

I shrugged. “How could you? I haven’t been telling anyone about it.”

A horrified look of realization blossomed on her face. “Oh my god, that time I ran into you in the hall…” She covered her mouth with her hand, looking stricken.

“Yeah, that was a close one. You almost put me back in the hospital. Or the grave.”

“Shit. I’m sorry,” she repeated.

I shrugged. “Hey, you didn’t kill me.” I forced a grin. “So I guess that means you must have made me stronger, right?”

She snorted. “Yeah, I guess.” She cocked her head and looked at me thoughtfully. “You’re swimming to strengthen your heart?”

“Yeah. Speaking of which…” I gestured down the path towards the pool.

“Right, right, I gotta get to my workout too.” She hesitated a moment, then stepped forward and wrapped her arms around me. She hugged me gently, not letting her head press too hard against my chest. I was startled, but after a moment I hugged her back.

It was a brief hug, and she didn’t look me in the face when she let go. “Well, I’m glad I didn’t kill you. And I’m glad you’re finally taking your PT seriously. See you around.” She turned and started jogging toward the track.

“See you later,” I called to her retreating back. She lifted a hand in response without looking back, and disappeared around the corner of the building.

Huh. Well, I wasn’t sure if that qualified as completely mending our relationship, but it felt like it came closer. I smiled as I headed toward the pool.

And the showers.

________________________

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Last edited by Lap on Tue Feb 05, 2019 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Avenues of Communication: Shizune suffers an accident.
Akira's Surprise: Akira pays a surprise visit to Lilly, Hanako and Hisao on Christmas eve. S9 Entry.
Arrival: Hanako's first days at Yamaku. (On Hiatus)
Home: Hanako & Hisao at University, sharing an apartment with their friend Lilly (on Ao3).
One-shots

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Re: Avenues of Communication (updated 1-25-19)

Post by NoticeMeOppai » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:43 am

Really enjoying this story so far, well done on Shizune's vocalisations. They're really on the nose as far as I can tell from the (admittedly few) conversations I've had with deaf people that lipread. Wonder if Emi picked up on his morning fragrance at any point in that conversation.
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ProfAllister
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Re: Avenues of Communication (updated 1-25-19)

Post by ProfAllister » Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:31 pm

Well, I feel bad about doing this, especially as this isn't complete yet, but I think this is distracting me to the point where it's keeping me from concentrating on my own writing, so time to get it off my chest.

Reading this is painful. Not because it's bad - much the, opposite in fact. It's quite good. But it's riddled with problems, both little and big.

I'm not especially sure how to go about my feedback, so I'll stick to my tried-and-true method of chapter-by-chapter:

1

Right from the get-go, I get the sense that I'm not going to enjoy this. Primarily because this clearly marks itself from the get-go as a disempowerment story. Those aren't necessarily bad, bu they can be dangerous thematically. Especially when the victim is an assertive or "bossy" character. at worst, the disempowerment is a method of putting such a character "in their place", resulting in "character development" that results in a more docile character (if perhaps more empathetic).

As a point of order/character interpretation, I feel that Shizune's screaming/whining is a bit much. Given the lengths she goes to suppress every noise she makes, her tensing, motionless, with a grimace might be more effective, possibly with the occasional whimper escaping.

For all the graphic description of the injury, I'm left uncertain the exact nature of the break. From what I can piece together, you seem to be implying that both the radius and ulna were snapped clean in half. I'm not enough of a medical expert to be able to say whether that's likely from falling 5-7ft (2m), but either way that's one hell of an injury.

Also, as a point of order, JSL uses significantly more fingerspelling than ASL, and we have an established scene in the VN where Shizune displays ceativity when she can't really sign freely (cf. Acute Triangle).

We've also got the unclear timing. My best guess would be that this takes place between "The Summit" and "Succession", but I've got a far more intimate familiarity with the timeline of Shizune's route than the average reader might. And the mention of Misha arguing with Shizune further confuses matters, as that implies that this would be interrupting the middle of Act 3.

2

Again with the arguing, and more importantly Misha's current mental state, the timing gets very fuzzy. Unless there's been enough time for Misha to have fully "recovered" from the events of Shizune's route, it seems odd for Hisao to be alarmed by Misha's current demeanor (without reference to those previous events).

This is also the beginning of a rather distressing tendency to just write Misha out of the story. She's around, but she's also entirely irrelevant.And this is particularly distressing because she's Shizune's best friend, her pseudo-interpreter, and the best equipped to advocate for how to manage while Shizune's healing. And she's simply absent! Barring an extremely compelling explanation for her behavior to be revealed later, this just seems baffling.

3

This places the timing more explicitly as occurring even before "The Summit". In fact, it means these events happened mere days after "Parfait". It seems bizarre, then, that the canon events are only intellectually relevant. You've got a whole simmering pot of drama that's just beginning to resolve when you throw in this new complication. That really should have more impact that you allow it to.

While these seems to be your answer for writing Misha out, it does so at the expense of the events of the canon route. As I said before, why are they still actively arguing at this point? Logically, Misha would still be in the cooldown stage (or, if "Parfait" never happened, still avoiding Shizune). You could probably have taken this route if the source of Shizune's accident stemmed from Misha's avoiding her sometime between "Grand Strategy" and "Invasion". In fact, that may have made for a better hook (and even opened the possibility of making this hinge on the "Comfort" decision to amp up the overall drama and clusterfuck). As it is, though, it doesn't really make sense.

And how exactly does Misha know that Hisao and Emi have any history together? The only time she'd have seen them (based on canon events) would have been Emi's introduction, which necessarily happened before the running started.

This is also where you seem to have Shizune casually making sounds, which is pretty far out of character. Shizune is deliberately non-vocal, to the point where she suppresses laughter, sexual moans, etc. Especially at this point in the story, it really makes no sense for her to be making nonverbal sounds (if she can help it).

4

Technically, Hisao doesn't stand Emi up unless you go the very specific "Slow Recovery" route. Much more likely is Hisao dropping out after one or two days of running. Similarly, Shizune and Misha may or may not have seen Hisao's pills, depending on what choices are made. Of course, I'm fairly certain that it's impossible to get both scenes, which is what you're doing here. Not a huge deal, but worth noting.

This is (presumably) the first time Hisao enters Shizune's room, but we get no comment on that, nor do we even get a description of her room. Missed opportunity, to say the least.

Another little detail, but the "not wearing a bra" is kind of unlikely. while many women are more comfortable braless, women with pendulous bizzonkers like Shizune tend to me much more comfortable while wearing a bra, preferring to only remove them for bathing, changing, and sexytimes.

...And then we get to an area of some discussion/controversy. Yes, it's true that Emi's route has Hisao exercising regularly and in the best health. Yes, Hanako and Rin's routes have a slight nod toward Hisao taking regular exercise, while Lilly and Shizune's routes do not. And Yes, Lilly's route has significant repercussions for Hisao's lack of exercise/taking his meds. But what does this mean for Shizune's route? That's the real question, isn't it? There are implications that the Student Council has access to student records to some degree, and so there's a fair chance they have official access. Moreover, Hideaki (Shizune's brother) was able to peg Hisao's disability in a single guess. On top of that, the Student Council activities we see tend to be rather physically demanding (to say nothing of the regular Shanghai trips). So I'd maintain that Hisao's arguably in the best health in Shizune's route, second to Emi's of course.

More to the point, it seems "off" for Shizune's typing to be "slow and painful", and yet she insists on using 50+ character phrases regularly? I get that she's a bit of a perfectionist, but she also prides herself in carefully thinking about what she says before she says it. Also, with only one instance of "being intimate" to date, it seems unlikely that Shizune would go directly to that objection. "In the middle of your duties" seems much more appropriate for where Shizune's concerns would lie.

5

This is the first time that it comes up, so I guess this is where I should mention it: Shizune has a policy against throwing things. It's first mentioned during the Festival ("Throwing Balls"), but it's a detail that remains consistent throughout the route. This makes it particularly offputting how regularly you make Shizune throw things.

Similarly, Shizune's annoyance at homework seems very out of character. I'd more likely expect her eye-rolling to be followed by "I already completed all my homework. You should know me better than that."

And then... well, you probably predicted that I wouldn't be a fan of this part. It's not simply the fact that you use Jigoro, but also how you use him. I can perfectly accept his not visiting, citing his trust in the school ("If I did not trust the medical staff, I would not have sent my daughter to this school. Idiot."). I understand that not everyone subscribes to my interpretation of Jigoro and his personality, but most will concede that the canon description allows for some degree of interpretation. In this sequence, there's no ambiguity - your Jigoro can only be a petulant manchild who is inexplicably wealthy. How else would you explain what's presented here: a man who wonders why his daughter won't speak without considering the possibility that it might be related to him saying she sounds like a retard? And this isn't just personal preference: it undermines the value of your story if you tie the key conflict into a cartoonish supervillain - it adds a degree of thematic and tonal incoherency that really is a disservice to the larger plot.

6

Hisao seems a bit too comfortable and at ease with Lilly. Compare the interactions here to the interactions in "Present Tense". In that scene, they're cordial,if a little tense, which is understandable, given their previous interactions. In your scene, Hisao and Lilly are acting like friends - absolutely no tension between them, which is weird.

Tying into my comment above, this feels like a missed opportunity to nuance Jigoro's role in all of this - provide an opposing viewpoint in which Jigoro's actions are at least justifiable. Instead, we just get a bit of a "Two Minutes Hate" for him.

Noww, here's the bizarre thing - halfway through this conversation, it's not Lilly talking, but Akira. It's still Lilly's thoughts, but the words coming out, speech patterns, etc.? Akira's. Interestingly enough, Akira would be very capable of giving much-needed perspective on Jigoro. ("Listen, Hisao. I get it. Uncle Jiggs isn't the most approachable individual. But you know what he is? He's the most successful man I know. You don't get that by luck, and even nepotism can only get you so far. He's the real deal. And you may not agree with it, but he has a reason for what he does. Speaking as someone with experience in the Real World, you know what they expect? Conformity. You don't fit in perfectly in every detail, they're gonna chew you up and spit you out. So you've got two choices: fall in line and wait your turn; or stand up for yourself and dare the conformists to tell you that you don't deserve it. It should be obvious which path my uncle chose. Underestimate him if you want, but I'm telling you right now that that's a bad idea.")

7

Way too frequent use of the word "sexy". It feels quite out of character for Hisao.

Shizune gives in *way* too quickly. The story is framed around her resistance to speech/lipreading, then Hisao says "pretty please?" and she caves, despite 12 years of resistance? And that "too good for me" exchange just felt out of character. No question that Shizune feels that way, but it's not something she feels needs to be said. (And how does the keyboard do emphasis? That seems to be a bizarre feature to include.)

Whether she thinks it or not, Shizune would never call her dad a jerk. She'll complain about his behavior, sure, but to call him a jerk? Shizune doesn't do that - she's too focused on the "now" to categorise someone beyond their current actions. Also, given her treatment of the phone and the fact that the Student Council only has an ancient laptop they pretty much never use, I'm skeptical of Shizune suddenly developing an appreciation for spreadsheets - she's probably the type who prefers paper because it's something real you can hold, and it's much quicker to grab the sheet rather than boot up the computer, wait for it to start, open the program, wait for that to start, then figure out where the file is hidden in a labyrinth of folders...

You seem to imply that Shizune's involvement in the Student Council activities was essentially an active impediment to getting work done. Not sure if that's intentional. regardless, it seems to conflict with Hisao's observation in one of the routes that Shizune and Misha can get more work done together than any three other students.

I'll admit that my issues with the exchange between Misha and Hisao are necessarily heavily influenced by my own headcanon, but the exchange feels... wrong. The fact that Hisao learns so little about her in Shizune's route tell me that, despite her outgoing demeanor, Misha is a rather private individual. Her discussing her romantic prospects and sexuality so casually and frankly seems wildly out of character - I'd expect her to cheerfully brush him off with a non-answer, with a more serious direct request for Hisao to drop the subject if he persists.

As for this next segment...
In some parts of the Deaf community, there is the term "hearie porn". I was only recently familiarised with this term - in relation to this story here. These stories tend to be built around a deaf person "overcoming" their disability and becoming "normal" (as Jiigoro so ineloquently put it). They tend to focus on the experiences of hearing individuals rather than the deaf persons, often minimising the difficulties, frustrations, and roadblocks. Additionally, the speech of the deaf person is imparted with a totemic, almost magical significance. It's roughly comparable to the old saw about the "magic penis" that's associated with VNs and dating sims (one good fuck and all the girl's problems magically go away).

I imagine you can see where this is going: Shizune gives Hanako (the equivalent of) a good dicking, and Hanako is now magically unafraid to show her face to the world.

8

Now here, I've got quite a few problems, starting with my inability to take the term "her sex" seriously - it's just such an unnatural, awkward phrasing.
Also, if Hisao can smell her arousal from his face being by her knee, I read that as either him having an amazing sense of smell or she has a medical condition. Also, the logical leap from "she's aroused" to "she's planning on having sex" is just that - a guy popping a boner doesn't mean he was planning on having sex.

Again, you have Shizune throwing things. I'll admit that it's a tiny detail, but as part of a raft of departures from her established character (without a clear and compelling justification for these departures), it undermines the sense that this is the same character as we all know and love.

To be honest, I find the whole sexual dynamic at play here offputting, because it's such a departure from how Shizune behaves in canon. For lack of a better way of putting it, she wants Hisao to be a man and make her his woman. She doesn't want an obedient puppy; she wants a raging stallion. She wants a man who will boldly venture into the unknown, who will go on the offensive even when dealt a losing hand, who will stand up for himself against unfair accusations. Pay attention to what she says and does in "Closer", "The Summit", and "Succession". In my reread of Shizune's route, I threw together a little bit of silliness to convey what must have been going on in Shizune's head:
Hisao Seduction Log:
Attempt 1: "Accidentally" pull him on top of me on the couch. Result: Apparently, he has never procured advice from one Sebastian the Crab
Attempt 2: *Pomf* What are we gonna do on the bed? Result: pulled the ol' switcheroo.
Attempt 3: Tie him to a chair, pull out his dick, and ride him into the sunset. Last resort, but shows promise.
It's exactly as she says in a completely different context: she doesn't want to be the leader, but isn't afraid to seize the role when no one else will.

Similarly, toy're really fetishising the speech here. It's not just the vocalisations, though - in general communication, the two of them tend to avoid wasted words. As a general rule, they only use words when they can't convey their thoughts otherwise. You seem to have Hisao babbling pretty constantly, and then, in what is supposed to be sexy teasing, you have Hisao exerting control over Shizune through his pressuring Shizune to use lipreading and speech. That part really struck me with a gut feeling of that being uncomfortably problematic.

As for the actual sexing, it feels like you've fallen into the extremely common trap of "actor swapping". The characters you've come to know through the story, with their various nuances and personality quirks, are suddenly switched out for body doubles for the sex scene. It would be the equivalent of a movie starring Michael Cera to switch him out for Ron Jeremy during the sex scene, and hope no one notices. In this instance, we have 99% virgin Hisao puling off refined sexual techniques that make his claim to be a virgin roughly as convincing as the characters in The Blob claiming that Steve McQueen is a 17-year-old.

Also, I steadfastly refuse to believe that anyone uses "cock" unironically.

9

Again, either you assume people have a much more acute sense of smell than normal, or I assume people have a less acute sense. While there's no question that Lilly would notice, I find it hard to believe that an entire room would smell like sex after a single act (unless it were a much wilder act than described in the previous chapter).

Also, it may be different expectations, but I wouldn't expect Lilly to be quite as blunt as Akira when it comes to the question of condoms; I'd expect her to at least have waited until Hisao were out of the room.

And I'll admit that I've probably glossed over that detail in my own writing, but showering before you enter the pool is a normal expectation, especially in Japan, given how concerned they are about pre-washing in their public baths (for good reason, granted).


And that's about it. Sorry about it being so negative. There's a lot to the writing that's very good. But that just makes the bothersome bits stand out more, unfortunately. Keep up the good work!
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Re: Avenues of Communication (updated 1-25-19)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:31 pm

Wow, a critique almost as long as the story itself. :lol:
Jokes aside, I agree with most of what the Prof wrote, even though I wouldn't have thought any individual point worth mentioning. (I was contemplating rainsing the question if you can really smell if someone had sex in a room the evening before, but since I'd skipped over the H-scene I wasn't sure what exactly had happened in there... :mrgreen:

About the thing with the "policy against throwing", though...
Not 100% sure, but I think the only time this is mentioned, is in Throwing Balls, right? I.e. that time she wants Hisao to win something for her...
For me that policy is smack in the same territoy as Misha getting dizzy on stairs just the one time when she wants to push off hauling duties to Hisao. :roll:
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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Avenues of Communication, Chapter 10

Post by Lap » Tue Feb 05, 2019 11:18 pm

Thanks to Feroux for beta reading & feedback!

Chapter 10
________________________

Monday morning Shizune went to the doctor’s for a checkup on her arm and hand. When she came back, she was sporting slimmer, removable splints on her fingers, which allowed her to take them off for cleaning and physical therapy. The cast on her arm had been replaced with a cast which left more of the fingers on her left hand exposed, allowing her to gently use them for a few tasks. Unfortunately, her left hand still wasn’t fully mobile, and she still couldn’t sign with it, but she could at least tap at her keyboard more easily with two hands and hold small objects.

Dr. said I was healing well, she reported, looking pleased. Finger splints off before end of month, begin PT on arm next month.

I checked to make sure Misha couldn’t see my hands. [I’ll continue to be available if you need assistance in the evenings,] I offered magnanimously.

She smirked and replied, I'll keep you in mind.

I continued to provide her with “assistance” every few days, and we worked on finding new and different pain-free positions in which to work on her plural orgasms. Our exertions also proved to be remarkably effective soporific for me; occurrences of insomnia were less frequent when I spent the night with her.

Less frequent. But not entirely gone.

One gray morning I found myself staring at the ceiling of Shizune’s room for a ridiculously long time. Eventually, other biological pressures made themselves known, and I pulled on my trousers at around three a.m. to sneak downstairs to the boy’s bathroom. It was located on the ground floor by the common room, for use by male visitors. I listened from Shizune’s doorway for a moment before leaving the room, but heard no movement or noise aside from some amazingly loud snores emanating from Misha’s room. Even in her sleep, she was loud.

I got to the head of the stairs and paused, startled to see a body curled up on the steps partway down. I darted down, visions of another student having fallen like Shizune flashing through my mind. But it proved to be Rin, curled up on the steps with her head pillowed on her book bag, apparently sleeping peacefully. Somehow.

I wondered if I should wake her. On the one hand, it would reveal my presence in the girls’ dorm after curfew. On the other hand, that wasn’t really a huge secret, and I hated the thought of her possibly rolling over in her sleep and tumbling down the stairs.

I decided to wake her, but first I ducked into the restroom to take care of my own needs. When I came back to the stairs, she hadn’t moved. I crouched down next to her and gently shook her slender shoulder.

She shrugged my hand off her shoulder without opening her eyes, and mumbled, “Go ‘way, Emi.”

“Wrong person,” I said, amused.

She opened her eyes and blinked sleepily at me. “Hisao? Why are you Emi?”

“I’m not. See, two legs.” I gestured down at my lower half. Then I winced at my own insensitivity. I probably shouldn’t be allowed to talk to other people on zero hours of sleep. Fortunately, Rin didn’t seem to notice or care.

Her eyes didn’t travel that far down my body. She seemed to wake up a bit more as she eyed my chest scar with interest. “I guess your problem really is your heart.” I flushed, and hurriedly buttoned up my shirt. She sat up and rolled her head on her neck, stretching. “I was already pretty sure the problem wasn’t in your pants, given the noises coming from Shizune’s room some evenings.”

My blush deepened. “Come on, Rin, you should be in bed. It’ll be a lot more comfortable than the stairs.”

“How can you be sure? Have you ever slept on the stairs?”

“No, but it certainly looked uncomfortable.”

She stood up and winced. “You’re right.” I picked up her book bag and draped the strap over her shoulder, the way I’d seen Emi do for her. She didn’t even acknowledge my assistance, she just trudged up the rest of the stairs. I followed her up, and she wandered down the hall towards her room, several doors past Shizune’s. I watched her go, wondering if she needed help, but she shrugged her book bag off her shoulder and dropped it to the floor. She pulled a key out with her toes, then deftly unlocked her door. “Good night, Rin,” I called quietly down the hall, but she didn’t respond as she slipped into her room, dragging the book bag in behind her with her foot. I shook my head and headed back to my nest of blankets on Shizune’s floor.

________________________

Shizune said, “Misha’s birthday is shoon. I need to buy her a preshent.”

I looked up from the English story I’d been struggling to read for class, happy for the distraction. “When is it?”

“November firsht.”

“Do you think we should throw her a party?”

Shizune looked thoughtful at that notion, and I hastened to add, [It doesn’t need to be a Student Council sponsored school-wide party. Just a few friends at the Shanghai or something.]

She gave me an amused look. “I know.”

I tried to think of who we might invite. She spent so much of her time with just Shizune and me that I wasn’t sure who else she would want to have at a party. When I said as much to Shizune, she nodded in agreement.

“Maybe…we should just invite our homeroom class?” I suggested.

She nodded and pulled her laptop to her. Yes, but we also need to invite some of the people who live near her in the dorm, like Emi & Rin & Tak-Tak. Maybe Lilly, too, if we want Hanako to actually show up. Lilly and Misha were friends, before my falling out with Lilly.

“Eh…” I waggled my hand in a so-so gesture. [It’s not like Hanako is that close to Misha. And having you and Lilly together at the same party might be…counter-productive to a festive environment.]

Shizune flushed a little at that. Actually, we are getting along much better these days. Since she began assisting me. She gave me a slightly embarrassed smile. As long as we don’t discuss Student Council business, we’re fine.

Huh. Well, I was glad they were getting along better. Although I hadn’t spent a lot of time with her, I rather liked Lilly.

And maybe we should invite some of the students in the advanced sign language classes—those are the other students she spends the most time with, outside of our homeroom classmates.

“Like who?”

Ono, Takagi, and Kiyabu, at least. I know she studies with them sometimes.

I nodded. “Okay.”

But what should I get her? This is our last birthday together. I need to find the perfect gift for her.

I almost groaned as I read that. The thought of Shizune on a quest for the “perfect” gift sounded potentially frightening.

[It doesn’t need to be perfect. It just needs to come from you, from your heart, for her to appreciate it.]

Shizune looked dubious. “I must thint about this.”

________________________

Speechreading lessons notwithstanding, Misha or I continued to translate for Shizune in classes, since teachers sometimes faced the chalkboard while speaking, or mumbled, or looked down at their notes.

But in day-to-day, one-on-one interpersonal interactions, Misha was no longer required to be constantly by Shizune’s side. It was interesting to watch, as Shizune slowly began to interact with people more personally, without Misha providing a filter. I began to realize that while Misha’s assistance had sometimes helped soften some of Shizune’s harsher words, there were other times that Misha’s boisterous interpretations might have scared or alienated the shyer and quieter students.

Now Shizune was interacting more on her own, and she was able to see what effect her words had on people directly, without filtering. No longer did she have to wonder how much other peoples’ reactions to her were due to Misha; it was all on her.

Ironically enough, now that she was largely unable to sign, her interactions with the other deaf students became more frequent. In addition to her lessons with Mrs. Shibata, she sometimes worked with Shori Takagi, another deaf student who spoke. Takagi pulled her into some interactions with the other deaf students, who much to my surprise were mostly fairly accepting of Shizune, despite her having largely avoided them for over two years.

One afternoon I bumped into Takagi in the library. She was a big girl, several centimeters taller and a few kilos heavier than I, pleasantly voluptuous. I'd seen her in town a few times, and when not forced to wear a school uniform her fashion sense seemed to skew towards the gothic Lolita look, all black and frilly. Black lace-topped stockings and a black feathery fascinator pinned to the side of her head next to her ponytail were her only nods to that style when she was in uniform.

[Hi, Takagi,] I said.

“Hi, Nakai,” she replied.

Since we were in the library, I continued in sign, since it was quieter. And I wanted to ask something potentially private. We chatted for a few moments about classes before I worked up the nerve to address what was on my mind.

[Do you mind if I ask you something about Shizune?]

She shrugged. [Sure. What’s up?]

[I’ve seen you and Shizune talking with other deaf students. Something I’d never really seen her do before. Why…] I hesitated, not quite sure of how to phrase my question without giving offense. Takagi looked curious as to where I was going with my question, but she didn’t offer any assistance. I sighed, and went for blunt. [Why are you all so nice to her, when she avoided you all for so long?]

Takagi grinned. [Meaning, after she treated us like second-class citizens for two and a half years?]

I winced. [Was she really that bad?]

“Eh.” [No, not really. I was exaggerating for effect. But she was definitely uncomfortable around us. Anyone could see that.]

[So, why…?]

She toyed with the fascinator on the side of her head for a moment, looking thoughtful. [Well, it’s certainly not all of us. Nariaki still wouldn’t give her the time of day, and Ayana…] She shook her head. [But most of us could tell she had some…issues. Things to deal with. Everyone responds to their disabilities differently. Some people take longer to come to terms with it. And for some people, being around other people with the same disability just reminds them of what they’re struggling with.]

She waved a hand, gesturing at the school. [A lot of us have gone through something similar, or seen it in other friends here at school, dealing with their own disabilities. So, I don’t hold it against her. She’s finally getting her shit together, and I don’t want to discourage that.]

“Huh.” [That’s…amazingly nice of you,] I signed, as I tried to absorb all she’d said.

She grinned. [Or maybe I’m just self-serving, and trying to get closer to Misha.]

[Misha? She’s spending less time around Shizune nowadays.] I was confused as to what she meant.

She rolled her eyes and waved a hand. [Never mind. I gotta go study, see if I can cram some more history into my brain.]

[Good luck. I hate history too,] I offered in commiseration.

She waved farewell, and headed out of the library.

________________________

Shizune may have been interacting with other students more directly, including the deaf students, but that didn’t mean she suddenly became a sweet and cuddly teddy bear. She still emphatically expected everyone’s best, and could be acerbic with those whom she thought were slacking. But her sharp edges rounded off a little. She seemed to finally grasp that not everyone could perform at the top of their game all the time. In large part because she couldn’t perform at the top of her game all the time. Pain and exhaustion and tedious communications took their toll, and she had no choice but to submit to her healing body’s demands.

One evening as we were working late in the student council office, Shizune said, “Misha?”

Misha looked up from where she’d been frowning at a recalcitrant column of attendance numbers that didn’t quite add up. “Yes, Shicchan?” she replied with a smile. Like me, she seemed to take some pleasure in simply hearing Shizune say her name.

“What are you doin’ nest Thursday after dinner?”

Misha looked puzzled at the out-of-the-blue question. “Um. Student council work?” she guessed.

Shizune and I both smiled at that. “Not on your birthday you’re not,” I said.

Misha’s face lit up. “You remembered~!”

“Of hoarse I remembered. What hind of friend would I be if I forawt your birthday?”

“Would you join us in Shizune’s room after dinner?” I asked. “So we might share some birthday cake, and maybe you could even open up a few presents?”

“Presents~?” Misha blurted. “You don’t have to give me presents~!”

“But what if we want to give you presents?” I asked with a smile.

“I...but you…” She floundered for a moment, looking unaccountably uncomfortable. “That’s really not necessary~!”

I exchanged a glance with Shizune, who also looked puzzled at Misha’s reaction.

“No, it’s not necessary,” Shizune said. “But we want to give you presents.”

“But I...I hardly do anything for you these days.”

Shizune and I both frowned. “It has nothing to do with that,” I said. “We give you presents because you’re our friend.”

“But…” She trailed off, staring at the floor and biting her lip.

“Misha,” Shizune said.

Misha looked up at Shizune. This time, hearing Shizune say her name didn’t make her smile.

Shizune stared intently at Misha, as if trying to make sure that Misha heard her. “Thant you.”

Misha’s head jerked back, as if in shock. “Thank me for what~, Shicchan?”

“For everythin’ you have done for me.” She continued staring at Misha, as if willing her to hear her, understand her.

Misha flushed, and said, “I haven’t done much. I’m doing even less~, now that you don’t need me to translate for you all the time.”

Shizune shook her head. “No. Now that you aren’t always translatin’ for me, I am realizin’ how mush you did do for me. I toog you for rranted. I apoloshize. And want you to know I appreciate all you did.”

Misha’s face was almost as pink as her hair. She bit her lip, blinking hard for a moment, then said slowly, “You’re welcome, Shicchan. And…thank you. For thanking me.”

Shizune nodded, also blushing. “I thint...I should have said that to you lawn aho.”

Misha gave her a shy smile, and shook her head. “Thank you,” she repeated quietly.

I watched the two of them, smiling. Shizune noticed me, and gave me a raised eyebrow of inquiry. I said, “I’m just glad you two getting along so much better these days.”

Misha smiled a little more broadly. “Yeah. Me too.”

Shizune nodded again.

“So. You’ll join us for birthday cake and presents?” I asked, steering the conversation back to its original course.

Misha took a deep breath and nodded. “All right. If you really want~ to.”

“We do,” I said.

“Okay.”

“Esselent,” said Shizune. “Now that we’ve settled that—how about those attendance numbers?…”

________________________

I continued to bump into Emi in the mornings after I spent the night with Shizune, and our walks together towards our respective workouts became a kind of routine for us. She was almost unbelievably chipper and cheery for that hour of the morning, always happy to be off for her run, whether the day was sunny or cloudy, warm or cold. It didn’t make getting up early any easier, but it was at least a little more pleasant. She was just so upbeat that I couldn’t help but feel better for spending those few minutes with her in the morning.

Unfortunately, Emi didn’t always confine her running to the track. I happened to be with Shizune the next time she caught Emi running down the hall between classes.

“Miss Ibarasati! No runnin’!” Shizune yelled.

I flinched. She still needed more work on her volume control. When she yelled, it was an all-out bellow, probably audible to everyone on this floor. Well, everyone who wasn’t also deaf, anyway.

Emi skidded to a halt, her expression one of shock. Her feet slipped out from under her, and she slid on her backside for a meter before coming to a stop. She gaped up at Shizune, who stalked over to the prone girl and offered her a hand up. I manfully didn’t stare at Emi’s pink-and-white striped panties while her skirt was bunched up around her waist.

“Miss Ibarizahi! How many times have you been told not to run in the halls?”

After a moment’s hesitation, Emi took Shizune’s proffered hand, and let herself be pulled to her feet. “Ahhh…” She put a hand out to the wall to steady herself as she regained her balance. “Shizune?” she asked incredulously. Although I was sure she’d heard through the grapevine that Shizune was now speaking sometimes, this was apparently her first time hearing her in person.

“Well?” Shizune barked.

[Lower your volume a little,] I suggested to Shizune. She didn’t respond to me, but her next words were at a more conversational level.

“I know Mister Nahai told you of his ghondition. And he is not the only student you might fatally injure with a holission.”

Emi seemed to recover from her shock at hearing Shizune chew her out verbally, and she flushed and looked guiltily at me. I strove to look properly somber and serious, as befitted a student council member chewing out a student for a serious infraction. “I’m sorry, I know,” she said, sounding contrite. She looked down, seeming to have a problem meeting our eyes.

Shizune scowled. “What will it tate to may you stop runnin’?”

“I’m sorry, Hisao, I didn’t see you in the hall.” Emi looked truly apologetic.

“Yes, well, that’s the point,” I said and signed. “You didn’t see me. I don’t think you would intentionally try to kill me, but you might have nonetheless. Or shattered half the bones in Hayashi’s body, if you hit her instead.”

Emi winced. “Right.” She bit her lip, brow furrowed as she thought for a moment. Then she bowed to Shizune. “You are right. I apologize. I will accept whatever punishment you deem appropriate.” Since her face was toward the floor, I translated for Shizune.

I don’t think she could have shocked Shizune more if she had tried. [I think she really means it, finally,] I said to Shizune.

Shizune nodded at me. She was silent for a moment, as Emi held her bow, then she said, “Very well. If you deliver apologies to Hayashi, Yoshiota, Hatayama, and Amari, we will honsider the matter resolved, as lawn as you don’t do it again.” I recognized two of the names as students with “delicate” conditions like my own, at high risk from a collision with Emi, and I assumed the other two were in similar positions.

Emi grimaced as she straightened up, but she nodded. “I will.”

“Thank you,” I said.

“Yeah. I’m sorry, Hisao. I…I really don’t want to hurt you. Or anyone else.”

“I know. Just remember, we’re not all as tough as you,” I said, offering her a smile to soften the blow.

“Right.” She made another brief bow to Shizune, then turned and walked away from us at a very sedate pace.

[I would be very surprised if we catch her running in the halls again,] I said to Shizune.

She stared after Emi, looking thoughtful, and nodded.

________________________

I was heading back to the dorm a few days later when I heard, “Hey, Nakai!” and I turned to see Shori Takagi walking toward me, waving her hand.

[Hi, Takagi. What's up?] I asked as she drew closer.

She smiled at me and said, [Shizune said there's a surprise birthday party for Misha coming up.]

I nodded. [Yeah, at the Shanghai, next Friday after dinner.]

Takagi nodded and chewed on her lip for a moment, looking thoughtful.

[Are you going to be able to make it?] I asked.

“Yeah.” [But I was wondering if you knew what she might like for a birthday present.]

I shrugged. [What kind of gift were you thinking of?] I asked.

She rolled her eyes. [If I knew that I wouldn’t be asking you.]

[Right, sorry.]

[I just wanted to get her something a little more personal than a phone charm or candy or a pen.]

I wondered why she cared enough to do that, but perhaps they were closer than I had realized. [Well, I’m getting her a parfait cookbook, because she loves parfaits.]

Takagi grinned. [That she does.]

[Maybe some parfait glasses and long spoons to go with that? So she can make her own?] I had contemplated buying some to go with the cookbook myself, but the book was large and full-color and pricey, so I’d settled for just the book.

Takagi looked thoughtful for a moment, then she smiled and nodded. [Yes, that could work.] She gave me a brief bow. “Thanks, Nakai!”

“You’re welcome.” I returned her bow, then watched bemusedly as she turned and skipped back to the girls’ dorm, her ponytail swinging in time to her skips. Her skipping generated some fascinating harmonics in her body’s mass.

________________________

One evening Shizune and I were cuddled together on her bed, watching a DVD on her laptop. She didn’t seem to be paying much attention to the screen, and about halfway through she reached out and paused the movie.

[Bathroom break?] I asked.

She shook her head. She minimized the movie and pulled up a document window to type in.

I’ve been thinking, she typed, then paused. Since she was sitting between my legs, leaning against my chest, it was awkward for me to sign. She wasn’t turned toward my face to read my lips, so I wrapped my arms around her and put my fingers on the keyboard.

Thinking about what? I typed.

She didn’t respond for a while. I was just about to put my hands back on the keyboard when she resumed typing.

Change. How I’ve changed. How you’ve changed.

How have I changed?
I asked, curious.

She snorted. How haven’t you changed? When you first got here, you were mopey. Feeling sorry for yourself. Depressed. Now? Not so much.

I blushed a little at her assessment of me, but I couldn’t really argue the point. That’s thanks to you.

She shook her head. Only some. I helped, yes. Love & support (& good sex :-) can help combat depression. But YOU have also done a lot of work. Swimming. Taking your meds. Supporting me. Supporting Misha. Making other friends. These all have made you a healthier person. She turned her head to the side and kissed me on the cheek.

I fought with my initial impulse to deflect her praise and tried to take it seriously. There was no denying I was happier and healthier than when I’d gotten here last spring. It was a little uncomfortable for me to be praised for doing what I felt I should be doing. Of course I should take my meds, work out, interact with my fellow students. It felt like those things were the bare minimum, not something praiseworthy. But…at least I had done them. Was doing them. Which I hadn’t always, for a while after I first got here.

I kissed the back of her head and took control of the keyboard again. Thank you. For all of your help.

And how have you changed?
Aside from the obvious broken bones, & restarting your speechreading & speech lessons. I moved my hands away to let her type.

You helped me, too, she said, I’m not sure I ever would have restarted those lessons without your urging. And I would have been wrong to not take the opportunity. She sighed. Quitting my lessons 4 years ago was a foolish choice. I let my father’s stubborn refusal to accept reality adversely affect MY reality.

She paused for a moment, and I took over the keyboard again. I think making our own decisions—realizing we don’t have to always do what our parents tell us to do—is part of growing up. I felt a little pretentious putting it that way, especially seeing it written out like that, but it still felt true.

She snorted at that, and nodded. She pushed my hands aside gently. But it’s more than that. It took almost three years of living at Yamaku, away from daily exposure to my father, to get to this point.

I nodded. I could well imagine a forceful personality like Jigoro’s could take some time to pull away from.

You’ve helped me. Misha has helped me. Takagi has helped me. LILLY of all people has helped me. I’m not used to being helped so much. NEEDING help so much. My father has always emphasized that I could only count on myself in this world, that I needed to know how to get by on my own, despite my deafness. Asking for help is a sign of weakness, to him. And I believed that, too.

The first couple of weeks after my accident were the hardest. Being so much more dependent. But


She paused, and eventually I asked But what?

She turned her head to the side and kissed me on the cheek again, surprising me. Two spontaneous kisses in one evening was quite demonstrative for her. But you never saw me as weak. Nor did Misha. Even Lilly. You all just saw me as ME, someone who just happened to require some additional help for the moment. Thank you.

Of course
, I responded. I’ve never seen you as weak because you’re NOT weak. Being hurt & needing help isn’t a weakness. You are

She shoved my hands away from the keyboard, interrupting me. I know that, thank you. Thanks TO you. And the others. It has taken me some time to absorb that notion, and I still need to remind myself sometimes, but I want you to know I appreciate what you’ve done for me. Not just physical assistance, but psychological.

It seems paradoxical, but I think being more dependent has made me stronger. Because I’m learning that true strength isn’t solitary. I can be strong on my own, I AM strong on my own, but I’m stronger with others. With you. Strength in community, in friends. In helping, and, yes, in allowing myself to be helped. My father, with his toxic masculinity, fears being helped. Appearing weak. And that fear makes him weaker.

I found the phrase she used noteworthy. You called it “toxic masculinity.” Lilly called it that, too.

Shizune nodded. I got the phrase from her. I have talked with her a little about this. She knows my father better than anyone else here at Yamaku.

I had to suppress a laugh at that. Shizune had chosen to talk to Lilly about her father for reasons parallel to the reasons I had talked with Lilly about Shizune. I wondered what Lilly made of all this.

So. Thank you. For all you’ve done. And if I ever seem like I’m forgetting some of these lessons, I hope you’ll remind me.

Of course I will. Once it’s safe to do so,
I joked.

She reached down and squeezed my knee, right where I was ticklish. I convulsed, giggling, and I could see her smile from the side of her face. I hugged her tightly around the waist, then added, You’re welcome.

She twisted carefully in my arms so she was facing me, and gave me a kiss, and expressed her gratitude in a less verbal manner.

________________________

<<—Previous Chapter ||| Next Chapter—>>
Last edited by Lap on Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:55 am, edited 2 times in total.
Avenues of Communication: Shizune suffers an accident.
Akira's Surprise: Akira pays a surprise visit to Lilly, Hanako and Hisao on Christmas eve. S9 Entry.
Arrival: Hanako's first days at Yamaku. (On Hiatus)
Home: Hanako & Hisao at University, sharing an apartment with their friend Lilly (on Ao3).
One-shots

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Chapter 11

Post by Lap » Tue Feb 19, 2019 5:47 pm

Chapter 11

________________________

Monday was a red letter day for Shizune in two different ways—it was finally Election Day in the morning, and after school, she was scheduled to get her finger splints off.

Shizune, Misha, and I all missed the first class of the day as we went from classroom to classroom distributing ballots, and then around again collecting them. Shizune was keen to make sure things went off without a hitch, and they did, aside from one candidate’s name being misspelled on the Braille ballots.

We left the filled out ballots locked in a drawer in Mutou’s desk, to await Misha’s and my attentions after school. I was sure Shizune wished she could dive into tallying them immediately, but she'd grumpily explained, The ballot counting has to be supervised by a teacher. So it can't be done until after school. She'd have to miss the actual counting because of her doctor’s appointment, but I promised to text her the results as soon as we had them. She even made sure her infrequently used cell phone was charged and turned on.

Misha and I bade Shizune farewell as she left at the end of the day for her appointment, then we turned to Mutou’s desk. He cleared it of papers, then unlocked his drawer and pulled out the box with all the ballots for us. Setting the box on the desk, he gestured to it with an expansive wave. “It’s all yours,” he said, then sat down in his chair and buried his nose in a science journal.

I wasn’t sure exactly what supervising the ballot counting was supposed to entail, but I was pretty sure that him reading while Misha and I counted was not exactly what had been intended. Not that either of us was tempted to mis-count anything.

Misha made a big show of counting out loud as she went, “One for Aoichan, one for Mirachan, one for Aoichan, one for Aoichan…” Meanwhile, I silently re-counted all the ballots as a double-check. It took her twice as long to count, but our numbers matched. We filled out a form with the results, Mutou signed it for us, then he waved an absent minded farewell at us as he left.

Aoi Ishida and Keiko Yokota had been elected as the new president and vice president, by a large margin. When I texted her the results, Shizune replied with a terse, Excellent.

Misha and I went to the student council room to pack away all the ballot boxes and finish the associated paperwork. Which took us all of twenty minutes, then we waited for Shizune, since she had said she’d meet us there after her appointment.

“I’m glad Aoichan and Keikochan won~,” said Misha. “I know Shicchan wanted them to win.”

“I just hope Shizune can turn over the reins of power without too much pain,” I said. “I had a nightmare the other night that she decided to skip university and stay at Yamaku next year to keep on running the student council.”

“Haha~! Don’t ever let her hear you suggest that, Hicchan! You might get stuck in high school forever!” I laughed along with her. Her laughter in recent weeks had become less frequent, less raucous, and more genuine. I liked the change.

“I’m sure she already has her sights set on her university student government, no matter where she ends up at.” I regarded Misha for a moment. “Do you know what universities you’re going to apply to?”

Misha’s smile became nervous. “American universities operate on a different schedule. I’ve…already applied to two, and have three more applications I need to finish before the new year.”

“What? You did? Why didn’t you tell us? Which ones?”

Misha looked uncomfortable. “You and Shicchan have been busy. And I didn’t want…I was worried…I didn’t want Shicchan to know, in case I didn’t get in.”

I frowned. “It doesn’t seem like signing is such a common field that you’d have a lot of competition. And you’re so good at it—why wouldn’t you get in?”

Misha plopped down in a chair with a thump. She stared at the floor. “I don’t know, Hicchan. My grades in sign are good, but some of my other classes…” she grimaced. “I may have to take a ronin year if I don’t get into university.”

I was surprised to hear she was worried about her grades. Although her loud and exuberant exterior had lead me to classify her as a bit of an air head when I first met her, over time I’d come to realize that she was actually quite bright. She just…hid it well. Sometimes from herself as well as from others. “What schools have you already applied to?”

“Well, my first two choices, the University of San Francisco and New York University. They have really~ good programs in signing and Japanese.” She frowned for a moment, staring into the distance, then she shook her head and smiled at me. “And you, Hicchan? Where do you want to go?”

Wherever Shizune goes, was my first thought, but I didn’t say that. “I’m…still working on that. I’ve been talking with Mutou about the sciences, or maybe even science teaching. I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed the science tutoring I’ve done since I got here.”

“You’re really good at it,” Misha affirmed with a smile and a nod. “You’ve helped me and Hacchan a lot~!”

I shrugged. “I’d like to be close to wherever Shizune goes, but she’ll probably be at Tokyo, or Kyoto University. I’m not sure I’m in that league. Fortunately, there are dozens of other options in either of those cities.”

For a moment Misha looked wistful, as if imagining being in a university near Shizune, then she smiled. “You’re so smart, I’m sure you could get into Tokyo if you wanted~!”

I snorted. “Thank you for the vote of confidence, but…no. I won’t even be trying for that.” Then I frowned. “If you’ve already applied to two universities, are you going to take the entrance exams with us in the spring?”

She gave a somewhat hollow laugh. “Oh, yes. Just in case I don’t get into an American university. I need to have something~ to fall back on here. Unfortunately, I won’t know if I’ve been admitted to an American school until after the tests.”

“That’s too bad. Well, I hope you don’t need the fallback. But speaking of exams…” I sighed and glanced guiltily at my book bag.

“Yeah, we should do homework,” Misha conceded, a little mournfully. We both pulled out our books and set to work.

A half-hour later, Shizune entered the room smiling and waving her unsplinted hand at us. [I can talk again!] she said, using a mixture of signs and yubimoji fingerspelling. It wasn't as fast as pure signing, but that didn't seem to matter to her. She could speak aloud or type at need, but sign was her native language. She seemed cheered to finally be able to speak normally.

[That’s wonderful, Shicchan!] Misha said, with a broad smile.

[Indeed,] I agreed. I had rarely seen Shizune look so openly, simply, happy. She seemed almost giddy at even this partial return of her native speaking abilities. Words that could be signed using a single hand she did so, and words that would have required two hands to sign she spelled out with yubimoji.

I was used to doing that myself, as my sign vocabulary was still growing, but reading someone else doing it—especially at Shizune’s full speed—was somewhat more difficult. I kept having to mentally shift gears between trying to read a word and spell it out, and I kept losing track. I suddenly realized that this must be somewhat similar to what Shizune went through with speechreading, where she could only understand a quarter or so of the spoken words, and had to infer the rest from context. From what I could pick up, Misha was filling Shizune in on the ballot counting process, and Shizune was checking to make sure we’d done everything “by the book.”

Eventually, they noticed I wasn’t joining in on their conversation. [What do you think, Hicchan?] Misha asked.

“Er…” [About what?]

Shizune sighed. [Should we go to dinner to celebrate the election?] She seemed to realize what my problem had been, because she slowed down her signing speed for me.

I smiled. [That sounds good.] I noticed Shizune flexing her fingers and wincing a little, and I frowned. [Should you be using your fingers so much, so soon?]

Shizune looked a little guilty. [I’m supposed to exercise them.]

I arched an eyebrow at her. [I’ll bet the doctor said you were supposed to exercise them in moderation.] She rolled her eyes, but didn’t disagree.

[Don’t hurt yourself, Shicchan!] Misha urged. [You don’t want the doctor to put you back in splints again!]

Shizune nodded. [I know. But…it’s just so nice to be able to talk normally again!]

I smiled at that. [If we go occupy our hands with eating, that might give your fingers a little rest,] I suggested.

Misha laughed. [Yes! Let’s go eat!]

As Misha preceded us out the door, I slipped my left hand into Shizune’s right, and lifted our joined hands to my lips so I could kiss her newly healed fingers. She blushed charmingly at that, then glanced ahead to make sure Misha wasn’t looking at us before she kissed my hand in turn. I suddenly realized that there was a single-handed sign she could now use. I released her hand, and said, [I love you.]

She smiled back at me. [Of course you do.] I laughed at that, and she added, [I love you.]

Misha stuck her head back into the room. [Come on, you guys! Dinner awaits!]

Smiling, we followed her out of the room to dinner.

________________________

Wednesday evening Shizune and I were camped out in my room studying. She was plugging away at English, her least favorite subject, while I struggled to memorize a list of historically significant dates. After an hour I sat up and stretched, closing my history text.

“All done?” asked Shizune.

I turned to face her. [For now. Will you quiz me on these dates in an hour or so? Make sure they stuck in my brain.]

She nodded. [What next?]

I grimaced and pulled a stack of university brochures out of my book bag. [I promised Mutou I'd look these over by the end of the week, and I don't think I'll have time tomorrow or Friday.] Tomorrow evening we were celebrating Misha’s birthday with the three of us, and Friday was the surprise party for her at the Shanghai. So if I was going to look at them, tonight was the night.

Shizune’s eyes lit up. [Where are you looking? What are you thinking of studying?]

I hesitated, then admitted, [Where is partially dependent upon you. If you don’t mind.]

She went very still for a long moment, then asked, [What do you mean?] Even though I was pretty sure she knew what I meant.

[I mean…] I paused and flexed my fingers nervously. [I mean, I would like to be near you. In whatever city you end up in. Be it Tokyo or Kyoto or whatever. I don’t think I can get into those schools, but there are many other fine schools in those cities that I could get admitted to.]

She hesitated a moment, then she said, with unusual diplomacy, [You’re probably right. Having missed four months of schooling makes getting into Kyoto University or the University of Tokyo unlikely, or at least very difficult.]

I snorted. [And I’m not driven enough. Not like you. You’ll get into whichever one you put your mind to.]

She blushed and shrugged. [I hope so.]

[Do you have a preference?] I asked.

She nodded. [Kyoto. I’ve already reserved a time to take their tests.] The top universities had their own, custom tests that they administered, in addition to the standardized tests that everyone took.

[Well, then. I should probably look at schools in or near Kyoto. If you don’t mind,] I repeated. I held her gaze, willing her to respond to that last sentence.

She bit her lip, looking uncertain. [You really want to follow me?] she asked.

I smiled. [Yes. Of course I do.]

[Sentimental fool,] she replied, but she was smiling as she said it.

[Yes. I’m foolishly fond of you.]

[Well then. I suppose you should look for something in Kyoto. As I have grown fond of you, too.]

I smiled, relief making my shoulders release a tension I hadn’t even been aware I was holding. [Excellent. That easily eliminates two thirds of these brochures.]

[What do you want to study?]

I had been thinking about that more since Monday, when Misha had asked me the same thing. [I think I’d like to be a science teacher. Like Mutou. Or rather…] I hesitated.

She giggled. [But perhaps a bit more awake and enthusiastic than Mutou Sensei?]

[Yes.] I cocked my head, curious. [And what of you? What are you going to study?]

She wiggled her fingers, and pulled her laptop over to us. She switched to typing when her fingers got sore, as that was less stressful on her healing fingers than signing.

I have been thinking about that, too. Especially since Monday.

[Monday?]

The election. It felt…odd. To set up and supervise a competition that I was not a part of.

I nodded. [Okay. What does that have to do with career choices?]

I’m so used to everything being a competition between myself and someone else. Or even myself and everyone else. But Monday I found myself thinking of what you said, the first night we spent together in my room: “We win.”

I smiled. [That we did.]

I was reminded of the old proverb, “Wise men plant trees in whose shade they will never sit.” We were doing something for the future of Yamaku. Even if it’s just a student council, nothing as grand or significant as national elections, or providing a million yen endowment to the school, it’s still improving the school, the world. In our own small way, in our own little corner of the world.

I nodded again. The election wasn’t earth-shaking news, but hopefully Aoi and Keiko would continue to use the student council to make Yamaku a better place for those attending it.

I know everyone thinks I’m too competitive. I disagree, but I do think perhaps my competitive nature has been misapplied. I need to direct it more constructively. I want to plant trees, to make the future a better place. I’m not sure if that means working in philanthropy, or non-profit foundations, or politics, but I’m beginning to have a better sense of where I want to go in university. Probably starting somewhere in the business world, with a business degree.

I want to make sure We win.

She paused, then grinned at me and added: Except for in RISK, where I shall continue to excel at world domination and kick your ass.

I laughed as I read that last line. Shizune looked pleased at my reaction. I gave her a kiss. [I think you would make a wonderful philanthropist. Or politician. I would vote for you.]

She gave me a mock frown. [You had better. Now, let's look at those brochures...]

________________________

<<—Previous Chapter || Next Chapter—>>
Last edited by Lap on Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Avenues of Communication: Shizune suffers an accident.
Akira's Surprise: Akira pays a surprise visit to Lilly, Hanako and Hisao on Christmas eve. S9 Entry.
Arrival: Hanako's first days at Yamaku. (On Hiatus)
Home: Hanako & Hisao at University, sharing an apartment with their friend Lilly (on Ao3).
One-shots

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Re: Avenues of Communication (updated 2-19-19)

Post by Feurox » Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:34 am

Another Wonderful Update! Beautifully written as always and charming, good to see Shizune is back to herself, and the compromises in her personality have served to make her stronger - ready to move on! Brilliant as always Lap.

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Re: Avenues of Communication (updated 2-19-19)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:12 am

“One for Aiochan, one for Mirachan, one for Aiochan, one for Aiochan…”
Her name is "Aoi". "Ai" would also be a suitable Japanese name if this is not supposed to be the sidecharacter from the VN, but "Aio" is not a name.
[But perhaps a bit more awake and enthusiastic than Sensei Mutou?]
If you want to use Japanese honorifics they should be after the name.
I’m not sure if that means working in philanthropy
I'm not sure you can "work in philantrophy"...

As for the chapter itself - the election thing took me a bit by surprise. Those had only been mentioned briefly back in chapter seven (and not even that it was student council elections, just half a line about ballot boxes and a paragraph about Hanako wanting an interview) and I had to go back and make sure I hadn't missed a chapter or two. I would have expected something like that to feature more prominently in the time leading up to the event.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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

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Re: Avenues of Communication (updated 2-19-19)

Post by Lap » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:40 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:12 am
“One for Aiochan, one for Mirachan, one for Aiochan, one for Aiochan…”
Her name is "Aoi". "Ai" would also be a suitable Japanese name if this is not supposed to be the sidecharacter from the VN, but "Aio" is not a name.
Oops. Brain fart on my part. Fixed, thanks.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:12 am
[But perhaps a bit more awake and enthusiastic than Sensei Mutou?]
If you want to use Japanese honorifics they should be after the name.
Also fixed, thanks!
Avenues of Communication: Shizune suffers an accident.
Akira's Surprise: Akira pays a surprise visit to Lilly, Hanako and Hisao on Christmas eve. S9 Entry.
Arrival: Hanako's first days at Yamaku. (On Hiatus)
Home: Hanako & Hisao at University, sharing an apartment with their friend Lilly (on Ao3).
One-shots

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Avenues of Communication, Chapter 12

Post by Lap » Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:06 pm

Chapter 12
________________________

Given that Misha’s birthday party had been my idea, I had expected to have to organize it, but Shizune had taken over that task early on.

You have enough to do with Student Council work, she’d said. I’ll take care of this.

I was surprised that her quest for the perfect gift didn’t involve a dozen shopping trips, with myself as designated pack mule. But Shizune had made only two trips to the city, without me or Misha along, and she’d refused to say what she’d found when I asked her about it.

My only responsibility for the party was getting Misha to the Shanghai on Friday evening, the day after her birthday. We figured that having the party a day after her birthday would make it more of a surprise. And since Saturday was only a half-day of school, we could celebrate a little later and longer.

Shizune and I got together with Misha Thursday night in her room, and had a small cake and gave her presents.

“I don’t know if they’ll have the kinds of parfaits you like in America,” I told her when she unwrapped the parfait cookbook I’d gotten for her. “But this way you can always make your own if you want to.”

“Awww~! Thanks, Hicchan! That’s really thoughtful. Or should I say—really sweet~!” She gave me a peck on the cheek, which made me blush, and Shizune giggle.

Then she opened the card from both of us. I’d found it almost by accident, but it was so apt for her that I was immensely pleased with it. The outside of the card was just a quote from some American author, done in lovely brush calligraphy:

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

—Mark Twain


Inside, Shizune had written, Happy birthday to the kindest girl we know. And we’d signed it, Love, Shizune & Hisao

Misha stared at the card for a moment, then she threw her arms around us both and hugged us tight. “You guys~!” she exclaimed, “I love you both so much too~!”

After a prolonged hug, in which my shoulder got damp with Misha tears once again, she finally released us and reached for a handkerchief. “Sorry,” she said as she dried her eyes. “I’m just…so happy.”

Shizune smiled broadly at that. She pulled a small wrapped box out of her bag and handed it to Misha. “Happy Birthday.”

“Thank you, Shicchan~!” Misha smiled and tore into the paper with her usual enthusiasm. Lifting the lid of the box revealed two smaller identically gift-wrapped boxes inside. Misha gave Shizune a puzzled look as she pulled them out.

[Read the labels,] Shizune prompted her.

Each box had a small tag attached to the ribbon wrapped around it. Misha looked at one label. “To Misha,” she read dubiously.

[And the other.]

“To…Shizune~?” Misha’s confusion was written all over her expressive face.

“Thant you!” said Shizune with a smile, as she plucked the box addressed to her out of Misha’s hands.

Misha laughed. “All right, Shicchan. I guess you wanted a present too~?”

“Lesh open them tohether.”

Misha tore into the paper, and Shizune matched her pace, so that they both opened their boxes at the same time. Inside each box was a necklace chain, with what looked to be a tiny sculpted silver hand hanging from it. Misha held it up and examined it, still looking puzzled. “Thank you?”

I examined the small hand-shaped pendant, and I could relate to her confusion. The fingers were all curled slightly inward, as was the thumb. If it was supposed to be a yubimoji hand sign, it wasn’t very well formed—it could have been a sloppily signed e, or o, or wo.

Shizune smiled at our confusion, then held up her matching pendant. “May I?” she asked, reaching for Misha’s necklace.

Misha just nodded and relinquished the necklace. Shizune took the two small hands and placed them together with a little twist, then hung them from their chains for us to see. Suddenly they made sense.

FriendshipNecklaces.png
FriendshipNecklaces.png (1.45 MiB) Viewed 1148 times


The two hands interlocked together, to form the sign for friendship. Misha covered her mouth with her hand, and her golden eyes filled with tears. I never thought I’d see her at a loss for words. After a long silent moment, she threw her arms around Shizune and hugged her tight. “Thank you, Shicchan, I’ll wear it always,” she said into Shizune’s hair. For a change it fell to me to translate for Misha to Shizune. Shizune smiled and hugged Misha back.

[Well, it looks like you succeeded in finding the perfect gift,] I said to Shizune, as Misha clung to her. Shizune just smiled smugly and nodded.

_________________________


Friday evening, as we ate dinner in the cafeteria, I said to Misha, “You know, I looked through that parfait cookbook for a while before wrapping it, and I’ve been craving a parfait ever since. Let’s go to the Shanghai after dinner and get parfaits for dessert. My treat.”

Misha grinned. “I’ll never say no to a parfait~! But you don’t have to buy for me, Hicchan.”

I smiled. “Consider it part of your birthday present.”

“Well…if you insist~!” She turned to Shizune. “Do you want to get one too?” It was still somewhat startling, but nice, to hear Misha not automatically assume that she and Shizune would be going everywhere together, joined at the hip.

Shizune pursed her lips for a moment, then said, [I don’t know—can I trust you alone out on a date with my boyfriend?]

Misha blinked at that, then burst into laughter. “Haha~! I don’t know, Shicchan! He is awfully cute~!”

“I’m not that cute,” I muttered under my breath. I didn’t think I’d enunciated clearly enough for Shizune to read me, but she still shot me an amused look at my slightly dour reaction.

[Thank you for the invitation, but I think I should go to the library to research my history paper.]

“Your loss!” said Misha.

“I want to go to my room and change out of my school uniform before we go. Should we meet at the front gates in a half hour?”

“Hmmm, that sounds like a good idea. A girl should dress up pretty for a date, right~?” She winked at me.

“Right!”

“See you soon!” She cleared her tray and bounced out of the cafeteria.

[I’ll see you in about forty-five minutes,] I said to Shizune, who would be going ahead to the Shanghai to set things up.

She nodded. [Yes.]

I knew she wouldn’t approve of my kissing her in the crowd of the cafeteria, so I just said, [I love you.] I used the ASL sign she’d taught me, so most of the people around us wouldn’t understand it.

[Of course you do,] she replied, her eyes twinkling.

Chuckling, I cleared our dinner dishes, and headed back to my room to change. I chose my sharpest looking sweater vest in honor of the occasion.

I had assumed Misha would just slip into a pair of comfy jeans and a sweatshirt or something similar, but she was wearing a pretty dress under her winter coat when she met me at the gates. I wondered for a moment if she suspected what was waiting for us at the Shanghai.

“Hi, Hicchan!” She spun in a circle, allowing the dress to billow out around her legs. “Ready for you ‘date’ with the birthday girl~?”

I grinned. “Yup. You look lovely.” I noticed a glint of sliver at her neck. “Wearing your new necklace, I see.”

She put a hand on the pendant and smiled brightly. “Always!”

“Well, let’s go. Our parfaits await!”

She grabbed my hand and we headed down the hill to town.

We chatted about classes and the upcoming exams, and even a little about the student council as we walked. As we approached the Shanghai, I tried to keep her attention focused on me, so she wouldn’t look in the windows and see who was there. I held the door open for her as we got there, and gave her a doorman’s bow. “Ladies first.”

She giggled. “Such a gentleman, Hicchan!”

She was looking at me as she entered, and so was taken completely off guard when a large group of people called out, “Happy Birthday Misha!” Shizune’s voice was perhaps the loudest, easily distinguishable from the crowd; she still needed more work on her volume control when raising her voice.

Misha turned toward the crowd, her jaw dropping, utterly stunned into silence. I saw her mouth move a few times and her fingers vaguely wiggle before she finally managed a quiet little, “Oh.” She just stared around at the smiling crowd of her classmates and friends, who all began singing Happy Birthday to her.

“Happy birthday, Misha,” I added as the song ended. I placed a gentle hand on the small of her back and urged her forward. “Come on in and join the party.”

Misha just stood there looking stunned, so Shizune stepped forward and pulled on her arm. “Gum in! We have parfaits!”

For a moment I was afraid Misha was going to burst into tears, but then she unfroze and burst into laughter. “Wahaha~! You sure surprised me!” She gave Shizune a quick hug, then pulled back to ask playfully, “But what about your history paper, Shicchan?”

Shizune smiled. [That was a pretense. Happy Birthday.]

Someone, I think it was Miki, placed a party hat on top of Misha’s head that said “Birthday Girl” on its front. I scanned the crowd as the others pulled Misha in, smiling at her and wishing her well. It looked like most of our class was here, except for Taro and Suzu—or, no, Suzu was asleep at a table in the corner. Even Hanako was here, hovering at the outskirts of the crowd, accompanied by Lilly.

I saw Takagi with a couple of other deaf students in the mix. She was dolled up in black lace and crinoline, with a satin bustier, and her long black hair was done up in long spiral curls, like Misha’s old drills but smaller and more numerous. Topping it all off was a mini black top hat, pinned to the side of her head. She was quite the picture.

I must have been staring at her, because Shizune poked me in the arm to get my attention. [See something you like?] she asked, smirking at me.

“Ahhh…” [Just admiring Takagi’s hat.]

Shizune pursed her lips. [Hat. Right. Not her abundant cleavage.]

I blushed, and fumbled for something to say. [Yours is the only cleavage for me.]

Shizune’s eyes rolled so hard I feared for her ocular health. [Not even going to comment on that one,] she said. Not quite truthfully, as her eye-roll spoke volumes. I sighed. That had not been my smoothest comeback.

[Come on, let’s get the parfaits handed out.] She lead me towards the kitchen. I discovered I’d been wrong about Taro not being here when he came out from the back with a tray full of parfaits balanced on his good hand.

“Hey! Hisao! Take this and start handing ‘em out before they all melt,” he said, shoving the tray at me.

I grabbed the tray without thinking. “Ah, sure. Did you get a job here recently?”

He grinned. “Nah, just helping Yuuko out. I like to cook, and she’s a little overwhelmed by the size of this crowd.” Indeed, I didn’t think I’d ever seen the little restaurant so full.

“That’s awfully nice of you.”

“Yeah, yeah, now go hand those out,” he said, making a shooing motion at me.

Shizune grabbed a handful of spoons and napkins from the containers by the kitchen, then we started wandering, handing out parfaits and chatting with people as we went. It was actually kind of fun, making me feel like Hoteiosho, distributing presents to the deserving children of Yamaku. I made several trips back to the kitchen, where Taro and Yuuko restocked my tray. We had so many parfaits I even handed out some to a couple of local villagers who wandered in looking for some tea.

Through it all, I kept an eye on Misha, who seemed to be glowing as the center of attention. It warmed my heart to see her looking so happy as she talked and laughed with so many different people. A couple of times I saw her holding up her new necklace and gesturing toward Shizune, as if explaining its significance.

Unsurprisingly, Hanako was the first to leave, although I’d been surprised that she’d lasted over an hour in the crowd. Lilly went with her, and gradually a few others began to trickle out, stopping by the table where Misha sat to wish her happy birthday one last time before they went. The party slowly shrank, but kept on going for a few more hours.

Shizune and I sat with Misha at her table, picking at the remains of a couple of different flavored parfaits and talking. Shizune excused herself to visit the restroom, and I pushed the mostly empty parfait glasses away from me, groaning slightly.

“Oh…” Misha rubbed her stomach in sympathy and grinned at me. “Given how many parfaits I had tonight, Hicchan, the cookbook you gave me almost seems redundant~!”

I laughed, and switched to sign for privacy. [Well, I suppose I could have gotten you some more yuri mangas for your collection instead,] I signed to her teasingly. [But I was trying to be discreet.]

Misha’s smile disappeared and she turned pale at my comment, and I heard someone at the next table giggle.

Oh, shit. I’d forgotten that Takagi was still at the party. Misha looked utterly stricken at my words, at potentially having been outed. Takagi stood up and approached our table, and I glanced up at her, fearing for the worst, my stomach churning with guilt. “Misha, I’m sorry—” I began.

But Takagi slid into the seat next to me and gave Misha a sly smile. [If you need some more yuri to read, you can always borrow some of mine,] she said.

“I…what?” Misha was so flustered that she didn’t even sign her response, but Takagi was skilled enough in speechreading to pick up what she said.

[I mean, assuming your girlfriend doesn’t mind,] Takagi added.

[My girl—girlfriend?] Misha replied, eyes wide. I’d never seen anyone stutter in sign before.

[Madame President?] Takagi asked, eyebrows arched inquisitively.

Misha blinked rapidly and her face shifted from pale to bright red. [Shicchan isn’t my girlfriend!] she protested. She pointed at me. [She’s his!]

[Oh. How…interesting.] Takagi’s smile became almost predatory. [Does that mean you’re available?] She twirled one of her long curls coyly around a finger.

It almost felt voyeuristic, watching Misha’s emotions bounce up and down like a yo-yo. Her embarrassed blush slowly faded, but didn’t disappear entirely as a smile began to return to her face. [That depends. Are you asking?]

Takagi shot me a look, probably knowing that I was the only other person currently in the room who could follow this conversation. I wanted to look away, to give them privacy, but I also couldn’t help but want to know what happened next. [I think that might be the best possible birthday present you could give her, if you did,] I said encouragingly. Trying to make up for my initial slip of the tongue. Er, fingers.

Hicchan~!” Misha squeaked.

[You mean it wouldn’t be?] I asked, striving for a wide-eyed and innocent expression.

Takagi hid her mouth behind her hand, her shoulders shaking with silent laughter. A few people around us were glancing at us curiously, but they were all used to silent conversations.

Misha’s mouth opened and closed a few times without speech, and she vaguely waved her hands in the sign-language equivalent of wordless babble. Eventually, she took a deep breath and pulled herself together. She faced Takagi squarely and said, [Yes. That would be a lovely present.]

Takagi grinned, looking quite pleased. [Well then, happy birthday, Misha. Would you like to go out on a date with me this weekend?]

Misha smiled and nodded hard enough that I worried about whiplash for a moment. I felt a rush of relief that my indiscretion had worked out okay. Shizune chose that moment to return to the table. She glanced curiously at Misha’s beaming face, and Takagi’s smug smile.

[What did I miss?]

[I’ve got a date!] Misha exclaimed, bouncing in place. Even when she wasn’t speaking out loud simultaneously, Misha managed to sign loudly. Takagi looked slightly surprised that Misha would just blurt something like that out, but she seemed reassured when Shizune smiled broadly at the two of them.

[Excellent. It’s about time you asked her,] she said to Takagi.

Misha and Takagi both gaped at her. [You knew?] Misha asked.

Shizune smirked as she sat down on my other side. [Of course.]

[The student council knows all,] I said, waggling my eyebrows at them. Misha and Takagi both laughed at that.

The four of us sat and talked for another hour or so, until Misha and Takagi left, leaving just me and Shizune and Yuuko at the restaurant. I watched them go, smiling at the sight they presented. Takagi was a full head taller than Misha, and dressed all in black, in contrast to Misha’s bright happy colors. They made an interesting study in contrasts.

As we waited for Yuuko to tally up the final tab for our evening of parfaits, Shizune smiled at me, looking quite pleased. She pulled her little keyboard out of her shoulder bag, which surprised me. Though she had been talking a lot in sign this evening, so maybe her fingers were sore. I was beginning to be afraid Takagi would never get around to asking Misha out, she typed. Which explained why she was using the keyboard, since it was more private than speaking out loud. Your little fumble was quite fortuitous.

[You knew Takagi was a lesbian?] Despite my crack about the student council knowing all, I hadn’t really been sure why Shizune hadn’t been surprised by that development.

Shizune rolled her eyes. Please. The way she was always watching Misha? Even Lilly could have seen that.

“Oh.” Which I guess made me blinder than the blind girl. At least where affairs of the heart were concerned. I took some comfort in the fact that apparently Misha had missed it, too.

[Well, matchmaker, well done. That’s two perfect gifts you got for Misha. It’s certainly a birthday she’ll never forget.]

A warm, satisfied smile spread across her face. Good. She deserves it.

[Indeed.]

________________________

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Last edited by Lap on Sun Mar 24, 2019 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Avenues of Communication: Shizune suffers an accident.
Akira's Surprise: Akira pays a surprise visit to Lilly, Hanako and Hisao on Christmas eve. S9 Entry.
Arrival: Hanako's first days at Yamaku. (On Hiatus)
Home: Hanako & Hisao at University, sharing an apartment with their friend Lilly (on Ao3).
One-shots

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Scroff
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Re: Avenues of Communication (updated 2-24-19)

Post by Scroff » Mon Feb 25, 2019 2:43 am

That was lovely, what a fantastic thing to read over my morning coffee! The art is great, is it a Lap original?
Good. She deserves it.
Hell yeah, if anyone deserves a btggf it's Misha!

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Feurox
Posts: 223
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:03 pm
Location: England, Oxfordshire

Re: Avenues of Communication (updated 2-24-19)

Post by Feurox » Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:23 am

I second Scroff’s comment, my toast and coffee went down lovely with this story. A brilliant treat for the morning!

I really love this chapter, and it’s getting clear we’re approaching the finish line - I think Shizune has gotten back to her old self a lot now, and Misha is very much deserving of such a great day! My personal head-cannon is that Misha wouldn’t enjoy her birthday much, not sure why, so it was nice to have such a fun atmosphere and a buildup that started small and got bigger!

Lots of fun and a brilliant addition, thanks Lap!

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Lap
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Location: North Carolina
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Re: Avenues of Communication (updated 2-24-19)

Post by Lap » Tue Feb 26, 2019 9:10 am

Scroff wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 2:43 am
That was lovely, what a fantastic thing to read over my morning coffee! The art is great, is it a Lap original?
Yup! Thanks!
Scroff wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 2:43 am
Good. She deserves it.
Hell yeah, if anyone deserves a btggf it's Misha!
:-) Indeed. (er...hm.... "Big Tall Goth GirlFriend"?)
Feurox wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:23 am
I second Scroff’s comment, my toast and coffee went down lovely with this story. A brilliant treat for the morning!

I really love this chapter, and it’s getting clear we’re approaching the finish line - I think Shizune has gotten back to her old self a lot now, and Misha is very much deserving of such a great day! My personal head-cannon is that Misha wouldn’t enjoy her birthday much, not sure why, so it was nice to have such a fun atmosphere and a buildup that started small and got bigger!

Lots of fun and a brilliant addition, thanks Lap!
Thanks for the kind words! Part of my portrayal of Misha's reactions were due to your feedback, so, I'm glad I hit the mark.
Avenues of Communication: Shizune suffers an accident.
Akira's Surprise: Akira pays a surprise visit to Lilly, Hanako and Hisao on Christmas eve. S9 Entry.
Arrival: Hanako's first days at Yamaku. (On Hiatus)
Home: Hanako & Hisao at University, sharing an apartment with their friend Lilly (on Ao3).
One-shots

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