Destination: Yokohama [9S-OC]

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StilesLong
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Destination: Yokohama [9S-OC]

Post by StilesLong » Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:51 am

My victim this year was Mirage_GSM.

The prompt:
A group of Yamaku students visit the Yokohama Christmas market while on a weekend trip to Tokyo. (Writing OCs is not required but encouraged.) Link for reference: https://jw-webmagazine.com/christmas-ma ... 46876b5b72[sic]
An unbroken link.

I'm only part of the way through telling this story but I trust we'll get to Yokohama before long. Apologies for making you wait for the pay-off, Mirage, but they say the trip is half the fun.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

******
Reserved for an index

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Part One: The Pitch

“What do you think, Mutou?” Morihiro Zekozawa, the Student Council’s rotund first-year Vice-President is elated as he finishes his sales pitch. Mutou flinches at his noise, then again when Morihiro throws down the pamphlet he’s been waving about enthusiastically this whole meeting.

“A German Christmas market, you said?” Mutou leans forward to look at the pamphlet tentatively, as though fearing another outburst. Morihiro nods eagerly and – blessedly - silently. “Where was it again?”

Atsuko Ichisada, President of the Student Council, sighs quietly when he asks that. He was saying exactly what she’d warned her VP he would say. She would know; Mutou is her homeroom teacher.

“It’s in Yokohama, near Tokyo.” Atsuko speaks for the first time, careful to keep her own disapproval for Morihiro’s plan from her voice. Publicly, they are a team.

Mutou’s suit – characteristically dark and ill-fitting – shifts as he sits back in his chair to scratch thoughtfully at his chin.

“It’s quite a distance to travel…”

Atsuko thought he’d say that too and now she plays her trump card to get Morihiro’s ambitious and budget-slaying trip shut down.

“It’s only a few hours by train. We’d have to spend the night to make it worthwhile and I think the total cost would come out to around” she pauses to “check” her notebook “-20000 yen.”

That has the intended effect; Mutou’s eyes widen noticeably. As the Assistant Principle, he’s largely responsible for Yamaku’s flagging finances. In Atsuko’s opinion, they couldn’t have picked a worse man for the job but Mutou was by far the most senior person left on the teaching staff so the additional responsibilities had fallen to him.

“We’ll raise funds to cover part of the cost, of course,” Morihiro says quickly.

Atsuko nods her outward agreement. Secretly, she’s annoyed that her VP is trying to salvage the situation after she’d told him she would handle the financial side of things. “Morihiro and I had picked the 18th as the best time to go. That-”

“Any closer to Christmas, the market’s last day, and it’ll be too busy,” the vice-president irritatingly explains.

Atsuko pauses a beat before continuing. “Leaves us with less than three weeks to fundraise. Considering the short notice and that holidays start soon, I don’t think we get much more than 5000, maybe 7000 yen…”

Mutou inhales sharply. Morihiro, who’s been bouncing up and down in his seat next to Atsuko’s wheelchair, is suddenly still, like prey that realizes it’s being stalked.

“Morihiro,” Mutou begins with a frown. Before he can continue, however, the Vice-Principal’s survival instincts kick in.

“With all due respect to the President, I am sure that we can do better than that,” Morihiro says with more than a touch of asperity. “There is already considerable interest in this trip and it’s barely out of the planning stage.”

“A couple of enquiries from friends can't be called ‘considerable’, Vice-President Morihiro,” Atsuko replies, calling him out on his bold-faced lie and surprising herself with her venom. She glances at her teacher, worried she may have offended him.

Mutou slouches heavily in his chair, looking like he wanted this whole conversation to end. Atsuko is suddenly painfully aware of the greying hair that hangs limp around his pinched face, of the suit that fits more loosely than it did when the school year began.

Even the setting for the meeting is unusual. Instead of using his assigned office, Mutou had asked the Student Council members to join him in class 3-3. He’d told Atsuko that he just couldn’t spare the five minutes to walk over to the admin building.

She feels a wave of guilt. Atsuko shouldn’t be torturing Mutou with a disagreement she and Morihiro were having. He’s having a hard enough time between teaching and his added responsibilities without her barging into his “office" (“Try to keep the meeting short please,” he’d asked), airing her own irritations.

Nor should she be torturing herself. Atsuko had started another round of chemo just last week and was off her prosthetic and stuck in this damned wheelchair (her PT had sympathized) until the chemicals were done ravaging her body and weakening her immune system. She has enough to deal with.

“It’s a good start and we can build on that, but we’d need to put the word out to the student population on the whole.” Atsuko makes herself sound as conciliatory as she can and is relieved by the gratitude on Mutou’s haggard face.

For a moment, Morihiro is silent, trying to detect the trap Atsuko’s words contain. When he detects none, his usual ebullience returns. “We can get some posters made up and have them all over the campus by tomorrow evening!”

The President stifles a groan. Morihiro’s fingers are misshapen by syndactyl, which means she’ll have to be there to help him and the job will take hours. She didn’t want to spend any more time with him but Mutou looks thrilled to not have a Student Council spat unfolding in his office. Good manners have their price.

“What do you think, Mutou?” Atsuko asks.

“If you can raise thirty percent of the cost for this trip, I think the school can cover forty. Hang on.” Mutou rolls his chair to one of the filing cabinets behind his desk and pulls out a piece of paper thick with numbers. “Yes, forty. The remainder will have to come from the parents, I think. Will that work for you?”

The Student Council members fall silent as each worked through the figures. Morihiro gets there first.

“That’s only 6000 yen per student. That’s not much.” Atsuko wants to wince, barely suppressing the urge. It might not be much for him, but she knew other students would struggle. Besides, as members of the Student Council, they wouldn’t have to pay; that would come out of the council’s budget.

“We’ll do our best. Thank you for this opportunity, Mutou.” Atsuko writes down the costing scheme, privately pessimistic about the trip’s prospects.

“You’ll need chaperones, too. I want one staff member for every five students you bring,” Mutou continues. Atsuko nods and writes that down too. “Let me know how you’re doing with fundraising. If you can’t make it, we’ll have to do something else with the money.”

He tails off abruptly, peering at Morihiro and Atsuko in turn. It takes the latter a moment to realize Mutou was ending the meeting and another to pack her notebook and to get Morihiro’s attention.

“We’ll do our best, Mutou,” Atsuko says again. The Vice-President echoes her sentiments and they leave, closing the classroom door tight behind them.

As soon as they round the corner, Morihiro lets out a great whoop. “We did it!”

Apparently he’s already forgiven Atsuko her betrayal. He claps her on the back, almost crashing her elevated foot -knee- into the elevator doors.

“We have done nothing yet.” Annoyance, exhaustion, and a sudden wave of gut-clenching nausea all combine to make her voice harsh again. “Mutou has asked us to raise - in two short weeks- a lot of money, more money than any council has ever raised in that timeframe! Not many students here have jobs so we’re not raising thirty percent from the students and forty from parents; we’re asking parents to pay seventy percent-14000 yen- which most will balk at.”

She pauses, too irritated for the moment to continue. At times, Morihiro reminds her of a puppy, an energetic, over-eager puppy that’s always demanding attention. This is overwhelmingly one of those times and she just wants to give him a swift kick.

Astuko can’t do that so she does the next best thing. “I don’t think we’ll be able to make this trip to Yokohama happen and you know what? I would be happier if it didn’t.”

She falls silent, not for lack of things to say but because she’s too frustrated to put them into words. Morihiro doesn’t fill the void because even from where she sits, her rage has got him on the retreat. It isn’t until the elevator dings and the doors sweep open that he finds his tongue.

“You don’t actually mean that, Atsu-”

“You’re right; I probably don’t,” the President says. “I would probably support this trip if we weren’t planning it two weeks ahead of it actually happening!”

To that, Morihiro says nothing. He makes no attempt to follow when Atsuko wheels herself into the generously sized elevator.

“Tomorrow, we have work to do so get to bed early tonight,” she tells him.

“I thought you didn’t want to go on this trip?” Morihiro asks.

“I don’t, but we told Mutou we’d try so we have to put in an effort. I won’t let this council lose face, especially not for your stupid German market,” Atsuko replies. The doors close slowly enough for her to get a last look of Morihiro’s face, mournful for once. Yep, definitely like a puppy, she thinks guiltily.

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Destination: Yokohama [9S-OC]

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sat Dec 22, 2018 6:54 pm

Wow, a multi-part story! Thanks a bunch :-)

Looking forward to the continuation!

One thing I was wondering... Do you commonly call your teachers by their last name without any honorifics?
When I still went to school there were a few teachers we were on first name basis with by the end of high school, but last name without honorific would have been unthinkable...
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.

StilesLong
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Re: Destination: Yokohama [9S-OC]

Post by StilesLong » Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:13 am

The honorific thing came about because I can't say I know enough about them to not mess it up.

I hope you've enjoyed it so far. I'll try to get our characters to Yokohama at some point in the near future.

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Re: Destination: Yokohama [9S-OC]

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Dec 23, 2018 6:51 am

Why don't you just use "Mr." as honorific? That's how you'd address your teachers, isn't it?
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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

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Re: Destination: Yokohama [9S-OC]

Post by Oddball » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:56 pm

It's an interesting set-up. I look forward to seeing where you're going with this.

Mutou as Assistant Principal alone is an idea worth reading about, although I've always heard the term as Vice Principal before.
Not Dead Yet

StilesLong
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Re: Destination: Yokohama [9S-OC]

Post by StilesLong » Tue Mar 19, 2019 12:06 pm

Part 2: Preparation

Contrary to the advice she gave Morihiro, Atsuko doesn’t go to her room when she gets back to the dorms. Instead, she wheels past her own door and up to her hallmate’s.

“You’re early!” is the only answer that Atsuko gets to her knock. Moments later, she hears the familiar sound of crutches and the door opens up a crack. A blue eye peers out.

“I thought I told you not to knock- oh!” The eye and door open wider. Atsuko is treated to a full view of Misumi’s curvy, scantily-clad body. The only thing out of place are the metal braces on her long legs, and the crutch that’s keeping her upright. “I wasn’t expecting you!”

The line sounds like it’s from a bad porno, which is undoubtedly what Misumi was going for. Quick thinking, Atsuko remarks to herself.

“No, you weren’t,” Atsuko says. “Who were you waiting for? Sachie? Yasue? You’d better tell her you’re busy; I need your help.”

“Only if you promise to take Yasue’s place tonight.” Misumi says it as seductively as she can. Atsuko just glares at her hallmate for a few seconds until the latter finally wavers. “Fuck, fine!”

Misumi turns awkwardly and moves back to her bed, wrapping herself in a silk robe on the way. “What did you need help with, anyways?”

It was a simple question but it opens up a torrent of frustrated curses as Atsuko tells the story of how her Vice-President had committed them to planning a trip to Yokohama.

Misumi didn't interrupt once; like a good friend, she lets Atsuko's anger play itself out. “What a fucking ass-hat,” she says in good English when it had.

Atsuko doesn't understand what was said but gets the tone. “Right? Like, what the hell? We can't make this happen in time!”

“You really fucking can't,” Misumi agrees. “Is that what you needed my talents for?”

Atsuko ignores Misumi's wide, writhing hips. “What else?”

“And here I thought you were to see me.” She says it with a pout, brushing aside a lock of pink-and-blue dyed hair. Atsuko ignores that too.

“I do, but I need posters and English lessons and I needed them last week,” Atsuko says firmly.

“But you'll come visit me for fun and not for work, right?”

Gotta throw her a bone, but not now. “You keep asking but I haven't done that yet.”

That draws more pouts, but the girls get to work. Atsuko starts a list of things she wants featured on the posters while Misumi shuts down her computer games and clears out a space on her desk for her tablet.

“Don't you ever clean your room?” Atsuko asks, wrinkling her nose in distaste. Of the two chairs in Misumi's room, only one could be used; the other was piled high with dirty clothes.

“Only when you come over,” Misumi replies, sweeping some candy-bar wrappers into an already-overflowing garbage can.

“No, you just wait for me to clean for you,” the dark-haired girl says. “Where are your garbage bags?”

For the next hour or so, Atsuko rolls around cleaning, answering Misumi's occasional question about the poster's design. Misumi draws and tweaks the posters until she declares them perfect. They were, too.

“Thanks, Misumi.”

“No problem,” she replies. “Did you want them on a USB key or should I email them to you?”

“Last time you gave me a USB, it had porn on it,” Atsuko says dryly.

“I'm always hopeful…” Misumi turns, sees the look on her hallmate's face. “I'll email it to you.”

“Please. I also had one more thing I wanted you to help me with-”

“I know you're having trouble finding a boyfriend, Atsuko,” Misumi interrupts, turning around in her chair. “I would be happy to help you…”

Atsuko swats Misumi's hand away from her crotch. “I need to practice my English.”

“We'll have to do that one-on-one, you know.” The seductive voice is back and Misumi's down had slipped open at some point in the past hour.

On some it might work, but not on Atsuko. “We will, but not right now. I've got to get up early tomorrow.”

“I could help you sleep better,” Misumi offers.

“You probably could, but I'll be fine, thank you.” Atsuko backs her chair up. “Thanks again, Misumi.”

“You're welcome, and thanks for cleaning up my room again. Let me know when you want to meet for the English practice.”

"It'll be soon and I'll need a lot of help to get ready," Atsuko warns.

Misumi gives her friend a nakedly appreciative look. "That's fine by me. I'm very good at what I do." Once more, Atsukos ignores the comment. "What do need English practice for anyways? You had that class last semester."

"I need chaperones," Atsuko says with a shurg. "Anyways, I'm off. See you tomorrow."

"See you."

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Re: Destination: Yokohama [9S-OC]

Post by StilesLong » Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:08 pm

Part Three: Physio and paintings

After class a couple days later, Atsuko wheels herself out of the girl’s dorms, a toque pulled tight over her thinning black hair. She’s on her way to the Auxiliary Building, which in her present condition means an annoying and lengthy detour around the front of the main building because there’s no ramps down into the crowded courtyard.

It’s time for physio but she’s not looking forward to it. Progress on improving her gait is on hold while they wait for her white blood count to return to normal levels. Apparently, that wouldn’t be until next week at the earliest.

“It may be even longer than that before we can get you back on your feet,” Nurse had warned her. His serious face had then broken apart into a wide grin. “Your PT can attest that patience is key in cases like this. Just ask her.”

Atsuko has a question to ask, but it wasn’t about therapy. By her estimate, they would need three staff members for the Yokohama trip and she was hoping Mrs. Saito would come. The therapist was a lot like Morihiro-energetic, excitable, perpetually cheery- but she didn’t get on Atsuko’s nerves the way he did.

The grounds are quiet, despite the nice afternoon, so Atsuko immediately notices the woman with short red hair who’s looking at the mural on the wall. She also notices that this woman’s arms end midway to the elbow.

Her route around the school takes her right past the stranger, who doesn’t acknowledge Atsuko’s presence but starts talking anyways.

“Hello.”

The stranger is still facing the mural and Atsuko pauses, unsure of what to do.

“Hello?” she says tentatively, still wondering if she’s being talked to.

“Oh. You answered.” The stranger sounds surprised.

“You were talking to me, weren’t you?” The conversation so far has been very weird and Atsuko gets the sudden feeling it wouldn’t get any better.

“I was but some people don’t answer when I say hi to them.” Finally, the stranger turns around, facing Atsuko with deep-looking green eyes and a placid, bemused expression. “It’s very odd.”

The silence stretches out until it’s painful. “Um, are you looking for someone?” Atsuko finally asks.

To this, the stranger cocks her head and frowns slightly. “I don’t often go places without a reason, so probably.”

For a moment, Atsuko hopes that the red-haired woman will tell her who she’s looking for but gets nothing for her optimism. Atsuko asks.

“The Fastest Thing With No Legs,” the stranger says laconically. There’s a flicker of the green eyes, and a smile creeps across her face. “I can see her title is safe from you.”

“What do you mean?” Atsuko realizes she’s done nothing but ask questions but what else can she do?

“You’ve still got a leg. Well, a leg and a half.”

The Student Council President gives her head a shake, regretting that she hadn’t run away when she had the chance. “Are you looking for a student or a staff member?”

“She used to be a student but now she says she works here.” The red-haired woman delivers that tidbit slowly, as though it was being dredged up from a deep well. Her eyes widen. “I guess that makes her a staff member.”

I guess so, Atsuko thinks to herself. “Do you know her name?” she persists, feeling like a soldier fighting a brutally one-sided battle.

“Emi. Emi Ibarazaki.” The first decisive answer she’s given and Atsuko has no idea who that was. She is moments away from giving up and fobbing this strange woman off onto the school’s office when the red-haired head tilts again. “I think she got married recently and changed her name.”

No legs, recently married… “Are you talking about Emi Saito?”

“Maybe,” is all the answer Atsuko gets but that’s good enough for her fraying nerves. How many legless women named Emi could there possibly be?

“I think I know who you’re talking to and I was just on my way to see her, if you want to come with me?”

The red-haired woman shrugs shoulders that are still thin under her thick coat and the unusual pair set off.

For her part, the stranger is content to walk in silence, staring up at the school buildings like she’s never seen them before. Atsuko looks around the campus too, but she’s noting with irritation the garbage that’s piling up in the gardens and around the memorial.

When Yamaku had laid off most of the groundskeeping staff last year, Student Council had taken up their responsibilities. It was the Vice-President’s job to organize the cleaning detail but Atsuko knew Morihiro spent more time socializing than he did reprimanding those classes that didn’t do their share of the tidying. Hisao, whoever he was, deserved better than that.

It isn’t long before they find themselves at the Auxiliary Building. Atsuko hits the automatic-door button while the stranger stands, idly staring at the wall.

“You know, I'm the one who painted the mural,” she says suddenly. “The one on the wall. Not this wall, but the other one.”

The stranger adds that last part as though she thinks it'll somehow help but Atsuko has already got things figured out. “That means you're-”

“Rin!” The voice of Emi Saito, née Ibarazaki, cuts Atsuko off.

Emi bounds over, squeezing past her patient to get to Rin, whose face is unreadable. The blonde woman wraps the red-haired one in a tight, crushing hug that seems to go on forever.

“I wasn't expecting you for a week!” Emi says when she finally pushes away.

“You said to come on Tuesday. This is a Tuesday.” Rin's answer is so matter of fact that Emi just laughs. Atsuko sits silently, not sure what to do.

“It’s Monday, Rin!” When she finally recovers, Emi turns to Atsuko. “Did you help her find the building? You must have, or else she would have gotten lost.”

Atsuko is startled that Emi would talk about Rin like that but the latter has sat down on a convenient bench and seems to have disappeared into another world again.

“Anyways, shall we get started with today's session?” Emi must sense the girl's apprehension for she lowers her voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “If you don't want to, you know I'd be OK with us taking the day off. I know how things can get when your legs are pulled out from under you.”

It takes Atsuko a second to snap herself out of whatever spell Rin cast on her. The script she'd prepared would be useless now so she'd have to think of something else.

“I don't want to miss physio, Emi. I don't want to fall behind.” Before Atsuko even got the words out of her mouth, her therapist is already wheeling her down the hall towards her office.

“That's the spirit, Atsuko!” She keeps up a steady stream of excited chatter about what she had planned. Emi's charge uses the time to put together a new plan that takes Rin’s presence into account.

When they get to the physio room Rin, who's gone uninfected by Emi's contagious enthusiasm and who hasn't moved from her spot on the bench, calls after them.

“What did you want to say to Emi? I want to know.”

This brings Emi to a halt so sudden Atsuko is thrown forward against her wheelchair’s seatbelts.

“Ouch!”

“Sorry, Atsuko,” Emi says to her, then directs her attention to Rin. “What were you saying?”

Rin doesn’t answer that, so Emi asks Atsuko instead. “What’s she talking about?”

There’s no point in putting it off any longer. “I had a question for you but how did Rin know?”

“Rin?” Emi asks. She has to repeat Atsuko’s inquiry before the red-haired woman says anything.

“I just say that from time to time,” she replies with a shrug. “I guess today I was right.”

Emi laughs and shakes her head, tumbling her shoulder-length blonde hair about wildly. “You haven’t changed much, have you?”

“I don’t know. I can’t tell,” and a shrug are Rin’s characteristic responses.

“Anyways, what did you want to ask me, Atsuko?” Emi asks. Rin is on her feet and drawing nearer, her eyes more focused than normal. She must really be curious after all.

“I don’t know if you’d heard, but the Student Council is planning an overnight trip -17th and 18th- to Tokyo and a German Christmas Market there,” Atsuko starts with preliminaries, then realizes what she can say to get Emi. “I was going to ask if you’d be a chaperone but I suppose with Rin visiting, you’ll be busy.”

“Oh,” Emi says, looking awfully like a sad puppy.

“It’s too bad, because I was hoping you could come. Apparently they’ve got a sledge hoc-”

“Sledge hockey? I’ve always wanted to try that!” The puppy is excited now, practically bouncing on her prosthetics. It’s much nicer when Emi is eager than when Morihiro is, Atsuko reflects.

“Yeah. They told me over the phone they’ve got some ladies from the Canadian, German, and Japanese national teams in for a tournament and they’re running a demonstration on the dates we’re attending. The organizers are even reserving some slots for us.” Atsuko’s explanation seems to have fallen on deaf ears; Emi is glancing forlornly between her and Rin, who stands impassively nearby.

Atsuko gets the impression she’s sunk the hook well. Now it’s time to pull. “Why don’t I let you and Rin catch up today, Emi? I need to start asking other teachers if they’ll chaperone, anyways.”

With some awkward maneuvering, Atsuko gets around Rin and Emi, both of whom seem to be lost in thought. Emi doesn’t say anything until Atsuko is about to leave, which is longer than she’d thought it would take her PT to ask for more time to decide.

“If I come, can Rin come too?” Emi’s request takes Atsuko completely by surprise.

“I, uh,” she fumbles for an answer. “I mean, I guess I can’t stop Rin from going too, though she can’t be an official member of the Yamaku delegation and we can’t pay for her.”

“Excellent!” Emi enthuses. “You’ll come with us, right Rin?”

A shrug-what else? “Sure.”

Atsuko can't help but wonder what Rin wouldn't agree to, so automatic was her answer. This isn’t at all what she’d expected, but the President hands Emi a printed sheet with the details she’s worked out so far.

“I’ll send you more as we get them,” she promises, then takes her leave to give Emi and Rin some time to catch up. Atsuko knows she’ll have time to kill before her next meeting, but good manners have their price. At least now she doesn't have to do more core strengthening exercises.

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