Once (From the Vault)

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TheHivemind
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Once (From the Vault)

Post by TheHivemind » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:33 pm

So I wrote this a while back and posted it in the developer section of the forum, because at the time I thought there was a chance I could do something in-game with it. Today one of the devs mentioned it in passing and I realized that it was still sitting in the forum gathering a fine layer of dust; the idea of putting it into the game having never gotten off the ground. So, since there's no reason to keep it under wraps I decided I'd let you fine lurkers take a gander at it.

It's unedited (still), so if there's any typos or whatever that's the reason.


Once

To say the day was going oddly would be an understatement of gross proportions. No way now to keep one's mind together, not with all these ideas whirling about in a head that was decidedly unused to whirling ideas; ideas were for others who didn't have other, more entertaining things to do. Yet despite the usual policy it now seemed as if nothing would stop these ideas, and with the ideas came feelings unexplored and undefinable. The only one who would offer advice was unfortunately the only one who caused the ideas in the first place. Something would have to be done, and soon.

Confront her? A plan of action, meeting this new thing head on with a hint of defiance, talk it out (not she'd even react, and anyway talking wasn't what seemed to be desired). It could work, but it could also lose her completely. A big risk, a massive risk that didn't seem initially worth taking until later that afternoon at a lunch that was more awkward than it should have been. Hiding it wasn't working. Confrontation was always more useful anyway; and the adventurous spirit certainly didn't say no to taking a little risk. It would all work out in the end, after all. Footsteps clanking down the hallway stopped in front of the door to the art room.

An intake of breath, bracing before the plunge. Hand on the knob, turn it slowly, almost reluctantly, open the door without a sound and step inside. It was dim, not surprising, and initially quiet. Just as mouth opened to call out cautiously, there came a sound.

A most unusual sound, especially coming from who it most likely was coming from. She never cried. She barely smiled! Or showed any strong emotion, really. Curiosity and not a little concern wins out, and the mouth opens again.

“Rin?”

The sobbing stops. There is a rustling noise as someone tries to assemble the facade of nothing being wrong, and finally the shaky response of “Sorry! I'm not her!”

“Who are you, then? Do I know you?” She stands up, and the face is quickly put with a name, but not the right one. “You're...Shizune's interpreter, right?”

Laughter echoes through the room as she holds her sides. “That's right~! I'm her interpreter!” Tears that may be from the laughter and may be left over from the sobs stand out in her eyes that sparkle with forced amusement. She's good at pretending. “As for you, I know who you are~! You're Emi, right?”

A nod. “Yeah, I was looking for someone...” Uncertain as to how far to go, and still curious as to why this girl was crying in a darkened art room, a change of topic. “Are you okay?”

“Huh? Of course I'm okay~! Why wouldn't I be okay? I was just napping, that's all~!” There's an edge to her voice, wondering if her excuse will be bought. Maybe it would be, but today's already been strange, so a little more can be forgiven.

“You were crying earlier.” Stating the obvious, but it's pretty effective. “What's wrong?”

She steps back, looking guilty. “Nothing, nothing~! It's not important at all, not at all~!”

Emi responds: “You can tell me, you know. I don't really know you that well, so it's not like I'll be surprised by whatever's wrong. Total strangers are helpful things when you need to talk.” Sounding very Rin-ish there, but then again that's part of what started this whole day to begin with so it isn't surprising.

Another reply, this time hesitant. She's thinking whether or not it's a bad idea; feeling lost and crushed and alone and unhappy, craving someone to talk to, anyone who isn't Her, because it's Her that landed her in the art room in the first place. But there are rules to follow, even in a situation like this. “I already said it wasn't important, didn't I~? You're awfully nosy, aren't you? No~sy!” Delivered in a sing-song whilst wagging a finger despite eyes still red from earlier emotion.

The game begins in earnest. “Nosy? I'm offended!” Arms crossed and a pout. “I'm just concerned about a fellow student is all.” Mostly true as a statement, though at this point it was clear she was at least okay enough to play the game and thus curiosity returned to the fore, wondering what the hell lands someone in an art room all by themselves crying. A hypothesis: She'd gotten into trouble and been forced to clean the art room? This was far fetched; Emi enjoyed guessing games from time to time even though she was terrible at it.

Concern in her voice had reached Emi's opponent, but there had to be at least one more exchange. “Concerned? You're not allowed to be concerned unless you know my name, you know~! Besides, I said I was fine, fine~!”

A list of names is mentally flipped through, frowning in concentration. A walk down the hallway, a confrontation of sorts between Shizune and the blonde girl, Lilly? What had she called her...? “M...Misha? That's your name, isn't it?”

“You knew, you knew~!” Clapping hands together, the remembered name seems excited. “Maybe you're allowed to be concerned, then~! But it's really stupid, you know? I wouldn't bother with it if I were you!”

She's on the run now, knowing that the rules have been followed but still trying to cover up. It could get unpleasant, and Misha was not one to handle unpleasantness—especially not when it was (as she considered most everything to be) her fault. The root cause of the unpleasantness, so to speak. Emi disliked unpleasantness as well, but she couldn't possibly know that anything other than a minor problem awaited her. And so she forged ahead, claiming victory. “Stupid or not, I'm still concerned! You always seem to be a happy person, except now you don't seem very happy. That's a cause for concern, I think.”

This statement shakes Misha even more; her pretending had been nearly perfect this time and yet it hadn't worked this time for some reason. She'd always been able to fool everyone before, so why now? Who the hell was this Emi girl to come in and find her crying, anyway? Annoyance builds while at the same time the need to tell someone her troubles continues to grow stronger and stronger, until it bursts forth in a quiet muttering. “...how'd you know?”

“Hmm?”

She grins proudly, “I've fooled everyone, you know~? I'm always the happy one, even when I'm not happy. But you didn't buy it! How'd you do that?”

“You were crying when I came in. I heard it. It was pretty obvious.” Besides, Emi was pretty good at putting up facades herself. Especially around the anniversary she'd run more, talk more, do everything but admit for one moment to anyone how awful she felt. There's a moment where she considers adding this to the girl in front of her, just so that maybe someone else knows (though Emi suspects that Rin not only knows, but has known since their first meeting years ago).

Another laugh, this one a little more genuine than the last. “That's pretty obvious, isn't it~? I guess it can't be helped then, can it?” An attempt now to make a break for it, test just how curious this Emi girl is.

“Hey, you can't leave! You owe me an explanation!” Apparently Emi is pretty damned curious. “Come on, just tell me what's wrong, and I promise I'll help you if I can.” One of those throwaway things people say to one another when they're trying to appear comforting, like “there, there,” or “it'll be okay.” Nobody really means it when it's said. In defiance of this fact, Emi might actually mean it. There's a connection to this girl that she can't quite define, a basic feeling that were it Emi crying in the art room, Misha would try to help too. Emi's former state of confusion and whirling ideas has all but vanished, consumed now by the problem in front of her.

A guilty giggle and careless shrug. “Worth a try~!” Calculating now, trying to figure out how much to say and how much to hold back. She'd agreed to say what was wrong, but how much information does she really need to volunteer? She'd soon find out. “I've been frustrated, and it just got to me. I wanted to be by myself so I came here, because nobody would think to look for me here! Except you, I guess~!”

“If it makes you feel any better, I wasn't looking for you. So it was still a good plan, right?” Emi can't help trying to make light of the situation, it's in her nature to do so. Most likely a confrontation would have involved awkward joking, though Rin would hardly have noticed. The next big question: continue, or let the matter drop? She's so curious about this whole situation, one of those rare times she's felt genuinely intrigued about another human being beyond merely wanting to make an acquaintance. “And what had you so frustrated, hmm? Student council business?” A shot in the dark; Emi's fairly certain Shizune's on the council, and it stands to reason that her interpreter would be there as well.

A widening of the eyes that is quickly compensated for. The guess is near to the mark, far nearer than Misha would like it to be. Still, this can be compensated for. “S-something like that.... You're pretty good a guessing, aren't you~?” Why 'something like that?' Misha's own subconscious works against her, inviting further questions.

Evasiveness and a slight stammer ensure the next question. “'Something like that?' What's that mean?” It should be obvious; if it isn't student council business, then it must be... “Problem with one of the other members?”

It would seem that Emi is unaware of the low population of the council, otherwise things would have been far, far worse. Or better. Misha is unable to decide at the moment. “Right again~! We had a....” Stops, considers her options. Conscious and subconscious engage in a struggle for dominance. Subconscious wins, sort of. Conscious makes a concession; a cryptic explanation is the best explanation. “I was turned down.”

“She—er, he, didn't return your feelings?” Slip of the tongue here, if only because Emi's thinking of Rin. Misha thinks Emi's thinking of Shizune, and has indeed recalled the population of the student council. This is the sort of hilarious mistake that people make on bad television programs, and it's just happened to these two. Or at least it would, except Emi finds herself adding, “That's actually what I was doing here, really. Getting ready to be turned down.”

This is new intelligence to Misha, who had half assumed she was the only one of her kind in the school (a pessimistic view, perhaps, but having just been shot down by the one girl she'd hoped was like her a little pessimism is forgivable). Certainly the athletic types seemed to be prone to it, but that was really just stereotyping. “You mean... I mean, isn't Rin a girl?”

“Never said I was coming to talk to Rin.” The response snaps out of Emi before she has any time to think, a sudden anger at someone stating the obvious. She realizes that she's being silly, and grins crookedly, rubbing the back of her head ruefully. “Heh, that was a bit pointless. I called her name when I came in, didn't I?”

“You did, you did~! But that's okay, isn't it? You're no different than...” Misha has an opportunity here to regain the upper hand, at least keep that secret. She decides not to take it. “Well, than me.”

This statement hangs in the air for a while, searching for a comfortable place to sit down. The silence uncurls, allowing the two plenty of time to deal with essentially the same feeling blaring through their minds: She's just like me.

“Well.” Emi coughs a tiny embarrassed-to-be-so-unexpectedly-discovered-by-someone-in-the-same-position cough and tries to think of something else to say. “This is...”

“A little weird, don't you think~?” Christ not completing one another's sentences, that's almost too much for one meeting, don't you think? Misha giggles nervously. “We've both got poor taste, don't you think~? Both unsuccessful, it's pretty terrible~!” Technically Emi hadn't tried, but the outcome was fairly certain (besides, Emi is pretty sure that she couldn't cross that line with Rin. Someone else, but not Rin).

Forced chuckles from both parties, and then Emi, never one very good at keeping her mouth shut, says the thought that flits through her head unbidden. “Should've met you first, I guess.”

The silence of a few moments ago falls ungracefully back in, tripping over a paint can in the process with a muffled swear. Having realized what she's just implied, Emi colors crimson and turns to bolt. Misha, lonely and thinking much the same thing as Emi, can't keep herself from shouting “Wait!” and catching hold of Emi's wrist.

The state of Emi's mind at this point is, if possible, in more turmoil than before. God, she's not even sure she's really into girls (“So why not find out,” a voice in the back of her mind teases), and this Misha is so nice but really she needs to get away and now there's contact, fingers on her wrist gently tugging backwards, pulling her into what? She stops, turns, opens her mouth, closes her mouth, feels her skin heating up with embarrassment and something else, turns back to the door, turns back to Misha, turns back to the door, and finally falls forward into an embrace that does little to help the blush on her cheeks.

A hand runs through her hair, and Misha's looking incredibly nervous but there's compassion behind her eyes now. “It's okay,” she says. A simple statement that serves as calming influence and invitation all at once. Two sets of eyes lock together, one soft, the other wide with surprise (and maybe apprehension is in both expressions, as the two wonder whether or not this is what they should be doing, if they should stop to think more about this (not that either especially excels at thinking things through, especially in a situation like this)).

Silence now apart from the sound of shuddering breaths taken in a futile attempt to calm down, consider the situation rationally, resist the little voice in the back of their heads urging them on. One moves first (impossible to say which one) and lips meet in a tentative kiss. Emi's stomach lurches into a free fall, her legs (what she has of them) feel weak, and the voice in the back of her head is drowned out by a roaring sound in her ears as the blood thrums in her veins.

Misha backs off, alarm bells sounding, because she's being so selfish, she's always so selfish and now she's done this thing and it's all her fault because she just wants someone—no, she wants Emi, right now—to be with, to have that comforting closeness that she wants from Shizune but can't have, not ever. “I'm so sorry! I'm being selfish again, I'll go, I really don't--”

“Shut up.” Emi growls, grinning now, mischief in her eyes as some dormant instinct comes springing to life. “This is my decision, and no amount of selfishness is going to make it your fault.” She doesn't allow Misha to respond, covering her mouth once more, but where the first was tentative, this one is downright aggressive. Misha makes a muffled noise of surprise and elation at this sudden attack, feeling herself stumbling backwards, reeling from the intensity of Emi's desire until she trips over a paint can and falls to the floor, hand shooting up to drag Emi down with her.

Emi lands atop Misha with a thud that manages to be both slightly painful and arousing at the same time. Misha hardly notices that she's landed on a few paintbrushes, because when she fell her mouth opened and now she and Emi are fighting for dominance, wrestling and it feels so incredible to Emi, gasping through the kiss, and now a hand (hers?) laces fingers with another hand and the two arms stretch out on the floor, drawing them closer together. A free hand sneaks up Misha's shirt, cupping a breast, and now Misha makes a noise somewhere between a pant and a mewl that only serves to drive Emi onward. The final hand rests itself on Emi's own chest, massaging, tweaking, eliciting a yelp from her as their intertwined hands trace an arc on the floor from head to waist, break apart, find legs to trace, reach centers warm and responsive.

A pair of startled cries echo through the room, neither realizing where the other was going. Emi's hand has unbuttoned Misha's blouse (a surprising act of dexterity), while Misha's hand has pulled Emi's shirt up, exposing the skin underneath. Neither is willing to move their other hand in order to properly remove their shirts.

Emi sits up while Misha remains on the ground and grinds, feeling herself slip along stockings on a collision course that Misha urges her on to, and now the cries are replaced with the sound of heavy breathing as each focuses on the quickly spreading warmth that begins low and works higher and higher. Emi feels it creep up her stomach, spread down to her knees, crawl over breasts, down arms into hands cupping Misha; working its way around her back and up her spine, climbing closer and closer to the base of her skull but she struggles to keep it from reaching there, not until she feels Misha's body twitch and stiffen with the effort of keeping herself under control, only then does Emi allow herself one final grind forward and up, flinging her arms around Misha, embracing her, kissing her, while her brain explodes into fireworks, their mouths muffling each other's cries of climax.

Misha is covered in sweat, her legs tremble, she'd feel the chill if not for the warm body atop her, its own sweat mingling with her own, the feel of Emi's heartbeat thudding against her chest, and for the next few moments she feels an unusual peace, a feeling of finally belonging, which she knows cannot last but wishes it would. For even now her thoughts wander toward her fellow council member, even as she strokes the long hair of her companion sighing contentedly into her chest, the feel of breath tickling her breasts, banishing for the moment her thoughts of Shizune once more. Emi for her part will have plenty of time to become mortified by what she's done, slightly embarrassed at how forward she was, how aggressive. The two will not talk after they leave the room, will avoid one another out of a mutual sense of unease at the speed with which they were able to become so close, will meet perhaps once or twice more (if at all) before graduation by chance , exchanging awkward greetings.

But that is yet to come. For now, the two lay together, both satisfied, both safe, both happy.

Just this once.

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Peorth
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Re: Once (From the Vault)

Post by Peorth » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:40 pm

Shame this couldn't be included in the game, it's very good.
Even if the author is silenced, the performance is stopped, the story will not end.

Whether it's a comedy or a tragedy, if there is cheering, the story will continue on.
Just like the many lives.
For the us who are still in it and still in the journey, send warm blessings.

---We will continue to walk down this path until eternity.

TheHivemind
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Re: Once (From the Vault)

Post by TheHivemind » Tue May 05, 2009 5:34 pm

Peorth wrote:Shame this couldn't be included in the game, it's very good.
Them's the brakes, man. It is how it goes in the cold harsh world of Visual Novel making.

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Peorth
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Re: Once (From the Vault)

Post by Peorth » Tue May 05, 2009 5:47 pm

TheHivemind wrote:
Peorth wrote:Shame this couldn't be included in the game, it's very good.
Them's the brakes, man. It is how it goes in the cold harsh world of Visual Novel making.
Yep.
Even if the author is silenced, the performance is stopped, the story will not end.

Whether it's a comedy or a tragedy, if there is cheering, the story will continue on.
Just like the many lives.
For the us who are still in it and still in the journey, send warm blessings.

---We will continue to walk down this path until eternity.

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Feurox
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Re: Once (From the Vault)

Post by Feurox » Thu Apr 02, 2020 6:13 am

I'm... 11 years late to this particular party.

TheHivemind commented on my SX for Crud, claiming that my story was a pretty good prequel to this one? Unless I'm mistaken, I think this is the story he was talking about, and I can see it regardless. It appears that a little bit of heart-ache appeals to us both.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It's all so sudden, and so doomed. But the world is a sudden place; who hasn't connected, either physically or emotionally, with someone but wished they were someone else? Or perhaps that's better put, who hasn't filled the hole with something other. It's so profoundly sad in it's way, Emi and Misha experimenting in this way, as Hive writes:
The two will not talk after they leave the room,


Then, perhaps we're also both modernists, because there is something so beautiful about the union between these two exactly because it is so doomed. Quite Homeric, 'Everything is more beautiful because it is doomed. We will never be here again.' - Or maybe Virginia Woolf, 'The moment was enough' - and the moment is enough here, it's a brief respite from a lonely world, one that will stay with them both forever, maybe oscillating between haunting and freeing them.

Anyway, I certainly see the connections between our stories. I hadn't seen this before, and I apologise, I actually really love this story. Sorry I took so long to find it. Turns out, you post a lot :lol:

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Feurox
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Re: Once (From the Vault)

Post by Feurox » Thu Apr 02, 2020 8:05 am

Hive tells me this is not the story he was talking about. So, yeah. Still, doesn't really change my thoughts much ha! :oops:

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Re: Once (From the Vault)

Post by Oddball » Fri Apr 10, 2020 12:26 pm

I've heard of the Emi/Misha stuff before, but somehow I've never actually read this one. I guess it just slipped by me somehow. While there's no place in the game itself it would have worked, the characters are still strong and the idea is a nice one.
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