Rin Epilouge: The Long Road

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MoashLannister
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Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 11:19 pm

Rin Epilouge: The Long Road

Post by MoashLannister » Sun May 12, 2019 11:44 pm

This is a Rin Epilouge fic that takes places just a few days after her Good End. This is only part one of something I hope to expand far into the future.

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Chapter 1: Assurance

The sunlight on my face reminded me of the passage of time, and I gently open my eyes to the familiar sight of my dorm room. Letting out a yawn, I reluctantly get up and stare at nothing at all. Summer vacation was still underway, a couple of weeks before a majority of Yamaku’s students return from wherever they went, and the routine of mundane classes, cliques, and exam pressure resumes.

Sighing to no one in particular, I get up and immediately take my daily dose of pills, a habit I’ve been forced to acquire in order to ensure my survival. When I down the last of them, I look out my window and stared at the empty campus, wondering what to do with my day. Admittedly, that was a question I’m asking myself more and more often.

A knock on my door quickly breaks me out of thoughts as I approach the door. I have a sinking suspicion on who it is, and as I open the door my suspicions were soon confirmed as the familiar sight of Rin stood outside my doorway.

“You know, I always wondered how you manage knock on my door.” I ask. Admittedly not something you’d say to most people, but if nothing else, Rin does not qualify for “most people”, in too many ways to realistically describe.

She looked at me with her usual flat stare. “I use my feet.” She replied in a neutral tone of voice. “Of course, I could also use my head, but I would hurt my head. And then if I hurt my head I would need a band aid over it, and then the doctor would get mad at me for using my head, even though teachers like it when students use their head. But then “using your head” and “using your head” means different things, even though the words are the same…”

She stops herself before she could go any further with her tangent and slumps her shoulders down, her face contorting slightly, as if resisting the urge to continue. “Good morning, Hisao. Want to eat breakfast?” She mutters out after a brief silence.

“Sure, just let me get changed.” I say, and with only a slight amount of hesitation. “You can come in, if you’d like.”

Rin doesn’t respond, instead just walking in and sitting on my bed. I close the door and close the curtains and start taking off my clothes, feeling only slightly self conscious as I did so. Looking back, I see that Rin doesn’t even seem to notice that I’m stripping down, staring at some part of my room I’m certain only she can understand in her own special way. It’d probably be a bit emasculating for a girl to ignore a guy taking off his clothes, but it’s fine for me, especially in this case.

And so began our usual song and dance with each other. It’s been a couple of days since the day she came to my room, all soaked and wet from the pouring rain. A day I’d soon never forget in my mind, though not entirely for the reasons I want it to be.

Ever since then, while I would hesitate calling us “in a relationship”, we have ticked off a lot of the checkboxes. She would often come to my room and ask me for breakfast before she had to go for remedial classes, and we would often hang around our rooms when her classes were done, and I will admit to have slept in the same bed as her on a couple of those occasions. We even went to the Shanghai one of those days, in what many people would consider a date.

But…

Those words: “relationships”, “dates”, they weren’t accurate terms. If held at gunpoint and asked to properly describe my association with the red-haired girl still staring at that corner of my room, I’d ask the shooter to get it over with and pull the trigger. We weren’t an ordinary couple, if we were a couple at all. We didn’t say affectionate words to each other, the days didn’t go by with us staring lovingly into each other eyes. Instead we spent our time merely being with each other, mostly silent save for the odd conversation. Not a bad arrangement, per se, but a rather benign one.

Perhaps most damning of all, was the metaphorical chasm between our views on the world. She sees thing so wildly different that it was a headache simply to talk to her sometimes. Our conversations never seem to equate to anything resembling equilibrium between us, much to both our chagrins.

We were, in essence, on two separate universes. And I’m alright with that. I’ve learned, through anger and tears, to be alright with that.

Stopping my train of thought for now, I finish buttoning up the final one of my uniform. I turned to Rin, who was still staring off into the distance, and gently placed a hand on her shoulder. Her eyes immediately snap to mine. “Breakfast?”

“No, I haven’t eaten breakfast yet.” She responded, matter-of-factly.

“Would you like to?” I responded, ignoring the fact that it wasn’t the question I asked.

She nodded once and we quickly went out of my room towards the cafeteria.

The walk was a slow one, neither of us pressing for time. As usual, a silence formed between us. Rin had nothing she wanted to talk about, and frankly, I didn’t either.

I used to hate silence, it reminded my so much of those awkward days back at my hospital ward, where no one could find the courage to speak to me, and I didn’t have the courage to speak to them either. It only got worse when, one by one they slowly stopped coming, capping it off with the girl that witnessed my heart attack in the first place. Iwanako.

I wonder if she got my letter by now. Would she reply back, or has she truly moved on and would rather cut me off from her life. It was an useless sentiment to have, I realize, but I was still caught thinking about it.

“I don’t like it when you look like that.”

I turned to look at Rin, who dug into me with those piercing emerald eyes of hers. She looks, or at least I think she looks, slightly worried. “Eyebrows furrowed, slight frown. You look like a statue at a cathedral. Are you a statue?”

“No.” I reply. Leave it to Rin to make me flustered by comparing me to a statue. “Sorry. Just...thinking about something.”

“Then don’t” She replied. “Don’t think about it.”

Heeding her advice, I filed that thought away and simply enjoyed my walk with Rin. Nowadays, silence was simply something that happened between Rin and I, another fact that I had to accept about us. She will only speak when she wants to, because that’s how she is. No use in changing that.

Maybe one day I’d like to further solidify what’s between us, “move the goalposts” as it were. But for now I’m simply taking things one day at a time. The future can wait. That’s why it’s the future.

---------------------------

The cafeteria was a ghost town, though some students were still there, sitting in distant seats eating their breakfast or talking to the person seated next to them. I directed Rin towards a table and began getting food for the both of us. It wasn’t anything special, just sliced apples and a milk carton, but food was food.

Without even asking, I handed a slice of apple and held it in front of her. She pressed her mouth forward and eat it, lingering on my fingers just a bit before pulling back, and I couldn’t help but utter a smile. It was nice to know that there were things I can expect from her, however mundane it may be. And yes, I do enjoy the feeling of her mouth on my fingers, an oddly pure act for something so dirty.

“So, what’s for classes today?” I ask. Classes were a boring topic, but an important one.

“Science. Mostly Physics.” Rin replied as I fed her another apple slice. “I’m so not that good at that. Have you ever asked a taxi driver to fly a plane? Physics is like that to me. Though I’ve never drove a taxi or flown a plane...”

I simply nodded back at her and handed her another slice. “I can help you, if you’d like. Physics is probably the only the only subject I have complete confidence in.”

Rin closes her eyes in contemplation. “Mmm...can you teach me why hair gel makes people’s hair stand up?”

“No, but I can at least teach you how to pass your exams, I think.”

At that, Rin looks down and onto the ground. “Exams...sounds weird. Like a beehive that has wasps instead of bees.”

“Nervous?”

“I need to pass, so I’m told. Otherwise I won’t get into college.”

“Have you thought about college much?” I ask as I pierced the milk carton with my straw.

“No, I haven’t. Been thinking about other things.” She said, more a statement than an admission. I always wondered if Rin was capable of anything other than other than a blank statement. Another mystery, I guess. “I don’t know what to do after I graduate.”

I stayed silent, not because I don’t know what to say, but because I’m frightened that I know exactly what to say. Why don’t you go to an art college? A voice in my head wanted to say, and I promptly shoved that voice down the deepest metaphorical well I can find.

The subject of her painting wasn’t something we’ve brought up ever since that day on the hill. I’m not sure if she still painted or not with how much remedial classes has been eating her schedule, but I wasn’t about to push her into saying anything she wasn’t going to. It wasn’t even the idea of Rin painting itself that worried me, but rather the...potential discussions that it could lead too.

Past experience has taught me to steer away from that issue, at least for now. Even though we’re comfortable with one another, I’m not going to overstep my bounds unless absolutely necessary.

“I’ve...read a couple of brochures after exams. I’m pretty sure I want to get into Physics.” I responded, trying to change the target of the subject. “Still not sure about the specifics, but that is generally the field I should go in, since I it’s the one I have the best grades on.”

She contemplates that further, as if that statements has the weight on the world. “So you’re doing it because you’re the best at it.”

“Yeah, but also because I want to. I like physics, I like learning more about it. How it works, how the word works. It just feels...right to me.”

She glances at me, her eyes moving side to side. And without warning she suddenly stands up. “I need to go. Classes.”

Please tell me I didn’t say something wrong….again...

Without a word, Rin stood up and walked away, leaving me with the same question I had at the beginning of a day. Deciding that I might as well fill the time with something familiar, I head over to the library to read.

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The library was, like most of the school, a ghost town. I browse through the ever familiar shelves, picking a book at random and headed over to my usual spot.

Surprisingly, my little corner of the place was not empty. Sitting on a nearby purple beanie was Hanako. She seemed to engrossed in her book to really notice me, so I simply sat two beanies beside her and begin opening up my latest read.

It seemed that after a while, she finally noticed me as I heard a soft but very audible gasp. Glancing over, I noticed that she’s staring right at me, her delicate looking face and quivering body making me slightly uncomfortable. Ok, perhaps a little more than slightly.

“Do you...want me to move?” I offer.

“N-no, you don’t have to…” She quickly responded, as if she offended me. “I-I just didn’t expect anyone else t-to be here.”

“That makes the two of us.” I wryly noted. “Summer vacation emptied this place quite a bit.”

I recall a similar scene happening like this with her, during my first days at Yamaku, of which I can barely recall anything from that time, apart from a certain scene involving lunch at the art club. A distant scene from another life, another person. “You seem to enjoy what you’re reading, seeing as you didn’t notice me come here.”

Her body shook ever so slightly at that, as if she were about to leap out at any moment. Her hands tensed, and she finally spoke. “Y-yes, it’s this b-book about a king who went of to fight a giant. I-it’s very good.”

“Maybe I’ll get around to it sometime.” I said. No further conversations happened after that as we both returned to absorbing ourselves into the written words of others in a peaceful, but awkward silence.

“U-um, Hisao?” I heard her voice call out. “W-what are you reading?”

“Oh, this.” I say, not looking away from my book. I get the feeling facing her would make things more awkward than it is. “Nothing special, just a collection of Japanese poems. Not really my cup of tea, but it’s not putting me to sleep.”

“O-oh, t-that’s nice.” She responded, and another silence began.

I can’t say for sure how much time passed with us minding our own business, but it seemed to pass by sluggishly as I continued my read. Eventually a rumbling in my stomach indicated that I wanted to eat something and I stood up to stare at my watch. 11 o’clock.

I looked to see that Hanako was just about done with her book as well, and she was just sitting there, looking nervously around the room.

“It’s lunch time. Are you going to go to the tea room?” I ask. She turned around to look at me, a distraught look on her face. Smooth, Nakai.

“U-um, no…T-there’s no one there.” She meekly responded.

“I thought you had lunch with...Lilly, was it?” I say. I recall that part too, though I admittedly felt ashamed that I wasn’t able to recall much of her. A definite downside to hanging out with Rin so much, every other day felt blurry in comparison.

“S-she left for Scotland.” Hanako said, and I could almost see the tears welling up in her eyes, even as she was trying not to. “H-her family wanted her to join them there, s-so she left.”

Well, that definitely explains things. As far as I know, Lilly is the only person Hanako ever remotely speaks to in Yamaku. For her to leave probably meant that she doesn’t have anyone around for her to talk to, much less hang out.

Alone, isolated, distant from everyone and everything. It reminded me a lot of Rin, despite the two radically different personalities. The colors were different, but the canvas remained the same.

Should I reach out?

“Well, I’m heading to the cafeteria to eat.” I said, more bluntly than I intended. “If you want to come along, you’re free to.”

My proposition shocked her, and it seems she didn’t entirely register what I was saying at first. However, she eventually gave a slight nod, even as her expression continued to be one of slight fear. “O-okay…”

Well then, not the most encouraging of starts, but a start nonetheless. Putting our books at their respective shelfs, I made my way to the cafeteria for the second time today, Hanako trailing behind.

--------------

Lunch was a rather simple serving of curry and vegetables, a meal I’m convinced was made up by the cafeteria workers at the last minute. The two of us sat at the corner, far away from the two or three remaining students here.

I put a spoonful of the curry to my mouth, stuffing it down without tasting any of its blandness. Across from me, Hanako ate her meal more delicately, scooping it up and slowly putting it to her mouth. I’m not sure if she either enjoys the meal or that’s simply how she eats most of her meals.

Conversation was pretty much nonexistent between the two of us. I wasn’t exactly sure how to talk to her, and seeing as how I barely know how to talk the girl I happen to be in love with, I doubt I’ll be giving advice on that subject any time soon. So we both silently ate our meals, tolerating each other’s company.

“U-um, H-Hisao…” I looked up, slightly taken aback that the silence was broken. “W-why did you want to e-eat with me?”

I pondered that question while I ate the rest of my lunch. Giving her my actual reason (that her situation reminded me of Rin) would probably only make things weird, but on the other hand, lying isn’t exactly a good solution. So I decided, like with many of my decisions recently, to cut a middle ground between the extremes.

“I figured you want some company.” I said, trying to sound as non threatening as I possibly could. “With Lilly gone, I figured you haven’t hung out with anyone at all lately. Am I right?”

Hanako said nothing, and I wondered for a second if I overreached. But in the end she gave me a light nod. So far so good.

“I won’t pressure you to hang out with me or anything, but if you need someone to be there for you, I think I can do that.” I gave her a light smile, hoping to ease her anxiety. “You can also talk to me about anything you’d like.”

“A-anything?” She asked. I wasn’t sure if it was out of curiosity or desperation.

“Yeah.”

“U-um...it’s just that…” She started stammering, before finally letting it all out. “AreyouandTezukadating?”

The question flew by so quickly I almost didn’t catch it. But there it was, a question that was Hanako’s mind, and certainly on mine.

“Ehhh…” I mutter out, which only caused Hanako to shrink back in horror. “No, no, I’m not mad you asked that.” I quickly let out to try and save face, though that doesn’t seem to be working as she continues to look down onto the cafeteria floor. “It just...came out of left field.”

Hanako doesn’t look convinced, though she did at least reply. “I-it’s just, people see you with T-Tezuka a lot, a-and they say you two are…”

She doesn’t continue with her sentence and instead opts for eating her remaining curry, though at a much faster pace than before. I take the time to process what she said, about there being rumors that Rin and I are dating.

Should I be flattered, that people are perceiving a scenario that I so desperately want? Should I be sad, that said perception is far off from the actual reality of things? Should I be mad that people are prying into things not involving them?

I push those thoughts aside like I do so many things. First things first, is to give a straight answer to Hanako.

“It’s...complicated.” I admit. “We aren’t exactly romantic with each other, but we’re definitely not “just friends”. Honestly, I don’t know what we are. We just...are”

“O-oh…” Hanako said, sounding slightly disappointed. “T-that’s...weird.”

“Tell me about it.” I mutter out as I finish the last of my mediocre meal and stood up, throwing my tray into the garbage bin. Checking my wristwatch tells me that it’s 1pm. Still some time before Rin’s finished with remedials, but I don’t feel like going to the library anymore.

“U-um, sorry if I disturbed you, Hisao.” Hanako said as she discarded her own tray. “I-I’ve got to go, so I-I…”

“Yeah. See you later.” I said, looking at her with a straight face. “If you ever need to talk, just ask. I mean it. I need to kill time off summer vacation somehow.”

Hanako simply nodded before parting ways with me. Alone again, I decided to go to the one place that I haven’t been to at all lately, though not for lack of wanting. It was arguably the place where my life here truly began.

---------------

The rooftop was empty, as expected. Walking up to the chain link fence, I looked at the school courtyard below. It looked devoid of activity. No students walking about, no distant voices of conversations. I couldn’t help but feel a little sad at that.

I decided to lay down on the rocky ground and stared at the blue sky. The endless array of clouds moved slowly by as I let out a quiet sigh. Closing my eyes, I finally let all my excess thoughts out, one by one.

The most immediate one that comes to my mind was Rin, and where I want to go with her. It’d be nice to think that we could graduate together, enter a college not far apart from one another and maybe move into the same place together, but I know that for what it was: an ideal scenario in my head, a fantasy that has a very likely chance of not working out.

Right now, graduation wasn’t even a guarantee, for her more than myself. I promised myself to help her however I can, but in the end her grades are something I can’t really decide, though I can certainly try my best to aid her.

But that was the lesser of two problems. The bigger issue was very much her and her art, and what she was going to do with it. I don’t know where she wants to take it, and I am very scared on pushing her in directions she doesn’t want to. At the same time, she does eventually need to decide a career for herself, and I can’t see anything other than art being her true calling.

Another future problem, but the future was inching closer. For as much as we like to forestall, hard decisions come closer, day by day.

My thoughts suddenly drifted towards another direction, as if my mind were lost in a sea of memories. I recall a couple of rather passionate calls from my parents about visiting during summer break. I declined the offer, but I do admit the fact that I have to come home to them eventually, probably during Winter.

“Home”. It felt weird, saying that word when in reference to my old place. True, my parents were there. But all my friends have moved on to bigger and better things, and my parents were doing just fine without me, working away the hours. In essence, my absence showed how unessential my presence truly was.

I hold no resentment towards that fact, merely acknowledgement. That place that I used to call home can no longer be considered such, at least to me. Yamaku is my home, it was where I had my friends, few they may be, it was where I learned to be a person again, and it was here that I met the girl I want to be with.

But...it couldn’t be my home forever. Time and graduation will part me from this place, and then the question becomes: where will my home be then?

That’s in the future, live in the present.

I set aside my many questions, opening my eyes. Surprisingly, the sky was still blue and not orange as I suspected. I took to looking the clouds again. Some took shapes that I can vaguely recognize as objects, others simply “were”, not taking any resemblance of anything I recognize, though I’m sure Rin could come up with descriptors for all of them.

Yet all of them were drifting in the same direction, towards something. There was solace to be had in that, that even clouds were moving towards something.

The rest of day was simply spent looking at the sky. It wasn’t like reading a book, there was no fixed story, no sequence of events for the work to either follow or defy, and certainly nothing resembling what I was going through. It was merely the sky, and infinite expanse of blue, with only clouds dotting its vast framework.

And yet, it captured me all the same. I couldn’t tell how long I spent simply marveling at the simple sight before me, but I could see the color shift from blue to orange by the time I was done with it. What thoughts were through my head or what conclusions I got from that experience, even I couldn’t say.

All I know is that I have a girl to meet up with.

----------

Walking down the stairwell and into the hall, I open the door to 3-2 and saw that it was empty save for her. Rin was staring out the window into the sky much like me at the rooftop. I quietly took a seat and sat down, not wanting to disturb her thoughts.

Looking at her again, I waited patiently. Perhaps that was the one thing I was missing during those days with her, the patience needed to truly care for her despite my lack of understanding. I have no doubt that much more patience was needed if I was ever going to stand by her.

I worry that I don’t have enough, but I will stand by her anyways.

She eventually turns around, though she doesn’t seem surprised to see me sitting there. A slight frown was on her face, and her eyes gave away all sorts of emotions within her, as if she were about to break down. Seeing her like that, I walked up to her and immediately wrapped my arms around her, and she sunk into my grasp, her head sinking into my chest.

“I didn’t ask for a hug.” Rin muttered out. She wasn’t crying, but the look on her face just now spoke more to me than tears ever could.

“I know.” I responded softly. “I felt like you needed one.”

Instead of going on a tangent, Rin simply stays silent as her head nuzzled my chest. We stayed like that for a little while, silently enjoying the other’s warmth. But Rin eventually broke apart, her eyes locking onto mine.

“Was that a good hug or a sad hug?” She asked, her face confused. “I couldn’t tell because it felt good, but it also felt a little sad. Like eating a sweet with a pill in the middle.”

“I don’t know, maybe a bit of both.” I responded uncertainty. “Come on, I think we should get dinner.”

--------------

“Sorry, they ran out of melon bread.” I said as I sat on the bench beside her, two vending machine bread on my hand. “So I just bought red bean.”

Rin doesn’t respond so I simply unwrapped the two paper wrappings and held one up to her, she quickly took a bite as I took one out of my own. The sun has almost completely set, and the stars could be seen out into the sky.

“You don’t talk to me as much anymore.” Rin noted in between bites. The slightly vulnerable look from earlier had vanished, leaving Rin looking like how Rin usually does, completely unreadable. “You used to speak to me a lot more, but now it’s like your mouth needs to recharge.”

“I figured I’d wait for you to speak up.” I admit as I took another bite out of my bread, the red bean leaving a sweet aftertaste. “You’ll talk to me when you want to, and I respect that.”

“But what about when you want to?” Rin asked.

I quickly took another bite of my bread to delay answering that question, however short. “Whenever I seem speak to you on my own terms.” I say slowly, and try my damndest to not sound even the least bit accusatory. “I always seem to say the wrong thing, or say it in the wrong way to you, and it ends up hurting you. I don’t want to do that.”

“So you decided to become silent.” Rin noted. “Like those mimes on TV that try to make invisible boxes.”

I nodded.

Rin says as she takes another bite out of her bread and looks away. “You say a lot of stuff. Sometimes you say a lot of things I don’t really get. And you say things that I hate sometimes. But then you also say things I want to hear, and things that are right. You’re like a gacha machine, but instead of toys you just...spew out words instead, except without the colorful capsules.”

I...wasn’t sure what to make of that. “So, what things do I say right?”

“The things you say right are right.” Rin said, leaving me just as confused as before. “Have I said anything right to you?”

A single line immediately recalls itself to my mind. It was said rather flatly all in all, but the words it contained had its impact on me, and still does.

“On that field...when you told me you love me.” I answered, taking a deep breath. Might as well let it all out. “After we went home, and I went to bed, I thought of that moment a lot with you out on the field. I realized that I...was really happy you said that, and that I love you as well.”

Rin seems to register the gravity of my words, or at least I think she does. She looks at me, her gaze unwavering.

“Did I...say something wrong again?” I ask, preparing for the worst.

But she smiled. By God she smiled. It was a soft, gentle smile. A smile that I will forever remember as the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. “No. I think...you said something right that time. The me before I met you didn’t love you, and the me that met you also didn’t love you. But the me here, the me right now loves you, even though I’m afraid of you and I don’t know you sometimes...”

It wasn’t a direct “I love you.”, but at that point I didn't care. I felt like a massive weight was lifted off me. She loves me. For all our troubles understanding one another, she really does love me.

How could I not love her back, looking at me like that?

I press my head forward and kiss her on the lips. We haven’t exactly kissed a lot, and one of those was when she was high on medicine, but damn it if there was a time for it, it was right here in this moment.

It helped that she didn’t seem to mind as her mouth opened to my touch. I pressed my lips on hers further, savoring the feeling, the vindication of both our feelings. I’m pretty sure the buns I was holding fell to the ground, but how could I care when this is so much sweeter?

She loves me.

I reluctantly pull back, my head still awash from euphoria. “Rin, I…” I try to stattemer out what I wanted to say. A million different sentences wanted to be spoken at once: apologies, promises, questions.

“Talk. Please talk.” Rin said, the faint smile still on her lips. I think this was the longest I’ve seen her ever holding a smile, and I wish it never ended. “You’re like a radio station. You play whatever you wish to.”

“A...radio station? You mean like music?” I asked jokingly.

“No, more like those stations that do nothing that talk all day. What’s the word…?” Rin said and looked up, as if she could find her answer among the stars.

I shook my head in disbelief. What is it about this girl that makes everything she does so mesmerising?

“And if I play something you don’t like. Would you change the channel?” She shook her head in return. That was all I needed to hear.

The rest of the night was spent, as she requested, talking. We didn’t talk about anything important, like our future or even about our relationship, just whatever it is that popped up in our heads. Sometimes she would say something I couldn’t grasp, and I’d simply stayed silent.

She spoke anyways, going on long tangents about insects and humans and other things how it all worked out in her head. She never seemed to be frustrated that I couldn’t see what she sees, only appreciative that I was listening.

Would every moment with her be this happy, I thought. Probably not, but I’m alright with that.

I couldn’t remember how late it was when we finally stopped speaking, but we did eventually have to call it a night. Rin gave me a brief hug and I hugged her in return, speaking nothing. Some things require more than words.

“I won’t run away from myself.” She said, determined. “I am me.”

“I wouldn’t have you any other way.” I responded, and reluctantly parted ways with her. I could tell a wide grin was plastered on my face. But I didn’t care.

------------------

*RING RING*

A buzzing noise on my phone broke me out of that sweet reverie. Oh well, better now than earlier. I picked it out of my pocket and recognized a familiar name on the screen. Mom.

Well, this was a long time coming.
“Uh, hello?” I asked, holding the phone to my ear. I wasn’t sure if it was because of my previous trip to cloud nine, or it being so long, but I immediately regretted my decision.

“Hicchannnn~” A loud voice called out and I pulled back my head immediately, my ears ringing. Right, I forgot. Mom has no indoor voice. “It’s been so long, why haven’t you called your own mother?!?”

“Sorry, sorry.” I said, partly out of genuine guilt and partly to quiet her down. “Things have been busy at Yamaku. I was actually planning on calling you during Summer Vacation.”

Unfortunately, she doesn’t buy it one bit. “Are you really so busy that you can’t call your parents once in a while? Your father and I have been worried sick about you.”

I almost wanted to retort about how they barely worry about me at all before the incident, but thankfully I didn’t vocalize my thoughts. No need to make things ugly, especially on a night like this. Instead I decided to change the subject.

“So, you just got off work, huh?” I said. Mom usually never calls during work, and it was pretty late, around the time where she would be done with her shift. “How are things with you and Dad?”

“Things are going fine.” She said in a cheery tone, like one you’d hear from a commercial selling vaguely useful products. “I recently got a small bump in my salary, and your father is working hard for a promotion.”

“I...see.” Not exactly the answer I wanted to hear, but it’s nice to know we’re not in crippling debt at least. “Um, listen. Sorry I didn’t come home.. I had a lot of things to sort out at Yamaku, and I didn’t want to leave any loose ends.”

“I understand, Hicchan.” Mom’s voice took on a more serious tone. “I know you’ve made your own life there, and I respect that. But you know that we still care for you too, even if we can’t be there for you all the time.”

“I know, and I’m really sorry.” I responded, feeling guilty at wanting to lash out at them. They’ve been there when I needed them, and sometimes that’s enough. In fact… “Actually, I was thinking about visiting you guys during Winter Break. Would that be alright?”

“Of course! Your father and I would be happy to see you again. We can probably bend our schedules during that time so we can spend more time together. And you can even bring any friends of yours there if you want…”

Bring my friends, huh? Well, there would be one person I wouldn’t going home with on Winter Break, that’s for sure.
“I’ll think about it. It’s getting late, tell Dad I love him, alright?”

“Of course. Love you, Hicchan. Please don’t get into trouble.” And with that, my mom hung up the phone.

It was a slow walk back to my dorm room, and I’m glad that Kenji didn’t ambush me, at least. My first immediate thought was to just lay down on my bed and let sleep claim me, but I quickly reminded myself to take my medication.

After that final, bitter step, I gracelessly allow myself to lie on my bed, close my eyes, and go to sleep.

-----------

The sunlight from my room alerted me to the fact that yesterday has, indeed, ended.

I groggily get out of my bed and take my medication, glad that I was able to sleep through most of its side effects. As I took my final one, I didn’t even ask myself what I was going to do today.

A knock on my door answered that for me, and I opened to see her there.

“Good morning, Rin.”

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Feurox
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Re: Rin Epilouge: The Long Road

Post by Feurox » Mon May 13, 2019 6:18 am

This is an okay start. But you’ve got to fix your use of tenses. Even if time-disphporia might fit the character of Rin, it doesn’t seem that you’re doing intentionally.

Still, this is a nice start, and I look forward to what comes next.

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Rin Epilouge: The Long Road

Post by Mirage_GSM » Mon May 13, 2019 8:57 am

Okay, first of all your tenses are all over the place switching between present and past sometimes within the same sentence, and there are even some... creative constructions like:
A day I’d soon never forget
which I'm not even sure whether it is supposed to be present, past or future tense...

Then Hisao seems to have a strange order of priorities when it comes to relationships:
...and I will admit to have slept in the same bed as her on a couple of those occasions. We even went to the Shanghai one of those days...
I mean... "We selpt together a few times, but nevermind that, we even had dinner together once" is strange, or is that just me?

Also quite a few sentences sound as if you never read them aloud or thought about what they actually mean, e.g.:
Maybe one day I’d like to further solidify what’s between us, “move the goalposts” as it were.
That's not what "move the goalposts" means...
The cafeteria was a ghost town...
I couldn’t help but utter a smile
Then there are the inconsistencies of plot:
“So, what’s for classes today?” I ask. Classes were a boring topic, but an important one.
You literally started the story by saying it was still in the middle of the summer holidays... and a few paragraphs later you make it clear that these are supposed to be Rin's remedial lessons, but that's both a bit hard to swallow and too late...

In short this would have needed a lot more editing before posting...
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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Re: Rin Epilouge: The Long Road

Post by Lap » Mon May 13, 2019 10:48 am

I quite enjoyed this. There are a few technical issues, as Mirage & Feurox pointed out, but overall I found the story & tone very fitting for Rin & Hisao, and I look forward to reading more of it. Good stuff.
Current KS Stories:
Avenues of Communication Shizune suffers an accident. (WIP)
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. (WIP)
Home: Hanako & Hisao at University, sharing an apartment with their friend Lilly (on Ao3).

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Re: Rin Epilouge: The Long Road

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Wed May 22, 2019 2:35 am

Pretty much agree with past comments: Good start, want to see where you go. I like how Hisao has become more like Rin after being with her--he spends a whole section on the roof just staring at clouds for hours.

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