Rin Epilogue: The Long Road (Updated 15/3/2021)

Posts: 30
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 11:19 pm

Re: Rin Epilogue: The Long Road (Updated 15/4/2020)

Post by MoashLannister » Wed Jul 15, 2020 8:39 am

Credit to Lap for proofreading


Chapter 10: Ideal

It took all of my restraint not to stand up and simply walk away, but I stayed. Mom and Dad didn’t say anything more, Dad even sipping his cup in a casual manner as he stared at me, making it clear that he was waiting for me to speak.

“Why?” I said at last, sounding more desperate for an answer than angry. “You said you don’t hate her, so why don’t you want me to continue my relationship with her?”

“Because she can’t take care of you,” Mom responded bluntly, without any hesitation or sugar coating. “She has no arms, Hicchan.”

That statement actually made me stand up, glaring at her with all the anger I could possibly muster. For her to insult my capability to take care of myself after staying distant for so long was demeaning enough, to insult Rin’s ability was even worse. I clenched my fist and gave her a look that made it very clear that she’d crossed a line, my mother or not.

“Let me explain, Hicchan,” she said resolutely, her voice calm and business-like. “I know what you’re thinking right now, but I don’t mean what I said as an insult. I know that you’re independent, and you’re entitled to make your own decisions. But let’s say you move forward in your relationship with her, and you two now live together on your own...is that what you want with her?”

It took me a while, but I was able to sit down and nod back, though the anger was still very much present.

“If that’s the case, who’ll be the one doing the cooking?” Mom asks, maintaining her cold tone. “Who will be doing the cleaning? Who will be the one to move things when you decide to get furniture? Who will have to do everything? It’ll have to be you, Hisao.”

“You don’t know that,” I retorted immediately. “She can take care of herself, Mom. She’s eighteen, and she isn’t dependent on me.”

“Hicchan…” Mom finally let the cold facade slip, and looked down to the ground, now sounding like she’s about to cry. “Can you really say that? Can you really tell me that she can take care of herself? Or that she can take care of you if need be?”

I thought about it for a second, about how Rin’s managed to maintain her own living space while at Yamaku. That wasn’t the same as an entire apartment, but it’s something...right? I don’t know if she can cook or not, but we could always order out from restaurants, or I can learn to do it myself. I try to tell myself that I can do that simply because I want to, not because she can’t.

I didn’t need anyone else to take care of me. Rin and I are perfectly fine as we are...right? I tried to convince myself that there’s nothing to worry about, only for a small but prominent voice preventing me from doing so.

“She can,” I answered, with less certainty than I liked.

“But then, what if you had a heart attack?” Mom continued, her words like a knife to my chest. “If there’s only the two of you, how can she take you to the hospital? How can she call an ambulance to come help you? Tell me how that won’t be a problem, Hisao. You’ll be dying while she can’t do anything to save you…”

She broke down and cried as she finished that. Dad consoled her by patting her on the back, a sad look on his face. I slumped down in my chair, feeling drained by her questions. By her arguments that I wanted to deny, yet couldn’t. Not entirely.

What would happen if I had a heart attack, and it was just her? That wasn’t a scenario that I’d ever want to go through, yet it was entirely possible. And...Mom was right, she wouldn’t be able to call an ambulance, at least not as easily as a regular person would. She wouldn’t be able to take me to the hospital. All she could do in that case is call for help...assuming she didn’t freeze in shock.

I wanted to refute her, to say that she’ll know what to do. But I couldn’t, I couldn’t lie even if she would have believed it.

“I don’t have most of the worries your mother does. I do think Rin’s able to take care of herself at some level, being a high school student and all,” Dad said, continuing to comfort Mom. “But her reasons are not unfounded, especially the last one. She doesn’t have a cellphone, boy. And there are just some things she’s physically incapable of doing, things that might be necessary in order to live a comfortable life.”

“...I know,” I said, almost sounding like I’m admitting defeat. “But I won’t break up with her. I love her, Dad.”

“You do, I truly believe that,” Dad answered with a heavy sigh. “And I know nothing your mother or I can say will change that. Just...please, don’t disregard our concerns. Just as you love her, we love you.”

“I know...I know…” I whispered, the thoughts in my head getting more and more confused.

“It’s been a long night,” Dad said, pushing the fourth cup of hot chocolate towards me. “I think we should go to bed and...continue this discussion another time. We all have a lot to think about, after this.”

I nodded in agreement and took the cup, heading upstairs with my thoughts a complete mess. Despite knowing their reasons, despite knowing that they cared, and said what they did out of love, I couldn’t bear to see them anymore. All I wanted to do was be by Rin’s side, now more than ever.

The door to my room was partially open, and for a moment I feared that Rin had overheard our conversation. She was on the futon and already in her pajamas, staring at the drawing she did of me today. I sat down beside her and held the cup in front of her.

“From my mom,” I said with a smile on my face, trying my best to be my usual self around her. “Something warm for the winter.”

Rin silently leaned her head down as I helped her sip the hot chocolate. Mom’s accusation rang in the back of my mind. I reminded myself that I’m not doing this because I had to, but because I wanted to. Because I loved her.

“Mm, sweet…” Rin noted as she drank it all. “But I don’t feel sweet, even when I drink something sweet. Like a fire still being hot even if it touches a single drop of water.”

“Did you hear any of that, Rin…?” I asked, fearing the worst. “The conversation I had with my parents.”

“What conversation?” Rin asked, tilting her head. She didn’t look the least bit confused, and I had a sinking suspicion that she’s merely hiding the truth from me, or tricking herself as if it never happened. I didn’t know which was worse, but I knew that neither was particularly beneficial to either of us.

This trip has already been a bit of a mess, and it’s only the first day...

“I’ll sleep here,” Rin said, breaking the silence. “You can sleep up there. I wanted to sleep next to you, but I know I can’t. Not in a place like this.”

“Rin…” I wanted to say something. To hold her close and assure her that everything was going to be ok. That’s how it worked, right? A brave proclamation, a hug, and everything would be fine. Except I couldn’t find the strength in me to do so, not now.

“Good night, Hisao.” Rin said, planting a quick and desperate kiss on my lips before laying down on the futon, closing her eyes almost immediately.

Feeling as if I could do nothing but let the day end already, I got up and placed the empty cup on the desk, feeling too distraught to take it downstairs and clean it. I turned off the lights and closed the door.

Laying down on my bed, I turned over to see Rin sleeping on the futon beside me, the moonlight shining through the window. It was at least comforting to know that she’s facing me as she sleeps, like always. I studied her face, trying to figure out exactly what she’s feeling.

It was always hard to read how she’s feeling, though I’ve gotten better at it. I couldn’t really discern anything from her sleeping expression, either that or I secretly didn’t want to. Peering into what she truly thought was terrifying sometimes, even now.

“Rin,” I whispered as I finally closed my eyes. “Are you alright?”

I didn’t really expect an answer from her, but it was a question I desperately wanted to ask before I succumbed to sleep. Before I fully lost myself in sleep, I thought I could hear her answer, if only faintly.

“I’m alright, as long as you’re here...”

I didn’t know if it was simply something my mind made up to ease my fears, but I wanted to believe that answer actually came from her. I held on to the belief even as I started to slumber, hoping that lack of regret persisted throughout our stay here.


The beams of sunlight on my face woke me, and I slowly sat up. I looked around my room and vaguely recalled waking up like this, out of a necessity to go to school more than an actual habit. On weekends, I slept until late morning or even the afternoon, a product of my nights spent wandering the city.

I guess if there’s one thing that I have to thank Yamaku for, it’s getting me to enjoy being an early riser.

I look to my side and see that Rin's asleep, though she was trembling, and her expression was extremely troubled. Feeling concerned, I immediately got out of bed and sat down beside her. Not knowing what to do, I placed a comforting hand on her soft red hair, gently brushing it. It seemed to calm her down, though her face still had a troubled look.

As I continued to comfort her, I wondered what we should do for today. Mom and Dad might have plans, though given how yesterday turned out, I’m less than enthused about anything they might have in store. Perhaps it would be best if Rin and I got away from them, if only for a little while.

“Mm…” Rin murmured before opening her eyes, looking right at me. “You’re here, Hisao.”

“Would I be anywhere else?” I reply, trying to seem more playful than I actually felt. “Good morning, Rin.”

“Good morning, Hisao,” Rin said as she sat up, immediately leaning her body against mine. “You’re here. I know you’re here, but at the same time I didn’t know. Like someone not knowing when is tomorrow until tomorrow actually becomes now.”

“I’m here, Rin,” I said with conviction as I stared into her green eyes, her uncertain gaze. I knew that she was struggling with something, and that I was the cause of it. “I’m here…”

I wrapped my hands around her, hugging her tight. Admittedly, it was for my sake as much as hers, but she seemed to want it just as much. We stayed like that for a while, silent, but clinging to one another, almost as if we’re afraid that we’ll be pulled apart to another reality where we couldn’t be together.

“What do you want to do today, Rin?” I asked after what seemed to be an eternity of silence.

“I don’t know, Hisao…” Rin answered, her head still pressed against my chest. “I want to do something, but I also want to do nothing. What do you want to do?”

“Honestly, let’s just go outside,” I suggest I let go of her, despite the fact that I wanted to hold her for a little while longer. “Maybe explore the city, or go to the movies. Anywhere is fine, as long as it isn’t here.”

Rin nodded, not saying anything. We quickly prepared ourselves, changing into new clothes and doing our usual morning routine, which also meant taking my medications. I made sure that Rin was in the bathroom before taking it, and hurried through the process more than usual.

I wasn’t self conscious about most people seeing me take what I needed to live, but at the same time I had a feeling that I shouldn’t let Rin see me take my medications.

After all our preparations were completed, we finally headed downstairs. I had hoped to sneak past my parents, but they were sitting at the dining table, and we had no way to avoid them. Dad was sipping on a cup of what I assume was either tea or coffee, reading the newspaper while talking with Mom. Thankfully, they weren’t talking about Rin.

“Morning, son. Rin,” Dad said politely, putting the newspaper down. “Are you two well?”

“Yeah,” I replied while Rin said nothing. “I was thinking of going out and showing Rin a bit of the city. We rarely get a chance to explore outside Yamaku and the nearby town.”

“This early?” Mom asked, sounding both skeptical and worried. “Are you two sure you don’t want to eat breakfast first? I prepared some spiced porridge for the both of you, it’d be a shame for it to go to waste.”

I turned to look at Rin, who’s expression was completely unreadable. Turning back to Mom, I shook my head. She looked disappointed, letting out a sigh before getting up.

“Very well. Try to stay safe, Hicchan. Be back before dinner, alright?” she said, before going to the kitchen. Dad gave me a sympathetic look, and motioned us to go.

I’d need to face them later, but not now. We donned our coats and shoes, and I walked out of the house with Rin by my side, wondering where exactly we should go. As we walked out of the yard, I heard someone.

“Hisao? That really you?”

The voice was more than familiar to me, though I haven’t heard it for some time. It was the voice of an old friend. I turned and faced the person who called out to me, my old friend Shin. He quickly walked up to me, waving at me with a surprised look on his face.

His face, so familiar yet so different. He wore square glasses now, and his face looked just a bit more energetic than the last time we met. His black hair, which used to be a wild mess, was now neatly combed to the side. But his blue eyes were still the same, as was his choice of attire, a black coat and pants, his favorite color.

Even though it’d only been months, it felt like I was seeing for the first time in years. I still wondered if he was still the same Shin I knew back then, or had time changed him the same way it changed me.

“Your Mom told me you were coming, but I didn’t expect you to be outside this early,” he said as he stopped right in front of me, holding out his hand palm-up. I instantly slapped my hand down on it, like we used to do. “Glad to see you remembered.”

“How could I forget?” I responded, feeling nostalgic at our old greeting. “We’ve been doing that since the start of high school.”

“Yeah, well you didn’t exactly do it when I visited you in the hospital.” Then he shook his head, , and rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment. “Sorry, didn’t mean to bring that up.”

“It’s alright,” I said. Usually Shin and I would reconcile with a hand gesture, so I held my hand out and he accepted it with a slap. “It’s good to see you again, Shin.”

“Same here,” He replied with a smile, before looking away from me and towards Rin. Thankfully, his expression didn’t change upon looking at her. “You brought someone home?”

“Yeah, this is Rin,” I said, motioning to her. “I met her at Yamaku, and we’re dating.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Rin,” Shin said, giving her a big smile. “I hope Hisao here isn’t too much trouble for you.”

Rin merely shook her head, looking slightly confused. She turned to look at me, and that’s when I realized that I should probably introduce Shin to her.

“Rin, this is Shin Nitta. He’s one of my friends from high school, before coming to Yamaku. He lives right beside my house, so we bumped into each other a lot back when I lived here.”

“I see…” Rin said, nodding slightly. “You’re Hisao’s old friend, but you’re not old. You’re his young old friend, like how zombies are the living dead.”

Shin raised an eyebrow at that comment, but let out a chuckle. “I guess if you put it that way, then sure. Gotta say, I never thought she’d be your type, Hisao. Always figured you had a thing for blondes...not that you two don’t look great together, that is.”

“Anyways,” I interjected, trying to change the subject away from my former...physical interests. “Where are you going, Shin?”

“Oh, just doing a grocery run for my parents,” Shin replied, sounding mildly annoyed. “We’re running low on food, and they don’t really like going out during the winter. Actually...wanna come along? I’ll even treat you two to lunch later in the afternoon, whatever you want.”

I once again turned to Rin, who looked at me with a neutral expression. This would be a good chance to reconnect with him, and perhaps even have Rin become more familiar with my old friends. Surely it couldn’t go any worse than with my parents, right?

“Yeah,” I responded as we started walking away from our homes, still feeling a bit of uncertainty. “It’ll be nice to catch up.”


It took around ten minutes to reach the store Shin wanted to go, a large grocery store that I was vaguely familiar with. We talked about how each other had been since my departure. Apparently, Shin’s grades had been improving, and he’s been preparing for college alongside our group of friends. Though he noticeably left Iwanako out among them.

Rin even chimed in a few times, in her usual way of speaking. Shin seemed to take all the metaphors and analogies in stride, something I was grateful for. She seemed more comfortable around him as time went on, so this was already a better start than with my parents. I hoped it would go as well with Takumi and Mai as it was with him.

Entering the store made me realize that I’d never really done any sort of grocery shopping before. I’d accompanied Mom a few times and helped carry her bags, but that was the extent of it. I’ve never had to buy essentials on my own, apart from microwave-ready foods from the convenience store…

When I start living alone with Rin, I’ll probably have to do a lot of this if we want to eat, as well as buying kitchen utensils and learning how to cook. I was slowly starting to think about the reality of living independently with her.

“Anyways, I need to buy a lot of stuff,” Shin stated before grabbing a shopping basket and heading to one of the aisles, containing rice and flour. “After I send it back to my folks, we can do whatever we want after that.”

“You were thinking about something, Hisao,” Rin noted as we stood where we were. “I want to know about it, even if I don’t know what you’re thinking.”

“Just about the future…” I replied. “Is there anything you’d like to buy? We didn’t eat breakfast, after all.”

“Mm, I feel hungry. So, yes.” Rin walked ahead of me towards an aisle with pre-prepared foodstuffs. “I want to buy food, but I don’t know what kind of food. Like a wind that wants to blow, but doesn’t know what direction it wants to blow towards. Give me a direction, Hisao.”

“We probably shouldn’t eat anything unhealthy for breakfast,” I said, trying to decide what to eat for the both of us. “The convenience store probably sells some rice balls and sandwiches, if you want some.”

“Mm...rice balls or sandwiches…” Rin mused as she walked through the aisle without looking at anything. “It’s like painting grass, but choosing between forest green or spring green. Both are correct, and you can choose one, or none, or both. But you still have to choose.”

“So...rice balls?” I asked, trying to guess what she wanted from her analogy.

“No, forest green,” Rin answered, looking mildly amused. “I was choosing what to paint grass with, not what I want for breakfast. You didn’t know that, did you Hisao?”

“Uh…” I couldn’t help but laugh at my blunder. “Yeah, I was guessing. Sorry.”

“Mm, I don’t want you to be sorry,” Rin said, stopping where she was. “I want rice balls. I didn’t want them before, but when you asked if I wanted them, I want them now. Like a fisherman catching fish when he thought of catching fish.”

“Alright, I’ll buy some, and then we can eat them later.” She nodded at my statement, which I took as my cue to leave.

Rin didn’t follow me as I walked back near the entrance of the store, where rice balls, sandwiches and other pre-prepared meals were displayed near the counter, so I figured I’d buy them now and then wait for her to finish observing whatever it is she wants to observe.

I saw Shin there as well, taking what looked like a ham sandwich from a rack and placing it into his shopping basket.

I moved next to him, looking at the selection of rice balls, each of them filled with something different. “I’ve never been here before. Any recommendations on what to get for breakfast?”

“Go for the meat one,” Shin replied. “And whatever you do, avoid anything that has mushrooms or vegetables in it. Trust me.”

I took his advice, taking two meat-filled rice balls. “Thanks, Shin.”

“It’s nothing,” Shin replied, turning around to look at me. “You know, Hisao. You look like you’ve really bounced back from back then. I’m glad that you seem to be doing well.”

“I had a lot of help,” I said, giving him a smile. “Maybe more help than someone like me deserves. I’ve had a lot to think about during my time at Yamaku, about how I treated you all when I was in the hospital.”

“You were pretty cold, not going to lie.” Shin doesn’t sound resentful as he says that. He’s even smiling the way I remembered him, bright and honest. “I get it, you had a lot to go through, but it wasn’t easy for any of us to accept that. For any of us to move on once you left, you know?”

“I’m sorry,” I said, feeling a bit ashamed. Whatever justification I could have had was irrelevant; the fact was that I’d pushed them away. “I just...didn’t know what to do, for a while. The heart attack, the hospital, moving away, all of it just sort of...shut me down. Made me not care about anything anymore. But I know that isn’t a good excuse for being the way I was, especially when all any of you did was try and cheer me up.”

“It’s all in the past now, anyways…” Shin replied with a shrug. “So...pretend the last few months never happened?”

“I’ll try, but I don’t know if it’ll be that easy. For me or for the others. Mai, Takumi...” I said as I went to the cashier and paid for the rice balls. “She sent me a letter, you know? Iwanako, I mean.”

“Yeah, she told me,” Shin answered as he paid for his stuff, putting them into large plastic bags. “Not about what it said, but I can guess. She told you about...us, I assume?”

“Yes, she did,” I responded, recalling the tumultuous day I got that letter. At the time, it was simply a mess stacked on top of an even bigger mess. “I’m happy for you two, I really am.”

“Thanks. I wouldn’t really say this if you were still single, but she’s the best girlfriend anyone can ask for,” Shin said, sounding genuinely grateful that he had my blessing. “I hope you two can become great friends. Assuming you don’t fall to the ground once you meet her again.”

There was a moment of silence before we laughed, drawing the ire of the cashier. The person I had been before I left probably would have felt insulted at that joke, but the person I was now was surprisingly fine with jokes about my condition.

Part of it was probably because I’d pushed them away with my condition once before, and that I didn’t want to now, but the laughter that came out of me was genuine.

“I should probably go get Rin,” I said once the laughter died down. “She’s hungry. I can help carry one of your bags, if you’d like.”

“What do I look like, some sort of wimp? I can carry these just fine.” The moment I turned around, Shin asked in a more serious tone, “You really like her, don’t you?”

I replied with the only answer that I could have possibly given. “Yeah, I love her. If there’s anything I don’t regret about my time there, it’s falling head over heels for her.”


The three of us made the journey back to Shin’s house to drop off his groceries. On the way, Rin and I had a serviceable breakfast while continuing to converse with him. Shin, for the most part, seems to enjoy using any embarrassing moment from my past as a conversation topic.

“You know one time, Hisao confessed his love to a teacher,” Shin mentions playfully, and it took all my strength not to tackle him to the ground in order to shut him up. “It was when we were in middle school, and he just said ‘I love you’ to her in front of the entire class.”

“Did you love her…?” Rin asked in a genuine tone of voice, sounding neither amused nor jealous. Shin laughed at her question, and I can’t help but feel as if the two are secretly collaborating against me. They weren’t, but it definitely felt that way.

“No, I was just young and stupid,” I replied, sounding more defensive than I intended. “She was just...really nice, ok?”

“And pretty, and young, and single,” Shin replied, eager to dig my grave even deeper. “Though to be fair, I had a crush on her too. I think the rest of the class did, or at least the male half. You were just the only one stupid enough to actually confess to her.”

“Like you were any better in high school,” I retorted, finally deciding to use my own memories of him to fight back. “Remember the incident where you ‘confessed’ to two girls at once?”

“I didn’t confess!” he retorted immediately, causing me to smirk. Some things never changed.

“You two are like Emi and Miki,” Rin noted, closing her eyes as we continued. “Except neither of you are Emi or Miki. And not just because you two have all your limbs and you both have something between your legs...at least I think Shin has a thing between his legs.”

“Uh…” This time, Shin seems to be utterly baffled at the audacity of her analogy, turning to me and giving me a confused look.

“Friends from Yamaku,” I explained, and when his confused look changed to incredulous, I realized it’s the other part of the analogy he was confused by. “Oh...she likes to say that sometimes, usually when she’s comparing male and females.”

“I do?” Rin said, seeming to only now get that revelation and closing her eyes in contemplation. “I guess I do...I think. I don’t mean to, but I do. Like electricity not meaning to be electric.”

“Man, is this what going there does to you?” Shin asked, half jokingly. “I’m surprised you came out of it sane.”

“Nah, Rin’s just being herself,” I pulled her close as I said that, which she responded by resting her head on me. “She’s...Rin. And I wouldn’t have her any other way.”

“I can see that, Hisao,” Shin said as we stopped just outside his home, I turned to look at mine and wondered what Mom and Dad were doing right now. Was last night still fresh in their minds? “I’ll drop these off and then I’ll be right back. Don’t go anywhere.”

When he left us, I turned to Rin. “What do you think of Shin?”

“I wasn’t thinking of Shin, I was thinking about you,” Rin answered plainly, though the slight smile on her face hinted that it was a joke. “...I think he’s okay. Like how tap water is okay, or like how a window is okay.”

“Well, that’s nice to hear,” I replied. Not the best analogy, but at the very least she’s made it clear that she doesn’t dislike him.

“Are all your friends from here like Shin?” Rin asked. “I’m trying to imagine them, but all I can imagine are mannequins that look like Shin, except they’re made out of flesh instead of plastic. They’re all wearing the same thing, and it’s weird even though wearing the same clothes isn’t weird.”

“There are some similarities,” I answered, recalling what my daily life was like at my old school, with my old friends. “But they’re also differences. Mai is an athlete, kind of like Emi actually. She was the most hardcore soccer player out of all of us, and she can give all the boys a run for their money. I think she was even nominated to be captain of the club before I left.”

“Takumi is...well he’s a playboy, to put it really bluntly. I don’t think a week went by where he didn’t ask a girl out for a date. Some of them accepted, but most of them rejected him, especially once he got a reputation as a shameless flirt. Even the dates he got never lasted more than a few days at best, but it never really seemed to bother him all that much.”

“I see…” Rin replied. “I know them more now because of you, Hisao. It’s like you’re showing me a picture of them, except it’s a picture made out of words.”

“I guess so,” I said, contemplating how our eventual reunion will go. Shin’s went well enough, but will the others be as smooth? “But that’s from when I kept in touch with them.They could have changed to the point where I won’t recognize them.”

“Do you think they have?” Rin asked innocently.

“I’m...not sure,” I answered, a bit nervous. “It’s honestly kind of nerve-wracking, thinking about how different they might be now.”

“Like how I was afraid about how I might be different?” Rin said, to which I nodded in response. “Everything changes. Trees, birds, people. Plants start as seeds before growing up to become plants. Sometimes we don’t know what the seed is. It could be a flower, or a tree, or a fruit. But even if it isn’t the plant we want, the plant is still there. It still grew up.”

“Yeah…” I said, understand what she’s trying to tell me. People change in ways that we don’t expect, or that we don’t even like. But that doesn’t mean the change itself is bad, or that we should reject them. It’s a lesson that Rin and I have had some experience with. “Thank you, Rin. I think I understood that.”

“A few months ago, you wouldn’t have. Even if you said you did, I wouldn’t have believed you. Like how parents don’t believe their kids when they said they ate all their vegetables,” Rin noted, smiling a little. “Now I believe you, and even if it isn’t true, I would still feel happy. This is a change, a different me from the me when we first met.”

“I was much more depressed back then,” I said, recalling the time where I bumped into her eating lunch in the art club. Perhaps the best coincidence of my life. “But now I’m happier, even if everything isn’t perfect. That’s also a change.”

We didn’t say anything after that statement, waiting for Shin to return, which he eventually did.

“Sorry it took so long. Parents wanted to talk about some stuff,” Shin said in an annoyed tone before looking at us with a curious glance for some reason. “Uh...did something happen?”

“Something happened,” Rin agreed, not elaborating. Shin then turned to me, obviously hoping for a better answer.

“...Something happened,” I repeated, unable to hide the smirk on my face. Shin realized that he wasn’t going to get a better answer than that and just rolled his eyes, a goofy smile on his face as well.

“Man, you two are really something.”
Last edited by MoashLannister on Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 30
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 11:19 pm

Re: Rin Epilogue: The Long Road (Updated 15/4/2020)

Post by MoashLannister » Wed Jul 15, 2020 8:40 am

We talked about where we wanted to go for a while before settling on wandering around the shopping district, then stopping by a sushi place to eat lunch. After taking a short train ride, we arrived at our destination, a crowded street full of people and stores of all kinds: food, fashion, books, games.

“I came here a lot,” I said to Rin as we exited the station, though the fact that it was broad daylight dampened my nostalgia a little. “During nights when Mom and Dad weren’t home, I went to this place a few times. Seeing what they were selling, maybe buying a snack if I had the spare change.”

“Why?” Rin asked as we walked down the street. I tried not to look at any passerbys, but I can’t help but notice a few of them. As I feared, many of them were staring at Rin, but this time I simply ignored them instead of letting the resentment build up. It probably helped that we were on the move instead of staying still.

“I liked the sense of freedom,” I responded, recalling a night where I was walking down this very street. When I looked to my left I saw a store selling vintage books, a place I’d stopped to look at countless times. “I had nothing to do at home, and I couldn’t sleep most of the time. So I just wanted to go somewhere, anywhere. It didn’t matter where it was, just that I was out and about, moving somewhere and seeing something.”

“I understand…” Rin said. “Wanting to be like the wind, blowing this way or that, not caring where you end up as long as you’re moving. Because a wind that isn’t moving isn’t a wind, it’s just...nothing.”

“Yeah, something like that.” I thought about it for a second and added. “It’s like you with your art, I’d imagine.”

“Mm...different, yet the same. A different wind, blowing the same way,” Rin said, before nodding. “I want us to blow the same way, even if other winds try to blow us in different ways.”

“We will,” I promised softly, pulling her even closer to me. It was also a promise to myself, no matter what my parents said. “No matter what.”

“Ahem,” Shin cleared his throat, getting our attention as he stopped right in front of us. “As much as I love being the third wheel, I actually wanna go inside this store.”

The store he was referring to was an old looking one, the paint on it looking faded. The windows had kimonos and yukatas on display. I can’t help but be reminded of the Culture Day festival, where Rin, Emi and the others were in their yukatas. Such a fun time, which truth be told I’d found more enjoyable than my trip back home.

“Buying a kimono?” I asked as we entered the store, where an elderly couple greeted us. It was only inside where I realized that this store sold all manner of things, from model ships to paintings to small knick knacks.

“I wish. If only I had that kind of spending money,” Shin snorts before greeting the store owners, who seem familiar with him. “Nah, I just want to buy a small gift for Iwanako. This place sells all sorts of things, so I figured I’d see if they have anything she might like.”

“Iwanako?” Rin said, sounding confused. “A weird name. It doesn’t sound like a name, more like someone smashing two names together and they end up stuck. Is this person an old friend, Hisao? It feels like it.”

“Um, not really…” I answered. Calling Iwanako a friend was a stretch, when we barely knew each other in the grand scheme of things. Still, she was the one who visited me the longest when I was at the hospital, and sent me two long and emotional letters. It would be a lie to call her a stranger either. “It’s complicated, but she’s someone I want to meet while I’m here.”

“Oh…” Rin didn’t say anything after that and wandered off to inspect some other part of the store.

Shin’s desire to buy something for Iwanako made me wonder if I should do the same for Rin. I did bring a little bit of spending money. I looked around the store, wondering what Rin would fancy. Kimonos and yukatas were obviously out of the question, and she probably wouldn’t think much of a model ship or an old wooden toy. I turned to see Shin inspecting a rack selling a bunch of keychains, necklaces and hairpins, so I walked up to him.

“Finally decided on what to buy Iwanako?” I asked as he picked a keychain with a small wooden dog on the end.

“Yeah, she really likes dogs,” Shin replied, smiling brightly as he held the keychain in his hand. “She has a cute Pomeranian at her place, loves it like it was her own kid. She says she wants to get more when she has the chance, maybe a bigger kind.”

“Didn’t know that, actually…” I said, surprised at the revelation despite knowing that I shouldn’t be. “You’re really close to her, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, it’s pretty serious. About as much as you and Rin, I’d imagine,” he said as he took another look through the rack, this time picking out a pink hair clip. “We’ve visited each other’s folks, said ‘I love you’, we even promised to go to colleges in the same city once we’ve graduated.”

“Rin and I did pretty much the same thing. I brought her here to introduce her to my parents,” I responded, omitting their opinions on her. “I was actually thinking about buying a gift for her here, still looking for the right thing.”

“I’m sure she’ll appreciate anything you buy her,” Shin says in a reassuring tone. “After all, it’s more about who gave you the gift rather than what the gift is, at least for me. Iwanako could give me a bag full of pears and I’d still like it.”

“Wow, coming from the guy who’d rather do homework than eat a measly pear, that’s saying something,” I teased, causing him to roll his eyes. I looked around to see if Rin was within hearing distance, which she wasn’t. She was looking at a wall of paintings, back turned towards me. “But still, I’d rather find something that she actually likes, and not just because I’m the one who gave it to her.”

“Is there something you have in mind, young fellow?” The elderly man asks me in a kindly voice. “If you have an idea of what it is, I might be able to help you.”

“Something small,” I explained, still looking at the rack. None of the necklaces seemed right for her, neither did any of the keychains. “She’s an artist, so probably something of that nature. Something that signifies the freedom to be whatever you want.”

It was the second I finished my sentence that I laid eyes on something. It was a hair clip in the shape of a small feather, light blue and translucent. I was drawn to it, picking it out of the rack and inspecting it up close. It almost looked and felt like an actual feather, though it was probably made out of plastic.

“It seemed you found something that interested you,” The old man said. “Well, since you seem to be so enamored with it, I’ll give you a discount.”

“Oh, don’t believe his lies,” I hear another voice say in rebuttal, this time coming from the elderly woman. “He says that to every single one of his new customers, and not once does he lower the price.”

“You can’t blame me for trying to get a sale, dear…” the old man said submissively.

“I blame you for being a liar. This is why I don’t trust you around our grandsons.” I heard the two bickering for a bit, my eyes still fixed on the hair clip. More and more, I felt like it was the right thing to buy for her.

After Shin and Rin browsed a little while longer, we made our way to the counter. I asked Shin to pretend to buy the hair clip, which he obliged. The old couple still bickered even as he handed them the items and money, though it was clear that it was more affectionate than anything.

“No, no. You press this button. How many times do I have to tell you, old man?”

“I know what I’m doing, dear. I’ve been running this counter for four decades, so give me some slack, eh?”

I wonder if Rin and I would reach that stage. Perhaps not the bickering, but the affection persisting after so many years. Of course, what would ultimately determine that was how long I could live before my condition overwhelms me. The one thing that isn’t in my own hands.

I tried to shake off that depressing thought and focused on what matters now, spending more time with Rin.


After eating lunch and spending a few more hours wandering around the city, mostly window shopping and talking, we made our way back home. I felt a bit tired from all the endless walking, but Rin seemed to be able to handle it just fine. Most of the time I had an arm wrapped around her shoulder, and she kissed my cheek on more than one occasion.

Overall, I’d say it had been a day well spent. No problems, no bad surprises, nothing. However, the fact that I had to return to face my parents was not something I was looking forward to, inevitable as it was.

“Welp, guess this is where we part ways,” Shin said, a plastic bag in his hand. He was the only one who bought anything, mostly video games or snacks. He had given me the hairpin while Rin wasn’t looking. I’d promptly hidden it in my pocket, still looking for the right time to give it to her. “I’ll be hanging out with our old gang tomorrow. There’s a movie that they all really want to see, so…”

“I’ll be there,” I said firmly. “It’ll be nice to catch up with them. After all, we’ve had a fun time with you, right Rin?”

“Yes,” Rin stated, nodding. “Being with you and Shin is the most fun I’ve had in this city. Like drinking cold clean water after swallowing muddy water for an entire day.”

Shin chuckled at that analogy. “Well, it’s definitely fun having you around, I can tell you that. I’m sure the others will feel the same way, once you meet them.”

He turned to look at me, flashing me a smirk. “Takumi’s probably gonna hit on her. You know that, right? He tried with Iwanako.”

“He can try,” I responded, rolling my eyes. “But I’ll doubt he’ll get through to her.”

“I don’t want him to hit me,” Rin noted, sounding both curious and anxious. “I also don’t want him to go through me like a ghost. Even though I don’t know who he is, or if he even is a ghost.”

“He’s not a ghost, and he’s an alright guy...despite a few bad habits,” I answered immediately, adding a hint of sarcasm to the last one. This only causes Shin to laugh even more.

“Man, I don’t know why, but it’s like you two were made for each other,” he said before walking towards his home, “Meet you here tomorrow, at around ten in the morning. Enjoy the rest of your day, try not to wake the neighbours at night.”

“I think I like Shin,” Rin said once he’s inside his house. “Not as much as you, or my parents, or Hanako, or Emi...maybe like him more than Miki, though. He’s like a cookie you get for free, you like having it but you don’t want it around until you get it.”

“So you like him when he’s there, but you don’t really want him there” I said, to which she nodded in response. I turned into the direction of my house, feeling apprehensive that I finally have to return there. “Ready to head inside?”

“No, but we need to,” Rin responded, leaning her body against mine. “Like going to the dentist, or taking exams.”

With a bit of reluctance, we made our way inside the house. I could smell the scent of cooked food the moment we entered, which meant Mom was cooking. A rare occurrence given her busy schedule, but the fact that she didn’t cook that often made it all the more special. It helped that she was a very good cook despite the lack of opportunities to do so.

I recalled her cooking on birthdays, whenever I got a good score in a test, or whenever the holidays meant she didn’t have to go to work. It’s her way of letting me know she cares about me, and that she wanted us to be comfortable. At least, that had been my assumption about things.

I saw Dad sitting down on the dining room chair, reading a red leather book. Besides reading and watching baseball, he liked to read a lot, either newspapers or books about history or politics. Things I never had any interest in, though I tried to listen whenever he told me about them.

He noticed us come in and said in a friendly manner. “Welcome home, son. Rin. How was your tour around the city?”

“It was alright,” I answered immediately. “We met Shin and hung out a little, and he invited us to go see a movie tomorrow with our friends.”

“Ah, glad to see you two are still friendly,” Dad responded, putting the book down on the table. “Mom cooked your favorite tonight, karaage and curry.”

“AND some hot green tea to wash it down,” Mom added as she walked out of the kitchen, carrying a large pot of curry with vegetables in it. “Welcome back, Hicchan. Rin. Why don’t you sit down? Dinner’s almost ready.”

The two of us complied, sitting down opposite Dad as Mom placed the pot down in the middle of the table, then walked back to the kitchen. Dad turned to Rin and gave her a smile. “I hope today wasn’t too exhausting, Rin.”

Rin shook her head, saying nothing. Dad maintained his smile and continued speaking. “I was thinking about a Vincent Van Gogh piece I read about recently. I believe it’s called The Starry Night. It looks extremely interesting, that you can see every brush stroke that he did so clearly. What do you think, Rin?”

“I’ve seen it before,” Rin commented, and I could hear a hint of interest in her voice. She closed her eyes. “It was a long time ago, even though it wasn’t that long. Like a pond being big but an ocean being even bigger. The painting feels...incomplete, or at least the me then thought that when she saw that.”

Dad looked confused. “It feels...incomplete? How so?”

“It feels like everything is seperated,” Rin explained, eyes still closed. “Like each part of it is in a different place than all the others, just out of reach. But when you see them all at once, it becomes this complete picture even though there should be holes in it. But there aren't any holes, just one whole picture made out of separate parts that are still separated.”

“I see…” Dad said. He looked like he was trying to understand, despite the befuddled look in his eyes. “That’s a very interesting perspective on it, Rin. I suppose that’s how artists view things, huh?”

“It’s how I see it,” Rin clarified. “I may be an artist, and I may not be an artist, but I saw the painting as me.”

“Ah…” Dad trailed off, not knowing what else to say. It was clear that he was trying to get to know her more, trying to make her more comfortable about being here. I felt touched by his attempt, especially given our discussion yesterday. I turned to Rin and wondered if she noticed it too.

“What do you like, Mr. Nakai?” Rin asked, addressing him directly for the first time. “I don’t know you even though you’re Hisao’s Dad, so I feel like I should know you more.”

“Oh…” Dad thought about it before settling on something. “Well, I enjoy history and politics, though I think those subjects might be boring to talk about. Beyond that, I had a passion for baseball when I was a young boy, and I still do to some degree.”

“Baseball…” Rin thought about it for a bit. “Did you like playing the one swinging the bat, or the one catching the ball? I don’t really like either, ‘cause I can’t play at all.”

“You mean pitcher or batter? I preferred playing batter,” Dad sounded more passionate about this than most things. Nothing really got him going like watching a professional baseball game, though he’s never really shown an interest in playing it himself. “The feeling of a ball heading straight towards you, the sound of the bat hitting the ball and sending it flying, and then the inevitable rush as you try and round all four bases. Easily the most exhilarating feeling in my life.”

“Hm...you say it like how I would say about painting,” Rin noted, nodding her head up and down slightly. “Not exactly, but the feeling is similar. Like how feeling excited over your favorite music playing and feeling excited that you won a game of tic-tac-toe is similar. I...understand.”

“Well, I’m glad you do.” Despite the lingering confusion in Dad’s voice, I could hear his genuine appreciation. “And I’m glad that I’m able to talk to you.”

Mom came back to the dining table with four plates of rice with karaage and four cups of green tea, setting them on the table before sitting beside Dad. We all gave thanks to the food before digging in, Rin pushing her chair back to better use her legs for eating.

“Let me get the curry for you,” Mom insisted, using a ladle to pour some curry and vegetables onto Rin’s plate. “Don’t hesitate to ask for more.”

“Thank you,” Rin said in a quiet voice before eating some vegetables with her fork. “Your cooking is very nice. Better than the cafeteria in Yamaku.”

“I would hope so,” Mom boasted, sounding extremely proud. “I used to win my school’s cooking competitions when I was younger. The others never stood a chance against my spicy chicken
katsu. In fact, that’s how his father fell in love with me.”

“Huh?” I exclaimed, completely unaware of that fact. “I know you and Dad met in high school, but you didn’t say anything about cooking competitions.”

“Oh, I figured you wouldn’t be interested in details like that, considering the last time I tried to tell you this story.” Mom said, pretending to sound resentful of that. Pretending or not, I did feel ashamed for not paying attention the last time.

“I want to know...” Rin said before eating some rice. I wondered if she was genuinely curious or if she simply wanted to appease Mom. Regardless, Mom seemed genuinely happy about that request, beaming a smile. Dad simply rolled his eyes and continued to eat his meal in silence.

“Well, it was right after the competition,” Mom said, sounding extremely nostalgic. “I still had some of my cooking leftover, so I packed it in a lunchbox for later. Now, Hisao’s father was very forgetful back then, and he happened to forget the lunch his mother gave him. He would have bought something from the cafeteria, but he forgot his wallet as well.”

“It was just the one time.” Dad grumbled softly in between bites.

“Our college dates say otherwise, dear. Remember the time you bought me men’s clothing by accident?” Mom responded in rebuke, causing Dad to turn his head downwards in shame. I can’t help but chuckle at the sight that I’ve seen a few times in my childhood, but only now fully understood after having a girlfriend of my own. “Anyways, where was I? Oh, right.

“We were alone in the classroom when I heard his stomach growl, and he looked so pitiful that I offered him my lunch. I’ve never seen him look more grateful than when I gave him food that day. Of course, he insisted on repaying the favor, so he gave me some of his own cooking the very next day. Unfortunately, said cooking was rather...well, I gave him points for effort.”

“I’ve gotten better,” Dad mentioned again. “My cooking is rather good now, actually.”

“Good is a relative term, dear,” Mom responded, sounding almost pitying of him. “Regardless, I offered to teach him a thing or two about making food. One lesson led to another and before we knew it, we were dating.”

Rin actually seemed to like the story, as I saw her eyes light up a little. “Mm, I met Hisao during lunch. He opened the door and saw me eating stuff out of a bento box.”

“I was asked to move some stuff to the art room for a festival, during my first week there,” I added, recalling the first time we met. In hindsight, it’s probably the moment where my worldview about Yamaku started to change. “And then she was there. We had a conversation, and then when the festival came around we hung out together.”

“Oh, that was quite a long time ago,” Dad said. “And you two started dating after?”

“No, it actually took a bit before we were actually dating,” I explained, feeling oddly fine with the fact that my parents are curious about the details of our relationship. “We had a few things to sort out, and we caused each other some trouble. But after all that was past us was when we started to have a relationship.”

“We could have dated earlier, or later, but it wouldn’t have been the right time,” Rin said, closing her eyes. “We wouldn’t be the people that we were back when we started to love each other, so we became boyfriend and girlfriend at the right time, even if we didn’t know it was the right time.”

“Yeah…” I added in agreement, thinking about what she said. It sounded like Rin, yet different, like she’s trying to adapt to speaking with my parents while still retaining her identity. “I’m glad we started dating when we did, it was the moment we were sure that we wanted to be together.”

“That’s very sweet,” Mom said, sounding genuinely supporting before her face turned serious. “Hicchan, I know I’ve said some...rather uncomfortable things, and I won’t take them back. But...I’m glad that she makes you happy. Thank you for being there for my son when he was in such a difficult situation, Rin.”

Rin didn’t respond, but it was clear that Mom’s words had some effect on her. She took another bite of her rice before saying. “Thank you for making Hisao. If you didn’t make Hisao, I think I wouldn’t be as happy as I am, even if the Rin then wouldn’t know it. Like not knowing that if you had taken a step left, you’d have gotten a chest full of gold coins.”

“You have a way with words, Rin,” Dad complimented. “I’d imagine you make my son rather tongue twisted at times.”

“I’ve never grabbed Hisao’s tongue. I can’t,” Rin said, taking the phrase literally. “I guess I could grab it with my toes and twist it, but I don’t think I want to do that.”

This caused all of us to laugh, even Mom. I felt a sense of rapport growing between my parents and Rin, the beginning of a bond between them. While I knew it wasn’t enough to assuage their worries, it was something.

The rest of the dinner was full of conversation, a stark contrast to how last night turned out. Mom even offered to give Rin a few recipes for cooking, which Rin said that she’d consider. All in all, it was a very pleasant affair, though I reminded myself that this was simply a reprieve and that there were still problems between us.

Still, it gave me hope that they would come around to her. They’d already said that they don’t dislike who she is, and today’s dinner seemed to improve their opinion of her. But they still needed to be convinced that she can take care of herself, and take care of me if necessary.

I wondered how I was supposed to prove that fact to them. Perhaps a few months of living together during college will do the trick.


Dinner ended with everyone content, both from the cooking and the atmosphere. Mom went to the kitchen to clean up everything while Dad went to the living room. While they didn’t state it outright, they implied that they wanted us to be alone together, which I didn’t mind one bit. The two of us went upstairs to our room to relax.

As evening transitioned into night, we took a hot shower together as well as a change of clothes. Our dirty clothes were placed onto a pile in the corner of the room, which I’d eventually wash with our house’s washing machine. Another thing to consider when we have our own place, I realized.

I wondered how many other things I’d yet to take into account. Food, furniture, washing clothes, so many little things we’d taken for granted, being in an accommodating environment like Yamaku.

“Hisao, you’re hurting me,” I heard Rin say, and my attention immediately snapped back to the fact that we’re both sitting on the bed, and that I’m brushing her hair. “It’s like a bee stinging my head, except you’re the bee. Don’t be a bee, Hisao. Hmm...that sounded weird. Be a bee…”

“Oh, sorry,” I said, returning my focus on delicately brushing her soft hair with a hairbrush, something Emi apparently insisted on packing. Probably for this exact situation, in which case I silently thanked Emi for the opportunity. “You know, your hair has gotten a little long, Rin.”

“It has?” Rin asked as I ran a hand through her soft hair, which reached halfway down her neck. “I don’t know. Whenever my hair gets long, Emi just tells me and then asks me if I want to cut it. Sometimes she cuts my hair, sometimes she takes me to a barbershop.”

“Have you ever had long hair?” I asked, brushing her usually messy hair into straight lines. Rin had once said that she’d rarely brush her hair despite owning a brush, since she considered it an unnecessary hassle. When she asked me to help her, I was more than happy to oblige.

“When I was very young,” Rin said. “I had long and straight hair because Mama would always brush it for me after taking a bath, like trying to make a river flow in one direction instead of twisting and turning.”

“You must have looked really cute then,” I said, causing her to lean her body back towards mine, letting out a contented sigh as she rested the back of her head on my chest. I decided to focus on the sides and the front, which have also grown quite long. “What caused you to keep it short?”

“When I started painting, paint got into a lot of my hair,” Rin explained. “Mama found it really hard to keep washing it out, so she said that she was going to cut my hair short. She said it was an ‘artist’s haircut’, though I know people who have that haircut who aren’t artists, and people without that haircut who are.”

“So it wasn’t your choice?” I asked as I finished brushing her hair. She looked more orderly now that her hair was straight, and longer than usual. Different, but still the same Rin I fell in love with, regardless of the details.

“No, but I didn’t mind. It was like changing pork to chicken, they still taste alright,” Rin noted, letting out another sigh. “Would you like me with long hair, Hisao?”

“I’d like you with any hair, Rin,” I said, wrapping my arms around her, enjoying the warmth of her body. “You’ll still be beautiful.”

“Hmm, you said what Mama said back then. Are you a younger Mama? That wouldn’t be good,” Rin said, sounding confused. “I don’t want you to be Mama, I want you to be Hisao.”

“I’m Hisao,” I assured her, giggling a little. “I don’t know how to be anyone else but Hisao.”

“That’s good. I don’t want you to be anyone other than Hisao,” Rin said before breaking apart from me, turning to face me. She said nothing for a while before saying. “I love you. I felt like I wanted to say that, so I did.”

“I love you too,” I responded, planting a kiss on her forehead. I figured if there was a time to give her the gift, it’d be now. “I actually bought something for you.”

I got off of the bed and walked towards my desk, where I’d placed the feather hair clip just before showering. I took it and sat back down, holding it in front of her.

“A hair clip,” Rin said, sounding neutral as she inspected it. “It looks pretty, Hisao.”

“I picked it out specially for you,” I replied, feeling a bit embarrassed as I went through my reasoning for buying that specifically. “A feather symbolizes freedom, being able to fly wherever the wind takes you, always moving towards something new. At least, that’s what I thought when I got it for you. Sometimes you’re hard to follow, and I used to think you’ll slip through my hands, but I know that I’ll chase you wherever you go. No matter what.”

“Hmm, I understand you Hisao,” Rin said, a slight smile on her face. “The Rin I was back then wouldn’t have understood what you were trying to say, or at least she wouldn’t try. But the Rin I am, and the Rin I will try to be, does understand you.”

“So you like it?” I asked in a light hearted tone.

“I don’t know if I’d like it if anyone else gave it to me, but you gave it to me,” Rin’s smile widened as she said that, her eyes staring into mine. “I like it, Hisao. I like that you thought of me when you bought it. I feel like...a sun in the middle of night, shining brightly even though it’s so dark.”

Her approval was all that I needed. “Can I...put it on you?”

She nodded in response, and I carefully placed the hair clip on the corner of her forehead. Once again, she looked different than the Rin I’m used to, but it was still her. I can feel a wide grin forming on my face.

“I have a feather on my head,” Rin closed her eyes, maintaining her smile. “I feel like I’m a bird, except my entire body isn’t covered in feathers, and I can’t really fly. But I still feel like I can fly a little, because of what you gave me and because of what you say. So...thank you, Hisao. For helping me fly.”

“I’m sure you’re able to fly higher, and I’ll help you achieve that,” I responded, cupping her cheek. “I’m the wind beneath your wings.”

“No, not beneath. I want you to fly beside me,” Rin said, and we sat in silence for a while, smiles still on our faces. “I think I’ll let my hair grow long, Hisao. Just a little. Like someone sipping just a little water from a cup.”

“Oh? Any particular reason?” I asked.

“I want to try something different. Be a different me, if only by a little,” Rin answered. “I know that whoever I am, you’ll still love me. Just like how whoever I will be, I’ll still love you. So I’m not afraid of trying to be a different me, little by little.”

“At least with your hair, you can always cut it back to the way it was.” I quipped.

“But I can’t cut my hair. Using scissors with my legs is hard,” Rin replied, before letting out a light yawn. “Hisao, I’m tired even though I want to talk to you. And right now the two of them are fighting. What should I do?”

“It’s getting late,” I said, looking out the window. Despite not knowing what time it is, I was feeling a little tired as well. “Let’s go to bed. Then we can talk tomorrow.”

Rin reluctantly agreed and went down to the futon, wrapping herself with her blanket. I went to turn off the lights before laying back down on the bed, facing her. Closing my eyes, there was nothing but silence. But just as I was about to fall asleep, I heard her voice.

“Hisao?” She whispered. “Are you looking forward to tomorrow? Not in the ‘seeing the future’ way, but the ‘I’d like for tomorrow to come’ way.”

“I’m...not sure,” I said, wondering how much I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of my old friends. Our day with Shin was definitely making me optimistic, but there was still some apprehension about it. “But overall, I’d say I’m looking forward to it.”

“Then I’ll look forward to it too,” Rin replied, sounding uncertain. “Goodnight, Hisao.”

“Goodnight, Rin.” And with that, the two of us said nothing more as we slowly drifted into sleep. One final time, the thought of tomorrow creeped up. I was hopeful for it, yet I couldn’t help but feel like something might go wrong…

I prayed that that feeling didn’t get validated tomorrow, just when I’m starting to feel better about showing Rin the person I was before all of this started.

Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2020 7:29 pm
Location: Victoria, Australia

Re: Rin Epilogue: The Long Road (Updated 15/7/2020)

Post by SuzuSuzuki_bestgirl » Thu Jul 16, 2020 4:47 am

Hell yeah this depiction of Rin is awesome! Super faithful to the VN I feel, and I really like the way her character is evolving and managing to find small ways around her difficulties in communicating with others. Excited to see where you go with this, Moash!

Posts: 30
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 11:19 pm

Re: Rin Epilogue: The Long Road (Updated 15/7/2020)

Post by MoashLannister » Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:31 am

Credit to Lap for proofreading


Chapter 11: Shock

I had a better time sleeping last night than I did the night before, and it seemed Rin felt the same way. She didn’t look quite as troubled when I saw her in the morning, though some hints of uneasiness remained.

Still, I’d take my victories where I could get them, considering how badly our first day went.

We took our time getting cleaned before heading downstairs, where Mom and Dad awaited us. This time, we actually agreed to have some breakfast with them, which consisted of rice, a small fish, and some miso soup. It smelled really nice despite the simplicity of the meal, and tasted just as good

Conversation was the same as yesterday, with Rin and my parents getting to know each other a little more. Rin complimented Mom’s cooking again, and Mom even offered to teach her how to make a few meals. It felt like...a normal meal with my parents, something that definitely wasn’t the case two days ago.

Once again, I felt myself growing optimistic about this trip, hoping that it’ll be validated.

“That’s a beautiful hair clip you have there, Rin,” Mom commented as we finished our meals. The blue feather on the corner of her hair, something she had specifically asked me to put on her head after we were done cleaning. Whether or not it was deliberate on her part, I still felt pleased that she was still wearing my gift to her.

“Hisao gave it to me yesterday,” Rin answered, a slight smile on her face. “I didn’t know he was giving me a present, but he gave it to me anyway. Hisao was like Santa, except he’s real and he gave me something that wasn’t on Christmas.”

“Well, you certainly know what to give a lady, Hisao,” Mom complimented, causing me to blush a little. “You certainly don’t take after your father in that regard.”

Now it was Dad’s turn to blush as he looked away from Mom. “Must you always direct your jabs at me, dear?”

“As long as it makes the conversation more comfortable for everyone else, yes,” Mom replied, her voice a mix of innocence and playfulness. “Besides, it gives me more opportunities to tell people about when we were still dating. Isn’t that fun?”

“I guess…” Dad relented with a sigh. “Still, baseball tickets weren’t awful gifts, were they?”

“Well, it was certainly a gift for ONE of us.” Mom said, giggling at Dad’s continued embarassment. “Ah, I miss when we were able to do this. Don’t you, dear?”

“...I do,” Dad admitted after a brief silence, actually letting out a smile as he looked at me. “Thanks for giving us the opportunity, son.”

“Huh?” I replied, confused.

“Well, it’s been a long time since your father and I have had the opportunity to have some fun together,” Mom explained, sounding grateful. “Truth be told, if you had stayed at Yamaku during your winter break, we probably couldn’t justify taking a break from work. Your arrival here provided an excuse for us to spend time together, not just as a family, but as husband and wife.”

Her statement surprised me, making me realize that the two of them weren’t as close as I assumed they were. True, Mom and Dad worked at the same PR department, but the long hours, different corporate positions, and their workaholic natures would make it hard for them to spend time together, both in and out of work.

Even during my hospitalization, I’d never really gotten the feeling that their relationship was strained, but only now did I realize that I wasn’t the only one who was distanced due to their lifestyle.

“You’re welcome,” I say with a smile. “I’m glad you two can get to spend some time together.”

“That we all get to spend time together.” Dad corrected, a rare wide grin on his face.

“Thank you for breakfast, Mr and Mrs Nakai,” Rin said, bowing slightly. “Thank you for letting me stay here with Hisao, and for telling me a bit about yourselves. I think I’m getting to know you two more, like a fish finally learning to swim against a river current.”

“You’re welcome, Rin,” Mom responded as she gathered the plates and bowls. “We’re happy to have you here, and we hope you continue to enjoy your stay.”

I was glad Rin and my parents seemed to be getting along more. For a split second, I could almost forget my mother’s true opinion about our relationship. Perhaps before the trip ended, she would reconsider her stance after spending more time with Rin.

We stayed home for a little while longer, making some more small talk with them. Dad and Mom expressed interest in Rin’s art, and fortunately, she was comfortable talking about it. I could never predict when she would or wouldn’t be willing to talk about her work. Much like how I had been when we first met, Rin’s metaphors and descriptions seemed to confuse them to no end.

I couldn’t help but be amused remembering how I had been like initially, when trying to understand her views on art, or anything else for that matter. That time where I couldn’t even tell what she was trying to say felt like a lifetime ago.

Of course, to say I now understood her completely would be a lie, but that wasn’t the point. It wasn’t about a complete understanding of her, it was about understanding enough to know what she’s trying to convey. It’s something I’ve learnt while falling in love with her, that I had to learn.

Eventually it was time to meet up with Shin and the others, so we said goodbye to my parents. They asked us not to come home too late, as they had dinner plans with the two of us. This time, I was actually looking forward to it, if only a little.


“Morning, guys,” Shin greeted us as we exited the yard. He was already waiting outside and wearing a black winter parka. “Nice to see you’re on time. Unlike some people…”

“Takumi?” I said, instantly knowing who he’s referring to. He nodded in response. “Still the same lazy bum, huh?”

“Unfortunately,” Shin sighed in frustration, though he still smiled. “Morning, Rin. Slept well?”

“...I slept,” Rin answered, giving him a neutral expression. “I don’t know if I slept well or not, except when I’m sleeping. Like a food that immediately wipes your memory after you eat it, so you don’t know if it tasted good or not.”

“Fair enough,” Shin said, chuckling. “We’re almost ready to go, just one last thing before we head to the train station.”

“Oh? What’s that?” I asked. I immediately got my answer from a voice behind me. Despite the fact that I hadn’t heard it in a long time, I knew who it was immediately.

“Morning, Shin,” Iwanako said as I turned around to face her. She didn’t look much different than when I last saw her, with long black hair and blue eyes. Her attire almost looked the same as that fateful day, with a dark blue jacket and a long winter skirt. For a second, my mind flashed back to the moment when she confessed to me, almost a year ago in that snowy forest.

“Hey, Nako,” Shin said as he walked up to her, the two sharing a brief hug before parting. They shared a smile before turning to face us. “I...uh...huh, introducing you two is harder than I thought it’d be. Well, you already know Hisao by now.”

“I do. I’m happy that you’re here,” Iwanako said, a hint of relief in her otherwise formal voice. She looked at Rin and bowed down slightly. “Greetings, my name is Nanako Iwai, but please call me Iwanako.”

“I’m Rin,” Rin responded, returning her bow. “I’m Hisao’s girlfriend, except I’m more than a girl and more than his friend.”

Iwanako seemed to be thrown off guard by Rin’s statement. “R-Right, Shin told me about you. I’m happy that the two of you got together.”

“Me too, I’m glad you found someone who makes you happy,” I answered as Iwanako and I locked gazes. As we looked at each other, I felt like we came to an unspoken understanding. The past was the past, and all we could do was start over as proper acquaintances. “Shin really seems to appreciate you.”

“I appreciate him too,” Iwanako replied, blushing. Shin threw an around her shoulder, his face slightly red as well. It was clear that they weren’t shy about showing their affection. “U-Um, shall we go? We can talk along the way.”

We started to walk towards the train station, Shin’s hand still around Iwanako’s shoulder. I noticed Rin inching her body towards mine, and when I turned to look at her she gave me a small nod. I affectionately wrapped an arm around her.

“You knew what I wanted you to do, and you did it,” she whispered as we crossed a street, sounding grateful for the gesture. “It’s like I’m controlling you, but I don’t have a remote control with buttons to make you do things. Thank you, Hisao.”

“No problem,” I responded. Iwanako and Shin were a few paces in front of us, talking to each other. “Feeling jealous of them?”

“I see them like that, so I wanted us to be like that. Like going to a restaurant and ordering the food the person beside you ordered,” Rin said, shrugging.

“Um, so how’s Yamaku?” Iwanako asked as the two of them finished with their own conversation. “Is the place nice?”

“It is,” I answered, smiling at the memories I’ve made there. Despite technically being home right now, a part of me wanted to return to Yamaku already. “They have a lot of amenities, the environment is very nice, and it’s next to a very quaint town.”

“It sounds lovely,” Iwanako responded, sounding thoughtful. “I wish I could visit it, to see it for myself. We...um...”

She turned to Shin, who seemed to know what’s going on. He gave her an encouraging nod before she continued. “Um, Shin and I actually considered going to Yamaku. To pay you a visit during summer break, but we ultimately didn’t go through with it.”

“Why didn’t you?” Rin asked in an innocuous tone. “You didn’t want to see Hisao?”

Iwanako gave the two of us an awkward look, eventually turning away. Instead, Shin answered for her. “Well, we didn’t know how welcome we’d be. You hadn’t given us any signs that you’d appreciate us going there, man.”

“I guess that’s fair,” I responded, understanding their situation. “Besides, you guys probably deserved a summer vacation without me, considering what happened.”

Truth be told, it was probably for the best that they hadn’t visited. That summer break was a very personal one for me and Rin, as we slowly laid the foundations for the relationship we had now. If they’d popped in unexpectedly, I could only imagine things would’ve gotten messier and more complicated.

“Come on, don’t say that,” Shin retorted, annoyed. “We didn’t hate you back then.”

“I know,” I responded, taking a deep breath. “But still, I think this was the perfect time for us to meet again.”

“I believe so, too,” Iwanako added, looking back at us. “You’re different now, Hisao. Much better than when we last left off, I think.”

“I think so too,” Rin said in agreement. “I didn’t know the Hisao you knew back then, but I knew the Hisao that just came to Yamaku, a little. He was so hard to remember, but this Hisao smiles a lot more. Like someone who always has a funny joke shoved in his brain, not the words but the thing that makes the joke funny.”

“You seem to know a lot about him,” Iwanako said, a slight smile on her face. “I hope I can know more about him too. And about you, Rin.”

Rin’s only response was a simple nod. Shin gave me a smile and an optimistic look, probably thinking that this first conversation was going really well. And I agreed with him, as Iwanako and Rin seemed to be on good terms. I doubt Rin saw her as anything more than another one of my old acquaintances, but it was still important that she wasn’t dismissive of her either.

After a bit more walking, we reached the train station. We got on a rather crowded train, with Rin pressed up against my body rather tightly.

“Mm, I don’t like trains when there’s a lot of people,” Rin noted as we tried to balance ourselves. “I feel like I’m in a can of beans, except that I’m a bean and other beans are trying to touch me. I don’t want them to touch me.”

“I’m touching you,” I teased.

“You’re a different bean. I don’t mind a Hisao bean touching me,” Rin said. Beside us, Iwanako and Shin were in the same position, and they both giggled a little upon hearing that.

“Man, Mai and Takumi are going to hate being the only single ones in our group,” Shin joked as the train stopped at a station.


It had started to snow a little when we finally got off the train in the heart of the city. Rin seemed to enjoy observing it as we exited the station, Shin leading the way to our destination.

“Mama told me that every snowflake looks different,” Rin said as we headed down a busy sidewalk. “I can’t see anything different about them, they’re just snow. All of them are cold, all of them melt into water. When I told Mama that, she said I need special eyes to see it.”

“Every snowflake has a unique pattern to it, like fingerprints,” Iwanako explained. “But the details of it are very small, so an apparatus like a microscope helps to see the patterns in more detail.”

“Oh.” Rin closed her eyes for a few seconds before opening them. “I want a microscope now, but only to see snowflakes. So it’ll be like using a fork, but only using it for spaghetti and not anything else.”

“I have a microscope at home, if you’d want to use it,” Iwanako offered. “I could bring it over another day, assuming you two aren’t leaving tonight.”

“You have a microscope?” I asked, feeling a bit surprised. Though perhaps I shouldn’t be, considering I really knew nothing about her, interests included.

“I like science, it’s what I plan to major on when I get to college,” Iwanako said, a rare show of confidence from her usually demure demeanor. “Biology, specifically. Biology focusing on the habits and traits of fauna, if you want to be even more specific.”

“Yep, I’ll be going to the same college as her, though with chemistry instead,” Shin added as Iwanako looked at him with a grateful smile. I recalled him having a passing interest in the subject, so it made sense for him to choose it as a college major. “What about you two? Any plans after graduation?”

“I plan to take physics as my major, and Rin plans to take art as a major,” I responded, feeling a little uneasy about revealing our plans right now, when nothing is certain yet. “So that means we’ll probably be going to different colleges. We’ll find ones that are close to each other, and then rent a small place for us to live in.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Shin said, giving me a thumbs up. “Hey, maybe you can try and enroll in the same college as us. I don’t know if there’s an art college near it, but if there is, it’ll be perfect for the two of you.”

“I’ll consider it.” I replied. It’d be nice to be in the same college as them, allowing us to reconnect further. But in the end everything will have to be something Rin and I agree on, not just something I feel is right.

We continued down the sidewalk until I noticed two people waving at us, their faces instantly recognizable. Mai still had long red hair, and was wearing a pink parka and long white pants, her face an impatient scowl. If it were any other season, she would probably be wearing shorts and a sleeveless shirt, showing off her very athletic build.

She still had that energetic and impatient look on her face. I recalled the many times we’ve played soccer together, and the fact that it’s something I’ll probably never do again. In hindsight, it was a miracle I didn’t have a heart attack the time she kicked a soccer ball right into my face.

Takumi had a smile on his face, like he always did. Compared to Mai, he was wearing a very shabby looking woolen shirt and pants, along with a bright blue scarf. Some snow was trapped in his blonde hair, but his face looked as flawless as ever, with bright blue eyes and skin that almost seemed to glow.

It was always something we complimented and teased him for, often comparing his face to a professional model. It was also one of the reasons that his flirting sometimes got reciprocated, even if it eventually ended in failure.

“You’re late,” Mai grumbled as we walked up to them, seemingly uninterested in acknowledging my presence or Rin’s. “As always.”

“You always say that when it’s you who’s always too early,” Takumi pointed out in a teasing tone, causing Mai to roll her eyes. “Hey Shin, Nako. Glad to see winter hasn’t given you two the cold shoulder.”

“God, I hate it when you say that. You make cold puns every winter, give it a rest,” Shin replied as Iwanako cringed ever so slightly. He then motioned over to me. “Anyways...you knew this was coming when I told you yesterday.”

“Uh...hey,” is all I can manage, along with a short wave. “It’s nice to see you two again.”

Mai doesn’t answer, simply staring at me. But at least Takumi replied, in a rather excited voice. “Hey man, it’s nice to see you again. And I see you brought someone rather cute with you.”

“This is Rin Tezuka, my girlfriend.” I said, emphasizing the word ‘girlfriend” to Takumi. She looked at the two of them with curious eyes, as if trying to figure out everything about them based on how they look.

“Hey there, the name’s Takumi Mamizuka,” Takumi proclaimed, puffing up his chest to seem manlier. “I must say, you have a very wild look about you. As if the beauty of the forests itself was contained in your face, and in those green eyes of yours.”

“Told you he was gonna try and hit on her.” Shin commented quietly.

“Are you saying I have a forest inside my head?” Rin asked, which seemed to confuse Takumi. “That the inside of my head is full of trees, and bugs, and leaves, and things animals leave behind because they don’t know how to use a toilet?”

“Uh...no…” Takumi said, looking utterly baffled by her response.

“If I had a forest inside my head, I wouldn’t be alive,” Rin continued. I can’t help but snicker at her completely unintentional sidestep from Takumi’s pickup line, as I expected she would. “Because I wouldn’t have a brain, and I need a brain to live. Even though plants don’t have brains and they can live, so maybe if I have a forest inside me the plants will be alive, which makes the inside of me alive even though I’m really dead.”

“I...guess?” Takumi answered, as Shin and I chuckled. We’d seen Takumi get shut down before, but never quite like this. Even Mai was cracking a smile.

“Just give up, Takumi,” Mai commented, finally speaking up before staring right at me. “So...you seem better these days.”

“Yeah, I had some help,” I responded, still feeling a bit of tension between us. “I’m sorry for back then. How I...you know…”

“I know,” Mai chuckles, giving me a light smack on the shoulder. “You’re not completely off the hook, but it’s still nice to see you doing well. And I’m glad you got a girl that can make Takumi shut up for once.”

“Hey!” Takumi exclaimed in an offended tone, until Mai turned to glare at him. It seemed that particular dynamic still hadn’t changed a bit. He turned to me and gave me a friendly smile. “But yeah, I’m glad you’re doing well. And you even have a girlfriend, which makes the only single ones here me and…”

He didn’t finish that sentence, probably to evade Mai’s wrath. Shin simply shook his head at all of it, like a father disappointed in his children. “Anyways, we’re here to go see that new Ghibli movie, but the earliest showing is at 1. So how about we walk around the city, maybe grab a bite to eat while we all grill Hisao on how his life has been?”

After a bit of laughter on their part, we agreed to that proposal as the group started to move again. As promised, Rin and I were the focus of our discussions. Most of it was very basic questions, like how did we meet, or what did we do at Yamaku. I answered most of them, though Rin added an answer of her own every now and then.

We wandered around the city, looking at shops from outside and commenting on the wares within. Takumi and Mai halted us the moment we came to a video game store, perhaps the one thing those two had in common. We went in to see if there was anything interesting to purchase.

“I played a video game before,” Rin commented nonchalantly as we followed after them, Mai and Takumi already surveying the racks. “It was a really old one, and it was really hard. And not because I had to use my toes to press the button, but because it was really easy to jump down and never get back up.”

“What did you think of them?” I asked curiously, Shin and Iwanako seemed interested as well.

“Mm…” Rin closed her eyes to think. “It was...like trying to turn off the light, except instead of an on and off you had to do a lot of weird things. Move left, jump, jump, move left, jump, jump, again and again until the light finally turns on. I like the music though, it sounded like a robot whistling, even though I don’t know how robots whistle.”

“Wow,” Iwanako exclaimed, sounding genuinely impressed. “You actually made playing a video game sound interesting, Rin.”

“Did I?” Rin opened her eyes, confused. “I don’t think they’re interesting, though. Maybe it’s because I’ve only played it once. Do you two play?”

“Occasionally. Not as much as these junkies though,” Shin replied, pointing at Mai and Takumi. They were arguing over some game, attracting some stares from other shoppers. “They can lock themselves up in a room and play for an entire day. I joined them once, and ended up sore for an entire night. It’s almost impressive how they can just...sit there and play for so long.”

Iwanako simply shook her head, looking completely disinterested in the idea of playing.

As we heard Mai shout something at Takumi, Shin let out a tired sigh. “We...should probably avoid video game stores in the future. Otherwise we’ll have to go to an evening screening instead.”

We wandered the city a little more before stopping at a fast food place for lunch. It was crowded, and we prioritized finding a seat before ordering our food. Thankfully, a rather large group left just as we arrived, leaving their seats for us to occupy.

“Right, so who’s ordering and who’s paying?” Shin asked as he sat down, Iwanako sitting down beside him. “Me and Nako did it last time, so we’re out.”

“You guys still keep track?” I asked with a nostalgic smile. The four of us always kept track of who ordered and paid for the group, always making sure no one weasels out of doing their part. It was a small and insignificant part of my past, but the memories it brought up made me wistful nonetheless. “When’s the last time Takumi tried to pin it on someone else?”

“Heh, haven’t done it in a long time. I’ve learnt that it’s better to just pay up,” Takumi noted, resting his head on the table. “You, on the other hand, are overdue for paying duty by several months.”

“Fair enough,” I responded as I stood up, checking to see if my wallet was still in my pocket. “So who’s going with me?”

“I’ll do it.” Mai said. With that, everyone gave us their orders. Shin wanted a regular meal, Iwanako wanted a cheap budget meal, Takumi wanted two whole combos to himself. I wondered about what I wanted to get before realizing that Rin hasn’t given her order yet.

“Rin,” I asked, giving her a smile. “What do you want? I’m paying, so don’t be shy.”

“Mm… I don’t know. Can you order for me, Hisao? Like a bento box that I don’t know what’s inside. Except I know what can be inside, since it’s from a fast food restaurant.”

“You sure?” I asked again.

Rin nodded firmly. “I trust you, Hisao.”

I trust you. Three simple words, yet they sounded so sweet in my ear, even if it was just in the context of something simple like fast food. I nodded in response before going to the queue with Mai, hoping that Rin would be fine on her own for just a little bit.

Fine on her own... Suddenly my Mom’s argument flashed through my mind, and I silently chided myself for thinking that. Rin wasn’t a child, she’d absolutely be fine.

The queue was really long, so it’d probably be a while before Mai and I could place our orders. As we continued waiting, Mai eventually broke the silence by tapping on my shoulder.

“Hey,” she said bluntly, giving me her trademark annoyed frown. “So...you’re back. And you brought back a girlfriend.”

“Yeah...I did,” I responded neutrally, wondering where she was going with this. “What do you think of Rin?”

“Well, any girl that can twist Takumi’s tongue will always get some points from me,” she admitted with a small smirk. “But...she’s definitely a weird one, and I’m not saying that because of the obvious fact that we’re all too polite to mention.”

“You’re blunt as always,” I said as we moved up a spot. “Do you...have a problem with her?”

“Not really. You, on the other hand…” An uncomfortable pause followed before she continued. “I don’t know, it just feels weird having you here again. Talking to us like those times at the hospital didn’t happen, while the others all seemed to do the same. It’s...hard for me to forget how awkward those visits were, I guess.”

Well, I guess I couldn’t expect everyone to just forgive and forget. They’d all moved on, with me suddenly returning to their lives. More than most of us, Mai hated when things changed. I recalled her utterly losing it when one of her friends moved away without telling her, and my situation was not too dissimilar to that.

“I’m sorry,” I said, looking her in the eye to convey my sincerity. “I really am. I acted horribly back then, regardless of my reasons. You have every right to be mad at me.”

“I’m not mad,” Mai admitted as we moved up another spot. “I mean, I can’t say I’d act different if I was the one with a heart problem. If I had something that made playing soccer impossible, I’d probably lose it. The Queen of The Corner not able to play, can you imagine?”

“They still call you that?” I chuckled at the mention of that nickname, due to her uncanny ability to aim for the corner of the goals when shooting. “Guess you’re still every defender’s nightmare during practice, huh?”

“You bet I am. We almost made it to regionals last season,” Mai said, pride oozing from her voice. “Honestly, I don’t know if I should keep it up or not. Try and go pro, or just keep it as a serious hobby.”

“Well, if you think being a soccer star is who you are, then I’d say go for it,” I tried to sound supportive. Her passion for soccer was like Emi’s passion for running, or Rin’s passion for art. While I’d always played it just for fun, she always played to win in whatever setting she was in. “No point in having dreams if you aren’t going to chase them.”

Mai gave me a surprised look, before slowly giving me an appreciative smile. “Well, well, well, look at you, saying mature stuff like that. I guess going to that school really made you a better person, huh?”

“It has, or at least I hope it has,” I answered. “Though it wasn’t just the school. It was also the people there, willing to give me a hand.”

“Good for you,” Mai said as we moved closer to the counter, one person left. “Huh, funny how talking to you right now doesn’t feel awkward at all. It really did feel like you never left, even though you probably wouldn’t say any of that stuff you just said.”

“I can’t promise you things will be the way they used to be,” I admit as we wait for the final person to take his order. “I’m a different person now, in a lot of ways. But I’m still willing to be your friend, if you’ll have me.”

“Sure. You’re still a better friend than Takumi,” Mai joked, offering me a hand which I slapped down with my own. “Still, it sucks that me and him are the only single ones left.”

“You’ll find someone, and I bet it’ll be before Takumi does,” I said with confidence.

Finally, it was our turn to order as we went up to the counter. We quickly made our orders and paid for them, and went back to our seats once our food was ready.

“Hey there,” Takumi said as we put the trays down, immediately snatching his orders. “Took you long enough. Were you guys having a talk?”

“We were,” I confirmed as I sat down beside Rin, pushing her tray towards her. “I ordered some fries and nuggets for you, along with a soda. There’s chopsticks you can use.”

Rin nodded in response, looking down at the food and seeming to approve of it. “Thank you. Can you feed me, Hisao? I can eat with chopsticks, but I want you to feed me. Like how a mother feeds her children, except it’s boyfriend and girlfriend.”

I quickly looked around the table, with reactions ranging from surprise to mild jealousy.

“Sure thing.” I answered, unsure of whether to feel proud or not. I held up a fry in front of her, which she ate immediately.

“Mm...tastes hot, and oily. Like someone squeezing a rag full of hot oil into my mouth,” Rin commented. “Give me another one, Hisao?”

I did as she asked me, holding up another fry for her to eat. Eventually I did eat some of my own, alternating between feeding her and feeding myself. On a couple of occasions, I even saw Iwanako feeding Shin some of her food. From an outsider’s perspective, I can definitely see why it can draw attention from others.

“You’ve done this before, Hisao?” Takumi asked curiously before taking a large bite of his burger. “Must be nice.”

“It is.” I said, feeding Rin a nugget this time. “By the way, have you decided on a college major yet, Takumi?”

“Me? Hmm…” Takumi seemed to seriously think about it, a rarity coming from him.

“I’m a bit torn, honestly. Dad wants me to go to law school, and I’m not against it. But I’m actually considering going into tech, specifically video game-related tech. He says that it’s ultimately up to me, but honestly that just makes it harder. Sometimes having someone choose for you makes it easier, you know?”

“Mm, I don’t think so,” Rin answered, making everyone turn towards her. It seemed to take her a few seconds to realize that they wanted her to elaborate. “Having someone choose for you is like living in someone else’s house. They feed you, they clean the house, you don’t have to do anything. But it isn’t your house, so even though you don’t have to do anything, you still want to move out because you want your own house.”

“Sounds like me with my parents,” Mai muttered before nodding in agreement. “But I get what you’re saying. If you’re following what someone else has chosen for you, how can you say it’s what you really want?”

“That’s odd coming from you, Mai,” Takumi noted, a cheeky smile on his face. “Never thought I’d hear you trying to encourage me.”

“Don’t ruin the moment,” Mai requested with a sigh. “But yeah, make a choice and stick with it. No point in having dreams if you aren’t going to chase them.”

She turned to me after she said the words I’d said to her not so long ago, looking thankful for some reason. Maybe it’s because I’d given her something she always wanted to say. Despite their bickering, Mai and Takumi know more about each other than the rest of us.

Perhaps it was a more serious issue for Takumi than he let on. His cheerful persona was how he was a lot of the time, but it was also a mask for when things got difficult. It’s funny how these little things come back to me so easily, once I’ve started spending time with them again.

“Hmm, I’ll think about it some more,” Takumi mused, still smiling. “Thanks for the advice, I’ll make sure to keep it in mind.”

“You’d better,” Mai said, more urgent than angry.

“I know one thing, though,” Shin said suddenly. “Wherever we go, whatever we choose, I hope I can keep seeing you guys. We’ve gone through high school together, so I hope we can go through college together too.”

“S-Same here,” Iwanako added. “I know I’ve just joined this group relatively recently, and I know it’s because of some unfortunate circumstances, but I hope...I hope that we continue to be friends. That we’ll be in each other’s lives from now on.”

“Including Hisao and Rin?” Takumi asked dryly, to which Iwanako firmly nodded. “Yeah, I feel the same way. What about you, Hisao?”

All eyes turned to the two of us, and I felt a bit nervous and...sad. As heartfelt as this was, I didn’t know if I’ll ever be as close to them as Emi, Hanako or even Miki. They had been, and still were, my friends. But, really, how close were we to each other now, and how much closer will we be?

Once again, it was Rin who answered. “I hope I can be friends with all of you, because you are Hisao’s friends. You’re a part of his past, and I want to accept all of him. Like accepting all the colors a painting has. If we can see each other again, tomorrow or next month or next year, I’ll be ok with that.”

Something about her words gave me the answer I needed. True, I wasn’t as close to them as before, but that didn’t matter. The people sitting around this table are my friends, no matter what. If they want me to keep in touch, why shouldn’t I?

“Yeah,” I said with resolve. “I know what happened to me left me...distant to you guys. Even though we’re hanging out now, that still doesn’t change the fact that we’re different people from back then. But the times we spent together...I cherish them. If you’ll have me, I want to be a part of your lives again, and not just as a memory. As a friend.”

Everyone looked touched by my words, even Takumi. It was probably because I’d never been emotional like that before Yamaku. I hadn’t given much thought to anything, and simply went along with whatever my friends did. I never was emotional back then, so I suppose it’s another thing that’s changed during my time at Yamaku.

“Who knew our Hisao could be so emotional?” Takumi said jokingly. “Man, what did that school do to you?”

“It made me a better person,” I answered. “A more thoughtful person...I hope.”

“Well, I guess that settles it,” Shin said with a chuckle. “Let’s all keep in touch and remain friends.”

All of us nodded, even Rin.

After a bit more chatting we finished our lunch and exited the restaurant to head to the theater.I felt a renewed sense of affinity with the others. Up until recently, I’d always labeled them as ‘old friends,’ or even ‘former friends’, but it’s clear now that we’re just...friends.

They’d completely moved on from those days in the hospital, ready to accept me once more. And it was only now that I felt the same way.


The friendly atmosphere carried over to the movie. While I’d never been an avid moviegoer, Studio Ghibli was still a name I knew by reputation. I’d seen a few of their movies on occasion, both with friends and family, and it always gave me a sense of wonder watching while watching their stories unfold.

Apparently, Rin thought so as well, as she seemed completely immersed in the movie. While the others would occasionally whisper or discuss things about it, her eyes were glued to the screen from beginning to end. It came to a point where I realized we weren’t going to talk at all, so I simply sat back and enjoyed the experience alongside her.

After the movie was over I asked her, as we were exiting the theater, “So, I assume you had a good time?”

Rin nodded, her eyes still looking like they had been back in the theater, still watching the movie. “I’ve seen a few movies with Mama and Papa, but this movie...it felt as if it had a hand, dragging me inside the big screen. And I wanted it to drag me in.”

“Ghibli movies will do that,” Mai commented, sounding just as impressed. “If you want my recommendation, watch Spirited Away. It’s amazing even by their standards.”

Rin turned to me. “Can we watch that, Hisao? I’d like to see it.”

“Sure,” I answered. “They don’t show it in theaters anymore, but I’m sure we can find a copy of it somewhere.”

Content with that answer, Rin rested her head against my shoulder as the six of us exited the theatre. The sun was beginning to set, signalling the beginning of evening. We all looked at each other, smiles on most of our faces.

“Well, I’ll consider that a successful outing,” Takumi said in a casual tone. “Even though I couldn’t bring a date along, or get one.”

“Yeah, me too,” Shin responded. “Well, I’m still free for the rest of the day. If you guys want, we could still hang out a little more. Maybe grab some dinner before heading our separate ways.”

“Actually, my parents have dinner plans,” I said, feeling a bit disappointed that I couldn’t spend any more time with them. “We’ll probably have to go home pretty soon.”

“Well, are you free tomorrow?” Mai asked. “I don’t know what these guys will be doing, but I’d like to have someone to go to the mall with. Maybe shop for some clothes, eat some yakisoba, end the day with a little arcade fun.”

I turned to Rin, who gave me a noncommittal shrug. “We’ll consider it. Maybe we’ll give you an answer tomorrow?”

“Fine, fine, just give me a call,” Mai answered, pulling out her phone immediately. “You still have your old number, right?”

I nodded in response, pulling up my phone to see that they’re all still in my contacts list, barring Iwanako which was quickly rectified by exchanging our numbers. Along with the phone numbers of my friends at Yamaku, so it once again felt like I was increasing my social circle.

“So, this is goodbye,” Iwanako noted, smiling as we both registered each other’s numbers. “I’m glad I got to spend the day with you, Hisao, Rin. I hope we can see each other soon.”

“Aw, what about me?” Takumi jabbed before getting punched in the shoulder by Mai.

“I hope so too. Thank you for having me,” I said, to all of them. Despite wanting to stay longer, I was prepared to leave. “I’ll talk to you la-”


I couldn’t finish what I said as I felt something hit me from behind, sending me crashing down into the pavement below. The first thing I felt after I hit the sidewalk was the cold snow falling on the back of my neck.

I could feel something dripping down the side of my head, followed by a numbing sensation as the shock gave way to...to...

Oh...oh no…

That was all I could think as I felt a sharp pain in my chest, as if some giant hand was squeezing it as hard as it could. I wanted to get up and brush it off, but the pain pinned me to the ground, unable to do anything but to groan.

“Oh god! Oh god…” a voice said...was that Iwanako? Despite the pain, I couldn’t help but note how similar this was to the ending of our first meeting. It was almost as if fate was cruelly trying to repeat it. “Someone call an ambulance!”

The pain in my chest continued to torment me, leaving me paralyzed as I started losing access to my senses. The noises I heard were all a blur now, and I could barely feel the cold. My consciousness was beginning to slip as well, trying to drag me into the bitter dark in order to numb the torment I was in.

“Hisao…” I heard someone calling my name, the voice faint and full of fear. An unmistakable voice, even in my condition. That was Rin, and before I fully slipped into unconsciousness, my last thought was at how horrified she must be...


The first thing I heard was a high pitched beep, but it was all I needed to hear. I knew where I was just from that alone, and it was a place I’d never wanted to return to. A part of me wanted to slip back into being unaware, pretending that this was all a bad dream.

The idea that I’d simply wake up back at my bedroom was a foolish hope, but one I wanted to be real more than anything else.

Eventually, I opened my eyes, accepting the reality of the situation. The hospital room was remarkably similar to the one I’d resided in the last time. It might actually have been the same room, considering I was in the same city, and quite likely in the same hospital.

“He’s awake…” I heard someone say, relief in their voice. It sounded like Mom. “Oh, thank God.”

I turned my head slightly to see Mom and Dad standing beside my bed, their faces extremely worried. Dad immediately pressed a button on a table, presumably to call the nurse or doctor in. Mom simply looked at me, as if she was unsure that I was really awake.

“Hisao…” Mom pleaded, looking as if she was on the verge of tears. “Please, can you answer me?”

“I’m...alright,” I answered in a weak voice, feeling the dryness in my throat. “How long...have I been here?”

“Six hours,” Mom said, holding my hand and clutching it tightly. “It’s only been six hours. We came here right after we...oh, Hisao. I’m sorry…I’m so, so sorry…”

Sorry? What is she sorry for? My question is cut off as a doctor, a smiling elderly man with silver hair, came in along with a nurse. Despite his age, he didn’t look much like the apathetically professional doctors that treated me when I was last hospitalized. If anything, his smile reminded me of Nurse.

“Mr Nakai, I’m glad to see that you’re awake,” he said in an optimistic and cheerful tone, though it was hard to tell if it was affected or natural. “Are you experiencing any headaches right now? Pains in your chest?”

I answered as best as I could, to which the doctor nodded in response before looking at the clipboard he had in his hand. “We did a thorough analysis of your condition, but it seemed that this was nothing more than an intense heart scare. There appears to be no permanent damage incurred, which is extremely fortunate. We still need to keep you here for a few days, but apart from some minor head trauma, you’ll be just fine.”

“Thank you for the report doctor,” Dad said, letting out a sigh. “Thank you so much.”

“If you feel anything wrong, feel free to call for me. I’ll return once you’ve properly rested.” The doctor bowed towards us before leaving, the nurse trailing him.

“What...happened?” I asked. “I remember getting knocked down and then...nothing much after that...”

“Your friends told us what occurred,” Dad said as he held onto Mom, who was practically shaking. “It seemed that a rather large man was in a hurry, and accidentally crashed into you while he wasn’t looking. After you fell, your friends immediately called the ambulance, which arrived to bring you to the hospital. They followed along, while at the same time informing us of the situation though your cell phone. In fact, they left a short while ago.”

“Damn him!” Mom cursed angrily. “I wish we knew who that man was. I want to give him hell for what he did to you!”

“Dear…” Dad whispered in reprimand, not feeling the same way. I didn’t either, considering it was all just a big accident. If there was anything I blamed, it was my cursed heart for being the way it was. “Your friends said they’ll visit you tomorrow morning. They were very worried about you.”

More and more it felt like a repeat of the day I was first hospitalized, with one exception. One heartbreaking exception. I took a deep breath and slowly prepared myself to ask the question I almost didn’t want to ask, but one I had to. Whatever answer I got would not be a happy one, I feared, but...I needed to know.

“Where’s Rin? Is she...alright?”

User avatar
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:46 pm
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

Re: Rin Epilogue: The Long Road (Updated 15/9/2020)

Post by Hacksorus » Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:10 am

“Greetings, my name is Nanako Iwai, but please call me Iwanako.”
Wait, that's illegal. Can you do that? :lol:

Anyway, this remains my favorite Rin fic. I enjoyed the take on Hisao's friends and family for sure.

That's quite the cliffhanger you left us on. Looking forward to the continuation, whenever that may be.

Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:36 am

Re: Rin Epilogue: The Long Road (Updated 15/9/2020)

Post by Boret98 » Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:42 am

Oh boy, what has the mother done now? :oops:

For real now, I made an account just to say how much I like this story and what you've done with Rin. Keep up the good work!

Posts: 30
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 11:19 pm

Re: Rin Epilogue: The Long Road (Updated 15/9/2020)

Post by MoashLannister » Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:26 am

Chapter 12: Aftershock

Mom and Dad looked away from me, trying and failing to hide the looks on their faces. I knew from the moment I woke up that something was wrong regarding Rin. While I didn’t want to face it, the rational part of me realized that I needed to get more details before fully processing what had happened, and how it was going to affect the two of us.

“Please,” I pleaded softly. “Tell me. Where is she?”

After a few more seconds of silence, Dad answered. “She’s at home, in your room. When we met up with your friends at the hospital, Rin was among them. And she... Son, I don’t know how to tell you this—”

He rubbed his eyes, as if trying to muster the courage to continue. “She won’t respond. To anything. When we asked her about the incident, she just stayed silent, like she couldn’t hear our words. One of your friends told me that she’s been like that ever since you were knocked down, and that they had to practically drag her along to the hospital. I could see how afraid they were, not just because of you, but because of how...detached Rin was.

“I took her back to our home while your mother waited for you to wake up, and the first thing Rin did when she got back was to head to your room without saying a single word. When it was getting late I offered her dinner, but she still refused to speak. All she did was sit on her futon and look at her sketchbook for hours, barely moving at all. I...I didn’t know what to do, son.”

Every word that Dad spoke made me want to scream at him to stop. It was as if every word coming out of him was a knife stabbing right into my chest, trying to gut me in the most painful way possible. It was then that the reality of the situation truly set in. There was no hiding or sidestepping it anymore, Rin had experienced firsthand how fragile I truly was.

She was afraid now. Afraid of me. How couldn’t she be? Why shouldn’t she be afraid of losing me, when something as innocuous as a fall landed me in the hospital?

“Hicchan. I’m so, so sorry,” Mom said, the tears finally dripping down her cheeks. Dad was crying as well. And as I realized from how wet my cheeks were, so was I.

It was clear that they wanted to talk about Rin’s reaction, and about what that said regarding my relationship with her. But for now, all they did was cry alongside me, sharing our sorrows and our grief. I was grateful for that, even if I knew that the discussion was merely postponed rather than truly settled.

As it turned out, visiting hours were almost over. Mom and Dad left, promising to visit me tomorrow. They even offered a ticket back to Yamaku for me and Rin, should I want to go back the moment I was discharged. It didn’t matter to me at that point, and I simply told them that I’d consider the offer. After they left, I could only hope that what happened didn’t sour their opinion of Rin, though it seemed like it was already too late for that.

Soon after, a nurse came in with a tray holding a cup of water and some medications, which almost made me want to throw the tray away. The last thing I needed was a reminder of the very thing that caused this mess, and how I had no control over it. But, not wanting to die, I gritted my teeth and took my meds like a good patient.

I asked the nurse to turn off the lights as she left, and I stared at the empty ceiling, wondering how Rin was faring. Could she even sleep after what she’d seen? My thoughts keep circling around how I’d hurt her, preventing me from resting. All I could do was stare at the ceiling, as helpless as a single leaf in the middle of a forest fire.

“Why did things turn out like this?” Those words I whispered were the last thing I could remember before my body forced me to sleep.


Like they’d promised, Mom and Dad visited me late in the morning. They looked more composed than they had yesterday, which was the exact opposite of how I was feeling, tired and extremely irritable. Rin wasn’t with them, something I’d expected, yet it hurt nevertheless.

“How are you feeling, Hisao?” Mom asked. When I refused to answer, she clasped my hand in hers. They felt warm and organic, which was preferable to how cold and sterile my hospital room was. It felt as if the room wasn’t meant for people to inhabit, despite the fact that it was specifically designed for such a purpose.

I let out a deep sigh and asked. “How’s Rin? Has she eaten anything since yesterday?”

“We left some food for her last night, and she ate it. We left her some breakfast before we left her,” Mom answered, rubbing her hand on mine. I felt as if I was a child again, having a cut soothed by her. “Hisao, we need to talk about her.”

“Is this really the best time?” I muttered, hoping to stall this conversation some more.

“This is the only time,” Mom answered, adamant despite her sympathetic tone. “Hisao, please tell me the truth. Did she know about your condition before this incident?”

I was sorely tempted to lie, but that would be a futile effort. Whether she knew beforehand was irrelevant at this point, considering her reaction. My mind flashed back to the day I told her about my arrhythmia, how horrified she’d looked when she realized my mortality. It was as if I’d done something unspeakably cruel to her, and perhaps I had.

After all, what could be worse than loving someone with a death sentence?

“She was aware of it,” I answered at last, looking away from her. “But we’ve avoided the topic ever since I told her. It didn’t affect our day to day life, so it was easy for us to pretend that it wasn’t that much of an issue. That’s the truth, Mom.”

“Hisao,” Mom said, her voice wavering between serious and vulnerable. “Please listen to me. I know you love her, but I just can’t accept her as someone who you will spend the rest of your life with. You do need to be taken care of in situations like what happened yesterday, and I don’t think she has the ability to do so. What would have happened if your friends weren’t with you when you had that heart attack?”

I tried to think of some sort of objection, but I failed to do so and remained silent, my already bleak mood souring further. Mom turned away from me, looking frustrated as Dad placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.

“Like I said two days ago, son, I don’t fully share the concerns your mother has.” Dad stared at me, his eyes calm and logical. He always did that when he wanted to make a point. “But to be frank, this incident has changed her, and not for the better. Should something like this happen again, can you live with the consequences? Not just to you, but to her?”

“I…” I didn’t even know what I wanted to answer, so I simply sighed. “What should I do?”

“I can’t answer that for you,” Dad replied as Mom rested her head on his chest. I felt a twinge of jealousy upon looking at them, wishing that I could find comfort in Rin’s presence. “But sooner or later you WILL need an answer. To Rin, to us, and to yourself.”

“I know,” was all I could really say. “Mom, Dad, please take care of Rin while I’m here.”

“We will. We promise we’ll make it as comfortable for her as possible,” Mom says solemnly, giving me some relief. “But in return, please think about whether it’s worth risking yourself like this if you continue this relationship. That’s all I ask of you.”

“Okay,” I answer after a brief silence. Not long after, I hear the door open and a group of people entering. Shin, Takumi, Mai and Iwanako, a scenario that was so familiar that I almost wanted to laugh like a madman. History really is repeating itself, except this time it’s arguably worse than the last.

“Hey, man,” Shin said, sounding worried. “Are you alright?”

My first instinct was to keep silent, feeling both too tired and too frustrated to want to answer such a banal question. But then I realized that this would distance myself from them again, and I’d be right back where I started. So I mustered the effort to try and be friendly, if for no other reason than to salvage something out of this involuntary trip to the hospital.

“Given the circumstances, it could be worse,” I remarked drily, a little bit of my bitterness seeping out. “Thanks for calling an ambulance so quickly. Laying down on the pavement yesterday didn’t exactly feel comfortable.”

They seemed a little thrown off that I was making a joke, and I wondered if they realized that I was deliberately trying not to repeat what happened last time. Regardless, the four of them gave me smiles, ranging from forced to genuine.

“Hisao,” Iwanako said, sounding extremely reserved and shy. “I’m so sorry that this happened, and with how Rin…”

“Nako,” Mai interjected. “Now probably isn’t the right time.”

“It’s fine,” I said immediately, much to Mai’s shock. “What’s done is done, so there’s really no point in trying to hide it. And you shouldn’t feel bad about it, Iwanako. I’m honestly grateful all of you were there when it happened.”

Iwanako and I locked eyes for a few seconds, and she seemed to feel the sincerity in my words, nodding her head in acceptance. This was already going better than last time, which I felt happy about. Sadly, that happiness was smothered by my continued worry for Rin, and what was going to happen once we finally met again.

The morning was spent talking with my parents and my friends, trying my best to make casual conversation with them. We talked about various subjects unrelated to the current situation, probably to get all our minds off of it temporarily. Mai complained about her family, Takumi joked about finding another date for next week, while Iwanako, Shin and I simply added whatever comments that came to our mind.

Mom and Dad were silent for the most part, though they expressed their gratitude to my friends for coming to visit, and for helping me. When it neared noon, Mom and Dad got up and said they needed to head home to take care of some things. We waved them goodbye, and they promised to call me later in the day, to both check on me and to update me on how they, as well as Rin, were doing.

“It’s almost lunchtime,” I commented. “Where are you guys going to eat?”

“Actually, we were thinking of heading to the hospital cafeteria,” Shin said. “We sort of canceled all our plans for today.”

“Not that I had any to begin with,” Takumi said with a shrug. “I’m afraid you’re stuck with us for the rest of the day.”

“You didn’t have to,” I responded, my eyes feeling tired from a lack of sleep. I closed them, and surprisingly, I managed to smile a little. “But thanks. I appreciate it.”

“What are friends for, huh?” Shin said kindly. “We’ll be here for you, Hisao. You can count on that.”


“I activate Mirror Force, all your monsters are now destroyed,” Mai said smugly, much to Takumi’s chagrin. “Coffin Seller activates for every monster sent to the Graveyard, which means you lost 1200 Life Points, which means that’s game.”

“If only I had MST,” Takumi responded with a sigh as the two of them picked up their cards and placed them back to their decks. “Oh well. I still have a winning record over you. Rematch?”

“Nah, let’s play something else,” Mai responded, looking at the three of us. “I think they’re starting to feel left out.”

“Not at all,” Shin replied sarcastically as Iwanako and I looked up from our books. “It’s not like I stopped keeping track of what you’re all doing five turns ago.”

All of us laughed at that as the two of them returned their decks to their deck boxes. It had been a rather pleasant afternoon, all things considered. After they came back from lunch, Shin and the others revealed several items in their bags, ranging from books to snacks to games of every sort.

So the next few hours were spent casually wasting time reading or playing or simply conversing with one another, as if this was one of our bedrooms instead of a hospital room. It was nice to have my mind distracted from all my worries, though they still persisted in the back of my mind.

Before anyone could suggest what to do next, a nurse came in with my medications, placing them down in front of me. With a sigh, I started taking them while the rest of them looked on, my darker thoughts slowly creeping back to the forefront.

“Hisao?” Shin said as I was taking another pill. “Um, can I ask you something?”

“Sure, what is it?” I responded, wondering what he wanted to ask.

“Is...there anything we can do for you? For Rin?” Shin asked. Judging by the others’ expressions, it seemed that this was a question he planned on asking beforehand. “It’s just, you’re our friend. And so is Rin. I don’t know what it is exactly, but we know something is wrong between you two. If there’s any way for us to help, then we’ll be happy to do it.”

While I appreciated the sentiment coming from them, that was the last question I wanted to hear right now. The thought of mending my relationship with Rin was tricky, to say the least. At best, we can have a conversation about my condition and see where we go from there. At worst, our relationship would end without a single word said.

“Thanks for offering to help,” I said, trying to sound calm despite my tumultuous thoughts. “But there’s really nothing you can do right now. What’s happened is something that needs to be privately settled by the two of us. If you tried to join in, it might just make things more uncomfortable for her.”

They seemed demoralized by my answer, but accepted it nevertheless.

“I’m sorry,” I added, closing my eyes once again, as if doing so would shut me off from this reality. “I came here to try and reconcile things with you all, but it seemed I’ve ended up causing more trouble.”

“Don’t say that,” I heard Mai said. “It’s not your fault. I’m glad we got to meet, even if it ended up like this. We’re friends, and friends support each other. If it were anyone else in your shoes, hell even Takumi, all of us would be doing the same thing.”

Her words struck a chord with me, and I felt appreciation for their concern. If nothing else, that showed that I’ve changed from where I was the last time, where I felt nothing but apathy towards anything and everything.

“Thanks,” I said, letting out a sigh. “For being here. All of you.”

“No problem,” Shin responded as I opened my eyes, looking at my friends. “So, how about we play another game?”

“Yeah…” I responded, forcing a smile. “I’d like that.”

The next few hours were spent playing games together and discussing topics of little consequence. Neither my condition nor Rin were brought up again, and I was grateful that they were leaving those subjects alone. I recalled something similar happening on my first hospital stay, but that was out of awkwardness rather than trust.

“I want a red card,” I said as I threw down the black card, leaving two cards in my hand. Mai groaned and grabbed a few cards from the deck, finally throwing down a yellow reverse card. In response, I threw down a yellow 3 card. “Uno.”

Takumi threw down a Draw 2 card in response, which Iwanako responded with her own Draw 2, followed by Shin throwing down a Draw 4. Mai looked at the stack and rolled her head back, letting out an agonizing noise, much to everyone’s amusement.

“What color?” Mai asked as she drew eight cards. “And it better not be the last card in Hisao’s hand.”

Shin thought for a few seconds, eyeing me for any signs. In the end, he proclaimed. “Blue.”

I could barely contain my smile as Mai threw a blue card down onto the pile, which I immediately threw my last card down as well. The rest of the group shouted at Shin, who looked down with a defeated smile.

“That was fun,” I commented as Mai grabbed all the cards and stacked them into a proper deck. Looking at the clock, I saw that itwas almost three. “You guys said you have things to do later, right?”

“Yeah, why?” Takumi asked before looking at the clock, realizing what I was talking about. ‘Later’ had become ‘now.’ “Oh. Time sure flies, huh?”

“We can stay a little while longer…” Iwanako offered, which the others seemed to agree with.

“I appreciate it, but I think it’s time you get going,” I said, as kindly as I can. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy their company, quite the opposite. But...it didn’t feel right interrupting their lives for the sake of trying to distract me, especially for this long. “I mean it. You guys have things to do, and you shouldn’t delay them for my sake. I’ve been meaning to take a nap anyways.”

“You sure?” Shin asked, to which I nodded in response. They seemed to accept my decision. “Alright, but we’ll be here tomorrow. Is that okay with you?”

“As long as it doesn’t interrupt anything important,” I said. “Thanks for spending time with me. It must have been difficult.”

“Not at all, dumbass,” Mai replied, sounding annoyed. “It was fun, don’t think it wasn’t.”

“Yeah, it’s nice to beat you in Go Fish again,” Takumi added, sounding smug before his face grew serious. “I hope you get better, Hisao. Not just your body, but...you know.”

“I know,” I said as they were getting ready to leave. “Goodbye.”

“Goodbye,” they said in return, exiting the room.

Despite the fact that I had insisted they leave, I couldn’t help but feel lonely as soon as they left.


It wasn’t until the evening that I got a short visit from Mom. In the intervening period, I took a nap and read some books that my friends left me. All of them were stories of optimistic nature, which I was fairly sure was intentional on their part.

“Hey, Mom,” I said, not bothering to hide my worried tone. “How is everything?”

“Everything is...alright, Hicchan,” Mom responded. The fact that she’s using my nickname meant that she was calmer now, which was a good sign. “Your father feels extremely tired today, so he’s taking a nap right now. He spent all of last night fussing over you, dear.”

“And what about you?” I asked. “I can’t imagine that you were asleep while he was doing that.”

As if her body was betraying her, Mom let out a yawn. “Oh, I’m plenty tired too, Hicchan. But there were things that needed to be done, and someone had to do them.”

“I suppose that’s true,” I responded, feeling a little guilty. Mom and Dad staying awake because of me seemed so small, yet it’s just part of a large pile of sacrifices and mistakes my condition had wrought, not to mention having to take care of Rin right now. “I’m sorry for making you worry about me.”

“Don’t be, Hicchan. What parents wouldn’t worry about their child?” Mom responded, her voice warm and caring. “We couldn’t sleep the night we left you in Yamaku either, or the day after that, or the day after that. We missed you, even if we knew that leaving you there was for the best.”

I heard her sniffle, and I nod my head in acceptance of her words. Whatever rift there had been between us felt so childish now. No matter what, my parents loved me, and I loved them. Even if we’ve grown distant, there was no changing that.

But even so, I still couldn’t bring myself to accept her stance on Rin.

“How’s Rin, Mom?” I asked, my voice shaking. “Is she alright?”

“She’s starting to respond to us,” Mom responded, and I breathed a sigh of relief. However, I noticed that her voice was shaking as well. “Not much, but she nods her head when we tell her something, and she’ll eat the food we give her. But Hisao, I’m not comfortable with this. All she does is stare at her sketchbook or look out the window. When I try to talk about you she goes dead silent until I leave the room. It’s almost like I’m taking care of an animal instead of another human being.”

Her statements made me feel a range of emotions: relief that she’s eating again, anxiety that she’s clearly still shaken, and anger at Mom for saying that she’s like an animal. Like she’s less than human, despite the fact that Mom didn’t say it in a malicious way.

“I see,” was all I said. Honestly, it was all I could say without completely losing my rationality about the situation.

“Hisao, what are you going to do?” Mom asked, letting out another sniffle. “Putting my opinions about her aside, this situation just isn’t healthy. For her especially, but for you as well.”

“I don’t know!” I respond immediately, almost raising my voice. My emotions are starting to seep in, trying to break out of the walls I’ve erected around them to keep myself sane. “I don’t know what to do, Mom.”

“Hisao…” Mom whispered, pulling me into a hug to comfort me. “I want to help you, but I know that this is out of my hands. Whatever happens will be up to both you and Rin, but especially her. If she refuses to accept your condition, you can’t force her to do so.”

“I know,” I said, clenching my fists at the mention of that possibility. “And if that happens...if that happens...then it’s for the best that we go our separate ways.”

I didn’t know what drove me to say those words, or how much I truly believed them. Perhaps I was doing it to appease Mom, or perhaps I was lying to both her and myself. But most likely was the realization that if Rin couldn’t accept my mortality regardless of what I tried to do...then it would be for the best that I exited her life, as painful as it would be for the both of us.

I felt something wet on my cheek, and realized that I was crying again. Just saying those words brought me to tears.

“Alright then. I won’t speak any more about the subject,” Mom said softly. “I love you, Hisao.”

“I love you too, Mom,” I responded, feeling extremely tired and drained by the conversation, despite how short it had been. “Please let me know if anything happens.”

“I will,” she responded, and left not long after that.

I slumped back down into my hospital bed, wanting to sleep. At least that would give me a few hours where I wouldn’t have to think about anything. But despite closing my eyes and waiting for a while, sleep refused to pull me into its embrace, and I sat back up on my bed with my head in my hands.

I needed someone to talk things over with, and I knew who to call. It wasn’t going to be a pleasant conversation, but having to mull over my thoughts in isolation was even worse. Pulling my phone out again, I tapped Emi’s number.

After a few seconds, I heard her voice. “Hey there, Hisao? How are you doing? How’s Rin?”

Her cheery and energetic voice almost made me want to hang up, both because it felt out of place with my current mood, and because I was going to bring down that cheerfulness with what I was about to say.

“Hey, Emi. Are you busy right now?” I asked, trying to keep my tone neutral.

“Nah, I’m just at my Mom’s place,” Emi responded. “Spent the last few days hanging out with Hanako and Miura. Hanako even decided to run with us one time, but she probably got scared after seeing me and Miura go at it.”

“That’s nice,” I said, finding some measure of comfort that my other friends are doing alright.

“So what are you doing right now?” Emi asked, her voice curious and demanding. “Please tell me your parents are head over heels for Rin already.”

“I’m resting,” I answered, preparing myself for what I’m about to say. “In the hospital.”

“Haha, real funny,” Emi said sarcastically, but when she’s met by silence, she immediately shouts, “You’re kidding, right? Please tell me you’re joking.”

“I wish I was, Emi,” I muttered, frustrated. “I really wish I was.”

“Tell me what happened, Hisao,” Emi demanded, her voice lacking her usual loudness, yet made up for it for how serious she sounded. “Don’t you dare leave out a single detail.”

I told her what happened, starting from the moment Rin and I stepped into my home until the present moment. Emi didn’t interrupt or say anything, simply listening as I tried my best to tell her every detail, even the seemingly irrelevant ones like giving Rin that feather hairpin. In the back of my mind, I wondered if she still had it.

When it was over, Emi still didn’t say anything. In the end, it was me who decided to speak up.

“What do I do?” I asked desperately, knowing she probably didn’t have an answer either.

“I…” Emi seemed at a loss for words. “I’m so sorry this happened, Hisao. I don’t know what to tell you, or even what to think. Damn it, I can’t even be angry. This sucks!”

“You seem pretty angry right now,” I remarked, in a vain attempt at levity.

“Yeah, but I can’t be angry at anyone for this. Not you, or Rin, maybe your parents but...arrgh!” Emi seemed to hold the phone away from her as she shouted, because her voice faded away before returning. “Alright, let’s get this out of the way. What are you going to do once you’re out of the hospital?”

“I intend to talk to her, or at least try to,” I responded, sounding sure of that when everything else is anything but certain. “After that, then...it’ll be up to her.”

“Really, Hisao? That’s your plan?” Emi demanded, sounding angry. “She probably isn’t going to listen to you in the state she’s in. And even if she does, there’s no way in hell that she’s going to take it well at all.”

“If you have a better idea, I’d like to hear it,” I remarked bitterly, almost letting out a snarl in frustration. When I’m met with silence, I continue. “This...this is the only option. If I don’t try, our relationship might as well be over already.”

“Alright,” Emi said at last, her voice shaking. “I suppose you’re right, it’s really the only thing you can do right now. I’m sorry for shouting at you, I just feel so helpless. I want to help you two. Hell, if helping you meant I had to run all the way to where you are, I’d do it.”

“I appreciate the sentiment, and I’m sorry for lashing out,” I responded, sounding equally shaken. “It’s just hard to accept that things turned out like this. I thought I’d have time for her to slowly accept my condition, but now…”

“Now she has to, or else you two can’t be together,” Emi finished for me, both of us feeling defeated. “Is there anything I can do? I feel like I should do something, anything.”

“Actually, there is,” I mentioned, closing my eyes. “Could you please tell Hanako and Miki about this, and that they should prepare themselves if things go badly between Rin and me.”

The thought of revealing all of this to my friends was more daunting than I’d thought it would be. Despite the fact that it would have been revealed upon our return, the idea of keeping them in the dark was tempting. But in the end, they needed to know. They deserved to know, even if I didn’t have the will to reveal it to them myself.

“Are you sure?” Emi asked.

“They need to know,” I said, letting out a sigh. “But...I can’t do it myself. It’s hard enough just revealing it to you.”

Another period of silence. For a moment I actually thought she’d hung up, but then I heard her voice again, faint and afraid.

“Alright, I’ll do it,” Emi answered, sounding as numb as I am. “I’ve got to go now, Hisao. Mom’s calling me. But I’ll make sure to call you tomorrow, alright? I’ll probably have Hanako along with me too. Maybe Miki”

“That’d be nice,” I admitted. “Goodbye, Emi.”

“Goodbye. I hope things turn out ok.” She hung up the phone, leaving me alone once again.


The next few days went by at an agonizingly slow pace, with my worries slowly accumulating the more time I was alone. What small comfort I got came from the regular visits from my parents and friends, though Rin’s notable absence served to dampen that comfort. Otherwise, I would read whatever I had on hand and try to look forward to my inevitable discharge, despite the fact that I dreaded having to confront Rin about my condition as well.

Hanako, Miki and Emi called me on occasion, asking me how I was doing and offering their condolences on the situation. It was nice to be able to talk about my problems with them, as I trust them more than my other friends, or even my parents, to let my vulnerability show and for them to do the same.

Eventually the day arrived when I could finally be released from my sterile prison. Dad came alone to pick me up. We grabbed what little of my things were in the room before heading to the reception counter. There wasn’t a word said between us as we filled the necessary paperwork, as well as renewing my stock of medications.

As we headed outside, I took the opportunity to breathe in the fresh afternoon air. The winter chill was a nice feeling after staying cooped up in a warm hospital room for so long, as well as the wind blowing in my face.

“You seem excited to be out of there, son,” Dad noted as we headed for the car. “Not that I could blame you.”

“I wish I could stay outside a little longer,” I responded with a sigh. “But right now all I want to do is to go home and see how Rin is doing.”

Dad didn’t respond, and I hadn’t expected him to. During my hospital stay, he and Mom continually updated me on Rin’s condition, and it had stayed pretty much the same since the second day. She would eat and respond to basic questions, and she was even able to shower. But any mention of me would render her completely silent.

The both of them felt more and more uncomfortable as time went on, and had little problem letting me know about it. While they understood her shock, they told me that her continued presence was unnerving them.

“Every time I pass by your room, I can see her just...sitting there, doing nothing,” I remembered Mom saying during one of her visits. “Sometimes she moves by the time I pass by again, but sometimes she’s still in the exact same position. Like a statue.”

We got in the car and Dad began to drive. I decided to try and distract myself by looking outside. The moving scenery helped to improve my mood a little as I tried to look at every element, from the people tending their own lives to the various buildings to even the leafless trees covered in snow.

“Have you decided?” Dad asked as we stopped at a traffic light. “On whether or not you want to head back to Yamaku early?”

“Yeah, I think I do,” I responded, though actually I wasn’t fully certain. While I would prefer to be there right this instant, I’ll settle for getting Rin to a more familiar environment as soon as possible. All that mattered at this moment was getting home to Rin. “I think it’d be better for me, and for Rin.”

“I’ll buy the tickets for tomorrow then,” Dad said as the car began to move again. “Your mother will certainly miss you, but I’m sure she’ll understand, especially given the circumstances.”

“And you?” I asked for the sake of asking. “Will you miss me, Dad?”

“You know I will, son,” he answered without hesitating, emotional despite his quiet voice. “I know this trip didn’t turn out as planned, for either of us, but I treasured every single second I got to spend with you. Never forget that.”

It was rare for him to sound this passionate, which made it even more meaningful. If he wasn’t driving, I probably would have hugged him then and there.

“Thanks, Dad,” I said quietly. “I love you.”

“I love you too, son,” Dad answered, and for a second I could hear his voice waver ever so slightly. “Always.”

Always. The word sounded bittersweet to me. The idea of always being there for someone, to promise to remain by their side for life. It wasn’t something I could promise, not when my life was so faulty, so easily taken at any given moment.

And yet I’d promised that to Rin, only for her to learn how fragile ‘always’ can be. Was doing that a mistake? It didn’t feel like it at the time, but now…

“We’re here.” Dad said, and it’s only now that I realized that we’re back home. I reached for the car door handle, only to freeze as I realized that in a few moments, I’d be back with Rin again. That I would have to confront her about my condition.

And that utterly terrified me. Perhaps even more than getting my first heart attack.

I reluctantly opened the door, walking into the house, and into Mom’s open arms. She pulled me into a tight hug, which I gratefully returned. For a few seconds that terror started to fade, only to resurface again once the hug ended.

“How are you feeling, Hicchan?” Mom asked, hands still on my shoulders. “Anything wrong? Do you feel sick at all?”

“I feel fine,” I said, though that was obviously a lie. “Is Rin upstairs?”

Mom’s face soured a bit, but she nodded. “Hicchan, are you sure you want to see her right now? I can make some lunch for you. Anything you want, just name it.”

It was clear she was trying to delay things, and the offer was tempting. Despite that, I knew that going upstairs and facing her was inevitable, and I’d rather face it sooner rather than later. I shook my head at Mom, who seemed disappointed with my answer.

“Alright, Hicchan,” Mom relented, moving aside so that I could pass. “Please don’t…”

She cut herself before saying anything further. Or perhaps she didn’t really know what to say. I wouldn’t fault her if it was the latter, considering I wouldn’t know what to say if I were in her shoes. This whole situation must be a complete mess to her eyes.

I moved past her and made my way up the stairs, feeling my heart pound with every step I took. When I got up, the door to my room was closed. I approached it warily, almost as if I was expecting the door to attack me. Reaching for the handle, I started to turn it…

Only to immediately pull my hand back, closing my eyes and gritting my teeth. I didn’t want to do this. Here I was, mere steps away from her, with every fibre of my body telling me that nothing good would happen if I opened the door.

A cowardly part of me even suggested that I turn back and head downstairs, maybe even leave the house and immediately head back to Yamaku. Pretend that the last few days were just a bad dream. A nightmare scenario that I had imagined and simply thought was reality.

But, I needed to do this. I still didn’t want to face the reality of the situation, but I didn’t have a choice. Taking a deep breath, I opened the door.

The room was dark, with the curtains closed so as to let in only a small beam of sunlight. And there Rin sat on the floor, her back turned towards me and her head looking up at the window, her hair long and disheveled. She didn’t seem to notice my presence or the door opening. I couldn’t help but compare this scene to my visit to the atelier, where we were both at our worst.

But, we’d moved past that part of our lives. We were better people now, more wise and more understanding of one another...weren’t we?

I slowly walked towards her, holding my breath as she continued to remain where she was, not showing the slightest hint of movement. In a few seconds I was but a few steps away from her, standing over her, and still there was no reaction.

“Rin…” I whispered, fear making my voice tremble. Again, there was nothing, as if I was talking to someone who wasn’t really there.

“Rin, I’m back,” I repeated, nearly choking on my words. “Please, can you answer me?”

Nothing. Not a word said, not a single part of her body moved or reacted to my words. Desperate, I walked until I was in front of her, looking down at her face. Rin looked tired, extremely so. There were bags under her eyes, and her mouth hung open slightly, like it was too tiring to close it.

What horrified me the most were her eyes. They looked hollow, as if something had dug into her eyes to destroy any hint of light within them. On the floor in front of her was her sketchbook and a pencil, the page completely black. She’d drawn over the entire page.

“Rin, please. Talk to me…” I pleaded, looking right at her. Rin finally responded, by looking right at me. Her eyes met mine for a split second before she turned her head away. She didn’t want to look at me.

“I need to forget,” Rin mumbled, her head rocking back and forth. “Like how someone grows old and starts to forget everything, except I want to forget one thing. But if I have to choose between not forgetting that one thing and forgetting everything, I might want to forget everything. Because not forgetting is too painful, like someone constantly punching my chest.”

She continued rambling, on and on about forgetting. Despite her words growing more and more incoherent, I knew what she meant. Rin wanted to forget about my condition, about the moment I fell down in front of her and had to be carried off. And if she had to, she would forget everything about me in order to be rid of the one thing that was causing her so much pain.

I feel as if something was tearing me apart from the inside, and I dropped to my knees in despair. Rin didn’t seem to notice, as she continued to ramble on.

This wasn’t like the night at the atelier. No, this was infinitely worse. Rin hadn’t been such an integral part of my life back then. I didn’t rely on her to make me happy, to laugh and to smile, as much as I did now. Every time I dreamt of the future, it was always one where we were together.

And now...now I’m seeing that future starting to crumble. Like a picture slowly losing its color, its shape, its form, until nothing but a dark blank space remained. Much like the black page in her sketchbook in front of her.

“Hisao.” Rin muttered, and I immediately looked at her face, wanting to hear something from her. Anything to help us to somehow bridge this new gap between us.

But then she said nothing. Rin simply shook her head and looked away from me in fear, breaking my heart even further. I could feel my hands shaking, wanting to hold her close, wanting to hug her so tightly in an attempt to comfort the both of us.

I knew that if I did that, it would only worsen things. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t bring myself to hug her. And so I stood up and left the room, feeling a dull pain in my head.


“Hisao, are you ready to talk?” Mom asked, sitting beside me on the couch. She placed a comforting hand on my back. “If you aren’t, can I at least sit beside you?”

I nodded my head, unwilling to say anything. It’s only been a few hours since I left my room completely disheartened. So far, it’s done nothing to alleviate any of my sorrow. My parents were at least kind enough to give me some space. Mom gave me some hot chocolate without making a single comment.

“I don’t know what to do,” I admitted. Despite the fact that she didn’t approve of our relationship, she was really the only person I could turn to at the moment. “She’s afraid of me.”

“If you want my honest advice, there’s really little you can do,” Mom answered with a sigh. “Sometimes you just have to let time run its course and let things happen naturally.”

“Are you saying that because you don’t approve of my relationship choices?” I asked bitterly. Mom responded by shaking her head. “Sorry, I just-”

“It’s ok, Hisao. I wouldn’t say anything with the intention of hurting you, especially not in the situation you’re in,” she said, patting me on the back. “My advice isn’t something I said simply to comfort you. Your father and I have had many fights during our long relationship, and time was ultimately what allowed us to compromise and reconcile every time.”

“But this is too serious for me to just wait.” I countered, feeling unconvinced.

“You’d be surprised how effectively time can heal things,” Mom responded, in a tone that she always used when she wanted to teach me something. It felt like ages since I’d heard it, the last instance that I could recall being the time when I was barely in highschool.

“I wouldn’t say it made me want to divorce your father, but some of our fights did make me resent him quite a bit. Sometimes we wouldn’t talk for a day, or even a week, but eventually I’d always begin to miss talking to him, or he’d miss me, and we’d patch things up. We always seemed to forget that whatever argument we had could never outweigh the feelings we had for each other, and that all it took was time for us to realize it again.”

I nodded my head, understanding her logic, yet uncertain if that could work for me and Rin.. Was time really all she needed? From the way she looked at me, looked through me, it felt as if time would only make things worse.

“Are we having dinner soon?” I asked, wanting something to fill the empty feeling inside me. Sitting around doing nothing was only going to make my anxiousness worse in the long run.

“We are,” Mom assured me. “I made a bunch of your favorite foods. I was planning on making them in a few days, but considering you’re going back tomorrow…”

“Dad told you, huh?” I tried my best to smile for her, though it felt so unnatural. “I’m sorry. I know you wanted to spend more time with me.”

“It’s ok, Hisao. I know you want to get away from here after what happened.” She pulled me into another hug, which I gratefully returned. I felt as if I was a little kid again, clinging onto her for support. “Please call me when you get there, ok? I want to make sure you’re alright.”

“I will,” I responded, still holding on. “I’ll make sure to keep you informed on how I’m doing. And I’ll make up for how this trip went, I promise.”

“No need,” Dad said as he entered the living room. “Dear, we have a problem.”

“Oh, can it wait?” Mom asked as she pulled away from me, turning to face him. “What did you burn this time, dear?”

“The tamagoyaki and the shrimp,” Dad admitted, blushing slightly. “I might have had the burners up a bit too high..”

“You’re cooking, Dad?” I asked, finding the concept completely foreign. Dad rarely, if ever, cooked.

“He insisted on helping,” Mom explained, a tinge of regret in her voice. “Honestly, I leave you for five minutes and you do this. Why did I teach you cooking again?”

“I believe it’s because you were infatuated with me,” Dad replied teasingly. “That and you didn’t want to subject anyone else to what I made.”

“For good reason,” Mom retorted, letting out a loud sigh.

Despite how I was feeling, I couldn’t help but laugh a little. I didn’t know if they were doing this on purpose to cheer me up, but for a split second I’d forgotten about my troubles. Once the moment passed, I felt those dreaded feelings return, but at least they weren’t quite as strong now.

Still, those feelings dug their way into my mind, even as I began to eat dinner with my parents. They kept the conversation going non-stop, which I appreciated. Still, the fact that Dad went upstairs with a plate full of food reminded me of Rin. I wanted to be the one to give her dinner, but then I would risk her not eating at all.

With a sigh, I took Mom’s advice and decided to let the passage of time handle things, more out of a lack of options than anything else.


That night was probably the most awkward night I’d ever experienced in my life. Despite my insistence on sleeping on the couch, Mom and Dad said that I should rest in my bedroom. I reluctantly agreed with them once they confirmed that Rin was already asleep, and therefore my presence wouldn’t unnerve her.

I made sure to do things as quietly as possible: packing our stuff, using the bathroom, and taking my medications. The last of which made me glance at her futon every so often, praying that she doesn’t wake up and see me. I’d probably risk her running out of the room if she did.

After doing all that, I decided to go to sleep. Covered in blankets, I forced myself to turn away from her. I didn’t want to see her right now, not knowing how our relationship stood. We were but a few feet away, and yet with what had happened we might as well have been on opposite ends of a valley.

And then, just as I felt like sleep was going to show me mercy, I felt something against my back. Something warm, yet shivering. It was Rin, her body pressed up against mine.

I wanted to say something. I wanted to turn around and hold her as tight as I could and tell her that everything was going to be ok. But my fear overwhelmed those urges, so I kept incredibly still, awake but unable to do anything.

“I need to forget…” Rin whispered, her voice as shaky as her body. “I need to…”

It could have been a few seconds later, or a few minutes, or a few hours, but eventually I felt Rin leave the bed. That coupled with her words just reinforced the heavy feeling in my chest, and destroyed whatever chance of a peaceful sleep I’d had.

Before I knew it, a small beam of light was coming through the window. It was morning, and I hadn’t gotten an ounce of sleep. I got up from bed and turned to look at Rin’s futon. She was sitting on it, looking up and the ceiling. Had she managed to get any sleep last night? I hoped so.

“Rin,” I whispered. No response. “We’re going back to Yamaku today, ok? I think it’s for the best that we get away from here.”

Nothing. She continued to look at the ceiling. I closed my eyes, trying to avoid the reality for the briefest of moments. Breaking down in front of her won’t do me or her any good, much as I wanted to. So I just got up from bed and headed for the bathroom, and took a long shower in a futile attempt to make myself feel better.

When I returned to my room, Rin wasn’t there. On the futon though lay two items. The book that contained an image of me, and the hair clip that I had given her. Had she intended on leaving those behind? Wanted to forget the memories associated with those items?

I took them and put them in my bag, wanting to hold on to them. Despite those memories having soured, I couldn’t bear to let go of them. Though whether the same held true for Rin, only time would tell.

Or perhaps she had already made that decision, and I was just deluding myself into thinking otherwise.

Getting out of my room was a slow process, thanks to both fatigue and depression. I made sure everything was packed a second time, then a third, then a fourth just for the sake of it. Finally, I took both Rin’s and my luggage bags and stepped out of the room.

I found my parents downstairs eating breakfast. To my surprise, Rin was eating as well. Mom and Dad greeted me, though Rin continued to eat without acknowledging me, even as I sat down beside her.

The breakfast, consisting of eggs, soup, salmon, nuts and even slices of pork, smelled great. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the mood to enjoy them, though I still ate it out of respect for my parents' effort. Rin’s silence, along with my obvious depressed demeanor, and the general awkwardness of the situation, meant that conversation was nonexistent.

“I’ll send you two to the train station in a few hours, so take your time.” Dad said, and I nodded without really listening or caring.

Nothing else was said for the rest of the morning.


The drive to the train station was almost as silent, though this time Mom and Dad tried to have some sparse conversation. Considering that it was the last time I would be seeing them for a while, I answered with as much energy as I could, which wasn’t a lot.

Once we arrived there, Rin got out immediately. I was afraid that she'd immediately head into the station without me, but she seemed content waiting outside. Dad turned back to face me, his face serious yet loving.

“Son, I hope things get better for you soon,” he said. “Though I know these words will provide little in the way of solace. Just know that I’m willing to lend an ear should you need it.”

“Thanks, Dad,” I responded, opening my car door. “Goodbye, Mom.”

“Goodbye,” was all I heard as I got out of the car, taking out our luggage while Rin remained still. As the car drove away, I walked towards the train station, looking back to see if Rin was following me. She wasn’t, still in that same exact spot and watching the road.

“Rin, we need to go,” I said softly, both wanting and not wanting to get her attention.

She didn’t respond to my words, her back to me. We stayed there for a few moments, me awkwardly staring at her while she watched the road, cars moving in both directions. I wondered what she saw in them, and if what she saw was related to me in any way.

Perhaps she saw me as one of those cars, only stopping momentarily before driving away until it’s out of her sight.

At last, she seemed ready to leave, turning around and walking towards me. She didn’t slow down though, and walked right past me towards the train station. It was depressing to realize that, in her mind, we weren’t travelling together despite taking the same train. We might as well be strangers that just happened to have the same destination.

I trailed behind her all the way until the gate, where I went ahead of her to open it with her ticket. She passed me by yet again, without a word or even a glance. Despite how many times she’d done so since yesterday, each time hurt as much as the first.

I opened the gate with my ticket as well, this time taking the lead to our platform. The train was already there when we arrived, and was already accepting passengers. The two of us headed in, making our way towards our seats.

“This is our seat, Rin,” I said awkwardly. “You can have the window seat.”

Rin went and sat down, leaning her head on the window and looking outside. I lifted our luggage and placed them above our seats, hoping that it wouldn't trigger another heart scare. After that, I sat down beside her and waited for the train to move, which it did after several minutes.

To distract myself, I pulled out my phone and sent texts to Shin, Iwanako, Takumi and Mai, telling them I was already on board the train, and wishing them well. They responded almost immediately, hoping that I would visit them soon, as well as wishing both Rin and me good luck in the future.

After that, my fatigue got the better of me, and I decided to try and sleep, but not before glancing at Rin one last time. She was looking out the window, her expression completely unreadable.

Not wanting to deal with anything anymore, I closed my eyes and prayed for sleep to come, all the while fearing how uncertain my relationship with Rin was.

The last thing I remembered before I stopped thinking was the single tear trailing down my cheek, and hearing Rin’s voice saying something I couldn’t fully hear.

User avatar
Posts: 6119
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:24 am
Location: Germany

Re: Rin Epilogue: The Long Road (Updated 15/11/2020)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:52 am

Well... That went to hell in a handbasket...

To be honest I have no idea how (or even if) you intend to salvage a situation like that or if "time" will be nearly enough to do so...

At this point I'm almost inclined to agree with Hisao's mom that it would be best for both Hisao and Rin to split up...
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.

Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:36 am

Re: Rin Epilogue: The Long Road (Updated 15/11/2020)

Post by Boret98 » Mon Dec 14, 2020 6:35 pm

Alright now this has gotten a very heavy turn for the worse, I always expected something like this but never imagined whings would go this bad.

Will wait for the next chapter!

User avatar
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:36 pm

Re: Rin Epilogue: The Long Road (Updated 15/11/2020)

Post by kulkukan » Thu Jan 21, 2021 6:05 pm

This is, in no uncertain terms, the most faithfully depicted Rin epilogue I have ever read. The slow and reflective nature of Rin contouring with Hisao to maintain a blossoming love while still learning more about the other and accepting that which they presently can't understand. A very hard balancing act to maintain as a writer is staying truthful to the character while also giving development.
Act 1 Hisao is a near Stranger to the Epilogue Hisao, yet it is written naturally. Rin asking for physical affection, though in the source material shown nearly never is developed as her experience shown might lead her. Even the side characters like Emi, Hanako and the hometown crew are given development, not only without seeming to subtract from the main story, but in so doing giving the tale a "normal" perspective from time to time.

In short, the greatest crime you could commit, Moash, is not eventually finishing this.

I await patiently, but eagerly, for the next installment.

Posts: 30
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 11:19 pm

Re: Rin Epilogue: The Long Road (Updated 15/11/2020)

Post by MoashLannister » Fri Jan 22, 2021 12:17 pm

kulkukan wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 6:05 pm
This is, in no uncertain terms, the most faithfully depicted Rin epilogue I have ever read. The slow and reflective nature of Rin contouring with Hisao to maintain a blossoming love while still learning more about the other and accepting that which they presently can't understand. A very hard balancing act to maintain as a writer is staying truthful to the character while also giving development.
Act 1 Hisao is a near Stranger to the Epilogue Hisao, yet it is written naturally. Rin asking for physical affection, though in the source material shown nearly never is developed as her experience shown might lead her. Even the side characters like Emi, Hanako and the hometown crew are given development, not only without seeming to subtract from the main story, but in so doing giving the tale a "normal" perspective from time to time.

In short, the greatest crime you could commit, Moash, is not eventually finishing this.

I await patiently, but eagerly, for the next installment.
Thanks, your comment really made me happy! I'm glad to have gotten physical feedback on both a writing project that I enjoy and one that's arguably the biggest in scale that I've done. Admittedly my backlog is almost dried up and recent events have made me a little slow on adding more to it, but rest assured I will continue this.

User avatar
Posts: 176
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:31 pm
Location: Bordeaux, France

Re: Rin Epilogue: The Long Road (Updated 15/11/2020)

Post by Razoredge » Wed Jan 27, 2021 7:14 am

The fact Rin is not my favorite girl is not a secret to anyone. But the more I read your story, the more I begin to appreciate her, in a odd way, but I'm not even complaining, you actually do a great job about that. The turns of events your story had recently was something I did not expected, to be honest, it went way far than I would have ever expected. But this is not a reproach at all, in the contrary, it's a well-written turn of events. The situation between Hisao and Rin right now would be a hell on earth to live for anyone, and I don't even know how they would achieve to recover from this situation. I'm genuinely curious to know how you will achieve to make them recover from this situation, and if Hisao and Rin still have a future together. I didn't expected to care that much for a character like Rin, but you achieved to make me care about her, and for that, I really have to thank you.

This story is really well-written, and the turns of events recently made it way more interesting, even if it was really interesting before. The suspense you brought to us is a nice addition, and I can't wait to know how the situation will evolve, and if they will stay together or not. Really good job, buddy.
Lilly = Akira > Miki = Hanako > Emi > Rin > Shizune

Stuff I'm currently writing : Beyond the haze : A Lilly Satou pseudo-route, Lullaby of an open heart : A Saki pseudo-route & Sakura Blossom : A way with Hisao

Posts: 30
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 11:19 pm

Re: Rin Epilogue: The Long Road (Updated 15/11/2020)

Post by MoashLannister » Mon Mar 15, 2021 9:27 am

Chapter 13: Rumination

The little bit of sunlight shining into my room told me that it was morning, and I let out a muffled whine before getting up. During holidays or weekends, I like to sleep in when I can. That way, I wouldn’t need to face anyone, and my negative thoughts were kept to a minimum as I peacefully slept the day away.

But for the past few days, the idea of a peaceful sleep was as likely as my scars magically going away.

Ever since Emi told me and Miki about what happened between Hisao and Rin, my mind has been full of thoughts. They were the two people that I was the closest to, and had helped me to trust others. Without them, I’d still be a scared lonely girl too afraid to even talk, let alone have the courage to go running with someone like Emi.

And things didn’t seem to get better when they came back. Emi, Miki and I wanted to meet them, so we waited by Yamaku’s front gate that day. When they arrived though, Rin ignored us and immediately left for the girl’s dorm, which immediately shattered any enthusiasm we could have had. Hisao looked so defeated then, and he asked us to bring Rin’s luggage over to her room.

The next few days were slightly better, but it also emphasized how torn Hisao and Rin were. Only one of them would hang out with us, and as soon as the other was close by, they immediately left. When we tried to mention anything about it, Hisao just said it was better this way, while Rin just went absolutely silent.

Why did it have to turn out this way? Why do all the friends I get grow apart, either from me or from each other? Why can’t I do anything about it?

“It’s because you’re useless,” a voice in my head whispered, one that I’ve been listening to less and less lately. But I listened to it this time, because I really was useless. I couldn’t do anything to fix this situation. Hisao and Rin helped me grow so much, and yet I can’t help them when it matters most.

A knock on my door broke me out of my thoughts, and I already knew who was outside my door.

“Hey, Hanako,” Emi said. Even her voice sounded less energetic nowadays. “You awake?”

“Y-Yes,” I answered, getting off the bed and walking to the door. Emi always tried to talk to me while Hisao and Rin were away. At first I was a little afraid, but I eventually got used to it, even if I didn’t always look forward to it.

“Can I come in?” she said. Instead of answering, I opened the door and nodded, letting her into my room.

“Thanks,” Emi said, trying to give me a cheery smile. But it soon went away when it became clear that it wasn’t working. “Mind if we talk for a little bit before going for breakfast?”

I nodded again, and we sat down on my bed. Neither of us said anything for a while, because we knew what was wrong, and there isn’t anything we could do to solve it. Talking about it almost seemed pointless, but it was still better than nothing.

“These last few days have been hell,” Emi complained, finally speaking up. “My running time’s been completely shot, all my momentum’s been thrown off. Hell, I almost didn’t want to run today. That’s crazy! But I just can’t concentrate when those two are still like that.”

I knew exactly how she felt. Even in the middle of reading, something that usually helped me escape from all my troubles, I would suddenly think of them. It was getting harder and harder to go about our daily lives, pretending that everything was alright.

“B-But what can we do?” I ask, though I already knew her answer.

“I don’t know,” Emi responded with a frustrated sigh before getting up, bouncing up and down. Unlike usual though, it felt like she was bouncing to feel less angry. “Let’s go to the cafeteria. I’m sure Miki’s already there.”

“A-alright,” I answered. Despite how painful this whole situation was, I resolved not to shut myself off again. Even if I couldn’t do anything to help, I could at least be there for them. “Let me change first.”

“Sure,” Emi said, leaving the room and closing the door behind her. I begin to take off my nightgown, taking a winter uniform from my wardrobe and putting it on. Once I’d finished changing, I left my room and the two of us headed for the cafeteria together.

“I-is Rin still in her room…?” I asked. Emi’s been keeping an eye on Rin ever since she returned. So far, all she’s done is stay in her room, only going out to eat and to use the bathroom. According to her, Rin’s room is a mess, with art equipment scattered everywhere.

“Last I checked,” Emi muttered, sounding both worried and annoyed. “Honestly, I wish one of us was a guy. That way we could have a pair of eyes watching Hisao too.”

“I-I heard Miki’s been talking to him,” I said as we exited the dorm, the cold winter breeze immediately hitting our faces. “S-she even goes to the boy’s dorm t-to check up on him. Ap-parently there’s a strange guy with glasses there…”

“And she didn’t tell me? Man, we need to communicate better,” She complained, shaking her head. “I guess it doesn’t matter. It’s not like what we’re doing is actually helping them.”

“I-I think it is,” I said, feeling brave enough to disagree with her. “M-maybe it doesn’t fix anything, but it’s better than leaving them alone.”

Emi stared at me for a few seconds, which made me feel a little nervous. But eventually she nodded.

“I guess you’re right,” she muttered, her breath visible because of the cold. “Still, I wish we could do something more for them.”

“M-me too,” I responded, and the two of us went silent as we headed for the main building.


“’Sup,” Miki casually said as we approached her cafeteria table. Her tray was full of half-eaten foods. “As far as food goes, nothing really amazing today. Honestly, I’d kill for them to serve some hash browns.”

“Those things are full of carbs, you know?” Emi complained as we sat down.

“Yeah, well, I like to eat comfort food when I’m down, alright?” Miki retorted, rolling her eyes. “I’ve been running to the convenience store and getting some chips for the past two days. I might as well stock up on them at this point.”

“Whatever,” Emi said with a huff before getting up again, looking at me. “I’ll get breakfast for the both of us. What do you want?”

“J-just some milk,” I answered, feeling a bit uncomfortable that the two of them were already bickering. Emi nodded and left, leaving me with Miki.

“You look a little scared, Hanako.” Miki noted bluntly, taking a spoonful of beans and eating it, all while maintaining the glum look on her face.

“I-isn’t it a little too early for you and E-Emi to be fighting?” I asked, hoping that Emi wasn’t fast enough to be on her way back already.

“Well, the last few days have been a bit of a bitch, so I suppose we’re acting a bit like bitches too,” Miki responded wryly, before pushing her tray aside and slumping down onto the table. “Sorry, Hanako. I want to be cheerful and carefree, but I just don’t have it in me today.”

“Because of Rin and Hisao?”

“...Among other things.” Miki answered after a bit of silence, looking as if her body was going to sink into the table. I remembered she had told us not too long ago that she was in the middle of her parents’ divorce. Admittedly, the concept of having your parents breaking up isn’t something I could exactly relate to, but I did feel bad for her.

“You’re talking about your p-parents?” I asked. She glared at me in response. I didn’t shy away from her, but I noticed that I was nervously gripping the table.

“Hit the nail on the head there,” Miki answered in her usual dismissive tone, though I could tell she was more frustrated than she was letting on. “My testimony for my siblings’ custody is coming up, and I don’t even know what to testify about. Add what happened to our comfortable little group recently, and I haven’t been all sunshine and rainbows.”

“S-Sorry…” I said, feeling guilty for asking.

“Don’t be. Not your fault any of this shit happened,” Miki said before raising her eyebrows. “Well, looks like one of our problems decided to come to breakfast today. Six’o’clock.”

I turned around and saw that Hisao was entering the cafeteria. He looked the same as he had recently, tired and subdued. He seemed to have noticed our table, and was walking towards us. Turning back, I saw Miki raising her hand before putting it down. She must have waved him over.

“And she returns right on cue,” Miki noted as Emi returned with two trays, sliding one of them to me. The tray she got for me had toast, beans and tofu, along with a small glass of milk. “Line long?”

“Yes,” Emi muttered just as Hisao arrived, looking up at him and saying bluntly, “Just in case you feel too depressed to do it yourself, I’m not going back to the line.”

“Wasn’t asking you to,” Hisao retorted before taking a seat beside Miki, letting out a sigh. “Good morning Miki, Emi, Hanako.”

“M-morning,” I answered, and was the only one who did.

There was an awkward silence as Emi and I ate our meals while Hisao and Miki did nothing but look around, sharing the same look of indifference. It was easy to assume they didn’t care if one didn’t know them, but both Emi and I knew they cared. It was just that caring hurt, and they wanted to stave off the pain. So they tried to stop caring, at least for a little while, to ease their minds.

“So,” Emi spoke up, breaking the silence. “Going to get some breakfast?”

“I don’t really feel hungry,” Hisao mumbled in response, which only annoyed Emi.

“Are you saying that because you really aren’t hungry?” Emi asked, her tone getting angrier. “Or are you worried that Rin’s going to pop up here and you’ll have to leave?”

Hisao didn’t answer, instead looking away from Emi, who just sighed and took another bite of her tofu. Miki glanced at me and gave me a wink and a smile, probably to try and comfort me. Though I think she knew it wouldn’t work.

“Hisao, you can’t keep this up forever,” Emi said, scowling at him. “Avoiding Rin isn’t going to help you, and it isn’t going to help her. All it’s doing is driving the rest of us insane while the two of you play hide and seek.”

“Then give me a solution,” Hisao retorted. “Tell me how to fix this, because I’ve tried talking to her, and all it does is make her ramble on about forgetting things. So if you have a brilliant plan that can make things go back to the way they were, please enlighten me.”

The two of them glared at each other, fists clenching. Miki just looked on with a bored look on her face, though I thought she was just pretending to be bored. Eventually though, they just looked down at the table, their anger subsiding into shame.

“Sorry,” they both said at once. I realized that I had been clutching my chest the whole time, worried that things would escalate.

“Well, glad that’s over with,” Miki said with a lazy smile, breaking the tension further. “Anyways, do you have a plan, Emi?”

“No, I don’t,” Emi admitted after another bite of her tofu. “But you need to do something. You don’t want to lose her, do you?”

“Of course not, but that isn’t up for me to decide,” Hisao responded, sounding more calm than he had been. “If Rin can’t accept my condition, or the fact that I might die at any time, then I don’t have a choice. I can’t force her to live with what I have.”

“But that doesn’t mean you can’t try and convince her,” Emi said. “You need to talk to her, and I mean really talk to her. And it needs to be soon.”

“If only she’d allow me to,” Hisao muttered. His gaze shot up, staring at something behind us, and he sighed. “I need to go. I’ll see you guys later?”

The three of us didn’t need to ask why he felt he needed to leave. Emi waved him off dismissively, while Miki at least gave him a smile as he stood up and began to leave.

“G-Goodbye, Hisao,” I managed to say before he was out of earshot. He turned around and nodded in my direction before leaving the cafeteria.

After a few moments, Rin arrived at our table. She didn’t say anything as she sat down where Hisao had been, looking at each of us with her usual neutral gaze. I looked around the cafeteria to see if Hisao’s still around, but I couldn’t spot him.

“You know, people usually say good morning before sitting at a table full of people,” Emi noted, and I wasn’t sure if she said that as a joke or because she was still angry. Maybe both.

“Oh,” Rin replied,. “Good morning. Except it isn’t a good morning. It’s morning, but it isn’t good. So maybe I should really just say morning.”

“M-Morning, Rin,” I said, treating every word I said to her like tip-toeing through a floor full of acid. “How are you?”

“I’m...Rin,” Rin responded, looking up in the ceiling. “I’m not good, or bad, or not good, or not bad. I’m just...me.”

“Real helpful,” Emi grumbled as he pushed her tray away, clearly too angry to eat. “Rin, are you going to admit you have a problem yet?”

“A problem?” Rin asked, looking down before shaking my head. “Maybe, but I don’t know what the problem is. It’s not about Emi, or Miki, or Hanako, or Rin. Well, I have problems with Emi, but it’s not the problem I think you’re talking about, even though the problem I think you’re talking about might not be the problem you’re talking about.”

Emi got so mad that she actually slammed her hands onto the table, startling Miki and me, but not Rin. Even a few people at nearby tables gave us a glance.

“For God’s sake, Rin. When are you going to talk about Hisao!?” she asked furiously, glaring at her. “Are you seriously going to throw your relationship away without even talking to him first?”

The mere mention of his name made her freeze in place, saying nothing. She didn’t even blink as she continued to stare up into the ceiling, completely motionless like a statue. Like many of the other times we’d mentioned Hisao in front of her, all it did was take the life out of her body for a while.

It never ever lasted for long, but I couldn’t help be terrified about the possibility that she would just be frozen forever, like an actual statue.

“Urgh…” Emi spat out before getting up and leaving. Miki looked at Emi walking away before turning to face Rin, who was still frozen. She then turned to face me, giving me a sympathetic smile.

“Well, I suppose it was inevitable that she’d blow up,” she said, looking a bit embarrassed. “Must be uncomfortable as all hell. Sorry you had to see that, Hanako.”

“D-don’t be. It’s n-not your fault any of this happened,” I responded, trying to mirror her words from earlier. “W-What should we do?”

“Wait for Rin to be all done with her episode,” Miki replied. “After that, don’t mention you know who or Emi. The best we can do is be her friends and try to get her to eat a good breakfast. Then try and send her back to her room, and go from there.”

It sounded like a well thought out plan, and really the only one that might actually work. But I can’t forget what just happened, as a sign that things were as fragile as ever.

After a few minutes, Rin seemed to come back to reality, as she started to look at us with curiosity and confusion.

“Where’s Emi?” she asked, as if she’d just noticed her absence.

“She wanted to go for another run,” Miki responded calmly. That wasn’t necessarily a lie either. Knowing Emi, she would most likely be at the track, running off her frustrations. “You hungry, Rin?”

Rin nodded without saying a word, and Miki added. “Well what would you like to eat?”

“Mm, food. But I don’t know what food, even though I know what food I’d like to eat,” Rin mused, once again acting like her old self. “Like a toad knowing that he can hop and where to hop to, yet not knowing what direction to hop.”

“I-I’ll get it for you.” I offered, impulsively getting up without hearing her response. “I-Is there anything you want?”

Rin nodded but didn’t specify what she wanted to eat, and I quickly walked away from the table, hoping Miki could distract her on her own. I picked up a tray and utensils and joined the line for food, , wondering what I should get for Rin.

I settled on things I had seen her eat before: bread, milk with a straw, pancakes, and some oranges. Once I got the food, I quickly headed back to the table. Miki seemed to be doing a good job, as she and Rin are having a conversation.

“H-Here you go,” I said as I took my seat, sliding the tray across the table. “I hope it’s good enough.” I picked up an orange and began to peel it for her.

Rin observed the food before giving a nod. She leaned back and grabbed utensils with her feet and began to eat. “Thank you, Hanako.”

Breakfast continued like normal, or at least as close to normal as we could get, under the circumstances. It felt so weird seeing Rin without Hisao or Emi, but both Miki and I talked to her as if things were normal. Rin seemed to talk like normal as well, though it was hard to tell with the way she speaks.

“Hanako, can you feed me oranges?” Rin asked as Miki and I finished our breakfast. “I can eat them myself, but I don’t want to. I want to be fed oranges, like a monkey being fed bananas. Except I don’t want the food to be tossed to me while I’m in a cage, even though I’m not in a cage right now.”

“O-okay.” I complied, picking up one of the slices I’d peeled for her from her tray. I held it up to her, trying to mimic what Hisao did when he was feeding her.

Rin ate if off my hand, munching on the orange with a satisfied look on her face. That expression faded as her chewing got slower and slower. Her gaze seemed to waver a bit as I fed her another slice, her head slowly shaking back and forth.

“I-Is it good, Rin?” I asked.

“Mm, it’s...good and not good,” Rin answered after thinking about it. “The oranges are good and sweet and juicy, but eating it isn’t good for some reason. Even though I think Hanako is good, you feeding me oranges isn’t good. It’s like buying a sweet from someone who sells flowers instead of sweets. The sweet is still sweet, but it should be sold by someone who sells sweets.”

It took me a moment to figure out what she was talking about. Even if she didn’t say it outright, it was clear that feeding her oranges was something only Hisao had done. Whether or not she would admit it, it was a sign that she missed him.

“D-Do you want me to stop?” I asked, and Rin shook her head. So I fed her another slice, and another. Until all the oranges were eaten.

“Well, I think I’ve had a nice and filling breakfast,” Miki said after we were done. “Rin, d’you want to go back to your room? Maybe take a nap? Holidays won’t last much longer, and you need all the beauty sleep you can get.”

Rin thought about it for a second, before nodding tiredly. “Yes, I think I want to take a nap. I want to see black for a bit, even though you don’t really see anything while you sleep, and I can see black just by closing my eyes without sleeping.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Miki responded before turning to me. “I’ll take all the trays and dump them, why don’t you take Rin back to her room? I’ll catch up with you.”

“A-are you sure, Miki?” I asked in return as she began to stack the trays.

“Hey, I may only have one hand, but it’s a pretty useful hand,” Miki retorted playfully before standing up, trays in one hand. “Don’t worry, it’ll only take a few seconds.”

“A-alright.” I said, standing up as well. Rin stood up and exited the cafeteria, and I followed after her. Miki went the opposite way to dump the trays into the trash.


The walk back to the girls’ dorm was long and quiet. None of us were in a rush to get there, least of all Rin. She stopped every so often, looking at something that neither Miki nor I understood.. We patiently waited for her as she stared, then spontaneously went on the move again.

When we finally reached Rin’s room, Miki opened the door for her. The two of us stayed outside, not wanting to intrude on her private area. But I was able to catch a glimpse of her room, and how much of a chaotic mess it was.

Sketches and canvas were scattered all over, even on the bed. Some looked half finished, others looked as if she had done a single stroke then thrown it away. Pencils, paint brushes, and paints were also scattered among them. It was as if a tornado had appeared in the room, throwing everything into disarray. Rin probably wouldn’t clean any of this up, at least not now.

After the door closed, I turned to Miki. “S-should we go see Hisao?”

“Actually, I think we should see Emi first,” Miki responded, looking thoughtful. “We don’t really know where Hisao went after he left the cafeteria. He could be in the library, or his room, or somewhere else. But I think we both know where Emi is.”

I nodded in response to her statement, knowing there’s only one place Emi goes when she’s frustrated. The track.

“A-alright,” I said, agreeing with her logic. “L-let’s go see Emi.”

The two of us quickly exited the dorm, heading to the track. My mind raced back to the time I went running with Miki and Emi, and how afraid I had been. When we got done stretching and actually started, Rin and Miki had immediately blazed past me, and I couldn’t keep up with them at all. They lapped me over and over again, probably seeing me as a tagalong rather than an actual competitor.

Still, it got me to try and push past my limits, running as fast as I could. Every time they managed to lap me, they would encourage me to go on. It felt nice being encouraged to do something, even if I was nowhere near their level.

It was definitely something I would like to try again, once things have settled down...if they settle down, a part of me corrected.

“Not exactly a great start to the day,” Miki commented nonchalantly, stretching her body with a groan. “Still, I guess it beats studying for finals.”

“Finals…” I repeated, the thought lingering in my head. “They’re only a few months away.”

“Yep,” Miki said, sounding extremely unenthusiastic about it. Though I supposed I wasn’t looking forward to them either. “Then it’s graduation and college, assuming my parents’ divorce doesn’t get in the way of that. Or if I fail finals, which might happen, knowing my grades.”

“I-I hope you don’t,” I responded, despite knowing it wouldn’t fix anything. Nothing I said could ever fix anything. “A-And I hope it doesn’t affect you t-too much.”

“I’m more worried about my siblings, to be honest,” Miki said seriously, her usual smile fading into a worried frown. “They’re probably taking it the hardest, and that’s not even including the custody battle going on. I could very well decide who they stay with when I testify.”

I nodded, not knowing what else to say. It seemed like everyone but Emi was facing some kind of hardship in their lives. Things that had no easy answers, or problems that couldn’t be fixed. If I could change things, I’d do what I could to try and help.

After all, I’m their friend. And friends help one another.

“By the way, have you decided on what college to go to yet?” Miki asked as we approached the track. The path leading there was completely empty, as to be expected during this time of the year. “Just wondering what your plans are after you graduate.”

“I-I’m not sure,” I answered honestly. The question popped into my mind a lot, especially when the holidays started. It still scared me, knowing that I would have to move out of Yamaku soon and go out into the world. The cruel world which would judge me for my scars, like the kids during my childhood.

“No idea at all?” Miki asked again, sounding curious.

“W-Well, I was thinking of going to a college that has a literature major,” I said, recalling one of the very few plans I had for when I’d graduated. “Languages is o-one of my better subjects, and I spend a lot of time reading different kinds of literature. So i-it seemed like the best fit for me.”

Of course, that didn’t answer what college I was going to go to, or where exactly am I going to live. Those were questions I didn’t want to answer, yet I knew I was going to have to shortly. Despite all my current problems, these past few months had been some of the most fun I’d ever had in my life.

I wanted to savor it a bit more before we all went our separate ways. Before it all ended, like all good things in my life.

“Well, it’s nice to know what you want to study,” Miki responded, sounding a bit jealous. “Honestly, with all the divorce crap, and now with Rin and Hisao having a rough patch, college has been the last thing on my mind. I’ll probably go do something involving fitness, but that’s all the planning I’ve done, if you can even call it that.”

The two of us reached the track, where Emi was running, not even giving us a glance. Miki immediately went to sit on the bleachers, and I followed her as we watched Emi effortlessly run lap after lap.

“Hey, Hanako?” Miki said, out of the blue. “Thanks.”

“F-For what?” I asked, not knowing what she was thanking me for. I’d done nothing to help her, at least nothing more than the others already have.

“For keeping me company. It’s nice to feel...not alone,” Miki replied, giving me a wink. “I’ve never been much for socializing, barring the odd fling here or there. Can’t really say I have any friends worth keeping around, until you guys came along.”

“Y-You should thank E-Emi,” I replied, feeling odd that she was crediting me with that. “O-Or Hisao. Without them, we wouldn’t be friends.”

“True, and I’ll probably thank them somewhere down the line, but not right now,” Miki said, leaning back and narrowing her eyes, a calm look on her face. “Right now, it’s just you and me. So I wanted to thank you while no one else is around. Wouldn’t want to make it too sappy, you know?”

“Y-You’re welcome,” I responded, still feeling a bit weird that she was crediting me with our friendship. If it wasn’t for others, I’d be too cowardly to reach out to them. “T-Thank you for being my friend, Miki.”

“No problem. And speaking of friends, looks like ours is just about done with her temper tantrum…” Miki noted, and I looked at the track to see that Emi was indeed done running. She placed a hand on her knees, looking extremely tired. “Maybe we should have bought a drink for her.”

It didn’t take long for her to recover, walking to where we were. The look on her face wasn’t angry, but it wasn’t happy either.

“How’s the run?” Miki asked casually as she approached us. “Hopefully the cold doesn’t damage your prosthetics. Those can’t be cheap.”

“They’re built for the winter,” Emi commented as she took a seat beside me, letting out ragged breaths. “I almost beat my record...twice. Off by just a millisecond, I think.”

“Good for you,” Miki responded, sounding completely unimpressed. “How about your frustration? Did you manage to beat that?”

Emi didn’t answer that one, instead looking away with a huff. “So what are you guys doing here? Probably not to run, unless you’re someone like me.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Miki said with an amused smirk. “We came to check up on you. You kind of left us in a hurry, you know?”

“Can you blame me?” Emi retorted. “This whole thing is so dumb. Hisao, Rin, both of them are so stupid for letting their relationship fall apart like this.”

“Can’t say I disagree with that...somewhat,” Miki nodded, trying to seem empathetic to her frustrations. “Still, just because it’s already a mess doesn’t mean you should make it an even bigger one.”

Emi seemed hurt by that, and just grumbled something that I couldn’t decipher. Still, it didn’t seem like she disagreed with what Miki’d said either.

“U-Um,” I said, finally mustering the nerve to speak up. “I-I think we should f-focus on helping Hisao and R-Rin, even if it’s separately.”

Miki and Emi looked at me, then at each other. Eventually the both of them nodded, seeming to accept that we couldn’t fix things, but we should at least give them support.

“Alright, alright. I guess I’ve been a little too angry,” Emi admitted, despite the fact that I didn’t accuse her of that. “So, where’s the two of them?”

“Rin’s in her room,” Miki answered. “And Hisao’s...missing. We don’t really know where he went after the cafeteria.”

“Urgh, well there can only be a few places where he can be,” Emi said, seeming to think about possible locations. “The Shanghai is open today, right?”

“As far as I’m aware,” Miki said. She and I went to the Shanghai the day Hisao and Rin left, along with Emi. It was an enjoyable outing, especially after having to see two of my closest friends go for what was presumably days if not weeks. In a way, my desire to see them sooner ended up costing me far more than it’s worth. “You think he’s there? I hope he is, then I can get some cake while I’m at it.”

“Focus!” Emi insisted, giving her a glare. Probably more for the idea of eating sugary cakes than anything. “He MIGHT be there, but I’m not sure. I’ve known Rin the longest, so I’ll go to her room to see if I can cheer her up. You two need to go find Hisao and do the same, wherever he is.”

“Guess I’m running to the Shanghai then. Been a while since I ran off track,” Miki said, sounding both annoyed and excited at the prospect. “If Hisao isn’t there, am I at least allowed to buy something to-go?”

Emi gave Miki a look but eventually nodded with a loud sigh. “Alright, alright. But get some cake for me too, I need the sugar. If he isn’t there, run right back here, got it?”

“Sure, sure,” Miki responded half-heartedly. The two of them then turned to me, giving me a look of expectation. “So, since I’m going to the Shanghai, mind scouring the school for him? I’ll get some cake for you when I get back.”

A certain feeling welled up inside me, knowing that the two of them were relying on me. They didn’t expect me to fail or succeed, just to do my part in all this. It felt nice to be trusted, despite the circumstances. I quickly made a promise to myself to make sure their trust was earned.

“I-I’ll do my best,” I promised them. “I-If he’s around here, I’ll find him.”

The three of us nodded at one another, and we quickly split off to do our tasks, doing our best to help our friends in need.

The first place I went to after we went our separate ways was his room. It was the most likely location, and also the closest to where I currently was. When I got to his room, I knocked on the door for several minutes, even calling out his name. Unfortunately, there wasn’t an answer.

At first I wondered if he was ignoring me, or even if he was asleep. But a strange boy wearing glasses came out of the room next door and just stared at me in confusion, probably because of all the knocking. Despite my embarrassment, I asked him if he’d seen Hisao enter his room recently
“Huh, what? N-No, I haven’t seen him since he left this morning. Probably went to his underground bunker to hide from the you-know-who.”

Regardless of how he worded it, what he said was enough for me to assume Hisao wasn’t in his room. So I went to my next guess, and entered the main school building. As expected, it was empty due to holidays, though students were allowed to go in and access its facilities.

As I entered the library, I saw a few students there, reading books. I wondered if they were here of their own choice or if some of them were like me, having nowhere else to go but here.

I went to the corner where I usually read my books, and the place when he and I had had that talk so long ago. Perhaps it was just another conversation to him, but for me it was a turning point from how completely dark my life was looking. Lilly, the only person I considered a friend, had left with barely any warning. I thought I would spend the rest of my days here alone, without anyone I could talk to, much less trust.

And then we had that conversation, and things began to get better after that. I became acquainted with him and Rin, slowly entering his circle of friends. Along with Emi and Miki, we celebrated a festival together, and I proclaimed my desire to be their friend. They accepted me with open arms, and slowly but surely I could feel that inevitable gloom start to go away.

I was able to wake up one day with a smile on my face, a gift more precious than I could ever hope to convey.

Upon arriving there, I was sad to see that Hisao wasn’t there at all. I looked around the library, scouring every inch of it, and still couldn’t find him. A small part of me wanted to give up and just hide in my corner. I’ve already looked at all the likely places, where else could he be?

But I couldn’t just give up, not when everyone else was trying their best. I thought long and hard about it, and realized that if he wasn’t here, then there were two other places where he could be. Despite my desire to pick up a book to read, I shook my head and quickly exited the library.

I went to the rooftop, since it was closest. Unfortunately, the door leading up to it was locked, which only left one possible place left. Before heading down the steps, my hands clasp one another as I prayed that my next and final guess would be right.


I nearly tripped on the root of a tree as I tried to navigate through the woods, replaying the memory of the festival we celebrated, where Hisao and Rin took us to a field of dandelions. It was easy to get lost in the woods, with no roads and barely any tracks, and yet I still walked forward towards it.

At least, I hoped I was. The possibility that I was walking in the wrong direction was equally as likely.

I walked up to a tree I assumed to be one I’d passed by when we came here, though it was hard to tell. Winter had made all the trees shed their leaves, which further added to the confusion. Still, I forced myself to press on, despite feeling cold and tired.

After what seemed like forever, the trees began to clear, which gave me confidence that I was going in the right direction. A few more minutes of walking, and I was validated in both my sense of direction and my guess that he was there.

Hisao was sitting on the ground, looking up at the sky with a detached look on his face, his eyes barely opened. The dandelions that I so briefly saw back then were completely gone, taken away by the winter.

“H-Hisao.” I said, wondering if he could hear my voice, given how soft it was. A few seconds later, he turned to face me with a look of mild surprise on his face.

“Hanako…” he responded, his voice matching his expression’s feeling of disbelief. “What are you doing here?”

“I was looking for you,” I answered as I approached him, feeling more nervous now that I’d actually managed to find him. “I-I went to your room, then the library, then the rooftop. T-This was the last place I thought you might b-be.”

Hisao stayed silent for a few seconds, then cracked a pained smile. “Well, I was going to go to the rooftop, but the door was locked. This was the only other place I could think of, as far as ‘where I wanted to go’ was concerned.”

I sat down next to him, and we didn’t say anything for a while, just looking at our surroundings. The barren ground, the clear sky, the plants and trees that have lost its color. Lost its life. It was an empty environment, which I couldn’t help but feel reflected in Hisao's heart.

The phone in my pocket began to buzz, and I pulled it out to see what it was. It was a message from Miki, telling me that Hisao wasn’t in the Shanghai.

I quickly typed back, I’ve found him. If you could, please leave him to me.

It felt a little wrong to ask her that, as if I’m selfishly trying to help him by myself. But at the same time, I felt as if it was the right choice. He needed someone to be around, but adding another person might make him withdraw further into himself. It didn’t take long for Miki to reply.

Alright. Got some cake for us to share later. Don’t tell Emi I ate one already, though.

As I put away my phone, I notice Hisao looking at me. “Was that Emi?”

“Mi-Miki…” I answered, wondering if I should tell him what Emi is doing. In the end, I decided that he should know. “Emi is taking care of Rin, right now.”

“That makes sense,” Hisao responded, leaning back and looking back up at the sky. “R-Rin probably needs the help, far more than I do.”

“T-That’s not true…” I tried to respond without sounding angry or dismissive. “B-Both of you need p-people who care about you, to be with you when you’re d-down.”

Hisao didn’t answer, but instead let out a sigh before nodding, seeming to accept my answer. Once again, there was silence as we both looked in different directions, a gentle wind blowing against our faces.

“I feel so tired,” Hisao said suddenly and I turned to see him close his eyes again. “But I can’t sleep, knowing how she feels about me. Sometimes it takes me all night to rest, and before I know it morning has already arrived.”

I didn’t know how to respond to that, so I kept quiet. Eventually Hisao just laid down on the dry, dead grass, eyes still closed.

“I’m glad it isn’t snowing,” he said. “If it was snowing right now, I couldn’t help but remember the two times I went to the hospital. The first one was bad enough, but at least something good came out of it. It led me to her, but then I fell a second time, and now I feel like I’m going to lose her for good.”

“Y-you’re not,” I tried to reassure him, though even I could hear the uncertainty in my voice. “S-she loves you, Hisao. Y-you two have been inseparable s-since we’ve started hanging out together. Rin just needs time to figure things o-out.”

“It doesn’t seem like she wants to,” Hisao responded, sounding so defeated and sad. “I don’t think she’ll ever accept the fact that I might die so suddenly, no matter how careful I’ll be. She wants to forget my condition, but to do that she’ll need to forget about me too…”

“S-she won’t,” I said immediately.The thought of Rin forgetting about him was something I couldn’t stomach. “S-she can’t forget about you.”

“She’s trying her best,” Hisao noted, opening his eyes once again, the expression on his face completely blank. “Hanako, what do I do?”

The question made me freeze, as it was something I desperately wanted to answer, especially to Hisao. But despite knowing that I needed to be there for him, an answer wasn’t something I could provide.

Hisao seemed to realize that I couldn’t give him an answer, and simply sighed. “It’s alright, you don’t need to answer that question.”

“I-I’m sorry,” I muttered, feeling guilty about being so useless.

“Don’t be,” Hisao said as he sat up, looking at me and trying to force a smile. “You came all the way out here just to check up on me, and I’m grateful for that. When I first got a heart attack, I mistook that sort of kindness as pity, and pushed it away.”

“I-I know what that’s like,” I responded, acknowledging that feeling we both shared. “P-People wanting to help you, b-but you’re afraid that they’re doing so b-because you’re weak and vulnerable, n-not because they really care about you.”

The two of use gazed at each other, and nodded in mutual understanding of that feeling. Even if it didn’t solve his main problem, at the very least I’m making him feel better in some minute way.

And then a tear went down his cheek, and even he seemed surprised that it happened. Another tear followed shortly after, and he quickly rubbed his eyes, looking away in embarrassment.

“Sorry you had to see that,” he said once he stopped rubbing his eyes. “Honestly, I didn't think I had it in me to cry again.”

“H-How many times have you cried?” I asked, before quickly adding. “You d-don’t have to answer that.”

“No, no, it’s fine,” Hisao responded, letting out a strained chuckle. “I’ve never cried much, especially when I went to high school. But I think I’ve cried more in the last few days than I have all my life. Mostly when I’m alone, and when I’m allowed to completely accept what’s happening right now. I suppose I should be glad I haven’t become a sobbing wreck.”

I inched closer to him, and placed my hand on his shoulder, preparing to say something that I’d never thought I’d say to anyone in my life. Mostly because I’d never thought there’d be anyone who would need my support.

“I-It’s ok to cry, or to be angry,” I assured him, trying to sound as if I had complete confidence in what I was saying. “I-If you want to let it out, p-please do so. Y-You don’t have to hold it in.”

Hisao blinked at me for a few moments, before nervously looking away again. “Hanako, I don’t think that’s the best thing to do right now.”

“I-If you try to hold it all in, you'll break eventually,” I pleaded, recalling the time where I felt I was at my breaking point, where all the resentment began to burst out of me. At that time, I wanted to scream at anyone who so much as looked at me. “I know holding it in makes you feel strong, b-but it’ll also tear you up inside. And when you can’t t-take it anymore, you’ll lash out without meaning to, and hurt the ones who want to help you.”

There was a long period of silence, the two of us staring at one another. Hisao looked calm, but eventually his face twisted into a frustrated scowl as tears ran down his face.

“Damn it!” He muttered, but I knew he wasn’t directing those words at me.

“I-It’s ok,” I tried to comfort him, patting his back. It’s what people did when they’re trying to comfort a friend, wasn’t it? “I-I’m here for you.”

“Heh, thanks,” Hisao said bitterly, though he seemed to regret his tone. “I-it’s just, I don’t want to blame anyone for what happened. Rin acted how I thought she would, and Mom’s concern about her was right, but I just...hate it! I hate all of it!”

I didn’t try and respond, just slowly patted his back as his face shifted between anger and sadness. If he had screamed in that moment, I wouldn’t have blamed him, but all he did was to let the tears fall. Not a trickle of one tear after the next, but an outpour of tears that flowed freely down his face.

After a while, Hisao finally slumped back down onto the ground, baring his teeth in a frustrated scowl.

“I’m sorry you have to see me like this, Hanako,” he muttered. “But I just...hate not knowing what to do. Not knowing how to get through to her. It feels like I’m right back where I started with Rin, completely in the dark about how to even get her to talk to me.”

“M-maybe after a while, she’ll miss you too much to i-ignore you,” I suggested.

“Or she’ll forget me entirely,” Hisao countered, before closing his eyes and sighing. “I’m tired of thinking about this, Hanako. Can we just...drop it, for now?”

“A-alright,” I said, and yet another silence continued. I was getting colder, and my breath was now visible. “W-When do you want to head back, Hisao?”

“Soon,” he answered. “Soon.”

I accepted his answer and waited for him to be ready. After a few minutes, he wordlessly got to his feet. I quickly followed suit, and we both walked back the way we came, saying nothing at all.


“So, how’s Rin?” Miki asked Emi as I prepared tea for the three of us, the orange light of sunset getting more and more dark. As I set the tea set down on the table, I quickly went to turn on the lights, feeling anxious about sitting down to discuss how our day went.

“She’s...alright, I think?” Emi responded, sounding uncertain as she bit into the cake Miki had bought for her. “We went for lunch, and then we went to her room where she tried to do some art. But it feels so weird, even for her? She tossed aside anything she worked on after a few minutes. I’m starting to think she’s going to run out of canvases.”

“Well, at least Hisao’s not wasting that much paper,” Miki commented as she poured some tea into each of the teacups, then began to drink hers. “After I met up with him and Hanako, we went for lunch. Then we just hung out at the library together. Man, it was hard finding a book I was interested in.”

“I’m afraid to ask, but how is he?” Emi turned to me, most likely because she wanted the answer coming from me instead of Miki.

“H-He’s getting better, I think,” I answered as I sat down on the floor. I picked up my teacup and sipped some tea before continuing. “I-I helped him let out a bit of his emotions, when we were at the dandelion hill.”

“Man, going there felt like an eternity ago,” Emi muttered as she took another bite of her cake. “We were all nice and happy back then. You were getting along with everyone, and I even learned how to tolerate Miki.”

“A good skill to learn, considering we’ll be seeing each other a lot more, with track club and now this,” Miki retorted playfully, pouring herself some more tea. “Though you probably won’t see me much after graduation.”

“Why’s that?” Emi asked, and when she got no answer, it immediately clicked to her and her face formed into a guilty expression. “Oh right. Sorry…”

“Eh, not surprising that you forgot something like that. I wish I can,” Miki responded with a shrug before finishing her second cup of tea. “Nothing against you guys or anything, but I think I won’t be staying here long. It’s been one hell of a day.”

“Me too,” Emi nodded in agreement, giving me an apologetic look. “Sorry, Hanako.”

“N-No, it’s alright,” I responded earnestly. Despite wanting their company, I also knew that today had been tiring for everyone involved, both physically and mentally. “I-I’m fine with spending time with you, no matter how short it’ll be.”

The two of them simply smiled at me, and despite everything that’s happened, I managed to smile back.

We spent a little more time together, talking about other things to distract us from our problems. Eventually though, we said our goodbyes and they left me alone. Feeling too tired to do anything else, I changed into my nightgown and lay on the bed, hoping that sleep would come easily to me.

It did not.

My mind kept spinning around and around, like it always has since Hisao and Rin returned. I tried to think of ways to reconnect them, tried not to think about how their relationship might be irreparable and the consequences that would emerge from that.

What could I do to help them?

User avatar
Posts: 176
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:31 pm
Location: Bordeaux, France

Re: Rin Epilogue: The Long Road (Updated 15/3/2021)

Post by Razoredge » Mon Mar 15, 2021 9:33 pm

The only thing I want to do now is to shake both Hisao and Rin, and yell at them to stop acting like that, talking to each other frankly, and recover from this situation. Situations like that are not good for anyone, and, given the turn of events, I'm not even sure if they want to recover from this situation. Hisao seems to desire to be with Rin again, but, Rin... I'm not sure of what Rin wants, actually. Rin being Rin, it's difficult to know what she really wants.
Huge credits to Hanako, Emi and Miki, doing her best to help them.
A really, really good chapter, buddy. I can't wait for the next one, your writing is just awesome. It was a really pleasant read, even if the events are not fun at all.
Lilly = Akira > Miki = Hanako > Emi > Rin > Shizune

Stuff I'm currently writing : Beyond the haze : A Lilly Satou pseudo-route, Lullaby of an open heart : A Saki pseudo-route & Sakura Blossom : A way with Hisao

Post Reply