The Sands of Time

Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 2819
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:05 pm

The Sands of Time

Post by Oddball » Tue Jul 23, 2019 6:48 pm

Chapter 1:
School Days

The bell rings and school is officially out for the day. However there's still quite a few people more interested in asking questions to the famous guest speaker than they are in leaving. The questions go on for another fifteen minutes before Misha stands up. She politely but firmly lets the class know that it is now time to go officially and the class's guest has other business to attend to. Even then there's a few more questions and a few more autographs before the students disperse completely. It's about time too. Not that I'm ungrateful, but it's been a long time since I've done this much signing and my hands are tired.

“Thanks for coming,” Misha says to me. It's the first spoken words I've heard in what feels like a hundred hours. “The deaf classes so rarely get any visitors to come and talk with them," she pauses for a moment as she realizes what she actually just said. "I suppose that's kind of obvious," she adds with a light chuckle. I had half expected her old thunderous laugh "and celebrity guest speakers? That never happens." She continues with a smile and a sigh of relief. Now that class was out, I could see her well practiced responsible teacher facade was slipping away revealing something of the old Misha I knew back in high school. It wasn't as pronounced and over exaggerated as it used to be, but the playfulness was still there

I try to play it off. "Oh, you know me. I'll take any excuse I can to talk about myself," I say running my hands across my beard. It's the only place where the gray hasn't completely overtaken my natural hair color. I'm slightly disappointed she beat me to the joke about guest speakers for the deaf.

“You sure you're the same Hisao I went to high school with?” she smiles teasingly. “I recall him being a bit more tight lipped with details of his personal life.”

"You sure you're still the same Misha? I don't see any pink hair anywhere, I reply. She rolls here eyes at me and sighs. “You're not upset that I let it slip that you were 'Misha', are you?"

"I'm not upset, I just really wish you wouldn't have done it. It's hard enough to keep the kids respect without that hanging over my head." She twirls her light brown hair around her finger as she says this. Whether it's to imitate her old hairstyle or whether she was just bored and playing with her hair, I can't tell.

“I said Misha was based on you. I didn't say it was you. Besides, I seem to recall there were a few real characters teaching back when we went here.”

“We did,” she says wistfully. I can't tell who she's thinking back on, but it's obviously she's recalling some old teacher from our shared history, maybe more than one. "I suppose I should consider myself lucky Shiich- Shizune didn't come with you. I'd probably dye my hair pink again before I realized what I was doing." She pauses and sighs. "Do you two still keep in touch?" Now that she's stopped signing, she seems to want to make up for the long periods of silence. I can almost see the life and energy flowing back into her.

"Not as much as I'd like… Not much at all really. Shizune and I both drifted our separate ways. She's got her company and I've got my stuff," I give Misha a sad smile.

"-and I'm the only one of us that didn't end up rich. How is that fair?" Misha says crossing her arms and pretending to be upset. Even if she did notice my mood, she isn't reacting to it. Although, I suppose it's also possible she's just trying to cheer me up. She was always sharper than she let on.

"Hey, you wanted to be a teacher," I tease. It's been a while since I smiled this much. It feels good to get be joking around with old friends again, even if it's only for a moment. "so… are we done here? I'm ready to go get something to eat.”

There's a brief look of dread on her face followed by a soft curse that I can't quite make out. “You're going to have to give me a few minutes here. The staff wanted a quick write-up on your visit. I really meant to work on it while you were still talking with the kids but …,” she smiles and shrugs.

“That's okay. There's nowhere else I have to be today,” I say. I can only guess why the faculty needed a write up. My relationship with Yamaku's higher-ups hasn't always been the best one. Sure on the surfaced we're all smiles and friendly handshakes, but behind closed doors it becomes obvious that they don't approve of a lot of things I do. Not that they're going to come out and say it. That would be a PR nightmare. The number one school for the disabled in Japan isn't going to come out and bad mouth the guy who made being disabled acceptable. Instead, they just try to make things as difficult for me as possible while hiding behind a shield of paperwork and procedure.

“Thanks. I think I can whip something up in about fifteen minutes. Maybe twenty,” Misha says. “Actually, let's make it half and hour. Then I'll have to hand them in, so forty five minutes. An hour? Yeah, give me an hour. I'll meet you at the front gates then.”

“That's fine,” I say. “I wanted to look around around anyway.” I say this, but I'm not quite sure how true it is. I smile back at her and nod as she takes her seat again behind the teacher's desk. I can easily keep myself busy in the meantime. I pick my cane up and walk to the door.

When I first came up with the idea of meeting Misha here, I had looked forward to seeing how the school had changed. The answer is 'not much'. They had done some repainting and re-tiling of the floors but the majority of the school seemed like it had been back in my day. There were changes though. They were few and small, but they were enough to make everything feel just slightly off.

I take one last look at Misha as I close the door and walk into the hall. She's certainly came a long way since I first met her. Between her long straight brown hair and her far more restrained way of expressing herself, I almost wouldn't have recognized her. Of course even if I hadn't, she would have given it away when she smiled. It might not be the same wild toothy grin she used to use, but the energy behind it is unmistakable.

Now she's a teacher.

I remember her saying she wanted to teach sign language, but something in my mind never quite connected that to her actually teaching kids. I'm even more surprised that it actually seems to suit her.

I remember once upon a time I wanted to be a teacher. Life didn't work out that way. A major heart attack in college made me reevaluate where I was heading. It's like the saying goes, I ended up taking the road less traveled and that made all the difference.

Walking out the classroom door, I half expect to be mobbed by more of my adoring fans. Instead the halls seem mostly clear. Either word hadn't gotten around I'm here, the faculty is keeping them away, or I'm overestimating my own popularity again.

I'm pretty sure it's not that last one. I'm a popular guy.

With time to burn and nothing else planed, I decide to see the sights. Sadly the old student council room is locked. I can't even remember what room Lilly used to have tea in. I thought I did, but unless they completely rebuilt things while I was gone, it seems like my memory was playing tricks on me.

With those places lost to me, my next stop is Mutou's old class. Whenever I think of Yamaku, I always think of sitting in his class listening to his science lectures. While I might not have been able to remember my way to Lilly's tea room, finding Mutou's doesn't even require thinking. All these years later, my feet still know the way.

I'm trying to think of exactly what to say to him as I reach the door. I end up deciding to just go right to my old seat, sit down, and apologize for being late to class. I think he'd get a laugh out of that. I might have to remind him who I am first though.

Opening the door, I'm tremendously disappointed. Not only is he not here, the class doesn't appear to have seen use in some time. The air is still and the desks have a layer of dust over them. I wonder if he even still teaches here; I really should have asked about that.

Just for old times sake, I take my seat anyway. I feel like and idiot, but at the same time, it feels like the right thing to do. “Here's too old times, teacher,” I say as I toast him with an imaginary wine glass. This is the place that redefined who I was. I'm not sure I ever really understood people before coming here.

I close me eyes and I can almost see them all again.
Rin painting her mural.
Emi running track.
Tea with Hanako and Lilly.
Student Council…

“Excuse me, Mr. Nakai?” a voice says pulling me out of my memories. I look towards the direction and stop dead. There's a girl with short blue hair and glasses and her companion a tall exotic looking girl with long blonde hair. “We're not bothering you are we?” the blue haired girl asks. It's not until I see that she's the speaker that I realize these aren't just phantoms from my past.

“Sorry. I was lost in thought,” I say with a forced smirk. “How can I help you?”

“We really really hate to bother you, but we're both big fans and we were hoping that you could maybe sign an autograph for us. Please, oh please,” the blue haired girl says. She's unabashedly excited and isn't even trying to hide the fact. Her taller companion seems a bit more reluctant to speak.

“Sure thing,” I say to them. “What do you have for me to sign?” I ask. The girls each pull out a different volume of manga. The shorter haired girl steps forward with a collection of “The Kid with the Broken Heart.” It's my Based-on-a-true-story-except-for-all-the-stuff-I-made-up-to-make-it-more-interesting series. Somehow that description has never found it's way onto the back of any of the books. I blame the editors.

The taller girl hands me a copy of Sweet Heart Girls. It features the same cast and setup, but while Broken Heart is a more realistic mature school drama Sweet Heart is far more wacky and kid friendly. It's also moves more merchandise and is just generally more fun to write. It's all the wacky hi-jinks of a harem series without the actual harem. I take both of them and set them down on the desk in front of me as I try to remember which pocket I've put my pen in.

“Thank you, this means a lot to us, Mr. Nakai. You're our favorite writer,” she says. She looks like she's on the verge of endlessly parading a list of compliments and admirations before I speak up.

“It's Hisao. Just Hisao. I see no reason to be formal with fellow Yamaku alumni.” I give them a friendly reassuring smile. I've been told my ability to put people at ease is one of my greatest strengths.

“Oh no. We couldn't call you that. That's way extremely too familiar. It wouldn't be respectful!” the taller of thew two girls says.

“You're already reading my works, telling me what a fan you are, and asking for autographs. If you were anymore respectful, I don't think I'd be able to handle it,” I sigh. “Maybe this place just brings out the sentimentality in me.” I look at their faces and see that there enthralled by my words, as though any minute I might just casually tell them the meaning of life. “It seems I'm the one being rude. I never asked for your names.”

“I'm Yuriko and this is Kyouko,” the blue haired girl says. The blonde shows me a strange awkward grin, like she knows she's supposed to be smiling, but isn't sure how.

“I'm pleased to make your acquaintance,” I stand and give them a bow that's more polite than the situation calls for. “If you don't mind me pointing it out,” I say taking a few strands of the blonde girls hair in my fingers, “I've seen better wigs in my time.”

“Yeah, it's … err... I had a treatment and, well, all my hair fell out.” She paused for a second and played with her hair slightly before continuing. “I don't like being bald so... I went looking and found this costume store and … yeah, so...” I suppose that would explain the doll-like quality of the wig.

"The doctors have high hopes and she's been looking healthier lately, but she's sensitive about her hair." Her friend chirps in. At least one of them seems optimistic.

I reached into my pockets for a piece of paper and ended up with a receipt for some fried chicken I had the night before. I quickly jot down a name and a phone number on the back. “I won't invade your privacy by asking for more details, but let me give you a hand. Call this number, ask for Old Man Ryouji. He'll get you a good wig made of real hair within the week for less than you probably paid for the one you have now. Make sure you tell him I gave you the number.”

If there's one thing I've learned over the years it's that favors can open doors for people quicker than any amount of money. Make friends where ever you can. You never know when that guy you pass on the street or the old lady behind you in the grocery store will turn up again in your life with contacts you need. That, and I generally try to be a decent person. It's good for my karma, if you believe in that sort of thing. “Make sure you call him 'Old Man' Ryouji too. He likes that nickname.” He hates it, but good is a friend if not for teasing on occasion?

“Thank you very much, Mr. Nakai,” the blonde says. Looks like they're not comfortable enough calling me by my given name, such is one of the annoyances of fame. I autograph each of their volumes, adding a very quick and roughly scribbled sketch of my own character meeting them. I'm no artist, I've got other people that do the drawing for me, but I can still do sketches and make it look mostly what I want it to look like. Sometimes. If nothing else, the bad art style gives it a bit of charm.

I like to think that anyway.

They ask the usual questions with a bit more than the usual apprehension, the blue haired girl doing most of the talking for her shy friend. Where do you get your ideas? What was such-and-such really like? Did this or that really happen? Is it hard being a professional and disabled? I give them the normal answers. They're actually rather nice girls. I'll have to make a note to stick them in a quick cameo somewhere in an upcoming volume. That'll be a nice surprise for them when they see it.

“Is somebody skipping out on the assembly?” Misha's voice calls from the doorway. I had been caught up in conversation and hadn't even heard her approaching. For some reason I have a feeling the school held their assembly at this particular time not to make my life easier but to keep the kids from interacting with a me.

I'm a bad influence, after all.

Yuriko and Kyouko look like, well, they look like they were just caught skipping out on a school assembly and don't have any excuse. Misha's standing there looking at them sternly with her hands on her hips. Although knowing that particular pose and expression are copied from an old mutual acquaintance of ours lessens the effect on me.

“So, did you get your paperwork done?” I ask hoping to take the pressure off the girls. Lord only knows Misha, Shizune, and I used to skip classes with less of an excuse than this. Their only problem is they aren't as good as justifying things as well as our old school council president. I can't fault them for not being devious.

“I did,” she say. Her posture relaxes a little.

“Well, then, maybe we should be on our way,” She knows exactly what I'm doing. We've known each other too long for me to be able to pull the wool over her eyes that easily.

“I'll let you two off this time, but you shouldn't make a habit of skipping out on school functions. It's important to show your support and loyalty to your school, not just to us, the faculty, but to your fellow students as well.”

I turn slightly to hide my smile. It's not quite Shizune that Misha reminds me of now, although the influence is definitely there, but there's just something about how much of a responsible adult she's acting that throws me.

Once the girls give their humble apologizes and leave, I address Misha. “We would have done the same you know. Given the choice between tracking down a famous visitor or attending a normal school function, we would have tracked down the visitor.”

“We wouldn't have gotten caught,” Misha corrects me with a large smile. I nod at her, conceding the point and we both chuckle slightly over it. “Now, I'm sure you didn't come all the way back here just to give lectures to my class. What did you really want to talk about?”

I stop and look around. “Actually, this doesn't seem to be the right place to talk about this. Is the Shanghai still open?”

“It is, and you'll be happy to know the old place hasn't changed much at all,” Misha says, “and they've got great desserts too!” It's still hard for me to believe this lady is a teacher sometimes.
Last edited by Oddball on Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
Not Dead Yet

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

Re: The Sands of Time

Post by Feurox » Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:15 pm

Well, that was amazingly adorable, and since it's seemingly a multi-part series, I'll look forward to the next instalment. There's definitely some sad undertones coming through, especially with Misha having lost touch with Shizune and Hisao in kind. I presume this follows a timeline where Shizune and Hisao got together, but that opens up all kinds of possibilities. Is this a world where Hisao 'comforted' Misha? Did Hisao's stories cover all the girls in a positive light? Has there been any conflicts?

Tl;Dr, I look forward to the rest. Good job.

Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:44 am

Re: The Sands of Time

Post by Fowlor » Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:56 pm

You do a great job establishing atmosphere. I'm really curious to see where this goes.

User avatar
Posts: 3496
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:58 pm
Location: East Asia

Re: The Sands of Time

Post by brythain » Tue Jul 23, 2019 10:32 pm

Aha, that's a wonderful bout of 'subverting the tropes'. And a salt-and-pepper mass media Nakai. :D

Only one thing that made me reflexively wince: "The staffed wanted a quick write-up on your visit." Other than that, the title seems to promise more, and such, should it appear, would of course be interesting to see.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

User avatar
Posts: 5979
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:24 am
Location: Germany

Re: The Sands of Time

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:22 am

Yes, this was indeed a very interesting start (at least I hope it is a start of something...) I'M looking forward to finding out what exactly Hisao might have done to antagonize the school.
Apart from the "staffed" there were quite a few more typos in there, e.g.
but it's obviously she's recalling some old teacher
Once the girls give their humble apologizes and leave...
But the one thing that irked me most was this one:
With those places lost to me, my next stop is Mutou's old class.
I wonder if he even still teaches here; I really should have asked about that.
It's not Mutou's class, it's his class, and Mutou is not teaching just there but everywhere a class currently has science on their timetable.
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.

User avatar
Posts: 2819
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:05 pm

Re: The Sands of Time

Post by Oddball » Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:33 pm

It's not Mutou's class, it's his class, and Mutou is not teaching just there but everywhere a class currently has science on their timetable.
You do have a point. While Mutou taught in other classes, this was still his home room class. Hisao going there and expecting to see Mutou again and finding the place unused I think still has the desired effect of disappointing him.
Not Dead Yet

User avatar
Posts: 5979
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:24 am
Location: Germany

Re: The Sands of Time

Post by Mirage_GSM » Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:13 pm

While Mutou taught in other classes, this was still his home room class.
Well, it was the classroom of class 3-3 of which Mutou happened to be the homeroom teacher. Not sure if you meant that...
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.

User avatar
Posts: 303
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:38 pm
Location: Arizona, USA

Re: The Sands of Time

Post by Craftyatom » Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:08 am

Been a while since I read a "KS X years on" fic. You clearly avoided the "everyone is here" trope, without dismissing those characters entirely - which is a nice, realistic take on a nostalgic visit. And you avoided the "clones of the KS cast but X years younger" trope too, once again acknowledging its place in reality - of course Hisao finds all these little similarities to his own experiences - without going overboard.

Hisao actually feels very well-characterized and believable, in that he's a bit of a self-centered bastard, but he's also a nice guy who tries to help people out. Fits surprisingly well with canon. That said, his fame seemed a bit odd to me. He's a writer, and kind of a figurehead, which is enough for him to be like a pop idol to these students? Not that someone in his position couldn't attain that level of fame, and of course his most avid fans would be at Yamaku, but the reaction just felt a tad disproportionate. Of course, this is without me knowing any of the details about his rise to fame, or his beef with the school, so maybe all will be revealed!

Overall, simple and well-written. Nothing unusual, just some nice interactions and exposition. And the requisite sprinking of SpaG errors, of course. But maybe that's part of the charm :P
Main route: COM(promise)
One-shots: Crafty's One-Shots (Brief Exchanges, Dark Winter Sky, Dreamy, Project Blue Curtain, and more!)
Old poetry: Google Drive Collection

Post Reply