Da Capo

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Fowlor
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Da Capo

Post by Fowlor » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:09 am

This is likely to be a one shot, unless more of the pieces turn up. Long story short, five years ago KS inspired me to change my life for the better, causing the fan fiction I was working on at the time to fall by the wayside when I then went to grad school. I was recently going through some of my old stuff, found this bit, and got nostalgic. So without further ado, here it is.



One week to graduation, and things are great! Emi somehow managed to pass her exams, so she and Hisao are off to university. Hanako is making friends all on her own, hell Shizune and Lilly are even getting along!

I’ve been running myself ragged, but it’s all paid off. Of course now that I’ve fixed everyone else’s problems I’ve got nothing left to focus on but my own problems. My big, looming problem. I’ve got no idea what happens from here, but I have to face the very real possibility that I may be stuck keeping tabs on my friends for the rest of my life. God I hope not. Helping them with their problems was hard enough with all of us living on campus together.

And worrying about this is why I left my bag in class. At least it’s a nice, slow afternoon for a walk. It’s late enough in the day that there aren’t a lot of people out on the grounds, and there likely won’t be too many people in the building, but hopefully the room will still be open.

I squint and shield my eyes as I see movement on top of the building. Who could that… pink hair. Ok, that narrows it down. What is Misha doing on the roof? I wave as I get closer.
She doesn’t respond.

I call out to her. “Hey, MIsha!”
It’s hard to tell form this distance, but she seems startled. For a moment I can feel more than see her looking at me, but then she hangs her head for a moment. Then she steps onto the ledge. It takes me a moment, but when I realize what’s happening I reach instinctively, for all the good it’ll do, and scream.
“No, Misha, stop!”
But it’s too late. She throws herself out into emptiness and hits the ground with a sickening crunch.

I awaken to the all too familiar pounding on my door.
“Hey Mei, get up or you’re going to be late!”
I clench my teeth and beat my fists into my pillow over, and over again. Oh God DAMNIT. Seriously? Everything and everyone seems to finally be fine and the pink haired, drill curled, distaff counterpart to Bryan Freaking Blessed shows hidden depths by jumping off the roof? That’s not helping! Why is nobody helping? Why are all of these people so happy to blindly rush off headlong to a bad end?

You know what? Fuck it. I’m taking the week off.
Nakai can jump off the roof again for all I care.

*****One Week Later*****

Crap. I’ve got to find Hisao. He’s going to jump in less than half an hour. I couldn’t find him anywhere today, he wasn’t with any of the girls and I don’t know what he does on his own. With the time coming so close there’s really only one thing to do.

I head towards the classroom building. It’s not too far away, just about five minutes walk from here.
It takes a little longer with the crowds, but I make decent time. I check my watch. Good, he’s not going to jump for just a little less than half an hour. Wait…. my watch has stopped. Shit!

I hit the door at nearly full speed, fortunately it opens with no trouble and I go dashing through the halls. As I hit the stairs blood is pounding in my ears. I take them three at a time, glad I hadn’t taken the time to dress up for the festival. All the while I’m trying to calm myself down. He’s ok. Nothing’s happened yet. Whenever something bad happens I wake up. So long as I’m here, tonight, there’s still hope.

I hit the last staircase, I’m breathing hard, but there’s no time to catch my breath. I need to catch him. If I can get to him he’ll hesitate, if only for a moment. I think I know him well enough to talk him out of this. The last few months were for hell for him, broke him down, but I know he wants a connection, if I can get him talking I can get him off the roof.

I hit the last door full tilt, it flies open and I stumble onto the roof, looking around desperately.
“Shit, they found me! BATTLESTATIONS!”

Wha- Hisao’s not alone, isn’t that the weird kid from class 3-2? Are they… drunk? I stand gaping for a moment as the boy dives to the side and Hisao whirls around in surprise. The sudden motion is too much for him, and he starts to stagger. I’m back in motion as soon as I see him moving back towards the edge. I’m too late, he goes over, a look of befuddlement on his face. I dive for him and just barely make the grab for his wrist. I hit the roof hard, and just for a moment everything seems like it’s going to be ok. I stare down at Hisao. He looks bad, there’s obvious terror in his eyes.

Then I start to slip. I’m strong for my size, but you can’t fight physics. That’s when it hits me. I don’t know how this ends if I go off the roof with him. Would it break the cycle? Would I stay dead? I don’t want to find out, but I can’t just let him go.

I nearly lose my grip as a weight lands across my lower back, nearly forcing the air out of my lungs. And then Hisao’s friend starts screaming at me.
“I won’t let you have him you femi-succubi-witch!”
Wait… what?
“Get off and help me you lunatic! He’s going to fall!”

Hisao’s doing worse now, the terror is fading, replaced by pain as his free hand moves to his chest. We’ve got maybe five seconds before this gets really, really bad.

“Hisao! Look at me. LOOK AT ME! Take a deep breath. You’re going to be fine. I’m not going to let go. We’re going to pull you up and you are going to be fine. Breathe deep and hang on.”

Ok, that’s good. He’s still breathing fast, and he’s still scared, but it looks like he’s thinking, trying to get control. That’s the best luck I’ve had in years. The other boy stops clawing at me. The gravity of the situation seems to hit him as scrambles over me and reaches down to grab for Hisao. Hisao takes his free hand from his chest and reaches up. Their hands meet. Even between the two of us it isn’t easy to pull him up, but we do it. By the time we’re done my arms, shoulders, and back are all screaming at me, I think I may have pulled something.

We all shuffle away from the edge. Hisao takes several more deep breaths. He looks better now, not in obvious pain, but still very flustered. Thank God, this could have been so much worse.
“Thank you.” Hisao looks at me a little awkwardly, and it’s no wonder why. I’ve barely said ten words to him since he came here and suddenly I’m practically throwing myself off the roof to save him.

“Not… to sound ungrateful, but what are you doing up here?”
Crap. I hadn’t really thought this far ahead. I say the fist thing that comes to my mind.
“Um… I was looking for a quiet place to watch the fireworks. I hear they’re great from up here.”
He nods. “Oh… yeah. I guess the view would be good from up here.”

I think he believes me, which is good because I really don’t want to discuss the fact that I’m stuck repeating my third year until I’ve at least had a chance to catch my breath. Speaking of which, Hisao is still breathing pretty heavily. Worse than when Emi runs into him. He’s not going to keel over and die. I think. But still…
“You should really see the nurse.”

He looks at me for a moment, the uncertainty clearly written plain across his face.
“I just need some rest. I don’t want to bother anybody during the festival.”

Besides him, the other boy looks relieved. He’s been tense, looking around like a rat in a trap looking for an escape route. I don’t think he wants any official attention. They probably shouldn’t be up here. And they definitely shouldn’t be drinking. But none of that matters. For all I know, in Hisao’s current condition going down the stairs might be dangerous. I can’t let the matter rest.
“Don’t worry about that. There’s 24 hour medical staff here for exactly this kind of situation.”

I move away to block the door and pull out my phone. The number flows out of my fingers with a practiced ease that is at once both reassuring and depressing. It takes a few rings to get an answer. I do feel bad about interrupting his night, but I know he’d rather hear now than find out tomorrow.
“Hello? Who is this?”
“Hello, I have an emergency on top of the school. An arrhythmic heart flutter, I don’t think it was too bad, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.”

There’s a brief moment of silence. Crap. I don’t have this number yet. At least I’m not supposed to. Before I can think of what to say, he’s back on the line.
“Who is this? How did you get this number? This isn’t very funny.”
How did I get this number indeed. That is not something I want to get into right now. He’d think I’m crazy. Better to stick to the point.

“It’s Hisao Nakai, he’s still breathing heavy, please hurry.”
He pauses, I can almost hear the gears turning. He knows the score here. He seems like an easy going guy, but he really cares about the students. He’ll be here.
“I can be there in five minutes.”

The phone goes off with a click. It’s a good thing I’ve dialed that number so very, many times. That’s when I notice Hisao staring at me. He looks all kinds of awkward, like I caught him with his hand in the cookie jar after I got back from robbing a bank and he doesn’t want to get into a “what are you doing” off.

“Um… hi. How are you feeling?”
He gets that look on his face, like he’s somewhere between denial and just not wanting to deal with it anymore. I’ve gotten better at getting past it, but I’m not surprised that two minutes into our friendship is still too early.
Then something changes. The usual look fades, and there’s something new. Almost like he noticed something. Like he caught me rifling through his under wear drawer or something… Oh crap. I can guess what he’s going to say.
“How did you know about my… condition?”

Yeah, I’m not supposed to know yet. Nobody is. It just kind of slipped out. No wonder he looks mad, it’s kind of like I was a stalking him. Well, I guess I kind of am, but in my defense I’m kind of stalking everybody.
Wait, I’m not sure that makes it better.

Guess it’s time to lie. I’ve kind of gotten good at it. Again I go with the first thing that comes to mind.
“My… uncle had it. He’d have attacks too. Looked just like you did then.”
As I say it I can see it happening. I can watch his face twist and contort with agony. I’m not certain, but I have the sudden impression that I wasn’t actually lying.
For years- or months, or however you define time in a situation like this, I haven’t remembered anything. I’ve been working off rumors, hearsay, and what little I can piece together from my belongings. But I can see a face, and I think it’s my uncle. I think he was kind to me. And suddenly I feel very alone.

Hisao has been talking, I have no idea what he was saying. He must have seen my confusion, he’s paused kind of awkwardly and looks like he’ll be considering where he should restart for a bit.
“I’m sorry. Just… thinking about my uncle like that… I miss him. I got lost for a bit.”
He looks less awkward now, more thoughtful and sympathetic. It’s weird, I’ve planned for so many moments like this, but here we are, meeting on common ground for the first time again. He gently nods and takes a breath.
“It’s ok. I was just saying…. I’m not really comfortable about this, if you could not tell anyone else about my condition..”
Yeah. Baby steps. I know what he’s worried about.
“I won’t. And don’t worry, people will be curious, but most of them don’t have time to obsess. We’ve all got baggage.”

He seems taken aback. I should probably back off for a bit, pushing too hard this early will only make him pull away. I don’t think it would put me back much more than a week, but it’s best not to take chances. Any one of these might be the last time. All I can do is hope I don’t screw up too bad when it ends.
The door opens and the Nurse walks towards us. There’s emergency staff for this, but he’s kind of a hands on guy. He pulls out a stethoscope and starts pulling Hisao’s ridiculous sweater vest over his head. Hisao starts to protest and shoots a look in my direction. I can take a hint. Hell, after tonight I really need to get some rest. Time to go. I get up and walk to the door, stopping to look back at the three of… wait, where’s the weird guy? You know what, he didn’t go over the edge and that’s enough for me tonight..
“Hey, Hisao? Take care. I’ll see you in class.”
And with that I go home and to bed.
Last edited by Fowlor on Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Da Capo

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:39 pm

Wow, that was really good.
For I while I was thinking it might be Miki, but you made it an OC - which is fine.
Time Loop stories are always some of my favourites.. if the author can pull them off right, but so far you've done great on that count. Starting right in the middle kept the pace up, but you put in just enough information to let the reader know what was going on without going into unneccessary detail.

If more pieces turn up I'd be interested to read them.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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

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Feurox
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Re: Da Capo

Post by Feurox » Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:11 pm

Following Mirage's recommendation, I'm also going to throw my hat in the ring and say this really got my attention. I love the connotations that your OC has been living again and again trying to prevent this, trying to balance what they know and what they 'shouldn't' - I think that it has some potential if you did continue something like this, but as it stands, it's a brilliant little one-shot story!

A good title as well. 'From the Beginning', I think, right? Very fitting.

There a few things that will make it read significantly better. Try double spacing between the lines, it'll make it look much nicer and easier to read. And it's Hisao Nakai, not Nikai.


I'm really impressed with this story, and it's good to see some fresh stuff on the Forum, hopefully we see more from you!

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Oddball
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Re: Da Capo

Post by Oddball » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:39 pm

Very interesting work.

The idea of starting this story after it's been going on for a while is a nice touch. It skips right off the awkward parts about her figuring out what's going on and gets right to the meat of the story.
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Craftyatom
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Re: Da Capo

Post by Craftyatom » Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:17 am

As others have said, you really put together quite a good plot, and managed to make the start feel dynamic by only trickling in exposition when needed. Makes for a good read, bolstered by good general writing and no obvious errors. The idea of this story is intriguing, and even though we as readers only see one reset, there's a lot that can reasonably be inferred, plus plenty of exciting possibilities that jumped out at me once I understood.

Personally, I think this could have been done with an existing character as the narrator, but your decision to use an OC is perfectly viable. It would make for a charmingly "Groundhog Day" twist if the path that ended up being right was the one where Mei ended up with Hisao, though of course that makes other things more difficult. There's never enough of him to go around, huh :roll:

A nice read, which says a lot in relatively few words. Bit of a shame to have it cut off, but that also leaves open a world of possibilities.
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Fowlor
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Re: Da Capo

Post by Fowlor » Sun Aug 25, 2019 6:16 pm

First off, I'd just like to say thank you to the people who left comments. It was exciting to see that people actually liked this.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:39 pm
Wow, that was really good.
For I while I was thinking it might be Miki, but you made it an OC - which is fine.
Time Loop stories are always some of my favourites.. if the author can pull them off right, but so far you've done great on that count. Starting right in the middle kept the pace up, but you put in just enough information to let the reader know what was going on without going into unneccessary detail.
An early idea actually used Miki, but I was always obsessing over whether the internal monologue "rang true," so I switched to an OC. Also scientists are a superstitious and cowardly lot (why do you think Batman fights so many of us?) and at the time I was writing this I don't think the Miki curse had been broken. I don't want to say that my brush with the Miki curse is why I didn't keep writing... Honestly it probably had more to do with my Master's program involving a lot of lab work and classes I actually had to study for.

As far as starting in the middle, that wasn't my original plan, the notes right before this scene in the notebook put it as a "close to end scene," but it was one of, if not the, first scene that I felt was finished and it just kind of morphed into the beginning when I decided that I really liked it as an opening. I don't remember if I ever made a concrete decision on whether she'd loop through it again, but one of the questions in the notebook is whether watching Mei fail repeatedly was really necessary, as we could get most of the pertinent information from the internal monologue.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:39 pm
If more pieces turn up I'd be interested to read them.
There are a couple that I can transcribe out of the notebook (a lot of this was hand written in notebooks on an elliptical at the gym, train station, etc.), but I'm still hoping that my more generalized notes will turn up, because the writing happened in a somewhat piecemeal fashion, and there are a lot of things that I just don't remember. It's kind of maddening because I can remember several ideas for future scenes I never got around to, but can't remember simple things like why Mei is at Yamaku. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, I was working on this before I officially joined the forums, and haven't really touched it since the summer of 2014.
Feurox wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:11 pm
Following Mirage's recommendation, I'm also going to throw my hat in the ring and say this really got my attention. I love the connotations that your OC has been living again and again trying to prevent this, trying to balance what they know and what they 'shouldn't' - I think that it has some potential if you did continue something like this, but as it stands, it's a brilliant little one-shot story!

A good title as well. 'From the Beginning', I think, right? Very fitting.
There a few things that will make it read significantly better. Try double spacing between the lines, it'll make it look much nicer and easier to read. And it's Hisao Nakai, not Nikai.

I'm really impressed with this story, and it's good to see some fresh stuff on the Forum, hopefully we see more from you!
Thank you very much for the compliments and suggestions.
I made a few edits. I didn't quite do "every line," because I started noticing how short some of the lines were, I don't know if it looks a little weird the way I ended up doing it, but I think it does look better than the "wall o' text" style I had previously. And I fixed Nakai, that one was mildly embarrassing.
As far as more, I've only found three scenes from the original material, but because I wrote it in piecemeal fashion there might be more in my boxes. Or they might be sitting on a bookshelf in my parents' house 2000 miles away. As far as continuing from/replacing the old material, I'd love to commit to doing that but I'm going into the 4th year of my program and my last class, so if this thing does get up and running again, it probably wouldn't be for at least a few months.
Oddball wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:39 pm
Very interesting work.

The idea of starting this story after it's been going on for a while is a nice touch. It skips right off the awkward parts about her figuring out what's going on and gets right to the meat of the story.
Yeah, I don't think I wrote a lot of scenes "from the beginning." This was one of the first scenes I wrote, and it flowed so much better than the "what the hell is happening to me?" scenes that I just kind of tossed away the original beginning.
Craftyatom wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:17 am
As others have said, you really put together quite a good plot, and managed to make the start feel dynamic by only trickling in exposition when needed. Makes for a good read, bolstered by good general writing and no obvious errors. The idea of this story is intriguing, and even though we as readers only see one reset, there's a lot that can reasonably be inferred, plus plenty of exciting possibilities that jumped out at me once I understood.

Personally, I think this could have been done with an existing character as the narrator, but your decision to use an OC is perfectly viable. It would make for a charmingly "Groundhog Day" twist if the path that ended up being right was the one where Mei ended up with Hisao, though of course that makes other things more difficult. There's never enough of him to go around, huh :roll:

A nice read, which says a lot in relatively few words. Bit of a shame to have it cut off, but that also leaves open a world of possibilities.
The fact that there's never enough of him to go around is part of why I didn't use him as the POV character.
And I tried writing a scene or two with Miki as the viewpoint character, but I was worried about characterization. The dialogue with characters didn't seem too rough, but living inside an established character's head made me overthink characterization so much that I threw it out the window.

Again, thank you everyone for the commentary and compliments.

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Da Capo

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:19 am

As far as starting in the middle, that wasn't my original plan, the notes right before this scene in the notebook put it as a "close to end scene," but it was one of, if not the, first scene that I felt was finished and it just kind of morphed into the beginning when I decided that I really liked it as an opening. I don't remember if I ever made a concrete decision on whether she'd loop through it again, but one of the questions in the notebook is whether watching Mei fail repeatedly was really necessary, as we could get most of the pertinent information from the internal monologue.
As I said I think this scene works very well as an introduction.
Whether it is the start of the "final loop" is open. It could go either way. If it were the final loop, then you could write it in a more detailed way, more or less like a "normal" route; if it takes her more tries to successfully "get on" Hisao's route that would also be possible, though in that case the story would probably be more fragmented so as to avoid too much repetition for the reader.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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

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Scroff
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Re: Da Capo

Post by Scroff » Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:04 pm

What a fantastic first story to post! My head is swimming with the possibilities it raises, the directions it could go... Thank-you!

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