Sweetest Requiem - A Saki Pseudo-Route (Updated 1/2/2020)

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Sweetest Requiem - A Saki Pseudo-Route (Updated 10/01/2019)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:42 am

“Seriously, take some on your way out. I can’t refill it with lollipops until it’s empty.”
Gold!
Rest of the chapter is also fine, I just found it a bit strange that Hisao hardly reacted to the Ayame/Suzu thing - not even internally...
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.

DackFayded
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Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:40 pm

Post by DackFayded » Tue Nov 19, 2019 2:56 pm

Writer's note: This chunk is a bit smaller than the rest, mostly because I want to save the rest of the night for it's own piece, and it's been so long since I've updated this and wanted to get something out. Enjoy!

Chapter 3: Sforzando

I’m just glad it’s Saturday now. The week following the track meet has been a little rough. Midterm exams were a little more grueling than anyone had expected, and between homework, studying, and Literature Club, Saki and I haven’t really had any time to ourselves outside of our morning swims.

Mutou is lecturing about something to do with quantum theory, but my eyes are glued on the clock, counting down the seconds until the bell. Classes are shorter on Saturdays, and I have a plan for tonight.

Saki and I have been dating for almost two weeks now, and besides our heart-to-heart at the Shanghai before we were officially together, we haven’t really gone on an actual ‘date’. With midterms over, I figured today was the perfect opportunity to do something, both to celebrate them being over and to finally do something nice for her.

I’ve been making due on cafeteria food and two meals a day to save money to treat Saki to a nice evening, letting my allowance from my parents build up to give me a nice lump sum. She might have made it a point that she is more than capable of paying her own way, it’s still a bit of a point of pride for me to be able to provide nice things for her.

What boyfriend wouldn’t want that, after all?

Speaking of relationships…

My eyes drift over to Suzu. Her head is down on her desk, arms folded underneath her. She hasn’t said anything officially, but I’m observant enough to notice that she and Ayame have been rather close recently. I’m glad for them, as much as I don’t want Miki to really be a fifth wheel in our group. I should make it a point to hang out with just her sometime.

She’s been a good friend to me since I came here, and it would only be right for me to return the favor.

I’m broken from my thinking by the bell, signalling our freedom for the weekend. Mutou tries to finish his lecture, but gives up as people start filtering out. The bell seems to have woken Suzu, who groggily raises her head towards the door. After a few moments, Ayame appears alongside Lilly.

Hanako and Suzu both make for the door, and I can see Miki’s looking a bit dejected. It’s been a sad side effect of Suzu and Ayame’s new relationship that Suzu and Miki seem to have drifted apart a bit. They seemed practically joined at the hip when I first met the two of them, but now I can’t recall the last time I remember seeing just the two of them together.

Rising from my seat, I move over to Miki and place a hand on her shoulder. She looks up at my touch.

“Since when does The Miura look so down?” I cringe inwardly a bit at her nickname for herself, but it seems to do the trick as she perks up a bit.

“Thanks, Hisao. You’re sweet. Guess that’s why Saki likes you so much, huh?”

There’s a twitch of something on her face as she says that, and I tilt my head a bit. I can’t tell quite what that look was, but she almost looked...jealous? Wistful? I shake away that thought. What does Miki have to be jealous about between Saki and I? She said herself that a relationship wasn’t exactly her style.

Miki rises from her desk, slinging her backpack over her shoulder. “So, got any plans for this weekend?” She asks as I follow her towards the door.

“Well, I’m planning on taking Saki out tonight. I haven’t said anything to her yet, though.”

Miki smirks, nudging me with her arm. “Good! You two need to finally do something. You’ve been lovey-dovey this whole time and you never even went on a proper date.” There’s that smirk again. “Just don’t be silly, Hisao.” She puts extra emphasis on the word, and I know just what she means by it.

I just roll my eyes at her, and am a little bit surprised when she follows me towards 3-4 instead of heading off on her own. “Wasn’t really planning on anything like that.”

Miki just laughs, nudging me with her shoulder. “Long as you don’t keep me up at night, I don’t care what you two get up to.”

I just sigh in response as we come to stand in the doorway of 3-4. My lips curl up into a warm smile as my sight lands on Saki, and I hear Miki snort next to me.

“I know that look.” She says cryptically, not in her usual teasing tone, and offers no further explanation. Saki’s face lights up as her gaze falls on the two of us.

“Hey, you.” I greet her, offering her my arm. She loops her arm around mine, pulling herself against me to let me take some of her weight.

“Hey yourself.” Saki beams up at me, before turning her attention to Miki. “What’s up, Miki?”

Miki just shrugs, falling in alongside us as we walk. “Ayame’s kinda monopolized Snoozu for the day, so I don’t really have any plans.”

“You can always hang out with us.” I reply.

“What, and crash the honeymoon?” She retorts, a teasing smirk on her face. “Pass. Last thing I want is couples right now…” She mutters the last line, a bit of bitterness to her voice. Has Suzu really just been ignoring Miki entirely recently?

“Hey, come on now.” I put an arm around her shoulders, giving her a one-sided hug. “I’ve got room in my life for two pretty girls.”

Both of them laugh, Saki slapping me on my arm. “I could be convinced to share, I suppose.”

I expect Miki to make some other comment at that, but instead she actually turns a bit pink and looks away.

“Thanks guys,” Miki says as she looks back at us. “But I think I’ll pass for today. I’ve got some stuff I gotta do.” She increases her pace, walking out of my arm, raising her hand behind her. “Have a good one, you two!”

I watch her a bit as she goes, head cocked in thought. That was...odd. Miki, the social butterfly, choosing responsibilities over hanging out with friends? Almost unheard of.

Shaking my head, I clear those thoughts away and turn my attention back to Saki.

“So, I’ve got you all to myself for tonight, right? No other prior engagements?”

“Mm-mm!” Saki shakes her head, looking up at me. “Any reason you ask?”

“Well,” I begin, pushing open the door to the outside for both of us. “I want you to get your prettiest outfit together, so I can take you on a proper date.”

Her eyes light up, lips curling into a beaming grin as she pulls me down for a kiss. “That sounds wonderful! What were you thinking?” She practically bounces as she says it; as much as she can with a cane anyway

I merely shrug, though I feel a surge of pride through me at her praise. “Nothing in particular just yet, but I can promise you’ll enjoy yourself.”

That’s a complete lie. I’ve been planning this out for a while now, and though it will leave me pretty much broke for the next few days, I know it will be more than worth it.

In fact, Saki happily leaning her head against me is already more than enough of a confirmation of that.

“Oooh, a surprise as well? My my, Hisao, you’re certainly pulling out all the stops for me, aren’t you?”

“You deserve only the best.”

That was exactly the response she was looking for, as she beams up at me once more. "That's kind of a cute thing of you to say, but being too cute has its drawbacks too."

I cock an eyebrow at her. That...came out of nowhere, but I roll with it. “And what do you know about being too cute?”

She slaps me on the arm as she giggles, pulling away from me slightly. “Jerk! I am positively adorable and you know it.”

“Not the word I’d use. Emi is cute. Ikezawa is cute. You’re beautiful.”

I’m half-expecting her to swat me on the arm again and fire back some joking remark, but instead she turns red and smiles as she leans back into me.

“You’re too sweet to me sometimes, Hisao.” Her voice is muffled as she buries her face in my side for a moment, before pulling away. “Alright, I’ll go get myself dolled up for you. Did you at least have a time?”

“Front gate at 5.”

“I’ll be there!” She punctuates her words with a kiss, before pulling away to head towards the girl’s dorm. I watch her as she goes, hurrying along as fast as her cane will allow her to. It’s even in these little moments that she reminds me just how strong she is; how she refuses to let anything get in her way.

I, however, still have one last order of business before tonight.

I head to the boy’s dorm and mount the stairs, slowly making my way up to my floor, though it isn’t my door I stop in front of; rather, the one across the hall has my attention.

I haven’t spoken to Kenji since he mouthed off about Saki, and even now I don’t at all regret for calling him on it. Still though, that’s not something to burn a bridge over.

I knock on Kenji’s door three times, steadily and evenly. There’s the usual flurry of motion and sound behind the door before everything goes quiet inside.

“Kenji, I know you’re in there. You don’t go anywhere else. Come on, we need to talk.”

There’s a few pregnant moments of silence before I hear locks starting to turn, and Kenji’s bespectacled face appears through the crack in his doorway. He stares outwards at me, vaguely in the direction of my face.

“What do you want?” He asks flatly, though still with his usual tone of suspicion that everything he says carries.

I pinch my nose and sigh. He’s really not going to make this easy on me, is he?

“Kenji, I’m sorry.” I start, and it does seem to soften the cold exterior he’s trying to keep up. “What you said about Saki really, really upset me. But, that didn’t give me the right to make things physical with you. I just wanted to apologize.”

It takes a moment, but I see a smile spread across Kenji’s lips. As creepy of a look as it is, it’s still reassuring.

“Apology accepted, bro. Can’t really talk right now, kinda busy monitoring some things. I’ll talk to you later.”

With that, he retreats back into his room, reaching to shut the door before something clicks in my head.
What the hell is Kenji ‘monitoring’ exactly?

I stick my foot out, catching in the door frame as he tries to shut it.

“What do you mean, ‘monitoring’? What are you up to now?”

Kenji looks startled for a moment, poking his head out to look around before opening the door a crack further and beckoning me in. Against all better judgement, I comply. Kenji’s room is...exactly what I had expected. Empty pizza boxes and takeout containers litter one corner of the room, one wall is taken up by a giant pin-board connecting various pictures, notes, and newspaper clippings with red thread.

A rather high-end looking computer takes up his desk space. On the monitor is what looks like...camera feeds? All static shots of various areas around school. Walkways, hallways, even a few club classrooms.

“Kenji…” I mutter, looking around the room in a mix of awe, horror, and disgust.

“Awesome, right?”

“No…” I respond hollowly, shaking my head slowly. “Jesus, Kenji. I had always kinda hoped you were just fucking with me all this time.”

“A man has to be prepared, bro! And knowledge is power, and all that shit. I have to be able to keep an eye on the movements of the feminists so I can always stay one step ahead of them.”

I scan the feeds, and am thankful when I don’t see any resembling bedrooms, bathrooms, or showers. At least he’s not peeping on anyone.

“Alright, Kenji. This is...a lot, so I'm just gonna leave you to do...whatever it is you do with the cameras. I’ll talk to you later, Kenji.”

“See ya later, dude! Fight the good fight!”

I just sigh as I shut Kenji’s door behind me, quickly followed by all of the locks being done behind me. Why does he have to be such an exhausting person to interact with? Whatever. I have more important things to think about. Namely: what am I going to wear?

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DackFayded
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Post by DackFayded » Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:34 am

It isn’t anything particularly showy, but it’s at least a step up from the usual button-up and tie combo. I’ve swapped the usual white shirt for black, a maroon tie instead of black, and pulled on a slate gray sweater vest to top it all off. Not the most dashing of outfits, but it will certainly pass for semi-formal.

Checking my clock for the time, I down my pills for the night. For the first time, I have a hot date to catch. I check my pocket to make sure I have my phone, wallet, and the tickets. Once everything is accounted for, I make my way for the gate.

Along the way, I get back to my usual activity: delving too deeply into my own head to pay attention to my surroundings, while my feet miraculously carry me to my destination.

I haven’t talked to my parents since I’ve come here. That’s certainly something that should change, and after our date tonight should be the perfect time to.

At least, it would be if I didn’t immediately forget everything I was thinking about the moment I see Saki.

She’s wearing a form-fitting dress the same deep green as her swimsuit, though this one has a highlighted pattern of shimmering gold. Even her hair is done up in a complex half-up half-down rather than laying totally free around her shoulders. The only makeup she’s applied is that familiar reddish-purple lipstick, a color I’m quickly coming to love seeing on her.

“Wow…” I mutter breathily, staring at her in disbelief. She smiles at my shock, giving me a little twirl to show off the rest of her outfit. A white clutch and silver earrings complete the look, rounded out by her rather-plain wooden cane. In all honesty, I like the contrast. It’s a grounding detail in her otherwise overwhelming beauty.

“I take it you like it, then? It’s not too much for tonight, is it? You didn’t exactly tell me what you had planned, so I kinda shot high to be safe?”

She tentatively starts to close the distance between us, but I do so first, taking her in my arms and looking at her up close. “You’re always perfect, Saki. Just more so in this.”

Saki opens her mouth to reply, but is interrupted as the bus pulls up.

“There’s our ride.” I adjust her to stand next to me, and she loops her arm around mine, assuming our usual stance. We make our way on to the bus, and I’m thankful that we’re the only two riders. Strange for 5 o’clock on a Saturday, but I’ll take it.

“So, here’s a hint.” I speak up as we sit down, fishing into my pocket and producing a ticket. Saki looks at it curiously before snatching it from me in a flash, flipping it over. As she reads, her eyes slowly widen, lips curling upwards at the same speed.

“Oh my gosh! Hisao, you didn’t!” She turns to me, incredulous and extremely pleased. I think I can already count this one as a win, so long as nothing bad happens tonight.

“You mentioned at lunch one day that you’d always wanted to see a live orchestra. I couldn’t exactly find anything about a big one, but Tokyo University of Music is having a public performance tonight. I figured that would be perfect.”

“It is!” Saki practically squeals in delight, wrapping her arms tightly around me and squeezing my midsection. I can feel the vibration of her saying something into my chest, but can’t make out the words.

“Come again?” I ask, running a hand along her cheek.

She looks up at me, slowly detaching herself from me. “No guys ever thought of something like this before. It’s always ‘dinner and a movie’, or ‘hey, let’s have a study date’ or, ‘hey, i found this really swanky and haughty thing to do’.”

Her tone makes me pull back a bit, a slight bitterness to her voice before she turns back to me. “But this? You took some offhand comment I made weeks ago, and turned it around into something super sweet and thoughtful.”

After only a moment though, her smile fades and she settles into her seat. A single laugh escapes her lips. “Maybe Miki was right.”

I cock my head and put a hand on her knee. She turns to me, eyebrows drawn. “What was Miki right about?” I ask.

She just shakes her head a bit sadly. “Something she said that night before before the track meet. We were all together, and of course you came up eventually.”

I nod along, urging her to continue. Whatever’s weighing on her, I want to help her shoulder it.

“She said I had shitty taste in men, and that you were the best thing to ever happen to me, and ‘so help me God, Saki, if you fuck this one up, I’ll never forgive you for it!’’” She sinks into her seat, almost seeming a bit...defeated?

I move from her side to kneel in front of her, taking her head in my hands. After a moment, she brings her eyes up to me, a look of...resignation, almost?

“Saki, there’s not a thing you could do to ‘fuck this up,’”

For a second, I get a smile, before she places her hand on mine. “All of them have said that, Hisao. I believe you, though, when you say that. I really, really do. You really are different than the guys that usually throw themselves at me.”

That gets her another inquisitive look from me, but she makes it clear she’s not keen to discuss that further as she clears her throat. “Anyways! Enough depressing sad talk! This is date night, not a therapy session.” She leans forward, kissing me on the forehead. “Thank you, sweetie.”

Every time I heard that damned pet name, I smile like an idiot. I really am crazy for her, aren’t I?

“Always.”

I right myself and sit next to her again, and she nuzzles back into me. The rest of the bus ride into the city passes uneventfully, and thankfully there’s a stop only two blocks from the recital hall.

“So, we’ve got about 20 minutes until it starts, so we should probably go find our seats? I...didn’t go for any balcony seating, even though I think I heard it sounds better there? I hope that’s okay.”

She gives my arm a squeeze as we make our way towards what is easily the fanciest looking building I’ve ever personally been in. The people inside don’t seem to be any more well dressed than either of us, which is a relief.

“Perfectly. Stairs are not something I want to deal with tonight, especially in heels.”

Come to think of it, she did look a bit taller than usual. I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed the discrepancy until now, but she’s now just barely shorter than I am, almost looking me directly in the eyes instead of gazing up at me like usual.

We make our way to our seats, the last two on the end close to the middle of the rows. I let Saki take the outside to give her legs some extra room, and before long the orchestra finishes tuning their instruments, and the conductor raises his baton.

For me, the music is mostly entertainment. I’m not versed in enough in any sort of technical study of music to truly appreciate any sort of subtle artistry to the pieces beyond how they sound, but overall the music itself is quite enjoyable. Western classical music is something I’ve always found, while not necessarily my preference, something hard to dislike.

For Saki, however, the experience is different. I spend most of the performance watching her, the way her head slowly moves in time with the swells and movements of the pieces, her fingers dancing along her thighs and mine whenever the piano takes over. Watching her in her element, eyes lightly closed as she engrosses herself in the music, she looks so...peaceful. Content.

As the final piece comes to a close, Saki stands and claps along with the rest of the crowd. I loop an arm around her before she even has a chance to sway or stumble, just holding her in the moment. She turns to me, hands coming to rest on my chest as she looks at me.

“Thank you, Hisao.” She says, leaning in towards me so I can hear her over the uproarious applause. “This was...magical.”

I don’t let her fully pull away as she moves to, instead pulling her sideways into a kiss. Just as always, there is a moment of surprise and tension followed by a full relaxing of her body against mine.

“Come on.” I whisper as I break away. She scoots out of the row and I lead her out, heading towards the door.

“Where are we going, Hisao?” She asks, once more settling in alongside me. This time, though, she locks our hands together again, gently stroking my thumb with hers.

“The night’s still young, that was only a few hours. Unless you’re tired, I was thinking we keep this ride going.”

For a moment, Saki just looks at me, almost taken aback. “I don’t know where this is coming from Hisao, but I like it.” She looks around a moment, taking in where we are before a I see a glint in her eye. “I know just the thing…” She tugs me in a direction, heading down the street and away from the recital hall.

“Your turn to surprise me, I take it?” I ask, leaning towards her as she rests her head on my shoulder.

“Mm-mm.” She answers, nodding slightly. “It’s silly, but I think it’s just the thing to wrap this up with a sweet little bow.”

I just follow her lead in silence, letting her guide me wherever it is her heart takes her. It’s a dynamic that’s been there from the start, and really? I have no desire to change that. She’s the exciting one, after all.

It doesn’t take long until Saki’s prize is at hand. It’s a rather gaudy looking thing, but there’s no mistaking it as anything but a photobooth: the kind middle schoolers cram themselves into to take group photos.

But for a night like this? It’s an entirely different experience.

Saki shuffles in first and drags me inside with her, letting the machine take a few yen and punching in her desired format. A small timer pops up on the screen in front of us, and Saki nuzzles in next to me for the first one. For the second, she pulls away just a bit, turning her head towards me just a moment before the picture is taken.

“I love you.”

It’s a simple three words, but it causes so many different reactions within me at the same time. I barely register the second picture being taken, my reaction to her confession likely forever recorded in picture. Time seems to slow down as I turn to face her. She grabs the chest of my sweater vest smiling up at my confused face just as the third picture is taken.

With her firm grasp on my clothing, she tugs me down and to the side, pulling me across her lap and mashing her lips against mine, just in time for the fourth flash to go off.

We stay like that for a while, completely ignoring the roll of four pictures which hangs from the machine in front of us. Eventually, Saki pulls away and snatches the pictures up, smiling warmly at all of them. “Now that is a perfect way to remember that.”

I lean forward to look and Saki turns the pictures away, sliding back from me. “Nuh uh, buster. These are for my personal collection.”

“Collection?”

She smiles at me, shooing me out of the booth and setting back up alongside me.

“I take pictures. Of important things. Things I want in my hospital room.”

That’s...incredibly morbid, and incredibly touching at the same time. Many things seem to be with Saki, though...we are quite the morbid pair, aren’t we? She, the one with a guaranteed death at the end of a short line. Me, the one who could drop dead at any moment if I push myself too hard. What a world, huh?

“I’m glad I’m important enough,” is all I can think to say. It has the desired effect, as Saki pulls me close to her.

“More important than a lot of things, Hisao.”

For a while, we walk back in silence, my mind still mulling over her confession to me. Just like always, Saki is jumping ahead to wherever she feels comfortable being on her end, and waiting for me to join her there. Perhaps this is what Ayame meant by ‘letting it happen again?’ If Saki is like this...I could see quite a few guys who would leave at the idea of committing to something like that so early, or with someone with Saki’s condition.

But what kind of person would that make me if any of that bothered me? Saki is the most amazing person I’ve ever met, and the sheer idea that someone could think less of her because of what’s going to happen to her honestly sickens me.

As we reach the bus stop, my mind is made up. Just as the bus starts coming to a stop in front of us, I turn to her, leaning down to whisper in her hear.

“I think I do too.”

Saki doesn’t look back at me, merely letting a wide, beaming smile take over her face as she leads us back onto the bus. We spend the ride back cuddled up against one another, just enjoying the peaceful proximity of each other. I don’t protest as Saki leads me back to her room.

She does, however, make me wait outside while she changes. Still, she invites me in nonetheless, now wearing a large T-Shirt that hangs down over her thighs, and I assume some sort of underwear underneath.

As the door closes behind me, she doesn’t waste any time in starting to lift my sweater over my head, shaking her head at me. “Really, Hisao, you think I’m going to let you just sleep in those? Down to your skivvies, private! You have a woman to keep warm.”

I comply with her command as she settles onto her bed, watching me with a coquettish smile.

“What, you get to watch me undress, but I don’t get to watch you?”

Saki just shakes her head at me, her expression unchanged. “Not when I wasn’t wearing anything under that dress.”

The flatness with which she says that makes me stop in the middle of stepping out of my pants.

“I...don’t entirely doubt that statement, actually.”

This time she swats at me, grabbing my hand and pulling me towards her. She turns me and lays me on my back, drawing her leg over me to straddle my stomach instead of my waist. She kisses me, tenderly and sweetly, her fingers gently combing through my hair. She’s said a few times how much she loves playing with it, and I have to say the feeling is mutual: running my fingers through her silky locks is quite pleasing.

Pulling away after a few moments, she shimmies down me and nuzzles in alongside me, laying her head on my chest and letting me wrap an arm around her shoulders.

“Goodnight, sweetie.” She cooes, pressing a tired kiss to my chest.

I giggle a little at the slightly ticklish contact, but give her a squeeze around her shoulders. “Goodnight, Saki. Sweet dreams.”

And, for the first time since I started taking my meds, I fall right asleep.

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Last edited by DackFayded on Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

DackFayded
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Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:40 pm

Post by DackFayded » Wed Nov 20, 2019 3:24 pm

Writer's note: 18+ NSFW warning. That is all.

-----

“Rise and shine, sweetheart.”

It’s strange to me that as heavy as sleeper as I am, Saki is always capable of getting me up without much fuss. Maybe I’m just always excited to see her, even when I’m dead asleep. Whatever the case, her voice is a much better alarm than my blaring clock.

We may not have classes on Sundays, but Saki is not as forgiving a personal trainer as Emi is. Sunday’s are no excuse for skipping out on swimming, in her book.

My eyes open as Saki coaxes me from sleep, finding her already dressed and standing over the edge of my bed. Just how long has she been up already?

“Good morning, Sleeping Beauty.” She chides me playfully, letting one hand run through my hair. “I take it you slept quite well?”

I merely nod groggily as I sit up and start reaching for pill bottles. Saki watches my morning ritual, having once before, even with all the times she’s stayed over.

Things between Saki and I have changed a bit in the weeks since we went on our first real date. Namely, that we go out together more often. My nights tend to be planned ahead at least somewhat, whereas Saki likes to simply head out and go wherever her heart guides her.

Beyond that, Saki seems more...relaxed. I hadn’t noticed it until now, but she seemed to be almost...holding herself back at times? As if she was keeping herself from doing what she really wanted. That feels like it’s gone now, hopefully so at least.

It takes about ten minutes for me to get myself presentable enough for a morning swim, though Saki is strangely adamant that I leave my room first. As she exits, I see just a hint of her mischievous smirk. Is she planning something? Whatever it is, I just hope she’s not trying to embarrass me in front of a mass of people.

-----

As always, it’s a comfortable walk back from the auxiliary building to the dorms. At Saki’s urging, we skipped the usual check up from the Nurse, though she promised we would see him. She’s...certainly acting a bit weird today. Just what is this girl up to that has her so...nervous?

We arrive back at my room, and the moment my door opens, something hits me. Just across the entrance to my room is my nightstand, upon which my clock sits.

The clock that currently reads 6:00AM.

But...there’s no way? We’ve been through our whole routine, there’s no way it’s only 6AM!

The door clicks closed softly behind me, and I turn to find Saki leaning against it, reaching behind her to flip the lock. I can only stare at her quizzically as puzzle pieces start clicking into place.

“Did you mess with my clock?” I ask, incredulously. What sort of elaborate prank can she be playing on me that all of this behavior fits together?

For a moment, she grows a bit sheepish, almost looking like a scorned child. She tents her index fingers in front of her, idly pushing them together as she speaks.

“I may have changed it forward an hour while you were still sleeping so you wouldn’t notice.”

“Why?” I ask, a chuckle rising through my voice. “If you wanted to go swimming earlier, you could have just said so.”

At this, Saki gives me a satisfied smile, shaking her head as she begins moving towards me again. She braces herself on my bed frame, slowly inching towards me. “That’s not exactly what I had in mind to pass the extra time, Hisao.”

Now she’s just gone and confused me again. “What are you playing at?” I ask her suspiciously, still reaching out my arms to accept her into my embrace.

She leans up, standing on her toes to kiss me instead of dragging me down to her level. Slowly though, we settle back down to her height; my arms come to loosely wrap around her waist, and her hands rest against my chest.

I’ve never really asked her why it is she does that so often. I’ve always just written it off as just her girlish preferences, but there’s been other times where she’s been all hands, all the time. I’ll have to bring it up at some point.

Gently but firmly, she pushes me back, but not to break the kiss. Instead, she shakily walks with me, letting me support her weight as usual, until I’m bumping against my bed. She pushes a bit more firmly to guide me to sit, now standing before me. Her face is flushed across her nose and cheeks, and she’s looking at me like that again. The same way she was looking at me the night she came back from ‘Girl’s Night’ weeks ago.

She stands between my legs before slowly wrapping her arms around my neck and settling into my lap, knees on either side of my legs. This...this is new.

This is a very welcome development.

She leans in towards me, letting her lips drag along my cheek before coming to rest against my ear, whispering directly into it.

“No more ‘Next times.’”

I pull back to look at her confusedly, still a bit too early to pull too deeply from my memory. She takes the opportunity to begin reaching her hands into the hem of my undershirt and tugging it up. It isn’t until my shirt is passing over my head that it clicks in my brain.

I’m very glad I went shopping yesterday.

Unlike myself, in only shorts and formerly an undershirt, Saki is dressed in her full uniform. I suppose she wants me to unwrap my present, does she?

“You sneaky little…” I start, pulling her back against me to kiss her neck. She gives a breathy sigh as I do, hands feeling over the muscles in my shoulders and back before curling back up into my hair. While she’s always been prescient about keeping me from leaving marks in obvious places when I get a bit into things, she certainly doesn’t seem to care now as I’m definitely going to end up leaving a hickey or two.

I must be doing something right in my fumblings, as she’s gone from breathing heavily to making light, airy moans and squeaks. She pulls away and grabs my hands. The shaking in her hands is a bit pronounced now, though I attribute the increase in severity to excitement. My hands are guided to the top button of her blouse as she undoes the bow herself, letting it slowly slip from her grasp.

“Are you enjoying yourself?” She teases me, and it’s only in trying to undo her button that I see how badly my own hands are shaking. My heartbeat is steady, though disjointed as ever. Her hands come over mine, steadying them as I finally manage the first button.

“Relax, sweetie.” She cooes, kissing the top of my head as I move down to the next.

I take a breath and the rest of the buttons follow with far less resistance. The further I go, the more apparent it is that this is the only top she’s wearing. No bra covers her skin beneath her clothing. So, she had been planning this the entire time then.

I wholeheartedly support these kind of surprises.

When I finally finish with the bottom button, Saki slips from my lap, taking a step back to stand before me. Her shirt hands open but still covers her breasts, revealing her stomach. Her hands slowly snake down her body, a sultry curl to her lips as she hooks her fingers into the hem of her skirt, which I take as my cue to start working on my belt.

She turns around, bending over as she removes her skirt tantalizingly slowly, wiggling her hips as she does to jiggle her rear in my face. As if I needed any more encouragement.

Clad now in only a pair of lacy pink panties, and me in only solid black boxers, Saki stalks towards me. She doesn’t say anything as she grabs the hem of my boxers, only giving me a look as if to ask ‘Why are these still on?’ before beginning to tug them down. I lift myself up long enough for her to do so. She tosses them aside without ceremony, before honing in on her true goal.

She settles back into my lap, and I watch her eyes widen a bit as she gently feels along my length with her hand. An almost giddy smile comes to her lips as she inspects me by touch. Removing her hand, she grinds herself down against me, the silky texture of her panties the only barrier between us.

I can’t stop the groan she pulls from my lips, stifled only by her lips on mine. Placing her hands on my chest, she guides me to lay back on the bed, finally removing her panties as she pulls away from me again.

Now nude, she bends over again to fish around in my nightstand, before pulling out a roll of silver squares. I take it she’s been snooping as well.

She turns back to me, holding one in her teeth with a devilish grin on her lips. Now she’s just being playful again. Saki tears the wrapper open as she settles atop me again, reaching behind her as she rolls the condom over me.

One hand resting on my chest, the other holding my member steady, she looks down at me. “Don’t you worry about a thing, Hisao.” She cooes, bringing my tip against her entrance. Even just the brief contact is enough to send a shiver through me, the momentary heat exhilarating. “Just let me take care of this.”

With no more words, she lowers herself onto me. She gasps as I enter her, her body tensing for a moment before she begins moving further and further down. For a moment, her whole body seems to shiver as she reaches my base, her mouth falling open before she composes herself.

For my part, the combination of all-encompassing heat and pressure is both almost overwhelmingly pleasurable and slightly uncomfortable, though I can tell it’s mostly just due to how damn sensitive I am right now. All of my senses feel like they’re firing on overdrive right now, but all I can perceive is Saki. The sweat prickling at the edge of her hairline, the smell of chlorine mixing with perfume and shampoo. The moan rising up from her throat as she begins to grind with me inside her.

“Hisao…” She moans my name, sending lightning up my spine as she leans down to kiss me. It is deep but demure, pure and innocent despite what we’re doing. Tender.

Loving.

My hands explore the curves of her body, caressing her skin as she begins to lift herself off of me and slowly slide back down. I can feel my heart picking up. She must as well, as she shifts the positioning of her hands. One resting on my chest, the other slowly sliding up to cup around my neck, one finger pressed up underneath my jaw.

She’s...checking my pulse while she’s riding me.

For some reason, that just makes me feel fragile. I know it’s only done out of genuine concern, but I don’t feel like I’m quite that breakable. As if to prove my point, I firmly grab her hips and pull her down my length, eliciting a loud moan as I take over. She keeps moving herself, though I now bring myself to meet her while pulling her down at the same time. Both her hands come back to my chest to steady herself, her hair and chest bouncing in time with our movements.

“Hisao! Yes, yes! Yes, Hisao!” She leans back over me, both hands curling into my hair as her back arches.

“Harder…!” She moans into my ear and I comply, now the momentum of my thrusts bouncing her off of me, only to be pulled back down to repeat the rhythm.

She steadily becomes louder and less coherent, moving from moaning my name to loudly attempting and failing to form words, to eventually crying out in ecstasy as I slam her down against me. She clamps down around me, preventing her from moving as usual as her lower body spasms. The moment of added pressure is all I needed to kick over the edge myself, a tingling wave of warmth and pleasure rushing through my body.

It’s an instantaneous moment of eternity, a moment that lasts forever over in the blink of an eye.

As both of our highs subside, Saki is left breathing heavily against my chest, my arm around her. Slowly, she brings a shaky hand up to my neck, checking the pulse I can hear beating in my ear.

thumpTHUMP thu-THUMP thumpTHUMPthump.

Irregular, but calm for the most part.

Satisfied, Saki lets her hand drop against me. Her hair is stuck to her face, and she looks utterly exhausted, even as a smile cracks her lips.

“Not bad for a first time, huh?” She laughs at her own joke, tiredly chuckling to herself. I can’t help but laugh as well, letting my fingers slowly trail along her skin.

“I can’t certainly think of ways that could have went worse.”

Saki hums in her throat before lifting herself off of me, eliciting groans from both of us as I slide free. She removes the rubber and gingerly deposits it into my trash can, before finally sliding off to my side to take her usual sleeping position.

“Next time,” she begins, running her fingers along my chest. “You’re gonna be the one screaming my name.”

I laugh, though I can tell she’s more than serious about her statement.

“I certainly look forward to that.”

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Re: Sweetest Requiem - A Saki Pseudo-Route (Updated 11/20/2019)

Post by PabloPabloPablo » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:56 am

Right, so I don't normally comment on stories, let alone do detailed critiques on them, but considering Dack came to me for advice on Sweetest Requiem, I felt the need to read it all the way through and condense my thoughts into one long post. And boy, so I have thoughts. I asked him if it was okay to post beforehand, so trust me that this long post is not coming from nowhere. This is not an awful story. Awful stories don't have nearly this much heart into them, nor even basic storytelling elements. No, this story has potential, but as I read it, I ultimately became very frustrated, and ultimately slightly apathetic to it. Of course this fic is barely in it's second act, which means it has quite a bit to improve on, however I feel as though the base has a few problems to it that prevent myself from becoming emotionally investing into what's to come.

Firstly, the beginning. Obviously. The first post has probably the biggest flaw that really made it hard to go through the fic without thinking back on it. Aside from general nitpicks that honestly don't matter, it works fine as an introduction. Hisao is oddly enamored by Saki after meeting her once (which I will definitely get to later), and Suzu/Miki seems to already known him for some reason? That leads me to the biggest flaw of most of Act 1. We don't see him interact with Miki and Suzu prior to this, and the chapter itself skips over valuable development of the "five man band" you've set up.
DackFayded wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:11 pm
The rest of lunch passes rather quickly, if not the least because of my company. It’s nice, eating lunch like this. It really does a lot to make me feels like I’m starting to get used to being here. I know I still have a ways to go before I’m really comfortable with everything, but it’s a start at least.

Our conversations continue through the halls back to our classrooms, which leads to learning a bit more about my new acquaintances. Ayame is an only child like myself, and an avid lover of music, though I can’t exactly say my tastes match hers. More towards metal and punk, since she can ‘feel the music better’. Her family is from Hokkaido, and she’s been attending Yamaku since arriving as a first year.

Saki, on the other hand, is an avid lover of classical music. She plays the piano herself, and is in both the art and literature clubs. ‘A modern Renaissance woman’, she called herself, with a playful wink that turned me scarlet. We parted ways in the hallway, Ayame heading across the hall to 3-2, and Saki continuing down the hall.
Why do you skip over this? Hisao is just listing off character traits and hobbies of these two characters like it's an outline. Remember this: How a person describes themselves tells you more about the character than any of the actual descriptors they give. Just listing them off makes them feel like shallow character traits they just have, instead of the actual hobbies that they are. You do this a lot in the beginning, as time jumps forward and backward and Hisao recites quotes we as the reader have never heard before. This is ultimately a very bit determinant later in the fic, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

One thing that makes this fic hard to read is the constant, never ending teasing that Hisao has to endure from not only Miki, but literally every girl he knows. He says at one point that about 90% of the girls have teased him and holy shit is he under-exaggerating that. Hell, even Naomi teases him! And she barely knows him! (Sidenote: Why are Naomi and Medea in the literature club? I'm not a stickler for continuity and all that, but it seems odd)

Not only that, but the constant, grating mention of how "cute" the girls he hangs out with are. It became to the point where I was thinking about putting on a counter for it, but I really couldn't keep track. We get it, they are cute. You should show that instead of just telling us, because if you tell us how cute they are constantly and it's not overtly shown, we start to not believe it, and instead just think that these girls are needlessly arrogant or something.

And this brings me to a problem related to both of those issues, which are the characters. I feel like I barely know them. Saki, feels shallow until a bit of a ways into act 2, which makes Hisao's fascination with her all the more confusing. She's nice, and teases him just as relentlessly as Miki does. Before you start to learn more about her, there's not much there to grab at. It makes her reveal at the end of the festival less impactful, since I'm really not interesting in Saki anymore I am interested in any of the other girls. Except that the other girls don't feel very fleshed out either. Again, this goes back to the problem of us as readers not seeing the interactions Hisao has with the girls, and any interactions we do have with the girls are just them constantly teasing him to a fashion that almost borders on parody.

Ayame feels like an afterthought. I would struggle to really think of any solid character traits for her beyond being a good friend. Same with Suzu, who I feel like has less speaking lines than Misha and Shizune does before the little adventure at The Nanjing (I like this name actually, it's funny). That might not be true, but it feels like the two of them have a more solid friendship with Hisao than he does with Suzu. Miki has the most interactions with Hisao outside of Saki, but most of them are just her constantly berating him with teasing! That doesn't make for interesting character development or interactions. Miki is almost a caricature before we see a different, more jealous side of her briefly. However, it feels like it's almost too late to really go super in depth with her when we barely know her to begin with.

Not only that, outside of the little jealous side that Miki has, we don't know these character's flaws. What is Saki's flaw? What is Suzu's? Ayame's? I legitimately struggle to come up with one. And outside of these 4 main characters, there's been Rin, Shizune, Misha, Yuuko, Medea, Naomi, Lilly, Emi, Taro, and the Nurse that all have speaking lines and page time, albeit some much briefer than others. That is time you could use to flesh out these characters more. It would be fine if Hisao acknowledges that he barely knows these girls, but he doesn't!
DackFayded wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:51 pm
“I was just thinking,” I continue, changing the topic. “About how thankful I am for you and Miki, even Shizune and Misha.”

This, however, is obviously not what Saki was expecting to hear. She lowers the clipboard a bit, her playful smile gone and replaced with a mix of sincerity and expectation, obviously assuming I have more to say.

“You guys have done a lot for me, and I haven’t even been here a full two weeks. You knew next to nothing about me beyond whatever gossip Miki had told you, and you still invited me into your little group of friends.” I look up from my own stack of boxes as I pause. “You did a lot to make me feel like I belong here, and it probably would have taken weeks being here before I settled in without you guys.”
It makes this quote feel so forced. That's because it's in Act 1, chapter 1. This is not something he should say this early. The earliest he should say it is probably the festival, but even then it feels weird because like I said, we as readers barely know Saki and Miki. Yet, Hisao has known them and talked with them off screen all this time. We need to see this to make their friendship, let alone relationship, feel believable. And that leads me to the quote that literally punched me in the gut with how jarring it was.
DackFayded wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 5:15 pm
They really are some of the best friends I could ask for.
Of course he means best as in the greatest friends he could ask for, instead of actually calling them his best friends, but still. What? We've barely seen them hang out and talk about things outside of teasing Hisao relentlessly, and yet we're supposed to believe that they're a tight knit friend group. The fic needs to slow down considerably. Weeks go by in between chapters, and we miss all of the important development in them. And then, we're supposed to also believe that Saki and him can form a serious relationship.

The build up to the relationship is also a major problem, mainly because Saki and Hisao act silly. If I were to be nitpicky, one major thing that stuck out to me is the fact that Saki sees Hisao's scar on his chest, and yet is completely fine to tell Hisao not to give her a heart attack. Not only is that just insensitive to say when at Yamaku, the logical steps necessary to figure out that Hisao might have a heart condition are so obvious that I almost thought that Saki was just being extremely rude to Hisao by joking about the heart attack. It seemed more likely than her just not catching onto the numerous clues.

That's not the silliest thing though. Hisao trying to figure out if he likes Saki and why she kissed is painful and frustrating. I get it, the meme is that he's dense, but he's not dumb. He should be able to figure out that he 100% has a thing for Saki when she is pretty all he thinks about. Not only that, but he checks Saki out constantly, constantly proclaims her greatness in his thoughts, and she even kisses him straight onto the lips. And yet he needs help from the student council to figure it out?! If you can call that help. Literally a few lines before the kiss, he calls her smile perfect. Perfect! And then the next chapter we get this
DackFayded wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 1:38 pm
The real question is, do I have feelings for her beyond being a friend?
It dumbfounded me, honestly. Speaking of the relationship, it's so rushed. We're in Act 2, chapter 3, and they've already had sex. Why go this fast? I think I can understand why, which is that you want a relationship story about them being lovey dovey, but it doesn't feel earned at all. It feels as though these are acquaintances we barely know that have gotten together. Like, good for them, but why should we care? Before we can even root for the two to get together, Saki is already riding Hisao. This makes any complications to the relationship, which are probably going to happen, seem hallow. The ship has sailed before any passengers have gotten on, so why should we care if it hits an iceberg?

But you had one thing going for you, which is that as frustrated as I was with the story, I wasn't apathetic to it. Until this scene.
DackFayded wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:14 am
“I’m serious, man! That gimpy bitch is one of their top commanders, I bet! Along with that Student Council witch and that blind Mafioso!”

For the first time since I met him, Kenji has struck a real nerve. I feel my blood pressure rising as I grab him by the shirt and shove him backwards. He stumbles into his door and falls into his room, the door swinging open as he practically crumples onto the floor.

“Don’t you dare talk about her like that! I don’t know what your fucking problem is with women, Kenji, but leave me and my girlfriend the hell out of it!”

I enter my room and slam the door shut behind me. Sighing, I rub my face and lean against the door. I can hear my heartbeat pounding in my ears, its unsteady rhythm even more pronounced now. Taking deep, steady breaths, it slowly fades.

Now that the rage has subsided, I feel kind of bad for snapping at Kenji; at the same time though, he definitely deserved it. After a few moments, I hear his door close softly, followed by the several extra locks he attached to it.

Whatever. Serves the asshole right. Still, though...I should probably apologize to him for it eventually. Not now, though. I have to get dressed, and I kind of want him to stew in it for a bit.
This is the point where I stopped caring about Hisao. Ignoring whatever mischaracterization may or may not be there, Hisao doing this, and then barely feeling bad about it has stopped me from rooting for Hisao to succeed. Sure, he apologized, but only after he never mulled over it. Hisao literally assaulted a blind man and the most he thinks about it after the fact and before the apology is this.
DackFayded wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 2:56 pm
I haven’t spoken to Kenji since he mouthed off about Saki, and even now I don’t at all regret for calling him on it. Still though, that’s not something to burn a bridge over.
This is something you say to someone you yell and shout at. Not at someone you physically assault. I'm not completely against Hisao doing this, mind you, but he should have a reason to do so. And I don't mean the fact that Kenji called Saki a bitch, either. I mean that why Hisao would ever decide to get physical with a blind man. Because your Hisao did not show that potential at all. Neither do many Hisaos. Not only that, but he should feel terrible about it. It should be on his mind for the rest of the day! But no, he just goes back to thinking about Saki and doesn't bring up the fact that he committed assault until he apologizes. Then it's brushed off as if everything is fine.

And when Hisao had his heart attack, and his girlfriend wept and wept as his friends looked on in shock, I realized that I was apathetic to it. It didn't fill me with any emotion at all. Just apathy.

Now, this has been overly negative, but I don't think you should stop the fic or even rewrite it like Feurox did with Gravity. No, I think that you are still early in to where you can probably salvage the story. Your technically writing is good, but you really do need to figure out the exact character arcs and plot points that are going to be here. You need to seriously mull over the story and think about what you want to do. At least, that's just my opinion. You don't have to take any of this critique if you don't want to. All I know is that I hope that this pseudo-route finishes, because finishing a long form story like this is an impressive feat. I still think there's potential here, but it needs a lot of dedication and work.

Sorry if this is overly negative, or if I come off as rude here. I'm not trying to be. Regardless of what you do, I wish you the best of luck in any of your writings in the future.

P.S. this is written at 5 in the morning so my spelling and grammar most likely suck super hard, sorry.
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Re: Sweetest Requiem - A Saki Pseudo-Route (Updated 11/20/2019)

Post by PsychicSpy » Sun Nov 24, 2019 3:06 pm

Since I finished my religion paper, I’ve been meaning to read and review this. I’m going to try and give both positive and constructive thoughts. I’ll try to include some solutions with anything I feel can be fixed.

First, positives:

I feel that this story has been executed nicely. I don’t think it’s unimaginable for him to be into Saki immediately, especially considering that her route technically starts in Act One, and “Hisao” isn’t choosing between multiple girls, so I don’t think that matters too much.

Personally, one of the things that I hope gets explored along with Saki and Hisao’s relationship is the emotions of Miki about her friends. Irl, I’ve watched friend groups fall apart because of romantic entanglements, and I think that Miki’s emotional issues with being a self-described “fifth wheel” could contribute a lot to her emotional development. I’m very interested to see where this leads.

Your use of main characters as side characters is completely fine. I personally appreciate the scenes with Shizune/Misha and Emi. I think you use them in exactly the capacity they need to be in. I have also enjoyed your general characterizations.

Emotion provoking imo. I really like stories where I feel some type of emotion towards the characters. The date was very cute and probably one of the highlights of the story so far.

Smut: I liked it. ‘Nuff said ;)


Second, negatives:

Ok, so the first and most present thing I noticed was how you address blushing. You use the phrase “dusting of pink” A LOT. It is a very good and creative phrase, and I’m not saying you should never use it, but it felt very present. While it wasn’t used later on as much, the whole “my face was pink” just reminded me of it and I think it couldn’t hurt to just use “blushed” or “blushing” every once in a while.

I think that word overuse could actually sum up a lot of the constructive feedback. Yeah, the girls are “cute”. We all know that. It’s a bit superfluous. Mix up your word choices.

I didn’t love the scene where Hisao fucks Kenji up. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t blame anybody for wanting to defend his girl, but it seems out of character for Hisao to jump that far with it. I also don’t think it adds very much in terms of plot. Tbh, I kind of ignored it for the rest of the story because it just didn’t fit and it probably would have interfered how I felt about Hisao from then on. There’s no true solution here imo, other than think about which scenes will contribute and which scenes will throw ppl off.


Third, neutrals (these are things I have mixed feelings about):

It might be clear from my positives paragraph, but I’m very interested in Miki’s emotional development. Possibly more than Saki and Hisao. I think there needs to be some emotional conflict. Of course, this is Act 2, so of course I’m not expecting it yet. Of course, don’t make emotional conflict all about Miki. That runs a risk of making it more about Miki and less about Saki. You said at the beginning that you want Saki to have that mortality quality. Maybe do something with that.

Pacing issues: I’m mixed because I feel like there are some times where time passes too quickly. Some of that time could use to develop characters a little bit more. On the other hand, dialogue is tedious, and can be annoying to write, especially when the conversation might take five seconds to get essential points across but it’s annoying to get there. Take that as you will.

Overall, my take away is net positive. I really like your concept and your story so far. I feel that the most negative things about it are really just word usage, while a lot of issues are more neutral rather than negative. I’m excited to see what you do with this story!
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Re: Sweetest Requiem - A Saki Pseudo-Route (Updated 11/20/2019)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:57 pm

First of all:
Things between Saki and I have changed a bit...
"between Saki and me"

And now that that's out of the way - Wow, that was a lot of criticism.
Some I agree with and some I don't.
As for the things I do agree with, it's regarding the speed with which HIsao and the others become best friends despite so little time passing in-story. To be fair, that's a problem with many stories here, so I may be getting desensitized to it. Also Hisao questioning his feelings for Saki the way he did, did indeed cause some headdesk momnents for me.
Considering the rest of the relationship, though I didn't particularly think the H-scene was out of place at this point of the story. Frankly I don't care what number the act has as long as the scene fits in the progression of the relationship. Also it is perfectly reasonable for someone like Saki - whose time is limited - would not procrastinate too long on this.
What I definitely don't agree on is the Kenji thing. In too many stories (and the VN itself) Hisao is portrayed with saintly qualities putting up with the stuff Kenji does, so I did like the idea of a story where Hisao finally does draw a line. If anything it should have been Kenji who apologized, though that is probably too much to ask considering his character.
I'm also not sure where Kenji's eyesight comes into this. The scene would not have played out differently if his eyesight was perfectly normal. It's not as if Hisao snuck up at him and hit him over the head with a bat. The "Assaulting a blind man" makes it sound as if Hisao had taken advantage of the disability to beat him up...
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Re: Sweetest Requiem - A Saki Pseudo-Route (Updated 11/20/2019)

Post by PabloPabloPablo » Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:10 am

Problem isn't the h-scene itself, more the speed of the relationship. It progressed so rapidly that I barely have time to care that there is an h-scene in the first place.

As for the Kenji thing, I don't want Hisao to be a saint, but I also do want him to physically hurt someone and then not feel really any remorse about it after the fact. As for the eyesight, assaulting someone with poor eyesight is always a big no no since no matter how you slice it, they most likely will not be able to defend themselves as easily as people with better eyesight. That's what makes it egregious. If Hisao pushed someone without a disability, it still wouldn't be fine anyway, but at least you can reasonable assume they can defend themselves well enough if it progressed. Kenji? Probably not given his poor vision.

Though again, I don't care much if he did do it, so long as it's believable this Hisao would do such a thing and the fact that he'd at least think about it for longer than a second. Both of which aren't really present in this instance. Also I think it's completely out of character for Kenji to call Hisao's girlfriend a bitch, but that's a whole different debate/topic and I'm not a stickler for character consistency so long as it tells a good story. It's mostly headcanon 90% of the time anyway. I also haven't played katawa shoujo in a long time, so maybe I'm off base in that judgement, but still.
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Re: Sweetest Requiem - A Saki Pseudo-Route (Updated 11/20/2019)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Thu Nov 28, 2019 1:35 pm

Well he didn't really hurt Kenji did he? He shoves him and he stumbles to the ground. Again not like he assaulted him with a weapon.
And if you want to bring disabilities into this, then Hisao would probably be at a much bigger disadvantage if a fight actually broke out - which it didn't.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Post by DackFayded » Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:08 am

We finish with time to spare, and I decide to ask if there are any alternatives to the cafeteria, as frankly, the food so far has been subpar. This sends Shizune and Misha arguing among themselves about their favorite restaurants. All of them are downtown, so I don't think we have time to go all the way there. And what about the bill? Are they arguing just for the fun of it? Maybe. They seem so distracted by it that they don't even notice the start of the actual lunch break.

I look over my shoulder towards the back of the classroom.

Hanako seems to be studying her notes from the previous class. It's an odd sight; everyone else in the class is busying themselves with the lunch break. Socializing, gossiping, rearranging desks, the ones with actual boxed lunches mixed in and chattering like everyone else, only interrupted by short bouts of eating. But, when I watch Hanako, it feels that I'm the only one who can see her. Almost as if she was invisible; sort of hiding in plain sight

Is she being bullied? Is she isolating herself from the rest of the class on her own accord? I see her look over her shoulder towards the classroom's rear door. Come to think of it, she hasn't turned a page since I've started watching her. I guess she's waiting for someone.

What to do…

[>Read my book]
[Go talk with Hanako]
[Wait for Shizune and Misha to come to a decision]

I do what I always do when I don't know what to do. Like now. I've already started on one of the books I borrowed yesterday, and took it with me to school to fill the empty moments between classes. I find the page that I creased a corner of to mark the spot I left yesterday night, and pick up from there.

I don’t get too far though, as only a few paragraphs in I feel my desk shake as something settles onto it. I look up from the page I was focused on to see the tan-skinned girl from the front row of class.

“‘Sup, new guy?”

One leg hangs off my desk, swinging idly while the other is drawn up, her foot on my desk. She props herself up with her one hand, facing me with a smirk on her lips. Behind her stands a petite-framed girl with blue hair and green eyes. I remember her from my first day as well, head-down on her desk with the same sleepy look she wears now.

“Uh...hi? You’re...Miura, right?”

She sits upright to press her hand to her chest. “Guilty as charged. You can just call me Miki though, that’s what all my friends call me.”

Having satisfied herself in grabbing my attention, she slides off my desk before turning to fully face towards me.

“So, here’s the deal, and I’m gonna be brutally honest. You’ve looked like a kicked puppy the last few days, and it’s kinda depressing to watch you mope about.”

Well, thanks for that. That’s certainly a way to introduce yourself to someone.

“So,” she continues, “I’m gonna fix that.”

I set my book down and look at her skeptically. “Why?”

Miki just rolls her eyes, prancing around the girl next to her to stand behind her.

“Because Suzu here,” She gives a slight pause as she places her hand on the shorter girl’s head, who responds with a tired smile and a wave in my direction, “says you seem nice enough, so you can’t be all bad. And besides,” Her lips curl up into a devilish smirk. “What guy wouldn’t want to spend lunch with three of the cutest girls in school?”

“Three?” Is the only response I can think of. She isn’t incorrect in her statement, though I don’t like that she seems to just be taking pity on me.

“We’ve got another that eats lunch with us, but she’s in 3-4, so we meet her in the cafeteria.”

In all honesty, what other plans do I have? Hanako seems to have slipped out of the room during our conversation, and Shizune and Misha are still arguing silently. Stuffing my book into my bag, I grab my things and stand up.

“Sure. Haven’t got any better plans.”

“Smart boy.” Miki responds, looping an arm around Suzu and heading towards the door. I follow, settling in alongside her as we make our way towards the cafeteria.

“You’ll enjoy hanging with us, we’re a fun bunch. Our looks are just the icing on the cake.”

As we round the corner, I open my mouth to respond, but the wind is driven from my chest as something barrels into me and knocks me down. As my vision clears, I come face to face with the offender. A short girl with bright green eyes and brown hair tied back in twintails, clad in a gym outfit instead of a regular school uniform.

Most noticeable, though, is her lack of legs. Instead, she wears strange, spring-like contraptions that start just below the knee. They do seem rather fitting for running, after a few moments looking at them. She hops back up to her feet, her legs bouncing slightly as she lands on them.

“I’m so sorry! I was in a hurry and I wasn’t paying attention, are you okay?” The girl asks, a puppy-dog look on her face. My weakness. It’s hard to be mad at a face as sincerely apologetic as that.

“Yeah, I’m- ow.”

A sharp thrum of pain sears through my chest, noticeably but not too intense. Dammit, one of the three biggest dangers about my condition: overexertion, forgetting my medication, and sharp knocks to the chest.

I breathe, deeply and slowly, and the pain slowly fades away. Thankfully nothing too serious this time.

“Hey, should I go get a nurse?” The girl pipes up, worry painted on her face. Damn, I guess I do look pretty bad, rubbing my chest and breathing heavy.

“No, I’m fine.”

Miki reaches her hand out and helps to pull me up, before turning to face the new arrival.

“Emi, by gods, one of these days you’re gonna run into someone that can’t take the hit like you can!” Miki barks at her. Suzu stands back quietly, but looks angry as well, though the bags under her eyes somewhat ruin the look. “You know you have to be careful inside! You never see me running anywhere, do you?”

For a moment, Emi looks like she’s going to bite back with something just as harsh, but she looks at me and turns her head downward instead, looking a bit ashamed.

“I’m really sorry. Like I said, I’m in a big hurry.”

“Just be careful.” Suzu pipes up, coming back next to Miki and beginning to gently pull her away from Emi. “Come on, we’re gonna miss lunch.”

Miki reaches out and ruffles Emi’s hair before she lets Suzu drag her away. “Lighten up, squirt. Just don’t do it again.”

Emi shakes her head away from Miki’s contact but still brightens up before hurrying off once more, though not quite at a run this time.

“Well, Hisao,” Miki starts as we all begin moving once again. “You’ve now met Emi Ibarazaki. The ‘fastest thing on no legs’. And just faster than me…” Miki grumbles the last part, though her mood improves significantly as we finally make our way into the lunchroom. “Ah, sweet, sweet culinary indulgence.”

The trip through the line is quick enough, with most of the early-lunch rush having already subsided as we make our way through to pick out our lunch for the day. A rather-appetizing mix of fried rice, beef, and vegetables with a carton of milk for myself.

As Miki leads us to a table, I find it already occupied by a lone figure. Shoulder-length golden hair that matches her eyes, and a warm, welcoming smile greet me as I approach alongside Miki and Suzu. I have to admit, she’s rather pretty, though I’ve certainly never seen her before.

“And just what has the cat dragged in today?” She asks, giving me a quick once-over. I see her squint and tilt her head over so slightly, obviously curious about me. Like some other, my condition isn’t immediately visible. It might help me pretend to feel normal, but it also means it’s a mystery to anyone unless I tell them myself.

Better to let them wonder, I say.

“This is the new guy I was telling you about.” Miki replies as we all settle down. Suzu settles onto the bench alongside the fourth of our group and I take my place next to Miki, across from the cute new girl.

“Hisao, this is Saki, Class 3-4. Saki, this is Hisao.” Miki gesticulates with her stump as she collects a mouthful with her chopsticks, punctuating her sentence by shoveling a lump of rice and meat into her mouth.

“Saki Enomoto. It’s very nice to meet you.” She says, smiling sweetly and holding her hand out towards me. As I reach out, I notice her hand trembling ever-so-slightly. “But please, call me Saki.” Her grip is firm enough, but lacks strength behind it.

“Hisao Nakai. Nice to meet you as well.”

A few moments of silence settles upon us as we all dig into our respective lunches. True to Miki’s statement earlier, it isn’t long before Suzu’s eyes begin to close, her head slowly drooping down towards the table. Miki reaches out and pulls her lunch tray forwards, a motion that seems rather practiced. Suzu mumbles some form of thanks before her head meets her arms, and in a short few moments she’s clearly asleep.

“Poor thing,” Saki muses, settling her hand on the sleeping girl’s head and gently running her hand through her hair.

“Didn’t sleep last night, I don’t think.” Miki says, which seems to be regular occurrence based on her tone. This must have something to do with her condition then, I suppose. I had noticed a brace on her knee my first day and had assumed it had something to do with that and that she just unabashedly slept through class.

This makes more sense, now that I think about it.

“So,” Saki speaks up, getting my attention with a rhythmic drum of her fingers on the table. “Tell us a bit about yourself, Hisao.”

I’m not sure if she can sense my hesitation, or if my face changes, or what it is, but she pulls a trick I’ve seen before just a few minutes ago, only on someone shorter than her. She draws her eyebrows together, raising them in the middle as she puffs out her bottom lip. Puppy dog eyes. One of my greatest weaknesses after vigorous exercise and sharp knocks to the chest.

I swallow the rice I’d been chewing and clear my throat. “I’m not really all that special, to be honest.”

“You’re at Yamaku.” Miki speaks up, a wry grin across her tan features. “Everybody here’s special, Hisao.” As dry and sour as her words are, there isn’t any malice to them. More of a flat statement of fact than anything else. “You’re here for a reason. All of us are.”

“But-.” Saki cuts her off, throwing a glare at Miki. She doesn’t seem particularly bothered being challenged, as she only gives Saki a shrug. “We’re not asking about that, Hisao. That’s yours to bring up. We want to know about you. Hobbies, things like that.”

I swallow, taking the time to think before finally responding. “I mean, I’m not too interesting is all. I like music and science, but wouldn’t exactly say I have a passion for either. I used to play soccer with my friends, but that’s not exactly an option anymore.” I say the last bit with a bit of bitterness, though I continue before any of the three have a chance to pry further into it.

“I guess I’m a bit of a bookworm, though?” Saki’s eyes seem to light up at that. “I’d always enjoyed reading, but it was really all I had to do for a while before I came here.” Again, that hollowness creeps into my voice. I drag my tone up as I keep talking, though. “Like I said though, not super interesting. I’m just a pretty average guy, honestly.”

“I told you he was a dork like you,” Miki pouts at Saki, stuffing her mouth with another mound of rice and meat.

“A dork that might be right at home in the literature club,” Saki counters, flashing a smirk at Miki before turning back to me. “Suzu and I are both in it, and maybe some other familiar faces. We might have one more spot left.”

[Maybe not...]
[>That sounds nice, actually.]

Why not? I can think of a million worse ways to spend my time than reading, especially if that involves discussing a bit further into the stories that I’m reading anyways.

“Sure,” I reply, almost instantly greeted with that infectious smile of hers. “Can’t be that bad, and talking over sections of a book is a really good way to understand anything you didn’t get yourself.”

“Exactly!” Saki claps as Miki groans, rubbing her hand down her face.

“Man, I was really hoping to have a cheerleader at my track meets,” Miki says, voice oozing sarcasm. “Now you’ve gone and stolen him, Saki! I had a uniform in mind and everything! Little frilly skirt and thigh-highs!”

Suzu wakes with a snort and chuckles as my face turns the opposite color of her hair. Saki at least has the decency to hide her lips behind her hand as she giggles. I can only see the sultry glare Miki gives me for a moment before I give her an annoyed one back, which earns me another knock to the shoulder.

“Come on, relax Hisao! I’m just poking fun at you!”

“Is that what it’s called?” I grumble into my rice, thankfully saved from further embarrassment as Saki speaks up, gently prodding me in the knee with her cane to get my attention back.

“Seriously though, if you want a spot on the Literature Club, I’m sure we could squeeze you in. We finished our stall this past weekend though, so we probably won’t be meeting again until after the festival. But, my class still hasn’t finished ours. I’m sure we could use an extra pair of hands if you don’t have anything else going on after school today?”

Again, that happy, passionate smile of hers. There’s just a...purity to it, something so truly delighted glinting in her eyes as her lips pull up. I can’t stop my lips from mirroring hers. The idea of spending some more time with her is a welcome one for some reason. It will be good to feel like I’m contributing to something, as well.

“Sounds great,” I say, and for once I believe it. Since my accident, I’ve had very little to really look forward to. Now, as small of something as it might be, it’s at least something. Maybe the upcoming festival won’t end up being as bad as I had thought it would be.

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Last edited by DackFayded on Fri Dec 13, 2019 10:33 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Sweetest Requiem - A Saki Pseudo-Route (Updated 11/20/2019)

Post by DackFayded » Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:10 am

“Hicchan, this is absolutely unacceptable!” Misha wails, an annoyed pout plastered onto her face. Shizune, on the other hand, looks positively furious. Her signs are sharp and accentuated, her hands slicing through the air like knives.

It’s just the three of us left in the classroom, after our final class of the day had ended. Shizune and Misha, as per usual whenever they wish to accost me, have cornered me against the window of the room.

“You know how hard we were trying to recruit you into the Student Council, Hicchan! After all that your extremely-dedicated Student Council president and Class Representative have done to help acclimate you to our school environment, you spurn us to wax phi-lo-soph-i-cal about Charles Dickens?!”

I can see Misha’s anguish fading to confusion as Shizune signs rapidly at me, the pink-haired girl barely able to keep up with the former’s movements in time to translate.

“I got an offer that felt a little less like coercion or blackmail than what I was used to,” I respond simply, giving Shizune a shrug. This only serves to infuriate her even further, though it’s an interesting process to watch; instead of signing even more angrily, she pauses and glares at me, breathing silently through her nose for a few moments.

“Listen,” I start, rising from my seat and raising my hands placatively. “I appreciate all that you and Misha have done. You could be a bit pushy and stubborn about how you were doing things, but I know you were just trying to help. Thank you. However, the Student Council just isn’t something I’m interested in. It’s not for me.”

As Misha translates to her, Shizune takes a few moments to process my words. She squints at me as she does, studying me with her oh-so-familiar analytical gaze. Her mouth is still pursed in frustration, but I watch her slowly relax, shifting from anger to annoyance. After a few moments, she finally finds the words to respond.

“Well, Hicchan, as long as we know that you’re getting yourself involved with some form of school association and applying yourself to help prepare for the festival, I suppose we can’t be very upset with you overall. But! Don’t think that lets you off the hook, Hicchan~!”

Sometimes, I’m so thankful for the filter of Misha over Shizune’s words. I’m sure it would sound much more threatening in her own voice.

I can see Shizune winding up for another round of tongue lashing, but it’s then that a thump, thump, thump from the door interrupts the three of us from our argument. I turn to find Saki smiling in the doorway, her cane withdrawing from the door and coming back to rest at her side.

“Hi there!” She greets us, now having gotten our attention. “Sorry, I hope I’m not interrupting anything.” She looks across Shizune and Misha before coming to rest on me. Something in her eyes tells me she heard much more of the conversation than just the end. It’s not like Misha is exactly quiet in her verbal translation.

“Not at all!” I quickly reply, scooping up my bag and starting towards the door. Frantically waving my hand in front of me so that Misha and Shizune can’t see, I urge Saki to start walking before I’ve even gotten out of the room. I turn back to face the two girls, almost looking a bit stunned as I leave them behind.

“I’ll see you guys later!” I call out, before disappearing out of sight. I catch up with Saki a short distance from the door, and she smiles coyly up at me.

“Find yourself in hot water for siding with the Literature Club?” She asks, pretending with all her might that she doesn’t already know the answer.

“Something like that,” I sigh, running a hand through my hair. I haven’t seen Shizune truly angry before, but she looked damn close when Miki let slip about making good on my promise. “Thanks, by the way. I don’t know how much longer she would have dragged that on if you hadn’t shown up.”

She waves one hand dismissively, the other drumming some melody along the top of her cane as I open the door to 3-4 “Don’t sweat it. Shizune can be like that, as I’m sure you’re aware by now. She means well, usually, but sometimes I think she just likes to push people’s buttons to see what they’ll do.”

“That certainly sounds like Shizune…” I grumble, which earns me a cheery giggle. Inside, about a dozen students or so are hard at work finishing up decorations. Poster boards and various other art supplies are scattered around the room. There isn’t a teacher around; instead, a tall, muscular boy with one arm seems to be wielding some degree of authority.

“Saki!” He calls out, pulling her into a one-sided hug. “Glad you showed! We could really use someone with your artistic eye to help decorate the signs.” His gaze slowly drifts over to me, and his eyes widen a bit. He looks me up and down, before turning back to Saki. “Who’s your friend, Enomoto?”

Saki gives him an almost-knowing glance, and the boy’s face falls into a pout for a moment. “Damn.”

He releases Saki and extends his hand out towards me. “Shun Koizumi, Captain of the Track Team and Class Rep for 3-4.”

I take his hand and he shakes mine vigorously, his grip firm but not crushing. His enthusiasm is a little overwhelming, but not off-putting. He reminds me of a puppy, except that puppy is six feet tall and built like a tank.

“Uh, nice to meet you. Hisao Nakai, ah...unofficial newest member of the Literature Club?” Hard to think of a title on short notice.

“I roped him into helping us finish up the decorations.” Saki chimes in as Shun releases my hand.

“You’ve always had a talent for finding the cute ones.”

Saki raises her cane in a mock threat, and Shun raises his hand placatively. “Whoa whoa whoa, Spartacus, no need for bloodshed.” Shun laughs, lowering Saki’s cane back down to her side. “Tezuka and Ibarazaki are already started, you can help them.”

At the mention of the familiar name, I scan the room. Sure enough, off in one corner is an unmistakable set of light brown twin-tails. Next to her is a rather neutral-looking figure with red hair and no arms.

“Sounds good, Shun!” Saki takes the lead as we approach Emi and Tezuka. Tezuka is the first to react, looking up at us as we approach.

“Hello.” The voice is definitely feminine, but monotone.

Her greeting causes Emi to finally turn around, her face lighting up as she sees the two of us.

“Saki, hey!” Her cheery smile falters for a moment as she shifts to me, recognition flashing over her face. “Oh. Hey there. Sorry again about earlier. I promised teacher I was going to help hand out printouts, but I went running instead.”

I wave in dismissal as Sai and I take up desks next to them. “Don’t worry about it Emi. Like I said, I’m fine. Just knocked the wind out of me.”

“Ah, so you met Emi the usual way then.” Saki remarks, before continuing. “This is Hisao, he’s new here.”

The mention of ‘new’ makes Emi’s eyes light up in curiosity. “New guy, huh? I was wondering why I didn’t recognize you. I know pretty much all of the third years and most of the seconds, so it was weird seeing a face I didn’t recognize.”

“I transferred in earlier this week.”

This only makes her more curious. Emi and Saki switch spots so that Saki can work with Rin on painting, while Emi and I are more suited to cutting and sewing cloth for costumes. I wonder what exactly 3-4 is doing for the festival?

“Just this week? Man, that must be a hell of a shock coming in in the middle of the semester.”

“Schoolwork isn’t so bad. I had a lot of time to go over the material on my own before I came here. It’s more fitting in that’s hard.”

She pauses, tilting her head and looking at me sympathetically. “I know what you mean. I’ve been here since first year, so I’ve seen a lot of people come in here all-of-a-sudden.” Emi nudges me with her elbow, her expression shifting to a warm smile. “You get used to it. Just don’t worry about where you’re looking or what you’re saying, honestly. Long as you’re not trying to be an asshole, most people aren’t going to get offended or anything.”

That was one of my concerns, wasn’t it? Worrying about the right way to interact with all of these people? How not to feel like an outsider in this strange new place?

But beyond that, there’s my condition. What it means for the rest of my life going forward. A lot of possible doors were shut by my heart attack, and remain so with my arrhythmia. I hardly feel like any other doors are opening up to replace them.

-----

The next few hours pass rather quietly as the lot of us settle in to our work. It feels nice to have something to apply myself to, even something as small as helping construct costumes. It’s easier to not think about my heart when I’m doing things like this.

With the necessary work taken care of, everyone starts slowly filtering out of the classroom. I follow Saki out as she goes, falling in alongside her. She lets out a yawn as we wait at the elevator, covering her mouth with one hand and ending with a squeaking uptrill. All-in-all, it’s rather adorable.

“Ah, my, excuse me. I’m kinda tired from today, I suppose.”

“Don’t worry about it, it is kinda late.”

As if on cue, I involuntarily mimic Saki’s yawn, eliciting a giggle from her.

“Well, thank you very much for helping us out tonight, Hisao. It might not seem like much, but every little bit helps.”

We step onto the elevator, and a short ride later, we're back to the ground floor. Saki seems a bit wobbly as she steps off, and she reaches out to grab onto my arm to steady herself.

“Ah, damn. You don’t mind helping a girl out here, do you?”

I stiffen a bit at the sudden contact, but I shake my head and step closer to her to take some of her weight. She smiles up at me and wraps her arm around mine, leaning into my side.

“Thank you, Hisao. I guess my legs are a bit more tired than I thought they were.”

“O-Of course, no worries.”

The rest of the walk back to the dorms is rather quiet. Saki seems content to simply hang on me for support as we walk, and a thought strikes me.

How is this girl so cheerful?

Whatever she has, it seems to be something that messes with her motor functions. Difficulty walking and hand tremors. Things that, like me, impede her daily life and limit all the things that she’s capable of doing. How does she smile and laugh the way she does knowing she’ll never be able to really live a normal life; that she’ll always be held back by her own body?

That’s certainly how I feel, at least. Strenuous exercise is out the window for my future. Just walking a little too quickly or taking the stairs is enough to get me winded. My heart makes me feel utterly pathetic, and yet here’s this girl whose body resists her in just moving around properly, and she’s all rainbows and sunshine.

Maybe it has something to do with the difference in our conditions. Mine could kill me at any moment, just a random happenstance that ends up with me dead on the ground. Her? No idea, but her condition doesn’t seem particularly life-threatening; I suppose that’s hard to really tell just from a glance, though.

These past few days at Yamaku have shown me that I don’t really understand this place. I don’t fit in. As much as I am here for the same reasons they are, I don’t feel like one of them.

Or maybe I do, and I hate myself for it? I don’t want to be some broken thing, but no matter how hard I try, I don’t know if I can change that. I might not be blind or missing a limb, but that certainly doesn’t mean all of my doors in life are still open.

Saki must be trying to get my attention, as I feel her grip tighten on my arm.

“So, how are you liking your first few days here, Hisao?”

It’s a perfectly innocent question, but there’s a hint of seriousness to her tone. It almost feels like I’m not the first person she’s asked this question before, and she has a vague idea of what I’ll say.

I think for a few moments before letting out a defeated sigh.

“Honestly? I hate it here.”

Saki seems unsurprised by my statement, but obviously wants me to continue.

“I just...don’t feel like I belong here. Like I don’t fit in. I don’t know how anything is supposed to work here. I don’t know what to do or say, or how to even go about asking what is right and what isn’t. Every day feels like I’m tiptoeing across a minefield, and one wrong step means losing everything again.”

I see a twinge of something in her face when I say ‘again’, and it takes her a few moments of mulling over what I’ve said to respond.

“To be honest, Hisao, I’ve seen a lot of kids like you walk into Yamaku: depressed, directionless...lost, really. They don’t know how to deal with the jarring change their lives have taken recently.” She must notice the look of shock on my face, as she just gives a giggle in response. “What, you thought it wasn’t obvious that something happened to you? You transferred in in the middle of third year, Hisao. That means you either didn’t know about your condition until now, or it wasn’t bad enough for you to need to come here.”

My hand instinctively comes up to rub my chest, reminded of that day in the snow that had landed me here. Saki picks up on my shift in expression, as she continues.

“But! What I noticed about all those other kids is that they just needed someone to show them that it was okay, that they weren’t just some broken thing shuttled off to the Isle of Misfit Toys to be forgotten.” She stops as we reach the branching point between the two dorms, standing in front of me, a soft smile on her face.

“They just needed a friend.”

My vision blurs slightly as I can feel my eyes water a bit, before I sniffle and look away, wiping my eyes with my sleeve. Damn that girl and her smile.

She pats me on the shoulder, letting her hand rest there. “I’m here for you, Hisao. Even if we haven’t known each other very long, you don’t need to be someone’s best friend to be a shoulder to cry on.”

As I finally meet her gaze again, Saki is just smiling at me sweetly, her hands resting on her cane. Slowly but surely, I feel myself smiling just as brightly as her. She’s right. It’s not like she’s washed away everything in one conversation, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

“Thank you, Saki.”

“Of course!” She says this like I shouldn’t even have had to thank her. “I’ll see you tomorrow for lunch, right?”

I nod, taking the last step up to stand alongside her. “Lunch, yeah. See you there.”

Saki turns and starts heading towards the girl’s dorm, one hand raised behind her. “See you then, Hisao!” She calls over her shoulder, before disappearing into the building.

That girl really is something, huh?

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Re: Sweetest Requiem - A Saki Pseudo-Route (Updated 12/10/2019)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Dec 13, 2019 5:43 am

Nice chapter again.

One thing I noticed both in this chapter and in the recent one-shot is that you have a tendency to start a new paragraph even if the speaking character does not change. That makes it a bit confusing to tell who is currently talking.

Example:
“Something like that,” I sigh, running a hand through my hair. I haven’t seen Shizune truly angry before, but she looked damn close when Miki let slip about making good on my promise.

“Thanks, by the way. I don’t know how much longer she would have dragged that on if you hadn’t shown up.”
Going by the paragraph you would expect the speaker for the second line to be Saki...
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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Ensemble

Post by DackFayded » Wed Dec 18, 2019 12:44 pm

I give a deep sigh as I wander the grounds outside. I can’t believe how stupid I am. Boy with a heart condition tries to race the legless track star?

So stupid.

I don’t really have anywhere planned to go, honestly. I don’t particularly think Shizune or Misha are very interested in spending time with me after the argument yesterday, and classes have already finished since Nurse let me go. Reading doesn’t seem too appealing at the moment either.

I must have wandered into the performing arts center, where glass display cases show-off various trophies.

‘Best in Show’ and ‘Greatest Solo Vocalist’ catch my eye as I scan the case. As the quiet of the seemingly-empty building starts to creep in, something gets my attention. It’s faint, but clearly music. With nothing better to do, I decide to follow the source of the noise.

As it grows louder, I’m able to pick out the sounds of a piano. It’s a rather beautiful piece, whatever it is that’s being played. The lilting melody eventually brings me to a wooden door with a small window.

Peering in, I’m surprised to find Saki facing towards me. Her eyes are closed, and I can tell from the serene look on her face that she’s more than a bit engrossed in her playing. Her body sways in time with the piece, but all of her peaceful concentration shatters as she misfingers a note and breaks from her trance.

Saki glares and opens her eyes, scowling down at her own hands for a moment before looking up. Her eyes widen in surprise as she notices me standing there in the window before quickly settling back to her usual warm smile. She waves me in and I oblige, closing the door behind me again.

“Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting an audience today. What brings you to me today, Hisao?” She pauses, flashing me a playful grin. “Besides my good looks, that is.”

I roll my eyes at her comment, but still find my cheeks heating up a bit. She’s not wrong, she is rather pretty. I remarked on the same the first time I saw her sitting at lunch yesterday.

“Nothing in particular, really.” I shrug, settling myself into the other empty chair in the room, just behind her in the corner away from the instrument. “Just didn’t really have anything to do, honestly."

Saki gives a mock pout, crossing her arms in front of her. “So I’m just your fallback, then?” She doesn’t even hold the expression long enough for me to respond before she laughs, covering her mouth with a hand. “I’m just teasing you, Hisao. I would certainly appreciate the company as well.”

A sudden thought seems to strike her. “Oh! By the way, where were you today? Suzu and Miki said you never showed up to class.”

Well, I suppose that did have to come up eventually. I know that Saki isn’t the kind of person who would see me as lesser-than for my condition, but...I still do. It still makes me feel broken.

[Don’t worry about it]
[>Be honest]

This isn’t something I can hide forever. It’s not something I need to wear on my sleeve or tell everyone I meet, but...you can’t work through things without people to support you.

“I...did something kinda stupid. Nurse has been wanting me to go running in the mornings, and I started yesterday. I thought it would be a fantastic idea to race the local track star, and I…” I trail off, slowly lowering my head. “Had an incident.”

“Hey.” Saki speaks up again, reaching forward to place a hand on my knee. “I already told you that you could talk to me about anything.”

She pulls away, turning her attention back to the piano. Her fingers dance over the keys as another melody picks up, this one feeling strangely familiar, as if I’d heard it in another life. It’s almost haunting, feeling both incredibly uplifting but...weighed down by something, held back almost.

“I know this isn’t you, Hisao. The real you, I mean.”

I cock my head, staring at her golden locks for a moment before responding. “What do you mean by that?”

Without a break in her stride, Saki continues the piece without turning to face me. “You’re a nice guy, Hisao. I’m sure you’re very sweet and charming when you open up.” Now she stops, turning back around to look at me. I turn my head down, unused to this sort of praise, especially from a girl. There’s just...something so sincere about her that makes it feel wrong to keep everything so bottled up.

My eyes wander over to the sheet music in front of her as she talks. She must have noticed my drifting attention, as she changes the subject.

“Do you play?”

“Me?” I ask, as if anyone else was here. “Oh, no. Not piano, anyways. I picked up guitar about a year or so ago. I was okay, nothing really special, but I knew my chords and could do a few simple songs. I haven’t touched a guitar since…”

‘My heart attack.’ I want to say it, but I don’t. It’s still just too painful a memory, too fresh a scar to try to pretend it isn’t one. Every time a conversation comes back around to it, I realize just how much my heart attack stole from me.

“Since a few months back.”

“No reason not to get back to it now.” She replies, as she begins to sway in her seat again. It’s...soothing, in a strange way, to watch her. It’s not just that she’s playing the music, it’s almost like she’s letting it become a part of her. Her whole body moves as she plays, hands moving up and down along the keys, fingers dancing along the melodies they strike.

“Music is something I’ve always found a lot of comfort in.” Saki begins, scooting to one side of the bench and patting the space next to her. Answering her summons, I move forward to take a seat next to her. Her movement’s towards the lower notes is a bit more restricted with me here, but she doesn’t seem to mind at all.

“Whether it was playing it or listening to it, I’ve always enjoyed music. It’s...almost magical, in a way. The right song can completely change your mood, take you somewhere fantastic inside your own head, or drive you to complete that stubborn Math homework.”

Now she finally looks at me, opening her eyes and meeting my gaze. Her golden eyes look back at mine, soft and kind as ever.

“Music can be just the escape the mind needs from all of its troubles.”

After imparting her oddly sage-like advice, she returns her attention to her music, apparently satisfied with having made her point. It’s strange, how much this girl seems to be able to read me. Perhaps I am rather similar to all those other dejected, lost souls she claimed to have seen come to Yamaku.

“I still need to keep at this for a while, but you can stay until I’m done if you want. I will need the rest of my bench back, though.” And just like that, she’s back to her usual self. I smile and sling my bag over my shoulder, rising from the bench. “Thanks, but I should probably study a bit more tonight to make up for missing class today.”

“I suppose I’ll just have to have an audience next time.” She sighs jokingly. As I make my way towards the door, she stops playing again. “Oh! Hisao, do you have any plans for the festival?”

“Not...particularly, no. My neighbor across the hall mentioned something about a ‘Manly Picnic’ the other day, but...I can’t really say that sounds all that appealing.”

She claps her hands together, a cheery smile on her face. “How would you like to spend it with three cute girls instead?”

I feel I can safely assume that ‘three cute girls’ means Saki, Miki, and Suzu. Compared to Kenji, I would certainly rather spend time with the three of them. “Sure, that sounds fine to me.”

“Perfect!” Saki turns her attention back to the piano again, this time settling in for the long haul. “Don’t sleep in too late, or we’ll drag your sorry ass out of your dorm.”

“I’m sure you would.” I chuckle, waving at her as I leave. “See ya at lunch, Saki.”

“Bye!” She calls out before the door shuts behind me. That girl certainly has a knack for making me feel better. I make my way towards the exit, and head for the dorms.

“Hey there, lover boy!”

A familiar voice calls out to me, and I spin to find Miki and Suzu walking together. “Hi, Hisao.” Suzu says before yawning, her ever-present sleepiness only amplified by the puffy sweater she’s wearing.

“Hey you two. What are you guys up to?” I wait for them and fall in alongside, walking along with them instead.

“Just trying to keep Snoozu from conking out on me.” Miki ruffles Suzu’s hair, which she groans and shakes her head in response. “I want her to be able to sleep tonight, so I’m trying to keep her up until bedtime.” From the expression on Suzu’s face, she seems resigned to her fate, though far from pleased with circumstances as they are.

“Wanna tag along?” Miki asks, turning her attention to me. “It’d give you a chance to explain your sudden absence from class today, after all.”

Ah, she’s got me on that one. As much as I do think I need to study...maybe Suzu paid attention enough to get notes for what we went over today. Gods know Miki sure didn’t.

“Sure, why not? All I was going to do was study.”

“Pfft. Dork.” Miki snorts before looping her other arm around my shoulders, marching the three of us towards the girl’s dorm.
Last edited by DackFayded on Wed Dec 18, 2019 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

DackFayded
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:40 pm

Post by DackFayded » Wed Dec 18, 2019 12:51 pm

“Kill them, Jason. Kill them for Mommy.”

A horror movie marathon was not exactly what I had in mind for keeping Suzu awake, but it certainly seems to be working. For the past two hours she’s been practically glued to the screen, sitting forward and upright instead of her usual relaxed slouch. Miki and myself, on the other hand, are both leaning against the wall seated on Suzu’s bed.

“And Emi really didn’t try to stop you?”

“I don’t think she saw any reason to until I fell.”

Miki crosses her arms and scowls at the floor, shaking her head. “That girl...I swear, it’s like she’s trying to kill you or something.”

“I don’t know. She seems nice enough, and it wasn’t like she was forcing me to go as fast as she was.”

“Well she certainly didn’t try to stop you either!” Miki retorts, still angry for a moment before she seems to have an idea. “Hey, Hisao...do you really want to run in the mornings?”

I look at her a bit confused. “From the way you worded that, I take it you have some other time in mind?”

Miki shrugs, grabbing one of Suzu’s sizable stuffed animals and hugging it to her chest. “I run after school instead of at the buttcrack of dawn since I can’t be bothered to get up that early. If you want, you could run with me instead. Might be nice to not have the Nurse’s snitch on your ass at all times.”

“I’ll...think about it. It’s only day two, and I don’t really want to seem rude or anything.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Miki waves her hand dismissively. “Emi might get all huffy and puffy next time she sees you, but she can’t hold a grudge to save her life.”

I am certainly closer with Miki than I am Emi, as much as being friends with Emi seems like a good idea. Like Saki, Emi seems to have a natural talent for putting people in good moods. Unlike Miki, Emi also seems to have a tendency to push people past their limits as long they’re willing to keep going.

“You know what? Sure, why not. I could use the extra sleep in the morning.”

“Smart boy.” Miki nudges me to punctuate her statement.

“Can you two shut up? You’re distracting.”

We both turn to look at Suzu. Miki looks rather amused as she pushes herself forward and wraps her arms around Suzu. “Oh, am I distracting you from your slashers, Suzu? Oh, how awful of me! I must be just the worst friend ever.”

Suzu’s annoyance with us quickly melts into laughter as Miki practically wrestles with her for a few moments. After being released, Suzu lets out a rather loud yawn.

“Alright, I think it is probably late enough to let you get some shut eye, twerp.” Miki rises from Suzu’s bed and I follow suit. “Promise me you won’t watch another one after this, Suzu.”

“I promise.” Suzu mutters back, already starting to shift into a more comfortable position on her now-unoccupied bed.

“Good girl.” Miki and I exit the room. She fishes a key ring out of her pocket and locks Suzu’s door, twiddling a key at me before stuffing it back into her pocket. “Present from the Nurse. Figured it was a good idea for me to be able to barge in if I really need to.”

Huh. Wonder if that would be a good idea for me. “You two are pretty close, huh?”

“Thick as thieves.” Miki replies, crossing her fingers in front of me to emphasize her point. “Suzu and I actually go way back. We met first year of middle school, but we didn’t really get as close as we are until I transferred in.”

That’s...interesting. I had assumed most people here were...like me. Having to start over when they came here, without anything familiar in their lives. Something like that would definitely have made the transition easier.

“You transferred in?”

Miki smirks at me and leans against her door, crossing her arms and holding her stump up. “What, you thought I was just like this?” She doesn’t give me a chance to respond, waving her stump to brush away the question. “Nah, I lost it; that’s a story for another day though, lover boy.”

She punches me in the shoulder and turns to unlock her door. “You know, we should do this more often. It’s actually kinda nice hanging out with you instead of just the gals.” She opens her door and steps in backwards, pausing in the doorway a moment.

"Play your cards right and we can have a lot more fun." Miki gives me a wide smirk and a sultry wink before disappearing behind her closing door.

I'm quickly coming to realize that being friends with Miki Miura is both a blessing and a curse. I think I've had enough excitement for today. I make my way back to my dorm room and flop down on my bed.

Now that I'm alone, I can't help but think about what Saki said today.

'Music can be just the escape the mind needs from all of its troubles.'

Maybe I feel so beat up about this because it's all I think about. I spend so much time worrying about fitting in that I don't let myself actually try to. Perhaps all I really need is an escape from my own dark thoughts.

After all, it's not like all of my misgivings about this place have come true. I would like to think I've found friends in Miki, Saki, and Suzu, I'm doing fine enough in classes, and I've yet to really have anyone treat me like the broken thing I see myself as.

Maybe it really is just all in my head.

Whatever it really is, sleep is a more pressing matter at the moment. One more half day of classes before the festival. I'm actually looking forward to something I'd been dreading just the day before.

-----

It feels wrong to have Shizune ignore me like she has ever since she tried dragging me into her argument with Lilly. As much as I like not being hounded to join the Student Council, I guess I also kind of liked the attention. Misha has certainly tried to ignore me as well, at least whenever Shizune is looking. She just doesn't have it in her to be as severe with me.

Whatever. I have new partners for group assignments anyway. I bring my desk over towards Miki and Suzu’s, slotting myself into the open space between them.

“Awesome! We’ve got the nerd on our side this time, this’ll be a piece of cake.” Miki smiles at me, nudging me with her

Suzu snorts. “Then maybe you should look at Hisao’s notes when you don’t pay attention in class.”

Miki presses her hand to her chest, looking as offended as she possibly can. “Suzu, words hurt.”

“Not as much as my foot.”

“Okay, okay you two.” I don’t care if it’s all in good fun, it’s a bit much. “Can we just get to work?”

Miki rolls her eyes and Suzu slumps down onto her arms, looking on the verge of passing out on us. “I don’t wanna…” She grumbles.

Well, at least one of us will get this done by the end of class.

-----

“Maaaan,” Miki groans, stretching her arms out, which puffs out her chest and draws her shirt tight. Even with the boys uniform being looser, it’s difficult not to notice Miki’s chest like that. “Feels good to be free!”

“Speaking of free…” Saki starts, her fingers drumming along the top of her cane. “Why don’t we go into town? I’m sure Hisao wouldn’t mind carrying a few things for his ladies.”

I feel three sets of eyes settle on me like lionesses eyeing up a meal. I turn my head down in response, trying my best to not make eye contact with any of them.

“He looks like he can take it.” Miki retorts, wrapping her arm around my shoulders and pulling me in. “‘Sides, what guy doesn’t want a chance to show off for cute girls?”

“So only my stuff then?” Suzu fires in, a smirk on her face that even reaches her usually-tired eyes. “Everyone says I’m the cute one.”

“Positively adorable.” Saki agrees, patting Suzu on the head. “Guys around here would kill for their Sleeping Beauty.”

I will never understand the idle banter of teenage girls, not for as long as I live. At this rate, the three of them might be what kills me. Still, the absolute last thing that I want to deal with is having a heart flutter with all of them around.

“As much as I’d love to, I have a...maximum capacity? I...really shouldn’t carry too much for too long.”

The varied levels of disappointment on their faces send pangs of guilt through me. It really just drives home the limitations my heart brings. Try as I might to let distractions keep me from having to worry about it, it keeps rearing its ugly head.

“Don’t worry about it.” Saki speaks up first, rapping her cane twice on the ground as she steps closer, placing a gentle hand on my back. “I can’t stay on my legs for too long anyways. Let’s go to a few places and we’ll get dinner a little bit early, my treat.”

Gods bless you, Saki Enomoto.

“Oooh, there’s that place a few blocks from the mall, the one I pointed out when we were leaving last time.” Miki speaks up as we head for the gate. “It looked like it probably had something good.”

“You’re judging how good the food is by how the building looked?”

Miki stares at me like I’ve just slapped her.

“Well, how else am I supposed to without going in, gaylord?”

I shrug, conceding the point. “Fair enough.”

It thankfully doesn’t take long for the bus to arrive. We file in and settle into our seats, Suzu and Miki across the aisle, while Saki takes the window seat next to me. About halfway towards our destination, I notice Saki humming under her breath and turn to look at her.

Her gaze is fixed on the rapidly moving scenery out the window, two small white cords connection to headphones in her ears that connect and then disappear into her purse. A soft smile rests on her lips as she watches the trees slowly shift to buildings and skyscrapers. She seems so peaceful in this moment, almost serene in a strange way.

Who is this girl? Who is this girl that always swoops in when the moment is tense to lighten the mood? Who’s always there with a touch and a smile to brighten your day?

And why do I get the feeling there’s far more to her than what I’ve seen?

Then there’s Miki and Suzu as well. I turn to them to find Suzu fast asleep against the bus window, with Miki slumped against her asleep as well. Whereas Suzu usually looks rather peaceful and innocent while she’s asleep, Miki is far from it. Her mouth hangs open and her hair covers her face; anything but graceful or proper, she is.

I really do appreciate these three. They’ve made trying to adjust a lot easier than it would have been on my own.

The bus slows and we depart at our stop. Even in waking, Miki keeps the trend rolling by sniffling and rubbing her face with her hand, while Suzu gives a high-pitched yawn and bundles herself a bit tighter in her sweater. Why does she dress like that in the middle of summer.

Heh. Said the guy in a sweater vest.

“Come on, Hisao! Let’s get this shopping trip done right!” Saki grabs my hand and leads the charge at her own pace, releasing her grasp on me as we enter into the mall, and I’m immediately reminded why I always hated shopping with my mother.

It’s never just one store.

-----

The final trek up the stairs of the girl’s dorm has left my arms feeling like lead, but as I dump my shares of the girls’ bags into the hallway, I finally get a chance to catch my breath. Stairs aren’t easy for me, especially carrying things. Thankfully, my heart doesn’t seem to mind the strain too much.

“Thank you so much for your help, Hisao.” Saki chimes, unlocking her door and beginning to drag her things inside. “We really need to all hang out together more outside of just lunch.”

“Yeah. It was a lot of fun.” Suzu says, the last of her strength leaving her as she begins shuffling towards her room. “Night guys…”

A chorus of “good nights” follow her departure before Saki disappears inside her room, leaving me alone with Miki. Unlike the other two, Miki has limited herself to a single bag, which she tosses into her room and shuts the door.

“Still got some fight left in you, lover boy?”

“Why do you keep calling me that?”

Miki shrugs, crossing her arms and leaning against the wall. “Seems fitting. Anyways, I asked you a question. You need the Z’s, or you still got some time in you?”

[>Sure, why not?]
[It is kind of late]

When it comes to Miki I’ve learned that rolling with the punches and just going with the flow is the way to go.

“Yeah, sure. What’ve you got in mind?”

Miki smiles and pushes away from the wall, turning and walking away. “Follow me.”

I do as Miki commands and follow after her. She leads me up a flight of stairs, then a second, then finally a third before we arrive at a door. Miki winds up and drives into it with her shoulder. With a grinding of metal on stone, the door opens, revealing the roof of the girl's dorm.

The loose stone roof mimics the roof of the school building proper, except this one sports a trio of folding lawn chairs and a red cooler. Miki strides towards them and plops down in the leftmost with practiced ease. I approach and take the opposite side from her, while she produces two cold, wet cans of soda. She tosses one in my direction and I catch it, looking at the label. There’s worse flavors than Melon.

“Welcome to the sanctuary, lover boy.” Miki says, cracking open her can and taking a swig. “We come up here to unwind sometimes, but sometimes I like to come up by myself. A little quiet to yourself never hurt nobody.”

“Why’d you bring me up here then?”

She smiles at my question, letting it hang for a moment before responding, like she’s carefully choosing her words. “To show you that you’re not alone.” I’m taken aback by her forwardness, but she continues. “You’re kinda frustrating, you know that? One minute you’re smiling with the rest of us, then suddenly you look all sullen and hollow about something you’ve got rattling around inside your head.”

Miki takes another swig, almost using it to punctuate her shift in tone. “I’m sure Saki gave you some spiel about ‘all you need is a friend’ or something. She’s sweet like that, and I know that I’m more snarky and a lot more fun.” She can’t resist the urge to toot her own horn, of course. “That doesn’t mean I don’t care about you, Hisao. Only been a few days, but I can tell that you’re a nice guy. I’d certainly like to think we’re friends at this point.”

“Of course we are.” I respond, both to her and to myself. They are my friends. I never really needed a wide circle, just a few people I could rely on was all I ever really needed, or even wanted. Perhaps just a few days is long enough to find those people.

I see Miki smile at me over the rim of my soda can before she downs the last of her drink and tosses the can in front of her, crushing it with her foot. “Good. Just do us all a favor and quit being so mopey. You’re a lot cuter when you’re smiling.”

My face flushes as Miki turns her attention away from me and to the skyline. The sun is dipping below the horizon, painting the sky beautiful pinks and purples. I take a long drink of cold soda until I feel my face return to it’s normal color.

I came to Yamaku with nothing and no one. My previous life was gone, and now I had something terrifying and lonely ahead of me.

And yet, despite all of my gnawing fears about this place, I have friends. In less than a week, I have people telling me that they care about me, but they don’t pity me. Miki isn’t saying any of this just to make her feel better about herself.

“Thank you.” I say simply, smiling at Miki. It feels good to smile and mean it. Miki returns my expression, a beaming grin on her face.

“That’s more like it. Keep that up, Hisao.”

We spend some time simply relaxing on the roof together until the sun completes its journey beyond the treeline and the sky grows dark. Miki leads the way once more, pausing again at her door to turn to me. “See you in the morning. Night, lover boy.” And without waiting for my reply, she slips into her room and is gone.

Huh. Maybe her nickname is starting to grow on me.

I make my way back the boy’s dorm and up to my room, taking my medication for the night before undressing and slipping into bed. I decide to make sure I’m up early enough to not be dragged out of bed kicking and screaming, and so I set an alarm for a reasonable time before my head hits the pillow.

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DackFayded
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:40 pm

Post by DackFayded » Thu Jan 02, 2020 3:53 am

Beep, beep, beep!

I slam my fist down on the alarm clock, its blaring claxon having more than done it’s job of waking me up. Were it any other Sunday, there’s no way you’d find me up this early. Today is no ordinary Sunday, though. Today is the day of the festival, and I can already hear things getting started outside my window.

I swing myself out of bed, blearily blinking the sleep from my eyes. I go through my new morning routine: cracking open a bottle of water and working my way through my pills before showering, returning to my room, and getting dressed. By the time I finish, I’m much more awake. Just a few days ago, I would have been dreading today. The prospect of a campus-wide event I had no plans participating in is depressing. Things have changed since then, though.

I have people to spend the time with, people that actually want to spend time with me. Not out of some arbitrary obligation, but because they enjoy my company. It’s a very welcome change from my hospital stay.

The hospital.

Even just the thought of it sucks the energy out of me. Even though the loneliness I felt there has started to fade, the thought of my heart is still one that weighs heavy on me. I rub my chest, feeling the scar that marrs my flesh through my shirt. A constant reminder of how my body holds me back.

An ever-present reminder of something I’d much rather forget about.

Three sharp knocks at my door break me out of my malaise. I can hear hushed voices on the other side of the door. I open the door to reveal Saki, Suzu, and Miki. Saki grips the neck of her cane in her hand, raised slightly and beginning to pull it back, presumably to rap on my door again.

“Good morning, Sleeping Beauty.” Saki greets me, letting her cane slip from her hand before catching the crook and settling her weight against it. “We were beginning to think you weren’t going to make it.”

“What, and miss hanging out with the three of us?” Miki interjects, her hand resting on her cocked hip. “Hisao seems kinda dense sometimes, but he’s not stupid, Saki.” Even if it’s at my expense, Miki’s humor is a welcome comfort.

Saki rolls her eyes and takes my hand, tugging me out of my room. “Come on, Hisao, we’re not letting you miss any more of the festival today. Everything’s already in full swing. This is your only one, so we have to make it special for you.”

I’m not given a chance to protest as I’m dragged along, only given enough time to close and lock my door before I’m whisked out of the boy’s dorm and into the festivities. The bustling crowd of mixed students and parents, locals, and obvious tourists is jarring, and a bit sickening. I see people with cameras, looking at Yamaku and students alike almost as freak show attractions. It makes me want to yell at them.

And then Saki squeezes my hand, and all of those thoughts drain away as my attention shifts to her. “So! I was thinking we could swing by 3-4’s stall first? Show you the fruit of your labors!”

“Sounds fine to me.” I respond with a shrug. I never did find out what 3-4 was doing for their festival stall, despite helping out with it. Saki leads the charge at her pace, with the three of us flanking alongside her. We push our way through the crowds milling about, slowly but surely making our way towards the class booths. I spot the familiar black and blue color scheme, but the design of the booth doesn’t exactly give away its purpose.

It is structured like a large box, about 10 feet wide and about twice as long. The whole thing is covered in wisps of cloth blowing softly in the wind, including the entrance. I stand there trying to ascertain just what 3-4 has put together when I finally hear a loud scream, and watch as a younger couple comes running out of the front. A few moments later, a one-armed figure shambles out after them.

Shun’s face is painted in a deathly pallor, looking like a half-rotted walking corpse. His left sleeve is tattered and stained red, as well as a few splotches of what looks like fake blood on different parts of his body.

“A haunted house?” I ask, almost incredulous. Who would let 3-4 put something like this together?

“Zombie themed.” Miki replies, leaning around Saki to smirk at me. “Fitting for 3-4, don’t you think?”

“I...guess so?”

“C’mon, it’ll be fun!” Miki tugs Suzu along towards the entrance, while Saki stands back. She turns to me as I make no motion to follow.

“Don’t you want to go through?” She nudges me in the side with her elbow. “Or can you not handle a good scare?”

Even though I know she doesn’t mean anything by it, it still hurts. There’s no such thing as a ‘good scare’ for me anymore. Anything that people do to ‘get their adrenaline pumping’ is pretty much out of the question for me now.

“Not...not really.”

Saki, ever the one to pick up on my melancholy shift in mood, tilts her head at me inquisitively for a moment before cupping a hand to her mouth. “Miki! Hisao and I will catch you guys later!” Without giving me a chance to protest, Saki grabs my hand and begins dragging me away.

“Where are we going?” I ask, letting Saki drag me along before she releases my hand.

“Someone has to show you around, don’t they?” She says, smiling back at me. “Who better than someone who’s actually been here for three years? I could use something to lean on anyway.” She pulls me in towards her before looping her arm around mine and leaning against me.

Ah, there it is again. The warm feeling in my chest and face I’ve become so familiar with the last two weeks. This time, though, it’s coupled with the fact that she’s holding onto my arm. Physical contact is just something I’ve never been entirely comfortable with, but that’s not exactly a reason to force Saki to walk on her own. I don’t know what her particular ailment is, but it’s obviously something that makes it more difficult to walk.

“I suppose I could use a tour guide.” I reply, before allowing her to take the lead once more. After all, it’s not like I have much of any idea what good food and scenery around here is. She smiles wryly at my comment, but doesn’t reply. It isn’t until about a minute later that I realize my mistake.

“To your left, you have the Chess and Swimming clubs, and on your right the Newspaper and Astronomy.” Her tone is even and almost monotone, trying her best to sound like a tour guide who’s been at it for several hours at this point.

“Don’t do this to me.” I groan.

She laughs, and I let her have her fun until she squeezes my arm. “You said you wanted a tour guide, Hisao. Or were you just trying not to sound excited to have a pretty girl hanging on your arm?”

I fight the urge to blush and stay silent, but I can still feel a dusting of pink on my cheeks.

“I can certainly think of worse things in life.”

This earns me another adorable laugh, though she breaks away from me. Her cane clacks on the pavement as we walk together, though I do notice she’s standing a bit closer than she usually does. I wonder if she’s okay being on her feet all day? She seems content to simply walk with me for a bit, letting me take in the sights of the brightly-decorated stalls. The ones that serve food are actually in the minority, much to my surprise. Some feature games, others demonstrations of the particular club’s focus.

“So,” Saki starts, dragging my attention back to her. “Are you hungry at all? There’s a pretty wide selection available, as you can tell.”

I look around, only just now remembering that I’ve yet to eat anything today. Rather quickly, my eyes settle on something that I hadn’t realized I’d been missing until this very moment.

“This way.” I say, now taking the lead and making a beeline for a particular booth. Saki seems to follow my gaze before we arrive.

“Yakisoba, huh? A man after my own heart, aren’t you?”

“Well, you seem to eat about as healthily as I do, so I figured it wouldn’t be a bad guess.” Ah ha. So, this is what it’s like to be on the other end things, is it? It feels nice to be the one starting one of these verbal dances instead of being swung into one.

This, in turn, earns me both a giggle and a playful swat to my side. The slight pain is fleeting, but the feeling of having gotten the first strike in at least once is invigorating. It seems my eyes only moved so far down when it came to deciding what to eat, as I’m surprised to find Lilly manning the register. She looks...uncharacteristically tired. Knowing her, she’s probably been out here since the stalls set up earlier this morning.

“Hey, Lilly.” I greet her as we approach. She gives a familiar and warm look of recognition as she turns to face me, a soft smile settling on her lips.

“Is that you, Hisao? It’s nice to see you again.” Even with the slight tinge of tiredness to her features, she still looks just as elegant as the day I ran into her in the tea room, a dainty smile resting on her lips. “Though, I don’t suppose you came just to talk to me, did you?”

“Can’t say he did, sorry!” Saki answers for me, causing a look of confusion to come over Lilly’s face, which quickly shifts to thought. She turns her head down and to my right, ‘looking’ directly at Saki with her head slightly cocked. After a moment, her lips curl up into that familiar, slight smile.

“You are...Miss Enomoto, yes? My apologies, it’s been quite a while since we’ve met.”

Saki waves her hand dismissively, as if Lilly would be able to tell. “No worries! Last you saw me, I was helping you figure out the layout of the dorms. I must have done pretty well, since you never got lost.” She smiles proudly at her own self-praise.

“I do appreciate your help. It would have taken me much longer to memorize without it.” Lilly turns back to me, seeming a bit more businesslike now that pleasantries have been exchanged. “So, will that be two, then?”

“Yes please.” I answer, already reaching into my back pocket for my wallet.

“Hisao, you don-” Saki starts, but I cut her off.

“But I will.” I say, already handing over Lilly enough money for both orders. It’s interesting, watching her count the money with her hands before depositing it into the register before beginning to make my change. “Oh, keep the rest. It’s fine.”

Lilly gives another look of confusion, before smiling gracefully. “My, how generous. Thank you, Hisao. Your orders will be ready shortly, if you’d like to just take a few steps to your left. Be sure to bring your bowls back when you are finished, please”

“Sure thing.” I reply, stepping over to the small serving window. It seems a small line had formed behind us, and Lilly is once more back to taking orders. I really hope she’s able to take a break sometime today.

“Thank you, Hisao, but you really didn’t need to do that.” Saki pipes up, pouting a bit, though it’s obvious she’s far from actually upset with me. “I am a strong, independent young woman.” She continues, one hand on her hip, the other on her cane.

I can’t help but smile, even as she puffs her cheeks out at me in mock indignance.

“A ‘strong, independent young woman’,” I begin, making air quotes with my hands. “That has been an amazing friend to me for the past week. The least I can do is buy you lunch.”

She blushes, and for once looks a bit...bashful? Demure, maybe? Cute, for sure.

“Well, when you put it that way, how can I possibly refuse?”

True to Lilly’s word, our orders are completed in a few minutes, and I leave the task of finding a spot to eat to Saki. She has a sharp eye, as she managed to scout us out a bench that was occupied as we approached, but the people seated there finish eating and leave before we’re even halfway there, giving us a perfect opportunity to swoop in and occupy the spot before anyone else does.

Saki gets there first, hopping onto it with a twirl, crossing her ankles as she lands. She leans back against the Cherry Blossom tree, setting her cane against it as well, a soft and dainty smile on her lips. Her eyes close as she takes in the fresh summer air.

Sitting there, she looks...girlish. Peaceful? Content, maybe? I don’t really know the right word, but I can feel a smile curl up onto my face as my mind drifts. I wonder how much different this would look when the tree is really in bloom…

So much has changed recently, that much is sure; and in so many different directions. I still feel as though my life was taken from me, stolen out from under me. I have some semblance of a life now, with people that obviously care about me… but I also know how quickly that can change.

How easy it would be to have another heart attack and wind up back in the hospital. To lose another set of friends, another life just to be shoved back into isolation for God knows how long.

I already had my world taken from me once. I’m terrified of it happening again. Is that why I still feel like I’m holding back? All of the people I’ve been spending time with since coming to Yamaku have been so welcoming, accommodating even. Even Nurse with his jokes, that set him apart from the plastic smiles and strict proceduralism of most doctors made me like this place more than the hospital.

No matter what, though, my condition constantly looms over my head. The threat of death at the slightest mistake. How could I not be worried all the time?

“Hellooo~?” Saki’s mockingly drawn out, lilting question pulls me back to reality, and I find her smirking at me, a knowing look on her face. “Don’t you know it’s impolite to stare, Hisao?”

Her words say one thing. Her tone says another.

“Sorry, sorry.” I apologize sheepishly, moving to sit down next to her. “Just...lost in my own head.”

She scoffs at this, apparently deciding to double down on my poor choice of words before I can fix them.

“I’m sure you were, Hisao. Thinking of so many different things.” She sticks her tongue out at me, but doesn’t press further, instead turning her attention to the rather-sizable bowl of fried noodles in front of her.

Saki practically melts as the first mouthful hits her tongue, her body rolling slightly and a pleased hum rumbling from her throat. She chews slowly, savoring it for as long as she can before she swallows.

“Oh, Hisao, you know how to treat a girl right! This is exactly what I’ve been craving recently.”

And with that my foul mood is abated. There’s little better praise you can get like that, honestly, implications aside.

“A connoisseur of the fried arts, huh?” I smirk, starting to dig in to my own meal. True to her word, it is delicious. I’ll have to be sure to see who was running the show at the stall later.

She stops, her chopsticks halfway to her face and head reaching down to meet them before she pouts at me, returning her food to her plate. “Fried and fine, thank you very much. You know I’m just as well read as I am well fed.” She punctuates her point by sticking her tongue out at me again, this time seeming more like a miffed child.
Last edited by DackFayded on Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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