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

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

Post by DackFayded » Fri Sep 20, 2019 5:15 pm

“Hisao, I know that you haven’t been keeping up on your runs with Emi.” Nurse scolds me, no air of humor around him this time.

He’s right. I haven’t been; though to be fair, the last time I went running with Emi, I nearly had a heart attack.

And besides, it’s only Tuesday. The Festival was just two days ago, and it’s been barely a week since my last run with Emi.

“I know. I’ve been making a point to walk though, and do ‘laps’ of the stairs every so often. I’ve been keeping up with my medicine as well.” Even though I know he’s right, it’s not like I haven’t been making an effort towards my health.

Nurse just shakes his head, though he doesn’t exactly look disappointed. “It’s good that you’re trying, but you need a regular schedule of medium-intensity cardio, and what you’re doing on your own just simply isn’t enough. On top of that, you certainly need someone with you in the case of an episode.”

His words bite, but all the same...he’s correct. This isn’t coming from anger, it’s coming from concern. Nurse is silent for a few moments, either letting his words sink in or thinking himself.

“What about swimming?”

The question makes me look up, cocking my head at him. “What about it?”

Nurse rolls his eyes, plopping himself down in his swivel chair. “I mean, would you prefer it to running? I know you and Miss Enomoto get along well enough, and I’m sure she wouldn’t mind the company.” He says the last part with a wink, his humor apparently returning to him.

“I...guess so? I guess you don’t feel as gross afterwards, and the water is pretty refreshing early in the morning.” I ignore his comment about Saki. While I’m not exactly surprised that even Nurse knows that Saki and I are friends, that last thing I want is him joining in on the rest of that rumor train.

Nurse nods, and scribbles something down in my file. “Good, because I already talked to her about it this morning. I told her to act her sweetest if you resisted.” He smirks at me, before standing from his chair. “Alright, that should be all for you today.” He checks his watch. “If you take a nice, leisurely stroll, you can hit the main building right at the lunch bell.”

I take his advice, taking my time to enjoy the cool summer air and slight breeze that has come with today. True to his word, I hear the lunch bell ring out as I’m just a few feet from the door.

I make my way straight for the cafeteria, able to beat most of the crowds and arrive at the table first. I raise my hand as the usual group slowly comes through the doors. I’m greeted by looks of recognition and happiness, and it’s especially heartwarming. Seeing one person happy to see you is one thing. Seeing three people, and one more after a lean and a whisper, smile at the thought of you is exactly what I’ve been missing.

They really are some of the best friends I could ask for.

After a few minutes, the four girls are seated at the table in our usual arrangement.

“I was wondering where you were, Hisao. You weren’t there to walk your ladies to lunch.” She playfully pokes me in the knee with her cane. “You know better.”

I merely shrug. “Nurse’s orders. Told me to ‘take my time getting back to class’. Before I knew it, it was lunchtime.”

Saki’s eyes light up at the mention of the Nurse, but I continue before she can speak up. I’m sure the Nurse wouldn’t have told her everything, but I’m still not sure exactly what he did tell her. I might be more comfortable with my heart, but I’m not really ready to go telling people about it. “Yeah, he told me. I agree, it’s a good idea; and I guess I can think of worse ways to spend my mornings.”

Saki smiles brightly at my response, but just past her I can see Miki looking between the two of us, a devilish smirk slowly growing on her lips.

“Man, since when did Nurse start playing wingman?” She asks, trying her best to make it sound like an innocent question. A moment later, she gives a sharp yelp as Saki’s cane connects with her shin under the table. Miki winces, pulling her knee up to her chest to rub the area.

“That’s fair, I earned that one.”

I look to the confused face of Suzu and the amused grin of Ayame. Due to the heat in my face, I’m thankful most of the attention is on Miki and Saki at the moment.

“Nurse suggested,” Saki starts, “That Hisao join me on my swims in the morning as a replacement for his runs with Emi. He said it was important to have someone to keep him to a strict regimen, and to have a partner.” She looks at me, and I can almost hear the rest of the sentence left unspoken.

In case anything goes wrong.

It’s a confusing expression on her face, a mix of several different emotions I can’t quite pick apart at the moment. In a second, it’s gone, back to cheery smiles.

“So he wants me to whip him into proper shape!” She pokes me in the foot with her cane, a confidant smirk on her face. “I’ll have you swimming with the best of them in no time!”

The mood changes sharply as Suzu gives a loud yawn, and she begins shifting to rest her head on her arms. I reach out, grab her lunch tray and yank it aside. She mumbles a soft ‘thank you’ before settling down, snoring softly a moment later.

I grimace as I remember. Saki likes to swim pretty early, doesn’t she?

“What time did you have in mind, exactly?”

She blinks at me for a moment before smiling sheepishly. “Well, bright and early. I wake up at 5:30 to get to the pool by six, and be done by seven.”

I hang my head in defeat, already saying goodbye to any thoughts of sleeping in.

“Bring your uniform and your backpack, though. You probably won’t have time to go back to your dorm afterwards, since the nurse is going to want to give you a checkup after.”

“Sounds like a plan.” I reply weakly, lifting my head just enough to look up at her. “Just go easy on me. Emi can be a bit...competitive, if you didn’t know.”

That earns me a laugh from the three awake ladies at the table, and lunch continues fairly normally. Suzu wakes up after only a few minutes, and thanks to the seemingly time-bending properties of spending time with your friends, the lunch bell peels out far too quickly.

Suzu drags Ayame and Miki off first, leaving Saki and I to walk back to class together. We fall in step alongside each other, small talk punctuated by the rhythmic clack, clack, clack of her cane along the floor. It’s almost like a third footfall, slightly out of rhythm with her steps. We slowly fade into comfortable silence, enjoying each other’s company as we walk.

A question comes to mind that’s been gnawing at me for a while now. This morning only made me think about it more, and now that we’ll be swimming together in the mornings…

Should I tell her?

Well, obviously I should. How terrifying would it be if I started having problems with my heart and she had no idea what was going on with me? I can hardly put the onus on her to run for help.

And then there’s the fact that I’m still not comfortable about my scar. Would she be put-off by it, or would she even care? Either way, I think a shirt will be in order until I’m comfortable with the idea. At least my parents had the foresight to pack a swimsuit when they heard Yamaku had a pool.

Saki told me during the festival that she wouldn’t press the issue. Everyone comes to that point on their own time, and that I didn’t have to tell her anything that I wasn’t comfortable with. At the same time, though, I can tell she wants to know. Whether it’s just benign curiosity, concern how serious my condition might be, or something else entirely, I’m still not sure.

Saki hasn’t told me about her condition either, though I know it’s not because she’s uncomfortable about it. She’s let slip more than enough details for me to know it’s something rather serious. Does she just...not want me to worry about it?

I look over at Saki, taking her in as she walks next to me. A lot has happened over the past two weeks, and so much of it has been because of her. I still don’t know what possessed her to reach out to me beyond simple compassion. In fact, there’s a lot that I still don’t know about Saki. Surface level things, sure; hobbies, favorite foods and the like.

But just who is Saki Enomoto? Who is this girl that’s become such a large part of my new life?

Before I even realize it, we’re approaching class 3-4. Saki turns and flashes a smile at me before she enters the room. “I’ve got some things to take care of after class today, so I won’t see you until tomorrow morning.” She wraps the handle of her cane around my hip and pulls me closer, wrapping me in a gentle hug. “Thank you for agreeing to join me.” She whispers, before pulling away. “I’ve been needing a workout buddy.”

Damn her. Just as I’ve gotten used to her suggestive ribbings, she does something so sweet and genuine to get me turning red again. “Y-yeah, of course.” I stammer out.

She seems to have gotten the reaction she wanted, as she playfully sticks her tongue out at me. “Have a good rest of your day, Hisao.” With that, she turns on her heel and heads into the classroom.

“You too, Saki.” I reply, breathing a sigh to steady myself before turning away. As I do, though, I see something that makes my blood run cold: Emi, seated in the back corner of the class, staring straight at me. Smiling devilishly at me.

Oh no.

-----

My room is still dark as I blindly wave my hand about, eventually managing to quiet the incessant blaring that woke me up. Today is the first day of my new routine with Saki, and I want to at least seem excited for the task at hand. Exercise for purpose has never really been my thing, but I need to make it my thing now. The stakes are higher now.

I drag myself out of bed, and take care of my morning routine. I follow Saki’s advice and pack my school uniform, as well as two large Ziploc bags to store my wet clothing in. The last thing I need is my school work getting soggy and ruined on my first day trying this out. I decide to just wear my trunks and toss on a white t-shirt. With my preparations made, I make my way for the auxiliary building.

I’m obviously a fair bit slower at getting ready in the morning than Saki is, as I just catch a glimpse of her heading into the building as I approach it. Heading inside, I’m surprised to see her waiting for me. She seems just as surprised, though it quickly melts to happiness as she takes me in.

She’s wearing the usual gym outfit that Emi always wears, but I can tell she’s wearing her swimsuit underneath it.

“Good!” She chirps, her hand pulling away from her pocket. “I was afraid you’d had second thoughts.”

“You make me think, sure,” I start, already starting to follow her towards the showers. “But never second guesses.”

This earns me a giggle as we approach the split in the paths. She turns on her heel, gesturing to the men’s showers with her cane. “Just make it quick. Nothing fancy, you’re getting into the water right away. Save the real shower for afterwards so you don’t reek of chlorine all day.” With that, she disappears into the women’s showers.

It takes some time for the water to reach a comfortable temperature, but I rinse myself off and redress before heading into the pool.

Once again, Saki is ahead of me. She’s down to just her swimsuit, and I have to admit, it is quite flattering. A forest green, skin-tight one-piece that hugs and accentuates her curves. Thin white lines create a criss-cross pattern from her waist up to under her arms. As I finally catch myself and look up to her face, I can see she’s also noticed my staring.

“Hey, Hisao,” Saki starts, making her way towards the sloped entrance to the pool. “Do me a favor and pick your jaw up off the floor.” She tries her best to sound upset, but her teasing tone says otherwise.

“Sorry.” I apologize, making my way towards the same end of the pool.

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll take it as a compliment.” Saki turns to face me as she sinks in up to her chest, letting her body acclimate to the temperature, no longer walking deeper in. She gives me a confused look.

“Wait, are you really gonna keep that on?”

I tug sheepishly at the end of the t-shirt, mind racing to provide a reason besides ‘I don’t want to show you my scar yet.’ “Y-Yeah, I-”

“So you think it’s fair to ogle me and not give me any eye candy in return?”

Her words make me stiffen and blush, even as she giggles. As much as I wanted to ease myself into this...maybe the best way to deal with this is just ripping off the bandaid? It’s not like she’s going to go running out of the pool the moment she sees my scar.

I take a deep breath to steady myself, and though I can’t see her, I can tell there’s a shift in her demeanor. She can tell this is about a lot more than just a shirt.

Grabbing my shirt by the hem, I lift it over my head and toss it aside. Uncrossing my arms, I hear a sharp intake of breath as I lay my scar bare to her. I await a further reaction, but when it doesn’t come, I look up.

Saki smiles at me softly. She’s come a bit closer to me in order to stand upright in the water. Seeing her standing there, looking at me comfortingly...it makes all my worries melt away.

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Last edited by DackFayded on Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

DackFayded
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Post by DackFayded » Sun Sep 22, 2019 11:01 pm

“Coming in?” Saki asks, quickly shifting back to her relaxed, playful demeanor. “Water’s fine.” As if to make her point, she slinks back into the water, letting herself slowly slide into floating on her back.

Seeing her act so casually about my scar...have I really been overthinking things? Is it really that big of a deal if someone can accept it so easily? Still, though…

I can tell that I’ve piqued her interest. She certainly wants to know about it, but she’s sticking true to her word. In my head, I hear her voice play out again.

‘You can tell me when you’re ready.’

I...I will, Saki. I promise.

Not this moment, but...soon. When I have the courage to.

Slowly, I advance deeper into the pool. The water is cool, but not uncomfortable, slowly rising up my legs and to my knees. I give a full-body shiver as it rises above my thighs, feeling myself shrivel at the change in temperature. That is one downside to swimming with Saki in the mornings.

She flashes a smile at me and rights herself as she sees me, swimming backwards towards the lap lanes and out of the shallows. It’s...incredible, watching her. When she walks, I can tell that there’s labor to it. A war she’s fighting against herself. They’ve been very few and far between, but I’ve seen the moments where Saki didn’t come out on top.

In the water, though...it’s like all her shackles are cast aside. Whatever it is that holds her body back seems to have no effect on her here. Maybe that’s why she loves it so much? The one time where she can feel truly freed from her earthly bonds.

Saki takes the center lane, gently but sternly guiding me to take the inside lane as I approach.

“We’ll start you off easy, Hisao. I want four full laps out of you. Down and back is one. Push off the wall to keep going if you’re comfortable, and don’t be afraid to stop and take breaks if you need them. Try to push yourself, though; you’re not here for a fun little swim, you’re here to make your body stronger.” There is a look of determination in her eyes, and I can’t help but smile warmly as I see it.

There it is. The serious Saki. The confident Saki.

She reminds me of Emi when she's like this. There’s a drive to her, and I can tell she’s thought this over quite a bit. I just hope she doesn’t come tomorrow with diet plans.

“Yes, ma’am.” I reply, giving a mock salute that earns me another smile. Without any more instruction, she’s off on her own workout, and I take the opportunity to watch her for a few moments.

She practically glides through the water, even her kicking legs and splashing arms carrying a feeling of grace to them. I start moving before she hits the opposite wall, not wanting to get a scolding on my first day.

Taking a deep breath, I dunk under the water and push off. I let my inertia carry me before I start swimming in earnest, and it isn’t until now that I realize just how long it’s been since the last time I went swimming. Summer vacation, probably. A trip to the beach with my old friends, maybe? I’d almost forgotten what it felt like.

The resistance of the water makes things a bit more difficult than running, and find myself having to pause halfway through my third lap. I don’t feel like I’m breathing quite as heavily, but my limbs are starting to burn. I watch as Saki breaches the surface, using her momentum to propel her free of the water and onto the tiles, landing on her waist.

I force myself to look away: from this position, there’s nothing to look at except her rear. And, as amazing as it is, her teasing me for ogling her is still fresh in my mind. After seeing her roll over in my peripheral vision, I look back, and see her looking at me expectantly. I nod, take a deep breath, and am back to it.

When my head comes above water for me to breathe, I can hear her...cheering me? No, not cheering; encouraging.

“-me on, Hisao!” I hear. “-tle mor-!”

I’m sure there’s more words between those snippets, but the water drowns them out. My arms and legs are on fire as I complete the final lap. Pulling my torso out of the water, I see her kneeling in front of my lane, beaming down at me.

“You did great!” Saki congratulates me, scooting to the side to allow me room to flop myself out of the water. I have none of her elegance and grace, but it lease it earns me another giggle. It’s light and airy, perfectly cute and girlish.

I’m really starting to like that sound.

“Thanks.” I wheeze out, breathing deep and ragged. Laying back on the tiles, I pres a hand to my chest to feel my heartbeat.

Thumpthump thu-thump thumpthump thumpthu-thump.


It’s fast, with no particular rhythm, but...that’s normal, at least for me. No pain, which is a good sign. Just as any worries are fading, though, I feel hands on my shoulders.

“Oh my God, Hisao, are you okay?!” Saki sounds panicked, scared. Was I making a face or something? My eyes snap open, and I see something I absolutely never want to see again.

Saki is staring down at me, abject horror plastered on her face. She’s shifted behind me, forcing me to look at her upside down, but the expression is unmistakable.

“Saki, it’s okay.” My hand moves from my chest to take one of her hands, holding it reassuringly. “I was just checking-” I cut myself off. I might have been willing to show her my scar, which is something I’m starting to have second doubts about, but my condition?

Not just yet.

“I’m fine.” I say firmly, turning a bit and sitting upright, releasing her hand as I do.

“I...I just- You were-” She stammers, unable to find the right words. I reach out, taking both of her hands this time. She looks up at me, meeting my gaze. I can’t tell if it’s just from the pool or not, but it looks like her eyes are watering.

“Saki. I’m fine, I promise. If I wasn’t, you’d know.” I hold both of her hands in mine, and find myself gently beginning to stroke hers with my thumb. It takes a moment, but the worry slowly drains from her face. She pulls her hands away and wipes her eyes, giving a strained laugh as she does.

“Okay, Hisao.” She pulls in a shaky breath and gives a deep sigh. Just like that, her cheery personality is back, and she smiles at me.

Standing up, I offer a hand, helping her to her feet as she takes it.

“You didn’t do that just so I would get all handsy with you, did you?” Saki says with an accusatory tone, and I instantly feel myself go red. Yup, she’s definitely back, alright.

“N-No!” I fight to get the words out quickly. As much as I’ve gotten used to Saki’s...particular sense of humor, some things still throw me for a loop.

“Teasing.” She says, waving her hand as we start heading for the showers again. “Just don’t give me a heart attack like that next time, okay?”

I stop dead in my tracks at her words. It takes Saki a moment to realize I’m not standing next to her anymore and she turns around. She tilts her head quizzically, a confused expression on her face.

“Hisao? What’s wrong?”

It takes a lot of effort to keep my face as neutral as possible. I feel a choking sob rise up in my throat, and I swallow it away. Not now, after what just happened. I don’t want to make her worry about me any more than she already is.

“Nothing.” I shake my head, moving to catch up to her. She gets the hint, and we head into the showers.

I let the water cascade over me, getting lost in my thoughts once again. Was it a mistake to show her my scar? Is that why she reacted that way, assuming something was wrong? I just hope I haven’t made a mistake, and that she’s going to start treating me like I’m made of glass.

Nothing would hurt more.

I must end up taking a bit too long, as I hear Saki call out into the locker room as I’m towelling off.

“Hisao, hurry up! We’re gonna be late to class if you keep taking your sweet time, and we still have to go see Nurse! Don’t think I won’t come in there and drag you out!”

Well, at least her humor isn’t completely ruined for today.

“I’m coming!” I call back, and hurriedly dress myself in my uniform. Saki looks as pretty and proper as she always does as I exit the locker room. She gives a huff of annoyance as she sees me, puffing out her cheeks as she approaches me.

“Really, Hisao, it’s like you’ve never dressed yourself before.” She reaches out, straightening my tie and smoothing out my shirt. Strangely, though, this doesn’t feel like a mother tidying up their child as I’d expected it would.

“What? Why is my hair the only thing that can be messy?” I ask, a smile growing on my lips.

She scoffs at that, slapping me on the shoulder. “Because your hair is actually cute when it’s messy, idiot.”

That dusts my cheeks pink.

After having satisfied herself with her work, we head off towards the Nurse’s office. It isn’t too far from the lockers, actually, just down the hall and to the right, first room from the doors of the main entrance. Saki raps her cane on his door as we stand there, summoning his attention. He looks up from his desk, giving us a warm smile as he recognizes us.

“Ah! If it isn’t my favorite workout buddies!” He stands up from his desk, filing away the papers he’d been working on. “Mind if I steal Hisao first?”

Saki gives a huff of fake annoyance before stepping back from my side. “If you really must.”

“I’ll be gentle, I promise.” Nurse flashes a smirk at us before stepping aside, gesturing for me to enter. I do, and he closes the door behind me. I know the drill. I step over to the examination table, taking a seat and undoing the buttons of my shirt. Nurse turns back to me, grinning like a shark.

“What are you giving me that look for?” I ask, apprehension creeping into my voice as well as my face.

“Enjoy yourself today?” He asks, though I can tell that this is another one of his games. Is everyone at this school just trying to raise my blood pressure? “All alone with a pretty girl in the pool…” His voice trails off, flashing me a trademark smirk as the stethoscope hits my skin.

I give a slight gasp as I feel it, the cold metal shocking against my warm skin. I don’t bother giving in to his antics, though.

“Mostly. Swimming went fine, but…” I trail off, and Nurse’s facade drops, all serious once more.

“But what?” He asks expectantly, replacing his stethoscope around his neck.

“Nothing medical!” I assure him, waving my hands in front of me. “It’s just…” I let out a long sigh before continuing. “When I was done doing my laps, I got out of the water and checked my pulse, like you told me I should.”

Nurse nods his approval, but doesn’t speak up.

“Saki...she kind of freaked out. Started worrying about me, asking if I was okay. When I saw the look in her eyes…” I trail off again. Nurse raises an eyebrow, knowing I have more to say. I hang my head.

“She was terrified.” I lift my head up to meet his gaze, and his set features soften as he sees my face. “I...I think it was because she saw my scar beforehand, but I’m not sure about that.” He seems to think for a moment, moving to his office chair and sitting down. He turns to face me, tenting his fingers in front of him.

“You haven’t told her, have you? Or anyone, for that matter?”

I hang my head in defeat, shaking it shamefully. “It’s...I don’t like to talk about it.”

Nurse gives a sigh in response. I’m sure he’s heard that before.

“Do you want her to be even more terrified when something does happen to you?”

There’s no malice in his voice, but it still hits me like a truck. He’s right. Of course I’d thought about it, but every time I did…

I was scared she would look at me differently. Scared that she would abandon me just like my old friends did. And, as soon as I’m able to understand why I was scared, I realize how fucking stupid I was. Saki is the last person in the world who would look at someone differently because of their disability.

“You’re right.” I say, dejectedly. “So stupid…”

“Hey now.” Nurse reaches forward, placing a hand on my knee. I look back up at him, and for the first time, I see something besides playfulness or seriousness in his face.

Compassion.

“Most of the kids you see here have been dealing with their conditions for years now, Hisao. You’ve had less than six months, and found out about it pretty traumatically. I’d be more concerned if you weren’t a bit apprehensive about it.” He sits back in his chair, pondering for a moment before turning to his desk and writing something down.

“What’s that?” I ask, starting to button up my shirt. I figure we’re done here for today.

“A note, excusing you from classes after lunch today.” He states simply, tearing off the sheet and handing it to me. “I’m going to give Saki the same, make up a story while you wait for me to finish with her.” He rises from his chair, moving towards the door. He doesn’t open it as I approach.

“Do whatever you have to do, Hisao. But you should tell her.”

With that, he opens the door. I see Saki leaning against the opposite wall. She smiles as she meets my eyes, and makes her way to the door. I step out and to the side, and she gives another huff towards the Nurse.

“Took you long enough. I was starting to think you were corrupting this sweet young gentleman, Nurse.”

“Me?” Nurse asks, full of incredulity. “Corrupt the youth? Never!”

Saki giggles, turning to me before she’s fully in the room. “Are you going to wait here, Hisao?”

“Of course.” I reply, stuffing my hands into my pockets and taking her former position. “Can’t leave a pretty girl to walk alone, can I?”

She smiles at my response, turning around and heading into the room. Nurse, however, gives me a grin. A familiar one.

The same one Emi gave me.

Fuck.

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Last edited by DackFayded on Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:22 am, edited 2 times in total.

DackFayded
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Post by DackFayded » Mon Sep 23, 2019 5:21 am

The door closes behind Nurse, and I’m once more alone with my thoughts. At least this time I have something actually pressing to think about.

How am I supposed to go about this? As far as I’m aware, the only people who know about my condition outside of doctors and staff are my parents, and my old friends.

Well, I’ll do the easy thing first. A cover story for Nurse getting us out of afternoon classes…

Well, it has been a while since the last time I really exercised. I guess it wouldn’t be so unbelievable he’d want to make sure I was supervised and not overwhelmed, right? Sure, good enough. Having decided on that barely-believable excuse, I check my watch, and give a groan as I do. All that thinking barely ate up five minutes.

At least I have something else to think about.

Why is this so hard?! It’s not like I’m confessing to her or anything, I’m just telling her about my deepest, darkest secret that I’m still a bit ashamed about, despite everything that’s changed in the past few weeks. Despite everything Saki has done for me, I’m still hurting.

Okay, maybe it is just as hard as finding the words to confess to someone.

That train of thought chugs along ahead, abandoning my ideas of working out what to say to Saki about my heart.

Just what do I feel about Saki? We’re friends, of course. But do I want more than that? I mean, it’s not like I’m entirely opposed to the idea. Saki is gorgeous, and funny, and intelligent, compassionate, competitive, sarcastic...

I find myself rambling in my own head about all the qualities I’ve noticed about Saki since coming her. The little things.

How she scrunches up her nose and furrows her brow when she’s concentrating really hard on something. The way she carries herself with grace and elegance. Most of all…

That smile of hers. So full of love and warmth that you can’t help but return it.

The smile that’s currently staring me right in the face.

“Ah!” I yell, jumping about a foot out of my skin as I come back to the real world.

“Welcome back, Hisao.” Saki teases me, her warm smile slowly replaced with her mischievous grin. She turns, heading for the doors, knowing full-well I’ll follow her. I glance back at the Nurse before I do. His expression falls from a smile to a solemn line. He doesn’t say anything, but gives me a firm nod before closing his door.

After taking a moment to steady myself, I hurry after Saki. With her slower pace, it isn’t hard, but she had a head start. I reach her side just as she gets to the door, pushing it open and slipping past her to hold it open.

She holds her grin as she walks past me, but does give me a nod of thanks.

“So, what were so happy about?” She asks, her tone forcibly light. She almost seems like a cat that’s cornered a mouse, and is just playing with it.

“What do you mean?” I ask, tilting my head.

Saki scoffs, as if it was a stupid question. “You were thinking again. Lost in your own head, as usual.” She shoots me a playful glance at that. “This time was different though. You didn’t look so pensive like you normally do. You had this big, goofy grin on your face.”

My face turns red and I look away, anything to avoid eye contact at this exact moment. “S-Sorry, I-”

“Don’t be.” She interrupts me, her words punctuated by her cane on the cement. “It was cute. To be honest...it’s the second time I’ve ever really seen you smile.”

I blink at her words, a bit taken aback. “What are you talking about? I smile all the time.”

“Not really, Hisao.” She shoots back, giving me a weak smile. “See? This is what you normally look like. Sure, your lips are up and it looks like you’re smiling...but it’s not in your eyes.”

I have to admit, it doesn’t look particularly convincing. Wait…

“Hold on. You said second time. When was the first?”

Now, it’s her turn to flush scarlet. She pauses, clearing her throat before she responds.

“The festival. When you thanked me. For the first time since I met you, you looked...genuinely happy.” Her meekness quickly fades as she elbows me in the ribs. “You should do that more often, you know. You have a dimple on your right side when you do. It’s cute.”

It’s definitely her genuine compliments that are starting to get to me more than her teasing and innuendos do.

“Thanks.” I say softly, feeling the heat rise to my face and my lips curl up.

“There it is.” She responds, poking me in the cheek with her free hand. “Right there. That makes three.” The moment fades, until Saki seems to remember something.

“Oh! By the way, why did Nurse tell me to keep you company later today? Wrote me a note to get out of afternoon classes and everything. What’s up?”

Ah, so he had the wherewithal to come up with a reason to give her the note, but not a reason why she was being given it.

“Nothing important, honestly. It’s just been a while since my last run with Emi. He wanted me to at least go to morning classes and lunch, but take it easy after that. Said it would be better if I had someone around so I don’t just sulk in my room.”

“Really now?” This time, Saki gives me a new expression: big, adorable puppy dog eyes, though not nearly as kicked-puppy as Emi’s. “And all you could think of was little old me?”

“Something like that.” I counter, and we both laugh as we enter the main building again. We walk to class together, throngs of other students moving around us. Classes start pretty soon, so it seems our morning solace is gone. I walk her all the way to her classroom again, ignoring the fact that it involves walking straight past my own classroom.

“Well, this is my stop.”

“Same plan for lunch?” I ask. “Or did you have something special in mind?”

She pauses, tapping a finger to her lips in thought. I can’t help but crack a smile as she does the thing, her nose pulling itself up and away from her lip. “Ever been to the Shanghai?”

I nod, and she pulls me into a hug. “Shanghai it is then.” She pulls away from me, holding me at arm’s length. “Be sure to tell Miki and Suzu we won’t be joining them, so they can collect Ayame.”

“Sure thing. See you at lunch.”

“Bye~!” Her voice lilts as she turns into her classroom, and again I catch Emi’s eyes. This time, though, I get a very different look.

She waits until Saki is facing away from her, then starts making exaggerated kissy-faces at me. I glare at her, stomping my way down to my own classroom. I swear…

When I enter the classroom, Mutou is nowhere to be found, as usual. Deciding I don’t want to make a conversation out of it, I simply leave the Nurse’s note on his desk and move to sit in my own. No sooner am I seated before a weight settles itself onto my desk. Looking up, I’m met the tan, slender frame of Miki Miura.

“Hey, Miki.” I greet her.

“Sup, gaylord?” She replies through a cheeky grin. “So, how was your swimming lessons? Get the doggy paddle down?”

I roll my eyes at her, and briefly consider pushing her off my desk. Then again, she does have really nice legs…

“Fine.” I say with a shrug, settling into my seat. “Nothing really happened. I like it better than running though, in all honesty. Just made me feel gross. Water’s refreshing in the morning.”

Miki smirks as I finish. “And?”

I give her a confused look. “And what?”

“I’m sure it didn’t hurt that you got see exactly what Saki looks like, right?”

Two weeks ago, I would have turned bright red at that. A week ago, I would have glared at her. Today, though, she just gets another eye roll. Miki’s teasing is even easier to deal with than Saki’s, strangely.

“I’ll let you have that one, it was nice.” Slowly, my own mischievous grin spreads across my lips. “Why? Would you rather I stare at your ass in a swimsuit?”

For just a moment, her eyes widen and pink dusts her tan face, but it’s gone a second later. “Wouldn’t you just love that, pretty boy. Both of the two hottest girls in school, all to yourself?” She teasingly trails a finger along my jawline. “Play your cards right, and juuuuust maybe.” She finishes with a wink, and I just shake my head at her.

She starts to slink off my desk, but stops when I speak up.

“Oh, hey. One more thing. Saki and I aren’t going to be at lunch. She wanted me to make sure you and Suzu get Ayame.”

Miki’s eyes flash again, and I see the same look in her eyes that I’ve seen in both Emi and Nurse. Just what the hell is that expression?

“Oh, of course, Romeo. We’ll be sure to give you and Juliet enough time for “lunch”.”

“Oh, shove it.” I bite back, giving her a firm, but gentle, shove. “Now, get off. Mutou’s coming in.”

True to my word, Mutou has finally stepped into the classroom, moment’s before the bell rings. He mumbles a greeting to us, and it’s returned with the same enthusiasm. He tilts his head as he notices the Nurse’s note on his desk. He looks up at me after a moment, making eye contact for a few seconds before nodding simply and setting about to starting class.

“Alright, everyone. Today we will be discussing the fundamental forces of the Universe…”

-----

Classes are little more than a blur today. I wasn’t able to focus on anything Mutou or the other teacher’s said all day, my mind focused far more on what I’m going to say to Saki. She deserves to know, of course, I just...don’t know the right way to put it.

Well...Saki never really beats around the bush when it comes to serious things. Maybe I should follow her example? Couldn’t really hurt to try, right?

I push against the throng of people on my way to 3-4, everyone else much more focused on leaving the school building. Emi must notice me as she careens out of the classroom, because she stops dead in her tracks. I think she’s finally learned her lesson since she rammed face-first into my chest when I first met her.

Then, she glares at me.

She stalks towards me, slowly raising one finger into the air. “Hisao Nakai, you have a lot of explaining to do.”

I sigh as she comes up to me, poking me indignantly in the stomach.

“How. Dare. You!” Each word is punctuated by another poke. “Am I not a good enough coach for you, Hisao?” Part of me can tell that she’s teasing me, but there does sound like a bit of hurt to her voice.

“No, it’s not that, Emi.” I say softly, pushing her hand away from the bruise she’s probably starting from jabbing me repeatedly in the same spot. “Like I told you, I’m just not a runner.” I finish the last line with a shrug.

“Apparently you’re a swimmer, though!” She shoots back indignantly, poking me one last time. “Don’t think I don’t know about that! Who do you think Nurse gets most of his dirt from?” She pauses, and that damn grin slides onto her face. “Would it help if I started running in my bikini?”

An image forces its way into my brain. It is far from an unwelcome one.

“As...great, as that sounds Emi, I’ll have to pass.” I pat her on the head, and she pouts at me. “Shouldn’t you just be glad I’m exercising at all? It’s not like I’m just blowing you off to eat junk food or something.”

“Fine, I guess you’re right.” Still, her pout doesn’t fade. I’m slowly becoming desensitized to how cute she is. “But you still owe me!” Her voice slowly fades into the distance as she takes off, legs clacking against the tiles.

I watch her as she goes, until I hear a familiar sound. The sound of hardwood on tile. I spin around, greeting Saki with a wide smile.

“Hey, you.”

Saki meets my gaze, then smiles just as wide. “That’s four.”

I give a snort, shaking my head. “Are you going to keep count every time?” I wait for her to come to my side before turning, falling in line beside her. It isn’t until now that I realize that I automatically match her pace when we walk together. My longer legs and unrestricted movement gives me a lot more potential speed than her, but it doesn’t feel like I’m being held back at all. It feels...relaxed. Comfortable, even.

“If it’ll make you do it more, yes.”

“You don’t have to count my smiles to do that.”

“Oh?” I seem to have piqued her interest. “Then what, pray tell, do I have to do?” She gives me her cutest look as she asks.

I take a moment before responding, pretending to ponder my response.

“Just keep being you.”

Saki seems more than satisfied with my answer, as she smiles brightly up at me.

“I can do that.”

We walk side by side in comfortable silence, out of the school and to the main gate. As we exit school grounds, I feel Saki loop her arm around mine. I don’t even question it, but she obviously feels the need to explain.

“I hope you don’t mind. It’s a bit far to walk with just my cane.”

I roll my eyes at her. “Oh no. A pretty girl is hanging onto my arm, what ever will I do?”

She giggles at my sarcasm, slapping my arm. “Oh, hush you!”

Even at her slower pace the walk into town doesn’t take too long. This also isn’t exactly my first time leading a girl down the hill, either. I managed to stumble into Lilly on my way to do some shopping, which happened to be the same reason she was out. She normally goes with Hanako, but she couldn’t join this time, so I offered my services.

Before we know it, we’re seated at the Shanghai. As per usual, the place is empty. I’m not entirely sure how this place stays in business, seeing as though I’ve never seen anyone exit or leave this building that wasn’t a Yamaku student or Yuuko.

I order my usual, a plate of sandwiches and a cup of coffee. Saki, realizing that menus either aren’t coming or simply don’t exist (a fact I’m not sure of myself), orders the same. We both sit comfortably in peaceful quiet, simply enjoying the day together. It’s...nice, spending time with Saki like this.

It doesn’t take long for our food to arrive. Yuuko might be a nervous wreck half the time, but she’s a decent cook, even if our food is simple. That, and she seems marginally more relaxed at two familiar faces from the Literature Club.

“So, Saki,” I start, pausing to sip my coffee. Ah, that’s the good stuff. “We need to talk.”

She raises a questioning eyebrow at me over her mug, but doesn’t set it down. Obviously a sign for me to talk, and her to listen.

I draw in a deep breath and let it out, steadying myself. Saki notices my change in body language, setting her coffee back down on its saucer.

“What is it, Hisao? Is something wrong?”

I shake my head. “No, it’s about me.” Another pause. Come on, Hisao, you can do this.

“I have a condition known as Cardiomyopathic Arrhythmia.” I recite the words I heard over and over again in the hospital, though never really understood until it was explained to me more simply. “Basically, my heart doesn’t quite beat the way it’s supposed to, and it's much weaker than it should be. It hadn’t been an issue I was even aware of until a few months ago.”

Here comes the really hard part.

“I had a heart attack. A girl I had a crush on confessed to me, and I just...dropped, right there in the snow.” I hang my head, and I can feel tears welling at the corner of my eyes. I don’t look up at her face, but I can feel Saki place her hand on mine.

“My doctors said it was a miracle that I had managed to go this long without any sort of symptoms. My heart attack, though…” I trail off, swallowing hard and taking a long drink of my coffee before wiping my eyes and continuing, now meeting her gaze again.

She’s looking at me the same way she did that day I first met her. There’s no pity. No disgust…

Only empathy. Compassion.

“Hisao, you don’t have t-”

“Yes, I do.” I cut her off, closing my eyes to brace myself. I see that soft smile behind my eyelids, and it gives me all the strength I need.

“It did permanent damage to my heart; specifically the nerves that control it’s rhythm, which just made everything worse.” She squeezes my hand reassuringly, and I continue.

“I can’t really run anymore. Stairs tire me out. Sharp knocks to the chest could be fatal, and I’ll be one of the luckiest men alive if I make it to 50.” I pull my hand away from Saki’s to rub my face before running both hands through my hair. I’ve said my piece about my condition, but now I’m just pouring my heart out.

“I was in the hospital for four months after my heart attack. For a while, my friends and classmates visited me. Well, a little while, anyways. Every day, there were a handful of faces I never saw again. Eventually, it was just my three friends and the girl who had confessed to me that kept showing up. After a month, it was just her. Another month...and no one.”

This time, I reach for her hand, taking it in mine.

“When I came to Yamaku, I was an absolute wreck. I was bitter and angry, and depressed. I felt like I’d had my life ripped away from me by something that I was powerless to stop, and that I was just drifting along until the next misfortune finished me off. My body wasn’t dead, but my mind was.”

I squeeze her hand, looking her dead in the eye.

“Then I met you. And Miki, and Shizune, and Emi...you’ve done so, so much for me, Saki, and I haven’t even known all of you for a full month yet. I’m so incredibly thankful for the help you’ve given me. I can’t say that I’ve fully come to terms with things as they are, but I’m getting there. I know for sure, though, that I wouldn’t be anywhere near as close to where I am now without you.”

I squeeze her hand again, feeling a tearless sob rack my body.

“When I saw you this morning, the way you were looking at me...you were terrified, Saki. You looked so scared, because you didn’t know what was going on. But even worse than seeing you like that, was knowing that it was my fault.”

Saki tries to protest, but I don’t let her, steamrolling ahead.

“I don’t ever want to make you that scared again, Saki. I can honestly say that it was worse than four months in the hospital, because it’s you.”

She seems confused by my remark, and I can see tears welling in her own eyes. Off in the distance, Yuuko watches us pensively, fidgeting with something.

“You gave me a second chance at life, Saki. And causing you pain is no way for me to repay that debt to you.” I grab her other hand now, holding both of them together, sandwiched between my own.

“So, I promise you I won’t throw my life away. That I’ll live it to the fullest.” At this point, both of us are choking back tears.

“'Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will. To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.’”

Her eyes light up in recognition, and she beams at me.

“Thank you, Hisao.”

“No,” I correct her, squeezing her hands again. “Thank you.” I return her smile, every bit as warm as hers.

After a moment, she lets out a shaky laugh.

"That's five, by the way."

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Re: Sweetest Requiem - A Saki Pseudo-Route (Updated 9/23/2019)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Sep 24, 2019 5:47 am

Suzu drags Ayame and Miki off first, leaving Saki and I to walk back to class together.
"Saki and me"
I’ve never seen anyone exit or leave this building that wasn’t a Yamaku student or Yuuko.
"enter or leave"?
Nothing much to say. You continue to write a solid story at a quite high pace.
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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Post by DackFayded » Tue Sep 24, 2019 10:32 pm

The conversation left the two of us a bit emotionally drained, and Saki headed off to the bathroom to clean herself up. She hadn’t been fully crying like me, but she must have felt like she had.

A minute after Saki leaves the booth, Yuuko meekly approaches the table.

“A-Are…” She starts, eyes glued to her shoes, not daring to even come close to making eye contact with me. “Are you two...okay?”

I take a deep breath in, rubbing my face with both hands. I sniffle a bit, hoping to clear my stuffy nose. Crying really is the worst.

“Yeah.” I say, nodding as I do so. Yuuko slowly looks up, but seems to brighten just a bit as she sees my expression. My eyes are a bit red, but I know I don’t look upset. For once, I can look at someone besides Saki with happiness in my eyes.

It feels like a weight lifted off my chest, for someone to know about my heart. For it to not be a shameful secret anymore. Of course, not...everyone needs to know. Not right now. Eventually, though. They deserve to. They don’t have the option to hide their conditions, so why should I?

“Good! I’m glad!” Yuuko claps her hands in front of her, though looks embarrassed after realizing what she did. “Eh, I mean...I know I’m not a teacher or anything, but… I still feel I like I-I should be concerned…”

“It’s okay, Yuuko. I appreciate it.” I turn my attention to my food, and find my appetite completely gone. “I think...I’ll take the bill, though. I don’t think either of us are going to have much of an appetite after that.”

Yuuko nods, before hurrying away. Saki comes back a minute or so later, looking just as pretty as she did before. Her face is less red, though; I guess she did end up giving herself a bit of a touch up. Not that I’d really noti-

Wait, is she wearing lipstick now? Her lips were definitely not that red before.

She smiles at me, before sliding into the booth across from me.

“Feeling better?” I ask, tilting me head towards her a bit.

She gives a small snort of laughter, folding her hands in front of her on the table. “I should be asking you that, Hisao. You’re the one who spilled your guts.”

I nod back at her, smiling at Yuuko as she slides the bill in front of me. Saki starts to reach for her purse, but I don’t let her, setting a few bills on the paper and passing it to Yuuko.

“Hisao, you paid for me once, it’s my turn.”

“Hush.” I retort, nodding to Yuuko. “Keep the change. Thank you, Yuuko.”

Yuuko nods happily before hurrying off, presumably to close out our check.

“I already told you, Saki.” I turn my attention back to her. “I owe you.”

This time, she scowls at me. “Hisao Nakai, I am not going to let you bankrupt yourself just so you can be sweet to me.”

She can’t keep her mouth from curling up into a coy grin. “Even if I do think it’s very gentlemanly of you.”

Saki begins to slide from the booth, and I follow suit. “Well, since I’ve got you all to myself for the day, let’s make the most of it.” She loops her arm in mine again, and we start making our way towards the door. I look around to wave goodbye to Yuuko, but find her nowhere in sight.

“Have something in mind?”

She shakes her head as we exit back onto the street. A cool breeze blows past us, refreshing in this early summer weather.

“Nothing in particular, no. Not in the mood to head back to school just yet, though.” After a moment of thought, Saki’s face lights up. “I know how you can make us even, Hisao.”

I tilt my head. “Oh?”

Saki starts leading me down the street, head who knows where. “Come on.”

I guess she’s not going to explain her revelation, preferring to leave me to wonder just what she has in store for me.

-----

This is not what I had in mind.

I’ve spent the past several hours letting Saki drag me from store to store around the mall, each one seeing me carrying a new bag. They’re not particularly heavy individually, containing an assortment of clothing, make-up, perfume, jewelry, and anything else that’s happened to pique her interest.

That’s not to say it’s been all bad, though. Part of the clothes buying process involves no less than a small fashion show. Some outfits were a bit...more revealing than others, and I can’t help but notice that she ended up getting a few of those.

The bus ride into town wasn’t so bad, but I have a feeling the ride back to Yamaku is going to be a bit more difficult.

“You know, Saki, I really didn’t think that meant ‘pack mule’ when you said this would make us even.”

Saki flashes a smirk back at me, arm wrapped around my elbow. I’m just thankful she didn’t go overboard and get too much for me to carry with one hand. She’s leaning on me more so than she was this afternoon, and I take it she must be getting tired.

I am as well. Thankfully though, my heart hasn’t been a problem. I’ll be sure to stay on my ass the rest of the day when we get back.

“Oh, hush you.” She chides me, pulling away from me. I shift some of the bags to that arm to spread the weight, while she reaches into her purse and flips open her phone.

I tilt my head as it becomes obvious that she’s calling a taxi company, clicking her phone shut as we exit out the front doors. “It’ll be a few minutes, but we won’t have to take the bus back.”

“Isn’t that going to be a bit expensive?” I ask, though she’s already leading me towards a bench.

Saki just smiles at me as she sits down. “I told you you didn’t have to bankrupt yourself for me, Hisao. I’m pretty well off; Mom’s old money, Dad’s a bigshot business man.” She gives a little pout. “He was always so busy though.”

“I know the feeling.” I say, sitting down next to her and letting the bags rest on the ground. “My parents both have office jobs. They were always both so busy I barely ever saw them, so I ended up practically taking care of myself.”

“That must have sucked.”

I shrug in response. “It wasn’t so bad. A little lonely, sure, but it’s not like they were never there. There was always food around, and prepared lunches for me more often than not. It’s not that they didn’t care about me.”

Saki smiles, leaning to rest against me. “That’s a good way to look at it, Hisao.”

She lets silence hang for a moment before she pulls away from me, turning towards me. “So, now that you finally worked it up to tell me, it’s my turn.”

For a second, I’m confused by what she means. Then, my eyes widen.

“N-No, Saki, you do-”

“Have to?” She cuts me off, before waving her hand dismissively. “Hisao, I’ve had a lot longer to deal with this than you have. It doesn’t bother me. I was just waiting for you to go first so you wouldn’t feel like I was pressuring you.”

I just look at her in silence for a few moments, unsure of exactly what to say for a while.

“Okay.”

She smiles at me again, before beginning.

“I was born with Spinocerebellar Ataxia. It’s a degenerative neurological disorder that primarily targets my body’s motor functions.”

She must see my eyes gloss over, as she continues.

“Basically, my nervous system is slowly shutting down.” She raises her hand, and I can see a slight tremor I’d somehow never noticed before. Occasionally, one of her fingers twitches a bit. “I’ll slowly lose more and more control over myself, until my body just doesn’t work anymore, and I’m trapped in a shell.”

For something so incredibly depressing, her tone is rather light. Serious, but....there’s only barely a hint of sadness to her voice.

“I won’t make 40. Least I don’t have to worry about a midlife crisis, right?” She punctuates her joke with an elbow to my arm, but I just stare at her.

How can she not be depressed about this? How does she manage to be so genuinely happy despite all that?

She brings her hand to my face, as if she can read my mind. “I told you before, Hisao. I live my life to the fullest. It’s not going to be a long ride, but I want it to be a fun one.”

Saki looks at me, and there’s a glint in her eyes. It’s familiar, but I can’t place what it is. Before I have a chance to figure it out, a yellow car pulls up in front of us. Saki pulls away suddenly, looking away and rising to her feet. “Looks like our ride’s here.”

I look at her questioningly, but say nothing, rising to my feet and collecting her bags. What just happened there?

----

Most of the ride passes in slightly-uncomfortable silence, though I think it’s more to due with our reluctance to talk about anything of substance in front of a total stranger. The ride isn’t too long, thankfully, but it is starting to get dark as we arrive back at Yamaku.

Saki pays the driver, and he’s off after I slam the trunk shut. Saki attaches herself to my arm once again, suppressing a yawn. “Hoo, I’m beat.”

“Me too.” I sigh, as she starts to lead us towards the dorms.

“Thank you for carrying all my bags, Hisao. Normally I have all the girls to help me out, but you can carry so much more than they can.”

I roll my eyes at her, but smile nonetheless. “What kind of man would I be if I let the girl carry her own shopping bags?”

“A terrible one,” she retorts with a giggle. The walk to the dorms doesn’t take long, and Saki elects to take the elevator this time.

A few moments later, we’re on the second floor, headed for her room. She unlocks it and pushes open her door, leaving it open in invitation as she flicks on the light.

Her room is...a chaotic mix of different interests. Posters of bands border ones of astronomy and literature. Books take up one shelf, another dominated by anime figurines and girlish dolls alike. It’s a garish jumble of color and vibrancy; so perfectly Saki.

“You can just dump them wherever.” She waves her hand, stepping up to her vanity mirror desk. She reaches back, undoing her necklace and removing her earrings.

I gently deposit her bags in the corner, briefly looking a bit more around her room. I get the sudden feeling I shouldn’t be alone with a girl in her room, and start towards the door.

“Going already?” Saki asks playfully, looking at me in the mirror.

“Yeah…” I say a bit sheepishly, rubbing my arm. “I’ve got some homework I need to finish, and I should probably get started on Fahrenheit 451 for Literature Club.”

Saki just smiles at me, before turning around to face me. “Alright. Well, thank you again. Not just carrying my bags, either. For trusting me.”

That damn smile again. That perfect, beautiful smile that makes my stomach feel like it’s floating.

“Of course. I’m a proper gentleman, remember?”

Saki laughs, and I turn towards the door. “Goodnight, Saki.”

She doesn’t reply, but I hear her stepping towards me. I turn back towards her.

Saki grabs me by the front of my shirt and pulls me down, gently pressing her lips against mine. My eyes go wide in shock, face turning as red as it possibly could. It only lasts a few seconds before Saki pushes me away, just past her doorway.

She’s smirking at me, that same look in her eye from the mall.

“Good night, Hisao.”

Without another word, she shuts the door, and I’m left standing there in the hallway, utterly dumbfounded. Then, a realization strikes me.

That’s why she put on lipstick.

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Re: Sweetest Requiem - A Saki Pseudo-Route (Updated 9/24/2019)

Post by PKMNthiefChris » Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:01 pm

Saki grabs me by the front of my shirt and pulls me down, gently pressing her lips against mine. My eyes go wide in shock, face turning as red as it possibly could. It only lasts a few seconds before Saki pushes me away, just past her doorway.

She’s smirking at me, that same look in her eye from the mall.

“Good night, Hisao.”

Without another word, she shuts the door, and I’m left standing there in the hallway, utterly dumbfounded. Then, a realization strikes me.

That’s why she put on lipstick.
Damn. Saki moves fast.

In all seriousness though, I'm seriously enjoying your take on Saki and Hisao in this. The story's progressing well and I don't dislike any of the characters.

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Post by DackFayded » Thu Sep 26, 2019 1:38 pm

Writer's note: Started writing the next chunk, decided it wasn't enough to continue narratively, decided to just add it on here.

-----

Chapter 2: Sempre Piu

I couldn’t sleep last night. My mind was still racing by the time I got back to my dorm room. I vaguely remember Kenji trying to talk to me, but my body was practically on autopilot. I stared at the ceiling for what felt like hours, trying to wrap my head around what just happened.

Saki kissed me. But why? Why so suddenly, why then? There were so many questions working through my head. I must have passed out at some point, because my alarm woke me up, bright and early for my new routine. I briefly considered not going to give me more time to think about how I should react, but decided against it.

Saki’s a beautiful girl, and I know that I could do a hell of a lot worse than her, and probably not better.

The real question is, do I have feelings for her beyond being a friend? Almost since the day I met her, practically everyone around us has been acting like we’ve been dancing around each other, waiting for the other to make the first move. Have things really been that way this whole time, and I was just too stuck in my own head to notice?

Whatever the case is, I didn’t get a chance to discuss it with Saki. She never showed up this morning, so I ended up swimming alone. It was...disheartening, really. Does she think she messed up and doesn’t want to see me right now?

And why does the idea of that make my chest feel tight?

My thoughts are interrupted by a crumpled up piece of paper landing in the middle of my textbook. I look up, making sure Mutou has his back turned, before quietly opening it.

“Are you alright? You look pensive, and you’re not paying attention.”

It’s written in neat, deliberate handwriting. Shizune’s.

I look over to her, and she’s giving me an uncharacteristically soft expression. Even she’s started to notice I do that, huh?

“I’m fine. I just have a lot to think about right now.”

Keeping my eyes on Mutou, I lean over and place the paper face-down on Misha’s desk, sliding it in front of her before leaning back. Misha, without looking away from the board, slides it across her desk to the other side, which Shizune then takes in turn.

Her face scrunches up as she reads. She turns to me, giving me that same familiar stern look. She looks like she’s about to write something else down but stops herself.

Mutou finishes his lecture and assigns us homework, giving us the rest of class to get started on it. Almost immediately, Shizune and Misha descend upon me like sharks, turning their desks to face mine.

“What do you have to think about that’s so much more important than your studies, Hicchan~?” Misha asks, though her words don’t convey the bite I’m sure Shizune intended. “After being out of class all afternoon yesterday, it’s very important for you to focus today!”

I’m still not sure which of them I should look at when talking to them. It’s Misha I’m actually talking to, and it seems rude to ignore her, but in the end it’s really Shizune I’m having a conversation with.

“Well…” I look around, seeing if anyone is paying attention nearby. Taro is out cold in his seat behind me, thankfully not snoring this time. Molly has moved off to the other side of the room, and Suzu is also fast asleep. Miki, however, is staring me down like a hawk. I...should probably talk to her too. I give her a look to say ‘Later’, and she nods, but her expression doesn’t change as she looks away.

That will be fun.

“Can you two keep a secret?” I ask, leaning forward.

Both of them follow suit. A satisfied grin spreads across Shizune’s lips, while Misha’s eyes widen in interest.

“Of course, Hicchan!” Misha says, far too loudly. “You can trust us~!” At least this time she tries to whisper it.

Just how loud she is makes me reconsider telling them, but...I need to know what to do, right?

[>Tell them]
[Nevermind]

There’s no point hiding it, and I feel like it would be better to get some advice about it before it spreads like wildfire.

Thinking better of actually saying it, I write it down and set the paper in front of them.

“Saki kissed me last night, and she didn’t come to the pool this morning. I don’t know what to think.”

This time, Shizune’s eyes widen in surprise, a small blush coming to her face. Misha looks on the edge of giving an ear-shattering 'Wahaha~!', but Shizune checks it by smacking her in the knuckles with a pencil. Shizune crumples up the paper and passes it to Misha, who dutifully tosses it into the trash can.

Shizune produces a notebook, writing her reply in it before setting it in the center of our three desks.

“Details. Everything. Now.”

Straight to the point as always.

I heavily paraphrase our discussion about my heart as a ‘serious discussion’, which Shizune glares at me for when I refuse further explanation, but I tell them everything else. Misha pitches in occasionally as well, though she mostly tends to ask about the things Saki ended up buying.

“Well?” Reads Shizune’s last reply, and I respond with only a confused look. She sighs and rolls her eyes before continuing.

“Do you like her?”

That’s the question, isn’t it? Do I? I...can’t say that I don’t, in all honesty. Saki is incredible, and I know that I wouldn’t be nearly as happy as a person without her. She has genuinely made my life better in a rather short time, and I’m incredibly grateful for it.

And of course, it doesn’t hurt that she’s absolutely gorgeous.

I think back to how it felt when she kissed me. It...felt right. I definitely wanted it, even if I didn’t realize it.

A sharp knock against my knuckles breaks me from my reverie, and Shizune is smirking at me, pointing down at the notepad.

“I’ll take that as a yes.”

I flush, but look back at her in confusion.

“Shicchan reminded you about her, Hicchan,” Misha starts, “And you started smiling!”

“She makes you happy, doesn’t she?” Shizune writes, her lips drawn up in a snarky smile.

I bury my head in my arms to hide my face, but I can’t help but feel the grin on my face. They’re right. Saki has made me happy. She’s allowed me to accept my condition, and not to be afraid of it. To live in spite of it, instead of living through it.

The bell rings, dismissing us to lunch. I’m rather thankful for it, since hopefully Saki will be there. This is something we need to discuss privately, sure...but I’m excited all the same.

“Thanks, you guys.” I say, packing up my things. “That helped.”

Shizune nods in reply as Misha signs to her, grins mischievously, then signs a response. Misha laughs loudly, and it takes her a few moments to translate.

“Shicchan says that you are not exempt from curfew, no matter what the case~!”

It takes a moment to register her meaning, and I glare at her. “Ha.” I say once, before turning towards the door.

The moment I turn towards the cafeteria, a hand grabs me by the collar, briefly choking me as it stops me in my tracks. I turn, ready to be a bit upset, and find Miki standing behind me.

“Hey there, lover boy.” She greets me, hand on hip, her other arm hanging loosely at her side. There’s a cocky smirk, and a glint in her eye.

“Miki, what the hell was that for?”

“Oh, chill out, Hisao.” Her grin widens as she pauses, starting to walk to my side. “So what if a girl likes a little choking every now and then.”

I blink at her once, twice, before shaking my head and rolling my eyes. “Good morning to you too then, Miki.”

There’s a bounce to her step as she walks, a mix between a march and a skip as she leads me along. As we pass by an empty classroom, she grabs me by the tie, turns me, and drives me inside. The door slams shut behind her, revealing Suzu already in the room.

Suzu flicks on the light as Miki shoves me into a chair on the far side of a table. She crosses her arms as she steps back from me, with Suzu joining her at her flank.

I look between them, both confused and scared. What the fuck is going on here?

“Um..what-uh, what’s going on?”

“I know, Hisao.” Miki says curtly, moving to lean on the table. “About last night. I heard you two come back, and I saw.”

She pushes herself off the table, but Suzu remains stoic, doing her best to seem intimidating; with her petite frame and sleepy look in her eye, she just looks cute instead.

“Ayame gave you a vote of confidence. She says you’re a good guy.” Miki gesticulates with her hand as she speaks, then slams it down on the table in front of me. “I want to be sure for myself.”

I swallow. So, I guess it’s my turn to be interrogated.

“So,” Miki begins. “She’s told you about her condition, yes?”

I nod.

“And you know what it’s going to do?”

I nod again.

This time, Miki pauses, sharing a look with Suzu before they both look at me intently.

Miki comes back to the table, leaning over it and looking me directly in the eye.

“And would you think less of her when her body failed her?”

I recoil from her question, feeling like I was just slapped.

“Absolutely not.” I say firmly, almost with a bit of disgust. Why would think I would do something like that?

Miki and Suzu both study my face intently, before Miki nods slowly. She stands up, shares another look with Suzu, and melts back into a relaxed pose.

-----

They end up grilling me over the rest of lunch, interrogating me much the same way Misha and Shizune did. I suppose when you have different groups of friends, this happens. I just hope Emi doesn’t try to pull the same stunt with Rin. I’m not sure how well that would go for anyone.

“Good boy. You passed.”

Miki opens the door, and both start heading out. I’m left dumbfounded, but quickly chase after them.

“Hey!” I yell, hurrying to catch up to them. “Care to explain what the hell that was about?”

“Same as Ayame.” Suzu says matter-of-factly. “We had to approve of you.”

“Did you have to do it like that?!

“We had to throw you off balance.” She states just as flatly. “Make sure you didn’t have time to make up a lie about anything.”

That..makes some amount of sense, but I still would have appreciated them being less cloak and dagger about things.

“You could have just asked me. It’s not like I would lie about something like that.”

They both shrug before reentering the classroom.

I roll my eyes, moving back to my seat. What the hell is this all about?

-----

The final bell peels out, and I’m out the door a few moments later, bag already packed. I manage to beat the crowds to reach 3-4. Standing off to the side, I let people pass until I spot a familiar head of gold.

I fall in just behind her, leaning down next to her.

“Hey there.”

She jumps a bit, but a smile lights up her face as she sees me. “Hey yourself.”

I straighten up, coming alongside her as we walk.

“Sorry about this morning,” She starts. “I must have forgotten to set my alarm last night.”

“Too much on your mind?” I quip, and it catches her off guard. Man, it really is fun to be on the other end of this.

She blushes, looking straight ahead and refusing to look at me. “I suppose I did have a lot to think about.”

Now she looks at me, a smirk on her lips. “I’m sure you did as well.”

I nod. “I suppose I did.”

My non-committal answer makes her puff her cheeks in indignation, turning her attention ahead.

“Hey, I can afford to put my homework off until later tonight. Want to make up for this morning? I could use some extra exercise today.”

She takes a moment, but eventually smiles at the idea. “I have to drop some things off first and get changed, obviously, but that sounds like a wonderful idea.”

I open the door for her, letting her out onto the grounds of the campus. “I’ve got some things I need to take care of as well. Meet you at the pool in an hour?”

She nods her assent as she passes by me, waving daintily over her shoulder by twiddling her fingers.

At least it gives me time to piece together how I want to do this.

-----

I’m starting to understand why Emi likes running so much. When you’re flying the water, you don’t have to think about the rest of the world. You can focus in on one thing. For Emi, it’s running itself that she makes the only presence in her mind. For me right now, it’s Saki.

I decided against just sitting around for an hour and waiting, instead I just changed in my dorm room and headed over here. My shirt lies crumpled on my towel; necessary for outside, but not for Saki. I’m only swimming leisurely, passing the time and letting myself think.

How should I do this? I know that I like her, I’ve come to realize that after all that’s happened. And she kissed me last night, so it’s not like I should really be worrying about her not being interested. Right? I’ve earned the approval of our mutual friends, and now I’m sure of my feelings.

So why does it still feel like something’s going to go wrong?

I surface from the water, shaking it off of my face before opening my eyes. I’m greeted by Saki, standing in the entrance of the girl’s locker room, one arm propping her up against the frame instead of her cane. She’s wearing the same swimsuit from before.

“Man, you’re really taking to this like a fish.”

I smile at her, hoisting myself partially out of the water to hang on the edge. “It’s refreshing, and the water’s nice. Company’s not too bad, either.”

She rolls her eyes, using the wall to help her along without her cane. I move to meet her, letting her take my hand to help her across from the wall to the pool.

“You’re so sweet, Hisao, but being too sweet has its drawbacks too."

I quirk an eyebrow at her cryptic words, and she separates from me as the water takes her weight. A relaxed smile spreads across her face as she eases into the water.

“Ah, you’re right again Hisao. This is very refreshing.”

It’s now that I notice she’s pointedly ignored bringing up last night. We were both dancing around the topic earlier, but now that the two of us are alone...does she not want to talk about it or something?

Or is she just waiting for me to bring it up, just like my heart?

It certainly does seem to be a theme in the relationship between us. Saki strides on ahead, finding where she’s comfortable before letting me catch up at my own pace. As nice as it is to know that she’ll be ahead of me to lead me somewhere, it also means I’m never exactly sure what’s going on inside her head. When she’s constantly three steps ahead of me, how am I supposed to understand her?

She starts making her way over to the lanes, and I follow. We don’t talk more while she goes through her routine. I finish mine first this time, since it seems she’s doubling up to really make up for this morning. As I wait for her to finish, I spot something off in the corner of the pool area. A hot tub.

Perfect.

I prepare the hut tub for us and slip in, taking the opportunity to think a bit more. I have a...rough idea of how I want to do this, but spending so much time with Saki has taught me that planning for the future isn’t always the right way to go.

Sometimes, you just have to do what feels right in the moment.

Saki breaches the water as she finishes her workout, slowly working herself up to her feet. Her face lights up as she sees me in the hot tub. She slowly makes her way over, still using the wall to help her. Again, I take her hand to help support her as she lowers herself into the much-hotter water. Saki practically melts as she settles within arm’s reach of me, a content smile spreading across her face.

“Oooh, it’s been a while since I used this. So nice for sore muscles.”

I nod my assent, sinking in to my neck. It does feel really nice.

We both sit in silence for a while; Saki simply enjoying the water, my mind racing. I thought I had this worked out, and was sure of my feelings.

So why is it so hard to just say it?

I take a deep breath to steady myself and pull more of myself out of the water, sitting comfortably on the ledge now instead. Saki must notice the shift in my demeanor, as she cracks one eye open at me.

“Can we talk?” I ask simply, and she gives me a coy smile in response.

“What ever do we have to talk about, Hisao?”

I stare at her, dumbfounded. What the hell does she mean?

“You know what.” I return flatly, and she sighs.

“That doesn’t need a talk, Hisao.” She sits upright now. “I said my piece. I gave you time to think about it.” Glancing sideways at me, she smirks. “Did you come up with a reply?”

Finally having all the cards out on the table, it makes perfect sense. Saki isn’t one to beat around the bush on things. She goes straight for the heart of the matter, and let’s other people follow along. Even in something like this.

“I think so.”

She turns to face me, but I don’t give her a chance to say anything else snarky or witty. My hand comes to her face as I lean in and kiss her, just as soft and tenderly as she did last night. She gives a brief noise of surprise against my lips before she relaxes into my touch, leaning in to the kiss just as much as myself.

Everything seems to fade away in this moment. The hot tub melts away to little more than vague warmth encompassing my body, the sounds of the pool gently splashing against the sides drowned out by the sound of her breathing.

Again, she’s the one to break the kiss. She pushes me away gently, a hand on my chest. Her lips are curled up in a pride-filled, playful smile.

“See? No need to talk about it.”

I can’t help but laugh, and she joins me in it. She scoots herself closer, leaning against me.

“You know what this means now, right?”

I quirk an eyebrow at her. Another cryptic question without a clear answer.

“No, what?”

She smiles up at me before pecking me on the cheek. “Now you have to take me on a real date. I thought that’s what yesterday was going to be, to be honest.”

It...certainly would have seemed that way, wouldn’t it? Maybe I really am oblivious.

“I think I can do that.”

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Sweetest Requiem - A Saki Pseudo-Route (Updated 9/26/2019)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:28 pm

Hmm... Hisao telling Misha and Shizune was a surprise. I don't think he'd do that in that situation.
Miki and Suzu however - that I can see :-)
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

Re: Sweetest Requiem - A Saki Pseudo-Route (Updated 9/26/2019)

Post by DackFayded » Sat Sep 28, 2019 1:30 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:28 pm
Hmm... Hisao telling Misha and Shizune was a surprise. I don't think he'd do that in that situation.
Miki and Suzu however - that I can see :-)
He very specifically did not tell them. Sorry if that was unclear, I can probably revise that part to make it more so. He skipped over what they actually talked about and just referred to it as a serious discussion.

DackFayded
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:40 pm

Post by DackFayded » Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:24 am

This is why I enjoy the Literature Club. Beyond the company of like minded individuals,, it’s nice to have somewhere quiet to sit and read with other people; people you can talk to when a particular phrase is difficult to understand, or when the narrative is just too over your head.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that Saki has placed herself squarely in my lap, leaning against my chest as she sits between my legs. It’s slightly awkward in its positioning on the much-coveted bean bags in the library, but we make do. She’s certainly comfortable with her position, at least. As much as I would love to share one book in this position, I’m just too fast a reader for Saki to keep up with my pace.

It’s...interesting, how little things have changed in the past few days.

Sure, Saki and I are more openly affectionate towards one another. Holding hands, stealing kisses, the like. What’s more interesting is how our dynamic hasn’t changed. Saki still teases and prods me all the same, but I’ve found myself rolling with the punches a bit more easily than before.

Things aren’t the same, though. Three days ago, Saki wasn’t my girlfriend. Just two weeks before that, I was just arriving at Yamaku, lost and bitter at the world. Things are looking up now, though, and I have Saki to thank for most of that. Miki and the others have helped as well, of course. Not to act like my life would be going this way without them.

Then why does it still feel like something isn’t quite right?

Saki’s gotten quite adept at noticing when I’m spacing out, it seems. Without looking away from her own book, she grabs my arm and wraps it around her midsection. The contact breaks me out of my thoughts, and I smile as I pull her against me. She gives what seems almost like a contented purr as she leans back into me.

That’s also when I realize I’ve been staring at the same page of this book for almost five minutes.

I sigh and close my book, setting it aside before rubbing my eyes.

“Something the matter?” Saki perks up, closing her book in her lap and craning her neck to look back at me.

I just shake my head in response. “No, just thinking.”

She rolls her eyes at me. “You do that too much.”

“Maybe, but it’s usually about you.”

That line earns me a sweet smile and a peck on the back of my hand.

“Hmm...well, I suppose I can let you daydream about me then. What kind of girlfriend would I be if I didn’t let you do that?”

“Less sickeningly cute.” A voice perks up from the other side of the bookcase Saki and I are against. A moment later, Suzu peeks over the wall. “You too are adorable together, and it makes me want to throw up.”

I’m just about to apologize to Suzu when I feel Saki’s fingers curling into my hair. I turn towards her, my attention more than sufficiently pulled away, and am rewarded with a deep kiss. Saki giggles against my lips when my breath catches in my throat before I lean into it.

Suzu makes an exaggerated gagging noise above us, and I can see Saki staring her down as she pulls away from me. Sure, it might have been just to annoy Suzu, but I can’t really complain about her reasoning when she kisses me like that.

“Anyways,” Suzu starts up again. “The track meet is this weekend. Miki wants to do something tonight before she’s forced to actually go to track practice.”

Suzu pauses, as if sizing us up. “Can you two bear not being joined at the hip for a few hours? Nothing personal, Hisao, but Miki wants a ‘Girls Night’.”

I give a shrug in response. “As long as she doesn’t come back with a girlfriend instead, we’re good.” Suzu snickers at that, Saki slaps me playfully on the arm.

“As if! Suzu is not my type.”

“And Miki is?”

Saki flushes and opens her mouth to reply, but no words come out. Her mouth closes and she smirks at me, giving me another peck on the lips. “You’re getting good at this.”

“I had a good teacher.”

“Ugh!” Suzu groans, which slowly turns into a yawn. “Get a room you two!”

Saki doesn’t try to hide her playful grin as she turns her attention back to Suzu. “Yes, I’ll be there. It’s been a while since the four of us hung out.”

Suzu nods, before disappearing behind the bookcase. A few moments later, Yuuko adjournes the club for the day. Saki seems reluctant to get up, and I end up lifting her to her feet before she gets her cane under her to help support her. She immediately attaches herself to me, wrapping her arm around mine and leaning against me.

I don’t really mind being used as a second cane, honestly. On the one hand, it’s good to know that she relies on me enough to help me get her around to places. On the other hand, I get to be pressed up against my new girlfriend. It’s a win-win situation.

We enjoy the rather peaceful walk back to the dorms together in comfortable silence, merely enjoying each other’s proximity and company. I briefly have the idea of asking if she wants me to talk her to her room, but when she steers me in the direction of the girl’s dorm and makes no attempt to release my arm, I figure the question is moot.

Thankfully, Saki’s room is on the second floor, the first set of dorms. I imagine most people with physical disabilities would be pretty close to the ground floor. Are Emi and Rin’s rooms in this hall as well, I wonder?

Saki begrudgingly removes herself from my arm as we approach her door. It’s decorated in various colored ribbons and flowery print. Fitting her cheerful personality.

She unlocks the door before turning back to me. “Normally, I would invite you in, but I need to get ready for tonight.”

“What, I don’t get to watch?” That...is something I never would have thought would come out of my mouth. Maybe spending so much time with Saki really has changed me?

That earns me a swat on the arm, followed quickly by a kiss. She lingers against me, and I feel one hand slowly press against my chest. Saki lets our embrace last, pulling away after what feels like bot han eternity and not nearly long enough.

“Next time. Goodnight, Hisao.”

“Goodnight, Saki. Call me when you get back, okay?”

She nods, smiling brightly at me until her face disappears behind her door.

My earlier question is answered when a door down the hall opens, and I see a familiar set of pigtails pop out of the doorframe. I see that familiar expression settle on her face as she notices me.

“Hisao!” She says in mock horror. “What do you think you’re doing in the girl’s dorm, all by yourself?!” She exits her room, bouncing towards me after locking her door.

“Hey, Emi.” I greet her back, falling in alongside her as she heads for the stairs. “How’ve you been? It’s been a while since we really talked.”

“No thanks to you, jerk.” She turns away from me in indignation, though I can tell she’s just putting on an air to seem upset. “A cute girl offers to whip you into shape, and you totally blow her off!”

“For another cute girl that offered to whip me into shape.” I correct her, though I do still feel kinda bad. I did just...stop showing up to our morning runs. “Look, I’m sorry about that. I really should have told you that running just wasn’t for me.”

Emi pouts at me as we descend the stairs, but sighs and her frown drops. “It’s okay. I just kinda wanted the company, you know? I’m so used to running alone, it was a nice change of pace.”

There’s that look again.

“Certainly seems like you found the right motivation to keep up with your workouts though, huh?”

I flush a bit, but still feel a smile tugging at my lips.

“I suppose so.”

Emi bounds in front of me, hopping excitedly on her prosthetics. “Tell me what happened! One day you guys are swimming together, and now you’re dating!” Emi moves forward to rib me with her elbow. “Hisao, you casanova, you!”

“It’s not like that.” I wave my hands in front of me. “Saki...to be honest, she’s kinda been the one driving things between us. She was the one who invited me to sit with her group at lunch in my first week here. It...feels like she’s always a few steps ahead of me, waiting for me to catch up before skipping ahead a bit.”

After that first day swimming together, we...talked about a lot of stuff later that night.”

I see Emi raising her eyebrow at this.

“Not relationship stuff. Personal stuff.”

She looks a bit concerned at that, but I soldier on. “When we got back to Yamaku, I walked her to her room, and then…”

Now I’ve really gotten her attention. Emi leans in, eyes wide with interest. “And then…?”

Well, might as well. I’ve gone this far, and it’s not like the entire school doesn’t know we’re together at this point. I’m sure Miki and Emi have seen to spreading that information around.

“She kissed me.”

I can’t stop myself from flushing a bit at the memory. It was...unexpected, to say the least. Exhilarating at the same time, though. It made me feel alive, like I’d been dead this whole time.

Emi practically beams at me, and I can’t help but feel like I’ve given her a box of ammunition. “Aww, Hisao! That’s so cute!” Emi starts bouncing off towards the track. “Anyways, I gotta go! Need to get some extra laps in to get ready for the track meet this weekend!” She bounds off, but comes to a stop at the top of the stairs to the dorms and turns to face me again.

“You two are good for each other. You look a lot happier than when I met you, Hisao.”

I’m a bit taken aback by her comment. Even Saki mentioned the same thing. Was I really that depressed looking when I first came here? I know I felt it, but I didn’t think it was so obvious on my face.

“Thanks. Good luck at the meet. Might see me in the crowd.”

She smiles widely at that. “I’d like that.”

With that, she’s off. Certainly living up to her name as the ‘fastest thing on no legs’.

Now I just need to find something to do with the rest of the night. I guess I could start on my homework. I start heading for the boy’s dorm, and am just about to reach for the door when I hear it.

“Hicchan~!”

I feel myself deflate a bit as I hear Misha call out my nickname. If ever there was a time when balancing equations could sound nice.

I turn to face my assaulters, and find both Shizune and Misha, together as ever.

Both of them have their hands on their hips, though Misha looks far more playful than Shizune does, who looks just as serious as ever. I’ve become familiar with that glint in her eye, though.

Like a cat that’s spotted a mouse to bat around.

“Hey, girls.” I greet them, turning fully and leaning against the doors.

Shizune starts signing at me, and it takes Misha a moment to start translating.

“We saw you leaving the girl’s dorm, so we had to be sure no untoward business was being carried out on our watch~!”

I know Shizune’s just pushing my buttons to get a reaction out of me, like so many other girls I’ve met since coming here, but she has her own particular way of going about it. She doesn’t care if you play along her not. Watching someone squirm under her gaze is just as fun as someone challenging her.

I decide to go for the latter.

“I’m still clothed, aren’t I? And walking, for that matter? Not that we’re close to that yet, but knowing Saki…” I let my voice trail off, looking away before snapping my attention back to Shizune, mirroring her coy smirk.

“She’s just as intense as you are, I’m sure.” I put extra emphasis on the word, and for the first time since meeting her, I see Shizune Hakamichi turn completely scarlet. For a moment, it’s out of embarrassment, though it quickly shifts to what I can only describe as ‘Holy Fury’.

“How dare you make such lewd comments about me, Hicchan~!” Misha’s voice belies that she’s on my side in this battle of wits, barely able to contain herself. I can tell it’s only because Shizune is actually there: if it had just been the two of us talking about her like that, I’m sure my ears would be ringing right now.

“What can I say? 90% of the girls I’ve spent time with since I came here have either teased me relentlessly about my budding love life, or come within inches of making an overt pass at me. Can you really blame me for letting it affect my humor?”

This time, Misha can’t help herself as she signs my reply. Shizune only grows more indignant as Misha doubles over laughing, until Shizune brings her attention back with a flick to her arm.

“We were going to invite you to spends some time with us, Hicchan, but I can’t say we’re interested if you’re going to act like a brute. Oh, come on Shicchan, he was just kidding!”

I chuckle a bit, before shrugging my shoulders. “Well, Saki’s being appropriated by the rest of the crew for a ‘Girl’s Night’, so I don’t really have anything better to do.”

This seems to be the response Misha was looking for, as she starts clapping and hopping up and down. “Really, Hicchan~? Yay, yay~!! We were planning to go to the Shanghai, is that okay with you, Hicchan~?

Another shrug, this time pushing off from the door.

“Sure. I could always go for some coffee.”

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Re: Sweetest Requiem - A Saki Pseudo-Route (Updated 9/28/2019)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:18 am

“Saki kissed me last night, and she didn’t come to the pool this morning. I don’t know what to think.”
Is that your idea of "not telling them"?

Regarding the current chapter: Hisao seems fond of sharing details of his love life with any girls he is passingly acquainted with ^^°
I wonder if that will continue after they have had sex for the first time...
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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Re: Sweetest Requiem - A Saki Pseudo-Route (Updated 9/28/2019)

Post by DackFayded » Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:09 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:18 am
“Saki kissed me last night, and she didn’t come to the pool this morning. I don’t know what to think.”
Is that your idea of "not telling them"?

Regarding the current chapter: Hisao seems fond of sharing details of his love life with any girls he is passingly acquainted with ^^°
I wonder if that will continue after they have had sex for the first time...
Ah, I thought you were referring to talking about his condition. Yes, that's just part of Saki starting to bleed into him. Plus, unlike Miki or Emi, he knows that telling this to them wouldn't necessarily spread the information around.

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Post by DackFayded » Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:18 am

The three of us end up spending quite a bit of time at the Shanghai. It’s Shizune that finally decides it’s time to leave, and I check my phone. Sure enough, curfew will be hitting just about the time we would get back to school. We gather up our things, pay, and head back towards school.

The walk back is rather uneventful, though I finally receive a call from Saki just as we’re reaching the front gate.

I flip open my phone and bring it up, feeling a small smile tugging at the corners of my mouth.

“Hey, you.”

“Hey yourself.” Comes the voice on the other end. “We’re on our way back. Do you think you could meet me at the gate? I’m pretty tired from walking around.”

“Way ahead of you. Just got back to school myself.”

“Oh?” Her tone is questioning. I’ve piqued her interest.

It’s now that I notice, despite the fact that this is most definitely a private phone call, Misha has been signing everything I’m saying, subconsciously or not. Shizune’s eyes are glued on Misha’s hands, occasionally flicking back up towards me.

I swat Misha on the arm and glare at her. She gets the message, and sheepishly folds her hands together, which earns me a stern look from Shizune.

“Yeah. Shizune, Misha, and I went down to the Shanghai to hang out for a bit, I’m just getting to the gate now. I’ll wait here for you.”

“Okay! See you soon, sweetie.” The line goes dead, and I’m left feeling a bit pink. She’s never used a pet name before, and I have to admit that I like it. Still, something else needs to be addressed.

I turn to face Shizune and Misha, both standing expectantly just inside the gate.

“I’m going to wait here for Saki and the girls. And you,” I point at Shizune in an accusatory manner. “Just because you can’t on your own, doesn’t mean you get to have help eavesdropping.”

I see Shizune’s eyes flair with the light of challenge as I call her out, but it quickly falters as she looks at me. I think she can tell that my words aren’t at all playful. Instead, she pouts at me before signing something to Misha.

“It is only natural for the Student Council to take an interest in the personal lives of their peers!”

Sometimes, I really wish Shizune could talk. There’s often such a disconnect between her words and Misha’s tone.

“Yeah, well, not every minor detail.” I retort, before rubbing my face. “Thank you, though.”

My thanks seems to throw her off guard. She blushes, a bit taken aback by my statement.

“What do you need to thank us for, Hicchan~? Beyond letting you spend time with two cute girls, that is! Wahaha~! You’re right, Shicchan! We’re so thoughtful like that~!”

I roll my eyes at them, shaking my head. “No. I wanted to thank you two for being my friends when I first came here.”

For once, both of them look a bit surprised by my words.

“You guys made a real effort to make me feel welcome here. You went out of your way to be my friends, and I really appreciate it.”

They both smile at me, and Misha quickly closes the distance to pull me into a tight hug. A few moments later, I feel another squeeze as Shizune joins in, wrapping me from the other side.

“Of course, Hicchan~! We’re both glad to be your friends!”

Misha leans in closer, whispering conspiratorially. As if Shizune could hear her otherwise.

“Even if I think Shicchan is a little jealous of Sacchan.”

I pull my head away slightly, staring at her incredulously. Misha just gives me a wink, and the two of them pull away together. Shizune signs something to Misha, a soft smirk on her face.

“Okay, Hicchan~! Have a good night~! And Shicchan says there are no exceptions to curfew!”

“My love life is none of your business!” I retort, resolutely turning my back on them. I raise a hand over my head in farewell. “Have a good night, you two.”

Their footsteps slowly fade away as they make their way towards the girl’s dorm. As they do, something starts nagging at the back of my mind.

Why does it seem like Saki has some reputation that no one’s told me about? Or, rather, that they assume I know about?

I don’t have very long to stew in my thoughts, though. After only a few minutes, I see the bus starting to crawl its way up the hill. I take a spot on a bench outside the gate to await its arrival. Standing up as it rolls to a stop in front of me, I take a spot in front of the doors.

Saki practically throws herself at me as the doors open. To be honest, it’s more of a controlled fall, since jumping isn’t exactly something she can do, but her excitement to see me again is incredibly heartwarming. She wraps her arms around my neck and kisses me, and I can’t stop but giving her a small twirl with her own momentum.

She giggles, but her laughter is soon interrupted by an over-the-top retching noise.

Looking behind her, I see Ayame, Miki, and Suzu all looking at us. Ayame has her usual half-smirk plastered on her face as Miki leans away from her, apparently having described the scene to her. It’s moments like these that make me realize why Ayame enjoys music and concerts so much: because she doesn’t need to see to enjoy them.

Suzu, on the other hand, has a finger pointing into her mouth, tongue stuck out in mock-vomiting. “God, you two make me feel like I need to brush my teeth after watching you. Stop being so cute and sweet, dammit.”

Miki puts an arm around Suzu’s shoulders, holding Saki’s cane out towards me with her hand. I take it as Saki partially breaks away from me, passing it to her as she settles herself with clinging onto my arm.

“Come on, Snoozu, cut the lovebirds some slack. They’re still honeymooning. You remember how she was with-oof!”

Miki is cut off by Ayame sharply jabbing her in the ribs with her elbow.

I tilt my head quizzically. I...had sort of assumed I wasn’t Saki’s first boyfriend. All the qualities about her that drew me in would be sure to draw in others, and I didn’t really get the feeling that Saki was exactly the type to rebuff every suitor she got.

My musing is cut off as she squeezes my arm, causing me to look down at her. I notice her lips are a rather familiar shade of reddish-purple. Saki leans her head onto my shoulder, giving a small yawn as she does.

God, she’s so adorable.

“Alright, let’s get you to bed before Suzu isn’t the only one passing out on us.”

Suzu opens her mouth to protest that point, but ends up reinforcing it instead as a rather loud yawn escapes her. The rest of us share a laugh at her expense, but it’s rather clear that she is actually starting to get rather close to falling asleep. She’s leaning even more heavily on Miki than Saki is on me.

Miki and Suzu take point, spearheading the procession to the dorm buildings. Ayame comfortably settles into the middle, with Saki and I bringing up the rear. With no other prying eyes, Saki makes no attempt to hide her affections. Even with her arm entwining mine, she manages to find a comfortable position for both of us to hold hands, her head on my shoulder.

I’m far from one to protest this, though. Even though intimate physical contact is something I’m both far from experienced with or entirely comfortable with...Saki is my girlfriend now, and I would be incredibly remiss to keep something as simple as holding my hand from her just because I don’t have practice with it.

Certainly doesn’t hurt that it makes me feel warm inside having her pressed against me.

“Have fun?” I ask, breaking the comfortable silence between us. I feel Saki nod against my shoulder.

“I did! We didn’t do that much, admittedly. We mostly just wandered the mall for a few hours.” After a moment, she snickers. “There were actually some boys from Yamaku there. Not sure who, but I didn’t recognize them. Probably second years.”

“Oh?” It’s my turn to sound interested. “What about them?”

“One of them tried flirting with me.”

I turn to look at her, and there’s an...odd expression on her face. She looks...expectant? There’s a hint of her usual playful smirk, but it’s like she’s fishing for a particular reaction out of me. Is she just telling me to make me jealous or rile me up?

“What, do I have to beat him up? I don’t feel like Cripple Fight Club is exactly the right place for me.”

Saki laughs, and I swear I can even hear Ayame shuckle at that. Is her hearing really as good as Lilly’s seems to be?

“No~!” There’s a lilt to her voice as she slaps my arm, burying her face in my shoulder to muffle her voice. “As thrilling as it would be to see you ‘defending my honor’.”

She looks back up at me, and I see that same playful grin. “Besides, I told him my boyfriend would be very happy to know that he has such a pretty girl in his life.”

I stop, turning to face her fully. She cocks her head questioningly as we stop. “Hisao, wha-”

I cut her off with a finger on her lips. Slowly, my hand moves to her cheek, curling down her chin to tilt it up a bit as I lean in. She quickly catches on to my meeting and and closes her eyes, a smile spreading across her lips before ours meet.

After a second or two, I feel the reaction I’ve come to truly love about her. Every time our kisses last longer than just a peck, there’s a moment where all the tension from Saki’s body just drains away, and she melts into me. I feel her hand come up to my face, shaking slightly as it presses against my cheek. I begin to pull away, and she moves her head forward to prolong it as long as possible.

“The prettiest girl I ever met.”

Saki beams at me, obviously incredibly pleased with both my assessment and my method of delivery. I’m certainly filing that face away for later if I’m feeling down at some point. I doubt I could feel sad seeing that look again.

The moment passes, and Saki returns to her position on my arm, holding it a bit tighter against her this time, her head practically nuzzled into my neck.

We stay like that all the way up to her dorm room. The group parts ways in the hallway: Ayame’s room is a floor up, while Miki and Suzu’s are at the other end of the hall from Saki’s. Suzu’s woken up enough at this point to get herself into bed, and heads into her room with a mumbled ‘good night’ to the three of us.

“Be safe now, you two.” Miki says with a wink, disappearing into her room with a laugh as I flush red. Saki’s tongue pulls back into her mouth as she turns to me.

Just the two of us, alone together in the hallway. Late at night.

Saki’s finger traces idle patterns against my chest. She looks pensive, lost in her own thoughts.

I kiss her forehead, getting her to look up at me. There’s a glint in her eyes, a softness and vulnerability I haven’t seen in her before. A moment later, it’s gone as her hand snakes into my hair and pulls me in.

She pulls me into another kiss, but this one feels...different. Desperate, almost. I hear her cane clatter against her door handle as her other hand wraps around my shoulders, pulling my body against her as she presses herself against the wall.

My heart rate picks up as she deepens the kiss even further, my lips parting at the urging of her tongue. My arms, held just slightly away from my body in a mix of surprise and shock, finally come to rest on her waist. Saki hums in content as I do, the corners of her lips twitching in a smile against mine.

Part of me doesn’t want this to stop. I want to indulge both myself and her, to give in to her and let her lead me anywhere she wants this to go. Of course, I have a pretty good idea of what would happen the moment her door closed behind us. At the same time, though...I don’t want things to move too fast. Saki has always been driving things forward between us, deciding when to take the next step. As much as I want to jump headfirst into whatever she wants from me, I’m just not ready for that yet.

I’m really starting to think that Saki is psychic, as just as I’m starting to second-guess letting this go on any longer, she breaks our kiss. Her breathing is heavier, eyes half-lidded and lips curled in a sultry smile.

“I would love for you to stay, Hisao…” She purrs, trailing a lone finger along my chest. “But I’m tired.” Her hand comes up to my face, stroking my cheek with her thumb. “Next time.”

It’s a strange feeling, being both disappointed and relieved at the same time.

I just smile at her, fighting back the red in my face. Reaching forward, I grab her cane from the door handle and give it to her, letting my hand run through her hair to pull her in for one last, quick kiss.

“Whatever you say, Saki.”

There’s a flash of challenge in her eyes as she pulls me in, her hand wrapping around me and taking a firm hold of my ass. She giggles a bit as my body stiffens against her, pressing a final kiss to my lips before pushing me away. “Promise. Goodnight, sweetheart.”

It takes a second, but I finally manage to stammer out a response. “G-Goodnight, Saki.”

A moment later, she disappears into her room with a sultry wink, the click of her door causing me to double over staring wide-eyed at the ground.

What the fuck just happened there?

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Post by DackFayded » Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:14 am

The day of the track meet is finally upon us. Miki has practically been a non-entity in our social lives since Friday, but now she gets to enjoy the fruits of her labors and show off, as much as she loathes actually participating in track practice.

As always, Saki hangs on my arm as we walk, her cane tapping rhythmically against the concrete steps as we go. It’s a noise that I’ve come to find rather relaxing. It’s steady, a regular beat that underlies everywhere we go.

Like my heart, but more uniform in it’s pattern. I feel a wry smile on my face. It’s a perfect comparison between our conditions. Saki’s is slow and steady, a regular progression towards an eventual end. Mine is irregular, a manageable complication that could flare up randomly.

We spot the rest of our group already on the bleachers, Suzu leaning against Ayame. They’ve thankfully found a spot for all of us on the first row of bleachers, a spot next to them occupied left vacant.

“Hey, Ayame. Suzu.” I call out to get their attention as we approach. Suzu startles and pulls away from Ayame, and I swear I can see a dusting of pink on her face. Ayame turns to face me, a soft smile on her face.

“Hey, you two.” She replies, making the perfectly fair assumption that Saki and I are together.

We take a seat next to them, Saki gleefully cuddling up against me. The runners are just warming up now, finishing up stretches and last-minute preparations for their events. I pick out Emi and Miki, standing amongst the rest of the Yamaku track team. I’m actually surprised to see other school colors present. I had honestly figured this would be more of an in-house event.

I turn my attention to the other spectators. I see a few familiar faces, such as Rin seated next to a woman who bears a striking resemblance to Emi. Her mother, most likely.

I’m dragged back to the track as people start whooping and shouting. The runners are starting to line up for the first event. While I’ve never really been the type to attend sporting events, I’m not here for the love of the sport. I’m here to support my friend, and that’s a good enough reason for me.

“Runners, ready~?” Comes the announcer’s voice, sounding suspiciously like Misha. The shot rings out, and the girls are off just as quickly. Emi and Miki quickly find themselves at the front of the pack.

“Come on, Miki!” Saki shouts, detaching herself from me just enough to cup her hands around her mouth and clap.

Miki, contrary to how she normally acts about track, actually seems to be in her element. Just like Emi, she wears a look of determination as she moves. Miki certainly gives her a run for her money, but Emi manages to stay ahead as they cross the finish line.

Emi goes on to dominate the events that she participates in, but Miki does at least manage to win the 1600m relay with a hearty lead. The crowds start to clear rather quickly as the track meet comes to an end. After celebrating with the rest of the track team, Miki jogs over to the four of us.

“You did great out there, Miki!” Suzu pipes up, once more leaning against Ayame, though this time her eyelids are drooping.

“Thanks, Snoozu. Still not faster than that squirt, though.” Miki replies. She’s probably still going on her runner’s high, breathing labored and sweat shining on her skin.

“Well, her legs don’t get tired.” Saki counters, grinning at her own joke.

We all laugh together, until someone from the track team approaches Miki.

“Come on, Miura! You’re gonna miss the medal ceremony.”

Miki just waves her hand dismissively. “Ceremony, shmeremony. I’ll pick it up from the office on Monday.”

The man just rolls his eyes and jogs off, headed in the direction of the gathering athletes.

“You sure you don’t want to go?” I ask, standing up from the bench with Saki.

“Nah.” Miki waves her hand again. “I feel gross. I’m gonna go hit the shower and get changed.” She looks between all of us, her hand on her hip. “We should go get something to eat, though. I’m starving.”

As if to punctuate this, her stomach growls. We all laugh again, and start heading towards the dorms.

“Shanghai?” I suggest, which Miki makes a sour face at.

“Nah. I think I’ve had enough empty teahouse for a while. Taro was telling me his family has a place in town, maybe we could try it out?”

Her suggestion is met with a mix of assent and shrugs, so our tentative plans are made. Saki leans up to kiss me as we reach the parting of ways between the two dorms.

“I’m gonna go get changed into something a little nicer.” She puts her hand on my chest. “You should too.”

“I thought you liked a man in uniform?” I tease her, wrapping my arms around her waist.

“I do,” She starts, idly rubbing her hand against me. “But, it’s important to maintain variety in your wardrobe. You do have clothes besides the uniform, don’t you?”

I respond to her question by shutting my mouth and awkwardly rubbing the back of my neck. Saki pulls her head away from me, looking at me sternly while keeping her hand on me.

“Hisao, you have other clothes in your closet. Tell me you have more than just your uniform in your closet.”

“My sweater vests…” I mumble, earning me an exasperated sigh from Saki.

“Right, okay. We’re gonna fix that one of these days.” She kisses me again before separating from me. “Just...look nice, okay?”

“Okay, I will. Promise.”

The girls head into the dorm together, and I make my way to my room after a moment or two. Now Saki’s made me self-conscious about my wardrobe. Maybe I should call my parents, see if they could send some of my clothing for me.

As I’m making my way into my room, I hear several locks being undone behind me. I sigh, turning around and preparing myself for whatever onslaught awaits me.

“Who’s there?!” Comes the voice as a bespectacled head pokes out of the doorway.

“Hey, Kenji.” I reply.

“Oh. ‘Sup, dude?” He steps out of his doorway, letting the door hang open slightly behind him. I briefly consider peeking into his room, but decide against it. I don’t need to see that kind of chaos.

“Nothing, really. Just gonna get changed and head back out with Saki and the girls.”

The moment the words leave my mouth, I realize the error of my ways. All at once, his face contorts in a mixture of rage, fear, and surprise.

What?! You’re spending even more time with that succubus?!”

“Girlfriend.” I counter sternly, apparently not having learned my lesson.

“Even worse!” He shouts, and I’m glad we’re the only two living in this particular hall. “You let her sink her claws in deep, man! I thought you were a brother-in-arms in the fight against the feminists!”

“I’m not sure what ever gave you that idea.” I grumble to myself, pinching the bridge of my nose. Not that Kenji can see my annoyance anyways. Even with his glasses, it’s like he can barely see an inch in front of his own face sometimes.

“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.

-----

“The Nanjing?” I ask incredulously. “Seriously, what’s with naming restaurants after cities in China?”

“Don’t worry about the name, gaylord.” Miki retorts, leading our group through the front door. “This place is way more popular than the Shanghai. It’s just a bit farther from school, so not many students come here.”

That’s an understatement. The walk from Yamaku to here certainly felt quite a bit longer than what I’m used to. I’m feeling unusually tired after the walk, so I’m thankful that we’re finally here.

“Hell, they even give discounts to Yamaku students here.”

“Really?” Suzu asks, still thankfully awake. I hardly think Ayame would be capable of supporting her at a moment’s notice, and I already have one girl hanging on my arm. I don’t think I could manage two.

“Yeah! Like I said, Taro’s family runs the place. Would be kinda shitty of them if they didn’t throw a little something our way, right? Plus, it boosts business and gives the place a good reputation.” Miki explains, strutting her way up to the podium at the front to ring the service bell.

It’s definitely busier here than I’ve ever seen the Shanghai, but that’s not a particularly difficult task. About half of the tables are taken by groups of various sizes, with servers occasionally flitting about between them.

A few moments later, a somewhat-familiar heavyset young man appears, his left arm in a sling. I recognize the face, but can’t put a name to it.

“Hello, welcome to the N-” He stops mid-sentence as he finally notices us, a wide grin breaking out across his face. “Hey guys! It’s great to see you!” His beaming smile persists until his gaze falls on me. His head tilts as he looks me over, studying me.

“You’re...Nakai, right? New guy in 3-3?” He ambles up to me, extending his hand towards me. “Taro Arai. Nice to finally meet you, man!”

I tentatively take his hand, which he shakes far more enthusiastically than I was expecting. My arm jerks around in his grasp a bit.

“Y-Yeah, Hisao Nakai. Nice to meet you as well, Arai.”

“Pssh. Just call me Taro, dude. Mr. Arai is my dad.” He turns his attention away from me, scanning our group and counting on his fingers. “Just the five of you?”

“No joiners.” Ayame replies, and Taro starts grabbing menus for us. “Somewhere a little quieter, if you don’t mind.”

“No problem, Ayame. Right this way, guys.” He begins leading us to a larger both at the back. “So, since we have a first timer,” Taro begins, looking back at me as he begins placing down the menus. “I can get pops to get some gyoza going on the house for you guys, if you want?”

“That would be very sweet of you, Taro.” Saki says as we start sliding into the booth. Miki takes the middle, Saki and Suzu on either side of her, with Ayame and I taking up either end.

Small talk passes between us until a waitress appears, takes our drink orders, and hurries off to get things going for us. Saki nuzzles up into me, and I put my arm around her shoulders and pull her in.

“You two are just the cutest, you know that?” Miki teases us. Saki must make a face at her, as Miki breaks out into a wide grin. For my part, I turn a bit pink. Her grin fades as she plops her elbow down on the table and rests her head in her hand.

“Ugh, being fifth wheel is kinda rough, though.” She shoots a glance at Suzu, who turns a deep shade of scarlet and looks away. Ayame’s lips curl up into a smirk, crossing her arms as she settles back into the booth.

“Maybe if you just picked one guy instead of whoever you wanted, you wouldn’t be.” She retorts. Meanwhile, Suzu’s face is deeply buried in her menu, which reminds me that I should probably start looking as well.

Opening the menu, I notice something right away. Under each line of text naming and describing the menu items, there is a pattern of raised bumps. Braille; I recognize it from some of the books in the library. I had been wondering why Taro didn’t grab a different menu for Ayame.

“And what if he’s bad at fucking?” Miki shoots back. “At least my way I get to have my fun, and don’t have to do it with the same guy again if he doesn’t perform. It would be kinda shitty to catch feelings for a guy just to find out he’s got an itchy trigger finger, or can’t go as hard as I want.”

Even though I know that comment wasn’t directed at me, it still feels like a punch in the gut. It’s...obviously a thought that has crossed my mind. With my heart, I’m sure that my...performance would be less than vigorous. Beyond that, it’s not like I’ve ever done anything like that.

Saki must sense the shift in my demeanor. I feel her hand on my leg, gently rubbing along my thigh. It’s comforting, and I give her shoulders a squeeze in thanks. She’s getting very good at pulling me out of my self-imposed funks.

The silence she gets in response must make Miki realize what she said, as she looks rather sheepish now.

“Sorry, Hisao. Wasn’t trying to insinuate anything about you. I’m sure you can fu-you know what? I’m not gonna finish that sentence, actually.”

Our drinks arrive soon after, and the awkward silence passes as lunch continues on. It passes uneventfully, though more because of how good the food is than anything else. Saki ends up paying for me, refusing my protest on the matter.

“Consider us even for the festival, sweetie.” She teases me as we all start getting up from the booth. Taro waves at us as we exit the Nanjing, and begin the trek back to Yamaku.

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Post by DackFayded » Tue Oct 01, 2019 3:19 am

As refreshing as lunch was, I can’t shake the feeling of tiredness that seems to have overtaken me. My limbs start to feel heavy as we make our way up the hill. I’m grateful as Yamaku comes into view. Whatever this strange lethargy is, I should be able to just sit down and relax and it will go away.

Thu-thump.

Pain shoots through my chest just a few dozen yards from the front gate, causing me to double over. It feels like someone’s stuck a red-hot knife into my ribs.

Thu-thump. ThumpTHUMP. Thu-THUMPthump.


My heartbeat pounds in my ears, almost drowning out the sounds of birds chirping and the breeze rustling by.

“Hisao? What’s wrong?” Saki pulls away from me, and I fall to all fours, one hand clutching my chest. “Hisao!” She yells, dropping to her knees behind me. She wraps her arms around me, pulling me into a half-sitting position, my back resting against her stomach. The other three girls swiveled around at the sound of Saki screaming. Suzu and Miki both look the same way Saki did in the pool that day, while Ayame looks both confused and worried.

“Miki, get the Nurse!” Saki takes my hand in hers and Miki is off like a bullet, her long legs and adrenaline carrying her away. Saki’s arm wraps around me, fingers pressing into my jugular to feel out my pulse.

My breathing comes in shaky gasps. Saki begins rubbing my chest, leaning in and whispering soothingly. “Breathe, Hisao. Just breathe, slow and steady. In, out. One, out. Two, out. Three, out.”

I force myself to get my breathing under control. I follow the rhythm she sets, breathing in time with her words. The searing pain in my chest begins to subside, and it’s only when I can finally feel Saki’s hand clutching mine that I realize I’d lost feeling in my hands.

The tension vanishes from my body as the episode passes, my entire body taken over by an overwhelming wave of lethargy. My entire body feels heavy, like it’s been filled with lead. I’m thankful for Miki’s speed, as Nurse comes careening out of the gate behind Miki after only a few minutes.

There’s a set serious to his face as he comes to my side. Even still, there’s a softness to his voice as he speaks up.

“You did very well, Miss Enomoto. Let me take over from here.”

Saki is reluctant to comply, but she does eventually pull her hand away from my chest and neck. She doesn’t release her tight grip on my hand, though, squeezing it tightly as Nurse begins to check me over.

I can see Suzu and Ayame standing off to the side with Miki, all three of them looking at me worriedly. I lock eyes with Miki and give her a weak smile, and it seems to help her calm down a little bit.

“How are you feeling, Nakai?” Asks Nurse, having already unbuttoned my shirt, pressing his stethoscope against my chest.

“I…” My voice trails off. I want to say ‘I’m fine’, but I know that’s not true. “Tired. Heavy. No pain, anymore at least. I think it was just a flutter.”

He nods solemnly, a look of intense concentration on his face. In all honesty, I really don’t like seeing Nurse like this. It’s such a stark contrast to his normally relaxed, jovial nature, that it’s rather jarring.

Apparently satisfied that I’m not going to die, he removes the stethoscope from my chest. He must notice my eyes flick over to the other three girls, as he does me the favor of buttoning my shirt again for me.

“Thank you,” I whisper, and he only nods.

“Alright, it sounds like you’re going to be okay. I’m still putting you on bedrest for the rest of today, and I want you to come see me again before you go to bed for the night. Understood?”

I nod weakly, and he shifts to my side and helps me to my feet. I try to support my weight, but my knees buckle a bit as he starts to let off. Saki rushes to my other side, taking up the rest of my weight, though I can see in her face that she’s struggling a bit to support me. This isn’t how this is supposed to go.

“Miura, Suzuki.” Nurse addresses them, and their heads snap away from me and to him. “I want you two to help Hisao to his room.” He turns his attention to Ayame. “Hayashi, would you please support Enomoto as well?”

All three girls nod, and move to take their positions. Saki is reluctant to let Miki take her place, but eventually relents. She looks...hurt, almost? Her face is set in worry, and she doesn’t lean against Ayame as the taller girl wraps an arm around her shoulders.

Nurse lets Suzu take my weight, and stands back, looking me over one last time. Slowly, a grin spreads over his face. “It’s good you followed my advice, Hisao. And that you have such good friends.”

We all walk in silence. Nurse accompanies us on the walk back to the dorms, but breaks off to head back to his office as we arrive. The strength slowly returns to my body, but Miki and Suzu practically carry me up the stairs to my room. I fish out the key and Saki plucks it from my hand, unlocking the door and pushing it open.

Immediately upon entering, I wish I was alone. My pill bottles are still lined up my on my desk, and I can’t help but curse inwardly as realization hits me.

I haven’t taken my meds the past few days.

Saki guides Ayame to my desk chair and sits down as Suzu and Miki gingerly lower me onto my bed. They all look at me, mixes of confusion and worry on their faces. I...I owe them an explanation, don’t I? I was really hoping I could tell them on my own terms, but...I guess I don’t get that luxury.

“Hisao, wh-” Miki starts, but I cut her off.

“I have a heart condition.” I say, a bit flatly. “I must have pushed myself a bit too hard. I’m really sorry I ruined our afternoon.”

Their faces soften, and Miki even gives a small chuckle. “Oh, shut up, Hisao. We’ve all got our limits.” She puts a hand on my leg. “Don’t worry about it, alright? We’re just glad you’re okay.” She puts her arms around both Suzu and Ayame’s shoulders, starting to guide them towards the door.

“Alright, ladies. Let’s give the lovebirds some privacy.”

I almost say something back to her, but just resign myself to my bed. The three of them exit, the door closing behind them with a soft click. Saki brings the chair to my bedside, taking my hand in hers.

“Are you really okay?”

I squeeze her hand reassuringly, finally meeting her gaze. She...her eyes are watering. That just makes me feel even worse, especially knowing that it’s completely my fault. This wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been too stupid to remember to take my damn medication.

“I am, I promise. I just…” I look away from her, unable to meet her gaze with how ashamed I feel. “Could you get me a glass of water?”

She nods, standing up from the chair and heading out my door, which she leaves open. I take the opportunity to parse out my daily doses, clenching the fistful of pills in my hand. Saki returns, a glass clutched in her hand. Closing the door behind her, she returns to the chair and hands me the water.

I start taking my pills a few at a time, forcing them down with gulps of water, and I see Saki’s eyes widen in realization, before her brow furrows. “Hisao, have you been forgetting to take your medication?”

My jaw clenches as I swallow the last time. I set the glass on my nightstand, resolutely not meeting Saki’s gaze. That’s all the answer she needs.

“Dammit, Hisao!”

That causes my head to snap back up to hers. There is anger in her face, but the tears are starting to spill over from her eyes. I hang my head in shame once more.

“I’m sorry…” I mutter, but this was obviously not the response she was looking for.

“You won’t be sorry when you’re dead, Hisao!” Her tone cuts deep, every bit as painful as my flutter. “Dying doesn’t hurt you; you’re not around anymore to feel bad about it. It only hurts all the people around you.” A sob racks her body, but she fights through it.

“It hurts the people that care about you, you idiot!” This time, the floodgates break. Saki starts crying openly, and it’s even worse than how she looked the first time she was worried about me. Her face is buried in her hands as she shakes, her cane discarded on the floor. I force myself upright and move to the edge of the bed, pulling her into my arms. For a moment, she stiffens up, then buries herself into me.

I pull her onto the bed with me, and she doesn’t resist. Sitting back against the wall, I hold her in my arms as she cries into my shoulder. I can feel a patch of wetness where her head is, but I don’t care. I run my hands along her back soothingly.

“Saki…” I start, my voice soft and a little weak. “Please don’t cry. Please, please don’t cry.”

I’m sure she can hear the pain in my voice. It...hurts seeing her like this. I can’t explain why, but the thought of causing her distress this way hurts even more than my chest did earlier. It breaks my heart seeing her cry, and knowing it’s because of me only makes it worse.

“It breaks my heart seeing you cry, Saki. It hurts so much more than anything else.”

She finally looks up at me, sniffling as she fights back the rest of her tears. Looking into my eyes, she just stares at me for a moment before giving a single laugh.

“You’re such a dork.”

Her arms move from my chest around my neck and she pulls herself into me for a kiss. It’s deep and desperate; I can still feel Saki shaking slightly against me. I wrap my arms around her waist and return her embrace. Slowly, I feel the tension leaving her body, her sadness replaced by something else.

Her tongue parts my lips and enters my mouth, prodding my own as if asking for a dance. If this is what she wants, if this is the next curve in today’s emotional roller coaster, who am I to deny her something we both want?

I acquiesce to her desires. We end up spending quite a bit of time like this, only breaking apart long enough to catch our breath before Saki practically throws herself back at me. A haze starts to overtake my mind, though I register that Saki’s arms pull away from my neck, her body shifting slightly.

I feel a pressure on my chest, and my eyes shoot open. Saki’s hands are shaking slightly as she works the buttons of my shirt without breaking the kiss. Is she really thinking of doing that now? I almost want to break away and voice my protest, but she doesn’t give me the chance. Every time my head pulls away even a little bit, Saki leans forward to compensate, keeping our lips together and tongues intertwining.

As my shirt lies open, she finally pulls back, grabbing the hem of my undershirt and starting to pull it up.

“S-Saki, we really shou-”

She interrupts me with another kiss, though just a peck this time. “We’re not doing that, Hisao.” It relieves me to hear a playful lilt to her voice, and it’s incredibly exciting to see her face red and eyes lidded.

I can only look at her quizzically as she tugs both of my shirts off of me and tosses them aside, finally revealing her prize. Her fingers trace along my scar, gently running across the sensitive flesh. Even four months later, it’s still much more tender than the surrounding skin, even if it looks tough and jagged.

A wry smile pulls at her lips as she hovers against my face, lips brushing against mine as she whispers.

“You already had your heart broken once, Hisao. I promise I won’t do the same.”

Her softly smiling face blurs as tears prickle at my eyes. She…

God, she’s perfect.

She kisses me again, this time much more tenderly. More compassionately. There’s no hunger like there was before, no neediness. Just pure affection.

-----

Saki and I end up lying in bed together for the rest of the day. Cuddling, talking, reading together. Kissing.

I hope I never get so used to her lips on mine that I stop getting that jolt of electricity up my body whenever she does. When Saki finally decides it’s time for me to go and visit the Nurse, she dettaches herself from me and stands up from the bed, taking her cane from its position resting against my nightstand.

“Come on, lover boy. You’ve got an appointment.”

I grimace at the nickname, which causes Saki to giggle. I’m too tired to really care about being fully presentable right now, so I just tug a sweater on over my bare chest and make for the door. Saki latches herself back onto my arm as we exit my room, and this time she directs me to the elevator.

I quirk an eyebrow at her, and she feels the need to explain.

“I’m tired from walking myself, and the last thing I want is you exerting yourself on stairs.”

I smile and kiss her on the nose as the door’s open. We step inside, and the ride down is fairly quick. The rest of the walk to the auxiliary building passes in comfortable silence, though I’m beginning to dread my talk with Nurse. He’s probably going to ask if I’ve been taking my medication, and his reaction will probably be much more stern than Saki’s.

Even if Saki’s was more painful.

We head into the auxiliary building and make straight for the Nurse’s office. A light shines from inside, the door left open. Saki raps on the inside of the door with her cane as we turn into the door.

“Pizza delivery for one Mr. Nurse?”

He turns from his desk, looking quite a bit tired. Behind him, I see three disposable coffee cups. Still, he greets us with his trademark grin. Nurse makes a show of patting around his pockets, before shrugging and looking mock-sheepish.

“Ah, damn. Looks like I forgot my wallet.”

Saki giggles, nudging me forward. “Go on, you. I’ll wait here.” With her free hand, she grabs my sweater and pulls me in, pecking me on the lips before moving off to a nearby bench in the hallway.

I feel my face turn bright red as I hear a snicker behind me. I turn around to face Nurse, now sporting an ear-to-ear grin. I march myself inside and close the door behind me, making a point not to look him in the eye. I really don’t need to give him any more ammunition than he already has.

As soon as the door closes, though, his face drops. Back to serious mode then, I suppose. We go through the usual motions, removing my sweater and checking my heart before redressing myself.

“So, was there any variance to your schedule in the past few days besides the walk into town?”

He smirks again, before continuing. “New relationship, perhaps?”

I turn a bit red again, looking down at my shoes. I’d never noticed the pattern on the floor in his office before. “Yeah. That, and…” I trail off, honestly hoping he’ll finish my sentence for me so I won’t have to say it out loud.

Even though I can’t see him, I can feel his eyes narrow at me. “And?”

Swallowing, I prepare myself for whatever his reaction will be. “I’ve...been forgetting my medication the past few days.” My head snaps up as soon as my sentence is finished, instantly rushing to defend myself. The scowl on his face, however, shuts my mouth.

For a while, he just looks at me. Arms crossed, face a mixture of annoyance and disappointment. Nurse pinches the bridge of his nose and sighs, practically flopping himself down in his chair.

“I just...I’ve been kinda lost in my own head these past few days. I won’t say I wasn’t stupid for forgetting, I’ve just been thinking about a lot recently. Beyond that, I can promise you I won’t be forgetting again.” I hang my head again, feeling the same gnawing pain I had felt seeing Saki cry rising up in my throat. “To be honest, Saki gave me a better wake-up call than any lecture could.”

He seems to at least accept my words at face value. Nurse uncrosses his arms, sitting a bit more comfortably in his chair. “Good. I knew she’d be good for you.”

I look up at him, confusion plain on my face. He chuckles at my expression before continuing.

“I didn’t just want you to swim with her because you got along, Nakai. Nor was I just indulging my own curiosity.” He winks with that last line, causing me to turn scarlet again.

“I chose her because she’s dependable, and she’s not afraid to do things the hard way if that’s how it has to be. She’s strong.”

I can’t help but smile at his praise of her. He’s right, she is all of those things. She’s been a pillar in my life ever since I met her. What would my life be like right now if it weren't for her?

“But, that also brings me to my next point.” His lips slowly curl back up into his playful grin, and I find myself dreading his next words.

“You two are being safe, correct?”

For a second, I just stare at him in confusion. Then, his words hit me, and I turn almost purple. “I-I, we...haven’t-”

Nurse laughs, waving his hand in front of him. “Alright, point taken. Just make sure you are when you do.” To emphasize his point, he gestures towards the door. I follow his hand, and my eyes settle upon something I don’t know how I hadn’t noticed before. It’s…

It’s a fishbowl full of condoms.

There’s...there’s just no other way to describe what I’m staring at. I find myself trying to make words, and find only unintelligible noises coming out. This seems to satisfy Nurse’s slightly-sadistic sense of humor, as he laughs again. “Seriously, take some on your way out. I can’t refill it with lollipops until it’s empty.”

I resolutely refuse to look at him as I stand and make my way for the door. Pausing at the doorway, a thought passes through my head. Without looking back at him, I jam my hand into the bowl, grab a handful, and stuff them into my pocket. I make sure they’re in deep, so that Saki most definitely won’t see them either. Nurse’s laughter echoes after me as I slip out of his office.

Saki smiles at me warmly, then notices the flush of embarrassment to my face. She giggles, moving past me to open the Nurse’s door and lean in. “Nurse, stop accosting my poor boyfriend! Firstly, he’s redder than Tezuka’s hair right now, and secondly, that’s my job!” They both share a laugh at my expense before Saki closes the door again, once more latching onto my arm. “Back to bed?” She asks, a glint in her eye.

“Uh, well…” I’m suddenly feeling very unsure of myself as we start walking. “Curfew is pretty soon, and-”

“Curfew, shmurfew.” Saki counters, reminding me of Miki. “I’m making sure you’re okay tonight.” Then, she jabs me lightly in the ribs with her finger. “And that you wake up for our swim.”

I smile at that. She always knows just what to say to get what she wants from me. Not that I mind, though. “Well, when you put it that way, how can I say no?”

“Good boy.” She cooes, pulling me into another kiss as we exit the auxiliary building. This time, I’m the one to give a content humm against her lips, which leaves a wide smile on her face as she pulls away.

The rest of the way back to the dorms is quiet, just the two of us enjoying each other’s proximity and warmth. It’s only as we’re standing in the elevator that something dawns on me.

“Hey, Saki?”

“Hmm?”

“How did you know what to do? I never told you.”

For a moment, she blinks at me, then turns a bit sheepish. We start back towards my dorm room, and she takes a while to respond, finally speaking up in a hushed voice. “Well...when you finally told me about your heart, I...kinda talked to Nurse when I had the chance.” Her eyes widen as something dawns on her, and she continues a bit hurriedly. “He didn’t tell me anything personal! I just…”

She trails off as my door opens and we enter my room.

“I just wanted to know what to do if something happened to you.”

I can’t stop the smile that curls up my lips, even while Saki looks like a child about to be scolded. I tilt her chin up, forcing her to look at me. “What, did you think I would be mad that my girlfriend put a vested interest in my well-being?”

She smiles at that, tossing her cane into my chair and wrapping her arms around my neck. “I wasn’t your girlfriend just yet then, though.”

“You are now.” I retort, kissing her on the nose. “That’s all that matters.”

Resting her forehead against my chest, Saki guides us back to my bed, and we fall in together. Once more, she removes my shirt, her hand tracing over my scar. She seems to have become a bit fascinated by it. I can’t say I’m entirely comfortable with her touching it so much, but...I’m sure she’s curious.

Maybe it’s because it’s the only visible manifestation of my condition? For Saki, it’s her cane. For me, it’s my scar. I wrap an arm around her, her head resting on my chest as she traces idle patterns on my skin. Having her warmth against me, the comforting rise and fall of her chest and the smell of her shampoo is incredibly relaxing.

I could get used to this.

END OF CHAPTER 2

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