Falling Up and Down: A Rin's After Story (Updated : 14/11/2019)

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Tetrax333
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Falling Up and Down: A Rin's After Story (Updated : 14/11/2019)

Post by Tetrax333 » Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:32 pm

A special thank you to Mirage_GSM for pre-reading, and proofreading. Can't do this without you bud.

A little note: Had a stroke of inspiration while I was doing some college work the other day and this story has been brewing in my mind for a good while now. This story is mainly focused on Emi and Rin during their college days and how their relationship turns out during that time.

This story is partially inspired by The Beginner's Guide, by Davey Wreden. If you played the game, well, you might have an idea where this story is going.

Table of Contents :

Chapter ? - Fission (You are here)

Year 0 - Opportunities :
Chapter 1 - Our Wants. (Hisao Emi Rin)
Chapter 2 - Who Are You? (Hisao)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Chapter ? - Fission

I plop myself down on my bed, laying down on my back as I look at the bandaged stump that is my left hand. Strange, I seem to have forgotten why I even covered it up in the first place, I think it was... shame, yes, I think that’s right, a feeling of insecurity over my appearance after I had that accident with Dad.

For a while, I hated the stares and the false sympathies that others would give me over it. Hearing phrases like, “I’m sorry for what happened to you” or “Don’t give up, and keep moving” or other variations of it. It got annoying and insufferable after a while.

Maybe that’s why I came to this school. I wanted an escape, a way to silence the fake sympathies and perhaps even make myself feel better by being around people with far worse disabilities than mine. Though the thought is kinda fucked up in retrospect, I suppose I can see why it would give the younger me some comfort in a dark time.

I slowly unwrap the bandage that’s covering my stump, exposing it under the bright lamp. Other than the surgical scars, it honestly doesn’t look bad. I suppose it was never the physical aspect I was so ashamed of, but the meaning behind it.

It was a reminder of a traumatic accident, a reminder that my life would be different, a reminder of the conflict between Mom and Dad and their eventual divorce and a reminder that I was no longer normal.

I think someone on the track and field club mentioned something about it - about how my bandages were less about covering up my stump and more about me not wanting to look at it. I almost beat him over the head over it, probably because it was a bit too close to the truth for me to admit at the time.

But the three years I’ve spent here, I think it made me able to stomach it better. I’m still not fully comfortable with looking at it, but... I think I’m fine now. It’s not as if I have a serious heart condition like Hisao or anything. I’ll just have to get used to this. It may take me three more years, or maybe even ten, but I can do it. And I think that’s what matters.

I’m Miki Fucking Miura goddamnit, and I’m not gonna let one less hand stop me.

Speaking of which, I probably should-

“FINE! GO WEAR YOUR OWN DAMN CLOTHES THEN!”

A loud yell and the sound of a door being furiously opened and then closed, followed with another set of it soon after suddenly rings out throughout the hall just outside my room.

I jolt out of my bed and step outside my room to check what is going on, but I see nothing but several other girls who have the same surprised look on their faces, some of them are only poking their heads out of their room, most likely wondering the same thing as I am, which is what the hell just happened.

“What was that?” I ask.

Naomi, a classmate of mine speaks up. “I, uh, I saw Emi storm out of Tezuka’s room just now, so I’m pretty sure that yelling was hers.”

Oh goddamnit. I was hoping it was somebody other than Emi, but it seems that I’m out of luck. It’s not that I dislike her or anything, but for some reason, I seem to be her designated talking buddy whenever she’s in a bad mood or causing a ruckus, which she does on more than a few occasions.
My guess is that the other girls figured that since we’re in the same club we also happen to talk a lot, which is not the case at all, but hey, what can I do right?

I sigh before resigning myself to my role. I slowly approach Emi’s door and knock to get her attention. “Hey, Emi, it’s me, Miki, do you, uh, wanna talk about what happened just now?”

“Go away Miki, I don’t want to talk right now.” A muffled sound comes from behind her closed door.

“You sure? Cause that sounded pretty damn bad.”

“Just mind your own damn business, Miki. Leave me alone!”

I don’t reply. Considering the tone of her voice, she seems to be genuinely angry right now - not the usual fake anger that she shows to people to get them to do stuff for or with her.

Left with no other choice, I turn around and slowly approach the door opposite of Emi’s. The room of the enigmatic Rin Tezuka, or as I like to call her, the weird painter girl down the hall.

I sigh again, not really wanting to knock on the door. It’s not that I think she’s a bad person or anything, She’s just... weird. I tried talking to her a few times in the past, but she kept talking about weird things that I don’t understand, things like... colors and collecting people? She mentioned it a lot of at least, but every conversation we had usually just turns into very awkward silence. So I kind of just stopped trying after a while.

I knock on her door but receive no response.

I wait for a while, hoping that she’ll speak up, but she doesn’t. So I knock again, receiving no reply this time either. Fuck this!.

“Tez-Rin, I’m coming in, okay?” I speak up before opening the door to her room.

When the door opens, I see Rin sitting half-clothed on the floor in her messy room with her head staring intently at nothing.

She tilts her head upwards ever so slightly, maybe to acknowledge my existence.

I sit in front of her, trying to get a look at her face which is buried under her messy hair. “Is everything alright Rin?”

She takes a while before responding. “No... I don’t know what just happened? Do you?”

Her voice is quivering like she’s just barely holding back from crying. Strange, I have never seen her like this. It’s not like I hang out with her a lot, but my impression of her has always been that she’s cold and aloof.

“I came in to check on you Rin, how would I know what just happened between you and Emi just now?”

She looks at me, her face clearly distraught, “I... I need to think for a bit. Can you help me?”

“Help you think?”

“No. Clothes. I need to go somewhere.”

Right, she is still half-naked, and thankfully I did help her get dressed whenever Emi was out for the holidays, so she seems to be quite comfortable with me doing it.

It takes some time to button up her shirt and pants, an activity that stumped me about a year or two ago due to my lack of a left hand. Thankfully I am now quite skilled at it, though doing it with one hand is still troublesome, I suppose.

As soon as I finish dressing her, she slowly gets up, thanks me and leaves to God knows where.

I sigh before getting out of her room as well. I want to try and talk to her; get her to tell me what the hell happened between her and Emi just now, but those two seem to be dead ends at this point - which leaves me only one hope for some kind of resolution.

“Naomi, do you know Hisao’s room number?”

She raises an eyebrow at my question. “Why do you think I know that?”

“Don’t think I didn’t see you snooping around the boy’s dorms and following him around during his first days here, miss ace reporter.”

She reels back at my statement then quickly looks around to see if anyone heard what I just said, “Okay, okay, geez, don’t say that out loud! 119. Why? What do you need it for?”

Huh... What do I need it for? I know little about Emi, and I know even less about Rin, so logically, there’s no reason for me to even care about them. I guess it’s just sentimentality. I never liked seeing two friends fighting with each other or being a downer, even if we’re not particularly close.

“Just gonna ask if he knows anything about those two.”

“Yeah, that sounds like a good idea, I don’t think I can help much though.”

“It’s fine Naomi, keep an eye out for Emi or Rin if she comes back okay?”

“Will do.”

So, I take a quick walk to the boys’ dormitories. I check the clock hanging from the common room’s wall before leaving and see that it’s currently 6 PM - still far from curfew. Good.

Before long, I reach Hisao’s room and knock on the door.

“Goddamnit, Kenji, I told you I don’t want to go into your busine-” The door slides open, revealing Hisao who suddenly has a surprised look on his face. “Miki! Oh sorry, uh, my... neighbor was bugging me all day about some business idea he has. What’s up?”

“Don’t worry about it. I, uh, wanna talk to you about your girlfriend.”

“Rin? What did she do?”

“Well, not just her actually, she... It seems she and Emi just had a fight - a pretty big one from what I heard.”

He freezes for a moment before speaking up again. “Shit... Was that just now?”

“Yup, you know something about it? You seemed to just remember something there.”

“Maybe.”

He goes quiet again. Ah, I see, he’s probably debating whether or not to share this information with me. Sensitive topic and all that.

“Listen, Hisao, Emi’s my friend, I don’t know much about Rin, but she seems legit upset, so I want to make her feel better, but I need to know what just happened first.”

That’s not entirely a lie I suppose. Emi is a friend technically, a friend that I don’t talk to very often and a friend that I kinda hated for some time, but a friend nonetheless

“That’s fair... You wanna come in? This might be a pretty long story.”

“Sure, thanks,” I agree before entering his room.

I look around and see a plain room with barely any decorations in it, save for a few knick-knacks and a large assortment of pills on his desk, presumably for his heart problems. I look at the walls and see two paintings hanging on it. One is a painting of a... clock, I think, or some depiction of it at least, and the other is a much less abstract painting of Hisao and Rin sitting together on top of a cloud. Cute, must be Rin’s

Hisao sits on his bed, while I take the chair in front of his study desk.

“Where should I start?” He asks.

“Maybe just from the first time their, uh, conflict happened?”

“Hm... Well, If that’s the case, then I guess it started when she got her scholarship offer, about two weeks ago.”

Continue to Chapter 1
Last edited by Tetrax333 on Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:48 am, edited 10 times in total.
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Ongoing Project Falling Up and Down

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Re: Falling Up and Down

Post by Tetrax333 » Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:37 pm

Special thank you to Mirage_GSM for pre-reading and Proofreading the story.

Year 0: Opportunities

Chapter 1 – Our Wants


HISAO

*tick* *tick* *tick* *tick*

I swear whoever decided to make the ticking of that clock so loud needs to be put in jail for... something, I don’t know. We’re already nervous enough as it is, and the sound of it might just drive me, or Rin, or the both of us off to the edge at this point.
Speaking of which, Rin is currently fidgeting uncomfortably in her chair while biting her lower lip, a telltale sign that she is currently very nervous right now.

Why am I even here? At the principal office no less.

That’s right, Rin told me that she wanted me to go somewhere with her, saying that she needed help with something. I, of course, obliged. I had thought that it was just one of our routine trips to the art supplies store, or maybe she needed me to carry a few things to her room, but then she brought me here with no prior warning whatsoever.

I would say that I should’ve expected it, but to be honest, the situation is a lot more nerve-wracking than I had initially thought.

I had initially thought that Rin broke some rules or something, and she needed emotional support to face the principal, but that’s not it.

It’s true that she needs emotional support, but then the principal mentioned Rin’s art exhibition and the room suddenly felt like it was frozen.
I know for a fact that Rin hated that exhibition. Even though she didn’t have a hard time telling her parents about it, she did cut a lot of the more gruesome details. She was in control, she was able to cherrypick the things that she liked about it and go on from there, but here... I don’t know what’s going to happen.

The principal looks at her watch impatiently. She did say that someone should be here soon, but fifteen minutes have passed, and no one else seems to be around.

Fifteen minutes turn into twenty, then suddenly the door swings open.

“Sorry, phone call from some students.” An unenthusiastic voice speaks up.

A tall and rather lanky man walks into the room and sits in a chair that’s right beside the principal’s desk. I analyze his face, trying to discern some sort of intent from it but I fail in that regard. The man looks dreary, almost as if he’s in a constant state of depression, complete with bags under his eyes and disheveled, curled long black hair.

“Okay then,” The principal lets out a sigh before continuing, “Tezuka, Nakai, This is Mr. Kitagawa Hisoka. He is a professor at the Tokyo University of the Fine Arts, and he is also a member of this year’s scholarship board for it.”

Mr. Hisoka simply nods his head a bit before giving a dreary “Hey!” To both me and Rin.

The principal clears her throat before continuing, “Mr. Hisoka here was present during the exhibition that you and Mr. Nomiya arranged and He was thoroughly impressed by your work and has convinced the board to give you a full scholarship to study there.”

Woah… A full scholarship!

This is great news, wonderful news even - for anyone except Rin that is. I look at her again, and her expression still hasn’t changed from what it used to be a few minutes ago, nervous and confused.

Since Rin will probably take some time to respond, I decide that I should at least say something in response to help Rin out. “Mr. Hisoka, I, uh, I know that I probably shouldn’t be asking, but... Rin did walk out of the exhibition that time, so...uh, it’s just-,”

“I don’t really care. Her paintings were good, too good. It’s stupid to just pass up on someone that talented. ” He gives an explanation before I even finish my sentence in that oddly dreary and monotone voice of his.

“Indeed, Tokyo University of Fine Arts is one of the most respected art universities in Japan, perhaps even the world. We personally think that it would be an amazing opportunity for you, Tezuka, and it will open up even more amazing opportunities for your future.”

The principal explains enthusiastically, but it’s hard to take her words at face value. She probably does mean it when she’s talking about Rin’s future, but considering her position at this school, it’s not hard to imagine that her motivation is a lot less altruistic than it sounds.

Imagine, if you will, an armless girl from Yamaku Academy, enrolling at one of the most prestigious art universities in the world, with the best-case scenario that she’ll be famous for both her art and her disability.

I can imagine Yamaku’s reputation would just skyrocket after something like that.

But to Rin, going to an art university as prestigious as that is almost like a nightmare scenario of uncertainties. On one hand, it’s true, going to an art university is the most logical next step for her, to both improve and to be able to make a living off her talent. But at the same time, it would mean that she would have to abandon who she is, do things she hates doing the most, and worst-case scenario, what happened at the exhibition will happen again, this time with no way out.

I don’t know what she’s thinking, but I know that this isn’t easy for her to process, judging by her constant fidgeting.

“I... Can I...” Rin takes a deep breath before continuing. “I need to think about it.”

The principal looks surprised by her statement. Meanwhile, Mr. Hisoka seems rather unperturbed by it.

“Tezuka, I understand that this is a big decision for you, but-,”

“It’s fine, the deadline for the submission is still about a month away. You can think as much as you want.” Mr. Hisoka cuts off the principal’s sentence in order to explain that.

Rin simply nods at his explanation.

“Well, there you go, please consider what is best for your future Tezuka, you can go back to class now.”

Again, Rin nods before we stand up and leave the office.

The walk back to the classroom is quiet, very quiet. With the students busying themselves with final exam preparations and the university entrance exam, the air around the third years’ classroom is tense with the nervous thoughts of its students. Me included.

I guess that’s another bright side if Rin decides to accept the offer, she won’t have to worry about university entrance exam since she’s already guaranteed a place in one.

Still... What should I say to her now? Do I encourage her to go for it? Or should I just tell her to do what she likes? Regardless of the consequences.
“Rin, I don’t really know-,”

“Stop. Don’t talk, please. For one hour, no, maybe a full day. I don’t know, just don’t talk to me for a while. Please.”

It’s hard seeing her like this, but it’s not like I don’t understand her feelings regarding this.

“Okay, just tell me when I can, okay?”

Rin gives me a disappointed look, probably because I talked just now, but she quickly returns to her usual, oddly focused gaze as we wordlessly separate and head to our respective classrooms.

Mutou looks at me when I enter my classroom but says nothing about my tardiness as he wordlessly scribbles down math problems on the blackboard.

When I’m finally seated, I try doing some of the problems he has written down, but my mind keeps drifting back and forth to Rin and everything I’ve done here so far.

I don’t necessarily understand her, and I don’t think she understands me fully either. But that talk we had on the dandelion field showed me something important. That ultimately, you don’t have to fully understand someone or something to love them.

When I had my first heart attack, I wanted so badly to understand why it happened to me. To pick apart every single variable in my life just to see where I messed up. I was so caught up in that idea that I had completely forgotten to even live my life properly.

Rin showed me that I shouldn’t be thinking like that. That perhaps it’s just better to accept things for what they are, rather than what they could be. She lived her whole life without arms, so she used her legs to do things, no doubts, no anything, just pure adaptation.

The best part is, she showed all this to me without uttering a single word. Perhaps she never intended to say anything in the first place. Perhaps, just like her paintings, her actions and behaviors are simply a way to communicate without words.

Whether or not that’s the case, I know for a fact that I want to help her make the decision that is best for her. It’s just that I don’t even know what decision will be the best for her.

Either way, while I’m busy with my thoughts, I hear the school bell ring, signaling the end of the school day.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

While I’m packing my things, Mutou decides to approach me, and I think I know why.

“Hisao, can I speak with you for a moment?”

“Sure, it’s not a problem.”

“I’ve seen your university application, and I just want to confirm it with you.”

“Is... there a problem?”

“No, no, it’s just... Tokyo University huh? The big T itself. I have to say, that’s very ambitious of you.”

I laugh at that. Indeed, shooting straight for the top is incredibly ambitious and somewhat dangerous, but I feel like I should strive for the absolute best if I can. But I put in Chiba University as a second option for my application since it’s near where I live and it’s still a damn good university regardless, just in case I fail.

“Yes, it’s just... Some things happened that, well, it made me realize that it’s best that I start thinking about what I really want to do with myself, and seriously studying physics seems like the way to go.”

Mutou nods sagely as he hears that. “That’s good, I suppose that science club we started wasn’t a waste, huh?”

“Well, we did get two new members, so we have already outgrown the student council by this point.”

He laughs at that jab. “Ah, I shouldn’t be laughing at that. In any case, if you are serious, then I assume you know what you’re going to do in the future?”

“Yes, I think I want to be a proper scientist, or rather a proper physicist.”

“Good to hear. Well, with your grades, I’d say you have a good chance, but do try to improve it further.”

“Of course, I’ve been studying for that and the final exams since a while ago.”

Mutou simply smiles before going back to his desk. “Well if you have any problems, feel free to talk to me about it. Good afternoon then, Nakai.”

“Good Afternoon, see you tomorrow,” I bow my head as he leaves the room, leaving me alone with my thoughts.

The future huh?

When I first came here, I never thought that I would regain any semblance of optimism that I once had regarding my future. But here I am, aiming for the top university in Japan. I think that’s thanks to Rin and Emi.

I’ve only known them for a few months, but my relationship with them feels a lot more real than any other relationship I ever had. Perhaps one of the reasons for that is because not only do I see them as friends, but they’re also people I respect and admire, people I want to be like.

It makes me feel like I have something to shoot for, a real tangible goal to reach.

Yeah, I think it’s really as simple as that.

But still, I will have to talk to Rin about the scholarship, preferably sooner rather than later.

That question lingers in my mind still. I may be sure about what I want to do now, but Rin is another story entirely. Whatever I say to her, It’s surely going to stick in her mind and influence her decision, it happened before, and it will probably happen again.

I just hope that I won’t steer her back into that dark abyss again.

Continue...
Last edited by Tetrax333 on Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:40 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Falling Up and Down

Post by Oddball » Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:45 pm

Interesting take on the characters and the story itself seems to have lots of potential. The only thing that gets to me is the shift in protagonists. It seemed like you were building Miki up to be the POV character only to drop her.

I mean, you're only two chapters in so far, so she might make a comeback, but so far it's just felt a tad odd. Especially give how you did such a good job building her up.
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Re: Falling Up and Down

Post by Tetrax333 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:33 pm

Yeah, might have gotten a little overboard on the characterization department, but I guess what's done is done :?. I was trying out something new and starting off with a character with zero perspective on the matter couldve been interesting, thats mainly why I did it.
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Re: Falling Up and Down

Post by Tetrax333 » Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:29 am

Thank you to Mirage_GSM for proofreading as always.

EMI

“One more lap come on, just a little bit more!”

I turn around and start running backward in order to catch a glimpse at my running partner who is currently wheezing his way through the track.

The thought of running ahead of him to gain a few more laps for myself crosses my mind, but I push it from my head. I think running beside him should give him some motivation to keep moving instead of just giving up right then and there, though I don’t think he would do that honestly.

We’ve been going at it for a few weeks now, so his stamina is getting better and better, and he seems to be quite motivated these days. Today I decided to increase the lap count from five to six, mainly as a test to see if his heart can take it, and sure enough, despite his wheezing, it seems to be able to.

Soon enough though, he and I finally reach the finish line.

“Great job for today. I thought you wouldn’t make it, honestly.”

“Well... That sure is... reassuring to hear,” Hisao squeezes his words out while trying to catch his breath.

“We’ll walk around the track to cool down, and then we’re done for today.”

As we walk, I can hear the sound of his breathing getting steadier and steadier. I honestly thought that he would bail on me again after a few days or so, but he’s a lot more serious about this than I initially thought. Well, whatever I suppose. This is good for him and me, so I’m not complaining.

“Oh yeah, hey Hisao, I finally filled out my university application yesterday.”

“Did you finally decide to enter pirate school?” He says with a cheeky grin.

I lightly punch his shoulder in retaliation. “No dumbass, me and my mom went to Kokushikan last holiday, and that’s where I’m going.”

“Kokushikan huh? I heard It’s a good university - and pretty expensive to go to.”

“Not for me.” I puff out my chest, boasting a bit to him. “I got myself a scholarship thanks to some recommendation I got from Yamaku. I guess winning those track meets finally paid off.”

“Oh wow, that’s wonderful Emi, what are you going to study there?”

“Physical Education... As expected I suppose.” Hisao and I giggle at that statement while continuing our walk.

“It really is great to hear that you’re finally finding what you want to do, I just wish that... Never mind.”

“Woah! hold on there, don’t think I didn’t catch that, Hisao. What’s wrong? Don’t tell me you’re still not sure about your university choice.”

Hisao reels back for a moment, probably because of his slip-up just now. “No, I already figured out mine, it’s just..” He looks away for a moment before continuing. “I don’t think Rin figured it out yet.”

I stop in my tracks when I hear that. “Wait what do you mean? I mean, she’s obviously going to an art school, right?”

“Well I mean, logically she should; it’s just that... Well, you know Rin isn’t exactly the most logical person. I think she needs some time to think for a bit.”

I get what he means, about Rin not being the most logical person and all that. But still, what else is she going to do? Go to a business school? Yeah, I can’t imagine that at all.

“That girl, I swear Hisao, she’s just plain stupid sometimes. I mean first she walked out of that exhibition, leaving me and Mr. Nomiya hanging, and now she doesn’t even want to go to art school? What is that girl thinking?”

Hisao lets out a sigh. “I understand how you feel Emi, but we really should let Rin decide these things for herself.”

I turn to look at him, wondering if there’s a deeper meaning in those words.

I mean, I get it, I’m not stupid. Deciding for yourself is better than forcing yourself to do something, that’s obvious. But I’ve known Rin for three years now, and every waking moment of her life that isn’t eating, sleeping, or doing something random, she puts into painting. She even said herself that she loves painting.

So for Rin to be so doubtful about what university she’s going to is just confusing and stupid to me.

“Have you talked to her about this Hisao? I don’t really want to see her become a ronin for a year.”

He shakes his head. “No, she doesn’t want me to talk about it, but speaking of which, she did get offered a scholarship yesterday.”

“Offered? She didn’t look for it?”

“Nope, some guy, a professor from Tokyo University of Fine Arts offered her a full scholarship there.”

“Woah! a full scholarship? Okay, now there’s no freaking excuse anymore. I’m going to personally talk some sense into her somehow. Is she in her dorm room?”

Hisao shrugs while heaving a sigh. “I don’t know actually, I haven’t checked on her this morning. Don’t think she wants me to.”

What is with his attitude? It’s almost like he’s just giving up on her or something. I mean for goodness sake, you’re her boyfriend, you should be the one pushing her to take the scholarship not me. Well, fine Hisao, you can take on this attitude all you want, but I sure as hell won’t.

“Hisao!” I shout, startling him in the process, “This is no time to be wishy-washy about this! This is about her future! YOU should be more worried about her than I am right now.”

He lowers his head before speaking. “Emi, I know that. I’m going to talk to her about this after class, so go easy on her in class today, okay?”

“Fine, fine. I just don’t want to see what happened last year happen again, you know?”

Hisao tilts his head in confusion. “Last year?”

“Oh, right, you don’t know. Rin participated in an art competition last year and won third place. I think it was a national competition between high school students, they have to submit a painting and send it to Tokyo.”

“I mean... third place for a national competition is good, right? Don’t see how that’s a bad thing.”

“Well, I guess. The thing is, that competition had lasted for three weeks. That means she had a lot of time to prepare and stuff, you know, experiment maybe...” I sigh as I start to remember the details of the events. “Rin only started working three days before the submission date.”

I look at Hisao and see that his eyes are wide open in surprise. Yeah, that seems about right.

Before he manages to respond, I continue the story. “She told me beforehand that the art teacher signed her up for it, but she just kept putting it off until the last three days. I tried really hard to convince her to just do it, but then she got really upset and didn’t see me for a few days. Until suddenly she just... started doing it. Worst of all, in those three days she barely slept or ate. I was really worried you know?”

“That seems... bad,” Hisao responds, his face looking somewhat distraught.

“All I’m saying is that, from my experience, that girl needs a lot of pushing in order to do things. I mean can you imagine what would happen if she had started painting since day one Hisao?”

I look at Hisao, expecting him to agree with me. Instead, he now looks even more unsure than before. Great... just perfect.

Well, it’s fine I suppose. He should be able to talk some sense into her at least, I mean he was the one that convinced her to do that exhibition thingy, so he should be able to convince her to go to art school.

I pat Hisao on the back to get his attention. “We should go back and take a shower, class is going to start soon.”

“Right. Thanks, Emi.”

“For what?”

“For telling me that story about Rin.”

I let out a small chuckle. “No problem.”

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“And so, with that definition, although most mammals reproduce by giving birth, some mammals don’t, uh... Tezuka, can you tell me a mammal that doesn’t reproduce by giving birth?”

I turn my head from the teacher and to Rin, somewhat thankful that I finally have some form of distraction from the droning and boring lecture in front of me. Still, I don’t know any particular mammals that do that, so I don’t think Rin does either.

She turns away from the window and looks at the teacher then blinks a few times, maybe thinking or trying to remember an answer to the teacher’s question. A good 10 seconds pass, and Rin still hasn’t said anything yet. I guess she really doesn’t know.

“A platypus. I forgot the word for a second.”

“Great job Tezuka, I see you’ve been studying. Anyway, back to this.”

Huh... I guess I was wrong.

The teacher continues his boring lecture, and Rin returns to staring out of the window. Her answer actually did catch me off-guard since usually when a teacher asks her a question she just shrugs and says that she doesn’t know. Maybe she just happened to know the answer?

I shouldn’t be thinking about it too hard. Rin is Rin after all. I don’t think it will do me much good to think about what’s in her head.

The bell soon rings, saving me from the boring lecture.

After I’m done packing up I look at Rin who still hasn’t moved a muscle since the bell rang. I want to just yell at her about the university thing at this point, but I decide to hold back for now, honoring my promise to Hisao earlier.

Still, I don’t want her to stay in class for another hour, so I should at least convince her to go back to her room.

I tap her on the shoulder, but she only responds by slightly moving her head towards me, “Class is over dummy, you should head back to your room, you look really out of it today - more than usual anyway.”

I give her a small chuckle, but Rin still won’t say anything.

This awkward silence between us continues to the point where it becomes a bit too uncomfortable for my taste. If Rin isn’t going to talk to me now she’s probably not going to do so soon, so waiting here for her is just going to be a waste of time which I can better spend elsewhere. Like at the track field.

“Okay then, just tell me if you need anything okay?”

Rin simply nods, so I turn around to leave the class.

“Emi, you’re my friend right?”

Her sudden question surprises me, so I turn my head in her direction and see that her head is still facing the window.

I smile regardless before answering her. “Of course, you’re my best friend right?”

She goes silent for a good minute before continuing. “Will we still be friends after we graduate?”

That... I haven’t thought of that. I live relatively close to Yamaku, but Rin lives quite a ways off at Niigata. Even if she decides to go to Tokyo to study art, Kokushikan is still quite far away.

I like being Rin’s friend honestly. She’s funny, quirky and special. I don’t think I will ever find someone like Rin again in my life, but maybe... Life will separate us regardless, maybe one day we won’t even see each other again, and I will lose someone else in my life.

I shake my head, trying to push away that scary thought. “I sure hope so Rin, I mean we still have phones right? We can just call each other sometimes and catch up.”

Rin finally turns her head to face me, her emotion being unreadable as always. “I would like that too. That would be really nice. I think.”

I let out a small laugh at that, feeling glad that she feels the same way.

“Well don’t stay here for too long, Hisao is waiting for you.”

She gives me a simple nod before she goes back to staring through the window.

Though I wish she would give me a more... normal response, I feel satisfied with it, so I leave the classroom.

As I walk through the now relatively quiet corridor, my mind begins to wonder about the life I have here in Yamaku and the life I will have in university soon. I remember the days when the time felt like it moved so slowly, like when the lectures were especially boring or days where I couldn’t run due to the nurses’ orders. But now it feels like I did all those things about a week ago.

Is this what they meant about time feeling faster and faster as you grow older? Hisao said it was time relativity or something.

Well whatever I suppose, it’s not too important to think about right now. Final exams are coming, and I still have so much to catch up on, which means more painful studying, which means less time to run.

I sure hope university doesn’t suck as much as high school. Though from the stories I heard, the assignments are gonna be much more plentiful there, which is just perfect.

Continue...
Last edited by Tetrax333 on Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:42 am, edited 3 times in total.
Late to the party. But having fun in it.
Ongoing Project Falling Up and Down

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Re: Falling Up and Down

Post by Tetrax333 » Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:31 am

Thank you to Mirage_GSM for proofreading this chapter.

RIN

Worms, Clock, Clouds, University. No... Can’t be thinking of that, so please go away.

Something else... Something else that’s nice to think about. Maybe the ones that aren’t nice to think about will be fine too. Just anything but that. Not today, or tomorrow.

Creepy rubber ducks, with weird tentacles and goat eyes. That’s something not nice to think about. I wonder if I can paint that later.

Painting, the smell of paint, the sensation of the brush hitting the canvas. Yes, I really like those, they’re all very nice things to think about and experience. Except that time... Or that time... Or that other time.

I can’t think about that right now or think about anything. Every time I do the thought just keeps coming back like it’s a dog fetching a stick... No, more like a worm digging through fruit. No... like a leech sucking off blood, a really large leech named university for some reason.

University, college, art school. They’re all the same but why do people sometimes call it differently? It’s confusing, it makes no sense, and it’s scary to think about. I don’t like to think about it, but scary thoughts usually linger in my head for a long time. It’s quite the problem.

I’m tired, very tired. This bed is quite comfortable, though - not as comfortable as the one at home, but it’s very nice to sleep on. But soon this bed and this room won’t be mine anymore, it’ll belong to someone else for three more years, and then after that, it’ll belong to somebody else, and so on and so forth. Unless the school shuts down before then of course.

This room will change, the posters on the wall will change, and maybe this bed will be replaced. Those changes will happen no matter how much I like the room as it is right now. I think there’s a word for that, what was it again?

... Inevitable! That’s the word.

What a scary word, no, a scary concept.

But I need to change. No matter what, I will change. It’s truly inevitable.

But why now? Why this? Why me?

It’s too sudden, too fast, too big. It’s like... like... I don’t know, I can’t think of anything that’s appropriate right now. I’m just really tired.

*Knock* *Knock*

I wish yesterday didn’t happen. I wish it would have happened some other day. But when?

When would be the right time? Tomorrow? Next week? Never?

It can’t be never though. I know that this is a once in a lifetime scenario for me so I should take it. But every part of myself feels so confused and scared of what would happen if I do accept it.

*Knock* *Knock* *Knock*

“Rin, are you there?”

Will I disappear? No probably not.

Will I change? Most likely.

Will I change so much that I won’t even recognize myself anymore?

... I don’t know. I had that happen to me before. But I have to change right? I have to be better and to do that I need to change.

Mom and Dad would be happy if I accept too. I want to make them happy, so that’s another reason to accept.

“It’s me, I’m coming in okay?”

Oh... So that knocking was on my door, and it’s Hisao, too. People keep coming in and out these days, it’s been hard to tell.

What should I say to him? Something interesting or the usual? I think the usual should be fine for him.

“Hello.”

I see him smile a bit, but I don’t know why. “Hey! haven’t seen you since two days ago. Have you been thinking?”

Thinking. Yes, I have been thinking a lot these days.

“Yes. I think I’ve been thinking too much. My head feels like mush. Not the good type of mush like chicken porridge or clay, and more like mud... really really wet mud, too.”

He lets out a sigh, opens his mouth, closes it, then opens it again, and closes again. A very strange gesture.

He doesn’t say anything, not yet anyway, so I ask him a question. “What are you doing here?”

“I... I was hoping I could talk to you about this whole situation since Emi has been really bugging me about it. I’ve been thinking about the right things to say to you for a couple of days now but I got nothing. I was honestly hoping that I could come up with something on my way here but... Well, here I am, and still, nothing comes to mind.”

I see. So that’s how it is. He’s in his usual “worried and anxious” state right now. I guess that’s why he was flapping his mouth a bit earlier. He can’t find the right words to say. I get it, I really do.

Even right now he looks down and worried. I don’t like seeing him like that, it makes me feel down and worried too. Which isn’t good right now. Also for some reason, he’s walking to the chair and not to the bed. Maybe because there’s not enough space here?

I scoot over a bit to make some room so he could sit down. He notices, thankfully, and begins walking here instead of there. That’s good, very good, I want him here, right next to me instead of there in that chair.

“Why are you so confused right now? You usually don’t have any problems with words. Unless you’ve been developing some sort of mental problem... You haven’t right?”

Hisao chuckles a bit. “No, I haven’t. It’s just that... My head keeps coming back to the exhibition, or before that actually, where I kind of pushed you to do it and then the night at the atelier and then everything else after.”

“You shouldn’t worry about that Hisao. That was in the past.”

“I know that. And I know that you don’t want to talk about it anymore, but... You’re thinking about it, aren’t you? I mean why else would you be so worried about the scholarship deal.”

Wait... Maybe... Is that it? Is that why I’m feeling so anxious?

“I... I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about a lot of things recently. About me changing myself.”

“That’s what you were saying before too. Maybe this is the same thing for you? The same thought process at least?”

“No... I don’t think that’s it. At least, not exactly. I thought the exhibition would help me change for the better. By doing stuff I don’t like doing but have to do. Like-”

“Eating watermelon-flavored ice cream because it’s the only thing available, right?”

How did he know I was going to say that?

“Yeah, how did you know?”

“You said it before actually.”

“Oh, I see. But University is a different thing entirely. It’s more like... Buying an entire supply of ice cream but you don’t know their flavors. But since you already buy it, you have to eat all of it, and sometimes you get flavors you really don’t like. But you have to finish it otherwise things will go bad. Catastrophically bad.”

Yeah... I think that’s a good way to put it. Ice cream is always a good analogy for some reason.

“But... Sometimes you get to have flavors you really like right? It’s not always going to be bad... Maybe you’ll enjoy it, or some part of it at least.”

He’s right. If I follow my ice cream analogy then he’s right. There’s bad flavors but there are good ones too, and if I can enjoy the good then maybe I can handle the bad ones too.

But I’m still so unsure. What if it’s wrong? What if that analogy is wrong? What if Hisao is wrong? What if this whole thing is wrong?

The atelier huh... Maybe that’s it. Everything felt so painful back then. Painting, talking, thinking, even being with Hisao was painful. It felt so wrong, and yet I painted and painted. I made so many great things, wonderful things. But it really did feel like I was painting with my own blood at that point.

Destroying myself... Destruction... Destroy…

“It’s really scary Hisao.”

“What is?”

What is so scary? University? Me? Him? People? Art? I don’t know, and I don’t care.

“Everything. This whole thing. It’s just scary.”

I close my eyes. Maybe some sleep will get me to stop worrying for a bit. I don’t remember things when I sleep, so hopefully, I’ll forget this too. At least for a little bit.

“You’re going to sleep? Rest will do you good I suppose.

Yes, “Yes.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow then. I’m sorry I can’t really help you sort this out.”

“That’s not true. I think... Things are a bit clearer now. Thanks.”

I open my eyes, and Hisao is smiling. That’s good, he’s not down anymore.

“I’m glad to hear it. Anyway, I should get back to my room, it’s already past curfew.”

Makes sense. If it’s past curfew then he should go back. But I don’t want him to go, not yet, not tonight.

“Hisao, stay here for tonight.”

He looks confused and surprised. Weird, it’s not like we’ve never slept together before.

“Are you sure? You seemed to be in the mood to be left alone earlier.”

“That was then. Now is now. Please?”

I try my best to emulate Emi’s signature puppy eyes look that people seem to like for some reason. I don’t really get it, but it works on Hisao.

He laughs a little. “Well, I can’t say no now I suppose, especially when you’re looking at me like that.”

I close my eyes again. Wanting to just fall asleep. But I feel ticklish for some reason, around the forehead area. But it’s not ticklish like when someone tickles my left ear, more like... less than that. Is there a word for it? I’ll look it up later.

He’s playing with my hair I assume.

“Your hair is getting long, shouldn’t you cut it?”

Yes, he’s playing with my hair.

“Later. Sleep. Tired.”

Another laugh. “Okay.”

Having two people in this bed is rather uncomfortable, but not too uncomfortable. I can still sleep fine, and Hisao should be able to sleep well, too. We did it before, so we should be fine.

I feel something grabbing me, pulling me into a hug. Not a tight one, he seems just put his arm over my stomach. I can open my eyes and look but I don’t want to, I’d rather sleep now.

Besides, this feels nice. I like having him here. I don’t understand why he does these things for me sometimes, but I don’t think I should care right now. He’s here, that’s all that matters.

With him, I can be me. And that’s a good thing.

Maybe not with other people. Maybe not in any other place. I need to change for that.

But here, with him, I don’t have to.

“I can be myself.”

End of Chapter 1. Continue...
Late to the party. But having fun in it.
Ongoing Project Falling Up and Down

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Re: Falling Up and Down (Updated : 13/01/2020)

Post by Tetrax333 » Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:12 pm

Special Thank you as always to: Mirage_GSM, Psychicspy, and Talmar for Betaing and Proofreading the story. Can't do this without you guys.

Year 0
CHAPTER 2 - WHO ARE YOU?

HISAO

Cold air breezes through my window, making the white curtains in my room slowly sway back and forth as I stare at them from my desk, almost as if I’m hypnotized by them. I take a deep breath to try and at least enjoy the crisp air but my body shivers rather harshly thanks to the low temperature.

Even when I’m inside a building with central heating installed, the cold air still manages to penetrate it easily, like a bullet ripping through cloth. This situation is only a reminder of a singular fact about myself.

I don’t like winters. Specifically, the beginning of winter.

For some reason, it’s always much worse for me than the middle of it. There’s something about the almost sudden shift of the temperature and the rough realization of the changing seasons that always gets to me ever since I was little. Not to mention that winter was when I got my first heart attack; the cold weather has given me a weird sense of anxiety about it.

Huh.

How strange…

That was almost a full year ago.

I haven’t been thinking about that as much as I used to anymore. The medicines still reminds me about it, but it has stopped becoming a constant source of worry for some time now.

As I rub my hands together to create some extra warmth for myself, I try to remember the series of events that led me here in the first place. Iwanako’s confession, my arrhythmia diagnosis, my stay at the hospital, and then the transfer to Yamaku. It’s really strange to think that all of that happened this year, and yet it did.

I think one of the reasons why it felt like it went by so fast were the things that I’ve done while I’m here. Granted, I haven’t really done much. I was barely active in a club until just recently, and all I really did in school was, well, schoolwork.

But I did end up in a relationship this year, which was rather unexpected considering who my girlfriend is.

Although, Rin isn’t exactly the most active person when it comes to dating, or just doing things in general. Many of our dates mostly consists of me watching her paint or just talking about whatever comes to our mind. And even if we went outside it’s usually just to the art supply store or just eat out somewhere.

It wasn’t exactly exciting at first but I soon began to enjoy it. Just the two of us, hanging out, talking about nonsense, or sometimes we would just spend the time in silence. It makes me really glad that I met her.

Emi has also been good for me these days. At first, I was annoyed by her constant nagging for me to run with her in the morning after she found out about me and Rin, so I just relented to stop her from bothering me. At least, that was my initial intention, but, as with my activities with Rin, I began to enjoy it as well.

Granted, I still don’t have the motivation or energy to run daily with her, but I have been keeping a consistent schedule of exercise now. I figured that I should since I don’t want to just end up dying of a random heart attack, especially since I’m in a relationship.

I crack a smile while I’m thinking that. Those two have been really good to me these past months, though I probably shouldn’t tell Emi that directly since she’s probably going to ask me to treat her to a meal in recompense. Still, maybe that’s why I was able to just move on so fast from… my previous life.

My smile disappears as memories of my old friends, whom I never contacted since coming to Yamaku, suddenly flood into my mind. Honestly, I don’t even remember why I never bothered contacting them again. Maybe it was fear, or maybe it was just a desire to escape from them.

The closest I have gotten to contacting them would be my reply letter to Iwanako. Even then, it really wasn’t much of a communication and more like… saying goodbyes.

In a way, I’m glad that I’m able to move past that part of my life in less than a year, but on the other hand, there’s something sad about it too. It feels as if my past, my life before Yamaku feels oddly fake.

I can still remember the friends I had and the moments I shared with them. But those memories feel so distant now. I wonder if it’s because of the four months I spent in that hospital, watching my friends who visited me slowly disappear one by one.

Maybe I’ve grown to have some kind of unconscious resentment for them because of that?

I’d like to think I’m a better person than that though. They have their own lives to live, and they can’t spend it all watching a guy who practically has given up on life at that point. So, a healthier way of looking at it and one I personally would prefer to see it is, well, me just… letting go.

But, what does it mean when I’m able to just let go of my past like that?

Does that mean that I’m willing to adapt and change depending on my current situation?

Or maybe I just never felt that my previous life was worth that much in the first place?

Am I a bad person for thinking that? Or is that normal?

Thoughts, questions, reflections. My mind has been filled with them these past few days, and I don’t really know why. Perhaps it’s simply the effects of the changing seasons, perhaps it’s because of the stress from the looming entrance exam, or maybe it’s none of those things.

Perhaps this is truly what it means to change; To truly cast off the shell of your previous life and reshape yourself into something completely new. A scary and often painful process, but it’s something that everyone has to undergo to be a better person. And I’m no different.

After just one short year, I feel as if I have undergone more change than I ever had in my entire life. I had to adjust to my condition and adapt to this new and sometimes bizarre environment. Personally speaking, I have no idea how I managed to even do that, and yet here I am, going through everyday life with so much ease and familiarity that it almost feels as if I’ve been here for years.

Taking my mountain of medicine becomes less of a burden and more of just an annoying routine. The numerous rules and regulations to accommodate the variety of disabilities that students have, at first, felt so unnecessarily strict. And yet, suddenly it became so normal, so embedded in my mind that I started following them outside of school and wondering why more places don’t have these rules to accommodate disabled people.

It often felt as if things were moving way too fast for me to ever keep up. But evidently, that’s not true. I’ve adapted to my new life so fast that it felt almost abnormal, to the point where I’m even questioning myself about the implications of it just now.

And once the winter break ends, every third-year student will be in a cramming period for their entrance exam, and after that, we’ll move on to university, and with it a new set of challenges and environments to adapt to.

I wonder if I will be able to adapt as well as I did in Yamaku?

The me from the beginning of July would probably have thought that it was impossible. Or at least I would be doubtful of my abilities to adapt.

But now, with everything that has happened so far, I feel confident that I can.

*SNAP* *SNAP*

“Helloooo? Hisao? You there? Stop dozing off, we’re studying here!”

The sound of Emi snapping her fingers directly in front of my face while practically shouting at me pulls away from my contemplation. I am somewhat annoyed that she did, but she is right, I shouldn’t be dozing off while we’re studying for our upcoming exams.

“Sorry, I was thinking about stuff.”

She huffs, annoyed by me. “Oh yeah? What could be more important than this, Hisao?” Emi dramatically points to a math problem she’s currently trying to solve.

“I don’t know... Maybe I was thinking of those beautiful eyes of yours.”

Emi rolls her eyes as if my attempt of flirtatious teasing was somehow offensive to her. She groans before rubbing her forehead, either because my attempt was somehow worse than I thought it was, or she’s just frustrated with the math questions. For the sake of my own ego, I decide to believe the latter.

“Rin is right there, Hisao; if you’re going to do that, save it for her.”

I take a glance at Rin, who is currently sitting on my bed reading a biology textbook with a surprising amount of speed. She flips through the pages after only reading them for a few seconds, which makes me wonder if she is actually reading it or not.

Not wanting to assume, I decide to just ask her. “Are you actually reading that?”

She turns her head towards me, looks at the book and then turns back to me. “Sort of.”

For some reason, I kind of expected that answer. Not that it’s a satisfactory answer, mind you, but it is something that I would expect to come out of her mouth. Even so, I’m guessing that she’s at least having some problems with it since Rin is usually pretty direct whenever it comes to her abilities or inabilities to do things.

Wanting to see what part of the book she’s currently studying, I move from my chair to the bed and take a peek. She’s reading about cells and their structures, a subject I don’t find particularly difficult but Rin might have some trouble with it.

“Do you need help?” I offer her.

She turns to look at me, her face seems to show clear disinterest for some reason. “Do you have a way to make me remember things instantly?”

“No. But I can make flashcards or something if you need them.”

She shakes her head. “I’m not good with them. So no, thank you.”

I can hear Emi, who is sitting beside me in front of the desk suddenly laughing. “Oh yeah! I remember that she got all panicky whenever we started a quiz with one, so we just never use one again.”

The thought of Rin not being good at dealing with flashcards is new information to me, but it’s not something I didn’t expect. She seems to be able to take lectures well enough, but Rin is much more comfortable when she can set her own pace, hence why she’s reading by herself instead of doing math problems with us.

“Huh... I didn’t know that. I’ll keep it in mind for the future.”

Rin just nods and returns to reading her textbook while Emi and I go back to doing a series of math problems from a university entrance prep book we got some time ago while we were out into town together. The problems themselves aren’t particularly difficult in my opinion, but Emi has been begging me to help her on the subject ever since we got it.

“Hisao, what do you do for this one?”

I take a look at the problem that she’s pointing, and It’s actually a pretty complicated trigonometry problem. I take some time to think about it before writing a breakdown of it in her notebook. “Did you understand my explanation?”

Emi furrows her brow a bit while still examining the notebook with an intense amount of focus. “I think I get it now. Geez, how did you even manage to figure this out?”

“Well, math is basically just one equation being reformatted over and over again. As long as you understand the fundamentals, you can solve anything pretty easily... theoretically anyway.”

Emi groans and rolls her eyes. “Yeah, how about you shut up! This is hard for most people, you’re just an egghead.”

Her words that are meant to clearly be some kind of an insult are rendered ineffective thanks to her basically complimenting my intelligence. It makes me wonder if she’s actually frustrated enough at me to not be able to come up with an insult or if she’s actually just bad at it. Probably the former because I know what she is able to say if she puts her mind to it.
“Well,” I say while crossing my arms, “at least now you know how it feels like to catch up to you during our runs.”

“Well, maybe I should just run ahead of you next time and make you feel worse about your running.” Emi sticks out her tongue to emphasize her displeasure at me, at the same time also indicating that she’s clearly not serious about this.

I try to relax in my chair, but my mind and body tense up after remembering the inevitable. “Well, if it makes you feel any better, we’ll both be suffering when we’re studying English.”

She groans. “Don’t remind me, this is bad enough already.”

“I don’t think English is hard,” Rins’ monotone voice surprises me and Emi, mostly due to the shock of hearing what she just said.

“Are you good at English Rin?” I ask with a clear skepticism at her claim.

It’s not as hard as you think, all you have to do is convert your words with other words and spin it around a bit. It’s just like talking backward Hisao. Sounds hard, but it’s actually not that hard.

Rin suddenly speaks a long sentence in what I assume to be almost perfect English, catching me and Emi completely off guard. Well, of course I can’t be sure. I can tell that her accent is still quite heavy, but the flow and the speed in which she spoke her words sounded perfect, even if I didn’t know what she just said.

“D-Do you, uh, mind repeating that?” My words come out in a stutter, probably because I’m still in some level of shock.

“It’s not as hard as you think, all you have to do is convert your words with other words and spin it around a bit. It’s just like talking backward Hisao. Sounds hard, but it’s actually not that hard.”

She speaks slower this time, allowing me to understand her a little better, but I still can’t decipher some of the more complicated vocabulary in her sentence. With her surprising skill in English and her ability to talk backward so easily, it makes me wonder if she’s some kind of polyglot.

I look at Emi, her eyes still wide open in surprise. I can guess just from her expression that this is completely new information for her too. Shouldn’t she know about this already? They are from the same class and all, they should have at some point exchanged their test scores with each other, right? Maybe Emi is just embarrassed about it. I decide to just ask Emi about it. “You really don’t know about this Emi? Never exchanged test scores or anything?”

She shakes her head. “No, whenever I ask she usually would usually just say that her score isn’t good and... Wait... Were you just saying that so that I won’t feel bad?”

Rin looks at Emi directly in the eye, her expression unchanging as she slowly averts her eyes back to her textbook without saying anything.

Emi suddenly clutches her head and lets some kind of cry that I can only compare to a dying cow. “AAAUURRGHH!! All this time I thought Rin was just like me when it comes to these, how could she betray me like this?!”

Emi lets out a series of clearly fake cries and sobs before suddenly grabbing me by the shoulder. “Hisao, do you have any hidden talents I don’t know about?”

I shake my head. “Not that I know of, no.”

Emi’s face brightens, complete with a wide smile when she hears that. “Good, we can be allies. The Alliance of Sucking at English.”

I put a finger to my chin and let out a loud and dramatized hum as if I’m seriously contemplating her offer before waving her off. “I don’t think I’m particularly fond of being inside such an alliance, so I’ll pass.”

“Traitor! You’re all traitors then!” Emi puffs out her cheeks, clearly wanting to communicate how upset she is at this situation and make me and Rin feel bad, but it only makes her look like an adorable chipmunk. I simply let out a laugh at Emi’s frankly comical outburst, and I can even see that Rin is smiling at this.

She eventually cools down, and we begin to chip away at the book again, solving questions one by one.

We finally finished two sections, each containing about fifty questions. I look at the clock on my wall and see that the time is currently 8 PM, meaning that we’ve been going at this for three hours now.

I let out a yawn, and Emi follows suit. It’s obvious to both of us that we are really tired right now. I turn to check on Rin and see that she seems to have finished reading her biology textbook as well as a social studies textbook and is now currently resting on my bed. Not sleeping, just laying her head down.

“We should stop for today.”

“Yeah... That’s a good idea.” Emi stands up, walks towards my bed and shakes Rin to get her attention. “Come on, time to go back.”

With a simple nod, Rin stands up from my bed using only the momentum from swinging her torso. I had seen her doing it a lot at this point, but it’s still rather impressive to see. I remember trying it a couple times which resulted in me hitting my head on the floor both times.

Rin freezes as soon as she sits straight up in my bed then stares at Emi with an analyzing look, her head moving up and down as she does so.

“Is your limp okay?”

Rin’s words catch me off-guard. A limp? Curious, I examine Emi as she shifts her feet around as if trying to hide them from us. She seems to be standing alright, and I didn’t see her limping when she came to my room this afternoon. Did Rin made a mistake? Or is Emi just good at hiding her pain?

“O-Oh... You saw that? I just fell in the hallway earlier this morning, and I think I strained my leg muscles a bit. It doesn’t hurt much though, so I should be fine tomorrow.”

“Are you sure Emi?” I ask with concern in my voice, “Maybe you should see the nurse and get that checked. Could be bad, you know?”

“I’ll be fine, Hisao. You probably have had your fair share of aching muscles too in the past, right? A little rest and the right care will heal it right up,” she assures me while giving off a wide smile.

I suppose she’s right. If it’s just a strained muscle then it shouldn’t be anything too bad. Besides, she is basically an athlete, so I can imagine massaging a strained muscle would be in her repertoire of skills. Or at least, I hope it is.

I turn back to Rin, who didn’t respond to any of Emi’s reassurances. Her eyes are still focused on Emis’ legs, still wearing that serious expression on her.

Now I’m not so sure…

The fact that Rin seems to be genuinely concerned for Emi is making me start to worry as well. It’s rare to see Rin looks so serious, especially when it comes to dealing with another person. But considering how close the two are, I suppose it’s normal for Rin to be worried.

Unexpectedly, Rin relaxes her face and goes back to her usual, neutral looking expression.

“Okay then.”

Emi smiles, seemingly happy that Rin decided to drop the issue. “Good, well let’s go back then.”

Rin shakes her head. “No, I want to stay here for a bit. You can go.”

Emi moves her eyes back and forth between the two of us before stopping to meet mine before giving me a wry smile. “Oh~ Okay okay, I get it, I won’t bother you two then. Have fun you two!”

Emi turns around and bolts down the hall while my mouth was still agape from the words she just said and the very clear implication of what she thinks we’re going to do. I calm myself down before asking Rin about what she said. “So... I’m assuming you’re not staying here because of what she thinks we’re going to do... Right?”

She turns to face me with her eyes wide open in surprise. “You know what she’s thinking? Are you a mind reader? I thought you said you weren’t.”

I roll my eyes at her statement. “Of course I’m not, but the implications were pretty obvious.”

She frowns and lets a small sigh. “I’m bad at implications. She should just say it clearly.”

“Well, I would rather not have the other boys in the dorm hear what she was thinking about.”

I look around the hallway trying to guess if anyone can hear our conversation. I then remember that the only person that’s even remotely close to my room would be Kenji. Considering how much of a shut-in he is, I doubt he cares about it even if he can hear us. A fact that gives me a modicum of relief

Rin tilts her head slightly. “Why?”

“Because it’s...” I stop myself before speaking about it out loud, which would then betray my initial intention, “Never mind. So why are you staying here?”

Before speaking, Rin turns her head towards the hallway and then looks back at me. “I think she should be far enough. Do you think she’s far enough?”

“To not hear us?”

“Yes.”

I turn my head from Rin and towards the hallway to make sure that Emi is no longer in it. “Then yes, she’s far enough.”

She closes her eyes for a few seconds before opening it again. “Are you running with her again tomorrow?”

“I should be, yeah.” I give an immediate response, coupled with a nod.

She nods sagely upon hearing my confirmation. “You should watch her. Make sure things don’t go bad.”

“What do you mean by ‘go bad’?”

She pauses for a while before answering my question. “She’s hiding it, her leg pain. Again.”

Rin’s words just now sounded stern and full of concern. It’s filled with an unusual level of seriousness for her, which honestly makes me much more nervous about Emi now.

But, again? Does that mean Emi has a long streak of straining her muscles or injuring herself, then hiding it from people? Or maybe it only happened a few times but Rin just so happened to notice?

“Has this happened before?” I ask.

She nods. “A lot.”

“Why did you stay quiet then? You should’ve convinced her to go to the nurse at least.”

Rin looks at me with a dissatisfied or maybe an annoyed look on her face, but she quickly goes back to her usual neutral expression.

“I have. She wouldn’t listen to me though,” Rin shifts her body around and sighs, “I’m not good at convincing people. Not like you.”

Me? Good at convincing people? What is she talking about?

“I don’t think I’m good at convincing people. If I do, I would’ve shaken Shizune and Misha off my case about joining the student council since day one.”

I smile at my words, thinking back on my first days here. These days, or rather, after joining the science club, they haven’t actually tried to do anything of the sort. Though they did hound me down again after they found out that I quit the art club, which was annoying. But, thinking back on it, it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. It kind of made me feel like... I was wanted, in a way.

“You convinced me to do a lot of things. I think that should qualify as being good. I think.”

My heart sinks a bit upon hearing that and realizing what she meant. “Yeah, but my convincing didn’t exactly lead you to a particularly fun event in your life. I still don’t feel particularly good about that.”

Rin closes her eyes and then nods. “It is how it is.”

“Yeah... Rin, can I ask you something?”

She nods again without saying a word.

“What did... Why did you continue back then? At the art exhibition. Why didn’t you just... Stop?”

Rin looks at me and furrows her eyebrows in confusion. “What?”

“Like, you said that making all those paintings... Broke you. But, the next day you just continued painting, as if nothing happened. I never asked why you didn’t just stop there. After all, you did just walk out of the exhibition afterward.”

She begins to look around my room as if the answer is written somewhere along the walls. Then she walks to my bed before taking a seat and closes her eyes to think.

Rin opens her eyes and looks around again before answering my question. “Because I already promised I’ll get it done. I should never break promises. So I didn’t.”

I furrow my brow in surprise as if what she said was shocking news. “That’s it? It was because of... commitment?”

She nods. “Yes. That’s it.”

I sit down next to her in order to take in what she just said. But, I immediately lie down on the bed and mentally facepalmed myself at the realization.

That’s it huh? That’s what got me so riled up back then? Why didn’t I even think that was a possibility for her?

And the worst part is that it took me this long to even ask that simple question. I kept making excuses in my head about not wanting to bother her remedial classes or whatever, thinking that that question might rile her up. Eventually, the excuses kept piling up, and I never got around to asking it until now.

“I’m really dumb, aren’t I? It took me months just to finally ask you that question because I was afraid to bring it up again. And then the answer is just... That,” I put a palm on my face, as if to emphasize my idiocy, “I’m sorry Rin.”

She shakes her head. “Don’t be.”

“Can I ask you another question then?”

She answers with a nod, but now I’m not so sure if I want to even ask my question, considering that she didn’t react well to it the first time.

I briefly consider shutting up and just dismissing my question, but this isn’t something she can avoid forever, so I think it’s best to at least remind her of it. “Have you figured out what to do with the scholarship?”

Rin freezes when she hears my question. She begins to bite her lower lip while shaking her head ever so slightly. It’s a painful expression of confusion, frustration, and worry that pains me to even look at.

She takes a deep breath before finally answering. “... Not yet. Haven’t... decided.”

Her tone is unsure, and I can hear a slight trembling in her voice. But, at the very least, she’s not completely avoiding the topic anymore.

I get up from my sleeping position so that I’m sitting on the bed next to her. Placing my right arm around her shoulder, I pull her closer to me. “Well, whatever you decide to do with it… I’ll support you. So, you should try and consider whatever you think is best for yourself, okay?”

She looks at me with a sad expression as if she’s about to burst out into tears. Suddenly, she buries her head on my chest. “It’s hard Hisao, really hard. I don’t know what’s best for me. I thought I did. But I was wrong. What if I’m wrong again?”

Her voice is quiet and soft, and yet it’s stained by fear. I pull her even closer to me as I begin to tightly hug her. “It’s okay Rin, I’m sure you, no, we can figure this out.”

We stay in our silent embrace for quite some time, not caring about how long it lasts. All I care about right now is being here for her, to comfort her in a time of need.

Eventually though, she pulls away from me, breaking the comfortable embrace.

“Going back?” I ask.

She simply nods. “Yes. I’m tired. Thank you.”

I resist the urge to ask about why she thanks me, but I swallow the thought, and instead, give her a confident smile. “No problem, Rin.”

“Also, thank you for the study session. I think I learned a lot.”

I raise an eyebrow at that statement. “You were studying by yourself though, or did you catch the stuff I was teaching Emi?”

“Some of it,” She responds while averting her eyes towards the door.

Rin walks out of the door that I only now realize I didn’t close when Emi went back to her room. I want to get up from the bed to at least walk her out of the dorm, but Rin stops me.

“Don’t get up. Walking around helps me remember things better.”

“It does?” I say in surprise since this is the first time I ever heard of it, “Well, I can accompany you at least.”

She shakes her head. “No need. You should sleep.”

With that, she closes the door behind her as she walks out of my room.

I know that Rin isn’t exactly a romantic, but I still kind of wish that she would be a lot more intimate when it comes to our interactions. Oh well, I suppose it is how it is, as she so eloquently put it. I’ve accepted this fact about us since the beginning of our relationship, so I’m not going to complain about it

I adjust my position on the bed to be more comfortable. I then double-check my alarm clock to see that it is still indeed set to the time where I usually get up for my morning runs.

Before I fall asleep, I remind myself to watch out for Emi tomorrow. I don’t want anything bad happening to her, and I do hope that nothing happens tomorrow. But, since Rin looked so serious about the whole deal, it’s hard to shake off the feeling of anxiety that I’m having about it.

But there’s no use thinking about it now. If it does happen, I’ll just have to act accordingly tomorrow. The present is the present, and tomorrow is tomorrow.

I close my eyes and drift off to sleep.
Late to the party. But having fun in it.
Ongoing Project Falling Up and Down

Hanako Fancopter
Posts: 272
Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 6:27 pm

Re: Falling Up and Down: A Rin's After Story (Updated : 14/11/2019)

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Sun Jan 12, 2020 6:14 pm

This is a solid Rin route continuation, IMO at least. It's nice to see her getting some of the post-route love for once. I think Emi, Hanako and Lilly have kind of hogged that spotlight most of the time. I also like how you are making Emi more present in the story again. One thing I didn't like about Rin's route was how Emi faded quickly out of existence.
An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako Route)
Riposte (Rika Mini-Route)
One-Shots Thread (Random Smut/Meme Stories)

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