Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

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Talmar
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Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Talmar » Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:58 am

Okay, uh, first things first.

You might notice that there's two threads with the same title, and the same subtitle. By God I hate my past self for being so naive. It's essentially the same story, just with the corrections and proofreading done, and most importantly, ONE CHAPTER AT A GODDAMNED TIME. God, why did I trust that bastard who told me to just dump the entire thing in a massive sequence of chapters, limiting any form of response to each, and making it tedious to anyone who hadn't read it, which was literally everyone. I HATE my past self for being so naive. Second, I'll compile all the close parallels into two post, the prologue belonging here, so if anyone wants to skip them, they can do so with ease.

I must thank Feurox, Mirage, ProfAllister, and many others for helping me get here. Along with all their lectures, which is understandable. I can be dumb sometimes.

Here's the link to the old one, for posterity: Obsolete

Third, okay, proper introductions to anyone who hadn't found this yet. For those who had, skip down to the table of contents.

I found KS a lot later than many of you veterans, but I found it nonetheless. Never thought that KS would be the one to lift me up from a lifelong depression, but here we go. But first, a bit of a summary about myself. Name's Talmar, or just call me Tal, like everyone else. I used to write a lot as a hobby, but not really a writer with published works, no no no. Just, a hobby. So I'm familiar with writing in general, and this is my first fan fiction for Katawa Shoujo.

I was born with severe atopic dermatitis of the whole body - in other words, my immune system thinks that my skin, the entire thing, is the enemy, in conjunction with asthma and rhinitis. While the latter two is easily manageable, the former had culled any form of attempts I have at forming a proper social life. I was scarred, like Hanako, but less collected and more scattered, and people often leave me alone, thinking I'm a ... for the lack of a better word, a weirdo, to say the least. I suffered from declining vision due to autoimmune attack on the eyes, and over the years I noticed the pattern of increasing strength in my glasses' prescriptions. I suffered from declining hearing due to the very skin in my ear tubes decaying and scarring. I have been hospitalized once a year, and emergencies twice - one from a rampant herpes infection, the other an unknown paralytic septic arthritis. I thought that I was destined to live a lonely life, unable to see properly, unable to hear what other say, and made it a sole goal of mine to find a cure, and make it viable for the masses, so no one else can suffer this fate. That's why I'm here, in university, majoring applied biology with plans on immunology. Grand ambitions, right? I know, a bit too ambitious. I'm even reconsidering it, right now. Maybe.

And when I first started, I thought I could persist this lonely life. I mean, I had gone through 18 years alone, so why not now?

Halfway through the first year I snapped. I refused to go to class, I refused to eat, I refused to come out. I spent the days in my hostel, running around the Internet and reading stuff out of sheer chance, whatever seized my interest knowing I'll lose it the next five minutes anyway. I thought I lost it. I felt like, I can't go on. I felt lost, alone, in an environment I barely understood, far away from anyone or anything familiar. But somewhere along the way, while on a binge through TvTropes, I found this. Katawa Shoujo - a visual novel dedicated to the disabled. Curious, I decided to find a way to their website, download it, and play through, like many other games I found and played because I had little else to go on.

And here we are. Who would have thought that a crippled girl dating sim would teach me how to feel happy again. It took me a week to play through it all, and at the end, and finding so many others who loved this game and with similar predicaments as mine, I no longer felt alone. I felt like I found some comrades at long last.

Who is Ritsu Tainaka?

Originally an unmentioned side character named Aoi by the 4LS developers, in the middle of their development K-On! was aired and Aoi and Ritsu shared too much a likeness. So they cut the chase and made her a cameo of K-On! in Hisao's class. A 'retcameo', as one of the devs called it. On the classroom CG, she sits behind Misha and is diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. Officially.

So, why Ritsu?

"Can you keep moving forward?"

Initially, I came to know of an existing Ritsu route written by SemisoftCheese, but he chose to take Ritsu as an original character entirely and rushed the ending, which resulted in undoing all progress made. In other words, going out with a bang instead of a whimper. But when I first found it, I figured, why not. At the time I was looking for a topic to start writing, as means to stave off the return of my depression (and after messing up my attempt at getting close to my crush, I kinda needed it; hey, I have zero experience, but at least I learned something, and am trying to move on), but as I worked around the details of this story, I felt that Ritsu deserved a story of her own, especially considering her background in K-On!

Ritsu is nothing if not ambitious. In K-On! she was an aspiring drummer, a cheerful and sanguine leader, if a bit lazy, a bit stubborn, but she does her best to keep everyone happy and entertained. But there was one thing that overshadowed everything; her dreams to perform on the big stage. It was the thing that made her form the band that K-On! was known for, Hokago Tea Time. That is, until she got caught up in her friends' shenanigans, slowing her progress to a crawl, but for those who watched the show, she did achieve it in the end. And all of sudden, she's here, in a school for the disabled, diagnosed with a crippling disability that forbade her from drumming again, lest she'll seize up and lose sensation of her hands entirely. Whichever dev gave her the carpal tunnel syndrome, he's one mean sadist, hahaha.

I'm not really a fan of K-On! to be honest. It's just that once during my depression I stumbled upon it and watched the entire season, both of them, in one go. After my reawakening, I noticed the contrast in Ritsu's expression in the classroom CG in Katawa Shoujo, and her natural expression in K-On!. All in all, I felt like she deserves a story of her own. A returning star rising, but must learn to restrain herself before losing this chance forever.

Is this going to be a crossover fic between K-On! and Katawa Shoujo?

I fully intended this to be a purely KS fanfic, but with Ritsu's background, it is inevitable that she will have to deal with her past at some point. Splitting Hokago Tea Time like this will be a product of angry words both wishes to take back, broken friendships both wanted to heal, and regrets and shame that keeps both sides apart. Ritsu had kept a lot of that suppressed. It's time for someone to take it off and let her heal properly. And I do intend to take things realistically, taking into consideration her relations with her old friends and the effect of her absence on them. Mio in particular. Overall however, I will try to make this as friendly and understandable to those who hadn't watched K-On! at all, but if you hadn't, don't worry. There's no spoilers for the show.

Great! Anything else?

I will be rewriting the entirety of Act 1, due to the different take Hisao has on his disability. I feel like the standard canon way Hisao understood his depression is, on one hand, overdone, and in the other, incomplete. I dislike how in most KS routes he simply places his attention at the girl he ended up with. That is unhealthy. Yes, I know, it was granted attention in the Hanako's Neutral Ending, but so far only that was given any attention. In Emi's, he simply focused on her, excessively even, so much that Emi had to physically remind him to take his medications. The same in Lilly's, to a destructive degree. Only in Rin's route Hisao had gotten over the initial shocks of his arrhythmia, and accepted himself as who he is now. So here I intended to pull him back a bit. By a bit, I meant the stage of depression he's in at the start.

And I know, there is a host of original characters here, so if anything sticks out as wrong, do point it out. I'm still trying to iron things, and I feel like the original characters are one thing I feel particularly weak on.

Well, any other questions I will try to answer properly. Oh also, I already written a lot of Act 1 beforehand, hence the almost complete list of scene titles down below, but I will post the continuations once I get some corrections on any errors I missed. Anyhow, thanks in advance for coming by, and I appreciate any criticisms given. Oh and I am completely a greenhorn when it comes to forum boards like Renai. Never touched 4chan in my life. So, I have no clue how to use this. But yeah, I am now under your care, any visitors ambling about in here, and I welcome any and all criticisms, corrections, and other comments!

And so we march, to a greater future!

Switching Dynamics
Prologue: Broken Glass - [You are here]
Act 1: Reconstruction
1: A Chance - Link
2: Enter Stage Left - Link
3: In the Nursery - Link
4: Late Induction - Link
5: Smalltalk - Link
6: Tryout - Link
7: Short Trip -
8: Lunch Evolution Theory -
9: Intermission -
10: Revival -
11: Downtown Dinnertime -
12: Twilit Philosophy
13: Morning Blues

Prologue: Broken Glass

My last words hang in the room like a noxious, hostile gas. A part of me regrets them but another is glad I finally said what I’ve been thinking for days- no, weeks. A reckoning is coming and my broken heart quickens at the thought of it. Takumi and I are both breathing deeply as we glower at each other and when he speaks, there’s a nasty edge in his voice.

“You know, I decided to stick around after Iwanako left.”

“Stopped.”

“Right, stopped.” He hesitates. “I didn’t have to do that.”

I snort. “What’s the difference? You’re going to leave me anyways.”

He scoffs. What, I’m right. Ever since that heart attack, ever since waking up from surgery that ‘saved’ my life and left me scarred, that’s the pattern I’ve seen. When my “friends”, my parents, saw that whatever compliments and motivational speeches they‘d tossed at me didn’t work, they stopped coming. They stopped, and went out of the door, abandoning me here as a lost cause.

Takumi’s stare feels like a drill, brimming with irritation. “Fuck off and get over yourself for a bit, will you? You always take out your crap on me.” A brief moment of realization flashes over his face, and he bites his lips. “I’m not your therapist, alright?”

It’s not like I wanted them to care about me. I’ve lived on my own for years, and that’s fine by me. I squint at him, and sigh. He saw what happened. Am I the bad guy when their attempts at convincing me that I’m not broken and ‘it’s all in my head’ don’t work? Should I just let them trample over me and tell me what I should feel? Of course not. So why is he angry?

Why was everyone angry the last time they talked to me?

Two weeks after I woke up from the coma, Shin and Mai said they were stopping their visits. I don’t remember what excuse they gave me, but it didn’t matter anyway. It was clear that Shin was itching to drop the pretense of politeness and get out of there, which was fine by me. He and I didn’t get along well anyway and that had only gotten worse since the incident. Yet somehow, he dragged Mai out the door with him. The two of them often argued, and I was always the one who had to stop them from escalating it. When did they start getting along?

Then some time passed before my parents stopped coming at their usual schedule, only dropping in at their leisure. Every time my dad walked in, he’d look at me and shake his head. I don’t know what to make of that; was he disappointed? Regretful? Sad? When the doctor was telling me about this condition I have, this thing in my chest, my mom was crying. After they left the last time, I kept hoping they'd come back and be with me, show emotion for me like she did. But no, it didn’t seem like it. I never thought I’d miss them.

No; instead, I miss the parents they could have been.

And now, Iwanako too has stopped coming. A week has passed and she hasn’t popped in this room once. She’s responsible for how I am, and she’s running away.

Bitch.

A part of me is glad everyone’s gone, but the other part wishes they had tried something else. Who am I to them? Just another guy? I can’t help but remember all those times I was there for them, did favors, helped with their studies. And they abandoned me the moment they noticed that their words weren’t getting through. They didn’t know that it did get through; it just didn’t work. I’m disabled now. How can things be alright?

I don’t want to be disabled but I definitely don’t want to be treated like I’m disabled.

Takumi’s somewhat hostile stare meets mine before I break off, looking elsewhere so I don’t escalate things. An argument is the last thing I need, even though a part of me wants it.

Being here is the last thing I need.

I ball up my fist. I want out. I want to get out. The only “reason” I’m still here is because they’re tweaking my medication, but can’t I do that at home? ? I want to do something - no, scratch that, I need to do something. Instead all I got are words that do nothing but tell me that I can’t live on my own anymore, reminding me that I’m different. Pitying me. They’d sit there, on that sofa in the corner, and say, “It’s all in my head,” or “Get better,” or something like that. As if that’d work.

I don’t know what would have worked, but I know it’s not that.

“Ah shit.”

Takumi looks around, as if looking for someone that might catch him for swearing. After a moment staring at the antechamber of this ward, he turns back to me. “Iwanako might’ve fucked off, but you barely knew her anyways. Don’t take it too hard.”

He doesn’t get it. He’s known me for the last twelve years and he doesn’t get me either. I don’t care that I barely knew her. I care that she put me in this place and now she’s abandoned me. She should take responsibility for what she did.

I thought that all the antics we’ve been through, all the times we’ve teamed up against anyone messing with us, would be enough for him to know that I don’t take lightly to people refusing to take responsibility for something they had done. And she’s the one to blame for everything that has happened to me.

Everything.

I stare at him, hoping he will get the message. His face is as straight as ever; puzzled, confused, but not backing down, not understanding.

Just go away. You’re just like everyone else.

“What about you?” I ask.

The question seems to have taken him by surprise. “What about me?”

It always takes two or three punches to get through to him. Suicidal overconfidence. I wonder why I even hoped. “When is it your turn to ditch me?”

He looks at me, incredulous, then, “Fuck you. Like I said, not your therapist. If you took your head out of your ass for a moment, you’ll remember that I’m the only friend you’ve got at the moment. You want me out, I’m out. But I’m not leaving unless you kick me out.”

“Be honest with me, Taku,” I say sarcastically. He’s right though. He’s the only friend I got, and the only friend I ever had that stuck through with me, through thick and thin. And I don’t want to kick him out, no matter how much this sense of growing hostility screams he’s useless now. Yet the gnawing thoughts keep pounding on my door and before I know it, I’ve voiced them. “Shin and Mai stopped, my parents stopped, Iwanako stopped …”

He clicks his tongue, staring at me, a challenge in his eyes. He clearly wants me to keep going and suddenly I’m not sure I want to.

“If you’re asking what I think you’re asking, I gotta say that you’re making me think about it right now.” Again, there’s a brief flash of recognition as he realizes what he just said. He kneads his forehead in irritation. “Look, do you want me to go get you a strawberry milk and we can sit this out for a bit? I’m going off too. Not a good look for me either.”

Strawberry milk? Where did that come from? I didn’t reply, but he takes it as one anyway as Takumi gets up and starts to leave.

The sight of his back reminds me of them all.

I pick up a nearby handkerchief and throw it at him. He pauses, and turns back, but I’m already lying down on my bed, staring at the ceiling. He shakes his head, and quietly exits the antechamber.

He’s right. Takumi’s the only one I have right now, as it always had been. Twelve years have passed since we first met, and we’ve been together, through thick and thin. He was the son of a neighbour who was friends with my parents and always welcomed me as if I was their own. I didn’t mind it when I was younger. He didn’t either, from what his parents told me; the first time I appeared he was enthusiastic to show me his rock collection. They said I was so surprised for such a friendly first impression, that they were shocked to see me laughing before joining him.

Later on, we discovered that we were in the same elementary school. Not surprising, as I look back, since we’re in the same neighbourhood. He was an active kid, and so was I, at that age; as soon as school was over we would run out and play around in the nearby park, running around chasing each other. When we moved on to junior high, he tagged along, and we started playing football with others he managed to befriend. By that time I was realizing how alone I was whenever I returned home, and took upon myself to manage my own life. Takumi told me that I should rely on him more, but seeing how much he and his family had done for me, I always refused his offers. And I took pride from that; I’ve lived alone, ate alone, worked alone. I learned everything about taking care of myself, my house, and schoolwork, from the ground up. All my parents ever gave me were the pocket money they’d leave at the table in the morning, and a place to live. I never really see them often, and when I did, it’s always dinner when they have the chance of coming home early from work.

I don’t blame them. They worked hard, and where other boys and girls, teenagers, of my age, were oblivious of what’s outside of their scope, my parents worked hard against the declining economy. They said it was the declining economy, but I know too little about it to contest it. But the effects of my worries became visible; no I didn’t worry much about their work, but rather the many routines one would expect of an adult, not a teenager. Things like groceries, dinner, keeping up contacts, always occupied my mind. Some teachers said I’m far more mature than other students in their care. Some classmates said I’m too withdrawn, too reclusive. My only closest friend who bothered to know was Takumi, accompanying me wherever I needed to be. I didn’t mind him, and I didn’t mind the many times he just went on and on, words constantly pouring out of his mouth. It was fun listening to him, and to him it was relieving; not many can withstand how talkative he can get. I could. We were like brothers.

Some commented on that too.

And so we moved on to senior high.

And here.

I lost a lot. The doctors said whatever condition I had that caused this … thing, in my chest, was genetic. I was born with it. I rack my head to recall the thousands of lectures the head cardiologist must have given me at this point. I don’t remember what it’s called, but I do remember one thing; it built up, like stacks of dead trees in a dying forest. All it took was one jolt, one short sharp shock, and everything would be lit on fire. It was that heart attack, caused by Iwanako’s unexpected confession. The fire burned away my old life, and in its ash I’m choking in it.

What’s it called again?

Right, arrhythmia.

I slam my hand against the railing of the bed, shaking it. Nobody understood what I felt, when I first woke up. When I was told of my condition. When the head cardiologist came in and said that everything you’ve done before, everything you aspired to be, is gone in a flash. I was looking forward to joining my bandmates at a performance by a famous band that week, as celebration for finishing the second year’s final exams. Then that letter appeared in my textbook.

Nobody understood.

Nobody.

They all keep telling me that “it’s all in my head,” and “You should get over it.” I want to. I need to. But just telling me to do it doesn’t help. How? How do I do it? I gave up trying after hearing the same thing over and over, and for the past two months, I kept telling myself that I’m fine without being understood. If I have to stay here for an indefinite amount of time, so be it. Health trumps over all, after all, even when Shin was a bit angry that I’m not coming. I told myself that I’m living a wholly different perspective than anyone around me. Their lives hadn’t been shattered, their futures not stolen. Why would they understand me, to give me the right words of advice? I can stand up on my own. All I needed was …

… I’m not sure what I needed anymore.

Eventually they stop their stale and repeated advice, leaving me alone as they realize their words aren’t working. I’m still left wondering, am I really the bad guy for not humoring them? Correcting them about my condition felt wrong; it’d put them in an awkward spot where no one would want to be, after mistaking the details of someone who just nearly died from it. Should I have lashed back? No, that’d be even worse. Arguments lead nowhere. I thought if I give it time they’d understand what it is like to be me, stranded on this hospital bed, far away from everything I knew.

With this metaphorical paper saying “Disabled” taped on to my back.

I wonder why I even hoped. Now all I have is Takumi.

I need to get out of here. Then, and only then, I can start thinking.

I’m suffocating from everything here; my condition, this room, that damned EKG machine beeping, everyone around me not understanding me at all.

If someone can just understand what it's like to be trapped here, then they could convince the staff that I need a break. A break from sitting in this room. A break from the chlorinated atmosphere of this damned hospital. One short break, from this caging feeling that I’ve lost everything.

And who else can understand me better than him, right?

Someone’s nervous laughter breaks the silence. I look to my right, and there’s Takumi, standing there, uncertain on what to do. When did he get back?

“Sorry I went off on you there,” he says as he takes his seat again. “The nurse kicked me back in, and said if I shout any more she’ll kick me back out.” He gestures with his empty hands. “Vending machine got stuck, couldn’t move the thing forward.”

I sigh, and sit up. Here’s one last try.

“You alright?” There’s concern in his voice. First good step.

“Taku,” I pause. “You’re sure?”

He gives me an uncertain smile, growing more uncertain. He was probably not expecting me to talk out of my own initiative, since for the last two months it was him who starts things off. “Sure about what, man?”

“Me. Can I come back?” Please. You’d know this by now.

He frowns. “I mean, of course, they’ve got to send you back to school sooner or later, right? Where else would you go?”

No. No, that’s not what I meant. Not what I wanted. I shake my head, sighing, before immediately raising a hand in front of his face. He’s closer now, leaning in, and he looked like he was about to speak up again. I know you like the back of my hand. You should know me, right?

“You … Taku. You heard everything.” Everything. What the doctors said, what my parents tried to convince me, what Shin and Mai said before they left. I hesitate. “Right? About me?”

He pushes my hand down. “If you’re going to die, I’m pretty sure they would’ve said something about it. You’re living, or you’re dead, and you seem pretty alive. They can’t keep you here in deadland any longer.” He shrugs.

“How bad can it be?”

No.

No, no, no.

You don’t get it either.

I trusted you, Taku.

I stare at him. I must’ve shown desperation, but I’m done. I don’t want him, if he’s going to be like everyone else. “You too, huh.”

His frown fades, and hints of a glare appear. “Me too?”

“Always with the attempts to cheer me up.” You should know that I don’t want that!

He cocks his head in confusion. “Again, I don’t remember being your therapist.”

I hold my breath, trying to withhold the desire to scream. I don’t want to drive him away, yet he’s just like everyone else. “You should be glad you’re alive. It’s a miracle you survived. You’ll be fine in a short while. Stop worrying; it’s all in your head anyway.”

I’m rambling now, and I don’t care.

“How bad can it be. Therapist. White knight.”

I trusted you, Takumi, and you don’t get it.

“I don’t need no white knight.”

I stare up at him as he stands up. I can feel the tears on my cheeks, but there’s nothing but fire behind my eyes. That fire. “But I thought you knew me.”

He spreads his hands in despair.

“I mean, I don’t know what it’s like to have a heart attack. I broke my arm and that shit sucked, but I have no idea what it’s like to have a heart attack.”

Thanks.

I swing my hand at the railing of my bed again. The pain burns, but I don’t care anymore. “I’m not asking whether you know what it’s like to have a heart attack, but if that’s what you’re going for, just get out.”

“I’m not going for anything I’m just-”

“JUST GET OUT!”

I’m sorry.

“No, not until you explain what you meant.”

I mistook all our laughs, and long night talks, listening to your issues, your problems, your life, as you caring.

“SO YOU WERE RIGHT! I get it! I shouldn’t have gone out there, like you said! I GET THAT! STOP RUBBING IT IN MY FACE ALRIGHT? I DID SHIT-ALL RIGHT AND HERE YOU ARE GOING DOWN TO MY LEVEL AS IF THAT’LL HELP!”

I’ll think twice before I waste my time again.

“If you want me to suck you off and say sorry that I’m here, I’m not blowing you down that way.”

“JUST GET OUT! I DON’T WANT TO SEE YOUR FACE, HER FACE, ANYONE’S FACE RIGHT NOW SO JUST BACK-”

Get out please.

“-THE FUCK-”

Listen to me!

“-OFF!”

“YOU KNOW WHAT?!” He shouts back. “FINE! I HAD ENOUGH OF YOUR BULLSHIT, YOUR STUBBORNNESS, YOUR ATTITUDE! I TRY MY BEST TO BE BY YOUR SIDE, LIKE YOU ALWAYS DID FOR ME.”

Oh.

“AND … and … I don’t.”

Ohh.

“I don’t know everything, alright?”

I look back at him. There’s a few tears on his cheeks, and his fists’ trembling.

“I dont’ know what it’s like to be you, so I thought if there’s anything I could do I could give you company.”

He shakes his head.

“But I can’t. This isn’t the Hisao I know.”

No.

“Just get out.”

I didn’t want to do that.

“Fine.”

No, please.

He picks up his bag, and heads to the door, no matter how much I want him to stay. I want him to stay now, so please-

“So long,” he says in finality, before slamming the door close behind him.

Leaving me well and truly alone.
Last edited by Talmar on Tue May 26, 2020 5:54 am, edited 7 times in total.
"They say, the best way to improve yourself is to believe in who you are. You are but a blip in the lives of many you pass by, so why worry? Be yourself - life is too short to worry about the minor altercations here and there.

"So, get out there. Break the chains that holds you back - and embrace the freedom ahead of you." - me

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Talmar
Posts: 9
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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Talmar » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:45 pm

Act 1: Reconstruction
Scene 1: A Chance

“Hello Hisao.”

I look up. The voice of someone else other than the nurse chiding me to eat my food rouses some alertness in me, but not a lot. I don’t really care much who it belongs to, but this particular voice belongs to a face I remember seeing, but struggle to recognize.

Who are you, I want to ask. I don’t recall seeing him in this beige and green cage of a room I’m in. Maybe he's been here, but I don’t remember. My memory's been slipping, and days pass by without me knowing. Sometimes I do. Most of the time I don’t. The face’s body is clad in the white coat of doctors, and he’s holding a clipboard. He’s wearing a smile, as if excited about something. A part of me suspects he’s trying to make an effort to be happy on my behalf.

It’s not something I expected to see in a morning. Is it still morning?

To my right, opposite of this doctor, are two more easily recognizable faces. They’re my parents, looking all worried. Any other situation I’d ask what’s up. But their… absences… had drained me of any motivation to inquire. It’s been a couple of days since I’ve seen them, but I don’t recall them mentioning anything about what’s going on right now. Both of them are dressed up, as if today’s a special occasion.

Everyone always leave me out of things.

My response, a silent stare, elicits the doctor to sit down on the stool next to me. He sorts his thin stack of paper against the clipboard on his lap, and sets them aside as if to call into attention [make] the pointlessness of his actions. I remember him. He’s the head cardiologist of the hospital, the one who told me how I’m broken. How on God’s green earth did I forget that face? It’s the same smile when he told me that day. Just the reminder makes me twitch with anger, one I put down quickly as he goes on.

He clears his throat. “I believe, you can go home now,” he says, concisely.

I don’t trust him.

“Your heart is stronger now,” he continues, ignoring my unconvinced glare, “and with some precautions, you should be fine.” He pulls out a sheet of paper from the clipboard. “I’ll give your father the prescription.”

The doctor then hands it to my father, whose expression turns wooden as he reads it quickly. “So many …”

I hold out my hand for him to give it. He hesitates, before handing it over. I’m curious, mostly by what he meant by ‘so many’, but as I scan the paper, I immediately start feeling numb. How am I supposed to react to this? The absurdly long list of medications stares back at me, as numerous as the instruments of an orchestra. They all blended together similarly into a sea of letters; side effects, adverse effects, contraindications, and dosages are all listed line after line with cold precision. I try to read them all, but it’s futile. I can’t understand anything, and attempting to only makes me feel sicker.

I know they said I’ll depend on more medicine, but all this? For the rest of my life, every day?

“I’m afraid that this is the best we can do at this point,” says the doctor, as if reading my mind. As he continues, his voice takes a lighter tone, as if trying to cheer me up. “However, new medications are always being developed, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that list fades over the years.”

Hah. Years? What kind of a confidence booster is that? I want to punch him in the face right there. What kind of a pick-me-up line was that? It would’ve felt better if he didn’t say anything at all. Again, almost as if he’s keeping notes of my reactions, he continues.

“Also, I’ve spoken with your parents,” he says, casting a glance at my father and my mother. The two nod, as if in affirmation. “We believed that it would be best if you don’t return to your old school.”

Almost immediately I ball up my fist and try to take a swing at that bastard’s face. Not returning to my old school? Bastards! Who are they to decide my life? But my father quickly catches my arm and pulls it down. I glare at him. All I see in my father’s stern expression, however, is desperation. “Please, calm down, Hisao,” he pleads, “Listen to what the doctor has to say…”

I want to snap at him, at the doctor, anyone. The way the doctor said it told me he knew exactly and fully well I wouldn’t like it. Who are these people to decide what I’ll do?! My parents never cared about what I did for the last eighteen years of my life, this stranger of a doctor is even less so—even if he had met me many times in the last four months of imprisonment here. Am I going to be homeschooled now? Gritting my teeth, I was about to say something but am again ignored by the doctor as he clears his throat. He’s putting on the more stern look about him now, as if it’ll convince me to calm down.

“We all understand that your education is paramount,” he continues. “However, I don’t think it’s wise for you to be without supervision. At least not until we’re sure your medication is suitable and stable.”

Oh so that’s the reason. It’s understandable, I note, and I calm down slightly. But that doesn’t mean I’d agree to it.

“So, I’ve spoken with your parents about a transfer.”

A transfer? To another school?

“It’s a school called the Yamaku Academy, specializing in dealing with the disabled students.”

The word ‘disabled’ slaps me awake. I instinctively touch my sternum, where this scar is.

“It has 24-hour nursing staff and it’s only a few minutes from a highly regarded general hospital. The majority of the students live on campus. Think of it as a boarding school of sorts. It’s designed to give students a degree of independence, while keeping help nearby.”

“Independence?” What the hell do you mean, doc? It’s a school for disabled kids. What kind of a word usage is that? I want to shout at him; don’t give me that bull. If I wanted to be independent - and yes, for the hell of it all, I am - All I’ve worked for and all I’ve lived through is in my old school. And I was as independent there as I wanted to be. If this one was really that ‘free’, then there wouldn’t be a 24-hour nursing staff. Any sensible person with the concept of freedom in mind wouldn’t make a hospital being nearby a selling point. I want to say all that, to shout it, scream at him. But no matter what I think, I can’t get a word out. It has been so long since I last spoke that it feels like I've forgotten how.

“Of course,” my father intervenes. “ That’s only if you wanted to go. But… your mother and I aren’t really able to homeschool you. We went out there and had a look a couple of weeks back; I think you’ll like it.”

I scowl at him. Who is he to decide if I will like something when he’s never at home except at night? He replies to my challenging glare with a stern, but pleading look.



I don’t really have a choice, do I?

“Compared to other heart problems,” the doctor speaks up this time, “people with your condition tend to live long lives. You’ll need a job one day and this is a good opportunity to continue your education.”

I scoff at his attempt. ”It isn’t an opportunity,” I mumble to myself. “Don’t call it an opportunity.” Don’t call it a goddamned opportunity.

My audience stays silent for a few tense seconds. And once again, the doctor ignores me. “Well, you should be excited at the chance to go back to school,” he continues. “I remember you wanted to return to school, and while it’s not the same one…”

When I said I wanted to go back to school, he knew perfectly well which one I meant. But this alternative, I receive it as an insult. It’s a special school. It’s a step down. I hopelessly persist with my glare—what else do I have?

My father speaks up again, concerned. “It’s not what you think, Hisao. All of the students there are pretty active in their own sort of way. It’s geared towards students that can still get around and learn, but just need a little help, in one way or another.”

“Your father’s right,” the doctor interjects. “And many of the graduates of the school had gone to do amazing things. A person doesn’t have to be held back by their disability. One of my colleagues in another hospital is a graduate.”

Oh screw off. A person doesn’t have to be held back by their disability? Isn’t holding you back the definition of disabilities? It is, isn’t it?

I take a deep breath as they try to further convince me that their actions are justified, disregarding the fact I have no say in the matter. But what can I do about that? I’m done. I’m broken. Just like what Takumi said.

Just like what they all said.

Broken, and cast away, like a broken toy car a child tossed away because the axle snapped. The kid doesn’t care how much fun the car had given him; the moment it’s no longer capable of giving fun it’s garbage.

I tried to snap out of it.

After I kicked Takumi out, I realized how much I had lost. I realized I shouldn’t have blown up at him. He was the only one who stuck by my side, no matter how little he knew about what I have gone through. Yet I was greedy. I wanted someone who can relate to me, so I can tell him or her that I’m fine and can get out. But no, I didn’t care that there was no other option than him; I wanted this imaginative figure that exists only in my dreams.

He tried so hard to keep me awake. To make me laugh. To cheer me up, in his own little way. He doesn’t know what I’ve been through yet he stuck through anyway.

He cared.

But if I never noticed that—and if I did, I didn't care. I was impatient—fed up with being trapped in a hospital—so filled with a false sense of betrayal that I blew up at him. He didn't deserve what I said to him. It was understandable that he left me that day.

And he never came back.

On my birthday a little while later, I tried to call him, to make amends. Every time I dialed his number, he never picks it up, and I always end up in voicemail. I sent him one regardless. I truly wanted to apologize, to fix things and make them right.

But he never responded. Nobody did.

Perhaps a clean slate isn’t a bad thing.

I sigh, pausing my lecturers in their words. At least I still have something, even if it’s a “special” school. It’s something. It’s a fresh start, and I’m still alive.

What about all that I leave behind?

I keep quiet. There’s not much that can be done. Call it selfish, but I want to wash my hands of the mess that was the last two months. Even then, I can’t. No mater how much I tried to focus on the positive end of things, I just can’t. I built so much on the other side that I found it hard to let go.

I only give the barest of nods as an approval, before collapsing back into the pillow under my head. At the very least, I’d try to see what this place was. Perhaps after I had given it a try and petition to come back, they will listen. Or maybe not.

If that’s the case, I will find a way myself.

****

The gate looks far too pompous for what it is. In fact, most of them seem to do that, but this one especially egregious. The tall walls are made of red bricks, black wrought iron, and gray plaster, all assembled into a whole that didn’t feel welcoming at all. If it weren’t for the bright afternoon light, I would’ve assumed that this is a mental asylum. They did say the school is special, so I might not be far from the truth.

It didn’t take long for the heat of the afternoon to reach its peak, and now the sun is high above my head, blazing away at me, and any poor passerby caught outside. Trying to find shelter, I enter through the gates at a brisk pace, immediately entering the shade of a few dense trees. A bit more relieved, I look around.

I’m alone. There’s supposed to be someone waiting around here for me, but I don’t see a single person around this courtyard. My parents have already gone up ahead of me to take whatever I could from my old home to the dorms, so they’re not here to keep me company. Not that I want that; them being here would just add to the awkwardness of the situation. Other than that, the yard is deserted; the grounds here are incredibly lush for the dry heat of summer, filled with green, and the light brown dirt walkways going past the trees are wide enough to fit a car. Above the evergreen trees are swaying in the light breeze, and all around me is the smell of freshly cut grass. I stand at a four way intersection, and both left and right leads nowhere I see to be places I’m supposed to be. Ahead is the door.

Come to think of it, it’s been a while since I walked around outside. When I stepped out of the hospital, I was too preoccupied with the prospects of my new life to appreciate even the fresh air. Now that I’m here, I can finally absorb it all in.

I press on towards the door.

Up ahead is this grand building that I presume to be the Academy itself. It seems to have been built to be deliberately imposing; a great wall of red bricks and gray plaster, dotted with heavily crenellated windows and supports. The architectural style reminds me of those illustrations of factories and palaces of the Victorian era. I realize I’m standing out in the open, and quickly retreat back to the shades. I hope whoever it is that’s supposed to greet me would hurry up..

This place doesn’t really look like the kind of grounds a school would have. It looks more like a park, and the building up ahead, a repurposed old structure. Words like “clean” and “hygienic” pop up in my mind, reminding me of the hospital. I shudder at the thought.

Come on, old buddy. I don’t need those memories popping up right now; it’d just get in the way. I get it; I don’t want to be here, but that doesn’t mean I’d just spend missing stuff I can’t get back.

I stare at the building ahead of me. It feels far too big for just a school. Everything seems off; the unorthodox approach clashes with what I know as the standard of a Japanese senior high, ranging from the architecture, to the design, to even its sheer size. My old school wasn’t this large, and the doctors mentioned only about 200 students study here.

Irritated by the complete absence of a single soul, let alone the person who was supposed to greet me, I let out a sigh and start making my way to the grand wooden double doors. I would try to peer from the distance into the windows, but they’re tinted. The trees above hum with the wind, and the green hues flashing all around. It reminds me of the hospital again, how they said operating rooms are painted green because it’s a calming color. I take one last look behind me.

Now I get it; why the gates unnerved me like they did. It was the last chance I had at turning back. I could’ve run, but God knows what that would do. I can only remember vague warnings from the lectures about my condition, but I don’t remember strict limitations on excessive movements. Regardless, it’s not like I want to dwell on the idea; it’s a hefty distance from anywhere I could go, and I’m far from home. With a deep breath, I push the doors open.

The first thing I notice is the grand, open-air entrance hall, as tall as the building is. Up above are walkways that I presume are for the upper floors. At the back are entrances to what seems to be an elevator hall. Observing the surroundings, my curiosity is broken by a firm voice. “You must be … Ni … Na … Nikki?”

The voice belongs to a tall man in a dark brown peacoat. The way he shuffles around looks awkward, like an anorexic figure attempting to fit in. I stop wandering immediately, surprised to see him there. Nobody told me he’s waiting inside. “Uh … Nakai, actually,” I correct him.

He looks at the piece of paper in his hand, and back at me. “So you are. Excellent. I’m your homeroom and science teacher here, and my name is Mutou.” He extends a hand, and gives a wry smile. “Welcome.”

I accept his hand. The handshake feels neither firm nor sloppy, but it doesn’t seem to mind him. After a moment, he looks at the watch in his hand. “The head nurse asked you for a brief check-in visit,” he says informatively, “but there’s no time for that now.”

A check-in visit? “Oh, should I go later?”

He nods. “Yes, the afternoon is probably fine. We should get going and introduce you to the rest of the class.” He starts walking to the stairs. I pull the straps on my bag and follow him. “They’re waiting already.”

Waiting for me? The idea unnerves me for a few moments. Did I hold him up from teaching as I was hesitating outside earlier? I don’t really like being at the center of attention when I don’t want to, especially when I don’t know any of the people who’ll be looking at me. Eh, I guess it’s inevitable, with the situation as it is.

Thinking, I almost miss what the teacher is saying as he stands at the top of the stairs, waiting for me to catch up. “Do you want to introduce yourself to class?” I decipher.

Huh? Should I? I’m not really sure, but what else can I do? I don’t want to suggest something outlandish, especially to a stranger, and he himself said I should go to the head nurse later. I mean, it’s standard after all. I set aside my worries, and put my trust in whatever improvisation skill I still have. “Yeah, sure.”

“Hmm.”

I mean, it’s better to do it now rather than delay it for another day. If anything, I should be the one to give the first impression of myself. Quietly I tag behind him, and pondered on what first impression I want to make.

Scene 2: Enter Stage Left

I snap out of my thoughts when we reach the doors to the classroom I’ll be part of for the rest of the year until graduation. I’m uncertain on following up. I still had no idea what exactly what first impression I wanted, and right now seems to be a bit too late to decide. I look around, partly so I won’t have to meet the curious gazes of the students in there. The classroom is pretty spacious; high ceilings, wider than usual spaces left over and in between desks. On the far wall, the wall-spanning blackboards and the high, old-fashioned windows serves to only make the hall seem larger. Again, not exactly what I thought of a classroom seems to be the case here.

The students’ desks on the other hand are just standard wooden desks with a shelf underneath for books and wooden chairs with metal frames. Simple and efficient, but a stark contrast to the style to the exterior of the building. Perhaps the whole repurposed thing I thought about was on the mark.

I follow the teacher as he sits down on his chair to the side, while I stand in front of the classroom to face the students. Shoot, I can’t avoid it now. With a deep sigh, I steel myself. At a glance they all look normal, like any other students in any other school. But if that’s the case, then why would they be here? It took a second glance to notice the various little … errors, for the sake of a sufficient but polite word, like the girl in front of me seemingly missing an entire hand. It’s jarring to say the least.

Mutou clears his throat, bringing me back to reality, and starts his introductory speech. I quickly tune it out, keen on keeping up my exploratory momentum, scanning left to right at the very back. Two girls in the corner stare at me with interested glances, but then whisper to one another. Another girl sits next to her, sporting really long straight hair. When she notices that I’m looking at her, she quickly cover her face with her bangs, as if it’ll make her invisible. Besides her, a boy with a cane leaning against the lockers sits quietly, eyes closed. It’s strange to see someone around my age already relying on a cane.

Turning slowly to the right, I notice a girl making hand motions. Sign language? She peeks at me over the rims of her glasses judgingly, and then goes back to whatever she was doing. The doctors said the classes are divided into the audibly, and then visually, impaired, and the rest are all other disabilities. Why is she here? I quickly pass to whoever she was ‘talking’ to, a cheery-looking girl with distinctive pink hair and drills. Either the school has a really lax uniform code, or she’s an exception for some reason. I don’t know how I missed her the first time.

And behind her is another girl, with a muted yellow hairband, looking out the window. She doesn’t seem to be paying any attention to the class, let alone me. Here I am expecting a thousand pairs of eyes to drill into me, and there she is, looking away, disinterested. Not that I mind; it’s nice for a change that I’m not being treated like a test subject, or a statue to wish well to.

“...and so please welcome our newest classmate.”

As Mutou’s speech comes to a close with a clap of his hands, everyone breaks into applause, except for the one-handed girl in front of me, and the hairband girl at the back. I bow in thanks to whatever caused the applause to begin with.

What follows is a collective silence, telling me it’s my turn. I clear my throat. “…So, uh, my name is Hisao Nakai.”

I subconsciously stretched my fingers with my thumb on my right hand as I think of what to say next.

“My hobbies are reading, playing guitar, and uh … soccer. But I don’t really play that anymore.” A deep breath. “I hope to get along well with everyone, even though I’m a new student.”

Come on, anything else to say, me? The teacher still looked like he’s expecting more, with his silence. But I don’t know how to continue. Talk about my old life? We might as well take a chair and have the rest of the class to do that, and I don’t want to. Talk about my favorite subject? Well, it’s physics, and I have no idea what is the current class right now to interrupt. Whatever it is, I’m certain everyone here’s expecting something interesting. I keep goading myself to say it, guess it.

In the end, not another word. Thankfully, the teacher picks up from there.

On the flip side, maybe everyone’s just expecting the teacher to do that. They all seem satisfied even with what little things I said. A few of the girls whisper to each other, throwing glances at me. I frown. What are they talking about? Regardless, it could’ve gone worse. In the meantime, the teacher keeps going on about something, about getting along, while letting me continue looking around. Those that aren’t chatting listen intently to him, apart from the sign language girls, and when he’s done, they clap their hands again. This time though, the girl with the missing hand claps as well, with her one hand against her other wrist that I notice ends with a bandaged stump.

I feel a little bad. That seems like it could hurt.

“We’re going to do some group work today,” Mutou says, turning to me, “so that will give you a chance to talk with everyone. Is that okay with you?”

I nod. “Yeah, it’s fine with me.”

“That’s good.” He looks around for a moment. “You can work with Hakamichi. She’s the class representative, and can explain anything you might want to know. And who else would be able to do that better, right?”

I can only stare at him wordlessly as a reply. What should I say in response to that? And how am I supposed to know?

The teacher gives me a copy of a worksheet from the pile on his desk before working his way around to distribute the rest. Left behind, I make my way to the only empty seat available, next to the pink-haired girl. As I turn to ask, I realize I have no idea who this Hakamichi is. Could’ve been across the class. The teacher thankfully notices me floundering. “Oh right, Hakamichi is near you. Shizune Hakamichi.”

As he calls out her name, the bubbly looking girl with bright pink hair perk up to him before turning back to me. So this one is Hakamichi huh. I extend a hand as a greeting. “Hey,” I say, “I guess you’re Hakamichi, right? It’s nice to meet you.”

She laughs, catching me off guard. What?

“It’s nice to meet you too! But~! I’m not Hakamichi! I’m Misha!” She leans back a bit to show the girl she had been signing with, the glasses girl. “This is Hakamichi, Shicchan~! She also goes by Shizune!” It looks like she had been staring at me the whole time. She nods nonchalantly to show that she acknowledged my presence. I frown, before recollecting myself to wave, albeit awkwardly.

“Well, uh, nice to meet you.”

She immediately looks at Misha, who smiles and makes a few quick gestures with her hands. Hakamichi nods and makes a few gestures of her own. I can’t help but frown again; maybe the teacher is messing with me saying things like ‘you’ll be able to talk to people’ and ‘who better to explain things to you’, because it seems like this Shizune Hakamichi is deaf-mute.

Misha turns back to me as I take my seat. “I can see you’re a little confused, right? Right? But I can understand why you’d think I was Shicchan! You see,” she says as she makes more gestures, “she’s deaf!”

Thought so.

“So I’m the person who translates things back and forth for her.” She looks back at Shizune, and back at me. “I’m like an interpreter~! She says it’s nice to meet you too!”

The blue-haired glasses girl makes some more hand gestures, and Misha translates. “You’re the new student, aren’t you? Well, Shicchan, of course he is! If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have been standing up there for no reason, right? Right~!” Now both of them turn to me. “He seems like a very interesting person, doesn’t he~?!”

I can only glance away awkwardly, looking back occasionally. Too many things are running in my mind. First, is this what it feels like to be a transfer student? Being the subject of conversation? Second, the speed between her translations and the sign language seems almost superhuman. Third though, is the attention. Misha’s voice is several octaves too high and I could see some eyes turned this way. She didn’t seem to notice it at all though, continuing to translate just about everything they’re ‘saying’ so I won’t miss out.

“We knew there’s going to be a new student, but we didn’t know you would be here today. So soon! Hicchan, right?”

Wait, what. Hicchan?

She nods appreciatively at the sudden idea of a nickname. “Yup~! It fits, doesn’t it?”

Did I say that out loud? I was just surprised to hear it here, because for a good while it was something my mother used to call me. I never liked that nickname, and even less so now. In the meantime, the two look expectantly at me. What do they want? I fold my arms to appear as if in thought, and keep quiet. Perhaps if I stay shut up they’d tell, because I have no clue what’s happening. After a few awkward moments, Shizune taps her fingers on the desk to get Misha’s attention, before exchanging series after series of hand gestures between them. Misha looks a bit overwhelmed.

“Shicchan wants you to know that she’s the class rep,” she translates, turning to me, “so if there’s anything you need to know, you can feel free to ask her.”

The glasses girl signs some more.

“Do you like the school so far? We can show you around a little if you haven’t had the time to walk around and … familiarize? - yourself with it!” She stumbles a bit over the last few words, making it a bit noticeable compared to the flawless interpretation so far. I relax a bit to let off the tension from my silence, and nods appreciatively. Well, there’s that option to consider; at the very least there’s someone to ask.

“Thanks,” I reply, “that would be pretty helpful. And yeah, I just kind of came straight to class today.”

Misha laughs as she received another series from Shizune. “That’s no good! You should always try to learn as much as you can about where you’re going before you go there! Not just the school either~! Always!” She nods some more. “Even to the convenience store! Really, Shicchan? Hahaha~!”

I stay silent throughout the speech. I mean, it makes sense to learn what’s up where you’re going, but I was in no mood to try. I came here at my parents’ and doctors’ behest, nothing more, nothing less. Needless to say, if they’re going to actually drag me around, the prospect of having someone to ask about things seems less pleasant. They do seem amicable enough so far, but I’m reluctant to keep up the act. What do I add to the conversation anyway, after it ended like that. Agreement? That would just lead to another dead end. Denial? I can’t think of a good enough reason to support it.

After a while, Misha signs something that ends with a shrug. What was that? It seems like something about me. I feel like slumping in my seat, assignment be damned. Both of them are smiling, but the shrug hit me unexpectedly deeply. I guess all that effort standing up there and keeping up just went down the drain. No, I shouldn’t be this negative. When did I get so anxious?

Misha looks at me more closely, concerned. A brief thought wants me to push her away, but I shove it down the hole, avoiding her gaze instead. “You look down, are you okay?” she asks, turning around to toss another series to Shizune, who promptly replies. “Don’t take it the wrong way, please~!” she turns back to me, smiling again, “I hate it when people are afraid to ask questions! That’s how people learn things, by asking! Asking for help is perfectly normal, as much as needing help! Stop looking like you just failed a test!”

Misha laughs at the end of that. Her - or their, I’m not sure - concerns are misplaced, but I pull myself together for a reassuring, albeit thin, smile. “All right.”

Shizune signs something. “Ah, another thing,” Misha translates. “You don’t have to call Shicchan something so formal like ‘Hakamichi or ‘Class Rep’ all the time! Just call her Shicchan~!” She stops, and turns around to Shizune, who was noticeably blushing and rapidly signing a panicked series of gestures. “Ahaha~!” Okay, maybe that’s too casual. Maybe Shizune would be appropriate?”

She nods, satisfied, and Misha continues. “Yup, yup~! Shizune is fine!”

I take in a deep breath, and sigh. Perhaps being apprehensive earlier was a bit uncalled for. Both of them seem friendly, and especially Shizune. She was judging me so seriously when I was introducing myself, so I thought she would be all business. Well, she still seems like that, just less so, I guess.

Speaking of business, she signs something. “Huh? Oh right, we haven’t touched the assignment! We should start working right now, or Shicchan will get mad!”

I turn back to my table, and quietly bring out the stationery to start working. Not a bad start I suppose, for socializing with the students here, although something tells me it won’t be the same elsewhere. I quietly wave it away as I notice the numbers on the clock, and pay attention to the assignment instead.

We finish a few minutes earlier than anyone else, I notice, despite our late start. Although a partial credit can be reasoned by Misha’s overtly loud volume, which without doubt had distracted at least some people, regardless of how used to it they would be. But still, they’re quite different from those I usually hang out with. The class rep is as calm and professional as she looks, while Misha seems more playful and girlish. Not to mention a little more easily distracted. And to be honest, they did most of the work. I feel a little guilty about that.

Soon enough the clock tower bell rang, signaling the end of the period. Time for lunch. Without knowing what else to do, I take up on their offer of questions and tours, following Misha into the hallway and down the stairs as they wait for me.

Actually, did the girl behind her do anything at all?
Last edited by Talmar on Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"They say, the best way to improve yourself is to believe in who you are. You are but a blip in the lives of many you pass by, so why worry? Be yourself - life is too short to worry about the minor altercations here and there.

"So, get out there. Break the chains that holds you back - and embrace the freedom ahead of you." - me

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Talmar
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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Talmar » Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:32 pm

Scene 3: In the Nursery

I follow them as the two girls descend downstairs, toward what Misha calls the cafeteria. The more I look around, making mental notes of where things are, the more this building gets more confusing. Surprisingly, there’s a floor below the lobby of the main entrance that also opens up to alternate entrances to the building. When I see there’s a window here on our way to the cafeteria, I thought maybe this building is built on the side of a hill. Anyhow, that’s not entirely strange; I heard of such limitations before in other schools.

Contrasting that however, as the duo leads me in through its double doors, the cafeteria is far too spacious and oddly modern in contrast to the Victorian exterior. Windows as tall as the ceilings occupy one side of the wall to my right, through which I’m provided a view to a much larger courtyard. In the distance I could spy several more isolated structures across the grassy field and trees. Offices? Dormitories? They did say students live here.

Misha strides in front of us and splays her hands wide with an enthusiastic grin. “It’s the cafeteria~!”

Her excessive enthusiasm of the statement of the obvious managed to draw some attention from the people around us. I stay shut, reluctant to tell her to tone it down, but it didn’t seem like she cared. The attention however makes me feel uneasy, so I merely nod an acknowledgement and join the queue up ahead at the serving tables. Thankfully the two tag along.

There is a rather long list of menu stated up above, which confuses me for a moment before realizing that since this is a special school, there’s probably special diets too. It reminds me of the time a dietician came to my room back in the hospital, asking me what things I’m allergic to. I mentally silence myself of the thought. No, no need for negativity on the first day; the duo are already thinking I might have an issue, most likely. I pick something belonging to the general course, and follow Shizune to the table, sitting opposite her while Misha’s off to get some more.

Well, we’re here now. What do I do? Shizune’s deaf, so I have no idea how to talk to her, not without Misha. As I nibble indifferently at the food I’d rather not eat, Misha returns with a loaded tray and pokes me in the side to get my attention. I was about to give her a piece of my mind for prodding me in the ribs like that, but she points at Shizune. The class rep proceeds to sign something at me, to which I could only reply with visible confusion. She glares at me for that, as if angry I didn’t get it.

I mean, I don’t understand sign, so the point escapes me. Why isn’t Misha translating? Who am I supposed to look at for this conversation? That is the general convention anyway, but doing it here doesn’t seem productive.

Thankfully, Misha finally decides to speak up. “Do you want to know something?”

“What?”

“About anything! We’re your guides, so you should ask if there is something~!”

I take a moment. “Hmm.”

Well, is there actually anything I wanted to ask? I came to this school with little ideas on what I want to know. If I want to go sightseeing, I would rather do it myself. After all, I’ve been freed from the hospital after four months imprisoned in there. Tying myself with other people seems counter-intuitive. I just feel reluctant to even ask anyone. I mean, I ended up here because of other people deciding for me. Maybe it’s just general distrust. Nevertheless, now that I’m here, what should I do? What is there that I want to know?

As I ponder to myself, I look out of the windows. Outside, students are scattered everywhere, minding their own businesses in this lunch period with their social circle. I somewhat envy them, having someone to talk to without having to be wary. Maybe after the sensation of being a new transfer student wears off I could be like them at some point. If there is anyone willing to take me in, that is.

I continue to scan the field when I spot some students still lingering behind the windows of the flanking wings of the building. The idea escapes me for a moment before I remember. Extracurricular activities are a thing, and it slipped my mind after all those months in the hospital. How did I forget about that? Hell, I was part of one for most of my--

“Ahem~!”

Misha clearing her throat drags me back to reality. I consider the question again before deciding this seems suitable. “What are the clubs here?”

She blinks, before looking at me surprised. She didn’t seem like she was expecting that. Her hands are already interpreting my question to Shizune, who then fires back a volley of her own. In a moment, Misha turns back to me, occasionally looking back to catch more of her friend’s ‘speech’.

“Well, Hicchan,” she says. “There’s a lot actually. We have the literature club, the largest in the school. Yep~! They’re big enough that they’re not in the clubhouse wing at all, but is instead based in the library instead. We have … Shicchan, what’s that? Oh okay~, we have the sports teams like the archery club, the track team. You can ask the sports manager for that~.”

No, none of them interest me. And track could probably kill me. Just as I’m about to sigh and go back to eating, Misha keeps going.

“Speaking of, there’s the music club …”

“Music club?”

She nods. “Yep~! It’s led by Saki, a friend of ours.”

Shizune seems to frown at the mention of the name. “Hicchan,” I hear Misha interrupting. “Are you interested in music? I remember you mentioning that~.”

“Interested?” Music was something that I was involved in, in my old school. Perhaps I could join them again. But … what can I do? It’s been almost an eternity since I last touched my guitar. Can I still play? I mean, I did say I was interested in the introduction, but that was mostly because I didn’t have anything to add. And it is still something I sorely missed back in the hospitalization. I nod indecisively, mixing it with a shrug. “Maybe.”

Misha looks at Shizune, and then back at me, beaming. “Well that’s great! I heard they’re open to newcomers, so if you want to, you can go today~!”

“Hmm.” Should I?

With that, the girls turn to each other to sign animatedly, throwing sideways glances at me. Misha refrains from translating, however. Maybe they’re talking about secret girl stuff. But I don’t care enough to ask. More time for to think.

----------------

Or maybe not. Just as I finish swallowing the bland bread down my throat the bell rings and Misha drags me back to class. We arrive in the classroom early, but we’re not the first. The dark-haired girl I noticed earlier is slumped over her desk. She almost jumps a little when Misha crashes into the room with the elegance of a rhino, causing her to attempt to shrink deeper into her seat.

Misha really needs some restraint.

I can feel her tension all the way from the front of the class, as if she would just turn into stone from our presence if she could. Misha and Shizune on the other hand don’t seem to notice, or don’t mind. Or don’t care. I guess every class has their share of strange students, and she’s one of them. They simply walk past her and began to converse again, seemingly picking up from where they left off.

Glancing behind me, I notice that the girl with the yellow hairband isn’t here. Before I can
ponder where she might be, the teacher saunters into the class to begin the lesson, and the missing girl slips from my mind.

*******

Getting into the rhythm of school feels strange; it’s as if my brain remembers how this is done, but my body doesn’t. Every once in a while, I have to coerce myself to pull out the correct book, or go to the correct classroom. Granted, I don’t have a good layout of the school in my head yet, but there was one point I had to remind myself to come along with the others, and another moment I seemingly forgot I was in Yamaku, and not my old school. Hospital time had seemingly sap a lot of the muscle memory away, and cast it off into the endless sea around me as I’m stuck on a deserted island.

Towards the end of the day, I yawn and start counting the minutes left. Honestly speaking, I shouldn’t be this tired on my first day of school; hell I stayed up past midnight on a regular basis, practicing my guitar back in the day, and went to school like nothing happened. Now I’m feeling physically weak. I don’t like it; it reminds me too much that I have this affliction.

Not before long, the final bell rings. School is finally over for the day. Beside me, Misha and Shizune are having a short conversation. Earlier in the class, the hairband girl came back, a little harried. I look back at her seat; she’s absorbed in a book now. Where did she go in the meantime? The library? After a moment of deliberation, Misha waves her hand in front of my eyes. “Hey, Earth to Hicchan~, are you there?”

I push her hand away. “What is it?”

Misha pouts, before continuing as Shizune pack up her stuff alongside her own behind her. “Unfortunately, we can’t stay to show you the clubhouse today, Hicchan~. We’ve got to hurry already, since there’s a lot of work for us to do.”

Work? Are they involved in clubs as well? Seeing the haste the two are in, I drop my intentions to keep asking about it, and sigh. “It’s fine. I can give it a look tomorrow.”

She quickly recovers, turning to Shizune as she signs something, before back at me. ‘You’ll find your way around here, I’m sure of it!”

Is that her talking, or Shizune? Actually that question had been in the back of my mind since I first met them this morning; which one is talking when Misha speaks. Just as they start to leave after pushing their chairs in though, I remember the note from the homeroom teacher about the visit to the Nurse. “Hey, wait!” I call out, quickly picking up my bag to catch up. ‘The teacher said I have to see the nurse. Where do I go?”

The girls stop to allow me to tag along. “Oh that?” Misha says, looking at Shizune as she translates my question to her, back and forth. “We can at least show you that much~! Come on, the nurses have their own building, so we have to go outside.”

And so I find myself following the two again.

We join the flow of students leaving their classes and down the stairwell, on to the outside via the lobby. Misha offhandedly points out class 3-4 on the way out, mentioning something about danger. When we reach outside, the girls lead me down the left path, around a large wing attached to the main building, to a smaller building right next to it. It’s built in the same 1800s American style of red bricks and gray mortars, so it actually looks like a part of the main building from some angles. Just as we arrive at the side doors of this annex, Shizune stops and signs something.

“This is the auxiliary building here~!” Misha translates cheerfully. “There’s a lot of official and important stuff inside, like the Yamaku Foundation office and all the nurses’ office. They even have a swimming pool!”

I raise an eyebrow at the final comment. “How is that official?”

Apparently my remark isn’t entirely welcomed as Shizune glares at me for a split second. Misha laughs instead, before catching up to her friend’s flurry of signs. “Don’t be silly, Hicchan! It’s for physical therapy of course. Anyway, all the nursing staff facilities are in there too. The head nurse’s office is on the first floor You’ll be fine from here, right~?”

I nod. Physical therapy, huh.

“We’ll be going then! See you tomorrow~!” Misha waves as they walk through one of the nearby side doors of the main faculty. I simply wave back at them weakly, before turning inside.

An entire building, built for nothing that has to do with actual education? I suppose it’s necessary for a place like this. I mean, it is a private academy, so the main office being on campus makes sense. But an entire independent medical wing? Sounds preposterous and unnecessary at first, before reminding myself why I’m here. A school for the disabled. I don’t like it. Reminds me too much of why I’m here.

I don’t know myself how I subconsciously blotted out the various more visible disabilities of passersby throughout the day.

Nobody stopped me to ask what I’m doing, so I march in. As I explore my way through the building, I find a lot of things that befits the sign above the main entrance of the annex earlier: “Physiotherapy and Medical Center”. I’m guessing the main office is on the third floor, because it’s pretty tall here. There’s an entire hall with the swimming pools Misha mentioned, accessible only via the first floor. There is another set of entrances on the other side, though, so I guess we just didn’t see it.

Further exploring the floor, I finally find what I suppose to be the head nurse’s office. A white door, with a green cross stuck on it, and the nurse’s name on its nameplate. A voice inside responds almost immediately when I knock on the door, but I can’t quite hear it. Whatever, sounds like an invitation, so I come in.

The room, or I suppose his office, doesn’t seem as large as the classes, and the smell reminds me of the chlorinated sterile halls of the hospital. In an instant I don’t quite like it, but I shut those thoughts out. A friendly looking man turns around on his office chair to face me as I enter. His desk, sitting against a wall next to a cabinet of medical supplies, is neat and tidy aside for a bunch of coffee-cup rings scattered around a corner. The bin under his table is overflowing however with waste paper.

“Hello there,” he speaks up, breaking me away from my study of the place. “What can I do for you today?”

My attention shifts to the man. He’s a young-looking man and sort of rugged, but the dimples on his cheeks wash away the impression as he flashes a disarming grin. I felt a slight twist in my stomach when I note how familiar it looks. Just to be sure, I go ahead and ask, “You’re the head nurse, right?”

His grin doesn’tbreak. “Why yes, I am. It says so on the door, right?” He takes a moment to sip on a steaming cup, and puts it down to stretch out a hand. “You can call me by my name, or just ‘the nurse’ like everyone else. I handle the general affairs.”

I let go of the door handle and accept the handshake as I take a seat on the open stool in front of him. “Right.”

“So?”

Oh right yeah. “I’m a new student here, and my homeroom teacher told me to come and meet you. Name is Hisao Nakai.”

His eyes brighten at the mention of my name as he pulls out a clipboard from a drawer. “Oh, the new guy? Yeah, I just read your files. Something about chronic arrhythmia caused by congenital heart muscle deficiency, right?”

I shrug and nod. I never really paid any attention to the doctors when they lectured to me about what went wrong that day; I didn’t want to hear about it. All I wanted back then was to get out and fix things. Maybe more on the former. So one might say I have my wish, coming here. With that, he continues.

“Good. Well, you’ve probably been briefed about the school enough, so I’ll go over this quickly. We have all kinds of facilities available, mostly physical therapies and such. There’s always someone from my staff around, even at night, so don’t hesitate to call us if there’s a problem.”

“Oh right, the twenty-four-hour nursing staff. It’s like a hospital.”

I mean, it is.

He gives me a sideways glance and a raised eyebrow. “Well, not exactly. We don’t do surgery here for example.”

Wait, what? That joke manages to surprise me, enough to make me shut up for a moment to realize how my remark sounds far more abrasive compared to his. Feeling a little guilty, I look away at the window behind him instead. Fortunately, it seems that he notices the sudden change in atmosphere and quickly change gears. “You’ll get used to it.”

“Yeah, um,” I stammer out, “it’s just that for a school, I didn’t expect this many medical staff and stuff.”

“Not so much a school than an entire Primary and Secondary level institute in one,” he answers definitively, “so we have to cater to the young ones as well.”

Huh. So that might explain the separate buildings I saw in the cafeteria. Maybe this academy holds a lot more students than they said. With that, he stays silent as he flips through his clipboard, muttering to himself as he scans the papers. “Now, let me find your files again … tch, wrong clipboard.” He suddenly stands up and turns to the drawers under his desk, by the sound of them being drawn out.

In this moment of silence, I let myself observe further what else is in this office. It is, in general, the epitome of the generic, reminding me a lot of the nurses’ office in my old school. The beige walls, the gray ceilings, dark gray laminate flooring; even the equipment here is largely the same, along with those ridiculous educational posters posted all over the place - urging to eat properly, three times a day, with all those food groups in careful balance.

“Ah, found it.”

I turn back to the nurse, who keeps his grin as he produces a large binder from a drawer. How many students did he have to sort through to find mine? He sits down on his chair and reads off the folder, occasionally looking back at me every now and then. “So, you already have all the medications for the arrhythmia,” - I flinch a bit at the mention of the term - “Just remember to take your pills every morning and evening, or as the doses said you should. The effects of missing them are less than pleasant. Apart from that …”

He shuts the binder with a clasp. “Do you do any sports? Rash stuff, like … I don’t know, boxing?” He grins at his joke, but I only stare at him in reply. To be honest, I didn’t get the joke.

“Not really,” I say after a short moment. “I played soccer occasionally, but that’s about it.”

His grin doesn’t go away, but he does raise an eyebrow. “Alright. I’m afraid I’ll have to tell you to stop that. At least for the time being, got it?”

I nod silently, looking around. I’m listening to him, but I don’t want to stare more than what is necessary. His own image is reminiscent to the doctors of the hospital, and already, almost instinctively, annoyed and exhausted me, I decide to keep things short, and honestly speaking, I’m not bothered by him forbidding me from playing around with a ball in a field anyway. It wasn’t my thing. I’m just tired of doctors and nurses.

But this nurse continues on still, now with a more serious tone. “Any kind of concussion might be very dangerous to your heart, and risking another attack is definitely not a good idea. Was the previous one caused by a sudden concussion to the chest area? There’s no mention of the cause in your papers.”

Ah.

That event.

I feel my stomach twisting into a knot and my breath growing shallower at the mere mention of that day. I tried my hardest to forget about that, and I thank whatever deity out there for not making the doctors take a testimony from her. Or maybe she didn’t want to talk about it.

Makes sense. Do the deed and forget about it.

They treated you like a toy.

I grit my teeth to hold it down. Now’s not the time, and I don’t want the doctors of this place as well to worry about my mind. Deep breaths.

In, and out.

In. And out.

I eventually find my calm again. I’m not sure exactly how I do it, but whatever expression I managed to makeis enough to give him the cue to not stick to the question.

“Okay, sure.” He frowns a bit. “Still, you need to keep your body healthy, so some exercise will be beneficial. We have physical therapies and such available, as I said, but I don’t think you really need such heavy … measures. Just some light exercises regularly. Brisk walks, or even light jogging, jumping rope, that sort of thing.” He puts down the binder. “Swimming maybe? There’s a pool here.”

“So I was told,” I say offhandedly. The irritation still lingers.

He tilts his head in amusement. “You were? Very good. At any rate, and I’m sure you’ve been told this before, you just need to take care to not overexert yourself.” He wags his finger to emphasize the point. I only furrow my brows in response; I’ve heard the same thing, or a variation of it, a thousand times already, and counting apparently. “Absolutely no risk. Take care of yourself.”

He finishes with a query. “Any questions?”

I look up a bit, and off to the side. Maybe the music club have some warnings about loud stuff since, well, they’re a music club. “One.”

“Fire away.”

“What about loud music? You know, like chest-thumping ones?”

“Oh that?” He chuckles at the thought. “No need to worry. Just don’t sit there for too long.” He reads through my papers in the binder one more time, and closes it, obviously content. “Good, that’s it then. Come meet me if you ever need anything else, alright?”

With that, I’m quickly ushered out before I even realize it. He wasn’t kidding when he said it’d be a quick visit, huh.
Last edited by Talmar on Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:31 am, edited 2 times in total.
"They say, the best way to improve yourself is to believe in who you are. You are but a blip in the lives of many you pass by, so why worry? Be yourself - life is too short to worry about the minor altercations here and there.

"So, get out there. Break the chains that holds you back - and embrace the freedom ahead of you." - me

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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Dec 08, 2019 1:43 pm

Okay, to sum up my main gripe with this story, here is a passage from chapter 1. I took the liberty of colouring present tense blue and past tense red...
The front of the building up ahead, I presumed, is this Yamaku Academy they talked about. It was built to almost surround you as you entered the main courtyard. Similar manner of architecture, red brick walls with grayish white plasters formed the exterior, reminding me of those illustrations of factories of the Industrial Revolution in history books. Flanking me are two wings of the main building, where it sloped down to reveal another floor exposed by the large windows, each of them decorated almost as excessively as the gates. Not wanting to attract attention, I walked back to the courtyard, looking for the doors.

The place doesn’t really look like the kind of grounds a school would have. It looked more like a park, and the building up ahead a repurposed old building. Words like “clean” and “hygienic” pops in my mind. It made me shudder.
There are a few more minor issues, but if you can just fix the grammar that will be a major improvement for the story.

As for the story itself, so far there are only a few diversions from the events in the LN. If anything I would recommend to leave those rails sooner rather than later to tell your own story. Most people on these forums have read about this first week in various iterations already, so a story that adheres too closely to the original can put off some of them.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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

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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Oddball » Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:56 am

I'm going to be honest, I really just skimmed through this. Most of this I've already read before and there's not really enough of a di9fference to catch my attention. The only thing that stood out was Hisao asking about the music club and even that was only a few lines.

If you need to use a time skip, do so, but you really need to get to the point where your story actually starts.
Not Dead Yet

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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Talmar » Sat Dec 21, 2019 9:08 am

I'm going to be honest, I really just skimmed through this. Most of this I've already read before and there's not really enough of a di9fference to catch my attention. The only thing that stood out was Hisao asking about the music club and even that was only a few lines.

If you need to use a time skip, do so, but you really need to get to the point where your story actually starts.
There are a few more minor issues, but if you can just fix the grammar that will be a major improvement for the story.

As for the story itself, so far there are only a few diversions from the events in the LN. If anything I would recommend to leave those rails sooner rather than later to tell your own story. Most people on these forums have read about this first week in various iterations already, so a story that adheres too closely to the original can put off some of them.
I was just about to post the original scene after this, but some IRL things happened and I had to postpone it. But thanks for dropping by. Everything after these three are fully original; albeit some shared content here and there with the canon but that's about it. Right now, just going through the slog of proofreading as Mirage proposed earlier; I'm bad at English, my second language, so, tch, yeah. Kinda to be expected when my attention span is as long as an ant and a memory just as short.

Anyhow, thank you very much for dropping by. I'll get to fixing them and replacing the chapters earlier with the grammatically fixed and rewritten ones. Feurox contacted me elsewhere through Discord recommending me to rewrite in totality, because if these grammar issues persisted through the initial 4 scenes, it's also likely to be entrenched elsewhere, and I got 14 scenes (short, KS-style in novel form) already written. So, the update to this is further delayed as I send the old, broken versions to the proofreaders for tense issues and other grammatical flaws, I rewrite them to befit the past perspective, and send the new ones back to the proofreaders. If they're willing to stick with me throughout this whole endeavour, hahahaha, haaaa. ... Finals next week. Need to study, and then family issues warranting a flight back home. Hopefully I can drag the laptop with me so I can get to work.

Thank you very much, you two, for dropping by. Again. I'm well aware that this is a massive project I came up spontaneously, but hey, if I start something, I'll do it to completion, no matter how long it takes.
"They say, the best way to improve yourself is to believe in who you are. You are but a blip in the lives of many you pass by, so why worry? Be yourself - life is too short to worry about the minor altercations here and there.

"So, get out there. Break the chains that holds you back - and embrace the freedom ahead of you." - me

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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Dec 22, 2019 5:05 am

Yeah, I was expecting those tense issues to be (at least partly because of the rewrite of the VN-material from present to past tense...
Seems you have proofreaders now, so I'm looking forward to the next chapters.
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: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Talmar » Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:00 pm

RIGHT! I'm back! Just in time for another 4 week break in which I'll be offline again. Shoot.

To any readers coming here, I overhauled the previous four scenes, three of which to present tense. I sense that it's the core of my tense issues, and lo and behold, no more tense problems in proofreading. Anyhow, here's scene 4.

-------------------------------------

Scene 4: Late Induction

It’s getting late, and I don’t think anyone else would be loitering in the main building at this point, let alone in the clubhouse to check stuff out. I didn’t bother looking around once I’m out of the physiotherapy center. With the end of the day coming up, I decided to take myself on a personal tour of the greenery between the main building, the auxiliary, and the grand fences to the main gate I first arrived through, observing the surroundings as the setting sun slid down the sky.

What else am I going to do with my life, eh? Get tossed around, and now that I’m given a chance to do things on my own, here I am. Pathetic.

While I’m walking around, I could feel the stares of students passing by on their way home, or the dorms. I’m not wearing my uniform, so I could understand why. On the other hand, it’s the first real look that I have at the other students. While they watch me from afar, I sit down under a tree to see the traffic pass by. Most of them don’t even look like they belong here, except for the occasional cases like that girl with a pair of crutches, or the guy in a wheelchair. Then again, neither do I. Does that make me one of them? One of us?

I take a moment of deep breath. No I’m not. I know I’m not.

As the sky turns orange-yellow above me, I realize I should be going somewhere, lest the security here escorts me outside or I get lost. Dinnertime is approaching too, but with the chaos of today, I feel more exhausted than hungry. With that, I pick up my bag, and join the throng of the crowd, walking along a red wall by the small street deeper into the campus. The signs say the dormitories are this way.

It’s a little way away from the main faculty and the auxiliary, further into the campus grounds. The street first enters through the main road gate next to the pedestrian entrance, before immediately turning right and around the main building, which is bigger than I thought it would be. There’s an entire wing I didn’t see from the front courtyard. Is that the clubhouse? The entire structure is built on a raised platform, so all along the street is lined with a red brick supporting wall. Down this tiny road, I follow the crowd as it went tightly around this newly discovered wing before I could see the residential quarters across a small creek and its bridge.

I take a good look at where I will live for the rest of the year. Only two buildings are designated as the senior high school students’ dorms, but they’re pretty tall, sitting on what I assume to be a corner of the campus. The male dorm is the furthest one from the main facility behind me, overlooking a large expanse of grass as it sits on a small hill. There’s a garden between the school and the dorms; shrubbery, flowers, and the overbearing smell of freshly cut grass fills the atmosphere. It seems to be everywhere here, and I don’t really mind now.

As I walk up to the residential quarters, I notice something poking out of the side. Curious, I decide to take a look. Sitting below the raised platform the female dorms were built on top of is a rudimentary stage under construction. Coils and wires are scattered around, still lain strewn on the grass or in boxes, and planks of plywood sits in the corner. Only the metal skeleton of the backstage is set up. I wonder for a moment what the hell is this doing here, before being drawn back inside by the increasingly dimming sunlight.

As for the buildings themselves, they’re still built in the same ornate structure as the main complex. As I enter the main doors of the male dorm, the interiors contrasts heavily with the outside, just like the main facility; new, functional, and honestly, boring. It reminds me of the hospitals, with the halls and doors built wide to accommodate wheelchairs. I poke my head in the common room door as I pass by, out of curiosity. Inside, a few students, already out of their uniforms, are watching the television on a sofa, ignoring the other scattered entertainments. One nods and give a quick wave when he notices me, before turning back to the TV.

I wave back, even if he didn’t notice. It seems like only the girls around here are sociable, and even then some examples stuck in my mind as exceptions. I suppose that’s perfectly fine with me.

Just as I turn back to the hallway, I nearly crash into a student carrying a really big rectangular box, deftly avoiding it by a hair. “Woah there,” I exclaim, surprised by his sudden presence. The student stops right in his tracks, and I notice that the damned box is blocking his vision forward. “Oh! I didn’t notice you’re there,” he says apologetically, poking from behind the box. “Sorry man.”

The boy is almost the same as many others I’ve seen with the exception of the dark, Prussian blue, ruffled hair, and a bandage over his left eye. Did he hurt himself somewhere? I take a step back to let him pass, but that nearly sends him tumbling. I quickly catch the upper end as it tilts, gesturing him to change the orientation so it would be more horizontal. He seems to understand that quickly enough and changes hands. “Hey, thanks,” he says, grateful that he can now see forward by the sigh of relief he lets out.

“No problem,” I reply offhandedly. “Next time, hold it like that, or God knows who else you’re going to run into.”

“Haha, I’ll keep that in mind.” He stops. “I put it upright because there’s someone upstairs in a wheelchair. Figured I didn’t want to get in the way.”

“Ah.” Right, that’s a thing.

“Well, take care man.”

“Take care.”

With that, he stumbles onward down the hallway. I have half a mind to help him carry the thing, but frankly, I’m tired for the day. Unnaturally so, for reasons too many and uncertain. I quietly hoist my bag up my shoulders and continue ahead, stopping momentarily at the stairs.

I know they said I should take the stairs, especially so if my room is one or two floors above. But the choice of the elevator down the hallway feels irresistible; I’m tired for one, and there’s nobody around to catch and chastise me for the other. Nobody knows why I’m here, so even if someone catches me, I’ll just say I have a heart issue. Half-truths are better than outright lies, in my opinion, and I’ll use the stairs tomorrow and onward. The elevator dings, and I press the button for the second floor. Likewise with the hallways of the ground floor, it’s also as wide as the cargo elevator in here. I come out to one of the ends of the T-shaped hallways, and four doors.

“Room one-one-nine…”

Seeing no matches, I head down to the other side. Both ends seem to hold four rooms, and in the connecting corridor between are two open doorways to the community toilets and bathroom, and another recreation room. This one is however abandoned and empty. Seems like I’ve been put in a rather empty floor here, as there’s little to no activity anywhere. About halfway down the corridor, I spy number 119 in a corner. The name plates on the room adjacent to mind are blank,while light shines from under the door of 117.

I guess there’s only two of us here.

More out of courtesy than anything, I knock on the door of 117 with the intention of introducing myself to what would be my neighbour for the rest of my time here. After a moment of silence, I call out. “Hey, is there anyone home?”

From inside I manage to catch a few movement sounds, and then clicking of way more locks than I warrant the doors of a dormitory needed. After another moment, the door squeaks open a crack. A bespectacled boy is peeking through the gap, staring at me very intently through really thick eyeglasses as he scans up and down. What is he doing? I feel unnerved.

After some very long moments of being keenly scanned at, he opens the door wide and finally speaks up some words. “Who is it?”

Is he blind or what? Wait, if he is, then why would he wear glasses? A part of me wants to take his damned glasses off, but I shove it away; no need to make enemies with my only neighbour here. But he’s not making it any easier to keep the desire suppressed as he leans close to me until our noses almost touch. His breath stinks of garlic. I push him back to allow myself a chance to get my words in. “Hisao Nakai here,” I say briskly, still astonished by such an introduction. “I’m moving into the room next door, and felt like I should introduce myself.”

His face brightens at the mention of my name and in an instant his attitude did a complete 180. He stands back, upright, and thrusts out a hand with a smiling greeting, almost straight at my diaphragm. “Oh, ‘sup dude? The name’s Kenji.”

I gingerly take his hand, trying my best to not scowl at the attack on my torso. “Ah, hi.”

His hands are sweaty, but I’m still rattled by the sudden change in behaviour and vehement welcome to try and pull my hand off in an instant. Before I could get another word in, he speaks up. “There were some suspicious-looking characters going in and out of your room earlier.”

Suspicious-looking characters in my room? “It’s probably my parents.”

“Your parents? You sure? ‘Cause they could’ve been some other people too. You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

Wait what. The out-of-place proverb takes me a moment to register as it’s left hanging awkwardly between us for yet again a few more moments. What does he mean, other people? I distinctly remember them telling me that they’re going to the dorms before dropping me off at the front gate. “I … would say that they’re probably were here. I’d seen them off earlier.”

He shudders, and makes some exaggerated hand gestures. What is up with this man. “You’re a brave man, Hisao. Me, I don’t think I’d trust my own memories. Who’s to say that they haven’t planted in your head?”

What. Who’s they? Ugh, that’s it.

“Then how sure are you that you’re not living a fake life too?”

The bespectacled boy stares at me, shocked, before nodding in agreement. I can’t tell if he closed his eyes or not, but if he did, it’d go well with the faux thoughtful pose, one hand on his chin and another crossed under its elbow. He’s really starting to weird me out. “Hmm, good idea. Damn, you’re smarter than you look. Probably. What do you look like? I hope not smart.”

I could only furrow my brows at that retort. He squints his eyes a bit, by the contours of his face, and leans in to get another look at me. I push him out of the way. At this point I don’t care. Thankfully he gets the message. “Never mind probably doesn’t matter.” With that, he turns back to his room, fumbles for a moment for the door handle, and slams the door behind him.

Honestly speaking, I’m not sure what to say about him, but I could tell he’s nothing but trouble. Something about him gives an air of a delusional freak, talking about things that by all likelihood aren’t real. For example, who is this “they” he mentioned? Planting memories? Impossible. Not that I mind it, but I will appreciate if he would stand a bit of a distance away from me. But with the given respite, I let out a sigh of relief as I slide the key into the lock of the door to my room. Room 119.

Bleak beige walls, white linen, a desk made of some light wood. Ugly drab curtains, bare concrete floor. It’s no one’s room; completely impersonal, like how my hospital ward was. The air feels somewhat musty, but I reckon it would’ve been worse if it isn’t for someone opening the window to let it out. My bags are sitting at the foot of my bed, looking a lot emptier than I last saw them in the back of the taxi this morning. A closet, sitting in a secluded corner, is open, stocked with my clothes. I spot a few unfamiliar pieces of clothing among the small collection that I have, until I realize they’re this school’s uniform. A note is pinned to the sleeve of one of the shirts.

Hi Hicchan! We’ve unpacked your things and made your bed. They said if these don’t fit, then you should go to the office tomorrow. If you have problems, you can always call us.

Love, Mom and Dad


I look outside. It’s still too early to go to sleep, or bathe, or anything really. I put the note down on the desktop, and take a lie down on the bed, feeling utterly drained. Lying there staring at the ceiling, I wonder to myself how did I get here. I don’t want to be here, yet here I am. They said I wouldn’t survive in my old place, my old life, after all that had happened to me. I know what happened, but it’s still so hard to believe.

How? How was it that this condition laid hidden from me, from my parents, from Takumi, the others, everyone? I was an active kid when I was younger; running around with Takumi and others made a major part of my early childhood. Then followed by football in primary school. Sure, it was never an active part of my life, but it made evenings fun when my parents weren’t around. Which they never were.

And then there’s senior high school.

A part of me regretted pining for Iwanako back then. She was the princess of her class; regal, honorable, faultless. Her close friends sheltered her from the vulturous eyes of the boys who sought for opportunities to ask her out. She always rejected them if they had the chance to even approach. Even Shin was shot down, and after that mess Takumi wisely advised me to stay out, and focus on our own things, our activities. Little did I know, somehow my crush on her was answered and she had her eyes on me.

Me.

And thanks to her, I was sent tumbling into a mess not one soul except for some deity with spite and a wicked sense of humour had foreseen.

I hated that my wish was granted.

I hated what had happened.

I hated that everyone left me behind.

And back then, I hated her too.

But I couldn’t say a word.

Some spiteful part of me kept on repeating the same words over and over. It’s all a trick. They treated you like a toy. It kept on repeating them in the dark recesses of my mind, all throughout the four months in that place. Every time it came up, I shut it down. It doesn’t make sense anyway; how could she planned to pin me down with a heart attack if no one knew I had this … thing. My hand unconsciously trace the scar down the sternum of my chest; one constant reminder why I’m here.

I bet she’s floundering in the aftermath of that heart attack. Serves her right.

There it is. Just, shut up.

I need to do something. Anything. How was it that I wasn’t consumed by hatred back then? Reading? Right. Reading was a thing I picked up, after the visits faltered and I spent days alone in the ward. I feel like the hospital had conditioned me a bit into wanting at least have a book on hand when there’s nothing to do. The restless urge just keeps growing until I have to stand up. Tomorrow, I’ll go borrow some books from the library or something. If this place has one. Surely there is one. I know I said I wanted to distance myself from that habit, but I needed to do something in the meantime.

Yeah, I’ll do that. But for now …

I rolled over to the side table, where my bottles of medications are neatly arranged under a table lamp. If I ever need another constant reminder why I’m here, it’s this. I pick up one, and shakes it just to hear the contents rattling inside, before reading the glued-on pharmacy label on it .

HISAO NAKAI

2 TABLETS TO STAY ALIVE

It doesn’t really say that exactly, but it could have, and it would mean the same thing anyway. It’s kind of twisted, having your life depending on these artificial things. I resent them, the fact that I need it, at least a little. I lost everything, and here is what I got in return. What choice do I have? Die? Get implanted with a pacemaker and be treated like an old man? With a sigh, I unscrew the bottle and shake the right number of pills out. With a mug of water, I down them. One by one. All of the bottles.

17 pills in total. And an eye drop.

Ridiculous.

I lie down again, letting the hollowness and exhaustion to fill in. Anything to not let the hatred occupy everything. I keep staring at the blank, unfamiliar ceiling for a while. It didn’t start looking any more familiar; not even darkness fell and long shadows stretch themselves across the room from the windows like fingers. Where do I go from here? What do I do with my life? Anything I’ve done so far doesn’t feel like it’s worth it, since I feel no joy nor elation. Just the fact that it’s done, and that’s it. Semi-consciously, I change into my night clothes, and wrap myself in the neatly folded bed sheets. I raise my hand into the darkness.

The sheets feel slightly more comfortable, warm and nest-like, against the chill that passes for room temperature this far north. Soon, the lighter shade of darkness that is the ceiling looks like every other ceiling does at night, and it becomes the only thing I recognize any more. The night beckons me to sleep, to pass the time until the unfamiliarity of tomorrow comes.

I keep drifting further from the world I knew, starting today. And where do I go now?
"They say, the best way to improve yourself is to believe in who you are. You are but a blip in the lives of many you pass by, so why worry? Be yourself - life is too short to worry about the minor altercations here and there.

"So, get out there. Break the chains that holds you back - and embrace the freedom ahead of you." - me

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:16 am

Tense issues are almost completely gone, except present tense of "could" is "can".

Every time I read about "male" and "female" dorms I have to fend of the mental picture of two dorms making love to one another trying to convceive little dormitories... :roll:
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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Talmar
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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Talmar » Fri Apr 24, 2020 12:20 am

First off, I'm very sorry that I disappeared like that. But hear me out; I was told that I need to basically overhaul the entire initial scenes to better explain Hisao''s behaviour in this pseudo-route. So ... well, after three months of hair-ripping frustration amid the hell that was getting dragged by family overseas, the new college semester, new classes and info I need to partition my mind so I can work on two things at once, and then finally the diagnosis that I have dissociative amnesia ... yeah. I'm back.

And I promise you, this will be the FINAL time I'm overhauling anything in the initial scenes, or any forms of rewrite. I'm done with that. It's a traumatic path to get here, but this is my one wall I keep rebuilding and expanding to push back my depression, so ... there we go. I'm not giving up. Never did, never will, and I will see to the end of this no matter the cost.

Aaaaaand, here's Scene 5.

Oh right. From here it should be a lot more different now that the early divergence in Scene 3 ripples further outward in all directions.

----------------------------------------------------

Scene 5: Smalltalk

I wake up early in the morning, still running on the internal clock from my time in the hospital. I half-expect to hear the nurse calling out that same line - “Good morning, Hisao” - from my right, only to see a solid wall there now. Bright beams of morning light shimmer and dance against the light gray ceiling. I sit up and wince at the full blast of the morning sun through the windows. Irritated, I silently curse myself for forgetting to draw the curtains last night as I reach for the bottles.

Well, that didn’t work. As it turns out, a night’s sleep isn’t enough to make this new scene any more familiar. My room still looks alien, too different from what I’m used to. But the bags on the floor and my clothes that are hung in the closet tucked away in the corner, tell me that I’m definitely where I’m supposed to be, and I moved here at some point in time.

Which was yesterday. I still need some time to get all the gears running in my head.

I stand up and stretch a bit, taking a deep breath as I put on the new uniform. The artificial smell of detergent is strong, but the feeling of fresh clothes on my back is a good one. It feels like a school uniform, as it should, unlike the sweater vest and white blank t-shirt I wore yesterday. Not much different from what I used to wear. That goes for other things too: Excepting the people and the really extensive medical wing, this place seems more or less like any normal school…

…is what I keep telling myself. I shake my head, trying to bury the negative thoughts. I shove yesterday's old clothes in the laundry bag before noting the other laundry I had along. I make a mental note to gather them up for laundry once I get back.

As I join the thin crowd of students coming out of the dorms, I go over what happened yesterday in my head. The talk with Kenji, the short encounter with the Big Box Boy, Misha’s constant laughter and Shizune’s sweeping sign language gestures. And that hairband girl staring out of the window all the time. That’s four students I met and talked to and one more that sticks out in my head. Three of those I know the names of. Maybe they’re not that normal, but I’m sure the others are. Heck, Misha doesn’t even appear to have any serious issues, and Kenji was the epitome of class weirdo. Or perhaps people like them are what passes for normal around here?

I stop in my tracks, scanning the strings of students. Friends walking together, one wheelchair-bound student being pushed by a fellow girl. Three walk on crutches, several appear to be missing a variety of limbs. Some have canes, and others glasses or patches on their ears. Now that I think about it... What does constitute normal here? What do people do in their free time? Extracurricular stuff like sports, or literature, or whatever clubs Misha mentioned yesterday? Hanging out with their friends?

“Ahem.”

A voice behind me shakes me out of my thoughts as a student on a wheelchair pushes past me, seeming a bit miffed that I was blocking her way. Her friends shoot me some apologetic looks, to which I just smile as a reply. I pick up my pace so that doesn’t happen again.

Misha told me there were clubs - lots of them. Maybe the Big Box Boy was carrying something for his? Although doing that so late in the evening, either it’s dedication or he was just late about something. Now that reminds me, I did interrupt Misha when she mentioned the music club. I probably should have let her continue.

Shoving my hands in my pockets, I am about to hasten my pace when I spot a familiar face up ahead. It’s the hairband girl, staring at the gardens between the dormitories and the main faculty as she’s walking like the rest. Curious, I look at where she’s staring, but aside from a couple of trees and what appears to be a park bench next to a creek, I don’t see much. What’s she looking at? When I look back to her, she’s already gone.

*****

It is the second day of school, and I am again besieged by the dynamic duo, eager to keep up with what I assume is my integration into the daily machinations of the school. I don’t pay much attention to them though; all through class, the idea of going to the library lingers in my mind. Maybe I should go ahead and check out the clubs’ half of the building, see what I can do. If there is anything to do anyway, besides interrupting already ongoing projects with my sudden arrival. I am about to put my stuff away automatically when the teacher hands out worksheets, bringing my attention back to the here and now. “Now, everyone, get into groups, and do these as per the lessons covered.”

I frown at the paper in hand. Shoot, I should have at least figured out what they were talking about.

Almost immediately I’m swarmed by Misha and Shizune. The former decides to push our tables together and proceeds to not do anything, preferring to sharpen her pencil into oblivion. The latter, as my impression of her suggests, dives straight to work. I look at the paper in my hand and make a half-hearted attempt to finish it before giving up. I have no idea what the topic of the class was, and I don’t think the duo will tell me.

With nothing else in mind, I turn to tap Shizune on her shoulder. “Hey, Shizune,” I ask her, “What are the clubs up to? Seems like they’re rather busy.”

Shizune stares at me blankly before turning to glare at Misha. Oh right, she’s deaf. I want to kick myself for forgetting that, but it didn’t seem as if it bothered her. It takes a moment for the pink-haired girl to take the hint, then she bursts out laughing. “Ahaha~! Sorry, sorry, Shicchan~! Is there something you want from me? Oh~ … I see! Hicchan, what was it?”

I repeat my question, and she translates it to Shizune and relays Shizune’s reply to me. “Hmm … good question, Hicchan~.” My first thought is that she means she doesn’t know, which is worrying. Maybe I’m being negative about it. Well, anyway, Misha, please don’t prove me right.”

What?

Is that Shizune speaking? How automatic is Misha’s translation for her to not realize what she’s saying? Just as she finishes, Misha immediately realizes what she has said and pouts at Shizune as if wanting to complain when the deaf girl fires another volley. Confused, she fumbles about to translate. “Everyone is encouraged to join a club. I remembered your question yesterday and asked Saki about it. She said they’re busy setting up the stage for their performances, and you could go ask to help them out if you want.”

Okay, that sounds like a good idea. Something to do, at last. I nod in agreement. “Alright, thanks. Sounds like a good idea.” I pick up my pen to continue working when I realize something. “Wait what? A performance? A stage?”

Misha nods energetically. “Yep~! There’s a festival coming up~, and everyone’s busy setting up their stands and shops! You transferred at a busy time, so you should help out, Hicchan~! We really need the extra manpower!”

So that stage I found yesterday belongs to the music club. “Sure, what’s the festival about?”

She stops, before breaking into laughter. “Wahahaha~! I don’t know, Hicchan. The truth is that it’s a local event, and I’m not from here, so …” She turns to Shizune, signing desperately to ask her to bail her out. The girl adjusts her glasses in an oddly grandiose flourish and starts signing fast, sending Misha into complete confusion. When Shizune’s done Misha turns back to me. She hesitates for a moment before shrugging unconvincingly, puffing her chest with a disproportionate amount of pride. “Um … oh well, who cares?!” Her reply is a few too many tones louder than usual.

I see some heads turning our way. “Not so loud …”

She doesn’t pick up the cue. “Human beings evolve with each generation! The ideals and beliefs behind a festival will inevitably change with time! Now it’s about delicious fried food and amusing little games you play to win prizes! Hahahaha~!”

“AHEM.”

The teacher clears his throat very loudly in an attempt to get her attention, batting his long wooden pointer against his other palm like a baton. Misha, understandably, stifles a yelp and quickly shuts up. Shizune appears completely unfazed, brushing off the situation without care. I shake my head and go back to my worksheet. My question remains unanswered, but I can ask again later.

Or so I thought, as Misha’s now continuing with a loud whisper. “We are in the middle of class, so we should start working. That’s right, Shicchan~! What? That’s right~! Hicchan, are you asking because you’re interested in joining a club?”

It could’ve been my eyes playing tricks, but I think I manage to spot suspicious glances exchanged between the two of them. Misha’s tone has definitely changed, although it does with every other word anyway, what with her taking the role of two persons in her head.

“Yeah, thinking about it,” I reply nonchalantly, hoping they’ll stop.

At the edge of my vision, the dynamic duo continue signing among each other again. I should just leave them be for now, for real - there’s an assignment that needs to be done. At least, I would be doing it, if not for something happening behind me. I spot that dark-haired girl from yesterday standing up and slipping out without so much a word from her, nor any protest from the teacher. What is she doing? Why is no one stopping her? The others around her didn’t even flinch.

“Hicchan, what’s wrong?”

Huh? Oh Misha’s talking to me. I shake my head. “No, nothing.” I could ask later.

Shizune signs something, and Misha immediately translates. “Okay~! Well, as we were asking, you don’t have any plans for lunch today, do you?”

Wait, they were asking that? No wonder. Well, I don’t exactly have plans to go with for lunch, and out of all the people I know here, only these two girls are amicable enough for me to consider. As for the books I wanted to pick up from the library, if there are any that interest me, I can do it later. I shrug. “Not really.”

“Do you want to have lunch together then?”

Huh. It’s not often I get asked to tag along for lunch, even if it’s just courtesy. “Sure.”

Shizune signs something. “Yay~! Wahaha~! Okay, Hicchan~! Perfect!”

I stare at them as they go back to their worksheets and continue to work on mine.

The rest of the class passes by uneventfully. The girl with the long hair never came back. Owing to some complications due to not knowing the subject, there’s little time between me finishing my assignment and the teacher telling us to stop. Shizune looks more than slightly annoyed that we only just barely managed to finish up our work in time. I don’t really care. It’s not as if it’s a contest or anything.

Soon enough the bell rings, and I reach over to pick up my bag, quietly following the girls to the cafeteria.

*****

I’ve noticed it before, but it’s kind of funny how Misha always moves her hands around and signs not only everything she says, but also everything anyone else is saying at any given time. Obviously it must be so Shizune can understand it and is not left out. I stay silent most of the time as we make our way downstairs, occasionally pondering how she could be doing that so instinctively.

Her eyes dart back and forth between Misha’s hands and mine. I don’t know who I’m supposed to be looking at, if I want to talk to Shizune. I could talk to Misha, but that doesn’t seem right. In a normal world, you would look in the direction of the person you want to talk to, but here, Shizune can’t hear me. However, it would be disrespectful to talk to her only through Misha. Then again, isn’t that what she’s doing?

No, she’s looking at me alright. I don’t know if I can get used to this kind of communication, with the deaf-mute.

“It’s not really a contest,” I say, “because contests are competitions over a prize. If there’s no prize on the line, then it’s not a contest.”

Shizune’s eyes flash dangerously with a competitive glare. We were talking about how she seemed irritated at the fact that we barely finished our assignment in the given time back in class, to which she seemed to take offense. She glares at me, as if surprised that I’m challenging her! But I’m not, really. I was just pointing it out to her.

Maybe that is sort of a contest for her? I sigh, and take another sip of water. Either it’s the atmosphere, or I don’t really like the food here.

She quickly signs something to Misha.

“Are you sure, Hicchan?”

“Very sure,” I reply offhandedly. I just want to get out of this conversation.

“Hahaha! You’re wrong, Hicchan, because~! I don’t want to be the slowest in class. Therefore, what’s on the line is my confidence in my abilities, and the prize is the satisfaction of proving them. Wahahaha~!”

Shizune pushes her glasses up by the bridge in a very matter-of-fact way. Ah, screw it. Best way to shut down an unwanted argument, in my experience, is to deprive them of the benefit of a reply. So I stare to the side, leaving the two to their own devices. I can sense her staring daggers at me, but I just wave it off. I already regret agreeing to have lunch with them. I pick up the bun and start eating it, avoiding their eyes while thinking of another topic. Failing that, I suppose a place to go to for lunch without them next time is a better option. The summer sun shines brightly outside, and students are frolicking in the grasses hanging around with their lunches.

Outside, huh? Well, that’s an idea. I used to like eating outside; in fact, I did that often in my old school, near the back of the building. It was a good spot, but I didn’t find it until near the end of my first year, and when second year rolled in it was taken by some other folks. But hanging out outside on my own doesn’t feel right.

Maybe not. Not now, unless I can find someone who I can get along with.

I look around the cafeteria. With what seems like half of the student body outside, the cafeteria is surprisingly not packed. Most of those who are actually here are crowded around the serving tables. Also, I think it’s just me, but it’s somewhat surprising to see the sheer disproportionate distribution of girls compared to guys; I see only two guys in this entire hall, and they’re chilling by themselves in the corner.

At first glance I don’t see anyone I recognize. I am about to give up when I see the hairband girl sitting in the far corner, far away from the windows. She’s sitting alone, quietly eating her servings.

Like the dark-haired girl from before, I wonder about her for a moment. Is she like me, someone who feels as if she’s still lost and too far behind to catch up? The dark-haired girl seemed isolated from others - maybe not out of her own volition, but I can’t tell unless I ask. Then again, her scars might be something that unnerves her. They look quite severe the few moments she slips up enough for them to be seen. The hairband girl, though... I’ve only had a couple of chances to observe her in the two days I have been here. She seems listless at best, and I can’t help but be curious as to why.

Because it feels as if we’re both in the same situation.

The hairband girl looks around cautiously at the people passing her. At least, I think it’s cautiously, because she’s too far away for me to discern her expression. I can tell that some of the people who pass by her seem unnerved by her gaze. I pick up the hard bread and start biting it down when she stands up with her tray, ready to leave.

At that moment, just as she’s passing by the door, a girl runs into her, crashing everything onto her uniform. I can’t quite hear what they’re saying, but the offending girl seems to be trying to apologize to her. The hairband girl though, after a moment of silence, simply puts the tray on a nearby table and walks out.

I put my stuff down to stand up. I want to go take a close--

“So, Hicchan?”

Huh? Misha’s talking to me again. “You wanted to know about the clubs and stuff, right? Right~?”

Ugh. I sit back down. I want to go there, but I can’t just stand up and leave. And Shizune’s signing something. “Right, Shicchan! I guess it makes sense to ask first.”

Exchanging little nods of confirmation, they turn to face me again, and Misha straightens her posture as if she’s about to deliver a speech. “Hicchan~, do you have anything you’re really interested in? As in, right now~?”

I peek around them. The crowd has largely dispersed now. Alright, fine. I can ask the people over there later. “I used to play soccer, but I wasn’t really into it. Even if I was, I was told not to anymore.”

Misha crosses her arms thoughtfully, a finger tapping her puffy cheeks. “Yesterday, you said you had some interests in music, right~?”

I shrug. “Sort of?”

Misha tilts her head, confused. “You don’t feel like it anymore?”

“Not really.” I pick up a grape and chew on it. “I didn’t do anything serious with it. Used to play the guitar and that’s about it.”

“Ah~.”

The two quiet down. The conversation ends on an awkward note; Shizune slightly irritated Misha flustered about how to keep going after breaching what I assume she thought was a sensitive topic. It’s not, really, but they did hold me back when I was going to check things out, and I’m a bit miffed about that. I turn to the corner of the cafeteria again, hoping to see her one more time. She didn’t seem to return to put away her tray, which was left behind on a table whose occupants had no more idea than I on what to do with it. In the middle of my attempted search, I notice the two girls are now looking in the same direction. “Hicchan~,” Misha asks, turning to me, “who are you looking for?”

I shake my head. “No, it’s nothing.”

She breaks into a grin. “Wahahaha~! You found a girl you like, or something, right? Right~? Hicchan you’re naughty!”

“What, no! I was just curious. There was just something happening over there.”

“Oh, so that’s why~.” Misha looks at Shizune, before she turns back to me. “Wait~, something happened?”

How did they not hear the distant murmur of the crowd that gathered there earlier? “A girl was returning her tray, and somebody crashed into her,” I say. “I think she got angry about it, left her tray on the table and left.”

Shizune stands up the moment Misha completes her translation and starts marching over. Misha hastily tags along, leaving me alone. I stay where I am to watch the situation on the other side as one of them volunteers to throw away the hairband girl’s abandoned tray as the duo asks the witnesses about what happened.

Shizune signs something as they finish their investigation and return to me. “The music hall is in the other wing of the school, Hicchan~!” Misha translates. “If you want to head over today, you can go in the evening, after classes.

I nod, thank them, and finish up the carton of apple juice as they sit back down. Eventually, the bell announces that lunchtime is over, and we all put our trays on the tray return counter. I watch them signing to each other, before making a mental note to perhaps find dinner elsewhere tonight. The meatloaf has gotten stuck in my teeth far too often.
Last edited by Talmar on Sun Apr 26, 2020 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
"They say, the best way to improve yourself is to believe in who you are. You are but a blip in the lives of many you pass by, so why worry? Be yourself - life is too short to worry about the minor altercations here and there.

"So, get out there. Break the chains that holds you back - and embrace the freedom ahead of you." - me

1003powerloki
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:11 am

Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by 1003powerloki » Fri Apr 24, 2020 1:49 pm

I been waiting for this update, honestly the premise has me hooked for the possibilities

So we come to the divergence point, and I can't wait to see what you have planned :D
Achivements 1)Getting the scene 'Slow Recovery' without a walktrough. 2)Getting every good ending on first try. 3)Playing without spoilers. 4)Playing without knowing the game was an Eroge.
Endings in order: Emi(GE) Emi(BE) Shizune(GE) Shizune(BE) ACT1(BE) Rin(GE) Rin(BE) Rin(NE) Lilly(GE) Lilly(NE) Hanako(GE) Hanako(BE) Hanako(NE)

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Talmar
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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Talmar » Sun Apr 26, 2020 8:14 am

I been waiting for this update, honestly the premise has me hooked for the possibilities

So we come to the divergence point, and I can't wait to see what you have planned :D
Thanks for staying with me the entire three months I was off! I was sort of worried that my story will be on the lower end of the strata, but I really appreciate your support. I have already 14 scenes in the offline document written up, 5 of them plus the prologue here in this Renai post, and I'm just sort of slowly getting through them all for grammar checks and stuff like that. I learned my lesson from the first time around!

Still. I'm glad that I'm entertaining you, as well as anyone else who read this without commenting (I don't mind the lurking; numbers of views increasing is enough for me), and I do hope you'd enjoy the initially slow ride because later on it will get exciting! At least, how it is in my notes.
"They say, the best way to improve yourself is to believe in who you are. You are but a blip in the lives of many you pass by, so why worry? Be yourself - life is too short to worry about the minor altercations here and there.

"So, get out there. Break the chains that holds you back - and embrace the freedom ahead of you." - me

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Talmar
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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Talmar » Tue May 26, 2020 5:53 am

Scene 6: Tryout

When we get back to class for the rest of the afternoon, the hairband girl’s already back in her seat, now wearing the school’s girls’ jacket on top of her white blouse. She’s still listlessly staring out of the window. I ponder for a moment asking her what’s up or how she is after that mess in the cafeteria, but Mutou decides to stroll in earlier than expected, forcing me to get back to my seat.

He quickly seizes control of the class, and I push the notion to a later date. All I’ve got in my mind is checking out the clubhouse wing. Perhaps the annex that wasn’t visible from the front courtyard I found yesterday is it?

***

When the last bell of the final class rings, I pack up and get ready to leave.

Misha reminds me. “Be sure to ask them any way you can help with the festival, Hicchan~! It’d help us all a lot~!” I nod an acknowledgement as I leave.

Turns out, all I need to do is go down a floor, and turn around the corner, passing by the second year students. Up on the walls are signs stating the directions of various specialized classrooms and study halls such as art rooms, science labs and the likes. Well, I never really visited the second years’ floor to notice, so it makes sense for me to have missed them. As I pass by the younger students on their way out of the building, I spot the library doors.

Hmm. Maybe not now. I can check later.

The contrast between the main faculty and its clubhouse wing, interior wise, is not much; there’s still the functional tone to everything. But there’s a different wall paint, marking where this annex starts. Embarking yet again on my explorations, I walk down the halls of every floor, quietly scanning the activities inside. In almost all used classrooms, on hallway-mounted bulletin boards are decorations, posters and various little trinkets, made and pasted over the years as clubs of various hobbies and activities grew and faded. I even spot a club dedicated to the study of Shinto mythology, sitting at the back of one of the hallways of the first floor.

I guess Yamaku used to be way larger in the past. The classrooms appear to be planned to be just that, classrooms. I guess the number of intakes slowed down some time ago, so they rebranded them into club rooms somewhere along the line. But even then, with the sheer amount of evidence of countless activities here, there’s no way a mere couple of hundred of students can make use of all of them. As I walk down the halls, I guess that Yamaku used to hold, what, at least a thousand? Even combining the junior high and elementary schools the Nurse mentioned this institution having, I don’t think it could amount to the numbers of things I’ve seen here. Even my old school didn’t have niche clubs like mythology study, or occult investigations. Aren’t they just manga plot devices? But here they are, evidence of their existence among the many relics of years past and at one point with their own classrooms.

And all of those classrooms are at least busy with students in their still living clubs, working on things they want to present in the festivals.

The astronomy club has built a rudimentary celestial sphere. An anthology club is setting up stalls with plywood as boxes of books sit in the corner, of which I assume they have printed for sale. I can hear the distant noise of a printing press. Does Yamaku even have a newspaper club? And with how much equipment they have, it has to be among the most important organizations on the campus; I mean, desk-sized printers running on full automatic while their members are busy writing the next edition. I nearly collide with a journalist running out of the door, entirely missing the fact I’m there. Even in the far back, the least populated associations are hectic with activities. The hallways are filled with hurrying and loaded students carrying cardboard, plywood, hammers and nails, stapler guns, up and down, here and there.

And here I am, strolling as if I have nothing to do.

I’ll be honest, I feel really useless walking around with my bag over my shoulders. I definitely manage to attract some curious eyes, probably wondering what this Third Year student is doing out here and not helping his club’s activities and stall. I wave those thoughts off, reminding myself that I’m here to check out the music club, and simply finding where the hell it is. But what if it doesn’t pique my interest? What if they chose to do a different genre than what I’m capable of or helping with?

I have no backup plan, do I?

And sitting in the library all week will just make me feel guilty, seeing the activity here.

When I’m done surveying the upper floors of this wing, I descend further into the lower floors, at the same level as the cafeteria. Here I spot a set of double doors unlike others I’ve seen in the upper floors. I could hear various noises of instruments emanating from the inside, and check the door one more time. It has a hastily written note stating in large letters, “Music Club in Practice - DO NOT DISTURB!” tacked on it. Should I? I’m not sure if I should be interrupting whatever is going on in there, especially after I hear someone shouting directions and orders. Is there an orchestra? Not something I’m fond of, but I could try to get involved.

Ah, screw this. I’m here, and I should make it worth it. With a deep breath, I gingerly push the center of the doors in with my fingertips.

Inside is a somewhat strange sight. It’s as if someone has taken two science labs, torn down the wall between them and removed all tables except for the instructor’s. In their stead are groups of students, each practicing as a team in a designated area with wide varieties of instruments. Or at least I think they’re practicing; some of them seem to be cleaning instead, and others are reading sheets of papers and discussing with their teammates. At the front of it all, by what I assume to be the instructor’s table, is a tall woman in a teal-colored duster, surrounded by a retinue of girls, two of which stand out from the rest. One has light-chestnut colored hair, and holds a thick wooden cane and has an imposing aura of authority. The other is a shorter and fragile looking girl, thin as a beanpole, with startlingly white skin and hair, tied in a long braid and red irises. Albinism and anorexia maybe? The tall woman is carrying a clipboard, occasionally looking up at the club members in front of her.

I push the door inward a little bit more, but it then betrays me by creaking loudly as the bottom scrapes against the floor. Grimacing, I look up to see the tall woman and her retinue alerted to my presence. We stare at each other awkwardly for a moment, before she breaks the ice. “Oh hello there. What is it?”

I let go of the door handle. “Okay, uh, hi. I’m Hisao Nakai, and I’m a new transfer student here. I was thinking I could help you guys in some ways, maybe.” I omit the actual reason why I’m here, sensing it would be … impolite.

The chestnut hair girl looks at me in bemusement. “Eh, a transfer?”

I nod. “Yesterday actually.”

The tall woman sets down the clipboard and asks, “Well, we could always use the extra pair of hands. Some of us are out--”

“Before we start though,” the albino girl in her retinue interjects, bobbing up and down as she prances over between me and the one with the cane. Her energy doesn’t seem to match her size. “Since you introduced yourself, we’ll do our part! I’m Rika, Rika Katayama, and the one over there is Saki Enomoto, the class rep of 3-4.”

Saki taps her heavy cane on the ground. “I’m also the president of the music club.” She steps aside to introduce the teacher, who smiles. “And here is Mrs. Sakamoto.”

I take a moment to register. “Uh, okay.”

The tall woman laughs and sits down in her seat. “I’ll leave it to you two then. Just do it outside so you don’t disturb the rest!” she says as the rest of her retinue follows her, leaving Rika and Saki to take me outside. “So,” Rika starts, apparently quite enthusiastic by the look on her face as she looks up at me. “What brought you here?”

“Here?”

“The music club. What brought you here?”

Ah. Well, I can’t say that I’m here out of the need to pass the time, can I? I scratch my temple for a moment to think of something, while the two girls stare at me. Eventually I relent and fall back to my usual excuse. “Just used to be part of the music club before I got here. Figured I could do something with what I know.”

Saki nods thoughtfully. “So, what did you use to play?”

“The tuba, when I was part of the orchestra.” Well, for a time anyway. I split off from them with Takumi later that year, and we ended up on our own. But I could say I was pretty good at playing the tuba at one point, and it seems like a lot of the students in there use classical instruments.

They look at each other, seemingly transmitting thoughts wordlessly, before Rika turns to me while Saki pulls out a notebook from her sling bag. “Ah, that,” Rika says, uncertain. “Well, um, we’re kinda full on that role …”

Ah. Figured that might be the case.

“Hey, Saki,” she says as she turns to her friend, her hand on her hip. “He could help out with the stage. We really need more helping hands.”

Oh right, the teacher did mention that. But I’m not really sure I can help out; I could barely lift a heavy box on my own. Saki, though, seems to be on my side, looking at me, and then at Rika, the latter with a squint. “I was thinking of having him help out with the instrument transport. There’s only two guys on that list who volunteered.”

…And the alternative doesn’t seem much better anyway. “Well, Hisao,” Rika says, turning back to me. “Right now we got two things for you. Which one can you do?”

Hmm. Usually when I’m stumped for a choice between two things, I would start doing the ‘eeny meeny miny moe’ on two fingers, and pick whichever. But I don’t feel like I want to do that in front of them, not when it’s the first time we meet. I bite my lip and raise my hand in defeat. “Well … I dunno, really. I can help with either, but, … not sure which.”

Saki laughs. “Hahaha, it’s fine. If you’re fine with working outside, then go with Rika. But I’ll really appreciate it if you can help my end.”

Rika looks at her, crossed. “Hey! Where do you think your guys and girls are going to perform, huh?”

“You already have a lot of people working with you, Rika. Especially for a Second Year.”

She pinches her forehead in irritation. “Alright, fine. You’re dealing with the next time Itsuki has another breakdown, alright?”

Huh? Breakdown? Saki appears somewhat worried for a moment, before composing herself. “It’s fine, I can manage.”

Rika’s shoulders drop in defeat, before sighing to herself as she goes back inside the hall. Saki looks at her, before turning to me, looking somewhat sorry. “I really didn’t want to do that,” she starts, saying, putting the notebook in her sling bag, “but my department had been asking for help for a while. Hope you can help out, Hisao.”

I nod. “I’ll try my best.”

“Great!” She turns toward the hallway and starts walking. “Come on, we’re heading to the sports hall.”

I quickly tag along, matching her careful pace. I really don’t want to intervene with their argument back there, but I feel like I owe something in the result. Rika was probably enthusiastic at the prospect of another pair of hands to help, but when Saki managed to win her over, she looked really tired for a second, before vanishing back into the room. In all honesty I’m somewhat glad I don’t have to work outside. I still feel guilty though.

“Hisao right?”

Saki decides to speak up, alerting me. “Or do you want me to call you Nakai-san?”

I shrug. “First name basis seems to be the norm here,” I reply, uncertainly, ”so just Hisao.”

“Alright.” The impact of her cane rhythmically reverberates throughout the hallway as we turn a corner to the right. “Hope you don’t mind having to carry a lot of boxes.”

“Like I said, it’s fine.”

“So I take it you’re in class 3-3?”

“Huh?” The subject change takes me by surprise. “Yeah, I’m part of that class.”

“How’s school so far?”

“Eh, it’s fine.” I guess.

She looks at me, unconvinced. “Define, fine.”

“Hmm…” I’ll be honest, I didn’t think much about the school. For most of the time here I’m on autopilot mode. “Sort of what I expected and at the same time not.”

“That’s…. interesting.”

“I mean, I was told it’s a special school for the… um…” Uh, what should I use? Disabled sounds disrespectful, but special as an alternative is no better. Either one doesn’t sound the slightest bit polite, but I have to say something. “…Never mind. You get what I mean.”

She looks at me again, but this time with a look of incredulity. She doesn’t say a word, though. Did I make a mistake? I mean, surely, but maybe this one is excusable? I mentally kick myself for not thinking straight while she stays silent for a little while before picking it up. “It’s been only yesterday and today, right, Hisao? I can understand.”

“Yeah …”

“Just a bit of advice,” she says calmly. “It’s fine to talk about our disabilities. After all, it’s just a trait.” She looks at me. “Right?”

I mean, is it? I nod quickly, so I can change the subject; it’s beginning to unnerve me. “Yeah, I suppose so.”

We walk silently, unsure of what to say. Maybe that’s just me, but she did just approach me like a train hurtling at light speed. I never really gave much thought to my heart since I first came here, only indirectly reminded by the Nurse’s warnings, among other things. And here is this new girl I barely even know just telling me to be upfront about it. But I don’t want to.

I just don’t. It’s… painful.

Who is she to tell me that I’m fine to talk about it?

She doesn’t know me.

Just like that lot back home. They see me as an artifact to respect and stow me away in a deep dark cellar for the rest of eternity.

Shut up.

Go ahead and say why you’re who you are now. An object. In permanent stasis, far away from everything you loved.

I bite my lips. Shut. Up.

After a moment of no intrusive thoughts, I sigh. We reach a door that leads us outside. The rhythmic clack of Saki’s cane quickly occupies my mind as she leads me behind the physiotherapy center, where the path splits into two; to the right is another entrance to the main building, and behind us are the dormitories and the stage. To the left though, the path leads to a large building, built in similar fashion, but windowless. I note the sign above its large double doors, with the “Sports Hall” written in large white letters.

“So, that’s the building, huh?” I comment as she starts on the stairs. Saki takes each step with considerable deliberation, as if being careful to not overstep and fall.

She nods. “Mhm.”

“It looks pretty big. Why didn’t you guys use this one instead?”

She sighs sadly. “Well, we tried. Even with the student council president’s pleas, we couldn’t convince the school administration to let us use it.”

Huh. “Why?”

“They never mentioned it.” She shrugs. “Besides, the festival is over there, so it’s pretty far away from where most visitors will come.” Saki points in the direction of the field near the dormitories, where I can see several stalls being set up. They weren’t there yesterday. Either they had that set up while the classes were ongoing, or I was dumb enough to only notice the stage. By the looks from this far, I can see that it’s right in the center of things.

“Hey,” I hear Saki calling me. “Come on, hurry up.” She’s already by the doors, waiting for me.

“Coming, coming.”

She takes her time to open the large double doors of the hall, as if making a grand entrance, pushing both doors with her hands. There’s no one inside to cheer though; it’s empty and dark, and the only light comes from the high windows near the ceiling, bathing the room in the evening light. Inside, it seems similar to any other sports hall; basketball court painted, along with its related paraphernalia, and bleachers flanking it.

On the far wall though, is a large raised stage, complete with curtains and what looks like a backstage, the gaps behind the curtains acting as entrances. With a backstage like that, I’m wondering why the music club is sitting in that classroom back inside. Saki continues walking, and I follow. The rhythmic reverberations of the cane echo louder here. “Hey, Saki,” I speak up.

“Hmm?”

“How does the music club work here?”

“Oh that?” She looks back at me for a moment before turning ahead. “Before it became what it is, there used to be various bands formed independently of each other. That was when Yamaku was a lot larger than it is now, or so the seniors said. Somewhere along the line, the administration said it was a mess having to manage a dozen different budgets, and something had to be done about that. Guess what they did?”

“They merged the bands?”

She nods as she effortlessly starts climbing the side stairs onto the stage. “You got that right. We’re really just a loose group of bands all lumped together. Hardly a real club at all.”

“And you’re the president because…?”

“Well, nobody wanted the position. I didn’t mind taking it.”

“You’re already the class representative though?”

She gives me a smirk and pushes aside a curtain as we approach the backstage entrances. “I don’t mind.” Saki then turns to the darkness in the back, and calls out. “Hey, Minami! Are you there?”

Nothing but silence greets her. She sighs. “Where could she have gone …”

Curious, I go ahead of her, spying a set of light switches on the wall, and quickly turn them all on. With a loud clack, the lights above light up, blinding me temporarily. The backstage is a mess of stuff; various boxes are piled up at the back, and instruments of various kinds are arranged near the entrance. And last but not least, it’s dusty in here. “Wow,” is all I can say, observing the room.

Saki ventures forth, scanning around. “Well, she’s not here, so I guess you and I need to do it for her.”

“Any idea where she could’ve gone?” Part of me wants some sort of assistance, and Saki looks like she depends on the cane for mobility, so I don’t want her to do the heavy lifting.

She shakes her head. “She told me that she’d be here, cataloging everything. But all I see here is her bag.” Saki points to a pink bag sitting on top of a wooden crate in the corner.

I don’t like the look of this. Uncertainly I look back at the sports hall behind me through the backstage entrance, hoping I can sneak out, but the distance is a bit too much and she’ll notice it in no time. I turn back to her. “Maybe she went back for a drink?”

“Maybe. Oh well, come on then; Rika’s waiting. If you don’t mind, Hisao?” She reaches down to pick up a small box of smaller instruments. “Can you carry the drum set over there?”

***

In the end, this Minami girl never came back. The next few hours are the most amount of labor I have done since I was discharged from the hospital. I did realize that I underestimated my strength somewhat; drum sets are heavy, but I can manage to carry them in one trip. But the first run had me needing a lot of stops so I could carry on. Saki on the other hand politely waited for me to pick up my pace, never trying to rush me or anything. While she did say that disabilities might just be a trait, she’s a careful one. Especially when I haven’t told her why I’m here.

Every now and then, I feel as if I should tell her. And every time, I hold back, telling myself that if I did, she’ll tell me to drop the job and let her do it herself. Part of me doesn’t want that, seeing the heavy equipment in the backstage and the distance between the hall and the festival. The other part of me feels a bit selfish; I want to do something, or I’d feel useless. And being useless will just let me slip back into those times.

When we arrive at the construction site, I take my time to observe the stalls. They’re numerous, as if each and every class and club has their own place. I wonder for a moment how that would work; since each student has their clubs and classes. Do they run back and forth between their classes’ and clubs’ stalls? That’s a bit too much. I can’t do that.

Just as I set down the last box behind the stage construction site, I let out a sigh of relief after its weight is released from my arms. Saki, who’s nearby, notices. “A bit too heavy?” she asks.

I nod, exhausted and take a nearby unopened water bottle for a drink as I sit down against a box. Blessed be those who distribute water.

Saki looks at the evening sun, and then at her phone. “By the way,” she says without turning to me, “where are you going for dinner?”

Huh? Now’s not the time. I shrug as a response. “Cafeteria, I guess?”

“What?” I hear someone saying behind me. It’s a boy, who looks at me with an eyebrow raised. “Really?”

“I mean, I’m not really fond of cafeteria food,” I start saying, “but …”

“Hey, Jun!” Saki speaks up. “Got a paper or something?”

“Wait a sec.” He puts down the toolbox he’s holding and makes his way around the mess, to the retaining wall, where a line of bags sit.

“Jun?” I ask.

“Jun Yamasaki.” Saki puts down the guitar rack away and sits down. “But yeah, cafeteria would not really be my choice if I were you. You know the town down the hill?”

I recall seeing glimpses of it on the way here yesterday morning, but other than that, I didn’t pay much attention. I shrug. “Drove through it, but haven’t been down there yet.”

“There’s a couple of convenience stores down there. They prob--”

Jun returns with a notebook and a pen, which he gives to Saki. Unceremoniously he quickly leaves with the toolbox, while she looks at the pen, as if wondering whether she should chase after him. She instead shakes her head, and starts writing, continuing as she goes. “So, basically, down there they sell some ready-cooked meals, which I think it’s a bit better than the options in the cafeteria.” She rips out a piece of paper and hands it over to me. “So, here it is.”

The paper has a crude map drawn with arrows leading to something. Probably the store she’s talking about. “Thanks, Saki,” I reply. “But yeah, I dunno if I wanted to go back to the cafeteria, so this is actually great.”

She smiles. “Glad to be of help.”

From behind the stage curtains, I hear Rika suddenly clapping her hands loudly, calling out. “Alright, everyone! It’s getting a bit late now, so I appreciate all your help today! But for now, you’re all dismissed for the evening! Thank you everyone!”

I look at Saki. “Well,” she starts saying, “I suppose that’s that. You’re good, Hisao?”

With a nod I stand up and stretch my arms a bit. That short rest feels somewhat enough for a trip down to town. I remember it being rather short.

She reaches out for her cane. “That’s good. Thanks, Hisao, for the help.”

“No need, it’s fine.” I wave it off. “At least I can be of help in some way with the festival.”

I look at her as she walks back to the school building. Maybe I should reach out and ask where she’s going, but at the same time, I don’t want to push it. With that, I pick up my bag and follow the crowd down the street.
"They say, the best way to improve yourself is to believe in who you are. You are but a blip in the lives of many you pass by, so why worry? Be yourself - life is too short to worry about the minor altercations here and there.

"So, get out there. Break the chains that holds you back - and embrace the freedom ahead of you." - me

1003powerloki
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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by 1003powerloki » Tue May 26, 2020 12:01 pm

Here we are.
I almost expected Hisao to feel worse after having to lift all that, but mostly his depression brings in negative thoughs
The amount of OCs trew me for a loop, but we have Rika ans Saki to feel more familiar and expand the setting.
and a nice reference to the astronomy club. Good stuff, nice chapter
I still have to watch K-on for this fic though
Achivements 1)Getting the scene 'Slow Recovery' without a walktrough. 2)Getting every good ending on first try. 3)Playing without spoilers. 4)Playing without knowing the game was an Eroge.
Endings in order: Emi(GE) Emi(BE) Shizune(GE) Shizune(BE) ACT1(BE) Rin(GE) Rin(BE) Rin(NE) Lilly(GE) Lilly(NE) Hanako(GE) Hanako(BE) Hanako(NE)

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Oddball
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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Oddball » Sat May 30, 2020 7:44 pm

I went back and re-read your opening.

Actually, the opening was so different that I'd forgotten I'd even read any of the story before until I scrolled down and saw a comment I left.

You have a very different take on Hisao. In the game he felt more depressed and bitter, but here he seems just straight up pissed off at the world. It's not a bad take, it just feels off from the Hisao we know. I suppose we can chalk that up to him actually having a friend that stuck around and "rubbing it in" rather than him just being left to his own devises to sulk like in the game. Either way, it does have the effect of making him come across as less likable.

I'm curious as to what you're going to do with this. It's not poorly written or anything, it just has a Hisao that's desperately in need of some growth.

(Adding playing guitar to his hobbies seems like a cheap way to get him involved with the story faster.)
Not Dead Yet

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