Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

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brythain
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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by brythain » Mon Mar 30, 2020 10:32 pm

Oh lovely! So unreal especially in these terrible times, so happy-making. Ah, Mutou/Akira... one of those ideas which needs growing.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

ProfAllister
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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by ProfAllister » Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:38 am

Well, it has certainly been a year. If you've been paying close attention tot he news, you may have picked up hints of things that have kept me away from being more active here.

Seeing as we're almost past the point where I can use the "Christmas in July!" excuse, I should follow through on my promise to comment on all of the Secret Santa entries.

So, without further ado, let us bid "Adieu" to the past year's Christmas Celebration (almost in time for this year's!)

'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

A lovely little interlude. Not a huge fan of that interpretation of the Hakamichi parents, but it's a common one; can't blame you there. The nice kind of sweetnees that's great to read wrapped in blankets in front of a fireplace.

Hothouse

This reads like the demented love child of Brythain and Doomish. I mean that as a compliment.

Christmas Double Date

A cute little story. If feels a little forced, but not terribly so...

Next Step

When I wrote the prompt, I felt that it was 50/50 odds that it would be an Emi story, simply since she's the most associated with "unconquered", being the one who overcomes her problems through sheer grit and willpower.

That being said, it's a very nice angle, and very well executed. Much appreciated.

Dreams By Firelight

Too short; didn't read.

Total Eclipse of the Heart

A fun bit of fluff, if a bit of a shaggy dog story. Which, to be honest, given the context, was probably the point. And still very amused how much this years drawing makes it look like I had my thumb on the scales.

A Katawa Christmas Carol

A fun take on the prompt, and a nice gradual escalation from things being a little bit off to getting downright bizarre. I kinda feel the ending bit was a bit of a cliche at this point, but still good for a chuckle.

Writing on the Wall

Well, we had discussed this before you wrote it, and I stick with my initial recommendation that you should have had Emi realise Misha's affection before Misha did, and break it off - both because it's more exquisite torment, and because it better reflects Emi's own issues with closeness.

And, for the record, when I saw Crud's prompt, my first reaction was that he isn't one of the individuals I would have pegged for requesting straight-up smut, so I side with you on that one.

One criticism, though: "How is she so good at this?" is a smut trope that I'm not a fan of in general, but it especially doen't work here. Consider, for contrast, easting a meal, or watching a movie. "How does she do that so well?" is the sort of thought that requires some removal from the experience to consider. Normally, this is someone who is a professional/extremely versed in the material, or someone who isn't really enjoying it (or perhaps trying not to enjoy it). None of those seem to apply to this Emi, which makes the thought rather jarring.

A Winter at Home

A bit unusual, but the prompt wanted something rather unusual. And definitely a good meditation when you get caught up in the little things.

untitled

A fun little look at a possible domestic future. You seem to have caught the spirit of the characters, and paint a compelling picture of events.

SX Entry

Silly fun. Not much more to be said about it. Not that that's a bad thing.

Christmas Confessions

On the other side of the coin, this is a prompt practically begging for smut, written by someone with a reputation for smut, but no smut. Decent (mostly) wholesome fun, if perhaps a bit standard. Nevertheless, a nice entry.

A Festive Flashback

While the whole story is there, it still feels somewhat incomplete. Like it needed more of an Act 2 or something. What's there is nice, but still, somehow feels incomplete.

The Secret Santa

Long, convoluted, and fun. Not much to complain about here - a stock plot, but still good for entertainment.

untitled

An interesting piece. Sparse and somber, but jsut enough detail to give it some weight. Not bad.

An Unseen Play

A tricky prompt, but handled surprisingly well, all things considered. Definitely one of the prompts I'm glad I didn't pull. :p

Winterhome

As always, we've got brythain at his brythain-est. There's a certian spirit, a je ne sais quoi to your works that just gives them a different flavor from most of the other writings around here. It's fascinating, really.

Almost Home For Christmas

Cute and fun. Haven't read any of the recent Saki routes, so can't compare it to much besides themocaw's Saki. But, for what it is, it's nice.

The Waiting Games

I'm a sucker for this kind of framing device, so I was pretty much guaranteed to enjoy it. But it was also reasonably well done, which is certainly a bonus.

A Hidden Obsession

Kenji-style shenanigans can always be fun. But 4 o'clock would be your right shoulder...
The ending is a little abrupt, but serviceable for what it is.

Away We Go Wassailing

A little bit happy, a little bit melancholic, but mostly a happy melancholic. About what you'd expect from a 40-something man watching carefree highschoolers (or a 20-somehtign woman who's seen far too much of the world). Getting all the girls together like this feels like a bit of a stretch, but there's more excuse than most stories. And the first perspective shift was a little jarring. But overall a sweet little short, which is precisely appropriate for the season of... early spring?

Is It In Gingerbread That One’s Cake is Dough?

It's a little rough and choppy, but serviceable. It strikes me that you're vaguely uncomfortable with your own writing, and trying to play it safe. In general, the lines lack follow-through and commitment, holding back on delivering a powerful impact. Additionally, the lines rush from one idea to another, as if they're afraid to let the reader linger on a thought. More generous use of line breaks would likely slow the action down from its hectic pace, giving the reader the chance to digest what's being said.

All said, not bad for a first post.


As always, wonderful work, everyone, and see you all next year in a couple months!
Current Project: Misha Pseudo-Route

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PsychicSpy
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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by PsychicSpy » Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:12 pm

Took on this prompt recently to finally give out Emii's Christmas gift of 2019.
Victim: emi
Prompt: Hisao and Hanako open presents during Christmas at the Nakai residence.

THE TWO SANTAS

“But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—’Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!’” Hisao closed the book with a smile. Junko and Renjiro still looked spellbound as they stared up at him from where they were sitting cross legged on the carpet. Their mother, Hanako, lightly clapped for him and they soon joined, giving a small round of applause to their father.

“So Santa really does that? He comes down the chimney and brings presents too?” Junko piped up.

“Yes, for all the good children, like you and Renjiro. He especially loves children who leave out cookies and milk. Come on, we can go get Santa some snacks,” Hanako said warmly as she herded the children into the kitchen, sneaking a covert wink at Hisao as she went out the door.

Hisao smiled happily. He was always happy when Hanako was able to be home for Christmas. In the past, the newspaper that she worked for had her covering events around this time and she couldn’t get off work. The Asahi Shimbun was a prestigious newspaper to be sure, and refusing to cover a story to spend time with family was not an option.

The kids came bouncing back into the room, Junko carrying a plate of cookies while Renjiro brought a glass of milk. They placed them down on the coffee table excitedly and glanced under the tree, as if Santa would appear there any minute armed with presents.

“Ah, Santa has to wait until you’re asleep! Remember what the kids in the story were doing on Christmas Eve? Off to bed.” Hisao said.

“But we aren’t tired!” they protested weakly as he led them to their room. He tucked them in, gave them each a kiss on the forehead, and returned to the living room, where Hanako was waiting for her kiss.

“We should probably get started. After all, Santa doesn’t work by himself,” he said. She giggled as they kissed again and they headed down into the basement to get started on Santa’s work.

******

“Mom! Dad! Wake up!” Hisao wearily blinked awake. He turned his head as his vision cleared and he could read the clock. 7:00 . He felt a jolt as a weight came down on his legs. Junko had jumped on to the bed, while Renjiro was doing the same for their mother. “It’s time to open presents!” Junko clamored.

Hisao sat up, trying to look enthusiastic on the prospect of waking up after the very little sleep he had gotten. He felt a can being pressed into his hand.

“Mommy bought this for you yesterday and told us to give it to you this morning,” Junko said as he saw that it was a canned cofffee. He mentally thanked Hanako for that as he was led by the hand out of bed by his daughter. His wife stumbled along with them, likewise pulled by their son.

They were led to the living room. Squeals came from the children as they saw the presents under the tree. Hanako and Hisao shared a sleepy smile as they went towards the tree.

“Hold on now, you two,” Hisao said, putting his hand on their shoulders. He eased them back onto the couch. “Why don’t we have a bit of patience. Who wants to be Santa first?” Hisao asked, picking up the Santa hat that he had left out the night before.

“Me! Me!” Renjiro snatched the hat from his hands and stuck it on, the brim of the hat slightly drooping over his brow. He scurried over to the tree and read over the labels on them. He picked up a small thin one and brought it over to his older sister. Junko ripped off the paper and shrieked.

“What did you get, Junko?” Hanako asked knowingly.

“Santa brought me Pokemon Sword!” Junko said excitedly, showing the whole room the Nintendo switch game case.

“Very exciting!” Hisao agreed. He lightly pulled at the white ball of the Santa cap, getting the hat off of Renjiro and placing it onto Junko’s head. “Now go get a present for your brother.

She obliged, picking a misshapen spherical object from under the tree. She handed it to him and he eagerly mimicked his sister, tearing it open with wild abandon.

“A volleyball! Thanks, Santa!” he said as he looked at the ball with glee. Hisao felt a rise of joy, seeing his kids so excited for these presents. Junko handed the Santa hat to Hisao.

“Dad, it’s your turn to be Santa!” If only she knew how true that was. Hisao pulled the hat on and selected a present, placing it in Hanako’s lap. She pulled it open a little more gently than the children had done with their presents.

My 60 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer! Santa was very thoughtful with this gift,” Hanako said warmly. Just then, the ding of a timer went off in the kitchen. “What’s that?” she asked the two kids.

“We turned on the oven so we could make breakfast,” Renjiro replied sheepishly. Both parents held back laughter. Sometimes these two were just too cute.

“Why don’t you go set out some plates and I’ll give Dad his present from Santa,” Hanako suggested. Two two brightened up and raced into the kitchen. Hanako grabbed a slightly larger box and brought it over to Hisao. He turned it over, trying to figure out how such a box could be as light as it was.

“Stop trying to use the scientific method to figure out what it is and just open it,” Hanako said jokingly. “You aren’t at work.”

“I know, I know,” Hisao replied. He pulled at the corners, pulling off the paper to reveal a basic white box. He scratched the tape off as the sound of cabinets opening and shutting loudly came from the kitchen. “Should we?”

“They’ll be ok for a few minutes,” Hanako reassured. He pulled the top of the box off. Moving the tissue paper aside, he found a long, silky ribbon, which seemed to form a certain shape. He looked closer at it before Hanako took it out of his hands. She pulled two parts of the ribbon up to her shoulders, revealing that the ribbon would wrap around her body and come up to a bow over her breasts. His face flushed a little red as Hanako gave him a kiss on the cheek.

“You’ll get to open this present up later, Hisao.” She placed the lingerie neatly back in the box and went to go check on the children. Hisao smiled as he stood to go too. Today really was a Happy Christmas.


Hope you enjoy it!

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:04 pm

Good thing that timer went off as it did, or they would have had some explaining to do for the kids... :lol:
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Chatty Wheeler
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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by Chatty Wheeler » Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:11 pm

That's one heck of a mistletoe... :lol:

Thanks for writing this! Short, sweet, and charming. Sometimes it's nice to just sit back and enjoy a story like this at the end of the day.

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Xeraeo
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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by Xeraeo » Wed Nov 18, 2020 12:27 pm

Heartwarming. Thanks for this!
Girls: Emi=Hanako=Lilly>Shizune=Rin
Routes: Lilly=Emi>Hanako>Rin>Shizune

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ProfAllister
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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by ProfAllister » Wed Nov 18, 2020 7:58 pm

7:00? I know that holiday fantasies are a common element, but the idea that the kids would let him sleep in that late is pretty far-fetched.
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brythain
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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by brythain » Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:39 am

My little 2019 SX story for Downix is now up here. Enjoy!
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

ProfAllister
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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by ProfAllister » Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:30 am

brythain wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:39 am
My little 2019 SX story for Downix is now up here. Enjoy!
If Kenji were everything he believed himself to be, he would be not entirely dissimilar to your Jigoro.
Current Project: Misha Pseudo-Route

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NuclearStudent
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Re: Secret Santa 2019 - Story collection

Post by NuclearStudent » Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:40 am

ProfAllister wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:30 am
brythain wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:39 am
My little 2019 SX story for Downix is now up here. Enjoy!
If Kenji were everything he believed himself to be, he would be not entirely dissimilar to your Jigoro.
If Kenji were everything he wanted to be, he'd be fairly similar to Jigoro.
To last forever.

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