Please Don't Pass Me By (Lilly x OC)

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FrauPerchta
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Please Don't Pass Me By (Lilly x OC)

Post by FrauPerchta » Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:28 am

Hello everyone; a brief introduction before we get to the story. I'm FrauPerchta, or Chloe if you prefer. I haven't been super active here, but the one thing I did do is write a secret santa story for Mirage_GSM at the end of 2017 (I've been meaning to join the two secret santas since then but keep forgetting. This character actually comes from that fic; though she's evolved in my head and the context has changed pretty dramatically. I started work on this early last year, but got bogged down; luckily, I've had a burst of inspiration lately that has helped me finally churn this out. I hope you enjoy this, and feel free to offer some constructive criticism, especially if there's something you think is awkward or poorly written. I apologize ahead of time that most of these updates are going to be on the shorter side of things; I struggle writing in longer chunks and its simply better for time management purposes. I figure more, shorter updates are generally better for everyone, but some of you might not enjoy that so I simply wanted to let you know ahead of time. I also apologize that my writing style will probably be a bit odd; I'm deviating from the style of the VN, especially in dialogue, where structurally and in terms of meaning want to convey formal elements and such without interspersing English with Japanese, meaning some things will sound odd. I also come from a culture that also uses [Family Name, Given Name] in formal settings instead of [Given Name, Family Name], so I made sure to include that. I like to think my English is pretty solid, though it has its eccentricities that I seem to have inherited from my Dad and the Austrian way of speaking as a whole (though my standard German is atrocious, as I never went to school there. I'm working on it). As such, you might see an abundance of semicolons, ellipses, the occasional overuse of rhetorical questions, and strange ideas on what formality should look like when compared to American customs in particular; though from my understanding, pretty similar to Japanese standards.

Also, in universe, I wasn't sure when Lilly moved into her dorm, when the student council split up, and if we even have any info on that. As of now, I'm winging it, but if you have better information please let me know and I will make adjustments accordingly, if need be. I appreciate that greatly.

The fic's title comes from a Leonard Cohen song of the same name; I found it deeply amusing, as the song is to some degree about being othered, especially disabled, and includes a setting of a school for, as he puts it, crippled children. The names of various parts will come from lyrics from the song, the first of which will be "For I am Blind". As you can see, this is at some level deeply amusing, and fitting for many, many reasons. Its also an excellent song.



Chapter Links

Part 1: For I am Blind
Chapter 1: Meetings and Greetings
Chapter 2: A Series of Steps
Last edited by FrauPerchta on Sat Feb 22, 2020 5:13 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Please Don't Pass Me By (Lilly x OC)

Post by FrauPerchta » Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:29 am

Part 1: For I am Blind

Chapter 1: Meetings and Greetings

There are many incredible things about Autumn when compared to other seasons; it is rarely hot or frigid, and compared to spring, it is far less prone to extended rainstorms. But, above that are the leaves; golds and reds weaving a tapestry of colors so vibrant and bold that you have to wonder if any painting or even photograph can match being face to face with them blowing in the slightest breeze. Of course, neither can even hope to match them in terms of physicality; paint has the advantage over a photograph, where the different textures of materials, distinct strokes of paint, and the wear inflicted by time can tell their own story. But it is the leaf that can its story in such an ephemeral way; dissolving underhand as if nothing was holding it together at all. A single painting tells a hundred stories, sure, and a leaf tells one; but in a sea of leaves, I know which I’d rather admire.

There is also the advantage of location; paintings are hung in museums and galleries, while leaves are everywhere, in nature; along the walkway, by the bench. I don’t have to travel far from my dorm room to find a place to sit where I can admire the show of decay that nature puts on, every year; something far more relaxing than some crowded museum. Not to say I don’t like museums; they have things you can’t easily find. But there’s just something so much more peaceful about experiencing it under a blue sky. Part of what ultimately makes me come out here is escape; if I’m careful, and watch as every leaf falls, pay attention to every shift in the wind, and look at the tiny differences in color between the leaves, I eventually forget what worries I have and feel better for it; at least for a while. That’s the way many students at Yamaku cope with whatever frustrations they may have; they’ll come out here, to the beautiful campus or even down into town, and simply observe, sit, and wait. I suppose it’s something much of the student body and the elderly population of the town surrounding Yamaku have in common.

Of course, that’s hardly true for every student. Even on beautiful and peaceful days like these, there will be shouting, running; there will be those who go and hide in their rooms, or spend all their time and energy dedicated to some club. But if I had to guess, Yamaku has a higher proportion of my type than a normal school would; people who like it slow, who watch, wait, and reflect instead of rushing into the world. Its what some of us have to do; we’d never keep up if we tried to match the pace of those who run in head first, and isolating oneself is among the most dangerous things a student can do; though in some cases, like with the poor girl just two rooms down from mine, there’s nothing anyone can do. Some people just have to hide themselves away to stay safe, to heal. Luckily, I think I’m past that stage.

But there’s still the fact that something has brought me out here; I could lie and say nothing is really on my mind, I’m just enjoying the pleasantness of the day, but the ache in my legs and my increasingly uncooperative left eye are clear indicators that something is amiss; as it always is. My condition is exhausting on the best of days, but its only been getting worse as of late and a sneaking suspicion, a weight at the pit of my stomach, has a guess at what that means; for me, my body, and what the rest of my life is going to be like. I spoke with the Nurse yesterday, and he feels the same. I’m going to see my doctor in a few days to confirm it, but I already know my condition is permanently worse than it was a year ago, and far worse than when it started. The eye thing used to annoy me so much; double vision made it hard to read classwork, and other students started to make fun of my inability to put together a proper facial expression no matter how hard I tried. Of course, that’s when I came to Yamaku and things improved for me, at least socially, but that was before the aches that started early in the day and only got worse; before I needed my cane to walk down the hallway without breaking into tears from how much my legs hurt. I’m used to it now, but there’s no denying that its been starting earlier and getting worse. I can only hope my doctor approves some kind of other treatment or can confidently give me a point by which it will stop getting worse. I know that won’t happen, but I hope nonetheless.

I stand, brushing the red and gold remains of broken leaves from my lap, pushing myself up with the help of my cane, my small bag hanging to the other side. My first few steps are a bit painful and shaky before I find my gait, legs loosening up a bit. Short distances are difficult, and longer ones near impossible, but it’s the space between, where my body is used to moving but hasn’t had time to wear down, that makes for the easiest walk. And I can recover well enough afterwards; a result of my muscles being confused as to how fatigued they really are, I suppose. A smile crosses my lips as I walk back to my room; I feel good, so far, body glad for the long rest I gave it and happy to support itself for at least a little while. My long hair blows a bit in the wind, and I’m tempted to go back and sit out here a bit longer; but the sun is already setting and walking around in the dark is far more stressful and riskier. Its best to use the daylight while I have it; a picturesque sunset looming to my left as I make my way along the pathway. A few students are still out and about but are kind enough to stay out of the way, something you don’t appreciate unless you have a condition that will bring you to your knees if you stand too long.

So, of course, as soon as I enter the dorm, I can see that the room next to mine is obstructed; someone’s carrying some kind of furniture in there; I guess someone is moving in mid-semester. I’m unsure if it’s a new student, but as I approach, I can see that there are actually two people and one of them is clearly not a student; all dressed up in business attire but carrying what appears to be a drawer. As I approach, I get a better look at the two; both blonde and tall, clearly relatives. But they look too similar in age to be mother and daughter- sisters, then. Luckily, it seems the two of them have it handled, which given my uselessness in helping with any kind of lifting is certainly a great reassurance. Though they’d probably notice the cane. As I get closer, I start getting a better look at them; I try not to make my gazing too obvious, but the business suited one seems to notice me. Red eyes; how curious. Shorter hair than her sister, and of slimmer figure; if she wasn’t in a suit, she’d seem the athletic type. And given that she’s carrying most of the weight, I’m probably right. The other one is wearing the school uniform and has a comparably more feminine figure; actually, given the height, she’s probably pretty similar to my build, though I doubt she has the same muscle-related difficulties I have considering she’s at least making a token effort at carrying what seems to be pretty heavy furniture. They disappear into the room, eventually, but reappear around when I’m next to the door. Part of me wants to continue into my room; I’m tired, and I slowed my approach to allow them time to get the thing in the door anyway, so I’m nearing the point where I’ll sit on the ground if I have to. But that’d be a horrid introduction to a new neighbor, and I’d be an idiot to miss the opportunity to meet someone. So, begrudgingly, I bring myself to a halt just outside their door. Turning to the one in uniform, I begin to speak.

“Nice to meet you. I am Tanaka Mayu, a student here; and I assume you are as well, though I do not believe I’ve had the pleasure of meeting you yet. And it seems I am your new neighbor, so I hope we are beginning a good friendship.”

The first thing I notice, aside from her height and the strange but natural-looking hair color, are her blue eyes. It takes me a moment to recognize that she’s blind, or at least has all the telltale signs. I haven’t seen much of the members of class 2-2, being in class 2-1 myself. Regardless, I’m impacted by how refined she appears, and beautiful too; I wish I could keep my expression in such a neutral and concise way. I turn to the other woman and bow my head, careful not to neglect her in my introduction.

“And pleasure to meet you as well. I hope I am not mistaken in assuming you are not a student; regardless, it is wonderful to meet you.”

I try my best smile, though I can feel how incorrect it is, and have to choke back a groan of frustration at being unable to do something so simple without botching it. The suited woman gives a sympathetic smile at my attempt, which I appreciate despite it being somewhat embarrassing. The other doesn’t seem to react to what I can only assume is a grimace, only reinforcing my assumption that she is blind. It is her that is first to respond, even though her appearance is refined it is her speech that impresses me.

“An absolute pleasure to meet you. I am Satou Lilly, and this is my older sister. I am a student here, though I am only now moving into the dorms. I hope we are on the path to friendship as well; thank you for making me feel welcomed.”

Her sister chimes in immediately after, almost seeming excited to speak. “You hit the nail on the head; what gave it away?” she laughed, tugging at her suit like it was a prop in some standup routine. “I’m Satou Akira. It’s nice to meet you.”

Her greeting is far more informal, though I can hear a hint of businesslike refinement just underneath every breath; as if she could easily switch to being incredibly, uncomfortably formal with ease, but doesn’t as much for her sake as for mine. It’s a different kind of skill, to be polite but still casual, and I’m nonetheless impressed by the introduction of these two, smile still stuck on my face. At least until my mind drifts back to my legs.

“Well, I’m terribly sorry, but I have to cut this short; I’m not supposed to be on my feet for too long. Miss Satou Lilly, I hope to get to speak to you tomorrow, and Satou Akira, I hope we meet again. It’s been a pleasure to meet you both, and I hope you have a wonderful night.”

Both give a kind nod and similar farewells, though I get a wince out of the older of the two when my knee shivers under my own weight. Retreating into my room, I practically collapse into my bed, holding back the desire to scream into my bedsheets. Even standing for conversation is miserably painful; how humiliating. At least I didn’t entirely botch the introduction, with only the older one seeing my missteps. Though I do wish I had known someone was moving in ahead of time; it would have been nice to prepare instead of being surprised on my way back to my room. Still, she seemed nice, and it would be a shame to pass up at least attempting to get to know Miss Satou. Perhaps, for once, I can have a reasonable relationship with a neighbor. We can see how long that lasts.
Last edited by FrauPerchta on Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Please Don't Pass Me By (Lilly x OC)

Post by Feurox » Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:43 pm

Hi! Welcome to the Forums! If you were around in 2017, you'll notice many familiar faces still around!

Before I jump into the story itself, I thought I'd just point a few things out from your introduction:
FrauPerchta wrote:
Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:28 am
I apologize ahead of time that most of these updates are going to be on the shorter side of things; I struggle writing in longer chunks and its simply better for time management purposes. I figure more, shorter updates are generally better for everyone, but some of you might not enjoy that so I simply wanted to let you know ahead of time. I also apologize that my writing style will probably be a bit odd; I'm deviating from the style of the VN, especially in dialogue, where structurally and in terms of meaning want to convey formal elements and such without interspersing English with Japanese, meaning some things will sound odd. I also come from a culture that also uses [Family Name, Given Name] in formal settings instead of [Given Name, Family Name], so I made sure to include that. I like to think my English is pretty solid, though it has its eccentricities that I seem to have inherited from my Dad and the Austrian way of speaking as a whole (though my standard German is atrocious, as I never went to school there. I'm working on it). As such, you might see an abundance of semicolons, ellipses, the occasional overuse of rhetorical questions, and strange ideas on what formality should look like when compared to American customs in particular; though from my understanding, pretty similar to Japanese standards.
The length of this first chapter is very manageable, and if you prefer writing in shorter bursts than that's absolutely a fine direction! I would stress that it's important to have a backlog of updates ready for any long form project, in case things change and you need to change the direction of the story etc. Secondly, your sentences seem fine. A little stiff in places, and perhaps unnecessarily formal, but I didn't notice anything major. That's very good! If you're concerned about that becoming a problem in the future, you're more than welcome to contact me for proofreading or many others on the forum. (There is a Discord server that most of us hang out on. If you'd like to join that, just drop me a message and I'll send a link over. It's a good place to get early feedback and help etc. And very friendly and fun.)

Next:
FrauPerchta wrote:
Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:28 am
So, on the character; I'm not giving you a bio, but just to give you info you should have but she wouldn't talk about in a straightforward way, at least at this stage in the fic; she has Myasthenia Gravis, which is an autoimmune disease that affects the interface between nerves and muscles. It affects the eyes in most cases, but can also affect the rest of the facial muscles, limbs, and even parts of the respiratory system in severe cases/episodes. The result of this is general weakness, rapid fatigue throughout the day, and an ability to properly control several body parts which manifests as drooping eyelids, incomplete closing of the mouth, and abnormal gait. For this reason, she has a cane, which is common for people with moderate to severe cases of the disease. For more information, start with the Wikipedia article. However, its not necessary to have a complete understanding of this information to enjoy the story.

Also, in universe, I wasn't sure when Lilly moved into her dorm, when the student council split up, and if we even have any info on that. As of now, I'm winging it, but if you have better information please let me know and I will make adjustments accordingly, if need be. I appreciate that greatly.
I'm never very fond of telling us rather than showing us information. In my opinion, giving us this information about your OC's condition is a bit of a let down, because you could have found a way to let us know that more fluidly and in a more interesting way in the story itself.

Furthermore, from my experience and knowledge of KS, I believe Lilly moves into the dorms in her second year. That being said, this is one of those details that, providing you're willing to do the leg work to explain logically, wouldn't matter much anyway. Nice to know you're keeping the canon in mind!

Anyway, onto the story itself:

That was a lovely read and an excellent teaser for what's coming! I think maybe the introspection is laid on a bit thick at first, but since this is a little short segment I didn't get bogged down in it. Having your OC have Lilly move in besides her (especially during second year) gives us plenty of interesting little thoughts. Will she know Hannako? Will they have a falling out? Does their relationship continue into third year? It's bold to tackle stories set before KS actually begins, and I'm excited to see where you take it! Good luck, and again, welcome!

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Re: Please Don't Pass Me By (Lilly x OC)

Post by FrauPerchta » Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:27 pm

Hi Feurox, and thank you! To address some of your concerns you raised;
I'm never very fond of telling us rather than showing us information. In my opinion, giving us this information about your OC's condition is a bit of a let down, because you could have found a way to let us know that more fluidly and in a more interesting way in the story itself.
I'm keen to agree, and I only reluctantly posted that information because I didn't want to add unnatural exposition to the story, like the doctor telling Mayu about a condition she's lived with for almost two years or her going over it to herself. I suppose there'd be more room for that later, and I'm tempted to edit it out. I just don't want her disability to be a mystery; I feel like its in bad taste to have people guessing or theorizing about what a character's disability is. Actually, seeing that it bothered someone else, I'm removing it. Thank you.
Furthermore, from my experience and knowledge of KS, I believe Lilly moves into the dorms in her second year. That being said, this is one of those details that, providing you're willing to do the leg work to explain logically, wouldn't matter much anyway. Nice to know you're keeping the canon in mind!
Well then, thats perfect, since I put them in second year classes. :)
That was a lovely read and an excellent teaser for what's coming! I think maybe the introspection is laid on a bit thick at first, but since this is a little short segment I didn't get bogged down in it. Having your OC have Lilly move in besides her (especially during second year) gives us plenty of interesting little thoughts. Will she know Hannako? Will they have a falling out? Does their relationship continue into third year? It's bold to tackle stories set before KS actually begins, and I'm excited to see where you take it! Good luck, and again, welcome!
Those are exactly the type of question I think a fiction set before the events of Katawa Shoujo excel at investigating, and I hope you'll be pleased with whats to come.

After all...
and isolating oneself is among the most dangerous things a student can do; though in some cases, like with the poor girl just two rooms down from mine, there’s nothing anyone can do.
She already tried once. I hope it will be interesting to see Hanako and Lilly become friends in the first place, and how the involvement of a third individual may change things. :) Or as Mayu would say, Miss Ikezawa.
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Re: Please Don't Pass Me By (Lilly x OC)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Jan 12, 2020 5:51 pm

Hello and welcome back!

I don't have a lot to add to what Feurox already wrote: Your OC is talking extremely formal - more so than the Lilly in this story, who in turn is talking more formally than the Lilly in the VN. That said, if you know that and did it intentionally there's no problem.

One thing I might add is that the beginning of the story looks like a giant wall of text. I recommend breaking it up in smaller paragraphs. I don't think that will be a problem from here on out either, since I expect dialogues will be more common after the introduction.
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Re: Please Don't Pass Me By (Lilly x OC)

Post by FrauPerchta » Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:33 pm

Thanks, nice to see you again too. Yes, there will be more dialogue, and yes, the increased formality is intentional; though also a product of my attempt to render more accurate translations of how people speak, and not simply substitute american or british standards of formality in for japanese formality. Which again, resembles what I'm used to (im from Tirol, and things like using all titles and saying the name in reverse order) are SUPER important which is also the case in Japanese.

I also like to think the Lilly Hisao meets over a year later is a mellowed out version of Lilly, and even my Lilly is a mellowed version of what she must have been like in her old school.

The walls of text are mostly a product of what I enjoy in writing (extended and often tangential self-investigation and musing: see Mrs. Dalloway); which most people don't. But dialogue helps break that up nicely, so I hope it will become more palatable.
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Re: Please Don't Pass Me By (Lilly x OC)

Post by PsychicSpy » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:15 pm

Glad to see somebody doing Lilly in a prequel fashion (And a good fashion). I'm excited to see where it goes. Lilly was always one or my preferred routes, and sometimes I feel like she doesn't get enough love.

I would have preferred some parts to be broken up into smaller chunks, but that's really my only criticism.

Great chapter, hope to see more!
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Re: Please Don't Pass Me By (Lilly x OC)

Post by Oddball » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:03 pm

The characters read a bit stiff and overly formal for my tastes. The idea is good, but hopefully the characters themselves with loosen up soon. Right now they're just lacking in personality.

Also I notice you use the Family Name then Given name format. I'd give that up as well. KS doesn't use that and it not only adds to the stuffyness but gives the impression of trying to hard to be Japanese.
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Re: Please Don't Pass Me By (Lilly x OC)

Post by FrauPerchta » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:40 pm

Oddball wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:03 pm
The characters read a bit stiff and overly formal for my tastes. The idea is good, but hopefully the characters themselves with loosen up soon. Right now they're just lacking in personality.

Also I notice you use the Family Name then Given name format. I'd give that up as well. KS doesn't use that and it not only adds to the stuffyness but gives the impression of trying to hard to be Japanese.
Hi! Thanks for the feedback. I wanted to ask how you would approach writing a character who cares about formality (and another who went to a ?catholic? all-girls school) without it being too bad. I plan to allow them to drop much of the formality, especially with names, in the near future. I'm also worried because I thought that by showing how stiff the character is, you might get a glimpse of her personality, but now you're sayjng its lacking. :/

I don't know if you read my explanation for why I'm using the proper structure for names, which is certianly less readable for most users but I think fits who she is and is honestly a more confortable way for me to write. If multiple people really hate it I'll change it, but I honestly love that cultural custom.
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Re: Please Don't Pass Me By (Lilly x OC)

Post by Oddball » Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:30 pm

I'm also worried because I thought that by showing how stiff the character is, you might get a glimpse of her personality, but now you're sayjng its lacking. :/
I get a feel that the character are acting that way because they're supposed to. They're suppressing their actual thoughts and actions and personality to present a view of what's expected and proper. It's why "getting to know the real you," becomes such a huge thing.

In writing formal characters, i feel you almost have to keep their personalities dry. Always say please and thank you, never express any real opinions, and while it gives the image of a more formal upbringing, the characters themselves don't actually get to do nearly as much.
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Re: Please Don't Pass Me By (Lilly x OC)

Post by FrauPerchta » Sat Feb 22, 2020 5:07 am

(This is long overdo and will probably need some editing; but I shant wait or I'll be stuck forever.)

Chapter 2: A Series of Steps

Even by my standards, I’m awake far too early; the sun has yet to reach over the horizon, the sky still littered with tiny stars that mark this place as rural, still free from the polluting effects of the many cities that now coat Japan in a sea of hazy lights. I’m sitting on my bed, dressed and ready, waiting to see that thin line of color cross the horizon and give me permission to start the day. However, impatience gets the better of me as I walk into the still cold early-morning air, sauntering over to my favorite spot. I bring my cane along, though I hardly need it at this point; its soft taps a far cry from the heavy thuds by the end of the day.

Mornings are special to me; they are a time where I’m free from many of the limits of my condition. My limbs aren’t yet tired, and when I smile, my face cooperates. My eyelids don’t droop, not even a bit; I feel, every morning, normal. Of course that sense quickly dissipates, but I enjoy it while it lasts. It’s the only time of day where I feel like myself; really and truly feel like the girl I once was, happy and proud but free to be open, free to express herself in a way I physically am incapable of.

My thoughts turn to my notebook, stowed away in my lightweight handbag which only contains the bare essentials of my day to day. Writing is my favorite activity; it's what I was born to do, my mother told me. I won’t pretend I’m some savant with exceptional writing skills, but I’m passionate about it. My teachers and the tutors of years past told me that was more than enough. My pen; an intricate little thing, a gift from my older sister, writes with strong clear lines that spill from the nib with the right pressure.

I watched you by the water’s side, recalling how
I once was a sailor, that did not change
Along my ship swam the whole sea which did
Subsume me, and now I find myself
At the bow- what do I see, in the distance?
An aging light-house which shines like a broken lamp
And clings to the touch like chalk

Built upon my recollections of a time
When I was not watching yet.

And like that, the magic stops; a grin crosses my face. It’s not a particularly great piece, but for a morning scrawl it’s turned out rather well. I’m not quite sure if it means much of anything, but maybe I’ll look back and find something there. It's unfortunate that no one here has much interest in writing, or in giving decent critique of my work. Perhaps there are, but I hardly get along with anyone, so it's unlikely they’d even strike up a conversation with me, at this point.

My mind turns to Miss Satou; she’s been milling about there for a bit. Haven’t interacted with her yet, and it’s been two days. I suppose that it's on me to rectify that; I’m sure she’s more than overwhelmed. At a surface level she seemed rather polite and refined; upbringing, no doubt, but are her tastes and interests as molded as her speech? The possibility of that is exciting, regardless of the probable disappointment. Still, it's a good opportunity to try to be at least friendly with her before she hears a bunch of nasty crap about me; assuming she doesn’t know.

It's strange to think that way about someone you’ve only just met, but some people just make an impression on you. I’ve only met a few people with the formality Miss Satou seems to express; and for the most part I’ve gotten along with them better than I have others. Maybe it's the commonality, maybe it's just because it feels far more… respectful of boundaries. Either way, she has my attention. It’s absurd to spend so much time thinking about a person you’ve had only a few words with, but she’s living next to me now, so it’s not as senseless as it could be. The obvious move from here is to get to know her.

But how? If she’s as reserved as she seems, an attempt to get near her might come off incorrectly, as anyone who tried to get near me last year knows. It’s also important to not bring too many expectations to it; what if she’s completely different from me, and we don’t get along? It's a difficult thing to achieve, but…

Well, let’s consider her needs. She’s new to town, but not school; she knows school well, but she probably hasn’t had the chance to really get to know the area off-campus; especially since she’s blind, she’ll probably need help. Her sister is probably planning on taking her around, but if I can manage to beat the elder Satou to that, then it’s a perfect opportunity to get to know Lilly, and… hopefully, it goes well.

With that, I come to a stand, just as the sun begins to crawl past the horizon. I figure now’s a good a time as any; provided Miss Satou is awake. I suppose I’ll find out if she’s an early riser or not, and hopefully offer to take her into town.

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

“Hello, who’s there?” replies a delicate voice as I knock against the door; or more accurately, lightly rap it. The quickness of the response before I made more than a few knocks catches me off guard; clearly she has good hearing. I clear my throat and begin to speak, attempting to control my voice as much as possible.

“This is Tanaka Mayu, your neighbor. We met a few days ago.”

The door swings open to reveal Miss Satou wearing a more casual outfit than the uniform; though still rather refined and fashionable. I smile; she’s rather pretty, and… I rip my eyes up to meet hers, which, however fruitless, feels less awkwards than staring at her when she cannot do so in turn.

“Ah, yes, Miss Tanaka; how may I help you?”

Her smile is warm, and it seems like she’s happy to see me; though her voice is still restrained and formal. The mix of the two gives the impression that she is as careful with her presentation as I am with mine; the warm smile a learned skill as much as the formal language. But, perhaps it is genuine, if I can delude myself that much.

“Miss Satou, I was actually wondering if I could help you; you see, it struck me that you may not have had the opportunity to go into town, and, if that is the case, I would be happy to assist you.”

Her expression shifts, into a flurry of minute adjustments, something like confusion crossing her face a few times before settling back into a smile once more, though this one is a little more animated than the softness of her previous one.

“Your assessment is right; and while I would hate to burden you, I will admit that it would be foolish of me to pass on such an offer,” she says, as her tone shifts to something like a stage whisper. “My sister was going to take me, but she’s as busy as ever. You’ve saved her a bit of worry, and I thank you for that.”

Now it is my turn to smile widely; not only was I correct, but it seems like I’ve already learnt something useful. Miss Satou seems to have deflected this into concern for her sister, which is both hilarious in its relatability but also more than a little sad, in its own way.

“I’m happy to help; if you’d like, we could leave soon, unless you have some other obligations. I have to get down to town to grab some groceries, and I figure you need the same. For… a few reasons, I will likely need some assistance on that front, so please don’t consider it any burden on me; we can help each other, here, I hope.”

Hinting at my condition with hopefully enough subtlety, I see Miss Satou digest this information in front of me quickly enough that I seem to have gotten the point across without inspiring any awkwardness or provoking any questions on her part; a good start, I think.

“Well then, it seems like a perfect opportunity for us to speak some; I apologize I haven’t seen much of you Miss Tanka, it has been rather busy for me. Allow me to get a few things ready and we could head out in a few minutes?

“Of course, Miss Satou; just knock on my door when you’re ready.”

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

About ten minutes later, we’re at the school gates, getting ready to head down the hill; we haven’t said much other than simple pleasantries. My mind is currently… intimidated by the long walk into town, something which I have not done in over a month. Granted, I haven’t had much in the way of help, and Miss Satou seemed willing enough to assist me. By the time we take those few steps down towards the quiet little buildings surrounding Yamaku, I’m itching to get away from my memories of the damn hill and get on to some kind of meaningful conversation.

“So, Miss Satou; you’ve been at Yamaku for a year now, but are only just moving in. Pardon me if its sensitive, but what brought on the change?”

She opens her mouth, but wavers a bit; clearly choosing what to say and what to leave out. She seems distracted, as if my question set off a chain of thoughts in her head that are far more important than any answer she’s willing to give.

“Ah, well, I suppose I wanted a bit of independence. And the drive from my home to Yamaku was… long, and it was getting difficult for my sister to manage. I stayed with her because of some concerns about my adjusting to a new space, eventually it was decided I was able to take care of myself.

She sighs, looking a bit sadder than when she began talking.

“I will miss my sister of course. But I’m looking forward to being able to sleep a few hours longer, and have the… ‘full’ Yamaku experience, so to speak.”

If only she knew what that experience was, she’d stay as far away from this godforsaken school as possible. I don’t say that, of course; I’m not that bitter, and I know full well that all bitterness gets you is isolation and, at best, pity. And I’m not desperate enough to need… I’m getting sidetracked.

“It's a shame your family doesn’t live closer, then. Though my situation is much the same; I did move out right away, but the distance between my home and Yamaku is… frustrating. Luckily the trains seem to only get faster.”

Her tight smile isn’t a happy one; though, but a moment later, it vanishes, replaced by a more neutral expression. I run my hand through the bit of hair that’s clinging to my face; the telltale ache is on its way, and I release a quiet sigh. We’re almost down, but the way up… I am not looking forward to that.

“So; I presume you need to get some groceries and perhaps some other things for your room. Anything else I’m happy to take you to find, but, for my sake, let's leave that to last; allow me to give you a general tour, first.”

Miss Satou nods her head in agreement, clearly thinking it prudent to have me show her around before grabbing anything. As we begin walking, I realize the difficulty of showing someone blind around town; how I describe things has to change to make any sense to Miss Satou.

“So, we’re heading towards the right, relative to the main street up to school; this side has got a few places to eat, a small theatre, and the post office. I suppose I’ll take you to each of them?”

“That would be great, thank you… I don’t expect to remember the layout, but it is a good idea to get a sense of scale, I think. And to know what there is.”

With that, I take her arm and begin walking her around, pointing to relevant buildings as we go. The walk is… slow, and the post office is a LOT farther from the main road than I remember. By the time we’re even halfway through the ‘tour’, my legs are screaming at me.
“And this is the Shanghai, a restaurant which is popular among students. One of the librarians works here, as a matter of fact; if you know Miss Shirakawa, you can find her here. I’ll admit, it has a good… ow. Atmosphere. It has a good atmosphere.”

My pained expression would have been a dead giveaway, but the sudden throb of protest from my left calf took me off guard and made what I wanted to be hidden obvious; mostly out of pride, I think. Miss Satou looks pretty serious, and it’s actually almost frightening.

“Well, perhaps we should stop inside, rest our legs a little. It is around lunchtime; I’m sure you’re as hungry as I am.”

The fact that she contrived that for my sake almost makes me laugh; she’s trying really hard not to address the obvious here, which, while kind, is a bit silly.

“It’s fine; if you want to go and eat there, we absolutely can. I just need to have a few minutes… somewhere, anywhere. You don’t need to”-
“I am actually hungry, Miss Tanaka, and I would prefer if you didn’t push yourself for my sake. Let’s go inside.” she remarks sharply; tapping her cane on the ground for effect. “You will need to read the menu for me, unless they have braille menus.

I’m taken aback a bit; also, I’m pretty sure they had ‘menus for the visually imparied’ for a month and have been ‘out’ ever since, which I relay in the softest voice I can. It's shame, mostly; I am an idiot, sometimes. I lead her inside to a table, mostly out of sight, and with a suppressed pseudo-scream of relief find myself sitting down, finally.

“Thank you, Miss Satou. I’m… sorry about that. Uh, what would you like as far as drinks? They have… water, your basic fruit juices, sodas, and tea.”
“Tea sounds wonderful; what kinds do they have?”

I shuffle around the menu, trying to get a better look at it with one eye; the doubled vision I often get is rearing its ugly head. I end up resorting to covering my right eye with my hand.

“Looks like they have a few blends, Matcha, Sencha, green and black Oolong, and Genmaicha. Pretty standard, I think. I’ll have tea as well; if you don’t mind sharing. Your choice, of course”

“Ah, I think that Genmaicha might suit us well; we need our energy, after all. Besides, its been awhile since I’ve had any tea quite that rustic.”
I smile; thank goodness she didn’t ask for a blend. I’m a snob at heart, and though the selection is limited, I appreciate actual tea instead of the ridiculous British blends and Matcha being the only options. Or unlabeled “green tea”. I prefer Indian or Chinese teas to our domestic stuff, but there is something nostalgic about the teas one grows up on.

The waitress comes by and I ask her for the tea; and to give us a few minutes to decide on what to order. But really, I’d like to speak for myself without being interrupted, at least for a few minutes.

“So, Miss Satou… about earlier.”

Miss Satou’s attention is sharply on me, though it doesn’t feel oppressive and invasive as it often does; perhaps it’s because for once I’m offering the information to someone who respects that I don’t want to be asked about it.

“I have a condition that… is complicated, but at a basic level, I fatigue quickly; though not just my legs, but my eyes and mouth and everything else. That’s part of the advantage of having you here.” I say, and stifle a laugh. “I figured that I could help you navigate and shop, and you could help me carry some things. But more than any muleish thing, it’s because last time I went on my own I was stuck at the bottom of the hill for quite a while, and it began raining.” This time, I really do laugh; my composure is very broken, and I’m sure I’ll feel embarrassed in a moment.

“The Nurse told me that I wasn’t to go down there on my own, and I’ve obeyed that. Its actually been awhile since I came down here. You mentioned your sister, and I’ve met her; are you two close?”

“Yes, we are.” replies Miss Satou, her voice calm and clearly attempting to convey understanding. “She’s all I have; my parents don’t live near for work reasons.”

“I was close with my older sister; was. Haven’t seen her in six months. I don’t know where I was going with this; point is, I’m sorry. I feel like I’ve put the burden of dealing with this on you, but I also will need your help. Consider this an offer to help you as well, of course. I’d like to have a good relationship with at least one person nearby.”

The tea arrives, and I help Miss Satou order; just some sandwiches, which I order the same. I pour each of us a cup and, using the pause to collect myself to speak again, before I hear Miss Satou’s voice break the silence.

“Miss Tanaka; thank you for telling me this. I appreciate you trusting me to help you and your offer of help is something I am grateful for. To be honest, I was very worried; when you offered to take me into town, it took a weight off my shoulders. I’m sure that we’re going to be friends.” she says, before she takes a sip of her tea, smiles, and continues.

“You remind me a lot of my peers back in the school I used to attend; all girls, you know. I fit in well enough there, but obviously I felt I’d do better here. But it's reassuring to meet someone who at least speaks similarly; I assume you went to a similar school?”

“No, actually. The formality is all my mother’s work.” I smile, amused at the euphemism for what she’s like. “She’s an artist and if I was to come along to any event, I had to be as polite and respectful as possible. So, I took to speaking formally and found I liked it. My teachers approved, and it helped me put some distance between emotional concerns and more pressing matters, at least at the time.” I sigh, looking out for the waitress. “I’ve always been the odd one out; it’s good to see someone who is similar.”

The waitress comes and goes with surprising speed and silence; appreciated, considering it was minimally disruptive to my train of thought. I hardly even noticed her, despite trying to keep an eye out.

“I see; that’s rather impressive. So, I suppose; tell me about yourself, Miss Tanaka.”
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Re: Please Don't Pass Me By (Lilly x OC)

Post by PsychicSpy » Wed Feb 26, 2020 6:12 pm

Initial thoughts: I like it. It was a nice little friendship building scene imo.

There are some places where you chose words that I would not have chosen. As far as I know though, you have a good grasp on proper grammar, so I'm going to boil that down to a stylistic choice rather than an error.

I think it was the right choice to go ahead and release this chapter. I think that it's always good to receive feedback if you are stuck.

If I had to make a suggestion of future topics, maybe talk about their hobbies? Maybe make them run into some familiar faces like Shizune and Misha? I think that those two are good for a continuation of this story.

Feel free to message me on the YA discord if you have any questions or just want to talk out the story or anything :D
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My collection of oneshots
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Re: Please Don't Pass Me By (Lilly x OC)

Post by FrauPerchta » Sun Apr 05, 2020 3:57 am

I'm slow, this is short, but hey! Thanks for reading it!!!

Chapter 3: A Version of Events

I sit there, staring at the cup in my hands. I can see my
yellow-tinged reflection in the liquid, looking back at me with an expression I’ll never forget; an expression I wore once, what feels like forever ago. The person staring back at me is afraid, but more than that, ashamed. Angry, at herself and the world. And I don’t know the right words to get that all across. But I have to try.

"I suppose you've heard some things about me, haven't you? Forgive me if I'm wrong."

For a moment, there's an expression on Miss Satou's face that's like pity; I hate it, and I consider forgoing all preamble just to make it stop. But as suddenly as it appears, it vanishes, replaced by a neutral, measured expression; one that makes it clear that she's listening, but avoiding reacting.

"I had spoken with my cousin about the intriguing neighbor I had; she did not say much. She simply told me that there was a ‘situation’ at the end of last year.”

Quite a euphemism, I suppose. I’m glad that she hasn’t heard the other version of the story; if she’s telling the truth, anyway. Though something catches me off guard; if she heard that from a cousin, then they must- nevermind. That doesn’t matter.

“That’s one way of putting it. I’ll spare you some of the details, but… well, first, what you saw earlier. I have a… condition that makes my muscles weak. Well, not exactly; it actually makes it harder for my muscles to do what I want them to. But in effect, it makes me weak. I fatigue fast, as you could probably tell, and have a lot of other issues. You can’t see it, I suppose- sorry- but my face is usually not right. My eyes don’t always look in the right direction, and my eyelids don’t like to get out of the way. I have a hard time swallowing. So… it's a lot of mostly little things. And it varies, too; I have good days, and bad days. Today is a good day; which is why I was even able to make it down here.”

Miss Satou remains unmoved, silently sipping at her tea. Her eyes are closed and her fingers are curled together beneath her chin; if I didn’t know better, I’d say it looked like she was praying. She gestures for me to continue, and I do so; after taking a long sip of my tea.

“You haven’t seen what a bad day looks like; and you won’t. I don’t leave my room on bad days. Can’t, really. When the condition was in its earlier stages, a bad day was livable, but now I’m practically incapable of anything on some days. Luckily, the teachers are well aware of this limitation. But… when I first came to Yamaku, I wasn’t.”

“I was diagnosed six months before I started at Yamaku. My life was upended, my plans changed; it wasn’t bad, yet, but I was warned it could get worse. And it did; but I hated admitting that. I pushed through it, even as it kept getting worse. By the end of the year, on a bad day my whole body would scream at me to stop. And, in my idiotic efforts to prove I was more than my condition I persisted, and succeeded only in making myself miserable.”

I can remember those days, feel how I felt, the pain and humiliation. The anger. The emptiness I felt every time I sat in my room, begging my legs to carry me.

“And as I did, and as things grew worse, I became a different person, an angry, rude person who nobody liked very much. I would snap at others, and I would often see people recoil at my expression alone. I was angry at the world, angry at myself; angry at every moment when I was stuck in my chair, when I spilled food over myself because I couldn’t close my mouth, when… when I couldn’t deal with it. And in turn, nobody wanted to deal with me; except for one person.”

“There was a… girl, another student in my class. We were- we knew each other, and would talk on occasion. But I had been having a series of bad days, and, well, she kept talking to me after I had asked her to leave me alone. She couldn’t take no for an answer; and, eventually, I snapped. I lost control. When I came to my senses, she was in tears, and the whole class stared in shock. I nearly ran out of the room; I would have, if I could. Instead, I stumbled through it. I didn’t see her in class after that. It was only after the end of the year that I learned she had changed classes to get away from me. And most of the students who knew me have hated me since.”

Satou’s expression hasn’t changed, but something in the air has. She’s clearly thinking, and as she opens her mouth to speak, I brace for the inevitable question.

“I’d rather not say what I did and said, and… I’d rather not name the person I did it to. If you want to know, ask someone, and they’ll probably give you the version of events that everyone else saw.”

She surprised me by raising a finger, silencing me. She furrows her brow, and I, not knowing what else to do, wait for her to speak. The moments between feel like an eternity.

“I’m sorry that… happened, Miss Tanaka. I’m glad I’m hearing your version… first. I can imagine that there is a gulf in perception regarding these events. Regardless, I don’t think I want to hear the other version of events. From what it sounds like, that’s behind you. Honestly, I’m just glad you told me.”

She is one of the few people who actually let me explain myself, aside from my sister. My mom wouldn’t even listen; I’ve never seen nor heard her be angrier in her life. She threatened to disown me, hah- I’m surprised she didn’t.

“I’m certainly not proud of what I did. I like to think that I’ve grown past that; I’m in a better state than I was.”

“Well, I think anyone can understand that, though perhaps not your exact situation. But, let’s move on; there’s no use in sticking to what is clearly a painful topic. Thank you again for telling me about it; it’s a good thing, I think, that you did."

I look down into my cup; now empty, only the thin residue of my drink at the bottom. Perhaps this can work; and I pour myself more. I think, in the makeshift lens of the tea, I look relieved. I wonder if I'm right to be.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We made our way out of the Shanghai relatively quietly; a pause in conversation, simultaneously worrying but also absolutely necessary, at least for myself. Actually putting into words even the most vague elements of what happened is… difficult for me, and I'm sure no less difficult to hear. As we leave, and in spite of her lack of eyesight, I cannot shake the feeling that Miss Satou is watching me closer than before. Perhaps observing is a more apt term.

"Here's the Aura Mart, Miss Satou. We'll be getting what we need here."

The Aura Mart. A funnel for every Yamaku student that can make their way there, its the only source of pretty much any grocery item in walking distance. It is simultaneously completely unconcerned with the limitations of Yamaku students, with little more than lipservice to accessibility, but also so used to our presence that every employee is entirely unphased by the occasional blind or deaf student, or even some of the stranger issues. At least most of the employees are nice enough, and it’s surprisingly well-stocked. The student body has its own solutions; a kind of makeshift delivery service for those who are unable to make their way down… but I know better than to push my luck with that.

“Miss Satou,” I begin, trying to break the silence as smoothly as possible. “This is the Aura Mart, our local convenience store. Anything we need, we should be able to get there.”

“Alright. If you wouldn't mind leading the way?"

A wave of cool air hits us as we make our way inside; the rows and rows of items packed into what is a relatively small store really do a lot to make this place feel like a doomsday bunker. My sister used to joke that Yamaku students would be fine in the apocalypse; we are rather well-equipped.

I hand Miss Satou a basket and grab another for myself; its not too bad, and luckily I don't need anything heavy. Making my way towards the aisle, I'm reminded of the trips I used to make down here; I'm unsure where Miss Satou fits into that. Its an absurd thought, anyway.

"So, what do you need to get, Miss Satou? I would try and tell you where everything is, but they change the layout so often that its hopeless."

"Oh, I don't need much. Just some basic ingredients; I'm thinking of making a rice stew. Shouldn't be too complicated; I brought some spices with me, so all I really need is the perishables and some rice."

"So you cook then? That's impressive; most students here couldn't cook an egg to save themselves. Which is rather unfortunate, considering the cafeteria food is pretty unpleasant."

I stop, grabbing a bag of rice for Miss Satou and a bag of flour for myself. I hadn't actually considered what I'd make this week; some kind of soup, probably. Well, as far as a main meal goes; I have something planned I hope will impress Miss Satou.

"It's a skill I picked up. My sister is a horrible cook, so it was… necessary. There is something relaxing about it, as well."

Eggs, flour, powdered sugar, vanilla, and raspberries; a fantastically simple thing, but elegant; difficult in execution, but I've made a souffle enough times that I doubt I'll fail. It's impressive that the dorms have a better kitchen than most Japanese households. Still a downgrade from home, of course, but given how my mother is I suspect it was one of the more extravagant kitchens in Nara.

"I'm in the opposite position, I think; my Mother is a fantastic cook and extremely… passionate about food, especially foriegn cuisine. It would have been unacceptable for me not to know how to cook. She actually sent me a recipe rather recently that seems rather interesting, which is part of why I'm down here anyway."

"Interesting! My Mother is Scottish, so my sister and I grew up on all sorts of dishes that are nothing like traditional Japanese food. I think it's good, to experience a diversity on that front."

I almost laugh at that one: I've heard that line before.

"You sound like my mother; she' traveling Europe as we speak. Not that I disagree; I hope I can follow in her footsteps sooner rather than later."

Before I even know it, we've combed the shop; all that's left is to check out. I let Miss Satou know; Miss Satou graciously holds my bag. As we walk to the counter, I help put everything in place.

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

Not much has gone on since; we've been making our way up the hill for what feels like ages. Granted, it's been made a lot easier by Miss Satou's help, but its still my least favorite part about Yamaku, even considering the ruder students. Who builds a school for the disabled on top of a hill?

"I think I can see the gate ahead, Miss Satou."

"Oh, excellent! I can't thank you enough for your help. Now I can expect to actually have something to eat for the week, and not… suffer through the cafeteria."

"Indeed! But I can't thank you enough for your help and patience with me either."

The street-lights are dim, the sun is down. The air is starting to cool, and I can even see the moon peeking behind the school building. We make our way by; the walkways of Yamaku still except for a single wandering student, some strange, messy-haired girl who I've ran into once or twice. Luckily, we avoid her, at least today.

I breathe a sigh of relief as we enter the dorms; tomorrow, I doubt I'll walk any more than the bare minimum.

"We've been in town quite a while, haven't we? I do hope I haven't kept you from anything. Regardless, it's time for me to retire; thank you, Miss Satou."

I turn to enter my room, but I feel Miss Satou grab my arm, and for a moment I feel a tension in the air; it passes, and Miss Satou speaks with a smile on her face.

"Miss Tanaka, its been a wonderful day. Thank you, sincerely; and thank you for earlier. I'm glad to have heard your story, and not someone elses version of it."

With that she turns, making her way towards her door.

"And, if it's alright with you, please call Lilly."
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Re: Please Don't Pass Me By (Lilly x OC)

Post by Oddball » Tue Apr 07, 2020 10:45 am

Not too bad, there's some decent character work, but over all it just feels so stiff.

I think what you need is another far less formal character interacting with them to provide more contrast.
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Re: Please Don't Pass Me By (Lilly x OC)

Post by FrauPerchta » Wed Apr 08, 2020 3:21 pm

Oddball wrote:
Tue Apr 07, 2020 10:45 am
Not too bad, there's some decent character work, but over all it just feels so stiff.

I think what you need is another far less formal character interacting with them to provide more contrast.
Yeah, theres a lot I'm unhappy with. There will be plenty of less formal characters relatively soon; hopefully that can help. I'm strongly considering rewriting the end of this latest chapter, but we'll see. More characters will be introduced soon-ish; I think the first appearance of Shizune and Misha is the next chapter, and while Shizune isnt less formal (shes a bit... different, ofc) Misha should bring some more... flavorful dialogue with her.
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