To Miss the Mark - An OC Pseudo-Route (Hitomi)

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Xeraeo
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Re: To Miss the Mark - An OC Pseudo-Route (Hitomi)

Post by Xeraeo » Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:16 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:27 pm
she turns and enters the female dorm...
I emerge from the male dorm,...
Ah, one of my pet peeves. Everytime I read this I have to think of female dorms getting together with male dorms and making many small dormitories...
Well, I have this many times throughout the story, lol. It bothers me too, really, but there aren't many ways to distinguish the dorms other than guys' and girls', male and female, etc. Nice mental image though, thanks!
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:27 pm
I was practically dying yesterday after just a few laps.
Should be "this morning" unless you shuffeled around events in Act 1 a bit. "The Running Girl" is on Thursday, same as "Cold War" and "Paint by Numbers".
No, this actually takes place Friday morning, the SECOND time Hisao goes running with Emi. Scene name is "Exercise". If he takes the "Yes" option with Nurse, he runs with her again Friday morning, if I recall correctly, and then has the option to "Go for it" or something like "take it easy" on the track with her. Go for It results in him having to go to the Nurse, but locks Hisao onto the Emi route. What I'm doing here is like an alternative of the other choice, but he doesn't even get to the point of considering trying to race Emi.

I indicated when this takes place in the second sentence: "Emi was there before me, just like yesterday, and wasted no time getting me running."
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:27 pm
Glancing back, I see Emi watching me with her head tilted slightly, so I give her a little wave.
Just leaving Emi seems a bit rude. He could at least have said goodbye...
Yeah, he's being a bit of a dick here. Not the only example.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:27 pm
miso soup for both Hitomi and I
"for Hitomi and me"
Ah, I'm bad with these sometimes. Fixed. Thanks!
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:27 pm
"So, you're going to die, but you don't know when?"
That's true for most people :lol:
Indeed, and a point I think Hisao finally comes to understand by the end of Act 2. Memento Mori.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:27 pm
Anyway, I liked the way you approached Act 1, only showing the relevant parts. Some people don't like that, but for me fanfiction is not something that has to be able to stand on its own. You can assume that most readers will have already read Act 1 at least several times over.
You still took a couple of lines verbatim from the VN, which in excess is not a good thing, but here it was hardly noticeable.
Excellent. I'm glad. I settled on this approach, since I wanted to integrate her introduction into the 1st Act, without repeating or rehashing familiar territory any more than necessary. Even the few lines I stole while integrating the scenes were painful to write in, honestly, but I wanted the reader to know EXACTLY when and how these differences in the timeline took place, and how Hisao's choices and experiences led him to begin the "Hitomi Route" as opposed to one of the canon ones.

And I agree strongly with your statement on fanfiction. Anybody reading it is, almost by definition, very familiar with the source material. Otherwise, they wouldn't have a hunger for more, right?
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:27 pm
I have to admit I don't have a good grasp on Hitomi's character yet. Her reactions seem contradictory sometimes.
As they should.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:27 pm
You said this story was about opening up to each other,
No, I said it's not. That's been done. It has to be an aspect, of course, but it's not the focus of the story's primary conflict.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:27 pm
but I'm not quite sure if Hisao spilling his life story the second time they interact might not be too much of a good thing... I tried to put myself in Hitomi's place: You've just told that guy about your accident and going blind, and he responds by whining talking for over an hour about his own problems. Still not quite sure how I would react, but for some people it certainly would not come across well...
Indeed, I would react poorly to this myself. For her, I think the vulnerability he showed may have helped her form a connection, but that's more Hisao's perspective than Hitomi's. I can't truly speak for her, since I'm mostly in HIS head when I write this story. She's an enigma to me as well, though I know more about her than anyone else, naturally, and she has yet to be fully formed. And one possibly result of this method of character creation is that she'll end up an entirely unrealistic, unrelatable, unbelievable disappointment of a character when I'm done with her. Hoping not to fail that spectacularly, but it's by no means outside the realm of possibility.

---
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:01 pm
She looks down at my extended hand, and I realize that as my right hand was currently occupied with my bag, I had unconsciously offered her my left.
Disregarding, that shaking hands is not really common in Japan... Have you actually ever done that? Offered your left hand if your right was occupied? I think that would get a strange reaction no matter if the person in front of you has a hand or not...
So when I wrote this, I was conscious of the fact that shaking hands is not common in Japan, but I kinda decided to just include it regardless. KS is a fairly westernized version of Japan anyway, with the characters almost all going by their first names, for example.

But to answer your question... I can't think of a specific example, but this is certainly something I WOULD do. Being fairly socially awkward: particularly back in high school, though maybe not so much today. And I wanted to convey a degree of Hisao's own discomfort around others, particularly these students he's totally unfamiliar with. He's not exactly a shy person, but not the most charismatic or outgoing, either.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:01 pm
I rush out of my room and down to the exit of the boy's dorm.
I reach the girls dorm
"boys' dorm" and "girls' dorm" respectively but better than "male" and "female" :-)
Dammit. Fixed. Thanks!
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:01 pm
Moving to the previous door in the hall,
The room after Lilly's should be Hanako's iIrc. Maybe across the hall?
So I was never quite clear on whether Hanako was across from Lilly, or the next door down. I settled on having her be across the hall in this case, and having Hitomi be the next door down from Lilly. If I'm incorrect, and Hanako is definitively next door to Lilly, then I guess I'm stuck being non-canonical here. Which I do try to avoid...
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:01 pm
she's not wearing the Yamaku uniform, but rather a set of silky blue pajamas.
Either Lilly changed into her pajamas very early, or it should be very late - and consequently very dark - in the following scene in the forest...
Hitomi let me know that she spends several hours most evenings practicing with her bow, and that she wouldn't mind me coming to watch sometimes
Going alone into the forest is probably something she should not do with her condition anyway.
Yeah, we'll go with the first explanation. This is a few hours after classes end, and sundown in Japan that time of year is around 7pm, so yeah. Guess Lilly's a bit of a grandma with her bedtime.

Correct. She probably should not.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:01 pm
Yeah, this is actually more of a problem for me than you likely realize. I'm aware of it, and a part of my editing process is chopping up overly long sentences.
It's not something that I consciously realized as negative while reading. I'll keep an eye out continuing, but I've definitely seen a LOT worse...
I literally spent most of today editing a book for someone, and catching typos in both my and others' writing is something I pride myself on, so I'm simultaneously embarrassed that you found any, proud it was only three...
Not sure if it's that way for everyone, but I think for most people that is normal. It certainly is for me. When it's your own text you just look at it differently because you already know what's written.
Yes, the mind tends to fill in the details and we miss the actual words. That being said, my editing process is designed to bypass that problem, and I usually don't miss much. But in 60,000 words, there will always be something. Glad I have you fine people (or possibly degenerates) around to catch my errors!
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:01 pm
"A walk? How old are you, dude?" - "Old enough...
Touché.
Ironically, I walk for exercise frequently, despite being in my mid-20s, and large swathes of this story were created on my walks. Including this moment, in all likelihood.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:01 pm
ChattyWheeler wrote:Cell phones were still new—and expensive—in the late 2000's/early 2010's...
Hey, it's not that bad. I got a cell phone in '99 and I was one of the last people in my class to get one.
Got mine in '06, I think. I was also one of the last. Razor Sliver. Great phone.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:01 pm
Do I really want a relationship so soon after Iwanako?
This is funny for two reasons: First that he would consider that a relationship at all, and second - in light of your other story - that he would consider it "soon" :lol:
Yeah, this is sort of a wink at Rebound.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:01 pm
As we work, every now and then I catch Suzu giving Molly and I both odd glances.
"Molly and me"
Again. Thanks!
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:01 pm
Not quite sure what to make of the Shizune scene... It can't really be that simple... There are plenty of students in Yamaku who do not show outward sings of their conditions - including more than half of Hisao's class...
Correct. All we know here is that this is what Shizune SAYS she BELIEVES to be the explanation. She could be speaking dishonestly, simply incorrect in her assertion, or some combination of the two.

And that may be true for Hisao's class, but it almost certainly is not for Hitomi's class.

---
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:10 pm
Glancing around, I realize that even though I've been here before, I didn't really pay attention to Hitomi's room.
And now that his half-naked crush is sitting in front of him he does... To be honest, I probably wouldn't be able to manage that :lol:
Yeah, me neither, really. I'm gonna go with the explanation that he's nervously averting his eyes because she's undressed, and that's what leads to his distracted thoughts about the room. Though that still feels a bit far-fetched...
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:10 pm
I nearly run into Hanako, who's entering the door across the hall from Lilly's room.
See the earlier comment about room locations.
Yeah, I may be wrong, but at least the story is internally consistent!
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:10 pm
Chapter 2-7 probably puts paid to Shizune's theory that Hitomi has a problem with people who are obviously disabled, since she doesn't seem to have a problem with Miki at all...
Yeah, that was part of the intention behind that interaction.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:10 pm
Brister wrote:"Damn Hisao fucking rude why don't you ask what color she likes first before going off assuming shit ya racist..."
Really? How is that racist? Japan is a very homogenous country, and when someone looks like Molly it is a reasonable assumption.
Yeah, I declined to comment on this at the time, but thanks for pointing it out. I didn't know Brister nearly as well at the time, and didn't want to come across as condescending. We're bros now. Brister, like me, is from the US, and is in all likelihood far more accustomed to being in an ethnically heterogenous culture. I've traveled enough to know that most of the world isn't like us when it comes to that sort of thing (not a judgement in any way, merely an observation). In Asian countries in particular, from my experience at least, people are quite likely to ask questions or make comments on the basis of race, skin color, etc.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:10 pm
I note that Yukko doesn't seem to be on duty today.
Her name is Yuuko.
Good catch. Corrected.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:10 pm
Isn't that exactly what caused this rift between Hitomi and I?
I don't know where things stand between Hitomi and I
"between Hitomi and me" both times
aren't I just killing the chances of that?
"am I not"
sigh... fixed all three.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:10 pm
Final thoughts:
On a superficial level this seems to be a quite ordinary route. For me there are two things that set it apart from other stories like it - not counting the excellent language use. (On that note, I paid more attention to run-on sentences, and in my opinion it is not an issue at all.)
Good, it is meant to be a fairly ordinary route, though focused on perhaps some different problems than normal. Glad you of all people consider the language use to be excellent. And I'm also glad you didn't find the longer sentences to be an issue. I think I've grown in that area somewhat.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:10 pm
Anyway, the first thing is obviously that the love interest is not someone who has had their whole life to get used to their disability (or even a short while) but someone for whom all of that is still in the future - which provides a different set of problems from what I've seen in so many other fanfictions. Problems that will likely come into the foreground more when the blindness finally sets in permanently...
That is IF the blindness sets in permanently.
I have to note that Hitomi's condition is one that no doctor was able to detect and that nobody knows anything about, so it is somewhat strange that the doctors can tell that her sight will be gone permanently at some point. If nothing is known about it, chances are just as great that her bouts of blindness will eventually stop completely... Not that I want you to go that way, since it could feel a bit like a cop-out depending on how it is done...
Not sure if anybody brought this up yet... Usually I do read the comments as well, but in this case the comments/analysis are longer than the actual story - which is saying something considering the length of the story - and I wanted to read it without being too influenced by others' opinions.
Yes, I very much wanted to do something differently in having a love interest who is also new to her condition. This is a marked distinction from both the canon VN routes and any pseudo-routes I've read to date.

On Hitomi's condition: I created it as a narrative element, not knowing if it was a real thing, and not intending to look into it much. I know that in some cases (EBJ's work comes to mind), the writers will heavily research a medical condition and be detailed in their accurate portrayal of it. That's commendable, but not what I was going for in this story. Like all fiction, this story is about more than its own details, and what matters more than the condition itself is how Hitomi, and Hisao, learn to live with it.

And yeah, the doctors are being somewhat pessimistic, but we can chalk it up to Hitomi not fully knowing what they do, only understanding some of what she was told, etc. If I were given news that bleak, I suspect some of the details would slip my mind, as they did Hisao's in the prologue. I've been tempted on many occasions towards that cop-out, but it would rob the story of a lot of its potential meaning. Suffering and tragedy are inevitable facts of life, and how we choose to live with and overcome them mean a lot more than if we happen to get lucky now and then and avoid them.

And yeah, Chatty lives up to his name quite well. I would say he should go into the film critic business or something, if that industry wasn't so backwards and hopelessly corrupt. If you do get to reading the analysis, you'll be impressed by the many crazy ideas he and Brister come up with. They both think of things I never would have, and then guess them as future plot points, as if they were my plan from the beginning. Giving me ideas in the process. It's certainly an interesting dynamic.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:10 pm
The other thing - and the thing I commend the story most for - is its excellent use of secondary characters! There are plenty of stories that have a large cast of characters around here, but I can't think of any other that manages to include SO many (Shizune, Misha, Lilly, Hanako, Emi, Miki, Taro, Suzu, Molly & Kenji) without making any of those scenes feel superfluous. All of those characters are fleshed out and contribute to the story in meaningful ways. (I did not include Rin, because I don't think she contributes as much, but then she has only a few appearances.)
No scene feels wasted or just like filler, and I know exactly how hard it is to write like that. I can hardly believe when you say you don't plan ahead...
This was something I really, really wanted to do. Part of my motivation for writing KS fanfiction at all was because I deeply loved the characters, both the main cast and the side characters that were more fleshed out in others' fics, and I wanted to see more of them. Letting them all run loose (mostly) in the playground of my mind makes for some interesting situations and conversations, for sure.

And I'm VERY glad you don't see those scenes as filler. I tried quite hard to make sure they were not.

When I say I don't plan ahead, I mean in the details of a scene. My notes going in tend to be something like "Hisao goes into town with Hitomi, they walk around and end up eating somewhere, and run into Miki and Suzu." And then I write from there, filling in the details as I go, writing each character's actions, dialogue, and reactions as I would expect them to contextually based on what I know of them. The more right-brain I can make the process, the better it tends to go for me. The moment I start planning heavily is the moment the writing becomes more difficult. That's a large part of what I'm currently struggling with in writing 3-1.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:10 pm
Related to that, the scene I liked most was not one featuring Hitomi but the rejection scene with Molly. Considering that there are hundreds of stories on these forums astoundingly few include scenes of rejection - something I've been a bit conscious of since I wrote one myself a couple of years back - and I think this is probably one of the best scenes of that type.
Personally I would have gone for Molly, but since this has been a Hitomi route from the start I knew it was a waste rooting for her :-)
I don't recall reading many, either. The one from Developments is all I can think of off the top of my head.

And yeah, I love Molly. I almost wrote a Molly route instead of this one. I may still, someday, if Feurox never ends up continuing Gravity. :)

Anyway, thanks for your SpaG catches, your insightful commentary, your useful advice, and for reading the story! I'm glad it wasn't a disappointment. Hopefully it won't end up as one, when I manage to finish it.
Girls: Emi=Hanako=Lilly>Shizune=Rin
Routes: Lilly=Emi>Hanako>Rin>Shizune

(Name is pronounced "Zero". Stole it from Quake, I think)

My projects here:
To Miss the Mark - An OC Pseudo-Route (Hitomi)
Rebound - A Post Lilly NE Epilogue / Iwanako Story (On Hold)

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BristerXD
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Re: To Miss the Mark - An OC Pseudo-Route (Hitomi)

Post by BristerXD » Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:58 pm

Can I just say for the record, now that Mirage and Xeraeo have pointed it out now, that racist comment was meant more as an exaggeration. I knew it was perfectly normal for Japanese people to ask those kinds of questions, believe me with what my story is dealing with I had to look up a lot of shit about it. I was just trying to use it as a hyperbolic way of showing how my reading flow was interrupted by the detail.

Looking back on it, poor fucking choice of words. And generally bad argument I think now looking back even further. When I say I work on these analysis piece late at night when my mind starts to slip, it isn’t just for comedic presentation. Still, I fucked up and I’m sorry if that gave you the wrong impression of me at the time. I now try to tackle these things with a more salient state of mind.

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Xeraeo
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Re: To Miss the Mark - An OC Pseudo-Route (Hitomi)

Post by Xeraeo » Wed Nov 25, 2020 12:02 am

Lol, I didn't get a bad impression of you. Just wasn't sure how to respond to it at the time. The more I've come to know you, the more obvious it became that that was an exaggerated response, anyway. I had forgotten about it entirely until Mirage pointed it out.

And I'm not sure if it's better for you to be in a salient state of mind when you comment or not... It's certainly more fun when you're not, lol.
Girls: Emi=Hanako=Lilly>Shizune=Rin
Routes: Lilly=Emi>Hanako>Rin>Shizune

(Name is pronounced "Zero". Stole it from Quake, I think)

My projects here:
To Miss the Mark - An OC Pseudo-Route (Hitomi)
Rebound - A Post Lilly NE Epilogue / Iwanako Story (On Hold)

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: To Miss the Mark - An OC Pseudo-Route (Hitomi)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Thu Nov 26, 2020 6:07 pm

No, this actually takes place Friday morning, the SECOND time Hisao goes running with Emi.
We're talking about different lines. The one I meant is at the end of the previous chapter:
After a few more pleasantries like that, we bid each other good night and head off to our separate dorms. Before dozing off, I remember the nurse's nagging words, and set my alarm to wake me early enough to go jogging again. I told him what he wanted to hear, but honestly I don't know how long I'm gonna be able to keep it up. I was practically dying yesterday after just a few laps.
This line was from the evening when he is setting his alarm FOR Friday morning. Canocally this should be after the scene "Paint by Numbers" which should happen on Thursday.
No, I said it's not. That's been done. It has to be an aspect, of course, but it's not the focus of the story's primary conflict.
Fair.
So I was never quite clear on whether Hanako was across from Lilly, or the next door down. I settled on having her be across the hall in this case, and having Hitomi be the next door down from Lilly. If I'm incorrect, and Hanako is definitively next door to Lilly, then I guess I'm stuck being non-canonical here. Which I do try to avoid...
So, it's been a while since I read Hanako's or Lilly's path, so I'm not 100% sure, but as I remember it, Hanako's room is at the end of a hallway and shares a wall with Lilly's...
Okay, found a line in Hanako Act 3: "We quietly get up and file out of Lilly's room. Hanako's room is next door in the same hallway."
In Lilly's Act 2 we learn Lilly's room number is 225, and in Act 3 there's "Her room's position next to Lilly's is extremely convenient..."
That's what I got from the scripts. Not sure if there's more hints in the visuals - I've probably been through the scripts several times as often than I've read the actual VN...
As a side note, I just noticed an instance of "male dorm" in the VN script of the Lilly route which I apparently overlooked during the beta... Probably too late to send in the notice :-)
In Asian countries in particular, from my experience at least, people are quite likely to ask questions or make comments on the basis of race, skin color, etc.
Not sure if it's just about being Asian or heterogenous either. What is considered offensive is both dependent on culture and also personality, and my impression is that in the US people are far more afraid of being considered racist than in other countries - those that care anyway.
Germany is also a quite heterogenous country - and not only since 2015 - and I wouldn't have any problem asking an acquaintance about their heritage - probably not on the first meeting, but I don't consider it a taboo issue either. Rather I think it's natural to be interested in your friends' backgrounds - as long as you don't get all condescending and judgemental about it which should go without saying.
I don't recall reading many, either. The one from Developments is all I can think of off the top of my head.
If you don't mind a shameless self-plug, try this one. At the very least it's quite short :-)
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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Xeraeo
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Obstacles (3-1)

Post by Xeraeo » Sat May 22, 2021 6:40 pm

Act 3 - Draw

"Did you get to the part about the Ezo Republic yet?"

Hitomi's voice behind me pulls me back to reality, and I realize that once again I've lost my concentration on my textbook, letting my thoughts drift to the events of the past couple weeks. Blinking, I quickly check where I am and recall the last section I was reading.

"No, I haven't."

I hear the sound of movement on the bed, and then Hitomi's face appears next to my head, looking over my shoulder at the textbook in my lap and the notebook on the floor beside me. Her brow furrows ever so slightly.

"You're a pretty slow reader."

Turning to face her, I meet her deep green eyes just as her own attention shifts to me. Darting in, I give my girlfriend a quick peck on the lips before she has time to avoid it- not that I think she would have anyway. She giggles, shaking her head as she sits back on her bed once again, disappearing from my field of vision.

I look back down at my history book and try to resume my studying, but once again find myself unable to concentrate, my thoughts drifting immediately to the girl sitting less than a meter from me. These study sessions have proven to be far less efficient than doing the work alone- at least on my end- but I don't really mind. Honestly, I care more about spending as much time with Hitomi as I can than getting my work done in the fastest manner possible. So what that I can't focus as well when I'm with her? I'm happy. For the first time in a long time, I'm really, genuinely happy.

We figured out that despite being in different classes, we have most of the same subjects, and quickly started studying together as often as possible. Our homework assignments usually differ, but not all that much, and we can still help each other to some degree as long as we're covering roughly the same material.

While my strengths lie in the math and particularly the science subjects, I've found Hitomi to be more well-balanced. She's quite a bit better than I am at English, Japanese, and a few other subjects, but I still have a bit of an edge on her in my specialty subjects. As a result, we're both able to help one another in at least some small way in almost every general subject we share, and using that as a thinly-veiled excuse, we've begun spending a good portion of our time in one dorm room or the other, pushing the boundary of curfew to its limit on several occasions.

Thinking back over these past two weeks since our mutual confession, I find myself grinning like an idiot. It's not that the days have been filled with nothing but good times- far from it. The first few days after Hitomi got back from the hospital were hard on her. The administration left her alone on Sunday, but first thing Monday she was called in to meet with the Nurse and the Principal together, both in the morning and then again after classes. Obviously, I couldn't attend with her, but I waited outside during the second meeting and walked her back to the dorms afterwards.

She wasn't particularly inclined to share all the details, but the gist of it came down to her freedom of movement becoming far more restricted for a limited period. That first week, she was not allowed to leave the campus at all without arranging a staff escort beforehand. Hitomi's solution to this was, naturally, to simply not leave the campus at all. I made a short grocery run for her since she had been unable to complete her shopping trip over the previous weekend, of course.

After that, she was instructed to inform her class representative any time she left campus, which she naturally found incredibly frustrating. I managed to convince her that it was worth it to be able to go places on her own again, and double checked with Lilly myself to make sure she wouldn't be overly concerned over Hitomi. I was surprised that Lilly wasn't rubbing my face in the whole situation, considering I had more or less ignored her earlier advice about encouraging Hitomi to take more precautions with her condition. She seemed perfectly understanding and polite when I spoke with her again. My best guess is that she has had to deal with people trying to limit her own independence in the past, and can sympathize with Hitomi on the subject, but I didn't actually ask her about it.

One thing that quite surprised me was that, to my knowledge, Hitomi's parents had not gotten in contact with her at all after the accident. I spoke with my own parents for the first time since arriving here just a few days after Hitomi returned to campus, giving them a brief summary of my impressions of this place without going into too much detail. I mentioned I was making friends, but decidedly avoided mentioning my new girlfriend. Somehow, I think I would have given my mother a heart attack of her own if I had dropped that news on her so suddenly.

Apparently, the administration did reach out to Hitomi's parents, and heard back from them. However, Hitomi herself never spoke to them. I asked her about it, only once, but her totally blank face and flat voice as she told me they had not spoken told me everything I needed to know. Don't ask. Leave it be.

Despite all of this, things between the two of us have been good. Better than good, really. Amazing. We walk to class together each morning, eat our lunch together, hang out in the woods together, study together… Basically, if we're not in classes or sleeping, we're spending time together one way or another. I had thought of Hitomi as pretty introverted, from my first impressions, but if she's finding things suffocating I can't tell at all. She initiates the time together just as or more often than I do, meeting me outside my classroom, or by the dorms, or wherever else we agree to.

One other rather convenient development was that she was required to keep her phone on her person. While I know she isn't a huge fan of the thing, it has removed the obstacle of searching for her aimlessly around the campus, and I can't say that I miss it.

A pair of bare, slender legs drop down beside me, hanging off the edge of the bed. Imagining the position the rather short girl must be lying in just to accomplish this, I laugh a bit to myself. Running a hand along her calf, I gently massage the muscles as I try yet again to pick up my reading on the end of the Edo Period.

---

Hitomi lets out a frustrated sigh. It's the first sound I've heard from her in several minutes, but I know immediately what it means.

"What page were you on?"

She takes a long, deep breath before replying.

"I didn't look at the number, but it was the one with the picture of the ships."

I flip ahead a few pages in my own book, and find the picture she's referring to. Starting from the top, I begin to read out loud.

Hitomi's fear that her recent accident had affected her vision proved not to be entirely unfounded after all. Though she recovered her sight at first, her condition seems to have accelerated significantly, with attacks occurring more frequently and lasting longer. We still don't know if this is just a psychosomatic reaction or a genuinely physical one, but the result is the same. It's rare that she goes an entire day without at least one attack, and often she loses her sight for hours at a time instead of just a few minutes or so. I've learned to take it in stride, taking over reading when we're studying together, or moving to reassure her and guide her back to the dorms if we're out in the woods.

Fortunately this attack is one of the shorter ones, since after only ten or fifteen minutes of reading, I hear Hitomi's breathing change behind me. The sound of rustling pages follows, and I drop off after finishing the paragraph without another word. Flipping back, I try to find where I was before I took over for Hitomi.

---

I've learned quite a lot about my girlfriend over the past few weeks, as we've spent so much time talking. She only started learning Kyudo a few years ago, for instance, and had grown interested in it because of her brother, Namboku. Her childhood best friend, Etsuko, was very different from Hitomi, far more friendly and interested in the people around her, but they had grown apart in recent years, and had not spoken since Hitomi had transferred to Yamaku.

Hitomi also told me various stories from her childhood, most of them involving Namboku or Etsuko, but nothing that gives me too much insight into Hitomi herself. And most distinctly, she rarely ever brings up her parents, except in small ways. I get the impression that there's a distance between Hitomi and her parents, but I've avoided asking about it. She'll tell me when she's ready, I'm sure.

Watching her walk ahead of me now, leading me into the woods, I can't help but smile. To think that just a few short weeks ago, we hadn't even met. I already knew from what happened in February how quickly things can change in a person's life, but now I've experienced that those sudden changes don't always have to be a bad thing.

We reach the clearing, and Hitomi sets down her gear, strapping on her bracer. Apparently, it keeps the bowstring from chafing her forearm. I settle down on the grass nearby with a book, content to watch her practice.

Even though I've seen her shoot her bow many, many times now, I'm still mesmerized by the sight. There's just something about her wild, carefree expression that pulls me in. All her fears and doubts about her future seem to fade away, leaving only the strong, confident woman I know her to be. It pains me to think that someday, when her condition makes her archery no longer possible, I might never see that expression again.

---

After Hitomi finishes practicing, we spend some time on the bench in quiet companionship, happy to watch the lights of the city slowly coming on as night begins to fall. It feels like we're an old couple, in ways, with our walks and benches and long, comfortable silences, but I don't mind. We're young in other ways.

Like now, for instance, as Hitomi's arms wrap around my torso to pull me in for another kiss. This has become a habit for her whenever we're out here, as if this spot is reserved for kissing alone. Elsewhere, I'm the one to initiate, but here it's always her. I respond eagerly, much more comfortable with the intimacy than I was the first few times. At least, I am at first, but after a few seconds when Hitomi would normally pull back, she surprises me by throwing a leg over me and straddling my waist, escalating things significantly.

I feel my heartbeat begin to quicken.

No.

Ignoring my anxieties, I kiss Hitomi back eagerly, pulling her against me as we continue to make out on the bench. I keep a small bit of my attention on my heartbeat, which is elevated but manageable at the moment. The rest is on the girl in front of me.

Darkness falls over the overlook as the sun finally sets, and Hitomi reluctantly pulls away from me, though remaining on my lap. She arches an eyebrow and glances down.

"Want to head back to my room?"

It's not her words, which are relatively common for us now, but her tone that suggests more meaning. A lot more. I grin, even as I begin to grow nervous. Taking my hand and standing, Hitomi pulls me to my feet, and we grab her gear as we begin to walk back towards the dorms.

Can I really do this?

We're fairly physically affectionate, but our relationship hasn't reached that point quite yet. I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought about it. A lot. It's hard not to with Hitomi, especially considering the amount of time we spend alone. But the subject has always made me worry. I'm supposed to avoid any serious physical exertion, or anything that can get my heart racing too fast. How is this gonna work?

"Hisao?"

Apparently I'm letting my growing apprehension show. I look down to my girlfriend, who's gazing up at me with curiosity. Her expression shifts into concern, and I try to give her a reassuring smile. It doesn't seem to work.

"I'm okay." I try to focus on the path ahead, as we exit the woods and begin crossing the athletic field towards the dorms.

---

When we get to Hitomi's room, she locks the door behind us, something she often doesn't bother with. I raise an eyebrow at her, but she shakes her head and points to the bed, her expression serious. I nod and take a seat on the edge, content to wait quietly while she puts her bow and other accessories away. She sits beside me, taking my hand but looking down at the floor.

"You're worried that if we have sex it'll give you a heart attack, right?"

My jaw drops for a moment, and then I let out a single bark of laughter, shaking my head. I don't know why her frankness still surprises me.

"Yeah, basically."

She nods, squeezing my hand lightly.

"Maybe you can do something to make it easier."

I have trouble interpreting her tone. It's not one I hear often. I think maybe she's… nervous?

"Nurse was pretty insistent I work out somewhat to strengthen my heart. I haven't been good with that so far…"

She looks up at me, her expression hard to gauge. A mix of disappointment and concern, maybe. It makes my heart sink. As it dawns on me what she's getting at, I nod slowly.

"Maybe I could work out with you?"

She makes a face, shaking her head. "My workouts are pretty intense. And I like doing them alone."

I nod again. "I could ask Emi if she's still willing to run with me."

Hitomi brightens. "That could work. We need to get your heart healthy, Hisao. Not just so… you know."

"Yeah. I know."

I've been trying to avoid thinking about my own condition any more than I have to, preferring to focus on Hitomi and helping her through her struggles. It seems that time is over.

"I'll talk to her tomorrow."

Hitomi shakes her head. "Don't put it off."

"Fine," I sigh. "I'll text her right now."

I pull out my phone- then quickly realize I don't actually have Emi's number.

"Uh.."

Hitomi sighs, settling her head on my shoulder.

"You went running with a cute girl and never even got her number?"

I laugh again, putting my phone away.

"I guess I'm not as smooth as I thought."

"Oh, I wouldn't be so sure."

Hitomi kisses me again, and I can tell she wants to go further- but she stops after a moment or two.

"Maybe you should get out of here."

I nod, taking a deep breath to settle myself down.

"Probably a good idea, yeah."

We're both way too stirred up. If I stay here, we'll end up taking things somewhere we're not ready for. At least, I'm not. Hitomi is clearly ready.

"Uh, goodnight?"

Hitomi laughs at my awkwardness.

"Goodnight." She gives me a wink before ushering me out.

Well. I suppose I have some real motivation to get into better shape now.

-----

Previous Chapter | Next Chapter

Wordcount: 2,664 / 64,020
Girls: Emi=Hanako=Lilly>Shizune=Rin
Routes: Lilly=Emi>Hanako>Rin>Shizune

(Name is pronounced "Zero". Stole it from Quake, I think)

My projects here:
To Miss the Mark - An OC Pseudo-Route (Hitomi)
Rebound - A Post Lilly NE Epilogue / Iwanako Story (On Hold)

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Chatty Wheeler
Posts: 68
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:56 pm
Location: Pacific Time Zone

Re: To Miss the Mark - An OC Pseudo-Route (Hitomi)

Post by Chatty Wheeler » Sun May 23, 2021 5:09 am

My, my, look who's back! It's good to see another post from you, Xeraeo. It came at a pretty good time—I've been needing some motivation to get back on her and finally start chipping away at my every-expanding backlog of stories on these forums.

Anyway, eight months later, let's see if I still got it—and let's see if you've still got it. :wink:

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Jumping back into this story was surprisingly not too difficult. This scene does a nice job at alluding to necessary information from past scenes in a natural way. This is achieved cleverly through a time-skip. It's been a couple weeks since the last scene, and since then, quite a lot has changed. Some of my predictions came true, others... missed the mark. (I'm so sorry, I can't even stop myself... :cry:)

After all of the turmoil and stress at the end of Act 2, it's really lovely to see our lovebirds doing lovey-dovey stuff for the time being. Trying and failing to efficiently study in the presence of a friend or significant other is something that most of us can relate to. It's definitely something that you'd expect out of a new couple—wanting to spend as much time as possible together.

With how much time Hisao and Hitomi have spent together, I was pleased to see that Hitomi is developing a better system to take care of herself. Better yet, Hisao appears to have taken an active role in helping Hitomi with the struggles brought about by her intermittent blindness. The studying scene illustrated this well—there's a real sense companionship between Hisao and Hitomi here—and it feels like a situation that would naturally occur quite frequently in a relationship where one of the parties went blind from time to time. It's definitely a much more creative way to get the point across than simply telling the reader through exposition.

I had originally predicted that Hitomi would "shut down" while she was blind, and that Hisao would shut down without Hitomi, and while the latter is up still up for debate, it would seem that Hitomi is handling her blindness quite a bit better than I predicted. Hitomi now carries around a phone in case of emergencies (which I am taking credit for :twisted:), she seems to have figured things out with Lilly for the time being, and she has Hisao to lean on in circumstances where blindness is makes things difficult—like the studying from earlier. This all seems good, doesn't it? Really good, I would say, but that doesn't mean that Xeraeo hasn't snuck in a few loose ends for me to tug at.

It's brought up that the severity Hitomi's intermittent blindness is accelerating quickly. In two weeks, the frequency and length of blindness attacks is increasing substantially. I can't help but wonder if she's... panicking on the inside. If she is, she's doing well at hiding it, or maybe—at the risk of sounding like a hopeless romantic—Hisao is all she needs to be happy. Perhaps the answer is somewhere in between, but I can't help but speculate how Hitomi is handling these now-daily blindness attacks. For all she knows, she might not be able to shoot her bow next month! Speaking of which... isn't it about time that Hisao joins the fun? I mean, he watches Hitomi shoot her arrows whenever she goes to out to shoot them. When is he going to shoot one? That's some next-level bonding material right there. My boy Hisao and my girl Hitomi are sitting on a gold mine and they're blind to it! (See what I did there? 8))

This brings up something else that I noticed throughout the scene. Hisao and Hitomi are really close, now. Like, really close. They appear very comfortable around each other, so much so that the looming possibility of sex strikes them both in this scene—but I'll save that for later. The two are very focused on each other, which I hope doesn't become problematic...

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Okay, this scene through me for quite the loop when it brought up the subject of Hitomi's parents... To be frank, this conflict kind of came out of nowhere for me, as it must have for Hisao—unless I'm not remembering some big play foreshadowing from the previous two acts. However, considering what Xeraeo has told me previously, I don't think I'm missing much foreshadowing:
Xeraeo wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 5:23 pm
And as for Hitomi's parents... well, we know next to nothing about them right now.
Regardless of how unexpected and out of nowhere it is, the conflict remains a mystery, which makes me excited! Where are these mystical parents? Why won't she talk about them? She seems to enjoy talking about her brother and her best friend, but she still doesn’t say much about herself, and she never talks about her parents. It seems like it’s a touchy subject. For the time being, Hisao is leaving the issue alone. Considering how things turned out in Scene 2-9, I can understand why Hisao might be inclined to let Hitomi bring it up when she's ready.

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Then, of course, this scene ends in the most hardcore way it could have. Our love birds go to their nest and things start getting S E R I O U S. It's clear that Hitomi would like to take their relationship even further in the physical direction, but Hisao is clearly nervous about having a heart attack. Hitomi notices too, and brings it up in the most frank manner possible—which made me laugh. Even though it's been eight months since the last scene update, Hitomi is still recognizable as herself.

Anyway, both of them realize that Hisao is going to have to shape up if they want to shake it up (I can’t believe I’m writing this), so he asks Hitomi if he can work out with her, but to my surprise, she turns him down… Hmmm... With how much these two spend time together, I was expecting that Hitomi would be jumping at the chance to spend even more time with her boyfriend. But who knows, maybe Hitomi's got a reason for it—the intensity of her workouts being one possible reason. Either way, Hisao decides to talk to Emi about working out with her the next day. Excited to see how that turns out! Hopefully she's not still that mad at Hisao for bailing like the beta male that we all know he is! :x

Either way, it's kind of funny when you step back and realize that in this continuity, Hisao is going to be working out for the sole purpose of having sex. (I know that I'm oversimplifying it quite a bit and that having sex is not the sole purpose—I'm just goofing :lol:)

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No typos spotted!

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All in all, a very good scene! It's really nice to be reading more Hitomi content again. This chapter gives us some uninterrupted Hisao and Hitomi time, but I'm also looking forward to seeing what's in store for your carefully well-developed band of side characters! What's the deal with Miki holding back at races? Can Hisao and Molly be good friends? Is Suzu going to try and hook Molly up with Kenji next?! Will Hitomi find it in her heart to become friends with Suzu and Molly, or Shizune and Misha?

I feel like your writing holds up well, with some good humor, creative ideas, and an interesting premise that hopefully can carry this story through Act 3 and beyond!

So, yeah. To answer my prompt from the beginning of this post: you've still got it. :D

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