fool's game (A Saki x Hisao fic)

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clarity
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Joined: Thu May 20, 2021 9:24 am

fool's game (A Saki x Hisao fic)

Post by clarity » Thu Jul 29, 2021 1:59 am

First time poster, reporting for duty.
Inspired by, Themocaw's Saki Drabbles and Learning to Fly, I decided to try my hand at writing a Saki fic. My initial ideas never took off, but somehow this one did.
I wrote this sporadically over the course of three months, and don't have much of a clue when I'll find the time in my schedule to actually finish it, but as long as i still find joy in writing it, I'm sure it'll happen. Just a matter of time, right?

feedback is much appreciated. thanks for reading!

Part 1

I’m accompanying Rin through the forest today. She had mentioned that she needed to go somewhere in particular, then without a word more she left, leaving me to try my best to follow her red tousle of hair. She’s hopping around the underbrush, at a glance picking directions according to her whims, although her compass is more than likely guided by some internal logic which makes sense to her and her alone. The faint sound of the nearby river, chirping of birds, and the crinkling of fallen leaves beneath our feet give me strong feelings of nostalgia, reminding me of our previous walk through this forest, ending with the words we exchanged under the ‘Worry Tree’. Thinking about it, I can’t help but laugh to myself. It’s been hectic lately, but we’re both better off now compared to how we were back then. At least, I’d like to think so.

“Come on,” She says to me, speeding up her pace. I struggle to keep up. We continue like this until we find ourselves by a steep hilltop. The view here overlooks the school and the town beyond. With the sheer breadth of our surroundings and the vastness of the clear blue sky above, it’s hard not to be entranced by a sense of scale that dwarfs everything else.

Even so, Rin doesn’t seem to be paying attention to anything except the specks of white which make up the dandelion field below. A field which symbolized her desire to change, one which now symbolizes the beginnings of something new between the two of us. She turns to me, her trademark self-satisfied smirk plastered on her face as she takes my hand, intertwining her fingers with mine.

“I love you, Hisao.”

I want to say the words back to her, but I can’t stop the lump forming in my throat. I just have to ask…

“Rin… when did you grow hands?”

Rin looks at me with a sad expression as raindrops begin to fall, and in an instant, everything goes dark.

I wake up in my dorm room. I rub my bleary eyes, slowly coming to my senses.

That was stupid.

The colder days of Autumn and Winter have left, leaving only the uncomfortable heat of Summer. The air feels stale and humid. Likely a dozen different scents have mixed and matched to create this unpleasant choking feeling that fills my lungs whenever I breathe. I can feel a thin film of sweat forming all over my body, soaking my pajamas. I wonder if it would’ve been better to sleep naked. I’d ruin the bed sheets, but it probably would’ve been more comfortable, at least.

The morning warmth prompts me to take a shower almost immediately. The cold water running down my back feels like a blessing. I decided to take my time scrubbing off. I ponder what to do with the rest of my day but nothing comes to mind. There just isn’t very much to do during Summer break. Some would call it freedom, but to me it feels like I’m living in isolation. Aside from the time spent in loose proximity with other people at the cafeteria, I am alone, left to wander around lackadaisical with only my own thoughts to keep me company. I don’t think I used to hate it. Back then, I was happy just kicking a ball in the yard. Now, loneliness is a bitter companion which I can’t seem to shake.

I turn off the shower knob, deciding to get on with my day.
___

It seems even Yuuko couldn’t be convinced to work over the holidays. Barred from the library, I drag my feet to the only other place which is familiar to me.

I expect to be alone on the roof. From what I saw in the cafeteria yesterday, hardly anybody stayed on campus after Sunday afternoon. But to my surprise, the door’s already been pried open.

There’s a girl with wavy chestnut hair facing away from me. She’s sitting across from a wooden easel supporting a 5 foot by 5 foot canvas. She doesn’t seem to have noticed me yet, and so I stand and wait. It’s a routine so familiar to me at this point that I reach for the book in my bag almost on instinct. I try to smile to myself, but it comes out more like a grimace.

“Do you usually sneak up behind girls with a pained expression on your face?” The girl looks at me with a mix of curiosity and bemusement.

I expect myself to stammer or blush, but I do neither. “Maybe. I don’t look at myself in the mirror too often when I do.”

“You admit to the first part, then.”

“I don’t really see how I could deny it,” I shake my head, catching myself, “I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”

“Hm,” She gives me an appraising look. I return the favour.

The most striking thing about her is her outfit. She’s ditched the school uniform, opting instead for a powder blue sundress with a light pink ribbon around her collarbone. I notice a straw hat by her side and try to imagine her wearing it, and I decide that it compliments the look. She’s cute. I don’t see anything which gives away her disability, but that’s to be expected for at least half of Yamaku’s student population.

Nothing about me seems to raise any alarm bells for her. She turns back to the canvas, ending our staring contest. “Saki Enomoto. Call me Saki.”

“Hisao Nakai, Hisao is alright.” I say to her, “Do you mind?” I tap the bench in front of me, the one opposite her.

“No, it’s alright,” She nods to herself, turning back to the canvas.


“So, what’re you reading?” She asks.

I wasn’t expecting much conversation, and so the question catches me by surprise. I check the front cover of the book just to be sure, “A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking.”

“It sounds…”

“Nerdy?” I answer for her.

“You could say that,” She leans in closer to the canvas, carefully filling in the blank space with small strokes of blue paint. “Is it good?”

“Well, I like it,” I give a noncommittal shrug. A pointless gesture, since she’s facing away from me right now.

“You sounded half-hearted there. That’s no good,” She turns and frowns at me, “If you like something, then you like it.”

“Then…” I think to myself, “I really like it? How’s that sound.”

“That’s good,” Her smile goes all the way up to her eyes, “Life’s too short to be doing things you don’t enjoy.”

“I’m glad you’re looking out for me, then,” I let out a dry chuckle.

“Don’t sweat it,” She says, flashing another smile. She must be taking extensive smiling lessons, I’m sure of it.

“How about you? What’re you working on?” I ask her.

“You can have a look,” She moves a bit to the side so I can see the painting from where I’m seated.

It’s a watercolour painting of the view from the rooftop at different times of the day, divided into longitudinal sections, forming a gradient. She must’ve been working on this for a while. The night portion on the right looks near-finished, and she’s currently painting in a sunny afternoon in the middle. The soft colours are soothing. It feels like the type of painting I could get lost in. Maybe I’m already doing that.

“I have trouble sticking inside the lines when I paint. I thought this would be good practice,” As she says that, I notice her hand trembling slightly as she holds the brush.

I don’t pry for more details, even though it seems like she’d be comfortable talking about her condition. After all, I’m still not comfortable with talking about mine, definitely not with complete strangers. “It looks really good. I like it,” I finally say, and I mean it.

“Thanks,” She looks satisfied with my response.

We go back and forth like this, coexisting for a while.

“Would you look at that,” Saki gazes out to the sunset, a relaxed smile on her face. “This is probably the best part of being up here.” I agree, and say as much. The quiet of the school grounds and the beginnings of a summer breeze only serve to highlight the peaceful atmosphere.

Saki fills in a little more of the canvas, then she tells me she’s finished. I nod and start to pack up my things. Saki sits incredibly still, basking under the light of the evening sky. Without facing me, she asks, “You hang out with Tezuka, don’t you?”

“Yeah,” I answered without thinking. “Why?”

“I’ve been trying to place you. I remember seeing her sketching you in the art room. The two of you are cute together,” She smiles lightly. “Oh, and it was a good sketch too. Very flattering.”

I barely hear her last few words over the noise of my own crescendoing thoughts. The peaceful feeling is gone, replaced by the pounding of my own heart. The anger I felt then comes rushing back to me, almost like it never left. It’s stupid. This is stupid.

“Can we not talk about this?” I say in a heated whisper.

It takes me a while to get everything together again. I feel Saki’s shadow cast over me. “That was… I’m sorr-,” Saki stops me by putting a hand on my shoulder. I look up at her, confused.

“Don’t worry about it,” She smiles gently, her eyes indecipherable.

Slowly, I smile back. I think it comes out a little crooked, but either way, she makes no mention of it.

“Come on.”

___
I end up helping her move the canvas into the art room. Saki quietly admires her own handiwork as I set it down to dry. We exchange small talk while walking, the bulk of it is Saki complaining about Yamaku’s obsession with steep-ish stairs, and how disagreeable they are with her cane.

Our paths diverge outside the doors to the main building. “It was nice meeting you, Hisao.”

“You too,” I nod.

“I’ll see you around!”
___

Lethargy seeps into my bones as I wait for the vending machine to dispense caffeinated goodness. Clunk. There we go. Wielding my coffee can, I set my mind to the day ahead of me.

Stairs. More stairs. I have to stop to catch my breath. I glance up. The door to the rooftop is already open.


“You showed up,” Saki says, her back facing me. She’s mixing some paints on her palette, facing a blank canvas.

“Was I not supposed to?” I set my bag down on the bench behind her.

“It’s nearly,” She glances at her wristwatch, “1pm. I was pretty sure I’d scared you off.”

“I’m just not a morning person,” I shrug, it’s an honest truth. And if anything, I'd have thought it’d be the other way around. Saki is remarkably unintimidating.

“I’ve heard that before,” She snorts.

“It’s not really a big deal. It’s normal, even.”

“You’re starting to sound like Snoozu - Suzu, I mean.”

“Suzu…” The name’s familiar. I ponder on it while sipping my coffee.

“Green hair, green-ish eyes. She’s in your class.”

“Right. I never got around to introducing myself,” I realize that I’ve been the furthest thing from a social butterfly with my year mates. I probably haven’t even made myself very friendly. I chuckle, feeling more than a little self conscious.

“You should,” She says.

She waits for a response. I nod for her to continue.

“It probably wouldn’t be much of an introduction. You’d say your name, as if she didn’t know it already, then she’d probably fall asleep a little after that,” I chuckle. Saki continues with a smile, “She’s cool, though. Funny in a silly way. And when she really starts talking, she doesn’t stop. It’s sad that most people’s first impression of her is ‘elephant tranquilizers expressed in the form of a teenage girl.’ Her words, not mine.”

She laughs lightly, eliciting another chuckle from me. She’s two for two on those. “All this is to say, you’d probably like her.”

“Well, you definitely seem to. Like her, I mean.”

“What can I say? I like a lot of people,” She dips a thick brush in green paint, raising it to the canvas, “Why have it any other way?” She says, flashing a smile.

___

Saki listens to music through a pair of earbuds as she paints. I recognize the earbuds as a new model, but I don’t know enough about audio gear to strike up a conversation. In any case, she seems completely immersed in her work. That’s quite fine by me.

Using the table as a backrest, I settle into a comfortable enough position and flip open my book to where I’d last left off. I find it quite easy to get lost in the pages. The book’s engaging, and it makes me reconsider Mutou’s offer to start a Science club, if only a little.

I think Saki’s forgotten my presence somewhat, because she occasionally hums to herself while tapping on the table with her free hand. Staring would feel creepy, but I sneak a few glances. It looks like she’s playing an imaginary piano, her fingers moving with uncanny speed. I didn’t know Yamaku had a piano. I wonder where she plays, if she plays at all.

I try to think of a way to smoothly ask her about it, but I come up short. I end up going back to my book.

The hours pass quickly. It doesn’t feel like very long at all before I feel Saki tap me on the shoulder.

“Just thought I’d tell you I’m heading off. I need to go for a grocery run,” She takes her cane from beside her, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

I look around. She’s already laid the canvas out on the table to dry.

Should I go with Saki? Despite my earlier embarrassment, I can’t deny that she’d probably appreciate the help.

“Hey,” I called out.

She stops and turns around, a lightly curious expression on her face.

“Do you mind if I come with you?”

She thinks about it for only a moment, “Sure. Why not?” She smiles.

___

We’re at the convenience store, looking at an aisle stocked with cooking ingredients. It’s well-stocked compared to the last time I was here.

“It’s always like this during summer break,” Saki explains, as if reading my mind. “Supply and demand, all that.”

Saki stops momentarily, deep in thought. “I was planning on just getting some frozen meals, but…” She speaks slowly, as if testing the waters.

I turn to her, peeling my eyes off the instant noodle packets. “But?”

An easygoing expression spreads across her face, indicating she’s come to a resolution, “Do you like those?”

“Instant noodles?” I ask, and she nods. “They’re not too bad, I think.”

“Don’t you think you deserve better than ‘not too bad’?” She stresses the last few words with a haughty look.

“...Maybe?” ‘Where is she going with this?’, I think to myself.

“We could cook dinner one of these days. The two of us.”

“...What?” I can’t hide my double take. “Why?”

She gestures to her cane, “Last time I had a go at it alone, I nearly fell face-first into a stove.” She smiles sheepishly, “Besides, we both have a whole lot of time on our hands.”

“That isn’t…”

“That isn’t true? Really now,” She looks at me with an amused expression, “It’ll be fun, won’t it?”

Is she trying to corner me? What for? I think I see a glint in her eyes, and I can’t tell if it’s playful or predatory. I can’t help but think she has some ulterior motive, like I’m going to be taken advantage of in some way. Growing tired of these types of guessing games, I decide to be honest with what’s on my mind.

“Why me? I mean, we’ve only known each other for two whole days,” I say, bluntly.

Her smile falters, “It’ll be fun. Please.” She repeats herself, her words taking on a pleading note.

When the terse silence becomes too much for me, I turn away and gaze at the tiled floor, feeling the awkwardness linger in the air.

“It’s okay,” I see her shake her head out of the corner of my eye. “You can say no. It’s not really a big deal.”

“...No,” I pause, “I mean, I’m sorry,” I look up at her. “Sure, I’ll be there,” I offer a smile, hoping it’s more honest than strained.

Saki smiles back, looking relieved. “Alright then. A deal’s a deal.”

__

“Hey… about earlier,” I start, finally managing to gather enough will to speak up. It took me until we reached the school gates, but - better late than never, I guess.

“Hm?”

“I’m sorry. again. I shouldn’t have lashed out like that. Just, something came over me, I guess,” I chuckle, trying to hide the growing nerves which come with stilted apologies.

“...It’s okay. Really,” She pauses, “It happens.”

We stood there for a while, neither of us knowing what to say.

“I’m sorry too,” Saki fires first.

“What for?”

She shrugs, “Something. Whatever you’re thinking about right now. That’s what I’m sorry for.”

“...That’s definitely not how it works.”

She smiles sheepishly, “It’s best not to worry about these things.”

“Alright then,” I nod slowly, “I accept your apology.”

“Great. Would you like to shake on it?”

“Sure,” I smile, the ridiculousness of the situation paired with her too-serious delivery finally getting to me.

She takes my outstretched hand, shakes it lightly, and ends with a bow deep enough to have the tips of her hair come within inches of the tarmac.

“See?” She finally breaks, laughing to herself. “Now we’re even.”


___

As I’m making my way up the stairs, I see Saki coming towards me, with a clean canvas under her left arm and an art palette hanging from her right shoulder. She’s looking straight at the ground, taking each step forward very gingerly, clearing the stairs like mines in a minefield, though instead of blowing her limbs off, they’d instead cause damage in other, less drastic ways. Realizing I’ve been spacing out for the past few seconds, I snap out of it, and make a mental note of the pitfalls of a terrible sleep schedule.

“Want some help?” I ask her.

“Hisao?” She looks up. I notice she’s tied her hair into a ponytail, probably to stop it from obscuring her view while she walks, “Yeah, sure. Here you go…”

I shoulder the art palette, but she insists on holding on to the canvas. I don’t take too much fuss at this, though to me, the action seems a little pointless.

“Thanks,” She smiles appreciatively.

“Don’t mention it.”

“I just did.”

“I guess you did.”

We reach ground level without much resistance. Saki leans on the railing and stares up at the stairs above, then the floor, then at me, finally settling her troubled look on a nondescript section of the wall behind me.

“...Are you alright?” I ask her, a little worried.

“Could you get my cane? It’s in the art room. I had my hands full, and I thought that I’d have enough in me to go back up there myself, but…”

“Oh. Of course,” I nod. A few months of living at Yamaku was enough to reprogram my brain to see things like helping others with daily actions as entirely normal, so I don’t really think twice about it.

“Thanks,” And yet, Saki’s tired, almost bitter smile, gives me pause. I don’t know what to say here. Honestly, I doubt I’m even in the right to ask after something so personal.

“I’ll be right back,” Inwardly wishing I could do more, or that I even knew how to start a conversation like that, I make my way back up again, my footfalls covering up the sound of her fingertips, nervously tapping against the railing.

___

Finding Saki’s cane is a matter of simple retrieval, but climbing this many stairs has left me winded to an embarrassing degree.

I have to stop in the courtyard, my hands on my knees. 1, 2, 3, Exhale. 1, 2, 3, Inhale. It’s a cycle I have to repeat a few times. I grimace. Figures. Without Emi or the Nurse badgering me, I’ve fallen woefully behind on improvements to my physical health.

Not to mention the cigarettes. It was only one time, but those can’t have helped.

“Hey, should I get the Nurse?” She sounds slightly worried, though not overbearingly so.

That easily sounds like the worst idea I’ve heard this week. “No, ah, I’ll be fine,” I say, perhaps a touch too quickly.

“Right,” She nods, “I see you like seeing him about as much as I do.”

“...From your tone, I’m guessing that’s a lot?”

“Oh. Yeah. A ton,” she winks, “nothing like meetings meant to keep you healthy to drive you to somehow do the exact opposite.”

Sticking close to the shade provided by the trees provides some respite from the afternoon heat, allowing us to take on a slower walking pace. Doubly sensible, as with no classes or student obligations to attend to, neither of us have anywhere we need to be, really.

“It’s not the visits themselves that I hate, I just dread the thought of being roped into morning runs with Emi, uh, Ibarazaki.”

“I know her. She doesn’t seem that bad.”

“No, no. She's fine. The two of us are friends,” I rub the back of my head, “I can’t sacrifice my mornings, that’s all.”

“Yes. Your beauty sleep is important,” She nods sagely.

“It is. Thank you for acknowledging that,” I push back with some snark of my own.

She has the decency to act somewhat guilty this time. “Sorry. Honestly, I have no right to judge. I don’t like waking up early either.”

“How do you push through it?”

“Breakfast usually does the trick.”

“You like eating a lot, don’t you?”

“Hey, what’s that supposed to mean?” She nudges me with her elbow with a hurt look.

“Exactly what I meant.”

With a ‘hmph’, she walks to the other side of the stone path, turning away from me with clear indignance.

“What are you doing?“

“I’m not talking,” She shakes her head, her tone and posture that of a child throwing a tantrum.

“...Alright, I’m sorry,” A smile crosses my face in spite of my words.

She glances at me out of the corner of her eye, “I doubt you meant that.”

“Sorry about that, too.”

She sighs, “I guess there’s no helping it then.”

“I guess not,” I nod in agreement.

She gives up the act with a theatrical huff. “Well, you can start apologizing by helping me with the setup. Over there, that bench. Yup.”

___

I’m nearly at the halfway point of another book when my phone rings out, surprising me far more than it should. I flip it open, reading the display.

‘cafeteria food sux. can u cook me dinner?’

I’d given my phone number to Saki a few days ago. After knowing her for a week, I decided I could trust her with that much, or something like that. I muse to myself as I realize this might be the first text I’d received since coming to Yamaku. I think of how to respond. I’m fairly tempted to decline. I’m in no need of food, having already reserved myself a meal of instant noodles. Maybe the company would be nice, but…

My phone buzzes again.

‘please im really hungry :(‘

‘This isn’t a joke?’ It takes a while, but I type out a reply and hit send.

‘of course not! jeez’
‘also u type like a grandpa xP’
‘OK. I’ll be there. I’m ignoring that last part, by the way.’

‘omg you really do.’

I pull on a nice-enough jumper, do a mirror check, and head on out.


Saki’s standing in front of the girls' dorm. She waves to me with a light smile, “‘Sup.”

“Hey,” I jog up to her, wanting to get out of the humid night air as fast as I can. “Thanks for waiting for me.”

“No problem. I didn’t want you to get lost, that’d be pretty bad,” She looks me up and down, making me feel more than a little self-conscious, “Hey, is this a date?”

“What do you mean?”

I must have looked like a deer in the headlights, because Saki smiles cheekily, “I’m just joking. You look nice, that’s all.”

I took a look at her outfit. She’s wearing an old-looking pink t-shirt and gray sweatpants. Only a step above pyjamas in terms of casual.

“I overdressed a little, didn’t I?” I rub the back of my head.

“No, trust me. It’s a good look. Try it more often.”

“I feel like you’re my mom right now…”

“Is your mom a girl your age with a great sense of fashion?” She snaps her fingers with a flourish.

“No, she isn’t. That’s you,” I chuckle, easing up.

“Thanks,” She smiles. “Alright, come on chef. Get to work.”

Despite how she puts it, it ends up being a team effort. Saki stays a good distance away from the cooking station as a precaution, in the event that she loses her balance and falls face-first into the stove. But she makes up for it by being quite knowledgeable with recipes; she clearly outlines each step to me - and chides me whenever I’m about to burn something. With her help, I manage to make a chicken dish which tastes quite good.

“Not bad. It seems like there’s still hope for you yet,” Saki nods approvingly.

“I’m just a natural, that’s all.”

“Ooo, wow,” Saki snorts while picking up some rice with her chopsticks. It nearly falls out of her grip a few times.

“Why do you use chopsticks? Wouldn’t it be easier to use a fork and spoon?”

As Saki muses on my question, I glance down the hallway. I don’t think there are any rules against co-ed’s sharing communal spaces in the student council handbook, but then again, I also never got past its table of contents, and so I’ve been waiting for someone to come by and catch me being here. No one does. Aside from the faint murmurings of the TV in the common room downstairs, everything feels quiet and still.

“I do it for the same reasons I do art. I like the challenge. Plus, it hasn’t really slowed me down, has it?” She shows me her bowl. She’s eaten about as much as I have.

“Touchè,” I thought about saying more but decided not to.

“Speak, or forever hold your peace,” She says gravely.

“I guess I still don’t really get it. It just seems like extra work,” I admit, letting out a chuckle. It feels a little forced.

The hint of a smile crosses her face, “By now, I’m sure you’ve realized that the people here don’t let their conditions define them. Emi runs, Rin paints, those are the obvious ones, but there’s a dozen little things that we all do to help our lives feel…”

“Normal?” I offer a weak smile.

“Sure. Normal,” She smiles back, but her heart’s not in it, “Some of us need to try a little harder than others, that’s all.”

I rack my brain for something to say to break the silence, finding the words almost by accident. “It’s like the boy in the art club. The blind one,” Saki perks up with interest, so I continue. “He paints and sculpts, but he can’t see, so why does he do it? It’s really weird, but it makes sense when you think about it.”

“Yeah. I mean, no one’s ever put it quite like that before. You truly have a way with words.”

“You can blame the company I’ve had for the past few months,” I sigh. As always, Saki doesn’t miss the opportunity to laugh at my expense.

“Really though, thanks.”

“What for?” I’m confused, again.

“Nothing,” She shrugs, smiling. “You’re cute, Hisao.”

Where’s this coming from? “Uh, thanks.”

“But being cute also has its drawbacks too.”

“…I guess I should stop, then.”

“Maybe you should.”

We finish eating soon after. Saki helps me with the dishes, and we idly exchange small talk throughout. I leave without being apprehended by any members of the girls dormitory security task force, and fall into a sleep filled with pleasant dreams.
Last edited by clarity on Sat Jul 31, 2021 3:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Oddball
Posts: 2976
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Re: fool's game (A Saki x Hisao fic)

Post by Oddball » Thu Jul 29, 2021 9:20 am

Your intro sets a bad first impression (seriously, go back and use some capital letters) and the dream scene probabaly could have been cut completely with no real loss, but once the story gets going, it's not that shabby. Saki comes off as a rather fun character.
Not Dead Yet

clarity
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu May 20, 2021 9:24 am

Re: fool's game (A Saki x Hisao fic)

Post by clarity » Sat Jul 31, 2021 3:42 am

Thanks for the feedback!
I initially had a different story in mind with the dream sequence and then changed direction pretty drastically, so I completely agree on either reworking it or cutting it out entirely. For now, I'll leave it as is for posterity until I feel like cracking at it again. Sorry about the capitalization on the intro, (blame late night brain), I'll fix that real quick.

virginiacook
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2021 9:47 pm

Re: fool's game (A Saki x Hisao fic)

Post by virginiacook » Wed Oct 20, 2021 10:00 pm

This is very well written.

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