Broken Dolls (OCs) Prequelitis, Page 6


Broken Dolls (OCs) Prequelitis, Page 6

Postby kosherbacon » Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:13 pm

Remember this skeezer? She has a story now! First off is a one-shot that spawned the rest of the story. It's mostly independant of the rest, but serves to give a feel for the character.

The next part is the actual first chapter of the story. The two potential love interests are also OCs of mine. Take a guess whos going to be the OTP here.

I'd like to thank Extremist_Line for letting me use Luke Fisher as a major character and serving as a previewer and continuity consultant along with Smoku.

Speaking of which, this story contains elements that will spoil the end of "Thank God For Hangovers." Namely, the fact that Luke ends up with Hanako, and that at some point they almost certainly have sex.

And if Yoshiko seems to be a bit of a bitch when Emi's around, that's because she is. Gotta have room for improvement, y'see.

Intro: Parallel Bars



Yoshiko Tachibana sat on the padded floor of Yamaku's physical therapy room, her back against the mirror-clad wall. Across the large room were posters outlining workout safety procedures, dietary suggestions, and worst of all, cripple culture.

There were scenes of visibly disabled people participating in improbable activities with normal people who seemed to be completely oblivious to their companions' condition. One poster had a one legged girl with crutches playing American football with normal bodied peers.

Seriously, American football, on one leg and with both arms occupied with crutches. There would be a poster of someone in an iron lung going on a camping trip if those machines weren't becoming a relic of the past. That atmosphere of artificial acceptance really got on Yoshiko's nerves. It was one thing to accept and tolerate a disability, but flaunting it? Were gimps somehow better people because of their life experience? Or maybe these posters were supposed to imply that normal people were obligated to drag them along for their normal-people activities, like when parents force their children to have play-dates with unpopular kids against their will.

Thankfully, Luke, Yoshiko's companion seemed to be perfectly normal, all things considered. He was a third year transfer student from America with whom she had been meeting up with in the therapy gym for several days in a row. His physical education class required him to go through several class periods worth of safety and procedure orientations before he would be allowed to use any of the equipment.

By chance, Luke partnered up with Yoshiko and to his amusement, found that she was the hack writer who penned the school newspaper's poorly researched video game reviews. Despite her total and complete incompetence as an entertainment journalist, she and Luke managed to get along.

"So, are you from that part of America where everyone does drugs and is like, you know, this way?" Yoshiko asked Luke while fluttering her hands like a limp wristed pansy.

"No, that's California, I think." He replied. "I'm from the deep south."

"Deep south..." Yoshiko put her thumbs to her temples as she searched through her "foreign stereotype" files.

"Oh! Can you play the banjo?"

"Er... No. I'm more of a guitar kind of guy. I've always wanted to learn that."

“Steel guitar?”


Banjo playing was probably the most flattering thing she could think of that was associated with American southerners. It took a great amount of restraint to keep from bringing up trailer parks and kissing cousins.

The kid was not only new to school, but was also a gigantic foreigner; the last thing he needed was more crap to deal with. After all, Yoshiko's guidance counselor specifically warned against seeking to press the buttons of new acquaintances. Not that she ever gave a shit about what that scatterbrained idiot thought, though it would be nice to make a new friend once in a while.

"Is it hot back home?" She changed to a more benign subject, hoping not to alienate yet another schoolmate.

"Yeah. Real humid too."

"That's too bad," Yoshiko flicked her finger as she crossed "Southern USA" from her list of possible places to live. "Otherwise, I'd think I'd like to live there. And get a big pickup truck. And have a big dog. And live in a big house..."

"Really? I couldn't find my way here soon enough. Why would you want to go to America?"

"See these?" Yoshiko pointed out the linear scars on her legs and arms.

"When the doctors were putting me back together, my parents wanted me to grow up taller than they are cuz they're both like, midgets, so the surgeons stretched out my arms and legs when I was in traction. I'm about a head taller than I naturally would be. What my orthopedist didn't count on was me having one hell of a growth spurt. You'd think he'd know about stuff like that."

"What's that have to do with going to America?"

"Aren't women taller there?" Yoshiko buried her head between her knees as she undid her leg braces and threw them aside. "You might not have noticed but I'm taller than almost every girl here, and I'm only a first year!"

"They tell me I'll probably be..." Yoshiko gnawed at her thumbnail as she did metric to imperial unit conversions in her head. " least six feet tall when I graduate. Probably taller."

"That's okay." Luke laughed. "I'll be fine as long as you're shorter than me. So does it hurt?"

"You have no idea." Yoshiko winced as she pulled herself up onto the parallel bars to walk without braces for the first time since her accident. "Sometimes I down the morphine until I could barely think straight just to get out of bed. I'm actually quite high right now."

"Are you serious?" Luke gasped with concern. "If it hurts that much, shouldn't you be taking it easy instead of hanging out in here making yourself walk?"

"What, are you a doctor, now?" Yoshiko teasingly raised an eyebrow.

"No, I'm not I'm just..."

"That's right, you're not a doctor. Because if you were, you would be saying something absolutely retarded to make yourself feel smart. Like 'sorry, young lady, you'll never be able to walk again,' or 'the straps are there to protect you from yourself, Yoshi-chan.' But..."

Yoshiko smiled at the lumbering foreign boy. Maybe he was alright, after all.

"...Since you're not a doctor, Mister Lucas Fisher, I will follow your advice and stay here only a half hour instead of my usual two full ones."

"Wait... straps? So, you've been in an institution too, huh?"

"Yeah, I got a little depressed and some shrink twisted around some things I said and..." Yoshiko saw that Luke was getting very uncomfortable with the subject and stopped herself from proceeding.

"Well, how about this? Let's just file our nut house experiences under things we have in common and just leave it at that."

"Fine by me."

"What to talk about, what to talk about..." She stood at the bars in thought, her elbows locked for support. She had already determined that video games, although an icebreaker, certainly weren't common ground. Yoshiko only was interested enough in games to write passable reviews in the school paper, while Luke owned gaming systems she had not even heard of. In fact, her first conversation with Luke was about some factual errors her column had.

"Girlfriend, Luke. Do you have one?"

"Eh, sorry," He replied, obviously caught off guard. "I do."

"Relax, bud. I wasn't asking you out. Is it that girl you came in with the other day? I used to see her at the library a lot. She's cute."

“Wait a second, Yoshiko.” Luke asked, visibly surprised. “So um, do you...”

“Like girls?” Yoshiko rarely spoke about her romantic preferences but the look on Luke's face was just too priceless to ignore.

“Actually, I don't know. I've never been with a girl. Or a boy, now that you mention it. I dunno, I just woke up one day and realized that I felt the same about both boys and girls: nothing. I haven't really been able to imagine myself in any sort of relationship. So is that the girl yours?”

"Yeah, her name is Hanako. We've been going out for a few weeks. After this, I'm going to meet up with her and we're going to work out for a bit."

"So she's taken, huh? That's too bad."

"What? I'm sorry if I took an opportunity from you..."

"Oh no, it's fine." Yoshiko replied, looking back at Luke. "I'm in no shape to be chasing after crushes. Really, I'm glad she found someone nice."

"So I'm nice, huh? Um, thanks, Yoshiko."

"Please, it's Nikki."

"Yoshiko...Nikki... How did you come up with that?"

"I dunno."

A diminutive figure entering the gym's doorway made Yoshiko's blood freeze.

"Hey, Luke, do me a favor really quick. Go stand over at the other end of the bars there."

"Okay, why?"

"That bubbly little harpy from the track team likes to butt in whenever she sees someone here working out alone. Act like your my partner really quick, okay?"

"Who, Emi?" Luke looked back and exchanged waves with Yoshiko's harpy. "What do you have against her?"

"She's so... so... UGH." Yoshiko shuddered as she unlocked her elbows and began walking towards Luke. "She's so Yamaku."

"I don't follow."

"I'm just here to go to school and get my legs fixed. She's all 'Yippeee Yippeee look at meeee I don't have any legs and I'm still better than you! Weeeeee!'" Yoshiko gave an arrogance-flavored impersonation of Emi's voice.

"Dude, she's not like that. She's actually really nice."

"To you, maybe. She doesn't treat you like a project of hers. When she gets it in her head that you might need help, she'll just get all in your face with her perkiness and gimp attitude."

"She's just trying to be supportive, Nikki. There's nothing wrong with a little encouragement."

"Do I fucking look like I need encouragement?" Yoshiko yelped as her first step sent shooting pain from her ankles up to her hips. "If I had a motivational deficiency, I wouldn't be killing myself on these stupid rails!"

"Yeah-huh..." With his girlfriend entering the building, Luke failed to notice Yoshiko snapping at him. "Hey um, Nikki, I gotta go. Sorry, but Hanako is here. You can manage by yourself, right? I'll see you tomorrow, okay?"

"Wait no, don't... AWWW!" As Luke ran off with Yoshiko's library girl, Emi approached, her attention seized by Yoshiko's crying out.

"Hey Nikki! How are you doin? I didn't know you knew Luke." Emi bounded her way towards the rails Yoshiko was using. Her use of a jogging suit that day indicated that she chose to wear her "normal" legs that day, instead of flaunting her running blades.

"Piss off." Yoshiko replied in English. Insults in foreign languages had become a bit of a hobby for her, since it allowed Yoshiko to vent her frustrations whenever she pleased with minimum consequences.

"Whats that, Nikki?"

"Tachibana is fine." Yoshiko passively scolded Emi for using her nickname. "I'm just practicing some English greetings he taught me."

"Oh, okay. So I see you started without me. And no braces too! Good job!"


"Soon, you won't even need them anymore. What will you do with them then?"

"I'll shove them up your asshole." Yoshiko again replied in English. "Er, I'm going to put them on my trophy wall, next to the titanium rods I used to have in my legs."

"That's the spirit! Oh! While we're on the subject of titanium, wanna see my new legs?"

Yoshiko didn't, but she couldn't refuse since she was too busy drowning in excruciating pain while she inched along the rails.

"See, look!" Emi lifted up her pant legs to show the shiny telescoping pistons connected to lifelike feet. "Now I can do my running wearing normal shoes! Cool, huh?"

"H-How c-considerate of you." Yoshiko's vision and disposition started to turn red from the pain. That patronizing little bitch Emi apparently got herself more normal looking legs so she could exercise without freaking out normal people. Her high-and-mighty royal crippled highness graciously decided to stoop down to the level of normal mundane people. Now she wasn't just going to be better than every other cripple at school, she was setting out to be better than the normals too.

"Ya think so? Thanks!" Emi cradled her chin in her palms in a nauseating display of cuteness.

"Oh hey Yoshiko?" Emi asked as she intruded her way back into first-name-basis with Ms. Tachibana. "Next week is traffic safety awareness week at school. As a fellow car accident victim, I think it would be really nice if you could write something about it for the paper. Maybe you could share your story and serve as an inspiration to others?"

She had to be kidding. Now Emi was associating herself with Yoshiko.

"My story? Eh..." Yoshiko wheezed out, feeling like her muscles got ripped off her bones with another step. "I was hit by a garbage truck and since then my legs hurt. End of story."

"Gosh! That must've been so horrible for you. I can't imagine what it must be like. Fortunately for me, my legs don't hold me back or give me any trouble."

Just what kind of game was Ibarazaki playing? Was she insulting Yoshiko's legs for being useless dead weight? Or was she passive aggressively trying to one-up Yoshiko in the misery and sympathy game, since her lower legs were pretty much ripped off instead of merely shattered. Maybe Emi was telling Yoshiko that she had no right to even feel unfortunate about her own calamity.

No, she was telling Yoshiko to just collapse on her gimp legs and kiss Emi's Kevlar toes.

"No.. no... I will not give this to her." Yoshiko pulled herself back onto the bars and gave herself a new mission. She wasn't going to walk herself to the end of the bars, she was going to walk herself to the end of the bars and choke Emi Ibarazaki.

With her legs stewing in agony, Yoshiko's field of vision shrank to a small tunnel with Emi at the end. Step, by step, Yoshiko played her idyllic plan of attack over and over in her head. While Emi laughs her ass off gloating and feeding her ego, she would strike, and wail on her until she learned to regret ever meeting Yoshiko. In bloodthirsty anticipation, Yoshiko reached her hands out spread her thumbs and fingers out into pincers, ready to clamp down on Emi's throat. Just one more step, and she would be in striking distance.

"Nikki! You did it!" The pigtailed troll snapped Yoshiko out of her bloodlust.

"Did what?"


Yoshiko looked all around her. She was standing a good fifteen feet beyond the end of the parallel bars, with nothing but her own two legs holding her up. With her concentration broken, Yoshiko started to notice how her legs were engulfed in invisible flames from the ankles up, while lightning bolts shot down from her hips, twisting her kneecaps out of place.

Eventually, the monsoon of pain flooded its way up past her hips and reached her eyes, drowning her vision in a dark gray blur.


"Miss Tachibana, can you hear me?" The head nurse's voice trickled in from somewhere beyond the darkness.

"...yeah." Yoshiko replied, her own voice feeling so disconnected that it could've been someone else speaking on her behalf.

"You fainted in the physical therapy room. You seem to be okay, but are you in any pain?"

Yoshiko paused for a moment, part of her wanting to reply "Just cut them off."

Her useless legs had settled into a dull, crushing pain that only became unbearable if she tried moving them.


"Hm, okay then. I want you to stay off your feet for the rest of the day. You're going to hurt yourself if you keep up with this die-hard attitude of yours, understand?"

"...yes, sir."

"Good. Your friends are on their way to come and get you."

By the time Yoshiko fully regained her senses, the nurse was already gone. She had been resting on an examination bed in the physical therapist's office. Her leg braces were back on and a wheelchair was waiting, parked right up against the bed. Her crutches were nowhere to be seen; no doubt they were removed to discourage her from walking.

The nurse made no mention of Emi. It seemed that she had abandoned Yoshiko at the scene. She wasn't mad as mad as she could be, though. At least Emi didn't take credit for Yoshiko being able to walk unassisted or use the opportunity to force herself into Yoshiko's recovery efforts.

Remorsefully, she remembered the hostility she felt and expressed earlier. Sure, she didn't like Emi, but Yoshiko would never actually strangle her. Pain sure did strange things to her attitude.

Yamaku won this time. But it was only a minor setback, surely. Before she'd know it, Yoshiko would be back on her feet and out of this saccharine prison. Or at least she hoped.

"Nikki, are you awake?" Luke pushed the door open as Yoshiko finished planting herself in the wheelchair. Behind him was Hanako.

"Yep, I'm still alive. I don't need an escort, though. I can roll back to my room on my own."

"Actually, we were wondering if you'd like to join us in the hot tub."

"Nah, I don't want to cut into your quality time together."

“I-It's okay...” Hanako the library angel said.

"Well..." Luke scratched his chin stubble and laughed to soften the blow of his request. "Actually it turns out that we can't use the spa in the back room during class hours unless we're accompanying someone for therapy."

This wasn't the first time an able bodied student tried using Yoshiko to use the pool facilities, but it was the first time they were honest about it. Yoshiko might have been playing the political correctness mandated wheelchair girl, but at least Luke and his girlfriend weren't patronizing Yoshiko by pretending her disability had nothing to do with it. For once, she decided to play along.

Besides, she'd get to watch Hanako in the shower afterwards.

Yoshiko wasn't a cripple. She was just a normal girl with a pair of busted legs. Her condition might currently be an issue for her, but they weren't a part of her. They didn't define her.

Perhaps that sort of thing was what the school was all about after all.

Yoshiko put the brakes on that train of thought before she judged herself to be wrong. The sooner she recovered, the sooner she could go back home to the school she was meant to attend. Normal life awaited.

"Sure," Yoshiko smiled to her companions as they headed to the changing rooms. "I could go for a good soak right now."

Best End

As Sakuya laid on the hospital bed, she grabbed Yuu's hand. After months of holding out and clinging to life, she finally collected on his promise of being there to see the first snowflakes of winter with her.

With a smile on her face, she took in one last look of Yuu's kind face with the snowfall beyond the window as a backdrop and slipped away.


“What the hell is this?!” Yoshiko threw her game controller down to the floor in frustration. “The guide I found online said this was the GOOD end.”

“It is the good end,” Luke replied. “Or more accurately, the best end. The whole point of games like this is to really wrench up your heart and make you depressed the whole time.”

“I thought it was nice.” Hanako said.

“Ugh, as if real life isn't depressing enough.” Yoshiko kicked the game's box across the dorm room floor.

The school newspaper's editor insisted that Yoshiko write a review of the latest utsuge that everyone's been talking about. Broken Dolls was a depressing visual novel about teenagers with terminal illnesses seeking out happiness and romance with each other.

The game seemed to be a hit at Yamaku, since it seemed to hit close to home with many of the students. To Yoshiko, it was an over the top tsunami of angst that contained every possible cliché except for the one Yoshiko was hoping for by the end of her play-through: a happy ending.

She looked back at her “special consultant and proofreader” as he cuddled closely with his girlfriend on the bed, watching Yoshiko play. Yoshiko never gave much serious thought into love and romance before, especially while at Yamaku where any relationship would be short lived if her plan for a speedy recovery and escape were successful. Still, it would be nice to be able to share someone's warmth like that...

“Hey guys, I'm heading out.” Yoshiko got up from the floor and dismissed her yearnings as being a result of brainwashing thanks to thirteen hours of playing Broken Dolls. “Just lock the door on your way out.”

“Are you sure?” Luke asked. “What about your article?”

“I'll write how I feel about the game, then have my review rejected until I rewrite it into glowing praise.” Yoshiko dryly answered. “I'm going to go to the library and see if I can find a movie I can review as a backup article.”

“Oh, well... take care, Nikki.” Luke said his goodbye with a fair bit of concern for Yoshiko. “We'll take off too.”

Yoshiko was slightly disappointed that the lovebirds didn't stay a little longer by themselves. At least then someone would have gotten some action in her room.


“Seen it, seen it, lame, seen it...” Yoshiko bounced her fingertips across the grooves made between the DVD cases on the library shelf. She preferred reviewing old, obscure, foreign, and artsy movies that nobody watched since none of her colleagues and readers would bother complaining about her views on them.

Yoshiko also was going to check out an old biology book that looked like it dated back to at least the 1950s, before genetics and cladistic classification. She planned to compare it to her own current biology textbook, and take note of all the outdated information and laughably misinformed theories. Yoshiko liked biology just fine, but she loved reminding herself how even educated people get things wrong even more.

“Excuse me, Tachibana?” An unfamiliar girl's voice called out from the other side of the shelf. Looking through to the other side, Yoshiko saw a pair of brown eyes behind oval spectacles looking back at her. They weren't a particularly exotic color, nor were the glasses that nice looking, but something about those eyes just pierced right through Yoshiko and made the lobe responsible for common sense melt a little.

“I've noticed that we have similar taste in movies.” The strange girl circled around the shelf. She wore an unseasonably heavy coat over her uniform and was a head shorter than Yoshiko. Her artificially reddish-brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail, with disorganized bangs adorning her forehead. Despite her intentionally frumpy appearance, Yoshiko noted that a girl with her features could easily be made into a beauty queen right out of a Pygmalion-style story if she tried.

“Uh, how do you know my name?” Yoshiko asked, still with her defenses up.

“I keep seeing your name written in the library cards of movies I check out. After a while, I've noticed that whenever a movie I'd want to see ends up here, it would be gone right away for a few days before I get a chance to see it. When I finally do get a chance to watch, it's always you I see listed as the first person to borrow it.”

“Oh, hah, I see.” Yoshiko put her hand to the back of her head and laughed, disappointed that the girl knew her name by innocent means as opposed to being an admirer.

“But as you can see, the tables have turned.” The girl held up a copy of Suitcase Girlfriend. “It seems that I've beaten you to the movie you've come here to find.”

“Oh, well...” Yoshiko really did want to watch that absurd movie about trafficking contortionist sex slaves out of Eastern Europe. It was by a director known for making movies that were half surreal eye candy and half campy hilarity. “It's okay, really. You can go first this time.”

“Actually,” the girl cracked a thin smile. “I'd like to watch it with you.”

“Y-You would?” Sure, it could have been a perfectly innocent request, but something inside Yoshiko's heart was telling her to be excited, very excited. Still, her mind was telling her to keep a cool head and not to get her hopes up. “I, I would like that. When would you l-li...”

“Whenever you'd like,” the girl's smile grew, revealing lips that were fuller than Yoshiko initially assessed. She took a scrap of paper out of her coat and placed it in Yoshiko's pants pocket. “Here's my number.”

“O-O-Okay,” Yoshiko stammered, surprised by the sudden intrusion of personal space. “I'll give you a call sometime, Miss...”

“It's Koyama, but you can call me Eri.”

“Hello Eri” Yoshiko nervously extended her arm for a handshake. “I'm Yoshiko Tachibana, but you can call me Nikki.”

“Okay, Nikki.” Eri took Yoshiko's hand and held it with both of hers instead of shaking it. “Just make time for me and it's a date.”


Yoshiko caught herself fluttering down the halls back to the dorms for about the hundredth time. Well, at least as well as a girl with crutches could flutter, anyway. She was somewhat disappointed with herself. She merely met a random girl in the library, yet all she could do was stutter and blabber like a lovestruck idiot. Besides, the girl probably just wanted to be friends and Yoshiko was making a big fuss out of nothing.

Did Yoshiko even like girls? By default, she figured she was bisexual but prior to meeting Eri Koyama, all she had were very minor infatuations where she merely found someone to be physically attractive, like with Luke's girlfriend.

“Ow!” A boy's voice cried out next to Yoshiko. While deep in thought, she landed one of her crutches onto someone's foot.

“Oh! Sorry!” Yoshiko looked down to assess the damage she inflicted. A boy's black leather shoe was scuffed up from where she struck. “Are you okay?”

“Don't worry about me,” the boy replied, smiling despite his pain. “I'm just glad I didn't trip you up or anything.”

The boy was roughly the same height as Yoshiko, with short, spiky hair that was bleached blonde at the tips. His short sleeve uniform shirt exposed well-toned arms. Yoshiko wondered where this impressive-looking man had been hiding at the school the whole time. Something about him made it easy for Yoshiko to visualize being with. A series of quick images of imaginary situations flashed through her head. Lying on the beach, riding a ferris wheel, even just holding hands in the hallway... every scenario in Yoshiko's head would look so right with that boy.

“No, you didn't. My mind was elsewhere.” Yoshiko tapped at her forehead and laughed embarrassedly. “Actually, it still kind of is. Sorry.”

“Well, I'll tell you what. You can make this up to me over dinner Saturday night.”

“Really?” Yoshiko pinched herself as she tried to wake up from what was surely a prescription drug-induced hallucination. “Are you seriously asking out a weirdo like me?”

“Eh? Don't sell yourself short. I've seen you around and I find you quite... fascinating.”

“Are you sure you've been looking at the right girl?” Yoshiko, still not believing her streak of luck, started waving her fingers in front of the boy's face to make sure he wasn't blind.

“I'm positive. You've got this thoughtful look on ya that the other girls don't. I'd really like to get to know you better. I'm just lucky that you ran into me today.”

“Okay, okay, fine.” Yoshiko playfully acted like she was being coerced. “Saturday then? Pick a time and a place.”

“Okay. Meet me at the front gate at five thirty.”

“Wait, wait. What's your name?”

“I'm Shinnosuke Yamada from class 3-1. But you can call me Shin.”

“Well, Shin, looks like I've finally got something to look forward to this weekend. I'm Yoshiko, but my friends call me Nikki.”

“I know.” Shinnosuke slyly smiled, reinforcing the notion that he has had his eye on Yoshiko for a long time.

“Oh and another thing,” he added, looking up and down at her masculine uniform. “How about you wear a skirt or a dress this Saturday?”

“Eh? Um...” Yoshiko shuffled around a bit in her leg braces. “I don't think that's a good idea.”

“Hey, I've seen you before in the gym. A pretty girl like you has nothing to hide.”

“Okay, Shinnosuke Yamada. You drive a hard bargain.”

Yoshiko walked away, still not believing her luck. For a decade and a half, love never factored in her expectations of happiness. Yet somehow she had two dates in one weekend. She pulled out the paper with Eri's phone number and pondered over what time and date she should arrange to see her.

Last edited by kosherbacon on Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:34 pm, edited 19 times in total.
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Re: Broken Dolls (Original Characters)

Postby Smoku » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:26 am

It's an honor to proofread such an awesome story :P
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Re: Broken Dolls (Original Characters)

Postby Goldilurks » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:41 am


I see what you did there, though her best friend wouldn't :P Will you do this with the voices of other characters?
Oh, and nice story btw.
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Re: Broken Dolls (Original Characters)

Postby kosherbacon » Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:11 am

Goldilurks wrote:Will you do this with the voices of other characters?

As in the point of view? Pretty much the whole story will be from Yoshiko's POV, with only brief moments where the focus switches to someone else and a chapter featuring the back story of one of the love interests.

:D And thank you for your patronage. Next two chapters coming this afternoon
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Re: Broken Dolls (Original Characters)

Postby Wren » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:35 pm

Fantastic read. Can't wait for the rest! :)
"They leave. Because they should, or they find someone else. And some of them...some of them, forget me. I suppose in the end....they break my heart." - Tenth Doctor talking about his companions.

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Re: Broken Dolls (Original Characters)

Postby Esa94 » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:56 pm

Quality writing, as expected from kosherbacon!
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Re: Broken Dolls (Original Characters)

Postby SirMax » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:58 pm

Aside from the Emi character-assassination, I quite liked it, but why do I suspect she's not going to choose only one of these two in the end?
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Re: Broken Dolls (Original Characters)

Postby Goldilurks » Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:03 pm

kosherbacon wrote:
Goldilurks wrote:Will you do this with the voices of other characters?

As in the point of view?

Actually, I was referring to the [TO BE CONTINUED] markers. Having done one as Hanako, you have at least four other characters to hit.
:D And thank you for your patronage. Next two chapters coming this afternoon

Thank you for your writing! Dammit, I have to get back on Katawa Haha...
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Re: Broken Dolls (Original Characters)

Postby Extremist_Line » Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:12 pm

Goldilurks wrote:Actually, I was referring to the [TO BE CONTINUED] markers. Having done one as Hanako, you have at least four other characters to hit.

I'm pretty sure the way he wrote [TO BE CONTINUED] was a reference to the way Nikki was stuttering, not the girls' ways of speaking.
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Re: Broken Dolls (Original Characters)

Postby GG Crono » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:49 pm

Hey, pretty nice stuff. Keep up the good work!

I liked the bit about the visual novel. Very meta.
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Re: Broken Dolls (Original Characters)

Postby kosherbacon » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:54 pm

Actually, I just wanted my "To be continued" caption to be more interesting to look at, but sure, why not. :P I shall continue ending posts like that.

SirMax wrote:Aside from the Emi character-assassination,

Emi abuse ain't over yet. Blink and you'll miss it.

According to wikipedia, medical schooling in Japan is a 6ish year university program you can get into right out of high school. Acceptance testing for medical school is incredibly competitive.

(A little Kenji makes everything better.)

Sarcogyps yamaku

Prior to the advent of cladistic analysis and genetic testing, New World and Old World vultures were often classified as being closely related in Linnaean taxonomy due to physical similarities brought on by convergent evolution. Pictured above are a California Condor(Gymnogyps californianus) -a New World vulture, and a Red-Headed Vulture(Sarcogyps calvus) -an Old World vulture.


“You should get back to writing commentary pieces,” Shinnosuke said to Yoshiko. “You have a very unique perspective on things.”

“You actually liked those?” Yoshiko laughed indignantly. “The head editor banned me from doing editorials when she figured out that I was actually setting out to piss off as many people as possible.”

“It's still shameful that they wanted to silence you like that. Do you write as 'The Voice of Freedom' as well?”

“Nah, those are just the ramblings of some paranoid lunatic we keep finding in the paper's mailbox. We only print them when we're short on material.”

“That's a relief. Though it would have been funny if you were the one telling the men of the world to take up arms against life-sucking vaginas.”

Yoshiko giddily walked with Shinnosuke back to his dorm room, holding onto his arm for support while he carried her crutches. In contrast to her androgynous everyday appearance, Yoshiko wore both a dress AND makeup that evening, something she had not done since her middle school entrance ceremony.

As far as she could tell, their date had been a smashing success, not like the awkward klutz-fest she had feared. As far as she could tell, she could not have possibly picked out a better candidate for a first date. Shinnosuke was charming, well spoken, scholarly, from a good family, lived near her hometown, and best of all, he was normal. He was at Yamaku to gain practical experience to help prepare for the entrance exam and to qualify for a scholarship at a prestigious medical school.

So Shinnosuke was going to be a doctor. Somehow, Yoshiko was okay with that. He wasn't a social ladder climbing moron with money on the brain. If only her own doctors had been something like him.

She had been so smitten with Shinnosuke's radiating awesomeness that she didn't notice how easily he was getting her to come back to his room until sweet-talked his way past the housing staff at the front door to get her inside the boy's building with curfew already two hours past.

There was only one possible outcome to that evening. Yoshiko Tachibana, the asexual ice queen was going to have sex on her first date. Even with her past ambivalence towards taboos and modesty, she could never have foreseen herself being so easy. For the first time in memory, she was excited about physical contact; even her first kiss, three years prior while practicing with a childhood friend, invoked no emotional response.

Yoshiko swallowed her inhibitions as Shinnosuke opened the door to his room and let her inside. He was the perfect boy with a future in the normal world; Yoshiko was not going to find another opportunity like this at Yamaku. So what if she was easy as a doormat? It's not like she was the only girl in the world to screw on the first date. At least she was going to sleep with a boy she liked, not just any random guy off the street.

“Oh no, leave those on.” Shinnosuke placed his hands on Yoshiko's to stop her from removing her leg braces.

“Wouldn't these get in the way?” she asked?

“Not at all. I want you to be comfortable for this.”

Shinnosuke's request was reasonable enough. The last thing Yoshiko wanted was to screw up her first time by twisting one of her joints and hurting herself. After he excused himself to the bathroom, she snooped around his room for a bit. Perhaps a look into Shinnosuke's pornographic preferences would give Yoshiko some hints as to what turned him on.

“Jackpot!” She said to herself as she pulled a small notebook and a dirty comic book out from under the mattress. The comic wasn't the most wholesome example of reading material, even by porn standards. It was an amputee fetish anthology entitled Incomplete Lolita Princess vol.7

“Well, maybe he was just acclimating himself to dating disabled girls here...” Yoshiko said to herself as she tried to stomach the increasingly graphic acts of depravity in the comic book while flipping through the pages. It wasn't the most disgusting thing she's ever seen, in fact she would normally get a laugh out of deviant materials like that. However, in the context of finding it in the room of someone she was about to be intimate with...

Unable to bear the thought of Shinnosuke beating off to amputee porn, she returned the comic to its hiding place under the bed and opened the notebook. Inside the first few pages was a list of female names with abbreviated descriptions.

Yukiko M. -Glass eye. All the way.
Emi I. -Double below knee amp. All the way.
Ran S. -Above left elbow amp. All the way.
Yuna K. -Paralyzed left side. All the way.

Yoshiko's eyes scanned over the several-page-long list of girls, their disabilities, and how far they would go. She felt the breath get knocked out of her chest when she reached the bottom of the list.

Yoshiko T. -Crippled. ? ? ?

Crippled. No elaboration, no mention of leg braces or location of injury like the other girls. Just crippled. That's all she was to Shinnosuke: a crippled plaything for a disability fetishist.

Yoshiko leafed through the rest of the notebook, finding only blank pages and a flash memory card tucked away in the back cover's pocket. Noting the digital camera on the desk with the slot open and empty, she looked at the memory card with dread, as if there already were pictures of herself contained inside. Instinctively, she tucked the card into one of her leg braces, between layers of elastic support material.

“You didn't start without me, did you?” Shinnosuke came in just after Yoshiko returned the notebook to its hiding place.

“N-No, of course not.” Yoshiko wanted to rip this pervert's head off or at least club him to death with her crutches but his disarming smile insultingly immobilized her.

“Sh-Shin... It's too soon...” Yoshiko forced out the mightiest protest she could as Shinnosuke kissed her neck while prying her legs apart.

“It's okay, Nikki...” He whispered into her ear, unzipping his pants and pressing his erect member against her crotch. “I'll be gentle.”

“But... d-do you have a... You know?” Yoshiko squeaked when she felt Shinnosuke reach down the back of her dress and unclasp her bra with a single quick flick of the fingers.

“Right here.” He replied, fetching a wrapped condom from his pants pocket.

Shinnosuke felt Yoshiko up over her panties, teasingly tugging at the edges of the leg holes, testing the waters to build up anticipation before sliding his fingers inside. Yoshiko simply laid there, paralyzed as if she was a coma patient. For all she knew, Shinnosuke had comatose girls among his past conquests.

“No... Please... Don't”


Feeling a finger slide beyond the cotton barrier and wriggle its way towards no-man's land, Yoshiko's heart sank. She always thought she was the smartest, wisest person in the room wherever she went. Nobody could tell her what to do. Not her teachers, not her doctors, and not even her parents. It turned out that all that was needed to conquer the wise cynic was a bit of charm and some much needed affection.

Yoshiko was rapidly becoming yet another stupid little girl. The lightly penciled question marks near her name were about to become overwritten with whatever act Shinnosuke demanded of her. She could smell the tears of countless other girls in his cologne.

No. Not like this.

Yoshiko teared up as she shook, gathering all the courage she could to resist before Shinnosuke intruded further. Gingerly, she put her hands on his shoulders and shoved away with all her might.

“What's wrong, baby?” Shinnosuke stumbled back, trying to placate his suddenly fierce prey.

“I SAID NO!” She screamed, sending her right fist flying at Shinnosuke's nose, followed up with a shin to the gonads.

With Shinnosuke temporarily off balance, Yoshiko slid off his bed and stumbled across the room to get her crutches. Upon reaching them, she worked the padding into her armpits and grabbed hold of the grips.

“You stupid little cunt.” Shinnosuke cradled his equipment as he curled up in a ball, heaving and gagging from Yoshiko's attack. “Someone like you will never find anyone better than me.”

“Watch me.” Yoshiko defiantly replied once she worked the door open.

Even though Shinnosuke made no attempt to chase Yoshiko, she aimlessly scrambled down the halls, looking for some magical way out of her predicament. Suppose she made it past the dorm leaders who were obviously under Shinnosuke's sphere of influence. Then what? Would she even be able to sneak back into the girls' building? Her best bet would have been to find a security guard and get help but her foolish pride, which had laid dormant the whole evening until then, kept her from letting the situation resolve in the hands of adults. That would have ended with her back to being the crying, quivering center of attention and worst of all, a victim.

Just like before. A little girl got hurt and let others turn her whole world upside down because they thought they knew what was best for her. Maybe this time she would go back to the institution for good, constantly on suicide watch again.

Not again.

Rounding a corner, she recognized Luke's hall. Although relieved to have stumbled into friendly territory, Yoshiko had no idea what to do. She wasn't ready to face Luke and spill her guts to him. Right now, she needed the company of someone whose opinion of her didn't matter. She couldn't handle someone she cared about either scolding or comforting her. All she wanted was someone to listen.

Spying a light from under the door to number 117, she knocked on the door. At the very least, she wouldn't have to worry about waking up this person in the middle of the night.

“Who goes there?” A nasal voice answered from behind the door.

“Um, um... I'm sorry to disturb you but my name is...”

“Wait, I know your voice. Hold on.” The voice inside cut Yoshiko off. After several locks clicked open, the door creaked inward.

“Get in.” The bespectacled little man inside beckoned.

Without much deliberation, Yoshiko went inside. She needed shelter for the night, and with her adrenaline still pumping, she was sure that the tiny boy inside couldn't do much to hurt her.

“Sorry to intrude, I know it's late.” Yoshiko apologized to the room's occupant.

“Don't worry about it. You need a place to crash at for the night?”

“Yeah. If that's okay with you...” Spending the night in a stranger's room would certainly go down in Yoshiko's list of all-time dumbest things ever done, but after almost giving herself to a depraved pervert, she decided to ignore her sense of caution since it's already failed her badly that night.

“Of course it's alright. My safe house is always open to fellow seekers of the truth.”

“The truth?” Yoshiko looked around the room and saw various books on UFOs, survivalism, secret societies, and militant gender theory. She recognized some of her own work among newspaper clippings pinned to the walls.

“ You're 'The Voice of Freedom?'” She asked.

“Bingo!” The little man replied. “Kenji Setou, at your service. Despite your unfortunate state of being testicularly challenged, I could tell you were one of the good ones after that piece you wrote on how a cult of escaped Nazi witchdoctors took control of the medical community and have been using us as playthings and lab rats for decades.”

Nazism and the occult were barely mentioned in passing within Yoshiko's article. Even in her own mind, the link between those things and modern medicine were tenuous at best. Apparently Kenji didn't just have a knack for reading between the lines, he could read between the molecules that make up the ink that printed the lines on the paper. Still, a room was a room.

“So what brings you to my humble abode?” Kenji asked, gesturing Yoshiko to go ahead and sit at his desk.

“Well, you probably don't want to hear about this but...” Yoshiko hesitated but then she saw the look of inquisitive excitement on The Voice of Freedom's face.

“Oh hell... Why not.”


“Hm, this is bad, very bad.” Kenji judged, after hearing about how Yoshiko was almost seduced, then violated by Shinnosuke.

“Yeah, I know, it's all bad.” Yoshiko pressed her palms against her eyes in shame. “How could I have been so stupid? I thought I was better than that.”

“Isn't it obvious?” Kenji said. “Yamada obviously has telepathic powers. How else could he have gotten as far as he had with all those girls? You must be pretty tough to have been able to resist his mind tricks.”

“Hah, yeah.” Yoshiko laughed, relieved that Kenji wasn't judging her harshly. “That must be it.”

“That guy has always been something of an unknown quantity. I could never tell if he was in it to fight back at Feminism by railing mass quantities of women, or if he was just a vulture.”

“A vulture?”

“Yeah, you know, a cripple-chaser like Nakai from across the hall. A guy who's normal or only slightly disabled who hangs around here to bang crippled chicks. I figure that they think girls here are easy because they're insecure about their disabilities. Usually, the Feminists have them eliminated before they go too far. Mind control would explain how Yamada managed to survive...”

A vulture, huh? So Shinnosuke was just circling the wounded Yoshiko all along, waiting for her to succumb to his charms and become another quick snack.

“Hey Kenji.” Yoshiko slouched back in her chair and stared up at the ceiling. “You've had sex before, right?”

“Sad to say, yes.”

“What happened? Did you become a victim of a telepathic attack too?”

“Possibly. Turned out the girl was a succubus. She straight up drained my life force out of me as I finished off. Just pray that you never encounter anyone like that.”

“Okay, aside from having your soul snatched out of your ding-a-ling, was it fun?”

“Unbelievably so. She-demons are good at that.”

“Must be nice.”


“Yo Kenji!” Luke knocked on the door at the crack of dawn. “The store opens at seven. You in or not?”

Luke and Kenji planned to go into town and ransack the surplus store for supplies during their annual 80% off sale. Luke hoped to get a good deal on a sleeping bag for whenever he sleeps over in Hanako's room, while Kenji was planning on buying another pair of night vision goggles and various clip on pouches to add to his tactical gear.

“W-what is it, Luke?” Yoshiko sleepily opened the door and peeked her head out from inside, hiding her state of undress.

“N-Nikki? What are you doing in Kenji's room?”

“Kenji's room? Wha-what? This isn't my...” Yoshiko's eyes flashed open as her mind finally woke up. “Oh no, hold on!”

Yoshiko emerged from the room a minute later, wearing her crumpled up dress from the previous night.

“Sorry, Luke. Long story, I'll explain later!” She said as she ran down the halls back towards her dorm.

“Sup, man?” Kenji jovially greeted his guest at the door. “I'll be ready in just a minute.”

“Not so fast, buddy.” Luke grabbed up Kenji by the collar and held up a fist close enough for Kenji to see. “What'd you do to Nikki? By God, if you hurt her, I'll...”

“I assure you, my good man,” Kenji calmly stated as he adjusted his glasses with an index finger. “Tachibana just needed a place to stay for the night. Nothing happened against her will.”

“But she's going out with Yamada,” Luke loosened his grip and Kenji's heels fell back to the ground. “If he finds out, he's going to be seriously pissed.”

“Fisher, if you're going to indulge your little-sister complex, I suggest you do so around Yamada.”

“Wait. Why, what happened?”


A Gentlemanly Dispute

Tachibana Yoshiko
Type: File Folder
Location: K:\girls\2007-2008
Size: 0 bytes
Contains: 0 Files, 0 Folders


Yoshiko relaxed when she saw that her little spot that was reserved in Shinnosuke's amateur pornography collection was empty. Despite having not gone too far with him, part of her feared that somehow, nude pictures of herself would have magically materialized in the memory card. For all she knew, he could have hidden cameras in the locker rooms or something.

The rest of the card's contents, however, were crushingly depressing. Dozens of girls, some Yoshiko knew, most she didn't, were on display in all kinds of compromising positions. Most of the girls looked like they were indeed having a good time, but a few had a tint of sadness in their eyes.

Yoshiko slapped her laptop closed and put the memory card in a lock-box under her bed, pending her decision on what to do with it. Perhaps the Good Samaritan thing to do would be to hand it over to school security, but she risked ruining the lives of plenty innocent girls as their secret lives were exposed. She didn't know for sure that any girls other than herself had ill will towards Shinnosuke. Maybe the others all dove in knowing exactly what he thought of them; maybe they used him just like he used them. Yoshiko figured that Luke would probably tell her to destroy it for the sake of the others.

No, Yoshiko decided, she was going to keep it for the time being as a grim reminder of how foolish she was before.

“Knock, knock.” Luke announced his entrance as he opened Yoshiko's door. “I got some things for you at the surplus store.”

“Pepper spray?” Yoshiko snickered as she looked at her presents. “I don't know, a shin to the nuts seems to work just fine. Thank you though.”

She picked up the olive green military-style flashlight and shined it towards her face.

“Yeah, it's a bit too big to just stick in your pocket and it isn't that bright, but you can hit someone pretty hard with it. Clips onto your belt too! And there are colored filters so you can...”

“You're sweet,” Yoshiko got up from her desk and stood on her tiptoes to kiss Luke on the cheek. “But you don't really need to keep looking out for me like that.”

“Hey, hey.” Luke wiped off his cheek and laughed. “Hanako will kick our asses if she sees you doing stuff like that. Just don't scare me like you did earlier.”

“Scared you?” Yoshiko asked. “Like how?”

“Hah, well, for a moment, you had me thinking that you had sex with Kenji last night. But then he explained things to me and...”

“Me? Have sex with Kenji?” Yoshiko laughed, then immediately straightened her face into a serious expression. “I did.”

“Wait... what?” Luke grabbed Yoshiko's shoulders and shook her. “What happened? Are you okay?”

“I'm fine. There isn't really much else to say.”

“So, he didn't force himself on you?”

“I told you, dad,” Yoshiko rolled her eyes. “I'm fine. We just did it, that's all.”

“But, after what happened with Yamada... I don't understand.”

“I'm sorry, Luke. I don't know if I understand it either.”

After a long, awkward period of just staring at each other, Yoshiko attempted to explain her actions as best she could.

“Last night, I almost lost my virginity to some creep who only liked me because of my disa- my present condition. He probably didn't give a shit about me, my interests, or anything I do. He just wanted to make me another statistic.”

“So you'd rather lose it to some guy you just met?” Luke asked as he planted himself on the bed with a thud.

“No, not necessarily. I just wanted to lose it on my terms, I guess. To finally have some major part of my life such as my sexuality fully under my control.”

“Your control? What about your schoolwork, and your rehabilitation? You handle those pretty well.”

“School? Eh, the decision to send me to this school was almost totally made without me. Sure, I like it here better than I probably would a regular school, but I resent how my consent to going really didn't carry any actual weight. And as for my rehab... You remember how I pushed myself over my limit all those weeks ago and fainted? I couldn't even do THAT right. And fixing myself is my dearest and most important mission.”

“But don't you feel bad that you gave yourself to someone you didn't really love?”

“I don't have any regrets, not yet anyway. And it was fun, so I was definitely better off with Kenji than Shinnosuke. Besides, not like I expected it to be this magical storybook occasion, with sparkles in the air and birds singing and all that. How was it when you and Hanako first did it?”

“Me and Hanako?” Luke fidgeted a bit and broke out into a sweat. “Well you see, um...”

“You don't have to answer that.” Yoshiko slid her chair over to her bed where Luke was sitting and playfully punched him in the arm.

“Jeez, did I look that uncomfortable? Serves me right for trying to lecture you on love and relationships.”

“Yeah, totally. Don't worry about it, though. It's quite endearing. Oh by the way... I saw Shinnosuke in the halls earlier today. The busted nose is my doing, but I'm pretty sure the black eye and the scrapes and bruises he has all over aren't my handiwork. I don't suppose you happened to have run into or over him on your way to town this morning, did you?”


“Oh jeez. You didn't beat some poor kid up for me, did you?”

“Nothing of the sort.” Luke innocently shrugged. “We just had a gentlemanly dispute.”

“Over what?”

“We discussed some issues I had with him. Things were going well until he called me a hillbilly.”

“So? I call you names all the time.”

“I'm not a hillbilly, I'm a redneck. There is a difference.”

Yoshiko snorted at Luke's hilariously weak excuse and got out her phone.

“Well, since I'm in a good mood and I have my personal protection squad on full alert,” She said to Luke as she copied Eri Koyama's number into her mobile phone. “I think now's a fine time to ask someone out on a date. I've gotta salvage something good out of this debacle.”

“Another date?” Luke groaned. “Haven't you had enough excitement for one weekend?”

“Relax, cowboy.” Yoshiko laughed at his bewilderment. “I'm pretty sure I can beat this chick up on my own if she acts up. Besides, I've got a good feeling about this.”

“Just be careful, okay, Nikki?” Luke sighed, realizing the futility of trying to talk Yoshiko out of her newfound interest in romance.

“Hello? May I speak with Eri Koyama please? Hi! Yeah, this is Yoshiko, remember me from the library? Yes, I'm doing good, how are you? ...Say, are you doing anything tonight?”

[Ara Ara, Shall we continue this later?]


Sexual assault is SRS BSNS. Should you find yourself on the recieving end of an attempted rape, attempt the following steps.

1. If possible, inflict grevious bodily harm on your attacker, such as genital tearing and eye gouging
2. Scream as loudly as possible and make sure everyone in the neighborhood knows what's happening. Scream out details so they won't think you're just joking around. I saw an episode of law and order once where someone was raped but nobody gave a crap about her screaming.
3. Run like hell.
4. Seek help from the police, grizzled 80s movie action star, or superhero. They will help you and ensure that you will recieve proper medical and psychological help. If any of the above is your attacker, you're fucked.

Oh yeah, if you're wondering why Shin wanted Nikki to keep her leg braces on, it's because it's part of his fantasy. She looks too normal without them.
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Re: Broken Dolls (Original Characters) Parts 2,3

Postby Wren » Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:49 am

Very rare for me to feel anger to a character, and that character was Shin. I would have done exactly to him what Luke did and probably some more, like that orange guy got in the movie Sin City, "two more shots to be sure." Again very good read, and being able to invoke a response like that from me means the story so far is damn good! Keep it up, I look forward to reading more. After reading your works so far and from the others I might take a shot of writing my own. One with Yuuko from the thoughts I have been getting.
"They leave. Because they should, or they find someone else. And some of them...some of them, forget me. I suppose in the end....they break my heart." - Tenth Doctor talking about his companions.

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Re: Broken Dolls (Original Characters) Parts 2,3

Postby Esa94 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:36 am

Emi I. -Double below knee amp. All the way.

Even though Emi isn't poplar, that is no way to treat her.
Get rid of this evil person! :<

Well, the story is still good, an I don't think I have seen similar stories pretty much anywhere, so it was interesting. Not much to say, good job anyway.
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Re: Broken Dolls (Original Characters) Parts 2,3

Postby Sgt_Frog » Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:22 pm

While bastards like Shinnosuke are thankfully few and far between, about 5-6% of the KS fanbase have some sort of disability fetish.
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Re: Broken Dolls (Original Characters) Parts 4&5

Postby kosherbacon » Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:34 am

Wow, such strong reactions to Shin. I must be doin it rite. Yep, Shinnosuke is named after that little guy. The rest of the characters had at least one of their names lifted off some pornographic/dirty/weird/yuri anime or manga.

And now, a look into the dark little mind of Yoshiko "Nikki" Tachibana

Watch for the title drop. It's a doosey.

Grasping at Stars

“What... what the hell is this, Sergei?”

“You know what they say, Yuri, you are what you eat, HAHAHAHAHA!”

“Oh God, NO!”


With a tap of her computer's space bar, Eri paused the movie halfway through Suitcase Girlfriend's infamous cannibalism scene. The unsettling juxtaposition of gritty crime drama, slapstick comedy, existential angst, and grotesque imagery was just too much for she and Yoshiko to watch. Gawking at the still frame full of cheaply depicted gore, both girls put a hand to their mouths in horror.

“Pbbth!” Eri sputtered out, trying to hold in a laugh. It was of no use, within moments, both girls were rolling around laughing on Eri's bed.

“I'm going to eat you, Yuri! Nom nom nom nom nom.” Yoshiko laughed out, imitating one of the movie's over-the-top performances while making biting gestures at Eri.

“Seriously, Nikki,” Eri tried catching her breath and wiped the tears of laughter out of her eyes. “On to your review... So um, what do you think the director was trying to convey with that scene?”

“That Eastern Europeans gangsters are filled with strawberry jam.”

“No, really.”

“Yeah, I'm sorry if you've come to think of me as a high-minded film critic.” Yoshiko apologized. “I think in this case, I'm better off just taking things at face value.”

During the commotion, neither girl noticed that Yoshiko somehow ended up on top of Eri, face-to-face. Looking down, she noticed all the subtle changes in Eri's appearance since last time they met. A hair pin here, some lip gloss there, a pair of earrings, and Yoshiko was captivated even more than before. Her heart racing even harder than when she was with Shinnosuke, Yoshiko toyed with the idea of just allowing herself to fall forward and kiss Eri.

But she didn't.

By that point in the evening, Yoshiko's zeal gave way to caution. Eri was a nice girl, and she was not going to screw up this chance. A part of Yoshiko blamed herself for the incident with Shinnosuke. She just got so enamored that she was willing to throw herself at the first guy who showed genuine interest.

If only she wasn't so lonely at the time...


Yoshiko was an extremely affectionate and sociable girl once. She loved and was loved by everybody. Not a single childhood photo could be found in the family photo album that did not feature her grinning from ear to ear. Everything was just so bright, happy, and simple back then.

Even after that incident with the garbage truck, she still didn't lose faith. The doctors were going to fix her. They can make anyone better, and everything was going to be normal again when her bandages came off. She was even going to be taller!

“I'm sorry Miss Tachibana, your injuries were much more extensive than we thought and... you are never going to walk again.

With that, Yoshiko's surgeon, whom she befriended during the recovery periods between her many procedures, washed his hands of the matter and walked away. Couldn't he have expressed a little more emotion? Why did he have to convey less personality than a talking ATM machine? Fine, but to never walk again?

“I-I... I just wanna die.”

After realizing that they can never jump around in the water at the beach again, who wouldn't want to die? Who wouldn't be depressed and despondent when they learn that literally half of their life was gone? Yoshiko's darkest, grimmest, most secret feelings were gathered up by her counseling psychologist and distorted, recolored, and turned into a case study so she could make a name for herself. Another friendly people-fixer in whom Yoshiko confided betrayed her so that she can disguise herself as a hero. She would gain the respect of her peers while she valiantly tried in vain to rehabilitate a “deeply disturbed and self destructive” little girl.

“The straps are for your own protection, Yoshi-chan.”

The counselor's words still screeched through her ears like memories of the squeaky wheelchair that carted her into the mental health facility. The poorly masked smell of urine and excrement in the asylum's halls marked Yoshiko's departure from her old world. The new planet she was on had a barely breathable atmosphere of disinfectant and waste. For far too many weeks, she lived there under constant observation, begging and pleading with anyone who'd listen to just let her go home.

“We'll see you again soon, Nikki. Take care”

Once a week, her parents would visit for a few minutes to make sure she was still alive, then abandon her to her personal hell. It was the same cold goodbye that others have given her during her ordeal, but this time hundreds of times more tragic. These were her parents. And their cold goodbye repeated every week. Every shining light Yoshiko grasped at for hope just kept flickering out whenever she got close enough.

After just barely being judged harmless enough to return to school, Yoshiko decided that the only person she could count on was herself. The surgeons? They said she'd be okay, but they got lazy and gave up. Screw them. The head-shrinks who were supposed to make the bad feelings go away but locked her up instead? Fuck them. Her parents who were supposed to support and comfort her but instead left her to the wolves? Forget it.

Yoshiko was going to make herself better. She was going to walk again and it was going to be her own doing, nobody else's. As soon as she could move on her own, she was going to learn karate, or judo, or maybe even Thai boxing and beat the crap out of everyone who ever said “You can't.”

Having her own fate in her hands turned out to be a lonely way to live. After Yoshiko enrolled at Yamaku, she found herself erecting walls of isolation between her and everyone else. Her single minded dedication, surly attitude, and her difficulties dealing with pain made her an island separate from her classmates. It was only recently that she began making friends again, but even then it was just a handful.

Somewhere, deep inside her impenetrable castle, Yoshiko was starving for affection and the first person she truly let inside almost took everything from her. She had to stop herself from making the same mistake again.


“Erk! Sorry!” Yoshiko rolled over and sat upright against the wall.

“It's okay,” Eri smiled, forgiving Yoshiko's intrusion. “So how do you come up with all those wordy opinions in your reviews?”

“I bullshit them. Same way pretentious film critics do when they try to look smart.”

Fearing that she may have offended, Yoshiko bit her tongue after those words. Eri was into movies, after all.

“But... if you do have a good in-depth analysis,” Yoshiko said, trying to recover from her faux pas. “I'd love to hear it.”

“Nope. I've got nothing.” Eri smiled. “Oh hey. I've been meaning to ask you something. Are you going out with Shinnosuke Yamada? He's in my homeroom.”

Yoshiko froze, fearing that her chances with Eri were dwindling since she knew there was something between her and Shinnosuke. But, since she did know something happened, there was no point in lying about it. The way things were going up till then, they were sure to at least be friends.

“Well... no. We did go on a date last night but it didn't go well. I don't plan on seeing him again.”

“Really?” Eri moved up next to Yoshiko and laid her head on her shoulder. “I heard that he is something of a ladies' man.”

“Well um, he just wasn't my type.” Yoshiko twitched at the possibility of something horrifying. “Do... do you like him?”

“Nah. He did ask me out once but he's not my type either.”

Yoshiko was relieved. She didn't recall seeing “Eri K.” listed among Shinnosuke's conquests, but she might have been tallied up in a different notebook. He wouldn't have been interested in a normal girl like her anyway.

“You're not missing out on much. He only likes girls who are obviously crippled. It's like a fetish for him.”

“Is that so? I did not know that. I thought the fact that he dated disabled girls was a coincidence, considering where we are.”

“My friend calls his type “vultures.” You know, stalking the wounded and dying of the herd.”

“But soon I won't have to worry about his kind any more,” Yoshiko bragged, flicking at the hard plastic of her leg brace. “Soon, I'll be normal and perfect like you guys. It'll be good to be free of all this hardware and go back to the normal world.”

“Haha, yeah...” Eri gave a pained and uneasy smile while Yoshiko wasn't noticing. “Normal and perfect.”

“Wait!” Yoshiko gasped at the delayed revelation that she hardly knew anything about Eri at all. “You're a third year?”

The two shared a laugh and resumed watching the movie, leaning on each other. After spending a good twenty minutes fighting the urge to hold Eri's hand, Yoshiko decided to do the next best thing and put her arm around her.

“Hey Eri, aren't you hot in that coat of yours?” Yoshiko noted with concern, seeing that Eri was wearing yet another winter coat indoors.

“I guess.” Eri reluctantly removed her coat and got back in position, as Yoshiko wrapped her arm around.

Yoshiko lovingly laid her fingers around Eri's shoulder joint. Eri was so much more petite than herself, and Yoshiko was surprised at the smallness of her frame. Emboldened by the degree of skinship they shared so far, Yoshiko let her hand slide lower.

“Um, umm...” Eri plucked Yoshiko's stray hand off herself and put her coat back on. “I'm sorry, I-I'm not feeling very well right now.”

“Are you sure? Was it something I...” Yoshiko asked, shocked at the abrupt end to their bliss.

“Yes. I think it...” Eri looked around the room for an excuse and began rubbing her stomach. “I think it was something I ate.”

“Oh. I see”

Eri popped the DVD out of her computer and handed it to Yoshiko.

“Here, you can finish watching this. Just be sure to return it before Friday.”

“Oh...Okay. Thanks.” Yoshiko muttered as she picked up her crutches and was rushed out the door.

“Thank you for hanging out with me, Miss Tachibana.” Eri said with a subdued wave. “I had fun tonight. Really.”

The Opposite of Straight is Crooked.

PERFECTION LIES IN HAPPINESS, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.(c)2004 Yamaku Foundation. Printed in Taiwan.

LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP KNOW NO BOUNDARIES.(c)2006 Yamaku Foundation. Printed in Taiwan.


Yoshiko lazily threw her backpack into her usual corner as she walked into the rehab gym. The way she was feeling, she wasn't going to put in a full workout. She'd even be lucky to put in fifteen minutes before giving up and going back to her room to sulk.

Two dates in a row, two failures in a row. Yoshiko sure was making one hell of a debut on the romance scene. First she almost became a victim to a predator, then she lost her virginity to a stranger, and finally she screwed up her last hope by moving too fast.

Maybe Eri didn't even like girls. They never did anything the previous night that was exclusive to a couple. For all Yoshiko knew, it was just a movie between friends and she screwed it up by acting too touchy-feely with Eri. She had been isolated for so long that she had forgotten what kinds of touching were considered acceptable between female friends.

Even if she had stayed within Eri's boundaries for platonic skinship, it would have meant more than that to Yoshiko.

As she headed to the treadmills and thought up ways to atone for her inappropriate behavior, Yoshiko saw a flash of reddish-brown hair at the weight machine. At the bench was a thin girl struggling at doing a pulldown to strengthen her badly disused back muscles. Her wobbly left arm kept losing grip of the handle, twisting her shoulders and back in uncomfortable looking ways. The rigid plastic rods and buckled straps of her back brace poked through her gym shirt's thin material.

“Come on, come on...” The girl said under her breath as she struggled to keep the handlebars level. Just as she was about to let go, she felt someone straddle the bench behind her. She felt the person press their body closely against her own, with feminine breasts mashed against the back of her shoulders. A pair of arms came from behind and hooked their hands onto the handlebar, stabilizing it.

“I've got it.” Yoshiko whispered into Eri's ear. “Keep going.”

“Yoshik...Nikki, what are you doing here?” She asked between heavy breaths as she completed one repetition with Yoshiko's assistance.

“The same reason you're here. I'm crippled too. Let me get you a support belt so you don't hurt yourself.”

“Don't say that!” Eri protested as Yoshiko took a weightlifting belt off the equipment rack and wrapped it around Eri's waist.

“Why not? You really get hurt without one. And if your coach caught you, you'd be in trouble.”

“No. I mean that thing about you being crippled. You're just injured. I am the crippled one here.”

“No, I really am just a gimp. I've been acting all high and mighty when it turned out I'm just another broken doll...” Yoshiko sighed as she adjusted the belt to fit around Eri.

“Why didn't you tell me?” Yoshiko asked, tracing her fingers along the edges of Eri's brace.

“Because I wanted to be 'perfect and normal,' just like the kind of person you thought I was.”

“But I think you're perfect the way you are.” Yoshiko whimpered as she hugged Eri from behind.

“You've been normal once. You don't know what it's like to have spent your whole life as a freak.”

“I don't understand. You look okay to me.”

“I do now, but just barely.” Eri turned around and joined her bent index fingertips together to form an S shape. “When I was born, my back was like this, sideways. You know how in regular schools they check your back for abnormal curves? It's so you don't end up like me. I've had more than a dozen surgeries to straighten me out and I have to wear this brace practically the whole day. If this doesn't work, they're going to fuse my spinal column together permanently with screws.”

“Hey, hey...” Yoshiko wrapped her arms around Eri again. “So your back is a little messed up, no big deal. So are my legs.”

“I'm sorry, I've been all obsessed with becoming normal again that I forgot what I was.”

“And what are you?” Eri asked as they did another pulldown.

“I am crippled. But I'm still Yoshiko Tachibana, not Yoshiko the Cripple.

“And what am I?”

“You're not Eri the Scoliosis Girl, you're Eri Koyama, the Girl I Like.”

“T-Th-That you l-like?!” Eri released her grip, letting the weights crash down with a loud clang.

“Eep! Sorry! Forget I said anything!” Yoshiko got up from the bench and turned to the teachers' assistants who were checking on the commotion. “Just lost my grip for a moment. Sorry! Sorry!”

Yoshiko hobbled away over to the parallel bars as a TA took over helping out Eri. Stumbling with every unassisted step, she considered giving up for the day. Eri finally confided in Yoshiko and she blew her chance at friendship yet again. With her heart elsewhere, she backed up slowly, towards her crutches.

“No, don't stop.” The voice behind Yoshiko said as a pair of slender arms firmly locked around her waist. “I'm right behind you.”

“Eri,” Yoshiko looked back and smiled. “If I slip and fall on you, your back will get seriously screwed up.”

“I don't care.” Eri said as she pushed Yoshiko along to take a step. “If you fall, I will catch you, no matter what.”

“But why are you being so nice to me? I've been acting weird around you since the day we met.”

“Because I like you too.”

“You, you real-OW!” Yoshiko stumbled forward, twisting her ankle sideways.

“Nikki! Are you okay? You should've fallen back. I would've caught you.”

“I'm okay.” Yoshiko said as she allowed Eri to pull her back up to the rails, something she'd normally insist on doing alone. “I've done worse by myself.”

“We've been hurting by ourselves for too long.” Eri said, weaving her fingers together with Yoshiko's. “Let's get better together.”

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