Shadows, and Those Who Step Into Them

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VenDash
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Shadows, and Those Who Step Into Them

Post by VenDash » Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:48 pm

(Author's Note: In it's basest form, this will be a story that begins one year after the original cast graduates, and the majority of characters that appear will be of my own design. The setting is still the same, in Yamaku Academy, with the town surrounding it. I'm going to be trying a third person view, though I may change it up if the situation calls for it. Thanks in advance for reading.)

Part 1, Chapter 1- What's In a Name

Sounds of tires sliding to a halt fell short in the hubbub that was Monday mornings of the typical high school campus. Scratching out the fact this was far from the normal high school, the doors of the dark blue minivan that had just pulled up to the gates of the campus slowly began to open. The door eventually opened completely thanks to modern automated mechanics, which revealed a young man slumped back in a wheelchair. Light from the sun hit him square in his eyes that were covered by rather small, oval shaped glasses. After muttering some profanities under his breath, he hit a switch on the inside of the van's doorframe.

A small ramp began to extend onto the sidewalk that the van had parked by. This was evidently to allow the boy to exit safely, thanks to the wheelchair he had to use. He propped up a suitcase that was placed in the seat next to him and carefully began sliding it down the ramp, over the curb, and onto the sidewalk. He pumped his fist at what he believed to be quite the feat. When he was sure that his luggage wouldn't topple over or anything of the like, he began to disembark himself. The way his hands moved over the wheels, forward, and back again was clearly a natural process that was developed through years of experience. The wheels of the chair rumbled faintly over the small parts of metal that were brought up on the ramp.

The boy by was no means the definition of perfect physical health, but he wasn't sickly looking either. Ochre brown hair was neatly combed down on all sides of his head, just between his eyebrows and eyes in the front and down to his neck in the back, and his eyes were a rather dull hazel. He wore the school's standard green uniform for males without taking any sort of liberties to it of his own. Despite being confined to a wheelchair, he was still taller than most people would think.

"Makoto, are you going to be able to find your way around on your own?" a female voice called from inside the van. She sounded both excited and concerned.

The young man, evidently named Makoto, turned around to face the van he had just exited. "Yeah, I'll be fine, Mom. Don't worry about me," he replied, with as much excitement as a son who was annoyed at how overbearing their mother was could muster.

"You know I'm going to worry about you! Don't just write me off as your chauffeur!" her voice had taken a heel face turn to one of frustration.

"Sorry. But seriously, I'll be fine. I'll call you later on tonight, promise," Makoto said as he waved with a smile. The van slowly pulled away from him. He stayed and watched it leave until it was out of his range of vision. A sigh escaped his mouth as he extended the handle to his suitcase and began making his way through the gates.

The school's name was Yamaku Academy. According to all the research that his family had done on it, it was made especially for students who had physical disabilities. One of the main differences from other high schools was the fact that it had a nursing staff that was active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. His family believed that the school would be good not only for his physical health with the amount of health services that were available, but his mental and emotional health as well to be around peers who might be able to empathize with him.

"Now that I think about it, that was really prejudiced of them to make a decision with that as a deciding factor. I suppose they thought it was a good idea to put one broken toy in the pile that has the rest of 'em. Gee, thanks Mom and Dad!"

Makoto shook his head at the thought. He knew his parents were trying to help him, but it didn't make it any less frustrating to be going to a school because his parents thought it was best. The only reason he went along with the idea in the first place was because he thought it would make them happier if he was out of their hair. He had more pressing matters than wallowing in self pity, though; he had to drop off his stuff in his dorm room.

It took him a few minutes to navigate through the sea of people and eventually find the male dormitories. Carrying a suitcase certainly didn't make the task any easier, even moreso that it was taller than he was sitting in his wheelchair. He was grateful to see that the building was wheelchair accessible. "Then again, I guess it's to be expected with the premise behind the school, and whatnot," he thought. He managed to make his way to the door of the building with his suitcase intact, and opened it without expecting much.

Surprisingly, there was somebody else in the dorm when Makoto entered. He nearly fell forward out of his chair from the abrupt stop he made. The person before him looked to be about his age, and was clearly male. He wore the uniform fairly similar to how Makoto wore it, but unbuttoned the top and bottom two buttons. Dirty blonde hair skirted across his eyes, which were bright green. If he and Makoto were able to compare height with ease, the other boy would be roughly 3 inches taller.

"Howdy, neighbor!" the blonde boy said with a wave. There was an airy rasp to his voice that would only be missed by someone who was short of hearing. "You're the last to arrive, and since you and me are the only two first years, the administration told me to stick around and make sure you got situated. So I get to miss the first class of our first day of high school. I owe you a bit of thanks," he mused.

It took Makoto a few moments to realize his dormmate was only messing with him. He gave a faint smile and rubbed the back of his head. "Sorry. It was a bit longer of a car ride than my parents had expected."

The blonde boy gave Makoto a playful slap on the back, then held out his hand to him. "I'm Ken'ichi Zetsumei, but you can call me Ken. And you are?"

Makoto took Ken's hand and shook it absentmindedly for a few moments before realizing that he had been asked for his name. "Makoto Kusari," he replied with a nod. "So, ah, what room am I in?"

Ken took a few steps forward and gestured to the third door on the right from the entrance. "Right here, my man. And I'm-" he took a moment to point to the the door across from the one he had just addressed, "right here."

"About as close to roommates as the school would allow then, I'm guessing?" Makoto asked. He knew from the research his family did that every student got their own bedroom, unlike the dormitories found in university campuses.

A silence hung in the air. Finally, Ken broke the tension as he tapped his foot and thought of a response to Makoto's question. "Yeah, about that... When the administration told me to wait up for you, they also told me a bit about your condition. They want me to help you get ready in the morning, and stuff."

Though Makoto had expected something like this to be arranged, it still didn't help his already waning self esteem. "Oh. Yeah, that's cool," he said quickly. He tried his best not to let his disappointment be audible in his voice.

"Alright then. Let's get you settled in, shall we?" Ken walked back over to the door to Makoto's room and opened it.

The room wasn't much for the eyes. The walls and ceiling were a dreary yellow, and the only window in the room, on the left side, was just big enough to let in a miniscule amount of sunlight even with the blinds opened. The bed looked comfy enough, though, and a shelf in the corner of the room was big enough to hold all of Makoto's knickknacks and then some. "The goods outweigh the bads, I suppose." he thought.

Makoto rolled his suitcase towards the bed and, with a little bit of effort, managed to haul it on top of his bed. Ken was whistling a tune that sounded vaguely familiar, but he didn't think much of it and opened up the suitcase to make sure that none of his belongings were messed up in the journey there. As expected, everything was just as Makoto had packed it.

"I'm gonna get going to class. You're in 1-2, right?" Ken asked as he stepped towards the doorway. Makoto replied with a distracted nod as he tossed some clothes onto the bed. "Alright, well, we're classmates then. School starts in about 10 minutes, so you probably wanna hurry up, bro."

"Got it," Makoto shut his suitcase and faced Ken. He looked a bit conflicted, kicking his left foot back and forth against the ground as his eyes darted from the ceiling to the window. "Something on your mind, Ken?"

The blonde boy was startled back into reality. Thoughts were definitely distracting him. "Well, I just don't think it's fair that I get to know about your condition while you don't know mine," he explained. His furrowed brow told Makoto that doing this alone was making Ken nervous. "So, I'll just tell you. I'm missing a piece of my right lung."

Makoto blinked, realizing that that explained the reason why his voice sounded so awkward. "I guess I'm not the only one who's uncomfortable with the reason why they're here. Good to know. Not to mention that this Ken guy is decent enough to be honest with me about something so personal," he thought.

Ken gave his new friend a thumbs up as he stepped into the dorm hallway. "Alright, I'll see you in class. Don't be late!" he grinned as he walked out of view. The sound of the dorm's entrance door opening and shutting soonafter signaled that Ken was on his way.

Alone with his thoughts, Makoto rubbed his temples and closed his eyes. "Everything happens for a reason, right? I mean, that's the belief that my parents raised me on, but I've always had my doubts. I've always been the kid who gets left out because of the way I am, and I might say that I've pretty much come to terms with that. I guess the thing that really gets me, though, is when people don't even give you a chance just based on appearances. You're forced to wear something negative about you on your sleeve, and people disassociate themselves from you as a result. Maybe my folks were figuring out how I see the world and thought it might help if they send me here. I dunno."

After he was done venting to himself, Makoto exhaled and made his way out of his room and out of the dorms. The main building was a few hundred yards away from the dorm, so thankfully it wouldn't be that long of a trip. He reflected on his recent thoughts as he made his way to the school.

"I guess pretty much everyone here wears their problems on their sleeve in one way or another. Hopefully that'll make making friends and understanding people a helluva lot easier."

(I'll try to have Chapter 2 up tomorrow. Critiques are welcomed.)

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Re: Shadows, and Those Who Step Into Them

Post by Mirage_GSM » Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:14 am

First of all, kudos for writing OCs. It's a welcome change from many of the Fics here.
Regarding your writing, it's not bad. Two or three wrong tenses, but no real problems with grammar or orthography.
The only thing you might want to work on is the complexity of your sentences. Some of your sentences span almost two lines and are unnecessarily complicated. In one or two cases you tricked yourself, like in:
The door eventually opened completely thanks to modern automated mechanics, which revealed a young man slumped back in a wheelchair.
As you wrote the sentence it's the mechanics that reveal the young man, not the opening doors like you probably intended.
This seems to be some remnant of copy-paste:
The boy by was no means the definition of perfect physical health...
The majority of your sentences are grammatically fine, but in many cases you could say the same thing just as well with fewer words, for example:
The person before him looked to be about his age, and was clearly male.
-> The boy before him looked to be about his age.
He tried his best not to let his disappointment be audible in his voice.
-> He tried his best not to sound disappointed.

Also I was wondering how he was carrying his suitcase. Did he drag it behind his wheelchair or did he lay it across his legs? The first would make it difficult for him to move, because he'd need one of his arms, the second would make it hard to see where he was going, if the suitcase is really as big as you say it is. In neither case I think his parents would have simply dropped him at the front gate. An alternative would be to have sent the luggage ahead.

Anyway, good read. Looking forward to the next chapter.
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Re: Shadows, and Those Who Step Into Them

Post by scott1and » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:09 pm

In terms of introducing the characters, this is a good start, and I'll admit I wasn't looking very hard for grammar mistakes, but I guess that's why Mirage is here. I like the character, and think there is potential for this to be good.

Just a question though, is this going to be a romance themed story? Anyway, I'd like to see where this goes. Keep up the good work :mrgreen:
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Re: Shadows, and Those Who Step Into Them

Post by GG Crono » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:38 pm

Not a bad start to a story. There were a couple of little things that caught my eye, but Mirage beat me to pointing them out. I will follow this with interest!

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Re: Shadows, and Those Who Step Into Them

Post by VenDash » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:16 am

Part 1, Chapter 2- Leave the World Blind

Makoto entered the school just minutes before classes were set to begin for the day. He frantically looked around for anyone who would be able to guide him where to go, as he had no idea where anything was. Luckily, he managed to stop a third year and get directions to his class. Ironically enough, he had passed by it several times when he was looking for assistance.

Sounds of laughter and friendly banter resonated through the door to the classroom. "Geez, it sucks enough that I stick out like a sore thumb in this thing, but people already have friends? Class hasn't even started yet. I wouldn't think that they'd have enough time to be buddy-buddy with each other yet. This definitely isn't your normal high school, I guess," he thought. He reached up to the door handle and braced himself for what was to come.

Silence fell upon the room after the door was opened. Eyes stuck like glue on Makoto for what seemed like an eternity. Just as soon as the room had hushed, though, his classmates went back to their individual conversations. He sighed in relief at this turn of events. Being the subject of attention for too long made Makoto nervous. He preferred to take a more "behind the scenes" approach to life.

He noticed an empty desk in the row nearest the door, second from the front. As he made his way there, he noticed that Ken was sitting one seat back. "Yo, bro!" the blonde boy said with a quick wave. Makoto responded with a forced smile and a bob of the head. The enthusiasm was nice, but it was definitely grating after a while.

Before got to the desk, the girl sitting in front of him caught Makoto's eyes. Though, it might be impolite to put it like that. She was easily the shortest one in the class, and looked dreadfully frail. Her light brown hair fell down to the middle of her back, with two white streaks spaced evenly across. Her most noticeable feature, though, was the eyepatch she wore that covered her left eye socket. The right eye was a fiery red.

Finally getting situated at the desk as well as he could, Makoto directed his attention to the front of the classroom. Boredom enveloped him as he let out a yawn. Before he had time to gather himself, though, the door opened with a thunderous "bang!"

A portly woman shuffled her way inside and behind the desk at the front of the room. She was definitely larger than most her age, but given her friendly face and calm mannerisms, she gave off a bit of a motherly aura. Her attire could be described as conservative: a simple blouse with a denim blue jacket and tan khaki pants. She finished getting herself organized and faced the class. "Good morning, class."

The class responded automatically with a dull "Good morning."

The teacher smirked at her students and turned to face the whiteboard. As she began writing, Makoto felt a tap on his shoulder. He swerved his head in the direction the poke came. The first thing he noticed was blindingly bright orange hair. The girl who had poked him flashed him a smile and waved. "Heya there. What's your name?" she asked in a hush whisper. The sunlight bounced off of her dim yellow eyes.

Makoto was caught off guard by the girl's forwardness. He checked to make sure that the teacher was still busy at the board before he even thought about responding to the girl. He glanced over at the girl, who was expectantly waiting for him to answer. "Makoto Kusari. And yours?"

"Mayumi Yachiru," the girl replied. She tilted her head towards the front of the room. "It looks like the teacher's ready to start."

The teacher scanned over the class with an intensity that drew the attention of everyone present. "So, for those of us here who have difficulty seeing what I wrote on the board, my name is Kagami," she stated. Makoto wasn't sure whether or not to interpret what she said as blunt and impersonal or an awkward attempt at sounding sincere. "First day of high school for you guys. It's a big step towards your futures, so you guys should be excited about that, at least," she said.

Makoto couldn't help but scoff at that. "Our futures? I'm guessing some of the people here won't be alive through university. And when it comes to people like me, their futures are exponentially limited compared to the majority of people their age. The pay here has to be pretty good with all the tuition students have to pay, so she isn't cutting back on much, if anything at all. The future isn't something I look forward to. It's something that I fear with every ounce of my being. My future more than likely consists of a minimum wage job, if I can even find that, while I live at home with my parents who'll constantly tell me about how everything will be okay. It won't, plain and simple," he thought.

Kagami crossed her arms and looked to the girl who was sitting in front of Makoto. "We'll start introductions with you, since no one seems to be bold enough to take the front seat," she mused.

The girl with the eyepatch merely nodded as she got to her feet and turned to face the class. She looked over her peers with her sole eye before finally deciding to begin her introduction. "My name is Hikari Arazashi. I'm a first year like the rest of you, and I'm from Osaka," she said in a voice much deeper than her small figure would let on. Her description was short, concise, and to the point.

When he realized he was next, Makoto felt the eyes that were on him when he first entered the room fall on him again. Kagami apparently took note of his wheelchair and motioned for him to come to the front of the class. "Come on, don't be shy," she said.

Makoto murmured an indifferent "sure" and made his way forward. He looked around the class and tried to figure out what to say. "Well, this is the time to make an impression, if there ever was one. Gotta think of something clever to say."

"Um... Hi. I'm Makoto Kusari."

And that was all he said. Some of the students leaned forward, waiting for him to go further than that. When he didn't, inaudible conversations in whispers broke out. They were about how awkward his introduction was, no doubt. Defeated, he returned to his desk and let his head collapse on it.

~~~~~

Class carried on as usual for the rest of the day. He ate with Ken during lunch in silence, Makoto still recovering from his blunder of an introduction. Mayumi was sitting in a table across from them with a few girls from their class, and Hikari sat at a table near the lunch lines with strawberry blonde hair who sat in the front seat closest to Kagami's desk. Mayumi called Makoto over to her table several times, but each time he just shook his head politely with a smile.

Nothing interesting happened after lunch was over and everyone returned to class. Kagami tried her best to get her students pumped up about learning, but her attempts were in vain. "I'm surprised she has this much energy to spend." Makoto thought.

When the bell signaling the end of class for the day rang, the class began pouring out the door as fast as they could. Makoto waited for the chaos to die down before he proceeded to the door.

Mayumi had stayed behind, though the reason wasn't clear until she got up at the same time as Makoto. She hastily made her way around the desks and approached Makoto from behind, tapping him on the shoulder as she did before. "Um, sorry if I was bothering you during lunch today."

Makoto couldn't help but smile. "It's no big deal, don't worry about it. It's just me being me, I guess. I'm the one who should be sorry, so I am," he said. "Thanks for being so friendly. It's comforting to know that, at the very least, one person here is genuine."

"You're very welcome. I'll see you tomorrow, okay?" Mayumi returned the smile and ran off into the hallway. From the outside, Makoto could see nothing physically wrong with her. He realized how insensitive it was to think like that and mentally scolded himself.

When he left the classroom himself, he saw Hikari leaning against the wall across from the classroom. He had waited long enough that the din of students left in the school was negligible. A low hum filled the hallway that was both beautiful and mystifying at the same time. "Wait a sec... could that be?..."

"Heyo. You're Hikari, right?" he called. It took a few moments for anything to happen, but what did was exactly what Makoto thought would. The hum ceased, and Hikari looked at him. She simply nodded, and resumed humming.

Makoto gave a quick wave of farewell and headed outside. Despite his terrible introduction, the day had its fair share of surprises and pleasantries. "Could've been worse, I guess."

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Re: Shadows, and Those Who Step Into Them

Post by lblf » Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:26 am

I'll be keeping an eye out for for more. Good read for sure

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Re: Shadows, and Those Who Step Into Them

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:23 am

Much better than the first chapter!
A few nitpicks:
Before he got to the desk, the girl sitting in front of him caught Makoto's eyes.
...and Hikari sat at a table near the lunch lines with [a girl with(?)]strawberry blonde hair who sat in the front seat closest to Kagami's desk.
Also, the line where Makoto apologizes to Mayumi seems to be way more eloquent than his usual speech.
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Re: Shadows, and Those Who Step Into Them

Post by scott1and » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:42 pm

Still feels a bit like it's getting started, but then again it is the second chapter, so that's kinda justified. I do like where this is going, so as I said before I'm gonna keep my eye on this. Keep up the good work :mrgreen:
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Re: Shadows, and Those Who Step Into Them

Post by VenDash » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:44 pm

Alright, time to address a few things that have been brought up.~

First and foremost, regarding the suitcase issue. It involves a character flaw that'll be addressed throughout the story as it progresses. Essentially, living with his disability has made him strive for the independence that he wants so much. He goes to great lengths to do this, even doing extremely irrational things like carrying a suitcase by himself. I tried to allude to the fact that it wasn't easy for him in the paragraph. He doesn't like relying on others for help, and instead strives to help others.

His eloquence with Mayumi was only present because they were the only ones in the room besides Kagami, so he didn't get pseudo stage fright.

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Re: Shadows, and Those Who Step Into Them

Post by Sperance » Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:42 pm

Looks interesting so I guess I'll keep an eye on this. Keep up the good work!

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Re: Shadows, and Those Who Step Into Them

Post by VenDash » Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:14 am

Part 1, Chapter 3- Impossible to Escape

Makoto made a beeline for the dorms when he left the school. He had something back in his room that he had to make sure was safe. People gave him friendly smiles and waves along the way, but he could only reply with a quick "hey" in his haste. There would be a time for making new friends; now was not one of them.

As soon as Makoto entered the building, he noticed Ken unlocking the door to his room. The blonde boy heard Makoto come in and fumbled with his keys for a moment before turning to face him. "Nice job with the introduction today in class, man," he said with a grin.

Heat rose to Makoto's cheeks as he tried his best to stave off his lingering embarrassment. "I guess you've gotta leave the audience wanting more, or something like that," he retorted. It was the best excuse that he could come up with on the fly.

"Well, you must've done something right. You caught the attention of that redhead sitting next to you. She was pretty cute," Ken finally managed to unlock his door after finishing his discreet attempt at being a wingman. "What was her name again? Mayumi, I think..."

Makoto let out a sigh before responding, "Yeah, Mayumi Yachiru." He scratched the top of his head, contemplating on a good way to end the conversation without sounding rude. "Well, I've still got some unpacking to do. I'll talk to you later, alright?"

Ken leaned back against his door and grinned at his dormmate. "Sure thing. We can talk more about all the cute girls in our class," he mused.

"Yeah, sure," Makoto replied passively. He took significantly less time than Ken to unlock his door, and made his way into his room. Before anyone had a chance to take a look at what he was doing, he shut the door just as quickly as he had opened it.

The suitcase was just as he had left it earlier that morning. After making sure that nothing had been messed with, he let out a breath of relief. "Well, I guess now is as good a time as any to read it," he thought.

The "it" he was referring to became clear after Makoto pulled out a small black leather notebook from underneath a stack of pants. It appeared relatively new, save for a small bend on the corner of the binding.

Makoto flipped to the front of the book and adjusted his glasses. It had been a few months since the last time he read the beginning of it; he was suggested to look back
on it at least once a week. One of a journal's best uses is a medium of reflection, after all.

"My name is Makoto Kusari. I'm thirteen years old right now, and I have been paralyzed from the waist down from the day I was born. According to my parents, the doctors said that my nerves didn't develop properly while I was still in the womb, and that my brain didn't make the correct connections to make it right. I've thought about this constantly, at least as far back as I can remember. My parents put on smiles for me to try to make me happy, and all I can do is put on a smile as well. Outside of here, everything about my emotional well-being has been, is, and more than likely will be, a facade. Sure, I'm probably a terrible person for thinking that way, but it's just how I am. I figure that if I can't be happy, then I might as well help others be happy. It sucks to see people go out of there way to try to help me when they know that it's practically useless; I'm a cripple. Maybe, just maybe, I have a shot at happiness of my own if I can help others be happy."

He stopped reading and closed his eyes. Now was the time that he was supposed to be thinking about how far he'd come since he wrote that first entry. In his mind, it was basically a way to pat yourself on the back. "I can't say that much has changed. A change of scenery might help, but it's too soon to say for sure on that one. Otherwise... I haven't made much progress. A few steps in the right direction, sure, but no huge leaps and bounds," he thought.

With that, he took out a pen and flipped to the most recent unused page. He had been writing in it for a little over a year, so there were at least 300 pages used. It had become a part of his daily routine, a link to some sort of normalcy in his life. The pen moved across the page with ease as Makoto began to write.

"Today was my first day of high school. I wasn't expecting too much from it, and I definitely made myself look like an idiot in front of my entire class with my introduction, but it wasn't all bad. I've made a couple friends, I think. First, there's Ken. He's a bit of a klutz, but he's probably one of the nicest people I've ever met in my life. Apparently, he's going to be helping me get ready in the morning. It's better than having an old doctor who might as well be a pedophile help me get dressed, I suppose. Then there's Mayumi. I don't even know if I should consider her a friend, more like someone who was friendly. She tried to get me to sit with her at lunch. I politely declined, but I guess that upset her for whatever reason. She stayed after class and apologized to me. I guess she thought that she had upset me somehow. Oh, and I guess it's worth mentioning Hikari. I really don't know much about her, except that she was humming when I left class, she wears an eyepatch, and that she's from Osaka. Something seems a bit weird about her, though. Might be my imagination, I dunno. Well, I guess that's all that's worth mentioning for now."

When he finished writing down the last sentence, Makoto noticed that it was already dark. He'd spent so much time alone with his thoughts that he didn't notice the sun set. "Guess I'll turn in early tonight. Maybe that'll give me enough wit to crack a joke tomorrow."

He rolled his wheelchair beside his bed and sat there for a few moments. Eventually, he leaned forward and clenched the covers of the bed and slowly began to pull himself out of the chair and onto the bed. His face showed how much of a struggle the process was for him, his eyes shut tight in frustration. After what seemed like hours, he managed to pull himself completely onto the bed.

Silence surrounded Makoto as he tried to catch his breath. Even though he was done pulling himself into bed, he still looked discouraged. He wanted to yell, to punch a hole in the wall, to do anything that would relieve the stress. He kept still, though, and closed his eyes.

"I guess no matter how far I run or how hard I try, this'll just keep biting me in the ass at every corner."

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Re: Shadows, and Those Who Step Into Them

Post by Sperance » Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:54 am

An interesting chapter, and a good look inside Makoto's head. Looking forward to the next one

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Re: Shadows, and Those Who Step Into Them

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:22 am

Aniother nice chapter.
My usual nitpicks:
"Nice job with the introduction today in class, man," he said with a grin.
If Ken intended to tease Makoto about this, he had plenty of opportunity to do so during lunch. Ken doesn't strike me as someone who would hold back with that kind of thing.
First, there's Ken. He's a bit of a klutz, but he's probably one of the nicest people I've ever met in my life.
Seems Makoto is very quick to judge people, seeing for how long he knows him, but that might just be part of his character.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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VenDash
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Re: Shadows, and Those Who Step Into Them

Post by VenDash » Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:46 pm

Part 1, Chapter 4- Redefine "Normal"

The sunlight slowly crept its way through the window in Makoto's room and onto the young man's bed. That wasn't what woke him, though. The sudden, loud knocking at his door did the trick there.

"Wakey wakey!" Ken's voice resounded through the door. "Time to get ready, bro."

Makoto let out a groan as he sat up. As he rubbed his eyes and quickly ran through everything that had happened the day before, Ken's knocking grew louder. "I'm coming, I'm coming. Hold your horses."

His wheelchair sat where he had clawed his way out of it. Getting back into it wouldn't be any easier, and the task would be just as awkward as it always had been. Despite his frustration, Makoto began carefully inching himself towards the edge of the bed, and finally, into the wheelchair. He made his way for the door and opened, where Ken was waiting. He had apparently already gotten ready, as he was wearing his uniform and his hair was still wet from a shower.

Ken looked through the doorway into Makoto's room. "Pretty plain looking. Mind if I come in?"

"Sure. Just wait on the bed while I go take a shower," Makoto replied. Ken's face told him that he was unsure if Makoto would be able to take care of bathing himself. "I'll be fine, really. I'm not that helpless," he said firmly. Ken nodded with hesitation and took a seat on the bed.

When Makoto entered the bathroom and examined the shower, he was surprised to see that it was already furnished with a seat in it like he had at home. It was made especially for those who couldn't stand. "It seems like they genuinely care about the well-being of their students. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, though," he thought.

After climbing into the seat of the shower, Makoto let the water run onto his body for several minutes. Showers had always been soothing to him for whatever reason. It gave him the chance to relax undisturbed; that was his guess, at least. Feeling like he had spent enough time lounging, he began washing himself. He stared down at his legs when it was time to clean them. "It's always felt pointless to clean them, but looking and smelling presentable takes precedence over that, heh." he thought.

~~~~~

Steam filled the bathroom as Makoto opened the shower door. He managed to wrap his waist with a towel that hung on one of the shower's walls. Taking a deep breath, he braced himself for the experience that was to come. "Come in, Ken. Oh, and bring the stack of clothes I set aside too, please."

It took a few moments, but the sound of the door opening echoed through the bathroom. Ken slowly made his way to the shower, carrying the clothes that he had been told to bring. He looked over Makoto for a brief moment before looking away. "So, I'll let you slip on your boxers, and we'll go from there?"

"Sure," Makoto rubbed his temples as he shook his head. "If you want to look away, now would be the time," he said flatly. In his mind, he had to put it that bluntly to get his point across. Ken seemed to appreciate the courtesy, and turned away from Makoto.

It took a bit of time and bending forward, but he managed to get his underwear on unscathed. "Alright, we're cool," he told Ken.

The blonde boy faced Makoto again and set aside the clothes. "Now that we're done with that, it'll be way easier," he laughed halfheartedly. He picked up the pants for Makoto to wear and brought them over. "Okay, hold up your legs," he instructed.

Makoto did so, the process much quicker with someone to help him. Once that was done, the shirt came next, followed by the tie, jacket, and finally a belt. Ken seemed pleased with himself as a smile spread across his face. "That wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be!"

The enthusiasm wasn't shared in Makoto, though; he appeared troubled. "Thanks for the help, Ken. I appreciate it," he said.

Noticing something was amiss, Ken put a hand on Makoto's shoulder. "Something wrong?" he asked. His eyes showed genuine concern. For all Makoto knew, Ken might have thought he did something wrong.

"Nah, I guess I just didn't sleep well last night," Makoto lied and put on the same smile he gave his parents. "School's about to start anyway," he added, trying his best to avoid a conflict on his second day.

Ken checked his watch. A look of panic spread across his face. "Damn, you're right. I'll get going now and let Kagami know that you're on your way," he said hastily. He sped out of the room, nearly slipping on the floor as he did.

Finally alone once more, Makoto sighed as he ran a hand through his hair. Things weren't any different; he was still lying for the sake of others, and he was still beating himself up.

~~~~~

Kagami wasn't mad at Makoto's slight tardiness, mostly thanks to Ken letting her know ahead of time. Other than having all eyes on him again for a few moments when he entered the room, the day proceeded as normal. The lunch bell was extremely welcome for him, since he had missed breakfast.

The students flooded out of the classroom and rushed to the cafeteria. Makoto waited for his classmates to leave so he wouldn't be a roadblock with his wheelchair. When he reached the cafeteria, he noticed that Ken had already gotten a table for the two of them and motioned for him to sit down.

After moving a chair so his wheelchair would have room to fit, Makoto set his belongings down on the table and looked at Ken. "These orientation days always bore me to death," he grumbled.

Ken merely shrugged, and looked over to the lunch lines. "Looks like the lines are down. Time to get our grub!"

The two took places in line and remained silent. The low drone of conversations around them, at least, made it less awkward. Ken appeared to be looking over his shoulder every now and again at something. "What's up?" Makoto asked.

Ken turned his gaze to Makoto and scratched his chin. "I was just looking at that Arazashi girl's table. It's just her and one other girl. I was just thinking that you and I should sit with them," he said.

"That... actually doesn't sound like a bad idea. Then again, I'm quite often prone to follow through with bad ideas. The bad idea here would be saying no, and normally, I would say that," Makoto began an internal debate with himself, but a hint of resolve began to show in his eyes. "I don't like being stuck in this rut, though. If what I've been doing can't get me out, I should try something different."

Makoto looked at the table Ken was talking about. It was Hikari and the strawberry blonde girl sitting by themselves, just like the day before. He brought his attention back to Ken and nodded, "Yeah, let's."

Eventually, the two reached the front of the line and purchased their food. Ken got curry and crackers, while Makoto opted for a sandwich. They stopped by their table and picked up their things before approaching Hikari and the other girl. Ken was the first to speak. "Hiya there. You guys mind if we sit here?" he asked.

The girls looked surprised, mainly the strawberry blonde one. "Sure... Go ahead," she replied, looking quite confused.

Makoto and Ken sat down and placed everything but their food underneath the table. "I know we did introductions yesterday in class, but I figure we might as well do it again," Ken began, "I'm Ken Zetsumei."

The time for a better introduction was at hand. Makoto didn't want to let this opportunity slip away like before. "Yo! I'm Makoto Kusari! Pleasure to meet you!" he exclaimed. He didn't mean for it to sound that forced... or loud.

An awkward silence fell across the table. It didn't last for long, though, as everyone began to laugh in a variety of volumes. It wasn't until now that Makoto noticed how deep and resonant Hikari's voice was. She didn't appear to be straining her voice at all, and it still carried over all the other sounds around them.

"Well, I guess I'll go next," the strawberry blonde girl said. She was of average height for her age, had an hourglass figure, and was modestly endowed. Her eyes were a deep blue. Most notably, though, her right arm was missing. "I'm Reina Hashimoto."

Hikari looked at her classmates for a few moments before speaking. "I'm Hikari Arazashi," she stated. Just like the day before, she was to the point.

Ken clapped his hands together after everyone was done introducing themselves. "Alright then, we're all acquainted with one another. Good stuff," he said with affirmation. Everyone else was busy eating, though. He realized that he should probably do the same, and began eating his curry.

When all four had finished their lunch, they began making small talk. Stuff about their classes, about how Kagami was awesome and weird at the same time, usual high school stuff.

Makoto took in what was going around him. He was actually making friends; at least, that's what it felt like to him. "If this is what it feels like to be accepted for who you are, then it'd be nice to have this feeling more often."

The lunch period was about to end. Ken got to his feet and brushed himself off. "I heard that there's a pretty nice tea shop in town. We should all go down together after school. You guys down for that?" he asked.

"Sounds like fun," Reina giggled.

"Sure," Hikari said.

"I'm in too. So, it sounds like a plan, then," Makoto said as he gathered his things. He looked genuinely happy, which was a rarity for him. The others got to their feet and headed for class after making their farewells, leaving him behind. The happiness left him, replaced by frustration. "Well, I guess that there's still some things that even people here can't empathize with."

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scott1and
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Re: Shadows, and Those Who Step Into Them

Post by scott1and » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:34 pm

Another good chapter. Keep it up :D
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