Greater Than The Sum (Finished!) - All days now up: 11/4/12

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Re: Greater Than The Sum - Days 0-31 Complete

Post by BlackWaltzTheThird » Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:47 am

Day Thirty Two

The aftermath of the festival hangs over us like the dense fog one finds near the coasts in the morning. The general unresponsiveness of all the students makes for a very difficult teaching experience, and as such all of my teachers today have been very lax. Of course, it has nothing to with the teachers also having a late night, my very word no. While everyone was waiting for Sakura to turn up, I saw the teacher of 3-3 go past, and he looked pretty hung over, complete with messy hair and short stubble around his chin. Sakura herself arrived much more presentable, but no less hung over. Whenever she spoke, it was quietly, and any other time she was slumped in her desk with her head in her hand. I figure the teachers must have organised some kind of night out. It makes me wonder which one would have been the mastermind of it all.

In spite of the apathy conceded by Sakura, not much chatter emanates from my classmates. Even Naomi and I haven't said a lot. Perhaps it might have been different if Seto were with us, I'm not sure. For the moment, he's cooped up in his bed recovering from a broken nose. Poor guy, we busted out a fantastic performance last night to close the festival, and then he goes and falls over on the way back inside. Okay, I'm not making that sound nearly as bad as it was. What happened was that while we were taking all our instruments back inside, Seto tripped on a step and proceeded to fall up the stairs. Due to the drum he was carrying above his head, he couldn't put his arms out to stop the impact and crunched his face. There was a surprisingly large amount of blood, which freaked Miko out a fair bit.

Thankfully the only damage done was to Seto's nose. It was rather amusing to see him checking the drum obsessively to ensure it's condition was fine, oblivious to the blood streaming down his face. Personally I think he would have been fine to come to class today, an opinion shared by Daisuke and the nurse and ignored by the girls, who fussed over him far more than he deserved, but Seto being Seto took the opportunity for the day off with gusto. And so it's because of that incident that I'm sitting here next to Naomi with nothing to say. I really want to talk to her, but I have no idea what to talk about. Every time I try and think of something, I keep coming back to the memory of Miko pressing her lips to mine, and the look on Naomi's face when she realised what we had done.

I resolve to make up for the indiscretion, even though by all rights and reasonings I haven't wronged Naomi. Time to consider my options. I don't think buying her a gift would be a good idea, then it'll make it look like I'm apologising, and with that the implication would be that I did indeed do something wrong. Hmm... I don't think going into town would be a good idea either. The three of us go there often enough as it is, so it won't be anything special. And it's not exactly original. Perhaps we should go into the city? I know there's a bus that runs there after school, and so far as I've seen she hasn't been there. But then neither have I, so I don't know where I would go once we got there... Screw it, I'm going to throw caution to the wind and do this.

"Hey Naomi, got any plans after school?"
"Hmm? No, not really. Why, you have something in mind?"
"I was thinking it might be fun to spend the afternoon in the city. Just the two of us."
"Is that right? Sounds like a date, if you ask me."
"What? Um..."

Damn, she's canny. Mental note, work on subtletly next time. What do I say now, though? If I say it is, then she's gonna hold me to that and I'll be expected to make a fun day out for her. If I say it isn't, she'll know I'm lying to her, and I won't be able to pull any moves on her at any point. Not that I know any... guess I'll have to work on that too, somehow. Ugh, what a dilemma. May as well swallow my pride and get it out there...

"Um... I would have invited Seto too, but I guess if you want it to be a date then it could be..."

What the hell? No, that's not what I was going to say! Argh, stupid brain, always ruining everything! It's okay, I can still fix this, just wait and see what she says...

"Why so reluctant? I thought you would have been all over the chance for a date with a girl like me!"
"I didn't mean to- I mean, I wouldn't be opposed to- I, uh..."
"Hehe stop your jabbering, I'm just heckling you! I'd love to go to the city with you."

Well that's a relief, the hardest part is over. Now I just gotta figure out what to do when we get there... gonna have to wing it. Expense is no object, but once again I feel as if throwing money around isn't going to help anything. Think about what she likes... well music for starters, but I don't know what I could do on such short notice in regards to that. What about anime? There's bound to be some kind of store for that, right? Then again, that doesn't really seem like date material, it's more like shopping. I guess that leaves me with the tried-and-true dinner and a movie, unless I happen to spot something better.

When class finishes, everyone leaves quite lethargically. Sakura does not even formally dismiss us, simply waving one hand towards the door and rubbing her temple with the other. Naomi and I exit the school building and make our way through the grounds. I make to head towards the school gate, but Naomi turns away and heads to the dorms.

"Hey, where are you going?"
"This is a date, right? Don't you want me to dress up for the occasion?"
"I never said- ...Never mind, that's a good idea. I can't imagine city folk would be as accomodating to Yamaku students as the people in town."
"Exactly. I'll meet you at the gate in ten minutes."

And with that she skips away to the girl's dorm. Not really. It's just that the way she's walking seems bouncier than usual. Once she disappears through the doors, I'm left outside by myself. No use wasting time here, I may as well go get changed as well. I enter the boys dorm and make my way over to my room. As I stare into my closet, I'm suddenly struck with the realisation that I don't know what to wear. I thought that only happened to girls? Yet here I stand, a half dozen tops and bottoms hanging from a mismatched collection of hangers that came with the room. I don't even know where to begin. I never had to worry about fashion before. I never knew anyone long enough to warrant going places with them.

I acquire a pair of desert-camo cargo shorts from my closet. I like these shorts, they're comfy and easy to wear. But what to wear with them... I have a white t-shirt that works with pretty much anything, that could work. Though, that black button-up tee looks pretty stylin'... a beeping from my clock alerts me to the arrival of 4pm. Dammit! I've been here longer than ten minutes! I chuck on both shirts, black over white, and sprint out to the gate at the front of the school. Naomi is there, leaning casually against the brickwork.

It's strange to see her out of her uniform. Okay, that sounds bad. It's strange to see her garbed in other attire. There, much more child-friendly. It is apparent Naomi cuts a fine figure in casual clothes as well. Her white-with-pink-trim denim vest blows gently in the breeze, revealing a dark red singlet top underneath. Her bared shoulders and partially-exposed chest are quite the sight. No, wait. Her shorts expose more than that. Short denim shorts. Short enough to show some leg, long enough to avoid the hooker look. Her legs are a much better sight. As I near, Naomi yawns, stretching her arms above her head and jutting her chest out. My heart skips a beat. On the way down from her yawn, Naomi notices my approach.

"You certainly took your time."
"What can I say, I couldn't decide what to wear."

Naomi raises an eyebrow and gives a bemused half-smirk, then laughs cheekily at me. I could listen to that laugh all day.

"Well now you've sorted that out, let's get to the city already."

We head on over to the bus stop and catch the service to the city. On the way there not much conversation exists between us. I never was good at conversations; I only attribute my relative success so far to the motor-mouth of one Seto Sasaki. Who, unfortunately, isn't here now to help me out, nor will he ever be on dates with Naomi. I have to learn this conversation thing by myself. That being said... Naomi could do me a favour and start some conversations too, I'm not the only one with a mouth here. Besides, I'm the listening kind of guy, not the talking kind. Ugh, this is a losing battle. It'll be better not trying to start another conversation; the awkward silence from the last one has disippated into regular silence now, and it's not long until we arrive.

As we get off the bus, I find myself distressingly disoriented. I literally have no idea where anything is in this city. The sentiment does not seem to be reflected in Naomi's expression, as she takes in the sights of the big smoke in awe. I take after her, examining the surrounds, and spot what looks like an ice cream parlour a little way away. That's a start.

"Hey, Naomi, wanna get some ice cream? I think I see a little store over there."
"Sure, great idea. Make mine a double scoop; vanilla and strawberry."

Looks like I'm footing the bill for this. No biggie. I join the short line, and shortly afterwards I'm walking back to Naomi, ice creams in hand. We take a seat - in a manner of speaking - leaning against the railing separating the second tier platform we're on from the airspace of the first below us. With the sun bearing down on us as it is, it doesn't take long for our treats to start to melt. Lucky for me my single scoop is all but devoured before any major melting occurs. As for Naomi's double scoop... it's not going well. It's melting rapidly, and rivers of liquid ice cream are trickling down her hand.

"Here, let me get you some napkins to clean that up."
"Oh, thank you so much! Be quick!"

I quickly grab a handful of napkins from the dispenser at the ice cream store, and make my way back to Naomi. She's wolfing down the remains of her ice cream with her other hand now, so when I arrive I hold out the napkins for her to take. Instead, Naomi holds out her hand, evidently expecting me to wipe it up for her. Can't say I blame her, her other hand is currently occupied. I gently wipe the ice cream off Naomi's hand. It's exceedingly soft. I have to stop myself lingering in contact with her, as to prevent myself from looking like a weirdo. Hand now clean, I notice Naomi's ice cream is gone and its remains are spread around her mouth. Naomi leans forward a little and smiles. Sighing in mock exasperation, I also wipe up Naomi's mouth. As my reward, I recieve a playful peck on the cheek. It takes all my concentration not to blush.

"Thanks! Where to now?"
"Er... no idea. Maybe we should just go for a wander around?"
"It is a pretty nice day for a walk. Sounds like a plan."

So with no clear goal in mind, I take the lead and meander around the streets of the city, Naomi close behind. Even though I've lived in a variety of different cities in my life, the cityscape still doesn't seem 'old' to me. Each city is so unique, the architecture so distinct... I would hazard a guess that it would be possible to determine where one was simply by examing the style of the buildings. I notice up ahead a building with ornate filigree around the windows. The signage on the place identifies it as a particular kind of hotel. My mind focussed on the possibilities which might unfold inside such a building, I begin to tune out the world around me. Then the image of Naomi's face after Miko kissed me reappears in my mind, and I close my eyes to shut it out. Not long after, however, a high pitched scream and the peculiar sensation of being pulled backwards suddenly brings the world back into focus.

"Katsuro! What the hell are you doing?!"

Naomi's panicked face looms before my own. I take a look about my person and realise that while I was distracted I must have wandered out onto the road, and Naomi must have jumped out to pull me back. How could I have been so careless? Goddamnit me, pay attention!

"Uh, I'm sorry, I was just thinking..."
"Thinking is the complete opposite of what you were just doing! Jesus Christ, are you trying to give me a heart attack or something?!"
"No, I... I'm sorry. Listen, let's get away from here for the moment. We'll sit down somewhere and calm down."

Ignoring Naomi's protests and berations, I take her hand and lead her to a little cafe nearby. We take a seat outside, our table shaded by a large umbrella. I quickly order two cold drinks, and when they arrive I wait for Naomi's frown to fade.

"Calm now?"
"What the hell were you thinking about that would make you walk onto the road like that?"
"I... I was thinking about you."
"That's a stupid thing to - wait, what? Me?"
"Yeah. I... yesterday, when you guys rocked up at the music room, your face..."
"What of it? We'd just walked in you making out with Miko. She's fifteen, Katsuro. How do you expect me to react?"
"I know, but... I didn't do it. I know it sounds clichéd, but that's what happened. She was panicking about the performance, so I reassured her, then the next thing I know she's all over me."

It's a conscious decision to leave out all the stuff about Miko's dyslexia and her anger at how we treated her. Now isn't the time to talk about that. I soldier on with my apology.

"I'm sorry, alright, Naomi? If I'd known that was going to happen I would have done something about it. But I didn't, and it did. And the whole time all I could think about was how wrong it was. Because Miko's so young, yes, but also because..."
"Because I wanted my first kiss to be with... with someone else."
"Naomi, I wanted it to be you that was kissing me that day. I know I've only been here for just over a month, but I think you're really talented, and nice, and funny, and pretty, and I want to spend more time with you. I want to be closer to you. I really like you, Naomi."

My heart is pumping the fastest I have ever felt it pump. I can practically feel the adrenaline running through my veins. The sensory-enhancing hormone makes it seem like a lot longer than it is between me falling silent and Naomi resuming speaking. When she does so, her expression is strange. Her eyes seem different. I can't explain how, it's like... they're deeper than before. Like there's more beyond them than flesh and bone.

"You... like me?"
"Yes. Yes I do."
"And you truly wanted it to be me you were kissing, not Miko?"
"Katsuro, I..."

Naomi turns away from me and her voice seems to catch in her throat. Her right hand is poised as if to grasp the currently non-existant uniform bow. She closes her eyes and appears to become lost in thought for several minutes. I'm tempted to take another sip of my drink, but I have a feeling that the second I do will be the second Naomi turns back to me. As a result the drink remains in place on the table, collecting condensation. Finally, Naomi starts talking again. A few seconds in, her eyes open and she refocusses on my visage.

"Katsuro, the first day I saw you, I smiled at you and blushed. Back then, I had no idea why. It was irrational. But now, weeks later, I know the reason I did that. I like you too, Katsuro."
"You do?"
"Yes. Yes I do."

We smile at Naomi's reversal of my own confession shortly beforehand. I have no idea what to do now, though. Righto, so we have feelings for each other. Now what? Do I have to ask her out now, or is that implied in saying I like her? Do I call her my girlfriend now, or is it still friend, or some other third thing? Am I supposed to hold her hand, or hug her, or kiss her? Gah, this is so hard. If only they had some kind of guide book for these situations. A walkthrough. Step-by-step. Alas, there isn't, so I'm gonna have to wander blindly through this situation. I don't like the thought, but frankly I'm too busy being excited about the prospect of Naomi and I to care. I can't help but smile as we finish our drinks, making it a bit hard to keep a seal on the twisty straw. With both of our drinks drained and paid for, it's time for Naomi and I to leave the cafe.

"Where are we walking next? No more roads, I hope."
"Hahaha, no, no more roads. I was thinking it would be good to go and catch a movie, you up for that? There's some pretty good films out at the moment."
"See, that's how you ask someone out. That's a much better effort than what you pulled in class. A movie would be fantastic. Let's go."

Naomi and I share our laughter aloud, possibly attracting the stares of a few city-goers around us. I feel really good. I'm going on a date with Naomi. Properly, now. Although, I have no idea where to find a movie theatre in this city. This could be a long walk. A little after we start walking, Naomi casually slips her hand around mine, entwining our fingers. Huh. I feel a bit giddy with the experience. Maybe it won't be so long after all.

On to the next part: Day Forty Nine
Last edited by BlackWaltzTheThird on Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Greater Than The Sum - Days 0 - 32 Now Up

Post by Lothbrok » Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:25 pm

Your stories make my morning transits so much shorter thank you ;D

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Re: Greater Than The Sum - Days 0 - 32 Now Up

Post by BlackWaltzTheThird » Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:13 am

Lothbrok wrote:Your stories make my morning transits so much shorter thank you ;D
Hahaha I'm glad to hear it! I'm probably gonna get swamped with work again this week at Uni so I might only get one more page done this weekend, but I'll try and get two done for you, alright? Thanks for reading!
BlackWaltz's One-stop Oneshot Shop - my fanfiction portal topic. Contains links to all my previous works, plus starting now any new ones I may produce (or reproduce)! Please, check it out!

BlackWaltz's Pastebin - for those who prefer to read things with no formatting and stuff. It's mostly the same as in my thread. Also contains assorted other writing!

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Re: Greater Than The Sum - Days 0 - 32 Now Up

Post by demonweasel » Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:15 am

Please don't stop, this is one of my favorite stories being updated. :D

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Re: Greater Than The Sum - Days 0 - 32 Now Up

Post by CrossRook » Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:40 am

I love the immense awkwardness. Reminds me of high school.

Keep up the good work.

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Re: Greater Than The Sum - Days 0 - 32 Now Up

Post by Daitengu » Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:21 am

CrossRook wrote:I love the immense awkwardness. Reminds me of high school.

Keep up the good work.
Definitely. I could easily relate. GJ BlackWaltz

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Re: Greater Than The Sum - Days 0 - 32 Now Up

Post by BlackWaltzTheThird » Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:31 pm

Thanks very much for the support guys! It really means a lot to me. I'm gonna start writing the next part in between classes at Uni, so hopefully I'll get it done early this time and I'll be able to write another. I've also been thinking about doing some art for my story too, but I don't think it'll go too well; people aren't my drawing strong point. I'll post whatever I end up doing. Anyway, that's enough stalling for me now, time to get back to writing (and also class)!

Cheers, BlackWaltz.
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Re: Greater Than The Sum - Days 0 - 32 Now Up

Post by BlackWaltzTheThird » Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:41 am

Day Forty Nine

I can feel the vibrations coming from the movement of the wheels as the minibus whizzes down the road. Either side of me are Naomi and Seto, and together we're taking up the whole back seat. Between Naomi and I lie our clasped hands, and it's somewhat noticable that the distance between us is less than the distance between myself and Seto on my other side. In the row in front of us, Miko sits in the seat on the left and Daisuke on the seat on the right. Daisuke's wheelchair is folded and stowed in a compartment nearby him. Of the group, only Seto has been explicitly told of the relationship between Naomi and I. He took to it well, recalling our first lunch together where he called us love birds, much to our chagrin both then and now. I don't think the other two have noticed yet, or if they have, they don't care.

In the front seat sits the driver of the minibus, one Ai Sakura. As it turns out, after we accepted Yamato and Reina's offer to go the the concert, they went and talked to Sakura about our performance. They had as good a catch up session with Sakura as they did with Naomi and Seto, and it eventually came to the fact of their concert. Upon hearing of our desire to go, Sakura made the offer to drive us. I'm really thankful for it; she's going above and beyond her duty as both our English and home room teacher and as the leading teacher of band club. Without her offer, the five of us would have had to find our own way to the gig, which - given the condition of Daisuke - wouldn't have been particularly easy.

That being said, I'm quite surprised that Daisuke decided to join us. I noticed the apparent animosity between Daisuke and Yamato and Reina implicitly from how Yamato and Reina spoke about him and how Daisuke avoided them at the festival. I still don't know what caused the rift to form, but the fact remains that it is there. It's possible that Daisuke is giving them another chance, though frankly I don't think the odds would be very high. It leaves a bit of a hole in the logic of him coming tonight; what reason does he have to go to a concert starring a couple whom he dislikes so much? The lurching of the minubus coming to a halt puts that question to the back of my mind.

The five of us and Sakura file out of the parked vehicle and gather before the entrance of a gothically styled black stone building. A line a good hundred metres long, if not more, extends from the entrance and a little around the corner of the block on which the building is situated. Sakura strides over to the burly security guard at the entrance and flashes our tickets - VIP grade tickets, with seating in a balcony area near the front. A seat like that would normally cost tens of thousands of yen, so I can't help but be grateful that Yamato and Reina scored us these ones for free. Having inspected our tickets, the security guard pulls the rope off the stand, and grants us entry ahead of the line.

The inside of the building is, contrary to its exterior, very modern, although the general colour scheme remains the same. Black, black, more black, silver, black. This is a very different kind of gothic feel to that of the building's facade. Adornments of all kinds hang about the space; metal chandeliers, banners, large metal objects which I can only assume have some sort of meaning... it gives a very dark feel to the hall. This is something I very much expected from the kind of band Yamato plays in. Sakura leads us through the near empty hall and up a flight of stairs concealed in an annexed room on the side. Seto takes an elevator up to accompany Daisuke. At the top, we emerge onto our balcony. It's a wonderful view; quite possibly the best seats in the house.

There is a fair wait before Yamato's band finally steps out of the mysterious place they call 'backstage'. Granted, arriving early and being the first ones to enter were the cause of most of the wait, however the anticipation for the performance causes us to act impatiently. Miko is practically bouncing off the walls, the way she constantly fidgets in her seat, gets up to look around then sits back down again every fifteen seconds. When they do at last take the stage, they do so to rapturous applause from the audience, and indeed from us as well. I notice that one of the other band members leads Yamato into place, but this is quickly forgotten as they begin to play.

Yamato's band plays for a good two hours. I don't recognise most of the songs they play, which I attribute to the possibility that they could be original songs of the band's, but despite their unfamiliarity and high level of heaviness I find them quite enjoyable to listen to. There is little doubt in my mind that, were I down below, they would be quite enjoyable to mosh to as well. The atmosphere undoubtedly contributes to my belief; the flashing lights and pyrotechnics engage my eyes as well as the music engaging my ears.

Daisuke and Seto also get quite into the music, nodding their heads or tapping along to the songs. Naomi and Miko aren't quite so involved, but nevertheless seem to be enjoying themselves. Sakura on the other hand, does not. At all. I figure the music must be too hardcore for her tastes. Or the atmosphere. Or the lyrics. Still, I can't imagine that Sakura dislikes the technical aspects of the band's playing, I certainly wouldn't were I in her situation. They are talented, no doubt about it. Their stage prescence is also quite impressive. Even though Yamato is rooted pretty much to the spot on account of his blindness, he still gives off that aura of intensity that many other performers do. If not for the blindfold, I find it unlikely that anyone would even know he was blind.

The performance ends with a cover of what is widely considered One of the greatest metal songs of all time. Seto's reaction to this could be described as 'fangirl-ish', as he practically squeals with glee on hearing the notes ring out. Unfortunately though the song and the performance must come to an end, and when it does, each of the members of the band thank the crowd one after another as they pass the mic on their way off the stage. The vocalist brings the mic over to Yamato on his way off so that he can also have his say.

"I want to thank all you guys for coming down tonight, you've been a fucking hardcore audience! Special thanks go to my old school band, up in the balcony; without you guys I never would have even thought playing tonight would have been possible! And to the new members of the band - you rock harder than you think! Give it your best, and you too could be living the dream! Thank you!"

The audience erupts into thunderous applause as Yamato concludes his address. Unexpectedly, a spotlight shines onto us and draws the attention of the crowd, who now cheer to us instead. Down below, Yamato gives a wave, and departs the stage with the assistance of the vocalist. Eventually the mass of people below begins to thin out as people exit the concert hall. Our exit, however, is blocked by the prescence of Reina at the door of the annex room.

"Hi guys, Yamato and I were wondering if you wanted to come out the back and meet the band?"

There is no hesitation from any of us, with the exception of Daisuke. It seems like he would rather bite his own arms off than proceed with such a meeting, but he doesn't object to the offer. Reina leads us down a few corridors and into the band's green room. We're offered seats, but Sakura declines, opting just to say hello to Yamato and wait outside for us. Daisuke gazes wistfully at her as she leaves; I presume he wants to follow her out of the room. But again he doesn't object. Perhaps he really is giving them another chance? With everyone seated, Reina proceeds to introduce us to the band. They seem like pretty cool guys, far from the menacing demeanor their appearance would suggest. But their hospitality doesn't last too long, and all the members bar Yamato and Reina leave for the bar, cheekily teasing them about their inability to attend.

Without the presence of the rest of the band, the conversation dies, and quickly. Any attempt at small talk is shot down in short measure. The tension between Daisuke, Yamato and Reina is pretty thick, it seems almost tangible. Daisuke actively avoids eye contact with either of the couple, but I sense that through his blindfold Yamato is glaring hard into Daisuke's soul. In an effort to dispel the negativity, Reina tentatively starts another conversation.

"So, guys, what'd you think of the show? Did you get a feel for how a professional band performs?"
Without waiting for any replies, Yamato cuts in. "Yes, Daisuke, did you get a feel for how a professional band performs?"
Daisuke glares at Yamato and takes a deep breath before forming his response. "I did indeed get a very good feel for how professional bassists, drummers and vocalists perform, thank you very much."
"Oh, you didn't understand how things are for me then? That's alright, I wouldn't expect a bassist to understand how a real guitarist plays."
"You were flashy and showing off, like always. You haven't changed one bit; maybe if you took off that blindfold you could see that. Oh, wait."

Whatever other sounds may have been resonating throught the room give way to harsh silence immediately as Daisuke looses his attack on Yamato's sight. Yamato's mouth forms a tight grimace, and Reina looks ready to explode. Seto and Naomi's mouths are wide open in shock, and poor Miko's expression is tell of her confusion at the situation. I'm pretty shocked myself to be honest, I never thought the conflict was so hostile as to warrant Daisuke's attack on Yamato's professionalism and his disability; the latter of which is taboo outside the Yamaku culture, let alone within it. Hold on a minute... professionalism? Daisuke's remarks induce a remarkable feeling of déjà vu...

"Hey Daisuke, what's your deal with all the professionalism crap? You've had it out for me ever since I got here, and now I see you've got it out for Yamato as well. What gives?"
Reina groans in exasperation and chastises Daisuke as if he were a child. "You have a problem with poor Katsuro too? Daisuke... I'm afraid you've gotten no better since we left. What good is there in taking out your silly misgivings on him?"
"Would somebody care to tell me just what the hell's going on here?"
"It's very simple, Katsuro; Daisuke seems to have some difficuty moving on from things that happened in the past, and now he's taking his anger about them out on you."

The deep, growling voice belonging to Daisuke booms out over the end of Reina's statement. "Enough! I didn't want to come to this gig of yours, but I relented because I felt it was my duty as band club captain to oversee the activities of my members. I did not come here to get a lecture or to be subjugated to these attacks!"
"I'm sorry? We have a captain now? Since when?"
"Since I'm the most professional member out of all of us. I always was. Don't you understand? We could have been something amazing! We should have been something amazing! But we never got anywhere because no one else saw that. For some of us, it was just a hobby. For others it was little more than a dating service. I see now that hasn't changed at all. I suspected it since the first time I saw you play, Akarada. All you could concentrate on was Naomi, wasn't it!"

My inability to disprove Daisuke seems to confirm his suspicions.

"Exactly! Little wonder you're far from a good musician. Yamato was exactly the same. IS exactly the same. All you ever care about is getting into the pants of whichever girl takes your fancy. And then you went even further than that, and made out with Miko! You're disgusting. You don't belong in my band, nor anyone else's!"
"I already told you what happened with that, you ignorant idiot!"
Miko follows up on my comment. "I-it's not K-K-Katsuro's fault! I d-did the wr-wrong thing, w-why don't you g-g-get it? You're j-just blinded by y-y-your anger!"
Yamato interrupts the argument, a hint of a sneer twisting his mouth. "It's not anger Daisuke is blinded by. It's jealousy. You fell for Naomi, didn't you Daisuke? Just like you fell for Reina?"
"How dare you call me jealous! You stole her away from me! Now Akarada has stolen Naomi from me too!"

I ascend from my seat, stepping back into the ring to defend my character.

"Stolen? You make it seem like she was yours in the first place. All I've ever seen you do is talk down to everyone, demand more of them than they can deliver, assert your own authority... it's the most blatantly arrogant thing I've ever seen! Little wonder Reina started dating Yamato; I barely know him and I can say without an ounce of doubt that you're not even half the man he is! And if the same holds true with Naomi, then I guess that means you're not even half the man I am, either."

Once again the silence is deafening. You could hear a knife cut the tension in the room, were it possible. Daisuke's glare is laced with icy malice.

"Are you suggesting that because I don't have any legs, that I'm less of a man than you?"

Yes, yes I am.

"No, you dumb piece of shit, I'm suggesting that you're less of a man because you're selfish and inconsiderate."
"You little bastard. I oughta kick your delinquent ass."
"Well it's a real shame that you don't have any legs to kick my ass with then, isn't it?"
"You son of a bitch. Fuck you, and fuck this stupid band club. I quit."

Turning away from all of us, Daisuke wheels out of the green room. Not once does he stop or turn his head back; it's clear his resolve is absolute. I don't care. That jerk ass cock-sucking faggot had it coming, acting the way he did. A tugging on my arm brings my attention back to the group remaining in the green room. Naomi takes my hand and gently pulls me back down into my seat, not saying a word. I look around and catch the eyes of everyone else in the room, Yamato excepted, of course. No one really wants to look at each other or say anything. I sigh loudly and sadly.

"I guess this means band club's over again, doesn't it?"
Reina responds to my question, even though I meant it to be rhetorical. "Don't feel bad, Katsuro. Nearly the same thing happened last time, except Daisuke fired us instead of quitting."
"He... fired you? How can you fire someone from a club?"
"I don't know. But he said he never wanted to see us again, so we never came back. By the way, Seto and Naomi, we're really sorry about that."

Naomi quashes the apology, waving her hand dismissively. "Nonsense, you've got nothing to be sorry for. We would have had to break up eventually anyway. It was for the best it ended sooner rather than later; who knows, maybe the fighting would have gotten worse."

So Daisuke was an asshole in the old club too, no surprises there. Still, I would have liked to know this beforehand.

"Why didn't you two ever tell me why the old club broke up? Why did you always play down Daisuke's attitude?"
Seto quietly answers this. "We hoped that it could be left in the past, that we could have a fresh start. Safe to say at this point we were wrong."
"Well then what do we do now?"
The answer comes from Yamato, who rubs his temple as he speaks. "I think it's best if you guys get back to school for now. You can sort everything else out some other time."
"I don't think it's going to go well, considering we'll be riding with Daisuke."
"Hmm. I think don't think Sakura would have any problems with Reina driving you back. The rest of you can go with Sakura."
"I'm going with Katsuro." Naomi flatly states.
"Alright then, Katsuro and Naomi can go with Reina, and Miko and Seto will go with Sakura. Is that alright?"

With no further objections, we all make our way back outside. Sakura is leaning against the front door of the minibus, tapping her foot impatiently. Reina explains the situation to her, and Sakura reluctantly agrees to take Seto, Miko, and Daisuke, leaving myself and Naomi with Reina and Yamato. The downcast expression on her face indicates to me that she knows all too well what happened, and where the blame lies. Having farewelled both her ex- and current students not driving with her, Sakura takes her place back in the driver's seat of the minibus and drives away. Reina leads Yamato, Naomi and I over to her car, a block or so away, and we get in. We stay mostly quiet on the way back, until Naomi quietly whispers something to me.

"Katsuro... for what it's worth, even if Daisuke had legs you'd still be twice the man he is." I remove my hand from Naomi's and wrap my arm around her.
"You're far too kind. I brought myself down to his level today."
"And in doing so you stood up for a pair of people you hardly know, as well as Seto, Miko and myself. You made Daisuke see who he really is; maybe it'll change him."
"Thank you for your support, Naomi."

I look at Naomi as I thank her. From this close, her face takes up most of my vision. There's little I can do to stop myself staring into her eyes. They're such an amazing blue colour. They're simultaneously as deep as the deepest ocean and as bright as the morning sky. It makes for an incredible contrast with her fiery red hair. She's so beautiful. Running purely on instinct, I lean in closer to Naomi. Realising this, she leans in closer to me. She closes her eyes, and I mine. Our lips come together in a mutually passionate exchange of affection. Being only able to experience the event via touch makes it all the more sensual. Unlike that day in the music room, this kiss feels absolutely right.

Nothing can take this feeling from me now. Even as we break apart, the feeling of Naomi lingers on my lips and on my mind. I reopen my eyes and see Naomi looking back at me, her perfect smile painted on her face. What a wonderful sight. Out of the corner of my eye, something moves. I haven't even fully registered what's happening as I throw myself over Naomi. A high pitched screaming noise erupts from the metal body of the car as the bus crunches against the back of it. An incredible G-force hurls me about the back seat, and I feel rather than see Reina's car spin out of control, slide sideways and roll several times to finish up on its roof, the sound of smashing glass and warping metal echoing loudly about my ears.

Everything is dark and fuzzy. I can't quite register what's happening in or out of my head. From somewhere that seems at once very far away and very near, I hear something.


What? I don't understand you.


I can't... I can't focus... you're getting quieter, or further away... oh, my head...


On to the next part: Day Unknown Hehehe, you mad, readers?
Last edited by BlackWaltzTheThird on Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Greater Than The Sum - Days 0 - 49 Now Up 21/3/12

Post by DelusionsOfGrandeur » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:00 am

Yes, I MAD.

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Re: Greater Than The Sum - Days 0 - 49 Now Up 21/3/12

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:39 am

"Are you suggesting that because I don't have any legs, that I'm less of a man than you?"

No, you dumb piece of shit, I'm suggesting that you're less of a man because you're selfish and inconsiderate.
I think that line would have been much more poignant than the one he ended up using. Usually it would be the other way around. You end up saying something silly and come up with the better rebuttal later...

A few times your story is a bit confusing regarding who is saying what, mainly because your descriptions are not in the same line as the corresponding speech. For example instead of:
"Well then what do we do now?" The answer comes from Yamato, who rubs his temple as he speaks.
"I think it's best if you guys get back to school for now. You can sort everything else out some other time."
you should rather write:
"Well then what do we do now?"
The answer comes from Yamato, who rubs his temple as he speaks. "I think it's best if you guys get back to school for now. You can sort everything else out some other time."
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Re: Greater Than The Sum - Days 0 - 49 Now Up 21/3/12

Post by BlackWaltzTheThird » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:11 am

Thanks for the input. Insightful as always, Mirage. I'll make the edits now.
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Re: Greater Than The Sum - Days 0 - 49 Now Up 21/3/12

Post by Mahorfeus » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:33 am

The internal dialogue can go one way or the other I guess.

On one hand, Katsuro thinks of a good rebuttal, but says something stupid instead because he's mad.
On the other, he says the good rebuttal, but was mad enough to think of something more stupid.

They say different things about his character, particularly with how honest he is with himself and others, and how he handles his own temper.
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Re: Greater Than The Sum - Days 0 - 49 Now Up 21/3/12

Post by BlackWaltzTheThird » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:25 pm

Day Unknown

Seto counts in the next song with his drum sticks. One, two, one-two-three-four. On my cue I begin strumming my guitar in time to the beat. E3 power chord slide into E1 power chord; A3 power chord one bar, D3 power chord one bar, E3 power chord one bar... to anyone not well versed in musical terminology, such notation wouldn't make any sense. But to me it's the key to unlocking musical wonderment. These encrypted strings of letters and numbers run through my mind almost subconsciously, only partially being processed, as my muscle memory puts in most of the effort of remembering the song. I move my fingers to each fret position perfectly in time, exercising my admirable dexterity to reach some of the more difficult notes. My other hand selectively strums certain combinations of strings. Put together, the actions serve to create the distincive sounds that make up the song echoing out from the speakers of our stage in the grounds.

The applauding of my audience stops, and I bow, low and controlled. I head back to my seat in the back row, between Seto and Naomi. Seto claps me on the back for my excellent show, and Naomi flashes me that winning smile as she congratulates me. At the front of the room, Sakura is leaning on her desk again, arms crossed as she sings my praise for such an outstanding display of English. I wonder if she leans like that on purpose, as the pose accentuates both of her most valuable assets; the placing of her buttocks on the desk adds appeal to her already stunning ass, and her arms positioned under her breasts function much like a push up bra, further increasing the apparent size of her well endowed chest. Sakura removes herself from the desk and walks towards me, hips swaying and tongue outlining her upper lip. She leans down to me at my seat, not only giving me a fantastic view down her shirt, but also taking my chin in her hand and kissing me passionately.

When the kiss is broken, I open my eyes and smile reassuringly at Miko. She has improved since last time. In the semi-darkness I reattach the buttons on my shirt and step back into my pants. Nearby, Miko puts her bra back on, blouse following shortly after. She hikes her panties back to her waist and we both begin a search for our respective accessories. I find both my tie and Miko's bow stashed in a corner of the room, so I pass Miko her bow. She thanks me with a quick peck on the cheek and purrs lustily at me. Clearly she wants to have another round. I reluctantly decline; it was risky enough doing this once now, let alone twice. What if Seto or Naomi or, god-forbid, Daisuke were to enter the music room? It will have to be another time.

I step out the door and the harsh sunshine leaves me temporarily blinded. As my vision returns, I take great pleasure in what I see. It's a carpark. Black asphalt, white lines, several cars, nothing special. But it's not the sight itself that elicits such excitement; rather, the manner of the sight. The outside world possesses such a beauty, such a... colour to it, on account of the light emitted from our sun. It stands in stark contrast to the sterile white lights of the hospital, which leave everything with a distinctly unliving look. A reassuring hand falls onto my shoulder, and guides me towards the car. I know this car well, but at the same time it's completely unfamiliar. It's as if the car has some great significance to me that has long since been forgotten, or been left unremembered. I'm not sure which. But it gives me the strangest feeling that something isn't right.

I turn towards the person standing behind me. Yamato has a slight smile on his face, and next to him Reina flicks the long side of her hair absent-mindedly with her finger. I know Yamato can't see, but he's looking out into the distance. Following his non-existant gaze, I take in the sight of the crowd of thirty thousand below. All of them are chanting my name in unison. Most of the people in the crowd are wearing shirts and jackets emblazoned with the familiar '>∑' logo; the ones who aren't are few and far between, which is probably a good thing, as women generally aren't meant to flash their breasts in public like that. That being said, I appreciate the intent of their gesture, even if I don't appreciate it when they throw underwear onto the stage. A sound to my left catches my attention. Even though they're right next to me, I struggle to to understand the words coming out of Yamato and Reina's mouths.

"It's time, Katsuro. Get out there and give 'em hell!"
"Good luck Katsuro. You've made it this far, no stopping now!"

I feel a little uneasy about the situation, but I can't attribute the sensation to anything in particular. Giving one last look at the two performers and giving them a partial smile, my stomach does a backflip and a half. There's something wrong. I don't know what, but something is wrong. It must be nervousness, this is my first concert after all. Taking a deep breath, I turn to face forward again and step into the light... almost. Something holds me back. I know the chanting of the crowd is beckoning me onwards, calling my name in a frenzy. But at the same time, the staccato rhythm seems to anchor me to the spot.


I need to go to them. They're here to see me. To hear me. I need to give them what they want.


Thirty thousand voices never sounded so clear. It's like they're nothing more than a single voice.


A single voice that sounds familiar somehow. A single voice from some indeterminate time.

"Katsuro. Can you hear me?"

Yes, of course I can hear you. How could I not? There's so many of you calling out to me...

"I'm here, Katsuro. Where ever you are, come back to me."

I can't, I have an obligation to the stage... they'll go crazy if I don't get out there...

"Please wake up. I can't bear to see you like this, Katsuro."

I'm falling. Becoming enveloped in darkness and light simultaneously. I feel incredibly cold and incredibly hot. I can't move, nor can I stand still. It's as if my mind is longer connected to my being. Like I'm existing on a higher plane of existance, or a lower one, I'm not entirely sure. What I am sure of is that I'm moving away from the concert, even though I'm still where I was. Moving away from the carpark. Moving away from the music room, from room 3-4, from the stage in the grounds. I'm moving away from Seto, Naomi, Sakura, Miko, Yamato and Reina. I'm all alone in this strange world of impossibilities and lies, and yet I feel as if I'm being watched. I extend my consciousness in an attempt to reach this unknown presence. A rush of thoughts and memories hit my unprepared mind with the force of a bullet train, and I open my eyes with a start.

"Katsuro! It's good to have you back."

The waking world takes shape as my vision returns to normal. All my other senses return shortly afterwards. I can feel a number of cords and needles implanted into my flesh. Yuck. The roof above me is a sterile white, second only in its sterile whiteness by the light a short distance from the bed on which I lay. I attempt to get my bearings; the voice that permeated my dream originated from somewhere to my side. Slowly, and with much effort, I turn my head towards the source of the voice. Seated in one of those uncomfortable bulk-bought hospital chairs and looking fairly worse for wear is a man in his mid forties, with his long dark hair streaked with occasional lines of grey and tied back into a manly pony tail. His clothes are wrinkled and stained with coffee; not much sleep has been had on his part. He adjusts his horn-rimmed glasses, scratches his goatee, and smiles tiredly.

"Hello, Father."
"How are you feeling?"
"...Bloody needles."
Father forces a half chuckle. "I'd had a feeling you'd say that. At least I know your personality hasn't been affected."
"No... but my body's been affected pretty bad, or else I wouldn't be here. What happened, Father?"
"...You were in a car accident."

Broken fragments of memories of that night hurtle through my mind's eye with little semblance of sequence or reason. Reina was driving. Yamato was the front passenger. Daisuke walked out of band club, in a manner of speaking. The crowd was cheering for us. Yamato, Daisuke and myself were involved in an argument. The bus speeding down the freeway. I kissed Naomi. Naomi!

"Where's Naomi?! Is she alright?!"
"Everyone else that was in the car escaped with superficial injuries. They're alright."

The relief washes over me like the gentle waves at the beach. Naomi's alright. Yamato and Reina are alright.

"I want to talk to Naomi. Where's my phone?"
"It was found in the wreckage of the car, along with a few of the others' belongings. Unfortunately, it was damaged beyond repair."
"I needed a new phone anyway. Now can I talk to Naomi?"
"Look, I can't really help you with that. I don't know who Naomi is. I assume she was in the car with you, but then I don't know who anyone was."
"Well can you get someone who can help?"
"I can, but first I have to go inform the nurse that you've woken up. Can you wait until then?"
"I don't want to wait."
"I know you don't. But you must understand, patience is a virtue. The last eleven days have been proof enough of that."

Eleven days? What is he talking about? What happened in the 10 days before the concert that would prove that?

"What do you mean, 'the last eleven days'?"
"Katsuro... you've been in a coma since the accident. As soon as I got the call about it, I took the first flight over and I've been waiting here since. Eleven days is a long time without proper sleep, or food, or hygiene. But it's an eternity when you've been told that your son may never wake up. You can't understand how happy I am right now. Forgive me for not being able to show it, waiting has taken its toll on me. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go talk to the nurse."

Father stands from his seat and exits the room, leaving me alone with my thoughts. Eleven days. I have been unconscious for eleven days. What does that make today then? The concert was a Thursday, so... assuming Father hasn't yet counted today, that means today is Tuesday. Tuesday the tenth of July. I've been out of commision so long... everyone must be pretty messed up with this whole car accident situation. And it's all my fault; if I hadn't said those things to Daisuke, he wouldn't have left, and Reina wouldn't have had to drive us home... god dammit! I'm such an idiot. I let my temper get the better of me, and now look where it's got me. I tense a fist in frustration, and Father reenters the room, accompanied by an elderly nurse.

The nurse performs several tests on me, and asks me a variety of questions about how I'm feeling. I know how the routine goes; I've been in a very similar situation before - No. I don't want to revisit that place. From that point onwards I do my utmost to become a machine, thinking only to answer the questions being asked and moving only to comply with the requests made of me, as to prevent myself from returning to that dark place in the back of my mind. Only when the nurse has completed his testing and departed the room do I allow myself to become me again. Father takes a seat back in the uncomfortable hospital chair next to my bed.

"Father, where is Mother?"

Father suddenly looks distant when I ask that question. His eyes glaze over and he stops his usual absent-minded goatee scratching.

"Your mother... isn't coming."
"Why not?"
"I think you know why. Your mother only ever cared about her work."

I knew it. Ever since I was a kid, Mother never really seemed to be one for affection. I used to attribute this to her stoic personality, but I guess this confirms that the lack of affection was simply because there wasn't any to begin with. I resent the thought. How can someone not care for their child? How can someone be so uncaring that they don't even bother to see their kid in a situation like this, or even call them, or pass on a message? Mother can rot for all I care now. I didn't miss her when she was at work, I didn't miss her when I left for Yamaku, and I don't miss her now. Seeing my look of frustration and resentment, Father places his hand on my shoulder reassuringly. I have to know how far this detachment goes.

"She didn't care about you, either, did she?"
"...No. She hasn't for a long time. Not since..."
"Nothing, don't you worry yourself about it. Just don't hate your mother for not caring enough. She has her reasons."
"I want to know what happened."
"No, Katsuro, I said not to worry about it. It doesn't matter. What matters now is that you're okay."
"Yeah, I'm fine. I've said that enough already today.Will you please talk to me? God knows you never had time to talk before. Now you have time."

Father seems to struggle with his decision. After remaining silent for several seconds, he sighs and speaks his mind.

"I... I'm sorry I wasn't there for you Katsuro. Believe me, if I could have my time over, I wouldn't have followed your mother nearly so much. I wanted to spend time with you. I wanted to be there for your first baseball game. I wanted to stay for your first day of school. I wanted to take you camping in the mountains, just like my Father did when I was a kid. But at the same time, I wanted to support your mother. I still love her, the same as I have for the last twenty years. But what's important right now is not how much I love her. It's how much I love you, son. And right now, you need me more than your mother does."
"'I need you'... still don't think I can look after myself, do you?"

Father looks a little offended until he notices my smile. He returns the gesture in kind, and leans over to take me in a great big bear hug, just like when I was little. Father lets me go and sits upright in his chair again as a different medical officer to before opens the door of the room.

"Mister Akarada." He notices the presence of two such people and corrects himself. "Er, Katsuro; it seems that there is no longer anything worrying about your condition. Your only injuries from the accident were superficial, with the exception of your severe concussion. But, as we can quite clearly see, that is no longer a concern. However, for cautionary purposes, we intend to keep you in observation until tomorrow. If nothing comes up before then, you're welcome to go home."

Father thanks the docotor, who leaves us alone again. Father and I make idle chatter for the rest of the evening. I tell him about the many things that have occured since my transferral to Yamaku. I tell him about my friends, about Misha and Shizune with their student council antics, and about band club. I tell him about how hard a taskmaster Daisuke was, how brilliant Miko, Seto and Naomi are, and about our performance at the school festival. I tell him about Sakura, about Yamato and Reina, and about the argument at the concert. There is very little about my time that I don't tell Father about. I happen to skip the incident with Miko, and other, similar intimate details, but for the most part Father now understands how my life has been since the day he and Mother quite literally walked out of my life.

Later in the evening, it comes time for Father to leave for the night. Neither of us can bring ourselves to say goodbye, so without saying a word Father stands and walks to the door. Taking the knob in hand, he makes to turn, but stops and sighs.

"Seventeen years."
"That's how long your mother has been the way she is now."
"Oh. No wonder I don't remember her being any different."
"Mmm... like I said, don't hate your mother. She's had it rough."
"Katsuro, seventeen years ago your mother was expecting your little sister. It was the happiest I'd ever seen her when we were told our baby was to be a girl. There was no waiting; as soon as we were told, your sister was named. Maya... four months after she was named, your sister was born. Two weeks later, we attended her funeral. The doctors told us that coping with a stillbirth would be hard, and that everyone did so differently. Your mother became cold and distant. It destroyed me to see it. I had hoped she would get over it with time, but I don't think at this stage it's going to happen. We'll just have to accept this is who your mother is now."

The strain of admitting this long held secret is evident in Father's voice. I'm dumbstruck; I never even knew I had a little sister. Or, would have. Now it all makes sense; mother was detached because she was afraid that she might have to suffer the pain of losing someone again. All that time spent working... it was to distract herself from the pain she already felt. All this time... I've been so wrong. I'm sorry mother.

"I'd better not hang around too much longer. The hotel's car park closes at midnight."
"Father, thank you for being honest with me. Thank you for coming down to see me. Thank you for being there for me."
"You don't need to thank me for doing my job as your Father. Good night, son."
"Good night... dad."

He looks back over his shoulder as I utter the last word. A tear collects at the edge of his eye, then makes its way down his face and curves around the broad smile he holds. Without saying anything further, he departs the hospital room for the night.

On to the next part: Day Sixty Two
Last edited by BlackWaltzTheThird on Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Greater Than The Sum - Days 0 - ?? now up: 24/3/12

Post by guestsometingsomething » Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:37 am

I think you get far too few compliments.

cameo appearance for Hisao?

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Re: Greater Than The Sum - Days 0 - ?? now up: 24/3/12

Post by BlackWaltzTheThird » Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:48 am

guestsometingsomething wrote:I think you get far too few compliments.

cameo appearance for Hisao?
Unless I'm reading that wrongly, that is in itself a compliment, am I right? Thank you very much. As for that other thing... we'll see. I started with the intent of cameoing everyone, but as the chapters have worn on that's become increasingly inviable. Maybe I can go back and retcon some stuff in, I dunno. The hard part at this point is that I'm officially in canon timeline now, so I'm trying desperately to avoid anything that would confirm or contradict any particular routes. It's for that reason you haven't seen anything from Misha or Shizune since the festival, and it's for that reason that you might not get what you want. I will try, though.
Cheers, BlackWaltz.
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