"Can You Open Your Heart?" - a Rika pseudo-route

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Re: Rika Story - updated 5/4/2012 (mature content)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri May 04, 2012 6:57 pm

I do not think it is ridiculous, even less so if she really does have a crush on Hisao.
Need I say that I would have told Rika a piece of my mind and told her to see a shrink long ago?
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Re: Rika Story - updated 5/4/2012 (mature content)

Post by nemz » Fri May 04, 2012 7:17 pm

I want to believe that this will have shocked some sense into Rika (in fact the subtext of the fireflies discussion shows she might have been changing her mind before this), but given that I'm still not sure which way to go here. Siding with Emi could lead Rika to realizing that she's pushing you both too far and get her to back off, but it could also drive her away and I don't want that. Siding with Rika could actually convince her to ignore that feeling of guilt and keep on the same path to distruction, or it could show her that she has to tone herself down because you're too hung up on her to do what's best for yourself. Of course if she hasn't changed her mind siding with Emi seems the only way to live, but then again everybody's got to die sometime and Rika's quick burn-out plan isn't necessarily wrong.

What we really need here is an option to tell Rika that Hisao respects her right to determine for herself how to deal with her condition but that she has to give him the same respect when their choices differ.

All signs point to Rika ditching his pills while he was asleep, yes, but what if it was Takashi who went through his stuff while they were both gone the day before?
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Re: Rika Story - updated 5/4/2012 (mature content)

Post by Elcor » Fri May 04, 2012 7:54 pm

nemz wrote:What we really need here is an option to tell Rika that Hisao respects her right to determine for herself how to deal with her condition but that she has to give him the same respect when their choices differ.
That option could come later down the path depending of course on who you side with.
Personally, I would like to have gotten a chance to speak with Rika about what happened ,even though I doubt she would let you, before the choices came up.
nemz wrote:All signs point to Rika ditching his pills while he was asleep, yes, but what if it was Takashi who went through his stuff while they were both gone the day before?
Well, Rika could have asked Takashi to place Hisao's pills into her own then throw the containers he brought for them away. No evidence, no crime.
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Re: Rika Story - updated 5/4/2012 (mature content)

Post by nemz » Fri May 04, 2012 8:51 pm

Elcor wrote:Well, Rika could have asked Takashi to place Hisao's pills into her own then throw the containers he brought for them away.
They don't like each other at all though, which is why I suspect he might do such a thing as some sort of revenge for his friend. Them working together, especially for such a purpose as this, seems highly unlikely.
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Re: Rika Story - updated 5/4/2012 (mature content)

Post by Elcor » Fri May 04, 2012 9:04 pm

nemz wrote:They don't like each other at all though, which is why I suspect he might do such a thing as some sort of revenge for his friend. Them working together, especially for such a purpose as this, seems highly unlikely.
Point taken on them not liking each other, though her attitude about them missing could suggest otherwise.
Takashi stealing his medication as a form of revenge that strikes me as strange. I can understand "I'm hurting Rika by hurting Hisao" thinking, don't you think Takashi's friend wouldn't want him to do that. To be fair we don't have the full story on what really happened to him and I don't know if we ever truly will.
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Re: Rika Story - updated 5/4/2012 (mature content)

Post by Titus » Fri May 04, 2012 10:49 pm

This update. :shock: Heart attack in the tent, I wonder how long it took for the others to check inside? Rika's got Shimmie pics by the way.
It's like she's really a real character. ;_;
IT WAS REAL IN MY MIND.

Loved it from start to finish. Seriously it's best one yet to me, OP. Scenes 8 and 9 ...THIS is a memorable part of the Rika route no doubt in my mind about it I haven't had a shocker like this since Emi revealed Rika to be Shin's girl friend way back in the story :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: . Everything from start to finish was spectacular to me, I wish you changed either of these to "Magnum Opus" instead.

That Hisao is being serious only makes this more ludicrous than it already is. There is danger mixing death and philosophical thinking for too long a time, because inevitably you get something as ridiculous as this:
It doesn’t matter if you’re alive. We’re together. We aren’t alone anymore. We’ve finally figured it out.
It’s not a mysterious existential state. It’s not a faraway place where the souls of your ancestors have conversations with one another.
Hisao, how could smart people be so dumb? Oh I get it. Philosophy :roll: I've found another Nietzsche. Tell me Hisao while you were deep in thought, did you spot Rika anywhere in there? were you together? Hah. Hisao, you're 18, the official age for you to lecture us on topics such as this is when you have a long grey beard and that's not counting when you've actually started thinking about the subject either. Lastly, did you even see Rika while you were "dead"? Oh wait how would you know! You were clinically dead!

Trying to find meaning that isn't there in death, after you die your body becomes some flowers, a bit of the clouds and your mind ceases to worry (because you're dead!). That's the truth, you join the earth, not Rika, you do not become Rika.
The only way to be together is to become one another
Then you merely switch places. If you're joined together physically and spiritually you become a new entity, which kinda destroys your want of being together while retaining your own form (ghost as you called it) so that you recognize Rika is there with you. Now I'm philosophizing, ugh oh God.
This isn’t resignation. It’s liberation.
Till death do you part. Yep. Liberated from ever seeing her again :lol:

[Comfort Emi]. Oh, just realized, I'm the guy that yells at the movie. "Don't open that door the killer is in there!".
Last edited by Titus on Sat May 05, 2012 2:07 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Rika Story - updated 5/4/2012 (mature content)

Post by BlackWaltzTheThird » Sat May 05, 2012 1:10 am

Man, Rikabro, excellent use of 'tasteful language' in there. I read the spoilers before the story, and thought "awww shit, Hisao's gonna get a blowjob"... how wrong I was bahaha. It was somewhat surprising to see the dumbass that is Hisao suddenly become this great philosopher with an existential crisis, but without any near death experiences of my own I can't say whether or not that could even be plausible.

Onto the choices. Comfort. The word that terrifies every Shizune-lover. I know that this precedent is probably what gives me unease about selecting that option, but I still get a bad feeling from it. That said, I get a worse feeling about defending Rika. It reminds me of the decision between trusting Lilly and trusting yourself in Hanako's route. That is, defending Rika equates to trusting yourself, in that both seem to deny the problem at hand. I'm definitely going to go [Comfort Emi].
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Re: Rika Story - updated 5/4/2012 (mature content)

Post by nemz » Sat May 05, 2012 1:43 am

Titus wrote:Hisao, how could smart people be so dumb? Oh I get it. Philosophy :roll:
...and then you spent the rest of the post philosophizing. :mrgreen:

Really though it's not that complicated; Hisao just realized that he isn't afraid of dying anymore. Everyone does it eventually anyway and his will come sooner than most, so what's the point of trying to avoid it? He'd rather live as much as he can while he can than play it safe and stick around doing nothing for a while longer. Besides, what's the point of being afraid of something that you won't even notice on account of you not existing anymore? Death is easy, it's life that's hard.

Of course it's never that simple unless you're a completely self-centered prick, because death really isn't you loosing your life, it's everyone else losing you. Give Hisao time to work that out though... He's seen some shit today.
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Re: Rika Story - updated 5/4/2012 (mature content)

Post by Titus » Sat May 05, 2012 2:04 am

nemz wrote:
Titus wrote:Hisao, how could smart people be so dumb? Oh I get it. Philosophy :roll:
...and then you spent the rest of the post philosophizing. :mrgreen:
ya I know. "Now I'm philosophizing, ugh oh God". edited that so it could be more to the point. Or points, I dunno. But I couldn't let it go :roll: I got a nose bleed from reading his thoughts on life and death and started babbling my own shit in response.
Really though it's not that complicated; Hisao just realized that he isn't afraid of dying anymore. Everyone does it eventually anyway and his will come sooner than most, so what's the point of trying to avoid it? He'd rather live as much as he can while he can than play it safe and stick around doing nothing for a while longer. Besides, what's the point of being afraid of something that you won't even notice on account of you not existing anymore? Death is easy, it's life that's hard.

Of course it's never that simple unless you're a completely self-centered prick, because death really isn't you loosing your life, it's everyone else losing you. Give Hisao time to work that out though... He's seen some shit today.
Hisao should realize he's insane. He loves Rika and spending time with her, but doesn't it register in his mind that dying will take that away?
It doesn’t matter if you’re alive. We’re together. We aren’t alone anymore. We’ve finally figured it out.
Lol I guess not.
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Re: Rika Story - updated 5/4/2012 (mature content)

Post by Guest90206 » Sat May 05, 2012 10:02 pm

Errywon be arguing all up in here. My thoughts on this section are a bit simpler:
Rikabro wrote:[Comfort Emi]

[Defend Rika]
Guest90206's thoughts wrote:Well, fuck.
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Re: Rika Story - updated 5/4/2012 (mature content)

Post by Rikabro » Mon May 07, 2012 9:06 pm

Ha, ha, time for comfort.

***

Scene 10: Promise

The sight of Emi on the side of my bed, weeping for my sake, scared, not knowing what to do or what it is that she’s done to deserve all of this pain and misery I’ve left at her feet. I can't stand to see it any more. I never want to see it again.

I take a deep breath. Has Rika ever wept for me like this? Can I even imagine such a thing?

Emi accuses me of taking for granted the love and care that everyone at Yamaku has been extending to me this whole time. I have an answer to that. I have an answer to anything she could really say to me. I’ve built up a wall of cynical answers to any attempt to get through to me.

But they never were mine to begin with, were they?

Did they become me? Did I come to believe these things beyond my will? Can I control what I choose to believe and what I don’t? I look at Emi and I’m filled with admiration and disdain, love and hatred. Love and hatred for this beautiful girl who has never shown me anything other than care and concern. How is that possible?

And I feel the hatred, the negativity pushing back. Telling me that she’s somehow unreal. That she’s an outsider. That I can’t let her in, at all costs.

What exactly has happened to me these past few weeks?

“I missed you, Emi.”

The sounds of sobbing stop, as though she were waiting only for something, anything to come out of me. What I just said might seem a little odd to her, I think. But it’s what I remember wanting to say to her this weekend.

At a time like this I’d really like to give her a hug, like I did back on the track the first time she confessed her feelings to me.

Her “feelings” for me. I smile. That’s a funny way to think of friendship. But if there’s ever been a true friend to me at Yamaku, it’s been Emi.

She rubs her eyes and looks at me searchingly. “W… what do you mean?”

“This weekend,” I say. I clear some phlegm out of my throat. “I slept in late yesterday because you didn’t message me in the morning. I could have used a good morning run. You know. For the bad thoughts.”

I must sound just like a child right now. I can almost see Rika laughing at me. I close my eyes to try to force her image out of my head. Please, Rika. This is private. Can’t I just be left alone for now?

When I open my eyes again I’m greeted with an old, familiar sight, only a little tarnished. If it weren’t for her red eyes and the wetness on her cheeks, the look on Emi’s face would be exactly the same as it was the first time I met her on the track for a morning run. Eyes bright with optimism, a warm smile that fills me with energy. Tears start to build up in her eyes, but they’re different tears. How can this be? Is what I’m saying really such a surprise to her?

What have I done to my best friend?

She sniffles, and rubs her eyes with her palms again. It makes her look tiny, childlike. Not ignorant. Innocent. Unknowing, but yearning to know. The thought that I'd ever feel anything but love for a person like Emi fills me with disgust.

Emi throws her arms around me once more, more tightly this time, as if she’s just now arriving to visit me. Or like an old friend that you haven’t seen in a long time. I think that’s a better way of putting it, really, because as I wrap my arms around her tiny shoulders and hold her close to me, it’s exactly the feeling I have as well.

"I missed you too, Hisao."

The only eyes I can look at as Emi hugs me are her mother’s, who has been in the room this whole time, sitting on the chair at my bedside. Her smile meets my own, and I almost feel like I should start to laugh, before Emi pulls back from her embrace and seats herself once more, this time a little bit further up on my bed, holding my hand.

The contact is reassuring, platonic. Normally I’d feel strange touching a girl other than Rika this way. I start to remember, in a way that I couldn’t yesterday, all the friendships I once had at my old school. And how little friendship I’ve allowed myself to have since coming out here.

“Hisao…” Emi says, her voice still a little unsure. I stroke her hand to reassure her and she smiles at me.

“What is it?”

She blushes, averting her eyes slightly.

“You really care about her, don’t you?”

“I do.”

She gives a shuddering sigh.

“Do you love her?”

The sound of my heart monitor increases slightly. Being interrogated here is like taking a polygraph test. No use trying to keep it a secret.

“I think I do.”

Emi stares at the floor for a moment before speaking again.

“Then this is going to be really hard for you to do,” she says.

I close my eyes and nod. It’s simple enough to tell what she’s driving at. Emi's given me a chance to make this work, but what happened last night was a stern reminder to all of exactly what's at stake. She doesn’t have to spell it out for me.

“I know, Emi.”

“But you don’t have to do it alone, okay? I’m going to be here for you. Me and Nurse and Miki and even Rin, too.”

Lots of people. She doesn’t need to list them, but she seems to think it adds some force to her argument. But no amount of people can really add up to the influence that Rika’s grown to have over my thoughts, my feelings, every aspect of my life.

“And Miki’s going to be there for her, Hisao. And Nurse. And maybe we can get her some more help, too. The kind of help she needs.”

Help she needs. I redden at the thought that Rika might be mentally ill. What does that say about me?

“I’m worried about her,” I say, and Emi bites her lip as I talk. “What if things get worse for her?”

Emi becomes visibly agitated. Her voice is full of pain.

“Sometimes… we lose the people we love, Hisao. But we need to try to put it behind us. No matter how painful it is.”

I nod silently. She’s right, I know. But the way she’s talking, I can tell that Emi’s finally decided that Rika is beyond redemption.

Moving on when you’ve lost something is never easy. Especially when what you’ve lost is hope.

I look out the window and notice that the sun is beginning to set. I had no idea it was already evening. When Emi mentioned to me that she’d been here since this morning, I just assumed it was closer to the middle of the day. How long has she been here at my bedside?

I instinctively glance at my wrist and remember that my watch is still back at my dorm room.

What kind of ordeal was it, getting me out of the wilderness and into this bed? I picture my naked body being dragged out here, thrown into this hospital gown, and strapped up to all this machinery. So many people working so hard for the sake of a person they don’t even know. And how I want to scoff at all of them and everything they’ve done. What a horrible feeling to have.

I faintly recollect the hazy rationalizations I made with my eyes closed, while I was waking up, before Emi’s confrontation. Even though it was only minutes ago, I can hardly believe that this is the person I’ve turned out to be.

I’m starting to think that I’m unhealthy in a way I never realized.

Emi’s weeping again, but her face is still, the tears just trickling down from her eyes. She stares at the window with a wistful expression.

“Don't blame yourself, Hisao,” she says. "We did everything we could."





Scene 11: Filling In The Blanks


Visiting hours at the hospital have come to a close, and Emi and her mother have both taken their leave of me. I never did get a chance to visit with my “other guests" that the doctor had mentioned were visiting Rika. When I declined to see them I wasn't aware how close to closing time it was, and how little time they probably had to pay me a visit. The fact that I’m alive at all is something I probably owe to Miki and her friends. I feel like an ungrateful bastard.

This evening, other than a few brief visits from the night nurse, I’ve been left in relative solitude. It must be a small hospital because I haven’t seen a lot of different faces among the staff here, and the halls are eerily quiet. There’s a certain feeling of luxury, with the decorative art on the wall, the sterile atmosphere, and the large window where the curtains have remained open as per my request.

As the night falls, it grows so black outside that the window becomes a mirror. I stare at my reflection in a daze, waiting for sleep to come, drifting in and out.

After a brief nap, I open my eyes, blinking. The sky is black and my window has become fully reflective in the faint light coming from the hallway. The shape of the doorway leading into my room is interrupted by a narrow column of darkness that encroaches, growing closer.

I turn around to face Rika and she freezes in place.

Dressed in the same white hospital gown that I’m wearing, her hair hanging loose, she is almost unrecognizable, but no less unique a figure than she ever is. The bottom of her gown flutters as she continues her approach, casting a shadow over her feet that makes her look like she’s floating rather than walking.

Her long hair, undone, hangs lifelessly over her shoulders. Her expression, normally sly and confident, is resigned and uncertain.

I blink a couple of times to make sure that I’m not dreaming. What is she doing here?

She takes a seat on the chair next to my bed. I turn my head to face away from her, but the reflection of her bright red eyes in the window commands my attention, bold in spite of her pained expression. There in the reflection I see both of us, peering into the room, staring at one another.

I don’t know what to say to her, but I hope that she might say something, if only to confirm that I’m not dreaming. Her voice is uncharacteristically weak when she finally does begin speaking.

“Will you forgive me?”

I stay silent, peering back at her. No preliminaries. Right to the point. But there’s still something mysterious about the content of her question, as simple as it is.

Her red irises vanish from the reflection as she lowers her eyes and looks at her hands. From behind, I hear her breathing in a shuddering gasp as she starts to cry.

Her voice cracks. “Why can’t you ever just forgive?”

I turn to face her again. Her pale cheeks glisten with moisture, and her bright eyes search me with longing for absolution. I want to believe that she’s weeping for me. But somehow, I don’t know where it’s coming from, to whom it’s directed.

As she continues speaking, her voice seems almost to transform to one different, but no less familiar. A voice I haven’t heard in a long time.

“Have you already forgotten her, Hisao? The girl who made you the person that you are today? The voice and the words that crippled you for the rest of your life?”

Iwanako?

“Rika, what are you…”

Her voice grows firm, but she keeps it lowered and quiet.

“Do you think that she didn’t regret what happened? All she wanted was to be with you, and just by reaching out to you, she lost you forever. Can you imagine what her life was like after that, Hisao? The things people said about her? The blame that she must have carried in her heart? The way she must have been treated? What do you think it’s like to live with that kind of blame? How long do you think you can live with that blame before you start to believe that it’s true?”

Her voice brims with emotion as she rambles on about Iwanako, straining her analogy.

“Do you know why she wrote you that letter? Because no matter how many people told her that what happened wasn’t her fault, their forgiveness didn’t matter. Nobody could forgive her for what she did to you. Nobody but you. But you didn’t believe her. You wanted her to leave you alone. You didn’t care. How could you not care?”

The letter that I wrote in reply, but never sent. I'd forgotten completely about that with all the stress of exams. The last place I left it was on my desk in my bedroom. Did she read it?

I struggle to process all of what she’s saying, and the blood rushes to my face as a realization comes over me. I stay resolute. I can’t afford to let her get to me like this.

“Is that why you’re trying to turn me into him, Rika?”

Her tear-filled eyes widen with shock, her mouth gaping open at the force of my accusation. I sit up straight, staring her down with all the force that I can muster.

“Is that what this is really about? You killed him, and all you wanted was to have him back so he could forgive you?”

Her body starts to tremble, her hands clenching. But I refuse to let up. People like us don’t die in hospitals.

“I don’t know why I ever loved you, Rika. I gave you so much and I tried so hard to be there for you when you needed me. But all you ever did was push me to the edge. You never cared about us or our future. You just wanted someone to fill that empty space and make you feel like you weren’t a monster. You just wanted him back so he could forgive you. Isn’t that right?”

She closes her eyes to try and dam up the flow of tears, but it's no use. Whimpering, breathing in sharp, rapid gasps, she answers.

“You don't understand. He would never forgive me. Not then, and not now. He hated me. He hated me more than anyone else. And the worst thing is, he hated me because he understood me. I never wanted to believe that he was right about me. Nobody has ever understood me like he has. But when he died, everyone started to look at me like that... just the way he had. I thought maybe if you could only love me… maybe that would mean he was wrong. That I’m not such a bad person. I know you, Hisao. I know you because you’re afraid, just like I am. You’re weak. You’re naïve. But you never gave up on me. I had to know for sure… I had to know that you really understood who I am, that you could still love me even after knowing me so well. I love you, Hisao. I love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone in the world. Nothing you can do to me will change that. Why can’t you love me the way I love you?”

The words “I love you” hit me hard, but the longer she talks, the more absurd she becomes. I resist her logic. She’s fighting hard to hang onto what she has. It’s sad, but I can’t let her win this. I can’t give in to her. I can’t afford to.

Not anymore.

“Rika, I don’t think you ever loved me. I’m not the person you think I am. I know you think you love me, but you don’t. When you love someone, you want what’s best for them. You never cared about me, Rika. And I just can't do this anymore. I can't stay with you when I care so much about you and you refuse to care about me.”

For a few moments we sit in silence, desperate for each other’s company, but further apart than we’ve ever been. I know that I love her. I believe that she thinks she loves me. But neither of us can agree on exactly what that means. And neither of us is willing to give what the other wants.

How can two people want each other’s love so badly without being in love? What happened between us? Was it all just a lie that we were telling ourselves? Wishful thinking? Was it just a big trick we were playing on each other?

I turn away from her, staring at the window. Her reflection stares at me as if I were a stranger, and then she rises to her feet and wanders noiselessly into the hallway, receding back to the place from whence she came.

The vision of Rika’s glowing figure, draped in hospital garb, her long silver hair thrown over her shoulders, lingers in my mind long after she’s gone.

Peerless. Solitary. Unreachable.

Like nothing I’ve ever seen.
Last edited by Rikabro on Mon May 07, 2012 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rika Story - updated 5/4/2012 (mature content)

Post by Elcor » Mon May 07, 2012 9:21 pm

I had a feeling comfort was a one way street. Amazingly written like always.
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Re: Rika Story - updated 5/7/2012 (mature content)

Post by Mahorfeus » Mon May 07, 2012 9:41 pm

I don't think I have the heart to call this a "bad" end. It was amazing though.
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Re: Rika Story - updated 5/7/2012 (mature content)

Post by Pro PandaBear » Mon May 07, 2012 9:51 pm

You even know how to make a bad ending amazing! Great chapter, can't wait for the next!
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Re: Rika Story - updated 5/7/2012 (mature content)

Post by Bagheera » Mon May 07, 2012 9:56 pm

Well, that's novel. Haven't seen Hisao initiate the breakup before. It's a pity, really; I think he had a shot at reaching her here. Maybe he'll do that with the other choice? But if he does, how will he take care of himself? I'm seeing bad ends all around here (unless we get a variation on Saving Throw, and Emi redoubles her efforts to save them both? It's plausible at this point, and Miki might be in it to win it at this point as well).

Next installment should be interesting.
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