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

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CarnivalNights
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/13/2012 (mature content)

Post by CarnivalNights » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:11 pm

Hisao, you stupid pussy. Just accept that you passed.
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Titus
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/13/2012 (mature content)

Post by Titus » Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:31 pm

Kill him, Hisao.

By the way another good read, so excited to finally get to the camping trip. Do whatever you do, because it's working! Love this story.
Rika sits on my desk, surrounded by the notebooks and textbooks I’ve been plugging into my brain for the past week or so, her legs crossed, wearing my school shirt. It fits her like a loose nightgown, the bottom hem bunched up at her sides where she’s sitting. The cuff of the right sleeve is rolled up, just enough that it doesn’t cover her hand, which is dangling a lit cigarette out the window. Her eyes follow the thin trail of smoke as it dissipates into the mid-day air.
Good picture in my head. Good good...
a short essay question about the Cold War… something Rika had put an odd amount of emphasis on during our afternoon cram session yesterday.
Daww, one of the things that's a bit harder to cheat on :(
What if life had a soundtrack similar to Katawa Shoujo's ?

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Zombiedude101
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/13/2012 (mature content)

Post by Zombiedude101 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:35 am

I need my fix of Rika dammit.
I support Snoozu.
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BeastlyFerret
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/13/2012 (mature content)

Post by BeastlyFerret » Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:18 am

Keep the awesomeness coming :)
Last edited by BeastlyFerret on Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Shizune=Emi=Lilly=Hanako=Rin=Saki=Rika=Misha=Miki Because all girls are equal and deserve equal amounts of love. However, these girls appeal to me the most~

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The O.H.L.
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/13/2012 (mature content)

Post by The O.H.L. » Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:35 am

BeastlyFerret wrote:
Zombiedude101 wrote:I need my fix of Rika dammit.
Hahaha I need my fix of Rika and Saki >.>

Also a Miki route would be nice :P
ALL OF MY AGREE!
Guess who's back, back, back, back again.
Not that I ever made any great contributions, but oh well, too bad.

Gilrond
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/13/2012 (mature content)

Post by Gilrond » Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:36 am

Zombiedude101 wrote:I need my fix of Rika dammit.
Don't rush the writers, give them time. It's worth waiting for :)

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Mealforthree
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/13/2012 (mature content)

Post by Mealforthree » Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:45 am

Zombiedude101 wrote:I need my fix of Rika dammit.
DING DONG BANNU

I like this fanfic.

reminding that just so I don't get ding dong bannu

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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/13/2012 (mature content)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:26 am

The three of you know that SC just recently pulled out the ban-hammer?
I'm not sure he put it away again...
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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Zombiedude101
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/13/2012 (mature content)

Post by Zombiedude101 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:11 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:The three of you know that SC just recently pulled out the ban-hammer?
I'm not sure he put it away again...
How's it relevant?
I support Snoozu.
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/13/2012 (mature content)

Post by Gilrond » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:28 am

Zombiedude101 wrote:
Mirage_GSM wrote:The three of you know that SC just recently pulled out the ban-hammer?
I'm not sure he put it away again...
How's it relevant?
I know of at least two people who were tempbanned just a few days ago for pushing writers to write more or faster. It's against the forum rules, dude

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BeastlyFerret
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/13/2012 (mature content)

Post by BeastlyFerret » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:00 pm

Hahaha it's all in good fun. Sorry all fan fiction writers, we don't mean to rush you :)
Shizune=Emi=Lilly=Hanako=Rin=Saki=Rika=Misha=Miki Because all girls are equal and deserve equal amounts of love. However, these girls appeal to me the most~

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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/13/2012 (mature content)

Post by Mealforthree » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:39 pm

Gilrond wrote:
Zombiedude101 wrote:
Mirage_GSM wrote:The three of you know that SC just recently pulled out the ban-hammer?
I'm not sure he put it away again...
How's it relevant?
I know of at least two people who were tempbanned just a few days ago for pushing writers to write more or faster. It's against the forum rules, dude
Two's not a company, three's a company. At least my thread suggests so. Anyway, not trying to undermine the authority of the law around here, I understand where it's coming from, just don't be blatant with the "moar", people, I fucking hate it when I - or any other fic author - gets readers banned in their threads as it diminishes the readership. I lost at least two, hurp.
Last edited by Mealforthree on Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Rikabro
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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/13/2012 (mature content)

Post by Rikabro » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:43 pm

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. Much appreciated.
BeastlyFerret wrote:Hahaha it's all in good fun. Sorry all fan fiction writers, we don't mean to rush you :)
I wasn't upset by any of it, for what it's worth. I could see how it might bother some writers, but I find it flattering and it helps me stay motivated. But it's still against the rules, so please don't make comments that might be construed as "requesting extensions."

According to the rules post, the reasoning behind the rule is that it prevents "inane posts" and (presumably) that it protects writers from feeling annoyed or harassed. So even though I don't feel annoyed or harassed by such comments, they are still bannable on the grounds that they are generally "inane" and contrary to the purpose of this board (writing and feedback).

So if you have questions about my plans for the story or my projected writing schedule, please send me a private message instead of posting it here.
Writer for Familiarity. I also have an anime blog.

Zombiedude

Re: Rika Story - updated 4/13/2012 (mature content)

Post by Zombiedude » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:16 pm

Can't wait to see the next part, good writing so far.

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Re: Rika Story - updated 4/13/2012 (mature content)

Post by Rikabro » Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:15 pm

Zombiedude wrote:Can't wait to see the next part, good writing so far.
Ok. Since it's been so long since my last update I wanted to post a bit more this time around, but I might as well post what I've got so far. Here is the introduction to Act 4.

P.S. - I had been AWOL for a while because of school, interviews, and moving. I now have an abundance of free time and I plan on spending a lot of it on this story, so updates will be more frequent from now on, probably about the same as they had been.

Act 4: Mirrors

Scene 1: Precognition

Reading fiction feels strange after you’ve spent a week burning facts and histories into your mind. The last time I read anything for fun was in the hospital, months ago. I was a voracious and attentive reader, losing myself and my problems in fictive worlds. At the time it was all I could do to cope with the uncertainty of my own future. Maybe that’s why my imagination was so malleable. Like a single-celled organism that adapts to its environment in whatever way it sees fit. A blank slate where I can write anything I want.

It might have also been the lack of stimuli. The sterile, inoffensive colours, the perpetual cleanliness, the hushed voices of doctors and nurses in the hallways. I’m reminded of how Rika described her hospital self as being so different from her normal self. Maybe reading is part of my hospital self.

The bus ride is smooth enough, only lurching a little bit at the occasional dip and rise in the highway as we travel into the more deeply wooded area of the campground. It’s already a lot more remote than I had been expecting, based on the way it had been described to me. I’ve never really gone camping, before. It always just sort of seemed boring to me. Rika had suggested I bring some reading to keep myself busy while everyone else was out having fun. When she saw this morning that I actually had packed a fair number of books, she just scoffed and shook her head helplessly. Turns out she’d only been joking.

Even though the ride is relatively noiseless, with most of the students either sleeping or quietly occupying themselves and each other, I can’t concentrate on what I’m reading. It might be that the book itself isn’t very good. It’s a sci-fi novel that Mutou had recommended to me earlier in the year. The way he’d talked about it made it sound pretty interesting but I keep realizing that my eyes are moving and I’m turning pages without even registering what’s written. In fact, I’ve been on the same page for the last ten minutes, habitually flipping it ahead before having to turn back once I realize I haven’t actually been reading.

Every so often I look out the window and watch the scenery, the passing trees. My mind is busy with my own story. The old uncertainty I was fleeing is gone, and all I have ahead of me is probabilities, potential outcomes, and the tangle of delicate choices that might take me one way or the other.

Unlike many of the students I’ve overheard chatting, I’m not worried at all about the outcome of my exams. I walked out of all of them feeling fairly confident. The ill-gotten gains of Rika’s obviously stolen answers tug a bit at my conscience, but it’s not as though I technically did anything wrong. After all, I learned the material, and I may have even done as well without her help.

I still have no idea how, or why, she managed to get her hands on the exam answers. It doesn’t seem like her. Is it a sign that she’s, at least in her own conniving way, starting to contemplate the possibility of a future? There’s always the possibility that she cares more than she lets on. Rika does tend to posture a bit and it’s not always clear whether or not she means what she says. I can’t imagine anyone caring as little as she purports to care about her own future. Nobody can really be that ambivalent about death.

But actions speak louder than words. And she certainly is bold. What was her motivation for this? Was it just a point of pride? There’s no way my little challenge to her could have given her enough time to nab up some exam answers. We started studying the very same day I brought it up.

I can’t figure it out. Authentic or not, she always seems to be one step ahead of me. Always making eye contact the moment I walk in the room.

Rika is sleeping on my shoulder, her hand wrapped around mine, her steady, slow breaths brushing my neck. It’s still pretty early in the morning and she’s not the only student who chose to do a little extra sleeping instead of taking in the scenery of the countryside. I probably couldn’t sleep if I tried to. I’m still a little fired up from my morning jog with Emi at the track.

Thinking of Emi saddens me a bit. I must have neglected to mention to her that I was going on this weekend trip, and when I told her this morning, she mentioned that she’d been thinking of going, but that none of her own friends enjoy camping. Maybe I should have invited her? Then again, there might be a reason Miki didn’t ask her to come? Miki doesn’t seem to get along with any of the girls at school, but it doesn’t seem like she’s at all unfriendly towards Emi.

Rika stirs a bit, clearing her throat. With her sunglasses on, it’s hard to really tell if she’s sleeping or awake. She might have left them on purposefully, just to keep me guessing. So that even this close, she could still get the jump on me.

It’s more likely because of her sensitivity to sunlight. Unlike almost everyone else, Rika is hardly showing any skin in her “summer” outfit. Still wearing a pair of jeans, and with a loose, long-sleeved shirt. This morning when she greeted me, she was holding a fashionable parasol. I almost complimented her on it before thinking better – she’s probably not thrilled about having to draw attention to herself with an accessory like that. With the school uniforms, at least she can visually blend in to some extent. But here, surrounded by people in their summer garb, she looks more like an outsider than ever.

Every so often I’m reminded of just how lonely Rika must feel. Miki had told me before, about Rika, that there’s only so much “reaching out” that people should be expected to do, and that’s true. And while I know the students at Yamaku are accepting of those who are different, there’s still that non-physical difference that sets Rika apart. What that Tezuka girl pointed out to me, and what I’ve always sort of suspected: that there’s an air about her that troubles people. How often she might want to talk about things like death, how unwilling she is to sustain the pretense of normalcy to which so many of the other students devote themselves.

If only anyone else had a shred of Rin’s frankness, or Rika’s, I wouldn’t have to be kept guessing like this. But it seems like people are superstitious of Rika. And knowing her, she’d rather entertain that superstition than do anything to correct it.

Suddenly I find myself wondering whether Miki’s optimism about Rika has anything to do with how new Miki is at Yamaku. Rika must have been “transferred” to Miki as a running partner pretty recently. And I’m enlisted to help her, too.
Maybe Nurse is running out of people who haven’t given up on her.

I hear a little laughter from Miki’s direction, where she’s sitting with her friends, playing a card game that looks like it must be either Go Fish or Old Maid. She quickly folds up her hand of cards and bites them between her teeth as she hurries to explain something to her friend Lelouch, who seems confused by what’s going on. He squints his eyes and peers at his cards before asking in a slow, measured tone whether Miki has any threes, to which she mercilessly responds, “Go fish, dude!”

Next to Lelouch is Takashi, a good friend of Miki’s who usually sits with her in class. He’s only half-attentive to the game, and it seems what he’d rather be doing is staring out the window and watching the scenery. Everyone who is remotely familiar with Takashi knows that he’s one of the more overzealous members of the Art club and constantly looking for “inspiration” in whatever form it might come. I’ve always thought he was kind of an arrogant jerk, to be honest, but maybe he just comes off that way to the people he hardly knows.

He notices me staring at him and gives me a polite nod. Miki waves at me with her uh, left wrist, and Lelouch continues to stare thoughtfully at his cards, his lips seemingly trying to form words.

Other than the five of us, I don’t really recognize anyone else on the bus. A mix of my underclassmen and people from other classes whom I’ve never met. A few might not even be students, for all I know… it’s possible that people in town are catching a ride out with us.

And it’s a relief, not having to worry about my fellow students. Things would have been pretty awkward with Shizune out here. And even possibly with Emi, even though a part of me wishes she could have come along. This is a good chance for me and Rika to spend time together in a different context, away from school, away from Yamaku and its “program” as she calls it.

I wonder if we’ll be different people out here, the way we’re different people in the hospital. Rika complains that she isn’t herself in the hospital, because of the amount of safety. What must attract her about the camping trip, since it’s obviously not the chance to be out in the sun, is the added risk, however illusory. The exposure. The vague promise of something unfamiliar, something unknown.

“Hey, a bear!”

Takashi’s voice gets everyone’s attention as people hum at the sight of not one, but two black bears coming to the brink of the woods as we pass. One of them sits back on its haunches, seeming to sniff the air, showing off the large, white v-mark on its chest. The animals look massive, though it’s hard to tell exactly how big they are from a distance.

“Rika,” I hiss. “Look outside.”

She stirs to consciousness and leans over me, staring out the window. The sound of her little impressed gasp amuses me, being so unlike her, and she makes a visible effort to mask her reaction.

“Ever seen one of those before, Hisao?”

“No, can’t say I have.”

She gives a muffled chuckle, as if she were somehow taking credit for the bear’s appearance.

“I hope you’re not afraid of bears, because it’s not the last one we’ll be seeing.”

“First of all, Rika, that's a lie. You don't hope I'm not afraid. Second of all, I'm sure the bears don't go near the campsites."

She raises her sunglasses so I can see her smug expression.

“Hisao, surely you don’t expect us to stay on the beaten path?”




Scene 2: Mythology

It turns out there’s a lot that it was assumed I would just know about camping. An embarrassing amount. For one, it’s a good idea to get hiking shoes for all the walking you end up doing. In particular, when you’re one of the three guys saddled with the task of carrying a weekend’s worth of camping equipment.

Takashi glances at me with a perpetually annoyed expression as he hauls a medium-sized cooler, presumably exaggerating its weight and the extent of his inconvenience. It’s nice to know I’m not the only person that doesn’t seem to be hardened to the idea of camping.

It’s also sort of nice to be reminded of the good shape I’m in compared with Takashi. Emi would be proud to see me winning at endurance like this. Quite the opposite of Miki who has been asking me all day if I need to take a break or slow myself down at all.

Lelouch for his part seems compliant enough, or at least he’s remaining characteristically quiet as he lugs around the tent poles and what look to be fishing poles, as well as a rather heavy-looking backpack.

Rika and Miki also have backpacks which I believe contain our sleeping gear. From where I’m standing I can only see Miki from behind as she chatters in Rika’s direction about something that’s too faint for me to hear, and the back of Rika’s parasol that she can’t help twirling from time to time.

My backpack tugs at my shoulders and I instantly regret my decision to bring an ample selection of reading material.

“This thing is impossible,” Takashi says, hoisting the small cooler in front of him with effort. “Those girls are slave drivers.”

Lelouch laughs diffidently.

“Just a few more kilometers!” Miki yells over her shoulder. Takashi groans.

“Come on dude,” I say to him, “where’s your sense of chivalry?”

“Screw chivalry,” he says. “I thought this was the twenty-first century, and we’re pack mules just because of our gender. That’s discrimination, man, any way you look at it.”

Lelouch looks like he’s about to say something, but just hums to himself. Takashi nods in his direction.

“Lou knows what I’m talking about.”

I wish I could reach up and wipe the sweat from my brow, but with my hands full I’d have to stop and put my things down. Somehow I feel like stopping for any reason would be tantamount to agreeing with Takashi, which I’d really rather not do. I bear down with the stubbornness of the Fastest Things On No Legs, sweat dripping from the tip of my chin.

Miki turns around and gives us an approving look. Rika doesn’t so much as look at us. I can’t help wondering what they’re talking about.

Takashi paces a bit more closely to me and leans in, lowering his voice conspiratorially.

“So… you and Rika are an item, huh?”

I shrug at him. “I guess you could say that.”

He whistles. “Well, you gotta be careful with her, alright man? You know what they say about her, don’t you?”

I give him a dirty look and he raises his eyebrows with an innocent expression.

“Hey man,” he says, “it’s none of my business or anything. I just want to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.”

After what must be about twenty minutes, but what would certainly have been longer according to Takashi, we arrive at our campsite in a nice, secluded forest clearing. In the middle of the clearing is a fire pit with a small pile of wood for burning, an axe, and a small picnic table with a bit of moss growing on it which gives it a nice “roughing it” aesthetic. At this point we’ve gotten so deep into the woods that I can hardly believe there’s anyone around us. The trees are tall enough that the only thing visible other than them is the mountains and hills off in the distance. The forest chatters with wildlife. There’s a perpetual rustle in the branches, and everywhere the sound of birds with their distinctive calls. Takashi had at one point during our walk mentioned that he’s good at identifying birds by the sounds they make, but when I pressed him for an example, he changed the subject.

The moment we enter the clearing, and before any of us can really enjoy it much, Miki starts to survey the lay of the land, instructing us on where to lay our tents. Rika busily starts to unpack some of our miscellaneous camping supplies at the picnic table: an oil lantern, the deck of cards Miki had been playing with, some wire coathangers, flashlights, and a few other devices I don’t recognize.

With Miki’s help I manage to put up our three tents: a large one for Takashi and Lelouch, a small one for Miki and two smaller ones, one of which is apparently intended for myself and Rika.

“It’s the biggest one I had extra,” Miki says, rubbing the back of her head with a sheepish grin. “I thought it was bigger but I guess that’s because I haven’t used it since I was little. Sorry.”

Takashi slaps me on the back. “You can always shack up with me and Lou if you want. He’s got a pretty big sleeping bag.” Lelouch starts to stutter a response, and Miki just laughs.

“We’ll be fine, thanks,” I say.

Within the hour we’re done setting up our campsite, and the whole area is still pretty big even with the tents set up. A dirt and gravel area around the campfire is host to our five fold-out lawn chairs. Over at the picnic table is our cooler and a couple of bags of food, a hot plate plugged into our one electrical outlet. Miki, Takashi and Lelouch take advantage of some of the space for a quick Frisbee game while Rika and I, at her suggestion, take a walk to fill up our water jug.

She takes my hand and gives me a warm smile as we walk down the forest path. I carry the empty water jug in my left hand and she absent-mindedly twirls her parasol against her shoulder with her right. The sun is pretty brutal at this time of the year and I almost wish I'd done a better job of sheltering myself from it. Most people who come out here probably love the feeling of the hot sun against their skin, but I just find it tiresome. As a lot of this is.

As much as I’d like to enjoy my surroundings, the beautiful dense foliage of the trees, the hilly landscape that animates the horizon all around me, the birds fluttering through the branches, I find myself unable to think of anything but my relationship with Rika. The context we’re in is so new to me that it’s almost unsettling. Things feel so normal, so ordinary. And the nonchalant manner in which she holds my hand, probably so meaningless to her, still makes me blush every time she takes the initiative.

“Are you having fun yet?” Rika asks me. I can’t tell if she’s joking.

"I thought we were just getting the chores out of the way for now. When does the real fun start?”

“Well, there’s plenty to do during the day. There’s a pretty big lake where you can do some swimming. A lot of these hiking trails are nice and you can have a good time taking in the flora and the fauna. Some great sightseeing around here. If you’re a bore you could even sit around reading books until nightfall.”

“Miki seems to think most of the fun happens at night.”

She giggles. “Miki’s idea of fun is the kind of things that happen after the sun goes down.”

“Well, you guys at least have that in common, it seems.”

Rika squeezes my hand and gives me a wry grin.

“Our site really is secluded,” I say. “I haven’t seen a single person other than us since we arrived. Kind of dangerous isn’t it?”

She shakes her head at me. “Park rangers patrol the campgrounds, but unless they think you’re up to no good, they leave you alone. That’s one of the reasons people come out here, after all. To get away from people. I think they realize that so they try to stay out of your hair.”

“Maybe we should come out here alone sometime,” I say.

This wins me another smile from her. “That might be fun. I’m alright with Miki but I don’t know how I feel about her friends.”

“You don’t like them?”

She shrugs. “Takashi gets on my nerves. I don’t really want to explain why.”

I laugh politely, but her expression saddens a bit at my response. Maybe Rika and Takashi have a history, or something. He was pretty open about his own feelings towards her, after all. She continues talking before my thoughts can get very far.

“I don't really know Lou. It’s hard to really tell what’s going on with him since he almost never says anything. He has aphasia, you know.”

“Yeah, but I’m not really sure what that is.”

“I don’t know a lot about it myself, Hisao. It’s a language disability. It means he has trouble reading and communicating. Of course, instead of leaving him alone, the school thought it might be funny to get him to join the literature club. Now he spends all his extra-curricular time trying to keep pace with novels and poetry.”

“Must be hard on the poor guy,” I remark.

“I couldn’t tell you,” she says. “I’ve never seen what goes on at those club meetings. But it’s got to be one of those overcompensation gimmicks. You know, like the girl with no arms who paints, or Emi the track star. The aphasic poet.”

Rika’s unhappy mention of Emi puts me on guard, as always.

“Well,” I say, “what would you rather he do? Just stop talking?”

She pauses thoughtfully. “If it were up to me, I’d get him to join the art club. Learn to do something he actually can do instead of trying to teach him to do something he can’t.”

“You make it sound like they’re forcing him.”

“The magic of Yamaku is subtle,” she replies. “Compliance is not always consent.”

“The dream of parity?” I quote her.

“Precisely. Some of us don’t mind being broken, you know. Would you rather be average at one thing, or excel at something else at the cost of another? Maybe his brain is honed in other ways that we don’t realize. The way they say a blind person’s other senses are enhanced.”

“He still needs to learn to communicate, though.”

She shrugs. “Maybe he doesn’t? Animals don’t need words and they get by fine. Think of how many people could benefit from a few less words.”

“Like Takashi?”

Rika laughs and pulls me closer to her, nudging me with her shoulder. Making fun of disabled people is a new low for me. It makes me wonder whether or not people make jokes about us. That Tezuka girl had said something bordering on mockery when she called us “doubles,” but that’s the worst I’ve ever heard. The way Takashi talks about Rika, though, and the way she talks about Takashi, I’m starting to think people at Yamaku aren’t as accepting as they might seem at first blush.

It could be that Rika and I aren’t noticeably disabled or really physically impaired. We have our limitations, but it doesn’t affect our day-to-day lives in a way that others can point out. Maybe there’s a common resentment towards students such as us, whose disabilities aren’t readily apparent? Rika sure seems to harbor resentment to most of the other students and the ways in which they “compensate.” I wouldn’t be surprised if the other students knew she felt this way.

Between her affinity with night and her friendly attitude towards death, I suppose I can’t blame the other students for being superstitious about Rika. By the way she stares at the horizon as I fill up the water jug, I can tell she’s longing for dusk, and I feel that longing myself, as well. Whatever supernatural affliction Rika's got, I must have caught it from her by now. I crave the silence of the night, the moonlight, the intimacy. The liberty. A time when the world is like a beautiful girl that you can watch as she sleeps.

And how different it must be out here, where the rules of the city don’t apply. How many more creatures like us will be lurking at night?

Go to Scene 3...
Last edited by Rikabro on Sat Apr 28, 2012 6:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
Writer for Familiarity. I also have an anime blog.

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