A pseudo-pseudo Suzu route (completed)

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Re: A pseudo-pseudo Suzu route (updated 8/16)

Post by JTemby » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:51 am

It was a simple case of bad luck and blah blah blah...
From my perspective, the way the situation unfolded was a logical, how it was established was logical.
No characters were "out of character", just a variable, which is this situation, was the protective nature of Hisao, was added to a typical scenario, throwing it out of balance.

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Re: A pseudo-pseudo Suzu route (updated 8/16)

Post by Helbereth » Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:07 pm

Bagheera wrote:I don't think Miki screwed up there -- she was just getting lunch, which is hardly a sign of idiocy.
Bad timing is really all that happened there, but it contributed to the proceedings regardless of her intent. Had she not chosen that moment to go grab another whatever, she may have been close enough to stop them before the argument came to blows. Murphy's Law in action. I wouldn't center any blame on her for the ensuing chaos, but she might blame herself in earnest after reviewing it in hindsight.

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Re: A pseudo-pseudo Suzu route (updated 8/16)

Post by Roamin12 » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:13 pm

It was really good timing when The End by My Chemical Romance started playing on my ipod when Hisao got his heart attack.
Really good, and depressing chapter.
First Play through: Lilly>Hanako>Emi>Rin>Shizune
Second Play Through: Hanako>Rin>Lilly>Shizune>Emi
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Re: A pseudo-pseudo Suzu route (updated 8/16)

Post by Zombiedude101 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:44 pm


Those feels man. Those feels.

Anyway, at least we know now that the future will only improve.
I support Snoozu.
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Re: A pseudo-pseudo Suzu route (updated 8/16)

Post by Total Destruction » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:02 am


It took, what, two hours to wade through like four updates (maybe less had I decided to leave facebookin' till another day), but it was worth it.

Hypercritical stuff's been covered by those way better than me.
I really like this ending. Not because of the subject at hand, which depresses the absolute fuck outta me, but because it's a really well-written tragedy in the truest sense of the word, where Othello kills Desdemona and there ain't a damned thing the audience or the characters can do about it. To sorta paraphrase Helbereth here, everyone got hit with the clusterfuck ugly stick and the very things that made all the characters likable and believable led to "everything dies."

Though it'd absolutely ruin me, I'd be okay with this ending here.
... Danger.

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Re: A pseudo-pseudo Suzu route (updated 8/16)

Post by Zombiedude101 » Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:34 pm

On a sidenote I feel like an idiot for not being able to properly convey how I feel about this story.
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Re: If I Gave You My Love

Post by andros414 » Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:52 am

Damn. I was right. I'm never right. :shock: I'm just going to hide in the corner now before I say anything possibly involving the good end. ._.

Shizune > Emi = Hanako > Lilly > Rin

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Re: A pseudo-pseudo Suzu route (updated 8/16)

Post by Scissorlips » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:04 am

Thank you everyone for your thoughts, your reactions, your feedback, and yes, your art. It was a little bit of an overwhelming amount of responses, so all I can really say is thank you, if you've enjoyed the story so far then I'm glad, and I hope you'll continue to stick with me for the duration of the piece.
Zombiedude101 wrote:On a sidenote I feel like an idiot for not being able to properly convey how I feel about this story.
I don't think that's any special crime, it's reached such massive proportions that it gets a little more difficult to summarize or react to each time. I'm not saying that's a good thing, in case that sounds arrogant. This next chapter in particular is a massive mountain of words, perhaps too much, but oh well.
andros414 wrote:Damn. I was right. I'm never right. :shock: I'm just going to hide in the corner now before I say anything possibly involving the good end. ._.
You are indeed a prophet! I did get a kick out of that. Please use your newfound abilities responsibly, and thank you for reading.

Hello again. I apologize for taking this long to come out with another update. Just to warn you, it's fairly massive, probably requiring two posts. I guess it's fitting that the end of act 3 breaks the record that the end of act 2 set. Also, fair warning, sexual content is included in this chapter. Thank you for coming with me this far.
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I'm a writer for a visual novel project called Familiarity, where I go by the name Lunch.

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Stay (mature content) - Part 1

Post by Scissorlips » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:05 am


[>I have to endure.]

I close my eyes and take a deep breath, trying to shut everything out for a few precious moments.

It would be easy to let Hisao step in and help me with this. I know he's worried, he should be worried, and I'm worried too. I can't control my dreams, I can't slow down time, I guess I can't even make it through exams without having some incident or another happen.

But this isn't what I want. Even if it's what I need, even if Hisao only has the best intentions, I can't let this go on. Even if he gets mad. Even if he resents me, it looks like I'll have plenty of time to mope and cry and regret that too over summer break. But I can't do this.

I open my eyes. He's still standing there, his expression pleading now. I know he wants to help, and I want your help, Hisao, I want you here. I want you to make some stupid joke and make me laugh again, so I can do something other than cry and worry. But neither of us have been laughing very much lately, you've just been running yourself ragged trying to make sure I don't get a single scratch. And you were always worth a bad fall now and then.

Pushing off from the floor, I shakily get to my feet, ignoring Hisao's outstretched hand. In the still, deserted club room, there's not really anything to do but look at the boy standing in front of me. He's perplexed, frustrated, still worried.

“Suzu.” He says gently, looking pained. “Please.”

I shake my head, I'm sorry, Hisao. I... god, can't I trust him? Can't I just tell him? I don't want to retreat anymore, I've already done enough of that. I don't want this to hang over us, to cloud things between us, and there's no way I'm leaving for summer vacation like this. No, there's no way.

I told him about what happened to me. I told him about my brother. I can tell him that he needs to back off a little. I don't want to risk hurting our relationship, but I don't want things to go on like this.

I have to get through this, I can't just let him drag me everywhere, even if he means well. I told him about the worst time in my life. I can tell him this.

“Stop treating me like a child.” I stare at his chest as I say it, not his eyes, not his face. He doesn't respond, so I continue.

“Hisao, I didn't... I didn't tell you about last year because I wanted you to protect me. I did it because you deserved to know. Because you needed to know.”

“I know I can't do everything by myself, I know I need someone to watch out for me and that's hard, that's...” It's frustrating. It really, really is difficult, I hate not being able to be fully independent, I hate not being able to go wherever I want, do whatever I want. I'm jealous of people who have that kind of freedom, who don't have to be afraid when they go someplace new and unfamiliar. I hate being afraid at all, I hate what living with my narcolepsy has done to me, how it's conditioned me to be.

But it's not so bad. It's not all bad. I'm still all right, aren't I? I'm still here, and I've, I've still got my friends. I've still got Hisao, although who knows for how much longer.

Talking like this, thinking like this, it's starting to make my eyes burn again, but I try to push my feelings aside. I'm not stopping now, I'm not breaking down.

“I need someone, Hisao.” I say softly, daring to look up and into his eyes. “I need someone to be there for me, and if that was you, I... I want that to be you. I really, really do.”

Hisao opens his mouth to say something, then shuts it again. He just gives me a strained smile, waiting for me to go on. Good, I... thanks, Hisao. Thanks for listening to me, and thanks for coming after me, even if you didn't have to yell at Lezard like that.

I'm really glad that... that anyone cares enough to come after me, when I run. I don't know what I would do if I was all alone. I don't know if I could handle that, with my head, with my condition. You mean a lot to me, Hisao, you and Miki mean more than anyone else here. I hope you know that. I need you to know that.

“I don't want you to protect me, Hisao. I don't want you to be my guardian, I... I want...” I'm so tired of all this pressure, I'm tired of exams and dreading summer vacation and worrying if I screwed up by letting him in. I miss the old days, when we just took life day by day, when we just hung out and embarrassed ourselves in front of eachother. The first time we really kissed, the first time we fell asleep together. Eating at the Beijing, that time the lid on the salt shaker was loose and Hisao ended up sharing the rest of my food because his was conspicuously ruined.

All those memories, even if it's only been a few months. That's what I want. Simple. Clean. None of this worrying and fussing.

In front of me, Hisao is chewing on his words. Finally, he opens his mouth to speak.

“I'm sorry, Suzu.” He says, looking miserable. “I'm just... ever since you told me about your brother, about what happened, I...”

He grimaces. “I couldn't stop thinking. About how what if the same thing could happen to you, if I screwed up, if I let my guard down and I'm...”

“I'm scared, Suzu.” He forces the words out, stupid male pride. “I just, I can't take the thought of something happening to you.”

He stares at me, waiting for some response, any response, and I just... he doesn't...

He doesn't think I'm weak, he, he's just worried and scared and I'm... we're both..

I look down at the ground. I think I'm crying again. I sniff, wipe my eyes with one hand. And then step forward to close the gap between us, wrapping my arms around his sides and burying my face in his chest. You idiot Hisao, why didn't you just... I mean okay, I probably should have...

I'm getting his shirt wet again. Hisao's arms fold around my back, hugging me tightly.

“I'm scared too.” I say into his chest, grateful for the warmth of his body next to mine, letting his scent, his presence sink in. I'm glad that he's here, glad that maybe we can still fix this, glad that I haven't screwed things up yet. More than I already have, anyway.

“What am I supposed to do?” Hisao asks, still holding me. “You have your nightmares, and then you run away and all I wanted, all I could think about was making sure you were all right.”

I can't think of a response just yet, which I guess is okay, because he continues.

“I've never done this before, I've never really had to worry about anyone else.” Hisao says softly, struggling to find the right words. “I know you're not always helpless, I know you're not some little baby. You've already been through so much. I'm just scared. I'm sorry if I overstepped my bounds, I really am, I just...”

I raise my head to look up at him, and he stares back at me, eyes narrowed in concern and regret and, yes, fear.

Didn't you think I was afraid too, Hisao? We were, we were reading the same book the whole time, we just weren't on the same page. Why couldn't he just say so? Why couldn't I?

“I don't want to lose you.” He says quietly, for once, for the first time, looking like he might cry with me. I feel awful, I feel terrible for putting him through this. But part of me feels good, part of me feels free. Like, I don't know, like a forest fire that burns everything in its path and what's left over is somehow clean and clear, able to start over. This hurts, I hurt and Hisao hurts and this is hard. But this can be a good thing, we can make this work.

“I don't want to lose you either, Hisao.” I reply, my face still moist. “But I want to go back to how it was before.”

He looks regretful. “I don't know if we can.” He says. “Things are changing. Summer break is almost here, and graduation beyond that...”

My first reaction is to push such thoughts from my mind, to try to focus on something else. But this is my chance to not run away again. This is my chance to fix this.

“So we'll face those.” I manage to smile. It probably looks a lot less convincing with these tears on my face. “But we'll do it together. Not with you doing everything for me. Not with you... setting down pillows everywhere in case I fall asleep.”

Hisao chuckles, only the tiniest bit. But I'm not the only one with troubles. When we're this close, I can feel the faint, erratic beat of his heart. He might even be able to forget about his condition most of the time, but it's still there, and I know it still bothers him, at least sometimes.

I continue. “I've seen your nightstand, boy. You aren't in perfect shape either.”

At this he says nothing, just stares deep into my eyes. It's true. He might not fall over all the time like I do, but he's still... he's still in danger, too.

What a combination, the two of us. A boy who could need help with a single stroke of bad luck, and a girl, who could be in no position to offer it at any time. Maybe getting to know Hisao was a mistake, maybe one or even both of us could get hurt because of it. But I don't think I could stop now if I wanted. I... I think I'm in too deep. I wonder if he'd be happier if he was with someone else, someone with some simple, manageable condition. Like Miki, like Emi or Molly. Things aren't all roses for them either, but they would probably go with his condition pretty well, there wouldn't be nearly as much to worry about.

The two of us, we still complement eachother, in a way. A weird way, a strange and maybe dangerous one, I don't know. But he's here, he's here because he wants to be and because he cares about me and I can't let that go. I can't. I won't. This could be bad, this could get us hurt. But I want this. I want to be with him.

“You can carry me sometimes, Hisao.” I lay my head against his chest again. “But I want to carry you too.”

He says nothing for a few long moments, but one hand comes up to stroke the back of my head, softly. We just stay there like that for a little longer, until he finally speaks again.

“When you say carry, do you mean figuratively or literally?” He asks, his voice regaining just a little bit of his usual charm. Or what he probably thinks is charm, anyway.

“That's more like it.” I whisper. Even though he can't see it, a smile comes to my face, a real, real smile. I tighten my grip on his sides and try to pick him up, but he won't budge. I guess I'm just too scrawny, or...

“You're fat.” I say, looking back up at him. Hisao pretends to look offended, but he's wearing... he's wearing his smile. The one I've missed, the one I love. Actually, I'm pretty sure that I love more than that by now.

“That hurts.” Hisao replies. He's grinning now, but his eyes still tell me he's not there yet. We're not out of this yet, and I feel the same way. Almost there.

“Where does it hurt?” I ask, peering up at him.

He removes his hand from my hair and points to his lips. “Here.”

Ha. “And let me guess, you want me to kiss it to make it feel better?” I ask, smiling back at him despite the moisture on my face.

Hisao looks me right in the eyes. “If you would be so kind.”

It's the least I could do. I lean upward, closing my eyes as our lips gently touch. Everything goes quiet, my head just kind of clears, there's no time for worrying, there's no room for misunderstanding between us now. I remember the first time we kissed, when I had just woken up from a beautiful dream and I was afraid and ashamed. I remember the second time, in my room, after he had told me about his heart. I wish I could say that I remembered every time after that, too, but there have been a good many since then. And I'm glad. I wouldn't change that for anything. I never want to give this up.

We part, slowly, almost reluctantly. I rest my head on his chest again, and Hisao pulls me closer against him. Tension, gone. Lingering doubts and fears, gone, at least for the moment. We're back on the same page, and he's not protecting me anymore. We're just together, just trying to hold on to eachother, just trying to see eachother through.

I love a lot more about this boy than his smile, I know that, now.

“Feel better?” I ask, and Hisao laughs. He should probably be the one asking that, he certainly would have been, only a few minutes ago. But here we are, on equal footing, somehow.

“Definitely.” He says, holding me close, tightening his grip.

“That hurts.” I lie, teasing him. “Let me go.”

“Too bad.” Hisao retorts, but then his tone grows hushed. “I won't.”

“Promise.” I whisper, and he nods.

“I promise.” He says.

“I won't let you go, Suzu. I won't.” He speaks softly into the top of my head. I feel something wet touch my hair. I think I might be tearing up again, and I guess I'm not the only one.

What a mess. What have I done to this boy? What has he done to me? Even though some stupid part of me doesn't want to believe him, is afraid to, I know that I can. I know that I trust him, I know it, I know it.

“Okay.” I believe you, Hisao. And I believe that we're going to be okay. Both of us.

As much as I could stay here with him all day and wouldn't mind doing just that, we can't keep hiding forever. Real life calls. Exams. A week of nothing, and then, summer break. I grip Hisao's hand tightly as we walk through the deserted library, making our way back towards our classroom. We find Miki, just as we reach the staircase. She looks out of breath, or close to it anyway, she is on the track team after all.

“There you are!” She says, walking up to me, frowning in concern. “I looked everywhere for you, even...”

She trails off, squinting as she gets a closer look at me. I... probably still look like quite a mess. But my face has dried now, and I'm okay, really, I am. Even though the memory of my nightmare is still fresh, I feel good, better than I have since we got back from my parents' house, I think.

Miki's expression shifts into a glower. “Hisao, you made my Suzy cry...” she turns to the boy next to me. But her eyes widen and she blinks a few times, staring at him blankly.

I glance over, and Hisao is just as much a mess as me. Tired bags hang underneath his eyes, already besieged by dark lines, they've gotten worse lately. He just might have some faded tear streaks running down his face too, and the sight shuts Miki up right away. But he's smiling, he's smiling, and now I am too.

“We're okay.” I say, looking back at Miki as I give Hisao's hand a squeeze. “We're fine.”

For a moment, an expression that I'm not sure I recognize plays across my best friend's face. I think she's happy that I'm all right, but maybe she wanted to be the one to find me, or maybe, maybe she thinks that I don't need her anymore. But I do. No way, I'm not having that, I'm not losing anything, I'm not losing anyone. Not today, not if I can help it. Exams aside, stars going out and sinking into black, all of that aside. I'm not losing my best friend, I'm not letting her drift away from me.

“Do you still need to finish your exam?” I ask.

Miki frowns for a moment. “Yeah, I do, actually.” She winks. “Thanks for reminding me.”

“That makes... three of us?” I turn to Hisao, who nods, looking as exhausted as I feel. I'm sure he wasn't having any trouble with the test, though.

Right. “Three of us. Come on.” I offer Miki my other hand. She looks from it to me, and then narrows her eyes, frowning again.

“Wrong hand, gaylord.” She mutters. Whoops, whoops, that's right. I forgot that holding hands with her can be problematic. Miki shrugs, rolling her eyes. She begins walking towards the staircase, beckoning us to follow, but I let go of Hisao, shifting to walk on the other side of him and taking his hand in mine again. Speeding up--and dragging him along with me--I catch up to my best friend and grab her good hand. She glances over at me in surprise, I stare back. Miki. I'm not replacing you. I'm not forgetting you. I love you like a sister, and I always will.

Maybe I'm psychic, that would be kind of neat, because Miki breaks into one of her catlike grins. “Well alright then.” She says, giving my hand a squeeze.

It's a little difficult to make it up the steps in our crippled delta formation, but we survive the climb and the occasional stares as we walk the rest of the way back to class 3-3. Luckily, Mutou is still there. He shoves something small and metal into his desk, hastily wiping his mouth as we arrive, stack of papers to be graded splayed before him.

No one says anything for a few awkward moments. Our teacher gives me one of his halfhearted smiles, or maybe he's really trying and that's just his face. Miki nudges me with her shoulder and Hisao opens his mouth to speak, but I blurt something out before he can, I need to be the one to do this. It's my head, my dream, my fault that they're making up the test at all.

“I'm sorry for leaving, sir.” I say, reluctantly letting go of their hands and taking a step forward.

Mutou studies me with a sympathetic eye. I'm sure he's seen it all in his years here. I'm reminded of the talk that we had, what seems like a long time ago, where he said that he would try harder to keep me awake in class, and offered to help me find a tutor if I needed one.

I found one, in the form of the brown-haired boy behind me. Well, I found more than that, and I'm really lucky. But my point is, Mutou has helped me, and I should be grateful for that, I should be grateful that I'm here at Yamaku at all and not at some other school that doesn't have elevators or a full time nursing staff.

“These things happen, Suzuki.” The teacher says carefully, still clearly trying to gauge my condition. “Are you sure you're all right now?”

I nod. I'm still not home free, there's still summer vacation and whatever comes after that, and let's not forget, this damn exam that's the whole reason we came back at all. And even though I can't seem to control when I go stargazing and when I don't, I still feel better than I have all week.

To prove it, I glance back at Hisao, who looks like he's just as interested in my answer as the teacher. He gives me an encouraging smile, I return it, and I'm glad, so glad. I look to Miki, who gives me two, err, a thumb and a stump up, geez. My smile grows wider, and I know now, without a doubt. I'm all right.

I turn back to Mutou. “Yes, sir.” I say. “May we please finish our exams?”

He looks quite pleased by my formalities, I guess our class might be kind of rough on him sometimes. Most times. He gives another somewhat crooked smile and begins digging through the stacks of papers in front of him. After a few moments, he finds the three he's looking for, and offers them to us.

“It looks like I'll be making overtime this week, so just have a seat. You can go for...” He glances at the clock. “Another thirty minutes.”

“Yes sir. Thank you.” I take my exam before bowing deeply. Hisao immediately follows suit and Miki makes a noise in her throat, but then she does it too. When we stand up, Mutou looks even happier than the time Taro had correctly answered a question about something we hadn't gone over in class yet. Our teacher had slipped up and asked about something from a unit three months down the road, and when Taro had got it right, I thought Mutou was going to cry. I am 99% sure that was just dumb luck, but either way, it's good to make him feel appreciated now and then.

We take seats in the front row, this feels nice, I wish we could sit next to eachother all the time. There's no sign of Lezard, he must have already come back and finished. I don't feel up to seeing if Hisao would be willing to apologize anyway, so it's just as well. Mutou gives us a firm nod, and then we begin again. It's a little hard to come back in the middle of something like this, but eventually I begin to remember the formulas and concepts that we had spent so long brushing up on, and I'm back in the swing of things. They're swinging, anyway. And maybe crashing into stuff, but I'm pretty sure most of these answers are right. Pretty sure. Most of. At least it will be over before too long, of that much, I'm certain.

With exams in the past, we have a whole week ahead of us of not really doing anything. The relief in the air is palpable now that we don't have to worry about tests again for a long while. Everyone is talking about their plans for the summer, things they want to do, things they want to see.

“Still here, Suzu?” Hisao asks. I look up from my book to stare into his eyes. He's sitting on one of the couches in the common room of the boys' dormitory and I'm laying across it, my head resting in his lap. We were both just reading, just passing the time, but I think my mind wandered off somewhere because none of the words on the pages in front of me look familiar at all. The face of the boy above me is quite familiar by now, though, and he tilts his head quizzically as I blink up at him.


Me being out of it isn't anything unusual, but Hisao frowns. “Have you been sleeping well lately?” He asks.

I guess I look pretty bad right now. A couple months ago I would have played it off, I would have told him or anyone else, even Miki, that I'm fine, that for me it's completely normal to go a few days or even a week without sleep. At night, anyway. But I wasn't fine even when it happened back then, and just because it's normal doesn't mean that I don't hate it. Usually I would try not to bring it up, since there's nothing anyone can really do about it. But he's the one asking, and I guess I can't blame him. It's only good luck that my insomnia waited until after exams to kick in, there's not much else to do this week other than be miserable and go without sleep, I guess.

Now that I think about it, I feel exhausted. Maybe I'm too used to it, since it had almost slipped my mind until he pointed it out, I was running on automatic. Thanks for that, Hisao.

“I haven't been able to sleep very well for the past few nights.” I reply with a shrug. “Uh, last night I might not have slept at all.” It can be hard to tell the difference for me, sometimes. And time tends to blur when you spend too much of it staring at your ceiling.

Hisao frowns. “Any more nightmares?” He asks gently. I shake my head.

“Nope.” It's been clear skies. Tired skies. Made of ceilings.

“I'm glad.” He says. Hisao glances aside, looking like he's remembering something. Then he turns back at me.

“Hey Suzu?”

“Am I being interrogated?” I moan, stifling a yawn. Not that he's boring me, I just do that a lot. A lot.

Hisao grins. “Do you see any whips and chains?”

I manage a tired smile back in response. “I'm sure we could find some in the student council room if you wanted.”

At first he looks mortified. But then I can tell that he's thinking about it entirely too much by the funny look on his face. I nudge his stomach with my head, still looking at up him from his lap.

“Hey. You had burning questions, Heartbreaker.”

At the mention of his superhero name, Hisao glances back down at me, wearing an embarrassed smile. That's as close as we come to nicknames, I think. I don't do “sugar” or “honey”, and I would punch something before I called him “darling”. My hand would probably hurt more than whatever it was I punched, but I would do it anyway. Oh right, Hisao is talking again.

“You said your dreams were getting worse because you were going home for the long weekend.” He says, looking a little concerned. I stare back up at him.

“You're going back to your parents' house over summer vacation, right? Are you going to be okay?”

It's been on my mind a lot for the past few days, now that exams are over. I've tried not to think about it, but there's not much else to do in this restless, empty period between tests and the break.

“I don't know.” I mumble, looking off into space. “I can't really sleep there, either.”

Hisao chews on this for a few moments. “It's not that long though, only about a month.” He says, setting down his book before gently thumbing through my hair with one hand. I close my eyes, this might just be my weak point. Stroke her hair for massive damage. It could be worse.

But there's no damage here. Not yet, anyway. This feels good, even if we're talking about unpleasant things right now.

“Summer vacation will be over before you know it.” Hisao says, softly twisting a lock of my hair between his fingers. He's starting to get good at this. I open my eyes and look up at him again, and he gives me a reassuring smile.

“I'll call you. Lots.”

“Would you call every night?” I ask. He shrugs.

“If you want. If you think it would help you sleep.”

“It might.” I say, smiling weakly. Asking him to do something like that sounds clingy, but if he really doesn't mind... Although, what about his phone bill, and would his parents get mad if he stayed up all night talking to his girlfriend? Oh god, do they even know who I am?

“Do your parents know about me?” I ask, blinking up at him.

Hisao actually has to think about this for a long moment. “I haven't really been talking to them as much as I should. Maybe they would like to know.”

“I think it's only fair.” I reply hazily. He hasn't talked about them very much at all in the time we've been together. All I really know is that they've both been busy with their jobs for a long time, maybe most of his life. It must have been pretty lonely, growing up like that.

But now he's not alone, he has... he has me, and I... actually, he has my body, I think I'm about to fall asleep.

Can't sleep... that sounds creepy... must...

“Wake me up.” I mumble, staring up at Hisao with drooping eyelids.

He shakes his head. “I can't do that.” He says. “You need your rest.”

In fact, he starts running his hand through my hair again, no, noo. “You'll pay for this.” I whisper.

“I'm terrified.” He replies, smiling as he continues to gently stroke my head. Damn you. I can't keep my eyes open any longer.

“In fact, I'll be right here, waiting for your revenge.” Hisao says, just as everything begins to fade.

“You'd... you'd better be.” Is all I can manage. I'm drifting away, to somewhere warm and quiet, not cold, nowhere near a starry night sky.

Okay, up the stairs. Just a little... little further now, right foot, left foot, right foot, right foot aga--no that isn't right. Foot. I guess it is, but that's not how you do this. Okay, all right, there's the door. Just... just pull it open. Like this. I've opened probably... a million. A million doors. What's one more.

Today is Thursday. I haven't slept since... uh... what day is it. Right, Thursday, I just... god. I haven't slept since Sunday, I think? That's... that's four days, good thing my math exam is over with, ha. No, no more exams, just boring, filler lectures that I probably shouldn't even... what, I still haven't opened this door? Why haven't I... okay, fixing that now.

I finally stumble into the room marked 3-3. Just about everyone else is already here, and they all look like they wish they weren't, even Mutou. Okay, hard part is over with, just have to... just have to make it to my desk, coming in for a landing, and--

“Suzu, what are you doing here?” Hisao is suddenly standing in front of me, oh, hello, Hisao. And... Miki is here too, next to him. I didn't see them get up. I didn't see much of anything, actually, it's hard when the room is shaking a little bit like this. Someone should probably look into that. Look into...

“What?” I peer at the boy in front of me as best as I can, my vision is a little blurred. Someone should... should look into that too, except it's hard, because I can't see very well, see? Or, no.

“This is... this is a school. I am here because we, we are students. And students go to... school. Right?” I ask wearily. I glance at the clock, a little too fast, slow it down there, Suzu, ow. It's... class hasn't started yet. So no, I'm even here on time, what are they freaking out about?

“When was the last time you slept?” Miki asks. I look back at her, nice and slow this time, that's better. She's frowning, what, what?

I check to make sure I didn't come to class naked or something, no, no, I... I'm dressed. There are some weird grass stains on my uniform though, I don't remember those. And my bow is all crooked, that's kind of embarrassing, I should probably fix that, and I don't even want to think about my hair right--

“Suzu.” Miki speaks again, and I look back up at her. She had a question, what was... right.

“Sunday, I think. I thought.” The room is shaking again, or is, is that me? God, god, I'm so tired, I'm just so tired, why is it so bright in here?

Miki and Hisao exchange a look, are they, are they plotting behind my back? Or in front of it? Is that even worse?

They nod in unison, well that's worrying. “Right.” Hisao says, turning back to me. “You're going home.”

“But... but I just got here.” And that was hard enough, trust me, I don't even remember leaving the dorms, in fact, I... don't remember how I got here. Maybe they're right.

“Suzu, you need to lie down. You haven't slept in four days.” He replies, stepping forward. He's looking at me with concern and, and pity and usually I wouldn't want that, but... I guess I look pretty miserable right now. I feel pretty miserable. Very miserable, I...

I mean, I've gotten a little bit of sleep here and there, during the day, when I pass out. But even that has been for less time than usual lately. Lying down wouldn't be... I mean, I can think of worse things, if I try. I really don't want to try, though.

“Come on.” Miki chimes in, slinging my arm around her shoulder. She winks at me. “You're not missing anything here, trust me, I wish I could bail too.”

“But... the bell is about to ring.” I think. I can't even remember what the bell sounds like right now, my ears are ringing all of the sudden. Or is that the bell? Am I psychic after all? Maybe that's why my head hurts so much, so damn much.

“Doesn't matter.” Hisao moves to support my other side, this is embarrassing, people are looking at me. But no one is sneering or anything, that I can make out at least. I probably look awful.

“Let me carry you.” Hisao says softly. He looks me straight in the eye, his gaze calm and clear, and he smiles. “You can carry me later, after you get some sleep.”

That's not... I mean... I guess he's right. I guess that's fair. I stare back into those warm brown eyes, and my head stops hurting, just for a few precious moments. I turn to my other side, Miki is giving me an encouraging grin.

I... didn't really want to come to class anyway, I think. Going to class is for suckers. They might... they might be able to sleep at night, but they probably don't have friends like these. Friends like mine.

“Okay.” I breathe.

They check with Mutou first just to be sure, but the teacher takes one look at me before giving them permission to take me back to the dorms. And then that's that, that's what they do, supporting my weight as we stumble back to my room. Miki pulls the curtains closed as Hisao gently lays me down, I feel like a kid, like when you're small and sick and all you can do is just lay there and ache and feel awful, but you know someone is there to help you, you know you're going to feel better eventually.

Hisao hesitates for only a moment, before leaning forward and planting a kiss on my forehead. Wah. I would... probably be embarrassed, or maybe if I was feeling brave try to get more than that, but I don't feel brave at all, I feel absolutely destroyed right now. I can't think, I can't, can't focus on anything but how badly I just want to shut down for a while so this will all go away. Hisao's warmth is retreating, I come back to the present, were my eyes closed? I don't know.

“Thanks...” I mumble shakily. Hisao smiles, or at least, I'm pretty sure he does.

“We'll come back after class.” He gives me a firm nod, and Miki waves.

“Try to get some rest, Snoozu.” She says.

“You know I don't like...” But the door closes, and I'm alone. That's... that's fair, they don't need to stay with me the whole time, I'm pretty boring right now anyway. And it's kind of nice here, it's just quiet. Better than being in the classroom, that's for sure.

I sprawl across my bed, working my aching muscles to shift into the most comfortable position possible. I don't know how much time passes, I don't even have the strength to toss and turn, I just shut my eyes, try to calm my pounding head, and hope really, really hard that sleep comes sometime soon. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, but the next thing I can really know for sure is that my door is opening slowly, and Hisao is here again.

“Did you... forget something?” I try to sit up, but can't manage it.

He sits on the edge of my bed. “What? No, class is out. Did you sleep at all?”

I'm able to pull off a shrug, still lying on my back. “I don't know. I still feel...”

“Awful?” He asks quietly.

I nod. “Super awful.”

Hisao frowns. “I'm sorry.”

“Mhm. You, over here, please.” I gesture to the space next to me in the bed. He obliges, pulling off his shoes before sliding under the covers beside me. I wriggle closer, wrapping my arms around him.

“Better?” He asks, now close, so close.

“Mhm.” I do feel a little less terrible now. I wonder if I'll lose the ability to speak completely if this keeps up. A few more days and they might need to haul me around in a wheelbarrow, won't that be... won't that be fun.

“You didn't miss anything at all in class.” Hisao says, resting his head on my pillow.

I shut my eyes, keeping them open hurts. Closing them hurts too, just a little less. “That's good, I was worried.”

“No you weren't.”

“No I weren't. Wasn't.” Damn it. Damn it...

“I'm sorry.” Hisao says again, probably because he can't think of anything else.

I keep my eyes closed. “Not your fault.” I whisper.

“I know, but...” He sighs. He... probably feels pretty helpless right now, I wouldn't want to be in his posi... actually yes I would, because then I could get some sleep. Wonderful sleep. Incredible, amazing sleep. Oh art of snoozing, why have you abandoned me.

“We don't have any homework. I'll stay with you tonight if you want.” Hisao says.

“You don't have to do that.” I mumble, but my voice is pretty weak now.

“I want to.” He replies. Well, in that case, I won't... won't stop him. Not like I could. He says he likes watching sleeping girls. Hopefully he doesn't mind keeping an eye on insomniac ones.

True to his word, Hisao stays with me throughout the rest of the day. Miki comes by bearing tidings of comfort and instant noodles, I manage to slurp some down. The three of us just kind of hang out for a bit after that, have some light conversation. And I mean light, loud noises are not my friends right now. Well, I guess that's... not really something that many people are friendly with, except maybe our hard of hearing students, but... either way, no, I don't want that.

Miki eventually has to take off for a track meeting, it's the last one before summer break and she's sorry and it's okay. And then there were... there were two. Actually, I don't even know if I count right now, I'm barely holding together. But I'm happy that Hisao is here with me, even if I'm in no condition to entertain him. I'm not interesting at all right now, all I can tired right now is tired. I mean, all I can be is... have I mentioned that I haven't slept in four days?

I don't really have the strength to do much of anything. Hisao is content to just sit with me, reading through some of the books I have laying around. Apparently, he'd never actually read the Iliad before, he agrees with me that Neoptolemus is a jerk. I think... I think I might drift off for just a few minutes, right around the time that I'm trying to come up with a way to compare Hisao to Ajax. It would have been a witty, scathing remark about his spear or, or something like that, but I don't have what it takes to be witty and scathing right now, all I am is tired. I can't even tell if I'm really getting any sleep or not, all I know is that before long it's dark outside and Hisao is in the bed next to me. It's comforting, having someone by my side, and he tries to stay awake for me, he really does. But even though he's starting to turn into something of a night owl, his head works just fine, and he's gone before very long at all. If there's a word for how jealous I am, I don't think I... don't think I know it.

It feels bad, lying in a bed with someone when they're asleep and you're not. You almost feel guilty, because it takes a lot of trust to be able to let your guard down like that around someone, to be completely vulnerable, and maybe you can't reciprocate. I know it's not my fault, though, and being here, just having him next to me, I'm really glad that I... that I stood up to him, that day that I had my nightmare. I'm glad that we set things straight, I'm glad that we're equals. It's just my luck that something like this would come along and smash me into the ground, right after telling him that I didn't want him to go out of his way to help me. But, but he's here, just being with me and doing what little he can, and if I hadn't had the courage to talk to him, he might be doing something stupid instead, like breaking down the door of the nurse's office and stealing sleeping pills for me. Not that they work anyway, I've already tried that, years and years ago when I first started getting insomnia for sometimes a week straight.

No. He's not protecting me right now, he's not being dumb or, or even stupidly romantic or clever or anything, he's just sleeping. Like a rock.

I wish I could be like that, I really, really do. It's so stupid that I spend most of my time wanting to be wide awake, and now here I am, wishing for absolutely nothing more than to sleep. I just want to go to sleep.

But I don't. I watch Hisao's body peacefully rise and fall as he breathes, illuminated by the thin traces of moonlight that flit through my curtains. I poke him halfheartedly now and then and he groans, but I don't wake him up, and I don't fall asleep, either. I just lay there, feeling his presence next to mine and trying to let my mind wander to wherever I have the energy to let it go.

The sun comes up, and so does Hisao. I mean, no, what I mean is that he wakes up. And once he remembers where he is and why, he looks at me all hopeful, like a parent waiting to see their child's report card. Sorry Hisao, I got an F- in getting a good night's sleep.

Undaunted, he stays with me all morning, until it's time for him to leave for class. I don't even consider asking him to bring me along, class is... class is dumb. Exams are over and summer vacation starts in two days, I have more important things to do, like flop around on my floor and beg for any deity that might be listening to hear my plea and let me sleep. I'll trade... I'll trade that book. And this one too. And this wrapper of... I don't know what this is. Maybe these water bottles? Let me sleep for, I don't know, a year straight, and then I'll even build a shrine out of them. Just let me crash. Somebody. Anybody.

Miki drops by during lunch break, she says everyone else is doing fine. Maybe my prayers were heard though, because I miss the rest of her visit when I actually manage to pass out for about half an hour. I wake up hoping that my soul isn't forfeit.

With my batteries recharged, if only a tiny bit, I have just enough strength to put a movie in the rickety little DVD player next to my small TV. I plop down as it begins to play, and after a while, Hisao returns.

“You look a little better.” He says, dropping his bag next to my door.

I make what I hope isn't an awful excuse for a smile. I've managed to change out of my uniform and into my sleeping clothes, a pair of thin shorts and a plain white tank top. Hisao sits down next to me on my soft, crowded floor, leaning against my bed. He glances at the screen, the volume is down low, loud noises, still not my friends.

“Sleeping Beauty.” He chuckles softly.

“Yup.” It's my... my favorite. I lean into him, resting my head on his shoulder, and he puts one arm around me. I'm about as far removed from the princess in the movie as possible though, I'm anything but sleeping, and I'm sure I'm far from beautiful too, my hair is a mess and, and by now my eyes are probably all dark and tired. I want to say something about my prince coming back from class to be with me, but that's just, that's too corny and I won't allow it, as exhausted as I am.

The rest of Friday’s passing is tortuously slow, but then things finally start to go my way. The stars must be aligned, because I get my first full night of sleep in almost a week, and it's like a fever breaking, like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Except you can't see it because you're asleep and oh, oh how I missed this. I don't dream, I don't go anywhere or do anything, even though I guess I wouldn't mind celebrating with some good old fashioned crime fighting. Instead, I just spend a glorious eight... ten... twelve hours even, I don't know, I greedily spend every moment that my head will allow in blissful, serene unconsciousness. When I finally return from being dead to the world, it's Saturday afternoon, and I feel good. Alive. Refreshed. Not at 100% of course... then again, I don't know if I ever am. I'm not all there yet, but oh god am I so much better. I think I'm over the peak now, I think that was the worst of it. I think I'm going to be okay now.

Thank you, god of sleepy girls who do sleepy things. When I get the time, I shall construct an altar of pillows in your honor. And then fall asleep on it. But for now, for now, uh...

Saturday... Saturday... right. Today is the last day of classes before summer break starts. Well, it was the last day. I guess I missed it. And I guess Hisao did too, he's lying next to me again, sleeping peacefully. I had long since unplugged my alarm, no point in having one set when you can't wake up because you can't sleep in the first place.

I consider letting him rest a little longer, but you know what, he's gotten plenty of shut-eye lately, and if I'm awake, he should be too.

“Hey.” I prod him gently, half of my face still pressed into my pillow. It takes a few more tries, but then he opens those brown eyes and stares back at me, slowly coming back to reality.

He blinks. “Good morning.” He croaks. “Status report?”

“Sir, we are running hot on one full night of sleep.” I say, smiling back at him. Even as groggy as he is, Hisao's face lights up.

“That's great!” He reaches forward and I giggle as he pulls me towards him, planting a soft kiss on my lips. Is that a good morning kiss? Is it the opposite of a goodnight one? Is that even a thing that people do? I guess it is, since we're people, and we just did it. I mean, we kissed. Nothing else. It's too early in the... oh.

“It's afternoon.” I blink at him as we part. Hisao starts, sitting up in the bed and shooting a glance at the clock. He curses under his breath as he begins crawling over and past me, stopping halfway to give me another kiss, this one a little longer than the first. Good morn--afternoon indeed, I'm grinning like a tired idiot and so is he, both of us a blushing a little as he rolls to the edge of the bed and steps onto my floor.

“C'mon.” He says, beckoning me to get up as he puts his shoes back on. “If we leave now we can just make our last class, and you look like you're rested enough to survive.”

“Class is for gaylords.” I pout, sinking back into the bed. Truth be told, I don't know if I feel quite that rested yet, maybe, maybe just a couple more hours here is what I need. Yeah.

“Okay, Miki.” Hisao rolls his eyes, but he grins. He begins walking towards my door, maybe to get some water to throw on me, mother of god I hope not, but he trips over one of the various objects on my floor and falls face first, landing with a rather loud thump. I guess he managed to miss the soft spots.

“Watch that first stuffed animal, it's a doozy.” I say groggily, sitting up. Hisao stays down, is he trying to do his best impression of me? But he doesn't look like he's pretending to be asleep, he's just laying there, he's...

“Hisao?” He doesn't respond.

Something is wrong. Something is wrong here, I stumble out the bed, willing my shaky legs to work as I try to get to him as fast as possible. He looks like he's trembling slightly now, still face down in the soft clutter of my floor, what's going on?

“Hisao?” I ask again, my voice threatening to crack. I grab his shoulder to turn him over. He's still conscious, that's a relief, but his face is contorted with pain and maybe fear, he's gasping for air. Hisao grips his chest tightly with one hand now, the other reaching up to touch his throat.

“W-what's wrong?” I stammer, panic threatening to overwhelm me. Is he having a heart attack? Or is it just a murmur? Is this normal for him and I've just never seen it before, should I, should I get a nurse or should I already be running for help?

“Hisao please, please tell me what's--” Something in the back of my head is screaming, something deep inside of me is hurting, this is almost familiar, no no no no, but a hand suddenly grips mine firmly, and I'm pulled back to reality in an instant.

Hisao's face is still red, but he's staring right into my eyes now, taking slow, deep breaths, he doesn't look pained anymore. One hand is gently massaging his chest, the other, holding onto mine. Whether it’s for his sake or mine I don't know, all I know is that he's, he's okay, whatever it was has passed. He smiles weakly and I manage a tiny little broken laugh, suddenly exhausted again.

“I'm still here, Suzu.” He pants, staring up at me. “I'm not going anywhere.”

I almost collapse on top of him, carefully. Carefully collapse, I don't know, my body is suddenly cold from the adrenalin, I feel like I'm about to cry. “What happened?” I ask.

“I'm sorry.” He says softly, grimacing. “That was... that was a heart flutter. I guess I've been forgetting to take my pills these last couple days, I've been here all the time and--”

“It's not your fault.” He says quickly, seeing the look on my face. “It's mine, really, it was stupid of me. I'm sorry Suzu, I wasn't thinking, I won't--”

He doesn't get to finish, because I cut him off with a deep, desperate kiss, I almost just, he almost just, no. The only sound now is our quick, frantic intakes of breath as we part for only an instant before meeting again, and the gentle rustling of fabric as this time I really do collapse on top of him.

We break away. “You idiot.” I stare down at him with watering eyes. “Don't, don't you ever do that again.”

“I'm sorry.” Hisao smiles apologetically. “I won't.” One of his hands is on my back, with the other he gently pulls me in for another kiss, tears are streaming down my face by now.

“When are you going to stop making me cry?” I ask after we part again, pushing myself up.

“I'm sorry.” He repeats, looking a little miserable. But he smiles again. “Maybe never.”

I sniff. “You idiot.” I mumble, leaning down and giving him another quick kiss. “I hate you.”

“That really is a shame.” He whispers, reaching up to gently brush my bangs from my eyes. “Because I love you.”

The words hit me like a bullet, like an arrow, or maybe like a tidal wave. It's hard to tell. Was that supposed to help me stop crying? Because it's... if that's the case, then it's not...

I've thought the same thing. I've wanted to say those words to him before, I've tried to find the right moment, but all I can manage now is a halfhearted whimper as I sink back down to lie on top of him. Our lips find eachother again, I close my eyes. I love you too, Hisao. I want to say that, I need to say that, just, just stop kissing me for a second so I... so I can. But I'm lost in the flow, we're fueled by some intoxicating mix of fear and passion, we've both just been painfully reminded that we could lose eachother, almost any day, almost any time.

My body is starting to get hot again, the few, gasping breaths that we suck in are coming faster. I let out a light moan as Hisao pulls me against him tightly, the sensation bringing back memories of things that we've done before. Or tried to do, anyway, and failed.

“No. Mmph, Hisao, no.” I reluctantly pull away from his embrace, pushing on his shoulders to lean upwards. He stares at me, looking a little hazy, a little confused, but he wants to hear me out, and I'm glad.

“Not here.” I say, wiping the last of my tears from my reddening face. “Not, not now. You need to see the nurse, and you need to take your pills.”

I'm right and he knows it, but that doesn't mean he has to be happy about it. Hisao frowns, but the way he looks at me, I believe every word that he's said. Three of them in particular.

“I'll carry you to the nurse's office if I have to.” I whisper. I close my eyes, lean back down and press my forehead to his, letting our noses touch gently. “Because I love you too.”

I open my eyes a moment later to see him staring back at me, looking happy and relieved and... and a little like he did in my dream, that night under the fireworks. But better, a hundred times better, this is real, this is happening. Even though he knows we need to leave, he wraps his arms around me tightly, as if he never wants to let me go.

The grounds are filled with people as we walk, hand in hand, to the auxiliary building. We've managed to miss the last day of class, although I doubt anything important really went on, and students everywhere are packing up, saying goodbyes and wishing eachother well, promising to meet up over the break, things like that. There's no sign of Miki, she's probably with her friends from the track team, but we get waves and, in one case, wahahas, from some of our classmates.

We reach the door to the head nurse's office, and Hisao knocks. A moment later, a familiar voice calls for us to come in. The man inside is fiddling with his filing cabinet, but he looks up and flashes his usual grin.

“Well now.” His expression fades as he studies us for a few moments, I, I hope my eyes aren't still red. I thought I looked okay, although I know I need a shower, and probably a nap.

“Hmm.” The nurse frowns thoughtfully. “Hisao, please tell me that young Miss Suzuki isn't pregnant.”

When we look shocked instead of ashamed, or something like that, what, god, what? His grin returns, although I can't tell if he's happy to be wrong or if it was his idea of a joke.

“I see I was mistaken. What can I do for you two today?” He asks. Hisao glances at me, his face reddening, and I laugh nervously.

“We, uh--” I begin, but Hisao steps forward.

“I messed up.” He says. The nurse wears a calm, inquisitive smile, waiting for him to go on.

This is kind of familiar, too. Hisao explains what happened, nodding repeatedly as he endures the stern lecture that follows. The nurse makes sure I'm listening too, although he doesn't direct the scolding at me, maybe because I still look like I lost a hundred pillow fights, or maybe because he knows about my occasional bouts of insomnia. He shoos me out of the office so he can listen to Hisao's heart, I stand out in the cool hallway for what seems like a long time. A suspiciously long time. Finally, the door opens and Hisao steps out, looking nervous.

“You two have a nice summer vacation.” The nurse's voice drifts past him as the door closes again.

“What took so long?” I ask, more out of concern than irritation. I suddenly notice a small wad of square packages that Hisao holds in one hand. “And what's that?”

He mutters something under his breath, failing to meet my eyes as he reaches to pull the door to the courtyard open.

I might be tired, but I'm still curious. “Oh look, there's Miki.” I point to nothing. As Hisao glances over, I quickly pluck one of the small wrappers from his grasp, holding it up.


“Oh.” I say simply, now completely understanding his expression. Hisao smiles back at me through grit teeth, his face growing red. There's, um, people outside, a lot of them. And people have eyes and they see things and--

“Hide this. Hide these.” I mumble, feeling my own cheeks grow hot. I give the foil package back to him, then use both my hands to help him cram the rest into his pockets. We stand there for a few seconds, just blushing, making eye contact and then looking away. Ha, it's...

I laugh awkwardly, and Hisao tilts his head at me. “Just like old times.” I flash him a tired, nervous grin, and now he's laughing too.

“I guess you're right.” He says, extending his hand.

“I guess I am.” I reply as I accept.

Over the course of the rest of the day, life shakily returns to normal. We part ways so that Hisao can take his pills and we can both enjoy a much needed shower. My parents call, they're... they're coming to pick me up, tomorrow afternoon. I guess it's finally happened, summer vacation really has arrived. All throughout the dorms, everyone is getting ready to head home or embark on adventures. One of the girls in 3-4, her family is making her go to a cram school over the break, how horrifying. I guess there's always someone worse off, a thought I meditate on as I proceed to pass out and spend the next few hours with my face planted in the bag I was beginning to put my things in for the trip home.

I'm awakened by Miki, she's shaking me gently and maybe calling me a gaylord, I'm too sleepy to be sure but it's a safe bet.

“So you're leaving for sure?” She asks gently, trying to help me pack. There's not that much that I need to bring, though. And, um, it's an easier job when you have two hands anyway.

“Yeah.” I cross my arms, trying to think of any possible way I might be able to fit my fuzzy t-rex into my bag. I don't think it's within the laws of physics, although there's no way I'm leaving it here. It might be the closest thing I have to Hisao for a whole month, although he says he'll call me. A lot. Every night, right? If I want. If I need him to. I don't know if I will, I mean, I sort of hope I won't, I hope I'll be able to sleep all right this summer, god I don't want to go through this week again any time soon. But I also don't want to go without him, even if it's just his voice, as much as I can.

“Hey you.” Miki nudges me, I look over at her and blink a few times. Where was I... what was I...?

“I don't think he's going to fit.” She jerks the thumb of her good hand towards the stuffed animal sitting on my bed. Right, right.

“Well he's not staying here.” I say, turning back to face the bulbous, green lump that silently roars at me.

“Come with me if you want to live.” I drop my voice, imitating one of the movies that I had only been able to half-watch with Hisao yesterday. I pick the t-rex up and hug it against my chest, savoring its softness and the memories that it holds. No, I am definitely not leaving this behind.

Miki squints at me. “Was that English?”

“Yahh.” I grunt, squeezing the stuffed animal tighter.

Deciding that I'll just have to carry him with me to my parents' car--or maybe tie him to the top--we leave the t-rex in my room and begin to hunt for Hisao. It's not a very exciting search, he's just in his room, throwing together his small collection of books. In fact, when we find him there, he doesn't even run or, or overturn things as he passes them to slow us down or anything. Zero out of ten, would not chase.

Miki drags both of us into town, intent on having dinner at the Beijing to celebrate, but then we remember that Lezard is apparently staying at the school to work there during the summer after all. Even though he's just a server and doesn't actually do any of the cooking, she decides that it's not really worth the risk after the little shouting match between him and Hisao last week. Right, that's... one more thing in my list of things to patch up. Although Kenji is more likable than Lezard. I wonder what his plans are for the summer? Maybe building a rocket or, or flying a plane over the desert somewhere. He'll probably have a grand old time, he can't see essential things with his eyes to begin with.

As we walk away from the Beijing, Taro stares at us from the kitchen, through the windows, he looks like a puppy that has somehow just been orphaned, lost and kicked at the same time. The sight breaks my heart, oh god I'm sorry Taro, I promise we'll come visit you after vacation.

We end up eating at the Shanghai, which is a little boring but it's usually nice and peaceful there. Tonight though, we're not the only ones with that idea, plenty of other students seem to have had the same idea, for once, the quaint, old fashioned interior is crowded with people. We actually have to wait a little bit to get a table, which is such a new experience for us that no one really seems to mind, we're too impressed by the novelty of it. Even though I can't help but feel sorry for poor Yuuko as she dashes from table to table, part of me kind of enjoys the steady murmur of conversation and the clinking of dishes that resounds throughout the restaurant. Things like this would have made my head split only yesterday, before I finally managed to get some good, long rest. It helps me appreciate that things are improving, and the food really isn't all that bad either.

I don't really know if I feel like celebrating, after all, summer vacation is something I'm dreading, and whatever comes after that I'm even less excited for. But Miki's enthusiasm is infectious, she's practically giddy. She never really was one to care much about academics. She shouts over to other tables, trades friendly insults, devours her dessert.

She's really trying. I realize that, as I watch her, taking a long sip from my coffee. She's doing everything in her power to make me, to make us feel better about being stuck at home, miserable and alone, for the next month. She's giving us a good time to remember, a sendoff, that we can hold onto, that we can say yeah. Remember that time we went to the Shanghai because we didn't want to eat burned food or worse at the Beijing? That was a good call, that was really great.

That's Miki for you. That's my best friend in the world. I really am lucky.
Last edited by Scissorlips on Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:08 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Stay (mature content) - Part 2

Post by Scissorlips » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:05 am

Me and Hisao, the two of us walk back up the hill towards Yamaku in silence. Miki had conveniently spilled her drink and offered to stay behind and help clean up since Yuuko was so overworked, but she had given me the look before we left. The look. Um. You know, the one that says you can do this. I'm rooting for you. You're telling me all about it in the morning.

Right. Right. I don't know if Hisao picked up on it or not, or if he's thinking about the conversation he must have had with the nurse earlier, or even when we were on my floor this morni--afternoon. He could even be thinking about something else entirely, something... something not as intimidating, I don't know. All I do know is that neither of us are saying anything and it's awkward.

We reach the school gates, it's a little after dark but curfew isn't for another hour or so, and it's summer vacation now, nobody cares anyway. Before we know it, we've reached the point where the paths between the dorms split. We come to a stop.

I don't wanna.

Hisao thrusts his hands into his pockets, looking up, looking around at the grounds that are lit up by the occasional lamppost. He looks everywhere but at me.

I don't wanna. It's our last night before parting ways for a long time. A month. That's, that's too long, and I... I think I still have things I want to say to him, or I don't know. All I know is that I don't want to sleep alone tonight.

The stars hanging overhead are beautiful, and I'd much rather see them here like this than in my dreams, but I don't want to stand out here much longer. I take a step closer to Hisao, slipping my hand into his. It feels automatic by now, natural, right.

Hisao finally looks at me, his expression unsure, but I give him a smile, even though my heart is beating quickly in my chest, even though I'm taking fast, shallow breaths.

I open my mouth to say something, but I swear to god, I can't think of a single thing. Nothing that sounds genuine, nothing that doesn't sound cliched, and I... I mean, I don't want to...

I don't want to mess this up, I... have no idea what I'm doing. But I know I don't want to be alone tonight. I have the whole of summer vacation for that.

Hisao is the one who finally breaks the silence. “Can I come in?” He asks.

What? We're still standing outside, in the school grounds. “You're supposed to ask that when you get to my door.” I say, grinning nervously.

Hisao shrugs, trying his best to be smooth about it. “Well, you stopped.”

“You stopped too!”

He shrugs again. “Semantics.”

“Whatever.” I mumble, taking a step towards the girls' dorms, still holding his hand. Hisao doesn't budge, he looks like he wasn't sure how to take my answer to his... did I answer his question? He messed up the question anyway.

“Come on.” I give his hand a tug, there we go, he falls into step beside me. Neither of us says anything else as we enter the girls' dorm, we don't say anything at all until we're standing in front of my door.

“Okay, try now.” I smile up at him. Hisao is blushing a little. It's cute.

“Can I come in.” He says, softly but flatly.

I'm already unlocking my door with my free hand. “Yes.” I reply, a little more unsteadily than I had planned.

The sound of my door swinging open and brushing over the carpet is the only thing I hear apart from my own heavy breathing. I don't... I mean, we've slept in the same bed a bunch of times by now, there's no guarantee that...

But we step inside. Close the door behind us. Hisao reaches for the light switch, and I place my shaking hand over his, stopping him from turning it on.

“Suzu.” He breathes, turning to me. I look up into his eyes, lit only by the moonlight. “We don't have to...” He trails off.

I'm scared. I'm nervous and, and I don't want to mess this up and... and we've come close before. We're not... we're not for lack of trying, I guess. But something has always come up, something has always been in the way.

We're out of time. I could fall asleep at any moment, and I know he wouldn't wake me up. But I don't want to put this off any longer. I don't.

I reach forward and take his tie in my hand, hoping that he can't see the way it's trembling in the low light. Then I take a few steps backwards to stand next to my bed, gently pulling him along, but he doesn't need me to drag him the rest of the way, he moves forward to stand right in front of me. The angle of the curtains is just enough to bathe us in the soft glow of the moon.

“Hisao.” I whisper, staring into his eyes. “I don't want to sleep.”

I mean it in more ways than one. Whether he gets that or not I'm not sure, but either way, he lowers his head and I raise my own. I can tell that he's scared too from the way our lips meet, unsteadily, cautiously. But he grows bolder, he carefully rests his hands on my hips, pulls me closer until our bodies are pressed against eachother. When we break the kiss, he gives me a shaky smile and I return it, my heart beating faster and faster.

There's no time to... to beat around the bush. I reach up to loosen his tie and he lets out a dry chuckle, I feel myself begin to blush. I hope he doesn't think I'm being too forward that's, that's not really something I would do, it's just--

“I'll wake you up, if you want.” He says softly, placing one hand over mine while he uses the other to pull his tie over his head.

So he does get it. I'm glad, he knows me well enough by now. I flash him a nervous grin.

“Doesn't matter.” I reply. “I'm not falling asleep.”

“Oh yeah?” Buttons. Buttons, buttons, buttons, this would be easier if my hands would stop shaking.

“Y-yeah.” I finish undoing the last button on his shirt and then tug it upwards, pulling it out of his pants.

Hisao lets out a long breath, his expression growing solemn as he removes his shirt and drops it to the floor. Why, what's--


I gaze at the jagged line of dark, angry looking flesh that sits on his chest. After being at Yamaku for so long I should know better than to stare, but it's just, I wasn't expecting...

I look up at him, and Hisao manages a bitter smile.

“From the operation.” He says quietly. “They had to open me up to save my life.”

I look back down. It isn't like any of mine. It's not something random, something stupid or pointless. This is a single, single reminder of the most painful thing he's ever been through, and it's right there, in the middle of his chest.

I think I understand now, why it took him so long to open up to me about his condition. And now I'm glad, more so than ever, that I opened up to him about my past.

“Can I?” I whisper, raising one hand. He doesn't look particularly thrilled, but he nods.

I carefully trace my fingers over the edges of his scar, feeling where the skin is raised and indented. It wasn't just one operation, this looks like the result of several, a series of them. I don't think I've ever had to go through something like that, even though I've spent plenty of time in hospitals.

Hisao begins to unbutton my blouse, with about as much skill and confidence as I had shown with his shirt, while I continue to study his wound. When he's done, he slowly pulls it back and away, I slip my arms out from inside. The cool moonlight caresses my bare skin, I try to resist a shiver but can't manage it.

“Does it hurt?” I ask, looking up at him again. He shakes his head.

“Not anymore.”

“Are you ashamed of it?”

He stares back down at me wistfully. “Should I be?”

“Never.” I whisper, returning my gaze to his chest. His scar might be a reminder of his heart attack, of his time spent locked away in the hospital. But it's also proof that he's suffered, and that he's endured. All of that, and he's still here.

This scar is why we met. If he didn't have it, I wouldn't have him. And I don't know where I'd be, who I'd be, without him.

I hope I'm not crossing a line. I hope I'm not offending him. But I close my eyes. And then I lean forward, and softly place my lips on his chest.

Hisao doesn't say anything. After a few long moments, he begins gently tracing his fingers over my shoulders, down my arms. One hand comes up to caress my cheek, stopping at the top of my hairline. I, I know what he's doing, where he's going, and he...

I open my eyes as he leans his head down to plant a kiss on the faded present that I got from the second floor staircase last year. I stare into space as he brushes his lips over the edge of my shoulder, Miki's desk, six months.

Hisao kneels in front of me, my breathing quickens even more as he kisses my side. Pen at the wrong angle, eighth grade. He looks up at me, asking permission as his hands are perched to pull down my skirt. I nod, my heart pounding so hard that I'm glad I'm not the one with arrhythmia.

Hisao removes my skirt, gently. He's not drooling over my body, he's checking me for wounds and I, I have a lot of those. More than I'd like.

Both his hands and his lips are warm, every touch converges with the cool night air and feels like a small shock, but it's not unpleasant. He pulls down my stockings with his hands as he kisses my hip, that's just another one from a hard floor, when I was a first year. He undoes my knee brace only after I give him another nod, it's still not healed all the way but I'm... I'm not leaving it on. His lips on my sore kneecap is a strange, alien sensation, it feels good. I'm still not telling him how I got that one yet, though.

Hisao goes on for a little longer, but I'm... I'm nearly naked now and it's cold and, and my bed is warm. I'm just about to tell him to stop when he discovers the long-healed gash on my thigh, I can't help but gasp as he gently caresses it. His hands run down to my feet, helping me step out of my shoes, Hisao, Hisao enough, please.

“I'm not like you.” I whisper, trying to pull him back up. He accepts, but softly smooths his hands along my bare skin as he does, and I shiver again. He stands in front of me, I gladly absorb some of the heat that radiates from him.

“We seem pretty alike to me.” He replies, his tone hushed. He's smiling, looking down at me with... I don't think it's pity or sympathy, I don't know. But...

“My scars don't mean anything, Hisao. I haven't gone through some painful operation or anything like that, all I did was fall--”

“Is that what you think?” He asks, narrowing his eyes. Is he angry? No, no, he's frowning at me, but...

“Suzu. No one deserves to have this many scars.” He runs one hand down my arm, hitting several of them and a fresher bruise or two in the process. My gaze falls to the ground, but he slowly takes my chin in his other hand, raising my head back up.

“No one.” He says, looking into my eyes, a pained expression on his face. “Especially not the girl I love.”

Ha. Ha, Hisao, you're... you're pretty smooth sometimes. You've gotten better.

I'm glad I stuck around for that. I'm glad you're here.

I'm glad you stuck around for me.

Before I can start crying again, I move over to the bed, and he follows. His pants come off, it's only fair, and then I'm laying down, and he's on top of me. Not crushing me, not overbearing, he's careful not to rest his full weight on me. Once again, he looks into my eyes for permission, and when I give it he reaches behind me to undo the strap on my bra. This one's blue too, it's not my favorite color but it's up there, and, and Miki says it looks good on me and. He's bad at this. I guess that's normal though.

Just as I'm about to try helping him with it, he succeeds, slowly pulling it away. I'm sure my face is beet red as he stares down at my exposed chest, they're, I mean, they're not that small but they're nowhere near as big as Miki's and--

Hisao's touch stirs me from my embarrassed thoughts. I bite my lip as he gently smooths his hands over my breasts, softly squeezing, kneading them. He glances up at me to make sure he isn't hurting me and I smile weakly, it, it feels pretty good actually. My body is heating up, responding to his touch.

Hisao lowers his head to my chest, taking one breast into his mouth while continuing to massage the other with his hand, and I gasp at the sudden sensation. My body stiffens involuntarily, the pleasure is new, strange, welcome.

Experimenting, Hisao sucks, runs his tongue over my sensitive nipples, he flicks them gently, causing me to arch my back. He alternates between my breasts with his mouth and his hand, seeming like he's quite happy with my ensuing moans and panting. My head is so hot now, I can't think straight at all, the rest of my body is craving his touch. As amazing as this feels, and as much as I don't want him to stop, I have no way of knowing how much longer I'll be awake.

I want to take this slow, I'm shivering and trembling a little, but Hisao's gentle, patient touch is doing wonders to sooth my fears and doubts. This isn't wild, animal lust. This is something simple, something that feels good no doubt, but there's more to it than that.

I gasp as he gently bites down, it hurts but only for a moment, the pain giving way to pleasure. I take his head in my hand, running my fingers through his hair. His free hand travels downward, somewhere right on the line between gently and teasingly running down my stomach before resting between my thighs.

“Hisao...” I moan. He raises his head up to kiss me deeply, something he continues doing as he begins to slowly trace his finger over the fabric of my panties, now almost soaked through from his previous efforts. His tongue meets mine as his fingers begin exploring, moving around, tracing my entrance. I moan into his mouth when he finally slips one finger inside, I can't think at all now, I can't open my eyes, my whole world consists of him. My hands are gripping his shoulders tightly.

Finally ending the kiss, he rests his face against my neck as he continues to slowly move his finger in and out, my breathing quickens as he adds another, and another a few moments later.

I can't stop myself from moaning now as he works his hand back and forth, but this is, this isn't fair this is, no, I... if I fell asleep now I would have been the only one who... no, I...

“Hisao.” I whimper, he stops, he stops, my body cries out.

“Are you okay?” He asks, a little nervously. I nod, I'm, I'm more than okay. I'm sweating now, everything feels so hot, it's beginning to overtake me.

“We just... we just might not have time for that.” I say apologetically, but he doesn't look upset at all.

“If you're sure.” He whispers, I nod again. Hisao sits up, withdrawing his hand and reaching over to his pants, still lying on my floor. He takes one of the now familiar foil squares from his pocket, looking incredibly embarrassed as he tears it open.

He looks away as he pulls down his boxers, reaching to apply the condom. I understand how he feels, I would probably die of embarrassment myself if I didn't feel so nervous and scared and alive right now.

With his task completed, Hisao hovers over me again, looking into my eyes. I, I think I'm ready, I'm...

“Suzu.” He whispers, a pained expression on his face. “You're shaking.”

I guess I am. It's just, this is... I don't...

“I'm scared.” I whisper back, staring up at him. He frowns.

“Of what?”

I don't know. I don't do great with new things, new places, I don't think many people would if they had a habit of falling asleep in them and being completely vulnerable and helpless. I trust Hisao, I know he wouldn't hurt me or use me or, or anything like that, I just... this is new, and unknown, and...

Hisao leans down, resting his forehead against mine. “We can stop right now.” He says. But I shake my head, we can't, we can't. I don't want to.

“It's okay, Hisao. I'm okay.” I smile, even as my body is trembling, but I'm not lying and I hope he knows that.

His eyes say that he doesn't want to hurt me, but they also say that he believes me. We share another kiss, this one is something quieter, something comforting. I reach up to hold his shoulders with my hands as he lowers his body against mine and positions himself just right. I close my eyes as he enters me for the first time, my muscles tightening up.

Even though I try not to, I let out a whimper as my body tenses, pain flooding through me for a few brief moments. I tighten my grip on Hisao as he slowly pushes in all the way before retreating.


“I'm all right.” I breathe, and he nods. He moves again, and pleasure begins to replace the pain. Before long, it's all there is, and as he starts to grow confident that he's doing things right, Hisao quickens his pace.

“Haah... nnh...” I suck in deep breaths with every thrust, our bodies responding to eachother in unison. Hisao leans forward, resting his chest against mine, his mouth against the side my head. He breathes and moans and gasps into my ear, the sounds only driving me closer to the edge.

Hisao begins moving faster, my legs travel up to wrap around his back involuntarily, pinning him there. I put my arms behind his neck, clinging to him as if for dear life, everything else in the world falls away, every breath we draw is a prayer, not stopping, never stopping. I can't think, I can't even be afraid or doubt a single thing, my hips begin matching his timing to let him sink even deeper, his panting in my ear doubles.

“Suzu...” He groans, but I can't manage a response, all I can do is breathe, all I can do is be with him like this. The sweat from his body mingles with mine as we continue to move, until finally we go as far as we can. Hisao's back tenses up as he reaches his limit and I suck in a gasping breath as I do the same, the two of us trembling, shivering in eachother's embrace for those precious few, short, eternal moments. Then we collapse, my legs falling away, my arms resting on the bed.

With the last of his strength, Hisao raises up to pull himself out of me, before giving me an exhausted, shaky, perfect kiss, the one that ties everything together. The one that makes it so that there isn't and can never be a single doubt in my mind, this wasn't just sex. This wasn't just two high school kids having fun. This was everything more than that.

Our lips part and Hisao falls into the bed beside me, looking as tired as I've felt all week. I'm not much better off, but I reach for the thinnest blanket I have, the air in my room feels like it's filled with steam, and throw it over our sweat-slicked bodies, before moving closer to lay beside him.

“See?” He pants, smiling at me despite how worn out he looks. “And you thought you were going to fall asleep.”

“It's next on my to do list.” I reply, still regaining my breath. He laughs.

“Sounds like a good plan to me.” He breathes, closing his eyes. “To sleep, perchance, to dream.”

“You're supposed to quote Shakespeare before you get the girl.” I chide him, moving closer. “And besides, you know that line's about dying, right?”

“Oh. Yeah, I... I remember that.” He opens his eyes, trying to hide his embarrassment. “So you're saying I got the girl though?”

“Just maybe.” I whisper, cuddling up next to him and resting my head on his chest. He holds me close, content to leave it at that. I'm pretty sure the answer should be clear by now anyway. I feel myself being tugged away as the stillness of the night envelops us, Hisao's warmth is all that I know as I fall asleep in his arms.

“Ready to go?” My dad asks, slamming the trunk of the family car. Then he frowns, doing it again. The second time is the charm apparently. I silently apologize to my t-rex for making him ride back there.

“Just a minute.” I mumble, turning back to the two people standing in front of me. Neither of them look very happy, and I can't say I blame them. I don't look very happy either, I don't feel very happy, we all knew this moment was coming.

Miki is the first to speak. “You got this, Suzu.” She says, giving me an encouraging grin. “I'll call you all the time, and you can count on me dropping by, you know how boring my folks' place gets.”

I manage to smile. Yeah, I do know that by now. “Yup, I--” But she pulls me into a hug before I can say anything else.

“I mean it.” She gives me a firm but gentle squeeze. “You're gonna be okay.” I can't tell if she's trying to convince me, herself, or both.

“Yup.” I whisper, hugging her back. I don't know if I believe her. But I want to.

We part, and then Hisao is next. After last night, I was afraid that things might be different for us somehow, that they might change. But I guess I still don't have enough faith in him, because he's still every bit the warm, thickheaded, clever boy that I've fallen in love with. The one I'm going to miss, every day and every night for the next month.

This is hard.

“Suzu, we need to leave soon if we want to beat traffic.” My father calls.

I glance back, both of my parents are standing beside the car, looking sympathetic but a little impatient by now. I guess we have been standing here like this, the three of us, for twenty minutes now.

I'm slow, okay?

“So. Hey.” Hisao says, I turn around. I don't want to do this. I don't want to say goodbye. I don't want to not see him for a month, to not be able to sleep for a month, to be there, in that house. I don't. I don't.

“I'll call you all the time too.” He tilts his head towards Miki, who pretends to scoff, but she's still smiling. “And I'll visit you too.”

“You don't have to do that.” I mumble. “It's such a long trip, and...”

“I want to. I will, if you'll let me.” He steps forward and I do the same, he puts his arms around me in a hug and I bury my face in his chest.

“Okay.” I say into his shirt.

“I'll see you again soon. I love you.” He says softly, resting his head on top of mine.

Is that supposed to make this hurt less? Is it working? I don't know. Maybe.

“I love you too.” I hug him tighter, like it might be my last chance. It could be. It always could be.

I really hope it isn't.

I raise my head. Hisao looks like he wants to kiss me, long and slow, the kind I think I like, but with Miki and my parents here, that might not be the best idea. So instead we settle for a soft, quick one, damn you, cruel fate.

Even after that, I hold him against me for as long as I can, but I have to go, I have to go. We say one more round of quiet goodbyes, and experiment with a group hug that I'm not sure I could quite call a success but hopefully we'll work on it. And then I'm sitting in the back of the car, watching Yamaku dwindle into nothing behind us. I'm probably leaving any chance at getting a good night's sleep behind. I just hope I'm leaving behind my nightmares, darkening skies and sinking paths, too.

End of Act 3.

Artwork by BlackWaltzTheThird: Ha!
Artwork by Helbereth: Equal Ground

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Last edited by Scissorlips on Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:09 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: A pseudo-pseudo Suzu route (updated 8/27)

Post by andros414 » Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:43 am

New Post by Scissorlips?!


Aw Yeah!

Shizune > Emi = Hanako > Lilly > Rin

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Re: A pseudo-pseudo Suzu route (updated 8/27)

Post by Doomish » Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:00 am

I got the opportunity to beta read this and it was incredible aaaaaaa I have so many things to doodle.

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Re: A pseudo-pseudo Suzu route (updated 8/27)

Post by DelusionsOfGrandeur » Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:02 am

Poor Suzu and her midsummer night's insomnia.

After reading these chapters one thing resonated with me; I need to be sleeping.

It's really late and for some reason the semi-colon I used is pissing me off.

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Re: A pseudo-pseudo Suzu route (updated 8/27)

Post by BlackWaltzTheThird » Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:52 am

Sorry I'm posting so late. I actually finished reading over an hour ago, but my art took some time to make. It wasn't just a 10 minute scribble this time. It is linked below.

I'm not gonna bother writing out paragraph after paragraph of praise. You already know what we're all gonna say. Just keep up the good work, sir.

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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: A pseudo-pseudo Suzu route (updated 8/27)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:33 am

“I'm scared, Suzu.” He forces the words out, stupid male pride.
She's one to talk ;-)

Hmm... People never write about the icky part afterwards...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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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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