Meanwhile I wait [Hisao x original character]

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Dawnstorm
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Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:34 am

Meanwhile I wait [Hisao x original character]

Post by Dawnstorm » Sun Apr 15, 2012 12:05 pm

For story-post navigation please refer to the index post.

I haven't written anything in years, so I hope I pull this off. Also, I've never written fanfiction before, because writing other people's characters is hard. Also, I normally do SF/F. Deep breath. If you read this, I pushed submit.


Meanwhile I Wait


-- I --

Confrontations with the Incubus (#1)

You again? So soon? Get off my chest! Or are you too fond of my breasts?

Fond of your breath, my love. Fond of your breath. I'll take what I need, and one day I'll take your last.

Hah! I dare you! Stay, stay, stay, and steal my breath. And once I can move I shall rip off your tail, I shall pull out your teeth, I shall bite off your tongue! And where will that leave you?

Threaten me as you will, but I know your core. I live within. You love me, you summon me, you surrender. And this is why I must leave, before you can get to me. Love me, and I steal your breath. But love another, and I steal your final one.

Love? Who or what would I love? I reject this world, as it rejects me. I reject you, as I reject myself.

The breath that fuels your pretence is delicious, but I want your struggles. Breathe. Struggle, and breathe. I want your living breath. Your death-in-life will not suffice. Struggle! Live! Only then will I have you. Do not let go, my love. Beauty is the song of the swan. Beauty is the flame of the phoenix. Memory is ashes on the wind. Your breath around the world.

Oh, cut it out! Are you really me, you melodramatic old fool?

I am. I am your only love. Your true love. I am your inevitable future. Your sleeping end. For now, I cannot take you. You do not struggle enough. What will it be? A long and bitter life? A brisk, sweet death?

I'll please no-one. Not you, not myself, not anyone in the world. No-one. And you better believe it.

Ah, your lies, your lies! They make your mother cry, as well you know.

Mom...

Not enough. Alas, not enough. So wake, then, to the world steeped in twilight, and flee to the place where nothing matters.

Mommy... If only you wouldn't care. Than nothing would matter. And I could- And I could-

***

I.1.The Dawn Thief

Dawn theft – as far as Miya is concerned – is a serious crime. She floats through the morning mist like a ghost. She dissipates in the twilight of the coming day. No presence to disturb her formlessness. This is how she likes it, but today? Footsteps on gravel and a stalking shadow. A presence, unignorable. The chance of discovery, the threat to become real in the eyes of another. She curses the dawn thief, as anxiety sets in and the world returns. Mist reduced to droplets of water, a fine spray of H2O. Not dense enough to hide her. She finds she has stopped, and stopping makes her feel solid, heavy. She steps into the shadow of a tree, and looks out over the pond. The sound of footsteps stops, and she turns her head. The shadow stands, faces her, but sees nothing. Not yet.

But what to do? Where to go? The threat of discovery is within her now, and she cannot run from herself. Anxiety has her. The only way, now, is forward. And the only mode attack.

***

Hisao could have run with Emi, and he very nearly has. But she would outrun him, and he would be unable to resist the temptation to catch up. To try the impossible. And then?

It is his theme, these last few months. Afraid of people, afraid of not keeping up. Afraid of dragging them down. The duo of Lilly and Hanako share his current pace, but be with them too much and see your exercise dwindling to zero. The same with Rin – not to mention that with Rin comes Emi, and to have to explain why he choeses to exercise alone? Hisao shudders at the thought. During the day, he dodges the student council as best he can, which is not very well. Shizune, though silent, is insistent, and Misha is noisy for two. Together they can corner him quite effectively. So far he has not agreed to join the council, but they are wearing him down. He needs to gather strength. He needs time to think. And what better time than early morning, when everyone but a certain no-legged wonder was still asleep. If he avoids the race track he will be fine.

"A brisk walk,” was one of the nurse's suggestions, and that early in the morning he can do it alone, use the time to think through his position. He has the time now, and no distractions, and... nothing comes to mind. He tells himself to be patient. Time is on his side. Relax. Move, then move quicker, until his breath comes deep and regular, but not until his chest feels tight. Slow down before then, gradually, and breathe, breathe, breathe. The morning-moist air spreads in his lungs, and he is all movement, no thought, and then, from behind, a noise.

He stops and turns and fancies he sees a rustle in the bushes. By the trees. A fox? A raccoon dog? The sudden change of pace leaves him dizzy. He takes a deep breath, a too deep one, and then a too shallow one. He closes his eyes, rubs them, and feels his breath return to normal. The blood is rushing into his ears, and he listens to his heartbeat, anxious, but the rhythm is steady – or at least steady enough. And then there is another rhythm – not within him, this one - and is there a hint of movement in the air currents? The fox, or raccoon dog, has taken human shape and is stalking him. He blinks, then opens his eyes, and stumbles one, two steps backwards.

Before him, and much too close, stands a girl, eyes reduced to slits and trained on him. “Dawn Thief!” she snaps. “Do not come back tomorrow. This dawn is mine. It's mine and you can't have it.”

Hair so short should not be able to look so messy. A self-inflicted haircut? With a rusty and dull kitchen knife? What a ragged vixen she would make. But she's taller than any fox he can imagine, meeting him at eye-level. And she is glaring. And, strangely, he knows exactly what she means by calling him a dawn thief. She is, after all, doing it to him right now.

“Fine,” he says, “I will not come back tomorrow.” The idea to walk alone in the mornings is a good one, was a good one. But, of course, there is a catch. Of course. “In fact,” he continues, dejected, “I will go right now. You can have your dawn all to yourself.” Maybe Emi is still available? First, he feels indecisive and then he feels cowardly. But the decision is made, and he turns to go.

She does not let him. She steps forward, and he turns in self-defence. “You are mocking me?” she says. “That's what you must be doing. Have my dawn? Now? After you spoiled it? You are kidding. You must be kidding. Would you eat my cake and then give me your shit? How rude!”

What? “Why are you talking about shit?” he hears himself say, and: “Who's rude?” A hitherto unacknowledged anger bubbles forth. “What's wrong with you?”

A smirk, all ugly and menacing, creeps onto her features. “You'd like to know, wouldn't you? Hah! Well, what's wrong with you? What moves you to steal my dawn, hmm?”

“Doctor's orders.” Nurse's suggestion, but if he's hiding behind false authority he better do it properly.

Her eyes narrow even more. “Hmm? Doctor orders a walk? Three guesses, right?”

“No.”

“Your lungs.”

“You don't have three guesses.”

“No? Well, then, your... heart?”

“You DON'T have three guesses.”

“Ah! Your heart, then.”

“Wait, I haven't confirmed anything, so how... Oh, sh-” And he shuts up to savour the feeling of all the blood in his body rushing to his face. How much more obvious can he get?

She grins. “Makes sense, though. You suddenly appear to steal my dawn from me, so it's probably something sudden, isn't it? You're a transfer student, aren't you?”

He's not revealing anything. He'll remain silent...

...but she nods. What? How...? The way she looks him up and down... she must be reading his reactions – on his face perhaps, or in his posture? “Ah, I can see it. Heart failure. Hospitalisation....” After each word she gives him a quick look-over. It's all there for her to read, and he doesn't know how to close the book. “You don't want to be here.” Glance. “It wasn't your idea.” Squint. “Your parents sent you off. They did, didn't they?”

He sucks the morning mist through teeth, an audible hiss. Even he himself recognises this as a dead give-away. He wants to run now, but that would be too embarrassing.

A grin. Teeth, and he is once again reminded of a fox. Predator and trickster. Selfish and mad. “We love you. You know that.” Her voice a sing song of imitation that sounds nothing like anyone he knows but nevertheless invokes his parents. “Good bye. Give us time to adjust to the situation. You can do it, too. At Yamaku. What's that you ask? Oh, welcome to Cripple Park... Say, what's your name?”

“Hisao N- none of your business!” But it's too late to keep his first name a secret. He's bad at mind games and doesn't like them. Part of him wonders what she will do if he collapses here and now. But it's not his heart that's acting up. Not yet, at any rate. It's his nerves. He is starting to shiver, fears he will tremble soon. And then...

“Welcome to Cripple Park, Hisao. You'll fit right in.”

He opens his mouth but has nothing to say. And you? he thinks, but manages to keep the words off his tongue. What a sad repost this would be.

“ou look a bit glum,” she taunts. “What's the matter?” She's smiling now, but it's not pretty. He remains silent. “Agitated?” she asks.

Why is she so relentless. Is she trying to kill him?

“Afraid of death?”

She is! What sort of question is this?

“Here's a puzzle. You know you will die. Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe in thirty years. Not much different from everyone else really. Just a reduced life-expetancy. But you're worried. All the time. What do you do? Give in? Get it over with? Or live a long, long life that seems even longer, because you count every tick-tock-tick of the clock inside you?”

Embarrassment is no longer an issue. Hisao has no idea how he looks, but he feels frozen and on fire at the same time. How can she...? How dare she...? Suddenly, he is moving, and then he is past her and on his way to the dorms. Even talking to Kenji would be a relief now.

“If you steal my dawn again,” she calls, “I'll steal your food. I'll starve you. Don't you dare come back!”

This is absurd. Steal his food and starve him? His pace slows down and he relaxes, if only a little. Once he looks past his own issues, she seems less of a demon. Saying mean things, pushing his triggers, as if she knew, sure. But steal his food? What will she do. Follow him around and prevent him from eating? Away from her, he recovers. This is sad. Yamaku is a sad place, full of sad people. And it is as she says: he fits right in.

He is lucky, isn't he? He's struck up conversations easily. Is his future really so bleak? Running with Emi? Tea with Lilly and Hanako? Maybe even the Student Council isn't such a bad idea? Walking alone in through the mist? He would end up sad and crazy, wouldn't he, like the demon girl behind him. This is not his fate. He will not think of death, not be afraid of exertion. And he will not “get it over with”. How absurd it seems. Soon, the sun will come up, and the world will be a brighter place.

Hisao leaves the past behind, and already it looks absurdly unbelievable. How could anyone get to him like that? It must have been the surprise, the twilight, the mist. A strange mood. What was that nonsense about fox spirits that play tricks in human guise? About demons? Unscientific. Not like him at all.

***

“...because you count every tick-tock-tick of the clock inside you?” Where did that come from. The words shock her as much as they apparently shock him. She doesn't listen to her inner clock, does she? Does she? The boy, Hisao, freezes and a look creeps on his face that might be fury and might be terror, and might be something unnamed and unnameable. He stomps past her, his posture much too rigid.

He is a few feet away when she hears herself call something about stealing food and starving him. Grotesque. Counter-effective. She had already won this one, and now she ruins the effect with pure silliness? Did she say it to herself, perhaps? Did she script a role for herself to play? Too similar his condition, and too different the boy. She feels trapped. Her dawn might be stolen for good now, even if he never comes back. The red string of fate has her at the throat. She stands and it is as if she's lying down, all paralysed again, just like tonight. But he isn't there, so she is fully awake and this is fully real. Time passes. The sun comes up and blasts the morning mist. Her breath picks up pace, and a growl starts in her throat. It rises to a scream until her voice breaks. She runs at the tree where she should have stayed hidden and assaults the bark with fists, with feet, with teeth until she leans against it with her forearms pressed hard against the rough surface, hangs her head, pants and sweats.

Dear Mom. I have found a boyfriend. He understands me. We hate each other, and we're going to die. It is only a matter of time, though it might be longer than any of us cares for. Who will go first, you ask? A splendid game, don't you think? Who will abandon who? And will it come as a relief?

However much she hates it, she will have to steal his food. It is in her script now. The only way, now, is forward. And the only mode attack.

***

Writing Home (#1)

Dear Mom,

Thank you for the fruit basket. You know me too well. I did indeed forget to eat fresh things. And after I promised to, too. Forgive me? Tee he. But a whole basket is too much for me. Fruit goes bad, and I don't have enough friends here to share it all out. Oh, but don't you think I'm lonely. There's this painter in my class. She's amazing, and she doesn't even have arms. She may be a bit strange, but I think that's why she doesn't annoy me with lots of silly questions. And that's why we get along.

I think.

And, you won't believe this, I've met a boy today. I think he might like me. Me! Can you believe it? I'm totally excited. I must tell him about my... condition at some point, I suppose, but there's time.

Are you crying now? Sorry, but it's part of my life and it would feel wrong to keep it out of my letters. And anyway, I'm more positive now. When I first came to Yamaku I made a big deal about it, but now I think I might even make to graduation. I don't have an expiry date after all. (Black humour. Sorry. But it helps. You should try it.)

I'm such a drama queen, sometimes.

Seriously, I'm glad I came here. Nobody's mean to me, and the teachers leave me alone. My marks have improved, too. I've made a photocopy of my last test. Look. Proof!

Come and see me some time.

Love you,

Miyako
Last edited by Dawnstorm on Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:38 am, edited 8 times in total.

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BlackRockHanako
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Re: Meanwhile I wait [Hisao x original character]

Post by BlackRockHanako » Sun Apr 15, 2012 12:13 pm

Wow, this is certainly intriguing!

Look forward to seeing more and finding out more about this new character.

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nemz
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Re: Meanwhile I wait [Hisao x original character]

Post by nemz » Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:34 pm

Intriguing... a 'magical pixie girl' with sharp teeth, like a living dream of carnivorous orchids and acid rainbows. I find myself highly doubtful that Hisao can handle such a dangerous creature, but will enjoy watching him die trying.
Rin > Shizune > Emi > Hanako > Lilly

Dawnstorm
Posts: 153
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:34 am

Re: Meanwhile I wait [Hisao x original character]

Post by Dawnstorm » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:53 am

Thanks for reading. The point, for me, to write this is to get back into writing. The point to post this, for me, is motivation (and that would backfire without replies).

Editorial note:
Say, what's your name?”

“Hisao N- none of your business!” But it's too late to keep his first name a secret.
This doesn't work. In Japan, you introduce yourself with the Family name first. Not sure what to do about this yet, so I'm making this note to myself, here. (I'm not going too research too deeply, but I really need to weed out the more obvious stuff, like this.)

If I get around to it, I might have another scene today. If not, maybe in about a week.
nemz wrote:I find myself highly doubtful that Hisao can handle such a dangerous creature, but will enjoy watching him die trying.
Hm, is she as dangerous as she seems? Or maybe she'll convert him to the dark side? Heh. There aren't enough "chaotic neutral" characters out there. I thought I'd amend that. 8)

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Mahorfeus
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Re: Meanwhile I wait [Hisao x original character]

Post by Mahorfeus » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:54 am

Steal his food, eh?

She'll have him thinking that the sun is the moon in no time.
"A very small degree of hope is sufficient to cause the birth of love." -Stendhal
The verdict is (finally) in:
Hanako > Rin > Emi > Lilly = Shizune

Dawnstorm
Posts: 153
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:34 am

Re: Meanwhile I wait [Hisao x original character]

Post by Dawnstorm » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:38 am

For story-post navigation please refer to the index post.

Thanks to everyone for reading. Here's the next installment:

***
Warning! Spoilers for Shizune Route

***

I.2. Drama Club Girl meets the Student Council

Again and again Hisao tries to listen to Mutou's lecture and fails. The lecture would be a welcome distraction from the merry-go-round of thoughts in his head. Heart, hospital, parents, Yamaku. Round and round. The key theme is love. His parents love him. He knows that. And he loves them, too. Then what is wrong? Why do they send him away in a time of crisis? They love him; he loves them. But mutual love does not, in itself, teach either of you how to deal with a difficult situation. Is that why his parents sent him to Yamaku? A calculated distance, they, at home, earning the extra Yen to keep him under the surveillance of experts, who themselves are unhampered by personal ties. An opportunity to escape the vicious circle of gloom on his part and pity on his parents'. This must be it, or at least part of it. It makes sense. But it does not alleviate the feeling of being abandoned alone in a strange place. Hadn't he always felt like that? He probably had. So why this doleful merry-go-round in his head? Why now?

And the answer is obvious: Mystery girl putting a finger in the wound and stirring the tissue therein a bit. Adding a tiny question. Whose idea was it that he come here? Who made the decision? Who consulted him? The answers, in turn: His parents'. His parents. Nobody. Had they asked him, he'd have thrown a tantrum, and eventually he'd have agreed – the episode no more than an embarrassing memory by now. But they never asked, never hinted. The difference between what was and what could have been is absurdly little. And yet it debilitates him.

But they love him, and that love robs him of a means to express and release anger, justified or unjustified. Love hovers over him: a desire that he be happy. Well-wishing that amounts to an obligation. He doesn't feel happy, and here, at Yamaku, are experts to help him with the project. A good future, a valuable member of society. And this obligation to be happy... it constricts and stifles him. The means to a happy future? Plans. Plans based on dreams. Dreams you chase and never reach. Career surveys, then graduation. Not even an entire school year. It's not his condition gets in the way of any dreams. He cannot, now, become a pilot, but that is fine, as flying an aearoplane holds no appeal. The problem is that the vision of his future, right now, is filled with illness. It will not, cannot always be thus. Mystery girl's suggestion to “get it over with” came as a shock, made him angry, but did not hurt him. However it plays a subsidiary role in the ubiquitous desire to be happy. Visions of heart failure are an obstacle on the good and righteous path, a path that others have chosen for him, before he could discover it himself. And the pressure point originates with his parents, and reaches him through the staff. Career survey, career talk, graduation.

And it's not only the staff... His head feels heavy, and drops slightly to the side. There they are, the student council, paying attention to the lecture where he cannot. Well, Shizune pays attention. Misha does look in the general direction of the teacher, but her expression is not necessarily one of concentration. They, too, aim to give him direction, and – perhaps – draw a smile or two from his face in the process. Well, Shizune is driving force, the direction – Misha is her megaphone. Oh, Misha. To top it off she calls him “Hicchan”. Why, who else calls him that?

Right. His parents. And thus the merry-go-round merrily completes a round. Heart attack, hospital, parents, Yamaku, parents, hospital, heart attack. But the path to happiness is not on the circumference of a circle.

***

When class is over and a group of students armed with paper forms save Hisao from immediate ambush by the student council. He pretends not to see Misha's raised finger as he slips out from the home room. But once in the corridor he realises he has no plan of where to go. The movement in the corner of his eye is Hanako, who passes him and disappears down the corridor, not too slowly, not too quickly, and for a moment he contemplates joining her, but he doesn't know her well enough, and in his current mood might give rise to... misunderstandings. He walks off in the other direction and eventually ends up in the worst possible place to hide from a determined student council: the cafeteria. The food is usually not disgusting, but today all he finds edible is a cup of miso-soaked ramen. He finds an empty corner seat, sits down, places the cup before him and chooses to stare at it, in the hope that it become more appetising.

Chopsticks jolt him out of his gloom. Not being his, they have no business in his cup of ramen, yet there they are. And then they are gone. Ninja noodle heist. Wet noodles slap against the cup's border, leave and draw a trail of miso across the table. Hisao dares not look up. Who has promised to steal his food? And who has come too soon? He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. One. Two. Three. Head high, eyes open.

As expected: Mystery slurping up the last of a noodle. She swallows, then twists her mouth. “I have changed my mind,” she says. “You eat this. It will finish you off, before I ever get the chance to starve you.”

He looks down at his cup and thinks she might be right. “My cunning plan bears fruition,” he says, “but I did not plan far enough. I did not think that I would end up eating... that.” He looks up, and they stare at each other. To his surprise she looks as listless as he feels. He continues: “What are you doing stealing my food already, anyway?” he asks. “After all, there hasn't yet been another dawn to steal. The next one is – ah, let me think – tomorrow?”

She only nods. Half-heartedly, she picks up a paper napkin and starts cleaning away the trail of miso she has left on the table. “This morning,” she begins in that strangely listless voice of hers, “I have gone further than I meant to. I have embarrassed myself before you, and that means that you are stealing my dawns from now on, no matter what you do. You are in there.” And she knocks on her head with her left hand.

“So, since I am your eternal dawn thief, you will be my eternal food thief? Because of the things that go on in your head?”

“Hm...” She balls up the now soggy paper napkin and places it carefully on the table before her, poking it as if it was a small animal. “I doubt I will. I don't suppose you could try and eat theft-worthy food?”

“I might, I might not,” Hisao replies. “But anyway, it is not fair to punish me. After all, you embarrassed yourself. This is entirely on you.”

She brings down the open palm of her right hand on the paper napkin, flattening it. Then she looks up. “I agree. It is as you say. It's not fair.” A tired grin appears on her face. “Deal with it. Such is the world.”

“Ah.”

She balls up the flattened paper napkin yet again, but it doesn't quite work out, as it is, by now, too soggy. She picks up another, rubs at her miso-stained hands, and balls this one up instead. Finally she speaks: “Anyway, proper introductions?”

He sees no way to refuse, and half his name is out already, so what harm is there. “Nakai Hisao. Pleased to meet you.” His voice does not sound pleased.

“Atsuko Aihara. Pleased to meet you, too.” And then she surprises him, by having more to say: “I am a member of the drama club. You have not joined a club, yet, have you? So if you're interested...”

That is the last thing he expected her to say. Is she here to recruit him? How about a club for reluctant thievery? This must be a joke. She isn't even the social type. But, then, what does he know about her? “I'm not in any club.”

“Well, since I'm in the drama club, and you already know me...” She reaches into her bag and produces a flyer, places it before Hisao. The flyer says Drama Club, and nothing else. There are awful drawings of... creatures on it. It looks handmade. In a rush. “You can drop by whenever you like. Which may well be never, I realise. You do not seem the acting type.”

Hisao is still staring at the flyer. “True,” he says. “I'm not much of an actor. Lack of talent, lack of interest.”

“An actor would have delivered that line with more panache.”

“You're pretty listless yourself.”

“It's my current role. I'm being incongruent.”

“Ah.”

There you are, Hicchan!”

Hisao almost jumps in his seat. Now of all times! Hisao hopes to be mistaken, but the voice is unmistakable. And there they are: Misha and Shizune come up to the table, approaching Atsuko from behind. A grin appears on her face, but she doesn't move. The expression that appears on her face is disconcerting.

“So, Hicchan!” Misha says, “You ditched us to meet a friend. A girlfriend maybe?” Both Misha and Shizune take a step forward. Atsuko still doesn't move. “Who is it?” Another step. Then Misha looks down and... her big eyes widen even more. “Mi... Ya... Chan?”

Miya is a strange nick if you assume Atsuko to be the full name. Hisao scans the round: non-Atsuko, Misha, Shizune. Shizune is already signing and Misha gets ready to translate. But Mystery Girl of uncertain name is already standing up, pre-empting them. Hisao squirms in his seat.

But the girl only bows. “Hakamichi sama. Mikado san.” Then she turns the chair ninety degrees and sits down parallel to the table, facing the newcomers and showing Hisao her profile. Shizune signs.

Misha is not pleased: “Awww, do I have to?” But Shizune's frown subjugates her. Misha bows. “Kitagawa san.” Her hairdo is not designed for the action of bowing, and for a second her drills dangle in midair. Shizune is bowing too. What kind of mind games are they playing. Hisao wanders if he has ever heard Misha use any honorific but chan. Mutou chan? Surely, not even Misha...

“Please, excuse us,” Misha channels Shizune. “We have something to discuss with Hicch- His- Nakai san. With the festival coming up the student council is quite busy, unlike certain individuals who seem to have the time to do nothing productive whatsoever.”

“Oh, please don't mind me,” Mystery Girl says. “I woud not dream to stand in the way of, ah, busybodies such as you.”

Misha's well-trained frown, on whose receiving end Hisao has found himself more than once before, appears on her face and she leans forward. This prompts the following hypothesis: Misha, having proudly deciphered a pun of moderate funniness, is about to admonish Mystery Girl, blithely unaware that diplomatic etiquette demand either a witty riposte, or – more appropriately – no reaction at all, since the official addressee is now one Nakai Hisao. But Hisao doesn't get to verify the hypothesis, as a quick jab of Shizune's elbow forestalls Misha.

Shizune signs. “You have people skills, Hicchan,” Misha translates. “You manage to befriend the most difficult people. First, we see you talk with Rin chan, then even with Hanako chan. And here we find you with Miya chan, and she hasn't even insulted us yet. Much. Ow. It's true, Shicchan. Why are you hitting me? Okay, okay. No more embellishments. Promise.”

Hisao wants to be elsewhere but is, unfortunately, here. Mystery Girl's facial expression is one of amused serenity, doesn't change. Drama club girl is acting. Go-home club boy is anxious. There is no escape from pending catastrophe.

“People skills,” Misha continues, “are a very important skill to have in the student council.” Shizune straightens up, looking taller and more imposing. “So you see, Hicchan, not joining the student council is irresponsible.” They both move in on him. “Are you irresponsible, Hicchan?”

Hisao opens his mouth, but Miya moves into action. “But,” she says, “he has just joined the drama club. Going back on his word, wouldn't that be irresponsible, too.”

“The drama club?” Misha asks, giving Hisao a look that betrays a confusion he cannot inerpret.

“That's right,” Miya answers, cheerfully, even though it is a blatant lie.

Misha and Shizune sign between them, and Miya watches their hands. She cannot possibly understand sign language? Most likely this gesture is designed to disconcert. But whom? Or rather, how many of them?

Finally, Misha turns back to them. She addresses Hisao: “But, Hicchan, you cannot join the drama club.”

Now this is an attack on his autonomy, and giving in is a sign of weakness that the student council will exploit for their own nefarious purposes. “Why not?” he asks. “If I want to join the drama club, I can join the drama club. I don't see why I can't. It's not like I promised to join the student council, did I?”

“Wahaha! Hicchan -” her laughter is the first of this encounter, he notices “-of course you can join whatever club you want. But-” She raises her finger in lecture mode “-you cannot join the drama club, because there isn't one in Yamaku.”

Hisao wants to bury his face in his palms, but he manages to turn it towards Miya, instead. There is a huge grin on her face. She is clearly enjoying her joke. “Hi,” she says, “I'm Kitagawa Miyako. Pleased to meet you. It is true that there is no drama club at Yamaku. That is why I have to be Atsuko Aihara, if I want to be part of it. She doesn't exist either. I'm very determined to be a member of the drama club, you see. I don't care if it exists. In fact, it's better that he doesn't exist, as I don't have to deal with annoying members. So Atsuko, who is me when she isn't no-one, can be a member of the drama club, which is non-existant, even when I'm Atsuko. See?”

“No. You make no sense.”

“If you join the drama club, you will find out.”

“But there isn't one.”

“Exactly.”

Miyako Kitagawa, drama club girl without a drama club. Perhaps, Hisao thinks, the guy she pretends he is has already joined the imaginary drama club. His head hurts. The student council is all too real, but he cannot possibly escape into something that doesn't exist. And if it did exist, he probably wouldn't want to escape there anyway. He feels he should speak, but he is hopelessly lost in the situation. Miyako doesn't even bother to lie plausibly. What's the point of lying then?

Whatever. Miyako starts speaking again: “But I'm surprised you know Ikezawa, Hisao. Maybe, if we find enough members we could actually start a drama club. You can ask Ikezawa, and I can write a nice role for her. A tragedy about a young man from the fire brigade who rescues...”

“This is not funny,” Hisao mumbles.

Misha is signing for Shizune, and Shizune's face takes on a frown I have not seen on her yet. The student council, Hisao reckons, has had run-ins with her before. “Miya chan,” Misha translates. “This is not a nice thing to say.” She tries to look stern. Hisao wonders how accurate the translation is.

Miya faces the student council. Her eyes narrow. He has been at the receiving end of this stare not too long ago, but it is the first time he sees it in broad day light. Inadvertently, he shivers. Miya scans the cafeteria, makes sure she is watched, and smiles. Hisao follows her gaze and notices – for the first time – that quite a few people have stopped eating and chatting, and are watching. Misha, having noticed too, looks alarmed, but Shizune's anger has a target now. She has no eyes for the room around her.

Miya rises. “Well, it's true, isn't it? I say nasty things, don't I?” She bows again. “Hakamichi sama, Mikado san. I have probably said enough for now.” Then she turns and walks away, choosing to pass Hisao on the way. As she does, she leans forward. Her posture suggests a whisper, but her voice carries at least as far as Misha. “They would make a cute couple, don't you think? As unseparable as they are.”

That is it? A stupid lesbian joke? But Misha is frozen in place and refuses to sign. A cafeteria full of people is staring. And Miyako Kitagawa exits the stage.

***

What did she say? What did that evil woman say? Why won't Misha translate? Shizune signs, but Misha isn't even looking. Sizune touches Misha's shoulder, and Misha flinches. Then she starts signing, slowly.
[She said... something nasty.]
[That is clear. What did she say?]
[Nasty things.]
[What did she say?]
[She said... we would make a cute...] Misha's final gesture is not intelligible, but Shizune can guess. Misha's composure breaks. Shizune's mind is blank. She doesn't want to push the matter, and she cannot leave it alone. She is suddenly aware of being in a public place. She turns. A multitude of concerned faces hastily looks away. There have been rumours, back then. Will they revive now? What about the people who weren't there back then? She turns to Hisao, the most obvious representative of the group, and the only one who must have heard. Is there a hint of suspicion in his face? What if he starts asking questions?

Misha suddenly bolts. Part of Shizune is angry for the lapse, part is concerned for a friend, and the rest of her feels exposed to a roomful of gossipers. Hisao looks confused and miserable. Shizune wants to explain the situation in vague but reassuring terms. She wants to follow Misha. She wants to tell off an entire cafeteria for being nosy. She wants to cry and feels weak for it and wants to cry even more.

Rumours. They are everywhere. You cannot attack them. They disappear on their own, and hardly anyone can have heard Kitagawa's voice. And even if – who would believe that madwoman? But Misha has fled, and Shizune stands uncharacteristically undecided. She cannot stand like this forever, and yet there is no clear path to follow. There is no way to salvage this situation. She bows awkwardly, quickly, and hopes her expression conveys apology. Hisao moves his head in a jerky manner and she cannot read the meaning. No matter, now. She hurries away, in the direction Misha has fled. But once she leaves the cafeteria she finds a Misha-less corridor. Where now?

Work. Budget forms and resource allocations. The student council room. The festival is coming up. She is busy. The festival is a fun event. For everyone. It must be. It must. And it is coming up. There is work. There is always, always work.

***

Hisao is feeling numb. What drives a person to be so calculatingly mean? To hurt with such deliberation? Fine, he has stolen her dawn, whatever that should mean. Fine, the student council can be excruciatingly domineering. But what could Hanako possibly have done to her? An image flashes through his mind: Hisao in a fire brigade uniform dragging an unconscious body from a blistering inferno, her whole side charred... He feels sick. This girl is... impossible. How much can a single person hate?

His chest feels tight, but his heart-rate seems to be steady. Or is it? He cannot tell. Class. When does class start? He doesn't know how late it is. He gets up, and there before him, on the table, sits his cup of ramen, cold by now and even more hideous. On the table also sit two balled up paper napkins, one miso-soaked, one nearly dry. A story told in still lives. He turns and glances once more at the objects, then leaves. Everything around him feels strange. He doesn't belong here, but there is nowhere else. When he arrives at his home room it is still nearly empty. He sits down, picks up a book, pretends to read. Eventually, Misha enters, and shortly after that Shizune. They exchange signs, not as playfully as usual, but they make an effort to communicate. Only then does Hisao realise how much he has worried about them. The relief is not total, but he doesn't know what he can do to help. He doesn't understand the situation, but he knows better than to ask.

Perhaps now, the student council will get off his case? It is an empty comfort, cold and tainted with guilt.
Last edited by Dawnstorm on Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:59 am, edited 3 times in total.

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nemz
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Re: Meanwhile I wait [Hisao x original character]

Post by nemz » Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:01 am

Well, that is indeed the sort of vibe I was expecting.

My one complaint, and it is minor, is that while your written voice seems perfect for She Of Many Names, it doesn't seem to fit correctly within the headspace of others and thus its comes across as a bit jarring. It's as if the mystery girl is the narrator, looking in on everyone else's thoughts and announcing them as she sees them but keeping her own uncommented upon.
Rin > Shizune > Emi > Hanako > Lilly

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Mahorfeus
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Re: Meanwhile I wait [Hisao x original character]

Post by Mahorfeus » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:57 am

If Hisao hits that, I think I'm gonna lose all respect for him.

Unless he tames the bi-, er, shrew.
"A very small degree of hope is sufficient to cause the birth of love." -Stendhal
The verdict is (finally) in:
Hanako > Rin > Emi > Lilly = Shizune

Dawnstorm
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Re: Meanwhile I wait [Hisao x original character]

Post by Dawnstorm » Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:18 pm

nemz wrote:Well, that is indeed the sort of vibe I was expecting.

My one complaint, and it is minor, is that while your written voice seems perfect for She Of Many Names, it doesn't seem to fit correctly within the headspace of others and thus its comes across as a bit jarring. It's as if the mystery girl is the narrator, looking in on everyone else's thoughts and announcing them as she sees them but keeping her own uncommented upon.
Yeah, I'm struggling with voice. I don't feel Hisao's PoV sounds like it. I've actually written that yesterday, but it didn't work at all, so I went over it again today. I think part of the reason I struggle with voice in this one is that it's fan fiction: it feels... strange to write characters that I haven't come up with myself.
If Hisao hits that, I think I'm gonna lose all respect for him.

Unless he tames the bi-, er, shrew.
Right now, the question isn't if he hits her; the question is if he can dodge her.

Also, I always thought that the shrew was a rather interesting metaphor...

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Mealforthree
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Re: Meanwhile I wait [Hisao x original character]

Post by Mealforthree » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:03 pm

Certainly surprisingly good! Finally something experimental in regards with the style of writing itself; I really like this.

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nemz
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Re: Meanwhile I wait [Hisao x original character]

Post by nemz » Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:17 pm

Dawnstorm wrote:Yeah, I'm struggling with voice. I don't feel Hisao's PoV sounds like it. I've actually written that yesterday, but it didn't work at all, so I went over it again today. I think part of the reason I struggle with voice in this one is that it's fan fiction: it feels... strange to write characters that I haven't come up with myself.
Yeah, that's why it was a minor complaint... usually I wouldn't even mention it, but I feel you're writting is of a quality that you're ready to tackle finer points like this. Voice can certainly be hard to work on because it means writing in a way that isn't how you personally think. For example:

When Hisao is thinking you should probably ease up on things and just allow his thoughts to form into long meandering prose with little punctuation unless the scene itself is something particularly tense. He's just the sort of guy whose mind wanders around and who takes his time coming to conclusions while passively absorbing all the details. He tends to stick to one idea at a time and ponder it deeply when he's focused and engaged. He is, however, prone to mental pauses when he's confused.

Alternatively, Shizune would (to my way of thinking) be the sort of charecter who makes precise verbiage choice work, especially if arranged into complex sentences (built upon nested sub-clauses, mental lists, and generally highly-structured divisions) to show her compartmentalized and analytical mind at work. She also would likely be the sort of person who, much like a chef or a parallel processor in your computer, is able to follow multiple thoughtstreams at once (again, because of her compartmentalization), diving back and forth between them with ease and seeing connections easily.

See what I mean? Of course, that's just how they seem to me... the Hisao in your mind may be an entirely different fellow, and he does tend to change charecterization from route to route so don't sweat it too much.
Rin > Shizune > Emi > Hanako > Lilly

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BlackRockHanako
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Re: Meanwhile I wait [Hisao x original character]

Post by BlackRockHanako » Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:29 pm

I'm liking this story a lot.

Am I the only one reading it in the Bastion narrator's voice?

Dawnstorm
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Re: Meanwhile I wait [Hisao x original character]

Post by Dawnstorm » Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:41 pm

nemz wrote:Of course, that's just how they seem to me... the Hisao in your mind may be an entirely different fellow, and he does tend to change charecterization from route to route so don't sweat it too much.
No, that's actually pretty much how I see him, too. I put his change in characterisation down to him "channeling" the girl (e.g. the wit that comes out in Emi's scene is, I think, a result of him dealing with her playful side). Basically, he tends to overthink things, while often his spontaneous reactions are spot on. It's pretty funny to read at times, and frustrating at others. Apart from capturing the voice, the problem I have in this respect is pacing. When Miyako is around he simply doesn't have the time to be himself and I don't know how to handle this. It's like a tortoise trying keep up with a mayfly. I haven't found an approach.

Thank you, especially, for your thoughts on Shizune. She's one of the hardest to pinpoint for me, especially voice-wise. That's partly because she's channelled through Misha a lot in the text, and when she's not I'm not "buying" her voice in VN, because her signing has conversational quirks that don't seem economical in sign language (but, of course, I don't know sign language). With her, I sense the highest discrepency between outer and inner life; even higher than Rin. Add to that, that the scene is an exceptional situation... To be honest, I would have avoided including Misha and Shizune at all, if I could have. They're fiendishly hard to write (both of them) - hat-tip to their original author.

There is a problem, but it's hard to pinpoint and fit into the concept. For example, my original draft of the latest scene, I think, sounded a bit (not a lot a bit) more like Hisao. But the pacing was totally off and the scene didn't work because of that. [One tendency I need to curb when writing Hisao is the rapid-metaphor-hurdle-race; that's utterly Miyako, but not him. He can't really follow there, and I think one strategy would be to fall back on literalisms/cliché sprinkled with a bit science-lingo. But I'll have to try it to see how that works.]

Thanks for your thoughts; they may help me find my focus.

@everyone: thanks for the interest. Hope I won't let you down. I have the overall plot worked out, but details that crop up unexpectedly tend to throw such plans off balance. So who knows.

@BlackRockHanako: Will click link when I'm at my own computer.

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nemz
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Re: Meanwhile I wait [Hisao x original character]

Post by nemz » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:21 pm

Dawnstorm wrote:No, that's actually pretty much how I see him, too. I put his change in characterisation down to him "channeling" the girl
Yes, that's a VERY Hisao thing to do. Some people are just like that, personality sponges soaking up whatever happens around them rather than having a clear sense of self. Everybody does this a bit of course, for example work me vs. casual me, but Hisao is more untethered then most. (and this is probably what Rin first likes about him).
That's partly because she's channeled through Misha a lot in the text, and when she's not I'm not "buying" her voice in VN, because her signing has conversational quirks that don't seem economical in sign language (but, of course, I don't know sign language). With her, I sense the highest discrepancy between outer and inner life; even higher than Rin.
Definitely agreed. Because of her disability I suspect she has developed a much more complicated inner monologue than she will ever let out into the world, regardless of the medium, and probably tailors her speech further when dealing with or through Misha to minimize pauses and keep the extraneous commentary to a minimum. She's probably become reliant on the inherent pause of sign language or written text to allow her time to process then filter those thoughts into a clear phrasing rather than actually thinking in a clearly communicable way to start with.

For contrast, Rin I imagine thinks primarily in images and her speech is less composed then it is a running commentary on the theatre of her minds eye. The things she has the most trouble talking about are things that don't lend themselves well to images without having a specific experience to tie them to, which of course causes trouble when others don't share that experience. A first-person scene of Rin in higher math classes would probably give me a migraine.
Rin > Shizune > Emi > Hanako > Lilly

Bagheera
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Re: Meanwhile I wait [Hisao x original character]

Post by Bagheera » Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:32 am

I am also digging this story. Don't quite know what to make of the new girl, but she can bring the nasty. I'll be interested to see where it goes next.
Girls: Emi = Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Shizune = Rin
Routes: Rin = Shizune > Emi > Lilly = Hanako


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