Salvage [Hanako] Updated/Retooled 7/12

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DaGarver
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Salvage [Hanako] Updated/Retooled 7/12

Post by DaGarver » Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:46 am

By request. The premise here is simple: Hisao and Lilly trying to salvage the bad end of Hanako's route. This is in stark contrast to the last piece I did, which was focused on keeping a neutral ending neutral. I also took a few liberties with the canon in Hanako's storyline. So far, this has only been Hisao knowing Hideaki and his (and Lilly's) relationship to Shizune. Nothing major, just minor details.

Anyways, enjoy. I'll be posting the remaining parts in the coming week or so.

Table of Contents:
Chapter 1: Descent
Chapter 2: The Maw
Chapter 3: Dust to Dust
Chapter 4: Fear No Evil
Chapter 5: Life


Chapter 1: Descent
pastebin: http://pastebin.com/w8xJqLiw

The past week or so has been absolute hell. Ever since our one-sided shouting match, Hanako has acted like a completely different person. She's hanging out with that journalism girl - Naomi, I think her name was - socializing with new people... very unlike her. It feels wrong, like she's just looking for comfort outside of her old tight-knit circle.

It wasn't long until I spilled the beans about that afternoon to Lilly. I hated ruining her trip like that, but she deserved to know the truth, especially after I went against her advice. She was, as I expected, terrified for their friendship and disappointed in herself for failing to see what Hanako really wanted. "Don't beat yourself up," I told her on the phone. "None of us expected this."

"I suppose not. Can you give me details?"

"You'll have to wait for those. I really don't want to talk about it right now. Bad memories and stuff." She understood.

Today, I'm meeting Lilly and Akira at the airport. I didn't bother trying to tell Hanako. It's not like she would come anyway after professing such undying hatred toward us. My plan is to tell both Lilly and Akira in the car ride back to school. Lilly isn't the type to overreact, but having three people around instead of two should make sure nothing... unexpected happens. Hanako already showed me what it means to be completely taken aback by someone. I don't want to experience that again anytime soon.

I check my watch. School hasn't been out for long. Mutou approved my early dismissal to ensure the safe return of another student. Hideaki is also here with me, clamoring at plane after plane, asking if each is the one. "For the last time, Hideaki," I say, almost hissing, "the arrivals board will tell us when they get here."

"But that takes all the fun out of it," he whines. "You have to keep guessing to see who's right first." I just roll my eyes. Definitely Shizune's little brother.

Finally, the marker for their flight number changes to "arrived." Excellent.

We trek to their gate and keep our eyes peeled for a distinctive pair of blonde heads. Unsurprisingly, they're fairly easy to spot. I raise my hand high in the air to wave them down. "Heeeeeeeyyyyy~!" yells a familiar androgynous voice. Hideaki takes notice and runs toward the sound, clamping onto Akira's leg. Despite a short stumble almost dragging both girls to the floor, she keeps her balance. "There's my favorite cousin!" she exclaims, twisting her fist into his hair.

Lilly smiles at her sister's statement, then clasps her hands together. "If Hideaki is here, then where is -"

"Right here," I interject. She turns to face my voice, practically beaming, and I grab the small carry-on bag sitting by her feet. "Ah, Hisao. Thank you again for meeting us here."

"Hey, it's no trouble." I raise my hand as a 'stop' gesture without thinking. "I trust you two had a good trip?"

"That's... one way to put it," Akira snorts. I look at Lilly with a raised eyebrow, and she senses my questioning.

"We'll discuss it later," she insists. Her sister's arm pre-occupied with a young Hakamichi boy, she grips my sleeve cuff lightly. A practical gesture, as we have done in the past. "Hisao, would you show us to our luggage?" I accept her request and start toward baggage claim as her guide, Akira and Hideaki not far behind us. Navigating crowded areas must be especially difficult for her. Too many people to bump into.

After Akira picks out their suitcases from the conveyer, we begin the trip to her car, which has been parked in the airport garage since they left. Akira and Hideaki are in front of us, bantering back and forth. "Hideaki seems... different," Lilly notes as we walk, smiling. "He missed her."

"He certainly did. Which reminds me, what was up with Akira in the airport?"

Her expression darkens. "Later, Hisao. I'll tell you in private. Akira doesn't like thinking about it right now." She pauses, collecting her thoughts. "Forgive me, but I must ask: how is Hanako?"

"My turn to pull that punch. Later. Let's at least drop off Hideaki." I pause for a moment to adjust my grip on the luggage. "Does Akira know what happened?" She shakes her head. "How did you explain Hanako not showing up?"

"Newspaper club business. I can't lie to my sister, but I can hide parts of the truth."

"Should we involve her?"

"I think it's best if we keep this... internal for now. Let's try to reason with Hanako first." There goes my plan for having an extra soul around for protection. Her eyelids lower a bit, painting a worried expression on her face. "I fear we'll have to tell her eventually, though."

"Hey, relax. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it." She just nods her head in approval.

After loading the luggage into the backseat, we climb into the car. Somehow, the brat ended up with shotgun. Hideaki keeps pestering Akira as she drives us out of the parking lot, trying to pull a confession on why Akira is so flustered about their trip. "Akira, tell us!"

"For the last time, kid, no! I don't want to talk about it!"

"You can whisper it in my ear, at least. It's not fair that Lilly knows and I don't! What about family?"

This bantering between the two of them goes on for quite a while. I can't help but snicker at Akira's growing frustration and Hideaki's blindness to how annoying he is right now; neither can Lilly, apparently. "Fine! Enough!" Akira throws her arms in the air, signifying defeat, before remembering just where we are. Her hands fly back to the wheel as we start veering to the left, but she makes the correction and rights us back into the lane.

Hideaki isn't sure how to react: gleeful at his victory or mortified at almost getting the four of us killed. Akira breathes a heavy sigh of relief, and Lilly just looks bewildered to the sudden jerks of movement.

"Alright," Akira begins, "I might as well break the news before the kid actually wrecks the car." Hideaki sits on the edge of his seat. "Lilly and I have been invited to move to Inverness with our folks. On a permanent basis. A job opened up in my father's company there. I'm... pretty sure I'm going to take it."

Silence. It's like someone just got six months to live. Lilly breaks the tension. "I'm still undecided."

Akira continues the conversation. "Lilly's always been crazy about family, so I'm not sure why she'd back away. Leaving friends, I guess?" I start to interject and tell her, but Lilly senses my movement and grips my arm as a reminder to holds back.

"Yes," Lilly meekly responds. "I'm not sure if I want to leave everyone behind."

"Isn't that what phones are for?" Hideaki asks rhetorically. I answer him with slap to the back of his head anyways. "Hey, knock it off!" he responds. Akira and Lilly just laugh at his reaction.

----------

We drop off our pint-sized passenger to his mansion of a house first. I was rather surprised by how big it was on my first visit this morning. More startling was his macho-man of a father. Even though Hideaki answered the door, he was abruptly shoved out of the way and replaced with a huge man in a Hawaiian shirt swinging his katana at me and shouting something about huffing glue. At the time, I wasn't sure if I should cower in fear or stand my ground. I ended up just taking Hideaki and leaving while he wasn't looking, focused on telling his entire life story to a nearby wall.

Hideaki waves goodbye as he heads inside, and Akira speeds away, presumably to avoid the crazy that lives in that house. "You learn to just avoid Jigoro when you can," she states. "That whole family is crazy. Shizune kinda takes after his competitive side."

"Understatement of the century," I respond, meriting a few laughs from my carmates.

We ride in silence until our arrival at the gates of Yamaku. Lilly and I climb out of the car to fetch her suitcase from the trunk. "Be quick, you two!" Akira shouts out the window. "I'd like to get home and catch some shut-eye."

"Jet-lagged that badly?" I ask rhetorically.

She scowls. "You try riding on a plane for 14 hours and get back to me." Yeah, she's definitely tired.

Once the suitcase is properly removed, she waves out the window at us. "Catch you lovebirds later!" ...aaaand she's gone, definitely speeding.

"Lovebirds...?" I mutter. "Lilly, she doesn't really think-"

"Of course not!" she interjects, dropping the suitcase. Her cheeks flush with a bit of crimson, and she jumps when the luggage smacks the ground. "Why on earth would you think that?"

"Oh, no reason." I start inside the gates, hoping she won't hear my chuckling. Then a twig snaps beneath my feet.

"Hisao Nakai!" Dammit. "Come back here this instant!" She is the mother figure, I guess. I turn around to see her dragging her luggage on the ground, struggling to briefly lift it every few seconds. I may be a sarcastic bastard at times, but I'll be damned if I won't carry a pretty girl's bags when she needs help. Besides, I'll have both hands this time.

"So cruel," I say, taking the suitcase, "to make the boy with a heart condition carry your bags."

She regains her composure, but her expression resembles a pout. "I'm not that bad about overpacking."

"Hey, cut it out! I'm already packing it, what more do you want from me?" She just laughs and motions for us to head on to her dorm.

A number of people have gathered in the lobby of the girl's dormitories as a welcoming committee. Mostly classmates, I gather. I relax against the wall for a while to let her enjoy the company. She's telling short tales about her time in Scotland and listening to the latest happenings at the school. I tried to keep her as up-to-date as I could, but one man can only do so much. Most everyone is here to see their favorite class mother; unsurprisingly, Hanako isn't present.

Lilly doesn't take long to break away from the crowd, begging them for some time to rest and unpack. "I promise, I'll tell you more tomorrow morning," she assures them. The mob disperses with a groan, and I start guiding her up the stairs to her room by my sleeve. Thankfully, she's only on the second floor. I'm not sure how much further I could carry this thing considering how heavy it is. 'Not that bad about overpacking' my ass.

When we reach the second floor stairwell, she tugs on my shirt cuff. A signal to stop that we've established. "Lilly? What's up?"

She stands there, mouth open slightly, absorbing her surroundings. Her ears perk, and her blissful demeanor melts into neutrality. "Hanako," she whispers. She's probably been too mentally exhausted or preoccupied with her friends to think about that yet, and now it hits her. "She's in the second floor common area. With some other girl I don't recognize."

She managed to pick up Hanako's voice from that far away? If Hanako is in the common area, we'll have to pass by her on the way to Lilly's room. I put my hand on Lilly's shoulder as reassurance. "It'll be okay. I promise." She puts up a rather fake smile, extends her cane, and takes a deep breath. The metal stick taps to-and-fro as we enter the hallway.

----------

Click, clack, click, clack.

The tapping interrupts our conversation. Naomi and I were just discussing the next edition of the school newspaper: articles, editorials, headlines... but that tapping is all too familiar. When I woke up this morning, it felt like today was important for some reason. And now, at the last minute, I've remembered.

Lilly's back from Scotland.

"Hanako?" Naomi asks with a worried undertone to snap me out of a rather wide-eyed trance. "Are you okay?" She's in my class. She's seen the panic attacks. I'm kind of worried about what might happen, too.

Strength, Hanako. You are strong. She always told you that. Now show it. Be the better person.

"I-I'm fine," I respond, smiling weakly. "Really." She's not convinced, but we go back to our discussion. One of the big highlights recently has been that Ibarazaki girl. 'The fastest thing on no legs,' they call her, and she shows it with all those first-place runs recently. She has a very determined aura, one of power and dominance over her disability. Everything that Yamaku wants in free PR.

The tapping gets louder. She's getting closer. "Oh God what do I do, how do I look at her, I told him I hated her, I said all those terrible things..."

"Hanako!" It's only when Naomi starts physically shaking me that I realize that I was muttering those words, not thinking them. "What's up?"

I have a view down the hallway. Lilly is coming, and I can see her. But there's someone else... it's him. Carrying her bag. I start to tremble. Dammit, Hanako, you were doing so well... don't let this ruin it. You can face her. Naomi breaks my musing. "Hanako, I'm getting a nurse."

"No!" I shout at her. I can see Lilly flinch as I scream, pushing Naomi away. She just keeps moving, passing down the hall, through the common area, and on to the remaining wing of rooms. Hisao follows behind her, suitcase in tow. He keeps his head forward, not even trying for the eye contact. I watch idly as they walk, waiting for the sound of her door closing. It comes, and I turn back to Naomi, who appears absolutely bewildered. She blinks rapidly, as if that would help her make sense of everything.

"The hell was that about?" she asks, almost flatly.

"I-I'm sorry, it's... h-hard to explain." How can I tell her? How could she possibly understand what went on there? I've only just started to expand my horizons. I don't want her to think I'm a terrible person for shutting my two best friends out of my life.

She seems to get the hint: I don't want to talk about it. We struggle to work more on the newspaper for an hour or so. It's hard for me to focus, so we don't get much more done. "Hey, Hanako." I pick my head up to meet her gaze. She's packing up her things. "It feels like you want to be alone right now." A quirky smile. "But let me know if you need to talk. I'm here for you."

I just nod as she stands and walks down the hallway, in the opposite direction to my room. I gather my belongings and follow suit. Not a sound comes from Lilly's side of the hallway as I slip into my room. The door clicks shut, and I make sure to lock it. It's only mid-afternoon, but I'm mentally exhausted and decide to lie down.

My head meets the pillow and my restless mind evaporates. Sleep takes hold, but not before I can feel a single tear rolling down my cheek and onto the cloth casing.

----------

Lilly brings the teacup to her lips, as graceful as ever. A boy and a girl our age alone in a room like this could normally be construed as something... inappropriate. But there are more pressing issues. Namely, the girl right across the hall. Acute as her senses are, Lilly noted when Hanako went into her room not long after we had situated ourselves in Lilly's. "And alone, at that," she adds. "Something must be wrong." She sets down her cup and stands, reaching for her cane. "I must go visit her."

I stop her before she grabs the metal rod. "No. She wants to be alone, let her be alone." Her head turns away, eyes somewhat misty and mouth in a slight frown. She's always been the mother figure, praising Hanako for being so strong. I try to draw her attention back to me. "Let her be her own person. That's what she wants." After her outburst on her birthday, that much is obvious.

Her response is nothing but a whisper as she takes her seat back at the small table. "I always knew she was strong." She manages a smile as she thinks back on their friendship. Our friendship. "I'm sure you saw that, too." To be honest, no, I never did. She was always broken Hanako to me. I suppose I'm mostly at fault for what's happened.

"Lilly... I'm sorry." She cocks her head. "This is my fault. I always treated her like a child, like someone who needed protecting. Like I was her knight in shining armor."

"In a way, Hisao, you were."

I'm sorry... what? Then what was Hanako's outburst about? "Okay, you've got me there. Spill it."

"You were there for her. You came into her life so suddenly, so easily and near-flawlessly."

"But I treated her like a child-"

"Technically, she was a child." Her sarcasm throws me for a loop. "I'm sorry. It wasn't right for us to dote on her so much, in hindsight. But I only did it to show her just how loved she was. I wasn't sure how else to do it."

It suddenly feels like I should've taken Hanako on that date instead of heading back to our separate rooms. Or at least not barged into hers. "So... pardon my language, but we fucked up. How do we fix it?" She frowns and takes another sip of tea.

"I don't know."

"Please. I need to fix this. I need to show her how much I- how much we care about her." She giggles and raises an eyebrow.

"How much *you* care about her?" I blush a bit at her suggestion. I know that I want to protect this girl, to keep her safe and be there for her through it all. But I need to focus on salvaging our friendship first. More can come second, if it comes at all. She takes my silence as one of disgust. "Hisao, I'm only teasing you."

"I know," I whisper. "She means a lot to me."

She smiles and nods. "You would be good for her. You have been good to her."

"Thank you. I appreciate it." I glance at my watch: 6:14. "Hey, Lilly, I'm going to head back to my room." She follows my face as I stand.

"Are you sure, Hisao?"

"Yeah, I need to get caught up on homework, and you need to sleep off that jet lag."

"I'm not tired," she yawns. Yet another smile, realizing what she just did. She does that smiling thing almost too much. "I suppose you're right."

As the door latch clicks, she speaks up again. "Hisao, wait." I turn and find her wrapping her arms around me, her hands snaking up my back. I'm not sure if this is platonic or romantic, but I don't really care right now. I envelop her in my own embrace, and we just stay like that for a moment.

She pulls away, forcing the tears back from her eyes. "Thank you. For everything." There's a slight crack in her voice.

"You're very welcome, Lilly."

----------

To Chapter 2: The Maw

Comments, grammar and style suggestions, etc. are welcome. The ending of this first chapter feels kinda meh, but whatever, I guess.
Last edited by DaGarver on Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:03 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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Brogurt
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Re: Salvage [Hanako]

Post by Brogurt » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:26 am

I think there was a total of about 2 comments that I came up with when I read this after you posted it in crispychat, so let's see if I can't find them again

The scene where Hanako is freaking out as Lilly and Hisao approach seem to drag on for far too long. Lilly and Hisao must be very slow walkers.
"I know, Lilly," I whisper. "I know. I do love her, you know."
Hopeless romanticism, as far as the canon goes. He really didn't at that point, so you might consider making it more ambiguous, like he knows that he thinks she's attractive and that he wants her to be happy, but doesn't know how to finalize that or something.

Anyway, this being a Hanako fic that has promise to it, I look forward to more in the future

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Re: Salvage [Hanako]

Post by Ascended Flutist » Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:35 am

"Lilly... I'm sorry." She cocks her head. "This is my fault. I always treated her like a child, like someone who needed protecting. Like I was her knight in shining armor."

"In a way, Hisao, you were."

I'm sorry... what? Then what was Hanako's outburst about? "Okay, you've got me there. Spill it."

"You were there for her. You came into her life so suddenly, so easily and near-flawlessly."

"But I treated her like a child-"

"Technically, she was a child." Her sarcasm throws me for a loop. "I'm sorry. It wasn't right for us to dote on her so much, in hindsight. But I only did it to show her just how loved she was. I wasn't sure how else to do it."

It suddenly feels like I should've taken Hanako on that date instead of heading back to our separate rooms. Or at least not barged into hers. "So... pardon my language, but we fucked up. How do we fix it?" She frowns and takes another sip of tea.

"I don't know."

"Lilly, please. I need to fix this. I need to show her how much I- how much we care about her." She giggles and raises an eyebrow.

"How much you care about her?" I blush a bit at her suggestion. I know that I want to protect this girl, to keep her safe and be there for her through it all. But I need to focus on salvaging our friendship first. More can come second, if it comes at all. She takes my silence as one of disgust. "Hisao, I'm only teasing you."

"I know, Lilly," I whisper. "I know. I do love her, you know."

She smiles and nods. "You would be good for her."

"Thank you, Lilly. I appreciate it." She nods approvingly. I glance at my watch: 6:14. "Hey, Lilly, I'm going to head back to my room." She follows my face as I stand.


"Are you sure, Hisao?"

"Yeah, I need to get caught up on homework, and you need to sleep off that jet lag."

"I'm not tired," she yawns. Yet another smile, realizing what she just did. She does that smiling thing almost too much. "I suppose you're right."

As the door latch clicks, she speaks up again. "Hisao, wait." I turn and find her wrapping her arms around me, her hands snaking up my back. I'm not sure if this is platonic or romantic, but I don't really care right now. I envelop her in my own embrace, and we just stay like that for a moment.

She pulls away, forcing the tears back from her eyes. "Thank you. For everything." There's a slight crack in her voice.

"You're very welcome, Lilly."
Too many lillies! :D Especially in the emboldened passage. It's a beautiful name and flower, but when it's just two people, names don't come up nearly as often.

You may or may not have done that to be clear about who's talking. If so, it works, but it's a bit cumbersome. The dialogue especially doesn't, ah, flows as well as could considering it's mostly short sentences. This problem is exclusive to the passage I quoted though, not so much of an issue in the beginning or the Hanako point of view.

I personally have no gripes with the lenght of this point of view, considering the mind can think pretty quickly, especially in crisis situations.

Other than that, it has potential. So well done, sir. I'll me waiting for more to come. :]
And to live in Peace A post Hanako Good End fanfiction. That about sums it up.

Fanfics Thou shalt not regret reading : Bloodline, Doomish's Misha Pseudo-route, Rika's Story, A Pseudo-pseudo Suzu Route.
There are many other apocryphas worth reading in the fanfiction section. Do yourself a favor, dig them up and read them. Reading is good.

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Re: Salvage [Hanako]

Post by DaGarver » Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:00 am

Brogurt wrote:The scene where Hanako is freaking out as Lilly and Hisao approach seem to drag on for far too long. Lilly and Hisao must be very slow walkers.
My idea was the same that AF came up with: the mind thinks quickly in crisis situations. Most of that scene is Hanako's thoughts. Also, I could get lazy and just say that the hallways in Yamaku must be long, or whatever.
Brogurt wrote:
"I know, Lilly," I whisper. "I know. I do love her, you know."
Hopeless romanticism, as far as the canon goes. He really didn't at that point, so you might consider making it more ambiguous, like he knows that he thinks she's attractive and that he wants her to be happy, but doesn't know how to finalize that or something.
Noted.
Ascended Flutist wrote:
Too many lillies! :D Especially in the emboldened passage. It's a beautiful name and flower, but when it's just two people, names don't come up nearly as often.

You may or may not have done that to be clear about who's talking. If so, it works, but it's a bit cumbersome. The dialogue especially doesn't, ah, flows as well as could considering it's mostly short sentences.
Gah, I can see it now. I need to look more at big picture when I proofread, I think. I'll touch that up a bit later tonight.

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Re: Salvage [Hanako]

Post by DLMicheru » Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:52 am

DaGarver wrote:I need to look more at big picture when I proofread, I think. I'll touch that up a bit later tonight.
You might consider approaching someone (preferably someone that has played KS) to be your proofreader. Proof-reading your own stories is good, but you may not happen to spot all the flaws/mistakes/anomalies.

Anyway, good story. I realy look forward reading more of this.
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Re: Salvage [Hanako]

Post by Total Destruction » Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:40 pm

Damage control. I'm intrigued. Further news as events warrant.

:twisted:
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Re: Salvage [Hanako]

Post by Oddball » Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:50 pm

This looks like it's got potential.
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Re: Salvage [Hanako]

Post by DaGarver » Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:25 pm

DLMicheru wrote:You might consider approaching someone (preferably someone that has played KS) to be your proofreader. Proof-reading your own stories is good, but you may not happen to spot all the flaws/mistakes/anomalies.
I normally get a bit more feedback from the Steam group before posting, but I was impatient this time. Eh.

Made a couple minor changes to the ending scene so that it reads a bit better and fits canon more. Mostly per AF and Brogurt's suggestions.

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Re: Salvage [Hanako]

Post by Brogurt » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:09 pm

"Lilly... I'm sorry." She cocks her head. "This is my fault. I always treated her like a child, like someone who needed protecting. Like I was her knight in shining armor."

"In a way, Hisao, you were."

I'm sorry... what? Then what was Hanako's outburst about? "Okay, you've got me there. Spill it."

"You were there for her. You came into her life so suddenly, so easily and near-flawlessly."

"But I treated her like a child-"

"Technically, she *was* a child." Her sarcasm throws me for a loop. "I'm sorry. It wasn't right for us to dote on her so much, in hindsight. But I only did it to show her just how loved she was. I wasn't sure how else to do it."

It suddenly feels like I should've taken Hanako on that date instead of heading back to our separate rooms. Or at least not barged into hers. "So... pardon my language, but we fucked up. How do we fix it?" She frowns and takes another sip of tea.

"I don't know."
doubleposted

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Re: Salvage [Hanako]

Post by DaGarver » Sat Jul 07, 2012 11:49 pm

Update time, here's chapter two.

Chapter 2: The Maw
pastebin: http://pastebin.com/8EYWZAJe

The sun comes early the next morning. I came back to my room early to catch up on the homework so cruelly slapped on us before the long weekend, but nothing got done. I didn't sleep well, either. Hanako's been on my mind a little too much recently. It's hard trying to figure out how to make the best of such a bleak situation.

Lilly seemed rather lost, too, last night. Understandable. I can't imagine how hard it is hearing your best friend say how much she hates you, even if it's indirectly through a mutual friend. But there was Hanako's behavior in the common area yesterday. It was... strange. She screamed at Naomi, trying to push her away.

And even though I didn't make eye contact, I could see how troubled she was. She practically radiated with mixed emotions. It's like she wanted to hate us, but there was still some harbored affection. The girls have always been close, so it only seems fitting that Lilly's return would bring out the Hanako we knew some weeks ago.

Maybe... maybe that's it. Maybe Lilly is the only one who can fix this. It makes sense: she was Hanako's first real friend. She was the first one to show her what it means to look beyond the scars, even if Lilly couldn't do otherwise.

My eyes dart to the clock: 5:30 AM. She's probably not awake yet. Strike that, definitely not up.

My head is still racing. What was it my father always said?

'If you can't sleep at night, head too foggy and restless, go for a run. Take a walk. Do something. Get moving. It'll help, trust me.'

Worth a shot, I suppose. Maybe the physical exhaustion will at least force me to sleep. I throw on a pair of athletic shorts, a white t-shirt, and my tennis shoes before heading out the door.

It's been so long since I've been to the track that I'm surprised I still know where it is. There's a figure already hustling around the turf when I arrive, the distinct sound of metal on ground emitting from each of her steps. She notices me and comes to a quick stop at the bleachers.

"Hey there, Hisao!" Her bubbly, high-pitched voice definitely amplifies the adorable factor. "Long time, no see!"

"Hey, Emi," I respond. "What brings you here?"

She giggles. "I'm here every morning! Gotta stay in shape, even with the long summer weekend and track season almost over. Now why are you~ here? Finally decided to take up running with little ol' me?" Her bright green eyes almost glimmer in the morning sun as she puts on her best puppy-dog face.

"Maybe," I respond. "For right now at least. I need to get my mind off things."

She smiles. "Nothing like a good run to burn off bad mojo. C'mon, I'll help you get started."

She walks me through a stretch routine pretty similar to the first time I ran with her over a month ago. "Since you're definitely out of shape by now," she says, almost chiding, "we'll start you off easy. One mile, four laps, easy jog."

The run does prove to be at a rather slow pace, and Emi is nice enough to stay at my speed for most of it. "I'll just get my sprints in later. Better to encourage the new guy." The first lap is cake. My legs start burning not long into the second lap. By the start of the third, they feel like lead.

My heart pounds, but nothing I can't control. The footsteps fall one by one. I'm more focused on the present than I have been in a long time. Not a single thought racing, just pure determination. The adrenaline pumping in my veins is extermely pleasurable. I haven't felt this... alive in a long time.

It's also much easier than my first mile with Emi, if I'm remembering right. Maybe I'm taking out my frustration on the turf, just pounding my troubles into the synthetic material over and over again. That would push me pretty hard, I would think.

Emi is waiting for me at the finish line. "Good work, Hisao," she applauds. "You put a lot of determination into that one. Very different from your first run. If you don't mind me asking, what changed?"

What can I say to her? I want to keep the issue with Hanako internal, like Lilly asked. "Just pent up... frustration. I needed to... blow off steam." My breathing is heavy enough to make me pause between words.

"Fuel for the flames. You picked a good way to get rid of it." She smiles at me. "I always run when I'm worried or scared about stuff." If this whole ordeal goes on for much longer, I might just have to keep running then.

I'm still panting a bit between words. "That definitely felt... good, to say the least."

She just laughs. "Like I said, nothing beats a good run!"

"Well, thanks. I... appreciate it."

"No problem. Now, I'm gonna finish my sprints. You should go see Nurse for a checkup!" Probably not a bad idea, both to get my heart checked and to brag on myself for doing something resembling physical activity.

Before I can respond, Emi's already darted off onto the track again, a determined look on her face and eyes straight ahead. Maybe I should take on some of that attitude. It would definitely help right now.

----------

My visit with Nurse was short-lived. He did a pretty routine analysis of my heartbeat, encouraged me to keep running, and sent me on my way. As I had hoped, the physical exhaustion actually helped me sleep, and I passed out for a few hours once I got back to my room and had a quick shower.

The sun, every teenager's mortal enemy, manages to wake me up again around 11:30. In my sleepy daze, I glance at the phone sitting on my nightstand; the screen is flashing periodically. I flip it open to check the notification and see a missed call from Lilly about an hour ago. Good, she's up.

I dial her number quickly and wait for the response. A click from the other line. "Hello?" the light, airy voice asks.

"Hey, Lilly. It's Hisao. Sorry I wasn't up."

"It's quite alright. Can you come by my room? I need to talk to you." I accept and hang up shortly after. Donning myself in my usual casual wear - slacks and a sweater vest - I begin the trip to the girls' dormitories.

There are surprisingly few people on the campus grounds. Most of them must have gone traveling for the long weekend or are staying inside to avoid the heat. Smart of me to wear the sweater vest today.

The walk through the dorm to Lilly's room is uneventful. Not a soul to be seen in the hallways. Strange. Just how many people went home for the weekend? I knock three times on her door, and it opens a few seconds later. "Thank you for coming by, Hisao," she says as I enter. She's still in her pajamas, and it doesn't look like she's done much to make it seem as if she's been up for long.

"Rough night?" I ask her.

"Unfortunately. You too?" We each take a seat at her stocky little table.

"Yeah. Thinking about this way too much. Actually went for a run early this morning, slept like a baby after that."

She seems surprised, given how physically inactive I've been since we've known each other. "I hope that our track star didn't work you too hard."

"How did you-"

"Hisao, Emi is at that track every morning. She's worked very hard to get where she is, and she works even harder to stay there. Most would say she has conquered her disability in every way possible."

It feels like she's trying to encourage me to do it, too. Conquering my disability is cool and all, but mine isn't easy to get over. I'll probably keep up the running for now, if only because it takes my mind off of Hanako for a little while.

I'm still curious why she brought me here, though. "So, what's up with the invite? Something on your mind?" Stupid question. I already know the answer to that one. I don't expect the answer to the first one, though.

Her lips tighten. She furrows her brow. Her entire body is tensing up.

"I'm going to speak to Hanako today. And I want you to come with me."

I just kind of sit there, bewildered. "Um... is this the right time?"

"I... I don't know. But I need to do something. I can't just stand idly by and not try to salvage our friendship." She opens her clouded eyes. It still throws me off guard, to this day. "I'll understand if you don't feel comfortable seeing her right now."

"No, no, it's not that. I'm just... I don't know. We have to play our cards pretty close to our chest. There's a fine line here. You know that better than anyone." She doesn't respond. "I'm just... cautious, I guess. I don't want to mess this up anymore than I already have."

"Of course, Hisao. Do what you feel you need to."

I feel like I'm just dropping out on Lilly. Like I need to be there to support her as she walks into the fire. "I can... stand outside her door, at the very least. I'll be with you in spirit." As if that wasn't already cheesy enough. She and I chuckle as if I've made a bad joke. Then she realizes I'm being serious.

"Oh. Um... sure, Hisao. That would... that would help." Definitely reassuring.

"So..." I droll, trying to break the tension, "when did you want to go over there?"

She stands from the table. "Let me get dressed properly."

My face turns beet red at the thought. "Uh... yeah. I'll just... show myself out then."

I wait outside patiently for her to get ready, leaned against the outside wall of Hanako's room. It takes her surprisingly little time. She's in pretty standard casual wear: a pink, shoulderless top and a cream-colored skirt, much like what I've seen her wear in the past. Her chest heaves as she takes a long, deep breath to calm her nerves. Retracted cane in hand, she's almost trembling as she takes the first step across the hallway.

"I'm here, Lilly. Always."

She smiles. "I know."

She reaches for the handle, gives it a turn, and opens the door into the crucible.

----------

I'm lying in bed reading a book when the door latch clicks. Who on earth... Naomi maybe? One of the other girls from the newspaper club? I didn't expect any of them to come by today. "W-Who's there?" I ask the intruder, drawing the book cover over my face.

"Hanako?" That voice. Light. Airy. Floating. Her graceful figure practically glides into the room and shuts the door behind her.

"Lilly..." I don't know whether to be grateful that she's so diligent, distraught at her apparent cheeriness, or furious that she's in my room uninvited. My emotions swirl into a brine, spinning about my head, impossible to pick one out to display. I put up the familiar meek facade for now.

"Yes, Hanako. It's me. I'm here." It... it looks like she's trembling. Is she scared of me, of what I might do? He probably told her how I acted, how I screamed at him about how much I hated them.

Regret: another emotion to add to the torrent in my mind.

"How are you feeling?" she asks.

"Um... I-I'm okay, I g-guess." She smiles at me and takes a seat on the bed after feeling around for it. She's only been in my bedroom a handful of times, but she knows the layout well enough. There's a tension in the air thick enough to cut with a knife, but her voice is as calm as ever. "Good. Hisao tells me that you joined the newspaper club. I'm glad to see you making new friends."

"Y-yeah... the girls are r-really nice." She's just making small-talk? That doesn't help the anger aspect in the whirlpool right now. It only frustrates me. She's here for a reason, why doesn't she just get to the point?

"Good. I would hate for anything bad to happen to you." Now she's playing the protective role. Should I be appreciative? She obviously cares about me. I always knew that. But the doting... it feels like she doesn't realize what made me so angry in the first place.

Was that anger even directed at her, though? Is she innocent? Is it all his fault? Or am I the one to blame? Now, less anger, more disappointment. In Lilly. In him.

In me.

I might as well cut to the chase. "L-lilly, did you... w-want something?" She frowns. Her lower lip quivers, and she bites it to try and hold herself back. If here eyes were open, I imagine they'd be red from trying to fight tears. "Hanako...," she whispers. Her left hand outstretches to my cheek. The scarred cheek. Tucking the long lock of hair behind my ear, she gingerly strokes that side of my face.

Compassion. Empathy.

"I love you, Hanako," she finally says. "Hisao loves you. Akira loves you. We all love you. We want you to come back to us. To figure out where we went wrong, so that we can make it right." Figure it out? I thought that much was clear. Surely even you can see that, Lilly.

"I-I can't. I need... t-to be strong. To be me." Sadness takes a slight lead now as I reminisce on the past memories. Birthdays. Lunches. Games.

"And you are strong. We won't ask you to leave your new life." Her hand leaves my face and rests on my collarbone. "We'll embrace it." And yet you just asked me to come back... to be the Hanako you knew.

But I'm not the Hanako you knew.

Rage.

Just like with him.

"Y-you should go." My response takes her by surprise. It's half expression, half warning, but she doesn't know that. She jolts back a bit, pulling her hand away. "No, I can't just leave you. You can't expect me to walk out of your life so suddenly." Who are you to tell me what I can and cannot do? Some misguided mother figure? You don't have all the answers. You don't know what's best for me. Only I do. And I know what's best for you right now, too.

The emotion bubbles inside of me, building higher and higher. The swirl lessens, but focuses; the chaos subsides, but raw power hones to a point.

Fury.

But not enough to physically manifest itself. "L-lilly... please go." I grip my arm over my midsection, trembling. The doctors always said I was a bit emotionally unstable. They thought it was just panic attacks, social phobia, trying to find comfort in a world that I thought I couldn't trust. I don't think they realized that it was an inner war of feelings, one eventually surging ahead of the others into pure expression.

Lilly bolts across the bed, wrapping me in her embrace. Her arms envelop my shaking frame, and I can feel her own body jittering as mine does. I should be feeling happiness right now. Love. But I don't. Instead, a breaking point.

Enmity.

Critical mass.

I break away from her prison by throwing my arms out from my chest with a wail. She doesn't see what comes next. The sound of flesh on flesh permeates through the room, and her face flops to the side. A reddened cheek tells the tale.

My eyes shoot wide open. Her eyebrows furrow, her teeth grit, and she gives in to her own anger. A Lilly not seen by many, even me. She abruptly stands and rushes out of the room.

It's not until the door slams shut that I realize what I've just done: shoved my best friend out of my life completely. There's no hope now... how could she ever trust me after that? I screwed up. Again.

I fall back onto the pillow, covering my face with the book sitting on the mattress. It does a well-enough job of covering my expression of what little emotion is left inside me.

Remorse.

----------

I'm almost certain I should be worried.

There's a scream coming from the other side of Hanako's door. Yeah, definitely worried. Next, a smack. Then, Lilly opens the door and darts out of her trials, a red spot on her cheek and absolutely fuming. "Uh...," I start, but she turns to face me and I shut up.

"My room. Now." Yes, ma'am.

We retreat into her dormitory, and she almost immediately starts showing her anger. She throws the retracted cane on the bed, runs her hands through her hair, groaning and seemingly trying to keep this from turning into an absolute breakdown. To see her like this is unreal; she's always been so reserved, so calm.

"I can't believe... that... that girl!" Her words drip with venom. "After everything I've done for her, looking after her and trying to make her feel normal, she repays me how? With a literal smack to the face!"

I grip her shoulders. "Lilly, you need to calm down."

"Calm down? How can I calm down? The girl I thought was my best friend just showed me an absolutely undying gratitude to my face!" Sarcasm really doesn't suit her. Especially angry sarcasm. She walks over to her nightstand and feels around its surface. She finds the cell phone sitting there and whips it open, dialing furiously.

"Who are you calling?"

"Akira," she snaps, bring the phone to her ear. So much for keeping it internal.

She stands there in silence until the line connects. "Akira, it's Lilly. Can you come by for a little while? ... I'd rather discuss it when you get here. ... No, I don't know for how long. ... They won't let you go? Tell them it's a family emergency, then. This is urgent. ... Then I will see you soon." She snaps it shut.

Rhetorical question time. "I take it we're having company soon?"

She lets out a long sigh. "Akira will be here shortly. I need her support. And I want to know what she thinks. I can't do this alone, Hisao." Her eyes gaze blindly in my direction, almost glimmering with moisture. "I'm not strong enough."

"No one said you were in this alone."

She giggles. It's a start. "Says the boy too scared to even go in her room." Ouch, right in the pride.

"Would I have made any difference, though?"

Her giddiness is short-lived, and she goes back to a somewhat neutral expression. "No, I suppose not."

Perhaps I can get her to relax a bit. "Hey, why don't we make a pot of tea while we wait? It might help calm you down." A slight nod is her only response.

Our preparation is mostly quiet. I could try to make smalltalk, but I've always been terrible at it. And she definitely doesn't need to think about Hanako right now. Though maybe this silence just makes that more likely. She's preoccuping herself with the smells of tea, at least. I decide that's sufficient and keep my mouth shut.

I'm just setting the table with cups and saucers when her phone rings. I snatch it up and hand it to her, which she thanks me for. "Hello? ... Yes, I'll be right down." Click.

"Hisao." She's curt. Definite. Down to business. "Come downstairs with me. Akira is here."

----------

"So, lemme get this straight," Akira says after hearing us explain the situation. We've all taken seats at Lilly's tea table. Akira takes a swig of a coffee can before continuing. "Mister master of romance over here managed to piss off Hanako to the point of screaming at him, and then she goes off and slaps my sister trying to reconcile her?"

"Um... yeah," I respond. 'Master of romance?' Really, Akira? "That's pretty much it."

"Yeah, I don't buy it."

Lilly seems taken aback. "Akira, what's not to understand?"

"Lills, you can't tell me that this is your fault. That you're in any way responsible." Another sip of coffee. "A year's worth of pent-up frustration doesn't go by unnoticed. None of us even suspected it. You'd think someone would've read between the lines a bit, whether you, me, Hisao... hell, even Hideaki."

I glare at her. I don't like where this is going. "What are you getting at?"

She reaches for a coffee cake and takes a bite. Wait for it. "Look, all I'm thaying ith tha-"

"Akira!" There it is. "Manners!" Akira shuts up and finishes her bite of cake before continuing.

"Hisao, you came into this rather late. The girl has barely known you for a month. You're her friend, that much is obvious. But, to be blunt, if anyone here is to blame, it's you."

"Me? What on earth did I do wrong?" She just scowls at me, crossing her arms. "Okay, okay, I barged into her room when she probably wanted to be left alone. What does that have to do with this all being my fault?"

"You just answered your own question. And it means that you're the only one who can fix this mess. I'm not convinced that she ever hated Lilly. She might have said that, but people say a lot of stupid things when they're angry. And I think if she were being sincere, she'd be begging for forgiveness for what happened today." She seems concerned for everyone's well-being. Her tone doesn't imply anger, she's just giving her opinion directly. I expect nothing less from her.

"This is your battle, kid. Not mine." She points to her sister. "Not hers." And then she points to me. "You have to fight it."

I just look at the other girl in the room. She's stayed rather detached from this conversation. I stand up from the table. "Excuse me. I... need some time to think."

Lilly perks up this time. "Of course, Hisao."

I take my leave of their company, shutting the door quietly. The walk back to my dorm is much longer than the one here, if only because of what's going through my head. My battle... I suppose, in a way, this is my fault. If I hadn't gone to see her, where would we be now? One big happy family, just like we should be.

The sun is barely setting. Twilight. The sunlight disperses across the horizon, half-lighting the earth. Natural light fades and gives way to the darkness. How fitting.

Despite how relatively early it is, I'm exhausted. Maybe I could go out somewhere, hopefully calm myself down. My state of mind doesn't really condone sleep, as if last night wasn't bad enough. I decide to head back to my room for the night, anyway. I really don't feel like doing much of anything. Thoughts of her try to creep into my head and I push them away as best I can.

But one thought is welcome. There was another thing my father used to tell me. His words are strangely fitting, for both the time of day and my emotional state.

'Sometimes, son, it's darkest just before dawn.'

I hope they're relevant to Hanako, too.

----------

To Chapter 3: Dust to Dust

Fire away.
Last edited by DaGarver on Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Salvage [Hanako] Updated 7/8

Post by Brogurt » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:28 am

Yeah I already told you my thoughts, and I don't really see what's changed happened since the last version, but I'll just trust you and say that it's most likely an improvement.
Yes that means that they were subtle.
But it's probably better than going full kneejerk and mutilating everything.
Because I was probably just being needlessly bitchy.

Still awaiting more

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Re: Salvage [Hanako] Updated 7/8

Post by nemz » Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:08 am

I still think that though there is blame to go around it is mostly Hanako's fault. If you don't tell people what's wrong how can you possibly expect them to fix it?
Rin > Shizune > Emi > Hanako > Lilly

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Re: Salvage [Hanako] Updated 7/8

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Jul 08, 2012 4:03 am

I think Lilly is quite a bit ooc in this chapter. First she's even clumsier than Hisao when she confronts Hanako, then she's bossing around Akira...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Re: Salvage [Hanako] Updated 7/8

Post by Ascended Flutist » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:34 am

I'm a calm person, generally, but if I
-Just came home from a 14-hours flight
-Had a sleepless night
-Worried sick about my closest friend for days
-Got slapped and shoved away by said closest friend
I'd kinda show a whole new facet of my personnality too. We've never seen Lilly confronted with that particular sort of situation before, so her reaction falls into the 'new but believable' category as far as I'm concerned.

As for the story proper, yeah this is definitely good. I liked Hanako's perspective especially. The grim side of it. Oh yes.

She's one of us. One of us.
A few days later, this was found on the path to Yamaku's building, next to a bowl of ashes.

Although I'll agree with nemz, blaming Hisao alone for the whole thing is kinda cheap, since Lilly's diplomatic performance was less than stellar, even if it's believable given the circumstances. But y'know, it's just, like, Akira's opinion man.
And to live in Peace A post Hanako Good End fanfiction. That about sums it up.

Fanfics Thou shalt not regret reading : Bloodline, Doomish's Misha Pseudo-route, Rika's Story, A Pseudo-pseudo Suzu Route.
There are many other apocryphas worth reading in the fanfiction section. Do yourself a favor, dig them up and read them. Reading is good.

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Re: Salvage [Hanako] Updated 7/8

Post by DaGarver » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:57 am

nemz wrote:I still think that though there is blame to go around it is mostly Hanako's fault. If you don't tell people what's wrong how can you possibly expect them to fix it?
Ascended Flutist wrote:Although I'll agree with nemz, blaming Hisao alone for the whole thing is kinda cheap, since Lilly's diplomatic performance was less than stellar, even if it's believable given the circumstances. But y'know, it's just, like, Akira's opinion man.
Akira has a vested interest in protecting her sister, so she doesn't like shifting blame to Lilly. She might say otherwise, but, realistically, she's looking out for her blood. While she could blame Hanako, I get the feeling Akira sees Hanako as an innocent soul that doesn't really know what she's doing. Is it scummy to just throw it all on Hisao? Hell yeah, it is. There's a lot more blame to go around, and Lilly even blames herself at the end of chapter one. But she tends to agree with her sister's judgment, so that kind of falls apart.
Mirage_GSM wrote:I think Lilly is quite a bit ooc in this chapter. First she's even clumsier than Hisao when she confronts Hanako, then she's bossing around Akira...
Flutist pretty much hit the nail on her head. She's ooc because of her mental/physical state. The Lilly in the wheat field is arguably ooc for similar reasons. There's also the scene where she trips over Kenji and goes ballistic. And her good ending when she collapses on Hisao's bed in tears. Under extreme stress - whether that be emotional, mental, physical, or some combination of the three - her porcelain mask tends to shatter, and she showcases extreme emotion for a short time. As for being clumsier than Hisao, she's extremely tired. Cut the girl some slack. :wink:
Ascended Flutist wrote:I liked Hanako's perspective especially. The grim side of it. Oh yes.
Good. Glad someone else liked it. That was my favorite scene to write, by far.

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