Me, My Yoke And I (Rin, post bad end)

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Scissorlips
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Me, My Yoke And I (Rin, post bad end)

Post by Scissorlips » Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:51 am

I was going to put this in my one-shot thread, but it was a little too long, plus I don't really write much Rin so I wanted this to be visible to the people who do, or those who enjoy reading stories about her. Not quite sure why I wrote this, not out of any particular desire to "fix" things. Just wanted to create, I guess.
Like I said, Rin is not my area of expertise. Feel free to tear this apart. Thanks for reading.


Me, My Yoke And I


A knock on the door interrupts my halfhearted attempt at painting. My hand jerks, leaving an arrant slash of black across the canvas. Upon closer inspection, it might actually look better now. But it still looks like garbage anyway.

There's another bang on my door, and I set the brush down, already prepared to snarl at whoever is on the other side. It could be Emi, people are starting to arrive back at the school with the end of summer vacation. But she was leaving me alone the last few weeks before the break, no reason for her to start coming back around now. I don't think she blames me. I'm pretty sure she knows what it feels like to want so badly to understand Rin and fall short.

Speaking of Rin. I'm pretty sure it's not her either, although of it was, I wouldn't know what to say. I've already snarled at her enough. And besides, I imagine her knocking would be a little different, she'd either have to kick my door or headbutt it. Either one should be humorous to me, but I find it hard to smile at anything involving her anymore.

A twist of my doorknob reveals it to be Kenji, the most logical candidate to be interrupting me right now. Summer vacation isn't quite over yet, people are starting to trickle back but me, I never left. My parents wanted me to come home and see them during the break, but it just never ended up happening. I just stayed here, feeling like a withering flower, or, or something rotting. Like something dark brown, or black. Muddy. Uncomfortable. I don't really feel like facing my parents, not right now anyway, I'd rather just stay holed up in my room. If it's all a waste of time anyway, I'd rather waste it in my own way.

Kenji spouts some more of his usual nonsense, something about building a bunker and how I should have been there to help. Somehow, I can barely understand what he's saying anymore. Not like he was ever easy to understand to begin with, but now, something about him just puts me off. The way he leaps from thought to thought, how he babbles on and on about nothing, interrupted with the occasional moment of clarity, it's like, it's like narrowing your eyes when you see something you don't like. But with your head. Like, I want to shrink back from his presence, I want to retreat.

“Are you painting something, man?” Kenjis asks, and I realize that I actually have taken a few steps back. Obviously interpreting this as some kind of cue to move forward, he's thrust his head inside my room, and is squinting at the easel next to my bed. It's perched on top of a wide base of newspapers, and adorned by yet another of my attempts to produce... something. I don't know. It's black. And Kenji, Kenji is like a pale green, I don't like it. I don't want that, I don't feel anything but black right now.

What the hell am I saying? I don't even know anymore. I don't know myself.

Maybe I've been changing lately. Actually, I know I have. I've changed a lot since arriving here. Mostly for the better.

Mostly.

I think.

“It's nothing. It's... a coded transmission.” I say with a frown. I wish he would go, why is he even still here? Did he come back from summer vacation early just so he could bother me?

Kenji nods sagely, as if it was the answer he was expecting. “So you did pick up a trick or two from our comrade with the red hair. I'm glad, he seemed like a bright fellow, we could always use another one of those in our ranks.”

Comrade? He? Wait, that's right, Kenji's vision is so bad that he had mistaken Rin for a boy upon first meeting her. Actually, I guess that's something that might happen often, considering her shorter hair and frank attitude.

Comrade. I want to spit. Where, and what, I don't know. Rin isn't my comrade. If she ever was, she isn't anymore. Not since that night at the atelier, or the morning after. When she had hadn't been able to tell me why she treated me like garbage, why she jerked me around and needed me one moment and wanted me to leave the next.

I don't know. I don't know, I really did like Rin, I liked the way she saw the world, I liked the way she was able to distil things and ignore things that didn't matter at times, but I... I couldn't see things the way she did. And she couldn't help me see them that way either, and I was angry at that. I was angry at her, angry at me.

I needed her. I wanted to need her, and I wanted her to need me, and, and... all I wanted was for things to be clear for once. To know where I stood, how I felt, how she felt. And if the two of us felt the same way. But that kind of clarity was impossible for her, and now, it feels like it's impossible for me too. I don't know anything. I don't feel anything, do I feel this way? Or do I think I feel this way? It doesn't matter. I don't want to be a thousand shades of gray or brown, I want to be black.

I want everything to be black. It's simpler.

I've been stirred up inside like this for weeks and weeks, since before summer vacation. I'm still angry. But I haven't seen Rin since, so there's no one to be pissed at but myself, now. And Kenji. I'm about to tell him to leave so I can get back to my half-assed attempts at creating... something, but realize that I'm actually running low on supplies. I need more black. And maybe, maybe some blue. Dark blue, like how I've been waking up in the middle of the night, my irregular heartbeat reverberating through my chest.

Rin used to listen to my heartbeat. It didn't bother her.

I need to go, I need to get more stuff, I need to paint. I don't want to think about these things, I want to put it down on canvas so I can file it away, so I can have it there and not here.

I snatch my wallet from my desk and head for the door, thinking I'll probably have to shove Kenji out of my room, but he backs away in time.

“I'm leaving.” I say flatly. Kenji seems a little puzzled, he always was thick.

“Alright man, you need a bodyguard or something? Maybe we should find a third so you can be in the middle, it's safest that way.”

“No.” I wish his vision was perfect, at least then he'd be able to see the grimace on my face. Actually, if his eyes weren't so bad he probably wouldn't be at Yamaku to begin with. Even better.



The trip down the hill into town passes by uneventfully. The sky looks like it's going to open up any moment and unleash a torrent of rain, I almost wish it would. I like the rain, it's like painting, it makes me feel connected, it...

Damn it. Damn it. Those aren't my words, those aren't my thoughts. Rin said that, that day we were walking back from the Shanghai.

She's in my head. I guess it was stupid to expect that I could just pull the plug, just shut out her influence, after all the time we spent together. I haven't seen her since that day at the atelier. But here I am, heading into town to get painting supplies. And I'm not just imitating her hobbies now, I'm imitating her thoughts. How the hell did it come to this? I've always liked the rain, in moderation, anyway. I'm not going to stop liking it just because Rin does, too.

I pass the Shanghai, where I used to eat with Emi and Rin. I pass the convenience store, the spot on the street where I encountered that confused, addled mind. That beautiful mind, that beautiful girl, in her own strange, weird way. I feel ugly in comparison, I feel muted and dull, the gray sky makes everything look just like me. Miserable.

I finally arrive at the small hobby store, the only one like it in town, but just as I'm about to enter, the door opens and a pair of students from my class emerge.

The girl is Molly, she sits in front of me. She's nice, but we've never really talked that much. She's arm in arm with Takashi, a boy who I've never really been able to stand. He's in the art club, and just comes off as a pompous ass sometimes, but here, the two of them look so happy together. I think they started dating not long after I arrived, and from the few times I spoke with Molly before, I almost had a feeling that there could have been something between us, if I had wanted to try. But seeing the two of them like this, so happy and comfortable together, it makes me glad I never did. I don't think I could make her feel the way Takashi does. In fact, I don't think I could make anyone feel like that. I feel even uglier, even more alone. More black.

They had been talking, but the two of them look up as they spot me. Molly gives me a smile, while Takashi wears something halfway between a smirk and a grimace.

“Hey Nakai.” He grunts. I give them a nod as I pass, and reach for the door handle, but I can hear the two of them whispering back and forth.

Because that's what I need, more gossip. I'm sure my fall from grace in the art club has already been discussed quite a lot, I'm sure everyone's heard the story by now. Like whispers and spiderwebs, like gray things that you barely see but you need the right light, and they stick to you so you can't tear them out.

“Hisao? Hey.” Molly calls behind me. I turn around slowly, trying to make my expression neutral, not gray, not black. Clear. But not really. I don't want to be clear. I don't want people to see in.

“How was your summer vacation?” Molly asks, still smiling. She seems honest and genuine, I wonder what she sees in a jerk like Takashi? I wonder what she ever might have seen in a jerk like me?

“Fine.” I say flatly. “I didn't do much. Started painting a bit. That's why.” I jab my thumb towards the shop behind me, hoping that will get my meaning across. Too late to change it now.

Takashi makes a face that says he'd love to see my work, probably so he could tear it to pieces or feel better about himself, he was always bitter that Rin received more praise and attention than he did. I don't know if that will be a problem anymore. But who cares. I'm not going back, I won't be able to see.

“That's great.” Molly's smile picks up, but then it fades away. “Hey, um. You know Tezuka pretty well, right? Rin?”

I scowl. It just happens.

“I did. I might have. If anyone can.”

Molly laughs politely, obviously trying to be civil. She's like a boring, powder blue. Pretty. Strained.

“Well, I was only asking because she's inside, and...”

“She looks like shit.” Takashi speaks up, sounding like the fact doesn't bother him at all. Molly shoots him a dirty look, and he sighs.

“Sorry.” He mutters. “Look, we know something went down between you two. We just think that maybe...” He glances at Molly, who nods, spurring him on. Takashi grimaces.

“Maybe you should talk to her. Just see her, just do something.” He finishes.

The two of them watch me hopefully, Molly moreso than Takashi. I feel far from clear right now, I feel black, no, dark red. Like something hot and burned and burning still.

“Fine. I mean, maybe I will.” I turn and pull the door open before they can see the look of disgust on my face. Disgust at me? Disgust at them? At Rin? I don't know.

“Thanks...” Molly says softly, just before the door closes and they're blocked from my sight, from my hearing, from my world.



The shop is well lit, a calm, cool place, with aisles of models, puzzles, posters, most of them marketed towards the older population of the town, but a few splashes of color and newer products clearly aimed at visiting students. In the back. Cans of paint, small, glass jars, girls with burnt auburn hair and sleeves tied short in knots.

Just one of those, actually. Just one. The only one I've ever met, and god, I hope I don't meet another.

She's in my way. I need paint, I need, I need black and dark blue and... I feel yellow now. Scared. Unwell. My head feels so clouded, I want it to be clear, I want it to be simple. Maybe I only took the faulty parts, the obnoxious parts of Rin, I don't think I have any of the calm pieces, the ones that were able to separate the world into simple shades of just existing. Things you love. Things you hate. It's all just things to me, and there's too many of them now. Too many things that I can't let go.

Stop, stop. Stop. I don't know what to do. She's just standing there, her head barely moving, looking at the rows of paint. Before I know what I'm doing, I'm walking. I'm there. I'm next to her.

It's like we're strangers. She doesn't move, doesn't look over. I stare straight ahead, entranced with the can of prussian blue in front of me. Blue? I don't feel blue. There's nothing blue here.

The air feels tense, I'm glaring. Stop that. My heart is pounding. I steal a glance at the girl to my right, she does look awful. Should I be happy about that? Her hair is matted and disheveled, dark circles underscore her empty eyes, her skin is pale, her clothes, stained. She looks like she's been walking in the rain every chance she gets. If she's been trying to destroy herself, I think she's gotten better at it.

Not good enough though? Do I wish she had tried harder? No, no, I don't. Her head begins to turn, she's going to look at me. I should look away. I should, I feel like I have to. But I can't, I don't.

With the speed of a stone coming to life, Rin turns to look at me, her eyes immediately finding mine. Those big, dark green pools reflect no light, her expression is completely blank. She's clear. Am I clear? I'm not, I'm just black. I'm a dark, dark yellow, fear and panic tempered with some kind of sick despair.

A few moments pass. I've been to this store a few times over the break, it's a miracle, or... a tragedy or god damn I don't even know. We've never met here before. I haven't seen her since the day at the atelier. Since she told me to go, to go away.

I left, Rin. I went away, and I rotted and I burned and I tore myself apart and now I'm here. I didn't come here for you.

I can't stop my emotions from playing out in my face. Rin keeps staring at me with that empty gaze, but she seems to shrink somehow. She seems to wilt. Like, before, she was searching for something, and now she's not happy with what she found. Well good god damned luck finding something else.

I turn to look back at the paint supplies in front of us. Black. That's what I want. That's what I need.

“Hello.” Rin says. She tries to do so in her usual monotone way, but her voice cracks. From emotion? I doubt it. From disuse, more likely.

I don't know what to say. A normal, cordial conversation, have I ever had one with Rin, even before? When we were friends, or something more but never really.

“Hello.” She says again, this time managing her normal, deadpan tone. I turn to look at her, trying to wipe the grimace from my face, and she's still staring at me, wincing slightly. Like it hurts to speak? To me? Does it hurt to see me?

Because it hurts to see her.

“Hello, Rin.” I sigh, looking away again.

“I'm here because I need more paint.” I add, reaching for a small can that seems like it will suit my needs.

“Black.” Rin says softly, staring at my choice.

“Yeah.” I shoot her a glare, of course it's black. That's how I feel most of the time, now. Rin stares back at me, eyes wide in a rare moment of expression.

“Are you all black?” She asks, her expression growing sorrowful.

“Yeah.” I spit, but my anger begins to fade. I don't want to be angry, I, I don't want to be black, or red, or some deep, dark and hurtful combination of the two. I just want to be normal, I just want to go back. But I don't know if I ever will, if I'll ever be able to.

I want to be who I was before. When I was with Rin, when I was starting to feel all right, and I was getting to know her better, and she was some endlessly perplexing mystery to me, constantly confusing, but always drawing me forward. Until we hit a wall. Until we stopped, and I just, I just didn't. I didn't stop.

I can't stop. I tried, I laid in my bed for days, I shut out everything else, but things keep going, the world keeps going. My head and my feet have put me here. Is it the same for her?

Rin looks like a wreck, standing next to me, she looks like she's in shambles. I probably look the same. I feel the same.

It's only now that I notice the large tub of paint at her feet. Too big for her to carry in her mouth, too big for her to carry by herself.

Black paint.

I look away, of course we'd have something in common. What the hell am I supposed to do about it? Rin returns to silence, her gaze drifting back and forth between the can in my hands at the one beside her on the floor. We stand there for what feels like hours. This is almost like before, but it feels so much worse. I won't lie, I dreamed about somehow fixing things with Rin, about going back, starting over. Trying again. But there isn't a drop of anything resembling hope in the air. Just black.

“How'd your art exhibition go?” I try to ask it normally, but my voice barely makes it past a whisper.

There's a long pause. Rin's eyes have sunk to the floor, where they now stay.

“It didn't.” She says simply.

Good, I want to say, I want to think and believe. But I don't. I'm angry. I'm hurt, I have been. But do I hate Rin? I don't hate who she is, underneath it all. I hate the things standing between us, I hate how we can't understand eachother, how we can't connect. I hate the things I said, the things she said. But I don't hate her.

Rin looks up at me, her big, wide eyes taking in the sight of me. She looks like she wants to cry.

“I can't.” She says. She can't cry. She knows I know that.

“Yeah.” I reply softly, there's no more red.

Rin reaches with one foot, scooping up a small can of paint and holding it before her as best as she can. She studies it searchingly, her dark eyes flickering back and forth.

“Yellow?” I ask.

Rin frowns. “I don't want yellow.” She whispers after a few long moments.

She sets the can back down, looks up, looks around. Her gaze comes to rest on a can further up, too high for her to reach.

“White?” I spit, feeling my anger beginning to return. White, like something pure and clean and soft and smooth? Yeah right, like there's any time or room for that, like anything has been white for--

“No.” She says, frowning, she looks pained. “White.” She glances at me. I stare into those murky green eyes, I take in the sight of this shattered shell in front of me.

And I understand.

“White.” I repeat, dropping my head, closing my eyes. I open them again, reach for the can, grasp it. I hold it out to Rin, who leans forward, taking the handle in her mouth. Her lips brush my fingers, of course I think back to the oranges I once helped her enjoy.

Rin stares at me, her eyes saying nothing, but everything else about her speaks volumes. I've never seen someone look so broken.

She leans forward again. Offers the can to me. As if it were that simple. It's not. Nothing is.

But she wants it to be. I want it to be. Maybe that's enough? Maybe it could be?

I gave the white to her. She gave it to me.

Okay.

White.

“Okay.” I say through grit teeth. I take the can back, my hands fall to my sides. Rin closes her eyes.

Outside, it begins to rain.

White.

We surrender.






“Me, My Yoke And I” is a(n) (incredible) song by Damien Rice.
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LOL WUT
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Re: Me, My Yoke And I (Rin, post bad end)

Post by LOL WUT » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:21 am

"But Mom, I don't like Rin!"

"Read it! It's a Scissorlips story!"

"Fine! Gosh."

That was actually pretty Damn good.

'Course that much is to be expected from you.

Heh also I have not gotten Rin's bad end so I don't even know what the Fuck is going on.
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Re: Me, My Yoke And I (Rin, post bad end)

Post by Guest » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:59 am

So grimdark and edgy, I give this Linkin Park out of 10

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Re: Me, My Yoke And I (Rin, post bad end)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:26 am

At first I was a bit confused as to which bad end you were writing this for, but it became clear soon enough. You might still clarify a bit, though.
Great story.
I liked how Hisao has become all Rinny without noticing himself.
And the "conversation" at the end was pure genius.
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Re: Me, My Yoke And I (Rin, post bad end)

Post by Helbereth » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:40 am

Guest wrote:So grimdark and edgy, I give this Linkin Park out of 10
With You out of 10

I heard that song again recently and realized it positively encapsulates Rin and Hisao's relationship.


I love your use of colors in the story to pinpoint emotions, and relate Hisao's changing state of mind. Black for the despair, red for anger, blue for sadness, yellow for fear, brown for disgust, gray for melancholy and finally white to wash it all away. The symbolism of the white paint as a way to start the canvas over again, I imagine, is at the same time deep and disgustingly adorable.

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Re: Me, My Yoke And I (Rin, post bad end)

Post by nemz » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:28 pm

Quality stuff here. It's perhaps a bit much to make Hisao so blatantly unhisaoish, but the conversation at the end is awesome enough to justify it. I also rather like the connection to Kenji, drawing uncomfortable parallels and the fact that his lie about 'coded transmissions' is more honest than he realizes himself.
Rin > Shizune > Emi > Hanako > Lilly

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Re: Me, My Yoke And I (Rin, post bad end)

Post by Scissorlips » Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:17 pm

LOL WUT wrote:"But Mom, I don't like Rin!"

"Read it! It's a Scissorlips story!"

"Fine! Gosh."

That was actually pretty Damn good.

'Course that much is to be expected from you.

Heh also I have not gotten Rin's bad end so I don't even know what the Fuck is going on.
I actually felt kind of similar, since I never write Rin stories, heh. Thank you for your kind words.
Guest wrote:So grimdark and edgy, I give this Linkin Park out of 10
I put out an open call for criticism, so I won't get mad at you providing it, although I do wish you could have taken a little more time to be specific. I won't deny that Hisao comes off as an emotional, angsty teenager in this story because, well, he is. I tried to take his mentality at the end of Rin's bad end and then expand on what he would be like having the whole of summer break to stew. But it is an emotional piece, maybe a little overdone at times, but I also think it kind of suits a story about Hisao and Rin. That's just my personal opinion, though.
Mirage_GSM wrote:At first I was a bit confused as to which bad end you were writing this for, but it became clear soon enough. You might still clarify a bit, though.
Great story.
I liked how Hisao has become all Rinny without noticing himself.
And the "conversation" at the end was pure genius.
I understand what you mean, but even though her neutral end is far "worse" than her bad and, she really only has one that's technically known as such, so I think it should be okay. Thank you.
Helbereth wrote:I love your use of colors in the story to pinpoint emotions, and relate Hisao's changing state of mind. Black for the despair, red for anger, blue for sadness, yellow for fear, brown for disgust, gray for melancholy and finally white to wash it all away. The symbolism of the white paint as a way to start the canvas over again, I imagine, is at the same time deep and disgustingly adorable.
Thank you. I tried to work in a little of what some people have pointed out about Rin's route, where in the beginning she uses abstract motions like colors to try to convey things, and then, by the time of her good end, she's searching for clearer ways to express herself - instead of "it has to be like the color of...", she says things like "what's the word when...", etc. Here, she never progressed to that point, and I used Kenji as an example that Hisao has actually regressed in his ability to communicate with and understand other people.
nemz wrote:Quality stuff here. It's perhaps a bit much to make Hisao so blatantly unhisaoish, but the conversation at the end is awesome enough to justify it. I also rather like the connection to Kenji, drawing uncomfortable parallels and the fact that his lie about 'coded transmissions' is more honest than he realizes himself.
I can see what you mean. Hisao is in such a rut at the end of Rin's bad end that I could see him developing this way by the end of summer vacation, but it is a bit of a departure, yeah. Thank you.

Thanks for reading, everyone. I'm grateful for the chance to have my efforts received and critiqued, it's a unique experience for me.
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Re: Me, My Yoke And I (Rin, post bad end)

Post by Total Destruction » Sat Jul 28, 2012 5:38 pm

It really took me a minute to follow exactly what the hell was happening in this story, but given a reread and a proper understanding of who and when, and most importantly, WHAT, we're dealing with here, it made perfect sense.

I think.

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Re: Me, My Yoke And I (Rin, post bad end)

Post by griffon8 » Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:03 pm

Total Destruction wrote:GODDAMN IT I'M NEVER LEAVING THIS GODDAMN SITE TODAY
And this is a problem because… ?
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Re: Me, My Yoke And I (Rin, post bad end)

Post by Scissorlips » Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:43 am

Total Destruction wrote:It really took me a minute to follow exactly what the hell was happening in this story, but given a reread and a proper understanding of who and when, and most importantly, WHAT, we're dealing with here, it made perfect sense.

I think.

GODDAMN IT I'M NEVER LEAVING THIS GODDAMN SITE TODAY
This is precisely why I do not Rin very often.
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Re: Me, My Yoke And I (Rin, post bad end)

Post by JTemby » Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:59 am

-Groans-
Damn it, this is why I shouldn't read your one-shots Scissorlips!

You create such an overwhelming atmosphere of intrigue within your writing which always leaves me yearn for more despite giving us an ending.

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