Akira Pseudo-Route [Complete!]

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/20]

Post by Triscuitable » Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:17 pm

Thanatos02 wrote:I am so sorry about the delay.
I've been going through a pretty big slump for a few weeks now, due to some things happening in my private life. I haven't been able to write much at all, and every time I do get something down I wind up deleting it out of frustration. It doesn't help that I'm trying something new with this chapter, and that's also been very tiring to work with. It's been getting a little better lately, now that I have some things figured out, but I can't post a reliable due date or anything like that. I'm really sorry to everyone who has been looking forward to the next chapter.
No worries. I myself, had a recent event occur of significant proportions.

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/20]

Post by nemz » Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:15 pm

Hey man no need to feel guilty... just write if and when you want. It's your car, we're just along for the ride.
Rin > Shizune > Emi > Hanako > Lilly

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/20]

Post by Bagheera » Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:39 pm

Thanatos02 wrote:I am so sorry about the delay.
I've been going through a pretty big slump for a few weeks now, due to some things happening in my private life. I haven't been able to write much at all, and every time I do get something down I wind up deleting it out of frustration. It doesn't help that I'm trying something new with this chapter, and that's also been very tiring to work with. It's been getting a little better lately, now that I have some things figured out, but I can't post a reliable due date or anything like that. I'm really sorry to everyone who has been looking forward to the next chapter.
You're of course allowed to vent, but I feel like slapping you with a dead fish for feeling guilty about this. As I've said, it's your baby so post it when you're ready; we have no cause whatsoever for complaint about the timeframe since we're getting an awesome story for the very low price of a bit of patience.

That said, vibes on your general frustration. I know how it goes when you're tearing your hair out because things just. won't. come together. Hang in there, and don't give up! We'll be waiting, as always.
Girls: Emi = Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Shizune = Rin
Routes: Rin = Shizune > Emi > Lilly = Hanako

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/20]

Post by sfavron » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:47 am

Thanatos02 wrote:I am so sorry about the delay.
I've been going through a pretty big slump for a few weeks now, due to some things happening in my private life. I haven't been able to write much at all, and every time I do get something down I wind up deleting it out of frustration. It doesn't help that I'm trying something new with this chapter, and that's also been very tiring to work with. It's been getting a little better lately, now that I have some things figured out, but I can't post a reliable due date or anything like that. I'm really sorry to everyone who has been looking forward to the next chapter.
I've really been enjoying this pseudo-route so far; it's definitely one of my favourite fanfics. Something this good is worth waiting for - no reason for you to feel bad about taking some time off when you need to.

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/20]

Post by kanra » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:53 am

I am loving this fanfiction, it's so well written
I really can't explain how good it is, for some reason I expect a fanfic to not be at this level but it's just sooo good.
Feel free to take as long as you need everyone will be here for when you return :D :D :D
"You're not sticking your dick in my sock!" ~~ Kenji Setou

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/20]

Post by Kantaan » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:04 pm

Hey man, as long as the quality is there, no one is gonna complain about how long you take to update.

On another note, I adore this story, always like Akira.

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/20]

Post by Thanatos02 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:14 am

Well, it's only been four weeks. Not that long at all, right?
There are a lot of excuses to explain why I took so long writing this, but frankly that's all they are; excuses, and I know no one wants to hear my nonsensical blogging. I let life and my feelings drag me around instead of putting more time into the things that mattered, and as a result I let a few things slip away. That's all there is to say about that.

This chapter is intended to act as a bridge between acts 4 and 5, and once the first chapter of act 5 hits, you'll understand exactly why it's needed. I wanted to try something new as well, and this is an idea I've had floating around for a while. Thanks everyone for bearing with the absurd wait time, and I hope to get back on semi-"regular" schedule soon.

Intermission: Bridging the Gap

Beep. Beeep. Beeeep.

Fighting back the call to cruel reality, I reach out from underneath the blankets and give a sluggish whack to the 'snooze' button at my bedside.

It’s too early in the morning; I don’t care what time it actually is, it’s too early.

The quiet that results is only enjoyable for a few more moments before the alarm clock chimes up again, earning it yet another slap on the head. I sandwich my head between two pillows, letting all the outside sources of annoyance fade away.

I still don't know what time it is and as of whenever five minutes ago was, I don't care – the morning is for resting and falling asleep in the bath. And breakfast, but breakfast is also equally delicious in the evening.

Of course, that doesn't stop that naggy beeping from interrupting my sleep again. There's no point in fighting it this time so I go ahead and sit up, not even bothering to open my eyes before I stretch my back out.

The alarm clock continues its incessant cries as I move to the edge of the bed, buttoning up my shirt and rubbing the sleep from my eyes.

“Sister, I do think it's time to wake up.” A soft and calming yet commanding voice calls out after a few knocks against my door.

“Yeah yeah.” I call back as I pick the annoying black box up and switch the alarm off, making me wish I hadn't bought one that gets louder each time I press snooze. If anything, the alarm should get quieter – pressing the snooze button should re-assert that I refuse to get up and that it should be more understanding. The alarm clock doesn’t have a desk job and a dozen errands to run, unlike certain others.

Well, it's not like I'll have a job for a while either. At the moment I'm on an indefinite leave of absence, not so much because I refused a job offer from the head of the company himself but more because there's a lot of paperwork that needs to get taken care of before I can come back. Nullification or retrieval of transferred records and all that.

At least I've got enough in savings to tide me over for a few weeks. A few months if I decide to live with a bit more frugality, but where’s the fun in that? I don't think I'm a very expensive person in the first place; I try to limit myself to one vacation a year.

For now, I’m sitting in my penthouse enjoying the time off without worrying myself over the uncertainty of a total lifestyle change. Although considering everything that’s happened recently, I’m just glad I don’t have to pack up and move out; I like it here.

The clattering of plates, pots, and pans manages to pierce through the wall, helping to remind me that I've got to take care of two more girls now. Although, it's more like they're taking care of me by the sounds of it.

Not that I mind.

I'm already on my feet by the time another set of knocks sound, pushing the door ajar to reveal my baby sister still in her cute pajamas. The navy-blue cloth shimmers even in the morning light, the top button of her shirt undone and her pale legs bare below the thigh.

“How long have you and Hana been up?” I ask, unable to stifle the yawn that follows.

She gives me a curt smile, “ever since your alarm clock rung the first time.”

I glance over to the black box, no bigger than both of my fists put together. “Ah, yeah, I do have it set kinda loud. I always have trouble getting up in the morning, you know that.”

“Perhaps for your birthday I should get you an alarm clock that doesn't turn off until you get out of bed.” Lilly muses, one hand over her mouth as she gives me that overly-polite giggle.

My shoulders drop at the mention of such a thing. “You wouldn't be so cruel.”

Her expression hardens and she gives me a curt “I would” before giving me a laugh and going back to her usual smile.

“Meanie.” I counter before patting her on the head.

Her cheek puffs out and she gives me a girlish pout, still with her arms behind her back. “Akira, do you have to do that all the time?”

I slide my fingers into the silky texture of her golden locks and gently scratch her head. “Lilly, do you have to have such marvelous hair?”

It doesn’t help that she has bed-hair that even Godiva would be jealous of.

She gives me a tired 'hm' before pulling away and guiding her own hand along the wall paneling. “Anyway, Akira, I’d like to go out as soon as possible today.”

“Where we going?” I groan before letting out another long, satisfying yawn.

I was ready for a day of sleeping, listening to music, and possibly one of Lilly’s wonderful back massages. Running around the city can wait ‘til tomorrow, can’t it?

Lilly continues walking down the hall away from me. “Hanako and I were discussing shopping last night, although we can make a few stops along the way if you’d like.”

Oh, yeah, shopping does seem like something we should clear away before it has a chance to slip our minds.

“Fair enough, gimme a sec.” I reply out of habit, wanting to get ready more to be on time for breakfast than to get out of the house ASAP.

I shuffle over to the closet and slide the folding door over, reaching for one of the seven black, pinstriped suits out of habit. Would that really be appropriate for today, though? We're just going to the mall, or something along that line.

It's not a difficult decision. I don't have very much of a selection within my wardrobe anyway, just the suits I wear to work and everywhere else, a party dress I haven't worn since college, a...

The hanger falls off of the rack as I cycle past it.

“Haven't worn this in a while.” I muse, picking the checkered cloth up off the ground.

I wonder if I'll ever get a chance to wear it again; not so much for the looks, but because it was really comfy to move around in. At the very least I could throw it on for another beach trip.

Oh, hey, there's something we could do while they're out of classes. The shore is only a few hours away, anyway. I don't know if Hanako has a swimsuit, but Lilly should still have that yellow one I got her to wear over in Inverness.

That is, if she brought it. They didn't pack up their entire rooms for the end of the trimester, they're just going to spend summer vacation here instead of at the school. It's Hanako's first time over, but she should feel more than welcome even with as skittish as she gets.

The smell of fresh pancakes slithers its way into my nose, forcing my decision as I grab a pair of capris and a yellow tank top, neither of which I've worn in months. I honestly feel more comfortable in a suit even with this heat, but I may as well try something different to mix it up.

My nose is all but twitching in anticipation by the time I get into the kitchen to find Hanako already dressed and Lilly still in her pajamas, both of them poring over my kitchen utensils. Lilly finishes filling a kettle and sets it on the stovetop while Hanako grips the handle of a skillet.

“I guess you decided to use my pancake mix, eh?” I ask, waiting for Hanako to finish flipping the disc of batter over.

She glances at me from over her shoulder, clearly scared to look away from the pan for too long. “U-um... it's okay, right?”

“It's no doubt what she was planning to prepare anyway.” Lilly chimes in from around the corner, hopefully heading back to her bedroom to get dressed.

“Yeah, don't worry about it.” I add, peeking over Hanko's shoulder and wiping a smudge of batter from her cheek. “Like I said last night, help yourself to whatever you want. The food's here to be eaten.”

Thankfully she seems to know how to prepare a western breakfast, something I may need a little bit more practice with. Even so, it's just a simple arrangement – the only other things available to go with pancakes are the dozen eggs laying on the counter. Nothing she does will bother me, so long as she doesn't touch the salmon in the fridge. That's big sis' project.

While the girl behind me finishes up with the food, I plug in the coffee maker and get my own morning delight started. “Do you drink coffee, Hanako?”

She tries to split her gaze between me and the skillet as she gingerly slides the pancakes onto a plate already stacked with them. Her efforts don't go too far on either front as she opens her mouth to speak and nearly knocks the plate off of the countertop.

“I'm gonna say no. You seem jumpy enough as it is.” I remark, nudging her in the side as she picks up the food with an embarrassed look.

The dish of pancakes is carried to the dining table a room over with all the care and caution of a peg-legged butler. As soon as she reaches her destination, Hanako glances over at me to reply with “I-I would like some coffee, A-Akira.”

“Sure thing. Cream or sugar?” I ask before scooping about a fistful of ground coffee into the filter and pouring water over it.

She pauses for a moment to think it over, before responding with “I'll, um... I'll get it myself.”

Heh. She's like me, I bet -- can't even drink the stuff without at least four spoons of sugar. Hopefully she's not too picky about flavor. I'll be the first to admit that a french press isn't exactly on my list of priorities, and I don't feel like going out of my way to get exotic coffee beans left behind by the last living dinosaurs.

“Put as much as you want into it. I won't judge you.”

I feel a grin creep up on my lips as her face turns beet red, trying her best not to fidget as she comes back for dishes to set the table.

This girl has no business being this adorable. I just want to hug her.

Lilly doesn't take that long to finish getting dressed, returning to the dining room in a white camisole accompanied by a loose-fitting blue jacket and ankle-length skirt. She's tied her hair back into a ponytail with her usual black ribbon, looking chipper as ever.

“So, what are we doing today, again?” I ask as I slide a chair out for her, noting that Hanako doesn't sit down until Lilly is in her place.

Hanako picks up Lilly's plate and plants a stack of three pancakes as well as a healthy mound of scrambled eggs and breakfast sausage on top before handing it to her, using almost too much caution as she tries to make sure Lilly doesn't drop it. Little sis locates the syrup and begins to help herself, no doubt ready to eat since pancakes happen to be her favorite breakfast.

“I was hoping we could go to the mall, for a change of pace.” Lilly answers while Hanako sets her own plate up. “I don't have much in the way of casual clothes at the moment. I've grown out of many of my things in my time at school.”

Don't brag. I bet your bras have gotten so uncomfortable.

I step back into the kitchen to pour myself and Hanako a cup of coffee. “A day at the mall sounds great, actually. Not like I’ve got anything planned beyond sleeping and watching TV, heh.”

And getting Lilly to rub my back out... but that can wait.

Hanako's cup makes it safely onto the table before I head back to the oven at the sound of the kettle boiling. While she helps herself to the cream and sugar, no doubt rushing to make sure I can't count them out and make another quip, I sort out the free leaves and pour Lilly a cup of tea.

She's never been one for coffee, sadly. Just like my mother; can't even stand the taste of the stuff, whether it be black or even decaf with enough sugar to make it overflow. I'm on the opposite side of the field – I could drink coffee from sun-up to sundown and then some, but me and tea don't get along too often. The only kind of tea that I can even stomach is orange pekoe, and that's on a good day.

But tea is what Lilly takes, so I'll do my best to put something drinkable on the table. Earl Grey is morning tea, right? There’s so much pomp and circumstance to this crap.

I set the teacup down in front of her, already bracing myself for Lilly's disapproving look. She won't directly show it, but you can see it on her face whenever she doesn't like something; a twitch of her lip or a wriggle of her nose. She's too prim and proper to outright state her disappointment.

Makes me glad I grew out of that.

“Thank you, Akira.” She says, not even skipping a beat as she raises it to her lips and takes a sip, pausing for a moment to analyze each and every characteristic of my amateur tea. Meanwhile, Hanako takes meager drags from her coffee, offering no complaints between the bites of pancake that slip into her mouth.

Lilly then follows suit, manipulating a fork and knife in her fingers with finesse as she digs into her own food. The lack of any sort of expression in response to my tea means she's either gotten really good at hiding her displeasure, or I did a good job.

Might be a little bit of both – no point dwelling on it.

“So, did you two sleep well?” I ask while dumping more than a healthy helping of syrup on my breakfast. “I went in and changed out the sheets before heading over to the school, hopefully that made a difference.”

Hanako nods her head with enthusiasm. “L-Lilly's bed is much better than the school ones...”

“Lilly's bed? C'mon, I paid top dollar for that futon...” I trail off, nearly reducing a cut of my pancakes to mush.

My little sister lets out a small giggle. “The bed is large enough for the two of us to each have a sizable half. It's much better than that old futon, don't you think?”

Each of them get half, huh? I bet I could have walked in there to find them cuddling like a newlywed couple. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing, if you ask me. Kinda makes me wish I had a close friend like that when I was back in high school.

“I'll take it you both slept great, then.” I sigh before finally taking a bite.

It's nothing special – the pancakes, that is. It has nothing to do with Hanako's ability, though; it's just the lousy pancake mix. It's been sitting up there for about a month now because I never have time to make my own breakfast; a stop by the coffee machine before heading to work has been enough for the longest time.

Maybe it's time to stop experimenting with cooking. It's fun, but I can barely taste half the things I make. Tetsuo liked to insist that I was a great cook, buuuuut I'm pretty sure he only said stuff like that because he had to.

Really, that man did a lot of things only because he thought he had to. We only lasted so long out of an obligation to make it work out. It's the business we both work in, you have to exhaust every possible alternative before pulling the plug. Even then, that’s still only the start of the list of problems we had...

It's too early in the morning to be thinking about that stuff, though -- it’s already been two weeks, let’s put that away for a while.

“How did you do on your finals?” I ask, seeking a distraction. “You were kinda evasive about it when I asked on the phone.”

“That was simply because we hadn't gotten the scores in yet.” Lilly pouts, as sh- yep, her lip twitched. “I did quite well, if I may be so bold. I would like to contact my math professor, however.”

I pause to swallow the mound of scrambled egg in my mouth. “Why is that?”

She puts on another, even cuter pout and lets out a little huff. “He scored my exam a B+, and I believe that he simply graded me wrong. It was unjust to rush us like that on the final exam day of all days, and it showed on the class average.”

“Heh. Everyone makes mistakes, Lils.” I chuckle before taking another bite. The food might not be amazing, but it’s better than office coffee alone.

“It was not a mistake. It was unacceptable how he disturbed our test-taking like that.” She says, stopping to stuff a few bites into her mouth in contained anger.

“I-I didn't have any trouble on exam day...” Hanako murmurs, avoiding eye contact when I glance over to her.

Lilly has always been a bit of a perfectionist, although even I'm not sure if it's by nature or by habit. It must be more than a little embarrassing to have that blemish on her grade-point average.

I take a sip of my coffee. “Well, how did you do, Hanako?”

“M-Mostly low Bs...” She trails off, cradling the half-empty cup in her lap and glancing everywhere in the room but into my eyes. “I got an A- in chemistry, though.”

Low Bs are nothing to be ashamed of, if you ask me. I wasn't exactly a star student in high school despite the fact that all I was ever 'allowed' to do was study.

“I did rather well in chemistry too, might I add.” Lilly notes, snapping out of her little bout of frustration for just a moment. “It would seem that our study sessions with Hisao paid off.”

Ahhh, I remember that. Went over to Lilly's a week or two ago to talk to her about some important things only to find them having a study party. It was a good thing to run into him, at least. Then again, it's always fun running into him; I really enjoy his company.

“Well, he does seem to know his stuff.” I say.

Which seems a bit weird, since he doesn’t come off as the teacher's pet sort. More like that kid that spends all his free time studying so he can get away with sleeping or playing video games in class.

Hanako and Lilly both let out one of those girlish giggles, finding some kind of amusement in what I said. “H-He's one of Mutou's favorite students.” The dark-haired girl states.

He might be a bit of a teacher’s pet, then... “How'd he do on his exams?”

“Quite well for someone who transferred in only recently.” Lilly replies before taking another sip of her tea. “No perfect scores I'm afraid, and a C in English. His marks in science and math were very impressive, however.”

Math and science are good places to be getting high marks in if he wants to make the big bucks. I wish I'd done the same: I still regret all of the hours I dumped into studying for an English lit class that wasn't even slightly relevant to my career.

The rest of the food goes in silence, with forks scraping against plates in an attempt to salvage as much breakfast as possible before we have to go on our way. Of course, I'm not allowed to get up and begin clearing the table without getting an earful from Lilly.

“I'm surprised you didn't know any of that. Don't Hisao and you talk all the time?” She mentions, a coy smile on her lips as if she had nothing to hide.

I let out a deep sigh. “Not recently, no. It's been two weeks since I actually got on the phone with him. Last times I heard from him were the night Tetsuo and I broke up and a few days ago when he texted me saying he was going to his parents' house for summer break.”

As much as I hate to admit it, I can feel my hand fidgeting with the fork like some kind of nervous or evasive tic.

Hanako tries to hide her own tiny smile as well, to no avail. “D-Doesn't he l-l-like you, though?”

Ooh, big question right there. Too bad Lilly decides to throw her two bits in there as well; “he certainly doesn't try to hide it. The subject changes to you every time your name is so much as mentioned while Hisao is around.”

“Well, I am a pretty interesting person.” I jab back, knowing full well where this conversation is going. I don’t know why, but I feel like now isn’t the proper time to talk about this.

Lilly giggles before delivering her counter. “You seem awfully interested as well.”

“Do I?” I reply, setting my fork down and laying back in the chair. “Well, he's pretty charming, but...”

I told him I wanted to be alone for a while. I need to get everything sorted out, whether it be what I was going to do after getting over all the bones I had to pick with Tetsuo and remaining in Japan, as well as sorting out my own feelings towards Hisao.

Not that there’s much to sort out, really; the feelings are there. Even while I was still ‘taken,’ I could feel a little bit of joy every time I ran into him. That night he confessed to me at the jazz club caused my heart to stop for a solid second -- more out of surprise than infatuation, but part of me was definitely blown away by that.

“Well, I'd be a little disappointed if you weren't.” My sister argues, clasping her hands together.

Hell, that's something I'm STILL trying to figure out. I'm curious enough to want to know more about him, but a full-on relationship seems kinda...

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind spending a lot more time with him, but there are a lot of barriers in the way. For example: the fact that we're almost seven friggin' years apart.

Just... He's eighteen. I shouldn't be this fascinated with a guy who hasn't even graduated from high school! I won’t say it’s more trouble than it’s worth, but at this rate it won't be long before my co-workers are calling me the cougar boss or something.

I cross my arms and chuckle at the thought before refocusing on Lilly. “Okay, okay, okay. He’s a very good guy and I am leaning towards him a bit, but I honestly don’t know what he sees in me, or how we could even work it out.”

“I’m sure you two could figure something out, Akira.” She says, draining the last few drops of tea from her cup. “As for how he’s attracted to you, well... there are quite a few things. He's certainly devoted as well, since he even went so far as to tell Hanako and I about it.”

He doesn't keep many secrets either, at least when you can finally get him to talk about himself. I like that part of him, how he tries to learn about everything and everyone around him; there's not enough of that anymore, everyone is too concerned with themselves.

Lilly places all of her dishes together before scooting away from the table and straightening out her clothes. “Besides, there is a certain charm about older men and women, don't you think?”


“I'll never understand where they get off on charging this much.”

Hanako blushes a deep crimson as I hold up the skimpy swimming garment, which for some reason costs twice as much as a new suit despite using half the material. Are the sequins made out of gold and lamb tears or something?!

Racks and racks of designer clothing surround us, everything from poofy party dresses and shoes made out of glitter to overdone hair accessories and swimsuits you'd have to be insane to wear in public. The walls are painted a garish shade of orange and it feels as though I could get a sunburn from standing under the lights for too long. Any one of a number of these things could have to do with the fact that Lilly, Hanako, and myself are the only ones here.

In the midst of our window shopping, the topic of swimsuits came up and we decided to stop at a department store. Lilly doesn't feel comfortable with the one she wore in Inverness, and Hanako doesn't have any swimwear at all aside from her school-issued swimsuit for the class she never attends.

Lilly crosses her legs on a seat intended for trying on shoes, somehow disinterested despite the fact that it was her idea to come in here. “Are you sure this is a good store? I don't want anything extravagant.”

“Don't worry, we'll get you something nice.” I reply, contemplating handing her the micro-bikini in my hands before deciding not to. She's never been fond of jokes like that, not since one girl in her second grade homeroom got her hands on a permanent marker.

The dark-haired girl to my side peeks out the corner of her eye to make sure I've placed the previous suggestion back on the rack before continuing about the store, eyeballing everything that interests her.

She's the most fascinated by simple things like sundresses, which is a mindset I definitely respect. It shouldn't be too hard to keep from overspending on my own part as well, since I've already got a swimsuit set aside and I'm not interested in crap like designer purses and shoes. I might have to lighten up my bank account for their sakes... but even if I don't go back to work for another two or three weeks, I should be more than set when it comes to finances.

I nudge Hanako's shoulder just gently enough to keep her from jumping before whispering in her ear. “Hey, what do you think Lilly would look good in?”

She blushes a little before her eyes begin darting back and forth among the clothes on display. I've already figured out her answer by the time she manages to give it, a feeble “I-I think she would l-look good in everything...”

“Boring.” I mutter, reaching into the mess of swimsuits and pulling out something at random, a yellow bikini with white polka-dots. “How about this?”

Hanako nods her head while fidgeting, trying to avoid looking directly at me or the item in question. “D-Don't you think that's a bit... showy?”

“Huh? C'mon now, this is pretty conservative by modern standards. I wouldn't let her wear it without a shirt or something, but it's...”

Wait. This is a small – Lilly's at least three sizes too big for the top alone, and I don't want anything hanging out even if she does wear shorts with it. Such is life for the hourglass figure; I'll never figure out how my cousin handles it.

I whistle a few notes as I slap it back on the rack, checking to make sure we haven't aroused Lilly's suspicion. “Let's find something else.”

Of course Lilly would look good in anything, it's just a matter of finding something that she looks the best in. Her favorite color is white, but, well... I don't know if I like the idea of her parading around in a solid white bikini. Maybe a one-piece, but she says those feel uncomfortable. Can't give her checkered either, since that's already taken.

“H-How about this one?” Hanako asks, holding up a yellow one-piece with a frilled swim skirt.

I eyeball it with a mixture of curiosity and disbelief before answering with “nah, she doesn't like those swim skirts.”

What are we even going for, anyway? A trip to the beach sounds nice, but something like that would be better saved for a celebration, or some time off.

Then again, some time off is exactly what I've been needing, and now that I've got it I don't even know what to do with it. May as well start trying out random things and see if I can find some kind of inspiration. Maybe I'll figure out what I'm trying to do with all of this staying in Japan business. And I could really use an answer to that question.

'If time could just stop, what would you do?' Hisao said on that night. If the world could slow to a halt and everything could give it a break without falling apart, what would I want to do?

Hah. What would anyone do, really?

“Does blue and white stripes seem alright?” I ask Hanako, who seems to be fixated on something else.

She pulls a different hanger off the rack, this time a one-piece in a solid shade of amethyst purple. She looks over it for a moment before her eyes dance over to the one I've found and she nods in approval. “I-I like that one too...”

“Hmmm, but blue doesn't really work for Lilly.” I return, placing it back into the selection. “But y'know, I bet that one would look great on you.”

“D-Do you really think s-so?” She stammers, turning redder than a beet as she starts to list off excuses as to why she doesn't agree. Or rather, tries; “b-but I'm going to wear a shirt and shorts a-anyway, s-so it doesn't matter w-what the swimsuit is l-l-like...”

I chuckle and pat her on the shoulder, unable to wipe the dumb grin off of my face. “You don't have to worry about that, we're gonna find a nice, empty section of the beach if we ever go.”

If we ever go, huh? I should have said something more like 'when we do go...'

She continues glancing up and down the swimsuit, clearly already attached to it as she refuses to put it back. I don't think it's any better than that school swimsuit when it comes to modesty, but it certainly suits her more than dull blue. I bet she's already making plans to wear it and everything, heh.

I wonder what else she's making plans for. “Hey, Hanako, can I ask you something?”

“W-What is it?” She replies, snapping out of her daydream for just a moment.

No doubt Lilly is beginning to grow impatient with us, since it's taken roughly ten minutes just to find something for her to try on, and that doesn't even guarantee that she'll settle with it. But still, I've got a few things I wanna play with.

How should I phrase this? “What do you want to do the most? At this very moment, even.”

She tilts her head and takes a step back, misunderstanding the question. “W-What?”

I slide one hand into my pocket, fiddling with my car keys. “I mean, if time were to just stop for as long as you wanted. What would you do?”

Her eyes fall to the ground in uncertainty as she tries to piece the right words together. “You mean a place I-I'd like to go?”

“If that's what you're thinking of, then yeah.” I reply, eager for her answer. “Where would you want to go if everything stopped moving for a while? Anywhere in the world whether it be by car, boat, or plane.”

She clasps her hands together and fidgets despite showing a bit of resolution. “The journalism club was talking about taking a trip to Italy, and I-I think I w-want to go with them...”

Italy, huh? I went to Sicily with my mother when I was fourteen since she had business with someone there, but I can’t say I did much more than hang around and watch TV in the hotel.

“Is there something you want to see in Italy?” I ask out of curiosity.

“N-Not really, but... I want to travel. I-I want to see what the world is like outside of J-Japan.” Hanako states, glancing down at her choice of swimsuit. “I've read about it in books all my life, but I've never been anywhere but here.”

“I-I needed something like this b-because they wanted to have a beach trip once w-we got there...” She adds, embarrassed at this fact for one reason or another as she holds the garment against her chest.

It's admirable, in a way; being able to figure out exactly where you want to go in life and how to get there. I think that's why I've been thinking about Hisao so much lately – guy gets smacked with a heart condition and he's still willing to chase his dreams? Can't say much for his success so far, but he's definitely got a lot more man in him than other guys his age.

“Hey, that's perfectly fine. Travel the world before you get stuck in an office job like me.” I say, patting her on the shoulder once more. “There are tons of things to see outside of Japan, like-”

Before I can finish my answer, someone has snuck up and is presently tapping me on the back. “I've been sitting down for a few minutes now, Akira. Is something the matter?”

Oh, right, we did kinda leave Lilly hanging there.

“Ah, I was just talking about something with Hanako. Got kinda carried away there.” I explain, reaching up to pat her on the head before adding “I'm sorry for leaving you out of it.”

Lilly gives me one of those adorable pouts and a stubborn 'hm.' “What is it you two were discussing, if I may ask?”

“Just some stuff that's been bothering me lately.” I answer before glancing over and flashing a smile at Hanako. “And swimsuits. You're hard to shop for, y'know?”

She lets out a sigh. “I just want something simple, Akira. There's no need to go out of your way for me.”

No, she's very hard to shop for. I would know, I'm the one that always winds up buying her clothes since she's so stubborn with certain things. Lilly doesn't wear just 'anything,' and even when she is comfortable with something, I'm kinda reluctant to get it since I want her to look nice.

“Of course not, but I want something that will last.” I state, crossing my arms. “But Hanako has found something at least. I think she should go ahead and find a dressing room to make sure it fits.”

At this, the girl in question gives me a slight blush and a nod before sliding off to the other end of the store, huddling her choice of beach clothing against her chest.

I ruffle Lilly’s hair one more time, not even bothering to check her reaction. “Now I just need to get you squared away.”

There has to be something here that isn't solid white, isn’t a string bikini, isn't too skimpy or bulky, without a checkered pattern, that doesn’t have a swimskirt, doesn't show a lot of cleavage, won’t risk being swept away in the waves, and...

My search is then interrupted by my sister, a slight look of worry in her eyes. “Akira, you mentioned something bothering you. What is it?”

“Nothing much, really. I'm just trying to get some things sorted out now that we're out of that hole we were in with Father, you know?” I explain, pausing to glance at a pink frilly two-piece just to imagine how absurd Lilly would look in it. “We've already talked about Tetsuo, and I think I'm ready to move on from that, I'm just a little stuck.”

Yeah, let's not forget the looooong talk Lilly and I had over that man the night after we split up. It's a little funny to think that she didn't even like him from the first time she met him; I remember Hisao saying the same thing, even.

I don't think he was an unlikeable guy, just... hard to manage. And even harder to please.

She clasps her hands together in concern, her usually amazing posture doing a great job of hiding the fact that she's tapping her toes inside one shoe. “I understand what you mean. I'm very glad that we chose to stay here, but it's a little jarring.”

“I know you'll be able to figure something out.” She says with that reassuring smile. “Have you talked to Father at all? I've tried calling him to try and reconcile some matters, but he hasn't been answering the phone. I feel that Mother has been the same way.”

“They blocked you?” I ask, freezing in place and trying to keep the enraged grimace off of my face.

“Oh, no, of course not. They merely don't answer the phone.” She returns.

I don't know what Mom's deal is, but Dad's definitely petty enough to do something like that. “I haven't even bothered calling him ever since. Give him time to boil it off, I'm sure he's just a little pissed off that someone refused his divine mandate.”

I'm not trying to cut him and the rest of our family off entirely. I wanted to patch things up, but I know that's not what he was concerned with considering with the circumstances of our summons, especially after some of the things that happened just during our week there.

On top of that, I still need to take care of Lilly. She may be eighteen now and she’s far more independent than someone of her age, but still. I couldn't be there for the time after our parents ditched us, but I can at least try to make amends now.

“Speaking of which, what do you have planned?” I ask, deciding to put the swimsuit business away for a little while.

She shoots me one of those half-smiles as she chews on her words, unsure as to how to answer. “I'd like to graduate from high school, first and foremost. After that, I've been looking at some universities.”

Lilly definitely needs to make it to a college, and I'm going to do everything I can to get her there. I can't say I have anything like a college fund set aside for her, but I think I could skimp on making some deposits into my savings account for a while when she picks out a university.

“Have you figured out what you're going for yet? You've talked about being a teacher before, and I think you're good for that.” I say, smiling. It's been a dream of hers for a while now, but things like that tend to change over time.

“I would still like to be an English teacher.” Lilly admits, folding both arms behind her back as she meets me with a warm grin. “I'm not sure if I could handle teaching at the high school level, but maybe if it was for an elementary school...”

Yeah, that's perfect for her. I don't want her to pigeonhole herself into doing nothing simply because of her condition; it hasn't held her back yet, I don't see why it'd start now. “That sounds just right for you.”

It's more than what our parents would allow for her, anyway. If they had any say in it, she'd be locked away in some fairy tale tower where they could just forget she existed.

“Can I ask you something else?”

She tilts her head with curiosity. “Yes, Akira?”

“What would you do if time just stopped? If everything paused for however long you wanted, what would you like to do?”

One hand flies to her mouth as she pauses to think for a moment. “Well, something like that isn't quite possible, I don't think.”

“Of course it isn't possible.” I laugh. “But that's what I'm saying; what if it was? What's the one thing you want to do more than anything else?”

It's at this point that we both remember that the third member of our trio is missing, as indicated by the cry of both of our names from nearby. I remember seeing her off, but... how long has she been back there?

We make our way to the back of the store to where a head of purple hair and a single hand peek out from between two red curtains. “Need some help, Hanako?”

“I-I...” She trails off before sliding back into the dressing room, clearly flustered by something or another. “I think it f-fits...”

“Well are you gonna show it off or not?” I ask, crossing my arms and waiting for the show to start.

An embarrassed 'eh?!' slithers out of the drawn curtains, followed by more stammering and fidgeting. “Y-You have to come in here...”

Lilly pinches my elbow before I step over. “Will you tell me how it is?”

“But of course.” I say, patting her on the shoulder as I hop into the changing room.

Inside I find Hanako huddled against the wall, hands idly fidgeting in front of her as she avoids eye contact with a downcast gaze. Her casual clothes are folded on the chair, and she's presently wearing that same amethyst one-piece she had just plucked from the rack.

“Good afternoon, beautiful.” I call out, crossing my arms and resisting the urge to give her a wolf-whistle as she becomes even more flustered. It's definitely not an exaggeration, though; that was clearly made with her body type in mind. It doesn't help that it naturally coordinates with her eyes. And hair.

My statement receives no actual answer as she avoids eye contact and fails to deliver a reply, wisps of steam practically puffing out of her ears as her face turns an even deeper shade of red than before. It's clear that she doesn't have a lot of experience with clothing like this, and probably even less when it comes to being seen in it.

I give two hearty thumbs up before backing out of the curtains to allow her some space. Based on my experiences, she's a rather easy-to-scare girl, so I don't think charging in there was the best idea.

“Well, I think that explains itself well enough.” I state as I step out of the changing room, turning to face Lilly. “Have you figured out what you’d want to do over the summer?”

Lilly smiles and thinks on it for a moment. “Well, if we're picking out new clothes today, don't you think we should go to the beach?”

Really? The beach? Girl gets all the time in the world to do something, and she's gonna go to the beach. Now that I think about it, Hanako had the same idea.

“You sure about that? C'mon, anything in the world.”

She gives me a reassuring giggle, covering her mouth as she does so. “I'm quite sure, Akira. Frankly, I already have most of the things I want. I loved the trip we took to the shores over in Inverness, surely you did too?”

“Well, yeah, I did...” I trail off, remembering all the fun Lilly and I had in the short time there. “Hanako seemed pretty interested in the idea too, you know.”

“I'm sure you could invite Hisao as well.” She chimes, giggling at her own idea. “You'll need every excuse you can find to spend time with him once the final trimester begins.”

Hah. Haha. “There you go with that again. I like him, but c’mon Lilly. We're almost seven years apart, have totally different lifestyles, and I don't know if I'm ready for another relationship just yet.”

Although it's not like I have much to do while I'm single that I couldn't do while I was occupied. I've never been one for those mixers and parties and crap, and while I can't say I've never been hit on at a bar, very rarely do I return the sentiment. I'm not looking for anything open or short-term either, which is why dating someone who's still in high school is probably not the best idea at the moment.

As much of a gentleman as he can be.

“Of course.” She responds without a single beat of hesitation. “I know that you're interested in him, Akira. There's no need to beat around the bush. You've mentioned him on the phone more than a few times.”

Well, of course I'm going to tell my sister that her classmate came to stay the night on my sofa. I wouldn't know if she's talked to him about it, but I'd like to at least maintain a bit of transparency; especially since he's a pretty good match for her.

Then again, his age loses a bit of significance when you consider how he drinks. It takes a special kind of guy to knock back scotch like he does...

And he did go out of his way to get that wine for my welcome-back gift...

And he gives pretty good backrubs...

And that little bit of hair that pokes out on his head is so freakin' cute I could die...

I slide both hands into my pockets and lean against the wall, sighing a deep, long sigh. “Alright, you got me.”

Before she can slap me with her wit though, I make sure to add, “But that's all I am – interested. I'm not head-over-heels for him. Stuff like this takes time.”

“Time is certainly all we've got now, don't you think?” She says, clasping her hands together behind her back. “I won't push you to make any decisions. Just know that he's a good person. I think he'd be much better for you than Mr. Shuugetsu ever was.”

Yeah, maybe it’s time to move on. I’m not being forced into a corner with business and family obligations anymore, and trying new things is always a good approach. I may as well, considering how absurd these past few weeks have been anyway.

Well, no, ‘may as well’ is a bad way of putting it.

I want to give this a try; these feelings I have for Hisao. It may be a hurdle, but any step forward is still a step in the right direction.
Last edited by Thanatos02 on Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:21 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 6/18]

Post by sfavron » Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:09 am

You certainly picked an ideal time to update - the one night I woke up at 4am and couldn't get back to sleep!

I'll admit that this left me feeling rather giddy on Hisao's behalf. I'm excited to see how it turns out.

As always, wonderful work, and more than worth any wait.

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 6/18]

Post by BestTerribleApe » Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:27 am

Thanatos02 uploaded another chapter for his Akira's route.

From Akira's perspective, to match.

Today is going to be a good day, after all.

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 6/18]

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:50 am

Just one small thing:
“You'll need every excuse you can find to spend time with him once the final trimester begins.”
The final Trimester won't begin until January. At this time she should be worried about the second one.

Nice addition and good to see you still working on this.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 6/18]

Post by BlackWaltzTheThird » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:29 am

Thanatos02 wrote:It's been sitting up there for about a month now
If it's the same kind of powdered stuff my mates and I use when hungover, it could afford to be up there a lot longer than a month with no worries at all.
Thanatos02 wrote:...Everyone makes mistakes, Lils.” I chuckle...
...might I add.” Lilly notes...
...he does seem to know his stuff.” I say.
...Mutou's favorite students.” The dark-haired girl states.
...transferred in only recently.” Lilly replies...
...Don't Hisao and you talk all the time?” She mentions...
...I am a pretty interesting person.” I jab back...
...if you weren't.” My sister argues...
...could figure something out, Akira.” She says...
...blue doesn't really work for Lilly.” I return...
...you really think s-so?” She stammers...
...then yeah.” I reply, eager for her answer.
...outside of J-Japan.” Hanako states...
...once w-we got there...” She adds...
...in an office job like me.” I jab...
...stuff that's been bothering me lately.” I answer...
...I want something that will last.” I state...
...you'll be able to figure something out.” She says...
...don't answer the phone.” She returns.
...I think you're good for that.” I say, smiling.
“Of course it isn't possible.” I laugh.
“But of course.” I return
“Good afternoon, beautiful.” I call out
...that explains itself well enough.” I state...
...invite Hisao as well.” She chimes...
“Of course.” She responds without a single beat of hesitation.
...don't you think?” She says, clasping her hands together behind her back.
Commas replace closing periods in dialogue leading into a speech tag and, excepting proper nouns, the speech tag begins with a lower case letter. I've grouped the two errors for preservation of space. Lots of jabbing and returning, by the way. A good ninety percent of your tags should probably be “said”. Different ones can add colour to your dialogue and provoke images in the reader’s mind, but using too many fancy tags looks ridiculous after a little while.
Thanatos02 wrote:“I would still like to be an english teacher.” Lilly admits
As above, but also take note of the word, "English".
Thanatos02 wrote:before I step over, “will you tell me how it is?”
And the opposite problem here. That prose is not a speech tag, so it should end in a period and the dialogue should begin with a capital letter.
Thanatos02 wrote:Last times I heard from him
"Times" needs to drop the "s".
Thanatos02 wrote:I told him I wanted ... Hisao sorted out.
This paragraph is rather awkward to read and comprehend, in particular the part between the semicolon and the feelings comment. It took me a few tries to understand what I was reading. Also I just noticed that shortened quote has an entirely different meaning to the whole quote.
Thanatos02 wrote:...or how we could even work it out”

I’m sure you two
Missing period at the end of the first line, and missing quotation mark on the next line.
Thanatos02 wrote:“Besides, there is a certain charm about older men and women, don't you think?”
Heh. I like this reference.
Thanatos02 wrote:I make sure to add “but that's all I am
I'm inclined to say a comma should go after add. Mirage will probably be able to clairfy that.

And that's all I have to say about that. The change in perspective was unexpected, so at first I thought Hisao had suddenly gone somewhere with the girls... I can't really remember the last chapter as well as I should, so rereading it might have cleared that up. Anyway, this chapter - or intermission, I should say - was interesting to say the least. On the surface it appears to be mostly just swimsuit shopping, but the extensive umming and ahhing about clothes serves as a brilliant parallel to Akira's simultaneous umming and ahhing about Hisao. I'm certainly curious to see whether this change in perspective will be used again or will remain a once off.
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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 6/18]

Post by Gauldoth Half-Dead » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:13 am

Oooh, a change of perspective! At first I was a bit scared that it would be just that - a Hisao route from Akira's perspective. I was glad to discover that was not the case. It had some talk about Hisao as it should, you pulled the whole intermission/slice of life/bridge chapter thing off very well. I enjoyed reading Akira's thoughts, you wrote her very well.
Your style is still wonderful, carry on dude. Don't let the feminists keep you down. The feminists, or the thought that people are waiting for the newest chapter, minutes after you finished this one. Nobody really minds the wait. I certainly don't, especially since I know what's it like to be in the writer's shoes. Hope you'll get rid of that feeling of letting others down if you don't hurry with it, I had to fight a lot to leave it behind. D:
I’m sure you two could figure something out, Akira.”
Just to be a nitpicky bastard, first quotation mark is missing there.
Also why would Akira ask something like that from the girls. Curiouser and curiouser...
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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 6/18]

Post by CaptainFalcon » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:14 am

I really liked the change in perspective, it was nice to know what was going on inside Akira's head. I thoroughly enjoyed this chapter and it certainly made my day that much better reading it

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/20]

Post by LegyPlegy » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:02 am

Excellent chapter! c:

I just wanted to point out one thing I noticed..
Thanatos02 wrote:I don't know what Mom's deal is, but he's definitely petty enough to do something like that. “I haven't even bothered calling him ever since. Give him time to boil it off, I'm sure he's just a little pissed off that someone refused his divine mandate.”
At first I thought "he" was referring to Mom... but then I re-read it and realized. And to think I had actually caught one :P
Damn paper trails

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 6/18]

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:17 pm

Thanatos02 wrote:I make sure to add “but that's all I am
I'm inclined to say a comma should go after add. Mirage will probably be able to clairfy that.[/quote]
I'm honoured to be considered this forum's resident comma expert, even though I'm very much prone to placing a few commas too many myself. Just ask my proofreaders^^°

Anway in this case it's pretty clear:
Oxforddictionaries wrote:If direct speech comes after the information about who is speaking, you should use a comma to introduce the piece of speech, placed before the first inverted comma: Steve replied, ‘No problem.’
(Though Oxford recommends using inverted commas for direct speech, it also states that using quotationmarks is equally acceptable. I prefer quotationmarks myself.)
So, yes, there should be a comma, and also the 'but' should be capitalized.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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