Akira Pseudo-Route [Complete!]

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Triscuitable
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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/11]

Post by Triscuitable » Fri May 16, 2014 11:29 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Thanatos02 wrote:
Solistor wrote:Also, after watching both versions of Fullmetal Alchemist completely, I now can't get the idea that Mr. Satou looks like Van Hohenheim with red eyes out of my brain.
That's... pretty close. Just cut off the beard and give him black hair and you're good to go. Although, I don't imagine him that "sturdy," he'd be a lot thinner.
So different Hair, different body type - presumably no yellow eyes and close to 1,90 either...
What similarities are left?
Complexion and demeanor.

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Crimson
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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/11]

Post by Crimson » Sat May 17, 2014 7:24 pm

Another great chapter. Hard to believe that the final chapter is incoming, actually. Gonna miss this fic.

On another note, I threw together some title cards for each of the acts to pass the time. Figured I'd share them. (~5mb per gif, so excuse the waiting time)

Act 2 | Act 3 | Act 4 | Act 5

Images kindly supplied by Twlare.
Also excuse the shitty quality of the gifs. Originally rendered them as videos and then converted after, but as expected the resulting size of each gif was 80ish mb.
ImageImageImage

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brythain
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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/11]

Post by brythain » Sat May 17, 2014 9:39 pm

Crimson wrote:Another great chapter. Hard to believe that the final chapter is incoming, actually. Gonna miss this fic.

On another note, I threw together some title cards for each of the acts to pass the time. Figured I'd share them. (~5mb per gif, so excuse the waiting time)

Act 2 | Act 3 | Act 4 | Act 5

Images kindly supplied by Twlare.
Also excuse the shitty quality of the gifs. Originally rendered them as videos and then converted after, but as expected the resulting size of each gif was 80ish mb.
A great idea, these. I've always wished I had this kind of talent. :)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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neio
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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/11]

Post by neio » Sat May 17, 2014 9:49 pm

Crimson wrote:Another great chapter. Hard to believe that the final chapter is incoming, actually. Gonna miss this fic.

On another note, I threw together some title cards for each of the acts to pass the time. Figured I'd share them. (~5mb per gif, so excuse the waiting time)

Act 2 | Act 3 | Act 4 | Act 5

Images kindly supplied by Twlare.
Also excuse the shitty quality of the gifs. Originally rendered them as videos and then converted after, but as expected the resulting size of each gif was 80ish mb.
You wouldn't have as good browser support, but I bet you could get many more FPS with WebMs or APNGs.
Recommended fics: A pseudo-pseudo Suzu Route | Sisterhood (Hanako Epilogue) | Can You Open Your Heart? (Rika)

(New) Movie contest: From which 2012 film did I mangle this quote? Prize: Humble Bundle
You're worried about the Nurse? Try the mom.

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Thanatos02
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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/11]

Post by Thanatos02 » Sat May 24, 2014 1:23 pm

Well, that's pretty much it. Not much to say about it, I don't think. I never imagined myself finishing this when I started it way back in October of 2012, when it was just a bunch of ideas scrawled on a notepad I found after waking up at 3 in the morning. I've met a ton of people and learned a lot of things ever since I picked it up, both good and bad, and I hope that doesn't stop just because it's over. I can still remember the day I first tried posting this here and wound up flooding the page with so much text that SIlentcook had to tell me to space it out.

Thank you for all of your support and commentary, no matter who it may have been from. I hope this doesn't disappoint.


Act 5 - Part 10 Finale: Fly Me To The Moon

Why did I have to sit next to the window?

Dark clouds circle in the sky and raindrops begin to pat against the glass, lulling me to sleep while Mutou's lecture continues on and on in that same droning fashion. If anything, the only reason I haven't already given up and tried to catch a short nap is because I'm afraid that he might call on me any second now.

Akira wasn't kidding when she said 'six in the morning.' Right at the crack of dawn, she was already up and about, letting the alarm clock ring in my ear while she made breakfast. Most of her time at the table was devoted to writing notes and filling out papers, though.

While Akira is perfectly spritely in the morning, I am not; that leaves me here completely drained and just barely able to keep my eyes open.

It beats being hungover, at the very least.

Thankfully there are only a few minutes left before lunch. Today seems to be another 're-teaching day,' thanks to the total lack of comprehension across the board when it comes to the new unit over kinetics. Mutou has spent the entire class period calling on some of the least knowledgeable students, which has mostly saved me from having to solve an equation from a chapter that even I just barely managed to pass.

Thinking back to the first few days I was in this class, I come to the conclusion that nothing has changed.

To my right, the same two girls sit in the same fashion as they have ever since I got here – Shizune attempts to pay attention in class, glancing over at Misha's hands which can translate everything that's being said while she simultaneously misses everything happening. Even to this day, I wonder if she has to make a conscious choice every time she translates for Shizune, as if she has to switch back and forth between listening for words or listening for comprehension. There are always these questions surrounding those two girls.

What if the same thing could be said for me? Has anything about me changed since I got here?

That dark-haired girl who’s missing a hand still spends every class period daydreaming and fumbling through answers whenever she gets called on. The teal-haired girl beside her manages to get away with sleeping on a daily basis without a word being spoken about the matter. Hanako reads through class while other students are getting lectured at the front of the class. The two journalism girls still gossip, the guy who's missing an ear still doodles, and-

“Woooo~! I thought we'd never get out of that!” Misha declares as she and Shizune hurriedly gather up their things. “Hey Hicchan, do you have anything planned for lunch?”

I sit up in a rush and attempt to shake off the fatigue, realizing that it's finally lunchtime. “Nothing planned, but I've gotta talk to Mutou for a bit. You don't need to wait on me, I usually eat in the class upstairs anyway.”

Misha gives me one of those frowns, as if to say that she's disappointed but not so disappointed that she won't be bellowing with laughter a few moments later. “Wahaha~! Are you sure? It's been a while since you went to the Shanghai with me and Shicchan!”

As Misha says this, Shizune glances over at me, maintaining that same neutral expression as always. She taps Misha on the shoulder and then quickly signs something, which is apparently urgent enough to have her companion change her mind about convincing me.

“It's alright, but there’s lots of election posters to put u- I mean food to eat if you ever want to join us.” Misha says with a defeated expression, groaning as she follows her friend out the door.

Lots of student council work due today, I suppose. At any rate I finally manage to gather up all of my things and wave Hanako off, both her and Lilly already waiting at the door.

As soon as I do this Mutou perks up and waits for me at his desk, having long since learned how to pick up when I want to talk. He shuts his briefcase and lets it hang at his side, the other held in the air as he waves to me. “Anything I can do for you today, Nakai?”

“Yeah...” I trail off, scratching my head as I try to figure out what to say. “I think I've decided what I want to go for, and I was wondering if there were any universities you could suggest.”

“That's great! You might have a little trouble getting an application in this late into the school year, but anything is a step forward at this point.” He smiles, checking all of his pockets and patting himself down while looking for something. Without managing to find it, though, he pauses and looks at me. “What did you decide on?”

I take a deep breath. “Teaching.”

His expression softens and he leans forward on the table, looking me straight in the eye. “Well then, I think I'll be able to help you out there.” He continues searching, at this point giving up on finding it in his jacket and reopening his briefcase. “You know, I had a hunch that everything was going to happen this way. Ever since that day you decided to go to the expo with me.”

“That's what got me interested in research though – applied chemistry and all of that.” I confess, my head cocked in curiosity. “I mean, it's because of all that I was so keen on finding a job and trying to get out of that slump I was in.”

All I get in return is a plain shrug. “You were asking a lot of questions about things that I used to think about quite a bit. Especially in the final year of my career as a chemist.” Before I have a chance to reply, however, he immediately adds “I keep some pamphlets for a few good universities, but they might be in a folder at home. I'll have to get those to you some other time.”

“I've got applications filled out for plenty of schools, I just haven't sent them in.” I nod, partially out of embarrassment over admitting such a thing. “The other thing I wanted to mention is that I'm going to be quitting my job at the med lab.”

“Really? Why is that?” Mutou asks, his expression turning downward in concern.

“I just can't stand to be there for another day.” I reply, shifting my bag in discomfort at the question. “It's a boring, tedious, and the entire reason I started working there is completely invalid now.”

He continues to inspect me, his lips pursed in thought for a few moments before he shakes his head and gives in. “I trust that you've put a lot of thought into this. I just hope that you'll be able to find another job; college doesn't pay for itself, you know.”

“Well, the company offered to pay for me, but that's a contract where I'd have to work with them for a long time, and I'm not sure if I want to be tied down to something like that.” I explain.

His eyes jump to the door and he checks his watch, motioning for me to follow as he heads into the hallway. “Life isn't all sunshine and rainbows, I'm afraid. Scholarships are pretty much the only reason I made it through all of my time at a university.”

We begin to walk through the halls, no doubt heading for the employee parking lot. Mutou slows down considerably while going through the stairwell, clearly trying to accommodate me. “I think I'll be able to work something out. I'm sure there are plenty of opportunities for prospective teachers as well.”

“We'll just have to get together and put a game plan on the board.” Mutou smiles and pauses in the main corridor, clearly intending for this to be our splitting point. “At least it's moving toward what you've been wanting, and of course I'll still be here to help you along if you ever need some advice.”

“I'm just glad it's something to work with. I was afraid that I'd never get out of that mess I was in, between the uncertainty and the uninteresting work and everything else.”

At this, he gives me a small chuckle. “It's a great feeling, isn't it?” He then adjusts his coat and checks his watch one more time, already in the process of waving goodbye. “Listen, I've gotta make a lunch date with a couple colleagues of mine. You know where to find me if you have any questions, and I'll be sure to get some of those pamphlets back to you.”

“Thank you.” I say, bowing my head. “For everything. Really.”

He nods one last time, pausing at the door and ignoring the handful of students coming and going. “One of these days we're going to have to get together and start that science club I've been trying to get going for years now. I'm pretty sure there's an exception for making napalm if it's for educational purposes.”

I open my mouth to speak, but no words come out and I’m unsure if I’m missing the joke or not. “Is that... would there even be a reason for that?”

Mutou shrugs, glancing back and forth to see that we're the only two left. “We're scientists at heart, Hisao. A scientist never needs a reason to set something on fire.”

With that, he gives me one last ‘hah,’ as if to say 'just kidding' before heading on his way and leaving me here in the main corridor.

Now that I think about it, this is where I first met him, waiting for his new student. At the time I was just that awkward kid who couldn't even gather up the courage to introduce himself to the class, and here I am months later talking about universities and, well, setting things on fire.

At any rate, I need to get moving if I want to grab lunch before class starts again, and then I need to start getting a plan together for how I'm going to handle the job situation. I don't have to go into work today, but I don't have a notice or a letter of resignation arranged, nor do I even know how to go about this kind of thing.

I suppose you've got to learn somehow.

***************

That same sterile scent of cleaning chemicals lingers in the hallway just outside of Mr. Setou's office, accompanied by the same sterile tile floors and budget ceiling. Just standing here is enough to call up the memory of the time where I eavesdropped on Akira and Tetsuo's lunch.

Tetsuo. Even though I saw him less than a week ago, it feels like he's long-gone. Spending day after day trying to grin and bear his pointless jokes and self-aggrandizing goals, having to sit in silence while he and Akira had it out every time they spent more than five minutes together, and wishing that something could happen to divide him from the girl I had fallen for. In many ways, he's a past that I've managed to move on from.

I'm not sure if I feel the same way about my job. Even as I linger in the hallway ready to announce my departure, I still feel a little bit of an attachment. Familiarity is a hard thing to let go of, I suppose, and there are still the scant occasions where something does actually happen at the lab while I'm here. This is a place where I've only managed to feel even more stuck, though – I'll never be more than a janitor, and seeing the few chemists work here has become more of a depressing event to spectate than an exciting one.

A voice invites me in the moment I knock on the door, the sound of which is enough to kick my resolve in the gut. As usual, the office remains in a state of organized mess: papers piled higher than they should be able to balance and filing cabinets with drawers in alternating opened and closed positions, all with a few action figures standing just as out-of-place as always.

“Whoa, hey, Nakai. I don't have you on the schedule today, did something come up?” Mr. Setou greets, a strange glint lingering in his eyes from the reflection on the computer monitor. He seems to be caught between two tasks, one hand tapping information into the keyboard while the other fills in the blanks on a paper indistinguishable from the rest.

I bow my head and shut the door behind me, taking a seat in front of his desk. “I'm not really sure how to say it. I actually wanted to talk to you about, well...” I trail off in caution, shrinking in my seat as the word grows in my throat. “Quitting.”

He glances up at me for just a moment and then gets back to work, the expression on his face unchanging. “Yeah, it was getting to about that time. We've never been able to hold onto maintenance people for very long.”

“Really? You were expecting that?” I jerk back with one hand over my chest, the stress alone causing my heartbeat to speed up.

I'm met with a shrug, his hands not once leaving their positions. “Honestly? Yeah. Though I'm still sad to see you go, and I'd be willing to listen if there's anything I can do to keep you around. I’d rather keep you than have to sort through a dozen applications from random women who would take twice as long to train.”

It’s unclear whether he was being serious or joking about that last remark, but either way, I'm not sure if there's anything to even negotiate. I can't think of a single thing I want out of this job or that could warrant still coming in and doing the same menial, boring tasks over and over again. “I appreciate it, but there isn't really anything I could ask for. This only comes up because I'm trying to shift my focus onto an educational career, rather than a research-oriented one.”

“You sure you want to do that?” He asks. “I mean, I've still got you scheduled for the rest of the week, but we can get the other guy to cover it no problem. You’re losing out on that scholarship opportunity though, and even if you’re changing your focus, every bit of money helps.”

“Well, yes, but that's for training and contracting chemists. I'm not looking to be a chemist anymore.” I return, adjusting my posture. Despite my best efforts, it's still impossible to maintain eye contact with someone who is more focused on a computer screen.

He takes a short break from his tasks and cracks his knuckles, leaning forward in his chair. “We're not tied down to one job, man. Do you want to know what I originally went to school for?”

Before I have a chance to guess, he opens one of his many drawers and begins shuffling around for some papers, pulling a black plastic frame out from between some folders. An official-looking document sits within the opening on the side of the display. He slaps it in the desk a few times, the act of which both clears any dust clinging to its surface and makes it absolutely certain that he has no respect or value towards it.

“Music. None of that band director stuff either, I was gonna be a genuine virtuoso. I played the piano and I could hammer out tunes like you wouldn't believe.” He boasts, giving the document the honor of a single nostalgic sigh before shoving it back into the desk, likely never to be touched again. “No one needs a pianist these days, though, so I went back to school for business administration. Much bigger field.”

When he says it like that, I have to admit that the thought had crossed my mind: taking the offer and working off the scholarships in the lab for a few years before moving to the classroom. Part of me feels that it wouldn't be worth it, though. If being a teacher is my ultimate goal, then doing anything between here and then will just feel like a hurdle – if I continue working here, I want it to be out of enjoyment and fascination, not as some kind of obligation.

On the other hand, the opposite could be true. I could work as a teacher for a while and discover that it doesn't give me as much of an 'oomph' as I originally anticipated. Would it be appropriate to try again as a scientist at that point?

Perhaps this is what Akira was thinking of as well. She hasn't mentioned anything about going back to school, but at the very least she might be trying to change venues. Maybe she could get a job as an actual corporate lawyer, instead of someone with a law degree in a management position.

Anyway, I've made my decision, and to change my mind at this point would only cheapen that. “I just feel that there are more opportunities elsewhere, and I don't want to miss any more chances.”

“It's understandable, you're still young.” Mr. Setou says, still seeming totally unfazed by the event. “If Mr. Shuugetsu was hanging around it would be a different story, but I try to keep the door open for anyone who hasn’t caused any fires or other incidents. So if you change your mind, give me a call.”

I bow my head once more. “It's definitely appreciated. I'm just glad you're taking it so well, I was scared that you'd shout me out of the building or something.”

He waves off the notion and gives me an empty chuckle, continuing along in that same Kenji-like fashion. “Nah, man. I've lost count of how many janitors we've seen come and go in the past year alone, it's starting to make me wonder if the place is cursed or something. I don't mean to devalue your work, but it's just a janitor's position; if you need to take off for school or life or something else, I'm not gonna blame you. It was nice knowing you and I'm glad you didn't make any stupid mistakes before you left.”

The statement leaves me feeling just a little sour, although I completely agree with what he says. I suppose you can't put months of work into something and wind up without a little bit of pride, even if it's pride in mopping floors and loading glassware into a metal box. At the end of the day, I can't honestly say I did much in the grand scheme of things; maybe one experiment would have only had bad results as opposed to the usual unremarkable ones.

“That's good to hear. I know it's only been two months, but it was at least good to meet you.” I say, already rising from my chair so that he can get back to focusing on his work. “I’ll be sure to call if I ever wind up changing my mind.”

“Be sure to take care of yourself out there, man.” He says. Before I can leave, however, he gives me one last hawk-eyed glare and scrutinizes every inch of my face, adding on “And also collect anything you may have left behind, or else I will throw it out.”

The sudden harshness of his voice causes my words catch in my throat “Yes. Certainly.”

**************

“So you know what you're gonna say, then?”

Akira nods and checks her phone while we wait for the road to become safe to cross. She does up the two buttons of her suit coat and huddles closer to me. “I've been thinking about this for weeks, Hisao. I'm not worried about what to say, I just need to keep an eye out for how he reacts.”

I hold the umbrella between both of us, unsure of whether or not the sun has even set thanks to the continuous barrage of rainfall. My phone tells me that it's only six in the afternoon, but the sky is dark enough to render that point moot anyway. “What was the reason we couldn't drive, again? I thought you said we were doing this at the airport?”

“He's got some private transportation, or something like that. All I know is that he wants me and Lilly to meet him at the airport with our bags.” She scoffs, looking ahead and trying to find the hotel he's staying at. “We should be able to catch him on the way out, though; at least, if he reads his text messages. It’ll be a hell of a lot easier to do it here instead of at the cramped airport.”

The actual destination is only a block away, something I'm thankful for considering that Akira's flat is less than ten minutes of walking from here. With any luck, we can just get this out of the way and then go back to how things are supposed to be.

I guess this is really it huh? There's not much to really think about at this point; just let Akira say what needs to be said, and hopefully everything should work out. If things turn nasty then all we need to do is walk away, although I'm sure that she would want things to end on at least a neutral note, regardless of what she says to the contrary.

It doesn't take much searching to find the target, waiting under the awning of a twenty-story resort building while a sharp, official-looking man loads his bags into the back of a sleek black car. Mr. Satou himself is wearing a simple dark suit as well as a knee-length overcoat, his hasty demeanor making it clear that he's not a fan of the rain.

“I thought I said to meet at the airport, not here.” He says, meeting us as soon as we come under the awning.

His words lack any sort of bite or command, and fail to come across as the accusatory stabs he usually delivers – in fact, it all seems to come out as if he's reading from a script.

Akira shakes her head and slips one hand into her pocket. Without a word she carefully pulls out a long and thin white envelope, which is sealed with a tiny wax stamp. She bows her head, if only a tiny amount, and holds it out for him.

Mr. Satou glances down at the note and then back up at Akira, and then at me. His expression doesn't change and he merely adjusts his glasses, gingerly receiving it from her fingers. Then, he slides it into his own pocket without even opening it. “Did you come all the way here just to say that?”

“Pops, it's been a month. I've been saying the same thing every single day. Why would my answer change all of a sudden?” Akira replies with crossed arms.

His glare intensifies as she calls him 'pops,' but the words he clearly has for the occasion don't surface. She takes the silence as an opportunity to continue, clearly itching to say everything and be done with it. “I am staying here in Japan, even if it means cutting ties with you. I don't want to disregard the rest of my family, but this is my future we're talking about, and I don't want to have it messed up by anyone but myself.”

The lines and wrinkles on his face deepen, does does his frown. “So nothing will change your mind, then.” He states. As soon as Akira nods in affirmation, he shakes his head and looks off into the distance, his ponytail idly dancing in the wind.

Everything goes quiet as soon as he looks away, a melancholy hanging in the air while Mr. Satou shakes his head. “I pushed too hard, didn't I?”

Akira begins to speak but eventually pulls away, thinking over the answer before eventually glancing over to me. All I’m able to muster up, however, is bewilderment for what else to add.

“I think that's part of it, yeah.” I remark, realizing that we might be here for a while and closing my umbrella. “She's just not the kind of person you can lead around like that. You tell her to do something and so she goes and does the exact opposite.”

She gives me a momentary pout as if to say 'we're going to talk about this later' before adding on with “There's nothing more that needs to be said. I'm not here because I don't want to be a part of the business, I'm here because I don't want the business to be a part of me. Ever since you left me here alone with Lilly, my only wish has been to have my own life, away from all of the crap you dropped on my head.”

“I knew it was going to be like this before I even got on the plane.” He confesses, slipping both hands into his pockets as he glances away. “I knew you were going to be every bit as stubborn as I was. People like us never change.”

Akira merely looks him in the eye, saying nothing. Anyone can see that there are a thousand things she could respond with, but none of it seems to be coming out.

Taking her silence as a cue to drop the subject, Mr. Satou gets back to business. “You know, of course, that the position you were offered will never be open again, don't you? Even if you choose to come back to the business, it would never be allowed.”

She shrugs off the notion entirely. “After years of working in a position like that, I can honestly say that management isn't my thing. I'm not trying to say I was bad at my job or that I didn't care, but I've been thinking of going after a different career, even if I have to go through re-training or more schooling.”

“It's in your blood. You'll be getting that itch soon enough.” He retorts, ignoring the fact that his driver has loaded everything up and is waiting beside the car for his next command.

“Either way, I'm not going to take another day of it.” She asserts, crossing her arms and trying to get back on target. “I'm not going to be subjected to more of the way you treat me when it comes to this job and to more of the non-stop criticism. The emails, the calls, the messages, it needs to stop – good intentions or whatever else you try to use to justify it, it's enough.”

As soon as the words leave her mouth, it looks as though Mr. Satou’s entire foundation shatters. He takes a long breath and looks her up and down once again, apparently faced with a strange realization.

“I want to call you a disgrace to this family, because you are.” He begins. “I want to tell you that you're avoiding responsibility, because that's what you're doing.” Another pause follows his words as he takes off his glasses and steps closer. “But even with as much of a thorn as you've been in my side this entire time, you are still my daughter, and I have never forgotten that.”

He glances over at me for a moment, clearly uncomfortable with what he's saying despite speaking with so much confidence. “Nor have I ever forgotten the day that you refused to leave for Scotland with me and your mother. I haven't forgotten the look in your eyes when I said we would be leaving Lilly with your grandparents.”

His voice trails off and he lets out a deep, resounding sigh while Akira stands perfectly motionless, trying to soak up every word. “But even in spite of all that, I knew that I signed my warrant that day, and I knew that you were going to hold it against me until the very end. I will not fight that, because everything I have done until this day, I have done in the best interest of my family.”

Akira remains silent, as if urging him to keep going -- it's clear that it's taking every single ounce of restraint in her body to keep from speaking up.

He straightens his coat and brushing his hair back, struggling to get back into control of his emotions. “There's nothing more I can do for you. I have tried repeatedly to get you back on my side, on the side of your family, and still you refuse. You want independence? You want to carve your own future? You want to experience your own brand of hardships and run into your own walls and fall into your own potholes? So be it.”

With that said, he shakes his head one last time and gives Akira a downcast glare. “Then what right do I have to keep standing in the way of that? Maybe by the time you're my age, you'll start to appreciate exactly what I tried to do for you.”

Now, Akira chooses to take the field. “Why couldn't you ever say that over the phone? Or in the emails? Or in the messages? Why did it take flying all the way Japan and arguing you into a corner just to get you to admit to all of those things about moving away?”

“It takes time for things to become evident, and I will not deny that I've made some mistakes.” He admits. A weary sigh rises out of him as he checks his watch, clearly concerned about the time. “However, I will reiterate that I have not done a single thing with the intention of insulting or putting you down, nor have I done anything of the sort to your sister.”

After a few short moments, he glances up and maintains his silence, no doubt unable to speak while he tries to swallow his pride. “Those mistakes still happened though, and for that you have my apologies – given another chance, I most certainly would have done everything differently.”

From there, he bows his head, an action that could make Akira at her most collected rear back with disbelief. It only lasts for a scant few seconds, though, and he does little more than look downward and close his eyes. “If you wish to continue holding it against me, then so be it, but know that I consider it foolish to believe that I abandoned you or your sister in any way.”

“It doesn't feel like much of an apology if you just add on something like that at the end.” I remark, unable to keep my thoughts in for much longer.

Akira takes a step closer to her father. “I agree with what he said, but I already know I'm not going to get anything better than that.” She adds whilst tapping her foot. “It's something that I'm still pretty bitter over, but I want to move on past it. If you're willing to admit that you were wrong for the first time in over twenty years, then I'm willing to let it go.”

She cuts him off right as he begins to speak, however. “So don't you dare go back there and tell Mom that I wasn't willing to compromise, old man.”

The conversations leads off into silence, and soon the two of them are both avoiding eye contact and inching away, unsure of what else to do.

This might be it, as good as it's ever going to get, anyway. I know that this is between the two of them but something is bothering me, and if I don't speak up now then I won't get another chance -- a chance that someone I know might not have gotten. “Have you told Lilly about any of that?”

My question catches Akira's attention as well. Mr. Satou looks between both of us. “We have talked numerous times over the past two weeks, and there is nothing that I am telling you today that she is not aware of.”

He takes a deep breath, as if bracing himself for a punch to the face. Akira picks up on this as well and takes another step forward, her eyes widening in frightful anticipation. But he decides to break the tension and give her a confused stare before he even says anything.

“You don't need to act so jumpy. Lilly herself suggested that she may return once she has completed her college education in Japan. One thing I am still unsure about is her stance concerning our suggested business arrangements.”

Akira scoffs at his answer. “I think what you're trying to say is that you told her about your little 'arranged marriage' idea and she hasn't given you a straight 'no' just yet.”

He loses all composure and lets his shoulders drop in annoyance at the remark. “Akira, will you just let me talk for once? I swear to god almighty I cannot say a single thing without you trying to attribute some kind of sinister purpose to it. You're just like your damned mother.”

The next few moments are filled only with the pitter-patter of the rain against the hotel awning and the cars driving down the wet road. The girl beside me is frozen in a blank stare, as if she were in disbelief.

“Language, old man.”

He shrugs off the statement, adjusting his coat as if nothing had happened. “I'm an adult and I run one of the biggest electronics corporations in the world. I will do and say whatever I please.”

All it takes for the act to break down is a single second; soon, his posture drops yet again and he lets out a long, full-bodied laugh. The notion leaves both Akira and myself utterly bewildered, until he carries on for so long that we can't help but get dragged in.

We laugh.

Even though the rain shows no signs of slowing down, we’re able to smile and share something like that when we had been at each other’s throats just a moment before. It’s eye-opening, in a way. Despite all of the snide, sarcastic remarks and outward disapproval, Mr. Satou still has it in him to wear a face like that.

Maybe laughter is the best medicine for things like this. Nothing will ever be the same between the two of them; they’ll never work in the same company together and their reputations might be ruined in the eyes of all the people that saw him announce the promotion for her, but at the same time, it had to happen for them to get a hard reset like this.

“I think that's the first time you've laughed like that for as long as I've been alive.” She remarks, finally pulling herself together after a long break.

“Is that so? There are things you have to sacrifice if you want to be competent in a position such as mine.” He states, with which he shortly returns to the same gruff, overly postured businessman as usual. “Or maybe it just has to do with marriage.”

His voice trails off once more as the driver coughs with expectation, quite uncomfortable with how close it must be to the flight's scheduled time. Without further delay, Mr. Satou nods his head to both of us and then faces Akira once more. “Either way, I should be departing right about now. If you ever wish to visit us in Scotland, then you are welcome.”

“You sure about that? No traps waiting at the door?” Akira jabs.

This time, he decides to pitch it right back to her. “Of course not. You should consider yourself fortunate enough that I'm not already drafting up a form to legally disown you. You wouldn't even exist today if I had pulled something similar with my own father.”

“Oh. Lucky me.” She quips, unsure of what else to say.

As far as I can tell, he's a different person in this state. Whether it has something to do with the two of them no longer being business associates or with Akira taking a stronger stand than ever before, I’m not sure.

At any rate, it's clearly time for him to go, as he's already handing his coat off to the attendant and sliding into the backseat of the car.

Before the driver can shut the door and close him away, I call out “It's the last time you're going to see her for a long time, and you're not even going to give the girl a hug?”

Akira’s eyes shoot over to me, wide with surprise as I grab her shoulder and nudge her forward. Mr. Satou’s reaction is much the same; his eyes twitch between me and Akira and he struggles to pull himself back out of the car. It's not so much because he doesn't want to follow through with it, but I get the strong impression that he doesn't know how. Or perhaps that he's forgotten, after leaving on a bad note and not seeing the girl for almost six years. She doesn't seem opposed to the idea either, but now she's stuck where she's standing thanks to what is probably the same reasoning.

They both take a step forward, arms awkwardly half-open and in total confusion as to what to do. It takes me pushing Akira once more for them to finally come together, although the most either of them gets out of it is an uncertain, one-armed grab.

“So, uh... see you when I see you. If I see you again.” Akira remarks as soon as Mr. Satou pulls away and beats a hasty retreat into the backseat of the car.

He adjusts the sleeves of his jacket and tries to maintain that nothing happened. “Take care of yourself. I hope it won't be long before you realize what you've gotten into.”

With those final words, the driver shuts the door behind him. The last look Mr. Satou gives us isn't one of disappointment or annoyance, but rather one of longing.

The rain continues to pour down and other pedestrians continue to move around us, but it feels as though the entire world goes silent as soon as that car takes off. I can feel Akira's fingers lingering next to my own while her eyes follow his departure, all the way until he turns the corner at the end of the block.

I take her hand and try to pull her closer, the motion itself seeming to jolt her out of some kind of stupor. “Don't tell me you're going to get all emotional after talking trash about the man for months now.”

“Well you already know I'm happy about him being gone.” She says, pressing her cheek to my shoulder. “It's a weird happiness, though. The kind when you know you've done something stupid but you're too drunk to try and figure it out.”

“Maybe it's regret.” I muse, rubbing the back of her hand with my thumb. “I mean, after all of that, you can't honestly say that the man had it out for you. You were calling it ‘chains,’ but I think it was just overbearing parenting.”

She shrugs and lets out a deep sigh, standing up straight and pulling me back toward the intersection. “Now's not the time to go and start trying to give everything some kind of positive justification. Like I said: good intentions or bad ones, it had to stop.”

“I'm not disagreeing with what you did.” I stumble forward for a few steps in an attempt to catch up with her; not an easy feat considering how wet the ground is. “Honestly, I’m just relieved that you’re finally deciding to move on. You always dropped into such a sour mood every time you talked about him.”

“Well, a lot of stuff happened during that little transition.” She explains, letting go of my arm as we cross the street and begin to head back to her place. “It was pretty hard to not get pissed off every single time he tried to come at me with that ‘I tried so hard to support you’ garbage. I was a college student at home alone taking care of a blind twelve year-old girl, having to learn how to do things like pay bills, buy groceries, cook…”

I lightly tug on her arm, trying to pull her away from the thought. “Are you at least going to try and reconnect with your family after this? I mean, now that you’re trying to move on and get those bitter thoughts out of your head.”

She gives me a short huff. “That was the plan, yeah. I haven't talked to my mother since the trip to Scotland, you know that? There’s no reason not to.”

Her words stop for a few moments while she thinks, chewing on each word carefully. “I never really had a falling out with anyone other than my father. Me and Mom and my grandparents and everyone else just stopped talking after that.”

As soon as I open my mouth to respond, however, Akira quickly catches herself and adds on “That doesn’t mean I was trying to get away from them. It’s just that I had so much on my plate that I literally didn’t even have time to answer the phone.”

“I understand, I understand, it’s fine.” I chuckle at her reaction. “One thing at a time, though. Don’t go trying to push all of this forward before you’re absolutely sure about the stuff with your father.”

She nods and brushes a few locks of hair from her face, grabbing my wrist to steady the umbrella. “Yeah. All of that is in the past now - at least, that’s where I’m gonna try and leave it.”

By the time she finishes, her building is already less than a block away. Akira greets the two black-suited men at the front door, one of them takes my umbrella, and soon we’re standing on the elevator.

“What are you in such a hurry for, anyway? You've been jumpy like this all day.” I remark. I step out of the way while she punches the button for the top floor.

“There's something I want to show you. I've been keeping it for a nice occasion, and I think this is nice enough.” She answers, seeming to calm down a bit just from letting her intentions out. “Although I'm more impatient about seeing the look on your face than anything else.”

The look on my face? Oh no, I’m not sure if I like where this is going.

She laughs at my reaction and pats me on the shoulder, lightly taking my hand in hers and pulling me to her penthouse door as soon as the elevator opens. The interior is left the exact same way we left it; the curtains are closed, some of the couch cushions linger on the floor, and there are still some dishes left on the table.

As soon as we get inside, I kick off my wet shoes and plop down on the couch while Akira heads for the cupboard across the room. “So what's the surprise?” I ask.

Just as soon as I finish the question, she's turned around with two objects in her hands. The first one is a reddish-purple bottle of wine with an uncanny label on it in a language I can't even begin to...

“You've been holding onto that this entire time?” I laugh, sitting forward and receiving the container with a thin layer of dust on its tinted surface. “I gave it to you thinking that you were going to share it with Lilly or something, seeing as how it was a welcome back present.”

Akira shrugs and hands me a silver corkscrew as well. “I keep plenty of wine around the house for special occasions.” She says while heading toward the kitchen to get some glasses. “That's just the way I do things. Beer is for after work, scotch is for bad days, vodka is for mixing, so on and so forth.”

Nurse said that I should be avoiding alcohol at all costs, but then again, he also specifically said that a glass of wine is fine every now and then. Quickly filing that thought away, I take the bottle into one hand and try to undo the cork, although I'm unable to twist the tip of the corkscrew into the core. I'm not sure if it has more to do with age or if it's just how these things are made, but it seems to resist being unsealed.

Now that it's in my hand, it feels more like tough rubber or plastic than actual cork. I have to lean forward and push all my weight into it just to get the tip in, and even then it...

There! The seal comes out with a satisfying 'pop' and a mixture of different scents floats up to my nose right as Akira returns with two wine glasses. I set the cork aside - still thoroughly ruined by the corkscrew - and hold onto the bottle, ready to drink. Although, right as I begin to pour the first glass, Akira gives me a troubled stare and points to my belly. “What the hell did you do to your shirt?”

“My shirt?” I set the bottle aside for a moment and inspect my shirt, noticing that I’m short a button. I can still feel the threads where it was seated as well as a tear in the cloth, making me wonder just how hard I might have snagged myself. “Ah crap, I think I caught it with the corkscrew when I was trying to get the bottle open.”

She gives me a smug look and goes to finish pouring the wine while I stand up and feel around for it between the cushions. The search proves to be pointless, though, and I decide to just unbutton the rest of my shirt and be done with it.

“Hey, calm down. Just leave it with me and I'll take it to Lyra's tomorrow to get it fixed up.” Akira says while also mirroring my action, unbuttoning her work shirt and revealing the white camisole underneath. “Or we can just trash that crappy shirt and get a new one altogether.”

“Lyra's? That sounds familiar.” I muse, unable to keep the smirk off of my own face as one creeps up on hers.

Yes, Lyra's Fine Wear. Everything about that store is burned into the back of my mind, as are the events that led me there. I can remember where I woke up that morning, how I felt sitting in class, why I talked to Mutou about the science expo, the bus ride into the city, the search for somewhere to buy a suit...

“You mean the place where we first met, right?” I ask as she hands me one of the glasses.

She lets out a small chuckle and we tap the two goblets together with a 'clink,' both taking a long drag. “It's always so damn weird thinking of that place now. If you went back in time and told me that we'd be dating a few months after that happened, I wouldn't have believed you.”

“It really is surreal, isn't it?” I laugh, letting myself relax and sink into the mood.

One would have to question whether there's a mood at all, though – the weather is awful, we're both sitting around in half of our suits, and there's no music or candlelight. Somehow the introduction of wine into our day makes everything better.

“You're telling me,” She returns. “Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't met you. I'd probably be getting settled into my desk in Scotland if you weren't here to hold me and Lilly down.”

The thought alone causes a shiver to roll through my entire body. “Well, we're past that, aren't we? You're here, and you're not going anywhere. Let's just enjoy it.”

She pats around beside her for the TV remote and points it across the room, letting the sound of the evening news mix with the rainfall. “Amen to that.”

In less than a minute's time, the bottle is back in my hand and I'm pouring Akira another glass, having already set mine aside with a quarter of its contents left. “Is it good, at least? I'm still not really savvy with how to taste this stuff.”

“It's not the best in the world, but then again everything's better with company.” She says with a warm smile, nudging me in the side. “Where did you say you got this again?”

Even though it's been a fairly long time since I was handing it to her wrapped in newspaper, 'I got it from the guy down the hall whose parents send him alcoholic care packages' doesn't sound like a good answer. I still don't know if I'll ever tell her about that night I got drunk and fell asleep on the roof of the school. “It's from a friend, who… well, there are some things that are better left in the past, don't you think?”

She cocks one eyebrow at me and continues drinking, finding some strange amusement in my answer. “As long as you didn't steal it. I still remember how nervous you looked when you handed it off to me.”

“Isn’t that how all guys act when they're giving a gift to a girl they like?” I reply with a groan, inwardly cringing at the memory. “And then pile on the fact that the girl they like had a boyfriend and was also six years older.”

This earns me a brief scoff. “Well you'd better start working on that confidence, because I sure hope that's not the last bottle of wine I get to see from you.”

With that said, she takes another sip from her glass, seeming to burn through the stuff as if it were water.

“Oh, I'm sure there will be more where that came from. I get the feeling that some things aren't going to change.” I give her a nudge right after she sets her empty glass aside for the second time.

I try to push it as a joke, but really, it's the truth. There are some things that aren't going to change, no matter how much I’d like them to. The melancholy from earlier starts to set in again, but Akira still manages to let out another laugh. “I don't think quitting my job is going to curb that love for some things, and I already know that quitting yours isn’t going to change anything about you.”

I try and shake off the thought before reaching over and finishing what's left of my own glass. “It's just a weird thing to adapt to. I haven't even told my parents about my plans yet; they still think I want to be a research chemist.”

She shrugs and leans into me a little more, her face flushed and her breath ripe with the scent of fermented fruit. “Just give it time. Soon you'll be wishing that the world would stop changing.”

‘Wishing that the world would stop changing.’

All these thoughts about stagnation and moving on...

Just this morning I was wondering if everyone had gone through their own trials and changes despite nothing seeming to happen on the outside. When it comes to myself, I know that I've practically turned into a teacher's pet since I moved in, but do I still give off that same bitter, anti-social aura? The new kid who was so damn depressed about being in a school for the disabled that he couldn't be approached by anyone other than the two most forward girls on campus?

...

What a stupid question. Even if there is an answer, it doesn’t matter.

I've started living with my heart condition – not just surviving with it, but actually living. I made some close friends and became more involved with them than with anyone I knew from my 'past life.' I found what I want to pursue with my education. On top of all of that, I fell in love

These are such weird thoughts to have, and I never used to wonder about stuff like this until I got to Yamaku.

If all of these things have happened to me within the span of a few months, then maybe everyone else here has seen changes like that too; things that aren't totally evident on the outside. Even if it's only a little bit, everyone else is still moving on.

The student council is looking for new applicants.

Lilly and Hanako are both researching universities and figuring out what they want to be later in life.

Tetsuo didn’t look the least bit defeated about Akira and he seems to have kept moving up the ladder, as he planned.

Mr. Setou at the research lab didn't even give it a second thought when I wanted to quit, and surely he's already put out requests for a new janitor.

Akira's father was dejected about her decision, but even then he was able to drive off and get on the plane back to Scotland.

Nothing ever stopped changing. Looking at it that way, I almost feel embarrassed to remember a time where I thought I was totally stuck. I just need to get into step with everyone else now; to get things set in motion.

I'm pulled away from my thoughts by a tug on my arm. Looking over, Akira's got that same curious glint in her eye, as if she were watching something really interesting. “What’s got you thinking so deeply all of a sudden?”

“Too many things. Just trying to figure out where everything has got to go after this.” I shrug and lay one arm over her shoulder, propping my feet up on the coffee table. ”And what about you? What have you got planned?”

She lays back into the sofa and glances up at the ceiling, sneaking her arm behind my back. “I’ve got two job offers on the table, but I’m not sure if I want to consider either of them, or if they’ll even still be there when they find out about all of the nonsense that’s going to come from me refusing a promotion from my own dad.”

The hand squeezing my side tightens and she lies into me, a playful glint in her eye. “Besides, a week or two off doesn’t sound so bad. I’d still be set on finances if I decided to take another little vacation.”

“I’m going to be signing up for entrance exams and deciding on a major soon.” I reply, letting my eyes shut in thought while I try to imagine something other than a vacation with Akira. “Mr. Setou wasn’t upset about me leaving either. He said the spot would be open if I ever wanted to come back.”

We both let out a long sigh in unison, further sinking into both the couch. Akira takes a moment to sit up and stretch while eyeing her empty glass, apparently deciding that the rest should be left for later. “Just make sure you keep a backup plan; that was the lesson I learned today.”

“Yeah. More plans to write down on the board.” I groan. “Don’t you ever get tired of keeping track of everything? It feels like it gets more and more impossible each passing year.”

At this, she looks over her shoulder and gives me a light smile. “What’s wrong with planning? Are you saying it’s better to have everything picked and chosen for you?”

I shake my head and sit up as well, watching her as she stands in front of me. “Of course not. It’s just a ton of stress getting all these things lined up and actually moving toward those goals.”

She pats me on the shoulder as she makes her way over to the window. “Freedom is a hell of a thing to take for granted, you know?”

Her smile only persists as she whips the curtains open, revealing that the sun has begun to peek through the clouds on the horizon, just short of setting for the day. “It’s a pain in the ass to get everything moving, but that’s no reason to let yourself get down about it.”

“So c’mon. There’s nowhere to go from here but up.”









Credits
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Final Word Count: 235,368 words / 1,272,816 characters
Last edited by Thanatos02 on Mon Jun 02, 2014 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Complete!]

Post by brythain » Sat May 24, 2014 1:37 pm

Bravo! After my second read-through, I've come to realise that you kept the best of everything for the last. A good resolution: satisfying, anyway. Thank you for the many hours of reading.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Complete!]

Post by Mournful3ch0 » Sat May 24, 2014 1:57 pm

*Begins slow clap*

I'm just going to say two things.

No.1) Wow.

No.2) Thank you, so very much.
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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Complete!]

Post by Hotkey » Sat May 24, 2014 2:12 pm

Yep. A fitting ending to what's been an emotional story, and a tremendous achievement for yourself to be proud of. Thank you ^_^.

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Complete!]

Post by hyroglyphixs » Sat May 24, 2014 2:42 pm

Wow. I can honestly say that is not only one of my favourite KS fics, but one of my favourite fics in general. Everything was so well written, the character development was deep, and the pacing was impeccable.

As for the ending, you wrapped up everything very nicely. The moment between Akira and her dad was a fantastic scene, where we finally see some weakness in Mr. Satou in the form of his regret.

I am tremendously sad that this fic is over though.. I do hope that you'll stick around :)

One final thing:
Thank you. Thank you for a wonderful journey, this fic really made me happy when a new chapter would come out, and I'm so glad you took the time to write it to us.
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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Complete!]

Post by Rhodri » Sat May 24, 2014 2:55 pm

I've never been the sort to give detailed feedback so I'll keep it simple.

Bravo good sir. Bravo.
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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Complete!]

Post by Fanuilos » Sat May 24, 2014 3:46 pm

This fic has been a source of pleasure during a not so great year for me. Thank you Thanatos for seeing it to the end!

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Complete!]

Post by mayeram » Sat May 24, 2014 4:01 pm

I just wanted to say a final thank you for this story. I enjoyed every moment of it. You should be proud of your accomplishment.

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Complete!]

Post by bhtooefr » Sat May 24, 2014 4:12 pm

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Excellent. I'm left wanting more, but then again, the canon routes do that, too. Thank you for writing this.
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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Complete!]

Post by Blasphemy » Sat May 24, 2014 4:49 pm

'Fly Me To The Moon' eh? Well, nothing left to say but

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Complete!]

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sat May 24, 2014 6:17 pm

Nor have I ever forgotten the day that you refused to leave for Scotland with your mother and I.
...with your mother and me.

Other than that...

Congratulations on finishing this story. You've joined the elusive circle of writers who have actually completed a route ;-)
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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