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BlackWaltz's One-stop Oneshot Shop (New: 30th Apr 2014)

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:05 am
by BlackWaltzTheThird
First, just as to ward off the friendly(?) reminders about requesting from Silentcook, I don't mean this to be a shop wherein people trade things for fanfiction. Nope-ity nope. I just liked the sound of the name. Anyway, down to business. At the time of creation, I've now written four pieces of fanfiction for Katawa Shoujo, three of which have their own topics. I figure if I'm to write any more in the future, it would be easier to have them all in one place. Well, save for bigger projects, which I'll only link to. But yeah, below you'll find a little contents page of sorts which links to my work so far. From the next post onwards will be all new content (or rewritten stuff, if applicable). You may also find unformatted versions of most of my fics in my Pastebin. So, without further ado;

OC Stories
Greater than the Sum
- A story of new people, great music, bitter rivalries, and young love.

Our Family Tree (Pastebin)
- A family tradition is formed for generations yet to come.
One (Pastebin)
- Sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight.
Fireworks (Pastebin)
- To indulge Lilly's curiosity, Hanako turns to an unlikely source.
Nine Hundred and Ninety-Nine (Pastebin)
- Sometimes, the things we love are taken from us all too soon.
Hurt (Pastebin)
- The students of Yamaku mourn the loss of someone they barely knew.
- By reading this fic, you hereby indemnify me from all ill-will felt.
The Game (Pastebin) (Alternate Ending)
- Hisao and friends partake in a game of high stakes.
The Rumour Mill (Pastebin)
- A schism forms among the student body, with Misha at its centre.
Final Gear Solid VII: Pretzel Eater (Pastebin)
- A JRPG/Stealth game rife with quirky humour. Only for PlayStation.
Waiting (Pastebin)
- Rin muses on the nature of solitude.
The Divine Tragedy (Pastebin)
- The descent into and emergence from Hell in one hundred words.
The Nakai Before Christmas (Pastebin)
- T'was the night before Christmas and all through the house...
Hello (Pastebin)
- Hisao organises his thoughts in the form of a letter.

Musical Parodies:
The Master of Romance (Pastebin)
- A fresh look into life on the west side.
Yamaku, School for Cripples (Pastebin)
- You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

The Purest Form of Love (formerly Eminako Series):
Chapter 1: Friends [Hanako] (Pastebin)
- At the beach, Hanako and Emi get to know each other.
Chapter 2: Dinner Conversation [Emi] (Pastebin)
- The Ibarazaki family welcomes Hanako as she learns from the best.
Chapter 3: Ohana [Hanako] (Pastebin)
- At a sleepover, Hanako and Emi discuss their pasts and their futures.
Chapter 4: Spaghetti [Hanako] (Pastebin)
- When a new student arrives, Hanako seeks advice about boys.
Chapter 5: First is the Worst [Emi] (Pastebin)
- Emi spends a day at the festival, but things don't quite go to plan.
Chapter 6: Second is the Best [Emi] (Pastebin)
- In a slump, Emi decides to organise a party in secret.
Chapter 7: Third Time's the Charm [Emi] (Pastebin)
- Underage frivolity gets the better of Emi, Hanako, and friends.
*NEW* Chapter 8: Goodbye [Hanako] (Pastebin)
- Hanako learns firsthand just how hard it is to say goodbye.

Thanks for reading, guys! It has been the greatest of pleasures writing for you all these past two years. I really do appreciate it.

Re: BlackWaltz's One-stop Oneshot Shop

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:18 am
by BlackWaltzTheThird

With an eager whisper, I mimic the words of the people on the television. My eyes flick between the darkness beyond the open window and the counter on the screen as it ticks towards its inevitable end. At last, the count reaches single digits. Three… two… one…

“Happy New Year!”

Synchronised to the second with the crescendo of the chant, the first of the fireworks leap into the night sky and burst with a brilliant flash of blue and a percussive boom. More fireworks follow, and with each a new feast of light and colour for my eyes, and a thundering reverberation in my chest. On the left a firework arcs high and explodes into a huge green star; so huge the sound comes nearly a whole second later. On the right a near identical explosion sends out streams of crimson, each tiny particle glowing as bright as the stars themselves. Several smaller fireworks shoot off in the centre of the display, emitting high pitched squeals which pan across my ears from left to right before erupting into fountains of golden stardust. At the same time, a wave of even smaller fireworks detonates amidst the fountains, showering them in iridescent purple sparks which curl around with a fizzing noise. I practically squeal with delight at the display; this year’s arrangement is definitely the best I’ve experienced so far.

Like the saying goes, though, all good things must come to an end, and the fireworks display is no exception. Several seconds pass with no indication of further pyrotechnics, and I admit to myself that there is nothing left to enjoy. A quiet ‘aww’ slips out under my breath as I turn my head away from the window. The girl opposite me drains the last of her cup of tea before speaking up.

“I take it the fireworks are over, Hanako?”

I sigh in disappointment.


“No matter. There’s always next year.”

“B-but they just started… it always ends so s-soon…”

“They have to end sometime, Hanako. Especially near a place like this; not everyone can be as… receptive of fireworks as you are.”

I snap my head up towards my companion in realisation.

“Oh! I’m s-sorry, Lilly, I… I f-forgot…”

“That’s quite alright. No need to diminish your enjoyment of something on my account.”

“But h-how can I… knowing that you c-can’t…”

“I’ve been blind since the day I was born, Hanako. Do you ever think I miss being able to see? How does that saying go? You can’t miss--”

“What you never h-had.”

Lilly takes my hand in hers, smiles, and nods, before releasing her grip and slowly pouring us both another cup of tea. I take mine, whispering a thank you, and gently blow on the dark liquid to cool it down. On the other side of the small table we use for our regular tea parties, Lilly does the same. I sip my tea slowly, while Lilly turns to look out the window. Well, not really looking, and sort of towards the wall next to the window, but it’s mostly right.

“That said… sometimes I do wonder what the fuss is about.”

The statement surprises me.


Lilly giggles lightly, hand covering her mouth.

“I suppose, but I meant the fireworks.”

“Oh! Um, the noise d-doesn’t really give you the f-full experience, huh? I could d-describe it if you like.”

“That would be lovely. After all, I can’t imagine people would be so excitable over just the noise, now, would they?”

“Okay, well, um… fireworks shoot upwards from the g-ground really fast, and they h-have trails of glowing f-fire, and… wait, what did you s-say?”


“You s-said you couldn’t imagine p-people being excitable over just n-noise.”

“That’s right. The beauty lies in the visual, does it not?”

“Well, yes… sort of… it’s p-part of a whole though. Um… wait here.”

“Hanako? Where are you going?”

“I’ll be right b-back!”

I stand up and stride over to the door, opening it without a second thought. I step through the doorway, and head over to a nearby room; one I can’t say I’ve ever been to of my own accord. Taking a deep breath, I knock on the door, hoping that the occupant is not elsewhere. To my relief, the door opens and both the people I was looking for peek out from behind it.

“Hanacchan? What are you doing here? And in your pajamas, too~!”

I blush furiously, having forgotten the state of my attire. All of a sudden I feel quite exposed.

“Um… c-could I speak to H-Hakamichi, p-please?”

“Wahaha~! Yep, yep, come on in~!”

Misha opens the door wider, stepping aside to allow me to enter her room. I hesitantly step past her and Shizune, and stand awkwardly, unsure of where to place myself. Misha skips past me and hops backwards onto her bed, causing the springs to squeak and groan in protest. In contrast, Shizune steps quietly to a chair in the corner and seats herself on it. Misha pats the bedspace next to her, inviting me to sit. I oblige, trying not to make eye contact as I do so.

“So~, what’s up?”

“I… I was w-wondering… what are f-fireworks like f-for Shizune? B-being… you know… d-deaf.”

Shizune arches her eyebrow quizzically as Misha delivers the question in sign. Shizune soon starts signing herself, and Misha interprets the response for me.

“Shicchan says it’s the same as anyone else~!”

“W-what? But, you can’t h-hear them g-go off, s-so…”

“She doesn’t need to, Hanacchan~! Shicchan knows when the sound hits because she can feel~ it. She doesn’t need to know what it sounds like, just that it has a sound and that it’s loud!”

Misha dips her voice, whispering ‘like her finger snapping’ with a smile. I stifle a giggle at the jibe.

“Then… h-how can I explain w-what fireworks l-look like to L-Lilly?”

Shizune frowns in concentration, taking her chin in her hand and tapping her lip as she thinks. After a few seconds, she snaps her fingers – an ear-shattering sound that causes both Misha and I to flinch – pushes her glasses up and begins signing.

“Well, obviously Shicchan can’t hear music, right~? She can feel it sometimes, but that’s not the point. Anyway~, even though Shicchan can’t hear music, she can still appreciate its beauty by looking at sheet music, and watching people perform it, or to it. So~, you just have to find a way of expressing the same feelings but in different ways. Does that make sense?”

“Um… I think s-so. Thank you… b-both of y-you.”

“Wahaha~! Any time, Hanacchan~!”

“S-see you. H-happy New Y-year.”

“Happy New Year to you too, Hanacchan! Buh-bye~!”

I make to leave Misha’s room, but I’m stopped by a big squishy hug from Misha. At a loss as to what to do, I look over to Shizune, who just stifles a soundless giggle with her hand. When Misha lets go, I linger, wondering if Shizune is to do the same, but she merely nods. I return the gesture and depart, with Misha waving out the door behind me.

Before I return to Lilly’s room, however, there’s something I need to get. I quickly stop in my room, fish out a portable CD player and accompanying CD – a gift from Lilly for last Christmas – then lock up and head back to Lilly’s room.

“I’m back!”

“Hanako, where did you go? You’ve been gone for quite some time.”

“I had to t-talk to someone. And I had to g-get something from my r-room. Sorry for w-worrying you.”

“My, my, don’t apologise. I’m sure it was important.”

“Y-yeah. It’s to do with the f-fireworks. Shizune said that as l-long as I was expressing the same feelings, it didn’t m-matter how I described the fireworks.”

Lilly sets down her tea cup, which appears to have long since been emptied, and gives me a surprised look.

“You talked to Shizune?”

“Y-yeah. Well, Misha, but you know… a-anyway, could you please stand up?”

“Stand up? Whatever for?”

“J-just trust me.”

I place the now-unused tea set back on its shelf and move the little table under Lilly’s bed so that the floor space is clear. I give her room one last check for obstacles, before setting the CD player upon the bedside table and hitting play. As the track loads, I step towards Lilly, take one hand in mine, and place my other lightly on her waist. Lilly takes the hint and places her other hand on my shoulder.

Then the first notes of the music ring in and I begin to dance. I’m not sure exactly what to do, but I improvise something resembling a waltz. Lilly, despite being unable to see where I step, manages to follow along rather well. For several minutes we circle the room, three steps at a time. Step forward, step right, feet together. The music shifts into a more upbeat tune, and I add a small bobbing motion into each step. Step backwards, step left, feet together. Shortly afterwards, the tempo of the music sharply increases, and – while not quite to the same extent – so do we, throwing in some twirls and dramatic stops in cue with the music. On returning to position from one twirl, I notice the large smile on Lilly's face, and I can't help but allow one to come to my own.

Like the fireworks, though, eventually the music comes to an end. With no music left to dance to, Lilly and I stay standing for several seconds before it becomes clear no further merriment is to be had for now. A quiet 'aww' slips out under Lilly's breath as she cautiously takes a seat on her bed, having to feel around first due to becoming disoriented during our dance. The girl opposite me rests her hands in her lap before speaking up.

“That was wonderful, Hanako.”

“Fireworks are like that, except w-with colours and light.”

“I see. Thank you very much Hanako. Fireworks truly are a beautiful thing.”

I sit down next to Lilly, and wrap my arms around her.

“H-happy New Year, Lilly.”

“Happy New Year to you too, Hanako.”


Read the story first, yo. Spoilers inbound.

I've been throwing some ideas around for quite some time now. Things involving fireworks and Lilly, and music and Shizune. Mostly the same concept really. I never went anywhere with them because I didn't know how to write it. Earlier tonight in the KSG people were all wishing each other Happy New Year and such (even though that was nearly 48 hours ago for me) and lamenting the lack of New Year content. So, I decided to try and tackle those ideas at the same time with a New Years theme. But I still had to figure out how to write it.

Would you believe the first draft got to about the asking Shizune point from Misha's perspective? Things were pretty different like that. I didn't like it. The Lilly-Misha-Shizune dynamic didn't work so well. Also Hanako should have been there but wasn't for no reason. So I rewrote it as Hanako's perspective. Turned out much better, I think. In any case, I'd love to have some feedback on this; I haven't written much of anything in a while, and I need to be at the top of my game if I'm going to actually write out those other stories that have been bouncing around in that head of mine. Ciao!

Re: BlackWaltz's One-stop Oneshot Shop

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:56 am
by Comrade
i like this, a lot

Re: BlackWaltz's One-stop Oneshot Shop

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:06 pm
by Gilrond
Sweet, concise and my favorite Beethoven piece. All in all a good read. Thank you :)

Re: BlackWaltz's One-stop Oneshot Shop

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 7:07 pm
by Brogurt
I think a little sentence near the beginning saying "It's just me -who is Hanako- and Lilly here having tea" would have been nice. When I saw Lilly take the narrator's hand, I figured that this was after Lilly's route or something, told from Hisao's perspective.

Also, I'm pretty sure that Misha doesn't always put tildes in the middle of her sentences. I think they go at the end to indicate that the whole sentence was said in that lilting manner.

I don't really feel like the whole "lights and sounds and how disabilities" thing got through to me, though. Maybe it's not relatable to my normal life, and not idyllic enough to be something I've visualized in fantasies before. Hard as it is for me to put into words, I kinda found myself not caring about it. Maybe that's why Lilly's route often forgets that she's blind. It might have been intentional since people want to read more about mother girl, timid girl, bitchy girl, fat girl, and loser protag than they want to read about blind girl, scar girl, mute girl, regularly abled girl, and arrythmic protag.

I mean, the writing was alright although it might have been too verbose with the fireworks. It's not a problem when you say it's green, but saying that it's really really cool doesn't really add to the description if we're supposed to see it through Hanako's eyes. I think that calling it really really cool would be more suited for describing someone's reaction to it, but I'm probably not making any sense and I better stop now.

Oh, and 15 minutes of Beethoven isn't something that will sit really well with most of the young people who are interested in KS. Beethoven is a recognizable name so it's not that pretentious, but still.

Re: BlackWaltz's One-stop Oneshot Shop

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:54 pm
by BlackWaltzTheThird
Brogurt wrote:I think a little sentence near the beginning saying "It's just me -who is Hanako- and Lilly here having tea" would have been nice. When I saw Lilly take the narrator's hand, I figured that this was after Lilly's route or something, told from Hisao's perspective.
Hmm, I'd thought the narrator's vocal disappointment at the conclusion of the fireworks and the following line being addressed directly to Hanako would get that across. I'll take into consideration making that more clear.
Brogurt wrote:Also, I'm pretty sure that Misha doesn't always put tildes in the middle of her sentences. I think they go at the end to indicate that the whole sentence was said in that lilting manner.
She does it from time to time. Just on a quick count there was a good half dozen times in the scene Detour Ahead. But, upon rereading I do find the tildes are altogether too frequent here.
Brogurt wrote:I mean, the writing was alright although it might have been too verbose with the fireworks. It's not a problem when you say it's green, but saying that it's really really cool doesn't really add to the description if we're supposed to see it through Hanako's eyes. I think that calling it really really cool would be more suited for describing someone's reaction to it, but I'm probably not making any sense and I better stop now.
The point of that paragraph was to capture the wonder Hanako felt at viewing the fireworks, and provide a reference point for her failure to describe them and later to convey them through music and dance. I'll look into editing that.
Brogurt wrote:Oh, and 15 minutes of Beethoven isn't something that will sit really well with most of the young people who are interested in KS. Beethoven is a recognizable name so it's not that pretentious, but still.
It's not essential listening for comprehension of the story, merely what I was listening to while I wrote that scene. People are welcome to listen or not listen, and like or dislike as they please.

Re: BlackWaltz's One-stop Oneshot Shop

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:41 am
by Mirage_GSM
It's not essential listening for comprehension of the story, merely what I was listening to while I wrote that scene. People are welcome to listen or not listen, and like or dislike as they please.
I for one never follow any links without at least a short description of what I'm going to find there.
Linking is fine for those who like it, but I thought it would have been nice if you'd at least mentioned which song was playing in the story.

Re: BlackWaltz's One-stop Oneshot Shop

Posted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:05 am
by Scissorlips
That was a heartwarming little story, and a nice way to add to the new year celebrations. It's a little hard to tell where the story fits in chronologically, and the only reason that bugs me is that Shizune still has that "enemy of my enemy" attitude towards Hanako in the beginning of the game, so her visiting them like that felt like a bit of a stretch. Still, I've always enjoyed stories where the girls interact with each other, and this was no exception.

I'd have to agree with Mirage in that it's still worth it to describe a song used in the story even if it's embedded, and probably my favorite detail was Lilly's echoing of Hanako's earlier "aww", I thought that was a really nice touch.

Re: BlackWaltz's One-stop Oneshot Shop

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:26 am
by BlackWaltzTheThird
Nine Hundred and Ninety-Nine

We played many games of Risk, you and I.

You won most of them. Most of the time it was less about who won or lost, and more about how badly you beat me. There was the odd time here and there that I would come from behind to snuff out your army, and I never let you forget it. You always made that pouty face with your arms crossed, and even though you were angrily debating the outcome, I could only smile and laugh.

I’ll never forget the day I heard your laugh. You always kept yourself so composed – so controlled – that when you did finally let go, you choked. I know you were embarrassed, but it was the most beautiful sound I ever heard. I’d give anything to hear that laugh once again.

You always worked yourself ragged, giving your all on even the most inconsequential things. “Once more, with feeling,” you would say, until you were satisfied that things had been done to their fullest. It was often the case that I would come home to find you asleep in front of a pile of documents or an open laptop; screen filled with whatever character your face had happened to land on.

Then there were the bets. Who would wash the dishes. Who would pay for dinner. Who would talk to your dad. Always decided by a flick of the wrist, best two out of three. You had a tendency to lead with Rock. I never told you that was how I suddenly started winning; something that you equally respected and detested.

But we always came back to those games of Risk. Once a month, because less often wasn't enough while more often made it less special. I wonder whether you ever kept track of those games. I know I did. Do you know how many we played? Nine hundred and ninety-nine.

I wish we could have played just one more game. I’d have even let you have Australia. But don’t worry, dear Shizune. I’ll be with you soon. And we can play Risk to our hearts content.

Once more. With feeling.

Here's to another 1000 threads, KSG. For peace, love, and a place for all of us to stay.

Re: BlackWaltz's One-stop Oneshot Shop

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:23 am
by BlackWaltzTheThird

I hurt myself today, to see if I still feel.
After I heard what had happened, everything seemed to go numb.
The pain is the only thing that feels real now.

There was a chance you weren’t repulsed by me.
I know I ran away, but I wanted to stay.
I wanted to give you a chance.
And now that chance is gone.

If I could have had the nerve to stick to my guns, things might have been different.
I keep trying to forget how badly I screwed up that conversation.
It hurts too much.
But I remember everything.

I have many friends at this school.
Many acquaintances.
But I only have one true friend.
My sweetest friend.

That’s not something that changes often.
I thought you could change that.
You could be a part of our little family.
It’s not much, but you could have had it all.

And yet, it wasn’t to be.
I thought I had done something wrong.
I’d considered myself an approachable, hospitable person, but it seems I am mistaken.
What have I become, to have failed at the very thing a Class Representative is here to do?

I am sorry I failed you.

I’m full of broken thoughts.
I always have been.
It’s like there’s a gap between what I think and the idea behind it.
Then I met you.

I didn’t see you very much, but when I did, it felt like you could repair that gap.
Things made more sense.
The crown of thorns that prickled into my conscience was lifted.

I thought so, anyway.
You still seemed to be lost whenever I talked.
I could have gotten you to understand me, and we’d be friends.

Or maybe we both would have ended up on the roof that night.
Who knows?

I lost someone once.
It was a long time ago.
I’ve been closing myself off ever since.

When I run, that feeling disappears.
I can be free again.
I don’t know what you were like before you came here, but I thought we could run together.
Be free of our past together.
Maybe even open our hearts together.

But you never came back.
I never sought you out, because I told myself you would be there tomorrow.
You were just taking a rest day.
I should have gone looking for you.

Now you’re somewhere else, and I’m still right here.

Everyone I know goes away, in the end.
All this time, I’ve struggled to understand why.
I’m not the easiest person to get to know, for obvious reasons.
It’s not like I don’t put in the effort to overcome that, though.

Am I trying too hard?
Is it possible to pursue friendship too aggressively?
Logic dictates that success at any task can come down to the same fundamental steps.

Perhaps friendship isn’t bound by logic.
Maybe I can’t apply the same strategies I use to win games to winning people’s hearts.

I let you down, Hisao. I drove you away.

If I could start again, I would find a way.
A way to change things…
A way to make everyone happy…
A way that doesn’t end like this.

Did you know that you caught her eye the second you walked into class?
I was more than a little jealous, I’ll admit, but I wanted her to be happy.
I did what I could to sway you into joining us.
No matter what I tried, though, nothing seemed to appeal to you.

Was it my fault?
Was I in the way?

If I could start again, I would keep to myself.

Hurt is a song written by Trent Reznor, and covered by Johnny Cash.

Re: BlackWaltz's One-stop Oneshot Shop (New: 12th Feb)

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:43 pm
by Brogurt
Are any of these Hanako

Because it doesn't look like it

Re: BlackWaltz's One-stop Oneshot Shop (New: 12th Feb)

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:07 pm
by ProfAllister
The tricky one for me to catch was Lilly.

The girls are as follows:

Stanza 1 - Any/All
Stanza 2-3 - Hanako
Stanza 4-6 - Lilly
Stanza 7-10 - Rin
Stanza 11-13 - Emi
Stanza 14-17 - Shizune
Stanza 18-20 - Misha

Still trying to digest what my thoughts on this are. Certainly a (semi-)novel approach to try poetry fanfic. A lil' slavish for songfic, but I think it works...

Re: BlackWaltz's One-stop Oneshot Shop (New: 12th Feb)

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:10 pm
by Brogurt
I just assumed that the first stanza was about how it hurts to close yourself off from the katawas and fall off a roof

Yeah I guess it could be Hanako

Re: BlackWaltz's One-stop Oneshot Shop (New: 12th Feb)

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:06 pm
by BlackWaltzTheThird
So, this looks like poetry, you say? Or a song, even? Huh. That's weird. Even the use of the word, "stanza", is weirding me out.

It's actually a set of six drabbles. The formatting changed somewhat upon transferal from MS Word to here, mostly because it looked like balls here, but I'd thought I'd made the paragraph groupings pretty clear. At least the identity of each section got across well enough. The Prof was correct in his deductions, and while the first stanza, as he put it, could apply to anyone, I intended it to be a part of Hanako's group.

I'm considering making the formatting more clear, but in seeing how the lack thereof has resulted in a different reaction, perhaps I should leave it. The ambiguity allows for a more varied set of interpretations. Yeah, I think I'll leave it. For now, at least. Thanks for reading, guys.

Re: BlackWaltz's One-stop Oneshot Shop (New: 16th Feb)

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:42 pm
by BlackWaltzTheThird
The Purest Form of Love - Chapter 1: Friends
First | Next


I knew this was a bad idea.

The hot sun bears down on me mercilessly, even in the shade of Lilly’s parasol, stuck on a slight angle in the sand between us. The heat is unbearable, and makes me sweat profusely on one side and swelter without relief on the other. Still, I refuse to remove the long-sleeved summer dress that covers most of my body.

They would see my scars. The form-fitting, dark purple, one-piece swimsuit underneath it does cover a fair amount of the affected area, but my exposed arm, neck and leg is too much to handle. People will stare. If not my fellow Yamaku students, then the other beachgoers will.

Why did I come on this stupid excursion? It’s not even related to any classes. 'Inter-class bonding', they called it. Yeah, as if anyone wants to 'bond' with the burned girl. I should have just stayed in my room and refused to leave. They’d have had to pry me out by my cold, dead fingertips.

I look over my shoulder towards Lilly, sleeping peacefully on a towel beside me. Of course, she can be much more daring with her choice of swimwear. Her black bikini set leaves very little to the imagination, even with the translucent dress thingy flowing from the top. I wonder what those are called? Apparently, Akira got it for her on a business trip. I'll have to ask her about it some time.

But oh, what I wouldn’t give to be able to look like that. Lilly draws attention like a magnet, and though I do as well, it’s not for the same reason. People look at Lilly and think she’s beautiful. Amazonian, even. They develop crushes on her. I know that Lilly has been the recipient of many a confession, both at Yamaku and elsewhere. How many confessions have I had? Zero, that’s how many.

The sound of someone approaching catches my attention. I open my eyes – which I hadn’t realised I had scrunched shut – and look over to the intruders. Ibarazaki and Tezuka appear to have come bounding out of a stint in the water and have taken up residence in the sand on my other side. It seems that it’s sandcastle-building time.

Ibarazaki notices my staring, and though I try to look away, I’ve already been caught. Ibarazaki waves and shuffles closer to me.

“Heya! Aren’t you hot, in that dress? I’m sweating like a pig just like this!”

“Ye-… um, n-no. It’s f-fine.”

“You sure? You look pretty flushed.”

I pull my legs even closer into my curled sitting position and look down at the sand in front of my feet.

“It’s n-nothing. I’m fine, r-really.”

Ibarazaki rests her chin in her hand, looking thoughtfully up at the sky for a few seconds before replying.

“Well, if you say so. The water’s great though, if you change your mind.”

“I’ll k-keep that in mind. Th-thanks.”

Ibarazaki smiles and nods, before returning to her previous place and giving a hand to Tezuka, who is struggling to adequately fill a bucket with sand. With Ibarazaki now filling the bucket in her stead, Tezuka looks over to me.

“Are you afraid of getting sunburnt? It’s not even that bad. I usually don’t bother applying sunscreen and I turn out alright. Can you even get burned? Not like you already are, I mean. You can't get that kind of burn out here. I mean the sun kind of burn.”

Even before Ibarazaki realises the trajectory of Tezuka’s ramblings and stifles any further comments, my eyes go wide and I turn away. Forget about it, Hanako. Think happy thoughts.

Ice cream. Ice. Cold drinks. Tea. Scald. Burn. Scars. No, no, no!

Christmas. Snow. Winter. Summer. Sun. Sunburn. Scars. Damnit!

I feel the tears begin to well in my eyes. One rolls down my cheek, to my chin, and drips unnoticeably onto the sand. Several more make the same journey, before a hand comes to rest on my shoulder. I flinch at the contact.

“Hey, I’m really sorry about that. Rin can be… inconsiderate at times. Are you okay?”


“Just forget about it. Rin didn’t mean any harm by it.”

“It still h-hurts.”

“Wanna talk about it?”

“Not r-really.”

“C’mon… I’ll buy you an ice cream.”

Ibarazaki makes the offer in a sing-song voice, almost seductively. With the thought of a nice, cooling dessert paired with the puppy-dog expression on her face, I find it hard to turn her down.


“Great! C’mon, on your feet! There’s an ice cream bar just a short walk from here.”

With one last look at the sleeping Lilly, I stand and follow Ibarazaki. I notice her strides are quite long, possibly to make up for her short stature. In contrast, my own steps are short and rather frequent. Not frequent enough, though, as Ibarazaki beckons for me to pick up the pace.

Shortly afterward we arrive at the ice cream bar, and Ibarazaki buys an ice cream for each of the two of us. She takes a seat at a bench under the shade of a high curved wall, and motions for me to follow suit. I do, and we begin to enjoy our delicious frozen treats.

“So, you’ve got a complex about your scars.”

The directness with which she begins the conversation catches me off guard. I’m left unable to form a reply. After a few seconds, Ibarazaki continues speaking without a response.

“That’s not a big deal. I’ll bet damn near everyone here has a complex, to some extent. You think I like being short?”

To emphasise the point, she places her hand on her head and slides it across to me, where it meets my collarbone.

“See, sometimes shit happens. Sometimes it’s pretty bad, and it has a big effect on people. But you can’t let it define you, ya hear? I mean, look at me. You don’t hear people talking about 'Emi the double amputee', you hear about 'Emi the track star', right?”

“A-actually, I hear 'resident d-detention expert' p-pretty often.”

“Hey! Ah forget it; I guess I bring that on myself. But it just proves my point even more! You can’t just expect other people to decide who you are, you’ve gotta make ‘em see who you are for yourself. What’s something you like doing?”

I have no idea how to respond to that question. What do I like doing? I don’t usually do things outside of class. I delve deep into my subconscious to find something to say.

“Um… I like to c-cook, sometimes…”

“Really? Great! 'Ikezawa, the mighty Iron Chef of Yamaku Academy'! What else?”

“Well, I… no, n-never mind.”

“Aw, c'mon, you can tell me. Even if it’s something weird!”

“N-no! It’s not like th-that. Singing. I l-like to sing, t-too.”

“Singing, huh? Then how about 'Ikezawa, the Yamaku Pop Princess'? Or maybe you sing other stuff… I know! 'Ikezawa, the rough ‘n’ tough rockstar'! It totally suits you!”

I can’t help but giggle at the absurd nicknames. I would be lying if I said that I hated them. But I can’t help but find one major flaw in Ibarazaki’s logic.

“Y-yeah, but… you can’t even t-tell that you… that you… um… b-because your p-prosthetics…”

“Hmm? I don’t follow.”

“You can still w-walk just f-fine. I can’t not b-be… ugly.”

Ibarazaki does a double take, almost dropping her ice cream in the process. She stops swinging her legs under the seat, and she takes on a somewhat more serious face.

“Hey. Listen. You’re not ugly. Honestly, I think you’re really pretty. You’re tall, and you have really nice hair, and your eyes are all mysterious-like. And you’ve got a fair body on you too, if you don’t mind me saying.”

Even though my dress provides ample coverage, I still cover myself with my free hand out of habit. Is Ibarazaki… hitting on me? I feel a blush emerge on my cheeks. I look at my lap and continue eating my ice cream, but steal glances at Ibarazaki between mouthfuls. She wouldn’t be… would she? Nah, she’s just being nice.

The last bites of my ice cream disappear into my mouth, and for several seconds the only sounds are those of the other beachgoers. Ibarazaki breaks the silence.

“Hey, I wanna show you something. I don’t usually do this, so don’t get freaked out, okay?”

Wait, what? Is she going to do something weird? Is she… no, I already decided that she’s not that kind of person. I fear what I may see if I look over to her, but I look anyway, and find her bent forward and removing her prosthetic legs and the protective socks underneath. I gasp at what I see.

The flesh at the base of what remains of Ibarazaki’s legs is all warped and scarred. Oddly shaped curves of flesh crash awkwardly into each other, the seams marked by thick whitish scars in various directions, forming something resembling the bastard child of an “H” shape and a star.

The other leg is more or less the same, though somewhat less misshapen. Nevertheless, it’s still a grotesque sight to behold. I instinctively run my left hand over my right, feeling my own scars there. Satisfied that she’s shown enough, Ibarazaki replaces her prosthetics as they were.

“Pretty whack, huh? You’re not the only one with scars, you know. I know mine aren’t as… widespread as yours, but they’re still there. And I’m okay with that, because that’s a part of who I am now. It’s no use being ashamed of who you are. Ya with me?”

“Y-yeah… I think so…”

“Great! Now, there’s no good way for me to say this, so how about you get that stifling dress off and come back to the beach with me? The 'rough ‘n’ tough iron chef princess' looks like she could use a swim.”

In spite of Ibarazaki’s suggestive wording, I giggle and a smile comes to my face.

“S-sure, I’d like that.”

By the time we return to our previous place, my nerves begin to falter. Here I stand, dress folded over my arm, in full view of over a hundred people. Exposed. My breath catches in my throat, and I start to try and cover my scars with my arms, but it proves ineffective. I consider backing out of going in the water, but I find a courage within myself, dump my dress on my towel and stride towards the shoreline where Ibarazaki awaits.

The sheer cold of the water comes as a shock, in contrast to the burning heat of the sun and, consequently, the sand. Again, I almost chicken out, but Ibarazaki's beckoning spurs me further out. She leads me over to a group of boys throwing a ball around, about waist-deep in the water. I'm not familiar with them; they mustn't go to Yamaku. Nevertheless, they allow us to join in their game.

The ball starts off going mainly between the boys, though as time goes on, Ibarazaki and I are on the recieving end of increasingly more frequent throws. Several minutes in, I fumble one particularly short throw that skims off the water in front of me, and the ball ends up several metres out to sea. I cautiously half-walk-half-swim over to it, and make to throw it back, but a wave catches me off guard and I lose my footing. For a second, my entire body is underwater, tumbling with the motion of the wave passing over me. I begin to panic, and flail desperately to get back to the surface. Out of nowhere, a strong hand catches my arm, and pulls me up.

Wiping the water out of my face, I find myself looking eye to eye with one of the boys. He was standing to my left, before. He's quite handsome, despite his lopsided grin. For a second that seems like it lasts for much longer, the two of us stare into the other's eyes. Then, he speaks.

“You alright there?”

“Y-yeah… th-thanks.”

“No biggie. Who wouldn't wanna help out a pretty girl like you, eh? I'm Haru, by the way.”


“Nice to meet you, Hanako. Now how 'bout we get back to the game, eh?”

I nod, and resume the ball game. Nearby, Ibarazaki gives me the thumbs up. Does Haru really think I'm pretty? Maybe Ibarazaki was right, after all. We make our own image of ourselves. I can be pretty if I want to be. I can be anything.


I slowly make my way to the front of the bus and out of its confines, glad to be out of the hot, cramped space. I take a deep breath of the cool, hilltop, Yamaku air and head towards the dorms. My right arm is looped around Lilly's, leading her, while in my left is my discarded summer dress. From amidst the throng, a voice calls out to me.

“Hey, it looks like you can get sunburnt after all.”

“Rin! What’d I tell you before!”

I instinctively flinch at the comment, but I shrug it off. I can feel the stinging heat of UV overexposure on my skin. Tezuka’s right; I probably should have applied some sunscreen. Oh well.

“It’s fine. D-don’t worry about it.”

“Phew! Hey, listen; you ever wanna hang out again, you know where to find me, alright? We can go meet some more cute boys together!”

“Sure. Th-thanks, Ibarazaki.”

“Aw c’mon, we’re friends now. You can call me Emi.”

“O-okay… Emi.”

“Heh, that’s it! Seeya!”

And with that, Emi takes off, catching up to the meandering Tezuka in no time at all. Friends, huh? I resume walking myself, and a polite cough precedes some curious probing from the girl by my side.

“Well, it certainly sounds like you had an eventful day.”


I make to add onto my response, but stop myself. I consider the thought for most of the journey back to the dorms. Would she agree? I think she would. It’d be a good idea. I have to make my own name for myself. Alright, it’s settled. I’ll ask her.

“Um… do you w-want to have d-dinner with Ibara- uh… Emi, sometime? I want to take up c-cooking again.”

“That would be lovely, Hanako.”

“A-and we should go to a k-karaoke room, too. It'll be f-fun.”

“I'd be happy to. I must warn you though, my singing leaves a lot to be desired.”

“Great! Uh, I mean, th-thanks.”

Lilly giggles lightly, evidently taking note of my uncharacteristic enthusiasm.

“It sounds like Ibarazaki has rubbed off on you, just a little. In any case, you needn’t thank me. Any friends of yours are friends of mine.”

Friends. It’s been a long time since that was plural. Maybe going on the beach excursion wasn’t such a bad idea after all. It’s time for 'rough ‘n’ tough iron chef princess' Hanako Ikezawa to have friends once again.

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So no one told you life was gonna be this way, *clap clap clap clap*

That's enough of that. I noticed Emi and Hanako seem to be a popular non-standard pairing for some reason. I figured "yeah, I can get behind that", but thought nothing else of it. Then I saw a picture of the two of them at the beach, and some ideas began to take shape. Also this was at 1 in the morning, just as I was about to go to bed. By 4:30, I was done, though I decided to wait til today to edit and upload it. Originally it was a bit more lewd, but it didn't really fit the theme of the piece. Doesn't matter, there's probably plenty of lewd Eminako stuff out there without my contributions.

Oh, and if I ever have to write Ibarazaki so often again, I'm gonna rage. Hope you liked it, folks!