A Saki-Pseudo Route Continuation (Updated 4/3)

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SemisoftCheese
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Dancing in My Head

Post by SemisoftCheese » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:49 pm

Today is the first meeting of the Yamaku Science club, and there’s a star-studded lineup in place.

There’s me, Mutou… and as far as I know, no-one else. Even though we decided to meet during study hours, no-one wanted to be a part of two clubs at once—not yet.

I put some posters around the school, but given the general attitude of Yamaku, I doubt anyone will come.

Well, they don’t know what they’re missing. The hallways are dim at this time of day, blending in perfectly with the fading daylight outside.

I open the door to Mutou’s classroom.

As always, I’m bathed in the cold, white light of fluorescents. I blink.

I make out the tall, brown-jacketed form of Mutou, slumped at his desk.

Wait.

There’s also a student. Purple hair, tanned skin… lithe figure slumping at desk, twirling a lock of her hair.

Miura.

Both their heads turn as I enter the room. I wonder why Miki’s here? Detention? I doubt she’s interested in the science club.

“Hi Mr. Mutou.”

Mutou looks up, a smile forming on his stubble-filled, worn out, face. It’s after hours, so he’s understandably a little tired.

I guess I should say hello to Miki too.

“Hi, Miki.”

She shoots me a grin, then slumps back on her desk. Mutou looks at her, then returns his smiling gaze to me.

“Hey, Nakai. Guess who decided to join Science Club?”

No way.

He gestures at Miki.

“Miss Miura here was meeting with me to discuss her last exam--”

he pulls a slightly wry face. Gotta love Mutou.

“--And I mentioned that I would be staying late to mentor Science club. After a few questions, she decided to join.”

I look at Miki for assent. The way it sounds, Mutou made Miki join at gunpoint for extra credit or something… but I’m glad it’s not just me and Mutou in a room discussing science.

I like him and all, but it’d just feel a bit lonely. With Miki, I feel a lot better about starting this club.

Mutou opens his mouth to begin.

“So… everyone… welcome to the first meeting of the Yamaku Science Club.”

Light applause from Miki and me.

“Today we’re going to discuss an interesting physics problem I found on the internet.”

He pauses, looking at us to check if we’re still paying attention. Miki is struggling to hold back a yawn, her head already leaning on the wall.

“As we have discussed in class previously, matter cannot exceed the speed of light in vacuum, by Einstein’s famous theory of relativity.”

Mutou takes the time to chalk up the famous formula: E=mc^2, on the board.

“However, let’s take this interesting situation. The speed of light is three million meters per second in vacuum.”

He draws a long line on the board.

“Say we construct a stick, three million meters long. Furthermore, neglecting the torque and forces present in classical rotational physics, this stick is a normal stick—by holding one end of it, you can manipulate it with your hand—mass and gravity is not an issue”

Mutou pauses to let this information sink in.

“Now what if we took hold of one end of this stick, and gave it a quick push. If we move the rod a meter or two, in less than a second, has the rod exceeded the speed of light?”

He returns to sit at his desk, a faint grin playing around the edges of his face.

Hmm. That’s actually pretty interesting. I read about this once in a science-fiction novel—according to Tsiolvolsky’s rocket equation, even a rocket composing 99% fuel can only read about 50% of light speed. Thus, this obviously isn’t right.

I look to Miki. She shoots me a look of pure boredom, followed by a “shoot me” gesture.

Guess her attendance at this club wasn’t voluntary.

The math checks out in this equation. I guess the only thing to question here… is the stick?

“Mr. Mutou, is the stick perfectly rigid in this problem?”

Mutou’s smile becomes wider, but he refuses to give up the cards.

“That’s part of the answer, Nakai. You’re almost there. Think about a lion tamer snapping a whip.”

Hrm. Ah.

“The force applied by pushing the rod slower than the speed of light, meaning that the rod does not move as suggested in the statement.”

Mutou flashes me a brilliant smile. He looks as pleased as punch.

“Excellent work, Nakai. The “push” will actually travel down the rod at around the speed of sound, since the force is a longitudinal wave. Thus, the end of the rod won’t move for a while, obeying Einstein’s theory of general relativity.”

Huh. That’s actually pretty cool. Mutou segues into the next problem.

“So, let’s take a look at another famous paradox—Schrödinger’s Cat….”

===================

I step out of Mutou’s room into the dark hallway. Science club lasted around 40 minutes, most of which Miki spent dozing. Still, I feel pretty good about it.

I don’t have much planned tonight. Homework is lightening up as finals come around the corner, but I’m pretty prepared. Maybe I’ll just read a book and go to bed. Tomorrow’s a Wednesday, but classes start late because of an assembly.

I hear the sidle of steps behind me. It’s probably Miki. She claps a hand on my shoulder.

“Shit, Hisao, I thought Mutou was never going to stop,” she sighs.

I slow my pace, allowing her to step beside me. She’s back to normal Miki now, out of her lethargic classroom stupor.

“Ya know, I spent most of that sleeping.”

I sort of noticed. I think Mutou did too—I don’t see how he couldn’t—but I’ll let her go on.

“But when I was awake, it looked like you guys were having a pretty successful meeting.”

She looks at me, a daring glint in her purple eyes.

“I think…this calls… for a celebration.”

Uh oh. I’m not too sure about this.

What Miki calls a celebration could involve anything from slightly lukewarm tapwater to three bottles of vodka.

“Let’s go into the city.” She shoots me a look of pure anticipation.

I look at my watch. It’s only 7PM. I don’t think it’d be bad to take some time off.

“Sounds like a plan.”

=======================

After boarding the bus into the city, we decide to look around for a café.

I've decided to forgo my sweater vest for the day—today’s ensemble consists of a light blue sweatshirt and jeans. My “city” outfit.

Miki’s wearing a yellow and black rugby shirt paired with black skinny jeans. I'd like to compare her to a bee, but the truth is she looks stunning.

“I’m pretty sure there’s a café down that block.”

“Lead the way, Captain Hisao.”

We set off, bathed in the neon glow of the city.

I look over at Miki. She’s strolling away, a slight smile on her lips. If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that Miki’s a creature of the night.

The moonlight catches her tanned skin, giving her a warm, beautiful glow. Her purple hair shimmers in the moonlight, reflecting all the rays the sun couldn’t.

She catches me staring and gives me a saucy wink, but refrains from saying anything. She’s just enjoying the walk.

The café’s a big, yellow, glass cube set into a building. Inside, the walls are a bright orange yellow, and the tables and chairs the same color. In the night, you can spot it a block away—a huge orange glow that illuminates the street.

We step inside. As usual, it’s orange everywhere.

I’ve been to this café once before—it’s pretty famous around here—in the trendy “fashion” district of the city. It’s large enough to hold a crowd, and supposedly it’s a big deal if you’re seen there.

I order a coffee. Well, it’s actually a “grande Americano au lait.” The byproduct of too many silly American coffee chains. Sigh.

Miki steps up to the counter. For her, herbal tea. An odd choice—but then again—she doesn’t really seem like the coffee drinker. Energy drinks, yes, but not coffee.

We settle down into an orange table. I have to go to the bathroom—maybe drinking three coffees before Science club wasn’t a good idea.

“I’ll be right back, Miki.”

“Sure, Hisao.”

The only problem with coffee places like this is that there are these huge wooden dividers everywhere—meant to provide “personal” space. In reality, they just make you lost.

I find the bathroom, located in some godforsaken corner of the maze, complete my business, and get ready to head back.

That is, if I can find my way back.

Poking around the dividers, I spy a flash of golden-brown.

My heart jumps. I question myself, but I know better.

I’d know that color of hair anywhere.

Saki’s at a table of her own, bobbing to some tune through her earbuds. On the table lies a laptop, some scattered books, and a assortment of pens and pencils.

That, and what looks like the remains of three coffees.

Black, I’m sure.

I want to go over and say hello… but then maybe I don’t. Maybe it’s best if she’s left to her own world, and I’m left to mine. Maybe she doesn’t even want to say hello to me.

Which is fine. We’re not a couple anymore, nor are we even friends. I think.

Ugh.

This is all too confusing. I guess I should go find Miki.

Rounding another wooden corner, I find Miki calmly sipping her tea. A strange sight for someone normally bursting with energy.

“Hey, Miki.”

“’Sup, Hisao.”

I sit down and stare at my drink. I need to gather my thoughts.

I think I’m over Saki. We had a relationship, it was nice while it lasted, and while I didn’t want it to end, it did. It’s been around two months now. I’ve moved on.

I might not have done everything correctly, but I did them to the best of my knowledge.

I don’t think I would have played it any other way.

I had to confront Saki. I had to. There’s no way I could have let her keep lashing around at those around her. Not if I cared about her.

But deep inside, there’s that little voice whispering.

What if. What if you didn’t confront her? What if you did it in a different way?

I try to banish these thoughts from my mind. Can’t live in the past. I look to Miki, who sports a wry grin on her face.

“Saw her too, huh?”

“What?”

She reaches over and gives my coffee cup a gentle flick.

Ping.

“You know who I’m talking about, Hisao. It looked like you were writing an essay in there.”

She gives my head a flick for emphasis. Ouch.

Guess it’s time to ‘fess up.

“Yeah…” I trail off, not sure where to go.

To be honest, I never knew where Miki stood on Saki, or if she even cared. Besides Miki’s explosion on her at Fashion club, I don’t know much about their history.

“Ya know, Hisao, I always thought you two were a cute couple.”

I pause, coffee cup halfway to my lips.

Miki gently reaches over with her finger, tipping the mug until I’m forced to drink. She continues.

“I never really knew Saki. I thought she was too full on, ya’ know?”

A funny thing to say coming from Miki.

“But I always thought you two were a cute couple.”

Miki looks down into her tea, then back up at me.

“In a way… Saki sort of reminded me of myself. I can see it now. Star athlete, queen of the school, life was good. People bent over backwards to help me out, because life was so good. And it was. It really was. I could have lived forever.”

Miki makes a gesture with her stump. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her do that before.

“But you know, you don’t listen to that little voice inside of you once, and something stupid happens. And your friends invite you to the same parties, but it’s not the same, because they’ve got two hands… and you’ve got this.

In a way Hisao, you’ve lucked out, because you can walk the streets and no-one can tell. But me, Saki? We’re in the same boat, a little bit. I can’t ever be “normal,” because my hand will do all the talking.”

She gives a little dry snort at her joke.

“I was lucky when I came to Yamaku. All full of piss and vinegar, cocky, insulted by the idea of some “cripple school.” But on my first day I met Suzu… and then I met Takashi… and Lelouch… and Shizune and Misha and all of these people… and I came to realize—they’re just people like you and me.“

Miki’s voice takes on a note of passion, as her tea lies steaming quietly on the table.

“Suzu doesn’t need to be “cured” of narcolepsy, nor do I have to get another hand. At the end of the day, I’m Miki, and you’re Hisao, and that’s all that matters. Hands or not.”

Miki looks at me furiously, daring me to challenge. Her eyes blaze with a purple fury, fired up, daring to challenge, pushing the limits.

Miki looks at her stump again, and the fire leaves her eyes. She looks down. The purple fire has turned into small puddles, leftovers from the storm.

She heaves a sigh, taking a drink of her tea. The warm spice of earl grey assaults my nostrils.

“But like I said, Hisao, there are things I can’t do anymore. I can’t waltz into a party and pick up a drink, because I draw attention. I can’t ski with two poles, or ride a bike—“

She looks like she’s about to heave a sigh again, but instead takes another long pull of tea.

“--It’s just the little things you miss, Hisao. I can’t carry books in one hand, and my track shoes in the other. I can’t talk on a cell-phone and give my friend a high-five. I miss these things. I won’t pretend that I don’t. But I can’t get them back.”

Miki looks over in the general direction of Saki.

“I know Saki. I see a lot of the old me in her.”

Miki spreads her palms—her hand and her stump—on the table. She looks at me directly, the purple neither warm or cold—just straight.

“I won’t ever waltz around a party again. Fine. But Saki’s never done it. So she’s angry. And she lashes out at those around her, and when she’s not, she has to pretend. Because when you wake up every morning, and there’s just a wrap where your hand used to be, or a cane where your legs used to be—“

Or a hole where a father used to be.

“You can’t help but own up. Then you shower, and do your makeup—and you’ve got a choice for the day; you can either pretend you’ve got a hand; or you can choose the truth.”

Her eyes are burning again, but the fire’s dwindling down—the last sparks from a match.

“In a way, even though I didn’t like Saki, I wanted to be her friend. I saw so much of me in her—so much ‘bang!—and I missed that part of me, so much that it hurt. She reminded me of myself before my accident. So I went to Fashion club. And then she fought with Misha. And I couldn’t stand that. “

Miki exhales slowly.

“Because I saw it so clearly. It was me, arriving at Yamaku, waiting to punch the first person who stared at my lack of a hand through a wall. Until a dozy, blue-eyed girl, stumbled down the hall and fell asleep on my shoulder.”

She blinks, lost in her memories, before refocusing on me.

“But I always thought you, Hisao, stood the best chance of breaking down her walls. So she could wake up in the morning and not have to put a mask on, and then we could be friends. So I could be friends with the old Miki again. Even superheroes like me—

Miki pulls a grin, smiling at some sort of inside joke.

“--need a trusty lieutenant around.”

Miki flicks her purple tresses back, and as she does, she puts her stump underneath the table. I guess the topic’s closed.

Well, I can’t say I enjoyed being described as a chess piece in the giant game of Miki. But I get what she’s looking for. The same thing we’re all looking for.

A kindred soul.

A friend.

“So, Hisao, whaddya say we go see a movie?”

What?

“Wait… Miki… after all that serious talk, we’re just going to waltz off and see a movie?”

She shrugs.

“I don’t see why the two are related. Come on, let’s go see a horror flick.”

Huh.

Well, it’s not like Miki to stay focused on a topic anyway.

I guess, in a way, neither should I.

She gets up from the table, I get up from the table, and we stroll off into the night.

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Re: A Saki-Pseudo Route Continuation (Updated 3/7)

Post by forgetmenot » Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:26 pm

At first, I thought the premise for this chapter was kind of odd. Seemed like too many coincidences, like Hisao was kinda being pushed around by forces outside of his own control. Then again, Hisao isn't exactly a leader, per se. I also wasn't too keen on your characterization of Miki, at least right away. But then as she talked, it just seemed to make more and more sense that she'd be saying what she was, and that she and Hisao'd be together at that café. I dunno if that's too cryptic or whatever, but I dug it anyhow.

In short, this chapter is definitely one of those that grows on you as you read it. Which I'm ok with. Good work. :wink:

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Re: A Saki-Pseudo Route Continuation (Updated 3/7)

Post by griffon8 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:45 pm

You are getting better at this. I think this is your strongest chapter.
“grande Americano au lait.”
Now here's a drink that confuses me. A caffè Americano is espresso in hot water. Surely you don't mean an actual Americano, because that has alcohol in it. A café au lait is a mix of coffee and steamed milk. (Steamed milk is American style; Europe uses heated milk instead.) So is this a mix of espresso, hot water, and steamed milk?

The reason for my confusion is because I'm not used to seeing as a single drink two drinks which don't share any ingredients, ignoring the similarity of coffee and espresso. :wink:

Oh, and Miki has black hair, not purple. As many people registering here for the first time discover, Hanako has the purple hair. :P
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Re: A Saki-Pseudo Route Continuation (Updated 3/7)

Post by SemisoftCheese » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:41 am

Volfaren wrote:I'm looking forward to how you'll redeem her in eyes of the audience, because like in the discontinued original by themocaw, she's just rubbed off as a plain bitch. Great work!
Thanks, dude! I'm working on it; my finals are over so hopefully I can really start to write.
forgetmenot wrote: Seemed like too many coincidences, like Hisao was kinda being pushed around by forces outside of his own control.
In short, this chapter is definitely one of those that grows on you as you read it. Which I'm ok with.
Yeah, I always thought it was sort of suspect how in my acts Hisao just "happened" into the right people at the right moment. Life's like that; a little, but at the same time that's something I'm really working on.
griffon8 wrote:You are getting better at this. I think this is your strongest chapter.
Thanks! This one took a really long time to write; but I'm pleased the way it turned out in the end.
griffon8 wrote:Now here's a drink that confuses me. A caffè Americano is espresso in hot water. Surely you don't mean an actual Americano, because that has alcohol in it. A café au lait is a mix of coffee and steamed milk. (Steamed milk is American style; Europe uses heated milk instead.) So is this a mix of espresso, hot water, and steamed milk?
Right, with the steamed milk used more of as a topping. Sort of like a less-milky cappuccino. Still, you're right in that this is a pretty awkward drink--I've only ordered one thing at coffee shops my entire life--a red-eye (some people call it "a shot in the dark")--so I guess I should have worked that out better.
griffon8 wrote: Oh, and Miki has black hair, not purple. As many people registering here for the first time discover, Hanako has the purple hair. :P
I actually debated on this in my head; in the game, she has black hair, but on some of the shimmie artwork, she's got purple hair. In the end, purple won out because it's a little more lively than just black, but you're right; her hair is black in the game.

Thanks for your feedback, guys!

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Re: A Saki-Pseudo Route Continuation (Updated 3/7)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:39 am

“Now what if we took hold of one end of this stick, and gave it a quick push. If we move the rod a meter or two, in less than a second, has the rod exceeded the speed of light?”
After reading the solution to the problem twice, I think I know what you mean, but the question alone is impossible to understand.
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Re: A Saki-Pseudo Route Continuation (Updated 3/7)

Post by forgetmenot » Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:51 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:
SemisoftCheese wrote:“Now what if we took hold of one end of this stick, and gave it a quick push. If we move the rod a meter or two, in less than a second, has the rod exceeded the speed of light?”
After reading the solution to the problem twice, I think I know what you mean, but the question alone is impossible to understand.
As something of a physicist and science nerd myself, I feel like I'm a little biased towards Semisoft's explanation of it, as I've often pondered the answer to this question myself (it was mostly after the revelation of the Ansible device in the novel Ender's Game). Semisoft does a very good job of explaining the correct answer, which is pretty much the fundamental basis of Einstein's theory of relativity:

Nothing (and I mean nothing) can travel faster than the speed of light. Not light, not compression waves through a rod, nothing.

Once you get into stuff that can travel through space more efficiently than light, that's a different subject. But I thought the solution was explained rather eloquently, while still being Mutou-ish.

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Re: A Saki-Pseudo Route Continuation (Updated 3/7)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:21 am

Yes, the solution. But I had to read the solution to understand what Mutou meant with the question. It may be that is supposed to be Mutou's normal confusion...

Also: Quantum entanglement.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
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Fix You

Post by SemisoftCheese » Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:20 am

The soft beep of the heart monitor besides me wakes me from my slumber.

Beep.

Beep.

Beep.

The smell of antiseptic wafts through the air. The same sterile, off-green walls. The same sterile, white, curtains.

No. Not here. Not again. I look around in a panic. My heart starts to rush.

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

The same floppy, limp, pillow. The same springy, weak, mattress. The same black and white TV.

I’m panting now, my body drenched in sweat.

No. Not again. It can’t me. I’m not here again.

My teeth grit in anger. I’m not here again. Not after all of this. I won’t stand for it.

Beep. Beep. Beep. Bee-beep. Be-Bee-be-beep.

What happened?

I’ve got to know. I have to know. I sit up in my bed. I’ve got to find a doctor. I’ve got to know.

What have I done? Will it mean… will it mean I’ve lost them? Again?

My friends, gone, again?

I’ll have to go to another, new, Yamaku, and I’ll have to find another Mutou, and another Miki, and another…

No. I won’t. I sit up even straighter. I’m going back. I’m not staying in this hospital.

I’m going to find a doctor. I’m going to get to the bottom of this. I need to know what’s wrong. So I won't lose my friends, my life, again. I won't lose anyone, ever, again.

I-I-

Be-bee-beep. Bee-ee-bee. Beeeee---

I-I-

The blackness surrounds me, envelops me, welcomes me in with bony arms.

I’ve got to run. I’ve got to go. Before it’s t-t-too

I-I-‘ve got-t-to ru-run. Be-before it’s t-too

Beee-beee-eeeeeeeeeee---

“late,” I whisper, as the blackness takes the sterile green ceilings away.

------------------

I cry out as I awake. I check my breathing. I'm breathing. I can think. I can move. I'm okay.

I’m not dead yet.

I'm not dead yet.

I'm not dead yet.

I’m not dead. I’m still here. Just a nightmare. Just a nightmare.

Where am I?

It’s dim. There’s a hard, gray couch underneath my back. On the wall lies a medical cabinet, and by the door, a sterile hand wash and sink.

I know where I am. It’s no hospital—but it’s close—Nurse’s “sick room.”

If you become sick during the school day, you get sent here to rest and recover.

A sterile syringe dispenser menacingly sits on the wall, followed by poster admonishing people to cover their mouth. Another warns of the dangers of drug usage. Another about bird flu. The walls are plastered with them. Athlete’s foot. Ringworm. Anthrax.

Nurse sure does love his diseases.

By the sink is a small basin, and next to it, a wooden dresser.

Other couches line the walls. I suppose it’s a good sign that there are no other students here.

I’m drenched in sweat—it soaks every pore of my body. My shirt and tie are sopping.

I know why I’m here—that stupid new prescription Nurse gave me.

While it reduced the number of pills I took, and forced me to go on runs with Emi…it also recently gave me insomnia, nightmares, and a constant fever.

I remember my head spinning in Mutou’s class… and then nothing. I guess I passed out in class, and they brought me down here.

I wonder where Nurse is? I know he teaches sometimes in the afternoons, during which students fill in. I wonder who’s in the office today?

A bottle of pills on the counter catches my eye. A new prescription is probably a good idea… but for now, I’ve got to deal with the effects of my current one.

The door opens. I shield my eyes with my arm as bright light filters the room.

A lone, tall, figure trails in, a thin grey braid swinging behind her.

Hi, Rika.

Her eyes sweep the room, eventually settling on me.

“Huh, it's Hisao. My heart-buddy. Long time no see. You look like shit.”

She walks on over to me and takes a seat on the edge of my couch.

She looks down at me seriously, appraisingly.

“How’s your heart doing?”

She checks her statement and smirks a little bit. Classic Rika.

“From your current situation, evidently not well.”

I want to answer, but my mouth is incredibly dry.

I open my mouth and close it. Rika’s eyes widen a tiny bit, but they retain their normal gray ice.

“Well, you know, Hisao, Nurse is normally swamped with paperwork, so I’m in the office this period, helping with paperwork, while he’s out teaching.”

She gives the leather besides my heat a pat with her hand, evidently not wanting to drench herself in sweat.

“So call me if you need anything. But there’s normally another volunteer who takes care of the sick students during this period—“

A ghost of a smile plays around her lips.

“And she should be here shortly.”

Giving the leather beside my head another pat, Rika sidles back into the office, leaving the door open a sliver. Just so that the light from the office plays directly into my eyes.

I give a mental groan, since I can’t actually give a real groan.

Speaking of which, I’m feeling awful.

The air-conditioner in the room is running on full, causing me to shiver in my sweat-soaked clothes.

My skin feels like it’s burning up. My sinuses are clogged, giving me a pounding headache located right between my eyes.

My throat aches. I can’t speak. Breathing hurts.

I close my eyes and fold my hands over my chest. I want to call out to Rika for help, but I doubt I can even make enough noise.

Arrrrrgggghhhhh.

I feel so helpless. I'm so sick I can barely lift a finger.

The leather sticks to my cold back as I shift in a futile attempt to get more comfortable. I feel drained, yet the immense pounding in between my temples is keeping me awake.

I hear the door creak open and the sound of bags rustling as someone hurries through the door, evidently late.

“Sorry Rika! I was held up by class!”

The voice makes me stop in my tracks.

I’d know that voice anywhere.

The voice doesn’t stop, rushing through the door to the sick room.

The first thing I see is her all-too-familiar golden hair, cascading down her shoulders as always.

I can see the garnet earrings she chose today—small sapphires set in gold. They glimmer as the sunlight from the door filters onto her hair.

Next comes her face—the same high cheekbones, small nose, slightly pink lips…

And her eyes. The same golden brown orbs lock in on me, swirling as deep as ever.

“Hisao?”

She stops in her tracks, her eyes registering nothing but surprise.

I guess I should speak up.

“T-t-that’s me,” I manage to croak in a whisper.

She flashes me a sad, sympathetic, smile, tilting her head to one side as she does so.

I’m shivering. It’s so cold in this room. It’s so cold, and I’m so sick.

I squint as light from the passing sunlight hits my eyes. It’s so bright today.

Saki looks at me squinting, and closes the door quietly. Duty takes over her actions. I watch as she moves calmly to the cabinets opposite her, drawing out a basin and a supply of white, fluffy, towels.

Filling the basin with a mix of water from the sink, she sits on the leather right beside me. I feel the warmth radiating off her.

“You look so cold, Hisao. And so pale.” Worry fills her face.

She dips a small white towel in the basin, and wipes my face. I relax as perfect, warm, water washes away my cold sweat.

I shiver. But it’s not just from the cold. I’m trembling all over.

Saki takes note of my sweat-soaked shirt and my shivering, linking the two together. She starts to undo my tie, with the intentions of removing my cold, soaked, clothing.

I should probably speak up. I need to tell her that I’m sorry. I want to tell her before it’s too late.

For not being there. For being selfish. For everything. I need to tell her.

“S-saki--” I croak.

“Shhhhhhhh.”

She puts her finger to my lips. Her hands are dry, impossibly soft, incredibly warm. Her other hand undoes the buttons on my shirt with deft, sure, movements.

She finishes undoing my shirt and takes it off, propping my head up with a white, fluffy pillow she’s materialized from nowhere.

All the while focusing on me with those sad, brown, eyes. They’re impossibly deep.

As she props my head on a pillow, she wraps my torso in a large, soft, warm, white towel. It’s so much warmer now.

I’m not trembling anymore. She wipes my brow again with the small towel, then lays the back of her hand on my forehead to test my temperature.

Her hand is warm, glowing with warmth.

I need to tell her I’m sorry. I need to tell her now. But I’m slipping away into sleep. I’ve got to tell her. Before it’s too late.

Summoning the last vestiges of my strength, I open my mouth to speak. Her hand is still on my forehead, reminding me that I’m safe.

“S-Saki, I--” I whisper.

“Shhhhhh.”

Her deep brown eyes look at me, filled with worry and care, and like her hands, impossibly soft, as she places a finger on my lips.

Sleep reaches out his arms to embrace me, wrapped in a warm white towel with her hand still resting on my forehead, making sure that I’m safe.

I relax, my eyelids giving way to a gentle slumber. I can still feel the warmth of her hand.

“Shhhhhhh.”
Last edited by SemisoftCheese on Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Saki-Pseudo Route Continuation (Updated 3/18)

Post by CptSalsa » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:19 am

How did... Interesting segue you put. Like before, I enjoyed it, but not as much as I could have, since I didn't quite understand what happened.

Grammar ninja!or shinobi
Sleep embraces out his arms to embrace me
Weird wording. But then again this was probably Hisao's lethargy talking. Or thinking. I don't know. I'm tired and the Crown isn't going to defend itself right? poor attempt at conversation
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Re: A Saki-Pseudo Route Continuation (Updated 3/18)

Post by SemisoftCheese » Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:34 pm

CptSalsa wrote:How did... Interesting segue you put. Like before, I enjoyed it, but not as much as I could have, since I didn't quite understand what happened.

Grammar ninja!or shinobi
Sleep embraces out his arms to embrace me
Weird wording. But then again this was probably Hisao's lethargy talking. Or thinking. I don't know. I'm tired and the Crown isn't going to defend itself right? poor attempt at conversation
Fixed.

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Re: A Saki-Pseudo Route Continuation (Updated 3/18)

Post by StudyOfWumbology » Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:50 pm

This is going to be very promising. I can tell already.
Things happen. For the best or for the worst we do not know.

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Re: A Saki-Pseudo Route Continuation (Updated 3/18)

Post by neio » Sat Mar 30, 2013 11:57 pm

Ahh... this point. The point where you catch up with a fanfic still in progress. Damn.

I'd have some comments and typos for you if it weren't 1 in the morning. I'll try again tomorr-- today. Dammit.

I'm enjoying it so far :)

I gotta hand it to Miki for helping Hisao out. And Rika seemed to not be so coldhearted this last chapter. Lilly seemed to see right through Hisao's indifferent front. And Saki has Spinocerebellar ataxia.



It is too lat-- early. Dammit.
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
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Dream A Little Dream of Me

Post by SemisoftCheese » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:45 pm

Tanabata. The night of the seventh.

Legend has it that the two lovers, Orihime and Hikoboshi, are separated by a river, and are only allowed to see each other once a year; during the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar year.

Every year, they come together for a fleeting 24 hours. If it rains, the legend holds that they can't meet, and just have to wait until next year. They were married once, but circumstances forced them apart.

I wonder what they think during their time together? How can they enjoy themselves knowing that in just a few turns of the clock, it'll be a year or even more before they see each other again.

How do their days go by? Do they dream of each other every day? Do they pretend to forget?

These thoughts run through my mind as I finish tying my tie; a neat black knot on a crisp white shirt, paired with some neat blue chinos. Dressing up for Tanabata is really for the girls, who get to wear traditional dresses and do their hair up, but I like to look neat anyway.

Ever since I was a little kid, I had gone to the Tanabata festival with my family or friends. It was a night to get slightly dressed ,enjoy some party games, and scarf down some fried food.

Yamaku takes Tanabata pretty seriously. It's an event for the entire town--both students and vendors set up booths where you can try your luck at winning a goldfish or order a steaming plate of dumplings.

I should have made plans with people... but I've been so busy with applying to colleges and schoolwork that it completely slipped my mind.

I'm sure I'll run into some people I know. I promised Miki I'd visit the track booth anyway.

I take a stroll across the Yamaku grounds. There's a pleasant hustle and bustle around, with the strung lanterns providing a gentle overcast to the dark blue night sky. The stars are twinkling.

I guess Orihime and Hikoboshi were able to meet tonight.

The soft grass crunches onto my feet as I step onto the hard pavement, making a right for one of the booths in the corner. According to the directions Miki gave me, the booth's on the outer edge of the festival grounds.

A left, a right, and… I should be here.

Sure enough, I see a calm looking Miki leaning next to a dark red wooden booth, decorated with hanging lanterns.

She’s wearing a red kimono, that in the dark, cuts her purple hair and dark skin perfectly. Her skin glows in the reflected light of the lanterns and the full moon above.

Miki, it goes to say, is a creature of the night.

“Hi, Miki, how’s it going?”

She turns to face me, a serene expression on her normally brash and loud face. Her eyes burn with a calm, purple, fire.

“’Sup, Hisao. Just admiring the night.”

She turns again towards the stars, the tension gone from her lanky body. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Miki so relaxed.

“You seem… so calm.”

She turns and shoots me one of her 1000-Mikiwatt grins. Glad to see not all of it’s gone.

“Yeah, I just enjoy the night. Normally I like to party at festivals, but during Tanabata I like to take it slow. It’s my time to relax and reflect, y’know?”

She flicks her head back at the booth. Inside lies a mop of sleeping blue hair, dolled up in a light grey kimono that makes Suzu seem like a blue lightbulb in the night.

“I was reflecting with my companion over there, but she banged out for the night. Once she’s up, maybe I’ll take a walk by the river or something.”

She looks at me, the calm night present in her eyes.

“What’re your plans, Hisao?”

Huh. I still don’t know. I wonder if Miki’s going to man her booth all night.

“I don’t really know. What are you guys selling?”

Miki leans over the counter and deftly picks up a paper boat. They’re brightly lit structures of paper, almost like little forts, with a tiny candle and wick in the middle.

“What’s the lantern for? Afraid of the dark?” I tease.

She swats me on the arm playfully.

“It’s not for me, you dummy. You’re suppose to light the lanterns and set them on the river… they’re wishes, I think. I dunno, they don’t really do it where I come from.”

“Yeah, when I lived in the city, we used to hang out wishes from trees or from balconies.”

We both pause, lost in our recollections. It’s been so long ago.

I think if you asked me a few months ago, I would have hung a wish for a “normal” life. But I don’t really know now. Sometimes I think I came out for the better by going to Yamaku. I really had to look at my life… and figure out how I valued people. I couldn’t just live life day-to-day like I had before.

I met great people like Mutou, Miki, Shizune—and I learned the most important fact of all—that they’re just normal people. They love, they laugh, they live, and they cry. They’re just like anyone else.

I look back at Miki. She’s staring at the moon again, asking it questions that only she has the answer to. A brief rustling causes us both to turn to the booth.

Suzu’s woken up… just barely. The half-folded remains of a paper lantern clutched in her hand, she looks at Miki with a dazed expression.

Miki assumes a stern expression, putting her hands on her hips as she does so.

“Way to slack off, Snooz. Those lanterns aren’t going to make themselves—“

Ah. Slave labor.

“and we’ve got some to make some bank.”

Suzu gives a groan and rolls over, apparently wishing to go back to sleep.

Miki watches her quietly, a small smile teasing at the corner of her lips. We watch quietly as Suzu rolls and slumps into the chair again, lost to a deep slumber.

Miki turns to me, her figure silhouetted by the bright moon behind her. She flashes me an apologetic grin.

“Sorry, Hisao, looks like I’m going to be tied up all night here. If I manage to get sleepybones here awake—“

She jerks a thumb back at Suzu for emphasis.

“I’ll come find you and we’ll enjoy the festival, okay?”

“Sure.”

Well, it’s a pretty fair promise. I don’t think I mind spending some time with my thoughts anyway.

Maybe I’ll buy a lantern.

“Hey, Miki.”

She turns to me, a curious expression written on her face.

“What’s up, Hisao?”

“How much does a lantern cost?”

She reaches over and plucks a bright blue and scarlet red lantern from the counter.

“It’s 500 yen for two.”

I pass her the change, and she hands me the lanterns.

“Hang on, I’ve got some matches here…”

Miki pats her pockets, peers over the counter, her eyes settling on… nothing.

Her eyes flash with a purple glance of mischief as she comes to a decision.

Reaching into her pocket, she pops out a worn-out silver-flip top lighter, the kind you see in all the old movies.

With a flick of her wrist, she rolls the lighter around the fingers of her hand, opening the cap and igniting the lighter with her thumb in the same motion. Peering at the flame, she snaps it shut, apparently satisfied its in working condition.

She tosses it to me with a single, deft, toss. I catch it, more out of surprise than intention. I wonder what Miki would do with a lighter... I don't really have to think too much to answer that question.

I open my mouth to ask what’s going on, but Miki starts to speak.

She points at the lighter in my hands, shining bright in the light of the moon.

“That’s Sparky. She’s an old friend of mine. Now, she’s yours.”

I peer more closely at the lighter in my hands.

Sure enough, in the corner, there’s a tiny, lightning bolt running down the side.

Normally I’d refuse Miki’s gift out of politeness, but she’s radiant tonight—the look in her eyes daring me to say something.

I can’t.

Miki smiles at me warmly, leaning back against the booth.

“Have fun tonight, Hisao.”

“Thanks, Miki.”

I think I’ll head to the river. It’s just a short walk through the grounds.

====================

I arrive at the river. It’s a small brook running through the Yamaku grounds, with the grounds on one side, and the forest on the other. In the night, the tall grass rustles with the cool night wind, while the trees sway in gentle agreement.

I take a seat on the bank of the river. Should I send both boats at once?

Maybe I’ll send one boat ahead to scout out my wish, to find out what I really want, and then I can send the second one down the river.

I decide on the blue boat first. Blue’s a good color.

I set the light blue paper-boat in the water. It takes me a few tries, but I flick Sparky up to a bright flame, and give my wish life.

Instead of flowing down the river with the current, the boat sort of bobs in place lazily, the flame flickering up and down with the river wind. It does a lazy circle, bouncing from current to current, but making little headway.

Still, at least it hasn’t sunk.

I sit and watch my blue boat bob. Up, and down. Up, and down. Dancing to a rhythm of it’s own making, an endless tune with no breaks in sight.

The dark river water rushes around my boat, threatening to break and dash it across the rocks, but it bobs in place. I guess wishes are like that.

A slight rustling off the grass behind me causes me to turn.

It’s someone in a shimmering blue kimono, with golden hair and deep brown eyes. She looks radiant in the night.

“Hi, Saki.”

She gives me a warm smile.

“Hey, Hisao. You’re looking better.”

“Yeah, thanks to you.”

She gives me another smile and a nod, and moves to the bank. In her arms she clutches a carefully made paper-boat, formed with newspaper instead of the tissue paper Miki and Suzu had been using. The creases are rough, folded over many times in an effort for a clean structure. Her boat carries a single, red, candle, trimmed with a tanzaku sail—a paper wish for good luck.

Her cane dangles from her wrist as she kneels by the waterfront.

My blue boat, fed up with knocking against the rocks of the opposite shore, begins to make its way downstream at a slow pace, lazily bobbing along.

Saki places her boat in the water with two careful, shaking hands. Her eyes are focused on the boat alone—apart from the world surrounding her.

She pats her pocket for matches. Her hands shake terribly as she strikes once—twice—with no spark. She must have gotten a bad book or something.

“Need a light?” I wave Sparky for emphasis.

She looks at me, her brown eyes shimmering with the effort she’s put into launching her boat. Her worried expression breaks as she gives me another warm smile.

“That’d be great, Hisao.”

I get up and walk over, kneeling beside her as I uncap Sparky. She holds the boat steady as my thumb flicks the ignition wheel. A spark jumps from the lighter, breaking into a warm, orange flame

I hand her the lighter, her hands shaking in the wind.

Her hands tremble. The lighter’s rattling badly now, Sparky protesting the rough treatment. Her cane dangles loose from her wrist.

I place a hand on the boat as she lowers the lighter to the candle. Her hands are trembling so badly she’s likely to light the boat on fire.

She places the flame to the candle, and shakily flicks the lighter shut. She hands it back to me with a sigh.

“Thanks, Hisao.”

“No problem.”

We lean back on the bank, watching our boats daze their way down the river. One bob at a time.

That’s how I’ll take it.

One bob at a time.

I look up to the night sky. The stars are twinkling now, winking and rolling in their constellations. There’s no hiding from them.

I turn to look at my riverside companion. She’s watching our boats float lazily down the river, the same twinkle from the stars in her eyes.

The quiet rushing of the river washes in the background.

I think I could sit here by this river forever. I’ve got a million things that I could say, but they don’t need to be said right now.

One bob at a time.

“Hey, Hisao?”

She turns to face me, a curious look in her brown eyes. Her dark honey hair cascades down her shoulders, resting on her blue yukata in glossy strands.

“Thanks for breaking up with me.”

She gives me a sad smile, the kind you get with breakups in grammy-winning indie movies.

I pause.

“… that’s an odd thing to thank someone for.”

“I know, right?”

She smiles at me, a genuine, pleasant, smile.

“… Maybe that’s not the best way to put it. Maybe more like… thanks for calling me out on my bullshit. It… well, it wasn’t a good time for me, when you did that, but now that I look back, I needed it.”

Well, that’s nice of her, but not entirely true.

“It wasn’t all your fault, you know, I wasn’t exactly in a good place in my life either. I was so wrapped up in my own problems that I used you as an escape. My perfect girlfriend.”

She gives me the same warm, pleasant, smile, then breaks into a grin.

“Yes, that’s all true, you’re horrible.”

We share a small laugh. All the tension of these past few months evaporates like smoke.

I lean back on the bank. I feel as if an incredible weight’s been lifted off my shoulders.

A small crunching sound makes me sit upright. Saki looks in my direction, mystified as well.

I reach behind me—and pull out one, slightly crushed, red paper boat.

Saki shoots me a warm smile as she motions for me to hand the boat over.

As she smoothes the creases out of the boat, she opens her mouth to speak.

“Do you know why people launch boats on Tanabata, Hisao?”

I pause.

“Not really. They don’t do it where I come from.”

She nods, still refolding the boat.

“Legend holds that Orihime and Hikoboshi are separated by a river for eternity, unable to see each other except for one day a year.”

She looks up with soft brown eyes to see if I’m still listening. I give her a nod.

“They can’t see each other across the river, and it’s too deep to cross and there’s no bridge.”

She stops folding the boat, inspecting a tricky fold by holding it up to her face.

“But sometimes, when they have a bit of spare time, they send messages to each other in little boats down the river.”

I’ve never heard of that part of the legend before.

She smiles.

“The boats almost never reach of course—the river’s designed so they can’t communicate.”

She stops folding the boat, a small smile on her face.

“But every now and then, one of them makes it through—and for once, Orihime and Hikoboshi don’t feel so lonely anymore.”

She pauses, looking out at the river.

"Where I live, you send them to those you want to talk to but can't, and you load your wishes on them, so the other person can make them come true."

She waves the boat in the air.

“Come on Hisao, let’s get this sucker into the water.”

I follow her to the water’s edge.

She places the boat in the water. I hand her Sparky as I steady the boat.

She flicks the ignition wheel once, twice.

Fwish.

The lighter breaks into a faithful, orange, flame.

Her hands begin to shake as she brings the lighter close to the boat in both hands. The lighter’s rattling again—but she can’t help it. Her face is filled with concentration as she brings the lighter closer to the candle.

She’s shaking all over now. She can’t control it.

I reach out and place my hand on top of hers. She looks at me, her brown eyes full of questions, but her hands calm and she nods. She brings the candle to light and I release the boat into the stream, watching it spin.

We both sit back and lean on the bank, watching out boat float lazily down the river, catching up to its two companions.

One bob at a time.

I look up. The stars are twinkling in the sky, dancing in patterns beyond the human eye and mind. They wink at me and tell me not to worry.

I examine the lighter in my hands, still warm, running my finger down the side to catch the lightning bolt.

“Thanks, Miki.” I whisper.

Saki gets up, her dark-honey hair swirling from her shoulders. She gives me the same warm, pleasant, smile.

“I’ve got to go take care of some Fashion Club stuff, Hisao. I guess I’ll be seeing you around?”

“You know it.”

She turns to walk away, leaning on her crutch as she moves into the bright night of the festival.

I feel... free. For once in my life, I feel free.

I turn and look back towards the river. Our boat’s floating its way downstream, taking it one bob at a time.

Maybe with a little bit of luck, our boat will make it across the river.

“…Hey, Saki?”

“Hm?”

“Would you like some company?”

For the second time in as many seconds, Saki wears that warm, pleasant, smile.

“I’d like that, Hisao.”

I get up from the rustling grass, smoothing my shirt as I do. I offer her a hand, and she slips her arm into mine, slinging her crutch over her shoulder with the other hand.

We walk off together, into the shining, bright lights of the festival cluttered with the din of children winning games and teenagers purchasing fried food. Behind us, our boat keeps bobbing its way along downstream, floating with a certain destination in mind.

I falter a bit, slipping on the grass, but Saki grips my arm tightly, looking at me with her brown eyes, and I regain my balance. Her brown eyes shine in the reflected light of the festival, as she giggles and shoots me a genuine smile.

I smile back, and we walk deeper into the night.

I guess Orihime and Hikoboshi were able to meet tonight.
Last edited by SemisoftCheese on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:28 pm, edited 8 times in total.

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Epilogue

Post by SemisoftCheese » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:50 pm

Man. I’ve been waiting at this cafe forever. I went running with Emi, then I had to take the train into the city… walk a few blocks… and now I’m here.

It’s a cafe set in the trendy fashion district of the city. The walls are yellow, the tables are yellow, the chairs are yellow… everything’s a bright orange yellow.

I guess the only nice thing are the walls, which are made of solid glass. The sunlight from the city shines in to cast the café in a warm, normal glow.

A slim figure with dark-honey colored hair walks through the door, a neat red bow tied in her hair.

She sits down across from me, clearly out of breath.

“You’re late.”

She shoots me an apologetic grin, her deep-brown eyes glowing in the sun.

“I know. I got stuck doing something with Fashion Club, and I couldn’t get away. I’m sorry! I’ll make it up to you by paying for coffee.”

I return her grin with a smile of my own.

“You shouldn’t waste time, you know. Someone once told me that time is a gift. Hours are gold, minutes are diamond….”

Saki groans as she sits down across from me, propping her crutch against the table edge.

“I never believed any of that you know. Even when I was saying it.”

She looks me straight in the eyes, waiting for my response.

“Doesn’t make it any less true.”

She weighs my response, a playful glint in her eyes.

“Well then, it can be your catchphrase now. You be the hopeless optimist for once.”

“Wow. Harsh.”

She looks at me, a clear, joyful look in her eyes.

“You said you wanted to know the real me. Well, here I am. If you don’t like it, tough. You can buy your own coffee.”

What a girl.

“I never said I didn’t like it. The real Saki’s way more fun than the old one.”

I pause.

“One warning, though: if you call me ‘darling,’ I’m going to run away screaming.”

That makes her laugh. She gives me a playful wink and a smiile as the waitress comes by to take our order.

“Fair enough,” she grins.

<zoom out on the scene – Hisao and Saki sitting together at the cafe, chatting>

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Thanks and Acknowledgements

Post by SemisoftCheese » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:09 pm

Thank you to everyone who's read and commented on my work in this thread. I thought I was a good writer when I came in here, but you guys showed me what real writing is.

Thanks to centurion911 for proofing my work and always keeping an eye on the big picture. You were always there with a word of encouragement and getting a general feel of the story.

Thanks to BlackWaltzTheThird for proofing my work with the eyes of an eagle. If I made a mistake, you weren't afraid to rip me on it, and that helped a ton.

Thanks to themocaw for writing my first and favorite piece of fan-fiction. I can't say how much the original work struck me to the core and how well it was crafted. With a little luck, I'll be at maybe a tenth of what the original route was worth.

And once again, thank you to everyone who's stopped by and taken a look or posted a reply or two. Without you guys, I'd just be some guy in a room tapping away with no purpose. You guys gave me the shape and motivation to finish through.

and don't forget:

Every day is a gift. Every hour is golden. Every minute is a diamond.

Life's wonderful, if you're willing to live it.

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