Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 7/6]

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Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 7/6]

Post by forgetmenot » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:08 pm

Hey, guys, my name's forgetful and I write stuff. This is my first large work of fiction, and I couldn't think of a better community to share it with. Without further adieu, I present a pseudo-route for Kagami Takahashi, an original character. Hope you enjoy!

Note: This story is 18+ at times. Be forewarned.

2nd Note: Also I've managed to, for better or worse, sneak in some pretty heavy-handed references to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner here and there throughout the story. If you haven't seen it, it comes highly recommended.

A Kagami pseudo-route: Can you remember who you are?

Table of Contents:

Act 1: Life Expectancy

Scene 1: A Little Night Music
Scene 1 takes place right after "Shared Library", in which Hisao scares off Hanako in the Library. Instead of heading back to his room, he decides to find a shortcut through the main academic building to cut down his walk to the dorms.
Scene 2: Exercise
Scene 2 takes place during "Exercise". After recovering from his heart flutter out on the track with Emi, Hisao awakens in the Nurse's office, only to find himself alone on his side of the curtain. The Nurse is talking with someone on the other side, scolding her. Hisao recognizes her voice...
Scene 3: Alternative Medicine
Hisao and Kagami take an impromptu mid-afternoon stroll into town.
Scene 4: Recognition
Scene 4 takes the place of "Sip (Part 2)". Where Hisao would normally venture into town with Lilly, he instead decides to explore the grounds.
Scene 5: Second Day is the Hardest
A morning run with Emi.
Scene 6: Photographs and Fireworks
Hisao and Kagami spend the day at the carnival.

Act 2: Structure

Scene 7: Exceptions
Hisao has an unexpected conversation with Misha.
Scene 8: Intermezzo
A trip to the library turns to mystery.
Scene 9: Lost in Thought
Sometimes you push yourself too far without even knowing it.
Scene 10: Waiting
Hisao finds Kagami practicing once again.
Scene 11: Invitations
Hisao receives a strange invitation from Kenji, and a call from his mom.
Scene 12: Crescendo
Hisao and Kagami meet in the city for dinner.
Interlude: Track Meet
The Yamaku Academy Track Meet.
Scene 13: Chance Meeting
An unexpected encounter in the library leads to an interesting conversation.
Scene 14: Broken Heart Geiger Counter
Subatomic physics and relationships.
Scene 15: Near-Life Experience
A trip to the Nurse's office.
Scene 16: Midnight Memory
A quiet night in... and out...
Scene 17: Open to Interpretation
Rainclouds can overshadow even the brightest day.

Act 3: Tritone

Scene 18: Out Standing in Her Field
Rin and Hisao have an impromptu meeting in the woods.
Scene 19: Night Train
Ready to crash and burn.
Scene 20: Breakfast
...is a thing that happens in this chapter.
Scene 21: Perspective
This museum is a friggin' Escher print.
Scene 22: Searching for Johnnie Walker
You'll find him at the bottom of a glass, somewhere.
Scene 23: Major Arcana; Sixth Trump (18+)
There are 22 trump cards in the tarot deck, the sixth of these being...
Scene 24: I've Been Asleep for a Long, Long Time
What things transpired while my body slept? What beset my mind?
Scene 25: Unreliable Narrator
If you can't trust yourself, who can you trust?

More coming soon!

Some Oneshots

Opening Night
A concert and the afterparty.

An Ebook, you say?!

Soooo /u/Technomancer is totally awesome and created an ebook version of this thing. Download it here! Updated to Scene 19.

Hey! Listen!

I also wrote some music to go along with this route:
Memory, Kagami's theme. Sheet Music for Memory can be downloaded here.
Young Rain, a Tone Poem in 2 Parts.

In additon, apparently this route has also inspired others:
Remember who you are: If ever there were an opening CG for this route, this would be the music for it. Written and recorded by /u/Crimson. Super cool.

Art is hard.

My art thread, if you want to laugh at me.
Umber, my faithful editor-in-chief, did some artwork of Kagami as well!
Last edited by forgetmenot on Tue Jul 07, 2015 1:43 am, edited 53 times in total.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao)

Post by forgetmenot » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:10 pm

Act 1: Life Expectancy

Scene 1: A Little Night Music

Whew. Yuuko was right; maybe I did grab too large a stack of books.

I wheeze as I carefully place the pile of tomes on the floor. Nurse's suggestions - er, more like imperatives - of beginning an exercise regimen don't seem like such a bad idea after all. Maybe I will start jogging.

Not that it would help me in my current predicament. The cookie-cutter hallways of Yamaku's main building have once again worked their magic, and I'm somewhat lost. It's also after hours, which means there's no student traffic to follow. Looking for a shortcut to shave a minute off of my walk back to the dormitories seems to have backfired. I shake my head and stand up straight; luckily, my breathing seems to have returned to normal rather quickly. I pick up my books and set off down what I assume to be a main hallway. At least, it looks like a main hallway.

I'm about halfway down the hall before I realize that I'm walking into a dead-end. Perfect. I turn on my heel and begin to head in the opposite direction. As I'm about to start walking, however, something catches my ear.

Music?

The sound of a lone instrument wafts in my direction from the end of the hallway I'd been headed towards not a second ago. It's faint, but clear above the hum of the fluorescent lights. I can't believe I didn't hear it before. Well, music means people, which means I'll be able to ask the proper way out of this maze.

As I approach the origin of the sound, it becomes clear that the source of the beautiful, haunting melody is a violin, or a viola. I've never been able to tell the difference myself. Whoever it is, and whatever it is, they play masterfully, there's no doubt about that. Come to think of it, I never knew Yamaku had any music classes. In fact, I'm pretty sure there aren't any music classes, or if there are, they're certainly below the level of whoever's making that heavenly sound. It's probably a recording. Although it's a very convincing recording if it is.

I reach the last door on the right side of the hallway. This must be where the music is coming from; it's louder here than anywhere else in the hall. I turn the door handle and open the door slowly, as to not startle whoever's inside.

Squeeeeaaaak~

Dammit. Stupid loud door.

The figure in the center of the room jumps, emitting a small "Eep!" before whirling around to face the intruder at the door. At the same time, I notice that the music stops - which, at the sight of the instrument in the figure's hands, makes sense. Not a recording after all, then.

The girl in front of me exhales slowly as a long auburn braid comes to rest draped over her chest. She's tall, although I wouldn't say excessively tall. From the way she's standing, with her arms at her front clutching her instrument and her heels turned out, her figure is also less... imposing, I suppose, than one would expect from someone her height. I shake my head slightly, attempting to focus on the situation at hand. The girl, who has now cocked her head to the side slightly, as if she were studying me, reaches to adjust the thin glasses perched atop her small nose. As her light grey eyes scan my face, I decide to break the silence.

"Sorry. I didn't mean to startle you. I just heard music coming from in here, and..." I struggle to find my next sentence. Getting lost on your first day, while understandable, still comes with a bit of embarrassment.

To my relief, her tense expression breaks into a grin. She closes her eyes and covers her mouth as she emits a small giggle. "It's ok," she says. "Usually this part of the school is a ghost town around this time of the day. I generally don't expect visitors."

"Well, as it is I'm sorta lost. I'm new here and I can't seem to find my way..."

Her giggle turns into a full laugh. She's definitely not reserved. "I see," she states, still chuckling as she places her instrument into a case on the table next to her. "Well, I'm almost finished practicing. If you'll let me finish this last page, I'll show you the way out. Also, since you're new here, I suppose introductions are in order?" That last sentence is more a question than simply a formality, almost as if she feels we've met before. Maybe that's why she was studying my face so intently.

"Right. I'm Nakai. Hisao Nakai."

"Pleased to meet you, Nakai." She bows, slightly. "I'm Takahashi. Kagami Takahashi. Resident hermit violinist of Yamaku." She pauses, turning to her violin and placing it upon her shoulder, as if to offer me a complete picture of her. "I'll just be a second, if you want to stay and listen you're more than welcome," she says as she turns back to her music stand. Pretense doesn't seem to suit her either, but she seems nice enough.

I pull a chair out from behind one of the desks. As I sit, she begins playing again, picking up where she left off. Now that I'm in the same room, it's clear that she's very, very good. I don't have much experience with classical music - the hospital was really where I listened to most of the stuff I've heard. The hospital library only had a few classical CDs, and it was better background music for reading than the constant beeping of the heart monitor, but I never really paid much attention. Hearing Takahashi play makes me wish I did though.

As she moves the bow across the strings, her movements are soft and subtle, yet deliberate. The melody she plays is slow and sad, but at the same time full of beauty. I find myself relaxing into my chair, which is a rare feeling ever since I came to Yamaku. At the same time, I catch my eyes wandering from her violin to her shoulders, and down her back. She's thin, but definitely curvy. I try to stop staring as she gently sashays back and forth in time with the music.

After a few minutes, she finishes with minimal flourish, and turns back to face me, a look of anticipation on her bespectacled face. "What'd you think?" she asks, hopefully.

"Wow. You're... you're really good," I say, suddenly becoming aware of a hotness creeping into my cheeks. There's definitely something about this girl. Bewitching, almost. I stand up and lean on the desk. "Yeah, that was really beautiful," I add.

Kagami smirks. "Flattery will get you everywhere, Nakai. Even if that last run-through was complete shit." Her crassness catches me off guard, but she doesn't seem to notice me balking at her vulgarity. She turns back to her sheet music. "Need to find a better fingering for this passage," she muses to herself, before whirling around, a look of realization on her face. "Oh! I'm sorry, I completely forgot about showing you out. You going back to the dorms?" I nod. "Perfect!" she exclaims, packing her violin away in a fluid, practiced motion. "We can walk back to the dormitories together. After all, it is getting dark, and I am a lady," she says, a note of sarcasm in her voice.

I find myself grinning at her remark as she folds her music stand into a small bag and slides the sheet music into a small compartment atop her violin case. She strides past me, opening the door to the hall. "Shall we?" she inquires. I nod in agreement, gather my books, and follow her out into the hall.

As we head for the main entrance, Kagami explains the layout of the first floor. "So this hallway is actually an auxiliary wing. It's not used often." She scratches her head with her free hand. "Here's where we turn to exit," she states as we reach the end of the hallway. And of course, as we turn, I see a familiar space. The exit was here this whole time? I must have been blind not to notice it before.

I wince at my last thought. Probably not a good thing to think in a school where there are more than a handful of blind people, Hisao. Then again, earlier Yuuko said something about not letting people's disabilities define them. Maybe I'm overreacting.

I hold the door open for Kagami as we descend into the cool night air. Summer's approaching quickly, but there's still a chill in the air as the last days of spring come to a close. Apparently, the girl next to me has a similar thought, as she quickens her pace on the path to the dorms.

Kagami is the first to break the momentary silence. "So, you read a lot?" She glances at the books in my hands, and then back up at me.

"Yeah I suppose so. There wasn't really much else to do in the hosp-" I quickly cut myself off. As friendly as Kagami seems, I think I'd like to keep my arrhythmia private, at least for the moment.

Luckily, she nods in understanding. "Hey, Nakai, everyone's here for a reason. With some of the other students, it's more obvious. With others, well... like us, it's less so," she says, her voice declining in volume near the end of her sentence. She gazes to her left, away from me. I crane my neck to try and get a read on her expression, but as I do, she turns back to me. "Tell you what. I won't ask if you won't. In a place like this, sometimes it's hard for people to see past whatever's..." she pauses. "Whatever's wrong with you. So, I won't ask you about your problem if you'll do me the same courtesy."

I'm rather surprised by her statements. In a place like Yamaku, where there seem to be so many unwritten taboos about what you can and can't talk about, what you can mention and what you can't, this seems... impractical. And yet it also seems like it could be nice. Maybe we could get to know each other honestly, instead of having to see past the other's disability first. In a world of too many elephants in not enough rooms, one less elephant sounds like exactly what I need.

"Agreed," I say.

"Great. Then I can be Kagami the musician, and you can be Nakai, the bookworm." She winks, and I feign indignation.

"Hey, I could be more than a bookworm. I might be a..." I pause, apparently for too long, as Kagami begins to stifle a laugh. "...a-a soccer star. You don't know."

"I suppose I don't," she laughs. "Fine. Nakai, the bookworm and soccer star extraordinaire." She finishes her statement with a grand flourish from her free hand. I can't help but laugh, even if her joke is at my expense.

Kagami and I finish our walk in silence, parting ways at the entrance to the girls' dormitory. "G'night, Nakai. Thanks for the company," she says as she twirls around with a wave before disappearing into the building.

"Night!" I call after her. I wait at the foot of the stairs until the door closes, still smiling until I become acutely aware of a weight tugging at my hands and forearms. I'd almost forgotten how heavy my books seem to have gotten over the course of our walk. I sigh. Well, I suppose the books aren't gonna carry themselves. I make my way to the boys' dorm, my mind still swimming with images of the girl I just met.

Maybe I should get lost more often.

__________

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao)

Post by forgetmenot » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:12 pm

Scene 2: Exercise

Nngh...

I awaken in an unfamiliar bed. Where the hell am- oh, right, Nurse's office. What time is it? I pull back the curtain. No sign of Nurse anywhere. I sigh and lean back into the pillow. I suppose leaving without first getting cleared by Nurse would be out of the question. I push my head further into the pillow and close my eyes.

I don't know if it's because of the sudden deprivation of sight, or because there's a chance I may have fallen asleep again, but suddenly I can hear voices on the other side of the office. They're muffled by a few layers of heavy curtains, but as I strain my ear, I find that I can make out most of what they're saying.

"How's it coming? ...the head?" I miss part of the second sentence, but that voice definitely belongs to Nurse, no question about it.

"Good. The past few... starting to come back a little easier now," replies a female voice. I know who that is; I've heard that voice before. Why can't I place it?

"Great. With any luck we'll be able to... class in a few minutes," Nurse says. An audible groan can be heard from his patient. Nurse chuckles, and pulls aside the curtain separating my side of the room from his. "Oh, Hisao, you're up. Good. How are you feeling?"

"Oh, is that Nakai?" the mystery girl queries. Apparently she knows me as well?

As I turn to see who it is, I'm met by the sight of a tall girl sitting up in her bed, a long auburn braid draped over her left shoulder, and glasses perched atop her small nose. Her grey eyes smile as a look of recognition crosses my face. It's Kagami. Er, Takahashi, I suppose. We only just met the other day.

Nurse looks at me quizzically. "You two know each other?" He glances back at Takahashi, searching for an answer.

"Yep," she replies flatly, as if reciting lines from a play. "We met the other day when he stumbled upon me practicing in the auxiliary wing after hours."

Nurse looks back at me, as to confirm her statement. I nod in agreement. He then turns to Kagami. "Well, in that case, I suppose you're fine to leave, Ms. Takahashi. I need to clear Nakai here to leave as well. You'll be off to class then?" he asks half-heartedly.

"Ha," she laughs, as she places a pink spiral-bound notebook on the chair beside her before standing up. Has she been holding that the whole time? "Maybe tomorrow," she says, gathering her notebook from the chair and disappearing into the hall. Nurse shakes his head and sighs disappointedly. But almost as the look of disappointment came to his face, it's gone, and he turns to me, smiling.

"Feeling better, I hope?" I nod, swiveling around in the bed to stand. "Careful," Nurse says. "Don't stand up too-" but it's too late. I stumble out of the bed as the blood rushes to my head. I catch Nurse's extended arm, which saves me from being on my knees for the second time today. "-quickly, is what I was going to say," Nurse finishes. He straightens his coat as I stand. "Now, sit back down, and let me check your pressure to make sure you're not going to pass out."

Embarrassed with myself, I sit back down while the Nurse gathers a rather old-looking blood pressure cuff from his desk and places it around my arm. After a few minutes, he puts it away, the same neutral expression on his face. "Well, the good news is, it seems like you're back to normal. Dizziness gone?" I nod reflexively. Nurse smiles, satisfied, before his expression turns sour again. This man is certainly prone to mood swings, isn't he? "You didn't show very good judgment out there, Hisao." I roll my eyes, but keep quiet. Any retort in this situation would be pointless. Besides, he's right. It was stupid to race Emi on only my second day running.

Nurse flexes his neutral expression slightly, apparently aware of my introspection. "Look, Hisao. I can try all I want to keep you in good health, but ultimately that responsibility lies with you. Please bear today in mind the next time you want to get into a race with a track star." He grins slightly, probably feeling he's made a satisfactory impression. I suppose he has. He hands me a small slip of paper. "A note for your teacher. To avoid interrogation. It's almost 11, but you should still try to get some class in today." I nod quietly, taking the note and standing up more slowly than last time. No dizziness. Well that's good, I suppose. Nurse escorts me to the door. "Try to stay out of trouble, ok? Luckily, today wasn't anything severe, but next time could be different."

"Yes, sir," I reply as I head into the hallway.

As I head for the entrance to the auxiliary building, I hear a familiar voice call out from behind me. "Hey, Nakai? Where are you headed?" It's Kagami. She jogs to catch up with me. Did she wait for me?

"Class," I reply shortly. Kagami frowns.

"Bummer," she says. "You should skip and come to lunch with me instead. My treat." I ponder her offer. I don't have any of my supplies for class anyway, and I'd have to go all the way back to the dorms to grab my books.

"You don't have class?" I ask incredulously. Kagami grins widely. Apparently I fell into some sort of trap.

"Ha, nope. I have a special arrangement with the school. I take private violin lessons in the city twice a week, and as a result, I get those days off. My lessons aren't until later in the afternoon, though, so I'm stuck here with nothing to do in the mornings. We can go into town for lunch before I catch my bus. Ever been to the Shanghai?" she asks. I nod my head in recognition. The Shanghai might be nice without Shizune and Misha pestering me to join the student council every five minutes.

"Sounds good," I say as we continue towards the exit. The midday sun shines through the door as I hold it open for Kagami.

"Great," she replies. "Can we swing by the dorms real quick? I need to grab my violin... and you should probably change," she giggles. Crud. For the first time since this morning I realize that I have nothing but gym shorts and an old t-shirt on.

"Yeah, I should probably do that, huh?" I ask rhetorically. Kagami laughs again, and I can't help but smile. There's something deeply infectious about her laugh. Something that makes me want to get to know this girl better. Lunch at the Shanghai seems like the perfect way to do that.

__________

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao)

Post by forgetmenot » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:14 pm

Scene 3: Alternative Medicine

Fifteen minutes later, I'm dressed and waiting by the front gate for Kagami to arrive. It's warm out - I probably shouldn't have walked as fast as I should have to the gate, especially after what happened this morning. I'm starting to sweat a little. I don't feel especially bad, though, besides a little tired. I sigh and scratch my head. This morning could have been bad. Very bad. I really need to take it easier from now on.

"Nakai!" a voice calls out from across the courtyard. It's Kagami, hustling down the walkway, violin in tow. She's also changed outfits. Instead of her school uniform, she's opted for a pair of black slacks, loosely fitting at the ankle, but flattering at the thighs and hips. She's also chosen a grey tank top, perhaps a little too low cut, as she's currently sporting a generous amount of cleavage. A thin-looking grey-and-white striped sweater hangs on her shoulders, billowing out behind her as she walks. And... is that a flash of silver around her neck? She's wearing a thin silvery necklace. I suppose this kind of thing wouldn't normally catch me off guard, but honestly I haven't seen many people wearing jewelry here at Yamaku. There was that one girl from 3-1, what was her name? Enomoto, I think? I've seen her wearing earrings. Nobody else comes to mind, though.

"Hey, Nakai. Ready?" Kagami asks, having completed her journey while I mused. I nod. "Good. I'm starving," she pants. We set off down the road into town.

As we walk, I can't help but steal glances at the girl on my left. It's strange - she carries herself gracefully, but with purpose. Almost professionally. What's most striking about Kagami is how... mature she looks. Like she's at least a few years older than everyone else here. It's not as obvious in her school uniform, but seeing her dressed casually...

"Like what you see, Nakai?" Kagami asks, half-jokingly. Dammit, she must have caught me staring.

"I... I, uh, well..." I trail off. There's definitely no getting out of this one. Although I guess I wasn't exactly trying to be sneaky, either.

"It's fine," she chuckles. "To be honest, I'm surprised you didn't notice me checking you out when we left Nurse's office." She winks, playfully. I can't tell if she's kidding or not, but in any case I still feel a hotness creep into my cheeks. I'm definitely blushing. Need to change the subject. Now.

"So, Takahashi, what brought you to the Nurse's office this morning?" I ask, still trying to conceal my embarrassment.

"Nakai! I thought we said we weren't gonna talk about our conditions!" she huffs, mock-scolding me. Kagami is certainly one for sarcasm.

"It could have been something else," I reply coolly. Nice save, Hisao. Kagami looks honestly flustered; it's one of the few honest emotions I've seen come across her face.

"W-well, I... I just... damn. You got me, I suppose," she concedes, recovering her sarcastic tone by the end of her statement, finishing with a tone of feigned resignation. She exhales. "Fine, I was in the Nurse's office for something concerning my condition. And that's all you get." She winks, and once again I feel hot and flushed. Are we flirting? I've never really done this before.

"Well, if it makes you feel better, I was too," I offer, hoping to level the playing field. Kagami nods in acceptance of my confession. Apparently, that's all that needs to be said, and we walk in silence for a bit. For the first time, I find myself wondering about her condition. Looking her over, out of the corner of my eye this time, there doesn't seem to be anything physically wrong with her. For one, she's got all her limbs, and she certainly doesn't walk with a limp. She can hear and see just fine, with the exception of the small square frames perched on her face. No visible scars... it must be internal. Maybe she's like that girl who sits next to Hanako, the one with epilepsy. Inoue, was it? I can't remember. Or maybe there's something with her heart... maybe she's like me...

"Nakai!" Kagami exclaims, snapping her fingers in my face. "Anyone home? We're about to cross the street." And so we are. It seems I've been lost in thought for practically the entire walk. I need to stop doing that, or I'm going to get hit by a car one of these days. I shake myself out of my introspection, and hurry after Kagami, quickly checking over my shoulder for cars, but there are none to be seen. My eyes are once again drawn to the girl running in front of me. As her braid sways from side to side, I notice a rather large mark on the back of her neck. A scar? It looks impossibly large, but I'm too far away to really make it out. I suppose asking would be out of the question. I frown. Maybe telling Kagami about my condition wouldn't be so bad, if only so I could unravel a bit more of the mystery girl I'm only just now catching up to.

It's quiet as we enter the Shanghai; the dinging of the small bell on the door seems to be intrusively loud in the otherwise silent teahouse. I wonder if business is like this all the time. "Ah! Sorry!" a voice calls out from a back room. "Be right with you!" Yuuko always seems to be so busy here, which is incredibly strange, considering the lack of clientele. She rushes out into the dining room, her worried expression relaxing when she sees two Yamaku students waiting by the front door. "Oh, hello Hisao. Ms. Takahashi. Right this way," she smiles, and directs us to a small corner booth.

"Now, what can I get you?" I glance at Kagami. She did offer to pay, after all. She smiles and gives me a wave of her hand that says, "Go ahead."

"Um, I'll have some coffee, as well as a sandwich," I say. I then look over to Kagami, who seems quite pleased with herself.

"I'll have the same," the girl next to me says. Yuuko bows quietly and scampers back to the kitchen to fill our orders. Perhaps she's also the cook here? That might explain why she's so busy all the time.

"Ok, spill. How did you know exactly what I was going to order?" Kagami asks, elbowing me in the ribs gently.

"I honestly had no idea. I am pretty fond of coffee, though. Sandwiches just sounded good today, I guess," I respond. I wish I could have come up with something witty to say.

"Seriously, though. I get the same thing every time I come for lunch here. Are you psychic? Is that your disability?" she jokes, giggling as she finishes her sentence. Her flirting is painfully obvious now, although I can't say I mind being flirted with, especially if it's someone so beautiful as Kagami doing the flirting. That being said, I should probably flirt back. Ok, something witty.

"You know," I reply slyly. "You could have just gotten what you wanted, instead of ordering what I got just so you could set up a lame joke like that," I finish. My statement draws the intended reaction, as she gasps in mock surprise at uncovering her ruse. She playfully slaps my shoulder. Apparently she doesn't mind casual contact, either. This kind of thing would normally make me uncomfortable, but I surprisingly don't mind. What is this girl doing to me?

"You shouldn't be so cynical, you know. Bad for your health," she says, waving a spoon in my face. She stops momentarily as Yuuko comes back with our order, but then continues for half a second before leaning back into her seat and laughing. As she chuckles, I can't help but feel a large grin spread across my face. This is a nice feeling.

We enjoy a small silence as we both start in on our sandwiches, but once again, Kagami is the one to break it. "So, Nakai, any hobbies? What kind of stuff did you do before you came to Yamaku?"

"I, uh," I start, not sure how to continue. I've never really talked about my life outside of Yamaku since I came here, and to be asked about it so bluntly is a little unsettling. "I mean, I like reading. I used to play soccer occasionally with my friends from my old school, but..." I trail off. There really isn't a good way to continue with this without getting into my heart attack and the few months I spent in the hospital.

Luckily, Kagami seems to understand. "Say no more, I gotcha," she says, as she waves her hand through the air, signaling the end of the discussion. "Any girlfriends?" she asks nonchalantly.

I almost gag on my sandwich. I haven't thought about... well, about Iwanako, in a long time. Just the thought of that winter's day when she confessed makes me shiver slightly. "No," I start. "Not officially. There was a girl I liked, and she liked me, but..." I'm not sure how to finish. "I- I guess it just wasn't meant to be." There. That seems a satisfactory answer.

"Hmm," she states, staring into my eyes. Perhaps my answer wasn't as satisfying as I'd thought. She breaks eye contact and takes a bite of her sandwich. "Fair enough, I suppose," she says.

"Well, what about you? Any boyfriends before Yamaku?" I ask, hoping to relieve some of the tension.

"Nah, not before; I came here when I was sixteen. Last year, around autumn, I fell for a guy pretty hard, though. We hit it off well for a while, but he graduated. Even before spring rolled around, we sort of... stopped talking. I guess we never officially broke up. Just both assumed it was over after graduation," she says, a hint of wistfulness in her voice as she rests her sandwich back on her plate and takes a long drink from her coffee cup. "Water under the bridge now, I guess," she adds as she sets her drink back on its saucer and resumes her sandwich.

The silence that follows is introspective, the girl beside me lost in her thoughts and I in mine. A few seconds, or minutes, I'm not sure, pass before Kagami speaks up again. "To, uh, answer my own first question, I've really been only ever been a musician. Ever since I was little, I've always been taking lessons, playing in orchestras, that sort of thing. I suppose I bleed music now," she says, her face relaxing into its natural, grinning expression.

"Man, I wish I had something like that," I reply. "Are you going to go to school for it?"

"Yep. I'm actually finishing up practicing for auditions right now."

"What? But college applications aren't due for at least five months!" I exclaim, rather shocked at her preparedness.

"Auditions run earlier than normal applications. There are usually a few rounds, as well, which means it's hard for applicants who live far away to travel back and forth a lot. Most of them are in the early summer." She pauses for a second, imbibing more coffee. "In fact, I'm going out to a few schools in Tokyo in a while, just to visit and get a feel for the campuses."

"Tokyo? Why Tokyo?" I ask.

"Well, for starters, I'm from there. Born and raised," she smiles proudly. "Not the city itself, but close enough. My dad lives in the city now, though. He moved there after I started at Yamaku, to be closer to work." She inhales through her nose, working to find her original train of thought. "Secondly, Tokyo is home to a few great music schools, ones that have spawned multiple great violinists. Some went on to be concertmasters in Europe and America," she nods, seemingly satisfied with her explanations.

"I have no doubt you'll be able to get in easily," I say. The odd compliment here and there can't hurt. She smiles and shakes her head.

"It's not like that. It's super, super competitive. I need to play my absolute best to even have a shot," she says, her smile fading just for an instant. "Even then, I'll be extremely lucky to get in."

"I see," I reply blandly, trying to think of something else to ask her. "Your father, what does he do in the city?"

Kagami rolls her eyes. "Ugh, people are always so impressed with him. He's a lawyer worming his way into politics, or political law, or something like that." The sudden appearance of animosity in her voice makes it clear that she doesn't care for her father, or at least his work. I want to ask more, but think better of it. Probably not best to upset the girl I've been flirting with, and rather successfully too, surprisingly. Kagami reflects the question. "You close with your parents?"

I think for a moment. "Not really, honestly. I mean, I love my parents, but they were always busy at work or with something else. I guess I was always independent, sort of," I say.

Kagami interjects. "I guess I was always closer with my mother than my father. She didn't work, so she'd always be there when I got home from school. We'd go vacationing over the summer. Most of the time, my father couldn't come, so it'd just be us."

"And your mother? Did she move to the city with your father?" I ask.

Kagami grimaces. "No, she's... still outside of the city. I... guess that's a story for another day." I immediately fear I may have triggered unpleasant memories. Kagami sees my worried expression, and quickly breaks into one of her trademark grins. "Nakai, it's not like that. Don't worry, it's fine. Now what time is it?" She checks her phone. "Yipes, I'm gonna miss the bus if we don't get out of here," she exclaims. She hurriedly pulls out a few 500-yen coins and drops them on the table, motioning toward the door. I oblige, and scoot around to let her out. I wave to Yuuko as we exit, but she's too busy with another table to notice.

As we walk to the bus stop, Kagami turns to me. "I had a really nice time today, Nakai. Thanks for coming and keeping me company."

"No problem," I answer. "Thanks for buying."

"Ha, don't worry about that. If there's one thing my father is good for, it's an allowance."

We arrive at the bus stop just in time, as the sound of the diesel engine echos down the street just seconds before it appears over the hill. "Well, this is me," Kagami states, clutching her violin case in her right hand. The bus pulls up, and Kagami approaches the door, fishing in her left pocket for bus fare. As she ascends the steps onto the bus, she turns and waves. "See you around, Nakai."

"Call me Hisao," I reply. I'm not sure why, but I feel very comfortable with this girl. Formality is obviously not one of those things she does well.

She smiles widely, showing her teeth. "Ok, but only if you call me Kagami."

"You've got a deal. Bye, Kagami."

"Bye, Hisao."

And that's that. Her bus pulls away from the curb, emitting a thick cloud of black smoke behind it. I cough as the cloud clears, and watch the bus disappear around a corner at the end of the street.

I check my phone. Lunch should just be starting at Yamaku; I can make it back with time to spare for class. Speaking of lunch, wasn't there something I was... Emi! Oh, crap, I totally forgot I promised Emi I'd have lunch with her on the roof. I was enjoying myself so much with Kagami I completely flaked on Emi. I don't have her phone number, so I can't even call her to let her know I'm not gonna make it. Damn it. Maybe if I hustle, I can make it back in time.

On second thought, maybe that isn't such a good idea, considering what happened this morning. Hopefully I'll run into Emi before classes start up again and I can apologize before she has a chance to hit me with that puppy dog stare.

At the very least, at least I'm getting more exercise today than normal. Better get started, this hill isn't going to climb itself.

__________

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao)

Post by forgetmenot » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:17 pm

Scene 4: Recognition

I step outside for the first time for a few hours and am met with a warm breeze across my face. It's definitely turned into a nice afternoon. I needed to get out of that building anyway. For some reason, I find myself less and less drawn to the library over the past week. I'm not sure if that's a good thing, considering I still have a large stack of unread books in my room, but today's too nice of a day to spend inside reading. Of course, I could spend it outside reading, but I haven't really explored the grounds yet, and some light exercise can't hurt.

As I round the corner of the main building, I find myself wandering in the direction of the track. There was a patch of woods on the other side of the track, right? Maybe I'll take a walk through that today. I exhale deeply. Being outside in the sunshine- it really makes you feel alive. And after the way I've been feeling for the past couple of months, it's a welcome change. Days like today can really make you forget there's something wrong with y-

"Boo!"

And scares like that can just as easily remind you of it.

I wheel around, already expecting the short twin-ponytailed girl bouncing up and down in front of me. "Emi," I gasp, "you can't do that kind of stuff." I point at my chest for emphasis. Almost immediately her expression changes from that of the playful teenager to that worried puppy dog face she so easily commands. I can't stay mad at her for any length of time, can I? "It's ok, Emi, I'm fine," I reassure her.

"I'm sorry, Hisao, I... forgot. Are you coming to the track to run? You're not dressed for it," Emi pouts, realizing that I'm most likely not going to the track to exercise. I should probably explain myself.

"No, I-I'm not running today. But I am exercising! I'm just going to take a walk through the woods today. Something slower and maybe not so dangerous as last time."

Emi seems satisfied with this response. "Well you can at least walk me to the track, can't you?" she asks. I nod. "Good!" she states. A sly expression paints itself across her face suddenly. "And while you're at it, you can explain to me why you skipped our lunch date yesterday!"

Crap, I'm caught. I kind of hoped that would blow over on its own. I guess I'll have to fess up. "I'm sorry, Emi. I was... I was w-with someone..." Emi's face turns from mock-serious to quizzical.

"Who?"

"A-a girl," I reply sheepishly. To my surprise, however, Emi's face lights up. She begins to bounce excitedly.

"Ooooh, an actual date! Who was it with! Where did you go! Tell me tell me tell me~" Emi spews.

"No, it was nothing like that," I say hurriedly, afraid she'll get the wrong impression. Although, I'm not exactly sure what the wrong impression would be. If I went on an actual date with Kagami, would that be such a bad thing? "It was just lunch. She had to catch a bus to the city, so we went to the Shanghai and had some coffee and sandwiches," I say. I decide that it wouldn't be such a bad thing to call that a date.

"Hisao~" Emi groans. "That's a terrible first date!"

Really? I thought it was rather nice.

"Whatever, that's not important. Who was it?" Emi continues, apparently not caring about the what as much as the who.

"Takahashi. Kagami Takahashi?" I say, as a puzzled look comes over Emi. I elaborate. "Tall, auburn hair, usually in a braid, wears glasses, plays the violin?" Emi seems to recognize that part.

"Oh! That Takahashi! Yeah, she's in class 3-4 with me and Rin," she states, a strained expression stretching itself across her face as she digs for more details. "She usually sits in the back, though. Honestly, she's always been kind of quiet. And a lot of times she never comes back after lunch." Emi scratches her chin. "I-I think she's a year or two older than everyone else. I remember overhearing Misha and Shizune - well, just Misha - talking about something regarding a student who had to repeat a year. I'm almost positive I heard Takahashi's name somewhere in there." Emi trails off, temporarily lost in thought.

Kagami is older than everyone? I mean, I suppose that makes sense; she's tall, beautiful, and seems more mature than your average high schooler. But I can't see how she could have to repeat an entire year- she's always struck me as particularly intelligent. I'll have to ask her about- oh. I suppose that's the only thing that makes sense. Her disability. For some reason, she had to repeat a year because of whatever's wrong with her. I quickly think back to the scar at the base of her neck. Maybe she fell and hit her head and missed too much class? Maybe she has vertigo? That doesn't seem like something someone like her would have to go to a school for the disabled for, though.

"Hisao?" Emi inquires, snapping me out of my introspection.

"Sorry, I was just thinking," I reply flatly. I look at Emi, an apologetic expression on my face, before I realize we've reached our destination.

"I'm gonna go warm up. You should really change and join me~" Emi pouts, walking toward the rubberized surface.

"Thanks but no thanks. I think I'm actually gonna head back now." For some reason, the walk down the hill to the track has really tired me out. Maybe it's just mental exhaustion from this week, or maybe I'm in worse shape than I thought, but for some reason, a book and my bed sound just as appealing as they sounded unappealing not a few minutes ago.

Emi shrugs, apparently giving up. "Ok. You should come down tomorrow morning to make it up to me, though."

"Now you're starting to sound like Shizune," I retort. Emi feigns hurt.

"Your words, how they wound," she swoons. Then she stands up straight, wearing a serious expression. "I mean it, Hisao. Nurse said it was my job to keep you healthy, and I'm not about to shirk on my job."

"Ok, ok, I'll be here tomorrow morning," I say, not actually meaning it. I'll probably end up coming anyway.

"Good. See you later~" Emi waves as she approaches the starting line for her first lap. Just watching that girl makes me tired.

As I climb the hill back up to the academic buildings, I think back on everything that's happened this week. Yamaku certainly doesn't feel like home, but at the same time it does feel more familiar than it once did. I guess I'm getting acclimated, which is something that I didn't really feel like I wanted at the beginning of this week. I suppose being at a school for the disabled doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would. Then again, the heart flutter I had not fifty feet behind me the other day sort of cemented my need to be here as well. Maybe I fit in here better than I thought.

Which reminds me of something. Emi said Kagami was 'kind of quiet', which hasn't been my experience at all. She seems pretty extroverted, actually. I'm not entirely sure what to make of that. Why would she act differently around me? She certainly doesn't seem the type to hide, or keep to herself. However, I've never seen her with anyone else. Although that doesn't count for much, really, when you consider I've only seen her twice.

Make that three times. As I finish my climb over the hill, I spot a tall girl sitting against a tree a ways away from the beaten path. She's listening to something on headphones, eyes closed, her braid draped neatly over her shoulder like it usually is. She looks very... serene. Almost placid in a way- a state of complete relaxation. As I approach, I can see her violin sitting next to her in its case. She must be listening to music. I wave in an attempt to get her attention, but she's completely closed off from the world around her. I almost don't want to disturb her, but I... well the truth is I'm a bit curious about her.

"Kagami," I say, raising my voice as I approach. That gets her attention. She opens her eyes, but to my surprise, she stares at me quizzically, as if I'd just interrupted something very important for something trivial. She removes her headphones. "Hey," I continue, "I just saw you over here and thought I'd come over and say hi. What're you listening to?"

She pauses, as if she's unsure of what she's been doing. "Uh, just doing some studying," she says with some trepidation.

I laugh. "Ha, right. Practicing outside?"

She looks over to her violin, and then back at me. "Oh, y-yeah." What's going with her? She usually seems so carefree, and now she almost seems like she's on edge about something.

"Is something the matter?" I ask.

"It's just that... sorry, you're going to think I'm a terrible person," she starts. "I'm horrible with names and faces..." she trails off.

I'm a little surprised. She recognized me by my voice a few days ago in the Nurse's office. Was our lunch really that boring for her? I begin to wring my hands nervously. Maybe I haven't made as much of an impression on her as she has on me. I cast my gaze downward, embarrassed. "Uh, it's Hisao..." Instantly her face lights up with recognition.

"Oh my god. Hisao, how could I forget!" She stands up, her headphones catching against her slender neck and coming unplugged from the small mp3 player sitting in the grass next to her. "Sorrysorrysorrysorrysorry," she exclaims as she bows deeply. She looks up at me, peering apologetically through those small square frames with her big, grey eyes.

"It's fine, it's fine. No problem," I say softly. Although I do wish she had remembered who I was.

"No, it is a problem! I had such a nice time on our lunch date the other day and I completely forgot! I'm such an idiot sometimes," she stammers. So she does remember! And what's more, she called it a date! I didn't really think it was up until a few moments ago, but now that I hear it... I'm really happy that she considers it a date. "Hisao, I am so sorry," she repeats, extending her hand and touching my wrist.

I begin to smile. "It's fine, Kagami, really," I say, actually meaning it this time. I guess whatever anxiousness her failure to recognize me right away is gone. I suppose a pretty girl considering lunch to be a date will do that to you. Once again, I can feel myself blushing. How does this girl always manage to do that to me?

Her face relaxes, apparently satisfied with my reply. "Ok, if you say so." She pauses for a moment before continuing. "Let me make it up to you. There's a carnival here at Yamaku tomorrow, right?"

I suppose she is right. I had all but completely forgotten about it. Shizune and Misha have relaxed in their recruiting attempts, I suppose. To be honest, though, that's really no excuse for forgetting, as I can see students buzzing all over the gardens from here, setting up booths and other stalls. Maybe I'm just as forgetful as Kagami.

"Well~" Kagami continues, "I was thinking that we should go to the carnival together! I don't have anything to do, and since you're new, I can show you around a little more. What do you think about that?" She tugs at my wrist for emphasis.

"I- sure, I'd like that a lot," I say, unable to find any part of myself that would deny her request. She smiles in response.

"Great! It's a date then."

There's that word again. Date. It makes my heart skip a beat, but not in the bad way. I think I might be a little infatuated with this girl.

"You blush an awful lot," Kagami observes candidly. It does little to help my blushing. She laughs. "Ha. Don't get any ideas, Hisao. I like your company, is all," she says, deflating my ego like a dart would a balloon. "Sit down and join me?" she asks. I nod as she releases my hand and resumes her seat against the tree. I follow suit.

"So," she begins, "what're you up to on a fine Saturday afternoon such as this? Walking around campus looking for girls to surprise, no doubt," she says playfully.

"Ha ha," I reply, "just trying to enjoy the weather. Seems a shame to not be outside on a day like today."

"I know, right?" she half-exclaims. "I really like practicing outside. Much better than a stuffy classroom or the dorms. I feel like I can really hear what I'm playing out here, you know?"

I shake my head. "Not really. I'll take your word for it, though."

She pouts. "Here, listen." She reaches for her violin, and twists a small knob on the end of the bow. She sets the instrument on her shoulder and begins to play the same melody I heard the evening we met in the classroom. Outside, though, it seems different. Less mournful, and more hopeful. Like a single candle lit in an otherwise dark and drafty house. I find myself drawn to her face as she plays. Her expression is serious, yet happy. She's obviously enjoying herself.

I listen for a few minutes before she removes the instrument from her shoulder. Once again, I find myself at a loss for words. I speak the only thing that comes to mind: "It seems different than before. Like it's a more hopeful melody or something."

She frowns. "Seriously? Shit, this movement is supposed to be about despair and loss with no hope for redemption," she states disappointedly as she leans back against the tree. "Maybe dingy classrooms are better for that effect. I seriously doubt I could play anything sad outside on a day like today."

I decide to change the subject. "Speaking of today, you don't have lessons or anything?"

She shakes her head. "Nope, those are during the week. Saturdays I just have orchestra rehearsal in the early after- fuck." She grabs her phone from beside her. "Fuck, what time is it? Shit, I'm gonna miss my bus. Sorry, Hisao, but I have to run. I'll see you tomorrow for the carnival, though! Don't forget, ok?"

How could I? I'm more worried about her forgetting who I am again.

She scurries around her case, packing her violin quickly, standing up, and brushing herself off, all in one fluid motion. She bows slightly in my direction. "Bye, Hisao. See you tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow," I reply. She turns around and dashes off toward the gate. I hope she makes her bus on time.

Well, no use sitting around here in the grass. I suppose I- what's this? It's Kagami's mp3 player. She must have forgotten it in her hurry to leave. No matter, I'll just keep it with me until I see her tomorrow.

I glance at the screen, curiosity getting the better of me. Just to see what the name of the song she's been playing is.

'Math Notes: Week 9-10' I read. Huh? I check the back of the mp3 player for a built-in speaker, but there isn't one. Why does she have notes in audio form? Whatever the reason, it's probably best to not snoop. Besides, she probably just learns better when she hears something. It maybe even might have something to do with her strong connection to music. I slide the mp3 player into my pocket.

As I stand up, I'm reminded of just how tired I am. If I'm going to get over this hump, I'll definitely need to start exercising more. It's probably best to meet Emi tomorrow morning. Even if it is Sunday. And even if I am supposed to meet Kagami for the carnival tomorrow. I'll have time for a quick nap in between, right?

__________

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao)

Post by forgetmenot » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:19 pm

Scene 5: Second Day is the Hardest

The alarm blaring in my ear reminds me of two things: one, that it's Sunday and I shouldn't be waking up this early. Two, I'm not any more energetic than I was yesterday afternoon after my walk.

Somehow, I find myself pulling on track clothes and heading down the hall toward the exit of the dorms. So I'm really doing this. I make my way somnambulistically across the grounds. The sun is already peeking over the trees - a sign of the days lengthening. The glare hurts my eyes, but the sunshine warms my skin in the cool morning air. Against all odds, I find myself fully awake by the time I arrive at the track.

"Hisao! You came!" Emi exclaims, stretching by the bleachers. She smiles obnoxiously. "I guess Rin owes me money then," she says, seeming satisfied.

"Wait, you two took bets on whether I'd be here today?" I ask, somewhat surprised. Emi nods.

"Yep. When you didn't show for lunch the other day, Rin figured you for a flake. I knew you must have had a good reason to miss though," she says, winking. So that's who she meant by 'we'. Brushing off the fact that she was taking bets on me, Emi finishes her stretch and heads over to the track. "Ready to get going?"

No, I'm not. But I suppose there's only one way to get better. "Sure, let's get this over with," I say. My maudlin tone is met with a look of disapproval from Emi, but she doesn't say anything. We take our positions at the starting line and begin our run.

I'm not sure how long passes before Emi pulls away. Longer than last time, for sure, but not much. It's probably best not to give chase this time. I continue on for a lap or two more, but my inexperience and sorry physical condition are definitely keen on still making themselves known. The grass next to the finish line looks nice; I think I'll lie down there.

My eyes are closed, but even over the noise of my labored breathing, I can tell Emi's slowing down by the approaching sound of her prosthetics. She must be stopping to talk to me. I sit up. Sure enough, as I open my eyes, I'm met with a slightly concerned stare from the girl with her hands on her hips in front of me. "You ok, Hisao? You didn't push yourself too hard or anything, did you?"

I shake my head. "I'm fine. Just out of shape," I wheeze. Emi half-grins.

"Ok, just making sure you're not gonna die on me," she huffs as she starts her next lap. I decide to lie back down.

Thankfully, by the time she finishes another lap, I'm feeling much better and sitting up. She doesn't stop, but instead just throws a, "You look better!" my way before continuing her workout. I'm grateful Emi isn't doting on me, but I guess now I'll have go and get my own water.

After downing a full cup of the cool refreshing liquid, I feel much better. This water cooler is really quite a nice thing to have so close to the track. Come to think of it, all the facilities here at Yamaku are great. Tuition dollars and grant money at work, I guess.

I spend the rest of Emi's workout sitting on the bleachers and sipping my water slowly. Now that I'm sufficiently cooled down from my pathetic attempt at a run, my mind wanders to yesterday's encounter with Kagami and our plans for today. I can't quite put my finger on how I feel about it- nervousness? That's not it, I'm not really nervous. I guess the best word to describe it would be anticipation. I suppose I'm also a little excited. I really enjoy Kagami's company whenever I happen to stumble upon her.

Emi's voice breaks my train of thought. "What's got you so happy this morning?" Huh? Oh, I guess I am smiling. I didn't even realize.

"Oh nothing, just thinking. You done?" I ask. Apparently I missed her last few laps... and her walking over to take a seat next to me.

"Yeah, I usually take it pretty easy on Sundays." She takes a large swig from the plastic water bottle next to her. I have got to get one of those. "So, Hisao, I was thinking," Emi says as she turns slowly towards me. "If you're not busy today, do you wanna hang out at the carnival today? After all, someone has to keep an eye on you and make sure you're not eating junk food." I wince. I'd gladly go to the carnival with Emi, but...

"Sorry, I already promised someone I'd go with them," I say tentatively. Emi looks deflated.

"Oh, ok," she says quietly, and takes another drink from her water bottle. She turns back to me, her sullenness replaced by a look of genuine curiosity. "Who? Not Takahashi, right?"

"As a matter of fact, yes, I am going to the carnival with Kagami," I say, matter-of-factly.

Emi's curiosity turns quickly to laughter. "But your date was so lame! Man, you must have really charmed her to have her coming back for seconds!"

"H-hey, stop it," I say, only half-serious. I'm glad Emi's disappointment didn't last long. That puppy dog face really does a number on a guilty conscience.

Emi quiets down after a few seconds, wiping a tear from her eye, still giggling. "Hisao Nakai, master of romance! Whatever shall we do with you?" she says precociously. I'm not sure I'm particularly fond of this new nickname. "Well, if you don't wanna smell like dirt for your date, you should probably hit the showers," Emi suggests, a sly glint in her eye. Oh, great. The last thing I need is Emi playing matchmaker. However, matchmaker or not, I should still probably shower before I meet Kagami.

"Fine," I reply, rolling my eyes. Emi playfully jabs me in the arm with her elbow.

"Seeya later, Hisao," Emi says as I get up. "Have fun today!" She winks. I genuinely believe she means it, too. Man, that girl bounces back quickly. Either that, or she really did just want to spy on me to keep me from eating fried food. Which I'll definitely be doing later, now that I'm out from under her watchful eye.

I wave to Emi as I walk back up the hill. Surprisingly, I don't feel that tired. Maybe the tiredness is a side effect of my medication. I'm sure the doctor mentioned it sometime, but it got lost within the mix of nausea and stomach ulcers.

As I get back to my room, however, I quickly think that maybe I was just experiencing- what does Emi call it? Runner's high or something like that. I don't think I've ever felt so tired. I can barely stay awake as I go through the motions of showering. As I take my cocktail of pills for the morning, my bed seems to be calling my name. Well, I suppose a quick nap won't hurt. I lie down and close my eyes, and sleep comes quickly.

__________

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao)

Post by forgetmenot » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:21 pm

Scene 6: Photographs and Fireworks

Knock knock knock.

Huh? What time is... oh, crap. I've slept longer than I should have.

Knock knock knock.

And there's someone at the door. Fantastic. It's probably Kenji, warning me about the dangers of associating with too many girls in my free time. I guess I should probably answer, he's not gonna go away easily.

I open the door, and to my surprise I'm not greeted by my bespectacled hallmate, but instead by Kagami, who has apparently found my room somehow. "Uh, hi," I blurt.

"Hi," she says, turning a deep shade of red. "Um, Hisao, your... um," she stammers as she averts her gaze and giggles. In my haste to answer the door, I'd completely forgotten that I'm completely naked, except for my boxers.

"Oh, jeez, sorry," I exclaim as I shut the door hurriedly. I can still hear her laughing outside, though. Really Kagami, you don't have to laugh quite so much. Or so loudly. I quickly pull on a change of clothes and open the door to greet my still-blushing guest. "Sorry about that, I just woke up. Had a bit of an early morning," I explain hurriedly.

Kagami smiles. "It's fine, Hisao. Why were you up early? It's Sunday," she asks, raising an eyebrow.

"Went for a run. I've been trying to get in better shape recently," I say. I suppose that's adequate enough explanation without delving too much into my condition.

Kagami nods and steps back from the door. "Well, we've already missed a little bit of the festival, but it didn't take me that long to find your room after I found the class president," she states. I'm not sure how I feel about Shizune handing out my information so readily, but that's a thought for another day. "Ready to go?" the girl in front of me asks.

"Oh, just a second," I say, and rush back into my room to retrieve her mp3 player. Her face lights up when she sees what's in my hand.

"You found it! Oh my god thank you, I don't know what I'd do without this. I was entering full-on panic mode last night when I couldn't find it," she explains, grabbing it out of my hand and slipping it into her medium-sized leather purse. I briefly consider asking her about her audio math notes I saw, but honestly I can't see any reason to bring it up other than to make conversation. Maybe if there's a lull later on.

And with that, Kagami and I head outside to explore the carnival.

"I'm assuming you didn't eat yet today?" my companion asks as we approach the food stalls. I haven't, actually, and the smell of the festival is reminding me of that fact rather pointedly. Kagami turns and smiles. "What do you want? I'll buy," she offers.

"You bought lunch the other day, I can pay for this," I reply halfheartedly. I'm not exactly made of money, and I need to watch my extra spending if I'm going to make it through the month.

"Hisao, it's fine, really. I'll let you buy something else later. Consider this my apology for waking you up today. At noon," she adds, winking. I roll my eyes and sigh, faking defeat.

"If you insist, I suppose I can let you buy me food," I reply. Now, to decide what to get. It's been a while since I've had anything fried, since the hospital wasn't too keen on serving fatty foods to sickly patients. I spy a stall selling Takoyaki, and point it out to Kagami. "Takoyaki sound good?"

"Excellent," she says. We make our way to the back of the line, which isn't terribly long, considering the hour. However, the students selling the fried dish seem to be shorthanded, and it takes about ten minutes before we place our order. Kagami and I fill the time idly chatting about the festival before a short boy with glasses, probably a second-year, hands us our food and takes Kagami's payment.

"So you didn't come to the festival last year?" I ask, continuing our conversation between bites.

"Mm," Kagami starts, swallowing. "Last year, the orchestra I was in practice on Sunday mornings and afternoons, so I didn't get back until late afternoon. By that time, all of my friends had either gone into town or wandered off to do other things. I probably just wandered around for a bit before going back to my room. I don't really remember much of it," she says before popping another bite into her mouth.

"Why didn't you hang out with them this year?" I ask. The thought I had yesterday about her always being alone resurfaced in my mind when she mentioned her friends.

Kagami frowns. "Last year was... tough. We ended up growing apart for whatever reasons, and most of them graduated. I'm pretty much the only one out of our circle left at Yamaku." She looks at me, and anticipates my next question. "I know I seem sociable, but I don't really like clubs that much. I tend not to fit in very well in social situations. Besides, there's no music club here at Yamaku," she says, staring at the ground.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to dredge up bad memories," I reply. She replies with a chuckle.

"Hisao, it's fine. It was a perfectly legitimate question. You don't have to walk on eggshells around me." Her gaze lifts from the ground. She grins, and then gestures for me to follower her. "Come on, I've got something I want to show you." I follow her away from the crowd, curious as to what it is she wants me to see.

"Where are we going, exactly?" I inquire.

"You'll see. Away from the crowd," she says. I follow her for a few minutes until we're alone, close to a line of trees. Kagami ducks behind a tree, and I follow. Kagami begins to dig through her purse. "You," she says, "need to loosen up. This may help." She produces a large silver bottle from inside her bag. A flask?

"Kagami, where did you get that?" I ask, slightly surprised. I didn't expect her to have alcohol at a school event, nor for her to reveal it to a complete stranger.

"Bought it," she states nonchalantly. "Come on, have some, it'll make the festival more fun," she prods. I'm not sure about this. If we were caught... well, I'm pretty sure expulsion would be the least of my worries. My old school had a pretty strict policy about alcohol. Kagami lowers her eyebrows, realizing I'm having some trepidations. "Fine, I'll take the first sip," she says before lifting the flask to her lips and swallowing a few gulps. She extends the flask to me as she exhales sharply. "Whew! That's good. Come on, Hisao, your turn."

For whatever reason, I find myself taking the flask in hand and lifting it to my lips. I guess I've always been a sucker for peer pressure. Besides, something inside me is genuinely curious about whatever liquid is in this flask. I take a few gulps. Wow, that tastes terrible. And it burns. I can feel the warmth spreading down my throat and into my stomach. People subject themselves to this stuff willingly? Ugh. I shake my head violently as I inhale sharply, trying to get the taste out of my mouth. Inhaling is apparently not what you're supposed to do after drinking, however, because it sends a fresh wave of the alcohol fumes into my lungs, causing a coughing fit. I hand the flask back to Kagami, doubling over coughing and trying to catch my breath.

Kagami laughs. "First time having whiskey?" I nod between coughs. "It gets better, I promise. First sip is always bad," she says knowingly as she takes another swig from the flask. How often does she do this? I can't imagine wanting to very often. That being said, my breathing has returned to normal, and the warm feeling in my throat isn't all that bad. I'm almost recovered by the time Kagami hands me the flask again. "You good? I just wanted you to try it, you don't have to keep going," she says, a look of concern in her eyes.

"I'm good," I reply. I'll be damned if a girl outpaces me. I might not have much pride, but I do want to hold onto whatever I have left. I take another drink from the flask. It goes down easier this time, probably because I'm expecting the bitterness. Kagami smiles.

"See? It's not so bad once you get used to it."

We pass the flask back and forth a few more times before Kagami places it back in her purse. "That's probably good for now," she says. "Gotta save some for later," she adds, winking. More later? Oh, boy. Today is certainly going to be eventful.

As we walk back to the festival, I can already feel the alcohol hitting my bloodstream. I feel lightheaded and slightly off-kilter, but it's not a wholly unwelcome feeling. In fact, it's kind of fun.

Kagami and I spend the rest of the day walking around the carnival, chit-chatting aimlessly, eating, and playing games. At first, I was nervous about mixing alcohol with a school function, but it's actually made the day quite fun, especially after the second and third trips back to that line of trees. I feel more comfortable around Kagami now than I ever have, and I'm having a great day laughing and spending time with her. Especially now, as she's on her third consecutive try to knock over a small stack of milk cans with a baseball, having completely missed the first two times.

"Dammit! This sucks," Kagami pouts as she misses again, before breaking into a smile. "Hisao, your turn~" she says wryly, as she hands me a few coins. Rats, I knew laughing at her expense would come back to bite me. I hand the coins to the girl operating the booth and she places three baseballs in front of me. Well, here goes nothing.

"Strike one!" Kagami shouts as I miss widely on my first shot. I shoot a disapproving glare back at her.

"I'm warming up, no need to get too excited just yet," I say, turning back to the booth. I grab the second ball from in front of me.

"Strike two!" I hear from behind me. Damn, that one was close. Why do they put the cans so far away? Ok, Hisao, focus. You can do this. I grab the third ball from in front of me and hurl it at the pile of cans. A split second later, I'm greeted with a loud crash, signifying my success. All six cans are now on the floor. Kagami runs up next to me. "Nice one!" she says, the excitement of winning a prize overtaking her feigned resentment of me winning the game she lost.

"Congratulations," the girl in the booth says as she hands me a small blue stuffed bear. I take it, turn around, and present it to Kagami.

She places a hand to her chest and tilts her head. "For me?" she squeaks. I bow and extend the toy to her, continuing the charade. We pause for a moment, and then break into fits of laughter. The alcohol has definitely inhibited my ability to keep a straight face. It hasn't inhibited my ability to continue to develop feelings for Kagami, however, which have been steadily mounting all afternoon. I really, really like this girl. She's fun, carefree and funny. Not to mention she's beautiful. And- ah, damn it, I'm blushing again. Thankfully, Kagami doesn't notice, instead turning back towards the food stalls and stating, "I'm thirsty. Coffee?"

"Sounds good to me, but only if you let me pay this time," I answer.

"Ha, ha, ha. Ok, I suppose you can buy me coffee."

We make our way to one of the stalls selling beverages and I purchase two cans, handing one to Kagami. She thanks me and cracks it open, drinking what seems like half the can in a few seconds. She must have really been thirsty.

"Hey Hisao?" she asks. "Take a picture with me? I want to remember today."

Honestly, I don't know how I could ever forget today, considering how great it's been. However, a photo would commemorate the occasion nicely. "Sure thing," I reply.

She produces a small black digital camera from her purse, and motions for me to come near. As I approach, she throws her arm around my shoulder and presses her cheek to mine. I blush involuntarily. Dammit, now she's going to get photographic evidence. I'll never live this down. She turns the lens of the camera toward us and holds it at arm's length straight ahead, so to capture some of the festival behind us as well.

"Smile!" she exclaims before counting down and snapping the picture. The flash blinds me for a second, but I don't blink. Kagami releases my shoulder and turns the camera around, inspecting the photograph. She grins. "Perfect. Thanks, Hisao," she says, stowing the camera in her purse. As she fiddles with her bag, I recover from the flash and notice how dark it's gotten. In fact, I can barely make out a star in the center of the sky. Kagami notices me staring upwards. "It'll be full dark soon, and then there'll be fireworks, if I read the schedule right," she says. "Wanna go somewhere where there aren't as many people to watch the fireworks?"

I nod. "Sounds good to me."

"Great. I know the perfect place. Follow me!"

Minutes later, we arrive at a small grassy hill just on the other side of the track, which is deserted. In all honestly, though, I'm mildly surprised Emi isn't out here trying to get a few laps in between the festival's end and the fireworks. Kagami lies down in the grass and props herself up by her elbows, motioning for me to join her. She then opens her purse and pulls out the metallic container we drank from earlier, dumping a good bit of the contents into her half-finished can of coffee.

"Here," she states, and offers the flask to me. "This whiskey mixes really well with coffee. Try it!" I oblige, and pour some of the alcohol into my can. I swirl it around before tasting it.

"Mm. That's actually really good," I say, and I'm not lying. The coffee and whiskey mix very well together, neutralizing most of the burn that was present with just the straight whiskey. The buzzing in my head from earlier seems to have abated, replaced by a loose, relaxing sensation. I probably should feel cold right now, but the breeze crossing this hill feels great through my hair. I turn to my friend and hand her the flask, which is pretty much empty.

"Kagami," I say softly, "I had a really good time today." I hesitate, but the alcohol seems to help me to find more words quickly. "To be honest, I dreaded coming to Yamaku after my parents told me I'd be transferring here. I thought I wouldn't fit in, or that I'd..." I stop. I'm not really sure what to say next. Before I came here, Yamaku was just a school for disabled kids. Now... well, I don't really know how I see it. But it's definitely something more than what I thought it would be.

"I know how you feel," Kagami says. "When I came to Yamaku, I was mortified that I would feel out of place. It's tough coming to grips with the fact that you're... different. Different from other kids your age. I guess I haven't adjusted to my condition as well as some of the other kids here; I still feel that way from time to time. Like during my lessons in the city or at orchestra rehearsal. People there know what the Yamaku uniforms mean."

"I suppose that's why you don't wear yours that often," I guess. I haven't really seen many of the other students in casual clothes around campus.

"Yeah, I guess. I mean, it's not like I'm missing my legs or arms or anything." I wince, thinking of what Emi would say if she were here to hear that. "It's still hard to feel normal, though," she says before taking a drink from her can of coffee.

"I don't think so," I say, surprised at what's coming out of my mouth. Damn alcohol. "Kagami, when I'm with you, I feel more normal than I've felt in a long time. It's hard to remember a time when I wasn't being treated like I was fragile, when I wasn't a... liability... to my family or my friends. I guess what I want to say is thank you. I've had a wonderful time with you today just being me and not being a boy with a stupid heart condition."

I grimace. Did I really just say that? Crap, crap crap crap. We weren't supposed to talk about our disabilities, and now I've gone and blown it. Kagami looks at me cautiously, fully aware of what I just said.

"Heart condition, huh?" She sighs. "Well, I suppose it had to come out sooner or later." I briefly ponder being completely forthright before she asks, "So is that what that scar on your chest is from?"

I think back to earlier when I greeted her at my door without my shirt and pants. No hiding it now, might as well come fully clean. "So you saw that, huh? It's from a series of surgeries I had a few months ago. I... recently discovered I have an arrhythmia. My heart beats irregularly, essentially, which means it's more prone to just... stopping. I had a heart attack this winter, and now I'm here at Yamaku." I decide to leave the part about what triggered my heart attack out. Iwanako doesn't need to come into this just yet.

"Uh-huh," Kagami says, processing the new information. She takes another long sip from her can as I do the same. She looks over her shoulder at me, turning onto her side to face me. Her long braid shines in the pale evening moonlight; she's exceptionally beautiful right now. Her glassy grey eyes look straight into mine. She takes a deep breath.

"Ok, my turn," she starts. I wave my hand in the air.

"Kagami, stop. You don't have to tell me if you don't want to. Knowing or not doesn't change how I see you," I say.

"Well then there's no reason not to tell you. Besides, you told me, and fair's fair. Promise it won't change how you see me?" she asks, a slight tone of pleading in her voice. This is the most serious I've seen her; she must not talk about her disability with a lot of people.

She exhales deeply, and shuts her eyes.

"The medical term for it is anterograde amnesia."

I cock my head to the side. Amnesia? Does she not remember who she is?

"In layman's terms," she continues, "I have a pretty severe case of short-term memory loss. I usually can't remember anything that happened earlier than today, not without lots of repetition or if it's particularly striking or if it's just random and I have no reason at all to remember it. I keep a pretty detailed journal that allows me to not look like a complete moron most of the time, but it's usually only enough for casual situations." She pauses, breathing heavily.

Short-term memory loss. Suddenly everything clicks. The day when we met in the Nurse's office- she didn't recognize my voice, she recognized my name. That was what tipped her off. And the day when we met by the tree and she seemed to not remember who I was... well, she didn't. She came to my room today specifically so she wouldn't have to find my face in a crowd. And that picture just a few minutes ago... I guess I didn't fully understand the gravity of the situation when she said she wanted to remember today.

Kagami inhales, ready to begin again. "I got pretty lucky actually. When I had my accident, well, after I woke up from my coma, I was told I had a large hemorrhage in my left hippocampus, the part of the brain that deals with episodic memory. Faces, names, events, that sort of thing." She says this like it's a script she's rehearsed dozens of times. "My right hippocampus, which deals with semantic memory - facts, music, math, abstract stuff - was undamaged. The brain's connected, obviously, so I still have a tough time remembering things I learn in class, but if I listen to myself read my notes, I remember most all of it after one or two times through." That explains the math notes on her mp3 player as well.

"Y-your music?" I stammer. It seems like such an insipid question, but Kagami appears relieved I asked about that rather than something else.

"I remember everything from before my... accident, so that never really went away. Most of the skill is muscle memory anyhow, doesn't really have much to do with the conscious brain. I do remember music the best, though. It's the one thing that's never really left me," she says, staring down at the ground.

A long silence eats away at us. I'm not entirely sure what to say. Short-term memory loss? In comparison, my heart condition seems like a bad joke. I try to find the right words to say, but none seem to come.

Kagami stands. Her sudden movement startles me, and before I know it, I'm standing as well. She looks in my eyes, hands crossed behind her back.

"Look, Hisao, I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner. I was just scared you'd think of me like everyone else, like I wouldn't ever be able to remember you or see you for who you are, and that you'd just write me off, and I haven't had a chance at a fresh start in so long," she says, tears welling up in the corners of her eyes. "I understand if you don't want to hang out any more, if you're worried about me not being able to remember today, or yesterday, or even this conversation, I understand. I'm just..."

She trails off, but she doesn't need to finish her sentence. I know exactly what I have to do. I step forward, wrapping my arms around Kagami and pulling her close in a tight embrace. She stiffens for a moment, surprised at my advance, but then relaxes and puts her arms around my back, squeezing tightly. We hold our shared embrace for what seems like an hour and a second all at once. Kagami pulls her face away from my shoulder and looks deep into my eyes, a deep longing bubbling to their surface. Her eyes make Emi's puppy dog expression look painted on, almost.

She then pulls away slightly, before closing her eyes and standing on her toes, bringing her lips to meet mine.

Now it's my turn to be surprised, but just for a second. I quickly relax, mostly due to the alcohol. However, it'd be idiotic to think I'm doing anything other than falling for this girl whose lips are now firmly pressed against mine.

As we kiss, a bright flash of light streaks across the sky to our side, followed by a loud pop. The fireworks are starting, but we're both too enthralled with the other to tear away and look at them. Flashes of red, green, and blue dance across my eyelids, accentuated by the irregular pops and bangs that usually accompany fireworks. I'm not paying attention- the kiss I'm sharing with Kagami is a hundred times more magical.

Somehow, we manage to tear away from the kiss. Kagami removes her glasses and hangs them on her shirt, looking deep into my eyes. "Hisao?" she asks.

"Mm?" I reply.

"Thank you," she says, before standing on her toes to kiss me once again. And I can honestly say that in this moment, disabilities be damned, we have each other, and we have this moment. And it's something neither of us has had in a long time.

And for now, it's enough.


End Act 1.

__________

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Last edited by forgetmenot on Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:44 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 2/25]

Post by SemisoftCheese » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:40 pm

This is sick. Hit me up if you need a proofread or anything, I'm def excited for the next chapter!

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 2/25]

Post by Ranger296 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:51 pm

^ Agreed. So far so good; enjoying this oc route a lot :D

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 2/25]

Post by Breaker deGodot » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:16 pm

I'll admit I approached this cautiously. I mean, you submitted all of these chapters at once which can be dangerous, but I didn't notice any specific mistakes. I look forward to reading more, as I've always thought it was strange that none of the KS cast was musically inclined. It's refreshing to see a musician character.
My only complaint is the disability itself; Yamaku doesn't accept mentally unsound students, and it seems like anterograde amnesia is a wholly mental ailment, not a physical one...

By the way, is that a reference to Memento? Or am I just over-analyzing this?
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 2/25]

Post by forgetmenot » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:48 pm

My only complaint is the disability itself; Yamaku doesn't accept mentally unsound students, and it seems like anterograde amnesia is a wholly mental ailment, not a physical one...
Ah, glad you noticed! That's actually a planned story point, and the cause of some friction concerning the student council. It'll definitely be explained, no worries.
By the way, is that a reference to Memento? Or am I just over-analyzing this?
It's possible

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 2/25]

Post by naxxar » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:11 pm

Hey! I'd just like to say i'm enjoying it so far, This sort of thing is something i'd really want to do after reading many fanfics and seeing another person coming forward and starting a journey is really great
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 2/25]

Post by Exbando » Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:21 pm

Me likey. Haven't seen Hisao X OC here yet (though I haven't looked that hard). I'm gonna take a wild guess and say Hisao goes to a concert at some point. It only makes sense.
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 2/25]

Post by griffon8 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:54 pm

Exbando wrote:Me likey. Haven't seen Hisao X OC here yet (though I haven't looked that hard). I'm gonna take a wild guess and say Hisao goes to a concert at some point. It only makes sense.
Then you definitely need to check out Tomorrow's Doom by Helbereth.
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 2/25]

Post by forgetmenot » Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:16 am

Act 2: Structure

Scene 7: Exceptions

I don't think I've ever felt so horrible in my entire life. Well, that's not entirely true. But the other times I've felt this bad were when I was in the hospital and I could blame the doctors or my heart. Now, though, I only owe the incessant throbbing in my head to my stupid decision to drink so much last night.

I think back to last night, and it helps me forget about my hangover for the moment.

Kagami and I kissed, fireworks exploding in the background. Were it preceded by any other conversation, it would have been romantic. Now, though, I'm not really sure what that kiss meant. Was she relieved, grateful even, to just have a friend? To have something more than just a friend? I'm not really sure what we are right now.

I think back to what Kagami said last night: "I was scared that you'd write me off, and I haven't had a chance at a fresh start in so long..." I wonder if I had known about her disability, would I have given her a chance? The resulting train of thought makes me shiver. I certainly don't feel like I'm closed off from others. I don't know if I could have dealt with her short-term memory loss right from the start, though. Would I have avoided her, the same as her friends did? The same as my friends did to me? The same as Iwanako?

Ow. A sharp pain shooting from my ears through my skull forces me to raise my head from the desk. It's Mutou, just entering the classroom and slamming the door behind him. I glance up at the clock. It's 8:45; he's late.

"Morning, class. Sorry I'm late, but everyone had a late night last night, me included," he apologizes. He looks tired. His hair's a complete mess, and he hasn't shaved. On top of that, his eyes are a bit bloodshot. I quickly remember my eyes in the mirror this morning as I took my pills. He's hung over, isn't he? "Ok, today's lecture is on photon particle physics," Mutou says, a bit more cheerfully than his physical appearance would suggest. He really does love this stuff.

A few hours of incessant lecturing, and at least fifty percent of the class is down for the count. Honestly, I'm surprised I'm paying attention as well as I am, considering my headache hasn't abated much. I am extremely thirsty, however. I smack my lips in an attempt to get some saliva flowing, but Mutou catches the sound and assumes I'm prepared to answer the question he's been badgering the class with for the last minute. "Nakai, you have an answer?"

I look up at the equation written on the board. It's simple enough, and with a few seconds of mental math, I blurt out an answer. Mutou beams. "Excellent, Nakai. Glad to see someone's still paying attention," he adds, grumbling. His next sentence, whatever it may be, is interrupted by the pealing of bells from the hallway, signaling the start of the lunch hour. As I rise from my seat, I notice two figures, one with pink hair, approaching my desk from the corner of my eye. I try to pack quicker, but it's no use. As I stand up and start to walk out the door, Shizune and Misha are there, blocking my path.

"Wahaha~" exclaims Misha. "Where are you off to in such a hurry, Hicchan?"

"I... I..." Words fail me. I don't really have anywhere in particular I was planning to go, just... away from these two. Maybe to go look for Kagami, although I can't remember if she's taking lessons today or not. She'd be gone already if she was. I sigh in resignation. "Nowhere, I suppose. Why?" I ask tentatively, hoping to not get roped into student council work.

Shizune signs something hurriedly, and Misha translates. "Shicchan says she didn't see you helping at the festival yesterday. She knows it's only your first week here, but in the future, please try to participate more in school activities, especially when your class is depending on you~." It's obvious Misha doesn't like delivering harsh news from Shizune, but apparently Shizune is satisfied with my hung head and downcast eyes. No matter if they're from a hangover and not from feeling guilty about not helping. Misha leans in closer. "So, Hicchan, did you enjoy the festival?" she asks.

"I had a lot of fun yesterday, yeah," I reply.

"Did you hang out with anyone? I saw you with Satou earlier in the week, but she was busy at a booth all day. Don't tell me you were all alone~," Misha says teasingly.

"As a matter of fact I wasn't," I reply smugly. "I was with Takahashi, from class 3-4. You know her?"

Misha's expression dims from her usual saccharine smile to something... less so. It only dips for a moment, but it dips noticeably. Curiously, Misha stops signing and turns away from Shizune. "Is... that why she asked for your room number? I assumed she was getting you to help with running a stall," she says quickly, before Shizune whacks her on the shoulder, obviously not pleased with Misha hiding her hands.

They exchange a few signs briefly, before Shizune's face twists into a scowl. She begins signing furiously to Misha, who attempts to translate as best she can, but Shizune's signing is so hurried it's impossible for her to get it all.

"Shicchan says... poor rep- representation of Yamaku, and - Shicchan, slow down - oh~ that's not very nice." Misha turns to me, a forced smile on her face. "Shicchan says that your friend isn't a good example to the rest of the students of Yamaku, and that she should... umm..." Misha says, apparently paraphrasing heavily. Shizune is still signing. "Shicchan, I'm not going to say that - no, that's rude," Misha says, trying to at least clue me in on half of the conversation. It must be really difficult for her in situations like this, trying to be include both Shizune and whoever is on the other side of her outbursts.

Apparently exhausted with Misha's refusal to relay her messages to me, Shizune walks back to her desk, pulls out a notebook and begins writing. After a few seconds, she rips out the page she's been writing on and hands it to me.

"Stay away from Takahashi, for your own good. Nobody should get the kind of special treatment around here that she does. She'll drag you down, just like she did her old friends last year."

I look incredulously at the page in front of me. I hardly expected Shizune to be this blunt... actually, without a Misha filter, this sounds exactly like something Shizune would say. I can't believe I didn't see it like this before. I feel a quiet rage boiling up inside of me. Shizune doesn't have any right to say these nasty things about Kagami, especially after how manipulative she's been over the past week.

I exhale, cooling off before I speak. "Misha, please tell Shizune that this is rude, and it's my decision who I want to be friends with," I say. Misha cranes her neck to see what's written on the paper, and then signs something to Shizune. Shizune signs something back quickly. Misha hesitates, but Shizune jabs her with an elbow. I guess she's tired of being censored.

"Shicchan says, 'Your funeral,' which I do not agree with personally," Misha says, signing what she says back to Shizune, who scowls and storms out of the classroom.

Misha turns quickly to follow her. "Sorry, Hicchan, I need to go after her. I feel like Shicchan owes you an explanation, though you're probably not gonna get it from her," she says, pausing. I think this is the first time I've ever seen her be so serious. "Tell you what," she continues, "I'll meet you after school today and we'll talk, if you want. We've got student council business to take care of until then."

I think for a minute. I suppose some explanation of Shizune's behavior would be nice. "Sure," I reply. "Gardens at seven?"

"Great. See you there, Hicchan," she says, whirling around to find her other half, wherever she may have stormed off to.

Whew. All that commotion totally made me forget about my hangover, which is coming back in full force now. I need to eat something. And drink some water. Definitely water. Worrying about Shizune will have to wait until after lunch.

Lunch passes without much happening. I grab some coffee from a vending machine and some bread and a large glass of water from the cafeteria. I eat alone, mostly thinking about what Kagami could have done to make Shizune so angry with her. Kagami doesn't seem the type to actively pursue confrontation, or conflict of any type. Shizune, on the other hand... well, I can't help but think this must be Shizune's fault somehow. My hangover doesn't allow for too much introspection, however, and I concentrate on my bread and water. For some reason, the coffee tastes like alcohol, and I have to throw most of it away. Maybe I should switch to tea.

Afternoon classes pass quickly, thank goodness. My hangover subsides enough that I'm able to pay attention in English, at least enough to know that I'm totally lost. Languages have never been my best subjects, especially English. It just doesn't come to me as well as something like science or math.

But, before I know it, the day is over, and I find myself with a large bottle of water, sitting on a bench in the gardens, waiting for Misha to arrive. I check my phone. 7:05. Man, everyone seems to be in the habit of being late today. No sooner do I think this than I hear a distinct voice a ways away, yelling, "Hicchan!" It's Misha. I wave as she approaches. She looks... unusual. She's usually following Shizune around like a hurried mouse. Now she seems like she has her own sense of purpose.

"Hey," I say as she sits down next to me. "Manage to shake Shizune ok?" I ask half-jokingly.

"Me and Shicchan aren't exactly talking right now," Misha says seriously. Uh-oh. I definitely don't want to be the cause of a friendship ending. She notices my concerned expression. "Wahaha~! Hicchan, it's not your fault. Shicchan and I are still friends, I promise," Misha says, laughing.

We pause for a moment as I drink from my bottle. Misha twiddles her thumbs nervously. I guess I have to start. "Ok, so what was that all about before lunch?"

"It's a long story," Misha begins. "Shicchan was class president last year, too. There was some... bad blood between the members of the student council last year, and it ended up with a lot of people quitting," Misha admits, sighing. "You probably figured it out by now, but Shicchan and I are the only members left on the student council. We have been all year."

"I figured as much," I say. "I guess that explains your aggressive recruiting attempts."

Misha smiles. "I suppose we were pretty transparent. Wahaha~!" It's good to see she can still laugh, even when talking about something serious. She calms her expression down, and continues.

"Hicchan, there were a lot of reasons the student council... disbanded. I know about some, but there are others that Shicchan... won't talk about with me. No matter how hard I try to get her to talk to me about them," Misha says, looking forlorn. It's obvious that her best friend's secrecy really hurts her. I wonder what Shizune could have done to warrant her keeping secrets from Misha...

"What does that have to do with Kagami?" I ask, trying to steer the conversation away from whatever is bothering Misha.

"Shicchan won't tell me, but I noticed... things... last year. She thinks I'm stupid, but I'm not. I'm not gonna say any more, since it's not nice to speculate bad things about other people. You could always ask Shicchan yourself, but I doubt she'd ever say anything."

I pause for a moment, trying to decrypt Misha's statement. "You wouldn't have come out here if that was all you had to tell me," I say, looking at Misha quizzically.

Misha sighs. "I can give you the official story, as much as I may or may not believe it. After the student council broke up, it was just me and Shicchan at the beginning of the year. One of our duties was to get the new third-years acclimated to Yamaku, handle their paperwork and orientations and such. One of those students was Takahashi," Misha says.

"Wait, I was under the impression she's been here since first year," I say, a questioning tone in my voice. Misha nods.

"Yeah, she has been. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to say this, but she... she had to repeat third year. Something... to do with her... disability," Misha says, her voice growing quiet, as if she's worried about eavesdroppers. Regardless of tone, what she says makes sense, especially considering what Emi told me the other day. Her disability must have a more pronounced effect on her schoolwork than she lets on. "Hicchan, do you know what her... problem is? I don't wanna tell you something that's supposed to be confidential," Misha says, unsure of whether to continue. I can respect her willingness to keep the privacy of other students at least somewhat intact. It's good she knows how to keep quiet about some things.

"Short-term memory loss. She told me," I say, motioning for Misha to go on.

"Ok, good. Well, Shicchan tried to get her to participate in various class activities, hoping that it would distract her from having to repeat third year, but you know how Shicchan is. She can be rather... blunt... if she doesn't get her way. Takahashi-san never really opened up, less than you, even."

"Hey, I'm not that bad," I say defensively.

"Wahaha~! Hicchan, you've shirked responsibility at every turn," Misha says accusingly. She's right, I have. But that doesn't really concern me now.

"Never mind that, go on."

Misha takes a deep breath. "I know there was more to it than what Shicchan says. The way she treated Takahashi-san... it wasn't just that she was frustrated. She'd always deny it, though."

I nod patiently.

"Ok, so Shicchan ended up getting fed up with Takahashi-san, for whatever reason, wondering why she never remembered class activities, never seemed interested in helping, so..." Again, Misha pauses, looking around, as if to see if we're being listened to. "...so Shicchan looked in her student records, which is definitely not allowed. She found out about Takahashi-san's disability, and..." Misha trails off.

"And what?" I ask, unsure of why my pink-haired companion has suddenly stopped.

Misha shifts her eyes down to the ground. "Hicchan, you have to understand something very important about how Shicchan thinks about herself. She holds herself to a very high standard... but she also expects the best from others as well. When Shicchan found out about Takahashi-san's condition... well, she was very... forward... with her opinion. She thought Takahashi-san should have been more up front about her disability, and that she should have worked harder. Whether or not that's true in this case..." From the way she's telling the story, Misha obviously doesn't believe whatever Shizune told her. Curious...

"She looked it up. Anterograde amnesia has been reason to deny students admission in the past. Eventually, Shicchan talked to some higher-ups at the school, asking why a student with mental problems was allowed admission to Yamaku in the first place," Misha pauses, and I take advantage of the silence to ask my own question.

"You mean to say that Yamaku doesn't normally accept students with mental conditions?" I ask. Misha shakes her head.

"Nope, not usually. From what I've heard, it's too much of a liability."

"Why would Shizune take offense to someone who's obviously been cleared by the school board as... well, as not a liability?" I ask.

She pauses, searching for the right words to say next. "Shicchan's family is... tough. They never made exceptions for her, never treated her like she had anything wrong with her, so she doesn't like it when others have exceptions made for them. She thinks it's weak."

Misha frowns for a minute, before adding, "At least that's what she told me the reason was."

I'm not sure what to think at this point. Shizune's behavior was definitely out of line, but I can also see how she was frustrated. Not being able to communicate with Kagami using speech must have widened the gap between them and made this whole thing even harder. Then again, that might not be the reason for Shizune's ire at all.

"She didn't hear anything for a few days, but eventually a gag order was passed down from the principal himself. He didn't want any more inquiries into the subject. The student council was reprimanded harshly," she adds. She leans back into the bench, apparently finished with her story.

"So that's it?" I ask.

"That's all I know," Misha says. "I've heard rumors about her, about her family, about her... ex-boyfriend... but none of them are worth repeating. That's why Shicchan doesn't like Takahashi-san. What's sad is that Takahashi probably won't ever know how much Shicchan dislikes her. It's not good for Shicchan to get angry for nothing. Especially something that happened in the past."

I take another drink from my water bottle. I'm at a total loss for words. I decide to go back to the dorms and try not to think. "Thanks, Misha, for telling me this," I say, only slightly sure that I mean it. I stand up, but Misha remains seated.

"You're welcome Hicchan. If you don't mind, I'm gonna stay here for a while. I've got some stuff I want to think over," she says. I've never seen Misha this serious, and it's a little discomforting. She's normally so bouncy and happy, and now she just looks... deflated. Like a balloon that's had the air let out of it all at once. I decide to say something.

"Misha, is... is everything ok? Between you and Shizune?"

"I... I'm not sure, Hicchan. But it's not anything concerning you, I promise. I just need to be alone for a little while."

I sigh, dissatisfied at her answer. I want to stay and get her to talk to me. It's so rare to see Misha away from Shizune, without being her... puppet, I guess, is the best word for it. I'm not sure that I've ever seen the real Misha until now, just like this morning when I realized that I've never actually talked to the real Shizune. It's strange, the effect these two have on each other.

However, I'm not sure it's best for me to intervene right now. I'd probably only upset Misha more. "Ok, Misha. I'll see you tomorrow," I say as I wave and start down the path to the dormitories. She waves back, but says nothing.

Damn. Today was certainly interesting. I wonder if I can ask Kagami about what Misha and I just talked about. It's probably not a good idea, but at the same time, I'm not sure that us keeping any more important secrets from each other will be exactly healthy. Why was Kagami allowed to enroll at Yamaku? Is her music keeping her here? The questions flood my mind too quickly, and I can't think straight by the time I get back to the dorms.

Today has certainly been eventful. Hopefully I'll see Kagami tomorrow. Maybe this stuff will straighten itself out in due course.

__________

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Last edited by forgetmenot on Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:38 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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