Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 7/6]

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:04 am

Just commenting as I go along.
forgetmenot wrote: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.
Excellent start. Good use of the language. Makes me want to read more already.
"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.
I don't really see why she should have the mornings off then... Maybe she's just lying to him?
We hit it off well for a while, but summer rolled around and he graduated.
The usual misconception. Graduation is at the end of march in Japan. Maybe have him change schools instead?
She hurriedly pulls out a few 500-yen notes
There aren't any 500-yen notes in Japan. The smallest denomination in paper is 1.000 yen. There are 500-yen coins, though.
Link to the German Wikipedia. The English version doesn't have pictures :-)
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.
But he didn't. On Emi's path he promised her when he woke up in the nurse's office. In your path she wasn't there when he woke up, and since he's been with Kagami the whole time since then he couldn't have met her somewhere else either.
I step outside for the first time for a few hours and am met with a warm breeze across my face. Today's going to be a good day.
Not sure about chronology here... You say it's instead of Sip (Part2) but that would be Saturday afternoon... This reads more like it is morning.
"And while you're at it, you can explain to me why you skipped our lunch date a few days ago!"
And that would be "yesterday"
"So," she begins, "what're you up to on a fine Saturday afternoon such as this?
Seem it is afternoon after all.
"The medical term for it is anterograde amnesia."
Ah, Ef-Syndrome... Suspected something like that - it was pretty obvious - but that's not really something she could have hoped to conceal for any length of time...
However, there's a part of me that thinks I might be falling for this girl...
He almost sounded more sure of that in the afternoon, before they embraced and kissed^^°
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...
I don't think this would be a problem in her case. She is not "mentally unsound" at all. In fact, she's not like she's mentally unstable in any way, which is probably what the "no-mental-disabilities" rule is about.
I wouldn't classify her disability as "mental" at all. Her mind functions absolutely normally; it's just her memory that she has problems with. It's not even caused by mental problems but by physical trauma.
That's actually a planned story point, and the cause of some friction concerning the student council.
I'm not sure why the student council should object given that Misha doesn't have any physical disability either. Let's hope you think of a good reason...
"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.
Yamaku is a school for people for whom exceptions have to be made. I find it hard to believe that Shizune would be offended by that.

All in all I think you've got a good story going there. I don't think casual use of alcohol by minors is not that common in Japan, but that theme's also been used in KS more than once.
I really like your OC and the way you portray Misha.
However I think the conflict with Shizune feels very artificial.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
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Kagami Takahashi

Post by Leaty » Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:37 pm

All the points Mirage makes are excellent. Better nitpicking than I'd be capable of without dedicating the better part of a day.

I don't often comment on other people's fics, because I can be uncomfortably merciless, but I like what you have so far enough that I'd feel comfortable recommending it to another reader. (I don't know why "[CHARNAME] Pseudo-Route" became the nom de rigeur for every fic which pairs Hisao with a new character, though. It's prosaic, and it doesn't look good in list format, though as purely a thread title I suppose it's serviceable.) I'll admit, when I see Oscar Charlie in a thread title, I immediately run for the hills, because I was sick of "Gary Stu exchange student romances Lilly" before it even began. Kagami, though, was interesting enough as a character that I was enticed to read past the first chapter, and I ended up reading the whole thing, so that's definitely an accomplishment. In practice, whipping up an OC for Hisao to romance isn't especially different from having Hisao date a non-Miki side character and making a personality for them from whole cloth, which is probably why it's the only sort of OC scenario I find palatable.

I don't have much to say about your use of wordplay and language (long story short: I liked it,) so let's get to the heart of the matter and talk about Kagami. I like Kagami, and I think that outside of the fact that her disability lacks a visual element I don't think she stands out from the five* canon love interests, which is a very good thing. I notice that you also gave at least a little thought to giving her a color scheme that doesn't overlap with any of the canon characters (to my knowledge no existing member of the KS cast has grey eyes,) which implies you put a great deal of effort into the composition of this character.

One thing I don't care for is how often Hisao compares Kagami to Lilly in the early part of the fic. Hisao by that point in Life Expectancy has met Lilly... once? Maybe twice? It seems a little unusual for her to suddenly become Hisao's point of reference for every other woman he meets, and to me it came off less as his own voice and more as a fanfiction author pitching their OC by pointing out the ways they differ from character X. And, yes, as fanfiction authors I think we do think very intently about how our contribution to the source material offers something new, and I think this is an important part of the creative process, but I also think it's important to divorce most of that reasoning from the text itself. It's too outré. Furthermore, other than a superficial similarity in height and hobbies, I don't think Kagami really is anything like Lilly (at least, final Lilly. You could make a case for Kagami resembling the Lilly of one of the early betas, who I believe played the piano.) She seems more like a younger and more headstrong Yuuko than any other character, honestly.

In the early chapters Kagami gave me a bit of a "manic pixie dream girl" vibe. Kagami referred to herself as a hermit, and both Shizune and Emi characterize her as asocial, but your writing failed to persuade me that this characterization was justified. She seemed to immediately latch on to Hisao when she met him and was extremely friendly and personable throughout the chapter. Other than being a super-senior, and having memory loss issues, I'm incredulous that a character like this wouldn't have more friends. She's not at all standoffish or socially awkward, at least around Hisao, and I don't believe that Hisao is studly enough to blame his presence for those traits failing to manifest. Now, admittedly, all five canon love interests save Hanako seem to be unusually taken by Hisao when they first encounter him, but again, Shizune, Emi, Lilly and Rin aren't characterized as being asocial (Rin doesn't have friends but she doesn't push people away, either.)

This shouldn't be taken as a criticism, really, but Kagami does seem a bit more "American" than some of the other characters in KS. I can't place why, exactly, though part of it has to do with the language she uses. She really does seem like some of the band geeks I've known. It's just a nebulous feeling. If I can pin it down, I'll let you know.

So, I don't know if this is going to be a trend throughout the fic, but I've noticed this is yet another one where Hisao develops a strong friendship with Emi despite the fact that she almost completely GTFOs in every route other than hers and Rin's. I don't really have a problem with this per se, but the whole idea of Emi-as-best-bro is on its way to becoming a little cliché. I see the appeal— Emi is, out of all the characters, one of the nicest, most relatable, and easiest to open up to— and Hisao doesn't really talk with that many other people in the game, but if this story element is going to keep on going I hope you take the opportunity to be a little creative with it.

Also, how did Hisao learn about Saki Enomoto, enough to know her name and that she "always" wears earrings? Hisao seems to have met way more people his first week of school than was ever implied in canon. He seems to bring up Iwanako a lot more than he did in canon, as well. I'm pretty sure throughout Life Expectancy Hisao was reticent even to think her name, though this can easily be explained away as being Kagami's influence on his mindset.

Okay, lastly, the Shizune thing. Other people may disagree, but I feel like there is a tendency to make every new character in KS fic an adversary of Shizune, and again I admit it's a very tempting thing to do as a writer (in this case one might argue I'm guilty of it myself?) If every KS fic was canon, though, Shizune would be so busy scorning people that she'd never get anything done. It really does seem like an artificial way to inject conflict into the story. It's not quite in "Ron the Death Eater" territory (may I burn in hell for invoking TVTropes,) but it just feels unnecessary. I don't think you're going to make Shizune the source of the central conflict of the fic, either, which to me just makes her derision seem even more tacked-on. It reminds me of some of the early 2000's-era Daria fanfic where a character would immediately establish themselves as cool by doing something to piss off Ms. Li. You've done a good job justifying her scorn, but again, why can't Shizune have glowing things to say about somebody for a change? I guess it's hard to appreciate a musician when you're deaf...

Whew, I got carried away there. I don't believe in praising a fic without giving constructive criticism, so hopefully I've done some good here.

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Re: Kagami Takahashi

Post by Silentcook » Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:25 pm

Leaty wrote:(I don't know why "[CHARNAME] Pseudo-Route" became the nom de rigeur for every fic which pairs Hisao with a new character, though. It's prosaic, and it doesn't look good in list format, though as purely a thread title I suppose it's serviceable.)
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 2/26]

Post by forgetmenot » Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:28 pm

Glad to see people are (mostly) enjoying it!

Mirage's post first:
The usual misconception. Graduation is at the end of march in Japan. Maybe have him change schools instead?
Whoops. Sorry about that. Guess I should have done my research a little more carefully.
There aren't any 500-yen notes in Japan. The smallest denomination in paper is 1.000 yen. There are 500-yen coins, though.
Easy fix. Thanks for pointing it out.
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.
But he didn't. On Emi's path he promised her when he woke up in the nurse's office. In your path she wasn't there when he woke up, and since he's been with Kagami the whole time since then he couldn't have met her somewhere else either.
I just checked the VN, Emi asks him before he falls asleep. We're good here.

Sorry about all the chronology stuff. I try to keep it mostly straight in my head but I'm too lazy to bother to write it down. :(

I promise the conflict with Shizune isn't shoehorned like it seems. I'll explain more in a minute.


Ok, now Leaty's post:

Sorry for the extraneous comparisons to Lilly. I guess that was just my way at trying to make out what Kagami looks like in my own head, at least early on. I'll change some of the wording there, maybe stop being so lazy with my descriptions.

Good! The "manic pixie dream girl" effect is exactly what you're supposed to be getting. Hisao will very soon realize that the way she presents herself to him is very different from the "asocial" description he's been getting from her and everyone else. In short: plot plot plot plot plot

The Emi thing is going somewhere other than "best-friend zone", I promise. I wanted to include the other girls a bit more than in the actual VN, at least at first, mostly because I love their characters so much it seems a waste to just dump 'em after Act 1.

The Saki thing is really nothing more than an excuse to legitimize my fic by mentioning other (semi) non-canon characters that have already been more or less well established in the KS universe. :roll:

Ok, the Shizune thing. I promise it's not what it seems on the surface. The goal here is to make Shizune seem (somewhat) irrational - this is the point. It's mostly a device to allow for more characterization of Kagami. But the conflict with Kagami definitely runs deeper than "just principles" for Shizune.


All in all, I appreciate the feedback, it makes the story better and makes me a better writer! Thanks for reading!

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 2/28]

Post by forgetmenot » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:28 pm

Scene 8: Intermezzo

Today's been a slow day. Without Shizune and Misha in class, the day's been completely uneventful. They're probably taking care of student council business. I hope Misha's feeling better today- yesterday evening she seemed really depressed.

She's probably fine. Misha seems like she can bounce back quickly.

The screech of chalk on the board snaps me out of my waking coma and sends a shiver down my spine. Even though it's late afternoon and difficult to concentrate, I should probably be paying attention. I haven't been doing that well in English. Somehow, that fact doesn't motivate me enough to lift my pencil and take notes.

I'm generally not one for adages, but if time flies when you're having fun, this is officially the longest day ever. Forget Mondays, Tuesdays are officially the worst.

I need a distraction. If only I had a book...

That reminds me. I still have that stack of books I checked out from the library last Monday. I'm not sure what kind of borrowing period the library here allows, but a week was standard at my old school's library. I should probably return those. It's not like I'll get around to reading them anyhow. Ever since I came to Yamaku, I've definitely been reading less. Then again, it's not like I haven't been busy with moving in, getting adjusted, running in the mornings, hanging out with a certain girl...

The sudden shuffle of students breaks my concentration. Or, rather, lack thereof. Everyone's getting up. Did the bell ring?

It must have. I rise from my desk and pack my things. Well, at least classes are over. I wonder what I'm going to do with the rest of my day. I should probably study, even though there's precisely zero motivation in my body right now. I wonder what Kagami's up to? Either practicing somewhere around campus or in the city for private lessons, probably.

I briefly think back to Sunday night after the fireworks. There wasn't much discussion while we walked back to the dormitories, just an unceremonious goodnight from both of us as we separated at the entrance to the girls' dorm. I may have been a little dazed at that point- also, I was drunk. The resulting hangover yesterday didn't leave much room in my head for extra thoughts. Especially when you pile on the boatload of new information Misha dumped on me...

I don't want to think about this today. I need a break. And I think I know just how to get one.

The walk back to my dorm room doesn't take all that long, and after a few seconds trying to grab a book that accidentally fell underneath my bed, I'm on my way back to the main academic building.

As I enter the library, however, Yuuko is nowhere to be seen. "Yuuko?" I call out.

"Hm?" I hear from behind a row of shelves to the right of the front desk. Yuuko's face pops out from behind one of the shelves. "Oh, hello Hisao. I'll be right with you," she says pleasantly. Glad to see she's in a better mood than she usually is today. I drop my books on the front desk. Carrying them back here seemed easier today than last week. Maybe those morning runs are helping. All three of them. Yeah, that's definitely it, Hisao.

Yuuko saunters over to the front desk. "How can I help you today?" she cheerfully asks.

"You seem happy today," I comment. Maybe the last couple of times I've seen her, she's just been really stressed.

"Oh? Sorry," she stammers, her expression quickly morphing back into the worried one I'm used to seeing from her.

"No, no, I didn't mean it like that," I reassure her. Then again, how exactly did I mean it? Yuuko fidgets nervously. "Um," I continue, "I'm just here to return these books."

"Oh, just drop them in that slot there," Yuuko responds. "Did you like them?"

I suppose I would have, if had I read them. "Sure," I say. "I'm gonna go check the stacks for more, if that's ok."

"Don't hesitate to ask if you need help!" she calls out after me. That was... interesting. I push it to the back of my mind and start looking for a new book to pass the afternoon. I'm sick of nonfiction. Historical fiction? Nah, too many of these are American translations. Besides, I don't know much about American history, so I doubt I'd be too interested in... Aha! Science fiction- a genre I haven't really explored much.

I browse the shelf for a few moments before finding a book that looks interesting. "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" What kind of a title is that?

I'm not given much time to think about it before I'm clapped, hard, on the back. "What's up, dude?" I hear a familiar voice ask from behind me.

I whirl around to face my assailant. "Kenji! You can't do that kind of stuff! I have-" I half-yell, before realizing that a) we are in a library and I should probably keep my voice down, and b) I haven't told Kenji about my heart condition yet and certainly don't want to do it right here.

"Jeez, dude, calm down. It's not gonna kill anyone if you drop something; this is a library for books, not contact-sensitive plastic explosives," Kenji retorts matter-of-factly. I'm about to ask just how he could possibly see clearly enough to tell the difference, but I bite my tongue. My heart seems fine. No need to make a scene. Besides, something else has caught my attention.

"Kenji?" I ask.

"Yeah man, what's going on?"

"Uh, your shirt's on inside-out," I observe. I'm impressed how he was able to get it buttoned without noticing. Or how he was able to somehow turn his collar inside-out as well and tie his tie.

"Really? Damn, I thought something was up when I was getting dressed... this morning." Before I can contemplate what his slight pause means, he grabs me by the shoulder and pulls me aside. "Dude, I haven't seen or heard from you in a few days. How's the mission going?"

The mission? What mission? Another one of Kenji's wild machinations? "Uh... good, I suppose," I reply, bewildered.

"Excellent. Making progress with that deaf chick and the one with pink hair? They're key to the whole feminist operation here, dude."

Am I supposed to be infiltrating the student council? "Uh, yeah. I... I'm causing some friction between the two of them," I say. It's the only thing I can think to say, and it makes me wince to think it might not be too far off from the truth.

"Tearing them apart from the inside? Classic Machiavellian techniques, man." Something tells me he doesn't exactly know what he's talking about. "Good work, Hisao. Keep fighting the good fight," he says, his face uncomfortably close to mine. His breath smells like the usual garlic, along with a hint of... cherries? The smell only adds to my bewilderment.

"Ok... then," I stammer.

"Cool. I've gotta run. Libraries are for suckers. Later, man," Kenji says, turning tail and almost colliding with a stack of books as he storms around the corner and, I assume, out the front door. Libraries are for suckers? Then why the hell was he here in the first place?

I shake my head. Too many strange things have been happening. I slouch down in a nearby beanbag, book still in hand. Maybe Kenji's an android. I wonder if he dreams of electric sheep?

A few hours pass, but I don't really notice. It's been too long since I've been able to escape into a book, and this one's definitely a page-turner. I've always found science fiction to be especially engrossing, and the world presented to me in the pages resting on my lap is no exception. It's so different, and yet so similar. Like looking into a twisted mirror. I'm so transfixed, I don't notice the figure approaching from my left.

"Um, Hisao?" Yuuko asks quietly.

I jump slightly, snapping my neck up from my book. "Yuuko, sorry. I guess I lost track of time. Are you closing?"

Yuuko nods quickly. "In a few minutes. I mean, I still have to stay and clean up, but the library itself is closing. I can check your book out for you if you want, though."

"That sounds great," I reply. I really want to know what happens after Deckard gets to Seattle.

Yuuko checks my book out for me; I accidentally knock over a small tube of chapstick on the desk as I pick it up. Yuuko reaches for it quickly before it falls to the floor, taking the opportunity to apply some to her lips. It smells strongly of cherries.

I pause. Didn't I just recently smell cherries somewhere? I think for a moment, but I can't remember where for the life of me. Oh, well, it's probably just my imagination.

I return to my room, taking my evening regimen of pills. I'm not particularly tired, although I guess I didn't really do much today, did I? I can just read until I fall asleep.

__________

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Last edited by forgetmenot on Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:41 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 2/28]

Post by CaptainFalcon » Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:26 am

Aha! I see what you did there towards the end with the chapstick, very well played. I am loving this story so far, keep up the great work!

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/1]

Post by forgetmenot » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:14 pm

Scene 9: Lost in Thought

"Hisao, I have something to show you," Kagami says, teeth bared. She floats to my left, pulling the skin from her arm to reveal the mechanical inner workings of her body. For some reason, this doesn't surprise me.

"Kagami, why didn't you just tell me?" I ask. "I would have understood." Kagami shakes her head.

"No, Hisao, you wouldn't have. Do you want to know why?" I nod my head feverishly. I do want to know why. Kagami approaches, and with her blade-like metallic fingers, she slashes at my arm, sending a deep gash down the center. I jump back and wince, but the pain never comes. As I look down at my wounded arm, I notice that there's no blood flowing from the cut - just a black, thick substance. I peer through it, and a metallic glint catches my eye.

I look at Kagami, who merely nods as she backs away. I open my mouth to speak.

"Ring ring. Ring ring," is all that comes out of my mouth. I shake my head. Why can't I speak? "Ring ring. Ring ring." Dammit, where'd she go? I'm alone in a sea of white now. I call for Kagami, louder this time. "RING RING! RING RING!"

I sit up in bed and open my eyes.

It was just a dream. Right? I check my arm. No gash, but it is numb. I remember the doctor saying something about how a numb arm could be an early sign of a heart attack. Which side of the body was it? Left, or right? I shake my arm, and the feeling slowly comes back. Ok, so I'm not dying. I feel something hard underneath my shoulder- oh; it's the book I was reading last night. I must have fallen asleep while reading. I suppose that explains why my desk lamp is still on.

Ring ring, ring ring.

What the hell? I look over to my desk right as my phone, vibrating and ringing, falls off the edge and into the garbage bin.

Ring ring, ring ring.

So that's what that sound was. I reach into the garbage to retrieve my phone, and check the caller ID. Unknown? Who the hell would be calling me at - 7:00? What? Classes don't start for another... oh. I know who it is.

I open my phone begrudgingly. "Hello, Emi."

"Morning, sleepyhead! Get up, we've got running to do today!" Emi's overly cheerful voice assaults my eardrums as it comes through the earpiece. Why me?

"Emi, do I have to?" I ask, not feeling up to making a better excuse. Or any excuse.

"Yup, you have to. You already got yesterday and Monday off, so you don't have any excuse. Don't make me come all the way up there to kick your butt out of bed, because I will," she says. I'm not sure if she's serious or not.

"Ok, ok. I'll see you in a minute," I say. I suppose I could just lie back down, but on the off chance Emi meant what she said, I don't want to be literally caught napping. So I drag myself out of bed, throw on my old soccer clothes, and once again trudge down to the track, where I find Emi already doing laps. She spots me as she rounds the last turn, and waves.

"Hisao, hi!" she yells. I wave back. Emi jogs off the track to meet me, which I'm none too excited about. I don't want to be here.

Emi, sensing my reticence, frowns. "Oh, come on Hisao, don't look so glum. It's a nice day out," she says cheerfully. How is she always so upbeat? I shake my head in an attempt to wake up.

"We'll start slow today. Just a mile; that's four laps around the track," Emi says. I shrug my shoulders.

"Sounds fine, I guess," I reply. Four laps isn't so bad, right?

Wrong. Even after stretching and waking up a little more, I'm completely dead by lap three. Emi, who has been keeping pace with me, turns around and runs backwards in front of me. "Come on, Hisao, you can do it! Just one more lap." Easy for you to say, Emi. There's no way this girl is human. Maybe she's the android, not Kenji.

"S-sure..." I reply, unsteadily. I really don't want to waste breath talking. "I'll... be... fine..." My breathing's too heavy. I need to slow down. I need to stop. I need to... force myself to think about something else other than the tiredness coursing through my legs and chest.

My thoughts come to rest on Kagami. In particular, the conversation I had with Misha on Monday. I can't make it all make sense. Kagami's disability should have prevented her from enrolling in Yamaku in the first place. However, it's not like she hasn't shown that she's able to work around it. In fact, she seems pretty capable. If I were in her situation, I doubt I'd be able to finish one year of school, let alone three. Maybe she was able to convince the admissions board? If there even is one? How does one gain acceptance to Yamaku, exactly? My parents handled my application for me while I was in the hospital; I don't actually know anything about getting accepted to this school.

And then there's Shizune. Why did she react so strongly to my mention of Kagami? I understand her wanting others to perform at their absolute best, and her disdain with others having exceptions made for them, but, like Misha noticed, it actually seems a bit irrational for her to react that bitterly. Overbearing as she might be, Shizune is the last person I'd expect to have such a violent, knee-jerk reaction without a good reason. Maybe there is something more to the issue. Misha certainly seems to think so. She mentioned rumors about Kagami's family... about her ex-boyfriend- maybe that has something to do with it? I feel like I'm grasping at thin air.

I'm torn. I want to ask Kagami about this, but there doesn't seem to be any way to bring it up without admitting I've been talking behind her back. A wave of guilt sloshes against the sides of my stomach. Since we haven't talked after we kissed during the festival on Sunday, it feels wrong to be learning so much about her from other sources.

I'm deep in thought when Emi breaks my concentration. "Woah, Hisao, feeling like overachieving today?"

I pause my train of thought. I haven't really noticed that I've been running for the last few minutes. The thought sends a fresh shot of exhaustion through my lungs and heart, and I suddenly realize that I might be overexerting myself. I slow down to a walk before stopping completely, placing my hands on my knees and breathing deeply. I have to get my heartbeat back to normal- it's way too fast right now.

Breathe, Hisao. Breathe. You're not gonna let your heart repeat what happened last time you pushed yourself.

Emi stops. "You ok? I didn't expect you to keep going after your fourth lap, but you seemed like you were in the zone."

Damn, did I really do more than four laps? Judging by my position on the track, I was actually pretty close to completing my fifth. "I'm... fine. Just h-have to... cool down," I say, struggling for breath. Was I really so lost in thought that I failed to notice my heart racing out of control?

Emi shrugs. "Well, at least start walking again. It's not good to come to a full stop right away. Put your hands behind your head, it'll stretch out your chest and help you breathe easier."

I oblige, and immediately see what she means. Even walking slowly, I'm getting full breaths again. Also, my heart seems to be settling back down. Which allows me to spare a new thought for the fire spreading from my ankles into my calves. Ouch.

Emi smiles. "You look better. I'm gonna keep going, ok?" I nod, and Emi turns on a heel- er, blade, and resumes her lap.

As I walk, I recover my train of thought from before. I definitely need to talk to Kagami today, if for nothing else than to talk about what happened during the fireworks.

I doubt I'll have time to find room 3-4 before classes start, even if I ask Emi where it is. I suppose I could try to locate it right before lunch, but I'd probably end up missing Kagami anyway, and I don't know where she eats. Although I'm fairly certain it's not the cafeteria. I'd just text her and ask, but we didn't exchange numbers after the festival, which was definitely an oversight by both of us. Maybe later she'll be practicing in the same room she was when I first met her- that's as good of a place to start as any. I hope I can stumble upon it again.

Emi finishes her laps after I grab a small paper cup from the water cooler and sit down on the bleachers. She jogs over and rests herself beside me.

"Feeling better?" she asks. I nod silently, sipping from my cup. The fire in my legs has subsided somewhat, and my heart's completely back to normal. Mission accomplished, Hisao. You didn't die today.

"Good. Maybe tomorrow you'll actually set an alarm and I won't have to call you to get you out of bed."

That reminds me of something I was going to ask earlier. "Speaking of which, how exactly did you get my number?" I ask.

"A magician never reveals her secrets," Emi says coyly, before breaking into one of her trademark grins. "Nurse gave it to me, in case you needed some extra motivation in the mornings," she says.

Nurse. Of course he did. Part of me wants to give him an earful, but part of me is embarrassed at how right he ended up being. I shrug, taking another drink.

"So, how did your date go on Sunday? I didn't see you at the festival," Emi says, changing the subject.

"It went well, I think," I reply. I'm not sure whether kissing-and-telling is the best decision considering who I'm with. Emi tends to have a loose seal around... wherever she keeps her secrets.

"You think?" Emi says incredulously. "That's not very positive, Hisao." I shrug. Even I'm not sure what to think about the kiss Kagami and I shared that night. I doubt Emi would be much help on that front without telling her the whole story, and that's something I definitely shouldn't do. Not without talking to Kagami first.

Emi turns away, noting my silence and leaning back on the bench. "Whatever, loverboy," she says, a note of sarcasm in her voice.

The conversation, much like the water in my cup, has apparently dried up. I walk back to the cooler to refill it, and sit back down in silence.

"You're kind of a brick wall, you know," Emi says after a considerable lull.

I sit up in surprise. "What do you mean?"

"You've always got this stern look on your face, like you're... I don't know, trapped in your own head or something." Emi sits up, facing me while straddling the bench and leaning forward.

I briefly ponder opening up. Eh, I doubt Emi'd be too interested in my problems anyhow.

"I'm just tired," I lie.

Emi frowns. She's too perceptive- her face is a dead giveaway. She knows I'm lying to her. But rather than chastising me, she merely swings her prosthesis over the bench and faces forward again, sighing. She places her head in her hands, elbows rested upon her knees.

"If you say so. But one of these days you're gonna have to let off some of that pressure that's in your head. Everyone needs to do it, one way or another," she says, eyes closed. "For me, it's running. When I run, I can clear whatever thoughts or worries I have. It helps me unwind."

Emi pauses and takes a breath before she turns her head to face me. "Just relax a little, ok?" she asks, her frown creeping over to one side of her mouth and turning into a small smile on the other.

"Thanks, Emi, I'll try," I respond. I'm not really sure what else to say.

We sit in silence for a minute or two as I finish my water. I check my phone for the time. Class'll be starting in about half an hour, and I still need to shower and take my pills. I rise from my seat on the bench, and Emi follows my lead. "Ready to head back?" she asks.

"Yeah, I've still got to shower and everything," I say nonchalantly.

Emi and I separate at the auxiliary building. "You're not coming in? Nurse'll probably want to check you out," she says.

"Nah, I don't have time. Missing one checkup won't kill me," I reply. At least, I hope it won't kill me.

Emi gives a noncommittal shrug. "Suit yourself. See you tomorrow?" she says, her tone implying her question is more of a command than anything else. I nod begrudgingly. Emi smiles, satisfied with my response. She waves as she enters the auxiliary building.

I check my phone again. Twenty minutes. I need to get a move on if I'm going to make it to class on time. Even if it is the last thing on my mind right now.

__________

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Last edited by forgetmenot on Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:16 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/1]

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:45 am

Which leads me to my next hurdle: how to find her.
Asking Emi where they have classes would be a good start. :-)
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/1]

Post by forgetmenot » Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:51 am

Which leads me to my next hurdle: how to find her.
Asking Emi where they have classes would be a good start.
Shut it, you, with your logic.

Official story is that Hisao is too wrapped up in his own head to think of asking Emi. Much like me.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/1]

Post by Andere » Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:59 am

That last conversation felt very out-of-character for Emi.

Emi's character arc in the VN is about her belief that ultimately, when push comes to shove, you can only ever rely on yourself. You can lean on others, but that just means you fall over when they leave. If she views relying on others as an inherent trap, then she's not going to advocate that they lean on her. In all likelyhood, she'd do the opposite -- she'd push people to be more independent, because she doesn't believe she can take care of people any more than they can take care of her. She helps Rin, but she doesn't involve herself in her problems; Rin's route is proof enough of that. (Notably, Rin does involve herself in Emi's problems in Emi's route, if in a minor way -- remember the rooftop scene if you don't need the saving throw to reach the good ending.) Neither does she really pressure Hisao to open up in her route. She does pressure him to run, but note that she's blunt about her self-interest in the matter. She wants a running partner, and Hisao will benefit, so hey, bonus! And if he's not interested and doesn't have an accident, then she lets it go and never asks again. (You can argue that that's a matter of getting her out of the way of the plot of other routes, but Watsonian versus Doylist.)

She's a nice person to be around, and she's not actively rude or an Objectivist or anything, but that's not the same as being a caretaker. I can't see her asking after his secrets and his problems at the start of KS, not without long acquaintance and/or profuse bleeding.

Aside from that, I enjoy what I've read so far.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/1]

Post by forgetmenot » Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:10 am

Neither does she really pressure Hisao to open up in her route. She does pressure him to run, but note that she's blunt about her self-interest in the matter. She wants a running partner, and Hisao will benefit, so hey, bonus!
I suppose this is where I think Emi's coming from. Possible spoiler alert? There are definitely ulterior motives at work here. Maybe that seems too out of character for Emi? I dunno. I always wondered how she'd deal with (mild) jealousy.

Part of the theme for this route is Hisao being too wrapped up in his own thoughts to see what's right in front of him. I suppose this is one of those things. Good call, though.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/1]

Post by Andere » Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:50 am

Regardless of her motivation, she'd probably consider offering assistance like that to be a really, really mean thing to do, in the same way you wouldn't walk up to an orphan and say, "Hey, want me to resurrect your dead parents?" (But less so, obviously -- I'm going to extremes to illustrate the point.) In both cases, you're offering to do something that the other person really wants, knowing that the other person is going to be terribly hurt when you fail them. And you're going to fail them eventually, because you offered them something you knew was impossible. She doesn't begrudge Hisao for trying to help in her route, because his actions are motivated by ignorance. It's still incredibly rude of him, but he has good intentions. So she's understanding about it.

(She's wrong about all of the above, of course. But I'm writing this from the position of what she believes, not what is true. Tricky distinction to make sometimes.)

I can't see Emi doing something (that she would view as) calculatingly cruel, not in cold blood like that. Not for that kind of relatively petty motivation. This belief is too central to her character.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/1]

Post by forgetmenot » Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:32 pm

Fair enough. Edited. Hopefully the interaction seems a little more in character for Emi, while Hisao still ends up at the same spot.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/3]

Post by forgetmenot » Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:04 am

Scene 10: Waiting

The day passes without much happening. Shizune and Misha barely talk during our group assignment. It appears whatever tiff they had Monday hasn't resolved. I try my best to stay quiet and get my work done without anything happening. Lunch happens, then afternoon classes. It's all a blur, honestly. I wonder if absentmindedness is a side effect of one of my medications? Is that even a legitimate side effect? Or maybe it's something else causing the listlessness in my head. Three days ago, everything felt right in the world for the first time in a long time. Now, things are just back to how they were.

That's what I think to myself as I traverse the halls of the main building after hours, trying to find my way back to the auxiliary wing where I happened upon Kagami the first time. Ok, there's the front entrance. Which means I'd have to take a right... here. Or was it left? Both halls look the same. I suppose I have to explore them both.

Searching the first hallway ends up fruitless. It must have been the other one.

Just as I reach the halfway mark of the other hall, I hear it: a familiar sad, soft melody floats down the corridor to greet me. She's here. Immediately my heart starts to race, which might be fine for other boys meeting the girl they kissed for the first time three days ago, but not for me. I slow my pace in an attempt to gain control of the erratic beating inside my chest.

I'm at the door now. I decide to wait until she reaches the end of a passage to enter, that'll probably be a little more respectful than last time. After half a minute or so, I hear the music coming from within stop momentarily. I open the door and step into the room.

Kagami hears the door opening and whirls around, silently, violin and bow in one hand, pencil clutched in the other. A tentative-looking smile spreads over her face as I enter. "Hisao?" she asks, still not entirely sure that it's me.

I nod in affirmation. "Hey, Kagami. I thought I might find you here," I say. I have to admit, even though her condition prevents it, it smarts a little when she doesn't fully recognize me.

She glances at her feet, embarrassed. "Sorry, I'm still learning your face from the picture I took at the carnival. I have a harder time with faces than most things," she admits, twisting her foot nervously.

"It's fine. I just came by to say hi. I thought we could hang out a little, if that's ok," I say, changing the subject. That seems to lighten her mood considerably.

"That sounds great," she says, placing her violin back into its case. "Are you hungry? I haven't eaten yet, and I brought way too much food for one person, which I'd end up eating all of anyway, and then hating myself for it after," she says, her invitation getting lost in the verbalized mess of thoughts. She seems uneasy... nervous even? Maybe she's trying to figure out what our kiss meant as well. The thought of her being just as lost as me is somewhat comforting, and it allows me to relax a little bit.

"I haven't eaten either. That sounds great," I reply. Her mention of food has reminded me how hungry I am.

Kagami smiles earnestly. "Cool," she starts, pulling a small paper bag from off of the floor and placing it onto the table in front of her. She gestures for me to sit down next to her. As I sit, she begins unpacking the bag. "I have some miso soup, which is definitely not still hot, a boatload of rice, plus grilled fish and veggies," she says, placing the last of the items on the table. She did bring quite a bit of food- it looks as if she was planning on eating with someone else. Did she expect me? Or hope I would come? Or someone else?

Trying to figure out her intentions is making my brain hurt. I can't do it on an empty stomach.

Kagami places a singular plate between us. "Hope you don't mind sharing a plate; I didn't bring extras," she says. Maybe she wasn't expecting company after all.

I begin to eat as soon as Kagami finishes filling the plate with food. We eat silently for a few minutes, satiating our immediate hunger. Then, as I'm about to say something, Kagami speaks up first.

"So, Sunday... we... uh," she says, blushing.

"Yeah, we did," I reply. Stay positive. "Look, Kagami, I know we had been drinking, and I know it was... emotional. But I don't regret kissing you. I'm glad it happened. I... I like you. A lot," I say, returning her blush, probably in an even darker hue. Great confession, Hisao. Eating leftovers in an abandoned classroom in the evening, just blurting it out between bites. Smooth. What did Emi call me? The "Master of Romance?" Yeah, that's a befitting title. I could almost groan audibly.

Thankfully, Kagami doesn't pause for long. "H-Hisao, I..." She pauses. Uh-oh. This doesn't sound good.

Kagami sees the concern spread across my face. "Oh, no, it's nothing like that. I like you too, a lot," she blurts. I exhale forcefully, and Kagami giggles nervously. "Hisao, I really do like you. You're a lot of fun to be around, and you make me smile. I... I'm just not sure that I'm ready for anything more than friendship right now."

I can see the wounds of her old relationship surfacing in her eyes. I mean, it hasn't been that long since it ended, but to Kagami, that might seem like an even shorter amount of time. I'm not really sure how her perception of time works. I want to ask her, but I'm afraid of where that might lead our conversation.

Gaah. I hate this so much. Everything's so awkward between us now.

"Hisao?" I hear, Kagami's voice barely registering on the edge of my consciousness. I must have stopped eating.

"Yeah?" I ask, hesitant to hear whatever she might have to say next.

"Look, Sunday was really important to me. More important than you know. I haven't done anything like that in... well, in a long time," she says.

"Like what?" I reply. "Like, a date?"

"Not just that," Kagami says quickly. "Anything with a friend."

She pauses, and pushes her glasses up her nose, exhaling as she opens her eyes. I'm swimming in a beautiful, sparkling grey sea as she stares deep into my eyes. My stomach twists up with longing. I want to kiss her again.

"Hisao, I've mostly kept to myself for the better part of a year. It's been more of a personal choice than anything," she says. As she speaks, something clicks in my mind. Something she said last week when we were at the Shanghai.

"Wait, didn't you say that you and your boyfriend didn't break up until just before graduation this year?" I ask, confused with the timeline presented to me.

Kagami balks visibly. "Did I say that? Shit," she curses. She scratches her head and sighs. "Ok, I wasn't sure how to tell you this, but I guess now's as good of a time as any. That didn't happen this year... it was last year, actually. I-I'm two years older than everyone here, Hisao. I started late in the first place, when I was seventeen. And last year... well, I-," she pauses, looking for recognition in my face, hoping she won't have to say it. But she closes her eyes and opens her mouth again. "Long story short, I'm repeating third year. This is my fourth year here at Yamaku."

I try to feign surprise, but I don't try hard enough. Kagami looks at me quizzically. "Did I already tell you this on Sunday? I must have just forgotten to write it down..." I should stop her. She's been this brave being honest with me; I can be honest with her.

"No, you didn't," I reply, interrupting. "But I've heard things in passing from a few other people. I've been meaning to ask you, but I didn't know how to bring it up."

"Oh," Kagami says, her expression becoming more downtrodden. "I suppose that's fair." She pauses for a second, her frown becoming even more prominent. "Hisao... I... I want to be a good friend to you. When my boyfriend left me, I had already stopped talking to most of my other friends. It's... easy to be forgotten when you're so forgetful. Everyone just sort of... moved on with their lives and left me behind. I stopped getting invited places, stopped getting asked to do things. It... well, honestly it made me angry. At least at first."

She takes a sip from a plastic bottle sitting next to her, and continues. "But after a while, I realized... well, I guess it doesn't really matter what I realized at that point. Basically, I tore a lot of pictures up last year, and I made myself a promise that I wouldn't let that happen again."

I want to ask her what she was going to say, but she keeps talking before I can get a chance to ask. "Hisao, I've been... well, I've been really lonely. Trying to stay away from people, trying to bury myself in my music... it was stupid. I thought I could just forget it all, but I couldn't forget how it felt to... well, to not be alone. I started hating the hermit I made myself into. Even not being able to really remember day-to-day stuff, the loneliness still creeps up on you. And when I met you, you were nice and you were easy to talk to, and you... well, you saw the real me, not my disability. And I thought to myself, 'Kagami, here's your last chance for a fresh start. Here's your last opportunity to make a friend in this place.' I guess I just don't want to mess that up by jumping into a relationship too soon."

I'm not sure what to say. Kagami's just bared her soul to me, and I can't think of anything to say except what escapes from my mouth: "So, that's it then, I guess."

Argh, Hisao. That was definitely not the correct way to respond in this situation. Stupidstupidstupid.

Luckily, Kagami begins to smile. "Not... not necessarily. I'm not saying I wouldn't be open to the idea... Hisao, we just met last week. Let's just eat dinner. And then we'll go from there, ok?"

I manage to smile, just a bit. Coming in here, I'm not even sure what I wanted, but for now, I think being Kagami's friend is enough for me. And, more importantly, I think that's what she needs right now. And if there's an opportunity for another kiss in there somewhere...? I don't think I'd be caught complaining.

I'm still curious about her admission to Yamaku in the first place, though. Besides her age, she hasn't really revealed anything new to me just now. I suppose it's more satisfying, hearing it from her. It's not much, though.

Her age. Well, that explains how she obtained the alcohol we shared during the festival- she can legally drink. Having it on school grounds is still probably not the best idea, though.

Her age also explains how mature she's been about the whole situation. It's something I don't think I'd have been able to do in her shoes. Hearing her honest feelings about me, even if it smarts a little, is better than idle chit-chat for a few weeks in a hospital room, and then... nothing. I don't really want to, but I find myself thinking about Iwanako. If I had just been honest about how I felt, or if she had...

I shake my head. It wouldn't have mattered, anyway. I was coming to Yamaku the moment my heart seized up that winter afternoon. Anything that happened with Iwanako would have been irrelevant. Sort of like Kagami feels about her friends, I guess.

"Hisao?" Kagami's voice shakes me from my thoughts. "You look worried. Everything ok?"

"Everything's fine," I reply.

I guess I believe it, even though that's the second time today someone's mentioned that I seem worried. Yeah, everything's fine- if by "fine" I mean teetering precariously on uneven, shaky ground. Upright for now. But later? That remains to be seen.

I guess I'll just keep my mouth shut and let things run their course. I'm probably overreacting anyway. Kagami seems relaxed enough. So why can't I feel comfortable?

It's probably because, like Emi said, I am a brick wall. Just sitting here, silent, while my companion shares her thoughts and opinions. Caught up in my own head.

I'm not really sure how to fix it, though. Every time I start to talk about how I feel, I stop for some incomprehensible reason.

We finish the rest of the meal in silence. I find my thoughts wander significantly less if I'm focused on eating. As I finish a small pile of rice on my side of the plate, Kagami leans back into her chair, sighing. I cock my head slightly. "Finished?" I ask inanely.

She nods. "Mmm. I think I'm done with practicing, too. Wasn't really into it before you came by, anyhow," she says. She glances out the window lazily, and my gaze follows hers. The sun must be low in the sky, I think to myself. And orange haze filters through the windows, illuminating the dust particles in the air. They dance slothfully around Kagami's face and hair, which is glowing brilliantly in the indirect sunlight.

She doesn't break her stare out the window, but she addresses me like she did when we embraced on the hillside by the track.

"Hisao?"

"Yeah?"

"Do you ever feel like you're just waiting for something to go wrong? For the other shoe to drop?"

I think back to the hospital. To the endless string of doctors, nurses, and surgeries. To my parents' faces as they realized the severity of my condition. To my first day at Yamaku, feeling lost and out of place. To my heart flutter out on the track with Emi. And I can't help but reply honestly.

"If you'd have asked me that six months ago, I would have said no. But now?"

I pause, distracted by the reflection of the sun in Kagami's glasses.

"All the time."

She turns, breaking her thousand-yard stare with the outside world and resting her gaze on me. Her eyes are piercing grey arrows now, aimed directly at mine. She smiles. A genuine smile, not the halfhearted ones we've been wearing throughout this whole conversation. She's beautiful when she smiles.

She parts her lips to speak, and as she does, she moves her left hand and gently drapes her long, lithe fingers across my hand. She shakes her head softly.

"Don't."

__________

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Last edited by forgetmenot on Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/3]

Post by naxxar » Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:50 am

Yay another update! Glad to see your really working hard with this, it's good so far and has real potential!
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