Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 7/6]

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Crimson
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 2/18]

Post by Crimson » Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:28 pm

Fantastic update. I think you did a great job on describing the concept(s) of illusion and it made for not only a really enjoyable read, but a very interesting one too.
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 2/18]

Post by bhtooefr » Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:33 pm

I was laughing through most of the chapter. Well done.

And shoving will protect Hisao from the terrible secret of Escher.
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 2/18]

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:19 am

“Half a million people from stairs? Really?”
“I dunno. That sounds high, now that I think about it.”
Probably a bit.
This list quotes 1.307 deaths from falloing down stairs in the USA in 2000 with more than 7.000 "unspecified" falls of which a large portion could be stair related.
This one lists 693 and 620 in England and Wales in 2007 and 2011 respectively.
Extrapolating from that 100.000 worldwide should be the right order of magnitude.
A car honks loudly directly behind us, followed by another loud honk from a passing taxi.
Always those American tourists driving through Tokyo... And now they're even working as Taxi drivers... What has Japan come to?
I remember mom yelling at dad not to curse at the taxis while we crossed the street.”
Why would he curse at taxis while crossing the street?
Eventually, we come to a large building with an entranceway marked by large inverted triangles on either side of the walkway.
Nice bit of research there.

...and a nice chapter overall.
I got the impression that Kagami is really slowly regaining her memories. there were a few inidcations in this chapter that she remembers stuff she isn't supposed to...
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 2/18]

Post by NekoDude » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:15 pm

bhtooefr wrote:I was laughing through most of the chapter. Well done.

And shoving will protect Hisao from the terrible secret of Escher.
Good thing Aunt Mei is not Grandma Mei, or she would be protected at the bottom of the stairs, and shoved outside into the snow, only to have more snow pushed onto her. I know this because I had a Grandma Mei. Had. :(

Oh and I promise any Blade Runner references in my own work are completely unrelated to those that appear here, even if I did use an abbreviated version of the very same "the tortoise lies on its back, and you're not helping" line. I couldn't possibly have been influenced by something I had not yet read. I also reference "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", "The Wizard of Oz", "Pulp Fiction", and "Fight Club", just off the top of my head, (and thirty-seven different songs) so at least I got to something first. :)
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 2/18]

Post by forgetmenot » Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:46 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote: Probably a bit.
This list quotes 1.307 deaths from falloing down stairs in the USA in 2000 with more than 7.000 "unspecified" falls of which a large portion could be stair related.
This one lists 693 and 620 in England and Wales in 2007 and 2011 respectively.
Extrapolating from that 100.000 worldwide should be the right order of magnitude.
According to the WHO, it's estimated right around 424,000 people die from falls annually. I figured about 1/3 of these would be stair-related (just a best-guess). So it's about the right order of magnitude, sure. I guess Hisao's reaction kind of mirrors my own; when I looked it up, I was rather surprised at how high the number was.
Always those American tourists driving through Tokyo... And now they're even working as Taxi drivers... What has Japan come to?
Madness, I say. MADNESS!
Why would he curse at taxis while crossing the street?
I suppose I could word that better. Either that or taxi drivers have now developed the habit of chronically running red lights.
Eventually, we come to a large building with an entranceway marked by large inverted triangles on either side of the walkway.
Nice bit of research there.
Ha, I knew if anyone would check up on that, you would.
I got the impression that Kagami is really slowly regaining her memories. there were a few inidcations in this chapter that she remembers stuff she isn't supposed to...
Well, we've already seen how adept she is at piecing together information based on context clues and what's already in her journal. While it's true each day isn't exactly tabula rasa for her, she's smart enough to make it seem like she remembers a lot more than she does. Remember, she's had a lot of practice at it. :roll:
NekoDude wrote:Good thing Aunt Mei is not Grandma Mei, or she would be protected at the bottom of the stairs, and shoved outside into the snow, only to have more snow pushed onto her. I know this because I had a Grandma Mei. Had.
:( Sorry to hear that. She sounds like she was awesome (haha).
NekoDude wrote:Oh and I promise any Blade Runner references in my own work are completely unrelated to those that appear here, even if I did use an abbreviated version of the very same "the tortoise lies on its back, and you're not helping" line.
I noticed that when I was reading your fic, but I didn't say anything because it's not like I have a monopoly on literary references or anything.

Thanks for reading!

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 2/18]

Post by neio » Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:16 pm

Very well-done overall. I've been working on 3D-printing some of Escher's stuff myself. There's at least 3 ways to do the Penrose triangle, and with some trickery I got Hisao's bane (the endless stairs) to come together. Maybe I'll try out the waterfall one if I can figure out a substitute for water.
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 2/18]

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:11 pm

Either that or taxi drivers have now developed the habit of chronically running red lights.
Even taxi drivers would have a hard time running red lights in Tokyo
Ha, I knew if anyone would check up on that, you would.
He, what can I say...
Actally that wasn't supposed to be a fact check. I was just interested in that museum, because it's a place I didn't visit when I was in Tokyo.
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 2/18]

Post by Helbereth » Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:31 pm

As of now, I'm officially caught up on this story, which I haven't been reading since before the Track Meet.
As we approach the small parking lot situated to the side of the auxiliary building, Mr. Ito retrieves a key fob from his pocket and presses a small button.
Back in scene 13, I'm pretty sure 'fob' is supposed to be 'from'.
I'm becoming less prone to its influence as time goes on.
Back in Scene 17, describing the influence Emi's puppy-dog look has on Hisao. It's a minor critique, but I thing 'susceptible' would fit better than 'prone'.
Whoever thought taking paper towels out of bathrooms should be shot. Or be made to walk around in wet underwear once every few days.
Scene 17 again: These two ought to just be one sentence with a comma instead of a period. Also, it's missing at least one word:
"Whoever thought of taking paper towels..."
Or perhaps a few more to add some depth:
"Whoever thought taking paper towels out of bathrooms was a good idea should be shot..."
This is the full version I like better:
"Whoever thought taking paper towels out of bathrooms was a good idea should be shot, or be made to walk around in wet underwear once every few days."

Okay, the extraneous and disturbingly specific edits are over.

Anyway, it's good to see this is still developing, though I've had some trouble distinguishing some of the underlying disability issues with those presented in Adam Sandler's 50 First Dates. That's probably only because that's the only other story I know involving a condition like Kagami's, so don't take it as criticism. Besides, I liked that movie.

It's interesting seeing how the dynamic between Kagami and Hisao seems to shift rather frequently. In some scenes, it's difficult to determine which one is actually leading the discussion, which keeps their interactions fresh. This latest chapter exemplifies that tug-o-war where Kagami seems to have the upper hand as they enter the museum - to the point of launching an unexpected but not unwelcome assault in the elevator - then as the tour moves along, Hisao takes the lead by virtue of his receiving consistent approval from Aunt Mei. Then at the end, they finish in a stalemate of sorts.

The unpredictability makes trying to project the future nigh impossible, so I'm not gonna bother trying, and instead I'll just await the next update. With any luck the next one will come a bit sooner than the near-three-month period that passed between the last two chapters, but I really can't complain about that without sounding hypocritical.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 2/18]

Post by Numb » Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:36 pm

I'm not sure if it's a Britishism or not, but a key fob is a thing. It's the little piece of plastic with the buttons on it that let you unlock your car. I think. I'm British, but I don't know what some of these fancy -isms are :D
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 2/18]

Post by bhtooefr » Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:44 pm

To be specific, this would be what Mr. Ito retrieves:

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("The new Lexus LS", it's 2007 in story, the XF40 Lexus LS came out for model year 2007. And that's an actual 2007 Lexus LS key fob.)
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 2/18]

Post by Helbereth » Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:47 pm

Numb wrote:I'm not sure if it's a Britishism or not, but a key fob is a thing. It's the little piece of plastic with the buttons on it that let you unlock your car. I think. I'm British, but I don't know what some of these fancy -isms are :D
It's usually called a remote out here in the colonies.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 2/18]

Post by forgetmenot » Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:15 pm

Helbereth wrote:Okay, the extraneous and disturbingly specific edits are over.
I live for extraneous and disturbingly specific edits. It's like feasting on the tears of pedants. (I kid, I kid).
Numb wrote:I'm not sure if it's a Britishism or not, but a key fob is a thing. It's the little piece of plastic with the buttons on it that let you unlock your car. I think. I'm British, but I don't know what some of these fancy -isms are :D
Numb's right on this one. "Remote" might just be an east-coast thing, or it may be that before I moved to California I lived in a little bubble of the midwest that used "fob" while I was learning to drive. One of those things, I guess.
Helbereth wrote:Scene 17 again: These two ought to just be one sentence with a comma instead of a period. Also, it's missing at least one word:
"Whoever thought of taking paper towels..."
Or perhaps a few more to add some depth:
"Whoever thought taking paper towels out of bathrooms was a good idea should be shot..."
This is the full version I like better:
"Whoever thought taking paper towels out of bathrooms was a good idea should be shot, or be made to walk around in wet underwear once every few days."
This is one I agree with. Edited accordingly.
Helbereth wrote:Anyway, it's good to see this is still developing, though I've had some trouble distinguishing some of the underlying disability issues with those presented in Adam Sandler's 50 First Dates. That's probably only because that's the only other story I know involving a condition like Kagami's, so don't take it as criticism. Besides, I liked that movie.
I'm sort of with you on that. I try to ride the line between the constraints of Kagami's condition and completely ripping off 50 First Dates, but it gets difficult. It's more of me trying to stay away from Guy Pearce's character in Memento, but since Kagami isn't exactly predispositioned to tattoos or murder I figure the bases on that one are pretty much covered.
Helbereth wrote:It's interesting seeing how the dynamic between Kagami and Hisao seems to shift rather frequently. In some scenes, it's difficult to determine which one is actually leading the discussion, which keeps their interactions fresh. This latest chapter exemplifies that tug-o-war where Kagami seems to have the upper hand as they enter the museum - to the point of launching an unexpected but not unwelcome assault in the elevator - then as the tour moves along, Hisao takes the lead by virtue of his receiving consistent approval from Aunt Mei. Then at the end, they finish in a stalemate of sorts.
Mostly because I hate hate hate idiot-Hisao that seems to turn up in so many fics. Hisao's not a dumb guy, he's a little ill-conditioned to be empathetic, sure, but he's not stupid. I guess this is my take on him, seeing as how we all flavor him for our own express purposes anyhow.
Helbereth wrote:The unpredictability makes trying to project the future nigh impossible, so I'm not gonna bother trying, and instead I'll just await the next update. With any luck the next one will come a bit sooner than the near-three-month period that passed between the last two chapters, but I really can't complain about that without sounding hypocritical.
\shameface

Good news is I seem to have conquered my writer's block. I'm already writing up something special for the one-year (yikes!) anniversary. Hopefully I'll be able to get back to weekly posts, if not bi-weekly.

Thanks for reading, everyone!

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 2/18]

Post by forgetmenot » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:06 pm

Well, tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of this fic (yikes). In celebration/apology for the lack of updates recently, I've drummed up a little oneshot for you guys before I begin work on the next chapter. Enjoy!

Opening Night

Time, I suppose, has always been my mortal enemy.

I suppose it's that way for a lot of people. Some have blood clots in their legs that suddenly but inevitably travel up to their brains and either kill them or turn them into vegetables. Some have more obvious maladies such as degenerative disorders, or cancer. Others are born with physical problems that severely restrict their lifespan. But all of them fight against the clock, whether they know it or not.

Me? I lost my fight against the clock years ago. I'm only guaranteed to remember one day at a time. It's something to do with large amounts of scarring in my brain; the doctors say it prevents me from turning short-term memories into long-term memories while I sleep. So I'm only ever guaranteed to get a twenty-four hour window, less sleep, in which to exist. Every day.

My journal helps me fill in the blanks so I can function somewhat normally, but sometimes I remember more. Most days I can remember everything before the accident pretty clearly. Sometimes I can even remember what my old high school looked like- specifically an old practice room I used to frequent. Less often still, I can remember certain important events that happened in the past: usually emotionally charged, and seldom happy. Those are the good days.

According to the two empty bottles of chardonnay in front of me, today is a bad day.

There's a knock on the door of my dressing room. "Who is it?" I yell, attempting to pull the straps of my dress over my shoulders, as they've somehow slipped off over the course of the afternoon and early evening.

"It's Matsumoto. Twenty minutes until curtain, Ms. Takahashi. Everything all right?"

I study my reflection in the mirror: bloodshot eyes, mussed hair- ah, it was so beautiful after I had it done this afternoon, too. Shit. I'll have to try and fix it the best I can.

Another knock at the door. "Ms. Takahashi?"

"Everything's fine. I'll be backstage in fifteen," I say hurriedly, attempting to re-adjust some of the pins in the small, red beehive that sits atop my head.

"All right," Matsumoto says, accompanied by a long sigh. "Good luck out there. Don't let the opening night jitters get to you too much."

Judging by the empty wine bottles in front of me, it's already too late for that. "Thanks."

I spend the next five minutes almost in a frenzy playing with my hair, until eventually I come to the conclusion that I've fixed as much as I'm going to be able to, and to leave well enough alone. Besides, it's not like anyone past the first two rows is going to see the errant loose hair here and there, right?

Ten minutes. Time to do one last spot check. I look myself up and down in the mirror, but it's hard to recognize the figure in the low-cut black dress as me. My reflection squints to marvel at how much my body has changed from the last time I remember it. It seems like I woke up yesterday lanky and awkward, with sore, budding breasts, and today I woke up tall, graceful, and with a full figure. I suppose I should feel grateful for not having to experience the throes of puberty, but it's just too thin a silver lining to fully appreciate. A magically transforming body is something that seems like it would make a good premise for a romantic comedy, but when it's your own body and the change isn’t reversible in the end, the effect is much more along the lines of cerebral horror than anything else.

I shake whatever darkness looms over my head for the time being. Now is not the place for those kinds of thoughts. Besides, it could be worse. I could be fat.

A few adjustments to make sure the hem of my dress stays off the floor, and I'm ready to make the short walk over to the wings of the stage. As I prepare to leave the room, I pick my violin out of its case and study it momentarily. As I turn it over in my hands, I can see some spots where the varnish is starting to crack. The years and the road have not been good to you, ol' gal. I'll have to take you into the city for repairs next time I go to visit mother.

I briefly glance back at the clock. Five minutes. That's cutting it close enough. I grab my bow and shoulder rest and hurry out the door, assembling my violin and the padded shoulder support on the way backstage. I peer anxiously across the stage, looking for- oh, good. Doesn't look like Matsumoto has gone out to tune the orchestra yet. I still have plenty of time.

"Glad to see you could join us," a voice whispers in my ear, nearly making me jump. I whirl around to see Matsumoto, holding a single white rose in one hand, his violin and bow in the other. "For you," he says, extending the flower towards me.

"Wh-wow, Matsumoto. Thank you," I reply as I gingerly accept the offering. "Although traditionally you don't give the soloist flowers until after they've performed."

Matsumoto smiles at this. "I've never been one for tradition anyhow. Break a leg out there."

"If I do, you're footing the hospital bill," I quip.

Matsumoto turns his back, but delivers a very audible, "Ha, ha," before he makes his way onto the stage and is met with thunderous applause. He walks to center stage and takes one long, deep bow before turning to the orchestra to initiate tuning. As he points to the violins, I, too, join in, even though we'll tune again when I go onstage. I figure it's less hassle to do it here.

A brief gust of wind at my left tells me the conductor, Suzuki, has just breezed past me and onto stage, also to be met with thunderous applause. He's never been much for conversation. At least not that I can remember today.

Wasting no time, Suzuki deftly opens his sheet music, raises his baton, and signals the first beat all within ten or twelve seconds. The orchestra, however, is right there with him, and the concert begins.

Ah, they're playing Shostakovich's Festive Overture. I've always loved this piece. As the violins take over the melody, I can't help but silently tap the fingerboard of my instrument along with them. It's funny how I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but I can remember a passage from an overture I haven't played in years that's chock-full of sixteenth — and faster — notes.

I suppose silver linings do exist to some degree.

The piece ends sooner than I’d like, and I begin to sweat from my palms as the time for me to take the stage edges closer and closer. I close my eyes and tell myself to breathe slowly. You’ve done this a thousand times before. Even if you can’t remember any of them. Just get out there and do what you’ve practiced.

The audience begins clapping before I can even make it halfway onto stage. Despite the ruckus from the house, all I can hear is the clip-clap of these god-awful eight-centimeter heels someone decided that I should wear. It would be strangely ironic if now was the time I actually broke a leg; I’m nearly positive that the more people there are observing you, the greater your chances of rolling an ankle while in heels.

I eventually make it to center stage, ankles intact. Suzuki gives me a bow, which I summarily return. After a brief re-tune of the orchestra, Suzuki raises his baton once more, and the four minute-long orchestral introduction begins.

I’ve never understood why some of these composers like to make the soloist wait around for an ungodly amount of time at the beginning of the piece. Just standing around with my instrument tucked between my arm and side seems too boring. Maybe I should see about setting up a zipline from the balcony and flying in just as the solo starts. I chuckle to myself slightly.

Ugh, they’re not even past the first cadence yet.

Scanning the crowd, I decide, is a good use of my remaining time. For the most part, I can only see a few faces in the first two rows. They look like the average clientele of symphony orchestra concerts these days: rich season ticket-holders, all fifty years and older. Or at least the men do. I’ve already spotted several much younger-looking women clinging to older men in tuxedos.

There is one face that stands out to me, however. Second row, center stage-right. He looks to be about my age, with brown, tousled hair and a strikingly warm smile. His expression stands in opposition to the woman seated next to him. Her short, red hair frames an expression that signals a less-than-subtle disinterest in the whole affair.

Do I know them?

Before I get a chance to think, however, the introduction draws to a close, and I have to bring my concentration back to playing. I raise my instrument to my shoulder and set my fingers and bow in their proper places.

The first note resonates from my instrument with a vengeance. My fingers race up and down the fingerboard, painting arpeggios as the bow half-strikes the string with each phrase.

Paganini, you self-serving bastard. You knew nobody but yourself could play this as you were writing it. In a way, nailing the descending scale of artificial harmonics seems a subtle “fuck you” directed to the past. Now a girl is playing your oh-so-impossible violin concerto, and playing it well. Didn’t think that would ever happen, did you?

I can feel the intense smile spread over my face as my hand leaps up and down the instrument, the relevant muscles having memorized long ago where they need to be in order to place this umpteenth-position trill in exactly the correct spot. Now through this section of fourths, minor third here, fifths now…

Before I know it, I’m halfway into the cadenza. I can feel the orchestra behind me watching the complicated, virtuosic dance I perform without their aid. Some might say I move too much when I play, but right now, I couldn’t give a damn. It’s me and the music. A long slide up and down the A and E strings signals the solo is almost over, and in no time at all I whip my bow from the strings, and the first movement ends.

After I catch my breath, the small lull between movements allows me to scan the audience once again. The boy I saw before is still there, still smiling in my direction- oh god, did we just make eye contact? I quickly turn my gaze toward another section of the audience, even though it’s blacked-out so I can’t see anything.

Surprisingly, I think I might be more nervous from accidental eye contact than from playing one of the hardest violin concertos ever written in front of a large audience for the first time. What the hell is wrong with you, Takahashi? Get it together.

The second movement begins. It’s by far my least favorite of the three; thankfully, it’s also the shortest. It serves as a momentary reprieve for my nearly-cramped hand, however, as it’s certainly less difficult technically than the first. Relax, Kagami. You won’t make it through the third movement with your hand as tight as it is.

However, it seems the second movement is over as soon as it starts, and it’s onto the third. At this point, my mind, fingers, and arm are all on autopilot, doing what they were trained to do for months. I simply get out of the way and let them perform their intricate rondo across the instrument on my shoulder. A bit of rubato here, small decrescendo here… man, that cymbal player is getting a bit excited. I give a brief involuntary glance over my shoulder toward the percussion section, which Suzuki notices. He shoots a stern look their way, which makes me giggle silently and almost makes my hand slip out of position. Thankfully, we haven’t reached the Un poco più presto section yet, otherwise the notes would be coming too quickly for any kind of recovery and I’d be fucked.

Remember to keep your fingers light through this section of triplets, Kagami. Don’t freeze up like you did in rehearsal… there, that wasn’t so hard. And now, the big finish, tutti with the orchestra… and it’s over.

The violin comes away from my shoulder to thunderous applause and an immediate standing ovation from the audience, which utterly shocks me. I guess a 25-year-old girl playing Paganini impresses even the most hardened veterans of the classical music world. I stand, breathing heavily for a few moments before I remember that it’s probably best for me to take a bow or two instead of standing here like a statue.

I bow and leave the stage, come back onstage and bow a second time, walk offstage, only to be summoned back once more by the audience’s incessant applause. I get it, but really? I just play the violin, I’m not curing cancer or solving world hunger or anything. My exasperation must be showing slightly, as Suzuki winks as he shakes my hand. This must be how it feels to be famous, and it’s not something I’d want to have to deal with all the time.

After I leave the stage for the last time, I retreat to my dressing room and busy myself with minutiae such as wiping the extra rosin from the bridge of my violin and putting my hair into its more traditional – and comfortable – braid. About half an hour or so passes before I put on my overcoat, grab my instrument case, and turn out the light before leaving the dressing room.

Outside, Matsumoto is waiting for me. “Hey there. You were amazing,” he says.

“Thanks,” I reply, waiting for an explanation as to why he’s outside my dressing room long after everyone else has left for the evening.

“Um, so, I was wondering…” he says, scratching at his forehead nervously. “D-do you want to go grab a drink? It’s still relatively early, and I thought, maybe…”

“A drink sounds good,” I reply, not wanting him to trip over himself any more than he already is. A drink really does sound good; the buzz from the chardonnay is quickly wearing off. Plus, Matsumoto is relatively cute, I suppose.

We exit the theater and only have to walk a few blocks to arrive at one of the many watering holes in the area. I forget to check the name of the establishment as we walk in, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter. As long as they have whiskey, I’m golden.

After we place our drink orders, Matsumoto leaves to use the restroom. I idly scan the undercrowded room we happen to have found ourselves in. Over in the corner, there’s two old men bickering over what I assume to be a high-stakes game of billiards; the bartender keeps eyeing them nervously, as if he’s afraid two seventy-plus year-old men are going to start a brawl of any consequence. There’s a group of three at one of the tables which consists of two men and a woman. I wonder which one of them is the third wheel.

Then, to my surprise, I spy the younger-looking man and woman from the concert, seated at the opposite end of the bar. They don’t appear to be engaged in conversation; in fact, the woman is paying most of her attention to the beer in front of her… that she’s sipping through a straw for some reason. I mean, you’re technically allowed straws for mixed drinks, but there’s a certain etiquette regarding beer-drinking that just can’t be- oh. Oh.

She’s got no arms.

Immediately my thoughts race to a place I read about in my journal this morning: Yamaku Academy. The school for the disabled that I attended when I was a teenager. I wonder if she’s a classmate, or something? Is that why they were at the concert? To see me?

Panic begins coursing through my body. What if they see me sitting over here? What if they come over and try to talk to me? They’d have to know about my memory – I wonder if they’ll try and introduce themselves afresh, or not at all. Maybe I don’t know them, and I’m just stressing out over nothing.

I suddenly realize that I’ve been staring far too long in their direction, and immediately snap my attention to the double shot of whiskey that has magically appeared in front of me. Matsumoto rounds the corner of the bar and gives a small wave in my direction as we make eye contact. I try and wax nonchalant with a smile and wave back, which catches me a glance from the girl with no arms. I turn my head down and act like I didn’t see her look up from her drink.

Matsumoto pulls up his stool closer to my own, and reaches for his beer. I poke his elbow slowly to get his attention. “Okay, don’t look now, but see that couple at the end of the bar?”

He sips his drink slowly while he sneaks furtive glances in their direction. “Yeah, so?”

“Notice anything odd?”

“Not really…” he says as he takes another long sip from his glass.

I roll my eyes. I guess he isn’t very observant. “Notice how she’s holding her drink.”

“She’s not holding it, she’s just sipping through a- oh. Oh.

“Mhmm.”

Matsumoto turns to me, a questioning look written on his face. “So?” he asks softly.

I’m struck by his bluntness, not because I’m pointing out a disabled woman for no reason, but because I’m not sure how much he knows about me, and that leaves me doubtful as to the best way to continue the conversation. However, I’ve already pointed her out, so ending the conversation now is out of the question, lest I look like an insensitive ass.

“I think… I think we might be old classmates,” I say hesitantly, testing the waters.

“You think? It’s not like she only has a familiar face, or something of that nebulous nature. I’m not sure how many armless girls there are in Japan, but I’m guessing there’s probably a handful at most. Just go and talk to them and find out.”

Fuck. I guess he doesn’t know anything. “Um… it’s more complicated than that.”

“How so?”

“I… I don’t remember their names,” I blurt, noting to myself that it’s technically true.

“That’s totally normal, but this is too good of an opportunity to pass up. Just go and talk to them. I’ll wait right here until you get back.”

I cast a pleading look in Matsumoto’s direction, but it’s clear he’s oblivious to the nuance of the situation. I briefly calculate the odds of running out the door and hailing a cab before he stops me, but I haven’t paid my tab yet and for all I know I could be a regular here.

“This is totally awkward,” I comment, hoping he’ll let me off the hook.

Matsumoto shakes his head. “Nonsense. What’s awkward is you sitting here fretting while she’s clearly looking this way.”

Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck. I turn my head slightly, and the armless girl and I make lengthy eye contact. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. There’s no excuses now; I have to go talk to them.

I quickly down my whiskey and stand from my barstool. Act casual and congenial, Kagami. Don’t give yourself away if you don’t have to. I absentmindedly crack my neck before slowly making my way over to the opposite end of the bar, putting on my best friendly smile as I approach the girl, whose friend seems to have gone missing for a moment.

I take a deep breath. “Hi, there.”

The girl stares back at me, and cocks her head slightly. “Hello.”

“I’m sorry if this is weird, but… do I know you from somewhere?” I ask, hoping she’ll take the lead in the conversation.

She looks me up and down for a moment, then replies, “No, I don’t think you do. It would be very odd if you did.”

I open my mouth to reply, but her obtuse response has left me lacking any coherent combination of words.

She acknowledges the lull in the conversation before continuing. “You played very well tonight. Congratulations.”

“Thank you,” I reply with a small bow. “And thanks for coming to see the concert, as well.”

“You should thank Hisao. It was his idea to come,” she replies before turning to her drink and taking a rather long sip.

“Hisao… is he the guy you’re with?”

She takes her time finishing her sip before replying. “Yep. He is my husband.”

“That’s lovely,” I say amicably. “Well, enjoy the rest of your date. Sorry to have bothered you.”

“You are forgiven.”

I briefly consider addressing her rudeness, but something about her makes me think she’s not quite all together in the head. I decide to cut my losses and retreat back to my end of the bar, where Matsumoto is waiting with another drink.

“How’d it go?” he asks as I pull my barstool up once more.

“Not her, actually,” I say, hoping that’ll kill any more interest he has in the matter.

“Really?” he muses. “Fascinating.”

“I suppose.” I fidget a bit in my seat, deciding that a change of subject is probably necessary at this point. “Say, what happened during the Shostakovich? Did the horns miss a cue or something?”

Matsumoto and I talk about the concert for the next hour or so. Armless girl and her husband occasionally glance over, but neither of them seems keen on coming over and attempting to make further conversation, which I’m perfectly all right with. The less awkward it is, the better.

Eventually, the mystery couple rises from their seats as the man – Hisao, I guess – slaps down a few notes onto the bar and waves to the bartender. He puts the woman’s coat on for her before donning his own and starting to walk towards the exit, which, coincidentally, is right behind Matsumoto and me. As they leave the bar, I turn around and accidentally catch the man’s eye as he holds the door open for his wife. He opens his mouth as if to say something, but apparently decides better of it, opting for a simple nod in my direction as he slips out the door.

~^~

The darkness of my apartment makes its presence very much known as I try to simultaneously suppress a yawn and slowly pour what’s left of a bottle of whiskey into my glass. Doing this one-handed is difficult, but I suppose that’s the price you pay when you can’t be bothered to find clothes and instead wrap yourself up in one of the many blankets lying at the foot of your bed.

I finish the rather generous pour and set the empty bottle back on the counter before making my way over to the couch. The large bay window overlooking the still-glowing city makes the perfect backdrop for me to enjoy this last glass of whiskey undisturbed. I suppose I look a rather disturbed figure, three sheets to the wind but only one with which to dress myself. The wordplay draws a small smile from my lips as I gently sip the liquid from my glass and gaze out into the night.

Suddenly, I hear a small shuffling behind me. I whirl around to see Matsumoto, fully dressed but with mussed hair, standing in the kitchen.

“Leaving?” I ask quietly before taking another sip from my glass.

“Yeah, I have to get home before my wife starts to worry,” he responds casually.

“Oh. All right, then.”

He scratches his head shyly. “Hey, I had a good time tonight.”

I smile in reply. “Me too. Take care, and have a good night.”

He nods, picks his jacket off of the recliner, and turns toward the door. As he opens it, he turns back around. “Oh, by the way. My given name’s Kiyoshi.”

“Oh. All right, then,” I respond, wondering why exactly he’s deciding to tell me this now.

“I only mention it because you called me Hisao… earlier.”

“Earlier? I don’t remember ever calling you…”

“You were kind of… in the heat of the moment, if you know what I mean.”

“Oh! Oh, my god, I’m so sorry. Kiyoshi, of course,” I say, feigning a small smile.

He smiles in return. “It’s fine. Just thought I’d let you know.”

“Thanks for that. Have a good night, Kiyoshi.”

“You too.”

The door shuts, and I’m alone with the night, the city, and my whiskey. I sit down on one of the ottomans opposite the sofa, biting my lip in thought.

There’s something that seems very sad about all of this. I just wish I could remember for the life of me what it is.
Last edited by forgetmenot on Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bhtooefr
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Anniversary Oneshot Added 2/24]

Post by bhtooefr » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:18 pm

Wait, is that actually meant to be a canon epilogue to this route, or is it meant to be off of Rin's route?

Because if it's an epilogue, that's pretty damn sad... :cry:
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route [Anniversary Oneshot Added 2/24]

Post by dewelar » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:40 pm

bhtooefr wrote:Wait, is that actually meant to be a canon epilogue to this route, or is it meant to be off of Rin's route?

Because if it's an epilogue, that's pretty damn sad... :cry:
I'm going to guess "neither", and that it's more of an alternate-future thing. I'm pretty positive it's not the latter, because if it was Kagami wouldn't be calling her one-night stand "Hisao".

But if this is canon, I might just have to quit reading this :|.
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