Kagami Pseudo-Route [Updated 7/6]

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neio
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/19]

Post by neio » Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:36 pm

Leaty wrote:...And five dozen fanfic authors looked over their shoulder, shuffled their feet, then laughed nervously.
It's not something to lose sleep over. Scissorlips' Suzu route is still my favorite work of fanfiction, and it is chock-full of commas in places that wouldn't be acceptable in, say, a master's thesis. Technical grammar is the last step in the editing process—and the least important.
Leaty wrote:I don't know about anybody else, but I learned the phrase "avant-garde" when I was eight years old from collections of Calvin and Hobbes. There's not a musical bone in my body.
After asking 10 associates, I found 4 who could correctly define avant-garde. Two sing, one plays the trombone, and one listens to avant-garde almost exclusively ("it's about the expression, man").
There were a few open-to-interpretation responses ("it's where it beep-bop bazoodles!" "No, that's Bill Cosby"), but I don't think it's a very popular music style or term, at least in Northeastern USA.

For all I know about Japan, though, it could be played 24/7 in Hokkaido.
Recommended fics: A pseudo-pseudo Suzu Route | Sisterhood (Hanako Epilogue) | Can You Open Your Heart? (Rika)

(New) Movie contest: From which 2012 film did I mangle this quote? Prize: Humble Bundle
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forgetmenot
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/21]

Post by forgetmenot » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:30 am

What's this? A real update, with story and plot and A NEW CHARACTER?!? Much thanks to SemisoftCheese for helping me make this chapter not suck.

Scene 13: Chance Meeting

A short while later, I find myself at the entrance to the library. It looks closed. At least, there don't seem to be any lights on inside. However, when I push on the door, it swings open freely. Maybe Yuuko is just trying to save electricity. I enter the partially darkened library with a cautious "Hello?"

No response. Is Yuuko not here?

I make my way through the stacks, searching for another person in the seemingly abandoned room. What did that note say? The back room, I think. Apparently Kenji knows this place better than I do, although I've only been in here two or three times. I don't see why he would, considering 'libraries are for suckers', but... what was that French phrase mom always used? C'est la... something. I forget what it means, it just sounds like she'd say it in this situation. And I thought English was hard.

I arrive at the back of the library, greeted by three doors on the far right side of the room. Hm. Kenji didn't mention there was more than one back room. I suppose I'll just try them all.

The first door is locked, as is the second. The third gives way after a slight over-twisting of the knob. These doors must not get used often. As it swings open, I'm greeted by a figure seated at one of the chairs in the middle of the room, with its back to me.

"You're late."

Surprisingly, the voice does not belong to Kenji, but instead to a female.

"Yuuko?" I ask, mildly surprised that she's here and not in the front of the library.

She whirls around, standing quicker than I thought possible. "H-Hisao? What are you doing here?" she asks frantically.

"Um... I was supposed to meet a... a friend here," I say.

Yuuko twists her hands together nervously. "Strange... I m-mean, the library's closed right now."

"The door was open," I reply.

"Y-yes... I... I-I must have forgotten to lock it. I-I'm back here doing... s-some... cataloguing?" she responds, a nervous expression on her face.

"Something wrong?" I ask. Even for Yuuko, this behavior is strange.

"No, not at all," she replies hurriedly, an exhausted smile creeping into the corners of her mouth. She looks past me out into the library. "I-is no one else with you?"

"Just me," I say. Looks like Kenji's a no-show, or I missed him. I breathe a sigh of relief to myself. Thankfully, it looks like I avoided an anti-feminist puppet show, as... interesting as it may have been.

"W-well, like I said, the library's closed, so..." she trails off. Apparently kicking people out of the library isn't really her cup of tea.

"That's fine. I'll see you later, Yuuko." I turn and begin to exit the room.

"W-wait, H-Hisao," Yuuko says after I take three or four paces.

"Mm?" I ask, turning around.

"W-well, I was expecting... some help today, cataloguing some new arrivals, and such. I-I have a shift at the Shanghai later, and I'm supposed to be here for someone to pick up sheet music I had specially ordered..." she trails off again. "Never mind, it's silly of me to ask."

"I'd be happy to help, if you need it," I answer. I don't really have anything better to do, and this might be a good way to see if Kenji does show up. Due diligence, and all that. Yuuko's presence would probably be able to diffuse any anti-feminist tirades, and at least I'll be able to say I tried to keep our meeting the next time I'm assaulted by my maniacal hallmate.

"Really?" Yuuko asks, breaking into a more earnest smile.

"Sure," I reply.

"Great," Yuuko says, starting towards the door and moving past me into the library. "Thank you, Hisao," she says as she passes me.

I briefly wonder why she was in the back room if the books that need to be catalogued aren't in there. Yuuko seems to be rather scatterbrained, though. It's probably just that. "Lead the way," I say, following her back to the front of the library, where she produces three large cardboard boxes from under the front desk.

Yuuko removes one of the books from the first box and explains how to fill out a catalogue card, demonstrating as she goes. It's fairly simple, even if the Dewey decimal system seems completely arbitrary. She gives a brief explanation of where each genre is located within the library, pointing to a small map laminated to the desktop.

"So it's pretty straightforward... did you get all that? Probably not, I'm terrible at explaining things..." she laments.

"I got it; you explained fine," I reassure her as I remove a book from the open box and fill out its corresponding card.

We go through the first box pretty quickly, even though I mess up the numbering on two of the cards and have to start over. Yuuko insists it's fine as I grab additional cards from the large stack at the center of the desk.

As I walk back to the desk after placing an American history book in the nonfiction section, I hear a loud thump, followed by a pronounced "Dammit!"

Yuuko doesn't normally swear; I wonder what's up?

"What's wrong?" I ask.

"Oh nothing, I just dropped... oh, now look at this. What a mess," she says as she holds up a particularly thick tome by the cover, pointed to several dog-eared pages near the front of the book.

She places the volume on the desk and begins smoothing the pages, but suddenly stops and rests her elbows on the desk, placing her head into her hands and sighing deeply.

"Are you sure nothing's wrong?" I inquire. Yuuko seems easily frustrated, but this feels like something more than just a slightly damaged book.

"I'm sure," she says, before lowering her head and sighing again. "Just relationship troubles, I suppose."

It's odd- I suppose I never thought of teachers or faculty as having personal lives outside of school. Yuuko has a boyfriend? The thought isn't necessarily out of the question, but it is strange to imagine.

She seems distraught, though. "Relationship troubles?" I ask. I suppose if she wants to talk about it, I can listen, however strange a situation it might be. Kagami must be turning me into something of a good listener, what with how much she's revealed to me over the course of the past few days.

"It's really nothing," Yuuko responds. "You're young, and it's really a... well, I don't suppose you've ever really had a relationship, have you?"

Iwanako doesn't really count, I suppose. If that was a relationship, it lasted all of ten seconds. "Not... not really. I mean, there's this girl I like..." I say, thinking of Kagami.

Yuuko looks up at me from her desk, a curious expression on her face. "Really. Does she like you back?"

I pause for a moment. I hadn't expected Yuuko to be so forward. Then again, I'm sure she doesn't realize how pointed her question actually is. I know Kagami likes me as a friend, at least. She hasn't expressly revealed any more than that to me, but still... I can hope she feels the same that I do.

"I... think so," I answer.

Yuuko smiles wearily. "Good. It's rarer than you'd think to find that in this world. Hold on to that, Hisao."

"Is... is it not the same for you?"

Yuuko pauses for a few seconds. "I don't think so. Not anymore, at least." She halfheartedly stands upright and removes a book from the second box. "I think I've known for a while that it needs to end, but..."

I'm surprised that Yuuko is confiding in me. Then again, she doesn't seem like she has much time for friends, or any kind of a social life for that matter, working both here and at the Shanghai. As she begins filling out the card for the book in front of her, she looks completely sullen. It pains me to see anyone like this, but I'm not sure what to do about it. Yuuko is at least... ten years older than me? It's probably inappropriate for us to be talking so candidly about personal matters as it is.

Still, as I begin cataloguing the next book in the box, I can't help but feel... well, feel sorry for her.

Yuuko and I finish the second and third boxes within an hour. We only speak when I have a question about book placement or about filling out the cards. Thankfully, her mood returns to a semi-normal state of mild panic as she buries herself in filing away catalogue cards in a large rolodex under the desk.

As I place the last book on a shelf near the back of the library, Yuuko breaks down the cardboard boxes and stores them in a recycling bin near the front of the room.

"That's it?" I ask as I return to the desk.

Yuuko frowns. "Sort of. The person I ordered this sheet music for hasn't come to pick it up yet," she says, waving a thick envelope lackadaisically through the air.

I wonder who she ordered the music for. Could it be Kagami? "Whose music is it?"

"His name is Y-"

"Yasahiro Ito," I hear a calm, low voice from behind me say. I turn around to behold a tall man, probably in his thirties, with short, styled brown hair. He's smiling warmly at Yuuko through his thick, half-moon glasses, which are perched atop an impossibly straight nose. He's wearing an obviously tailored button-up and blazer, which, combined with a well-fitting pair of jeans, give off a very professional aura while still making him seem approachable. Have I seen him somewhere before?

"I didn't know you'd hired help on the weekends, Yuuko. Things around here really that busy?" Mr. Ito asks, approaching the front desk.

"Oh, no. Nothing like that. This is Hisao- he's a student here. Just helping me with some last-minute cataloguing today." Yuuko responds.

Mr. Ito bows. "Hisao...?" he asks, inquiring my family name.

I bow in return. "Nakai. Pleased to meet you, Mr. Ito."

Satisfied with our introduction, Mr. Ito turns to Yuuko's desk and leans across. "You have it?" he asks.

"Right here," Yuuko says, sliding the large envelope across the desk into Mr. Ito's waiting hands.

"Perfect," he says, raising the envelope in the air to admire it before tucking it under his arm and winking. "Thanks, Yuuko."

Yuuko blushes. "N-nonsense, that's what I'm here for. The library will send the invoice to the symphony office, as usual."

Symphony office? Is it possible that's where I've seen him before?

"Mr. Ito?" I ask. He turns around and waits for my question. "You work for the symphony in the city?"

"I do indeed. Assistant director for the past three years, now. I also direct the youth orchestra and the pops concerts."

So it is the same Mr. Ito that conducts Kagami's orchestra.

Mr. Ito steps toward me. "Are you a musician, Nakai?"

I shake my head. "I tried the piano when I was younger, but I never got the hang of it. I think I know a musician in your orchestra that goes here, though."

"And who might that be?" he asks.

"Kagami Takahashi? She plays violin," I say.

His eyes brighten significantly. "You know Ms. Takahashi?" I nod in confirmation. "Well, it's certainly good to make your acquaintance, then, Nakai." He briefly smiles, and then turns his attention to his recently acquired package.

His smile widens as he pulls the envelope from under his arm and opens it. He removes a glossy dark blue book from its manila container and thumbs through it, a large grin spreading across his face. "This is beautiful, Yuuko. You did an amazing job, as always."

Yuuko blushes again. "I-It's really nothing. Really." Her satisfied smile undermines her modesty somewhat.

"I'm serious." He turns to face me again. "I've been ordering ürtext--that's the original version as the composer wrote it--from the library at Yamaku for the better part of a year now. Yuuko never fails to find the perfect version."

"The school's connections make it easy for me to find otherwise rare versions," Yuuko chimes in. She's really too modest about how good she is at her job, I suppose. However, my thought is interrupted by a loud, "Dammit!" from behind the main desk.

"What's wrong?" I ask.

"I have to be at work in ten minutes. I'll never make it on time," Yuuko laments.

"Nonsense. I'll drive you," says Mr. Ito, placing the book back into the envelope and gesturing grandly towards the door.

Yuuko's eyes brighten. "Really? You'd do that for me? I couldn't possibly impose..."

"You wouldn't be imposing. I need to eat anyhow, and I haven't been to the Shanghai in a long while. It's no trouble at all." He bows courteously and adds a pointed, "I insist."

"Thank you, Yasa. I do appreciate it," Yuuko says, returning his bow. She then turns to me. "Hisao, thanks for all your help today. I have to lock the library now, but it only locks from the outside, so if you want, you can stay and read for a bit and let yourself out..."

"That's fine," I interrupt. "I still have a book back in my room I need to finish anyway," I respond. Besides, I didn't exactly come here to read anyhow.

"Well," Yuuko says, fidgeting, "any time you come back to the Shanghai, coffee's on the house. It's the least I can do," she says, bowing as if she were waitressing.

I smile. "That sounds great."

"Well, why don't we just do that now?" Mr. Ito asks. "Have you eaten yet, Nakai?"

"Oh, no, that's fine, I don't..." I begin, but my stomach betrays me and chooses this specific moment to growl. Loudly.

Mr. Ito shushes me quickly. "Any friend of Yuuko's is a friend of mine, Nakai. Once again, I insist."

Wow. He's very gracious. And forceful. His conductor's job must fit him as well as that blazer he's wearing. "Ok. Thanks, Mr. Ito," I say in reply. I haven't paid much mind to it, but I have grown quite hungry walking back and forth between the stacks and the front desk. It'll save me from another prepackaged dinner alone in my room, anyhow.

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. Instantly, the engine of a sleek-looking dark black sedan roars to life. The unassuming, yet styled exterior of the car is almost contradicted by the powerful-sounding engine.

Mr. Ito catches me gaping. "Like it? It's the new Lexus LS460. That's a 4.6-liter V8 under the hood. Handles like a dream."

I quickly see what he means: the car glides down the hill into town like an experienced skier conquering a mountain. Yuuko seems to be hanging on for dear life in the front seat, but I quite enjoy the ride.

Six and a half minutes later, we arrive in the parking lot across the street from the Shanghai. Yuuko thanks Mr. Ito again and hurriedly dashes inside to change into her uniform. Mr. Ito and I follow her inside, albeit at a more relaxed pace. As we enter, it appears the Shanghai is completely deserted, save for the distant shuffling sounds coming from the kitchen, most likely caused by Yuuko. Mr. Ito and I seat ourselves at a corner booth.

He places the manila envelope on the table, edging out the sheet music within and taking it in his right hand. "So, Nakai, how long have you known Takahashi?"

"Not long. I've only been at Yamaku for about two weeks. I transferred in late."

"Interesting," he says, studying my face. "Third-year?"

I nod in reply. Mr. Ito smiles and taps the book in front of him gently with his left hand. "She's got a bright future ahead of her in music, you know. Have you heard her play?"

"Mm," I respond. "She's fantastic."

"She's more than that." He slides in his seat to better face me. "Nakai, in my thirteen years as a professional musician, I've met a lot of fantastic violinists, none of whom were at Kagami's level at her age, even though most had been studying at university for two years by then." He immediately looks reticent, as if he's just said something he shouldn't have, but I quickly reassure him.

"It's ok, she told me," I say, and he relaxes, exhaling loudly.

"That's a relief," he says. "You two are close, then?"

I pause for a minute. "Close as you can be after only knowing someone for two weeks, I suppose."

"A fair point," he says.

Yuuko approaches our table looking slightly disheveled, and says, "Welcome to the Shanghai." She bows deeply.

Mr. Ito laughs. "Yuuko, cut it out. We're the only ones in here."

Yuuko fidgets for a minute, looking around the teahouse before letting her arms hang by her sides in an exasperated gesture. "I-I suppose you're right. What can I get you?"

"I'll have a tuna sandwich with some coffee, please," Mr. Ito says before turning to me.

"Um, I suppose I'll have the same," I say. Yuuko bows and retreats to the kitchen.

Mr. Ito is the first to break the silence after Yuuko leaves. "So, Nakai, how are you liking Yamaku? Your friend Ms. Takahashi has told me a few things, but I haven't spent much time here myself, other than visiting the library."

"I suppose I like it," I say halfheartedly. "It's... different than my old school." Then again, Yamaku is about as different as you can get when it comes to high schools.

"Understandable. It's a shame there isn't more of a music program there. I find music to be one of the most therapeutic resources on this planet."

I nod understandingly. "Kagami certainly seems to think so. She spends most of her time practicing."

He smiles. "That's not surprising. I'm always impressed at her preparedness for each rehearsal. And she always seems to understand the music more quickly than any of the other students in the orchestra."

"What do you mean?" I ask, curious as to what he's referring to by Kagami's 'understanding' of the music.

"You've heard her play," he says, smiling. "What do you think?"

I pause for a moment. I'm not entirely sure what he's getting at.

"I saw a little of the end of yesterday's rehearsal," I say, still forming the thought in my head. "She... moves a lot. When she plays. Like she's absorbed in the music."

"A keen observation," Mr. Ito responds, apparently satisfied with my analysis. "It's true; Kagami is certainly physical when she plays."

I think back to what Kagami mentioned yesterday about Mr. Ito saying she was too expressive. "Is that a bad thing?"

Mr. Ito looks surprised, as if he didn't expect that particular question. "In some ways, I suppose. Sacrificing control for bodily expressiveness is rarely good."

He pauses the conversation as Yuuko arrives with our coffees. She places them on the table carefully, bows, and returns once again to the kitchen.

Mr. Ito takes a long sip from his cup before placing it upon its saucer and continuing. "In Kagami's case... well, I suppose it's more than that."

"So it is a bad thing," I say, slightly confused.

"Well..." Mr. Ito takes another sip of coffee. "...not always. In truth, I sometimes wish other students had half the passion she does."

"Is that kind of passion rare?" I ask. Mr. Ito talks as if she's the only student in the world passionate about her instrument, but that surely can't be the case. Can it?

"Rarer than you know," he responds, sighing.

"For a lot of music students, physical technique is developed first. Often children are taught to play at an early age, which I'm not saying is a bad idea, but there's an... emotional side to music that simply isn't there for a lot of otherwise very good players. And it's something that can't be taught."

I drink from my cup as Mr. Ito continues. "Then, there are more experienced musicians—ones who play any gig they can find just to make ends meet, and end up burnt out and passionless anyways."

I feel like Mr. Ito may be referring to himself here, but I daren't ask. That's far too personal a question for someone I just met twenty minutes ago.

"But Kagami's not like that," I say, easing the conversation back in a more comfortable direction.

"Like I said, it's rare. She's one of the few musicians I know who has both the necessary passion for music and the skill to back it up. I suppose I admire her in that capacity. It seems to come easier to her than most."

"Is it very hard? To find that emotional side of music?"

Mr. Ito leans back into the booth, smiling. He opens his mouth to speak.

"I had a professor when I was in college that was fond of saying, 'You can't play music properly until you've had your heart broken.'"

Well, I suppose that's not a particularly difficult task to achieve... In my case, it's definitely not difficult. At least in the literal sense.

"...but it is difficult to go through without becoming a little cynical, at the very least. Cynicism is quite possibly the largest killer of passion in the known universe." He says this didactically, as if he were giving a lesson on what makes musicians great as opposed to just average. I can definitely see why he's a conductor, even more so than before.

We drink our coffee silently for a few minutes before our sandwiches come. Mr. Ito thanks Yuuko graciously, which triggers another blushing fit from our waitress. I wonder if he's the boyfriend she was talking about. It seems unlikely, given that their relationship has an air of formality to it, but he is the only other adult I've seen her interact with.

I decide to cease speculation about Yuuko's--and possibly Mr. Ito's--private life. There are more pressing matters at hand. Namely, I want to know more about what Mr. Ito thinks of Kagami.

"What you said before," I begin. "You make it seem like most musicians are cynical, but Kagami's not."

"That's not one hundred percent true; however, at her level... there are more than a few bitter musicians out there, yes. But you are right. Kagami doesn't fall into that category."

"Do..." I say, wondering if it's appropriate to broach the subject of Kagami's memory. I wonder...

I decide to go for it.

"Do you think it's because she can't... remember most things that happen to her?"

Mr. Ito sighs heavily, finishing a small bite of his sandwich before placing it on his plate and folding his hands together.

"I've often wondered the same thing. Truthfully, I don't know all that much about her condition other than what her uncle told me when she first auditioned for the orchestra. However, it's certainly a possibility."

He pauses for a moment as he takes a bite of his sandwich, before reflecting my own question back at me.

"What do you think, Nakai?"

"I... I don't really know. She doesn't seem cynical, at least. I guess if anything she just seems a little lonely sometimes."

My companion leans forward slightly.

"Lonely? Hm. I suppose that would make sense. I've rarely seen her talk with anyone during rehearsal breaks. Does she have many friends at Yamaku?"

I briefly ponder whether or not I should divulge such information to Mr. Ito, but his concern for Kagami seems genuine.

"Not as far as I know, no."

"Interesting," Mr. Ito says as he takes another sip from his coffee cup.

"But not surprising," I say, finishing his thought.

Mr. Ito half-chuckles. "I suppose not, no."

"Why did you ask?" I inquire. I feel like he's on the verge of revealing something important, and curiosity is getting the better of me.

"I suppose I'm just as curious about her as you are, Nakai."

Damn. I'm caught.

Mr. Ito laughs—fully this time—before continuing.

"Truthfully, I can understand most of the students in the orchestra simply enough. Their playing styles, motivation, et cetera. With Kagami, it's exponentially more difficult; and my concertmaster--my lead violinist--is usually the player I like to know the best."

"Is it possible that she just loves music?" I ask. I know the answer to my question, but I'm hoping for more than a simple "no".

"Well she certainly does, there's no doubt in my mind about it. There's more to it than that, though."

"Like what?"

"Well, if what you say is true, then you're her first real friend in a long time. What's more, without any recent memories, and with her family as far away as they are, it's possible music has been... well, to put it metaphorically, music has been her only friend for quite some time. The only thing in her life, I suppose, besides school. What would you do if you were faced with such a situation?"

His question stumps me.

"I don't really know, I guess. It seems..."

It seems oddly familiar, is what it seems. Even though he has no way of knowing, I feel like he's talking about me, in the hospital, with nothing but my books to keep me company. Even when my family and friends visited, I felt isolated. Completely alone. I had no idea what to do about it then, and as a matter of fact I still don't.

"...it seems like it'd be easy to get lost in music, if that's the only thing you have left."

"Very insightful, Nakai."

Mr. Ito and I finish our meal in relative silence and depart from the Shanghai rather unceremoniously. As we walk back across the street to the lot where Mr. Ito's car is parked, we say our goodbyes.

"Thanks for dinner, Mr. Ito," I say, bowing courteously.

"Thank you for coming. I quite enjoyed our conversation. I'd offer you a ride back to the school but I'm afraid I need to leave posthaste for an engagement in the city. You will be all right, walking back to Yamaku from here?" I nod and he smiles. "Be well, then, Nakai," he says, returning my bow before hopping into his already-running car and speedily disappearing around the corner.

As I walk back towards Yamaku, I ruminate on the conversation I just had. Kagami's passion for music can't just extend from it being the only thing she knows, can it?

I think I'm kind of lucky. I still don't know what I would have done about my rather severe case of isolationism if I hadn't met Kagami, and Emi, and even Misha and Shizune. Not everyone can simply fall into a solution to his or her problem like I did. Maybe, for Kagami, a solution just never happened.

Although, she did tell me a few days ago that she purposefully didn't pursue new friendships for the entirety of last school year. Has she really been living inside a prison of her own making for a whole year? That almost seems like it would hurt worse than simply waiting for a solution to your problem. One that never comes.

Whatever the case, it'll make for an... interesting... conversation with Kagami. If it ever comes up.

I make my way back to my room and take my regimen of pills for the evening. I've noticed the large ones seem to go down easier the last few times I've taken them. Maybe this stuff does get less horrible, eventually.

I decide to leave any more thinking for tomorrow. I'll have plenty of time to do that in the morning out on the track.

__________

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Last edited by forgetmenot on Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:04 am, edited 3 times in total.

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neio
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/21]

Post by neio » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:21 pm

Solid chapter :)
Yuuko seemed even more tense than her normal canon appearances (based on the swearing); I suppose that has something to do with Kenji.
Yuuko thanks Mr. Ito again, and hurriedly dashes inside to change into her uniform.
A comma followed by "and" functions similar to a semicolon. You can't use "hurriedly dashes inside to change into her uniform" as a full sentence, so a comma-and is improper here. You have a few options: you can remove the comma, make the second clause independent ("she hurriedly dashes"), or change "and" into a subordinator or adverbial conjunction ("Yuuko thanks Mr. Ito again, then hurriedly dashes...").
I drink from my cup as Mr. Ito continues. "Then, there are more experienced musicians- ones who play any gig they can find just to make ends meet, and end up burnt out and passionless anyways."
Again, the comma-and would be wrong in formal writing, but this is dialogue, so it's okay. I'd drop the preceding comma: "...ones who play any gig they can find just to make ends meet and end up burnt out..."
The bigger problem here is the hyphen; you should use an em dash (Alt+0151, —) without a following space, use a colon, or drop the hyphen and the word "ones" entirely.
Mr. Ito laughs, fully this time, before continuing.
I don't think this is a rule, but I'd prefer any of the following over the above sentence: "Mr. Ito laughs—fully this time—before continuing" or "This time, Mr. Ito laughs fully before continuing."
You will be all right, walking back to Yamaku from here?" I nod, indicating the walk won't be any trouble.
Being descriptive is fine, but that last bit seems unnecessary and almost condescending. Trust your readers. Just "I nod" would suffice.
Recommended fics: A pseudo-pseudo Suzu Route | Sisterhood (Hanako Epilogue) | Can You Open Your Heart? (Rika)

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/21]

Post by ZtotheT » Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:36 pm

Just gotta say this is my favourite OC so far. I really like the idea behind the character. How did you come up with that idea? If you don't mind my asking.

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forgetmenot
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/21]

Post by forgetmenot » Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:47 pm

Just gotta say this is my favourite OC so far. I really like the idea behind the character. How did you come up with that idea? If you don't mind my asking.
Good question. I guess Kagami as a character springs from multiple sources. Her being a musician is pretty much just because I am. It's something I can easily relate to, and I always thought that writing from the perspective of someone who discovers that musical passion in a person would be interesting. Hisao was kind of the perfect opportunity to do that.

She was kind of built outwardly from there... I basically browsed the giant Wikipedia list of physical disabilities, thinking about how each one would affect a musician. I tried to go for something that would stand in opposition to it, at least at first glance. There are a few others at Yamaku with carpal tunnel, but that didn't seem... dare I say it... severe enough. So I decided to be kind of a sadist and give her something a little more debilitating (not downplaying carpal tunnel at all, I have had a few friends develop it and it sucks ass). It might not seem like she's too impaired by it now, but there's definitely a few scenes coming up that... well, I won't spoil anything. :wink:

I suppose her personality wrote itself. She was already coming to life in my head as I figured out her backstory.

Glad you like it!

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/21]

Post by Helbereth » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:16 am

I haven't yet caught up completely, but after reading your act 1, I've come to the conclusion that this is not bad at all. If I didn't wake up with a migraine, I would have continued reading, but I wanted to leave a comment on my impression thus far. There are very few errors in the mechanics (mostly just a few typographical errors--nothing drastic), the OC is actually original (both in description and temperament), and thus far I haven't had good reason to roll my eyes at any of the plot devices.

There's a certain stagnation in the narrative that I find in works written from Hisao's perspective, but that usually only lasts as far as act 1--when it's almost formulaic how he reacts to his new environment. Given that your OC is a musician, spends a good deal of time outside the web of Yamaku, and seems separated from associating with most of the original cast through both her classroom assignment and hobbies, I assume Hisao's voice will become less and less predictable as the story continues.

In any case, I'll come back and add further comments once I get a chance to absorb the rest, but I've liked what I read thus far.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/21]

Post by Wookie » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:05 pm

I'm so sorry. I really am. I'm gonna have to add this to my fanfic favorites list.


:P
My recommended fanfic material:
- A pseudo-pseudo Suzu route/Ascent: An Emilogue/Akira Pseudo-Route/Sisterhood (Hanako Epilogue)/One Wish (Hanako, post neutral)/"Can You Open Your Heart?" - a Rika pseudo-route/Closure/Kagami Pseudo-Route/ Tomorrow's Doom - Aiko Kurai (OC)... Damn it people, stop writing awesome fanfic, i'm running out of room in this sig!

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/27]

Post by forgetmenot » Wed Mar 27, 2013 8:06 pm

Scene 14: Broken Heart Geiger Counter

If a few days have passed, then why does it still feel like Monday?

That's the question I ponder as Mutou silently fills the entire board with equations, with nothing but the squeaking of the chalk to keep the class awake. A job it does rather effectively, however annoying it may be.

This is the third lecture he's given on the weak nuclear force. Or is it the fourth? I can't remember.

I suppose I should be grateful I understand even the pitiful amount of information I do. I take a break from writing and glance over towards Misha and Shizune, who are both simultaneously scribbling furiously and craning their necks to see around Mutou. They seem even more lost than I am.

Mutou whirls around and, as if he hadn't just stopped talking for five minutes, asks, "Now can anyone tell me the byproduct of this particular example of beta decay?"

I study the board. An unstable magnesium atom decays into sodium, which has one less proton... but the mass doesn't change?

I hear a voice emanate from my right.

"I dunno, an electron maybe?"

"Not quite, Miss Miura, but close. I'm looking for two byproducts, here. Anyone else care to take a guess?" Mutou asks, raising the chalk above his head expectantly.

Two byproducts... if the mass doesn't change, that means one of the neutrons becomes a proton, which results in...

"A positron," I say, breaking the silence. Mutou's eyes light up as he points to me with the chalk.

"Yes! And to balance out the charge..." he says, practically falling over as he leans across his desk towards me.

"An electron neutrino?" I say hesitantly. I think I remember Mutou mentioning it sometime in the past few days, but it's probably not-

"Correct, Nakai!" Mutou says, beaming with pride that at least one of his students understands his cryptic lectures. "Remember, class, this is beta-plus decay, not beta-minus."

Mutou turns his back to the class once again and continues scrawling on the board, almost fully bending over to squeeze a few more equations into the blank space at the bottom of the board. This does not seem like standard high-school curriculum. Shouldn't we be learning about... simple machines or something?

I feel a bump at my elbow. It's Misha, passing me a note. I glance up at Mutou, who is still absorbed in his writing, and read the small piece of paper in my hands.

"Way to go Hicchan! You definitely get this stuff better than meeeee." A large frowning face adorns the space next to Misha's pink writing.

"It was a lucky guess," I write back.

Misha visibly stifles a "Wahaha~" and writes her response.

"Ha! Not likely. You always answer teacher's questions correctly. You're his favorite."

"I doubt that."

"It's true, though. Even Shicchan agrees with me." I look up as I finish reading Misha's last message. We make brief eye contact before Misha quickly signs something to Shizune, who simply rolls her eyes and goes back to copying Mutou's equations.

Now it's my turn to stifle a laugh.

"I get your point," I write back.

"Help me study for exams? Maybe later this month?" Misha adds a silent "Please~?" as she clasps her hands together.

I consider Misha's offer. On one hand, exams aren't for another... four weeks, I suppose. She's got plenty of time to study. However, I'm definitely behind in English, and from what I've seen, Misha's not too bad at it. This might be a good way to catch up.

"Sure, if you'll help me study for English."

"Deal! Thanks, Hicchan."

We spend the rest of the class in a daze as Mutou drones on about radioactive decay and quarks. I understand most of what he's talking about, but it's tough to imagine particles smaller than protons and neutrons. How do scientists come up with this stuff?

The lunch bell rings, and most of the class bolts for the door, escaping the esoteric world of subatomic particles for at least another day. As I pack up my things, however, Mutou approaches my desk.

"Nakai? Do you have a minute?"

I look up, surprised. Usually Mutou is out the door with the rest of the class pretty quickly.

"Um, sure, I suppose," I say, unsure of whether or not I'm in trouble.

"Good. I was wondering... how do you think you're doing in this class?"

I give a slight pause. Honestly, I wasn't too sure about my performance up until today, but Misha seems even more lost than I am, and if that's indicative of the rest of the class...

"I suppose I'm doing ok. I understand most of the concepts, I think."

Mutou smiles. "Good. I'm glad your assessment matches mine."

Phew. So I guess I'm not in trouble after all. Mutou motions to his desk as he sits down behind it, beckoning me to come forward.

"In truth, I'm actually quite impressed with your performance. Even though you came in late, you caught up quickly and consistently score quite well on quizzes and homework assignments. I was wondering what your plans were after you leave Yamaku," he says, folding his hands beneath his chin.

"I've given it some thought. I do want to attend college, I know that," I say.

"Excellent. But you've no idea what you want to study?" Mutou asks.

"I guess not. I haven't really gotten that far yet."

Mutou closes his eyes and smiles. "I expected as much. I imagine things have been quite a whirlwind for you ever since you arrived."

"They have. I think I'm getting into the swing of things now, though," I say.

"Good. Then now is the time to begin thinking about your future after graduation. If you don't have any other ideas, I'd like to ask you to consider a career in some sort of science. You certainly have a knack for it."

"T-thanks. I'll definitely give it some thought."

Mutou frowns slightly. "This is serious, Nakai."

He opens a small drawer in the side of his desk and produces a few college pamphlets from within, spreading them across the desk.

"I like to think that teaching science is only part of my job here at Yamaku. While we certainly do our best to provide a normal high school experience, we also need to prepare our students for life... outside of the school's care. Take these and read them over."

I scoop the small stack of literature from Mutou's desk. "Thank you. I'll do that," I say, slightly wishing for our interaction to come to a close.

Mutou points to the top pamphlet in the stack. "As an alumnus, I can personally speak for the University of Tokyo's undergraduate research program. I'd also be happy to give a personal recommendation; I still have a few colleagues there."

"Wow. I'd definitely appreciate that," I say, slightly shocked. Mutou went to Tokyo U? What's he doing teaching at Yamaku?

"Ok, enough browbeating for one day," Mutou chuckles. "Have a good afternoon, Nakai."

"Thanks, Mutou. You too," I say, simultaneously placing the literature in my bag and making my way towards the door.

As I step into the hall, I realize that I forgot to bring lunch with me yet again. I suppose there's enough time to go back to my room and grab some of the food I bought yesterday in town. However, the cafeteria's closer...

"Hey, stranger."

Although a familiar voice derails my train of thought, the distraction is far from unwelcome, considering who it belongs to.

"Hey, Kagami," I say, smiling at the girl leaning against the wall next to the door of class 3-3.

"I decided to ask your friend Emi which class you were in. I'm glad I caught you. Got any plans for lunch?"

"Nope. Do you?"

"Now I do," she says, smiling, before producing two bentos from her bag.

I look down at the boxes of food and then back at her with a questioning look. She rolls her eyes and smiles brightly.

"Ok, I may or may not have planned this. Give a girl some credit for trying to seem spontaneous."

"Fair enough," I say, laughing. "Where do you want to eat?"

"Auxiliary wing? I can't remember what goes on there during the day, but we should be able to find someplace to eat."

A few minutes later, Kagami and I find a seemingly unused classroom a few doors down the hall from where she usually practices. We unpack the lunches, which consist of rice, steamed vegetables, and tempura shrimp, and begin eating.

"So, how have your past few days been? I haven't seen you since Saturday," I ask.

Kagami covers her mouth, swallowing. It's kind of cute.

"Nothing much to note. Practicing. Trying to pay attention in class."

"How have your classes been going?" I ask.

"They've been kind of frustrating. Most of everything the teacher says feels like it's sitting in storage at the back of my mind, but I can't ever think of stuff readily. I've already been through most of this crap—I did ok on my math quiz the other day, though."

"Mm... 's'good, then," I say through a mouthful of food.

"What about you? You were late coming out of class~," says my companion, playfully pointing one of her chopsticks at my chest.

"Actually, I was talking to Mutou about college applications. He thinks I should try for something science-related."

"Ah, I see. ...Nerd."

"Ouch," I say, rubbing my arm and grimacing sarcastically. Kagami laughs and continues her line of questioning.

"So you think you're gonna do it?"

"I don't really know. It's better than any plans I've come up with so far," I say, trailing off near the end of my sentence.

"Plans? Such as?" Kagami eyes me suspiciously.

"...Nothing yet," I say defeatedly, rolling my eyes.

"Ha. Knew it," remarks Kagami as she takes another bite of her vegetables. "But seriously, you should do it. If you like it. Which, if you're doing well in Mutou's class, you probably do."

I chuckle slightly. "I suppose I like it well enough. Mutou gave me some university pamphlets to look over, so I guess the least I can do is check out the science programs."

Kagami smiles windily. "Good." She picks up a piece of shrimp with her chopsticks, but doesn't put it in her mouth right away.

"And your other classes besides science?" she asks.

"Hmm... well, English isn't going too well. I was never very good at foreign languages."

Kagami laughs. "Ha, that's one of the only things I'm good at. English was the..." she stops for a moment, looking at the ceiling and thinking. "...only class I didn't have to retake this year. I had a high enough score going into finals, so they let me pass. I never liked it much, though."

Man, is everyone I know better at English than me?

"Yeah, well if I don't get my ass in gear for this quiz we've got coming up next week, I might be retaking it," I say, sighing.

This earns a small chuckle from my companion. "I'm sure you're not doing that badly, Hisao. You'll probably do fine. I'd offer to help, but I've forgotten most of what I know. Surprise, right?"

I laugh nervously, a little taken aback at how flippant she can be regarding her memory. I don't think I'd ever be able to joke about my heart like that.

We eat quietly for a few minutes, enjoying the silence of the mostly unused wing of the school. The small dust particles that hang in midair lilt back and forth in the breeze from the vents at the front of the room, their movements accentuated by the yellow midday light streaming through the windows.

I wonder if this would be a good time...

"So," I say as Kagami's head perks up from her food. "I met your orchestra director on Sunday. Mr. Ito?"

A small grain of rice tilts out of Kagami's mouth as her jaw slackens. She quickly composes herself and asks, "Uh... how?"

"I was in the library yesterday, and he came by to pick up some music from Yuuko. I mentioned your name and we had lunch and talked."

"You had lunch?" she asks incredulously, raising an eyebrow. "What on Earth did you talk about?"

"You, mostly. You know, how bad you are at music and all that," I say, winking and grinning.

Kagami playfully shoves my chair with her foot. "Don't be an ass, Hisao."

She shakes her shoulders and retrieves her braid from behind her head, draping it around her left shoulder. "Seriously, though, what did you think? He's pretty cool, right?"

"Definitely cool," I say, not sure how to proceed.

I doubt coming out and saying, "Oh we deconstructed your entire psyche in one meal and I was just wondering if I could get your feedback on a few points if that's ok with you," would be the best way of putting it. I'm starting to regret bringing this up.

Kagami snaps her fingers in my face, staring into my eyes. "Hello? Moon base to Commander Nakai?"

"Sorry, what?"

"I asked what you talked about with Ito. Seriously this time," she says, satisfied she's re-captured my attention for the time being.

Here goes. Don't screw this up, Hisao. "Music mostly, I guess. Different playing styles... what makes one musician great versus another... it circled around, some."

It circled around you, Kagami.

"Hm," the girl next to me grunts, drawing her mouth to one side.

I roll my eyes in resignation. "And yes, I suppose we did talk about you some. Nothing but good things, though," I add hurriedly.

"Oh, really. Like what, if I may be so bold as to ask?" She crosses her arms and leans back in her seat, wearing a sardonic "this-is-gonna-be-good" expression across her face.

Luckily, I break her small attitude streak with a question. "Well, it got me wondering... why do you love music? Like, the way you love it isn't like how I or pretty much anyone else loves it. What makes you love it like you do?"

Kagami sighs and leans forward. "This is quite a heady discussion to be having over lunch on a weekday, isn't it?"

I recoil slightly, but decide to press her just a little more. "Just curious, is all."

"I... I suppose I don't really know. I guess when you've been doing something for as long as I've been playing my violin, it... sticks with you. Becomes a part of you, if that makes any sense."

"I suppose it does," I say, taking another bite of rice. I had expected a little more explanation than that.

"You're just... very expressive when you play. I guess I wanted to know why."

Kagami gives a noncommittal shrug and takes a bite of shrimp.

"I don't know why I move around so much. I don't think about it, honestly. I just... play. That seems to be what comes out."

Kagami dabs a bit of soy sauce from the edge of her lip with a thin white napkin.

"I'm just confused, is all. I want to know what makes you—er, any musician, really—great at what they do."

"Hisao, I don't know, okay? Can't... can't we just talk about something else, please?"

She raises her voice slightly for emphasis. I've never seen her like this. She seems... uncomfortable. A change of topic would probably be for the best.

"Sure," I respond. "So... how's orchestra been going?"

Kagami seems to relax, if only slightly.

"Well enough, I suppose. With the concerto competition and everything, it's been... hectic, I guess. Lots of work to be done, not enough time to do it, you know?"

"Yeah, I understand. Although I'm sure you, personally, don't have anything to worry about," I say, hoping to cheer her up.

However, Kagami's face sours. "Hisao, I know you think I'm super great or whatever, but really... I'm not that awesome. I still have to practice a ton, or I'll fall way behind."

"Isn't practicing what makes you so great?" I ask. She does practice a lot; it wouldn't surprise me if that was her secret to success.

"I... I mean, that's... that's a part of it...? I don't know, there's more to it than that," she says, furrowing her brow deeply. "A-and s-stop saying that I'm great. I'm pretty good... at best," she adds hastily. At least she smiles, albeit tinily, when she says this.

"Oh, come on. You're amazing. Even Mr. Ito thinks so," I say a little more forcefully. For some reason, I don't feel like backing down on this. Why won't she just admit she's great?

"Mr. Ito... Hisao, nobody thinks that just based on my... they just..." She pauses for a moment, pinching her forehead between her index finger and thumb, massaging it forcefully. She looks really upset.

Suddenly, she snaps her head up. "You know what? Forget it. Just forget I said anything about it."

And for a small moment, I almost consider obeying her. It would be easier if we just dropped it, sure. But for some reason I find myself... annoyed, at the very least. I'm annoyed that she keeps brushing off my compliments. I'm annoyed that she keeps dodging the subject. And I'm annoyed that she doesn't think very much of herself.

And I think quite a lot of her.

"Kagami, I don't get it. Do you not think that you're amazing? Because you definitely are. I'm so amazed by you that I can't help but wonder what your secret is. I want to know how you do what you do."

My lunch companion tosses her chopsticks into her lunch box, emitting a long sigh of exasperation.

"I suppose a nice, quiet lunch is out of the question, then," she says.

She folds her hands across one another and leans forward on her elbows. "Look, Hisao. I know you might think I'm awesome, but trust me. There are much better violinists out there than me. I don't have any secrets, I don't do anything special. I just play my violin because I love it. That's it. Ok?"

She's been raising her voice this whole time, growing observably agitated. I'm concentrating so much on this new range of emotion I've never seen Kagami express, I don't think about the question I ask until after it leaves my mouth.

"Why do you love it so much, then?"

Kagami's jaw drops. In a second, any sincerity drops out of her eyes, leaving only silvery razor blades with the edges directed right at me. Shit. That was definitely the wrong thing to ask. Shit, shit, shit, shit.

"Uh... what kind of a fucking question is that, Hisao?"

"J-just forget I said anything," I scramble to say, suddenly finding myself on my figurative heels.

"Um, sorry. Doesn't work that way. You don't get to keep pressing me and then just drop the conversation when you feel like it. Doesn't work that way, Hisao. Not at all."

"S-seriously, I-I didn't mean to even s-say that, I-"

Kagami raises her hand, cutting me off. "No, no, it's fine."

It's obviously not fine.

"I'll answer your question."

I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna like the answer.

"K-Kagami..." I stammer. Not good. I can feel the heat rushing to my forehead and chest, away from my extremities.

"Why do I love music so much? Well, Hisao, I suppose it's because when your name is Kagami and you have grey eyes and red hair and a shit memory, you learn to love what little you have and not expect to get much more out of life than that."

I sit in silence for a second. My palms are sweating. I've never seen Kagami angry, and it's unsettling. There's a white-hot intensity that simmers just beneath her surface, focused and powerful. I'm not sure what to say to her, but I suppose an apology would be a decent place to start.

"I-I'm sorry. I just wanted to f-find out more about you. A-about what you love," I say, nearly whimpering.

"Well, sorry for not being able to give you the answers you wanted, Hisao. But maybe I don't know any more than what I've already told you. Did that ever cross your mind?" Kagami spits, raising her voice.

It didn't, but saying that would be futile now.

Kagami gestures widely with her hands. Her voice still has a tinge of venom. "Honestly, while we're on the damn topic, why is anyone passionate about anything? Why are you passionate about whatever it is you love, huh Hisao? Can you tell me?"

I had hoped that would have ended up being rhetorical. Finding my own question so pointedly reflected is jarring. I find my mouth and throat unable to produce sound. I sputter quietly.

"I..."

"I mean, can you even tell me what it is?"

She stares at me with those knifelike grey eyes, slicing through me and exposing my bones to the naked air. The room feels much colder than it did a minute ago.

"What do you love, Hisao?"

"I..."

Kagami stares at me expectantly, arms folded. I'm still having trouble forming a sentence. My lips start sticking together.

"I..."

Why is it so hard to think of something I love doing? I mean, reading is fine, but it mostly just passes the time. Same with any of Mutou's science work. There's got to be something I like more than those things. Right?

"I..."

God damn it. I'm searching the tiles in the floor for answers. I can feel my heart speeding up slightly.

"Hisao?"

Kagami. She looks worried. Why does she look worried? She's angry. Angry people aren't worried.

"Hisao..." Kagami says, studying my face with concern in her eyes. She places one hand on my knee.

And my heart gives a grotesque, sliding thud into the side of my chest.

Immediately everything becomes hazy around the edges.

Not again, no, please. Not now.

Th-thud.

Most of my vision turns black as my heart barrels into my ribcage, sending shock waves down my entire body.

I close my eyes tightly, waiting for another lurch from within my chest cavity.

Waiting for another rebellion from my body.

Wait for it.

Wait.



It doesn't come.

I think I'm ok.

I shake my head, open my eyes, and become more aware of my surroundings. I notice three things. One: my hand is clutching at my chest. I look down and release my shirt, which retains its wrinkled shape after I do so due to the sweat from my palm.

Two: Kagami is apologizing profusely. At first, I just see she's moving her mouth rapidly, but eventually I hear a murmured, "...rryI'msorryI'msorryI'msorryI'msorryohgodohgod..."

Three, and far more surprising to me than the first two: I can feel a single tear on the left side of my face, creeping toward the side of my nose and leaving a hot, wet trail behind, like a slug traveling down my face, but far more embarrassing. I wipe it away quickly.

"Are you ok? Your heart?"

I nod briefly, relaxing somewhat.

Kagami seems to unwind as well. "Look, I-I didn't think... anyway, it wasn't right for me to put you on the spot like that. I was j-just upset," Kagami says, her hand gently squeezing my knee.

"It's not your fault," I say. I notice that my throat is unusually dry, which causes my voice to break. It only makes me appear more pathetic.

Kagami pulls a small water bottle from her purse and hands it to me. She continues speaking as I drink.

"Yes it is. I let you get under my skin and you were just asking questions. I'm sorry. I just..."

She hangs her head, closing her eyes.

"I don't like... n-not knowing things. About myself. Ok? Things I should know. It's a little... maddening."

She pauses for a moment, looking sadder and more regretful than I've ever seen her.

"But that's no excuse for raising my voice at you. I'm really sorry, Hisao."

"Well, I accept your apology, so there. It's fine," I croak out, still parched. I take another swig from Kagami's water bottle.

"You want to go see the Nurse?" she asks.

I quickly check my pulse, but it seems to be back to normal. "I'm fine. Nothing to worry about."

My companion leans back into her chair, removing her hand from my knee and folding it against her chin, resting her elbow on the table. "Ok. If you're sure. I'm sorry, Hisao. I shouldn't have yelled at you. Especially when I invited you here in the first place."

"You didn't yell, but it's ok. I'm sorry too," I say, looking up.

I pause for a moment, idly fidgeting with the chopsticks I'd left near the edge of the table.

Kagami gives a small smile, then closes her eyes for just longer than a second. Her eyes close so heavily, her eyelashes almost send a breeze across my face as they descend.

We finish eating in silence before the bell rings, signaling the end of lunch. I thank Kagami for the food, and we make our way back to the third floor. We part at the door to class 3-4 without a word. Emi sees me in the doorway and waves from her seat. I return the wave halfheartedly, but don't say anything.

God damn my stupid heart. I feel absolutely deflated right now. Even small scares take the energy straight out of me, apparently. As if having the object of your affections get angry with you wasn't bad enough.

I should have known better than to press her as hard as I did. She was obviously agitated... why the hell didn't I stop myself? The moment I didn't—the moment I continued... well, to borrow from Mutou's lectures, it introduced a massive instability into my relationship with Kagami. Like a magnesium atom with one too few neutrons. Something had to happen, and it did.

I guess I just never expected to feel it in my heart. Maybe it's some kind of emotional Geiger counter.

Emotionally sensitive as my heart may be, I'm not sure how to fix this. Hell, I'm not even sure if there's anything to fix. It seems like we patched things up well enough, even if the silence afterwards was markedly awkward.

Is it really so bad, just letting it go? Being a stable sodium atom, albeit with one less positron?

Ugh, my particle physics metaphors aren't even making sense anymore. Beta decay? More like brain decay. Maybe that's what I should blame for my stupid behavior today.

I reach the entrance to class 3-3 and slump back into my seat wearily. Hopefully the rest of the afternoon isn't quite so bad.

__________

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Last edited by forgetmenot on Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/27]

Post by ZtotheT » Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:01 pm

So that was amazing. Absolutely love it. Keep going!

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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 3/27]

Post by Fiandra » Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:30 am

I almost forgot that Hisao has a heart condition :lol: Anyway, good work on the chapter, I'm looking forward for the next one.
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 4/12]

Post by forgetmenot » Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:13 pm

Sorry for the lack of updates this past week and a half. Took a week off for vacation. Anyhow, I'm back now. Enjoy!

Scene 15: Near-Life Experience

I slog through the rest of the afternoon, drained of what little energy I had earlier. Misha gives me a few concerned looks during English class; I guess I wear my worry and fatigue a little too close to the surface. She doesn't say anything, though, which is good. I don't really feel like talking, even if it is in the form of passing notes.

The day ends, and I find myself in my room, keeping the company of my bare walls and spartan furniture. Studying is slow going as well; the fluorescent light above me keeps flickering, making a soft buzzing noise each time its light fades. It's been irritating me for a few days. I wonder how you go about getting that kind of stuff fixed in the dorms.

I'm only distracted by the light for a few seconds, though. My brain decides to rest on the far more pressing issue.

What do I love?

That's the question that keeps weighing on me. It's been racing to the forefront of my mind, preventing me from completing my rather simple math assignment in any decent amount of time.

Not much, according to my room. I've managed to keep it rather neat, which is somewhat of an accomplishment in itself, but it doesn't exactly seem tidy as much as it seems unused. Except for my clothes in the closet, a rumpled set of sheets on the bed, and a small stack of books at the edge of my desk, this room could be unoccupied.

In a way, I suppose it's kind of like me. Except for my books, my slight affinity for science, and my recently acquired running habit, I'm kind of a blank slate.

And my heart. My stupid, defective heart. That's who I am right now. This afternoon's hiccup all but cemented that. I am Hisao Nakai: invalid at large. Could die at any moment.

Nothing else seems to come to mind, though. When you're as fresh from the edge of the grave as I am, I suppose that's to be expected.

I glance down at my math paper, which has been scrunched under my tightly balled fist. Guess I must really be frustrated. I slowly relax my hand and smooth out the wrinkles running through the paper in front of me. Despite a few smudges, it's still salvageable.

Focus, Nakai. Derivatives. That's what you love right now. Chain rule, d/dx, etc. If I'm able to finish a few problems without getting distracted again, I'll consider it a success.

Knock knock knock.

Three impossibly loud raps at the door interrupt my concentration. Dammit, Kenji. Go away. The last thing I want right now is to listen to more of your-

Knock knock knock.

I guess he's not going away. I sigh. Better get this over with.

However, when I open the door, it's not Kenji that greets me, but a frowning Shizune, seemingly without Misha in tow.

She starts to sign something, but apparently realizes Misha isn't there to translate halfway through. She produces a small pad of paper and pen from her bag and quickly scrawls something before thrusting the pad at my chest.

"Mail delivery for Hisao Nakai."

Oh. I guess that explains the rather large satchel over her shoulder. I didn't realize it was the student council's job to deliver mail... or that we even had our mail delivered at all.

Shizune produces two pieces of paper from her bag and nearly throws them at me with the same intensity as before. I fumble with the pen and paper for a bit, eventually dropping the pen and crinkling one of my pieces of mail. Shizune places one of her hands to her mouth in a silent giggle.

I frustratedly toss my mail onto the dresser and retrieve Shizune's pen from the ground.

"Thanks," I write before handing her pad of paper back to her. Shizune's mouth idly twists as she reads my single-word reply. I should probably know how to sign something so simple. However, she simply stuffs the pad back into her bag, gives a quick wave, and starts down the hall in her usual brisk manner.

I shut my door and turn to the two pieces of mail lying on top of the wooden surface next to me. They're both striking, but for different reasons. The first is a large envelope, obviously part of some kind of neon fever dream stationery set. I pick up the envelope and read a single word on the back: "Iwanako". Hm. I wonder what she could be writing me about? It's not like we had anything left to discuss, really. I suppose I did leave without saying goodbye. But then again, so did she.

I'll look at this later. The second piece of mail worries me more than enough to be concerned about Iwanako. It's a small slip of white paper with a single line of red pen spanning its length.

"Hisao - come to my office as soon as you can. Bring your pills. -Nurse"

Uh-oh. Could he possibly know about my heart flutter in the classroom with Kagami this afternoon? Could... would Kagami have told him? I didn't think it was anything serious, but thinking back on it... well, if Emi had been there she would have dragged me to Nurse's office straightaway.

I quickly scoop sixteen orange translucent cylinders from the edge of my desk into a gallon-sized bag. Man, that's a tight fit. I briefly marvel at how empty some of the pill containers have become. Have I really put all of these drugs into my body in less than a month?

I hurry out the door and through the gardens, being careful not to exert myself too much. A few minutes later I knock on the door to Nurse's office.

"Come in!" I hear from behind the wooden barrier. I turn the handle.

"Oh, good, Hisao. Have a seat up there, please. Did you bring your pills?"

I nod and hand my pills over to Nurse, who snatches the bag, opens it, and begins sorting through my medications, studying the labels intently. I make my way over to the examination table and half-jump onto it, seating myself in the middle.

"Hisao, have you had any more irregularities with your heart since last week? Small ones you wouldn't normally come see me for?" Nurse asks, still studying my pills intensely.

I flounder for a few seconds before blurting, "W-well not really. I mean, there was something this afternoon..." I don't know why I feel embarrassed about my condition in front of Nurse any more. Old habits dying a slow death, I guess.

Nurse frowns, turning his gaze from the pills to me. "How serious? Compared to last week?"

"Um, I dunno. It was bad for a few seconds, but I didn't fall over or anything," I say, wondering where his questions could be leading.

"That's not good," he mumbles, turning his attention back to the small container perched between his forefinger and thumb for a second before turning back to face me. "What were you doing this afternoon?"

I instinctively throw my hands up in defense. "I-I..." I stutter, before I realize there's no reason to be defensive. I was just having a conversation, after all. I lower my hands. "I was just talking with a friend. We were having lunch."

"That's even worse," he says, more clearly this time. He stares at the label in front of him for a few more seconds before flicking it vehemently. "A-ha! Got you."

"Nurse? What's going on?"

"Hm?" Nurse asks, as if he'd momentarily forgotten my presence. "Oh, I... well, let's just say there's a student here at Yamaku with a condition not too dissimilar to yours. As a result, they're on a number of the same medications as you are."

"He means me," I hear from a voice on the other side of the curtain. "I'm the one with the bad heart."

Nurse rolls his eyes. "Ms. Katayama, if you refuse to rest, please have at least some respect for doctor-patient confidentiality, here."

"What?" returns the mysterious female voice. Nurse merely shakes his head and lowers his hands.

"Anyway," he continues, "this patient who will remain unnamed-"

"But you just said my name, so that's out the window," the girl says, interrupting.

"Did I?" Nurse asks to himself, quietly. "Damn."

He clears his throat.

"As I was saying, this particular patient came to me today after suffering a fairly major heart flutter in the middle of... dangerous activities, and-"

"Oh, come on! I was on the roof for a bit, that's all."

"Which may have been fine if you weren't also walking along the edge of the roof and smoking at the same time," Nurse says, exasperation coming to the forefront of his voice.

"Psh, details," retorts the girl.

Nurse straightens his coat and addresses me once more. "Well, long story short, I discovered a potentially dangerous drug interaction that normally could be easily overlooked. Given the amount of pills people with heart conditions have to take, as well as the relative newness of some of these medications, I'm surprised I happened upon it. I suspected you were at risk as well, and as it turns out, I was right."

I'm a little dumbstruck. My medications could kill me?

"So..." I say, "What do I do?"

"Well, I'm reverting Ms. Katayama back..."—Nurse catches himself—"...I mean mystery patient back to his or her old regimen. I'm fairly certain I have a small stock of the old pills here around here somewhere. As for you... well, I have to make some calls to make sure that the same pills won't kill you, but until we can get some sort of new regimen worked out, I think the same solution may work for you."

I fidget in my seat for a bit while nurse thumbs the bottle on the desk idly.

"Anyway, I'd like to keep you here for observation for at least a few hours. I'll have some dinner brought here later, but right now I need to make sure you're not going to keel over on the spot. If you will be so kind as to remove your shirt?"

"What about me?" says the voice from the other side of the curtain.

"You stay too, Ms. Katayama. Apparently both of you had close calls today, and I'm not going to risk either of you leaving until I'm sure you're well."

"Ugh, fine. Can I at least get a book or something?"

"We'll discuss that after I'm finished with Nakai- er, I mean, mystery patient on this side of the curtai... dammit. I need a larger office."

Despite his gaffe, Nurse recovers quickly, and pokes and prods at me in his usual manner for several minutes, never muttering more than a "Hm," or an "Ok."

He finally leans back into his chair and sighs. "Well, it appears you're fine for the moment. I noticed a slight murmur in addition to the normal irregularities-"

"Normal irregularities. Hah! That doesn't make any sense."

"Ms. Katayama, please." Nurse half-shouts into the curtain.

"Anyhow, I have to go make some phone calls and see about dinner for you two. You'll be ok for a little while without supervision, I think," he says, his gaze darting to the still-closed curtain. "However, I will be right down the hall, so no daring escapes, ok?" I think he's only half-joking. Who is this Katayama girl?

Nurse closes the door behind him gently, already dialing a number on his cell phone as he exits. It doesn't take long for Katayama to speak directly to me from behind the curtain.

"So, Nakai? You decent?"

Before I have a chance to respond, the curtain is whipped aside so quickly I'm surprised it doesn't tear. I whirl around on the examination table to face the now visible figure on the other side of the room, standing where the curtain was.

She's thin. That's the first thing I notice about her; the school uniform seems to hang from her like laundry on a clothesline. It's not an unhealthy-looking thin, though. She doesn't look frail or fragile, just... wisp-like, I suppose. Like she floats everywhere she goes. Her long, lithe fingers twirl around her long, silver braid as she looks me up and down with dark, red eyes. I feel like I'm being scanned with a laser. It's unsettling.

"Hm. Not what I was expecting," she says after a few seconds of silence.

"W-what were you expecting, exactly?" I respond.

She shrugs. "I dunno. I guess someone less good-looking. Maybe with tattoos and a beard, too."

"I'm pretty sure both of those things are against the dress code."

Another shrug. "I guess you're right. So, you've got heart problems too?"

"That's what I'm told," I say. Man, this girl is strange.

"Hypoplastic left heart syndrome. That's me. I was born without a left ventricle, basically." She points at her chest, as if to somehow illustrate her condition with a visual aid. "And you?"

"U-um, arrhythmia."

She looks at me and raises her eyebrows, as if expecting me to continue. When I don't, she exhales loudly through her nose and shakes her head. "You don't talk about your condition much, do you?" she asks, seating herself on the examination table opposite mine.

"I guess not. I only found out about it a couple of months ago," I say quietly. I'm not really sure I want to be talking about this.

"Oh, so you're new to this whole thing, then?"

"Yeah, I've only been at Yamaku for a few weeks, actually."

"Hm," she says, lazily gazing at me with her dull, red eyes. "If you didn't catch it already, I'm Rika. Katayama Rika. But call me Rika."

I wait for her to finish her introduction, but apparently that's all she wants to say. Instead, she hops off of the table and strides effortlessly to stand a few feet in front of me.

"So, are you gonna introduce yourself, or what? It's only polite." she asks, apparently tired of waiting.

"Um, I'm Hisao... Nakai."

She gestures to the spot next to me on the examination table and says, "Scoot," waving her hand to the left. I oblige, and she takes a seat next to me. From this distance, I can smell the cigarette smoke embedded in her clothes. I almost gag.

"So, Hisao, how's dying going for you?" she asks nonchalantly.

"Um, sorry?" I balk.

"You are dying, aren't you? Like me? Shorter-than-average lifespan, impending heart attacks, that sort of thing? Doom and gloom and all that jazz?" she asks, still nonchalantly swinging her feet from the edge of the table. It's obvious this stuff doesn't bother her as much as it does me.

"I s-suppose so," I reply sheepishly.

"So how's it going?" she asks, repeating her question.

I ponder my response for a moment. Rika doesn't seem to be the type to beat around the proverbial bush, so I suppose I won't either.

"It sucks," I say, attempting to insert the same amount of flippancy into my response as Rika does.

"Fair enough. I suppose it would for someone so new to all this."

We sit in silence for a few seconds, Rika still aimlessly swinging her feet from the edge of the table, me still reeling from the stink of cigarettes on her person.

"So, how about you?" I ask. "How's the whole dying thing working out for you?"

"Same as it always has," she replies, as if she expected my question. "I've never not been dying, so I guess I don't really know how it is on the outside. Not that I particularly want to know, anyhow."

"You don't? Why not?"

"I dunno. There's... freedom, I guess, in it. You know?"

"No, I really don't," I say, my skepticism obviously rising to my face. How could sixteen pills a day be considered any sort of freedom? Especially when those pills may end up being the death of you anyhow?

"Hm," she says, placing her chin on her fist. "I suppose you haven't really had your condition that long."

She turns and looks at me, mouth drawn flat. "You know what you should do sometime, Hisao?"

I shake my head. "No. What?"

"You should go up to the roof, and walk along the edge. And look down. At the ground. It really gets your heart going."

I'm sure the quizzical expression hasn't faded from my face. "Isn't that... kind of the opposite of what we're supposed to be doing?"

"Yeah, but that's boring."

"Maybe I like boring," I retort.

"Hisao, you're dying, for crying out loud. You can't afford to like boring. People who are going to live until they're seventy or eighty... they can like boring. Not us. We don't have the time for it."

I can feel the color drain from my face. Something about what she's saying is resonating with me, and not in a good way. I guess I've never really come to grips with the fact that I probably won't make it to fifty. Hell, a third of my life is already over, probably.

"S-so what do I have time for?" I ask, still attempting to gather myself.

"I dunno. Running as fast as you can for no reason other than to do it. Skipping class to walk along the roof. Smoking. Seeing how many days you can go without your pills. Lots of stuff."

This girl obviously has a death wish.

"That seems a little bit crazy, Rika," I say, still trying to wrap my head around what she means.

"Mmm, maybe. But it's better than toeing the line for your entire life only to die at forty-five anyway," she says.

"I guess so."

Rika pauses for a minute and twirls her braid, gently passing it back and forth between her hands.

"So, you had a heart flutter today too, huh?" she says, breaking the silence.

"That's why I'm here," I respond flatly.

"What were you actually doing?" she asks.

"Pardon?"

"Like, for real. No way your heart just decided to give a few lurches in the middle of a quiet lunch with nothing going on. What were you really doing?"

"N-nothing, really. Just lunch." My obvious hesitation gives me away.

"Uh-huh." Rika pauses for a few seconds before pointing an accusatory finger at me. "You were doing it, weren't you?"

"Doing what?"

She pauses for a moment, frowning. "Well, considering you answered like that, you probably weren't, but I meant sex."

I almost gag again, this time less from the smell of cigarettes.

"N-no, I mean I would never... well, I wouldn't not ever, but- well, I mean, uh..." I can feel my face flushing a deep red.

"Hisao," Rika interrupts, rolling her eyes. "Chill out, jeez."

I take a few moments to collect myself before continuing. "I was with a girl, yes, but we weren't... uh..."

"Gotcha," Rika responds. "So if it wasn't sex, then what was it?"

"A-an argument, actually," I respond with some trepidation.

"An argument? You got so riled up that your heart spazzed out? Temper, temper," she says condescendingly, wagging her long finger through the air.

"I'd like to think it wasn't my temper so much as the pills that did it, remember?" I retort.

"S'possible," she says, reclining on her elbows and swinging her feet in a wider pattern.

"So," she continues, "This girl you were with. You two dating or something?"

"Awfully nosy, aren't we?" I ask with a hint of annoyance layered into my voice.

Rika rolls her eyes. "That's a no if I've ever heard one."

"Not necessarily!" I protest, but Rika's already moved on.

"So do you at least like her?"

"I-I..."

Rika frowns. "Come on, Hisao, it's a simple question."

"I g-guess so..."

Her frown deepens. "That's weak. At the very best. Haven't you been listening to me? People like us don't have time for 'guess so'. Yes or no, Hisao."

Fine, then, Rika. You want an answer? I'll give you one.

"Yes."

"That's better."

Rika apparently runs out of things to say, so I offer my own question. "Why so curious anyhow?"

She shrugs. "I dunno. I guess because your heart's broken and you obviously have no idea how to deal with it. Maybe I feel bad for you. Maybe not. I don't really care."

"I don't need pity," I say quietly.

Rika snaps her fingers loudly, then turns her head to face me. "Then prove it."

Her words hang thickly in the air, refusing to dissipate for a few seconds.

"Uh..."

"You heard me. Prove it."

Rika sits up, repositioning her elbows and turning her whole body to face me. I'm not sure I like where this is going.

"Come with me," she says, as she effortlessly slides from the table.

"Um, we're not supposed to leave..." I respond quietly.

"Exactly. Now come on. Proving time." Rika stands and lazily flicks her wrist, indicating that I should follow her.

Lest I be branded a loser for life, I find myself arising from the exam table and moving towards Rika, who is unfastening the locks on the window.

She opens the window and slips out quietly into the twilight.

I briefly glance back at the door leading to the hallway before placing my hands on the windowsill. Rika's already outside, motioning for me to follow.

I'm not sure what to do.

On one hand, I should stay. All my pills are here, and Nurse is due back any minute. It's stupid to climb out the window of a building to follow a girl I just met ten minutes ago, especially one that has a blatant death wish.

But on the other hand... am I really so boring that I wouldn't take a small chance like this? Other than getting yelled at, there aren't really any risks...

I hoist one of my legs over the windowsill and turn myself around, lifting my second leg through and slowly straightening my arms before dropping down to the ground below. Rika smirks and places one of her hands on her hip.

"See? Not that hard. Now come on."

I follow Rika to the entrance to the main building. She quickly looks around before jostling the front door open and darting inside. I quickly do the same.

The girl in front of me floats down the halls of Yamaku like a ghost, ascending the stairs to the third floor with absolutely no effort. While I'm not struggling to keep up, I'm definitely working hard. She must be in better shape than I am.

We reach the end of the third floor hallway and turn into a smaller side hall before ascending yet another set of stairs. These stairs are smaller than the other sets in the building. I'm about to ask where we are before Rika reaches the top step and pushes a large metal door open slowly. The door creaks loudly; it must not be used much. I notice a rusty padlock hanging on a small hook beside the door. Is this not supposed to be open?

I follow Rika out into wherever she may be leading, and- oh, is this the roof? I guess that would make sense, as Yamaku is only three floors.

The sun has all but completely set, and the shadows from the brick chimneys stretch across the entire roof. I search for Rika for a few moments before seeing her thin, shadowy figure waiting at the other end of the rooftop.

"So, what exactly are we doing up here?" I ask, deciding to neglect the fact that she's smoking yet another cigarette.

Rika doesn't turn to address me, but instead stares out opposite of the sunset, into the night.

"I like it up here, especially at night. It's quiet."

"So," I respond, "We're up here because you like it?"

Rika shrugs. "I guess so. I just wanted to get out of that stuffy office for a bit."

"Seems impulsive."

"I guess that's one way of looking at it. Sitting around is boring."

I grin slightly, anticipating her next few words. "And—let me guess—boring is something we can't afford."

Rika drags from her cigarette deeply, exhaling into the slight breeze. "Now you're catching on."

We stand in silence for what seems like an hour, the light behind us slowly dimming as the sun creeps lower and lower on the horizon. The soft chirping of crickets grows louder as time meanders forward.

I break the pregnant silence. "So, what exactly are we doing up here? Seems boring to me."

Rika tilts her head. "I guess so. I wasn't really thinking about it much."

"You said I had something to prove. Was this it?" I ask.

"No..." Rika says, her voice growing softer as she thinks. "No, not just this. Something a little bit more."

She turns to face me.

"You know, you're not very alive-looking. For a dying guy."

"Hm? That doesn't make any sense."

"Think about it. We're all dying, all of us. Some people don't think about it a lot, because there's nothing wrong with them. But people with conditions like ours... we have to live with the fact that we're dying. Every day."

"That's a little morbid," I respond.

"That's life. It's a morbid thing. You can dress it up all you want, but sooner or later... you, Hisao Nakai, will have to come to grips with the fact that you will die. Sooner rather than later."

"Forgive me if that seems a little depressing. Maybe I don't want to live like that."

"It's not depressing. Not at all," Rika says, turning to me and smiling.

"It's not?"

"Nope. It's one of the most freeing facts in the world. When you accept that you're dying... if you stare death in the face and survive..."

She leans slightly closer to me, the wind whipping a small cloud of smoke around us from the lit cigarette in her hand.

"...you can do anything."

Rika climbs up onto the ledge in front of us and extends her arms to either side, the sun lighting her back and arms with a pale glow.

We stand silently for a moment, Rika occasionally dragging from her cigarette. The sun officially sets behind us.

"Well?" Rika says, breaking the silence. "You gonna get up here, or what?"

"I-I..."

"Come on, Hisao, don't be afraid. It's definitely not safe at all," she says, laughing.

I slowly climb the ledge, pulling myself into a standing position beside Rika. I carefully stretch my arms out as a slow breeze wafts gently through my fingers.

"Now, I want you to do just one more thing for me," Rika says softly.

"I'm not smoking, Rika."

"What? Ha, I wasn't gonna suggest that. This is my last cigarette, actually," she says, tossing it from the roof. "What I want you do is far more deadly."

Rika turns her head to me and smirks dangerously.

"Look down."

I hesitate visibly. I don't really care for heights that much. Honestly, it was a feat that I was able to get up on this ledge without thinking about it much. I'm pretty sure looking down would be the death of me.

"Come on, Hisao. You can do it."

I feel the hesitation building in my neck muscles.

Screw it, let's just get this over with.

I look down.

Immediately my legs turn to lemon panna cotta pudding. I didn't expect three stories to be so... high up. If I fell... my stomach does a few backflips, smacking into my diaphragm and causing me to sharply inhale. I can feel my heart speed up noticeably. This is definitely not a good thing. Definitely not a good thing at all. Panic starts to course through my limbs uncontrollably.

Rika notices my wavering, and dismounts from the ledge. She slowly pulls me back onto the roof. As I catch my breath, I can feel my heart slowing back into a somewhat normal rhythm.

Rika tilts her head, planting her hands on her hips. "Now. How do you feel?"

"Sick," I respond, still panting.

"Give it a minute."

As she speaks, I can feel the adrenaline begin to pump through my body, strengthening my muscles and allowing my heart to completely calm down.

"Better?" asks Rika.

"Better," I respond. "A lot better, actually."

Come to think of it, I don't even feel this good after running. Perhaps relief from a near-death experience is a little more potent.

"Come on, let's get back before Nurse realizes we're gone," Rika says, starting for the door.

As I follow, my steps find a strength they haven't known in quite a long time.

I guess the best word for it is relief. Even for as small of a crisis as what I just went through, I feel completely and totally relieved. Almost weightless. Maybe that's how Rika floats around so effortlessly.

Maybe I should start taking more risks, even if they aren't so dramatic as nearly falling off the roof.

"Hey, Rika?" I say as we successfully sneak back into Nurse's office and shut the window behind us.

"Yeah?"

"Thanks for that... I think I needed it."

Rika rolls her eyes and draws the curtain between us.

"Thanks for what, Hisao? We've been in here the whole time."

__________

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Last edited by forgetmenot on Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:07 am, edited 4 times in total.

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neio
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 4/12]

Post by neio » Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:39 pm

"Normal irregularities. Hah! That doesn't make any sense."

"Ms. Katayama, please." Nurse half-shouts into the curtain.
Yes, great! A very funny scene. Your Rika is well done. Things like throwing her cigarette off the roof after mentioning that it's her last one really add to her characterization.

Now for a few homophones:
"Stationary" means "not moving," while "stationery" is the noun referring to paper, envelopes and the like.
"Coarse" is the adjective similar in meaning to "rough," and "course" is the action blood takes while inside your veins.

I only have one other criticism: it seems like this chapter is trying too hard to be a turning point. The shift in outlook lacks subtlety; Hisao nearly has an outright epiphany. Perhaps this chapter should have either less of the blatant philosophical discussion or more dialogue that's not directly related to its theme. I'm fine with Rika being frank and daring—she was that way in Rikabro's route—but her immediate jump to talking with the new guy about death seemed too quick and hard to believe.
Recommended fics: A pseudo-pseudo Suzu Route | Sisterhood (Hanako Epilogue) | Can You Open Your Heart? (Rika)

(New) Movie contest: From which 2012 film did I mangle this quote? Prize: Humble Bundle
You're worried about the Nurse? Try the mom.

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forgetmenot
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 4/12]

Post by forgetmenot » Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:06 pm

neio wrote:Now for a few homophones:
"Stationary" means "not moving," while "stationery" is the noun referring to paper, envelopes and the like.
"Coarse" is the adjective similar in meaning to "rough," and "course" is the action blood takes while inside your veins.
Whoops. "Stationary" would be autocorrect screwing me over. "Coarse"... well, I suppose we learn something new every day, don't we.
neio wrote:I only have one other criticism: it seems like this chapter is trying too hard to be a turning point. The shift in outlook lacks subtlety; Hisao nearly has an outright epiphany. Perhaps this chapter should have either less of the blatant philosophical discussion or more dialogue that's not directly related to its theme. I'm fine with Rika being frank and daring—she was that way in Rikabro's route—but her immediate jump to talking with the new guy about death seemed too quick and hard to believe.
Yeah, I kinda felt that way too after I read it one more time with your comments in mind. I added a bit of dialogue and made Hisao's realization a little less of an "a-ha" moment. Thanks for reading!

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Leaty
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Re: Kagami Pseudo-Route (OCxHisao) [Updated 4/12]

Post by Leaty » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:46 pm

It's fascinating to me how Rika Katayama was originally conceived as a pastiche of Rei Ayanami from Evangelion, only for fanfiction authors to turn her into a effete fatalist adrenaline junkie. I think the latter is more interesting, but it's a strange experience, watching fanon disseminate in real time.

Anyway, I'm glad this is continuing. I have to admit I'm a little surprised how unruffled Hisao is to receive Iwanako's letter. I guess that's Kagami's influence, but I don't quite see how she in particular was able to affect Hisao in that direction.

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