Once More [Update: 9/26]

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Dr.Worm
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Re: Once More [Update: 7/16]

Post by Dr.Worm » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:38 pm

Chapter 10, Part 4: Flexibility

I’m on the roof! The roof is very, very high up and all it would take is one little shove in the wrong spot and then I’d be falling and splat! There’d be dead ol’ Katsuo, guts and brains splattered all over the sidewalk.

Emi takes a few steps with Rin and turns back to me when I don’t move from my spot against the wall.

“Are you coming, Katsuo?”

I swallow nothing and shake my head.

“I-I’m fine right here actually.” I clench my eyes shut again.

Emi pads over. She grabs my good arm, very loosely.

“Are you okay?” She whispers.

I shake my head again. I am most certainly not okay. I do not like the roof and I do not want to be on the roof.

Emi shakes me by my shoulder until I open my eyes again. She’s right there next to me, trying her best comforting smile on.

“It wasn’t because of Rin was it? She doesn’t mean anything by it… I think.”

I’d snicker if I wasn’t so scared. I take a deep breath and close my eyes again. Just relax. You’re still a good distance away from the fence that lines the roof. You’re okay as long as you don’t move from this spot.

“I don’t like the roof.” I mutter.

“Huh?”

Really? I’m standing right next to you. I know I said it quietly but how bad is your hearing? I take another deep breath.

“I’m r-really bad with heights. I don’t like being on the roof very m-much.”

“Oh! Is that why you were taking so long to go up the stairs?”

I nod. Emi tugs my arm, very gently and gets me away from the wall.

“Well we can head over there really slowly, okay?”

“That’s not going to-”

“Come on, you can deal with some little fear of heights if you’re with two hot young school girls, right?” Emi tugs my arm again.

Actually, that just makes me feel even worse over how scared I am right now. I certainly do not impress you. First, I can’t run and now I can’t even have a stupid lunch on the stupid roof. I might as well just pee myself now.

“That isn’t helping, you know.” I mutter.

“Nonsense. Like the Nurse said, there’s no better motivator for young men like pretty girls.” She gives me a playful punch in the shoulder.

“Engh.”

“And I’m sorry about Rin.”

“It’s f-fine.”

“She likes to collect people.”

“Collect people? What does that mean?”

“It's... she'll explain it better than I can. Come on Katsuo, it’s just right over there.” Emi lets go of my arm and I can hear her take a few steps away.

“That’s not the point, E-Emi. I c-can’t move from this spot.”

“You look like you did fine to me.” Rin pipes up.

I open my eyes.

There’s Emi and Rin, sitting on the bench only two steps ahead of me. Emi gives me a wide grin while Rin just looks up at me, like she’s expecting me to do something. Tap dance? Burst into song? Burst into fire? What does this girl want from me?

Wait.

I turn my whole body around. There’s the door that I was standing next to all the way over there. And now I’m here. Which means…

“You tricked me.” I wheel on Emi.

She frowns. “Well if we waited any longer for you to get here, we wouldn’t have had any time to eat, Katsuo.” She tosses me a package of curry bread from the bag. It thumps against my chest and falls to the pebble covered rooftop.

“You tricked me.” I repeat.

“Will you sit down and just eat with us?” Emi pats the empty spot on the bench between them. “I even brought drinks.”

“You tricked m-”

“Katsuo! Just sit down and eat!” Emi interrupts me. In one fluid motion, she stands, grabs me by the tie and pulls me to the bench before sitting again.

Hokay.

I crouch and retrieve my bread before sitting between the two girls. Emi passes another curry bread over me to Rin. She’s already opened the package for the other girl. Rin doesn’t say anything as she lifts a foot and seizes the wrapper between two toes.

Huh. She’s pretty nimble with those. She pulls the bread away and drops it into her lap.

“Do you both eat up here every day?”

“Yep.” Emi nods as she pulls her bread out of the package. “You should join us. Rin isn’t good for conversation some days.”

Well I think with all the second guessing and stuttering I wouldn’t be that much better, Emi. Besides, I don’t think I’m courageous enough to get up on the roof every day.

“You were born without it.” Rin suddenly interjects.

What?

“What?”

“Your arm.”

“Huh? Oh. No. Keep guessing… I guess.” I mean you totally don't have to keep guessing, but I think you're just going to do that, aren't you?

Rin frowns and pulls the wrapper down with the same foot.

“Do you need help with that?” I ask, pointing at the bread.

Rin blinks and turns away from her food to me.

“Do you need help with yours?”

“Uhm, no.”

“Because I’ve already got my bread out of the package.”

Does she always talk in deadpan like that? It’s hard to tell if she’s actually making a joke or if I’ve offended her. Then again, the first thing she asked me was how I lost half my right arm.

Ugh. This girl is going to give me a headache.

Though she is right, I haven't even opened my tasty curry bread yet.

“If you need help, ask Emi.” Rin adds, with a sage-like nod.

Emi grabs the bread from my lap.

“Sorry. If you need help I can-”

I grab the package back from her and shake my head. I stick one end of the wrapper in my teeth and tear it off. If Emi actually has to open some stupid package of curry bread for me like I’m a toddler, I think I might kill myself. I certainly am not that helpless. I have to save that last tiny shred of dignity, since I lost so much in the run and then the rest over the last few minutes on the roof.

I spit the wrapper out of my mouth and finally bite down into the bread.

Well, at least it’s curry bread. There’s one thing that’s gone right today.
At least I still have The Worst Miki

I'll leave the front unlocked because I can't hear the doorbell.
Also, I write Fanfiction, apparently. [Once More] & [Breaking the Sound Barrier]

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Mader Levap
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Re: Once More [Update: 8/29]

Post by Mader Levap » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:10 am

Now that's one sad guy. Hopefully, it is story about how he gets better. Character development and all of that.
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Re: Once More [Update: 8/29]

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:00 am

And my sister’s behavior and I don’t want to start comparing this girl to my sister more than my dream already did last night.
Copy pasta...
Now that's one sad guy. Hopefully, it is story about how he gets better. Character development and all of that.
Going by the previous chapters he did get better. Not "well" by a long shot, but better.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Lloyd Snow
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Re: Once More [Update: 8/29]

Post by Lloyd Snow » Sat Aug 31, 2013 2:26 am

Still my favourite Fanfic to date.
I write, you read.
Sound good?

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Re: Once More [Update: 8/29]

Post by Maradar » Sat Aug 31, 2013 5:20 am

I really enjoy the backstory, and us being able to see him develop as a character :). Really good job, I like it. Rin seems spot-on in my opinion.
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I have a minor arrhythmia and a couple of other heart conditions. Small world.
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Re: Once More [Update: 8/29]

Post by Guestimate » Sun Sep 01, 2013 5:52 pm

Why haven't I read this yet? Well anyway, you have a new reader.

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Dr.Worm
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Re: Once More [Update: 8/29]

Post by Dr.Worm » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:52 am

Chapter 11: Movie Sign! - Part 1

The last two and half weeks have gone by at an agonizingly slow pace. Which is kind of funny, considering I’ve spent pretty much every morning running with an all too cheery and motivating little ball of sunshine. You would think that anyone who’s spending every morning with Emi would be walking on clouds. It’s more like nails, to be honest. Despite her constant cheering and promises that it’ll all pay off if I keep at it, I haven’t seen an ounce of improvement in myself. Not only has my back pain not gotten any better, but I still can’t seem to make it past half a mile before I have to stop running and nearly fall over from exhaustion.

At least I haven’t actually fallen into the dirt like the first day again.

I give Emi a little wave as she runs right by my seat on the bleachers. She gives me a little glance, but doesn’t stop or acknowledge me in any other way. She just zooms right by, face set in that determined grin. I can’t even drag my feet anymore to do a simple cool down lap. Each day of running seems to get progressively worse and worse. Not to mention my legs and back are too sore for me to get a proper night of sleep in. These last few weeks have been hell on me and my body. I don’t think the Nurse knew what he was doing when he set up this stupid exercise routine for me. All its doing is making me hurt more and more.

I sigh and wipe the sweat off my forehead. With the sun beating down like this, I’m upset that we had to come out here and run more. I’m tired of accidentally drinking my sweat. The girl in the grass in front of me suddenly sits up and turns her half-open eyes to me.

“Did you cut it off yourself?”

“Nope.”

She lets out a little puff of air and falls back to the ground again.

And that’s pretty much how the last two weeks have gone. No improvement with my back or how long I can run for. Rin keeps trying to guess how I lost my stupid arm. I drink my sweat while running and then Emi tries to get me to eat with them on the roof again. Luckily, I’ve managed to wriggle my way out of any more trips to the nerve shaking roof for lunch. So far, I’ve spent every lunch period in my room with my traditional lunch of a half of a movie and a sandwich from the cafeteria. I think that might be the only shining moment of true bliss in my life right now.

Emi, while cute and great to look at, isn’t doing any favors for my already plummeting self-esteem. I’d like to meet the teenager that can consistently fail over and over again in front of a pretty girl and play it off like nothing. I’ll kill him for his powers. Every time Emi smiles and tells me that I’m “trying my best” or “You’ve almost got it!” I die a little on the inside. I’m sure those sorts of lines work on normal guys, but not on Katsuo, the boy girls don’t talk to. At least I haven’t killed myself. That’s a good sign, right?

Rin sits up again and opens her mouth. Before she can get anything out though, Emi jogs up to us. Thank god. I don’t think I can take Rin’s game for much longer. I can’t believe she’s still trying to figure this out when I only told her to guess so she would drop the subject. It probably would have been a better idea to just tell her that I wasn’t going to talk about it. Be direct!

I suppose I’m learning that lesson the hard way.

“You done?” I ask, stretching my legs out.

Emi nods. “Yep. Though you should try to push yourself to actually finish a mile, Katsuo.”

Actually push myself? I’ve been doing that. I’ve been trying to finish the mile but I can’t do it. There’s no improvement in my running and it’s pretty frustrating, Emi. It’s even worse when you’re telling me that I’m not trying. Just freaking watch me! I can’t run! I simply can’t move my feet as fast as you can.

Well, move your leg blade things I guess.

“Right.” I give her a little nod, still not able to meet her gaze.

I’ve been pushing, Emi. It’s just that I’m pushing against years of inactivity and behind that is a brick wall made of chronic back pain. I’d strangle past Katsuo if I could. But I lack an arm and the ability to time travel so that’s completely out of the question.

“So we’re done here, right?” I stand and stretch my arms out in front of me. My back creaks and pops painfully as I push up from my spot on the bleachers.

“Yeah. We just need to go check in with the nurse!” Emi turns to Rin, light blooming out of every orifice as she continues to project cheer and pep everywhere. I turn my gaze to my feet, disgusted with myself for ever thinking I’d be able to keep up with her. I’m a loser. Did I honestly ever think I’d be able to just pick this up and turn my whole life around like the Nurse wants me to?

“You coming Rin?”

“Nope.” Rin sighs from her spot in the grass.

“Okay. I’ll see you at class. You are going today, right?”

“Maybe.”

“We need to go or we’re gonna be late for class ourselves.” I mutter, still staring at the ground. I just want to get away from these two for a while.

And there’s Emi again, tugging me by the shirt sleeve up the steps. I really wish she’d stop doing all this physical contact and dragging me around bullshit. I’ve given up on pulling my arm or sleeve away from this girl. All she does is seize it again and drag me along with an even tighter grip. So I just let her pull me here and there, despite how it slowly drags any ideas I had about dignity or self-respect through the mud. I know that somewhere deep down inside of me I’m actually pretty happy about a girl spending time with me, but I unfortunately have to shovel through several layers of feeling like shit to get to it. And I haven’t been able to dig that deep yet.

I keep just getting to that point where I need to lock myself in my room and find something familiar to latch on to. Something that keeps me grounded. Emi can’t get into my room yet. She hasn’t poured her sugar sweetness all over my one last refuge of my old life.

My movies.

“How’s your back today?” Emi shoots a glance over her shoulder. I can almost see my reflection in her big green eyes.

“It’s f-fine.” I lie. Because it isn’t. It’s still been bothering and it’s honestly not getting any better with all this crappy exercise that you and the nurse have been making me do. In fact, after I run, my back just seems to throb even harder.

Which is what it’s doing right now. That’s why I’m still sweating.

“Good! So, do you think you’re going to join us on the roof for lunch today?” Emi gives me a big, cute grin. One of the ones she always gives me when she’s trying to convince me to walk back up the stairs to that place constructed entirely of my nightmares.

“Uh. M-Maybe. Pr-Probably not. I’m kind of tired.”

“Oh boo. You’re no fun, Katsuo.” Emi gives my arm a sharp tug so that I stop dragging my feet and fall in line with her. I can smell that mixture of sweat and strawberry shampoo that wafts off of Emi’s hair. I’ve spent hours with that smell running through my mind. I swear that there are times when I’m in my room that I can smell it, despite Emi not being there with me. I’m worried. Every day I’m concerned that I might become some sort of obsessive stalker. Emi has no idea about it.

“Sorry. I just ha-haven’t been sleeping well lately.” I continue with the lies. I mean, I’m still really not sleeping well. I spend the entire night staring up at the ceiling, dreading that alarm going off at seven. Then it finally does and I embarrass myself in front of Emi at the track and it leads me right back to the ceiling at the end of the night.

Emi pouts but says nothing else as we finish the walk all the way to the Nurse’s office. It’s only once we slip through the building doors and end out journey at the office door to the man who doles out my pills. Emi usually goes in first but she just rests her hand on the doorknob before turning back to me.

“Katsuo. Nurse said that I have to properly motivate you to do better and better with your running.” She gives me that same pout from earlier.

“Uhm… Okay.” I give her a shrug. What’s that supposed to mean? You’re trying. I’m… trying, as futile as it is. What more do you want from me, Emi?

“But you keep turning all my attempts to get you to spend more time with Rin and I.” She goes on, dropping her hand from the door.

Come on. Just open the stupid door so I can get my painkillers. My back is killing me.

“You mean the roof thing? I told you I’m tired.” I rub the back of my neck and reach out for the doorknob. If Emi isn't going to go in first, then I will.

Emi pushes my hand away before I even get close.

OH COME ON.

“You can’t be tired every day for two weeks, Katsuo. That’s just an excuse. I know it is.”

“Wha- Emi. I’m serious. It’s just that I’m tired. And the roof isn't exactly my favorite place in the world.” You should know this. Remember how terrible and frightened and pathetic I was that first and only day we had lunch together? The only times we've spent time together outside of our morning runs were when you and Rin bumped into me in the hall. I’m trying to avoid you. How do you not get this?

“Surely you can get over your silly fear of heights when there are-“ Emi takes a step forward, smiling.

“Two girls? No! I can’t!” I snap as I jump away from her.

Emi freezes, mouth open slightly.

“It isn’t just-just something that I can just say that I’m like…. that I’m done with and “POOF”, I’m cured. I am TERRIFIED of the roof, Emi! I do not like heights and you… you just keep trying to get me to go up there!” I continue, my eyes snapping right to the ground. My back hurts. I’m tired. I’m sore. I’m humiliated and I just want to get my stupid painkillers and get to my stupid class so I can wait for lunch and get to the one piece of today that I actually want to happen.

“But if you don’t work on it like your running then-“

“Then what? My running isn’t going anywhere either. I can’t even do a… a stupid mile! I can’t keep up with you! It’s been two weeks and I haven’t seen an ounce of improvement with any of that or my back.” I place the palm of my hand against my forehead as I groan quietly. I can’t believe she won’t just get out of the way so I can get my stupid painkillers.

“You said your back was fine.” Emi jabs her finger into my chest. I push it away.

“I was lying! That’s what I do when you pull this c-cute crap with me. I lie and-and-and tell you it’s alright and that I’m f-fine. But I’m tired and sore and frustrated and this… this is hopeless. I can’t run! I can’t get Rin to stop asking me about my stupid arm and I can’t get you to stop making me feel so… worthless! I’m just feeling m-more and more like crap every day. So f-forget it, Emi! I’m just going to go back to my room.” I step around the girl in front of me and start down the hall. I've got to have at least two stupid painkillers left somewhere in my room.

“H-Hey! Don’t you need your painkillers?” Emi shouts after me.

I don’t stop walking or say anything. I’m just too sick and tired of my repeated failures and shortcomings to speak with the girl who’s bringing them all out anymore. Why can’t everything just go back to normal? I just want to sit down to watch stupid movies and read stupid comics. I don’t want to run anymore. I don’t want to have to try to avoid Emi and Rin all the time. All I want is my old life back. It has to go back to the time before the Nurse paired me off with this nightmare and attempted to get me to turn my life around. Because it isn't working.

I just feel like shit.
At least I still have The Worst Miki

I'll leave the front unlocked because I can't hear the doorbell.
Also, I write Fanfiction, apparently. [Once More] & [Breaking the Sound Barrier]

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Dr.Worm
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Re: Once More [Update: 8/29]

Post by Dr.Worm » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:57 am

Chapter 11: Movie Sign! - Part 2

I shut my door behind me and let out a sigh of relief. Since I spent the whole day in my room, I’m glad that I haven’t run into Emi or any of my classmates on my trip to get a simple sandwich from the cafeteria. My back isn’t happy about the trip away from my bed, especially since I couldn’t find a single pill anywhere in my room. As a result, I’ve just spent the day in my bed, sweating through everything, attempting to watch movies on my laptop.

The room I have at Yamaku is pretty empty. I don’t much care for decorating a place that I’m going to be moving out of at the end of the school year. All I have are a bunch of empty pill bottles on my desk, my laptop and a few books from the library. My room is usually dark except for the lights from my laptop. It’s one of the main reasons I look so ghostly and pale.

My shoes hit the wall as I kick them off. I drop my purchases, a sandwich and a can of soda, onto my bed before sitting down again. Okay. Just because I managed to avoid Emi or Rin during my expedition for lunch doesn’t make this a good day. There’s still the matter that I basically vomited my feelings out to Emi in front of the Nurse’s office. And what am I supposed to do now? I can’t show my face to Emi after that fiasco. I snapped at her and… And I just ruined everything. I can’t keep running after that. But the Nurse is going to kill me if I don’t show up for my morning run with Emi tomorrow, not to mention I won’t get my pills either.

I take a deep breath and try to push it all from my mind.

It doesn’t matter. All that matters right now is this weird soba omelet sandwich, my can of orange soda and whatever stupid, ridiculous sci-fi movie I decide to watch on my laptop. If I didn’t have my laptop, I don’t know how I’d have made it through the last few weeks. After my accident, with the ability to play most videogames taken from me, my father helped me build this thing and then load it up with all my favorite television shows and movies. Over the last four years, I’ve torrented quite the collection of tv shows, movies and comics. Anything I could even want to watch or ever dream of watching is on that thing.

Today, there’s only one choice for a movie. With how shitty I’m feeling and how terrible my back is being, the obvious choice for a movie is my all-time favorite old sci-fi flick, Planet Prince. The story of a masked super hero saving the world from destruction at the hands of Ambassador Phantom of the Ginsei. The movie features the same masked super hero as the television series of the same name… from 1958. And has the special effects of the era to match. It’s a terrible movie, granted, but that’s why I love it so much.

Afterwards, if I’m not too tired, I’ll start to watch Gamera again. There are so many of those movies that there’s no way I’ll make it through them all without passing out, pain or not.

I slide my laptop out from under my bed and open it up.

I’m halfway through cuing up my list when someone knocks on my door.

Who would bother me now? The Nurse? I did fall through on my promise to visit him after my run. And with how I blew up on Emi, it’s possible that she told him… or he simply heard me stuttering and yelling. I don’t think my ego can take any more of the guilt that guy dishes up. But he might have some pills for me. I guess I could take that chance.

Maybe it’s Mutou. I don’t usually make it a habit to miss class, especially home room. If not him, then maybe one of the guys I always get paired up with? They might be bringing me the classwork I missed. I doubt it, but it’s the best thing I could hope for right now.

I slowly make my way back over to the door, wincing with every step, as the knocking continues.

I open the door and it’s the second to last person I wanted to see right now.

“Nurse said I had to bring these to you.” Emi holds up a little bag with two white pills in it. She stares up at me, frowning.

Well it’s not like I expected a friendly greeting after what I shouted at her this morning. With a nod, I take the little bag from her and take a step back into my room.

“And he said I have to make sure you’re eating.” She continues.

I nod again. “I bought food from the cafeteria.”

“What did you get?”

“A-A sandwich. A good one.”

“Not one of the soba omelet ones, right?” Emi asks, crossing her arms over her chest. “Because those things are not good for you.”

I rub the back of my neck and stare at the ground again. I’m getting sick of looking at the same dirt, tiles and carpeting all the time. Why does everyone feel the need to lecture me about my health? I get it. I broke my back and arm. I need to take care of them. But I was doing just fine on my own with a bunch of pills. And then the Nurse had to give me this running partner crap and my life’s gone down the toilet since then.

“I knew it. If you aren’t going to try to improve your diet too, then you’re never going to improve your health. If you eat that sandwich, then you have to run twice as hard tomorrow!”

With a bellowing groan of frustration, I grab Emi by the shoulder and pull her into my room. I slam the door behind her and wheel on her.

“I am not some kid! You don’t n-need to lecture me!” I stammer out. I wish I knew what she was doing, but it’s kind of hard to see her with my eyes clamped shut so tight.

“And it doesn’t matter! I’m not going to be running tomorrow. Or… Or again. Ever. It’s not working!”

“How do you see in here? It’s so dark.” Emi mutters.

Emi manages to flip the lights on right as I open my eyes again.

“A-Are you even listening to me?”

“Yes. I am.” Emi turns back to me and shoves her finger in my chest. “And what I’m hearing is that you’re quitting. And it doesn’t work like that. You’re my responsibility and as your running partner I’m not just going to let you quit.”

“Wha-What does it even matter to you? You could just tell the Nurse that I’m running just fine and he wouldn’t know any better. I can just pick up my pills and we could go on with our merry lives.”

“Because you can’t take the easy way out, Katsuo! Nurse says you have to run for your back and I’m not in the habit breaking my promises.” Emi grabs my shirt collar and bares her fangs.

“And I’m not leaving until you say you’re going running with me tomorrow.”

I stare back at Emi until she lets go of my shirt. Great. Just great. I can’t even have my lunch alone anymore.

“Fine. But I’m eating my sandwich and watching my movie.”

“Well you’ll have to run extra hard tomorrow.”

“Which won’t happen because I’m not running.” I add before taking a seat on my bed again. It takes less than three seconds for me to finish my movie list and I place my laptop on my bedside table.

Emi plops her butt down on the opposite end of my bed. “What are you watching?”

“Planet Prince.” I pick my sandwich up and start unwrapping it. It’s an arduous process to peel the wrapper down with my fingers as I hold it between my legs.

“It’s in black and white?”

“Y-Yeah. It’s from the fifties.” I lift my sandwich to my mouth and stop as a low rumble overrides the movie. Emi turns away from my computer, frowning.

“Did you eat today?”

She mutters something about not having enough time.

I sigh. “Well… do you want some of my sandwich then?” I hold it out to Emi. “You’ll have to break it in half, because I can’t… Well, I mean… I totally can, but it isn’t going to be pretty.”

Emi needs no second bidding to take the sandwich from me and break it in half. She hands me back my half and I shove my two pills into it.

Neither of us says anything as we dig in. I keep shooting glances at the girl sitting near me. I always thought I’d be more excited for the first time I let a girl into my room. But all Emi did show up and start lecturing me. I didn’t have any choice but to drag her into my room. I wasn’t going to let her chastise me where everyone could hear her. It’s not like I invited her in. I was just trying to save myself the embarrassment.

“You know, for a guy, your room is pretty clean.”

“I don’t like messes.” I take another big bite from my sandwich.

“It’s cleaner than mine. But you don’t seem to own anything…” Emi continues.

“Shh.” I hold my finger up to my lips. “I’m trying to watch a movie.”

Emi nods and takes the last bite of her sandwich. Huh. She finished before me. Girl’s got an appetite. Good for her, I guess.

She doesn’t make another sound until the first showdown between Phantom’s men and the hero in that warehouse. By that time, my pills have kicked in and my back is feeling just fine. I could take on the world now.

“How come he keeps dodging them if he’s invulnerable to their lasers?”

I sigh. This is what happens when you don’t pay attention.

“He isn’t. When he said that their weapons were useless, it’s because they’ll never hit him. He can dodge every shot.” I explain, eyes never leaving the screen.

“Oh. Can I have some?” A quick glance reveals that Emi’s holding my can of orange soda and pointing at it.

I wave my hand at her. “Yeah yeah. Just save me some.”

“Are they really that stupid? They can’t see that guy’s the hero?”

“They’re kids from the fifties. I think everyone was just stupider back then. Or at least kids were.”

“How did they do the special effects for this in the fifties?”

“What? Like the lasers? They scratch the negatives in the right place.”

“Really? Do you know a lot about this stuff?”

“Yeah. Mostly just about old stuff though. My favorite is how they throw knives that just miss people and hit the door. There’s a machine they hook up to the back of a door and they pull on a rope. It brings the knife through the door.” I pantomime throwing a knife into the wall across from us. Emi giggles.

“Neat.”

“Yeah. Stuff like that is pretty cool. Especially in these old sci-fi flicks. They had to be pretty creative just to get these crappy little effects that we think are so funny.” I pop the last bit of bread into my mouth and chew it quickly.

The end credits roll when Emi speaks again.

“Do you have a lot of these movies?” Emi passes me my soda, which is already more than half empty.

“Y-yeah. I collect them. Or used to, I guess. The only movies that I don’t have are practically impossible to get or incredibly expensive.” I down the whole can and toss it into the trash across the room.

“Are you going to watch another?”

“Yes. I wasn’t going to go back to class today.”

“Can I stay and watch it?” Emi asks.

I can feel my cheeks burn. A girl wants to stay and watch movies with me. And it’s Emi. The girl that’s been driving me crazy just by being the most chipper and upbeat pretty thing on two metal legs to ever grace my eyeballs is sitting here on my bed and asking to watch movies with me. I should be ecstatic. I should be crying my eyes out over this opportunity to get close to a girl.

I don’t feel that sour churn in my stomach now. Maybe I can talk to Emi when we’re watching movies? This is my element. This is what I know. It might be the perfect ice breaker that I need to get over feeling sick to my stomach when I talk to Emi.

“You said you weren’t going to leave until I agreed to go running with you again.”

“Oh, right. And I’m not! I’m going to stay right here.” Emi strikes the top of my bed with her palm over and over again. “And you’re making me miss my classes, so just think about that.”

“Then I guess you can watch.” I scoot back on my bed and rest my back against the wall.

“Are you going to come running with me tomorrow?”

I pull my knees up to my chest. “Look, I’m sorry about snapping at you this morning. But… I’m not going to keep doing something that I’m… not making any progress in.”

“Katsuo, it’s been two weeks. Progress in this stuff is slow, you know. Especially when you’re a lazy couch potato,” She pokes me in the shoulder and gives me a grin. “Besides, it’s not like you’re doing super bad or anything. You haven’t fallen again.”

“Haha. Very funny.”

“No! I’m serious, you’re doing better than the Nurse thought you would be. If you keep up at it, I bet you’ll finish a mile soon!” Emi gives my shoulder an encouraging pat on the shoulder and that stupid, cute smile of hers again. I can practically taste pink clouds, the happiest of all clouds, in my mouth.

“Thanks.”

“So, will you come running with me again tomorrow morning?”

I turn back to the laptop as the first Gamera movie starts up.

“W-Will… Will you watch more movies with me at lunch tomorrow?” I stutter.

Emi turns to me, her smile slowly fading.

Oh god. No. Why’d I ask her? I’m stupid. She… She’s going to say no. I shut my eyes and brace myself for what I know is coming.

“Huh? Sure. Rin would love this stuff.”

Oh.

Oh that’s even worse. Still, I can’t help but smile, despite her complete misinterpretation. I at least asked a girl to watch movies with me. And she agreed. And in my room, nonetheless. I think I can deal with the headache that I get from more time with Rin.

“Yeah. I’m sure she will.”
At least I still have The Worst Miki

I'll leave the front unlocked because I can't hear the doorbell.
Also, I write Fanfiction, apparently. [Once More] & [Breaking the Sound Barrier]

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Re: Once More [Update: 9/26]

Post by Maradar » Sun Sep 29, 2013 7:51 pm

Excellent as always :). Very good character progression, I'm looking mightily forward to the next installment.
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Comrade
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Re: Once More [Update: 9/26]

Post by Comrade » Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:39 am

I'm now regretting not reading this before.
I really like the story so far, and katsuo as well
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Blasphemy
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Re: Once More [Update: 9/26]

Post by Blasphemy » Fri Oct 04, 2013 12:32 pm

So just finished reading everything so far. Overall I'm liking it quite a bit although I have my fair share of issues with it as well.

As Mirage pointed out the concept is new and I do like this perspective from a OC who's supposed to introduce Hisao to university. Katsuo also has a somewhat interesting personality and your ability to continuously make up jokes and funny terms that suit his character. That's not to say that it doesn't sometimes go on my nerves, but so far you haven't gone overboard yet.

It's also nice that we get the continuation of Rin's path. At first I wondered why Hisao wouldn't be much happier if he still got a girlfriend. But it being the Rin path explains why he's a bit more downbeat. Also Rin always opens up possibilities for fun/awkward conversations, such as the whole "I guess what happened to your arm" deal.
On the choice of Emi I'm so far pretty neutral, although I'll touch upon that a bit later.

Now what I'm not sure about is whether I really like the plot. This kind of story where you know the MC, from whose perspective it's told, has some secrets but it keeps dragging on about revealing those... well that's not quite my thing. At first we wait until it's revealed that his one arm is missing. Then we're told he has issues with girls but what we aren't told yet is why. What follows is the "THAT Rin?" where we're left to wonder if he knows Rin Tezuka. And currently we still don't know what ended his and Emi's relationship as well as what's the origin of his physical disability.

Not making his disability clear very early on seems just like a cheap way to keep the reader guessing and interested until you know.

The whole play around Rin's name appears almost like waving away a plot hole. I mean apparently for some reason Katsuo didn't listen at first when Hisao told him his girlfriends name? Why, it never seemed like Katsuo was necessarily daydreaming around as much as Hisao does. So it's hard to imagine both of them having a conversation where Hisao is about to mention his girlfriends name and Katsuo fails to pay intention. Seems a bit weak, but okay, no biggie.
However when Hisao then tells him the name "Rin" anyways, the idea of Katsuo not inquiring ANY further despite his former relationship with Emi is just illogical. So he actively wonders if it's Rin Tezuka but doesn't care enough to ask Hisao about it because... well why actually? Katsuo is aware that Hisao's from the same year as Emi and Rin. So there's definitely a chance that it may be her and if that's case he'd damn sure want to know.
It honestly just feels like a cop-out for the sake of your plot, which demands a very awkward introduction with Rin and Emi.
I mean not only doesn't Katsuo inquire any further but Hisao also just happens to not tell him anymore about her. These two guys are both from Yamaku, I don't see why Hisao wouldn't mention Rin's lack of arms or that she's into art or a bit weird or...

Everything in regards to the Emi relationship will be cleared up in a couple of chapters finally, I'd assume. But yeh, that as well as the origin of his disability are just another additional two points of interest that we know we'll get to at some point.

In short, there's just too much of this and it feels like I'm waiting to reach the revelations which makes it a bit predictable. I'm actually kinda interested to know how this story continues once all of this is dealt with and am afraid that at that point the plot may be almost over.
Another reason as to why I'm not a fan of these kind of secrets is that this is a first person narrator. In this particular case the first person narrator has no issue joking around in his mind and mentioning what he's thinking about. Well, except when it's about one of those secrets. With those it feels like the narrator actively tries to hide a bunch of information from us readers, which in my case made me actively think about just that and took me out of the illusion a bit.

So much for that. It doesn't bother me quite as much as that wall of text may make it seem, but yes, it's definitely an issue imo.

One part of the story which made me roll my eyes a bit is the arcade scene. Let them play games and enjoy the arcade as much as you want but the whole competition with the asshole seemed kinda laughable really. I also didn't really imagine that I'd have to stretch my suspension of disbelief in a story like this. I mean, really? There's a guy who's favorite game is SF2, which he plays for like at least 6 years, probably many multiple days a week, but he doesn't completely wipe the ground with Emi who'd played the game twice in her lifetime before getting a 30min tutorial from Katsuo? I mean really? Is Emi, unbeknown to us, secretly amazing at video games and can become insanely good in no time at just about everything? That whole scene is too unbelievable and that asshole character almost cringe worthy for my taste.
For what it's worth you do successfully progress Katsuo's and Emi's relationship at that point. I just wish it wasn't as corny.

I'm not sure if I like this kind of huge flashback you're squeezing into the story now. I mean it allows you to take us all back to Yamaku and provide more detailed information but on the other hand it puts the other timeline on a long hold. It feels a bit disjointed.

My last point is about Emi.
In short, I wonder if Emi would actually be interested in pursuing Katsuo as much as she does. I don't want to shine Emi in a shallow light or anything with the following but in Hisao's case a lot of the girls thought he was "cute" and probably felt slightly physically attracted to him. When Hisao ran with Emi he was at least capable of improving and if I can recall correctly he didn't have issues with doing small talk and having lunch with her either. Sure, he was a downer as well but I can see why Emi pursued him (in her path anyways).
Katsuo though, other than making jokes every now and then that Emi laughs about, there just doesn't seem to be much going for him. I mean maybe he's a real good looking guy but we don't know that. What we do know is that his posture is rather shitty thanks to his back problems. He is haggard and his daily shape is probably not the best due to lack of sleep. For some reason he doesn't even manage to improve his running (which is a bit unbelievable but that's beside the point). He avoids lunch with Emi and Rin due to his fear of heights and to top it he's dishonest to Emi.

It may be enough for her that he tries, the nurse wants her to do the job and she can be very focused on reaching a goal. Well, maybe she even immediately got attracted to him for all kinds of reasons.
I know there's no right or wrong answer to the question "why does Emi keep pursuing Katsuo?" but I definitely feel the connection between the two is much, much weaker than the one Hisao and Emi share in KS.

While that was a lot of criticism above, keep in mind that I'm sometimes more keen on elaborating on the problems. I still do overall like this quite a bit and I'll certainly keep reading.

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Re: Once More [Update: 9/26]

Post by Dr.Worm » Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:47 pm

Blasphemy wrote:So just finished reading everything so far. Overall I'm liking it quite a bit although I have my fair share of issues with it as well. [/size]
Oh.. Oh my. Well, let's hear them!
Blasphemy wrote:As Mirage pointed out the concept is new and I do like this perspective from a OC who's supposed to introduce Hisao to university. Katsuo also has a somewhat interesting personality and your ability to continuously make up jokes and funny terms that suit his character. That's not to say that it doesn't sometimes go on my nerves, but so far you haven't gone overboard yet.
To be honest, it's kind of intended to get annoying at times. At least Katsuo gets on my nerves sometimes, which is why it takes me longer and longer to crank out a chapter. But that's part of his personality.
Blasphemy wrote:Now what I'm not sure about is whether I really like the plot. This kind of story where you know the MC, from whose perspective it's told, has some secrets but it keeps dragging on about revealing those... well that's not quite my thing.
Duly noted. And I am sort of struggling with the pacing of when to reveal everything. It all looked so neat and nice when I wrote it out, but it's been falling apart since then. I have had several moments where I just want Katsuo to break totally and SAY everything in one glob. "Hey Hisao. I got my arm ripped off by giant spider from Saturn with Mickey Rooney's face. Emi punched me in the face because I tried to sew cats to her legs blah blah blah."

The idea is that, much like Emi's route, you know eventually that it was something horrible, so Katsuo tries to block it out. Katsuo's motto is something like: "If it bothers you, just don't think about it! That fixes everything!" Or at least until Chapter Nine!

And on the subject of "hiding" the disability, it was just sort of supposed to be one of those "I'm used to it, so it doesn't cross my mind." His disability is made clear in the first chapter after all.

But thanks. I'll see what I can do about that when I start editing the next chapter.
Blasphemy wrote: The Fucking Arcade Scene.
Okay. So, the competition? I wrote that thinking "Yeah! This is really corny but sort of fits into the idea of what's important to Katsuo! This'll be good!" Let's start of with mentioning that I did write it knowing that it was pretty freaking corny.

And then RIGHT after I posted the next chapter, EVERYTHING you just wrote that bothers you suddenly became so obvious to me. I am actually pretty ashamed with myself concerning actually posting that and thinking it was good...

With the amount of time Hayate's put into the game, you'd think he'd be on some sort of pro-circuit at this point. I'd love to say that Emi won with "determination", "beginner's luck" and "the power of friendship", but that'd be pretty stupid.

I'm at least glad that you think I progressed Emi and Katsuo's relationship there, but yes, so far, the arcade scene is my least favorite part of this story and I am working on some sort of edit to it that doesn't totally screw up the storyline. So far, it's just come to making Hayate only think he's great at SF2.
Blasphemy wrote: The Flashback.
RIght. Well, to be honest, the flashback at this point is over. But we'll be diving back into them later. At the very most, I'm only talking about three or four more chapters of flashback later on in the story.

And maybe like one more towards the end of the story.
Blasphemy wrote:The Stuff about Emi.
Ooookay. Let's see...

Well, Katsuo is a lot harder on himself than he should be. He's not very confident about his physical abilities, but he is trying to improve. I figured that the raw determination of him showing up to that track, day after day, should be enough to at least put him on the radar with Emi. Even if the "determination" is more along the lines of "Trying to find something to impress the cute girl."

The last chapter, in my opinion, at least reveals that Katsuo is capable of talking to Emi if it's something he's knowledgeable about. This is supposed to be a BIG step up for a guy who's mentioned, to himself in his head at least, his only real interaction with a girl has been crushing over her and then trying to beat up his best friend for liking her too.

So then he reveals that he's been sort of lying to her, but it's more along the lines of trying to be tougher than he actually is.

The idea behind the story-telling flashback is that we are, like the rest of the story, seeing it through Katsuo's eyes. We only really get to see what he wants and hear about what he thinks is important. So, maybe Katsuo's being a lot harder on himself than he should. Maybe he actually is kind of good looking. But he's got almost no self-confidence at this point, so he isn't going to talk about how he thinks he's got it going on in the looks department.

Maybe he has done some sort of marginal improvement. Maybe he just doesn't see it because he isn't keeping up with Emi, a girl who's been running her entire life, according to the VN.

I realize this is a lot of "Maybes" I'm throwing out there, but that's what I've got at this point without just spoiling things.


So, first off: Thank you very much for all the feedback! I honestly do appreciate all forms of criticism and you haven't been as harsh as you might think. I've definitely received worse from others. I'm glad that, despite all the flaws with the story, you're enjoying it. I do enjoy writing it and I'm happy that I've managed to scrape up a few interested readers.

Secondly: If there's anything else you see that might help me strengthen the plot or my writing, please don't hesitate to post here or message me. After all, there's always room for me to improve!
At least I still have The Worst Miki

I'll leave the front unlocked because I can't hear the doorbell.
Also, I write Fanfiction, apparently. [Once More] & [Breaking the Sound Barrier]

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