Developments (Post-Lilly NE) [Complete, 2015-08-11]

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Re: Developments (Post-Lilly Neutral End) - Chapter 35 up 3/

Post by Guest Poster » Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:58 am

Not to mention the fact not all writers/readers are fans of the Kenji/Yuuko ship. I personally feel it stretches the suspension of disbelief and would come across as jarring in a fairly down-to-earth fic like this one.
Sisterhood: True Edition. Hanako epilogue I wrote. Now expanded with additional chapters.

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Re: Developments (Post-Lilly Neutral End) - Chapter 35 up 3/

Post by Oscar Wildecat » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:12 am

After picking up our lunches, I turn to see Noriko winking at me. It's almost enough to make me put my lunch back down. Even worse, I see a couple of others at the table looking at me, then talking and laughing about...well, probably me, but hopefully not. Either way, I beat a hasty retreat.
I hope this is just gossip about the local "master of romance" and not an omen of as of yet unknown crap being stirred behind the scenes...
I like all the girls in KS, but empathize with Hanako the most.
"Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience." - Mark Twain
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Re: Developments (Post-Lilly Neutral End) - Chapter 35 up 3/

Post by Ranger296 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:42 pm

Heh...maybe I'm starting to appreciate art a little bit after all.
The glorious Rin ending awaits us! ;)

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Re: Developments (Post-Lilly Neutral End) - Chapter 35 up 3/

Post by dewelar » Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:01 pm

As always, thanks to all for the kind words!
Mirage_GSM wrote:I rather thought this chapter was throwing any progress from the last one out of the window and moving everything back to the state of equilibrium...
I have a feeling I know what you mean by this, and if so then you might want to wait....hmm, maybe 3-4 chapters.
Flarezium wrote:Why Yoshi? You know there's already a Blind guy who likes Yuuko who's in bro-mode with Hisao in the game, right? Why add another character who essentially fulfills the same purpose?
Mirage nailed this one already. It's mostly the first item on his list, with a sprinkling of #2 and 3.
Anyway liking the story so-far. There aren't very many post Lilly neutral fics out there.
Glad to hear you're enjoying it! Yes, the lack of similar fics is what put me in mind to write this one in the first place. I'm very much enjoying the new one that brythain is writing, too. Check it out if you haven't already.
Rin is orthogonal to everything.
Stuff I've written: Developments, a continuation of Lilly's (bad? neutral?) ending - COMPLETE!

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Re: Developments (Post-Lilly Neutral End) - Chapter 35 up 3/

Post by Deadpool021 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:16 pm

Every time I read a chapter, I think of a million directions the next chapter can go but you still amaze me in writing something I didn't think about. How do you do that you magnificent bastard? :lol:

In all seriousness though, I think you're doing an amazing job Dewelar. You always keep me hooked on the story and usually don't take very long to post new chapters. Keep up the great writing.

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Re: Developments (Post-Lilly Neutral End) - Chapter 35 up 3/

Post by NotSoClassy » Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:58 pm

Epic buildup. But you can only build suspense for so long before it gets a bit annoying, just sayin.

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Re: Developments (Post-Lilly Neutral End) - Chapter 35 up 3/

Post by Blank Mage » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:01 pm

Well, I for one am perfectly happy with the pace. Sure, Hisao is indecisive, but I think that's pretty fair; he's ruined a relationship already by rushing things, and this situation is an order of magnitude more delicate. A poor decision here can destroy all three friendships, and there's no easy answer. (Well, except the Harem Route. )

As for the chapter, another point for Hanako! I like these odds, but there's no telling what Lilly's return will do to the dynamic.
And we're back.
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Re: Developments (Post-Lilly Neutral End) - Chapter 35 up 3/

Post by griffon8 » Sun Mar 09, 2014 4:30 pm

Guest Poster wrote:Not to mention the fact not all writers/readers are fans of the Kenji/Yuuko ship. I personally feel it stretches the suspension of disbelief and would come across as jarring in a fairly down-to-earth fic like this one.
This. There is nothing in the VN which actually says they were in a relationship.
Blank Mage wrote:there's no easy answer. (Well, except the Harem Route. )
You think that's the easy answer?
I found out about Katawa Shoujo through the forums of Misfile. There, I am the editor of Misfiled Dreams.

Completed: 100%, including bonus picture. Shizune>Emi>Lilly>Hanako>Rin

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dewelar
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Developments, Chapter 36

Post by dewelar » Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:53 pm

"We are now on final approach to Sendai Airport..."

After spending the majority of the past two days in transit, I cannot imagine hearing more wonderful words. It will be good to be able to relax again, but more importantly I will finally be able to remove myself from the cycle of second-guessing through which I have been spinning since Akira dropped me off at the train station two days ago.

I suppose that is one of the disadvantages to traveling alone: it gives a person too much time to think about such things. This is the first time I've taken such a long journey without Akira sitting next to me. Of course, Akira generally sleeps through flights, but simply knowing that she's there has always been a comfort. Anticipating that very circumstance, I brought several audio books with me, but sadly my thoughts turned them into just so much background noise.

A shame, since I was looking forward to a couple of those. Ah, well, another time.

Still, the symbolism of this journey is not lost on my inner teacher of literature. Once I leave this airplane, I also need to leave the doubts that have followed me within it. This decision is one I cannot take back; it's the one I should have made in the first place, the ones my parents expected me to make, and the one that reunites me with my family.

My Yamaku family – the family we built for ourselves.

Once we reach the gate, things go quite smoothly. After all, my sister contacted JAL even before she technically knew my plans. The crew and staff are as helpful as always, guiding me off the plane and through the security checkpoints. Since I'm not sure whether Hanako will be with Hisao, I tell my escort that I'm being met by a boy with messy hair who will likely be wearing a sweater-vest. I'm fairly confident there won't be too many of those around, even this late in the summer.

After we've walked some distance, the attendant asks, "Excuse me, Miss Satou, but the gentleman we're looking for, might he be traveling with a young lady of about the same age?"

"Perhaps. Can you describe her?" I wish I didn't have to ask, knowing how much Hanako dislikes being looked at, but I want to be sure.

"She's fairly tall, with long straight hair combed over her right eye, wearing a denim jacket and a cap."

So Hanako did come. That is good news indeed.

I smile earnestly at my companion. "In that case, I believe you've spotted our quarry, Miss Iwakuma."

"Is that gentleman by chance your boyfriend?" she asks, a smile obviously present in her voice. I do my best to ensure my own countenance doesn't betray my mixed feelings at the question as I respond.

"No. Actually, if all proceeds as I hope, if he isn't already, he'll soon be dating the lady standing next to him."

"So, you're the matchmaker, then! How exciting! Ah, they've seen us! Shall I leave you in their care?"

"Yes, thank you."

A matchmaker? I never thought of it that way, but perhaps it's appropriate.

The attendant takes a step away, but she's close enough to sense her presence despite the crowd. I know she's there only to ensure that these are, in fact, the people whom I am supposed to meet, but I also could sense another sort of tension in her. No doubt, being able to vicariously take part in happy reunions like this is a nice side benefit to an occupation like hers. If that's the case, I can't begrudge her that feeling.

I brace myself for a reprise of the scene upon my previous return from Scotland. My absence was only slightly longer this time than it was then, but for me it's felt quite lengthy indeed. Because of that, I'd welcome such an embarrassing display of affection. If I could, I'd throw myself at them just as earnestly.

However, instead of being nearly bowled over, I'm caught in a gentle embrace. It takes me off guard, and for a moment I feel almost disappointed. Still, I immediately recognize Hanako's presence, though there's something different about it, too. "Welcome back, Lilly," she says, clearly and confidently. At hearing her voice, my disappointment quickly turns to joy...and perhaps a hint of pride, that maybe something of what I told her before I left might have begun to emerge.

Maybe that's the difference I feel.

"Thank you, Hanako," I reply, returning the embrace. "It's very good to be back."

From a short distance away, I hear Hisao's voice. "That's good to hear," he says, the smile obvious in his tone. "How were your flights?"

Speaking over Hanako's shoulder, I reply, "I think the kindest word I can use to describe them is "uneventful." "Long" also comes to mind," I add with a chuckle. "It's good to meet with you again, Hisao. I've missed both of you a great deal."

A part of me wants to tell Hisao exactly how much I've missed him, especially these past few days. I can't do that, of course, and I may never be able to do that. That is part of my penance for the poor choices I've made over these past weeks. Hoping for the chance would be hoping that the person I least want to see get hurt, would be hurt.

The person in question pulls back from me slightly and says, "We...missed you, too."

Not entirely gone, I see. I suppose it would be too much to ask for her to have grown quite so much in just a couple of weeks.

"I know, and I'm sorry for that." I hear Hanako take a breath as though she's about to say something, but I stop her, reluctantly separating from her the rest of the way. "We can talk more about that later. For now, we should probably pick up my bags."

"Good point," Hisao says. He takes a couple of steps toward me, then asks, "Do you want me to guide you?"

"If it's all right," I reply. "I've never been here without Akira, so I'm afraid I don't know this airport very well. I only know that we need to go down from here."

Hisao offers me his arm, and I place my hand on his elbow. It's the first truly familiar sensation I've had, and I can't help but smile. I hear Hanako move to Hisao's other side, and the three of us make our way to the elevator. "So," Hisao says after the door closes, "what do your bags look like?"

"The night I left, I stayed with a friend of Akira's in London. She was kind enough to attach a ribbon of the same color to each of the pieces so they could be easily spotted."

"What color am I looking for, then?" Hisao asks.

I smile slightly. "Since I knew you would be meeting me, I asked her to use green."

"I'm surprised you remembered," Hisao says with a soft chuckle. The elevator stops, and we emerge into the bustling crowd. We walk a short distance before stopping again, and through the din I can hear the distinctive hum of a baggage carousel, broken by the occasional hiss-thump of luggage being deposited onto it. "Why don't you two wait here while I get the bags? How many are there?"

"Just two," I reply. "I wanted to make sure there were only as many as I could handle in case something went wrong. Akira is shipping the rest once I let her know I'm here and settled."

"Right," Hisao says, and I remove my hand from his arm. "I'll be back soon, hopefully."

Hisao's presence is quickly absorbed by the crowd in front of us. I feel Hanako move closer to me, although she stops short of pressing herself against me as she often does. She's been quiet since we left the concourse, and the specter of our last conversation rises in my mind. I also can't help but think about her phone being off when I tried to reach her the other day. Trying to keep my voice neutral, I ask, "So how have you been these past few days?"

"All right," comes the guarded reply. This is a conversation for later, then, so I quickly move on to more urgent matters.

"I know this is rather short notice, but I was wondering if I might stay in your room tonight. Given the lateness of the hour, I won't be able to retrieve the key to my room until tomorrow."

Hanako doesn't answer right away, and when she does her stammer is back in full force. "O-okay, but...are you s-sure you wouldn't...prefer to stay...somewhere else?"

"I'm not sure I understand," I say lightly. In reality, I probably do, but I hope I'm wrong.

"N-never mind," she says, so softly I almost miss it. Sounding more like she did before, she continues, "Staying with me w-would be fine."

I smile uneasily, deciding it would be best not to press the matter. The specter looms a bit larger as I recall the topic of our tense words that day, and I wonder if that's still on her mind as well. I wouldn't be surprised if she suspects that I still have feelings for Hisao. After all, such suspicions wouldn't be at all unfounded, but right now Hanako's feelings take precedence. I need to do whatever it takes to assure her that I won't stand in her way.

That was the promise I made to her...and to myself.

"I'm very happy to hear that, Hanako. I think we have a lot of catching up to do."

"That's...true. Oh, here he comes."

"You know, one of you could have gotten me a cart for these," Hisao complains as he comes toward us.

"Oh!" Hanako exclaims. "S-sorry...and they're r-right here, too..."

"No, it's fine," Hisao says, a touch of sarcasm in his voice as I hear the clatter of what I presume is such a cart being retrieved. "Actually, it feels kind of nostalgic, the three of us together with me handling the bags."

"I-it has been a while, hasn't it?" Hanako says, giggling a bit.

"Hmmm...if you really have missed that, I'm sure we can accommodate you," I say teasingly.

"Well, the cart is loaded up," Hisao says as I hear one last clatter. "So, if you're done enjoying yourselves at my expense, we can have a nostalgic elevator ride, just like we used to in the old days of ten minutes ago."

Both Hanako and I laugh at that, and Hisao joins in as well as we wait for the elevator. It does a good deal to clear the air of unease that had been building around us, especially Hanako. I'm glad I'll be staying with her tonight so that we might talk about it. Under the circumstances, I can only hope that it's something she's willing to share with me.

As the elevator comes to a stop, I put my hand on Hanako's arm. It's something I haven't had the opportunity to do in a long time, and it's something I feel a particular need to do right now. I want to reassure Hanako that I trust her as much as, if not more than, I do Hisao. It would also be nice to see more of the confidence I had seen when I first arrived.

However, that doesn't happen, at least at first. From her slight intake of breath, it was obvious that the gesture took her by surprise, and as we first step out of the elevator her arm is very stiff. After a short walk we pass through an automatic door, and I can feel the warm night air brushing against me. Fall may be swiftly approaching, but it's still a good deal warmer here than in Scotland.

"So, have you had anything to eat?" Hisao asks as we walk a bit further. I can hear the sound of traffic from both ahead and below, which tells me we're on the elevated walkway which takes us to the area where the taxi stand is located. "If you want to relax, The Shanghai should still be open for a while."

While I wouldn't mind having a chance to relax and stretch out somewhere familiar, I'm not sure how well Hisao would stand up to a walk back from town given his recent problems. I decide it's better to demur, at least for now. "I had time to eat at Tokyo Airport during my layover, so perhaps it would be best to go straight back to Yamaku. Unless we have a particularly long wait for a taxi, I believe we should make it back before curfew."

"Yeah, okay then," Hisao replies, sounding a bit tired himself. That's as good a confirmation as I'll get that my instinct was right.

Soon enough, we've stopped walking again, and I gather that we're now in the taxi queue itself. Since I would like to spend some time with my companions tonight, I decide to suggest an alternative. "Actually," I say, turning to Hanako, "I wouldn't mind sitting up and talking for a bit. Do you still have the table we used for our tea parties?"

"Table?" Hanako's thoughts seem to have been elsewhere, although if her arm is any indication she's relaxed at least a bit. "Oh...r-right, I'd almost...y-yes, I have it in my room."

"In that case, would you allow me to impose on you for a brief one this evening?"

"I'd...like that!" Hanako exclaims quickly. "It would be like a...welcome back party."

"Sounds good to me, too," Hisao adds, "especially since we never had a proper going-away party for you. That was my fault, I suppose."

I smile a little more widely. "That's quite all right, Hisao. Besides, I prefer to think of it as being welcomed home."

"Home? So...y-you're staying here...permanently?"

"I was wondering that myself," Hisao interjects. "What you told me on the phone was a little bit vague."

I frown slightly, knowing that Hisao is right. "I suppose it was, and for that I suppose it's my turn to apologize again. Rest assured, I have no plans to return to Scotland in the future except to visit. I have...much that is important to me here that I hope I never have to leave behind again." I squeeze Hanako's elbow to emphasize the last sentence.

"Well, for however long you're here, we're glad to have you back," Hisao says cheerfully.

"R-right," Hanako adds, somewhat less so. Before tonight, I'd have expected it to be the other way around. It may be that my connection with Hisao has weathered my absence better than the one I have with Hanako. That would be more than a little ironic.

We've now reached the front of the queue. The next taxi pulls up, and the three of us climb into it as the driver places my luggage in the trunk. As the cab pulls away, Hanako says, "W-we're not going to have much...time before curfew, are we?"

I smile in response. "That never stopped us before. Why should it tonight?"

"At least we don't have any wine this time," Hisao says.

I cringe a bit, expecting Hanako to react badly to the mention of that occasion, but she surprises me again. "That's b-because Akira's...n-not here," she says sadly. "I'm...s-sorry I wasn't in better touch with her, too. Do you think she'll...visit sometime now that you're back?"

She may have surprised me in one way, but not this one. Even over and above whatever issues surround her birthday, concern for others – in this case, my sister – has always taken precedence. "I'm sure she will, but it likely won't be for some time, I'm afraid. Her hands are quite full with her new position; Father has made sure of that."

"That reminds me," Hisao says, "I'm very interested to hear how your meeting with your father went. I realize I don't know very much about your family, but I didn't get the impression that he was the type to back down so easily."

Leave it to Hisao to bring something like that up now. "As Akira would say, you always were curious, Hisao," I say with a laugh, trying to deflect the question. "I think those details should probably wait until we're safely back in Hanako's room."

"Fair enough," Hisao says.

The conversation ends there – or at least my own portion of it does. The next thing I know, I'm being lightly shaken. "Lilly...we're here," says a voice from somewhere around the top of my head. Apparently, I'd fallen asleep on Hanako's shoulder.

I really do hate flying.

After the driver removes our bags from the taxi, we start on our way to the girls' dormitory. Here, at least, I have the freedom to navigate for myself. Hisao starts out carrying one bag and wheeling the other, but before we get much past the front gate, Hanako says, "Let m-me take one, Hisao." Although there are no further words, when we resume walking I can tell that the sound of the wheels is now coming from behind Hanako.

Soon enough, Hanako is unlocking the door to her room. "Are you sure you're up to this?" Hisao asks me as we all enter. "We could just do this tomorrow."

"I'll be fine, Hisao. I'll need a cup of tea to help me relax before bed anyway. Besides, my parents insisted on having nothing but British tea in their house, so I've been missing what I'd grown accustomed to drinking here."

"In that case, I'll...go get the tea ready," Hanako says, and the pleasant sound of clinking porcelain carries her to the door. She departs, leaving the door open behind her.

Once she's left, I ask, "Hisao, can you see the table anywhere?"

"Yeah, it's right over there against the wall. Should I set it up?"

"If it's not too much trouble." I wait until I no longer hear the table being positioned, then say quietly, "I was very glad to see Hanako with you this evening. Should I take this to mean that lunch went well?"

Hisao lets out a breath and answers, "I think so. She already knew you were coming back, though. She found out from Misha."

"Misha?!" I say, squeaking in my effort to keep my voice soft, making myself wince. "Well, Shizune would have told her, I'm sure." I smile slightly as I continue, "There was something else I wanted to ask, though. I don't mean to pry, but has whatever issue the two of you had been settled?"

"That's...a bit more of a discussion, and one you might prefer to have with Hanako."

With a sigh, I say, "I suppose you're right, Hisao."

At that moment, I hear the sound of approaching footsteps, and then Hanako's voice. "S-sorry it took so long. I...hadn't used the set since you l-left it here, so I...wanted to clean it first."

That's not surprising, as Hanako was never a big tea drinker. I'm not sure she drank it at all before we started having lunch together. "It's no trouble at all," I reply lightly as I position myself on the floor. Even though I know I'm not in my own room, the feeling of being back where I belong is growing with each familiar moment like this.

Although, come to think of it, not ENTIRELY familiar.

"Sorry, Hisao," I say, putting my hand to my face to cover my laughter. "You'll just have to imagine that we're in our pajamas this time."

Suddenly, a loud crashing sound comes from off to my right, followed by a pair of shouts. "I-I'm sorry!" Hanako says, her voice loud and quite shaky, and I realize what's happened. "I'll...get some towels..." She dashes to the closet behind me and starts rummaging around.

"Oh, dear...I should move...which way?"

"Towards the window, I think," Hisao says calmly, and I hear him moving the table as well. "It looks like the tray caught most of it, Hanako, so just one big towel should do it. More importantly, is there a vacuum anywhere around?"

I stand up and feel my way over to the far wall before replying, "I seem to remember there being one in the supply closet near the common room."

"Okay, thanks, I'll check there."

Once Hisao has left, I can hear Hanako busying herself with cleaning. "I'm s-sorry, L-lilly..."

"It's all right, Hanako. Perhaps I should forgo the tea anyway and just get some rest."

Given how nervous Hanako seems now, she could likely use some as well.

"N-no, I m-meant...the tea set..."

"Why would you apologize for that, Hanako? I left that with you as a gift."

"B-but..."

I smile as warmly as I can manage. "Besides, this gives us an excuse to go into town tomorrow to shop for another one. We do have a lot of catching up to do, after all."

"R-right..."

Just then I hear Hisao's returning footsteps. "You do know that closet is locked, right?"

"Ah, of course, I should have remembered."

"Yes, you should," Hisao chides me lightly.

I smile in return. "Hisao, I've been awake for well over 24 hours straight, so perhaps you might be willing to excuse the occasional lapse in my thought processes."

Hisao laughs, then says, "Hanako, can I borrow your key, or do you want to get it?"

"H-here," Hanako replies. "I'll...k-keep working here." As Hisao departs once again, I hear Hanako continue. "I thought...you might want to r-relax tomorrow after all the traveling."

"Hanako, shopping with you is relaxing. Besides, I'll need to go to the convenience store now that I'll be living here again."

Hanako sighs, sounding almost annoyed. "I...need to go, too. I h-haven't been back since..."

Hanako's voice trails off. If, as I suspect, she's talking about the day she went with Hisao, that would be well over a week now. "In that case, we definitely need to make a trip tomorrow, if only to make sure we don't starve." I hear a stifled laugh from Hanako, and I smile. "Perhaps just the two of us, though...we wouldn't want Hisao to complain about carrying our bags again, would we?"

"Good idea," Hanako says with a bit more lightness in her tone. For most of the night she's seemed on edge, especially when talking to me. That's the main reason I suggested not bringing Hisao tomorrow; if he's not there, I have a better chance of drawing Hanako out, and perhaps repair whatever damage I can.

"I found the vacuum," Hisao says as he returns to the room. "It's kind of late, though. Is anyone going to complain if we use this?"

"The o-only other one in this hall is...Yoshimura," Hanako replies. "It...should be fine, I think."

"Yoshimura..." Hisao says quietly, as if trying to retrieve a memory. I have only a vague recollection of her myself. I know she's a second year who had quite the time of it with the infamous Yamaku rumour mill. She rarely spoke with me, and I got the impression she didn't much like either Hanako or me, but I never understood why. After a moment, Hisao says, "Oh, right, Noriko. You think she'll be okay with it?" The room goes still for a moment, and I feel an odd chill for some reason. "Is something wrong?"

"Y-you kn-now Yoshimura?" Hanako says, her voice shaking a bit more than usual.

"Well, I've...talked to her a couple of times in the hall here. I'm not sure that qualifies as knowing her, though."

There's a long silence after that, and it sounds like Monday morning in my head.

One more thing I'll have to find out tomorrow, it seems.

I decide to take the easy way of defusing the situation. "Hisao, perhaps you should let us finish taking care of this." After checking my watch, I continue, "It's nearly curfew, anyway. I'm sorry we didn't have a chance to talk."

Hisao is quiet for a moment before answering. "Right, I...probably should be going, shouldn't I? Do you two have any plans for tomorrow?"

Ah, Hisao, I see you're as good at taking hints as ever.

"We'll be doing some shopping in town, I think. If we find something suitable, perhaps we can try this again tomorrow night. What do you think, Hanako?"

"O-okay," she says quietly, still with a hint of the strain in her voice I heard earlier.

"Okay, then. Give me a call when you've decided. I know you and Hanako can handle things from here, so I'll talk to you both later." I hear him take a couple of steps and then stop. "Oh, and since I haven't officially said it: welcome back, Lilly."

"Thank you, Hisao, and good night."

"Good night, both of you."

"G-good night, Hisao," Hanako says, her voice softening a bit more. After Hisao leaves, Hanako says, "I'd b-better get this now," and immediately starts the vacuum.

As the irregular hum fills the room, I think about the scene I just witnessed. Obviously, there's still some kind of tension between Hanako and Hisao, but I still don't know its source. It serves as a stark reminder of how much I've missed. A lot can happen in a week, indeed, and even more in the time I was gone.

After a couple of minutes, Hanako turns the machine off and says, "I'm...s-sorry, Lilly. You deserved a b-better welcome than...that."

"I appreciate that, Hanako, but really, I didn't expect anything special. I'm just glad to be back. Besides," I say with a chuckle, "it's not as though I gave you any time to plan something."

"No...you didn't," Hanako says with what sounds like mock indignation, "but...I'm really glad you're back, too." For the second time tonight, I feel Hanako's arms wrap around me. This time, it feels more like the embrace I'd expected at the airport, and I happily return it. We remain that way for a few moments, and just as my own tears start to come, I feel Hanako's on my left shoulder.

Now...I'm REALLY home...

Eventually, Hanako breaks away, saying, "Do you...have a pillow with you? I just did the laundry..."

After deciding the sleeping arrangements for the night, I take a very welcome shower. Since I'm her guest, Hanako insisted I take the bed, and I didn't have the strength to put up anything more than token resistance. To be honest, after all that traveling, I think any bed would feel good, but this one has the comforting feeling of Hanako about it. It almost feels like she's giving me my third hug of the night, and I relax very quickly.

Once Hanako has settled down on the floor, I say in a quiet voice, "It's been a long time since I stayed in this room, hasn't it?" During the second semester last year, after I'd gotten to know Hanako, I began to check on her from time to time when I heard her having nightmares. That occasionally led to me spending the night here, perhaps more for my own peace of mind than hers. Over the past several months, that had happened less and less often, and more recently not at all.

"Not s-since...May, I think," Hanako says. "The...l-last time we went out to karaoke with Akira."

I'm surprised I didn't remember that. Perhaps I blocked that memory out for the purposes of self-preservation. Akira had imbibed a bit more than she should and was in no shape to drive home, so we insisted that she come back here and sleep it off in my room. The bus ride back was especially unpleasant, and Akira said that the one back into the city the next morning was only slightly less so.

Neither one of us says anything for a while, but just as I'm starting to drift off to sleep, I'm brought back to consciousness by Hanako's voice. "Lilly...why...did you decide to come back?" she asks.

It takes a moment for my brain to return to a place where it will allow me to answer that. "There were a lot of reasons," I say sleepily.

"I know, but...why so soon?"

"A bit out of character for me, wasn't it?" I say, forcing myself to be fully awake. It wasn't a question I wanted to answer until I'd returned, but there's no reason to put it off now. "Part of it was how I was getting on with my family, I suppose, but there was something more important. A few days ago, Akira said something to me that I hadn't considered. She said that by leaving Japan, by leaving the people I'd come to think of as family, I had done the same thing our parents had done to us."

I hear Hanako's sharp intake of breath. "That's...a l-little harsh..."

"At first, I thought so, too, but after considering it further I decided she was right. After all, I do think of both you and Hisao as family, and Akira, in her wisdom, could see that for herself." I turn toward Hanako, saying, "I'm not certain if you think of me in that way anymore, if you ever did, but if so I would be very happy."

After another brief silence, Hanako says, "So...does that mean that y-you want things to go back to...the way they were before you left?"

Hanako's nervousness has returned once again, and given the tone of her voice, there can only be one thing about which she's asking. It explains a lot of what happened tonight, and I'd really hoped that I wouldn't have to discuss it.

Please, Hanako, don't ask such dangerous questions.

Still, I know what my answer has to be. "Hanako, if this is about Hisao, then please don't concern yourself. I've already told you that our relationship is over. I have no intention of changing that."

In the excruciating silence that follows, I hear Hanako take a breath as though she's going to say something not once, but twice. Finally, she simply says, "Okay."

I let out my own breath as quietly as I can before responding. "We really should get some sleep. It's been quite a long few days."

For both of us, I imagine.

"Yes, it...has. Good night, Lilly."

"Good night, Hanako."

I settle in for the night, somewhat less sanguine about my return than I was a few hours ago.

I only hope I can bring things back around tomorrow.

~~~~

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Last edited by dewelar on Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Stuff I've written: Developments, a continuation of Lilly's (bad? neutral?) ending - COMPLETE!

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Re: Developments (Post-Lilly Neutral End) - Chapter 36 up 3/

Post by cptngarlock » Sat Mar 15, 2014 1:27 am

Another good chapter, as always. I still can't say I'm a fan of Yoshimura's involvement -- there's an aching in my bones that says it'll cause some horrid misunderstandings that, frankly, I'd expect better of. Otherwise, good chapter.

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Re: Developments (Post-Lilly Neutral End) - Chapter 36 up 3/

Post by bhtooefr » Sat Mar 15, 2014 6:41 am

Hanako's not stupid, though...

Prediction: "Nothing's changed, nothing at all! I hate Hisao, and I... I hate you more than anyone...!"
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Re: Developments (Post-Lilly Neutral End) - Chapter 36 up 3/

Post by Blasphemy » Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:49 am

Good job, as always.

Love these awkward situations where everyone is thinking about the same topic, here everyone's relationship to one another, but can't quite simple bring it up. When it's just two there's some limited information exchange but when all three are present everyone acts like everything is fine on their side and they hope they weren't causing trouble. You do a good job writing all that. Of course, eventually there has to be some straight talk if they want to feel better about it and more comfortable again.

After all, these half truths and not daring to speak out don't help any friendship :(
Still, I know what my answer has to be. "Hanako, if this is about Hisao, then please don't concern yourself. I've already told you that our relationship is over. I have no intention of changing that."

In the excruciating silence that follows, I hear Hanako take a breath as though she's going to say something not once, but twice. Finally, she simply says, "Okay."
Of course then there's the problem that even if everything is on the table, there's still no simple solution and someones going to get hurt no matter what, which no one wants the others to go through.

edit:
With Lilly coming back and her relationship to Hanako becoming strained I can't help but think about Guest Poster's "Sisterhood", which tackled all that as well. Lilly's answer in the quote above, among many other instances this chapter, demonstrates this kind of 'give-but-don't-take' position that Lilly got in that friendship with Hanako. And I'm sure Hanako really doesn't appreciate that Lilly can't simple tell her that she does obviously still feel a bit for Hisao. I mean the struggle is clearly there: "I hear Hanako take a breath as though she's going to say something not once, but twice".

Again, well written and I'm glad this keeps getting frequent updates.

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Re: Developments (Post-Lilly Neutral End) - Chapter 36 up 3/

Post by bhtooefr » Sat Mar 15, 2014 12:57 pm

Blasphemy wrote:And I'm sure Hanako really doesn't appreciate that Lilly can't simple tell her that she does obviously still feel a bit for Hisao. I mean the struggle is clearly there: "I hear Hanako take a breath as though she's going to say something not once, but twice".
That's actually where I think Lilly getting a full Hanako bad ending happens - Hanako can tell that Lilly's trying to protect her, even though she's been holding up (albeit barely) against direct competition from Emi.
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Re: Developments (Post-Lilly Neutral End) - Chapter 36 up 3/

Post by Guest Poster » Sat Mar 15, 2014 2:44 pm

I don't know about that. Hanako may know that Lilly's holding off her own feelings for her sake, and may rightfully frown on that, but after breaking up with Hisao and giving Hanako her blessing to pursue him, rooting for her still seems a more decent thing to do than withdrawing her blessing and actively becoming her best friend's rival. If Hanako and Hisao were to get together, it might cause Lilly some heartache, but that's not any worse than the situation Hanako was in before. That's at least probably what Lilly's thinking. This doesn't have anything to do with babying Hanako, but rather trying to avoid doing something that would make her feel betrayed.
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Re: Developments (Post-Lilly Neutral End) - Chapter 36 up 3/

Post by bhtooefr » Sat Mar 15, 2014 2:51 pm

Well, Lilly may have set everything in motion to get a Hanako bad ending simply by coming back to Yamaku, no matter what she does.

Hold back for Hanako's sake? Hanako figures it out, blows up on her, bad ending.
Don't hold back because Hanako would blow up on her? Hanako's worst fears are realized, bad ending.
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