Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (12/28)

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Jaspirian
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Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (12/28)

Post by Jaspirian » Fri Nov 01, 2013 3:06 am

Who is Karen?
Karen is a 2nd-year student diagnosed with [REDACTED] currently attending Yamaku. She is an original character and does not appear in the visual novel Katawa Shoujo.

How should this pseudo-route be read?
I must apologize for the beginning, which will be a little rough. This story follows Hisao as the Nurse confronts him about failing to run with Emi, after skipping their planned morning run in The Running Girl. From this interaction a new option appears: inquiring about Yamaku's other exercise facilities. Some scenes will be skipped; you'll have to fill these in from your own memory since Hisao's perspective hasn't changed enough to warrant a rewrite. Stick with it; you won't be sorry.

Acknowledgements:
This work is dedicated to Scissorlips, whose excellent Suzu pseudo-pseudo-route has inspired me.
It is also in honor of the many writers I've had the privilege of reading here on the forums. This story may include nods to some or all of the following: Rikabro's Rika pseudo-route, Thanatos02's Akira pseudo-route, forgetmenot's Kagami pseudo-route, Themocaw's Saki pseudo-route, Numb's Miki pseudo-route, and maybe more. To Hisao, and all that we make of him.
To Four Leaf Studios, for the medium, platform and permission they've selflessly given.
And finally to you, the reader, for giving your time to my story. Thank you. Any constructive feedback you have to offer will be gladly received.

Who are you?
I'm just zis guy, you know?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ACT 1: LIFE EXPECTANCY

Meet Wet (REPLACES "PAINT BY NUMBERS")
Hisao trades his running partner for an empty pool that turns out to be not so unoccupied.

Search for the Grail (ADDITION TO "FOOT AND MOUTH," "MIND YOUR STEP")
Hisao asks around for information on the girl he saw in the pool, but ends up drawing a blank.

Nimue (POST "MIND YOUR STEP," PRE "SUPPORT")
Hisao chases his muse.

Electric Sheep (ADDITION TO "SUPPORT," PRE-FESTIVAL)
Hisao gets a pep talk from Mutou and meets Hanako in the library.

The Shallow End pt. 1 (REPLACES "DON'T PANIC," FESTIVAL)
Hisao gets a warning from Kenji and ends up helping Lilly with her class stall.

The Shallow End pt. 2 (FESTIVAL)
Karen grabs hold of Hisao. Later, a trip up to the roof.

ACT 2: REVERSAL

Six Things Before Lunch
Hisao has a run-in with Suzu and Miki. He attempts to patch things up; Karen arrives and clashes with the Student Council.

Heavenly Bodies
Hisao meets Karen for another late-night swim. Tonight's topics: the night sky and the lives they left behind.

Mighty Pen
Hisao's notes go over better than he'd expected. Later, another clash between Karen and Council.
Last edited by Jaspirian on Sat Dec 28, 2013 5:04 pm, edited 17 times in total.

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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (10/31)

Post by Jaspirian » Fri Nov 01, 2013 3:06 am

“My spies tell me you haven’t been to the track or the pool recently, Hisao. Have you been sneaking in some exercise on the side?”

I laugh a little nervously. “Well, sort of. I’ve been walking everywhere…”

Maybe it’s his unassuming smile, but the sudden flash of steel in his demeanor catches me off guard. He rises from his chair, hands in his pockets, and eyes me with a look that makes me wish I was somewhere else—anywhere else. Maybe having a heart attack on the track would have been better than having to face him down.

“Listen, Nakai.” His smile is now clearly forced. He’s switched to using my last name—what is this, some kind of parental rant? “I know this is all a big change and you’re probably still reeling after only a few days at Yamaku, but I meant what I said earlier. You have to establish these habits early on or else you’re going to be playing catch-up for the rest of the semester. Midterms aren’t that far away; do you want to be dealing with this sort of hassle while you try to study, or do you want me to leave you alone?”

I don’t have to answer. The second option is infinitely preferable.

“I’m going to be riding you until I’m sure you’re being healthy. Every student here is under my care, even you. I've had a pretty clean record for the last 2 and a half years, but if you keep screwing around you’re going to be late.”

I blink. The last bit threw me off, but I’m almost afraid to ask. Seeing my confused expression, he explains.

“Late, as in the ‘late Hisao Nakai.’ ” He sighs, sinking back into his chair. “People tell me threats are effective in these sorts of situations, but I disagree.”
His eyes find mine and focus down like lasers. I’m discovering the nurse can be very driven when he wants. It’s a dizzying 180 from his normal demeanor.

“I think you’re a smart kid, Hisao. We have good students here at Yamaku. No one wants to just keel over, and I’m sure you’re no different. You have to exercise if you’re going to extend your life; do you understand?”

Reluctantly, I nod. Maybe it helps that he gave me a glimpse into his own motivation. Of course he doesn’t want anything to happen to me; otherwise it’ll look bad for him. I don’t like the idea, but it’s clear he’ll keep badgering me about it until I give in.
“I understand,” I say at last.

His smile returns and just like that the dangerous atmosphere in the room dissipates. He claps me on the shoulder like we’re old friends and then settles back, leaving me with whiplash from his sudden shift in mood. I wonder if this is his normal personality or an act he puts on to catch people off guard.
“I can see why you didn’t click with Emi,” he chuckles. “Though she was pretty stoked about getting a new running partner.”

I’m briefly remorseful about just walking off on Emi like that, but the moment passes. I’m sure she’ll find someone better and more motivated than me. I was never that fond of running, even when I played soccer in my old high school.

“So if running isn’t your thing, it’s got to be the pool,” he concludes. “Have you managed to get a look at it?”

I shake my head no, but before I explain further he snaps his fingers and starts off again. “Of course, no gym class. Well, it’s open from 9am until 5pm every weekday. There are spare shorts in the boys’ locker room, but you should get your own eventually.”

The nurse eyes me expectantly and I hesitate. Shorts, right. I was never very athletic, so at my last school I felt self-conscious sometimes in the changing room during gym, but now it’s different. Not only do I have the physique of a 4-month invalid, but there’s the chance someone would catch sight of the scar on my chest and I’d get roped into a discussion about it. Anytime someone had a funny birthmark or grotesque scar or what have you, the students at my old school would have a field day about it. I shudder at the thought of Misha laughing uproariously as she discusses my arrhythmia with Lilly or Hanako or Shizune. That settles that: if I have to change with other people there’s no way I’m using the pool. Only one problem—what do I tell the nurse?

[ASK HIM IF THERE ARE ANY OTHER TIMES]
[TELL HIM YOU’LL GO (LIE)*]

“Any other times?” The nurse raises an eyebrow and thinks for a moment. “There are other time slots but they’re reserved for people who need physical therapy—and for that your parents would need to set something up with the school. We do have a limited staff and you don’t need therapy as such, so…”

A smile comes over his face and he holds up a finger, signaling me to wait. He turns and rummages through his desk, revealing drawers that are nearly as messy as the trash bin under his table. After shuffling several reams of papers he seems to find what he’s looking for: a dull-looking key that seems like it’s seen better days.

“This’ll open the side of the gym that faces the road. Once you’re in, everything should be open; security isn’t very tight here at Yamaku.” He laughs at some private joke, and then hands over the key. It feels cold and heavy.

“There shouldn’t be anyone left after 8pm, so it’s all yours.”

I nod and thank him. This probably isn’t the sort of thing he can do above-board; the lengths he’s willing to go in order to make sure I exercise are impressive. I’m left torn between thinking he’s a good guy or just really invasive. Maybe that was what I lost when I came to Yamaku: a huge chunk of my personal privacy. If this is what it’s like having someone from this school know about your heart, I’m fine never letting on. At least Rin hasn’t badgered me about it—yet.

“Oh, one more thing. I’ll need you to come in right after swimming so I can check up on your heart.”
The nurse calls after me and I turn to answer, but the second my attention leaves the path ahead I nearly collide with a small, legless object.

“Your turn to bump into me, huh?” Emi giggles and bounces from one “leg” to another. Her lighthearted expression is quick to fall. “You left me running on the track, all by my lonesome. Are you this cruel to all the girls, Hisao?”

The track star looks about ready to cry as her shoulders quiver and her face turns away. I feel a huge pit opening up in my gut and I rush to reassure her.
“I’m sorry, I was feeling really tired and--” she looks up at me with the most mournful eyes I’ve ever seen, and my heart breaks just a bit. “And I’ll do anything you want, just please don’t cry!”

Her melancholy mood instantly evaporates and she pumps her fists in celebration. “It never fails! You’re too soft-hearted, Hisao!”

“Too soft-hearted? Alright, then I take back my apology.”

“No, you can’t do that! This is your number-one chance to eat lunch with a cute girl on the rooftop, don’t throw it away!”
She looks about ready to use her puppy eyes on me again. I’m not sure I could survive a second attack. My heart might explode.

“Fine, fine. On the roof, tomorrow?”

Emi nods happily and slips past me, ducking into the Nurse’s office.
“See you later, Hisao!”

As I leave I hear the beginnings of conversation:
“So, sunshine, how’ve the prosthetics…”

I turn the key in my hand and consider it for a moment before slipping it into my pocket. 8pm tonight: that’s just a few hours away. I make it back to my dorm without incident and manage to dash into my room without running into Kenji. Maybe he’s like lightning, never striking the same place twice. Or maybe he just never appears when you’re thinking of him. I’ll have to keep him in my mind when I’m coming back to my room, just in case.

I sigh and fall back on my bed. My eyes trace the walls but find nothing more interesting than dried drips of paint to stare at. This style of painting is supposed to “add character” to a room while being fairly easy to do: all you need is a sponge and a bucket of paint. Unfortunately, the “character” just screams “hospital” to me. Lying here, I feel like I’m an invalid again. It makes me sick.

Books. I need books. Something to take my mind off the boredom I know so well. All the ones in my bags here I’ve finished already, and I hate rereading; when the plot’s spoiled, what’s the point? You can never get involved if you know what’s going to happen next. I can’t lose myself in a book the second time around, it’s just not possible.

Hanako. She’s someone who seems to like books as much as I do, so maybe she can recommend some good ones. Our interests might not align, but she’s bound to have read at least one good fantasy book. I’ll talk to her tomorrow. Maybe she won’t run off this time.

I plan to sit up and do something, but every time I try to muster my strength the soft sheets beckon. It probably wouldn’t hurt to stay… here… for a while…



I sit up with a jerk, blinking as I try to get a sense of my surroundings. I don’t remember dreaming, but my heart is pounding like I’m running with Emi again. It must have been something more exciting than a guy lying on his bed al evening. Damn, that means my dreams are more interesting than I am.

I take the worn key out of my pocket and run my thumb over it. This is all I need to get into the pool, right? Just that and find a pair of shorts. A whole pool to myself—and speaking of that, I should probably check the time.

8:51?! I’d better get moving if I want to get a good night’s sleep.



I’m almost to the gymnasium before I realize I don’t have a towel. I almost turn back but something tells me I won’t make it to the pool if I let myself hesitate. I keep on walking and in another few minutes I’m standing in front of the gym’s large double doors. I try to peek inside but there’s no light. Next time I’m going to need a flashlight.

I try the door, but it doesn’t open. I pick out the keyhole from a distant lamppost’s light and insert the key.

Or at least, try to. It refuses to go in further than halfway and I fall back, stymied.

Oh. Right. The side doors.

I don’t have a good mental map of Yamaku yet, but I manage to find the correct side without too much trouble. This time the key works and I step inside the empty gymnasium. I can’t help but feel like I’m breaking at least ten rules (or twenty, according to Shizune and Misha’s standards), but I forge ahead. I’ve come this far, after all. May as well see it through.

The side door seems to have been made for staff or workers. The path it leads to winds by everything important but rarely offers unlocked doors. There are almost no lights on inside the gym, but the mostly-full moon provides enough light for me to navigate. I follow the corridors, taking larger ones when I can, and manage to only get a little lost before I find the men’s changing room. Inside it’s plain and unadorned: rows of lockers, some with locks and some without, then a small bathroom and showering area. Luckily there’s a light switch, and with the fluorescent bulbs’ help I manage to change into a pair of boy’s swimtrunks—slightly too large—that I find in the supply closet. I keep my shirt on and leave my bottoms folded inside a nondescript locker. Number 119: the same as my room, hard to forget. I hope.

I walk out into the dark pool area and pause, giving my eyes a moment to adjust. The water looks dark and cold, like the sort of murk a monster might come clawing out of, or crawling, or tentacle-ing. There are a lot of monsters from Japanese folktales that might be hiding in a quiet pool like this one, in fact, and that thought keeps me standing where I am. Maybe this was a dumb idea. I couldn’t find a towel; maybe I’ll freeze to death. The Yamaku climate isn’t that cold, but it can get breezy. Maybe they’d find me in the morning, an icicle that only made it halfway back to his dorm. Frankly, it might not take that long for me to die: the cold might just stop my heart quick as you please.

I’m about to turn back when the moon comes from behind a mass of clouds and suddenly, the whole pool is lit up like it’s on fire. Cold, pure fire. The beauty of the scene takes my breath away and suddenly I have never felt an urge so strong as the one compelling me to jump in. My resistance lasts a second longer, then snaps: I pull my shirt off, step close, test the water. It’s cool, not cold, and puts to rest any lingering doubts. I brace myself, prepare to dive, and—



A girl rises from underneath the water, paddling languorously, and takes a deep breath when her mouth clears the surface. The moonlight turns her hair and two-piece bathing suit to grayscale, giving her the appearance of a character straight from pre-50s film. She’s beautiful.

She sweeps her hair back from her face and sighs pleasantly, like she just woke from a good dream. Then her eye catches mine and she freezes, mouth falling open. It seems as if time halts with her: there is only the girl in the pool and me and her hair and the water streaming from her face and my discarded shirt and my scar.

Then the moment is over and time resumes, as it must.

*this choice leads to Kenji's Bad End.
Last edited by Jaspirian on Sat Nov 02, 2013 6:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (10/31)

Post by Kyler Thatch » Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:14 am

Oh my, alone with a girl in the gym after hours? Misha and Shizune would surely have a field day with this, if they found out.
Jaspirian wrote:“I’m going to be riding you until I’m sure you’re being healthy. Every student here is under my care, even you. I don’t want any students dying on me for my first year, and if you keep screwing around you’re going to be late.”
The nurse has actually been at Yamaku for as long as Emi has. I imagine Emi's been enrolled at Yamaku from the start of high school, but regardless of that, it would definitely not be the nurse's first year here.

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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (10/31)

Post by Jaspirian » Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:22 am

You are absolutely correct. I've changed that; thank you.

They don't know quite who this girl is just yet--but they will, in just a few chapters.

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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (10/31)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:32 am

I know you said in the intro that you would skip a few scenes, but you should still put some indication of where the time skip takes place in the story itself. As it is it looks like Hisao is going directly from the nurse back to his room to sleep.
Also, did nurse know about the mystery girl? Otherwise it would be pretty irreyposible to have Hisao go swimming on his own. Any mild heart attack could cause him to drown.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (10/31)

Post by ProfAllister » Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:52 am

(Haven't read the actual post yet, but I'll be getting there. Just felt I needed to chime in here.)
Mirage_GSM wrote:Otherwise it would be pretty irreyposible to have Hisao go swimming on his own. Any mild heart attack could cause him to drown.
True and false. It would be pretty irresponsible to have Hisao go swimming on his own because it is irresponsible to have ANYONE go swimming on their own. Hisao may have a somewhat higher risk due to a weak heart, but there are so many ways someone could end up in a less-than-idea situation, and drowning can take as little as two minutes.

True, people swim alone all the time without incident, but that doesn't make it safe. More importantly, no qualified medical professional who intends to keep his job would suggest a patient go swim alone. Especially with what we know of the nurse's personality, he would definitely make it clear in no uncertain terms that Hisao should have a buddy when he goes swimming.
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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (10/31)

Post by Oscar Wildecat » Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:15 am

Unless we're talking about the mystery girl being a actual tentacle monster :wink:, or her breaking an entering; I'm betting Nurse gave her a key as well.
I like all the girls in KS, but empathize with Hanako the most.
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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (10/31)

Post by Jaspirian » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:17 am

Oscar has a good head on his shoulders, though the full truth won't come out for another 8 installments or so.

As to the time skipping: no scenes are actually skipped in this post. This scene assortment takes place at around the same time as Paint by Numbers/Things you can do/Event Horizon.
However, the next post will be more piecemeal and will skip such scenes as No Recovery and Invisible Hat.
If you have a way you'd prefer those represented, I'm all ears.

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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (10/31)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:13 pm

Hisao goes to nurse in the morning instead of his run with Emi, then returns to his room and suddenly it'S 8PM... does't he have classes on Friday and what about his lunch with Emi?
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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

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Jaspirian
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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (10/31)

Post by Jaspirian » Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:09 pm

Ah, I see. That's where the confusion's coming in.

this image may help your understanding. To reach Karen's route, you'd follow this series of choices:
Why?
Think I got everything.
Play defensively.
Sorry for startling you.
She wasn't cute.
Read my book.
Maybe.
Don't drag me into this!
Only bolded choices are relevant; the rest are necessary to shoulder you away from other paths.
At scene The Running Girl, Hisao chooses instead to ditch Emi, citing fears of a heart attack. Clearly this is not as obvious as I'd hoped.
At scene Proof of Competency, instead of being routed to Things You Can Do or Event Horizon, Hisao enters this story. That's where the first post picks up. I chose not to write the previous scenes because (a) nothing changes from the VN and (b) I have no intention of writing the scenes verbatim.

I can completely understand your confusion, however. Neither have I made this particularly obvious nor have I been clear in my OP*, which has now been edited to better suit.

*in point of fact, I seem to have fed you misinformation in my introduction. Embarrassing.

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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (10/31)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Nov 01, 2013 3:18 pm

Ah, so it's Thursday afternoon and not Friday morning. Thanks for clearing that up.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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

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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (10/31)

Post by Mournful3ch0 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 2:05 pm

Oscar Wildecat wrote:Unless we're talking about the mystery girl being an actual tentacle monster :wink:
FUND IT.

Oh, and a suggestion: Instead of the full bracket capitalization and bold letters for choices, maybe try two lines and center it?
Eg. replace:
Jaspirian wrote:[ASK HIM IF THERE ARE ANY OTHER TIMES / TELL HIM YOU’LL GO (LIE)*]
with
[Ask him if there are any other times]
[ Tell him that you'll go (lie) ]

I am quite interested in this story. Consider this thread monidoored.
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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (10/31)

Post by Jaspirian » Sat Nov 02, 2013 7:00 pm

An excellent idea. Consider it done.

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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (10/31)

Post by Jaspirian » Sat Nov 02, 2013 7:03 pm

“Anyone home? Helloooo?”

I’m startled back to my senses as Emi’s hand waves in front of my eyes. She leans back, gravel crunching, and grins playfully. Rin seems to have taken only a very slight interest in the spectacle; instead her gaze is torn between looking at the two of us and looking at the sky. The rooftop breeze nudges her hair around her face but it doesn’t seem to bother her. Rather, the strands’ rise and fall with her breath seems to captivate her.

“Wake up, sleepyhead! Daydreaming is Rin’s job, not yours! If you two go and float with the clouds, who’s going to keep me company?”

Rin looks over, abandoning both hair and sky. She seems to think for a moment, then responds in her usual deadpan nature.
“Floating with the clouds wouldn’t be any fun at all. Unless you took pictures. Could you take pictures from up there?”

I know I’m diving headfirst down the rabbit hole, but I can’t help myself. I ask the obvious question.
“Why wouldn’t it be fun?”

She looks surprised by the question, like I posed such a fundamental math problem that she’s at a loss for how to explain it in simple terms. Her tied up sleeves flap a little in the breeze as she finally answers.

“It’s like… you know how you see an orange, but if you see it again you can see different things?”

“Like perspective?” Emi chimes in. Clearly she’s following better than I am. I think. Rin doesn’t confirm or deny.

“Well, clouds are clouds because we see them from down here. Like how people aren’t really people if you’re just staring. But if you took pictures you could maybe bring them down and look again.”

I’m skeptical. “Wouldn’t looking at a picture, no matter where you are, show the same thing?”
The answer I’m looking for is “yes.” Maybe “yes, Hisao, it was a silly idea” or “yes, but you misunderstood.” Anything to narrow down on Rin’s confusing point of view. But of course she’s not that simple: instead of answering she just shrugs, looking vaguely contemplative. Maybe she sees something different in a photo every time she looks, just like how she sees oranges.

The silence sits for a moment until Emi turns to me again, still beaming like a bright ray of sunlight.

“So, Hisao, what were you daydreaming about? Clouds and snails, like Rin, or something more… scandalous?”
She raises her hand to her mouth in mock surprise and scoots closer to Rin as if to protect her. I’m quick to deny it, but somehow she finds humor out of the situation anyway. When her giggling dies down I ask the question that’s been on my mind all day.

“Do you two… have you been to the pool?”

Rin’s expression doesn’t change but Emi frowns as if chastising me. Too late I realize what I said and flush. Of course they don’t know much about the pool. Swimming without legs would be really, really difficult. I can’t even imagine what swimming without arms would be like.

“That’s not—I mean, do you know anybody that swims?”

“Hmm,” Emi muses. “I know we used to have a swimming club, but it kind of broke up. Anybody I know who uses the pool doesn’t really use it for more than therapy.” She cocks her head. “Got a crush on a swimmer, Hisao?”

She puts as much teasing into her voice as humanly possible. I blush a little bit, unconsciously, but shake my head. I want to give them more information but I can’t; somehow I feel like last night was something I shouldn’t have seen, like I stumbled into a magic ritual or more likely, some intensely private moment. It feels wrong to bring up, so I don’t. The bell saves me from having to dodge too many more questions, and we file back to class.
If Emi doesn’t know, who would?



“The swimming pool?” Misha looks curiously at me but her head turns to her blue-haired companion before Shizune even begins to sign. “Shicchan and I both go swimming sometimes, Hicchan~! It’s lots of fun~!”

“And do you know anyone who uses the pool after-hours?” Once again I’m impressed by Misha’s automatic translating. A word hardly gets out of my mouth before she’s relayed it along to Shicc—er, Shizune. I wince a little as Misha’s signing stops; I can tell what’s coming next.

“Wahahaha~! Of course we don’t know anyone like that, Hicchan! After 7:30 the pool gets locked and no one’s allowed in it after that. Do you know someone who’s been breaking in?” Misha looks the same as always but I can see a gleam in Shizune’s eyes. I can practically hear the gears turning in her head. I hesitate for a moment; surely these two could find out who that girl is much more quickly than I ever could… but I don’t think I want to get her in trouble. It’s not like she’s hurting anyone, using the pool so late. I do my best to backpedal and I almost get out clean. Almost.

“Well, Hicchan, this all sounds very suspicious, but we’re going to offer you a deal~!” She sees the look on my face and laughs uproariously, drawing more than one irritated look from our classmates. Mutou clears his throat and stares her down: it’s not often I see Misha wilt. After a moment our teacher turns back to the blackboard and Misha—glancing a little too furtively from side to side—leans over to finish our conversation.
“If~ we pretend we didn’t hear that you’ve been in the pool after the gym got closed, you have to come have tea with us!”
She leans back, looking positively smug. I hate to disappoint her, but I know if I did go with them Shizune and Misha would spend the whole day badgering me about joining the Student Council. I wave my hand dismissively.

“Sorry, no blackmail material there. I got given a key, so I was there completely legally.”

Misha’s face falls but Shizune’s eyes just gleam. I’m sure if I could hear her thoughts she’d be thinking “next time.” Maybe I became a slightly more worthy opponent in her eyes. I would feel good about that, but I know there’s no end to that game.

“Nakai, can you read the next section?”
My eyes flick to the book and I scan it, hoping something will jump out at me. I take a few clues from the blackboard and pick a section. Somehow, I guess right. Maybe my luck is looking up.



It’s by chance that I catch sight of Lilly as she steps out the gate. I start to wave to her but let my hand drop instead. It occurs to me that maybe I’m an idiot. It’s a good thing she can’t see the blush on my face as I call out to her.

“Hisao? Is that you?” I’m impressed that after such a short time spent together she recognizes my voice, but I’m not too surprised. For a blind person voices must be the most important thing to pay attention to. She pauses and waits for me to catch up, a small smile on her face. I’m reminded once again just how pretty and ethereal she is.

“Exactly right. Are you heading out to town?” She nods and hesitates, tapping her cane ever so slightly against the ground. I can tell what she wants to say, but I guess she’s too polite to come right out with it. I let her off easy. “Would you like some company?” The gentle smile she gives me is reward enough for any trouble the walk might be. We walk for a short time, exchanging banter back and forth before I ask the question that’s been on my mind for half a day.

“Say, Lilly… you wouldn’t have heard anything about anyone swimming in the pool at night?” She pauses and “looks” at me with clear curiosity. By this time I’ve thought up an excuse that keeps me from having to explain the key in my pocket or the moment I walked in on, and I don’t hesitate to use it.
“I was walking by the gym at 9 last night and I saw someone entering with a towel. I thought it was weird, so…” she seems satisfied by this explanation and I suppress a sigh of relief. If she did detect the lie, she doesn’t say anything about it. She does, however, raise a finger to her lips and ponder the question. After a moment she shakes her head and I feel my hopes sink just a little lower.

“I’m sorry, Hisao. I’m afraid I’ve no idea who that person might be. The nurse might be able to give you a better answer. I’ve heard he can be quite helpful when he wants to.”
I grin wryly at her suggestion. The nurse, helpful? She must have someone completely different in mind.

It’s late by the time Lilly and I (joined by guest star Rin) make it back up the hill, and I’m breathing a little harder than I would like. Unsurprisingly, Lilly notices.
“Hisao, you’re panting a bit. Is something wrong?”

I look at our red-haired companion, but Rin doesn’t say anything. It’s uncharacteristically kind of her; an action that would require a great deal of empathy. I’m about to raise my opinion of her awareness but the second I see the look on her face I discard the idea. Her expression seems a million miles away. Off in the clouds.
And the more I think about it, the more uncomfortable I am with having someone else know about my heart. Rin doesn’t seem like the type to start rumors, but I don’t really know what Lilly’s like yet. In my old school secrets spread faster than the speed of light. I don’t know Yamaku yet but more than anything, I don’t want to be “that guy with the heart problem.” Maybe it’s different for people with missing arms or legs or voices but just for a little bit, I want to be me.
And there’s still that girl that saw my scar.

So I take the easy way out. I lie, and I lie passably: Lilly wrinkles her brow but doesn’t inquire further. Rin has the good sense not to say anything. We walk on, we leave Rin at her mural, we part ways.

Somehow, I feel sick.
Last edited by Jaspirian on Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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griffon8
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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (10/31)

Post by griffon8 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:15 pm

Jaspirian wrote:Somehow, I feel sick.
Of course you do; you just made the choice which leads to taking a dive off the roof.

Now how does it turn into a dive into the swimming pool instead?

A slightly different take on the path divergence to get to your OC, which is always good. Repeating what others have used is boring.

It's still too early for us to know how good a character your OC is obviously. Your story is well-written enough for me to be interested in finding out.
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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