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

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Jaspirian
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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (11/19)

Post by Jaspirian » Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:46 pm

Both are acceptable. However, if someone else pipes up and says it threw them off, I'd certainly be willing to change it. Just so long as you're not the only one.

Generous. If you can think of a better word I'll use it.

Glad you liked it.

Delicate her hand?

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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (11/19)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Dec 06, 2013 6:08 pm

Hmm... It still sounds wrong to me...
In this case I'd even say it changes the meaning:
they’ll need a better man to figure them out than I.
They need a better man to figure them out than I - meaning I could figure it out even with only the help of a worse man...

It's probably one of those cases of "done wrong so often it's been declared correct by now. I probably wouldn't have mentioned it if it had been dialogue.
So if you want to keep it, keep it :-)
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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (12/5)

Post by Jaspirian » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:00 pm

A compromise, then.

I leave him to his dreams and his unreadable expression; maybe someone will eventually figure him out, but I doubt it'll be me.

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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (12/5)

Post by monkeywitha6pack » Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:50 am

Greta chapter! I love cliffhangers, it makes you think and speculate and get edited :D.
Wahahaha~.
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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (12/5)

Post by Jaspirian » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:57 am

Glad you thought it was greta, and I hope to keep you edited through many chapters to come.

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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (12/5)

Post by Jaspirian » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:14 am

We’re rapidly running out of moon, but there’s still enough light to see by. I change into a swimsuit and head out to the pool, expecting to see a familiar, freckled face awaiting me. Instead the pool seems completely empty. Tonight, however, I know what to look for: after a moment of searching the darkness I spot a trail of bubbles popping at the surface of the water. The bubbles slow, then stop. Seconds later Karen’s head appears.

“About time, slowpoke.” Her voice is light, teasing, and somehow different. I’m smiling before I even realize it.

“Ten minutes. I checked. I’m just fashionably late.”

I’m rewarded with a little giggle that disappears underwater, then pops up again.
“Well, silly? Coming in?”

I guess I am. I move to strip off my shirt, but pause. She notices and swims a little closer. “Don’t worry, Hisao. No one else comes here this late at night. Your secret is safe with me.”

“You’d have said that last week too, but then I showed up,” I gripe. Still, there’s something in her tone that makes all of my resistance drain away. I strip my top off, toss the shirt on my towel and leap in.

Ahh… yes. I missed this, even after just two days away. I swim and dive and close my eyes until there’s nothing but me and the water.



Minutes later I’m floating on my back, staring out the windows at the crescent moon. I hear a few soft splashes and feel Karen floating beside me.

“Pretty, huh?” More splashing. I think she’s nodding.
“I never really got to see the moon like this where I grew up, or the stars.”

“You grew up in the city?” Her voice is soft, muted. I search for words to describe it but draw a blank.

“Yeah. There were always lights everywhere. It’s different out here.”
I don’t want to say “better;” at least in the city you could get lost in the hustle and bustle. Out here in the country you’re stuck with your own thoughts.

“Did you spend a lot of time in the city?”

I laugh, but there’s not much humor in it. “Wasn’t a whole lot to do outside of it.”

“And your parents?”

“I guess they had more important things to do than babysit me.” Why am I telling her all this? The girl I met under the fireworks was brash and uncouth. I can’t imagine spilling my guts to her, but there’s something about this situation that makes me want to open up to the girl I’m speaking with now.
Her voice is quiet, almost too quiet to hear. “I know what you mean.”

We float in silence for another few minutes. She’s the first one to speak, this time.

“My parents got divorced a couple years ago. I think maybe it had something to do with coming to Yamaku; this area is a lot like my mom’s hometown but my dad never wanted to leave America.”

It’s not difficult to hear the sentence she left out: they broke up because of me. “That must be terrible,” I say lamely. Talking with girls has never been my strong suit, and at this rate I don’t think I’m going to get better anytime soon.

Still, it makes her laugh, though I sense there’s not much mirth in her voice either. “Am I a bad person if it’s actually not so terrible? It seems like they care a lot more now that they’re competing. It’s like they want to prove which one of them’s the better parent.”

I say nothing. I figure it’s not a question that needs an answer.

“I’m sorry about earlier,” she whispers. “I didn’t mean to catch you in that mess. Friends shouldn’t do that to each other.”

I tell her not to worry, but inside I’m thinking about the word “friend.” Maybe it means something different here at Yamaku; maybe spending a few days with someone marks them as someone you trust. It makes a certain kind of sense given how solitary, short and brutal some of the students' lives can be. Maybe I'm not so different. Maybe Karen and I are friends now. Sorry Kenji, I’ve found someone cuter and just a little less insane.

“I mean it,” she insists. “Let me make it up to you. You’re not doing anything after school, right? I’ll take you out to eat.”

As if by unspoken agreement, we’re both swimming over to the edge, levering ourselves up, getting ready to dry off. “That would be great,” I tell her. “I’m done with English at four.” Maybe she notices the grimace on my face, because she laughs.

“Don’t like the language?”

I shake my head emphatically. “I’ve always had difficulties with it. There are so many little exceptions you have to remember.” An idea strikes me as I start toweling off, and I suggest it on a whim. “You know, maybe you could help me study sometime. You must have a better grasp of the language than I do.”

Her voice is quiet, subdued. Almost, defeated. “Yeah. Maybe.”

We part ways and I’m left with only my memories of the very different Karen I saw: peaceful, serene, quiet, open.
I wonder if I’ll recognize her in the morning.

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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (12/10)

Post by monkeywitha6pack » Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:26 pm

I got to say i am really really enjoying this fic :D! I love the chapters and the way you used the first few chapters to develop up Hisao. Definitely earned a spot in the 5 way tie that is my top 5 fan fics!
Wahahaha~.
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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (12/10)

Post by Hoitash » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:22 pm

Sorry Kenji, I’ve found someone cuter and just a little less insane.
Heh.

How less remains to be seen, it seems.

Interesting story so far. I'm intrigued how it'll play out.
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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (12/10)

Post by Jaspirian » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:49 pm

Less insane without a doubt. How well-adjusted she is remains another matter entirely.

Glad you two are liking it.

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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (12/10)

Post by Jaspirian » Sat Dec 28, 2013 4:58 pm

Mutou is late as usual, so my classmates take the opportunity to yammer on about this, that and the other thing. Me, I’m bored; I suppose I could try to start a conversation with Shizune or Misha but the former has been shooting me death glares all morning. Given how capable the Student Council President is at holding grudges, I expect we won’t be speaking for quite some time. Misha has the decency to look at least a little remorseful about it, but maybe that’s just because she lost the other person she ever talks with. I get the feeling Misha’s social groups involve Shizune, Shizune, and nothing but Shizune. Odd, for such a bubbly girl.

“Hey, Gaylord.” A hand slams down on my desk and I jump half a foot, turning in my seat to see Miki grinning down at me. “We found that note you slipped in Suzu’s bag.” I shoot a glance at the blue-haired girl; she waves, then slumps down.

Technically I never touched her bag, but I decide mentioning that would be likely to negatively impact my health. Why did I even bother? What sort of outcome was I expecting? I solemnly swear that the next time a classmate is struggling I’ll just pretend I didn’t see anything.
“…And?”

“Besides us being disappointed it wasn’t a love letter?” I barely notice Suzu’s shoulders tense up, then forcibly relax. She still looks like she’s sleeping but I know better. Pretending to sleep, eh? That’s a low blow. What if I pretended to have a heart attack?
…I guess that’s not the same thing at all. Never mind.
Humor in her tone gone, Miki folds her arms and huffs. “Considering your actions yesterday, we’ve decided only one punishment is appropriate.” I brace myself and wince, waiting for the beating to commence. Anyone who doesn’t expect violence from the “fairer sex” has never gone to high school.
But Miki’s hand never falls. I look up to see her grinning widely.
“The punishment,” she finishes, “will be to keep making those notes for her!” She shoots a glance over at her friend and amends her statement. “Well, us.”

Oh.
No beatings today, captain. Morale is high.
“I think I could do that.”

Surprisingly, she looks put out. “No haggling? No exchange? No playing hard to get?” She pouts. It’s surprisingly cute. “You’re no fun at all, Hisao.”

“Well, if you’re offering, how about you make me lunch sometime?”

“Too late! You already agreed.” She grins and pats me on the shoulder a little more forcefully than is needed. I guess that’s her version of “thank you.”

Suzu is peeking at me from her slumped position. Feeling a little more confident now, I give her a wink and get a smile for my trouble. Maybe everything is looking up after all.

Mutou comes shambling in several seconds later, clearly still feeling the effects of the festival night two days after. I buckle down and prepare to take twice as many notes as usual. Not so difficult since I ended up reading ahead in the book a couple days ago when I was really bored. Maybe I need a life, but for some reason this note-taking job has really put me in high spirits.
Maybe it’ll help Suzu, who’s already fallen asleep again.


Taking twice the volume of notes is more challenging than I thought it would be, mostly due to the pace Mutou moves at. His style of teaching is very peculiar: it’s like he expects everyone to understand concepts (even the very complex ones) after only a cursory explanation. If anyone has the guts to raise a hand and ask him to go into more detail he looks at them like he’s surprised anyone would have any questions at all. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones; science has always come naturally to me. Logical concepts are my bread and butter. Not so for Miki, whose lifeforce I can literally see leaving her body when Mutou begins to talk about Superconductors. Okay, maybe not literally. But I do see her twitch when he mentions the Kelvin scale. Was she even paying attention in thermodynamics?

The more I think about Mutou’s teaching style, the more I realize something very odd: it works just fine for me. I doubt anyone else in class would agree, though.



I shake out a cramp in my hand, wincing as the strained muscles protest. For the first time I have a bit of sympathy for Misha; this must be what she feels like not just in science class but in every single classroom and conversation Shizune enters. It sounds like hell. This time I’m just as eager to get out of class as the rest of my peers, and the second the bell rings I’m only too happy to finish up. Thank god science is my last class of the day, though having my first and last class in the same room is kind of weird.

The crowd rushes out the door and I’m left walking over to Suzu and Miki. I try to slip the notes onto Sleeping Beauty’s desk without her waking, but before it touches the wood her hand shoots out and grabs the papers. What, is she some kind of superhero? Super-sleeper? Maybe not, considering the surprised look she gives me. Maybe she just has a good set of reflexes. Given a certain dark-skinned friend I can certainly understand how they developed.

Speaking of which… “Hey,” Miki claps her good hand on my shoulder. “That was actually pretty nice of you, Hisao. We had bets on whether you’d actually do it.”

I narrow my eyes playfully. “And which of you didn’t have faith?” Miki blinks in consternation and for a moment I think I’m getting the hang of this conversation business.

However, her quick recovery proves otherwise. “Someone had to bet against poor, impressionable Snoozu. Of course, both of us know you’d never abandon us and break our hearts, r-i-g-h-t?” Damn. I am solidly outclassed. Help me Kenji, you’re my only hope. The feminists have begun my enslavement.

“…I could never,” I defeatedly sigh. Miki does a fist—er, stump—pump that reminds me a great deal of Emi. I wonder why I don’t see them together more often, considering how similar their interests are.

“Mmki…” a muffled voice from Suzu, who’s attempting to rise, turns both of our heads. Surprisingly, it seems to spark something in Miki’s memory and she snaps her fingers.

“Right! Since you’re going to so much trouble for us, Hisao, we’ve decided it’s only fair that we take you out to eat. Have you ever been to the Shanghai?”

“No, I—wait, I’m sorry, I can’t.” I remember my prior commitment just in time. “I’m already eating with someone after school today.”

Miki looks a little surprised (maybe, a little disappointed?) but recovers quickly and flashes a grin at me. “Oh, Hisao the ladykiller! Who’s the lucky girl? Unless, you’re into…”

I flush. Miki’s snickering and I’m pretty sure Suzu’s trying not to laugh. “A girl,” I state firmly. “Karen. We were already planning to go, but maybe another day we three--”

“That’s right.” Speak of the devil. I turn around to see Karen standing in the doorway. She’s wearing a white sundress and a straw hat that I’m sure put an embarrassing look on my face. Fortunately she’s looking past me at a very irritated Shizune I hadn’t realized was still here. Waiting for Karen, no doubt. Out of the corner of my eye I can see Mutou looking like a soldier cornered in his foxhole.

Luckily for Misha, this time Shizune manages to moderate her motions a little more successfully. The pink-haired girl’s loud voice fills up the classroom and I wince a little. “Listen, miss Callaghan, I don’t know what kind of es… estab… you think Yamaku is but during school hours we do not allow casual dress! Aw, really, Shicchan? No wonder you never let me wear anything interesting! Wahahaha~!”

Karen just smiles. Clearly she’s better at dealing with them than I am. “All my classes are out for the day. Do I have to wait for everybody else?”

Shizune’s motions are short and sharp, like she’s trying to stab the air. Misha’s constant cheerfulness adds a very strange dissonance to the situation. “Well~ if your classes got out earlier than everybody else’s you’d still have to conform, otherwise we’d descend into anarchy~!” She puffs out her chest and stands proudly. This is getting more ridiculous by the second.

Evidently Karen thinks so too. “Come on,” she whispers in my ear. When did she get so close? I can smell perfume on her skin, lilacs and something else. “It’s clear your prissy prez isn’t going to let up.” She tugs my arm and it’s all I can do to keep my schoolbag with me.

We’ve escaped, for now.

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

Post by Craftyatom » Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:04 pm

I wasn't sure quite how I felt about this fic at first, but act 2 is shaping up splendidly.

I love what you've done so far, can't wait to see how the story progresses!
Main route: COM(promise)
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Jaspirian
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Re: Growing Up - a Karen pseudo-route (12/28)

Post by Jaspirian » Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:38 pm

I knew the beginning would be rough (said so in my intro), but I'm glad it's shaping up. I hope to keep impressing you.

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

Post by OutofBlues » Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:52 pm

Jaspirian wrote:I knew the beginning would be rough (said so in my intro), but I'm glad it's shaping up. I hope to keep impressing you.
Well done sticking with it. I really enjoyed the last chapter, especially the banter between Hisao and Miki. You write a surprisingly good Miki....do not do a Miki route, we'd hate to lose you.

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

Post by Hoitash » Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:09 pm

OutofBlues wrote:
Jaspirian wrote:I knew the beginning would be rough (said so in my intro), but I'm glad it's shaping up. I hope to keep impressing you.
Well done sticking with it. I really enjoyed the last chapter, especially the banter between Hisao and Miki. You write a surprisingly good Miki....do not do a Miki route, we'd hate to lose you.
Agreed, this version of Miki is quirky in her Miki way, but also distinct. Very nice.
"Who are you, that do not know your history?" -Ulysses
Misha Time: United States of Misha Meet the Hakamichis
Awesome, served on the rocks: Hisao and Kenji- Master Detectives! (Check out the Archive for more!)
I wrote a book! Brythain edited it! If you like mystery and history please consider: A Sister's Habit
"You are absolutely insane. And entertaining." -griffon8

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

Post by Jaspirian » Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:12 pm

Glad you liked my Miki. I don't think I could do a route for her--so no disappearances just yet--but I may do another route after this one is finished. Probably a semi-canon character. That's another reason I wouldn't do a Miki; I don't like doing routes other writers have put a lot of work into, like Numb and many others have for Miki. It feels disrespectful to me.

My depictions of canon characters is definitely one of the places you readers can give me the best feedback. If you ever think I'm having them act in an inappropriate way, please tell me.

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