Picking up the Pieces- A H&K: MD Christmas Special

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Hoitash
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Re: Picking up the Pieces- A H&K Xmas Special (Updated 12/17

Post by Hoitash » Tue Dec 24, 2013 12:23 pm

Christmas Eve is upon us, and with it, the conclusion of my little jaunt into… whatever this was. Enjoyable, hopefully.

Previous Chapter

Chapter Six: Because One Did Survive


“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Hanako asked me, “I don’t want her to feel pressured.”

“It should be fine,” I stated, “outta all the schools I showed her, Yamaku has the best curriculum, most accepting student body, best counseling services, and she’ll get a grant if she decides to pursue physical therapy.”

Not that they’d let her work with the students in such a capacity, but assistant to an athletic team’s captain wasn’t out of the realm of possibility.

Hanako nodded and turned to face the psych ward, now icy and covered with a thin layer of snow, “Makes sense. She should also s-see what she’d be getting into.”

“That’s a rather cynical line of thinking,” Miya said on my other side.

Hanako sighed and nodded, “I don’t like it much, either, but it’s the truth.”

Miya shifted the tub of cookies she was holding to one hand so she could reach over and pat Hanako on the shoulder, “You don’t have to do this, you know.”

Hanako glanced at me, “Kenji said I was the best one to talk to her. I agree.”

“Best get to it, then,” I said.

“That’s the spirit!” Miya chirped.

I chuckled at Miya’s enthusiasm before leading us inside the psych ward.

The idea that Hanako was doing this as some sort of display to the types of things a student at Yamaku would have to see on a daily basis made me feel like shit, but it was something we both felt needed to be done. With her long hair pulled back and no hat, Hanako’s facial scars were as plain as day. I didn’t expect Soon-hee to be bothered by them, but it was something we had to think about.

At least we didn’t have any problems once we were inside the building. A woman in a suit with a briefcase and another woman holding a plastic tub filled with cookies following a guy in a suit and fedora wearing a gold and red scarf, holding a large brown bag tends to make for an odd sight, but I wasn’t surprised when no one acknowledged our presence. Everyone was far too immersed in their own minds to pay us any heed.

Despite my normal pessimism, the depressing pall I normally associated with the place seemed to have abated in the wake of all the Christmas decorations. With the holiday itself less than a week away, the amount of visitors was starting to increase, so the lobby was a bit busier than usual. The season seemed to animate the patients and staff a bit more, too. If only they could be less trapped within themselves all year round.

We signed in, our bags were checked, and we made our way to Soon-hee’s room. We had considered meeting at an office or something, but I figured she’d be more comfortable in her own home, such as it was. I wasn’t too thrilled about Miya coming along, but trying to dissuade my wife from a course of action is like trying to stop the tide. Hanako, like me, I think, had taken this situation a bit too close to heart, previous remarks aside.

Being an orphan and victim of PTSD herself, it made sense that she had taken a personal interest in the girl’s wellbeing. As for Miya… There are some things even I won’t put down on paper. Not yet. Suffice to say she had her own family problems growing up–there’s a reason she was raised by her grandmother.

Soon-hee had added some decorations to her door –a couple red and green cardboard spheres with ornament designs stenciled on them. I smirked at the decorations and knocked on the door.

“Soon-hee,” I called through the door, “It’s me, and my wife, and the woman from the Board I mentioned.”

“Okay,” she said.

The door clicked and opened, and I stepped inside, removing my hat as I did so. As I did I noticed that Soon-hee wasn’t alone; Koizumi and Miss Sorami were also present, as was a low, wooden table with a white sheet over it.

Koizumi was sitting by the desk, while Miss Sorami was sitting on the edge of the bed, leaving the table available for the four of us. Once I stepped aside so the other two could enter, I noticed that a tea set and some plates were on the table.

“I got a heated table!” Soon-hee declared.

“The heating system in this building is pretty finicky,” Koizumi stated, “Maintenance really hates working on this building. I also figured you’d want some proper tea for once.”

“Thanks,” I said.

“That works out great,” Miya stated as she walked in, “Oh, I’m Setou Miya, everyone. Kenji’s wife. I brought cookies.”

The door closed lightly and I glanced at Hanako, who had entered the room, “Hello, I’m Nakai Hanako.”

“She’s the Director of Public Relations on the Yamaku Foundation Board of Directors,” Miya added.

Hanako smirked and remarked, “The position is mostly honorary. The school’s administration just wanted to use my fame as PR for the school.”

And if Lilly wasn’t the Chairperson of the Board, Hanako would probably have told them to shove it.

No one gave Hanako’s scars a second glance, which didn’t surprise me; working in a hospital tends to numb you to such things, and Soon-hee had seen an alien turn a gang into cat meat, after all. One potential issue out of the way, at least.

Soon-hee bowed in greeting and said, “Hello, Mrs. Nakai, Mrs. Setou. I’m Kim Soon-hee, and this is my therapist Miss Sorami, and one of the nurses, Koizumi.”

“Certainly crowded in here, isn’t it?” Miss Sorami remarked.

“Least it’s warm,” Soon-hee stated.

“Yep,” Miya chirped, “So let’s have a seat and get some tea. Who wants cookies?”

Everyone raised their hand, so Miya sat first, prying the container open and examining its contents while Hanako and Soon-hee set ourselves down. I placed myself on the young woman’s left, with Miya on her right and Hanako across from her. Koizumi was behind Soon-hee at the desk, and Miss Sorami behind me. Once I had eased myself down, I hefted my bag next to Soon-hee. As I did so, I grinned and said, “Here you go. Merry Christmas!”

Grinning sheepishly and flushing lightly, she took the bag with a mumbled thanks and placed it by her bed, apparently too embarrassed to look at it at the moment.

“Okay,” Miya declared, “I have madeleines, snickerdoodles, and sugar cookies. Oh, and some double chocolate chunk cookies. Oh, and for you, Miss Kim,” Miya pulled a small box from the container and handed it to her, “a chocolate orange.”

“Thank you,” Soon-hee said. She took the box and spent a few moments examining it before placing it by my present, “Would you like me to serve the tea?”

“Sure, thanks! Who wants what cookie? Wait, looks like I managed to make enough so everyone can have two of each anyway. Never mind, then. Good thing I brought lots of napkins.”

I smirked and glanced at Hanako, who was rifling through the papers in her briefcase. As she did so, I noticed she was smirking, too.

By the time Miya had sorted and handed out all the cookies, Hanako had finished working through her papers. Soon-hee was clearly nervous, though the tea and snacks seemed to be helping to keep her relatively calm. Most likely figuring she was most at ease while eating, Hanako closed her case and fiddled with her papers one last time before looking to Soon-hee.

“Kenji tells me you’d like to know a bit more about Yamaku High School, is that right?” she asked.

Soon-hee nodded, “He said as far as private high schools go, it’s the best fit for me.”

“Based on what I’ve read through, it may very well be,” Hanako stated, “So, if I may, I’d like to talk to you a bit as a former student.”

Soon-hee tilted her head and nodded while gnawing through a cookie.
"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: Picking up the Pieces- A H&K Xmas Special (Updated 12/17

Post by Hoitash » Tue Dec 24, 2013 12:24 pm

Part II:

Hanako slowly inhaled, then exhaled. Obviously bracing herself, she repeated the exercise again before speaking, “From when I was eight until I was old enough for high school, I was raised in an orphanage. My scars disturbed people, so I was never adopted. Do they bother you?”

Soon-hee shook her head, “No, Ma’am.”

Hanako twitched lightly at the title, but continued, “As a result of my parent’s death and subsequent years, I developed PTSD. When I got older, some of the workers at the orphanage considered I be placed in long term psychiatric care, similar to where you are now. Others felt Yamaku was a better choice. To help students cope with their disabilities –a task above and beyond normal teenage angst- Yamaku has a highly rated counseling program, in addition to its medical staff and educational program.”

“I was transferred to Yamaku, but on the condition I see a therapist on a regular basis. I cannot speak for your past or its horrors, but I can almost guarantee that a similar requirement would be placed on you.”

“I’d recommend it,” Miss Sorami interjected.

“Would that be a problem?” Hanako asked.

Soon-hee shook her head, “Do they have a Judo club?”

Hanako nodded, “It’s small, but they have one. They also have a swimming team.”

Soon-hee smiled, “Could I join both?”

Hanako returned the smile, probably a bit amused by the girl’s enthusiasm, “I doubt it, but you could always use the pool for exercise.”

“You don’t have to decide today, by the way,” I added, “So don’t feel pressured.”

Soon-hee turned to me and smiled, “Thanks, but I think I wanna go. It sounds like a good stepping stone for me, and it’ll give me a chance to move on with my life, away from my past.”

Hanako nodded in agreement, “Well said. We can arrange a campus tour easily enough, to give you a chance to see things for yourself before we have to make anything formal. Funding shouldn’t be a problem, between the Foundation and grants for anything you would pursue regarding physical therapy –joining a sport’s team or something involving the gym class, for example. Your grades aren’t a problem either. So there’s nothing stopping you from being accepted. If you want to go to Yamaku, there will be a place for you.”

“Also,” Miya chimed in, “If the dorms get lonely during breaks, I want you to know you’ll always have a place at our home.”

Soon-hee turned to Miya, mouth slightly open in shock, “…Thank you, but… I’ve been so much trouble for your husband; I wouldn’t want to impose on you at home.”

“You wouldn’t be,” Miya assured her, “You deserve a better place you can call home then a mental hospital, and so you’ll have it with us.”

Soon-hee sniffed and grinned at Miya. Seeing her smile so widely was a beautiful sight to behold, and was always a wonder to witness or cause.

“Thank you,” Soon-hee breathed, sniffling again and looking down at her tea cup.

“No problem!” Miya chirped, apparently forgetting the minor issue of us not having a spare bedroom, “Little Lambs who have lost their way shouldn’t have to go astray, after all!”

Hanako, the nurse, and Miss Sorami all turned to Miya and raised an eyebrow. Soon-hee still seemed a bit overwhelmed, but she was smirking. Following the awkward pause, Hanako was the first to speak.

“Ahem,” she said to compose herself, “If you want to attend Yamaku, any further correspondence should be between you, your therapist and doctor, your Foundation Advocate, and Yamaku’s Admission’s office.”

Soon-hee glanced up and nodded, “Thank you. Oh, Mrs. Setou?”

Miya tilted her head at the young woman, “Yes?”

We're poor little lambs who've lost our way/Baa! Baa! Baa!/We're little black sheep who've gone astray/Baa—aa—aa!/Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree/Damned from here to Eternity/God ha' mercy on such as we/Baa! Yah! Bah!” Smiling at everyone’s dumbfounded expressions –whether from her English or her obscure poem knowledge was difficult to say- she continued, “Your husband has done so much for me, and while I can never repay the debt I owe him because of it, I promise I will not do anything to make him regret helping me. Nor you.”

Grinning and highly confused, I blurted, “How the fuck do you know that poem?”

Still smiling, Soon-hee shrugged, “Internet. I’m allowed one hour a day of supervised computer usage once I’ve finished my homework and training. Mostly I read Wikipedia.”

“She’s taken a liking to foreign poetry,” Koizumi interjected.

Hanako smirked and remarked, “The Literature Club and Poetry Club are also options you might want to consider.”

With the official business wrapped up, we finished our tea and cookies to the constant chatter of my delightfully excitable wife. Soon-hee seemed enthralled by her travel stories as she rambled on about her adventures in Australia and the United States. With every story Soon-hee’s eyes seemed to shine brighter, and I had a sneaking suspicion that if she did spend school breaks with us, it wouldn’t be at our home.

Once the tea and snacks were gone, Hanako glanced at me, and I nodded. Turning to the young woman, I said, “We should head out for now. Hanako’s gonna leave some forms with you, and the Foundation Advocate will start spamming the crap outta Dr. Tainaka and Miss Sorami soon enough. You’ll probably get info from other schools trying to attract you, too. Feel free to give them a look if you think they’d be better suited.”

“We’ll keep that in mind,” Miss Sorami said, “Though personally, I think Yamaku’s counseling program is an excellent point in its favor. The medical staff may also be beneficial, in case her withdrawal becomes an issue.”

Soon-hee nodded, “Doc thinks it won’t be much of a problem, but I don’t want to take the chance. If something happens, Yamaku has the staff to deal with it. To stop me from being itchy. I never want to be like that again.”

“Just keep fighting, and you won’t,” I declared.

Hanako nodded, “All scars fade, given time.”

“Besides,” Miya chirped, “Yamaku’s library is the best funded one on Honshu, short of the universities.”

Soon-hee’s eyes lit up at that, “That settles it, then. I’m going, and thank you.”

Chuckling a little at her declaration, I replied, “No problem,” and stood to get up. I had barely gotten to my feet when the young woman bolted over and grabbed me in a fierce hug.

“Thank you,” she repeated as she squeezed me, “I don’t care why you decided to help me, or why you kept at it. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for being there when I needed you, and for me always being able to rely on you. Thank you.”

Choking back a stray crumb in my throat –that’s my story and I’m sticking with it- I gently pat her head, running my hand briefly through her short hair, and murmured, “You’re very welcome. And for the record, I never helped you out of pity. Empathy and sympathy certainly, but I never pitied you.”

“Thank you,” Soon-hee breathed. Pulling away, she turned to Hanako and Miya, who by then were also standing, and bowed deeply to each of them, “and thank you. Both of you.”

“You’re welcome, and don’t worry about it,” Miya chirped, “We wouldn’t be parents if we didn’t look after the world’s Little Lambs.”

Hanako merely nodded, her smile seeming almost wistful in expression.

Patting Soon-hee’s head one last time, I said, “See you again soon, and hope you like your present.”

“I’m sure I will,” Soon-hee stated.

I opened the door so Hanako and Miya could leave. Both nodded to the nurse and Miss Sorami before giving a departing wave to Soon-hee.

“Merry Christmas, Soon-hee,” Hanako said.

“We’ll be by for New Years if you want,” Miya added.

Soon-hee sniffed and nodded quickly, “I’d like that.”

“Great!” Miya chirped, “There’s a Taoist Shrine not far from the hospital that’ll be perfect,” Miya stated. Realizing what she had said, she grimaced and muttered, “Um, unless you have a preference.”

Soon-hee smiled and shook her head, blinking rapidly as she said, “No, that’s fine. Thank you.”

“No problem,” Miya declared, and she was out the door after Hanako.

“Merry Christmas, Ladies,” I said.

“Merry Christmas,” the three returned.

With a farewell nod to Miss Sorami and Koizumi, and a departing wave to a grinning and possibly crying Soon-hee, I left her room, closing the door behind me.

+++

For reference: Gentlemen Rankers

So, Merry Holiday of your Choice, everyone. Some of you expressed doubt how I’d pull this off, so I hope I did an adequate job. If not, I can always toss out an epilogue.

I don’t see this becoming a spinoff on its own, through, due to both the lack of carry-over characters (the only major characters left at Yamaku by the 2020’s would be Mutou and the Nurse, after all), and my incredible inability to properly write Soon-hee’s next major hurdle (the massive amounts of therapy she’d need in order to have anything resembling a normal, stable relationship. Now that’s a PTSD trigger I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.)

Anyway, Nietzsche said from Chaos comes Order, but having a loyal readership helps, too. So thanks, all.

I don’t think I’m gonna post anything until St. Patrick’s Day-ish, which’ll be another movie night shenanigan (hopefully by then I can afford a Netflix account to replace my lost Blockbuster account. Unless one of the local video stores can hook me up. Ah, decisions, decisions.)

There’s always my previous writings to keep you occupied, along with my fic’s tvtropes page and my tumblr (if you can stomach all my 40k and otaku stuff, that is.)

Until we meet again:

/smokebomb
"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: Picking up the Pieces- A H&K Xmas Special (Updated 12/17

Post by dewelar » Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:22 pm

Hoitash wrote:So, Merry Holiday of your Choice, everyone. Some of you expressed doubt how I’d pull this off, so I hope I did an adequate job.
The same to you, sir, and thank you for the gift. As others have mentioned, it seemed obvious where this story was going from the beginning, and to be honest I never thought it should have gone anywhere else. Sometimes the obvious choice is obvious for a reason, but it does need to be done well in order to be worth reading. This? Was worth reading.

*tips hat*
Rin is orthogonal to everything.
Stuff I've written: Developments, a continuation of Lilly's (bad? neutral?) ending - COMPLETE!

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Re: Picking up the Pieces- A H&K Xmas Special (Updated 12/17

Post by Hoitash » Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:42 pm

dewelar wrote:
Hoitash wrote:So, Merry Holiday of your Choice, everyone. Some of you expressed doubt how I’d pull this off, so I hope I did an adequate job.
The same to you, sir, and thank you for the gift. As others have mentioned, it seemed obvious where this story was going from the beginning, and to be honest I never thought it should have gone anywhere else. Sometimes the obvious choice is obvious for a reason, but it does need to be done well in order to be worth reading. This? Was worth reading.

*tips hat*
*tips hat in return*

Thank you, both for reading and the compliments :)
"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: Picking up the Pieces- Christmas Eve Update

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Tue Dec 24, 2013 3:37 pm

Great conclusion to the story. I have to admit I'm curious as to what her experiences at Yamaku will be, but that would end up being another story in and of itself, as well as being entirely unnecessary. Overall, very good story with a well done conclusion.
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Hanako>Lilly>Rin>Emi>Shizune

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Re: Picking up the Pieces- A H&K Xmas Special (Updated 12/17

Post by Minion of Chaos » Tue Dec 24, 2013 3:40 pm

dewelar wrote: The same to you, sir, and thank you for the gift. As others have mentioned, it seemed obvious where this story was going from the beginning, and to be honest I never thought it should have gone anywhere else. Sometimes the obvious choice is obvious for a reason, but it does need to be done well in order to be worth reading. This? Was worth reading.

*tips hat*
Agreed!

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Re: Picking up the Pieces- Christmas Eve Update

Post by Hoitash » Tue Dec 24, 2013 4:04 pm

AntonSlavik020 wrote:Great conclusion to the story. I have to admit I'm curious as to what her experiences at Yamaku will be, but that would end up being another story in and of itself, as well as being entirely unnecessary. Overall, very good story with a well done conclusion.
Thanks, glad you and Minion of Chaos liked it :)
"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: Picking up the Pieces- Christmas Eve Update

Post by Solistor » Tue Dec 24, 2013 5:20 pm

You are truly magnificent, my friend. Happy Holiday of Choice to you as well, and may it be grand.

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Re: Picking up the Pieces- Christmas Eve Update

Post by Hoitash » Tue Dec 24, 2013 5:41 pm

Solistor wrote:You are truly magnificent, my friend. Happy Holiday of Choice to you as well, and may it be grand.
Thanks, and yours as well :)
"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: Picking up the Pieces- Christmas Eve Update

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Dec 24, 2013 6:29 pm

Yes, a very nice story - even without any Illuminati or aliens :-)
(the massive amounts of therapy she’d need in order to have anything resembling a normal, stable relationship. Now that’s a PTSD trigger I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.)
Usually I would agree with you, but with the progress you depict in this story, I can't see it as too big a problem...
I have to admit I'm curious as to what her experiences at Yamaku will be, but that would end up being another story in and of itself, as well as being entirely unnecessary.
While that is true, please keep in mind, who you are writing this to: If Hoitash had been afraid of writing "other stories that are entirely unneccessary" we would have never gotten to read this one or it's prequels either...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Re: Picking up the Pieces- Christmas Eve Update

Post by Hoitash » Tue Dec 24, 2013 6:42 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:Yes, a very nice story - even without any Illuminati or aliens :-)
Thanks, I'm rather glad of that, myself :).
(the massive amounts of therapy she’d need in order to have anything resembling a normal, stable relationship. Now that’s a PTSD trigger I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.)
Usually I would agree with you, but with the progress you depict in this story, I can't see it as too big a problem...
Yes and no. This story does take place over the course of four or five months. Still, it's an area I am far too ignorant in to delve into, and I'm not sure my stepmother is well versed in it either, but who knows.
I have to admit I'm curious as to what her experiences at Yamaku will be, but that would end up being another story in and of itself, as well as being entirely unnecessary.
While that is true, please keep in mind, who you are writing this to: If Hoitash had been afraid of writing "other stories that are entirely unneccessary" we would have never gotten to read this one or it's prequels either...
Indeed. I am partially curious to give it a shot, but not only would it be a rather large undertaking, it would involve knowledge of psychological fields I am not comfortable dealing with due to ignorance. Also, at that point I'm writing a side-story of a side-story of a fanfic, and I'm not sure that would be kosher to post.
"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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