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Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 10/31)

Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:43 am
by Zerebos
Sorry to hear about the lack of internet! I'm not sure how you're getting by haha.

First I just want to commend you for the story as it is so far, it's absolutely incredible! I'm really excited for this to continue!

Second, just a slight comment on using a computer to speed up the sound while preserving pitch, I just want to note that this is 100% possible. I'm a computer engineer and it is definitely possible to speed up the signal without changing the pitch, it was something we had to do in class back in undergrad. And my dabbling in music and radio productions confirms that as well. Although the part regarding it being weird upon speeding it up is definitely accurate if the performer does not plan for it properly

Lastly, you're accuracy with Chisato's diabetes is impressive. I am the only non-diabetic in my direct family, sister has type I and parents type II, and everything I've read so far is fairly accurate especially in regards to the time of the VN (2007 I believe). As back then the waterproof pumps were not popular, and they didn't have "smart pumps" that communicated with the glucose monitors to deliver a bolus automatically.

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 10/31)

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:57 am
by Eurobeatjester
Finally got internet back, and with it, a new 7500 word chapter!

The title for this chapter comes from the song Supersonic Speed by the band Die Happy. (Both the original version and nightcore versions :lol: )

Moving things along in more ways than one. As always, feedback is appreciated! I had fun with this chapter.

Act 3: Ignition

Scene 5: Supersonic Speed

Another dawn, another day ensuring pharmaceutical futures.

Thankfully, the morning ritual has become routine. Pick a bottle up from one side of the desk. Open it. Dump anywhere from one to three pills into my hand. Swallow them with a gulp of water. Close the bottle and move it to the other side of the desk so I don't accidentally take a double dose.

Rinse. Repeat.

At least I seem to be drinking a lot more water than I used to, even if it's only because I need it to take my medication. I've learned to keep a case of bottles in the closet so I'm not encumbered when I make my pilgrimage to the bathroom.

Stomach filled with the first course of breakfast, I stretch and lightly slap my cheeks to finish waking up. A few steps across the room and I can open the closet. Just like with my medication, I pick a shirt from one side of the closet, and slide the empty hanger over to the other so I can put it away later in preparation for laundry. Normally I would be going to the pool, but after how late we got back last night from karaoke and with how tiring the whole outing was, Saki and I made a tacit agreement to get an extra hour or so of sleep.

The scent of detergent tickles my nose as I look down to focus on the buttons.

Karaoke was quite fun. I'm normally not much of a singer. I'm perfectly content to just watch others sing, only pitching in to keep it from being socially awkward. Last night wasn't much of an exception to that, but seeing how much everyone was enjoying themselves made it that much more of a good time. The room was a little crowded with myself, the three girls, and Mrs. Sakamoto, but nobody seemed to mind. It was a good excuse for how Saki gradually kept snuggling into me as the night progressed. She didn't seem to care that Mrs. Sakamoto was there, and for that matter, neither did Mrs. Sakamoto herself.

Noriko surprised me. While it was clear that she was excited, she definitely has a reason: the girl can sing – at least, better than the rest of us could. It was fascinating to watch – not so much that it had the same effect on me that Saki or Chisato have when they play, but it's just one more facet of the sheer contrast between seeing her when she's out and about compared to seeing her at Yamaku. She threw herself into it wholeheartedly, and the rest of us were quick to either skip a turn so she could sing again, or ask her to be backup.

Even Mrs. Sakamoto ended up singing a song or two, and the night ended with all three girls singing a few songs at once.

Finishing my ensemble for the day by slipping a tie loosely over my head and sliding the knot up, I attend to the last part of my morning ritual before heading out to class – feeding the fish.

He's grown a bit the last few weeks, although I've probably hurt more than helped with how liberal I've been with the amount of food I give him every morning. As if on cue, he seems to know that his breakfast is coming. He emerges from behind the pirate skull he likes to hide behind and starts energetically swimming near the top of the bowl.

“At least one of us is putting on weight,” I say to him, grabbing the bright yellow container of flakes next to his home. As soon as my hand touches it, I realize I had completely forgotten something important.

I totally forgot to pick up more food while we were in the city yesterday. I had made a mental note of it, but in all the excitement, it slipped my mind. In fact, we never even made it to the store at all.

I pop the top off the container and stare down into it. I think I have enough for another day or two, but definitely not enough to last until I get back to the city. I shake the can a bit, but it doesn't seem to make any more food magically appear.

Grabbing a few pinches, I sprinkle it over the surface and watch him go to work. He darts up to the surface and greedily gobbles up a few flakes, then seems to lose interest in what's in front of him and dives towards the bottom of the bowl, snatching the first morsels that become waterlogged enough to drift down. Then back up to the surface.

Rinse. Repeat.

Looks like we're both becoming creatures of habit.

Still, that doesn't solve the problem at hand. I'm mentally kicking myself, but just as I'm anguishing over being so stupid, I snap my fingers when an idea comes to me. Saki. She was the one that hooked me up with everything I needed for the fish in the first place, so I'm sure she'd let me borrow some more food for him if I asked.

I take my phone off the charger, and quickly flip it open and hit the button for Saki's number, praising the miracle of speed dial. After two rings, I hear her pick up.

“Hey Hisao!”

“Hey Saki. Sleep well?”

“Like a baby. You miss seeing me so much at the pool this morning you had to call before class?”

“Heh, something like that. I have a favor to ask.”

“What is it?”

I briefly lay out my current predicament. She laughs.

“No problem, I have plenty here. Let's meet up after class. I have to swing back here to the dorm anyway after classes to change before I go to therapy.”

“All right. I'll pick you up from your classroom after we get out today.”

“It's a date! And...Hisao?”


“Thanks for calling. Nice to know I was the first thing on your mind when you woke up,” she teases. I can just imagine the look on her face.

“To be fair, I did think about the fish first.”

“I might have to do something about that, then.”

“You know, nothing stops you from giving me a call in the morning.”

“If I'm going to wake you up, I can think of a better way to do it,” she says, most likely guessing the look on my face from that comment. She's probably not wrong.

“See you after class, Saki.”


The ending bell can't come quick enough.

Not only am I looking forward to seeing Saki, but even without that motivation, the clock has just dragged on far too long today. It's bad enough for a Monday, but I had to check my watch more than once today just to convince myself that the batteries in the wall clock were still working.

It was one of those mornings that even sucked the fun out of the lunch break. Instead of looking forward to the start of the momentary freedom it brings, you're already dreading it before it even starts because you're going to be right back inside the classroom after it.

Even Mutou seemed to share everyone's apathy this morning. He gave his usual speech about what was coming up the next week, and for the first time, actually mentioned preparing for exams. Everyone was doing their best to ignore that black cloud overhead until Mutou reminded us that it might be a good idea to make sure we had our umbrellas ready, so to speak.

With only a few minutes left in the class, and our teacher completely checked out for the day mentally, the classroom comes alive with chatter between students. I'm idly staring at the braids in Kapur's hair when I sense Misha turn towards me to try and get my attention. I turn to look at her and am greeted by her ever present grin.

“Hiichan! How was your weekend?” Misha asks me, for once keeping the volume of her voice down to a whisper. A stage whisper, but progress is progress.

“Pretty tiring. Ended up having fun though last night.”

“Yeah? What did you do?”

“Yeah. Ended up going to a karaoke place in the city.”

“So you were on a date with your girlfriend?” Misha clarifies, not just for me, but damn near everyone on my side of the room. Thanks, Misha.

“I was, actually. Plus a few more friends. Why, what did you do?”

“Nothing too exciting,” she pouts. “Shiichan was mean and made me study for our English test later this week.”

I've definitely heard enough English peppered into Misha's normal speech to the level that she surprises me with that statement. “I thought your English was fine?”

“Wahaha~! Nah, not really. I never remember that stuff. I think it looks cool on shirts, though!” she finishes, flashing her smile again.


Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 10/31)

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:00 am
by Eurobeatjester
As if she has a sixth sense, Shizune seems to be able to tell when someone is talking about her even if she can't physically hear them. She adjusts her glasses and taps Misha on the shoulder. Misha turns away from me and the two girls start signing rapidly between themselves.

I lean back in my chair to stretch a bit before Misha's attention refocuses on me.

“Shiichan is curious how things are going with you and Saki.”

“W...what?” I sputter out with a start. That was certainly direct. “Are you sure that's what she asked?”

“Waha! Not exactly, but it's what she wants to know!”

“We're doing fine,” I answer her, with a slight hint of exasperated annoyance. Misha's been trying in her own completely-not-subtle way to get something out of me the last week or so, ever since that day Emi and Rin cornered me on the roof. Maybe Kenji's onto something with the whole “intelligence network” he likes to ramble on about.

“That's all?” Misha asks, in somewhat insincere astonishment.

My eyes narrow in suspicion. “Yeah, why?”

“We just want to know if things are going well for you, Hiichan.”

“Because you're my friends or because you're gossip hounds?”

When Misha signs this to Shizune, all the blue haired girl does is give me a mischievous smile and a thumbs up. Lord, have mercy.

“So does this type of thing happen whenever someone goes out with someone else? Or is this unique here?”

“'It's our duty as the student council to know what's going on with our fellow students. It's clearly stated in the student council handbook.'”

I hear Kapur snicker in front of me, only for a second.

“That sounds like a pretty liberal interpretation to me,” I say.

“'What's your point?'”

Juuust beyond your grasp, girls.”

“'What's that supposed to-'”

Before Shizune or Misha can formulate a full reply, the bell rings. Whatever rebuttals they had forming get swept away by the sudden bustle of activity in the room.

“Enjoy the rest of your day,” our teacher says, standing up to leave in an orderly fashion with the rest of his flock. Nobody answers him, but I don't think he notices or cares. I'm stuck for a few more seconds with Misha unsuccessfully trying to goad me until enough students have cleared the room to give me a clear shot at the door. As I exit to join the flood of students in the hallway, I hear someone call my name.


I turn to look, and see Saki leaning against the wall to my left, well clear of the foot traffic. I smile and take the few steps over to her.

“I thought I was supposed to pick you up?”

“We got out a few minutes early. Our teacher wanted to avoid the rush.”

“No such luck with Mutou, but he's usually late, so...”

“I'd trade that for getting out a few minutes early. I'd be able to spend more time in the pool...oh hi, Lilly!”

I pivot my head to see Lilly coming to a stop a few feet away, on our side of the hall. If she had kept going, she may have bumped straight into us. That must have been why Saki called her name.

“Saki? Interesting meeting you here.”

“Oh, don't mind me. Just picking up Hisao.”

“Hey Lilly.”

“Hisao,” Lilly acknowledges with a slight tilting of her face in my direction and a small nod. “We haven't spoken in quite a while. How have you been?”

“Doing pretty well,” I answer honestly. “How about yourself? What brings you here?”

“The same, and thank you. Normally I wait here outside the classroom for Hanako before we leave together.”

I can't remember seeing Lilly doing this before, but I'm always out of the classroom before Hanako is. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen Hanako even leave the classroom at all, even on the days when I tend to linger around for a minute or two beyond the bell. I guess it would make sense that she wouldn't want to be around too many other people.

As if on cue, Hanako peeps her head out the door, and scans in both directions. When she sees the three of us, she gives a weak smile.

“H...hello,” I hear her say, in a small and frail voice.

All three of us return the greeting, but Saki and I fall by the wayside when we see how her attention seems to be solidly locked on Lilly.

“I hope you won't think this rude,” Lilly begins as Hanako moves to her side, “but we have to go. We were going to do some shopping in town.”

“No problem, Hisao and I were heading off ourselves.”

Lilly nods, and I watch as the two of them turn around to leave – Lilly gently tapping the ground in front of her with her cane, and Hanako figuratively pressed to her side. The two of them have a very interesting dynamic that forms a strange sort of symmetry. Hanako always seems rather shy, so I suppose it would make sense to befriend Lilly...and with Lilly being almost motherly, at least in my own interactions with her, it seems only natural that she would reciprocate in kind.

“You said you needed some fish food, right?”

“Er, yeah,” I say, shaken out of my thoughts back to the present. “I still can't believe I forgot to grab some when we were in town...”

“Don't worry about it. Now you have an excuse to head back with us, right?” Saki says, smiling at me.

I don't think I'd ever need an excuse to spend more time with her.

Saki shifts her bookbag to her other shoulder, and slips her arm through mine. It takes me a few strides before I fall into the rhythm she dictates; her frame settled against mine to provide the support her cane usually gives her. My only regret right now is that I can't hold her hand in this position, but it's soon forgotten as we start moving.

“How'd your day go?” I ask.

“Nothing too bad, for the most part. Although our teacher started in on us about the exams.”

“Mutou did that too.”

“It must be a conspiracy. They always say something like that on the exact same day.”

My eye twitches – ever so slightly – at that word and the person it conjures up in my mind. Saki doesn't seem to notice it though.

“Well, I guess that's no different from other schools. I remember back at my old school how the upperclassmen would freak out right around this time of year.”

We've reached the elevator. Saki punches the button, and the doors open instantly to let us inside.

That's reassuring. I thought we were supposed to enjoy this last year. It's going to be a long few seasons.”

“What, you didn't have the same thing happen back in Osaka?”

She hesitates a bit. “Not really...normal school wasn't something I 'did.'”

“Ah,” I say, biting my tongue. By happenstance, the elevator chooses that moment to chime softly and spit us out.

It's not a short walk to the dorms by any means, but it's pleasant nonetheless. The heat of the day broke earlier, leaving just enough warmth in its wake to hint that the upcoming evening will be a beautiful one. We both seem to be enjoying it, and each other.

When we start to approach the dorms, however, I feel slightly hesitant. Saki senses the slight shift in my body language, and turns her head towards mine.

“You're not nervous about going into the girls dorm, are you?” she asks, a teasing lilt to her voice.

“, not really,” I stammer, in a completely unconvincing way, further punctuated by suddenly looking around to see who might spot us. “Well, okay, maybe a bit.”

Saki laughs. “The only rule the school has is that you have to be back in your own dorm by curfew.”

“Wait, really? I thought they might be a bit more...”

“Restrictive? Nah. I mean, most of us live here. You'd go over to your friends' houses, right? Plus...I don't think that would be something they could enforce. Besides, even if there's only one rule, people still break it all the time. Chisato does once or twice a week.”

I stumble for a second. Saki smiles.

“Relax, she won't be upset I said that. Actually, she probably would be because she would have missed your reaction just there.”

Chisato does like to try and get a rise out of me. I chuckle to myself when I realize Saki's most likely correct.

Still, that doesn't really ease my tension as we climb the stairs leading up to the dorms. We're rapidly approaching the point where we'll have to either split off towards our respective buildings, or choose one to go into as a couple. The dozen or so people bustling around don't seem to take notice, but I just can't shake the feeling, as stupid as it sounds. And oh god, if Misha or Emi saw us walking into the girls dorm together? I can barely deal with the crap they fling in my direction as is.

“It's not exactly the teachers or night guard I'm worried about seeing me,” I murmur under my breath, even though there's nobody else besides Saki in earshot of me. Saki halts for a second and squeezes my arm harder and makes eye contact.

“Are you afraid of being seen going in with me?"


Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 10/31)

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:03 am
by Eurobeatjester
I move quickly to reassure her that no, that isn't the case, when I replay the question in my head. There's her teasing undercurrent, true, but there's also a slight nuance to her words that shows it's not just an idle question. The tone in which her voice wavered, and the small hint of uncertainty in her eyes as they stare into mine.

It's almost as if she's afraid I would say yes; that I would reject her.

“Never,” I answer, moving my free hand to cover hers, and cement my statement with a kiss to her forehead. She gives a relived sigh that turns into a giggle.

“Good. It's on the ground floor, so we won't have to climb any stairs.”

Following her lead, we step through the doors and into the rather small lobby. So far, so good. Not much different from the male dorm. Same exit sign, same little room to the right of the entrance that has a few couches and a television. I see a few girls sitting down engaged in an intense conversation, too busy to take notice of the two of us.

The same cannot be said of the half dozen girls either coming or going from the area, either passing us heading out the entrance or those coming in. The few that do glance in our direction give us a polite smile or an apology for having to squeeze around us, causing Saki and myself to move closer to the wall to give them room.

“This way,” she says, and guides me past the common area and past two turns into the hallways. I only see a small handful of people here now, and none of them pay the two of us any attention. After another dozen feet or so, Saki stops in front of a door and pulls out a set of keys to open them.

“Come on in,” Saki calls out to me after she steps inside. I do.


Saki's room is the same size as mine, and set up mostly the same way. Her bed is somewhat messily made, with several light colored pillows and a lilac floral comforter. The desk at the foot of it is fairly empty save for a few knickknacks and a small lamp. On the opposite wall, there's a dresser next to the closet, on top of which is a rectangular fishtank. Sunlight streams in through the partially drawn curtains, giving the entire room a soft, warm aura.

“Careful with the door,” Saki cautions me, and when I turn to close it, I understand why. There's a full length mirror hung onto the back of it. I hear Saki toss her bookbag onto the desk, then a small click as she rests her cane against the desk.

Turning back to the room, I look at it again, and another thing I notice is all the pictures she has. I notice several on the dresser next to the fishtank, a few on her desk, and at least a dozen on the walls. Most impressive however, is a large frame over her bed holding probably half a hundred smaller sized photos.

“Your room is a lot more made up than mine,” I mention, stepping closer to the fish tank to give it a closer inspection.

“Well, it's been my room for the last few years, so that's only natural,” Saki answers, moving to my side to join me. I gently tap the glass of the tank to see half a dozen fish dart around it, either emerging from or hiding behind a variety of plants and decorations. I also vaguely see our faces reflected in the glass.

“Here,” Saki says, reaching across me to a container of fish food sitting next to the tank. “You can have the rest of this one.”

“You sure?” I ask, taking it from her and hefting its weight. It's a larger container than the one I picked up from the city, and seems to still be over half full.

“I have two more in the dresser. Don't worry about it.”

I move to put the container into my bookbag. “Alright, thanks.”

“No problem,” Saki grunts, as she struggles with the bow around her neck. “Damn, I hate these things...”

Wait, why is Saki messing with her collar? She's not planning on changing...right now...with me in the room, is she? My heart skips a beat as my imagination kicks into overdrive.

“Th...thanks,” I stammer out, as she finishes with the band of fabric and tosses it aside. Saki catches the look on my face, and gives me a sly smile.

“I need to change before you walk me over to therapy...I hope you don't mind?”

God, what the hell are you doing to me, woman?

“I'll just...step outside then...”

Saki laughs and winks at me. “Relax. I'm only changing into gym gear. You don't need to leave...just look away for a minute or two.” She's already working at the top buttons of her blouse, so I'm given absolutely no time to consider or do anything except instinctively comply with her request. I turn towards her desk, looking for something – anything – to take my attention away from her. Thankfully, I find that something with the pictures sitting on it.

Now that I take a closer look, some of these photos look fairly similar to the ones on the band room wall. I see pictures of Saki, Chisato, a few others that I don't recognize...maybe her parents, or her brother?

On the desk is a pile of loose papers that turn out to be musical sheets. The notes on them are hand-drawn, the surface of the paper rough from the work of an eraser many times over. The top sheet has a few names written on it, surrounded by a smattering of drawn hearts and stars. I try to read the largest name at the top of the page, sounding out the English in my head.


I remember that name. Saki mentioned it at the festival, and again at the studio. Is this the music her and Chisato were playing from those times?

Off to the side are a few more names, written in a slightly more chaotic hand, but still easily readable. Chisato Souma, Saki Enomoto, and a third name I don't recognize.

Kayoko Sugimura.

I hear Saki pull out and rummage through one of the drawers in her dresser, then I see a few articles of clothing out of the corner of my eye land on the bed. I automatically start to turn before I catch myself. I go back to studying the photos.

One stands out in particular – a framed picture of several people in a restaurant booth. This must have been taken around the same time the ones in the band room were. I see Saki and Chisato, a handful of other girls and guys, and...her again.

Sitting next to Saki is the girl with green eyes and red hair, from the band room photos. The same one who was only on the oldest portion of the board, and only about half of it at that.

The rest of the picture is blocked out by another framed photo resting in front of it. I idly reach up to move it to see what's behind it.

Maeda is sitting next to the red haired girl. Guess it's no wonder Saki wanted to put something in front of him.

Wait a minute...this photo doesn't make sense. Saki said she dated Maeda during their first year. I can tell that this is a photograph from that time, not just from the strange girl being in it, but because of the hairstyles Chisato and Saki are sporting. If that's the case though, why isn't Maeda sitting next to Saki?

What's going on here?

I cast a quick glance to the other pictures on the desk, and find her in two more. I turn my head to look at the collage above Saki's bed, and in my peripheral vision, I catch a full glimpse of Saki standing in the middle of the room, wearing nothing but a matching set of pink underwear emblazoned with small red hearts.

My eyes are drawn automatically to the sight, and a small voice in the back of my head is thankful that she can't see me for the moment, as she's pulling a white gym shirt over her head. I've seen her in her swimsuit before, but this leaves less to the imagination than even that...

I quickly turn back towards the photos on the desk before she finishes pulling her shirt down. Here's to hoping she can't see how red my face is rapidly turning.

“Did you take all these photos yourself?” I ask, simply to break the silence. It's a miracle my voice didn't crack there.

“Only some of them,” Saki answers. “One of the band members is also in the photography club and he prints out copies of all the pictures he takes if we want them.” I hear a muffled rush of air as she sits on the bed, and I pivot to see her leaning back to pull a pair of red shorts up her long pale legs.

“I've seen this girl on the band room wall,” I start, trying desperately to engage in conversation to take my mind off the girl next to me and the thoughts continuing to dance through my head. “Who is she?”

“Hm?” Saki grunts as she stands up, having slipped on a pair of sandals. She comes over to me and puts a hand on my shoulder, partly for balance and partly to get a closer look at what I'm asking about.

“This girl, with the red hair. There are a few pictures of the two of you playing violin together in the band room, right?”

“Ah...yeah,” Saki answers me, her mood shifting slightly as her voice softens. “That's Kayoko.”

“Kayoko? The name on the music sheet here?” I say, searching for and finding the piece of paper I was studying earlier.

“Don't you know it's rude to pry through a lady's things?” Saki admonishes in a teasing manner, but it's missing the usual bite to it.

“Well, I didn't really have many look at,” I mumble.

Saki grabs a hairbrush off the desk and starts to run it through her hair. “Sorry about that.” She sighs. “Kayoko was in band with the two of us. She was actually the one that arranged most of the music there,” she finishes, nodding towards the desk.

“This is what you played at the festival, isn't it? The name looked familiar.”

Saki nods. “Kayoko was the one that wrote down most of that Pachelbel piece, so that the three of us could play it at the recital at the end of the year. When we met that first year in band, she could play the violin even better than I could,” Saki remembers with a small laugh. “I was jealous at first...but once we got to know each other a bit more, we became good friends.”

“What happened? Did she quit band, or transfer out of Yamaku? The pictures I've seen are all from your first year, right?”

Saki gently sets the brush down, and sinks into the chair, as if an invisible weight is pressing on her. I stare at her in confusion as she closes her eyes, and appears to be gathering herself.

“Halfway through our first year,” Saki answers haltingly, “she...died.”


Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 10/31)

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:09 am
by Eurobeatjester
Regret instantly washes through me, both at that realization and that I pressed Saki into revealing that.

“I'm sorry, I didn't-”

“Don't be,” she says, cutting me off. “You didn't know.”

I ease myself over and sit down on the edge of her bed, my hands on my knees, unsure of what to say. The mood in the room is thick like a fog; heavy and stifling. Saki's face quickly changes expressions, as if she's reliving the memories of that time, both good and bad.

“Her condition...” Saki starts to explain, “Kayoko had something called cystic fibrosis. It's not very uncommon in the rest of the world, but it's pretty rare in Japan. That's how she ended up here at Yamaku. It's a genetic disorder that causes mucus to build up in the lungs and makes it difficult to breathe. It gets worse until...well...”

Saki's voice trails off into silence.

“I'm sorry,” I say again, this time more softly. Saki doesn't correct me this time, but instead nods.

“Thank you.”

Silence passes between us for several moments, before Saki jolts a bit in her chair, as if she just now remembered she has somewhere she needs to be.

“I forgot that I need to get over to therapy,” she says, confirming my suspicions. I stand up and move to offer her a hand to help her out of the chair. She takes it, and steadies herself against me as she stands up.

“Sure,” I reply. “Over by the pool, right?”

“Mhmm,” Saki confirms, grabbing her cane. “And Hisao? Thanks.”

“For what?”

“For not peeking.”

I flush a bit. “Well...I do have good peripheral vision...”

“Well if you were able to sneak a look without me catching you, you deserve to get away with it,” Saki says with a giggle before wrapping her arms around me in a surprising hug.

“I didn't mean-”

Saki places her lips against my ear and shushes me with a throaty whisper. “Maybe next time you won't have to sneak.”

Before I can react, she gives me a quick peck on the cheek and separates herself from me.

I'm flustered a bit at the teasing, but not nearly as much as I would be if it didn't feel...forced. I know Saki can switch moods very quickly, but even I have a hard time believing she could go from discussing the death of a close friend to being openly seductive in less than a minute flat. The fact she was able to has more of an effect on me than the words she just spoke. Fortunately, her back is to me so she can't see the complex mixture of emotions on my face. Maybe this is Saki's way of moving past an uncomfortable subject for her, and if that's the case, I should follow suit. Saki's no stranger to changing the conversation away from uneasy subjects, but she's usually much more subtle about it.

I can still take a hint, however.

“You ready?” she asks, turning back towards me. I see she's grabbed a scrunchy off her desk and slipped on her wristband. I nod, and she takes a second to study herself in the mirror on the back of her door.

“How'd you get this thing in here, anyway?” I ask.

“Connections. Besides, a girl has to know she looks good.”

“Are the bathrooms here different than the ones in the male dorms? I mean, we have mirrors in those.”

“I wouldn't be caught dead putting makeup on in there, and what would I do if I wanted to see which clothes I wanted to wear? I'm not dragging half a dozen pieces of clothing into the bathroom to try on everything.”

“Works well enough for me.”

Saki spins her head to look at me, in mock horror at the very idea of what I just said. “Well, we were going to have to work on your fashion sense anyway,” she says. “I guess that's just going to have to be another part of it.”

“I happen to like the way I dress, thank you very much.”

“That sweatervest? Yeah, it's nice, that the only thing you brought with you when you came to Yamaku that isn't a school uniform?”

“Um, technically not...”

“Don't tell me you have more than one of those things.”


“I really do have my work cut out for me,” she says, with an exaggerated sigh. “Guess the next time we go into the city, we'll have to do some shopping.”

I remember back to the price tags we saw at Plus Two. “I think the stores where we went are just a bit out of my price range...”

Saki grabs the scrunchy with her teeth so she can use both hands to start to corral her mane into a tail. “Ith nmph thmt brrd,” she mumbles through the fabric. I laugh as she rolls her eyes at me, grabbing the elastic from her mouth and twisting it several times around in her hair.

“It's not that bad,” she repeats herself clearly. “We can find plenty of things that look nice at the store we got your swim trunks at.”

“Alright, but I don't think I'd be able to get a mirror that size in my dorm room.”

“I don't use it just for fashion, you know. It also helps with therapy.”

“Wait, really?”

“Yeah. I'll show you next time...or if you actually decide to stay and watch, you'll see for yourself,” she says, putting her hand on the doorknob and giving it a twist.

Retracing our steps the way we came, running into approximately the same number of people as we did the first time we came through here, with about the exact same indifferent response. The clacking of Saki's cane changes pitch as we step outside onto the concrete at the entrance of the dorm. I breathe a little easier once we're finally out in the open.

We make our way over towards the medical building near the front of the school, as if we're heading towards the pool. The further we get away from the dorm, the more I'm able to relax, it seems. Even if I know it's completely illogical. There's not nearly as many students walking around the campus now; my guess is that they're either back at the dorms, heading into town like Lilly and Hanako, or in one of the after-school clubs that happens to meet today.

Going through the same entryway we take to get to the pool, I hold open the door for Saki. After we enter, I can smell the chlorine in the air.

“The therapy room is on the left, right?” I ask. Makes sense, seeing as how there's only one door on the right, and that leads to the pool.

“Yeah, second door down,” Saki confirms.

A few seconds later and we reach the door in question and both of us stop next to it.

“See? We made it. That wasn't so bad, was it?” Saki asks me.

“Not really,” I say, trying to gain the upper hand in what is sure to become another session of teasing. “I admit, you are the first girl who's ever invited me back to their room. But really? I don't see what the big deal is.”

I'm lying out my ass, but I'll be damned if I show her that.

Her eyebrows raise in response, and the corner of her mouth curls up in a grin at the challenge.

“I guess I'll just have to try harder next time, won't I?”

“I guess you will,” I agree, trying to remain nonchalant.

One second later, I realize what I actually just said.

An equal amount of time after that, I realize what it implies.

In a sudden movement, Saki turns towards me and puts her hands on my shoulders, taking a quick moment to look around us. I start to ask what's wrong when I'm cut off by the pressure of her body pushing mine against the wall with all her weight, followed quickly by her lips pressing hard against mine. My eyes go wide as my train of thought completely derails with a pounding series of crashes in my head - only after a few heartbeats do I realize the sound is my own pulse thundering in my ears.

I wrap my arms around Saki in response, and I feel her tongue on my lower lip. I automatically open my mouth slightly, and she deepens the kiss, blowing away any semblance of rational thought I might have been hanging on to.

After a few seconds of this, she pulls away, her cheeks flushed and her eyes glassy, reflecting my own. We both do nothing but look into each others eyes, breathing heavily.

I'm not sure which one of us just raised the stakes, but they've definitely been raised.

“How was that?” Saki asks, trying hard to regain her composure and almost succeeding.

“It's definitely a start,” I answer with a slightly nervous laugh.

“Good,” she says, a bit more steady. She takes a step away from me, letting me separate myself from the wall. We both idly adjust our clothing and hair – anything to take our minds off what just happened.

It's a good thing, too. Both of us jump about a foot in the air when the door we were standing next to opens. The white-clad arm that pushes the door is soon followed by the torso of someone we both recognize but haven't seen in a while.

“I thought I heard some noise out here. Hello, you two,” Nurse says in greeting. We both return it, a little higher pitched and more quickly than both of us mean to. A quick flash across Nurse's face broadcasts that he knows.

Well, this is just great. My mind kicks into overdrive, imagining all the ways he's about to lecture us, possibly get us in trouble, maybe even-

“Miss Enomoto,” Nurse says, cutting through my thoughts and bringing them to a halt. “I'm sorry, but Mrs. Nakagawa had something come up and asked me to substitute for her today. I hope that's not a problem?”

“, not at all.” Saki replies, having composed herself a bit quicker than I have. “I don't mind.”

“Excellent,” Nurse says, beaming at us. “It's been a while since I've done this, so I spent some time reading up on the latest procedures she was having you go through. You'll have to show me exactly what you were working on though. She's not the neatest writer, and I'm having some trouble making out some of her notes...not that I'm any better, admittedly. Right, Nakai?”

“Right!” I bark out instantly, causing Nurse's smile to grow just a bit wider.

“Good. Oh, that reminds me, Nakai. Can you swing by tomorrow after class? I'm starting vacation after tomorrow so I won't be able to do your usual weekly checkup on the normal day.”

“S...sure,” I answer, willing my heartbeat to calm down along with my nerves. “No problem.”

“That settles that then. Alright then, Miss Enomoto, come on in and we can get started. Will you be staying, Nakai?”

Saki shoots me a look that conveys it's probably not a good idea, especially with how close we were to getting caught. I'm completely in agreement with her on this.

“Actually, I have some homework to do,” I tell Nurse. I can't for the life of me remember what exactly that homework is, but I'm sure it will come back to me when my brain finishes rebooting.

“Good luck then!” Nurse says, moving to the side to allow Saki entrance to the physical therapy room. With a final smile from the both of them, the door closes and I'm left alone in the hallway. I take a few shaky steps over towards a bench on the far wall and gingerly sit on it.

I take the first full breath I've taken in the last few minutes, and then another, trying to calm down my heartbeat. It's pounding pretty hard, but not to the point of pain. I do feel pain, however, from all the muscles in my shoulders and back as they finally start to loosen up.

Even with all the swimming, the walks I've been going on, and helping to carry Saki up the hill that night, this is without a doubt the hardest my heart has had to work since I came to Yamaku. I lean back and rest my head against the cool brick of the wall behind me.

Everything that happened today kind of hits me in a blur. The kiss, and what it implies, what it could lead to; that's certainly on the forefront of my mind. But deep beneath it, I can't shake the nagging feeling I put aside when I was looking at the pictures in Saki's room.

Kayoko. That was her name.

Still, why was she sitting with Maeda when Saki was supposedly going out with him? Was that before or after they started dating?

Maybe they were all friends, and I'm reading too much into it.

But if they were all friends, and Kayoko passed away from her condition halfway through the year...could that have had something to do with Maeda's attitude towards Saki? It seems to go just beyond the standard disdain someone would have towards a former girlfriend.

I don't want to think about this now. It's all in the past anyway, and my mind keeps drifting back to the present. Specifically, what happened a few moments ago.

I look again at the door to the physical therapy room, wondering what could possibly be next. I passed the point of experience long ago, and all of this is new to me. I lick my lips, and there's a shadow of the flavor of peach from Saki's lip balm.

Whatever happens, I think at this point it's obvious that Saki's taking the lead.

And I'm more than willing to go along for the ride.

<< Previous Chapter : Next Chapter >>

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 1/19)

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:23 am
by azumeow
Damn, I managed to catch you in between sections there! I got stuck at the reveal of Kayoko's fate and I almost blew a gasket when I didn't see any more.

I enjoyed it, as I always do. I do wonder exactly what happened with that old trio, though. Maeda, Saki, and Kayoko.

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 1/19)

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:34 am
by Eurobeatjester
azumeow wrote:Damn, I managed to catch you in between sections there! I got stuck at the reveal of Kayoko's fate and I almost blew a gasket when I didn't see any more.

I enjoyed it, as I always do. I do wonder exactly what happened with that old trio, though. Maeda, Saki, and Kayoko.
At least you waited until I posted whole thing before commenting :lol:

Glad you like it! I've been trying to build to this point since Act 2 :D

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 1/19)

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:42 am
by Hesmiyu
Things are certainly spicing up and I like it! I have actually read up on cystic fibrosis, albeit 8 years ago for my school course and it is a nasty condition where you feel like you're drowning even out of water (weirdly fitting that our two main characters swim).

Can't wait till the next 7.5k words are written :P

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 1/19)

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:55 pm
by Blackmambauk
Happy new year Euro and welcome back to the world that is the internet, hope your time off it wasn't too much of a burden.

Now time for my chapter commentary.

Lots of little details in this chapter and as Hisao said the stakes have been raised nicely.

Liked all the details of how karaoke went and the idea that Noriko would be someone who could have a decent voice for it.

I'm picturing her singing something along the lines of a Katherine Jenkins song, Kylie Minogue song or at least one of those Anime Op songs.

Chisato I reckon would be more into Billy Joel for some reason I cannot explain, or Queen like. Perhaps Grease Lighting if she has her diabetes ice cream around.

Sakamoto I can picture being a Stevie wonder's fan, that is if they sung any non Japanese songs. Then the assumption that meru meru got sung by somebody is in effect here.

Jesus you know you are too deep into a fic when you spend 3 sentences on something so trivia, but then karaoke has that effect on me. Since it's something I love doing and if I were there I would have kicked Hisao up the stage to do something the wuss.

Now for the rest.

Liked the call and fish stuff, their teasing matches are a joy to read and it nicely payed off at the end when Hisao in his moment of greatness raised the game.

Well played sir.

You invited all of our friends this chapter as well good thinking.

Misha as always is misha, nice reference to her bush shirt in Shizune's route, was always my favourite funny bit form the game for the multi-level layer of the joke.

Loved how Saki greeted Lilly, we finally got the almost unwritten rule of Ks fanfic that a Lilly and Hanako is by law to be inputted in at least one or more chapters a fic.

Though sadly we only got a preview to the antiquated Caine duel that is forthcoming at somepoint. I await for the engarde moment :P.

We finally get to see Saki's room, as exactly as I thought it would be and nicely done with the photo's and Hisao trying to get a gisp of Saki, and yet when he does you know he likes it.

The mystery heats up with the red haired woman, now we know her name and a photo of her and maeda together. I'm looking forward to seeing the curtain raise on that one, liked you didn't give Saki's family appearance away in Hisao's observations.

Or at least their presence yet if they aren't there. As it will make for an interesting reaction if Hisao does meet them.

Liked the tension before they went into the girl's dorm and Saki worrying about Hisao's reaction and fear of rejection. Again reading between the lines with her reactions is so fun and makes me reread the story over and over again.

I notice that Hisao 's heart is reacting strongly to all of these, I reckon we are going to see something burst soon if this keeps happening.

Loved the tongue kiss stuff, very emi like in it's context and nurse popping out. You have really done it now Hisao.

We are getting closer and closer to a big bang I just know it.

Cannot wait for what is coming next.


Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 1/19)

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:05 pm
by Hesmiyu
"big bang" is that Hisao's heart, the consummation or his heart during consummation? :P

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 1/19)

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:07 pm
by Blackmambauk
Possibly and possibly not :). Or perhaps we shall foresee so many that the earth will tumble and the dark ages will return :lol:.

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 1/19)

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:10 pm
by Mirage_GSM
Excellent chapter again! I especially liked the line
I can't for the life of me remember what exactly that homework is, but I'm sure it will come back to me when my brain finishes rebooting.
One minor quibble:
Not that I'm not looking forward to seeing Saki, but even without that motivation, the clock has just dragged on far too long today.
Negated a bit too much here... Maybe "Not only am I looking forward..."?

Oh, and you just couldn't resist bringing up sweater vests... :x

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 1/19)

Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 2:46 pm
by Eurobeatjester
Blackmambauk wrote:Possibly and possibly not :). Or perhaps we shall foresee so many that the earth will tumble and the dark ages will return :lol:.
You caught me. Not only is this a Pseudo-Route, this is also a prequel to Mad Max.
Mirage_GSM wrote: One minor quibble:
Not that I'm not looking forward to seeing Saki, but even without that motivation, the clock has just dragged on far too long today.
Negated a bit too much here... Maybe "Not only am I looking forward..."?

Oh, and you just couldn't resist bringing up sweater vests... :x
Went back and fixed it to something more manageable. And yes, it's a universal law. Hisao has to be teased about the sweatervest at least once. :lol:

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 1/19)

Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 5:42 pm
by Zerebos
Another excellent chapter! Everything seems to be developing really well and the teasing from Saki feels so natural and less forced than in other fics, great job!

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 1/19)

Posted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 1:56 pm
by AlexFDSR
Haven't had a chance to read the latest chapter(s?), but I'm glad this is still going. I think this is the only story I'm reading that still gets updates.