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Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 12/8)

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:11 pm
by Peorth
“Your probably right,” Saki admits, even though she pouts again when she does so.

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 12/8)

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:51 pm
by PKMNthiefChris
“You’re amazing - and I love you - but I’m pretty sure you don’t have any superpowers.”
That had to be one of my favorite lines in this chapter. As for the chapter even if it was a bit shorter than normal (I barely noticed, make of that what you will) it worked both as a show of what's coming up, how things have progressed off screen since the end of Act 3, and what hasn't really progressed since then, such as Hisao acknowledging here they've still skirted around what happens next or the fact Maeda is still an ass. And it works well.

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 12/8)

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:51 am
by Mirage_GSM
Most of it involved running into a few walls while doing research, especially regarding what third-year students go through nearing graduation.
So far what I would say is the best depiction to be found on these forums is in "Sisterhood", though iIrc it takes a bit of artistic license since it assumes there'll be an exception that allows Yamaku students to take the exams AT Yamaku.
As an anime that focuses heavily on the topic I recommend "Just Because!"
I think I got all of that right - if anyone with experience with Japanese high schools can point out any major errors with this, please do!
Should be basically right. The only thing I noticed is that I think the really prestigious universities don't rely on the national test at all and have JUST their own - and more demanding - tests.

Finally whether a chapter is too long or too short should never be measured by its wordcount. :-)

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 12/8)

Posted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 2:50 pm
by Eurobeatjester
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:51 am
Finally whether a chapter is too long or too short should never be measured by its wordcount. :-)
Hah, I know. It just felt strange because I normally put out chapters that are longer, and by the time I had done everything I wanted to in this one as basically a "catch up and set up" chapter, it was only about 3k words long. So I did some research to expand out the chapter and hopefully it flows better. With 187k words right now, I'm probably going to end up around 250-275k when all is said and done.
Blackmambauk wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:41 am
Was surprised at how much of a time skip you did for the story. 3 months is a long time and to go from end of summer to winter time was a bit jarring at first to read. But i got used to it quickly enough due to the fact we saw throughout chapter 3 of Hisao and Saki's relationship developing and of what we saw with the music sessions and so on. Plus, Shizune's route time skipped all the time and that's my favorite of the game.
I was unsure of how long to make the timeskip, but this would put it around late November/early December. I want LtF to continue to graduation and possibly a bit there-after, but there was no way I could write another three months of content when none of it would really progress the plot beyond what's here. Saki and Hisao are slightly different a few months later on and settled into their relationship, which is something I really liked about Shizune's route.

I'm glad you all seem to be okay with the timeskip though!

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 12/8)

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:01 pm
by azumeow
Man, I'm really bad at keeping up with this fic. Awesome as always, Euro. Loved that little hot tub scene, it was so adorable!!! And Miki/Suzu is so cyoot

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 12/8)

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:08 am
by RicartElit
I haven’t finished reading what is written of the story, but I wanted to warn you (in case you didn’t know. If you do then I am sorry) that the image during the first time Hisao and Saki kiss, at the end of Act 2 is broken. Nothing to report except that. Been enjoying everything otherwise.

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 12/8)

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:22 am
by Peorth
RicartElit wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:08 am
I haven’t finished reading what is written of the story, but I wanted to warn you (in case you didn’t know. If you do then I am sorry) that the image during the first time Hisao and Saki kiss, at the end of Act 2 is broken. Nothing to report except that. Been enjoying everything otherwise.
It's broken because the shimmie is dead.

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 12/8)

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:57 am
by Eurobeatjester
I'll upload the pics to imgur and update the links when I finish the next update soon(tm) :)

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 12/8)

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:27 am
by NelNinja
Okay, took my sweet time catching up on this and can now officially say I'm up to date!

Saki reminds me a lot of Shizune but with more time actually devoted to fleshing out the relationship. I know Shizune's route hit all the big things that us over in the US of A don't quite get how much it means (Tanabata, the bentos/lunches Shizune made, the fact that Jigoro accepts Hisao instead of kicking him out, etc.) but what always bothered me is that, while these flags were hit, it felt more like a checklist than a relationship. I love Shizune as a character, just disappointed with her route.

I started this fic with some apprehension since I wasn't sure if I would like Saki as a character. From the way people have regarded a lot of the other fics covering her, I was apprehensive; however, I enjoy her immensely and have grown very fond of your Hisao and their relationship. The timeskip had me worried for a moment but, since you established just how long it had been and filled in those last few months, it wasn't nearly as disorienting as I found them in Shizune's route.

High five! Can't wait for more.

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 12/8)

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 5:30 am
by Eurobeatjester
Wooo! New chapter and the first one of 2019 (two months into it :lol: )

It took longer than I hoped it would (as always) but I was able to get it done before vacation next week. This was a really fun chapter to write!

The title of this chapter comes from the song "Pompeii" by Bastille.

Comments and feedback appreciated as always!

Act 4: Liftoff

Scene 2: Pompeii

Chisato raises her cup of tea. “What are we drinking to?”

“Finishing up that project,” I instantly answer, causing Saki to laugh.

“What, you didn’t enjoy being stuck with the dynamic duo again?” she asks.

“Once was enough, thank you. Your turn.”

“I’m damned proud I finally learned that violin trick,” she beams, with more than a bit of pride. “I’m really excited to record next week. Mitsuru?”

“I’m looking forward to winter break coming up soon, if that counts.”

Chisato pouts at her boyfriend. “Oh come on, that sounds so cliché. Pick something else.”

“You might get mad at me.”

“After saying that, I will be if you don’t spit it out.”

Mitsuru smiles. “Alright. I’m feeling pretty confident about the exams.”

The rest of us groan at that word, with Chisato glaring angrily. Mitsuru simply looks at her with a bemused expression that tells her she knew what she was getting into. In response, she shakes her head and raises her cup higher, causing the rest of us to do the same.

It’s a rather cold afternoon, but not too bad. We haven’t haven’t had any snow yet, but with the sharp bite to the air, that might change the next time the clouds roll in. Fortunately, it’s not so bad we need anything other than our blazers, and even then it’s warm enough in the Shanghai to where we can take them off.

“Why’d you have to bring that up?” Chisato asks.

“You asked for it. Besides, the first answer I gave was genuine."

“Why’s that?” I ask.

“Because one way or another, exams will be over. So no matter what, there’s nothing we’ll be able to do but enjoy ourselves on Christmas Eve.”

Saki sets her coffee down and smiles. “You really do sound confident.”

“I’m with him on this one,” I say. Mitsuru raises his cup to me in salute.

I’m further rewarded by Saki giving me an elbow in the ribs. “Easy for you to say. We’ll have the recording the next day.”

“Even better,” he continues. “You two get to relax for a day and take the pressure off. It’s perfect.”

“If I had an hour I couldn’t list all the reasons that sentence was wrong.”

Chisato laughs at her friend. “He could be right. We just need to make it a somewhat early night.”

“Do we know what teachers are coming this year?”

“They haven’t said anything official yet, but Mutou said he might. Nurse came the last two years, so he’s probably doing it this year too. Ms. Miyagi and her husband for sure.”

“What about Mrs. Sakamoto?” I ask.

Saki shakes her head. “Sensei wants to spend the night with her husband, and we’re all getting together the next day anyway.”

“I know Miki and Suzu wanted to hang out together. Do you think they had anything in mind?”

“You’re in the same class if you want to ask them.”

I’m about to answer when the buzzing of a cellphone cuts me off.

“Hold on, that’s me,” Mitsuru says, reaching into his pocket and pulling out his phone. He checks the display before frowning. “Looks like I have an email.”

“You never told me you could get email on your phone,” his girlfriend teases.

“That’s because you’ve never sent me one before,” he replies, flipping it open and pushing a few buttons. “You always text me or talk to me in person when you have something to tell me.”

“Maybe I’ll have to start forwarding some of the stuff I find to you,” Chisato starts, but her brow furrows in concern when she senses Mitsuru’s mood change. All of us notice the subtle shift as his eyes stare intently at the screen and his body tenses up. “Mitsuru?”

“Give me a minute,” he says, covering his mouth with his hand in a show of intense concentration. Whatever it is that just came up on that screen, it has his full attention.

All of us wait a few seconds as we try not to make it too obvious that we’re staring at him. Finally, after hitting a few more buttons to scroll through whatever the message is, his face adopts a stunned look.

“Everything okay…?”

“Yeah,” he says, closing his phone and setting it on the table. He takes a moment to take off his glasses and rub his forehead. “It was from Yonsei University.”

Chisato’s eyes go wide. “What did it say?”

“They’re going to let me take their entrance exam,” he says, his voice quiet with astonishment. “I mean, I know I applied for both of them, but…”

“That’s great news, isn’t it?” Saki asks.

Mitsuru’s nodding. “It is. It wasn’t my first choice of school, but they’re the first one I’ve heard back from,” he exhales.

“Are you going to go for it?”

He nods again, then lifts his eyes to look at us all. “It was the reason I went to Korea during summer break, after all. I just...didn’t think I’d get a response.”

Chisato slaps her boyfriend on the back before affectionately draping her arm around his shoulders. “I’m proud of you.”


Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 12/8)

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 5:31 am
by Eurobeatjester
I can see how much this is affecting him, having gone from high tension to bewildered disbelief in the span of just a few seconds. I have to admit that I’m also very happy for him, even if it does remind me about my own prospects, or lack thereof.

“You think you’ll get the same response from anyone else?” I ask.

Mitsuru gives a small, nervous laugh. “I’m actually hoping nobody else will.”

“Why’s that?”

“ would be a lot easier if I didn’t have to choose...and I don’t want to take any more exams than I have to.”

“That’s a really good point.”

After another round of congratulations, Yuuko comes by and we all decide to refresh our drinks. Even though we try to continue the conversation, it soon becomes apparent that Mitsuru is just a little too out of it from the shock of the earlier email.

Chisato is...not exactly any better.

As much as Mitsuru is trying to keep back the tremendous relief he’s feeling for the sake of the outing...his girlfriend is trying just as hard not to let the smile drop from her porcelain face, less it crack completely.

If I can pick up on the vibe, I’m sure Saki can as well. One glance at her is all I need to confirm it.

“After this round of drinks we should head back,” I say. “You might be confident but I’m not. I should get some more studying in before bed.”

Saki gives my knee a squeeze under the table in thanks for the out I’ve just managed to give everyone. I’m worried that it might be a bit too transparent, but the other two don’t put up more than the required token resistance before agreeing that it’s a good idea.


After an uneventful if pleasant trek back up the hill in the cold air, we find ourselves once again standing in the courtyard in front of the dorms. The same light conversation happens again for several minutes, with idle banter about everything from how all the trees have finally lost their leaves and wondering if we would get snow before Christmas or not. We even throw out some ideas about what we all might do that evening, with or without Miki and Suzu.

Finally, Chisato suggests that we should call it an evening and head inside.

“I’m going to swing by the cafeteria first and get a coffee,” I say.

“You do know it closed a while ago, right?” Saki asks me.

“The vending machine should still be turned on. I’m going to grab one for now and another one for the morning.”

“You’d drink cold coffee?”

“I’ll just heat it up in the microwave. The longer I can stay in the dorm the better.”

“It’s cold, but it’s not that cold.”

“You say that like you’re not wearing your blazer.”

Saki sticks her tongue out at me. “Fine, you win. I’ll see you tomorrow?”

I give her a hug and a quick kiss. “You know it.”

Mitsuru blows into his hands before rubbing them together. “See you guys. I’m going to take a hot shower.”

All of us say our goodbyes and give Mitsuru one last round of congratulations. The other three turn around to head back to the dorms, while I pull my collar up against the cold air and make my way back down the courtyard stairs.

As my feet wander back towards the main building a short distance away, I reflect a bit upon the evening, more specifically on Mitsuru.

He actually managed to pull it off. He was able to work his ass off and as long as he gets through graduation, he’ll be studying in Korea in just a few short months. He’s definitely earned it, having worked very hard since I’ve come to meet him earlier this year.

There’s a part of me that wonders what it would be like. Not to the point that I’m jealous of him, but still...moving to a completely foreign country, going to school, meeting a bunch of new’s not too much different from Yamaku, except it was a choice.

My hand wanders idly to my chest; a motion that happens much less than it used to, but it’s a deeply ingrained habit that pops up whenever I feel anxious or nervous about something. At this point it’s switched from being something I’m self conscious about to something that shows me I should probably do some introspection.

I make it to the entrance of the main building, and take a hard left after I’m inside to head towards the cafeteria. Most of the lights are off, but the glow from a handful of vending machines in the corner of the room casts a soft blue aura. The coffee machine is still plugged in, although I don’t think I’ve seen a time when it isn’t. With exams coming up, the only source of after-hours caffeine available to the majority of students is worth its weight in gold. If that thing ever went down, I’m fairly sure there’d be a riot - with Mutou as its leader.

I chuckle to myself as I put a few coins into the machine and press a well-worn button. The steel monolith comes to life with a whirring noise, dropping a paper cup into the bottom tray. A few seconds later and it starts to fill with sweet magical elixir.

Maybe seeing Mitsuru today makes me think of again of my own immediate future. Even though I’ve made the decision to not try and attend university in the spring - and it’s the logically correct thing to do - it’s still not one I’m entirely at ease with.

I take the now full cup of coffee out of the machine, and repeat the process again.

I know I’m lucky. I could have easily died if that heart attack happened only a few years later in life. They’ve been able to give me drugs to keep my condition under control. I’ve been able to find a new school, new friends, and really, a new life. I’m not the same person I was when I first came to Yamaku, but...I’m not as different as I wish I was at times.

Thoughts like this make me feel if that’s the right attitude to have. It may feel like the wrong one, or a simplistic one at times, but it’s an honest one. That’s supposed to count for something, right?

The second cup finishes up. I’m able to grab two lids from a dispenser, and after some more wrangling, am ready to make my journey back to the dorms.

I’d like to think I’m making progress, at least. I don’t chide myself as much as I used to for letting my mind wander. I just...really wish that things had worked out differently sometimes.

If you ever want to make God laugh, all you need to do is tell him what your plans are.

Of course, it’s unfair to myself to say it doesn’t work both ways. There have been a lot of positive changes in my life. I honestly think - no, I know - that I wouldn’t be as well off as I am mentally if I didn’t end up coming to Yamaku. Living here, in this environment, with other people like me…

I hip-check the door to push it open, stepping out into the night air.

It’s ironic to think that the situations would be reversed if I actually went back to my old school. I was definitely resentful about having to come here, but I’m more at peace now than I would have been had I stayed home...especially now. Things might have been fine for a while, but I don’t think they would have stayed that way. My friends would always be second-guessing themselves about inviting me out for any activities. My teachers would have always wondering if the workload they were putting on me would be too much.

I would have been trapped in a prison constructed of good intentions.

Hell..I can’t even imagine what would have happened with Iwanako. Would we have dated? And if we did...would it have just been out of the same sense of obligation that caused her to see me in the hospital?

That relationship would have been a nightmare. For both of us.

And the worst part of it all? I probably would have gone along with it. There’s a part of me that would have hated it...but it would have just been easier to stay depressed and not try to fight it. If I had stayed home, I could have simply gone along with the path of least resistance.

I stop completely, realizing a sudden truth.

If I was never pushed by others, I would have never pushed myself.

“Son of a bitch,” I mutter under my breath, shaking my head slightly.

As I continue to approach the stairs leading up to the courtyard by the dorm entrance, I cast a glance at the brick wall running alongside them. Rin’s mural is still there, a colorful contrast to the dark sky. Even in the low artificial lights of the evening, the striking images splashed on the brick demand your attention.

Maybe it’s a good thing that I do, because down at the end of the mural furthest away from the stairs, I see someone sitting on the ground with their back to it. Well, sitting might not be the appropriate word...more like huddled. Their knees are pulled up to their chest, wrapped tightly in their arms, their head buried. I can recognize the short dark hair, even from this distance and in the low light.


I frown in concern. Didn’t she say she was going back in with the others?

I change my direction and start to walk over towards her. I’m not that far away from her when she hears my footsteps and looks up in surprise. Her eyes and cheeks are both wet, something that gives me pause. She hastily uses the back of her sleeves to dry herself off, looking embarrassed.

“H...hey Hisao. Nice night, huh?”

“...yeah, it is,” I say, looking at her. I think about asking her if she’s okay, but it’s clear that she isn’t. “What’s wrong?”

Chisato gives a small laugh and sniffles. “It’s that obvious, huh?”

“You’re not exactly being subtle,” I smile.

She returns the gesture for half a second, but then turns away. “I guess not.”

“Do you want to be left alone?”

She shakes her head. “It’s alright.”


Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 12/8)

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 5:33 am
by Eurobeatjester
Not knowing what else to do but feeling I should do something, I finish walking over to where Chisato’s sitting and gently lower myself to the ground next to her. She doesn’t make any objections.

“Here,” I say, offering her one of the two coffees I have with me. She takes it from me and has a sip, closing her eyes in appreciation of the warmth.

“Thanks. I’ll hit you back tomorrow.”

“Don’t worry about it,” I answer, taking a brief moment to bring my own cup to my lips.

Chisato and I sit there for another minute or so, just aware of each other’s presence. I know that something’s wrong, and looking back on today, I think I might know what it is...and it’s not a comfortable subject by proxy.

“Sorry,” she starts once again. “I shouldn’t have made you worry by being out here.”

“Chisato, it’s okay.”

She sighs. “I just...needed a minute before going back to my dorm room. Mitsuru spent the night last night and after today it’s all…”

When I turn to look at her, she’s smiling but there’s no joy in it; a smudge on an otherwise unused piece of paper. “I knew it was going to happen, but when it didn’t really sink in until now, I guess.”

“It was a bit of a shock,” I agree - but realize it’s probably not the right thing to say as soon as those words leave my lips.

“I’m happy for him! I am! I just...god damn it, I’m feeling so torn and selfish…I’m glad he gets to go study in Korea...but…”

“You don’t know what happens next,” I prod softly.

“ sounds better when I’m not the one saying it,” she finishes, staring at the ground in front of her and giving a soft laugh. “You’ve gotten a lot better at this the last few months.”


“Figuring out what people are trying to say. Even when they have no idea.”

“You and Saki are good teachers.”

I hear a soft scraping on the concrete next to me, and feel Chisato lean into me. She rests her head on my shoulder. “You’re a good friend, Hisao.”

I put my arm around her and give her a gentle squeeze. “You too.”

<<Art by Hairinya>>

A few more minutes go by, the sparse and wispy clouds in the sky making their slow trek across it. It seems so appropriate to what’s been happening the last month, what’s happened today, and what’s going to be happening in the future; no matter how slowly things may seem to move, they’re inexorable.

“Maybe Mitsuru and I will end up doing that thing where we drift apart and find each other again later in life,” she sighs.

“It always seems to work out that way in the movies.” Even though she’s really upset right now, I somehow just know that the best thing I can do for her is keep up the slightly sarcastic humor that’s been a keystone of our friendship.

Chisato scoffs and sits up. “At least the movies started showing that. Ten years ago they’d be telling me I should follow him to Korea and somehow it would all work out.”

“Or he’d give up everything to stay here with you.”

She firmly shakes her head. “I’d never let him be that stupid. Not for me.” When she realises what she just said, her shoulders slump a bit. “I guess that’s something else the movies got wrong.”

“What’s that?”

Chisato’s voice cracks ever so slightly. “I love him but…I guess love itself isn’t enough, is it?”

Another uncomfortable silence follows. She’s not wrong. What if she actually did end up in Korea, and things went badly between her and Mitsuru? If he was the only reason she went, where would that leave her? And if he stayed, would he resent her if the same thing happened and he ended up missing this chance?

There’s no easy answer. If there’s a chance it could fail so spectacularly, wouldn’t it be best to mitigate the damage as much as possible? A good compromise leaves nobody happy...and damnit, isn’t this the exact same argument Saki used on me a few months ago?

“I...don’t know about that,” I answer her. “But I’m pretty sure Mitsuru would say the same thing about something else you said.”

“About what?”

“Not letting you be an idiot. I’m pretty sure he’d never forgive himself if you blew off your chance at Tokyo. That was your first choice, wasn’t it?”

She nods, taking another sip. “I just need to do well enough on the exams. As long as I don’t screw those up, and we can get the album recorded...I should be good, but…”


“It’s stupid.”

“Tell me.”

Chisato sheepishly turns away from me. “What happens if I get there, and I find out I’m not as good as I think I am?”

I frown. “Why would that be stupid?”

“Because it sounds so narcissistic...but it really does scare me, Hisao. I know I’m good at the piano, but it’s different when you’re part of an orchestra.”

“How’s that?”

“When you’re in an orchestra, you’re ranked in whatever section you’re in. The person who’s the best is the first chair in that section. They’re the ones who get things like solos and extra attention. If you think you’re better than the first chair, you can challenge them and if you are better, you get the spot.”

“The king is dead; long live the king?”

Chisato smirks a bit. “Something like that. But it’s not like Yamaku. It’s cutthroat. There’s only so many instruments in the band, and...well, when’s the last time you saw an orchestra with two pianists?”

“I haven’t seen any orchestras...but I’ll take your word for it.”

“If it’s something like the violin, if you get knocked out of that first seat it’s not so bad because there’s four or five violinists and you still get to play. If there’s only one piano though…”

Oof. If you’re not on top, you don’t get to play? That seems...harsh.

“Sorry,” she says. “I didn’t mean for that to sound like Saki would have it easier.”

Truth be told, knowing what Chisato just told me, I don’t see Saki being the sort to try and gun for first chair...and honestly, she’d be the first to admit that she wouldn’t be able to hold on to it even if she did get it.

“I really owe a lot to her,” Chisato continues. “Without her I wouldn’t have nearly as good a chance to get accepted. I mean, there’s no way in hell I would have thought about recording something the way she’s doing. She doesn’t have to learn how to play at the new speed or use the computer, but she’s doing it so we both sound better...”

Long ago, Saki had told me she was worried that she was holding her friend back. Is that why she’s taken on so much in this project? Is she putting in all the extra effort just to give Chisato a higher chance at getting accepted to art school in Tokyo?

Absolutely. Saki’s the type of person who would do that, without question. Even so, it leaves me in awe to think of it that way.

“She’s pretty amazing,” I say softly, more to myself than to Chisato.

“Can I ask you a question?”

“What’s that?” I reply, snapping out of it.

“Have you figured out what you’re going to do?”

I know she could just be asking me about college since we’re talking about our plans for the future, but somehow, I know that’s not the only meaning that question has. She is curious on my thoughts when it comes to college, but she’s more curious about our plans.

Our meaning myself and Saki.

“I don’t know,” I say. “I do know I’m going to take a year off to regroup and study for exams.” The corners of my mouth turn up as I chuckle. “Maybe by then I’ll have some idea of what I want to do with the rest of my life.”

Chisato ponders this for a moment, indulging me. She knows I can guess what she’s really asking me, but she’s willing to let me get to the answer to her question in my own way...even if it takes a while for me to build up to it.

“Are you going to go back home to study there, or try to find an apartment somewhere?”

“I...don’t know,” I answer her honestly. “I guess I haven’t thought that far ahead yet.”

“What do you want to do?”

I drain the rest of my coffee, crushing the empty cup in my hand afterwards. “Going back home might be hard…”


“I’m sure my parents would be happy to have me back, but I’m not so sure I would be.”

Chisato remains silent, waiting for me to continue.

“I made up with my friends back home, but so many of them would be moving on that I might end up alone back there...and if I’m going to run that risk, I’m thinking I might actually like the challenge of living on my own.”


Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 12/8)

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 5:38 am
by Eurobeatjester
I struggle to find the words to explain what I’m feeling, which is made even more difficult by trying to figure this out in real time. On one hand, it would be great to be able to focus completely on my studies and not worry about things like rent or finding a part time job...even though I’d still try to find one. On the other...that’s the problem.

I wouldn’t need to find one, and I’m not so sure I feel at ease with that situation and how easy it might be to fall into it. Whatever reservations I had about how my teachers and friends might have coddled me, I know that with my parents, it might be even worse.

“I think I might end up getting too comfortable at home,” I finish.

“You hit a speed bump, but you want to keep moving forward?”

I laugh. “It was one hell of a speed bump.”

She smiles in response. “I get you.”

A thought in the back of my head starts to form, an irrational seed that actively resists any attempts to silence it. Despite all the objections that immediately form in response, it’s one that grabs my attention and refuses to let go.

“If you both go to Tokyo, maybe I’ll try to go too.”

The words fight their way out of my mouth, my jaw seemingly shackled by rust and disuse. The metaphorical squealing of the metal angrily lashes back against my doubts. This is the first time I’ve even tentatively voiced a plan to myself about what happens after Yamaku, beyond a forced and tenuous apathy. Even as I think it, it doesn’t seem like such a crazy idea.

No, it is crazy. Absolutely crazy. But it could be a doable crazy.

“We could all get a place together and sell the rights to some television station to use as a sitcom,” Chisato teases. “We could be celebrities if we play it right.”

“I’m not so sure I’d like that…”

“No, it would actually work really well! We could pay for the place that way. I could be the fragile musician struggling to balance her passion and personal life. Saki could be the voice of reason.”

“Compared to you, maybe. What would I be?”

“The comic relief. You know, the one who just tags along, doesn’t really know what’s going on, but says something unintentionally profound near the end of each episode. Then once a season you get an episode to yourself that doesn’t really advance any plot but reminds everyone you’re a good guy but nobody remembers next week.”

“Thought this out, have you?”

“Okay, okay, maybe not something that extreme. But it might be nice to get together once in a while, you know?”

“...I think it would.”

“Glad that’s settled at least,” she finishes, moving to stand up. I quickly move to do the same, and watch her as she tries to toss her coffee cup into the nearby trashcan. She misses and curses, taking a few long steps over to bend down and deposit the trash properly.

“Let’s hope our new place doesn’t have a basketball hoop in the backyard,” I say.

“Oh ha ha. Glad to see you’re warming up to the idea at least.”

“I barely survive being around you two at school as is. If we lived together I’d be dead in the first month.”

Chisato stretches, reaching an arm over her head and pulling it back down with the other. “You’re probably right. Besides, maybe it would be better if I lived on my own. I could still get a deal. I’d still be the struggling female musician trying to make it in the world. They would be able to shoot on locations a lot more so I’d get to go to a lot more places.”

“That’s the spirit,” I laugh, walking over to her and giving her another hug. It starts lightly enough, but after a few seconds, her grip on me becomes...fierce. Not because it’s me specifically...but because she needs something to hold on to. I can feel the brave face she’s making starting to crack, and it’s threatening to take mine with it.

“Can I ask another question?” Chisato mumbles into my chest.

“Go for it.”

“I’m sorry if it sounds personal.”

When I don’t answer, she continues.

“What would you do?”

No. She’s not just asking what I would do in her situation specifically, but what I would do in a similar one. Not just with exams, or a relationship, or college, but finding a waypoint from this life-defining nexus in general. How I would choose what to leave behind, and what to take with me. How I would choose what - and who - is worth fighting for.

What are you going to do?

“I wish I knew,” I reply, letting the full weight of that realization sink in.

Gods, I really do have no idea what to do when it comes to Saki. Sure, we’ve talked about it a bit over the last few months, but I’d be lying if I said we talked about it seriously. We’ve always evaded the subject whenever it seriously came up. It’s easy to deflect with a witty observation or a sarcastic remark, especially when we’ve been able to get so much practice at it the last few weeks.

It’s easy to congratulate oneself for being clever; it’s much harder to dig deeper.

And yet, for all that, there’s still the thought of Tokyo. It’s buried for sure, but it steadily persists like a small pebble in a shoe. You might not remember it’s there, but it’s sure to remind you of its presence every time you manage to hit your stride.

If I was really as fearless towards the subject as I’ve been trying to tell myself, then why does that idea simply refuse to go away?

Maybe bravado only lasts until something genuine can come along to challenge and ultimately replace it.

Chisato senses the subtle change these thoughts force onto me, and her hug gets tighter - bracing and supporting me both physically and mentally. I’m very grateful for the contact. I know that I’ll at least have one person I can bounce stuff off of like this.

She finally lets me go, and smiles sadly. “Well, when you figure it out, let me know.”

“I’ll probably be running it by you at some point,” I say, trying to make a joke but realizing just how true those words are as I speak them.

“I’ll be around. Thanks, Hisao.”

The two of us somehow wordlessly decide that it’s probably a good idea to get back into the dorm. Neither one of us has looked at our watches, but the glow of the various lamps along the pathways warns that we have to be fairly close to curfew. We make our way up the steps and are about to go our separate paths when Chisato stops.

“Oh! One last thing,” she says, reaching into her handbag and pulling out a manilla folder. “Can you give these to Saki when you see her tomorrow? It kind of...slipped my mind earlier.”

“What is it?” I ask, taking it from her. It’s a bit too dark to see what she’s handing me without squinting. I can tell there’s a stack of papers inside, but I can’t make out what’s written on them with a casual glance.

“It’s a copy of the sheet music we were going to use for the recording. I have the originals but I didn’t want to scribble notes on them. If Saki can look at them tomorrow and add her own notes then we can get a jump start at practice after classes.”

“Sure thing,” I say, tucking it under my arm. “I’ll throw it in my bookbag before I go to bed tonight.”

“Thanks again. For...everything.”

“Sleep well.”

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Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 2/21)

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 3:13 pm
by NelNinja


... Ahem... I'll read this in a bit. Glad to see this update :D

Edit: Oof, the question every high school couple faces: How do we stay together? And do we stay together? Can't say I have any experience in the matter, that started in college for me, but damn does it hit a chord KS doesn't quite cover.

I don't see this forming into a love triangle, Hisao and Chisato seem like just really good friends at the point. Love triangles are so difficult to do right too, so I'd be happy if it were avoided.

So many feels, so little time.

Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 2/21)

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 4:13 pm
by yanivp
Two characters who share a sincere connection? Each character having to deal with the prospect of their partner's imminent departure?? TIGHT HUGGING???

I sense a loooooove triaaaangle.

If not, or either way, this was a beautifully paced bit of introspection on Hisao's part. As you write it, it feels brilliantly animated. If this ever goes beyond the realm of fanfic, you've basically written stage directions.