Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 7/30)

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

Post by Mirage_GSM » Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:05 pm

Not so much a triangle and more of a covalent bond - one electron leaves but another is already there to take its place.*

*I know that's not how covalence works, but close enough...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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

Post by PKMNthiefChris » Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:57 pm

I know I already mentioned this on the discord but holy crap the feels. Chisato and Hisao's frienship has personally always been one of my favorite things about this fic and Mitsuru's likely leaving (it seems all but a certainty, though I've been surprised by things in this fic before) and Hisao's uncertainty regarding his future (and where Saki is in it) was a great way of showing it. I mean I'm rooting for that movie ending for those two even if it's way down the line (Chisato is awesome and Mitsuru is awesome what can I say) but in the mean time, I'll cheer for the 3 roommate sitcom ending.

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

Post by yanivp » Fri Feb 22, 2019 8:22 pm

But like, they bang sometimes. Or not. But they absolutely do. And Saki has no problems whatsoever and lives forever. I like this ending.

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

Post by Blackmambauk » Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:30 pm

Finally got round to leaving my annual chapter thoughts for this one. Again apologies for the long delay. Just very busy these days with so many things like work, travel to and from it and my own writing projects sucking all my time as well.

Really nice chapter with developments happening with Mitsuru and Chisato. with the first either going off to become a K Pop star, a detective to work at Samsunng :wink:. Good for him that he got to go there. He's been a nice element and foil to Hisao throughout his appearances and if this is potentially his send off. Then it was very well done and i liked how it led to what came next. Just wish i could pinpoint on who i think you based his appearance off since my obvious choices were off :D.

Along with how it got Hisao thinking about his own current plans for the future, what will he do once he finished his time at Yamaku. What does he want to do in the future, and obviously the big one he and Saki are avoiding until the time is right in the story to confront it head on. What does he do once his time with Saki ends whenever it comes.

Which ties into his chat with Chisato, who is very understandably down because of her boyfriends departure to Korea in future. Chisato has always been such a strong element of your fic with how funny she is, how she adds to every scene she is in. and every time she has these talks with Hisao. We see more and more how she has that knack for being able to make you laugh or smile at he lines, but also want to hug her or really feel for her as she tried to control herself and her emotions with Hisao. But also be a really good friend in giving Hisao time to get his thoughts out, being supportive of what he says but also respecting of when he doesn't want to broach a topic etc. With nice ways of them referring to the cliches of many films and sitcoms we were brought up on and found when reality hit, not so simple to follow.

Wonderful work as always mate and i can't wait to see what comes next.

Blackmambauk
"I think the greatest skill a writer can have is simply having confidence in themselves to tell the story they want to tell, and to have confidence that their audience will make up their own minds on their story and characters." Blackmambauk

Favourite Route= All the Routes were done well. Each had it's strengths and weak points. But none were bad, a brilliant achievement by the KS Team.

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

Post by Eurobeatjester » Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:28 am

Woo, glad you all like it! This chapter was a fun one - Chisato has become my favorite character to write. I really wanted to have a throwback to the hot tub scene in Act 3 between the two of them. I love how each route in the game had the "other" girl that Hisao could talk to, and I love how Chisato's turned into that :)

Next chapter is going to be a long one. It looks like I'll be splitting it into two parts and (hopefully) posting both within a short time span from each other. It's a really important chapter and I've been building to it for years so I want to take the time to do it the best I can :oops:
Last edited by Eurobeatjester on Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Stuff I'm currently writing: Learning To Fly: A Saki Enomoto Pseudo Route
Two Turtledoves - A Lilly/Hisao Christmas Oneshot
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Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 12/8)

Post by AlexFDSR » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:21 am

Eurobeatjester wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 5:31 am
Maybe seeing Mitsuru today makes me think of again of my own immediate future.
Slight typo there.

That being said, another fantastic chapter. The feels are real.
Also, there's a Discord? :shock:
According to the forums, I post an hour into the future...
If Iwanako had a route/was the protagonist of KS, would the tagline be "Can you find it in your heart?"

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

Post by yagamirai » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:27 pm

i binge-read this whole fic up to the most recent update over a few days, and actually made my account here in order to comment on this (and then spent several days unable to word my feels.) i only played KS for the first time recently, so i'm hardly a fanfiction aficionado, but this story's masterfully crafted, delivering humor, character development and of course ALL THE FEELS on par with the game itself. if this were canon, i'm certain it would be one of my favorite routes. i'm so, so glad it's still updating, even after so long, and i can't wait to see where it goes going forward.

also, i second the above: there's a discord? :O

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

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:48 pm

An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako Route)
Riposte (Rika Mini-Route)
One-Shots Thread (Random Smut/Meme Stories)

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

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:04 am

Okay I finally read the whole thing, every word! It was quite the epic journey. You do a good job of making compelling drama out of otherwise ordinary activities and concerns--such as the simple angst of high school seniors wondering what to do with their lives next, compounded by the difficulties of their disabilities. I also notice Chisato and Hisao suddenly getting very close now that it seems Mitsuru is moving away. Don't comfort her, Hisao! Or if you do don't let Saki find out!

If I had any criticisms, the only one is that I think you tend to italicize certain words quite often, sometimes it feels like every other sentence or statement has an emphasized word in it. I don't know that there's really anything wrong with this, I just noticed it after a while and got this weird rhythm going in my head once I started picking out all the various italicized words.

Look forward to the epic conclusion!
An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako Route)
Riposte (Rika Mini-Route)
One-Shots Thread (Random Smut/Meme Stories)

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

Post by Eurobeatjester » Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:34 pm

Thanks guys!

Got a few pages done of the next chapter (life is busy getting ready for convention season starting next month) and Hairinya is working on a new piece of art :)
Stuff I'm currently writing: Learning To Fly: A Saki Enomoto Pseudo Route
Two Turtledoves - A Lilly/Hisao Christmas Oneshot
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Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 2/21)

Post by Engineered Muse » Mon May 13, 2019 9:00 pm

Congratulations Euro, you have officially drawn me out of lurking! I had to make an account just to post something because of how much I liked this story. It has been quite the trip (binged over the last day) and I look forward to more!

If you have ever read a line in a story and just known that it was a defining line for that story. Well at the end of act 3.

"I have Ataxia. It does not have me."

...

Shivers. Shivers I am telling you. Talk about a powerful scene. It lit a fire in my mind and I felt compelled to write something. So I did. I am a fan of bittersweet endings and we are headed right for one (and I am happy to make the trip!). So I imagine something like this in the future and just wrote it real fast (I didn't see anything about adding in snips, hope you don't mind! I'll take it down if you do). Enjoy, I hope.

<><><><><><><><>

Sometime in the future:

The night breeze ruffles my hair, just as untidy as it has always been. I sigh and take in the scent of the grass, wet and fresh. The ache is back again tonight. So I look up at the stars and smile. I know what it means.

“Dad?” It's my son's voice, “Why do you always look at the stars?”

I pat the ground next to me in silent invitation and I hear his footsteps approach. I count that as a victory as he is just getting to the age where parents start to become uncool. Soon he lays next to me on the damp ground. I don't turn to look, but I can feel his gaze on me and I'm not sure what about the atmosphere makes me say my next words.

“Have I ever told you about the first girl I ever loved?”

“No, but what about Mom?” his voice holds a mix of emotion along with a pile of hesitation.

“You love me right? And your sister? And your Mother?” I ask easily as I rub my chest over my scar and the ache.

“Yes.” he does not hesitate and I am filled with pride and satisfaction.

“You can never run out of love. There is enough for everyone and I am sure you will love a lot of people. And yes, before I met and loved your mother I loved Saki.” I glance over and see my son staring at me with wide, curious eyes. There is some embarrassment flushing his cheeks as well. After all, how often does someone his age expect to talk about love with their father? I never did.

I chuckle and look skyward again to take in the endless expanse.

“Bear with me here, but did you know we are made of star stuff?”

“What?”

“It's something a scientist said about 30 years ago.”

“Okayyy, but what about that girl?”

“You sure you want to listen to your old man ramble on?”

“I suppose,” he hides his interest well.

“Alright then.”

I turn my gaze back to the sky and think back. I remember that bright and shining sun. I remember the passion and drive. I remember her unapologetic selfishness.

I remember her, that shooting star, so bright and brief. The ache comes back stronger and I smile inside because that just means she is still with me and that I still love her even now. I can even hear her tease me for being so cliche.

I remember saki and I begin to speak.

“Well, I only go to borrow her for a little while…”
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Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 2/21)

Post by Eurobeatjester » Sun Jun 02, 2019 5:59 am

I'm honored :oops: :)
Stuff I'm currently writing: Learning To Fly: A Saki Enomoto Pseudo Route
Two Turtledoves - A Lilly/Hisao Christmas Oneshot
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Eurobeatjester wrote:I doubt my ability to write convincing lesbian erotica
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Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 2/21)

Post by Eurobeatjester » Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:11 am

Woo, finally got around to finishing this one. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders because of a lot of obligations these last few months including conventions and other rush projects. I didn't want to shelf this chapter as long as I did, but I wanted to make sure I was happy with it because a lot happens here.

This is also the longest chapter I have ever written, clocking in at 10.5k words and nearly 30 pages, pushing this fic to over 200k words.

I want to thank Retrograde for one of the art sketches in this chapter, along with Cherubi for a picture I found on the shimmie :)

Thanks for sticking with me this long guys. The title from this chapter comes from "Immortal" by Marina and the Diamonds. It's an absolutely beautiful song.

Act 4: Liftoff

Scene 3: From The End To The Start


The classroom feels like a ghost town. I imagine having almost half the seats vacant would do that, but the way they’re scattered around makes it feel even emptier than it actually is.

Winter break started yesterday, so I know not everyone who is missing is gone until March. Those that are, I won’t see until they come back for the graduation ceremonies. Regardless of who’s here and who isn’t, I’m sure the feeling of relief over finishing our exams is something that will bind all of us together for at least another few weeks. At least the teachers were kind enough to give us an extra day to rest before trudging us back into the classroom this morning. Heck, maybe that’s why there are so many empty chairs. I bet a few of them belong to people still catching up on sleep.

Despite it being Christmas Eve, it’s been a fairly uneventful morning.

After the bell rings, Mutou takes a few minutes to straighten out his desk and apparently his thoughts. He approaches the front of the classroom and hands the first person in each row a few papers, instructing us to take one and pass the rest behind us.

“First off,” he states, “congratulations to all of you here for surviving the final exams. I’m pleased that all of you ended up getting good enough scores to graduate at the end of March.” He gives all of us a warm smile. “I know you all worked hard, so if you’re staying until graduation take the next three months to spend as you see fit.”

Since Taro is gone, Molly only hands me a single sheet over her shoulder.

“Myself and the other third-year teachers will be available to go over any individual or group tutoring you may need or want to brush up on. If that’s something you want to take advantage of, you won’t be gathering here by default each morning. Instead, you’ll go to that teacher’s homeroom. I’ll be here tutoring science. You’ll go to Mrs. Miyagi’s classroom if you want help with English, and so on.”

I’m already ahead of him on the page, looking at the list of restrictions. There are fewer than there were in the packet I got when I first transferred in, but the big ones like curfew and no sleeping over are still there. I’m sure they’ll be adhered to just as much as they have been.

“It’s pretty common the last few months for those that stay to help the younger classes,” Mutou drones on. “A few of the first and second year teachers could use some aides, and clubs will still be meeting up after classes until the end of the year.”

There’s not much else on the paper I couldn’t have guessed at, given what I’ve heard about how summer break was handled. There’s a short blurb saying that the cafeteria will keep the same hours, and things like the library and pool will remain open as well.

Mutou soon pulls a piece of paper out of his pocket and switches to a topic most of us are much more interested in. “So now that that’s out of the way, let’s have a show of hands. How many of you are planning to go to the city tonight?”

I raise my hand, along with most of the other classmates. Miki and Suzu are among those who have their hands up, so I’m hopeful we’ll all be able to hang out together at least part of the night. We haven’t really talked about doing so since the time we ran into each other at the pool, but maybe they’re like our group and keeping plans loosely open.

Maeda also has his arm in the air, but I tell myself not to worry about it and just enjoy one last night with my friends before we all see each other again in March. I mean, if we ended up at karaoke together I wouldn’t leave the building...but I would move to a different room.

Mutou seems to make a mental count of all the different students who just answered his question and gives a slight nod. “Good! Just so you all know, here are the staff members going tonight.” He reads a list of names off of the paper in his hand, starting with Nurse and himself.

There’s only two names that I recognize, those being Mrs. Miyagi and Mrs. Sakamoto. The latter name surprises me a bit because I wasn’t sure if she was coming or not. The other names must be staff members that teach other years or different clubs.

“Everyone who goes is free to eat wherever they like, but we’ve called ahead to Soroumoni so they know to expect us. Everyone’s invited and I hope to see at least at least some of you there.”

Saki and Chisato both mentioned that they wanted to go to the dinner, as long as our group would be able to split off and do our own thing afterwards. We still hadn’t decided what that might be, although we’d been kicking around ideas to each other. Maybe that’s changed?

“Don’t forget about curfew. After dinner you’ll have a few hours to spend however you want, but make sure you’re back at the school by curfew.” Our teacher then picks up a piece of chalk and writes a phone number on the board. “This is my personal number for those of you that don’t have it. I would like everyone here who is going tonight to send me a text message when you get back to the school for safety reasons.” He then pauses slightly and smirks. “If something happens and you can’t make it back in time, just give me an idea of what’s going on and what time you’ll be back. We need to know when and where to send out the search and rescue parties.”

“Wahaha~!”

Mutou looks up at the clock. While only a few minutes have passed, he seems content to let us enjoy the rest of our morning. “That’s it for now. Remember, we’ll be meeting up by the front gate at two for a final headcount. I guess the only thing else to say about tonight is...have fun,” he finishes with another one of his soft smiles.

--------------------

“Get all your packing done, Noriko?”

Noriko turns from Saki to look back at Chisato. “I finished most of it last night...just another two or three boxes I think.”

“What time did you say your folks were going to be here?” I ask, checking my watch.

“My father gets off work in about half an hour, so another forty minutes after that if traffic is good,” she finishes with a yawn.

Our group is sitting together in the cafeteria, enjoying the first stress-free lunch we’ve shared together in weeks. Over the last month or so the cafeteria had changed from a place of laughter and lively conversation to one of soulless pragmatism. Students would trudge in and simply spend as little time as needed to fuel their bodies with sustenance and caffeine in a brutally rigorous schedule, or try and stretch the process out to steal a few moments of respite from the world around them.

It happened so gradually, I never realized how much had actually changed until I was shocked by how much laughter, relief, and life you can feel in the air.

“Do you think we’ll need one trip or two?”

“Umm…”

“Three?” Saki asks.

“Not that many, I mean, at least as long as all of you can help me.”

Noriko, like a lot of other third year students, is dealing with the logistics of how and when to leave. More than once over the last few days when I’ve ventured to take a walk or go down to the cafeteria, I’ve seen students with their parents carrying boxes and other belongings out to the parking lot. She’s been trying to recruit us into helping her with the same thing.

“I’m going to miss you,” Chisato pouts, leaning over onto her friend’s shoulder in a sing-song whine.

“Me too...but it’s not like we’re not going to see each other the next few months. Just give me a call whenever you guys come down to the city and I can meet you.”

“You couldn’t do this in a few days?” Saki asks. “It’s just kind of a bummer, what with it being Christmas Eve and all.”

Noriko yawns again. “This is the only day my father could take off early this week.”

“I, um...is it alright if you call me when your dad gets here?” Chisato asks. “Mitsuru’s packing, and I...uh…”

Her friend instantly picks up on it, then assures her. “That’s not a problem. I will.”

“Thanks.”

“Speaking of tonight,” Saki interjects, ”what are the plans? Did you want to go to karaoke, the arcade, or what? Did Miki and Suzu ever say what they were doing?”

“I haven’t had a chance to talk to them about it yet,” I answer. I haven’t run into either of them outside of class except for a handful of times where one of us was busy and couldn’t really stop to chat.

“Better make a decision soon.”

“We’ll bump into each other when we get ready to head into town. We can figure it out then, or at dinner. We’re all going tonight, right?”

Everyone else gives their agreement, and after a few more minutes of finishing up our meal, we start walking back towards the dorms. With afternoon classes happening for the underclassmen, we practically have the campus to ourselves.

“You get any packing done the last few days?” Noriko asks.

“Nah, not much,” I reply. “I’ll do most of it when I get back up here from winter break.”

“Did you figure out when that would be?” Saki asks, giving my arm a light squeeze.

I walk up the steps to the dorm courtyard, coming to a stop with the rest of the group. I can already feel a crispness in the air; a subtle indication of the evening to come. Truth be told, I haven’t come up with any answers yet, not even as part of an if-then exercise. While I know I’ve been worrying about how the appointment this week will go, it’s been rather convenient to throw myself into studying in order to take my mind off it. Now however, without the distraction, my subconscious has been chewing on the situation and not liking the taste.

“I guess it all depends on what my doctors say. If everything goes well I may be back after a week or two,” I say with a heavy sigh, adjusting the strap of my bookbag on my shoulder.

Saki’s hand slides down my arm and squeezes mine assuringly...as if to tell me that no matter what comes of it, we’ll figure it out and be okay.

“Don’t forget to call me, alright?” Chisato says while turning slightly to break off from the rest of us, no doubt eager to help out her boyfriend.

“We’ll text you,” Saki answers.

Chisato gives us a small smile of thanks, then a wave as she makes a beeline straight for the male dorms.

“You know, I don’t mind carrying an extra box or two if it means that she gets to spend some more time with Mitsuru,” I idly comment as I watch the door close behind her.

Noriko’s phone makes a chirping noise, and she pulls it out of her purse to check it. “That’s probably a good idea. My dad just texted me and he’s going to be here in about thirty minutes. His boss must have let him leave a little earlier…”

“What more do you have left to pack?”

“Just a few more papers and some clothes. I left a few things out because I’m trying to figure out what to wear tonight...”

Saki brightens up at this. “Ooo, need help?”

Noriko smiles. “Maybe.”

Image

A few moments, hallways, and stairs later, Noriko opens the door for us and we step into her dorm room. I’m actually taken aback a bit when I see it; it’s not the first time I’ve been in here, but seeing the room stripped down to the bare essentials is shocking. All that’s left on the walls of the colorful posters that used to be there are a few small spots of residue left behind by the tape that held them up, and only then if you know where to look. Books, electronics, pictures; all of them are crammed into about a dozen boxes along the far wall. Even the sheets have been packed away, leaving the green mattress exposed on its frame. The only signs that anyone actually lived in this room except for those boxes is a stack of papers on the corner of the dresser.

“Give me a minute,” Noriko says, tossing her purse onto the bed and opening the closet.

(continued...)
Last edited by Eurobeatjester on Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:58 am, edited 2 times in total.
Stuff I'm currently writing: Learning To Fly: A Saki Enomoto Pseudo Route
Two Turtledoves - A Lilly/Hisao Christmas Oneshot
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Eurobeatjester wrote:I doubt my ability to write convincing lesbian erotica
believe in yourself

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

Post by Eurobeatjester » Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:13 am

“Uh, we might need to get Chisato’s help after all,” I say, evaluating how many boxes we’re going to have to move. “Either that or a cart.”

“Hm? Oh, don’t worry about those. All I’m taking home today are the ones over there,” she answers, pointing towards a much smaller pile near the door. “My parents will be coming back up here again with me to finish loading the rest of it.”

“A santa hat?” Saki suddenly exclaims. “Really?”

While I’ve been distracted elsewhere, it seems the two girls have pulled out about half a dozen various articles of clothing and laid them out on the bed. Saki’s already putting the hat in question on.

“Well, I wasn’t sure if I was going to wear it tonight or not,” her friend answers. “It could go with the right outfit.”

“What’s this clipped to it?” Saki asks in puzzlement, reaching up to feel something attached to the fur trim right above the center of her forehead.

“The only ones they had left at Aura mart had mistletoe pinned to them.”

“Oh really?” Saki grins, bringing another hand up to the small adornment to fiddle with it. “Trying to get the attention of someone tonight?”

Noriko laughs. “I was planning on taking that off, actually.”

Saki frees the mistletoe and holds it up, looking towards me. “Good thinking. I think this is broken.”

“Why’s that?” I ask.

“Because if it worked you’d already be over here.”

Image
<<Sketch by Retrograde>>

I smirk and bend down to give her a kiss on the cheek. “Better?”

“Getting there.”

“I was thinking of wearing this,” Noriko says, getting us back on track. She holds up a long skirt to her waist, and a blouse to the front of her chest to give us an idea of how it will look. I think the black and white go together well, but Saki objects.

“The blouse looks nice, but that skirt doesn’t work with it. Do you still have the shorter one?”

Noriko shuffles around a few different clothing options, holding things up against others while Saki gives commentary. The two girls eventually agree on a knee length black skirt with black leggings for warmth, the aforementioned white blouse and a large cream colored scarf.

“See? Much better. The hat even makes it cuter.”

“You sure you don’t secretly want to wear it?”

Saki laughs. “Nope, I already know what I’m wearing tonight. I found a bow to go along with the green coat I bought on clearance last year.”

“Wait,” I ask. “You bought it a year ago?”

“Yeah, and at a great price too. It went on sale when Plus Two brought in their spring lineup. I’ve been waiting to wear it all year. It just hasn’t been cold enough.”

Noriko’s phone rings again, and she answers it this time.

“Hey dad! Yeah, we’re ready to go...you are? Alright, I’ll meet you in front. Yep! See you in a minute,” she finishes, hanging up the phone and turning towards us. “Do you want to come down with me?”

I look at Saki, who looks at me and nods. “Sure.”

Noriko takes a few minutes to frantically and haphazardly throw the clothes she’s not wearing tonight into one of the open boxes along the wall, and we retrace our steps down to the dorm courtyard. When we step into the afternoon sunlight, we see a tall man sitting on the edge of the mural wall. Noriko confirms it’s her father by waving to him and eliciting a similar response.

“Hello again, Mr. Mimura,” Saki says with a bow as Noriko’s father takes a step up to meet us.

“Miss Enomoto,” he smiles, returning the gesture before looking confused. “Is Miss Souma here as well?”

“Ah, no...”

Mr. Mimura looks a bit sad when he hears this. “That’s a shame. I would have liked to see her again. Is she well?”

“She’s helping her boyfriend pack right now.”

“I see,” he smiles again. “Perhaps later.” He then turns his attention to me, assessing me with a quick glance. “I don’t think we’ve met,” he says with another bow. “Yoshitoki Mimura. Pleased to meet you.”

He’s holding his tie in his hand, having removed it in preparation along with rolling up his shirt sleeves. He’s as tall as one could be without being considered lanky, but there’s no mistaking where Noriko gets her hair and eyes from. I greet him in kind. “Hisao Nakai. The pleasure is mine.”

“Ah! Noriko’s mentioned you before,” he replies, his tone a lot more friendly. “Thank you for giving us a hand with this.”

“Happy to help,” I say, turning to keep pace with everyone as we all fall into a lockstep back towards the dorm.

Strangely enough, that’s pretty much the only words we speak to each other. It’s not like I’m getting the vibe he dislikes me, but more that there’s a task at hand to focus on. While we quickly work, Noriko and her father spend some time talking about winter break and mention a few things involving the time leading up to graduation, but for the most part I have no idea about the things they’re referencing. Saki is exempted from all duties except moral support, a role she fills enthusiastically. With the rest of us carrying, we finish in two round trips. There’s one more box, but Mr. Mimura insists he can carry it back out to the car himself.

“Give me a call when you leave tonight,” he reminds his daughter.

“I will! Thanks dad.”

“Nice meeting you, Nakai. Thanks again for your help. Miss Enomoto,” he finishes, nodding towards all three of us and starting to carefully make his way down the steps.

“He seems nice,” I mention to Noriko as she walks by him.

“He really is,” Saki vouches.

I check my watch. “We have about an hour before we need to meet at the front of the gate. I was going to go shower and get changed.”

When she hears this, Saki becomes visibly distressed. “Oh shit! I left something at the band room.”

“Is everything okay? I ask, concerned.

She hesitates for a second, the wheels turning in her brain. “Yeah. Yeah, it should be. We’ll have to swing by the band room on the way to meet everyone else so I can grab it.”

“What did you forget?” Noriko asks.

“I was supposed to give sensei the sheet music we’re using for tomorrow so she can drop it off at the studio. I was going over it with Chisato yesterday and I’m pretty sure we left it on the piano.”

“Doesn’t she already have a copy?”

“Not the one we were working on,” Saki grumbles.

“Are you sure that’s where it is?” I ask.

She closes her eyes and furrows her brows in concentration. “Yes. We were making one or two last changes and she was playing them to see how they sounded.” She gives a sigh of frustration. “I can’t believe I forgot…”

“I can go get it while you get ready,” I volunteer.

Saki’s shoulders drop in relief. “Thank you. It really helps.”

“If you run out of time to do your hair you can always wear that santa hat,” Noriko teases.

Saki fires right back. “I’ve been waiting all damned year for a chance to wear this dress and I’m not going to have bad hair while wearing it, thank you very much.”

--------

The subtle hum of the lights powering on reaches my ears when I hit the switch. One of them flickers for a half second before remaining steady, casting the band room into a bright artificial luminescence. The room looks far more orderly than it should. For the most part, all the chairs are arranged towards the front of the room in orderly rows in proof with a cluster off to the side. Both are equal proof as to how the room has been left for winter break and how often it’s being used.

My footsteps are loud and slightly echo as I cross the room, heading towards the piano against the wall. Sure enough, I find a stack of papers propput up right where they’re supposed to be. A quick glance confirms they’re the ones I’m looking for by way of the three names scrawled across the top corner.

Saki Enomoto. Chisato Souma. Kayoko Sugimura.

This isn’t even the original sheet music from months ago. It’s been copied over and rewritten several times since then, but Chisato or Saki always write down Kayoko’s name on the newest versions.

Over the last few months, I haven’t really learned anything about her besides what I already know. She played the violin with Saki. She wrote the basis for the piece that Saki and Chisato are playing.

She had cystic fibrosis, and passed away during first year.

I’ve never intentionally pried, but the few times she’s come up in conversation the other two are quick to change the subject, or tend to shut down. To be fair, I’ve done the same to them when they’ve asked details of my life before Yamaku, especially when the memories are less than happy.

It’s something that the two of them experienced together, and it remains a private thing for both of them. I can respect that.

With the sheet music in hand, I idly make my way over to the picture wall. It’s been awhile since I’ve taken a look at it, judging by how many new pictures are pinned to it under the current year. The board is about three quarters of the way full, having been filled by photos and articles detailing the passing of time the last few months. There’s candid pictures taken of band members while practicing in the music room, coordinated shots of friends out in town together, and there’s even a few from the Halloween party. I cringe a bit when I see the two of us together in one, even though we thankfully aren’t the focus of it. I still can’t believe Saki talked me into wearing that.

The blank space at the bottom of the board will no doubt get a few additions from tonight, judging by how the full the sections of the last two years look. I can see the pictures taken from this night last year, judging by the festive atmosphere and how some of their subjects have santa hats similar to Noriko’s.

There’s one group photo featured prominently that all the related photos seem to branch off of; a dozen students sitting at a long table, all raising their glasses for the camera. Mrs. Sakamoto is in the foreground, with Chisato sitting right across from her. The cafe they’re in is familiar too. Unless I’m mistaken, it’s the one in the same center as Takamura’s recording studio and karaoke club. I don’t see Saki in it, nor in any other photo that looks like it was taken that night. That would make sense, seeing as how she said tonight was her first time going. Chisato’s not in the oldest set of photos from two years ago, so this must be her second year doing this.

(continued...)
Last edited by Eurobeatjester on Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Stuff I'm currently writing: Learning To Fly: A Saki Enomoto Pseudo Route
Two Turtledoves - A Lilly/Hisao Christmas Oneshot
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Re: Learning To Fly - A Saki pseudo-route (Updated 2/21)

Post by Eurobeatjester » Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:16 am

Even though I’m already studying the pictures from back then, some compulsion urges me to take a few extra seconds to look closer. The group picture from that year still has Mrs. Sakamoto in it, but...I don’t see Kayoko. Looking a bit further up the board. there’s a shot of her at Halloween with Saki and Chisato, all three with their arms around each others’ shoulders to pose for the camera. Her red hair is pulled up into the same twin tails she has in all the other photos on this wall, and a similar trademark smile that makes her green eyes sparkle.

I let out a sad sigh. Saki had mentioned she passed during the middle of the year. I’ve never asked her when it happened and she’s never brought it up, but it must have been between Halloween and Christmas...unless she didn’t go on the Christmas trip...

I shake my head slightly. I can see that all three of them looked like they were good friends, and Saki and Chisato hold her in high enough regard to record the music that they wrote together. It’s not really my place to speculate, and while I know the two of them would probably answer any questions I had, I feel that even having a question along those lines would be an invasion of privacy.

Heck, I feel that way right now for even entertaining this train of thought. Still though…

I wish I could have met her.

-----------

Nurse lets out a long, loud whistle to get everyone’s attention. It works, with a few students like myself amazed that he’s capable of making that loud a noise. There’s about thirty of us here by the main gate, if I had to take a quick guess. Mutou, Nurse, and five other faculty members are doing their best to keep everyone herded together.

Our group is already together, the five of us dressed for the evening. Mitsuru and Chisato are both wearing longer coats that seem to match each other perfectly without being identical, and Noriko is in the outfit she picked out earlier, complete with santa hat.

Saki entwines her arm with mine. She’s wearing a beautiful green coat that flares out like a skirt near the bottom, adorned with gold buttons and several snowflakes embroidered in silver thread. She has a large red bow done up in her hair above her left ear, which matches the one at her throat.

Image
<<Art by Cherubi>>

“Thank you,” Mutou says to Nurse, before turning to address the rest of us. “Looks like everyone is here who’s going tonight! I’m glad to see such a large turnout this year, so let’s just go over a few things and we’ll get out of here.”

I glance around, finally finding Suzu and Miki through a gap in the other students. Miki and myself make brief eye contact, acknowledging that we’re paying attention so we can figure out when exactly all of us can hang out later.

“If you’re sticking with the group tonight for dinner, we’re heading to Soroumoni when we get to the city. If you don’t want to eat with the group, there’s plenty of other restaurants downtown. After we all eat, each staff member will be leading their own groups to a few different places tonight. Afterwards I’m taking whoever wants to go to a karaoke club where the owner has been nice enough to give us a few rooms.”

I whisper in Saki’s ear. “Is that-”

“Yeah,” she nods, cutting me off. “Takamura does this every year as a favor to sensei.”

“Mrs. Miyagi,” he continues, the teacher in question raising her hand so everyone can see her, “will be heading to the cinema. I don’t think she’s decided on a movie yet, so anyone who wants to do that can discuss it with her.”

This process repeats itself a few times, with Mutou calling out a name, the staff member raising their hand, and a brief discussion of where they’ll be headed. Mr. Hayashida and his wife are going to the arcade, Mrs. Nakagawa is taking a group further downtown to go shopping, and Mrs. Sakamoto along with Nurse are going to supervise down at the ice skating rink.

Mitsuru leans over to talk to Chisato. “Wanna go there?”

Chisato smiles back at him. “I’d love that, but we couldn’t stay too long. Sensei has plans for later.”

“What’s up?”

“I’ll tell you later,” she answers, turning her attention to Suzu and Miki who have chosen that moment to walk up. Both are wearing loose sweaters and jeans, a ridiculously cute look for the two of them.

Miki greets us all in a friendly manner. “Hey ya’ll! You got all that, right?”

“Yeah,” Saki answers. “What’s on the agenda?”

“Well, Suzu and I were wondering if you’d like to at least sit near each other at dinner. After that, what were you thinking?”

“I’d love to hit up the ice skating rink,” Chisato says.

Suzu gives Miki a side hug, a rare display of public affection for the two of them. “I’d like that.”

“It wouldn’t be for too long though,” Chisato continues, picking up her line of thought from earlier. “Mrs. Sakamoto-sensei wants to take the band members out to the cafe this evening.”

Ah. That would explain some of the photos I saw posted in the band room.

“What time?”

“Around six.”

Miki thinks for a second. “Get down there, eat dinner, then have what, about an hour before then?”

“Yeah. It’s not for the whole night though. It’s probably only going to take half an hour or so.” She turns to look at me. “Sorry boys. You’re going to be on your own for a while.”

“I believe we can manage,” Mitsuru says.

“That cafe’s the one right next to Takamura’s studio, right?” I ask Saki.

“I wouldn’t know. Ask Chisato.”

“Hey, Chi-”

Chisato cuts me off, laughing. “I heard the question. Yeah, that’s the one.”

“Let’s have fun tonight,” Noriko says, readjusting her santa hat.

------------

As far as dinner goes, we do exactly that.

The walk down the hill was a pleasant one, as was the bus into the city. It didn’t take long to make our way downtown and to Soroumoni, even if we had to wait a bit for everyone to show up for various reasons. Almost everyone ended up there, and true to our plans, Suzu and Miki ended up sitting at our table. After a round of toasts from the teachers on the varying successful milestones of the year, we take part in another Christmas tradition of eating too much. What else is there to explain? Good food, good vibes, and good company can give you one hell of an appetite.

After about an hour where the conversation covers everything from the new clothing line at Plus Two in their winter catalogue to ranking the types of desserts the cafeteria makes, the general volume of the entire group tends to drop considerably. There’s a brief moment of confusion over the bill when the waitress drops it off at our table, but we manage to settle it like the other tables that make up the Yamaku group. I throw a few paper notes down that more than cover my share, leaving a large tip for the staff that put up with our shenanigans.

As our party starts to leave the restaurant, students tend to gravitate towards the different faculty members. The girls all decide to take a minute to use the restroom on their way out, so when Mitsuru and I walk out the door it only takes a moment to spot Nurse off to the side.

“Ah, Sasagawa and Nakai,” he greets us. “Are you having fun tonight?”

“Dinner was great,” I say. “I’ve been down here a few times but I’ve never eaten here. I’ll have to do it again.”

“Happy to hear it.”

Mitsuru takes off his glasses and cleans the lenses. “We have a few more coming.”

“No worries,” Nurse smiles. “We’ll probably have a dozen or so, if it’s anything like the turnout last year.”

“Do you skate?” I ask.

“Me? Nope. I never learned how to,” he winks. “But given it’s the one activity tonight that people could hurt themselves at, it makes sense for me to be the one who goes, doesn’t it?”

“Has anyone hurt themselves before?”

“Nothing worse than a twisted ankle or a few bruises from falling down. What about you, Nakai? Feeling up to it?”

I’ve only managed to go ice skating a handful of times where I lived, and most of those times were in a similar situation to this one, where an ice rink would pop up for a few months in the city around winter time. Even then, I would only get enough time on skates to remember how not to fall down in them and vaguely propel my body forward.

“I haven’t decided yet,” I answer, rubbing the back of my neck with my hand. Fortunately Miki, Suzu, and Chisato choose that moment to show up.

“Hello boys,” Miki says, addressing not just me but Nurse as well. “Hope you’re all ready to get crushed out there.”

Mitsuru laughs. “We’re not playing hockey, Miki.”

“Who cares about that? I’m gonna try to see how fast I can do a lap around the rink.”

“Do you skate a lot?”

“Every year! Gotta do something over the winter in addition to running. That track gets boring after going around it a hundred times.”

“Try not to run anyone down, Miura,” Nurse clears his throat. “I admire your enthusiasm though.”

Miki beams at this, then turns towards me. “Saki and Noriko should be out here soon. They were only two places in line behind us.”

“You’d think this place would have more than two stalls in the bathroom,” Suzu grumbles.

More people end up joining our group until we have around fifteen total, with Noriko and Saki making up the last two stragglers. Saki links her fingers in mine the second she comes near, leaning into me and taking some pressure off her cane.

“You’re not thinking of, uh…” I ask her, letting my voice trail off.

“I don’t think they’ll have a skate that fits the bottom of my cane, Hisao.”

“...right.”

“Besides,” she continues, warming up. “I want to see all the Christmas decorations down there too, and it’s closer to the studio.”

Nurse waits a few more minutes until it’s clear nobody else is going to be joining us tonight. With that, all of us start to walk down to the main downtown plaza, and as we reach the stairs leading down into it, we’re greeted by what we’re looking for.

Image

The rink sits in the plaza at the base of the stairs, a white square about twenty meters across. A waist high barrier surrounds it, acting as both as a means of corralling the people inside the rink and giving them something to lean on to talk to those outside it. There’s a few rows of benches arranged around it, with a white canopy off to the side labeled “Skate Rental”.

A few students run ahead, eager to jump in. Our group is a bit more casual out of necessity, and Nurse sticks near us.

“We only have about half an hour before we have to leave to meet up with sensei,” Saki warns, checking her watch when we reach the bottom of the steps.

(continued...)
Last edited by Eurobeatjester on Sun Jun 02, 2019 1:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Stuff I'm currently writing: Learning To Fly: A Saki Enomoto Pseudo Route
Two Turtledoves - A Lilly/Hisao Christmas Oneshot
Blank Mage wrote:
Eurobeatjester wrote:I doubt my ability to write convincing lesbian erotica
believe in yourself

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